They appeared in front of him without a sound, without motion, so inconspicuously that a passerby not staring directly at the space they suddenly occupied would not have noticed any disturbance of the still night air. They were simply there, meeting the unshaven, tiredly eager young man's eyes calmly and casually. Blue. Green. Yellow. Crimson. Together again at last, as if the past two years had not seen them apart.

"Rowena," Godric murmured softly, stepping forward to embrace each of them in turn. "Helga, Salazar. Has it really been so long?"

- le time-passes ((sorry still haven't figured out how to let me put in dashes)) -

The four were seated around a thick wooden table marked with scratches and half-rings, well worn and fitting perfect with the rest of the room. Godric's dining room was dingy but warm, draped in crimson-and-gold fabrics – the colours of his ancestors – and full of short bookshelves and shining swords hanging from the thick stone walls; a fire popped and crackled in the ash-covered hearth. Mugs of ale had been emptied and pushed to the middle of the table. Only Slytherin's had been left untouched; the thin, dark-complexioned young man inspected his fingernails intently, seemingly uninterested in the conversation going on in front of him, though quietly absorbing and storing every word uttered.

"We cannot deny that we have great knowledge," the grey-eyed, slender young woman across the table pressed earnestly. "Our wisdom is a wealth that we are privileged to possess, and to let that wealth languish uncultivated would be a sin equal to losing it forever to the hands of death or of time. It is simply wrong to sit here and do nothing, when we have such a gift to give." She looked from one face to another, her chest straining against her flowing blue-and-silver gown as she leaned forward.

"Yes, Rowena. We have a great gift, it is true." The other woman spoke softly, with hesitance but with determination. "But how are we to share it? All of the schools in London are, as Salazar has said, either utterly inadequate or not seeking teachers. Or both. How are we to use these skills of ours when there is no place?"

There was silence. Helga pushed her chestnut locks back from her face thoughtfully, her graceful fingers distracting themselves.

Godric spoke, with a hint of excitement, his eyes gleaming as an idea began to formulate deep in the recesses of his mind. "Why not start a school, then? You say that London is not an adequate place for us to use our talents; then, let us pursue them elsewhere!"

"A school," Rowena mused. "Perhaps."

"It is perfect," breathed Helga. "We shall create it ourselves, truly master and share what we have discovered.

Godric nodded, visibly struck by this new thought. The three could see that he was taking hold of this future – a wizarding school, run solely by them – and it was uttered speechlessly throughout the room that it would be difficult now to dissuade him. The fiercely determined young man had not yet given up on an idea after he had claimed and dedicated himself completely to it.

For a while none spoke, taking a moment to commit themselves. It was truly going to happen, then. Soon.

Then, finally, Salazar uttered his quiet, cadenced words.

"Then we shall proceed. I propose that we leave in a fortnight's time, travel north. There are resources there, and it is best to begin where there is nothing. It will be easier there."

The others nodded, Helga's hands shaking slightly, Godric with a smile and eyes blazing, Rowena's mind already elsewhere, thinking of lessons and mythology and threshold defenses (all of which were related somehow).

The planning unfolded itself across hours and days and bodies. It would never be truly finished, but it evolved. The various homes of the four founders of the new school expanded, tables littered with lists of supplies and coursework ideas and architectural plans and drinking mugs. Their minds hardly rested, always thinking ahead, anticipating challenges and joys and mundane everyday duties. And as the plans came together – not completely, of course, but partly and mostly – they grew used to this new future, and looked forward to that first day when they departed their lives to seek something entirely foreign.

It was beginning.