2018 Edit AN1: I cleaned up the misspellings and grammatical errors. Also tweaked some bits so it's not as cringy as I found it after a few more years in this fandom.
AN2: I'm on Tumblr now! My username is hi-pot-and-news. I can't promise anything incredible, but, hey, you're welcome all the same. Hit me up there if you want to commission me.
General Disclaimer: This will apply for any future chapters I might add as well. Seriously, this is the only disclaimer for this story.
If you recognize it, it's not mine. If you don't recognize it, it's probably still not mine. Any writing of mine will be a patchwork of things I think are cool ideas from other people, sewn together by the thread of my personal writing style. That being said, shout-out to xXxLuckyxXx whose Servitude to the Dark: The Hand that Guides Me I heavily borrowed from for the last scene.
Oh, and tell me if I should put up more chapters. I'm considering leaving it as a one-shot.
Chapter One: Rags to Riches
When the cart stopped at last beside a small door in the passage wall, Hagrid got out immediately and had to lean against the wall to stop his knees from trembling. Griphook unlocked the door. Green smoke came billowing out, and as it cleared, Harry gasped. Inside were mounds of gold coins; columns of silver; heaps of little bronze Knuts.
Harry Potter liked to think of himself as a smart, capable young man — the fact that he was on the cusp of adolescence did not detract from his reckoning. Since his first lesson in primary school about life skills and money management, he took to carry pen and paper with him so that he could more readily organise his goals and calculate outcomes, monetary or situational. Later on, after he had his ear harshly twisted for musing the likelihood of Dudley having a heart attack if he kept gaining weight at the rate he was, Harry also took to carry a lighter on him for the swift and unrecoverable disposal of any writings that could get him in trouble.
Harry was always planning what he'd do when he became old enough to not need guardians; how he'd work hard enough to earn himself a scholarship to a decent university; how he'd get a degree in Business and get a lucrative job; how he'd budget his future income and live comfortably. Never had he thought that a comfortable lifestyle would come pounding at his door so early in the game and tell him it had only been hiding.
The pile of treasure in front of him made his fingers twitch toward his over-sized pocket where his calculator sat. His mind boggled itself with exclamations and questions elbowing each other out of the way to the forefront of his mind. He was rich! How much was it in total? What was the exchange rate? It was almost scraping the ceiling! Was it real silver and gold? How could there be so much? If he wanted to, how long could he live on it?
"All yours," smiled Hagrid.
All Harry's — it was incredible. The Dursleys couldn't have known about this or they'd have taken it from him faster than blinking. How often had they complained about how much Harry cost them to keep? And all the time there had been a fortune belonging to him, buried deep under London.
Hagrid helped Harry pile some of it into a pouch. Two Hagrid-sized handfuls of the gold coins and half a dozen Harry-sized fistfuls of the silver ones and the Knuts had the towering man nodding.
"The gold ones are Galleons," he explained. "Seventeen silver Sickles to a Galleon and twenty-nine Knuts to a Sickle, it's easy enough. Right, that should be enough fer a couple o' terms, we'll keep the rest safe for yeh."
Harry sucked on his left cheek and gave the pile of money a speculative glance-over. The amount he had put in the money bag had been like shaking a heavy piggy bank and having one or two loose pence fall out; it was looking like the money would last him a goodly amount of time. He could swim in it, but until he knew the exact amount, he didn't want to go on a spending binge.
He thought back to what he could remember of the school-supply list. There were a uniform and several books, and those generally cost a lot; a cauldron had been mentioned for certain, and that was likely not cheap either.
"Maybe some more for new clothes and extra books that look interesting too?" Harry suggested. "I wouldn't fancy wasting time coming all the way back if it isn't enough."
"Good idea. Wouldn' want to endure tha' ride again," Hagrid agreed with a shudder.
Harry threw in a few more handfuls before pausing and giving the pouch a speculative pat.
He said in a bewildered tone, "This thing isn't getting any thicker or heavier!"
"I reckon those bags have feather-light and bottomless charms on 'em," Hagrid explained. "It's not every day a body goes to his vault and yeh can't exactly go draggin' a potato sack o' coins with yeh ev'rywhere — 'tain't practical."
Harry nodded in understanding as they exited the vault.
Hagrid regained his ill look as he turned to Griphook.
"Vault seven hundred and thirteen now, please, and can we go more slowly?"
