Harry Potter and the Heir of Ancients
Written by: anon
Edited by: anon's cousin
Disclaimer: The usual, none of the characters are mine. JKR is the creator, blah, blah, blah. Anything you don't recognize from canon is mine. Anything I may use from any other series, novel, TV show, etc is not owned by me, and done only with the intent to entertain. My only reward is the sense of mental and emotional freedom that I get from writing. Anything you may recognize from another fic is either coincidental, meaning it's from a fic I haven't read, accidental, meaning it's from a fic that I have read, but forgot it came from someone else's work, in which case I apologize, or is something that I thought up, but saw others use in similar ways before I had the chance to post my own version, if that makes sense. Does anybody even read these things?
(Preliminary A/N: Well, here we are once again. At seven months, seven days, this is the longest delay yet. To begin, I will briefly summarize the delay to properly assign blame. Months 1-2; no one. My sister's computer caught a virus, and the nearly completed file, along with a few hundred others, was corrupted, and had to be redone. Months 2-4.5; me. My summer session of calculus took up a lot of my time, and then there was the regular fall session, which as I found out last week, put a bullet-hole in my GPA. Months 4.5-7; my editor. He had the same problems at school that I did, though he came out much less scathed. Months 7-7.25; me. This past week has just been the final polishing and nit-picking. And so, here it is, my 33 page New Year's present to you all, the long-awaited literally Chapter 8! Once again, to those who have asked, conflict is coming but will only be minor stuff for a while, flaws are present forgot to put those in at first, forgive me. And regarding the in-chapter author notes, some of you have complained, but more of you have complimented, so they stay. In an effort to compromise with those who do not appreciate my humorous commentary, the notes should be decreasing in quantity, but there will still be some. Alright? Good! Then let Chapter 8 begin! Finally!)
(Editor's Note: Sorry about how long this took to get finished. It is totally my fault. The author got it to me in October, but RL got in the way. Now that my semester is over, I have the time to make sure this works. Hope you enjoy it.)
Chapter Eight: Four Days in the Alley
After waking up at eight o'clock, Harry entered the living area of his trunk and sat on one of the couches to contemplate how he would resolve the issue of his hair's length. He knew that his ability as a metamorphmagus would be necessary, but that brought up another problem: as he had told the Stone family two days earlier, he still wasn't very good at it. As a shortcut, he used one of the knives mounted on the wall to hack most of it off. He then focused on wanting his hair the way it normally was when he was younger. This task proved to be rather easy, as he had done it unconsciously during his childhood after the innumerable times the Dursleys had sent him to the barber's.
He suddenly had an idea; he would create at least a semblance of order by shortening certain areas enough that the untidiness would be barely noticeable. He began concentrating on individual sections of his scalp, and slowly, exhaustively, he drew his hair back into his head until it was short enough to appear normal.
He continued this process on the rest of his head until he was satisfied. He kept the top a little longer than the rest and his fringe as well, so as to keep his scar slightly obscured. All in all, he thought it was a pretty good look for him, and he hoped Hermione would agree. After getting the approval of the Mermaid Mural, he proceeded to shower and get ready for the day.
After getting dressed, Harry decided to head downstairs. Just before reaching the door of his room, he remembered that he had intended to subtly alter his appearance so that he would not be recognized. He sat at the foot of his bed, concentrating on dark brown hair and blue eyes. Even if he could, he would not need to change the overall shape of his face, as it had changed quite enough on its own over the summer.
His scar was another matter, though: when he tried to make it disappear, he felt a sharp burst of pain that died away as quickly as it had come, and the scar re-appeared, a brighter, angrier shade of red than it had been. A minute later, when the scar was back to its normal coloring, he made another attempt. This time, he tried moving the scar to another part of his body, in this case, his right shoulder. It was disturbing, but oddly fascinating to see his scar crawling along his skin like some demented insect, but at least it stayed put, though it would probably go back to his forehead on its own within a few hours. Satisfied that he was adequately disguised, he went down to the ground floor of the Leaky Cauldron for some food.
After a delectable breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausages, and just about everything else Tom could think of, Harry stepped into the seemingly empty lot behind the pub. Just as it started to rain, he put on his cloak, which also served to further hide his features. Finally, he walked up to the trashcan at the back and tapped the correct bricks, but he decided to use his index finger instead of his wand because he wanted to see if it would work.
It did, and after the bricks had rearranged themselves into the archway entrance to Diagon Alley, Harry stepped forward, reentering the wizarding world after his two-month absence. Unsurprisingly, not too much had changed. Nothing ever did seem to change very much in the wizarding world. The only major difference that Harry noticed was the display window of Quality Quidditch Supplies, which now contained the newest model of racing broom, The Firebolt: Inferno Series. Harry stopped for a moment to admire the broom, which he had to admit, was a work of art, and to listen to the shopkeeper, who was performing an amusing impersonation of an excited Creevy brother on a sugar high. (A/N: I don't know where that Creevy thing came from, but you have to admit it's a funny thing to think about.)
