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.



12. Grangers and Barchoke and Sharpshard, Oh My!

There were six first year Ravenclaws whose emotions were flying high as kites. Lunch sat forgotten as they described their first potions lesson in great detail, while showing anyone who was even remotely interested their new book. Since this was the Ravenclaw table, 'anyone who was even remotely interested' meant the entire house - and they all wanted to know where they could get their hands on a potions book like that. Not quite the entire house though, three first years - and a Gryffindor interloper - were quietly studying books of a different sort.

They were drawn out of their intensive studying by a pair of voices.

"Quidditch through the ages?"

"The Noble sport of Warlocks?"

"He flew like a madman?"

"Do our eyes deceive us George or are these four swotting up for their flying lesson today?"

"Oh I think it's worse than that Fred, the Order of the Aves appear to be afraid of flying."

"Perhaps we should have named this one penguin, what do you think Robin?"

'Robin' was swift to kick this pair of joker's assumptions right back at them. "The only time my gran would let me out of her sight was when I was in the greenhouses, she wouldn't even allow a broom in the manor."

Hermione quickly rallied to support her friend against the redheaded dynamic duo, citing her own circumstances. "I didn't know magic was real until I got my letter, how was I supposed to practice flying on a broom?"

Harry was right behind them in defending the group's right to be nervous. "Goblins live underground, not much scope for flying there unless you're a bat. We tend to use brooms for sweeping."

An entirely different outlook on the matter was provided by Padma. "I was raised with flying carpets, I imagine brooms will be sore on your bum. Given the choice, I'll take a bit of Persian rug under me any day."

All eyes were now on Padma. "What? It's only Europe that bans flying carpets, and the riddle of why that's the case is easily solved. It was only because the broom manufacturers pushed for it, they didn't want the competition. Before we moved to Britain, we had a much-loved carpet that we traveled around the country on. We used to have family picnics while traveling, try doing that on a broom."

This idea appealed to Hermione. "I think I would like that much better than a broom, you could even fit seat-belts."

Neville didn't know exactly what a seat-belt was but grasped the general concept. "I like the sound of being strapped-in. It's not so much the flying that bothers me, more the falling from a great height."

"Wait until you see your first quidditch match."

"Yeah, Fred and I are the Gryffindor beaters."

Both twins were very proud of this achievement but Miss Granger wasn't too impressed. Harry and Hermione had been sharing 'Quidditch through the Ages' so she at least knew what a beater was. "So you two beat these bludger things at other players to try and knock them off their brooms? And this is the most popular sport..."

Harry cut her off before she could say any more. "Cultural differences Hermione, let's at least wait until we've seen a match before saying any more."

"You're right Harry, the reasons behind why people play golf also escape me." The blank looks encouraged Hermione to explain. "They use clubs to hit this little white ball into a small hole in the grass that can be a couple of hundred yards away."

They waited for more before George asked the obvious. "What happens after they get the ball in the hole?"

"Oh, they pick it out and move on to the next hole..."

The twins riotous laughter caught everyone's attention. "Oh Fred, they're good!"

"Yes oh brother of mine, lesser wizards would have been sucked right in to their ploy -whatever it was..."

"...but not the Weasley twins. Your delivery was perfect Hermione, a beautiful mixture of annoyed innocence."

"Yeah, it was just your final part that let you down. You need to invent something a bit more believable than that goof game if you really want to hook people. Apart from that, your prank was excellent."

"We just stepped over here to say thanks for forgiving Ron and you try to catch us out - you guys are brilliant!"

The twins walked away laughing while the rest of their house studied these people who were brave enough to take on the Weasley twins.

Harry had some words of advice. "Cultural differences Hermione, and shut-it Roger."


Barchoke stood to welcome the Grangers to his office. "I am Barchoke, Senior Accounts Manager at Gringotts - and Harry's father. I would like to thank you both for coming here today, especially since I know you are very busy."

"Oh it was no trouble, in fact I really enjoyed the method of transport your young Mr Weasley used to get us here - a portkey I believe he called it? He's using something similar to take him all the way to Scotland now, to give the kids their extra defence lessons."

