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Title: Between Here and Now and Forever, Chapter 1
Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters: The Founders, various OCs
Rating: PG
Summary: Rowena, Helga, and her husband, having decided to start a school of magic, set out to find a Transfiguration professor. 3925 words.

Author's Note: This fic has gone through many, many ridiculous revisions, probably not all of which were necessary. But they made me feel better. After Deathly Hallows, I revised it one more time, and resolve to continue on without making any major changes. Many thanks to my beta, thinkatory, who puts up with my whining and pokes holes in my theories.

A master list of all Founders fic is here.

Oh, and there are slight spoilers for Deathly Hallows.

"Are you quite certain this is the right way?" asked Helga, looking at her husband nervously. The forest was very thick around here, the road was muddy, and the village was -- well, non-existent. Rowena resolved to bring her broom next time.

Basil Hufflepuff squinted at his map, the tip of his tongue sticking out between his teeth. "Nearly," he said, though he wasn't very convincing.

"Nearly quite certain?" asked Helga.

"Nearly quite certain," agreed Basil.

"I say we should go back to that little hermitage and ask for directions," said Helga.

"What?" asked Basil. "When we could be enjoying the wilderness?" He raised his arms to indicate the dark green foliage surrounding them.

"In case you haven't noticed, we are not just in the middle of nowhere," said Rowena. "We are in the epicenter of nowhere. This place practically radiates nothingness. Let me see the map." Rowena had been Helga's best friend since they were both six, and even then she had always been certain that she knew the best way to do anything.

"I can read, milady," said Basil.

"I know," snapped Rowena. Her dark eyebrows came together. "And don't call me 'milady.'"

Basil shot Helga a mischievous glance. "Yes, milady," he said, performing a peculiar half-bow.

Rowena groaned. "Helga," she sighed, "please tell him to stop calling me 'milady.' It's aggravating enough when Helena does it." Helena was Rowena's daughter. She had been left at Rowena's castle while the three adults searched for a suitable Transfiguration professor.

"Basil," scolded Helga, "you know perfectly well that you should address Rowena as 'Your Highness' at all ti--"

"Not you too!" said Rowena. Finding herself without allies, Rowena simply grabbed the map from Basil's hand and read it herself. She squinted, as she was rather nearsighted, and finally decided that Basil had been right. "Well, come on," she said, motioning for Helga and Basil to follow her.

Helga and Rowena were hoping to start some sort of school for magic, with Basil's rather hesitant participation. Helga's idea had been to teach children the basics of the most important sorts of magic. Helga's mother had tutored Rowena when she was small, as well as several other fortunate children, but it was hardly uncommon for the child of two gifted magicians to get no tutoring at all in the area they were most talented in, simply because there were no Transfigurators or magical theoreticians for miles, or Herbology was looked upon as suitable only for the very lowest classes, or their parents were just too poor to afford proper dueling lessons. This, they had decided, was a problem that needed solving.

Helga had no qualms about teaching something suitable only for the very lowest classes -- she had made quite a lot of money, designing botanical security systems for paranoid nobles, and she was extremely good at what she did. Rowena, meanwhile, had never actually had to work for herself, but her skill had always been in magical theory -- charms were what she found most interesting. And though Helga would never have told him so, it was for her husband's sake that they had really decided to go through with the idea, because Basil had been a top duelist until he'd been bitten on a werewolf hunt and barred from competition.

They would find their Potions professor later; experts in potions were not particularly difficult to come by, in fact, and it was more a matter of finding one whose knowledge was fairly well rounded, rather than one who specialized in poisons or healing potions or cooking.

So today the three had set off in search of a Transfigurator to employ. Transfigurators were rather rare beasts, as it took a great deal of training and knowledge to do anything of practical use. Their first object had been Thaddeus Fudge, possibly the most well known Transfigurator in all of Britain. However, on the long journey, Rowena had had a lot of time to think about the great man.

For one thing, she'd seen him. Only once, very briefly, and across a long feast table, it was true. But she had caught a glimpse of his aura through her aura-lens. It was very weak, she'd noticed, and greyish. Someone as powerful as Fudge would have to have had a bright aura, indicating a strong gift in magic.

