Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or creatures named herein. I make no profit from this, I just like it.
A/N: This is something completely out of left field for me! I hope you like it and please read/review! Thanks!
"I'm telling you, Rowena, it wasn't real! There is no way such a creature could exist! You dreamt it surely, and it felt real because you were on the edge of wakefulness!" he argued, climbing the spiraled staircase immediately after the lady in question.
"I did not dream it, Salazar. I do know the difference between reality and a dream. And I also know what I saw! I just can't seem to get a proper sketch of it made; I never was much for drawing, you know? I remember quite clearly the curl of the horns and how it looked a little like a young piglet - but it was obviously fully-grown..." Ravenclaw's speech devolved into an inaudible discussion with herself. She was prone to thinking aloud on matters having to do with theoretical magic. That, Salazar could handle. Talking about a creature from Sweden with blue fur, spiraled horns like a ram, that somehow resembled a pig was not something Salazar could handle.
"Rowena, as much as I hate to interrupt those important chats you have with yourself, I'm right here. And I'm just looking out for you. They'll say that you're mad if you include this in your compendium of magical creatures. No one, in recorded history, has ever seen one of these - what are you thinking of calling it?"
"The Crumple-Horned Snorkack," Rowena supplied matter-of-factly, "And just because no one's ever seen one, doesn't mean they don't exist. It simply means that I was the first."
"Rowena, that's ridiculous. From the beginning of time, only you have seen this thing? Are you really so blind?"
"Perhaps no one has thought to document it until now." She suggested, subtlely speeding up to increase the distance between them.
Salazar clicked his tongue in frustration and decided to try a different tactic. "I urge you to think of the reputation of the school. We're only just gaining the respect of the older families. You are our most respected scholar; if they think you've gone around the bend, they won't send their children here. That's fewer minds for you to fill with that grand love of learning you talk about."
"And that's fewer minds for you to fill with ambition and a certain belief in superiority where their blood status is concerned. I know the game you're playing here. I have to seek knowledge and truth before I seek students, Salazar. One must have the learning before one can pass it on." With a sharp flick of her wand, she opened the door to the fifth floor corridor and swept through it, not bothering to hold it behind her. It nearly slammed in his face before he managed to catch it with a swish of his wand.
"One must also have the respect of the parents, to have students, to pass on the knowledge, Rowena. You know that. Publish this in a separate article - or do some more research on it. Ask the wizarding community in Sweden, near the place where we were staying. Anything! Just don't publish it in the compendium. I beg of you. I never ask much of you, do I?" Salazar's blue eyes bored into her, seeming to seek out the answer for which their owner hoped. The pupils jumped back and forth quickly, studying and taking in every miniscule movement in the face he knew so well. When he sensed her answer was still no, he reached for her hand, rasping her smooth skin with his own calloused fingers.
"Oh my sly, sly Slytherin. You think I don't know what your goal is? You want that influence, having all the young minds of old families under your watchful eye. You need me to legitimize it. I don't have to listen to you, though. I can publish my findings if I want to."
Salazar nearly growled his annoyance. "Rowena, it's important to me that this venture, " he pause, and corrected himself, " that this school succeeds. And I know it's important to you, admittedly, for different reasons. I'm only asking for this one thing. Please, don't do it."
"Fine, I won't, " she said with a smile, and she squeezed the hand that still held hers. "That wasn't so hard, was it?"
"What?" he asked, looking vaguely bewildered.
"I got you to say 'please'. Helga bet me ten sickles I couldn't do it. But I know better. I'm the only one who can ever get anywhere close to getting you to do something she wants." She dropped his hand, and resumed her walk toward the Ravenclaw Common Room. She was so glad that she'd gotten the stained glass she'd asked for in this part of the castle. It was truly beautiful and not only that, it contained one of her favorite riddles.
"That shouldn't surprise you, really, dear. I have been paying you court for nigh a year. You're bound to have some influence over me by now, " responded Salazar, drawing her back once more into their discourse.
"Of course it doesn't surprise me. But her loss will surprise Helga, she doesn't seem to think anyone influences you."
"Let's keep it that way...You didn't really mean it, did you? About the Crumple-Horned --, whatever it is? You didn't actually see one? And you weren't going to write about it?" he asked, speeding his walk to reach the statue first, and then turning to face her.
Rowena smiled, "I don't know, dearest. But since you're so cunning and sly, I'm sure you'll figure it out."
The corner of Salazar's mouth twitched into something halfway between a grimace and a smile. "I intend to, Rowena. Someday, I will figure you out, I'll catch up to that wit of yours, and all that cleverness will be of no more use to you."
"And when that day comes, if it comes, " she jested, "I'll die of a broken heart."
Not if I can help it, Rowena, he thought. Not if I can help it.
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