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An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life

Chapter Text

In a small house at Number 4 Privet Drive there lived what seemed to be a perfectly ordinary family at least to outward appearances. However in this seemingly normal house there lived an extraordinary little boy by the name of Harry Potter.

Harry did not yet know how extraordinary he was, that would only occur to him in the following years. He thought himself to simply be an orphan taken in by his Aunt and Uncle and cousin. Laying on the bed that was too small in the cupboard under the stairs he listened to the conversation taking place outside his door.

Vernon Dursley had just returned home from work. He sounded much more excited than he usually did on a Monday evening, even going so far as to whistle a jaunty tune. Coming through the door he shed his coat from his rather large and rotund frame and hung it on the hook next to him. "Petunia! Good news!! My boss has taken us up on our invitation to dinner! He and his wife will be coming on Thursday!"

Turning to his wife who was standing in the kitchen doorway he couldn't help but noticed the rather pinched expression on her face. (Although to tell the truth, her face always looked rather pinched). "We received a letter today, Vernon, delivered by an owl (of all things), concerning the boy."

"What has he done now? You would think he would be grateful to us for taking him in after his useless parents got themselves killed, but all he does is continue to cause trouble! He never learns his lesson, does he?" As he spoke Vernon's face became more ruddy than it already was and he moved over to the locked cupboard door. Throwing open the door, he looked down at the small boy curled up on the bed. Reaching in and grabbing the skinny arm, he pulled the boy from the small space.

"What did you do boy? Who have you been telling lies to? Did someone see one of your freakish tricks?" Shaking the small arm he held with spittle flying from his lips as he yelled "What did I tell you about your tricks? I will not have it!"

Used to his kind of treatment and knowing he had done nothing wrong, Harry looked at his uncle through the large round glasses perched on his nose. Even when his uncle raised his hand and struck him on his bum and lower back, he remained silent knowing that anything he said or did in this situation would only be used against him.

"The letter was from those people. They said they would be coming to take him away, that we were abusing him and that he would be placed where he would be safer!" At this Vernon released the boy and turned to his wife.

" How dare they imply that he is not safe here! He was dumped on our doorstep and we have done nothing but try to make him normal! Is it our fault that he is too stupid to learn? Ingrates, the whole lot of them! Let them take him, he was never wanted here anyway!" Turning back to the boy he gave him a small shove toward the cupboard.

"Get in there boy! I don't want to see you again before you leave!" The door slammed behind Harry who listened as it was re-locked. "How much longer will he be here?”

“They said he would be picked up by Friday.” She assured her husband in her strident tone of voice.

“Hmpf. Good riddance, then! At least now the boy won't be around to be a bad influence on our Dudders!"

Crawling back into his bed, Harry curled himself into a small ball. The pain of the blows his Uncle had given him pushed aside for the moment. As he watched the small spiders he shared his space with dangle from the ceiling he wondered what exactly was going to happen to him. He knew the Dursley's didn't treat him the same way they treated his cousin Dudley. They didn’t even treat him the way he saw other parents interact with their own children. He hated it here honestly, but couldn't remember being anywhere else. Reaching up beneath the unruly black fringe laying on his forehead he touched the lightning shaped scar. A memory of a pretty red haired woman smiling down at him immediately flashed through his head. He was almost sure this was his mum, though he had never seen a picture of either of his parents. This was the only good memory that he could recall before the Dursley's, and none of his memories here were what most would probably consider good. Rolling onto his back Harry let his mind wander about what was going to happen to him and where he would end up until he fell into a fitful sleep.

Chapter Text

In an ancient castle in the wilds of Scotland a rather wizened man sat behind a large desk and peered at the woman across from him through his half moon shaped spectacles. As he listened he stroked his long white beard and began thinking of all the ramifications and possibilities of what he was being told.

“Albus, I stopped by Number 4 Privet Drive to observe Mr. Potter as you asked. What I found, Albus...it was appalling.” Stopping to take a deep breath Minerva McGonagall recalled with no small amount guilt and nausea the scene that had taken place through the window.

