Disclaimer: HP does not belong to me, just the idea I used on the characters… all recognizable things are Rowlings

Information: AU-Sorting, takes place in HP1. Reincarnation-fic!






Lucius Malfoy was striding down the hallways on the ministry, internally fuming.

In front of his inner eye, he could still see the white-haired boy walking away from him, with the gates of Hogwarts closed and barred.

Lucius hadn't even been able to touch the gates of Hogwarts after the brat had thrown him from the castle.

The boy would suffer for it.

Dumbledore would suffer for it.

"I'm going to ensure that the brat is expelled," Lucius mentally fumed. "Boy-Wonder or not, he won't get away with it."

Not to mention that Dumbledore would have to give up his hold onto Hogwarts as well. Lucius would ensure that the old goat would finally be sacked.

Lucius would ensure it.

He rounded the corner, just to see his target in the middle of a conversation with old Theodoric Nott, grandfather to young Theodore Nott who was currently a first year Slytherin student like Lucius's own son.

"Oh, Lucius!" His target, a plumb man in lime-green, pint-striped robes, wearing a bowler hat, said happily when he saw Lucius approaching. "I'm surprised that you're here today. I thought you had urgent business at Hogwarts – something concerning your son?"

"I did, Minister," Lucius answered gravely. "And I fear, it's worse than expected."

Lucius leered at the grey-haired, wrinkled wizard next to Minister Cornelius Fudge. For all he and the oldest Nott didn't see eye-to-eye – unlike the old man's son, Theodore Nott I. who was an old friend of Lucius's – Lucius also knew that Theodoric Nott would be as appealed at the injustice happening at Hogwarts as Lucius himself was.

"Worse, Lucius?" Fudge asked concerned. "I fear I'm not sure what you're alluding to, my friend."

Theodoric's face remained impassive, but Lucius knew that he was listening as closely as Fudge was. The old man had a sharp mind and for all their different views, he was as traditional as Lucius was.

"Apparently, Headmaster Dumbledore decided to let the Potter-boy run wild," Lucius declared with a grimace.

Theodoric hummed. "To what extent?"

"My son wrote me that the Potter-boy was allowed to teach potions," Lucius said, forcefully keeping his voice even. "He also gave detention to Draco when he refused to brew without their potion's professor in the room!"

Fudge stared at him with open disbelief in his face.

Theodoric's face on the other hand stayed as expressionless as it had been. There was no way of telling what he was thinking.

So, Lucius decided to add to what he had said. "After I confronted the Headmaster with the facts, I ended up being confronted by the boy in question as well."

"Potter confronted you?" Fudge asked, clearly not knowing what to think about Lucius's accusations.

"He did," Lucius confirmed more than just a bit unhappy. "I'm not sure what kind of magic the boy is allowed to use and abuse, but he vanished the floor beneath my feet in the hallway and in the end, threw me from Hogwarts and locked me out!"

"Well, that's definitely something that will have to be addressed!" Fudge blustered. "I understand that Potter is special, but that goes too far!"

Theodoric on the other hand, narrowed his eyes at Lucius. "He locked you out of Hogwarts?"

Lucius balled his hands to fists.

"He did," he agreed, still furious with what had happened. "Whatever he did, I couldn't return to Hogwarts's grounds afterwards."

Fudge opened his mouth, clearly as furious as Lucius right now, but Theodoric interrupted him before he could even utter a sound. "I thought you were confronted by the boy in one of the hallways."

"I was," Lucius agreed unhappily. "I'm not sure what the boy did, but at the end of our confrontation I ended up on the grass in front of Hogwarts' gates."

Theodoric's eyes narrowed.

"What exactly was your confrontation with the boy about?" he asked.

Lucius snorted. "The boy insisted that I questioned his so-called authority and his infinite rule."

Fudge gawked.

"Potter thinks that–"

"What did the boy look like?" Theodoric asked, scrutinizing Lucius closely.

"Like Potter," Lucius sneered.

Theodoric raised an eyebrow and Lucius snorted. "Or are you revering about his little spells that turned his hair white and his eyes silver?"

Fudge's frown deepened.

"Potter shouldn't do spells like that," he said. "Self-transfiguration is prohibited at such a young age. Children don't have the control necessary not to hurt themselves doing those spells."

Theodoric snorted.

"Forgive me, Minister, but you're both fools," he declared.

