Eighteen-year-old Harry Potter, The Boy-Who-Live, The Chosen One, The Vanquisher of Darkness, and whatever other rubbish people were calling him now, loudly slammed his book closed. Running his hands though his hair he stood and stretched thankful that dust had not choked him after his violent treatment of the book. The library in Grimmauld Place, while still gloomy, was dust free thanks to Kreacher’s efforts. The whole house was now cleaner than it had probably been in the last half century.
Harry shook his head and leaned over the table to glare down at the NEWT level Potions book. He had opted out of returning to Hogwarts to take the seventh year he had missed while gallivanting across the country running from Death Eaters and search for Horcruxes. The school held too many painful memories for him now and he could not bear to see any of the new ghosts. However, as Hermione had so helpfully pointed out, he still needed to pass his NEWTs if he ever wanted to do anything with himself. And so he had found himself spending hours trying and often failing to decipher various books on subjects that he had not spent adequate time thinking about in the past. Granted, surviving each school year had usually taken up most of his time and energy, but now he had no excuse to slack off.
A soft pop made Harry look up from his staring match with the book.
“Master Harry bees having more letters from Gringotts, sir,” the old elf croaked, letters clutched in his gnarled hand. “Would Master like me to be putting them with the rest, sir?”
“No. I’ll deal with it,” Harry took letters with a resigned sigh. “Thank you Kreacher.”
The elf bowed and disappeared with another pop.
Harry looked down at the summons from Gringotts. He had been avoiding the goblins since he successfully broke into the bank and stole one of the security dragons and a piece of shriveled soul hidden within an ancient gold cup. He was not looking forward to whatever they had in store for him, but he would need to go eventually and it would be an efficient, if not pleasant, distraction from studying.
Harry picked up his wand form the table, slid it into a wrist sheath next to the Elder Wand, and grabbed his cloak from the where it hung by one of the shelves before leaving the library and heading to the door. With a resounding crack Harry disapparated, giving an old muggle quite the fright.
Harry appeared in the courtyard of the Leaky Cauldron, slipped the hood of his cloak over his face and cast a notice me not on himself before tapping the bricks on the wall and entering Diagon Alley. There was no sign of the war to be found in the Alley. People had truly done a wonderful job cleaning up and moving forward with their lives. In all honesty Harry found it more than a bit disconcerting. It seemed as though he was the only one having a difficult time leaving the past where it belonged.
A few Halloween decorations could be spotted in some of the shop windows making Harry cringe. Something horrible always happened to him on Halloween. Maybe his very first Halloween had been different, perhaps his parents and their friends had dressed themselves and him in silly consumes and eaten more candy then was advisable, not that it mattered considering he couldn’t remember it. Maybe this year would be different, maybe having completed his destiny Harry would be freed of whatever curse had been enacted when Voldemort had failed to kill him on this very day seventeen years ago. Maybe now that Voldemort was gone, the day would lose its apparent dislike of Harry. Perhaps, being orphaned and sentenced to ten years in muggle hell later followed by lonely candy less days, trolls and other various disasters had been enough. Hopefully this year the day would be calm and peaceful and utterly boring, but then perhaps not, Harry was on his way to meet with angry goblins.
Harry took a deep breath and headed to the doors of the Wizarding World’s only bank. When he reached the top step, one of the goblin guards fell in behind him with a nasty smile. Harry gulped, and opened the large double doors. He was mildly surprised to see no sign of the damage caused by his last visit to the bank. Magic really was wonderful, he thought with a small smile that soon disappeared when the guard behind him jabbed him with the butt of his spear.
“This way,” came the gruff voice to Harry’s right, and the goblin behind him jabbed him again. Harry was escorted through one of the doors to the side and into a corridor lined with private offices. Half way down the corridor two new guards took up position on either side of Harry and sent the door guard back to his post. They entered the last door on the left. The two guards stationed themselves on either side of the door effectively blocking any chance for Harry to escape. An ancient looking goblin sat behind a large desk a wicked looking battle-axe hung on the wall behind him. Harry hoped that he had not just walked to his death again. He didn’t think that the goblins would ruin the expensive rug that he was standing on with his blood, but you could never bee sure with goblins.
“Sit Mr. Potter,” the old goblin’s voice cracked like a whip. Harry sat. “Do you know why you are here Mr. Potter?”
