Author's Note: This requires a bit of an explanation for those people coming into this story without any knowledge of anything else I'm referring to. This story was sprouted off a line from the story Forget Me Not: A Story of Broken Promises by Robin. At first, I attempted to bug Robin into writing the story behind this line-
"They had faced the Dark wizard Ahriman together, just the two of them. It felt like a lifetime ago when two brash young wizards had decided to avenge the deaths of so many friends and had faced an army together… And won. Just the two of them."
Unfortunately, she refused, and my muse would not leave me alone, so I was forced to write it myself. Which of course resulted in this. So if you want someone to blame for this travesty, I tell you to place all blame on Robin (though she'll claim it's all my fault for getting her to write Forget Me Not in the first place… :-D).
Of course, you don't have to read Forget Me Not to understand this, but seeing as it is a much better story then this, I highly suggest you go read it (if you haven't already). And after that, you should read Promises Unbroken and its sequel Promises Remembered, and while you're at it, just read all of Robin's stuff. It's well worth the time. :-D.
And of course a special thanks to Robin (again) for reading this over and helping me patch things up and make it nice and shiny and readable for everyone's enjoyment. *Glomps*
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any of the Harry Potter related stuff found in this story. Likewise, there are some parts of this story which I took straight from Forget Me Not: A Story of Broken Promises by Robin, and she has given me permission to use them. The plot really isn't mine either (that too belongs to Robin; one of her infamous "throw away lines") but the story is, because after all, the plot isn't everything.
Dedication: I know, I'm being rather long-winded, but hey, if you really want to read the story, skip all this! But anyway, I would like to dedicate this story to Robin and the rest of the people in the Unbroken Universe. You guys are the best! If not for you guys constantly prodding me, I might never have finished this! So here's to you!!!
And at last, here it is, the long awaited "Ahriman fic". Happy reading!
Of course, it hadn't started off being just the two of them. Battle plans never begin with just two men rushing in to fight off the hordes of soldiers employed by the evil overlord they were so intent on destroying.
It wasn't for nothing, after all, that for so many years the name Ahriman was associated with pure evil. Even centuries later, scholars would speak of that epic battle the two young wizards had taken upon themselves.
In true Gryffindor fashion, as Salazar always said in their later years, Godric had suggested a full-fledged cavalry charge accompanied by the glorious ranks of their troops vanquishing all of Ahriman's evil from the earth
Salazar had to employ his legendary cunning to finally convince Godric that a cavalry charge was just not right for such a situation. After all, horses would eventually just get in the way of the battle. Godric didn't give in until Helga pleaded with him about the senselessness of letting all those horses die. She had always had a soft spot for animals; he had always had a soft spot for her.
Godric wasn't the only one who had needed convincing. Rowena had cornered Godric in a tent one afternoon, her eyes hard and menacing.
"I'm going with you." Her voice was cold and demanding. No sane person would have refuted her.
"No," Godric replied, his voice firm.
"You can't stop me. This is my job."
"Just watch me."
They glared at each other for several minutes, neither speaking, neither looking away. It was going to end in a stale-mate; it always did. Salazar or Helga would have to come along and break things up, make one of them budge just enough for a compromise. Silence reigned until Helga came through the tent flap.
"Oh no. No. I'm not getting involved in this. You two have to work this out on your own. Whatever it is you're fighting about, no one else can help," Helga said, before walking back out of the tent.
Rowena and Godric glowered at each other for a moment longer, then both turned away.
"You're not coming, and that's final."
"Godric Gryffindor, you listen to me, and you listen good. I have been an Auror longer then you have known me. Don't you dare presume to tell me what I can and cannot do, especially concerning this war. I have made it my life to fight Ahriman, just as you have. I am going with you, and that is final," Rowena seethed, her voice sharp as a razor.
Godric was silent in the wake of her fury. Rowena had always been rather even tempered. It was rare for her to lose her control like she had; only when she felt very strongly about something did she react quite like that. He let out a deep sigh, then turned to face her, his voice even.
"I know this is your job. I know you are trained to fight the Daevas and everything else Ahriman can throw at us. And under different circumstances, I might have asked you to come along with us, but I don't want to loose you, Rowena. We've barely known each other for five years, but in those five years, you've become like a sister to me. I couldn't let anything happen to you. I would never be able to live with myself if I knowingly led you into danger. So please Rowena. Don't do this to me."
By the time he had finished speaking, his voice was no longer strong and steady. His eyes locked with Rowena's once more, but both were now softened. Rowena swallowed the lump in her throat.
