If you're reading this, much love. Well, here it is. A few days later than planned but hey, whatevs. The first chapter of the Twins Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Thank you all for taking the time to red it, and I hope it at least somewhat lives up to your expectation.
The bright, hot summer sun beat down on the Isle of Wight. The beach was packed with summer holidayers, soaking in the rays that shone on Ventnor Beach. Four boys, all twelve, sat in reclined wicker beach chairs, all wearing swimming trunks and sunglasses.
The first, a thin, pale kid with a scar on his left lip and black hair cut into a long, shaggy mohawk, wore silver mirror lensed aviators and black board shorts. He rested in the sun, chair leaned back and a C.F. Martin Dreadnought in his hands.
The second who looked like the first, but his hair was thicker, cut in a sloppy fade, and had a scar on his forehead that looked like he'd been struck by lightning. He wore red and gold trunks and covered his eyes and scar with red Raybans.
The third was a caramel skinned boy with bright blue and white swimming trunks that matched his bright blue eyes, which were covered in see-through, smoky lensed rimless shades. His super curly, bright blonde hair glowed in the sun as he waved his hand up and down in the breeze.
The last one, whose hollow black eyes were covered in sporty, red-mirrored sunglasses, held a Taylor acoustic guitar in his hands, and his ear length, dark chocolate hair waved happily in the wind as he plucked chords. The gray board shorts he was in matched the flip flops that haphazardly leaned on his feet, threatening to fall off at any moment.
For all intents and purposes, these twelve year olds all looked a bit too cool, considering their age. The first and last had their guitar cases open in front of them, with a few bills and some pocket change flung in them from passers by who appreciated their tunes. They were playing a soft, soothing medley, not really committed to it.
"I wonder why nobody has written us yet over summer," the caramel skinned one stated.
"Maybe the owls aren't reaching us because we aren't at home," the one with the lightning scar said.
"Hey, Brian," James Dean Potter called to his other guitar toting brother, cutting the other conversation off.
"'Sup?" Brian Allen Gates Gates asked, not bothering to look up.
"Wanna actually jam something? It's been a while since we actually played something together."
Brian snorted. "Last time we actually played together, you ended up with a shattered and dislocated shoulder, dude."
James growled. "Get bit by a hell-hound one time... I sincerely doubt there's any dangerous creatures on the beach, brah."
"Still had to jerk your chain," Brian giggled. "Watcha wanna play?"
"I dunno, know anything, y'know, beachy?" James asked, eyeing a pair of cute older girls as they walked by. The beach was helping him get over his younger self's fear of cooties, and the bikinis they wore definitely didn't make the surviving dregs of his prepubescence's fight easier.
"Beach Boys?" Travis asked.
James scoffed. "Chicks don't dig the Beach Boys."
Travis held up a hand waved him off, not bothering to even look up. "Whatever, dude, I bet these British girls never even heard of 'em before."
"You know the English speak, y'know, English, right?" Harry Andrew Potter asked, shaking his head. "We've all heard of the Beach Boys."
"Well, we can't exactly play Metallica at the beach," Brian quipped, ignoring his brother. "Not exactly beachy, and most people won't like it."
"So, what, we're supposed to get down to Otis Redding?" James snorted and rolled his eyes. "A little dock by the bay?"
"That would be a good one," Harry said.
The other three stared at him, and he shrugged. "Not my fault you don't have good taste in music," Harry said neutrally as he turned on his stomach.
"Okay," James muttered as he pointed an accusatory finger at his twin. "Rude. I'll have you know that James Hetfield and Steve Harris are gods among musicians."
"Says you, James," Harry said.
"Damn right says me, Harry," James shot back.
"So... Beach Boys?"
"Screw it. Beach Boys."
It happened the third day of vacation. James was at the beach, napping on a towel when he was splattered with a massive amount of... goop. Awaking with a start, he flew upwards, and, seeing nobody around on the beach, looked down to see he was covered in seagull droppings.
"Ugh!" he screamed. "What, did every bird in a hundred square miles just crap on me!"
Sirius was helping scrub with a car brush and garden hose outside of the hotel when the notice from the Ministry of Magic came. The letter from the Improper Use of Magic office accused James Dean of using magic, and given him a warning. James Dean demanded to read it.
