All recognizable characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.
I am not a native speaker of English. Please excuse my mistakes.
Completely AU, partly OOC.
Dumbledore rose from his chair and absentmindedly began to pet Fawkes' head, before he replied, "The Wizengamot has agreed to accept four elf children for every first Hogwarts year in the future. However, at the same time they request us to install a new selective class called 'Elf Science'. I have spoken with the head of houses as well as with a few selected elves, and I received the advice to hire you as the new professor for Elf Science." Seeing that Harry opened his mouth, he held up his hand to stop him and continued, "However, apparently, this is not a subject that has to be taught through all Hogwarts years but merely an elective subject for older students; therefore, we have decided to set up another new class only for the sixth and seventh year students, 'Healing', again a subject, which you - according to Madam Pomfrey and Misty - are predestined to teach. However, in order to become the Healing professor, you'd have to take your NEWTs in Healing at least before the beginning of the new school year."
Harry sat there, stunned. 'What?' he thought in disbelief. 'They want me to become a professor, for two subjects at that, although I've only just finished my fifth year?'
"Excuse me, sir," he spoke up, questioningly, "what about the NEWTs in the other subjects?"
Dumbledore smiled at the boy. "For Elf Science, no further NEWTs are required, since the class is new and going to be taught for the first time, provided that you agree, and for Healing the only required NEWTs are Potions and Healing. For all other subjects the OWLs suffice," he explained gently.
Harry let out a long sigh. "Thank you, Professor, for offering this to me," he said, slowly. "On the one hand, I really appreciate it and I'd like to accept; however, on the other hand, my absolute favourite subject is Potions, and..." He slowly trailed off, wondering if he was sounding like an ungrateful, egoistic brat.
To his surprise, the Headmaster was still smiling. "Ah my dear boy, my colleagues and I are aware of that, and Professor Snape would appreciate it very much if you - in addition to your other tasks - would remain his assistant. We have to set up a schedule for you, but I believe that with the relatively low number of classes required in Healing and Elf Science, you'll have enough time to teach a few Potions classes or assist with the brewing, provided that you agree to the plan."
"Thank you sir," Harry replied, feeling very relieved at the prospect of remaining Severus' assistant. "In that case I can at least promise to think about your offer. Please just give me a day to ponder the matter."
"Very well," Dumbledore agreed. "Please visit me again tomorrow and inform me about your decision."
"I don't know if I'll manage to pass my Healing NEWT before the new school year though," Harry said, thoughtfully. "I've never taken any exam in that subject."
"Don't worry about that my boy," Dumbledore reassured him. "Madam Pomfrey and Misty assured me that you would pass the exam without any problem."
Like in a trance, Harry excused himself and left the headmaster's office. The offer to become a professor had been so sudden and unexpected that he felt extremely confused. On the other hand, he felt very happy at the prospect of teaching Elf Science. 'It would put me into a position, in which I'd be able to do more for the elves and fight for their rights,' he thought, wondering if he should pop home and speak with his parents and friends or if he should talk to Severus first. 'I'll speak with Nina,' he finally decided and popped home.
"Nina," he whispered to the girl, who was sitting in the elves' library reading an old tome.
"Harry," she replied, happily, immediately putting her book away.
"Shall we go for a walk?" Harry suggested, wanting to speak with his friend in private. Turning invisible, the two friends walked around the lake, unseen and unheard by the students, who were spending the early summer evening on the grounds. He told her about the headmaster's offer, before he finally asked, "Do you think I should accept?"
"Of course," Nina replied immediately, happily smiling at him. "It's a brilliant chance for you. Remember you can teach a subject that no one has taught before, so that you're totally free what and how to teach it. Plus, all the elves will be delighted having you teaching Elf Science at Hogwarts. I'm so happy for you, sweetie."
"Thank you Nina," Harry replied, returning the smile. "Nina," he then said, hesitating, "I'd also like to ask you something completely different." Seeing the girl cast him an expectant look, he continued, "Would you perhaps agree to become my girlfriend?"
