Disclaimer: Still do not own Harry Potter.
A/N: Just felt I needed to finish the fourteen year later part. Hope you enjoy it.
Chapter 2 of a one-shot :D
Ragnok sat at his desk awaiting his morning cup of tar root tea to be delivered to him. In front of him were the latest editions of the wizard's newspapers and periodicals that had been delivered that morning. His underlings had already read through them and highlighted the articles that would influence the banking and investment world. As he pulled the Daily Prophet toward him, a couple of familiar faces grinned up at him.
"Harry Potter and Hermione Granger," He thought to himself as he remembered the day so many years previous when they sat across from him negotiating the repairs of his bank. He admired the courage the two people had shown in breaking into his bank to do what had to be done to finish off the Dark Lord. He had admired the last one of their party as well until his falsehoods came to light. A warrior never claims victories that aren't his nor does he ever abandon his comrades in desperate times and the red-head part of the trio did both. That he had died a gluttonous death was a fitting end for a coward. The Goblin Leader looked into the green eyes of the man in the picture and saw the eyes of a warrior. One now at peace with the world.
Ragnok quickly read the story about the tell-all book on Albus Dumbledore that promised the readers a front row seat as they got to experience the dark confessions of the long dead Leader of the Light. It said the book would tell the truth of the struggles of Harry Potter from the night Dumbledore had planned the death of an innocent family, to the years of abuse he had suffered because of it. The story claimed the book would tell the world of the struggles of three young teens that final year when they sought to end the darkness that had taken over the country those many years ago. Finally the story mentioned that Harry and Hermione Potter themselves would be signing the books in Flourish and Blotts today with proceeds going to several orphanages. Ragnok looked at the photo once again and studied the young man who was now in his early thirties. It wasn't the first time he had studied his picture. Though the Potters lived a modest life, Ragnok had often received updates on the Potters from the bank he dealt with in the United States especially in regards to their financial worth which had climbed at an astonishing rate in the recent years. Everything Harry Potter did was noteworthy to the Goblin leader.
"It is time," The Goblin Leader said quietly to himself. "Yes, it is definitely time," He looked at an old clock that hung on his wall that had been made by hand a hundred years previous. He knew that Flourish and Blotts would be opening in twenty minutes. He then did something that hadn't happened in over two hundred years. The leader of the Goblins walked out the front door of Gringott's Bank. The Goblin Leader at that time in history was Warnod. He had refused to walk upon the same road as Wizards in protest of their treatment of his people. He proclaimed that no leader of the Goblin nation shall walk that street until the time of great change was near. Ragnok was, of course accompanied by four guards with nasty looking spears, but that was only to be expected. As he stepped out into the morning sunlight he was amazed. There was a line of witches and wizards as far as he could see toward the Leaky Cauldron. Somewhere near there, it had doubled back and more people lined the far side of the streets as well. The line itself started at the door of the soon opening Flourish and Blotts. Ragnok walked briskly down the street not bothering to even make eye contact at the various witches and wizards who were turning and gaping at him. Those few who had been able to stay awake in Professor Binns fourth year history class recognized what the emblem on the goblin's coat meant and knew something was about to happen. As Ragnok neared the front of the line, the witch who was first moved quickly away from the door with her eyes wide in panic.
Ragnok paid no attention the her, even when she gasped loudly as the Goblin withdrew his dagger from the sheath on his belt. Using the hilt of the dagger, the Goblin Leader rapped three times upon the door.
The curtains that covered the door of Flourish and Blotts few open and a face appeared. "I've already told you we are not opening ear..." He stopped as he saw who had knocked and the four guards who surround him. The door flew open and the goblin party was ushered in immediately. The salesperson immediately started apologizing for his outburst.
"I understand," Ragnok said to the man. "I hold you no ill will," He then realized he still had the menacing looking dagger in his hand and sheathed it back on his belt. The Goblin Leader looked around the bookstore and quickly noticed the two people sitting at a table surrounded by mountainous piles of books. They were deep in conversation and had not noticed Ragnok's entry. With a smile he walked over to the table and took one of the books. "What is the cost to have the first signed copy before the store opens," He asked the pair.
