There was deep magic inside Hogwarts.
Few knew of it. Many suspected it, and there had been many searches for some illustrious artifact hidden, forgotten, in one of the back rooms that would supposedly save the world from ruin or give power to its holder. Little did they know that the ancient magic in the castle rested not in one object, but in the walls and stone of the building itself.
And now the old magic was stirring.
Harry had started out wandering the halls of Hogwarts on an entirely different purpose that night. The legend of the Order of the Phoenix had led him into another mystery, and it seemed that the heart of the enigma - as usual - had to do with one of those around him, probably the new Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher. But as soon as he heard the song, he knew he would have to investigate his original riddle later. It echoed softly throughout the school, not loud enough to wake anyone, yet just loud enough to be heard. The song was hauntingly beautiful, sung in a man's voice, and in some language Harry didn't know, but it sounded as if it came from somewhere in the east.
He followed it, like a bloodhound on a scent, walking the still halls of Hogwarts. The longer he listened, the more apparent it was that the song was slow and mournful... a dirge... a funeral dirge. The last sung note hung in the air for a moment before it was followed by the same tune repeated on a flute. The sound was almost rasping, each note holding the mark of death; it made the hairs on the back of Harry's neck prickle. But at the same time, he found it oddly intoxicating. When the flute came, he found it much easier to find his way, an odd mist falling in his mind as he was dragged along in a stupor by an invisible hand. He let himself be led, as the sensation was strangely pleasant. His mind devoid of thought, he walked along at a steady pace, eyes half-closed.
As the last note of the song reverberated in the hall, Harry stopped as well, blinking and shaking his head. The stupor lifted, and, now able to see clearly, he finally was able to see the player...
It was a man, dressed in elegant robes that suggested he had lived in Medieval times - or even slightly earlier. Each hem was decorated in a slightly Byzantine style. His long black hair went down his back in a loose braid, and all around him hung an ghostly glow of swirling green, like colored fog clinging to his form. As Harry pulled off his invisibility cloak, still mesmerized. The man's eyes snapped open - milky-green and holding the same hypnotic power that the song did. It was then that Harry realized why the man looked so terribly familiar - he knew the manís facial structure, although it was sharper in youth than the massive carving he had seen...
Even as the song faded, Harry remained rooted to the spot, suddenly stricken dumb once more. The jaded stare was overwhelmingly hypnotic, overpowering his thoughts as the man stirred from his perch, tucking the flute in his sash and unfolding his legs.
"So. You are the boy the walls have been talking about."
The milky-green stare did not let him reply verbally, tongue limp and thick in his mouth, but Harry nodded slowly with a blink. The man gave a wan smile.
"Yes - yes, I knew you the instant I saw you." He reached out to lift Harry's chin as though appraising cattle or other livestock instead of looking at a human being. "Yes. Those green eyes are not bestowed on just an average Gryffindor. No..." The long, cold fingers withdrew their touch from Harry's skin. "'Tis a sad thing you are in Godric's house, boy. A sad thing..." His voice, mournful, dropped to a murmur and then was lost as he looked down. Harry stood there numbly, still stunned.
Finally Slytherin raised his voice once more. "You realize this school is dying, don't you, boy?" His gaze was focused on the stones by his feet, and his voice, surprisingly, held true sadness. "It's dying, boy. Soon it will be gone. My house... my legacy... the foundation of the school... is crumbling. They forget who they are in pageantry and pompous ways..." A sudden raw choke in his voice interrupted him, but he wiped it away with a scowl, shaking it off as he turned back to face Harry.
"But you, boy..." Suddenly his voice became saccharine as he reached out to stroke Harry's cheek with an incredibly cold finger. Harry stood there as if petrified. "You do not need to know this..." The milky green eyes met Harry's, searching, ever searching, until finally Slytherin drew back, softly pronouncing - "Yes... the innocents will remain ignorant. Hogwarts must not be troubled. You must not be troubled, dear boy." A broken smile formed on Slytherin's face as he fingered his flute. "Such a dear boy. Don't let it lay heavy on your shoulders... yes... for the death of Hogwarts must come very unexpectedly... very suddenly..." The flute barely touched his lips as he muttered, "So that none may rise from the ashes and rubble."
The dirge began again, and Harry remembered no more as the song possessed him, commanding him to march back up through the halls and corridors the same way he had came. He entered the dorms silently, and as soon as he pulled the covers over his shoulders, he was asleep.
It seemed all of Hogwarts was oblivious to the odd occurrence the next morning. Birds about the campus sang with gusto, as if the basilisk-keeper himself had not been in the castle the previous night. Roosters crowed with reckless abandon, sending moaning students up out of their beds. By the time the golden rays of sunlight spilled into the Great Hall, Slytherin and his music were gone.
But perhaps not forgotten...
Harry stirred himself awake with a groan. It was Saturday. No classes. Ron was lounging a few beds over, still in his pajamas, reading a book on his favorite Quidditch team, the Chudley Cannons. Harry blinked several times, running a hand through his hair before putting on his glasses and wriggling halfway out of his bed.
"Ron... I had the strangest dream last night..."
Token Author's Notes: This plot bunny attacked. I may chase it further. You have been warned.