I apologise for the delay in getting this chapter out, my computer refused to allow me to upload any files onto fanfiction. I'm also going to apologise in advance as this story won't be updated again after this until I get another chapter for HP:CO out. Hopefully it won't be too long but I make no promises. Hope you enjoy this chapter!
Summary: Has anyone ever wondered how the Slytherins first became parseltongues? How did the knowledge on how to create a Horcrux first come to be? What if that knowledge wasn't lost? Harry Potter died that day in the Ministry of Magic, but what if he could get a second chance? What if the knowledge of a spell only used once could give him another chance, one that wasn't doomed to failure? A destiny predicted before the founding of Hogwarts is about to come to play, and the rise of the Third Serpent Lord has only just begun...
Salazar Pollux Black
Salazar Pollux Black
Chapter 6: Destiny Comes Closer
It had been a month since the disastrous adventure in Muggle London. Aside from what Salazar had said to his father that first day, the boy had barely said a word to anyone. He locked himself away in the library studying various books on Muggle History and the more he read the more disgusted he became about muggles in general.
Wars, conflicts, racism, prejudice, Salazar read everything. The ongoing Cold War terrified him when he read about what kind of weapons were being utilized and how each battle could be fought from a distance. The most popular weapon he found was called a "gun" and it was capable of killing a person from a great distance, not even wands were that accurate and most people could see the spell coming and duck out of the way. From what Salazar read, unless the person holding the gun was an average or poor shooter, the chances of avoiding the shot were slim to none.
He read about the Nazi Regime and the prosecution of thousands of Jewish people, gypsies, homosexuals and anyone who wasn't of German decent. Many of the methods employed by the Nazis made Salazar sick to his stomach but he continued to read in the hopes of learning everything he could.
There were numerous volumes of the First and Second World Wars, including a book on all weapons used as well as their statistics for success and failure. The book also explained how to use each weapon, from close up armaments to long distance artillery. That was one book Salazar put aside for later use when he would be focusing on how to best protect himself from all of the muggles' weaponry.
Included in the World War volumes was a chapter or two on the Great Depression and who it affected. It spoke of how muggles handled the loss of their jobs, a significant decrease in finances and being removed from their homes. After what he had already read, he wasn't too shocked to read about the violence muggles resorted to after losing everything, he was, however, sad and slightly afraid of ever stepping foot outside of Black Manor again.
Salazar also asked to read the muggle newspaper, which his father brought home for him everyday after his visits to the Ministry. Everyday, without fail, there would be reports of a crime, a death, corruption within the government and biased opinion pieces written by the public about things they had no idea about. Salazar was disgusted by the number of rapes reported and unresolved in the paper, but he did feel satisfied when there was an article about a serial rapist found dead in an alleyway.
The most horrifying aspect of history he read about though was that of the witch burnings.
Hundreds of people burnt alive or hung because others suspected them of witchcraft, whether they were witches and wizards or not. Accusations spread because of jealousy and fear ruined hundreds of lives. The only way for anyone to escape alive sometimes was to confess to witchcraft. The tests people were put through to see if they were magical or not were illogical and absurd. Either way of being tested could result in death.
Due to his obsession in finding out everything he could about muggles, Salazar hadn't found the time to talk to Sirius. He was hurt that he hadn't come looking for him himself, and instead wrote daily to Bellatrix. She always replied to his letters and it had become a common sight for one of the family owls, Salazar's favourite, Coal, to deliver a letter each morning. Bellatrix also wrote letters to Orion, pleading to come home early so that she could be with her cousin, but was always denied. She would be returning to Black Manor for the Christmas holidays while Andromeda and Narcissa would be going home with their parents.
Salazar's nightmares continued and more often than not he would crawl into bed with his parents just to feel safe at night. The Blacks had resorted to giving him some Dreamless Sleep once a week so that he would be well-rested at least one night a week. They'd give it to him more often than that but due to the addictive nature of the potion it wasn't healthy for children to have it more than once a week.
The day of Bellatrix's return to the Manor found Salazar sitting on the stairway overlooking the door. He knew that Sirius was in his room on the floor above him, having been told that he never left it. As there was a joining bathroom to the room Salazar wasn't too worried. Kretcher told him that he took up Sirius' food himself and left it inside the door and took away the empty plate when he took up the next plate. It hurt Salazar to think that Sirius was going out of his way to avoid him without even talking to him about it first, but he knew that his brother was reckless and needed some time to calm down.
Regulus was also in his room, but where Sirius was avoiding him, Regulus was busy reading his story books and playing with various wizarding games. The youngest Black would sometimes read to Salazar after noticing that he was feeling down. Salazar suspected that Regulus may have a touch of empathetic skill as he had always been aware of the emotions of the people around him who he was close to.
"Bella, welcome home," Walburga greeted suddenly. "How was school?"
