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Disclaimer: I do not own HP, or Merlin. Wrong accent and all.

Chapter 1 – Arrival

The ship pulled onto the shore of a lake, showing a view of a castle. They all stared, and Gwen was the first to speak.

“It’s beautiful. Nothing like home, but it’s beautiful.”

“Yes I suppose, Camelot would be in the thick of things,” Arthur said looking at the castle. “It will do.”

“Prat,” Merlin mumbled as Morgana smacked Arthur’s arm.

“Where is everyone?”

“Famine,” Merlin said, suddenly eyes shinning gold. “They left or they starved, but the place is full of magic. It makes no sense. Things should flourish here. Not wither and die. Magic is life.”

“Apparently someone didn’t tell the magic that,” Arthur said.

“Merlin.” He turned to the lady of the lake and smiled at her. He wished he could have done more for her back then, but this had never seemed to upset her.

“Freya.”

“Not for a long time. This is the last great sanctuary of Magic in the realm. Feel it.” With that the Lady of the Lake placed both hands at Merlin temples, and the man went rigid then shuddered in a way that made Arthur narrow his eyes at Freya.

Merlin staggered back and nearly fell out of the boat, and Arthur grabbed hold of the man, holding him until he regained his senses. Even then he kept an arm loosely around his waist.

“Merlin, you are not allowed to drown in a bloody lake.”

“As I would allow harm to come to him,” the lady said and Arthur twisted his mouth in irritation. He had no time for her right now.

“How will they know we are here?” Gwen asked.

“The magic is already waking; it will draw them here. I will spread the word, for the sea and tears are much the same.”

With that the Lady of the Lake faded into the water, leaving their ship where it was. The foursome exchanged looks, and headed towards the castle. The gates were wide open and they went up the winding path to the castle.

“What castle is this?” Gwen wondered.

“I’m sure we will find some information,” Morgana said. “Why don’t we go this way, and you two go that way,” she said pointing towards a hall.

Merlin shrugged. And went down a corridor Arthur trailing behind.

“Oh look, there seems to be a walled garden here,” Merlin said peering out the large windows.

“Lovely,” Arthur said coming up behind Merlin and pressing against his back. Arthur started kissing the back of Merlin’s neck his hips grinding against Merlin’s ass.

Smiling Merlin turned in Arthur’s arms. “This is not exploring,” Merlin said even as he pulled Arthur close, slipping a thigh between Arthur’s legs.

“Gods,” Arthur gasped, as Merlin shifted so they kissed and rubbed. Arthur was the first to come undone, gasping against Merlin, even as he came as well. The two of them collapsed against the open window, sliding to the floor.

Taking a breath, Arthur cast a spell that cleaned them both. “That’s handy,” Merlin said gasping as he leaned against Arthur’s side, before turning to Arthur and kissing him again. Merlin wanting Arthur naked, was his only thought as his hands roamed for the edge of the red shirt.

“Boys!”

The pair snapped apart and looked up at Morgana who had her hands on her hips. Gwen stood beside her shaking her head in clear amusement.

“What?” Arthur said pulling Merlin into his lap trying for his best innocent expression. Merlin was no help with his dazed glassy eyed expression.

“This is how you explore the castle?”

“We found a garden,” Arthur said pointing behind them, and then kissing Merlin’s ear.

“Go to the village!” Morgana said kicking at Arthur. Rolling his eyes he released his hold on Merlin who stood and turned to give him a hand up.

“See if there is anything useful left behind in the houses,” Gwen added.

Merlin and Arthur made their way out of the corridor, and Morgana turned to Gwen with a smirk. “I thought they would never leave,” Morgana said with a leer.

“You’re horrible,” she giggled as Morgana wrapped her arms around Gwen’s waist.

“Well we can’t have them walking in on us now can we,” she said dipping Gwen for a kiss.

 

Chapter 2 – Muggle

 

They had gone through the village; the homes were small and simple, but it was clear that the people had left, rather than starved. Most of the homes had just the largest pieces of furniture remaining behind, a bed here, a table that had been built after the house and would not fit through the door.

They had made the choice to leave before they starved. Merlin still wondered about the famine but he could already feel the magic moving among the land. Freya had gifted him with what it took to break the curse, and even as he walked he could feel the tainted magic pulling away from the land.

At one point he had shoved Arthur in another direction, in order to be able to see anything. As much as he wanted to spend every waking moment with Arthur, they had better have something to show for their exploring or Morgana would have their heads.

Once they were inhabited, he was sure a farmer could make things grow. Magic at first at least could also make things go a little faster than normal. He was sure he could see things that could be grown and Merlin was looking forward to exploring the woods, to see what herbs and plants grew. And what creatures there were. But that was for later.

There had only been one house where it was clear that the person had not had a chance to leave. Even more strange was the cross that was nailed to the door. It did not seem to fit with the other symbols carved into the door.

Going inside, he found some simple dresses, and food long spoiled. They were about to leave when Merlin felt the concealing magic. He wandered over and saw it was a powerful spell, made to hold something in the same state as when the spell was cast.

He reached towards it and broke the spell easily. It may have been strong once but it was clear in a few years it would have degraded completely on its own.

“Master?”

“No,” Merlin said, lifting the cloth covering the creature, and saw a pair of golden eyes. He felt a wave of lethargy and knew then what creature it was and cursed. He was lucky it was young.

“Do you want to come with me?”

“Food?”

“Yes, we’ll find you a rabbit or two. Just cover your eyes.”

“Are you master?”

“I suppose I am now.”

Merlin came out of the house, that had been further out of the village, and adjusted the snake across his shoulders. It was happy enough to take his heat for now and Merlin was sure he would be able to find it something to eat, in the forests around the castle, or even these forests that separated the village from any others.

Even as he thought it, a young rabbit bounded past his feet. The snake slithered faster than he thought possible, staring down the rabbit that went rigid. The Basilisk then swallowed it whole, before making its way back up Merlin to relax and digest.

“Did you find anything?”

“At least one person practiced magic in this village. I found her Basilisk.”

“A what?”

“Magical snake, hatched from placing a chicken egg under a toad.”

“That makes absolutely no sense,” Arthur said. “Did you see if she had anything else?”

“Some dresses. It looks like hers is the only house that wasn’t packed up and taken.”

“All right, I found the tavern and what may have been an inn, or a brothel. I would say that no one has lived here for years. I also learned the name of the village. Hogsmead.”

“Did these people really like pigs?”

“Pig Farmers? Let’s explore these woods a bit before going back to the castle, maybe there is some game here.”

“You are not hunting with Excalibur.”

“My sword.”

“It is not for killing deer!”

“Merlin, have I ever hunted with a sword?” Arthur asked even as he pulled a dagger.

“Prat. I saw some rabbits over there,” Merlin said pointing to his left.

“I’ll see if there are any left. You go that way, I’ll find you,” Arthur said.

“Fine,” Merlin said walking into the brush, pushing a few branches aside.

“Now what should we call you?” Merlin said stroking the snake. The rabbit was hardly a large meal for it, but it was doing little more then resting against Merlin.

“Hmm, cold, can kill with a look. I would call you Morgause, but Morgana would kill me, and you’re a boy. Uther. We just won’t tell Arthur,” Merlin said patting the newly named snake. He wondered why he could understand it, and if it was something of the magic the witch had used to create it or something else.

There were other magical creatures he had been able to speak to, even if they had not been able to speak back. He supposed with its magic it could be closer to Dragon then snake. He would have to find a normal snake and compare.

Merlin was still wandering when he stumbled upon a path. It looked like it had overgrown on the Hogsmeade side. But he could see where it became clear again, right where it rounded a bend. He started following it and then stopped as he saw two men, in drab brown robes, working their way up the path, talking, though they fell silent as they saw Merlin. They let him approach.

“And who are you?” Merlin asked.

“Brother Thomas, this is Brother James.”

“And what do you want?”

“We saw smoke coming from the castle. It is an unnatural place. God has marked it defiled. Only the likes of those consorting with the devil would dare go there.”

“I have no idea what you are talking about.”

“How did you get to the castle? It is bracketed by sea, and sheer cliffs, you would have had to pass through our village before reaching the dead lands.”

“Dead lands?”

“You are not from these lands. It is said ten years ago a witch was found by the brotherhood, and made to repent for her sins. She would not take God as her own, and so she cursed the land, so only another worshiper of the devil could make it grow. She burned, but her curse spread.”

“I see,” Merlin said coldly. This brotherhood was much too close for comfort.

“You must come with us.”

“Why?”

“You must be cleansed. There are tests to see if you have been tainted.”

“And if I fail?”

“Then we shall send you to your judgment with God.”

“You and what army?” Merlin asked dangerously, the small snake draped around his shoulders finally moving, scenting the air. If it were older it’s golden stare would have killed these men. At best now, it could make a rabbit go rigid, but still live as it devoured it.

Both men drew back in shock and, if Merlin was not mistaken, a large amount of fear.

“That is the devil’s beast, unnatural and cold.”

“What is going on here?” Arthur said, coming up upon Merlin and the two men. He placed a hand on Merlin’s shoulder and shifted to glare at the two men.

“Sir,” one began and Merlin wondered what about Arthur made people defer to his authority so easily and how could Merlin make it happen for himself. Arthur had on no identifying marker, no crest, but still from the moment they saw him it was clear they thought he was a leader.

“This is now my land, my people will be coming shortly. Do you have a claim to it?” Arthur asked not letting them get in a word.

“You cannot-”

“Are you presuming to tell me what I can and cannot do with my things?” Merlin wondered why the pompous arrogant tones made him want to shove Arthur against a tree and strip him naked. Clearly he just missed every part of him, even the prattish ones.

“No, my lord, but the church, Bishop Muggle, how did he not hear of this?”

“I sent messengers, if they did not reach your lord fine but why are you harassing my servant?”

“We did not realize that you had made it to the town. We will speak to the Bishop and return tomorrow.”

“Do that,” Arthur said turning away from them. He took a few steps before glaring at Merlin.

“Well?”

Merlin sighed and supposed he should be glad it was just an act. He trailed after Arthur wondering what they would do the next day when these fools returned. They had asked the lady to bring them others trying to escape this same kind on nonsense.

Once they were out of sight of the woods and the men, Arthur looked at Merlin long enough to make the man fidget and hope that Uther would do something.

“What?”

“What were you planning on doing Merlin?”

“I hadn’t gotten that far, it’s not like they were dangerous, or that I would go with them.”

Arthur sighed and threw an arm around him. “Let’s go tell the girls that there is a village near here. Perhaps they will have a better solution, or you know any solution.”

“Right, I wonder what they are burning. They said they saw smoke from the castle?”

“Knowing Morgana, they found a hideous tapestry.”

Returning to the castle it turned out the girls had not in fact found a tapestry, but the kitchens and had started fires to burn the trash that remained as well as make sure all the stoves were still in working order.

As Arthur looked at the blue and green burning magical flames he supposed they should be glad that the smoke was at least a normal color or it would have been more work to dispatch those brothers.

“They are a small group but powerful. They have the king’s ear,” Gwen explained.

“You will have to explain this new world to us,” Morgana pointed out. “You are the only one who has lived in it.”

Gwen frowned but nodded. “The biggest differences are that the old religion is mostly forgotten, and the church has money to put behind themselves and need not answer to any king.”

“How does that work?”

“They answer to a higher authority.”

“Seriously?”

“Yes.”

“Tell me everything,” Arthur said seriously, even as Merlin conjured a set of chairs for them. The expression on Gwen’s face told him this would take a while.

“I should have let him kill some poor animal,” Merlin whispered to Morgana who giggled, causing Arthur to glare pointedly at them.

“We’ll be good.”

****

Walking back towards the wooden path Merlin wished he had a better solution but he wanted the people to come to them and be safe. He never wanted to watch a witch or warlock burn again and if this is what he would have to do he would accept it. Being a kind open heart had destroyed everything he had worked for.

There was a time when he had a smile for every stranger, a trusting smile, a believing ear, even as he thought no the evil magic users were the aberrations, that there had to be more like him and Gaius. Those who used magic to heal, to save, to defend. Had the purge killed them all?

He had spent too long in the cave. Too long to see the outcome of every decision, to see what would have been had he brought Morgana sooner, had told Arthur sooner, had killed Mordred when he was but a boy, had he taken him under his wing.

The scenarios played in so many ways, roles would change, but always someone would plunge that knife in. Morgana would have the scabbard, whether to defend it, or having stolen it. Even when he was at Arthur’s side something would happen and in the key moment it would end.

It made him sullen and angry in a way he could barely understand. He wanted to be happy, they were together again, and there were no secrets between them. He tried his best to make it not so. Even more strange, the strongest feeling he had for Morgana, was a need to apologize.

And now these brothers were a threat even before they had the first person there. It was not something he could abide. Freya said that they would come and when they did they would be safe. They would not leave one group of hunters to find another.

He passed the line of the village, and he stopped. Morgana was waiting for him there. She looked at him and smiled so sadly. Then she gestured. He saw one of the robed men approach and suddenly scratch his head. He turned away in confusion and wandered back into the wood.

Merlin looked at Morgana, and she smiled. “An eagle is keen of eye, and I can still see. I call them muggle wards. After our dear Bishop Muggle.”

“What do they do?”

“If you have no magic, you will suddenly have urgent business elsewhere.”

“And if they have magic?”

“You think these men of the one true god would allow that in their midst? I have no doubt that anyone that has the slightest bit of magic has hidden it away to this madness; they will act as if they feel it. And those fleeing with their families, the magic one will be able to lead them to overcome it.”

“That is brilliant.”

“Much better than raining lightening from the sky.”

Merlin had a moment to look ashamed, before he frowned. “They will come to us for protection.”

“There are many ways to protect. There was a time when you knew that.”

“And look at what that brought me.”

“Oh how I wish I could have had you in Avalon.”

“I know the end was inevitable, it does not make me happy.”

“Does this look like an end? We are building a new world, we are raising foundations here that will last thousands of years.”

“I don’t know what to do anymore.”

“I know,” she said putting an arm around his shoulder. “You just have to see for yourself,” Morgana said even as her eyes glowed.

“Would it have been so wrong to kill them?”

“You are still just one man, at some point you must sleep.”

“I slept for centuries; I’ve had enough of sleep.”

“Then do whatever it is you and that brother of mine get up to.”

“No different than you and Gwen.”

Morgana smiled then, and looped her arm in Merlin’s as they approached the castle. She hoped this spell worked. He needed to understand that what they were doing here was important. He did not understand the fear he would inspire.

But no matter how young the face, an old man was there. He had lost something at Camlann that even with Arthur standing beside him he hadn’t fully gained. This Merlin, she wasn’t sure what would happen with him. She hoped that what she dreamed could be a way. To bring him back to himself.

“You still have not chosen a name.”

“I have time, we are the only ones here.”

“How much time?”

“I suppose you have chosen a name?”

“Rowena, Rowena Ravenclaw.”

“Ravenclaw? Why?”

 

“They are thought to be omens, bringers of portents of the future, and death. I thought it fitting.”

“Do you still have dreams, my lady?” Merlin asked.

“I have always had dreams,” she said simply.

“And Arthur?”

“He has stayed with Godric.”

“Ravenclaw?”

“Oh no, once Helga talked him out of anything dragon related he settled on Gryffindor.”

“Is there an animal theme no one mentioned?”

“No, because then your name would be basilisk. Also what would a Hufflepuff be?”

“I suppose. How long do you think until people start arriving?”

Morgana noticed the subject change but decided not to push it. At some point he would have to choose a name. And it would be something he would need to respond to. She supposed it was easier for them; Camelot was a half forgotten dream, from so long ago. She knew time has passed differently for each of them. No more so than Gwen, born again, with a brother, and Tom, this time a cooking family. To awake one night and know who she had once been. To be drawn to the water, and have her lady and king come to her even as Merlin walked, covered, in dust and shattered crystals.

He had spent the years in a nightmare, Camelot always on his mind. Arthur had tried to forget. Tried to be something different. Tried magic, all because he wanted to be a stronger man. She had an idea of why they looked the way they did, and she thought it was Merlin. He could not see them as anything else.

He was trapped at the start. She prayed there were no familiar faces in those that ran to them. Faces to break him, or worse, a face to enrage him. A face like Mordred’s. She had no idea why he did not feel such rage and hate for her, but she would accept it. She and Arthur had made peace long ago, and despite the new life, Gwen’s heart would always be hers.

She watched as he wandered into the castle, and headed down to the lower levels. Both she and Arthur had chosen towers for themselves, and Gwen had chosen an area by the kitchens. Kitchens she had left the woman in trying to see if she could get a forge going. Gwen wanted to honor her fathers’ cooking and metal work. Morgana knew Arthur would be pleased with his new sword. Excalibur was not the most discreet of swords and it would have to be returned to the lake. For all that they had the stories wrong the sword was remembered.