Dan smiled and offered his hand. "Hi, I'm Dan Granger, and this is my better half Emma. Please excuse my wife, she gets rather excited by all this magic. We got a letter from Hermione this morning telling us that the kids flew on brooms yesterday, I think that's enough to get any parent excited."

Barchoke shook the offered hand, before doing the same with Emma. They'd barely been in his office a minute yet already showed more courtesy than wizards he'd been dealing with for years.

Dan had a question that he wanted answered before they went any further. "Can I ask if this meeting is with a senior banking official or the father of our Hermione's best friend?"

He was already liking these people and invited them to sit before answering. "I've worked my entire life to get where I am inside Gringotts, something I'm proud of. Nothing gives me more pride and pleasure though than being known as Harry's father, that is who you are speaking with today."

Emma was delighted with this news. "I really want to thank your son for making Hermione's time at Hogwarts such a happy experience - especially his actions with those bullies. That had happened before at her primary school and it was left to Dan and I to go down there after the event."

"Ma'am, I feel it is I who must thank your daughter. I watched my son grow up in a world that was not his own and worried over how Harry would adapt to Hogwarts. He has led a very lonely childhood, throwing himself into his studies to compensate for the lack of close friends. Harry and your daughter met on the express and were like two kindred spirits, they have been inseparable since. I have had the pleasure of taking lunch in their company. In my humble opinion, they bring out the best in each other."

Hearing this had Emma beaming but Dan had his practical hat on, this was a goblin-sent opportunity to get some answers. "Barchoke, I hope you don't mind me asking, but some of the things in Hermione's letters are confusing to us. The Crow / Potter duel-identity is hard enough to understand, never mind the goblin / wizard issue, but we don't know where to start with the whole 'Hogwarts Champion' thing. I find it hard to believe the school lets a first year walk around with a sword, though I will be eternally grateful that they do."

Barchoke offered tea, saying this could take some time. He was slowly becoming aware this couple would now play a part in Harry's life. With Harry and their daughter being practically joined at the hip, there simply was no other alternative. He told them the entire tale in chronological order, starting with a dark lord hearing a prophecy before trying to kill a baby. No matter how many times he told the story of Harry's relatives not wanting the boy, he was never able to fully hide his anger at the deed. The goblin was delighted to see that anger shared by these loving parents.

He rounded the story off with a blow by blow account of the troll incident - including who had released the creature into the castle and why.

The Grangers had heard most of the details from Hermione, it was just hearing how it all fitted together that knocked them back a bit. Dan was the first to recover, and showed he really understood the problem. "Can I assume you know why this guy won't stay dead?"

"Yes, sorry but the method he used must remain a secret for now. You have my word though that we are doing everything in our power to ensure this creature will soon stay permanently dead."

This talk of death sent a shiver down Emma so she pressed ahead with what she wanted to ask from the minute she'd stepped into Barchoke's office. "Please don't think me forward, you've actually met Hermione while we've only read about Harry. Do you have a picture we could see?"

Asking any proud parent to see a picture of their child will always get a yes. Barchoke moved behind his desk and removed a framed picture from a concealed drawer. "This was taken the morning he left for Hogwarts."

Emma was presented with Harry in his 'Mr Darcy' guise and an "Oh My" escaped her lips before she had time to engage her brain.

Emma had no difficulty in thinking of Harry and Hermione as kindred spirits. Barchoke's description of his son having no close friends and throwing himself into his studies was scarily familiar to both Grangers. Hermione had supplied some of the details of her journey to Scotland, with what she'd heard here today Emma could now fill in the blanks. Two lonely children reaching out to each other as they shared a compartment for hours, arriving at Hogwarts as each other's first friend. Hermione had said she didn't know what made her ask Harry if he wanted to share that compartment, one glance at the picture was enough for her mother to know the answer. Her little girl was smitten.

She passed the picture over to her husband. "Your son is a very handsome young man, I mean wizard - oh goblin. I'm sorry, perhaps you can see why this is so confusing for us."

Barchoke actually laughed. "Ma'am, I was happy with handsome."

"Hermione mentioned getting out of school for a day to accompany Harry on some family event, she said we needed to sign a permission form?"

