Out of the Shadows
Writter: fall shadow
Summary: Harry has been raised to follow a path of darkness, but when he meets Hermione things start to change and he finds out everything he has been led to believe is a lie. Now, with a strengthened resolve, he must do whatever it takes to stop the one he once considered his master.
Griphook was ready to go and impatiently waiting for them. They had already told Tonks that they were leaving without revealing too much of their plan and thanked her and Andromeda.
“Are you ready?” Hermione asked. “I just have to take the potion.”
“Wait, just…” Harry panicked. He suddenly felt there was something important he needed to say to her before they left, but somehow he had forgotten to tell her. His eyes glanced to the grumpy goblin a foot away. Harry’s face showed his distress as his mind raced.
I need to make sure she knows… but how am I supposed to ask for a word with her, alone, without Griphook getting suspicious? He doesn’t trust us as it is- it will look really bad if we walk away and start whispering. Goblin hearing is supposed to be pretty good, too. I need to think of something.
“Err, Hermione?” Harry looked thoroughly uncomfortable. “Could I… uh, just have a minute with you, alone, before we go?” His face was burning as the words stumbled out of his mouth. “We… might not come back, and I just… wanted to hold you… one last time.”
This is the only way.
A confused look accompanied the blush that spread across her face for a split second before she played along.
She walked over to him, stopping right in front of him, before gently taking his hand and leading him away from the goblin. Making sure they were out of earshot, but still in Griphook’s line of vision, she stopped. Then Hermione slowly stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Harry. With one hand she pulled his head down slightly, so that his lips were near her ear and out of the goblin’s sight.
Harry was quickly filled with a storm of emotions. His breath hitched and he tentatively put his arms around her, pulling her a little closer. She could hear his uneven breathing with his mouth so close to her ear, and she thought she might feel his quickened heartbeat; though that might’ve been hers.
Harry was surprised she had understood that he needed to tell her something in private. Realizing he didn’t have long, Harry struggled to find his voice.
“You know he might try to betray us, right?” he whispered into her hair.
“I know,” she said back, not bothering to be as quiet as Harry since she was closer to the goblin. “It’s okay.”
He wasn’t sure what else to say. All he had wanted was to make sure she knew and kept an eye on their guide. He didn’t want to risk her letting her guard down at all and getting hurt, but he should have figured she knew better than that. Now that she was so close to him, the goblin didn’t seem nearly as important, trustworthy or not. He felt that she was going to pull back soon, and the words left his lips before he had time to think about them.
“Be careful,” he said in a quiet, concerned voice.
They both knew this was going to be extremely dangerous: breaking into a heavily guarded bank, with her disguised as an evil witch and him under a cloak with a goblin they didn’t really trust. Getting in was going to be hard enough, but getting back out, with the Horcrux (if they even found one), was going to be even more difficult. Harry was starting to have serious doubts about their plan.
“I will,” she answered. “Promise me you will be careful, too.” Her arms tightened around him almost imperceptibly, but Harry noticed. “I promise I’ll try,” he told her honestly. It was the best he could give. “I will be right there with you, even if you can’t see me.”
With that, they pulled back, looking at each other for a few seconds before averting their eyes, both feeling a little embarrassed as they let their arms fall away from the other.
They walked back to the waiting goblin, who eyed the pair suspiciously before departing with them.
Fearing the wards around the Tonks house might cause a horrible reaction with the polyjuice potion (as it was likely to have a spell to do something nasty to anyone who was trying to pose as someone they weren’t), Hermione waited until they had gotten closer to their destination to take it.
It was sickening, watching Hermione walk back toward them looking exactly like Bellatrix Lestrange, the woman who had tortured and tried to kill her. A chill ran up Harry’s spine uncomfortably.
Hermione’s voice left Bellatrix’s lips and Harry quickly cut her off.
“Your voice,” he interrupted. “You sound nothing like her. You can’t use your normal voice.”
Hermione nodded and tried to adjust her voice accordingly.
A few minutes later they were standing outside the enormous doors of Gringott’s Wizarding Bank.
