Chapter Five: Dominatio and Other Little Games
Snape wasn't surprised that Salazar decided to skip breakfast in the Great Hall. Dumbledore would undoubtedly be present and he was obviously unwilling to test his acting abilities against the formidable Headmaster just yet. Instead, he took a walk down the main corridors of the castle, in the process neglecting to tell Snape where he was taking them.
Much to Snape's disappointment, Slytherin seemed to be taking more care in his external performance. He stalked down the school's passages, the signature black robes billowing behind him, scowling tightly. For the first time since teaching at Hogwarts, Snape was genuinely annoyed that most of the student body was racing past him without making eye contact. *Fools!* he spat internally. Did they ever do anything he wanted them to? He was beginning to suspect that he could be striding amongst them with a shrieking hippogriff attached to his back and that no one would even glance up.
Slytherin smirked at his descendant's frustration, but said nothing.
It was not until they were half way across the castle that Snape finally figured out where they were going. When the entrance to Dumbledore's office appeared at the end of a long hallway, he felt a pang of alarm and thought, *he's after the Founder's Pendant Box!*
Stopping before the gargoyle that guarded the Headmaster's office, Slytherin pulled his chin up and announced, "Chocolate Frogs," confidently.
Internally, Snape felt Slytherin flinch with confusion. Dumbledore had changed his password without telling his Potions Master, an occurrence without precedent. Another wave of hope swept over Snape. Dumbledore must suspect something, he thought.
In response, a profound anger that Snape knew was not his own, drove it's way up through Slytherin's consciousness and escaped through his mouth as a hiss of fury. "Damn him!" he seethed and swept around on the spot as though looking for the misplaced password on the floor.
"Is everything alright, Professor Snape?" A curious voice enquired behind him and Slytherin whirled around to meet the voice's owner. Harry Potter. Salazar seemed to regain control of his anger and straightened, his eyes narrowing menacingly.
"What are you doing here, Potter? Shouldn't you be in class?" Slytherin said quietly, his tone even and menacing.
Obviously quite accustomed to his Professor's tone, Harry merely shrugged. "Not on Sunday, Professor."
Snape's heart leapt. Despite the fact that Harry was now officially an adult of eighteen and in the second year of his Wizarding University Degree, he was still the last person Snape would have wanted to come to his aid. The boy simply never paid attention, not even when the bleeding obvious was waggled right under his stupid nose. *Come on, Potter, you dim-wit! Look at my hair!* he thought vehemently.
As if on cue, Harry looked up at Snape's hair, clean and groomed, and raised an eyebrow. "Date tonight, Professor?" he smiled.
Never, in all the years since Snape had met and endured the company of Harry Potter, had he wanted to slap him as much as he did at that very moment.
Slytherin, however, kept his temper and watched Harry evenly, his face revealing nothing of the inner rage Snape could feel coursing through his ancestor's mind. "What are you doing here, Potter?" he asked quietly, his eyes never leaving Harry's face.
"Professor Dumbledore sent me to get something for him from his office," Harry replied and turned to the gargoyle.
*No, you stupid boy!* Snape screamed internally just as Slytherin smirked and replied, "Very well. Get on with it then," to Harry.
"Mars Bar," Harry said simply and stood back as the gargoyle moved aside to reveal the moving spiral staircase. He was about to step on when he realized that his Professor was still standing behind him. "Were you going in too, Professor?"
With a smile flickering briefly across his lips, Slytherin nodded and followed Harry onto the staircase, his eyes burning with triumph.
Snape wondered about Helena Ravenclaw as she slept peacefully before him. What did Slytherin have planned for her exactly? He felt the Founder's Pendant Box sitting on his knees, his hands resting gently on its carved top, and wondered again why Salazar had bothered grabbing it. Not that it had been a difficult thing to do with that stupid Potter only too happy to help. The boy had not even questioned why his Potions Professor had grabbed the box from Dumbledore's desk and hurried from the room with it.
Helena stirred and opened her eyes. She started when she saw someone sitting beside her and sat up abruptly. She immediately relaxed, however, when she recognized him, a smile playing across her face. "Oh," she breathed, brushing some stray hair out of her eyes, "it's you. Hello again." She smiled shyly and looked down at her hands.
Slytherin leaned forward and smiled smoothly at her, "Hello, Helena. I thought I'd take you up on your offer and come back to see you."
Helena laughed, a sound clear and pure to Snape's ears, and leaned back against the pillows. "Well, I'm glad you came, though I have to admit that I wasn't expecting you to come back in half an hour!"
Salazar smiled again and leaned back. "Well, I couldn't bear the thought of you alone in here, so I thought I would come back up and show you a magic trick."
Helena's eyes opened wide and she tiled her head to one side, "Magic trick? I don't think I've seen one of those since I was a little girl. This should be interesting. Are you a good magician?" she asked.
Slytherin's eyes glanced up at her, shining with wickedness, "Oh, one of the best, my dear."
It was then that Snape first realized that Helena Ravenclaw was a Muggle. It had never occurred to him that the last descendant of Rowena Ravenclaw would be anything but magical. Considering that a thousand years had passed since she had lived though, Snape reasoned, it was quite likely she could be.
