written for assignment 2 on the hogwarts forum:

prompt —

Wizarding Languages: Task 1. Write about a situation in which a wizard would need to use another wizarding language

wc: 719

a/n: thanks to shay for betaing [and fueling my awful inspo]!

. . .

Tom Riddle is great and he will be a god and that is that.

Since Tom Riddle is great and he will be a god and that is that, he needs a worthy kingdom. One better than this stupid castle filled with Muggle-loving fools like Albus Dumbledore and Mudbloods, filthy betrayers of wizardkind.

Tom Riddle is great. Tom Riddle is going to be a god. Tom is going to own the heavens.

So he continues down the path of his noble ancestor Salazar and he sets off building his kingdom and cleansing the filth out of it.

There is glory destined in his name. When he finds items worthy of his soul, Tom will make his Horcruxes and he will become Voldemort. And then Voldemort will be a god, a king, the ruler of the low hells and the high heavens and everything in between.

. . .

It takes a note from Professor Slughorn and hours of fastidious studying in the Restricted Section of the library for Tom to learn something about the rumored Chamber, that Chamber with the monster in it; the Chamber that holds his greatness and his power.

All he needs to do is find it, which is not as easy as it looks because Salazar was a cunning bastard, but since Tom is a cunning bastard like his predecessor he knows he will be able to find it.

Parseltongue is the key. He reads about it in Salazar Slytherin: A Great Wizard and a Great Mystery.

"Salazar Slytherin did not make the symbol of his House a snake for no reason; he was the only known wizard with the ability to speak the language of snakes, Parseltongue, and much of his security was based upon this ability — to ensure that no one else would be able to find his personal effects, since no one else was able to speak Parseltongue."

That's where the book errs. Because Tom can speak Parseltongue, and because Tom is a descendant of Salazar —

Tom knows what he needs to do. But he needs to find out where to go first.

. . .

There is more in the book, obviously, but Tom doesn't read it, caught up in the thrill of something, a clue.

Then he realizes he's being foolish, because he still has no idea where the Chamber even is.

Stupid, stupid, he chides himself, and wonders if this mind of his is fit to be that of a god's.

He dispels the thought. Everything about Tom is worthy, or will be worthy soon enough — once the name 'Tom Riddle,' the mundane of him, is cleared, he will be Voldemort and he will be worthy and he will be better than Salazar. A god — finally, finally.

So he returns to A Great Wizard and a Great Mystery and he pores over the pages and wonders.

Then there is this particular gem —

"Salazar Slytherin was rather fond of snakes, and as such had a great weakness for anything with similar shape — excerpts from texts drafted in his lifetime particularly point to pipes, and it is said that he even installed a snake carving in the tap of one of the Hogwarts bathrooms."

Tom does not bother to read the rest of the page. Pipes. He knows exactly which bathroom is being mentioned in this passage. The second-floor boys' bathroom has a snake on the bowl of the sink, which is not the same as the pipe. But of course, Salazar was a cunning bastard and so is Tom, and so he knows that Salazar wouldn't put the entrance to the Chamber into the bathroom corresponding with his gender.

That is how Tom finds himself in the girls' bathroom right in front of the boys' one with the snake in it.

He looks at all the taps, looking for the snake, looking for the symbol that will lead him to godhood and his kingdom and immortality.

It's at the very last one, right at the very end in what's a little cliché.

The snake is right there.

The godhood is right there.

Voldemort is right there.

Worthiness is right there.

It's time to cleanse his kingdom and it's time to build his crown.

Tom does not hesitate for a moment when he says "Open" in Parseltongue and faces his destiny.