Opening up a folder, Barchoke handed the correct form to Emma. Dan though had caught a glimpse of a lot more paperwork with their name on it. "Can I ask what else you have in that folder?"

Barchoke handed the entire folder to Dan before beginning to explain exactly why he needed that folder. "My son has many people who seem determined to play a part in his life, your daughter has already suffered because of this and I can only sincerely apologise."

"Can I assume that is why Hermione was given this bracelet she's been raving about? We thought Harry was getting her a kitten for her birthday, not both. I'll be honest with you Barchoke, while I really like the protection angle, the father in me isn't sure how to handle my twelve year old daughter receiving jewellery even she classed as 'ridiculously expensive' - especially from a young lad we've never met."

"The kneazle kitten was indeed earmarked as Hermione's present, but seeing his best friend attacked affected Harry deeply. He wanted her protected, and knew we possessed the means to do so."

Dan and Emma both expressed their agreement and gratitude at that while Barchoke explained the 'ridiculously expensive' part.

"There is a phenomenon that we goblins neither understand nor can control, why wizards and even muggles will pay ludicrous amounts to own something no one else has. Take a piece of canvas, slap some paint on it and you may end up with a nice picture. Depending who slapped that paint on, the picture might be worth hundreds, thousands or millions. Our goldsmiths have a reputation for being the very best at what they do. Since we rarely allow our jewellery to pass out of goblin hands, the wizards will pay ludicrous amounts for it."

"I think I see what you are saying, something is only worth whatever value people are prepared to pay for it."

"Exactly Emma. James and Lily Potter set up a trust fund for their son attending Hogwarts. Buying that bracelet as a goblin barely put a dent in that fund, there wouldn't have been enough gold in that trust vault for a wizard to buy the same item."

It was a confused Dan who asked what seemed a glaringly obvious question. "With such a lucrative market, why is there not more jewellery being sold?"

"That would never work, due to the way we goblins are possessive about the items we make. Special permission from the Director is needed before an item can pass to someone who is not a goblin, that signed permission is contained in the folder in front of you. This permission comes with some pretty restrictive conditions. The worst one being, should the person gifted the item ever decide to sell it, the giver is duty bound to repurchase the item - almost certainly at the far higher prices those outside Gringotts would pay. Since the giver must have these funds available before permission is granted, it is perhaps understandable that this is a very rare occurrence."

Dan thought he'd picked up on an inconsistency. "I thought you said Harry wouldn't be able to afford that bracelet at wizard prices?"

He was answered by a smiling Barchoke. "I said his trust fund didn't hold enough, that is a mere drop in the ocean of the Potter wealth."

"Oh dear, I hope all this talk of money doesn't make what we wanted to ask seem mercenary now. Hermione wrote that Harry didn't celebrate Christmas, we wanted to invite him to spend Christmas with us this year." Emma was fretting until she saw the wide grin now being displayed by the goblin.

"I'm sure Harry would love to spend the time with Hermione, and it fits perfectly with what I was moving onto next. One of the things I would like to see accomplished this Halloween is the warding of your home, that's what most of the parchment in that folder is concerned with. As you know, your daughter currently wears a bracelet that offers her some protection against attack. These wards will perform the same function for your house and its occupants."

This had both Grangers more than a little concerned, Dan was first to voice his. "Do you really think that is necessary, are we really in danger?"

"No one ever thinks their home will be robbed, flooded or engulfed by flames. That doesn't mean a homeowner shouldn't take sensible precautions to prevent all of these from happening. That is all we are doing here, and you inviting Harry for Christmas allows the Potter account to pay for it."

"We're more than willing to pay any financial cost involved in protecting our home..."

The goblin politely interrupted. "Sorry Dan, for you as a non-magical to be able to afford this warding scheme, you would probably need to sell your house. By inviting Harry to stay, we can now ward your home as a goblin dwelling - drastically cutting the cost and circumventing any ministerial interference in the process. James and Lily Potter gave their lives to protect their son, they would gladly spend a bit of gold to ensure his continued safety - and that of his best friend's family."

