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Forlorn Hope

By Elssha


The Vault Reopens

1: The Vault Reopens

"Sir, I must insist… there are to be no animals allowed in Gringotts."

"May I speak with Thorox? We have a standing agreement regarding this particular vault."

"Sir?" The younger goblin asked quickly, tilting his head in sudden confusion.

"Could you please call him?"

"Yes sir… it will take a moment." The small, ugly creature stated, bowing as he left. He returned moments later in the company of the previously mentioned goblin. Thorox was about a head taller with slightly darker skin of a brownish-gray tone that contrasted with the youthful, forest green of the other goblin.

"Thorox… it is good to see you my friend."

"The pleasure is all mine, good wizard." The goblin replied, shooing the youngster away with a casual wave of his palm. "You must excuse the youngling… he still has a great deal to learn."

"I can imagine…" the tall man chuckled, "can you spare the time, or must we walk while we reminisce my friend?"

"We had better hasten, work stops for no one I fear." The old goblin sighed, appearing even more worn. "Vault seventeen- ninety two I presume?" The man nodded, "do you have the keys?"

"Only three of them. The fourth is to be taken out as soon as possible... as unlikely as the traitor is to use it."

"You surprise me... I did not expect you to gather so many. I truly am sorry for your loss."

"I have grieved what there was to grieve over long ago– men must move on." He stated sullenly.

"None ought to sacrifice the present for the past… especially you humans- so short a life you're given, may you at least not waste it on such sorrows." The man's face lifted slightly in agreement, "come, we had best open this vault of yours. You will return before the end of the week, will you not?"

"I am no longer seventeen, dear Thor, I fear life will not allow any week-long retreats into this vault." The man sighed, a pained look in his eyes. "Especially not alone."

The wagon rattled on the swift tracks, giving the man's large, black dog quite a challenge. They certainly were not constructed to accommodate dogs. Several times the beast whimpered as it fought for balance, eyeing the tall man with spiteful eyes.

"Here you are my friend… it has been far too long since you have entered."

"Too many old memories." He replied simply, gaining the same haunted look the dog currently possessed.

"Your familiar or old friend?" The gobbling asked, noting the dog's behavior.

"Both, in a way." The man replied uneasily.

"Marauders to the core- correct?"

"You know me too well." He sighed, "You are not going to report him then, I assume?"

"My dear friend, no one sees what happens in these tunnels. Mr. Black, if you could please change?" He continued, only nodding towards the dog, "we goblins worry little of the ministry… business is business. We care not what people put in their vaults or who they may be- as long as they don't cheat us!" He ended laughing slightly.

"I wish you sometimes did pay closer attention." Sirius stated, transforming back.

"Why? If we rat them out they will take it out and hide it in their homes- bad for them, bad for the ministry, bad for BUSINESS."

Within the vault, the men looked around as if waking from a bad dream. The walls were stacked high with loads of things from their past: stacks of pictures of pranked Slytherins, crates of their personal prank products, some old school books, and other things from their Marauder days. There was also a couch and some armchairs in the room, complete with a desk and stack of now-yellowed parchment. This was where they would spend days on end developing new things when their parents let them spend a week or two at the Leakey Cauldron. All the money they had saved from not sleeping there allowed them buy the vault and save a nice sum (which now stood in a pile in one corner of the room). Pictures of their youth littered the walls, James, Sirius, Remus, Lily, Peter… they were all there, though much happier and younger then in their present state.

"Did you put some of your junk in here Moony?"

"A little, I had to and…"

"I'm just fretting… keep it here all you want- Merlin knows we won't be having any more sleepovers here!" Sirius said, keeping his tone light. "Why are we here?"

"I found a few vault keys a while back- when I was bringing some stuff to store… They were James' and most of the vaults had gold, jewelry, and such, but one had a ton of papers. I brought them in here, but I need help looking through them." Remus answered, "There may be something he left that could prove your innocence. Some of the ones I looked over were from that September and even early October… so there is a chance."

The two men searched the vault for several hours, mostly reading anything written after they made their choice for secret keeper.

"It just has to be here…"

"What has to be here? Do you know anything specific that would have the needed information?"

"It's not that, there's this book I was hoping to find as well… a journal James kept."

"James kept a journal?"

"Yeah, sort of." Remus responded, avoiding the subject suddenly. "Let's get back to your problem… it's far more pressing."

"Sure Remmy… but I doubt either of them would have been careless enough to put it in writing… Lily was a rather bright little witch."

"Ya Padfoot, but a cautious and practical one as well." Remus added, "She would have wanted you taken care of at all costs." Remus brightened as his friend's small smile turned into a toothy grin.

"Ya, she was something."

"She sure was."

"Is this it Remmy?" Sirius asked, handing him a small black leather book.

"Might be… I'll have to read it later; I think this would be a very good place for him to leave anything like that. Come on… are you up for more or ought we head home?"

"Let's call it a night Moony, we can come back later- it is our vault." Remus nodded, looking over the small book with the golden Gryffindor emblem. This was the journal he had bought James- he was sure of it.

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