Gavin was utterly hopeless and he knew it. It didn't matter how much he flicked the wand. It was just a stick in his hands. He all but threw it across the room by accident. He was much better with a pestle and mortar, making potions than he was at any actual practical magic. He couldn't even see some of the things that people told him he should be seeing. He was now fourteen.

He could hear the sounds of his father's voices along with that of his father's friends. His father's voice was jovial, deep and warm. He was a man who commanded authority just by walking into a room. It didn't matter where his father was. Gavin, in contrast, was a slender, beardless youth who hadn't grown into his body.

"You have to flick and swish it," said a voice from behind him. He turned and saw a pretty young girl. They were the same age. Her voice sounded so certain. "What spell were you trying to cast, Gavin?"

"Any spell," he muttered. He threw down the wand in front of him. He started to rub his face and rake his hair. This ended with him rolling his hands into fists and lightly pounding the table.

The girl gave him a sympathetic smile. "How about the potion brewing?" she asked.

"That I can do, Helena, but that doesn't really need actual magic, now does it?" She looked mildly hurt by his tone. He immediately regretted the way he had spoken to her. "Sorry, it's not your fault. It's me. I'm the one who can't use a wand. I'm a squib. It doesn't matter how much I try. I can't do magic."

"It's not everything, Gavin," said Helena as helpfully as she could.

"Father is talking about the school again. He's talking about it with your mother, Helga, and Salazar."

"I just wish my mother would believe in me as much as your father does in you."

Gavin glanced at Helena. She was a beauty. She wished nothing more but to leave her mother's watchful eye and to make something of herself outside of her mother's reputation. If only he had known what the future held for her, he would have been kinder.

"Ha," muttered Gavin mirthlessly. "Godric Gryffindor the great and powerful wizard has a squib for a son. I'm an embarrassment. You shouldn't be seen with me. It might be catching like a plague."

"You are my friend. My only real friend. Mother doesn't think anyone else is smart enough or good enough to be my friend."

Before Gavin could say anything, he heard a crash that came from the room that his father and his father's friends were. "What now?" he sighed.

"I don't know. We should go and see," replied Helena as she pulled her wand from her dress pocket. Gavin picked up his wand, even though it was utterly useless in his hands. More crashing and banging. They hastily made it to the room where their parents were.

The sound of the crashing and banging was Gavin's father fighting Salazar Slytherin. They had their wands drawn. "Please just calm down. Both of you calm down," pleaded Helga Hufflepuff, desperately trying to get the two men to put their wands away. She hadn't even drawn her wand. Instead, she held up both her hands in a placating gesture.

Rowena Ravenclaw spotted her daughter, who was standing beside Gavin. She had her wand drawn, seeing that the children had done the same. "You take it back!" roared Godric Gryffindor. His face was ruddy with fury. Gavin winced at the anger.

"It's true. You fool!" shouted back Salazar Slytherin as he flicked his wand up the turned the table. He sent it speedily sliding at Godric. It was going to ram him. Rowena took her eyes off the children and put a stop to it.

"Protego," she said in measured calm. The table shattered an invisible barrier. "Repario." She fixed it and settled it away from the two men. "Enough. The children shouldn't hear and see adults fighting like this."

This was when Godric took notice of his son. Gavin was pale and clutching the wand in his hand so hard that his knuckles were white. Salazar gave Gavin a contemptuous glare. It made Gavin's insides twist. Godric cleared his throat. He was trying to compose himself. He straightened his robes and put his wand away. "Put it away, Gavin," he ordered his son.

"Yes, Sir," said Gavin, tucking his wand in his belt.

Godric sighed. He always seemed to be undecided in how he spoke to his son. He didn't want to be harsh nor did he want to seem like he was being pitying either. "Come, along," he said, putting a massive hand on Gavin's shoulder. He could feel the bone. He steered Gavin away from the room.

Salazar straightened his robes and smoothed his long beard. His eyes were dark and penetrating as he gave Godric a look. Only Gavin caught it because his father didn't bother to turn and face Salazar.

Rowena said to Helena, "Come along, we have work to do at the library."

"Yes, Mother," said Helena dutifully.

