Disclaimer: I'll say it once and I won't say it again, folks: I do not, never have, and never will own Harry Potter. All aspects of the Harry Potter universe belong to the brilliant J.K. Rowling. Everything from the Dangerverse—the Founders, the Pack-bond, the characters of Aletha Freeman and Gertrude "Danger" Granger, and probably more stuff I'm forgetting—belongs to the equally brilliant Anne Walsh, known as whydoyouneedtoknow. They made this universe; I'm just building upon it to make a story that will be (I hope!) interesting and engaging.

And now, on with the good stuff. . .

Chapter 1: Here to Stay.

On August 11, 1976, four terrified teenagers appeared suddenly in the office of a very wise old man named Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Even in the world of magic with which Professor Dumbledore was well acquainted—perhaps the best acquainted of any wizard—such an occurrence was extremely unusual.

For the most part, the inhabitants of the Headmaster's office gave no sign that they even knew the four had appeared. Very fragile-looking and clearly magical silver instruments continued their nonchalant whirring; the portraits of past Headmasters lining the walls continued their sleep (one even emitted a loud snore); and Dumbledore himself remained as he was, intently studying a scroll of parchment. Only his phoenix, a magnificent bird with red and gold plumage named Fawkes, gave any sign that he noticed the disturbance; he turned to face the mysterious visitors and emitted a loud trill that somehow seemed to convey a message of acceptance.

At this, Dumbledore looked up from the cracked and yellowed scroll and surveyed the four magisterially over his half-moon glasses. "I do wonder how you four—students, by your appearance, and yet unknown to me—have appeared so suddenly in my office," he mused calmly. "Would you care to explain?"

One of the four, a messy-haired boy with glasses and a unique lightning-bolt-shaped scar on his forehead, seemed highly taken aback by this. "Professor Dumbledore! But— but— you're dead!" he exclaimed.

"I assure you, my boy, I am very much alive, and have been for quite some time now. Now, can any of you explain how you came to be in my office?"

The black-haired boy seemed too shocked to speak, so one of his companions, a girl with quite a lot of very bushy hair, tried to explain. "Well, sir, we don't really understand it ourselves. One moment Voldemort himself and some twenty Death Eaters are attacking the Burrow, and they've put up Anti-Apparation wards to prevent us from getting out. The next, Fawkes appears and starts singing a lot, as if he's trying to tell us something—not that we could understand him—and we all just find ourselves here. Don't you have any idea what happened?"

"I am afraid I do not, Miss . . ."

"Granger. Hermione Granger. You don't remember me, Professor?" she asked, clearly shocked.

"No, I do not," said the Headmaster with a sigh. "I do not recognize any of you, in fact, except that one of you bears quite a startling resemblance to James Potter."

"Erm . . . that would be me, Professor," said the black-haired boy with a frown of puzzlement. "Harry Potter. James Potter was my father. You really don't recognize any of us?"

Dumbledore's calm never wavered during this statement, but a skilled observer would have noticed the flicker of surprise that flitted across his face. "Again, no, I do not. I believe there is something we all are missing here. Perhaps Fawkes can enlighten us."

At the mention of his name, Fawkes let out a series of ringing and uplifting notes.

"Time travel?" asked the Headmaster in response, surprised and apparently a bit disappointed in the phoenix. "Surely you didn't . . ."

Fawkes merely bobbed his head in response.

"But why?"

Fawkes let out a soft croon that sounded admonishing. You don't need to know that, it seemed to say.

"Very well." He turned back to the travelers. "Perhaps it will interest you to know that the date is August 11, 1976."

Four pairs of eyes widened in surprise when Dumbledore named the year. That's my parents' sixth year! thought Harry excitedly. "Well, I suppose we'd better introduce ourselves then," he said with a sigh. "I'm Harry Potter, and this—" he motioned to a tall, gangly red-headed boy with freckles— "is Ron Weasley, my best friend. Hermione there is my other best friend, and on my left is Ginny Weasley, my girlfriend. Do you know how to send us back to our own time? I suppose we should thank Fawkes for saving our lives, but he really did choose a roundabout way of doing it. . ."

