A/N I don't own Harry Potter, just having some fun. This is a break-out piece from the first story.
Grentasha looked over some of the final preparations for her grand-niece's nuptials. The boy that would be her life-mate was an honorable sort of lad. His father had come to the underground only five years previously, with a nice vault and better reputation from Gringott's Toyko. He and his son were powerful warriors in and off the battlefield and could intimidate most common wizards with the baring of their teeth.
She was just happy that her nephew had accepted the lad and been done with it. Since her brother died, that boy was getting quite full of himself and she thought he needed to be taken down a peg or two.
By the end of the day she would regret that non-verbal wish.
Gringott's bank was always busy. Many purebloods used it as a place to meet in safe neutral territory. For the cost of a few sickles to several thousand galleons depending on the size, luxury, décor, decorations, and/or refreshments, the bank had a nice niche business going.
With the war having only been gone a few short years, many people were slow to trust their pureblood cousins and business clients that bore the dark-mark, pardon or no. Just because you were found innocent doesn't mean that you were; after all no one had attained their pardons with memories or Veritiserum to confirm their innocence.
One family was having its matriarch's will read at the bank. With cousins on both sides of the divide, it was the safest place.
Besides, Harry Potter, the boy-who-lived and disappeared was named in the will. Though the family was trying to keep it quiet, trying to keep that kind of secret at the ministry was impossible. Everyone was looking for him, talking about him, and no one seemed to know anything.
Maybe he would show up. He would be just five years old.
If he truly lived.
Putting the finishing touches on the table where the bride and groom would sign the bank documents, Grentasha laid out the ceremonial blade. The young couple wouldn't be on the main floor of the bank too long, which was good. Humans annoyed most goblins, and a human interfering with something as sacred and important as a bonding might as well just jump into the dragon pit directly.
He was going to wind up inside a dragon one way or another.
Sighing, remembering her happy bonding day she looked for anything out of place.
"I miss you, Rolock, you magnificent warrior. You were my bonded mate. I will see you again one day, but until I do, I miss you."
She slit her hand to put a bit of family blood on the dagger in remembrance, in memorial.
She left to get the last bits, passing by a handsome wizarding couple that had strange pale hair. Their looks though left her with the impression that she had steeped in dragon dung. She made a note of which door they went in so that guards could keep them well away from her family for the few minutes that the couple would be there.
To say that Sirius was unhappy was an understatement. He had a feeling that this was going to be a particularly bad day. He looked at the clothes that his elf had laid out for him. Formal mourning robes. He and his mother had never gotten on well, but she hadn't kicked him out of the family. If he had, Lucius would have been there within minutes of her death to kick him out of his ancestral home.
"KREACHER!" Sirius shouted. "What is that?" the man pointed to the small bag on the bed next to his robes.
"It is a bag master."
"Thank you. And what is in it?"
"A muggle treat sir."
"A muggle treat. I see. Is this a human muggle treat?" Sirius demanded. That elf had it in for him, he knew it. The elf treated his godson like royalty. He was treated like an unwanted pest in the home.
"No sir. It is for the doggies sir. It is called Purina Puppy Chow.
Kreacher popped away. Sirius had told him to make snacks for him to take. He would get him back, eventually. Sighing, he put on the robes and headed for the bank, stuffing the bag into his pocket absently.
Flowering Meadow was decided unhappy. First off, everything was her husband's fault. Her feet hurt, her back hurt, and her normally well behaved son was driving her to tears. Finally she sent him off to England on his own. She was seven months pregnant and didn't want to spend the last two throwing up from an international portkey trip that was too short to recover from before returning. No. She was staying right here. At home. And he better bring her some of that English chocolate. Honeylords? Honeysomething anyway. If her husband wanted to keep his man-bits, he better remember.
She grabbed Remus into a hug and made him promise several times that he would be careful, he wouldn't talk to his former auror companions, or anything. They were trying to keep their family lives private, after all. He needed to just go and return in time for Christmas.
She had finally relented about the broom. What trouble could he really get into with a toy broom?
To say that Severus was unhappy was an understatement. First off, he was supposed to be watching his godson today. He didn't understand why. The boy was not ready to learn about potions. The boy was barely able to learn about using the toilet.
Why had he let himself get so angry at James? The man was a git just like every other pureblood male. Sirius, Remus, Peter and James were moneyed and proud. Well, maybe not the werewolf anymore with all of the laws passed. Served him right though for endangering others. But Lily, dear Lily had been his friend since they were children.
If he had only done more, perhaps she would still be alive. Maybe even James the git too. Looking at the black robes, the man shuddered. He hated the plan, detested the plan, thought that the plan was asinine, and therefore the headmaster had loved it. He looked down at his arm, and pulled the parchment that reminded him of his oaths of slavery. Oh, that's not what they really were. Except in practice.
Sighing, he couldn't decide if he hoped that he lived through this or died in this exercise. Maybe he would have a chance to apologize to Lily and receive her forgiveness.
Though if she had her wand and that look she got when she was mad, Severus hoped there were hiding places in the afterlife. She could be quite scary when mad.
Sighing again, he reluctantly donned his robes, and activated his portkey.
