Disclaimers: Not mine.
A/N: Part two in the What it Means series, but this can
be read alone. I’m rather fond of this one. There’s just something about
writing about creepy darkness and cruelty that makes shivers run down your
spine. Thanks to my beta, PirateQueen.
It is only after the feast is over that I
realize just how different we are from the other houses. My eyes travel over
the unruly hordes of first years, like myself, following their respective
prefects. And then I turn to my own, a tall boy with dark hair grazing his
shoulders. Deep blue eyes glitter in his pale face, and he carries a sort of
contained wildness that is almost frightening.
“Up,” he commands. “Get in two straight lines
and follow me. No dawdling on the way.” And he turns around, not even looking
behind him, confident that we will follow.
And we do. Obediently we get into the two lines
and walk ahead, not pausing for anything, until we stop in front of our common
The portrait that blocks the way is frightening
and alluring all at once. Two snakes, one black and one green, twine sinuously
around each other, forked red tongues darting out at intervals. They look up at
us as we near, their eyes tinted scarlet.
“Fastosus,” the prefect says, and the portrait
My first reaction to the Slytherin common room
is a shiver; the whole look of it is cold. Our prefect leads to the
straight, high-backed chairs with silver snakes curling at the arms. We all sit
down. He remains standing.
His eyes travel over each of us slowly, and
almost none of us can meet his gaze.
“Welcome to Slytherin House,” he says finally,
and the way he says does not sound like a welcome at all. “You are all here
because you have some quality that makes you worthy of Lord Slytherin’s house.
Through the course of your years here we expect you to develop those qualities,
and act in a manner befitting a Slytherin.” He paces, like a caged tiger, all
quiet energy and restrained power. “You will see, very soon, the common
attitude to our house. It is not a good one. The other houses despise us, and
even the teachers have no trust in us. The rest of the school has forsaken us,
and so, Slytherin House turns to itself.”
His words ring in the air, and none of us can
look away. He holds his wand tightly in his right hand and the picture that
comes to my mind is that of a teacher and his eager, half-frightened students.
“We are as one. All shall know your triumphs;
likewise, we will decide punishments for your failures in addition to the
teachers. You must know who to talk to, who to avoid, when and when not to
speak. You must have knowledge of what to do, when to use your discretion and
pretend that something never happened.” He pauses again, making sure that we
are all listening, his eyes burning into us.
“These are all skills that you will need to
survive, for we are in the middle of a war. There are risks in a war, dangers,
and the simple choosing of sides can kill you instantly.” He moves closer, and,
almost unconsciously, we take a step back. “Choose wisely,” he hisses. “Choose
wisely and do us proud.” He nods curtly and disappears upstairs.
I look down at my half-chewed nails and shove my
hands in my pockets, knowing that I will never bite my nails again. Just like I
will never again climb the gnarled tree in my backyard, and, even if the girl
at the Gryffindor table was rather pretty, I will have to forget about her
I straighten my back automatically, and try not
to look too far into the bleak future. I am a Slytherin and I will be a source
of pride for my house.
This is what it means to be a Slytherin.