Salazar's head shot up from where he had been staring at the wall without seeing it to look towards the door. Behind Bellatrix stood Orion. He was shaking off some loose flakes of snow from his coat before hanging it near the door. He greeted his wife with a kiss before turning to look for his favourite son.
"The professors must hate us," Bella replied haughtily. "They've piled on so much homework that I doubt anyone aside from the Ravenclaws and Slytherins will be able to complete. Who cares if it's our OWL year? No one will remember anything come exams if we keep getting homework like this."
Bellatrix was fifteen years old and a perfect Slytherin. Her grades were in the top percentage of her year and she always looked her best. Her inky black hair was curled and hung stylishly across her shoulders and down her back, a few ringlets hanging by her eyes to frame her face. Her pale skin only served to make her hair appear darker and her eyes appear to be larger. Her eyes were a dark brown and looked coldly upon all who weren't Salazar and her family. Sirius was the only one in the family she disliked. She was thin, but hidden under her robes were lean muscles she had developed from carrying her younger cousins around. Salazar thought she was beautiful.
"Will you have any trouble with the work?" Orion asked, still subtly looking for Salazar.
"No," Bellatrix admitted. "Most of what we're covering now I studied during the summer with Uncle Alphard. Where's Sal?"
Salazar crept down from his perch on the stairs and took a running jump towards Bellatrix. She spotted him coming towards her so she was prepared to take his weight. His arms went around her neck tightly while he hid his face in her hair, his legs wrapped around her slim waist and her arms held him tightly while he shook. She looked down at him in concern before looking back at her Aunt and Uncle.
"Sal, why don't you show Bella your new room?" Walburga suggested kindly. Sal nodded and slipped out of Bella's arms. He took her hand and started to lead her back up the stairs. He directed her silently to his new room and once they were both in he shut the door. Setting himself on his bed he pulled his knees to his chest and watched as Bellatrix studied the room.
The walls were dark blue, with one wall a darker blue behind his bed. Across the top of the walls, just before the roof, were golden runes. Bella could recognise several as protection runes, as well as strengthening runes and calming runes. A bookshelf and desk took up one wall; both were of dark wood and already covered with various books and sheets of parchment. A trunk sat at the base of the bed and on the bedside cupboard was a nightlight. Bella recognised it as the one she had given him the Christmas before. It was a stone Hebridean Black sitting on a stone island, its wings were curled protectively around a crystal ball that was settled between the dragon's claws, the wings had a reflective surface, dozens of small crystals covering the surface so that when the activations word was spoken, the light from the crystal ball would reflect off the wings and light the room with a soft glow. The crystal was about the size of her palm and provided an adequate light.
"How have you been holding up Jewel Eyes?" Bella asked as she sat opposite her cousin, using his nickname to calm him down. "Discovered how to get rid of muggles yet?"
"There's so many of them," Salazar whispered softly, still hugging his knees. "They have weapons that could kill us in seconds, without them being within wand distance. It's possible that they could be a whole country away! They kill each other daily yet they will always outnumber us. What could we do to stop them?"
"There are rumours in Slytherin House about a new Lord," Bellatrix confessed. "His name is not spoken aloud, but rumours are going around that he is the Heir of Slytherin. That alone will get him the support of many pureblood families; the Heir of any founder would entice any loyalty. Maybe he will follow his ancestor's belief that muggles need to be exterminated before they can do too much damage."
"They're monsters!" Salazar stated passionately, still in his quiet voice. For a brief moment his eyes flickered to green before returning to they're usual blue. But Bella noticed something else…while Salazar's eyes were still blue and anyone who wasn't familiar with him wouldn't notice the difference, but Bella could see the flecks of green dancing in his eyes. She didn't know if it was a good or bad thing and she made a mental note to talk to her Aunt and Uncle later that night.
"So aside from your muggle research, what have you been doing?" Bella asked, sensing the need to get off topic. Salazar shrugged his shoulders and pointedly looked away.
"Dad said that after Christmas he's going to start teaching me Occlumency and run me by the theory for Legilimency, and test me to see if I inherited any abilities."
"That's great Sal!" Bella said with a smile. "Why don't you look happy about it?"
"What Dad is going to teach me is a part of the Heir Training," Salazar explained. "I'm not the Heir, Sirius is. It's just…"
"Sirius hasn't spoken with you yet?" Bella finished sadly. "I'm sure Uncle Orion will still teach Sirius what he needs to know about being the Black Heir. Maybe it's because no Black before you has ever been a twin?"
"Sirius is still older," Salazar muttered. "Whether we're twins or not should have no standing on Heir Training."
"Possibly," Bellatrix agreed. "But you should know that all Blacks are taught Occlumency and Legilimency, regardless of status. It's to protect family secrets from outsiders. And as for the abilities test, we all know that you're powerful, is it too hard to believe that your father just wants to find out how powerful you really are?"
"Aren't twins supposed to have the same abilities?"
"No," Bellatrix laughed slightly. "You're still two different people, and while you may be identical in looks, people are starting to spot the differences between you two. You're way more serious than your brother."