The not-so-former death eater loved this plan! He was so looking forward to earning a bit of gold and having fun. If some of the blood traitors got in the way and were killed, all the better.
This was his chance to make everything right. He would shine, he would show them all that they were wrong to underestimate him, mock him. Ha! He would show them all!
The evil laugh that followed would have made his former fellows quite nervous.
Remus hated bringing his adopted son back to England. Sirius had reassured him that all would be well. The goblins didn't want to give huge amounts of gold out to people unseen, even if they were only five.
Remus had felt that putting his son in danger over money was not wise but Sirius had pointed out that if Harry didn't show up that the Malfoy family would not only inherit, but contest Harry's status as heir to House Black.
Remus did not want known death-eaters to get that kind of money. He had talked to his son, and his son wanted to buy his new baby sister a stuffed unicorn, and spend the rest of the money buying more land because that is what his sacred mommy wanted. Lily Potter would be proud.
The will reading was attended by few. Remus was surprised to note that Dumbledore hadn't tried to force himself into the very business-like meeting.
Narcissa was quietly arguing with her husband regarding the wisdom of accusing goblins of cheating them. Her points weren't getting across, but the man stopped his rant at the sight of two large axes. He apologized, Narcissa signed for her modest bequest, and the blondes left the room.
Kreacher then popped in with a special treat for Harry. To the elf, he was obviously Dorea's grandchild, so like her in visage, his wild black hair and vivid green eyes. Harry laughed and tried to tickle the elf that was no taller than he. The servant gave the boy a kiss on the brow before popping away. Harry waved bye-bye to the air, and went back to ignoring the adults, eating the snack, and playing with the fire-breathing dragon that was in a corner toy-box for important clients.
Harry had to have his finger pricked to prove who he was that he took all in great stride and signed his name like a big boy, if not far more legibly than most wizards. He then politely asked the goblins to transfer the funds to his manager in Gringott's Phoenix, withdrawing a modest amount for his mother's and sister's presents.
He needed to buy mommy some candy. She'd been getting cranky lately. Harry possibly thought it was because she had somehow swallowed a baby, and had been trying to get her to throw up. After all, when he ate things he shouldn't he always felt better afterwards.
Adults just couldn't be reasoned with sometimes.
Honeyduke's hadn't been that busy, and they were on their way to the toy store when a series of pops sounded around them. Horrified, Remus Lupin saw three death eaters coming at him. He picked up his son, whispered instructions, and set him down, hoping that the boy would do as he asked.
Terrified, there was a fourth pop. Albus Dumbledore. Flamboyant in his Gryffindor colors, he pulled out a staff and prepared to do battle. Good, they might not see eye to eye, but he was on the side of good. Together, they stood, and tried to corral the death eaters. The problem was that hits kept getting through, and Remus was feeling drained.
Harry on the other hand had listened to his adoptive father, and ran to the bank. He approached the nearest goblin.
"Skinny bad Santa is outside with bad wizards! Please, call the cops! The aurors! The aurors!"
Harry had felt bad magic coming at from the whiskered man. If that wasn't enough, this goblin didn't seem to be listening to him.
But Harry was stopped from saying more. A death eater had entered the bank itself, with the worst possible timing. The wedding party was just coming out, and he took advantage. Grabbing the goblin bride he stuck his wand to her head.
"I just want the boy. The boy in exchange for this thing. Seems more than a fair trade." The man snarled.
Harry saw another man in a mask enter too. He smelled familiar. Hum.
Harry loved this game. They played it all the time at home. Summoning both men's wands he then ran up to the man holding the girl. Taking his dagger, he plunged it into the man's stomach, pulling the girl away with all of his strength, which was enough. The little boy then turned to the other man who proceeded to turn into a rat.
'Unca Peter!' The boy thought. He knew that wearing that robe meant he was bad, but he knew that rat – had smelled him when he entered the bank.
For an eternity he stood there holding the rat by the tail, the bloody dagger ready to mete swift death. Suddenly the boy knew that this was no longer a game, and that if he swung, it would be real, and this man who was a part of his life here in England when he was with his sacred mother, he would be really, really dead.
He tried. He tried. But he was afraid. He threw the rat behind him, but with the death-eater robes on the floor, most of the goblins thought that the boy had killed him.
The goblins reacted now that the hostage situation was resolved. The injured death-eater was taken away by two very angry looking goblins in full dress armor.
There was an older woman goblin who came up to him and asked him his name.
"Harry Potter ma'am, at least when I'm here in Gringott's."
"Is that you real name?" she asked.
"Little Wolf is my name right now until I go on my vision quest. I won't know my real name until I'm an adult. You know, at fifteen."
She nodded without understanding. "That was a very brave thing that you did, Harry Potter."
He shook his head. "I don't understand though. Usually when I play the game, my dad, he doesn't get hurt. This wasn't a game, I think. I'm sorry if I hurt that wizard. I wanted to hurt the other one too."
He didn't admit that he couldn't.
"Don't worry, the goblins will take care of him. The aurors will be here now. Let's go see what's happening, shall we?"
She escorted him outside.
