Chapter 1 - A Visit to Gringotts
The High Seeress was escorted by a phalanx of the strongest and stoutest warriors that served the Nation. She stopped at the central circle in the side passage - a crystal shower of light, bright and beautiful had lit the underground caverns for millennia.
If she was accurate, then today that light would end without interference.
Ragnok was a very unhappy warrier. Three of the best engineers wanted to be in the bank lobby this day as a result. It wouldn't be a problem if these were sons of Dwarken. No! Daughters of the guildmaster. Goblin females were highly regarded in their society, and to allow a non-goblin to look upon their unveiled faces was not done!
A screened and warded area was set up, but the scowls from the eldest of the daughters clearly showed her disdain of his precautions.
Did she want to be kidnapped for her beauty?
But she was barely sixty, a young one, so he could understand her innocence. She didn't understand how cruel wizards could be.
Why this date? This date was nothing to the goblins. Yes, it was practically a holiday in the wizarding world. Fireworks and feasts. Even the humblest of homes were making special cakes. But it was nothing special to the Nation.
Ragnok cast again another sharpening hex at his axe.
Just because goblins didn't use wands for magic, didn't mean that they didn't have it, after all.
The meeting with all of the human employees had gone well. Several had been pulled from foreign assignments just for the day on the advice of the seeress. They had been given the firmest orders possible.
Do whatever was necessary to save the bank.
Mentioning that the 'Blind Warrior' was coming with either the Nation's salvation or doom with his pack did not seem a wise bit of prophecy to share. How could a blind warrior help anyone? Anyone coming to the bank that could destroy it's wards with a group of people would be insane to just show up and attack.
'AWWWGGG' Ragnok swore under his breath, knowing that his mate and their children were nearby. Everyone who was not essential to bank services was being portkeyed away from the day. Warriors from other clans with blood ties to his were coming in. Preparing for war? Ragnok wished he knew.
He sharpened his blade again. If this was a ploy to gain a foothold in Britain, it would not be won cheaply.
The Clan Chief of the Goblins in Britain straightened his war crown. His mate was calling. He might be the ruler of all goblins here, but his master, his loving and extremely pregnant mate had a small list for him of things to be done while she was away. Forsasha refused to listen to any arguments about seers, prophecy or war.
Whoever was coming, whatever was coming, was going to regret messing with the Goblin Nation.
Bill Weasley loved working for Gringotts. His job in Egypt would be far more comfortable if he could afford the rest of the money for the Explorer's Deluxe Edition Tent with Seperate Witch's Sleeping Accommodation (™) that his group had started to buy. Sigh. Now it was all hung up in red tape. The previous lead on the dig was now quite dead. Mummified in an instant. His widow had no desire to give up her claim on the half that he paid for. Understandable, it was a lot of gold. But his group hadn't been able to come up with the other half as it was. They were close. There was no way to come up with all of it!
They were making do with used equipment with a poor kitchen, failing cooling charms, and a warding schema that was laughable.
A blind first year could defeat it.
Bill wasn't sure exactly why he was here, until the bank started rocking. Alarms went off, and the trio of engineers started chanting. They were going to raise the ancient wards if they could. The predicted trouble had come, but what was it?
Looking out, he saw the source of the problem in an instant.
Bill ran to his boss, and in less than 20 seconds had authorization to hire an expert, regardless of cost. He ran to the floo, praying with sincerity that the woman in question was home and available.
Sticking his head in the green flames, he began his panicked plea.
The black haired boy watched a few more bits of detritus from the man's pockets fell from the high counter onto the previously spotless marble floor. It joined some other bits of dross that had fallen with the boy's first demands.
As the first wave of warding spread through the bank, it hit the young mage. A wisp of black smoke dissipated with a shriek from his scar, but the boy just brushed the black goo dripping down his face and kept yelling, not seeming to notice. The feeling of a rubber band snapping from around his chest was dissipating as well. It had been a big rubber band! But the boy had larger issues in front of him.
"But why? If I had had money? I mean, why do YOU have MY KEY? WHY DIDN'T I KNOW ABOUT THIS? Have you been stealing MY MONEY!" the young black-haired mage thundered.
Each demand was loud, and getting louder. Each demand was accompanied by the bank shuddering to its foundation. The tall decorative windows were already cracking. If the large two story windows broke, with the whirlwind already picking up, warriors lives would be on the line.
The center of attention of the young man was focused on the tallest wizard in the bank. As guards shuttled patrons as fast as they could to the doors, the half-giant just blinked stupidly. He was clearly out of his depth!
Where was the gratitude that Albus Dumbledore had talked about? Yes, that was the ticket.
"Why, Dumbledore gave me your key this morning! He's been keeping it all this time since I took you to the Dursleys. He knew…"
The first window blew, and fortunately for all of the magicals in the bank, it blew out.
"YOU! YOU TOOK ME THERE? YOU, YOU!..."
The rant was cut off mid sentence. Strong arms lifted him, gentle hands stroked his hair.
"There, there, love. You're alright. I'm here. Yes, yes, lovie. I'm here. It's all right."
Halberd bearing guards led the way to one of the smaller meeting rooms. It held a comfortable leather sofa and high backed wing chair in matching buttery smooth hide. A high tea appeared on the table next to the furniture before she could even take a seat in the armchair.
Goblins saw her palm a potion into an empty cup, and did nothing to stop her. Even if it was poison, they would not interfere, not when the safety of their families' homes and livelihood were at stake.
