Some reviewers commented on Harry developing some feelings for Hermione at too young an age. I think they are wrong. Children do fall in love, but it's very different than adult love, with the element of sex completely lacking, at least until close to puberty. Well, I remember having a very big crush on a girl when I was merely six. I didn't tell her, of course, and I don't think she fount out about it any other way. Her family moved after that school year and I know nothing else about her, but I still can see her beautiful childish face in the end-of-year class photo we had every year throughout school. By now, if nothing bad happened to her, she's probably a very nice grandmother.
Back to the present. As some reviewers noticed, the story is winding down and this is its last chapter, including a small epilogue as well. I hope you enjoy it. See you at my next story.
52-Games (Fourth Year)
An owl arrived at breakfast, when they were at the Granger's. It carried a letter from Sirius.
I know you both like Quidditch, and I had a chance to buy tickets for the world cup, which takes place here, in Britain, just a few days before you return to school. I reserved five tickets, so your in-laws can join us if they like. Just let me know. I can easily return the tickets we don't need, or even sell them.
The Grangers were thrilled at the chance to see a strictly magical sport, so Harry let Sirius know that all four of them would come.
Sirius let them know of the travel and lodging arrangements a few days later. When the time arrived, Sirius came to the Granger residence, carrying a used Cola can. "This is our portkey. It will take us to the field where we can erect our tent since we need to stay there overnight. The portkeys are intended to spread the arrivals and the departures over more than a day, to minimize the chance of the Muggles noticing this large concentration of magical folks."
He was carrying a small backpack that seemed too small even for carrying a set of clothes, never mind a tent that could house at least five, yet none asked about it. They all knew this was done by magic.
As expected, nobody enjoyed the travel by portkey but even the Grangers agreed, after regaining their feet and overcoming the nausea, that it was really fast. Sirius, as a member of the Wizengamot, had a good place reserved for his tent, quite close to the Quidditch stadium. Unfortunately, that also meant that it was quite far from the other attractions – the various booths that sold all kinds of food, beverage and Quidditch paraphernalia.
Walking through the large field where wizarding tents were erected, the absurdity of some was extremely eye-catching. "No muggle tent would ever be built this way," Hermione noted, pointing at a castle-like tent with no visible cables for stretching and supporting it.
Sirius shrugged. "Most wizards don't even understand the very basic concepts of physics, that most muggle children take for granted. It's sad, in a way, that magic makes the human species divide into two separate worlds."
Hermione didn't agree. "Magic is not to blame. It's bigotry on both sides that causes it. If muggles could view the magical ability as just another talent, one that should be admired but not necessarily envied, it could have helped tremendously. On the other hand, the way too many magical people ignore the muggle world, as if it's irrelevant, makes them even worse. How can any thinking person ignore most of the human race due to a rare talent? It makes no sense at all!"
Sirius smiled at her. "Well, you've started some work to bridge that difference, but it may take much longer than you'd like. You can't change pre-conceived notions overnight. It takes a lot of time and persuasion to reach such changes. It may even take several generations."
Hermione huffed at the idea but had no answer ready.
Unfortunately, they also bumped into the Weasley family. All seven children came to see the game along with their father, only leaving Molly at home. The Potters didn't mind most of them, but Ron seemed to be insistent on staying close to them.
Fortunately, he had to stop talking once the official part started, Then when the Bulgarian Veela started dancing, Ron seemed to lose his head. Well, many of the men and boys suffered the same fate, making fools of themselves while trying to impress the beautiful women or reach them, disregarding the distance and the height. Despite disliking Ron, Harry had to grab his shirt to stop him from climbing on the fence and falling. Hermione was just as busy stopping Sirius from making an even bigger fool of himself.
Ron eventually left them. He seemed to still feel the effect of the Veela long after they finished their part and felt humiliated by his lack of self control. Harry was sure this was a first, for Ron.
The game itself was uneventful, ending with Krum catching the snitch, but that didn't save the Bulgarian team from losing to the Irish one.
The only disturbance after the game was a fight between two drunk wizards, quickly taken down by the Aurors.
Despite the cancellation of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, Dumbledore still wanted to have some international event at Hogwarts. The foreign schools were much more agreeable to a three-school competition, where each school would have several teams competing on academic and practical subjects, and – of course – Quidditch. The Potters had no problem with this idea. It actually allowed more meaningful competitions than between single representatives of each school and also allowed more interaction between the schools.
Harry only insisted that muggle subjects would also be included since they were just as important.