Godric didn't say anything as they reached the staircase. The school was set to open soon. Everything was debated by the four friends. "What was Master Slytherin mad about?" asked Gavin.

"Nothing important," said Godric, but it was clear that he was lying.

As they prepared for the school to open, they were staying at the castle as it was getting ready. Gavin's father had selected one of the towers as his residence while the construction was being completed. Helena's mother was in the other tower with Helena. Helga was on the ground level next to the kitchens, which Gavin personally thought was the better choice. Knowledge may feed one's soul, but not one's body. Salazar had picked the dungeons. Or rather what should have been the dungeons. That was the worst location as far as Gavin was concerned. No one argued with Salazar for the dungeons.

Gavin didn't like Salazar Slytherin at all. The man was terrifying. He was the only one who didn't bring his family with him to the castle. He kept them on his estate, which he kept secret. The man was extremely paranoid and thoroughly unpleasant to be around. He also looked down at Muggles, feeling superior to them in every single way.

"It wasn't nothing, Father," said Gavin. "You don't duel someone over nothing."

"We just had a minor disagreement."

"You keep having these minor disagreements and there aren't any actual students yet other than me and Helena."

They finally reached the entrance to their quarters. It was rather spacious. It was too much room for two people. Gavin's mother had died a long time ago from dragon pox, leaving him in the care of his sometimes temperamental, yet loving father. "How was the potion brewing going?" asked Godric, wanting nothing more than to evade Gavin's questions.

Gavin wasn't letting him, replying, "Fine. You don't need magic to be able to mix and measure things. Even a Muggle could do it. What are you and Master Slytherin disagreeing about?"

"Nothing to concern you," answered Godric dismissively. "And potion brewing is a fine art. You might one day be as good as Salazar."

"He hasn't liked me for a very long, Father. Not since this whole thing started," said Gavin. His father might have had a temper on him, but his father wouldn't have started a duel with a close friend over a minor disagreement. "I don't look so bad right now, but once other students come here it will change. They'll notice that the son of the Great Godric Gryffindor can't do real magic."

"That's not true. You're just a late bloomer. It will happen in time," insisted Godric, which he always did.

"No, it won't. Only you can't see that. Everyone else can," said Gavin. "I'm sorry that I'm not the son you wanted. I'm never going to be."

"You are the son I have. Magic or no magic," said Godric with surprising gentleness. "You have so much of your mother in you."

"And she was a splendid witch. I'm almost glad she isn't around to see what a disappointment I am."

"She would never say that about you, Gavin. Never." Godric stated with much conviction. "You are the best part of her. And me, too."

"Father, I think you're blind and you don't want to see the truth. You're too stubborn to see what's so obvious. And I know that you and Master Slytherin wouldn't duel over a minor disagreement. I've heard him talk. He only wants certain families here. He wants the best students here. Students with actual magic."

Godric pursed his lips. He gestured for Gavin to sit down. This room would later become the Common Room. Gavin sat down on the chair that was next to the unlit fireplace. "Father, I can't stay. I just can't," he said softly without looking at him.

Godric let his composure slip. He was never one to hide his true feelings. He looked stricken at this point. "What will happen to you, if I'm not around to guide you, Gavin?"

"Father, you don't intend to live forever, do you?" asked Gavin. "I will eventually be on my own."

"No, I won't hear of this," declared Godric abruptly standing. "You have no idea what it's like out there in the world without magic. The Muggles are savages. They're still using leeches for Merlin's sake. And they're burning people on wooden stakes. People who aren't even witches. What would they do to you if they knew you were one?"

"But I'm not one, Father," insisted Gavin as he stood up to meet his father's gaze. "And Merlin himself knew the High King Pendragon. They had a partnership."

Godric waved his hand dismissively. "No, it's better for you to remain here at Hogwarts once the other students are around, you will change your mind." He then said, "I have to take care of some owls."

When Godric left the room, it was then that Gavin muttered, "You never listen."

Days passed and the tension grew thicker and thicker. Gavin was no idiot. He knew that his father and Salazar were continuing their battle over the students. It was inevitable that Helga and Rowena would be dragged into it and forced to pick sides.

