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Out of instinct Harry surveyed the room for any possible threats before relaxing into his surroundings. The Leaky Cauldron was relatively quiet with business flowing like normal. Not many people seemed to even notice the new patrons that just arrived by Floo.

“I was just wondering, does anyone ever guard the Floos?” Harry wanted to know.

“Not that I’ve ever seen. I mean the Floo Network can control who is connected to where but other than that I don’t think so, why?” Ron answered.

“Er, nothing it just seems like a weak point to me that’s all.”

“Weak point?” Ginny wanted clarification.

“Yeah, I mean if anyone wanted to come through they could. Certain high traffic Floos should be guarded like Muggles guard their airports.”

“It’s not a bad idea,” Hermione said mulling Harry’s idea over. “If they had Dark Detectors installed they might be able to catch people smuggling Dark magical objects more often.”

“At the very least it would be a preventative measure,” Harry said. Ron and Ginny still didn’t seem entirely sold on the idea.

They walked to the back exit into the alley behind the building, Harry tapped a series of bricks with his wand and the wall that had been standing in front of them shifted to become an entryway to Diagon Ally. The shops and streets were a flurry of activity. People weren’t as afraid of coming out into the open anymore. Most of all the shops were open again, with the exception of Fortescue’s Ice Cream Shoppe, Ollivander’s, and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. At last they reached the front steps of the large white crooked building that was Gringotts Wizard Bank.

Harry was a little worried, despite Shacklebolt’s reassurances, about how he would be received. Judging by the audible gulp he heard come from Ron he knew he wasn’t the only one that was nervous. They made their way to the counter without incident. The Goblin at the desk leered at them. When Harry gave his name and purpose of coming to make a withdrawal the Goblin sneered at him and told him to wait where he was. A little while later the Goblin returned with another Goblin at his side.

“You are Harry James Potter?” the old Goblin asked.

“Yes, Sir,” Harry said and he could tell not many people addressed him as ‘sir’ based on the Goblin’s reaction.

“I have already spoken at length with Kingsley Shacklebolt. He explained that you broke into the Lestrange vault for reasons leading to the downfall of the Dark Lord. We Goblins still consider stealing wrong no matter the reasons. However, we are willing to overlook this incident on the condition of an exchange of information.”

“Kingsley did mention that and I am most willing to do so. It is in the interest of security?”

“Yes, we found it most…distressing that you and your friends,” the Goblin shifted his gaze to Ron and Hermione then back to Harry, “stole from one of our most secure vaults and still live to tell the tale. It caused this bank great embarrassment and people need to know their valuables are safe and secure from greedy thieves.”

“My friends and I all agree with you. We had a noble reason for doing what we did but stealing is still wrong,” Harry hoped he sounded diplomatic. “We’d like to assist you in any way we can to help prevent any future break-ins.”

“Very well,” the Goblin said turning and then leading them down into the tunnel where the first Goblin was now waiting with a cart that would bring them down to the underground vaults. “We’d like a report from all of you on how you managed to break in and then get out successfully. Where were there gaps in our security system that we can correct? Any information you can think of would be helpful.”

“We’ll all write up full reports and have them delivered in a few days time.”

“I’ll be waiting for them,” The Goblin said then gestured toward the other Goblin, “Droughnook will take you to your vault.”

They climbed into the cart that whisked them away to Harry’s vault. He retrieved a substantial amount of money, exchanged some of the wizard money for muggle money when they got back to the first floor entrance, then they left the bank behind them as they stepped back onto the cobbled street.

“Great, I thought I was done writing papers,” Ron commented.

“Oh, c’mon it’s not like it’s a boring essay for Professor Binns. You just have to write down as much as you can remember about when we had to get the cup,” Harry told him. Ron shrugged his shoulders.

“Right, then,” Hermione broached a new subject pulling out a piece of parchment from her pocket. “We need a few things before we can leave, let’s see…Floo powder, some rations to eat on the way, oh and new parchment, quill and ink to write the reports for Gringotts. We already have sleeping bags and Muggle clothes…,” she rambled on as she walked. They followed her and bought and checked off each item on her list, each thing purchased being added to Hermione‘s beaded bag. Surprisingly not many people recognized Harry, most people only recognized him by his scar which at the moment was hidden under his hair. The people they met along the way that did recognize him were friends and didn’t cause a commotion, for which he was thankful.

Hermione finally announced they were done shopping and they walked back to the Leaky Cauldron where they could depart from. They found a quiet corner where they were safe from being bumped or jostled as they made to Apparate.

“So, Hermione, how did you find out where in Australia your parents moved to?” Ginny asked.

“Through their business. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be, thank goodness. I just looked up all dentists new to Australia with the last name Wilkins and then narrowed it down even further by the first names Wendell and Monica. I made a long distance call to the office to speak with one of them on the pretence of a medical question, it was so good to hear my mother’s voice again, even if the conversation was about teeth.” Ron pat Hermione’s back in a gentle reassuring manner.

