Strange Visitors From Another Century
Chapter One: An Unexpected Journey
Okay, so here it is. Parts of this chapter have been adapted from the first chapter of my previous story, but it is going to be very different. I hope you all enjoy it.
Some of the dialogue and descriptions from the first section are taken from 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' and are the sole property of J. K. Rowling.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter and am not affiliated with Bloomsbury or Scholastic Inc.
18/03/21: This fic now has a TV Tropes page! Please do check it out, and feel free to add to it.
Harry sprinted for the exit as hundreds of glass spheres rained down around him. He was dimly aware of Hermione by his side, and he could hear Ron and Neville just behind him, but the majority of his attention was on avoiding the pursuing Death Eaters and falling missiles. Anger and guilt coursed through his body, but he forced it aside; there would be time enough to brood on the consequences of his actions after they escaped. If they escaped… He elbowed a charging Death Eater in the face and ran on.
That was not their only narrow escape. At one point, a Death Eater got close enough to seize Harry's shoulder, but a well-placed Stunning Spell from Hermione sent the man flying away. Before long, though, they were out of the prophecy room and back in the room with the bell jar and the Time-Turners. The four teenagers cannoned inside, and Hermione cast a quick spell to seal it behind them. Harry nodded gratefully at her, but his relief soon faded.
"Where are the others?" He was sure he had seen Ginny and Luna run past them earlier, but the two witches were nowhere to be seen.
Ron went white at his words. "Ginny…"
"They must have gone a different way," Hermione whispered. "We'll find them." Ron nodded tightly, but he didn't reply.
"Listen," whispered Neville.
Harry forced himself to listen calmly to Lucius Malfoy's orders, but the knot of terror in his stomach was growing steadily tighter. They were outnumbered two to one, and their opponents were hardened killers. How were they supposed to get out of there alive, let alone find Ginny and Luna?
Hermione was visibly trembling. "What do we do?"
Looking at her, Harry felt a surge of determination. He was responsible for their situation; it was up to him to get them out if it. "Well, we don't stand here waiting for them to find us, for a start," he said. "Let's get away from this door."
They were nearly at the exit when they heard the Death Eaters break through Hermione's charm. All four threw themselves under the desks, just as two burly wizards burst into the room.
"They might've run straight through to the hall," said a rough voice.
"Check under the desks," said another.
Harry didn't wait for them to find him. "Stupefy!" The red light sent the nearest Death Eater stumbling back into a large clock, but the second avoided Ron's attack and took aim at Hermione.
"No!" Ron let out a roar of fury and launched himself at the man, just as Harry dashed across the room to help. The impact sent all three of them crashing into Hermione, who, in turn, fell back against the display of Time-Turners.
The force of Ron's anger sent the Death Eater flying away, but he was not the only one to have performed the spell. Harry could only watch helplessly as Neville's own Stunning Spell flew past them and hit the cabinet. There was a dazzling explosion of red and gold then Harry felt a peculiar lurch in his stomach and everything went black.
"He then spent the next ten minutes trying to convince me that the person responsible was his pet bowtruckle."
Godric raised an eyebrow. "His bowtruckle ate his homework?"
Salazar smirked. "Apparently so."
Helga's blue eyes gleamed with amusement. "What did you do?"
"Assigned him an essay on the importance of having a ready excuse."
"Salazar," Rowena groaned. "Stop encouraging them."
Salazar grinned at her. "It is an important life skill. But I also gave him a detention for neglecting the original work."
Godric shook his head. "We may make a teacher out of you yet."
"And it only took twelve years," said Helga. Her smile took the sting from her works, and Salazar's gaze softened as it met hers. Godric watched the pair of them, a small smile playing about his lips.
Rowena, too, was content just to sit and enjoy her friends' company. She enjoyed teaching, they all did, but it had been a long term and they had all been feeling the strain. Now that the students had departed, she was looking forwards to a few weeks' rest. With all their responsibilities it was rare for the four of them to be able to spend much time together and they all appreciated the time to themselves.