'Oh no, I shouldn't have asked that,' he thought the instant the question had left his mouth. However, a broad smile spread over his best friend's face, and she happily nodded.
"I'd love to be your girlfriend, Harry," she replied, gently. "I love you, sweetie."
"Love you too," Harry mumbled and felt himself blush deeply as he pulled his girlfriend into a first kiss.
After spending another two hours sitting on the shore of the lake with Nina, Harry popped into the fifth years' study room in order to speak with his friends before the beginning of curfew. Making himself visible to only Hermione, Millicent and Blaise, who were still his best friends among the students, he told them that he'd like to discuss something with them in private, and the four students unobtrusively packed their belongings and left the room. Unbeknownst to any of his other classmates, Harry slipped out of the door right behind Millicent.
"Sorry for disturbing you," he apologized in front of the study room. "But there's something of which I'd like to hear your opinion, and it has to be tonight. Would you mind coming to my room with me?"
"Of course we don't mind, and you didn't disturb us," Hermione was the first to reply in a gentle voice, and ten minutes later, the four friends entered Harry's room in Severus' quarters.
"What happened, Harry?" Millicent queried, eyeing him in concern.
Harry let out a long sigh, before he let his eyes wander around the room, smiling at his friends. "Dumbledore suggested something to me, and I have to decide until tomorrow if I want it or not," he began and explained, "he wants me to skip my NEWTs in all subjects and instead become a professor for Elf Studies and Healing from the next school year onwards. I'm not sure if I want it though. I'm torn between wanting to accept and preferring to being a student."
"Harry, I understand that this would be a brilliant opportunity for you," Hermione said, thoughtfully. "However, wouldn't it be better to properly finish Hogwarts?"
"I believe that Harry already has properly finished Hogwarts," Blaise spoke up, "considering that he already took his NEWTs in Potions."
"I also have to take the Healing NEWT," Harry added in a small voice.
"Harry, I think you should do it," Millicent voiced her opinion. "Of course it would be sad to not have you in our class and house anymore, but at least you'll still remain at Hogwarts, and I suppose we can still be friends." She cast a huge smile at the boy, which Harry returned, chuckling.
"Of course we're going to remain friends," he promised, before he quietened for an instant, wondering if he should tell his friends about Nina. 'Well, they probably have seen her a few times; on the other hand, she remains invisible most times,' he mused. Suddenly realising that his friends were looking at him with expressions of concern and curiosity, he slowly spoke again.
"I don't know if you have met Nina," he asked, looking from one to the next and, seeing his friends shake their heads, explained, "I have two best friends among the elves, Nina and Tony. They've been my friends since we were a year old, and even now we're still best friends. Anyway, earlier I asked Nina to become my girlfriend..." He slowly trailed off, feeling tears of happiness well in his eyes.
"And?" Hermione asked, impatiently. "Did she agree?"
"Yes," Harry replied, smiling. "I'm so happy." With that he couldn't hold back the tears anymore that began to leak from his eyes. "Sorry, I'm just so happy," he repeated. "I'm very confused though about the matter with the teaching positions."
"Harry," Millicent spoke up, pulling him into a light hug. "We're so very glad for you. You really deserve being happy. Please just do one thing and introduce Nina to us before we leave on Saturday, will you?"
"I will," Harry promised and called his friend right away.
"Harry?" Nina enquired, looking at her boyfriend in surprise as she popped into the room.
"Sorry Nina for calling you here," Harry replied, casting her a happy smile. "My friends would like to get to know you. Would you mind making you visible for a moment?"
"Of course not," Nina said, smiling and turned visible to greet his friends.
"Come sit here next to me," Harry invited her, gently laying his arm around her shoulders when she sat next to him on the edge of his bed.
"Aww, you're such a sweet couple," Millicent blurted out. "Congratulations, Harry and Nina."
The friends talked until the beginning of curfew, and Nina offered to pop Hermione back to Gryffindor, while Millicent and Blaise walked back to their common room.