The boy was shaking, magic roiling off him to the point where she actually felt a bit nauseous. Such power!
Not that she was without power. Showing off a bit of wandless magic, she poured tea. And offered him milk and sugar, stirring it with a spoon.
Before he had even taken his first sip, he was already calming. Clearly enchanted by the bit of domestic magic.
"Wow! That was brilliant, um, Mrs. ?"
"Weasley, Molly Weasley. But you can call me Auntie Molly if you like. Even if you're muggleborn, we're really all related somehow." The red-haired woman informed him, still cuddling him.
She never noticed the senior guard use wandless transfiguration to make the armchair into a smooth glider/rocking chair.
The boy couldn't help but respond to the woman. She was just so kind and he felt so safe! He had never, ever been held gently before. And now, he was floating on a sea of warmth, watching magic for really the first time. The boat ride hadn't seemed at all like real magic.
A plate of nibbles was floated to him next and he nervously took a ginger biscuit.
"Go on lovie, they're for you." Molly encouraged him. "May I ask you your name?"
Harry shook his head no, he didn't want her to think that he was some sort of something special. Not when he was just a freak. An orphan freak.
Vernon was going to beat him something fierce when he found out about that window!
"There's been a mistake, somehow. You see, I've been raised by my muggle relatives. I never knew about magic. My mother's sister and her husband hate magic." In a very soft voice he added. "They hate me. They hated me even when I was a baby and first came to live with them."
Alarms that had started when the boy first lost control of his magic went quiet. The guards near the doors visibly relaxed, though the matriarch of House Weasley had not really been paying attention to them.
"Let me guess, your mother died when you were very young." Molly asked. Oh, this was not a new story. Some pureblood lord, likely a death eater, takes advantage of a muggleborn witch or muggle woman, finds out there's a child. And leaves her. Just evil. Mother dies, likely in a Death Eater raid. And now the boy is finding out something about his father.
Pureblood rules for taking care of illegitimate children were very clear. Even if the fathers wanted nothing to do with their progeny. But the child should have received money for support even before now. Molly had read a lot of romance novels, written by wonderful authors like B.G. Roy. Hers were the best; sweet, sad, and well, a little racy in places. Certainly nothing that young people should read!
"Did your father leave you some money for school?" Molly guessed.
Bill hadn't had time to say everything that he knew, but the child was upset that someone else had a vault key that he knew nothing about.
Magic started to build again, so Molly rocked him, and poured a second cup of doctored tea with calming draught.
"That man that was sent to fetch me, Reuben Hagrid or something like that, he had my vault key. If I had had money, I could have eaten more growing up! I could have had clothes! I've been teased about my rags since my first days at school!"
Fat tears rolled down the boy's face.
Molly was appalled. Not feeding a child! Not dressing him! She wanted to find out more about his family, but knew that those questions needed to be asked by her husband.
And answered by his muggles.
She started singing an old Welsh lullaby that she had learned from a great aunt when Bill was born. As she sang, she contemplated the situation, rocking the child gently.
Was this abuse or poverty? Either way, Molly's heart had already been lost to this orphan boy. And even if the boy's father lived, she was planning on asking her husband to make room for this child in his heart if not in their home.
Why was Hagrid involved? Did he know the boy's father? If the child was raised by Muggles, surely Professor Sprout or McGonagall should be showing the boy around, getting his things for school.
With Bill home, it was already a little crowded.
But at least the child would never go hungry!
After two cups of tea, a vial and a half of calming draught, several ginger biscuits and warm cuddles, the boy was falling asleep.
The goblin guards in the room played eye-tag, and the senior pointed at the most junior to go and report.
Molly waited for a time, and then made motions for a blanket, that the senior pulled from a drawer under the couch. He handed it over gingerly, and she tucked it around him.
Pulling her wand, and mouthing the question to ask permission to cast, she received a nod. She gently laid the boy on the couch, a cushioning charm for a pillow, and then on the floor in front of the narrow couch was wordlessly cast. She then added a ward that would let her know when he woke. Along with a silencing ward.
All cast silently and efficiently. Bill didn't get all of his magical talent from his father after all.
She turned to the goblins, more than a bit angry, and asked permission to use their floo.
A fairly unknown part of Arthur Weasley's job was protecting muggleborn witches and wizards from their family if they became abusive after getting their Hogwarts letter. He always felt that earlier intervention could have only helped the young people.
There was a good reason that muggles could be frightened of wizards after all.
Kingsley Shacklebolt might be a pureblood wizard, but Arthur had seen other people of his descent wearing colorful hats and robes in public. He made no objection to the senior auror's attire.
The dark-skinned man's eyes were tight, and his grip crushed the notes that Arthur had quickly scribbled.
Both men were angry over the treatment of the boy, even if they didn't know his name.
They had apparated directly to the neighborhood, and surveyed the house. It was just like the others in terms of appearance, but no one was home. Arthur let them in with a quick quiet spell, and the wizards started casting the normal detection spells.
Two things struck out at them immediately. One, there were no pictures of a black-haired boy in any of the non-moving photographs. The second was that the cupboard under the stairs showed very recent habitation. A thin mattress and baby quilt, it's warming charms long gone, but clearly magical construction showed that the boy had been in a magical home until his mother's untimely death.
The boy didn't know the date, just knew he had been there as a baby, so they went looking for records in the typical hiding spots.