Harry followed closely behind Hermione, his eyes darting between her transformed back and the goblins surrounding them. Currently they were all working quietly at high counters, but they were glancing around uneasily. For some reason, the air was tense. Harry guessed it was because of the human guards standing around. One of them had held a golden rod to check Hermione for any form of concealment. Luckily, Griphook had warned of something like this, and Harry acted quickly with a quiet Confundus Charm. He couldn’t seem to remember if he had scanned Hermione or not, but believed it when she told him in a haughty and irritated impression of Bellatrix that he had already checked her. Looking bewildered, he had let her through with a few apologies.
The goblin riding on his back, Griphook, kept silent, but Harry noticed his peculiar smell under the invisibility cloak.
“Hello,” Hermione said in a voice that sounded much more like Bellatrix’s than before. The word “hello” still didn’t seem quite right from the vile witch’s lips, though.
The old, white-haired goblin looked up from his paperwork and peered at her through his small spectacles.
“I would like to get into to my vault.”
I hope they believe it’s her…
Harry noticed that the goblin she was speaking to seemed nervous. For a moment, he wondered if this was a normal reaction to Bellatrix.
After looking at her for a few seconds, the goblin still seemed unsure.
Harry noticed the two other human guards in the room eyeing Hermione suspiciously. He stained his ears to hear and focused his eyes on their lips.
“Bellatrix?” one was asking, “Ain’t she still stuck at the Malfoys’?”
“I believe so…” the other answered, “but she might’ve been let out to go to her vault. We can’t be sure.”
His eyes surveyed the room while his counterpart nodded slowly.
“Should we get her?” the bigger guy suggested.
“No,” the second said, “If it is Bellatrix, we wouldn’t want to offend her- we need to be sure, first. And if it is an imposter… why not wait until she is on the way out?” He smirked. “She might bring us something nice.”
“They know something is wrong,” Harry heard Griphook whisper close to his ear in a raspy voice. “They must’ve been tipped off that there might be an imposter.”
Harry returned his attention back to Hermione just as the bigger guard grinned stupidly.
“Oh, is this a new wand?” the goblin was asking her. He was holding Hermione’s wand, examining it with interest. His hands were shaking.
“Yes,” Hermione answered, thinking on her feet. “I had to… procure a new one. Mine was stolen by filth.” Her voice held enough contempt to have a chance of being believable.
He handed the wand back and stepped off the ledge where he was working.
He bought it? Yes!
Harry couldn’t believe their luck.
“Our good fortune may be short-lived. That is Bogrod. We need him to control the cart- I no longer work here. He is still uncertain of her identity,” Griphook told him. Then he prodded Harry rather roughly with his foot to get him to follow Hermione and the old goblin faster.
Hermione climbed into the cart slowly, being sure to make extra noise as a cover for Harry, who was trying, with difficulty, to clamber into the small cart with a goblin on his back. Trying to make sure the cloak still covered both of them didn’t make it any easier.
Once they got in, they had only a second to spare before Bogrod started the cart moving. Harry quickly checked that both he and Griphook were still covered and then glanced at Hermione’s face. The hesitant, uncertain expression he saw there looked out of place on Bellatrix, and he could tell she was trying to mask it.
The cart made a sharp curve and jerked forward quicker and Harry held on with one hand. He slipped his other hand out from under the cloak to touch Hermione’s, silently letting her know that he had gotten on with her and was still there. She flinched in surprise at first, but then shot a small smile of relief in his direction.
After another sharp curve, Harry heard a strange noise and his eyes shot up to see what looked like a waterfall in the middle of the tracks. He heard Griphook shout, “No!” half a second before they were all soaked as water splashed over them and into the cart.
“It is to rid the riders of concealments!” Griphook said through the water urgently, but trying not to be too loud.
Suddenly, Harry’s stomach tightened uncomfortably as the cart flipped. Harry felt himself falling backward and panic seized him. He clutched his father’s cloak in one hand and his other sought Hermione but never found her. Twisting in the air, he saw the ground approaching fast.
There’s no way we’ll survive a fall like that.
Harry tried to brace himself, shutting his eyes tightly and… landed softly.