"One speed only," said Griphook, not even attempting to appear contrite.
One wild cart ride, a mysterious vault, and a hopeless attempt from Hagrid to be subtle later, they were teetering toward the front doors again. Before they got too far from their escort, Harry was struck with a thought and doubled back.
"Excuse me, Mr Griphook," the little boy said, recapturing the attention of the goblin. "Is there a way to get a written accounting of my vault?"
Griphook blinked at him as if seeing him for the first time.
"You would have to speak with your account manager for that. If you'll wait a moment, I'll check for the soonest he's available." He then directed the waiting pair toward available chairs off to the side before making his way through an innocuous door.
Not five minutes later, Griphook returned with what looked like a pendant in his fist.
"Grimbak will be available at four fifteen today. This portkey will bring you to the departure and arrival chamber at four ten where you will be escorted to his office. Do not take off this pendant until your appointment time."
Harry accepted the pendant and wasted no time putting on and tucking it into his shirt.
"What d'yeh need to see yeh account manager fer?" Hagrid asked, looking a bit confused. They stood from their seats and bid the goblin farewell once again.
"I'd like to know exactly have much I have so I can budget properly," Harry explained as they blinked in the sunlight outside Gringotts. "It looks like an awful lot, but I don't know how much things generally cost here nor how much I'll need to pay for school tuition. I'd like to be fully informed."
Hagrid grunted his understanding before leading them down the steps again.
Harry didn't know where to run to next now that he had a bag full of money. He didn't have to know how many Galleons there were to a Pound to know that he was holding more money than he'd ever had in his whole life — more money than even Dudley had ever had! Maybe it could sustain him until he was old enough to get a job and he might not have to go back to the Dursleys!
Hagrid had escorted him first to a luggage store where Harry had talked the giant man into letting him get a re-sizable trunk instead of a standard one — further wheedling had won him a password-activated lock as well. From that point on, it was Harry having his run of the shops; getting discounts on his books for buying the complete set of Standard Book of Spells and other book series, a bottomless school satchel thrown in as a bonus; shaving off Sickles from his potion ingredients by purchasing them separately instead of getting the pre-prepared kit; haggling for all he could squeeze at a second-hand shop for gently used scales, phials, a telescope, and a cauldron.
When there were only the uniform and wand left to buy, Hagrid was looking a bit taxed.
"Right then, next is yer uniform," said Hagrid, nodding toward Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. "Listen, Harry, would yeh mind if I slipped off fer a pick-me-up in the Leaky Cauldron? I 'aven't been feelin' like myself since the cart ride."
He did still look a bit sick, so Harry entered Madam Malkin's shop alone, feeling giddy but satisfied.
The robe shop housed rows upon rows of various clothing, many of which Harry wouldn't have been surprised seeing at a Halloween party — it seemed the Muggles got at least one thing right. He ambled his way over to a rack of button up shirts that looked like they came out of the Regency or Victorian era and looked for his size. Harry decided to himself that the styles really did look rather nice, and if it wasn't for the trailing sleeves and complete lack of synthetic fabrics or modern cuts, it was like any other clothing store in the world.
"Can I help you?" asked a blonde store clerk while Harry was peering about with his arms full of button-ups and various trousers, looking for a uniform section. She smile good-naturedly when he started and whirled.
Harry shifted his load and grinned sheepishly.
"I'm here for school clothes."
"Standard black robes and pointed hat, right?" She took the clothes from him and draped them over the front counter.
Harry checked his list and nodded.
"Right then! They're over here," she said, guiding him over to a rack closer to the back of the store. She gave the scruffy clothes he was wearing a calculating look. "Maybe a set with some room to grow so you won't have to worry about them getting too short by the end of the year. Do you know your size?"
"No, I've always worn my cousin's hand-me-downs 'til now and they've never really fit."
"Hmm, well, we'll just throw them on top of what you have on and see how they look," she declared, reaching for a robe directly in front of her.
Pulling the garment over his head and letting it fall to his ankles, Harry couldn't help but think it felt like he was wearing a cross between a monk's habit and bath-robe. He kept this thought to himself as the salesgirl circled around him with a considering look.
"It looks alight . . ." she said slowly. "It'll probably look better later when you don't have that bulky shirt on underneath." She nodded decisively and turned back to the clothing rack. "You need three, right?"
She hummed and made for the hat display next to the rack. She looked at him from over her shoulder and asked, "What school did you say you were going to?"
