A/N:This story is not a story, as such, but three people's thoughts. Two of these are canon characters; one is an original character mentioned in some other stories I have written on ff.net. All you really need to know is that Estella Haywood is a halfblood Slytherin girl one year below the Trio. This story also assumes you have read the first chapter of my story Distractions, on the Quill. About Distractions: I have tried to submit the second chapter for betaing, but something seems to have gone wrong. But I promise I _am_ going to sort that out ASAP. The story's written, after all.
Slytherin. Children of the serpent, cunning and ambitious and determined, self-serving and treacherous. The House that has produced more Dark wizards than any other. When they list our great alumni, it wont be the peacemakers or the dreamers. It is always the evil they think of, the ones who tear our world in two to be patched unevenly. Thats what they think of us. To a large extent, to our shame, it is true. You-Know-Who, Grindlewald, countless Dark Lords and Death Eaters and others are of our House. They forget that Slytherin is ambition, that ambition is a double-edged blade. Like any virtue yes, virtue in too-small amounts, it is useless; taken to extremes, it is terrifying. Take the other Houses Gryffindor the brave, Hufflepuff the loyal, Ravenclaw the wise. Bravery can be foolish recklessness, costing the lives of not one but thousands. Loyalty can be blind, unthinking, following until any end even over a cliff. Intelligence can be pitiless, forgetting that humans, too, matter. Not just facts. Ambition can be all-consuming, burning the world in its flames. They forget that ambition is not necessarily only for oneself They forget those whose ambition and cunning aided others, helped others, or whose ambition was not for power or wealth, but to sing or write or fly. Ambition is not always accompanied by ruthlessness. Hogwarts stands strong, as the Sorting Hat reminds us, only when all four Houses come together. Four, not three. Hogwarts was weakened when Slytherin left. Not strengthened or saved. How easily it is forgotten. And so we of Slytherin are isolated, and in our pride and arrogance we cut ourselves off from them, too. An ever-deepening spiral. And we turn our virtues to vices, to use against those others. All except those who have the strength to escape the whirlpool and leave everyone else to drown in it.
They are Slytherin, after all.
And so am I. I do not deny it, or even wish to. Its in my blood and bones, heart and soul, it is what I am. Ambition. I know what I want, and I will get there. Failure is not an option I have ever considered. It never has been, thought my goals have changed. Acceptance was what I aimed for, but no more; I no longer wish to be part of that group who scorn all others. There are some prices that are too high. It is when that is forgotten that ambition turns to evil. To them, purebloods and arrogant idiots, the lot. Slytherins shame our blood may not be pure, but we do not forget the rule that should be the cornerstone of our House; for every deed there is a price. Consider it. They in their pride believe that ambition is everything. They forget the price. Pride and shame are all they know. Although I must admit they are part of me, too in the bone, tools to be used by me and against me. In this we are so like Gryffindor, though neither we nor they would ever acknowledge it. Bravery, too, breeds arrogance.
In the end, ambition and Slytherin are inseparable. But it must be remembered that ambition is what we are, not who; it is what the ambition is for that defines us more than anything. It is whether it is tempered by a remembrance of the price, that makes us who we are. It can lead both ways. Dark or light, victory or defeat, pride or shame, or a dangerous dance along the grey line between one we of all the Houses see clearest. Maybe thats why we are all so aloof, we Slytherins. We know in our hearts that it is never so simple as good and evil, yet at the same time, we all must choose when others can wait.
I am Slytherin. I say it with pride.
Slytherin. There was never any chance of me being anything else; God knows my family would have died of shock. I would have, too. I am so very Slytherin; self first, others last, and God help anyone who attacks my pride. Were so full of ourselves, as a House, it makes me sick sometimes. Oh, so are the Gryffindors, but they are so blissfully unaware of it its almost cute. I can observe them almost affectionately, Muggle-borns and Muggle-lovers though they are. They mean so well. Theyre not precisely given to introspection, either. Us were the house of the backstabbers. Trust no-one, no-one trusts you. Except, of course, if you are subservient, in which case you can be ignored. As I am; a follower, not a leader. Followers are safe. Followers are not targets. So I fit the House mould even more; a traitor to all I supposedly stand for. Yet the paradox is that when we trust, in Slytherin, we must trust without reservation, because since we give none when we give some it is as if we give all.
