Disclaimer: I own none of these characters, and I'm making no money from this. All in the name of fun.
"WHAT! The only one I can talk to is the evil one?" said Harry, looking between the phoenix and the Slytherin founder, who looked ready to gut him.
Your friend once told you that books aren't everything. He's not what you think.
The other founders at this point were looking at Salazar, and Hufflepuff spoke rapidly to him before Slytherin slowly returned his dagger to its sheath without looking away from the stranger.
"Well, phoenix, at least he put the dagger away. I suppose it's good that they haven't flattened me where I stand. I will spill my little secret and just hope that you really know what you're doing!" said Harry, dropping his hands from his hair.
Harry turned towards Slytherin. In truth he looked nothing like the ugly old statue in the chamber, and instead looked to be in his early twenties. He was tall and thin, with thick black wavy hair down to his shoulders, and although a few of his features were similar to the statue, like his strong jaw line, and his forehead, his brow structure was different, more noble looking. He had a smaller more fitting nose, and his mouth was different too. Harry couldn't see what colour his eyes were from the distance, but they were dark. He was more composed than the other founders, but Harry saw a curiosity in him that could rival his own.
"My name is Harry, and this is the only language that any of us have in common. Are you four the founders of this school?"
At this, the founders all seemed to stumble, three of them whirling to face the fourth, who was staring slack jawed at the stranger, seemingly in shock. After a moment, Slytherin straightened slightly, and replied.
"You are correct. I am Salazar of Slytherin, next to me is Helga of Hufflepuff, then Lady Rowena of Ravenclaw, and lastly Lord Godric of Gryffindor. How can you speak parseltongue? Are we related? Where are you from? Why-"
"Wait! I can explain it rather simply but you're not going to like it! And your friends seem to want a translation."
Salazar looked to his friends and started firing strange words at them at a rate Harry couldn't hope to follow, so he waited until they all settled down and were looking to Salazar, waiting for him to speak.
"What is your explanation?" he said, staring intently at Harry, who looked between the four on the steps, and the golden phoenix.
"Right, well, Salazar of Slytherin, I've been brought here by this golden phoenix, I have no idea why I'm here, how long I'm here for, and I'm from a different time. In the future. A thousand years or something like that. Oh and we're not really related, I got parseltongue from a curse gone wrong," he said, staring just as intently back at Salazar, who looked if possible even more surprised than when he had first spoken parseltongue. Salazar turned to his friends and repeated what the stranger had said, and soon all four Hogwarts founders were staring at the newcomer in awe and disbelief.
"You expect us to believe this? It's just not possible!"
"That's what I told the phoenix and yet I seem to be here! I'm telling you the truth! Ask the phoenix!"
Salazar stared at the golden bird, and suddenly he felt something in his mind trying to communicate. He cautiously opened the link. You need to teach him. He speaks only the truth. Teach him to control what he has. Show him peace. Help him heal from his world. All of you. He will need you the most Salazar of Slytherin, after all, you are the only one who can understand him.
Harry absently watched the 'conversation' between Slytherin and the phoenix, assuming that the phoenix was only confirming what had already been said. Slytherin glanced over to him, then turned to the other founders and spoke rapidly in whatever language it was that they spoke in this era, and it looked like they were agreeing on something. Sure enough, before long, Slytherin gestured to him and filled him in.
"We have decided that you may stay at the castle, and we will train you. Are there still houses in the future?" he asked.
"Yes, there are the four Houses."
"Which House were you?" At this question, Harry fidgeted and nervously replied.
"I chose Gryffindor."
"You chose Gryffindor?" Slytherin asked incredulously, "The Sorting Hat is supposed to sort the new students. Is there no Sorting Hat in your time?"
"Well, yes, but the hat had some difficulties with me." The fidgeting increased. "Said I would do well in Slytherin, but let's just say it wouldn't have been a good idea. So it placed me in Gryffindor, and they're an alright bunch really."
Gryffindor said something to Slytherin, gesturing towards Harry and then the entrance to the castle. Slytherin nodded, and stepped closer to Harry.
"Godric suggests that we should move this discussion to our office, so as to be a little more comfortable. Did you bring clothes and such?" he asked, gently placing his hand on Harry's shoulder, and guiding him through the Hogwarts doors. Harry nodded.
"Yes, everything I need is in my pocket. Ah!" Harry stopped suddenly and held out his arm.
