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Chapter Thirty-Two
Summer's End

The two weeks following the trip to Diagon Alley were spent in much the same way as the two before.  In addition to training and reading, the four time travellers were also taking some time to teach Dumbledore a few useful tricks they knew he would need in the future.  As most of Grindelwald's followers had now been caught, they had some free time on their hands.  He had progressed well at the beginning in wandless magic, as he had been practicing for months.  However, he seemed to have come to a standstill at a level approximately equal to a third year student.  Harry had anticipated this, and had warned the headmaster before their lessons had even started, but the man was still a little disappointed.  To make up for it, though, Harry had taken the headmaster aside one day and asked him if he wanted lessons in invisibility.  The Boy-Who-Lived had been thinking back to his first year when Dumbledore had caught him looking at the Mirror of Erised.  He had been invisible without the help of an invisibility cloak, and the only way Harry could think that he would have learned it would be if one of the four had taught it to him.  Hermione, Ginny, Ron and Minh had thought it strange when their friend and the headmaster disappeared for two days.  They had holed up in a distant part of the East Tower, where nobody could find them.  There, Harry had been able to pass on the secrets of invisibility without distractions.  It had taken the older man two whole days to master it, but it had been worth it in the end.  Both emerged exhausted, but satisfied.

The highlight of the second week was Harry's birthday.  With all that had been going on, especially Dumbledore's lessons, it quickly became apparent to the others that the boy had completely forgotten about it.  Gaerwyn, Lolide and Minh had taken it upon themselves to organise a traditional elven birthday celebration for him.  The night before, after Harry had retired to his room with a book for the night, the three had gone to the ball room and done the decorations.  After that, they had headed down to the kitchens to sort out the food.  For the occasion, they had enlisted the help of some of the Hogwarts house elves, who had been thrilled to leave the castle for a while.  When everything was ready, they headed to bed themselves, charming themselves with elven magic to make sure they were up before Harry.

The morning of the 31st July, Harry woke from a rare pleasant dream about chickens and chocolate frogs to the sound of faint music.  Sitting up in his bed in confusion, he listened for a minute to determine where the sound was coming from.  Unable to discover the source from where he was, he went into the bathroom and cleaned up, before throwing on a purple robe and heading out of the room.  As he made his way to the ground floor, the music seemed to be getting louder, and he realised that he recognised it from somewhere but couldn't quite put his finger on where he had heard it before.  When he reached the bottom of the staircase, he realised it was coming from the ball room.  Opening the doors cautiously, he poked his head in the door and gasped in surprise.  All of his friends, including Gallatea, Peeves, Eustace, Gaerwyn and Lolide were stood in the room facing him, the Order of the Phoenix in its entirety standing behind them.  He suddenly realised what the music was.  It was a traditional elven birthday song.  A grin spread across his face when it occurred to him what day it was.  Opening the doors fully, he stepped into the room and looked around.  The ceiling and walls were decorated in leaves and vines, with light blue material draped here and there; making it feel like it was outdoors.  The enchanted ceiling, much like the one in the Great Hall at Hogwarts, only added to the effect.  A long table was set in the middle of the room replacing the Order table, and it was covered in a yellow cloth, with various elven decorations adorning it.  At one end was a large pile of presents from all of the guests, and the rest of the table had dishes with various elven breakfast foods.  Beaming in delight, Harry went over and hugged his friends.

“ This is just…amazing!  However did you manage to do all this?”

“ It was Gaerwyn's idea,” Ginny told him, “ She, Lolide and Minh spent all of last night getting it ready.  They thought you would appreciate a traditional elven birthday party.”

“ I do, it's really great, thank you.”

“ Yes, and just think of all we can learn from this…”

“ Hermione!”

“ What, Ron?  Just because we're celebrating Harry's birthday doesn't mean I can't take the opportunity to learn something about elven culture.”

Harry could see an argument coming on, so he slipped away to greet the rest of his guests and thank them all for coming.  Once the greetings were out of the way, everyone sat down to a hearty elven breakfast, the food served that which most at the table had never seen before.  After breakfast, everyone headed outside, where a quidditch tournament was organised.  With the entire Order there, they had enough people to make up four teams, although most had to borrow brooms from the broom shed, as they didn't have their own.  Harry summoned his own broom, the handmade one he had received the year before from Gallatea, and flew into the air.  Thinking of his broom brought memories of his last birthday, and a deep sadness filled him when he thought about his friends, especially Ardwick and Christabel, who he could no longer see.  The pain was a little less where `Tea and Peeves were concerned, as he could see them any time.  Thinking of the two ghosts, he looked over to where they were sitting in the stands next to Hermione and Ginny.  The four had been split up, with one on each team to make the tournament more interesting.

