Disclaimer: Just to get a glimpse beyond this illusion
The head teller's frown deepened as he listened to Dumbledore's explanation on exactly what was in his bank.
"There is nothing I would like more than to allow you to remove the . . . object." His lip curled in distaste. "The law is clear."
"What do you want?" Dumbledore asked bluntly.
"A few changes to our current treaty with the ministry," the goblin replied calmly. "Nothing too major,
"Raising account fees by how much?"
"Two or three hundred percent or so," the goblin said with a toothy grin. "With the agreement that we may increase them if forced to do so by raising operating expenses."
"The treaty states that a representative authorized by the chief wizard may enter the bank to destroy forbidden objects," Dumbledore rebutted.
"The treaty states that a representative from Gringotts must be the one to remove any objects from a vault for destruction. It further states that we may not remove anything else. While we concede that the . . . foulness is foul enough to trip the clause, the cup itself is not dark. As Gringotts has no way of removing the foulness without touching the cup, it is our position that the treaty forbids us from touching the cup. As the treaty also forbids your representative from entering the vault, we are at an impasse. Unless your Ministry agrees to the afore mentioned demands and a few other small concessions."
"What if my representative was able to destroy the foulness, as you call it, from outside the vault?" Dumbledore asked intently.
"If you are able to remove the . . . foulness without harming the object or entering the vault, Gringotts has no objections," the goblin conceded, confident that no such thing was possible.
"Wait here," Dumbledore commanded. The old wizard strode out of the bank, through the alley, and into the muggle world. "Point me to the nearest chip shop," he whispered, trusting the notice me nots on the street to keep the muggles from noticing.
To his relief, he found the couple he was looking for enjoying a late lunch.
Harry was feeling more than a bit mellow after the strip joint so he nearly didn't notice the old wizard's approach.
"Dumbledore's coming," he observed.
"Excuse me!" Luna yelled to the clerk. "Three orders, not two."
"What do you think he wants?"
"For us to destroy the last soul fragment and bugger off, I'd wager," Luna replied.
"Wait, would that be the last fragment?" Harry asked, trying to remember what they'd already done.
"Does it matter? I'm starting to get rather bored of this world."
"Probably a good idea to leave before they realize we're not death," Harry agreed. Or before anyone tried to slip him another love potion.
"Hello," Luna said loudly. "Have a seat, your order should be ready in just a bit."
"My order?" Dumbledore asked.
"You did come to enjoy the fish and chips, did you not?" Luna asked innocently. "I did warn you how hard it was to find a good shop on the other side."
"Yes," the old wizard agreed. "Of course." He turned towards the counter.
"Have a seat," Luna suggested. "We already ordered for you."
"Now!" Luna cheerfully announced the second their meal had been delivered. "What else was it you needed?"
"I've located another of those things we happened to run across when we were examining that particularly interesting bit of wall at Hogwarts," Dumbledore began, being very particular about his word choice. "It was at Gringotts as you absolutely did not hint, the problem is that the goblins are being difficult about it."
"Twisting things so they do not have to abide by any agreements and demanding more and more from you for the chance that they might?" Luna asked.
"Yes," the old wizard agreed. "I have managed to get them to agree that my chosen representative can remove the." He glanced around. "Taint from the object so long as they do not enter the vault."
"Would the two of you be willing to act as my representatives?"
"I don't know," Luna mused. "Master and I were thinking of buying tickets for the tour of the Department of Mysteries and we heard you had to spend quite a bit of time waiting in line to get them so I'm just not sure we would have the time."
"I'm afraid there are no tours of the Department of Mysteries," Dumbledore stated. "At least not public ones, I would be happy to arrange a private tour if you would be willing to help me with this."
"I suppose we have a bit of time before we need to start packing," Luna agreed, finishing her last chip. "Shall we, master?"
Amelia pinched the bridge of her nose and slowly counted to one hundred. A three point drop in the bloody polls! She balled her fist and looked around her office for something to hit or break to bleed off some of her anger. Bloody Fudge had arranged to have her goddaughter entered into a bloody death match because he'd suffered a three bloody point drop in the bloody poles and was hoping the publicity would improve his bloody numbers.
With a scream of rage her fist impacted on her office door with enough force to crack the jam.
"You okay, boss," the head of her security detail was by her side in a flash.
"How'd you get in here without opening the bloody door?" she demanded.
"Interoffice portkey, boss," the guard replied. "You okay?"
"I am far from okay right now," Amelia growled. "I want two dozen on their way to Hogwarts right bloody now. One to arrest the Ministry toady Fudge sent to judge and the rest to prevent Potter from murdering the bastard when she finds out that the idiot was responsible for entering Olivia into the bloody tournament."
"What about Reg?"
"Damn it!" Amelia cursed. "Just get there before the word gets out. Anyone asks I ordered the arrest as part of the clean up."