Looking round at them, Rowena couldn't help thinking back to their first meetings. Godric she had known since she was a child; their parents had been acquainted and the two young ones had seen each other fairly frequently growing up. Rowena shook her head. In many ways, Godric had hardly changed. He was still as unfailing good-natured as he had been as a child, and his fierce loyalty to his friends certainly hadn't changed, but he wasn't the same carefree spirit he had been. Years of travelling and fighting had turned the reckless hothead into a highly respected warrior and teacher, and as a Charms Master he was without equal. Despite that, he had retained a distinct, and Rowena felt not entirely appropriate, love of practical jokes.
If Godric was one who had never fully grown up, then Salazar had been forced to do so far too quickly. Only Godric knew the full truth of their friend's past, but one would have to be stupid or unobservant not to be able to put the pieces together, and Rowena was neither. He might be the youngest of their quartet, but Salazar carried more scars than the rest of them put together. Not all of them were physical, but others... A slight frown crossed Rowena's face as her eyes rested on his crippled leg. It had taken Salazar years to trust them enough to talk about that injury, and even then he refused to go into details. Little surprise then that he had travelled paths the rest of them had refused to tread, but despite his past, or perhaps because of it, Salazar had proved to be a true friend and his support had been invaluable in establishing the school.
Last, but certainly not least, there was Helga. Sweet, gentle Helga, who was often overlooked next to Godric and herself, but they were all well aware that Hogwarts would never have been possible without her. It had been her dream all those years ago that gave them purpose, and her unwavering belief in that dream had given them strength when things became difficult. They all knew better than to be deceived by the meek exterior; Helga had an indomitable will and she was completely dedicated to protecting those she cared about. She had also often proved to be the one who kept the peace whenever the inevitable arguments ensued.
Rowena started and looked up. "I'm sorry, what did you say?"
Amusement replaced concern in Godric's green eyes. "You haven't heard a word I've been saying, have you?"
Rowena felt her cheeks heat up under his gaze. "My apologies. I was distracted."
"We noticed," said Salazar with a grin. He shot a sly glance at Godric. "Perfectly understandable, really."
Godric rolled his eyes good-naturedly, but his retort was cut off as a dazzling flash of red and gold light filled the room.
Despite being blinded by the brilliant display, all four mages were immediately on their feet, their wands raised ready to defend themselves. Rowena didn't need to see to know that Godric and Salazar had moved forwards in an attempt to take the brunt of an attack, but none of them were prepared for a jumble of bodies flying through the air and landing on the floor in front of them with a crash.
In all the confusion, no one noticed the small glass ball the rolled across the floor and came to rest underneath Godric's chair.
The light eventually faded enough for Rowena to make out three children, two boys and a girl. One of the boys had hair even brighter than Godric's, while the other had an odd framework of wire and glass perched on the end of his nose. All three wore black robes that appeared to be a uniform. A distinctly familiar uniform. Helga instinctively moved to go to them, but Salazar caught her eye and shook his head. Rowena nodded in agreement; Salazar could be over-protective, but in this case she understood the need for caution. The children seemed harmless, but these were dangerous times and they had good reason to be careful. They had made many enemies over the years.
As they watched, the redheaded boy let out a groan. "Harry? Hermione?"
The other boy, presumably Harry, grunted and raised his head. "What…" His eyes widened abruptly as he looked round. "Where are we?"
The girl sat up carefully. "I don't know… Neville's spell must have reacted with the Time-Turners somehow."
The first boy went pale. "Who cares how, Ginny's still there!"
Harry scrambled to his feet. "And Luna and Neville. We have to get back!" He spun round, and finally noticed Rowena and the others. "Er, guys…"
Godric stepped forwards, all traces of joviality gone from his face. "I do not know who you are, but you will now explain why you are here, and how you managed to bypass our wards!" None of the trio answered him, and his eyes narrowed. "I, Godric Gryffindor, demand that you identify yourselves at once!"
The effect of his words on the strangers was remarkable. The girl let out a gasp and the boys exchanged stunned looks.
The redhead swallowed. "Bloody hell."
"Ronald!" the witch hissed.
"Hermione, didn't you hear-" Ronald began indignantly, but the girl, Hermione, had already turned to face Godric.
"I'm sorry sir, but could you tell us where we are?"