Dear Mr Potter, the Ministry has received intelligence that at eleven thirty-three, this morning, you performed a Summoning Charm on Ventnor Beach, Ventnor, Isle of Wight, England. Your Trace didn't pick up the presence of Muggles, but this could have very easily been seen, and as such is being treated as a violation of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. Also, as a clear violation of the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery, you are hereby placed on probation, pending an official hearing.
"Hoping you are well, Mafalda Hopkirk."
James Sr. and Lily, of course, didn't believe him when he said he was innocent, and admonished him.
"I didn't even have my wand with me!" James Dean roared to deaf ears in his own defense. "How the hell am I supposed to use magic when I'm asleep? Is there no investigation? No follow up?!"
Next came Travis. He was walking down the boardwalk lining the beach when, as he neared a bend, his feet were snapped together, as if they were tied. Fumbling forward, he flipped over the bannister of the walkway and smacked his head on the rocks as he landed. He was bunny hopping back to the hotel, blood oozing from a massive gash on his forehead, when the letter from the Ministry beat him there.
He was handled in similar fashion as James Dean, to their mutual dismay.
Brian was unfortunate enough to face the scariest, and most dangerous of incidents. He was playing guitar on a street corner, serenading passersby for tips to the tunes of Django Reinhardt when the strings to his guitar snapped. One scratched his eye, making him shriek, but then the rest snapped from the guitar, wrapping themselves around his hands and squeezing so hard he lost circulation in his fingers.
It took everything Sirius and James Sr. had to get the strings off his wrists. Wands wouldn't work, so Sirius had to be careful, but fast as he worked wire cutters around the strings and dig into Brian's skin, which was turning black from the lack of blood. Lily healed the wound on his eye, but suspicions were raised when a third and fourth letter arrived. Use of magic in front of muggles was forbidden, but being underage while doing it?
That was a graver offense.
Brian was near tears when he insisted he hadn't done anything. He had witnesses. He had people who saw. James Dean demanded that they be interviewed, that Sirius and James Sr. do their jobs, ask the people what they saw. And ask them they did. When they returned, they were both looking suspicious, and asked the other two to explain their stories again.
The case of the mysterious magic was in its second day of official Potter family investigation when Harry was finally hit. He was trying to teach himself how to skateboard on the old, beat up, repaired board James had retired in Ventnor Park. He was getting yelled at by older, pruder folk, but he waved them off as he practiced his balance. The concrete paths in the park were gently sloped and smooth, making it excellent for a beginner.
Harry was grinning, as he was getting the hang of it, when a pair of green eyes poked of out the bushes ahead. Harry's own green eyes bulged when they made contact, and he felt the rear of the board jolt upright. He was sent flying, and splashed into a small, manmade pond.
"Oof!" he puffed into the mud as the air left his lungs. He came up spitting silt and water and shook his head violently. "What was that!?"
Looking back at the bushes, he found the green eyes again, and before he could react, they faded out of existence. With a growl, he'd known he'd been set up, just like his brothers, and stormed back to the hotel. The letter he knew was coming had beat him there by five minutes, the owl pecking away at the door. He snatched the envelope from it and shooed it away.
"You aren't getting any treats from me," he seethed. "Go on, git!"
The owl hooted indignantly, but took off, and he threw himself into the hotel room he shared with his twin. Flinging the letter at James Dean, Harry angrily reached his luggage carrier, yanked out a fresh set of clothes, and slammed the door to the bathroom. James read the letter for him with a raised eyebrow, before growling.
When Harry emerged from the shower, dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, James had already gathered Sirius, Travis, and Brian.
"Where's Dad?" He asked.
"At the ministry," James Dean explained, holding up their letters. "Disputing our written warnings. I have a plan."
"We're waiting for you tell us what happened to you before talking it over," Sirius said with a grin, motioning for Harry to sit on the bed.
Harry sat next to his uncle and growled. "I was skateboarding in the park, just trying to practice my balance. I was coming around a bend when I saw a pair of big, green eyes floating around in the short bushes. He-she-it-whatever it was- made eye contact, then the back of the board flipped, like somebody had grabbed it and yanked- but there wasn't anyone behind me! I was sent flying into a pond, and the green eyes disappeared."