They found a treasure trove of muggle money, clearly in Gringotts parchment, with little notes saying 'October 1986 heir maintenance' and such. A quick spell showed the total to be a fairly large number.
"Well, even if the father did abandon the child to be raised with the mother's blood relatives, he clearly was supporting him. Wonder why it wasn't used." Arthur commented. "Let's impound this as evidence. It will exonerate the father of any financial wrongdoing. After all, we don't know the circumstances. Maybe he was potioned, and the witch was trying to trap him into marriage? These things happen."
Arthur should know about it - after all, he himself was potioned to get Molly's attention. And it worked, he had been too shy to act on his interest in the Prewitt girl. But she did it just the once, and made him a promise to never do it again without his consent.
But not all witches, or wizards for that matter, cared about what was right. Only cared about power, and the ability to control others.
The man shuddered.
After getting all of the evidence that they needed to remove the boy from the home, they removed all signs that they had been there, and relocked the house.
Arthur had put a muggle notice me not on the wall opening where the 'save' had been ransacked. The muggles would never be able to find it until he dispelled it, and eventually they would forget about it.
Arthur also took pictures of the long metal 'gums' in the closet. Molly had mentioned that Hagrid had destroyed one already, but clearly he had others as well. It would be wise to caution any auror doing a follow up to be careful of such things.
Just to make sure, Arthur had done a bit of transfiguration on the muggle weapon. It wouldn't be obvious unless it was used, in which case, it wouldn't work.
The department head had never bought a muggle rifle, and really didn't understand how it all worked. If anyone tried to fire the weapon, the rifle cartridge had nowhere to go.
The kind man had accidentally set a potentially fatal trap.
The goblins were much happier having an excuse to have no adult male wizards in the bank while the engineers finished their chanting. The repairs to the bank had gone well. Long unused wards had been raised for the first time in a millenia. The power of these wards was even now starting to creep into the offices of the wizards above and the goblins below. It would take time to settle in the deepest pits of the horde, but the power was slowly spreading.
Outside the bank, the humans were working as well. The tall hideous looking curse-breaker (to the female goblins' eyes) had done a good job of the cosmetic repairs to the outside of the bank.
No goblin warrior would stand by and allow a single female of their clan outside for mere wizards to gaze upon. No, it just wasn't done.
The half-giant had been taken into custody and thoroughly questioned.
It was clear that Mr. Hagrid was just a dupe for Albus Dumbledore. Griphook had tried to flee during the proceedings, but was quickly caught. His head, and the head of the former account manager for Hogwarts was currently decorating the walls of the training room. Powerful preservation charms had been applied to those who would betray the safety of the bank by allowing such a powerful magical device as a Sorcerer's Stone to come into the bank to begin with.
Only a Horcrux would be worse, and there was no way to put a ward on the doors to prevent it! At least that any goblin alive knew of.
If either goblin proved to have allowed a wizard to steal from a vault, then their heads would be moved outside. However, the audits of those vaults had just begun, and it would take time to complete.
Most of the High Auditors had been removed from the bank in deference to the Seers, and they would not be returning until all repairs were done, and the wards passed their final inspection.
Ragnok's eyes glowed. Today could have seen the wards completely breached for the first time ever. All for the cost of a few cakes and tea, and of course, the time of a loving human.
Mrs. Weasley would be honored for the rest of her life at Gringotts. No waiting for her, every goblin would bow her in and out.
But what of the boy that had nearly caused this? The instructions were clear that Gringotts should 'help him see'. That he would bring 'great profit' to the bank as a result.
At least they hadn't had to try and heal his eyes. Those were tricky, and many wizards allergic to the ingredients that fixed eyesight. James Potter, after all, had to wear glasses.
Shaking his head, he turned to meet with the Weasleys. The Head of House, his mate, and their Heir.
The Malfoy family may have stolen the Weasley wealth, title and seat on the Wizengamot, but the goblins remembered a time before a young heir had been tricked into losing it all by a clever, poor immigrant escaping the bloodshed in France. It wasn't just the muggle nobles in danger in that country, but anyone living in a chateaux.
Instead of rebuilding honestly, the Malfoys stole. Well, they did it within the rules of magical society, but goblins remember such things. And none of that family had any honor.
Unlike the Weasleys now assembled.
"The auror and I went to check on the house as was suggested. Horrible! Clear signs of abuse of a magical child. I have the authority to remove him from the house. Shacklebolt is filing that order now. I have impounded the money sent for his support. I would like to turn that over to the goblins, as the Ministry of Magic will only destroy muggle money coming in. Molly and I have discussed it. While we would be willing to bring the boy home, we need to expand the Burrow first."
"Dad, I have an idea. Didn't Percy say he was looking for a job? Why not allow him to come with me to Egypt. With the child. Percy can tutor him - learn how to use a quill, how to write an essay, help him prepare a few chapters into all his books. You know I'm a good cook, Mum, you taught me well. Or you could send a few preserved meals along." Bill rubbed his hands together in delight at the prospect of that.
"That does give us time to do some work on the house." Arthur said. "I need to arrange for a loan from the bank, but yes, I think…"
"Mr. Weasley, you will find Gringotts to be very generous when it comes to the saving of our bank. Without your mate's timely intervention, the cost could have been into the millions of galleons. We have already deposited 10,000 galleons into your account. I am confident to say that if you should need more, you would be granted it."
