A/N: This, I do not own. The Ideas behind the story are mine, but the Billions of Dollars it might generate are not. If JKR wants to steal my ideas for a 7th book that makes sense and keeps the crew in character, she can feel free and make another wad of cash. It would be fine with me. Lord knows that the Deathly Hallows made no damned sense at all, and had Remus Lupin, my favorite character, (and the only adult to consistently act like one) behave completely out of character. Abandoning his pregnant wife to run around with Harry. What was she thinking? Moreover, don't get me started on Hermione mind raping her parents...
Last time on The Power He has Not:
Ottery St. Catchpole
Gazing into the tiny eyes, he held his breath in fear of breaking her. Fred reached in to touch her and Denise Weasley grasped his finger in her tiny hand. "Sweet Merlin" George whispered in wonder.
"You said it Brother."
"Too bad about her boy friends"
"What do you mean by that?" Penny asked apprehensively.
"Before they get to meet you and Perc, they have to go through us. They aren't good enough for our Niece."
Harry Potter and the Power He Has Not.
Chapter 22 - Pain
Naked except for a small loincloth Harry was filthy, exhausted, and sweating like a pig. His five squad mates stilled seemed fresh as when they had started this exercise 18 hours before. Damn it all to hell anyway, why did I ever think this was a good idea?
The Goblin translation charm was still working. He had no idea why, but it was. Other than his link to Hermione, it was the only magic left in his life. He was picking up Gobbledygook, but was far from fluent.
"There" Slorhook pointed. "That's our objective." The squad leader indicated the pulsing quartz crystal the size of a man's fist sitting in the center of a circle of stones. The circle was at the center of alarge open area that offered no cover. "Your task is to get the stone and get it to me." Slorhook displayed what Harry had come to know was the Goblin expression of frustration; he hated the 'leader' tasks, not being allowed to'play'.
"Earrip, Liphook, move around to the far side of the clearing, then approach the center and get me that crystal. Thutnose, Slikmor, stay here to back them up. Scavenge weapons." Harry nodded, and followed Thutnose in to the debris field to scavenge flint. Properly knapped it was as sharp as a scalpel. They gathered double armloads and returned to Slorhook. Harry removed his loincloth and fashioned a sling. This added to his range making it more of a match to his squad mates, over the last three months he had gotten quite accurate.
It had taken Earrip and Liphook almost an hour to stealthily make their way to the far side of the clearing. Moving slowly and low to the ground then entered the clearing. They had reached perhaps one quarter of the way to the pulsing crystal when from the very ground they stood upon, four Goblin warriors erupted, dragging them into the ground, leaving not a trace.
"Thutnose, you saw. They know we're here, use the stones, quietly. I want that crystal." He looked to Harry, who he had originally hated with a passion. That hatred had gradually mellowed into a bemused tolerance due to the human's refusal to quit. He seemingly always failed, but never quit trying. A goblin could respect that. "Slikmor, do your best."
The remaining squad members exchanged looks, and separated to come at the crystal from two different directions. Thutnose entered the clearing first moving from stone to stone, avoiding the lose soil which were surely undermined by tunnels. Goblin tunneled through stone as well as dirt, but not as quickly and certainly not silently. He made it to the ring of stones before he too was ensnared by a pair of goblin warriors, who pulled him into the tunnels, leaving no trace that he had ever been there.
As Thutnose disappeared, Harry entered the clearing. In the three months, he had been here training with the Goblins he had noticed that Goblin sight, developed by generations in low light tunnels was attracted to movement. If he could move slowly enough, and light enough to not start vibrations in the ground that the tunnellers would be sensitive to, he might have a slim chance. He had abandoned the flint stones and wrapped the loincloth around his shoulders. This was going to be a long one. If his time with the Goblins had taught him nothing else, it was patience.
It took him almost 2 hours to make his way to the circle of stone, seemingly undetected. Another 20 minutes were needed to cross the remaining 10 feet. Now he was crouched next to the pulsing crystal, its bright light hurting his dark-adapted eyes.
