Just some spelling and grammar updates.

I had this bit all sorted, it had taken me a whole two days to get this chapter right, with out being too obvious or villainizing the wrong characters. I'd finished it and was going to post it at lunch yesterday, and then I had an idea! So then I had to re-work the whole thing!

Also I do enjoy writing House Elf speech patterns, they're fun.

Happy Reading

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"The house elves might know about it... if somethings going on," Hermione said later as they were catching the end of dinner in the hall.

"Huh?"

She pointed to his plate and surreptitiously cast a charm around them, to stop eavesdroppers.

"Let's go to the kitchen and ask the elves. If we can't ask witches and wizards, maybe we can ask elves, they have different magic from us, just look at Dobby."

"Thought you didn't like house elves."

"Oh I don't like it when they're badly treated, used and abused. I think they're brilliant, but it's okay here, I've gone and talked to them. Some, like Dobby, are treated like slaves. I want to change the laws one day so they're trended better. I'd try and free them all. Slavery is wrong, they need our magic to survive, that's why they bond, it's a symbiotic relationship. Symbiotic is when-"

"I know what that means Hermione," Harry said gently.

"Oh sorry, Harry I-"

"It's fine, you're used to me playing stupid.

She nodded but continued, "Anyway they bond to wizards and get magic from them, and in return, they do cooling and cleaning and things, they have a really fascinating culture, and do genuinely enjoy it. But there is a lot of room for abuse of the system, that's what S.P.E.W is going to work to change. But they do the cooking and cleaning and send the food to the tables. Let's go to the kitchens we'll talk to the elves, maybe they know something."

"Okay, maybe I can get more than a measly bowl of rice while we're at it."

Hermione led the way down to the kitchen and showed him how to tickle the pear to get in. He'd never been to the kitchens before. Immediately many heads turned to look at them and froze in motion. It was like being surrounded by hundreds of Dobby statues.

"Is it always like this...?" Harry murmured to Hermione

"No..." She said concern colouring her tone.

"You is not being here sir!" A young elf said, coming barreling towards them.

"Huh?" Harry said.

"You is not meant to be here. We is not allowed to be helping you, sir," the elf said grabbing his neighbour's saucepan and trying to hit himself over the head with it.

"Stop that!" Harry said grabbing the pot.

The elf started wailing and was dragged away by another.

"What can Tippy be doing for young Sir and Miss?" An older house elf wheezed in a high pitched squeak. She had tennis-ball like pale blue eyes, long ears with tufts of white poking out and was wearing a neatly pressed tea towel with the Hogwarts crest on it.

"Hello Tippy, we wanted to talk to one of you, as something strange is happening to Harry at the table... I think...he's not being able to eat enough." Hermione trailed bending down to talk at their level.

Tippy wrung her hands together, her big eyes welling, "Tippy can't! Sir and miss, we is not allowed. You should not be being here Harry Potter sir." She yanked on her batlike ears, "Tippy wants to be feeding Mr Harry Potter up miss, you is much too thin," she said poking Harry's boney hip accusingly, "but we is not being allowed." She sniffed

"Why not?" He asked.

She bit her lip and shook her head.

"You were ordered to and you can't tell me anything?" He asked recognising the behaviour from Dobby, his heart sinking.

"Tippy can't sir." Tippy almost wailed tugging painfully at her ears.

"Stop! Please don't hurt yourself," Harry cried bending down and gently taking her hands, "it's not your fault. You have your orders, it's not your fault, I'm not mad. I understand. I thought you said it was okay here, that they were not miss treated?" He asked turning to Hermione.

"I thought it was. But I guess they're bound to the will of their master whether they like it or not, we'll just have to make a system that allows them to have their own free will too. And to protect them from needing to self punish. We'll work on it harry." Hermione replied somewhat forlornly.

Tippy tugged one of her hands frees and tapped a finger against his knuckles thoughtfully.

