After a grueling debate with Godric over the rising issue of boys sneaking into girls' dormitories, Salazar wanted nothing more than to sink under his sheets and fall fast asleep. It had been too long a day, even longer than yesterday, and the day before that as well. Instead, he had to go enchant the Slytherin girls' staircase in the common room with some ridiculous spell of Helga's suggestion, then take over from Rowena in the Great Hall for shift two of detention.
"Professor," a gangly boy ran up to Salazar, gasping. "Rigby's just been sick, Sir, in the Entrance Hall."
We must follow through on Rowena's proposed prefect system... Salazar groaned silently. Then one of them could deal while we higher minds put our skills to proper use.
Salazar turned on his heel and led the way to the Entrance Hall, the student scrambling behind him. The stone corridors were frigid, and he wondered once more why they hadn't taken Rowena up on her offer of magical insulation. So much to do, for a sprouting school still in its childhood...
Unbidden, a giggling girl popped to his mind. She twirled, curls bouncing off her flushed cheeks, eyes squeezed shut and yet still brighter than anything Salazar had ever seen. Even that polished cup of Helga's the woman treasured so. The Memory Girl held out two pudgy arms to be picked up, and Salazar's fingers twitched at his sides. She melted immediately, her warmth sucked up by the cold, dim castle, and Salazar was left in the Entrance Hall with a just queasy student for company.
Salazar shook himself, gave the child a flask of Sleeping Potion, and sent him up to the empty classroom that doubled as an infirmary until they could hire a proper matron and add a hospital wing.
Next, he arrived at the Slytherin common room and performed the new spell on the staircase. It took just a few seconds, and he realized with a weary blink that he would have to test it out. He sighed and placed a single boot on the first step. Nothing.
Salazar gritted his teeth, then raced up. All at once he felt air beneath his soles and his weight flying out from beneath him. As he whizzed back to the ground on a stone slide, Memory Girl shrieked with mirth beside him. When he reached the bottom, she was already racing up to go again. When he turned, she was gone.
Back in the Great Hall, Rowena saw the sleep in his eyes and didn't begin one of her famous stimulating conversations. She placed a ring-laden hand briefly on his shoulder, then swept off to her tower. Salazar sunk into a seat and let his eyes flutter shut for a moment, while three students scratched away at their lines.
Memory Girl lay curled up in bed, hands clasped firmly around nothing. She looked so perfect, so still. He knew that picking her up, just to press his cheek against her soft one, would wake her and ruin everything. It took all his will not to touch her. When he opened his eyes, Memory Girl dreamed off to some other, better place.
Once the last roll of parchment was passed in, Salazar found his feet taking him not to this welcoming bed, but instead out the doors and down the lane. He turned on the spot, letting himself twist into nothing, everything. Memory Girl tugged.
"Gerlinde," Salazar exhaled, as Memory Girl leapt into his arms. He squeezed her tight, and unlike Memory Girl, she squeezed back.