Ragnok didn't say that he would levee a fine against Albus Dumbledore twice that amount for unleashing a young mage unaccompanied by a competent wizard who could have prevented any damage from happening to the bank.
The Headmaster had declared himself guardian. Let him back it up with proof. If he paid, then Goldrob's plan would be abandoned.
If not, a new heir ring would be worn within a day or two.
"Molly, say nothing!" Arthur whispered urgently, clearly stopping his wife who was getting ready to berate the head of state of a foreign nation.
"Thank you, Ragnok. Now, the boy has not been forthcoming with his family name, but we must call him something."
Ragnok nodded. "Call him Harry. His birth name is his to keep for the time being. I will say that you are relatives, however distant, and will arrange for his maintenance to come to you since you will be his new guardians. I would give you one caveat."
The goblin leaned in close. "Do not allow Malfoy to come to learn of this, or there will be trouble. He will fight you, as his wife's blood has the closer claim. But there's no reason for anyone to know outside of us. And you have my word, I won't tell your ministry anything. They can find out from the official parchment work."
Bill worked it out the quickest. "Black! But Sirius Black is in prison!"
"And yet his heir is sleeping in that room," Ragnok said, pointing at the door leading to where the boy was resting. The clever goblin was being truthful and devious at the same time.
And giving the Potter heir another layer of protection.
Harry Potter's mother wasn't the only one who died that day, his father had too. Ragnok had sent warders to move the blood wards to the Burrow the minute that Molly Weasley started cuddling the boy. He recognized a mother's heart, no matter what the form.
And he would never tell his life mate that he found another female attractive. The goblin shuddered. He had braved many things in his life, but he did not get to his position by being stupid!
The blood wards were powered by love, something that this family had in abundance.
"May I make one suggestion? Gringotts employees use wizarding tents all of the time. It allows a portable home, potions lab, library, and so forth. The boy has access to his heir vault. Why not allow him to purchase a tent not just for the month leading up to school, but to have at school. All of the recent graduates of Hogwarts job applicants coming to us have excellent charms and transfiguration skills, but we are wasting galleons getting wizards and witches up to speed on potions. You could buy a tutoring portrait for potions. I know of a good one. It would allow the boy to interact with his peers to help them as well. Thinking of the positive benefits of this, I would be willing to sponsor one for the boy myself!"
The adults looked around. They never did agree with the Headmaster hiring a so called reformed Death Eater for such a position. Molly had more than once said that if he needed to be in the castle, let him replace Binns, and she offered to teach potions at Hogwarts herself!
The adults stood and exchanged bows. A goblin came running in with an exquisite brooch. It was put on a tray, and offered to the Weasley matriarch.
"Oh goodness! Goblin jewelry!" She knew it would be beyond rude to refuse, so asked Arthur to pin it to her good quality, but definitely worn robes.
She turned and curtseyed to the goblin clan leader. "My thanks. I will make a note to have this returned to you upon my death. And I thank you for your thoughtful gift."
Ragnok eyed Arthur Weasley. "You have a formidable mate. Never hurt her, or I will come for you myself."
The mild-mannered man 'eeped' and flustered, never having felt his life so thoroughly threatened with a look before. He stammered and bowed. "Nev...never! She is my heart."
Shaking his head, the clan leader stalked from the room.
He had to look over the repairs, and collect reports, but disaster had been averted this day.
Harry Potter awoke on a comfy leather couch. A warm blanket tucked around him. A hat with a note was sitting next to him. He really hadn't slept well the night before. Seeing the nearby WC, he quickly donned the hat, and refreshed himself before returning to the couch.
A red-headed couple were there, along with a tall red-headed man.
Harry was very glad for the wizard hat that a goblin had given him. It disguised his face, his scar (even if he thought it looked fainter), and his eyes. He thought it was wicked!
"Harry, I went to your Aunt and Uncle's house. I didn't get a chance to talk to them, but did find out that they had not been nice to you. Molly and I would like for you to come and live with us. We are distant relatives to your father. You would be very welcome there."
"You know about my father? He's a drunk! A layabout! He didn't have a job, and now my mother's dead because he crashed the car driving after drinking! She died. He died!"
Hagrid hadn't had time to tell Harry about his family yet again, and the previous night was just a dream to him.
"Your father is in prison, I know it's difficult to hear that he's alive, but Sirius Black is alive."
"Sirius Black? I thought, well, it doesn't matter. But why is he in prison?"
Magic was building up again. Molly came over and gave the boy a hug.
"Harry, it doesn't matter. Something happened that unleashed a bind on your magic earlier today. And until you get your feelings under control, you can hurt people. And buildings. I know that you are upset by all of this, but let's look at it this way. You and Bill are going shopping for a few things, while I go shopping for your school things. We'll meet at home. And don't get your wand yet - you need to see a healer first before buying robes and your wand."
They told Harry about the plan for the month leading up to school. He quickly agreed, as he would do anything to get away from the Dursleys. And as much as Molly wanted to bond with Harry, this was her Ronnie's last month at home before going off to school.
She wanted to spend quality time with him as well.
The tasks divided, Bill and Harry went to buy a tent.
"Harry, you didn't need to pay for this!" Bill repeated himself as they set up the deluxe explorer's tent in the backyard.
"I know, but I was going to buy one for the potions' teaching, like Ragnok suggested, and the man was so excited to sell four of them. I got yours for a song."
