Hello everyone! It's been too long since I started writing this, but I am nearing the end and so feel I can finally publish. This is the third Harry Potter story I have done. The first two were following Albus Potter through his important moments and can be found on my profile. This continues that story. I don't think you have to have read those stories to understand this one, but it would help. I am considering the 7 main books and those previous two stories to be the only canon for the purposes of this story (in part because I started this thing before even the first Fantastic Beasts came out. My goodness this took too long). Enjoy and please leave comments!
Chapter 1: Escaping Albus
There are moments in each person's life that define everything that follows. These moments can be large, like mountains that fall in the way and force a major course correction. More often they are small moments; things that can only be identified as defining moments in hindsight.
Charlotte Potter should have seen such a moment was coming. Charlotte had just turned 18, graduated from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry just three months earlier, been accepted to Auror Training two months ago, and had found a small London flat to move into that was just her own. Charlotte had chosen it due to its location near the muggle entrance to the Ministry of Magic more than anything else. She liked entering the ministry like a classic spy rather than simply apperating in. And she could afford it without taking up her entire paycheck. That helped.
The flat wasn't much of anything. A single room with a toilet and shower in one room and a small kitchenette along the entry wall, but it was hers. No mother to force her to make her bed or put her shoes in the right place (she had deliberately made the place as messy as humanly possible as soon as she had acquired the key), no brother to bewitch her ivy to grow so much the room became a jungle (one of Regulas' favorite things to do. He would then complain to Mom about how messy her room was and get her extra chores. How Regulas always got away with everything she never knew). Most importantly there was no Dad to brag about all the exciting adventures he'd had and all the important conversations he was privy to in his role as Royal Ambassador for the Ministry for Magic.
No sooner had Charlotte thought this than there was a knock on her door. "Coming," she said as she walked the twenty meters across the room. When she got to the door she looked through the hole to see her father, Albus Severus Potter, waiting on the other side. Oh well, two out of three ain't bad.
"You seem to be living in serendipity," Albus said as he entered and took in the room. "Your mother would ask you to accumulate your things in a single place though."
"Dad I've talked with you about those big words," Charlotte replied.
"Yes, but I keep hoping you will expand to a gargantuan vocabulary vicariously if I keep showing off."
"Shut up, Dad," Charlotte replied in her sternest voice, but the smile gave her away. Charlotte genuinely enjoyed her father, even if he made her feel so unaccomplished. "Can I offer you something to drink?" Charlotte asked. Albus shrugged in response, which was enough for Charlotte. She pulled out her wand and waved it toward the kitchenette and a glass hopped up, flew under the sink and got filled with water before flying to Albus' hand.
"Thank you," said Albus, more to the cup than to Charlotte. Charlotte told him it was no problem anyway. "So are you enjoying Auror school?" Albus asked, taking a seat on the individual sized bean bag across the flat from the bed.
"I have been there for an entire week," Charlotte said.
"A week is plenty of time to make up your mind on something," Albus replied.
Charlotte sighed. "It's a lot to take in right now," she said, taking a seat on the bed next to her own glass of water. "I'm not behind yet though."
"So very different from Hogwarts," Albus said.
"You've been listening to my brother too much," Charlotte replied. Albus chuckled. "Why are you here?"
"I missed my favorite daughter," Albus replied. Charlotte raised her eyebrow knowingly and Albus laughed. "I never could get something by you for very long. I need your help."
"How could I possibly help the great Albus Potter, the Great Revelator and Twice Savior of the World?" Charlotte replied.
Albus sighed. "Come on Char, you know better than anyone how human I am. And how limited my current position can be."
"You're a wizard Dad. Your position is only as limited as you let it be." Charlotte said.
"If I did some magic and snooping behind doors that were intentionally shut and got caught it would damage, or even destroy, the tenuous truce we have with the muggle world right now. Especially in Buckingham Palace," Albus said.
"Snooping?" Charlotte replied. "You need an auror for that."
"You are an auror," Albus said.
"No you need an experienced one," Charlotte said. "I'd hate to be connected to you if I ever got caught."