Harry looked up quickly and saw who was in front of him. "A small amount for a Goblin like yourself. Shall we say five million galleons?" He suggested with a smile.
Ragnok laughed heartily at the cheeky young man. Very few people would have had the nerve to reply like that. He handed the book to the Potters. "Deal," He replied. "From the line outside, I might actually be getting a bargain as an investment."
Hermione Potter's eyes flew open wide. "Re..really? You're going to pay five million galleons?"
"Of course," Ragnok replied. "But only if the two of you come by the bank for dinner tonight. Shall we say seven-thirty? We have much to discuss."
Harry eyed the Goblin Leader wearily but then nodded, "But only if you promise not to serve cold galekky stew."
Again Ragnok laughed. "Not many wizards know about that particular delicacy, may I ask how you came across it?"
"Your Branch Manager in the southeastern states bank was trying to impress us," Harry said.
"And were you impressed?" Ragnok asked with a smile.
"Only that something served ice cold could burn the tongue so much," Hermione said. "We both had to gargle with an essence of Dittany solution for two days afterwards to cure the burns."
The Leader of the Goblins said. "I promise no galekky tonight. Now I better let you to your customers. I have a feeling your hands are going to be sore by tonight."
"How shall we sign it?" Hermione asked as she pulled the book toward her and opened to the first page.
"How about 'To changing times and friendship.' " Ragnok suggested. "Of course because it might someday be valuable, make sure you specify it was the first book signed."
"Of course," Hermione said and made the proper annotation before signing the flap. She then passed it to Harry who did the same. When he finished, he handed the book to Ragnok.
"As you can imagine, I do not carry five million galleons on me, but rest assured, it will be put in any vault you specify," The Goblin Leader said. He held out his hand in the human fashion of saying goodbye, and though Harry shook it, Ragnok was pleasantly surprised when Hermione made the Goblin ritualistic hand gesture that meant the same thing. He returned the gesture to Hermione and turned and left the store.
When he had departed Hermione turned to Harry and explained that Ragnok had been the first Goblin Leader to walk Diagon Alley in two hundred years and it appears that he had done it purely to invite them to dinner in person. A sense of excitement along with concern passed between them but they didn't have much of a chance to think about it for several hours as they signed book after book. The morning wasn't without other excitement though. Shortly after the bookstore opened there was a jostling at the door. Harry and Hermione didn't pay attention until a screeching voice they both instantly recognized could be heard.
"YOU WILL LET ME IN," The voice of Molly Weasley could be heard. "THEY ARE LIKE MY OWN CHILDREN!"
A simultaneous sigh escaped the lips of Harry and Hermione as they both looked up to see the red-headed Weasley matriarch storming toward them. "Maybe we should have asked Ragnok to leave his guards," Harry whispered to Hermione who smiled back at her husband.
"FOURTEEN YEARS!" MOLLY Screeched. "Where have you been for fourteen years," She tried to move a pile of books to get to the other side of the table, but was prevented nervously by a sales clerk. "If you hadn't left maybe Ron would..."
"Mrs. Weasley," Hermione started. "Please do not mess with the books. As for why we left, Ron knew why and it's very well documented in these books. As for what happened to Ron we got over that guilt a long time ago and truthfully, it didn't take long. He got what he had always wanted, money and fame. It didn't agree with him."
"How can you be so callous," Mrs. Weasley cried. "He was your best friend."
"A friend who left me whenever he got jealous or the times were tough?" Harry replied. "At the time I might not have understood what true friendship was, but I do now. I don't have to keep looking behind me to see if my friend is still there or wielding a knife. Then of course there was the potions."
"What..what potions," Mrs. Weasley asked suddenly showing signs of nervousness.