Sirius, James, and Travis knelt forward in thought. James Dean was wracking his brain for possibilities of what it could be. It was clearly a magical creature, that much he knew. He doubted it could be a human wizard or witch, since they would have had a hard time hiding themselves in a "short" bush. Maybe it was a goblin?
"Uncle Padfoot, do you know if goblins can use magic?" he asked.
Sirius shrugged. "It's possible. They aren't legally allowed to carry wands or learn magic, though, so they'd be hard pressed to even get their hands on one, much less know how to use it."
James tabled goblin as a possibility. What other magical creatures were there that could cause this level of chaos? Vampire? Nope. Werewolves were time specific... and not prone to cause mischief. Grindylows? They were in an aquatic environment, but Grindylows stayed in the water, and weren't really bright enough to use specific magic... Maybe a leprechaun? They are known pranksters, but James Dean doubted that there was a secret population of them living on the Isle of Wight illegally, as they didn't really enjoy leaving their forests.
Imps? James expected more wizard crackers.
Kappa? James doubted a Japanese demon-being was hanging around in the UK.
Another kid? Impossible, their Trace, the magical charm all magical children are tagged with at birth by the Ministry, couldn't be overridden.
"I'm at a loss," James admitted. "I dunno what could have done this."
"Wow," Brian sighed. "The walking encyclopedia doesn't have an idea?"
"I'm a person and my name is Screw-You, Fog-For-Brains," James quipped.
"Nice to meet you, Screw You Fog For Brains," Sirius chuckled. "I'm Uncle Sirius."
James scowled while the rest laughed. "I think... we need to set up a sting."
"Interesting idea," Sirius conceded, narrowing his eyes in thought. "How do you plan on catching it without magic?"
"I don't," James admitted, holding his hands up. "You are, Uncle."
It was evening, and they had just finished dinner at a local bar located right off the beach, over looking Ventnor Bay. James Dean's stomach buzzed happily from the fulfilling meal of smoked salmon with lemon mousse, creamy seafood linguine, and a dessert of banoffee crunch. His parents, who had partaken in plenty of wine, tipsily chatted to themselves. They had happily drank the stress of dealing with the Ministry of Magic away, and were getting lovey dovey with one another.
All to their benefit. The restaurant had only been a few blocks from the bed and breakfast they were staying in, and as such, didn't take long for them to leave the Potters in their room for a private, drunken evening. James shouldered his bag and hopped on his skateboard, wishing them good night as he was going to run a few tricks down at a park.
All a part of the plan. Sirius pretended to lead the others back to their own rooms and tuck in for the evening. James rolled down Dudley Road, into the downtown Ventnor area before taking off back towards the beach front. He picked up speed as he tore down the hill the Cascade gardens were built on and breezed off down Esplanade.
A barely discernable pop told him that Uncle Sirius had apparated as per plan and was trailing him. James took the time to wait for their stalker to manifest, by then just riding the board and watching the sunset. The sky was gorgeous, going from burnt orange, to pink, to dark purple as the sun waned in the sky. The clouds lost their fluffy white touch and thinning out to grayish purple, and the air smelled briny and mineralistic, but held a sort of tropical sweetness to it, despite not being anywhere near the tropics. The heat of the day had mellowed, leaving behind a pleasant, warm breeze that tufted at his mohawk, and he soon had to take his aviators off to see, tucking one of the arms into the collar of his Misfits t-shirt. He neared the fair side of the beach front drive, which now went up hill, and he passed an inn and bar that seemed to be playing live music. Chatter and the heady beat of bass drums thrummed from within, and he pined to be in there, enjoying the music, the people, and the atmosphere, but he shook his head.
He had a job to do, after all.
He pushed the board up the slope, and was rewarded for his heavy physical efforts by a spectacular, bird's eyes view of the entire beach and Ventnor Bay. Instead of continuing uphill, he continued straight off Esplanade and onto a scenic outlook from the Ventnor Cliffs. The drive in to the outlook soon ended into a textured walkway, so he kick flipped the board, much to the few late night sightseers consternation, on to the smooth concrete footpath, instead.
He was hoping that riding to the cliffs presented such a target that the stalker couldn't resist. While Sirius had been concerned, James assured him that he trusted his crafty Uncle would keep him from getting too hurt. He was starting to get worried, however, when he was reaching the clifftops and the stalker hadn't so much as made a peep.