"Perhaps Fawkes had a reason for his actions; I am sure he considered them a last resort. Sadly, though, I am afraid I know of no way to return you home. It is easy enough to send a wizard back in time, although I do not believe anyone has ever gone so far back as you, but no way is known to send people forward." The group wore expressions of mingled worry and sadness. Dumbledore seemed heedless of this, though, and continued to explain. "Do any of you have experience with a Time-Turner?"

Hermione nodded, still confused. "I used one during my third year."

Dumbledore's eyes twinkled strongly. "Then you remember that you always had to 'catch up' to your own time at normal speed, Miss Granger. If you went back an hour, you had to live out that hour."

Hermione clearly understood this, and it upset her even more.

"Nevertheless," said Dumbledore, "I shall try my hardest to find a way to return the four of you home. In the mean time, it would probably be best if you enrolled here as students. What year are you in?"

"Sixth for me, seventh for everyone else," said Ginny. "All Gryffindors."

"Excellent. Please do ensure that you keep what you know of the future to yourselves; as you should know, that is information that could have unforeseeable and disastrous consequences."

The students nodded; Harry in particular knew he would have a hard time keeping calm around his dead parents, dead godfather, and their traitorous friend, but he knew he had to try. Things were meant to happen that way, he forced himself to think, but he wasn't really able to convince himself.

"Now, as to your names. Mr. Weasley, Miss Weasley, the last Weasley passed through this school over eight years ago, so you should be fine. Miss Granger, I do not recognize your name—"

"I'm Muggle-born, Professor."

"Then yours should not be a problem either. As for you, though, Mr. Potter, your father will be just a year below you. It is ultimately your choice to make, but perhaps you should go by another name during your stay here."

"Erm. . . Professor?" said Harry. "The Marauders—my dad and his friends—have an, er, object that shows the names of everyone in the school. As far as I know, it's impossible to fool, and I don't want to arouse suspicion, so . . ."

"Ah, I see. In that case, I suppose you will just have to go by Harry Potter. You can always explain away your last name as a coincidence."

Harry nodded detachedly in agreement, still trying to come to grips with where—no, when he was.

"Now, as for your books and supplies— ah, I see that Fawkes thought to bring your trunks with him. He really is quite an intelligent bird. The things he does sometimes. . ." Dumbledore trailed off.

Ron cleared his throat. "Erm— Professor? What about our cover story?"

"I was just getting to that, Mr. Weasley," he said with a smile. "Let's see . . . You can be victims of a Death Eater attack that destroyed your hometown and killed your parents; you originally were homeschooled, but your remaining relatives thought it best to send you here."

"That sounds reasonable," said Ginny. "What are we going to do for the next few weeks?"

"Gryffindor Tower is open to you, as is the library. I am confident you will find some way to keep yourselves busy," said Dumbledore, smiling benignly. "I do believe that is all. If you need anything, the password to my office is 'Tootsie Pop'." He sighed. "Well, welcome to Hogwarts—again!"

Just as Fawkes disappeared with Harry and his friends, ten very well-known—and, most assumed, very dead—people began a heated discussion in a realm not entirely of this world. An impartial observer might have seen the beautiful white castle they inhabited as remniscent of Hogwarts at its founding; the inhabitants, though, knew that it was actually the same school they had founded nearly a thousand years ago, perhaps even more real and certainly more magical than the Hogwarts of the physical world.

For the inhabitants of the castle were none other than the Founders of Hogwarts and their families: the brave Godric Gryffindor with his son Paul and daughter Maura; the wise Rowena Ravenclaw with her three daughters Sophie, Margaret, and Brenna; the loyal Helga Hufflepuff with her son Adam; and Alexander Slytherin, son of the sly Salazar, the only one of his family who had not broken the oaths that bound them.

"How did they even get there?" asked Rowena, ever the practical one. "Time travel has always been impossible over distances that great; I seem to recall that as one of the first strictures we instated."