Harry didn't mention the fact that he had taken the shopkeeper aside, and took off the glamour hat. Seeing Harry Potter wink, and then put it back on was enough to keep the man negotiating from a disadvantage.
"But what about Harrison's widow?" Bill demanded.
"I left her half the value in trust with the shopkeeper to give it to her. He would never betray the goblins by stealing it." Harry informed the curse-breaker.
Well, not more than once. How cool was it to see the severed heads of goblin betrayers!
It was amazing what Harry had learned from the goblins in just a short time! Bill had taken him to his account manager. Well, the account manager for the Black accounts.
Harry patted the pouch on his neck.
Goldrob had been impressed with the boy's resourcefulness. The goblin account manager for the Black accounts had encouraged Harry to tell him what he had been doing for work. So Harry told him about collecting scrap metal around the neighborhood, selling it for money to buy food. Gordrob hadn't looked down on him at all. In fact, he suggested getting one of the adults to bring him home and put all the metal he had collected in his new moke-skin pouch. Provided for him for just this purpose.
"And don't forget to collect metals at school, young mage. There are a lot of melted cauldrons there, no doubt. The house-elves will know where to find them. Just ask for help."
His glittering eyes told Harry that there was something going on beyond what was being said, but he had no clue what.
He also expanded on what Ragnok had suggested regarding potions' teaching, and had made a few investment 'guidance' tips.
That creepy Quirell guy stalked through the exit as they were leaving the bank muttering under his breath how he wanted to stone the goblins or something.
So now, they were setting up the tent, and Harry was getting ready to leave the Dursleys for good!
"Now, Harry, I don't like to lie, but if Hagrid doesn't escort you back, I think that he will explode! He was adamant about his task. Of course, he and Sirius Black were friends, you know. He wasn't always bad."
Harry nodded. He was still very confused about who his father was, but right now was not the time for that discussion. Bill was going to pick Harry up at the playground after retrieving his metals and anything else he wanted to keep from his soon-to-be-former home.
There were to meet Hagrid in Diagon, so off they went.
With Bill taking him to Egypt, Harry had taken off the hat and told him his name. Bill gaped like a fish, but had said nothing.
They did go and get magical contacts quickly. The same color that matched Sirius Black's eyes.
"Harry! There you are!" Hagrid said.
Hagrid never noticed the difference.
They both agreed that Hagrid taking him back was best to keep Dumbledore off track. He was only the headmaster, and really, he had no right to say where Harry lived as long as it was well warded.
"Hello Mr. Hagrid. I'm sorry for being so mad at the bank." Harry hung his head in order to prevent himself laughing.
"Oh, that's alright! It's just Hagrid, now! Let's be off then! Unless you need a bite of dinner?"
"I've been with Molly Weasley shopping, sir. She's fed me. Several times." Harry admitted. He liked her. A lot!
Hagrid refused the goblin made portkey. He had had quite enough of goblins today, but couldn't remember anything that they had asked.
The giant man patted his pocket. The paper-wrapped package was still safely there. That was good.
Harry had his decoy trunk next to him. It had a bunch of dross - rocks configured to look like school books, a stick made to look like a wand. His real wand, well, the one that the ministry would know about, was in the shrunken trunk in his pocket. Molly had suggested waiting, but Bill had wanted him to have it before leaving the country. Much easier getting a custom wand out of the country. Harry wanted to leave it with the Weasleys, but Bill was nervous about Dumbledore interfering with Harry's move to the Burrow.
Hagrid and Harry made the trip to Surrey by train and then walking to #4. Harry had had to help Hagrid with the money part. Hagrid let him keep the change, which was enough for food for the month if things didn't work out. But Harry hoped that they did. He quickly hid it in the pouch.
Knocking on the door, Hagrid muttered apologies to Dudley about the tail, and without asking him, cast a finite ending the deformation. Vernon was looking purple with rage at the indignation of his son having freakishness put on him again, even if it was to end the tail.
The large man grabbed Harry's arm without so much as a bye-your-leave to Hagrid, and slammed the door shut. He stood in the entry hall huffing, while Petunia peeked through the curtains.
"The large freak is gone. Just past Wisteria Lane now." Petunia thought she saw him heading for the crazy cat lady's house and sniffed. Wouldn't surprise her if Mrs. Figg was one of those freaks!
"Open the trunk, boy! Let's see what freakishness you brought into MY HOUSE!"
The fist coming down caught Harry off-guard, as he had been about to open the trunk as Vernon had demanded. Transfigured books were dumped on the floor.
"You burn these, Pet. I'll take out the trash."
Goldrob had no problem getting to Azkaban. He was a goblin, and anyone with active accounts had a right to see their account manager.
'Fools, the lot of them. If Black had been legally convicted for life, the ministry would have frozen his accounts. Like the Lestrange family. And didn't that put Lord Malfoy's nose out of joint when his lady couldn't manage things?
Goldrob being able to visit proved that Sirius Black was not convicted of any crime.'
Goldrob would soon have good news for his client and his wealth. The Lord's ring on Black's finger would help protect the imprisoned wizard as well. The heir's ring was in the goblin's pocket. If this went well, both would be worn before sunset the next day.
Dumbledore had scoffed at paying the fine. It wasn't his fault if a child did a bit of accidental magic. Which was all the better.
Goldrob activated the portkey. "Wizards are idiots"
Harry woke hours later. He was awoken by a loud explosion that had gone off far too near him. A loud boom, followed by something heavy dropping.
