Hermione paused at the end of her street to look back at the home she would probably never see again. It was very likely that she wouldn’t survive the next year. After tonight, her parents would move away, none the wiser. Choking down a strangled sob the young witch turned away from the only home she’d ever known and started down the street.
She should have apparated straight to The Burrow, Ron was waiting for her anyway, but she needed some time to herself. She hadn’t told Harry or Ron that she had been planning on wiping her parent’s memories, it wasn’t something she could possibly expect them to understand. She was doing it to protect them from Voldemort of course, but also to save them from worrying over her. At least this way, if they didn’t make it, her parents would never know what they’d lost. That was kinder, right?
After a few hours of aimless walking about London, Hermione came across a small cafe, Speedy’s. She was freezing, exhausted, and a bit damp from the foggy London air so she went inside for a coffee. She never had been one for tea. It was relaxing; watching muggles go about their normal lives, strikingly unaware of the dangers that were beginning to encroach upon their world.
She had just finished her tea and was reading from a muggle novel when she heard a deep baritone voice as the door chimed open. Peeking over the top of her book she saw two men enter the cafe, a short blonde man, seemingly disinterested in what the younger man behind him was rattling on about. Hermione on the other hand was very interested.
“John. Why are you being so blatantly obtuse.” The younger of the two was practically growling as he dogged the man called John up to the counter.
“Morning Mrs. Hudson,” John chimed, ignoring the fuming brunette.
“Those were not accidents. This is a serial killer. I don’t understand why you and Lestrade aren’t listening to me!”
John sighed, shaking his head as he accepted a muffin from the old woman at the counter. “Sherlock, can you please drop this. You’re just going to get people worked up over nothing. You heard Molly, the autopsies were inconclusive, there is nothing else we can do. You need stop this.”
Crowding John back into the corner of the room Sherlock began talking in hushed tones, ostensibly attempting to avoid the ears of the cafe’s patrons. With a quiet spell Hermione was able to hear the entire conversation perfectly.
“That’s just it John. They were in perfect health. There was no traces of poison. Not a mark on their bodies. Whoever is doing this is very dangerous, and if we don’t keep digging they are going to get away with this.” Sherlock was inches from John’s face.
“Sherlock...” John hissed in warning. “Lestrade said it had the same tells of some gang.. Death something or another. They never caught them last time. I don’t want you getting involved in this. You’re smart Sherlock. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.”
The brunette glared down at John, but he seemed completely unperturbed. Pushing past Sherlock he continued talking, no longer using the hushed tones. “I have to go to work. Don’t do anything stupid. Ta, Mrs.Hudson.”
Hermione slipped her book into her bag and wand into her boot quickly so she could follow Sherlock out of the cafe. John was already in a cab by the time she made it outside, and she caught the end of Sherlock’s coat billowing behind him as he swept into the next door over, 221B.
She froze on the sidewalk, ignoring the muggles pushing past her. They had to be muggles, they had no idea how the death eaters were killing people, but Sherlock, whoever he was, seemed to be determined to figure it out. She had to talk to him, convince him to back off, it was for his own good. The wand in her boot felt heavy. She knew she could make him forget, but if she began using magic like this what made her any better than the death eaters?
Deciding to at least try and talk him out of this madness Hermione knocked on the door to 221B, after a few moments the door swung open. The tall brunette looked at her questioningly for a moment, his eyes narrowed as he looked her over.
“What do you want?” His voice was clipped and harsh, nothing like it had been with John minutes before.
“I, uhm..” Hermione tripped over her words, berating herself for not coming up with a back story before she knocked on the door. “I’m a report-” She started, but was quickly cut off.
“No your not. You’re lying. Terrible lie really, I don’t talk to reporters. Try again.” He suddenly seemed amused. Leaning against the door jamb a playful smile pulled at his lips. “No wait don’t... let’s see.” His piercing eyes raked over her before he spoke again. “You’re barely seventeen, so student, or drop out.. Not likely though given the book you were reading back in the cafe, Jane Eyre.. Not something one normally reads for fun, but almost all the schools are out for holiday and you’re reading Jane Eyre. No, you enjoy literature, good for you. So what is a student doing on my porch. I’ve never seen you before, I’d remember.... What did I say in the cafe that intrigued you?”
Hermione’s eyes widened a bit, but that was the only indication that she was the least bit surprised by his deduction. “May I come in?” She asked, “I may be able to help.”
His eyes narrowed again, before he gave a curt nod and stood to the side. “Upstairs.” He said as he closed the door. Ron would probably kill her if he knew she had invited herself into some strange man’s flat, but he was a muggle. She had her wand. She’d be fine.
*Chapter was edited on April 22, 2014. Slight grammar changes only.
The flat was cluttered and messy. Had Hermione not been muggle born she would have thought the kitchen to be a make shift potions room. The counters were covered in vials and an assortment of scientific instruments. Hermione slowly walked to the entry way between the kitchen and sitting room, silently observing her surroundings. She was so lost in thought that she jumped when she heard the deep voice again.
“You said you could help. What do you know?”
The man was standing close enough to send a shiver down her spine. That deep, gravely, condescending tone, it reminded her of Snape.
“Yes I did, but it’s complicated.” She said, turning and walking a little away from the man. “May I?” She asked, nodding toward the two arm chairs.
“Of course.” Sherlock gestured toward the chair facing the window as he positioned himself in the opposite one. He leaned forward eagerly and once she took a seat he began speaking again. “It’s about the murders, am I correct?” He didn’t wait for a response, “Of course it’s about the murders. You seem far too clean cut to be involved in any sort of gang, but so were all the people who were killed. The murders were random, no recognizable pattern!” He was working himself into a fluster. With a huff he pulled his feet up into the chair, cradling his legs in his arms like a child.
“Why are you so fixated on this?” She started tentatively, “You aren’t part of the police. So who are you?”
A smile pulled at his lips and he unfolded himself from the chair, his shoulders rising with pride. “I’m a consulting detective. Only one in the world. I created the position. The police come to me when they need help, which is more often than not.” The smile dropped quickly as he moved on, “But they aren’t listening to me now. Something is wrong in London. I. Can. Feel. It.” He spat out the last words venomously.
“If you know something about these killers you need to tell me. We can protect you, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
Hermione actually laughed at that one.
“No you can’t.” She shook her head before coming to her decision. “If I tell you what’s going on, I’ll have to make you forget everything. So I can leave now, and you can pretend like you never met me, or I can tell you everything and you’ll forget we ever met anyway.”
Sherlock looked confused, not something he was used to feeling. The girl was far too thin to overpower him, and even if she knocked him out it wasn’t likely that he’d forget everything, no. Figuring she was probably just a bit mental he decided he might as well get as much information out of her as possible he nodded.
“Fine, go ahead. I’ll risk it.” He sneered, leaning back into his arm chair.
Hermione licked her lips before continuing. “That gang.. the Death Eaters. They are killing people, and you’re right. Those people were in perfect health, but.. well..” She slowly and deliberately moved to grab her wand from her boot. “You aren’t going to believe me any other way.” With a silent flick of her wand she lifted the fruit from the bowl on the coffee table. The fruit flew through the air, dancing between the two of them.
Sherlocks features were stony as he watched, it was better than she had expected. Lowering the fruit back into the bowl, keeping a tight hold on her wand, she continued with her explanation. “There are witches and wizards all through London, and the Death Eaters, they’re the bad ones, they’re evil. They hurt and kill anyone they consider lesser than them for no reason at all. There is nothing you can do. I assure you, we are working to stop them, but you are no match for them. Your friend was right, you can’t deal with this. It is very likely that any officers at the Yard that you may have tried working with have already been.. influenced, to stay out of it. And I’m sorry but I’m going to do the same to you. It’s for your own good.”
Sherlock had stayed perfectly silent throughout her speech, observing every bit of information that he could. What she was saying was impossible, no, improbable. That being said he had seen the ‘magic’ with his own eyes. So as impossible as it may have seemed he had to trust his eyes for the moment, and it would explain how they died.
“So all those families, they were what? Cursed.” He shot the words at her incredulously, but he was cataloging her every reaction, storing away the information deep inside his mind palace. If she wanted to make him forget she would have to work for it.
“I’m afraid so.” She nodded, keeping her eyes on Sherlock the entire time, her knuckles white from gripping her wand. As far as Sherlock could tell she believed everything she was saying to be true. So either she was mad, or there was a large part of London he had no knowledge of.
“How are you going to stop them then? You can’t expect me to back off because a seventeen year old girl insists she’ll take care of things for me,” he scoffed, toying with pen from the edge of the desk. As he spoke he began burying the images of the fruit flying through the air and this curious young girl deep in the recesses of his mind, under layers and layers of memories where no one could find them along with the words death eater, magic, and impossible.
“We don’t know, but I’m not alone. We’re working on it.” She hoped she would be able to fulfill that promise. If they failed Voldemort would not hesitate to expose witches and wizards to the muggle world, killing and enslaving all muggles. “I’ve said all I can, I really shouldn’t have told you any of this... but you have to stop. It’s for your own good.”
Standing she took a step closer to Sherlock. His eyes widened a bit as she raised her wand, pointing it directly at his forehead. “It’s best if you try not to think,” she whispered.
“Don’t-” Sherlock started, honestly frightened. The logical part of his brain couldn’t believe that there was actually magic of course. But he had just seen her prove that point to him, and now she had her ‘wand’ pointed at the only thing he couldn’t do without, his mind. He did the opposite of what she asked focusing on remembering the path he had created in his mind palace to find these memories. His mind was the one thing he had complete control over, he was not about to give over his memories without a fight.
“I’m sorry,” she said softly, tears welling in her eyes as she thought of her parents, how they had had no idea it was coming when she’d done this to them hours before. “Obliviate.”
The spell was never one she would get used to using. It was almost painful, like she could feel the memories being torn from his mind. Had she been more experienced in the particular spell, she might have noticed the struggle this time around, that Sherlock’s mind was fighting back. A silent tear fell down his cheek as his eyes slipped closed. He was asleep, and would be long enough for her to escape. Taking a few steps to close the space between them she leaned forward and pressed a kiss to his forehead.
“I’m so sorry,” she whispered, the emotional toll of performing the spell twice in one day finally weighing on her.
Stepping back from the man she apparated away from Baker Street, landing just outside the burrow. The crack echoed through the air and she knew Ron would be out to find her any moment. Wiping her eyes she stowed her wand away once again and rolled her shoulders back, there was no need to worry the Weasleys over this, none at all.
*Chapter was edited on April 22, 2014. Slight grammar changes only.
Chapter 3: A Siege
This started off as a one shot fic request from tumblr but since you all liked it so much I kept it going... Feel free to add me on tumblr shellysbees.tumblr.com.
Oh and timelines for this story. complete disregard for HP DH.. obviously it opened the same, sorta, but the story is going to drastically change. As for Sherlock more of an infinite timeline.
Any questions or comments please review and I'll be happy to respond. <3 thanks for all the support on this random lil fic you guys.
“Sherlock!” John called as he made his way up the steps leading to their flat two at a time. “Sorry I’m late. The surgery was understa-”
John’s words caught in his throat as he pushed the door open. Sherlock was sprawled out in his armchair, head lolled back, fast asleep. John had to do a double take to ensure he wasn’t imagining the entire thing. Rushing across the room he placed the back of his hand against Sherlock’s forehead.
Normally he had to practically beg Sherlock to take care of his body, so of course his automatic reaction to seeing Sherlock passed out in the sitting room in the middle of the day was to assume he had been drugged or had suddenly fallen ill. Sherlock’s forehead was cool, but damp.
“Sherlock.. Sherlock!” John shouted as he gripped the detectives shoulders, giving him a small shake.
Sherlock’s head rolled to the side listlessly, but his eyelids fluttered open. Letting out a small sigh of relief John rushed to the bathroom, soaking a flannel in the sink before returning to Sherlock’s side.
Pulling the desk chair up John pressed the cloth against Sherlock’s neck. Beginning to regain consciousness he leaned forward to rest his elbows on his knees Sherlock swatted John’s hand away, taking the flannel to press it against his eyes. His fingers were digging into his sockets a little too roughly for John’s liking.
“Sherlock what happened?” John asked tentatively. “Do I need to phone Lestrade?”
Of course John would assume Sherlock was attacked, or drugged. That was, as Sherlock would put it, an explanation of some of the facts.
“No,” he bit out roughly, trying to remember how or why he’d slept on the couch for, what seemed like, the entire day. When John reached out to lay a hand on Sherlock’s shoulder the brooding man wrenched away, jumping to aggression to push the other man away. “I’m fine John. For gods sake, I had a kip, is that a crime now?”
John’s eyes widened and he pulled back from the detective. “For you? Yeah.. Just about. Bloody hell Sherlock what’s going on with you?”
“Nothing!” Sherlock bellowed, glaring up at John defensively, but the scowl only lasted a moment before his mind began racing, “Nothing,” he repeated softer, his eyes flitting back and forth in his skull as if he was looking for something just beyond his reach. “I don’t... John when did you leave for work?” His brows were drawn together tightly, painfully confused look playing across his features.
“Half nine.” John said slowly, “Are you sure I don’t need to phone Lestrade?”
“I’m fine.” Sherlock pushed out of his arm chair and past John. “I need to be alone.”
Before John could stop him Sherlock had left the room and slammed his bedroom door shut, closing himself off from the outside world. He began pacing the small, rather underused bedroom erratically. Turning haphazardly as he raced through his mind palace. He could not remember John leaving that morning. In fact he could not remember most of the past few days. Minute details were there, playing his violin, John cooking, takeaway, but.... something was missing.
He couldn’t remember any work. He would not have stayed without work for that long, not willingly at least. And it wasn’t just that. There was empty space, time that should have been filled with work, cases and experiments, and it was all disgustingly empty.
In fervent desperation he began scouring his room, flipping through stacks of papers, but they were all from cases he remembered. With a sweep of his arm he knocked the stack from his bedside table, sending the files, along with most of the contents of the table, toppling to the floor with a crash. His breath was coming in short gasps, crippling fear quickly rushing through his veins. The only thing he had ever truly relied upon had been his mind, even in the darkest of times, and now, he was finding he couldn’t even trust himself. One hand carded through his thick curls, tugging slightly as he teetered on the edge of something he wasn’t ready to face.
With a light knock John’s voice floated through the closed door, pulling the detective back to reality. “Sherlock... Either you tell me what’s going on or I’m calling Lestrade. Your choice.”
Lestrade? Sherlock thought to himself as he halted his steps, narrowing his eyes at the back of the door. What kind of threat was that? It clicked, as he heard the doctor’s leather shoes clicking against the floorboards impatiently. Taking two quick strides towards the door he swung it open, narrowing his eyes at his blogger.
“I’m clean John.”
“Yeah alright.” John threw his hands up in a placating gesture, “Fine. Then talk to me. What’s wrong.”
Sherlock’s lips pressed together in a hard line. “Nothings wrong with me,” he snapped, not moving from the door in any way.
“Alright.” John offered, more understanding of the detectives moods than anyone, “What happened while I was at the surgery?”
Sherlock’s lips twitched, “I.. I don’t know.” The admittance was somber and low.
“What do ya mean you-”
“I don’t know John,” he spat, the venom returning to his voice. “It’s gone.” He tapped his temple as if to explain what he’d lost before turning to retreat back into the darkened bedroom, leaving the door open for John this time. He followed, standing a safe distance from Sherlock as he resumed pacing.
