Chapter 4: Bets and Raises
Luna glanced up from the long sheet of parchment she was working on to peer up at the man who was once her father. There was little left but an empty shell of the man she knew as her father, and Luna knew in her heart that as soon as he was no longer needed to provide for her he would leave her to join her deceased mother. Still, he did try. True, he often forgot about the little things such as picking her up or cooking, but he was always there for her when she had a big problem, such as when she started seeing auras instead of people.
Luna patted her pocket, and the special glasses her father made to help her with her little problem, fondly at the thought before turning back to the image she was trying to capture before the memory left her.
Luna sighed as she traced a pastel over the paper, for a moment, there on the platform, she had felt warm, safe, protected. Things she hadn't experienced since her mother died, and she didn't want to stop herself from dreaming that one day, those bright, shining people would be hers.
She could already see the bonds that connected them; pale traces of white streaking across the sky for the most part, but some of the bonds…Some of them were already oh so strong, foraged by friendship and life debts.
Now there was an idea…'Maybe I should throw myself in the way of danger.' Luna pushed her drawing aside in favor for drawing up plans to form a life debt with the Boy Who Lived. Not that she would ever go through with it, at least not deliberately, or so she told herself.
Harry ducked his head low and slouched his shoulders as he entered the Leaky Caldron. He made straight for the back door and the entrance to the alley, doing his best to give the vibe of someone who is up to no good, matching the general vibe he was getting from the worn pub as the evening crowd settled into their seats. It wasn't until he was tapping out the sequence for entrance on the bricks that he dare look up from the ground, and even then the posture and attitude, both which he was mimicking from his cousin, lingered.
Harry slunk into Diagon Alley, careful not to look in either direction or to acknowledge that there were other people actually about at this time. At a steady pace, he made his way towards Gringotts hoping that they would be willing to help him despite Mrs. Weasley still being in procession of his vault key. The thought caused Harry to draw up short for a moment, his head titled to one side as he tried to process the clamoring thoughts in his head.
Although he had no particular ill will toward Ron's mother, nor any reason to believe that she would be less than dishonest towards him, the voices, memories, whatever they were, where yelling at him that she was not to be trusted with his key, that there was something dreadfully wrong with her having his key. Being the not so trusting boy that he was, the…whatever, he would have to check with the goblins and see if they could recommend anyone to help him out there. Still the thought was enough to set his teeth on edge and create some suspicion towards the kindly matriarch; after all, no one is ever willing nice to someone like help, especially adults.
His head felt as though someone had taken a frying pan to it by the time he reached the snowy walls of Gringotts. His steps seemed to drag as he walked up the many grand steps of the bank and through the outer doorway without pausing to acknowledge the two guards. Indeed it is not until he was in the relative safety of the front right corner of the bank's entrance hall that he paused, letting his head fall back and slumping against the wall. He took comfort in the cool strength it offered, and the knowledge that, at this point, the two inner goblin guards were far more likely to throw out any one who tried to cause him trouble then to let him be mobbed. Of course that would mean that he would be thrown out as well, but should that happen he could always run. He was rather good at running.
'Enough of this you lazy freak, you've business to attend to.' The thought sounded rather like something Vernon would say, if he was in a good mood, and Harry could almost feel the slap to the back of his head that would accompany the comment. So it was with a weary groan that Harry pushed off the wall upon which he was resting and headed into the bank, his shoulders and back falling into the slouched position that came rather naturally to him.
The constant ebb and flow of Gringotts was something that Harry found fascinating, and if he had time he would stand in watch the movement of the people within for hours. There was purpose here, everyone seemed to know what they were doing, where they were headed and what they needed to achieve, and with that came a sense of peace, despite the fact that the place was a safety hazard, as there was nowhere for him to run to, no place to hide, and no way to cover his back. The latter thoughts created a feeling of paranoia in Harry, and he was constantly looking over his shoulder as he paced the teller windows, looking for a goblin name, or face-though the name was more likely as many of the goblins almost identical in features, that he recognized. It wasn't until, he had gone all the way down one side and half way up the other that he spotted a name he felt that he could trust.
