A flame flickered feebly under the moonless, starless sky. It struggled like a wounded beast against the cold of the night, its light trying fiercely but futilely to combat the shadows that smothered it from all sides. On a night like this, darkness reigned.

The dying screams of a burning man could be heard from the fire. In the darkness, twenty-nine Death Eaters waited with obvious nervousness. The most anxious of all was their serpentine, pale-faced leader. The soul binding had better work – he did sacrifice a truly loyal follower to the ritual and expend a herculean amount of effort to go with it. Really it was ridiculous how exhausting it was. No duels had ever left Lord Voldemort this tired… But on the other hand, the soul he was trying to call was far from ordinary.

Suddenly, the screams stopped. Thunder clapped. A torrent of rain fell, and the fire went out entirely. Darkness had won at last. For a minute, the Death Eaters could only blink at each other in confusion…

…Until in the darkness that had replaced the flame, the smooth, tenor voice of a formerly dead man spoke.

"Well bloody hell!"

... ...

"Bloody hell!" The man who now stood in the cinders of the fire exclaimed, and launched into a string of incomprehensible hissing. (Not because it was Parseltongue, but because his colourful choice of words to express his surprise was really quite... extraordinary.)

Finally, with a careful look around the circle, he met Voldemort's red eyes and began to speak in slightly accented English. "Well would you look at this! And here I thought necromancy would be a lost art!" Although unarmed, he seemingly had no regard for the dozens of wands that had been shakily levelled at him. "Right, then. You are the talented fellow practitioner of my art who has summoned me?"

Lord Voldemort stared carefully at the newcomer with one part haughtiness, two parts bravado, and just the tiniest bit of apprehension. "You are Salazar Slytherin?"

The newly resurrected wizard grinned, and sank into an elaborate bow. "I am Lord Salazar Slytherin, 4th of my name, founder of House Slytherin of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry… at your service. Congratulations, my lord Voldemort."

The mighty Lord Voldemort subtly let out the breath that he hadn't noticed he'd been holding. It worked! "I have raised you from death by the Morgausian ritual. You are bound to me as my thrall. You are required to follow my instructions?"

If the Death Eaters around the circle had been less familiar with Voldemort's legilimency skills, they would have marvelled at the incredible realism of their lord's current imitation of a giddy toddler. Ah well, one has to cut him some slack, thought Malfoy. It's not something unreasonable to be excited about, granted Avery. It's not everyday that you get to bind your esteemed ancestor as your slave, nodded Crabbe dumbly. (Well, excepting whatever his grandfather used to get up to in the bedroom… But that was something else, probably.)

Salazar Slytherin nodded once. His posture was placid, and his words deferential. The corners of his rather thin lips, however, were upturned as if he was telling a colossal joke. "Correct. I am at your service. As long as I live, I must obey every command of the one who brought me back. Any willful disobedience of your orders or attempts to harm you on my part would result in my death. My life is in your hands, my lord Voldemort."

... ...

Stepping into the circle, Voldemort prowled forward almost like a cat … but only almost, because he had all the arrogance of one and none of the grace. "Your life is mine to do as I wish?"

"That is correct, my lord Voldemort."

"You must do whatever I tell you to do?"

Salazar's grin grew wider. "On pain of death, yes. But I hope you are not thinking of something outrageous. I believe it would not be in your best interest."

Voldemort frowned. "Suppose I tell you to lick my shoes?"

"Must I? I'd really rather not."

"I order you. Lick my foot."

The revenant cocked his head. "Why? You've got a thing about feet?"

"Stop dawdling. Wait, what?"

"I jest," Slytherin laughed. "Ah well, I suppose you do need a practical demonstration after all."

In an impressive display of wandless magic, Slytherin conjured an intricate silver dagger out of thin air. Almost casually, he plunged the blade into his own heart in the same stroke. "Unfortunately for both of us, I'd rather die than indulge you in that little ... er, let us not speak of such things in polite company. If you still want my help for whatever purpose you've summoned me to achieve, you know what to do."

Voldemort gaped. Well damn, now he needed to do the ritual again…

The unfortunate Death Eaters blinked and carefully started to edge backward. "Shit…"

... ...

Another sacrifice later, Voldemort thought Lord Salazar Slytherin looked all too smug for a man who was supposed to be his necromantic slave. "Don't be so put out, my lord Voldemort! I'm sure you too will one day appreciate that 'pain of death' means nothing to one who has already died."

"What are your conditions?" Voldemort sighed. He wasn't gloating this time, although that might be because he was having trouble summoning the strength to stand upright.

"My good lord Voldemort, I knew you wouldn't disappoint! I do not require much, really. All you must do to ensure my help is to make it more enjoyable for me to be alive than dead. Who knows, if you treat me well, perhaps one day I will even genuinely grovel at your feet. If not, well, things might get a bit more irritating for everyone involved." Salazar laughed again, in a way that prompted the poor Death Eaters to wonder if bone-chilling menace was a family trait. "Now, if it pleases you my lord, let us speak about your grandest aspirations. I am looking forward to our partnership already…"

... ...

The rest of the evening could be described as a considerably more painless affair all around. By the morning, Salazar was in a good mood as he strolled out of the Death Eaters' headquarters with graciously bestowed permission to go wherever he wished until he was needed. This Lord Voldemort was proving to be very interesting, and his amazingly convoluted plan to kill a specific boy even more so. The child, Harry Potter, must be something special to be on the receiving end of so much personal attention from an aspiring Dark Lord.

Now, Salazar pondered as he absently tapped his new wand, what could a poor, helpless, newly-resurrected slave like himself possibly do?

AN: Ehehe after reading Lady Salazar's one-shot "Deadheads" (in which Godric Gryffindor has been resurrected by Voldemort as a slave to do his bidding, but ownership transferred to Fem!Harry with the elder wand), I am struck by this idea: What would Salazar Slytherin do if he finds himself raised as a revenant slave? Being Slytherin, he would naturally try to find loopholes in the system to maximize his own enjoyment/satisfaction and to keep doing whatever he wants.

As a result, I am irresponsibly throwing this one-shot out as a plot bunny in hopes that someone would expand it into a story. This Salazar could go either way - Dark lord working toward his own ends? Responsible founder trying to help Harry while being required to help Voldemort at the same time? Ambivalent observer just hanging around for the LOLz?

If you decide to take up this challenge, or if you know if a similar story has already been written, I'd be grateful if you can leave a comment to tell me where to find it!