Godric frowned but answered readily. "You are standing in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I am Godric Gryffindor, and these are my companions, Rowena Ravenclaw, Helga Hufflepuff and Salazar Slytherin."
Rowena thought she saw a flicker of dislike in the boys' faces at the mention of Salazar's name, but she was more interested in the pure astonishment they all expressed at Godric's words.
Hermione made a visible effort to pull herself together. "My…my name is Hermione Granger, and these are my friends, Ron Weasley and Harry Potter." The boys mumbled awkward greetings and she continued, "We honestly don't know what happened. We were fighting, then there was an explosion, and ..." She broke off and took a deep breath. "This is going to sound very strange, but what year is it?"
Rowena raised an eyebrow, but the scathing retort died on her lips as the implications of the question struck home. Next to her, she felt Salazar tense as he came to the same conclusion.
"Anno domini 1005," he said quietly. He ignored a muffled exclamation from Ron, and the strange wariness in Harry's eyes, instead keeping his gaze fixed on Hermione's suddenly pale face. "And I think that I should be asking you the same question."
Hermione shook her head numbly. "This isn't possible."
"Nothing is impossible," Rowena corrected automatically. "Answer the question please."
Harry spoke for the first time then. "It is…was… 1996." His voice was surprisingly steady. "Nearly one thousand years in the future."
There was stunned silence. If they were telling the truth... Rowena's mind reeled at the implications. Then the spell was broken and Godric and Helga whirled to Rowena.
"Is this possible?"
"How could this happen?"
"Would there be a way to reverse it?"
Rowena couldn't help but notice, with some amusement, that Harry and Ron were doing the exact same thing to Hermione.
"Can we trust them?" A new silence fell as Salazar's clear voice cut through the clamour. Rowena saw Helga wince at their friend's sharpness, but none of them were prepared for the sudden hostility that appeared on Harry's face.
"How do we know we can trust you?" he snapped. "This could be another Death Eater trap."
Ron gaped at him. "Harry, these are the Founders of Hogwarts!"
"No, they say they are. Come on, what's more likely, that we've travelled a thousand years into the past or that the Death Eaters are trying to trick us again?"
Godric's expression hardened. "I assure you, we are who we say we are."
"And what is a Death Eater?" asked Salazar.
Harry glared at him, but Hermione spoke before he could. "Harry, they're telling the truth."
Harry frowned, attention temporarily diverted. "But how can they be? It's impossible."
Hermione shook her head and gestured out the window. "I thought so too, but Harry, this is Hogwarts."
Harry's mouth fell open. "But-"
"It is mate." Ron had moved to the window and was staring out over the darkening grounds. "There's the lake and everything."
Harry stared from him to Hermione and back again. "But we were in the Ministry. In London." He shook his head. "What the hell is going on?"
Ron's freckles stood out in sharp contrast to his suddenly bloodless face. "Then we really have gone back in time?"
"It looks that way," said Hermione quietly.
Harry stood there, his thin shoulders shaking. "Then Ginny, Neville..." Ron closed his eyes at the thought and Hermione bit her lip. Rowena sighed. If these three were telling the truth, and they really had been torn from their own time... She saw Godric and Salazar exchange grim looks. Helga took a step forwards, her arms spread in welcome.
"I am so sorry," she said gently. "Know that we will do everything we can to help you."
Rowena nodded. "We are unfamiliar with time-travel, but you are welcome to stay with us for now."
Salazar stirred at that. "Indeed, we will do everything in our power to assist you." His eyes narrowed. "If you are telling the truth."
Harry's mouth fell open. "What?"
Helga frowned at Salazar. "What reason would they have for lying?"
"Exactly," Ron exclaimed. "We didn't ask for this!"
Salazar remained unperturbed by their anger. "These are dangerous times," he reminded them. "And it would not be the first time that people have tried to deceive us."
Rowena shuddered. Those memories were still too raw for comfort. Helga paled at the thought, and Godric's grip on his wand tightened. It was a very good point.
Harry stared at them. "You think we're trying to trick you? We're teenagers; we couldn't fool you if we tried."
Salazar met his furious gaze without wavering. "Then you will not mind if we make sure."
Rowena's breath caught in her throat. "Salazar!"