 

Merlin headed down into the bowels of the castle, which he had already chosen for his labs, and looked around for Uther. The snake was nowhere to be seen. The others had all met him, though he had kept the name to himself for the time being. They understood what it was, and the snake had been informed to keep its eyes shut in their presence. He smiled. They had moved all the supplies from the house where he had found Uther down to the dungeons and he had the beginnings of a lab and library. Granted he was sure Gaius would throw a fit if he saw that six books made a library.

He pulled one of the books down randomly and started to read, losing himself in a book of spells disguised as children’s stories. He supposed one might not notice the words and ingredients if they were not looking closely. Hours passed and he wondered vaguely what the others were doing but not enough to go find them.

Merlin shivered in the castle, sure that Camelot for all its faults had never been this cold. He left the dungeon area he had chosen as his domain, mostly out of habit. He had been halfway down the stairs, before he realized what he was doing. But it felt right.

But right now he did not want to be with experiments, books, and crystals. And wasn’t it interesting how much the castle just had waiting for them. He made his way up to the tower Arthur had chosen for his own. There had been some red tapestries and hangings, and Merlin had known it would be his.

He entered into the room that was the more common area for his chambers, and walked to a large arched door and pushed it open. It made Arthur’s old rooms in Camelot look like nothing.

Making his way up the staircase, he entered the room Arthur had chosen. And stopped dead. Arthur had put together a bath for himself, and was just climbing out.

“Do you want it?”

“Yes,” Merlin breathed.

“Well the water is still warm,” Arthur said turning away to grab clothes. He let out an amused huff when Merlin pressed against him.

Merlin’s teeth were worrying his neck before he spoke again. “You’re wearing too much,” Arthur said resting his hands on Merlin’s sleeves.

“Do I need to show you what to do about that?” Merlin asked, his arms draped around Arthur’s waist, his long fingers slowly ghosting across Arthur’s cock as it hardened.

“Merlin,” Arthur breathed, pulling out of the hold and turning, his hands tugging at Merlin’s shirt even as Merlin’s hands went to his lacings.

“Idiot,” Arthur said with a grin at the inevitable tangle. “How you ever dress yourself I will never know.”

“I had plenty of practice on you,” Merlin said though he stopped trying to help as Arthur stripped him. This time Arthur watched him for long moments, before; they had fallen into bed together, rutted against a wall, barely taking off their clothing with hands or magic before they were on each other like starving men.

It looked like this time Arthur wanted to look, to take his time. Even as his erection bobbed, his eyes never left Merlin’s face. Hands roaming the contours, down his neck to his shoulders. A shadow of a touch to his nipples. His eyes were serious even as his hand went up to ruffle Merlin’s hair and he ducked away.

“We haven’t been this young in a long time,” Arthur said.

“When you were…”

“I was, as I was when that Druid made his blow, until I stepped through the fog, I had a beard when I first entered that ship.”

“Do you not want to be young again?”

“I was never old.”

Merlin smiled at that, far from happy. Arthur had not lived as long as Uther. There had never been a chance for his hair to go to gray. Still golden, the day he had fallen.

“And now you are all maudlin. If I can deal with it so can you.” With that Arthur shoved Merlin to the bed and climbed atop him. Spreading his legs to make room for Arthur, Merlin marveled not for the first time that they fit well together.

Merlin kept these thoughts to himself, sure Arthur would point out the fact that they were nearly the same height, and of similar frame if not build. Merlin would rather believe the Dragon’s coin theory.

Thought became more difficult, once Arthur began to look with hands, lips, and teeth. Merlin was not one to lie docile and let Arthur get his way.

“Hold still,” Arthur growled, his eyes going more red then golden and Merlin gasped, even as invisible hands held him, pinned his arms over his head, and pressed his hips into the bed. Arthur’s magic felt amazing; he wanted to drown in it. He pushed with more vigor then he really wanted to, then let loose a deep moan when more of Arthur’s magic seemed to caress him.

“Merlin?”

“Your magic,” Merlin gasped and just as quickly the sensation was gone. “Don’t stop,” Merlin whined, “felt good.”

“Yes it’s reduced your incessant chatter to a few words. I quite like the effect my magic has on you.” Merlin tried to glare, but Arthur chose that moment to whisper a few words, and instead of holding him down, the magic caressed. Merlin did his best not to scream.

Arthur’s eyes widened as he watched Merlin come undone by the touch of his magic. He clearly should have done this sooner. With a grin that would have made Merlin wary had he seen it, he increased the touch of his magic with a word, then slid down Merlin’s body and gripped his hips, before swallowing him whole.

Merlin screamed, his body nearly bent in double, and came painfully into Arthur’s mouth. Merlin was lost in the moment, Arthur’s magic still ghosting against his skin, and it took him a while to hear Arthur.

He opened bleary gold eyes. “You’re glowing.”

“Mmm.”

“Merlin!”

“What?” Merlin asked, then reached a hand to Arthur’s crotch.

“You are glowing,” Arthur said as if he were talking to a very slow child, even as he pushed Merlin’s hand away.

“Doesn’t matter.”

“Why is it happening?”

“Magic wants,” Merlin said starting to fall asleep.

“Wants what?”

“You,” Merlin slurred. “Dreams, by pool. Ends, dawn.”

Arthur stared at Merlin. Only he could break an enforced ban with magic and not know it. Arthur knew he was powerful, but even Avalon could not keep Merlin away completely. And once again Arthur wondered what he had done to deserve it.

People remembered him as a great king, but Merlin, Merlin had been there when he had been little more than an arrogant child. Stories most had forgotten. Risking his head for the man he was to become. A man Arthur had not been able to see.

He had dreamed of Merlin regularly, when he was on the isle, but the ones by the pool had been much more vivid. It wasn’t until Morgana had seen the love bite had he understood. Neither of them could understand how it was possible and then the dreams had stopped for years.

“Why did you stop?” Arthur murmured to the sleeping man.

“Hurt,” Merlin said frowning though he did not open his eyes.

Arthur kissed Merlin’s lips and felt a hand in his hair. He deepened the kiss, and shifted when Merlin’s other hand went to his ass to press him and his erection close.

Arthur pulled away from Merlin to pull in more air as he came, resting his forehead against Merlin’s shoulder as he got his breath back, and that was when he realized Merlin’s hands had gone slack, and his glow was brighter.

Arthur crawled off Merlin and the bed and went to the now cold tub, heating it with a word, and taking a cloth. He wiped himself, and Merlin, who mumbled incoherently and brightened again. Arthur wasn’t sure if the brightness was because of his presence or not, but he assumed it was tied to Merlin’s half dreaming state. And how he had never realized he had traveled in some form to Avalon.

Arthur looked out the window. Dawn was not far, and he knew Merlin could do magic in his sleep. He would keep watch. Make sure that there was nothing odd happening. That he did not leave Arthur behind, searching for him in a place he would never find him.

“The things I do for you,” Arthur muttered, sitting up against the headboard. Taking one of Merlin’s hands in his, he rubbed the fingers and pressed a kiss to each one.

Merlin’s only reaction was to brighten, and turn towards Arthur. A mumble that may have been his name came forth as he slept.

“What have you been up to?” Arthur wondered. Gwen had said she had been born and grown, dreams becoming real when she came to meet them. The question became, was anyone else reborn? Would they find Lancelot? Gaius? His Father? And what had Merlin been doing?

Would they repeat their past? Or forge a new future in this world?

 

Chaper 3 - Time travel

“Mmm,” Arthur mumbled burying his face in the black hair. Waiting for dawn, he had gotten many an idea of what he could do with his magic and Merlin once he woke. Though honestly he was too bony by far.

“Uh,” Harry mumbled slowly waking. “Hey!” He exclaimed when a hand slid along his belly, and jumped out of the bed. He turned to the bed and saw the man that had been groping him was still half asleep.

“Merlin…” he whispered.

“Oi, Harry, what’s with all the shouting?” Ron called from his side of the room. The reaction of the man in the bed was lightening quick. He was on his feet, his hand reaching for something that wasn’t at his waist, most likely his wand.

“Who are you?” Harry asked, wand pointed at the man’s blurry shape, even as he heard Ron curse and scramble.

“Nev, Dean, Seamus!” Both boys called though only Neville woke.

“What’s Ah!”

“Death Eater?”

“What?” Dean said waking finally. “Bloody-”

“What in the hell is a death eater? Sounds disgusting.”

“What’s you’re name?” Harry asked reaching for his glasses finally when he saw what had to be Ron pointing his wand towards his surprise bed mate. He put them on and finally got a look at the man; he was in a pair of some kind of linen shorts, blond, and more amused than scared of the wands pointed at him.

“Dean, get the Headmaster and Professor Mcgonagall.”

“On it.”

“Godric.”

“What?”

“My name, Godric.”

“Godric, Godric what?” Ron asked.

“Gryffindor.”

“Bloody hell! You can’t be serious.”

Arthur rolled his eyes and looked around. He looked up at the ceiling. “This looks to be my room, though when I went to bed, it was not housing children.”

“Hogwarts has been a school for a thousand years.”

“I’m going to strangle that big eared idiot.”

“What is going on in here? Thomas is nattering about naked men?”

“Just one,” Harry said.

“Say’s he’s Godric Gryffindor.”

 

Merlin buried his head deeper into the pillow.

“And what are you doing in my bed?” was drawled silkily at him.

“Sleeping, you blond prat,” Merlin mumbled. Arthur still was much too lively in the morning.

“What? How dare you! Lumos.”

The light startled Merlin who sat up and blinked, actually seeing who he was in bed with.

“Oh. What?” Merlin asked wondering if he had gotten very drunk the night before to get in bed with the wrong blond. This one was much too thin, and seemed a bit young. Then he remembered the night before and frowned. There had been no one else in the castle.

“You’re the one in my bed.”

“Well that’s different…when am I?” Merlin asked finally able to trace the kind of magic lingering around him.

“Hogwarts, Slytherin boys dorms.”

“Hogwarts? I guess the name sticks. Shouldn’t you be worried?” Merlin said trying to understand the boy in front of him.

“You have no wand, Blaise has his wand trained on you, the only person who can beat me in a duel is up in Gryffindor.”

“What would I need a wand for?” Merlin asked and saw another boy behind him hand up, watching him warily. “Also you really shouldn’t have told me he was back there.”

“You are still unarmed.”

Merlin spoke a simple guttural word and both wands jumped into his hands. Both boys jumped in surprise, Draco scrambling back so far he fell off the bed.

“You okay?” Merlin asked peering over the bed, watching as Draco crab walked away.

“Is he always like that?” Merlin asked glancing at Blaise.

“Yes,” the boy said inwardly panicking at the lack of a wand.

Merlin stood, tossing Blaise’s wand at him and ignoring the fact that Draco had fled the room. He placed the boy’s wand on the bed. He stood, and looked down at himself. With a few words, he had his usual outfit appear on his form, complete with neck scarf. Naked in bed with a blond- he supposed that was his normal order of things, though he had fallen asleep in Arthur’s tower.

“I should see if-”

“You idiot!” Was snarled from the very walls, and Merlin sighed.

“What is that?” Blaise asked wand held tight.

“My prat,” Merlin said almost fondly as he pushed the door to the room open and was met with a glowering menacing form in all black.

“Stupify,” Snape said and Merlin slammed a shield up watching as the red curse smashed to pieces on it. Rather than deal with the man Merlin called up the feeling of Arthur and tapped into the castle magic to move him into the room with the man. He ended up in a hall, but wandered down as the lights in a corridor dimmed in on direction and brightened in another.

He stopped at an open archway and went up a set of moving stairs, where he could just barely make out voices.

He was surprised to find himself in a tower room. there was an old man sitting at the desk with a long white beard, a red head, and a boy with hair as black and messy as his own, an older woman and glowering at him, Arthur.

“Don’t get mad at me you’re the one who fell asleep.”

“Oh, don’t worry, the magic will dissipate with the dawn.”

“It didn’t?”

“After you fainted, like a girl, I put you to bed, and watched until dawn. You stopped glowing, yet here we are a thousand years in the future.”

“A thousand years? Really? And the castle is still here? Don’t you see that’s great!”

“Merlin,” Arthur growled pinching the bridge of his nose. “Where did you wake up?”

“Oh, in the dungeon. With this little blond prat. Not much change there I must say.”

“Wait, if he woke up in Gryffindor, and is him, does that make you Slytherin?” Harry asked.

“What?”

“Salazar Slytherin.”

“Idiot.”

“Does that mean the girls are here?” Merlin asked suddenly, wondering what exactly his magic had done this time. With Arthur there he hadn’t expected his magic to do anything really except maybe keep the man in bed.

“One moment. It seems Severus is on his way up. He seems quite upset. Would you know anything about that?” The headmaster asked Merlin.

“Batlike fellow? I may have blocked a curse before coming up here,” Merlin said.

“Minerva, if you could check with Pomona, and Filus, for Helga and Rowena? Take Severus with you.”

“Yes headmaster.”

“Oh I will take that back now,” Dumbledore said reaching towards the hat that was on Arthur’s head.

“I still don’t believe I would own something so ugly.” The brim of the hat opened slightly and made a sound of a raspberry.

“Well it’s about time I wasn’t the only one in a silly hat,” Merlin said defensively.

“That hat was the height of fashion.”

“Right, then why was it only brought out to torture me?”

“You loved it.”

“Oh, what’s this then?” Merlin said approaching Fawkes’ perch, deciding to ignore the old argument. “Hello.” He said petting the bird that coo’d under his hand.

“No, you are not getting anymore pets. First that snake, and all those things in the forest. I’m sure you will try to find Unicorns.”

“You just don’t like Unicorns.”

“They are evil.”

“They are not, prat, I told you not to shoot it.”

“Merlin, you’re a bleeding heart, you don’t want me to shoot deer, but you are quick to eat it.”

“Shut up. Where are your clothes?” He asked noticing Arthur’s barely dressed state.

“I don’t know, maybe I was in bed before some idiot dropped me in the future.”

“Are you magic or not,” Merlin said waving Arthur’s trademark red on him. “You know that’s not my job anymore.”

“It isn’t when I say it isn’t,” Arthur said moving to Merlin’s side and cuffing him lightly. Merlin rolled his eyes but leaned against Arthur. “So what now?” Arthur asked Dumbledore.

“Let’s see if we have anyone else joining us,” Dumbledore said. “While we wait, could you tell me how you apparated within Hogwarts?”

“Apparated?”

“Came to be in this room?”

“Oh I asked the castle. She’s been very helpful so far.”

“Did you not build her?”

“Oh no, it was all here when we arrived, named and all. It was perfect for a sanctuary.”

“Sanctuary?” Harry asked.

“Yes, what with people burning down whole villages, in the name of stopping magic,” Arthur snarled.

“That is not how history remembers it,” Albus said calmly.

“History is never remembered quite right,” Merlin said glancing at Arthur who rolled his eyes.

“History is a touch of fact with a dragon load of farce. I bet there is plenty you have wrong about us,” Arthur said.

“You can say that mate,” Ron said still looking at Merlin suspiciously.

“Is there something on my face?” Merlin asked confused.

“Must be the ears.”

“Prat.”

“I think young Mr. Weasley is just reacting to the tales that have been passed on to us.”

“What is it this time?”

“Blood Supremacy.”

“Like Royalty?” Merlin asked glancing at Arthur.

“Like being born of generations of magical parents,” Morgana said sweeping into the room in a green gown, a blond trailing behind her.

“Luna.”

“Oh hello Harry,” Luna said smiling.

“What on earth does that matter?” Merlin asked.

“You don’t believe that non-magical people have no place in our world?”

“Well not if they are burning all of us alive I don’t think so. Like that idiot Muggle. Anyone with the least amount of magic is being killed. And if they are parents or family to someone with magic they are being burned too, of course I don’t want that to happen. Why are you asking me?”

“Salazar Slytherin has quite the reputation,” Morgana said gently.

Salazar Slytherin?” Merlin asked confused.

“And Rowena?” Arthur asked, hoping that would clear things up for Merlin.

“Known for her keen intellect. Of course.”

“You need your sword,” Luna said looking at Arthur.

Before he could respond the door opened and Gwen came in with three students, and all four heads of house. She was in a simple yellow dress with a black leather corset over it, clothing that indicated she had spent long hours in the forge before this happened.

“Quite the entourage,” Arthur remarked and Gwen blushed slightly.

“Headmaster, breakfast will be starting soon.”

“Yes, I have Malfoy waiting in my chambers, and Blaise will likely keep this to himself, these are the other students.”

“Ah, Severus, I would have thought you would have given up on keeping secrets in Hogwarts long ago. No. The best thing is to bring our guests to breakfast.”

“And who are these guests, headmaster?”

