Chapter 19 : Ragnok
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Chapter 19: Ragnok
When Harry entered the private room where McGonagall had brought him to, he saw that Bill was waiting there for him with an important looking Goblin.
“Harry!” Bill said. “I’m glad you could come on such short notice. This is Harry Potter.” he said to the Goblin, who was watching Harry with narrowed eyes. “Harry, this is Ragnok. He’s the current manager of Gringotts bank and a direct descendant of Gringott himself.”
“It’s an honour to meet you.” Harry said politely.
“Likewise.” Ragnok said shortly. “Bill has made your wish known to us and I wanted to meet you in person before we make a decision.”
“Bill already told you about the battle?”
“Nothing we didn’t know already.” Ragnok said. “His request of the Goblins to fight however, did come as a surprise.”
“It was me who asked him to contact you.” Harry said quickly.
“I know that. That’s why I’m here. Shall we?” Ragnok pointed to the table and the three of them sat down.
“First of all, I should tell you that we Goblins have the utmost respect for you, Mr Potter.” the Goblin said. “But surely you know that it would be highly irregular for us to interfere in a war between wizards.”
“It would be.” Harry agreed. “If it were indeed a war between wizards.”
“I’m not sure that I know what you mean.” Ragnok said slowly.
“Before Voldemort took over the country, did any Ministry official ever try to interfere at Gringotts? Did they ever try to take over the bank?”
“You said his name.” Ragnok said calmly, but he didn’t seem to have a problem with it. “And no, there have almost never been problems with the previous government. But still…”
“Voldemort is determined to win this war, Ragnok.” Harry said firmly. “He will fight you, whether you’re fighting back or not. A lot of Goblins have been killed during the last year too. Not to mention the First Wizarding War.”
“And a lot more will be killed if we fight in this war!” Ragnok said heatedly.
“Not as much as if Voldemort would remain powerful!” Harry said. “I understand that it must be a difficult decision to make, Ragnok – “
“I will not be known as the first Goblin leader to lead his folk into a war.” Ragnok said through clenched teeth.
“I’m sorry you feel that way.” Harry said calmly. “I personally think that saving the entire magical world would be more important than your image.”
Ragnok opened his mouth to say something, but seemed to change his mind. He stood up from his chair and walked towards the door. Before he left he turned around and said: “I will think about it. But don’t expect me to change my mind.” And with a short nod, the Goblin was gone.
Harry breathed out slowly after Ragnok had closed the door behind him. Bill smiled and put a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry about it, Harry. You did the best you could. They are awfully difficult to negotiate with.”
“You can say that again.” Harry grumbled.
“I honestly think that you got through to him.” Bill said thoughtfully. “But we’d better not expect too much. Like he said, Goblins are very unlikely to change their minds if they have made a decision.”
“Let’s just hope the Centaurs don’t refuse to fight because the Goblins did.” Harry said.
“Centaurs are more intelligent than Goblins.” Bill said as they left the room. “They’ll know that it’s the best thing to do.” Harry didn’t seem convinced and Bill felt bad for the younger boy. “Chin up, Harry.” he grinned. “Why don’t you come to our living quarters for a bit? I think Fleur had some news for you.”
As always, the Weasleys were happy to have Harry over. Despite the late hour they invited him to stay for a cup of tea.
“So Fleur, Bill told me you had news?” Harry asked when they had all taken a seat in the sitting room.
“Oh yes.” Fleur said happily. “I received an answer from Madame Maxime. She says that she will come here with the teacher of Beauxbatons and some of the older students, along with some friends and acquaintances that want to do their bit in the war.”
“That’s amazing news!” Harry said.
“I thought so too.” Fleur smiled. “So did you write to Viktor then?”
“Yes. I thought I would have heard something by now.” Harry said slowly. “I hope nothing has happened to Hedwig.” He knew he had taken a risk using owl post to contact Krum, but he didn’t know how to reach him otherwise.
“I’m sure she’ll be fine, Harry.” Mr Weasley reassured him. “Bulgaria isn’t exactly close.”
After he had finished his tea, Harry stood up and bad them all goodnight.
“I’ll walk you back.” Bill said raising from his chair. “It’s late.”
Harry raised his eyebrows. He knew the eldest Weasley brother was aware that Harry didn’t need protecting within Hogwarts. Bill’s real reason became apparent when they reached the seventh floor.
