Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any character from the franchise.
Author's note: This is something I've been thinking ever since I read at Pottermore that Charlus Potter isn't James' father. Upon checking the Harry Potter wikia, I found out Charlus' son was born before 1977 but I found no clues to the boy's name so, in this fic, he'll be Charlus Potter Junior.
Not the Last Potter
Chapter 1: Why Would We Trust Dumbledore?
"Vernon, we must get rid of the freak!" Petunia demanded. "Send it to an orphanage!"
"Not so fast, Petunia." Vernon calmly replied. "We must wait and see if no relatives the boy has among that lot will come for him."
"The boy doesn't have any." Petunia hissed. "We're his only remaining family."
"How can you be sure of it?" Vernon hopefully asked.
"Dumbledore made it quite clear with his stupid letter." She explained.
"Why should we trust him?" Vernon asked. "He's a stupid crackpot who leaves babies at normal people's doorsteps with letters instead of talking to people and properly explaining the situations. Mark my words, Pet. I bet the boy has other relatives and Dumbledore is trying to pull strings to keep them away from him."
Believing Vernon to be right, Petunia agreed to wait. It'd be a short wait. At that very moment, Charlus Potter was at the Ministry of Magic for the reading of his distant cousin James' will.
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF JAMES POTTER
I, James Fleamont Potter, in sound mind and body, declare this to be my last will and testament in detriment of any and all previous wills I made.
To my wife Lily, I bequeath 50 thousand Galleons. If she fails to outlive me, that money must go to our son Harry James Potter.
To my distant cousin Charlus Potter Senior, I bequeath 5 thousand Galleons.
To my best friends Sirius Orion Black, Remus John Lupin and Peter Pettigrew, I bequeath each one of them 10 thousand Galleons.
To my son Harry James Potter, I bequeath the remainder of my estate. If he's still underage by the time this will is executed, his inheritance must be put in a trust fund managed by Gringotts until he becomes an adult. For as long as his inheritance is under the aforementioned trust fund, Harry must receive 10 thousand Galleons per year from the fund. Once he's an adult, he'll be free to use his inheritance in any way he desires.
If my son becomes an orphan before becoming an adult and his Godfather Sirius Orion Black is unable or unwilling to raise him, I hereby appoint Remus John Lupin as Harry's substitute guardian. If Remus John Lupin is also unable or unwilling to raise Harry, my son's guardianship must go to Peter Pettigrew. If Peter is also unable or unwilling to raise my son, the guardianship must go to my cousin Charlus Potter Senior.
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
The Ministry officers in charge of will reading were Minister of Magic Millicent Bagnold, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement Bartemius Crouch Senior and Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. "Since Lily Potter did outlive her husband, her will must be read before her inheritance receives a destination." Crouch officially declared.
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF LILY POTTER
I, Lily Potter, of sound mind and body, leave my whole estate to my son Harry James Potter. If my son becomes an orphan before reaching adulthood and neither of the guardians appointed by his father takes him in, my childhood friend Severus Tobias Snape should become Harry's guardian.
Nobody there was more shocked than Bartemius Crouch Senior than Lily Potter would consider trusting her son's upbringing to a Death Eater. 'She must have really trusted Dumbledore's reassurances. What a naïve woman.' He thought.
Minister Bagnold then handed Charlus Potter a piece of parchment. "Mr. Potter, this is a document acknowledging your right to your inheritance. Deliver it to the Goblins at Gringotts along with instructions to how and where you want it to be delivered."
Charlus took the parchment and called for a house-elf. "Tobby!" An elf showed up. "Deliver it to the Potter account manager and tell him I want my inheritance deposited at my personal vault."
"Yes, master." Tobby said and then took the parchment away. "With that formality out of the way, it's time to discuss Harry." Charlus officially stated. "With Sirius Black in Azkaban and Peter Pettigrew dead, I assume Remus Lupin will claim the boy."
"As a werewolf, he won't be allowed to." Crouch bluntly stated.
Charlus was briefly shocked that his cousin was friends with a werewolf. "In that case, I'll take him in. It's my duty as the only adult Potter available anyway."