“He is small for his age, clearly underfed. He was covered in bruises and flinched at the smallest movements and noise. It was heartbreaking, Albus. They are abusing him in the worst ways. That lumbering oaf of an Uncle is the worst. Yelling at him for every small thing and striking him whenever he’s in a mood. The Aunt just stands by and acts like she doesn’t notice.”

“She had him cooking and doing all the cleaning, waiting on them as if he was a house elf. He’s four years old Albus! Four! And that woman had him cooking on a hot stove! He had to stand on a stool just to be able to see what he was doing. He burned himself on one of the pans and all she said was “Dinner better not be late!””

Taking another deep breath she rubbed her forehead. “We left him there Albus, to be treated no better than a slave, to be abused by his blood. We have to fix it, we can’t let this continue. He is not safe in that house.”

Looking over at her friend and headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Minerva tried to push aside the rage that had built in her chest. To treat a helpless boy that way, simply because you were afraid and resentful of what he could do! It was untenable. It had taken everything in her power to remain in her anamagus form and not interfere with what she saw happening.

Continuing to stroke his beard and think for a few more moments, Dumbledore finally shifted forward and spoke. “I am very sorry to hear that we have put the boy into this situation Minerva. You are correct in saying that something must be done. However, young Mr. Potter’s situation is unique, so we must tread carefully. He is in danger there, yes, but would be in greater danger in our world. The Dark Lord still has followers who must not find Mr. Potter. We placed him with his Aunt and Uncle because of the blood bond. It was the best way to keep him safe at the time.” Taking another moment to gather his thoughts, he continued.

“The best option for keeping him safe from our world is still to place him with a blood relative. Lily Potter’s sacrifice of her life for her son’s is very powerful magic and it has protected him from his enemies so far. We need to find a blood relative, Minerva, and from what I understand, Lily’s family was never large to begin with.”

“I’ve already looked into it Albus. I found a first cousin to Lily and Petunia. A muggle by the name of Dr. John Watson. He is a muggle healer and was a soldier in their Army. When we first placed Mr. Potter with his Aunt and Uncle, Dr. Watson was overseas fighting in the war the muggles are currently involved in. He was invalided home a little more than a two years ago. He lived in London with a flatmate, who has recently committed suicide. He is not in the best of circumstances at the moment, but from all that I observed and learned about him he is a brave, honest, loyal man. A Gryffindor through and through.” Processing the information he was just given, Albus looked back toward his colleague.

“You would trust this man, MInerva, to raise The Boy Who Lived?”

Without a single hesitation MInerva looked into grave blue eyes, “I would.”

“Then I believe, my dear, it may be time for me to meet Dr. John Watson.”

Chapter Text

It had been ten months since the fall of Sherlock Holmes. John had locked himself into the flat for the first month, not leaving except to attend the funeral and only eating when Mrs. Hudson forced him to. He had been buried in guilt and grief and had allowed himself to wallow there. At the end of the first month, Detective Inspector Lestrade had come by with Donovan and had asked him to come down to the Yard. It was phrased as a request, but John knew that it was anything but. He had gone, with no fuss, and endured hours of questions and snide remarks from several officers on the subject of his and Sherlock’s arrest, relationship, and the events leading up to Sherlock’s suicide. They had repeated this process many times over the next several months.

The Met were reviewing all of Sherlock’s old case files and often John was called to come in to answer questions. Lestrade did not participate in the questioning but was in the room for the entirety of the process. John avoided looking at him as much as possible. He still held Lestrade responsible in part for Sherlock’s fall. With John’s and several other witness’ statements and with the recording found on Sherlock’s phone of his last conversation with Moriarty, the MET could not find any evidence of fraud and were forced to drop charges against Sherlock and clear his name. John still had his court date for decking the Superintendent, (he still smirked when he thought about that) but he had a few weeks before then.

Today Sherlock was officially cleared, the Yard going so far as to release a statement and holding a small press conference. He’d made his way out of NSY as quickly as possible, not bothering to stay for questions or interviews.
Once outside he took a deep breath and turned to make his way towards the tube station, already planning his evening which would consist of a drinking a cuppa while sitting in his arm chair in front of the fireplace. He only made it about a half block before a sleek black car pulled up next to him. Cursing and continuing to walk the car followed him until he was forced to stop for the light on the corner. The back door of the vehicle opened and a voice John could have gone without hearing for the rest of his life called out. “Get in the car Dr. Watson.” Giving in to the inevitability of Mycroft Holmes getting his own way, John slid into the backseat of the car and closed the door.