It was too dark, and he couldn't see anything.
Dizzy and sick, he climbed out of the trunk. Nearby, he saw the taillights of his Uncle's car. Stumbling over to the car, he peered into the open boot.
There were several plastic bags, and a shovel. A torn package of torches, one of the pair missing. He took the other torch, and shined it towards the school trunk.
He really wished he hadn't done that.
After losing everything he'd had to eat for the last week, he straightened. Swirls of magic were floating around him. It felt new, different. Something was happening, and unlike Vernon, this was something good.
Harry had no idea that Sirius Black had just legally adopted him into the Black family.
Knowing that he had no time to lose, Goldrob went to the edge of the wards of the prison, and activated the portkey towards home.
Cackling to himself, he called for a runner. Gringotts ran 24/7, and a goblin warrior could go many days without sleep. Parchments had to be filed, but the Liaison Office was often overworked and overlooked.
The adoption had gone off without a hitch. Sirius Black was legally Harry Potter's father. There was nothing that Malfoy could do now about the estates! Draco Malfoy was never going to be the Black heir, and Narcissa would soon discover a sudden drop in her income.
Harry Potter's new home was assured! He would never go back to those stinky muggles again!
Knowing that he was in extreme danger, the young man remembered the goblin supplied portkey.
Harry cursed himself for being an idiot, not giving him credit for having a concussion or surviving a murder attempt, and activated it, landing him in the garage of Privet Drive without a sound.
This was not where he wanted to be! He quietly turned on a light, and stepped over to the bin of metal bits that he collected. Knowing that this was going to make a racket, he locked the garage door from this side, removing the deadbolt key from the other side.
That should hold Petunia off for a minute.
He proceeded to activate his pouch, and was surprised to find out that it was silent as well fast! Harry went through a mental list of what else he wanted, and remembered the baby blanket.
Risking opening the door, he saw the hallway safety nightlights and nothing else on. No noise was coming from upstairs.
Harry crept to the cupboard, and had just reached the blanket when he felt cool metal poking his back. The hall lights went on.
"Where's Vernon, you freak? What have you done with him?"
"I don't know, Petunia. Do you know how to use that thing?" Harry asked, a bit of scorn in his voice. "You two planned to murder me tonight. Why? All I ever did was try to please you! Get you to like me!"
The lights were now flickering. Whatever had happened to Harry when he entered the bank had done more than pull something from his forehead. The band that had contained his powers had snapped. He could feel the magic bubbling up in him.
"We told them to leave us alone! Every time we took you to an orphanage, Dumbledore would bring you back and twinkle at me! Remind me of how great my sister was! I told him we wanted nothing to do with magic, and that if he made you live here, that you would not go to that school of his. He laughed at me and said that I had no power to change destiny. Well, I hold the power now! Die boy!"
Petunia's last words were ones of anger and hate.
Harry wondered if this is what the other part of the body looked like when someone was beheaded. He thought not.
Walking calmly over to the phone, he pressed '999'.
It was only later that tears started to flow. For his aunt, for the family that was gone, for everything.
Bill was frantic. After waiting for more than 2 hours past the appointment time, Bill had gone to Gringotts. He took in a quick meal and pepper up potion. Just as the steam was dissipating, he was told that Harry's portkey had just activated. Sending the boy back to Privet Drive.
Goldrob gave the man a ring box, and certain instructions. The curse-breaker swore an oath, and Bill took the new portkey with gratitude, and walked to the house from the playground.
What greeted him was a mess.
The chanting of the engineers echoed through the halls, cleansing the bank of evil. The scream emanating from the Lestrange vault disturbed the dragons there for only a moment. They then settled back down for a little nap.
Harry answered the door with glazed eyes. "Oh hi Bill. Um, you're not the police."
Quickly scanning the situation, Bill tossed off a patronus message to his father, and then another one to a healer at Gringotts.
"Come outside, Harry." Bill said gently, tugging the boy over to the front garden. Looking around, he conjured a bench that would not look out of place here.
Bill told him about Goldrub giving him the heir ring for Harry. That it would help protect his mind, that he would be cared for. That it was an emergency portkey to one of the Black properties.
Harry slipped it on his finger. The snake moved, and Harry pretended to hiss at it, well, at least from Bill's point of view. It was adorable.
Conjuring two cups, Bill attempted to conjure hot chocolate. He dumped it out and tried again.
"Give it up, son, there's too much food in hot chocolate. You know the laws on transfiguration."
"Dad! I'm so glad that you are here!"
Sirens interrupted whatever Arthur was going to say. The muggle aurors had arrived.
A dagger through the air, barely missing Goldrub.
"Nice to see you cousin." Goldrub stated, pulling the poisoned blade out and sniffing it.
"You! You are a thief and a liar!" Bagland sneered.
"Oh, did I do something to hurt the Malfoy account?" Goldrub banished the dagger, an expensive piece forever corrupted by the poison. Pity. "I feel so sad for you."
"What did you do! The expected payment for August is gone! And I am told that I will not be getting anymore! What happened?!"
"The heir has his ring, and contrary to the lies that your client told you, it is Lord Black's son who is heir. No jumped up arrogant wizard of no power. I would watch your step, Bagland. If I can prove you complicit in the dealings with House Weasley, it will be your head used for target practice!"
The goblin greened.
"You can't prove a thing! And I didn't steal anyone's gold! I'm complaining to Ragnok!" The smaller goblin threatened.