Salazar smiled despite his morbid mood. He couldn't argue with that assessment. He looked up at his favourite cousin and asked her how school was and if she could show him any magic. This prompted a rather long discussion about teachers and subjects, and many more demonstrations of spells that Salazar also attempted to cast with his training wand. He wasn't too surprised when the spells didn't work as he had read up that a child's magical core was always growing. It was for this reason that the more powerful spells were taught to the upper years at school while the early years are to build up the strength of one's magical core.
When Salazar came downstairs smiling with Bella later that night, Orion and Walburga were shocked but happy. They had done all they could for their son, but it seemed like Bella had brought the life back into his eyes. The two of them shared a meaningful look before leading the other two to the dining room table. Walburga had Kretcher fetch Regulus from his room before following her family in.
"Uncle Alphard!" Salazar exclaimed happily upon spotting his mother's brother. Alphard Black was already sitting at the table, leaning heavily against the back of the chair with his eyes closed. The man did sit up rather quickly upon hearing Salazar's greeting.
"Sal, my boy!" he returned just as happily. "My, my, my, is that a smile I can see on your face? What has put you in such a good mood nephew?"
"Bella has been going over some spells that she was learning this year and trying to teach me," Salazar explained more calmly as he sat down. "They were hard, so I think I should start smaller so that I can get up to casting them adequately."
"Marvelous," Alphard stated as food appeared on the dishes in front of them. "And will young Master Sirius be joining us tonight?"
The smile on Salazar's face dropped off as he started to eat. Bella rested her hand on his shoulder briefly before drawing him back into a conversation about the different types of magical creatures that were studied at Hogwarts. While they spoke Alphard turned to his sister and brother-in-law. Orion was glaring at him so Alphard turned his attention to Walburga.
"I'll take that as a no?" he asked quietly.
"Sirius hasn't left his room since That Day," Walburga whispered as she picked at the food in front of her. "Kretcher takes up food for him."
At that moment Regulus burst through the doors, his clothing ruffled and his hair out of place. Salazar snickered at his appearance before motioning for the younger boy to sit next to him. Regulus tried to smooth down his hair with no luck as he walked across the room to his chair.
"You started without me?" Regulus pouted.
"You were called five minutes ago," Orion stated with a frown at the boy's appearance. "What has got you looking like an ignorant Mudblood?"
"I ran into Sirius on my way down," the five year old explained as he started to eat. "He was staring down the stairway and when I asked him if he was coming he turned around and went back into his room."
Salazar's hand froze in his brother's hair from when he had been styling it properly. He resumed his motions after a few seconds and pointedly ignored Bella's stare. Regulus grinned at him once he had finished the mouthful of food he had inhaled and rested his head on the older boy's shoulder.
"Love you Sal," he murmured. "How do you get my hair to sit like that? I can never do it."
"Maybe one day I'll show you," Salazar whispered. "If you think you can manage to eat properly in front of Mum and Dad."
Regulus jumped slightly and turned so that he was sitting at the table properly. His legs swung slightly as he ate the rest of his meal, smiling innocently at his parents as he did so. Salazar turned back to his own food and determinedly continued the conversation he had been having with his cousin about magical creatures before the interruption. Alphard also turned back to the adults with a smirk.
"Do I see a Marriage Contract in the future with young Salazar and Bellatrix?" he asked quietly so that only his sister and her husband could hear him.
"Possibly, but we have already begun the negotiations with the Lestrange family," Orion admitted. "Their Heir, Rodolphus, is an adequate suitor. The Contract has yet to be drawn up though."
"The negotiations should continue then," Walburga stated. "Should something happen that would render the Contract as broken, then we can see about finding another suitor. Besides, there is an 8 year difference between Sal and Bellatrix."
"The age doesn't matter," Orion argued. "But you're right, the negotiations with the Lestrange's shall continue. In the meantime, we must look into Contracts for Sirius and Salazar. My Heir will need a promising suitor so that the line can continue."
"Do you have contracts for the other girls yet?" Alphard asked as he sipped at his drink.
"Yes, we have a contract drawn up with Warren Goyle for Andromeda, and negotiations have started for a Contract between Narcissa and Lucius Malfoy. Narcissa already seems to be of a positive opinion for the boy," Orion explained. He looked over at the three children. "Andromeda though, I believe she screamed at her parents for setting her up with young Warren. I will have to talk to her about fulfilling her duty."
"When will the Contract be signed?"
"The final negotiations take place this holiday," Orion explained as he pushed away his now empty plate. "Bella's will be signed after it has been written, and Narcissa's will be signed in a few years, once she's fifteen I believe."
"Have you looked into any for Salazar and Sirius?" Alphard then asked, staring at the children as they listened to Bellatrix explaining the interesting aspects of her schooling.
"I have received many offers," was all Orion would say. "Shall we continue this discussion in the longue room?"
