Disclaimer: I do not own the world of Harry Potter.
Griphook called us back to his room some days later to announce his decision ('Sure took his sweet time about it,' Ron had said).
We stood by a wall as he paced the floor slowly and thoughtfully before looking up at us. "I will help you break into Bellatrix Lestrange's vault."
We all breathed sighs of relief and Harry stepped forward. "Thank you. Really, you don't understand what this means to –"
"But," the goblin interrupted, "I demand the Sword of Gryffindor as payment."
Harry froze. "The – the Sword? Why the sword?"
"It is a very creative piece of work, created by the goblins. In that right, it should have come back to us years ago after Godric Gryffindor's Death."
"But, we need the sword," I said, frowning.
"Then I suppose we do not have a deal."
Harry looked back to Hermione, Ron, and I, contemplating. We all stared back, wondering just what he was going to do when his face took on a steady resolve and he turned back to the goblin, holding out his hand. "We'll give you the sword," Harry started.
Hermione looked as if she were about to say something, but I stopped her, placing my hand on her arm. Harry was up to something, even if we didn't see it yet.
Griphook reached forward to take Harry's hand, but Harry stepped back some. "But you can only have the sword after we break into the vault."
Griphook frowned before taking Harry's hand and giving it a firm shake. "Very well then."
"We've got a lot of planning to do," Harry said. "We'll be sure to get back to you when they are finished."
With that we left the room, striding down the hallway towards mine and Hermione's room.
"Harry, do you realize what you've just done?" Hermione said, in a shrill whisper.
"How are we going to destroy the Horcruxes without the sword?" Ron asked.
Harry paused, turning to face us. "I told him he could have the sword after we broke into the vault. I didn't say how long after."
"Was that wise?" Hermione asked. "Goblins can be rather tricking when it comes to their deals. You saw what they did to Ludo Bagman."
"We don't have much of a choice. . . . Now come on, we've got work to do."
After about a month of planning we knew what we were going to do.
The problem was figuring out how to do it.
"This is so completely dangerous," Hermione said, holding onto a vial of Bellatrix Lestrange. "What if they figure it out that we're lying? Besides, I have no clue how to act like Lestrange."
"Oh that's easy," I said, smiling. I looked to Harry smiling wickedly as I talked in a baby voice. "Oh, look it's little baby Potter. Did Dumbledore send you running over here?"
Ron was laughing and I snapped my head over to him. "Who told you could make a sound? One more peep from you and I'll be sure to let the Dark Lord know of your insolence."
I looked up to see Hermione holding the vial in front of my face, grinning. "Congratulations."
"You're going to be our Bellatrix Lestrange," Harry said, smiling.
"What are you talking about? I can't be Bellatrix."
"Are you kidding?" Ron said. "That was brilliant, you'll fool them all."
"We have Bellatrix's wand," Harry said. "All you have to do is act like that."
I looked to my three friends who were watching me expectantly. Sighing I took the vial. "Let's get this over with."
We walked casually down the streets, a disguised Ron and Hermione on either side of me while Harry and Griphook hid underneath his cloak. People begged for food and money but I ignored them all, casting disgust looks at the wizards and witches though it hurt me to do so.
I turned to see a Death Eater coming towards me and I recognized him, giving him a curt nod of the head. "Travers."
Travers nodded back, looking at Ron and Hermione before looking back to me. "It is a pleasure to see you, though I had heard you were being confined to your house and that you had lost your wand."
Damn and damn again.
I scoffed, throwing my head back as I laughed. "Confined to my house indeed. Do you actually believe that the Dark Lord would have his most loyal and respected servant imprisoned in their house?"
"I—I did not mean to imply –"
"I believe you should think more before you talk, Travers. And you shouldn't believe rumors so quickly."
"I apologize, Miss."
"As you should. . . . Now I have important business to attend to in Gringotts."
Travers matched my pace. "I will walk with you. I was heading for Gringotts also."
Damn, damn, damn.
Probity Probes stood at the doorways to the bank, waiting to reveal any hidden charms and spells.
But suddenly, as we approached the door and my heart throbbed in my chest, the two guards looked horribly confused. They allowed us passage without checking.
Besides me, Travers snuck a suspicious glance at me out of the corner of his eye.
I marched up to the counter with my entourage, leaning against it to look the goblin in the eye. "I would like admittance to my vault," I demanded, almost adding on a please but stopping instantly.
The goblin eyed me warily. "May I see some identification?"
As I handed him my Aunt's wand a horrible thought went through my mind. They would know that Bellatrix's wand had been stolen and by who and they'd be on the look out.
The goblin turned the wand over in his hands, looking up at me. "Your wand will suffice."
His face went slack for a moment before he gave me a tight smile. "This new wand of yours is very nice, Mrs. Lestrange."
"New wand?" Travers said. I felt his hand on my arm. "Bellatrix my ar –"
His face went slack also and he smiled. "Wouldn't want to keep the Dark Lord waiting, now would you?"
The goblin led us to the carts where we got in and traveled down into the dungeon of vaults.
"Harry, what do you think you're doing?" Hermione hissed.