"You see, shortly after we settled where we did, Hermione, my lovely, beautiful and very very smart wife came across a muggle article about detecting drug use by analyzing hairs," Harry started his explanation. Everyone of the people waiting in line had stopped talking and now were paying attention to the Potter's every word. "She decided to see if she could develop a similar way of detecting potions administered to someone. She thought it would help healers who have to deal with difficult patients who refused to give potion use history. While she was testing it, she used one of mine and one of her hairs. The result were... unexpected." Harry said as his gaze focused on Mrs. Weasley. "Of course she first thought there was an error in her detections spells, but the tests came back the same each and every time. Along with the potions we knew we had taken, there was another one that was there that neither of us remembered taking."
Mrs. Weasley was looking much fainter now.
"Of course judging from your reaction you probably already know about the potions don't you?" Hermione asked. "The Amortentia that was given to each of us during the sixth year? Now we can't say who it was suppose to be geared toward, but since I suddenly developed an irrational interest in your son and Harry suddenly started liking someone who had been a fangirl for most of her life, well you can probably guess what we think."
"But...but.." Mrs. Weasley mumbled. "I just wanted my babies to be happy."
"At our expense?" Harry asked in a voice that caused Mrs. Weasley and several other patrons to step back.
"Harry you need to calm down," Hermione said as she put a hand on his arm. She then turned to Molly. "Mrs. Weasley, what you and your children did was beyond reprehensible. I advise you to leave now before Harry has a burst of uncontrollable magic."
Luna raised an eyebrow to Neville and cut him off before he could ask his question "No you do not get to urinate on her if he does."
Mrs. Weasley stared at Hermione and Harry for only a second before she turned and stormed out of the store. A round of applause arose from the patrons who were waiting and overheard the exchange. Harry smiled at his wife as they continued the book signings. They had expected far far worse.
The rest of the day old friends and acquaintances came through the line. Some brought painful memories such as when Dennis Creevey walked up and handed them a book to sign. Still with a very youthful face but eyes that no longer seemed so innocent. Harry still had nightmares of seeing Neville and Oliver Wood carrying his brother's body the night of the final battle. Others brought back memories of good times like when Katie Bell showed up with her husband and child. Harry had kept up with her old teammate who'd played for five years on the Hollyhead Harpies. Some of the witches made blatant propositions to Harry right in front of Hermione. She ended that when she stood up and announced that the next witch who lifted their robes and showed Harry their boobs would never need a bra again due to lack of anything to put in it. It was a very tired and emotionally drained pair who got up from the table at six pm. They promised the remaining seventy or eighty people still in line that if they purchased the book and left it with the store, it would be signed and sent to them within the next two days.
At seven twenty, Harry and Hermione arrived at the front of Gringotts after a not so quick shower together. Luna and Neville were watching the children for the evening. They were shown to an intimate dining room where Ragnok sat waiting. After a small amount of chitchat and the delivery of the fairy wine they finally asked the question they had had at the back of their mind all day.
"Ragnok, we appreciate the hospitality, but why are we here?" Harry asked. "You didn't break a long standing Goblin tradition to come invite us to dinner to catch up on old times."
"Very interesting reading," Ragnok said as he placed his hand on the book he had purchased for five million galleons earlier. "Very interesting indeed," He looked at Hermione. "Mrs. Potter do you know what Warnod said when he declared he'd never walk the roads with Wizards?"
"No Goblin Leader would do so until the time of great change was near," She replied automatically. "What great change do you see happening?"
"That's the question isn't it?" Ragnok asked as he took another sip from his wine glass. He looked at the Potters knowingly. "You probably know you are one of the top three accounts in all of Gringotts now?"
"I've been lucky," Harry admitted.
"More than lucky it seems. You and the Longbottoms have avoided most of the major downturns including the global financial meltdown two years ago," Ragnok said. "While the majority of my own Goblins, not to mention our customers lost forty percent or more of their value, you, in fact pulled out all of your money and put it into safe investments a month before it began. That allowed you to more than double your value during the recovery."
Harry smiled. "Like I said we got lucky," He wasn't about to mention that each time Luna Longbottom had said she had a feeling that things were becoming unsettled. "But what does that have to do with this?" He motioned to the dinner table.
