Chapter 1 : Hanging On
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No, the blood was the fluid seeping through the belly of her crisp new robes.
Funny that her robes should match the deep azure of the sky at her moment of death.
For Rowena Ravenclaw knew she was dying.
She kept her eyes open as long as possible, knowing that the stars were something one could not enjoy in death. She'd dragged herself outside for that very reason, probably trailing blood over the stone floors she and her friends had slaved over setting. But spilled blood was easily cleaned and forgotten. Death was not.
When Rowena's strength was fully sapped, and numbness tickled the edges of her awareness, she finally let her eyes drift shut, accepting that they would not absorb any more light from now on.
She was not afraid of death.
She had come to the conclusion long ago that death was an inevitable rite of passage, and that its mystery should be embraced instead of feared. So she allowed the life to drain from her and said farewell to the planet she had inhabited for so many years. She only let herself cry for the beauty she was leaving and the solutions to her unanswered questions. For Rowena, those were the two things worth living for. Oh, and love. She couldn't forget love. But Rowena was thankful she'd gotten her fair share of the three in her lifetime.
The only thing better than unsolved questions were answered ones, Rowena knew. But she was done doing the answering. She was ready to explore.
The numbness grew stronger, and a chill crept from Rowena's heart down to her wound. As the first wisp of life floated from her body and into the next world, a presence knelt next to Rowena. Her fleeing life paused to notice it, catalogued it, and moved on. The physical world was rapidly losing its importance.
My dear lady, I only just heard what happened. Forgive me.
She registered the words only enough to realize she wasn't yet gone, and her life temporarily hesitated in its exit, tasting to see if there was a savior in sight. It was still human enough to long to live, still reluctant to leave the body it had slept in for so long. Life, after all, longs to live.
I assure you, the student is beside himself. At this rate, he shall never touch a wand again.
Rowena's flow of life flickered, and another tendril lifted away from the weight of her body. Time could not stem the flow. She had no more time for human conversation. Death did that to a person.
I know you have already forgiven him. An accident is never intended to cause harm, you would say, and therefore not worth shedding tears over. Then again, you and Helga were always the consolers of our foursome. Perhaps it was the feminine influence. But I suspect it was only a coincidence the two women were so adapt at calming the students. You always had more room for a heart than Salazar and I.
Something wet dropped onto Rowena's nose, but she was too far gone to remember what a tear was.
Oh, my dear Rowena, your fair heart has stopped beating! Your neck has gone cold! You are gone now, but if your theories― God, your theories!― were correct, you are still nearby and listening. If so, my friend, know this: I shall never be the same without you. The friendship you and I forged, before we even met Salazar and Helga, is something not easily cast off. Your intellect was perhaps your greatest trait, but you had many others well worth mentioning. Kindness, the instinct to lead, the ability to accept every obstacle, your large heart... You have been a sister, Rowena, and I cannot name every positive aspect of you for it would take years and years just to get them all out in the open, let alone understand them. I love you, sister. I will be back. But someone has to alert Helga and Salazar, and I'd rather it not be the hysterical student. Farewell.
Godric Gryffindor laid his hand over Rowena's still heart, and let some of the warmth of the living flow back into her rapidly cooling skin. The last of her life hesitated, recognizing love if nothing else. It knew love was nothing to run from.
Something warm and tender brushed above Rowena's ear, and as she had no nerves in her hair she could not know Godric was sweeping it from her face. But bodies were not too quick to forget a gesture of love.
Another drop splashed over Rowena's chin, and more at the base of her neck. Her life, barely able to hold on, detected a sprinkle of love in every tear. As it realized, finally, what it was leaving, it scrambled desperately back into Rowena's core, frantically trying to find a foothold, anything.
But there simply was not enough.
Not enough life to revive the Hogwarts Founder, not enough soul for it to even try and condense into a ghost. As Godric lifted his hand and his presence weakened, the life of Rowena wailed for him. It could sense him and his love walking away, his heart beating juicily but his mind unaware of what it left behind. Rowena's life clung to her, but the pull of another world tugged too hard, and it was yanked away.
Rowena's body lay still on the damp grass, her life sucked into a place no living being had ever experienced, and love, the one thing that could bridge the gap between life and death, trudged back into the castle.