"Tippy can't sir..." She said carefully, no longer crying, "Tippy wants to sir. We" she gesticulated widely around the room, "is wanting to help yous very much, but we is not allowed, sir." She sniffled again, blew her nose on her Tea Towel and vanished the mess, before looking at him, her teary eyes peering at him with sudden seriousness, "Tippy can't... Tippy can't be helping Mr Harry Potter sir." She said slowly deliberately.

"But maybe someone else could!" Hermione exclaimed picking up on what the elf was not saying.

Tippy beaming again, but said "Tippy can't say, miss, Tippy can neither confirm or deny miss" while tilting her head down in an ever so slight nod, before she pointed to the back of the kitchens.

"Harry Potter, sir! Harry Potter!"

Next second all the wind had been knocked out of him as a squealing elf hit him hard in the midriff and would have knocked him backwards if not for Hermione catching him.

"D-Dobby?" Harry gasped and the elf hugged him so tightly he thought he heard ribs creak.

"It is Dobby, sir, it is!" squealed the voice from somewhere around his navel. "Dobby has been hoping and hoping to see Harry Potter, sir, and Harry Potter has come to see him, sir!"

"I didn't realise you were here Dobby, or I would have come sooner," he assured.

Dobby let go and stepped back a few paces, beaming up at Harry, his enormous, green, tennis-ball-shaped eyes brimming with tears of happiness.

"You is too kind sir,"

He looked almost exactly as Harry remembered him; the pencil-shaped nose, the bat-like ears, the long fingers and feet - all except the clothes, which were very different.

He was wearing the strangest assortment of garments Harry had ever seen; he had done an even worse job of dressing himself than the wizards at the World Cup. He was wearing a tea cosy for a hat, on which he had pinned a number of bright badges; a tie patterned with horseshoes over a bare chest, a pair of what looked like children's soccer shorts, and odd socks. One of these, Harry saw, was the black one Harry had removed from his own foot and tricked Mr Malfoy into giving Dobby, thereby setting Dobby free. The other was covered in pink and orange stripes.

"Dobby, what're you doing here?" Harry said in amazement.

"Dobby has come to work at Hogwarts, sir!" Dobby squealed excitedly. "Professor Dumbledore gave Dobby and Winky jobs, sir!

"Winky?" said Harry. "She's here too?"

"Yes, sir, yes!" said Dobby, and he seized Harry's hand and pulled him off into the kitchen between the four long wooden tables that stood there. Each of these tables, Harry noticed as he passed them, was positioned exactly beneath the four House tables above, in the Great Hall.

At least a hundred little elves were standing around the kitchen, beaming, bowing, and curtsying as Dobby led Harry past them. They were all wearing the same uniform: a tea towel stamped with the Hogwarts crest, and tied, as Winky's had been, like a toga.

Dobby stopped in front of the brick fireplace and pointed. "Winky, sir!" he said.

Winky was sitting on a stool by the fire. Unlike Dobby, she had obviously not foraged for clothes. She was wearing a neat little skirt and blouse with a matching blue hat, which had holes in it for her large ears. However, while every one of Dobby's strange collection of garments was so clean and well cared for that it looked brand-new, Winky had not taken care of her clothes at all.

"Hello, Winky," said Hermione.

Winky's lip quivered. Then she burst into tears, which spilt out of her great brown eyes and splashed down her front, just as they had done at the Quidditch World Cup.

"Oh dear," said Hermione. "Winky, don't cry, please don't..."

But Winky cried harder than ever. Dobby, on the other hand, beamed up at Harry.

"Would Harry Potter like a cup of tea?" he squeaked loudly, over Winky's sobs. "Er - yes please, but Tippy said the elves here weren't allowed to feed me," said Harry.

Dobby tugged on his lip, "technically Dobby is being paid to work at Hogywarts now but he is not bonded to a master, so he could be breaking the rules a bit sir if he wanted too..." He shuffled his feet.

