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Summary: H/G. Harry realizes something; he has found love in the wizarding world. And he will try his hardest to get that love in return.

Disclaimer: I deny everything.

Harry left Privet Drive under the invisibility cloak, having watched his guards from the order for the last several nights. He knew their schedules quite well, in fact - this was Mundungus Fletcher's shift, and it was not for two days that Moody would be on Guard duty. His disappearance would go unnoticed, as Harry purportedly had staying in his room for the last two weeks in preparation. If they expected him to stay in his room, they wouldn't notice anything amiss if he was already gone when they arrived. He spotted a pair of feet on the driveway, facing away from the wall. Mundungus had obviously decided to take a little nap. Moving closer to the man, Harry pulled off Mundungus's invisibility cloak and pocketed it. Patting the drunkard on the head, Harry spoke softly.

"Sorry, Mundungus, but I'm afraid I can't have you getting too curious right now. Have fun explaining this one."

Harry begin walking down the street, still in his invisibility cloak. He contemplated scaring Dudley and his friends, but his past experiences with Draco Malfoy had taught him that the invisibility cloak was quite liable to fall off when people panicked. Better not to risk the wrath of his uncle for baiting muggles. What he had planned was so much more satisfying.

Once he had walked a few blocks away, Harry cast his hand to the side and watched in bemusement as the three-story purple bus appeared with an almighty bang and skidded to a halt in front of him. His money was ready; the conductor had barely started the prepared speech of prices and special offers when Harry dropped a fistful of silver coins into the man's collecting pouch. Sitting down on the nearest seat, Harry closed his eyes and tried to ignore the sickening sensation of the bus apparating and skidding to occasional stops. Eventually, the voice of the conductor spoke out his salvation: "Diagon Alley!" His eyes snapped open, and he moved out of the bus with a desperate haste.

Harry entered the Leaky Cauldron, the portal into the Magic world. Going through the smoky pub as quickly as he could, he reached the back entrance, walked into the back alley, and tapped the brick wall in the correct sequence for it to open. Setting off at a brisk clip through the Alley, he made good time to his destination, the bank of Gringotts. He took his time at the entrance, preparing himself for the encounter that was soon to come. He read the inscription on the entrance to Gringotts out of curiosity and nerves, and then, steeling himself, entered the bank. Looking around, he found what he wanted. A spare goblin was standing in the corner, clearly waiting to help bring people down to their vaults. Walking over, Harry smiled happily at the goblin. He recognized the stance, the nose, the beautiful pointed ears..."Hello, could you help me down to my vault?"

The goblin looked ready to sneer, but held himself back. "Yes, wizard, I will escort you down to your vault. Do you have your key?"

Harry happily presented his key, delighting in the feel of the Goblin's rough hands as the small piece of metal was swiped from his own palm. The goblin looked at the vault number and pocketed it. "Very well. Follow me."

Following the goblin, Harry smiled happily. He was very happy to be back in the bank. He knew that down in the vault, there was something waiting for him. As he stepped into the cart, his smile grew; no longer did his smile look in any way happy; maniacal, perhaps. The Goblin slid in into the cart in front of him, pressed a button, and the cart began rolling along the railroad tracks. Harry had come here before in the last two weeks. He had three minutes before he was down at the vault. He spoke.

"I remember you. You're name's Griphook, right?"

Griphook's eyes flashed. "Yes, Mr. Potter. My name is Griphook. Did you read it off of my nametag?"

"No, Mr. Griphook! I remember you. You took me down here the first time I ever came to Gringotts. You were the first goblin I ever talked to, you know." Harry saw a slight nod of remembrance from Griphook. Harry continued. "I might not have remembered you...but I'm psychic. I can find things out about people, that they don't even know about themselves. I know you very well, Griphook."

Griphook turned his head around, looking closely at Harry. "Mr. Potter, I can believe that I was the first goblin to take you down here. But I'll tell you now that goblins do not believe in any of that foolishness about psychics and the inner eye. We like to dig, Mr. Potter, not see things that aren't there."

"In that case, I wouldn't know that you enjoy Opera. You sneak into the muggle world, sometimes, just to listen to an Aria or two."

Griphook froze at the accusation - Goblins were a very warlike species and enjoyment of singing was an insult to a male Goblin's honor. He managed a low hiss. "What, Mr. Potter?"

"You know it's true, Griphook. I know you so very well, Griphook. Ask me anything about yourself and I'll know the answer."

"Fine, wizard, I'll play your silly game. Describe my family."

