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You are a thief.

There will be justice.



Outside the Head Goblin's office, a little way down the corridor so it wouldn't seem like they were just loitering at the door, Harry and Hermione stopped to look over one of the pieces of parchment from Hermione's satchel. The list of what they had to get done.

She checked several things off, nodding to herself quietly. "We're off to a good start, at least." She ran her finger down the page, considering some of the things yet to come. "You'll be happy to know I won't need to drag you to do any more shopping. I'll need to pick up a few things, but that's easy enough. Could probably get most of it by owl, anyway."

The parchment went back into her satchel as a young goblin scurried down the corridor past them, back to the main hall, their own slip of parchment held firm in their hands. It struck Harry as slightly odd to see them moving around quite so quickly, given the stately aura that Gringotts usually tried to display, but then, he had just set the kneazle among the pigeons.

"I think," Harry said, "that I just want to get back to the Burrow, and hide from responsibilities under a pile of blankets. Just for a little while." He started off down the corridor towards the main hall.

Hermione smiled as she followed him. "Playing Lord Potter-Black getting a little tiring?" She patted him on the shoulder. "As your secretary, I'll make sure to schedule some down time after each little... performance."

He laughed. "It is a performance, isn't it? I wonder how the others all manage it. I mean, if they're acting too, does that mean they've just been doing it so long that it's not weird anymore?"

"I think some people are just that grumpy." She stopped walking, and suddenly started digging around in her satchel while muttering under her breath quietly.

Harry turned to look at her. "Problem?"

She shrugged. "Just thinking that there must be something we've missed." She pulled out their to-do list again, checking it over, then shrugged. "You know, it feels a bit weird. Usually, with these over-the-top plans we keep finding ourselves in, we're breaking the rules, and I'm the one trying to get you to be more sensible."

"I'm always sensible!" Harry grinned at her. "Being able to get what we want within all the rules is a weird feeling, I agree." He patted her on the shoulder. "Let's get out of here."

As they emerged from the corridor, they could hear the sounds of some sort of argument coming from one of the tellers' stations. Harry did his best to ignore it, his mind already on the mug of hot chocolate that he'd decided was waiting for him at the Burrow, while Hermione seemed to be keeping an eye on it, her walk slowing as Harry pulled ahead.

"Just give me my money!" The shout rang out through the hall, which had now fallen completely silent.  The goblin's polite reply was too quiet to hear, but the wizard slammed both fists down on the counter. "My father owns that damn vault!" Another quiet reply. "WHO?!"

Harry stopped in his tracks, silently praying that they wouldn't actually give his name. Goblins were, he remembered, often more honest than he'd have preferred. He started heading to the doors again, faster this time. Apparently not quite fast enough, however. A big hand on his shoulder spun him around, and he found himself looking up at the rather intimidating form of Goyle, Malfoy's former lackey, bodyguard, and all-around goon and thug.

Harry froze.

His mind raced.

He'd seen that face before. That anger.

His uncle.





He could feel his hands ball into fists.

Goyle was screaming something at him.

Harry couldn't really make out the words.

What was going to happen?


Wizards. Not Vernon. Wizards don't hit.

The yelling in front of him continued. Angry.

Still couldn't quite work it out.




Goyle had taken a step back.


Harry tried to get his wand.

Hands move so slowly.

A bright red flash. "EXPELLIARMUS!"

Goyle stumbled back. His wand went flying.

Safe? Hands shaking.

He looked to see where the light had come from.

Not him.

He saw Hermione. Wand aimed at Goyle.


Hand on his shoulder. He flinched. It's just Hermione. His eyes locked on hers.

She looked worried. Harry blinked at her. "Are you okay, Harry?"

He tried to pat her on the arm, to comfort her. His hands were still curled shut.

"Let's go outside." She pressed against him arm gently, trying to guide him out. People were crowding over to where Goyle was. Security?

They started to walk towards the exit, Hermione's hand on his arm. He looked around him quickly, eyes darting, in case someone else tried something.

Deep breath. They were outside now. Still too crowded here. Off to the side, down one of the quieter little side streets.

Not so many people. Still some. He didn't look at them.

Another breath. Harry's face felt ice cold. He leant against the wall, side on, not putting his back against anything. He managed a weak smile at Hermione. "Thank you."

"Are you okay?" She leant against the wall beside him, keeping a little distance.

"I..." He paused, shrugged. "No. But I will be." He shook his head. "He just took me by surprise. I guess I should have been expecting it." Harry looked at his shoulder, where Goyle had grabbed him.

"I've never seen you react like that before."

Another pause, as Harry thought. "He grabbed me. When wizards attack people, they usually just go for their wand."

She blinked, tilting her head to the side slightly. "And that's better?"

Harry nodded, but didn't say anything. Hermione decided not to press the point.