As I Watch
By Ethtele Silya

I have stood for many centuries now, keeping a silent vigil over those within my walls. I have seen many students come and go. I remember each one. As time passed, I came to think of them as my children. The wards protecting them have become my own magic, and each child has come to have his own protection.

Each generation faces its own challenges, though they are not as unique as each generation thinks. I have seen battles won and lost on my grounds. More battles than I care to remember. Many of my children have died on my grounds. Though I wish with my entire being that it were not so.

Twenty years ago, I watched a class of first years be sorted. Six of them stood out to me. Five boys and one girl--five went to Gryffindor, the sixth to Slytherin. These six were destined to cross paths over and over again. They were trying times, filled with darkness and so very little hope. I watched as the five joined the light, and as the fifth slipped into darkness.

It is a terrible thing to watch your child slip into darkness. It is a pain so great that there is no physical comparison. But it is true joy to see that same child stop and climb out. And then when he fully stands in the light there is nothing greater.

This particular child is still climbing. He holds himself back, refusing to believe that he can find acceptance in the light. He stands on the edge, but firmly. He will not slide down--he won't allow that, either. But he will not take the remaining steps back into the light. And I watch him, night after night, as he battles his conscience in his nightmares.

My son... he has found something to die for, but nothing to live for. It is only the war my children are caught in that keeps him alive. It is a bittersweet feeling--knowing that he has begun his climb out of darkness, but knowing that he will never stand in the light that he so desperately craves. He carries a special protection over him. He carries some of my magic within him. It is all that I can do for him.

Tonight I watched another sorting. Four children stood out before me. Three boys and one girl--three into Gryffindor and the fourth in Slytherin. History, it seems, is doomed to repeat herself. Again these four of my beloveds crossed paths again and again. And again I watched as one began the fall into darkness.

But he was caught.

My Slytherin child caught my icy Slytherin dragon.

But there is still no one to catch my raven Slytherin.

I watched the conflict between my Slytherin and my Gryffindor. I watched the failed Occlumency lessons. I watched and I could do nothing. Because while my Slytherin stood at the precipice between light and dark, my Gryffindor began to fall past him.

My Gryffindor faced trial after trial after trial. As the time passed he began to crack under the pressure. The wider the cracks, the faster he fell. And there was only one who could save him. Would he, I wondered.

Then one day my raven Slytherin reached out to my Gryffindor snake. I watched the relationship form between them. At first a tentative friendship. And then a true guardian relationship.

And that was when I knew. My raven Slytherin had found something to live for. He finished his climb out of darkness. He stood in the light. And I watched the joy radiate in him.

I am Hogwarts. I am the fortress for my children. No outside harm shall come to them as long as they are within in my walls. I will not allow it.