|SIYE Time:20:52 on 18th March 2018|
Category: Pre-OotP, Alternate Universe
Characters:Albus Dumbledore, All, Draco Malfoy, Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Minerva McGonagall, Neville Longbottom, Nymphadora Tonks, Other, Remus Lupin, Ron Weasley, Severus Snape, Sirius Black
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, General, Humor, Romance
Warnings: Dark Fiction, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Violence/Physical Abuse
Summary: Harry had never friends, so he imagined one: a red haired girl he kept forgetting to name. Ginny imagined a shy boy with untidy hair and bright eyes, who knew nothing of magic, so she told him. He dreamt of a world of magic and of a girl who wanted to be his friend. She dreamt of a boy who loved to hear her voice, no matter what. Then dreams become a reality when Harry met Ginny.
Rating changed for later chapters.
*Nominated for 2014 November/December DSTA for Best New Story and Best Romance* *Nominated for 2016 January/Feburary DSTA for Best Comedy, Drama, and Romance*
Hitcount: Story Total: 102640; Chapter Total: 2891
Tw elve: Summer 1994 Part Two
“The prosecution would like to call Professor Dumbledore to the stand,” Madam Bones said. A guard moved forward and escorted Sirius back out the double doors as Dumbledore complied with Madam Bones' request and moved towards the chair.
“Please state your name and date of birth for the record, Professor,” Madam Bones said.
“Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore,” the professor said. “Born the 21st of April, in 1844.”
“You were a high-ranking official of the Wizengamot at the time of these crimes,” Madam Bones said. “You called for Sirius Black to have a trial, but were over-ruled by Bartemius Crouch, then Presiding Court Official; I am correct?”
“Why did you call for Sirius Black's trial?”
“I believed there to be more to the case than was apparent.”
“And what fueled this belief?”
“Sirius Black is a very loyal person,” Dumbledore said calmly. “He was very against everything Lord Voldemort stood for: Pureblood superiority, Muggle segregation, especially the Dark Arts. I am a very hard person to trick, and I had my eye on Sirius in case he altered his mindset and began to appreciate Voldemort's ideals.”
“So you thought it possible he could turn his loyalty from his previous views on the Dark Lord's cause?” Sir King asked hastily. Madam Bones opened her mouth, but Fudge laid a hand on her arm, and she sat back, apparently grudgingly.
Look at Dumbledore, Ginny thought.
Harry moved his gaze to study Dumbledore's face. The old professor was obviously thinking over the question, but his eyes were narrowed and his brow furrowed.
“I thought it a remote possibility,” Dumbledore said. “I wished to be prepared for anything.”
“You took your time answering,” Sir King said.
“Yes. However, that does not change my answer.”
“What then —”
“Objection,” Madam Bones said. “It is the prosecution's turn to interview the witness.”
“Sustained,” Fudge said.
Sir King looked irritated, but he leaned back in his chair and turned to look at Madam Bones.
“The prosecution may continue.”
“Why were you watching Sirius Black rather than Peter Pettigrew?” Madam Bones asked.
“Peter was not the most courageous of people,” Dumbledore said. “Nor the smartest.” Harry glanced at Ginny, and followed her gaze to Peter, standing with his guards and looking ahead blankly.
What's the matter with him? Harry thought.
They probably gave him Veratiserum; it puts you in a sort of trance and you can't lie, Ginny answered.
Harry nodded and tuned his ears back to Dumbledore. “But despite that, he admired James Potter to the point of hero worship. I think perhaps he was smitten with the idea of everything James was: Popular, handsome, clever, and good on the Quidditch field. I was worried at first that that admiration could turn to jealousy, but as time went on and Peter continued to fawn over James and his accomplishments, that worry lessened. I grew complacent in thinking that Peter was satisfied with admiring his friend, and failed to notice when he changed allegiances.”
“So you never noticed him gaining a Death Eater's point of view?” Madam Bones asked. “You never saw him sneering at Muggles or Muggle-Borns, or any sadistic actions, or any of that?”
“If he did take pleasure in the pain of others, he did not show it in front of me.”