Emma had noticed something and couldn't help but raise the matter. "You seem to switch Harry from goblin to wizard as the situation suits, rather like having dual nationality."

"My son had mentioned that Hermione was very smart, it's now easy to see where that comes from. We hope Harry can benefit from this dual nationality at least until he turns seventeen - then he must choose. The magical community are desperate for Harry to choose them, for the boy-who-lived to do otherwise would be unthinkable. We intend to exploit this 'desperation' to see some wrongs righted." Barchoke knew he had reached a crossroads, this was where he must decide just how much to tell these people.

"Desperate people can sometimes do foolish things to get what they want. As they look around for ways to influence my son's decision, sooner or later their gaze will rest upon your daughter. They may have known each other less than a month but it is already clear to me that Miss Hermione Granger will be part of my son's life for many years to come. Having met your daughter, I can't tell you how delighted I am by that. I am assuming you will have gathered somewhat the same information from her letters home?"

Emma was enthusiastically adding her agreement. "We had to read her first letter home several times. The handwriting was the same but the letter appeared to have been written by a different girl. I've never known her to be so happy, it's Harry this and Harry that. She does mention other friends - Padma and Neville."

"I had the pleasure of lunching with all of them, the four are becoming close friends. The witches at Hogwarts have already recognised how close Harry and Hermione are, hence the bullying of your daughter. The purebloods are bound to have picked up on this already, this being the reason I want your home protected." The Grangers' blank looks led to them learning about blood status from a goblin.

"So Hermione was attacked because they thought my daughter wasn't good enough for your son?" Dan was understandably enraged at that.

Barchoke did his best to pacify the father's justifiable ire. "Not by either my son or I, of that I can assure you. Hermione is the same blood status as Harry's mother, and those very same purebloods class goblins as beasts. Useful beasts to be sure but nevertheless still mere creatures. You will find no support for this blood purity nonsense inside Gringotts."

"I find it a little convenient that none of this was mentioned before we signed Hermione up for Hogwarts."

This comment from Dan drew an answering wry smile from Barchoke, though on a goblin it could be mistaken for a grimace. "The last person I heard express sentiments like those was Lily Evans, just after she had become engaged to James Potter. I think the phrase being banded about at the time was that Lily was nothing more than an uppity mudblood trying to better herself. It saddens me to think of how much was sacrificed yet so little actually changed. We intend to use the ministry's desperation to implement some changes, another reason I want you and your daughter protected."

He tried to pass on the gravity of the situation to the parents. "Please don't mention any of this to Hermione in your letters, you will see her and Harry on Halloween where a fuller explanation can be given to both. Harry will shortly begin using the press in an attempt to achieve our aims. Since your daughter never leaves his side, this will probably drag her into the spotlight too. The wards we wish to erect will ban entry to all wizards and witches except those specifically allowed. At the moment, that would be Hermione, Harry and Curse-breaker Weasley. Anyone else attempting unauthorised entry will be rebuffed - and set of alarms that will see us rushing to your aid."

The last thing Barchoke wanted to do here was scare these people, and this was a lot for a pair of muggles to absorb in one morning. "We don't need a decision on this today, and I must emphasise this is purely a precautionary measure. Wards and such are common practice around magical buildings, Gringotts is positively brisling with them. I don't expect any attack on your home but it would seem sensible to take some precautions. We goblins spend our lives protecting precious items, but nothing is more precious to us than our children."

Both Grangers shared a moment of thought before Dan answered. "I really don't see how we can refuse such a generous offer, and can't wait to see the kids at Halloween. We knew it was going to be difficult being separated from Hermione but had sorely underestimated just how much we would miss her. Only her letters practically glowing with happiness convinced us we have made the right decision."

Emma agreed with every word her husband had just said although she had a few questions of her own that she wanted answered. "You said you think that our children would be part of each other's lives for years to come. Since they will be spending the next seven years together at Hogwarts, I think this view is perfectly understandable. I would like to know what happens when Harry turns seventeen? Will his choices effect their friendship?"