Nevertheless, someone was transfiguring all those things. She reasoned that it whoever it was had to be rather weak-willed, considering how they had let the opportunity to become rich slip past them -- but that made no sense, because skill in transfigurations tended to mean stubbornness and inflexibility. The person was definitely a more powerful wizard or witch than Fudge had ever been, so perhaps they were famous in their own right? Unfortunately, the village he lived in was a singularly unremarkable place that had produced no one of any importance besides Fudge. Rowena had even wondered if the true Transfigurator was a charitable noble who'd taken pity on Fudge, but the only nearby nobles were very thoroughly Muggle, as was most of the surrounding area.

And then Rowena had looked at the name of the village. Gryffindor's Hollow. And she had remembered someone who fit the description perfectly -- a weak-willed but occasionally rather stubborn wizard with such strong talent that Helga's mother had agreed to tutor him, if only for a few years. He'd been born to Muggles and had lived in a village called Gryffindor, and his name had been Godric. As with many villages, a small magical counterpart, Gryffindor's Hollow, had sprung up to the side, hidden from Muggles with enchantments and lots of nice solid trees and hills and things. A Confounder was usually stationed in the Muggle area, instructed to offer minor aid to the Muggles, to watch their children for signs of magic, and to keep everybody complacent.

Of course, the last time she'd seen Godric he'd been rather young to charge money for his magic, and she hadn't really given him much thought over the years -- there'd been that disturbance with the goblins, and she'd been married for several years and had Helena, and they certainly had never been friends. Far from it. But he'd been good at transfigurations and surprisingly clever at Latin, and easy to bully, so she'd been rather fond of him in a way.

After that, there was the problem of finding a place for the school. The castle Rowena and her daughter were living in now didn't actually belong to Rowena at all. It had at one point belonged to Rowena's husband Lord Ravenclaw, but he had mysteriously taken ill several years previously and died. His will dictated that, until such time as either Rowena or her daughter were married, most of his money and property would go toward the care and feeding of his hunting dogs, with only a small portion to support the two women. The rest went towards a monastery. Rowena reflected rather bitterly that he would have felt differently if Helena'd been a boy, but those had been the terms of the will, and at least they were permitted to live in the castle, if not to set up a school of magic within it.

But now was not the time to worry about inheritances. By this time they had reached the tiny cluster of houses that dared call itself a village. Evidently, Rowena's earlier statement had been quite wrong -- this was the epicenter of nowhere. Except for an inn with a picture of a green crow hanging over the entrance, and a rather large house that bore the man-changing-into-a-toad sign of a Transfigurator, there was really nothing of interest.

"All right," said Rowena, "Fudge has to know where he is, let's go break his door down and threaten him."

"Why don't we just go to the inn?" Helga said. "Everyone in the village is probably there regularly, so they'd know where Godric is and when he'll be stopping by."

"...are you certain that this Godric fellow is about to just drop everything and come along with us?" Basil asked, uncertainly. "Perhaps he's quite happy here. Perhaps he's a vampire or something," he continued, "that'd explain why he'd bother with Fudge at all. If I had a twin who'd pretend to be me during the full moon..."

"Don't be silly," said Helga, "Godric wouldn't get bitten by a vampire, he was always very good at running quickly in the other direction." Unlike Basil, Rowena thought, but she knew not to bring that up.

"Yes, he'd probably be terrified at the very idea," said Rowena. "...Helga, did the Runt even know about vampires? He was Muggleborn." Godric had always been rather short, and so he'd been subjected to a whole host of amusing and clever nicknames. Well, clever if you happened to be twelve.

"You know, I don't know," said Helga, frowning, "but the Muggles have all sorts of stories about magic, and they do tend to focus on the worst of it, so it's possible."

"Yes, but we're going to need a backup Transfigurator, is all," said Basil, who didn't seem to have realized who was in charge just yet. "We should have a backup Transfigurator."

"I don't see why," said Rowena. "If he really is happy here, we can just make him unhappy," she said sensibly. "Until he comes with us." It had always worked in the past.

"Yes, but what if he doesn't?"

"Basil, do shut up, dear, you're just holding us up," said Helga, not unkindly. "I've no doubt we can make him very unhappy if we need to. Come on, let's find Runty." She led the three into the inn.