"The time is ripe for change," Ragnok said. "You mention at the end of your book that you are very frustrated that things are still the same here in Britain."
"We are," Hermione agreed. "The same people making the same stupid policies and still the elitist are in control. Elias Greengrass was just elected and he's another Fudge, but with a much more pureblood agenda."
"So you do keep up with the politics here. Excellent, then this will be easier," Ragnok said.
"What will be easier?" Harry asked.
Ragnok gave a slight bow of his head. "Harry, what gives the pureblood their power?"
"That's easy, money," Hermione answered for her husband. "That allows them to control the economy and media."
"Exactly," Ragnok's eyes flashed. "Though we as a bank can't actually do anything when it comes to their money since it would be cause others to lose confidence in the security of the deposits, I think with a little guidance you might be able to."
"Let me give you an example," Ragnok said. "Lucius Malfoy turned over his fortunes to his son about seven years ago. His son isn't as adept at managing the fortunes, in fact he is a fad investor. Thinks whatever is the latest thing he would conquer the market in it. Three years ago he saw the muggle real estate market in your adopted country skyrocketing and threw a considerable amount of his money into it. In fact he leveraged the Malfoy money into more debt. When the market crashed shortly afterwards he was stuck with buildings worth much less than he owes."
Ragnok pulled out a sheet of parchment and passed it over. "These three very substantial loans are with our bank. We do not do collateral on loans so he is on the hook for all of the money. Unfortunately I can not call the loans due since he is making his monthly payments. Now these loans," He pulled out another sheet of parchment. "Are with several other banks, muggle banks in fact," Ragnok smiled when Harry and Hermione looked up in surprise. "He can imperius muggles to help him when those of us who can't be controlled won't. Though he hasn't made a payment on these loans in months, they are both seemingly still up to date in payments."
"How do you know what he's paying and not paying?"
Ragnok pulled out three coins. A galleon, a sickle and a knut. "Every coin that is used in the Gringotts banking system which includes Europe and the Americas use this currency and we the Goblins mint it. We mark each one with a unique serial number to ensure against counterfeit. If you were to pay someone for a new set of robes, we can track that transaction purely by the galleon leaving your vault and going into someone elses. It's not perfect since you might give the galleon to someone else, but overall distinctive patterns can be discerned. We can track all the galleons that leave Mr. Malfoy's vault and recently no galleons have been transferred to any muggle accounts."
"So? What does that mean to us?" Harry asked.
"If you were to buy these loans from these banks," He indicated the muggle based loans. "He would then be forced to pay you as well as us and frankly, he can't do it. You could then start to foreclose on those properties in the wizarding courts, again preventing magical influence. When he loses the rents from those properties, he could no longer afford our loans and then I can act. Within six to nine months the Malfoys would be knutless."
"So how much would I lose?"
"Thirty million galleons if the current values of those properties never go back up, but my analysis into the market suggests that within ten years the values will have replaced themselves."
"Thirty million to bankrupt the Malfoys?"
"Not bankrupt, we will pauper them," Ragnok corrected. "We will take their homes and anything else they have of value. With no money they will lose all influence in the current government."
"So you're suggesting changing the government by this same method."
"Yes," Ragnok replied. He pulled out several other sheets of parchment. "You can remove eighty percent of the pureblood influence in less than a year for a bit under three hundred million galleons. Again I expect you to recoup eighty to ninety percent of that loss within ten years."
Harry looked at Hermione as each thought of the same thing. "Three billion American dollars," Harry turned back to Ragnok. "Why not just buy the next election. It would be far cheaper."
"One election yes, but then you have to worry about the next one and the next one. With money they will still influence votes, the only way to truly remove the threat is to remove their primary weapon which is wealth. If you don't act soon, they will have the means to dig back out themselves. It's now or never."
Harry looked again at Hermione and they both gently nodded at each other. Yes the money involved was substantial, but it wouldn't affect how they lived. They actually had a modest home and very few people knew how rich they were. "What would you gain from this?" Harry asked before committing them to the course of action.
