Harry Escapes

By Wolfwalker

Chapter 8

Being on the run did not agree with Hermione, not at all. But when she realized what the headmaster had done, from listening to it from Harry's own mouth, she had no choice. The first few nights, they spent it sleeping on chairs and the couch in her parents’ office, but after seeing, from the crack in the door to her parents’ office, a man with a wand lurking outside, they had contacted Scotland Yard, who recommended they go on vacation early. That is how they found themselves in France, trying desperately to be normal, knowing that they were hunted, but by which side they did not know.

Hand shaking, she lifted her glass to her lips and stared out over the promenade at the passersby. Glass halfway to the table, Hermione about shrieked in fright as Justin, from Hufflepuff sat down at her table. "Merlin, Justin, you gave me a fright."

Taking in her mannerisms, Justin noticed the black circles under Hermione's eyes. How her hands shook as she tried to reach for something, how she never stopped scanning the crowd, "What happened," he asked as he waved the waitress away.

"What do you mean?" Hermione tried to steer the conversation away from her with her question.

"Hermione," Justin said as he leaned closer and lowered his voice, "you look like shite. And that is being generous mind you. Tell me to leave if you want, but it is evident that something happened." Learning back in his chair and looking at the two frightened people, who were obviously Hermione's parents he waved them over. When they were close enough he introduced himself, "Sir, Ma'am, I'm a classmate of Hermione's from school. Though I am in a different dorm or house. I'm Justin Finch-Fletchly, pleased to meet you." He said as he held out his hand to be shaken.

Shaking the polite young man’s hand, Dan looked at Hermione and saw she was more confused than anything, "Thank you young man, here for a holiday?"

"Not really,” Justin said as he watched Hermione's face carefully. "My parents will be meeting me shortly, so we can go to Gringotts Paris, to meet with, hopefully an account manager that can put us in touch with Harry." Seeing Hermione's expression he said, "I see you caught the news broadcast too."

"Caught?" Dan questioned before growling out, "That bloody headmaster was in our living room at the time. Pulled his wand he did. Hermione had the foresight to call nine nine nine and tell the dispatcher that the intruder had a gun. Scotland Yard told us to take a holiday after Hermione saw a Wizard hanging around the surgery."

"Are you sure he was a Wizard?" Justin asked as he saw his parents walking towards them.

"I saw his wand clearly," Hermione snipped out in frustration.

Trying to introduce some humor into their situation, Justin turned a shocked look onto Hermione, "And just what were you doing young lady to be able to see his wand?"

"I was looking..." turning to face her mother who fell into laughter, Hermione demanded, "What is so funny?"

"My son’s insinuation I presume," Richard said dryly. "Though it is clear, that my sons companion has no clue on what was being insinuated, which is amusing in its own right." Looking at Justin he made a slight motion with his hand, telling him introductions were in order.

"Mother, Father," Justin said as he held a hand in Hermione's direction. "May I introduce you to Hermione Granger, a student at my school. And her parents. It seems they have had a run in with the headmaster and an unknown Wizard. The boys at Scotland Yard suggested they go on holiday it seems."

"Makes sense," Richard said with a nod before asking, "And your intentions Justin?"

"She is friends," Justin said as he glanced at Hermione, "with the person who we wish to contact. Not sure how close she really is, but I suggest they join us for our meeting. She could be helpful in making introductions. Though..." he trailed off as he speared Hermione with a look. "If what I discovered when I found...her friend hiding from her and Ron, I am unclear if it would be helpful to include her or not."

Thinking about it as he took in the shocked look on the girl’s face. Then looking at her parents who looked to be at the end of their ability to cope Richard nodded his head, "Miss Granger and parents, I would like to invite you to a meeting I was able to set up in Gringotts with an account manager. Your presence may or may not...facilitate discussions." He almost told her she might be useful, but he was not so crass to do so in public.

Placing a hand on her daughter’s, as she saw her open her mouth to retort, Helen squeezed, hard, before saying, "Thank you for the offer, I think we should join you. Dear," she said before letting Hermione's hand go, "Hermione, shall we?"

"Spectacular," Richard said as he nodded as Justin stood up and put his chair back under the table. "From what I understand, the entrance to the shopping district we wish to stroll through is around the corner."

"Justin," Hermione kept her voice low and asked, "Why don't you think Harry and I are friends?"

"First off, until we are in a secure area, please don't say his name," Justin told her as he looked around to see if anyone suddenly was watching them. Ignoring her "oh” of shock he asked, "When did he give your permission to use his first name, because I have to tell you, when I watch his expression when neither you or Ron are looking, it is clear to me he is beyond exasperated with you."