"Harry will have a massive decision to make, and to be honest I have no idea what he will choose. All I can do as a father is give my son a good view of all sides to help him reach whatever decision is best for him. That is one of the reasons I was delighted you invited him into your home for the holidays, I want Harry to know there is a world out there beyond Gringotts and even beyond magic."

Barchoke then answered Emma's main concern as honestly as he could. "Young as they are, already I can't see Harry making any decision that permanently parts him from your daughter. Abandoning his best friend is something my son would never do, that's just not in his make-up. Charging through the school with his sword drawn in an attempt to keep her safe is far more in keeping with Harry's nature."

Both Granger parents were pleased to hear this, Hermione's letters home had shocked them with how attached she'd become to this boy in such a short space of time. They were delighted with the opportunity to see their daughter at Halloween, but even more so for the early opportunity to run their eye over this best friend. "This all sounds fine, I just wish there was something more we could do. We seem to be reaping all the benefits here without contributing much at all."

Barchoke couldn't turn down such an opening. "Funny you should say that Dan, something that Hermione said interested us greatly..."


Eargit delivered a letter to Hermione on Sunday morning that had her squealing with joy - "He said Yes!" She then practically had Harry in a head-lock as her excitement saw her bouncing up and down next to him.

"Guys, making a spectacle of yourselves - again."

"Oh Padma, he said yes - this is wonderful."

"We got that bit Hermione - now we need to know who said yes to what, and why it's so bloody wonderful."

"When Harry said he didn't celebrate Christmas, I wrote to mum and dad about it. They asked his father if Harry could spend Christmas with us, and Barchoke said yes. Do you want to spend Christmas with me Harry?"

It was only now that Hermione noticed Harry had went as stiff as a board, her best friend then pushed away and shot out his seat. Hermione was momentarily devastated, thinking she had done something wrong, that was until she saw where he was headed. Professor Weasley had just entered with a tall battle-scarred goblin that Harry was now bowing deeply to. Hermione thought this was more like a goblin from Tolkien, as different from Barchoke or Master Pitslay to be almost another species of goblin.

"Master Sharpshard, you honour me by coming here..."

"That was not my intention Crow. I am hearing disturbing reports that you are going soft. I came here today to see for myself what has become of all the training I lavished on you - get changed!"

Harry bowed and raced out the door.

Filius had almost choked on his breakfast when he saw who had entered with Bill Weasley. "Albus, Minerva - whatever happens we mustn't intervene. Master Sharpshard is the greatest practitioner with a blade I have ever seen, no student will be in any danger and certainly not harmed."

Minerva was immediately alarmed. "What do you mean Filius?"

"Think Alastor Moody teaching defence - Master Sharpshard's methods are probably something 'Mad-Eye' would heartily endorse and quickly adopt. They may seem severe to those watching but Harry will be used to it. Excuse me, I'm going to tell his friends the same - though I fear I may need to place Miss Granger in a body bind."

Bill hadn't a clue what was going on here. Master Sharpshard had just informed him earlier that he would be accompanying the curse-breaker to Hogwarts today. Watching as Flitwick headed for his students, Bill decided to follow his example.

"Professor Weasley, is that who taught Harry how to fight with a sword?"

It was Filius who answered. "Yes Miss Granger, and I must ask you not to attempt to interfere. Master Sharpshard's methods may appear brutal to the uninitiated but he really is the greatest blade in the country.."

He was interrupted by Hermione's scream. Harry had just ran back into the hall wearing his dragon hide tunic when the large goblin exploded into action, attacking with a huge battleaxe that seemed to appear from nowhere. Harry was a blur as he dodged blow after blow, being backed into the entrance hall. That Master Sharpshard was shouting at him in English gave Harry a fair idea just what was happening here.

"You had a death eater under your blade and let him go free? Then faced nine enemies and, not only did you not kill any of them, you left them able to attack again! Have I been wasting my time teaching you Crow?"

Harry now had his shield on his arm, and used it to deflect the attacking axe. He dodged inside to get into knife range, only to be kicked in the chest and sent flying through the doors. He landed in the entrance hall and rolled, knowing the master would be coming after him. While rolling, he abandoned his shield and sheathed his knife. He sprang to his feet with Hermione's screams ringing in his ears but Gryffindor's sword in his hands.

