Bill and Harry met early at the Leaky Cauldron for coffee the next day. They wanted to talk where the goblins would not over hear them. "I won't lie to you Harry, getting my parents to accept money will be difficult" Bill stated. "We all sat and talked last night. The kids feel if it is ours, then why not? I don't want to force them to, or to 'out vote' them since there are more of us. Also, Ron, Ginny, and Hermione want to help clean. I told Mom that as long as you and I are there, it should be OK. What do you think?"
Harry got concerned, thinking back to the search for the cup. They all had scars from their last encounter. "How about this. We promise you and I will take care of the curses first, then they can help with the cleaning?" Bill thought his parents would agree to that.
They headed out to walk to Gringotts. It was early-maybe 8:30 am. The shopkeepers were cleaning the sidewalks getting ready for opening their stores. Many waved at Harry, saying things like "Please stop in sometime, Mr. Potter. Whatever you want is on the house." He nodded each time and continued walking.
"Don't be afraid to stop to visit occasionally. You don't have to take anything from them." Bill knew that it was difficult for Harry. They passed George's and Fred's shop. They saw the lights on upstairs. Bill and Harry entered Gringotts, and headed down to the vault. "It doesn't look as bad in the morning" said Harry.
"Morning " laughed Bill. "We're underground. We wouldn't have a clue what time it was." Harry laughed too. Bill looked around. "OK, so you said the curses caused everything that you touched to multiply, and burn you? That means there are at least two curses on the original cup. Since you destroyed it, maybe our job will be easier." He got to work waving his wand back and forth.
After a couple of hours, he was getting frustrated. "Let's take a walk. Maybe check on George." In the daylight, they could see inside the shop. Hermione, Ginny, and Ron were helping George clean. They also saw Angeline Johnson and Katie Bell. They were on the Quidditch team with Fred, George, and Harry. Bill and Harry went in. It looked like there still needed to be a lot of work done, but they were getting there.
They were all excited to see Harry. And Bill. Harry got hugs from everyone. Ginny gave him a really big one. "Hey, what about me?" joked Bill. The girls all gave him one at the same time, which made him blush.
"Great timing mate." said Ron. "Who's hungry?" They all laughed. It had been three hours since Ron ate. It must be a record.
Harry pulled out some money. "My treat" Katie and Angelina left to get some lunch from the Leaky Cauldron.
"How are things going?" asked Hermione.
"Not good. There are many overlapping spells. It may take a while. I just wish all the damage from the curses on the cup would just go away." They had their lunch, visited a little longer, and left.
"Don't forget Harry, I am holding you to help me with that trick" said George. Harry blushed, and George was explaining it to Angelina and Katie as they left.
When they go back into the vault, they were stunned. All the melted cups, and all the fire damage, was gone. They called Griphook, and he told them no one else had access.
"When we were at George's, I wished all the cups and those curses would disappear. I guess I don't know my own strength" Harry muttered.
"Believe me, it's OK. It may have taken months to break this down spell by spell." Bill held out his wand. "I don't feel any others, but we should still go slow."
Harry agreed, and the rest of the day was spent checking for any other dark objects. At about 6 they stopped for the day. "Harry, I think tomorrow the others could begin to help us. Do you have any objections?"
Harry remembered how Professor Dumbledore had been poisoned by the Gaunt family ring. In his haste, Albus put the ring on. He almost died that day, if not for Severus Snape. It bought him some time-almost a year.
"We still need extreme caution. If there are any things that seem dodgy, we will just get rid of them" Harry replied. "Should we meet in the lobby at, let's say, 9? Or is that too early for the girls to be ready?"
Bill laughed. "I won't tell them you said that. See you tomorrow." Bill apparated to the Burrow, and stayed long enough to say they made a lot of progress. They could use their help tomorrow. Molly was apprehensive, but Bill assured her no one would be allowed to touch anything until it was double checked.
"You better triple check it" she advised him.
"How about if you and Dad meet us for lunch tomorrow? There are meeting rooms we could use to eat, and then you could come and inspect our progress."
Molly agreed, thinking a nice bowl of stew would be good after being in a dark, damp vault. She got up to start their lunch for tomorrow. The girls ran upstairs to figure out what to wear there.
Bill looked at Ron, muttered "you don't know what you have gotten yourself into" and left.
