Disclaimer: C'mon, would J.K. Rowling change everything Mornan has? No. So Mornan's not J. K. Rowling. Which means she doesn't own Harry Potter.

Mornan: True dat.

Maria?!?

Mornan: Nevermind... Oh, about my flood of new stories (which is coming, if it has not already happened): Sometimes, i have no idea for this story. Or for a different stories. And me writing other stories doesn't mean that this one will be updated any less. I've already proved that I can not update ANYTHING for months. All these different stories will help me remember that fanfiction exists.

Chapter 13: Truth and Freedom

The shadows wrapped around the corridor, casting a gloomy spell over it. The suits of armor were gathering dust, and they creaked when they moved. Hermione frowned at a particularly dusty helmet.

"Hogwarts has changed so much..."

Maria looked behind her. "Yah. The less-used corridors seem desolate... though, even the grand hall gives off the wrong vibe."

"I guess that losing a headmaster like that..." Harry shook his head. "Well, it just makes sense to me."

Maria nodded. "Well, I think we all need sweets to cheer us up; we're getting close to the kitchen." Maria fingered the badge on her robe. "By the way, nice badge Hermione."

"Thanks. You know, S.P.E.W. stands for the Society for the Protection of Elvin Wellfare. In other words, we have to try to give them all of their rights. Hey, Ron, Harry where are your badges?"

The two boys shifted uneasily. "Um, must of gotten lost over the summer. You know, my house is sorta messy..."

"Yah. And the Dursleys probably threw mine away. Sorry, Hermione."

Hermione raised an eyebrow. "Well I guess I'll have to get you new ones."

Harry sighed. "Yah, thanks Hermione. Look, there's the fruit bowl!" Harry ran up and tickled the pear, and as usual it giggled and revealed the hidden handle. Harry pulled the picture away from the wall and entered the kitchen.

"Harry Potter, sir!" Dobby quickly ran to the door, giving a deep bow once he reached Harry. "It is so very good to see you again, sir! May I get you anything?"

Dobby was wearing a toy cowboy hat, a orange knit sweater, and a pair of boxer shorts. "Um, just tea, thank you Dobby." Harry was always slightly nervous at the house elves' incredible obedience.

Maria had to supress a smile when she came in and sat down at one of the tables. "I'd like some tea also, please. And some sugar cookies, if it's not too much trouble."

Dobby jumped slightly when he noticed Maria. "Um, yes, of course Miss!" He looked back up at Harry.

"Her name is Maria. She's our new friend." Hermione came down into the kitchen, frowning at the house elves who were still wearing towel 'togas'.

Dobby grinned widely. "Any friend of Harry Potter is a friend of mine!"

"Don't trust her too much Dobby." Harry watched Maria carefully, making sure she didnt hear their whispered conversation.

Maria was busying herself with the tea and cookies that had been brought to her promtly by the other elves. Ron was similarly occupied, with a small Pecan Pie.

"Oy, 'Arry! Youf goh to try thish, itsh delisus!" Ron had crammed as much pie into his mouth as physically posible, it was a wonder that he could speak at all.

"No thanks, Ron. Not hungry." Not anymore, at least. Harry sat down, a good distance from Ron, and sipped at his tea. Ron obviously liked that pie...

Hermione sat by Maria, glanced at the elves again, and looked at the tea sitting in front of her friend with distaste. "How can you drink that? That's two ounces of slave labor!"

Maria only smiled. "Well, no point in not enjoying myself while I'm here. They loved making it, anyway. It's part of the reason you're having no luck convincing them to be free."

Hermione shool her head. "I never understood that. So they like working, okay. But why not work like free people?"

Maria thought a moment before answering. "It's sort of like a religion. If you tell someone that part of their religion is wrong, they won't listen even if they could live better without that part. House elves seeing being set free as a badge of shame. Clothes mean they're bad servants, and getting paid is an insult. It will take more than telling them they're wrong to convince them."

Hermione stared, head spinning as realization crept over. She was trying to change their culture, just by telling them to change. She never thought of it that way!

Maria noticed, and smiled. "Don't worry about it. Few people are able to understand an entire society at a glance. Just change your tactic."

"Just like you said at breakfast. Convince them that my way is better. But what can we tell them that they'll believe?"

"I don't know. House elves are stubborn. You should get something to eat. But watch them make it, and decide if they really need to be free. You might be suprised."

After Hermione left the table, one of the house elves came up to Maria, offering a teapot. However, when she reached for it, the elf took a step back.

"You is a Slytherin, Miss?" The creature looked thuroughly annoyed.

"Um, yes I am. Why do you care?"

The elf backed up a few more steps. "You is here with Griffindors!" It shook it's head.

"I am, but I have my reasons. I asked you why you cared."

The elf scowled, with as much vehement scorn as Draco Malfoy. "You is a disgrace to Slytherin. A traitor!"

Then Maria remembered that some elves had had previous Masters before Hogwarts. "You really believe in Slytherin superiority, don't you?"

The elf nodded shortly.

Mariaa leaned toward it. "They have my diary. I want it back, but I don't want them to know it's mine. That's the only reason I'm anywhere near them. So don't say I'm a traitor."

