Unofficial Portkey Archive

The Perils of Innocence by puck_nc

The Perils of Innocence


Disclaimer: If you recognize the character, it isn't mine. Just playing in Rowling's sandbox.


3 August 1991

This time about half of the group kept their feet, helping the rest up as they looked around. They were in a large half-timbered room that hearkened back to Elizabethan times. Clott coiled the rope and moved to the door. "The Leaky Cauldron was built around 1500 by an innkeeper named Daisy Dodderidge. It is a pub serving food and drink at all hours and has several rooms for those needing an overnight stay. Tom's the current owner - he looks a bit scary but wouldn't hurt a fly."

Clott led them into a large room dominated by a pair of fireplaces on either end. People dressed in odd, colourful robes and a variety of hats turned to look at this large group before going back to their plates and tankards. Clott waved and pointed. "The fireplaces are on the floo; just take a pinch of the powder from the silver urns, throw it in and step in when the flames turn green. Then state your destination clearly and off you go!" As he spoke, one of the fires turned green and a wizard in violently purple robes slid out, landing on one knee and rising gracefully to shake the soot off.

Clott pointed out the Charing Cross entrance and then led them through a back door into a small courtyard with high brick walls. "Now, this is the entrance to Diagon Alley. The only way to open it is with your wand. You'll want this brick, three up and two over from this one that's a little lighter than the others. Watch!" He took out a wand, started with the indicated brick, and went up and over. "And tap three times!"

Everyone watched with amazement as the wall seemed to melt from the centre and dissolve until there was an arch big enough for three to walk abreast. Clott led them through and waved an arm. "And here you are! Diagon Alley! I recommend you start with Gringotts, the large white building down there. They'll change your money into Galleons and then off you go to the shops! It's best to stay on Diagon Alley itself - some of the side streets are a little dodgy. Everyone have their supply list? Any questions?" He hesitated only a brief moment. "Then I'll see you all back here at four!" And with no more warning than that, he disappeared with a loud crack.

"He…he just left us?" a small, mousy woman quavered.

Kevin Entwhistle's mum, Hermione remembered. "We'll be all right. We know he's coming back for us, and if we need to we just go back through this arch to the pub and out to London proper."

Dr Aymler took charge. "All right, let's stick together for now. If we want to divide up or get separated, we'll meet back here at noon and at two-thirty. As the clod said, bank first." With that, he led the rest down the street toward the shining marble bank that towered over the rest of the buildings.

They moved together down the street, trying not to stare at the scene in front of them. Most of the people wore robes and hats. When combined with the cobblestone street, shops with hanging signs almost touching overhead from either side, and little stalls in every nook and cranny, Harry felt he'd stepped into a Dickens story. He stayed in the middle of the group and tried to flatten his hair so that it covered his scar, as it seemed to be how people verified who he was. Hermione was walking beside him and took his hand to squeeze sympathetically. It startled him - he had felt jumpy ever since they arrived at the pub and the very air felt charged with energy.

Everywhere they looked there was something new. The shops alone were amazing with the variety of things that witches and wizards must need, and the people in their outlandish clothes were just as interesting. Hermione took note of the bookstore while Wayne Hopkins scoffed at a stationers' selling quills and parchment. Harry understood-a biro and notebook seemed much more practical.

As they approached the steps to the large white building, they could see GRINGOTTS above the massive doors, outlined in gold. A guard stood at attention next to the doors, in a splendid uniform of scarlet and gold. As they got closer, Dr Aymler and the other adults paused - the guard was not human.

Harry exchanged glances with Hermione, who stepped forward before he could say anything. She approached the creature and curtsied as best she could in her jeans and trainers. "Excuse me sir, do we ask your permission to enter the bank?"

The thing's eyebrows lifted, then it showed its teeth. Hermione held her breath but stood her ground and it gave an unmistakable chuckle. "You may enter as you wish, child. My only job is to look impressive."

"And you do it very well, sir. Thank you."

Now the thing looked startled at the compliment. It showed its teeth again. "You are most welcome. A pleasure to meet a polite witch for a change."

Dr Aymler immediately picked up the implication. "So that we can keep being polite, sir, may I ask what you are? We were only told that the magical bank is Gringotts."