Lucius stared at the old man. He had expected Theodoric Nott to be outraged, instead, he was looking at Lucius and Fudge as if they had lost their minds.

"What are you implying, Nott?" Lucius asked with a sneer at those words.

"Exactly what I said," Theodoric countered with a roll of his eyes. "You're both the worst of fools. You want to go and challenge a dratted blood mage! A ruddy blood mage with access to the wards of Hogwarts!"

He shook his head at Lucius and Fudge. "If you two nincompoops want to commit suicide that desperately, just apparate to the Tower of London and jump. That'd definitely less messy."

"B…blood magic is prohibited!" Fudge stuttered.

Theodoric snorted.

"No," he said with a snort. "Blood magic is discouraged. No-one has ever been stupid enough to prohibit it, because no-one is stupid enough to go head-to-head with the thrice-damned blood mages."

Then he looked at Lucius with contempt, "well, except you, Malfoy. Obviously, you seem to miss your survival instinct since you decided to challenge one of them."

Lucius snorted.

"I was confronted by the Potter boy," he countered. "The boy has illusions of grandeur, but he's anything but dangerous. Dumbledore has just to actually reign him in!"

Theodoric raised an eyebrow at Lucius. "Your funeral," he decided and then turned around to walk away. "But I don't want to have anything to do with your tomfoolery – and I will ensure that everybody else will know my opinion about your foolishness."

With that, he walked away.

Fudge frowned. "He can't be right, can he, Lucius?" he asked, clearly bewildered.

Lucius snorted. "We're talking about an eleven-year-old boy," he reminded the other man. "Believe me, he's not dangerous, Minister."

And Fudge nodded.

Lucius hid his smirk, pushing back his own unnerved reaction to Theodoric Nott's words.

He would ensure that the Potter brat was expelled and that Dumbledore would pay for the fact that he had let the Potter boy run wild…


Nicholas was watching the founders.

Hearing them banter, he didn't know if and how he could intervene. Obviously, the other four had no interest in simply returning Nicholas' stone – something that he had hoped for but had also started to dismiss the longer he had watched and talked to the four founders of Hogwarts.

"I can't believe you think that you're less trouble than Salazar, Godric!" Rowena Ravenclaw said in that moment.

"Basing your argument that I'm as troublesome as Salazar on the fact that I ended up as a hat is unreasonable!" the Sorting Hat squawked.

"Ending up as a hat is the weirdest thing that could have happened – and it happened to you!" Rowena countered. "I mean, you can't even take a ghost-shape like the rest of us! You're actually stuck as a hat!"

Nicholas frowned.

He felt a bit unsure how he could bring the discussion back to his stone, so he stood there awkwardly next to the founders and listened to their banter.

In that moment, the boy – Salazar Slytherin, Nicholas corrected himself – sat down the hat and removed himself from the banter to step up next to Nicholas.

"I didn't end up as a hat by accident!" the Sorting Hat complained in that moment. "The whole thing was deliberate… well, and a lot of dark magic, I guess…"

Peeves – or Helga – rolled her eyes. "You ending up as a had was as deliberate as us ending up as ghosts, Godric, so don't try to tell us something different!"

"The whole thing was a warding accident – and we all know it," Rowena agreed with a sigh. "You were just extremely unlucky."

"I threatened to turn him into a hat more than once when they were still alive," the boy next to Nicholas said with a wince. "It was a joke… more or less… I didn't plan to make it true, though."

Nicholas looked at the Founder next to him.

"What exactly happened back then?" he wanted to know, interested in the past despite the fact that he should have been more concerned with his stone.

For a moment, the boy next to him was silence.

"Too much," he finally admitted. He sounded resigned.

When Nicholas raised an eyebrow, the boy actually deigned to elaborate somewhat. "The wards of Hogwarts," he said and gestured all around them. "They're powerful. But… I didn't know that they would end up needing a sacrifice as great as they ended up doing. When I understood what went wrong, I tried to break the curse by leaving." He shook his head. "There were other, more sever factors – and some of them ensured that I wasn't able to save them from the consequences even when I left to take the burden of the curse onto me."

He looked at Nicholas.

"You will suffer the consequences of your actions, too," he said calmly.

Nicholas winced.

"I guess the philosopher's stone was more or less a dream," he finally admitted to himself. "It may have prolonged Perenelle's and my life – but obviously, it's not forever."