"So you won't do it?" Albus asked.
"No," Charlotte said flatly.
Albus sighed but didn't say anything in reply. They sat and sipped their water in silence for several minutes.
"How's Edward?" Charlotte said, unable to take the silence any more. Edward was the grandchild of King William and Queen Catherine through their son George, who Albus worked with in his role as an ambassador. Over the course of their childhood the two had played often. Until Charlotte had gone off to Hogwarts and Edward was forced by Royal custom to stay home.
"Edward is doing well. He just came back from his first semester at Oxford," Albus replied. "They're making a reunion out of it I think. George wanted to celebrate."
"I wasn't invited?" Charlotte asked with genuine hurt.
"You haven't really done much in seven years," Albus pointed out. "And I think they wanted to keep it in the family."
Charlotte nodded. "Hypothetically," she said. "If I wanted to brief a member of the department on a lead, what might I, hypothetically, tell them about your information?"
Albus smiled. He'd always been able to wait her out. "You remember that story I told you a few years back? The one about your mother's father helping me save the world?"
"The nuclear disaster that led to the Great Revelation? I remember. You told me that, like, 17 times." Charlotte smiled. She always liked to hear that one, and hear about how even her muggle grandfather could do heroic things.
"Within that story there was a piece of evidence that I never did understand. A couple of bodies that we found along the way. Males, South Asian. Both murdered and identical enough that you'd believe they were the same person." Albus said, staring off into the space in front of him.
"You always included that detail," Charlotte said. "What about them?"
"I found a third," Albus said. "Inside the palace, in one of the unused offices, there was a magically concealed door. Once I opened it, out fell the body. Same scenario as the first two. Looked just like I remember him."
"That's impossible. It's been twenty years or something since you found the first one. If there was a third brother he'd have to be either older or decayed," Charlotte said, taking the bait.
"That's what has me so perplexed," Albus said. "And why I want so desperately to investigate."
"So investigate it," Charlotte said. "it's a strange magical thing within the palace, that seems to be within your jurisdiction if you will."
"That one is," Ablus agreed. "But examining the bodies of the previous case, particularly taking them out of storage and testing them in any way, is not within my jurisdiction. That's where I need you."
"I would need to open an official case in the auror department, which I can't do for another two years," Charlotte said.
"Or you could just take them home for educational reasons," Albus said, sipping his water like it was tea.
"That would be illegal," Charlotte said. "If you want that you need to talk to my brother."
"Don't be so stereotypical," Albus said. "That will do you no good in your future job. Just because he's a Slytherin doesn't mean he is a willing criminal. Nor does the lion on your diploma mean you're automatically innocent."
"You don't know him," Charlotte said.
"How well do you know your brother?" Albus asked. "Gryffindor Tower isn't exactly close to the dungeons."
"Prefects tend to be pretty close. He's ambitious to a fault," Charlotte said.
"Slytherins are ambitious and power hungry by nature. Don't let yourself assume that means they're evil. Some of the best aurors were Slytherins: they get things done."
"The ends don't justify the means. You're asking me to betray the trust of my coworkers. Nothing I would find out would be worth that means," Charlotte stated.
Albus sighed. "Don't follow the rules so closely. They can be solid guidelines, but they can also be used against you by the right enemy."
"Is that genuine advice or a last ditch effort to get me to join your little adventure?" Charlotte asked.
"I'm always genuine with you Char," Albus said, getting up and placing his empty cup on the small counter. As he set it down the counter slid the cup into the wall in order to clear the space again. Albus smiled. "Not against using a little magic to make this place more homey then?"
Charlotte just looked at him. "It's not illegal," she said.
"No it's not," Albus said, walking toward the door. "I'm sorry for asking you to do this, I truly am. I understand you. And I want you to know that I love you and I'm proud of what you've done with yourself."
Charlotte smiled and ran to her father, engulfing him in a hug. "I'm sorry I can't help you Dad," she said.
"Enjoy Auror training. It'll kill you otherwise," Albus said with a wink before turning and walking out the door and back down the hall. Charlotte checked; he didn't look back.