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Chapter 1: Recklessness and Thought
He lay down on the hot, dry grass, the afternoon sun covered by the trees, providing him shade and protection from the heat. He lay in wait, his trousers hung loosely at his hips and his shirt un-tucked. He had the finest, paid for by his father; if only the man knew what he was doing right now, what he had planned to. He waited leisurely for his friend to come, in no hurry, his eyes closed; he wanted to enjoy the day.
Hearing his name, he rose slowly, crossing his legs into a sitting position, and waved the other boy over. His friend sat down at his side, taking the same position, and handed him a brown satchel. Salazar opened it with enthusiasm, pulling out the contents; soft, warm bread. He took a healthy bite. “Thank you, Ric,” he said once he’d swallowed.
“It was all I could get,” he answered. “The servants are starting to suspect what I’m doing; any more and they’ll tell my father, who will tell yours.”
“Bread is fine. They won’t have to say anything. No more, I promise.”
Godric shook his head, not knowing whether to smile or scold his friend; he knew that no matter what Salazar said, he’d get into trouble again at some point and his father would punish him, which would mean going to his room without food and sneaking out, while Godric found something for him to eat. He couldn’t trust his own servants; they were loyal to his father, not Salazar. And the snake knew all this. “Things would be better if you stopped getting into trouble, but I gave up thinking that long ago.”
Salazar only replied with a smirk, his cheeks puffy from the bread in his mouth. “Why are we here, Sal? What is so special about the forest we aren’t meant to be near?”
He waited until Salazar had finished, knowing not to continue to ask while he was eating; he’d only be ignored. The moment he was done, he stood up, allowing Godric to follow him, and dropped the satchel behind a nearby tree. Then he motioned with his finger to continue walking. Salazar waited until he was deep inside the forest before answering. “I found it a few weeks ago; this is the reason I was late to the dinner and punished. I want you to see.”
“What is it?” Godric asked, his hesitance revealing itself in his tone. But he continued to follow.
“You’ll see.” Salazar could hear himself become more and more excited, as he knew Godric could, could feel his friend’s eyes on his back, his hesitancy hitting him like knives in his skin. Godric was always hesitant of Salazar’s plans, whether it would lead to trouble or not. He sped up. “Come on, Ric!”
He ran the rest of the way, listening to Godric call for him over and over, but he didn’t stop until he’d reached his destination. He hid behind a tree, Godric trying to regain his breath behind him; he could feel him blowing at his ear when he moved closer to get a better look. “What is it I am seeing?”
Salazar turned his head slightly, only enough for Godric to see him place his finger to his lips, and then he pointed to the clearing. They stood in silence, their bodies hidden by the forest, and waited. Then the ground began to move and the leaves began to shake and it came from out of the shadows. Its huge, impressive body stood tall and proud in the clearing, with its tail swishing from side to side, hard enough to cut through the flower and the bushes with the undoubtedly sharp horns which occupied its end. Its wings spread open, beating down and causing a great wind to blow through the forest, right to the boys; Salazar held on to the tree’s trunk a little tighter, Godric holding his tunic.
Godric sucked in his breath. “Is that a dragon?” he whispered, his voice a mixture of fear and awe.
Salazar couldn’t contain his glee. “Isn’t it beautiful?”
“And dangerous,” Godric pointed out. “If your father knew about this –“
“But we’re not going to tell him, are we?” Salazar interrupted sternly. “He’ll never know.”
“He’ll never know,” his friend repeated. “I promise. I’m glad you showed me.”
“I’m glad you followed. We can leave soon, we’ll just stay here and look,” he said softly. They stayed hidden; not wanting to scare it or worse, make it feel threatened, and watched as it made the clearing its home. The scales on its back glistened in the sun, its snout rose from the ground to the air, its stance changed from relaxed to defensive and Salazar frowned. “Something is wrong.”