The boy next to him sent him a slightly pained smile, suddenly appearing older than he had before. There was quite a bit of darkness in the boy's silver eyes – full of sorrow, loss and pain.

"Nothing is forever," he told Nicholas bitterly.

"And yet, you still live," Nicholas countered.

For a moment, the boy was silent, his silver eyes searching his friends. "I do," he agreed. "But one day, even the wards of Hogwarts won't bind me any longer. Then, I will suffer and die just like anything and anybody else."

For a moment, he was silent.

"And maybe, if I'm lucky," he added barely audible, his eyes still on the other founders. "I will do it alone, with them already dead and gone – freed from their suffering long before I will find my freedom as well."

Nicholas followed the boy's gaze.

He could understand the Slytherin Founder's feeling. But he also knew that no matter what he wanted, his wife would decide to suffer and live with him until the bitter end. She wouldn't give up on life without him.

And he doubted the other founders were different.

"They won't let you," he said.

"They won't," Slytherin agreed, clearly knowing his friends as good as Nicholas knew his wife.

For a moment, they stood there in silence, next to each other, watching the other founders banter.

"I think you have had worse luck than me," the Sorting Hat argued in that moment. "I might have ended up as a hat – but you ended up as a ghost and a cat – both forms that ban you from your books."

Rowena hissed at him in a very cat-like manner. "At least I have hands!"

"But no books."

"Forget it, R'ena," Peeves intercepted amused. "Godric's right. You're definitely not much better off than him."

Nicholas gave a start when his arm was touched by a warm hand. He could feel the power radiating from the touch even with the boy having his magic under the tightest control possible.

He looked down and met the Slytherin Founder's silver gaze.

"I would like to bargain with you," the boy said quietly.

"Bargain? For my stone?" Nicholas asked, feeling resigned to the fact that he wouldn't get back his stone without the Slytherin Founder gaining something from it.

"No," the boy replied. "You can have your trinket back. I really don't need it."

Nicholas raised his eyebrow. "Then what do you want to bargain for?"

"Your and your wife's sanity," Slytherin replied calmly. "I can't safe you – but I can help you."

"Help us how?"

The Slytherin Founder hummed. "There's a way to lessen the long-term consequences you're suffering from," he said slowly. "It won't be easy and it will hurt – but it will give you back a few years or decades."

Nicholas looked at him thoughtfully. "And how will we compensate you for your aid?"

The Slytherin Founder's silver eyes returned his gaze calmly.

"You will pay in blood," he said calmly, as if he was talking about the weather.

"Sa'zu…" obviously, the Hat seemed to have listened to the boy's words when he spoke to Nicholas. There was a deep kind of resignation in his voice that spoke of hidden darkness, bad memories and fear.

The Slytherin Founder winced.

For a moment, Nicholas saw something akin to bitterness, deep-seated pain and resignation in the eyes of the seemingly eleven-year-old child.

Then, the expression in the boy's eyes vanished as if it had never been there.

Slytherin looked back towards the Sorting Hat.

"Why are you complaining again?" the boy asked with a pout. "It's just a smidgen blood, gúþwine – he'll survive." He sounded light-hearted and Nicholas couldn't help but wonder if he really was as light-hearted as he acted or if he was hiding his true thought behind a mask of joviality.

"Sa'zu…" the answer was another exasperated sigh, but the resignation had vanished out of the Hat's voice like it had never been there. "Survival isn't the thing I'm concerned about right now for him…"

The Slytherin Founder pouted some more.

"I thought the deal is good…" he said and looked at the Hat with innocent eyes. "I mean, it's not as if he's not getting anything for it!"

"That's not an argument, Sa'zu," Godric said and Nicholas was sure that the Hat would have rolled his eyes – if he had any, that is.

"Well… I refuse to do if for subpar payment," the Slytherin Founder immediately countered.

"Subpar payment?" Rowena asked with a frown. "What exactly do you think of when you talk about subpar payment?"

The boy shrugged. "Gems, gold, money, whatever material wealth he has to offer," he said in a voice that suggested he thought that his thoughts should have been easy to follow.

"Salazar," the part-time-cat sighed. "Really?"

The other Founder just frowned at her.

"It's not as if I could use any of that for longer than maybe a hundred to two hundred years if that," he countered. "Doesn't make it very valuable, does it?"