Outside of the castle, Helena and Gavin were outside to pick some herbs in the area that would one day be the Quidditch pitch. "What did your mother have to say?" he broached the subject. "Whose side is she on?"

Helena grew quiet. She always got quiet when she didn't want to answer a question. "She's on your side," she said finally after a long moment had passed. "She wants what you think is best for yourself. Not what your father or Salazar Slytherin wants, but what you want."

"I want to leave," stated Gavin. "I want to leave before I can truly shame my family name."

"And leave me?" asked Helena.

"Helena, I'm not good enough for you. Or for any witch. You honestly think that your mother would ever let her precious, only child be with a magicless squib?"

"Where would you go?" Her voice cracked with desperation. She was doing everything she could to keep from weeping in front of him.

"I don't know . Maybe the continent. Or south to Wales. I don't know just as far away as my wits and whatever talent I have can get me."

Helena said, "What about a place where you can get your magic somehow?"

"The Fountain of Fair Fortune is only a story, Helena," replied Gavin. He didn't want to say that his affections didn't match hers. He liked Helena and it was almost a forgone conclusion that a marriage would be brokered between the Gryffindors and the Ravenclaws.

"If you leave, then I should go with you," said Helena. "I couldn't bare it here without you. Your father isn't like my mother. He's better than her. It's like living with a teaching scroll. We could leave together."

"Are you prepared to live among the Muggles? Because that's what I'm planning to do. They make it through this world without magic." Helena hesitated. Her expression told him everything he needed to know. He went on, "The best thing is that we can decide what we want. You can marry whomever you wish or not get married at all."

Helena looked pensive for a moment and then she smiled. "Yes, it does sound wonderful."

They finished their gathering of the herbs and went back to the castle. The four founders were in the Great Hall. They were sitting across two against two. Helga and Godric were on one side, while Salazar and Rowena were on the other side.

Gavin signaled Helena to stop and put a finger to his lips. They were just around the corner, almost unseen and able to hear everything. She nodded. "There are Muggle-born witches and wizards being born. They need to learn to use their magic. Innocent children are being harmed," said Helga. "We must allow admission for all children with magic."

"There are other schools," said Salazar. "This school is for the best our families have to offer, which means the best wizarding families."

Rowena said, "Your logic isn't sound, Salazar. If the magic exists in a child, then it must be honed and shaped for good use. And not all of the best wizards' families have the best students. What you want are pureblood students."

"You are correct, Rowena," said Salazar, casting a glance at Godric. "Not all children born into wizarding families have magic."

Godric's nostrils flared. Helena put a hand on Gavin's sleeve She gave him a pitying look, not wanting him to hear what was about to be sad. He yanked his arm away from her.

Rowena broke the uncomfortable since, saying "Godric, no one here doubts the devotion and the love you have for your son but is it really fair to him? Is it fair to keep him in a world where he will always fall behind? It's holding him back. He won't flourish here." Her tone was cool, but there was a hint of pity in her voice.

"Leave my son out of this, Rowena," snapped Godric furiously.

Helga put in, "I think all of our children should be given a chance. Perhaps, we can set aside special classes for some of the children who have fallen behind."

"That will be hinder our progress as a people," countered Salazar. "Only the best deserve to be here."

"You mean only the people you deem the best should be here," argued Godric. His voice boomed with anger. "You don't get to pick and choose. This is a place of learning. Everyone is entitled to have access to a good education regardless of their background."

"Here, here," agreed Helga.

"I think Salazar means that children who possess magic should be here, not necessarily those who are from a pureblood family," said Rowena placatingly. "It might be kinder in the long run for those who do not have ample magical ability to find pursuits elsewhere. It is the only way they might be able to access their full potential as a person."

Salazar scoffed, "No, I mean what I said when I said only children of the finest families, the most worthy of families should be here. And furthermore, squibs have no business being at a school of magic."

Gavin heard the chair drag across the floor. He knew that his father had stood up. This time, Gavin wasn't about to let a duel break out. He showed himself. "I think the children should have a say if they want to attend Hogwarts or not," he declared.