Slytherin is the House of paradoxes, truly enough. The House with the most pride, the most arrogance, but the least true loyalty to anyone or anything; that demands the most abject clinging to the will of the group, but is filled with the most rampantly individualistic people in the school. The most ambitious people. Everyone for themselves, or if not solely for themselves if they have ambitions for others
then that is hidden and buried, because it would be a weakness, it could be used against us, and weaknesses cannot be shown. Too dangerous. I can step outside now and view my House objectively, to a point, even though I am so deeply mired in it. Anne did this; gave me the chance to see things through an outsiders eyes, through her innocent Muggleborn view untainted by eleven previous years of indoctrination about which House is the best, or what the Houses are. She epitomises the paradox, because I trust her with everything, as I must because I trust her at all. But then, she is safe a Hufflepuff, loyal and patient, not a Slytherin. I doubt I could trust a Slytherin this much. This, I think, says more about me than anything else. Its sad. I wish I could have Annes innocence sometimes. Then, I suppose, I would not be Slytherin
and that is unthinkable, because it is what I am.
we need a good spring-cleaning, I think, or in my more cynical moments, one good Incendio spell. We have forgotten why we are a House; ambition can be for many things, not just for power, but who remembers that? Who remembers the price of power? Others need to give Slytherin a fresh start, but that cannot happen until this war is over and there is no more hope, no more prejudice
now Im dreaming. Even I have those prejudices, against Muggle-borns and Muggles. At least I can know I have them; though I doubt Ill ever be totally rid of them. I cannot change our House. I am too bound up in the view of us as the best, the purest, in the pride and arrogance and prejudice, by blood and upbringing and choice of my first four years here. Too many others are like me. There are too few who see the truth of our House, and if we tried, we would be destroyed. Maybe the next generation can do it. If, that is, we win the war. If we survive. Then I remember Im sixteen, and talking about schoolchildren, and far too young to be this cynical. Sixteen. The age of choice, of choosing right or easy or wrong or betrayal or trust or death or life or-
Sixteen, in Slytherin. Not so young. And I will always be Slytherin. After all, you cant escape yourself.
There are so many people in or House with no pride. No sense of what being Slytherin means, of what we are, of what we stand for, of what we will someday be. Honestly. Theyre Slytherins, and they creep around as if they are
ashamed? That cant be. We are the highest of the Houses, the House of the purebloods, the cunning and the daring and the wise. Chosen of Salazar Slytherin himself. We have nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to fear. The other Houses are weak. They dither and worry about others. We know where we are going, how we will get there. We are strong. Oh, there are a few who slip in, halfbreeds and Mudbloods
but even they have House pride, mostly, and they will be fit for service, I suppose. The best of their flawed kind, or they wouldnt be in our House. But the day is coming when all the Mudbloods and Muggle-lovers and weak fools will be shown their place. The day is coming. Its here. The Dark Lord has returned, the Heir of Slytherin, and he will brook no opposition. Soon theyll all see how much better we are than them, so much more certain, able, worthy.
Potter and his friends think theyve won a victory. They weep over their fallen ones. We do not weep. We are not weak, like them, foolish, like them. My father will be free soon, and I do not weep, because I know this. I know that we are destined for victory, so why should I worry about failure? But Potter and the others must know they will fail, ultimately. Thats why they are scared. They should be. I cannot wait for the day when I look into their eyes and they look into mine and know how pathetic they are, how much less worthy. When they crawl in the dust and cannot look up because they know in their souls. When their arrogance is turned to nothing. I dont want them to die. Well, the Mudbloods, of course, but the others I just want them to know. To feel humility. To know their place. Its no more than they deserve. Theyd be in Slytherin, otherwise.
But some people in our House I see them look sometimes like we should be the ones who are on their level. Like they are
equals. No pride. No pride in what they are. Its pathetic. Like Nott, or Haywood. Nott is a follower, and he will follow me, but his heart isnt really in it. He doesnt have the spine to stand up for what he is, or to crawl over to the other side, either. What a waste of someone whose blood is pure. Haywood its almost a pity that she is a halfbreed. She was so fiercely proud of being Slytherin, once so much like us, and
not. Because she was a halfbreed. It was like seeing a dog, or a pet, do something clever. If shed only been born pureblood, like us, then she could have made something of herself. But instead she is tainted, and useless. Her pride is all for herself, now. Like Nott, she will follow, but unlike him, her arrogance must be stripped from her until she is made to see what she is. Oh well. She will crawl, too, on that day. When everyone is made to know what is already the truth, that we are the greatest, the only ones who deserve the power and the recognition. Slytherin. We are the best of them all, and they will all know it.