“But anything else related to a Death Eater's actions?”
“After he graduated Hogwarts, he did begin working at a shop in Knockturn Alley,” Dumbledore said. “When asked about it, he would say it was his only option, or that he was watching Death Eaters buying dark objects.”
“Was that all?”
“No. In addition to that, he began to suggest more and more offensive plans at Order meetings. Things that would end in greater casualties on our side.”
“So you think he was attempting to thin out the numbers of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's opposition?”
“It is possible,” said Dumbledore.
“That is not the question I asked,” Madam Bones boomed. “What did you think of his suggestions?”
“I thought that it was odd of him,” Dumbledore said. “But it did not appear to me as traitorous at the time. In fact, when he would suggest the plans, it was not immediately obvious that our side would suffer losses at the end of those plans. They were of a level of subtlety not possessed by him.”
“You think he was getting the plans from a Death Eater?”
“I thought nothing of it,” he replied. “At that time, I thought he was simply trying to help but not thinking through what he was suggesting.”
“Would you please tell the Court what Peter Pettigrew said to you the night he was captured?” Madam Bones asked.
“Word for word?” Dumbledore asked.
“That is not necessary, but if you can remember it word for word that would certainly be helpful.”
“When I asked if he had been James and Lily's Secret Keeper rather than Sirius, he admitted that that he had been. He then confessed that he had been passing information to Voldemort for a while, while making up excuses as to why he had been.”
“What was your impression of him?”
“That I was observing a desperate man trying to wheedle his way out of punishment.”
“That was your honest opinion?”
“It still is.”
“Thank you, Professor. The prosecution is finished.”
How long is this going to go on? Harry thought.
A while. What do you think of Sir King?
King? That he's fighting a lost cause.
Did you notice that he called Voldemort 'the Dark Lord' instead of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?
How many people have you heard call Voldemort that?
Peter, Snape, Harry thought, scanning his memory. Not many.
And how many of those were Death Eaters?
All of them except Snape, but he's just evil.
I think he was a Death Eater at some point, but that's not it. Why would Sir King say Dark Lord?
“Does the Defense have any questions for the witness?” Fudge asked almost lazily.
“No, sir,” King said, looking through his papers.
And remember he said 'cause.' He called what Voldemort was doing a cause. Peter said that earlier, but I've never heard someone else call it a cause.
What if Sir King is a Death Eater? Or was sympathetic to Voldemort?
“Then you may return to your seat, Professor. Madam Bones, do you have another witness to call?”
“Yes, I would like to call Harry Potter to the stand.”
Harry sat up straight quickly. They want to talk to me? Why?
That's why we're here; get going! Don't get them annoyed.
Harry stood up and made his way down the steps to the main floor. He walked on unsteady feet to the chair and sat down slowly. He looked up to Fudge and the two beside him; they looked a lot more intimidating from here.
“Please state your full name and date of birth,” Madam Bones said.
“Harry James Potter,” he said. “July 31st, 1980.”
“You were there when Professor Dumbledore took Pettigrew's confession?”
“Yes,” he answered.
“What was your impression of Peter Pettigrew when you first met him?”
“Er,” Harry said. “That he was kind of pathetic and whiny.”
There were a few chuckles throughout the court. A corner of Madam Bones' lip twitched, but she kept it in place. “And your reaction when you learned that Peter had betrayed your parents rather than Mr. Black?”
“I was shocked, sort of,” he said. He really hadn't expected to be called to the stand and was therefore completely unprepared. “And then a little disgusted by the way he kept groveling and whining to Dumbledore.”
“What punishment do you think he deserves?”
“Why are you asking me?” Harry said.
Madam Bones' eyebrows rose. Harry felt a little more self-conscious in the single chair.
“Because it was your parents he betrayed, Mr. Potter. Please answer the question.”
“Er, forty or so years in Azkaban?”
“It was recommended to the court that we sentence him to life,” Madam Bones said. “You disagree?”
“You do not seem sure.”
“And why do you think this?”
