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Chapter Thirty-One
Something Old, Something New...

As soon as the group reached Platform 9¾, the time travellers apparated to Domus Corvus Corax, their residence for the rest of the summer.  They could have easily flooed there from Hogwarts, but they wanted to savour their last ever trip on the Hogwarts Express.  It was a tradition, after all, and one they would not be partaking of in the future, at least not as students.  Fred and George met up with Lee Jordan and headed for the Burrow.
As soon as the time travellers arrived at Corvus Corax, they let out a collective sigh.  Harry led the way upstairs to the bedrooms, allowing the other three to choose their rooms along the way, before he slipped quietly into the master bedroom and flopped down on the bed.  Twenty minutes later, he heard a knock at the door.

“ Come in!” he called, wearily.  He was a little surprised to see his grandmother at the door.

“ Hello Harry, do you mind if I talk to you?”

“ No, go ahead,” he said, conjuring her up a comfortable chair by his bedside.

“ Harry, I wanted to talk to you about something my aunt mentioned.  The reconciliation of the elves and the humans.”

Harry sat up in bed, leaning against the headboard, and thought the matter over.  It was something he had been meaning to do for the last three years, but the time had never been right.  There had always been a war going on, taking up his time.  Now, though, the war was over, and he had plenty of time to carry out his promise.

“ What's the situation at the moment?” he finally asked, “ I know that Mei and Lei's group were banished for supporting humans six hundred years ago, and that Eustace has lived in the elf world for many years, but what are the thoughts of the elves?  Do they still hate humans?”

“ Humans are still widely mistrusted, despite my husband's presence in my home.  However, a few have come around to my family's way of thinking.  I believe, with a little effort from the humans, we could mend the damage done by hundreds of years of hatred.”

“ Alright, I'll see what I can do.  We'll discuss it tonight at the Order meeting.”

Satisfied, Minh gave her grandson a tender hug, before making her way out of the room.


That night, Harry called what was to be the last Order of the Phoenix meeting.  As it was a special occasion, marking the disbanding of the Order, it was a full meeting, with every single member in attendance.  As everyone took their seats with their groups, Harry stood at the head table with the rest of the council members, looking out sadly upon the numbers present.

“ So many lost,” the Boy-Who-Lived murmured to himself.  While there were still a lot of people there, there was a noticeable drop in the total number.  The Order had suffered in the final battle, despite their victory.  When it appeared that everyone had arrived, Harry cleared his throat and called order.

“ Everyone, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your dedication to the Order of the Phoenix, and the side of Light.  Without your help, Voldemort would have won the war, and the wizarding world would have been lost.  Yes, we have lost many.  Too many.  But their sacrifice has given us our freedom!  Yes, we will mourn them, as they deserve, but we will not allow their sacrifices to be in vain.  We have our lives back, and we have our fallen comrades to thank.”

The Order let out a loud cheer in support of their leader.  Each and every one of them had been affected by the loss of their friends and family.  They knew that their deaths were not meaningless, and that thought gave them strength and hope for the future.

“ I have called you all here today,” Harry continued, “ To disband the Order until the next time it is called upon to protect the innocents of the wizarding world.  Let us hope that it is not for a very long time!  Thank you all, for your devotion and courage.  You all deserve the highest praise.  Congratulations, everyone, we beat them!”

The crowd roared in approval, and Harry beamed back at them.  There was a general feeling of relief in the room, everyone filled with hope and happiness.  The war with Voldemort was finally over, after more than twenty years.  Never again would the Dark Lord's name haunt the wizarding population.

Harry grinned widely and spread his hands.  Several loud bangs sounded around the room, and a rain of confetti fell from the ceiling.  

“ I officially declare the Order of the Phoenix disbanded!” Harry yelled, “ And I think we deserve a party!”

