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Chapter 14: The Vaults
The next week flew by. Having her two oldest at home again did a lot to placate Molly, but the half empty table reminded her every meal who was missing. She began sending owls to both Kingsley and Minerva asking for answers.
Work continued at #12 Grimmauld Place. Waiting for the Goblins was not as bad as they thought, since many other decisions had to be made first. The second floor (also known as Harry and Ginny's floor) was redesigned to have a additional bedroom alongside for Teddy whenever he visited. Another smaller bedroom was added with a loo for 'permanent guests' as Ron described them whenever the topic came up and he got tired of putting his hands over his ears at the thought of his baby sister and Harry 'doing it'.
The Third floor had three bedrooms too. A Master one for Ron and Hermione, another smaller one in case any 'permanent guests' came along, which for some strange reason he didn't mind discussing with anyone who happened by, and a third which doubled as a Library. It had the room extension charm on it, and the plan was to have bookshelves line the walls floor to ceiling along with comfortable chairs to read in. Two desks were in the center you could make notes at, and a large window seat was placed in a bay window. This overlooked the Park across the street.
The fourth floor was added to not disrupt the attic/storage area. Four more bedrooms were there including two more master suites for guests. Luna was brought by and her quirkiness paid off with her knack for choosing paint colors later.
The top floor was now the fifth floor. Over half was used for storage, since until Harry could help they did not want to throw anything away. With the redesign of the kitchen Kreacher's bedroom/cabinet was lost. Ginny insisted they create a separate room for him (big enough for him and a guest) as Ginny and Hermione teased. Extra closets were built for storing seasonal clothes, holiday decorations, etc.
The Headmaster finally got back with Ginny after he deliberated. With a flash he appeared one day as Ginny and Hermione returned from a 'shopping trip'. They disillusioned themselves as blondes and made themselves taller and no one recognized them. They had bags full of sample literature to show, wishing Ron would express his opinion. About anything other than "I know where my chair is" meaning his personal chair in front of the stove, which the Elves transfigured to have his name on it.
"How are we all doing today? I can see you've been busy" he replied to their packages.
"Albus this is going to be fantastic! Harry will love it !!" Ginny excitedly told him.
"Ginny I'm sure it will. I am holding you to your promise to bring me over for a visit when it is completed" he replied. She began to blush, remembering the other promise she made him in the dungeons deep below the Castle.
"Professor have you thought any more about Harry?" asked Hermione. She was very worried he had not come out of this yet. Yes he was improving, but she was getting impatient.
"Yes I have. But before we get to that you need to understand something. The night after the Battle after Harry saw Severus' memories he had a difficult decision to make. I suspected the inadvertent Horcrux Tom created would mean he might never die as long as Harry lived. Harry came to the same conclusion, which is why he went out there. While none of us were there, I believe we can piece together what happened next.
In Godric's Hollow Lily Potter did not resist Voldemort's killing curse. This cost her her own life, but in turn saved her son's. I am guessing Harry did the same, in the hope not that he would survive but that all of us might share in his sacrifice. He fully expected to die when this happened."
"But what saved him then?" Ron wondered.
"It was love. When his Mother and his Father died for him it was their love that saved him, protecting him with magic so powerful not even Voldemort could break through. When Harry stood there in that clearing in the forest, the love that was in his heart and the love all of you have for him, saved him that day. That was what we both thought that night."
"That night? What do you mean that night? Do you mean to say that ... " Ginny could not get another word out.
"Harry and I met ... somewhere. In his mind he created the scenery. All I know is that he and I were together. We discussed many things that night including what came next."
"And what was that?" Hermione asked, holding her breath.
"That Harry had a choice. We all do in life. Every day is full of decisions. What to wear, what to eat. Do I turn right or left at the next corner? In Harry's case it was much more important. He had to choose what path to take for the rest of his life. It boiled down to doing what was right, or what was easy. Or in other words to come back and continue to fight or to pass on. Fortunately he made the right choice, ending Tom Riddle's reign of terror."