Harry seemed to breathe easier as he stepped into the tellers line, he stopped looking over his shoulder quite so frequently and his back straightened an almost imperceptible amount, as he waited for the Goblin to finish his business with the worn down looking wizard in front of him, unaware of the many goblin eyes that were watching him due to the suspicious nature of his innocent minded actions.
"Greetings Goblin Griphook, I was hoping that you could help me gain access to my vault this evening." Harry said as he stepped up to the teller window, not really thinking about what he said, as much as letting the words come out. "You see, I am not really sure where my vault key has gotten off to, as I have never been in complete procession of it in the first place."
"I am sorry to hear that sir," Griphook said, doing his best to hide the fact that he knew who the customer was, unsure as to how the rather suspicious acting boy would react to the news, "but, we find it upsetting when people are in procession of keys that are not theirs. It makes things highly disorganized it does. There will be a small fee charged to your account, but we will have to issue you a new key, before we are able to do anymore business with you. Could I have your name please?" Griphook discreetly pressed the button beneath his teller window, sending a signal to the Clan Home for House Ook, letting them know that a new goblin was needed to attend the window; after all it wouldn't do for the House to lose money, even if they did so in pursuit of a most honored client.
Sirius Black, inmate and animagus, both innocent and guilty, curled up in the corner and stared at the newspaper clutched in one hand. 'After all this time…Finally, after all this time…After all this time.' The thought seemed to repeat itself over and over like a skipping record, broken only by a visit from the local jailers, only to start over again soon after they left.
Peter Pettigrew had been found, now Sirius simply had to find and kill the little rat, but first he had to stop thinking in circles and pull himself together. The hard thing was that he simply couldn't believe that after all this time…
"Harry Potter, Goblin Griphook." Harry said edging slightly closer to the window as he spoke his name rather softly.
Harry leaned forward and watched as the goblin scribbled something in gobbledegook on a sheet of parchment. When a response returned in red, Griphook frowned and looked back up at the young wizard. "I am sorry sir, but the name you have given me is not pulling up any accounts. Did you give me your full name? Or perhaps try any aliases?" The goblin pressed.
Harry blushed and looked down at the counter. "Sorry Goblin Griphook. My full name is Harry James Potter, and the only alias I can come up with is the boy who lived." Harry said his blush deepening as he gave the title the wizarding world gave him ages ago.
Once again, Griphook scribbled something on the parchment, and once again, a frown marred the goblin teller's face. "Okay, sir, I am showing an account set up for the boy who lived, if you are interested in that; as for the other, I am still not pulling anything up. If you can think of any other names the account might be under it would be helpful." Griphook said with a frown…despite what he had told the boy, the error message clearly stated that his full name was Harrison James Potter. Harry was clearly a derivative of the name Harrison, and it was troubling that the boy didn't know this. "If you like, we can run a test to see if you have any account holdings through your blood, though it will of course, be at a small fee.
Harry frowned slightly but nodded his head. It seemed as though the goblins could arrange almost anything…for a fee.
Okay, so this chapter has taken me forever. Outside of real life running me ragged, not to mention computer and internet problems, I lost my inspiration for a little while, and I really struggled with the ending of this chapter. I had wanted to bring the immortals back in this chapter, but I couldn't find a way to do this comfortably. As it is, I cut off close to 500 words. I managed to proof reread this chapter somewhat, though I am still in need of a beta.
I would like to give a special thanks to Red Phoenix Dragon, AlaskanKing, The Dark Dragen, and Man of Constant Sorrow for their helpful and supportive comments. I would also like to take the time to thank all the rest of you that have commented on my last chapter. The encouragement was appreciated. Thank you for the support. To all those who are following but not reviewing, keep reading and I look forward to hearing from all of you.