Three hours later, everyone headed back inside Domus Corvus Corax for a shower and a change of clothes before heading down to the ball room for lunch.  The meal was just as superb as breakfast had been, with people delighting over the exotic dishes.  Once everyone was sated, Dumbledore suggested Harry open his presents.  With a large smile, he made his way over to the large pile and picked one off the top.  Seeing it was from Hermione, he pulled the yellow and black wrapping off to reveal a first edition copy of Hogwarts, a History.  

“ Wow, Hermione.  I guess I'll have to read this now.”

The bushy haired girl just smiled.  Despite all of the studying Harry had been doing over the last couple of years, he had never gotten around to reading the infamous Hogwarts, a History.  Moving back to the table, Harry picked up the next present, which was from Eustace and Ron.  Opening it up, he found a new trunk carved with elegant winged leopards.  Staring at the beautiful thing in shock, he gently opened the lid to reveal a large assortment of prank items from Zonko's.  

“ Thanks, guys.  This must have cost a fortune.”

“ It wasn't too bad.  I mean, I have plenty of money, haven't I?”

“ True, Ron.  When did you get this, though?  I mean, the carving is exquisite, and you must have ordered it…”

“ I ordered it when we went to Diagon Alley.  I had it sent over when it was finished.  I hope you like it.”

“ I love it!  I was needing a new trunk anyway.”

“ Yeah, your old one's getting a bit bashed.”

Harry then opened the present from Ginny, which he found to be a silver seal ring with the image of ouroboros on it, a small raven appearing in the centre.  The picture was identical to his tattoo.

“ Ginny, I don't know what to say…”

“ Well, I thought it suited you.  After all, you are a Ravenclaw, and ouroboros, so I thought you could use it for letters and stuff…”

“ Thanks.”

“ You're welcome.”

Next came Dumbledore's gift, which was several boxes of wartime Muggle chocolate, including `Lucky Numbers', `Fry's Five Boys' and the aptly named `Black Magic'.  Harry smiled and thanked the headmaster.  From his elven friends he received several elven books that had been written since the last ones he had received 950 years ago.  Once all of the presents were opened, everyone played some elven party games before sitting down to dinner.  The meal was wonderful, and Harry was overwhelmed when Lolide came up from the kitchens singing the elven version of `Happy Birthday', carrying a large cake.  It was covered in pale green icing and was decorated with fondant leaves and shining silver elven runes.  Harry gave a big smile and blew out his candles, thinking what a wonderful day it had been.


A few days after Harry's birthday the time came when the elves were going back to their own world.  They had been planning to go for a while, and now that most of the enemy had been caught and the Order didn't need them any more, they were ready to go back to Falaryth.  For one thing, Lolide and Gaerwyn were missing their parents, and Minh was missing all of her friends.   The day before she was due to leave, Harry had been helping her to pack when she started to get a little emotional.  They had been working quietly for a while, when she suddenly turned to him and threw her arms around his neck with a sob.  Pulling her close to him, Harry stroked her back and made soothing noises.  When she started to calm down, he sat her on his knee and started to talk to her in her own language, which helped her to relax.

“ Minh, what's wrong?”

“ I'm sorry, Harry, it's just…I'm really going to miss you.”

“ I'm going to miss you too, honey, but there's nothing we can do.  I have to move on to another time, and you have to go back to your own world.  At least I'll get to see you on September 1st before I leave.  I hear you'll be arriving at Hogwarts in the morning, and I don't go until lunch time.  Anyway, you still have Eustace, and `Tea.  They'll take care of you.”

“ But it's not the same!  I mean, Eustace is a great friend, but the rivalry between Hufflepuff and Gryffindor might hurt our friendship.  It wasn't so bad this year, because we were a group and all in different Houses, but if it's just the two of us…”

“ Minh, the pair of you are good friends.  If there's one thing I've learned from being in three different Houses, it's that friendship can transcend House rivalries.  The House we are put in is determined by the strongest characteristics of our personalities.  Friendships with other Houses can make us understand other people better.  I know this for a fact, because I have experience with every House but Slytherin, and I have changed as a person.  We can all influence each other, whether for better or for worse.  And always try to remember, you are in different Houses for your different personality traits.  But opposites attract, after all.  If you work as a team, you will do better if there is variety.  Don't worry so much, Minh.”

“ Harry, I'm really going to miss having someone to make me feel better.  You're like my big brother, the same as you are for Eustace.  You would have made a great father.”

“ You think?  I don't.  I'm too young.  I haven't seen enough of the world…”

“ Harry, you've seen and experienced more than most.  I think if anyone's prepared, it's you.”

“ I have no parenting skills.  My parents died when I was one year old, and the Dursleys weren't exactly good role models.  Sometimes, I think it's for the best that I didn't have a hand in raising my son.  I would have made a royal mess of it.”