"It's amazing! Absolutely amazing! Do you remember the Firebolts we got two years ago? Of course you do, how could you forget? Well, do you remember that they were just prototypes? (I know I do.) Here it is, after two years of hard work, the manufacturers have finally released the finished product! It's twenty percent faster than the prototype model, accelerates faster, and is even more maneuverable! Can you believe it? It's amazing…"
As the ecstatic proprietor began his speech again from the beginning, Harry walked off, chuckling to himself. The Inferno looked like it would be one hell of a broom, and from what he sensed of its' magical patterns, it would be a decent rival, in fact, almost an equal, to the broom he was making himself. It was sort of like comparing a Nimbus Two-Thousand-and-One to one of the Two-Thousand-and-Two's, which had come out the previous year. The newer model was clearly superior, but was still in the same region of capability as the older one. If a flyer were skilled enough, they would be able to outperform the superior broom.
'Why do I have the feeling that the entire Slytherin team will be riding Infernos this year?' Harry asked himself. 'Oh, that's right! It's because the Captain position for Slytherin is open and Malfoy will use any amount of his daddy's money to get the spot.'
Harry pondered this for a moment. He thought of the Slytherin quidditch team, all seven riding Firebolt Infernos, and he knew he would have to supply Gryffindor with a few of his custom-made brooms. His team was the best, of that he had no doubt. However, skill was a lot like equipment; it could only take a player so far. There was a point where a superior broom could outdo even the greatest of flyers, and Harry knew that with the brooms his team currently had, no amount of skill would be enough to overcome a pack of Infernos being flown by even average players.
Harry stopped walking when he realized he was right in front of Gringotts bank. He entered and exchanged a portion of his earnings from the factory into Galleons; keeping some for the trip to Muggle London he would be taking within the next few days. After leaving Gringotts, Harry set off into Diagon Alley, intent only upon seeing what there was to see, and perhaps picking up his school supplies if he wandered past the shops in which he would find them.
The first stop Harry made on his meandering path was at Madam Malkin's, where he purchased the new school robes he badly needed, having grown six inches over the summer. For the sake of appearances, he also bought some new dress robes. (He already had some in his trunk.) They were the same bottle green that Mrs. Weasley had gotten for him the previous year, but with a black and gold design around the neck and wrists.
The next establishment Harry wandered across was the apothecary, which he didn't really need to visit, having large stores of almost any ingredients he would need. There were, however, certain very rare potions ingredients which Harry thought he should get. Among his purchases were unicorn hooves, phoenix ashes, Egyptian gryphon blood (though he probably could have gotten it himself, he wasn't sure it would have worked right if it came from an animagus form, and wasn't eager to find out either), and the voice boxes of full-grown mandrakes. (A/N: don't ask what this stuff is for, I haven't though about that yet.)
Lunch time came surprisingly soon, and Harry opted to venture into Muggle London for food. He dropped off his purchases and his cloak into his room at the Leaky Cauldron and exited out onto the street. Over the last hour, the rain had stopped, and the weather was now sunny and rapidly becoming warmer. As he walked through downtown London looking for a decent restaurant, he couldn't help but notice the attention he was getting from the women around him. He was uncomfortable, but oddly pleased and excited by the large number of admiring glances (and stares) that were sent his way.
Even though he was very much in love with Hermione, Harry couldn't stop himself from doing a little staring of his own. Due to the vast number of pretty girls in skimpy outfits, who were exuberantly enjoying the last few weeks of their holidays, Harry had to expend a lot of self-control just to keep from embarrassing himself, particularly when he envisioned Hermione in similar outfits. (A/N: heh, heh, heh…)
(E/N: You're a sick f---, man.)
(A/N: Yes, I am. What of it?)
Harry finally decided on a simple fast food restaurant. After finishing his hamburger and fries, Harry resumed strolling through muggle London, seeing the sights (A/N: little double meaning there). He thought he might catch another movie while he was out, as he had enjoyed his trip with the Stone family a few days before.
The movie itself turned out to be pretty good, though there were a few brief periods when Harry decided to spy on the one or two couples who had decided that snogging would provide them with better entertainment. Once again, however, thoughts of Hermione worked their way into his imagination, and conjured fantasies in which he and Hermione were following the other couples' examples.
It was beginning to get dark when Harry stepped out of the cinema, so he returned to the Leaky Cauldron and to his room for the evening. He spent a few hours working on his broom and decided that he would finish it in the morning.