“So, you’re still together with Ginny then.” It wasn’t a question.
“Er… yes.” Harry said anxiously. He had thought that the Weasley brothers had founded peace with the fact that their little sister was in a relationship.
“Relax, Harry.” Bill grinned. “I’m not going to badger you about it.”
They turned left to the corridor of the Gryffindor common room and slowly walked towards the portrait of the Fat Lady.
“It’s just that you were still very young when you started dating.” Bill continued. “But now you both are older, more mature. I just want to know if the relationship is more mature too.”
Harry looked at him surprised. “If you mean…”
Bill laughed. “That’s not what I mean. And I don’t need to know about that.” he quickly said. “I know Ginny would hate me for asking you this, but I kind of need to know… Are you serious with her? Or is this just a schoolboy relationship?”
Harry looked at Bill seriously. “I understand that you’re worried about your sister, Bill, but I love her. I really do. I know it may seem strange to you because we're still young and none of us have ever seen other people, but we do love each other. And we don’t plan to stop.”
Bill nodded approvingly and gave Harry a pat on the back. “That’s what I thought. And that’s all I need to know. Goodnight, Harry.” He turned around and started walking away. After a few yards, he turned back to Harry and said: “I must say I’m glad it’s you, Harry. It would have been a lot more difficult if it was some other guy she came home with.”
Harry grinned and entered the Gryffindor common room. Ginny, Ron and Hermione were the only ones that were still up. They were sitting by the fire, talking quietly. They stopped talking when they saw Harry.
“What’s up?” Harry asked.
“We were talking about Krum.” Ron said. “Don’t you think it’s weird that we haven’t heard something from him yet?”
Harry shrugged. “It is a long trip to Bulgaria, even for Hedwig. And maybe Krum wants to be sure of everything before he makes any promises.” Harry then told his friends everything about his confrontation with Ragnok and about what Fleur had said. He chose to leave out the part with Bill at the end of the evening.
When Ron and Hermione had gone to bed, Ginny curled up close to Harry on their favourite couch in front of the fireplace. “It’s been a long time since we’ve done this.” she muttered contently.
“It sure has.”
Ginny kissed him softly.
“So I had a talk with Bill today.” Harry said while Ginny was pressing kisses in his neck.
Ginny smirked. “So you had the big brother talk?”
“Kind of.” Harry said. “He wanted to know if I was really in love with you.”
“So… What did you say?” Ginny said, softly caressing his chest.
“Oh so very much in love.”
Ginny chuckled. “He didn’t threaten you, did he?”
“No, he seemed fine with it, actually.” Harry said.
“I thought so. They don’t really mind you going out with me. I guess it’s because you’ve been a part of the family long before we started going out.”
“Of course.” Ginny said. “They all just see you like another brother.”
“It’s a good thing you don’t.” Harry smirked.
“Very good…” Ginny said, resuming her activities from before.
This war is becoming worse and worse by the day. Now Lily and James will have to go into hiding because Voldemort has singled them out personally. Dumbledore didn’t really explain why, but it had something to do with Snape. I still can’t believe that Snape has taken the Dark Mark… After everything we’ve been through! It crushed Lily when she heard it. We were all friends, but Lily always had a special bond with him, because they had already been friends before Lily even knew she was a witch. How could he bring them into danger after being friends for all those years? I’ll never forgive him for that.
Dumbledore is sure that there is a traitor among the Order of the Phoenix and he believes it is one of the Potters’ closest friends. I really hope he’s wrong this time. I can’t believe that one of the Marauders would ever turn to the dark side. Then again, I wouldn’t have believed it from Snape too a couple of years ago.
Dumbledore wants to perform the Fidelius Charm on Lily and James’ house in Godric’s Hollow to keep them safe. He wants to act as Secret Keeper himself, but James insists that it should be me. I would be happy to do it, but that’s what everyone would expect. It’s a well-known fact that James and I have been best friends since our first train ride to Hogwarts. Maybe we should act like I’m the Secret Keeper and make Remus Secret Keeper in my place. It sure would lead Voldemort astray. But then again, what if Remus is the traitor. I can’t believe I’m even considering it, but he has been acting rather strange lately. Maybe Peter would be the best choice. No one would ever expect Peter to be Secret Keeper…
Harry was sitting by himself by the window in the Gryffindor common room. It was still early and on a Sunday morning, he didn’t expect everyone to get down for quite some time. He was trying to focus on Sirius’ diary that he was reading, but he constantly caught himself thinking about what happened on the couch in the common room the night before. He knew that he and Ginny were both still too young to have a real physical relationship, but last night it had been rather hard to control themselves. He thought about the forbidden places where his hands had wondered and Ginny’s hot, excited breath.
