Chapter 1: A change of fate
Salazar had lived for a long time now. It had been over a thousand years now since he founded Hogwarts together with Gryffindor, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. So much happened since that time. In his opinion, everything went downhill lately, especially since first Dippet and the later Dumbledore had gotten the position of headmaster of Hogwarts and he could do not protest their appointment. Not if he wanted to remain hidden that was. Then there was the latest insolence…Riddle, or `Lord Voldemort´, as he demanded his followers to call him, as if it would give him a dark and mysterious aura. How pathetic.
“And to think he is considered my heir…” Salazar mused.
He was so absorbed in his thoughts, that he nearly missed the person entering the room and was almost stepped on as a result.
Salazar was in his animagus form in order to observe the latest family that the idiot Dumbledore was currently tampering with. So, he was in this damned village named after the muggle loving fool of Godric Gryffindor, Godric’s Hollow hiding as a small snake and watching the oh so exciting lives of James and Lily Potter. Sure, James was an auror and both were in Dumbledore’s little playgroup called `The Order of the Phoenix´ which was somewhat enthralling to watch, but since both went into hiding because of this prophecy…pure tension. Oh, yes and Lily was pregnant. He hated pregnant women, all of them were ill-tempered simply because they were pregnant, give him Gryffindor and Dumbledore any day with their muggle-loving attitude. Alright, so over the centuries he grew more moderate again with the muggle-born and half-bloods, but that was as long as they had strong magic. He knew that they needed strong, new, magical blood since the two Dark Lords had killed many during the past two wars and all the inbreeding did a number on the magical population too, but that didn’t mean he liked muggles in general. Up to now had a live and let live attitude towards them. That was the only reason he wasn’t bothered by Lily that much since although she was a muggle-born she was a very powerful and intelligent witch.
‘That was a bit too close for comfort’ he thought while slithering under the nearest cupboard to evade any further life threatening situations where he might get trod on.
From underneath, the cupboard he watched as a man with long black hair and grey eyes wandered through the living room.
“Sirius Black, why he betrayed his family and decided to help Dumbledore I will never understand. The Black family was such an old and noble family, but now…more evidence that everything is going down the drain” he muttered.
Sirius who thought he heard something strange turned around with his wand in hand but Salazar had quickly hidden under the cupboard before he could be spotted.
“Now I’m starting to hear things. All this tension and paranoia will kill me one day. But with the Dark Lord around it’s no wonder,” a stressed-out Sirius hissed. “Now where did I put that damned thing, I know it must be around here somewhere. I put it on the table last night when I got home after all.”
Sirius was clearly searching for something, and Salazar who had an inkling about what he was searching for, slithered out from under the cupboard towards one of the armchairs while Sirius wasn’t looking into his direction. There he saw it, the wand holster that Sirius had so carelessly thrown onto the table the day before and where James had later kicked it down until it had ended up sliding under the chair. Salazar carefully pushed the holster out from under the armchair paying attention not to be seen or heard by the other wizard.
At that exact moment, the door to the living room opened and James walked in not seeing the snake who had quickly slithered back under the armchair.
“Sirius, what are you looking for?” James asked tiredly having dark circles under his eyes.
“My holster, I know I put it around here somewhere when I got back from work yesterday, but now I can’t find it.”
James scratched his head while taking a look around the room “Perhaps you should take the one lying in front of the armchair!”
“Oh, there it is. What is it doing down there?” after a short look at his watch he added, “Never mind that now, I’m already late for work.”
“Be careful these are dark times and you know how dangerous it is for aurors these days. I don’t want my child to lose his godfather” James worriedly told his friend.
“Yes, yes, you know I always act with the utmost caution,” Sirius replied flippantly
“Yeah, sure thing” James replied sarcastically knowing that for Sirius caution sometimes meant acting ridiculously careless, and stupid. He could only hope that Sirius didn’t get hurt, or worse killed while working for the ministry and Dumbledore.
Both men left the room and Salazar came out from under the armchair where he had been hiding for the past few minutes. He shook his head; these dunderheads would never learn. But they were adults so they could fix their own mistakes, and if not then they would simply have to live with them. With that thought in mind, Salazar curled himself up in a corner next to the fireplace and went to sleep.
A few months had passed by and it was now about three months since Harry James Potter had been born. This particular evening James and Sirius were out meeting with Dumbledore or as Salazar liked to call him in private “Dumb-as-a-door” and Lily had stayed with Harry at Godric’s Hollow. At the moment, she was in the kitchen preparing dinner for the two men while Harry was in his cot sleeping.
Salazar slithered into Harry’s room and up to the lightly snoring boy. He had watched over him ever since he was born. Now for the first time, he approached him directly instead of just observing from a distance. He raised himself up carefully and slithered into the crib attempting not to wake the little boy up. But from time to time life decided to be a bitch and this was just one of those times; So, his attempt was just that, an attempt. Harry woke up but luckily for Salazar instead of crying instantly he looked around with sleepy eyes until his sight fell on the little black snake next to him. He was more curious than scared and so he reached out for the snake and grabbed it quite carefully. At first, Salazar was shocked and tried to wriggle out of Harry’s hands just in case the little boy would decide to do something which could hurt him; albeit unintentionally, but after a few seconds he was surprised by how tenderly and carefully the boy handled him.