"Why do I need permission to use his first name?" Hermione sounded incredulous. "It is his name after all."

"Tell me Hermione, why is it not acceptable to go up to the Queen and call her by her given name?" Justin asked hoping to steer her to the correct conclusion without calling her a rude sod.

"That is not done," Hermione hissed out, "I am not rude or willing to break protocol."

"And yet you do that to...your friend all the time," Justin said causing Hermione to fume. "Tell me Hermione, what did you think of the fable about the lion and the rabbit?"

"Why would I read that garbage," Hermione was quick to snap back.

"Don't even read any of the books on myths and legends on our side of the divide," Justin asked, cognizant of where he was.

"Of course not, those are stories and tall tales, totally useless, Hermione said loud enough the adults could hear.

"You’re wrong young lady," Richard said as he slowed down so he would not have to raise his voice to talk to her. "From our research, ninety percent of all myths and legends originated on the other side of the divide. And on our side, they are ninety-nine percent factual. As far as fables go, they are a learning tool towards the young. They teach the culture and morals of society in a way that ignites the imagination of youth, yet still impart a lesson."

"Tell me Hermione," Justin said quickly so she did not have time to come up with a counter argument, "How much research did you do of the other side’s myths and legends, or even scanned through the books they use to teach their children to read?"

"Why would I do that," Hermione said in exasperation. "There is too much to learn, not take time from my studies of important subjects for fantasy."

Looking at the amulet he carried, Justin saw it blink before glowing, "We are safe to talk about the magical world now, but not people."

"What is that?" Hermione asked as she saw the glowing pendant in Justin's hand.

"A ward detector," Justin said. "We just passed through the Muggle repelling charm."

"And we were not affected?" Dan said as he told them, "We had to hold onto Hermione when going into the Leaky Cauldron."

"Yes, well, I was able to procure an item to negate the wards in a small area," Richard told him before looking at the young lady next to his son. "It is not very smart of you to go into a new culture and society and ignore everything that will allow you to blend in and know what is being discussed instead of assuming you know because you equate it to your culture you grew up with."

"Why are you bringing this up now, why are you attacking me like this?" Hermione cried out near tears.

"Attacking you, Hermione dear," Helen shook her head, "there was not a single instance of you being attacked personally, your beliefs maybe and even that is debatable."

"The reason why," Justin said seriously. "Is because we are about to meet with the Goblins. And from what I have observed of you, you will immediately ignore that they are not human and assume they operate with the same mores and values that humans do. And if you do like you have done with," looking at his amulet he said, "Potter, then you will get us kicked out without finding out what we need to know or killed for insulting them."

Driving his point home while they were unheard he hissed out at her, "There are twenty-eight families..."

"Thirty-two, Justin," Richard interjected.

"Thirty-two families that are considered royal in how you are expected to interact with them." Justin ignored her indigent expression of not knowing that. "You should have looked up the children's books and myths and legends if you wanted to know that, everyone knows this as common knowledge Granger and if you can't be bothered to read a book, it is your fault not theirs."

"Potter is one of those families that fall into those thirty-two families. While not royal in the non-Magical world, they are assumed to be and treated as so in the Magical one. You and Weasley are always insulting him by using his first name like you do. You don't notice any other house doing so do you? They all call him Potter. Which is correct as he is the head of his family, the Potter of Potter and always referred to as Potter or The Potter in conversation and in person. UNLESS given leave to do so in public."

"And while we are on the subject of your refusing to follow magical culture," Justin decided to go for broke, "by calling Draco Malfoy only by his last name, you've told him you consider him royalty. Is it no wonder he is always lording himself over you."

"How, how do you know all this?" Hermione said in a very quiet voice.

"I read," Justin almost sneered back. "And I watched what Potter studied in the back of the library. And when he was finished with those books I read them. And what I found out was enlightening and allowed me to fully understand what those born in the Wizarding world referred to. And most of the time it was slightly different than what I thought." Seeing he had her attention he told her, "I brought this up not to upset you, though I hoped to open your eyes, but so you realize that if there is enough of a subtle difference between the non-Magical and Magical world, it is going to be unfathomable the differences with another species."

Seeing the young lady's confused expression, Richard said, "Think of Goblins as Aliens, while you can understand the language, never assume what you are hearing is correctly translated."

"Tell me Hermione," Justin said as they started to walk again, "if a Goblin scowled at you angrily and leaned forward and pierced you with his eyes, what do you think his expression means?"