He received two nods of agreement as he stood. He briefly explained to the children where they would be before turning and exiting the dinning room, Walburga and Alphard on his heels. Salazar watched them go before he also excused himself. Bella stayed with Regulus while she followed Salazar's departure with her eyes. She would wait for him in his room once Regulus was occupied in his own room.
Salazar silently crept up the stairs towards his old bedroom. The knowledge that Sirius had come out of his room had been enough to convince him that he needed to go and talk to him, not the other way around. Sirius was always a "do first and think later" person, apologising had always been hard for him, and due to the fact that he was disliked by the majority of the family, he had become a very private person.
At Sirius' door, Salazar hesitated. Their talk was long overdue but Salazar knew that the conversation would shape their future. By the end of their talk they would both reconcile and be the twin brother's they were supposed to be, or they would never talk to each other again, becoming just two more members of the family who interacted occasionally. Salazar knew for certain that he didn't want the latter to happen. So with a deep breath to steady himself, he knocked on the door.
"Siri? Can I come in?" he asked softly.
There was no verbal reply, but when the door swung open Salazar took it as a sign that he could enter. He looked around the room he had, until a month ago, also inhabited, and gaped in shock. The room was completely red and gold, the colour so vibrant that it almost hurt Salazar's eyes to look at it; the floor couldn't be seen under the piles of clothes, books and furniture; the bed was unmade; and the window was wide open allowing all the cold air from the outside in. Salazar shivered before his eyes focused on his brother sitting on his bed, wand in hand. The door swung shut behind him and Salazar heard the lock click into place.
"Siri? Talk to me?" Salazar asked as he made his way to the bed.
"He told me that you wouldn't be the same again," Sirius muttered in a dead voice. "They told me that you were attacked, but no one would tell me by who or if you were alright. I wasn't allowed to leave my room. You didn't come to see me, I heard you at night, screaming. You used to come to me, all the time, but now you don't. It's like you've forgotten me, like you've become everyone else."
"I thought you didn't want to see me," Salazar said as he sat on the end of the bed. "You never came out of your room. I thought you had forgotten about me. Why else would you not have noticed that I wasn't with you That Day?"
"I thought you were," Sirius' eyes filled with tears. "When I realised that you weren't I looked for you, I did. Some strange people called "policemen" took me to this building. I wasn't allowed to leave until Uncle Alphard came to pick me up. He told me that you had been attacked, but not by what or when! He left me here until father came to get your stuff. I thought you had died!"
"I was attacked by a filthy muggle," Salazar said with scorn. "The creature attacked me and I got rid of it. I think I killed it."
"A muggle?" Sirius asked in shock. "But why would they want to attack you?"
"You don't believe me?" Salazar asked eyes wide. "I know what happened to me! I've been studying muggles these last few weeks. They're all horrible! What they do to each other, it's disgusting!"
"Not all muggles are horrible Sal!" Sirius said desperately. "I played with one for a while, he was nice to me. Nicer than our whole family put together! There's no way that all muggles could be as you describe them!"
Salazar sat still for a moment as he stared at his brother. Something about that sentence got to him but he couldn't figure out what. He mentally repeated the sentence before spotting it.
"How long did it take for you to notice that I was gone?" he asked softly. Sirius' eyes went wide in fear as he realised his mistake and he struggled to find something to say. Salazar waited for him, his eyes slowly filling with tears.
"I…it was…after I…I mean…"
"How long Siri?"
"I don't know," Sirius muttered.
Salazar felt horrible. He felt like something had been ripped from his chest, leaving it aching and empty. He wondered if Sirius felt the same, but he doubted it. Sirius was still feeling guilty for leaving him, forgetting about him, but that would be as far as the emotion would go. He wouldn't apologise.
"Are you going to leave me too?" Sirius asked. "Like I left you?"
"No," Salazar said distantly. "I doubt we'll ever be like we were, but I will always be your brother. Twins to the end. For now though, I think I need to be away from you for a while. When I think I can be with you again, I will look for you."
"You're leaving me," Sirius stated as he looked down.
"I'm always going to be on your side," Salazar stated. "But you hurt me, just as much as that thing did."
"I know, but this is for the best. Good bye Siri."
Salazar left the room as silently as he had entered it. His eyes were filled with tears as he walked back to his room. He wasn't too surprised when he saw Bellatrix waiting for him, and he felt no shame in breaking down in her arms. All he wanted now was to be looked after.
Salazar smiled brilliantly at the praise his Dad was giving him. For the past eight months he had been steadily improving in his magic. He had discovered that he had an affinity for the darker branches of magic, much to the delight of his family. According to the Black books that he had been reading Dark Magic didn't necessarily mean evil. Any spell could be used for evil; all it depended on was the intention of the castor. Dark Magic was merely a title given to the harder magics to control.