A spear shot through the air, scratching the dragon’s side, but was not strong enough to pierce its skin. Men clad in animal furs and leaves came out into the clearing and used their wands to control the creature, while trying protecting themselves from potential fire. “Dragon Dealers,” Godric whispered and Salazar nodded, his anger growing as he watched the hunters capture his find, knowing enough about them to know of their intentions of capturing and selling it, probably even hurting or killing it to make armour. Godric moved forward. “We have to stop them.”
“With bravery comes recklessness, Godric, you could be hurt or killed. If not by the Dealers, then by the dragon,” Salazar said hurriedly.
“Do not be a coward now, Sal,” he challenged, knowing the blow to the boy’s pride would surely get to him.
And he was right; Salazar’s eyes narrowed to slits, reminding Godric of the animal which gave him his snake-like nickname. He moved closer with an almost predatory grace. “If your actions do not kill us, I shall make you pay for that.”
Godric removed his wand from inside his tunic, Salazar copying. “I’m terrified.”
He continued without another word, leaving Salazar to follow him this time, and the suddenly more cautious of the two could only compare his words to that of sarcasm; they’d known each other their whole lives, too long for either of them to be afraid of the other. It only made Salazar plan out every detail of the only slightly older boy’s punishment, and then each scenario which had them either dead or miraculously alive by the end of Godric’s plan to save a dragon; a creature they knew little about, not even its kind. They were walking in blind; Salazar didn’t like it.
“Stop!” Godric called out, halting the Dealer’s movements, his wand held in a defensive position. Reluctantly, Salazar did the same. “Leave the dragon be!”
The men responded with laughter, pointing and laughing. “They must be sixteen at most. What are two boys going to do?”
“He called me a boy,” Salazar growled.
“You should not have called him a boy,” Godric stated slowly, knowing firsthand his hatred of what he thought of as a belittling name; Salazar’s father calling him ‘boy’ over and over with his punishments.
Godric didn’t stop the stunning spell from his friend’s wand; he wouldn’t have been able to even if he had wanted to, it was too quick, he was too quick, and was thankful a stunner was all it was. He only wanted them to stop, nothing more. But it missed and cut through the bounds keeping the dragon still. The Dealers’ rage showed clearly on their faces, then their fear as they realised it was free and they could no longer stop it. They moved quickly away, digging their heels into the grass as the dragon’s movements caused the ground below them to shake once more. Salazar fell to the floor, the stones below slicing open his clothes, just as one of the men yelled a curse aimed in their direction. Salazar knocked Godric to the side, the curse just missing him, but the impact of his fall knocked him unconscious, leaving Salazar alone with three dangerous men and a dragon.
He continued to shout out hexes, strong enough to at least immobilise them for a short while, and then he shot one at the dragon itself. The animal did as he thought; the spell angered it more, becoming even more of a danger around them, and he pulled Godric away while the Dealers were distracted, hiding them both in the safety of the trees.
He waited for Godric to wake up, his eyes never leaving the clearing.
Godric groaned, his hand making his way to his head as he sat up. “I feel as though I've slept for hours; did you give me a Sleeping Daught?" Salazar shook his head, wondering how he could have come to that conclusion considering where they were, before figuring it was his head. "What happened?”
“One of the men sent the killing curse our way, almost hit you, so I pulled you down but you hit your head. I played no part in that.”
Godric chuckled. “Right, pulling me down had nothing to do with my head injury.”
Salazar shook his head, a small grin of his own threatening to reveal itself. But he wouldn’t; he was still annoyed with him. “You could have killed us.”
“Maybe, but I didn’t.”
“Because of me; you were unconscious.”
“Technicality.” Godric waved his hand as though it was unimportant. He started to grin. “We saved a dragon.”
Salazar gritted his teeth. “No, I saved a dragon; I fought the Dealers, I created a distraction, I watched it fly away. I saved the dragon; you were unconscious.”
“Must you be so negative?” Godric sighed, reminding himself why his friend had followed him in the first place. “Your pride will be your ruin one day. You have too much.” Pointing an accusatory finger at the boy, he had started it with his words; Salazar opened his mouth in retaliation, but closed it quickly. Maybe he was proud, but it allowed him to help Godric and he would not apologise for that. “You did not have to follow me.”
