Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. Much of the Goblin lore is not canon and I claim creative license for OC, AU, and made-up magic.
~*Fast-forward to mid-summer post WDB4HC since this is the sequel*~
Ch. I: Indebted to a Goblin Friend
Harry walked with the Weasleys in Diagon Alley. Normally, Mrs. Weasley would do the shopping herself. However, she conceded to the twins' request of window shopping at Zonko's Joke Shop―provided everyone stick together.
Harry was only half-listening to the chatter around him when he heard a low curse.
Turning toward the sound, he saw a leering man make way toward Knockturn Alley as his friends helped disguise a kicking bundle. Harry's eyes narrowed suspiciously. He glanced at his friends and carefully stepped behind another family. It was a skill of long-born practice and patience in evasion when living with the Dursleys. Especially, if they took Dudley and his goons―eventually Dudley would get bored and embark on 'Harry Hunting' to entertain him.
The child followed the seedy men as the squirming thing gagged again. The leering man backhanded it and Harry heard a distinct whimper making him angry.
Without conscious thought, the boy removed his shoe and chucked it at the man's hands, forcing him to drop the package.
"Bloody hell!" The man cried. The bundle quickly rolled and a fierce, angry, bound Goblin child appeared. Harry immediately ducked as the man's friends swore and tried to grab Harry. He kneed one in the groin and hissed in pain as another backhanded him. Harry rolled and quickly grabbed the Goblin child and tore off the gag and flung it at the older wizard's mouth, choking him. The wizards drew their wands and Harry ducked again avoiding hexes carrying her beneath his arm.
The wizards surrounded Harry and his charge. His eyes glowed brightly as he spotted a few smooth snakes in the corner.
«Help usss pleassse!» Harry hissed in Parseltongue.
The snakes reared and hissed an affirmative striking at ankles. The wizards howled and swore running into Knockturn Alley. It did not occur to them Harry had spoken Parseltongue.
«Thank you ssso much!» Harry hissed.
«We will alwaysss ssserve a Ssspeaker.» One of them hissed as they slithered away.
Harry turned toward the Goblin child and gently tugged the bounds noticing it was ironclad. Only then did Harry realize the gender as a Gobliness based on her pale blue dress and matching nappies.
"Are you alright?" Harry asked kindly. "My name's Harry." He offered the little girl. She stared at him with large, intelligent black eyes. Harry tore off his pant legs at the ankles and put them under her wrists. He left his shoe behind. Harry decided it was not worth trekking into the seedy alleyway to retrieve it.
"I know where Gringotts is." Harry continued before brightening. "Do you know a Goblin named Griphook?" The Gobliness carefully reached for Harry. Smiling, the boy lifted her.
"He's the only Goblin I know." Harry said as if she were conversant. Harry rambled about going to Diagon Alley and the Weasleys, Healer Thaxton, and how she could do both Goblin and wizard's magic.
Several witches and wizards gasped, gaped and exclaimed as Harry carried the Gobliness toward Gringotts. Harry did not understand what the fuss was about or why no one offered to help them. He scowled, disappointed in his species. He wondered why everyone ignored those three wizards as they carted a toddler in a bag.
Harry trudged up the marble stairs of the Bank. He noticed the atmosphere was tense and fierce.
"Excuse me sir," Harry asked politely. "Will you direct us to Mr. Griphook?" The Gobliness blinked and nestled into Harry's neck. "She really needs help with her hands. The iron's cutting her."
"We―." The Goblin guard began to issue a standard dismissive response until he saw the Gobliness. He snarled and pointed his spear at Harry's face along with several other weapons in Harry's direction.
The Gobliness hurriedly said something in Gobbledygook while clinging to Harry. The boy felt very small and afraid.
"Harry!" Ron yelled, pale under his freckles. The Weasleys and Hermione looked harried (A/N: no pun intended) as they arrived a few minutes before, thinking Harry may have gone to the Bank after getting lost.