“Haven’t you guessed?”

“I would not be asking if I had.”

“To breakfast, all questions shall be answered,” Dumbledore said merrily.

“My dear, you have quite the likeness to our patron,” Filus said approaching Morgana.

“Do I? And what do you make of that?” She asked smiling slightly.

“That there will be many a history lesson to come.”

“Smart man.”

“It is what we are known for after all.”

Together the strange troop made their way down the winding staircase. The gargoyle statue nipped playfully at Merlin who grinned and buffed the statue lightly. He looked up and saw he had been left nearly behind.

“Bugger.”

“I can show you the way.”

Merlin spun and saw that the dark haired boy and the red head were still behind him. He really needed to pay more attention, Arthur would be ashamed of him.

“Right, what are your names then?”

“Harry Potter.”

“Ron Weasley.”

“And you know who I am.”

“How old are you?” Ron blurted.

“Oh, I’m not sure, um, hmm maybe 20?” Merlin said guessing on what he thought his age was when he had arrived in Camelot. If Arthur, Gwen, and Morgana all looked as young as when he first met them, he supposed he did as well. He should take a look in a mirror at some point. Two thousand give or take a few decades did not seem like a good response. Granted that was counting the thousand years they had all traveled.

“Here’s the Great Hall,” Harry said pushing the door open. Merlin quickly made his way to the head table where the others were clearly waiting for him as Harry and Ron scrambled for the Gryffindor table, Hermione waiting with what seemed like a large series of questions by her expression.

“Dean said that a naked man appeared in your room?” Hermione whispered.

“Attention students. Attention.” The room quieted as Dumbledore spoke, everyone looking at the guests. “You may have noticed we have some visitors with us. due to a small magical accident they are joining us from the beginning of Hogwarts’ history. Might I introduce the Founders.”

The room froze as they looked at the people standing there. “Helga Hufflpuff.” Gwen waved as the room as her house started to cheer.

“Rowena Ravenclaw.” Morgana smirked slightly as her house roared in delight with more polite clapping from the others.

“Godric Gryffindor.” Arthur nodded slightly, to the roars of the students in red and gold.

“And last but not least, Salazar Slytherin.”

The silence was of a different sort then, and Merlin sighed. A couple students screamed. But then Blaise and Harry of all people started clapping. Slytherin caught on quickly and applauded the man who was supposed to be the foundation of their ideals, even if he was dressed quiet shabbily, as did Gryffindor as they followed Harry’s example even as it was clear they weren’t quite sure why.

The was a small smattering of applause at the other tables, and Merlin sighed. Clearly there was a lot to this Salazar’s history he would have to learn. Least of which why he had chosen such a strange name. Granted the Slytherin might have to do with Uther.

“Don’t take it personally; most of the problem is that your current heir is a terror. He is a murderer and a monster and takes great pride in his claim as the heir of Slytherin and coming from that house,” Dumbledore explained now that the focus was off of them.

“Heir? How the hell would I get an heir?” Merlin snapped.

“I would presume in the traditional fashion,” Severus replied dryly.

“Unless there is something I’ve never been told, I’m never having a heir.”

“You are young, wizards live hundreds of years, who knows what you will do in the future.”

“The only thing I will be doing in this or any future is him,” he said pointing a thumb at Arthur who was preparing his plate, ignoring Merlin completely, though both girls giggled.

“History states that you have a falling out: you leave Hogwarts before it is opened because you had differing opinions on what sort should be admitted,” Severus said ignoring the glare from the Headmaster.

“History is a bunch of stuffy idiots who don’t know the top of a quill it would seem. If we agreed on something, I’m sure the girls would check for curses.”

“I see,” Dumbledore said and Merlin noticed a twinkle in his eye that had nothing to do with magic as far as he could tell. This old man was a bit odd.

“Sit down and eat, idiot. You’re too skinny by far. Must a sharp wind blow you away?” Arthur snarled, and everyone stared at him in horror, including some professors.

“Honestly,” Gwen said and pulled Merlin down into a seat beside her. Arthur shoved a plate he had already filled at him and Merlin reached absently for the glass beside him but he spit it out onto the table.

“What the bloody hell is that swill?”

“Pumpkin juice.”

“Pumpkin juice.”

“Here, I have some water,” Morgana said handing him a glass. Her own goblet of pumpkin juice having been placed to the side. She simply had been more discreet than Merlin. Well it wasn’t as if he had ever really been trained in the art of being a proper servant. He reacted to things.

“So how are we getting home?” Gwen asked.

“I’ll have to do some research,” Merlin said absently. “Are my books still here?”

“As far as we know there are few remaining belongings of the founders. And even that seems to be somewhat confused,” Dumbledore replied.

“Right, do you have a library then?”

“That we do. I’m sure we can get a student to show you.”

“The way the lot of them wet themselves at the mention of his name I doubt it,” Arthur said.

“Bravery, intelligence, do I want to know?” Merlin asked turning to Gwen.

“Oh, well my house seems to be about loyalty.”

“That is something you have in abundance then,” Merlin said smiling.

“Well what about you then? Idiocy?”

Morgana kicked Arthur and he glared at her. “Bloody harpy.”

“Cunning,” Severus said watching the reactions. Morgana nodded as if it made sense and Gwen furrowed her brow. Arthur’s reaction was the most amusing as the man let loose an uproarious laugh.

“Cunning? Cunning?”

“Need I remind you Godric, how long our dear Salazar pulled the wool over our eyes? Your father’s eyes?”

That sobered Arthur and he glanced at Merlin separated from him by Morgana but he didn’t show any reaction. Seems he could be taught. Or more likely he still hated to think about Camelot. No one could get much out of him about the millennia he had spent in the crystal cave. And Arthur could see that it had changed him, and not for the better. Even in just the few days they had returned he spent most of his time alone, and it was rare that the idiotic smile was on his face now.

Morgana was glad that they were here; she hoped they would be seeing more of the old Merlin before they found a way home and what that would mean. Just seeing that the castle, was still here and still full of magic, she thought he looked lighter.

“Fine, they may have not gotten everything horribly incorrect, I still say that hat is horrible though.”

“Your hat,” Merlin said.

“What hat is this?” Morgana asked curious.

“I’ll show you later,” Merlin said with another infectious grin, which Morgana shared.

“I can’t wait.”

“So any recommendations on time spells?”

“Not for a thousand years. Time turners can go back a week at most and at that point they become very unstable. The power it takes, it’s believed that Merlin, and Morgan Le Fey were the last capable of traveling through time, on the power of their magic alone,” Dumbledore explained.

Merlin nearly choked on his sausage, even as Morgana smirked at him.

“Of course,” Gwen said smiling.

Dumbledore wondered at the odd reaction, but knew Merlin lived almost a thousand years before the founders had. He was a little surprised at the appearance of the founders, only Godric and Helga in their house colors. It did not help that Godric was said to have a full beard and dark hair. But from what he had seen in the chamber Salazar appeared much too young if they had already started Hogwarts.

Well they had said history had a way of being incorrect; he wished he believed that. But he wondered if there was anything he could do to make it so that the future would not be so dark. If Salazar never left Hogwarts, then he would never have an heir. Dumbledore smiled and made his way to the Gryffindor table.

“Miss Granger.”

“Hello Headmaster,” she replied calmly even as Ron and Harry watched on with interest.

“I was hoping I could impose on you. I know you did a lot of research on Time Turners in your second year. Would you be willing to aid Rowena and Salazar in their research? Set them upon the right path it as it would be.”

“Isn’t that dangerous headmaster? I mean it’s Slytherin!” Ron exclaimed.

“I think there is much more to Salzar than meets the eye. Also, you all remember the statue in the chamber, it was a much older man. Time changes many things, maybe you can change it for the better.”

“I’ll do it Headmaster.”

“I shall excuse you all from classes today. You will have access to the entire library, I am sure you will be responsible with it.”

“All?”

“Three minds are better than one,” Dumbledore said before sweeping away.

“Yes! We had Defense today!” Ron exclaimed.

“Don’t think this means you can slack off Ronald Weasley.”

“Yes Hermione.” Harry simply grinned into his breakfast sure his friend would be doing little more than fetch and carry as Hermione ordered him through the library.

Once they were done, Hermonie lead the way to the head table. “Um hello.”

“Yes?” Gwen asked smiling brightly.

“Well you see a couple years ago I was using a Time Turner to take a lot of extra classes. I did a lot of research on it, and the Headmaster asked if I could get you started.”

“And who are they then? Your body guards?” Arthur asked looking at the boys.

“Prat,” Merlin said behind his goblet ignoring the glare sent at him. “I hope this librarian is nicer than the last one knew. He always acted as if I was a bit of an idiot.”

“That is because you are.”

“Oh go hit something,” Morgana said rolling her eyes. “We’ll let you know when we have found something.”

“Fine, enjoy your dusty books, I want to see what becomes of the village.”

“Oh,” Gwen said looking between both pairs, clearly torn.

“Go ahead, we can meet for lunch and decide what to do then,” Morgana said smiling at Gwen. “You can tell us all about it, because if its not sharp or bloody that one won’t notice.”

“Honestly what do you see in her?” Arthur asked as he hooked arms with Gwen and made their way out of the room.

“Potter, Weasely, Granger, I will expect a foot, of parchment on what we cover in class today, on my desk no later than dinner.”

“Sir!”

“Really Severus, the Headmaster gave them this time, first thing Monday morning shall be just fine,” Minerva said.

“I do not tell you how to teach your classes.”

“And I do not attempt to circumvent the headmaster. Read the chapter on living to inanimate transfigurations. Your assignment is based on class performance, you will all meet me after dinner tomorrow.”

“Yes Professor,” the trio said nodding their heads. During that back and forth Merlin and Morgana had finished eating and moved to the other side of the table waiting for the students to be done so that they could know what would happen next.

“He’s cheery,” Merlin said to Morgana.

“Behave yourself, Salazar.”

“As well as I ever have,” he said even as he stood back and allowed her to pass through the door first. He waited for Hermione to pass through as well not noticing her faint blush. But she was suddenly pushed aside.

“Out of the way mud-blood.”

Merlin peered through the door recognizing the voice. “You again.”

Draco paled seeing the man that had disarmed him with a word. He didn’t even have his wand. He thought about it for a moment before pushing past Hermione and running down the hall. The girl in question fell to the floor, even as Merlin and Morgana both hissed in a language the girl had never heard.

“What did you do?”

“The position of blond prat has been filled, he won’t be able to speak for a few weeks,” Merlin said, giving her a hand up.

“He will not be able to lay a hand on a woman, be it in anger or passion for some time.”

“How long?”

“Oh dear, I have no idea, silly me. Must come with being a woman. It shouldn’t last more than a few months.”

“Mate, she’s scary,” Ron whispered.

“All women are,” Harry said.

“And that is a truth some men take years to learn.”

“If you three are done,” Morgana said. “I was promised a library.”

“This way,” Hermione said leading the way.

They entered the library and the pair of founders stopped dead. They shared a pair of manic grins approaching the first shelf with glee.

“Look at this.”

“Are all these books on magic?”

“Well some are history books, but mostly. Don’t you have a library?”

“It’s six books,” Merlin admitted, “two of which are a journal of the woman who cursed the village. One that is all about the basilisk.”

“Basilisk?”

“Yeah, it’s a magical snake. She created one sometime before she was killed. I found it in stasis. He seems to think I’m his master now. I suppose feeding him will do that.”

“Feeding him!” Ron exclaimed.

“Shhh!”

Hermione placed a hand over Ron’s mouth even as she glanced at Irma Pince, who seemed to calm at the sight of Hermione.

“What did you feed it?” Harry asked.

“A rabbit.”

“Giant rabbit?”

“There are giant rabbits?” Merlin asked confused.

“It was a thousand years ago. It grew all that time. Really. ”

“Wait, it’s still here?” Merlin asked curious. “It lives this long?”

“How long have you had it?” Hermione asked.

“A few days. Actually I couldn’t find him today. I’m sure he got into some crack.”

“I had to kill it,” Harry explained.

“Why?” Morgana asked.

“Voldemort set it loose on the school. It was attacking students.”

“Voldemort?” Merlin asked.

“The dark lord, your heir.”

“Again with this heir nonsense. Like I want to see if that prat would try to cut me in half.”

“You’d have to take your tongues out of each others throat’s first.”

“You and Helga first,” Merlin said, as Hermione gasped.

“You’re together?” she asked.

“Destiny and all that,” Merlin said with a grin.

“Maybe you name a heir,” Morgana pointed out.

“What for?”

“Who knows? Perhaps you find a pile of gold and an orphan,” she said.

“Right,” Merlin said, still skeptical, “we have books on time magic to look at.”

“Yes, my dear show us the way.”

“Yes,” Hermione said, trying not to be shocked at the fact that she had the full attention of two of the most powerful figures in wizarding history. “So you started Hogwarts.”

“Started is a bit premature. We just arrived a few days ago. No one else has joined us just yet.”

“Did you always want it to be a school?”

“We hadn’t talked about that, but it would be something. We were trying to decide what we would do with the castle. Right now we are more concerned about what will happen if that blasted Muggle gets past our wards once people have come to us for protection.”

“One muggle?” Ron asked. “How is one muggle a problem?”

“Bishop Muggle is a menace, from what I have gathered from Laurel’s diary. He sends raiding parties into villages, to root out magic. Oddly enough more wealthy families never have anything to fear. Then he has a series of tests to prove if you are a person of this devil.”

“And if you pass you are already dead and if you live you’d have to have use magic to escape,” Hermione said.

“Yes, we got to impression from Albus that this wasn’t something history remembered,” Morgana said as Hermione led the way through the library to another level neither of the boys had ever been to.

“If it happened in the founders’ time, it isn’t. Something like that happened hundreds of years later. In some form or another, the world is always trying to get rid of magic, the most famous of which is the Spanish Inquisition.”

“They never learn do they?” Merlin said disgustedly.

“Er, Hermione,” Harry hissed. “Could we maybe talk about something else?”

“Do you have Quidditch?” Ron asked.

“Ronald, Quidditch, as we know it didn’t exist yet, there won’t even be a snitch for another 200 years or so. What year are you in?”

The pair didn’t answer right away, wondering what this ‘Quidditch’ was.

“You don’t have Quidditch? That’s horrible.”

“This is a game?” Rowena asked.

“Yes, flying on brooms.”

“Brooms? The thing you use for sweeping?” Merlin asked.

“This sounds like something right up Godric’s alley, don’t you think Salazar?”

Merlin frowned. “Godric…right. Books on time travel,” he said wandering, down the aisle even as he wondered about getting books on the history of Hogwarts.

 

“I knew I would find you all in the dustiest corner, piled in books. It’s time to eat, unless you will find the needed spell in the next few minutes, move,” Arthur said approaching their group.

“Prat.”

“Keep that up and I will have you drinking all that pumpkin juice.”

“That’s just cruel, you wouldn’t do that to me,” Merlin replied smiling.

“Rat stew.”

“You made me eat it!”

“So I would have no problem making you drink pumpkin juice.”

“I don’t have to follow your orders anymore,” Merlin said pointedly.

“Keep telling yourself that.”

“Boys.”

“Rowena,” Godric said in the same tone. He then turned to Ron, who did not even have his book facing in the right direction and had perked up at the talk of food. “You are starving your poor helpers.” Ron nodded enthusiastically.

“I suppose we can take a small break for lunch,” Morgana said.

“You too,” Merlin said nudging Hermione who looked up at him surprised.

“Hmm,” Hermione said pulling away from the large tome in her lap.

“Lunch?” Merlin said not noticing the focus the once drooping Harry and Ron now had on him.

“Not hungry,” Hermione said absently.

“Wrong answer,” Merlin said simply and levitated the book out of her lap towards the pile. He glanced at the parchment lying beside her and grabbed a scrap and blew on it. It became the shape of a dragon, fluttered onto the page blew a small bit of shredded parchment, instead of fire, before settling on the page as the book shut.

Hermione stared. “What spell was that?”

“I’ll show you if you got to lunch.”

“I…fine,” Hermione huffed collecting her notes, and stuffing her bag.

She slung her backpack on her shoulder and glared a Merlin who smiled.

“If I can take a break, and I’m the one who’s been tossed out of time you can too. Don’t worry about it, I think Gwen’s the only one I never found asleep over scrolls, maps, or some such.”

“Gwen?” Hermione asked.

“Helga,” Rowena said without explanation, she turned to Godric. “Where is she?”

“She wanted to see the kitchens, and how they are used now. One of her little brood offered to escort her, an annoying little thing.”

“She sent you away for being rude, didn’t she?” Rowena asked grinning.

“Of course not. I knew if I did not come collect you, Salazar would never get around to eating. He’s quite bony enough. People will think I don’t feed him.”

“I eat plenty,” Merlin said.