“Yes, I did. You are my friend; I did not want you to get hurt.” He mumbled that last part, though he knew Godric would hear clearly, and then he smiled. “But with bravery comes recklessness; you can get hurt,” he repeated.
Laughing, Godric stood up, wincing when he realised it was more than just his head that hurt, and held out a hand. “I know.”
Salazar took it, but wouldn’t get to his feet. “Finish it.”
“With ambition comes thought; you are always three steps ahead,” he finished. With a nod, Salazar stood up and they turned to leave. “I think we should have a new saying.”
“Never follow a Gryffindor.”
“Never trust a Slytherin,” he countered.
“Never curse a dragon,” Salazar grinned.
“Never wake a dragon.”
“Never tickle a sleeping dragon.”
Godric turned confused, which only made Salazar laugh harder. “I don’t believe I’ll ever meet a person who would try to do that.”
“The world is full of surprises. I like it.”
Godric laughed and agreed, but shook his head at the thought it that being their saying. He rubbed the side of his head again. “Two things,” he said, moving his hand away. “One, what is on my head?”
“Dragon’s blood,” Salazar replied. “Who would have thought it would be a useful healing salve? I only wanted to make you look funny.”
“Ah, here we have the uses of dragon’s blood; one, to heal. Two, to look funny.”
“Three; writing ink,” Salazar continued, chuckling. “Four; for potions. Or a face cleanser.” Godric raised an eye-brow. “Some people need that.”
"Yes, and I wager it will make an excellent cleaner for the maid, too," Godric said sarcastically.
“We will get more one day; give it to her,” Salazar played along. They laughed, falling into a comfortable silence until they were out of the forest. “What was the second thing?”
“Why did you put it there, but you already answered it. You are evil, Slytherin,” he glared.
“Why do you call me Slytherin?”
“Because of your pride and ambition and your ability to manipulate the situation to suit you,” he answered.
“I think those are good qualities,” Salazar said proudly.
“They are,” his friend agreed. “But you use them for the wrong reasons; you, friend, are a slippery snake. You are Slytherin. Why do you call me Gryffindor?” he countered.
“Your bravery; you have the heart of a lion.” Godric grinned widely, his own pride showing. “It does not say much in terms of brains, however.”
His smile dropped, his glare came back and Salazar smirked and winked before running away, the other boy chasing. Godric caught up quickly, pulled Salazar to him, and they walked back to the Slytherin’s home. “You should get back before your father finds out you have gone again and you get into trouble.”
“I am already in trouble.” Salazar stepped away, showing him his ripped clothes; they had been new this morning. Godric shook his head, but told him he could change if he were home quick enough and could have them mended before his father found out.
“I do not think that is possible,” he said quietly, both of them looking up to see his father watching them from his balcony, the man’s stare sending chills down both of their backs. “Maybe I will see you tomorrow.”
Godric nodded and Salazar walked up to his door, turning to say good bye in his own little language that only his snake seemed to understand. Then he pointed to the sky and Godric followed; they watched the dragon fly away, a mere speck in the air compared to before. And only they would know. “Tomorrow, Slytherin.”
Tomorrow would be a new day, but they would find something else to do, find another adventure to have. And only they would know.
And maybe the others he had met who were like him and Godric; had magic, though some lacked their own wand. They would like to hear of their adventures after he had taught them the spells he knew.
Who knows, he thought. Maybe that will be one of our adventures.
Salazar had always wondered what it would be like to have a school of magic.
A/N: My entry for the House Cup, task one. The prompts I used are:
Features your house champion.
Mentions at least one unforgiveable curse.
Features a dragon.
Mentions a Sleeping Drought.
Includes mention of at least 5 of the 12 uses for dragon's blood (canon or made up by the author)
Features a theme of flourishing in the face of adversity (I hope)
Never tickle a sleeping dragon - Hogwarts' school motto.
I had a lot of fun writing this, considering it's my first Founders, and it was fun writing a young, carefree Salazar. Hope you liked. :)