Sitting in a chair on the patio of a small cafe, the blonde woman raised an eyebrow at the newspaper in front of her. The headline was the talk of the country right now, with those in the upper echelon running frantic at the thought of not if it would happen to them, but when. It seemed that someone had been pulling a modern day Robin Hood, though very few in wizarding society knew the name or what it meant.
Narcissa exhaled calmly through her nose and reached for the cup of tea in front of her. Her eyes traced slowly over the words of the story, noting that the Malfoy vault had fallen victim to the thief this time. She had been wondering when it might. The Rosier, Black, Lestrange, Carrow, Crouch, and Macmillan vaults had already been robbed, though what really had most people talking was that it started with the Potter vault.
Harry Potter himself had been quoted in the Prophet as being “none the wiser” as to the identity of the mysterious thief, though he was also quoted as saying, “It’s not as if I needed it all. They left the majority, Taking perhaps 45% of it, and had Gringotts not notified me about it, I’d never have noticed.”
It wasn’t much longer after that the Crouch vault had been hit, though with no surviving heirs, the entire thing had been taken save one galleon, all that was needed to maintain the vaults magic. Gringotts goblins had brought in extra security for the lower level vaults, dragons guarding each one. Much to the joy of his mother, Charlie Weasley and a few of his coworkers had been called home and hired to wrangle them and ensure their safety, particularly after the magical creature protection laws put into place thanks to the feats of the Golden Trio during the second wizarding war.
And given that the adventure of Golden Trio was the only successful theft from Gringotts in history, they were considered the prime suspects, despite the fact that the first vault attacked had been Mr. Potter’s! It had certainly seemed like quite the blunder on the goblins part, particularly since the Golden Trio had been at the ribbon cutting ceremony for a new memorial piece at Hogwarts to honor those fallen in the battle ten years prior. It had caused quite the scandal, and naturally, Rita Skeeter had been only too happy to pen her rather masterful shredding demise of the goblins’ credibility in regards to pointing fingers. Thankfully, no wizarding court was willing to entertain the notion, particularly since most of the Ministers cabinet had been present at the ceremony.
Narcissa wondered who would be suspected next. Would they call her in for questioning now that she had divorced Lucius? She certainly had cleaned out a rather vast amount from his vault during the divorce thanks to a rather handy solicitor. She had no need to go digging around in Gringotts for the wealth of others. She had enough to last thousands of lifetimes over.
It seemed that the paper had no further leads or clues available, at least not to the general public, aside from the warning that perhaps those with a vast sum in their vaults should seek banking overseas or perhaps in Russia. Narcissa let out a gentle huff at the idea of sending any more of her money to either place. If the Gringotts vaults of Britain were being subject to theft, she highly doubted her magically interconnected vaults in other countries would fare much better. She’d be better off withdrawing a portion and stashing it in a muggle institution. A fine idea if it wouldn’t draw suspicion…… She pondered the pros and cons of suggesting such a thing to a lesser family, one that would spread the idea around, hopefully even parading it as their own so as to evade suspicion.
Whatever the case, she was certain that her vaults would be targeted sooner rather than later. She finished off her tea and placed a galleon down on the table before standing to take her leave. As she turned to exit the small patio area, a cloaked figure caught the corner of her eye. She carried on, acting as though she didn’t see the person and grabbed her things.
Walking toward the alley, she slowly fingered the handle of her wand before rounding the corner away from the cloaked figure. She knew the person was following her and carried on at a brisk pace, as though she had somewhere to be, but not as if she was aware of her stalker. She cut through another side alley, taking yet another corner before withdrawing her wand and turning to face the cloaked figure. As the figure turned the corner, she pushed them against the brick back of the store building, wand at their throat and her body flush against theirs.
“Awfully bold to be following a member of the House of Black, aren’t we?”
Narcissa glared into the hood, though it appeared to be charmed to show only darkness. A chuckle came from the hooded figure before hands reached forward, grabbing onto Narcissa’s waist.
“Awfully bold to be pressed against a stranger so intimately….what if I had a knife in my hand when you had done that?”
Narcissa smirked, her suspicions confirmed as to the identity of the caped stalker.
“You know better than to poke a lady in public.”
Hermione’s laughter rang out on the empty alley, startling a few birds and probably drawing the attention of anyone nearby. She disengaged the charm on her hood, lowering it and stepped away from Narcissa.
“I know better than to ‘poke a lady in public,’ do I?” She asked, still tickled with laughter. “What kind of line is that?”
Narcissa turned her head slightly while raising a shoulder.
“Perhaps the line of a lady who knows the true identity of Robin Hood.”
