Harry Crow

What will happen when a goblin-raised Harry arrives at Hogwarts. A Harry who has received training, already knows the prophecy and has no scar. With the backing of the goblin nation and Hogwarts herself. Complete.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8186071/1/Harry-Crow

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10. A Goblin Response

Amelia Bones wasn't happy that she had been blocked from administering veritaserum to Lucius Malfoy, and had been neither slow nor quiet when voicing this displeasure to the minister. Her rage was somewhat sated on discovering Cornelius' reasoning - or should that be Dumbledore's?

That the minister actually had a contingency plan was a shock. This initial shock though was no where near the intensity of the one she received when being informed that her department was basically going to be brought up to a war footing. There would be a heavy recruitment programme that would see auror numbers swell by over fifty percent in the next three years.

Amelia was prepared to trade-off delaying justice to a thoroughly defanged Malfoy for an auror department that had some real teeth. She didn't tell the blond ponce this, Amelia didn't tell Malfoy anything - rather just left him in a cell to sweat. She could legally hold him for one more day but Thursday was the deadline, Amelia was taking great pleasure in keeping him locked up for every available minute she could.

Today saw her back at Hogwarts. She was interviewing Harry Crow in the presence of his head of house. Amelia was determined to get as much information as possible from the young man before her meeting with Dumbledore. The more the head of the DMLE wrote down, the angrier she was becoming. It was obvious Dumbledore had known Voldemort wasn't gone for good, why else would he set a trap for the dark lord? That he had used Hogwarts as a location for this trap had Amelia wanting to slap the old fool silly. Was it any wonder the Hogwarts ghosts were telling him he was on his last warning.

Harry was just explaining what happened in the infirmary when the Bloody Baron passed through the wall. "Young Champion, your friends require aid..."

Amelia watched amazed as the ghost hadn't even finished speaking yet Harry was heading out the door. She and Filius shot out after him but the younger and much fitter Harry was already opening up a gap. Both followed as quickly as they could while the castle's portraits and ghosts led their champion where he needed to go.

-oOoOo-

Padma was beside Hermione as both girls were rinsing their hands in the washbasins. She noticed in the mirror that the large toilet was now filling up behind them and her heart sank. Neville had gone ahead to the great hall and Harry was at a meeting with Madam Bones, this group had judged their approach perfectly. She counted nine of them, all older than her and Hermione, before the group's 'leader' decided to speak.

"Granger, we want a word with you."

Hermione turned around and was confronted with nine older girls glaring at her. They were mostly Slytherins but she was sorry to see a couple of Hufflepuffs mixed in there too, the sole Ravenclaw was particularly painful. The entire situation brought up some particularly unpleasant memories of her primary school, memories that Hermione thought she was finished with.

"Yes, what can I do for you?"

"You can stay well away from Potter, that bloodline doesn't need another mudblood in it."

Hermione's insides were like jelly but she wasn't about to let that show, she'd learned this just from being around Harry. "Well, that shouldn't be a problem - since I don't know anyone called Potter."

"Don't get smart with us Granger, you know fine well who we're talking about. It took us nearly three days to catch you more than six inches away from him. That's going to change, if you know what's good for you."

Hermione may have been shaking inside yet the young witch was determined she wouldn't let them see any tears. She certainly took their threat seriously but there was no way Hermione could comply with their demands. She was already sure not being Harry's best friend would be far more painful than anything they could do to her. "Oh I know what's good for me, that's why I have no intention of moving from Harry's side."

Padma tried to butt in, knowing Hermione wouldn't back down on this. "Have you any idea what Harry will do when he hears about this? You lot have just bought yourselves more trouble than you can possibly imagine."

"Shut it Patil, no one will be saying anything to Potter."

"Yeah, we haven't forgotten your sister's blatant attempt to get off with him either. Batting those eyelashes while offering up a life debt, the Potter bloodline doesn't need tainted with your lot either."

Hermione couldn't just stand there and ignore the racist comment against both her friends. "Wouldn't that be Harry's decision?"

The lone Ravenclaw in the group then decided to make herself heard. "Listen Granger, once you break up with him, a proper pureblood witch will step in and console the boy-who-lived."

The very thought of having to sit back and watch Harry with another girl hardened Hermione's conviction. "Never going to happen, I will be at Harry's side for as long as he wants me to be."

