Declaration: I write for my own pleasure and not for profit. I do not own Harry Potter Universe.

With You by My Side

Chapter 56- Epilogue (… and they lived happily ever after)

Nineteen Years Later…

Hermione Potter, Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry rested her head on her husband's shoulder as she gazed at the van that was ferrying the last of the students from Salem Witches Institute.

This was the seventh Wizarding Student Olympics and was hosted at Hogwarts for the first time. The Olympics was constituted in place of the Triwizard tournament and involved all the different wizarding schools around the world instead of just three. This was also the first time that a three member team from Hogwarts won the new format of competing for the title of student champions. That Hogwarts won the tournament after seven years of its inception and for the first time in nineteen years after Harry Potter won the Triwizard tournament held at Hogwarts, showed how lacking the British wizarding world was in the skills that are highly rated in the newer format. A whole generation of students had to leave the halls of the school!

The Triwizard tournament did happen for a couple of years after the year 1994-95, and the other two schools had a chance to host it. However, it was turned into a farce where posturing became important and the tasks became life threatening. The Durmstrang administration wanted to prove that they were made of a tougher stock which meant that they would not even care if any of the participants died. Thankfully there were no deaths thought the Hogwarts champion was in critical condition for a month after being brutally attacked by a crazed Beauxbatons witch who in turn consumed a dangerous mind altering potion as part of the task.

The camaraderie that existed during the tournament that was held at Hogwarts was totally gone and by the next year which was held at the French school, there was distrust all around. The continued efforts by headmaster Karkaroff to undermine Hogwarts finally led to the suspension of the tournament and also to his arrest. Harry was instrumental in that too as the man was a known death eater who escaped punishment by ratting out Barty Crouch Jr. after the first defeat of Lord Voldemort by a baby Harry.

Harry was willing to turn a blind eye to the man's antics as long as he was confined to his home country but after two near lethal attacks on Hogwarts students, he decided to pull the plug on the sadistic man. The investigations into both the incidents led to the belief that they could have been accidental or maybe badly managed tasks but a deeper understanding of Karkaroff's psyche was needed to bring out the man's hatred of anyone who was not a pureblood.

Luckily, they had Severus Snape who knew most of the death eaters and with his testimony, Dumbledore, under insistence from Harry, brought the matter before the ICW. It took a very short time to remove Karkaroff as headmaster. When questioned under Veritaserum, the man admitted sabotaging most of the tasks so that the students representing Durmstrang won. They were purebloods and so were vastly superior to the contestants from either Hogwarts or from Beauxbatons, and so they were supposed to win.

Unfortunately, there was nothing like extradition in the magical world which meant that Karkaroff faced justice in his own country. At least he was dealt with.

That trial shook Dumbledore like never before. In one way he kind of believed in the 'imperius curse' explanation given by most of the freed death eaters, on the other hand he also knew that freeing witches and wizards who created murder and mayhem without a proper trial was also wrong. The mistakes of the past were clear to him when Malfoy murdered the past Minister of Magic in front of a crowd of people. To have another example in front of him and that too for crimes committed against his beloved school shook the aged wizard.

It finally dawned on Dumbledore that there indeed was a need for the reforms that Harry Potter and his 'family' were pushing for. The idea of blood based supremacy was going to rip their world apart. With that in mind, Dumbledore gave up being the headmaster of Hogwarts and also the Supreme Mugwump of the ICW. His reason, that he wanted to remove corruption from British wizarding society, was very much needed and was genuine.

A few pureblood houses grumbled at that saying that their society was fine as it was. If a few members were bad, it does not necessarily mean that the entire society was bad. Dumbledore now had a clear understanding of what keeping secrets would do and now that he had plenty of time on his hands, he did not want any more secrets, at least not in those things that were mundane. He wanted to bring about an understanding among the masses as to why the pureblood philosophy was dangerous in the extreme.

The pureblood houses argued that only about ten or so pureblood houses were corrupt and were involved in supporting Lord Voldemort. Their argument that most of the other houses were uninvolved in the conflict and so the pureblood philosophy as a whole was not wrong did have some merit. Unfortunately, they did not have the entire story to base their declarations on.

At Harry's urging, Nathaniel Issacs, Martin Brundle, Christopher Lucas, and others came forward and gave testimony about their roles in the campaign of terror. With the threat of Lord Voldemort gone for good and almost all of the fanatical supporters out of commission, they did not feel threatened. They painted a grim picture of blackmail and subjugation under the name of blood superiority.

Sirius and Amelia were at hand to detail the means of removing most of the fringe death eaters from the path of terror and how they began to contribute to the economy of England. The Lord and Lady Black never divulged the means by which the dark mark and one of Lord Voldemort's horcruxes were used to get the job done, but emphasized the changes that occurred after getting the death eaters away from financing the terror campaign.