Sitting across from him, Mycroft Holmes took in the new lines that seemed etched into the already weathered face, the bags under the eyes, and weight loss before addressing the man. “Ah, Dr. Watson, thank you for joining me. How are you?”

John could not suppress an eye roll at the condescending tone as well as the redundancy of the question. “As if you don’t already know Mycroft. I’m sure the flat is still bugged. What do you want?”

Shifting slightly in the seat and adjusting the grip he had on the handle of the umbrella, the man in the three piece suit looked over John. “I have some business to discuss with you. You did not attend the reading of will. Sherlock left you everything, Dr. Watson, and he was quite a wealthy man, though you wouldn’t know it by how he lived.”

Looking down and blinking back the tears that had formed in his eyes, just from hearing his name spoken aloud, John cleared his throat before speaking. “Sherlock didn’t care about money. Dull, he said, boring. I don’t want it Mycroft. Do with it what you will.”

As the car turned onto Baker street, Mycroft looked the doctor again. “It is yours regardless whether you want it or not John. He ensured you would be taken care of.”

As the car pulled to a stop, John opened the door. He had reached his limit of tolerance today. “Go away Mycroft, leave me be. If he wanted to take care of me, he would still be here and wouldn’t have jumped off a roof and killed himself. He wouldn’t have made me watch. He wouldn’t have left me to deal with the fallout.”

Stepping out of the car, John slammed the door behind him and made his way back into 221B. He should be angry he knew, with Lestrade, with Mycroft, with Sherlock especially, but he just didn’t have the energy to care at the moment.

Hanging up his jacket, he slowly made his way up the stairs. Walking into the sitting room, he stopped immediately when he saw the strange man sitting in his chair, calmly reading a book as if he belonged there. John looked him over hardly believing what he was seeing. The man had a kind face, bright blue twinkling eyes behind half moon spectacles. A long white beard reaching to his waist, tied neatly with a bit of string. He was wearing long silver..robes? John blinked.

“Who are you?” The man glanced up and placed the book aside. Standing, he smiled.

“Ah, Dr. Watson, I am Albus Dumbledore. I have some business of a delicate manner that I wish to speak with you about.” Holding out his hand and waiting for Dr. Watson to shake it, Dumbledore took stock of the man in front of him, noting many of the same things Mycroft had noticed. This was a man grieving, Dumbledore recognized the emotions easily. Approaching the strange man, John shook his hand warily.

“Right, um, would you like some tea? I was just about to make myself a cuppa.” Dumbledore smiled.

“That would be lovely, however I took the liberty of making it myself, I do hope you don’t mind?” John stared at the man a little thrown off. It had been a long day already and now here was a strange man with ‘delicate business’ to be discussed. Looking him over again, John could not help but notice that his soldier’s instincts were not on alert. This man did not seem to be there to do him harm, but John decided to remain on guard. Looking at the tea service on the coffee table, John sat himself down and allowed this Dumbledore to prepare a cup of tea for him.

“So what is this delicate matter that you wish to discuss with me?” Straight to business then, Dumbledore thought, indicative of a man of action.

“Dr. Watson, it has been brought to my attention that you are the cousin of LIly and Petunia Evans?” John nodded, not sure where this was going. He hadn’t seen his cousins in years, though they had been close as children.

“I am sorry to inform you that Lily and her husband James were killed a few years ago leaving their son an orphan. The boy, Harry, has been living with Petunia and her husband since then, but we recently discovered that the boy has not been treated well.” John clenched his jaw. He hadn’t even known either of his cousins had married or had children, and now he finds out that Lily is dead and Petunia was a child abuser. John, of course, could read between the lines of what Dumbledore had said. He was a doctor after all.

“I am truly sorry to hear about Lily, we always go on well. Unfortunately, hearing that Petunia is mistreating a child does not come as a surprise. I wish I could say differently, but she always was a bit of a bully. It got worse after Lily left to go to her boarding school. How bad is it? Mental, physical,..sexual?” John hated to think of this at all, hated that he had to ask, but he needed to know.

