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Chapter Two
The Twins

“ Ahhhhh!”

“ Ahhhhh!”

The four time travellers looked up in alarm when they heard their door being pulled open and stared in shock at the two identical redheads standing in front of them.  Each had a look of surprise and disbelief on their face as they looked at the four in awe.

“ Fred?  George?” Ginny whispered.

“ Gin?” Fred gasped.

Ginny immediately threw herself at her startled brothers, throwing an arm around each of them and pulling them close.  They both slowly reciprocated the gesture when their little sister burst into tears.  Moments behind the younger girl, Ron rushed over and did the same.  Harry and Hermione watched the reunion in sadness, wishing they had someone to do that to as well.  Harry could see the tears pooling in Hermione's eyes, and leant forward, grasping one of her hands in his.

“ It'll be alright, `Mione.  You'll see your parents soon.”

The girl gave him a weak smile and nodded her head in agreement.  The pair turned to look out of the window, giving Ron and Ginny the privacy they needed.  After a few moments, the two youngest Weasleys pulled away, wiping their eyes and sitting down next to their respective other halves.  The twins stayed in the doorway for a minute before taking a seat, one next to each of their siblings.

“ Ok, I'm completely weirded out now.  Anyone care to explain why you guys look so different?” George asked.

Looking at each other closely, the four time travellers realised how different they really did look.  It wasn't just the fact that they were older and more mature than they had been.  Ron was taller, and had more muscles, built up from hours of sword training.  His hair had grown long again after the months he spent in Poland during 1944, and now once again resembled that of his older brother Bill.  He also had several scars from the same experience that hadn't been there before.  His face was more mature, and he looked even older that the eighteen years he had lived.  Harry was similarly afflicted.  The number of scars he had was greater than Ron's, also as a result of his capture two years before.  He was taller and stronger, but with a slighter build than his best friend.  The famous scar that was once again revealed to the world was easily visible on his forehead due to the short, spiky hair he now favoured.  His eyes looked bigger and more vibrant now that they were no longer hidden behind the large wire frames of his youth.  On closed inspection, his skin tone appeared paler than before, as if he spent little time in the sun, and his incisors were slightly longer, if not as visible as when he consciously bared his fangs.  Hermione and Ginny also looked older, having developed into beautiful young women, rather than the awkward teenagers they had been before.  They had a grace that was not present previously, and an inner strength gained from experience.  The thing that frightened the twins the most was what they saw in their companions' eyes.  They showed wisdom, experience and deep inner pain caused by too much suffering, a look that had not been there the last time they had looked.

“ Um…where to begin,” Ron started.

“ It's kind of complicated…” Ginny agreed.

“ Just tell us the short version.  How come when we saw you an hour ago you looked normal, and now you're all…”

“…big?  I mean, there's no…”

“…explanation.  You can't change that much…”

“…in such a short time!”

The twins gave the time travellers expectant looks, and the four sent each other conspiratorial glances.

~What are we going to tell them?~ Harry frantically asked the others.

~We'll have to tell them the truth~

~But, `Mione, Dumbledore might not want everyone to know~

~Ron, he'll have to tell everyone anyway.  We look too different.  There's no other explanation~

~We'll just have to edit what we tell them~ Harry decided.

~What do we need to miss out?~ Ginny asked.

~I don't want them to know about my son~ Harry decided.

~Why not?~ his girlfriend asked him.

~I just don't.  Not that many people know about him, actually.  Just you three, `Tea, Peeves, Lolide, Gaerwyn and Eustace.  I think that's all, I may have forgotten someone.  I don't even think Dumbledore knows.  I just don't want people to be disappointed in me when they find out I was a father at sixteen and left my girlfriend unmarried and alone to raise an illegitimate child.  I really don't think that would go over too well~

~Now that you mention it, I agree.  I think it's for the best if you don't tell them.  I don't want anyone to know about Grossrosen~ Hermione sent with a shudder.

~I agree, love.  I don't know what my family would say about that, and I really don't want to relive the memory of it by talking about it.  If they find out, they can talk to Dumbledore, or even Yanika~

~Is Yanika even still alive?~ Harry asked, ~I mean, she'd be about seventy five now~

~Or Amelia Logan.  She was old in 1944, and you know Muggles and squibs don't live as long as witches and wizards.  What about some of the older Order members?  Like Floribunda Sprout, Janus and Julianne McGonagall, Peter Black, Alice Sewell, Gaius Flitwick and Romulus Lupin~ Hermione listed.

~How about my grandparents and Aunt Heather?~ Harry asked, ~Surely I would have heard from them before if they were still alive~

~You'll have to ask Sirius~ his girlfriend comforted him, ~He might know~

“ Erm, excuse me?  Is anyone going to answer us or are you just going to sit there and stare at each other?”

Fred's voice effectively ended the telepathic conversation and brought the four back to the matter at hand.  Several minutes had passed, they realised, and the twins were becoming more bewildered by the moment.

“ Sorry, guys,” Harry apologised, “ We were just deciding what to tell you.”

“ But you weren't saying anything!”

“ Yes we were.”

“ How?”

~Like this~

Both twins jumped in surprise and put their hands over their ears, shaking their heads from side to side.

“ What was that!?” George exclaimed.

“ Telepathy,” Harry explained.

“ Since when could you do that

“ Two years.”

“ Two years!  And you never told us?!”

“ You weren't around to tell,” Harry told them.  They gave him blank looks until Ginny intervened.

“ You may not believe this, but we haven't seen you in three years.”

“ You saw us an hour ago, but…”

“…you looked different then,” George finished.

“ For us it's been three years.”