"But Albus what made him return? After all he had been through, wouldn't the right decision have been to pass on? His job was almost finished" a puzzled Ron said.
"You just said it. Almost finished. The mission was not done, and he knew what would happen next. Tom would come here and kill everyone, no longer afraid of Harry or dying himself. His Death Eaters would have been merciless killing on sight. No he had to be stopped. But there was another reason. Someone he could not bear to leave. The one person who meant more to him than life itself" he said looking at Ginny.
"That night I was in front of the Castle. I felt Harry go by, but something kept me from following him. I would have died with him out there" she bitterly told them.
"And fortunately you did not. It was you and the love you and Harry share especially now which brought him back. It gave him the courage to return, and to face Tom the final time."
"Albus what do you mean by 'especially now'? Did we miss something?" wondered Hermione.
"In a manner of speaking yes. Can you recall what Harry said to Ginny as you walked to my crypt?"
"Not the exact words no" Hermione answered after a while. She turned to Ginny who was deep in thought, stroking Harry's now very long hair.
"Perhaps the pensieve? I can see it is still here." Albus gestured to the large glass bowl filled with clear water.
"Yes Kreacher left it in case we needed it" Ron said.
Hermione drew out her wand and pulled out her memory of that portion of the day. Taking Ginny's and Ron's hands they dipped their faces into the grey swirling water. They had just gone outside and Harry was attempting to get out his mole skin pouch. Ginny assisted him and he tried to explain what happened to his hands which she was now healing.
"Ginny you know me better than I know myself! Yes it was. I was very, very mad blaming myself for everything that happened. But I am promising you Ginevra Molly Weasley, here in front of our two best friends who are also our family that I will never lie or keep things from you again. I love you."
"Then Harry James Potter I accept your apology. I also promise in front of our friends and family that I will never lie to you or keep things from you. I love you too." Ginny leaned forward to kiss Harry and as she did the tip of her wand touched both Harry's and the Elder wand. There was a flash by all three wands but the couple didn't seem to notice. What they did see was Harry smile as the pain and redness went away. He saw the skin grow back over the many cuts and scratches on his hands.
The memory ended and all three rose up to look at The Headmaster. "OK so Ginny healed him. They said they loved each other" Ron said, looking perplexed.
"It was the words he used wasn't it?" Ginny asked. When this happened she felt different somehow. There wasn't the time to discuss it with Harry.
"Yes Ginny. I have been spending the last several weeks discussing this with the previous headmasters. While we are not in agreement of what this exactly means, all feel it was very powerful magic used. As strong as the blood magic Harry's Mother used to save him, and what he tried to do for all of us."
"So Headmaster are you telling me that Ginny and Harry are ... " Ron mumbled.
"Yes . It is either one of two things. They are engaged or they are ... "
"Married" Ginny finished for him. She continued to stroke Harry's long hair. "All my life I have wished for this day. To have Harry get on one knee and propose. I even considered asking him myself, but I was only 12 at the time. Harry I don't know if you understood what was happening then. Probably not judging by how surprised you were too. I waited this last year for you, and I can wait now for you to wake up and do it properly. On the other hand" she said as she slowly got up. "HARRY AND I ARE ENGAGED!!! OR WE'RE MARRIED!! AND I DON'T CARE WHICH ONE!!!" she screamed as she hugged Hermione.
Ron shook his head and looked at Harry. He had this huge smile on his face as the girls celebrated. "Mate now would be a great time to wake up." Nothing else happened, so he got up to congratulate his sister.
"Ahem" they heard the Headmaster say. "I suggest keeping this quiet, at least until you become of age. Our best guesses about this predate our current laws, but why give your parents something else to be mad about?"
Ginny did some quick math. It was now mid June. Less than two months until her 17th Birthday. Six weeks until Harry turned 18. "Albus didn't people get married at a younger age long ago?"
"Yes. The life expectancy was much shorter. But with more knowledge we all lived longer, so this rule was enacted."
"So is this a rule or a law?" Hermione asked.