“The abuse is mental and physical certainly, we do not believe that it is sexual.” Dumbledore allowed John a moment to take it in before continuing.

“The reason I am here Dr. Watson, is that you are the next closest blood relative that Harry has. Your sister is not fit due to her ‘condition’. We would like to bring him here to live with you. However you should know that Harry is a very special boy. Tell me, how much do you know about the school that Lily attended?”

John thought back. He remembered the fuss of Lily receiving a letter to go away to a boarding school for ‘talented’ children. Being a few years younger than both his cousins, John hadn’t paid much attention. He had heard snippets of conversations over the years between his mother and his aunt about how Lily was doing. Then the last time he had seen his cousin, when he was 14, John could remember seeing and hearing things that he couldn’t explain. He had been in a tree, hiding from the other mourners after his mother’s funeral, well camouflaged in the branches. Lily and Petunia had walked under the tree and sat down.

“I really like him Tuney, but sometimes he is very cruel. He treats Severus so badly.” Lily told her sister. Petunia continued to gaze out across the meadow behind the house. “I don’t want to hear about your stupid friends, Lily. I’m sure it’s not as bad as you make it out to be. You’re magic after all, a witch. Why don’t you just cast a spell to stop it?” It was said in a bitter tone, but John could read the jealousy even if he didn’t understand the words. Witch? Magic? Spells? What were his cousins going on about?

“You know I can’t Tuney! It’s against the rules!” Petunia just rolled her eyes.

“I still don’t want to hear about what you freaks get up to while at school.” Hearing her mother call, Petunia stood and returned to the house. She didn’t hear Lily’s quiet tears or see her pull the picture from her pocket of a young group of boys. John could see the picture from where he was above her, he watched as she traced a finger over the face of the boy in the middle. He was tall, with wild dark hair, a wide smile and glasses. Dressed in robes with his arms around the other boys’ shoulders. John would probably not have remembered any of this happening, if it weren’t for the fact that after a few seconds the picture began to move. Lily did not seem alarmed at all, just continued crying quietly for a few minutes. John held his breath, eyes wide and round, trying to figure out what he was seeing. Another call from the house had Lily putting the picture away and wiping her face. Climbing to her feet, she dusted herself off and walked away. John remained where he was still not believing what he saw and heard. In the months and years that followed, he would occasionally think back to that day and still couldn’t make sense of it.

As he relayed this memory to Dumbledore, the wrinkles in his forehead became more apparent. It was obvious John was still confused, but perhaps would be open to the possibilities more than Dumbledore dared to hope.

“What I have to tell you next would be quite shocking for some, but I believe that you may handle it fairly well given what you have already witnessed. Lily was indeed a witch. She attended Hogwarts School where she met and fell in love with James Potter, who was a wizard. There is a whole world out there made up of witches and wizards, Dr. Watson. We mostly keep to ourselves and keep our own secrets. The reason I am telling you about it at all is that Harry has played a very crucial part in our history. He is known to most witches and wizards as ‘The Boy Who Lived.’ A dark wizard killed Lily and James and tried to kill Harry as well. Somehow Harry survived and became quite a sensation in our world. Voldemort still has followers in our community and so we placed Harry with his Aunt & Uncle to try and keep him hidden.”

Stopping when he saw John’s jaw once again flex and his hands curl into fists. Dumbledore waited for John to regain his composure. “Are you quite well, Dr. Watson?”

Nodding his head, he forced himself to relax. All he could think was that this dark wizard sounded an awful lot like Moriarty. Pushing down those memories, he focused back in on the man across from him. “So magic is real, Lily was a witch, and was killed by a dark evil wizard, who also tried to kill Harry, but Harry survived? Is that about the gist of the situation?” Dumbledore smiled and looked at John with twinkling eyes.

“You are incredibly calm about this situation Dr. Watson. Yes that is about the gist of the situation as you say.” John shrugged. “Right. I live..lived with a genius consulting detective who did experiments on anything and everything and kept body parts in our fridge. I guess I’ve learned to expect the unexpected.” Dumbledore looked at the man in front of him once again. In loose jeans, a bulky jumper, and boots, Dr. Watson gave off a very unassuming air. Minerva had said he was a Gryffindor through and through, but in that moment Albus thought that perhaps Dr. Watson would have done quite well in Hufflepuff.