"And you think I could live with myself knowing I could have been there to help you if something happened? I care for you too Godric, and Salazar as well. Don't make me stay here wondering about what I could have done."
Godric let out a frustrated sigh. "He's not your problem, Rowena."
"What do you mean he's not my problem? I'm an Auror, Godric. This is my job," Rowena replied, the fury returning to her voice.
"No. Not this time. This isn't just about getting rid of some evil megalomaniac anymore."
"Then what is it about Godric? Explain it to me. Because what I see right now is you having an ego trip and not wanting a girl to go along with you. You'll take an army of men whom you barely know, but you are refusing to bring a trained Auror who you've known for five years. How does that make sense?" Rowena's eyes were hard as ice once more.
"Those men aren't going to fight Ahriman. They're a distraction, Rowena. Do you know what that means? Do you know what their life expectancy in this battle is? Two minutes."
"So what? It's just going to be you and Salazar?" Rowena asked, her voice biting.
"No one else needs to be involved. This is personal," Godric replied. He turned his back on her once more, not meeting her gaze.
"You're not the only ones who've lost someone Godric. Every one of us has. That's why those men are here. Because their families have been killed and they have nowhere left to go. Helga and I have lost people too. How much more personal can it get?"
"You don't know him Rowena. Not like Salazar and I do. He was our friend, once, a long time ago. We could have stopped it from going this far, but we didn't. Instead, we just sat back and watched. No longer. Salazar and I have to end this. It's no one else's fight but ours."
Rowena stood in silent shock. She had never heard Godric sound so ashamed of himself, of something he had done, or failed to do. He sounded regretful. It wasn't an emotion she was used to hearing from him.
"That's it then. You and Salazar will go off and fight Ahriman, and all those men will die fighting off the Daevas, and Helga and I will stay here, waiting for you to come back," Rowena said, her voice resigned.
When Godric spoke again, his voice was soft. "I'm sorry. I know you want to help, but there's nothing you can do." He didn't turn as he heard the flap of the tent close behind her.
In the beginning, they never really could be described as an army. They didn't even amount to a regiment. For all intents and purposes, they probably didn't have enough men to form a battalion. The best description would fall somewhere around a rather large company.
But that didn't bother them much. They were dedicated to their cause, and most were willing to die for it. The speech Godric gave clinched it; they would follow him to the ends of the earth and beyond, if only he said the word. Personally, Salazar would have chosen something a bit more subtle, but to each their own. And Godric has always done things his own way. Salazar had a feeling that even Godric's death would be on his own terms; sure to involve something noble, brave, and stupid, no doubt.
The morning of their departure dawned bright and clear. The warm sunlight burned off the lingering mists. The troops stood at rest while Salazar and Godric said their goodbyes to Rowena and Helga. It was a rather bittersweet farewell, for an air of doom lingered over all present.
It was in this moment that Rowena and Helga presented them with their swords, as a token of their friendship. In an almost identical gesture, Godric and Salazar drew forth their swords to admire the sunlight glinting off the polished metal. Blood red rubies encrusted the hilt of the blade engraved "Godric Gryffindor" while the blade of "Salazar Slytherin" sparkled with acid green emeralds.
Helga stepped forward to hug Godric while Rowena did the same for Salazar. As she did so, she whispered into his ear. "I charmed it. No matter what, it will never break. Just like our friendship." She moved to hug Salazar, making way for Rowena to say her goodbyes to Godric.
The two men went to the front of their troops, standing side by side, ready to face whatever was thrown at them. Neither wavered as the final signal was given and the group Apparated away.
The battle had officially begun.
They had Apparated just far enough away from Ahriman's base of operations to allow themselves a moment to regroup before the all-out attack began. Spells were being shot back and forth, and casualties were heavy on both sides. Initially, Godric and Salazar had attempted to stay together.
That plan had backfired almost immediately. So now the two men were separated, and their forces were quickly dwindling. What had started out as roughly fifty or sixty men was now down to twenty, tops. Things weren't looking good.
Salazar took a moment to step back from the fray, granting himself an opportunity to analyze what was happening. Godric was off to his right, surrounded by a group of Ahriman's followers, the ruthless Daevas. There were too many of them, and not enough people helping Godric.
Suddenly, a flash of long, dark hair caught Salazar's attention. He would recognize that hair almost anywhere. And he was sure that Godric had implicitly told the owner of that hair not to fight in this battle. Growling slightly, Salazar made his way to Rowena's side.
"Leave now," his voice was steady as he approached her, stunning a Daeva as he did so. She kept her eyes on the battle.