There was no way in hell he was going to touch it. He didn't know anything about it beyond the fact that Slorhook wanted it. He slowly and carefully caught it in the cup of his sling. Exhausted, he knew that there was no way he was going to be able to make it back out of the clearing the way he came in. Aiming at the spot that Slorhook had been, he swung the sling, once, twice, and released on the third revolution, watching it sail out of the clearing just as a pair of warriors rose out of the ground and pulled him under laughing at this ineffectual struggles.
Slorhook was amazed as the crystal arced through the air to his hands. He had done it. No one had ever gotten the crystal before. The purpose of the exercise was to teach squads that sometimes, no matter what they did, their mission would fail, that there was no shame in failure if they never quit. His squad had indeed been wiped out, but the mission had been accomplished.
Tucking the crystal into his coup pouch, he moved out to his debrief. Not for the first time he needed to consider how he felt about being stuck with a weakling human on his team.
Three Months earlier:
"And that is your will Mr. Potter, with the obvious clause that if any of your beneficiaries kill you they inherit nothing."
"Given my luck Sir, we might want to change that to 'kill me unnecessarily' there may be situations where killing me would be a good thing, or at least not a bad thing."
"A most Goblin attitude Mr. Potter." Ragnak made the changes. "Your family and friends will be well taken care of if you pass." He looked to the young man who he was gradually coming to respect, if for no other reason than the respect the human showed to him. "With that taken care of, should we move on to our other business?"
Harry agreed, and Ragnak, in some manner Harry couldn't see signaled for the next group to come in. Bill Weasley and a team of nine goblins entered. Harry rose to shake Bill's hand, and then bowed in the goblin way to the others. The goblin newcomers were moderately shocked at this show of respect from a wizard.
"Cursebreaker Weasley will be heading up the team you requested for the Horocrux hunt." Ragnak passed the contract to Harry, who read it. Then he looked up with a concerned expression.
"This isn't what I asked for."
"I assure you Mr. Potter, it is entirely fair." Ragnak said stiffly. Bill was desperately trying to think of a way to silently signal Harry to shut the Hell up. One does not attempt to haggle with the Bank Manager in his own office.
"I'm sorry Sir, but this is wrong. The Contracted amount for the Horocrux hunt is listed as 500,000 Galleons. I believe I offered 500,000 thousand per horocrux. In addition, as I want to cover the wages for your Curse breaking team for the period of the hunt, plus 10% to cover their out of pocket expenses. I also want to include a Million Galleon Bonus to the Bank if all four of the remaining horocruxes are found and neutralized before January 15th of the coming year." He looked into Ragnak's dumbfounded expression. "That last is your fault Bank Manager; you showed me how much money I've got. I figure why not spend some of it to ensure I have abetter chance of staying alive?"
The utter silence continued in the room for almost a dozen heartbeats. "I must say Mr. Potter; I've never been a party where a customer negotiates to raise the fees he must pay."
Harry smiled. "I was told your curse breakers are the best of the best. I figured; why not pay for the best?"
The 'corrections' were made to the contract, and Harry signed it.
"Would you care to address your contract employees?"
"Thank you Bank Manager." Harry turned his attention to Bill and his team. "You know your jobs; you don't need to hear any instructions from me. I have researched your departments' history and know that you are indeed the best of the best. I've really only got one demand to make of you." His face took on a serious look; the most serious Bill had ever seen him. "Be safe. Don't take any chances. I'm the one who has to face the bastard responsible for these Horocruxes; there is no good reason for any of you to not go home to your families when this is over. Especially you Bill. The Lady Goblins might be mad at me if their mates were hurt making my life easier, but Fleur would hunt me down and kill me."
Laughter flooded the room, and Bill and his team left to get to work.
Laughing himself, Ragnak cleared his desk. "Well said Mr. Potter. Was there anything else I can do for you?"
Again, Harry got serious. "Well Bank Manager, there was one other thing..."