“ Harry, you have to learn to have faith in yourself.”

“ I do have faith in myself!”

“ No, you have faith in your abilities as a wizard and a warrior.  You don't have faith in yourself as a person.  You're starting to buy into this whole hero thing that people see you as.  The image of a perfect warrior without a real person behind it is starting to sink in.  If you don't trust more in yourself as a person, as a real human with feelings and needs, you'll eventually be pulled into the darkness like Grindelwald.  You have so much to give, Harry.  Don't waste it.”

“ When did you become so insightful?  For a first year, you seem awfully mature in your logic.”

“ You forget, Harry.  I'm an elf.  I may only be twelve of your years old, but in my world, I've lived a lot longer.  I'm still a child by elf standards, but I still know a fair few things.  Plus, elves are slightly empathic by nature, so I can sense some of what you're feeling.”

“ You know what's funny?”

“ What?”

“ I was supposed to comfort you, and you ended up being the one to sort out my problems.”

“ Well, you were successful to some extent.  You took my mind off leaving.”

“ I guess I did, Minh.  I guess I did.”


The next day everyone was assembled in the ball room to see the elves off.  The whole Order of the Phoenix had turned up, as well as Gallatea, Peeves and Eustace.  Lolide, Gaerwyn and Minh all had their bags packed and piled in the middle of the room.  After they checked for the last time that they had everything, Dumbledore stepped forward.

“ I would personally like to thank you all for the help you have given us over the last four months.  Without your participation, I doubt we would have defeated our enemies at all.”

“ You are welcome, Albus,” Gaerwyn told the man, before shaking his hand.  

Turning to the four time travellers and Eustace, the three went over and hugged them each, promising to see them again soon.  Harry got an extra long hug from Gaerwyn and Lolide, and once Minh had her arms around him she clutched on tight and started to sob.

“ I don't want to go, Harry.  I'm really going to miss you.”

“ Shush, Minh, it'll be alright.  You'll see me in a month anyway, and I'm sure I'll meet up with you when we get to our next time period.  After all, our own time is only fifty years away.  That's nothing to an elf.”

“ I know, but I'll still miss you.  I love you, Harry.  You're my big brother, part of my family.”

“ I know, little sis, I love you too.”

By this time most of the assembled people had tears in their eyes.  It was obvious that the friends didn't want to part, but the elves had to go back to their own world.  The two sisters looked at each other for a few minutes, communicating with their eyes, before reaching a decision.  Lolide stepped forward and cleared her throat.

“ Harry, would you and your friends like to come with us for a little while?  We have enough room to house the five of you, and you could stay for a month or so in our world.”

“ Do you really mean that?” the boy beamed.

“ Of course.  You have already been accepted in our world, so you won't have any problems.  Your friends, though, might be met with hostility.  The offer stands, but it is your decision, and the decisions of your friends.”

Switching to English, Harry turned to Hermione, Ron, Eustace and Ginny.

“ Lolide wants to know if you guys want to go on a little trip to the elf world for a month or so.”

“ Really?” Hermione squealed, “ Imagine how much we could learn…”

“ For once I agree with `Mione.  Just think, I could practice with elven archers,” Ginny exclaimed.

“ One thing though, Harry.  We can't speak their language, and the translation spell doesn't work for non-human languages,” Ron pointed out.

“ I see your point.  It's not like we can do a knowledge transference spell, either, because that won't work, just like we didn't learn it from Lady Ravenclaw.  If you want to come, I can translate for you.”

“ Alright then, if Amelia and John agree,” Eustace chipped in.

“ It's alright by us.  We'll just have to pop home for your things…”

“ I'll go now.”

“ See you soon, Eustace.  Guys, if any of you want to come, I suggest going and packing.”

With nods from the other three, the group quickly ran up to their rooms and packed for the trip.


Twenty minutes later everyone was gathered in the ball room with their things.  With a last wave to the assembled crowd, the group of eight disappeared in a flash of blue light.  When they arrived, Hermione, Ginny, Ron and Eustace stared around Falaryth with wide eyes.  They had never seen anything so beautiful and magical in their lives.  Harry stood to one side next to Minh, smirking at the amazed looks on his friends' faces.

“ Do you think they like it?” he asked the young elf.

“ I get the impression they do.”

“ Good.  I never thought they'd get to see it, and I don't think they thought they would either.”

“ Well, I was a little surprised at my aunt's offer.  I mean, bringing one human who knows our culture and has elf blood into our world is one thing, but to bring people completely ignorant of our ways is another.  We will help them, of course, but I can't help but feel they will be met with hostility.”

