Harry Potter is moved to Severus Snape's home for protection after number four is demolished. Can Harry survive the summer at Snapes home? Prehbp HPSS
One finally caught his attention however. It was the portrait that hung next to the mirror. The portrait was of an old man, the top of his head completely bald, and long thin white hair growing down from the sides of his head. His face was wrinkled and his eyes dull. The thing that was interesting about the portrait was not the man really, but what the man was doing. He had a small snake twisted around his forearm and was whispering to it, and the snake was whispering back.
Harry listen to them murmur in parseltongue to each other for a while. "...Quentin Trimble came around last night, ranting and raving about how we were all going to die from the dark arts that where taking over the world..."
"...He is amusing though, master..."
"...Yes, He does prove entertaining. We are still all alive after all..." After a few minutes of pointless banter the wizard finally noticed that Harry was standing there staring at them. The portrait glared at him from it's frame. "What do you want?" It asked impatiently, switching out of parseltongue.
Harry, who had never done this before, was unsure of how to proceed. "Well, sir, I was just told that all of the portraits here have done important research, and I was wondering what you did..." Harry trailed off wondering if he had something wrong, because if possible the man in the portrait frowned even more than he had been before.
The snake that was wrapped around the arm began to move it's way up to the man's shoulder, "The brat wants your work." the snake muttered and then if possible it made something that sounded close to a laugh.
"Yes. I do want to look at his work." Harry told the snake in parseltongue. Both the wizard and the snake stared at Harry for a long time. Harry shifted uncomfortably under their hard gaze. "What?"
"You speak our language!" The snake said in shock.
"Umm... Yes. I do." Harry replied, watching the snake curl around the mans throat, but the man did not seem worried about it.
"Interesting. I will let you have a look at these..." The man said, as his portrait swung forward revealing a small alcove behind it. Inside was a small leather bound book, covered with a fine layer of dust. Harry gently removed it from the alcove and read the cover.
"The Works of Herpo the Foul" Harry said as he ran his fingers over the cover letters. "What did you study?" Harry asked, as the portrait shut and the man was facing him again.
The man in the portrait was now grinning. "You will have to read that for yourself, and figure it out. I am sure you will find it interesting."
Harry nodded and flipped open to the first page, but rather than having it be covered in any letters that Harry could distinguish, it was covered in what at first seemed to be random squiggles, but as Harry looked at them, they seemed to arrange themselves into letters, so that Harry could read it. A header read 'First Stages of Basilisk Studies.' Harry looked up to ask the portrait something, but found that the man had slipped off while he had been looking at the book.
Harry shrugged, and went and sat down on an armchair that was sitting in one of the corners of the room, and began to read.