"Looks like we'll have to do this the hard way girls. Let's make sure our Harry never wants to go near the bitch ever again."

Hermione felt herself being hit by two curses to her face before Padma move to offer some protection. This resulted in her friend getting cursed too. There was then a loud animalistic roar before everything went to hell in a hand basket.

Harry burst straight into the girls toilet and quickly took action. There was no 'what's going on here?' - his training had taught him you didn't waste time on such niceties. There were nine enemies crowded around Padma and Hermione, all appeared older than his friends and had their wands out. Both his friends had already taken some hits and Padma had clearly jumped in front of Hermione to offer some protection. Harry let out a roar as his knife went to work.

The nine girls thought they couldn't lose, they were only up against two firsties. Suddenly there was a devil amongst them, a devil that punched, kicked and sliced his way through them in seconds. Screams of pain and shock were heard as wands and bodies hit the floor. By the time Filius and Amelia got there, eight of the girls were on the floor. Most had been physically struck on some part of their body but all had either the back of their hand slashed open or their wand cut right through. Harry currently had the large Slytherin girl who'd been at the front of the confrontation pinned against the wall, with his blade poised at her left eyeball. The girl had blood dripping from her wounded hand, and liquid of a different colour pooling between her feet. The Slytherin had somewhat understandably wet herself from fright.

"Tell me why and make it good. Otherwise, I'm taking this eye in payment."

The girl was now sobbing in terror and clearly incapable of speech, Amelia had her wand out and was about to intervene when the two victims beat her to it.

Hermione was incapable of speech at the moment but her gentle hand on Harry's shoulder grabbed his attention. The sheer ferocity behind the stinging hex had left Hermione practically unrecognisable while her two front teeth were now about six inches long - and still growing.

Padma's face was covered in painful-looking boils but she was left to do the talking. "They wanted Hermione to stop being friends with you Harry. When she said that was never going to happen, they started firing curses. Apparently, Hermione and I are not the right sort of friends you should have."

Harry's temper seemed to spike at this news and the Slytherin girl's eyes rolled back in her head as her legs gave way. He let her slump to the wet toilet floor in a dead faint, now far more concerned with the condition of his friends.

Amelia and Filius watched on as the anger dissipate from the young Ravenclaw, that Harry's anger was replaced by tenderness and compassion was so at odds with the carnage he'd just wreaked. That the evidence of said carnage was scattered all about them just made the gentle emotions now on display all the more pronounced.

"You told nine of them never?"

Hermione could barely nod her head but she managed to get her point across. Harry sheathed his knife and offered her his arm. "My lady?"

She wasn't physically able to smile at the moment but inside Hermione was extremely happy as she took Harry's arm. To her mind, this was easily worth all the pain she was currently suffering. He offered his other arm to Padma before facing the two adults who had stopped at the doorway. "Master Flitwick, I'm taking my friends to the infirmary. I will be there if anyone requires to speak with me. I give everyone fair warning though, should anything like this ever be repeated, I will not be so lenient again."

The girls on the floor quickly crawled out their way to create a clear path for the trio to leave, they were all desperate to see the back of Harry Crow.

Filius sent a patronus message to the great hall, he wanted the other heads of house and the headmaster to see this. The sight of the third year Ravenclaw on the floor was particularly distasteful for her head of house. Filius was left to wonder if it was coincidence Miss Chambers appeared to have been hit the worst. The girl had a bruise forming on her cheek with a black eye sure to follow, she was nursing her bleeding right hand while staring at a severed wand on the floor.

Amelia was staring at the devastation wrought here, knowing Harry could have arrived at the very most half a minute before they did. "He didn't care that they were girls, Crow just went right trough them."

"When someone holds a weapon on you Madam Bones, it makes no difference if they are male or female. For Master Sharpshard to even consider teaching the lad, he must be exceptional with a blade. To be honest, I would have struggled to accomplish this in the time he had available. There is not an injury here that Poppy won't be able to fix within ten minutes, the memory of what Mr Crow was able to do will last a lot longer than the pain."