“Well, I think that life in that place is too much for anyone.” He hadn't ever been to Azkaban, but Mr. Weasley had, and Ginny had told him what Mr. Weasley had said when he got home. The place was disturbing to even think of.
“Anyone? Even the man you brought about the deaths of your parents?”
Madam Bones adjusted her monocle and looked down at him with an unreadable expression.
“Thank you, Mr. Potter. The prosecution is finished.”
“Does the defense have any questions?”
“You may return to your seat, Mr. Potter.”
Harry stood up and walked back up to the stands where his group sat. Ginny took his hand as he sat down, and leaned her head on his shoulder. He gave her a smile.
Why did you say forty years? She thought.
Harry shrugged. Like I said, life is too much for anyone.
Ginny smiled warmly at him. What? He thought.
Nothing, she thought back. I just think you're amazing.
I thought I was a thick goose?
That too, she thought with a giggle. Harry grinned at her and turned his eyes back to the pulpit.
“Does either the defense or the prosecution have any witnesses to call to the stand?” Fudge said.
“The prosecution rests, Your Honor.”
“As does the defense,” Sir King said. He looked hopeless.
“Very well; we will adjourn while the court makes its decision.”
The group stood and made its way out of the stands into the hallway beyond. There they met Sirius, Tonks, and Dumbledore waiting for them.
“So, anyone hungry?” Ron said.
Ginny rolled her eyes, the adults smiled, and Hermione muttered “Ronald,” under her breath irritatedly.
“I could eat,” Sirius said. Harry checked his watch, it was indeed past noon.
“There's a cafeteria on the first floor,” Tonks said. “How about we feed the little ones while we wait for the recess to end?” She ruffled Sirius' hair as she said this; Harry took it to mean she was referring to her cousin when she said 'little ones.'
They agreed and made their way towards the first floor, which was above them funnily enough. During lunch, Hermione took that opportunity to begin chatting with Ginny about France, and soon the two of them were discussing French alchemists and other boring historic stuff. Gram got to talking with Remus and Tonks about dueling and Auror stuff. Ron and Sirius were discussing the upcoming Quidditch World Cup final. Harry listened in.
“... but Lynch isn't quite world class,” Sirius said dolefully. “America almost won their match with Ireland back in March because he was too busy watching the female players instead of the snitch.”
“But they've got the best Chasers in Britain!” Ron said. “Bulgaria doesn't stand a chance!”
“That's true for the most part,” Sirius acknowledged.
“The most part?” Harry jumped in.
“Well, as long as they keep their focus on the game they're superb,” Sirius said. “But Troy gets distracted too easily.”
“Hey, everybody listen up!” Tonks said above the chatter at their table. Conversations halted and they all turned to look at her. “Mr. Weasley said to tell you guys that he’s taking his family and us somewhere tomorrow. I’m not allowed to tell you what it is. I wanted to say this now because otherwise, I’ll forget. Carry on.”
Despite pestering from almost everyone, Tonks refused to say what was happening the next day. So conversations resumed.
After they finished their sandwiches (or salad in Hermione and Tonks' case), they headed back down to the ninth floor. The Wizengamot weren't ready for them yet, so they waited outside and kept talking. Harry sat down by the wall and just listened to the different conversations. Hermione was telling Ginny about a museum she'd visited with her parents — the Love? Lurve? Something like that — and about this famous painting called the Mona Lisa. Ginny seemed interested, but Harry was never the biggest fan of art, so he let his attention fade and rested his head against the wall.
They were called back in about twenty minutes later. Sirius, this time, came to sit with them but Tonks resumed her place at the back of the room. Harry took his seat between Ginny and his grandmother and leaned his elbows on his knees to wait.
The red robed Wizengamot sat at attention; all eyes rested on Minister Fudge. He was in quiet discussion with Sir King and Madam Bones. Finally, he turned his gaze from the two to Pettigrew, sitting chained in the single chair.
