Author: John Sexton
Genre: Harry Potter Slash
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Chapter Nine -- Salazar's Debut
Draco Malfoy skulked his way along Diagon Alley as inconspicuously as possible. He was annoyed at having to wade through the clutter of stalls, which now littered the Wizarding World's most important thoroughfare.
They lowered the tone of the alley. If that wasn't bad enough, most of the shop-fronts were defaced with ugly posters, all touting blatant propaganda from the Ministry of Magic.
It was well past midday, so Draco was thankful that the unseasonably cold and misty weather had all but obliterated the summer sun, providing him with an excuse to rug up.
Through Aunt Bella's insufferable rantings, Draco had deciphered the cause of this change of climate, and that knowledge chilled him to the bone. He loathed Dementors. The vile creatures were breeding, and Draco dreaded any future world they might inhabit en masse.
Shrugging off all thoughts of Dementors and every other foul and loathsome form of life that seemed to have gravitated, of late, towards The Dark Lord, Draco refocussed on the task at hand.
The youngest Malfoy was particularly grateful that the social climate was even more sombre than the inclement weather; people were keeping to themselves, which suited his purpose.
His haste was to ensure that he had eluded Mother and Madam Malkin; his discretion because he was heading for Knockturn Alley... on a secret mission for The Dark Lord.
Just five weeks ago, at midnight, the witching hour, on the very night he had arrived home for the hols, Mother and Aunt Bella had presented him to their master. It had not been a pleasant experience.
Ironically, if Rita Skeeter had her facts right for once, it had occurred at about the same time that Potter was becoming a fugitive. It was a bitter irony, really; for, in one foul hour, Draco's greatest delight had been shattered by his worst nightmare.
The Dark Lord was hideous, and nothing had, nor could have, prepared Draco for an encounter with that monster. After little more than a month the memory still haunted him.
Still worse was the fact that right there, in Diagon Alley, so far from Draco's home in Wiltshire, and even further from The Dark Lord's Yorkshire mansion, he was still pulling the youth's strings.
The chill air gave Draco's skin the twinge that sent his flesh over the edge, cascading into a full body shiver. The boy recalled the look in that foul creature's eyes, every time they'd met his. There was little doubt in Draco's mind that The Dark Lord had plans, personal plans, for him. That thought made his stomach churn violently.
Draco shrugged off the sensation with grim determination; he was more angry than frightened or revolted. He resented the fact that he was little more than a puppet in the hands of a madman.
He almost wished that he was under the Imperius Curse, rather than being that foul creature's docile marionette. At least, under Imperius, Draco would be almost unaware that he was acting against his will. Instead, he was dutifully, albeit reluctantly, doing the bidding of a monster.
To date, Draco's skill as an Occlumens had protected him from The Dark Lord. He had been well trained, both at home and at Hogwarts, beyond his tender years.
However, this defensive skill was not matched in attack; as a Legilimens Draco was found wanting. After one particularly trying lesson, Snape had finally relented and confided in Draco that it explained a lot about his character. Then his favourite professor had simply smiled.
When Draco had recovered from the shock of seeing his Head of House grinning so genuinely, he'd begged for an explanation. Snape had merely smiled again, but this time with unmasked sadness: "that is something that you need to discover for yourself, Draco," Snape had sighed.
That had been nearly four months ago, and Draco was still no wiser, and still no more accomplished as a Legilimens. Without that skill, he could only guess how long before The Dark Lord was onto him. He was doomed, it was only a matter of time.
"No!" Draco thought, as he side-stepped yet another noisome stall.
They were more than an eyesore, they were a threat to public safety!
"I can determine my own future... right now... if I so choose!" he decided boldly, "all I have to do is... renounce The Dark Lord... publicly."
He slowed his pace.
"HA!" Draco spat in anger, but so softly that only he could have heard it, "disavowing The Dark Lord would require balls that I don't have."
He quickened his pace again.
"Besides," he argued with himself, "I believe what he stands for... well, most of--"
Draco baulked... the man was mad!