The senior staff were soon on site with Pomona's keen eyes quickly picking out the two Hufflepuffs involved. "Only Mr Crow could cause this amount of damage. Let me guess, these girls took the Prophet article to heart and confronted Miss Granger? I'd heard whispers of something like this was being discussed but thought Hufflepuff had wisely decided to take Gryffindor's approach and give such nonsense a miss. What did they do to Miss Granger?"

Filius was impressed at Pomona's reasoning, he supplied the answers for the rest of the group. "Miss Granger took a stinging hex to the face as well as a densaugeo, it would appear disfigurement was their main objective here. Miss Patil also suffered furnunculus, whether she was deliberately targeted or trying to protect Miss Granger remains to be uncovered. Both young ladies left on Mr Crow's arm."

Minerva and Severus were casting episkey on the girls' hands to heal the cuts and stop the bleeding. The potions master was not a happy head of house. "This is what happens when you let a child carry a knife..."

Filius wasn't standing for that. "Yes, six Slytherin bullies with drawn wands get their arses kicked. Before you start raving about punishing Mr Crow, you should know it was the Bloody Baron himself that warned Harry his friends were under attack. Hogwarts then led him directly to this location. The castle appears to have taken a stand on this matter, to go against Hogwarts in this is not wise Severus." Filius now settled his gaze on the lone Ravenclaw present. "I can assure everyone here Miss Chambers will pay dearly for her part in this cowardly attack."

"As will my two Hufflepuffs, I can't express how ashamed I am of them."

Severus couldn't let it go though. "And what of Crow, is he to once more escape any form of punishment?"

She wasn't strictly speaking involved in this discussion but Amelia offered her opinion. "There were nine older girls here, all with the intention of doing Miss Granger harm. I would say Mr Crow's response was a measured one. None of these girls will require to spend the night in the infirmary, Miss Granger certainly would have needed to if Mr Crow hadn't acted so quickly."

"Amelia and I were less than a minute behind the lad but he'd already dealt with the situation by the time we got here. He did promise not to be so lenient if there was ever a repeat of this incident."

"But he sliced right through my wand, what am I going to tell my parents?"

"Don't worry about that Miss Chambers. You can be assured I'll be informing your parents of exactly what happened here today. For a Ravenclaw to be involved in bullying a younger member of our house is something I will never stand for, this incident will be used to remind all of Ravenclaw of that fact."

"Headmaster, surely you can see this boy needs to be reigned in before the next thing he kills isn't a troll - but another student."

Albus was well aware his tenure as headmaster was hanging by a thread. He had no intention of going against Hogwarts to soothe his potion master's sense of injustice. "I'm inclined to agree that Mr Crow's response was measured and appropriate. A wizard would have been casting stunners or body-binds. Mr Crow's methods may be different but certainly no less effective. I watched him use that blade on Lucius Malfoy, his speed and control is astonishing. He's attending Hogwarts as a goblin, I assume this is a goblin response to what was undeniably an attack on his friends?"

His question was aimed at Filius and the charms master didn't disappoint. "Actually headmaster, his reaction was a lot more measured than I feared. The goblin response would have been to ensure this could never happen again, I expected to see limbs on the floor."

The girls had been quietly crying but this comment introduced an element of wailing to their accumulated outpouring of self pity, none of the adults present thought this group would ever be going near Miss Granger again. They also thought that was Mr Crow's intention, word of this would spread throughout the castle before curfew. Who would dare attack Miss Granger when her protector had taken down nine older enemies to keep the young witch safe. When you factored in his killing of that troll to achieve the same result, and that the castle had not only warned but aided him today, Miss Granger should be one of the safest witches in the castle.

Minerva though was determined to have her way on this matter. That there were no Gryffindors amongst the attackers pleased her more than she could say but the deputy was determined to enforce discipline here. Severus was more inclined to punish Slytherin students for getting caught, that wouldn't be happening this time.

"Hogwarts already has a student under a week's suspension, and placed on probation for the rest of the school year. If I discover this attack was because of Miss Granger's blood status - and I'm almost sure that was the case - all of these girls will be receiving the same punishment. Albus, could you cover my classes for the rest of today? I will probably need to arrange nine home visits."

Severus appeared ready to have a fit but Pomona cut him off. "That seems fair..."

Filius had more to add though. "Miss Chambers will also see her Hogsmead privileges revoked and she can forget about trying out for the quidditch team this year. I find her bullying of two Ravenclaw first years despicable, I hope you will convey that to her parents Professor McGonagall?"