Loud clangs reverberated around the entrance hall as Gryfindor's sword skilfully deflected the repeated attacks from the battleaxe away from Harry. Hermione was trembling, screaming and shouting at the same time, and only Professor Weasley holding her arms stopped the young witch foolishly rushing in regardless. Seeing Harry apparently now holding his own settled Hermione somewhat, though those around watched this deadly battle in awe.

Filius had given up the blade for a wand but could honestly admit to himself Harry had more raw talent than he had ever possessed. Harry's dragon skin tunic allowed everyone to see his fluid body movements as he wielded Gryffindor's sword like a seamless extension of his body. The lad's developed physique was now easily explained, swinging a blade hour after hour would certainly account for it.

Harry was now engrossed in the fight, the clash of his blade deflecting the axe familiar to him from years of training. He'd never wielded a blade quite like this one though, which gave Harry an idea. It was a risk that could cost him dear, then again it wasn't like he'd ever won a match against the master before.

As the next opportunity presented itself, Harry didn't parry and deflect the axe blade but let the sword made for Godric Gryffindor meet the weapon's shaft. Normally this would send a jarring force right up his arms, but this was no ordinary sword. It cleaved clean through the shaft.

Harry's follow-on attack was then blocked by a short sword that again just seemed to appear in the master's hand. "I was partial to that axe Crow, that is going to cost you."

If anything, the speed of the fight increased, with Harry now swapping to a one-handed grip on the sword and drawing his knife in the other. Harry was soon covered in sweat as Master Sharpshard relentlessly probed and attacked his defences. He could hear Hermione shouting above everyone else which triggered something in his mind - there are no rules in a fight.

As he blocked the next attack on his sword, Harry used his knife to cast a curse they'd learned out the book Padma gave Hermione for her birthday.

The cutting curse was so unexpected, it glanced Master Sharpshard's cheek as he dodged a fraction too late. First blood was normally the end of the duel - but with Master Sharpshard you just didn't know what he would do next.

The large goblin actually stopped attacking. "You cut me with a spell Crow?"

Harry was panting for breath but still kept his guard up. "You taught me to use whatever was available in a fight, that's what I had."

The loud roar of laughter was completely unexpected. The short sword disappeared as quickly as it came while the now jovial goblin punched Harry's shoulder in a very rare show of affection. "It would seem I have taught you well - though I will still be charging your father for my axe you destroyed. Filius, good to see you again. Can I impose on you to cross swords with Crow occasionally? I would hate to see all that skill become rusty from lack of use."

This change from rabid attacker to jovial loser threw everyone. Padma though had something to say - or should that be scream. "Yeah Harry - you did it!"

Everyone in the hall had spilled out to watch this fight, one of their own unbelievably winning resulted in loud cheering - and Hermione escaping from Bill's grasp.

She hit Harry almost as hard as Sharpshard had earlier, though both her arms were wrapped tightly around him. Harry was holding her while whispering in her ear. "Cultural differences Hermione. I was in danger of getting my arse kicked - nothing else."

The large goblin of course noticed the young witch. "Can I assume you are Crow's friend?"

Harry gave Hermione a reassuring squeeze as she turned to face one of his most important tutors. He was delighted to see her bow.

"Well met Master Sharpshard. I am Hermione Granger, Harry's best friend." She then held out her hand for the goblin to shake, her bracelet shining on her wrist.

The large goblin bowed back before accepting her offered hand. "Well met Miss Granger." His deep laugh once more rolled around the entrance hall. "Barchoke told me you were quite the one, now I've seen it for myself. Moments ago, you were ready to attack me with your bare hands to protect your friend - but now you greet me with honour. Wear that bracelet with pride Miss Granger, you have the heart of a goblin."

Hermione was left wondering about that last comment as the headmaster chose this moment to make his presence known. "I really don't appreciate my school being disrupted by these shenanigans."

"And I don't appreciate my star student being attacked by trolls and pureblood bigots in your school. His father has a standing arrangement that this time is scheduled for extra defence lessons, you just got to witness a variation on that theme." Hogwarts students weren't used to seeing the great Albus Dumbledore spoken to like this. The scary goblin though wasn't finished yet.