Before bed, Harry decided to read a Charles Dickens novel he had found in his trunk's muggle literature section, Great Expectations. In an epiphany, he realized that he and Pip were a lot alike: they both grew up in unhappy homes with unpleasant relatives, they were both brought out of their predicaments to be trained to be something they always wanted to be, both had found a mentor in an old and eccentric person, and they even shared a similarity in that an escaped convict acted towards them as a mysterious benefactor. Harry finally began getting tired at about 10:30, so he put down the nearly finished novel, and dropped into pleasant, Hermione-filled dreams.
oOo Day 2 in Diagon Alley oOo
The next morning, Harry woke up, and immediately after showering and dressing, set himself to completing his broomstick.
Two and a half hours later (trunk time), he finished it. Adding, as a final touch, a lightning bolt on the handle, where the name of a broom would usually be found.
From tip to tail, it was entirely hand-carved. Even the individual twigs, he had shaped himself. The handle was made of the highest quality oak that Harry could find, carved to aerodynamic perfection. Each twig on the tail had been hand picked from the finest ash trees and cut to the perfect length. Every inch of the broom, he had crafted with his own flying style in mind. There were purposefully positioned rough spots at various locations which provided him with extra grip for some of his more risky maneuvers, but were still smooth enough that they would not affect the broom's speed. The final, ultimate aspect of the broom, however, was what made it uniquely his; the spells enabling it to fly had been arranged in a way that was almost perfectly compatible with his magical signature. The broom would only work for him. Anyone else attempting to use it would receive worse results than they would with one of the school's Shooting Stars.
Vowing that he would take it on a test flight in the ninth chamber after lunch, Harry set out into Diagon Alley, this time with a set plan: breakfast, another visit to Gringotts to examine the contents of his new vault, buy his school books, and then lunch.
After an enjoyable breakfast of bacon-sandwiches and potatoes, Harry passed through the three doors of Gringotts bank. He approached an open desk, and with some surprise, saw the same goblin who was at the desk on his first visit to the bank over four years earlier.
"Hello," he said, addressing the goblin, whose name, he realized, he has never gotten.
"May I help you?" the goblin replied, in his gravelly voice.
"Yes, I'd like to visit vault number…"he paused, taking out his keys and a copied portion of Dumbledore's letter "…0004, please."
The goblin was visibly surprised at this statement, though he hid it rather quickly. "You will need to submit a sample of blood for your proof of identification, sir. Only those with both a key and direct blood ties to a member of the Potter family are permitted access to vault 0004."
Noticing that a few heads turned in their direction at the mention of the name "Potter", Harry leaned in closer to the desk. The goblin, correctly guessing Harry's intentions, leaned in as well.
"I would like to call as little attention to myself as possible," Harry said. "So I'd appreciate it if you would speak a bit more softly, Mr.…-"
"Teckloff, Mr. Potter. No mister, accent on the Teck," complying with Harry's request, he now spoke in a much lower volume, so that only Harry and himself could hear. "Come with me. For a vault of that level of security, I will have to take you down myself."
"Lead the way," Harry replied.
The pair got into a cart on a track Harry had never used before, which, he assumed, led to the high-security vaults. The ride was twice as long as any Harry had ever taken; even though the cart was moving at almost triple the normal speed.
When they finally stopped, Harry, who normally enjoyed the ride, felt slightly nauseous. Maybe it was just because he wasn't controlling the cart's movement, because he had flown far faster and had made more wild turns on his broomstick. Harry took a moment to let his stomach settle before standing up to exit the cart. When he did, he found himself facing a large door, which was perfectly smooth except for a deep pit in the center at a height right beneath his ribcage. The surface of the door curved sharply in on itself to form the depression, and Harry discovered, upon examination with his mage sense that he could only detect that he could not detect the magic surrounding the hole.
Curious, Harry extended his mage sense awareness as far as it would go and got…nothing. He could sense no magic of any kind within 300 meters of himself, though he knew that there had to be, he was in a magical building for Merlin's sake! Suddenly, a thought hit him, and he voiced his suspicion to Teckloff.
"Gringotts is shielded to block the perception of mage sense, isn't it?"
To say Teckloff was surprised would have been a severe understatement. He sputtered in gobbledygook for a few moments, muttering anxiously to himself. Harry had only recently started learning gobbledygook, along with other languages used by magical non-humans, and he was taking his time, so he only understood brief snatches of Teckloff's ramblings.
After about a minute, Teckloff suddenly stopped muttering, and slowly directed his gaze towards Harry, with a look of astonishment that was quite amusing on the goblin's wrinkly, normally frowning face. (A/N: come on; imagine one of the goblins from the movie looking surprised. Funny, isn't it?)
"You are a mage seer." It wasn't a question.
"Yes. I am," Harry replied.
A moment later, it was Harry who was astonished, as Teckloff suddenly gripped his hand and shock it as enthusiastically as any of the wizards Harry met with Hagrid on his first visit to Diagon Alley.