“Peter Pettigrew, you were charged with high treason against the Ministry of Magic, the murder of one wizard and twelve Muggles, the torturing of Heidi Fortescue, and aiding He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named with two murders. You pleaded guilty to all of these counts under the threat of torture. The recommended sentence is forty years to life.” Fudge cleared his throat and moved his gaze to the Wizengamot members. “Will the Wizengamot present their verdict?”
A tall man with a slight pot-belly rose from his seat. He handed a slip of paper to a guard, who brought it to Fudge. Fudge slit it open with a thin silver letter opener.
“Peter Pettigrew, you have been found guilty and sentenced to fifty years in Azkaban, with a chance to parole in thirty years. Sirius Black, the man —” Fudge paused a moment before contemptuously spoke his next word — “wrongly arrested and punished for the death of the twelve Muggles and the death of James and Lily Potter, has been cleared of all charges.”
Peter gave a moan and bent over in sobs. It seemed the truth potion that kept him calm had worn off. Sirius gave a whoop and grabbed Harry and Remus in a hug, catching Ginny too by accident. Harry grinned at his godfather; Sirius let go of them and planted a kiss on Ginny's cheek, then on Gram's. Gram looked amused and Ginny looked startled.
How come they gave him parole? Ginny thought after recovering.
I don't know, Harry thought back.
Minister Fudge banged his gavel and said over Peter's sobs, “The case is closed. Spectators and witnesses, please wait until the Wizengamot has left the courtroom to leave.”
So they waited. Peter was led from the hall flanked by six guards, with Tonks trailing them and then the Wizengamot filed out. As soon as they were gone Harry's group got up and cheerfully followed.
“We shall have dinner at the most expensive restaurant I can find!” Sirius crowed gleefully. “I wish to waste my parents’ ludicrous amounts of money on frivolous pastries and succulent steaks!”
“Now, hold your hippogriffs, Padfoot,” Remus said with a chuckle. “I know you want to celebrate but before you go 'wasting' your money, you ought to check that you are still filthy rich.”
Sirius adopted a thoughtful face. “Yes, that might be a good idea,” he said. Harry, Ron, and Ginny sniggered. “To Diagon Alley!” Sirius cried. “I insist you all accompany me, and after I assure Moony that I am still quite wealthy, I will buy you all something that is very nice and very expensive and then dinner!”
Remus rolled his eyes.
“Sirius, that isn't necessary,” Mrs. Evans said. “It's very kind of you but —”
“No, Mrs. Evans, I insist. In fact, if you spurn my advances I shall pout and throw a tantrum. And then buy you something anyway.”
“Well, nothing really expensive,” Ginny said. “You need that money.”
“The last time I visited the family vault, my dear, there was at least one million galleons piled up by the front door,” Sirius said. “And by now my father's investments will have made it one billion. If I don't spend it on something, it will all rust.”
Ginny blinked. “Oh,” she said, intelligently.
You shut up, Potter.
I am smarter than you with one hand tied behind my back.
So shut up.
Harry sighed. “Yes ma'am,” he muttered. She liked it when he obeyed with a simple 'Yes ma'am.' Ginny smiled and took his hand. The others glanced around in confusion, then all seemed to get it at the same time. Ron and Hermione exchanged their 'Telepathy' look, and Ginny grinned.
“So, you planning to celebrate?” Tonks said, walking up.
Sirius threw an arm around her shoulders. “My dear cousin, of course, we are! I'm buying you a gift, what do you want?”
“Anything you’d like to give me, for any amount of money,” Tonks said, “considering how long I spent putting up with yours and Remus’s crap.”
Ginny and Ron made a Floo call to their mother to let her know Sirius was taking them to dinner but left out the bit about the gifts, as Mrs. Weasley was likely to refuse, and that would do no good as Sirius was intent on buying something for them anyway. Tonks spoke with Molly a bit, then whispered something in Gram’s ear, who nodded understandingly. Gram took Hermione to a pay phone outside the Ministry so she could inform her parents, and then they all Floo'ed to Diagon Alley. Gram and Tonks offered to take the teens for ice cream and to peruse shops so they'd have an idea of what they wanted to get but Sirius said Harry needed to come with them. Which meant that Ginny came too.
