Title: Filius’s Greatest Trick
Warning: Mentions of child abuse, mental torture
Word Total: 3164
Filius Flitwick watched the fiftieth argument between Minerva and Albus about the status of Harry Potter and hummed softly to himself. The strains of an old Goblin work shanty moved through his mind and he rocked back and forth on his heels in time to the beat. Something about the way Albus was dismissing Minerva’s concerns was raising all the hairs on the back of his neck.
Pulling his personal grimoire out of his pocket, he recorded the conversation as he remembered it. Looking through the little book, he found several other instances where his friends had the same argument, again and again. And it looked as if Albus had declined to answer any questions about Harry Potter, every single time. That was suspicious in the extreme.
The tune he was humming changed and Filius nodded. He needed to run an errand.
“Sharprock. Thank you for seeing me on such short notice,” Filius offered the Senior Account Manager for the House of Potter a deep bow. “May your enemies die a screaming death and their gold fall into your vaults.”
“May your enemies die poor and in pain, Filius. What can we do for you, cousin?” Sharprock asked as he waved him over.
A younger goblin came in with a tea set and they were silent as they were served. Only when the youngster left did Filius offer up the reason for his visit.
“You know that Harry Potter has been hidden by Albus Dumbledore, correct? In an effort to keep him protected from the worst of the magical world,” Filius started.
Sharprock put his tea cup down and leaned back in his chair. “The Horde is aware. And we’ve filed a dozen petitions to have the Potter will executed. And have the heir looked in on. Dumbledore has squashed all our efforts.”
Filius sat back and cradled his cup in his hands. “Albus has been stopping every effort to carry out the will of the Potters?”
“He has. And the will of the Horde. If James Potter had lived, he would have been approached to be the Patron of the Goblin Horde. Since he was murdered by Voldemort, that leaves his son, Harry,” Sharprock took a deep drink of his tea and then waved a hand at the world beyond the bank. “The masses out there seem to be content to let the child languish, but I’m not.”
“I’m not either, cousin. But getting around Dumbledore is not the easiest of endeavors,” Filius growled lightly as he talked. “Sirius Black is paying a massive price for going against the old bastard.”
“And that’s another thing,” Sharprock hissed. “Walburga Black would have paid a handsome price to get her son free of Azkaban if he had been a Death Eater. That she’s willing to let him rot there, tells me all that I need to know about his guilt.”
“Agreed. And there is nothing that we can do at this time to get him free.”
“Nothing legal, at least.” And Filius raised an eyebrow at his cousin and Sharprock grinned at him, teeth showing. “Arcturus Black is making moves behind the scenes. He seems to be of the same mind as us. Sirius is and has been his heir since Regulus Black died and the Black Family Magic still recognizes him as such. If he had been convicted, not even that Family’s magic would accept him.”
“I wish you luck in whatever the Horde is doing to help that out,” Filius saluted him with a wave of his cup. “Getting back to young Harry Potter. Is there anything the Horde can do to help in that situation?”
Sharprock didn’t say anything for several moments and Filius was happy to let him. While his cousin thought things through, he refreshed his tea and when his cousin waved his cup, he added more to his. He managed to get halfway down his cup before his cousin stirred. “The Horde has a duty to the Potter Heir. He managed to save more than just Magical Britain when he defeated Voldemort. Thus we will use all the means at our disposal to find him. And if needs be, aid him.”
Filius sagged around his bones. “Thank you, cousin.”
The grin Sharprock gifted him was just as sharp and hard as his name was. “It will be our pleasure.”
It took over a fortnight for Sharprock to get back to him. Filius was quietly worried about the amount of time it took. For it take the Goblins so long to get information, it had to be well buried.
Making his way into the bank, Flitwick nodded at one of the guards and ducked into one of the hallways that was only open to Goblins. His trip to his cousin’s office was quiet and he nodded at the few others he saw along the way. Tapping at the door plate, he brushed it with his magic and felt his cousin’s welcoming touch.
“Welcome cousin,” Sharprock told him as he entered. “Death and destruction to your enemies.”
Oh, dear. That was never a good greeting. “Destruction and poverty to your enemies as well, cousin.”
“Come, we’ll have tea. With some house elf brandy that Lord Charlus Potter gave me before his death.”
“That good, eh?” Filius asked.
The growl that broke out of his cousin sounded murderous. “Drink your tea.”
“Right,” Filius sipped at his tea and watched as his cousin refilled his own cup, mostly brandy, with just enough tea to warm it up. Only when he hit the bottom of his cup did Flitwick set his own down. “Can you talk now?”
“Albus Dumbledore has a lot to answer for. In regards to Harry Potter, we did find him. We didn’t find him by any magical means. Dumbledore has him too well protected for that. We started looking at any other options and it took us going into the Muggle world for us to find him. Dumbledore placed him with Lady Potter’s sister,” Sharprock told him, voice even.