Godric froze when he heard his son's voice. All four of the founders turned to face Gavin. "Send your owls out and invite anyone who wishes to come," he went on, stepping forward. His voice was leveled and confident. "But as for me, I'm leaving. Father, there is nothing you can do to stop me."

Godric looked at Gavin. The anger faded almost instantly from his face. He walked up to him. Gavin didn't flinch. He didn't look down. He couldn't. He had to show he had conviction. "Gavin, let's talk about this upstairs," said Godric.

"No," said Gavin defiantly. "You can't convince me otherwise and you won't be telling people that I changed my mind. I could just leave. You might be able to find me and drag me back here, but you're the one who will look bad. As kind as Helga is, thank you by the way, not every child can be a witch or wizard. Rowena is right, too. If I stay here, I'll be nothing. I might have a chance out there." The words just poured out. He didn't want to risk being silenced again.

Godric sighed. He said, "If this is what you want, then so be it. Only if this is what you really want, Gavin. The Muggle world can be cruel."

"So can the wizards," said Gavin.

"Who was being cruel to you, my son?"

"You won't live forever to fight my battles for me, Father. I must learn to do it on my own." Godric sighed again. Gavin added, "It is what is best for me." Gavin could see the look of triumph on Salazar's face. Helga tried her best to look like she was happy for Gavin, only hinting at some sadness. Rowena looked away from him and then towards her daughter.

"Very well," said Godric. "I've never tested to see if you're as stubborn as me. I don't want to now. I have a feeling your will is stronger than mine and it should serve you well."

Gavin couldn't help but give a sheepish grin even though his father looked morose. "Thank you, Father," he said.

Three days later, Gavin had gathered the things he thought that he would need. He had his books with non-magical potions that he could use. He thought that he might become an apothecary or a healer because he had more advanced knowledge than the Muggles did in such things. His father had offered his sword, a beautiful sword, that had been forged by the goblins. Gavin had turned it down. He was no warrior.

Gavin took nothing magical. He had a sack to carry his spare clothes, steady boots on his feet, books of potions, and a walking stick. His father had also offered a regular horse, but again Gavin declined. He was going to see where his own feet would take him.

On the day of his departure, Helga made him breakfast and Rowena offered him sound advice on how to blend in with the Muggles. Salazar had gone away to see his family, not that Gavin expected him to care if he was leaving or not. Helena was absent.

The time came and Godric walked him to the gates of the castle. The barrier was taken down for him to pass through. Godric said, "Go and make something of yourself, my son. Be brave and be yourself. Never forget that you are my son."

"I won't, Father," said Gavin. His voice was thick with emotion. He embraced his father, who held him tighter and longer than he had ever done. "Goodbye, Father."

"Goodbye, Gavin. Good fortune unto you."

"Good fortune unto you, too, Father."

Gavin passed through the barrier. He walked away. His father stood there wearing his pointed hat as he had done so many times before. Gavin turned a bit to capture that last image of him. Before long, the barrier went back up and his father had vanished from his sight. He started to walk, feeling unsteady at first.

"Gavin!" called Helena as she ran up to him.

"Helena, what are you doing? You need to get back on the school grounds," said Gavin.

"I know," she said,"but I wanted to say goodbye here."

"How will you get back inside the barrier?"

"I'm Helena Ravenclaw that's how."

Gavin grinned. Helena embraced him. "I will miss you, Helena."

"Me, too," she returned. She pulled back and gave him a kiss on his cheek. "Farewell, Gavin Gryffindor. Perhaps one day, I'll see you out there."

"Perhaps," said Gavin. She pulled away completely and turned away. He watched her walk back towards the castle. It would be the last time he ever saw her. He had no idea that she one day she would try to break free from her mother and Hogwarts, only to be bound to it forever.

Gavin squared his shoulders and took his tentative steps forward towards the waiting world.

Author's Note: This is sort of a prequel for a project that I've been working for the last couple of months. I figured if someone as unpleasant as Salazar Slytherin was able to have a family, then so was Godric Gryffindor. The conflict between Slytherin and Gryffindor that caused the split between them would be at a personal level. Gavin is my original character. I'd like to speculate that Gavin's departure didn't really broker peace between Gryffindor and Slytherin.

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I do own this story and its contents and original character(s).