The girls were now sobbing inconsolably as they were herded up and shepherded toward the infirmary so Poppy could check the nine of them. Minerva wanted a word with the other three involved in this debacle so she headed there too. Albus tagged along, content he now had a genuine excuse to put his meeting with Amelia off again. The headmaster intended to avoid said meeting for as long as possible.

Severus didn't think he would be able to attend the infirmary without getting into an argument with Crow. Having heard what he did to Lucius, the potions professor rather wisely decided to head back down to his dungeon.

-oOoOo-

The only thing that travels faster than news inside the castle is speculation. Speculation was currently rife amongst the students, especially after seeing the senior staff rush from the great hall. So it was hardly surprising that Neville and Parvati arrived at the infirmary only moments after the Ravenclaw trio got there. Both Gryffindors had quickly noticed who was missing, and thought this was the best location to discover if anything had happened to their friends/family. Parvati was in tears seeing her twin's beautiful face in that condition. "I warned you they were after Hermione - how did this happen?"

This instantly got Harry's attention, Hermione was currently behind a privacy screen receiving treatment. Padma had her head down as she answered her twin. "We didn't know who, where or when so I decided not to worry Hermione, just stick close to her."

Harry reached for his friend's hand in an effort to get Padma to look at him. "That is the second time you've taken a curse meant for Hermione, though with this one you deliberately protected her. She can't say thank you at the moment so I'll say it for both of us."

"Am I going to have to get used to visiting my sister here if she hangs about with you Harry?"

Hearing the anger in her sister's voice, Padma cut in before Harry could answer. "That's why I'm getting extra lessons in defence from Professor Weasley - and you should see what Harry did to the girls who attacked us."

Parvati's eyes nearly bulged out at this - her sister was spending her time with the two hottest wizards in Hogwarts. She didn't get a chance to comment further on this though as both Parvati and Neville got an opportunity to see first hand what Harry had done to the attacking girls. The senior staff were leading the girls into the infirmary, it was hard to miss that every single one of them shied away from Harry.

Neville was amazed at the number of attackers his friends had faced, they just seemed to keep coming through the doors. Professor McGonagall entered along with the headmaster, her attention soon shifted from Dumbledore the instant she spotted Harry. "Mr Crow, a moment of your time please." All in the room knew this was not a request as the deputy headmistress led Harry back out the door.

She stopped in the empty corridor for a quiet word. "We find ourselves once more in this situation Mr Crow..."

"Only because people keep attacking my friends professor."

"I understand your concern and please trust me that every single one of those girls will be severely punished." She could see this had calmed Harry somewhat so Minerva continued with the discussion she'd pulled the lad out here for. "I have nothing but admiration for your willingness to protect your friends but do you remember the discussion we had the last time this happened? In this instance, you were sitting in a room with your head of house and the head of the DMLE. Do you doubt that either of them would have acted swiftly to protect your friends?"

Harry hadn't even thought about it. On discovering they needed help, he'd just blindly raced from the room. Even his training told him this was the wrong option to take, jumping into an unknown situation when he had very capable help right beside him. "No Professor, I trust both of them."

"Then you see why I once more must assign you detentions? Not for saving your friends - but because you had trusted adults on hand to take care of the situation for you."

"I understand Professor, you can't hammer the attackers and not punish me for breaking school rules too. It would leave you open to the charge of favouritism."

"I'm impressed you can see that Mr Crow, a certain other first year thought I was picking on him when handing out punishment. I feel in this case though, two nights with me working on transfiguration should be punishment enough."

Harry accepted this decision, knowing it was more a case of extra tuition rather than any form of punishment. Professor McGonagall confirmed this as she walked back into the infirmary with him. "I understand you might not want to leave your friends alone for a few days, they are of course welcome to accompany you on your detentions. I will arrange the times once I have dealt with these girls, they are going to keep me busy for now."

Filius was over in a flash. "Am I to understand Mr Crow has detention for his actions today?"

It was Harry who answered his head of house. "Sir, I earned my detentions. I should have let you deal with the problem and for that I apologise. I'm sure Professor McGonagall is also aware I would probably do exactly the same thing again, which is another reason I deserve my detentions."