“ We'll just have to remind them to be respectful at all times, and see if we can bring some of the more biased elves around.  It may be a good thing they came.  Lolide originally taught me about your kind so I could help repair the rift between your people and mine.  I started that the last time I was here, and now I want your people to see that not all humans are bad.”

“ True.  This may be a complete disaster, but it could be the opportunity we've been waiting for in the reconciliation of our people.”

“ I certainly hope so, Minh.  I certainly hope so.”


The month spent with the elves passed by a lot more smoothly than anyone had been expecting.  Gaerwyn and Lolide's parents had taken to the new arrivals instantly, but it had taken a lot more for the rest of the elves to come around.  Most had been outraged to find five humans in their world, especially when four of them couldn't even speak their language.  They saw it as an insult.  However, after two weeks of careful avoidance of the ringleaders, and showing a great deal of respect to all of the natives, Hermione, Ron, Ginny and Eustace were eventually, if reluctantly, accepted.  Minh and Harry had their work cut out translating for them, but they didn't mind too much.

Most of the younger elves were very excited at seeing so many humans.  They had obviously met Harry before, but to them it was a new experience seeing how humans interacted with each other on a day to day basis.  After only a few days the group was going on trips with the young elves, most of which were good friends of Minh.  They went to the south one day, and spent several hours playing in a pool of water near to the river.  Another day they went to a waterfall that if looked at in the evening, appeared to shine a bright red from the reflected sunset.  They even spent three days in the woods at one point on a camping trip.  It was safe for them, as one of the elves' older sister went with them.  Hermione was having a wonderful time learning all about the plants growing in the woods.

As for the adults, after the initial shock they got used to their presence, even including them in some of their activities.  Much to Ginny's delight, she and the other three time travellers were invited on one of the elven hunting trips.  It was a dream come true for Ginny, as she had always wanted to practice her archery with such skilled bowmen.  

Over the course of the month, the four who had never been there before decided that they could see why Harry liked coming so much.  To them, it was a wonderful experience, and they wouldn't trade it for the world.  However, they realised towards the end of their trip that they were ready to go home.  Yet from the way they saw Harry interacting with everyone there, he was much more at home.  They got the impression that given the choice between staying there or going back to the human world, he would choose to live in Falaryth permanently.  The last night before they were due to leave, Ron and Harry were sitting out on one of the balconies overlooking the settlement, gazing up at the stars, when the redhead asked his friend about this.

“ Harry mate, you really seem to like it here.”

“ What's not to like, Ron?  They lead such peaceful lives here.  It's a big contrast to back home.  When I'm here, I don't feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders.  There are no Dark Lords or Death Eaters, no raving fans or Rita Skeeters.  I can be `just Harry', and no-one cares.”

“ You like it because it's peaceful?  Wouldn't you get bored after a while?”

“ No, I don't think I would.  Here, I'm not the Boy-Who-Lived.  I have a family, if not by blood then by love.  I feel like I fit in here, like I never did in the human world.  I don't know what it is, but if I had the choice, I'd stay here.”

“ Do you think you will?  When we get home and you defeat You-Know-Who, I mean.”

“ What, as a place to retire?”

“ Yeah, I guess so.”

“ I might do.  In fact, if I survive the final battle, it's highly likely.”

The pair sat in silence for a few more minutes before finally going back inside to pack.  Ron had given Harry a lot to think about, and the more he considered his options, the more likely it seemed in his mind that if he came here after the final battle, he wouldn't go back.


When it was time for the five humans to go back home, there were a lot of tears shed.  Some of their new friends came to see them off, and were sorry to see them go, but Minh and Harry were the worst.  Minh couldn't stop crying, and even Harry shed a tear or two.  But there was nothing they could do.  The humans had to go back to their own world sooner or later, and the elves had to get on with their own lives.

With a flash of blue light and a familiar *pop*, the five friends appeared back in the ball room of Corvus Corax, coincidentally right in the middle of an Order meeting.  Without saying anything, the four members sat down at the table while Eustace went to the kitchens to get something to eat.  Looking to Dumbledore, Harry asked the obvious question.

“ What's going on?  Why is there a meeting?”

“ Well, we were just discussing you, as a matter of fact, Harry.”

“ What were you saying?”

“ We were just wondering what was going to happen to the Order once you leave.”

“ Well, I've thought of that.  I was planning to do this on the first of September, but seeing as you're all here, I may as well get it over and done with.”

“ Get what over and done with?  We were just saying how the Order can be abolished now that the threat from Grindelwald is gone.”

“ Yes, that threat is gone, but there will be a new threat emerging in about twenty years time.  Trust me, I know.  When the time comes, I ask that the Order is re-established, with you, Professor Dumbledore, as its leader.”

“ Harry, you are our leader and the founder of our group.  I can't take over.”