Harry swallowed, “I believe it has something to do with the fact that I broke into Lestrange’s vault and stole Hufflepuff’s cup.”
The old goblin inclined his head and gave Harry to toothy grin, “You are correct Mr. Potter our first order of business does concern the crimes you have committed against this bank. What follows will depend on the outcome of that discussion.”
Harry nodded; now reasonably sure that he was not about to be killed and that he might even have a chance to defend his actions.
“I will ask you a series of questions and you will answer honestly and completely,” the goblin gave another tooth smile. “I will know if you lie or hide any of the truth. Do you understand?”
“Yes, er I believe so,” Harry said with a jerky nod.
“Good. Now Mr. Potter, why did you break into Grinngotts?” the goblin leaned a bit over the desk to look into Harry’s eyes.
“Er well, you see…uhm,” Harry swallowed. “You see, Voldemort made Horcruxes and well, he gave one to Bellatrix and she put it in her vault. I needed to destroy that part of Voldemort’s soul before I would be able to kill him and well the only way I could think to get it would be to er… break into the bank,” Harry finished quietly, then looked up at the old goblin again.
“Hmmm, I see. Why, Mr. Potter, did you not simply report the presence of such an artifact to the bank and have us remove the soul shard for you?” the goblin frowned.
Harry’s eyes widened, “You can do that?”
“Of course Mr. Potter. Goblins deal in all manner of inheritance magic, including blood and soul magiks. We cannot simply allow people to leave pieces of their souls lying around, such magic is unacceptable, and split souls cause all sorts of problems. Horcruxes especially are to be destroyed upon discovery. An accidental split is one thing, and easily fixed, but to split your soul intentionally,” the goblin shook his head.
“So, you know how to remove soul shards without destroying their container,” Harry questioned. “Even if say… that container was alive?”
The goblin grimaced but nodded.
“And this is common knowledge?” Harry’s voice had risen; despair and betrayal making him feel nauseous.
“Yes, this information can be found by anyone if they looked for it,” the ancient goblin confirmed. With great effort Harry shoved his betrayal and resentment toward his old Headmaster into a dark corner of his mind where he would not have to think about it. Perhaps this was what Snape had wanted him to do in those disastrous lessons?
“Now, we can move on with our next order of business. It is clear that greed was not the driving force behind your break in. You have, however, still committed a crime through your ignorance. Your uncorrupt though misguided intentions will have consequences, though they will not be near as severe as they would be if you had been corrupt and driven by greed,” the goblin said gravelly, but Harry thought he could detect a little more warmth in his tone. “First I would like you to return to us the item that you stole from the Lestrange vault, do you happen to have it with you?”
“Er, yes actually,” Harry reached into a pocket and withdrew a drawstring bag. Hermione had enchanted it for him not long after the end of the war, and he had taken to keeping it on him at all times. The bag was packed with anything he could need in an emergency (including a tent he had found in Grimmauld place, one which luckily did not have any particular smell to it). Harry reached his arm into the bag and withdrew the slightly mangled cup of Helga Hufflepuff and placed it on the desk. He had kept all of the old Horcruxes, well except for the diadem, which had been destroyed with the Room of Requirement. He had even taken one of Nagini’s scales in his strange need for the objects. Perhaps, it was because he felt some type of kinship with them, after all he too had housed part of Tom Riddle’s evil soul, and he too had been destroyed for it. They reminded him of what he had been.
“This shall be considered re-payment for the theft from the Lestrange vault, but there are still the damage costs caused by the dragon as well as the theft of the dragon itself. If it is agreeable, we will deduct the amount from your vaults and our business will be concluded,” the goblin snapped his fingers and a document appeared.
“Sir, I’m not sure that my vault will cover the damages,” Harry regretfully admitted.
“Mr. Potter, I assure you that the Potter fortune alone will cover the cost. You are aware of your holdings are you not Mr. Potter?” the old goblin was frowning now.
“No, sir. I was only ever told about my trust vault,” Harry confessed, confused by this turn of events.
“Ridark fetch me an inheritance test at once,” the goblin barked, his frown turning into a deep scowl. One of the guards at the door jumped then bowed and hurried out of the room. He returned a moment later carrying role or parchment, a stone decorated in intricate runes, and a similarly decorated knife, all of which were placed on the desk in front of Harry.