"Hogwarts," Harry replied absently, his attention being drawn away by the sound of loud talking further back in the store.
This reply made the salesgirl pause and caused her eyes to widen.
"Hogwarts, did you say?"
"Oh, dear me! A little prince! Merlin, I should have asked straight off! It was just— Well, never mind that! Hogwarts has a separate uniform on top of the standard school robes. Let's get you out of those and have you fitted," she babbled, pulling the black robes back over Harry's head and leading him to a footstool farther in the back, where there were two other boys already being fitted.
As his store clerk began measuring him, Harry discreetly glanced over the other two boys. One was a pointy faced blond that looked about Harry's age — he appeared to be the younger of the two and had a magnificent sneer on his face, directed at his companion. The other boy had dark brown hair and a snub nose — he looked about his mid teens and had affected a bored look the moment Harry had entered his sight.
Harry gave them a nod in acknowledgement but otherwise paid them no mind.
The blond boy was in the middle of a vehement tirade.
"Listen here, Pucey! I'll not let you—"
"Enough of this!" the older boy said severely. "I couldn't care less about how you plan to join the Quidditch team next year. I really don't understand why you insist on telling me about it. I'm hardly captain of the team, now am I?"
Harry made eye contact with his store clerk as the blond puffed up with indignation. She gave him a small smirk in understanding and began measuring more quickly. The other seamstresses attending to the two arguing boys looked rather uneasy that there was an argument going on above their heads.
The blond boy looked ready to stomp his foot in frustration. He turned his nose up at the other boy and very obviously turned away from him, dismissing him haughtily. His eyes landed on Harry and he straightened.
"Hello," he said, making Harry shift awkwardly at the not so welcomed attention. "Hogwarts, too?"
"Yes," said Harry, his eyes flickering over to the older, dark haired boy who seemed amused that the blond was trying to ignore him now.
"My father's next door buying my books and mother's up the street looking at wands," said the chatty one. He had a bored, drawling voice. "Then I'm going to drag them off to look at racing brooms. I don't see why first years can't have their own. I think I'll bully father into getting me one and I'll smuggle it in somehow."
Harry was strongly reminded of Dudley.
"Have you got your own broom?" the boy went on.
"No," said Harry.
"Play Quidditch at all?"
"No," Harry said again, wondering what on earth Quidditch could be and why this boy seemed so enthralled with it that he was bothering another person about it when his first conversational partner seemed to find it tedious.
"I do — Father says it's a crime if I'm not picked to play for my House, and I must say, I agree. Know what House you'll be in yet?"
"No . . ." said Harry slowly. Couldn't he tell Harry was not at all interested?
"Well, no one really knows until they get there, do they? But I know I'll be in Slytherin, all our family have been — imagine being in Hufflepuff, I think I'd leave, wouldn't you?"
"Mmm," Harry replied, wishing the prat would take a hint. Harry glanced over that the older boy again, giving him a discreet beseeching look. He only looked more amused and gave Harry a cheery wink.
"I say, look at that man!" said the blond suddenly, nodding toward the front window.
Hagrid was standing there, grinning at Harry and pointing at two large ice creams to show he couldn't come in.
"That's Hagrid," said Harry, pleased to have something worthwhile to say instead of feeling uncomfortable. "He works at Hogwarts."
"Oh," said the boy, "I've heard of him. He's a sort of servant, isn't he?"
"He's the gamekeeper," said Harry. He was liking the boy less and less every second.
"Yes, exactly. I heard he's a sort of savage — lives in a hut on the school grounds and every now and then he gets drunk, tries to do magic, and ends up setting fire to his bed."
"Where did you hear that?" Harry asked, incredulous. "Hagrid's brilliant — he's shown me around the Alley all day and has really nice about it."
"Really?" said the boy, with a slight sneer. "Why is he with you? Where are your parents?"
"They're dead," said Harry shortly.
This made the boy stop short of his answering retort, chagrined. He tried to maintain his superior countenance but his contrition was apparent.
"Sorry," he said awkwardly, looking away. He cast about for a new topic of conversation before suddenly blurting, "They were ourkind, weren't they?"
"Our kind?" Harry echoed incredulously. What did that even mean? Was this boy racist on top of being insufferable? Harry was starting to get really irritated. "They were both English if that's what you meant — if you meant religion, I wouldn't know since they died when I was a baby. In any case, I don't think any of that matters as long as they were decent people who never tried to hurt anyone else."
