Fifteen peaceful years had passed since Voldemort's demise. James and Sirius had gone into politics with their fights for equal rights and brought along other younger members into the Wizengamot who had open ears. The seats of the pureblood faction were depleted after all the trials that had taken place. Mostly thanks to the constant talking Sirius, James and Frank Longbottom had coaxed Frank's mother Augusta to become the next Minister after Bagnold and thus helped to stable the society. Augusta proved to be a very able administrator who was abhorred of any corruption and couldn't be bought by any faction. Under her reign, the system was vastly beginning to change and in the summer, there would be the first public election of two thirds of the Wizengamot. The Wizengamot was to be reformed. It was split into two parts, the Magical Council and another chamber, the Magical High Council to form the new Wizengamot. Every wizard or witch who held a hereditary position in the Wizengamot would keep it, but for every seat so far there would be two seats added, which would be elective. Both chambers were to hold equally one third hereditary, two third elected members. The Wizengamot was reformed to be a purely legislative body, a High Witch or Wizard would preside each chamber for a maximum of four years in one tenure. A two third majority of the Wizengamot, meaning both chambers together, would be able to overturn a decision taken by the Minister, if that decision was disputed.
Augusta had been working with lawyers when she set the new system in motion. She had tirelessly worked through the magical law bodies while at the same time she managed to build up the wizarding world after the war. She had actually gathered a strong counselling group of young people around her, who helped her in both regards. It didn't astonish anyone that the "Vanquishers of the Dark Lord" were soon holding prominent places in this little exclusive group. They studied what laws were there and what laws should be kept, abolished or changed.
Augusta had chosen Amelia Bones into the position of the head lawyer in this group and they consulted the British body of laws to guide them through all those outdated pureblood sympathetic laws to create something that would be fair to everyone in their very diverse society. Sirius and James had worked in the group, as had Remus, who researched the old laws. Regulus had helped in another function, and he had made himself a good name for working hard. He was now one of the many people who exposed himself to public scrutiny and had decided to run for a place on the Magical High Council.
The Daily Prophet had fought the new Minister and her administrative organs with everything they had. However, since the public, the people on the street soon noticed the difference in their economy as well as their rights the bigoted purebloods started to find themselves outmanoeuvred. The old system had given the power to the Minister. The purebloods had always worked with a system of bribery to get the Minister – and the Wizengamot – to do what they wanted. Not only did they find themselves outsmarted by a Minister who would not be influenced with any kind of money, she was not influenced by bigotry at all.
The Daily Prophet was soon faced with more honest and straightforward new papers that started to turn up, first locally and with more time passing, on a larger scale. When they grew to national papers the Daily Prophet sank down to a small, unimportant organ of opinionated people, who couldn't find anything good in the society that started to evolve. They were the ones who would never learn, but they also became fewer every day.
Amazingly, Dumbledore kept out of it all. He quietly withdrew from most of his positions. He was to leave the last post he held, that of the Head of the Wizengamot as soon as the new Wizengamot was formed, and retire to his family's old home in Godric's Hollow. Up in Hogwarts a new wind had begun to blow as well, as the new Headmistress, Minerva McGonagall started to replace not only teachers she didn't think did a good job, but worked on updating the whole syllabus in many of the subjects, mainly History and Muggle Studies. With Voldemort's demise the curse on the Defence Against the Dark Arts course seem to have been lifted as well, as Minerva didn't have to look for a new teacher every year since then. She was therefore able to work out a new syllabus for this subject as well, which all teachers had to follow. She listened to the teachers for their course books, but set them and kept them until someone could show her better books. After more than ten years, she was finally quite happy with the school's performance and the students' hostilities between the houses started to improve as well.
James and Lily had happily seen their first child, Harry, off to school. Harry had been followed by no less than six siblings, two more boys, the rest all girls. Dorea remained to be the doting grandmother who happily looked after the children for most of the day, while James and Lily were busy at their day jobs.