Salazar glanced at her. "Do you have a better solution?"
Rowena bit her lip. She didn't and Salazar knew it, but that didn't mean she had to like it. She could appreciate the technique's effectiveness, and certainly understood its necessity, but she could never fully approve of the invasion of privacy.
Harry's gaze flickered between them. "A better solution to what?" he demanded. "What's going on?"
Godric sighed. "I apologise, but Salazar is right. We cannot afford to take the risk."
Harry stood his ground. "What are you going to do?" Rowena noted that Ron and Hermione moved automatically to stand at his side, and couldn't help but wonder what could have formed such a close connection. Godric nodded approvingly at the show of support, but he wasn't distracted.
"If you are willing, we would use Legilimency to examine your memories."
The reaction was immediate and decidedly negative.
"You're not looking at any of our memories," said Harry firmly. "They're private."
Godric frowned. "We merely wish to ascertain if you are telling the truth regarding your identities and situation. We will not disclose the information to anybody else."
"And if we refuse?" asked Hermione.
Salazar's expression hardened. "Then we must assume that you wish us harm."
"But we don't," Ron protested. "And even if we did, we're no threat to you."
"But we cannot know that," said Godric. "You have already done what should not have been possible in entering Hogwarts without our permission. Considering that, we have to act with caution."
Harry glared at them. "I don't care what you say; you are not going poking round in our heads." There was no doubt that he was in earnest. Ron and Hermione's expressions were equally determined.
"There is another reason," said Helga quietly. "If we do not know who you are and where you came from, we will not be able to send you back."
Rowena suppressed a smile as the visitors exchanged dismayed looks. It was very easy to underestimate Helga.
"I agree," she said. "You have told us your names and your time of origin, but unless we know exactly what is going on, there is very little we will be able to do to help."
"But you don't need to see our memories for that," Hermione argued. "We could just as easily tell you what you need to know."
"Maybe," Helga agreed. "But the details you may consider irrelevant may well be the ones that are most important." Her voice softened. "We will not look at anything you consider personal and we will not try to reach your private thoughts. A selection of memories is all we would need." She paused. "I regret that this is necessary, but we cannot risk our endangering our students."
Hermione bit her lip. "You say you would only have to look at a few memories?"
"That would be enough," Helga assured her. "I promise you, your thoughts and feelings will be safe."
Hermione nodded, but Harry and Ron looked less convinced and Rowena could hardly blame them. They had little choice in the matter, but they certainly didn't have to like it.
"If we do agree, who would do the spell?" asked Ron after a moment.
Godric nodded at Salazar. "Salazar is the best Legilimens of us. He will be able to obtain the information we need without causing you any discomfort."
Harry's eyes blazed. "Absolutely not!"
Godric blinked. "Master Potter-"
"No. There is no way I am letting Salazar Slytherin in my head."
Helga frowned at him. "My dear, Salazar is one of the best Legilimens in the country. He is not going to harm you."
Salazar's eyes darkened at the disbelief on their faces. "I think you may be labouring under some misconceptions."
Ron stared at him. "What misconceptions? Nobody in their right mind would trust you after what you did."
Salazar's eyes widened at the hatred in his face, but Godric's answering glare was equally grim. "I trust Salazar with my life," he growled. "And unless you wish to take this up in private, you will refrain from insulting those who are closer than family to me."
Ron squirmed under his furious gaze and glanced at Helga, but if he was hoping for support he was to be disappointed. The witch had moved to stand at Salazar's side, and her usually warm blue eyes were flinty.
For her part, Rowena was filled with confusion. Salazar might not be the easiest person to get along with, but he had proved himself a true and valued friend long ago. All three of them trusted him implicitly, but it seemed their guests took a rather different view. Rowena had seen their suspicion, hostility even, from their first introduction, but she was at a loss to understand it.
"I believe you must be mistaken," she said, unconsciously adopting the tone she used to scold unruly first years. "Please explain why Salazar would not have our complete trust."
Harry stared at her. "Well, he hates Muggle-borns!"
"No, I do not," Salazar snapped. "I have no reason to like Muggles, but I certainly bear their magical offspring no ill will."