Feeling a bit sick from being flipped and falling, and thinking he was about to die, Harry pushing himself up enough to look around. This head was still reeling.
Hermione, who had landed next to him, said a little breathlessly, “Cushioning Charm.”
Harry exhaled gratefully, thinking she was brilliant and meaning to tell her so. She was back to looking and sounding like herself. Harry smiled at her. Before he could speak, Griphook’s harsh voice brought him back to the reality that they were still very much in danger.
“The Thief’s Downfall,” Griphook said loudly, “stun Bogrod!”
“Who are you?! Intru-” his word was cut off as Hermione stunned him, looking a little upset at having to knock him out.
“Right,” Griphook said, “now we need to get the Clankers and bring him with us. I should be able to get us to the vault.”
Harry stuffed his cloak into Hermione’s beaded, magical bag and they followed Griphook’s instructions and directions. There was an enormous dragon, who Griphook told them was partially blind and taught to fear the noise from the Clankers. Some of the sick feeling Harry had after the fall came back when he saw the dragon’s face- it was covered in slash marks.
They must be torturing it while they use the Clankers. This is… horrible.
Harry cringed as he watched the big dragon back away in fear, visibly shaking due to the noise they were making as they walked by. Seeing a similar look of disgust and sadness on Hermione’s face, Harry felt better and worse at the same time.
Not long after, they found themselves in front of Bellatrix’s vault. Griphook drug Bogrod over to the door and slid his hand across it. Within seconds, the door disappeared.
“Hurry, we must find what you need,” Griphook urged, pulling the unconscious goblin in with him behind Harry and Hermione.
They cautiously walked into the vault. It was filled with gold and silver treasures, as well as animal heads and skins.
“How do we find it?” Hermione asked, more to herself than Harry.
“I dunno,” Harry answered, his eyes roaming around the gold-filled room.
After walking a little further into the vault, Harry hesitated.
“I think I can… feel it,” he said uncertainly.
Hermione gave him a confused look.
“Maybe it’s like how I have visions of things he is doing sometimes- I don’t know- I can just sense it. There’s one in here somewhere.”
He focused on the odd feeling he couldn’t describe. His green eyes landed on a small cup on a shelf against the back wall of the vault.
“There,” he pointed to the object. Walking forward, he heard Hermione’s nervous voice telling him, “Be careful,” as she followed him.
As soon as he started to climb the small mountain of shiny trinkets in front of the shelf, it started to slide out from under him and burned his foot. He drew back quickly. The objects he had just touched were splitting and dividing.
“Stop!” Griphook commanded. “It must be cursed!”
The goblin set Bogrod down and stepped forward. The door to the vault reappeared, closed.
“We can still use him to get us out,” he said in a dismissive tone, gesturing to the unconscious goblin. “But the things in this vault are cursed: Gemino and Flagante curses. The objects you touch will multiply and make fake copies, and burn you.”
“Then how do we get to the cup?!” Harry asked in an annoyed voice to no one in particular.
“I think I have an idea,” Hermione suggested after a few moments.
Harry looked to her expectantly.
“Just… try to hold still and go with it,” Hermione suggested, offering him a hopeful smile before pointing her wand at him. Harry swallowed nervously and nodded, letting her know that he was ready for whatever she was about to do.
“Wingardium Leviosa!” Hermione said, swishing her wand and ending with a flick.
Harry felt his feet lift off of the ground and he wobbled as he lost all sense of balance. Focusing on keeping as still as possible, he tried to allow Hermione to direct his body. As he floated a little higher, his arm touched something on one of the walls and burned harshly. He yelled out in pain for a second and watched as four, five, six suits of armor fell and added to the mass of objects in the vault.
“I’m sorry!” Hermione told him in a higher-pitched voice than usual. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” Harry told her hurriedly, “just get me to that cup.”
Harry awkwardly floated over to the shelf, trying to keep himself steady as Hermione’s wand guided him deeper into the vault.
Come on, reach!
He stretched his hand out, and just as his fingers closed around one of the handles on the cup, he heard the clanging of metal behind him.