Hi, thanks for all your reviews! Thanks also to Soulless Creature and Mikee for some very nice and polite messages (meant to put that before). I hope you all like this chapter because I won't be putting another one up for a while because my exams are coming up so I will be revising. Yes...revising *Shifty eyes*. Thanks again. Enjoy...hopefully.
Chapter IV – The Alley
What struck Matt first was how quiet it was, the first time he had set foot in The Leaky Cauldron it had been buzzing with activity. People were talking loudly, smiling happily and laughing with their friends. Not anymore. The war had put a damper on everyone's spirits, the pub was practically empty and the few that were there were drinking quietly and eyeing him suspiciously. He saw Mrs Figg disappear around the corner to the entrance to Diagon Alley. He made to follow her but was stopped by a voice he knew well.
"Hold on son!"
Matt froze and for one terrible second he thought that somehow he had been recognised his mind buzzed searching for a way out.
"No one enters the alley without showing their forearm."
In horror he realised that he had forgotten to get the make-up and they would see the mark. Seeing his hesitation Tom reached forward and grabbed his arm. Matt knew there was nothing he could do but run. Tom was too quick and his sleeve was already being lifted. There was a soft tingle on his arm and then, nothing. There was no mark on his forearm.
"Oh, sorry lad it's just procedure. Are you alright?"
"Yeah, yeah, sorry wasn't paying attention. Um, I have to go, see ya"
He continued quickly through to the entrance to the Alley and stopped. He lifted up his sleeve only to find the Dark Mark had returned.
Hearing footsteps he covered it just in time as a man came round the corner and entered the Alley. Sighing heavily deeply concerned and confused, Matt followed him.
The ally, like the pub, was practically empty and people were quickly going about their business. Matt turned and headed towards Gringotts. His footsteps echoed loudly as he made his way towards one of the counters. The goblin behind the counter looked up as Matt approached.
"Excuse me. I would like to go down to my vault and then if possible talk to someone about my finances."
The goblin's face registered surprise for an instant, but it was gone so quickly that Matt thought that he had imagined it.
"Of course sir, your name?"
"Well, Mr. Redwolf Clampknife here" He gestured to a goblin with very few teeth. "Will accompany you to your vault and then when you return we will arrange for you to consult your financial manager."
"Oh, um, thanks." Said Matt
The pair climbed into the rusty cart and Matt felt his stomach tighten in excitement. The Dursley's had never permitted him to go on any rollercoaster rides and he could feel his heart racing in anticipation.
The wheels screeched as they moved steeply downhill and the cart picked up speed. Matt screamed at the exhilarating ride; he could never recall having so much fun. The cat was travelling so rapidly he could feel the skin in his cheeks flapping.
The goblin pulled them to a steady halt and climbed out of the wobbling cart.
"The vaults this way."
The goblins teeth, what remained of them, flashed in the torchlight and Matt followed Clampknife briskly into the shadowy bowls of the bank.
The goblin stuck out his wrinkled hand.
"Key", he commanded abruptly.
Matt obliged, and Clampknife unlocked the vault patiently. The only sound in the corridor was the click of the key twisting open the lock. The heavy metal door opened and Matt peered inside.
Within the dusty recesses of the vault were several items.
Matt stepped inside the rectangular room. A thick blanket of dust coated everything and he could see his footprints. He pushed away a cobweb and headed to the glass cabinet sitting to the left of the entrance.
"All of your money is there, Sir" said Clampknife throatily.
Matt shuffled to the back of the enclosed space: there was a cardboard box in good condition despite its age. It was full of photos. He frowned and picked up one...one of James and Lilly. He reached down into the box and pulled out another, this one of a man with white hair. He opened his torn rucksack and upended the box, tipping all the photos into his bag. He would go through them all later.
As he returned the bag to his back a sparkle caught his eye. On a table was laid a necklace and a ring. He brushed the dust off carefully and saw a red wolf face looking back at him. The chain was made of the same mysterious metal as the chain on his pendant and on it was a red wolf face within a black shield framed with silver links. It reminded him of the Hogwarts house crests.
Matt rubbed his thumb over the raised wolf face and knew that this could be an important piece in the puzzle of who he really was. He placed it around his neck and the metal jangled as it came into contact with his other pendant, then it stilled and the two pendants came to rest side by side.
The ring was a simple, plain gold ring, but as he turned it over he noticed it was engraved with the words With Love. There was nothing to suggest where the ring came from so he just slipped it in to his pocket.
He turned to the next item. In the corner of the vault there was a stand and on it rested a cloak. He quickly checked it over for any damage and finding none he stepped back to take a better look. It was a deep red with two silver wolf heads on either side at the top. One had its mouth open and the other was biting one side of a silver chain identical to the two around his neck. Recognising the need to blend in while he was in the alley he picked up the cloak and slid the other end of the chain into the wolf's mouth which closed shut around it. Pulling up the hood he turned to leave the vault when he noticed that the corner of his cloak was slowly fading to black which started to spread across the entire cloak.