“Guess you and Hermione get to go on a date,” Ginny teased her brother. She ducked his swinging fists and, laughing, ran towards Gringotts with Harry in tow.
“Why did we have to come?” Harry asked Sirius as they mounted the marble steps.
“As your magically legal guardian, I thought it best we take stock of the Potter vault,” Sirius said. “And I wouldn't want to do that without you. Anyway, it's time you learned.”
“When a wizard becomes mature enough, his father usually takes him to the family vaults and teaches him about the family business if there is one, money, investments, things like that,” Remus said. “Most boys learn at sixteen or fifteen, but you show remarkable maturity for your age and such deserve the opportunity to know.”
“How long will it take?” Harry asked.
“We won't go over all of it today,” Sirius said. “Just what we can only do at Gringotts. I don't even know how many investment your parents had and I doubt your aunt would want to do this or even know how. So, it is up to me and Moony.”
They had reached entry hall. Sirius glanced around and found a goblin who was not occupied and approached him. The goblin looked up slowly and raised an eyebrow.
“My name is Sirius Black,” Sirius said with a smile. “You don't need to call the guards, I was cleared this afternoon,” he added as the goblin raised a hand to gesture for a guard. “I will wait while you verify that.”
The goblin had already stood up and hurried down the hall. An unusually large goblin stepped forward and watched the group. Sirius whistled uninterestedly and stuck his hands in his pockets.
“Do you have a key to my vault?” Harry asked softly.
“Yup. James gave me one once they heard Voldemort was looking for them, just in case.”
Harry nodded. Ginny slipped her arm in his and laid her head on his shoulder. He smiled at her, and at her subtle warding off of his depressing thoughts of his parents' deaths.
The goblin returned. “I have verified that you were cleared,” he said. “What may I do for you, Mr. Black?”
“First, I'd like to visit my personal vault,” Sirius said, “then the Black vault. And then we'll go from there.”
“Of course, Mr. Black. I shall send for a goblin to accompany you.” The goblin slipped off his stool and walked away. A minute later, he returned with another goblin holding a lantern.
“I am Boldblood,” said the goblin with the lantern. “I am Deputy Head of the Family Affairs office; I will assist you today.”
“Thank you, Boldblood,” Sirius said. “Lead on.”
They followed him through the doors and into a cart. Boldblood set down his lantern and placed a hand on the cart control, and the cart shot forward.
Harry peered over the edge of the cart, watching stalagmites and stalactites fly past them at neck-breaking speed. Ginny leaned next to him, looking up at the high rock ceiling.
I've never been this far down, Ginny thought.
Neither have I, Harry thought back. I still don't know what the difference between stalactites and stalagmites is.
Stalactites point down.
Ginny shot him a glance, then over her shoulder. Look at Moony.
Harry turned, and spotted Remus sitting with his eyes shut and fists clenched. He looked a little green. Ginny and he exchanged glances, then Harry slid over and patted Remus gently on the shoulder.
“Carsick?” Harry asked. Remus nodded jerkily.
I dunno what to do, Harry thought.
Ginny rolled her eyes and drew her wand. She pointed it at Remus and said “Remedium Nauseae.”
Remus sucked in his breath. “What — what did you do?”
Ginny tucked her wand back into her pocket. “Simple charm, Mum taught it to me ages ago because we kept getting motion sickness and she couldn't cure us all at once. Ron got it the worst.”
Remus blinked and glanced around. Sirius glanced back at them before turning his gaze back on the track.
“Thank you,” Remus said.
“No problem,” Ginny said. “You did look like you were about to splatter the walls.”
Remus smiled dryly. “I felt like I would.”
“We are here,” Boldblood declared and the cart jerked to a stop, halting the conversation. The goblin clambered out of the cart with the lantern onto a stone platform. Harry glanced around, counting several vault doors going down the stone corridor. Boldblood led them to the fourth vault down and set the lantern on the floor.
“You have the key?” he said to Sirius. Sirius nodded and pulled a thin skeleton key from his pocket. Boldblood took and inserted it into a keyhole in the center of the vault door. The door swung open, and Sirius stepped closer. Harry was two heads taller than Boldblood and so could see over him into the vault. It wasn't overflowing with gold, but it was nowhere near to being empty either.