"Don't be silly," the annoyance said impatiently. "That's not what I meant at all."
"What else could you have meant?" Harry shot back, letting his eyebrows furrow a bit in irritation.
"Of course, I meant—"
"Give it a rest, Malfoy!" The older boy — Pucey — cut in with exasperation. "You just don't know when to stop, do you?"
The newly dubbed Malfoy turned up his nose once more.
"I'm sure I don't know what you mean."
"Alright, young master," Harry's store clerk cut in, returning from where she had gone to prepare uniforms in Harry's size. The other seamstresses gave almost audible sighs of relief from where they were still pinning the robes, trying their best to be invisible. "That's you done. Will you follow me to the front so I can ring up your purchases?"
Harry conceded, hopping down from the stool, not at all sorry for having an excuse to stop talking to the other boy. He grasped at his last thread of civility and nodded stiffly at the other boys.
"I'll see you at Hogwarts, I suppose."
Harry sucked in a shuddering breath and leaned back in the unyielding, high-back chair. He was seated in the office of Grimbak, his clever-faced account manager, going over far more than just his trust account like he had been expecting. He stared uncomprehendingly at the portfolio of parchment listing his vaults, properties, stock-holdings, and entitlements from various accounts before snatching the file up and flipping through the pages once more.
"This can't be real," Harry mumbled under his breath. He could accept having Potter vaults — though vaults, as in plural, was already more than he was expecting — he could even see himself with his mother's personal vault, but how was he connected to this Black family, and what in the world was a collections account?
He shuffled back to the cover page and slowly re-read the summary of his holdings.
Harry James Potter
Evans — Heir by Direct Matrilineal Descent
Vaults: #529 (14,437ʛ)
Potter — Heir by Direct Patrilineal Descent and Formal Naming
Vaults: #132 (58,032,268ʛ, 13ʢ, 23ȸ, and assorted items)/ #686 (-80,063ʛ)/ #687 (45,100ʛ, 9ʢ, 14ȸ)
Properties: Potter Manor. Heorshire. England/ Vacation home. Verona. Italy/ Nature's Navel. Fife. Scotland/ #4 Privet Drive. Surrey. England
Investments: 15% Magical Menagerie shares/ 38% Nautilus' Newts shares/ 39% Sleekeazy's Hair Potion shares/ 2% Skele-grow Potion royalty/ 1.5% Pepperup Potion royalty
Entitlements: Wizengamot Seat, 14 votes/ Earldom of Heorshire
Black — Heir by Indirect Patrilineal Descent, Formal Naming, and Conthaumurgy
Riddle — Heir by Conthaumurgy
Vaults: #782, #985, #639 (Total 96,284ʛ and assorted items)
It still made no sense.
Seeing Harry's befuddled look, Grimbak took the liberty to explain.
"Starting with the basics," he began, "there are three ways to inherit accounts. The first is by descent, which means through the family." — here he pointed a clawed finger to Evans and traced down to Potter — "You are the only child of the late Lily Potter neé Evans, and you are a Potter by birthright.
"The second way is if you are formally named as the inheritor, which is what happened with the Black Estate and the Collections account."
Harry blinked slowly in thought then nodded in understanding. His brow creased mildly.
"And what about . . . con . . . contha — con-whatsit? I don't know this word. It's here, next to Black and Riddle."
"'Conthaumurgy,' Mr Potter. It's the mixing of individuals' magic, in this case for the purpose of designating an heir," Grimbak replied, tapping a claw against his cheek thoughtfully.
"The most recent of the Potters were known to have ties to the Blacks — I believe your great-grandmother was born a Black as well. That you were formally named heir implies that whoever is before you in the line of succession was either childless at the time and still is, or they have decided to not have children at all. That you are the Black heir in name and magic implies that whoever is before you in the line of succession was close enough with your parents that they were allowed to perform an adoption ritual on you. Perhaps a godparent."
A godparent? Harry stiffened at the thought. He wasn't sure exactly what a godparent was supposed to do, but wasn't that someone who was supposed to take care of him if his parents couldn't? If he had a godparent, did that mean he didn't have to have his relatives as his guardians?
Harry asked this out loud.
Grimbak shuffled through a separate stack of parchment and pulled out a faded looking sheet.