"It's such a great honor to meet a human magic sensor, Mr. Potter! Normally, only goblins, house-elves, and some other magical creatures are capable of detecting magic! (A/N: I know the thing with goblins seeing magic is from another fic, but I can't for the life of me remember which one. Knowing me, it's probably on my favorites page. If anyone does know, please inform me so that I may give them their due credit.) A human with this ability is almost as rare as a true seer. There are only three or four born in a generation! How do you-"
"Teckloff, please," Harry interrupted. "I know that a magic-sensing human is rare, and I can understand that you're excited, but could you please just slow down a little? I can tell you want to ask me some questions, and I would be delighted to answer them, but I would prefer that we do this while I take care of my business in the vault. So come on, how does the door open?"
"You place your hand in the hole, and it will draw blood from you. I would recommend using your left hand, as the pain lingers, even though the wound does not."
Harry complied and placed his hand into the pit. The moment it stopped moving, a large metal needle snapped down, quickly extracting some of Harry's blood, and withdrew. Harry's hand, following the needle's example, pulled away. In the few moments they waited, the wound in Harry's palm healed quickly. The pain it caused, however, remained, just as Teckloff had said it would.
"Did they ever consider using a smaller needle?" Harry asked? "That thing felt about as thick as a pencil."
"What is a pencil?"
"Never mind. Muggle thing."
Suddenly, a soft, swirling light began to come from the hole. As the light increased in brightness, the depression grew in size. After about fifteen seconds, during which Harry watched in awe, the door, and yes it had become a door, was large enough for him to walk through.
Harry stepped through without hesitation, and immediately was somewhat confused. From what he had read from the list of property Dumbledore sent him, he had half-expected a vault the size of the Great Hall at Hogwarts. Instead, he found himself in a …hallway?
The hall seemed to stretch on forever, with doors placed every forty feet or so. Harry noticed that each door had a small plaque at eye level, and upon closer inspection of the nearest door, he saw his parents' names engraved upon the plaque: "James Potter and Lily Evans-Potter." The next door, which was opposite from the midpoint between his parents' door and the one next to it read: "Liam Potter and Jennifer Hamilton-Potter," who must have been his paternal grandparents.
Then Harry noticed something strange: while his father and grandfather's names were in gold, his mother and grandmother's were silver. Harry initially assumed that the gold lettering was for males, while the silver was for females. About twelve doors down, however, Harry saw a female's name in gold and her husband's name engraved in silver. 'I guess that shoots my theory out the window,' he thought.
"Teckloff," he began, "why is it that this woman's name is in gold, while all the others we've seen so far have been silver?"
"Her family were the former owners of this vault, Mr. Potter. They transferred ownership to the Potters when their only child, your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great- grandmother, married into the Potter family."
"Oh," Harry replied. He supposed it was a bit foolish to believe that everything was passed on father-to-son for 6,000 years. It was remarkable enough that the Potter family had done it for twelve generations. Of course the powers of Methos would not stay in the same family for six millennia; the families had to have female offspring at some point.
Harry continued down the seemingly endless hallway. About thirty doors and eleven families latter, he found a pair of names in red and blue: Godric Gryffindor and Rowena Ravenclaw. 'Well, well, well,' Harry thought, 'looks like those "unconfirmed rumors" in Hogwarts: a History were true after all.'
Fifteen doors later:
'Hey, Merlin's door! Wait a minute, I see Merlin's name in white, but I don't see any name accompanying it. Guess he never actually got married.' (A/N: actually, I couldn't think of any mythical character from that time period to put him with.)
At that point, Harry asked Teckloff to turn back. Harry didn't actually plan on doing anything in the vault, but for some reason he just felt like he had to see Methos' door. It was a compulsion he could not explain, even to himself. The reason that he asked Teckloff to return to the entrance was that he had done the math: the difference between Methos and Merlin was about 4,500 years. At four to five generations in a century, for forty-five centuries, there were at least 180 doors to go before he came to Methos'. Also taking into account that it was twenty feet from a door on one side to the next door on the other side, they would have to walk more than twice the distance they had already come. Harry had seen that the ancient goblin was already tiring, so he asked him to turn around. Teckloff protested at first, but Harry insisted, and eventually convinced him to go back.
Harry progressed back through the hall, seeing names in languages that most people would not recognize.
Finally, Harry came to a door, written in black hieroglyphics, was Methos. But there were two other doors beyond that. Harry walked up to the first and he could almost identify the symbols, but he could not understand what he was seeing.
"This can't be right," he muttered to himself, "this almost looks…elvish. But it has to be some ancient dialect, because the writing only vaguely resembles the last known form from before they disappeared. Was Methos part elf?"
Thoroughly confused, Harry approached the final door, expecting more elvish, but what he did see was even more confusing.
The final door, at the end of the hall, was not a door at all. It was just a large oval-shaped plaque on the wall, with a golden circle encompassing as large an area as possible without actually touching the edges. The circle was a paradox of itself: it glowed, but it absorbed light as well. It was perfect, but flawed. It simultaneously gave off feelings of being full, and being a void. Harry actually feared it slightly.