If only half of what Aunt Bella had let slip was true... what The Dark Lord said and what The Dark Lord did were not necessarily one and the same. In fact it had been Aunt Bella's ranting that had been primarily responsible for Draco's present dilemma.
Two months ago he would never have questioned his father, not even privately, let alone publicly.
But Father was in Azkaban, and Bella had opened Draco's eyes: that mad cow's rants had revealed what life under The Dark Lord was really like.
In short: the man... No! he was not even that, if he ever had been...
Draco remembered a rumour, from that Chamber of Secrets fiasco back in second year... Potter was supposed to have seen The Dark Lord as a sixteen-year-old; and, if the rumours were true, Saint Potter had been disturbed that they'd looked so much alike.
A snigger creased Draco's lips...
"At least he would have had better hair than Potter!"
Then Draco recalled hearing what the Weaslette had supposedly let slip: that The Dark Lord was smashing; Draco wondered about that as well.
"Is Potter good looking?" Draco whispered under his cowl.
"Of course he is! You've always thought so, even if... no... because he is so uncouth."
Draco's smirk broadened.
"Face it, Draco, you like them a bit rough around the edges. That was what attracted you, despite his bedraggled appearance, way back in Malkin's, all those years ago! It's why you tried to impress him, even as you insulted him."
Draco's smirk broadened wickedly.
"Grrrr!" he growled softly, "you're an animal, Draco," he congratulated himself.
Draco's burst of reverie was quickly suppressed by an over-riding sense of urgency, and his nascent erotic fantasy fell back into black thoughts of The Dark Lord.
It really didn't matter whether he was once handsome, he was now a hideous monster who was ruining Draco's life and destroying his family.
Having spent the last month analysing his father's choices... and failures, Draco had recently come to acknowledge some of his own shortcomings. He was intelligent enough to realise that he was at a fork in the road; his future was, for the first time in his short life, actually in his own hands.
The weight of such a grave responsibility was a terrifying burden. To date all of Draco's decisions had been made for him, first by his mother, then his father, and now... V--Voldemort!
"There!" Draco whispered; he'd said it... he'd dared to utter The Dark Lord's name! Well... he'd thought it, at least.
But then those thoughts flew back to that terrible first encounter...
Before that horrible night had ended, the madman had charged Draco with two separate tasks, both equally dangerous and all but impossible.
But what choice did he have? To whom could he turn? ... Fudge?
"Not bloody likely!" Draco snorted angrily. "The man's a complete twit, totally incompetent, and almost certainly corrupt. Besides, he's in utter disgrace, and no longer has any influence."
As for the new minister, Rufus Scrimgeour: Draco knew little about him, other than what he'd heard from his father.
He smirked wryly...
"On current form I'd be better trusting Scrimgeour than Father's judgement on him."
Draco snorted with disdain again. So, to whom could he turn for protection? That old fool, Dumbledore?... Potter?...
Never! He hated both and trusted neither. Besides, Potter was on the run and wanted for murder! What options, indeed!
Draco thought he'd rather be dead... but quickly sobered with the realisation that, should his plan fail, he might well be Voldemort's next victim.
If not for the inclement weather, Draco might have looked suspicious, as he scuttled past Fortescue's, with the black cowl of his cloak pulled up over his distinctive blond head.
But the ice cream parlour was boarded up, and that stretch of Diagon Alley lay eerily idle; so there was little likelihood of being seen, much less recognised. Nevertheless, he was taking no chances.
Pondering his predicament, Draco continued down the unusually quiet alley. He was sure that Voldemort had given him this assignment to try to break him, as punishment for his father's failure, in the raid on the Department of Mysteries, in June.
From the moment that Draco had been assigned his perilous mission, he'd been depressed. But he'd maintained an exuberant fašade, for Mother's sake. She'd had enough to worry about: with Father in Azkaban; Ministry officials crawling over the manor, like the vermin they were; and, finally, the constant presence of her mad sister.
Aunt Bella had become more irrational since that June fiasco; so much so that, with Father absent, she had taken to haunting Malfoy Manor, once those oafs from the Ministry had given up searching the grounds. She had been there less than a month, but Draco couldn't tolerate her presence for another minute.