“Okay maybe we really should call Lestrade,” John said, as though it were a suggestion, but he had already pulled out his phone and began dialing.
“No.” Sherlock shouted, ripping the mobile from John’s hands. “No. I..” He couldn’t explain his actions, not even to himself. “Somethings wrong John, he can’t help.”
“Fine!” John exclaimed, throwing his hands up in defeat. “Fine. I won’t call him, but I can’t help you either if you don’t tell me anything!”
Sherlock could see that John was reaching the end of his patience, so taking a deep breath he tried to explain without working himself up as he had before. “I can’t remember the work. I remember everything else about the past few days, but I can’t remember any work. It’s as if those times have been carefully extracted from my mind, leaving blank spaces in their wake...”
He paused, trying to still his breathing once again.
“Okay, a drug maybe? You could be reconstructing daily tasks from other memories so it may seem as though you were only missing some of your mem-”
“You don’t think I don’t know that John?!” Sherlock growled in frustration. “It was not a drug, I know what drugs feel like, I’ve had enough of them if you do recall.” John’s lips pursed at this, effectively shutting him up. “What have I been working on lately? Something for the Yard? Experiments?”
Thanks to his lack of organization he was relying on John to relay everything to him.
“Uhm.. Some disappearances, a few murders. Lestrade said they were part of some gang, the ‘Death Eaters’ or some nonsense. You were going on about it this morning, poor Mrs. H. You’re likely to scare off half her customers the way you were carrying on.”
Sherlock raised his eyebrows. “I was in the cafe?”
“Yeah, you followed me in there this morning as I was heading to the surgery... What are you doing?”
Before John had even finished speaking Sherlock had begun texting Mycroft from the mobile in his hand, which happened to be John’s.
Need CCTV tapes for Baker Street between 0900 and 1000 today. SH
Tossing John back his phone Sherlock continued his interrogation. “These cases, was I close to finding something?”
John skimmed over the message, shaking his head, before he responded. “No.. You said there was something more going on... The Yard dropped the cases, Lestrade told you to do the same... You honestly don’t remember any of this? We just had a row about it this morning!”
Sherlock had perched on his desk chair, fingers steepled beneath his nose in thought. He didn’t answer John’s question, and didn’t bother to move until he felt his own phone vibrate in his pocket.
I believe this is what you’re looking for. MH
A photo was attached of himself holding the door open for an average looking teenage girl, seventeen, eighteen at most, he couldn’t be sure from the angle. A series of photos followed, Sherlock allowed her into the flat willingly, the last photo showed the door of 221B closed once more.
When did she leave? SH
Sherlock went back to the photos, studying the little he could see of the girl in the shot, he did not recognize her, and she didn’t seem nearly large enough over power him. Without a word to John, Sherlock sprung to his feet, vacating his room in favor of the kitchen. It only took him a moment to find what he was looking for, a sterile hypodermic needle and a syringe. Stripping the protective plastic from the needle and pressing down the plugger Sherlock sank the needle into the crook of his arm, a splash of deep red in the base of the syringe showing his expertise.
“What the hell are you doing Sherlock?!”
In his haste the detective had forgot about John. “Blood draw John, If I was drugged we need a blood sample as soon as possible.” He said it simply as he pulled back the plunger. Pulling the needle from his arm he capped off the internal vial, tossing the remaining parts, including the used needle, into the trash, and storing the vial in the fridge next to the milk.
“SHERLOCK!” John bellowed. “You can’t bin that!”
Just then his mobile vibrated in his pocket again. Keeping his left elbow bent tight to stop the bleeding he fished his mobile from his pocket, opening the message with one hand. The two words on his screen burned into his mind, leaving him breathless.
She didn’t. MH
*Chapter was edited on April 22, 2014. Slight grammar changes only.
She didn’t. MH
Sherlock need I ask who that young woman was? MH
Is there reason for me to be concerned? MH
Sherlock stared at his phone, hardly aware that John was practically seething behind him. He had no idea who this woman was, as far as he knew he’d never met her, but there she was in the photographs. He flicked through the texts again, his eyes jumping back and forth quickly hoping to find some hidden clue.
There was nothing. He couldn’t remember anything about the girl. His mouth fell open wordlessly as he pocketed his phone, without bothering to respond to his brothers inquiries. His eyes raked the flat looking for anything to explain what was going on. His breath was coming in short gasps and he pulled his hands through his curls in desperation. This wasn’t right, none of it was right.
The detective had become so distraught, lost in his own thoughts he hardly noticed that he was leaning into the kitchen counter, his face buried in his hands. When one knee gave out on him John rushed to his side, catching him around the waist and guiding him to sit in a chair.
“Sherlock. What is going on?” John’s voice was terse and short, on alert. The tone seemed to bring the detective back to some extent.
“I don’t...” He breathed, his words somehow lost before they reached his mouth.
“For God’s sakes,” John mumbled irritably, fishing the detectives phone from his pocket without batting an eye. His brow furrowed for a moment, widening slightly as he finished reading.
John’s reactions were obviously instinct. His jaw tightened, and he dropped the phone to the counter as he slipped his handgun from his belt. He didn’t remember when he’d begun carrying it all the time, but now he felt naked without it.
He moved through the small flat quickly, clearing the rooms systematically before moving upstairs, and then down to Mrs. Hudson’s to do the same. Marching back up the stairs he pulled out his own mobile, holding it as though it was some sort of weapon.
“Sherlock. Who is she?” John had slipped his gun back into his waistband and when the detective didn’t answer he pushed him for more information. Grabbing Sherlock’s shoulder and shaking him back into reality gently he repeated the question. “The girl Sherlock. Who is she?”
Sherlock finally looked up with almost a dazed expression.
“I.. I don’t know John.” His voice sounded lost and confused as he dropped his head to his hands in defeat. Internally he was racing through his mind palace, desperately searching for the memories that were eluding him. He couldn’t remember large chunks of the last few days, but all that seemed to be missing was casework. There was takeaway, John, his violin, but no cases. Looking back up at John his features solidified once again, making the detective look more like himself.
“The cases! I need everything from the last few days. Notes, casefiles, pictures everything!” his eyes were alight and John hardly hesitated.
“It’s all on the desk, but Sherlock that’s the thing, you were supposed to leave all of this alone. I don’t know what it is but it’s dangerous-”
“So what?” Sherlock fixed John with an incredulous gaze, “You think I don’t remember for a reason or some other utter nonsense? John, this is proof in itself. Somehow the case is related to my memory loss. The case and the girl.” He held his phone up in evidence, his voice practically shaking with fear and excitement. “I will not leave this alone John.”
Tearing away from the doctor’s gaze he stomped through the front room of 221B, quickly digging through the documents and files littering the desk. It was exactly as John had said before, a series of murders and disappearances, all seemingly linked to a gang called The Death Eaters. Little to nothing was known about this gang, other than the fact that they had inexplicably disappeared about fifteen years before.
Pulling out his phone he send another text off the Mycroft, ignoring his brothers questions completely.
I need everything you can pull on the girl. SH
Considerably calmed Sherlock fell into his armchair, steepling his chin upon his fingertips. John was still standing in the entryway to the kitchen, mouth slightly agape, obviously flabbergasted.
“The mind-” Sherlock began to explain. “-is a muscle John, and just like any muscle it needs exercise. If left uncared for it will atrophy and rot, but we both know that is not the case here. Committing something to memory is not the difficult thing, no, the difficult part is remembering how to find it. Someone has blocked my ability to see that memory, I don’t know how, but all I have to do is find the path to those memories. I will find them, and I will remember.”
It had to be here somewhere. Closing his eyes he fell back into his carefully constructed mind palace, looking for anything out of place, anything he didn’t recall changing or moving. It didn’t take long to find a new door. It was blurred around the edges, as if he hadn’t had time to fully construct the door in his mind. He could feel his face contorting in confusion, and he considered stepping forward to open the door but he could not. He could move up and down the hall, open any other door, but not that one. When he moved close to the door, close to the memory, his mind stopped him, as if there was a barrier around the mysterious door.
The fear was creeping back in, the halls of his Mind Palace began to darken, reflecting the turn in his attitude. This was his mind, he had to be in control. He started trying to finish the construction of the door, thinking the lack of information on the outside might be stopping him, when his phone went off in his pocket. He was ripped from his mind roughly, and he glared at the phone in turn when he pulled it out.
Hermione Granger, 17. Her parents both work as dentists in London. No school listed, probably private school. No history of delinquency. No sight of her on CCTV since she entered your flat. MH
Sherlock stared off past John, his fingers tapping against the screen of his phone absently. She didn’t fit the few descriptions they had for this gang, but she was somehow a necessary piece of this puzzle.
“Sherlock.” John broke through expectantly, glaring at the detective.
The detective let out an exasperated sigh before choosing to form an explanation. “The girls name is Hermione Granger, her parents work here in London. Dentists. She has nothing to do with this gang,” he flourished one hand toward the haphazard mess strewn across the desk. “but she is necessary. You’re going to ask where she is if Mycroft never saw her leave. Out a window, Mrs. Hudson’s back door, something to that effect. She hasn’t been seen since she entered the flat though, so she must have someone helping her. The girl is key here John. Now, of course this would be much easier if my brother was better at hiding his surveillance equipment, but he’s not, so there is currently none in the flat.”
“So you still don’t-” John began slowly.
“Remember? No. But I found the memory. It’s right there, I can feel it John.” Sherlock was working himself back up, fighting with his ability to recall a memory that was just out of his reach. “We need to get my blood to the lab, I need to know how she did this to counteract it. Some sort of drug that breaks down the synapses, fine, but how could you possibly pinpoint certain memories? How?!”
John had fallen into his own armchair opposite Sherlock and he pulled his bottom lip between his teeth nervously. “I don’t know.”
Sherlock was quiet for a moment, and when he spoke again his voice was low. “Neither do I John.”
*Chapter was edited on April 22, 2014. Slight grammar changes only.
Chapter 5: Baker Street
A switch to Hermione's point of view.
Burdens begin to weigh on the young witch, but their journey is only beginning.
It hadn’t been difficult to keep what had happened on her way to the burrow from Ron. He’d been curious as to why she’s been so late, he had expected her much earlier that morning, but he’d all too willing accepted that she’d stopped off at a cafe her parents had taken her to as a child. Nostalgia, emotions... none of it was ever really Ron’s strong point. She didn’t blame him for it, and he had seemed to be trying anyways.
The days after they’d managed to get Harry to the Burrow were bittersweet. They’d gone the following night, after she’d left her parents. Mad Eye had it all worked out. There was supposed to be no way Voldemort would have any idea they were moving him, but he had. They had suffered so much already, but to lose Mad Eye... It was almost too much, and then Mundungus had fled. It was all so wrong, but there was the wedding so they were all supposed to be happy.
Hermione understood, of course. It was about morale. This was war and they had to take what blessings they had and celebrate them, but she couldn’t help but feel like they were forgetting too quickly. Some of the Weasleys, Mrs. Weasley in particular, didn’t seem to understand how serious the threats really were, despite their losses. And others, like Ginny, were almost too aware how dangerous this year would be for them.
Of course Mrs. Weasley had insisted that the girls room together, and it hadn’t been too bad at first, Ginny understood why they had to leave. She was upset, but Hermione understood that. Hell, she was upset too. This wasn’t fair to any of them. It wasn’t until the day of the wedding that things really seemed to get out of hand.
Mrs. Weasley had kept them constantly busy to the point that she’d hardly had any time to talk to Harry or Ron, but she knew the time was coming. They couldn’t stay there much longer.
She had snuck up to Ginny’s room, while the first guests began to arrive, to quickly pack as many things as she could. She’d had the essentials packed since they’d all arrived, but now she made a point to pack away as much as possible. They should have left already, she realized, they weren’t safe here. Her mind kept flitting back to her parents, to the man on Baker Street. Her lip trembled dangerously as she folded the pile of clothes she’d nicked from the boy’s room. She was so lost in thought she didn’t even notice she was no longer alone until Ginny spoke.
“You’re leaving today.” It wasn’t a question.
Hermione’s hands froze where they were, gingerly letting the shirt she’d been fussing with back down.
“But you will.”
“Probably, yes... We can’t stay here Ginny, we’re putting everyone in danger.” Her voice had dropped low. She had faced the likelihood of her own mortality a long time ago, the important thing now was staying alive long enough to avenge everyone they’d already lost. He simply couldn’t be allowed to win.
“What makes you so special?” Ginny’s voice was quiet but sure. She held Hermione's gaze intensely. “So the three of you disappear, and the rest of us just wait around... Do you even know what you have to do? What happens if you don’t win? What happens then?!”
Ginny had taken two steps, crossing the room so that she was toe to toe with Hermione. Her voice was angry and bitter, but her eyes were glistening with unshed tears. Biting at her bottom lip, Hermione held her head high. There was nothing she could say that would make this better. Ginny seemed to be the only one in this house who understood what Hermione had come to terms with. There was a very good chance they would not return from this.
Hermione had managed to take the easy way out, as far as they were concerned. Her parents were safely tucked away somewhere, none the wiser, none of her family was in danger. It didn’t matter that she considered Harry her brother, and Ron...
Her reverie was broken by Ginny’s voice again, this time it was quavering as a few tears managed to slip through. “What am I supposed to do if you three never come back?”
The fear and anguish was written across the younger girls features and for a moment Hermione saw exactly what she was afraid of. Ginny had seen more of this war than her own parents had, but now she was expected to return to school, to pretend that everything was fine, while everyone she loved was put in danger.
Pulling Ginny into a crushing embrace, Hermione finally let down the walls she’d so carefully kept up during her time at the Burrow. The younger girl hesitated for a moment before relaxing and returning the gesture.
“I’m sorry Ginny. I’m so, so sorry. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do here. No matter what we do someone is going to get hurt.” The unadulterated words spilled from her lips, the pain of the last week finally washing over her. It had all been too much. Losing her parents, Mad Eye, and then the hole performing that spell seemed to rip through her very soul had left her absolutely numb before, but now she simply couldn’t stop.
Her words slowly turned to muttered apologies and broken sobs and it took her a moment to realize Ginny was doing the same. When they had both calmed down a bit they pulled apart, Hermione wiping away her tears with the back of her sleeve.
“I truly am sorry Ginny. If we could do this any other way we would, but we must be the ones to do this. Please tell me you understand.” She held her breath, literally pleading with the youngest Weasley now, anything to keep one person on their side.
Ginny nodded solemnly, muttering softly, “I know.. I know.. I...” her gaze raised to meet Hermione’s, biting at her bottom lip to keep from breaking down again. “I’m just scared. I don’t want to lose anyone else.”
Hermione wrapped her in her arms again, this time letting Ginny cry on her shoulder, because she understood. It was horrible. If they got hurt (or worse), and Ginny had let them go without a fight, without so much as a word, she would never be able to forgive herself.
Nothing else was said, nothing that either of them could say would make it any better. After a while they had both dried their eyes and gone back to their allotted tasks. Ginny, preparing for the wedding, and Hermione, carefully making sure she had everything packed, should the party prove to be too much of a security risk.
Downstairs they acted as though nothing had happened, and soon the Burrow was filled with guests. All of whom were disgustingly ignorant as to what was going on in the world. Hermione caught a few less than tasteful conversations about Rita Skeeter’s latest article on Dumbledore. It was appalling that people were actually listening to that rubbish when there were so many real issues.