Looking at it like that, Nicholas could actually understand the Slytherin Founder's point of view a bit. Slytherin would die, after all – die and then he'd be reborn.

It wasn't a concept Nicholas could actually get his mind around. It sounded… dangerous. What guarantee was there that his next life wouldn't be horrible, after all – or cut shorter than short.

But Salazar Slytherin wasn't bothered by it at all.

If anything, he seemed to relish in being reborn and turning the world of those he got to know in his new life upside-down.

"I'm surprised we didn't hear earlier about that fact that you four are still alive," Nicholas commented, looking at one after the other. "I mean, from what I gathered, you don't seem to be interested to keep a low profile."

Slytherin shrugged.

"I did the low-profile bit more than once," he said unconcerned. "I just decided that enough was enough and if I was bound to Hogwarts without any chance of freedom and death, then I'd live my lives the way I want."

Nicholas raised an eyebrow at that declaration and Slytherin flashed him his teeth.

"It's a new attitude, I didn't try it before."

The Hat scoffed.

"Thankfully," he said. "Otherwise, I would have been insane by now."

Slytherin pouted.

"That sounds as if you don't like seeing me, gúþwine," he batted his eyelashes at the Hat, his gaze oddly innocent for someone so old, dangerous and mischievous.

Godric snorted.

"Don't you even try, Sa'zu," he said dryly. "You might be able to play the innocent one with the professors up there in the castle proper, but we down here know better than to think you anything but a menace."

Slytherin sighed and then turned towards Nicholas – his eyes still surprisingly huge and innocent.

"You don't think me a menace, do you, magister hearra?"

Nicholas stared.

Inside, he was struggling with himself and his upbringing. He really wanted to tell the boy that he seemed to be a menace just from what he had gathered over the last hour or whatever since he had met the Slytherin Founder – but at the same time he wasn't really daring to say anything since the other man was the dryhtenweard of Hogwarts and antagonizing a dryhtenweard was the worst thing you could do.

The Slytherin Founder's lips twitched in amusement.

Clearly, he was more than aware of the struggle that Nicholas was going through.

"I guess he's been raised quite strictly," Helga commented. Her eyes were on Nicholas just like the ones of the other founders. She sounded sympathetic and amused at the same time.

The Slytherin Founder pouted.

"It's not my fault," he said, his eyes not leaving Nicholas' face. "I have no idea why people revere me and anyone who is like me."

Rowena snorted.

"You're more than aware why people are cautious around ward smiths and others like them," she countered. "You just don't care that they're afraid of people like you."

"No," Helga countered. "He just knows that even without all his abilities, he's scary as hell so he doesn't bother trying to portray himself as something that he can be effortlessly with or without his training."

Slytherin rolled his eyes.

"You must have confused me with somebody else," he countered good-naturedly. "I can't even remember the last time I was anything close to scary."

Nicholas stared at the Slytherin Founder in disbelief.

He was pretty sure that the boy had been scary when he met him in Dumbledore's office – not to mention the time he met him in the hallway after that…

But before he could bring himself to say something along those lines, Slytherin turned back to him and said calmly, "so, are you willing to take the deal or do I just hand you back your trinket?"

Nicholas closed his mouth.

He had to admit that Slytherin's offer to lessen the consequences of Nicholas' long life was tempting. Neither Nicholas nor Perenelle were willing to give up their life that soon – and twenty to fifty years were really too few to everything they still wanted to see…

Not to mention the organ failure, the uncontrollably lost weight, the memory problems…

"What will happen if I agree?"

The Slytherin Founder shrugged.

"I'm a blood mage," he said unconcerned. "I might not be able to renew you back to the way you were when you were young, but a lot of your trouble stems from substances in your blood and body and I can at least remove part of those substances. I can't remove everything – that's impossible – but what I can remove will gain you some additional years."

The Slytherin Founder threw him a knowing look which told Nicholas without a word that Slytherin new that neither Nicholas nor Perenelle were yet ready to die if they didn't have to.

"What about my wife?" Nicholas asked quietly. "Will you help her as well?"

"For the same price," Slytherin said with a shrug. "Some of your blood in exchange for helping you, some of her blood in exchange for helping her."

Nicholas hesitated. "What do you want to do with the blood?"

He knew that handing over blood was dangerous. There was more than one ritual that could be done with willingly or unwillingly given blood, after all.

The Slytherin Founder hummed.

"This or that," he said. "Nothing that will harm you in any way or form, though."