"No. I'm not about to stop doing my job just because Godric decided to be all noble on me. He has no right whatsoever to tell me what I can and cannot do. Now go take care of Ahriman before we're all killed," Rowena commanded imperiously. Salazar's eyes met hers for one brief moment before he turned to help Godric out of the mess he was in.
"It has been a long time, my friends," his voice was casual sounding, yet a hint of cruelty could be heard. The wind blew back his cloak as he faced away from the two men.
"You don't deserve to use that term. That privilege died when you turned your back on us," Salazar replied, his voice cold, bitter regret tingeing the words.
Ahriman turned slowly to look at Salazar and Godric, one eyebrow arched in surprise. "If I recall events correctly, it was not I that turned my back on you, friend, but you who betrayed me." Godric scowled.
"You left us no choice. The path you were traveling would only lead to darkness," Godric replied.
"Darkness? Maybe to your blinded eyes, my ways would seem dark, but Godric, take a closer look at what I'm doing. I'm protecting our kind," Ahriman said, speaking as if to a very young child who did not understand something simple.
"By destroying an entire society? You are no better then the Muggles that hunt us down," Salazar stated bitingly. Ahriman did not seem phased.
"I don't have to question why you turned your back on me Salazar. Always one to follow Godric, even if it meant death. Too weak minded to make decisions of your own," the dark wizard sneered. Salazar lunged forward, only to be held back by Godric.
"I chose my own path, Ahriman. Godric's decision had nothing to do with my own. If I thought he were the one in the wrong, I would not be siding with him," Salazar's voice was laced with anger and hatred. Ahriman casually shrugged.
"To each their own, then," he replied, once more turning his back on the two men. Ahriman waved his wand, and another group of Daevas appeared behind Godric and Salazar.
It had been a bloody battle. Ahriman had stood on the side, watching as his one-time friends were attacked by a hoard of demonic warriors. His face was cold and emotionless. His eyes flashed every time one of them destroyed another Daeva, slowly evening out their odds.
Severed body parts lay on the ground, their blood seeping into the dirt, staining the grass crimson. Salazar and Godric had been creative with their spells, hoping to catch the Daevas off guard. It had been working, for the most part.
Until Ahriman had decided to join the battle for himself. It took all their concentration to fight off the thirty underlings as well as dodge their evil overlord at the same time. Still, the two friends managed to hold their own.
At last, the carnage was nearly complete. Only Ahriman was left to destroy. He stood up proudly among his fallen warriors. Both sides ignored the pain caused by spells cast upon them, but it was clear to see all were weary.
It only took a single nod from Godric for Salazar to have his wand ready to use the spell they had created specially for this occasion. Rowena and Helga had torn apart so many various versions of this curse, the two men hoped it would work this time. Their combined efforts would theoretically prove to be enough.
"Resiacio." It was just as they were preparing to utter the words to cast it that Ahriman spoke his own spell. He had enchanted one of the Daevas' standards to be a projectile. The shard of wood lodged itself firmly in Godric's left shoulder. He let out a cry of pain and fell to his knees. Salazar was at his side in an instant, while Ahriman laughed maniacally.
"Let's end this," Salazar hissed. Godric managed to nod, and raised his wand into the air as Salazar did the same.
"Avada Kedavra." Together, they spoke the words to the spell that would end this war, once and for all. Ahriman's body sank to the ground lifelessly. His laughter echoed around them one last time, never to be heard again.
Salazar felt Godric's body slump to his side in relief. His voice was tight as he spoke a spell to remove the impaled chunk of wood from his shoulder.
"You really shouldn't have done that, Godric," Salazar informed his friend. Godric didn't reply to this comment. He only shifted himself further onto the ground, his eyes shut tight.
"No," Salazar replied instantly.
"I'm only going to slow you down. Go now," Godric said, the pain clear in his voice.
"Godric, I'm not going to leave you here. We've already beat Ahriman. It's too late to martyr yourself now. Helga will kill me if I didn't get you home."
"Helga will understand."
"Stop kidding yourself. You're like a brother to her. To all of us."
"Now get up, it's time to go."
By the time they reached the Font of Power- the reason Ahriman had chosen this place, in the middle of Scotland, as his base- Salazar was half carrying Godric, who continued protesting the entire way.
"You need to get out of here, Salazar. I'm slowing you down too much. It's not worth it."
"Will you shut up already? You aren't going to die. I have a plan," Salazar bit out. He hid the fear in his voice well with anger.
"So do I. You leave me here and get out while you still can. At least then one of us will survive this."