“Petunia Dursley? He placed a magical toddler with Petunia Dursley?” Filius asked, voice shocked. He reached for the brandy and poured himself a stiff drink and didn’t bother to warm it with any tea.
His cousin snorted softly, waving his hand for the bottle. “Oh, it gets worse.”
“Worse? What’s worse than a magic hating Muggle raising the Boy-Who-Lived?”
“She’s married with one child. Her husband hates magic and is making his hatred of it very clear every time young Lord Potter has an expression of accidental magic. He’s making it known with his fists,” Sharprock had started talking with his voice calm and ended with it in a growling hiss.
Oh, Merlin. Filius had a temper. How could he not? He was half Goblin after all and his human family wasn’t known for being mild mannered either. In all the years he had known the Headmaster, he had never wanted to smite the man more than he did at that moment. The only thing that kept him from doing so was the self-control that he held onto by the skin of his teeth.
“Lily would never have wanted a child of hers to go to her sister if she knew that,” Filius gritted out between his teeth. “Lily and James redid their will months before they went into hiding, so I’m sure that she check up on her sister. There is no way they could have missed that.”
“Oh, I’m sure they did. And since Dumbledore won’t unseal the will, we can’t confirm who should have young Harry,” his cousin told him. “It took a curse breaker to get confirmation that young Potter was even there. He’ll be able to take you there, but due to the wards, you won’t be able to get onto the property.”
“Wards?” Filius asked.
Sharprock nodded and waved his hands, trying to describe something. “Tied to the blood that Lord Potter shares with his Aunt and cousin, they are designed to keep the boy safe from the magical world. From what I understand from my curse breaker, there is nothing in the wards to protect the boy from his family.”
Filius pushed his anger aside. It wasn’t the time to indulge in it. “Do you think we could slip something in? Maybe tied strictly to Harry himself?”
His cousin was silent as he refreshed his drink, he didn’t bother with the tea either. “Karma.”
“Karma comes to everyone, no matter how well protected they might be. If we give it a method to work, it might provide the boy with some additional protection,” Sharprock offered.
“Could it backfire onto Harry?” Filius asked. The brandy was relaxing him enough that his human control was giving way to the Goblin pragmatism that he normally filtered through that sides morality.
“More than the dragonshite that Dumbledore set up? No, I don’t think so. And we can make it so that there is no evidence of it.” Sharprock confirmed.
Raising his cup in salute, Filius called out a brief toast. “To karma.”
He was silent for several moments before he stirred. There was still one victim of this who needed to be helped.
“What are the plans to help Sirius?”
“That’s been a bit harder to get our heads around than the situation with Lord Potter. Heir Black has been in Azkaban for a little over two years now. We sent a team through with a curse breaker to check on his mental health and he’s been shown to be remarkably resilient. The Ministry had no idea who was in the group, so we were able to get far more out of the trip then they could ever guess.” Sharprock told him.
“What did you find?” Filius asked.
“We found that Heir Black had a curse on him to discourage and dispirit him, even more than what the Dementors do. Our curse breaker thinks he can remove it. We also want to slip something into his place to either suffer or die for him. While we’re working on that, we want to see about getting him a trial. Because that is one that we did find when we went looking in the Archives, that Heir Black had no trial,” Ragnok announced as he entered Sharprock’s office.
Filius tried to stand up and bow, but the brandy they had been consuming was getting to him and he wasn’t as graceful as he wanted to be. “Sire.”
“You haven’t bowed to me in years, Filius, don’t do it now. Have you got any more of that brandy?” Ragnok asked as he threw himself into the chair across from Flitwick.
“When I come asking the Horde for a favor, I try to be respectful, cousin,” Filius snapped back.
“That didn’t last long,” Sharprock observed as he pulled a second bottle of brandy out of a drawer. Pulling the cork, he filled a glass before handing it to Ragnok.
“It never does with either of you,” Ragnok mourned before taking a sip of his drink. “At any rate, I’m all for kidnapping Heir Black from Azkaban if we can’t get him a trial in the next fortnight. Dumbledore is expected to be out of the country for the next ten days. That’s our time to strike.”
“I can drink to that,” Filius cheered and took a gulp of his brandy.
Filius was sipping his tea when Minerva threw herself into a chair next to him. They were gearing up for another school year and everyone was vibrating with energy. The Deputy Headmistress was certainly no exception.
“You have been visiting the bank a lot,” she observed.
“My cousins are calling for me due to family responsibilities,” Filius shaded his answer. What they were doing was a form of familial responsibility. Just not specifically to their family.
“Is it going to interfere with your work here at the school?” she asked. He could hear the concern of his supervisor warring with the concern of his friend in her voice.
“We hope to get things settled within the next few weeks,” Filius was guessing, but the time period Ragnok had outlined only gave them another week. If they succeeded, he would be going to the bank quite often to talk to Sirius.
“Your family isn’t going to pull you back to the Goblin Nation, are they?” Minerva asked worriedly.
