A/N: On these characters, I own no rights. Or even wrongs. That's important I guess.
A/N2: Does it bother anyone else that there are literally hundreds of 7th year fan fics that are several orders of magnitude superior to the horrible mess that calls its self "The Deathly Hallows"? I know it does me. I wish she had just done something less dreary.
Last time on The Power He has Not:
Three Months ago:
"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..."
Harry Potter and the Power He Has Not.
Chapter 23 - Exercises
"How did you cheat?"
Harry was getting angry. The goblin warriors were quite pissed that he had successfully retrieved the crystal. Evidently, it was some type of no-win scenario. So of course, with typical Potter luck, he had won, and was now losing for his trouble. He was tied hand and foot, laying among his squad mates, who were thrilled with what he had done. Less so about the debriefing masquerading as a torture session, but then they all were.
The questioner kicked Harry soundly in the stomach in response to his silence. His world dissolved into pain and darkness. Cold water was thrown on him returned him his situation.
"How did you cheat?" the questioner screamed into his face from above.
Harry nodded his acceptance of defeat and whispered his answer.
"I didn't hear you Slikmor!"
Harry's body language screamed of exhaustion and weakness, again he whispered.
Infuriated at the response, yet overjoyed that he had broken this weakling human, the goblin pulled him from the ground, and shook him"Answer me you pitiful weakling!"
Harry reacted with terror and slumped even more, whispering once more.
The Goblin warrior pulled Harry close to his ear. Harry then spoke in a conversational tone that everyone in the cavern could hear perfectly.
"Your mother sells at cost."
The warrior screamed his fury, and threw Harry to the ground among his squad mates.
Gryffindor Heads Suite
Head Girl's Bedchamber
Susan (and Neville) had left more than an hour before. Ron(and Luna) only about 10 minutes later. For once Halloween had been a quiet day. After six exciting (and frightening) Halloweens, Hermione supposed they were due. No trolls, No one attempting to break into the tower, absolutely nothing had gone wrong. Unfortunately, there was also no Harry.
When she was a child, she never saw herself with anyone when she looked to the future. She never had the knack for making friends, so she substituted hard work to stoke the raging fire that was her intellect. Her friends were books. Her playthings were ideas. Her safety lay in knowledge and family. There were the odd happenings that seemed to follow her around, the bully who suddenly found her nose bloodied when pulling on Hermione's hair, the way things she was looking for seemed to suddenly be in her hand. Other things, less mundane. Still, blessed with a family that some people could only dream of, she had been secure in her worldview.
Then the letter came. The letter with its promise of new things to explore and an explanation for some of the things that had been happening to her. Her worldview was shattered. When Professor McGonagall had come to the door to explain that the letter was in fact not a joke, and that the things that Hermione had been doing that so frightened her parents and herself were as normal as the menses that had started only a few months before. Despite her mother's explanations, Hermione had been terrified of her monthly cycle until her relentless research had defined what her body was doing and she understood the mysteries of growing up.
Similarly, she was terrified of these strange abilities. Only study and experimentation would quiet her fears. The professor had shown Hermione and her parents to Diagon Alley and introduced them to the wizarding world, and Hermione, as was her wont, through her self into this new life with everything she had.
Her plan was simple, 7 years to hone her magic, and then return to the 'real' world for University. From there a research position and saving the world in some undefined way.
Then she boarded the Hogwarts express. She quickly met and befriended a boy named Neville Longbottom. A nice enough boy, even if he couldn't meet her eyes. He had lost his toad, so she helped him find it(actually she DID find him, sleeping atop of Neville's trunk... always the last place you look), but during the search she met two other boys. Ron and Harry. They did both meet her eyes, but weren't overly friendly. Looking back, she didn't know why that surprised her about 11 year old boys, but at the time, it did.
They had their conflicts for the first couple of months and their arguments, and then Ron was so hateful on Halloween, for some reason she still didn't understand, that drove her away crying. She had had far worse said to her in the past, and it never effected her that way. Then when she was about done feeling sorry for herself, she found herself facing the troll.