"Because of the work it creates for us!" exclaimed Brenna Ravenclaw, indicating her two sisters. "Can you imagine keeping track of a different universe for every petty meddler in time?" The other Founders winced sympathetically.

"So how did they get back, if one of us didn't do it?" Rowena was clearly still confused.

"Ah," interjected Godric, "but one of us did. Myself, in fact." Being generally seen as the leader of the group, he commanded a great deal of respect, but this didn't stem the Ravenclaw sisters' outrage.

"You did WHAT? Do I really need to remind you, Godric Gryffindor, of the consequences of such an action?" Brenna was beginning to gather steam, startlingly remniscent of one Professor McGonagall at Hogwarts. "Even if they were to go back the instant they got there, their presence would have already caused no insignificant degree of change! And you know we aren't allowed to do things like this on a whim—even if it is your Heir and your bloody phoenix we're talking about!"

Godric seemed unfazed by this tirade. "Ah, ah, Brenna, Weena, but I've got clearance."

The remaining objections immediately quieted, with the exception of an indignant "Don't call me Weena!" from Ravenclaw. Clearance from "Upstairs" (as mysterious and shrouded in secrecy as it sounded) was terribly rare, especially for such a large change, and it was not given without good reason. Brenna still looked angry, though.

"Brenna, it's definitely better for the world if Dad's no-good Heir gets defeated," said Alexander Slytherin placatingly. "There's no telling the kind of havoc he'd wreak if the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord was dead. I know we're concerned with keeping the world on track, but that requires that we have a world to keep on track, and not just some huge conglomeration of Dark magic."

"Hear, hear!" said Paul Gryffindor. Ravenclaw semeed to have let go of her anger. "So, Dad, what will we do about it?"

"Keep them there," said Godric, "in 1976. They won't be able to go back, but they don't know that yet; I'm sure Dumbledore will come to that conclusion eventually. Actually, he'll probably ask us about it."

"And the sooner they make the oath, the better," said Alex. No clarification was needed as to which oath; it was the same one the Founders themselves had taken, an immensely powerful and binding piece of magic that still haunted Salazar for his betrayal. "I definitely doubt they'll be doing it before summer of '77, with James the pig-headed prat he is now—" at this, Godric gave a sharp "Hey!"— "but hopefully the werewolf incident will change things."

"Indeed," agreed Helga. "Those four Marauders are some of the strongest-willed and most loyal people I've seen in quite a while, but they really do need to grow up."

Various noises of agreement were heard in response.

"Well, we'll do our best," said Godric with finality. "We can give them little hints and clues—" the Ravenclaw sisters nodded; that was one of the things they did best— "but we can't beat Voldemort for them. We're not all-powerful, after all."

Paul Gryffindor couldn't resist a parting shot. "Yeah, what would be the fun in that?"

Back in the real world, Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger arrived in the Headmaster's office. To them, no time had passed during their trip.

It was going to be an interesting life. After all, they weren't going back. Ever.

Harry Potter sat with his friends around the fire in the Gryffindor common room. Everyone had gone from Dumbledore's office straight to Gryffindor Tower, not in the mood to do much else; the true fact of where they were would take a while to sink in, and nobody felt much like talking at the moment.

Back at Hogwarts. I never thought I'd see the place again. Harry sighed; it was nice to be able to actually relax for any given amount of time, especially in the one place he could really call "home." Voldemort doesn't even know we exist yet, he thought with a smile.

And he would get to see the people he cared about most in the world, the people he had loved and lost during the war. Dumbledore's alive! And my parents! And Sirius! Harry could barely suppress a bursting grin. It's before sixth year, so my dad is probably still a big-headed git, but Sirius just ran away from home. . . maybe that'll help? Who knows.

Really, I don't much want to leave. It's nice here. Calm, without Voldemort chasing us. And we don't actually have to do anything. They couldn't, really; if they destroyed a Horcrux while here, it could have devastating impacts on the future.

Maybe I'll be able to just be normal for once, thought Harry. Then he realized what he was thinking and snorted. "Normal" was a word that would probably never apply to any of the Potters.

