Almost healthy again, Harry visits Diagon alley.
Harry carefully stepped into the second hand clothes that had been left for him. His stay at the hospital was at an end, and he was being released. It had taken two weeks of close care by the men and women at St. Bartholomew's to bring him back to a state that he wouldn't collapse after walking from his bed to the loo.
Harry had spent most of his time sleeping and attending physical therapy sessions to rebuild the damaged muscles left over from his malnutrition. His last session had included paper with a daily regime that he needed to pursue to continue to building up of his bones and muscles. He had not experienced any nightmares while he was in the hospital, but he knew it was only a matter of time before he would have to deal with those again.
Harry finished buttoning up his shirt, and carefully balanced on one leg while he tied first one shoe then the other. As he set his foot back down on the floor, the nurse who had first talked to him when he woke up came into the room.
"James! I hear they've judged you fit to leave! You weren't going to just go without saying goodbye, were you?"
Harry smiled. He had found out her name was Mary Walker. She was the senior nurse for the floor, and didn't often get a chance to deal directly with the patients. However, she had found the young man in this room to be fascinating.
It was painfully apparent that he had been through some terrible things, simply from the scars on his body. From the shape and placement, Mary was sure the ones on his back were from a belt. The ones on his hands and face were probably self-inflicted, but had healed a long time ago. It was amazing he was as gentle as he was with what he must have seen and been through. Several times, through his therapy, she had sensed a core strength that was hidden. The man before her had some serious demons he needed to work through.
Mary handed Harry a small envelope and a small plastic case. She smiled when Harry gave her a curious look.
"It's a few pounds that the nurses and doctors put together. It's not a lot, but it will get you to a shelter for the night. We've also found some old glasses that someone's son outgrew a few years ago. The ophthalmologist has put in your prescription for you."
Harry's eyes filled with unshed tears. "Thanks. I wasn't sure what I was going to do."
Mary folded Harry into a tight hug. She stepped back and gave him one last once over.
"Now I don't want to see you back in here again. Go and get yourself a job, and settle in. I know it sounds hard now, but all you need to do it work at it, don't lose hope and everything else will follow."
"I will. Thank you, Mary. You've been a beacon of bright hope for me. If there's anything I can do for you...." Harry trailed off, not knowing how he would make good on the promise.
Mary shook her head and brushed an imaginary piece of dirt from his shoulder. "You just watch out for yourself. With all of the terrorist attacks we've had, the Bobbies are being pretty unrelenting."
Harry inwardly flinched at hearing this. He knew from watching the evening news on the telly that Voldemort had continued his march to power. The muggles didn't have a clue what they were facing. Harry was sure Tom had thoroughly infiltrated the muggle government as well as the wizard one while he had been in Azkaban.
"I will. It's getting late in the day. I need to get to ashelter before they fill up. Take care of yourself, Mary."
Harry turned and left the room. He walked through the halls, waving his goodbyes to the staff who had brought him back to health. He stopped in the lobby for a moment and asked the front desk to call a cab for him. When it arrived he got into the back. The cabbie turned and looked at him with acritical eye.
"I'm going to need to see your money before we can go anywhere, son."
Harry flashed the small wad of money he had in his pocket and said, "Charing Cross Road, near the Thames, please."
The cabby nodded and turned in his seat. He looked at Harry through in the mirror. "Right you are, Sir. That's about a twenty minute drive at this time of day. If you want to kip off for a bit, I'll let you know when we get close."
Harry gave a weak smile back and relaxed into the seat. His eyes were closed a few minutes later.
Harry was wakened by the cabby a few minutes before arriving at Charing Cross. He saw the sign for the Leaky Cauldron go past, and asked to be let out on the next corner. Once the cabby had been paid and left, Harry stood on the corner looking at the door into the wizarding pub with a long face. He knew he had to get through so he could get into Diagon Alley, but was unsure how to do it without being recognized.
His new glasses were somewhat similar to his old ones, but larger, and fit his face better. He carefully took them off, and placed them back into the plastic protective case. His anonymity far outweighed any gain from being able to see clearly in this case.
