Disclaimer: We all know it by now I assume… The Harry Potter books, and the characters therein, belong to the gifted J K Rowling.

Summary: Salazar Slytherin's final moments at Hogwarts.

Pairing: Gryffindor/Ravenclaw and Gryffindor/Slytherin

Note: What I know about what JKR has said about the Founders of Hogwarts in the interviews she has granted could literally fill a thimble. If I have contradicted something please forgive me and grant this writer a morsel of your mercy. This story was inspired by the fact that the Sorting Hat stated that the 3 Founders regretted Salazar Slytherin's departure. I find this interesting since he was believed to not be a very charming man. This fanfic is my attempt to humanize Salazar and try to reason away the motives for his anger and yet why he was so sorely missed.

Before I Leave

We use to be friends.

There were times when I felt I was the only one who remembered that.

Now I can see the recollection in their eyes.


I no longer care.

I am leaving this school that I, in great part, helped to create. We built it together. It was suppose to be a shining example of our love and respect for one another, a respect that I no longer feel. And love? I cannot answer that question. My heart is too full of hate and anger to even contemplate love.

No other students save my own shall miss me when I am gone. My lost flock. They are looked at with fear and loathing by their peers. Fear because I have cared enough for my children to teach them well. Loathed because they wield power others never will.

I do not care for the other students. They are a contaminated lot. I would pity them if I didn't suffer such strong revulsion every time I look at them. So in the end it does not matter that they will shed no tears for me. Best to keep their tears for a time when they will need them. One day my wish will be granted and Hogwarts and the Wizarding world will be cleansed. Then they will cry.

Today I am leaving. All my possessions have been collected and taken away. All except one which I shall fetch before I go.

As I leave my room I find a lost friend waiting outside my door. His features are sharp and his hair as dark as his eyes. It is not a handsome face. Neither is it a homely one. It remains halfway between the two, twisted by whatever emotion he feels. It is odd then that his face is the one that moves me most. It is a thing of disgrace that his soul is the one I love more than all others.

"You cannot leave us," the man whispers.

"But I must," I state simply. "You yourself have demanded it. There were times, if you can remember, when you wished for me to be gone. Times you cursed me, eager to send me into whatever world lies after this. And should I disappoint you? Should I not grant you your wish?"

His features darken, not with anger but with shame. "I was foolish," he mutters. "Salazar I was angry. You deserved it. Still you are my friend and you will continue to be wherever you may go. I desire you to stay though. I do not want to lose you."

I had doubted that he would find the courage to speak those words. Even though he has become a fool he is still brave I see. I will grant him that one virtue.

"Yet you have," I tell him. "You will continue to be a humiliation to me if you waste your time on her."

Once more she has come between us. This time of my own choosing.

"She is my heart and a better witch than either you or I will ever be a wizard," Godric Gryffindor tells me. As if he could change my opinion for her. His voice is laced with rage and it over shadows the sorrow he felt only seconds before.

"Let her stand before me, Godric, and I will show you just how wrong you are," I hiss.

"I will not let you hurt her!" he shouts. The love he feels for me is forgotten. The love he feels for her has eclipsed it. My heart would bleed if it hadn't been wounded so many times in the same way. It is now calloused. Godric Gryffindor would die for the fair Ravenclaw. I cannot even stand to look at her.

"You will not let me hurt her? Then let me leave. It is the only way… I will hurt her if I stay."

My voice is calm. I turn and walk away and it is so very painful that he allows me to.

Fate is cruel.

As I am walking away from him I see the Mudblood coming towards me, walking towards the man I have just left. She tries to speak to me but I push her down as I pass.

And of course in payment for so small a sin I am forced to hear Gryffindor rushing to her side.

I am forced, even though I do not turn to look, to picture Ravenclaw in his arms.

They have each other.

I am alone.

There was a time when I loved her as well.

It was a love borne of kinship not of romance. We understood each other for we both were united in our love for him. Together we loved him and our love was equal then for he loved us both in return. We were all friends. Even Hufflepuff, pathetic creature she was, always scurrying after us, was loved.

But in time that changed.

Gryffindor's love for Ravenclaw increased and inevitably his love for me waned. I became excluded, vying for Godric's attention in the same way a beggar on the street would plead for bread. I felt small, and unjustly so, for I was a pure-blood while Ravenclaw was the child of Muggles. She had no right to be a witch. The gift or magic was bestowed on her merely by accident.Even the few moments I spent with my friend were tainted with her presence. She was the one thing he desired to talk about. She corrupted his thoughts, filling them as thoroughly as when he was physically with her.

Only did he wish to talk about her. He would talk without truly seeing me. If he had chosen to talk to a wall he would receive the same effect for he only wanted to talk never did he want to listen. The only difference would be that a group of stones or brick could not hurt. They would not feel the pain that I did.

