There was only one thing she found troubling when she was so close to death. Elena found herself dwelling obsessively on it, and it pained her as she realised that there was absolutely nothing that she could do.
It was that if she died, then Leonardo would die with her.
Elena raised a shaky hand to wipe at her dry eyes, eyes that burned and degenerated from the pure magic she saw. It was her fault, all her own stupid fault, for going to a brother whose action was to let the Hogwarts wards devour her alive. Vampires were creatures almost made up of pure magic, and as such, were excellent power sources. But she had once trusted her brother beyond all other and loved him. She was so stupid.
Elena suspected her magic would be slowly drained away from her over centuries, keeping her in a state of incomprehensible pain while she was suspended in a plane between life and death. She thought of Harry after a long while. The king of dragons. No matter how hard she tried to protect him from his own people, she could see the dragonist in him. He was on occasion thoughtlessly cruel, and people weren't people in his eyes anymore, more of chess figures to manipulate to suit himself. Elena's smile waned as she thought back to when they had first left for the vampire city. How eager Harry had been, that he thought nothing of leaving his loved ones behind. He hadn't even shed a tear for the mother that Elena had killed.
Unattached, as dragonists are, to life on the earth.
Her lip curled in disgust as she thought of the dying dragonist who locked himself up in his decaying fort. Lord Alpheus Greengrass. Only the touch of the Archon, the dragon-king could save him from losing his mind and shifting permanently into his form of a primal dragon, and Elena had tried her best to steer Harry away from Lord Greengrass, yes, but was her best even close to enough?
No, she decided. She could not prevent him from becoming what he was on track to become. Elena shut her eyes briefly against the pain, her thoughts unscrambling. Only one thought survived:
She was going to die.
"I'm dying, Harry," Leonardo said bluntly, grasping weakly at Harry's numb hand.
"Hush, Mr. Lamar, you most certainly are not dying!" Madam Pomfrey tutted at him, but the stressed and worried expression on her face did not escape Harry. He slanted his green eyes over to Leonardo, noting the gauntness of his pale face, his unnatural stiffness, and that peaceful expression that couldn't quite mask the deep pain that the vampire was trying to hide.
"Will my blood help?" Harry asked quietly as the mediwitch sprinted out of the medical wing, keeping his face blank. He couldn't break down and sob all over Leonardo- that achieved absolutely nothing, so he forced his brain to search through his extensive memory for something, anything, that would help. Blood was the first thing he seized upon, but that was scratched off the list as Leonardo smiled pathetically and shook his head.
"There's nothing that you can do to save me," Leonardo said softly, with that sense of great finality that was so unsuited to the vampire that Harry called his best friend. It scared him, Leonardo's tone, because death had never seemed so touchable. Harry disentangled his fingers from Leonardo's with alacrity.
Harry betrayed none of his thoughts in his measured tone. "Where's Elena? She can find a way out of this mess," he said, his words taking on that childlike desperation that made him dig his fingernails into the side of Leonardo's bed. Death bed, he couldn't help thinking, and he mentally slapped himself for it.
Leonardo's eyes darkened and his voice become softer. "She's dying," he said bluntly, with no apparent sympathy in his voice. "She is very, very close to death, and I'm contract-bound to follow her there. And that'll be that, I suppose." His cracked lips curved up into a serene smile. "We die."
"Bullshit," Harry snapped, his anger rising with this knowledge. He felt almost sick as he looked at Leonardo's chilling smile, a churning nausea that had him gripping the bed all the more tightly. What he was saying was impossible. "You can't die- not like this."
"You can believe what you like," Leonardo said diplomatically, still wearing that horrible smile. "You can either resign yourself to this fact: that Elena and I are going to die, or," his smile stretched into a smirk, "decide alternatively."
"There is an alternative?"
"There is always an alternative," Leonardo said simply.
"What would you have me do, then?" Harry asked, his green eyes pained as Leonardo began to cough, the effort shaking his frail frame. It sounded like a death rattle.
"There is a man who calls himself the Godfather," the vampire replied once he had composed himself, "there is a chance that he could be able to help, but it's highly unlikely. You could try."
"Him?" Harry spat viciously, his composure fleeing as he recalled those ten pages strung together by Nott on the man. Most of the information he'd absorbed hadn't been favourable, particularly when he remembered the statistics of those who had survived the Godfather. His lips thinned to a displeasured line when he recalled exactly what Nott had said to him:
"The Godfather is after me," he repeated aloud, tilting his head to one side as he considered the old information in a new light. A terribly tired smile stretched itself across his handsome face, some of that weariness reflected in his eyes as he looked straight at Leonardo.
"You know, I almost think that this is some absurd test that you and Elena have contrived to test my loyalty," he told the dying vampire, a brow cocked in mockery of the question.
"It is not," Leonardo replied.
"That's what I'm afraid of," Harry told him, as Madam Pomfrey returned with Flitwick in tow. "I won't let you die- you know that, right?"
Leonardo merely smiled at Harry again and shut his eyes as Pomfrey ushered him to morning lessons. He let her.
"Daphne," Harry said in an uncharacteristically soft voice, "could I speak with you for a moment?" His eyes flicked to Zabini, then back to her, "privately, if that's alright."
Zabini nodded and took a step back as Harry quickly cast some privacy charms. The Slytherin was too used to Harry's ways to take offence at the request, and Harry was grateful for that.
"Do you know a way for me to speak with the Godfather?" Harry asked, his voice cautious and low. "And quickly; my time is running out, I'm afraid."
Daphne looked at him for a moment, with an eerie, calm sort of intelligence that looked out of place on her childish face. It wasn't the first time that Harry wondered to himself if he underestimated his chosen friends, but this wasn't the time to wonder about it.
"No," Daphne replied, "whatever it is you want, let me tell you now- it isn't worth it."
Harry's lips thinned to a sharp, vicious line at her refusal, his eyes hardening as he digested her words. "You can't tell me that when you don't even know what I want," he said in a calm voice. "And I think that if I do get what I want, whatever he wants in return will be worth it."
"It won't," she said simply, "but it isn't really my policy to refuse someone. I've said no to you as a friend, but I'm saying yes to you now, as his agent." She bit her lip and looked away from him, the action making her look all of eleven years old again. Harry's anger dimmed and he had an urge to turn away too as she rubbed hard at her eyes. "But I have to ask you as a friend- please don't ask me to do this."
"I'm sorry," Harry said, and in a sense, he was sorry to have caused her this distress, but he wasn't sorry at all if this Godfather could save his friends.
"Then I'll arrange it," Daphne replied, her voice shaky as she ended in a small sob.
"Thanks," he said gently, and he didn't really know what else to say. "Don't cry. Slytherin girls are tough, remember?"
"As if I'm going to just stop crying just because you said so," Daphne retorted, "I'm Slytherin, but I'm human as well. Isn't it human to grieve and cry because your friend is going to die?"
"I'm not going to die," Harry said dismissively, putting an arm around her shoulders in an effort to calm her.
Daphne looked at him with those wise, tired grey eyes that made him a little unsure of himself.
"I certainly hope not," she replied, "but matters of life and death are not for either of us to decide."
A/N: Originally one massively long chapter, split it into two. It's been ages since I've updated... To be honest, I've been considering abandoing the story :[ It has way too many plotholes and is beginning to spin out of control. Then I thought- oh well, we'll see how it goes. ;)