The old pureblood houses began to understand that even though they did not murder anyone directly, their funding either through cash inflows or through material support did indeed lead to the deaths of a good number of innocents. They began to realize that a sense of superiority where there was no real superiority was dangerous. Slowly but surely attitudes began to change and Dumbledore was right there to guide the reforms.

Even though Madam Longbottom insisted about stepping down after Lord Voldemort was defeated, she continued in her position until the end of term. There was a lot to be done and having the matriarch of a well-known family, who was in turn respected for her infallible morals was a big boost to the British wizarding world. Amelia Black could have stepped into the post easily and still hold sway but the DMLE really needed an overhaul.

The auror force was only a policing body and not really trained for combat. This was also one of the many reasons that Lord Voldemort was able to reign his brand of terror so easily. If the aurors responded with lethal force right from the start then the war would not really have been a war but merely a skirmish. A military force would have been able to respond far more effectively against such a threat and that was what the head of DMLE began constructing.

The military force was answerable to three people only, the Minister of Magic, the Chief Warlock, and the head of DMLE. This force was also trained to take down superior numbers, something which Harry Potter demonstrated so ably. Add lethal force to a nimble footed magical soldier, they could be deployed even alone removing delays in response. It was no wonder that most of the initial recruits to the program were either muggle-born or had ties to the non-magical world. Their superior physical fitness paved the way for them being a rapid action tactical force. Hopefully, their need would not be seen in the near future or ever for that matter, but having such a force would be a great deterrent by itself.

The changes in governance and in the lives of everyday witches and wizards in Britain meant that there were a lot of meetings of the wizengamot. Harry could not, in good conscience, miss most of them. As the head of an ancient and noble house, he had a duty to ensure that the decisions taken by the august body were truly to the benefit of the masses.

This seriously curtailed Harry and Hermione's plans to tour the world and learn about different magical cultures. Harry had to be available to attend the meetings of the wizengamot as the head of House Potter. Not only that, he had to be abreast of all the goings in the political arena and keep on his toes not to be blindsided.

Most of the staunch opponents to a society where every witch or wizard was equal without any reference to their blood status, were either dead or behind bars at Azkaban. Still, those who enjoyed the benefits of a tiered society, would never willingly give up the power and so it was a struggle for Harry and co. It was not as bad as it could have been if Malfoy and his cronies were free to ply their gold.

The two teens were never satisfied with being idle. Instead of learning about the various cultures of the world and touring them, they moved their sights to learn magical trades from masters of their fields, particularly wand craft and enchanting. That was how they spent the three summers before their final year at Hogwarts. Though there was no need for Harry and Hermione to attend the school, they did in support of their friends still at the school, and also take up teaching about magic of the world.

Harry and Hermione finished their schooling by the end of their fifth year. Getting special dispensation, they appeared for both the OWLs and NEWTs on the same day, OWLs in the morning and the NEWTs in the afternoon. It took them longer than usual as the students had two different subjects in the morning and the noon, but complete them they did. There was no need to say that they scored the highest scores possible, with a few exceptions.

Though the two teens took a bigger part in the management of the school after passing their NEWTs, they did not take over it completely. They remained as helpers to the headmaster and later on the headmistress when Dumbledore retired, and took over the financial and planning aspect of running a school. Professor McGonagall was the natural successor to the top post and she put her own brand on the school by being proactive rather than reactive. Harry and Hermione could honestly say that they did not have much input on the day to day student facing activities of the school, it was all headmistress McGonagall with her deputy Pomona Sprout.

Hermione Granger became Hermione Potter right out of school; they did stay the full seven years with their friends and in an act of solidarity, received their final grades along with their friends who they met during their first year of school. In a delightful turn of events, the couples formed during the school days went on to marry; they apparently followed the trend set by Harry and Hermione in choosing their life partner early. Neville and Padma, Luna and Colin, Ginny and Michael also married right after their graduation, in Ginny and Michael's case, it was after the younger witch's graduation. Only Hannah and Susan waited a few more years before they tied the knot with the men they were betrothed to under marriage contracts.

The next five years were spent as apprentices to Nicolas Flamel and his wife. Learning the nuances of Alchemy was their goal but the Flamels were also knowledgeable in many aspects of magic. So the two Potters learnt warding, enchanting, and the lost art of magical surgery in addition to Alchemy.

With the availability of modern day potions and spells that can vanish and regrow bones or organs, there was no need for healers to use surgical repair which is quite common in the non-magical world. There was one aspect of the surgical procedure that led to the development of the modern day potions and spells. It was the need for imaging and the extreme magical power requirement. Magical surgery was as non-invasive as it could get. Unlike the non-magical way, the patient is not cut up and the inner organs exposed to the outside, instead, the surgeon would focus his magical energy directly onto the organ or the part of the body to be cut. The resected piece would then be vanished and the part repaired.

