Gummybear: I plan to release a chapter every couple of days. There are 30 written so far, closing in on the end. I'm glad you've enjoyed my work.

Chapter 2: Auror Training

Charlotte looked across a busy street outside her flat at an inconspicuous red telephone booth. A couple of muggle tourists were taking pictures of it, one of the few phone booths left in all of London. Like the others it didn't make phone calls. Unlike the others this one had a purpose. With the right coins, and the right code number, it served as the foot entrance to the Ministry for Magic. Of course since the Great Revelation muggles knew that magic existed and that the Ministry for Magic was working in the world. But secrecy over its actual location remained important for security reasons. The conspiracy theorists had decided that the Ministry for Magic was a cover name for the Illuminati.

Charlotte longed for the day she could walk across the street, say a little spell to get muggles to look the other way, and go to work. But there was three more years of schooling to get through before that was possible. Auror training was a grueling process. It took 5 Exceeds Expectations in N.E.W.T.s to even be considered. Charlotte was the first to include Divination in her list. A practice she hadn't found much time to practice since beginning the training. It had mostly been potion and charm work so far for her, the two lowest scores she had turned in.

It was rare for a recruit to make it through the first two years of the process and get to the one year probation partnered with the head of the department. Which, for her, was her grandfather Harry Potter. In order to protect the secrecy of the program the instruction for the first two years was conducted in a warehouse a few blocks away from the actual ministry building.

Charlotte walked the short distance to the warehouse and opened the door. Opposite the door was a grand staircase leading up a flight of stairs. Along the walls of the entryway were two doors, one to the dining area and one to the kitchens. Surrounding the doors were statues and busts of the greatest aurors in the agency's history. Ancient ones like Venusla Crickerly, who became Minister for Magic in 1902, and Hesphaestus Gore, who also rode the agency to become Minister in the 1700s. Unfortunately more recent aurors had seen plenty of opportunities to become notable and statues had been erected to honor them. Alastor Moody, Frank and Alice Longbottom, Nymphadora Tonks, Rufus Scrimgeour, Harry Potter.

Over the top of the staircase were two ten foot tall portraits of the greatest the division had to offer: Kingsley Shacklebolt, who had saved and rebuilt the Ministry after the Wizarding War. And, of course, Albus Severus Potter, who had saved the wizarding world as a rookie from a zombie apocalypse and then again during the events of the Great Revelation. The statues and portraits seemed to stare down at each recruit who entered everyday as if to say "what are you going to do?"

Charlotte got up the stairs as quickly as possible.

"You're early," a voice met her as she arrived at the top of the stairs. Charlotte smiled. Her grandfather Harry was a great wizard with a long Chocolate Frog card, but when she got to interact in person it was always…normal. Normal was the word.

"Better early than late," Charlotte replied.

"In our line of work arriving on time can be extremely important. Sometimes early can be just as bad as late," Harry replied.

"I'm sorry," Charlotte said, deliberately looking at the wall.

"I'm sorry, what?" Harry asked.

"I'm sorry, sir," Charlotte said, a little deflated. Her grandfather was an awesome person to hang out with. But her instructor at Auror Training wasn't her grandfather, it was Harry Potter; Head of the Auror Department. Those weren't the same people, and he wasn't going to let her forget it.

At the top of the stairs was another small foyer with fewer statues to lord over it. The main focus of the area were the giant wood-paneled double doors at the far end which led to the department's modest library. Charlotte had spent a few hours there, mostly out of curiosity. Almost all of the books in there would be in the restricted section at Hogwarts. But reading was never really something she did more than she absolutely needed to.

The two other sides each sported a single door. The door on Charlotte's left led to the classroom where various aurors from the department would come to lead instruction in their area of expertise. So far the training had consisted mostly of an auror named Marshall teaching them various advanced charms for disguises and an auror named Jane teaching them charms for tracking. Once they had seen Harry Potter come in and lecture on recognizing the effects of the Imperious Curse, which had given the department trouble many times in the past.

The door on the right led to the headmaster's office. It used to be that the requirements for entering the department's training program was so strenuous that almost no one actually managed to get in. So they didn't have this building, you just learned from a retired auror somewhere in the upper levels of the Ministry. But after the war the requirements were lessened and more people were admitted to the program. Only then was there really a need for a headmaster and official program. Although the headmaster has still always been a retired auror. Right now it was Cadmen Williamson, who joined the department right before Voldemort's return. He had just retired the year before.

Of course, Charlotte had known all of them her entire life, a fact that she really had expected to help her in the program. But all of the instructors seemed to have gotten the message to avoid playing favorites with a Potter in the program and went intentionally too far in the other direction. Still, Charlotte was managing to keep passing grades thus far.

Charlotte entered the classroom and discovered that today was something new. Instead of the normal classroom formation, all four tables were in a square formation and there were seven cauldrons out: one for each student and an instructor.

