Written for Assignment #8 for the forum Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry (Challenges & Assignments). It's for the class of Ancient Runes. I used this prompt: 'write about someone taking on a great responsibility.' I've wanted to explore these characters forever! I really hope that I can do them justice; the dialogue might be a bit off because of time periods and such, but hopefully it won't be too distracting.

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.

A New Venture

"You must be going mad."

The woman winced, stung by his words. Of course, she'd expected it; he certainly didn't seem to be the type to go for what her plan would entail.

She shook her head, hastily rushing to her defense. Perhaps it would have been better strategy-wise to approach at least one of the others first. Too late to reconsider. "Salazar, do you not understand what it is I am proposing? Imagine a school filled with children, dedicated to educating them in the ways of magic. What could be more wonderful?"

Salazar Slytherin had never been known for being calm or understanding; he was neither. He was quick to anger and hasty in retaliation. Until something was in ruins, he wouldn't stop to think about what he was doing. Due to this, many tended to avoid him altogether for fear of angering him.

He sighed. "Rowena, have you truly thought this through? A school to teach children the art of magic… it sounds wonderful, yes, but think of the consequences. Muggles, for one. It sounds as though you intend to include muggleborn children in this plan of yours."

"Of course I plan to include them! They are just as deserving to learn about themselves as those born into magic. As for the muggles, not all of them are bad. We could put wards and disguises around the school in order to ensure the safety of the children. These are tough times; people need a light of hope somewhere." She wasn't pleading. Rowena Ravenclaw had never begged in her life, nor did she plan to. Her words were calm and logical as she laid out the facts, informing him of every facet of her idea. "I do not need you for this. I approached you merely because I thought you might be interested. Perhaps I was wrong."

Silence reigned. He knew she wouldn't take her leave until he gave her a true answer. His mind wrestled with his instincts. It sounded perfect, this incredible idea of hers. It would truly be a miracle, should it work. He could picture it then, children laughing and playing, casting harmless spells at one another. But most importantly, they were safe. Shielded from the dangers of the current world they lived in, of the world that despised everything they were. It was a beautiful fantasy.

It could never work.

He was going to tell her this. He was. The words had formed in his mind and were ready to slip past his lips and out into the air. He was going to deny her and her ridiculous notion of a magic school.

"No. You were correct; I would love to be involved with such a venture. My only condition is this: I will not handle muggleborn children. Should any of them come to harm, it will not be my fault." He cursed himself as the words came from nowhere. This wasn't what he'd planned, what he'd intended.

Before he could take it all back, her thin lips revealed white teeth. "Excellent. I will send an owl within a few weeks. Good day, Salazar."

Then she was gone, and with her his chance to back out. Not that he would have anyway. That was another thing about Salazar Slytherin: he was a man of his word.

Total word count of actual story: 552

Other Challenges:

200 Characters in 200 Days: Salazar Slytherin (143)