The Sorting Hat snorted.

"Do we have to warn the Hufflepuffs and Slytherins?" he asked amused. "I remember the last time you said that – I think we ended up with explosions for three weeks until you finally found something else to do."

Slytherin threw him an outraged look.

"I wasn't that bad! The explosions stopped after a fortnight!"

"Not that much of a difference," Godric immediately countered.

Rowena meanwhile turned towards Nicholas.

"If he promises you that you're safe and that he won't use your blood against you, then he won't," she assured him calmly. "Salazar is usually bound by his word."

That assurance at least gave Nicholas a feeling of safety.

For a moment, he still hesitated. Then he took a deep breath and nodded.

"I'm willing to agree to the deal as long as I get an oath that neither mine nor Perenelle's blood is used against us in any way or form."

Slytherin crooked his head. "No other restrictions?"

Nicholas thought about it. But then, he mentally shrugged. He knew that blood could be used for a lot of things but as long as he had the oath, anything that would have repercussions for him or Perenelle would be negated – and Nicholas had to admit to himself that as long as they were safe, he really didn't care what was done with their blood.

"No," he agreed. "Our safety is essential – but otherwise, I don't care if you use my blood to harm others."

Slytherin hummed thoughtfully. "Interesting," he said. "Even if I kill people with your blood?"


"What? It's a relevant question, gúþwine!"

Nicholas snorted. "And that's why I don't really think that you will kill anybody with our blood," he said amused. "You obviously have more than one warden when it comes to your conscience."

Slytherin sulked at that exclamation. "I totally could, if I wanted to!"

"But you won't," the Sorting Hat added pointedly.

Slytherin sighed.

"But I won't," he surrendered, sounding a bit depressed by it.

Nicholas' lips twitched in amusement.

Slytherin threw him a mock-annoyed look, before his face smoothed out. Instead, he reached out towards Nicholas with his open palm.

There was a challenge in his eyes that dared Nicholas to go through with their agreement. Nicholas spent a last thought towards his wife, but he knew that even without Perenelle there, what she would decide. She, like Nicholas, still wanted to live. Neither she nor Nicholas wanted to turn into a bed-bound vegetable within the next two to five decades. And while Slytherin wasn't able to stop their descend into ill-health, he could at least slow it down – maybe enough that Nicholas and Perenelle either were ready to die or able to find another way to survive longer.

He agreed to the deal by handshake.

Slytherin flashed him his teeth.

And for a moment, Nicholas wondered if he really had done the right thing right now.

Then, Slytherin turned the wrist of the hand he had used for the agreement and a dagger appeared in his hand.


Severus Snape was sitting at his desk. In front of him were the tests that the Slytherin Founder had taken without seemingly being bothered by the difficulty.

"Do you wish to destroy those tests, Professor?"

Severus looked up to meet Professor Tofty's eyes. The Professor from the Wizarding Examinations Authority was looking at the tests in front of Severus as well. In his hands, he was juggling the Veritasserum the Slytherin Founder had brewed – while also brewing Wolfsbane… which wasn't a combination of brewed potions Severus had ever seen before. He knew that to brew those two simultaneously, one had to be perfect in rhythm and timing while brewing.

Not even Severus was sure if he would be able to manage without messing up at least one of them.

His eyes travelled to the last potion.

The experimental one.

Normally, the master aspirant was allowed to choose his experimental potion while doing his master testing. Telling the Slytherin Found which experiment he had to conduct had just complicated the test – especially since Severus himself hadn't managed to get even close to brewing said potion.

And yet, in the tube in front of Severus was a potion.

The Slytherin Found had literally been able to discern and combine the ingredients Severus had considered to be a good possibility for an Anti-Cruciatus potion and brewed a potion from them – one that actually combined into a solution unlike Severus' own attempts.

Of course, the potion of Potter hadn't been tested, yet – but just the fact that the boy had been able to combine the ingredients meant that he had gotten further along than Severus ever had.

"Destroy the tests?" Severus asked, staring at the tests in front of him and not at the potions that were in front of Tofty.

"You wanted the tests so that you could see how far along he is," Tofty reminded him calmly. "From what I gathered you didn't plan to let them stand at the end of it."

Severus sighed. He hadn't planned for the tests to count – but… Tofty was here and Severus doubted that he would ever be able to teach the child anything that the Slytherin Founder didn't know already.