The Bank silenced. Wizardkind and Goblins tensed as the baby Gobliness continued speaking hurriedly. Griphook was ushered in and stared at the young wizard before giving a sharp whistle.
"Official Goblin business. Everyone will please exit the bank. We are closing for one hour." Griphook commanded as several Goblin guards immediately ushered patrons.
"Wait! We're here with Harry―!" Mrs. Weasley shouted.
"Is that so, Mr. Potter?" Griphook queried.
"Yes, Mr. Griphook sir." Harry said quickly. "I got lost and―."
"Weasley party will wait in the Pearl Room." Griphook interrupted. "Mr. Potter, you will follow me please."
Gulping, the boy obeyed mindful of the Goblin warriors flanking him. The Gobliness cooed in Harry's ear, easing the boy somewhat.
At least I'm not completely alone. He thought tensely.
Harry was led to a hallway covered with crystals and other precious stones Harry did not know as Griphook murmured something in Gobbledygook.
"We found Lady Fangscales, Director Ragnok." Griphook announced.
Lady? Harry wondered.
The Director of the Goblin Nation lowered a seal of enchantments and rushed toward Griphook.
"Where?" He demanded. Harry instantly knew this particular Goblin was not someone to cross.
The Gobliness squealed and reached toward the Director and Harry carefully disengaged her, and handed the toddler to him.
The Director looked murderously at Fangscales' wrists and snapped his fingers as the iron melted from her hands. She continued to jabber in Gobbledygook as Harry awaited nervously.
"Sit down, Mr. Potter, and explain to me exactly what transpired." Director Ragnok commanded in a low voice.
Harry complied at the armchair in front of the large desk and did his best to ignore the Goblin entourage.
"There were these three―these three bullies, sir." Harry stammered. "I noticed a bag kicking…it didn't feel right." Harry took a deep breath. "I shouldn't've left the Weasleys but if I asked for help they'd be gone…I chucked my shoe at one of them and he dropped the bag." Harry grimaced. "I'm sorry about that." Harry said sincerely to Fangscales. He felt very self-conscious with one shoe on since these are his only pair of shoes. Harry hid his foot behind his other sneaker, knowing full well the Goblins noticed every detail.
"We fought and were surrounded but I saw some snakes and asked for help. They bit them on the ankles." Harry said. "And then we made our way here to see Mr. Griphook."
"Why Griphook?" The Director demanded, watching Harry carefully.
"Oh," Harry replied, blinking. "he's the only Goblin I know. I met him with Hagrid last year for the first time―and well," Harry shrugged. "I figured she'd know him and know I meant her no harm if I did what I said and took her to someone who'd take her home to her parents."
"Why would you help a Goblin?" Ragnok persisted. Harry felt wary interest from the Goblin entourage making him shrink slightly in his chair.
"What difference does it make?" Harry retorted, his eyes flashing. "All bullies deserve to rot! How could no one see they were bad people?" Harry clenched his teeth and his eyes began to glow. "They hurt her." Harry said angrily. His eyes pricked with tears at the injustice and the memory of her whimper.
Fangscales cooed again and reached for Harry from Ragnok's arms, surprising him. He looked at her then warily at the Director who calmly passed the Gobliness toward Harry. She tried to take Harry's glasses but Harry gently redirected her hands.
"Hey there," Harry said gently. "trust me. You don't want these." Harry tilted his head. "You're going to be alright. I'm really sorry that git hurt you at all." Harry said chagrined. "Most two-leggers are bullies. But not all of us are bad. Just take the Weasleys, Healer Thaxton and Professor Flitwick for example."
"Lacie Thaxton?" The Director asked sharply making Harry jump, forgetting their audience for a moment.
"Yes sir." Harry said quietly. "She's really nice. I met her a few weeks ago. She helped me with my headache."
At this, the Goblins shared disbelieving looks. It was a curious coincidence that a Goblin-trained healer would help anyone for something so insignificant as a headache.
Goblins did not believe in coincidences. This would be investigated.