It was Lily, who had helped Minerva in the set-up and modernisation of the schooling system. Thanks to her, all magical children now received a very good basic Muggle education along with their magical education. She was sure that this would encourage the integration not only of Muggle-born children into the wizarding society, but it would enable all children to choose their higher education in both worlds. So far, no magical university had existed. The students who left Hogwarts were mostly further educated professionally with their personal masters of the trades they wanted to learn. Now there were several mastery degrees to be acquired at the new Avalon Academy. The subjects taught there were the main branches of magical arts: Transfiguration, Charms, Potions and Studies of the Defence. More subjects would come up while the Academy was built up. Law and Commercial studies were to be introduced in the next year. So far, even the juristic subjects had been passed from master to apprentice. Of course, every master had also handed down his or her personal opinions of the laws to their apprentices. From now on, the course would be studied entirely based on the laws.
Remus and Sirius had never left Potter Manor. They had taken up residence in one wing of the big house and had been available for the many Potter children as playmates, babysitters, advisors, and helped with whatever ideas grew in the children's heads. They were, of course, all the children's favourite uncles. But, at the same time they had wanted to have their own children, so they found a nice witch, who was ready to give them their own family and gave birth to four children, three boys and a girl. Sirius now had his heir to the family and a daughter and he also gave his name to Remus' two boys when he was finally able to marry his love legally.
The Potters didn't stay hidden and isolated. They began to mingle with other families only months after war had ended. Along with Minerva's new integration ideas they were taking up contacts with Muggle families who had magical children, thus informing these families about their children's status much earlier than had been the custom before. It meant that these families and their children were already integrated into both worlds when the children would come to Hogwarts.
Hogwarts itself had changed, too. The castle had seen only about a quarter of its facilities used in the past over one hundred years. Minerva brought in the Governors and presented them with dozens of new ideas of the castle's better use. A part of the school was now used as a new primary school, but it was to be a day school. The children arrived by Floo in the morning and left in the afternoon, by Floo as well. Those children who had parents, who both worked, were allowed to stay until their parents arrived at home after their work. Thus, this part of Hogwarts had become a very active, bustling day-care facility and the first magical primary school. They had created a whole corridor filled with at least ten Floo fireplaces for the students' arrivals and departures. There were six brightly lit, big classrooms for the schooling part of the day-care and three or four more big playrooms, where the children could do their homework, too, if they wanted to.
Of course, with the new mix of magical and mundane education, many more teachers had made their entrance to this magical world. Magical changes had to be made to accommodate two full sets of education next to each other. The children entered not only Hogwarts at age eleven, they also entered a time compressed mode, in which they spent two full days and nights for every day and night that passed outside. The time compression was set up to avoid doubling the lifetime needed to complete both education systems. Children who left Hogwarts not only completed their OWLS and NEWTS, but also their GCSEs and A-Levels. They were ready to continue in any higher education system they would choose.
This was Minerva's most revolutionary course of action.
Remus, once he was done with the research work on the laws, was now ready to take up the position as the new History teacher at Hogwarts. He had worked hard to finalise the syllabus the year before and had handed over not only the lesson plans, but also the proposed new books to Minerva and the School Governors. They were at first aghast at the mixture of magical and Muggle history, but when Remus defended his ideas they began to see his points and agreed to everything.
In the first half of the year 1994 the magical world was presented first with the decisions taken to the future of their world. Augusta encouraged discussions and many opinions were brought in from the outside, of which many were picked up and, where possible and well advised, were integrated into the new body of law.
Before they public was allowed to choose their new legislative body it was presented to vote yes or no to the new laws and a constitution. The constitution was completely revolutionary as it had certain base laws that were hard to swallow for the pureblood faction. They were immediately rallying against it, but were outvoted in the old Wizengamot still presided by Dumbledore. Dumbledore, while retired from Hogwarts, still had a lot of influence in the political wizarding Britain. He was highly respected by most witches and wizards and his quiet, but cheery disposition allowed him to gather more votes than the purebloods, which were getting their first bite at a proper democratic procedure.