It seemed that every time he'd thought about her, over the last few days, she would enter the room, or just materialise from thin air. She'd started to Apparate everywhere, as her paranoia had taken hold; it was driving him nuts.
The tedium of Diagon Alley was a welcome respite from her madness.
Suddenly Draco jumped, startled by the sight of Aunt Bella directly in front of him, leering at him with her manic, frenzied grimace.
He cast around the street angrily, in a pique of embarrassment at being startled by nothing more than one of the Ministry's Wanted posters.
The sober young wizard looked at the poster again; he contemplated the frenzied glare that so distorted his aunt's face. Its similarity to their mad cousin's wanted poster, from back in third year at Hogwarts, bore out, once more, the terrible effects of incarceration in Azkaban.
He wondered how his father would appear, after ten years in that hell-hole.
Then Draco's anger flared, with this obscene reminder that his mother's sister was now a wanted felon and his father a prisoner: declared enemies of the Wizarding World.
The embarrassment and the indignity of it all was infuriating, and Draco's anger quickly reignited, before his thoughts returned to his dilemma and his mission. He drew a deep breath and refocused...
Voldemort's task had seemed impossible until this week, when Draco had suddenly realised that two mysterious items were almost identical.
He'd discovered one at Hogwarts, just before the end of last term; and he'd first seen the other in Borgin and Burkes, four years ago, to this very day in fact.
Draco thought that a good omen, especially since he'd never even considered the items connected until yesterday. He was convinced it was more than mere coincidence.
"It's their Magic revealing itself to me," Draco assured himself, as he made for Knockturn Alley, to confront Borgin and determine the practicality of his theory.
Draco glanced around when he reached the corner, to ensure that he had not been followed. He sneered smugly that he would make a good spy.
Yesterday, as soon as he had made the connection, Draco had planned to go directly to Borgin and Burkes via the Floo network. But he was unable to avoid another row with his mother. Narcissa Malfoy would not allow her precious to go to London unaccompanied, especially not to Knockturn Alley, with night fast approaching!
Draco was indignant: he was no longer a child, even if she wouldn't accept it! But he had complied, nonetheless.
"Anyway..." Draco adopted a positive air... "I'm here now, so none of that matters!"
The aristocratic young wizard strode into Borgin and Burkes, with the elegant demeanour that had been bred into him from birth. He crossed to the counter boldly, without meandering through the array of artefacts that had once held such fascination for him as a child.
The musty old shop was unattended and seemed eerily dark and quiet.
Knockturn Alley's gloom barely penetrated the gritty windows, while long shadows fell across the various display cabinets, from the dim light cast by a single candle that hovered above the counter.
To Draco's left, in near-total darkness, stood the cabinet. It was against the wall, exactly where it had been when he'd first seen it at the start of Second Year.
With an arrogant mien, which he was nurturing specifically for this little charade, Draco swung the snake-head of his father's cane down hard on the service bell, impatiently.
Borgin came shuffling into the shop from a back room, in none too much of a hurry. When the utterly decrepit little man saw who was waiting at the counter, he sneered, and his lack of urgency became even more pronounced.
Borgin's insolence infuriated Draco, but he needed the man's expertise, so a certain degree of Slytherin guile was required here.
"Buying or selling?" Borgin rasped at Draco.
"You seem to have lost your sense of business acumen, since I was last in here with my father, Borgin," hissed Draco, in his best imitation of his pater. "From memory," he sneered, "you could hardly ingratiate yourself enough, on that occasion."
"In here, one gets what one merits, young Malfoy," snarled Borgin contemptuously.
Draco leaned forward and placed his hands on the counter, ensuring that Lucius's cane and the family signet were clearly visible.
"My father may be in Azkaban, Borgin, and I may only be a snivelling brat in your eyes, but I can assure you that I have all of the resources of the Malfoy estate... and more!" he added with venom, "at my beck and call. You would do well to keep that in mind."