Even though he knew it was futile, Harry, through an impulse he would never understand, reached out with his mage sense, trying to examine the circle. He felt his awareness of magic expanding like a bubble from his mind, and the moment the bubble touched the orb, Harry felt his mind explode.
Harry's consciousness was drowning in the sudden in-flux of information. It was as if he had lived his life in a closed room with only a pin hole to give him light, and had suddenly been thrust into the outside to stare at the center of the sun. In a single second, he perceived more with his mage sense than he had with all of his other senses combined over the entire course of his life.
He could "see" everything. Anything containing or emitting even the most infinitesimal spark of magic, he was aware of it. He saw and sensed all of the magic everywhere on earth. He saw the wards of Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang being reinforced. He sensed the birth of a pair of pixie twins. He saw Hermione's magical aura, a beautiful, powerful swirling pattern of white, pale gold, and rosy pink. He also saw Dumbledore's, unsurprisingly one of the strongest auras there were. It was with some horror that he also sensed Voldemort. His aura was a massive black and putrid green void. It radiated apathy and hate, and what Harry could only describe as evil. There were other voids as well: smaller ones, not as strong, or as dark. They must have been death eaters, for there were also thin black cords of magic connecting the smaller voids to the larger one. There was also one other line: it started back at Voldemort, but slowly turned to a golden white as it approached…Harry, himself, finally connecting at his scar.
Harry was overwhelmed by the information. It wasn't just how much information he was taking in, it was that he sensed it all at once. Everything he could sense, he could perceive it all at the exact same time, without focusing on any one thing. There was simply too much information to absorb.
Harry frantically tried to reduce his sphere of magical awareness. He had to: his mind was going to just shut itself down from the sensory overload. Slowly, too slowly, his awareness began to decrease, it wasn't much, but just enough for him to focus harder, and speed up the process. Then, in an instant, it all just dropped away, and Harry was back in his own head, his mage sense off as if he was squeezing his eyes, or the magic sense's equivalent, tightly shut.
He was on his side, curled tightly into a fetal position, staring out at the blank white wall. His head and scar were in so much pain it made Voldemort's touch seem like a pin prick. It faded quickly, though. And Harry slowly stood, gaping in pure terror at the circle on the plaque. It was the circle, he knew, that had caused…whatever the hell had just happened.
Without a second thought, Harry turned and ran. He tore through the hall as fast as he could, to put as much distance as possible between himself and that orb. He had no idea what it was or what it represented, but it scared him in a way even Voldemort could not. During his brief connection to the orb, he had sensed something else in the background, a power so great that it impossibly dwarfed his own. He could barely fathom the existence of anything that powerful. Harry vowed to spend a long time thinking before he ever went near that…thing, again.
After about four minutes, Harry arrived back at the entrance, where Teckloff was waiting for him.
"Mr. Potter, are you alright?" he asked.
"Yes, Teckloff, I'm fine." Harry answered. This wasn't exactly true, however. Harry was panting and sweating buckets. He felt as if he had run fifteen miles instead of one.
"Let's go, Teckloff." Harry said, regaining his breath and some of his composure, "and I know the carts are only supposed to go one speed, but could you please make an exception, just this once? I do feel a little nauseous."
"Of course, Mr. Potter, but who told you that the carts only go one speed?"
"Griphook, the goblin who assisted Hagrid and I on my first visit to Gringotts."
"Oh, now I understand! The one-speed rule only applies to carts bound to regular vaults. Those with a particularly long and irregular journey, such as this one, can vary their speeds to accommodate the occupant's stomachs."
"Good to know. Now how about we get to the surface?"
A long and slow ride later, Harry stepped into the sunlight outside Gringotts. He decided to go back to the Leaky Cauldron to rest and think, maybe have a Butter Beer to settle his stomach. On the way back, he noticed that he was attracting even more attention he had on the way to the bank. On a suspicion, he tentatively extended his mage sense, as he was still shaky from his experience in the family vault, over only a few feet, and realized why. The changes he had made to conceal his appearance had come undone during the shock of his contact with the orb. His scar and his true countenance were revealed for the entire world to see.
Harry hurried back to the inn, up to his room, and promptly collapsed on the bed, unable to stop himself from shaking anymore. He lay there for several minutes, eventually succeeding in getting himself under control. He went back down to the bar and ordered the butter beer he had been thinking about earlier, also using the Voice to "convince" Tom to discreetly sneak in a small amount of something stronger.
A little while later, Harry returned to his room with a slightly fuller stomach. After the butter beer, Harry felt up to having a little food, and had half of a sandwich before deciding to just go upstairs and retire. The early hour of the day notwithstanding, Harry was completely exhausted. He sprawled out on the bed, and almost immediately drifted off to sleep.