With several waves of his hands, Harry conjured several tables full of food and drink of all kinds.  Decorations appeared throughout the meeting room, and the large tables were replaced with hundreds of smaller, round tables scattered around the room.  A dance floor appeared in the very centre, and soft music began to play in the background.  Harry looked around at the happy faces and smiled happily.  After what everyone here had been through, he felt they deserved to let their hair down for a night.  Turning to his fiancé, he held out a hand to her.

“ May I have this dance?” he asked a blushing Ginny.

“ I would be honoured,” she replied, taking the proffered hand and leading him to the dance floor.  Across the room, Ron did the same, pulling Hermione to the floor with him.  As the two couples danced side by side, they felt a deep sense of peace.

A while later, after the time travellers and their friends had had several turns on the dance floor with a combination of people, and had eaten their fill from the buffet table, Harry sidled up to Severus and caught his solemn friend's attention.

“ You alright, Sev?” he asked.

“ Sure, never better,” the Potions Master replied, distractedly.

“ Strange that,” Harry said, “ You seem decidedly tense.  What's the matter?”

“ It's nothing,” Sev snapped.  Harry raised one eyebrow at him and gave him a disbelieving look.

“ Sev, you're one of my best friends, I know when something's bothering you.  Now spill!”

With a deep sigh, Severus seemed to visibly deflate in front of his young friend.  He could never keep anything from Harry.

“ It's just…I feel like I don't know what to do with myself now that Shirley's gone.  I mean, for twenty years my life has revolved around correcting the situation my father forced me into, and paying my debt to society.  Now that it's all over, I don't know what place I have in the world anymore.  I mean, who wants a washed up old Death Eater?”

“ Don't talk like that!” Harry growled, “ You have plenty to offer!”

“ Like what?” Sev sneered.

“ You're a brilliant Potions Master!  You could do anything you wanted in that field.  You're also an expert in fields such as Defence Against the Dark Arts.  There are so many things you can do now!”

“ Harry, think about it!” Severus griped with a sneer, “ I'm a Death Eater!  I always will be!  You really think that employers will be willing to take on one of the Dark Lord's followers now that he's been defeated?”

“ Well, we'll just take away that excuse, then,” Harry said, grabbing Sev by the arm.  The Potions Master watched in confusion as his young friend pushed up his sleeve and revealed the ugly black tattoo on his arm.  Before the man had the chance to object, Harry placed his hand upon the Mark and began to mutter under his breath.  Severus felt a slight tingling, and when Harry moved his hand away, it revealed perfect, unblemished skin underneath.

“ I told you I'd take it away some day,” Harry said with a sad smile, watching as silent tears began to leak from Severus' eyes as he looked intently at his flawless skin.

“ H-Harry,” he said once he regained the power of speech, “ I don't know how to thank you…”

“ You don't have to,” Harry said, patting the other man on the back, “ A promise is a promise, and it was me who encouraged you to keep it in the first place.”

His piece said, Harry moved back over to his friends, leaving the ex-spy to savour his first taste of true freedom in twenty years.


Over the next few weeks, Harry and Ginny began to plan their wedding.  Molly had tried to take over several times, but her daughter was adamant that she plan it herself.  It was the only wedding she would be having, so she wanted to savour the experience.  Molly, after all, would be able to help plan her brothers' weddings in the future.  Harry had been having problems as well, mainly centered on who he should ask to fulfill each role in his wedding.  The easiest was Sirius, who he asked to stand in for his father.  The animagus, when asked, had been understandably touched by the sentiment, and readily agreed. The other roles, though, were proving more problematic.   He didn't know who to ask to be his best man, and who to ask to officiate.  As far as the best man was concerned, he couldn't choose between Severus and Ron.  Both were really good friends, but he didn't want to have to choose between them.  The same problem arose with whom to ask to perform the ceremony.  He would have liked Dumbledore to do the honours, but since the former headmaster was dead, it was impossible.  Glen also should have a role to play, but Harry wasn't sure where he fit into the picture.

Harry and Ginny had found one hurdle that they couldn't overcome when deciding on a date and venue.  While they had physically and emotionally aged during their time in the past, legally they were still underage.  Their birth certificates showed that they were fifteen and fourteen, not eighteen and seventeen.  Legally, they were not allowed to marry for another three years at least.  