There was a certain amount of fear, being surrounded by so many witches and wizards she was unfamiliar with, but there was something else bothering Hermione tonight. A sort of hollow feeling in the pit of her stomach. Something was wrong. All the same, nothing had happened yet. She spent most of the night dancing, trying to enjoy what solace they had found.
She had just found Harry when it happened. A beautiful lynx Patronus flew through the open canopy to land in the center of the dance floor. A hush fell over the party as everyone’s astonished focus turned to the gleaming creature. A moment later it’s mouth fell open and Kingsley Shacklebolt spoke from it. His voice was loud, clear, and slow. There was no mistaking his words.
“The Ministry has fallen. Scrimgeour is dead. They are coming.”
The roar that followed was deafening. She had Harry, but they couldn’t leave, not without Ron. Death Eaters were already pouring into the Burrow, the enchantments had been broken. It was as though her chest were caving in on her, but just when she thought they wouldn’t find him in time Harry grabbed her hand, keeping them tethered together as the familiar ginger weaved between a set of distant relatives to grab onto Hermione's opposite arm.
The moment they each had a firm grasp on her she turned on the spot slightly, her mind taking them to the only place she could think of in all of the chaos. Their bodies were ripped through a suffocating vacuum of time and space, and then just as suddenly as they disapparated they reapparated on a London Street.
“Where are we?” said Ron’s voice filtered through the buzzing sound the void had left behind.
“Baker Street, London,” panted Hermione. “Walk, just walk, we need to find somewhere for you to change.”
Chapter 6: When Worlds Collide
Our trio tries to find a moment of solace in Speedy's cafe, when the death eaters track them down Hermione finds herself face to face with the man she met less than a week before, only to find her spell did not work as well as she'd hoped.
It had been five days. Mycroft had found nothing else on the girl, Hermione Granger, and she hadn’t been seen on any CCTV since that day. The week had been complete hell, particularly for John. The first two days Sherlock had desperately been using all of his resources, homeless network included, to find anything he could on the girl. When nothing had come of it he had resorted to sulking, spending hours within his mind palace in an attempt to reconstruct the lost memories. By Saturday, he was an utter wreck.
John descend the stairs from his room to find Sherlock exactly where he’d left him the night before. Laying across the sofa, his knees bent over the arm because he was simply too tall, with his fingers steepled beneath his chin. He hadn’t bothered to change out of his pyjamas or robe in two days now and a rough stubble had finally began to show across his features. The only evidence that he wasn’t actually sleeping was the fact that his lips were moving soundlessly, his eyes jutting back and forth as though he were desperately searching for something.
John made it a point to walk through the sitting room noisily as he went to start the tea kettle, hoping to draw Sherlock from his mind.
“Did you get any sleep last night?” He asked as he pulled down two mugs, knowing Sherlock would expect a cup of tea as well.
“No,” Sherlock drawled, not bothering to open his eyes. “Is it morning already?”
“Yup. Half nine actually.”
“Hmm,” Sherlock hummed noncommittally, as though the time was of little consequence to him.
John’s lips pulled to the side a little in irritation. Sherlock had been utterly ridiculous the past week, more so than usual, and he was done putting up with his childish behavior. He finished preparing the tea and all but stomped into the sitting room, dropping a steaming mug in front of Sherlock before dropping into his own arm chair and glaring at the detectives prone, relaxed form.
When John had been quiet for a few moments Sherlock swiftly sat up, grabbing the tea, sniffing it before setting it back down on the coffee table. He looked up at John knowingly, leaning forward on his knees and steepling his chin upon his fingers once again.
“Well, out with it,” he said with an air of impatience. “You want to say something obviously.”
John ground his teeth at Sherlock tactless deduction, setting his mug down on the side table. “How long are you going to sulk around the flat? This is getting ridiculous!” He through his hands out in frustration. “Frankly, I’m tired of having to remind you to get up and move every day!”
“I will stop when I have worked this out-”
“And you don’t think going out there is going to help? You think sitting at home and sulking is going to fix things?”
“I think,” Sherlock spat, rising to his feet. “Reconstructing my mind palace is the most important thing at the moment. If you have a problem with how I’m doing this then, by all means John, piss off.”
“Fine.” John tensed for a moment, his jaw set tight, before he stood, and without a second glance at Sherlock swept from the room. Sherlock didn’t move from where he stood by the sofa, listening as John stomped upstairs to change, and then back down stairs and through the front door of 221B. Sherlock moved to the window, watching John stomp away. He’d be back, of course, but at least the flat would be quiet for most of the day so he could properly think.
When John finally returned to 221B, it was dark. He had stopped in at the surgery, but they hadn’t needed his help, so John had spent most of the day wandering about London. He didn’t know what to do with Sherlock anymore. He was obsessed with this case, all of his time either went into trying to figure out the mystery of the girl that had come to their flat or badgering Lestrade and his team for more info on the ongoing murder investigations.
He was just coming up Baker Street when he heard a deafening crash from inside Speedy’s and saw what looked like sparks flying. Without a second thought he pulled his sig from the back of his jeans and ran for the door of the cafe.
Sherlock had finally decided to get dressed about half way through the afternoon and spent most of the day working on cases rather than dwelling over what seemed just out of reach within his own mind. He’d only managed to reconstruct the door, the path to the memory. It was infuriating, he could almost taste the information he was so desperately digging for, but he couldn’t open the door. It was as if he was missing some important part, something crucial.
As seven came and went Sherlock was beginning to consider actually texting John. He wouldn’t apologize of course, simply show that he did appreciate John’s constant presence in his life. Perched awkwardly on his chair, twitching every so often thanks to the nicotine patches pressed into the crook of each arm, he turned his phone over in his hand. He hated being the one to ‘extend the olive branch’ so to speak, but he had grown used to John’s presence and could really only go so long without it before resorting to more destructive forms of entertainment.
However, before he could construct a sound request for John to return home he heard a series of loud cracks followed by a crash from downstairs.
Sherlock hurried to his feet, racing down the stairs and through the back door that led into the cafe from Mrs. Hudson's flat. He cautiously made his way around the corner of the kitchen, peeking into the cafe. What he saw made him blanche. He stepped into the room, his brow furrowed together. Mrs. Hudson was clearly not there, and he hardly took notice of the two figures slumped to his left or of the two boys steadily glaring at him arms raised with what he now remembered to be wands. His gaze was focused on the girl. Unlike the two behind her, her wand was down and her chest heaving after what he could only assume was some sort of attack.
His mouth opened, but no sound came out, and less than a moment later John burst through the front door. He had his sig armed and raised, ready to fight. It took him half a second to take in the scene. He had no idea what had happened to the cafe, but Sherlock was there, his eyes almost glazed over.
“Sherlock!” He gasped, keeping his weapon focused on the two men in the room. He wasn’t sure why they were brandishing sticks as though they would do them any good but he wasn’t taking any chances.
“Sherlock!” he repeated when the detective didn’t respond. The brunette jolted back to reality, as if he’d be lost in the deep recesses of his mind, and looked to John.
“Wha-” John started, but the girl Sherlock had been focusing turned towards John. He immediately recognized her. The girl from the photos, Hermione Granger.
The taller of the three looked back and forth between Sherlock and Hermione for a moment before turning to John, flicking his wand through the air as he spoke, “Expelliarmus!”
John’s sig was ripped from his hand and deftly caught by the ginger with a smug smirk. “Take a seat,” he said, pointing at the booth behind John with the barrel of his own gun. John grit his teeth, but acquiesced, blood was pounding in his ears as he tried to understand what had just happened. He all but collapsed into the seat. Satisfied, the boy turned his attention back to Hermione.
“What’s he on about Hermione? You know him?” He flicked his wand at Sherlock, a myriad of red and green sparks jutting angrily from the tip as he did.
Hermione ignored his question, her focus still on Sherlock. She worried her bottom lip between her teeth before speaking, so softly it was a miracle anyone in the room could hear her.
“Do you remember?” She was shaking slightly as she spoke.
Sherlock swallowed hard, willing his body not to betray him and display how frightened he actually was. The moment he had set eyes on the girl everything had come rushing back. The door to his memories had been locked and she had been the key. Words and images had raced through his mind as he processed everything that had been locked away. By the time Hermione had posed her question he’d come back to himself, painfully aware of everything that had happened to him.
Thanks for all the support, as always <3
follow me on twitter (shellysbees) and tumblr(shellysbees)..
This fic is seriously going to go on forever at this rate XD
Chapter 7: Introductions
The Baker Street Boys meet the Trio finally. No one really wants to get along.
John licked his lips nervously, his mind trying to catch up with the situation. That was the girl from the photos, and the reason Sherlock had seemingly forgotten everything. When he felt as though he could finally breathe again John spoke, his attention focused on his sig loosely being held by the redhead who obviously had no idea how to handle a weapon.
“What the hell is going on Sherlock?” His voice was terse and short, but the ginger didn’t give Sherlock a chance to respond before he was asking Hermione the same thing.
“Hermione,” he all but growled “Who the bloody hell are these.. these muggles and how do they know you?”
She swallowed, mouthing wordlessly, unable to form the necessary syllables to explain what had happened only a week before. The shorter boy stepped forward, placing a hand on Hermione’s shoulder.
“Lock the doors. Ron, turn off the lights,” he said, taking control of the situation. “And you,” he continued pointing towards Sherlock and then the table where John was seated, “Go sit, and don’t move.”
Regaining his composure Sherlock walked past the three younger in the room to sit across from John. Everything made sense now of course, impossible as it was he could remember everything perfectly.
Ron pulled out the deluminator, flicking it open and pulling the light from the room. Had John not already been seated he might have lost it at that. Feeling something tap the side of his shoe John looked up. Sherlock rose one hand slightly, holding it flat, parallel to the ground. Steady. John relaxed slightly at the understood gesture.
Hermione flicked her wand at the front of the building as she muttered under her breath, locking the door and closing the blinds; the cafe was shrouded in darkness.
“Hermione is it?” Sherlock asked nonchalantly, as if Ron didn’t have both his wand and John’s Sig pointed towards them. “Not a very good move, coming back to the same cafe like this. Must be very confident in your abilities… or perhaps you couldn’t stop thinking about our little chat-”
“Shut up,” Ron snapped, tucking his finger against the trigger. Sherlock’s eyes widened a bit, but he didn’t make any other indication that he’d noticed the threat.
“Ron!” Hermione gasped. “Stop. You don’t understand.”
“I’d listen to her if I were you, Ron...”
“All of you stop. Now,” the other boy snapped, stepping forward and taking the gun from Ron’s hand, clumsily slipping it into the back of his trousers. “Those two aren’t our problem,” he hissed under his breath, “they are.” He was pointing to the two bodies crumbled on the ground.
Shooting one last glare at Sherlock and John, Ron stepped over to the two death eaters looking them over.
“That’s Dolohov,” he said. “I recognize him from the old wanted posters. I think the big one’s Thorfinn Rowle.”
The whole situation finally seemed to come into clarity to Hermione as she fell to a bench seat, almost hysterical. “Never mind what they’re called! How did they find us? What are we going to do?”
“They would have killed us Harry,” Ron said under his breath, his words heavy with implication. “They had a good go just now.”
“No. We just need to wipe their memories,” Harry said surely, keeping an eye on John and Sherlock. John looked a bit glazed over, almost as though he was going into shock, but Sherlock was staring right back, almost challenging. “It’s better like that, it’ll throw them off the scent. If we killed them it’d be obvious we were here.”
“You’re the boss,” said Ron, sounding relieved. “But I’ve never done a Memory Charm.”
The next few seconds of silence were thick with meaning as Harry and Ron looked to Hermione. A bit of pink rose to her cheeks as Sherlock spoke. “So, did you not perform the spell correctly, or am I just that special?” His tone was haughty, obviously pleased with himself.
“Hermione?” Harry asked, Ron seemingly too surprised to form any words at the moment.
Taking a breath Hermione closed her eyes and began to explain quickly. “My parents used to take me here when I was a kid, I stopped by after I left my parents for a coffee. They were talking about the death eaters and the murders. I was just going to tell him to stay out of it, but he wouldn’t listen and…” her voice trailed off for a moment as she shook her head. “I don’t know why the spell didn’t work, I knew something was wrong.”
“Well, it worked a bit,” Sherlock explained with a shrug, all too comfortable being held hostage. “I couldn’t remember anything, but I knew I couldn’t remember. I was aware that the memories were missing. It wasn’t until I saw you that I was able to access them again. Although I’m sure with time I would have been able to find them.”
“Stop!” John all but yelled, all eyes in the room turned to him. “What the bloody hell is going on? Is this some kind of joke?!”
“John, it’s alrigh-” Sherlock started before he was cut off.
“No. No it’s not.” John was on his feet, pinching his brow between two fingers. “How the hell can you be so calm Sherlock? How?!”
“I have seen it with my own eyes John. It explains the deaths, the disappearances, everything. There are countless historical references to support the existence of magics. Improbable, yes, but by no means impossible.”
“This is great, really,” Harry interrupted sardonically, “But I really need you two to shut up right now.” He turned to Hermione. “Can you do the spell or not?”
“Yeah,” she said, nodding as she stood and squared her shoulders. “I can.”
Without another word she stepped forward, took a deep breath, and pointed the wand at Dolohov’s forehead. His eye’s opened for a moment before glazing over completely. It wasn’t nearly as difficult or painful as it had been with Sherlock. Come to think of it, neither had her parents. Something was different about Sherlock, that much was for certain. She moved on to his partner while Harry and Ron quickly fixed everything they had broken.
“What about Mrs. Hudson?” Sherlock asked as Hermione finished wiping the second man’s mind.
“Who?” Ron snapped.
Sherlock fought back the desire to roll his eyes at the ginger. “Our landlady, the one I’m assuming you frightened off with your little tiff in her cafe.”
“Not our problem right now,” Ron said simply.
“Well did she see anything? I can see to it that she is found and an explanation given as long as she didn’t see.”
“No,” Harry said, finishing repairing the tiles on the wall behind the counter. “She came in after and then ran off through the back.”
Sherlock nodded before sending a text off to Mycroft.
Mrs. Hudson left through her backdoor about a half hour ago. See to it that she is found and escorted home. She witnessed a fight in the cafe, but John and I have it sorted. SH
He turned off his mobile before slipping it back in his pocket, lest Mycroft get the urge to spy on him. John had finally fallen back into the seat next to him, utterly defeated.
When the cafe was back to normal Harry turned back to John and Sherlock, ostensibly contemplating what to do with them. Ron stood to the side, glowering at them both. “Hermione,” Harry said curiously, “Could you wipe their memories as well?”
“I don’t think so, no.” Hermione said softly, not really wanting to admit to this. “Sherlock, are you sure you knew nothing about magic before you met me?”
“I assure you,” he said seriously. “Part of me is still quite skeptical.”
“See, that’s what doesn’t make sense.” She turned to face Ron and Harry as she spoke. “His mind’s protected, like… like he’s practiced Occlumency”
“Occlumency can’t stop a Memory Charm, can it?” Ron asked, eyeing Sherlock warily.
“Not that I’ve ever read, but it doesn’t matter. He could have never practiced it because he knew nothing of the magical world. How could he?”