In my lonliness I realized how much I loved him. I hated Ravenclaw for this as well. Without her intrusion I would not have known how much I loved Godric Gryffindor. Loved him in a way I could never reveal to anyone save myself.

Godric is the brave one.

I am the smart one.

I alone saw that she was not worthy of him. It was not right that he should waste his love on someone un-pure. I tried to tell him this but he proved once again to be a poor listener.

Our dissolving friendship deteriorated further. Though at first I tried to point it out to him subtly, reminding Godric that Rowena Ravenclaw was tainted because her parents were Muggles.

He was shocked at first. Ancestry had never been a subject of that much importance to any of us. He then tried his best to ignore my warnings. Frustrated I turned to my students. I would teach them. They were always ready to learn. In time they came to understand and adopt my beliefs.

Soon the word "Mudblood" infested Hogwarts.

I can remember the first time Ravenclaw was called "Mudblood" to her face. I remember her pain if only because it was the last time I felt anything resembling love for her. As her eyes filled with tears, I remember a strange feeling of guilt flood my heart.

The guilt disappeared later that night as I felt Gryffindor's hands tightly clasped around my neck.

Though it was Rowena who pried his fingers from me, I felt little gratitude. If it was not for her he and I would never have been separated. Godric would have no cause to hate me.

The scene would be repeated often after that. Either with wands or that all too Muggle way, with our fists. Mostly it was with words. Words can prove the most damaging weapon of all I have learned. Yes I have wounded him. But is he aware of the scars he has left me with as well?

Deserted, all I had was my power. They had each other. They had the knowledge that they were loved. So how could they blame me when I sought to rule Hogwarts when it was the only thing left to me? How can they blame me for hating them when they tried to take this away from me too?

I do not wish to stay here. I no longer can stand to be constantly reminded that I love a man so foolish that he would throw away his affection on a woman who does not deserve it.

Maybe in time I would be blessed with the sight of them growing apart. Maybe in time Gryffindor would realize his mistake and return to me. I choose not too wait. I am an impatient man you see, growing older and not willing to waste my time on such a game though the prize be worth winning.

I must be careful. The place where I am headed must remain undisturbed. I have placed a secret deep within this school: A chamber of secrets, one of them very angry and very dangerous.

I have whispered of this secret to my students. I have created the seed of a rumour which is true. I need this myth to be born and spread, to reach generation after generation. A legend to scare the impure ages after I am gone.

I walk into the girls washroom. Making sure I am the only one here, I speak the word and the doorway opens.

These are my last moments at Hogwarts.

I am walking away.

My hands are empty.

The entire school has come to see me go. There are smiles on most of the students faces. They are trying to look mournful but they are extremely poor at it. I wonder how it would feel if they were honestly sad. Would it help to ease this strange feeling stealing over me? Despite my previous thoughts do I want them to lament? Not only the Slytherins but the Gryffindors, Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs as well?

Would my misery be any bit lessened?

Would I hate them less if I knew that their own hate for me was not so strong?

I do not know anymore.

All I know is that I am leaving.

The other founders stand together. Hufflepuff is crying. She feels no pride. Apparently her tears do not trouble her. I wonder what it is like to be weak and unashamed of it.

Ravenclaw is trying to comfort her, looking at me occasionally. I would almost believe that she is close to walking towards me, letting Helga tend to her own grief, and plead with me to stay. I wonder what it would be like to offer forgiveness so freely. Could it heal wounds that have been festering for so terribly long?

I will never know. I am unwilling to forgive.

Godric's face is dark and sullen. I do not know what he is thinking. Does he love me? Does he hate me? Maybe it is both. He cannot look at me for long. He always averts my gaze and I discover that the man is afraid of one thing after all: He is afraid to watch me as I leave. In return I cannot look at him for long either. If I had his strength I would gently press my lips against his own and take that memory with me. The shock on his face that would no doubt be there surely would amuse me in my moments of solitude.

I am not a coward. But I cannot find the courage to do this one last thing.

I look straight ahead at the carriage that awaits me. Once I reach it I sweep swiftly inside it. I do not look out the window for now I must start to put Hogwarts far from my thoughts for I shall never return.

However before the carriage starts to move, taking me away forever, I reach into my cloak pocket and take from it the item I retrieved from the Chamber. The locket shines has it rests in my open palm. Gently I open it. On the left side there is a portrait of Rowena and Helga. Both women are happy. Even Helga looks beautiful. On the right lies a portrait of Gryffindor. I stand beside him a place I thought once long ago that I would never willingly stray from.

Staring at the pictures, I permit myself to give into the tears I thought forbidden to me and allow myself to love them all, one final time, before I leave.

The End