The constitution, which held many improvements on any older body of laws, and was written in a simple, clear language, was accepted in September 1994 by a vast majority. Over 80 % had voted for it. The constitution set down the rules of the Wizengamot, too. It stated that once the members were appointed through public election, they would elect a High Witch or Wizard and a deputy of each chamber, with a head over the whole Wizengamot. These were to be representative only and beyond their own vote had no other privilege than to preside over the meetings. It also set the ground rules for the executive of the government, starting by the minister, who was to be appointed by joint absolute majority of the Wizengamot. The heads of the departments of the Ministry would also be appointed by the Wizengamot upon recommendation of the Minister. They, too, would have to achieve an absolute majority in the Wizengamot. They were elected once, with a confirmative election in the Wizengamot every four years, until they decided to retire. They could, however, be ousted by Wizengamot rule in the review every four years. As an elected body they were, however, magistrates and thus members of the government. The Ministry kept its main departments, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, the Department of Education, the Department of Magical Creatures, the Home Department, the Department of International Cooperation, the Department of Mysteries and two new departments, the Department of Financial Control and the Department of Justice. The constitution formed a financial control organ over the expenditures of not only the Ministry, but also the political and juridical parts of the government. The Department of Justice was the new department, which oversaw the current body of laws and formulated the changing of laws and adoption of new laws. Whatever this department was implementing was subject to either voting in the Wizengamot, or, with sufficient protest, even to a plebiscite.
The third power that was newly created was a Magical High Court. It would not only keep an eye on the compatibility of all new laws and ordinances with the constitution, it was also the juridical arm of the Government. From now on, the Wizengamot was bereft of its juridical duties completely as all criminal or other court cases were to be disputed in an ordinary court system with several levels.
Compared to the autocratic governing of the society through the purebloods before the end of the war this was a revolution. But, after fourteen years of hard work, concluded under public scrutiny for the most part, it was discussed and accepted by the general public. The opinions of the average witch and wizard had been sought and integrated wherever possible and useful, which gave the new constitution credence.
The election, held in the month of July 1995, was a huge event. Witches and wizards who had not registered for the previous voting on the constitution, registered in masses for voting at the election at the Ministry, where they would also deliver their ballots. It was almost a consensus of the magical population. By the end of the registration process, two months before the actual election, some 126'000 voters were counted.
Once the tally of voters was done, they all received materials of the two chambers with presentations of each candidate. The UK was split up in seven voting districts, and each candidate represented his or her own district.
Augusta had a whole floor added to accommodate the voting process for the constitution and she allocated two full weekends for the election, each lasting from Friday morning to Sunday evening. She wanted as many magical people in there as possible. Everyone above the age of 17 was eligible to vote, no matter what their blood status was, or even whether they were regarded as 'creatures'. As long as they were sentient and legal adults, they were allowed to vote. Over two hundred election helpers were there to help in the two months after the voting material had been sent to the registered voters. Their help had been sought by many, either through visits, Floo calls or even through newer Muggle communications via telephone.
As this was the first election ever held in the magical world, Augusta had gathered a group of Muggle parents of magical children and asked them to become the official election observers. She wanted to bring the democracy closer to the wizarding people, wanted to help them to understand the procedures and thus gave the whole process much more time than it would probably need in future.
By educating the populace BEFORE and during the event, she hoped they would all enjoy the experience of being included. She organised a public party to be held in Diagon Alley on both weekends. Families streamed into the park in the wizarding district and went to vote, the children being allowed to follow the procedures, then most of them joined the others in the main Quidditch stadium in the park, where there were hundreds of booths and where they could buy all sorts of foods.
It was a clever move by Lady Longbottom. By bringing these masses together, she showed them that they were many. And that, by being many, they were an important factor in the process of governing. That they were able to state their opinions on their voting ballot. It also proved to the those still doubting, of which there were still quite many, that they were a part of the system and that they could change things; that they didn't have to be like sheep and follow the self-designated rulers.
The result was a very diverse Wizengamot. The old members saw themselves opposed by new ideas and many of them. The new members of the parliament had to learn to work with it, and for the most part, they were determined to do good work. James and Sirius did not have to be elected. They both held one of the coveted hereditary seats. They were joined by Frank Longbottom, another Lord. Together with them, the Wizengamot now held 85 hereditary seats and 170 additional elected members. Much to the horror of the Greengrasses, Parkinsons, Notts and other traditional pureblood families, they were now presented with opposing opinions and votes. They immediately tried to start their old games of a combination of bribery and intimidation, but the very first they tried to treat that way outside of the building announced them to the Department of Law Enforcement. It was a young woman, a half-blood, whose parents had been killed in the war. She had to bring up her younger siblings when she herself was still only 18. She had been accosted at her work place, a shop in Diagon Alley, by a group of five members of the Wizengamot. Five minutes after their leaving she reported them to the Department of Law Enforcement, where she delivered the bribe, which she had taken as proof of the bribery.