"NOOO! Dad, Dad!" Remus Lupin was on the ground, unconscious.
"He'll be fine, my boy. I'm going to take you to your family now. They are so anxious to meet you." The man in the crimson robes whose aura was all wrong spoke. Harry found himself unable to move, the man told the aurors that he was taking the boy to his relatives until the father was well, and disappeared.
Albus Dumbledore took a minute with the boy. He was surprised to find not one but two wands in the boy's pockets, and a dagger at his belt. He divested him of all that before knocking on the door.
"Oh, it's you. I thought that we made it clear that we want no truck with any freaks." The large man shouted.
"Thank you for that warm welcome to your home." The man with the long beard smiled and used his wand. Harry could feel his power, and he didn't like it.
"This is your nephew Harry Potter. He will need to go to muggle school until he is ready for Hogwarts. He is going to be a powerful wizard. I am sure that you can all put your feelings aside, and welcome this orphan to your home. Don't you understand how much he needs you? He was being raised by a werewolf! And just today he came into a nice fortune. Yes. That money will be used for his upkeep and schooling and won't be a financial burden at all."
Just as soon as all of the proper laws and bills went through. Harry Potter wouldn't have a knut to his name, but Albus would make sure that he had everything paid for at Hogwarts through seventh year. Even if the return of the dark lord meant that young Harry didn't get a chance to finish those years.
The whale sized man calmed a bit.
"I won't have that freakishness here. I won't"
"Of course not. No magic outside of school until a child is seventeen. That is the law."
Harry wanted to point out that he would be an adult before then, but decided that since he was bound and silenced that he would just sit on the couch and watch what was available in his field of view.
Vernon got an evil grin on his face.
Dumbledore left without cancelling the spell, which meant that Harry had no chance to run when he was grabbed and thrown off the good couch. Freaks weren't allowed in the house, but since they had to take him in…
Harry was taught a muggle style lesson while bound and unable to scream or protest. He then sat on a thin camping mat in a hurriedly emptied hall closet with a threadbare blanket that smelled of dog to curl up with. Unbeknownst to the family that was a comforting smell to the boy.
Within hours of his disappearance, his adoptive father was healed and awake. He went to his brother in all but blood's house to try and figure out where Harry was. Everyone knew who had taken him, just as everyone knew where he wasn't. Harry wasn't at Gringott's, but the aurors told him that Harry had killed a half-dozen death eaters protecting the princess of the goblins.
He was sure that the story was exaggerated, but for the grateful daughter of the nation's leader, she was happy to have survived that day. And while the goblin nation didn't call Ragnok's daughter a princess, she was one to her father. Of course, that was what the humblest goblin thought of their daughters as well.
When the goblins found out that the wizard boy who had rescued one of their own had been delivered into his kidnappers hands, there were beyond appalled. The old goblin widow that had done the deed begged to be killed in order to reclaim her honor. She was denied that death. It was pointed out that the wizard that she had entrusted the boy to was the headmaster of the wizard school, Chief Mugwump of the ICW and Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. If there was a wizard that they could trust, it was supposed to be him.
Working quickly with his account manager, all Hogwarts accounts, and all of the personal vaults of Albus Dumbledore were locked down until he revealed what he had done with Harry Potter. Until then, Hogwarts wouldn't be able to pay its staff, buy groceries, nothing.
Harry had never been hit or kicked before. He didn't understand what the man meant when he would beat the freakishness out of him. He closed his eyes, went still, and tried to wish himself away. He couldn't move.
He tried to lay down in such a way that wouldn't hurt his arm. He thought for sure it was broken. He was in so much pain that he had actually vomited. He quickly banished the mess, but was very tired after using even that small amount of magic. He needed to rest, and tried to sleep for a time.
When he woke, he needed to go. The closet that he was in had a small bucket which he reluctantly used when the people refused to open the door to let him out. Water wasn't a problem for him at least. He couldn't remember how old he was when he learned the spell the create water or to purify food. In the desert, if he was ever caught out alone, he would need water most of all to survive. Of course, he was used to eating regularly.
Then he thought of Kreacher, and called to the elf. In his own head, as he had been taught, and then giving up stealth, aloud. He could feel magic, like the elf was trying, but he didn't come. Some of Kreacher's snacks would be nice, dinner would be better. He had the small bag left from the bank, but since he didn't know when he would eat again, he decided he needed to save some. Just like he had been taught. He drank water to try to fill his empty tummy. He tried calling to all of the elves that he knew in England. No one came.
Kreature was just a small elf when Dorea Black was born. He loved her, and he loved Harry. Harry knew it. If Kreature could get to him, then he would. He would.
His arm hurting, bad enough that he cried. He tried not too as only girls cried. But it hurt bad. He tried to ask the Great Spirit for help but didn't feel his prayer go through whatever ward was keeping Kreature out. He tried to rest. The closet wasn't pitch black, light was coming from somewhere, whether sunlight or not he couldn't tell.
He wished that his mom was here, he wished his dad was here. He really, really hated Santa now, especially having met him. The skinny one that brought him here. He had had trouble believing in him growing up in the desert with talk of snow. Now he knew that Santa was mean and delivered children to be beaten up when they were bad. Harry hadn't meant to hurt that man. He was sorry. He was.
