Harry was wrenched from a very interesting dream as a portkey snatched him from his bedroom on Four Privet Drive. As soon as the god awful spinning stopped Harry was jarred into full consciousness when he slammed into a stone floor. Realising he was without his glasses or wand, a strange sort of determined panic settled in his gut. Looking around he could see light glinting off of several long pointy objects while blurry figures approached him.
"What's going on?" He demanded,scrambling to his feet.
Several of the figures began a hushed conference in a strange language as they looked at him. One of them poked Harry lightly with a bladed stick. He immediately seized the weapon and yanked with all his might, tearing it loose.
"What the bloody blue hell do you want with me?" Harry waved the weapon around without any skill, only knowing that the pointy bit goes towards the enemy.
"Mr. Potter," one of the figures stepped closer, "we have a very sensitive matter that we'd like to discuss with you."
"Then why don't you just call, send me a letter, make an appointment, whatever it is you have to do..." Harry frowned as he tried to stare down the spokesman, a task made more difficult by the low light, difficulty seeing, and the growing suspicion that his new friends were not human.
"No, I am afraid we could not do any of those," The speaker told him. "We have known that Albus Dumbledore screens your mail for quite some time and would outright refuse to even listen to our position. I regret the necessity of bringing you here in the middle of the night but discretion is critical for both parties."
"Right," Harry said very slowly and with little understanding. He didn't release the weapon he had stolen but he did move it to a less threatening position. "Now why don't you tell me who you are, where we are, and why you want to speak with me so badly?"
"Very well, I apologize," the word seemed to be forced out, "for our rudeness. I am Ragnok, Head of Gringotts Bank, and we are currently below London. As I said we need to meet with you to discuss a very sensitive issue."
Harry relaxed ever so slightly. He wasn't sure he could trust Goblins, but they were slightly less likely to hand him straight to Voldemort than certain Order members he could name. Selling him maybe, but at least then he could try to outbid his competition. "Ok then, I guess it won't hurt me to listen to what you have to say. Should we go someplace more comfortable or would you prefer to discuss this here?"
"We can settle everything here, pull up a rock and let's get down to business," The goblins watched as Harry took the command at face value and sat down on the floor. With a small smile Ragnok clapped his hands, summoning servants bearing chairs and a small table. "Now Harry, may I call you Harry? For various reasons Gringotts is quite enamored with you and wishes a... more formal arrangement."
"Gringotts likes me?" Harry was surprised to say the least. "I thought Goblins hated humans."
"We do!" Ragnok said with no small amount of glee, "But regardless of all that Gringotts believes you to be several steps above the rest of wizard kind and that puts the Goblin Nation in an unusual situation."
"Well what can I do to help?"
"We have a proposal for you, a certain contract. Gringotts desires an heir and wants you to father it. In return the Goblin Nation is willing to offer adequate compensation." The goblin took several sheets of parchment from his his assistant and laid them on the table.
"You want to pay me to have a kid? Is that even legal?" Harry was a bit shocked.
"It has never been a common practice, but it is not illegal to encourage someone with exceptional skills to contribute to a certain family. Consider it a dowry if you wish."
"I'm really not sure what to think about all of this," Harry was a bit uncomfortable but he didn't really want to offend the goblins either. "Just so I know, are you asking me to make love to a goblin woman? I'm not really sure how I'd feel about that."
Several of the goblins recoiled in disgust. "No, we would never ask one of ours to subject herself to that. Gringotts has everything taken care of and is waiting for an answer."
"Before I answer I have to ask about the Dowry that you mentioned. It is not greed you understand, merely a touch of self preservation."
"Of course, we would be insulted if you did not consider our generosity." Ragnok held up the contract and read the relevant bits aloud. "The goblin nation is asking you to provide Gringotts a male heir. In return for your contribution to our society we offer our assistance rounding up the supporters of the so called Lord Voldemort, a small home in Hong Kong that has the absolute best wards known to wizard and goblin kind, five million galleons and citizenship in the Goblin Nation. The last is non negotiable. It's bad enough that Gringotts desires your heir, but the child WILL be sired by a goblin, even if only by a technicality."
"Out of curiosity, how upset would the Goblin Nation be if I were to turn this generous offer down?"
A number of soft noises came from around the room and light glinted off blades being drawn from their sheaths. Ragnok was very serious when he replied, "Privately most of us would be very relieved, but Gringotts would be quite upset and the rest of us would be forced to remove the cause of such distress."
Harry swallowed heavily and he was beginning to wish for a nice, normal Death Eater attack or traffic accident. "Then I guess I don't really have much of a choice. Pass me those papers and we'll make this all official."
The goblins put their weapons away as Harry picked up a quill. With a nervous flourish he signed his name and looked back to Ragnok. "So who is it that you want me to impregnate?"
"I've already told you, Gringotts wants your child. The Living Stones are sacred to the Goblin Nation and we must bow to their wishes no matter how odd." Ragnok stood from his seat and motioned Harry to an ornate door at the back of the chamber. "Now if you'll just head through that door, Gringotts is waiting."
000 The Next Day 000
"Say Tom," Florean Fortescue nudged the barkeep from the Leaky Cauldron and pointed down the Alley, "Is it just me or is that chimney over Gringotts new? I don't remember ever seeing it before."
"You're right, it definitely wasn't there yesterday and the goblins were acting very smug when I went to get change this morning. It was as if the whole bank had become more relaxed and oddly happy."
"Wonder what brought that change about?" Fortescue wondered.
"No idea," Tom answered, "oh well, back to work I guess."
000 Three Days Later 000
Harry woke up stiff and sore on a bed he really thought he should know by feel. Before he even opened his eyes, the antiseptic smell and stiffly starched linens told him he had somehow escaped to Hogwarts and was currently a prisoner in the Hospital Wing. When he moved to search for his glasses, a soft chime sounded and Harry heard the Matron hurrying over to his side.
"So what happened to you this time?" Madam Pomphrey asked cheerfully. "They didn't bother to tell me what exactly happened when they called me away from my vacation but your medical state poses some interesting questions."
"I don't want to talk about it," Harry told her immediately.
"Severe abrasion of the groin, upper legs and tongue; dangerous dehydration; physical exhaustion; magic depletion; over worked muscles and odd bruises in the shape of fingers..." Pomphrey read off of his chart with a curious voice.
"I don't want to talk about it," he repeated, this time with a slight shudder.
"Very well, now that you are awake and alert I shall inform the Headmaster. He wishes to speak with you and then I'll give you one final check up before going back to my vacation." She stopped at the foot of his bed and rested a hand on his leg, "If you ever need someone to talk to, a healer never repeats what her patients tell without permission."
Without another word Poppy hurried out the double doors and left him alone in the seemingly empty room. Soon after the doors closed however Harry heard the sound of soft footsteps approaching and looked around to find their source. He saw a woman dressed in the usual student uniform but instead of a house badge she wore the school crest on her robe. Her alabaster skin was smooth and her dark brown hair had subtle highlights and shades. It was her eyes however that scared Harry. Oh how well he knew what those eyes meant, purest black and deep as the night.
"Oh Hell no!" Harry yelled as he got up and bolted for the window. He was only on the second floor, he could probably make it... "Sandpaper was bad enough, but splinters are not sexy!"
000 End 000