“He practices the Method of Loci.” Again, everyone seemed a bit surprised to hear John speaking. “You know, envisions a place to store his memories so he never forgets them. He calls it a Mind Palace, but that might have something…”
“Like a door?” Harry asked. “Hiding your memories behind a door? Closing them away?”
Sherlock nodded shortly, that had been exactly what he’d done with the memories she had failed to take from him.
“Sounds similar,” Harry agreed with a shrug.
“I want more information,” Sherlock said, now that he had leverage he intended to use it. “You can’t wipe my memories, I’m a risk.”
“There is no way I’m letting either of you muggl-” Ron retorted, starting towards the pair.
“Oi!” John exclaimed, “What’d you just call us?” He was on his feet, glaring back at the ginger venomously.
“Enough!” Hermione shouted as Sherlock stood to place a hand on John’s shoulder in warning. “We don’t have time for this. I don’t know how they found us but there could be more coming. We need to leave. Now.”
The room was silent for a moment, the air between Ron and John dangerously tense, before Harry spoke up.
Ron and Hermione gaped at him, Sherlock began mapping the distance to that area, should they leave him behind.
“We can’t, Snape can get in there Harry,” Hermione said, her voice shaking a bit.
“At this point, I don’t care. I would like nothing more than to face him.” Harry was set. “Besides, the order put up jinxes against him.
“Where else is there?! We need to move, and if they have the trace on me we aren’t going to be safe anywhere.”
Hermione contemplated this for a moment before nodding.
“We’re coming with you,” Sherlock said, stepping towards the trio so the group was in a small circle.
“We-?” John started, stepping up next to Sherlock.
“No, you’re no,.” Ron argued, his face going red with anger.
“I could be useful,” Sherlock reasoned, a bit of venom behind his words.
“We can argue about this when we get there.” Harry snapped, “Ron, it’s not that far, we’ll hear them out, figure out how to wipe his memory, and that’ll be it. Alright?”
Ron grumbled in agreeance.
Hermione put her hand between all of them, looking to John and Sherlock as she spoke. “All you need to do is grab my hand.”
John hesitated, but Sherlock, rolling his eyes, grabbed the blonde's hand and forced him to grab hers. A moment later they were joined by the other two boys and then the world was pulled away into a sickeningly black void.
Chapter 8: We're in
It's time for the trio to start explaining.
For a few moments it felt as though they were truly dying, all the life and breath ripped from their lungs, but then the ground was back beneath their feet and the world rushed back around them. John and Sherlock both collapsed to their knees, desperately filling their lungs with air. They were only granted that single breath before hands were pulling them back up.
“We have to move quickly,” Harry insisted, his eyes jumping around as they walked toward a line of houses.
John finally seemed to have been awed into silence, his brows furrowing as he stumbled along with the group.
Hermione stopped in the middle of the road, glancing around carefully to make sure no one was listening.
“They can’t see it,” she explained to Harry and Ron before digging into her bag as she spoke. “It’s too risky to say it out here. Thank merlin the Fidelius Charm left us as secret keepers after Dumbledore's death… Ah, here we go.”
Sherlock was watching curiously, as she was up to her elbow in the small beaded bag. She triumphantly pulled out a quill and a piece of scratch parchment. “Keep watch,” she instructed Harry and Ron before quickly scrawling across the paper and then holding it out to John and Sherlock.
“Don’t read it outloud, just memorize and think it in your mind.”
Sherlock took the small scrap of paper, only raising his eyebrows at the fact that she was using a quill for a moment, before holding it out for both of them to read.
The Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix is located at number twelve, Grimmauld Place, London.
“Don’t say it outloud,” she chided.
Hermione took the paper, lighting it on fire with the tip of her wand as she began leading them towards a row of houses. Both Sherlock and John froze as the dilapidated buildings numbered eleven and thirteen began pulling apart to reveal number twelve.
“Fascinating,” Sherlock murmured, his eyes alight. John on the other hand was flushed white, blindly stumbling along with the group.
They hurried up the steps, John being dragged along by a rather overeager Sherlock. Harry tapped the door with his wand and a series of clicks could be heard from behind the door as it unlocked itself for him, a moment later they were standing in the threshold of the house.
“I think someone’s been here,” Hermione whispered, gesturing to the grotesque umbrella stand sprawled out on the floor.
“That could’ve happened as the Order left,” Ron murmured back.
John was the first to move away from the door. The moment he stepped forward Harry’s hand shot out to stop him.
He was cut off by a whisper that raced through the hall, causing John to jump back until he was pressed against Sherlock in fright.
“Who?” John murmured.
“We’re not Snape!” Harry managed before a gust of wind passed over them, curling their tongues in their mouth, making it all but impossible to speak. John and Sherlock began to gag, followed closely by Ron’s own retching.
“That m-must have b-been the T-Tongue-Tying Curse Mad-Eye setup for Snape!” Hermione stammered.
Harry was the first to recover, taking a step into the hall. Before anyone could say or do anything a figure rose out of the carpet in front of them. It was a ghost like haunting semblance of the late Mad-Eye Moody. Hermione screamed, waking the portrait of Mrs. Black.
“NO!” Harry shouted, raising his own wand at the figure. “No! It wasn’t us! We didn’t kill you--”
At the word kill, the figure exploded into a great cloud of dust. Coughing, his eyes watering, Sherlock looked around to see Hermione crouched on the floor by the door with her arms over her head, and Ron, who was shaking from head to foot, patting her clumsily on the shoulder muttering, “It’s all r-right.. It’s g-gone…”
It seemed the shock of it all had finally gotten to John who was sagging against Sherlock. His breath was coming in short gasps, his eyes shooting around trying to take everything in at once. His brow furrowed in confusion as he looked to Harry, the only one seeming to hold it together, looking for answers.
“Mudbloods, muggles, filth, stains of dishonor, taint of shame on the house of my fathers--”
“SHUT UP!” Harry bellowed, throwing a spell at the curtains, forcing them shut on her with a bang and a burst of red sparks.
“What--” Sherlock started before he was cut off by a whimpering Hermione as Ron helped pull her to her feet.
“That… That was…”
“Yeah,” Harry agreed, to what Sherlock didn’t know. “ But it wasn’t really him, was it? Just something to scare Snape.”
The house fell into an eerie silence as the group, led by Harry, crept forward. The only sign that the decrepit house was fit for living was the mouse that scurried across the hall in front of them. After a few moments of silence, Sherlock spoke up.
“I have questions.”
Hermione paused, turning to look at him before she let out a sigh and nodded her head.
“Right. Before we go upstairs, I think I’d better check.”
She rose her her wand above her head and said, “Homenum revelio,” but nothing happened.
Everyone stared expectantly for a moment before Ron piped up. “Well, you’ve just had a big shock. What was that supposed to do?”
“It did what I meant it to do!” Hermione snapped. “That was a spell to reveal human presence, and there’s nobody here except us!”
“And old Dusty,” Ron offered, looking back at the carpet where the ghost like figure had risen.
“Let’s go up,” said Hermione with a frightened look at the same spot. She led the group, ignoring the worried glances all four men were sharing with each other as they made their way to the drawing room on the first floor.
Waving her wand, Hermione ignited the old gas lamps before taking a seat on the sofa, her arms wrapped tightly around herself. John and Sherlock were still standing in the doorway. Sherlock, cataloguing everything he was seeing, John holding a strategic position in the room.
“Can’t see anyone out there,” Ron announced as he peeked out the window onto the street. “And you’d think, if Harry still had the Trace on him, they’d have followed us here. I know they can’t get in the house, but-- what’s up, Harry?”
All eyes turned to Harry as he clutched his forehead, a cry wrenching from his lips.
“Are you alright?” John asked, stepping towards Harry with trepidation.
“What did you see?” Ron asked before Harry could respond. “Did you see him at my place?”
“No, I just felt anger -- he’s really angry--”
“But that could be at the Burrow,” Ron interrupted, his voice rising slightly. “What else? Didn’t you see anything? Was he cursing someone?”
“No, I just felt anger -- I couldn’t tell --”
Ron breathed heavily, looking as though he might demand more from him, before John stepped forward.
“Are you alright? I-I am a doctor, I can help.”
Ron snorted, turning away and muttering about something under his breath.
“Yeah,” Harry muttered, rubbing at the bolt shaped scar on his forehead listlessly. “Yeah I’m fine.”
“He has visions,” Hermione explained. “The one doing all of this, the leader of the Death Eaters, his mind is linked with Harry’s.” She turned her focus back to Harry, concern and fear taking over, “But I thought that connection had closed.”
“It did, for a while,” muttered Harry. “I- I think it’s started opening again whenever he loses control, that’s how it used to--”
“But then you’ve got to close your mind!” Hermione interrupted sharply. “Harry, Dumbledore didn’t want you to use that connection, he wanted you to shut it down, that’s why you were supposed to use Occlumency! Otherwise Voldemort can plant false images in your mind, remember?”
She spoke quickly, her voice hushed.
“Yeah,” Harry spat through grit teeth. “I do remember, thanks.”
Harry turned away, still rubbing at the scar. Sherlock could see his shoulders tensing with new bouts of pain.
A moment later a silver weasel glided through the window, landing on the floor between the five of them. It seemed to grow solid in it’s shape the longer it sat. A man’s voice filled the room, seemingly emanating from the apparition.
“Family safe, do not reply, we are being watched.”
As the weasel dissolved into the floor Ron let out a strangled sound, somewhere between a whimper and a groan, and dropped to the sofa. Hermione hurried to his side, tightly gripping his arm.
“They’re all right, they’re all right!” she whispered, and Ron half laughed and hugged her.
“Sorry,” John interrupted, “What the hell was that?”
His eyes were wide, still locked on the pace on the dingy carpet where the patronus had faded out of existence.
“My dad,” Ron explained, his voice still shaky. “That was a patronus, it’s a spell. You can use it to communicate quickly without others being able to intercept the message.”
“Harry,” he said, “I-”
“It’s not a problem,” Harry managed, his breath slightly labored. “It’s your family, ‘course you were worried. I’d feel the same way.” He was silent for a moment before he adding softly, “I do feel the same way.”
He turned to face Sherlock and John looking them over as though he’d seen them for the first time.
“You said you could help. You don’t even know what’s going on or who we are. Why would you want to help us?”
“Because it seems interesting. ” Sherlock stated simply.
“For the love of-- Sherlock this is insane!”
“People have died, John,” Sherlock snapped, rounding on John. “You’re the one always going on about doing what’s right. Whatever happened in those cases Lestrade cut me out of, it has to do with all of this. I live for this John, the thrill, the puzzle.” His eyes were alight with something akin to excitement.
“Tell me everything,” he stated simply, moving to the opposite sofa. With a sigh John joined him, pinching at his brow as he sat down.
Harry moved to sit across from Sherlock, the trio exchanging glances.
“Where do we start?” Ron asked, the good news ostensibly calming him for the time being.
“Don’t bother explaining the details of your world,” Sherlock said, waving his hand in a dismissive manner before steepling his chin upon his fingers. “That’s a waste of time. I want information about whatever it is you are doing to stop the Death Eaters.”
“The only way to stop them is to kill the leader of the dark wizards, Voldemort,” Harry explained.
“I’m assuming it’s not as simple as that,” Sherlock mused, raising one eyebrow.
“No, not quite.”
“Go on then. Explain. Is he protected or hidden or something?”
“You have to understand,” Hermione piped up, “He’s a dark wizard, as bad as a witch or wizard can be. There are spells that are considered illegal and immoral... Things no witch or wizard would do, but he will.”
“Yeah,” Harry agreed, continuing for her. “And we can’t just kill him. There are these things, called horcruxes. Basically he split his soul and hid them inside of things, small obscure things, and scattered them. We have to destroy all the pieces of his soul before we can kill him.”
“So that’s what you’re doing, then,” Sherlock asked, shifting in his seat as he spoke. “Looking for these items?”
They nodded together.
“And you have no idea where they are?”
“Well, we have some ideas.” Harry said slowly. Ron gritted his teeth, a sore subject obviously.
Sherlock was silent, his fingers perching beneath the tip of his nose sliding along his lips softly.
“So you will help us?” Hermione asked finally
“Seven, but we’ve already found one,” said Harry
“I assume it’s dangerous?” Sherlock asked, granting him an irritated huff from John.
“A little.” Ron admitted.
Part of this scene was inspired by the wonderful gifset by Fancypantswatson on tumblr.
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Chapter 9: Safety in Numbers
“We’re?” John spat as he pushed off the couch and turned to glare at Sherlock. “No. No Sherlock, we’re not!”
"No! Don’t ‘John’ me. There is a reason Lestrade told us to stay out of this."
John turned, holding his hand out to Harry. "My gun. We're leaving."
"I'm not going anywhere," Sherlock replied haughtily. "Honestly John, finally something interesting and you're not even curious."
Sherlock tsked softly, his gaze falling on Harry, who was pulling the handgun from his waistband. "I’m staying. I will, however, need some time to do some research, understand your world a bit better. I assume you have books I can read? Oh don’t look at me like that,” Sherlock scoffed seeing the uncertainty in Harry’s features. “I may not have known anything about all of this before today, but I know how people think and I can help.”
Letting out a sigh Harry handed over the gun. “You can stay. Frankly, I don’t care, but you’re life’s in your own hands. You can’t protect yourself against them, and I-we can’t afford to lose.”
Sherlock nodded in understanding as he relaxed back into his seat.
“I’m not leaving without you.” John argued.
“Ahh,” Sherlock exclaimed in mock excitement. “You’re staying then?”
Gritting his teeth, John shook his head, glaring at his friend before throwing his hands up in defeat.
“Fine. Go get yourself killed. I’ll be at home when you find your head.”
Without another look John stole from the room, he barely made it to the landing before Hermione rose with a huff. She shot a glare at Sherlock as she hurried out after him.
“You know he’s right mate.” Ron said, causing Sherlock’s disinterested mask to falter. “This… What we’re doing. It’s really dangerous. You don’t stand a chance. Hell, I don’t know if we even stand a chance.”
Ron’s anger seemed to have finally dissipated, but Sherlock simply shook his head.
“If I go home I will simple obsess about something I don’t understand,” Sherlock explained, steepling the tip of his nose upon his fingers. “At least this way I’ll have a chance to uncover it’s mystery.”
Ron just shook his head as Harry fell back into the sofa, massaging at his temples lightly.
“Kinder term than most,” Sherlock murmured absently, studying the two boys for a moment. He heard the door close below them and he relaxed, if minutely, knowing John would be out of harms way.
“Wait.” Hermione gasped, quickly following after John. “I know this is all a bit overwhelming-”
“A bit?” John half laughed, turning at the bottom of the stairs to face the girl that had started all of this. “I just found out that magic is real and my...” John grit his teeth, letting out a huff of breath. “He won’t come back and those things are killing people.”
John looked down, pinching his brow between his forefinger and thumb. When he looked back up at Hermione he was biting at his bottom lip.
“Am I going to see him again?”
“I’m sorry,” Hermione managed, “I wish I could promise that you would, but I just can’t.”
John nodded, looking at the door for a moment before turning back. “You’re the reason he’s here.” His tone wasn’t angry or bitter. John was simply stating the obvious. “He loves things he doesn’t understand. I just… I can’t compete.”
“I should probably erase your memory,” said Hermione softly after a few quiet moments.
“Don’t,” John bit shortly, shaking his head. “I need… If he doesn’t come back at least I’ll know what he was doing.”
