Salazar lay on his bed, unable to move. He had considered his four poster bed comfortable with curtains of green and silver, but now he could hardly think of comfort. It was all he could do to keep tears of pain from streaming down his face.
But he reminded himself that tears showed weakness. He was Salazar Slytherin, a man of strength and power, a founder of Hogwarts. He did not cry like a small child. He might have been on his death bed, but he refused to show weakness.
The Healer bustled into the room and dressed his wounds, changed the bandages on his many burns. He recognized her from Hogwarts, but couldn’t remember her name. More importantly, he couldn’t remember her house. “Water…” He croaked, his voice dry.
Since the dragon attack the night before he couldn’t seem to get enough water. The Healer poured goblet after goblet for him and held it to his lips, but nothing seemed enough. He always needed more to drink. “More,” he rasped as the Healer took the goblet away, but she shook her head.
“Anymore and you’ll be sick,” she said, setting it on a table across the room.
Salazar closed his eyes, but he could still see the goblet sitting there beside everything that had been in his pockets when he’d been found after the fight with the dragon. A few galleons, a Foe-Glass and Secrecy Sensor, an old note from Helga who was the only one who still bothered to contact him, his wand.
He thought of his wand, his most beloved possession. It was Yew, 12.5 inches, unyielding. Dragon Heartstring ironically, considering how he was going to die. Good for defensive spells and dueling. He hadn’t had the chance to do much defending against the dragon that caught him by surprise.
If he’d had a spare moment, a second’s warning, maybe he wouldn’t be the way he was. Maybe he’d still have a life ahead of him.
His breath grew heavy, more agitated. Salazar panicked, he wasn’t ready to die, not just yet. He gasped and sputtered, trying to get enough air into his lungs and the Healer rested her wand on his head. “Sleep, Lord Slytherin,” she said and he felt the panic ebb away. “Sleep.”
He descended into darkness.
When his eyes opened again, he didn’t know how much time had passed. It couldn’t have been long, he didn’t have much longer to live. He would have preferred to go out quickly, without the use of sleeping spells and other such nonsense, but this was how he was going to die: alone in his Manor, but for a Healer paid to prolong his life.
At one time he’d have had friends by his side, holding his hand and reminding him that he was loved. He’d burned those bridges when he left Hogwarts to Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw. Gryffindor. Godric. His best friend.
Salazar would have turned his face away from the doorway if he had the strength to do so. He didn’t like to think that he was waiting for his former friends to come around. They’d made it perfectly clear he wasn’t welcome in their circles anymore. All he’d wanted was to ensure that magic stayed pure, not muddle by muggle peasants who knew nothing about their culture.
But all his arguments were for naught now. It had left him dying alone in his empty Manor, his wife long dead and his son traveling the world without a care. He was truly alone in his death, as much as he had been in the last years of his life.
“It’s time for your Sleeping Draught,” the Healer said, holding a goblet in her hands.
Salazar must have been more out of it than he realized because he hadn’t noticed her standing directly beside him until she spoke. He tried to shake his head and cringed from the pain of his burns. “No,” he said.
He didn’t want to die in a haze of potions and spells. He wanted to be clearheaded at least. He’d always had his mind, he wasn’t going to let them take that away from him in the end. It was all he had left.
“Lord Slytherin, you must take your Draught!” She leaned closer and Salazar wrenched his head away with every last bit of strength in his body.
“No,” he repeated. He was going to die, he knew no amount of magic could change that, but he wanted to die on his terms.
The Healer looked unsure, but in the end decided to leave him alone. She set the goblet of Sleeping Draught on the table beside the goblet of water. His throat felt dry, but he knew better than to ask for more. He wasn’t going to beg for water. He was too strong for that.
As he was left once more to his thoughts, the only thing he had left, Salazar couldn’t help but think of his last stand. It had been dim-witted of him to attempt to find the dragon’s lair. He’d thought he could take it. He thought he’d have time to fight it off. All he had wanted were a few drops of dragon blood from a Ukrainian Ironbelly. He wanted to test it, see if the properties were the same as those of the Rhodesian Ridgeback or Romanian Longhorn. And he was close to figuring out all of the uses.
He had seven and assumed there were several more, but it was all for naught. He hadn’t gotten the dragon’s blood and had been fatally wounded for his troubles. Salazar had wanted a legacy, something other than Hogwarts. He was sure in his death that the other founders would destroy his House, find his basilisk and kill it. In a generation or two, people would forget that Salazar Slytherin ever existed.
Seven uses of dragon’s blood. He had been so close. If he hadn’t been desperate he never would have taken the chance of going directly into a dragon’s lair. It could cure diseases, it could produce red ink, it could strengthen potions, it could be used as a cleaner, it could be used to destroy a wand. He’d been close, but now it was over.
