Thanks to my lovely betas, LadyLini and Alibi Nonsense, for all their help in making these easier to read for you my readers. Also, for all their help in my learning to do it on my own. All mistakes are still my own.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. That pleasure belongs to J.K. Rowling, and all the people who she gave permission to have it make her rich. I just play in her sandbox. This disclaimer is for the whole story.
Harry walked with Hagrid down Diagon Alley; the young boy craned his neck to take in everything. He was running to keep pace with his new friend, who was ten times his size and didn't seem to notice that Harry was falling behind. He felt he was missing everything and hoped his friend would slow down.
"Where are we going, Hagrid?" the puffing child asked as he jogged once more to the man's side.
"We're goin' ta Gringotts, to get yer money. Dumbledore gave me yer key," the giant man explained. He looked down and saw Harry huffing and slowed his pace. "Sorry, 'bout that. Sometimes I ferget to pace myself," he said with a grin. "Yer short little legs don' help."
"It's alright," the tiny boy said back. "I'm not short, just… not big," he complained as they continued their way to the large marble building. Harry thought it was kinda weird that Dumbledore had his key. If they were in the Muggle world his aunt would have his key; really, she should have it anyway. She was his guardian. Then again, he didn't want his aunt to know he had money, so perhaps it was for the best.
They had reached a snowy white building. Standing beside its burnished bronze doors, wearing a uniform of scarlet and gold, was —
"Yeah, that's a goblin," said Hagrid quietly as they walked up the white stone steps toward him. The goblin was about a head shorter than Harry. He had a swarthy, clever face, a pointed beard and, Harry noticed, very long fingers and feet.
He bowed as they walked inside.
Harry bowed back and gave a tiny wave. He was bit leery about the spears, but they seemed nice enough. They opened the doors, after all.
The goblins smiled at him, showing their sharp teeth, which made Harry cringe a bit, but he nodded back. The goblins were correctly thinking he must be a muggle-born, or raised, because pure-bloods didn't show such politeness. The children raised in the wizarding world looked down on anything not human and they hardly ever bowed back. Only those like the Weasleys did any bowing and it was only curtly. Their son, Bill, must have told them the proper way to greet goblins.
Harry and Hagrid went through the doors, the boy looked up and read the poem. "Wow, that's harsh," he said in wonder, silently vowing to never rob the bank.
"Like I said, yer be mad to rob Gringotts," Hagrid said as he clapped Harry on the back, almost making poor boy fall to the ground. "Well let's get yer money," he said, pushing open the doors.
Harry nodded and followed Hagrid inside, nodding to the other pair of goblins, who nodded back.
About a hundred more goblins were sitting on high stools behind a long counter; doing their work. Some were weighing gems, others were counting money. Then there were those that were helping customers. They stood in line, while Harry took it all in.
"Morning," said Hagrid. "We'd like to make a withdrawal from 'arry's vault."
"Do you have the key?" the goblin said with a frown. He, like Harry, didn't know why the Grounds Keeper of Hogwarts would have a student's key.
"Yeah, got it here somewhere," Hagrid said, and started pulling all sorts of things out of his pockets, piling them on the counter. "Dumbledore gave it to me fer safekeeping," he said proudly, still pulling stuff out of his pocket.
That made the goblin nod; Dumbledore was the boy's magical guardian, so that made a bit more sense.
"Good Morning... um Gaukrogers," Harry said politely, reading the nameplate, beaming that he got the name right. "How are you this fine morning?"
"Good morning, Mr. Potter," said Gaukrogers, leaning over the counter to get a better look at who spoke. He noted the boy was sad in appearance; thin, too big clothes and a mop of hair that looked like it never saw a comb. This was the boy who vanquished the Dark Lord, he wondered to himself and then answered the boy's question. "I am well. Yourself?"
"I've had a brilliant morning, thank you. It's my birthday you know? And this is the best present I've ever had," Harry said, with a big smile. He looked around and noticed that a lot of wizards in fine robes were looking at him with distain. He wondered what that was all about; after all, he was only being polite.
"Well, then Happy Birthday, Mr. Potter. I do hope it is a joyous one." The goblin grinned at the young man, and then turned back to the man making a mess on his counter.
"Thanks," Harry said happily. He never had anyone, besides Hagrid, wish him a happy birthday and this year that would make two. It was indeed a special day.
Hagrid finished emptying his pockets. "'ere we are, musta fell to the bottom," he said finally, finding the key and giving it to Gaukrogers.
Gaukrogers took the key and examined it. "Seems to be in order," he said.
"An' I've also got a letter here from Professor Dumbledore," said Hagrid importantly, throwing out his chest. "It's about the You-Know-What in vault seven hundred and thirteen."