His hair was still the mess it had always been, but now has streaks of grey through it. The doctors had told him the period of malnutrition he had gone through likely damaged the follicles, and he would be prematurely grey for the rest of his life. Little did Harry know, but the passage of ten years, and the changes that had ravaged his youthful appearance had made him almost unrecognizable by sight.
He blew out a breath and walked steadily towards the pub. This area of town had normally been quite busy in Harry's youth. With a large number of the terrorist acts happening occurring in the neighborhood around the Leaky Cauldron, it had become much less populated.
Harry pulled open the door and walked in. The Leaky Cauldron still looked the same as it had ten years ago. There were some new stains on the floor, and Tom was still behind the bar, polishing glasses with a cloth.
Old Tom looked up as Harry entered the pub, but quickly looked back down at his hands after identifying the new person as no threat to his business. Harry walked in a steady pace to the small courtyard in back. The brick wall stood in imposing silence. Harry didn't have a wand, and wasn't sure how he was going to get through. He looked around the ground for some idea.
"Great. There's got to be a way to get through this without having to ask for someone's help. How did Hagrid do it again?"
Harry spied a small twig pushed into the corner. He picked it up and shrugged his shoulders. "Might as well try."
He tapped the bricks in the correct order. As he touched the last one, he could feel his blood boil and a pressure built behind his eyes. Harry had closed his eyes at the last tap, willing it to work. The twig burst into flame and the bricks slowly ground out of the way. He dropped the flaming brand and quickly stepped on it to put out the flame.
"Well. I didn't expect that to happen!"
The usual wall of sound and sights that normally hit him as he stepped through was absent. Harry looked around to see only a few people going about their business. Where there were usually hundreds of wizards and witches thronging the alley was an empty space.
Harry walked slowly down one side of the alley, peering at the many shops that had "Closed" and "For Rent" signs on them. He slowly approached Gringott's. The crooked building was much the same, with two main differences. The first was the three armed goblin guards that were standing on the steps of the bank. They eyed each and every being that walked past the bank. The second change was the revolving door that had replaced the old doors. They seemed to be made of glass and steel, but had a strange shimmer to them as they turned.
Harry ascended the steps and was stopped by on of the guards.
"Step into the vestibule and proceed forward until it stops. Have your wand ready for surrender before you enter the bank. It will be returned to you when you leave. If you fail to follow the Gringott's entry procedure, you will be dealt with harshly."
"What if I don't have a wand, Sir?"
"The vestibule will allow you entry as long as you have no magical focuses on your person. Please move along."
Harry entered the revolving door, and pushed through to the lobby of the bank. The long rows of tellers were still in place, and the security goblins eyed him carefully as he entered. Harry smiled. Goblins never change.
He approached one of the open tellers and waited to be recognized.
"How can Gringotts help you today, Sir?"
"How do I go about getting a replacement key if I've lost mine?"
The goblin's face turned sour as he spat back, "Lost?! How could you lose it?"
"It was seized when I was arrested. They never gave it back. I know Gringotts would never allow the ministry to enter my vault, but I don't have my key either. Is there someone I have to speak to?"
"There will be a 50 galleon fee for replacement of the key. Can you afford it?"
"Once I have access to my vault I will be able to, yes."
The goblin placed a small "Closed" sign on his desk and motioned for Harry to follow. They walked down a hallway to a small unremarkable door. The goblin opened it and ushered Harry inside. "A manager will be by shortly to help you. Do not leave the room."
A short wait later, another goblin entered the office. He moved the desk and sat down.
"In order for us to identify your vault and re-issue a key, there are a few things we need to do. While not a lengthy process, it is intensive and tends to be invasive. Are you sure you want to go through with it?"
"Sir, of all the beings I have dealt with in my life, the goblins have always held my trust. Yours is one of the few magical species that I know will keep their word. If you tell me here and now that what is revealed will not leave the room, I easily place myself into your care."
As Harry spoke, the goblins eyebrows rose until his eyes were wide with shock. Never before had a wizard spoke as such to a goblin."Sir, I swear an oath to you that your privacy will be maintained, by my blood if need be."