"How long have you been here, Dobby?" Harry asked distracting Dobby as he served them tea.

"Only a week. Harry Potter, sir!" said Dobby happily.

"Dobby came to see Professor Dumbledore, sir. You see, sir, it is very difficult for a house-elf who has been dismissed to get a new position, sir, very difficult indeed -"

At this, Winky howled even harder, her squashed-tomato of a nose dribbling all down her front, though she made no effort to stem the flow.

"Dobby has travelled the country for two whole years, sir, trying to find work!" Dobby squeaked. "But Dobby hasn't found work, sir, because Dobby wants paying now!"

The house-elves all around the kitchen, who had been listening and watching with interest, all looked away at these words, as though Dobby had said something rude and embarrassing.

Hermione, however, said, "Good for you, Dobby!"

"Thank you, miss!" said Dobby, grinning toothily at her. "But most wizards doesn't want a house-elf who wants paying, miss. 'That's not the point of a house- elf,' they said, and they slammed the door in Dobby's face! Dobby likes work, but he wants to wear clothes and he wants to be paid. Harry Potter... Dobby likes being free!"

The Hogwarts house-elves had now started edging away from Dobby, as though he were carrying something contagious. Winky, however, remained where she was, though there was a definite increase in the volume of crying.

"And then, Harry Potter, Dobby goes to visit Winky, and finds out Winky has been freed to sir!" said Dobby delightedly.

At this, Winky flung herself forward off her stool and lay face-down on the flagged stone floor, beating her tiny fists upon it and positively screaming with misery. Hermione hastily dropped down to her knees beside her and tried to comfort her, but nothing she said made the slightest difference. Dobby continued with his story, shouting shrilly over Winky's screeches.

"And then Dobby had the idea. Harry Potter, sir! 'Why doesn't Dobby and Winky find work together?' Dobby says. 'Where is there enough work for two house-

elves?' says Winky. And Dobby thinks, and it comes to him, sir! Hogwarts! So Dobby and Winky came to see Professor Dumbledore, sir, and Professor Dumbledore took us on!"

Dobby beamed very brightly, and happy tears welled in his eyes again.

"And Professor Dumbledore says he will pay Dobby, sir, if Dobby wants paying! And so Dobby is a free elf, sir, and Dobby gets a Galleon a week and one day off a month!"

"Professor Dumbledore offered Dobby ten Galleons a week, and weekends off," said Dobby, suddenly giving a little shiver, as though the prospect of so much leisure and riches were frightening, "but Dobby beat him down, miss. . . . Dobby likes freedom, miss, but he isn't wanting too much, miss, he likes work better."

"Good on you Dobby! I meant to ask you Dobby, Hermione told me about how house elves need to bond to someone in order to keep their magic, I was wondering if you're doing okay? Not being bound, it's not killing you?"

"Dobby is doing well Mr harry potter sir, Dobby will be needing to bond eventually but he is doing okay at Hogywarts, he is, it has lots of magic it has, Hogywarts is liking Dobby she is, she be helping me in the meantimes."

"I'm very glad Dobby I was worried," Harry said, bracing himself as Dobby flung himself at his middle and hugged him tightly again.

"Dobby could tell you about why Mr Potter sir is not being fed, but not heres, it is not being safe. There is ears"

"What, what are you...?" He trailed off, his head starting to hurt, "oh, I remember, oh ouch."

He moaned, "it's going again... don't... stop, please!"

"don't fight it Harry Potter sir. It's safer to forget," Dobby squeaked, patting his elbow.

"I can't it's important! I feel it's important I can't... can't figure it out."

His mind started to get a bit fuzzy... his head ached. What had he been saying... he tried to remember and falls with the pain of it.

"Trust Dobby Harry Potter sir. It's safer to forget sir. Trust Dobby to remember it for you's. Later Harry Potter sir Dobby will tell you."

"Gods it hurts! okay, Dobby" Harry all but sobbed.