"Mr. Potter," The Director began solemnly. "what is it you want for a reward?"
Harry started. His mind and heart immediately thought of Sirius and Sirius' freedom enabling him to adopt Harry away from his cruel relatives was his deepest desire. But no one could help him attain that. Fangscales' black eyes sparkled as she listened attentively.
Harry frowned. "With all due respect sir." Harry said carefully. "I didn't help Fangscales because I want something. I just want her to be home safe with her―with her parents."
He really hoped he had not committed any faux pas with Goblin-Wizarding relations or ruined his relations with the wizarding bank.
The Gobliness leaned closer to Harry's heart. It was a heavily guarded secret about Goblin children. They were living pensieves and truthspeakers. It is a secret because Goblin children are rarely born and could only maintain this ability until puberty.
The Goblins could imagine all sorts of horrid situations to their children from their enemies and had always guarded them with the utmost care.
Harry's heart pounded as his shoulders sank. He had had a blissful 15 minutes of a family. His godfather, Sirius Orion Black, rode bareback on Buckbeak the Hippogriff. His parting words and sincere smile embedded in his mind's eye as Sirius promised he would find a way for them to live together.
Juxtapose that bittersweet memory against his awful Muggle relations to the forefront caused a deep, internal shudder from Harry.
Perhaps. Harry thought sadly. I can never be with him…but he's alive and that's better than Lily and James. At least Fangscales has her family. She's wanted and if her parents are alive and well then that's all that really matters.
Fangscales cooed at Harry and hugged him closer, calming him slightly in the comfort of another child before straightening. Emerald eyes warily watching the Goblins.
There was a pregnant pause.
The Goblins observed Fangscales' reaction and Ragnok rolled his shoulders. He was about to do something that had not been done in any living Goblin's memory.
"Mr. Potter," Director Ragnok began formally. "I would like to extend an offer of friendship for services to both the Goblin Nation―and to me personally as a grandfather."
Harry had enough of an inkling to gather that this is a momentous occasion.
"I'd like that very much, Director Ragnok." Harry smiled down at Fangscales' bright black eyes. "Would you be my friend, too? I can teach you Gobstones and hide-and-go-seek as well." Harry offered, his emerald eyes softening.
Fangscales grinned at him showing needle-sharp fangs and said something in Gobbledygook.
"I haven't the faintest idea what you just said but I'll take that as a yes." Harry replied, covering his shock at her fearsome Goblin's grin. Blimey. Harry thought. I hope you bit that bully. The Gobliness looked at him smugly as if to answer his thoughts before nestling into him again.
The room exhaled a relieved sigh from the Goblins present. The action had been witnessed and the Bank's registry updated Harry James Potter as Goblin Friend. The whole bank would know within the hour.
"I imagine a nap is in order for the young blood biter." Griphook said diplomatically. "While Mr. Potter should accompany us to see his friends."
Harry relinquished Fangscales to the Director and said a soft farewell as he departed unafraid with the Goblin warriors.
They walked into the Pearl Room where anxious redheads turned as one when the door opened.
"We will leave you, Vlatifahn Potter." Griphook announced. "It has been an hour and we must reopen the Bank."
"Of course Mr. Griphook." Harry said politely, before frowning. "I'm sorry for inconven―."
The Goblin grinned at him. "Oh not to worry, Vlatifahn Potter." He eyed Harry speculatively. "Business as usual. There was a strong Memory Charm in the entryway―and it's lunchtime. No one will think on it."
Griphook turned to the eldest Weasley son. "You are sworn to secrecy per your employment contract." He said firmly. "You must sign a magical contract as will everyone present before leaving the Bank." Griphook gave a short bow and quietly exited, along with the Goblin Guard, the luxurious pearlescent waiting room filled with settees, tea and crumpets and fine Goblin craftsmanship.
"What does Vlatifahn mean?" Harry wondered aloud as the Goblins left but received no answer.