The noise was the first thing Rowena noticed on entering the inn. Apparently the entire male population of the village was in here, discussing various terribly important -- and loud -- subjects. Then the sour smell of bad ale assaulted her nose. A fight had broken out in the back of the room, and a man who looked about twice as tall as anyone else was attempting to break it up, pleading, "Would you both please sit down and shut up! This is the third time I've had to keep you from breaking his nose!" It looked like a truly dismal place.

"Excuse me," began Basil, speaking to the innkeeper, who was apparently slightly deaf. Small wonder why, Rowena thought. "Er, excuse me?" he tried again, louder.

"Who're you?" asked the innkeeper.

Basil tried to dodge the issue of his name, as anybody who followed dueling would know what he was. "We've just come here fr--" But the innkeeper didn't wait for an answer. He tossed a silver sickle at Basil, who promptly recoiled.

"Well go on, then," sneered the innkeeper. "Pick it up!"

Basil continued to avoid it. "Helga, would you please --"

"You're a vampire," growled the innkeeper. Helga winced.

"Now look here!" snarled Basil. "I'm a werewolf, not a vampire -- yes, there's a rather significant difference between the two, thanks very much -- and it's not as if either would want to bite you, because you look like you're already rotting. If you want your bloody Sickle you can pick it up yourself."

"Do something!" Helga whispered to Rowena.

"You do something!" Rowena hissed back. "You married him!"

"Excuse me?" It was the huge man who'd broken up the fight in the back of the inn. He was staring down at Basil and the innkeeper. "Is there a problem?" Rowena couldn't see his face, but he sounded rather annoyed. It seemed to be his job to break up fights.

Helga poked Rowena in the ribs. "Rowena! Use your Infinitely Superior Noblewoman Voice!" she hissed.

"I was just getting to that," said Rowena. She cleared her throat, brought out her wand, and said, in the most commanding tone she could muster, "Excuse me! Do you know who you are dealing with?" All right, so far so good. "I am Lady Rowena Ravenclaw, daughter of Lady Ophelia Aeaeae, and I should hope you'd know that name. He's in our group. Leave him alone."

The man turned to face her before she could start shouting at the innkeeper, and Rowena saw his face. It was familiar, but it took her a few moments to work out why. Rowena thought it needed to be muddy to have the right effect. "Rowena?" he asked. He blinked. "And Helga?"

"Godric!" Rowena exclaimed. "There you are! We were looking for you! ...what happened to you?" Not only was he much taller than everyone else, but he looked so worn out, as though he hadn't slept for days. This was not the Godric she'd expected. He just looked so tired and defeated -- not to mention half-starved -- that no wonder he'd rely on a nothing like Fudge.

"It's a long story," he said, wincing. "I thought you'd married a Muggle, not a werewolf," he said, blinking.

"Oh, Basil is Helga's," said Rowena, "mine's dead."

"...Oh. Er. I'm sorry," he said.

She shrugged. "Don't be. He was only a Muggle."

"But what are you doing here?" he asked. "Sorry about that," he told Basil, "Andrew always gets werewolves and vampires mixed up." Basil was still gaping at Godric with a deer-in-the-wandlight sort of look, and seemed not to have heard him.

"Not like there's much difference," Andrew muttered to himself.

"It's not the full moon, and anyway, vampires never pay when they leave, or eat or drink anything except the fellow guests," said Godric. "Werewolves are a much sounder investment, on the whole." He bent down and picked up the silver sickle, and dropped it onto the counter. Basil was still staring at him, halfway between shock, relief, and horror. "Is something wrong?" asked Godric, this time sounding concerned and rather worried. "You're not hurt, are you?"

Basil's expression broke as he was startled back into the real world. "Er -- what? I -- no --"

"This is my husband Basil," said Helga quickly. "He means well, really, he's just a bit -- Basil, stop gawping!"

Godric rolled his eyes. "It's all right, I'm used to it."

Rowena said, "Look, can we talk? And not in here, it's too noisy."

He nodded silently. Rowena studied his face for clues as to why he was in... well, whatever situation he was in. All she could tell was that he looked quite unhappy and terribly tired. He turned and led them up a flight of stairs to a doorway that she thought must be his room.

