Salazar never cries.
Even as a baby, he kept his silence. He was the quiet one, the watcher. It was Maitia who was the cryer, the laugher, the talker, even when they were young.
He didn’t cry when he fell, learning to walk, even when he bruised his knees and small stones dug into his hands. He didn’t cry when his mother lost her temper and shouted at him, or at them, for one infraction too many. He didn’t cry when the other children called him names. Maitia did. He didn’t cry when they had to leave again, had to be got up in the night and pulled out quickly, losing any friends they might have made.
He didn’t cry for lack of sleep, although Maitia did, (at least the first few times) and she was more than a year older than him. He didn’t cry because his feet hurt from walking all night, and he didn’t cry over the pain in his stomach, although his mother almost did.
He didn’t cry when they couldn’t leave the last town, because his father couldn’t get up. He didn’t cry when his mother dissolved in tears because her husband was dead, or later that day when Maitia threw everything she could reach at him and called him an unfeeling leech and a demon because he didn’t care, and everything was wrong and wasn’t he even sorry?
He didn’t cry a week later when the baby died before it was born and his mother just lay on the bed, pale and almost unmoving, and his sister put away her anger and took over the house. He didn’t cry when the other villagers came, and took his mother, and he didn’t cry when they stood in the crowd and his mother screamed in fear and denial at the men who held her. Maitia tried to cover his eyes, but couldn’t because of how her body shook with tears, and he didn’t cry when the screaming protests turned to real screams and the flames licked around the stake.
He didn’t cry as they ran, not when he was out of breath and winded, so that it hurt in his chest, and not when Maitia dragged him up banks and hurt his hand and his arm, and not when she snapped at him harshly because she was frightened, and not when they had to run all night, even though he was only seven.
He didn’t cry when they crouched in the brush, shaking as the searchers muttered and rustled the bushes close to them, and he didn’t cry when they yanked Maitia away from him, even as she clung to him so hard it hurt, and took her away.
He didn’t cry when the window he was slipping through scraped his skin off and he nearly fell back into his makeshift cell. He didn’t cry when the dogs barked close to the tree he hid in, and he didn’t cry when he saw the charred place in the market, days later when he came back to steal food, and knew what the screams had meant.
He didn’t cry when he was older and met Godric for the first time and got his nose broken for calling the other boy a Mudblood, or later when he got his arm broken for calling Helga one, because Godric had always been more protective of other people than of himself.
He didn’t cry when Rowena called him a poor excuse for a wizard (her, the only other pureblood he’d ever met), or when she scorned him for the other two, who weren’t, in his opinion, really magical at all.
He didn’t cry when he was twenty-four and Rowena married Foeben Ravenclaw, even though Godric was sure he had actually loved her, and started to change his mind about this tearless anomaly.
He didn’t cry seven months later, when Helena was born and it became apparent why she’d married, and that he might have had a chance – and Godric was never sure who her father was, or if there was any confusion on Rowena’s part – because Salazar kept himself to himself.
He didn’t cry when Godric married Helga, two years and a bit after, even though he was losing his best and only-ever friend, the friend he’d just found, to that unsteady, intangible thing called love.
He didn’t cry when Godric threw down the gauntlet, and the piece of paper he was holding, and called him an infidel, a bigot, and a mistake.
But three months later, as he walked out the doors for the last time, Godric watched him, and saw that he still cared enough to turn away his face so as not to advertise his lack of tears – and didn’t wonder, because snakes don’t cry.
And he never saw the liquid glistening on Salazar’s cheeks.
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