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A Great Distance

Chapter 6

Abruptly the room around them stopped spinning. Taken unaware Hermione stumbled forward, crashing into the desk in the centre of the room and grabbing Salazar's hand to prevent herself from falling. "Merlin!" Salazar said, clutching her arm tight. The long chain around their necks was stretched tight and Hermione gasped for breath, taking a step back to ease the pressure on her neck before pulling the chain over their heads and tucking the Time Turner back into her pocket.

They looked around, they were inside Headmistress McGonagall's office, the office furnished in much the same way it had been when Dumbledore was headmaster – minus Fawkes.

Behind them the door to the Headmistresses private quarters opened and Minerva appeared, wand held out in front of her. Her wary, ready for anything expression turned to shock when she noticed Hermione standing in front of her desk.

"Miss Granger!" she spluttered, taking a step forward. "What on earth are you doing here?" she asked, her attention focusing of Salazar as she noticed him a second later.

"Um…it's a long story Professor," Hermione admitted with a sheepish grin.

"I should think so," McGonagall huffed, "Harry and Ron have been worried sick about you. The Room of Time was empty when the ministry went to check on you almost 2 months ago. Everyone has been wondering where you were. Nobody knew how to find you, dear."

"Two months," she whispered in shock.

"Our calculations were more accurate than I thought." Salazar muttered, impressed.

McGonagall frowned. "Who are you?" she asked quickly.

"It's OK, Professor." Hermione said quickly, not wanting to alarm the older woman. "Don't worry. I need to see Harry and Ron and tell them what's going on. The last of the Order too, if you can. "

"I will ask everyone to come to the Burrow, will that do?"

"We will meet you there," she assured the other woman.

McGonagall gave her one last look before turning around and heading back into her chambers, closing the door behind her. A few moments later the door opened again and she appeared fully-dress. She stalked across the room, towards the fireplace, grabbed a handful of Floo Powder and shouted into the fire. "The Burrow!" turning a bright, vivid green the fire roared up to twice its height, she stepped inside, disappearing into the flames.

"What happened to her?!" Salazar gasped, taking a step towards the fireplace. Hermione laughed and reached for his arm, holding him back. "It's ok," she said, sympathetic. "It's called Floo Powder, it allows us to travel by fireplace. Only to those connected to the network of course, the muggles would get a terrible fright if they saw this." She laughed at her own joke.

"Brilliant," he muttered to himself. Hermione smiled and let go of his arm, letting him step forward and examine the fire. He knelt down close to the fire and held out his hand, careful to keep away from the flames – that had now changed back to their normal reddish-gold hue. "Does it burn?" he asked curiously.

"Not with the Floo Powder in the fire, the warlocks who invented it made sure of that."

"What makes the fire burn without heat?"

"I….don't know."

Salazar looked at her quickly. "Sorry," he muttered, "I can't wait to see what else has changed in the centuries since."

"Wait till you see the clothes," Hermione deadpanned, walking towards him. "It's time," She said at his curious look. He nodded and stood up, standing next to her and watching her intently.

She took a handful of powder and motioned for him to do the same. "Throw the powder into the fire and shout your destination as you step into it." She explained. "We are going to The Burrow, where all my friends are waiting to see me. Wait a few seconds after I leave before coming after me."

He nodded. "That seems straightforward enough."

She threw the Floo Powder into the fire and stepped forward into the flames, shouting the name of her destination as she did.

Floo was not her favourite way to travel, she spun around and around, flying past fireplaces too quickly to count before she was suddenly jolted to a stop as she stumbled out of the fire and onto the rug in the Burrows living room.

She was greeted by a bombardment of people, arms wrapped around her and lifted her to her feet. Cheerful shouts of 'Hermione' greeted her ears. She laughed and felt a few tears gather at the corner of her eyes as she struggled to hold back the tears.

She tried to shuffle away from the edge of the fireplace, conscious that Salazar would come through behind her, but nobody was budging. Ron had his arms around her as Ginny talked non-stop into her ear. She could see Hagrid over the heads of everyone else in the room. He was crying into his large polka dot handkerchief and sniffing loudly.

The fire roared behind her, green light filled the room and a few people screamed in surprise. Salazar came stumbling out of the fire, crashing into her and sending both of them tumbling to the floor.

