QLFC, Puddlemere Seeker (reserve): Write about getting a pet for the first time and it turning out to be different than expected
TGS, Ollivander's Wand Shop, Basilisk horn: Write about Salazar Slytherin.
TGS, Through the Universe: Yellow Dwarf — (feeling) very unstable
Summary: Godric's thoughts are honed blades, Rowena's are rushes of wind, and Helga's are seeds growing underground. But the Basilisk's—they can be spirals of alluring blood and death
Many thanks to desertredwolf and finnixfire for being so patient and beta'ing this for me! :3
Shed my skin
It's autumn, the season when snakes seek shelter from the unforgiving cold of winter, and Salazar wishes more than anything he could follow their example as he hears the fallen leaves creak under his boots, the sound discordant and too close to bones being broken.
Human bones, he thinks with a shudder, knowing very well that he can only delude himself into blaming the sudden rush of wind for it. He still does, his mind malleable and compliant at his will as almost anyone else's. And it's only thanks to that same willpower that he resists the urge to look at his feet, maybe for fear of catching a glimpse of white.
Helga—innocent, trusting, loving Helga—brushes his arm. Do not worry yourself, she seems to say. Of course she would; she understands the world and loves it as it is. She never comments on his reactions, just smiles at him, her eyes huge and melancholic as if she knows…
He looks elsewhere, unable to tolerate her mute, early forgiveness which he expects—hopes?—to see on her face.
Do not worry yourself.
He wishes he could agree. But she's wrong. The other people don't have her heart, and those who do… Well, they're weak, easily corrupted.
He can't stand her sympathy, not when no one has ever shown him any, so ignoring Helga's "Wait!" he turns his back on the castle and escapes Godric's scoldings and Rowena's sharp remarks.
He finds them all annoying and patronizing, and the fact that his mind is weakening and becoming more and more vulnerable has nothing to do with it. Most definitely.
(Later, a different autumn, a warmer one, will bring these memories back, softening them and coloring them with longing.)
The creature was slowly sliding towards him, its coils shining at each move.
Salazar had been around snakes for his entire life. They had come looking for him when, no more than a little boy, he lived alone in a cave, and they had been safe, familiar even. Having a viper wrapped around his arm had felt like holding his wand—it just belonged. So he couldn't explain the sudden nervousness setting down his stomach at seeing the magnificent Basilisk... strutting—it was the only word that could describe it—in front of his eyes, the action idle and confident at the same time. Deliberate. Proud.
Salazar was fascinated—his teenage naivety mixed with the boldness that comes with being young convincing him that it would be a good idea to keep the Basilisk. The other snakes had been unworthy of him, and any other animal avoided him (much like any human being he knew), so some company would be appreciated.
The Basilisk seemed to share his thoughts as it hissed, "Come and sit here," its tone reassuring as it pointed at a large stone with its tail. "It is rare that I find any of your kind who speaks the Sacred Tongue" His words carried suspicion and, maybe, a begrudging respect so Salazar, honored, complied, seeing it as an opening.
He leans heavily towards a tree, feeling unstable, and pants while clutching at his head. He went too far once again, too deep in the Basilisk's head, and now he must struggle to tidy up his own mind as unspeakable horrors that do not belong there resurface, overpowering any other feeling or thought.
The exposure to the Serpent King's mind leaves him emptied as it always does, making it almost impossible to hold onto his sanity or to separate his memories from the monster's.
It can't really be a monster, Salazar thought as he sat down, unaware of what he was getting himself into. His head was bowed to protect his eyes from the yellow, lethal ones.
In hindsight, he would come to regret that gesture—a universal sign of submission—and his easy compliance to the Basilisk's veiled order. He had unknowingly exposed himself. But, at the time, it had seemed polite. He was trying to win the creature over after all, conscious that no one had ever been able to resist him and his silver tongue, if he so chose. How hard could it be to tame an animal?
The Basilisk spoke words of wisdom, tales of a long forgotten past from before the little town nearby was even founded. Salazar listened intently to what people considered to be the spirit present in every river, glen, and hill.
The Serpent King let him go unscathed.
Salazar came back.
It became routine, an easy one that gave him a sense of security until the day the Basilisk followed him, its coils brushing his legs.
It was familiar, domestic, and he felt like he had won something. Something good and powerful, that belonged only to him.
He'd never had anything of his own before.
Clearly, the Basilisk must have been thinking something along the same lines when he regarded Salazar with its lethal eyes that he has never met, but that he has no trouble imagining calculating and cold. They were eyes that belonged to an ancient being, one that has absorbed everything the world had to offer, magic included, and never gives anything in return but spilled blood and chewed bones.
The old legends were wrong, as is often the case. It's not the Basilisk who is in every river, glen, and hill, but the other way around. So it's no wonder that Salazar now finds himself not only drained but ensnared, deceived.
Godric's thoughts are honed blades, Rowena's are rushes of wind, and Helga's are seeds growing underground. But the Basilisk's—they can be spirals of alluring blood and death while being, at the same time, as sweet as honey. And of course, it doesn't help that Parseltongue is a soft, insinuating language.
Lately, he has been feeling the dangers of this weird bond between human and reptile, but he has ultimately chosen to ignore it. And not because the monster's instincts have taken over—a pressing blood, blood, blood reverberating in his ears—but because the school needs protection. And what's better than an enormous reptile—Salazar's pet?
Surprising even himself, Salazar bows his head, persuaded.