He tried crying out his apology, begging for forgiveness, and calling for his mother. What seemed like so long later, the shadows fell, and the house quieted.
Except for a hurting boy in a closet.
Kreature was crying. He had punished himself several different ways, and had finally gone to the new Lord Black with the news that Harry was trying to call him. And he couldn't get to him! Remus was glad of the news at first, until he learned that Harry was hurt.
Both men were panicked and were not using all of their normal powers and intelligence. The panic increased when Remus' mirror went off. He had to explain to a pregnant and emotionally challenged woman that her adoptive son had been kidnapped. Which was why she hadn't wanted them to go in the first place.
She then was surprising calm and asked for all of the information that they had. She then asked to speak to the elf. She kindly told him that he had to stop punishing himself as they needed him to be healthy not only to help find their boy, but to dish out death and dismemberment to any enemies of House Black.
The elf stopped crying, and bowed low to the woman whose power could practically be felt from there.
"I am going to go talk to the council and ask if the seers can be assembled. We all know the boy's importance. Everyone needs to get some soup and go to sleep. Take potions if needed. After I give them the information I am going to do the same. If I wasn't pregnant, I would be in the sweat lodge.
"We all love him. Let's reach out to our friends, and see what we can find."
Remus nodded at the wisdom of his wife. He wasn't there to see her staying strong for the other women of the council or in talking to the seers. She did not allow herself to cry until she was alone in her bed at home.
Where was her flesh and blood?! She needed her son back.
Several days had passed, and Harry had been given a bit of toast, twice, and allowed out to use the toilet once a day. His arm hurt very badly still, was purple and lumpy, and hurt when he tried to move it or when something touched it when he was trying to sleep. Magic was healing it faster than normal, thankfully.
Harry had to endure the smells of three meals and several snacks a day being prepared. His family ate simply, with a far-too vegetarian diet as far as his father was concerned. They rarely had meat except at the evening meal, and even then it was either from their food animals or something that Remus had caught for their table.
Being hungry and unable to scavenge or hunt for food was torture. Not that Harry had done much beyond simple traps. Still, he would get better. Now, he was more motivated than ever to learn.
He was so hungry for a dragon steak!
He would beg his dad to take him hunting. He was supposed to wait until he was seven. But Harry knew something about his dad that most people didn't know. The man loved hunting for his wife and son. His inner wolf loved to be a good provider. She was happy with the arrangement as well, she always did that girly kissing thing when he brought home food.
One would think that it would make dad bring less home. Harry knew that if girls were kissing him for doing something, he wouldn't do it anymore!
Then, he saw through a crack in the door that they were unwrapping packages. Lots and lots of packages! Wow! He usually only got three presents at Christmas, not counting his new jammies. The family had a special jar that any gift money, any coins found when hiking, any galleons earned from anything really went into the jar that was extra. And they would watch the land sales around the preserve and try to buy as much as they could.
Flowering Meadow did a pay-as-you-can business for healing potions for sick animals for local magical neighbors. They raised their own vegetables, and sold the excess. They sold the eggs that Harry gathered from the chickens.
Harry was worried about his flock. He knew that his mom would feed them, but who would chase them and make sure that they ate the bugs in the garden? They were always trying to hide their eggs. Would she be able to find them especially since she was big as a house? Some of the hiding places were tiny!
No, Harry should have been at home, eating his vegetables, minding his chickens, and setting his traps. And trying to play tricks on his dad.
He tried not to think about his dad. Was he dead too? He felt so guilty that he hadn't been there to help him.
Harry tried again to get out of the closet. He tried calling for Kreature, who felt closer. He tried to ignore the heavenly scent of roasted goose, though he didn't know that is what it was.
He just wanted to go home.
He had hoped that once Christmas came that bad Santa would let him go home. But he never saw him. He didn't have a good view of the fireplace from the cracks, and besides, it had been very dark.
Sirius Black was a marauder. He was a ladies man. He had friends in low and high places, and no one, no one had seen or heard of Harry. He had tried to bribe Hogwarts elves into bringing Harry to him, thinking that perhaps he was there, but Kreature said not.
The elves at Hogwarts were appalled that the headmaster had been somehow involved in this. They all promised to help in any way that they could. Harry Potter was seen as a champion of magical beings to several second-class citizens in Britain and most elves held him in high regard.
Kreature couldn't love the boy more. The elf considered him his own.
The headmaster straightened his crown on his head. He had gotten a delightful cracker this year. He looked down at his instruments whirling and chiming on his desk. He was so happy. Harry Potter was back where he belonged. So what if he had lost a few years with the boy. That uncle would soon have the lad to a point he wouldn't remember the last few years. It would be just like a bad dream.
Imagine their savior being raised by a dark creature! It wasn't right, not at all!
No, he had done it. And gotten yet more wealth for the Potter family as well. Soon, it would be time to execute his plan in the Wizengamot. He just had to wait for young Sirius Black to calm down. If he didn't, well, the man was impetuous. Maybe he was a secret death eater, and would need to spend the rest of his life cowering from dementors.