"I hope when a moderate government is finally in place the Goblins can petition for equal status instead of being labeled as creatures," Ragnok admitted. "Of course it would help to have your backing to such a petition when it occurs. With your book out, people will start looking to you once again for guidance."
Harry grimaced. He really didn't want to take on that role, but it had been something he and Hermione had discussed. They knew it was a definite possibility when the book was released. He sighed but with another look to his wife to find the reassuring smile he always found there for him, he looked toward Ragnok and said "Let's do it."
Over the next four courses of the meal they hammered out the details and fine print. Shortly before ten pm the Potters arose from the table wondering if over the course of a dinner, had just started cleaning up the injustices of their home country. They loved America, but deep in their hearts they missed Britain. That evening they told the Longbottoms everything and they readily agreed to put their own money into the endeavor as well.
The plan Ragnok had laid out worked flawlessly. Seven months to the night of the dinner, the Malfoys were physically removed from their home by several security trolls with only the clothes on their back. Without the money for the expensive potions to keep their youthful appearances, the elder Malfoys quickly aged. Seeing the writing on the wall long before the final galleon was taken from her husband, Pansy Parkinson divorced him, but after her ten minutes of Witch Weekly fame, she quickly diminished into obscurity. The purebloods fell one by one and in groups as various loans came due and the Goblins ruthlessly magically enforced the contracts that had been signed. The next election had moderates being funded by an anonymous donor and they quickly swept into office and the Wizengamut.
*** E E ***
It was Harry's birthday the next year following the shakeup in magical Britain. Many people had been invited to the Potters' home outside Kissimmee Florida in the United States. They had started talking about returning to England but wanted to see what Professor McGonagall did about the quality of education before they committed their children to Hogwarts. Halfway through the party an unexpected knock occurred at the door. When Hermione returned, the Headmistress of Hogwarts herself was by her side. Harry raised a questioning eyebrow at the woman and the long thin gift she had in one hand and a recognizable bottle in the other.
"Happy Birthday Mr. Potter," McGonagall said.
"Thank you Minerva," Harry replied. "And I think you can call me Harry."
"Ah, you're just being kind to an old lady who happens to have a bottle of Ogden's Finest," Minerva replied smiling.
"You know me too well."
"And of course your gift," McGonagall said as she handed both to her old student.
Harry handed the bottle on to Neville who quickly started pouring it into the appropriate glasses. He then studied the package. It wasn't difficult to guess what it was, but he looked at McGonagall questioningly.
"I did buy you your first one you know," She said as she watched him open the package and pull out a Nimbus 3007 broom.
Harry stared at the broom for a long time, admiring the lines. He'd bought a used Nimbus 2002 thirteen years ago and never found a need to replace it. Whenever he thought of a buying a new broom, thoughts of his Firebolt and Sirius materialized and he just couldn't bring himself to do it. But looking at the newest model of the Nimbus brought a bit of joy to his soul and tears to his eyes. He looked at McGonagall finally and said. "Thank you, but you are wrong you know?"
"Wrong about what?" The Scottish witch asked in a burr.
"My first broom. Sirius had bought me a toy broom for my first birthday," Harry replied.
McGonagall got a faraway look for a few seconds then she quietly said. "I remember that. I use to give your cat a breather by letting you chase me around sometimes."
The two people, old student and professor looked at each other for a few seconds before Harry's eyes returned back to the broom. "I just wished I had a good place to ride it here."
"Maybe I can help with that as well," McGonagall replied.
McGonagall took an offered Firewhiskey glass and took a sip. "You told me last year there were several things that prevented you from coming back to England."
Hermione moved to stand beside her husband who stood waiting for further explanation.
"As I think you know not a single statue of Albus Dumbledore exist in any place of importance anymore. Ever since your book came out one of the biggest selling Weasley product lines is the Dumbledork stuff."
Harry nodded as he thought of the merchandise George had sent to him. The Water Closet handle in the shape of Dumbledore was the best one of the lot though the toilet paper roll that said 'Use it for the Greater Good' wasn't too far behind.