It tilted its head. "Ah, these children are Muggleborn, then? And you must have had Clott as your guide. A waste of good meat, he is." The thing straightened to its full height, which was only about as tall as Dean. "I am a member of the race of goblins. We run the bank and handle financial matters for most wizards. When you enter the second set of doors, go first to the desk on the left and the goblin behind the desk will help you."

Dr Aymler held out his hand and the goblin looked at it warily. Hermione jumped in. "He meant for you to shake hands, like this. It's one of the ways we greet each other and say thank you. What do you do, sir?"

"Ah, curious." The goblin gingerly shook with the doctor. "In my culture this would be the beginning of a duel. Goblins nod to greet and thank one another."

Everyone in the group paled slightly and began nodding. The goblin returned the gesture, showing a large amount of teeth. "You have made my morning interesting, humans. Thank you."

They entered the bronze doors and paused, reading the inscription on the set of silver doors:

Enter, stranger, but take heed

Of what awaits the sin of greed,

For those who take, but do not earn,

Must pay dearly in their turn,

So if you seek beneath our floors

A treasure that was never yours,

Thief, you have been warned, beware,

Of finding more than treasure there.

They let the message sink in for a moment, then opened the silver doors. They paused and looked around for a moment, awestruck. Goblins sat on high stools behind a very long counter. Some were counting stacks of coins, others were weighing incredible gemstones, and more were comparing long lists of figures and scribbling madly. Doors were everywhere, leading to other parts of the bank, and goblins and the occasional human went in and out. Hermione spotted the desk and led the others to it.

Applying her same strategy as before, she curtsied to the goblin sitting at the desk. "I humbly beg your pardon, sir. The guard outside said you could help us. We need to change our money to wizard money and perhaps open accounts?"

The goblin, dressed in an interesting combination of suit jacket, wizard robe, and armoured breastplate, rose and nodded. "Welcome to Gringotts. I am Trobnor and I can guide you through the bank." He picked up a blank parchment. "If I may have the names of the students, we can offer a basic account with a minimum deposit of ten Galleons. We are capable of magically linking this account to any current Muggle account so parents may deposit sterling into the Muggle account and the student may withdraw galleons from our account."

Trobnar showed his teeth at the appreciative noises they all made. "We can also arrange for Hogwarts tuition to be withdrawn automatically, either on a yearly basis or on whatever schedule you arrange with the school." Addison Finch-Fletchley stepped forward, and as the queue began to form Harry pulled Robert and Mr Thomas back.

"I'll ask him about my inheritance when he's done. I meant what I said: if I have enough money to do it I'm paying for Hermione and Dean."

Robert shook his head. "Harry, we can manage just fine. We've had an education account for Hermione since before she was born, although we intended it for her university expenses and backup in case she chose to go abroad. You really don't have to do this."

Geoff Thomas grimaced. "We, on the other hand, aren't so lucky. If it means Dean can stay with his friends who have this same…magic that he does, we'll take you up on it." He shook hands with Harry, who then hurried forward to the waiting goblin who was watching them closely.

"My name's Harry Potter, sir, and I was told that my parents had an account here?"

Trobnor's eyes widened and he actually stammered. "Er, yes, yes, you do have an account here. We've been keeping it safe and untouched even when Albus Dumbledore threatened to sue us for keeping him out."

Harry frowned. The name rang a bell, but he didn't immediately place it. He heard Hermione gasp behind him but ignored her for the moment. "What do you need me to do, sir?"

"Follow me." Trobnor led Harry to one of the goblins behind the long counter. "Griphook, I need your assistance. This is Harry Potter and he needs a key issued to his vault."

The new goblin looked Harry up and down. "That is no problem. I will need a drop of your blood to prove identity." Harry nodded and the goblin produced a bowl from under the counter. He took out a sharp knife and held out a hand with very long fingers. "It only takes a drop, so I will prick your finger with the point of my blade." Harry put his hand in the goblin's. One quick careful stab later, Harry watched in astonishment as the drop of blood in the bowl began to shimmer and grow, turning into a small ornate gold key.

Dean had followed Harry and breathed, "Wicked!" as Harry picked up the key. Griphook sniffed slightly, then fastened his eyes onto Dean, taking deeper breaths.