His slumber was not as pleasant as he would have liked. At least three times during the night, Harry awoke from the same…well, nightmare wasn't exactly the word for it, but dream wasn't either. It was something in between the two, just brief flashes between periods of blackness. Flashes of magical images, of Hermione, of his parents, flashes of Voldemort and Wormtail, and of other things that he had never seen before.
The next afternoon, a still-tired Harry Potter ventured out into Diagon Alley once again. He did return to Gringotts, but only to retrieve money from his regular vault: he wanted to stay away from that…thing, as much as possible.
He met with Teckloff again, and the two of them stepped into one of the carts, and went down through the tunnels to Harry's regular vault. The ride at normal speed was as exhilarating as it always was. When he did reach the regular vault, he noticed that the security surrounding it was considerably more imposing than it had been upon his last visit two years prior. There was a large cave off to the side of the entrance, and Harry was convinced, by the low rumbling and waves of hot air emanating from it, that there was a sleeping dragon inside of it. When he questioned Teckloff about the added security, his guide responded by saying that due to a "gargantuan galleon transfer", the upper-level goblins had deemed it necessary to increase security in order to protect their wealthiest client's assets.
Harry grinned at the somewhat cynical tone in Teckloff's voice. He was really beginning to like the goblin. He could see that Teckloff cared more about his clients than their gold, and disapproved of those of his kind who had it the other way around.
When they stopped, and his vault door was opened, Harry was not fully prepared for what he saw inside.
His vault had grown. Here was the giant cavern he had been expecting to see yesterday. He had never seen a room this large; even the Great Hall at Hogwarts would be dwarfed in comparison to this place. Everywhere he looked, he saw mountains of bags, the contents of which were identified by pictures on their fronts. There were countless mounds of galleons and gems. There were also several marble pillars in an open area, where it seemed that incomplete bags were…completing themselves.
As he watched, a bronze basin atop the pillar in the front row, farthest to Harry's left, filled quickly with Knuts. When about thirty had accumulated, they disappeared, replaced by a silver sickle, which flew into the basin at the next pillar, where other sickles resided, some appearing on their own, others coming from the Knuts. When the appropriate quantity of sickles appeared, they changed into galleons, and flew to their new container. The galleons were periodically transferred to a large sack, which eventually tied itself and floated over to join one of the massive piles of its fellows to the rear of the vault, only to be replaced by another bag, and the process began all over again. The rear rows of pillars were following the same procedure as the galleons, yet the basins on their peaks were filled with gemstones, and were accumulating far more slowly than the coins.
"Self-organizing vaults, Mr. Potter," said Teckloff. "This is the first of many new services we are offering to our wealthiest patrons, though in your case, the sheer magnitude of your vault's contents makes it a necessity. As you can see, the smaller coins are transferred to larger denominations, and the galleons and gems into bags in increments of 1000 pieces each. Typically for your vault, a bag of 1000 galleons is completed every forty or so hours, at which point it moves to one of the large stacks which you see on the right hand side of the vault. The gems are also sorted according to type, and each type has its own section."
"This is…unbelievable," Harry said, still awestruck at the size of his vault. "Where is all of this coming from?"
"There are several businesses and…resource deposits under your family's, and therefore, your control, Mr. Potter," Teckloff replied. "The money they make is sent here automatically, after the necessary expenses are deducted, of course. Altogether, your total financial value increases at a rate of approximately 20,000 galleons in an average month."
Harry, too stunned to speak, simply walked into the vault, dazedly grabbed one of the thousand-galleon bags, and walked back out again.
On the return trip up to the main level of the bank, after Harry had appeared to regain cognizance, Teckloff made an interesting suggestion:
"Mr. Potter, would you be interested in becoming part of a Gringotts direct vault transfer program?"
"That depends, Teckloff, what is it and why would I want to?"
"Well, one of our muggleborn wizard employees told Goblin Minister Ragnok about a muggle creation called a credit card. Do you know what this is?" At Harry's nod, Teckloff continued, "We have altered the concept slightly in that we will transfer the money directly from your vault to that of a wizarding business, making your shopping much easier. The Minister thought this was a fantastic idea and about eight months ago, the system was finally implemented. It's still quite new, so for now it is only offered to our most valued patrons. It will work quite well for you because you rarely have the opportunity to visit either Diagon Alley or Gringotts."
"And how does it work?" Harry asked, his interest having been piqued.
"Your key will be melted down and re-formed into a pendant to be worn about the neck or kept in the pocket. When you wish to make a purchase, place the pendant on the clerk's counter at whatever store you are in, and the money will be instantly transferred from your vault to that of the shop. Hundreds of Gringotts goblins worked furiously for months to make nearly every wizarding business establishment compatible with this new program. It even works for you in the few stores that do not take credit. We will give you a new money bag. Whenever you need a few galleons, place your pendant on the Gringotts seal on the bag, and clearly state the amount you require: it will appear in the bag. Furthermore-"
"Alright, Teckloff, I'm convinced. I'd like to set up this pendant as soon as we get to the main offices. I do have a few questions, though," Harry said, as they arrived and stepped out of the cart, "What happens if the pendant or money bag are lost or stolen?"