"Unfortunately it is a law voted on by the Wizengamot in 1887. As a result they may not officially accept this as a marriage."
"So you can do it again after you are 17" Hermione excitedly told her. "And we can have it at Grimmauld Place."
"Not unless we can get some money. Albus is this why the Goblins wanted Ginny there? Do they recognize their whatever they have?" asked Ron.
"Yes they do. So you will have access to everything Harry has. I suggest you do not act surprised or press the issue. Pretend you knew about this all along, and maybe get impatient with them for how long this has taken."
"Kreacher?" Ginny called. "You knew didn't you?" she wondered after he appeared.
"Yes Mistress. We do not go by the Wizengamot especially in matters like this. To us Elves, and to the Goblins, you and Master Harry are married."
"Thank you Kreacher. Could you please contact Griphook and schedule a meeting for later today at his convenience? Our goal is to get access to the vaults to continue our project. I will be asking for whatever lists they have regarding the contents, and want you to accompany me visiting each" Ginny asked.
"Of course Mistress. And Kreacher also recommends this be kept quiet. This is the business of Master and Mistress only" he replied as he disappeared.
"Since nothing official has been filed at the Ministry I believe that is possible" Albus concluded.
"All right then. Not even Luna, Neville, or Hannah. Since the Wizarding World won't recognize it, why bring it up. Only people like Rita Skeeter would exploit it anyway" Ginny added.
* * *
Accompanied by Kreacher Ginny visited Gringotts that afternoon. This time Griphook was much friendlier, although he did seem a bit nervous.
"Miss Weasley thank you for coming back today. I apologize for any inconvenience this delay may have caused" he told her as they sat down in his Office, which was substantially larger and nicer than the tiny one used for their last meeting. "Tea?"
"Please." Ginny waited for him to pour three cups.
"Thank you" replied Kreacher as he sipped his.
"Griphook from now on you may use my married name when we are discussing our financial matters" she instructed.
"Certainly Mrs. Potter. Shall these be used on all our records too?"
"Only the private ones. As you may know Harry has avoided the press his whole life, but somehow they seem to find ways around his desire to keep his business his own."
"Mrs. Potter you may rest assured we keep everything confidential here."
"Thank you Griphook. That is what we hoped you'd say." Ginny paused pretending to collect her thoughts. "As I said Harry is a very private person. He chose not to come today fearing the spectacle it might create. Today I wish to inspect our vaults, and to collect all the lists you have of their contents."
"Yes of course Mrs. Potter" he began to stammer.
"I also want you to give Kreacher access to all these vaults. You are aware of the project he is doing?"
"Yes Mrs. Potter. Kreacher shared that with me on his last visit."
"Good. Please make sure he can get whatever he wishes."
"Anything Mrs. Potter?" he asked greatly surprised.
"Absolutely. Is there a problem with that?"
"No Mrs. Potter. I will see to it personally. If you could please sign here for me indicating your wishes."
Ginny read through the short paper, indicating allowing Kreacher unlimited access. "Thank you Griphook this will do nicely. You will give me a copy of this?"
"Yes Mrs. Potter. And here are copies of what we have collected to date. As you can see it is quite an extensive list. That is why I did not get back with you sooner. I wished this to be complete." Griphook pushed an 8 inch tall stack of papers towards her.
She flipped through the top sets of pages, scanning for names she recognized. "Kreacher do we have time to look through all of this today?"
"Kreacher suggests returning with these for your solicitor. Our time might be better spent downstairs." He crammed the pile of papers into a briefcase he had brought. It originally belonged to Master Regulus. Hermione had transfigured the R. A. B. to read Mrs. Ginny Potter. She was ecstatic at finally having something with the name on it she had wished for.
Griphook escorted them to the vehicle used to transport people going to their vaults. It felt like she was on a broom the way it bounced around like being hit by gusts of wind. "Griphook how do I go about setting up a vault for somebody?" she asked as they came to a stop.
"The procedure is simple Mrs. Potter. We check our records first to see if they do not already have one, and if not one is assigned based on the contents."