Borgin looked suddenly resentful, but an unmistakable element of fear brought a new dimension to his demeanour. He began to mumble facile excuses, bordering on apologies, until Draco cut him off.
"Enough with the hippogriff dung, Borgin!" Draco sneered impatiently, "to business... this..." Draco turned disdainfully, then prodded the cabinet with his cane, "is a vanishing cabinet... if I'm not mistaken."
Borgin nodded slowly, "you are very astute, Master Malfoy."
Draco ignored the facile reply.
"Is it in working order?" he snapped.
"It... er..." Borgin prevaricated nervously, "it is in working order," he oozed a counterfeit smile, exposing his rotting teeth, "but, alas, it is not... functional."
"I don't have time for this, Borgin... speak plainly!"
"It requires another cabinet to function, but it's brother is either broken or no longer exists."
"It exists," said Draco authoritatively.
Borgin waved his wand at the cabinet, with an air of hostility. The cabinet rattled slightly, then shuddered before it went silent again.
"Then your cabinet is broken," he declared haughtily.
A glimmer of hope entered Draco's eyes. He leaned forward urgently.
"Well, then," he pressed Borgin for an answer, "do you know how to fix it?"
"Possibly," replied Borgin, almost indifferently, "but I'd need to see it. If you bring it here, I might--"
"I can't," said Draco, angrily, "it cannot be moved. You'll just have to tell me how to do it."
"Well," said Borgin, as he fidgeted uneasily, "without seeing it... it would be a very difficult job, if not impossible. I would not be prepared to guarantee that--"
"No?" Draco sneered at the ratty little man, with utter contempt, "then perhaps this will boost your confidence."
Draco retracted his left sleeve, and bared his pale forearm, aggressively.
Borgin eyed the Dark Mark in a pique of abject terror.
Draco scanned Knockturn Alley cautiously, once again, as he prepared to leave Borgin and Burkes.
He sneered, more smugly than before, that he would make a good spy.
However, this time his self-congratulatory smirk was shattered. For, when he turned to step into the dark thoroughfare, not fifty feet from him stood Professor Severus Snape!
He must have Apparated, thought Draco angrily, in the wake of being startled by Snape's sudden appearance.
Fortunately, for Draco, his Head of House was facing away from him, which provided the blond with the opportunity to duck back into the shadow of Borgin's dingy alcove.
While Snape was a family friend and Draco's favourite teacher, Draco was still in awe of the man; besides... Draco didn't trust anyone right now. He was on his own, and Voldemort had insisted that he tell no one of the task that had been assigned to him.
Draco hoped that he had ducked out of sight in time. He pointed his wand at himself.
"Conspicio non posse!" he whispered.
Under the cover of the charm, Draco peered around the corner slowly; he breathed a profound sigh of relief to discover Snape looking at something in a shop window.
Draco immediately crossed to the darker side of the alley, then stepped into the shadow of the nearest doorway.
Snape looked up sharply and Draco froze, certain that the Slytherin master must have sensed his presence or felt his Magic. However, to Draco's sweet relief, Professor Snape did not seem to be alarmed. The charm must have worked, because Snape clearly could not see him. The Potions master casually turned back towards the shop window.
As Snape pointed at something in the shop-front, Draco eyed him from the seclusion of his charm and the dark shadows of the deeply recessed doorway. He suddenly realised that the professor looked different: his hair appeared neither matted nor greasy.
The Potions master was talking to someone, but his large frame obscured Draco's view of the companion. However, when they turned towards him, and Draco saw who was at Snape's side, he nearly yelped in shock.
Draco had never seen Snape's companion before, but he was so stunned by what he saw that he could barely suppress a groan of disbelief.
There, in the flesh, was the most stunning individual Draco had ever seen.
"Merlin's Beard," Draco whispered and swallowed hard, "who are YOU?"
Snape's companion was nearly as dark and several inches taller than the Potions master; but he was only a boy, no older than himself, Draco guessed.