"Good enough for me. If you don't mind me asking, what is your name?"
"Groguld, Sir. Now, we will begin with you telling me you full name?" He poised a quill above a piece of parchment, ready to take down any information.
"Harry James Potter."
Groguld looked up from writing. He glanced up at Harry's forehead in an effort to see the famous scar, but was unable to identify it among all of the others on his face. "Ahhh, Mr....Potter. We will be using some veritaserum to confirm that." He handed a small vial to Harry and waited for him to swallow the three drops.
Harry felt his mind go fuzzy. He had never been under the effects of veritaserum before, and didn't know what to expect. His eyes lost their focus, and he could feel a roiling black knot of fear and magic just under the surface of his consciousness. It was an odd feeling. Almost..... familiar and disturbing at the same time. Harry wondered if he let go of the leash he held on the boiling mass, would he be able to break the hold of the veritaserum? He took a deep breath and made an effort to focus on Groguld.
"What is your real name?"
"Harry James Potter."
"What happened to your vault key, Mr. Potter?"
"The ministry took it with the rest of my items when they arrested me. I don't know what happened to it after that." The goblin scribbled down the information on the sheet of parchment.
Groguld waited in silence for the next five minutes. As the potion wore off, Harry's eyes came back into focus and the boiling black mass receded back into his mind.
"Mr. Potter. I only need one more thing from you. We require a spot of blood on this parchment to confirm you are truly who you say you are. There is a small letter opener on the desk which you may use."
Groguld slid the official looking Gringotts parchment over to Harry and indicated a small signature line at the bottom. Harry quickly poked his finger and squeezed out a drop of blood. As the scarlet orb hit the paper, it flowed out and into an exact replica of his signature.
A small footnote appended to the bottom of the paper. Groguld glanced through the new text and set the paper down. "It appears, Mr. Potter, that there is a will that was in probate when you were jailed. It has since been released, and with you here, we can execute it."
Flashes of memory hit Harry....
....Sirius singing off colour Christmas Carols....
.... receiving his Firebolt....
....speaking with Sirius though the fire....
....Sirius falling through the Veil.....
Harry's eyes were streaming tears. He turned away from the goblin in an attempt to hide his sorrow.
Groguld pulled a small velvet cord. A small bell rang outside the office. The door opened immediately. Groguld spoke to the new goblin in Gobbledegook for a moment. The other goblin ran out the door. A few minutes later he returned with a sheaf of papers, which he laid on the desk. Groguld sorted through them and carefully ignored Harry while he composed himself.
"Here we are. Mr. Sirius Black, lone heir to the Black estates and name. The gist of this will, Mr. Potter, is that he leaves everything to you with the exception of some money that went to Remus Lupin. As that portion has already been disbursed, all we have left is to transfer the holdings to your name."
"Exactly how much did Sirius have? You make it sound like he was very wealthy."
"At the time of his death, Mr. Black did not have control of his estate. His status of fugitive restricted how much he could access. Since his death, his full holdings are now accessible by his heir. Namely.....you, Mr. Potter. This includes a currently unplottable property in London, stocks and monies with a value of about 8,000 galleons, and the surname of Black. If you wish, you could legally go by either the name of Black or Potter now."
"I'm not sure what to say.... or do."
"Quite simply, Mr Potter. Nothing. It has already been taken care of. You inheritance has been transferred to your vault. You still have access to the Black vault, but it is currently empty. Your new key will be waiting for you to pick it up as you leave the bank. I suggest you get some money, buy yourself some clothes, and find a job to occupy your time."
"Yes. Thank you, Groguld. You have been more than helpful. Please add a 20 galleon gratuity to the fee for your time and patience."
Harry got up and walked out the door. A goblin handed him anew key as he walked into the lobby. He converted a thousand galleons worth of money into pounds and left.
I have been remiss in posting the past little while. My most humble apologies. I'm trying to hit at least on post per month. Hopefully, Ican get more.
Reviews are always welcome!