Each magical being had the potential to use both Dark Magic and Light Magic. There were some beings though, that focused entirely on either Dark or Light Magic, thus stunting their magical growth. It was harder to control Dark Magic, thus the reason why it was forbidden. Most wizard kind of the modern age focused solely on Light Magic as it was the "accepted" kind of magic. Every so often though, there would be someone who explored the Dark Magics and either excelled or lost their minds.
According to the book, it was dangerous to go to far into the Dark Magics without a living anchor. There were only two documented wizards who had a natural affinity with Dark and Light Magic; they were the first two Dark Lords: Dark Lord Alexander Foul and Dark Lord Theodore Slytherin. Many others have claimed the title of Dark Lord, or had it bestowed upon them by the public, but none had upheld the title since the death of Theodore Slytherin. It was rumored that Alexander Foul had taught Dark Magic to his apprentices, allowing them to keep their minds as they were guided to victory, but with his death most of his teachings were lost.
Salazar's family had forbidden him from practicing Dark Magic on his own, in case he needed an anchor to siphon an excess magic that could destroy his mind. The house elves, as in tune with magic as they were, were able to watch him without threat to themselves or Salazar. Kretcher in particular enjoyed watching Salazar work and had promised that he would protect him from harm.
Over the eight months of practicing his magic, Salazar had noticed his eyes changing colour. They weren't completely blue anymore, nor were they completely green just yet. There was a little more blue in his eyes than green, but Salazar knew that by the time he entered Hogwarts his eyes would be completely green.
As well as training his magic, Salazar had continued his studying of muggles and jotted down notes on what could be done to stop the muggles' weapons from harming them. His studying had led him towards a range of poisons, both subtle and direct that muggles used. This sparked an interest in Potions as in that subject he could create his own poisons and discover antidotes to protect him from harm.
His training with Orion continued and he was now an acceptable Occlumens, far from that of a master but well on his way to becoming one. He had the basics of Legilimency down and was slowly excelling in that area too. He had started his ability testing to see what abilities he had and so far he had undeveloped magical sight which would allow him to see magic once it was trained up a bit and the faintest ability of Seeing, not quite a Seer but advanced enough that he'd be able to receive faint impressions of the future. That last one had been discovered by accident when Bella and Salazar were reading in the living room and Salazar had suddenly pulled his cousin away from the fireplace, moments before Uncle Ignatius had stumbled out, landing exactly where Bella had been sitting moments before.
Each gift had to be tested individually as there was no spell that could determine what gifts a person had. Some gifts went undiscovered for generations because they were never tested. The earlier a child is tested, and their abilities determined, the more time they would have to improve them. Other abilities would reveal themselves when the time was right for them to be revealed, while some of the more powerful ones were actually unlocked once the child reached a certain age, skill level, or power level. Testing abilities was an inexact and time-consuming process that most of the time yielded little to no results. Sirius had refused to participate in the tests after he hadn't confirmed any abilities within the first week.
Salazar knew that his brother possessed something though, more than likely a quick mind. Sirius was further along in his Occlumency training than Salazar was, and he could find a solution for a problem easily, even if it wasn't the best solution there was. Salazar also had a hunch that Sirius was Instinctual, a Gift that could improve or destroy his life. Sirius had always had an urge to do something, prank, explore, watch, hide…all because of what he called a "gut feeling". Not all of his "feelings" had ended well but he had always ended up with more information or skills than he had before.
His Instinctual Gift could destroy him by leaving him alone.
There had been so few Instinctually Gifted people but what all accounts said was that most of them ended up alone. Sirius' urge to visit Muggle London "That Day" could end up as a good thing or a bad thing. The event left Sirius even more alone than before, almost severing all ties with his family. Salazar knew that Sirius wouldn't stay with them forever, he was just too different, and That Day clearly helped him distance himself even more. When the time came when he would leave he would probably be able to do so without any regrets.
Something that neither twin had done as yet was have their first flying lesson. While there was a perfectly respectable wizarding sport played on broomsticks, the Blacks' saw the use of the broom for recreational purposes as a waste of time. As such all their children learnt at the age of ten, one year before they started Hogwarts. The only reason they learnt at all was to be more experienced than the Mudbloods and Half-Bloods who attended the school.
"Excellent work my son," Orion praised again as he studied the charred dummy in the middle of the training room. "I'd say you have that spell perfect now."
"Thanks Dad," Salazar replied. He had a one-on-one training session with Orion Black everyday so that his magical core would continue to grow, and so that he could study magic that Hogwarts would never dream of teaching him.
"I believe that will be enough for today," Orion continued as he vanished the remains. "I believe that, as a reward for your hard work, you will be allowed to have the rest of the day off. Enjoy the last of the summer heat, relax, I've noticed that you've been studying too much. The girls will be over tonight for a family dinner, so make sure you're presentable before then."
"Yes Dad," Salazar called as he left the room. "I'll see if Sirius wants to play with me."