“He does have a point, you’re as bad as Harry,” Ron said, looking at the wizard. “At least you’re tall.”

“Hey!”

“Mate, there are girls in our year bigger than you.”

“Fourth year,” Hermione giggled.

“Hermione!”

“Shh!” The girl hissed.

They made their way out of the library before there was another outburst. The hall fell silent on their arrival and there seemed to be a crowd larger than normal for their arrival at lunch.

A brazen brunette with enough perfume to send Merlin staggering back into Hermione approached, her sweater looking as if it is moments away from popping from the strain against her chest.

“What died?” Merlin asked steadying himself and the girl.

“When you want to spend your time with a real witch-”

“And what, that would be you?” Godric sneered. “I prefer my women, beautiful and intelligent, something you clearly lack in spades. Please find the child you stole that sweater from and return it.”

Godric then turned to Hermione and extended an arm to her. “As if that tart was of any use,” he said dismissively and took the heavy bag from her as they continued walking to the table, ignoring the stunned look of the brunette. When she reached for her wand, Merlin growled.

“Do you want to live?” She let out a whimper and fled the great hall. Once he was sure she was gone, he moved to catch up with Arthur and Hermione.

“Helga, you can sit with us,” a young student, with curly black hair, brown eyes, and a spot of something from lunch on her cheek said. She glanced at the others’ and saw that Merlin was already taking a seat, speaking to Hermione.

“Let’s,” Rowena said, taking Helga’s arm. “So what year are you?”

“First. My sister is a Ravenclaw, fifth year, but she’s out for the Hogsmeade weekend. She promised to bring me some candy. I’ve never had magical candy. My parents wouldn’t let her bring any food home.”

“Now that’s a good sister,” Helga said.

“I always thought I would be better off if Godric had been a girl,” Morgana said.

“Godric is your brother?”

“We had the same father.”

“Was he magic?”

“Of course he was magic, the founders are pure bloods of course,” another student said. He had short brown hair, and seemed to be one of the oldest Hufflepuffs at the table.

Rowena could not help it. She started laughing hysterically. “Oh dear, my father, magical, oh, that would have been rich.”

“You’re a half-blood?”

“What is this obsession with blood? I’ve decided you are much to familiar with me. You can call me by my title.”

“Professor.”

“Lady.”

“You’re no-” the boy gurgled then, grabbing at his nose, as a bat flew out made of snot.

“That’s disgusting!” Morgana exclaimed. She looked behind her, and saw a red head along with a girl who looked much like the first year they were speaking to.

“Open your mouth again and I’ll do much worse,” Ginny said putting her wand away.

“I like you,” Rowena said with a smirk. Ginny grinned.

“Lyssa! What did you bring me?”

Laughing, her sister held the bag over her head and smiled. “Finish your lunch first. I will not be telling our parents I let you have candy for lunch. They already don’t trust magical food: full of ‘unnatural things’.

“Do they not trust magic?”

“Oh no, our parents are simply very green.”

“Green?”

“Magic is a part of nature, so it is fine. Chocolate frogs are not; they are processed. We can only eat food that is prepared a particular way. Our robes are made of different materials, very natural.”

“Like druids.”

“Yeah, I guess. I’m Alyssa Mason, and this is my sister Danny. And the one with the quick wand is Ginny Weasley.”

“Ah, I spent the morning with your brother.”

“I’m sorry,” Ginny said deadpan, and Rowena grinned. They both turned to look at the table to see both him and Godric stuffing their faces as Hermione and Salazar seemed to be doing something with her wand, trading back and forth after a wave or two. Ginny stared at Salazar long enough for Helga to notice.

“He’s really quite nice you know.”

“Oh. I just didn’t expect him to be…”

“So young?”

“So handsome,” Ginny said then clasped a hand over her mouth in surprise.

“Oh don’t worry, I think the only one who never kissed him was Rowena.”

“And Godric?” Ginny said.

“Godric does a lot more than kiss Salazar,” Rowena said. “Pray you never have to witness it,” she added choosing a small sandwich, not noticing Ginny looking equally intrigued and horrified.

 

Helga caught her eye and nodded with a grin, pretending to fan herself.

“Sit sit, you’re not as tall as your giant of a brother but I’d like to not have to spend the entire meal looking up to you,” Rowena said missing the exchange.

“So the wand focuses your magic. What did you do before you got your wand?”

“Well there is accidental magic that most children do. Move things, move themselves.”

“Yeah I once got on a roof. I thought the wind blew me just right when I jumped,” Harry said.

“Do you mean you apparated? Before getting a wand?” Hermione asked stunned.

Harry’s eyes widened behind his glasses. “Um, I don’t think so, I think I just levitated myself. It was our first charms lesson.”

“Right, that is a simple enough spell, you still haven’t told me the spell that created the book dragon,” she said turning away from Harry.

“I will the moment I think it up,” Merlin admitted, and Hermione glared.

“What do you mean the moment you think it up? I know you don’t use a wand but you have to cast spells at least, or wouldn’t everything you think happen?”

“Small things do, but I have to focus to make bigger things happen. I can create light in my sleep but I doubt I could animate a statue.”

“Or fling us a thousand years in the future?” Godric growled, and Merlin turned red.

“Um…”

“You did that asleep?” Hermione asked horrified.

“Yes? It’s not like I did it on purpose.”

“Mate, maybe you would be better off with a wand,” Ron said, between bites. “What if you had a nightmare or something? Made something horrible happen.”

“I haven’t before; usually I have to have really strong feelings about something, and wanting to do something. This is actually quite strange,” Merlin said frowning even as Godric’s hand went to the small of his back.

That evening….

 

“We’re not supposed to be here.” Whispered further down the corridor which was followed by a gasp that drew Severus’ attention. He had caught enough students to know what that meant. Though they were much more often in the astronomy tower not near his snakes. There were not many students foolish enough to be so distracted near their house.

“We’re not supposed to be anywhere.” A throaty moan followed that comment and Severus frowned and increased his pace lighting up his wand as he rounded the disused dungeon corridor. Well that explained why they were trying a less frequented area they didn't want to get caught by anyone.

“50 points…” Severus trailed off as the light shown on two of the founders, both flushed and Godric with his hands down Salazar’s trousers. “Don’t you have rooms you could be doing that in?” Snape asked. Even after Salazar's flippant announcement at breakfast he hadn't expected this.

“Um no, well Hermione said we were welcome but really I think they just meant him,” Merlin said as Arthur removed his hand, cocking a brow at Snape, as if daring him to respond. “Well no she meant us both, I just don’t think anyone else did.”

“And I told you, I have no interest in sharing quarters with a bunch of children. Who knows what you would get up to. I do not want to wake up another thousand years into the future.” Arthur replied placing his hand Merlin’s shoulder. Merlin rolled his eyes and decided to ignore the man.

“You cast the spell?” Severus asked.

“Not on purpose,” Merlin replied a bit mulish.

“You accidently cast time magic that flung you a thousand years in the future?” Severus asked wondering how powerful the founder could be if that was the case, even as inwardly he felt a bit smug; the founder of his house, if this was true, had to be the most powerful of the four.

“Uh…”

Severus placed a hand over his face in despair. How was it the headmaster had neglected this?

"What about the other founders?"

"My sister wandered off with that blond seer. Wherever she is I'm sure Helga is with her."

"Sister?" Severus started, Godric and Rowena were related? Physically she had more in common with Salazar. Granted so did he, as Godric looked like someone who lazed in the sun constantly.

"Half sister."

"I did not know any of the founders were related."

"Thank the gods."

"Prat."

Godric put Salazar in a head lock then and looked down at him. "What have I told you about that?"

"No idea," Merlin said struggling to get free. Severus wondered if he had been forgotten. He wondered why Salazar did not use magic to free himself but once he stopped struggling Godric released him.

"Would you know of a room we could use?"

"Follow me," Severus said leading them to his own quarters. He mumbled the password though he wondered if they had even noticed the significance of the portraits. Shrinking down the third bookshelf it showed an unused door that lead to the family quarters that the head of house before Slughorn had used.

And wasn't it amusing that his former head of house had come back. He wondered if the man had cornered the founders yet. Severus decided then he was doing much too much wondering and needed to go to bed.

"I'm not sure what state the room is in."

"That's what magic is for," Merlin said taking a look into the room. A ball of light preceding him. Severus had not heard him cast a spell and this proved what Draco had already told him. Salazar did not use a wand.

Severus watched as he lifted a hand, pointed and uttered a word. A small whirlwind of air pulled the dust from every surface. The small tornado deposited the dust into the unused hearth. More words, that sounded a bit like Gaelic, and Salazar had the sheets and pillows fluffing and adjusting themselves.

He turned back to them and Severus saw the gold fade from his eyes. And again he wondered if these were the founders or something else.

Godric watched this all with little interest before turning to the bed and speaking the same language. The old mattress swelled even as the sheets became red.

"There are colors other than red, you know."

He supposed that house colors were one thing that the history of the founders got right. He watched as Godric explored the room testing the bed before rounding on Salazar.

He cast another spell then and Salazar nearly collapsed in surprise. Severus already had his wand pointed, three curses in mind, when Salazar flung a hand at him and he was shoved gently but clearly out of the room.

Godric looked at Severus in surprise. Then realization seemed to dawn on him. "I wasn't hurting him."

"He nearly poured his brains out on the stone."

"Yes I forgot how clumsy he is."

"Thanks," Merlin said turning to him and the flush against the pale skin told him exactly what Godric's spell had done. He nodded and pulled the door shut, after a moment’s thought he tossed the strongest silencing spell at the door he could remember. He paused on his way to his room to pour himself a very stiff drink. It was a wonder Hogwarts got built at all if this is what the founders were like.

The next morning found Severus up long before breakfast as he tried to find all the scant information he had on the founders. He had more information on Salazar for obvious reasons, but nothing even hinted at the relationship he could clearly see. And it was clear the pair were not known for discretion.

One passage copied from the diary of one of the first Hogwarts students especially caught his eye.

And it was that Godric was usually so enraged by Salazar that he would be heard calling for Merlin's aid to deal with the dark wizard.

He wondered if it was Godric Gryffindor that had given them Merlin’s name as a wizarding profanity. Severus sipped his tea checking the time sure he would have to wake his guests soon.

A few minutes later the door opened to reveal a disheveled Salazar. He looked a Severus a long moment clearly not fully awake. Severus could see the red marks highlighting his neck, the neck scarf Salazar had been wearing the previous day likely having hidden them from sight.

Severus conjured a second cup and gestured for Merlin to join him. He did, pouring the tea and sipping slowly.

"Sorry about last night, we haven't seen each other in some time."

"I see." Severus said hoping for more information. The knowledge of the founders was while at Hogwarts was vague at best, before that? They might as well have appeared out of thin air. Their family lines could barely be traced, though the Smith’s were said to be descendants of Helga, and could a name be more common? Now seeing the woman it seemed like it was quite the diluted connection. It made Severus more wary and more willing to believe the Dark Lord was the only remaining heir. Though looking at Salazar and Godric one would never think it.

"What are you reading?"

"About you."

"Anything interesting?" Severus turned the book and showed him the short passage. Salazar simply shook his head and grinned.

"That sounds about right."

"Really?"

"I'm sure I could get it to happen before we leave for breakfast."

"Where is Godric?"

"Bath. So what do you teach?"

"Po...Defense Against The Dark Arts."

"What were you going to say?"

"Potions. I taught it these past years. My former instructor returned to his post."

"Did you want to change?"

"Dunderheads are Dunderheads, though at least in Defense I am not risking limbs." Severus said as Godric emerged and looked at the pair of them.

"Breakfast is in a few minutes. I can show you the way."

"And we can ask that Albus chap about proper quarters, no need to put...what is the spell on the door?" Godric asked stopping at the threshold.

"Silence spell."

"Oh, were we..."

"Merlin," Godric growled.

"I had no interest in finding out, I put up the spell as a precaution."

"Ah.”

"See? No one heard your shrieking."

"My shrieking?"

Maybe it had something to do with power. The more powerful you were the more likely to be completely mad. It would explain the dark lord and Dumbledore. Severus supposed he should be glad Merlin was dust and bones. A wizard that powerful likely had been completely mad.

He noted that both Godric and Salazar were in red shirts and black trousers and boots. It did not look like they had even noticed. He wondered what had caused these two to have their falling out. It was clear that they took to each other’s habits easily. Godric had already taken Salazar’s tea, grimacing at the lack of sugar he supposed.

He placed the cup back onto the table, and Godric’s hand drew small circles at the base of Salazar’s neck. He watched them for a moment before standing to gather his outer robes. He glanced at them again then, surprised he hadn’t noticed before.

“You do not wear robes.”

“I had some formal ones, so did you,” Merlin said glancing up at Arthur. “Though I noticed you always found an excuse to wear your armor, you royal prat.”

Severus started at that. There was absolutely no record of the founders being of royal blood. He wondered if there was a historical confusion there and that was where pureblood actually derived, since the headmaster had already told him Salazar while not a fan of muggles, did not think it of any use to kill them. He had already heard, through gossiping little dunderheads, that Rowena and Godric’s father had not been the least bit magical. The four of them were turning everything they thought they knew about the founders on their ears.

It was Sunday, so perhaps, he could find time to spend with them and learn more about the founders from the best source. As best as he could assume, the information on the founders was from years later. Perhaps in a decade or two things had changed greatly from what they were now.

“Why did you start Hogwarts?”

“We haven’t,” Salazar said.

“We just arrived. A school had not even occurred to me.”

“But it makes sense, I don’t know what would have happened to me without Gaius.”

“You likely would have lost your head, if you didn’t rot in the dungeons.”

“Well if you didn’t keep throwing me in there.”

“Once, and I let you out.”

“Gaius let me out.”

“I allowed it,” Godric said imperiously, and Severus heard the self important tones, that one usually heard from people like Lucius. But he supposed if Godric had been some sort of lord, which would explain how they would have been able to start Hogwarts, and possibly that Salazar had never been of the same station. A reason for their eventual divide, possibly.

“How long have you known each other?” Severus asked as he watched Salazar stand.

Godric and Salazar exchanged a look. “Forever,” they said in unison, and Salazar granted the sappy declaration a kiss. One that Godric deepened by grabbing the man’s shoulders.

Severus resisted the urge to drench the pair of them with ice water when after a minute it did not look like the kiss was nearing any conclusion.

“Breakfast,” he said sharply.

The pulled away from each other, and nodded at him. The three left Severus’ chambers, and headed up to the Great Hall. Salazar looked around the hall and the banners hanging over the house tables. With a few words his red shirt, became green, with a silver dragon.

“The house symbol is a serpent.”

“I like dragons, even if they are all hot air,” Salazar said glancing at Godric.

“Are dragons not called the Great Serpent?” Rowena asked coming up behind them, today in a gown of blue. Helga was in a simple yellow dress.

“You did not come to bed,” she said looking at both men with concern. “You did go to sleep?”

“Eventually,” Godric said with a leer.

“Stop that. We have rooms?” Merlin asked.

“The headmaster told us at dinner. I knew we should have separated you two. Stop acting like a pair of boys,” Rowena said.

“But that is exactly what we are,” Godric responded, stroking his hairless chin.

“Hello! I was so hoping I could meet you all; I can’t believe I missed you, but, exploding cauldrons. Small quarantine. Horace, Horace Slughorn, Potions Master, Former Head of Slytherin house,” he said smiling at the founders. “By my stars, the founders themselves, we must get together for tea, I’m sure we can invite a few close friends as guests.”

“We would love to, but we really must keep up with the research. It would be much to dangerous for us to stay here. We have barely begun Hogwarts, you understand,” Rowena said smoothly.

“Of course, my dear. Rowena yes?”

“Yes.”

“Those portraits do you no justice.”

“Why thank you, but it is time for breakfast. Escort me to the table,” Morgana said extending an arm.

“Of course,” Slughorn said puffing up in importance, as Rowena led him away.

“She’s still good at that.”

“Of course she is. Idiots see a pretty girl, and think there is nothing between her ears. Knights, lords, kings, queens, all have fallen for that trick,” Godric said. “But it saves us from that dolt.”

“That was your teacher?”

“Yes.”

“Is he actually any good?”

“For all his bluster he is a passable teacher, too much codling in his classes, and he loves friends with power, but mostly harmless for a Slytherin. You all are a novelty, I am not sure how much attention he will pay you as you will not be much use once you are gone.”

“Good.”

“I’m sure he will try to get a few stories out of you first, things to share at his next dozen gatherings. The man came out of retirement to teach Harry Potter of all things.”

“That skinny little bloke?” Godric asked. “Why?”

“I’m sure I have no idea,” Snape drawled. Merlin grinned. Something about Snape reminded him of Gaius. It made him like the man despite his gruff nature. Granted, if he could fall in love with the king of all prats he clearly made a lot of allowances for personality.

