A/N: Hi! So this is my first foray into the Founders era and (hopefully!) it won't be my last! While trying to write more of my Godric/OC fic, I ended up writing this angsty Godric and Salazar friendship fic. I hope you all enjoy it!

Tooth and Claw

"If you are as talented as you proclaim to be, then you are either very brave or very foolish to announce it so freely."

Those were the first words Salazar had ever said to him and they have remained with Godric even all these years later. Godric wasn't usually one for remembering many of his conversations; he much preferred to recall laughter and adventure, but his first meeting with Salazar was still fresh in his mind. As he walked through the dusk corridors of his school, he couldn't help but let himself relive that evening.

Godric watched the man over his dwindling tankard of mead. He had a head of thick dark hair and his eyes were so pale that he wondered if he would have been able to see them in the light of day. But this was not the light of day. This was a cold autumn evening in a tavern at the side of the long dirt road. On the road to where? Godric was hoping it would be on the way to his next great adventure.

He smiled at that now. He hadn't known that meeting Salazar had been the beginning of his greatest adventure of all. But, in truth, he was glad he hadn't known. Perhaps if Godric knew what was coming, he would have behaved differently. Or perhaps not, he thought with a wry smile. Godric was not one to hide behind stiff manners and social etiquette.

"There is no harm in being proud of your abilities." He had replied eventually, watching him with interest.

"There may not be any 'harm' in it, but it is not wise." He took a sip of his own mead. "I believe it is much more efficient to hold your abilities close to you and not to display them until you are required to. That way, your opponent cannot predict your next move."

Godric mulled this over as he ordered another tankard. While he waited, Godric leaned on the table, unashamedly studying the man's face. A stranger then but already Godric knew there was something else beneath. An odd feeling of destiny began to creep up on him but he shook it off quickly. He did not consider such nonsense, believing firmly that one should make their own future and not rest on their laurels by hoping that there was some guiding force that would sort it all out for them.

But still...he found himself well and truly intrigued.

Godric came to a stop in front of a dark wooden panelled door and hesitated outside, unsure of whether to enter or not. Was it really his place to go inside and look around? A fierce anger bubbled up inside him and he gave in, twisting the door handle.

Salazar began to join him on his travels and Godric, usually happy being the proud lion venturing into the world alone, was surprised to find that he enjoyed having company. He and Salazar complimented each other well most of the time; he provided the guts and the brawn while Salazar could calm him and think more tactically.

It was on one adventure when they finally discovered the witch they had heard so much about. Rowena Ravenclaw was exactly how Godric had expected her to be; polite, fair and so intelligent it was intimidating. Godric was far from dim but he found his concentration sliding as she and Salazar compared notes on subjects Godric had never even heard of.

And then Helga was next. Godric liked her immediately; her talent for food charms caught his attention and, after talking with her on several occasions, he insisted that she join them. Her gentle, welcoming nature concealed a sharp mind and a hardiness that he greatly admired. He couldn't help think about Salazar's advice about keeping your talents hidden until they were needed.

Godric stepped inside the office and wordlessly sent a bolt of fire from the tip of his wand into the fireplace, making it roar. Even then, the room was dim and was far from warm. He wondered how Salazar tolerated it. He picked up and replaced a few objects from the desk, looking over them with only moderate interest. He wasn't sure why he had come in here. What was he expecting to find?

When the school opened, Godric thought everything would be easier. Building had been relatively pain-free but they had all clashed a little on different things. Now it was all set up and ready, he hoped things would sail along like a dream.

How wrong he had been.

By the seventh year, the tension between them had become nearly unbearable on occasion. Some days, it was just like old times with them all talking in front of a roaring fire whilst enjoying Helga's newest food creations and other days...other days they could not be in the same room as each other.

It would all begin when Godric would notice Salazar scrutinising a Muggle-born student with an expression of disapproval on his face. Godric knew from past experience that he should just leave it alone, that he should try and keep the peace. But he and never been able to control his temper.

"Why?" He would always demand. "Why does it matter so much? Why does their education cut you so deeply?"

Every time, he would see the disappointment in Helga and Rowena's eyes as he waited for Salazar's usual retort.

"They should not be here! They do not carry wizarding blood!"

And so it would go on.

Until yesterday, when they finally could not stand each other anymore. Their disagreement could no longer be expressed with words and it boiled over into a duel. It was bitter, vicious and fast, both competitors aiming to injure with no holds barred.

As Godric flicked through the extensive notes on the potion that was still bubbling away in the cauldron next the desk, he wondered if Salazar realised he had followed his advice after all. He had been weak in the first part of the duel yesterday, firing off mediocre spells as he planned his full force attack. He kept his best spells back and conserved his energy.

"It is much more efficient to hold your abilities close to you and not to display them until you are required to. That way, your opponent cannot predict your next move."

Godric smiled but there was no joy behind it. He sighed and left Salazar's office, finding nothing inside he thought was useful. He would tell Helga that the potion was still brewing later. She would be the most competent at potions now. Godric found his feet taking him back along the corridor and into the Entrance Hall.

As he looked out over the lawns to the forest and the mountains in the distance, he knew he would never see his old friend again.

And he wondered how their conflict would be written down in history once they were both dead and gone.

Thanks for reading and please leave a review...I love them so much!