Chapter 1: Safe and Sound
When Samuel Potter
heard the news, his first instinct was disbelief. Surely, he’d know
if something terrible had happened to his twin, like he’d known
Marlene was dead before he’d opened the front door to see her
sprawled out on the floor, a look of absolute terror on her face.
That loss, the loss of his wife, would have devastated him, were it
not for Remus Lupin and Sirius Black, who was standing in the middle
of the kitchen, tears streaming down his handsome, elegant face. His
daughter, one year old Charlotte Potter, was asleep in her nursery.
“Siri, what happened?” Samuel asked, unconsciously using his
nickname for his ex.
“James, Lily, they’re dead.” Sirius choked, throwing his arms around him and sobbing.
After their break-up, which wasn’t exactly a nasty one, Sirius hadn’t had much to do with Samuel. He’d come over mainly to help with Charlotte. Remus had helped Samuel the most. Sam wrapped his arms around the slightly taller man, hugging him tightly. “It’s okay, Siri. I’m here.” He muttered soothingly, rubbing circles on his back. Then, he thought of his little nephew. “Is Harry dead, too?”
Sirius shook his head. “Hagrid said Dumbledore’s leaving him with Lily’s sister.” He pulled away from the embrace, and the look in his blue-grey eyes startled Samuel. “I’ve got to find Pettigrew.” He had one foot out the door when he looked back. “If something happens to me, Sammy, remember two things. I was not their Secret-Keeper and I love you. I always have.”
Samuel’s mouth fell open as the door shut behind Sirius Black. He sat down hard, wondering what exactly Sirius was going to do. Part of him was desperate for revenge, both for Marlene and James, but the more rational part knew that he had to stick around long enough for Charlotte. She was all he had left. So, instead of hitting the bottle like he did after his wife’s death a mere two weeks ago, he went upstairs to check on the baby.
Ten years passed. Sirius was now in Azkaban, convicted of being a Death Eater, the one who sold Lily and James to Voldemort, and murdering their friend, Peter Pettigrew. Remus was living with Samuel at Potter Manor, and it was Charlotte’s eleventh birthday. Charlotte Potter, a tall girl for her age, looked almost exactly like her father. She had long, waist length black hair, twinkling hazel eyes, a button nose, and freckles dotting her cheeks and nose. She had, of course, grown up with the stories of Harry Potter and how he saved the wizarding world, and of Sirius Black; with Harry’s, she’d heard them told from a broken, sad brother and uncle. With Sirius’s, though, she’d heard them from the only man who firmly believed in his innocence. She slid down the railing of the stairs from the third floor to the first floor, excitement rolling off her. “Ah, here’s the birthday girl now!” Samuel said cheerfully as she bounded into the kitchen.
“Happy Birthday, Charli.” Remus said, hugging his goddaughter.
“Thank you, Uncle Remus.” She grinned. “Daddy, can we have pancakes and bacon?”
As soon as he spoke, a handsome tawny owl flew through the window and landed on the table. A yellow parchment envelope was attached to it.
Ms. C. Potter
The Third Floor
“Dad, it’s my Hogwarts letter!” She ripped it open and pulled out the first piece of parchment.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
Dear Ms. Potter,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.
She quickly scribbled a note, telling them she would be attending, and then sat down. “Oh, I can’t wait for September to get here! When can we go to Diagon Alley to get everything?”
“We’ll go soon. Probably the end of the month, okay?”
“Okay.” He sat a plate of bacon and pancakes in front of her. “Thank you, Daddy!”
“Remus, do you want eggs?”
“That’s fine, Sam.” Remus said, flipping The Daily Prophet open.
Charlotte watched the two friends, and wondered what had happened to make them both sad. After Samuel got his and Remus’s breakfast done, they ate quickly. “So, Charli, I have a present for you in the living room.” Samuel said.
She jumped up and ran in there, her dad following close behind. Charlotte gasped, seeing the new Nimbus Two Thousand lying on the sofa. It was a gorgeous broomstick with a smooth mahogany handle and straight sleek twigs for the tail. “Oh thank you!” She hugged him tightly. “Thank you! I can’t wait to fly it! Then, maybe next year, I can play Quidditch!”
“Are you entirely sure she’s yours?” Remus asked, chuckling. He carried a rectangular wrapped present in there for her. “She acts exactly like James.”
Samuel nodded, a faraway look on his face. “She’s got the craziness that skipped me apparently.”
“Can we got out and fly right now?”
“I think Remus has a present for you too, Charli.”
She unwrapped the present and found a leather bound journal with a lock. “Where’s the key?”
“I’ll give it to you before you leave for Hogwarts. There’s a message in there from your father and I, but you can’t read it yet.” He smiled.
“Thank you! I’m sure it’ll be great once I get to Hogwarts.” She smiled back. “Now can I go fly my broom?”
Samuel laughed. “Alright, alright. Let me get mine and we’ll fly together.”
“Have fun you two. I’m going to see if anyone’s hiring.” Remus said, leaving them outside in the air, swooping and laughing.
The next two weeks passed quickly, and on August first, Charlotte met her dad in the living room to buy her things for Hogwarts. “Why’d we wait so long?” She asked curiously.
“Because your cousin will be there and it’s time you met him.” He said, taking her hand and Apparating them both to Gringotts. “Good morning. I’d like to access my vault, please.”