"Would you be willing to let them stand?" he finally asked.

Tofty hummed softly, still turning the Veritasserum in his hands.

"It's not as if we could be accused of being biased in any way or form," he finally admitted. "The records state your challenge to the boy quite well – and having him brew both, the Veritasserum and the Wolfsbane potion means that he was more disadvantaged than catered to."

Severus thought that over.

He knew that if someone found out that Harry Potter had a Mastery in Potions already then there would be discussions – and some people might talk about bias if they found out.

On the other hand… someone who could brew Veritasserum and Wolfsbane simultaneously definitely wasn't anyone who was just given a Mastery because of his name and reputation.

He could defend his decision – even if the Dark Lord would ask him. He might have to stretch the fact that he made it deliberately difficult for the boy when it came to the Dark Lord – but he could definitely manage.

Not to mention that Potter would be out of his classroom if Severus agreed to it.

That thought actually stopped Severus dead in his tracks.

The Slytherin Founder had taught all of Severus' classes the day Severus and Tofty had gone over his Master's exam with a fine-toothed comb…

Oh, there had been some complains – Draco Malfoy coming to mind – but…

"If I agreed to let his results stand, what would I have to do to add him as an assistant for my lessons?" Severus asked while he mentally reviewed the first years' schedule. Since Slytherin was part of Severus's house, Severus didn't even have to accommodate the fact that a different house had a slightly different schedule.

Tofty raised an eyebrow.

"Don't you think that an eleven-year-old has a hard time to get the older students to listen to him?" he pointed out reasonably. "Even his own classmates might hesitate to actually see him as a teacher or anything close to it."

Severus waved it off.

"He won't have any trouble," he countered.

The boy had taught the seventh years without much trouble after all.


Severus was quite aware that at least the seventh year Slytherins actually respected the boy.

But then, the boy was their Founder – if they knew it or not – it was reasonable that they respected him even just a little.

"He's an eleven-year-old," Tofty reminded Severus coolly. "I don't think it prudent for a child to teach anything."

"I was talking about assisting me, not him teaching," Severus countered immediately, cleverly not mentioning that he wasn't above handing over a class or two to the Slytherin Founder whenever Severus could. "Like you told me: he's eleven. He should be busy with classes and not bored enough to get up to mischief."

"I see your point," Tofty agreed thoughtfully. Severus decided that he needed to add a bit more incentive.

"Potter is already bored enough as it is," Severus said dryly. "We've had an uptick of practical jokes since the beginning of the year. While I can't prove it, I'm quite sure that Potter at least has something to do with that."

Tofty's mouth twitched in amusement.

"A bored genius?" he asked, sounding quite amused.

Severus sighed. "Something like that," he agreed with a wry look. "Something like that."

A bored genius Founder was definitely worse than just a bored genius, but at least the principle was the same…

Tofty hummed.

"I guess we can make an exception if the boy is as bored as you seem to think," he said, surprisingly less suspicious of Severus' motives now that Potter had tested out of the master test.

"I would appreciate it," Severus agreed. Especially since the chances were high that he might be able to foster off some of his classes towards the Founder.

"So… I'm going to file those tests?"

"I would appreciate it," Severus agreed calmly. "It's not as if the boy will gain anything from staying in my class."

Tofty nodded thoughtfully.

"I will file them, then," he agreed calmly. "And I will send you the paperwork for him for the position as a teaching assistant."

Severus frowned when another, less-pleasant thought entered his mind. "Would the Board of Governors or the Ministry or the Headmaster have to agree to a position like that?" he asked. While he hoped that the answer was no, he still needed to ask.

"Usually, the Board would have," Tofty agreed calmly. Severus inwardly deflated. "But since the boy is a student, he already belongs to Hogwarts. We can use the fact that he's a student to put him down as a student assistant. You don't need the Board's agreement for a student assistant, as long as he doesn't get behind in his actual coursework, he has every right to help out if you two come to an agreement."

"I can't remember ever hearing about student assistance before," Severus commented.

"It's not very common, anymore," Tofty replied calmly. "A hundred years ago, students from less privileged background were able to gain some money like that. Since the position is a minor one, usually just there to help grade homework or assist in classes, the Board doesn't have a say in acquiring student assistance."

Well, while that wasn't what Severus had in mind, he still thought that the possibility had potential.