“Alright then. So the plan, to bring Harry here. What do I need to do?” A rather surprised headmaster looked at John questioningly.

“Are you quite sure about this Dr. Watson? This will not be like raising a regular child. You may want to take time to think it over.” John glared at Dumbledore.

“You came here to tell me that Harry is being abused by his Aunt and Uncle and to ask if I would take him in and now you want me to think about it? There’s really not much to think about. I understand Harry is a very special little boy and I will do everything in my power to help him. But I will not leave him in an abusive situation any longer than necessary.So tell me what the plan is.” Impressed once again by Dr. Watson’s calm rationale and seeing what Minerva meant about being a Gryffindor, Dumbledore set about giving him a timeline of how events were going to occur. There were magical protections to be put into place around the house and John knew that he would have to finish clearing up the mess of dangerous chemicals and clutter that had always been present in the flat, left behind by Sherlock.

“How long will the protections take?” John needed to know, needed to plan and to get Harry out of his situation as soon as possible.

“It will only take a few minutes to put up the protections, but I would like to have a few colleagues of mine put their own in place as well. The most powerful protection for Harry is already here. It’s in the blood that runs through your veins, Dr. Watson. A blood bond is powerful and yours has been enhanced because Lily gave her life to save Harry. As long as Harry calls this place home, he will be protected by this bond.” John nodded his understanding.

“I will have to clean this place up and get a room ready for him. I am fairly certain it should only take me a day. Is that alright?” Regarding him, Dumbledore agrees.

“I shall return for you tomorrow evening then and we will go fetch young Mr. Potter. Are you quite sure about this Dr. Watson?” John contemplated the question. Was he sure? No, he was not sure that he could raise a child, but he would not leave Harry in the awful situation he was already in. Sherlock was gone and John was barely keeping himself together. But he would not turn his back on the child, no matter how unique the circumstances were. He was a soldier, a broken one, yes, but a soldier the same. It was time to pull himself up by the bootstraps and get on with things.

Rising from the couch, John ran his hands through his hair once, took a deep breath, and came to attention. Looking into those mischievous blue eyes he gave his answer. “I’m sure.”
Rising as well, Dumbledore held out his hand and after a shake told John, “ I’ll be here tomorrow evening at half seven with a few of my colleagues. Until then, Dr. Watson.”

With a nod John watched Dumbledore walk out the door and heard him walk down the stairs. A loud pop echoed through the otherwise quiet house and startled John for a moment before he realized that Dumbledore must have used some form of magic to leave. He sank back onto the couch with his head in his hands. What had he just agreed to? He was going to be a parent. Oh God, he was going to be a parent to a very special, very abused little boy in less than twenty four hours. A little boy who had magical parents and was going to be a wizard himself. A four year boy who had already defeated an evil wizard. Christ, I must be mad! he thought. Right...okay Watson, deep breath, there are things to do. You can have your mental break later.

Rubbing hands over his face, he looked around the flat at the clutter. He would have to childproof the flat quickly and he was going to need help. Mrs. Hudson, right. She would help. She had already cleared Sherlock’s more time sensitive experiments, she would help. Oh god, would she be okay with a child in the flat? After thinking about it for a few seconds, John gave a startled, rusty laugh. Sherlock has practically been a child and probably did far worse damage than Harry would. She would be fine with it, maybe even happy about having a child to spoil. Time to go break the news and beg for help. John jogged down the stairs and knocked quietly on Mrs. Hudson’s door. It opened fairly quickly and the kind lady looked at him in concern. “John dear, is everything alright? I heard a loud pop and...” He interrupted before she could get carried away.

“Everything is fine Mrs. Hudson, I just need to talk to you about something and then I’m going to need your help.”

Chapter Text

Harry woke from his sleep still curled into a ball. He could tell it was morning by the light coming under the door and heard his Aunt and Uncle moving about in the kitchen. His uncle was complaining loudly about the state of the government while his aunt stuffed Dudley with more food than he needed. Harry realized he had not eaten since the morning before and could feel his stomach cramping with the thought. It was a feeling he was used to, but he also needed to desperately use the loo.