“No, this is something else. Internal, but they aren’t recalling me to the Nation,” Filius tried to reassure her. He was certain that Ragnok would let him stay at the school.
“Oh, good. With Albus gone, I wouldn’t want to have to tell him that you got recalled when he came back. And this close to the school year it would be hard to get someone to stand in for you.” She sounded very relieved.
Filius couldn’t say that he blamed her. Teaching wasn’t the best paying profession, even in the Magical world, but it was enough for him. That wasn’t to say that it would be enough for anyone else though.
“Albus is going to be gone for a bit longer? School starts in two weeks,” he observed.
“He’ll be back in seven days,” Minerva shared. “He seems to be running a series of errands of his own.”
Filius made a mental note to have Sharprock look into what Albus was up to. Maybe have someone look into what was going on with the Potter accounts. He also thought that it would be good to see if Arcturus Black had any hooks into his finances.
“I’m not too sure how often I will be called out, but I don’t expect it will last much past the start of the school year,” Filius confided. Or at least, he was sure she thought he was. “I have another appointment with my cousin tomorrow and I’ll be finding out the timeline of their needs then.”
Minerva hummed a brief note as she nodded. “That will work. Tea?”
Filius nodded and waved a hand at his mug as the strains of a goblin war chant moved through his head.
When an owl entered the Great Hall, the teachers all looked up at it. It wasn’t one of their personal birds and it didn’t belong to the school. When it handed in front of Filius everyone looked at it in curiosity.
Nestled into the feathers of the owls breast was a shiny gold medallion with the crest of the bank embossed on it. It was both protection and identification for every bird in the owlry. When the bird thrust out its leg with a tetchy click of its beak, Filius offered it a bit of sausage before taking the tube off.
Only when he popped the seal did the little scroll grow to normal size. Filius scanned it quickly and nodded. His cousins had everything ready for him and he needed to swing by the bank that afternoon for his supplies.
The coin stuck to the page warmed when he ran a careful finger over it. Protection for him then. Filius pushed his magic into the coin and it popped free into his hands. As the coin settled into his magic, the wards his cousin had imbued the silver with integrated themselves into his magic.
The slightly fuzzy feeling that he had lived with every day for his entire teaching career cleared abruptly. His keen ears picked up the sound of an indrawn breath and Filius mentally winced. Closing his hard over the coin he gripped it tightly as he controlled his breathing.
He couldn’t lose his temper before his missions were complete. He had a small child that needed the protection he had to offer and a former student who needed saved. Filius didn’t have time to feel the betrayal.
Clearing his throat, he tried to sound normal. “My cousin is calling me to the bank for the last of my business. I’ll be heading out after lunch.”
Minerva nodded her lips tight and white. “Albus requested we have our faculty meeting after supper. So six pm?”
“I should be done by then,” Flies agreed. Thinking about it, he decided that he was going to head out to the bank earlier. Better safe than sorry.
“Good to know, “Minerva gave him a small smile as She reached for the teapot.
“Thank you,” Filius pushed his cup over and turned his attention to the owl. He held out a second bile of sausage to the owl. “I won’t be sending a message balk, love. Best head on out.”
The owl dainty took the sausage from his fingers and at it. Once the meat was gone, the bird spread its wings and took off.
Filius carefully doctored his tea and pretended to take a sip as he reread his cousins missive. It took all his willpower to not heave immediately. The coin stayed clutched in his hand. His mind was clear and racing to see if he had done anything that would endanger his nation, Harry, Sirius or himself.
He deeply hoped their enemies were still in the dark. He ‘finished’ his tea and folded his letter up. “I need to get some work done before I head out. Minerva I’ll do my best to get back in time for the meeting.”
Minerva raised an eyebrow at hum over the rim of her cup and then nodded. Severus, the other Head of House at breakfast, paid them no mind as he read his potions journal and Filius wasn’t interested in interrupting him. The other teachers present were all engrossed in their breakfasts and ignored the exchange.
Heading out Filius could feel the skin between his shoulder blades itch. He didn’t run, he didn’t hurry and he didn’t cast anything to protect his back.
He didn’t relax until he was in his quarters. As Head of Ravenclaw, he had access ways into the kitchen and beyond to the edge of the wards so he could apparate. That didn’t count the various secret passages he had found over the years. He had hours before he could leave, though, and that meant he needed to fill them.
As soon as he was behind his wards, he opened his hand to look at the coin. It was a silver sickle and covered in goblin runes. So much magic was imbued into the small object it almost glowed. Holding it made him feel almost as safe as when he was at the bank.
Filius settled into meditate. What he was going to do that afternoon would require a clear mind and he didn’t have that. Clutching the cone coin he calmed his mind and started some internal house beeping.
Three hours later he surfaced. His mind was ordered, protected and blazingly angry. Filius was almost ready to vow on his magic to deal with the parties that had clouded, confused and distracted him. But first, he needed to get to the bank.
Humming a goblin death song, Filius got ready to leave.