“I’ll just go make sure she doesn’t do him any permanent harm,” Helga said reading something in Rowena’s face that had her moving quickly to the head table.

“I wonder what he just said,” Godric said looking at the table, and yes beneath his sister’s bland smile was the murderous intent she usually saved for Uther.

“Odd, he is usually much better at charming and intelligent too,” Snape said watching them.

“You know we could just go over there instead of speculating here,” Merlin said.

“…bauble to enhance my intelligence,” Rowena said at her most haughty.

Merlin and Arthur exchanged a look. Yes questioning her intelligence would be enough to mean hiding the sharp objects.

Slughorn, clearly not a fool, seemed to realize his mistake and tried to find a way to backpedal. “Why yes of course, it is said only you could use it properly, so perhaps that is the only thing anyone else could ever get it to do. Regardless it has been lost to the ages, I think one of the few images of it that exists is in the Ravenclaw common room. A lovely portrait of you.”

“I see,” she said lip twitching in what was clearly still annoyance. Helga took her hand with a small smile, and Rowena laid her head against Helga’s shoulder for a few moments. When she looked up again she was much more relaxed, and started preparing her meal.

Merlin exchanged a look with Snape, who simply raised a brow causing Merlin to snigger. “Well she didn’t stab him.”

“Was that a concern?”

“It’s been a while,” Godric drawled, shoving a plate at Salazar' before preparing his own. Snape watched as Salazar glanced down at the plate before digging in.

“Some of us are not running around swinging a sword at people. I don’t need all this food.”

“If you put on some weight I may believe you.” Sighing, Salazar simply started eating his food.

“Does that girl actually think she is fooling anyone?” Godric murmured. Without thought Snape’s eyes swung to his house table.

He watched her wand movements for just a split second and saw the eavesdropping spell movements.

“Detention Parkinson!” He snapped and she started looking up at the head of her house, before turning an ugly red and flushing, pretending to focus on the children.

“Seriously do I have to just start snapping wands if someone so much as looks at us?”

“Don’t terrify the stupid children,” Godric said.

“Then they should know better to point a wand at me.”

“Or Godric, you will curse them. Godric will likely cut them in half long before he thinks to use his magic,” Rowena said.

“It is just as simple a solution. Cut them in half or spend precious moments thinking of a spell. Unlike some people I like to have plans.”

 

****

Chapter 4 – Learning

As smart as she was Hermione was not one to truly be subtle and while the girls seemed amused by her questions he was simply tired of it. He knew the next day she would be resuming her classes and have less time to aid them but right now he just needed to be away from the girl. Her questions were all pointed towards the same thing.

Sighing he wondered what Severus was up to. The man was not one for a lot inane banter and he would likely be a decent level of company before he had to face that strange old man and dinner again. He decided to go find the man, and grabbed one of the books he was reading that wasn’t on time travel.

He was pretty sure he had found the solution, but he didn’t really want to leave just yet. The fact that Morgana had looked at the same book hours before and smirked made him know that, yes indeed, she knew their way home and that they had the power to complete the spell.

“I’ll be back later,” Merlin said, already moving away from the table.

“But…” Hermione started, he did not stay to listen.

“He’s not stupid you know,” Helga said softly.

“I didn’t think-”

“Clearly,” Rowena snapped. “He was not lying. You’re not as smart as you think you are if you think he doesn’t know what you are asking and why. I have a more important question for you.”

“What?”

“Why does it matter? It’s clear history has formed their ideas. Nothing you say, nothing he says will change their minds. It has been a thousand years. What do you know of Merlin?”

“Merlin? He was the greatest wizard ever known.”

“And what do you know of him? His likes? Dislikes? His political opinions?”

“Well , if King Arthur was real-”

“He was real. Just stop, he’s-”

“You’re hurting him,” Helga finally said, “And once you do that, it’s not him you have to be afraid of. Godric’s ire will be much worse.

“You are a smart girl, just remember that,” Rowena said finally when it looked like the girl was near tears. She suddenly understood her relationship with Harry and Ron much better. She wondered how often these boys had tempered her. Kept her from making this same mistake.

They continued to work then in silence for hours. , None noticing that Merlin hadn’t reappeared until it was Godric who had come to find them, as if he was allergic to research.

“It is time for dinner. Also where did he get off to?”

“Oh, he should have been back by now.”

“I’ll go ask that Snape fellow. He seems to like him,” Godric said.

 

Merlin walked through the endless rows and rows of magical items and detritus wondering how many people over the years had tossed things in here, and if there was anything from their own time at the castle.

“Oh,” Merlin said stepping back as he realized Harry was in this seemingly endless room as well. The boy snapped his wand up and at him at an alarming speed. Merlin had to give him credit for not already snapping out a curse. He was surprised when the boy actually lowered the wand.

“Sorry, how did you get in here?”

“I just asked the castle for a place where I wouldn’t be bothered, but I’m sure they will come looking for me eventually.”

“Where did you go?” Harry asked, remembering Godric popping in on them in the common room to see if they had seen Salazar.

“I wanted to see this Heir.”

“You went to Voldemort?” Harry exclaimed shocked.

“Yes , well , I’d like to know why everyone is terrified of me. I mean Mo-Rowena, she’s terrifying if you get her into a mood.”

“What happened?” Harry asked after a moment.

Merlin looked at him distantly for a moment.

“I followed someone…”

“Snape, I know,” Harry said simply.

“Right,” Merlin said even as the room whirled around him and looked suspiciously like Arthur’s old rooms.

“I didn’t know the Room of Requirements could do that with someone still inside.”

“The castle likes her secrets,” Merlin said settling into a seat.

“So you followed Snape,” Harry prodded when Merlin just sat silently looking around the room.

“Right, I never expected the man to bow and scrape to anyone, I mean he respects Albus, but this, how this so called Heir can’t tell it’s an act.”

“You don’t think he’s a Death Eater?” Harry said, surprised. Most people had the opposite reaction to Snape.

“He seems to be trapped. I’m not sure he’s anything other than a man trying his best to survive.”

“Did Voldemort attack you?”

“Not at first. Which I really should thank Severus for.” At Harry’s look Merlin launched into the story.

 

“My lord,” Severus said, sinking to one knee.

“I have heard very interesting news from Hogwarts. They say the founders have returned.”

“They have.”

“And Slytherin?”

“The most powerful of the four. He is the one that cast the time magic.”

“And yet I did not hear this news from you.”

“My lord, appearances, I dare not send you an owl. I could only come today as the Ministry called him away and that witch Mcgonagall is too busy with the Hogsmeade weekend.”

“Crucio.” Snape’s world was pain until his body was awash in gold. The pain stopped instantly and for a moment Snape did not know which way was up.

“Who dares!” The death eaters nearest Snape all stepped back save one who dropped his hood. He tilted his head to the side staring at Voldemort. No mask and with simply a glance Voldemort knew it was not a death eater. He raised his wand planning something much more deadly than the killing curse that would finish this interloper and make an example of him.

“Salazar!” Snape said. He did not dare think what would happen to history if the man was killed here.

Voldemort lowered his wand slightly though he didn’t put it away. “You are Salazar Slytherin,” Voldemort said with a very questioning tone. This boy could not be the founder.

“If one more person. Freeze,” Merlin hissed at the snake that had been coming up at his back. “I will kill her,” Merlin said casually glancing at Voldemort who called Nagini over to him.

“How did you find me?” Voldemort hissed.

“I followed him,” he said jerking a thumb at Snape.

“He led you here,” Voldemort hissed raising his wand in Snape’s direction again.

“No, I followed him. I was hoping he was going to do something interesting.” Voldemort narrowed his eyes at what should be his greatest ancestor. “Come,” he snapped his fingers at the two nearest Death Eaters and they revealed a woman who looked to be a moment from shrieking in madness, and a blond man with features that looked familiar. Together the five of them left the room, leaving the rest of the Death Eaters behind.

“Do you have a son?” Lucius started and glanced at his lord, before nodding.

“What has my little nephew done?” Bellatrix asked and Merlin was surprised at the level of coherency in her voice. Even her movements seemed wrong.

“Annoyed his betters. He’ll be fine, he just won’t be able to touch his mother or any woman for a while.”

“How long?”

“She didn’t say, but she wasn’t angry. So some months at most.”

“Did you not curse him as well?” Snape said calmly as they moved through the manor. The Dark Lord was saying nothing but he was sure the man was taking everything in and forming plans. There were times, when things did not relate to Potter that the Dark Lord showed an amount of sense that could have changed things around. That reminded Snape for small moments what he had once seen.

“Did I? Oh right, he’ll be able to speak eventually,” Merlin said, and Snape wondered what it took to ruffle this man.

They reached the library, and the Dark Lord took what should be Lucius’ chair even as Nagini took a seat against the head.

“Why are you here?”

“I wanted to see you, my so called heir.”

“So called? I have traced my family line. We are heirs of Slytherin.”

“How do you feel about dragons?” Merlin asked. Voldemort looked startled at this change in topic but responded anyway.

“Mindless beasts, but the proper spells can control them.”

“Your father?”

“Dead, my mother was of your line,” Voldemort said, trying to understand this man’s mind. He attempted legilimency to only have his probes crash uselessly against what seemed to be crystal walls. More troubling was the fact that Salazar did not even seem to notice his attempt.

“So you failed to kill a child, got my snake killed, replaced it with that sad excuse for a creature,” at that Nagini hissed and with a gold glare the snake shrank down in pain. “As I was saying, failed to kill a boy, surround yourself with sycophants and mad women, and expect me to what?”

“You dare! You dare speak to the Dark Lord that way!” She screamed raising her wand. Merlin barely glanced at her, sending the wand flying into the wall, shocking them even as it looked like the wand was still in one piece. He followed it with the same spell he used to take Draco’s voice.

“Must run in the family, all this rudeness. The next person to interrupt me dies. If you are my future I should burn the school down, curse the land, and never so much as look at a woman.” With that Merlin turned, grabbed Serverus’ arm and vanished in a crack back to Hogsmeade.

“What have you done?”

“He’ll have forgotten about it and be punishing you for some other random slight by the next time you see him.”

“He will want your head.”

“I’d be more concerned if he could defeat children.”

 

“So then Severus said plenty of things I should not repeat and stomped his way back to the castle to complain to Albus. I’m sure they are looking for me to scold me now.”

“How did you know about me?”

“One of the books I noticed in the library. It had been on the table. It had the great tale of Harry Potter. And Hermione berated me for leaving the snake in a school full of children.”

“Why did you do it?”

“I wanted to see if he really was my heir.”

“Is he?”

“No. At least not by blood. It’s possible in the future I decide to foster a child or some such thing. But, as I expected I have no blood children.”

“You don’t think you and Godric would ever split up?” Harry asked, a little red.

“No,” he said with such conviction that Harry did not think he should pry any further; there was a story there but Harry didn’t have any idea how to ask for it. He wondered if this was the reason that the history of the founders was so muddled.

“Why do you like dragons so much?”

“They are a powerful magical creature. What’s not to like? They were almost your symbol.”

“My symbol?”

“Instead of the lion.”

“You have the house symbols already?”

“He did, and the Eagle, I hadn’t decided, but I guess I know what I will be choosing.”

“How does that work?”

“Time magic? I have no idea, we could ask Hermione.”

“She is scary brilliant.”

“Stand up,” Merlin said suddenly, standing, Harry did, even as the room shifted to what it had been before. Merlin put a finger to his lips. Harry looked at him a long moment before pulling his cloak out of his bag, and throwing it over his shoulders and Merlin’s. Nodding the two dark haired wizards shared the cloak and watched as Draco moved into the room.

The boy looked shaky and unhappy as he approached a cabinet, despite his lack of voice casting a few diagnostic spells on it. He noted what happen and Merlin wondered if the boy was smarter than he had given him credit for. He grabbed Harry’s arm , putting a hand over his mouth when it looked like he wanted to jump out at the other boy.

They watched as the boy looked panicked at whatever his diagnosis showed. He waved his wand a couple times and some superficial damage healed itself. Merlin waited until Draco left before releasing Harry.

The boy whirled on him angrily though he didn’t notice looking at the invisibility cloak. Harry cursed himself for leaving it behind. Salazar had just faced Voldemort without a worry. If he wanted to take the cloak he did not think he could get it back.

“Where did you get this?” Merlin asked sharply, the ancient magic surprising him.

“It was my father’s,” Harry said.

“Do you know where he got it?”

“No, was it yours?”

“No, it’s much older than I am. Find out where it came from,” Merlin said , handing it back.

“Why? There are tons of invisibility cloaks in the magical world. Ron says they are really expensive but not really rare.”

“Have you ever seen another one?”

“No.”

“I think you would be surprised. No , let’s see what the little arse was up to.”

“You don’t like him? But he’s Slytherin.”

“And? No , I like that Snape chap, and Hermione, you seem alright, remind me of a certain blond I know. That boy is as much one of mine as the idiot Voldemort. What kind of name is that anyway?”

“He made it up. His real name is Tom Riddle.”

“Not much better I suppose,” Merlin said walking over to the cabinet. Harry watched as he cast a spell similar to the one Draco had without a wand. Frowning he pulled back.

“It’s broken.”

“But what is it?”

“I’m not sure, a doorway, or a larger space, or a doorway to a larger space. That is the broken part.”

“Why would Draco want that?” Harry asked, confused, approaching the cabinet.

“As I just had the pleasure of meeting his father and Aunt. If it was a doorway , could you see the problem there?”

“He could let the Death Eaters into Hogwarts! We should destroy it!” Merlin yanked the boy back as he drew his wand.

“And then we will have no idea how he is breaking into the school.” Merlin circled the cabinet then took a few steps away then began to circle the cabinet again. A ring glowed around the cabinet when he stood back and he sealed the spell with another word.

“What is that?”

“It will alert us if any one passes, in the meanwhile it should take him some time to repair the problem.”

“I still think we should destroy it.”

“Not yet, let’s go.”

“I want to tell Dumbledore,” Harry said.

“Oh, right, that would be fine. I suppose I should face him.”

Together they walked to the Headmaster’s office and the gargoyle with a pat from Merlin jumped aside, even as Harry started reciting candy names.

“What was that?”

“Usually his password is candy.”

“Ah,” Merlin said as he went up the winding stairs, his longer legs having him moving faster than Harry. He entered the room but instead of seeing Dumbledore and Snape talking and possibly complaining about him, Snape was examining his hand. A black shriveled husk of a hand.

Both men seemed startled at his arrival, even more so when Harry entered and Dumbledore quickly lowered his hand to his side. “Salazar, Harry, to what do I owe this honor?”

“Can I talk to you alone sir?” Harry said glancing at Snape.

“Honestly Potter, as if I have any interest in your teenage drama. I will see you in the morning, Headmaster.”

“Of course, Severus.”

“I’ll leave you to it Harry, it looks like Severus and I need to have a conversation,” Merlin said.

“Godric would like a word, Salazar,” Dumbledore called after the man.

“Of course he would,” Merlin said with a sigh.

“He is in your shared quarters with the other founders.”

“Who is?” Merlin asked a million miles away.

“Godric.”

“Oh him, right, lovely. You can show me where those are after you tell me what you are doing to stop that curse.”

“What curse?” Snape asked.

“Honestly, not you too, I am not blind, stupid, simple, or any of the other colorful terms used for me.”

“None of those terms are being used for you.”

“Right fine, how are you curing him?”

“There is no cure, I am doing my best to ease his pain and prolong his life,” Severus finally admitted.

“I know that curse, it is old and debilitating but it is curable.”

“How would you know?”

“Because it was cured once before. You don’t think your Dark Lord was the only evil magic has ever seen?”

“Of course not, are you saying you can cure him?”

“Yes, if I can get everything together. I would have started a garden. Is there a place on the grounds where items for potions are still grown?”

“No, but the forbidden forest is full of wild magical plants, in a thousand years, a seed here, a plant there, yes if they still existed you would find it in the forest.”

“I won’t know until I look. I don’t want to say anything in case I am wrong. But both potions are very similar. If one can be made I can believe the other can be too,” Merlin said and watched as expressions warred on Severus’ face. “It looks like we will be having a much longer conversation later,” Merlin said.

He could tell the man wanted to save the headmaster, but there was something in his eyes. There were many layers to Severus Snape. “Now show me where my prat is.”

“Now?”

“I’m assuming forbidden forest is not just a name, and there are deadly magical creatures?”

“Yes.”

“Then I’m bringing the big blond one with a sword.” Snape smirked then.

“This way.”

They walked and Severus led Merlin to a corridor that was close to the library. He approached a portrait of a white knight on a rearing horse and spoke the password.

“Chivalry.”

“…Strangle him.” Wafted out of the portrait hole. Snape glanced at Merlin who grinned.