“Now, Mr. Potter, lay the parchment flat out in front of you. Good, now place the stone in the middle of the parchment. Cut a shallow line down your left hand,” continued the goblin, “starting at the tip of your middle finger and ending at the base of the palm then place that hand on top of the stone.”
Harry did as he was instructed, wincing only slightly as he cut the shallow line into his own hand. When his entire hand rested against the stone he felt a slight pull in the center of his chest, the feeling turned into a tingle as he felt the stone draw his blood and magic though the cut. The stone warmed against him and glowed with a slight golden light as his blood ran through the cared grooves of the runs and onto the paper. After a moment the tingling stopped and Harry removed his hand, the cut had healed without a trace. He watched with fascination as the stone pulsed different colors until all of the blood had seeped into the paper. The goblin reached over the desk and removed the stone and picked up the parchment, he tapped it with his index finger twice then saying something in Gobbledygook, for a second the parchment glowed the same golden as the stone had before diming. The goblin grunted and then laughed before handing the parchment to Harry.
“It seems Mr. Potter that you truly had no reason to break into the Lastrange vault, after all, according to this, you have owned that vault since Sirius Black’s death. You may, of course have this back,” Harry placed the mangled cup back into his drawstring bag before looking at the parchment.
Harry looked at the parchment in amazement. It turned out that he had inherited three vaults along with his trust vault from the Potters. It seemed that two had money while one was filled with books and other artifacts. The Blacks had a main vault and many smaller vaults. Harry had been given control of all Black assets as the new Head of the Family. The vault that Bellatrix had hidden the Horcrux in had been her dowry vault and Harry had been given control of it when she killed the head of her birth House. Farther down the parchment there was a list of various properties that he had inherited. A tad overwhelmed Harry folded the parchment and put it in his pocket for later perusal.
“It seems that you were correct that I would be able to pay for any damages my misguided break in and subsequent release of the dragon may have caused,” Harry blushed slightly. If only they had known this sooner the whole ordeal would not have been necessary.
“You simply need to sign this and the correct amount shall be taken from your vaults,” the goblin slid the document he had conjured earlier over to Harry who quickly signed it. “Good, now there is one more piece of business,” two black ring boxes were pushed in Harry’s direction, “simply slip the rings onto whichever finger you like and you will be officially recognized as the head of your two houses.”
Harry quickly put the two rings on the index finger of his left hand where they resized and melded together to form a new sigil unique to Harry that represented both families. Harry could feel his blood and magic singing as knowledge of family history and properties sorted itself into Harry’s mind to be looked at later.
“Well done,” the goblin nodded at Harry, “is there anything else you would like to discuss Mr. Potter?”
Harry frowned, “Actually yes, could I speak to Griphook?”
“I made a deal with him and would like to uphold my end,” Harry said, he wanted to ensure that there was no bad blood left with the Goblins and that there would be nothing they could use against him in the future. He understood now what Bill had meant about Goblins being different than humans and did not want to have any further trouble. In all fairness Griphook had helped them break into Gringotts, he just did not help them break out.
“Ah,” the goblin smiled, “so you have Gryffindor’s sword?” Harry nodded, the goblin grinned. “And you wish to return it to the goblins?”
“Yes, I said I would and I shall,” Harry said. “Although I made the deal with Griphook and I would not be comfortable giving it to another.”
“Ah well then, worry not Mr. Potter, I am Nokhook,” Nokhook’s grin widened, “Griphook’s clan head. The sword was made by my three times great grandfather, it belongs to me.”
Harry gulped at the too sharp smile Nokhook was giving him, then reached into his bottomless bag and summoned the sword of Gryffindor to his hand and placed it on the desk. “The blade is imbued with basilisk venom and well… the sword seems to like to appear to Gryffindors in need so I cannot guarantee that it will stay with you, but er… here it is.”
“I believe our business is concluded Mr. Potter. If you would like to see your vaults ask one of the guards to bring you a guide on your way out.”
“It was nice to meet you Mr. Nokhook,” Harry said before walking to the door, the guards fell in on either side of him. “I would like to see the Potter artifact vault.”
“Of course Mr. Potter I will find you a guide when we reach main atrium,” Ridark, the goblin who had brought in the inheritance test, said. Harry smiled; maybe this Halloween really would be different from the rest.