Orion frowned slightly but didn't stop his son from seeking out his oldest son. Sirius had been very quiet for the past eight months, not so much as thinking of a prank on the family. He took his studies seriously, did exactly what he was told and was respectful to everyone. To many, it seemed as if Sirius had finally grown up and was becoming the Heir that he was born to be. Sirius and Salazar had regained most of what their relationship had been before but Orion knew that the boys would never be as close as they had been again; there was too much tension there for that to happen.
Orion was right about the tension between the twins, but they had figured out a way to get around it. When they were together they didn't talk about muggles, nor about what magic they were studying. Sirius hated Dark Magic with a passion and poured all of his learning into Light Magics, excelling far beyond what Salazar had achieved. They were opposites in every sense of the word. But still, Salazar made the effort to repair their relationship, something he knew Sirius appreciated even if he never said it.
"Hey! Sirius! You free to play outside for the rest of the day?" Salazar asked at the door to his twin's room. "Dad released me from training."
"Sure, let me just pack up," Sirius replied absentmindedly. He piled up several sheets of parchment and placed it in the draw to his desk before sliding his shoes on and following his brother outside. Sirius had really picked up his act in eight months. His room was clean and it was kept clean, he joined the family for meals, and even started going into the library for different books that weren't in his room. No one had been pranked in months, and that was what had Salazar the most worried. Sirius had been pranking the family since he was able to crawl, for him to stop was incredible and worrisome.
Salazar set the thought to the side as he led the way to the back garden. He didn't want to have to worry about his brother's behaviour now that he was finally being accepted by the family. He looked back at Sirius and grinned. There was a second delay before the smile was returned and then the two boys were running the rest of the distance.
"So what did you want to do?" Sirius asked as they arrived in the garden.
"We could play Hunters?" Salazar suggested. "We haven't played that for a while."
"What will we hunt? It was Bowtruckles last time wasn't it?"
"Yes, before that it was Flobberworms, and that one time we hunted Salamanders."
"I remember that," Sirius said laughing slightly. "Wasn't it raining that time?"
"Yes, we were five weren't we? I remember we were so disappointed."
The twins laughed as they remembered their failed attempts at hunting. Sirius stared around the messy backyard and tapped his chin thoughtfully. Salazar stopped laughing and allowed the older boy to pick out what they would hunt. It was one of the few games that the twins played that needed a decisive leader. Salazar never wanted to pick what creature to hunt, so he always looked to Sirius for guidance. It made the older boy feel wanted amongst the dwindling love from the family.
"Snakes," he declared. Salazar nodded slowly.
"We haven't hunted them before," he admitted. "We should be careful not to get bitten. I don't know if there are any venomous snakes around here."
"We haven't found any before," Sirius stated reassuringly. "It should be fine. Besides, there are antidotes in the Potions cabinet. Nothing bad will happen."
"Then let's hunt brother!" Salazar cried as he darted into the garden, Sirius mere moments behind him.
The rules of the game were simple: the hunters would search for the hunted, trying to be completely silent the entire time. Once the creature was found, the twins would signal each other and they'd group up to "capture" the creature as quickly as possible. After the creature was caught it would be set free again in a specific area of the garden and the twins would then focus their attention on the opposite side of the garden. The more numerous the hunted, the longer the game would take.
Salazar crept around another tree, staring at the branches looking for tree snakes. He knew that Sirius would be looking at the ground so by working this way they would be covering all areas. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted Sirius freeze. Looking over in concern, he smiled when he recognised the signal for toady, the lumos spell, igniting from Sirius' wand. He started to creep over, taking care not to make a sound on the ground.
"Something is strange about this one."
Salazar froze…that voice hadn't come from Sirius. He resumed walking, looking for where the voice had come from. It returned, but from a different speaker, when he was halfway across the garden.
"Dominus of Aevum, could it be?"
"The Phoenix of Fire should be informed."
"How can we tell?"
Salazar made it the rest of the way to Sirius as the conversation around him from several different voices echoed around him. He pretended that the conversation wasn't happening, like Sirius was doing, and focused on the task at hand. To be honest with himself, he was surprised that Sirius had found a snake as quickly as he had, there had only been a few occasions when the twins had even spotted a snake in the garden, never mind the nest that Sirius had stumbled across.
There was a burrow in the ground, and despite the many slithering coils of the snake, Salazar could tell that there was more than one. By his estimate, there was close to five different snakes moving around in the burrow, and taking a quick glance at Sirius, he was uncomfortable about getting any closer to them.
"Are they venomous?" Sirius whispered almost inaudibly.
"Not fatally," Salazar replied just as soft. "At most they'd give you some swelling and maybe a bit of pain."
"We don't have start with this lot if you don't want to," Salazar stated with a smile. "We could find some smaller ones for you."
"I don't think so," Sirius whispered hotly. "Let's just catch them, dump them near the back fence, and find some more."