Instead, a bushy brunette tackled him with a fierce hug. "Harry! What happened? One minute you were there and the next you disappeared?! And who was that child in your arms―?!" She demanded.
"I think we'd all want to know the answers to those questions." Mrs. Weasley said firmly as more tea appeared.
Harry was ushered into a seat and everyone listened in rapt attention as Harry retold the tale―skipping how he escaped, of course.
Ron gaped at Harry. "You―you offered to teach a baby Gobliness how to play Gobstones? And hide-and-go-seek?" Ron sputtered between hysterical bouts of laughter.
Harry flushed. "Well of course I did!" Harry snapped, embarrassed but unsure as to why. "That's what we do―and we're friends." Everyone stared at Harry aghast. Even the Twins were uncharacteristically silent.
"Harry," Bill Weasley said, awed. "Vlatifahn is Gobbledygook for 'Our Esteemed Friend.'" He gulped. "The Goblins haven't given an honor like that to anyone outside of the Goblin Nation since the 1100s." He said. "Certainly not to a wizard." Bill sobered. "Harry, you could have asked for literally anything and everything and the Goblins would've had to pay….and you refused it?"
"You could've had riches!" Ron yelped.
"Ronald!" Mrs. Weasley said sharply.
"Well yes, I hate bullies. And I…well I just don't see what the big deal is?" Harry asked uncertainly getting defensive. "I mean she's safe with her family, right? That's worth more than all the gold in Gringotts." Harry said awkwardly shrugging.
"You're absolutely right young man," Mrs. Weasley said authoritatively as she reflected on her own daughter's endangerment the previous year. "We really must go home―all this excitement I tell you. Billy dear, you must come by and visit―oh Harry dear, you've never met Bill have you?"
"No," Harry said shyly as Bill surveyed him. "But Ron's told me loads about you…I'm Harry, Harry Potter." He struck his small hand in a proffered shake.
"Bill Weasley." Bill smirked. "As I have on you Harry. I'm sure I'll be seeing you around soon." He turned to his family. "Everyone needs to sign this before you can go." He gestured toward some contract with several quills behind them on a table.
Harry blushed. Bill was just so…so cool and self-confident. Ron's so very lucky. He thought wistfully.
The company left chattering away and several requests were made on what Mrs. Weasley would make for lunch. As Harry exited a matching shoe settled on Harry's foot and his torn pants repaired themselves.
Every Goblin in the bank lobby glanced their way before returning to their tasks. The Goblin Guards doffed their hats to Harry. The child smiled shyly before the Weasleys, Harry and Hermione headed toward the Leaky Cauldron to Floo to The Burrow.
Meanwhile, Director Ragnok looked at his granddaughter sternly.
«Explain yourself.» Ragnok asked in Gobbledygook.
«I slipped away from Nurse Papa Nocky―I'm sorry. I accidentally got too close to a wizard and he―he bagged me.» Fangscales answered.
The Gobliness showed her memory to her grandfather placing her little hand on his forehead while also projecting her memory within a pensieve for the guards showing them how the wizards could bag her in plain sight from something Borkin & Burkes sold. The wizards used some sort of special spell they placed on her and walked passed the guards. She could not tell what happened; but she heard the skirmish. She witnessed the young wizard bravely fight using snakes to come to their rescue.
Director Ragnok carefully studied the wizards' faces.
«Lockjaw.» He commanded his captain. «Discover these wizards' identities and empty their vaults. Get Flameclaw to press charges for child kidnapping, child endangerment and assault.»
«At once, Director.» Lockjaw said brusquely before leaving.
«What else is on your mind, kitling?» Ragnok asked as he held his precious granddaughter. Her foxlike features tensely drawn.
«Vlatifahn Harry…I must show you.» She transferred her intake of Harry's memories, thoughts and emotions.
Ragnok paused for a long moment.
«Ragemark.» Ragnok said softly. «Set up a meeting with Healer Lacie Fistbiter Thaxton―tell her it's about Vlatifahn Potter and Sirius Black.»