"It says here that your godfather, Sirius Black, is currently incarcerated in Azkaban."
"A wizard's prison, Mr Potter."
Harry internally deflated. That was just his luck. It was almost ironic. The Dursley's were forever going on about how Harry's parents were drunken wastrels — even though he now knew it wasn't true, he felt as if he should have known that the person his parents chose to take care of him was in jail.
"What did he. . . ? Never mind, I don't want to know." Harry straightened and leaned over the parchment once more. He tapped at the edge. "And this Riddle person?"
The goblin flipped through the pages again, then shook his head.
"No previous business carried out with that name, nor does it sound familiar. I don't believe I've ever heard it in context with the Potters. I would have assumed it to be another godparent, but your godmother is listed as Alice Longbottom. She is, unfortunately," Grimbak continued, anticipating Harry's question, "currently in the care of St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, in the Janus Thickey Ward for patients with minds declared irreparably affected."
Harry huffed a near silent sigh. Good thing he didn't really expect much anyway. He waved his hand vaguely, signalling that he wanted to move on.
"The next thing you should notice are the inheritable assets, the properties and investments. At the moment, you only have access to the Evans and Potter properties since you are the last living descendant. The other properties are off limits to you until the current Head either gives you access or dies. This is why their holdings are not listed."
Harry nodded in understanding. He decided not to worry over the off-limits accounts since he seemed to be decently well-off enough with what was already available to him.
"Entitlements," Grimbak carried on, "are the privileges that were granted by the Crown to the Noble Houses—"
"Wait," Harry cut in, incredulity creeping into his voice. "'By the Crown'? 'Noble Houses'? You're making it sound like my parents were part of the aristocracy or something!"
"That's exactly what I mean, Mr Potter — you would not have entitlements otherwise. Wizarding Britain does not currently have an actual royal family, but those of title and land before the enforcement of the International Statute of Secrecy retained their status since it was through their collective power that the British Ministry of Magic was originally formed."
He peered over the top of his spectacles at the astounded young wizard before him.
"If I may move on?"
Harry nodded mutely.
"As I was saying, Entitlements are privileges, such as voting rights, granted to the Head of a Noble House. It's not a common occurrence, but since you are the last of your line you are automatically the Head of your House. However, you are not obligated to attend to your civic duties of participating in the Wizengamot until you formally claim your lordship, and by Potter Family Law, you are not able to do that until your sixteenth birthday or the completion of your Ordinary Wizarding Level examinations, whichever comes first.
"I do, however, recommend seeing to your land as soon as possible. Towns and villages are generally self-sufficient in this day and age, but the county of Heorshire does not have a steward on record, and it has been over ten years since the Potter family has sent anyone to see to its people. They tend to pay their taxes more willingly when their leaders show an active interest in them."
Questions buzzed through Harry's mind, all of equalling precedence that he wasn't sure what to ask first. Girding himself up, he latched onto the question that's been the back of his mind since the beginning of the meeting.
"Why are there three vaults? The last one is the one I was taken to earlier, and I supposed one of them is for the entire family, but why is there another?"
"Yes, the vault system can become complicated," Grimbak answered. "The first vault is as you said, the House vault. The first vault listed on any account will always be the House vault in cases like this. The following vaults are usually Trust and Retainer vaults listed in order of creation. In this case, your Family vault is followed immediately by your father's Retainer vault. When a minor turns fifteen, the designation of their vault goes from Trust to Retainer. In the case of a minor becoming the Head of House, the Retainer vault will be absorbed into the main vault. The Head — in this case, you — will then have full control of all the holdings."
"So #686 was my dad's Retainer vault. Why wasn't it absorbed into the House vault when he became Lord Potter or whatever?"
"That is thanks to your grandfather," Grimbak murmured, a bit of fang showing. He shuffled the papers once more. "Fleamont Potter was a remarkable businessman, a trait that unfortunately was not shared with his son. Because of his lack of money-sense, your father was regulated to an account completely separate from the rest of the family. Any earnings or debts on the account was to be solely on the late Mr Potter. He was later formally skipped over in the line of succession when your grandfather named you his heir when you were conceived."
"Isn't that a bit," Harry hesitated, "drastic?"