"That won't be necessary, Charlus." Dumbledore calmly reassured him. "I've already found a safe location for Harry."
"Nonsense, Chief Warlock." Charlus replied. "The protection wards at my home can keep him safe and I'm Harry's closest relation."
"I won't discuss your home's safety, Charlus, but you're wrong about being Harry Potter's closest relative." Albus gently argued the point. "Petunia Dursley is."
"Who's this Petunia Dursley you speak of, Chief Warlock?" Charlus asked in mild surprise.
"She's Harry Potter's Aunt." Dumbledore answered.
"James was an only child."
"I don't recall any other muggleborn named Evans." Charlus said. Knowing Lily and Petunia's maiden name, he understood that Dursley was the surname of Petunia's husband.
"Petunia is a muggle." Dumbledore said with a look that was clearly daring Charlus to object over this.
"And you expect her to be able to offer Harry a better protection than Dorea and I can?" Charlus asked in amazement.
Dumbledore had no choice but to explain the finer details of the protection that Lily left behind. "When Lily chose to sacrifice herself to save Harry instead of taking the opportunity to abandon him, she left behind a protection that'll last until he's seventeen years old but Harry must live with someone linked to her by blood to prevent that protection from wearing off earlier. That's what allowed him to survive Voldemort."
To Charlus' credit, he, unlike Crouch or Bagnold, didn't flinch upon the mention of Voldemort's name. "How do you know which parent had that opportunity and which one didn't? Either way, I can protect Harry without this so hand him over. I'm his only magical relation and magical relations have preference over muggle ones in custody cases for magical children."
"Harry Potter will live with the Dursleys and I won't allow you to force the issue with them." Dumbledore sternly said, briefly reminding the others why he's the only one Voldemort ever feared.
"In that case, when will Sirius Black be tried for his crimes?" Charlus asked.
"No trial shall be necessary because Black confessed." Crouch stated.
"When was he taken to the Wizengamot to answer for his crimes?" Charlus was surprised that it might have already been done.
"He wasn't." Bagnold answered. "He confessed at the mass murder scene and he was sent to Azkaban without a chance to trick the Wizengamot into releasing him."
"What?" Charlus was shocked. "You dare deny Sirius Black a chance to plead innocent?"
"He's obviously guilty, Charlus." Dumbledore pleaded.
"I'll see about that." Charlus stated. "Please give me a copy of Sirius Black's case records."
Seeing no reason to deny this request, Crouch ordered a copy and handed it to Charlus Potter, who was surprised at how short it was. He expected more considering the crimes Sirius Black was in Azkaban for. At first, when he requested that copy, he thought about going home and reading it but he changed his mind. "Is that the so-called confession?" He asked while pointing at the record of Sirius Black saying it was his fault.
"Sirius Black admits his fault." Minister Bagnold plainly stated. "What else would we need?"
"We need Sirius Black revealing what he did to make it his fault, Minister." Charlus explained.
"We don't need it because it's obvious what he did." Crouch argued.
"Obvious or not, if he doesn't say what he did, there's no actual confession." Charlus counter-argued.
"Even if Black didn't say anything that might be considered a confession, it's still obvious that he was the one to betray Lily and James to Voldemort." Albus said with his grandfatherly tone.
"The only basis for this is the unproven assumption that he was their Secret-Keeper, Chief Warlock." Charlus stated with no hint to the blind adoration Dumbledore received from his followers.
"It's not unproven, Charlus." Dumbledore argued like he's scolding a student. "I gave testimony to confirm this."
"Your testimony proves that James intended to ask Sirius to be the Secret-Keeper but we cannot tell from this if Sirius agreed or not." Charlus countered Dumbledore's testimony.
"We have other witnesses to confirm that Sirius Black was the Secret-Keeper." Dumbledore was worried that Charlus decided to be more loyal to the family he married to instead of the one he was born into.
"Just because Peter Pettigrew thought Sirius was the Secret-Keeper it doesn't mean Sirius was." Charlus wouldn't give in. "We can't rule out the possibility that Peter Pettigrew was mistaken. We can't even be sure he really believed. He might as well have put up an act to mislead the witnesses."
