THE GREAT GRINGOTTS CAPER
There are many misconceptions about Gringotts and its administrators, the Goblins, but there are a couple that spring most immediately to mind. The first is that the wizards think that they are in control, and that they magnanimously gave control over their finances to the Goblins. In truth, the Goblins have Magical Britain by the economic testicles, and while they had been defeated in outright warfare before, a humiliating thing for the belligerent species of magical being, the Goblins soon learned that financial warfare was a more subtle, potent weapon.
The second was that Gringotts was the safest place in all of Magical Britain to store currency, valuables and goods, but that was bollocks too. Leaving aside the Shadow-Walkers and their abilities, more than a few thieves made their way into the vaults, and a few even managed to escape with their loot. Few of the unsuccessful attempts and none of the successful attempts ever made the Prophet, or at least were vehemently denied by the Goblins. The main reason why the near-theft of the Philosopher's Stone even made headlines was because the Goblins wanted to scare the crap out of Nicholas Flamel, who had been something of a thorn in their sides, even after he agreed not to produce anything more than a set amount of gold with his Stone.
The truth was, the Goblins were every bit as arrogant as the humans they so disparaged, and they had thought that the Shadow-Walkers were long gone. Oh, they were wary of a re-emergence, but they believed that the line had been rendered all but extinct, with no surviving Shadow-Walker willing to risk the wrath of Gringotts. Even if the Goblins, despite centuries of trying, could not come up with a countermeasure. That the earlier Shadow-Walkers had been wiped out spoke more to the earlier Shadow-Walkers' arrogance and belief in their own invincibility than any weakness in their powers.
Which was why, when they made it into the Lestrange vault, Harry, Hermione and Luna, while cautious, were far from afraid. They had decided, after considerable planning within the Shadow Demesne, to cover up their theft, at least to delay any investigation by Gringotts by years at least, somewhat like they did at Snape's house. Through the Black family library, they found a special spell used by the Black family against their enemies, a form of boobytrap they used on their treasures. Thanks to Bellatrix and Regulus, the Death Eaters had plundered some of the best artifacts and tomes from the Black family, albeit with the connivance of Walburga. And to their delight, many of the Death Eaters kept those artifacts still in the vaults.
In addition, they could actually plant some of the artifacts Sirius didn't want in 12 Grimmauld Place anymore in the vaults that didn't have them, and have them booby-trapped the same way. What was more, the Goblins were apparently aware of this boobytrap. And it could be triggered remotely and simultaneously by the head of the family…though the boobytrap was also notoriously unstable. Much like many members of the Black family.
What said boobytrap did was use a form of Fiendfyre on the artifact it was attached to, along with everything within a certain radius, and rendered them cursed for years afterwards, a bit like a magical nuclear explosion in miniature. It was meant as a measure in extremis, and was apparently potentially unstable. But it meant plenty of scorch marks, glassed walls and ashes could be left behind, and for all their suspicion and paranoia, Goblins could be every bit as credulous as wizards. Plus, the curses were sufficiently nasty that even the much-vaunted Cursebreakers of Gringotts wouldn't go anywhere near them.
The trio wouldn't go as far as to say it was the perfect crime. In truth, they were kicking a veritable ant's nest. But they had planned for many contingencies. Not all of them, true, but the odds were low that the Goblins could prove that theft took place, enough to goad the Ministry into action, anyway, let alone figure out who took the money and valuables. They could suspect, but not enough to warrant any action on their own, let alone bringing the Ministry into it. They hoped.
Even so, their heist wasn't without hiccups…
Harry stared flatly at the box Luna had unearthed within the Rookwood vault. Or, more to the point, the things she was taking out of it. "How the hell could you even use that?" he said, tilting his head in confusion.
"Well, you strap that end here, and then you put the other end into…"
"Too much information, Luna, we've been over this," Hermione said hurriedly. "And no, we're not taking Rookwood's collection of esoteric sex toys to use for ourselves."
"Quite right too," Luna said. "We don't know where it's been. Well, I know where it normally goes, but we don't know what sort of diseases they had. We'll let this stuff get disintegrated in the fiery inferno of the boobytrap. Which sounds like some sort of sex toy too. You know, the hardcore BDSM stuff. Boobytrap! Kinky fun for adults!"
Harry pinched the bridge of his nose in exasperation at Luna's utterances of her thought processes. Luna, bless her, was way too young to blithely speak about such things. Then again, she was of the opinion that she should learn any knowledge, no matter how grotesque it was. "It's my solemn duty as a Ravenclaw!" she once bragged. Hermione had a similar desire for learning, but she had more brakes on her thirst for knowledge, astonishing as it might sound to anyone who actually knew the bushy-haired bookworm.