"As for the Malfoys, I also think you know they are now penniless and living in a flat overlooking Knockturn Alley. They might never have been punished legally but I think none of them being able to get a job from any respectable business is a pretty good punishment for them. I heard the Draco works at Borgins now as a deliveryman."
Again the Potters nodded as they waited for whatever the Headmistress had in mind.
"And of course Professor Binns. I can't find a way to get rid of him. He continues to come to the same class each and every day to teach History," McGonagall explained. "So I just hired a new History teacher and moved classrooms."
"And?" Hermione asked.
"The History teacher now is leaving the school and I'm searching for a new one, along with several other staff members."
Hermione suddenly started getting suspicious but played along. "Who did you have in mind?"
"I am hoping to recruit Andromeda to teach History this year," McGonagall said as she looked at the woman who had lost her husband, daughter and son-in-law during that faithful year.
"But..but..." Andromeda started. "I don't know anyt..."
"You were one of the last people to take NEWT level history at Hogwarts Andi," McGonagall replied. "And the only one in the last forty years to get an O in it," She turned to Neville, "Professor Sprout is also wanting to step down but she will only if one person is willing to take her spot. She will only trust her Greenhouses to you Mr. Longbottom."
"Me?" Neville asked. "I can't. Luna is my life now."
"Then maybe she won't complain about the Care of Magical Creatures position?" McGonagall asked. "Charlie Weasley now runs the Dragon preserve in Romania and has asked Hagrid to join his staff for the last three years. He keeps refusing but I know it's because he feels he needs to stay at Hogwarts."
"I miss the unicorns," Luna replied. "Trella was always my favorite and when we were there last year she was with foal."
Neville looked at his wife and they smiled at each other, but knowing they wanted what the Headmistress was offering, but they were about to turn it down to stay with their friends.
McGonagall had turned to the Potters though. "I'm too old Mrs. Potter to keep teaching Transfiguration and run the school, I'm hoping I can talk you into taking up my old position."
"But..but I don't...I can't..." Hermione stuttered. She hated to admit that she would love to be back in the library at Hogwarts, especially with unrestricted access to the restricted section.
McGonagall looked around the room until she saw the person she needed. "Mr. Lupin, Teddy. I do believe you just passed your OWLs?"
"Yes ma'am," the blue-haired boy answered.
"What was your Transfiguration score?"
"An O," He replied with a shrug.
"And? I seem to recall an article about you in the Transfiguration Weekly last week."
The boy blushed. "I had the highest score ever recorded," He admitted.
"Now did you get all of that educational instruction from your local school?"
McGonagall turned her gaze back to Hermione. "It was very well stated in that article that his success came from your tutelage. Now last year you and your husband said I was at fault for not making sure I had the best instructors at my school. I am working to correct that right now," McGonagall turned to Harry, "Which leaves you Mr. Potter."
"Ma'am?" Harry asked.
"No class in the history of Hogwarts ever had such a high success rate in Defense against the Dark Arts OWLs than the year you taught the DA. Though I think now we should call it the PA, for when I put an advertisement out for a new Defense Instructor I had many many Owls from those old students telling me there should be only one candidate on my list, You. Susan Bones, Hannah Abbot, Finnigan, George Weasley and various others all want you teaching their children."
*** E E ***
Ten years later Harry and Hermione once again sat across from Ragnok at his table. The dinner this time was for the successful passing of the Goblin equal rights act.
"Well Done Headmaster Potter," Ragnok said. "For all that you have done, including inviting my own grandchildren to be students at Hogwarts this year, the entire Goblin Nation thanks you," He raised the glass of Fairy wine and proposed a toast. "To the Potters. Headmaster and Minister I should say. May you two lead us all to a much better future."
"I'm only Headmaster while Hermione completes her terms as Minister," Harry reminded him. "McGonagall stepped down to take back over Transfiguration until such time as Hermione is ready to return to teaching."
"And yet, I think we both know when that time comes, McGonagall will retire instead," Ragnok replied. "If not, it only delays the inevitable, someday the job will be yours in all of its glory."
**** THE END ***
For real this time.