"Please do! It will bring my accomplishments to his attention all the sooner, increasing my percentage of rewards for the month. And decreasing yours as a penalty for lying."
This last was said with bared teeth, the challenge clear.
"ARRRGG! There is no talking or reasoning with you!" Bagland accused.
"Not when I increase my client's wealth, and your dishonorable client loses. You are correct. Have a nice day."
That last was an insult learned from the humans. Goblins wished each other glorious deaths, or battles, or finding gold.
Goldrub strung off some goblin swears, just to clear his palette of those words.
Asking the boy what happened was a non-starter.
Other neighbors were peering out windows, but the lights upstairs stayed off.
Arthur took Harry's statement, quickly cleaning off the small amount of blood on the boy's baby blanket. Still not cognizant that he, Arthur Weasley had saved the boy's life, he looked around. The muggle aurors were inside, temporarily staying away from the wizards.
The healer had been there and gone. Harry had potions for treatment of concussion, but could only take them once he was near a bed. That and the other would make him sleep for many hours.
The muggle auror in the funny hat with lots of gold came out. Arthur patted both boys on the shoulders and stood, making himself visible to the police for the first time.
Dudley came rushing over. "There's the freak! You killed my mum! I'm going to kill you!"
Dudley's blow didn't hurt nearly as badly as Vernon's blows did. And Harry just stood and took it. After all, he had been punished worse in the past for dodging.
The police pulled the boy off, and he was taken away in a police car.
Harry was questioned and his hands photographed. They had him change into coveralls to take his clothes, as evidence they said.
Arthur walked up and introduced himself.
"Chief Inspector Weasley. I'm taking the boy for a foster placement. I'll send my report in the morning."
"Right, sir. Stay safe, lad. You were protected today." The forensic specialist had swabbed the boy's hands before leaving, just to be sure. They had been clean, except for a small bit of spatter that had been photographed.
Without another word, Arthur led both his eldest and youngest boys into the night.
Arthur had decided that it was more important to get Harry out of the country sooner than later, especially since this was going to explode the cauldron in all sorts of ways. He had discovered the boy's true name last night, but only he and Bill knew at the moment. Still, they wanted to have a few days first to bond as a family before Bill had to report back to work.
The goblins were being very generous with Bill's vacation.
He wanted to give the lad a few days of normalcy before sending him to a foreign country.
Harry woke late, and was very out of it for a time. A red-headed boy about his age wandered into the tent before he had his hat on.
At least he was wearing his new contacts.
"Hey! So you're the new member of the family. Welcome! I'm Ron. Ron Weasley."
"Hi. Um, well. I'm Harry. Nice to meet you Ron."
"So do you like Quidditch? Who's your team?"
"I think that it looks brilliant, but only have seen posters. I've not watched a game. Well, not yet."
"But you fly, right?"
"Well, I tried before buying my new broom, but not really. Not yet. But Bill said yesterday that you might teach me."
"Well of course! So, let's get something to eat, and I'll teach you everything that you need to know about flying."
"Why are you going to teach our new brother about flying?" Demanded a tiny red-headed girl. "I know more than you and the twins combined!"
"What? You're just a witch! You know Mum'll never let you fly!" Ron spouted back.
"Hi Harry! I'm Ginny. I came to get you for lunch. There's still a bunch of cake left from yesterday's celebration. And mum's making my favorite. Corned beef, Ronald!"
"Oye! I'm sorry okay! I shouldn't have said anything bad about Harry Potter yesterday!" Ron shouted, but the little witch was gone.
"Blimey, but she is sensitive. On and on how she'll be Lady Potter one day, and won't I be laughing then."
"Lady Potter? But that means that…"
"What? Oh, but Dumbledore is trying to get rid of all that. Right mess, if you ask me. Wants to do away with all of that noble and ancient and noble stuff. And don't get him started about family magic. Thinks it's all rot."
Harry nodded, yet another thing that he didn't know, and should have known.
Bill and Arthur were absent, but the rest of the children were there. Harry's scar was so much lighter now, and with the longer hair, grown out courtesy of a potion at the bank, no one seemed to know it was him.
He did think it funny to eat birthday cake made to celebrate his life, even if he couldn't tell them yet who he was. Harry wanted his new family to get to know him, and like him for who he was.
If that was possible. In the back of his mind, he could hear Petunia screeching that no one would ever like a freak like him.
After lunch, they all went for a fly, even Percy, who Ginny confided normally wouldn't. Harry stuck up for Ginny having the right to fly, and pulled several new brooms from the tent. He handed the twins theirs and was suddenly in a sandwich. A twin sandwich hug.
"Oh, little brother!" "You didn't need to buy" But we're so very happy". "That you did buy." "The best beater's brooms." "On the market".
"Well my father was Gryffindor" (James Potter? Sirius Black?), "and I'll likely be in the same house. Just want my team to win."
"Saying things like that will get you in the house of snakes, Harrykins."
"You say that like it's a bad thing. What if I told you that I could talk to snakes?" Harry asked seriously.
"Don't even tease about such a thing." Percy sniffed. "Only dark lords have had such a power. Ever since Salazar Slytherin went dark."
"Oh." Harry said. "Here's me thinking that a magical language was cool. I guess not."
The potion that Harry had been given the night before by the Gringotts healer was one used by curse-breakers who had seen violent and ugly deaths of co-workers. He would be encouraged not to think of bad things, while keeping the lessons learned.