Ginny was excited. She wanted to look good for Harry. She picked a shirt she liked, changed the color to match Harry's eyes, and shrunk it to match the weight she had lost. Hermione picked a yellow one to show off her tan. Muggle jeans would be good, in case they had to crawl around. A pair of trainers, and their wardrobe were complete.
Ron went up to check on the girls. "What is this, a fashion show?" He got hit by pillows from both beds, and ran out of the room.
"He'll probably wear his oldest clothes tomorrow" said Hermione.
"He is such a guy" agreed Ginny.
They heard Ron in the hall. "Can I come back in now?" He was holding the pillows in front of him, in case they tried anything again. "Actually, I wanted to ask you something. Maybe we should meet Harry and Bill before going to Gringotts? No worries about eavesdropping that way."
Hermione sent her Patronus to Harry. He sent his 'special delivery' letter back, suggesting to meet here at 8:30, if it isn't too early for Ron. They all knew how difficult it is for Ron to get up. "I'll make sure Kreacher has something to eat." Ron sent his Patronus to Bill, informing him of the change in plans.
They all got up early. Ginny could hardly sit still she was so excited. She was going to get to spend the day with Harry. Who cares if it is in a dungeon. The rest of the family were smiling. It was a step in the right direction for her and Harry.
At 8:30 they apparated to Harry's front door. Bill was right behind them. They knocked, and Kreacher gave his customary greeting. The changes made to the house by Harry and Kreacher surprised Ginny and Bill. Both had been in the house lots of times before, so they thought they were in the wrong house. Harry walked them around.
Ginny noticed there weren't any pictures of herself. She hoped with time there would be. While Harry and Bill were talking, she snuck into the kitchen to talk to Kreacher. She got down on her knees. "Kreacher, thank you for taking care of him. I have apologized to him, but he doesn't understand. I want him to know what happened. What I did. I would do anything for him. If you want, you could use my memories to help him."
Kreacher blanched. "But Mistress Ginevra, you could be damaged."
She stared straight at him. "It doesn't matter. Kreacher, we cannot allow Harry to live like this. He needs to get back all his memories, the good and the bad. After that, if he decides he cannot forgive me, I will understand." She put her head down.
Kreacher lifted her head. "I am very troubled about Master Harry. I know you are not the only reason he cannot remember. If he wouldn't have made himself forget all those things, he would have destroyed himself. I will do what I can to help Master Harry and Mistress Ginny." She took his hand and kissed it, and placed it on her chest. She put her other hand on his. Her power, the power of love, flowed between them. Kreacher now understood her love for his Master.
Hermione and Ron were standing at the entrance to the kitchen. They heard and saw all the conversation. Now they would wait and see what Kreacher could do. Ginny helped Kreacher bring in the trays of tea, juice, and fresh pastries. She complemented him that he is almost as good of a cook as her mom. Kreacher blushed at that.
Harry brought up his ideas. "If the lands and/or houses could be used for the projects, then they should. If not, then sell them. I want some of the gold to go to the family 'for the grandkids' and for your parents. And everybody."
He was thinking about his vacation homes. He waved his hand, and a globe appeared. Four stars showed where they were located. When he touched one, it zoomed in to show the house. Last was the island. It was one mile long and 1/2 mile wide. There were four houses on it.
Harry asked Kreacher if each house had a house elf. Kreacher said yes, each one did. The big house had several. He asked Kreacher to contact the house elves at all of his homes and begin inspecting them. "Please have them fix whatever is wrong. We have plenty of money, so that shouldn't be a problem. Maybe a personal inspection might be in order, too." The girls got really excited, especially about the island. At about 9:30 they said goodbye to Kreacher and went to Gringotts.
When they entered the vault, Hermione, Ginny, and Ron were all amazed. It was nowhere near done, but all the burned rubble that was the top layer was removed. It still looked like piles of things with sheets over them, but it was way better.
"Arrr mateys, there be buried treasure here" joked Bill, thinking about the island. They all laughed, and began their search. They used 'Wingardium Leviosa' to levitate whatever was on top of each mound. "Gee, look what I found" said Ginny. "It's a pile of gold. There must be 10,000 galleons here."
Bill walked over. "More like 100,000"
Ginny, Hermione, and Ron had no inkling what a pile was worth. Hermione went to another pile. "What do you think this time, Bill? 200,000? Maybe 250?"