"That, Mr. Potter, is a good point, which I was just beginning to make when you decided to interrupt me. The coin and money bag will only work for you, though you may authorize another user at a later date if you wish, and if either is more than ten feet from your person for more than twelve hours, they will be instantly trans-located to your pocket, along with a picture of the thief, so that you may report him to the authorities."
"Excellent. What about Muggle money?"
"The new money bag will be fitted with an enchantment which will make it appear to Muggles as an ordinary Muggle-style wallet. This is another bonus, as you will no longer need to pay a fee for currency exchange."
"Brilliant. Let's begin."
Over the next half hour, an intricate-series of magical procedures was performed in preparing Harry's key/pendant and bag, tying then to him magically, and many other enchantments, as well.
Harry wished he could observe the goblin's magic, which he knew to be substantially different from a human's, at work, and cursed Gringotts' anti-human mage seer wards, until he remembered what had happened yesterday, and was immediately thankful for their existence.
When Harry was finally presented with his pendant and pouch, he took a few moments to admire both before slipping the bag into the pockets of his jeans, and tying the pendant to one of his belt loops.
"Thank you, Teckloff," Harry said, "you are a credit to goblins everywhere."
"Thank you, Mr. Potter," Teckloff replied, "You are a credit to your kind, as well. If more members of our respective races got along as we do, there would be far fewer rebellions, and far more gold to go around."
"It is unfortunate, then, that they are not," Harry responded. "Teckloff," he continued, "if I needed you, could I trust you to handle certain business ventures for me with the utmost discretion?"
"Of course, Mr. Potter. What type of business ventures?"
"None, yet. I just have a strange feeling that I will be in need of such services in the near future, and I need them handled by someone I can trust. I am pleased to know that I can depend on you. Keft stimplag, mibb thufir." The last was one of the few gobbledygook phrases which Harry knew, and was uttered by Harry before he turned and made his way to the exit. Harry was twenty feet away before Teckloff recovered from his shock at being addressed in his own language, and repeated the phrase in English, shouting so that Harry would hear him:
"Goodbye to you, as well, my friend! And by the way, your accent is terrible!"
That night, Harry entered the wilderness of his trunk, finally having the opportunity and motivation to test his new broom. He chose a large, grassy field as his starting point, making sure that he had powerful cushioning charms in place everywhere within a mile of his location, just in case.
He mounted the broom, and instantly found himself in the perfect position, without needing to shift around at all as he always had before on other brooms. With just the lightest tap of his foot, he was off the ground and flying as he never had before: he flew faster, soared higher, and turned more sharply than he had previously thought possible.
After a few minutes, he landed, only to take off again a moment later with his Firebolt, which he had reassembled the previous day. He wanted to compare the two, but there was no comparison to be made. As much as he loved his Firebolt, it just couldn't compete with his own work. The broom he had made was so attuned to him that flying with anything else made him feel as if a limb were missing. He would always keep and treasure his Firebolt; it was the first gift Sirius had ever given him, but he would not be able to use it, it was just too…uncomfortable.
Re-mounting his new broom, Harry took out the practice snitch he had bought the previous day at Quality Quidditch Supplies, in addition to a small book on how to conduct oneself as a captain, including strategies for selecting new players. The shopkeeper's expression when he realized that the teenager had a credit pendant had amused Harry for quite a while. He released the snitch, and took off, letting it get a head start.
Moments later, Harry discovered that even when it was traveling too fast for his physical eyes to see, the snitch was unignorably visible to his mage sense. Not only could he see where the snitch was at all times, he could also see where it had been and where it was going to be. The snitch's flight path was indicated by a web of angular golden lines, the snitch appearing as a particularly bright ball at one of the intersections, before flitting to another crossing a hundred feet away. Only when Harry approached the snitch did it break out of its pattern, flying in any direction and changing its' course randomly.
Harry was devastated at this realization. He had completely forgotten that with his abilities as a mage seer, he would never need to search for the snitch again, he could close off his mage sense, but it would occupy too much of his concentration and inhibit his ability to play. Besides, the fact that he was a mage seer could not be concealed for long. As Dumbledore might say, "The truth does not does not like to be kept hidden." There was no avoiding the fact that most, if not all, of his capabilities would eventually become public knowledge, and some prat like Malfoy or Snape would probably try to get him banned from quidditch because he would have an un-fair advantage over the other players.
