Chapter 4 : James Potter
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If he was being honest with himself he didn’t want the role. He didn’t want to be the one that others turned to when times got tough. Teddy was there for that. He was there to make sure that there was still laughter in the world and make sure that Alby didn’t get a big head.
He remembered the first time he and Albus were out in the field. A rogue dark wizard had snuck up on them and he had pushed Albus out of the way just in time to avoid the green killing curse. That was the first day that he got just an inkling of what it had been like for their father and he didn’t like it one bit. He was afraid.
He was afraid for his life and for his brother’s life. He didn’t have to worry about Lily at St. Mungo’s, but he and Albus were out in the thick of things.
And now it felt like they were on the precipice of something dark and nasty and instead of turning tail and hiding his face, he had to put on a brave persona that often felt like a thin façade that was in danger of cracking any minute.
But he was James Sirius Potter.
He was named after two heroes. He couldn’t let them down.
It was a weight on his shoulders that some days he couldn’t bear to hold up.
Being a Potter meant more than a name, it was a reminder to the world that his father won against evil and he was meant to do great things.
Today felt like the start of those great things, but it wasn’t himself leading Albus and Lucy into the abandoned house of one of the deceased from the unknown poison.
No, he was bringing up the rear reluctantly.
“We’re allowed to just go in, right?” Lucy turned her head back to him and his face contorted back to his easy-going smile.
“Yeah Luce, we’re allowed to go in.” He smirked and gestured for her to follow after Albus who had unlocked the door with a wave of his wand.
Inside the much cooler house, he let his eyes adjust for a moment. The place looks normal, like someone’s house who was just waiting for them to get home from work. James frowned for a moment before walking slowly into the house. He heard Albus and Lucy in the other rooms and he let them explore. After all, 6 eyes were better than two.
He found his way into what appeared to be a study. Papers were in a neat stack on a rather nice cherry wood desk that had he not been looking for some sort of clue he would have admired for longer. He made his way around and sat in the leather chair and opened drawer after drawer, finding more papers in each of them. His mouth set into another frown and turned around to painting behind the desk that he knew had to have a safe behind it. It would be too boring otherwise.
Sure enough there was a safe behind the painting that swung outwards. He brought out his handy knife that could unlock anything and he was inside and his frown set deeper.
There were galleons, knuts, and sickles of course, but there were also several bound notebooks that he pulled out and rifled through. It was mostly family papers such as birth certificates as well as an old diary with important dates. Nothing useful by any means.
He moved to place the notebooks back into the safe when a slip of paper dropped out of it. He bent to pick it up and narrowed his eyes at the seal that instantly caught his eye.
It was a fiery gold wax with an emblem of a skeletal bird whose tail ended in fire.
“Hey Alby come look at this!” He called out and a moment later Albus peeked his head into the study followed closely by Lucy. He handed the paper to Albus who also narrowed his eyes at the seal.
“What do you think it means?” Albus looked back up at James and Lucy took the paper from Albus’s hands.
“What kind of bird is that?” Lucy asked.
“If I didn’t know any better I’d say that was a phoenix.” James said softly and Lucy’s head whipped up to lock eyes with him.
“But this seal would be impossible in the natural world.”
“I know. It’s disturbing, isn’t it?” James muttered before looking back down at the notebook still in his lap. “What do you think it’s doing in this house?”
Albus shook his head. “I don’t know but I don’t like it. We should show Teddy.”
James pursed his lips and gave a curt nod. “He’d want to see this. I’m bringing these notebooks too. Who knows what will be useful.”
The three exited the house and made their way back to the Ministry by way of Apparation and were in Teddy’s office within the hour.
Teddy leaned back in his chair and took in a deep breath and let out a sigh. Lucy and Albus were sitting in the chairs across from Teddy while James lingered back, leaning against the wall, his nose in the notebooks while Teddy examined the seal.
“I’ve seen this seal only once and it wasn’t good.” Teddy said in a grave tone. James looked up at that and saw that Lucy was practically on the edge of her seat. “You said that this was in the locked safe James?”
“That’s right, it was in one of these notebooks but there’s nothing of importance in here so far. Just family dates that reaches back to the medieval ages before the Wizarding World went into hiding.” James answered.
Teddy gave another sigh and rubbed his jaw with his hand. “What I say to you does not leave this room. I know I can trust you three but I don’t want others knowing about this unless we have to disclose it.”
At this point Lucy looked about an inch from falling off her seat. Albus looked just as interested and James closed the notebook with an audible thud.
“There has been record of a secret organization that was created before wizards went into hiding from the Muggles. No one really has any idea what their purpose is, it’s been lost to time, but all I know is that they are dangerous and will kill anyone who goes against their purpose. All I know is that their insignia is a skeleton of a phoenix, just like the one on this seal.” Teddy said in a low voice that James practically had to lean in close to even hear.
“So if no one knows what that purpose is then how are we supposed to stop them?” James asked in a slightly defiant voice.
“That’s the problem, isn’t it? Without information, we have no leverage and these killings seem to be random. We need to find the link between them.” Teddy replied as he looked off to the side as if speaking his thoughts out loud.
“What now?” Albus asked.
“I want you to find the link between these victims.” Teddy said simply. “And do not let anyone know about this secret society. We can’t be sure who’s involved and who isn’t.”
The three nodded and got up to leave before Teddy called out for James to stay behind. He froze and turned around in his spot.
“I want you to investigate those dates and the family in that notebook James. I have a feeling and if I’m right the names in that notebook will lead us to answers.” Teddy said and James nodded yet again.
“Of course Teddy,” He responded.
Teddy watched him for a moment. “Are you afraid James?”
James was taken aback for a moment. What would even possess Teddy to say such a thing? But it was true, wasn’t it? He was afraid.
“It’s okay if you are. We are children of war heroes aren’t we?” Teddy gave James a faint smile. “All I had growing up was stories of my parents fighting hard for the freedom we have now. Tell you the truth I wish people would tell me stories of their laughter instead of stories of how hard they fought till the very end.”
James was speechless. He had never heard Teddy talk like this. Truthfully, he sometimes forgot about the fact that Teddy was an orphan his entire life. It made him thankful that his own father was still around.
He sank into the chair in front of Teddy’s desk. “How do we know that this isn’t another war?” He whispered fiercely.
“We don’t.” Teddy said plainly and James’s eyes sharpened with a spark of fear. Teddy leaned forward. “But we have the tools to stop this war before it even begins.” He said in a strong tone that eased some of James’s fear.
“How though? I feel like I’m walking into the unknown every time I leave my flat.” James murmured.
“Fear is what makes us human James, but we cannot let it control us. We will find the people behind these attacks and I refuse to let them control my fear. I refuse to let them create chaos and panic. My parents and your parents did not fight so hard to let this sort of thing happen again, so I promise that we will find these horrible people and put a stop to it.” Teddy said and James felt a jolt of strength course through him. “Will you help me?”
“Of course Teddy. I want these terrible people caught and brought to justice. We can’t let it happen again.” James straightened his spine and spoke fiercely. Teddy gave him a smile and a nod.
“Good now let’s show these people that they aren’t as smart as they think.”
James let a slightly cruel smile curl onto his lips and he gave Teddy a nod back and stood to walk out the door.
Yes, he was still afraid, but he refused to let it force him to bow into submission. He would fight back.
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