“I’m sure he’s fine.”

“Honestly what does he think he’s doing going after this heir of his? He is likely no more his heir than that bastard on the hill was our secret love child.”

Love child? Snape asked silently and for once stopped at the look of murderous hate on Salazar’s face. The bastard on the hill was clearly not a subject to be discussed lightly.

Merlin stepped into the sitting room, right up to Gwen’s side, and whispered quite loudly since Arthur’s pacing had his back to him. “So what has him in a snit this time?”

“Oh!” Helga exclaimed giving him a hug. “Are you alright? We heard such horrible things about him.”

“I’m fine,” Merlin said returning the hug. Once done he did not move far and Severus wondered if Salazar was hiding behind Helga for protection.

“Merlin, you idiot!” The grin he leveled at Godric made Snape wonder if the man was indeed too stupid to survive.

“Good, I see you have your sword,” he glanced at it. “It’s very red. Now then, I have a forest full of evil magical creatures you can attack.”

Godric pinched the bridge of his nose, the word Merlin coming out of his mouth as more of a subsonic growl then any true word.

“Why are we going into the forest?”

“We need to get supplies, for a cure.”

“For who?”

“Dumbledore, he has Lance’s bane.”

“I did not know that spell had survived,” Rowena said.

“Apparently it had somewhere.”

“And this heir found it?”

“Not my heir in the least, but yes.”

“I could have told you that.”

“How?”

“Do you even know what to do with a girl? Let alone a woman?”

“I seem to know exactly what to do with you,” Merlin snapped.

“Hardly the same,” Godric said imperiously.

“Right, let’s go,” Salazar said and was surprised when the women stood to follow as well.

“We both remember what was in that potion, we can help.”

“Good, it takes time to brew. Are we keeping you from anything?”

“I would like to see this potion being made. Common items may also be found in the greenhouses,” Snape said. He had not been able to even discover half of whatever the Dark Lord had cursed the ring with.

“I will look there,” Helga said.

“I shall come with you.”

“To search , Rowena, I do not want to find you defiling the greenhouses.”

“You mean like you would?” She snapped, “At least you have a keeper.”

“Joy,” Snape drawled, more glad than ever that he had put up that ward if this was their normal behavior. Salazar grinned at him and gestured for the professor to lead them out of the building.

He headed down the path that lead towards Hagrid’s hut and found the man outside, tending to his garden in the late afternoon light.

“Hello, Professor.”

“Hagrid,” Snape drawled as the pair of founders peered at the giant, Salazar tilting back and staring, Godric seemed to have a moment of assessment before nodding.

“And the founders. Was a Gryffindor myself,” he said smiling at Godric who grinned back even as Salazar rolled his eyes. “Going gathering, Professor?”

“Yes, we are, is there anything we should be concerned about?” Snape asked.

“Nothing much. Forest is as it always is. Though something has the Centaurs mighty excited.”

“Centaurs?” Merlin said perking up.

“No,” Godric growled.

“No what? I didn’t even do anything?”

“I know that tone. Magical creatures have two reactions to you; they try to eat you or follow you home,” Godric growled.

“Prat.”

"I would wager half the creatures of this forest are here because it is your fault."

 

"Magical sanctuary."

"You would go hunt them down to keep them safe from evil hunters."

"Who was the prat that killed a unicorn?"

Neither noticed the look of horror on the faces of the two other men.

"It was fine."

"Yes, after those trials. Have I mentioned I won't be drinking poison for you ever again?"

 

"One time."

"One?"

"That was a poisoned blade and I didn't let you drink from the poison goblet.

"No, and if you ever do something that stupid I will turn you into a toad. And put you in a box."

"I'd like to see you try."

"I'm sure the girls will help."

"Helga is much too kind for such a thing."

"You so remember she is sleeping with your sister? Even now her smirks make me nervous."

"Why don't you hate her?" Godric asked as they drifted towards the woods.

"I watched and watched, wondering what went wrong. Only three times was she not at our side. Three in thousands, she was a pawn as much as any of us were being pushed in one path or another."

 

The galloping coming towards them had Arthur draw his sword. A herd of centaurs was not what he was expecting. Snape and Hagrid caught up to the herd just as they bowed at the founders. Snape saw one of them approach Godric.

He watched as the first of many centaurs bowed to the two founders.

“Mars has lost its place in the sky.”

“We’re working on it,” Salazar said so calmly that Snape stared. Centaurs never made any sense. Too much Divination and Astronomy mixed in the very odd way they viewed the world.

“Too many stars in the sky, all will find their place.”

“Indeed.”

“I have no idea what they are prattling on about either,” Godric said, having moved to his side once the bowing centaurs seemed to have focused their attentions on Salazar.

“Does that happen often?”

“I would not like to see this lot near my sister. Too many seers in one place. He doesn’t see the future but he does have an affinity for magical creatures.”

“Ravenclaw is a seer?”

“Of course she is. Didn’t your history books remember anything relevant?”

“Apparently not.”

“I wonder if we can find a better historian. This is worse than the first time.”

“The first time?”

“Nothing.”

“I would know your names before you became the founders.”

Godric looked at Snape for a long moment. “Yes, you would. There was no reason for them. Merlin!” Godric roared as he watched the man gallop off on the back of a Centaur.

“I’m sure he will be fine.”

“Isn’t this forest highly dangerous?”

“Not to the centaurs. And it is not the full moon for some time yet, so there is no worry of werewolves. There is little else that would dare bother the centaurs.”

“I can’t believe the idiot just went for a ride on a centaur. Next I’m sure he will try to make off with that bird of the headmaster’s.”

“Should we wait?”

“How big is this forest?”

“It is thought there are areas with magical expansion charms, and there are few who want to explore to the edge of the forest for true measurements. Even flying overhead can be dangerous.”

Godric huffed, “I’ll wait, you can go back.”

“It is fine. I have no desire to go to the greenhouses.”

Godric made a face. “I have caught those two often enough that I don’t blame you. Are there still dragons?”

“Dragons? Yes.” Snape tried to remember the history of dragons, but try as he might, all he could remember was that they had nearly been hunted to extinction by muggles.

“Here?” Godric asked looking to the sky.

“No, the nearest dragon preserve is in Romania.”

“Preserve?”

“The muggles do not know magical creatures still exist; dragons are some of the most difficult to hide, but there are ranges where they are cared for. One of the Weasley’s is a dragon tamer.”

 

“He can speak to them?” Godric asked.

“Nothing of the sort. They are mostly mindless beasts, but he trains with them and acts as if they aren’t a pack of large deadly beasts.”

“Mindless beasts,” Godric said softly in consideration.

“Why the interest in dragons?”

“Salazar is not the only one with an affinity for them. My father hunted them nearly to extinction once, or at least the ones on our land.”

“I do not believe there is a living species of dragon that is originally from the isles. Who was your father?”

Godric smiled humorously. “A fair and just man in his own mind. He is dust long gone and best forgotten. Tell me, what happened.”

Snape wished he thought he could pretend he had no idea what Godric was talking about. He had hoped the man would make small talk until Salazar returned. Or, like a Slytherin, attempt to fish for information, but no , this was a founder, this is what his house was based on. Bravery, Courage, and, at least from this man, Honor.

“Why not ask Salazar?”

“I want to know the things he won’t tell me,” Godric said simply. Snape began to talk then, surprised when Godric asked questions of numbers, skills and things that would only matter in battle.

“Do you expect him to attack Hogwarts?”

“It wouldn’t be the first time Salazar escalated things by enraging some mad witch or wizard.”

“How often could he have possibly-”

“If we have ten magic users that are angry, three will stew, one will fly into a rage, one will be held back by their own fear. Five will simply need the provocation to go from stewing to action. Salazar usually is that provocation.”

Snape had nothing to say to this, though it did raise a question: if they were at the first days of Hogwarts, and they were forming a sanctuary, who were these witches and wizards that Salazar drove into madness?

They sat in silence for a while longer before a whoop was heard from the forest. Snape stiffened, wand drawn, while Godric placed a hand over his face in clear irritation.

Godric would like to pretend he was surprised when Merlin popped out of the woods, twigs and branches in his hair, a unicorn hot on his heels.

“What is with you and unicorns?”

“They are lovely. Also did you forget unicorn hair is part of the cure?” He asked even as he let the stallion nuzzle his shoulder.

“It must have slipped my mind,” Godric grumbled. “Did you find everything you need?”

“Yes,” he said pointing behind him where a procession of plants was floating towards them. “Hey, hey, none of that,” he said when the unicorn attempted to eat one of the plants as it got too near him.

“Any dangerous creatures?”

“No.”

“Just dangerous trees I see,” Godric said moving to pluck branches and leaves off of Merlin. Merlin grinned and pulled Arthur into a kiss only stopping when the unicorn gnawed on his neck scarf.

“Hey there, my scarf is not possibly tasty.”

“I think I share the unicorn’s sentiment,” Snape said dryly.

Chapter 5 - Healing Dumbledore

Snape watched as Salazar oversaw Rowena, Helga, and Godric in the preliminary stages of preparing what would be a cure for Dumbledore. He wondered about his unbreakable vow, but this was not completing Draco’s task if he should fail. Nor was he hindering the boy as he still would not confide in Snape for help.

The boy was infuriating. He wanted nothing more than to wring his neck. He acted as if it were a great honor and the heaviest burden all at the same time. He insisted on succeeding or failing all on his own. Something that was more likely to get him killed. How he thought he could take on Dumbledore and win as a mere sixth year was beyond Snape.

“I don’t know why you want me to do this,” Godric complained. Even as his hands moved to chop a root that Snape would have thought nothing more than a weed. He almost wished Longbottom, or Sprout were in the room to help catalog all the plants and items they had gathered. As it was, he was taking detailed notes and sketches and would share it with the professor later, as he was sure most of the names the founders had used were long outdated.

“You have steady hands and are a perfectionist- everything has to be right.”

“It didn’t seem this bad before,” Helga remarked.

“We had Gaius, he could do this in his sleep.”

“You know who else could? Him,” Godric said pointing his slim blade at Snape.

“He’s observing and learning new things. Also he’s most likely to tell me if I forget something obvious before I poison us all.”

Snape raised an eyebrow at that and Salazar grinned. The grin made him look more the bumbling fool, but it was easy to know that was far from the case. Salazar was cold and ruthless when he needed to be, and soft and kind when it could get him what he wanted, even if it was as simple as into the trousers of Godric Gryffindor. Cunning was correct, even the fact that Godric could barely believe it of Salazar.

Snape no more believed that Salazar would make a mistake than the man needed all four founders present to help with the preparations. Something about this made Salazar want to keep his partner and friends close.

And if that wasn’t a surprise, the founders were paired, though not in the way one would have expected from the time. Snape wondered if there were lies that they told to keep people away. He was sure he was not the only one who had noticed; the Grey Lady and the Bloody Baron were both keeping their distance from the founders.

He wondered if Dumbledore had something to do with it or if the ghosts themselves had something to hide.

“Who was poisoned before?”

“A friend,” Helga said softly. Rowena seemed torn at comforting her lover and continuing her work. Salazar at a much less delicate stage in preparing the base potion had the stirrer continue to move with a golden glare and enfolded the woman in a hug.

“We cured him, and he went on to be amazing.”

“I know, it’s silly, but sometimes it feels so fresh. Like it was just yesterday, instead of years and years ago.”

“You are not the only one who feels that way.”

“Oh. You did all you could.”

“I know I checked.”

Snape watched as the scene seemed to be dissolving before him, but even as Godric moved to comfort them both, Rowena seemed to double her focus on her task. As it was simply grinding some petals this seemed odd to Snape. She seemed to be pulling away from them.

Salazar was the first to approach her, leaving Helga in Godric’s arms.

“You know what I was doing when I was gone.”

“Yes.”

“Do you know what I saw?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t think you do. I see it in your face. You wonder why I don’t hate you. Why I react as if it were when we first met.”

“Well-”

“I saw thousands, if not more scenarios. Do you know how many times your hand mixed poison? How many times you weren’t at our side?”

Snape watched, wondering what Salazar meant. Did he actually have a magic that predicted the future based on present decisions?

“How many?”

“Three.”

“Three?”

“Three. The king sided with me more often.” With that Salazar wrapped an arm around a stunned Rowena, and again Snape swore there was more to the founders than they showed and much more to their past. Starting Hogwarts seemed more and more a minor facet of their lives.

“You are much more than the founders.”

“We are family,” Godric said.

“Who were you?”

“Forgotten,” Salazar said, with golden glare that had Snape taking a step back before he realized Salazar was focused on a part of the potion. “I am Salazar Slytherin, who else would I be?”

“Who else indeed,” Snape muttered returning to the parchment he was taking notes on. Mentally he added to the list of items he knew was making him believe there was so much more to the founders then they wanted to admit.

They seemed too young to share all the experiences they implied, even from a time when fifth years were considered adults. Even Salazar’s and Godric’s relationship, while full of rutting like teenagers, showed comfort of years. Years as adults, and they acted as if they had not seen each other for a long time.

But they would have been children to be separated that early, and Snape rubbed his temples wishing he dared legilimency on the founders.

“Back to work,” Godric clapped, though his expression was soft.

“Right, we have to save that strange, strange man.”

“You’re calling someone strange?”

“He seems grandfatherly.”

“I bet he’s like Kil…” Salazar stopped and turned to Snape. “What is his most irritating line of no real meaning?”

“For the greater good,” Snape said automatically, thinking of the many decisions the man would not explain, but for those words.

“I suppose that’s better than ‘two sides of the same coin,’ when you’re asking how to kill a bloody griffin.”

“Is that were you got all your advice?”

“From the moment I set foot in the castle, it was like a whisper in the dark.”

“How no one ever caught you I’ll never know.”

“Magic,” Salazar said cheekily.

 

****

 

“Do you know of the unbreakable vow?”

“Let me guess, unbreakable?”

“One can break the vow. You will simply die,” Severus said glaring from the where he was stirring. After the first night Salazar had sent off the rest of the founders and worked on the potion exclusively with Severus.

As he still had to teach during the day, they worked late into each night, powered by pepper-up, until it became dangerous to work. They collapsed into their beds, only for Snape to get up to teach and for Salazar to continue to research going home.

He had learned much about preparing potions, even as he was surprised at the basic things Salazar did not know, until he explained, that his training in potions had been by a healer and any magical cures were done in secret.

“Two wizards with a third acting as a bonder, swear an unbreakable vow. Three statements that if you try to break will turn your magic against you and kill you.”

“Ah. Yes we had something like that, but mostly it was swearing on your magic. But things are different here.”

“Yes, none of you four use wands.”

“Maybe we will get them later,” Salazar said. “What vows did you make?”

Severus took a deep breath explaining the vows: protect Draco, aid him, and kill Dumbledore.

“Kill him? Shouldn’t you have been unable to help me then?”

“This is not stopping Draco from completing his task. It has nothing to do with Draco.”

“Interesting. What are the exact words?” Salazar asked frowning. “Wait so you have to ‘complete the task the Dark Lord set for Draco should he fail?’ Those words exactly?”

“Yes but I know the task. Kill the headmaster. He is a boy, he will fail.”

“Yes. But I know another,” Salazar said with a grin, than proceeded to tell Snape what it was he and Harry had seen. “Complete that task, because without a voice the boy will fail.”

“I am not sure-”

“Can you tell if a portion of the vow has been completed?”

“Yes, even by being his teacher, the vow I made to protect Draco fades.”

“Then try it, if it does not work we will think of something else.”

A gong sounded then and Salazar grinned as they both stepped away from their potions and canceled the flame.

“How long must they cool?”

“Two hours, before they can be used. I suppose now would be a good time to tell the Headmaster.”

“Let’s go to his office, he should be wrapping up his regular meeting with Minerva right now.”

“Ah, good.”

“I think I will be meeting with the headmaster alone,” Severus said stepping into the corridor.

“Why?” Salazar asked until he exited and saw Godric in the hall, arms crossed, waiting for them.

“Ah well, I shall meet you in his office in two hours?”

“Yes, I will start without you,” Snape said.

“We’ll be there.”

“You did not even make it to the bed last night.”

“I woke in bed.”

“Because I put you there,” Godric growled. “Merlin, magic does not replace food and sleep, have you not learned this?”

Snape decided he could let them have a lover’s spat, that and from the expression on Salazar’s face, at the concern they would be disgustingly sweet in a moment.

He swept down the corridor heading for the headmaster, even as Salazar pulled Godric to him.

“Sorry,” Merlin said softly, resting his forehead against Arthur’s.

“I understand you want to help him, but not at the cost of yourself, you know better than that.”

“I know,” he said, even as he kissed Arthur, shoving the man back, but instead of hitting a wall he fell onto a soft surface. Merlin climbing on top of him, never breaking the kiss.