We can still do research, though. . . I wonder how long until Hermione brings that one up?

"Erm. . . Harry?"

Right on target.

"Yes, Hermione?"

"I was wondering, well, we have three weeks here where we won't be doing much. We could probably find out some information on the Objects-That-Must-Not-Be-Named if we looked." The moniker had been coined by Ginny in exasperation at their inability to find any books that even mentioned the things; the word "Horcrux" seemed to be even more taboo than "Voldemort".

"Well," mused Harry, "there might be some books in the Restricted Section of this time. Or Dumbledore might know something—but if we ask him about Horcruxes, he'll either think we're really Dark or he'll make the obvious connection to Voldemort, which he can't because we know he didn't until our second year. . ."

"Don't you just love time travel?" asked Ginny mock-seriously in response to Harry's growing confusion. "Some birthday present I got—seeing my boyfriend confused for once!" They all broke out laughing, more to defuse the tension than anything else. Not changing the future was going to be really hard to keep up.

"Anyway, though, I'm sure we can find some stuff," Harry went on. "There's bound to be some good books about the Founders, I bet, plus we could all stand to learn some more Defense. Voldemort's not going to play nice, you know."

Impressively, Ron gave no sign of distress at the name. "Sounds good, but tomorrow, mate. I'm knackered."

Ron did look tired, and Harry was sure he did too; who knew time-travelling took so much out of you? "Well, I'm off to bed," he said. "Good night, Ginny, Hermione."

He walked up the stairs to the seventh-year boys' dormitory and plopped down on the closest bed. There were so many thoughts swirling through his head that he really didn't know what to think; here he was, twenty-one years in the past and unsure if he would ever get home.

Then reality of it finally hit him like a Bludger to the head. I'M REALLY IN THE PAST! I'M GOING TO SEE MY PARENTS!

And then, a more sobering thought: But they don't know me. And they can't, because it would change the future. And my dad's a git at this point in his life.

They won't really be my parents. But maybe they'll be my friends. And that would be a comfort.

Until we go back home. If we even can. There were so many uncertainties at the moment. Harry knew that if it was up to him, he would never leave this time; he knew just as well that he could never ask that of Ginny, and Ron, and Hermione, because they had families back home, people who loved them, whereas Harry only had the three people who had come with him . . .

Then he thought of his nobility streak in the wake of Dumbledore's death and grimaced. I really was being stupid, breaking up with Ginny like that. What was I thinking? We love each other! Thankfully, Harry had recognized his mistake ten times over during his required week at the Dursleys', and upon his arrival at the Burrow, he had been quite ready to ask—rather shamefacedly—for her to accept him back.

Ginny had agreed, very enthusiastically. The thought of that "agreement" still brought a smile to Harry's face.

And Harry had told Ginny everything—about the Horcruxes, the prophecy, the job ahead of them.

And Ginny had understood everything, and really wanted to help.

I'm surrounded by people who care about me. Really, truly, care about me.

It was a comforting thought; Harry had come to realize he would never get through this alone, and he would need all the help he could get. I suppose this is what Dumbledore meant by the "power the Dark Lord knows not". . .

And I will get through this. With all my friends intact.

And if we can't go back, maybe I can end this war for good.

Harry's thoughts became more and more abstract as he dozed off.

That would be nice.

And with that, Harry fell asleep.

(A/N: And we're off!

The Founders' Castle came from the Dangerverse. Thanks to Anne (whydoyouneedtoknow) for beta'ing this chapter.

The Marauders and Letha will be next chapter, as will Danger (amidst a REALLY big shock for Hermione—August 17, anyone?).

Things are going to get much worse before they get better. We are in the middle of a war, after all.

I plan to bring this fic through October 31, 1981 (and that date will have a different significance in this universe). It's going to be long, folks. Hopefully, I'll be able to finish the thing!

This is my first fic, so please try to be constructive with your reviews. I welcome questions and suggestions about where the story should go next; I do have an outline, but nothing much is set in stone yet.

Okay, now click that purple button and REVIEW!)