Slytherin, meanwhile, had opened the Founder's Box and pulled out a long silver chain. A pendant swung freely from the end of it. It was the first time Snape had seen it since his ordeal in the woods next to the Quidditch World Cup. The pendant was, naturally, a coiled silver snake with an emerald eye. He allowed it to swing slowly in front of him as Helena watched. "This is my personal pendant. I designed it, you know, and even supervised as it was being forged." He looked back up at Helena. "Now I'd like you to search the box and see if there's anything else in there." Salazar handed the heavy box to her and she took it, still smiling at the thought of being entertained in her hospital bed.
Helena looked in every corner of the velvet interior, even pressing along the edges to make certain that nothing was hidden beneath it, and then returned it to Slytherin. "Empty," she announced, adjusting herself slightly to watch in more comfort.
Salazar took the box from her outstretched hands and placed it back on his knees, open towards Helena. With a little tilt, he allowed the lid to fall shut with a small bang and smiled back up at Helena. "Now, watch closely, my dear," he said.
Slytherin looked back down at the box, took the snake pendant in his hand and ran it along the wooden top. As he did so, he muttered an incantation that Snape did not recognize. Once finished, Slytherin looked back up at Helena, the smile fading from his face. "Now, open it, my dear," he said softly, his eyes growing hungry.
Helena reached over and tilted back the lid. A bright smile crossed her face and she looked up at Salazar. "Wow! How did you do that, Severus?" she asked brightly.
*Do what?* Snape thought desperately, wishing Salazar would turn the box so he could see what was inside. As if granting him his wish, Slytherin turned the box on his lap so it opened towards him, and looked down. Inside lay another pendant, this one of a bronze-coloured eagle with a sapphire eye. Snape knew instantly that he was looking at the Pendant of Ravenclaw. He felt his stomach turn as he realized what Slytherin intended to do and writhed helplessly inside his own body. He had to warn the girl!
Slytherin seemed content to ignore Snape and reached into the box to remove the necklace. Careful not to touch the pendant, he lifted it gently from the box by it's bronze chain and allowed it to swing in the air before him. "Lovely, isn't it, my dear?" he breathed, his eyes never leaving the eagle.
Snape's mind reeled. What could he do to prevent what was coming? He was helpless inside his own body. As he watched Helena Ravenclaw observe the swinging pendant in front of her, the only comforting thought he could muster was that Rowena Ravenclaw herself might be able to subdue Slytherin once she was released into her descendant's body.
Salazar chuckled and looked away from the pendant. "Do you know what a Dominatio curse is, my dear?" he asked Helena.
She raised her eyebrows and shook her head. "You mean curse, as in swear word?" she asked innocently.
Chuckling, Slytherin shook his head and smiled at the young woman in front of him. "No, not exactly. I ask merely because a good friend of mine once asked me what I would do if were confronted by someone very powerful who wanted to subdue me."
Snape felt his insides clench. Had he now put both Helena and Rowena in danger?
"I honestly think he believes that I've never considered such a thing before, but I assured him I had." Helena looked confused by the sudden turn in their conversation and nodded uncertainly.
Snape felt himself shiver internally. Of course. The Dominatio curse. He had not heard the word since his school days. If he remembered correctly, it allowed the person performing the curse to control the victim completely. Snape knew it's origins were ancient and that the knowledge of how to cast it had been lost for centuries. From what historians had been able to gather, however, it had likely been the precursor to the Imperius curse, but was significantly more powerful. The effects, so it was rumoured, never wore off and the victim was a virtual slave forever.
It seemed clear to Snape that Slytherin intended to use it on Ravenclaw before she could fully gain control of her descendant's body. If the powers of the Founders had not been exaggerated over the centuries, Snape suspected that Slytherin likely had only a few seconds where Ravenclaw would be weak enough to be susceptible to the curse.
"You can have this if you want, my dear," Salazar said to Helena, holding the pendant out for her.
She smiled at the man across from her and titled her head to one side, uncertainly. "Are you sure?" she asked him.
Slytherin leaned a little closer to her, his eyes betraying his growing internal hunger, "Of course, I'm sure, child. Take it!"
Not seeming to notice his growing impatience, Helena leaned over towards Slytherin and took the pendant in her hand.
*No!* Snape screamed internally as a bright blue light suddenly burst through Helena's clenched fingers. Her eyes widened in surprise and she fell back onto the bed. She gasped once, the light now fading, and closed her eyes.
Salazar sprang to his feet and hovered over Helena, his hand outstretched. He licked his lips with anticipation and shuffled his feet as though looking for better leverage.
"Well, Severus, seems this is it. My Rowena is coming back to me," he smiled as he spoke, his eyes never leaving Helena's face. "Only this time, things are going to be a little bit different."
Snape felt himself cringe with disgust. He, himself, had been the victim of Imperius many times and loathed the thought of this young woman spending her life as a victim to such a curse. Living at the whim of another person. At the whim of Salazar Slytherin. The irony that they were both now in the same boat was not lost to him.
"Now, Severus," Salazar said, "do you really think so little of me? I have no intention of controlling her in that way. Provided she does as I tell her, she is free to do as she pleases."
Helena stirred and moaned softly. As her eyes fluttered open, Salazar brought his hand up in front of him and opened his mouth to speak.
Snape took a sharp internal breath, feeling the weight of responsibility bearing down on him. He wished, like so many times since first becoming a spy for Dumbledore, that he could look away from what he was being forced to witness. As usual, however, fate seemed determined to make Severus Snape watch.
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