“Oh my-”

“Hermione?” Salazar said shocked turning to the girl who was sharing the couch they had landed on, a couch that was in the Gryffindor common room. Not the rooms they were currently sharing with Gwen and Morgana.

“Is your aim a little off?” Godric snapped.

“Well it’s your fault.”

“My fault?”

“You shouldn’t be so distracting,” Salazar exclaimed, to a snort from the redhead, near Hermione. “Wait, let me try again-”

“We are going to use our legs. Legs- you remember what those are? Merlin.”

“Fine,” Salazar said standing.

“Wait! How did you apparate in Hogwarts? It says in ‘Hogwarts: A History’ you can’t do that.”

“I di- Hey! I need my arm.” Salazar exclaimed as he was dragged towards the portrait hole.

“You will answer her question later, we have less than two hours if you recall.”

Salazar blushed even as Hermione did the same, but allowed Godric to drag him out.

“We’ll talk at dinner!” He called before the portrait slammed shut behind him.

“Ow!” Hermione exclaimed when Ginny smacked her arm. “What was that for?”

“Why’d you stop them?”

“Ginny!” Hermione exclaimed, scandalized. Then giggled. Ron and Harry returned then, book bags in hand, plopping onto the couch.

“What’s so funny?” Harry asked.

The girls exchanged a look and burst out into giggles. “They’ve lost it.” Harry nodded, digging into his bag for his books, sure whatever it was it would pass soon enough, even as he grinned. It wasn’t often something would set Hermione off like this, and Ginny did look pretty when she laughed.

He ducked his head glancing at Ron, sure his friend knew what he was thinking, but Ron was already opening his Defense text, ignoring the girls giggling.

 

****

“What-”

“Come get us in two hours, it’s ready,” Merlin said as Arthur dragged him past the girls to their bedroom.

“He lasted longer than I thought he would,” Morgana said.

“Two hours?”

“The potions must be cooling.” Louder she said, “Knowing my brother it will be over in ten minutes!”

“Harpy!” was shouted down towards them followed by the sound of a slamming door.

“That was rude.”

“There are a lot of things I want to do right now. Talking to or about my sister is not one of them,” Arthur said already pulling off his shirt. Merlin’s eyes widened at how quickly Arthur was getting undressed.

“Don’t just stand there, get naked.”

Merlin ignored the order even as he watched Arthur get out of his boots.

“Why the rush? We have time.”

“Do you know what the side effect of that potion you have been taking the last few days are?”

“I know I fall asleep rather quickly when it starts to wear off.”

“You do not simply fall asleep Merlin. You talk.”

“I always talk,” Merlin said reaching to untie his scarf, as Arthur dropped his pants. He was already hard. “Um.”

“Why. Are. You. Still. Dressed?”

“Uh.”

“You have a filthy mouth, you make depraved promise after depraved promise, then you promptly fall asleep.”

“Oh, I, uh,” Merlin was sure thought would be coming easier if he didn’t have a naked Arthur in front of him pulling at his belt.

“Yes Merlin, I plan to hold you to those promises,” Arthur said as Merlin’s pants fell to his ankles. He pulled his shirt over his head, and looked at Arthur.

“What did I promise?” Arthur simply glared pushing Merlin back until he fell onto the bed.

****

As usual, despite the number of people in his office, there seemed to still be plenty of room. The founders, Minerva, Pomfrey, Snape and Dumbledore, yet there was still room to move around, and no one was jostled, even as Salazar broke away from Godric’s side and went to join Snape taking one of the two cauldrons.

Severus was sure Rowena had noticed as well if her smirk was any sign, but Godric and Salazar in their haste had pulled on each other’s shirts. Godric was lucky Salazar’s clothing was oversized or he would look even stranger, in the blue shirt. He supposed if it had been green Godric may have noticed.

“Severus has explained the steps to me. Is there anything I should know? As you all have seen this cure?” Dumbledore asked looking at the two potions.

“You will be weak for some time afterwards, we think your magic will counteract the weakness, but at least a fortnight,” Salazar said. Dumbledore stroked his beard but nodded. “You will also most likely sleep most of the day tomorrow.”

“Will I fall asleep once I take the potion?”

“No, but when you do go to sleep it will be deep. It terrified us at first; we thought we had killed him.”

“Ah, I will make some arrangements.”

“Let’s get started. You drink this one while we place this one where you were first infected. I suppose we should be happy there’s no arrow to pull out,” Salazar said as Dumbledore took a seat, and rolled up the sleeve to his blackened hand.

Snape poured the contents of one cauldron into a goblet even as Salazar held the other over Dumbledore’s hand.

“I don’t know if it hurts a lot or not, some knights seem to think showing pain is improper, for all I know, his ‘it stings’ meant it burned like dragon fire. I’m sorry.”

Dumbledore’s eyes widened even as the cauldron was placed on the table.

“Which first?”

“The goblet,” he said as they worked to set up a place on the desk so Dumbledore could remain seated even as he plunged his hand in the cauldron.

He drank the potion down rather quickly, the taste not as terrible as he had been expecting from Severus’ explanation of the ingredients.

He placed his blackened hand in the cauldron and it was like touching fire and ice all at the same time, and only a lifetime of holding back had him able to simply hiss.

“Is it bad?” Salazar asked eyes worried.

“Not at all my dear boy.”

“This is your fault, even a thousand years later, honorable, silent suffering prats, the lot of you,” he said pointing an accusing finger at Godric.

“Gryffindor red is a lovely color on you,” Dumbledore said with small smile that had Rowena burst out into laughter as the two finally noticed that they were wearing the wrong shirts.

“Once the potion dissolves your hand will look better, but don’t let that fool you. You won’t feel the true weakness until you wake in the morning,” Salazar warned looking into the cauldron that had already reduced by a quarter.

“Thank you for this. All of you.”

The founders nodded, the general feeling clear. They were able to help so they did.

“We were glad to help,” Godric said. “That what we start will one day be in hands like yours means we are doing the right thing. False heirs aside.
Chapter 6 – Battle at Hogwarts

The battle had come to Hogwarts quickly. No one had expected it, not even Snape who wondered if his days as a spy were numbered. He had been having the oddest conversation in his life with Salazar. Once the man had learned Snape was a potions master he had asked questions about dozens of concoctions, half of which included ingredients that no longer existed. If he could recreate even a quarter of them, he would cement his standing. The potion that had cured Dumbledore alone was worth much.

The students would be leaving in a few days for the Christmas Holidays. Severus had noticed that the founders hardly seemed concerned with getting home. Now that Dumbledore had been cured they had watched the man, to make sure he would be well, explaining the last sufferer had been a Knight in the prime of his life, but with no magic. They hoped that was difference enough to fortify the headmaster.

Instead they explored Hogsmead, and read an inordinate about of books, though he was sure Albus the meddling old coot had hidden some of the history books. Most of the information on the founders had been lost anyway.

Simply looking at Salazar one could see that he had no prejudice against muggle borns, in fact once he had learned what it was he had said that was what he was. That had been a revelation.

“Your parents had no magic?”

“Well, my mother didn’t. My father had magic of a sort but he had never seen anything like me. And it wasn’t until he died that I received the power he had.”

“A legacy power? We have powers that run on bloodline but nothing like that exists anymore.”

“My father was the last of his group, hunted to extinction by magic haters.”

Severus would not leave Salazar alone with a group of muggles. It was clear that the man had some distrust for those without magic. But hearing of how they came to be forming Hogwarts he had no reason to doubt the man. If whole villages, had been burned to eradicate magic, it was no wonder that he wanted to be isolated. He could not believe how much of history had been forgotten and muddled. Idiots.

“You seem very far away,” Salazar said gently. That was another thing: the man was easily too kind. He took to Granger’s prattling with ease, and he and Rowena were likely the two to be found pouring over tomes on various topics well into the night. There were two very different sides to this man and yet both seemed true.

“Just thinking of history.” Salazar smiled.

“Historyis never written by those who are there, those who are doing it. And it’s always written later, when someone decides, oh that bloke, he’s important. What did he do again? That thing with the girl, or was it a dragon? And there was a knight, and a good witch, and an evil one, don’t forget the sword. I bet the histories will get your story just as wrong.”

“At least I will not live long enough to see it.”

“I would not bet on that.”

The explosion shook the castle, and both Salazar and Severus jumped to their feet. Was the castle under attack?

“Oh she is not pleased.”

“She?”

“Hogwarts. There is an army attacking the school apparently, creatures dark and foul, trolls, werewolves.”

“The castle told you all this?”

“Yes, I believe Dumbledore has a device in his office that does the same.”

“Why tell you?”

“She likes me, I helped repair her, gave her purpose again.”

“What was Hogwarts before?” Severus asked even as they were making their way to the Slytherin common room.

“She won’t say, but finds it very amusing that I ask.”

They found chaos: the upper forms, clearly unsure of what to do, the younger terrified, even as the castle shook again.

“If a single Slytherin sets foot out of this room you will wish for death,” Severus quickly cast, both wards and fortifications. But the dungeons held up the entire school, should it fall on their heads it would likely still leave the dungeons intact.

Merlin realized what he was doing and did the same.

“Sir!”

“Yes Parkinson?” Snape snarled even as he turned back to her.

“Is it the Dark Lord?”

“Do not sound so pleased when he is dropping a castle on our heads.”

The pair swept out of the common room warding it behind them and moved up in the castle. They made their way up out of the dungeon just as the voice spoke.

“Give me Harry Potter!”

“I can’t believe that idiot has nerve to call himself my heir,” Salazar mumbled, as they made it to the great hall.

Dumbledore, still weak after his healing by Salazar, looked to be propped up by Mcgonagall. But what galled Severus, was the entirely too large pack of Gryffindors that were there as well, as a handful of others from every house, save his own. It was not an entirely surprising sight but he still sneered at the lot of them.

“He knows the headmaster is not at his best.”

“Of course he does or he would not be attacking with less than half of his allies. He has been waiting to hear from many a dark creature including vampires. He has sent word to some of their lords. I assumed he would not push forward until next year at least. He must feel this opportunity is too good to let go,” Dumbledore said simply.

“Well we shall just show him the error of his ways,” Rowena said grinning. She had on a deep red cloak and the rest knew exactly what was underneath and where her mind was. Godric moved to Merlin’s side , a hand slipping onto his hair. Merlin noticed then that he had the sword of Gryffindor.

“It is a good sword though not the best. This castle has an alarming lack of weapons.”

“It is a different time. Please avoid any green spells.”

“Why green?” Arthur asked.

“Something called the killing curse.”

“Did your heir throw it at you?”

“A few times. I turned it aside.”

“How? No magic can stop an unforgivable.”

“Oh?” Merlin shrugged. “I pushed the magic to the side. Not with any spell.”

“Students, I want you to stand back. You are to remain in the castle and defend the younger years if we fall. He has blocked the floo somehow so they cannot get away.”

“Gwen, travel and family are your specialty.”

“Right,” she said marching away, taking two students with her.

“I’m sure it will be fixed shortly. Anyone we can call for aid? Even if it is not his full force it sounds like there is an army out there,” Arthur said looking at less than two dozen troops, half of that students.

“I’m sure parents will come protect their children,” Morgana said.

“Some of those parents are out there. I locked my house in for their own protection as much as ours; we need not fight a battle on two fronts,” Severus said.

“Hopefully they stay locked in.”

“Oh I reinforced it. Nothing is getting in or out without me letting it, and sit down, you are not going anywhere. A strong wind could knock you over.”

“Young man,” Dumbledore started and Merlin snorted right before Arthur cuffed him.

“Idiot, but he is right. As powerful as you are you should be with the second wave.”

“Who will be the first wave?”

Godric waved a hand, and included himself, Minerva, Pumona, Fillus, Morgana, Merlin and Severus.

“Six, against an army?” Severus scoffed.

“Once this is done I will tell you about 2 against an army that didn’t stay dead,” Merlin said.

“How long will the school defenses hold?”

“Against trolls?” Dumbledore shook his head. “Most of the defenses are against magic, which he clearly learned. Tossing boulders at the school is a dangerous thing. In this way it is mostly still a castle. It will hold longer than a muggle castle would but they need to be stopped.”

"Makes me wish I still had Uther."

“You named the snake Uther!” Rowena chuckled.

“It can freeze you with a look, it seemed fitting, but of course that idiot heir had to corrupt that as well.”

“It was attacking students!” Harry exclaimed.

“And what would a giant snake, only controlled by magic do when said school was attacked by those without magic?”

“Oh.”

“You still shouldn’t have put it in a school,” Hermione said.

“It wasn’t a school. It was a sanctuary. Anything we should know about trolls?”

“Their hides are tough and mostly impervious to weaker magical attacks.”

“I need a better sword. Also, have you no tower defenses?” Godric asked

“It’s being held by Freya,” Luna said and both Salazar and Godric froze turning to the girl as Rowena smirked, a hand on her shoulder.

“Only if it’s needed,” Merlin said looking at Arthur who shrugged. “We’re off to kill some trolls, then we will deal with this Voldemort idiot.”

A few in the room sputtered as Merlin and Arthur lead the way out of the castle and left behind most of the forces.

“Headmaster.”

“We were thinking about tower defenses.”

“And we have a few products from my brothers, the twins.”

“That could-”

Dumbledore held up a hand to stop Harry and Ron. “Go to the Astronomy tower, Ms. Weasley, and Ms. Granger shall aid you.

“Perfect,” Harry said as he turned to run.

“Pomona, Mr. Longbottom.”

“Yes , headmaster?”

“Is there anything in the green houses that can aid us?”

“Well it’s too late to plant the devil’s snare, but that might be an idea for another time. Most of the more poisonous plants wouldn’t do well in the cold we have right now. Oh! We have a small batch of adult mandrakes, and some young ones. They will knock someone out and even an enneverate won’t work,” Neville said blushing slightly when he realized he had out spoken his favorite teacher. She patted his arm with a smile.

“I will leave you to it, I’m sure you will find a way.”

“I will come with you,” Luna said.

“I will too,” Susan added and the three started heading to one of the many other entrances to the castle.

Dumbledore simply turned to the next group of students, clearly having plans to put them all to the best use.

 

Outside the group was using tactics to each of their strengths to kill the trolls, even as they herded the group away from the castle. Godric was darting in and out of the trolls’ range, stabbing and hamstringing them when he could, but their hides were tough, until he called the flame that Merlin had used many a time to slay a beast. He sliced a leg off the troll the magic was so powerful.

He danced out of the way, chopping the head off the troll as it fell to the ground. He was kicking, turning to face another when a third swung his club sending him flying towards the lake.

“Nooo!” Merlin screamed, a wave of magic slamming into every remaining troll, even the ones that had fallen dead, or incapacitated and they exploded.

Voldemort at the head of the rest of his forces, still a distance from the main castle, watched as the man who claimed to be Salazar Syltherin destroyed every one of the trolls. All because Godric Gryffindor, of all people, had fallen. He wondered if the woman in the red was Helga or Rowena.

The squid carefully placed Arthur back onto the shore and the man coughed, even as Morgana and Merlin rushed to his side.

“I’m fine,” he said pushing the wet hair out of his face, even as his clothing dried.

Voldemort snarled as the man stood, looking none the worse for wear, he had not even lost his weapon. Voldemort sent forth his wolves. He had seen Snape come out with this group, but even if the others hadn’t noticed, the man had done little to help.

An explosion rocked the far side of the castle and he wondered if his other group had succeeded in blowing a hole into the castle. When he saw the fireworks, he decided to move forward assuming that they had failed. He had many more things to turn the tide.

All his wolves had taken wolfsbane, so that they were in their right mind. They would attack only those their lord wanted. Greyback was in the lead. It would had been for the best if the Malfoy scion had gotten them entrance into the school, but it was clear Dumbledore was not up for battle.

The woman in red came forward even as the wolves barreled down the hill, and he knew it was Rowena Ravenclaw. Even in the darkness, she reminded him of the ghost he had charmed lifetimes ago. She suddenly put her hands to her ears, as did the professors, and he heard Sprout call a warning. He did the same. But the wolves were not so lucky as the Mandrakes came flying at them from multiple sides.

Wolves collapsed, having no way to defend their sensitive ears from the deadly cry. He cast a temporary muffling spell, and fired inciendo at the nearest mandrake.

Moments later Bellatrix followed. And in a few seconds all of the plants were dead. But the damage had been done. The entire pack would be out of the battle. How could this be possible? They were children; these four were a thousand years out of date. Their greatest achievement had been a school. They were nothing to the Dark Lord.

“My Lord!”

Voldemort turned to Bellatrix. Very little made the woman nervous. He followed her line of sight and saw that a light was shining down on the lake. It looked more like sunlight despite the hour. The water was churning, and he watched. Had the mer-people made the decision to join them? This would turn the tide in their favor.