Feeling a bit silly he decided to speak to the cloak, it was magical after all.
"Can you...Um...Go silver?"
The black was quickly replaced by silver.
"That's so cool. But erm...you had better go back to black for now, I want to blend in."
He was about leave when a small box at the base of the stand caught his eye. Kneeling down he picked it up, it was a dark wooden rectangle measuring only about 5 inches wide and 2 inches high. The wood was smooth apart from a small engraving of the same crest that was on his pendant on the front.
That crest must mean something, but what?
He slipped it into his pocket with the ring, and with one last glance around he left the vault and headed back to the surface. When they arrived back at the lobby a goblin was waiting for him.
"Good morning Mr. Redwolf, I am Smallcoin your financial manager."
"Erm right can we go to your office?"
"Well I don't actually have an office sir, I only deal with small accounts and people don't usually need to see me."
"What if I wanted to make a large transfer?"
"Well that might change things sir."
"Then you're in luck because I would like to transfer a large sum of money."
"From where sir?" the goblin asked carefully
"Shall we see if we can find an office Smallcoin?"
They went through many twists and turns before they arrived at a plain door.
"Here we go sir this is an empty room that we currently have no use for."
The room contained only one chair and a lopsided desk, and there was dust everywhere. Matt could not understand why a huge bank like Gringotts would let the room fall into this condition. Matt took the chair whilst Smallcoin remained standing. The goblin turned to Matt and voiced his curiosity.
"So sir where exactly is this money coming from?"
"From my other account." Matt stated calmly
"Your other account? This is the only account to your name sir."
"Well Smallcoin, I want to tell you but I don't know if I can."
"If this has anything to do with the Ministry Sir then you should know that we are not bound by their laws."
"Really?" Matt asked surprised
"Really" The goblin replied dryly
"Well then, my other account, it's a long story."
"I have nothing better to do sir."
So Matt told him all about Harry Potter's transformation.
"Well that's an interesting story sir, but what do you want me to do?"
"Well I need you to transfer money from my Harry Potter vault to my Redwolf account as inconspicuously as possible."
"Ah well sir your other vault has no Financial Manager. You're foster parents ran it themselves."
"What does that mean?"
"It means you need their permission."
Matt paused for a moment, lost. Then he remembered the letter from James and Lilly. He swiftly withdrew it from his bag and passed it to the goblin.
"This will do nicely sir" said Smallcoin as he glanced over the contents of the letter. "Since Mr and Mrs Potter have given you permission you can take whatever you want from the vault and nobody will ever know."
"The vault that I went to didn't contain much and the Potter vault only contains money aren't there any more vaults with more personal items?"
"I am afraid that the contents of those two vaults are all we have, there used to be more in the Potter vault but your foster parents took it all when they moved into Godric's Hollow, and it was all destroyed. However they would not have informed us if they had anything in muggle banks perhaps they did, perhaps they didn't."
"Well in that case I would like to transfer everything from the Potter vault and close it, permanently."
"Are you sure sir?"
There was a tense silence
"Very well sir, I will get on to it immediately. Is there anything else you require?"
"Actually I would like a way of taking out muggle or wizard money wherever I am."
"I thing I have just the thing they are new items, I'll bring some for you to look at."
Smallcoin returned a few minutes later with three items. He placed them on the desk in front of Matt.
"I have transferred the money and closed the account sir. May I have the key to that vault?"
"Thank You Smallcoin" Matt replied gratefully as he handed over the key.
"Not a problem sir, now these" he gestured to the items "are some new items we have recently brought out. They haven't been very popular because a lot of people feel that they don't need them and purebloods won't touch them because they are inspired by muggles. We have here a Gringotts chequebook and card, which work exactly the same as muggle ones except they take it from your vault here and muggles will see the name of the first muggle bank which comes to mind. I assume you know how they work?"
Matt had seen Vernon use them for Dudley a lot and knew the basics
"I've got the general idea."
Finally Smallcoin picked up the wallet.
"Now this is a bit like one of those muggle cash withdrawal points, you know what I mean yes? You can withdraw money, muggle or wizard, wherever you are. To use it simply press your thumb on this imprint and say how much you want, and it will appear. It comes straight from your vault so you can't exceed the amount that is in your vault, but for you I wouldn't worry about that. The long area is where the notes appear, the zip area is where the coins appear and the card and shrunk chequebook slide into the side. Now we just need to set it to your thumb so that only you can withdraw money, just hold it here sir."
Smallcoin pointed to a circle on the inside of the wallet and passed it to Matt. As soon as Matt touched the circle red spread out across the leather and a wolf's face appeared inside the circle.