Within two months of the new Wizengamot's existence, the new court of justice treated this first case. All five members were tried and found guilty of the bribery. As a punishment, they were suspended from voting in their chamber, since they had a hereditary right to seat in the chamber. The suspension would last for a year. By the end of the year 1995, three more such cases had to be brought to court and by then even the most stupid pureblood had finally understood that illegal conduct would not help their side to get more votes in their sense. In February 1996, only a third of the old pureblood faction of the Wizengamot was allowed to vote anymore. They were outvoted on every single bill that would bring them back their old privileges and another year later, they finally started to work with the parliament in a useful form.
All that was traditionally left behind when the Marauders gathered at Potter Manor to bring their children to the school train. Regulus had married in the meantime and was the proud father of two beautiful little girls who were the apple of his eyes. It was a big family who entered the platform at King's Cross and went through to Platform 9 ¾. Luckily, this one was expanded on September 1st, to hold all the visitors who saw their children off to school. It was a wonderful mingling of young and old, as parents said their good-bys to the children and the children found their friends to board the train. It was a silly thing, actually, that school train, but it was a much-liked tradition that no one wanted to miss, so it was kept up.
Of James' seven children, the oldest three, Harry, Robert and Charles, were seen off to Hogwarts. Of Sirius and Remus' four only the oldest, Sirius' son Alphard had been at Hogwarts so far, he would now be joined by the twins, Sirius' daughter Adara and Remus' son Orion. Regulus' two girls were only small by that time, three and one years old. But they were all present at the station, because it was tradition and because they loved each other.
It was also tradition that the students who were going off to school resented the attention they got. Harry tried to get out of his mother's loving clutches as soon as he crossed the barrier. He left Robert and Charles immediately behind to find his own best friends, Neville Longbottom, Hermione Granger and Susan Bones. Neville, Susan and Harry had formed their friendship early on, when they were still pre-schoolers, because they saw a lot of each other. In primary school, a wide-eyed Hermione had joined them, astonished that anyone wanted to befriend her at all. But especially she and Harry had hit on quite quickly, because Lily had instilled a great love of books in her son, which brought them together at once.
Harry was a good mixture of his parents though, and the Marauders had their influence in him as well. He loved to fly and was a natural when it came to flying. He had done his share of pranking, together with his younger siblings, and hardly regretted anyone of his pranks. He was taught by the best, after all. At Hogwarts, he had performed as well as his parents and had a lot of fun by tormenting his peers and professors with lovingly created embarrassment. More than one letter had found its way to James and Lily who took them in stride. As long as their son didn't deliberately hurt anyone, he wouldn't be reprimanded over the punishments he got to serve at the school.
Harry was a wonderful, loving child, who integrated easily into classes and his peers. He had his father's easygoing, open character and his mother's sharp intellect. He was able to perform well when he wanted to and didn't have to work very hard for good marks. When he did apply himself his marks rose from good to excellent though and thus he was amongst the best in his year's OWLs. He had performed equally well in his GCSEs, which pleased his parents. The best in both sets of education had been Hermione. She was able to outperform any other student in Hogwarts, mainly because she applied herself harder than any other student. That had caused her great problems in her first year, because she had a habit of thinking that all others should work on the same principles as she did, but thankfully her friends had been able to get it through to her, that the academic performance of the others wasn't her responsibility. They accepted her for who she was and expected her to respect them for what they were.
In that respect, it was more like a curse for Hermione to come from a family of socialists who thought that the destiny of the whole world was part of their responsibility. She had a social conscience which often stood in her way, but she would not lower her standards and as long as she stopped nagging the others were ready to accept that part of her personality.
Sirius, still lovingly hand in hand with his husband, had seen off the Potter children and his oldest joining up with their friends. All of them were proud members of Gryffindor, even the little Bones girl had been sorted there, much to her Hufflepuff oriented family's consternation.