It was not something discussed amongst the twins, but Sirius hated snakes. He didn't fear them, but he had no problem avoiding them. Salazar, on the other hand, loved snakes. When they were three Sirius had been given a pet snake for Christmas. It had bitten him and slithered off to where Salazar was playing with Narcissa. Sirius had grabbed the snake back in anger and his accidental magic had banished the snake to some forgotten realm. That had been before the family started to dislike him so their father had been by his side instantly to reassure him. From that moment on Sirius had hated snakes.
"He's still a hatchling. Are you sure it's him?"
"Feel his power. There is no doubt."
"I will test him."
Salazar barely had time to blink as more of the conversation washed over him. As Sirius reached down to grab a snake from the burrow, the head of another sprung out and launched itself at the Black Heir. Sirius recoiled as the snake came closer but Salazar knew that unless he acted within the next half a second Sirius could possibly lose an eye. His hand reached out of its own accord and snagged the snake around its head. The snake was a lot stronger than the young boy had originally anticipated and as a result he fell over Sirius' still falling body and ended up in an awkward wrestling match with the serpent.
"That's enough!" Salazar snapped as he tried to regain the upper hand. The snake in his hands went still and seemed to stare at him in wonderment. Sirius went still on the ground as well and stared in horror at his brother.
"He's the One!"
"The Phoenix of Fire must be told!"
"I'm on it."
"And the Guardians of Death."
Salazar, finally realising where the voices were coming from, dropped the snake in his hand. He crawled back to where Sirius was, only to find that his brother was backing away staring at him in betrayal.
"You're a Parselmouth," Sirius whispered, backing away slowly. "Out of everything that you could have been, why did it have to have been that?"
"You can't hear them?" Salazar asked.
"All I hear are those…creatures…hissing at each other. And then you hissed back!"
"Don't, I don't want to hear it!" Sirius stood up and turned his back on Salazar who was still on the ground. "I'm going back inside. I need to…be alone."
Salazar felt his heart break again as he watched Sirius walk inside. They had only recently reconciled after That Day and now it seemed like they were going backwards in their progress. Tears dripped off his cheeks and he ignored the snakes crawling near him. Now that he could recognise where the voices were coming from, he could spot snakes everywhere in the garden. They seemed to have doubled since he last checked, and he knew that there weren't that many snakes in the garden.
"Where did you all come from?" Salazar asked the nearest snake as he brushed his tears away.
"We felt the awakening power of the Dominus," the snake explained. "We gathered to finally meet him. Creatures everywhere will be coming to you now. Your Destiny has only just begun."
Salazar didn't quite know how to take that so he instead stood up and returned inside. He took off to where he knew his father would be and opened the Study door cautiously. Orion was sitting behind his desk checking over the various documents he reviewed everyday due to his status as Head of the Black Family. The man only briefly looked up as the door opened, but after taking one look at his son's distraught face, stopped his work instantly and had his full attention on Salazar.
"Son? What's wrong? Weren't you playing with Sirius?" he asked in concern. Salazar felt more tears drip down his cheeks and he ran across the room into his father's embrace. As the strong arms went around him in comfort, Salazar allowed the sobs building up at the back of his throat to escape as he blurted out the whole story. Orion said nothing; he just kept his arms safely around his son, offering the only comfort he could.
"And now Siri really doesn't like me any more! What do I do Dad?"
"I don't know Son, I don't know. You could give Sirius time to calm down, talk to him later and see where your relationship goes from there, or you could try to talk to him now," Orion advised. "How you handle the situation is up to you."
"Are you mad?" Salazar asked softly.
"Yes, Sirius hurt you again even after he promised that he wouldn't. He isn't acting like a member of the Black Family. Remember Salazar, family will always come first, everything else comes later."
"How will the Family react to my new…Gifts?"
"When we decide to tell them they will be thrilled," Orion promised with a smile. "I can promise you that they will all be impressed and happy that you have such a rare and powerful gift. The number of spells that can be cast in Parseltongue is numerous and only available to those who can speak the language. But if it makes you feel any better, I won't tell anyone until you are ready for me to."
"Thank you Dad," Salazar whispered. "I want to tell everyone when I'm ready."
"That's acceptable," Orion stated with a nod. "The Family will know when you're ready. Now, what is your plan in regards to Sirius?"
"I'll talk to him after dinner," Salazar said with a decisive nod. "He should have had enough time to calm down by then."
But by the time dinner was served, Sirius still hadn't made an appearance. Narcissa and Andromeda had been briefly told by the adults that Sirius and Salazar had gotten into another fight, while Bellatrix had gone straight to Salazar to get the "true story". Cygnus and Druella had retreated to the sitting room immediately with Orion and Walburga and only reappeared when dinner was announced as ready. Bella and Regulus sat either side of Salazar to keep him distracted, but still Salazar found his eyes drifting more often than not towards the door, watching for Sirius.
If asked afterwards, Salazar wouldn't have been able to recall what was discussed at dinner, only that Sirius never came down.