"Don't worry sir that's perfectly normal, the wallet adapts to the owner. Now while no one else can withdraw money from it, it is still important that no one can steal it so there is a special spell on it which should stop anyone unless they know what it is and really want it, in your case the wallet has adapted and as you can see there is now a chain which you can attach to your clothing. Shall I take the money from your account?"
"Sure, whatever it is I don't care, just take it."
Matt decided that the meeting was over and his new cloak billowed as he stood. He picked the chequebook and card up off the desk, the chequebook shrinking as he picked it up, and put them inside the wallet which he placed in his trouser pocket. Pleased with all Smallcoin had done he put out his hand, Smallcoin looked surprised but smiled slightly and took the offered hand. "Not a problem sir and I hope to see you again."
Suddenly remembering his passport he turned back to the goblin.
"Do you know how to activate a magical passport by any chance?"
"Why yes sir, you put your thumb in the picture area and say activatis passportis"
"Yes sir, it was invented by a Muggleborn. Apparently they thought it was amusing."
"Right. Thanks Smallcoin I won't forget your help."
Smiling he left the office and didn't hear the quiet, sincere words of a humbled goblin.
"No sir, Thank you"
His finances complete Matt left the bank to embark on the first shopping spree of his life, but he didn't actually know where to start. He took a deep breath and nodded to himself, within a few seconds he was looking up at a sign that said "Ludwig's Luggage".
As he opened the door a bell chimed above his head and in less than a second a smiling face was only centimetres away.
"Whaaaa... Erm hello I'm looking for a rucksack"
"Well then you've come to the right place. Ludwig Leems is the name. What kind of bag are you looking for?"
"Er... Something that I can use in the muggle world."
"Ah yes I have just the thing."
He wondered off into a small corner of the shop.
"Over here are all our muggle like items. It is only a small selection but they are of the finest quality."
There were only 5 rucksacks and they were all the same. They were small with padded shoulder straps and made from a rough material that could pass for muggle.
"The material has been strengthened and made more resistant to the elements. They have 3 compartments of different sizes, all bigger than they look."
Taking a closer look at all of them Matt smiled.
"You're kidding me!"
"Excuse me Sir?"
He pointed at the third one; it was mostly black with red zips and had a red design on the front.
"Is that a wolf face?" he asked, referring to the red design.
"No Sir it's a fox"
"Close enough, I'd like that one please."
"Very good sir that will be 10 Galleons"
He removed the money from his wallet and thanking Mr Leems left the shop. He stopped in a small side alley, put his new bag on the ground and took his old bag off his back. Into the biggest compartment of his new bag he placed his photo album, his wand, the envelope with the letter and gem inside, Hedwig's Feather and his birth certificate. Then he took out his passport and putting his thumb onto the picture box he activated it.
To his relief it worked. All the details appeared and even a picture, which actually he didn't think was too bad. He put it in with the rest and then sorted the photos from the vault into a neat stack and put them in the second biggest compartment. Finally he removed his Gringotts key from his wallet and tossed the empty wallet and old bag aside. He slipped the key into his pocket.
As he turned to leave he caught his reflection in a shop window. He saw that unfamiliar face but looked away and cast a critical eye over his clothes. He decided that he needed to get some new ones once in muggle London and glimpsing Dudley's old watch on his wrist he headed towards a jewellery shop to erase everything of the Dursley's.
Matt entered the shop and was instantly attracted towards the watch in a display case in the corner. It had black metal links and a plain black metal face. It looked exactly like a normal muggle watch but had many different buttons on each side. He gazed at it in fascination and jumped when he heard a woman's voice behind him.
"So will you be purchasing it?"
Matt was a little thrown by her forwardness.
"What does it do?"
"We don't know. It was found in the collection of a man who died a few months ago. There was no one in his will so we acquired it at auction."
"How much is it?"
"That's a lot!"
"It's a very good offer, it's been checked over and is of excellent quality. Besides it would cost far more elsewhere!"
As she said the last sentence she suddenly flashed red and Matt, slightly dizzy from the weird bright flash that she didn't seem to notice, just mumbled a dazed response.
"I'll just go and get the manual, there isn't much in it because we had to write it ourselves, and we still don't know what all the buttons do. Do you want this wrapped or will you be putting it on?"
"Ah I'll just put it on." He said blinking repeatedly.
The woman returned with the small manual which he placed in his bag in the large compartment, which reminded him he needed to set a password, and he pulled out his wallet. He followed her to the counter, placed his thumb on the wolf face and ordered"70 Galleons". The money appeared in the wallet and he poured it onto the counter. The woman collected it and thanked him for his custom. Matt left the store throwing Dudley's watch into the bin and replacing it with his new black watch on his way out.
As he prepared to leave the alley he thought about what had happen the last time he used his wand. He couldn't have that happening again and he might need to be able to cast magic. Ollivander's was out of the question.
Well I guess there's only one place I can go then, isn't there.
Pulling his hood further down his face he made his way into Knockturn Alley.