The only person in the room when Charlotte entered was a house elf named Cosmey. Cosmey was new to the department, having actually been in Hogwarts during Charlotte's first two years, and was one of the first non-humans to graduate from the Hogwarts Magical Creature Diversity Program, a result of the fact that Hermione Granger had taken over the headmistress position. Non-magical creature equality had always been one of her personal favorite issues.

Cosmey was wearing a deep green pants suit, elf sized, beneath a lavender robe, which Charlotte thought was interesting as Cosmey was in Hufflepuff when in school. Many, particularly Slytherins, had made fun of that when she started saying she was only sorted there because it was near the kitchens; a house elf's true place. No one was saying that anymore by the time Charlotte arrived though. Anyone who did found a particularly nasty prank potion slipped into their morning pumpkin juice. Potions were Cosmey's specialty. Charlotte wondered what they would learn today.

"You're early," Cosmey said. Charlotte apologized and Cosmey motioned toward an empty cauldron next to the one she had claimed. Charlotte took her seat as the other students started to arrive. First was her fellow recent graduate, a Hufflepuff named Skyler Harvey that Charlotte had barely interacted with during school. He was cool. Next the only third year initiate entered. Kimberly Thornton had started with two other initiates, but they had both been forced to drop from the program after missing time due to various accidents. Kimberly had not escaped accusation, but nothing had ever been proven. Last were the three second years; Anna Duncan, Marc MacFigeinn, and Meridith Binner. The three were best friends and only orders from Harry himself were able to separate them. All of the initiates, like Charlotte herself, were dressed in black robes, navy sweaters, and black trousers.

"A central part of any auror's life is the ability to gather intelligence. Part of that is having the right potions available to the individual." Cosmey started. "What potions might one need to accomplish intelligence?"

"Veritaserum!" Charlotte bolted out. Everyone looked at her. "Sorry, I should have waited to be called upon," she said.

"No, ambition can be a good thing," Cosmey said. "I am curious though why you immediately jumped to that potion."

"You're wanting things to help during interrogation," Charlotte said. "Something that can force people to tell the truth would be helpful."

"Hmm," Cosmey said. "What do you think, Kimberly?"

"Veritaserum forces people to say what they believe, which may or may not be the truth. It is also resistible by more powerful opponents, particularly if it is knowingly digested; such as during an interrogation." Kimberly dutifully replied.

"Very good," Cosmey said. "I would add that convincing subjects to cooperate can yield far greater results than tricking them into a few facts. Intelligence gathering is about much more than asking the right questions. It is about being in the right places at the right times, and in the right circumstances.

"As an elf I am often able to be in rooms unnoticed, which is highly advantageous. Since you all do not enjoy that advantage, you will need to develop a proclivity to becoming invisible. A disillusionment charm is not really invisibility as much as camouflage. And a vial of potion is much easier to carry around than a cloak, not to mention more reliable."

Not for a Potter, Charlotte thought, but kept it to herself. She'd had too many personal lessons for one day.

"To that end, today we will be learning to craft an invisibility potion known as the Eclipse Elixir," Cosmey continued. "If brewed properly it will make you completely invisible to all manner of searching for an hour. People will say anything when they think no one is around, and that could be the difference between proving a case and having a suspect get off free and clear."

Cosmey directed them to a piece of parchment in front of the students, which suddenly became an instruction list for the potion. However, unlike many professors at Hogwarts, Cosmey didn't just send them off with the instructions and sit behind a desk. She began to run each student through the steps, particularly the difficult steps, and ensured that each brewed it correctly at least once. Charlotte tried to follow along, but a couple of times she fell behind and was forced to rush things. Her potion was a little off color as a result, but Cosmey still marked it as successful.

After lesson found Charlotte enjoying the work of some other house elves in the lunchroom. Since there were so few students, each one got to choose what meals they would be served, and Charlotte was on a pizza week: ham, sausage, and pineapple. It wasn't her favorite flavor, but it got bonus points for grossing out Marc.

"Rough lesson in there," the deep voice of Skyler said as he sat next to her at the end of the single table in the lunchroom.

"I was in the wrong," Charlotte said. "Cosmey was right to correct me."

"Cosmey's information was correct, I'll grant that," Skyler said, cutting his turkey and roast beef club sandwich in half. "That doesn't mean you weren't though. Veritaserum is a useful potion too."

"You're only saying that because of that incident in fifth year," Charlotte said. Speculation had been surrounding Skyler that he was a metamorphmagus, but it could never be proven. Someone, and if Charlotte knew who she was never going to tell him, decided to slip a bit of the truth potion into his drink at dinner and ask him if he was one. He replied no. When pressed further about his looks he had ultimately revealed that he was transgender and had been in treatments since coming to the school. No one brought it up after that and it took him 3 months to find out he had said anything at all. It took another year to get over it.