“ You did while I was in captivity, and you did a wonderful job.  Even better than I could have done.  Who am I to deny the most able man for the job the position of leader?  It would be for the good of the Order, and you know it.”

“ Well, if you're sure, Harry.”

“ I am.  Now, to secure the deal, I have a special request.”

“ Anything, Harry.”

“ I would like you to take care of Fawkes for me when I leave.  If you are to lead the Order, Fawkes needs to be with you to approve of new members.  Once I return to my own time and can rejoin on a permanent basis, I will take back custody of him.  In the meantime, though, I ask you to give him a home.”

“ Of course, if you're sure.”

“I am.”

With a great sigh, Harry reached into his pocket and pulled out a small gold object and pushed it across the table to the headmaster.  Dumbledore looked at it a moment before realising it was a vault key.  Looking up at the young man opposite him, he stared at him questioningly.  Harry thought it best to elaborate.

“ If you are to head the Order in the future, you will need a base of operations.  Before I leave this time, I will reset the wards on Corvus Corax to my specifications.  Thereafter, it will be open for the use of the Order whenever it is needed, although I ask that you respect the fact that this is my home, and I don't want anything meddled with.  The key I have just given you is to a vault in Gringotts bank.  It contains approximately three billion galleons, and the amount will continue to grow.  You are free to use the money therein to fund any Order related operations.  I trust this is enough.”

“ Harry, I don't know what to say,” the astonished headmaster exclaimed, “ I don't know how I can accept such generosity.”

“ It's not a matter of generosity, sir.  The Order is there to fight the dark forces, and I wish to help in any way I can.  I trust my offers will not be exploited while I am gone.”

“ Of course not.  You can trust me.”

“ I know I can, that is why I am leaving you as leader.  Now, if everything is sorted, I think my friends and I would like to go and unpack.”

The four time travellers stood up from the table, leaving the amazed Order members sitting there for a while before they came out of their stupors and continued their meeting.


Two weeks before the new school year was to begin, Amelia and John Logan flooed through to Domus Corvus Corax to seek out the four friends.  After searching the ground floor, they headed outside, where they found them lying on the beach by the lake, sunbathing.  The couple was relieved to see the deathly pallor the group had acquired while being held prisoner had finally disappeared.  In the weeks since their rescues, they had gained weight and were looking a lot healthier.  Grabbing their attention, Amelia stepped forward to address the teenagers.

“ Hello you four, long time no see.”

“ Hello, Amelia.”

“ Hey, Amelia.”

“ Nice to see you again.”

“ How are you.”

“ We're both fine, dears.  We came to ask if you wanted to come and spend the last two weeks at our house.  I know Eustace would be thrilled, and we could take you to the presentation ceremony for your Order of Merlin awards.”

“ That would be great, thanks,” Hermione beamed.

“ Well then, just pop around later sometime before tea and that'll give you time to pack.”

“ Alright, thank you,” Ginny called after them.

A couple of hours later found the four packed and ready to go.  Heading into the portkey room, they apparated one by one to the Logans' house.  When they got there, they were met by Amelia bustling around trying to get everyone organised.  Being led upstairs with their belongings, they soon found they were being placed in the same rooms as they were in last time.  Once they had unpacked they headed down for dinner, where they got to see Eustace again after such a long time.  The younger boy was thrilled at seeing his friends again, especially Harry.


The days leading up to the presentation ceremony were filled with trips into Muggle London, or into the countryside.  Sometimes, they would stay at home if the weather was bad, preferring to play board games and talk about what had happened to them over the holidays.  Amelia and John were amazed to hear about the wonders of the elf world.  They had heard all about it from Eustace when he first came back, but hearing it from other perspectives made the whole experience more real.  Harry especially painted a wonderful picture of the elven world, telling them the more subtle aspects that none of the others had picked up on.

Eventually, the time came, a week before school was to start, when the presentation ceremony for the Order of Merlin awards was to be held.  The event itself was to be held in Diagon Alley, where the Minister for Magic would give out the plaques and they would sign official acceptance documents.

Dressed in their best formal robes, the group flooed or apparated to Diagon Alley at nine o'clock in the morning.  The ceremony wasn't due to start until eleven, so that gave them all time do get a little shopping done.  Harry broke off from the other six, and headed down Knockturn Alley to get some rare and somewhat illegal potions ingredients.  He had finished his most recent book, and wanted to try out some of the potions in it.  He had the knowledge of the potions, but he didn't have the practical experience.  Once he had visited the apothecary, he headed back to Diagon Alley where he found a small, out of the way shop with a sign in the window advertising a portrait painting service.  Heading inside, the Boy-Who-Lived went up to the counter and caught the attention of an elderly witch sitting there, looking through an issue of Witch Weekly.