"Good morning, Harry."
“What’s wrong?” Hermione asked with raised eyebrows. “You’re looking at me like I’m a ghost.”
Harry felt his face reddening. “Nothing.” he said hastily. Hermione looked at him with an amused expression on her face, but Harry was saved by a soft tapping on the window. “Hedwig!” He hastily opened the window and Hedwig hopped inside. She looked extremely tired. “I was getting worried.” Harry said, softly stroking Hedwig’s feathers. The snowy owl lazily closed her eyes, happy to be back with her owner.
“She has an answer.” Harry said. He carefully loosened the parchment envelope and opened it eagerly.
“Read it out loud!” Hermione said excitedly.
We have been following the developments in your country with great interest here. We know that Hogwarts is currently the only place in Great Britain that hasn’t fallen into the hands of He Who Must Not Be Named, so the news that there will be a battle at the school didn’t come as a big surprise.
You’ll be glad to know that after Karkaroff ran away, the board of governors of Durmstrang has appointed a new, decent headmaster. His name is Bogdan Petkov and he is fanatically opposed to the Dark Arts. A big relieve here at Durmstrang! He is an old friend of Dumbledore and was one of the most feared opponents of Gellert Grindelwald.
Professor Petkov was already determined to come to Great Britain with the teachers and some of the older students to fight in the near future. He was very enthusiastic when I told him about your letter. We will be leaving soon and will arrive by the same means that we did two years ago. A couple of friends of mine will also be joining us.
Give my best to your friends and to Fleur and Cedric if you happen to see them and I will see you in a couple of days!
“That’s amazing!” Hermione said excitedly.
“What’s so amazing?” Ginny asked walking over to them. “Good morning, sweetie.” She smiled at Harry and set on his lap. She gave him a kiss and Harry felt his stomach give a little jolt. Ginny was just wearing a plain white t-shirt and pyjama bottoms and her hair was still messy from coming out of bed, but she had never looked more beautiful to him.
“Good morning.” Harry smiled back.
“You want to get some breakfast?” Hermione asked. “Ron won’t be up for hours.”
“Oh, good morning, Ron.” Hermione said surprised. “You’re up early for a Sunday morning.”
“Didn’t sleep well.” Ron shrugged. “But I won’t say no to that breakfast.”
“Give me a minute to get dressed.” Ginny said. She quickly walked up the stairs to the girls’ dormitories and not even five minutes later she was already back down, fully clothed and her hair brushed.
“That was fast.” Harry said.
“Six brothers, Harry. Six.”
She took his hand and the four of them left the common room. Harry felt perfectly happy, feeling Ginny’s warm hand in his. He had been seeing her for over two years and had been in love with her for almost just as long, but it was as if his feelings for her had intensified even more since last night. He had never felt closer to her.
Hermione was looking from one to the other with raised eyebrows. She opened her mouth to ask something, but apparently decided that she didn’t want to know.
When they finally reached the Great Hall they ran into Hagrid. Literally, in Ron’s case.
“Hello, Hagrid!” Ginny said happily.
“Hi, you three.” Hagrid said. He guiltily looked at Ron who has rubbing his head. “I’m sorry, Ron.” he said apologetically. He gave him a pat on the head what caused Ron to fall to his knees. “Oh dear.”
“That’s alright, Hagrid.” Ron said, getting back to his feet. "At least I'm awake now."
Hagrid smiled and continued his way to the front doors. “Oh right, Harry!” he said quickly before they entered the Great Hall. “I ran into some Centaurs in the Forest yesterday. They had a message from Magorian. He wants to see you again. Tonight.”
“Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood.” – Oscar Wilde
A/N: Please review to let me know what you think. Only if it is just a couple of words, I would really appreaciate it. Thanks to everyone who did leave reviews!
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