A Bankers Dozen
"Griphook!" A voice suddenly crackled in the silence. "Send in my eleven o'clock"
Griphook stood and opened the door, stood aside and motioned for her to enter. "Mrs. Dursley, Account Manager Gorul will see you now."
A fortifying breath later and Petunia strode forward. Disconcertingly, the interior of the office looked as if it could exist high in London's Shard, the newest and tallest building in England's capital city. In fact, there was a large picture window that looked out over the city.
"Please Mrs. Dursley, have a seat, we have much to discuss and not near enough time."
The shock of seeing London from an office in a cavern had distracted her. Turning she saw a large goblin sitting behind a desk. He had no hair, though his nose was as long as Griphooks. The white hair coming out of his hears sat on his face giving him mutton chops. While he had no other signs that she associated with aging, she could tell that he was much older than his aide. His suit was pinstriped and he had a rotund shape that she was familiar with. "I'm sorry for taking up your time, just your window..." she had no idea where to go from that so she simply took a seat in front of his desk.
"Yes, interesting magic. That aside I presume you are here as Harloch's guardian." Petunia nodded her head.
"For the record ma'am I need you to verbally state that you are here in your capacity as Harloch's guardian." Seems banker's are sticklers for fine print no matter what species the banker is.
"I am here in my capacity as Harloch Potter's guardian."
"Please state your name," the goblin turned and grabbed an ornately carved and sealed tube. A giant ruby in the middle."
"Petunia Dursley," she replied, stunned at his nonchalance.
"Please state your full name for the records Mrs. Dursley."
Holding her breath for a moment to hold back her tart reply, "Petunia Genevieve Dursley." She tried to be as polite as possible.
"Thank you." he replied. "We need to ensure our records are impeccable. Wizard kind likes to question our honor often." He grabbed a stack of papers and placed them next to the sealed tube. "Please state for the record, how did Harloch Potter come into your custody?"
Politics. She should've known there was more to the banker than his terse questions. That one statement told Petunia a lot about the relationship between goblins and humans. To keep their working relationship with the wizarding world they had to be precise and thorough. That was something she could understand.
"He was left at my back garden door with a note." Embers within her soul flared briefly as she thought about the affront to her family.
"A child was left, unaccompanied, in your back garden. Do I understand that correctly."
"Yes, with a note and what I presume to be his things." she replied.
"May we make a copy of the letter? It's for our records of course."
"Of course. How many people will have access to this? It is rather personal after all." The last thing Petunia needed was for this to become some media storm. People didn't just abandon babies. The thought of these peoples version of detectives coming to her home made her cold inside. She didn't want to try to explain a wizard's odd fashion to her ladies tea.
"Our confidentiality is guaranteed." Mr. Gorul smiled, revealing his sharp fangs. "We take it very seriously."
A slight shiver down her spine. She most certainly didn't want to know how they dealt with breaches of bank matters. She reached down and pulled her purse out of the nappy bag, produced the letter, and handed it over to the manager. He hemmed to himself as he read through the letter. While he did his bank managing, Petunia checked on Harry. She was surprised to see his big bright eyes looking into hers, quietly munching on his knuckles. "I bet your hungry huh?" she whispered to him. The slobbery grasping motion he made confirmed her theory. Reaching into the magic bag, she found a bottle. Fortified fruit juice seemed to be a flavor he enjoyed as he contentedly held and sucked on his bottle. She was hesitant to feed him formula until she knew more about his health.
"Here," he pointed to the tube "is the will of your sister, Mrs Lillian Gwenevere Potter. As the sole surviving family member, you may act as executor of the will. If you choose to do so I will need confirmation of your relationship to the deceased and of yourself."
"What kind of documentation are you talking about?" She asked. She really had not come prepared.
"For your personal identification any government issued identification works. Most commonly used are drivers license and passports." Well she had her license on her. Rummaging through her purse, she produced her identification.
"We will need a copy of this for the file."
"For the record, of course, I understand." Petunia smiled. The manager called on Griphook and handed him her identification and the letter. There was a quick order given in a language that she didn't understand.
"While Griphook verifies those, we can move on." He produced a red feathered, metal nibbed, quill. As he pushed it and a sheaf of paper forward. The desk extended a writing surface for her to use. Magic was weird. Useful at times, but still weird. "With this quill, I will need you to fill in your full name and initial next to statements that follow. Please be aware that this pen will use your own blood as ink. It is through this medium that we can verify the familial relationship between you and your sister."
"My blood?" what was wrong with these people?!
"It will feel like someone is scratching you. I will be honest with you," he said earnestly. "It will be uncomfortable. It is however necessary that their be no doubt of your identification and therefore qualification to take care of young Mr. Potter."