Yes, the current head of the Black family had better watch himself, or he was going to come to an unpleasant end.
Flowering Meadow had reassured her husband that gifts could and would wait until their boy was found. He was reassured that if he ever wanted to sleep in the same house much less the same bed that he would not be returning to her alone.
She knew in her heart of hearts that she was being unkind to her life-mate, but she wasn't there to threaten the man that really needed to be threatened.
Apologizing to her husband, she burst into tears. That is when Remus knew he was really in trouble. His beloved wife never cried. She got angry, she yelled sometimes, but mostly she was calm. Calm and powerful, especially when angry.
She was terrified that their son was gone forever. The seers couldn't find his precise location, but did try to reassure that divine help was on the way.
Remus did something desperate.
"Darling, what do you get if you take a mage's heart's blood and mix it with his entrails over a slow simmer?"
She looked at him confused.
"The consequences of attacking our family. I will eviscerate him for you and bring him back as magical potion ingredients."
Her smile was feral. Here was the daughters of warriors, the maid that made lesser men tremble.
"Go and hunt, my wolf. Find our boy. Bring me back our tormentor."
"Yes, my queen. Now, be sure and eat something, and get some rest. I love you."
Motivated to do everything that he could, he signed off.
The wolf growled. That stupid man had taken his son, but he had committed a far worse crime. He had made his beloved unhappy. He would pay. He would pay.
Severus had woken from a terrible dream. In the nightmare, Lily was begging him to please help Harry, heal him from his injuries, bring him food. It had seemed so real. He tried to get back to sleep. Giving it up as a bad job, he went to his potions lab to check on the projects he had going for the holidays.
It took several days, but at last he had what he needed. A new batch was ready.
He fingered his latest attempt at a new kind of truth serum. Three questions, and the victim/suspect wouldn't remember being questioned. So far the test trials were encouraging. Soon, he would be reaping the benefits of his work.
Of course if the ministry knew that he experimented on wayward students, he would reap a totally different kind of benefit, and join his fellow death eaters in prison.
Deciding that Lily Potter deserved to be listened to, he put the stoppered vial in his coat, and went to prepare tea for his boss.
After all, they hadn't talked about that night at Gringott's. He had a right to know, nay a duty to inquire as to what happened that day.
And more importantly, what happened to Harry Potter.
Minerva McGonagall was having a terrible New Year's Day. School would be back in session in a few days and her bank draft was being refused at the bookstore. Knowing that she was well under-budget, she went to Gringott's. Never in her life had she been treated so rudely by them, nor threatened with a bladed weapon.
Reassuring the warrior that his prized axe would return to normal in a few minutes, she escaped the bank as the stunned goblin chased his beloved weapon through the bank. Well, he tried. The axe-turned-chicken was surprisingly quick. It had dodged several grab attempts already. One wizard made the mistake of trying to draw his wand in Gringott's adding further mayhem to the moment.
Clucking and half flying the chicken-axe decided to roost on a decorative ledge twelve feet above the bank floor. It then proceeded to make droppings on the goblins trying to get it down.
Never before had Hogwarts been attacked by goblins, but the first invasion by the goblin nation was planned that day. They would pay. They would pay.
Snape was furious. What had the headmaster been thinking? Didn't he understand that there would be consequences for his actions? He was trying to think as to what to do when the deputy headmistress came bursting in.
It wasn't the first time that he had heard that Hogwarts wasn't able to pay its bills, but it was the first that the old battle axe, hum, the transfiguration mistress had heard of it. Knowing that the only way to get the gold flowing again was to bring the boy to Gringott's and show them that he wasn't kidnaped was something the wizard had been avoiding.
Goblins could be so stubborn in their views. They saw werewolves as people. People with rights.
The only werewolf that had ever attended Hogwarts was the wizard that had been causing all these headaches. The man was supposed to be his ally to the packs, was supposed to feel eternal gratitude! And how did he show it? By stealing!
Just because Lily Potter thought the werewolf and his squaw suitable parents did not mean that they were. He would trust have to show the goblins that.
Trying to think quickly with two members of staff upset with him was difficult. Sighing in resignation, he decided to go to the bank with the boy in person. Owls and elves had not solved the issue.
Maybe he could get a bit of that spicy crunch snack that was sometimes served to him in meetings. He liked that.
His phoenix gave him the stink-eye again. Knowing that we wanted Harry to be kept close to help defeat Voldemort was the only thing that kept the bird from flaming everything in the room. He refused to give the man transport though.
Shrugging, the headmaster apparated to Number 4 Privet Drive.
The headmaster's entry into the bank was unexpected. The goblins knew that there was a small vault in his office, and thought his reserve would last longer than it did. Furious goblins flanked him and joined his escort to a private meeting room.
Ragnok would be handling this one himself.
"Where's the boy?" The goblin chief growled. Most wizard-kind would have heard that tone and needed a fresh change of underwear. Albus Dumbledore had faced his former lover and many other threatening magicals, though.
He felt threatened but stupidly wasn't afraid. He should have been.
Throwing the hood off the cloak, the wizard reveled the sleeping boy levitated behind him. The cloak hid all sorts of problems.