The youth's eyes were as black as Snape's, but they shone like beacons, even from a distance. Where Snape's skin was pale and sallow, the boy's complexion was tanned a rich honey colour, and his head was shaved, except for a broad, ragged crest of thick black hair that ran from his forehead to the nape of his long slender neck.
However, it was the youth's stunning attire and carriage that truly set him apart.
As much as Draco liked Severus Snape, he could not imagine a more unlikely companion for this fit lad than the dour Potions master.
As the duo made their way up the dark alley, towards the faint light of an overcast Diagon Alley, Draco drank in the exotic vision before him.
The boy wore the tightest and sleekest pair of black leather trousers that Draco had ever seen. They certainly left nothing to the imagination, and Draco liked what he saw. The snug leather hung low on the youth's slim hips, and tapered down, to disappear into a pair of high, dragon-hide boots that almost reached his knees.
The boy's smooth amber arms were bare, his upper torso covered by a black, sleeveless and collarless shirt that seemed to have been sprayed onto his perfectly sculptured body. Over the shirt he wore a Slytherin-green waistcoat; it had silver flecked into the fabric, in the shape of snakes that were charmed to shimmer and slither as he approached the light.
Draco was agog; on anybody else the waistcoat would have been garish, but on this Adonis it was brilliant... the boy was... phwoah!
Draco began to wonder how he could wangle his way into meeting the lad, but the idea of leaping out from under his seclusion charm, though tempting, was not really what he had in mind.
Despite being rugged-up, Draco shivered with the realisation that he still felt cold; yet this boy-god was dressed for high summer.
A silver snake, with emerald-green eyes and tongue, was coiled around his right biceps. Draco wondered whether the snake, which looked more real than ornamental, was charmed to keep the boy insulated from the cold.
Snape's companion was powerfully built, but without compromising his svelte lines. The blond Slytherin eyed the taut torso greedily; his thoughts immediately... well not immediately, exactly... he envisioned the fit boy naked and erect, before his fantasies actually turned to Quidditch.
Draco was mesmerised by the sinuous movements of a natural Seeker that graced the rather intimidating physique of a Beater.
Draco imagined the boy's animagus to be a giant black cat, a panther... with limpid, emerald-green eyes.
He immediately thought of Potter, then sniffed at his own stupidity: Saint Bloody Potter wasn't in the same league as this beauty.
Draco shook his head in utter disbelief: what was Severus Snape doing with this demigod, this dark angel? The only thing the black-eyed boy lacked was a massive pair of ebony, feathered wings. He and Snape were the most unlikely pair imaginable.
Draco shivered again, only this time he decided it was not the cold but raw unbridled lust that was at the core of the sensation. The boy was sex on two legs. Then Draco had a sudden and dramatic epiphany.
"NO!" Draco screamed in silence, "it couldn't be... surely?"
But, as Draco began to ponder the possibility further, he realised it might just be...
More than four months ago, during the Easter hols, that foolish woman, Rita Skeeter, had claimed that Professor Snape had been seen escorting a young man to Gringotts Wizarding Bank.
She had written, in her column in The Sunday Prophet, that she had it on good authority that the youth was Snape's son, and that his name was Salazar! ... Salazar Snape.
Draco sniggered as he recalled their first Potions lesson after the spring hols, when Potter, of all people, had tried to bait the head of Slytherin.
Potter, the fool, had addressed Snape as "Professor Salazar," then he'd tried, lamely, to make out it was an accident, a feat made all but impossible by the antics of the witless redhead sitting next to him.
The Weasel had guffawed crudely, effectively blowing any cover Potter might have had, and setting off Snape's fuse into the bargain.
"Mr Weasley!" Snape had roared at him, "ten points from Gryffindor for your buffoonery."
Finally, to Draco's delight, Snape had then rounded on The Boy Who Lived.
"Twenty more points from Gryffindor, Mr Potter, for your insolence and poor attempt at humour."
Then Snape had flown down from his desk, to eyeball Potter menacingly.
"You can also provide me with fifteen inches, Potter, on why you should not believe anything that you read in the Prophet."
He had then cast a deliciously nasty grin at Potter, before he rasped, "I thought you, of all people, would have realised that, Potter ... but alas I was wrong."