Bill shrugged his shoulders. "It could be 300." They had trouble grasping the shear amounts they were looking at. At 1 o'clock, Fleur sent her Patronus. Molly and Arthur were in her office. True to her word, Molly had brought beef stew and fresh bread. It warmed them up. It was probably only 60 degrees down there.
After eating, they talked. "We are doing really great today" Harry said. "I bet by tonight we will be halfway done. I was thinking about what to do with everything. I certainly don't need or want any of those houses. How about if we use them for other 'Heroes' projects? Riddle hurt people everywhere. This way they could be as close as possible to their families and friends. If we can't use the homes, then let's sell them. Maybe use the money to buy a more suitable one, or in a better location."
Molly and Arthur looked at each other. "We have no desire to be in a Lestrange home. Your ideas make sense to us."
Harry continued. "We are uncovering the gold now. There might only be a fraction of what the goblins are guessing, or there might be 10 times as much. In a day or two they can tell us. What I am thinking is this. The majority should be used for the project. We don't know what the expenses will be. It is very important to me" Harry paused "to all of us that you should receive some also. We want to make sure you have enough so that when you retire, you don't have to worry. Also, we want you to be able to do things for your future grandchildren."
Molly's head popped up. "Is there something we should know?"she asked, looking around the room.
They all blushed. "Don't expect any soon" said Ron "but we want you two to share in this. You have worked so hard for so long, it is only fair."
Arthur and Molly looked at each other. "OK, on one condition" said Molly sternly.
"Name it" said Harry.
"That you come over for dinner tonight Harry Potter." Harry walked up to Molly, gave her a big hug, and said "I accept your terms."
"Well, now that our negotiations are done, let's go see how rich we are." joked Arthur. They all, including Fleur, went down to the vault. They saw probably a dozen piles of gold.
Molly and Arthur fainted again. Harry and Bill caught them. Once revived, the guessing began. 100,000 in this pile. 400,000 in that one. Maybe 2 million uncovered so far, with 3/4 of the room to go. They were all talking at once. What they could do with it. How big an orphanage to build.
In the middle of one pile, Ron saw a handle. He thought it might be a box of diamonds, or who knows what. He grabbed it and pulled. It was a sword, but part of it was stuck. He pushed aside the gold, braced his foot against something, and pulled. The sword shone like the sun. All but Harry had to look away. There was a giant ruby in the hilt, and many runes along its length. A sheath was lying next to it.
The sword began to sing to Ron. He couldn't understand it, but it made him feel really good. It gave him visions of the past. He was on a horse, going into battle. Fighting an evil king. He put the sword in the sheath, and the bright light went away. His family was stunned.
Hermione asked to see the sword. She tried to read the runes on the sheath. Her eyes got big. Really big. "Ron, do you know what this is?" He shrugged his shoulders. Hermione pushed away more of the pile. There was a large stone in the middle of it. The sword had been stuck in it.
"What's the big deal? What's so special about this sword? It was stuck in this stone. I just pulled it out ..." Ron stopped.
Harry looked at the sheath. He found he could read it. "What does it say?" asked Ginny.
"It says Excalibur" whispered Ron. "This is Excalibur. King Arthur's sword. But how??? Why ???" They heard a commotion outside. The goblins had come down to the vault. All of them. They were looking at Ron.
"So it has come to pass. The sword has chosen a new Master. Ronald Bilius Weasley, you have been chosen by Excalibur." There was a flash of light. Inside his right forearm, and on Hermione's, there was a tattoo of the sword. "You are the heir of Authur Pendragon, King of England."
The goblins all bowed to him. Ron had no words to say. Hermione took the sword and buckled it around his waist. When she did, things appeared in the vault. A throne was there, with a crown. Royal robes laid across the chair. Many other jeweled swords appeared. Bookshelves were there too. They contained ancient books and scrolls. The balance of the debris disappeared, leaving only the gold.
Bogdrog looked around. He waved his hand, and a tablet appeared. He looked at it. Twice. He rubbed his eyes to make sure. "We were a bit off on our guesses" he said. Not counting all these treasures, the gold is worth" he paused " 20 million galleons."
Everyone sat down on the nearest pile. No one spoke for a while. The goblins, seeing they were deep in thought, left them. This was beyond all comprehension. The sword. The money. How their lives are now permanently changed. Molly and Arthur looked at Harry. "I guess it's time for a family meeting."
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