Gringotts rules and regulations were, per treaty, written in English and available to all for a nominal fee. As the treaty had not defined nominal, the goblins interpreted it to mean sixty galleons an hour. The book of rules was ten thousand pages long and entirely filled a three foot by four foot book using the tiniest font the best goblin scribes could write. As a consequence, nearly everyone in the wizarding world was forced to hope the goblins were telling them the truth when they quoted some obscure regulation. It had gotten to the point that a large percentage of the wizarding world wasn't even aware that it was even possible to peruse the regulations themselves.
Luna and Harry had looted everything of value from Gringotts before they'd left their home universe in search of their fortunes. Unfortunately for the goblins, everything had included the rule book. Even more unfortunately, Luna had suffered a couple nightmares the day before and had decided to do a bit of light reading before her chess match.
Luna burst through the bank's front entrance with a grin splitting her face. "Here I am!"
"Are these your representatives?" the head teller asked, scorn dripping from every syllable.
"We are!" Luna agreed. "We have heard of your quandary. Rejoice, for we are willing to solve it for the standard fee specified on page six thousand one hundred fifty nine line seven."
The goblin sneered. "You are willing to do it? Gringotts was generous enough to permit you to waste valuable goblin time and you demand payment for it?"
Not liking the tone the goblin was using with his soon to be girlfriend, Harry stepped forward. "I will not be cheated," his whisper carried to every corner of the bank as a wave of cold seemed to blanket the room.
"We were willing to be nice," Luna agreed. "But, if you wish to do things that way. We will now take much much more as specified on page six hundred and forty three line seven. We also demand the standard penalty as specified on page seven line eighteen and a half."
"That line's written in invisible ink," the head teller said dumbly. "Meaning it's unenforce-"
A wizened goblin rushed into the room. "NO! Gringotts will gladly pay the fee and the penalty," the goblin wheezed. "Guards, seize the traitor that sullies Gringotts' good name."
The head teller didn't have the time to utter a single protest before he was bound and gagged.
"Gringotts would also like to offer you a further thirty percent as an apology for the rudeness of our representative. Axechuck." He indicated a guard. "Will be happy to escort your party to the vault."
"Thank you," Luna said cheerfully. "It's so wonderful to be able to deal with a reasonable being."
The wizened goblin sagged in relief when the odd party was gone.
"Who the hell are they that they get special treatment?" one of the guards demanded. "Why in the hell are we bending over backwards for a couple humans?"
"I was monitoring the wards," the wizened goblin replied. "They are not humans."
"What are they?"
"They are beings that the wards reported to be zeta level threats. You don't need to know anything beyond that," the wizened goblin said sternly. "Let none live who offend them, or none will live. Do not fail Gringotts in this, the future of the clan depends on it." He suppressed another shudder as he remembered just how much goblin blood the two had shed according to the wards.
To Dumbledore's intense and visible relief, the two took less than thirty seconds to destroy what he sincerely hoped was Voldemort's last anchor to the world. To his amazement, the goblins did not object when the two proceeded to loot the vault of everything of value.
"The rest will be waiting for us when we get back to the lobby," Luna said firmly.
"It shall be," their goblin escort agreed. "On behalf of the bank, we thank you for your forbearance."
Amelia handled Fudge's arrest herself, there were several reasons for this. Lily was her best friend, Lily was a popular Auror, the force had been very unhappy that Lily's daughter, a girl many considered to be the force's collective goddaughter, had been forced into the tournament. Then there was the fact that Fudge was a powerful politician, he had a lot of allies. In light of the first bit, she barely trusted herself the bring the son of a bitch in without expressing her extreme displeasure. In light of the second, she couldn't risk one of the bastard's allies retaliating against one of hers.
The sniveling worm blustered, he growled, he barked, and finally he wept when the cuffs closed around his wrists. With luck, someone would clue the bastard that prison was the safest place for him.
"You're making a mistake, Amelia," he said weakly as she drug him towards the cells. "I'll never see the inside of Azkaban."
"Maybe, but if that's the case you won't live to enjoy your freedom all that long." Looked like that someone was going to be her.
Fudge straightened a bit. "The court won't like the fact that you threatened me, Amelia, won't like it one bit."
"It's not a threat, it's a warning." Amelia stopped and locked her eyes on his. "You set up my bloody goddaughter to compete in a tournament that's killed people with years more training than she has. Let me put it another way, you set up Sirius' goddaughter, Lily's daughter, Reg's godniece. You think they won't hunt you down? Hell, even Remus bloody Lupin will help them end you. I'm all you got, Cornelius, I'm the only one that has even a snowball's chance of keeping you alive."
Fudge did not say another word for the rest of the walk to the cells.
Harry and Luna awoke early the next morning and left the bed late, choosing to spend the time cuddling and speaking softly about their plans and hopes. A quick breakfast and they were ready to face all the day had to offer.
"You know," Luna began, turning back to regard Fudge's dream home after they'd walked out the front door. "I'm going to miss this place?"
"Why?" Harry asked, using the same rune cluster to pack it that they'd used to loot their original world. "I'm sure we'll find some place good to set it up in the next world, no reason we have to steal another house."