Poppy was still dealing with Miss Granger so Minerva spoke with the injured Miss Patil to discover exactly what happened in that toilet. When the screen came back, Hermione gave Harry a nervous smile and he instantly spotted the difference.

"You had your front teeth made smaller than they were before?"

"Madam Pomfrey managed to cancel the stinging hex, then shrank my front teeth. She gave me a mirror and asked me to say when to stop, I've always been teased about my teeth being too large."

"Well I think those doing the teasing were either blind or stupid. Thank you for remaining my friend Hermione, that couldn't have been easy..."

"Harry, easiest decision I ever made. I intend to be your best friend for as long as you'll let me..."

Harry had her in a tight hug before she could say anymore. "Thanks Hermione, I'm so glad to here you say that - and to see you're okay."

"Padma jumped in front of me and then you arrived, otherwise it would have been a lot worse."

"Do these morons actually think attacking you is going to see us stop being best friends - that's just stupid!"

"So is them thinking they're better than Hermione because her parents are muggles. They can't pick on my blood status so the fact that the Patil family comes from India gets thrown in my face. Again, do they think I don't look into the mirror every morning? They are just bullies, using whatever words they need to justify their behaviour to themselves."

Hermione hugged a treated and once more boil-free Padma, "Thanks for sticking by me today, I never had friends who would do that before."

"I know you would do the same for me. Professor McGonagall has already heard what went on in that toilet, and Madam Pomfrey said we can leave. Shall we take Professor Weasley's advice and head for the great hall?"

Harry led the way with Hermione on his arm, Neville and the twins right behind them. All three Ravenclaws were wondering just what Roger would have to say about this.

-oOoOo-

Lucius had plenty to say when he finally got home, his four days in a ministry holding cell responsible for his rant. "I knew Fudge was a fucking idiot, but I thought he was at least our fucking idiot - bought and paid for. Cornelius won't get a job cleaning up owl shit at the post office by the time I've finished with him. As for that bitch Bones, her days are numbered. She'll be top of our master's list ..." Lucius then noticed his wife appeared distraught, far more than his few days in a cell warranted. This worried her husband as Narcissa was normally so aloof, emotions were for lesser beings. She nervously handed him a scroll.

The Gringotts seal on the scroll alerted the head of the Malfoy family this was serious but reading what it contained terrified Lucius more than that blade against his chest. "Those bastards are closing down our vaults because of that little shit? I better get right over there, it's going to take most of the twenty-four hours they've given us to get everything out."

His wife though had some really bad news for him. "Lucius, that was delivered on Tuesday. The twenty-four hours has long since past."

"WHAT! Didn't you tell them I couldn't come to the bank?"

"They said that was not their problem..."

"What about our contacts at the ministry, didn't you get in touch with any of them?"

"I tried everyone we know, I even went to Bones and begged her to let you out for a few hours - all I got were excuses, apologies or doors slammed in my face."

Lucius now found himself holding on to the nearest wall to keep him standing upright. "Did you manage to get anything out?"

Narcissa tried not to let her anger show, but didn't quite manage it. "You put a cap on how much I could withdraw from the Malfoy vaults - one hundred thousand."

He was now leaning on the wall. "That won't last us very long..."

"It won't last at all, since I don't have it. I offered it to Fudge to get you out. I'm facing charges of attempting to bribe the Minister of Magic and the money was confiscated as evidence."

Lucius had now slid down the wall and was sitting on the floor as the blows kept coming. "I managed to transfer money to Hogwarts and pay for all seven years of Draco"s education but, apart from taking my jewels, I was blocked from doing anything else. All we have left is the manor and its contents."

Just as he was thinking they had reached rock bottom, Lucius discovered there was more to come. "We also have a basket full of scrolls, every single one of them thanking us for our efforts but they no longer require us for their committee or board. Someone has really put the word out, just what the hell happened in Hogwarts on Monday?"

It was only now beginning to dawn on Lucius exactly what had happened in that classroom, he'd been trussed up and then stuffed better than any Christmas turkey. He swore vengeance on everyone involved in this conspiracy, especially Potter, Crow or whatever the little bastard called himself.

Lucius of course had contingency funds stashed where no one else could find them. Their lifestyle may take a downturn but they were a long way from being Weasley poor. The Malfoys' change in circumstances would certainly put a swift end to funding anyone else. Those associates who had become reliant on what was basically a handout were now going to have to look elsewhere.