The goblin read the letter carefully. "Very well," he said, handing it back to Hagrid. "I will have someone take you down to both vaults. Griphook! Take Mr. Potter and Mr. Hagrid to their vaults," he ordered the small goblin that came their way.
Griphook stopped at the counter and received the key, and, after Hagrid had stuffed all his things back into his pockets, they followed him to the side of the building. It looked like mining carts that Harry had seen on the telly. They were sitting on tracks that tilted downhill.
Harry thought he was going to enjoy this ride. "Morning, Griphook," he said as they walked towards one of the carts, "How are you today?"
"It has been a profitable day, Mr. Potter. Thank you for asking. How are you this morning?" the goblin said, as he guided them into the vehicle.
"Pretty good so far, thanks." Harry said as he climbed into the back and made room for Hagrid, but not before he noticed more people were looking at him funny. What's wrong with these people? He thought. Haven't they ever seen someone be polite before?
Hagrid seemed to have some difficulty climbing into the small cart - large dog trying to get comfortable in a cat's bed - but he did, and they were off.
Harry let out a yelp when the cart took off. It was great, the fast movement stung his eyes, but still it was exhilarating. He had always wondered what the difference between stalactite and stalagmite. Harry was going to ask Hagrid about it, but he noticed that Hagrid didn't seem to be enjoying the cart ride as much as he was, so he held off. The poor man looked green around the gills and Harry really hoped he didn't barf on him.
Griphook looked like he was enjoying the giant man's discomfort —Harry had to wonder why.
In a few minutes they arrived at Harry's vault and got out of the cart. Hagrid had to lean against the wall and seem to be trying not to faint. "Alright, Hagrid," Harry said, putting his hand on the beefy arm.
"Alright, jest need to catch me breath," the giant man wheezed, taking long and slow breaths.
Griphook opened the door with the key and green smoke billowed out. Inside there were mounds gold, silver and bronze coins piled high as the ceiling. It was more money than Harry had ever seen in his life, not even on the telly.
Hagrid, who seemed to have finally gotten his breath back, said, "This is all yers. The gold are galleons, the silver are sickles, and the bronze are knuts. There're seventeen silver sickles to a galleon and twenty-nine knuts to a sickle. Should be easy enough to remember. Here, we'll just get a bag full—should last you a couple of terms."
They took a bag off the hook by the door and started filling it. When they figured they had enough Harry took the bag and turned to the goblin. "Griphook, how many galleons to a pound?" he asked, wondering if he should get some converted, so he could do some shopping in Surrey.
"The current rate is five pounds to a galleon." Griphook said turning back to the cart.
"Thanks," Harry said in awe. "Can you tell me how much is in this vault?" He asked as the climbed back into the cart.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Potter, I am only a cart runner. You can ask one of the counter clerks. They should be able to tell you," Griphook said as they waited for Hagrid to clamber in.
"Vault seven hundred and thirteen now, please... and can we go more slowly?" Hagrid all but pleaded.
"One speed only," said Griphook with a wicked grin.
They went further into the depths of Gringotts. Harry was pretty sure he saw a dragon, but they were going too fast for him to be sure. "Hey, Hagrid, do think they have dragons here?" Harry asked, trying to spin around in the speeding cart, to see if that's what he saw. He sat back in his seat and then noticed that Hagrid still wasn't looking good.
"Maybe so, I've always wanted a dragon. Now, shush, got to concentrate on me breathin'" the big man mumbled.
When they arrived at the vault Harry noticed that unlike his, this one didn't have a keyhole.
"Stand back," said Griphook importantly. He stroked the door gently with one of his long fingers and it simply melted away. "Don't ever try this, Mr. Potter. If anyone but goblin tried that, they'd be sucked through the door and trapped in there." He grinned wickedly, hoping to enforce the fact that Gringotts should not be robbed.
"How often do you check to see if anyone's inside?" Harry asked.
"About once every ten years," said Griphook smirking evilly.
"Oh, why do you wait so long?" Harry asked bending his head toward the open doorway. He was trying to see what was so important that it needed such a high security. He glanced into the vault, expecting to see great treasures, but there was only a grubby looking package that was wrapped in plain brown paper.
Hagrid picked it up and put it in his pocket then returned reluctantly to the cart.
"We don't like thieves and have no sympathy towards them," Griphook said, answering Harry's question. "So, if some fool dies, we could care less. They shouldn't have tried to rob us."
"Oh," was all Harry could say to that, reinforcing his vow to himself.
After a long-twisted ride that made Hagrid greener, they returned to the surface. They climbed out of the cart and Harry turned to Griphook, smiling.
"That was wicked! Better than any ride I've ever seen! Thanks for taking us." He held out his hand.