Draco smiled at his reminiscence of Potter's humiliation at Snape's hands. But he was quickly brought back to the present, as the duo neared his hiding place.
Draco could hear his Professor's familiar voice...
"Well, Sals, Knockturn Alley was the easy part of the day... are you ready for this?"
"Yes, Father... but are you?" the boy teased.
So it IS true!... Draco almost gasped aloud. "SEVERUS SNAPE HAS A SON!"
"Yes..." sniped the professor... "ready as I shall ever be, I suppose."
He groaned. Then he grinned at his son.
"You, on the other hand," he added with unusual good cheer, "are, no doubt, looking forward to this little escapade." He quirked his eye at the boy, "anyone in particular that you are hoping to encounter?"
"Draco Malfoy would be interesting," the stunning young wizard smiled mischievously, "if what you said is true."
Draco's heart stopped beating, when Professor Snape paused right by his side. The Potions master turned towards his son, as they huddled closer to the darkened doorway, and almost faced Draco in the process. The blond panicked, at the prospect of having to explain himself.
"What, pray tell," said Professor Snape, as he looked up.
Draco froze; but the words he expected to hear: "are you doing... hiding in that doorway, Mr Malfoy?" never came.
Instead, Draco was shocked and relieved, but mostly intrigued, by the professor's enquiry...
"could I possibly have uttered that would place Draco Malfoy at the top of your wish list, Sals?"
"A few things actually, Dad," Sals replied, "but the fact that he's seriously screwed would have to be the main one," the boy dead-panned.
Draco almost cried out in shock and protest, and his heart felt as if it had leapt into his throat; he could actually hear it thumping madly.
He thought that the professor had just cast a silencing spell. However, he could still hear the conversation. He wondered if he'd been included in the spell zone accidentally. But Draco put that thought aside, and focussed on the professor's next words...
"I said no such thing!" the Potions master retorted, in hushed tones, despite the silencing spell.
"Okay, you mightn't have said so, outright," Sals grinned cheekily, "and I know you'd never actually say: `seriously screwed,' Dad, but I can read between the lines... you hinted at it... more or less."
The professor looked slightly suspicious, and huddled even closer to his son.
"I really don't recall..." he began, before he looked up at Sals and retorted sharply, "you weren't ratting around in my head again, without permission?"
"He's a Legilimens!" Draco almost gasped.
But he held his breath, and refused to believe that someone his own age could be so powerful... despite the suggestion that Sals was potent enough to invade the professor's mind, sans permission or detection!
If he could do that to Draco's teacher!... the thought gave Draco pause.
The stunning lad looked suddenly sheepish and, despite Draco's anxiety, Sals's devilish grin melted his heart.
Draco was taken aback by these startling revelations, with the heady mix of emotions surging through his body, and the surreal oddity of eaves-dropping on this strangest of strange conversations about him, of all things!
"No, Dad, of course not!"
Sals looked indignantly at his father, but Draco thought he detected a playfulness in their banter.
Sals confirmed as much when he grinned cheekily.
"In any case," he sighed, suddenly sombre, "the memories in your Pensieve told me all that I needed to know."
"Oh... that he's intelligent... and head strong..." Sals batted his eyes at his father playfully, before he spat bitterly, "and he's in serious shit with our snake-eyed mate."
Draco could not believe his ears, nor his luck. Sals already knew of him.
"But who is this `Sals?' Where does he come from?" Draco thought. "Where has he been... `til now? And why is he here, in Knockturn Alley, today, with his father?"
All of these questions were too confusing, so Draco denied his years of training and Slytherin caution... because all that really mattered was that this stunning boy, Severus Snape's son, no less, wanted to meet him.
"And he knows that I'm in deep shit!"
The tall, dark youth drew Draco back into the moment, with a teasing lilt directed at his father...
"So, thanks, Dad."
Professor Snape looked at his son curiously.
"I tend to become suspicious when I am thanked for something of which I am not aware, Sals."