Ragnok's eyes narrowed. That was no normal invisibility cloak. He would have to check, but he thought that might just be on the 'missing presumed stolen' list of Potter property. Yet another crime to add to this man's growing list.
"As you can see, he is fine. He's happy to be living with his real family. They have been worried sick! Imagine your sister being killed and her son kidnapped to be raised by a dark creature! It has been a nightmare for them.
"Imagine the reward you will receive from a grateful lad when he comes of age. You helped to reunite him with his family."
The man had the audacity to smile and give him, him, the leader of the goblin nation an eye-twinkle! No. NO!
"I see. Well, let's get the lad awake and verify his identity." Ragnok wanted to talk to the lad to get his views on the situation.
"Surely that is not needed. We can prick the boy's finger and Bob's your uncle."
Bob wasn't his uncle. The famous and beloved author had no goblin kindred at all that he knew of. The warrior shook his head. Perhaps it was by marriage through Alex's side.
"That is not the goblin way. Blood has to be freely given. Do you want to interfere with blood magic, mage?" Ragnok's look this time did give the man pause.
'Never mess with goblins.' Right. Why did the child have to run back into the bank? There were several shops closer. That werewolf was too intelligent by half.
Getting permission, the wizard withdrew his wand. The boy awoke, mumbling something about creatures and his parents. His eyes widened as he saw the man. The boy looked confused. The man was now dressed in blue with moons and planets orbiting about in a pattern he couldn't follow.
Apparently with Christmas done, Santa wore different clothes.
Ragnok approached the boy, and the wizard perforce ended the levitation spell.
"Are you Harry Potter?" The goblin asked.
Harry bowed politely. He had all of the panache of a boy that spent his waking hours chasing chickens and playing in the dirt with his toys.
"That is what I am called in Britain sir. I am Little Wolf at home until I find my true name."
"Little Wolf. I see. Do you like it at your relatives?"
The boy took off the cloak. The headmaster started to grab it, but the goblin was quicker, folding it over his arm. The lad's short-sleeved shirt revealed purple and black bruises and one arm that looked as if it had been broken and healed badly.
"Um sir? If you mean the place where I have been locked in a closet? If they are my family, they don't treat me like it. They use words that mommy says are bad, and hurt me, and haven't fed me much. And I've been so cold here. I want my daddy!" The boy was trying very hard not to cry.
Ragnok looked at the lad. Goblins appreciated warriors, and this boy had killed one and seriously injured another death eater, and had done so with a bladed weapon. The lad had rescued his daughter on her bonding day. He knew bravery, and from the sounds of it, this child-mage had just endured two weeks of torture and hadn't broken. Good lad.
Ragnok needed to get him away from the other wizard carefully, or the goblins would start a new war.
"Come with me Little Wolf to the bank counter. Everything we need is there."
Ragnok was using his hands to position his people and get them ready.
It was a good day for one wizard to die.
It had taken time. Kreature knew exactly where Harry was. There was confusion at the Black London house though as elves from many families kept popping it with that information. Over and over again. It interfered with them getting ready to go.
Lord Black, in his new regalia as head of house, with Remus Lupin wearing robes that proclaimed him to be the Castellan of Lord Black, a position last filled sometime in the 1700's headed out to the bank.
Remus had several empty jars and vials ready, just in case.
They entered the bank together, but Lord Black did not come in unarmed. Following the rule of no wands wasn't a problem for him.
He carried his battle-staff. He had fought side-by-side with James facing down Voldemort and his deathmunchers with it. He would face the current up-and-coming dark lord with it.
Unseen by the humans, Kreature also followed. He wanted to pop in immediately but had his orders. He hadn't been ordered to stay at home though, just out of the way.
Elves had gotten very sneaky about obeying orders. And he was the sneakiest.
Lord Black's power flared behind him as a cloak, and Remus' dark expression at seeing the headmaster in the bank near his son caused his magic to flare as well.
Griplock was furious with wizards in general. He estimated that his axe was reduced in weight by a good six minibars. He would have to practice and practice to get used to the difference. She didn't account for the chicken pooping did she, evil witch!
He had been waiting for his chance at the headmaster, and when the order was given, the warlock would be the first human to be beheaded in Gringott's that year.
Trying to steal was a capital crime. Hurting a child would have been a capital crime, not that goblins had it on their books, as they didn't have that sort of issue. This man had kidnapped, stealing a child.
The goblin wanted to make sure that the wizards learned you didn't do this at Gringott's and get away with it.
And he had just the chicken, um, axe to do it. Wait, was that a feather on the grip?
"Headmaster Dumbledore, will you please come with me? I would like to, cough, speak with you outside of the bank." Lord Black's fury sounded through. He hadn't seen his godson yet, just the whiskered wanker who had dared to lay hands on his family.
"I can't do that right now, Sirius. I have important business at the bank. And then I must get this young man back home." Albus' hand came to rest on the boy's shoulder that had been behind him.
Albus forgot that glamours were dispersed when entering Gringott's or he wouldn't have brought so much attention on the lad.
Sirius hadn't seen him, but Remus had smelled his son's scent upon entering. Seeing the walking pile of future potion ingredients touch his son caused his magic to flare more.