"Harry, as to Professor Dumbledore's offer, you should speak with your parents and with Professor Snape," Hermione said quickly, before she and Nina vanished from the sight.
'I'll do that,' Harry resolved and spent the next few hours discussing the matter with his parents and his magical guardian.
Before breakfast the following morning, Harry entered the headmaster's office and informed Professor Dumbledore, "Professor, I'd like to accept your offer; however, only under one condition."
"And what might that be my boy?" Dumbledore queried, his eyes twinkling merrily.
"I will accept the positions under the condition that my girlfriend Nina will be freed like Cicero and Malcolm," Harry said, calmly, causing the Headmaster to sigh in defeat.
"Very well, Harry my boy, in this case you'll once again get what you want," Dumbledore finally said, before he called Twinkle and Nina.
Five minutes and some long incantations, which Harry did not understand, later, Nina was a free elf.
"Harry, Professor, thank you so much," Nina blurted out, gratefully, a small tear leaking from her left eye.
"Hey, it's all right. Don't cry," Harry said in a soft voice, gently laying his arm around her shoulders.
"Congratulation Nina and Harry," Dumbledore spoke up, smiling at the scene in front of him.
"Thank you Professor," Harry replied and excused himself, before he left the office together with his girlfriend.
"Now what?" he thought aloud, once they had arrived back in the elves' quarters, causing Nina to chuckle.
"What now what?" she queried in apparent amusement.
Harry let out a long sigh, before he asked, agitated, "How am I supposed to take my NEWTs in a subject for which I've never ever studied? And that in three days' time?"
"Don't worry, sweetie," Nina reassured him, before she suggested, "Go and speak with Misty and Mistress Poppy. They'll know what to do and will help you."
'That's true,' Harry thought, nodding his agreement. 'Although I should better do some Potions research in order to prevent myself from getting the stupid pox every time I get myself into a stressful situation.' He slowly let his tongue wander around his mouth, noticing in annoyance that he could feel a few small pox. He quickly popped into Severus' lab and downed a potion, which fortunately cleared his pox along with the headache that had been bothering him the whole morning. Finally, he went to speak with Poppy.
"Let me call Misty here too," the healer said, gently, and motioned Harry to take a seat in her office. During the following thirty minutes, the healer and the healer elf both reassured the boy that he'd do great in the exam even without specifically studying for it.
"Don't forget that you've already studied Healing from the age of four," Misty reminded him, smiling. "Plus, if necessary, you can even use your elven healing magic in the practical exam. No one will know."
"I'm more worried about the theoretical part than the practical," Harry admitted in a small voice, causing the two healers to give him a two-hour pop quiz that Harry managed to their satisfaction.
"And now go and enjoy the last few days of classes together with your friends," Misty instructed him. "You're well prepared for the exam. Mistress Poppy will let you know when the exam is going to take place."
"Misty," Poppy threw in, gently. "There's no need to call me Mistress anymore. Since you're a free elf, please just call me Poppy."
Misty bowed deeply. "Thank you... Poppy," she replied, slightly hesitating. "I will try."
Harry smiled as he left the hospital wing, feeling very happy for his parents to be free elves.
Like the healers had predicted, he managed to pass his Healing NEWT with the best mark possible. Feeling extremely relieved on the one hand, he was very uncertain about how to set up a lesson plan and especially what to teach in the respective subjects. 'At least I have the experience of having taught Potions before,' he thought, 'although Severus made the lesson plan and I only did what he told me.'
He finally spent the first half of the summer holidays on the Isle of Elves together with Nina, trying to set up his lesson plan for Elf Science with the help of the elder elves. When they returned to Hogwarts at the beginning of August, he felt fairly satisfied with the content of his lesson plan, especially since he knew that he could still discuss it with his parents and Twinkle.
One day, the headmaster called him into his office. "Harry my boy," the old wizard greeted him, offering him the traditional lemon drop that Harry declined as usually. "I was wondering where you want your classrooms and office and if you'd like to have your own teacher's quarters or if you'd rather prefer to live in your guardian's quarters, considering that you're still under age.