“How much is here, exactly?” Sirius asked.
“Exactly I can't say, but approximately you have in this vault seven hundred Galleons, with a few Sickles and Knuts on the side,” Boldblood told him. Ginny's eyes went wide. Harry ruefully guessed that she had never seen so much money in one place.
“Ah, I see,” Sirius was silent a moment, his lips pursed and his eyes fixed on the pile of gold. “Can we move everything from my personal vault to the Black Vault?” he asked Boldblood finally.
Boldblood raised his eyebrows and glanced at the vault. “I don’t see why not,” he said. “It will take some time; I will call for someone to begin transferring it. Would you like to see the Black vault in the meantime?”
“Yes, please,” Sirius said. “I’m just going to make a small withdrawal from here first.”
“Of course,” Boldblood said, bowing. “Do you have a coin purse on hand?”
“Yes, I do, thank you,” Sirius answered, pulling a little bag from his pocket. He bent and filled the bag to the brim with gold Galleons and the only Sickles and Knuts in the vault. Once he finished, he shoved the bag back into his pocket and gestured for Boldblood to lead on.
They returned to the cart and rocketed off again. Harry thought the ride was quite similar to a roller coaster, because the track curved sharply in many places, sometimes shooting up and down, even flipping upside down twice. Also, Ginny had to use the anti-nausea charm on Remus two more times. He kept getting sick, but Ginny said that too many uses of the charm would end in worse nausea. Remus decided to live with it.
When they arrived at the Black Vault, Remus stepped out of the way to catch his breath. Sirius had a quick word with him, but Remus shook his head, muttering that he was fine. Sirius shook his head and patted Remus’ shoulder, then turned his attention to Boldblood.
Boldblood pressed his palm to the door, and the very door melted out of sight. Harry raised his eyebrows. Sirius was not bothered by it, it seemed, for he stuck his head in and looked around.
“How much is in here?” he asked Boldblood.
“In Galleons, approximately seven hundred fifty million. There are also several thousand Galleons worth of jewels, spell books, relics, and bonds. We can have it all counted and summed up down to the very Knut if you wish, Mister Black.”
“You needn’t count the Galleons, but if you would be kind enough to inventory and appraise everything else in there, I would be very grateful,” Sirius said.
“Of course,” Boldblood bowed again. “Whatever you wish.”
“Thank you, Boldblood.”
Three more goblins approached from behind, all carrying several money bags each.
“Master Black,” said the closest, “We have brought everything from your personal vault. We understand you wished to have it stored in the Black Vault?”
“Yes, please,” Sirius answered. “Thank you, sirs.”
The goblins nodded and lugged the money bags into the Black Vault. Boldblood spoke up. “I assume that by moving all of your money to this vault, you wish to close that one?”
“Yes, that is true,” Sirius said.
Boldblood bowed again. “Very well, I shall close it. Is there anything else you wish to do?”
“Yes, there is.” Sirius glanced at Harry and motioned him forward. “As you should know, I am Harry Potter’s magically legal godfather. I wish to open the Potter Vault and have a look in there.”
“Mr. Potter, would you confirm that he speaks true?” Boldblood said to Harry.
“He’s right,” Harry said. “And, I was just wondering, Sirius said that the Potter family had a lot of investments and stuff, and I wanted to know who was overseeing all my money since my parents died?”
“Gringotts has been,” Boldblood said. “When James Potter passed on, you became the sole heir of the entire Potter family fortune. Previous to his death, your father made Sirius Black the steward of the Potter fortune, so he could oversee the fortune until you were of age. But since he was imprisoned, we took the responsibility of managing both your personal vault, your parent’s personal vaults, and the family’s vault.”
“Since I was arrested, have there been any attempts by anyone other than myself to take over management of the Potter account?” Sirius asked.