He was reaching the end of the road. The way out was back, or down a rickety wooden staircase to the rockier, not so tourist friendly shoals below the cliffs. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, James decided, and decided to skateboard trick his way down the staircase.
He kicked up onto the first hand rail going down, and could almost hear his Uncle's teeth grinding as he did. With a grin, he jumped the board to the next as the stairs turned in their descent, and again, and again. Finally, he came to a partition where the smooth path continued on, and decided that was where he was going to keep the trip going.
Just as he kicked off, however, the board took a mind of its own. He windmilled to keep his balance when, as the board contacted the pavement, it propelled itself down the path. Calming himself, James resigned himself to being no longer in control, and was now just along for the ride. Lowering himself into an almost kneeling position to drop his center of gravity, he then focused on the area around him, scanning for signs of the little stalker. He made out a short, thin shadow of a figure in the brush of the cliffs, cowering poorly behind a light bush.
"There, Uncle Padfoot!" James roared, pointing.
An 'Eep!' sounded out in the night air, and a pop! told James all he needed to know.
"Stupefy!" Sirius cast, and the form flew backwards into the stony cliff face.
James, however, was no longer watching, as he finally was given back control of his skateboard. He tried to slow down by putting down his foot, but his Converse merely grabbed onto the concrete and sent him flying. He crashed over a small, cobblestone lined bridge and was sent face first into a small, cobblestone lined pool off to the side of the footpath, landing with a great splash.
"Alright, James?" Sirius called to him as he pulled himself up.
James sputtered, spitting mud and water, but held a thumbs up. Grabbing his board, he shook as much excess water from his shirt and jeans as he could, and squished his way up to where his Uncle had stunned their little stalker. As he approached, Sirius looked him up and down, then nodded.
"You seem no worse for wear," he commented, as he prodded their quarry with his wand. "Our suspect, it appears, is a House Elf."
James cocked his head. He had heard of the creatures, but had never actually researched them before. He only knew what he'd overheard Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson say about them, and he didn't necessarily trust their world views, so he had never given the species much thought.
The elf was a gray-green little thing and reminded James of a lanky, skinny, emaciated Yoda-like being. Long, sharp, pointed, but floppy ears fell from its head, and large, bulging eyes were covered by slightly saggy, heavy-looking, wrinkled lids. It wore only a tea towel, tied around its shoulder, to protect its modesty and that wasn't saying much, as it was threadbare and filthy, covered in stains. A few, lone strands of barely there hair puffed from its bald head and ears, and its long, needle like nose protruded from his its face by several inches.
"What do you say we ask our friend here a few questions, hm?" Sirius asked.
"Let's do it," James nodded. "But tie him up, first, we don't want him trying to escape."
"Petrificus totalus," Sirius waved his wand, and then, "Enervate!"
'B'rooogh!" the creature cried in a high pitched, nasally voice as it snapped awake. Its ears perked up from their flimsy state and seemed to be able to be controlled, as they flitted and turned as the elf looked from Sirius to James. "Why, James Dean Potter! Such a privilege it is, yes, such an honor to meet you, sir! I am Dobby! Dobby the House Elf!"
"So honorable you would try to kill me by jinxing my skateboard- with me on it, off a cliff?" James asked darkly, crossing his arms across his chest.
"Not kill, sir!" the house elf shook his head defiantly, tears filling its eyes. "Hurt, yes! But never kill..."
James adopted a permanent frown with an eyebrow raised, glaring down at his tormentor. "That isn't a better alternative."
"It was all in the name of the greater good, sir!" the house elf cried. "It was to save the Potter brothers!"
"How does maiming us and getting us jammed up in the magical legal system count as saving us?" James spat.
"Oh, it is difficult, sir, so very difficult to explain..."
"Well, you can think about how to explain it while I pummel you into the rock," James threatened. "I don't take kindly to being showered in bird droppings, then being framed for something I didn't do."
Dobby didn't even shudder. "Dobby is used to threats, sir. He gets death threats every day from his master."
"That so?" James replied, popping his knuckles. "Well, its time you cashed in those chips, pally, because I don't just make threats."
James reached back, but before he could swing, Sirius grabbed his arm. "Now, now, let's not be hasty."
"Pity," James spat on the ground next to Dobby's face, making him shudder.
"Who is your master and why are your framing our kids?" Sirius asked.