“Did you get their home address?” Ginny queried.

“Er, no, actually so we’ll probably have to follow them home from their work. Hermione checked to make sure her beaded bag, which carried everything they needed, was securely over her shoulder. “This is the name of the town that is our final destination, it’s too far so we’ll have to have stop points along the way. These are the midpoints we’ll be Apparating to,” she showed Harry, Ron and Ginny a map, that she had bought at Flourish and Blotts, indicating with her finger random places with names Harry had never heard of before heading south, that she had marked, ending at a small town. “We’ll hold hands on this one,” she told Ron who seemed relieved as he wasn’t the most adept at Apparating.

“Ginny, you just need to hold on tight to my arm,” Harry told her. Ginny did as she was instructed and Harry concentrated on their destination. He felt the now familiar sensation of being squeezed through a rubber tube. They made their way, stopping to rest a few times between Apparations, until they materialized in a peaceful town square. It was warm and sunny as the town was in northern Australia.

“You all right?” Harry asked Ginny, her eyes were a little watery.

“I’m fine,” she said rubbing her ears, but I think I might prefer brooms.”

“The sensation does take some getting used to,” Harry said chuckling at the reverse déjà vu.

“Come on, we need to check in to customs,” Hermione said still holding Ron’s hand. Harry and Ginny walked behind them. Ginny had quickly taken her hand back and Harry had to resist the urge to grab hold of her hand by stuffing his own into his pockets.

“They arrived at the Australian Ministry office and submitted for customs. Harry had expected no one here to know who they were and he wasn’t wrong until they reached the wand inspection desk. The gentleman operating the inspection desk was reading a Wizard World News article and Harry saw his own face looking back at him from the front page.

“Hem, hem,” Ginny cleared her throat in an imitation of Umbridge that made Ron and Hermione jump.

“Oh, hello there,” the wand inspector said setting down the paper. “Sorry about that, fascinating article. What can I do for you?”

“The woman at the customs desk told us to submit to a wand inspection,” Hermione told him.

“Oh, right, right,” he took Hermione’s proffered wand and began his examination. “So where you travelin’ from?”

“Britain,” Hermione answered.

“Are you really? Are things calming down now that You-Know-Who is dead?”

“Somewhat, listen we’re kind of in a hurry. Do you think you could…”

“Oh, sure, sure,” he handed Hermione back her wand. “I’ll need your name, dear?”

“Hermione Jean Granger.”

“Okay, then you’re all set. Who’s next?”

“Ronald Bilius Weasley,” Ron handed his wand over and the man put it on the scale that spit out information. The man wrote it down in the same process he did Hermione’s. Next was Ginny and then Harry handed his wand over for inspection.

“Hey, you know you look kinda familiar. You been to Aussie before?”

“No, this is my first visit.”

“Oh,” the man said still trying to place Harry’s familiarity as he inspected his wand. “Holly and Phoenix feather, eleven inches. Interesting combination. I must say the craftsmanship on these wands is outstanding, all the same wand-maker?”

“Yes, Mr. Ollivander,” Harry told him.

“Fine work, fine work,” the man said taking one last close look at Harry’s wand before handing it back. “And your name, sir?”

“Harry James Potter.”

“Harry…James…Potter,” the man parroted as he wrote down the name. “Wait a minute, the Harry Potter?” he asked picking up his newspaper and flipping it over to compare the picture on the front page to Harry. “Blimey, well it’s nice to meet you.” He reached over the counter to pump Harry’s hand in a vigorous shake. “Never thought I’d meet a real World hero before.”

“Er-”

“Right, right, your friend said you were in a hurry. Well enjoy your stay here in Australia and if you need anything; a tour, a list of the best places to rustle up some tucker, a place to stay, feel free to contact me. M’name’s Wally Wadkins.”

“Thanks for the offer,” Harry said.

“No problem, G’day.”

“And a good day to you, Wally,” Harry said as Ron started sniggering into Hermione’s shoulder.

“He fancied you, Harry,” Ron quipped when they were out of earshot. He made himself laugh even harder until Hermione elbowed him in the ribs and he composed himself.

Hermione led the way to the local bank, where Harry switched his English money to Australian currency, then she led them up the road and out of the town. A mile after the last magical house there was a picnic bench near a bus stop sign. They sat down at it and Hermione pulled out sandwiches and pumpkin juice from her beaded bag. It wasn’t too long before an old passenger bus rumbled down the road churning up red dirt. Harry paid the driver for them and they sat in the back. They rode in silence; Ginny and Harry looking out the windows, Ron and Hermione canoodling in their seats. After about twenty minutes Hermione popped her head up and told them they were the next stop.
 
 

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