"Oi! You're not sneaking off, and this guy isn't the only translator here! Come on big shiny phoenix!" The golden phoenix glided gracefully through the doors behind them and landed on Harry's outstretched arm. The others had stopped walking upon hearing the unfamiliar language, and were staring in awe at the golden phoenix, who was even brighter in the diminished light of the entranceway than it was outside. Rowena spoke to Salazar, who turned to Harry with a grimace.
"Rowena asks if the phoenix is bonded to you, and I don't think I'm to have any voice left by the time those three have had all their questions answered. It occurs to me we may be a while, so I hope you're not tired." By this time they had started walking again and Rowena had drifted closer to hear the reply.
"Actually this phoenix dragged me out of my bed in the middle of the night, so I'm rather tired. It's amazing how much energy you find when you find yourself in the past though. As for Rowena's question, I don't think I'm bonded to this phoenix, but for some reason it seems to think I should be here. I don't think I could have resisted. To save your voice, you could always tell her that she can ask the phoenix questions too," Harry replied with a cheeky grin directed at Salazar.
"Noted! That should speed things along. I'll try and have them go easy on you, and we'll sort out where you'll be staying. Excuse me whilst I tell Rowena." With that, Salazar turned to Rowena and told her what Harry had said. Harry watched as her eyes lit up and he could see the excitement on her face as she turned to look at the phoenix. She stopped in the corridor as her eyes glazed over slightly and she held out her arm. Everyone watched as the phoenix launched itself from Harry's arm and glided up in a lazy spiral, then flew down to land on Rowena's. She nodded to the phoenix, said something to the founders, who all nodded in reply, and started walking again. Harry hurried to follow them, and asked what Rowena had said.
"Rowena said that the phoenix told her that any questions for him should wait until we are all seated, else we would be stopping randomly the whole way," said Salazar, smirking slightly.
After a few minutes it became clear to Harry that they were heading towards what was the Headmasters office in his time, but they were taking the long route, not using any of the secret passages that he knew from the marauders map in his time, which would have cut the journey in half.
"I could have gotten there by now. Do you always go the long way round?" asked Harry with a grin. Salazar looked shocked for a moment before his face cleared and he replied irritably.
"Students are not supposed to know of any other way." Harry grinned up at the founder and laughed.
"It has been a thousand years in my time. Many secrets have been passed down by the students, and a few secrets were made along the way." Salazar looked curiously at Harry, but didn't say anything.
Soon they reached the stone gargoyle which guarded the office, and Helga spoke a password that Harry couldn't hear from where he was standing. Not that he would have understood what was said anyway, but it had become habit to try and make sure that he knew the most recent password in case he needed to speak to Dumbledore. The stone staircase carried them up to the familiar doors, and soon they were inside.
The office looked a lot different in this time. Instead of a desk at the far end of the office, there was a round table in the middle of the room, with chairs dotted around it. Four of the chairs were closer together and from their colours it was obvious which belonged to whom. There was a variety of weaponry hanging on the walls, again it was obvious to whom they belonged, and Harry was shocked to see that yellow and blue appeared just as much as red and green. He didn't even know what some of the weapons were for. There were no pictures of past Headmasters and Headmistresses on the walls, and instead there were tapestries of the land around Hogwarts, and even a tapestry of the hill Hogwarts was built on, before the castle even existed. The founders walked past the table to the staircase that led to the upper level, which Harry had never been to in his time. When he reached the top, he saw that this room was also circular, and he guessed that this was the secondary turret that he'd seen from the outside of the castle whilst flying on his broom in the future. The walls were lined with bookshelves that stretched from floor to ceiling, with a comfortable seating area in the middle.
The founders all moved to sit down, and Salazar gestured to Harry to do the same. He ended up picking a squashy looking purple armchair, and just as he sat down he jumped in shock as he heard the crack of a house-elf, but luckily it seemed nobody had seen the evidence of just how nervous he was. The house-elf disappeared with another crack and Salazar turned to Harry.
"We'll have some refreshments brought up, but the four of us need to discuss arrangements for your stay, and it would be easier to tell you after we've sorted things out between us," said Salazar gesturing between himself and the other founders.
"Thank you, a drink would be nice. I can read one of my books until you're all done." Salazar nodded in reply.
Harry managed to find his trunk in the folds of his cloak, brought it out, and placed it on the floor. With his wand out and a muttered, "engorgio", his trunk grew to its proper size. He rummaged around until he found a book on defence that he'd gotten for his birthday, slammed the lid shut, and with a muttered "reducio"his trunk was small enough to fit in his pocket. He glanced over to the founders and was surprised to see all four looking at him as if he had three heads.