“ The train's not that boring.  I know it seems like a long journey, and time drags, but…”

“ George, you're not listening,” Ginny said, annoyed, “ We haven't been here for three years.  Hermione gave Harry a magic amulet for his birthday, right?  And then, he read about it in a book after we got on the train, and it said that if you hold the amulet while saying the words `tempus vehere', you would get great personal wealth…”

“ So we tried it, naturally,” Ron interjected.

“ And it transported us through time.  We've just gotten back.  That's why we look older.  We've lived three years since you saw us an hour ago.”

Fred and George gave the four friends amazed looks before turning to each other and communicating silently, as only twins could.  Turning back to the others, they both cracked up laughing.  Harry, Hermione, Ron and Ginny watched in bemusement as the pair fell onto the floor and held each other as they tried to recover from their hysterics.  When they had finally calmed down enough to speak, they looked up to the others, their eyes filled with mirth.

“ You really had us going…”

“…for a while there.  We thought…”

“…you were serious!  Gone for…”

“…three years.  Time travellers!  That's…”

“…the best prank we've seen…”

“…in a long time!”

“ It's not a prank,” Harry said seriously, looking at the twins lying on the floor.  His tone of voice made them look at him carefully, once again seeing that disturbing mix of sadness and knowledge in his eyes.  As they watched their friend, they began to realise that he wasn't joking.

“ You can't be serious…”

“ I mean, where did you go?  If it's not a joke, that is.”

“ It's not a joke,” Ron told them, “ We went to three different times, and spent a year in each.”

“ What times?” Fred asked, intrigued now that he thought they might be telling the truth.

“ Well, let's just say that Salazar Slytherin isn't as scary as everyone makes out, and Dumbledore had witnesses when he defeated Grindelwald,” Harry said evenly.

The twins gaped, their mouths flapping open and closed as they stared back at the four in front of them.

“ I'd close your mouths if I were you,” Hermione chastised, “ You might catch flies.”

The twins snapped their mouths shut and shook their heads lightly, as if to clear away the confusion.  Pulling themselves off the floor, they retook their seats and leant back, gathering their thoughts.  Eventually, George began to question them again.

“ So, are you telling us you met the founders?”

“ Yes, we did.  We were there the year Slytherin fell to Gryffindor.  Harry helped in his defeat, and saved Lord Gryffindor's life,” Ginny said.

“ And we were there during the war with Grindelwald.  We were there when he was defeated.  We also saw the effect of the Second World War on the Muggles,” Hermione continued.

“ And I got to see my parents in their fifth year,” Harry finished quietly.

The twins looked thoughtful for a moment before Fred asked them the obvious.

“ Prove it.”

“ How do you want us to do that?” Ron asked, “ Just name what we have to do to prove it.”

Fred and George gave it some thought before coming to a decision.

“ Talk to each other.  In the language to founders spoke.”

“ You mean like this?” Harry said, switching to Anglo-Saxon seamlessly.

“ I think that's what they mean,” Ginny answered in the ancient tongue.

“ Alright!” George whooped, “ That's amazing!  What else do you know?”

“ All sorts of things,” Hermione said, wandlessly conjuring a glass of water and taking a sip as the twins looked on in awe.”

“ You know wandless magic?!”

“ Yes, it's one of the first things we learned with the founders.”

“ Amazing!”

“ Wicked!”

“ Who else knows about this?” George asked, “ I mean, if you were here when Harry's parents were at school, then surely people know about this.”

“ We erased everyone's memories before we left.  The only ones that knew after that were Dumbledore and Harry's parents and grandparents, who obviously are dead, and can't tell anyone,” Ginny explained.

“ And of those who's memories we erased, only a few knew the truth.  A few knew we were time travellers, but didn't know our real names,” Hermione continued, “ And even those who did, we didn't tell them about the future in case they would change it.”

“ So, only Dumbledore knows,” Fred confirmed.

“ And Gaerwyn, Lolide, Peeves and Gallatea,” Harry announced, “ And my Aunt Heather if she's still alive, but she didn't know how we were related, just that we were.”

“ You have another aunt?” Fred asked in confusion.

“ And who are Gaerwyn, Lolide and Gallatea?” George added.

“ Heather is my other aunt, but everyone but us thinks she died in 1976.  So don't mention her.  Gaerwyn is my great-grandmother, and Lolide is her sister.  Gallatea is the Grey Lady.”

“ You know the Grey Lady?  As in, the Ravenclaw ghost?”

“ Of course.  She was my girlfriend.”

“ Your girlfriend

“ Yeah.  Gallatea Ravenclaw, daughter of Lady Rowena Ravenclaw.”

The twins seemed dumbfounded by this, but soon recovered.

“ So the only ones who know this apart from us are either dead, Obliviated, or ghosts.”

“ Yep, that about sums it up,” Ron nodded.

“ So, how old are you now?” Fred asked.

“ Well, Hermione, Ron and I are eighteen, and Ginny's seventeen.”

“ You mean, our baby brother's older than us, and out little sister is that same age?!” George asked in shock.

“ Yeah, we'll be in your year this year.  Should be fun!”

“ Yeah.”

A few moments later a strangled noise came from Hermione, interrupting everyone's thoughts.  The girl had gone rather pale, and seemed to be thinking hard.  She then turned to everyone else.

“ What if Dumbledore doesn't want to explain this to the school?  What if he wants to keep it hidden?”

“ He can pretend we grew up a bit over the summer,” Ron decided, “ I mean, no-one got that good a look at us at the station, and the only ones who've been to see us on the train are the twins, and they know the truth.”

“ That's not true Ron,” she continued, “ The twins aren't the only ones to see us like we were.  Don't you remember three years back when we were here?  We had a visitor…”

“ Who?”

“ Malfoy.”

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