"There is grave danger coming to Hogwarts, and it's coming for the Potter Twins, sire," Dobby explained. "They mustn't go back to Hogwarts!"
"And what is this, 'Grave Danger' I'm supposed to be so worried about?" James asked.
"Dobby cannot say, he cannot betray his master!"
"Right," James said sarcastically. "So we're just supposed to take your word for it and ruin our future? All because you, what, think we are in danger?"
"Yes!" Dobby nodded happily, James's sarcasm going over his head. James face palmed.
"We can't just take them out of school because you say so," Sirius explained. "We need proof, and if you cannot provide that, we can't take your word for it."
"But Dobby cannot prove it, sir! Dobby cannot speak ill of his family!"
"I understand," Sirius said softly. "But we cannot commit to an action just on your word, either. You understand?"
"No!" Dobby cried, bawling. His tennis ball sized eyes wept humongous, lemon drop tears and his bat like ears flopped against his head.
"Yes, unfortunately," James muttered, dabbing Dobby's eyes with his wet handkerchief and letting him blow his nose in it. "Keep it."
"Oh, the great James Potter is kinder than Dobby ever imagined!" he bellowed.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever," James Dean muttered. He looked to Sirius. "So what do we do now? He ain't giving up anymore information."
"Well, we have to let him go," Sirius threw his hands up. "We can't keep him, not legally, he hasn't technically broken any laws and I don't even have jurisdiction to arrest him even if he did."
"Seriously?" James asked.
"Unfortunately," Sirius answered, shrugging and throwing his arms up. "I'm an Auror, James, we deal in dark wizards, not miscreant magical beings. He would fall under the direction of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Beings."
James snorted. "Try saying that five times fast..."
"Yes, well," Sirius raised his eyebrows facetiously and looked back at Dobby. "Ministry loves its stupid names and acronyms almost as much as it loves its damn lists."
Sirius snapped his fingers, and Dobby was freed. "Try to stay out of trouble, little one," he warned. "We'll take your warning under advisement, but I would warn you to stay away from now on. You've caused enough trouble. Any more provocation, and we will consider it harassment."
Dobby looked sadly at them, and with a snap of his own little fingers, he vanished.
"Wait, so it was a freaking elf servant?" Travis laughed. "And he thinks we're all in danger!?"
"News flash," Brian rolled his eyes ajnd held up his hands in a framing motion. "WE ALREADY KNOW."
"I don't think he meant Voldemort," James Dean admitted, his arms crossed. "He kinda seemed to be more afraid of his family, almost as if it was his masters he was warning us about."
"I got that impression, too," Sirius nodded, face troubled. "They must be bad news if their servants would revolt like that."
"What do you mean?" Harry asked.
Sirius narrowed his eyes in thought, as if he had personal experience on the matter. "Trust me, house elves are sworn to serve their masters by powerful, old magic. Many take their contracts so seriously that they will risk their own lives for their families, no matter how abusive."
"That sounds messed up," Travis whispered.
"Stockholm syndrome," James theorized. "Its like magical Stockholm syndrome."
"Care to explain to the class?"
"Stockholm syndrome," James shrugged. "Mom would know more about it, but the skinny of it is that a kidnapped or captive party forms a psychological bond or love for their abductors, either through manipulation or false sense of sympathy. It stems from a hostage situation in Stockholm, Sweden back in nineteen seventy-three when a pair of criminals took some people hostage during a bank robbery, and after being held captive for six days, they refused to testify against them in court afterwards and actively started raising money for the criminal's defense."
"Wow," Harry muttered. "Your capacity to remember things always seems to surprise me."
"That just about sums it up well, though," Sirius admitted. "Most house elves have served their families for generations, as their lifespans are a bit longer than most witches and wizards. They become attached to their families, and served faithfully, even if the next head of the house is a barmy git."
James chewed on his lip. "So he- Dobby, that is, is going way far out and disobeying his family, one he has probably been serving for a really long time?"
"Probably, yeah," Sirius said.
"So there is a pretty good possibility that he's telling the truth?
"Unless his family has a prankster that put him up to it, its a possibility."
"Hmm," James Dean hummed. He looked to Harry. "What do you think?"
"It sounds like something Malfoy would do," he answered sincerely.
"I dunno why," Travis clapped his hands and laughed. "But somehow, I knew that was gonna be his answer."