The elf stopped short, then grinned evily. "That is very sneaky, Miss.If there is anything Genrick can do..."

Maria held up one hand, signalling that he stop. "I'll let you know. In the meantime, don't tell anyone what I'm up to. Not even Slytherins."

"Yes, Miss."

Meanwhile, Harry called Dobby over to him.

"Yes, Harry Potter" The elf looked happy to obey. Harry was suprised that he put such big stock on being free.

"Dobby." Harry voice was barely more than a whisper. "That girl I brought, Maria, know something. I dont know what, and I want to find out. We don't want to use Veritaserum, so we need another option. Can you think of anything?"

Dobby looked suprised. "Have you tried the Room of Requirement, Sir?"

Harry shook his head, finding it hard to believe he hadnt already thought of that. "No, I haven't. Thanks Dobby."

"It is my pleasure, Mr. Harry Potter." Then Hermione called Dobby, and he ran off to see what she wanted.

"That's perfect..." Harry grinned slightly, looking up at the girl chatting with another house elf. Maria was talking way to quietly.

"Dobby, I need you to do something for me." Hermione looked wearily at Maria.

"Yes, Miss?"

"Do you see that house elf Maria is talking to?"

Dobby turned to where she was poitning and frowned. "Genrik? He is a very strange house elf, Miss."

"I want you to keep track of him. If he does anything strange, I want to know."

"Yes Miss."


A while later, both Maria and Hermione had brightened considerably. The were animately talking about the problems with house elf servitude, and ways to fix it.

"I'm not entirely sure what will happen to the school if they all get payed though. Can you imagine paying such a large staff?"

Hermione looked furious. "That's no reason not to let them free!"

"Calm down, Hermione. I was just thinking. I never said I meant anything by it. Anyway, so how are we going to convince the house elves? They think being free is horrible. We have to convince them that freedom is what they want."

"I've tried." Hermione slumped, frowning. "They don't listen."

"Well, why don't they? What is it they don't like?"

"I don't know! That's the problem! They just get mad."

Maria stared at the elves busily cooking, then suddenly straigthened. "Um, excuse me?"

A house elf immediately rushed over. "Yes Miss?"

"I want to ask you a question... my friend and I have an arguement."

"Yes, Miss."

"What would you think if someone wanted to set you free?"

The elf stared dumbly for a moment. Then, she raised her hands deffensively as if facing a wild animal. She couldn't have looked more horrified if someone was holding a gun to her head. "I... I would be very upset Miss!"

"Why?"

The elf pasued a moment. "Well... it would mean I was fired, and i couldn't work anymore. And I would've done something wrong."

"What if you could still work? If you didn't do anything wrong, the person just wanted you to have payment and clothes?"

The elf looked confused. "I... I don't know Miss. I don't think I could accept payment for my work, Miss."

"Why not?"

"Well..." The elf shook her head, confused.

"Sorry to bother you. Thank you very much."

The elf glanced up, sensing she was dismissed, and quickly scurried off.

Hermione stared, dumbstruck. "You mean... they don't have any good reason?"

Maria tried to be soothing. "The idea is completely foreign to them. They'd have no idea what to do with it."

Hermione looked up, determined. "Then we'll have to fix that."

"Oy, 'Mione! Maria! Let's go!" Ron still had pie crumbs on his face, but otherwise he seemed ready to leave.

Maria sighed, speaking softly to Hermione. "Not this visit, though."


Later on that night, when Maria had left and his friends were in the common room, Harry snuck off. He wound down passageways, finally ending up on one end of a very special hallway.

He breathed deeply. I need a way to get the truth from people. I need a way to get the truth..." He walked slowly down the hall. A door appeared, and he quickly went into it.

The Room of Requirement.

He was in a library of sorts, with a corner filled with potions ingredients and tools. He browsed the shelves, and noted the titles.

Spells that answet questions. The complete guide to a proper Truth Serum. The list continued.

One title caught his eye. The varitation of Veritaserum.

He picked up the book, browsing the Contents.

Erasing the truth... No.

Airborne Truth... No.

Wait... Amnesiac Potion.

He flipped over to that chapter. It explained that the potion would make it so that the recipent didn't remember asking questions. Harry picked up the book and rushed back into the hallway.

Sakura Neko-Chan 13): FINALLY! Wow, I started this chappie as Mornan... and ended as Saku-Chan. You know, I stopped writing it about halfway through... and never came back until today. But, my new HP story Layers of Hate made me remember this fic. I decided to finish my poor, incomplete chapter.

Maria: High time.

Saku-Chan: Ohh, Maria! I missed you! (glomps her)

Maria: OW! (falls over) Not so hard. You really know how to build momentum.

Saku-Chan: Physics! Momentum is mass times speed... momentum cannot be destroyed, only transfered... since I ran into you, but couldn't just stop... the momentum made you fall over...

Maria: I don't need a physics lesson.

Saku-Chan: Right! Now, I'm very sorry about not updating. I turned 15 since I last updated. Oh well. If you still remember me... review! I will appreciate any loyal readers who come back to continue reading!