Harry blinked. "You don't?"
"Certainly not." His eyes narrowed. "And I would very much like to know the source of such slander."
Ron seemed to recover the power of speech at that. "But what about the Chamber of Secrets?"
Rowena frowned. "Chamber of Secrets?"
Harry's eyes gleamed. "So he never told you that he built a secret chamber under the school and a stuck a basilisk in there?"
Godric spread his hands. "Of course he did."
Harry froze. "He-what-?"
"He could hardly have kept it a secret," Rowena pointed out. "Our magic is tied to this castle; it would be impossible to hide something of that scale from us. We actually helped with the construction. But I fail to see what Issa has to do with any of this."
"My basilisk," said Salazar impatiently. "Though I suppose I should say our basilisk considering the time Helga spent with her."
Hermione stared at him. "Wait a minute. Are you saying it wasn't supposed to kill Muggle-borns?"
Rowena felt the shock like a punch in the gut. That had never been her purpose. Issa might have been Salazar's delight, but all of them had grown fond of her over the years. The thought of anyone using her to kill was enough to make her ill. She could only imagine how Salazar must be feeling.
Sure enough, Salazar's face was ashen. "What are you saying? She is there to protect vulnerable students, not murder them!"
Helga laid a hand on his arm, but her own face was pale as she turned to the children. "Please explain yourselves."
Hermione swallowed. "The history books say that Slytherin didn't think Muggle-borns were worthy of magic and so shouldn't be allowed to study at Hogwarts."
"That is absurd!" Godric exclaimed. "Salazar has never expressed such sentiments; indeed, he was most insistent that students of all backgrounds be included."
"Let her finish Godric," said Rowena sharply. "Please continue."
Hermione hesitated a moment, but did as she asked. "Well, it's said that he built a secret room and put a monster in there that only he could control. His heirs were supposed to use it to purge the school of all who were unworthy to study magic."
Salazar shook with the effort of controlling himself. "That is a lie. I have never been against the inclusion of Muggle-borns, and I certainly have never plotted to massacre them."
Harry still looked doubtful. "Then why is it here? Why keep something that dangerous in a school full of children?"
"To protect it! She was intended to be a final layer of defence against attack." His silver eyes burned into Harry's green ones. "Every student in this castle, Muggle-born, half-blood and pure-blood is under my protection. I would die before harming any of them."
"I can attest to that," said Godric. His face was very troubled. "We all agreed to house the basilisk here, to protect our students if we could not. I do not understand how history could have portrayed us so inaccurately."
"It has been a thousand years," said Hermione slowly. "Records could have been lost or corrupted. But there had to be some basis for what we've been taught."
Ron's eyes narrowed suddenly. "Hang on; you said earlier that you don't like Muggles. If that's true, how can you say you don't hate their children too?"
Helga frowned at him. "Do you not know of the current relations between Muggles and wizards?" Hermione's eyes widened, but Harry frowned.
"A bit, but I don't see why you have to hate them so much."
Rowena stared at him. Whatever he had heard had clearly not conveyed the severity of the situation. She pointedly avoided looking at Salazar; she knew the extra attention would not be appreciated. Helga just sighed.
Godric touched her shoulder. "Allow me."
Helga shot him a grateful smile and moved to stand next to Salazar again. Rowena understood; the ensuing memories were not going to be pleasant. Godric gave a sad smile before turning back to the trio.
"Maybe where you come from thing are different, but here magic is not seen as a gift but a curse. Many young witches and wizards are persecuted when they first start exhibiting unusual abilities, even when they do no harm. They are insulted, attacked, even driven away by those who fear what they can do." His voice fell. "They do not always survive the experience."
Rowena reached over and took Helga's hand. Her friend gripped it tightly and Rowena knew she was remembering her own experience with a Muggle mob. Thanks to Salazar, she had escaped unscathed, but she would never be able to forget it. Rowena glanced at Salazar. His face was completely blank, but the set of his shoulders betrayed his tension. He had not been as fortunate as Helga. Godric's eyes flickered to hers and she clearly saw his regret at the pain his words were causing, but they had no choice. Their visitors had to understand the world they were now a part of.