-oOoOo-

The Ravenclaw trio were at breakfast and looking forward to their extra defence lessons over the next two days. Bill had discussed suitable times with Harry's father and both had thought the weekends would be best. Harry had received word from his father to say that the curse-breaker was now fully involved in their plans and could be totally trusted. With Bill now timetabled to be in the castle Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday - not forgetting Master Pitslay on a Friday - Harry felt a lot better about the Hogwarts situation.

That one of their own had been involved in attacking Padma and Hermione had put a strain on mealtimes at the Ravenclaw table. Most of the house knew Chambers was ambitious but all considered her actions to be a step too far. Hearing that there were advanced lessons on any subject available was always going to break through any awkward barriers amongst Ravenclaws. Harry had been politely deflecting requests to join them in these lessons all morning.

No one was getting too upset at being told these lessons were restricted to just the four of them, Padma's twin sister couldn't even bag a place - though most thought this was because her motives for wanting to attend clearly weren't purely academic ones.

Harry was already sharing his defence tutor with the rest of first year, the remainder of the school were stuck with study periods while the headmaster searched for a replacement. There were also another six first year claws sitting at the table with wide grins on their faces, Harry's potions tutor had allowed him to invite more of his friends to take his class. Every single person in three houses of Hogwarts understood those smiles, and wished they were wearing one just like it. Getting out of classes with Snape was certainly a good enough reason to smile.

Harry was unconsciously feeding Eargit a bit of his breakfast while reading the letter his beautiful snowy owl had just delivered. His father was passing on a warning that the Prophet had finally picked up on the very large hints that had been getting dropped on them for the last few days. Gringotts had even taken the most unusual stance of affording the newspaper a statement. Harry was chuckling to himself when Hermione asked him what was so funny. As he noticed the Prophet being delivered, Harry told is best friend that the entire hall would find out in the next few minutes.

The ministry had been conducting what amounted to a charm offensive on Harry and the goblins, passing on little details to the press like how the boy-who-lived was not only healthy from his years at Gringots - but incredibly fit. The Prophet left no young witches in any doubt what they meant by Harry being incredibly fit. They were currently running a 'competition' where they would pay handsomely for a picture of their young saviour. No mention of any returning dark lord was even hinted at.

Hermione had teased Harry that a photograph of him in his training gear would be worth a fortune, and how she wished her camera wasn't sitting in her bedroom back home. Harry had gotten his own back by offering to let her take said photograph - in exchange for a picture of Hermione in her Nike training clothes.

It didn't take that long for a screaming Malfoy to rush toward the Ravenclaw table and throw his copy of the Prophet at Harry. "You thieving goblin bastard - you stole my inheritance!"

Harry calmly stood to face the enraged boy as, for once, the staff moved quickly to intervene. Both their heads of house were on the scene to ensure this conflict didn't escalate beyond words.

"Mr Malfoy, the only part of your statement I agree with is that I am a goblin. Now, will you retract and apologise - or must we take this further?"

"It clearly says in the Prophet that the goblins have seized the Malfoy vaults - how is that not stealing?"

Harry didn't let the Slytherin's rage affect him, he'd been expecting this confrontation since reading the letter from his father. "The Prophet must have made a slight error. Those vaults belong to Gringotts, and are rented by the Malfoy family. As with any rental agreement, there are always conditions attached. An adult witch or wizard attempting to attack a young goblin with their wand certainly breaks those conditions and will see them kicked out of Gringotts. When my father heard what the head of the Malfoy family had attempted, he went straight to the director. It should also be noted that, as per the conditions of rental, your father was given twenty-four hours to retrieve anything he wanted from those vaults - before they were sealed."

"My father couldn't get there on time..."

"Again, the conditions of the rental contract allow for this. Had your father been too ill to get to the bank, the twenty-four hours would have been suspended until he was able to attend. In accordance with the conditions of the rental contract, being locked in a ministry cell is not an agreed and acceptable condition for suspension so the twenty-four hours lapsed. It's standard Gringotts banking practice that's taught to every young goblin - and perfectly legal."

Filius then asked a question he already knew the answer to, but wanted everyone else to hear. "What happens to the contents of those sealed vaults?"