She nodded, letting out a sigh of relief. She didn’t want to perform the spell again any more than John wanted to forget.
“Just be careful.”
“You, too,” John muttered, his eyes cutting up to the stairs. He hesitated for a moment before he turned, walking out of Number 12 Grimmauld Place.
“He's gone?” Sherlock asked when Hermione returned upstairs.
“Yes… he left.” Her voice was short, torn between being angry with Sherlock, a man she hardly knew, and sympathising with him.
Sherlock’s lip twitched with some unidentifiable emotion before nodding shortly. “Right. Good. I need data. Whatever books or resources you can give me.”
“Yeah. Sure,” Hermione muttered, distracted, as she reached for the small beaded bag she’d dropped behind her on the sofa. “I have some books that I can loan to you.”
At that moment Harry winced again, his hand shooting up to cradled the side of his head.
“You alright?” Ron asked, leaning forward, his brows furrowed in concern now.
“I'm fine it's just..” He winced again, sucking in a quick breath. “I’m fine.”
Harry stole from the room before anyone could get another word in, the bathroom door slamming behind him. A moment later Hermione followed with a worried sigh, obviously done chasing after everyone.
“You should’ve left with him,” Ron stated, matter of factly when it was finally just him and Sherlock in the room. “Your friend was right. You don’t know the first thing about our world… You're going to get yourself killed.”
“Avoiding this case is all but impossible now,” Sherlock explained simply. “It's better I'm here where I can actually help than at home. I can’t fathom what I would do if I were unable to act upon this new knowledge.”
Sherlock paused, his gaze wandering over to the open door where Hermione could be heard down the hall, attempting to coax Harry to come back out. When he spoke again his voice was soft, almost as if it had only been meant for himself. “Besides this way I know he’s safe.”
“Can't argue you there, mate,” Ron agreed, leaning back into the sofa. “Listen I'm sorry about how I acted earlier it's just-”
“Your family was in danger. You were worried,” Sherlock interrupted, brushing off the matter with a flourish of his hand. “I’m not bothered. Muggle though. Is that an insult or does that refer to anyone that doesn’t have the powers you three do?”
Ron, slightly impressed by the deduction, stuttered for a moment.
“Oh, uh yeah, just means non-magic folk.”
“Of course,” Sherlock murmured.
“Do you really think you’ll be of any help to us?” asked Ron, lowering his voice so the others didn’t hear his question.
Sherlock’s sharp gaze jumped to focus on him, silence filling the space between them. Ron was just about to say something, anything, to get Sherlock’s attention elsewhere when Sherlock finally spoke.
“There is no alternative at this point.”
Sherlock hands pressed together in mock prayer once again, his eyes falling closed, which left Ron to contemplate Sherlock’s cryptic response.
When Hermione and Harry made their way back to the sitting room, he opened his eyes once again. They were all obviously mentally and physically exhausted. “You three need rest. I expect you aren’t planning on leaving here any time soon?”
“No,” said Harry with a sigh, “We’ve no leads to go off of.”
“That's fine,” Sherlock muttered dismissively. “That'll give me some time to do my research. I will need a fair amount of time to catch up anyway.”
Ron shook his head incredulously at Sherlock’s undaunted confidence as Hermione quickly settled in on the couch, wrestling sleeping bags from her bag. Sherlock found himself distracted for a few moments, contemplating the physics of the bag and how exactly it was bigger on the inside.
“I only have three sleeping bags.” Hermione’s voice filtered through, interrupting his thoughts.
“It’s fine. I don’t plan on sleeping,” Sherlock muttered, holding out a hand expectantly. When Hermione’s brow furrowed, he let out an exasperated sigh. “Books. I told you. If I’m to stay I need more information.”
Hermione dug through, pulling out a small stack of worn books and sifting through them. Finally she handed over three different titles, explaining each one as she passed it to him.
“‘Hogwarts: A History.’ That’s the wizarding school here in the Britain. There are other schools, but this should give you an idea of our structure. ‘A History of Magic’, a bit self explanatory I suppose, but it is a very thorough book. And this.” She held a thick leather-bound book carefully, innate fear creeping into her voice. “This is ‘Secrets of the Darkest Art’. This is what we’re up against.”
She passed over the final book carefully, as though she were almost afraid of it’s contents.
Sherlock looked down at the books in his hands curiously. They felt as though they were humming with electricity, untouched power emanating from them. He didn’t look up when Hermione spoke again.
“I’m sure you’ll have more questions in the morning, I’ll help with what I can, but it’s really a lot to absorb all at once.”
“I’ll manage,” Sherlock muttered, as he stood and tucked the books under his arm. “I’ll be downstairs.”
The trio watched as Sherlock stood and stole from the room, his coat billowing behind him as he hurried down the stairs.
“You think he can really help us?” Ron asked softly when Sherlock’s footsteps had disappeared below them.
Harry shrugged, taking the offered sleeping bag and spreading it out on the floor. “I don’t know, but there’s something about him… There’s got to be a reason he’s immune to the spell right?” He looked to Hermione for support.
“He’s right,” she agreed. “And right now we need whatever help we can get.”
Chapter 10: Back to Basics
John has to learn about the world he thought he knew all over again.
John could see the swirling lights of Lestrade’s patrol car the moment the cabbie turned on to Baker Street. He’d been in a haze the entire way back, his mind desperately trying to rationalize everything that had just happened. He didn’t even want to believe that it was true, not really, but there was the fact that he had ended up twenty minutes across London that he was unable to explain away.
By the time the cabbie stopped in front of 221B, John had resigned to give Sherlock a week. A week for him to tear apart this world before he went to get him. At least he knew where he was.
The moment he stepped out of the cab Lestrade walked out of Speedy’s looking absolutely befuddled.
“Where the hell is Sherlock?”
“Uhm,” John hadn’t been expecting that question so soon. He hadn’t even considered what he was going to tell others, “He’s out, private case,” John managed dismissively. “Why? What’s the matter?”
“I’d rather ask you the same question,” said Lestrade. “I get a call from Mycroft saying he thought was Sherlock in trouble down at the cafe. I get here and everything’s locked up tight.”
John swallowed thickly, glancing around Lestrade to look into the now lit cafe. He half expected to see the men from earlier still crumpled in a pile on the ground, but they were gone as well.
“Yeah…” John muttered, trying to come up with some sort of story. “There were some men that came in, frightened Mrs. Hudson off. They took off as soon as we came downstairs.”
John shrugged, licking at his lips, but his face gave nothing away. Lestrade's eyes narrowed all the same.
“Where is Mrs. Hudson? Did anyone find her?” John asked as Anderson, followed by a few other members of Lestrade's team, trickled out of Speedy’s.
“Mycroft’s having someone drive her back over after I give him the all clear. She’s being interviewed right now. Seems to be under the impression that people were blowing up her cafe.” Lestrade’s eyebrows raised. “Care to elaborate on her story?”
John was quiet for just a moment too long. Lestrade nodded shortly, motioning for his team to clear out. “Right, I’m going to need your statement, too. Where’s Sherlock?”
“I don’t know.” John said shortly, berating himself for his earlier silence. He’d managed to commit murder right under Lestrade’s nose, but he couldn’t come up with a believable story to save his life. “He ran off on some case. Didn’t catch the details.”
Lestrade’s eyes narrowed minutely before his mobile went off in his pocket. He pulled it from his pocket, only glancing at it for a moment before stuffing it away again.
“Right. We’re done here. John, you’re with me. Donovan, stay back and make sure Mrs. Hudson is seen in.”
John stayed quiet, trying to work out how to explain away all of this without Sherlock there to back him up. He was just about to follow Lestrade to his patrol car when Anderson brushed past him roughly.
John grit his teeth, but didn’t bother responding. Climbing into the passenger seat, John slipped out his mobile, quickly sending off a text.
I’m being taken to the Yard for questioning. Could use some help here. JW
“So you and Sherlock showed up and these men just left. You cleaned up the mess they’d made. Sherlock texted Mycroft about Mrs. Hudson, and then you both left but you have no idea where he is.”
John nodded, “Yeah, that about sums it up.”
Lestrade shook his head, letting out an exhausted sigh. They had been in Lestrade’s office for the better part of a half hour. “John, I’m trying to help you here, but you’re not making it easy. I mean there’s no real damage, but I can’t file this report. It doesn’t make any sense.”
“I don’t understand why we’re even doing this,” John said, gesturing to the office in general. “I haven’t done anything. We got rid of the intruders, everything’s fine.”
“I still have to file a report John… Hell, you said there were two assailants, Mrs. Hudson is saying it was a bloody brawl with explosives or something!”
John’s lips pressed into a tight line, opting not to argue with that particular point. It was right then that Lestrade’s computer made a small pinging noise. He sighed, turning his attention to the computer screen. The office was completely silent for a few moments, the color quickly draining from Lestrade’s features.
The word was hardly above a whisper, and Lestrade shook his head, still scrolling through what John could only assume was an email.
“What is it?” John asked, slightly nervous as to the answer.
“Close the blinds,” Lestrade instructed, his entire demeanour quickly changing. “Now.”
“Greg, what the hell is going on?” John asked as he rose to his feet, quickly closing the blinds in the windows of Lestrade’s office so they were shut in.
Lestrade turned the computer screen slightly so they could both easily see the email from Mycroft. It was a series of CCTV photos, each one with a clear time stamp in the upper right corner..
“He always has a camera fixed on your flat.” Lestrade explained as he scrolled to the top. “This is before you got home. Those three right there,” he pointed to Harry, Ron and Hermione, looking back at John. “Do you know who they are?”
John opened his mouth slowly, ready to lie through his teeth, but was cut off.
“Before you answer John, the entire video is attached. I know you never walked out of Baker Street.”
John’s jaw snapped shut and he nodded shortly, licking his bottom lip again. This was very not good.
“God dammit,” Greg breathed, leaning back in his chair heavily. “And he’s with them isn’t he?”
“They had a case for him,” John explained, his brow furrowing in confusion. “Do you know who they are?”
“Where are they?” Lestrade demanded, ignoring John’s question completely.
He opened his mouth, but nothing came out. Number 12 Grimmauld Place. He could see the address in his mind clearly. He knew exactly where it was, but he couldn’t say it. John’s throat tightened and he shook his head in confusion. “I.. I can’t tell you.”
Lestrade sighed, wiping his hand over his face. “At least there’s that,” he muttered, as if the fact that John was unable to divulge the location was a good thing. “So you know then?”
“Know?” John asked, absolutely befuddled by Lestrade’s reaction.
“Yes. You know who those kids are?” He stated, gesturing to the computer screen. “You know what they can do?”
John felt as though it was a trick question. This was absolute madness, he couldn’t be saying this was all real. All the same he nodded, slowly moving back to the seat across from Lestrade.
“What’s going on?” John’s voice was short, the soldier peeking through the fear and uncertainty.
Lestrade sighed, shaking his head. “I guess it doesn’t matter any more. It’s all going to hell anyway.” He reached inside of his suit coat, pulling from it a long thin wand with a decorative ivory handle and set it on the desk between the two of them.
“You’re one of them.” John’s tone was torn between surprise and accusation.
“Yes,” he stated simply. “And no. I work with a special department, but I’ve separated from the Ministry.” Seeing the confusion in John’s eyes he continued on. “There have been witches and wizards since the beginning John, and we’ve worked very hard to keep this fact a secret, but things are changing. There are dark forces at work here.”
“That’s what those three said,” John managed. “It has to do with all the disappearances and deaths, right?”
“Yeah,” Lestrade said, “And I shouldn’t really even be talkin’ to you about it all, but I don’t see much of a choice now.” He shook his head, letting out an exhausted sigh. “You might as well get comfortable, we’ve got a lot to talk about.”
John settled back in the chair, his head buzzing with the fact that this was all actually happening, but he nodded, encouraging him to continue.
“About, I don’t know, fifteen years ago or so there was this wizard that was as dark as someone could be. There are spells that are considered illegal, and to use them on anybody is a crime in our world. He wouldn’t have even blinked. He was smart though, and he gathered a following before anyone could stop him. If you got in his way, he killed you.
“Basically we thought it was the end, there didn’t seem to be any way to stop him. There’s a group, that works separately from our government. They were founded to stop him, and well, it didn’t take long for him to start going after them. Order of the Phoenix they called themselves…” Greg smiled fondly before moving on.
“Anyway, he went after a couple that was a part of this group. I don’t know everything about it, but apparently some seer predicted that their son would be the one to put a stop to him. He killed the boys parents, no problem, but when it came to kid, he couldn’t do it. It broke him or something. At least we thought it had. He’s back John, and the kids Sherlock’s with? That’s the kid from all those years ago and his friends. They’re on some insane mission to take it all down.”
John had been silent through the entire speech, trying to digest everything before he spoke.
“So where do you fit into all of this?” John asked, suddenly very aware of just how naïve he’d been.
“I’m part of the Order,” Lestrade said, shrugging, “Which is good for you, because had I been working for the Ministry I wouldn’t really have been able to help you.”
“So the Ministry’s part of the Death Eaters?” John asked, his voice much steadier than before. It seemed his mind had finally stopped rebelling against the entire idea.
“Not really,” Lestrade said, rubbing at his chin absently. “I mean it’s not supposed to be. The Ministry is like our government, but they’ve fallen, so yeah right now none of it is safe.”
“But the Order is?”
“The Order of Phoenix is a small group John, and it’s getting smaller all the time, whether from people going into hiding or… But yeah, the Order’s good.” Lestrade looked distracted for a moment before quickly grabbing a pen and scrawling something across a piece of paper and handing it across to John. “That reminds me. Is this where they are?”
John looked down at the familiar address and nodded before handing it back. “Yeah.. Why can’t I say it?”
“Fidelius charm,” he said, waving the question off until he saw confusion from John once again. “It’s a protection charm. You have to be made a secret keeper to actually tell anyone the address… Hell, I don’t even know if you can be made a secret keeper,” Lestrade murmured shaking his head as he pulled out a lighter, burning the corner of the page where the address was written.
“Listen, you aren’t supposed to know any of this, neither is Sherlock. He’s part of why I was posted here in the first place-”
“You work here, because of Sherlock?” John asked incredulously.
“Yeah, partially at least,” Lestrade muttered, scratching at the back of his head. “We found Sherlock when he was… hell he must have been a teenager. It’s hard to get anything past him, and he’s… a special case. Normally if someone finds out about magic, we just erase their memory, but last time Sherlock dug something up it took a week and a half in Saint Mungo’s to wipe his mind clean of it all.”
“I think she tried that,” John said, sitting forward a bit. “The girl, I don’t remember her name, but she tried to wipe his memory I guess, but he was able to find it once he saw her again. He was an utter wreck for the better part of a week.”
“Hermione Granger,” Greg laughed, leaning back in his chair. “I’m not surprised, she’s a bright witch. Trust me, I’ve tried wiping his memory before. I barely managed to hide the memories from him for more than a few hours… She must have done a good job.”
John was quiet for a few moments, everything seeming to finally sink in. “So what happens now?”
“I’m not going to wipe your memory if that’s what you mean.” Greg said calmly. “The ministries a wreck, so there’s no way to wipe Sherlock’s memory, not without proper supervision, and I can’t have him coming back and you having no idea what’s going on. I have some cover up to do here, have to fill Mycroft in… I’ll try and get in touch with my contacts in the order, see what exactly those three are up to before we visit Sherlock.”