"Well that was an impressive display of its power, I'll grant you that," he said, turning only slightly pink in the cheek. "But no, I'm saying it because you were correct. The potion wouldn't have lasted so long unless it worked."

"Only against the weak minded," Charlotte said.

"There's quite a few that qualify then," he replied. Charlotte couldn't disagree. She looked out over the table and couldn't help but be impressed with the initiates sitting with her at the table. She felt like an imposter.

"Do you think we'll wash out?" Charlotte asked between bites of pizza.

"Like Kimberly's classmates?" Skyler asked. Charlotte nodded, prompting him to continue. "The training can be cutthroat, I'll admit. I don't think we'll be able to get through three years without directly competing with each other. But I don't think they want anyone to fail. And you're a Potter, so I don't think you have to worry."

"What's my last name got anything to do with it?" Charlotte asked more harshly than she wanted. "You think I'm just here because my gramps felt sorry for me?"

Skyler raised his hands in a defensive position. "No, I don't. I'm just saying look at what your family has accomplished. There's greatness in your genes. That's all I was saying, honestly."

Charlotte slumped. "Don't remind me," she said. Suddenly pizza didn't sound very good anymore. "I'm gonna go work on some charms in the library."

She got up before Skyler could say anything else, leaving a very puzzled look on his face. The eyes of each statue and portrait in the main hall drilled into her back from the moment she stepped out of the dining area, but she refused to meet the gazes.

A couple seconds after she entered the library, she was out of breath. The goblin running the library looked up at her with a disgusted look on his face, shook his head, and then returned to shelving different books. Charlotte made no comment to him and simply moved to a nearby table where she could set up some parchment and take down a book or two.

The Alice Longbottom Memorial Library was set up in two aisles extending perpendicular to the path protruding from the door. Each aisle contained a broken line of oak tables and was flanked by twenty foot tall bookshelves containing books from the mundane; such as the standard book of spells and Hogwarts, a History; to the priceless, the rare, and the dark. It was the dark she was particularly interested in.

Charlotte had always been fascinated by the stories of her family's great adventures, but for the most part she hadn't been able to research further than her father was willing to tell her. But now that she was allowed access to the books in this library she could investigate some of the aspects a little further.

The subject she had searched out information the most on was the device known as the horcrux. Her grandfather had hunted down six of the devices in order to defeat Voldemort in the Great Wizarding War, and yet almost no one knew that much about them. Even here it was difficult to find much information; only a page here or a paragraph there.

Her last time in the library had been productive though as she had found a single journal hidden away in one of the top shelves. The journal was from a man named Herpo and it's fifty odd pages were all about horcruxes. And from what Charlotte had so far seen it was about their creation. Not how to make one, but how Herpo discovered them in the first place.

The journal was difficult to get through for Charlotte, who still couldn't understand Herpo's obsession with death and the ancient practices of the worst of pre-Roman Europe. But she found herself strangely fascinated by the man just the same. And if she was going to have to build up a resistance to the thoughts of dark wizards, why not start with this deranged man?

After a minute of searching, because Marc couldn't be bothered to put it back in the correct location, Charlotte was able to find the ladder and wheel it into position to pull down the tiny book. Gently she brought it over to the table she had picked out and laid it down. The old parchment was dried, yellowed, and ripped in a couple of places; bound by two black leather loops that were definitely not original.

Charlotte opened it and felt the now familiar feeling: a dread that flooded her little area, a temperature drop of at least 5 degrees, a tingle down her spine as the hairs on her arms stood on end. She found her last reading, an entry on the fifth page. Harpo had just killed and discovered that his soul was damaged and scarred from the encounter. He was now going to investigate it.

"Charlotte," the gentle voice of the headmaster rang in her ear. "Charlotte," he repeated. This time she recognized it was real and looked up. Cadmen Williamson was showing every bit of his seventy years, but he had a gentleness to his features as well that always made Charlotte feel comfortable. His relaxed posture, or the broom chasing a quaffle around his favorite tie; whatever it was there was a presence around him that made him the kind of person babies would flock to.

But as Charlotte looked up this time there was nothing but hurt and pain in his normally kind face. And where there was normally a sparkle in his eyes there was only concern; like a father coming to a child that had taken a bad fall. Behind him she could see the blank face of her grandfather. His eyes were facing her direction but it was clear he wasn't looking at her; or anything else.

"Charlotte," Williamson said again, "You need to come with us. I'm so sorry."

Charlotte nodded and the pair of aurors turned and led away from the library. None of the books here were supposed to leave the room, but she didn't really know what was going on. Would she ever come back to the library here? She decided to slip Herpo the Foul's journal in her purse just in case before rushing to meet their steps.

If the goblin noticed he didn't stop her.