AUTHOR'S NOTE: Hello, everyone! This is my third (I think?) Harry Potter fanfiction. I hope you're mildly interested since you clicked the link to my story. I've been mulling on this idea for ages so I decided to just post it up and see what people think. I--unfortunately--am one of those people who write chapter-by-chapter, but I do have most of the story planned out. I just have to write it. This story is obviously post-Potter, from the point of view of mainly James. Other canon characters will probably make an appearance, but the rest of the main cast are my own original characters. I'd like to think they're not generic OCs, but you guys will have to be the judge of that. I put this in third-person in the hopes that I'll be able to convey the Five's personalities better. I think you guys will like them. They all have different back-stories and plot lines. I've only decided on one pairing for sure in this fic, but otherwise I'll just have to see where things go! Without further ado, here is the first chapter of That Which Is Unknown.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the Harry Potter series, nor the canon characters within this fanfiction. The wizarding world belongs to J.K. Rowling. I own only the plot (even that is inspired by various TV shows, books, other characters, and even manga) and the original characters of Dakota, Evan, Cassiel, and Piper.
July 1st, 2021
It was seven in the evening when James's father returned home from work. His mother had already cooked dinner and Albus and Lily were setting the table. James immediately hid around the corner where he knew his parents would emerge from to talk about his father's day. His dad always came home around five, unless the Auror Office was exceptionally busy. Sometimes it was just busy and it was no big deal, but other times--the instances in which James was actually interested in--there would be a serious case. And his father looked tired and stressed enough for James to hope that something really interesting had happened.
His red-haired mother flicked her wand, letting the pot full of soup simmer, and followed her husband into the master bedroom of the house. As usual, once they entered a silencing charm was placed on the door. It had taken James a couple years to learn a trick to continue listening in, and he didn't owe his success entirely to himself either. His uncle George taught him the spell he had applied to his Extendable Ears product from his joke shop and James then applied it to a glove. He only had to wear it and press it against any surface to hear through it. James pulled on the glove now and pressed his fingertips to the door and listened in on the conversation within.
"I don't understand...there was a murder?" his mother asked. "A couple hours ago you were telling me it was an accident or something...what changed?" She paused only a second and hurried on, "Never mind that, just tell me everything! You barely said anything through the coin--" His parents used coins from their years at Hogwarts to communicate short messages between each other.
"I didn't want any of the kids to see too much, you leave that thing lying around the kitchen sometimes," sighed his father. "Anyway...they hired an Unspeakable about a month ago. Young guy, he started as an Auror and he had to guard the doors that the Unspeakables conversed in. A few months in and they decided to just induct him. There was no trouble up until now, he did his job well. And then...well, this morning they found his ashes in the room he'd been guarding."
"Ashes?" his mother repeated.
"Yeah, not bones or anything, just his ashes. They used a charm to confirm it really was his ashes. We thought it was just a strange accident at first, but there was nothing else in the room but him and some prophecy he was guarding. The door was blown to bits. Someone got in there, somehow, and set him on fire. And he just...went up in flame."
"It's the only thing that could probably burn a guy to ashes, but fiendfyre just destroys everything. The room was unscathed." His father sighed. "It's a murder, it has to be. Someone controlled a flame hot enough to burn a human being to ashes. And got away with it with no other reported unusual activity."
"That's impossible, there are people everywhere in the Ministry building."
"That's what I said!" Another sigh. "It's just weird. I'm swamped at the office right now. The Unspeakables want extra protection now, and we have to send a couple Aurors out per investigation party to make sure no one gets murdered by some dark wizard who can burn people to ashes."
James removed his hand from the door, pulling off his glove and slipping around the corner. His mind was whirling as he thought. He loved to think and he loved a puzzle, but this one just made no sense. If only he had his father's resources, he could assist him in figuring out this new mystery. It was scary there was someone out there that could burn someone to ashes and leave literally everything else unscathed.
He entered the dining room, where Lily was instructing Albus on how to french-braid her long, golden tresses. "It's like normal braiding, Al, except you grab new pieces every time you fold."
Al had gotten through the top part of her hair, but he failed to grab a new lock of hair at some point and he realized it all in frustration. "This is ridiculous. Why do you want me to learn anyway? I'm not a girl!"
"Yes, but you'll have daughters and hopefully a girlfriend one day," Lily said calmly, her lips tugging into a smug smile, "and you know girls love it when boys can braid their hair!"
"I've never heard of that in my life," grumped Al.
James grinned and sat down beside his younger brother. "She just wants you to do all her work for her. Do you even know how to braid, Lily? I braided your hair like everyday last year."
Al looked surprised. "You know how to braid hair?"
James nodded with a smirk. "She forced me to learn and I can hardly resist since we see each other every single day in the common room. I can do just about any braid in the book." He was convinced at this point that his sister would never have to braid her own hair in her life at the rate she was going. If she could convince Al to learn, she would have another pawn until both boys graduated. By then, probably, she would have a boyfriend to braid her hair...
"I can braid just fine!" said Lily indignantly. "James, show him how it's done, would you?"
James grinned, shoving aside Al and shaking out the haphazard braid in his sister's hair. "Watch closely, grasshopper, and you too may learn the art of braiding."
Albus rolled his eyes, but his Ravenclaw nature betrayed him and he watched intensely as James swiftly and deftly french-braided Lily's long hair. Lucky for her, he actually liked the task of weaving the locks into place and sometimes when they sat together in the common room at school, he would find himself reaching over to do it without really thinking about it. It made him feel relaxed and he even felt his mind wander... How do you burn a man to ashes without ruining the things around you?