“The only thing resembling an attempt to take over stewardship was an inquiry made by Albus Dumbledore not long after James Potter was killed. He wished to know who would oversee the accounts with you in prison; we informed him we would, and that was the end of it,” Boldblood answered.
“Thank you, Boldblood,” Sirius said. “Would you lead us to the Potter Vault now? And, do you think we could walk? My friend is very susceptible to motion sickness.”
Remus only nodded stiffly. Boldblood considered it before agreeing. After closing the Black Vault, he led them down the path, past other vaults, until they reached a thick door with the word “Potter” engraved on the metal surface.
Boldblood placed his palm on it, and the door melted out of the way. Sirius guided Harry to the front of the vault, and his jaw dropped.
The vault was even larger than the Black Vault, with huge piles of gold on one side, and treasures and antiques taking up the space on the other end.
“There are at least several hundred million Galleons in this vault,” Boldblood said, “perhaps even one billion. It has not been counted in quite some time; we will do that soon.” He glanced at Harry, and one corner of his mouth twitched. “You may enter,” Boldblood added evenly. Harry stepped over the threshold, gazing around in awe.
I knew you were loaded, but I never expected this much! Ginny thought.
Neither did I, Harry thought back. He turned and pulled Ginny into the vault; her eyes skipped over the gold to the many bookshelves lining the far wall.
“Hermione is going to love this!” she laughed, stepping over Galleons to get to the books. Harry rolled his eyes. Just his luck to have a girlfriend who went straight for the bookshelves in a room full of treasure, he thought sarcastically. Ginny shot him a look, and he gave her a sheepish smile.
Sorry, darling, he thought. She perked back up and turned back to the books with a wide smile.
“So, Harry m’boy,” Sirius said, stepping up and clapping him on the shoulder. “What do you want to do with all this?”
Inventory everything, and get it all appraised. Once the inventory and appraising is done, you’ll want to go through it yourself and see if you want to sell anything. Oh, and make sure there isn’t anything unsavory, though I highly doubt there is, Ginny reeled off mentally as she pulled a book off the shelf. And you might want to bring some of these books home. I expect they’ll be very useful.
“I’d like to inventory it all, and appraise everything,” Harry repeated. “And check to make sure there isn’t anything unsavory in here; I don’t think there will be, but I want to be certain. After that, I think we should go through everything ourselves and see if there’s anything we want to sell. And can we take some of those books home?”
“Sure, Little Prongs,” Sirius said. He turned back to Boldblood. “You got that?”
“Yes, sir,” Boldblood said, bowing again.
“Thank you, Boldblood,” Harry said.
“Yes, thank you very much,” Sirius echoed.
You are so good at taking orders, Ginny thought with a grin.
Harry snorted. Only from you.
Harry shook his head and made his way over to her. He slipped his arms around her and gently kissed her cheek. Ginny smiled warmly at him.
“Oi!” Sirius called, “hands where I can see them!”
Ginny stuck her tongue out at Sirius, then proceeded to turn around in Harry’s arms, wrap hers around his neck, and pressed a quick kiss to his mouth.
“You’re no fun,” Harry complained loudly.
“Oi! I am loads of fun!” Sirius protested. “But I rather fear Mrs. Weasley more than I fear being accused of being no fun.”
Reluctantly, Harry let go of Ginny, who just as reluctantly stepped back.
“Anyway,” Ginny said as if nothing had happened, “I think we should bring this one with us.”
Harry remembered that she had been holding a book in her hands before they started kissing. He took it from her and looked it over.
“I can’t read it,” he said, frowning at the title.
“Of course you can’t, you don’t know Gaelic,” Ginny said. He raised his eyebrows at her.
“A little bit. Mum taught us the basics before we came to Hogwarts.”
“So what is it?”
Ginny touched a forefinger to the second word in the title. “I’m pretty sure that says ‘Transfiguration.’ And that,” she pointed to the fourth, “means Charms. I think it’s a book of practical spells.”
Harry flicked through it; most of the text was in Gaelic, but there were notes written in the margin in English. He halted at the beginning and read one note.