"We're going to have to store a lot of the artifacts for a long time," Hermione mused. "And we can't donate the haul we get to the DMLE and to St Mungo's yet. That much money going in just after Gringotts gets robbed is going to raise all sorts of red flags. If we're lucky, we may just be able to wait out the statute of limitations period."
"Sorry, what?" Harry asked. He'd heard about storing the haul from Hermione earlier, but he didn't know about this.
"Okay," Hermione said. "In law, there is a period of time after which you can't be prosecuted for most crimes. This doesn't count the worst crimes like, say, murder or rape. It varies depending on the crime and the country. For example, in 1950, a group of robbers robbed a Brink's building in Boston, stealing nearly $3 million dollars. They agreed not to touch the money for six years, because that's when the statute of limitations would run out. Unfortunately, it went pear-shaped when one of those involved thought that he had been bilked out of his share. Long story short, he tried forcing more money out of his partners in crime, they tried to have him killed, and he then spilled the beans to the FBI. And the others were arrested five days before the statute of limitations was about to run out(1)."
"So…how long do we have to wait until we can spend it?"
"Well, the gold should be fine in dribs and drabs. The Goblins may sneer at banknotes with serial codes, but magical coinage is hard to track. They rely on curses on the vaults to prevent people from stealing them in the first place out of overconfidence, and we're dealing with those very handily. But the majority needs to remain in storage until the statute runs out. Seven years. We've got more than enough resources to work with, anyway," Hermione said.
"By that point, we'll have graduated Hogwarts," Harry said. "We can just fuck off into reclusion. Assuming we don't drop out after this year. Between Fudge, Dumbledore and Voldemort, I'm seriously considering cutting ties with Magical Britain anyway. We just take our friends and families, and get out of here."
"My parents always wanted to go to Australia," Hermione mused.
"We just need to watch out for Bunyips, Yowies, and Dropbears," Luna said.
"Luna, Dropbears are just Aussies trying to scare you about mythological predatory koalas so that they can sell more Vegemite to smear on you as a preventative measure," Hermione explained patiently.
Luna just shot her a knowing smile. "Who said they were koalas?"
"Ignore her," Harry said. "We've got work to do. We've got another few more vaults to raid…"
The rest of the heist went fairly well. In fact, the most troublesome things were the cursed items that the Death Eaters kept leaving…as well as a few lewd items Luna couldn't resist commenting upon, apparently with the intent of scarring her fellow thieves mentally. The trio couldn't help but drool at the sheer amount of loot they had accumulated. A shame they had to hold onto it and keep it hidden for some time to allow the statute of limitations to run out, but hey, they'd been thieving from enough people that they could live off their loot for the rest of their lives without having to touch this stuff.
They were tempted to not stop at the vaults, but to go throughout the bank itself, and do things to the Goblins walking its halls or sleeping in quarters, even at this time of night. Unfortunately, that might tip their hand, though Luna did steal some office supplies. Apparently even Goblins, despite their attitude towards theft, had a somewhat looser attitude towards the stealing of stationary. At least amongst themselves: any humans caught doing so would be lucky to not lose an appendage. If a few notebooks or quills or the occasional issue of Playgoblin went missing (Harry looked askance at Luna for that one, but she claimed that the articles were interesting), well, that was more annoying than concerning.
"You know," Hermione said when they got back to their trunk hideout, looking at the pile of treasure (and the much smaller pile of office supplies), "I call that a good night's work."
"Screwing over Death Eaters is always a good night's work," Harry said. "Screwing over the Goblins, who would try to kill us if they knew what we are, is just a nice bonus."
"And they kept charging exorbitant fees for my parents to convert pounds into Galleons," Hermione scowled. "It's as bad as some Muggle banks if not worse."
"We'll hit those up later," Harry said, patting his bushy-haired lover on the shoulder. "I'd prefer to target fraudsters, criminals, and the worst corporate scumbags. Though a lot of those would be in the US, right?"
"Well, that's our post-Hogwarts life decided on," Luna said with a smile. "Rob the rich, and give to the more deserving. After taking a cut, anyway. And making sure I have enough coins and jewels to fill a swimming pool! Which I will go swimming in!"
"Luna, you're not Scrooge McDuck with his Money Bin," Hermione explained wearily. "You can't just dive into coins and jewels like it's a swimming pool, you'd injure yourself."
"Oh, Hermione, you just don't know how to get creative with certain spells," Luna smirked. "I wonder if Carl Barks was a wizard? Anyway, my point is is that we will have at least enough money and jewels to fill a small swimming pool, and we can then swim in it, once I research the proper enchantments." She shivered in anticipation, causing Harry and Hermione to back away ever-so-slightly.
