The two couples wandered through the village in silence. Harry and Ginny were amazed at what James had just said. Could it really be possible that Harry, who had no knowledge of his family, is related to Godric Gryffindor himself? Is that why he was able to get the sword all those years ago in the Chamber? He looked over at Ginny. She was keeping her gaze to the ground in front of her.
“Ginny?” He softly asked.
“Sorry Harry, I was just thinking.”
“You of course.” She smiled a warm smile. He was amazed that she could just smile at him and make him feel so much better.
“What about me?”
“It’s just that there is so much we don’t know about you. Maybe you should use this time with your parents to learn as much as you can. Maybe when we get back you should get Remus to tell you everything he knows.”
“I wish I could just have my parents tell me everything. But I could give so much away in my questions; we can’t change anything as much we would want to.”
“I know, Harry. I know.” She paused to look at him, and they stopped walking. “You know, Harry, all this mystery about you doesn’t change anything. I still love you. My family still considers you one of their own.”
What could he say to that? He took her hands and pulled her to him and just held on to her as if his life depended on it. He looked around and saw his parents up ahead with their backs to him, and he looked back down at Ginny’s face, her sparkling eyes and warm smile. He leaned in and kissed her soundly on the lips. She returned his kiss. All too soon they heard a cough followed by laughter and broke apart. They looked up blushing to see James and Lily laughing.
James walked toward Harry still laughing and put is arm around Harry in a fatherly manner, laughing the whole time. James led Harry on while Ginny and Lily followed behind.
“Now Harry, seeing as you’re 17 and have a beautiful girlfriend, I’m assuming that you’ve had . . . the talk.” James doubled over in laughter as soon as he got the whole sentence out.
“Actually, dad, I haven’t had that talk.” Harry said. Leaning towards his father and speaking softly, “My whole relationship with Ginny has been instinctual. Maybe you could give me that talk now seeing as how I’m 17 and have a beautiful girlfriend.” James paled and Harry laughed harder than he had in quite a while.
“Maybe just now isn’t the best time for this conversation.” Lily said sternly. “We have other things that we need to worry about right now.”
They made the rest of the journey toward where the Three Broomsticks should be, in silence. When they got there, Ginny whispered excitedly, “Too bad I won’t be able to tell Melissa about this.”
Where the pub should have been was a house that stood out from the others around it. All of the other houses in the village were simple wood framed houses. Some of them reminded Harry of the Burrow and how they seemed to defy gravity. The house before them was larger and made of stone. Despite this, it did not seem grandiose. They knew it was the right house when they saw the oak front door that was carved with a lion.
James started towards the house, but Lily stopped him. He looked at her questioning.
“What are you going to say?”
“I don’t know, but you know me, I always think of something.” James responded. Ginny laughed. Harry shushed her.
“We need a bit of a plan so we’ll all be able to keep our stories straight.” Lily advised.
“Any lie that’s based in the truth will be easiest to remember.” Ginny offered.
“Alright then what do you suggest?”
“Well,” Ginny said tentatively, “you two are almost identical. Unless you’re going to say that we’re out of time I suggest you pose as brothers, twins.”
“I don’t think we could pull it off.” Harry said.
“Look at Fred and George, they complete each other’s thoughts. We can’t do that.”
“No, we can’t, but we do look like twins. It’s really amazing. Let me do most of the talking, you’ll find places to speak that will make it believable.”
“What about Ginny and mum?” Harry said the last word in barely a whisper.
“We will just tell the truth. James and I are engaged and Ginny is your girlfriend. We will answer all of his questions honestly, or as truthfully as we can.”
“Alright Harry?” James asked.
Harry nodded his agreement. The four walked towards the door and James knocked. After a few minutes he knocked again. This time the door opened, and they were greeted by a house elf, who was dressed in a clean and pressed towel. He also didn’t have any bruises or bandages. Harry thought of Hermione and wondered if Gryffindor was a decent master or if the practice of abusing elves hadn’t started yet.
“Who comes to call at such a late hour?” the elf asked.
“James and Harry Potter to see Godric Gryffindor please.”
The elf granted them entry into the hall, closing the door behind them. The elf bowed and departed leaving the four of them in the dimly lit space. The walls were covered with portraits all of which were sleeping. A short way down was the portrait of a young man, just a few years older than they. When James and Harry looked at him they were surprised to see how much they looked like him. Before anyone could comment the elf returned.
“Mr. Gryffindor will see you in his study. Follow me”
They were led through long dark hallways. After a few minutes of walking, they were led into what would be better described as a library. The room was at least twice as large as the common room. In the center of the room was a large wooden table with several comfortable chairs surrounding it. Along the shorter wall nearest to the door was a large fireplace with a fire already roaring. There were couches and two chairs surrounding the fire that reminded them all of the common room. The rest of the room was floor to ceiling bookshelves, full of books. On the west wall were five large windows at least five feet high and two feet wide. They walked into the room and stood by the fireplace enjoying the warmth.
“Wow. Hermione would love this place.” Harry whispered.
“Those windows probably fill this whole room with light during the day.” Lily added.
“James and Harry Potter, how may I be of assistance to you?” All four teens jumped at the sound of the new voice. Godric Gryffindor stood in the doorway to the study, dressed in an ankle length nightshirt and dressing gown. He stood nearly six foot and had long strawberry blonde hair that was tied behind him, and his beard was closely trimmed. There was a look of strength to his hazel eyes. Despite the fact that he was standing before them in his dressing gown, they could tell he was definitely the strongest and bravest wizard of the age.