"Can you check for me when we get back? What I am interested in is creating one for our Godson Teddy Lupin."
"Mrs. Potter he has inherited the one from his parents. His is located on the first level, directly across from your parents."
Ginny nodded, grateful for the implied message concerning the location and value of Teddy's vault. "Griphook how accurate is the top sheet you gave me? What I mean is was this as of today, last week, or last month?"
"Mrs. Weasley those numbers are based on the combination of multiple vaults, plus estimates for the values of businesses and property. The cash value is as of this morning, not including several other vaults owned by Tom Riddle. Many curses were placed there so it has been a slow process."
"Griphook I don't want to see any of your people get hurt" she replied, placing her hand on his. "There is no rush please."
The Goblin was moved by her concern. "Mrs. Potter we are moving slowly for that reason. Here we are on level three which has the vault your husband's Family established when he was born. Sirius Black added to it when he was released, and Mr. Potter has not visited since."
Griphook got out and unlocked the door allowing Ginny inside. Kreacher stepped in first in case there were any problems. She was amazed to see a large pile of gold resting on a round wood table. 'This might look nice in the parlor' she thought. She looked around and did not see any other items, which made sense if there was a Family vault somewhere else.
"Griphook how much gold are we looking at?" Kreacher asked for her, fearing the reaction when she got into the bigger vaults.
"Including the amount Mr. Black added, 237,525 galleons."
Ginny was numb. Her parents had to scrape by, and Harry had this much money. And who knows how much more downstairs? She felt Kreacher pull her back into the cart and they whisked away, dropping several more levels. These vaults had higher numbers, and were spaced further apart. 'For security, or because everything wouldn't fit?' she pondered.
"Mrs. Potter the Black and Potter Family vaults are side by side. We can keep them separate or combine them if you prefer." He unlocked both doors and went back into the cart to wait, guessing they would be a while.
Kreacher pushed the Black Family Vault open first and stepped in. Sensing no Dark Magic nearby, he pushed it open further and moved aside for his Mistress. That wasn't necessary because Ginny couldn't move. She was frozen staring at the amount of wealth accumulated. Stacks and stacks of gold, paintings, furniture, and other fancy things were there. "How much ...?" Kreacher heard her whisper.
"Master Sirius sold many companies before he passed Mistress. He wished to have as much gold here as possible fearing Voldemort might win. He told Kreacher if things got really bad he would take Master Harry and flee, creating a new life for all three of you."
"He included me in that?" Ginny asked.
"Yes Mistress. He saw the feelings you have for Master Harry, and told Kreacher if Master 'could get his head out of his ... ' " Kreacher looked down, unwilling to finish the quote. He felt Ginny bend down and hug him, grateful Harry found a better place for his head. And his heart.
She now moved into the Potter Family Vault. There was nowhere near as much gold, but the papers she quickly glanced at told her much of their wealth was in property. That was the second page, a list of addresses. Scattered around the room were more paintings, which she hoped were enchanted ones of Harry's ancestors. Several beautiful pieces of furniture were there which she hoped would look good in their home. On one wall were bookshelves, chock full of books. Very old books. And manuscripts. On another looked like photo albums, which Ginny resisted opening until she and Harry could look at them together. "Griphook?"
"Yes Mr. Potter?" he replied as he stepped in.
"Griphook thank you for your patience. As you can tell I am very overwhelmed. You know my Family has very little money so this is a lot for me to take in. How much can I add to my Godson's vault before it has to be moved?"
"Based on its location, 100,000 galleons."
"Good. Then please transfer that amount and send a note to his Grandmother Andromeda Tonks, saying it is from his Godparents. She will understand.
On July 31 please add the same amount to my parents vault. Actually let's change that. Let's do it now, with a note it is from the estate of the Black Family. Like it was part of the will."
"Certainly Mrs. Potter. For Mr. Lupin is this money to be held in trust, or for immediate access? If that is the case then I need to place it in her vault, which is on the same floor."