Harry almost smiled at his head of house but that would ruin what he was trying to achieve here. "Because the vaults were not emptied in the allotted time, the bank will continue to take its small, annual rental fee for their continued use. The rest of the contents will remain untouched until someone is able to claim it."

Realisation began to sink in for some but Harry wanted no misunderstandings here. "In the case of the Malfoy vaults, that would be Draco when he came of age. This is of course assuming that he himself hasn't already broken those same banking conditions. Just to be clear Mr Malfoy, publicly calling me a 'thieving goblin bastard' over this matter shatters those conditions."

Harry gave Draco a moment to allow that information to sink in before speaking again. "Once more Mr Malfoy, will you retract and apologise - or must we take this further?"

Draco was many things but he wasn't a complete moron. The goblins had the Malfoys by the short and curly's, and he'd just given them a perfect excuse to yank those hairs out by the root. It was time to grovel - no matter how distasteful. Being poor was a far worse fate than eating some humble pie. "I apologise unreservedly Mr Crow, both for my lack of manners and the ill-informed comments I made. I now clearly see my statement was in error and retract every word spoken. I was not aware of what was involved in closing those vaults and acted in haste and anger."

"Perfectly understandable Mr Malfoy, even if it was regrettable. I'm quite prepared to accept your apology and forget the entire incident - this time."

Draco bowed in thanks, before turning to leave the great hall. The entire castle now knew Crow owned his arse, the very thought of that same arse dressed in second hand robes for the rest of his life was more than enough for Draco to keep his head up and defend his decision to anyone. He'd taken the only option available to him, and would continue to do so until he reached seventeen. Then he would be moving the entire Malfoy fortune elsewhere before seeking his revenge. This required an urgent letter home to his father.

Both heads of house returned to the staff table, content the matter had been resolved without breaking any school rules, while Harry sat back down to his interrupted breakfast. Hermione was reading Malfoy's discarded paper but had a question that the Prophet didn't answer.

"Gringotts actually have an official statement on the matter printed in the Prophet. It covers in detail everything you just said, including listing the conditions that are considered a breach of contract. Malfoy could have saved himself the embarrassment if he'd only finished reading. I suppose the 'Malfoy loses Vaults' headline was as far as he got. It doesn't mention though why his mother couldn't just move their valuables?"

Padma supplied the answer to her muggle born friend. "No head of a pureblood family would give his wife access to everything, probably too frightened they would be robbed blind."

Harry didn't know this, and it went against the information he did have. "My mum did, dad had her assigned full access to the Potter vaults. There were obviously things only the head of the Potter family could do, but those apart, everything was equal."

This intrigued both his friends though it was Padma who asked how he knew this.

"My father is the senior accounts manager at Gringotts, the Potter family account is the most senior at the bank. My father knew both my mum and dad, and liked them very much. He says I've got my mother's eyes."

"Your mum must have been beautiful..."

The words were out before it dawned on Hermione what she was saying. Padma was sitting watching both of them turn shades of pink and decided to help out, though she would tease Hermione mercilessly when she got her alone later. "Hey Harry, I think you could get Malfoy to clean our shoes for us. I think you could get Malfoy to do just about anything you wanted!"

"That is not the goblin way Padma."

"Maybe not, but you have to admit it would be funny..."

This cracked the three of them up.

Bill entered the great Hall to see three of his students laughing together, he couldn't help but compare them to his two youngest siblings. Ginny now sat enthralled as Bill told tales of the real Harry after dinner. He didn't want his sister simply switching her fantasy but was indulging Ginny at the moment. Watching Ron's face as he described what Harry had done to the nine older students was worth it. His mother and father had been on Ron's case all week and his youngest brother now couldn't wait to return to Hogwarts.

Taking the carrot and stick approach, Bill was using some of his extra salary to buy Ron a new wand later today. He also promised new robes if he finished all the homework Bill had gotten from Minerva for him. He wasn't entirely happy with having to coerce Ron into doing something but there weren't too many other options available at the moment. The youngest Weasley brother was in the last chance saloon as far as his Hogwarts education was concerned. Bill and Percy were taking on the task of ensuring Ron didn't blow it.

He could practically feel Dumbledore's eyes boring into his back while the Gringotts employe walked toward his students, Bill was certain the approach would be coming soon.

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