After the feast concluded, the prefects of each house led their respective students back to their common room, sharing interesting commentary about the school and castle on the way. Ophion walked next to Draco and a quiet boy named Theo, following a Slytherin prefect who had introduced herself as Gemma Farley back in the Great Hall. Many of the other Slytherin students kept glancing towards Ophion and talking quietly, and he suppressed an annoyed sigh at how obvious it was that there was little chance he’d have a peaceful evening after the long, tiring day. Hopefully, he’d at least have his friends with him to make it less painful.
Stepping through the wall after Theo and shivering at the odd sensation of his body moving through stone like it was air, Ophion looked around at the Slytherin common room, taking in the cozy decor and the large portrait of a man that was hanging on the wall by the fire. He moved to stand near the portrait as everyone silenced themselves, attention on the tall figure who had entered the room from another door.
“Good evening, Slytherins. I am Professor Severus Snape, Head of Slytherin House. There is a notice board by the entrance to the common room. Make sure to check it daily for information. This week's password is Aesculapius. Do not share it with anyone outside of this house or you will come to regret it after serving detention scrubbing cauldrons for a week. This room is a safe space, I will not tolerate discrimination or bullying. If you want to fight, take it to the dueling room, but never show discord outside of these walls. We as Slytherins must stand united.” Snape said, gazing across the room and making eye contact with all the students.
“Am I understood?” Snape asked, folding his arms and staring down two whispering first year girls. A chorus of agreement filled the room and he nodded before gesturing to the prefects to continue, vanishing back through the door into what was likely his office.
As Gemma started talking about room arrangements, Ophion heard a noise and turned to see the man in the portrait staring at him as if he’d seen a ghost. “You look exactly like my old friend Salazar, but with hints of Godric. How-”
Ophion blushed and glanced around to make sure no one was listening before he responded quietly, “Those are my parents. Ophion Godric Slytherin, sir.”
The man stared at him, his brown eyes wide in surprise. “My word, but how? They never had children before going into stasis.” He replied, clearly shocked. A glance at the label underneath the portrait revealed that his name was Lord Aquila Black.
“Err, I’m not exactly sure about that myself, I was kidnapped as a baby.” Ophion said.
“Well, if you are indeed Salazar’s heir, there is a private room for you. Simply speak to the snake by the fireplace-” Aquila stopped suddenly, as if he was listening to something only he could hear before his attention returned to Ophion. “I must go, but I would enjoy speaking with you again later.” The Lord Black vanished from the frame, leaving an empty background.
Ophion blinked in surprise before shaking his head and turning back to face the prefects. They seemed to have just finished speaking and everyone was heading towards the entrance to the dorms. He moved to follow before spotting a carving of a snake on the wall by the fireplace and remembered what Aquila had said.
“Hello, snake.” He greeted it, unaware that he was no longer speaking English and that the other students had stopped to watch him in fascination.
It’s stone eye opened, revealing an emerald gem, and it responded to him. “Heir Slytherin, welcome. It’s an honor to finally meet you.” The snake’s head dipped as if it was bowing to him and then the body of the snake shifted to form a door handle on the wall. Ophion turned to wave goodbye to Draco and Theo, who were standing near the stairs with their jaws on the floor, before opening the door and entering the room, closing it behind him.
Inside, he found a generously sized bedroom with a desk and chest of drawers on one side and an enormous bed on the other. There weren’t any windows, however there was a single door by the desk that led to a private bathroom. A fluffy snake plush was propped against the pillows of the bed. Everything was decorated in soft shades of green, silver, and brown.
Ophion gazed at everything in awe, the room was huge compared to what he was used to at the Dursleys, having to sleep surrounded by broken toys on an old mattress. His eyes caught on the plushie and he almost cried when he picked it up and squished it against his chest, never having had a stuffed animal of his own before. The closest was the one armed teddy bear he’d snuck out of the trash when he was 5 or 6, which had been quickly taken away by his aunt when she found him playing with it.
Sitting down on the bed reminded him of how tired he was, and his eyes drooped as sleepiness washed over him. Changing quickly into a pair of pajamas that Ragnok had gifted him along with most of a new wardrobe after learning just how dismal his living standards were, Ophion cuddled the snake plushie close as he melted into the warm, soft sheets, fast asleep.