“Sir,” James started and Godric motioned for them to sit. They did as instructed. “Sir,” James continued, “I am James Potter, and this is my. . . brother Harry. My fiancée Lily Evans and Harry’s girlfriend Ginny Weasley.” Godric nodded politely at them. “We are in need of shelter and provisions. We apologize for the inconvenient hour, however, we were just able to find you, and we felt it was safer to come straight away.”
“Mr. Potter why have you come to me?” Everyone except James was suddenly very nervous. Harry didn’t believe this would work.
“We have come to you, sir, because we were told that you are building a school for magic. We came in hopes that in exchange for our assistance with the school that you would teach us advanced magic.”
“The school is a large undertakings and additional help is always welcome. As for advanced lessons we may see about that.” Godric smiled. “However, I do not understand why you came to me unannounced with no provisions.”
“Sir. We had sent you a letter requesting a meeting with you before we left home. We do not know why you did not receive it.” James paused.
“As for our provisions, sir,” Harry continued, “two days ago while we camped for the night robbers took our horses and all of our possessions except for our wands and one cloak.”
“We came to you,” James went on, “because you are our great great uncle. Your youngest sister, Zarah is our great great grandmother.” Godric smiled warmly.
“How is she? I have not seen her in too many years.”
“She is well. It is she who sent us on this journey. After the death of our parents she believed you would be the best person to for us to complete our education with.”
Harry dropped his eyes to his lap. His grandparents were dead. He felt a loss for people he never knew. Ginny startled him when she took his hand. He stole a quick glance toward her and she smiled softly. He looked to this other side and looked at his mother. She also smiled but her eyes were full of sorrow.
“Well, James and Harry,” Godric started. Both of them looked at him. “I would like to help, but you understand my doubts of course. Although I can see the family resemblance in you two boys, you claim to be the grandchildren of the sister that I have not seen in many years. I have the safety of my household to consider. I’m sorry, but...”
“Sir, please.” James begged. “When I proposed marriage to Lily my father gave me a ring. He told me that it links us as family. Please look at her ring.” He asked unable to keep the panic out of his voice. Godric nodded. James took Lily’s hand and they stood and walked towards him. Godric took Lily’s hand in his own and examined the ring in the firelight. With a faint smile on his lips Godric released her hand and nodded at James. James released his breath and relaxed his shoulders. Harry squeezed Ginny’s hand.
When they were seated again Godric asked, “Miss Evans’ why did you join these boys on their journey here?”
“James and Harry are the only family I have left. We agreed that it was safer to stay with them since I am muggle born.”
“I understand. And you Miss Weasley, are your parents also deceased?”
“No, sir.” Harry and Ginny felt very nervous, Ginny’s hands began to shake. Harry held them within his.
“And yet you are here?”
“Sir, if I may,” Harry started, “Ginny is a very talented witch and a strong willed woman. Her parents believed she could benefit from whatever you would be willing to teach us.” Harry paused to look at Ginny; they locked eyes before he continued. “Additionally, I made a promise of marriage to her father before we left.” Harry heard Ginny gasp and hoped no one else did.
Godric stood and paced about the room as he considered this information. He wondered what he could teach them. He was truthful earlier when he said that the school they were planning was a huge undertaking, just to build it. They were planning an entire castle. The assistance would definitely be welcomed. The more people involved the faster it could be built - perhaps they could teach younger students. He paused his walking to look at the four teenagers before him. The two boys looked so different for twins. James seemed a bit more carefree, yet when James looked at Lily, Godric saw strength and determination in his eyes. Harry on the other hand looked much older than his brother. It seemed as if the poor boy had seen more grief in his lifetime. This saddened him. They both seemed to draw strength from the girls. He knew in this own life this was an asset; his own wife was his strength in time of need, though he would never admit it. They did have the family ring. He couldn’t explain why, but he felt obligated to help them. It was so much more then the fact that they were family. He reminded himself to would worry about it when he wasn’t so tired.
The four teenagers remained on the couches wrapped in their own thoughts; all concerned what would happen to them if he said no. Harry was deep in thought. They needed a backup plan; there was always that cave where he had met Sirius in his fourth year. If necessary, he would take them there tonight, and they could create a plan once they’ve gotten some sleep. What they really needed was a way home. How would they manage that without Gryffindor’s help? How would they manage it even with his help? Harry shook his head and made himself focus on one thing at a time. He looked a Ginny she was still shaking. He rubbed her hands and they both felt a bit braver.
James and Lily had locked eyes. James ran his fingers over the ring on her left hand. He promised her father before he died that he would protect her. Done a fine job of it too, he thought sarcastically. Here they are a thousand years in the past. He’d get them home whatever it takes; he makes that promise to her by looking deeply into her eyes. He’ll get her home.
After several minutes, Godric stopped pacing and turned to face them. “Misters Potter, Miss Evans and Miss Weasley, you are welcome to stay here. Your offer of assistance is accepted. We will worry about the details in the morning after we’ve all had a good night’s sleep.”
“Thank you, sir.” James and Harry spoke in unison. They grinned at each other.
“Wait here and you will be shown to your rooms.” With that Godric Gryffindor swept from the room.
A/N: The disclaimer from the prologue still applies. My continued thanks to Cliodne for her awesome beta work and to all my readers and reviewers.