He lets go, the pain builds then fades as if it had never been, "What am I doing here... What were you saying, Hermione?"

"Hmm?" Looking confused for a moment, "Oh we were visiting Dobby" she said, "and Winky."

"Ah of course," he said a little confused but dismissing it.

"And how much is Professor Dumbledore paying you, Winky?" Hermione asked kindly.

If she had thought this would cheer up Winky, she was wildly mistaken. Winky did stop crying, but she sat up glaring at Hermione through her massive brown eyes, her whole face sopping wet and suddenly furious.

"Winky is a disgraced elf, but Winky is not yet getting paid!" she squeaked. "Winky is not sunk so low as that! Winky is properly ashamed of being freed!"

"We is going now Harry Potter sir," Dobby said suddenly looking shifty.

"Why?" He asked suspiciously, "didn't we just get here?"

"No sir, we is going now sir, trust Dobby sir!"

His wording struck Harry as important, for some reason. He couldn't work out the significance, however.

"You's is going young sir and miss," Tippy came back, and helped Dobby herd the young Witch and Wizard towards the door. She paused when they were at the closed portrait hole, "you is kind sir, we is not forgetting it."

Harry frowned, feeling a bit hazy but said, "I don't... I'm not sure..." He winced, "But either way you deserve kindness and decency. We are not so different you and I."

The old elf beckoned Harry down to her level. He bent down and she gripped his ear in a firm bit gent grip and whispered "if Tippy was to be telling... Which Tippy is not!" She looked sternly at him and he nodded somewhat indulgently.

"Then Tippy would be saying young master Harry Potter," she looked resolutely at Dobby as she said that, despite still gripping Harry's ear, "Harry Potter is needing his own house elf. To be feeding him up and looking after him. If Tippy was telling, which Tippy is not..." She turned her head back to Harry and glared when he nodded earnestly, she continued back to Dobby, "then Tippy could be telling (but Tippy is not) that all the elves in Tea Towels is bonded. We is bonded to Hogywarts though Professor Whiskers sir. Well most of us. But Tippy cannot be telling sir. Cannot being telling Mr Harry Potter sir, that an elf bounded to him, could be helping him, sir, get around Professor Whiskers bad words sir. Tippy not being telling though, Tippy is a good elf," she continued slowly, in case he was a bit slow to catch on, still looking resolutely at Dobby. Dobby nodded hard, his bat-like ears flapping. Tippy turned back to Harry and raised a wizened eyebrow.

Thankfully Harry wasn't slow, 'the elves of Hogwarts couldn't help, the ones that were bound to Whiskers,' he thought, nodding at her in silent acknowledgement of what she was saying. 'He needed the help of his own elf to avoid 'whiskers' manipulations, as only an elf could help against other elves who were being forced to comply. But all but Dobby and Winky were bound. And the Hogwarts elves could not talk to him, but could talk to other elves.'

"Thank you Tippy."

"You is not thanking Tippy, Sir and Miss, Tippy is be saying nothing, to you sir," the elf said sternly before finally letting go of his ear and adding, "Tippy is very sorry that we is not being able to help you. We is very sorry."

"Its okay Tippy I understand. I'm sorry your orders disagree with your desires and morals, it not fair on you. One last thing Tippy, could you say where could I find a house elf and how to bond with one?" Harry asked

"Winky needs a family Harry Potter sir," a voice squeaked on his left.

"Dobby?"

"No sir, Dobby is sorry sir, but Dobby likes being free too much sir. Dobby could work for Harry Potter sir, but he does not want to bond yet sir, so he could not keep Harry Potter sir safe, but Winky could sir. But not here sir, ears sir," he said grabbing his hand and pulling him out of the kitchens, with a worried and concerned Hermione behind them.

...

Please don't be disheartened by the Elves inability to help Harry. I'm not bashing on them. Everything happens for a reason ;P

Hope you enjoyed it! It took ages to get it just so!

Let me know what you think.