"Defence should always be varied, you never know where or when the next attack will come from. Surely this is something you teach your students, or do you assume this variety will come from the myriad of people you seem to go through teaching the subject?" The sarcasm in Sharpshard's last remark really drove a battering ram into what passed for defence tuition in Hogwarts, then Hermione battered down what was left of the shoddy doors.

"That's exactly what Professor Weasley has been teaching us in our extra defence lessons, to be alert for the unexpected."

Sharpshard's voice boomed around the entrance hall. "Good, then I will leave you in Curse-breaker Weasley's capable hands. Crow, you know the director is going to be insufferable now your fancy blade he had commissioned drew my blood? Until next time student."

Harry bowed deeply. "Until next time Master Sharpshard."

As the goblin left, Neville approached with Harry's shield. "You actually beat him Harry?"

He took the shield and reduced its size, clipping the disk onto his sword scabbard. "I didn't beat him Neville, no one beats Master Sharpshard. I got lucky and surprised him, he could have taken me at least a dozen times before then. It's called training for a reason, I wouldn't learn anything if he continually beat me in under a minute."

"It looked brutal Harry, I was terrified for you."

Harry could still see the fear in Hermione's eyes. "The first few times we fought I was terrified too Hermione. Now it's just like our defence lessons, Curse-breaker Weasley attacks us so we can practice our dodging and shields."

Padma was half carrying / half dragging the battleaxe by its drastically shortened shaft over to the group. "If Professor Weasley ever attacks us with something like this, I'm quitting guys."

"Thanks Padma, I'll be hanging that on my wall. Thanks also for that book you gave Hermione, it was really helpful."

Padma was tempted to tease which of the books he was talking about but Hermione already had a tough morning - and that was her not noticing the number of witches who were eyeing up Harry.

That she was still shaking inside just confirmed to Hermione she hadn't fully recovered from the shock of watching Harry fight, she actually thought her best friend was going to be killed this morning. "That was obviously some goblin thing Harry but I fail to see the point."

Harry smiled at his best friend, this time knowing exactly how to cheer her up. "Master Sharpshard was just reminding me, and everyone else, that I am a goblin warrior..."

Padma had already resisted one teasing opportunity, this couldn't be passed up. She butted in before he could finish. "Next time we could do without the theatrics - and that outfit. Let's get to class, the sight of my sister and Lavender drooling over Harry is making me queasy. Anyone would think they'd never seen a gorgeous guy in a sexy dragon skin tunic before."

Harry was blushing while Hermione appeared outraged before Padma began laughing. "Oh you guys are just too easy to tease. Seriously though, some of these witches are beginning to creep me out. If a wizard ever stared at me like that, I'd want Harry and Neville to kick their arse for me."

"No problem Padma." Harry wanted to get out of there and offered Hermione his arm. He then proceeded to make up for this morning by saying what he'd originally intended to - before Padma had interrupted. "Hermione, I would love to spend Christmas with you."

"Oh Harry, it will be wonderful. Padma, Neville, you are both invited as well."

Neville was delighted to be included but had family things that needed doing then, he told Hermione that before politely declining. Padma would need to write home before she could answer. She loved her sister dearly but the thought of two weeks listening to her prattle on about boys, fashion, boys and more boys was not appealing. That Harry was going to be one of the boys repeatedly mentioned was a certainty.

She knew what the agenda was for most pureblood witches who attended Hogwarts. Meet their future husband, be at least engaged by the time they left school with marriage and their first child born preferably before turning twenty. To wait any longer ran the risk of your family arranging a husband for you. Padma thought that agenda was fine, provided you met someone you wanted to spend the rest of your life with. She wanted more from her Hogwarts experience, and spending a holiday in a muggle house would certainly be an experience.

She would need to have a girls-talk with Hermione and explain why all the jealous looks were being focused in her direction. She may be muggle born but Hermione was already in a position most of the pureblood witches would sell their soul for. Having gotten to know Harry, Padma already knew he would be considered a prize for any young witch. Add in all the other stuff and then pile his wealth on top - well she didn't think the other witches were going to be discouraged for long. She suspected their methods would be different though, unless they were really stupid.