"You have a mother. She treats you well, but she's very sick. You have two sisters, both of whom are desk clerks. You get angry, sometimes, because you're still stuck doing this job, and they wouldn't have been able to become desk clerks if you hadn't taken this job to pay for their schooling. Your father died, when you were younger, in a caving accident. Your brother died in a caving accident when he was twenty." Harry laid a hand on Griphook's stiff shoulder. "You've mostly gotten over it, but in your diary you talk about the pain of losing your father, who would have helped you to become so much more than you are."

Griphook's entire body was stiff. Goblins were a reclusive people; they did not communicate with humans unless it concerned money or something that would make the goblin money. And the wizard's assessment had been completely correct. He spoke. "You are...correct, wizard. But you could have learned those things from anyone."

"Go on, then, challenge me. Ask me something only you would know." Harry laughed. "It's like asking yourself."

"Alright. What happened to my brother. Be specific, wizard." Griphook scowled at his foolishness. The boy had lead him on, for a little. He had genuinely believed the boy might have some sort of power. He froze, again, though, as the boy spoke.

"It wasn't really a mining accident, was it Griphook? He challenged you to an honor duel, as a joke, didn't he. You accepted, as a joke as well. But your magic bound you, and when you didn't try to kill him you...lost control, and the magic forced you to." Harry put his other hand on the goblin's arm, and spoke softly. "You would have been executed, wouldn't you? But you told noone, and the law that came out last year for the goblins says that a murder in an honor duel, no matter if unjustified, does not count as murder. But you still feel guilty."

Griphook nodded, despite himself. He shook, and realized that a hiccup had escaped his throat and a tear slid silently down his cheek as the boy began to rub his shoulders. He had forgotten his brother in his everyday life, moving on without thinking of the tragedy that had befallen him. It was selfish, he knew. His brother deserved a better memory than dying in a cave accident, like somebody who didn't know how to mine. But Griphook valued his own life over the honor of his brother and collapsed the cave their duel occurred in to make it seem an accident. And this...seer knew it. He knew, somehow.

"But you are lonely, aren't you Griphook. You sometimes go to the Opera, sitting in your high seat, and you think about your brother, and you know that the only reason you're sad is because you hate yourself for hiding his body. I know you so well, Griphook, and you hate yourself, Griphook, and you need somebody to help you. I can help you, Griphook. I know you." The boy's eyes flashed, red, and became the same familiar emerald-green. "Lets go for a walk, Griphook. You can talk to me. We can even...hold hands..." The last part came as a shy query, and Griphook suddenly felt uncomfortable, in an degree of the emotion he had never before experienced. "I've learned so much about you, Griphook."

And just like that, the cart ride ended. Stepping shakily out, wordlessly opening the vault, Griphook looked at the wizard following him, who had a strange smile. "You shock me wizard, but I must leave now. Goodbye."

The boy's gentle smile turned into a grimace, and then a snarl, as Griphook walked away.

"Griphook."

The voice was like a command, jarring and filled with anger. Griphook, despite his unease, turned around to see that the boy had a positively malevolent look on his face. "You're going to go on a walk with me, Griphook, and you're going to hold my hand, Griphook. I know you, Griphook." His voice took on a keening edge as his rant turned into a plea. "We could be friends, Griphook, I love you, Griphook. Don't walk away, please. I love you." The voice faded out into an angry choking sound as the boy's anger seemed to be combated with a maniac sadness.

Griphook was out of his depth, stunned, and he suddenly realized what the feeling was that he felt towards the boy, this perversion of normality.

Fear.

Griphook spoke, defensively, in retreat now from the Boy's grim visage that was so full of knowledge. "I will send another cart along shortly, Mr. Potter. Good day." He turned around, hearing the boy speak, and got into the cart, when suddenly he realized what the boy was saying.

"I know a lot, Griphook. You're mother's sick, isn't she. Losing her magic. She has to be kept on a bed, with a IV drip of springwater. You can't pay for a good hospital, because you don't have the income. She spends her days alone, and you spend less and less time with her as it becomes harder for you to make a living, even without paying for her.You know, it would be...tragic if someone were to come in on her, all unprotected and lonely...and just snip that little plastic tube."

He looked at the boy, fear and anger competing for the forefront of his mind. Anger won.

"You fucking BASTARD!"

A sudden change came over the boy - he smiled, lightly, and spoke in a kind and soft and forgiving voice that suddenly seemed so out of place on him. "Are you ready for that walk now, Griphook?"

Defeated, Griphook slowly stepped out of the cart.

----

For all DLP/PatronusCharm readers. This was intended as a parody of the cliche of "Harry remembers Griphook/Becomes king of the goblins for remembering what amounts to a pageboy". I've edited it a little bit to make it smoother and to try to make it more so of what I intended.

"A HG Romance Story", posted on February 18, 2008 at 6:48 pm
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