"Sooo, what next?" Harry asked. "Can it not involve the bedroom? Not that I'm complaining about either of you, I just want a bit of variety."
"That's fine," Luna said blithely. "We have plenty of time after we graduate Hogwarts. So…pranks?"
After a moment, Harry and Hermione nodded their agreement. "Should we screw with Umbridge's head a little more?" Harry asked.
"I'm game," Hermione said.
"Hmm, tempting…actually, I'm more along the lines of Shadow-Walking to MACUSA and raising some havoc there. They were very rude to Daddy and me when we went over there once. They called my radish earrings banned contraband and claimed that Daddy had a prior conviction for inappropriate charms used on a Thunderbird." She pouted. "Daddy only used a Cheering Charm because it looked depressed, he doesn't have a thing for magical creatures…unless they're good-looking. Like a Mermaid."
Harry looked at her flatly, thinking back to the fugly Mermaids he saw during the Second Task. "Really?"
"Oh, not Freshwater Mermaids, Harry! Ocean Mermaids are actually sexy," Luna said. "Just need some Gillyweed, a trip to the Mediterranean, and the acceptance of the local tribes."
"…We'll have a raincheck on that, but pranking MACUSA sounds fun," Harry said.
"I agree," Hermione said with a huff. "Given their policies past and present…I'm in. Forbid wizards and witches from marrying Muggles, I ask you…"
"Okay!" Luna cheered. "Let's go! Onwards, minions of mayhem and mischief! We ride to glory!"
When the Goblins realised something was wrong, the three thieves' predictions of their reactions were pretty much spot-on. Their blinkered arrogance had led them to believe that nobody, not even Shadow-Walkers, would dare try to raid them. Instead, they cursed the Death Eaters and other Purebloods for their folly, believing the curses activated by accident. The only consolation the Goblins had was that Voldemort and his followers wouldn't have access to the money either.
By the time the dust had settled, the three Shadow-Walkers had finished their work for the night. However, they soon intended to target more of Magical Britain's malfeasants…
CHAPTER 9 ANNOTATIONS:
Hoo boy, it's been a while, hasn't it? I did more chapters for On the Delights of Drinking Blood than this one. Oh well, that's the way inspiration goes, and I needed an idea to do the Gringotts heist. Keep in mind, the Goblins aren't going to find out. This story is about three VERY OP protagonists having fun sticking it sideways to Magical Britain. Nothing deeper than that. And it may be a while before the next chapter.
You know, while reading up on Scrooge McDuck to find out who his creator was, I was actually surprised to discover that his latest voice actor, at least in the reboot of Ducktales (which I had vaguely heard of), is David Tennant! I did not see that one coming, and I have to say, listening to his performance, I actually liked it, despite some initial reservations (I like David Tennant, but I do not hear his voice and think 'Scrooge McDuck'). Plus, the new opening titles and the new version of that oh-so-catchy theme song is pretty damn good, to be blunt.
Review-answering time! Fall2Glory: Oh, I dunno. There's some like the WBWL characters and the parents neglecting Harry in favour of the WBWL, there's Snape (even canon Snape is a contemptible little bastard), there's Bellatrix, there's Voldemort, there's many Weasleys in Weasley-bashing stories…plenty of characters that are reviled.
MastrDragon: Sadly, DZ2 didn't continue it, and deleted it. They have a bad habit of doing so.
DustBunnyQueen: There's actually a few. In redbayly's The Purge, Harry is a descendent of infamous witch hunter Matthew Hopkins (I don't recommend that story to anyone with a weak stomach, as it has Harry and his minions graphically torturing Death Eaters and their accomplices). In at least one of sakurademonalchemist's stories, Golden Queen, her female Harry is a descendent of Mordred, and thus King Arthur…though they may not be historical figures. And are based on the Nasuverse versions. Another (I think it was DZ2's own attempt to answer this story, so it may be deleted) had Harry descended from Jack the Ripper.
As for your thanks regarding my distinguishing coprolalia from Tourette's Syndrome in general, you're welcome. I actually clarified that as well in the third chapter of my newly published Red vs Blue crossover, Freelancer, Medic, Mage, as I call that chapter 'Coprolalic Church', given that Church is notoriously foul-mouthed. While I'm not an expert on such conditions, I know enough to know the distinctions involved.
1. I remember reading about this infamous robbery years ago, masterminded (or at least conceived) by Joseph 'Big Joe' McGinnis. The man who gave up the rest of the gang was Joseph 'Specs' O'Keefe.