"He's angry with me and about to tear into me," Hermione said slowly. "I would be afraid of what he was going to do to me and move back."

"And you would be one hundred percent wrong," Justin sighed. "Potter had a book he referred to multiple times, I don't think it was a library book, but I got the title off of it one day and hunted it down. Dad was the one to finally find it, in one of the Law Libraries at the old courthouse in Parliament." Seeing the alley widen out and seeing some shops he said, "That expression in a Goblin is actually a sign of them giving you their full attention because what you are saying interests them."

"Hermione," Helen placed her hands on her daughter’s shoulders, "it might be better not to say anything unless Justin translates for you."

Walking down the street, Hermione tried to blow holes in Justin's explanation. But as she went through her memories she noticed, now, some of what he was saying. Why did no one tell her anything about this, she whined to herself in her head?

Stopping near a teller and waiting until the Goblin looked up, Richard told him when he did, "We have an appointment with an account manager," he said as he handed over the return letter with the appointment on it.

Scowling at the human in front of him and taking in the group with him, he jumped off his stool and motioned for them to follow, "Follow me."

"Amazing, you can actually do something other than scowl and bark out next like a child throwing a tantrum," Richard drawled out as the Goblin walked from behind his desk with an evil smile on his face.

Stilling, foot half lifted, the teller turned around and blinked in shock. His mouth open showing his teeth and an angry scowl on his face. "What did you say Wizard," he growled out in an angry tone.

"I was just commenting on how amazing it was that you could multitask," Richard said as he scolded down his nose at the little being. "After all, it does not take much intelligence to count over and over again from one to ten." Buffing his nails on his cloak he waited for the Goblin to respond.

Hermione was shivering as she took in the angry posture of all the tellers who had stopped doing what they were doing to glare their way. Looking around, she saw the guards looking their way. About to press back into her dad’s chest she froze as the Goblin leading them laughed.

Seeing the Wizard was not backing down, the teller nodded his head and laughed, "You'll do Wizard, you'll do. This way," he told them as he motioned for them to follow him.

Looking up at her dad Hermione whispered, "What happened?"

"Proof of what Justin told us a few minutes ago," Dan told her as he gently started her moving down the hall.

After a maze of twists and turns, Richard stopped in front of a small desk and looked around the room in disdain. There was only the one chair in the room and it did not look comfortable at all. Looking at the Goblin behind the desk and the three younger looking Goblins flanking him he said sarcastically, "I say Justin, it looks like we drew the short straw after all. This manager must not be very competent if he can't even afford more than one chair." Moving over to the chair as all the Goblins scowled at him he moved it around, "And one that is so cheaply made to boot."

Narrowing his eyes as he scowled, Gravelthorn looked at the youngsters as he considered what he had heard from this Wizard. Seeing the fear-filled look on the female’s face he looked at the young man who suddenly smirked evilly at them. By the worm, he thought, he smiled just like the prime evil one. Snapping his fingers, enough chairs appeared for everyone to sit comfortably. After five minutes of silence he snapped out, "My time is valuable, do not waste it. What do you want?"

"Really?" Richard sounded incredulous before glancing his son’s way, "Justin, be a dear and toss a Knut to the poor Goblin. After all we plan to take up an hour of his time."

"Stilling," Gravelthorn stared at the man in grudging respect. Though he did pocket the Knut. After all money was money. "My time is worth so much more than a single Knut. You may speak for one minute, as you interest me."

Nodding his head, Richard knew he could relax somewhat as he had garnered their interest, now to keep it he thought, "Now this is more conducive to haggling a deal." Seeing that he had shocked them again he smiled. "We wish to hire you, the Potter Account Manager, to put us in touch with your client." Sitting back he waited for them to respond so he knew which way he needed to go.

Truly angry, Gravelthorn spat out as he stood up, "You dare," he hissed out, "to imply I would break a deal. That I would go against Potter."

"No," Justin said quickly before his father could. "If I may," he looked at his father for permission, "I am the heir to the Finch-Fletchly family. My father while head of house, is not magical. But in the non-Magical world is what you would consider the ultimate authority over the deciders of justice." Seeing the Goblin sit down he hid his sigh, it would not do to show emotion or how much he was relieved. "The background," he said as he hoped what he read was correct. Seeing the Goblins’ stare at him he felt hope.

"I presume, and notice I said presume not assume," Justin said as he stared at the only seated Goblin. "That being bankers, you would keep up with the goings on in the non-Magical world, at least of the government that could impact your profit margin." Seeing the Goblin nod he said, "My father, being quite high up in the non-Magical government is behold by vows."