"Both of us are going to be going home. And this is how," Salazar said, shoving Godric forward into the Font of Power. Godric barely had time to register what was happening to him before he was immersed in the waves of energy. Salazar stood at the edge, making sure there were no Daevas around.
Ten minutes had passed, and Salazar had started to get worried. In truth, he didn't understand how the Font worked completely. It had been a gamble to shove Godric in. Probably one of the biggest of his life. If he hadn't taken that risk though, Godric was sure to have died. At least now he had a chance, albeit slim.
It was hard to see what was happening inside the swirling vortex of color and magic, but Salazar could make out Godric's shape, suspended, floating among the tides and eddies of power. What he couldn't see was whether Godric was okay or not. He paced back and forth, not knowing whether he should wait any longer, or jump in after his friend.
Closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, Salazar jumped in. He felt a wave of power hit him like a ton of bricks, winding him. Gasping for air, he forced his way through the magic with his mind, trying to reach Godric's side. The Font, almost as if it were a conscience being, drifted them closer together. Salazar wrapped an arm under Godric's shoulders and forced his way to the side of the Font, throwing Godric onto the grass, then pulling himself out after.
Both men lay on the ground, gasping for air. Both knew something had just happened, something phenomenal, that almost no one before them had ever experienced. It had been both breath taking and awe-inspiring, even for Salazar, who had been too focused on saving Godric's life to concentrate on anything else. Even after all they had gone through that day, both were overwhelmed by the amazing event they had just experienced.
"Thank you," Godric whispered. "You saved my life."
"Nothing you wouldn't have done for me."
"I don't know if I would have shoved you into the Font without telling you what I was about to do."
"No, you would have had to drag me in there, kicking and screaming the entire way."
"I'm proud of you."
"Don't make me sick."
"It was a compliment."
"Depends on your perspective."
"We're not that different you know. You and I."
"Yes we are. We're complete opposites. But that's why we do so well together. You wouldn't last a day without me keeping you from doing something that would get you killed. You're a fool, Godric."
"Maybe. But you aren't much better. You can't spend your life sitting and watching. Sometimes you have to be the one that strikes. Take a chance. You see your opening, and make your move."
Salazar didn't reply. His mind was still whirling with what had just happened. How close he had been to loosing his friend, his brother.
And it was in this moment, possibly one of the worst ever, that Salazar experienced his first vision. They had both just stood up as Godric had called out in rage as a group of Daevas approached them when it happened.
There. Salazar saw the opening even as it disappeared, the single weakness in Godric's guard.
Again. Leave it to Godric to continue to take chances and use the advanced moves—And again. Decision crystallized before him.
He knew what he had to do. Let this end.
Godric's ruby hilted sword lay beside him, still gleaming, beautiful and whole.
Blood covered Godric's chest.
A splintered and broken blade- his blade- glittered from where it had been thrust—straight through the heart.
Salazar fell to his knees, head clutched in his hands. The images flashing across the inside of his eyelids were disconcerting. He felt sick. In a distant part of his mind, he knew it couldn't be true; he had just pulled Godric out of the Font. He was still alive. Salazar had made sure of it. He's not going to die! The thought screamed through his head.
He forced his mind to focus. He couldn't be distracted. Not now. Not after so much. Ahriman was dead. Godric was alive. And they were almost home free. All they had to do was defeat this last group of Daevas that had snuck up on them. He wasn't ready to give in. Not yet, goddamn it! he swore to himself.
He pulled himself off the ground, standing tall, side by side with Godric. Both men fired off curses at the fast approaching foes, never once considering how cruel they were being to their opponents. The Daevas deserved the worst, and the killing curse invented for use against Ahriman seemed far too merciful.
Instead, Godric and Salazar searched their extensive knowledge to find the most horrible spells they could remember. Blood spurted left and right. The smell of burning flesh reached their noses. The screams of dismembered individuals echoed around them in a cacophonous wave of noise.
Neither quite realized they had destroyed all the Daevas until Rowena had come up to them, placing her hand on Salazar's shoulder.
"It's time to go home," she said, her voice soft. Both men spared a single glance in the direction of their former friend's dead body, then turned with Rowena, and the three Apparated back to Helga.
It was finally over. Long years of sweat and blood had finally been repaid, and revenge had been gained. The end had come.
And with that end, a friendship had finally reached its conclusion. But from the ruins, a new relationship had been forged between four individuals that would impact the world around them in more ways then they could ever expect at that time. The events of that fateful battle would forever help to shape the future.