This meant that the surgeon had to have a way to visualize the happenings inside the body without needing to see directly. The way the ancient healers did this was to use something like X-Ray vision. They would 'will' their magic to flow into the body of their patient and allow them to see inside the body. Not only was this extremely taxing to the surgeon but most importantly the modern day witches and wizards were so dependent on their wands that they just could not use magic in that way.

With time, the magical power requirement for performing such a complex piece of magic was out of reach to most witches and wizards, perhaps as a result of marrying with the pureblood community?

Harry and Hermione Potter did not have that difficulty, neither that of power nor of the willpower to manifest magic in such an unusual way. However, it was mostly curiosity that drove them to learn that particular way of healing as modern potions and healing spells took away the need for surgery. Who knows there might be a need to revive that branch of healing? If such a need arose, the Potters were ready to either do it by themselves or teach it to the worthy.

Learning a new aspect of magic does take time, but it was not usual for Harry and Hermione to take too long to master a new branch of magic. However, their need to keep in touch with the politics and the day to day happenings of magical Britain also, meant that their time was not efficiently used for learning. It became easy for them after Amelia Black was ushered into the role of Minister of Magic after Madam Longbottom's five year stint at that position. By then things were quite settled and they could spend more and more time learning from the Flamels.

Their book aptly titled 'Adventures in Alchemy' was a compendium of all that they learnt in that particular field. After its launch, hopefully by the end of the current school year, it would become the go to source for everything related to Alchemy. The Flamels faded from public eye after teaching the couple all that they could, even from Harry and Hermione's acquaintance at the end of their apprenticeship. No one knew if they were even alive.

At the age of 23, the Potters went travelling around the world before returning two years later. By then Hermione was heavily pregnant with their first child and it was time for them to settle into their future roles. Professors McGonagall and Sprout gladly relinquished their duties and Harry and Hermione Potter became the first husband and wife duo as the headmaster and deputy headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Another milestone was also achieved with their return. The curse on the DADA position was also broken when the two took over as the DADA professors taking equal responsibility for all the years. Where Harry was mostly into the practical aspect of defense, Hermione was more into the theory and they were able to complement each other ably. They remained in their positions for a very long time and retired at the hundredth anniversary, making them the longest serving head teachers ever.

During their travels, Harry and Hermione met the heads of most of the magical schools around the world. It was during this time that the idea for the 'Wizarding Student Olympics' began to take shape. The Triwizard Tournament was already scrapped more than ten years ago and that meant that there was no way for the students of two or more schools to come together in friendly competition. Also there were no sporting events other than quidditch leaving the students with a lazy attitude. The death of Lord Voldemort and the death eater attitude also brought in a sense of complacency into the general population. The two Potters wanted to change that.

All 15 schools of magic from around the world would participate in a month long extravaganza. The Olympics would be hosted every year and every school would have a chance to host the event. Three of the best students from each school would take part in many disciplines that encompass not only magical skill and knowledge but also mixing magic with physical aspects like swimming underwater with the aid of magic, dueling, constructing useful items without magic and then enchanting them to be even more useful, among other tasks.

These were aimed at overall development of the future adults. In the beginning students born to non-magical parents dominated but slowly the others realized how grossly underprepared they were to live without magic and in a few years the division between non-magical raised and magical raised children was almost non-existent.

To prepare the students for participating in the Olympics, an enormous amount of revamping was required with regards to the course work. Harry had the advantage of having the complete support of the Minister of Magic and the staff of Hogwarts and that was the first thing Hermione and he did as soon as they took over Hogwarts. Bringing in non-conventional magic like that used by Druids, the Peruvians, and even parselmagic was needed in order to make British magical society not only tolerant to other cultures but also more knowledgeable. Surprisingly, there was no resistance from the purebloods, perhaps they were already accepting of the changes by then.

Physical fitness received a big boost in the new curriculum and many non-magical sports like football, cricket, badminton, and tennis made an entrance alongside other magical sports like gobstones, magical hopscotch, skittles, and the like. Now most of the students were also playing rather than just being spectators and watching quidditch.

Hermione sighed as she finished reminiscing the days gone by. The magical world was a much better place to live now than it was when she first set foot in it. She was blessed in finding a best friend in her husband and together they could not find any more happiness than what they already had.

The Potters were blessed with four children, two boys and two girls, and as she lovingly ran her hand over the barely visible baby bump, Hermione suspected that there was another one on the way.

Yes, life was good to her…

A/N: I am thinking of a companion story to this called 'Adventures in Alchemy'. Please throw in ideas which may be used and will be acknowledged. Happy reading!