Looking at the Finch-Fletchly, Gravelthorn questioned, "And your heir is aware but not behold to those vows?"

"Yes," Richard said as he strongly disagreed with Justin was going to do. "And he knows information I would prefer, due to my vows, not to be known."

"I see," Gravelthorn nodded in respect before turning back to Heir Finch-Fletchly, "continue with the background of the deal you wish to propose."

"Events have transpired in the Magical world that have...splashed over into the non-Magical world in an alarming manner. It is our wish to consult with the Potter and hopefully benefit from the safety he has found in the coming days." Getting nothing but a nod he said as he leaned forward, "The deal. You shall provide us safe passage to the refuge Potter now enjoys and an introduction so we may converse family to family." Sitting back, which told the Goblin it was his turn to suggest a cost so they could begin to haggle he raised one eyebrow in surprise when the Goblin looked to the left.

"Axeshard," Gravelthorn barked out to invite comment.

Moving forward, Axeshard scowled at the humans and Wizards, "The client is sacrosanct," he said with contempt, "refuse them and eject them."

"Hmmm," Gravelthorn did not actually show his contempt of Axeshard's counter. "Slipknife, your counter."

Stepping forward as he picked up on the distaste Gravelthorn held towards Axeshard's counter, he said, "The fee of transport is ironclad. Transport them to Arttia after they pay the fee and if they happen to find who they are looking for, they do."

"Moneypincher," Gravelthorn smirked as he said the name. "Your counter."

Moving forward, Moneypincher tried to stare down the Wizard boy. Seeing he was not afraid of his gaze he nodded before saying, "I would state the value of the service he requests is quite high. I'm not sure they can afford what would be required."

Grinning as this Goblin started the haggle, Justin leaned forward with a grin on his face, "I like your name, because it reminds me of growing up and calling my father that more than once. His favorite saying is money does not grow on trees." Chuckling, he pointed out, "The fee is not worth haggling over, as we get to Arttia either way. Now getting introduced to Potter, that has some value. But not as much as you presume." Sitting back, he steepled his fingers and put his lower lip on top of his fingers, "After all," he said after a minute of working the words up in his head, he then pointed to the Goblin sitting down, "your boss is easy as they say. Working only for a Knut." Seeing the scowl, he chuckled as his barb hit home.

"Knowing the position the Finch-Fletchly holds in the non-Magical government, it boggles the mind you are so narrow minded not to even pick up on the fact we are seeking safety. That we did not approach you in Gringotts England. That we," he waved his hand at everyone with him, "come before you without trunks of belongings. Encumbered except with access to our riches in the bank in the non-Magical world. It makes me wonder if you are up for working for the Potter if you make such...simple mistakes." Looking at the shock on the other two Goblin faces he drawled, "I would have thought that information would be worth mountains of gold to your people."

Holding up his hand, Gravelthorn stared at the young wizard in the quiet his intervention caused. Seeing the assurity in the heir’s expression and body language and the disagreement in the Finch-Fletchly he said, "The deal to be brokered is thus. For the cost of the fee to be transported to the city of neutrality, Arttia, and the information you provide, I will escort you to the King of Arttia and Potter. So dealt..."

“So sealed," Justin said quickly, looking at his father he said, "Do your vows require you to leave the room so you don't try to stop me?"

"No," Richard said finally as he asked before Justin could tell crown secrets, "What is the fee for transport so we may assure ourselves we have it with us?"

"One Galleon per person," Gravelthorn said, eyes never leaving the heir’s face.

"If Moneypincher would escort me to a teller for exchange, I can do that while you finish your discussion," Dan said, speaking for the first time since entering the bank.

"We will exchange currency here, after the information is divulged,” Gravelthorn responded as he motioned with a finger to continue.

Taking a deep breath, Justin said, "Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts confronted several Scotland Yard officers with the intention of reading their minds. He did so within the confines of the palace grounds. The Queen has determined and announced the treaty broken. As such she is planning an attack on Hogwarts, Diagon Alley and the Ministry. She plans to destroy each location if the Magical world does not give in to her demands."

"And her demands?" Gravelthorn asked hiding his fear for the war that would spark.

"I don't know," Richard sighed. "My involvement ended with drafting the letter to the Magical Wizengamot stating the treaty had been broken. I know she is furious that a Baron in the non-Magical world, Potter, felt his only recourse was to flee the country."

Standing up so fast his chair flew from under him, Gravelthorn barked out, “Moneypincher, come with me, you two reminisce on your failure." Gesturing to the group of humans and Wizards he said, "Follow me."




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