“ Um, excuse me.”

“ Yes dear, what can I do for you?”

“ I would like a photograph turned into a painting, please.”

“ Of course.  Could I see it, please?”

Harry dug around in his robe pocket and pulled out a copy of the photograph taken by Ginny on the last day of term, the one showing the whole school.  He was planning to have this one turned into a painting, much like the one that was in the painting room in Corvus Corax showing the school of last year.  He wanted one for each place they visited, as it would be a permanent reminder of all of the people they had met.  Handing it over, the old witch looked at it for a few minutes before placing it to one side.  Taking out a piece of parchment and a quill, she prepared to write down the specifications.

“ Now, what size do you want it to be, dear?”

“ About 36 inches high and 52 inches long.”

“ What wood would you like the frame to be?”

“ Mahogany.”

“ And what clarity?”

“ As clear as possible.”

“ You do understand this is going to cost quite a bit, young man?”

“ I have the money, don't worry.”

“ Very well.  That'll be 26 galleons and 12 sickles.”

Harry took out his money bag and counted out the correct amount of coins.  After putting it in a safe place, the witch called a man in from the back room and handed him the parchment and photograph.

“ It will be ready in about two weeks.  Will you be collecting it, or would you like me to have it owled?”

“ Could you owl it to a mansion called Domus Corvus Corax.”

“ My, what a funny name.  Can't say I've ever heard of it.”

“ Not many people have.”

“ Well, I'll have it sent there as soon as it's ready.”

“ Thank you.”

That done, Harry left the shop and headed to the end of Diagon Alley where the ceremony was to be held.  A large pavilion had been set up for the occasion, with a stage at the front and row upon row of uncomfortable looking seats facing towards it.  Most of the seats were already occupied with dozens of reporters with Quick Quotes Quills, and photographers with wizarding cameras flashing every two seconds.  Making his way to the front, Harry spotted Dumbledore, Hermione, Ron and Ginny sitting on the first row.  Amelia, Eustace and John were right behind them, looking excited.  Heading over, the green eyed boy dropped down next to the headmaster, sending him a quick mental message.

~Professor, could I ask you a favour?~

~Of course, Harry, anything~

~I've ordered a painting for Corvus Corax.  It's a copy of the photograph taken by Ginny of the whole school on the last day of term.  I'm having it delivered to my house in two weeks time.  Could you make sure it's hung next to the one like it in the portrait room?~

~Of course I can~

~Thank you, sir~

Their conversation was interrupted by the Minister standing up on the stage and putting a sonorous charm on his throat.  Coughing politely to get everyone's attention, he waited until the noise level dropped before addressing the crowd.

“ Ladies, gentlemen, I would like to welcome you here today to help me celebrate the bravery and sheer heroism of five individuals, without whom we would still be at war.  First, I would like to ask Professor Albus Dumbledore, esteemed Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, to step up onto the stage.”

The older wizard stood and made his way to the front and onto the stage, stopping when he reached the Minister.  The man turned back to the crowd once the headmaster was there and continued his speech.

“ Professor Dumbledore is receiving this award for his outstanding efforts against the Dark Forces, both in the Battle of Hogwarts in October and the Battle of Paris in March.  In addition, it was this courageous man who finally rid the wizarding world of the tyrannical Grindelwald.  Albus Dumbledore, it is with great pleasure I present to you an Order of Merlin, First Class.”

The crowd cheered as Dumbledore shook the Minister's hand and accepted the engraved plaque.  Before leaving the stage, he signed an official acceptance document allowing him to add the title to the end of his name in official documentation.  He then took his seat next to Harry and waited for the spectators to quieten down.  Next, the four time travellers were called up.

“ Next I would like to ask Hermione Granger, Harry Evans, Virginia Weston and Ronald Weston to join me on the stage.”

The four stood and made their way over; Harry cringing when the cameras flashed.  He had had some bad experiences with the press in the past, and tried to avoid reporters and cameramen wherever possible.  After shaking the Minister's hand, the speech continued.

“ Ladies and gentlemen, we have here four model Hogwarts students.  Aged only seventeen, they have all faced the Dark Forces several times, at the battle of Hogwarts, the Battle of Paris, in an isolated Muggle torturing incident in December, and in the final battle.  They were also captured for two months by the enemy, and lived to tell the tale.  From what I have heard of their achievements, they deserve these awards.  I am proud to present each of these four students an Order of Merlin, First Class.”

The noise was deafening as the four accepted their plaques, shook the Minister's hand, and signed the documents.  Looking out, they ignored the paparazzi and stared at the smiling faces of their friends.  Dumbledore looked amused, which could be seen by the twinkle in his blue eyes.  Eustace was beaming up at them in adoration, and the Logans looked exceedingly proud.  As they stepped down from the stage, Harry had only one thought.  My family's proud of me.