* * *


Godric usually brushed off gawpers and curious patrons with a glower, but he really wanted to know what could possibly bring Helga and Rowena to this horrible little village. If they'd wanted something transfigured by old Fudge, they'd be better off owling it to him. Or, for that matter, owling it to me. But they seemed to be looking for me. I can't imagine what they'd want with me.

After stomping up a flight of stairs, Godric turned to face his room's door. He put his hand in his pocket for the key, already knowing he'd left it in the room. "That's the second time this week," he muttered, and motioned for Rowena, Helga, and -- Basil, was it? -- to step back. Sighing, he pushed the door down, then looked tiredly back at the three. They were all staring openmouthed. He sighed. "Locked myself out," he explained. "Happens all the time," he added, trying to shrug it off. It was his routine remedy for others' astonishment.

Rowena recovered first. "Don't you have a wand?" she asked.

"Too expensive," he said.

She looked a bit disappointed. "Why don't any of your sentences have subjects?" she asked, changing the topic.

"What?" asked Godric, blinking.

"You said, and I quote, 'Locked myself out,' 'Happens all the time,' and 'Too expensive.' You should've said, 'I locked myself out,' 'This happens all the time,' and 'Wands are too expensive.' The last one was missing a verb as well," she added.

"Right," said Godric, deciding then and there to leave out as many words from his sentences as possible. It would irritate her, he knew, especially after she'd corrected him. Irritating Rowena was always fun, and he hadn't had the chance to do it for at least ten years. He smirked to himself as he put the door back in the frame and fixed it with his limited wandless magical ability.

Godric didn't have any furniture, as he spent all his money on necessities -- food and books, mainly -- but even so, the room was very small, especially with him in it. Helga, in trying to make room, stumbled into a tall stack of books on the floor. "I'll get them," she said, starting to stack them again.

Rowena, ever the assistant of Murphy's Law, spotted one particular book and picked it up. "Now this one I don't recognize as a standard transfigurator's manual," she said. Grinning, she added, "I was right, though. Fudge isn't really Fudge!"

"...what?" asked Godric.

"Thaddeus Fudge," said Rowena. "You're transfiguring things for him, aren't you?"

"Er... no," he said. Two syllables, he thought. Does 'er' really count?

"If that's true," said Rowena, "then why do you have a copy of the Voluma Animaguum? And it's more expensive than a wand, too. Or at least, mine was. Did you steal it? No, you wouldn't be able to. You'd have trouble sneaking away, I bet," she said looking up at him.

"I --" started Godric. This would be tough to explain in monosyllables. "All right," he said, "I give up. I have been transfiguring things for Fudge, but it's not anything illegal. Right?" he added, as he wasn't quite sure himself.

"I knew it!" shrieked Rowena. She looked quite happily mad. "Oh, yes, I knew it! I knew you wouldn't fail us, Runt!" she said.

"...I think I've missed something important here," said Godric, still a bit worried, and quite concerned about his book.

"Godric," she said, "how would you like a job?" And at this sentence, a tiny bit of the fear turned into hope.

"You mean it?" he said. "A real job? I -- I mean -- it's not anything stupid, is it?"

"Yes, Godric, we've tracked you down through Fudge's Transfiguration to ask you to collect some rubbish for us," said Helga, rolling her eyes. "Don't be ridiculous. We're starting a school. I'm doing Herbology and Rowena wants to teach charms and reading and languages, and Basil's tackling dueling and defensive magic. And we want you to teach transfiguration. If you're really Fudge, you're the best there is anywhere."

"Oh." It was a very small 'oh.' He blinked. "...but I can't teach," he said.

"Oh come on," said Helga. "Have you ever tried?"

"No," said Godric, "but I'll scare all the children away," he said. "I mean, look at me." No one would take him for anything but some sort of dimwitted troll-creature like this, after all.

"No, you will not," said Rowena sternly. "However," she said, "you will turn that Voluma Animaguum over to me."

Godric was startled out of his cringing. "What?" he said in horror. "No!" he said. Rowena, however, had taken the book. "That -- that's mine!" he said. "I bought it myself. Give it back!"

"No," she said. "This is a very dangerous --"

"And how would you know?" said Godric. It was a dangerous thing to attempt becoming an Animagus, but he didn't have much to lose. "You said yourself you were going to teach Charms. You came to me for Transfiguration."