“Chapter Twenty-Six would be very useful in handling Remus’s furry problem.” Harry raised his eyebrows and turned ran a finger down the table of contents. He could recognize the page numbers, they were normal at least. He found what he guessed to be Chapter 26, with Ginny’s mental help, and flipped through the book to find it. At the forefront of the page, beneath the chapter title, was a drawing of a man with the hindquarters of a bird.
Animagi? He thought.
I think so, Ginny replied. The title has Animal in it.
I think it might have been my dad’s, Harry thought. Ginny looked up, and they locked eyes.
What makes you think that? She thought.
Well, a note at the beginning said that this chapter would help with Remus “furry problem.” I think that meant his lycanthropy.
She raised her eyebrows and thought it over. You could be right. We’ll check it out later, okay?
“We’ll take this one home,” he said. “Is there a bag we could put it and the other ones we want to take in?”
“Sure,” Sirius said. He glanced around and grabbed a handbag off a shelf. “Ginny, would you like to borrow Madame Helena Potter’s dragonskin purse?”
“Uh, I guess,” Ginny said, with a glance at Harry. He shrugged, thinking that it was fine with him.
She took the bag, which turned out to already have a few books in it. All, however, were fictional titles and were pushed onto the shelf. Into the bag went the Gaelic Transfiguration and Charms book, a book on magical creatures, an encyclopedia of every Jinx, Curse, Counter Curse, and Hex invented as of 1973, a copy of Potion Making for Dummies (Harry was unsure as to how it had gotten into his family’s vault), and — at Ginny’s insistence — a biography of Merlin. Remus then added to the pile a book of advanced and intermediate Charms, A Study of Lycanthropy, and A History of Sentient Magical Beings. And then — they were testing the limits of the seams — Sirius contributed The Evolution of Wizard Rock, Muggle Transportation, and The Fine Art of Dueling. By the time they had finished, the handbag had been given a Strengthening Charm, an Expansion charm, and had been shrunk to fit in Ginny’s pocket. Boldblood watched them pick out the books, and wrote down the titles, authors and publication dates of each so they would be included in the inventory list.
“Anything else you want, Harry?” Sirius asked.
Harry glanced around the room, looking for anything that might catch his fancy, and his eyes fell a velvet box near where Sirius had found the bag. He stepped over a battered trunk to get to it and picked it up. It was heavier than Harry had expected and longer.
What’s that? Ginny thought as she moved to his side.
Dunno. Harry opened the lid, and Ginny’s hands flew to her mouth. Inside, was a dagger made of what Harry suspected to be gold, with dark purple and red stones set into the handguard and pommel. Beside it was a metal scabbard, also made of gold with the same dark gems forming the shape of a rampant griffin.
“Whoa,” Sirius murmured as he looked over Harry’s shoulder.
“Would you look at that,” Remus said with a whistle.
Boldblood stepped forward and looked over it. “May I see it?” he asked. Harry nodded. Boldblood lifted the dagger from the case and held it up against the light. He studied it a moment, then swapped it for the scabbard. Again, he scrutinized it before setting it back in the case. “Pure golden blade, as is the handle and the scabbard. The stones are spinels of a deep purple variety and classic garnets. This garnet on the pommel is, strangely, uncut. I cannot say why. Though the blade is unmistakably of Goblin make, neither the handle nor the scabbard were made by Goblin hands, though they were, I believe, made in a Goblin forge with Goblin magic. There is a magic in them that I cannot identify in it, however. I would say it is probably worth over five hundred thousand galleons.”
“Wow,” Harry whispered.
Boldblood took the case from him, closing it as he did. “We will inventory it, and have it professionally appraised. There are several Goblin made weapons in this vault, and, as you can see,” he added, pointing to a burnished suit of armor standing in a corner, “Goblin made armor. I suggest you come back as often as you can until term at Hogwarts starts, to go over everything yourself.”
“Uh, okay,” Harry said, glancing at Ginny. She shrugged.
I don’t see a reason not to, she thought. Besides, it sounds like fun.
And it’s just my luck to have a girlfriend who enjoys going through dusty old antiques.
Ginny rolled her eyes.
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