Chapter 1 : Money Mania
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“James, I’m bored,” the first boy said, his shaggy black hair nearly reaching his shoulders, that had an air of being unkept, but cool in every way.
“Horrors,” the boy named James muttered distractedly, staring far beyond the horizon.
“Jamsie, you’re no fun anymore,” the other boy whined. “You haven’t pranked anyone lately.”
“Lily doesn’t like it,” James muttered, still staring out into the horizon.
“Come on! What about your adoptive brother, me, Sirius Black?” To captivate James’s attention, the whiny teenager quickly turned into a shaggy black dog and licked James’s face.
Now having caught his attention, James furiously muttered, “Sirius!” with quick glances at the big, fancy house behind them. “What do you think you’re doing? Change back right now!” With a guilty look, Sirius returned to his human form.“My parents are in that house right now!” James continued furiously. “They don’t know you’re an animagus! So don’t change into a dog all the time!”
“Okay, okay,” Sirius apologized. “I’m just bored. And hot,” Sirius moaned, returning to his whiny self.
“What you need,” James muttered, “Is a hobby.”
“What you need,” Sirius retorted, “Is to learn how to have fun again. I think you’ve forgotten the word.” Eyes flashing, James rounded on Sirius.
“If Lily and I hadn’t nearly gotten killed last year-“
“-But you didn’t,” Sirius interrupted. “Everything’s happy and dandy now. Have some fun. You changed so much after June.”
“Yeah, well,” James muttered. “I realized that there were more important things to do out there than hexing Slytherins into an oblivion. War is going on, and I have to stop it. Voldemort went after us once. And next year, Lily and I will be head boy and girl, and we’ll be even more involved-“
“But that’s next month,” Sirius argued. “Why can’t you just take a break for a little while, and play with your friend Sirius again? I miss the old James.” Suddenly, Sirius eyes twinkled with delight. “How about we combine both of our ideas? Have fun and get a hobby?”
“Sirius, I meant for you to get a hobby, not me!”
“Come on, all you do is lie around and daydream about Evans,” Sirius said, rolling his eyes. All of a sudden, Sirius’s eyes lit up. “I know! We can collect coins from each nation! Like muggle coin collectors!”
“That’s the stupidest hobby I’ve ever heard of,” James said bluntly. “And how do we plan to get the coins?”
“We have lots of money. And we just apparate to each nation!”
“Now you are really talking nuts,” James scoffed. “We may be overage, but you still can’t do international appariaton!”
“Fine, uh…” Sirius muttered. His eyes lit up for the third time. “I’ve got it! We’ll go on broomsticks! Blimey, I’ve been having brilliant ideas today!” James groaned and starting smacking Sirius in the forehead, making him howl in pain.
“Can you possibly get even more stupid?” James groaned.
“Yes,” Sirius grinned, but still rubbing his forehead. “I’ll go get our broomsticks!” With that statement, Sirius dashed over to the Potter’s shed. James groaned. There was no way Sirius would follow through with this. Sirius arrived, holding two Nimbus 1000 broomsticks.
“Hey, I’m not coming!” James blurted out. “You’d have to knock me unconscious first!”
“Okay!” Sirius said happily. With a wave of his wand, one of the broomsticks rushed out of Sirius’s hand and started hitting James in his head.
“OW-stop-OW-it-OW-hurts-OW!”James yelled, trying to wrestle with his broomstick.
“And-OW-what will-OW-we tell-OW-my parents-OW!” Sirius pondered this question for a moment, and then quickly poked his head through the door of the Potter’s home.
“Hey! Mr. and Mrs. Potter!” Sirius shouted. “We’re going to go ride our broomsticks across the world! See you later! Hopefully we’ll be back in a few months!” Sirius dashed back outside before James’s parents could do or say anything. He then instructed the broomstick to stop hitting James, and then Sirius took off on his own broomstick.
“I have a bruise!” James groaned. “Thanks a lot, Sirius!”