“Strange. I hope he lets me go before Lily returns,” Salazar muttered to himself but when his gaze fell on the boy’s eyes, he got his second shock of the evening. In his eyes was something one could only regard as understanding, which was absolutely not possible considering that Harry was only a three-month-old baby.
‘Did he just understand me?’ Salazar asked himself. ‘But that cannot be, can it? Even if he understands what someone says it should be impossible to understand me since I’m currently a snake.’
Anyway, he decided to try something while not really expecting anything to happen at all.
“Would you mind letting me down? It’s not very nice to be hold like that” he asked the boy.
What happened next left Salazar totally baffled, the boy slowly and cautiously put him down onto his chest. The only thing he could do at this moment was to simply stare at the boy who indicated that he not only understood what Salazar said and therefore displayed he was a parseltongue, but also revealed that he understood what Salazar wanted from him.
“You truly are an amazing little fella. But how can you be a parseltongue when there are none known of in your bloodline? I think I have some research to do about your ancestry,” Salazar murmured more to himself then to the boy. Harry, however, began to smile and Salazar got the notion that the boy knew something he didn’t.
Suddenly he heard a noise outside the room, the creak of someone on the stairs. It seemed Lily had finished dinner and was now coming upstairs to check on her child.
“I have to go now, but I will come to see you as often as I can ok?”
The boy smiled again while Salazar slithered out of the crib and underneath the table next to it.
‘I really must do some research about the young Potter heir now,’ and with this thought in mind, he left the room and the house to start some long overdue research.
It had been about a year now since his last visit to Godric’s Hollow. Since that one night when he had spoken with Harry Salazar had researched the ancestry of the boy; the Paternal side of James Potter and his family was fairly easy to investigate as he only had to go to Gringotts and ask the goblins there for the magical records of the family tree. It had been more difficult to research the maternal side of Lily Potter née Evans as they were mundane. All the bureaucracy one had to get past to get information were a hell and a half, especially putting into account that wizards and witches tended to leave the system at the age of eleven when they first began to attend a magic school. Thankfully Salazar had some experience with mundane businesses as he had invested in some of their companies to broaden his spectrum of experience. He had also gained so much money over a long period of time through his strategic investments that he didn’t know what else to do with it anymore. However, despite his knowledge about the workflow in a mundane agency it still took him about a year to get all the information he needed and what a shock that had been when he finally got the results. No wonder Harry was able to understand his parseltongue, Lily was one of his descendants. Nevertheless, that didn’t explain the knowing gaze of the boy…or perhaps he had imagined things.
Now he was returning to the Potter cottage and the little boy that had intrigued him. It was Halloween now and recently the weather had been very cold so he decided to walk until he reached the border of the cottage and then change to his animagus form in some dark corner as he was cold-blooded while in that form.
He turned a corner and then he saw it, Fire. The whole cottage was burning. Salazar stood there utterly shocked for about half a minute before it wore off and he could move again. When he overcame his rigor he slowly moved forward while applying a warming charm and transforming into a snake in order to get closer without being noticed, cold weather be damned he needed information and this was currently the best way to get it. While slithering up to the main gates he never once looked away from the horrid view the burning cottage provided him with when he saw him, Dumbledore had just exited the burning house holding something in his arms. It took a few seconds before Salazar recognised the bundle as Harry wrapped in several sheets.
‘Thank Merlin the boy is alive, but what is Dumbledore doing with him? And where are his parents and Sirius?’ he thought while watching Dumbledore walk up to a gigantic man on a bike still holding Harry.
Dumbledore spoke a few words to said man, then gave Harry to him before he stepped back and the man left with Harry in his arms.
“No, no, no… what is this idiot doing? Where is, he bringing him? He has no right to do that! And where are his parents?” Salazar hissed angrily because there was no way for him to do anything about what had just happened.
It took another day for him to get the answers to his last question via the Daily Prophet. A large article claimed that Lily and James Potter got killed by the thrice-damned idiot who called himself Voldemort while Harry was the sole survivor of the attack. Sirius, who wasn’t present at that time was being accused of being the one who had betrayed the Potters and after that had gone on to kill Peter Pettigrew and over a dozen muggle civilians by blowing up the entire street they were on. The only thing left of Peter that could be found was a single finger. As a result, the Ministry found him guilty without even giving him a trial and sentenced him to Azkaban for the rest of his life.
Salazar incinerated the paper in anger because he knew that Sirius could never be the one betraying the Potters as Sirius wasn’t the actual secret keeper.
“That bastard Pettigrew! I have to find Harry!” he growled.