Sure enough, Harry, Ron and Hermione could only stare at Godric in horror as he continued to describe the plight of Muggle-borns in their time. Things had improved since Hogwarts had opened; Godric and Salazar spent much of their free time searching for endangered mages and bringing them to the castle for training, but even they could not save everyone. Too many were killed or permanently crippled by the hatred they faced.
There was silence for several minutes while the travellers assimilated the information. Eventually Harry raised his head, and Rowena was pleased to see more than suspicion in his eyes as he looked at Salazar.
"We've all been taught that you hated Muggles and Muggle-borns," he said slowly. "Many Slytherins and pure-bloods in our time still believe that."
Salazar shook his head. "I will not pretend to like Muggles. They fear what they do not understand and they hate that which they fear." A shadow crossed his face. "And they have given me good reason to hate them in return." He shook himself, but his eyes remained hard. "I know what they are capable of and I would never expose a child to such danger. Here they can live and learn in safety."
Godric nodded. "We have disagreed many times in the past, but never about that."
"Everyone has the right to live their lives free of persecution," said Rowena quietly.
"Precisely," said Salazar. He ran a hand through his long hair and let out a deep, shuddering breath. "What has happened? Why do they now believe these things of me?"
Helga reached over and took his hand. "We will find a way to make the truth known," she promised. "We know that you are not a monster."
Salazar's tormented gaze met hers. "It seems you will be the only ones." He straightened up, anguish disappearing behind his shields with the ease of long practise before he turned to face Harry, Ron and Hermione. "I do not know what history has told you, but I do not hate Muggle-borns. I fear for them, that their loved ones will not be able to accept their studies, but I have never advocated denying them entrance to Hogwarts. Nor shall I in the future. It would do more harm than good."
Hermione nodded slowly, her brown eyes thoughtful. "Would you mind if we had a moment? We need to talk about this." Godric nodded and the three of them stepped aside and started whispering. Salazar watched them, his face expressionless, but Rowena knew him well enough not to be fooled. Neither were the others. Those words had hurt more than he would ever show. With a sigh, she returned her attention to the children.
Rowena had to fight to restrain her impatience as she watched the three of them whisper to each other. She noted that Ron and Hermione seemed to defer to Harry, and she kept her eyes on the black haired boy. A few minutes later they seemed to reach an agreement, and Rowena felt her stomach tighten. Had they been able to accept the truth, or had their belief in their history books prove the stronger? She saw Godric tense as they moved back. He might sympathise with their plight, but he did not take kindly to those who could not accept those he considered friends.
After a moment though, she let out a sigh of relief. There was no anger in Harry's emerald eyes, and while he still looked wary, he seemed more embarrassed as he looked at Salazar.
"We've decided we believe you," he mumbled. "And we're sorry for what we said earlier. We thought, well..."
Salazar raised his hand, cutting off his nervous apologies. "It is of no consequence." A ghost of a smile touched his lips as he took in Ron's flaming red ears and Hermione's anxious expression. "If what you told us is correct, I cannot blame you."
Harry's shoulders slumped and he gave a weak smile. "Thanks."
Helga smiled at them, her good-humour immediately restored. "It took a great deal of courage to admit that," she said softly. "Thank you."
Godric nodded approvingly. "It was well done," he agreed. "Have we managed to assuage all your fears?"
"I guess so," said Ron. His expression turned apprehensive. "Does this mean we still have to have our memories searched?"
Rowena glanced at the others, but she knew what the answer would be. The trio certainly sounded convincing, but this could still be an elaborate trap. They knew people who were all too capable of it.
"I am afraid so," said Godric apologetically. "It will not take long; verification is all we need."
The trio exchanged resigned looks.
"It doesn't look like we have any choice," Harry sighed.
Salazar shook his head. "It is necessary." His eyes betrayed his sympathy, but his resolve was implacable. Rowena sighed. She disliked Legilimency, but there was no denying that it was the fastest and most accurate method available to them. They would not be tricked again.
Hermione nodded reluctantly. "All right then."
Salazar studied her. "Do you object to me performing the test?"
The witch hesitated only a moment before shaking her head. Salazar nodded.
"Very well. I know you have been trained to resist mental attack, but I would appreciate it if you tried to relax."