“No problem,” Sirius said happily. “Now, get on your broomstick.” James reluctantly pulled himself onto it. “Now get up and fly!” Sirius grinned, and whizzed past James, over to the west.
“Wait! I’m staying home,” James said stubbornly. He then made an effort to get off of his broomstick, but then, to his horror, James realized he couldn’t get off.
“Sirius must have put a sticking charm on it,” James hissed angrily. Realizing he had no choice, James sped behind Sirius.
“You’re terrible!” James yelled from behind. Sirius just gave a mad cackle and sped up faster. Gritting his teeth, James quickly caught up to Sirius.
“Where are we going?” James asked Sirius.
“I don’t know!” Sirius yelled back.
“You’d better figure out where we are!” James yelled back. Sirius did nothing except speed up faster.
They flew nonstop for the next few hours. Sirius and James both put accelerating charms on their broomsticks, so they could go hundreds of miles per hour, perhaps even more. The houses and land had disappeared after only 10 minutes, and they were now flying over endless water.
“My butt’s numb!”Sirius complained after a few more hours.
“Then put a de-butt numbing spell on it or something!” James yelled back. Sirius could be quite annoying at times. He was the one who brought them on this trip in the first place, anyway!
They continued to fly, and as there was no exciting scenery below, the trip became very boring very quickly.
“Is this an ocean?” James asked, forced to yell over the howling wind. They had been flying over this for several hours, so James had to conclude they were over an ocean.
“Probably!” Sirius yelled back. “I think- wait, look! There’s land up there!” Craning his neck, James saw that Sirius was right. It wasn’t just a small island, either- it looked like a huge continent.
As they got closer, they circled around, looking for a good spot to land. They decided to land in the big city not far away, since Sirius said they would most likely have a bank.
They arrived in a big square packed with people. It was a good thing James and Sirius thought to put disillusionment charms on themselves, or else all of those muggles would be staring at them. They slowly walked into the packed area.
James and Sirius skirted around in the streets. However, the sidewalks and streets were so crowded it was nearly impossible to stay invisible without bumping into somebody.
"We've got to be visible again!" James yelled as he narrowly dodged a person walking by the side of the sidewalk. "I can't dodge everybody!"
"Okay," Sirius replied, as he took the disillusionment charm off himself and James. Since it was so crowded, nobody noticed when two boys suddenly appeared.
"So… where do we go now?" James asked uncertainly.
"Dunno, but this place looks pretty crowded, so it's got to be a good place to have a secret entrance." James felt like smacking Sirius in the head. They couldn't just go around and randomly find a bank!
James wandered around hopelessly. Even if there was a chance that a bank was here, it would be hidden very well to avoid the eyes of muggles.
JAMES!” Sirius shouted, even though he was only a few feet away. Goodness, everything was so loud! Those muggle things on the streets that they used for transportation were making so much noise!
“Yeah?” James asked eagerly.
“I found something, look!” Sirius exclaimed. On the side of a muggle restaurant, on the wall, was a small painting of a moneybag, with gold pouring out of it. No muggles seemed to notice it.
“That’s odd,”James said. He pulled his wand out and gently swiped it across the moneybag. The gold seemed to get bigger, exploding out of the moneybag…
James and Sirius both gasped. The painted gold had spread to make a doorway, with a beautiful brass knob. James quickly glanced at the muggles around them, but none of them seemed to notice a thing.
James quickly pulled the knob, and after letting Sirius go through, James entered.
The bank looked a lot like Gringotts, since it had beautiful marble flooring and it also had a large crystal chandelier, just like the one in Gringotts. However, the desks did not have goblins sitting behind them. Instead, wizards were in control, and house-elves ran back and forth, doing their bidding.
“How may I help you?” the wizard said once Sirius and James approached a desk.
“We’d like to make an exchange,” Sirius explained, holding out a few galleons, sickles, and knuts.
“For American money,” James quickly added, since he guessed that they were in that country.