“This is utterly insane,” he muttered, slumping into his seat.
“I know it seems like it, but it’s been going on right under your nose this entire time.”
John nodded, finally accepting everything that was going on now that someone he trusted had explained it all. His head popped up a bit after a moment, surprise flashing across his features. “Wait… Mycroft knows?”
“Course he knows. I mean Sherlock’s right, he is basically the British Government. There are certain muggles that are granted access to information… Unfortunately he doesn’t know enough to recognize Harry Bloody Potter and his posse.”
“Right,” John chuckled, leaning his head back against the back of the chair. “Of course he knows, and what the hell’s a muggle? One of the kids kept calling us that.”
“Just means non-magic,” Lestrade said with a shrug. “Right. I’ll be heading to Mycroft’s office as soon as I finish this paperwork, you coming?”
“Yeah…” John muttered, closing his eyes, “Yeah, might as well.”
“Good,” Greg chimed, grabbing his wand and flicking it at the closed shades quickly before tucking it away again. He grinned when John jumped as the blinds flicked open. “Nice to have someone else that knows. You don’t know how much of a pain in the arse it is to hide.”
“I trust the infiltration of the Muggle government is on schedule?” Voldemort hissed, gently petting Nagini as he glared at the man in front of him.
“Of course, My Lord,” Yaxley stated, a flash of uncertainty fleeting across his features.
“Do not lie to me!” Voldemort was on his feet, Nagini hissing as she slithered up onto the table, matching her master’s scathing look.
“There are few spies inside of the Muggle government, even fewer that know how muggles operate,” Yaxley explained quickly. The twitch in his lip being the only thing that gave away his fear. “It is a slow process, but we are working our way through their government. But My Lord… there is something else.”
Voldemort’s eyes narrowed as he sat back down in his chair. “Are you waiting for an invitation?”
“My apologies, sir,” Yaxley murmured before continuing. “There is a name we keep hearing. He does not appear to have any position in the Muggle government, but he is highly influential. They seem to fear him immensely, and it is my belief that he will be crucial in our take over.”
“Many of these muggles are under the impression that he could bring down their government at his own whim. He could be a useful tool,” Yaxley explained, ostensibly proud of his discovery, which of course had never actually been his discovery.
“Where is he?”
“We-uhm-we don’t know My Lord.”
Voldemort’s features contorted in irritation. “Then why are you wasting my time?”
“All we have is a name,” Yaxley explained. “He seems to be involved with everything all at once. He’s difficult to track down.”
“And you’re sure he’s a muggle?”
“Yes, My Lord.”
Voldemort was silent for a moment, the only sound in the room coming from the crackling of the fire behind him and Nagini’s soft hissing.
“Find him.” He said finally, his gaze focused on his pet now rather than Yaxley. “Find him and bring him to me, unharmed. Perhaps he’ll be of some use after all.”
Chapter 11: Choice
“So Mycroft know’s about magic and all that?”
“Yeah. Mycroft knows. He’s actually sort of our liaison, between the magical world and the muggle world that is. I was originally positioned here by him, it’s sort of how we met. I was part of our law enforcement, and I happened to pick up Sherlock one of the times he managed to involve himself in a case. It was a right mess mind you, but Mycroft seemed to decide I was suitable to care for his brother.”
Lestrade shrugged his shoulders, obviously lost on the gesture. “Trust me, I managed to keep Sherlock out of a lot of trouble since I took up a permanent position.”
“So you’re part of the team that erases Sherlock’s memories?” John asked, his eyes narrowing slightly.
“No,” Greg started, gathering up the files he needed to pass off. “Not quite. I mean, I was here to prevent Sherlock from getting too involved in magical affairs in the first place, so it didn’t come to that, but yes. I’ve been involved in his rehabilitation five times now, the first being when I originally found him. This would be the sixth time I guess. I know that sounds like a lot, but it’s really not. I’ve known Sherlock for about ten years now. I guess it happened a lot more often when he was younger, five times just while he was in secondary, though people weren’t being careful then, so it’s no surprise really.”
Lestrade sighed, shaking his head.“I didn’t particularly want to hide everything from him. I mean hell, he’d be more than helpful when it came to cases, magical or otherwise, but Mycroft decided a long time ago that Sherlock would not involve himself in anything to do with magic.”
John’s brow furrowed, leaning forward slightly now that it appeared that he was done with his paperwork. “Why was that his choice to decide?”
As far as John could tell Sherlock had never been made aware of any of this.
Greg froze up, awkwardly shuffling papers to avoid answering the question. “I think it’s best we discuss this when we’re with Mycroft,” Greg said finally, standing with a thick file under his arm. “It’ll be easiest that way.”
Before John could argue with him Greg was leading him from the building. They stopped at Anderson’s desk and Lestrade set the finished file in his drop box as he spoke.
“Sally back yet?”
“No,” Anderson drawled, glaring at John. “She just called in though, she’s on her way.”
“Good. Get this file taken care of before she get’s back-”
“Oh you’ve got to be kidding me!” Anderson hissed, cutting Lestrade off as he looked between him and John. “It happened again, didn’t it!”
“Anderson,” Lestrade warned, but it didn’t stop him from carrying on.
“I’m sick of playing babysitter to that /freak/!”
“That’s enough!” Lestrade bit, cutting Anderson’s short. “You’re here to do your job. If you have a problem with that, take it up with the Ministry, though I wouldn’t suggest that. They may see you as a sympathizer, pure blood or not.”
Anderson’s jaw snapped shut, but he continued to glare at them both.
“Good,” Lestrade continued, “As I was saying. Finish this before Sergeant Donovan gets back, I don’t want her asking any more questions than necessary. John and I are going to see Mycroft Holmes to get things sorted out.”
Lestrade turned and walked away, leaving John and Anderson staring at each other, Anderson still fuming, John utterly bemused.
“So you’re…” John started, unable to form the full question.
“Yes,” he bit, grabbing the file and turning away to input the information into his computer.
“Right… Okay.” John muttered. “The whole world’s going to shite and I didn’t know it.” He shook his head as he turned to follow Lestrade out of the precinct.
“Anderson!” John exclaimed when they were finally in Lestrade's patrol car. “He’s one of you?”
“Yeah,” Lestrade admitted. “Supposed to be my ‘right hand man’, so to speak. He received permanent placement here shortly after I did. I think he blames Sherlock for it.”
“You’re both working for the Yard, because of Sherlock?”
“Sort of,” Lestrade said slowly. “I mean they’d keep someone on the force anyways, just to have a man on the inside so to speak, but yes Sherlock falls under our jurisdiction. He’s also the reason I have Anderson as a back up. He was up for a promotion at the Ministry when he was put in as my assistant and he blames Sherlock for that.”
“That’s why Anderson’s such an arse to him?”
Lestrade grimaced. “Basically, yeah.”
“Brilliant.” John groaned, leaning back into seat. “So I’m basically the only one that didn’t know?”
Sherlock groaned, setting aside A History of Magic and rubbing at his eyes. It was nearly midnight, he’d been reading for hours. His mind palace was swamped with new information and he had no place for it all to go. He closed his eyes sinking back into the tattered arm chair in the downstairs sitting room.
Walking through the halls of his mind was chaotic and almost frightening. Normally he knew exactly where a piece of information belonged. He hardly had to think about it and he was able to sort everything according to how he might use the information, but this was different. At the rate it was going he would have to construct an entire wing just for this new information.
With a sigh Sherlock opened his eyes, gazing around the room. Instantly he regretted the decision, everything in front of him only made matters worse, he needed time to process everything.
WIthout really thinking he pulled out his phone, turning it over in his hand. He’d really expected to hear from John, to berate him at the very least. He wasn’t sure if he should be worried or not. They had left those two wizards there in the cafe, but the girl had erased their memories, right? Though she hadn’t been able to take care of his properly, so he wasn’t even sure he could rely on that. Nervously, he typed out a quick message to John.
I know this is overwhelming John, but I would appreciate your assistance. Your input is invaluable to me. SH
“I thought we were going to Mycroft’s office,” John said as they pulled up to a sprawling estate.
“We would, but it’s nearly midnight. Don’t worry, he knows we’re coming.”
John nodded, trying not to look completely shocked as he stared up at the large mansion like building. It was beautiful, there was no doubt about that, but intimidating at the same time.
“You’ve never been to the Estate I take it, then?” Greg asked, chuckling at John’s reaction.
“No,” John breathed, shaking his head. “I’m assuming you have, then?”
Lestrade shrugged. “Mycroft and I have a lot in common thanks to Sherlock.”
John raised his eyebrows, but didn’t say anything, instead turning his attention back to the estate. He’d always known Sherlock’s family was well off, but he’d never really put much thought to the matter, so the fact that they were this well off was a bit of a surprise. It was only emphasized when they were met at the door by a butler, who promptly asked if he could take their coats or get them anything to drink.
When they declined, the butler, who had introduced himself as Walter, told them to continue through to the study, which apparently Greg was familiar with.
“Oh,” Lestrade said as they reached the double doors. “I should warn you, he doesn’t know you’re with me.”
He flashed John a sheepish grin before pushing the doors open and stepping into the room.
“Gregory,” Mycroft began cheerfully, seeing the D.I.”How nice to see you ag-”
He cut himself short when he saw John walk in behind him. He looked confused for a moment, before everything seemed to click into place. Nodding shortly, his features stiffened.
“Again, then?” he asked shortly, “What is the story this time?”
“The story?!” John asked, incredulous by Mycroft’s response.
“Yes, John. I’m sure if you’re here the D.I. has explained everything to you.” He looked to Lestrade, frustration burning in his eyes.
“I gave him a brief run down, but Mycroft, Sherlock is not at Saint Mungos this time,” Lestrade seemed to be speaking carefully, as if he was afraid he might set him off.
“You said if he found anything out, it would be dealt with promptly. We had a deal Gregory.”
“I know we did,” Lestrade said, nodding in earnest. But… I told you, the Ministry is falling to pieces, it was finally infiltrated. Sherlock would be in more harm there than he is out here.
John was surprised by the amount of emotion the elder Holmes was portraying. He’d always known Sherlock was a weakness to him, but even this was almost painful to watch. Mycroft pressed his lips together tightly, gesturing for the two of them to sit.
“Fine. What happened?”
One hour and far too many cups of tea later, they had managed to relay the entire story, John learning a bit more about the kids Sherlock was with as they talked. Mycroft stayed relatively silent, his hands pressed together in thought.
“As much as I want to go in there and pull him out, Mycroft, this may be a good thing,” Lestrade said.
“A good thing? I’m failing to see how this is a good thing,” Mycroft bit, leaning forward slightly. “Not only does he have knowledge of the magical world, again, but he’s also gallivanting around with those children who seem to be even better at putting themselves into danger than he is!””
“First off, right now he’s in our old headquarters-”
“Which you said was no longer safe, that’s why they had to move it, yes?” Mycroft’s normal cool demeanor quickly fading.
John scrambled to sit up, looking from Mycroft to Greg. “What do you mean it’s not safe?”
“I- It’s safe. He’s safe.” Lestrade managed, quickly back peddling. “It wasn’t safe to keep conducting our Order work there, but if Harry, Ron and Hermione are there, then he’s safe. The building is protected.”
Mycroft let out a huff, but settled back into his chair in resignation.
“As I was saying,” Lestrade continued. “He’s in our old headquarters, so he’s relatively safe. Safer than he would be at Baker Street at this point, and they shouldn’t be leaving for some time. John and I will go tomorrow and see what exactly is going on.”
“I will come with you.”
“No, Mycroft, you won’t,” Lestrade said firmly, shaking his head. “Sherlock is going to be pissed off enough. When he finds out this isn’t the first time, I don’t know that he’ll trust any of us. He doesn’t trust you as it is, and we can’t risk him being obstinate just to spite you.”
Mycroft pursed his lips, but nodded shortly.
“Good,” Lestrade breathed, letting out a sigh of relief now that Mycroft was going along with his plan.
“Alright,” John said, after a few moments of silence had passed. “So we go talk to Sherlock and what? Convince him to come back to Baker Street? He’s just going to obsess over it all again, you know that.
“And we’ll make him forget again.” Mycroft said simply.
“Excuse me?” Mycroft said, looking absolutely stunned by John’s defiance.
“No. You’re not going to erase his memory again.”
“That’s not your choice,” Mycroft replied coolly.
“Not yours either.” John’s hands were in fist on the armrests, his teeth clenched together tightly.
“You don’t understand, John,” Greg said calmly, attempting to diffuse the situation.
“Then explain it to me!” He shouted, looking between the both of them.
Greg looked to Mycroft, wordlessly asking permission. The elder Holmes nodded shortly, folding his hands on the desk in front of him.
“Mycroft and I were not the ones that started erasing Sherlock’s memory,” explained Greg. “Honestly, I don’t know who did. From my understanding he’s been under the radar since he was about fifteen. Everyone, including Mycroft, was tracked down and false memories were implanted each time his memory was altered. I started working with Sherlock about the same time Mycroft was put into his position as liaison… That was when Sherlock got into some trouble.”
The room grew solemnly quiet as Greg took a deep breath before carrying on.
“There was no one working with the yard then, and Sherlock had some how caught on to the Death Eaters. I mean he had names, addresses of some of their meeting places… Merlin knows how he got the information, but no one would listen to him at the Yard so he went after them himself. He was being tortured… I got there just in time.”
“His ignorance keeps him safe,” Mycroft said firmly, his gaze fixed on John.
“No, no his ignorance does not keep him safe,” John countered, looking utterly astonished by the statement. “Had he known how dangerous all these people were, known the right people to get in contact with, he probably never would have gotten into that situation in the first place! You’re putting him in more danger every time this happens!”
Mycroft, completely aghast by John’s accusation, turned to Lestrade for support, but the D.I. simply shrugged noncommittally.
“It was never my choice,” he said simply, looking pointedly at Mycroft, “I was just following orders.”
“This isn’t a vote.” Mycroft managed, obviously chuffed.
“Fine, but know I will be telling him everything.”
Having Lestrade explain everything, twice now, had calmed John considerably. To the point that he was beginning to regret leaving Sherlock in the first place. He had no idea what was in store for them, but he would do everything in his power to make sure Sherlock was able to make the choice this time. He glared back at Mycroft, challenging him to argue. Greg was the one the finally broke the tense silence.
“It doesn’t matter right now.”
Both men turned to look at him questioningly.
“What I mean is,” he continued, throwing his hands up in surrender, “Saint Mungo’s isn’t safe for him, it’s too tied in with the Ministry and the Ministry is completely out of control. If they think he has pertinent information they could try and use him.”
“I thought all those memories were gone,” Mycroft refuted, his eyes narrowing.
“No, not exactly, just very well hidden. That’s why it’s so hard to do with Sherlock. He’s learned to control his mind in a way not many people do. There are ways of extracting hidden memories, but it’s… It’s cruel.” Lestrade explained shortly. “We do not want the Death Eaters finding Sherlock. I have no idea what all he got into before, but if they find him they can extract it.”
John nodded slowly. “So we let him calm down, and we talk to him tomorrow?”
“Yes. For now… I think we all need some rest.” Lestrade stood, letting out a breath of relief before reaching a hand across Mycroft’s desk. “I’ll sort this, Mycroft.”
The elder Holmes looked at his hand curiously before standing and offering his own. “I know you will,” he managed softly as they shook hands.