Harry remained thoughtful for a moment, before he replied, "I'd prefer to remain in my room in Professor Snape's quarters respectively in the elves' quarters, where I still have a bed in the dormitory. As to the classroom and office, I don't really mind," he added, uncertainly.
Dumbledore nodded, pensively. "Very well then," he finally spoke up, "I suggest that we ask the elves to make two classrooms, which are connected to each other, in the so far unused hall behind the hospital wing. There'll still be enough room for your office in the same corridor." Seeing that Harry nodded his agreement, he continued, "I'll ask the elves to connect your office to your room in Severus' quarters then. Is that agreeable for you my boy?" he enquired.
Harry agreed and immediately began together with Nina, Tony and a few other elven friends to set up his classroom and office. "One large classroom is sufficient for the time being," he decided and planned the setup accordingly.
Two weeks before the beginning of the new school year, his classroom, office and both lesson plans were finished, and Harry spent the rest of the holidays helping Severus with the brewing of potions for the hospital wing.
"Severus," he hesitantly addressed his guardian on the last day of the holidays, "I don't know if I'll have time during the school year, but I'd like to try finding a cure for my problem with the Grindylow pox."
The Potions Master smirked. "Harry," he then replied, sighing. "I never told you in order to not get your hopes up, but I've been working on this for years now, and I believe that I'm finally getting closer. Give me another year or two, and I hope I'll have a cure for you."
It finally took the Potions Master two more years, before he presented Harry the potion with the cure on his seventeenth birthday.
"Are you sure that it'll work, sir?" Harry asked in excitement as he gratefully accepted the phial.
"I'm certain," Severus replied in a firm voice. "I've done many tests using rats, and I also had the Potions Masters of St. Mungo's test the potion."
"Thank you so much," Harry said, happily. "You won't believe how grateful I am to finally be able to get rid of that problem."
"I know Harry, I know," Severus reassured him, motioning him to take the potion.
Even if Harry knew that if anyone was able to invent the cure it would be Severus, he realised that the cure had to have worked a few days later, on his wedding day. He was very excited, especially since the whole student body had decided to return to Hogwarts for this day during the summer holidays for the wedding of their favourite professor.
"If the cure hadn't worked, you'd surely have the pox by now," Misty told him on the evening before the wedding. "Now calm down sweetie, everything will be all right."
In spite of all his worries, the wedding was a wonderful event that the whole school enjoyed greatly. For Harry, the best gift that he received apart from being wed to the elf woman of his dreams was the information that his four best friends, Hermione, Millicent, Blaise and Neville, were going to return to Hogwarts as teachers from the new school year onwards.
"I'm definitely the happiest wizard in the world," he told Nina, when they entered their new quarters the same evening, "having you as my wife and my friends as my colleagues."
"Well then I'm the happiest elf," Nina replied, smiling.
During the following years, Nina and Harry together continued to work for the freedom of the elves. Nevertheless, it took twenty years, before most of the elves all over the country were free. In spite of the fact that the whole movement had begun at Hogwarts, among the last elves to be freed were the Hogwarts elves. Only with the retirement of Headmaster Dumbledore, Harry as his successor freed all Hogwarts elves, arranged monthly payment and summer holidays for them, and their children were allowed to attend Hogwarts as students without limitation.
As headmaster, Harry still taught the Healing classes, while his son Alex took over the Elf Science classes, and Nina became Twinkle's successor as teacher for the elf children until they were ready to work as elves or enter Hogwarts.
One of Dumbledore's first actions as the new Minister of Magic was to hold a huge ceremony in order to award Harry the Order of Merlin first class for his engagement for the relationship between wizards and elves.
"Thank you, Minister Dumbledore," Harry told the old wizard, "however, there is no need to award me anything for that. It's only natural for me to work on the wizard - elves' connections, considering that I'm a wizard by birth and the Elves' Child by choice."
Thank you so very much for your continuous support for this story!