"Nothing else for it," Harry said, taking off the cloak. His wand was held out. "We were running out of options."
"But the Imperius curse? Harry, how could –"
"Let's just get this over with," I said. "We'll argue about it later."
The rail cart stopped suddenly and I was surprised to find us facing a Dragon. Of course, Bellatrix would go far and beyond to the utmost precautions to protect something for You-Know-Who.
Griphook shook this rope of metal and the dragon backed away from the vault, shivering it looked like.
"Clankers," Griphook exclaimed as we got out of the cart. "It's been trained to fear them."
As the other goblin opened the vault, I couldn't help but feel bad for the poor thing. Chained up down here in the dark to do other people's biding.
The door to Bellatrix's vault swung open and Ron rushed forward. "Look at all this gold!"
"Ron, wait!" I cried.
He picked up a handful of coins, only to throw them back down, his hand a raw red as the coins multiplied.
"Whatever we touch is going to burn us and multiply," I said, stepping into the room. "Be very careful."
"What are we looking for?" Hermione said as Ron cradled his hand.
"Just the cup," Harry said. "It has to be here."
Unfortunately, it was almost impossible not to touch anything while trying to find the cup. Coins and trinkets continued to multiply around us and burn our clothes. I could feel myself changing back to normal and the robes around me seemed heavy and hot and I was finding it hard to breathe. . . .
My skin was red and blistered on my neck and arms and I could feel the heat seeping in and burning the skin underneath the clothes.
But still nothing. . . .
Wiping sweat from my brow, I looked up. "It's there! Up there!"
The cup sat high above us. Ron tried to climb but only managed in succeeding to multiply some diamond necklace and burning his other hand.
"Lift me up there, Hermione!" Harry cried.
Hermione was moaning and tears slipped down her face as she pulled her wand from her pocket, lifting Harry up. He stretched the sword up, groaning and reaching for the cup. He kicked out a leg, a reflex, and hit a suit of armor, which tumbled down, multiplying in the dozens.
I screamed out in pain as my arm was almost completely burned and I could feel burns on my legs as the hot objects reached my waist continuing to multiply.
Griphook had disappeared almost up to his neck and I saw Harry reach for him, dropping the sword. But the stubborn goblin grabbed the sword and sadly, he sunk under the burning treasure.
"Get out of here!" Harry cried, the cup in his arms.
I painfully pushed myself up on top of the treasure and we crawled out of the heat.
Of course, there were goblins waiting for us when we arrived, along with Travers. I tenderly pulled my wand from my pocket, shooting at the chains of the dragon, who roared when granted his freedom.
Harry grabbed my arm and the next thing I know we were on the back of the dragon, crashing out of the vaults and away from Gringotts.
I had never been burned but I'm sure that this is the worst it could get.
We still flew on the dragon's back, me leaned up against Harry who was holding on tight to the cup. He looked down and I followed his gaze as the dragon lowered over a large lake.
"We should jump," Harry said. "Make a break for it before the dragon decides he doesn't like us anymore."
"Jump?" I said. We weren't up that high but . . . I had never learned how to swim.
"I got you, okay?" Harry took my burnt hand in his and the four of us jumped, the water tearing at us we entered. But Harry kept a firm grip on my hand, pulling me up to the surface, Hermione and Ron beside us.
Casting a glance back at the dragon that was drinking from the lake in utter bliss, we swam towards the lake.
"Sorry. . . . There, all done."
Ron smiled at me, flexing the fingers of his fixed hand. "Thanks. All yours gone?"
"Healing, of course," I told him, standing to my feet. "Mine were a bit bad."
Hermione stuck her wand back in her pocket, having finished healing herself. "So now what?"
We all looked to Harry who had just awoken from his vision (which Hermione still didn't approve of). I moved to his side and sat down. I had already healed his burns while he was unconscious. "What happened, Harry?"
"You-Know-Who," Harry said, sitting up. "He's pretty sure that we're after the Horcruxes. He's going to go check on the ring and the locket."
"Which means we don't have much time before he really knows what we're doing," Ron said.
"He's going to keep Nagini by his side at all times."
"Which means she's a Horcrux," Hermione supplied.
"And he's going to check Hogwarts."
"Which means we need to get moving," I said, getting to my feet again. My friends stared at me and I shook my head. "Like you said, we've only got a little while before he realizes the ring and the locket are missing. Once he realizes we are after his Horcruxes, he'll take the one he has hiding in Hogwarts and put it somewhere else. We should go now and get it before he does."
"It'll be dangerous," Harry said, smiling at me. "That place is crawling with Death Eaters now."
"We've been in worse situations," I told him.
"The castle is huge. We won't even know where to find it."
"We'll search the whole place then," Ron said, grinning. "I'm sure Neville and the D.A. will love to help."
"We don't even know what the last Horcrux is."
"We'll figure it out," Hermione said. "We've been doing okay so far. And we've got surprise on our side."
Harry smiled at the three of us before getting to his feet also. "To Hogsmeade then."
A/N: So what do you think? Thanks for reading and see you next time.