Hermione looked intrigued at this, leaning her shoulders back against the wall she had just been pressed against and folding her arms.
“And pray tell, what makes you so clever that you can outsmart every auror in the ministry and every goblin of Gringotts?,” Hermione asked, skepticism lacing her words.
Narcissa sniffed, looking down her nose at the perfectly trimmed fingernails of her left hand before answering, “Outsmarting the aurors is child’s play. You proved that before graduating Hogwarts.”
Hermione tipped her head in acknowledgment and asked, “And the goblins?”
“Oh, I haven’t outsmarted the goblins at all. They’ve known all along who is sneaking into their vaults and redistributing the wealth amongst the masses.”
Hermione froze, looking side to side before grabbing hold of the front of Narcissa’s dress and apparating the both of them out of the alley and into a sitting room far across the country. Narcissa rolled her eyes, prying Hermione’s hands from her dress and smoothing it down where she had crumpled it in her hands.
“Honestly, you’ve no tact to speak of,” she huffed, looking over at Hermione who looked like she was on the verge of a breakdown.
“HOW? How do they know, Narcissa?”
Spotting the misunderstanding, she approached the trembling woman before her and laid a gentle hand on her arm.
“They don’t, darling. I simply meant they guessed correctly in the beginning. They’ve no proof to anything and certainly aren’t aware that you’ve been outsmarting them at every turn.”
Hermione breathed a sigh of relief and collapsed in a heap on the sofa, head falling back and eyes closed as her heart rate returned to a normal pace. After a few minutes, she cracked one eyes open, looking over at Narcissa who sat composed next to her.
“I really do think you should have taken him for all he was worth, darling. You know Draco wouldn’t have minded. He’s got more than enough in my vaults, the Malfoy vaults don’t even compare.”
Hermione sucked her lips in briefly while nodding to what Narcissa had said before responding.
“You know that I have to treat it just the same as all the others,” Hermione started. “There can’t be anything done out of place. If I’m to pull this off, I have to be neutral in regard to how I treat each vault. Those that have died out will be left with one galleon to maintain the magic and not forcibly collapse before I can escape and those with surviving heirs are to be left with 55% of their wealth, which, let’s face it, is far more than enough to sustain ten generations, even those that are on the ‘poorer’ side of being obnoxiously wealthy.”
Narcissa grimaced and turned her head again, disappointed but not surprised that the former Gryffindor would be a thief with a code of morals.
“Frankly, I’m still annoyed that you figured it out so quickly! You didn’t even attempt legilimency!,” Hermione exclaimed, eager to change the subject from Narcissa’s less than savory ex husband.
“Darling, I’m sleeping with you. Do you really think so little of me that I wouldn’t know you well enough to spot your work?,” she pouted, mock offended. Noting that Hermione wasn’t going to take the bait, she continued, listing off reasons.
“1. You and your friends are the only known heist to succeed in the history of Gringotts, despite how thoroughly you botched it.
2. Knowing you as I do, you had to have spent years going over every safeguard you encountered and every possible safeguard you may not have encountered, presumably picking the brain of the eldest Weasley son for purely academical purposes.
3. You ensured that you would have a flawless alibi for the time frame of each robbery, very plainly and publicly viewed by as many people as possible.
4. Knowing you had a time turner at the age of 13, it would not surprise me if perhaps a few had simply slipped into your pocket during your escapades in the Department of Mysteries because you’ve always been quite the little—“
“Hey! No one knew about that, not even Harry!”
“Well of course you wouldn’t tell Mr. Potter and certainly not then. He had quite the impulsive streak at that age, didn’t he? It would have been reckless on your part to have told anyone. Though I do find it intriguing that your practice run took place on his vault. Perhaps he’s learned to keep secrets, after all. Now, would you like for me to continue?,” Narcissa asked, eyebrow raised at having been interrupted during her clever speech.
Hermione waved her hand, resigned to having her plans be picked apart at this point.
“5. Using the time turner to give yourself an alibi is simple when the entire magical community is convinced they were all destroyed. After all, they were always highly regulated by the DoM.
6. Robbing from the rich and giving to the poor is something only the bold would attempt, but only the clever could succeed at, and what are you if not both bold and clever? The only thing I haven’t been able to puzzle out is how you’ve managed to actually do it.”
Narcissa gave Hermione a pressing look, expectant and commanding, a queen waiting to be given what she commanded. Hermione tilted her head to the side, smiling, and leaned forward, millimeters from Narcissa’s lips, staring into her inquisitive blue eyes.
“Perhaps you need to get to know me a little better to figure that out, darling,” she whispered, before taking the blonde’s lower lip between her teeth and nipping at it before deepening the kiss.