August 31st finally came, much to the disappointment of the four time travellers.  They had mixed feelings about the next day, as it would be both a happy and sad occasion.  They would be flooing to Corvus Corax early in the morning, from where they would floo into Harry's room, as it was the only way to use the network to get into the castle.  Eustace was going with them, as well as the Logans, as they wanted to see the teens off.  The four were sad about leaving, as they would miss all of their friends, especially Minh and Eustace.  At least they knew that Peeves and `Tea would still be there when they got to their next time.  However, with the other two there was no guarantee of them ever seeing each other again.  On the other hand, they were excited about their new destination.  They didn't know if this jump would take them home, or if they would see another time.  If they didn't get home, they were trying to think of good times for them to arrive.  For all they knew, their destination could be only two or three years after they left.

After a morning spent with Eustace, they headed upstairs after lunch to make sure they had packed everything.  When they go to Corvus Corax, they would be having a quick look in their rooms to make sure they hadn't forgotten anything.  Mid afternoon, they were back downstairs, having a chess tournament.  The peace of Ron and Hermione's game was broken by four owls tapping at the window.  Standing up, Ginny let them in and relieved them of their letters.  As she handed them out, she realised what they were.

“ Oh, Merlin, you know what these are, don't you?”

“ The OWL results!  How could I have forgotten?”

“ Hermione forgetting about the OWLs!  The world is ending…”

“ Ron!”

“ What?”

“ Shush everyone.  Let's open our letters and see what we got.  They can't be that bad,” Harry interjected.

Holding their envelopes, the four opened them at the same time and looked at the parchment.  Hermione squealed with delight and ran over to her boyfriend, enveloping him in a hug.

“ Hermione, I can't breathe.”

“ Sorry, Ron.  I'm just happy.  Look, I got 12 grade `O' OWLs!”

“ That's really great, `Mione.”

“ What did you get?”

“ Well, as you know, I didn't take all of the subjects like you and Harry did, so I only got 9.”

“ That's still good.  What grades?”

“ Grades `E' for everything except Potions and History of Magic, which I got grade `A's for.”

“ That's still good, considering you missed two months of school.”

“ Yeah, I'm happy with that. If we hadn't come on this crazy trip and I had done them normally, I doubt I would have done that well, so I'm pleased enough.  Hey, what did you get, Gin.”

Ginny looked down at her paper before looking back at Ron.  Like her brother, she had only taken the exams for the subjects she had taken classes for.  Personally, she thought Harry and Hermione were crazy for taking exams in subjects they had taught themselves, but unlike Ron she wouldn't say that out loud.  Clearing her throat, she told them what she got.

“ I got nine, like Ron, and seven were grade `O', and two were grade `E'.”

“ That's good, Gin.”

“ Yeah, I'm pleased with that.  What did you get, Harry?”

“ Same as `Mione.  Twelve grade `O's.”

“ Well done.”

“ Yeah, mate, that's great.”

The happy four ran into the kitchen where Eustace and the Logans were sitting to tell them the good news.  They finally felt like they achieved something on their own, and not because of a knowledge transference.  While they were pleased to know ancient magic, they did feel like they were cheating a bit.  But now they had something to show their families when they got home.  Something they did on their own, and that they were proud of.


That night Harry couldn't sleep, so he slipped into Eustace's room to see if the younger boy was still up.  Seeing a faint light coming through the curtains, he headed over and peeked through at his `brother'.  As soon as he spotted Harry, Eustace put aside the book he was reading and moved up, making space for the older boy to sit down.

“ You couldn't sleep either, then?”

“ No.  I couldn't stop thinking about tomorrow, and leaving.  I'm really going to miss you little brother.”

“ I'm going to miss you, too.  Can I still go to Domus Corvus Corax?  I want to visit the statue room, you know, go and see Persephone's monument…”

“ Of course you can.  Actually, I have a few things that I would like you to have.”

“ You don't have to give me anything, Harry…”

“ But I want to.  Now, if I give these things to you, you have to promise to pass them down to your son when you feel the time is right.”

“ My son?  I have a son?”

“ Yes, you do.  I've avoided telling you before, but I have something I need you to know before I go home.  But you have to promise not to mention it to anyone, and don't ask too many questions.  After I tell you, I want no more mentioned on the matter.  Do I make myself clear?”

“ Yes, Harry.”

“ Alright then.  First, I want to give you your gifts.”

Harry quickly summoned the objects with a wave of his hand.  As they came flying through the curtains and into his lap, Eustace stared at them in wonder.  Picking up the first thing, Harry handed it to the other boy.

