Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Escape2 Reviews
Harry comes back from his fifth year to a changed household. What happened to Dudley, and why is he so desperate to make Harry go away? Post-OotP, mild changes to ending of OotP, AU, rating just to...
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or anything related.
A\N: Many thanks to Ham and Sarah for looking over this before it was posted.
A\N 2: I had a bit of a problem uploading this chapter. For some reason, all quotes and stuff vanished, leaving me with the HTM lcode for them. Maybe it's because I uploaded a HTML file. Oh well. It's solved (had to change them manually) If any of you can help with that, let me know.
Unfortunately for Harry, he didn't get a chance to leave the house for a few days. He spent a large part of his free time with Dudley, getting to know the new person his cousin had become. There were times when Dudley would drop back to his earlier persona, and there were times when Harry wanted to hex his cousin into next week, but those times were fewer and fewer over the days.
Overall, the few days spent locked up at Privet Drive were beneficial for the two of them.
That was why, at midnight, a week after he had arrived back at the Dursley's, he and Dudley were in the kitchen, and Dudley was reluctant to let him go. From the boy's manner, Harry suspected that Dudley was afraid he wouldn't be coming back.
"Yes Dudley, I'm sure I won't get caught," Harry snapped for what it felt like the thousandth time. He understood that Dudley was afraid that they would use magic to find him. Dudley was afraid of all magic, Harry concluded. And he had no idea what magic could, or couldn't do. Because he'd only seen the bad parts of magic - usually as a victim - he was understandably frightened.
Dudley seemed to want to say something more, but shut his mouth with a snap and nodded. Harry opened the back door and slipped his Invisibility cloak over his head.
"Be careful, Harry," Dudley whispered, keeping his distance from the door. He had gotten a few shocks while trying to leave the house, and didn't want a repeat performance.
"I'll be back, Dudley, hopefully with a way to get us out of here." With that, Harry shut the door and crept away. He jumped the fence to number three, and silently made his way out of Privet Drive.
When he felt he'd put enough distance between his home and his guards, he ducked in an alley; he took off his cloak and rolled it up, putting it in his bag.
The walk to the bus station was a short one. After he arrived, he took a seat in the small waiting room, waiting for the ticket booth to open. He had known that he would have to wait, perhaps until morning, but both he and Dudley had agreed that leaving at night would be much easier than during the day.
At around four in the morning, Harry was almost asleep. He blinked tiredly when he heard an old lady move to open the side door to the ticket booth, muttering about homeless and the government.
He grinned in amusement, but his face became serious as he realized that if their plan succeeded, both he and Dudley /would /be homeless. Well, it was better than their current situation, he reasoned with a shrug, before going to purchase a two-way ticket to London.
He had almost the entire day before having to return, and he planned to take full advantage of it. There was a note on the kitchen table at the Dursley's, written in his best imitation of the Headmaster's handwriting. The note said that Harry had been needed elsewhere, but that he'd be "returned" in less than forty-eight hours.
Lying back in his not-so-comfortable bus seat, Harry went over his plans for London. The first stop was, obviously, Gringotts. After that, he wanted to see what books Flourish & Blotts had on personal wards, and buy some of them, in order to find out about the spell that had been cast on Dudley. Maybe some book on imprisonment spells, although he doubted he'd find such a book in Flourish & Blotts.
He was deep in thought, not paying much attention to his surroundings; thus, he was quite startled when a small girl bounced in front of him and pointed at him with a chocolate-smeared finger. "You's Hawwy Potter! You's in paper!" she proclaimed, very sure of herself.
"Angela!" an elderly woman called her tone reproachful. "Stop with that nonsense!" Harry noticed that her second reprimand held a touch of fear and sighed. He'd hoped the wizarding world would stop treating him like a crazed lunatic who should be feared.
He stared out the window for the rest of the trip, thinking about all he'd learned about the wizarding world in the few years he'd been a part of it.
He climbed off the bus along with the other passengers and looked around, hoping to get an idea of where he was. Unfortunately, nothing he saw was familiar. There was a large map; it let him know that he was on the edge of London proper. He'd have to take another bus to the station closest to King's Cross, and make his way from there to the Leaky Cauldron, and Diagon Alley. He started tracing the route with his finger.
"Um... may I help you?" a hesitant voice asked.
A middle-aged woman was standing a couple yards to his left. Hiding behind her skirt, and getting it very chocolate-y in color, was the girl who'd spoken to him during the bus ride.
Taking his silence as approval, the lady went on, "We're going to the Leaky Cauldron, and it looked like you want to go there too... " she trailed off.
Harry looked at her closely for a few seconds. She seemed sincere enough. But then, he'd always thought Dumbledore was the best wizard in the world. The little girl - Angela? - peeked from behind the woman and grinned at him happily. Her fondness to chocolate became even more obvious. "Gonna get mo' choco!" she exclaimed.
He grinned back at her and nodded at the woman. "I'd appreciate your help, Madam. I've never been in this part of London before, and I'm a bit disoriented," he said.
