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Title: Not Even Love: A One-Sided Conversation in the Near-Lost Tradition of Proper Wizards
Author: iulia_linnea
Characters: Salazar Slytherin, implied Godric Gryffindor
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1335
Summary: Slytherin takes his leave of Gryffindor.
Disclaimer: This piece is based on characters and situations created and owned by J.K. Rowling; various publishers, including, but not limited to: Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books; and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

. . . I could have kept touching him, but I didn't. I didn't think I could bear to feel his flesh grow cold under my palm. I'd just had to smooth that unruly lock of hair out of his eyes before it, before the blood staining it congealed and his eyes were obscured forever.

What sightless vision he may have should be his, after all: He earned it.

I left him like that, eyes wide and staring, mouth quirked into an unfinished smile—as if Death had caught him before he could fully appreciated what was waiting for him—and his flesh growing cold.

The warmth of my chambers didn't penetrate my soul as I returned to them. Odd that this is where I should have come. Of course, I did build this place—with you, with the others—and such mighty dreams I had for it, I—I digress. I was telling you about the cold, was I not? Yes, I was cold in body and in spirit—such as people were won't to think me, I was truly, then—and bereft of all hope, for I had sent it chasing after some dream or other beyond the Veil.

I sat down in my cloak because I knew that you would be coming, and I suspected that we might be leaving again at once, that you might want to see where he fell. There was no tea waiting for me. How the elves knew of my treachery I do not know. But they loved him, too.

Do not look so shocked. I am not ignorant of love. You more than anyone should know that.

Where was I? Ah. You came, wand drawn and bent on revenge in your fury, threatening me with Dire Consequences should I not explain All to you. And so I have, to the best of my ability, though All is too mighty a topic for one such as I to explain. I haven't the skill, but in the matter of the boy—

~*~

Do stop pestering me! He's dead, and we're safe. Well, you are safe. I doubt not that I shall live beyond the hour. Isn't that right, Gryffindor? You've come to avenge your best friend? your young hero? your devoted lover?

~*~

Mock you? Would I waste my last thoughts mocking you when I could be speaking of anything? of him? He was my lover, too. I understood him. I knew why he sought to kill the Beast—his fractured soul, the Beast slipped a shard of it into our boy. It was only right that I should remove it. And you should have seen his eyes, Godric. You should have seen the way they lit up with fell power as the Beast—

~*~

It's not my concern that you refused him—you should have helped him! You should have been there! The boy, he was . . . he was strong but untested. He could have used your help!

~*~

You're wrong. You are forever to be wrong. There was no freeing our boy. Not. From. Fate. His was to kill the Beast and to die by the hand of his more dutiful lover—yes! Don't look away. You know I'm right. You couldn't face his death, but you will face me.

That's better. Heed me. You sent him to fulfil the prophesy alone. Only I knew what was to be done, what needed to be done. Only I had the strength of will to do it!

~*~

What was that? Be clear, man! I've always despised your talent for mumbling even in your own thoughts—and you call yourself a proper wizard.

~*~

Oh? You're sorry, are you? No matter, old friend. No matter—our boy is dead. He did his duty, and now he grows cold watching the skies over the plain upon which he fell.

~*~

No. No, perhaps not. I told you. I don't know what he saw, just that he was smiling over it. Perhaps he was dreaming of how best to surprise you with his victory. . . . I know you loved him. I know your charms well enough to know that he might have thought he loved you.

Tell me, do you think it fitting, then, that the worthy pureblood prince who sacrificed himself for our students should be repaid by the pollution of these stones?

~*~

Yes, this again. Yes, for the times are dire, are they not? More fool I to hope you would ever be made to see sense! The Muggles will come to our gates one day, and blood will be spilt in the defense of this place. Should we waste our time in the training of those whose blood is too weak to do nought but be spilt? Could a Mudblood have slain the Beast?

~*~

Oh, you are ever the optimist. Godric, Godric, listen to yourself. Think you that the Beast's fall heralds the end of all evil? Are you truly so naive? Evil will come again, perhaps not in so fantastical of form, but it will come. I say that this unholy admixture of our blood of which you are the veriest proponent will cause it. There is an order to the world, and it must be preserved if we are not to be outbred by those lower and indiscriminate masses beyond our gates! They are as cattle, cattle that is unfit to graze upon our fields. We should destroy them all.

~*~

Your sanctimony is unwelcome. It freezes my heart in a way that your arrogance never has. Leave me or slay me but, by the gods! do not cast a further frost over my grief with your idiotic rambling. I'll have none of it.

~*~

It is a weakness to permit a rival to live.

~*~

You never saw me as such? Even now, as I best you? I see. So the thought of my hands roaming over his flesh, over his desperate, yearning flesh—

~*~

Ha! So you do scruple to feel jealousy. That is a weakness, too, and one that has made you careless. Oh, do spare me your tears. It is not grief that makes you cry.

~*~

Yes, Godric. The boy needed to be killed. I released him as you could not. I brought him release as you could not. . . . Say it. Tell me I'm right, and I'll let you live.

~*~

How touching. You would die to go to our boy. But what if you find that he is waiting for me? I think it very likely he is—say it! Tell me it was not you whom the boy loved.

~*~

Speak to me as wizards do. My ears find your speech hateful. It is a denial of your gifts. It offends the gods.

~*~

There. I am mollified, and I shall not kill you. Our kind has suffered yet more losses than we can support in this war, and I did love you, once. But I would not have you believe that my sparing you is a mercy. You will live to see the ruination of your polluted dreams, and at my hand.

~*~

Must I explain everything to you, professor? Very well. So long as you and the others persist in your education of the unworthy, I shall go my own way. Yes, I shall leave you to your grand task and establish my own methods for safeguarding the sacred blood of those whom the gods have gifted fully. I have been blessed with wisdom enough to prepare for this day, and perhaps, when you do not look for it, I will return to Hogwarts to find it cleansed of the evil you have permitted to enter it.

~*~

Enough! I leave you now and wish you the joy of a broken wand, a broken bond, and a broken boy—and I pray it may be warm wherever it is his sight has led him, that he may not see what you are making of our world, that he may wait for me, for I fear I will be long in coming.

~*~

True enough, Godric. You may repel my return. But my heir, nothing will prevent him from doing his duty—not even love.