"It may certainly seem so, but it was a good thing your lord grandfather had the foresight to nip it in the bud, as they say. Especially once your father graduated. Under the misguidance of . . . shall we say, over-zealous leadership," — here he snarled — "the late Mr Potter donated his entire and not insignificant wealth to fight in the war. It's unkind to speak ill of the dead, especially when I've heard such good things about him, but by the year of his death, he had amounted a debt of nearly one hundred thousand Galleons, as you can see here by the minus symbol before the amount. Only through his sense of honour was your mother's account not given up as well. That, and I suppose her adamant command when they went into hiding that anything left in her vault be placed aside for you. Nothing I said changed your father's mind when he gave away that money."
A puddle of cold pooled in his gut. Harry wasn't certain how to feel. On the one hand, he desperately wanted to think well of his father, especially after learning how highly Hagrid thought of him; he had a concrete reason to believe his parents were far better than the lies he had been fed. On the other hand, why hadn't his father been more concerned about how Harry would live if they died? He was shocked at how foolish his father now sounded and felt grateful to his grandfather — the way things were going, it sounded like Harry wouldn't have anything to inherit if things had been up to his father.
A coil of guilt squeezed at the coldness inside him. Wasn't that a callous way to think? Were the riches in front of him already making him greedy? That money had been used in the hopes that Harry himself wouldn't have to live through war. Sure, it was a large amount, and it certainly sounded thoughtless, but it had gone with good intentions. There were so many other options Harry could think of off the top of his head that his parents could have done — including just leaving England altogether, especially when his mother was found pregnant — but the gist of it was, they had been fighting for him. He wouldn't have done the same but he should appreciate that they were willing to spend so much on his behalf.
Since when did he start thinking that millions of pounds and four different properties — completely ignoring the other accounts — were not enough? Harry then vowed to himself that he would always remember the difference between frugality and stinginess.
Easing away from the awkward topic, Harry said, "I want to pay off the debt. Is that possible, sir?"
"There's no need," Grimbak assured him. "That debt has been filed as not collectable. Since it was a personal account, and the fact that your grandfather ensured that any debt of your father had no connection to the Potter family, the debt essentially died with him. #686 is just an empty vault that hasn't been cleared for new use yet."
Harry shook his head, a frown on his face.
"That he was in debt means that he used money that wasn't his. That money had to come from somewhere — someone — and I don't like the idea of anyone being out almost a hundred thousand Galleons just because the person that owes it is out of the picture. I want to pay it if only for my own peace of mind."
"Very well." Grimbak sounded hesitant as if he was not sure what to make of Harry. He finally decided on respect. "I will file the transaction after this meeting and it will be taken from the Family vault."
"Great," Harry said, allowing a ghost of a smile. "Now, what is a Collections account? That doesn't sound like something that everyone has."
This earned him fangs bared in amusement.
"Gringotts opens a special account for those that receive a significant amount of donations. It's common practice for many organisations, especially those that rely on charity. St. Mungo's, for instance, has one and anyone who wants to donate money or entire vaults simply file for a transfer to the Collections account."
"So . . . Why do I have one?"
This caused Grimbak to look at him almost fondly. At least, Harry thought it was fondly, it might have been wonder at his ignorance.
"Are you familiar with your acclaim as the Boy Who Lived, a highly celebrated hero?"
"Hagrid mentioned a bit about people being grateful to me since I didn't die when that evil wizard person tried to kill me."
"Indeed, Mr Potter. A veritable waterfall of gifts pours in from the gratitude. I believe that's where you got so many Wizengmot votes since I recall your grandfather having only nine. #782 has been regularly receiving attention on the thirty-first of July — your birthday I believe. Apparently, some were so thankful, they've signed over entire vaults to you. This is not accounting for the little gifts, of course; the ones sent directly to you. Things sent by owl do not get accounted for."
"I've never gotten owls on my birthday," Harry muttered in confusion. "I didn't even know I was a wizard until I got my Hogwarts' letter. You mean to tell me people have been sending me things for years?"
At the goblin's confirmation, Harry became distressed.
"All this time . . . they must think I'm horribly rude and spoiled! Is there a way I could get a list of the people who've sent me gifts? I want to thank them properly and explain that I didn't mean to ignore them!"
Grimbak shifted and frowned at the discovery.
"I can get you a list of the names of the formal transactions if you'd like. I regret to say anonymous giftings will be unrecoverable."
"At least that's something. Maybe I can put an ad in the newspaper to thank them and explain that I haven't gotten anything by owl for some strange reason."