He had no legacy, he had no friends, he had nothing.
And now he was dying.
The Healer had returned and had a new steaming goblet in her hand. Her voice seemed slurred together and Salazar was finding it more difficult to keep his attention on her words. “Your potion, you must drink it,” she was saying.
“No,” he said, although he wasn’t sure how clear his voice was. He tried again. “No.”
It seemed to have no influence on the Healer as she leaned in and attempted to force the potion down his throat.
“I believe he does not wish to drink the draught.” The Healer froze immediately and Salazar’s eyes widened. That voice… He hadn’t heard it in years, although he’d recognize it anywhere.
“My Lord,” said the Healer grasping the potion tightly to her chest. “His health is poor. The potion-”
“The potion will not help. I’m a very knowledgeable in the field of Healing.” The voice was deep and comforting. Salazar wanted nothing more than to know it wasn’t a hallucination, but he was sure he imagined it. Maybe it was a side effect from the Sleeping Draught. The Healer must have successfully fed it to him after all. “You are dismissed.”
The Healer scurried from the room leaving Salazar alone with his hallucination. He could see the man’s black robes trimmed with gold, a pocket watch hanging just in sight. Expensive but practical boots took a step closer to the bed.
Salazar closed his eyes. It may have been only a hallucination, but he did not wish to know the truth. If it was merely a dream he was happy to continue to believe it was reality.
“My old friend,” he said, his voice breaking on the words.
“You do not look well.”
Salazar coughed heavily. He did not bother attempting to conceal it as he no longer had the energy. “I assume you heard that I was near the end?”
“Helga told me.” The man was short with his words and Salazar chanced opening his eyes. He recognized the man’s golden hair and tan face at once. He looked just the same as he always had, but older. He still had an aura of power about him. “I did not know she was still in contact.”
Salazar didn’t respond. He no longer believed it was a dream or a hallucination. Godric Gryffindor had come to his deathbed, it was true. “Why have you come?” He asked, his voice rasping and dry. He could hardly understand his own words and didn’t know how his former friend would fare.
“It’s not to take pleasure in your last breaths, you do not think that low of me, do you?” Godric transfigured a chair and pulled it up beside the bed. “I have come to say farewell to a good friend.”
As he lowered his head, Salazar noticed the tears shining in his friend’s eyes. He felt Godric’s hands take his own burned and scarred ones and shed a single tear himself. He was not going to die alone.
“How did this happen? A Hebridean Black dragon?”
He tried to affirm Godric’s statement, but couldn’t bring himself to admit his own petty greed to a man of such high moral standing. He would never understand the desperation that caused Salazar to go in search of the dragon.
Godric gripped his hand ever tighter as though in understanding. “All has been forgiven, old friend,” he said. Salazar was surprised to find his voice hoarse. The tears had begun to fall down his face.
“My mistakes-” He started, unable to finish what he needed to say.
“Nothing you’ve done has been unforgiveable. You’ve never used an Unforgiveable, you’ve never used the Killing Curse.” Godric leaned down until he was at eye level with Salazar and they could look each other in the eyes. “You’ve been a good man.”
Salazar could feel himself drifting away. He’d been waiting to die since the day Godric denounced him as a founder of Hogwarts and a friend. The dragon had only been a convenient method. Without Godric by his side, Salazar knew he was nothing. He wasn’t strong as the front he’d kept up for years. He was weak.
He let the tears fall freely down his face. “My friend,” he said, as the darkness encroached on his vision. “My friend.”
He fell away into unknowing and left Godric sitting by his bed, alone. The tears streamed down his cheeks in silence for the man he used to know and the man Salazar had become. He had been headstrong and convinced in the purity of blood, but Godric knew that beneath his cold exterior had been a good man.
A/N: Here’s my story for the Task One Challenge! I wasn’t sure if I could write Founders Era, but then I got a plunny and, well, you know how it goes.
Features your House’s Champion
Mentions the details of your Champion’s wand, as provided by your Head of House
Mentions two of the following types of magic: a sleeping spell, a transfiguration spell
Mentions a Sleeping Draught
Includes mention of at least 5 of the 12 uses for dragon’s blood
Mentions four specific breeds of dragon: Rhodesian Ridgeback, Hebridean Black, Ukrainian Ironbelly, Romanian Longhorn
Mentions at least one Unforgiveable Curse
Mentions two of the following types of Dark Detectors: Foe-Glass, Secrecy Sensor
I’m not sure if it features a dragon enough to count, but I figured I’d at least mention it.
Write a Review An Old Friend: Task One Challenge: An Old Friend