Hermione blinked. "But I've never had Occlumency training."
"What?" Godric exclaimed. "You are Hogwarts students, are you not?"
"Yes, fifth years, but we've never been taught Occlumency."
"We'd never even heard of it until this year," Ron added.
Godric and Salazar exchanged grim looks. Rowena was no less perturbed. They all knew the dangers of leaving their minds completely unprotected, and Occlumency had been a compulsory field of study since the beginning. This news was troubling. What else had changed?
Harry's eyes widened. "So you teach Occlumency to everyone?"
"Of course," said Helga. "It would hardly be fair for only a small proportion of students to benefit."
For some reason, Harry's cheeks tinged pink. "I guess not."
Salazar shook his head. "So none of you have any experience with Occlumency?" He did not look pleased, and Rowena didn't blame him in the slightest.
Harry grimaced. "I had lessons for a while, but they were a bit of a disaster."
"You didn't try," Hermione muttered.
"Come one Hermione, the teacher was a git," Ron pointed out.
Harry's blush deepened. "Can we talk about it later?"
Salazar nodded and turned back to Hermione. "Try to relax," he said gently. "This will not hurt." His sharp gaze found hers.
Hermione's body stiffened as Salazar entered her mind. Ron started and tried to move forwards, but Godric shook his head.
"She's fine, lad. Salazar knows what he is doing."
Ron didn't look convinced, but he stopped moving. His eyes didn't move from Hermione's still form. Harry was equally tense.
A moment later, Hermione let out a long shuddering breath as Salazar broke the connection. Ron quickly went to her, but Salazar held up a hand.
"A troll?" His eyes were slightly wild. Ron froze, his expression torn between confusion and concern, but Harry winced.
"You saw that?"
"I did, and I would very much like an explanation."
"If it involves a troll, I think I do too," said Godric grimly.
Harry glanced at the others and sighed. "Why don't we wait until you've checked me and Ron," he suggested. "There'll be more to explain than the troll."
Rowena felt a surge of foreboding. That did not sound promising.
Salazar's eyes darkened. "I see." He turned to Ron. "Master Weasley?"
This time the examination took longer, and Salazar was ashen when he emerged from the memories.
"Salazar," Helga began, but Salazar shook his head.
"I am fine," he assured her. "Though how these three are is beyond me."
Harry glanced at Ron. "Aragog?"
Ron shuddered. "And Sirius at Hallowe'en."
Rowena opened her mouth, but Harry shook his head. "It's going to get worse."
Salazar stared at him. "Worse?"
Harry sighed and squared his shoulders. "I'll show you."
Salazar chose not to waste time with further questions, He stepped forwards and his gaze locked with Harry's. Rowena felt the feeling of foreboding intensify, and the troubled look that passed between Ron and Hermione did nothing to assuage her fears.
After a moment, it became clear that something was very wrong. Harry's face twisted into a scowl and both wizards began to tremble. Ron swallowed.
"Is that supposed to happen?"
Godric shook his head, his attention fixed on Salazar. "It would take some truly traumatic memories to affect them like that."
Ron grimaced. "That explains it then. Harry's pretty much the authority on traumatic."
Godric stared at him, but before he could comment, Salazar let out a strangled hiss and staggered back and Godric had to catch his arm to steady him.
Salazar didn't even seem to hear him. He stood staring at the young wizard in front of him, his face a mask of horror. Harry met his gaze, his green eyes glittering in his bloodless face. Godric glanced helplessly at Helga, but Salazar spoke then, his voice hoarse with shock.
"What in the name of God has happened to our world?"
So there's the first chapter. I'm back at university now, so I'm not sure how often I'll be able to update, but I will try to keep posting regularly. The chapters will all be around this length or longer though, so it is going to take a while. Please bear with me, and I will see what I can do. In the meantime, please let me know what you thought.
Edit 06/03/13: A few people have complained about the language issues. Yes, I know that they all spoke very different languages back then. If you keep reading, it's all explained in the next chapter. Thanks.
Edit 31/12/13: Chapter tidied upa bit. Also, I know Slytherin's attitude is a little odd, but it will be explained later on too.