"Perhaps you can also add that if they wish to send you things in the future, a transaction at Gringotts has proven to be effective."
"I'll do that." Harry shook his head. This would require further thought at a later date. He resolved to put away the mystery for now.
Harry then threw himself into the budgeting of his Trust vault. Grimbak informed him that the vault would be topped off at fifty thousand — the standard amount for a minor of a Noble House — at the end of every year until he turned came of age or claimed his lordship, whichever came first. Looking at the total before him, Harry was glad that he wouldn't have to be as economical with his money as he had secretly feared. He was, however, concerned over the amount missing from the total; he was sure he hadn't stuffed that much into his pouch earlier.
Pulling out his solar-powered calculator — that which had intrigued his account manager since such a thing was unheard of in the magical world — Harry added up the sums. He had spent 66ʛ at the clothing store and 157ʛ on books and supplies. Add to that the 2,580ʛ for tuition and he should have 47,197ʛ left. That meant he was missing 2,097ʛ.
Harry paused in his confusion. He didn't spend everything he had in his bag — he was sure he still had a good amount left in there.
Letting Grimbak work his magic, they were informed that the money pouch currently contained 897ʛ. This left 1,200ʛ in places unknown.
Grimbak saw his distressed mien and flipped through the portfolio again, searching for what they could have missed.
"Ah, here it is."
Harry perked a bit at that.
"It says here that ten Galleons have regularly been converted into muggle money and transferred to the account of one Petunia Dursley each month to supplement your up-keep. The amount was decided on based on the income the Dursley family has each year and what they already would be supplied with by the muggle government for the care of an orphaned child. It was decided that the converted fifty pounds per month would be sufficient."
The Dursleys were getting paid to take care of him. Harry felt like crying, screaming, and throwing something, and not necessarily in that order. He literally didn't cost them any of their own money to keep. How many times had he been told that he cost them more money than they could afford and lived only because of their charity? Doing the maths in his head, it was obvious that they received plenty and more than they needed to keep him fed and clothed. Yet he wore Dudley's cast-offs and was fed grudgingly. A glance at the cover page reminded him that he even owned the house they lived in.
Their lies were building up. This would not stand.
"Are any of the properties fit to live in?" Harry asked abruptly, a plan drawing itself up. He was not normally vindictive, but he was willing to make an exception just this once.
"I believe Potter Manor and the vacation house in Italy have been kept habitable, though the vacation house is currently being rented."
"So I could, theoretically, move in any time I wanted?"
"Yes, Mr Potter."
"Let's say I find myself in a situation where my relatives and I want nothing more to do with each other or they just suddenly die or something. Would I be assigned new guardians by whoever it is that's in charge of that sort of thing or would I be essentially on my own?"
Grimbak took in the young wizard before him. He found himself appreciating the level-headedness and cleverness being displayed. From what he'd been gleaning from their conversation so far, it appeared that he'd been kept ignorant and not well cared for. He knew the humans didn't like their young to be unattended, especially the ones still in childhood, but he couldn't help but think the one before him would be better off on his own. At the very least in comparison to what his current other option was.
"The Ministry of Magic," Grimbak began carefully, "has a department dedicated to the care of magical children. They don't like minors without adult supervision. However, we both know that if they are never informed, certain children slip through the cracks. I believe that if you are subtle when out in public or at school, you could easily take up residence at any of your properties with no one the wiser. That is if your current guardians do not kick up a fuss if you don't return to their home."
"They're more likely to celebrate amongst themselves and not question it for fear of jinxing it."
"If that's so, I see no reason why you can't move into Potter Manor at once."
"Well, at least that's some good news." Harry leaned back in his chair and flexed his leg muscles under the desk. This entire meeting was far more than he had been expecting, both in good news and bad, though the good did outweigh the bad. "So what next?"
"Now we go to you House vault to get your heir ring. That way you'll be free to travel through your properties unhindered. Though you're still only heir, you're also the Head of House, so you'll be able to dabble with the wards." Grimbak affected a nonchalant look. "Perhaps you could tighten security to keep away undesirable busy-bodies."
Harry grinned as they stood from their chairs and made for the door. A thought struck him as they passed the chamber his portkey had delivered him to.
"You mentioned earlier that my father donated all his money because of bad leadership. Who told him to give away all his money?"
Grimbak glanced at him as they climbed into the cart as if sizing him up.