Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Gringotts, and their world belong to J.K. Rowling, of course! However, people will speculate over the dinner table, and thus I imagined this little problem.... any imperfections are entirely my own.
Harry looked at his Defense Against the Dark Arts essay. He just couldn't take it seriously – not when he knew what was really facing them. He put down his quill.
"I'm going to bed," he announced.
"Harry!" Hermione protested. "You can't do that! We have exams at the end of this year!"
"So?" Harry said. He stretched, wondering how Ron had managed to sneak off without a lecture. "That's four months away."
"But we'll be graduating. We'll need to find jobs."
"I'll get a job." Harry knew he was smirking; he couldn't help it. His stupid name should finally be useful for that.
"Will you really?" Hermione asked. "Oh, certainly you're famous, but will anyone hire you for that? We can't get jobs in the Muggle world, Harry, we don't have degrees. Have you even decided what you want to do?"
"I'm going to bed," Harry repeated.
Once in bed, however, Harry found he could not sleep. His mind tracked
repeatedly through possible completions for his essay. Despite his casual dismissal of Hermione's fears, he knew that deadlines had a way of sneaking up on him. What did he want to do? Would anyone hire him to do it?
"So, Mr. Potter –" A pointy-toothed goblin leered at Harry over a length of scroll. For the life of him, Harry could not remember what job he had applied for, nor what he had written in his resume. "You come highly recommended, by one of our better curse-breakers, however, some concerns have been raised about your qualifications. Your transcript seems, at best, sketchy."
"Er..." Harry tried to think. It must have been Bill that recommended him. He was interviewing at Gringotts, then. He looked up, and the marble walls stretched heavenward for miles. He looked back at the goblin, who seemed to be further away, except for his teeth.
"Perhaps we could review your transcript?" the goblin suggested. "For example, this first year. Your grades are passable, but nothing more. Under extra-curricular activities, you list, 'recovered Philosopher's Stone' and 'foiled Voldemort's return to power.'"
"I'd gotten kind of wrapped up in a cursed mirror," Harry heard himself babbling. "But I did get to the Philosopher's Stone before Voldemort could use it."
"But He did return to power," the goblin pointed out, in clipped tones.
"Oh, but that was my fourth year," Harry blurted out. He couldn't seem to stop himself from continuing, although he knew he sounded ridiculous.. He leaned forward. "The second he tried to come back as his sixteen-year-old self, but I foiled him then, too."
The goblin was not impressed. "So I see. 'Slew basilisk, rescued first-year possessed by Dark Lord.' I'm afraid we're not looking for a basilisk-slayer, Mr. Potter."
"But I'm good at loads of things," Harry protested.
"As you have listed," the goblin replied, sounding rather bored. "You can repel dementors, fight dragons, and, of course –" he allowed himself a smirk –"were the youngest House Quidditch player in 100 years." He cleared his throat. "You do not seem to have sat exams your fourth year, Mr. Potter."
"I was exempt," Harry said desperately, "as a school Champion."
"I see." The goblin scratched some notes on the edge of the parchment. "And what, pray tell, did you do, rather than sitting exams?"
"I stole an egg from a dragon," Harry said desperately. "I rescued some hostages from the bottom of a lake." The notes, he thought, looked suspiciously like doodling. "I negotiated a maze - And I fought Voldemort! One on one! I resisted the Imperius curse. . . ."
Harry stopped, aware his interviewer was still unimpressed. He wasn't sure why he had thought the man was a goblin. In fact, he looked enough like Cornelius Fudge to be his brother. And he had the same supercilious smile.
"Fascinating, Mr. Potter," he said, not as all as if it was. "And I see I you remained at Hogwarts after its closure by the Ministry of Magic."
"I couldn't leave Professor Dumbledore," Harry tried to explain. The man looked exactly like Fudge, now. Harry didn't dare protest that the closure had been purely political.
"Explaining why one of your references is a werewolf, and another a giant," the man commented. "And -- not on this document -- we have received information that you were secretary of a organization promoting lesser regulation of certain magical creatures -- Spew?"
"S.P.E.W," Harry heard himself correcting the man. "It was Hermione's project, really, but Dobby --"
"Another, er... reference," said the man distastefully. "Yet you were still unable to finish your seventh year."
"I was on a secret mission for Professor Dumbledore," Harry protested.
"Ah, Dumbledore, again," the man sighed, then brightened. "A terrible pity - his messy demise." He cleared his throat. "So ... Did anyone else know of this `secret mission'?"
"Just Sirius Black," Harry said. Even now, he didn't dare mention Professor Snape's involvement. The man would deny it just to cause Harry trouble.
"Black?" the man repeated incredulously.
"The infamous mass murderer?" He glanced back at the parchment. "Ah ... and
I see you are fluent in Parseltongue." He released the scroll, allowing it
to snap closed. "Perhaps if some more suitable position opens up,
Mr. Potter. . . ."
Harry woke suddenly. He was drenched with sweat, and his left side was cold where he had rolled free of the covers. He looked over at the crack in his bedside curtains, where a few inches of his trunk were visible, and comforted himself with the thought of last week's missive from the Chudley Cannons. He could get onto a Quidditch team anyway.
Unbidden, the image of Ludo Bagman, long past his glory days, sprung into his mind. He shuddered.
"I've got all of tomorrow to finish that essay," he consoled himself. The thought was soothing. Within minutes, he had fallen back asleep.