Since they were the owners, the Potters didn't take part in any of the other competition, but Quidditch was too attractive for Harry to give up. Besides, everybody considered him to have the best chance when competing against Viktor Krum.
Indeed the two seekers found some common interests and even had a few friendly pick-up Quidditch games during the year. When the time came for their school game, it was a very close match, with both teams scoring at similar rates. In the end, it was Krum's longer arm that allowed him to grab the snitch when Harry barely touched it, despite Harry being about half an inch closer to the snitch.
The other competitions ended with roughly equal distribution of prizes to the three schools. Looking back at the end of the year, both Potters considered it a great success.
Dumbledore stayed the headmaster for a few more years, although his influence was marginalized, making him mainly a figurehead. As time passed, more and more decisions were made by the Potter couple, leaving only the boring administrative tasks to the headmaster. As much as Dumbledore tried to gain some influence on Harry, his effort seemed to go nowhere. After the fifth year, Dumbledore no longer remembered why he needed to have an influence on Harry. It took Poppy and Minerva two more years to make him understand that his mind was no longer as sharp as his position required. By the time the Potters graduated, he had already announced his retirement, effective as soon as the school year ended.
"What are you going to do after graduation?" was a question that every seventh-year was asked at least once a week.
Both Potters had their plan ready. "We're going to first finish our muggle education and then attend university, gaining us titles in education and management, so we can do a better job at Hogwarts."
That was not enough for the ambitious couple. They also studied politics and economics to gain a better understanding of what their political and financial powers could achieve. Both got their academic titles with distinction.
Social change normally comes at quite a slow pace. Not when the ambitious couple pushed it, though. Still, the changes were quite minor, at first. Mr. Weasley spent a few weekends with the Granger couple before feeling ready to take a two-week study vacation and live on his own in a rented apartment in the muggle world. Some other Ministry officials also wanted a similar paid vacation, and most were allowed one under similar conditions. This started the change.
Then, when the Hogwarts graduates who learned about the muggle world and its standards started joining the workforce, the change started moving at a higher speed. Muggle-born and muggle raised graduates soon became the preferred candidates for many positions, while the purebloods had to work much harder to prove their worth. Many failed at that.
By the time the Potters finished their studies and fully took the harness of their positions, magical Britain was already ripe for additional changes. Many discriminating or bigoted laws were repealed, replaced by egalitarian laws. It was a work in progress, since hundreds of years of corrupt and bigoted government and laws could not be changed all at once. Still, the Potters and their allies were practically revolutionizing the magical world, dragging it into the twenty-first century, even if it was screaming and kicking most of the time.
Aside from politics and managing the school, the Potters were also busy raising a family. Before Harry's thirty-fifth birthday, they already had two boys and two girls and were expecting another boy.
Hogwarts was no longer a boarding school only. Students (in agreement with their parents) could choose to stay the nights in the dorms, usually only after Astronomy lessons or for parties, or return home after the last lesson of the day. This helped make the houses lose their significance. They simply became a convenient method to divide the students into groups that would not crowd the classrooms too much. There were also six Quidditch teams, along with football and basketball teams, each for another year-group, with the first-year students getting their training to be able to join the sports team of their choice during the second year.
The Hogwarts express was kept as a connection to the past. On the first day of September, the students' portkeys were programmed to bring them to platform 9¾ instead of Hogwarts, where they could enjoy the ride and, for the first-year students, get to know their future classmates.
That's why on the first day of September, the Potter family arrived at the platform, escorting their children to the train, on the way to Hogwarts, where the children actually grew up.
As usual, they tried to avoid attention. Both Hermione and Harry were using glamours to change their appearance. Still, quite a few recognized them despite the glamours. Could it be due to the stern voice that the mother used to instruct the children? "...and absolutely no pranks on the train and during the welcome feast, or you'll have to answer to the headmaster!"
The older boy shuddered. "Dad is not so bad when punishing us, but you, Mum…"
"It would do you good to remember it since I'm the one handing the punishments," his mother answered.
She then changed her demeanour. "Now, hurry up. I'm sure that most of your friends are already on board. Don't let them wait, or they might get some unworthy ideas."
"Sure, Mum. Bye, Mum. Bye, Dad. See you both at the feast!" was repeated several times, and the children rushed to the train.
Left alone, Hermione whispered to Harry, "We now have more than five hours all to ourselves. We may be able to work on enlarging the family a bit. What do you say?"
He only hugged her tighter, kissed her lips and they both disappeared in a swirl of colours.