"Will this scar me? Just how much blood are we talking about? You're not going to use it to curse me or something are you?"
The goblins nostrils flared. "I understand that as someone who has had very limited contact with the magical world, that you are hesitant. Blood quills are used on all magically binding documents. Blood can not be faked. If taken forcibly the contract will not be enacted." He enunciated his words very carefully. "Goblin contracts are at the very center of our magic. They are sacrosanct."
Hesitantly Petunia picked up the blood quill and read through the form. It was relatively simple. It required her full name, her maiden name, and a confirmation that she was indeed Lilly's sister. She had to initial next to statements confirming she would care for her nephew, that she had not kidnapped or retrieved the child through illegal or amoral means, that she found her nephew at her back door and to confirm whether or not her husband knew of magic. It went on about her rights and responsibilities as a guardian for a young prince. Pages and what seemed like hours later she could confirm that the pen was indeed uncomfortable. It felt more akin to being flicked with a rubber band when you had a sunburn. It wasn't something that would kill you but hurt non-the-less.
The goblin retrieved the document and placed it next to the tube on his desk. A brief glow of the ruby and he looked at her. "Will you be using the bank for Probate?"
Thinking, she realized that by hiring the bank for Probate, she would not have to deal with any of the people receiving anything from her sister. That worked perfectly for her. The less she had to deal with magic the better. "How much would you cost?"
He smiled a toothless smile. "It is covered as an option for the vault itself. It will cost you nothing." At that Griphook had returned and handed the documents and their originals back to Mr. Gorul.
"Here is your letter madam, as promised." he handed over the letter matching word to deed. Petunia put the it away. "I'm glad to say that everything checks out. You are free to now read the will."
Grasping the sealed tube Petunia looked at it pensively. It, like most things she'd seen in the goblins domain, was ornately carved. "How do I open it?" she asked quietly, her hands shaking.
"Simply place your hand over the jewel. I will give you a moment alone." He said as he walked out his office door into the reception area. He had taken the paperwork with him so she assumed he was setting things in motion.
"Well little man, what say you? Shall we see what kind of trouble your mother left us in?" the child just waved his empty bottle at her and gurgled. Seeing that she quickly grabbed a towel and threw it over her shoulder. She let herself be completely consumed by the process of burping Harry. She checked his diaper and then checked for any irritation on his sensitive skin before she put him back in the wrap at her chest. It seemed that with a dummy in his mouth the child was content. He closed his eyes and fell into a nap.
"Okay Petunia. You came here for this. You came here to find out how Lilly planned to take care of Harry. You came here to ensure you had what you needed to care for a magical baby. Open the will." She stared at her hands "Just open it," she whispered fiercely.
Quickly before she could second guess herself, she placed her palm over the gem. It quickly warmed. With no fanfare she could now see that one end of the tube had a circle around it. A few tests later she found that she simply needed to unscrew the end. She pulled out reams of parchment and found that a regular envelope was in the middle with her name on it. Another letter. She didn't feel like reading the letter first so she went to the will. In legal terms she found that in the case that Lilly's death came after her husbands, she shared custody of Harry with a wizard named Sirius Black. There were various beneficiary's, properties and items that were to be distributed. She didn't pay much attention to those. What she did see was that a trust had been set up for Harry's care and schooling. Also, her sister had left her the brideprice that her husbands family had paid. It was an outdated custom, but then again there were people who wore vulture hats.
She had no idea what the value was but it lessened something inside her to see she would have what she needed, at least monetarily, to raise Harry. She would need to be vigilant though. Lilly had certainly seen Vernon's character for what it was. She never saw the caring man that Petunia had seen. It seems in this perhaps, Lilly had seen more of the truth than Petunia herself.
The will seemed to go on forever without really saying anything. There was information on how common land was to be governed, family magic upkeep, and made her the secret keeper of the Potter Well. It also defined the role of justiciars, jennies, reeves, and a plethera of other roles that she was unfamiliar with. It sounded like she would need this Sirius Black fellow to run things on the magic side of the Potter Estate.
She still had questions for the bank, and likely had more paperwork that she would need to sign. Things like this were never easy, even when they were cut and dry. Another deep sigh. Alright Petunia, you need to read the letter. It may have pertinent information that you need to know. She thought to herself. On the other hand it may simply have personal information. Yes it was far more likely any information contained in the letter would say things that had little baring on what I need to do now. Withthat matter settled in her mind she slid the letter into her purse. She stood and walked over to the wall to wall picture window that overlooked the city of London and let herself get lost in the moment. Focusing on the child in her arms and the view she drew peace into her soul.