"You, what's your name?"

Dean stepped back slightly, frightened. "Dean Thomas, sir."

The goblin inhaled again. "What was your father's name?"

Dean gestured weakly toward the adults. "Geoffrey Thomas, sir."

Griphook sniffed in their direction. "No, not him. You don't smell a thing like him. I mean the one who sired you!"

"I don't know what you're talking about!"

Harry jumped in before Dean could lose it. "Please sir, we don't understand."

Griphook glared at Dean's parents, who had noticed something was wrong and were headed their way. "Your father was a wizard. I can smell it, but I can't place him."

Andrea Thomas surged forward and threw her arms around Dean protectively. "What are you doing to my son?"

Griphook leaned forward and inhaled. "Yes, you're the mother. But who is the boy's father?"

Mrs Thomas faltered at his question. "How did you know?"

Griphook tapped the side of his very long nose. "We goblins can tell. It's one of the reasons disguises don't work here."

She looked uncertainly at her husband, who shrugged. "Now's as good a time as any, love."

She turned to Dean and hugged him hard. "I was going to tell you when you were older. Your father…your father disappeared soon after you were born. I reported him missing but the police couldn't do much. No body ever turned up, no evidence, no credit card records. Geoff was my rock. I went through an uncontested divorce and married Geoff after your father was missing for a year."

"Name, please?" Griphook wasn't showing a single tooth and Harry got the impression that he was getting impatient.

Andrea wiped her teary eyes with her hand. "Alexander Demirci."

Griphook sniffed again and nodded. "Thank you. If I may repeat this process with you for our records, we can transfer your father's vault to your name. Aside from a few charity bequests, he left everything to you."

"You know he's dead, then?" Geoff asked. "Do you know when?"

Griphook summoned another goblin and sent him off at a run. "We will provide you with all the information we have, including when the will was activated."

Dean had already been stunned at his mother's revelation. The idea that his birth father had a vault as well reduced him to staring. He didn't even react as Griphook pricked his finger over the bowl and put the resulting key into his hand.

"Now, I can take you both to your vaults where you will be able to withdraw funds for today's expenses." The errand-runner returned with sheaves of parchment in each hand. Griphook looked them over. "There are certainly adequate funds for tuition at Hogwarts for each of you and you may authorize those payments at any time." He rolled up each set of records and handed them to the boys. "You may look over your finances at your leisure."

Hermione ran up to them as Harry led Dean and his parents away. "I have my vault! Mum and Dad put a hundred pounds in and we changed five hundred to Galleons. Look at these!" She pulled a handful of large gold coins out of a bag. "They said the bag has charms on it to make it weightless and thief-proof, how brilliant is that?"

When neither boy answered her, Hermione looked at them uncertainly. "Everything all right?"

Harry glanced at the Thomases, who still looked shell-shocked. "We just found out that Dean's father was a wizard who vanished when Dean was a baby. Mr Thomas is technically his stepfather."

"Oh, wow." Hermione stepped forward and hugged Dean. That seemed to bring him out of his daze. She continued, "That explains why I was the only one being treated as not knowing anything about magic. They assumed you both would know because you had magical parents."

Harry rolled his eyes. "Really effective system they have there."

Griphook waved at them. "Mr Potter, Mr Demirci-Thomas, please follow me." Harry pulled Dean along and they followed the goblin through a door. The chamber they entered was a complete contrast to the elegant hall they had left. They were now in a massive cavern, lit by wavering torches. Griphook led them to a contraption that looked like a cross between a miners' cart and a roller-coaster car. The track led both ways into darkness.

Behind them, another goblin called to Griphook in their native language. He helped the boys into the cart and then nodded to the newcomer. "Mr Hagrid. Where to?"

"I need the you-know-what in vault seven hundred thirteen. Dumbledore's orders."

Both boys looked up at the man with wild black hair and a full beard. Way up.


Author's Note: The inscription on the doors of Gringotts is quoted from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, pp. 56-57.

I know my method of Harry getting his Hogwarts key (or a replacement) is similar to at least a few other fanfics. I think it was robst where I read it, but if someone knows it's from another author, let me know and I will credit appropriately.

Thank you as always for reading!