"What if someone was already employed by Hogwarts?" Severus asked full of interest. "Would the Board still have to approve if they were asked to assist in class?"

"An interesting question," Tofty said, clearly taking Severus' question for pure academic interest. "If the person in question would be already employed as a teacher, then the Board definitely would have no say in hiring him as an assistant. But if he was employed as a groundskeeper or something else then the Board might be able to object to his placement as a teacher assistant. They would have it easier to get permission, but the Board would still have to be informed."

Well, Severus wasn't asking if he could hire Hagrid as his assistant. He wanted the Slytherin Founder – and from what he gathered, the boy seemed to have enough control over Hogwarts that he definitely counted as a teacher, and not just a groundskeeper.

Not that Severus believed that Potter had ever been employed by Hogwarts, but semantics.

He got the answers he wanted at least.

"What's the difference in the paperwork when it comes to a student assistant and a teacher assistant?" he inquired just in case.

"Don't worry about it," Tofty replied. "The paperwork is spelled to assess the situation and adapt to it. As far as I know – just like the rest of Hogwarts' employment contracts – the basics were set up by the Founders themselves. Thanks to magic, they are always up-to-date with not only the time but also the positions that the future employer is meant to fill."


Severus was quite sure that the Slytherin Founder was more than capable to acquire the position of a teacher assistant – especially since the Founder was already capable of using the point system to punish and reward others.

And Severus?

Well… experiments, here Severus comes!


Salazar sighed and with a turn of his wrist, his dagger appeared in his hand.

Flamel started.

Rowena actually turned at that and her eyes landed on Salazar's dagger.

"Obsidian?" she asked and narrowed her eyes at him.

"You made a ritual dagger?" Godric inquired and Salazar knew that the man would have leaned forward to look at the dagger as closely as possible if he still had a body.

"I always do, in every life," Salazar countered calmly, twirling the blade in his hand for a moment before he handed it over to Flamel.

The Alchemist stared at it in confusion.

"Cut yourself and spread the blood on the floor," Salazar instructed.

"Sa'zu…" there was a kind of resignation in Godric's voice that Salazar had hear the last time a thousand years ago. Normally, Salazar tried to keep that kind of resignation out of Godric's voice.

"What?" he asked the Sorting Hat and deliberately pouted. "Hogwarts can need another sacrifice or two."

The answer was a groan from Godric, the resignation gone like dust in the wind.

Salazar would have felt guilty for deceiving his brother in all but blood, but he had done enough to hurt Godric in the past. He wouldn't start again if he could prevent it.

"A sacrifice?" Flamel looked at him warily.

"Just a small one," Salazar replied lightly. "Don't worry, the thing shouldn't bleed you dry… most likely."


"What? You don't expect me to lie to him, do you, gúþwine?"

The answer was a groan from Godric, clearly resigned to Salazar's mischief.

Salazar balled his free hand, but forced himself to hide any of his true feelings about his doings.

"Well, Master Flamel," he said instead lightly. "The blood if you please?"

For a moment, Flamel hesitated, then his integrated respect for elders won out and he took the blade from Salazar's hand. He hesitated for just a moment, before he cut the palm of his hand.

"Just spread the drops somewhere around you on the floor," Salazar instructed and grinned even when he didn't feel like grinning at all.

Flamel looked at him as if he wasn't too sure if Salazar hadn't lost all his marbles, but in the end, he did as he was told.

The moment the first drop of blood fell onto the ground of the Chamber, Salazar could feel the runes hidden in the floor activating.

Salazar was a ward smith – a runes master.

A blood mage.

There were runes etched on the obsidian blade in Flamel's hand.

There were runes etched into the very foundations of Hogwarts.

And there were runes etched in the stone all around them.

And there was enough blood for even the laziest and dumbest blood mage to use.

No one should give a ward smith that much power over himself – but giving power like that to a dryhtenweard like Salazar was the dumbest thing you could ever do.

Godric had been the last one who offered his blood to Salazar – and he had paid for it dearly.

Now, Flamel was doing the same.

The moment the blood hit the floor, cut by Salazar's blade, the connection between them sprung up like a well out of stone.

Flamel's eyes widened, but it was too late already.

Salazar reached out, his magic meeting the alchemist's.

Flamel shuddered – and Salazar couldn't resent him for it. Salazar was a blood mage and a necromancer. His magic, he was told, felt like someone had walked over the recipient's grave.