The goblin nodded. Soon, they were standing in front of Vault 688. Samuel scooped some into a bag and handed it to Charlotte. “While we’re shopping, think about whether you want an owl or a cat, okay?”
Then, they waited for a few minutes before a huge giant off a man came out of Gringotts, followed by a boy with messy black hair just like Samuel’s and bright green eyes behind a pair of taped up glasses. “Samuel! There yeh are!” The giant boomed, clasping Samuel on the shoulder. “And this must be Charlotte. Yeh look exactly like yer dad.”
“Charli, this is Hagrid. He’s the groundskeeper at Hogwarts.” Samuel said, introducing them.
“Oh! Hello.” She shook the giant’s hand.
“Harry, this is yer dad’s brother, Samuel, and yer cousin, Charlotte.”
Charlotte beamed at Harry Potter. “Hogwarts is going to be so much fun! Are you excited?” He just nodded, a little shy. “By the way, everyone calls me Charli. I don’t like Charlotte.”
He laughed. “Everyone calls me Harry.”
“Now, I’m gonna kip over to the Leaky Cauldron for a pick me up. Yeh might wanna go get yer robes first.”
Harry nodded. “I’ll keep an eye on them, Hagrid.” Samuel said. “Take your time.”
Hagrid waved his thanks and left. Samuel ushered them to Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. “Hogwarts, dears?” A squat witch asked from the back of the store. “I’ve got another young man being fitted for his robes right now.”
“Yes, Madam Malkin.” Samuel answered, watching as Charlotte was looking at the other robes and Harry stood there awkwardly.
A few minutes later, the son of Lucius Malfoy scooted past and out the door after talking to Harry and then, it was his and Charlotte’s turn to be fitted. “So, what was it like growing up with Muggles?” She asked curiously as Madam Malkin bustled around, pinning the hem of both their robes. “I’ve only been to Muggle London once and that was with my godfather.”
“It was horrible, really.” He answered. “Although not all Muggles are like the Dursleys.”
“I’m sorry, Harry. I wish you could’ve come and lived with us. It’d be like having a brother. When’s your birthday?”
“July thirty first. Yours?”
“July thirteen.” She answered.
“What’s it like growing up here, surrounded by all this?”
“Dad doesn’t use magic that much, and Uncle Remus, my godfather, has only showed me a few things.” She hopped down from the stool when Madam Malkin came back with their robes. “But, I do like to fly, and I read a lot.”
After buying quills, ink, and parchment, they went to Flourish and Blotts for their books. A trip to the Apothecary gave them their Potions supplies, then two cauldrons, scales, and a telescope. “We still need a wand.” Charlotte said excitedly.
“Hagrid’s got to take Harry back soon, so we’ll go look at the animals first, okay?” Samuel said.
“Okay.” She shook her cousin’s hand. “It was lovely to finally meet you, Harry, and I’ll save you a spot on the train, okay?”
“It was nice to meet you too, Charli. Thanks!” Then, he and Hagrid disappeared into Ollivander’s.
“Have you decided yet?”
“I think I want a cat. We already have Circe and if I need to write home, I can use one of the school owls.”
He smiled. “Okay then, to the Magical Menagerie it is.”
As she browsed the cat cages, a tiny black kitten caught her eye. His bright green eyes peered at her through the cage and he meowed loudly, rubbing his side on the cage. “I want this one.” She said, carrying the cat cage to the desk.
The kitten plus cat food, toys, and a collar was only twelve Galleons. “Now, for the wand, and then we’ll go home, Charli.”
She ran ahead, swinging open the door to Ollivander’s. “…clear you will do great things. After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things. Terrible, yes. But great.” Mr. Ollivander said, his pale eyes drifting over to Samuel and Charlotte. “Ah, Ms. Potter. Samuel, how is your wand? Mahogany, twelve and a half inches, unicorn hair, correct?”
“It’s still doing fine, Mr. Ollivander, and yes. I still have it, actually.”
Harry and Hagrid waved one last time before leaving. “Now, young lady, which is your wand arm?”
She held out her left arm. He proceeded to measure her from shoulder to finger, wrist to elbow, shoulder to floor, knee to armpit, and around her head. “Ms. Potter, try this one. Willow and unicorn hair, eleven inches.” Nothing happened and Charlotte laid it on the counter. Then, he handed Charlotte another. “Ebony, dragon heartstring, twelve inches.”
As soon as she wrapped her fingers around it, a sudden warmth flooded her and a stream of blue and green sparks shot out. Samuel grinned and Charlotte whooped excitedly. “Very nice. A bit unusual, eh, but your mother’s wand was too. Ten inches, oak, and phoenix feather.”
Samuel paid for it and they left. It was getting dark outside. “Come on, let’s go.”
She gripped her father’s hand tightly as he Apparated them back to the Manor. “How was it?” Remus asked, sitting in a chair with a book in his hand.
“I got to meet Harry!” Charlotte said. “And look at my wand!”
“That’s great!” Remus grinned. “We should go eat though, before it turns cold.”
She took off, plopping down in her seat at the table. Samuel and Remus followed, both laughing at Charlotte’s enthusiasm. Remus had fixed a potato casserole and Charlotte dug into it with gusto. “This is really good, Uncle Remus. You should cook more often.”
“I only cooked to give Misty a break.” Remus said, referring to the sweet house-elf that lived there with them.
Charlotte leaned back, looking at her small family. She loved every minute of her childhood, but she was ready for the next adventure.