"Yes," she agreed faintly. The girl took a moment to revise her estimate of his power level upward again. "I suppose you are correct."
"Shall we?" he asked, offering her his arm.
"We shall," she agreed. "To the Ministry!"
Dumbledore was waiting when they arrived. Oddly, the old man seemed to be the only one in the building as he led them through corridor after empty corridor.
"I arranged a bit of privacy," Dumbledore explained after Luna had pointed out how deserted the place was. A heavy Auror guard blocking any from entering any portion of the route was something Amelia had been only too happy to provide after he'd explained all of the particulars. "I didn't want your tour to be ruined by the crowd."
"How thoughtful of you," Luna said cheerfully. In short order, they found themselves standing before the veil. "Now then, master, do you have any idea why they think you're me? I must admit that I'm a touch miffed that they think I'm a mere handmaiden."
"I think it's probably because you said it was my wand, cloak, and rock that you were looking for."
"But it is, well, now anyway."
"I think that little nuance flew over their heads, I would recommend calling it your wand next time. Most people have a fairly linear view of time after all, let's not even get into most people's view on anything else."
"Alright, we'll do it your way this time." The couple took a step closer and paused. "Are you ready?"
"To make our something official?" Harry leaned in for a kiss. "Of course. Will you?"
"Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!" she stretched up a bit to complete the kiss. "I was referring to stepping through the veil. "
Dumbledore's mind was running faster than the Express as he processed exactly what he'd heard. He'd been wrong, so very wrong. It was only what happened next that allowed him to regain his senses. The pair stepped through the veil and it seemed to collapse after them. It seemed the object had been a doorway to death's realm, it further seemed that death had decided to close it from her side.
AN: Well, that's another story down. Been a while since I've finished one. Had the above ending in mind since almost the day I started writing this, had the below epilogue in mind since shortly after.
Typo by Alysson deMerel
Redux: The Epilogue
To neither of the pair's surprise, they stepped through the veil in the death chamber and exited from the veil in the death chamber as if going from one room to another.
Harry reflexively raised a shield to block the flying man some inconsiderate so and so had thrown in their general direction and then, seeing a familiar noseless annoyance, summoned every soul fragment from the general vicinity. The annoyance collapsed, a familiar boy dropped to the ground screaming and clutching his forehead, and at least two dozen more screaming clouds of black smoke came from all directions to be absorbed into his wand.
"How bout this," Harry whispered. "Say something like, my master demands the return of my wand, or just start out by calling it your wand and don't even bother introducing me."
"Could work," Luna allowed, whispering back. "We'll try that. It doesn't work, we'll burn this world to the ground and go on to the next."
"Works for me."
"I HAVE HAD IT!" Luna screamed, allowing her gaze to sweep over combatants. "I'M TIRED OF YOU LOT THROWING THINGS THROUGH MY DOOR." She took a deep calming breath. "Well, if you're not responsible enough to have it around then I'm taking it back." A flick of her wand shrunk the Veil of Death which then flew into her waiting hand. "You!" she let her glare fall on Dumbledore.
"Me?" the ancient wizard replied, thinking frantically for a way to appease the no doubt powerful being.
"I was willing to let you use it, but this has gone on long enough." She disarmed the man. "I'm taking my wand back. Maybe I'll bring it back to this world in a couple of centuries after I calm down if I think you've learned your lesson." She snatched the death stick out of the old man's unresisting hands. "In fact, all of this." A wave of her wand shrunk and gathered everything from the department. "Is confiscated!"
An annoyed look still on her face, the little blonde grabbed her new boy friend's had and stormed through the mob towards the nearest exit. The former combatants, death eater and order alike melting out of their way as they went.
"I can't believe that worked," Harry said after they had put sufficient distance between them and the Chamber of Death.
Luna shrugged. "Most magic users are stupid. I figured that out when I was nine and saw just how few people bought subscriptions to the Quibbler.
AN: Fairly sure someone else came up with that last line but can't for the life of me remember who so I can give proper credit.
Typo by joeyzoot
Omake: The Original World, The Epilogue
The learned members of the Wizengamot met for an emergency session. Their world was under attack by their former savior, Harry Potter, the most powerful wizard of his generation. It was clear what they had to do, the vote on how to proceed was nothing but a formality.
It hadn't been easy to inform the public of the Ministry's response. Their usual methods were closed to them. Experts stated that it would be months before the damage to the Wizarding Wireless could be repaired and even the most battle hardened Auror shuddered at what had been done to the Prophet. In the end, they'd been forced to rely on a muggle printer to provide the broadsides and every one of the few remaining able bodied ministry employees to post them in public locations and to owl them to every known magical household. The message was short and too the point as the most important ones were.
'Potter, we surrender. The nation is yours, just please stop.'
The Ministry had fallen. Potter's revenge, as it would later be called, had brought the wizarding world to its knees. What Voldemort had spent his first rise failing to do, Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood achieved in a day.