"It was not a problem, Mr. Potter. It is my job." Griphook took his hand and they shook. He loved waiting on muggle-born/raised children —they were almost always polite. Too bad most of them started feeling the same as the purebloods after a few years of listening to the History Professor at Hogwarts. But, still, it was a pleasure serving them when they were young.
"Good-bye, Griphook, have a good day!" Harry called as they went to the main part of the bank. "Hagrid, why don't you sit on one of those benches? I'm gonna see how much is in my vault," he said, pointing to one of the benches that were lining the side walls of the bank.
Hagrid, who looked like he was going to lose his breakfast, decided it was probably a good idea and ambled over to the one near the doors. The poor wooden bench creaked with his vast weight.
Harry went to the counter again and read the name tag. "Good morning, Underhill. I was wondering if you could tell me how much is in my vault," Harry said politely.
"Do you have your key?" Underhill said a small toothless smile graced his lips.
"Oh, yeah, Griphook gave it to me when I left the vault," the boy replied, patting his pockets and then handing over the key. "I was wondering why you don't have checks and credit cards. Surely you could profit from those," he inquired.
"It's not the first time someone has asked that question," Underhill said as he placed the key on a square atop the charmed parchment and tapped it with his finger. "Many muggle-born or raised ask it. We tried to get the Ministry to approve it, but they wouldn't budge they called it 'silly muggle stuff'. Since we only control what goes on in the bank and not what goes on in the business world, we can't seem to get it off the ground. We do have people trying though."
"Oh well, I'm sorry to hear that. I hope it works out for you," Harry said, and he really hoped it did. It would make things loads easier that lugging gold around.
Underhill returned his focus to the parchment and read, "Your current balance is 800,789 galleons and some change. If you ever want to know how much is in your vault, then you may purchase one of these charmed parchments and it will tell you. They are six sickles a piece and it doesn't register as underage magic use, because the charm is on the parchment."
Harry's eyes were wide. That was a lot of money. He did the math in his head and it came to £4,003,945. He hoped the Dursleys never found out. But with that much money he could get clothes that fit. Even if he only got them second-hand, they would still fit. He didn't want to go out and buy all new clothes because the Dursleys would ask where he'd gotten the money.
"If you would like to purchase that parchment now, Mr. Potter I would be more than happy to sell you one," Underhill said, catching Harry's attention away from his thoughts.
"That would be great," Harry said and paid for the enchanted parchment, he then put it in his too big pants. "Oh, I need to exchange some galleons for pounds. Do I do that with you, or somewhere else?" he asked, lifting up his bag of gold.
"You have to go to the exchange counter," the goblin said, pointing to said place.
Harry felt that would be all he needed so he could get some shoes that fit, as well as clothes. "Thanks for all your help. I hope you have a good day, Underhill," he said as he walked away from the counter. He quickly exchanged his money and went to join Hagrid, who was looking much better.
The two left the bank and started down the cobblestone lane.
"Hagrid, why was everyone looking at me funny while I was in the bank?" Harry said as they headed to the Alley.
"Well 'arry, it's sorta 'ard ter explain. Ya see not many wizards treat goblins so politely; they think o' goblins as second-class citizens, some even go as far as to call them animals," the big man growled, and then scratched his beard thinking on how to best put it.
"That's horrible," stated Harry, his green eyes wide with horror.
"There's been lots of wars with the goblins, so they really don't like us, an' most wizards don't like them. Yeh'll learn about that at Hogwarts," Hagrid explained, patting the child on the back, once more making him stumble. "Codswallop, I say, everyone should be treated with respect if they earned it," he added.
"Oh, yeah, that's kinda dumb," Harry agreed as he once more jogged to keep up. "You'd think that if they are going to be trusted with your money, you'd treat them with more respect. If there is one thing Uncle Vernon taught me it was to respect anyone who has control over your money. It's really only common sense."
"Don't yer worry none, Harry, you just keep bein' polite and they'll be polite right back atcha'," Hagrid said, clapping him on his back, almost making him fall, again. "Let's get yer things."
Harry felt he would heed this advice and possibly creating a business relationship with the goblins when he was older. For the first time in a long time he found hope. Now, though there was shopping to be done.
I enjoy reading Harry Potter fanfics as much as the next guy, but when Harry nods to the goblin at the bank and they widen their eyes in awe, which makes me giggle. According to Harry Potter Wiki, Gringotts has been around since 1474, so I find it hard to believe that no muggle-born/raised didn't show politeness to them. Harry couldn't have been the first. And since that makes up half the wizard population that wasn't taught to fear or look down on goblins, then I am sure that at least a third, or perhaps less, of the first years either wave, nod, or stare at them in fascinated horror. I get that prejudice is wild in the muggle world, but tv and books would have desensitized most to fascinated horror.
One reviewer did make a point, that most professors would have hurried them along, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't smile and wave, or stare in awe. Plus, at that age, who listens to adults.