After several weeks of planning, putting the legality problems to the back of their minds, Harry struck upon an idea.  Thinking back to the conversation he had with Minh about the elves, a solution suddenly presented itself.  Over breakfast, he made a suggestion to his fiancé.

“ Gin, I've had an idea.”

“ What's that?” Ginny asked curiously.

“ I think I've found a way around the legal problems.”

“ Really?” she asked, excited.  

“ How would you feel about getting married in the elf world?” he asked her, and was rewarded with a bright smile.

“ Really?  We could do that?”

“ I don't see why not.  They don't have a law there about marrying ages.  Most elves wait until they are at least a few centuries old before considering settling down, so the issue doesn't really arise that often.  If I could get the elves to allow us to perform the ceremony there, it would be legal.”

“ That's great, Harry!” Ginny squealed, pulling her husband-to-be into a tight hug.

“ It would also give me an excuse to try and improve human-elf relations.  I promised Lolide I would help build bridges, and before now I've been too busy to do that.  Now, though, I don't have an excuse.  If I take a delegation to the elf world and speak to them, we may be able to wrangle a small wedding party.  They would be able to meet some more humans, and get to participate in one of our celebrations.  I think it could do a lot of good.”

“ If that's what you want, Harry, it's fine with me.  We can have a traditional elven wedding if you would prefer.”

“ How about a compromise,” Harry suggested, “ We combine traditional wizarding and elven customs, thus satisfying both of our families.”

“ Sounds good,” Ginny replied, giving him a deep kiss.


Harry's nineteenth birthday came and went with modest celebrations and a small party.  The first day of August, Harry decided it was time to put his plan into action.  Since he struck upon the idea of marrying in the elf world, he had been speaking to various people, both former Order members and Ministry officials, gathering a delegation to send to the elves in an attempt to start the healing process.  The wizarding world had grown to believe true elves a myth or an extinct race.  Harry hoped that by raising awareness amongst his own people by involving the Ministry, he could stop the fear and misunderstandings of the past from reappearing.  

He had never understood what had happened in the past to cause the rift, but from what he could gather, the elves had somehow been hurt by the humans, forcing them to abandon their homes in the wizarding world and return to their ancestral homeland.  If he could prove to the elves that the wizarding world had changed, and could accept them, they may just listen to reason.

Harry spent the day visiting every one of the volunteers, asking them to meet him at Corvus Corax the next day.  He then sent word to Lolide, giving her chance to prepare the elven elders for their arrival.  He didn't want to just turn up unannounced, as he thought it would be rude, and he knew the elders would need time to discuss their imminent arrival.  Thankfully the time difference between the two worlds meant that the elves had several weeks to discuss matters.

The next day, the delegation arrived bright and early at Domus Corvus Corax.  Harry was pacing in the ball room when they entered, startling him slightly.

“ Glad you could make it,” he said with a grin.

“ We wouldn't miss it for the world,” Aberforth replied, “ After all, this is a momentous occasion for the wizarding world.  The elves were great friends of magical folk until the Middle Ages.  We would like to regain their trust, and hopefully we can learn a lot from each other.”

“ I'm sure we will,” Remus added, “ I just hope they appreciate our efforts.”

“ I can't see it being too much of a problem,” Arthur said, “ I mean, Eustace has been living with them for years.  They must have warmed to him at least a little.”

“ You'd be surprised,” the eldest Potter told him, “ Ever since I turned up, there have been some who accepted me and some who didn't.  Over the years, many became friendly with me, but I don't know if they'll extend the same courtesy to the rest of the humans.”

“ At least we can try,” Harry said, “ We have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.”