But then, Sirius mused, many of the traditional 'Sortings' went different than expected. The Sorting Hat seemed to have grown a new backbone and thus had almost deserted Slytherin of any students for about a decade. His own son had happily followed him into Gryffindor. This year, eleven years old Adara and her half-twin brother Orion would follow their older brother to school. She was still a bit clingy to her dad, but was soon brought out of her funk by Orion who called for her to meet their friends from primary school. To Adara it was one thing to leave for school every day when one could come back home every evening, but now it was off to boarding school for ten months, and she would only see her parents a few times during these long months.
"You'll be fine, sweetheart, just go with the boys. You're half a boy yourself, most of the time anyway," Sirius whispered, kissing her goodbye.
That made her grin and while she hugged Remus goodbye she was already thinking of all the plans they had concocted to make their older siblings look like angels. She was a tomboy, yes, but not entirely. She thought of herself as a better girl and found girly girls repugnant.
Sirius was glad, though, that she had a number of candidates among this year's girls to find friends in the girls' quarters nevertheless. He thought she'd be lonely in her dorm if she didn't find some friends among the girls.
James and Lily said goodbye to their third son Charles. It became less hard every time, Lily thought. 'Probably until Becca leaves', she admitted to herself. As long as she still had some children to tuck in at night, it didn't hit home as much that her children would be growing out of her home. She wasn't a clingy mother, but she loved her children and she loved the ruckus and the busy home she had. She didn't give a damn about keeping her figure intact if it meant that she and James could have all the children her beloved mother-in-law never had and then some. Dorea had never been better and happier than when she had all those little ones around her. It made Lily smile every evening when she came home. Lily had more than one workmate who would wonder how she managed with all those pregnancies and the subsequent children in the house, even with her mother-in-law looking after them during the day. Lily laughed and usually replied that it invigorated her, helped her rest up to come home to her loved ones; that they gave her all the strength she needed for the day job. If push came to shove, she could always take out a weekend with James and just go off to sleep it through now and then. She had done that on several occasions.
Naturally, even with now eleven children in the house, sometimes more than twenty, when others brought their own, it had been a great help that Sirius and Remus lived with them, too. Together with Dorea and the numerous house-elves at Potter Manor they were able to hold up a wonderful family life. Lily didn't accept the excuse other mothers of her acquaintance claimed to be constantly tired from the stress with children, household and profession. She accepted the claim of stress with children if there was no one else sharing them but with magic, a household was done in minutes, even the cooking. That didn't constitute any additional stress in her opinion and accused many of the husbands of sharing neither the housekeeping nor the responsibility with the children. She was of the opinion that this was the real cause of their stress. She was thankful for James. He took everything off her that was possibly too much for her and he didn't do it grudgingly, he liked to do the little chores that were left.
James was the happiest man on earth. He found fulfilment in his work, he had a happy family at home and was able to live his life in peace. His prayers of thanks usually went to his best friend with the 'furry problem' for his courage to speak up. James was very much aware how badly things could have gone wrong had Remus not been a Gryffindor that night.
But Remus had proven his worth then and thus had brought forth the great turn of events. And with him there had been another Gryffindor back then, one who had never been sorted to his rightful house and proved himself to be more of a Gryffindor when he dared to leave his master's service in favour of doing the right thing.
There was another one who was happier than anyone else about the turn of events in 1981. Her name was Dorea Potter-Black, and she knew why she was so much happier than she could have expected to be after the loss of her husband.
Charlus Potter had given in to the despair of never having another child when James was 19. He had fallen ill and never recovered. No magic seemed to help him and he died the year before Harry was born. Dorea was almost ready to follow her husband when her son and his family and friends came to Potter Manor. That had been the turning point for Dorea, and she had recovered quickly. She welcomed every new grandchild with love and happiness.
But night for night for several years after the war she saw images flash before her eyes when she went to sleep. Images of her own death, images of the tragic deaths of her beloved son and daughter-in-law, images of a lonely child with brilliant green eyes and unruly black hair, who was treated less than poorly by his relatives. Images of another bloody war, which would cost not only both her grandnephews, but their best friend and a lovely young great-grandniece who would leave behind another orphan. Another grandniece would lose her husband. The survivors of the war would be left bereft of many of their loved ones if not most of them. They would be badly scarred and were bound not to live a very happy life at all.
And she remembered that because of Remus Lupin-Black, who had dared to ask a very difficult question they were all happy.