"Sirius Black killed Peter and several muggle bystanders, Charlus." Dumbledore gravely stated. "This is not innocent behavior."
"There's no proof that he was the one to cause that explosion, Chief Warlock." Charlus replied with fake respect. "It was so poorly investigated I'm not even sure Peter Pettigrew is really dead."
"Of course he's dead!" Crouch exclaimed. "There's only one finger left of him."
"Exactly!" Charlus said. "Only! One! Finger! Where's the rest of him?"
"It was destroyed." Minister Bagnold answered.
"We can't be sure of it." Charlus argued. "Peter Pettigrew might have caused that explosion and left that finger behind to fake his death."
Crouch frowned. "It's obvious that you're more of a Black than a Potter."
"There's a time limit for how long a Pureblood can be imprisoned without a trial, Crouch." Charlus threatened. "Miss it and Sirius will be let off on a technicality. Not good for your hopes of becoming the next Minister of Magic. You'll be lucky to keep your current position."
"I'll do it!" Minister Bagnold exclaimed.
"Do what, Minister?" Crouch vocally asked while Charlus and Dumbledore mentally did the same.
"I'll order the trial for Black." Minister Bagnold declared. "That way nobody will hold it against you if he cheats justice."
"But that'll destroy your career, Minister!" Crouch exclaimed out of concern for his soon-to-be predecessor (he wishes).
"I'm already retiring anyway unless something keeps you from becoming the next Minister of Magic." She dismissively replied.
"Headmaster, do something!" Crouch pleaded to Dumbledore. "We can't let another Death Eater get away. Especially one with a claim over Harry Potter!"
"I'm afraid we have no choice unless we convince the Wizengamot, Bartemius." Dumbledore sadly stated. "We'll have to allow Black a trial."
"Mr. Potter, we'll let you know when we schedule a day for the trial." The Minister said. "If you have nothing else to discuss with us, I'll have to ask you to leave so we may confer."
Charlus gladly left. "Good." Bagnold exclaimed. "Now that he left we can think of ways to ensure Black's conviction. Crouch, question the Death Eaters with no connections of their own to save them from their deserved punishments and offer them some sort of bargain in exchange for testimony against Black. Dumbledore, talk to your friends at the Wizengamot to allow the use of Veritaserum on Black's trial so there's no way out for the traitor. Once you're done, talk to that werewolf to see if he knows something that can be used even without his testimony."
All of them agreed and Dumbledore wondered what Remus could have known and not told before. Well, Dumbledore reasoned that, with James and Peter dead, Remus wouldn't mind revealing whatever he had to in order to keep Black in Azkaban.
When it was time for Sirius Black's trial, there was at least one Black not in attendance: Charlus Potter's wife Dorea Potter née Black was at the Dursley residence to collect Harry Potter. "I'm sorry for the inconvenience, Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, but we had to be sure Dumbledore would be too busy to notice." She stated.
"Like he cares." Vernon grunted. "I doubt someone who'd leave babies at people's doorsteps would care about what happens to them."
Meanwhile, the trial started. "Because of Charlus Potter's supposed doubts over Sirius Black's guilt, I decided to hold this trial." Minister Bagnold stated. "Bring the defendant in."
Sirius Black was then forced into a chair and chained into it. Bartemius Crouch Senior then read the list of accusations. "The defendant was initially charged with accessory to the murders of James and Lily Potter; accessory to the attempted murder of Harry Potter; and the mass-murder of Peter Pettigrew and several muggle bystanders. Upon further investigation, becoming an unregistered Animagus was added to the list of charges."
Sirius was still sore over this. He knew there was only one way Crouch would know this: Moony must have told Crouch.
"Considering the gravity of the betrayal Sirius Black is here for, I recommend the use of Veritaserum." Dumbledore declared. "Any objections, Black?"
"No." Sirius said while cringing at how Dumbledore addressed him. 'Well, it'll end once my innocence is established.'