As soon as everyone was ready, Harry took out his purple transportation stone and took them all to the elf world in a brilliant flash of light.  Those who had never been before looked around in awe at the tree houses all around them.  Eustace looked at the place with a soft smile on his face.  It was obvious he now considered Falaryth home.  Harry was also pleased to be back, even though he hadn't been that often, he felt a connection to the place that the others couldn't understand.  The only ones who didn't seem to be too happy about being there were the Teutoburg twins.  They were both looking at their former home with sadness tinged with fear.

“ Harry, are you sure this is a good idea?” Leilani asked in her own language.

“ It'll be fine,” he answered in kind.

“ I don't think you understand.  We were banished.  It's not something to be taken lightly.  We're risking a public execution!”

“ I thought elves were pacifists,” Harry said with a frown.
“ We are, generally.  But some things are beyond that, and banishment is one of them,” Meilani told him.

“ I won't let them do anything,” the boy promised, leading the group in the direction of the elders' council chamber.  As they moved through the forest city, elves of all ages left their homes to watch the small procession.  Many of them remembered Harry, and shouted greetings as he passed.  He waved at them as he walked, taking the time to hug some of the younger elves.  The same went for Eustace and Minh, who greeted their friends enthusiastically.  The rest of the group felt decidedly alien in this strange world.

When they finally reached the council chamber, Harry moved forward and knocked on the door.  A portly elf opened it and stepped aside, holding the door open while the group entered.  The elders had obviously been expecting them.

“ Come this way, please,” the elf said, leading them into a large airy room with semicircle of chairs set up at the far end.  In each sat an elderly elf, making up a council of the oldest and wisest elves in the city.  Harry gestured for the others to stay back as he moved towards the council and performed the formal elven greetings.

“ Greetings, Wise Ones,” he said in elvish, “ I am Harry Potter, grandson of Minh-Minh-Lama, daughter of Gaerwyn-Lama, daughter of Kaiari-Lama.  I bring a delegation from the human world, to talk peace.  May we be granted the gift of your time?”

The elders seemed impressed that a human knew their formalities and language, and muttered to each other briefly before the she-elf in the centre spoke to Harry.

“ We grant you an audience, grandson of Minh-Minh-Lama.”

“ Thank you, Elder.  Let me present to you our delegation.  Unfortunately, most of them do not know your tongue, so I ask permission to interpret.”

“ Permission granted,” the she-elf replied with a nod.

“ Let me introduce to you Aberforth Dumbledore, Minister for Magic of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  Remus Lupin, ambassador of the werewolves.  Arthur Weasley, Muggle representative.  Sirius Black, representative of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Eustace Potter, father of James Potter, father of Harry Potter.  Glenadade Potter, son of Harry Potter, grandson of Minh-Minh-Lama, daughter of Gaerwyn-Lama.  Virginia Weasley, my fiancé.  Meilani-Minh-Lama and Leilani-Minh-Lama, daughters of Lolide-Lama, daughter of Kaiari-Lama, son of Kodwyn-Lama, representatives of the banished elves.”

The elders nodded to each person in turn, their eyes narrowing when they reached the twins.  Mei and Lei shifted uncomfortably under their scrutiny, but didn't say anything.  The others were looking confused, not having understood what was being said, but they had picked up on the lists of names.  Being ignorant of elf customs, they sent Harry several strange looks.  Harry just hoped they wouldn't comment on it until later.

“ Why have you come here?  And in the presence of traitors,” the spokes-elf asked, giving Harry a wary look.

Harry proceeded to explain that he had travelled through time, and been taught the ways of the elves by his great aunt Lolide.  He told them of the wars that had torn the human world apart, and their recent victory over Voldemort.  When he was finished, he explained that he wanted to forge a truce between his people and theirs.  The elders listened to the tale avidly, interrupting only to ask for clarification on certain points.  With the help of Harry, Remus, Sirius, Arthur and Aberforth made offers on behalf of their areas of the wizarding world, asking the elves to consider peace and co-existence.  Eventually, the spokes-elf cleared her throat and gave her decision.