Lestrade nodded, gripping his hand a moment longer before dropping it and turning away. John just stared at Mycroft, torn between resentment and anger for everything he’d had done to Sherlock..
“Come on, John.” Greg muttered, gripping John’s shoulder and leading him out of the room. “Now’s not the time.”
He shot Mycroft one last glare before allowing himself to be led away, his mind buzzing with the new information.
Even he had to admit, they had caught him off guard. It was supposed to have been a regular check with one of his more trusted ringleaders, but there had been no reason to check that his contact was under the imperius curse. His ties to the magical world had been cut long ago, when he’d shed his childhood name, and it had been years since he’d been approached by any witches or wizards.
Still, he’d made a mistake and it seemed he might be paying for it now. Why the Malfoy Manor though? That seemed odd. Last he checked they were down and out with the rest of Voldemort’s original followers. Maybe completely cutting ties completely had been a bad idea.
The double doors at the other side of the cavernous dining room creaked open and a large snake slithered in. She slowly made her way over to where he’d been seated, rising up until she was looking him in the eyes.
“It doesn’t seem to be frightened.” The hissing whisper was crystal clear in his mind.
“Hardly,” he replied, smiling cynically.
The snake stilled for a moment, seemingly surprised by the response in parseltongue.
“Intriguing,” it finally hissed before turning and slithering back towards the door. A few minutes later it was pushed open, a man with a snake like face taking it’s place.
“Nagini says you speak parseltongue,” he said, his head cocking to the side as he regarded his guest. “I was informed that you were a muggle.”
“Well, I’m not very good with magic, if that’s what you’re asking.”
“You’re a squib.”
“Very good, and you’d be Lord Voldemort. It is a pleasure to meet you.”
“Who are you?”
“Moriarty. Jim Moriarty. Now,” he leaned forward, grabbing the tea that had been left in front of him and raising it nonchalantly for a sip before continuing. “What could the Dark Lord possibly want from a squib with a knack for potions and deception?”
Voldemort was silent, and Nagini hissed wordlessly at him as she slunk to her master’s side.
“I know you’re both considering just killing me and making a clean deal of all of this, but you may want to reconsider.”
“And why would I do that?”
“Because you need me!” Moriarty said, his voice almost giddy. “You think any of your idiot followers understand the muggle world well enough to infiltrate it?” He paused just long enough for the thought to sink in. “I, on the other hand, have all the experience you need. I went to muggle schools but grew up in the wizarding world. I know the ins and outs of both. I know all the strings to pull… They’re all like my personal puppets. But you knew that, didn’t you?”
Moriarty smiled slightly at the realization as he continued. “That’s why I’m here. I’m a threat or your greatest tool, and you simply can’t decide which.”
Voldemort’s features were like stone, never giving way just how shaken he was that this squib was right.
“You know of Harry Potter, then?” Voldemort asked, his eyes narrowing further.
“Of course I do. I am for hire if you need a professional to help in his disposal.”
Voldemort’s lips twitched in irritation and Nagini snaked up onto the table so she was between them. “If anyone finds out I consulted with-”
“Yes, yes, you’ll kill me,” Moriarty interrupted, waving one hand impatiently before taking another sip of his tea. ”Boring. What is your master plan, then?”
“Ambush him and use the killing curse,” Voldemort replied simply, as if this much was obvious.
“Mhm yes, which clearly worked for you in the past.” Despite the fact that he could and would be killed if Voldemort deemed him unnecessary, Moriarty seemed to be completely at ease. He smiled, chuckling before adding, “Aren’t ordinary villains adorable.”
Sherlock spent the rest of the night pouring over the books Hermione had given him. There was so much information he’d had to build an entirely new wing to house it all. He had to admit, this part of his mind palace was different. The walls, the atmosphere, it all reflected just how difficult and daunting this was for him to accept. Sherlock knew now for sure that this was real, the evidence was all there right in front of him, but that didn’t make it any less impossible.
Leaning back in the moth-eaten sofa Sherlock closed his eyes and rubbed at his temples idly. Daylight was just starting to break and he knew he only had so much time before everyone upstairs awoke. He began retracing the steps through his mind. The door that originally held all the secrets just a day before was now crystal-clear. It led the way to the new wing filled with bits of information about spells, potions, and just about anything else he could imagine.
Something felt off though. There was something familiar about the walls and somehow he didn’t have to think too much to organize everything. It was if his mind had already categorized this information before. He growled as his hands pushed up through his hair and tousled it in frustration. It felt like he was missing something. Not to mention he still didn’t know how he was going to actually help them. He’d read about the horcruxes, and he had a few theories as to how they could find the rest of them, but the fact that there was still something wrong with his mind, his memories.
Honestly, it was beginning to frighten him.
In an attempt to work through whatever was out of place Sherlock slipped back into his mind palace and began slowly sifting through the piles of raw information. He’d just found a room full of bits of information that he couldn’t remember reading that day, names and faces, things he couldn’t explain, when he was jarred out of his meditative state by a croaking scream.
Sherlock’s eyes shot open, and he couldn’t help but shift back away from the wrinkled being standing on top of ‘A History of Magic’ on the coffee table and leering towards him.
“A muggle in mistresses house! Filthy muggle-“ The sound of the creature’s screams were drowned out by the portrait in the hall joining in.
“Mudbloods! Muggles! Filth, stains of dishonor, bring shame upon the house of Black-“
Sherlock was shocked for only a moment. Before he heard the pounding of three pairs of feet descending the stairs he was up and reaching for what he now recognized as a house elf. Despite the fact that he’d seen moving photos of them in one of the books he hadn’t actually taken into account that they were real beings.
Just before his hand wrapped around the bony wrist of the house elf there was a sharp crack and it disappeared. Thrown off balance, Sherlock nearly fell forward, and he could have sworn he felt a zap electricity course through his palm as it grasped at the now empty air. Before he had time to think there was a loud bang at the base of the stair that caused Sherlock to jump and turn towards the sound. He found Harry, Ron, and Hermione looking completely startled and out of breath. Whatever they’d done the curtains were closed back over the portrait once again and the screaming had stopped.
“What the hell just happened?” Ron demanded, clearly on alert.
“House-elf,” Sherlock stammered out, surprised by his own hesitance. “It, uh, disappeared…” his voice trailed off. He had to keep reminding himself that no matter how impossible it seemed it was real.
“Kreacher?” Hermione offered, looking between Ron and Harry in turn.
“Has to be,” Harry said, not sounding all together certain.
“I assume we haven’t been infiltrated then?” Sherlock snapped, straightening his coat and raising his chin slightly. He couldn’t help but be irritated that they left out the fact that things could pop in and out of Grimmauld place at will, considering they’d been on the run only the night before.
“No, not quite,” said Harry, shaking his head, “That was probably Kreacher, he’s the house-elf here-”
“Bloody pest is what he is.”
“Sorry,” Ron muttered, stuffing his hands deep into his pockets.
“Should I expect him to pop in a yell at me again anytime soon,” Sherlock asked, his lips turning into a small snarl. He didn’t wait for an answer as he pulled out his phone to send John another text.
It wasn’t too odd for John to ignore his attempts at apologies. John was hotheaded, Sherlock knew that, but he couldn’t help but think that this was different. He felt as though this was much more deserving of John’s attention.
He’d just begun texting a rather rude message when Ron interrupted him.
“What’s that?” Sherlock shot him a scathing look. Thankfully Hermione came to his rescue before he could be subjected to Sherlock’s ridicule.
“It’s a mobile, muggles use them to communicate. A telephone. You’ve used one before Ron. It’s much faster than Owls really.”
“You don’t use mobiles?” Sherlock asked, flabbergasted by the idea of it. “Is there a reason you wish to live in the dark ages?” His eyebrows rose in challenge.
Hermione nodded towards his phone, almost haughtily. “Have you heard from anyone since you got here?” She barely paused, the twitch in his lips answer enough. “The magical protections cause too much interference for them to work. Some witches and wizards have mobiles, but only ones that spend most of their time in the muggle world.”
“Oh,” Sherlock breathed, as though the explanation had been his own epiphany. He locked his phone and slipped it back into his pocket, not exactly comfortable being completely cut off from the rest of the world. “How do I communicated with the outside world, then?”
Harry had just opened his mouth to respond when there was a sharp knock on the door. The whole house fell silent, everyone turning to stare down the hall. Sherlock could have sworn the air was vibrating with anticipation.
They knocked again.
“Well,” started Ron, gesturing towards the door. “They aren’t banging in the door. It could be someone from the Order.”
Harry nodded shortly and started forward. He peeked through the small eye hole, and immediately Sherlock knew it was someone the boy knew.
“It’s fine,” said Harry as the tension left his shoulders. He opened the door, surprising Sherlock with his exuberant greeting. “Lestrade! Is it good to see you.”
“And you Harry,” Lestrade replied tightly, his eyes flitting to Sherlock for just a moment. When he stepped inside Sherlock saw that he had John in tow, looking rather pale.
“Did anyone see you?” Harry asked, shutting the door behind him quickly. There were a few men in dark cloaks spread out around the street, waiting for them to show themselves.
“No, we apparated right onto the porch-”
“You know them.” Sherlock’s voice was short and clipped. “How?”
“That’s why we’re here-” John began, but he was quickly cut off by a nearly irate Sherlock.
His mind was reeling. How could Lestrade know these three? How could he have been involved in the magical world at all and Sherlock not noticed? All the faith he’d had in his own powers of observation had failed him.
Lestrade held up his hands in defense, speaking quickly as though he were honestly worried what Sherlock would do if he didn’t answer him.
“I’m part of the order. Part of the wizard resistance that’s been fighting the Death Eaters. I did tell you to stay out of the Sherlock, you should have listened-”
“Should have listened?” Sherlock scoffed in mock surprise. “So what? You’re one of them.”
Lestrade nodded shortly. His eyes turned on John quickly though, as if he were begging for some sort of help.
“Why don’t we go sit down,” Hermione said. One hand grabbed Sherlock’s elbow in an attempt to pull him back towards the sitting room. He didn’t budge, instead choosing to glare at John, who was still standing with his back against the door.
“And you,” he snarled. It felt like everything he knew was crumbling, and John, the constant epicenter of his world, had left him to drown in a new world he knew nothing about. “Now that Lestrade’s come out and said all’s well you’re willing to help? It’s not insane as long as you have the Detective Inspector on your side now is it? Your faith in me is absolutely astounding.”
“Sherlock that’s enough,” Lestrade snapped, pulling out his wand and pointing it at Sherlock. “You have no idea how many times I wanted to bind that mouth of yours shut, and now that you know about magic I can. We can either sit down and talk about this like adults, or I can curse you and you can just listen. It’s up to you.”
Sherlock glared at the offensive object being turned on him. Hermione had pulled her hand away the moment Lestrade had pulled out his wand. All eyes in the room were on Sherlock, and it looked, for a moment, as though Sherlock was going to concede, but then he opened his mouth.
“I’m not interested in anything you have to say. I’m sure you know your way-”
Before Sherlock could finish his sentence Lestrade flicked his wand at him, to the surprise of everyone else in the room. “Silencio!”
^^ Gifset used in this chapter
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Chapter 13: Together or Not at All
Okay so I'm sorry it took so long for me to update. I think it will be more regular now. My amazing beta, Beltainfaerie, knows about this project now, and she's really good poking me until I start writing.
Also. Since it took so long for me to update, I did a bit of an edit on everything before this. Nothing substantial changed... except for the spell at the end of the last chapter. It's Silencio now. It's at the top of this chapter, so there is no confusion. It's all fine.
Again, sorry. <33
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Sherlock's mouth opened, but no sound came out. His throat felt impossibly tight. For a moment fear rushed through him, what had he done? The fear quickly faded, however, into something much darker. Emotions flashed across his features. Frustration. Anger. Resentment.
Before anyone could respond to what had just happened, Sherlock had stomped off to the sitting room and thrown himself back into the sofa.
"Well, that went over better than I thought it would," Lestrade said, looking shocked.
"He's been up all night reading-"
"What the hell did you just do to him?" John sputtered, cutting Hermione off. "Did you just put a curse on him?"
"Yes," Lestrade admitted hesitantly. "I know it sounds bad to you, John, but really it's a minor curse. I can undo it whenever I like. He just can't speak till then."
"Right," John sighed after a moments hesitation, gesturing to the sitting room. "Let's get this over with then."
Sherlock had his arms crossed over his chest. He was glaring petulantly across the room, purposefully avoiding everyone's gaze as they filed in. As far as he was concerned, this was unforgivable. Not the curse, that he would get over as soon as it was lifted. No. It was the fact that Lestrade had lied to him for over six years. He knew! He knew and he’d never said anything.
"Harry," Lestrade said, moving to sit on the tattered sofa beside John. "Perhaps there's something the three of you can do while we talk." He didn't need to say anything else.
"Right. Of course. We'll just..." Harry said, jerking his head back towards the stairs.
"Thanks." He waited until they'd disappeared up the dusty staircase before speaking again. "If I lift the curse, are you going to hear us out?" Lestrade asked, holding his wand loosely in his hand.
Sherlock's jaw tightened. He was half tempted to ignore him completely. Unfortunately, that would get him none of the answers he needed. After a moment of hesitation, he nodded. Lestrade flicked his wand, and Sherlock took a gasping breath, his hand coming up to massage the front of his throat as he spoke.
"Was that really necessary?"
"Apparently," Lestrade replied, slipping his wand into the inside of his jacket. "Now, John and I have been talking. There are some things you need to know, before you continue with any of this."
"Like what?" Sherlock snapped. "The fact that all of this has been right in front of me the entire time, and I never noticed? Thanks, but I see that now." He raised his feet, propping them up on the coffee table with a huff. "While you two were chatting, I was researching." He tapped the stack of books with his insole as evidence. Of course, Sherlock wasn’t nearly as confident in all of this as he let on, but at least he had something to go off of.
"Well, that's the thing,” Lestrade said, grimacing as he spoke. “That's not quite true."
"What do you mean? What's not true?"
Sherlock scowled, looking between the two of them. Lestrade was so easy to read it was almost pitiful. Guilt. Regret. Sherlock sat up, suddenly on alert. Whatever they had come to tell him, he could already tell it was not going to be anything good.
"You did notice," John said finally. It seemed as though Lestrade was incapable of offering any sort of explanation. "In fact, you noticed so many times, people were placed around you to make sure you didn't find out again."
"What-" Sherlock balked. "I- What are you saying?"
John looked to Lestrade, who nodded, before continuing.
John spoke, recounting everything Mycroft and Lestrade had told him. Sherlock didn’t interrupt, or ask questions. He listened in brooding silence as what was left of his reality was torn to pieces before his eyes. It was inexcusable. Mycroft had known all this time, and managed to keep it from him. How?
When John had finished, Sherlock’s attention turned to Lestrade.
"All these years." His voice was shaking, half in anger, half in fear. "You know how important my mind is to me, and you allowed these- these... They tampered with me!"
"Sher," Lestrade pleaded, tearing a hand through his hair. "I didn't have a choice, alright? At the time it seemed like an okay option. I didn’t even know you when I was first brought in. You have to remember- I didn't start this."
"No, you didn't, but you sure as hell didn't do anything to stop it either."
Lestrade recoiled, almost as if he’d been slapped by the harsh words. Sherlock couldn’t be arsed to care at the moment. "I messed up, Sherlock. We all did."