She nodded understandingly and leaned close to him, dropping her voice to a whisper. "Most wizards get completely lost in the Muggle world. I'm a Muggle myself, but this little bundle of trouble," she tugged on Angela's hand, making her come in front, "is a witch, just like her parents." Angela grinned at Harry and offered him half a bar of molten chocolate.
Half an hour later, Harry and Mrs. Jones, as she'd asked him to call her, along with her granddaughter Angela were in a small cafe, waiting for the bus to pass. Harry sipped his orange juice, and listened to Angela rattle on about all the chocolate things she'd buy. He liked the little girl, he decided,even if she was, as her grandmother had put it, a bundle of trouble.
Two hours later, Harry was opening the entrance to Diagon Alley. Mrs. Jones and Angela were in the Leaky Cauldron, resting for a bit. Angela was only a four-year old, and the trip at such an early hour had tired her. They'd invited him to stay with them, but he pleaded urgent business and left.
He kept his eyes in front of him, and his head bowed down. Luckily, the Alley was almost empty at the early hour, only shopkeepers opening or setting up stands, with the odd customer here and there. Harry entered the great hall of Gringotts without any problems in the Alley.
He walked at a normal pace towards the nearest booth but a small goblin intercepted him.
"Mister Potter, you were expected. My name is Snatram. If you will follow me." The goblin turned without another word, leaving Harry to gape after him. He had to hurry after the goblin.
Snatram led him to a small office and left, closing the door behind him. The office contained a desk, several uncomfortable looking chairs and an obviously enchanted window, showing a breathtaking ridge of snow covered mountains. On the desk there was the standard Self-Inking Office Quill - /Guaranteed to last through one thousand meetings and one! /-, several sheets of written parchment and a few rolls of blank parchment. Aside from that, the office was empty. Behind the desk, in a chair similar to the others in the office, sat a goblin. The only difference Harry could see between this goblin and any others he had seen were the earrings. This goblin had four of them, all in his left ear.
"Welcome, Mr. Potter," the goblin said. "Please, take a seat. We have been expecting you."
Harry sat down anxiously. He opened his mouth to ask a question, but the goblin stopped him by raising a finger.
"Mr. Potter, let me begin by assuring you that Gringotts is in no way responsible for the recent events. We were unable to do anything about it, due to the terms of the contract signed by Gringotts the day Mister James Potter and Mrs. Lily Potter filed their wills with us. The contract..." he trailed off, looking at Harry closely.
"What events?" Harry asked sharply. He couldn't be referring to Sirius, could he? What interest would Gringotts have in that?
"Why, your guardianship issues, of course," the goblin explained, a trace of impatience coloring his tone.
"Guardianship issues?" Harry asked, completely confused.
"Yes, Mr. Potter. Guardianship issues. Especially transferring your guardianship to one Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts. Your presence is required, why is why we sent you an owl requesting this meeting."
"What owl?" He didn't remember any owls from Gringotts.
The goblin studied him carefully for a few seconds, and then leaned back in the chair. "Very well, Mr. Potter. Since you appear to be unaware of the events I speak of, I shall give you a brief explanation." At Harry's nod, he continued. "Several weeks ago, your guardian was killed," he glanced at the parchment on his desk, "by passing through the Veil of Death. Since then, four requests of claiming guardianship have been filed at the Ministry. Gringotts is automatically forwarded such files in the cases of patrons with assets in our establishment, to handle and give advice, if needed. Out of the four requests, three were suddenly withdrawn, leaving only one, on the name of Albus Dumbledore.
"All the legal proceedings pertaining to this case have been finished last week, Mr. Potter. However, Mr. Dumbledore cannot claim guardianship unless you sign the papers, which is why you have been called to Gringotts."
Harry closed his mouth with a snap, and glanced at the parchment the goblin was sliding toward him. "What if I don't want him to be my guardian?" he asked.
"Gringotts will give you advice, if you request it," the goblin answered, all traces of his previous impatience gone.
Harry thought about it for a few minutes, and then looked up. "Very well, I do not want Dumbledore to be my guardian. I would be grateful for any advice Gringotts could offer me."
The goblin touched the parchment and murmured and word, making it burst in flames that quickly consumed it, leaving no trace.
"Mr. Potter, I am Triphook," he said. "It appears we have much to discuss and little time to do it in. Please, make yourself comfortable." With a wave of a hand and another murmured word, the room changed completely.
Tapestries and sculptures decorated the walls, with an axe and vicious looking sword pinned to the wall behind the desk. The desk itself remained unchanged, while the chairs shifted into comfy leather armchairs. Triphook walked from behind the desk and motioned for Harry to join him to a pair of armchairs that were facing each other over a small table.
Once they were both seated, Triphook started speaking. "Mr. Potter, I assume you have no knowledge of the working of Gringotts?"
The following few hours were some of the most informative and productive hours in Harry's life. But as he stepped out of Gringotts, three hours later, he felt free.