Dumbledore was shocked at this but he wouldn't look at gift hippogriff on the beak. "In that case, you're entitled to decide the three first questions to be asked after the serum is proven to be effective."
"My first question: if I told Voldemort where James and Lily were hidden at. My second question: if I caused the explosion that killed several muggles after Voldemort's failure to kill my godson. My third question: if Peter Pettigrew really died at that explosion." Sirius stated, shocking everyone with the insinuation that Peter didn't die. He was then forced to swallow three drops of Veritaserum and Dumbledore started questioning him. "What's your name?"
"Sirius Orion Black."
"What did you like doing the most back when you were a Hogwarts student?"
"Pulling pranks on Snivellus." He answered making Snape frown.
The chosen questions were asked and Sirius' answers shocked everyone. "Sirius Black, if Peter Pettigrew didn't die, what happened to him?" Crouch asked.
"He caused that explosion and left a finger behind to fake his death."
"Why would he do this?" Minister Bagnold asked.
"To get away with betraying the Potters to Voldemort." Most wizards and witches cringed at the mention of Voldemort.
"What did he do to betray the Potters, Black?" Crouch asked.
"He told Voldemort where they were hidden." Practically everyone was glaring at Crouch to keep him from asking even more questions that would make Sirius Black say You-Know-Who's name.
"How could Peter Pettigrew do this if the Potters were hidden under the Fidelius Charm?" Crouch asked.
"Because Peter Pettigrew was the Secret-Keeper."
"What makes you so sure of that?" Charlus Potter asked. It was his right as a member of the Wizengamot.
"I was there when Lily cast the charm to make him the Secret-Keeper."
"Who else knew about the switch before Pettigrew told the secret?" Charlus asked in hopes of getting Dumbledore in trouble.
"Myself and James Potter." Charlus was disappointed.
"If you didn't reveal their location to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, why would you consider their deaths your fault?" Dumbledore asked.
"I was the one to suggest them to switch."
"Which kind of switch do you mean?" Crouch asked.
"James wanted me to be the Secret-Keeper but I refused and suggest making Peter instead."
"Why did you do so?" Bagnold asked.
"I thought Voldemort would never suspect."
After those answers, everyone was convinced that Sirius wasn't a Death Eater but the other accusation still had to be checked out. "Sirius Black, are you really an unregistered Animagus?" Dumbledore asked.
"Yes." In spite of being under truth serum, he still managed to express regret.
"Did you have any help to illegally become an Animagus?" Minister Bagnold asked.
"Who did help you?" Crouch asked.
"James Potter and Peter Pettigrew."
"Did they become Animagi as well?" Charlus asked out of curiosity. Everybody else was interested as well.
"Which animals were they?" Crouch asked.
"James was a stag and Peter Pettigrew is a rat."
The next questions came from curious people who were impressed by how young they were when they became Animagi. Afterwards, Sirius Black was given the antidote and the Minister announced a verdict. "Sirius Orion Black, for becoming an Animagus and not registering yourself as required by law, this court sentences you to one year in Azkaban and a fine of twenty-five hundred Galleons. You're also declared innocent of all other charges. Case closed." The relief he felt over being cleared of Pettigrew's crimes was so big he didn't mind returning to Azkaban for something he really did. After one year in Azkaban, he'd pick up his godson. He's sure Dumbledore would make sure the Dursleys wouldn't have hurt him too much during this time.
Upon arriving home, Charlus was glad to see not only his wife and Charlus Junior but also Harry Potter. "I take it the muggles weren't much of a trouble." He commented.
"Isn't Sirius with you?" Dorea asked in confusion.
"While our grandnephew was innocent as we expected, he turned out to be an unregistered Animagus." Charlus sadly explained.
"Stupid boy." She commented. "I knew he was imprudent but I didn't expect that. It's still less surprising than the muggles' reason to think Dumbledore won't care that somebody took Harry from them."
End chapter. Since I'm trying to make longer than usual chapters, updates will probably come later than usual.
Author's note: There's no official mention of Charlus having any elves as far as I know. Given his family connections, it's likely he had at least one.