His only real option was to tell Dumbledore about his being a mage seer, and have to take a mage sense suppression potion before every game and practice. It would only last about six hours, but with his new broom, that would be far more than what he would need. He would also need to tell the headmaster about him being a metamorphmagus, and arrange for proper instruction of the skill.
Harry's final day in Diagon Alley was spent collecting any supplies he had forgotten about, and then just walking around, watching and observing those around him.
He actually saw the Weasleys while eating lunch in the Leaky Cauldron, but because of his disguise, they did not recognize him, though Ginny spent a long time watching him in a manner that was distinctly reminiscent of Kristi, though toned-down a bit.
Harry felt slightly guilty about avoiding them, but rationalized that they would not know it was him, and they would be seeing him as himself in a few days, anyway. The bar had been too noisy for him to properly eavesdrop on the family's conversation, but he had heard brief snippets which sounded like "Prat" (Ron)… "Stuffed up" (Ginny)… "Dung-brain" (Charlie)… "Stupid git" (the twins, in unison)…and "sycophantic oaf" (Bill). Their grumblings were accompanied by sniffs from Mrs. Weasley, indicating that while she did not approve of what they were saying, she agreed with them completely. Harry wondered who they were talking about. Judging by the looks on the faces he could see, Harry assumed he would be told almost immediately once he saw the red-haired family as himself.
Between lunch and dinner, Harry took one last look around Diagon Alley. His pace was somewhat more frantic than that of one taking a leisurely stroll, however. Shortly after lunch, Harry had gone up to his room to get some packing done, and intended to take a short walk before dinner. His panic had begun towards the end of his packing, when he realized what he did not have. He had forgotten to buy Hermione a birthday present.
Harry stalked rapidly through the alley, scanning the window of each shop he passed, then moving on, seeing nothing that looked promising.
'No…no…wrong gender for that shop…too serious for that shop…I definitely shouldn't get her anything from there, though I wouldn't mind seeing her in –shut up, brain…no, that's all wrong……no…no-wait a minute!'
He back-tracked a few feet, and took a closer look at the interior of the shop. 'Should I?' he thought, 'no, it's far too expensive…what am I thinking!? I could buy everything in there and it wouldn't even scratch my fortune. But, she would say it was too expensive, but what the hell, I can lavish my girlfriend with extravagant gifts if I want to. Is she my girlfriend? I mean, I want her to be; she confessed to having feelings for me, I confessed to having feelings for her, that makes us boyfriend and girlfriend, doesn't it? Oh well, that's just one more thing to talk to her about tomorrow.' (A/N: ah, the random mental ramblings of a fifteen-year-old. And no, I'm not going to describe the gift yet. You'll have to wait until her birthday, which gives me more time to figure out exactly what it will look like.)
He entered the shop, and immediately got the attention of the clerk, a very attractive, well-dressed woman in her late twenties, with a habitual, obviously faked smile plastered to her face. Her smile became considerably more sincere, however, when she noticed that Harry was carrying a Gringotts pendant; she understood that for the time being, only the obscenely rich had access to those objects. Harry pointed toward the item he had seen in the window, and asked, "How much?"
The attendant gave him a brief look of shock before telling him that the price was just over 630 galleons, and inquiring as to whether he was certain about wanting to purchase the necklace. Harry confirmed that he wanted to buy it, and requested that it be wrapped. The woman finally completed the sale after briefly commenting that whoever he was giving it to must be very special to him.
Harry had calmed down considerably after finding Hermione a birthday present, and returned to the Leaky Cauldron at a leisurely pace, stopping at Fortescue's for a sundae, and continuing on.
When Harry arrived at the Cauldron, he ate a small dinner and informed Tom that he would be leaving the next day, requesting to have a wake-up arranged at about 7:00.
Harry was awoken the next morning by Flitty, a rather amusing house-elf who worked in the kitchen of the Leaky Cauldron, and occasionally did other things as well. Harry had met her only briefly two days before, but immediately took a liking to the elf. She reminded him of Dobby, only without the masochism and much less tightly wound.
Harry spent an inordinate amount of time getting ready that morning. He was so preoccupied with his thoughts of meeting Hermione in a few short hours that he dazed out several times. He ended up spending almost fifteen minutes brushing his teeth during one of his dazes.
Finally, shortly before 10:00, after double-checking that all of his possessions had been packed, and he had no lingering remnants of any metamorphmagus disguises, Harry paid Tom for the four days in the room, said goodbye, and stepped out into muggle London. He hailed a muggle cab, and immediately after sitting down, uttered only three words, as he was too nervous to manage any more, "King's Cross Station."
oOoOo End Chapter 8 oOoOo
(Closing A/N: Sorry, again, that this took so long. There were a few new things I needed to add, and some serious continuity issues to resolve. School, both summer and fall sessions, were absolute murder. Next semester, though, I will be taking mostly easy classes, shopping around preparing to change my major. This will leave me with a lot more free time, and I promise to try to make it count.)