She was insulted. "I never said I didn't know anything about Transfiguration," said Rowena.

"You're trying to work it out too, aren't you?" It wasn't fair; he'd worked for ages to be able to go to all the way to Dunn's Torre and see the supposed copy that was there, and when it'd turned out to be real and not a hoax, he was so pleased he could barely bring himself to go back home and work for the money to buy it. And she'd probably just wandered over to the bookseller's and asked for it, and had it imported from God-knew-where, and not thought twice! And she was smarter than him, too, so of course she'd get it worked out before he could.

"And what if I am?" she asked, raising an eyebrow. "What's wrong with that? Are you afraid I'm going to steal your little victory, Runt? Oh, of course you are -- as if you'd be able to work it out before I did." She snorted.

"You give that back," said Godric, "it's mine."

"I'd really rather not," said Rowena. "I wouldn't want our Transfiguration professor to inadvertently turn himself into a baboon. Unless you'd rather not have the job? Well, I should probably take the book anyway. For your own safety, you know." She turned to leave.

"Stop," said Godric from behind her. She didn't stop. He was expecting that, actually, and he picked her up and turned her around so she was facing him.

"I thought you couldn't teach," she said, glowering at him and clinging to the book.

"I can't," he said. "But if you give me the book, I'll do it." He couldn't lose the progress he'd made. "Anyway, who else are you going to be able to bully into a job?"

"I told you we should have had a backup," Basil said.

"Fine," she said. "I'll give you your book back. But you're just going to be terribly disappointed when I manage to become an Animagus before you."

"I don't think I'll be too disappointed. Especially since I'm going to win." This was a complete lie, but it made him feel better.

"Fine, fine, whatever you say." She held out the book and rolling her eyes. "Now put me down!"

He took the book and put her down. "I'm sorry about that," he told Helga and Basil as Rowena recovered from her brief humiliation. "I should be more careful about where I leave things." He glanced pointedly at Rowena, who ignored him.

"We're leaving tomorrow at dawn," said Helga, still uncertain of what was going on.

"And if you aren't there," said Rowena, "we'll leave without you."

"Fine." He shooed them out. "Goodnight," he said. "It's been good to see you again, Helga, and I'm glad to meet -- Basil?"

Basil nodded. Helga smiled, just as uncertainly. If looks could kill, however, Rowena would've been a murderess. Godric ignored this and put aside his anger for a few seconds. After he had repaired the door, he looked out the window at the cloudy skies above.

My God, he thought, I'm not going to starve to death! I have a job! He felt like dancing around the room, laughing. A real job! he thought in elation. He grabbed a quill, dipped it in black ink, and wrote on the inside cover of the book, This book belongs to Godric of Gryffindor, and if any book-stealing fiend should forget that, they'd do well to remember it quickly. He stabbed the page savagely to make a 'full stop' mark and underlined the word 'fiend' for effect.
Then, after making sure his new employers were safely out of earshot, he ran downstairs to tell old Andrew the innkeeper that he was quitting, jumping down the stairs about five at a time and whooping, "I'm leaving!"

He had no idea what he was in for.

Chapter 2

Notes:

"Voluma Animaguum": I know very little Latin. However, research suggests that this means "Scrolls of the Animagi" in Latin.

"...all the way to Dunn's Torre..." This refers to the town of Dunster. Please feel free to correct my awful geography if you know more than me.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
persephone_kore
Sep. 12th, 2007 07:22 pm (UTC)
Whee! For some strange reason I've been nervous that if you were so appalled by the previous versions, the revisions might lose the things I liked about them, but this looks like just as much fun as before.

I am so fond of Basil.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 12th, 2007 11:28 pm (UTC)
No, most of it was a.) characters who did things for no particularly good reason, and b.) horrible gaping historical issues.
kaesa
Sep. 12th, 2007 11:31 pm (UTC)
No, most of it was a.) characters who did things for no particularly good reason, and b.) horrible gaping historical issues which made it less fun to read about the middle ages, because I had done it all wrong. I worried that sometimes about the revisions too, but I figured as long as I wasn't revising it to make it something it wasn't (like Dark Gothy Emo Angst) , I was probably okay.

...also, I hate the school computers.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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