"You may not have actually said anything, Dad, but your reaction, just now, confirmed my suspicions," he smiled cheekily, "so... thanks."
The professor looked horrified, but Sals merely laughed.
Draco was stunned to see his Head of House so flustered. He was even more amazed when Sals's father spluttered a protest that never quite made the translation into intelligent speech.
"I don't think you'd ever make it as a spy, Dad," Sals teased his father, "you're too easy to manipulate." Then he wrinkled his nose and poked out his tongue playfully.
Draco decided, there and then, that he was in love... well, in lust, at least... but he also thought that anything might be possible with this beautiful creature who was standing so temptingly close to him.
"So," asked Sals's father, breaking Draco out of his mental gymnastics, "are you saying that you are going to rescue Draco Malfoy from Voldemort's anger with his father."
"Guess I am, Dad," replied the lad, now suddenly serious. "So that's what the bastard's done," he whined, "of course!... revenge for Malfoy senior's failure at the Ministry. I should have realised."
Sals's wrath was so tangible that Draco sensed it as a ripple of Magic that blew across his face like a gentle breeze; it was invigorating, even if it was more than a little disconcerting.
Draco's thoughts flew straight to Potter, again, the only other wizard, their age, who exuded Magic so potent that Draco had been able to detect it, on rare occasions.
Loath as Draco was to admit it, no one else came even close to Potter at Hogwarts, which was probably why Draco resented him so much: he secretly feared him.
But, magically, Sals was to Potter as Potter was to Longbottom; Draco felt it in his bones, and in his own Magic. But, as strong as Sals was, Draco suddenly realised that rather than frightening him, Sals excited him.
"So," Sals asked his father, with bitter determination, "what has that foul creature ordered Draco to do, Dad?... I'm guessing it's something so vile, so... dangerous and difficult that he's doomed to die in either the attempt or the failure, with little chance of success."
Professor Severus Snape smiled at his son with obvious pride.
"How very perceptive of you, Sals," he purred, before he became suddenly sombre, "but it's not my place to reveal that to you, Son. It is Draco's task and it is his secret."
"That's okay, Dad," the beautiful boy smiled grimly, "I understand... he'll tell me, when the time is right."
Sals's father did not comment; he merely looked at the lad, then pursed his lips and creased his brow sceptically.
"What?" Sals quizzed his father, "what's wrong, Dad?"
"Sals," the professor lowered his tone a fraction, despite the silencing charm, "Draco has been raised in the strictest pureblood traditions," he cautioned his son.
"It would be rather foolish," Severus elucidated, "to expect that Draco could simply turn from The Dark Lord: he would be disinherited and ostracised by his family, as well as most of the old pureblood wizarding houses; he'd be a leper."
"And," cried Sals, horrified by the implications of his father's revelations, "he'd be the target of every Slytherin upstart keen to curry favour with Voldemort."
"Yes," his father agreed gravely, "and hard-pressed to find acceptance amongst those on the side of the Light, especially when one considers his history with Potter and Gryffindor."
Sals shook his head vigorously, "this isn't about Harry Potter, nor anyone else, Dad," he argued passionately; "this is about saving Draco from that madman. Besides," he scowled, "Potter's on the run; he's history; he's hardly likely to have any influence on what happens at Hogwarts this year."
"I wouldn't be so sure of that, Sals," was his father's sardonic reply.
Draco was reeling: it was all too much to deal with, right then. He had too much on his plate as it was.
But it was important enough to demand his full attention... in fact, Draco realised with a measure of alarm and hope, it could just save his sensitive Slytherin skin.
If you are enjoying this, you might like my other two Nifty stories...
This is a two-chapter Potterverse short story [complete].
This is on-going and I'm updating it chapter-for-chapter with this story.
About thirty chapters of "Salazar Comes to Slytherin" were written nearly a decade ago, and are only now being updated for posting. I'm currently writing "Shattered Ceiling, Falling Sky" and trying to post the two stories in tandem, chapter-for-chapter, to keep pressure on myself to write "Shattered Ceiling" to schedule.
All feedback is appreciated.