“Wizard or muggle?” the man asked, scribbling down on his parchment.
“Wizard,” James said firmly.
“Very well,” the man said, and once he took their money, he called, “Drilly!”
“Yes sir?” squeaked out a small house-elf by his side.
“Fetch 3 grisses and 4 drennings.”
“Very well,” the house-elf squeaked, and then he scurried off.
“How does the American system of money work?” Sirius asked curiously, wrinkling his brows in confusion at the words “grisses” and “drennings”.
“20 drennings make up a griss,” the wizard kindly explained. “After that, 60 grisses make up a gress. Your pitiful galleons only make up a few grisses.”
“Okay,” Sirius replied, looking rather offended when the wizard said “pitiful galleons”.
“Here you go, sir,” the house-elf replied, handing a few pieces a paper at Sirius.
“Er-“ Sirius said.
“Thank you,” James said quickly, trying not to make it sound as though they were put off guard. It had never occurred to either of them that American money might be made out of paper.
“If you need to go to another country, there is an international apparition portal right outside the hall."
“Thanks!” Sirius exclaimed. “We’d like to use that.”
“Drilly,” the wizard said. “Please escort them.” Drilly brought them to another room, and once they signed a paper, James and Sirius where free to go.
“That was so weird!” Sirius exclaimed, once Drilly had left.
“Yes," James agreed. “I never thought they would use paper money. And I never thought it would be wizards running the bank, either. Where to next?”
“When we were leaving, I picked up this pamphlet,” Sirius said with a wicked grin, waving a piece of paper in front of James’s face. “It says the directions for international banks!”
“That’s great!” James exclaimed.
“We should go to Paris next,” Sirius said. “The bank is right in front of the Eiffel Tower!”
“Okay," James said. “You can lead.” James and Sirius gripped each other’s hand, and with a quick glance, James felt darkness around him, and the usual pressing of organs tight around him- and finally, James felt the wonderful relief he felt after every apparation, and he found himself standing in an empty room, much like the one he just left.
They stepped out of the room, and James felt shocked about this bank. Instead of marble, everything was made of limestone, and beautiful white pillars stretched up to the ceiling. After a few quick looks at the desks, James noted that these were also occupied by wizards.
When they approached the desk, a wizard started asking them something in French. James sent a panicked expression at Sirius. He had completely forgotten that they would speak in French!
"Hold on, I know a little French," Sirius muttered to James, and them louder, he said something in French.
The wizard's face wrinkled in confusion and shock. Seeming to understand that Sirius didn't speak French, the wizard yelled and a different wizard came over. The both had thin black mustaches.
"What do you need?" The new wizard asked, speaking English but with a thick accent.
"Er, I need to do a money exchange," Sirius said. The two wizards quickly babbled, the words unfamiliar to James.
"My friend claims that you said when you were talking to him, you said, 'I pick my nose with my thumb.'"
James roared with laughter, despite being in the presence of strange French wizards. Sirius, who rarely got embarrassed, was beet red.
"So, here's some galleons," Sirius said, as he passed his money to the wizard, pretending nothing had happened. James continued to grin long after.
"Here is your money," the French wizard said, handing over several different sized coins. "Is that all you need?" James and Sirius both nodded. "Then go through that door, and you'll find yourself in a small patch of concrete, that will rise and bring you up above the ground on a sidewalk. Then-" He was interrupted by the door swinging open with such force, that everybody jumped, startled.
"JAMES CHARLUS POTTER AND SIRIUS ORION BLACK!" Dorea Potter shouted, her voice a hundred times louder in the large room. James winced. She dragged both him and Sirius towards the door, giving them a large lecture the entire way.
"Did you have fun?" Sirius whispered. James thought about it for a moment.
"Yeah, I suppose I did," James whispered back in surprise. A grin split across Sirius's face.
"Then my mission is achieved," Sirius said happily. And despite the fact they were going to be in big trouble, and probably grounded, James couldn't resist the temptation- he grinned too.