Amazingly, seemingly from nowhere, suddenly Harry was on its back, while Ron was trying to fight the moving mountain as well, all to protect her. That was when she knew she had friends.
They fought like siblings, and protected each other. They were good for each other. She often thought that they should be poster children for the wizarding world. The Pureblood, the Halfblood, and the Muggleborn friends, family.
Last year she thought that her heart had settled on Ron, that he needed her more than Harry did. She suspected that her problems were based in her thinking. Her heart didn't do what there mind told it to do. When she and Harry had finally bonded, there hadn't been any thinking involved. Just an all-consuming need. He needed her when his life was falling apart, she needed him when reacting to the horror of almost seeing her mother's death, almost seeing his death, and possibly worst of all, finding that it was well within her to kill without a thought.
The Ring. Padma had explained it, but wearing it had opened vistas into Harry and herself that no one else had ever dreamed. At will she could call upon his love and have it wash over her as it had when she was first put the ring on. And she did this most nights, making up for not having him here with her. If that is what sex was like, she finally understood the lengths that her classmates went to find some alone time with their significant others. She found herself being far more sympathetic, on occasion not noticing the couple in the broom closet or up in the Astronomy Tower when she knew them to be sincerely in love and of an age...
/Harry, come back to me.../
Three Months earlier:
"So, what is your 'other thing' Mr. Potter?"
Harry looked in to the eyes of the ancient goblin.
"You know what I am tasked to do?"
"It is prophesized that you will fight Tom Riddle, that one or the other of you will slay the other, and that the winner's world view will rein."
"You are very well informed Bank Manager."
"It is my business to be. Wizards, almost all wizards, speak around goblins like they are furniture."
"If you are a betting goblin, I would suggest you place your bet on Riddle. He has the power, not me."
"I have been known to wager on occasion Mr. Potter. Acertain Gnome in Zurich offered me most attractive odds to back you at an interbank conference. '100 to 1. Potter's a dead man.' I believe were his exact words. I am counting on you to win that wager for me."
Harry blinked. People were betting on his survival?
"Well then Bank Manager, I think that it's only fair I let you reduce your odds of losing."
"And how would you do that Mr. Potter?"
Harry sat silently for a moment, still trying to digest the thought that people were betting on his death. "I have been told since Ientered the Wizarding world that Goblin Steel is the best there is."
Ragnak nodded no need to state the obvious.
"It occurred to me, that the only thing stronger than the steel would be the people that made it. I would like to request that you allow me to train with your security Goblins. What ever they do, I want to do." He gave Ragnak a pleading look. "Make me harder. Give me the Goblin edge."
After being thrown, Harry twisted in the air to take the impact on his butt, making sure to stop his roll on top of his loincloth. The Interrogator hadn't noticed Harry had palmed his dagger despite being bound. He worked the blade through the ropes binding his hands, and then freed his feet. He then passed the blade to Thutnose so that his squad mates could free themselves. The Interrogator's back was to them screaming commands to the rest of his team, Harry looked to Earrip for instructions, which were given in clan sign language when all four were ready, they moved. Harry had constructed his own loincloth from rabbit fur; the goblins saw it as a sign of weakness and ever examined it. What it hid was a length of piano wire, which Harry had looped and passed over the head of the Interrogator, pulling for all he was worth. Goblin warriors are substantially larger than the average goblin. As tall as a man, and immensely stronger, still they need air to breath. Harry hung on despite being slammed into the cavern walls. He felt two ribs break, but still hung on, as the warrior finally started to falter in his efforts, Harry pulled up closer, still holding tight to the make shift garrot. "Your mother sells at deep discounts! She sacrifices profit for friendship!" and the Goblin fell.
Harry spared him one last kick before joining his squad. "Guess I cheated again."
Liphook pushed a goblin short sword into his hand as they made for the exit to the room. Together, as they were trained, they made asquad under fire exit from the interrogation chamber.
Straight into the arms of their Squad leader Slorhook and Clan War Master Baglock.
"I thought you had taught them escape and evasion. Pathetic!"