Sherlock let out a mirthless laugh, the anger billowing up inside of him.
"Listen," John said, trying to calm him down. "I know you're angry. I am too, but that isn't going to change anything. Lestrade was doing his job. He saved your life.” Sherlock just crossed his arms petulantly in response. “I already told Mycroft he can't make this decision for you again. Not that it matters much, there's no one to erase your memory right now. You're safe from that. But honestly, that’s the least of our worries, considering..."
"The Death Eaters," Sherlock said simply.
"Yes. Sherlock, you have no idea how dangerous they are.” Lestrade’s jaw tightened and he took a shaky breath. “There is a reason the ministry is no longer under control. They will do anything to achieve their means. We’ve lost witches and wizards that were trained to deal with these sorts. You would have no way to protect yourself if you went up against them."
"And?" Sherlock said, his head cocking to the side. "You said yourself, at the very least, they are aware of my existence, thanks to whatever I did as a child. Can you say, with any certainty, that John and I would be safe at Baker Street, pretending like we didn't know anything?"
"Not with certainty, no," Lestrade admitted. "But that doesn't make this a better option!"
"Yes it does. I can help." He looked to John for support. John was the only person he could trust now. Everyone else had lied to him. They were the ones that had put him in this position to begin with. He needed John.
There was a long moment of silence where, not for the first time, Sherlock found himself completely uncertain of how John would react. It was his unpredictability that made John so ceaselessly interesting, but at times like this, it was absolutely maddening.
"We can help," John corrected, meeting Sherlock's gaze. "If you want to stay, I'm with you. God help me."
And just like that, Sherlock’s fears were washed away. Relief visibly rushed through him as Lestrade turned to John in shock.
"Yeah, I'm not letting him do this alone."
"You two are mad," Lestrade muttered, shaking his head. "Mycroft's going to be livid."
"Good. This is his fault anyway,” Sherlock said flippantly. Restless, he stood and moved to the window, pulling the curtains aside to look out. "Did anyone follow you here?"
Lestrade shook his head, moving to see what Sherlock was looking at. "We apparated right onto the porch. No one would have seen us."
Sherlock hummed in understanding, pointing out the figures posted at the end of the street just as John moved to follow them. "It appears we're drawing a crowd."
Sherlock opened the curtain a bit wider, showing both men what he was talking about. There were shadowed figures at both ends of the street, dark cloaks with hoods obscuring their faces.
John was interrupted by three pairs of feet clambering down the stairs.
“Woah," Lestrade called after them. "What's going on?"
They’d woken the portrait again, but none of them seemed to care as they flew down the stairs to the basement. Lestrade shot a spell at the portrait, forcing the curtains closed before tearing after the other three.
Sherlock was about to follow, when a hand on his arm stopped him. Without a word, he stopped, both of them waiting for Lestrade to disappear down the steps before they broke the silence.
“I tried texting you,” said John, just as the door snapped closed. “Lestrade was at the flat before I even got back there. I-”
“It’s fine, John.” Sherlock said shortly, shaking John’s hand off. It fell to his side like a limp rag.
“No, it’s not! None of this is fine. Seriously, Sherlock, what are we going to do?”
John scoffed, following Sherlock back over to the sofa, taking the seat opposite him as he spoke. “You were listening, right? A single word and these people could kill you, or worse. How could you possibly think we will be of any help?”
“We’ve already been made.” Sherlock shrugged, leaning forward on knees. Hands pressed beneath his chin. “We can’t just stay out of it. We’ll be walking targets. A danger to everyone around us. If it makes you feel any better, I think I may be able to locate some of the memories they buried before.The knowledge that those doors are there is starting to… shake things loose, so to speak.”
“Brilliant.” Running a hand through his hair, John leaned back in the chair. “I thought I’d left the war behind,” he muttered dejectedly.
Sherlock’s lips pulled into a nearly playful smirk.
“Really, John. You know better than anyone; the battlefields are everywhere. Of course we’d be the ones to stumble across one as improbable as this.”
John chuckled, softly at first, but when Sherlock joined in it quickly deteriorated into stifled hysterics.
Sherlock had no idea how they were going to help these kids. He wasn’t sure they could, honestly. But he was certain of one thing. He was not going to go on and pretend as though everything was fine. They would figure out a way to help find these Horcruxes, but there were a few things he needed to take care of first.
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Chapter 14: What's Next?
So there are going to be a lot of inferences throughout this piece. I doubt you all want to reread Deathly Hallows as we go(or maybe you do.. that's fine. Some stuff will change though). So, unless there is a big canon divergence, we’ll be following John and Sherlock rather than the trio. We know their part in all this. If you are confused about how it lines up with DH at all, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll start leaving notes about what chapter it lines up with.
“What the hell is that?”
John was frozen in the doorway to the basement kitchen, staring at the pale sickly creature that was crying on the floor. It turned towards him. Large bugged eyes narrowing on John.
”More filth in Mistress’ home!”
Large crocodile tears welled up in the creatures eyes as he threw himself into the floor, small fists raining against the dingy linoleum.
“Kreacher! Stop. Now.” The wailing ceased, and all the attention in the room turned to Harry. “They are guests in this house, and I expect them to be treated as such. Is that understood?”
The response was a bitter, “Yes, Master,” but he continued to glare pointedly towards John and Sherlock. Muggles seemed to be one step farther than Kreacher was able to handle.
John was still staring, opened mouthed. Sherlock on the other hand simply looked curious; his eyes narrowed in concentration. The last encounter with the house elf hadn’t exactly given him the chance to thoroughly inspect it. Harry let out an aggravated sigh as Kreacher got to his feet, backing away from them like a frightened animal.
“John. Sherlock.” Lestrade nodded back towards the door. Without a word they followed him back upstairs.
When they were back on the landing John rounded on Lestrade.
“John,” Sherlock said in warning, glancing back at the curtains rippling over the portrait behind them. It didn’t take a genius to realize what set it off.
His teeth clenched, and after a calming breath he began again, quieter.
“What the hell was that thing?”
“A house-elf,” Sherlock answered him immediately, earning him a surprised look from Lestrade.
“Really have been doing your homework then,” he said, sounding impressed.
Sherlock merely shrugged.
“Right,” John scoffed. “What’s next? Fairies? Werewolves?”
John’s tone made it clear that he was joking. Magic was one thing, but, in John’s mind, magical creatures was a step too far.
“Actually…” Lestrade shrugged, offering him an apologetic smile.
“Christ!” John groaned. “Is there anything else I should know?”
Lestrade grimaced. “Not sure we have the time to cover everything.”
“We don’t,” Sherlock said firmly. “I need to see Mycroft. Can you get me there without raising suspicion.”
“Us-” John interrupted before Lestrade could respond. “Don’t think for one second I’m letting you off on your own. Not happening.”
“I’m sure I can manage a visit with my brother without your supervision,” Sherlock scoffed.
Lestrade opened his mouth to speak, but neither of them seemed to notice him.
“The same brother that basically had you institutionalized every time things didn’t go his way?”
“Enough!” Lestrade growled. The portrait burst open once again and he shot a spell at the curtains before glaring at both of them. “Honestly, you’re acting like children. John, if you two are going to be helping them, you can’t stay at Baker Street. Which means you’ll need to pack some things, quickly. You can pack. I’ll take Sherlock to see Mycroft.”
“And we’re just supposed to trust you again?” John bit, his temper rising.
“What do you think I’m going to do, John?” When Lestrade’s question was met with silence he continued. “This is overwhelming. I get it. But you’re in, or you’re out. There is no middle ground. If you can’t do this, tell me now… and you won’t even know you made the choice. You can go back to Baker Street. As far as you’d remember Sherlock would just be off working a case for Mycroft. You’d be none the wiser.”
For a moment, Sherlock actually found himself worrying about what John’s answer would be. He could walk away with one simple word. Sherlock didn’t have that luxury. This world had haunted him all his life. As far as Sherlock saw it, it wasn’t a matter of one mistake, meeting Hermione that day. It was a lifetime of moments he’d been cheated out of. This was just the inevitable catching up to him.
John’s hesitation was hardly more than a few moments of thought, and Sherlock couldn’t blame him for that. In the end, his answer was all that mattered.
“I said I’m in, and I meant it.”
Lestrade nodded tightly.
They turned at the sound of three pairs of feet ascending the stairs.
“Is he going to find him?” Lestrade asked.
Harry nodded. He looked exhausted and overwhelmed. He obviously hadn’t managed much sleep the night before, but the teen appeared determined to make the other two believe he was fine.
“Find who?” John asked, brow furrowing. No one answered. It seemed as if everyone privy in the room was waiting for someone else to deal with the explaining. “If we’re going to be helping you, we need to know what’s going on,” he added
To everyone’s surprise, Ron spoke up.
“Mundungus Fletcher. He’s not one of them, not really. Just a skeez. We think he might have nicked one of the horcruxes without knowing what it was.”
“And that thing-”
“His name is Kreacher,” Hermione interrupted.
John looked taken aback a moment before he continued. “Right… Kreacher. He’s going to find this Fletcher guy, and then we’ll have one of those things we’re looking for.”
“That’s the idea.”
“Well, at least we have something to start on.”
It wouldn’t be as simple as that, but for now, it was enough.
“You two are really staying?” Harry sounded surprised more than anything.
John looked to Sherlock for a moment and nodded. “We have to take care of some things, but if anyone can work out a puzzle like this, it’ll be Sherlock.”
He didn’t see the slight smile pull at the edge of Sherlock’s lips at the indirect praise.
“First things first,” Greg said. “They need to pack and take care of a few things. People don’t just up and disappear. Not in the muggle world. And the sooner the better. It won’t be long before He catches wind of this and puts targets on them. We shouldn’t be gone more than a couple hours.”
John was never going to be used to apparating. It was like suffocating. Almost like drowning, but worse. As if he’d been thrown through space, the lack of any air whatsoever tearing him apart-- then again maybe that was exactly what happened.
He’d barely had a moment to catch his breath before Lestrade was stuffing a grey messenger bag into his hands and reminding him to pack anything they could need. Anything.
With another loud crack, John was alone. He looked down at the bag, still a little in awe. Hermione had explained it well enough. Bigger on the inside. Like the Doctor Who, but real. Apparently wizards didn’t watch telly, because no one else had understood the reference. He opened the bag again, glancing inside. It was dark, and deep enough that he could only reach the seams of the bag if he was in it up to his shoulder.
That was how Mrs. Hudson found him. Standing in the middle of the sitting room with a messenger bag quite literally up around his shoulder, as he tried to discern just how deep it was. The moment he reached the bottom, it seemed to grow bigger, accommodating whatever he might want to pack inside.
“Mrs. Hudson,” John all but yelped, ripping his arm out of the bag. “Wh-... I just woke up. Sorry I haven’t been by. Quite a scare last night.”
“Oh, John. You’re a terrible liar. Where’s Sherlock?”
“Out,” John replied distractedly. “What do you mean a terrible liar?”
“I may not be as young as I once was, dear, but I know the sound of someone apparating when I hear it. I knew something was wrong when you two didn’t make it home last night. Is everything alright?”
John just stared for a moment, dumbfounded. “You’re one of them, too?”
“Oh, don’t say it like that dear,” she chided, bustling picking around the room like normal, gathering up a pair of forgotten tea mugs from the desk as she spoke and carrying them to the kitchen. “I’m not actually a witch.”
“What are you then?”
“I’m what they call a Squib. My mum and dad were both magical, but it just didn’t get passed down. You don’t look too surprised. Been to see Mycroft already, then?”
“I think we’ve been recruited,” he joked dryly, nodding.
She returned to his side, smiling at him gently. “You know, I always thought it was ridiculous to try and keep Sherlock out of all this. He’s just so curious. You take care of him, John Watson. You hear me?”
John chuckled, mirthlessly. He couldn’t find it in himself to be angry with Mrs. Hudson. He nodded, giving her a small hug.
“What about you? Will you be safe?”
“Oh, I’m just a Squib dear. No one will bother with me, not with you two gone. How long-”
“I don’t know.”
She looked somber for a moment before giving his shoulder a small reassuring squeeze. “Alright dear. If you need anything, just let me know. And be sure to come downstairs before you leave. Sherlock, too.”
“Thank you, Mrs. H.”
It was impossible to miss just how much this tore at her. They were like sons to her, Sherlock especially. John had seen the reactions from everyone, he was not naive of the ways of war. People had already died. They were, for all intents and purposes, showing up to a gunfight with a knife.
How could they possibly measure up to magic?
Still, when it came time to pack up his own belongings he made sure to pack every last bullet, just in case.
Just over an hour later there was a deafening crack from the sitting room.
“All packed?” Lestrade asked.
“Yeah, figured I’d let Sherlock have a once over, but I think I gathered everything important.” He’d managed to pack plenty of clothes for both of them, all the case notes referring to the Death Eaters, and a fair amount of toiletries. “How’d the meeting go?”
Lestrade shrugged pulling out his phone. “You’d have to ask Sherlock.”
At the mention of his name, Sherlock snapped back, like he’d been somewhere else entirely. “It was fine,” he bit out, taking the bag from John and immediately falling into his chair to root through it.
“Right,” John said, watching Sherlock warily. “Well, Mrs. Hudson came by. Apparently she’s a Squid or something.”
“Squib,” Sherlock corrected.
“Oh, so you already know?”
He paused, his brows furrowing in concern for a moment before he shrugged. “Apparently.”
Sherlock went right back to digging through the bag, no doubt ruining John’s attempt at organization.
“She said to stop by… before we left.”
Sherlock nodded absently. Whatever had happened with Mycroft, it had left the younger man in a completely different state. John would get it out of him, but for the time being they needed to leave as soon as possible. He had a bad feeling about staying at Baker Street. They weren’t safe.
“Anything missing?” John asked, trying to hurry Sherlock along.
“No,” he sighed. “It’s fine.”
John took mercy on him and didn’t point out that he knew it was fine, considering he packed for both of them whenever they took out of town cases.
“We need to go,” Lestrade reminded them, putting his phone back in his pocket. “We don’t have much time.”
John nodded, taking the bag from Sherlock.
Mrs. Hudson seemed to be waiting for them. Her door opened the moment John knocked, and she ushered them in with glassy eyes. She lingered for a moment before bustling back into the kitchen. Lestrade stayed near the front door, out of the way.
“I made you boys some of those biscuits you like,” she said, grabbing a large paper sack and holding it tightly, as if it would somehow keep them there, with her. Sniffling softly, she forced a smile.
“Thank you,” John said, taking the sack from her and adding it to the nearly weightless bag over his shoulder.
She nodded, blinking back the tears. “Now you two, take care of each other. No silly domestics. Understand me?” Her voice wavered, but John couldn’t help but smile at the maternal tone.
Sherlock nodded solemnly, and before anything else could be said he stepped forward, pulling her into a hug. The surprise written across Mrs. Hudson’s face would have been comical had the circumstances been better. After a moment she returned the hug, patting his back gently, kissing him on the cheek when he finally pulled away. Then she turned to John, hugging him as well.
“We’ll see you soon,” he assured her, squeezing her gently.
“I know, love.” Her voice shook as a few tears managed to escape. “Just be safe.”
“We will be.”
She nodded, her lip trembling as they made their way out of the kitchen. Seconds later there was a loud crack. She didn’t have to follow them out of the kitchen to know that they were already gone.