“ We are a peaceful people, untouched by war for millennia.  We have lived in harmony with nature for eons, and our way of life is precious to us.  We would like to know what would happen should we accept your offer of friendship.  Your words have shown us that the human race has grown over the time our races have been separated, but we cannot judge a race on its leaders alone.  We need assurance that our way of life will not be threatened in any way.”

“ We assure you, Blessed Elder, that we mean your people no harm.  We simply feel that both sides could benefit from a treaty.  We can share knowledge and hopefully forge a renewed understanding between our worlds.  The elves would be free to visit our world without fear of rejection.  In return, we ask only that you resolve your hatred of our people.”

“ That sounds acceptable,” the she-elf replied, “ But I must stress that the general population of Falaryth will not be as quick to accept you.  Eustace Potter was accepted as the spouse of an elf.  Harry Potter, you are accepted as the son of a part elf.  Your fiancé, also, would be accepted as the spouse of an elf-blood.  The others, however, need to prove themselves to our world.”

“ I have a proposition,” Harry said, looking at the others for confirmation that he could ask.  When Aberforth nodded, Harry outlined his idea to hold the wedding ceremony in Falaryth, saying that it would be a good opportunity for elves and humans to interact.   

“ Very well,” the elder said, “ You may hold your ceremony in the home of Kaiari-Lama and Ginavive-Minh-Lama.  But I warn you, if any harm comes to any elf, you shall be held responsible.”

“ Thank you, Great Elder,” Harry said with a bow, before turning to the others and ushering them out of the council chamber.  As soon as they returned to Corvus Corax, Harry congratulated them on a job well done.


The next few weeks were frantic for Harry and Ginny.  They planned to marry the day before Hogwarts started for the new term, giving them enough time to plan, but also allowing the Hogwarts staff members to attend without missing any of the school year.  Over the weeks, Harry worked closely with Molly Weasley to try and integrate elven and wizarding wedding customs.  Everything was starting to take shape, all Harry had left to do was choose his best man, and settle on someone to officiate.  Hermione couldn't perform the ceremony, as she was Ginny's maid of honour.  Glen wouldn't be appropriate for either position.  Sirius was standing in for James Potter as the groom's father.  Minh and Eustace also had their own places in the ceremony.  Remus was a good friend, but Harry didn't know him as well as some of the other people.  Vrykolakas couldn't attend the wedding due to a prior commitment.  That left Ron and Severus.  Eventually, Harry decided that he wanted his best friend to stand by him.  Ron it was, and he was thrilled when Harry asked him to be his best man.  That left Severus.

Harry knew that his friend had been feeling a little useless since the downfall of Voldemort.  It was as if his entire reason for living had been taken away from him.  He had visited Domus Corvus Corax a few times, but spent most of the summer holidays locked away in his Hogwarts dungeon, experimenting with some of the ancient potions in Harry's books.  He was decidedly startled when Harry turned up at his door one day in late August.

“ Hi Sev,” the younger man said when the Potions Master answered the door.

“ Hello, Harry, what can I do for you?”

“ I have a favour to ask,” Harry said as he was ushered over the chairs by the fireplace.

“ Harry, you know I'll do anything you ask.  I owe you, after all,” Severus said, glancing at his arm.  Harry rolled his eyes at his friend.

“ Sev, you don't owe me for that.  I promised you I would get rid of it when your spying days were over.  If anything, I owe you

“ If you say so,” Sev conceded, not sounding at all convinced.  Harry let the subject drop.

“ Sev, I came to ask if you would officiate at my wedding.”

Sev was stunned.  This was the last thing he was expecting.

“ I-I don't know what to say,” he stuttered.

“ Just say yes.  Please, Sev.  You're one of my best friends; I need you to take part in my wedding.  I was considering you for best man, but I asked Ron.  After all, he's been my best friend for eight years.  I thought if I couldn't have you for best man, officiator would be the best thing.”

“ I…of course I will, Harry.  I'm honoured you asked me.”

Harry gave his friend a bright smile, and a light hug.  When he left later that night, he had only one thought swirling through his head.

Only the Dursleys left to ask…

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