Ginny smiled again, thanking him for how he was helping. "Griphook Teddy's vault can be kept in trust until he starts school. For Andy, let's add 100,000 galleons immediately and the same amount each year until Harry or I say otherwise."
"Excellent Mrs. Potter" Griphook replied. 'Finally a Witch who understands how to share and to help others'.
"With our project we will be making a lot of purchases. How does that work exactly?"
"Kreacher can help you with that Mistress. Every store in Diagon Alley can send the bill to Gringotts and the money is subtracted from your vault. Or you can pay cash for it if you prefer."
"Then I want to take some gold with me. And I want to have some transferred into pounds to use outside Diagon Alley." Ginny had a plan, for her and Hermione to take Hannah clothes shopping to find her clothes that fit her properly, not the baggy ones she wore at Hogwarts. 'Boy will the guys be jealous when they see her and Neville then' she and Hermione used to laugh. And they wanted the excuse to get themselves some too.
"Griphook please have ready 100,000 in galleons and the same in pounds" she told him watching his reaction. He didn't flinch which was a good sign. "Finally some of these things we wish to take with us today, and some later." She pulled out Hermione's beaded bag and placed inside it all the books which looked like photo ones. Just past that she saw a small box covered in dust. Intrigued she opened it and nearly fainted. What had to be Harry's parents wedding rings were inside with a note:
If you are reading this then it is because we are gone. Here in this vault are things your Mother and I have, along with things passed down to us. Everything you see is now yours.
I hope you and Padfoot have gotten along together well. Despite his looks he really is a good man, and the best friend I ever had.
Mooney is a good man too. The three of us were inseparable. When you get the chance ask Minerva (that's Professor McGonagall to you) about the time we charmed the Black Lake. I won't say any more.
If you are reading this it is because your Father and I aren't with you. We chose Sirius Black to be your Godfather. I am so afraid you will be like him when you grow up. Good looking, well mannered, having all the ladies chasing around the school after you ...
Try to behave yourself for me. Our other best friend is Remus Lupin. He was just as much a marauder as your Father and Sirius but with brains, which made him even more dangerous. You can learn a lot from him. About school I mean, not to be a trouble maker. I suspect you will be quite good at that on your own. You were very inquisitive from the day you were born. Your first Christmas Sirius gave you a broom, and you should have seen how proud your Father was. You'll learn if you don't know already he was a seeker at Hogwarts. Sirius and Remus can explain all this to you if you haven't made it to Hogwarts yet. It's where we all met, and I fell in love with your Father.
Take care of yourself and know that we will always be with you.
One last thing I forgot to mention. Well actually two. First your Mother and I love you very much, and would be willing to stand in front of a killing curse for you.
Second thing are these rings. These belonged to your Mother and I. They have no special powers to help or guide you on your journey through life. Many generations ago they were made by the Goblins for us, who believed my Family was directly descended from Godric Gryffindor. We were never able to prove it (this was a thousand years ago) but it is nice to think it might be true.
By the way, every Potter woman over the last seven generations has been a redhead. I bet you will end up with one too. You cannot beat the fire which burns inside them, and the love in their hearts.
Ginny found herself sitting at the end of this. Griphook and Kreacher were on either side, concern in their eyes. She took one last look at the rings, tempted to put on hers now. "No. That can be on my Birthday, when we can make this official."
"Excellent idea Mistress" Kreacher told her.
"Mr. Potter has chosen well" Griphook commented.
"It was a joint decision" Ginny replied as she stared at her ring. She knew Lily Potter had red hair and green eyes from a picture Harry had shown her, but not about the past generations. The ring had a large round diamond (she knew nothing about carats, only that it was big). Set around it was a circle of rubies, and another of emeralds. Harry's ring was solid gold with alternating small emeralds and rubies. Except for a single diamond about 1/4 the size of hers in middle. Sighing she shut the box and put it into her bag to bring back.
Griphook handed her two bags of gold, which were charmed to eliminate the weight like Hermione's beaded bag. Kreacher accepted these, fitting them inside the briefcase. They returned upstairs and used the floo to return.