"You use your wand for that? At your age?" asked Salazar, incredulously. "By your age your wand should be dusty and forgotten!"
"Everyone uses a wand for that in my time, at every age," Harry answered carefully. Salazar stared at him with wide eyes.
"In that case, we have a lot of work to do. Refreshments arrived while you were retrieving your book." With that, he turned to the other founders and spoke rapidly in their language. Harry took a glass of juice from the tray that had been brought, and noted absently that the phoenix understood what the founders were saying. It seemed to be involved in the discussion, so he settled down in his chair, opened his book, and started to read.
After half an hour and much debate - mainly Salazar refusing to share his chambers, despite arguments that because Harry couldn't speak or understand their language, he would feel more comfortable with Salazar - the four founders had worked out where Harry would stay, and who would teach him what. The students had left for their homes the day before, and the castle was empty except for the five of them, so there were no problems with telling others of Harry's complicated situation. The phoenix had stated that he would be leaving as soon as he knew that Harry would be looked after, and had suggested looking for a potion to help Harry to learn the language, as it would indeed be a long time before he was ready to return to the future. Salazar looked towards Harry to tell him what had been decided, only to feel his face soften as he saw that the boy's eyes were closed, and he was breathing deeply. When he had first seen the boy he had guessed that he was fourteen at the most, and all four of them had been shocked when the phoenix had told them that he was sixteen. Curled up in the armchair, book open on his lap, face relaxed in sleep, Salazar noticed that he looked even younger, which he found slightly disturbing for some reason. The phoenix had also told them that Harry hadn't had an easy life, but that they would have to ask Harry themselves if they wanted to know details, except for one thing. It had then told them that Harry's relatives had been cruel to him, and as a result they would need to watch out for him as he wouldn't approach them for help himself, as he didn't want to be a burden. From snippets from the phoenix, Salazar surmised that this boy had been through more in his short life than most grown adults of his time.
"You should take him to your chambers Salazar, get him settled in bed. It's still the middle of the night for him, so he must be exhausted," said Helga.
"Yes, he must be. I'll stay with him in my chambers 'till he wakes, and explain things to him. Perhaps I can find that language potion that the phoenix mentioned. I wonder if the phoenix has a name." At this, the phoenix looked at Salazar and trilled. My name is Ozone, he heard in his mind.
"Well, there's that answered, his name is Ozone." The phoenix trilled again and they all looked at it. It is time for me to leave now, and I have one last piece of advice. Carrying him will be easier than waking him and convincing him to walk to the dungeons.
With that, the phoenix disappeared in a bright flash of white-blue light, leaving behind a strange feeling in the air, and an odd smell. As one, all four turned to the sleeping boy and stood for a minute just looking at him and absorbing what had happened. It was Godric who broke the silence.
"Well, this has been a strange day. A strange day indeed. It's not every day you wake up hearing phoenixsong, then step outside and meet a golden phoenix, and a boy from the future, and to think! We can't even write this down, or tell anyone of it!"
"I should think not Godric, it could have dire consequences if this was known," Rowena said ominously. "In fact, we should discuss with him whether or not it would be a good idea to change his name for the time he is with us. When the students return, they may write of him or speak of him, and 'Harry' isn't a name I have heard before."
"I will discuss it with him when he wakes, and inform him what he is to be taught," said Salazar, walking over to where Harry was fast asleep. He gently removed the book, itching to study the unfamiliar text, but he closed it, shrunk it with a thought, and put it in his pocket. Hopefully he would find the potion, and have enough time to look at it before Harry woke up.
"I'll go and talk to the house-elves, see how many students left things behind this year," said Helga, as she headed for the stairs.
"We'd better get a start on those N.E.W.T. papers Godric," said Rowena. Godric sighed and nodded, and they too made their way down the spiral stairs.
Salazar bent to pick Harry up and was taken aback at how thin he was, and even more concerned when he realised just how light he was. He was downright flummoxed when Harry, unknowingly and in his sleep, made a noise in the back of his throat and curled into his arms, grabbing the front of his tunic tightly in his fists. Salazar stared incredulously down at Harry's sleeping face and unconsciously tightened his grip as he shook his head and moved towards the stairs, stepping down them carefully so as not to jostle Harry. Godric and Rowena looked up from their piles of papers and smiled at him, and he smiled awkwardly back at them as he quickly made his way past them and out of the door. It didn't take nearly as long to reach the dungeons as it had to reach the office earlier, as Salazar ducked his way through every secret passage he could, and soon he was back in his chambers in the dungeons.