“ This is a key to a vault in Gringotts.  When you go to the bank, just ask for the Potter vault, and the goblins will take you to it.  There are only two other keys to this vault.  I have one, and Dumbledore has the other.  There's about three billion galleons in there, so if you want to take a share and put it in another vault, that might be wise.  Dumbledore will use some of the money in there to finance the Order, but if you ever need any money, feel free to use it.”

“ Harry, I don't know what to say,” the boy choked past his tears.

“ You don't have to say anything.  It's a gift.  As is this.”

Harry carefully handed over the other object.  Eustace took it gently in his hands, staring in awe at the one thing he knew to be Harry's most prized possession.

“ Harry, this is your invisibility cloak.”

“ Yes, it is.  I want you to have it, and I want you to pass it on to your son when he goes to Hogwarts.”

“ Harry, I can't take this.”

“ Yes, you can.  I want you to have it.”

“ Are you absolutely sure?”

“ Yes.”

“ Thank you doesn't seem like enough to say.”

“ You're welcome, and it's more than enough.”

“ Harry, what were you talking about, when you said you had something to tell me.”

“ Well, you know I mentioned you had a son.”

“ Yes.”

“ His name is James, or will be James, however you want to look at it.”

“ Wow.  I have a son.”

“ There's more.  My real name isn't Evans, that's just an alias I had to use while I was here, to avoid awkward questions.”

“ What does that have to do with anything?”

“ James Potter marries someone by the name of Lily.  Lily Evans.”

“ But that means…”

“ That my real name is Harry Potter.”


True to his word, Eustace didn't question Harry on the matter.  After the little revelation, Harry slipped out and back to his own room to give the other boy time to think.  When he woke up the next day, he felt more refreshed than he had in ages.  The little heart to heart with Eustace the night before had allowed him to get a lot off his chest, and he felt much better for it.

After a rather subdued breakfast with Amelia and John, the students all headed upstairs to retrieve their trunks.  After flooing to Corvus Corax, they made a quick sweep of the manor to make sure they had everything.  While they were there, Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny dropped off their Order of Merlin awards in the trophy room.  Eventually, they couldn't put it off any longer and it was time to head for Hogwarts.  Letting the others go first, Harry hung back a couple of minutes while he made some last minute alterations to the wards, thinking of what the building would be used for in the future.  Among other things, he set a ward that wouldn't allow anyone with a dark mark on their arm to enter the grounds without them being stunned and transported to a cell.  A warning alarm would also sound to tell the Order they were there.  However, thinking back to the end of his fourth year, he put a loophole in the wards that would allow one Death Eater unrestricted entrance.  As he flooed to his room in Hogwarts, he hoped that he had done the right thing.

Taking one last glance around his room, he followed the others to the Great Hall, where he knew Dumbledore to be waiting.  As they walked, Harry pulled Eustace a few paces behind the rest.

“ Eustace, you remember not to say anything about what I told you last night.”

“ Of course, Harry.  Or should I say, grandson.”

“ Shh, not here.  I just wanted to tell you that you and Minh can use my room here if you want.  You're still keyed in to the wards, so you can get in.  Just make sure no-one else finds out.”

“ Alright, Harry.”

By this time, they had reached the doors into the Great Hall.  As they pushed them open, Harry was attacked by a flying blur that attached itself around his neck, preventing him from breathing.  Looking down, he tried to pry the thin but strong arms from his wind pipe.

“ Minh!  Air!  Now!”

“ Oh, sorry Harry,” she said, letting him go.

“ S'ok, Minh, I'm pleased to see you as well.”

“ Don't leave again, Harry.”

“ Minh, I have to, you know I do.”

“ Please.”

“ I'm sorry.”

Tears began to fall down everyone's cheeks as they all hugged and said goodbye.  Eventually, the time they had all been dreading came, and Dumbledore stepped forward to speak.

“ You four, it's time for you to leave.  I just wanted to thank all of you for everything you have done for us here.  Without your help, I don't know what we would have done.  Whatever time you end up in next, you will be welcomed by me.”

~Thank you, Sir~

The four gave Minh and Eustace one last hug before preparing to leave.  Harry stroked Fawkes, who was sitting on Dumbledore's shoulder watching his departing master sadly.  Taking his place with the others after kissing Minh's cheek and shaking Eustace's hand, Harry checked that Simbi and Nirah were securely around his wrists before handing the amulet over to Hermione.  With one final glance at everyone he would be leaving behind, he heard the words he had been dreading.

“ Tempus Vehere.”

With a flash of light, Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny disappeared from the Great Hall, leaving a sobbing Minh and somber Eustace embracing.  Turning to her friend, the young elf whispered furiously.

“ Don't you ever leave me, Eustace.  Don't you leave me alone.”

“ Never, Minh.  Never.”

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