Voldemort watched in a mixture of awe and horror. He had heard the stories as a child. He wasn’t sure how important they were in the wizarding world. Most focused on Merlin, ignoring it. But even the Dark lord watched unable to do more than stare as the sword, followed by the Lady of the Lake, rose from the water.

Her voice ran across the area much better than his had. “All hail the once and future king. All Hail Arthur!”

By the way Bellatrix’s pale face went chalk white it was clear that, yes Wizards did know the tale of King Arthur, even if they did not discuss it. He felt as a few new Death Eaters fled in terror trying to get past the apparation line of Hogwarts so they could flee. He sent the pain of crucio after the deserters.

She tossed the sword at Godric who caught it and it was as if he could see the change in the man. He looked at the sword of Gryffindor in his hand against Excalibur. Voldemort did not like this but he could still salvage the situation.

At least he thought so until he heard Arthur call. “Morgana!” Ravenclaw dropped her cloak to show that she was in full armor of old. She caught the sword deftly. Swinging in she strode forward, and sliced the head off the nearest wolf, one that had been a few yards from her. He wondered what magic Morgan Le Fey would have cast, even as he was irritated at the loss of what was surely Greyback.

“Morgan Le Fey, why do you stand with Arthur when you sought to destroy him.” The teachers of Hogwarts watched as King Arthur moved to stand besides Morgan Le Fey even as Voldemort thought he could charm the woman to his side. They exchanged a look, grinned and waited for the Death Eaters to make a move, the professors forming a loose line behind them, wands at the ready.

Severus moved to Merlin’s side. “Merlin, I assume.”

“Yes, I wonder how long it takes that blowhard to realize it.”

“Why not kill him?”

“I’m trying. there is some dark magic- it spins back towards Hogwarts, and all over the Isle. Something is keeping him alive. Even if I blast him to the heavens he will not be gone for long.”

“It took him fourteen years the last time to gain a body.”

“Oh all right then,” Merlin said raising a hand to the sky. Clouds gathered in an instant, and Severus wondered what Merlin was doing, calling rain, unless it had acidic properties.

The rumble of thunder was all that warned Voldemort to move. He could not apparate, but his legs still worked and he was moving down the hill with haste, nearly tumbling down as the lightening rained down, blasting, Death Eaters, Nagini, and Bellatrix had run with him.

Drawing his wand he snapped it at Salazar. “Avada Kadvra!”

“Really?” Merlin snapped slamming the spell into the water, even as Morgana went after Bellatrix, sword in one hand, fire in the other. The woman sent a crucio at Morgana who laughed, feeling the barest brush of the spell. The magic in her armor was much stronger than what those spells were. A sign that Merlin was correct in his supposition. Magic did not die with the death of a sorcerer. The reason that they had both been so powerful had been the magic searching a place to go. So many deaths in such a small time had made stronger and stronger magic users. It had made magic easier to learn, as it fought for a place in the world, fought to stay.

“I will show you pain,” she snarled, calling forth a spell of Mordred’s that had caused Merlin shrieking agony. The woman fell screaming and twitching , blood pooling from her mouth and she did her a small mercy and ended her life with the sword through her chest.

She looked up and saw the professors doing battle with those who had survived Merlin’s lightening strike. Arthur was slowly making his way over to where Voldemort was facing Merlin, and she wondered at the magic that had him so deformed. Merlin, easily still the most powerful of them had no such deformities unless one counted the ears.

And then Voldemort heard it, what had convinced him that he could take Hogwarts this night before Dumbeldore healed from whatever it was that ailed him. The roar. Salazar himself had given him the idea.

The dragon circled, the enchantments on it strong. It would destroy Hogwarts. Even the founders could not stop a dragon. The laughter stopped him cold. He turned to face his so called ancestor. And saw the man look up at the circling dragon and roar. He had no other word for the guttural sounds that came from the man’s throat. Voldemort could feel his enchantments breaking.

“Impossible. Nothing can control a dragon.”

“I am a Dragon Lord, you pissy upstart,” Merlin snapped.

“There are no Dragon Lords, the last died in the time of Merlin. A thousand years before your time.”

“You really are an idiot, is this why you’ve failed to kill a child six times? Once before he could speak?”

“How dare you, first you take the name Salazar.”

“My name is Merlin, perhaps you have heard it.”

A sword pierced Voldemort through the back, even as another chopped off his head. A swirling mass of darkness, escaped the body and Merlin fought to kill it, but again, he felt the magic tied to it, even breaking the ties would do nothing so instead Merlin sent the heart of this foul creature to the area where there was the least magic he could find. It was far south and it had a feel of cold before he pushed it away. That should give their new allies time.

They watched as a group in red robs ran, a bald man, and a woman with blond hair that cycled to black even as she tripped, caught herself and kept moving by the front.

“Death eaters?”

“Over the hill. The professors have them mostly contained.”

“Kingsley!”

“What is it?”

“The Dark lord! He’s dead!”

“Not for long,” Merlin said. “But, I suppose that this means Gwen succeeded.”

“Round up any of the living Death Eaters,” Kingsley said as he passed the body of Bellatrix Lestrange and the rest of the group caught up. He had his wand out watching the trio, two with swords, the third unarmed, not even with a wand.

“Who did this?”

“I did,” Morgana said stabbing her sword into the dirt.

“Who are you?”

“Morgana.”

“Really? And I thought my mother was horrible at naming.”

“And you two?”

“Arthur.”

“Merlin.”

Kingsley raised an eye brow and looked at Arthur’s sword again before blinking. “What sword is that?”

Arthur smirked. “Don’t you have people to capture? We have to tell Dumbledore what happened.”

“Right yes.”

“What the hell,” Merlin snarled, rushing to where the Death Eaters were being wrangled.

“You will point that wand elsewhere.”

“Severus Snape is a known Death Eaters.”

“Really, is that why he stood at my side and FOUGHT THE DEATH EATERS.”

“What seems to be the problem here?” Arthur said moving to Merlin’s side.

“I am under arrest.”

“For what exactly?”

“Higgs! Round up actual Death Eaters!” Shacklebolt yelled.

“But sir-”

“Do I have to repeat myself, Higgs?”

“No, sir.”

“Is everyone in this world this dumb?” Merlin sighed.

“Let’s get inside.”

When the deputy headmistress placed a hand on Severus’ shoulder and glared death at any Auror who tried to approach. Merlin grinned.

 

 

“We have to get to the Great Hall right now!” Hermione exclaimed.

“What why?”

“Read the map Harry,” Hermione said thrusting it into his hands, even as Ginny stepped away from the window, having made sure the last of the small group of Death Eaters were unconscious and tied up.

There had only been five, and with their masks she had no idea who they were, but the twins’ pranks had put a stop to them quickly. Blasted by surprise, then stunned, whatever trouble they had planned was done.

She sent out a flare of green sparks, and was pleased to see that a group of Aurors were approaching with wands drawn. One with pink hair looked up and waved. Ginny nodded and turned to see the other three staring at the map in shock.

She looked over at it and blinked. Four names were glowing golden on the page. She hadn’t seen the map before but a quick glance at other parts showed that no, this gold color was odd. She looked at the title of the map, the other location with color and blinked. Where it should say Hogwarts there was a single very different word.

“Camelot.” Ginny read the names quickly then, “King Arthur Pendragon, Lady Morgana, Queen Guinevere, and Merlin.”

“Let’s go!” Ginny exclaimed when it looked like none of them were going to move anytime soon. Apparently too shocked at what they were seeing, she snatched the map, drawing them out of their daze.

“Now! Before they’re gone.”

They rushed back to the Great Hall where they saw the founders talking with the Headmaster. They approached quickly.

“Headmaster!”

“You…you!” Hermione said pointing a finger at Merlin.

“Me?”

“Merlin!”

“What?”

Hermione grabbed the map and thrust it in his face pointing at the name.

“Oh, right, yes, that,” Merlin read the map and his eyes widened. “Arthur,” he said showing him the map and more importantly the word overlaying Hogwarts.

“Gods. How did it come to be here? Like this.”

“Magic.”

“I know that. Idiot.”

“That’s not the sword of Gryffindor,” Hermione said looking at the much larger blade in Arthur’s hands.

“No.”

“Take me up. Cast me away,” she said softly and Merlin grinned.

“I always knew you were brilliant. You sure you don’t want to be in my house? I think you would look lovely in green.”

“Honestly, if she was going anywhere she would be in Ravenclaw,” Morgana pointed out.

“Queen-”

“Oh no, no, I do believe you mean Helga.”

“So you aren’t the founders?”

“We are. There are people who in their lifetimes change the very world and are remembered for years to come. We just get to do it twice.”

“You wake one day and the normal world falls away. All of a sudden you, remember a magical place, with Kings, Knights, Ladies, and wizards. Much like some who learn at eleven that magic is real I suppose,” Gwen said.

“Headmaster sir,” Kingsley started approaching the group. “We have rounded up the last of the surviving Death Eaters, and what is left of the Dark Lord. We will leave a few Aurors in place, just in case there are any stragglers, but word has already gotten back to the ministry.”

“They will want to speak to them, possibly detain them for a time. Learn all they can, have them prove they are who they say they are.”

“How long?”

“Likely by morning, the Death Eaters will only keep the minister distracted so long.”

“My friends, it seems like it may be time for you to leave us,” Dumbledore said sadly.

“How bad is this ministry?”

“Slughorn would be right at home there,” Snape said watching as some students jumped at the sight of him, not having noticed he was standing so close all this time.

“And you still haven’t found the spell you need.”

“Well…”

“Merlin,” Arthur growled.

“What? We were having fun. Don’t tell me you were in a rush to get back to that empty castle. And it is an easy spell for us to cast.”

“Have you looked at the spell?” Arthur asked Morgana.

“Yes, we simply need to cast it at dawn. There are not even extra components.”

“Excellent, maybe some tea? We can answer a few questions, chat,” Rowena said and despite being in the Great Hall, there were few people paying attention to them, more excited to talk about the battle that had just ended.

“I need to speak to my snakes,” Snape said.

“Another time then,” Merlin said.

“You are leaving at dawn.”

“Send me an owl.” Snape arched a brow at Salazar, no, Merlin, who simply grinned.

 

Chapter - Return

There was a tearing and snapping sound and with a flash of light the four returned to the entrance of Hogwarts, in the right time. The wide eyes of the two people waiting for them had them pause.

“Hello,” Helga said cheerily.

"Hello," one said softly.

"What are your names then?"

"I'm Victor and this is my sister Emma.”

“What is all that behind you?” Merlin asked looking at the two large trunks. “Salazar , by the way.”

“Wands, that is to say our family makes wands. There have been whispers that some seem to be looking at our father oddly. This new king is very against anything that could be called the devil’s work.”

“Yes, when we learned about here, our father sent us here. He wanted to keep the family trade safe.”

“Family trade?”

“Magic wands, we have been making them for generations, more than the family needs, but we have been refining our art.”

"We have spares. We thought we could trade..."

"This is a sanctuary first. We will work out the details later. One hopes that a steward or ten show up soon. I am not best at running the day to day affairs of a castle."

"Of course not. I did most of that but I would not say no to more help especially once we have people living in the village," Helga pointed out.

"Right, you're the first ones here. Well unless someone came in while we were gone."

"What are the wards around the woods?” We had servants with us. We decided it would be safer to just have them wait when for the third time they turned away sure they had forgotten this or the other thing. Anything to keep them from going forward."

"Just an extra layer of protection from those without magic. If you lead them in they will be able to cross the barrier."

"Oh good, we left them with the rest of our supplies. The elves can lead them in I suppose."

"Will they be staying?" Salazar asked frowning as he wondered how they would feed all these people. They had hoped to have more time before more people arrived. He was not sure if G-Helga had planted her garden before their surprise trip to the future. Or how much time had passed in their current time from when they had left, hours? Days? Weeks?

"Could they?"

"Um yes? Sorry don't mind me, we thought we'd have more time I'm just worried about feeding them all," Merlin said wondering if he could change the future impression of himself. There was no reason Salazar actually had to be a tyrant.

"We brought provisions. Father insisted. Also we brought some elves. We're not sure what use they will be. Our village used to be overrun with them and they do love to help. It's just that they need very clear instructions."

"I know all about being clear with the help. We will make arrangements in the castle. Gather the rest of your party and if one of you stays with the trunks we can start finding a place for you," Godric said calmly.

"Do you have any special requirements?" Rowena asked.

"Just that the workroom needs to be sturdy. Both construction and testing tends to lead to a lot of explosions even after all this time."

 

"So nowhere near his labs. The last thing we need is the castle falling down on our heads around us. No need to do that fool Muggle's work for him."

"Emma, why don't you go gather the others. I'll go find us a good lab space."

"Yes."

“I’ll go with you,” Helga said with an easy smile. “Tell me more about how you craft these wands.”

“And we’ve lost her, she does love a good craft,” Godric said grinning.

“Yes, oh! I think I have the perfect place for your labs. It is an area off of the kitchens. It is similar to my labs, and I have some of the same needs.”

“Would it not be too close to the kitchen?”

“The entryway is near the kitchen. The actual area is a distance away,” Salazar said heading up the stairs to the main doors of the castle. “If it doesn’t work I’m sure we can find another area for you.”

 

“Thank you. We could also live in the village we saw.”

“Currently the village has no residents, and we would like to keep everyone close together for the time being. We can worry about expanding when there are thousands of us here,” Rowena said.

“What is the village called?”

“Hogsmead.”

“Welcome to Hogwarts,” Salazar said throwing his arms around the castle.

“You sure this is it?”

“I’m sure!”

“You said that about the last three castles!”

“I don’t know why I let you talk me into these things, brother dear.”

“Because, not only am I more handsome, I am the smarter one.”

The three remaining founders finally spot the voices as the pair land, having ridden brooms, to the castle gates, with trunks attached to the ends.

“Did you just fly a broom here?” Godric asked staring.

“Well yes? Albert Prewitt, and this is my brother, Anton.”

“Latest design, no worries we were concealed. No reason to lead them right to our door.”

“How many people are going to arrive by broom?”

“Not that many, they are horribly expensive.”

“And rare.”

“Thank the gods for small favors,” Godric muttered. “It’s clear this place is going to be a madhouse. Did you hear Rowena? Since I created the spells to make the stairs move I should do that. Why do we need the bloody stairs to move?”

“Keep that up and history will think you the tyrant,” Salazar whispered grinning.

 

End

 

Epilogue

 

Severus wasn’t quite sure why he was doing it, other than the fact that, Sal- Merlin was right. The Dark Lord had given Draco many tasks, and with Narcissa’s wording, he was able to repair the vanishing cabinet and he felt the last bit of the vow fading.

Yes, he would always watch out for Draco, but it was a small price to pay to keep his life. He looked at the letter in his hand and after a momentary decision made his way to the headmaster’s office.

“Severus, my boy.”

“Hello, Headmaster, is Fawkes available?”

Dumbledore glanced at the bird who had perked up at his name.

“I would not trust an owl with this, if it cannot be delivered, so be it.” The bird took the letter out of Severus hands and then in a flash vanished. Both wizards watched the spot for a moment wondering if the bird would return instantly.

“Is that to who I think?” Dumbledore asked.

“Who else?”

“Do you think he will come?”

“If they still live. as Helga explained, it was reincarnation. Not something I would have put much stock in.”

“For her, we all had different ways,” Merlin said appearing behind Severus, Fawkes on his shoulder.

“You don’t look any different,” Severus exclaimed.

“I got a haircut! Or a few thousand,” he said and then Severus noticed he was dressed as a Muggle.

“Are you playing a being Muggles?” Snape asked taking a look at his attire. Black jeans, a white shirt with black blazer, and a maroon scarf.

“Hmm? No, American wizards don’t put much stock in robes. And we never did.”

“How did you come back?” Dumbledore finally asked.

“The long way, we lived.”

“Why did you not come sooner?” Snape asked thinking of the people that could have lived if they had been a part of the war.

“We never knew what year it was, it was not exactly a thousand years, and by the time we realized we were once again in the proper era, it was because a baby had become the most famous wizard in the world.”

“When Harry first defeated Tom.”

“Yes.”

“At first we thought that we had changed something somehow, if Harry defeated him so soon. How could he come haunt him in school?”

“You never learned how he rose again.”

“No. We decided to wait for the letter, because we were not sure you would remember us. Time travel is a tricky business.”

“We?”

“Oh yes, all four of us. We were concerned about Helga, but she was just as young as we were. We cast some glamours so we looked aged, and I tried to teach Uther. But I think those things happened the way they always had, because we had always come to you.”

“What?”

“Um. Don’t mind me, oh I have to run, I told Arthur I was going to the loo. We’ll come by soon!” Merin said disappearing in a flash of flame, along with Fawkes before the bird returned.