Salazar didn't care.

The connection between them spread, and then, with a single twist of Salazar's fingers, Flamel stiffened, unable to move or make another sound without Salazar's say so.

For all that the Ministry had outlawed the Imperius – the abilities of a blood mage and runes master like Salazar were worse. Salazar could force a person to do whatever he wanted with just a bit of spilled blood, will and magic – with the person fully aware and yet unable to stop themselves. At least, with the Imperius, you either didn't remember or it felt like a dream. There was no full awareness.

It felt heady, to have so much control of another person.

That feeling was something that Salazar hadn't felt for longer than he dared to think. He had missed that feeling of absolute control. He hadn't missed that feeling at all.

For a moment, Salazar felt the urge towards the darkness – the same urge he always felt whenever he used his abilities to the fullest.

It wasn't just a rumour that made him a dark wizard, after all.

The wards lit up all around them.

He could feel his connection to the wards, just like he could feel the other Founders and their entanglement in the wards.

They – just like him – were tangled up in the wards, unable to get free without being ripped apart. Salazar knew that unlike them, his connection was worse, though.

He was entangled, surrounded and steeped in the wards. There was no chance for him to free himself. The others though…

It had taken him a thousand years, a thousand years of regret, of tears and bitterness… yet, mayhap there was a chance at least for them. If they would just agree….

But Salazar also knew that they wouldn't allow him to try as long as he wasn't able to free himself. They wouldn't leave him, no matter how much he wished to free them, no matter how much he regretted on capturing them with the wards…

Now, with the wards lighting up and connecting them all, with Flamel's blood on the floor, for the first time, Salazar felt hope while he was drowning in darkness.

He reached towards the alchemist.

His magic bound the man, forced him to keep in place. Salazar's hands closed around the wound on the alchemist's palm and around the dagger in the alchemist's other hand.

And the blood stopped flowing. Instead, under Salazar's command, it started to leak substances – a black sludge, impurities taken from Flamel's blood.

Flamel screamed.

But Salazar was ruthless. He had watched people die. He had killed, murdered in cold blood.

Salazar was dryhtenweard – and being dryhtenweard came with being able to defend and kill. No dryhtenweard could ever be innocent.

Flamel writhed beneath Salazar's hands.

Faintly, Salazar could hear Godric whispering. There was faith coming from his old friend, faith and the resignation that Salazar would have loved to keep away from his best friend's voice.

It spoke of the darkness that was their past. It spoke of broken bodies and destroyed homes. It spoke of burning villages and broken promises and a joke that wasn't a joke any longer.

"And now tell me, my dearest Godric, what do you think of my present?"

"It's ugly."

"I thought it the perfect hat to banish you into."

Salazar gritted his teeth and banished the past into the back of his mind. It was done. It was over. And no matter how much it hurt that Godric was sounding resigned and bitter, clearly no longer fooled by Salazar's words, he wouldn't sway from his path.

Not today, not this time around.

Flamel swayed in Salazar's grip. He was sweating and shivering. He was hoarse, but still screaming.

In the end, Salazar let go and the alchemist slumped down onto the floor. For a moment, a dram of red-gleaming blood was floating in the air between the slumped alchemist and Salazar.

Then, Salazar gestured and a vial flew towards the him. Without a further gesture, the red glowing blood slid into the vial. A simple gesture later it was conserved and Salazar secreted it away into one of his pockets.

"Our deal is done," Salazar said and stepped back. He reached into one of his other pockets and pulled out the philosopher's stone.

He bent and set the stone down next to Flamel with a barely audible clunk.

Flamel shivered and looked up. He was white-faced, there were tear-tracks on his face and yet, he looked more alive than he had before.

He reached out and closed his hand around the stone.

"How much longer do I have?" he asked.

Salazar shrugged. "Two or three decades, maybe up to five," he answered. "There's no way telling, but you're healthier right now than you have been for at least a century. It won't last, but it's the most I can do."

That had been the deal, after all.

A life for a life's blood.

There couldn't have been a fairer deal.





dryhtenweard – guardian, lord, king

gúþwine - old English for 'Comrade in war'

magister hearra – "magister" means "leader, master, teacher", "hearra" means "master, lord", so this means more or less "lord master" or "master master"; such doubling of the same meaning isn't too unusual in an address around 1000 A.D.


So, that's it for today. Sorry for the delay. T.T

'Till next time.