But Harry's eyes had been on the teller and the dagger used to cut his finger. He was standing on a step-stool provided that helped him reach the high counter. Turning when he heard familiar voices, he saw two of the men that he knew loved him. And he loved back. But one was special. One was his.
Harry tried to surge forward to get to his adoptive father. Albus knew that if he lost the boy now it would be nearly impossible to get him back. He tried to summon the invisibility cloak, but the goblin must have locked it down. Swearing under his breath, he kept a death grip on the boy's wounded arm that kept him cowed but screeching in pain.
The goblins didn't like that one bit. The one nearest to him had his weapon drawn so the mage drew his own wand.
Harry knew tactics. He was the son of a Special Forces auror, the godson of a hit-wizard, and was being raised with warriors as part of his normal life. He recognized that with a wand, bad Santa would have the advantage. Time to take that away.
Just as he had been taught, he summoned the man's wand. The wand seemed to want to go to him. When it reached Harry's hand, it glowed golden, and golden sparks flew from the tips. The wand was carved and had a cute triangle circle design that Harry knew he had seen somewhere else. He couldn't think where. He quickly put the wand in his pocket as the wizard just looked at him in horror.
"Do you realize what you have done?"
"Yeah. You wanted to hurt my friends." Harry pointed to Griplock. "No one hurts my friends."
The boy then did what he had wanted to do since he first saw him. He ran and jumped into the arms of his daddy.
Ragnok grinned at that. In a single and swift move the boy had not only saved the life of one goblin, but possibly prevented a war. And now here was a reunion that would have melted sterner hearts than his.
Just then, Albus Dumbledore went to the bank floor screaming in pain. He was reacting as though he was being beaten, but no one could see anything. The wizard was begging the boy to stop it. Harry looked around. He was currently in his father's arms, holding onto him with a death-grip. He looked over to the man on the floor that was having his nose rebroken for him in a most painful way.
The boy grinned at his dad, and looked at his confused dogfather.
"Does anybody have anything to eat? They starved me, Padfoot! I wanna go home."
Sirius checked his pockets. He still had the puppy chow, but that was it.
"Sorry, I have treats here for your dad, but not for you. Come on, let's call Kreature, and go home."
Harry looked over. The goblins were placing bets on blood-loss and time of death and other such things that his mother would never would have let him hear. His male family was much cooler about stuff like that.
"Paddy, he's busy right now. Come on. Even I can open a can and make soup."
Confused, the marauder shook his head, but gave in to the boy's request.
Harry stopped them from leaving. Seeing that the man wasn't going to be hurting anyone, he put the man's wand inside his robe pocket. It took working fingers to hold that, so he wouldn't be doing that anytime soon.
"You're mean, bad Santa. Don't come to my house, and stay away from my sister. You come near me again and you won't like what happens!"
Harry never said his attack plan was to deploy the house-elf on him again. Never give the enemy advance information. Basic tactics.
The family left the bank, after several interruptions. They received the cloak with great thanks. Both marauders recognized it as belonging to James. They then were stopped and told that as Harry had declared the goblins to be friends, that he too was recognized as a goblin friend. And would be world-wide.
The two men nodded thanks. It would take Flowering Meadow to explain what a big deal that was to them. Not many wizards were counted as goblin friends.
They were stopped a third time to be told that Harry was receiving a gift, and Remus gave whispered details on how that could be delivered.
Goblins were always discrete. They could be trusted to keep a secret.
Finally, the family made it out of the bank, Harry still nibbling on the slightly spicy trail mix that he had been given. Finding out that it had dried worm bits in it had caused the two marauders to nearly urp on the clean bank floor, and made the five year old boy grin with glee.
He begged to be allowed to buy some to bring to his mom and sister. Well, not that she could eat it yet, but he looked forward to feeding it to her someday. Imagine her face when she found out that she was eating worms! It was going to be epic.
Back at the bank, the show ended too soon. Much to the disappointment of the goblins, the wizard never did expire. A tall dark drab man had shown up to escort him back to the castle. The wizard left telling his potions master about the obviously false story of how Harry had wandlessly beat him to a pulp. The young man rolled his eyes.
Severus felt so guilty not doing more. Listening to the man cry over his lost wand that was in his pocket and suffering from the wandless attack of a five year old made the potions master wonder if the great man had lost it.
He recommended several extra diagnostics upon their entry to the castle's infirmary.
For the next several weeks, the headmaster experienced the worse luck of his life. He would misplace books. He lost his reading glasses. Twice. He suffered unexpected trips and tumbles. Magic saved him from what would have been near fatal accidents more than once.
He had made the mistake of pissing off not only the goblins, but worse. The house-elves.
At Grimmauld Place, Harry turned to his favorite elf in the whole world.
"Kreature, I'm kinda scared of bad Santa. Thanks. You know, for what you did."
"Kreature bad elf, not coming when young master called." The elf looked so sad and ashamed.
"That Santa had put whatchamacallits on the house. It wasn't your fault. Really."
