“Why don’t we just conjure a snake?”
“Don’t be silly Harry - what if the snake decided it didn’t want to talk or something?”
Harry did not think that that was a valid reason but nodded as if he understood anyway. He was lying in bed, exhausted both mentally and physically after doing the ritual to remove the Horcrux from his soul. Ron and Hermione had been furious at first, but once they saw that he was okay, focused on cheering him up instead.
Now they were testing if he still knew Parseltongue - he both hoped he did and didn’t. Already he felt empty, as if removing the Horcrux had removed a part of his own soul instead of the leech that had been attached to it - he couldn’t imagine losing yet another part of himself. Still, he had only been able to speak Parseltongue because of Voldemort and he wanted absolutely nothing to do with him. Especially since there were already too many similarities between them.
Hermione had decided that the best way to test this was for her and Ron to hiss at him. If he heard any actual words then he still knew the language, if all he heard was the hissing then either his best friends made awful snakes or he had forgotten a whole language overnight.
Harry still wasn’t sure if this was a weird dream or not.
Hermione’s face was ridiculously serious for what they were about to do.
“Sure, go for it.”
“We’ll go one at a time, Ron, you go first. Three, two, one.”
“Juice … distribution… open… face… man… maid… zoo…”
Oh, this was too good. Harry carefully controlled his expression as he pretended to concentrate on Ron’s words. It seemed he was still as Parselmouth unless Ron was just messing with him and saying random words with a weird accent. But if he wasn’t...then Ron was just hissing at him in the hope that he could maybe understand him. Sue him, Harry wanted to have a little fun.
He looked at Hermione to make sure that he’d speak in English.
“Hmmm, I’m not sure. Can you give it a try Hermione? Maybe Ron’s just a shit snake.”
Hermione nodded grimly as is he had tasked her with killing Voldemort. Then she too started to violently hiss at him.
“Number… book… wolf… music… attack… kill… open… rat…”
He couldn’t help it, he burst out laughing.
“What? Harry, what is it?”
“You guys sound so ridiculous! Can’t you hear yourselves? It sounds bad enough in Parseltongue, but you’re literally just hissing at me.”
“So you can hear actual words?”
“Yes, but please never try and talk to a snake. They’re very picky creatures and even if you spoke actual sentences your accent alone would make them try to bite you.”
“Then why did you make Hermione do it as well mate?”
Harry burst into another round of laughter.
“Because it was fucking hilarious… if only you guys could actually hear yourselves!”
They all continued to bicker as Ron and Hermione shared a secret smile. They had been successful in cheering up Harry, they hadn’t heard him laugh like this in years and it killed them to think that it might be another few years until they could hear it again.