Bill watched his students heading off to class but wanted a quick word with his youngest brother first. "Well Ronnie, still think he's nothing special?"

Ron had his eyes well and truly opened, they had almost popped out watching that fight. "The Patil girl could hardly lift that axe, it would have cut him in half if it had connected. That goblin wasn't holding anything back either."

"That's right Ronnie, yet he beat the goblin warrior that attacked him. What chance do you think you would have had in a fight like that? Perhaps now you'll stop being such a little prick and leave well enough alone."

At that, Percy appeared at his elbow. "I've got this time set aside for Ron to do his homework, I'll take it from here Bill."

The curse-breaker left Percy in charge while he went to deal with his own students. Like everyone else, he'd been impressed with the fight. His brother Charlie had the quickest reflexes of anyone Bill had ever seen - until today. The look of concentration on the lad's face as he fought was also something to behold. Any one letting Harry close enough to use a blade was going to lose - even Voldemort.


Dumbledore was also astonished at Harry's reactions and speed of thought. Likewise, he thought Filius was strikingly accurate in equating the goblin fencing tutor to his old friend Alastor, their teaching methods were remarkably similar. Like the rest of Hogwarts, he also didn't miss the 'going soft' reference. After that display, Harry's enemies would not be meeting him head-on for the foreseeable future. Albus expected a few months of quiet now while the plotters evaluated the situation before making their next move.

This situation presented Albus with something of a dilemma, he wanted to wrestle control of the boy away from the goblins but he also knew Voldemort had to be defeated. He needed a way to accomplish his first aim without in any way endangering Harry's chances of successfully completing the second. He was tempted to leave things as they were but knew he couldn't. Master Sharpshard had berated his student for showing a modicum of forgiveness and there lay Albus' problem.

A victorious Harry would have the wizarding community worshiping at his feet and rushing to fulfil his every wish. Without forgiveness in the boy's heart, their society could be changed beyond all recognition. He needed information on exactly what the goblins were up to, and had just watched his unknowing source walk away to teach young Harry and his three friends.

William Weasley would need to understand the harm that could be done here, and pressured into recognising where his loyalties really lay. With a delicate situation like this, it was all about using the right lever - and there was no bigger lever to use against someone than his or her own family.

He was sure it wouldn't take long for a conversation with William's mother to gravitate to Molly telling Albus how pleased she was to have her eldest son back home. That would be his opening to express his regret that William refused to cooperate with him, and that how his time working for the goblins had really changed the former Hogwarts head boy.

Molly hated the very thought of any of her children changing, especially if that influence of change wasn't exactly human. She would be on her son's case the entire time he was at the Burrow, and Albus would intensify his efforts while William's duties brought him to Hogwarts. This twin attack should soon expose a crack in his armour, that was all Albus needed to exploit the situation.

One bit of information would soon lead to another and then he would have the young man. He would become his spy inside Gringotts, providing information that would help Albus plot the course of magical Britain's future - for the greater good of course.


Lucius was trying to plot his future and having very limited success, he was not looking forward to his master's eventual return. The head of the Malfoy family understood that his usefulness as a death eater lay in his fortune and influence. With neither, he would be severely limited in how he could assist his master's plans. Lucius had witnessed first hand what happened to death eaters in that position, and it was anything but pretty.

Lucius was contemplating his next move as he sat staring at a little black diary. With the goblins blocking Narcissa from accessing the Lestrange or Black vaults, this diary was the only card he had left to play. As with any triumph card, it was all about how and when it was played.

His craving for revenge on Crow was tempered by the fact that the 'Hogwarts Champion' would be helpless against this. Like a fine wine, Lucius' revenge just got better the longer he left it to age. If this was played right, it had the power to see Crow's dead body carried from Hogwarts - with Dumbledore sacked and Fudge forced out of office as the public demanded scapegoats.

Lucius was a patient man and his need for revenge now wouldn't settle for anything less than a triple take down. He could afford to be patient. Patience was about all he could now afford, and it wasn't like he had anything else to do.

Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...