No one had told him who his father actually was yet; he just knew that his mother was married to James Potter, but that he was Sirius Black's heir. Living in the cupboard under the stairs, Harry had watched far too much day time dramas that involve cheating wives and husbands. Even if he didn't understand everything about men/women coupling, he did know enough to know that James Potter might not be his biological father.
Even if he had been his dad.
Having a potential parent who was alive, and apparently evil was confusing to say the least.
If his father was evil, was he destined to be evil too? Harry tried an evil cackle. The boys and one girl around him just gave him an odd look.
Alright, so maybe he wasn't destined to be a dark lord.
He handed Ginny a brand new Cleansweep.
"This is a chaser broom!" She hugged it tightly. "Top of the line!"
Percy was pleased with his keeper broom, as was Ron. Bill and Harry both had the new Nimbus brooms. Best brooms for seekers.
"I know, I know, I can't take it to school. But the rules didn't say I couldn't own one! And Bill said that they are used all of the time in Egypt."
The magical silver-grey contacts started to itch a little, so Harry went and got the potion drops.
"Allergic to the potion to fix my eyes." Harry explained.
But then all conversation ceased as an invited friend of Percy's showed up, and Harry opened up the chest of quidditch balls.
"Now, how do we do this?" The boy asked innocently.
The Ministry of Magic was abuzz. All sorts of rumors about an attempt, no, a failed attempt, to breach the wards of the bank.
The Liaison Office was busy, and it's department head had been dodging all attempts to get more information.
Not that Dirk Cresswell didn't take his job seriously. He did. But he had been told that until he had filed the parchment work that he had been given last night, that he would get no answers from the Goblin Nation.
That had been done, the stamp given, finally, and Dirk was on his way to meet the Black account manager.
What a day!
The Gringotts owl was late.
Lady Malfoy was irked. Upset. Slightly miffed. Yes.
She would deny a deep dark feeling of being terrified. Something powerful had happened last night, and she had woken up feeling a loss of her mother intensely. Not that she had known the woman well. Her lady mother had been killed while Narcissa was still in school.
Otherwise she'd have had help in fighting off the Malfoy contract. Mother hated new money, especially new money that had been suspiciously gained from other old families. Old established families.
And Narcissa now had all of the proof that her gossipy aunts were right. Not that it did any good now.
What did this mean for her future? It was her ties to the Black family that attracted her husband to her. Would he disown her?
Or have her killed, likely how her own mother died. At the hand of her father.
When the owl finally came, she steeled herself not to show any emotion. If what happened did happen, she could word it in such a way as to aim her husband at the Minister.
And then run. Taking as much portable wealth as she could.
Knowing that something wicked was coming, she took her silver knife and slit the letter's throat as though by assassinating it, she could change it's news.
Gasping, the letter fell from numb fingers.
It was so much worse than she was expecting.
Banishing the proof, and leaving a vague note for Lucius, she bolted to her rooms. She commanded the elves to ignore what she was doing, and was packed in 30 minutes. Only her personal elf Dobby helped her.
And he was loyal to the Black family. The elf didn't know that his mistress had been disowned from the Black family. He would as soon as Lord Black informed him.
That she, Narcissa Malfoy nee Black was disowned from the Ancient and Noble House of Black. All properties, protections, interest and proceeds were no longer hers.
Her only hope of getting even a pittance of an income would be to deny the Dark Lord. And bring proof of that denial to the Black account manager.
As she frantically looked around, making sure that she took only those things that were truly hers (Lucius owned the Minister of Magic after all), she had a sudden thought.
A diary, a strange one, and all those lovely dark arts items in the basement.
She sat down and wrote a quick letter after giving Dobby the orders of a lifetime.
And the best part was that Lucius could never come after her for it. After all, one did not run to the aurors claiming theft of items illegal to own.
She had an appointment to set up, and needed to make it clear exactly what she was bringing in.
She lifted the sleeve of her arm and shuddered. How close she had come to taking the Dark Mark. Lucius had ordered her to do so, as had her father. Her grandfather was the one that said that no man could order a daughter of House Black to take the Dark Mark. He had even warned Lucius away from punishing her for it.
More grateful now than ever for her grandfather's foresight, she fled to a safe house set up for her by Cordelia Greengrass.
They had each had a place for the other. In this case, a little cottage near but not in Hogsmeade.
After getting there, she sent Dobby first to Gringotts. She wouldn't be able to withdraw much, maybe a few hundred thousand, but she'd get something. And the elf would set up an appointment to see Goldrub.
Looking around, she wrote a quick note inviting her friend to tea.
She needed to think long and hard of what to say to Lucius.
Lady Malfoy smirked. Here was an opportunity to repay her husband for all of the...kindness that he had shown her over the years.
She could have kissed Sirius, right then. Seriously.
A/N And so begins another tale.
Warnings! Triggers for abuse victims, and Dumbledore fans. While the focus of this story is not on bashing, he is definitely not a good guy here, but other than two or three spells, he is acting much like canon Dumbledore. You have been warned.
This is my written apology for enjoying all of the Ron-bashing, Molly-bashing, and Ginny-bashing fics I have read. Over and over.
And this is my salute to families, large, small, broken or whole. Families are so essential. Even if you are a family of one.
I am struggling with a word processor whose grammar and spell-check sometimes fail me. I will try to do better than I did with my first fic.
VashonBeader - wishing you peace.