Shouts came from her friends around her and Hermione held out her hand quickly. "It's ok, it's ok!" she said quickly, looking up into the faces of her friends. Everyone stared at Salazar, and slowly silence filled the room. With a sigh Salazar got to his feet, before offering his hand to Hermione to help her to her feet. With a smile she accepted and stood beside him, brushing of her skirts.

"What on earth are you wearing Hermione?" Ginny said, asking the important questions.

Hermione looked down and shrugged. "This is what they wore back then," she explained.

"Back when, what?" Harry asked, annoyed, "And who, in Merlin's name are you?" Harry asked Salazar. Quickly taking out his wand and pointing it at Slytherin, ready for anything.

Slytherin watched him closely, sizing him up. The wand pointed at his chest was disconcerting, but it could be dealt with. He cleared his throat. "I'm Salazar. Salazar Slytherin."

Everyone looked at him with varying degrees of expression, but nobody said anything.

"I beg your pardon." McGonagall finally snapped, breaking the silence in the room.

"He isn't making it up." Hermione said. "That's where I was all this time. The Time Turner dropped off its stand, and I stupidly grabbed for it. It took me back in time by almost a thousand years."

"To the Founders of Hogwarts?" Harry asked.

Hermione nodded. "I was in London, where the Ministry of Magic would be, I had to apparate to Hogwarts."

Her best friend looked at Salazar curiously. Green eyes met, and Salazar raised an eyebrow, "Who are you?" the older Wizard asked.

"Harry, Harry Potter." Harry said, reluctantly taking a step forward and offering his hand to shake.

Slytherin accepted, shaking the younger man's hand, his eyes swept up to Harry's hairline as he noticed the distinct scar on his forehead. "That curse must have been a powerful one to cause suck a scar."

Harry put his hand to his forehead self-consciously. Nobody had commented on it for years. "Yes, the worst."

Salazar dropped his hand and stepped back, frowning in puzzlement. He glanced around the room and noticed everyone was looking at him. He turned his head back to Hermione and noticed she was doing the same. "Let me guess," he said sadly, "One from my house?"

Hermione licked her lips, but nodded sadly.

He turned his head and looked Harry in the eye, "I am sorry."

Harry just blinked in surprise and everyone else in the room started in shock. Hermione could tell they didn't know what to think of him, and smiled to herself.

"It's been a while since anyone has asked me that," Harry admitted, as he licked his lips nervously, "It's the Avada Kedavra curse, he said. A Dark Wizard tried to kill me when I was a baby. It's a long story" he added.

"Who would do such a thing?" Salazar asked.

"Lord Voldemort," Harry said, (everyone save Hermione and Salazar shuddered involuntary) "your last living relative."

He sighed. "So my son did get married..." He muttered dryly.

Hermione gave a snort and covered her mouth with her hands.

Serious now Salazar looked at Harry again. "Hermione explained the hostilities between the children in my House and the rest of the school, and our society's separation between those born Muggle and those born whose magic has been in the family for centuries. That was never my intention."

"When you voice objections over Muggleborn's in the school that's what happens," Harry said angrily.

Salazar shook his head. "My objects were based on my own observations on how Muggleborn's handle power. I admit my view was biased, and time has long since paled the truth."

"Sounds like excuses to me, Ron said angrily.

"Sounds like you don't know me at all," he said, steel in his voice.

Silence greeted his explanation. "No," agreed Mr. Weasley, "It seems we don't."

"Feel free to enlighten us," McGonagall suggested. Interested to hear what this man had to say.

Salazar and Hermione looked at one another. "Salazar, isn't the man we thought he was," she said, looking around at the others.

"What kind of man did you think I was?" he asked, amused.

She smirked, "I thought you were a man who encouraged the Dark Arts, instead I find out you are as appalled by them as we are."

He looked around at everyone in the room, suddenly realising something. He gave an amused snort. "Typical Griffindor's."

...

The End

A/N: Well, what did you all think. I really enjoyed writing a new pairing in a fandom I have always loved. It was great to write in the HP world again. I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Take care everyone. Please leave a review if you liked it and tell me what you thought.

xx

Ashes