Once dinner was over and the guests had returned home, Salazar went up to talk to his twin. Regulus stayed with his parents, though there was no denying the concern in his eyes. Salazar ignored the look and concentrated on what he wanted to discuss. With a steadying breath he knocked on Sirius' door. When there was no answer he silently opened it and walked inside.
"Sirius? Can we talk?" Salazar asked warily. Sirius was sitting at his desk again, ruffling through various sheets of parchment and jotting down notes as it came to him. He completely ignored Salazar standing at the door.
"Is this how our relationship will always be then?" Salazar asked. "Are we to never again have a good relationship?"
"What are you doing here Salazar?" Sirius asked coldly. Salazar flinched slightly.
"I wanted to talk to you."
"Well I don't," Sirius replied, finally spinning around to look at him. "We're just too different! You…you're loved by all! There's nothing that you can do wrong! Dark magic comes so easily to you, you've never struggled when it came to spells…you're polite, you agree with their views on everything, you even have Marriage Contracts being thrust at you!"
"You have them too," Salazar cut in, his tone level despite Sirius' rising volume.
"Yeah, but not because I'm anything special. The Contracts presented to me have nothing to do with me, and all to do with the fact that I was born first. I'm the Heir to this Family despite the fact that I know everyone thinks it should be you."
"I don't think it should be me."
"Doesn't matter," Sirius growled standing up. He walked closer to Salazar so that they were standing chest to chest. "As soon as Orion disowns me you will be the next Heir, I will be forgotten and left to fend for myself! Just like I have always had to!"
"You will never be alone!" Salazar finally shouted back. "You have me!"
"What good will that ever do for me! Having you pity me will not improve my Family Standing! So why don't you go back to your Mum and Dad and leave me alone?! I've only ever wanted to be alone! I never wanted to have brother! It should have been only me!"
Each sentence spoken sent nails into Salazar's heart. He staggered backwards towards the door with wide eyes, even as he weakly responded to Sirius' remarks.
"They're your family too."
"Not anymore! Now get out!"
Salazar felt Sirius' magic ram into him, sending him flying out the door. He lay on the floor, staring up at the now-closed door in mute shock. He and Sirius had had their fair share of fights, but they'd never used magic on each other. They'd always reconciled at the end, though from the fight they just had, Salazar had no idea how they would fix it.
Small hands around his arm pulled him from his thoughts and he looked up into Regulus' young and worried face. He allowed himself to be pulled up and led away, reassured that Regulus would lead him in the right direction. He was prodded into a bed and as soon as he was lying down Regulus was curled up around his middle, his head on the older boy's chest. Salazar knew that he didn't have to say anything in gratitude, knowing that Regulus already knew. But still, as he started to drift off to sleep, he whispered to the younger boy:
Behind the closed door of his bedroom Sirius broke down into tears. The pain that had appeared in Salazar's eyes when he had been yelling at him haunted him. He knew what being a Parselmouth meant, and he knew in time that Salazar would too.
The ability to speak to snakes originated from the Foul Family. The last living Foul, Dark Lord Alexander Foul was suspected of being the last of his kind as Parseltongue was a Blood Gift. Blood Gifts couldn't be taught or learnt, if you had it you had it, if you didn't you didn't. When the second Dark Lord, Theodore Slytherin, revealed that he could talk to snakes, it came as a shock to everyone. Merlin spared Slytherin's family, and his wife remarried to Theodore's cousin. Theodore's two children disappeared from history. One line became the Gaunt line, the younger child's, but the line of the older child was never found. To have a Parselmouth in the Black Family meant that somewhere in their past a member of the Slytherin Family had married into the Black line.
Sirius thought that it was somewhat ironic that his twin, who was named after the most well-known Parselmouth of the modern age, was also a Parselmouth. As soon as anyone found out what Salazar could do he would be feared and hated by three-fourths of wizarding society.
"I had to push him away," Sirius whispered to himself. "He will be stronger without me. He has to be prepared for people to hate him."
It sounded lame when he spoke it aloud, but Sirius wouldn't back down on his decision. He was determined to stay away from his twin, make him stronger, able to stand on his own. His decision was largely influenced by an obscure and ancient scroll he'd unearthed in the library. The scroll spoke about the coming of the Serpent Lord, the one who will bring balance between Magic. From what Sirius could make out from the translation, his brother would stand alone before achieving his goal. There were rumours of an uprising on the horizon, and Sirius knew that if the scroll was predicting the future, then Salazar would play an important role.
"I'll watch him from a distance," Sirius promised himself. "I'll be on the sidelines, protecting him when he needs it. He can't rely on me, not anymore. He's alone."
Decisive, Sirius crawled into bed. The following days would be the test of how determined he was to go through with his plan.
I have one more chapter planned after this before the twins go to Hogwarts. Reviews are very much appreciated and I will try to have another chapter out soonish. Till next time!
I have one more chapter planned after this before the twins go to Hogwarts. Reviews are very much appreciated and I will try to have another chapter out soonish.
Till next time!