Thinking that leaving Harry to wake up alone in an unfamiliar bedroom would be a bad idea, Salazar laid Harry on his sofa in front of the fire, removing the boy's cloak and worn footwear as he did so. He stilled as Harry shifted in his sleep, and watched curiously as he reached out with his hands, fingers finding the edge of his cloak that Salazar had draped over the back of the sofa just moments before, and Salazar found himself wondering if it was a habit that the boy had. He kept still, and watched as Harry curled into a ball, fingers buried in the bottom of his cloak. Another sleepy noise prompted a smile from Salazar, and it struck him that he'd never actually watched someone sleep before. His parents had forbidden him from their rooms since before he could remember, and he'd been an only child.
When building Hogwarts, each of the founders had their own room in Hogsmeade. In Hogwarts, they all had their separate chambers, and he'd never had any interest in women. That had been Godric's specialty, until he'd literally fallen into Rowena at a Solstice festival, and he hadn't looked at any other woman since. Thinking and watching, he realised that there was actually a lot of appeal in watching a person sleeping, totally unaware and unguarded. It really wasn't something that he'd contemplated before but now that he had, he found himself wanting to just sit in silence, watching Harry sleep peacefully. With a jolt he immediately derailed those thoughts and quietly made his way to his bookshelves.
These were no ordinary bookshelves. These were Salazar Slytherin's bookshelves, and he had worked the magic on them himself, and had carved the designs by hand. He'd made one for each of his friends, each with various images of their animagus forms intricately carved along the edges, and stained in their colours. Salazar's was stained a dark forest green, the same as his eyes, with silver painted carved serpents. Rowena's was dark blue with bronze eagles, Godric's was a deep red with golden lions, and Helga's was pale yellow with glistening black badgers. There were so many spells that Salazar had to write instruction books for his friends, as well as himself. The most curious thing about Salazar's bookshelves, is that they were all empty.
Salazar placed his finger on one of the empty shelves. "Potions" he said, and with a barely audible pop, the shelves were filled with potions books of all colours and sizes. Quickly scanning the titles, he selected a few likely looking ones, hooking them under his arm as he scanned the index of yet another. Absentmindedly and still scanning the book, he placed his finger on one of the shelves and muttered, "Return". Making his way over to an armchair opposite the sofa that Harry was sleeping on, he checked that Harry was actually still deeply asleep, and satisfied that he hadn't woken him up, settled down to his research.
An hour, and many books later, and Salazar had found the perfect potion, Lingua Transfero, which would take a week to brew, with all the different stages involved. The brewing wouldn't normally be a problem, but one of the ingredients required that it be picked fresh on the might of a full moon, which wasn't for another three weeks, and the ingredient had to be added to stage three of the potion within an hour of harvesting, which required some precise timings, and meant that he'd be brewing in the middle of the night for stages one and four. Soon enough he had drafted a brewing schedule which would have him awake at three in the morning four nights before the next full moon. There was only a sliver of resentment for the hassle of it all, when he could understand Harry perfectly well, and it was only the others that had problems. That was quickly forgotten when he considered that it would become rather frustrating for Harry in the coming weeks.
Looking over to check on the boy, he found himself staring again. At first glance he's just a boy, but Salazar took a moment to really study him. Thick, black messy hair stuck out in all directions as if it had a mind of its own. An unnaturally thin, pale face, with high cheekbones. Long eyelashes. Really long curled eyelashes, that would make many woman jealous. He'd noticed his eyes earlier, and he'd never seen such a bright green colour on anyone else. He hadn't taken a good look at the time, because the first rule of observing others was to never get caught. He noticed the slightly squared jaw, with only a light shadow to indicate that he was old enough to shave. Lastly his lips, pale pink, parted slightly. Looking even closer Salazar could see premature crinkles around his eyes, which would be mistaken for laughter lines if it were not for the lines on his forehead telling a different story. Also there were dark rings under the boy's eyes. Altogether it looked like Harry hadn't had a decent meal or a proper night's sleep in a rather long time. The concern that Salazar had felt earlier slowly changed into alarm as he tried to piece together the puzzle in front of him, each piece more disturbing than the last, but he realised that there was nothing he could do except let Harry sleep for as long as he needed, get some food inside him, and talk to him to find out more.