Kreature just looked at him. He had already begged and received forgiveness, but the elf really needed to hear it again. The goblins had insisted on healing Harry, and were going to be sending him some kind of gift to his home. Everyone seemed to be feeling guilty about what the lad had gone through except for the wizard that had caused all of it.
"Goblins don't celebrate Christmas, do they?" he asked Kreature.
"They has a sacred holiday about their Creator, but it doesn't have trees or decorations or gifts."
"Definitely no Santa." The elf confirmed.
"Good. Then they are safe. Now to spread the word to the elves. We have to get them to stop helping bad Santa." The boy nodded seriously.
Kreature smiled. If the lad only knew.
Grentasha had been summoned to her nephew's office. Her arms had three long gashes on each side. He frowned. That human had much to answer for and unless things changed the goblins were powerless to act.
It had been wonderful watching that crazed elf mete out justice though. Memories of that event were selling very well.
"Family is everything. I will not have you punishing yourself for the sins of a wizard."
"My bond-mate is dead. My youngson was killed by death-eaters running an errand for the bank. I owe that child so much. He is powerful, he somehow defeated the dark lord, and I saw him defeat not one but two death-eaters on his own. Most wizards at the sight of those creatures do nothing beside lose bowel control.
"And what did I do in thanks? Give him my vaults? That would have been good. Offer him training, armor, aid? That would have been good as well. No, I offer him up, a suckling pig with the candied apple in his mouth."
"You are an honorable woman. I have a suggestion for you. You helped train many a young whelp. I want you to go to his home. Harry Potter, no Little Wolf is a friend of our nation. Teach him what you can. Teach him our language and customs. Teach him all the ways to fight. He already shows more skill with a blade than most wizards learn in their lifetime. You can teach him more. Be there to be an extra set of eyes, and watch over his family. He has a sister coming, did you know? That would be the honorable path for you now."
"I insist that my own gold, what is left, go to him. I will keep only enough for my basic needs."
"As you wish. You are always welcome in my home." Ragnok was asking not commanding. She had a choice, but she was grateful for the opportunity to make up what to her was an unforgiveable action.
"Thank you, nephew. I will write often, and keep you appraised."
"I think that we will be seeing that young boy again. He has the seers talking."
The older woman muttered something about people who saw never being able to stop talking.
"Will you send me dragon steak once in a while?" she asked, the impact on her new life beginning to dawn on her.
"I can, but the boy's adoptive father works as one of the care-takers of the preserve. Did you know that werewolves prefer their dragon steak bloody-rare?"
The woman gave a feral grin to the young man who led the goblin nation. Maybe this was going to work out after all. With barrels of grintak, the spicy snack that the boy liked so much, a few changes of clothes, and several sets of armor, the woman set out for unknown lands.
Her life would not be the same again.
There was only one problem that Grentasha ran into and not a major one. Harry couldn't say her name.
"Come on Greta, you gotta see this!
Flowering Meadow's normally perfect hair was a disaster. Her face was sweaty and her gown was not what anyone would call fashionable. None of that mattered to the little family however. Harry had been sent to find the newest member of their house and bring her to meet the baby.
As they all admired the newest witch of the council, Harry felt a sense of wonder and awe. He solemnly tried to give his sister the stuffed Pegasus that he had bought for her. He thought that she was very special. He even thought that he might not feed her worms when she was older.
Unless she deserved it.
Greta had tears in her eyes. Her son had not lived to adulthood, and not had the chance to father children. She had only had the one. She felt the sense of awe and wonder too, a connection to this family and this little witch.
She would do what she could to help them all.
The then-pregnant woman had accepted the goblin into her home. Accepting the money from the vault was difficult, but the council would make sure that the older goblin woman was provided for if anything ever happened to her and Remus.
She had shown Greta the jar that had the representative coins in it meant to make money understandable to children. She then showed it to Harry, and said that they had saved enough for more land, and a nice piece was added due to the goblins generosity. Quarterly dividends were treated the same. Harry's inheritance, wisely invested, was making great gains. Remus and Flowering Meadow had decided that land was the best stable investment to make from those proceeds.
Harry was disappointed to learn in later days that his egg money hadn't really bought any land. It was like Santa Claus all over again, except that the real Santa was mean and scary.
Upon his return to the States, Remus contacted his friends in the wolf squad where he worked, and they reinforced all of the wards around the house, checked the wards at the school, and added several layers of alarms around. If that man got anywhere near them out here, in lands not under the ICW, he wouldn't survive the experience.
Greta saw the boy flinch every time he saw an image of Santa and came up with a plan.
In the practice field behind the house where the aurors went to spar, she set up row after row of ceramic Santas of all shapes and sizes. She had to make tall skinny ones herself, the other kinds were easy to find. She would transfigure them to the right size full of fluffy material for her student. Much better than moping.
After several weeks of various kinds of martial arts moves taking out Santa in all sorts of ways, Harry was starting to overcome his experience in Britain. He had trouble believing that the man that had attacked him wasn't the real Santa. He was dubious. But he was happier.
He munched on his favorite spicy snack, and wrote a letter to Kreature. He missed that elf. He had another idea to prank Padfoot, and hoped that it went as well as the last one.
They had really gotten Lord Black with the puppy chow!