He knew better than to try to leave to cupboard under the stairs while his uncle was still here, though. He did not like either of the adults in the house, but if he had to choose which one he wanted to deal with it would be Aunt Petunia. She at least didn’t hit him. She made him cook and clean and didn’t let him do much more than that, but she only yelled. Uncle Vernon would hit him if he made the smallest sound or did anything wrong. Uncle Vernon was a large man and it hurt when he hit Harry. Harry avoided being in the same room with him as much as possible. Sometimes it was a good thing to be in the cupboard, at least when he was in here they forgot about him and he was left relatively alone. His cousin Dudley didn’t hit Harry and rarely even talked to him. He mostly just sat in front of the telly and ate the snacks that Aunt Petunia had Harry make for him.
He could hear his uncle finish his breakfast and knew he would leave in the next few minutes for work. He would wait until then to leave his room. Ten minutes later, Harry tried the door and found it unlocked. His Aunt must have unlocked it this morning when she came down the stairs. He stuck his head out and looked around to be sure the coast was clear. He raced as quickly and quietly up the stairs as possible and used the loo. Coming back down he walked into the kitchen and pulled up the stool to the sink to begin washing the dishes left from breakfast. He knew if he did things without being told, he would get to eat sooner rather than later. Just as he finished the dishes, his Aunt came back into the kitchen.

“Good, you’ve cleaned the kitchen. Here is your list of chores for the day. I expect them done by the time Vernon gets home or you know what will happen,” she told him coldly.

“Yes Aunt Petunia.” She turned to walk away and made it a few steps before turning back.

“You may eat one bowl of cereal. Then clean up your mess and get to work!” Harry drew a relieved breath. He was very hungry and glad she was going to let him eat. He wished he could have more than one bowl of cereal, but he knew better than to ask for more. He had been told that one bowl was all he’d earned last time.

As Harry quickly ate and went about his day, his thoughts turned back to the letter that had arrived in the beak of an owl yesterday. What would his new family be like? He could not imagine things being much worse than they were here. Surely if they were taking him away because his relatives did not treat him well that meant he would be placed somewhere better? Harry could only hope that was the case.

He hoped for a normal family like the ones that he saw at the playground when Aunt Petunia made him leave the house because she had company. He tried not to get carried away, even in his own head, because he knew that no matter what adults told you, they could change their minds any time. Uncle Vernon had taught him that lesson over and over again.

Harry finished his chores and found Aunt Petunia in the sitting room reading a ladies magazine while Dudley watched the telly. He did not speak to her, but waited for her to notice him standing there. “Finished then, boy?”

He nodded. “Your uncle will be home in an hour and we will be going out tonight to eat. Go somewhere that we won’t have to see you.”

Harry nodded again. “Yes, Aunt Petunia”

He turned and left the room going out the front door and making his way down the road to the park. It was a sunny late summer day, so Harry found himself a tree to sit under and stretched out in the shade. He soon fell asleep in the warm air while imagining all the places he could end up when he left his Aunt and Uncle's house for good.

 

At half one in the middle of London, John Watson looked around at the flat he stood in. If he hadn’t been the one to clean it, John would not recognize the flat. It was larger than what it had always seemed, yet still felt warm and cozy. He had cleaned and packed all of the science equipment that had been cluttering the kitchen and carried it down to 221C. Mrs. Hudson was allowing him to store Sherlock’s old things down there until he could decide what to do with them. John wasn’t quite ready to get rid of them yet, but knew he had to make the flat safe for Harry.

John and Mrs. Hudson had spent all last evening and the better part of today clearing and packing the clutter in the flat. Some things had stayed because John just couldn’t get rid of them yet. There was still a bison skull on the wall wearing headphones, the mantle still held a human skull, a jackknife thrust through a stack of mail, and an odd assortment of keepsakes from the cases he had worked with Sherlock. There were various stains on different surfaces, including the ceiling, that John hadn’t even tried to clean and the yellow smiley face on the wall still had bullet holes in it. It still felt like home to John, just cleaner.

John had left Sherlock’s room for last. Although it was the place he spent the least amount of time, John thought it felt the most like Sherlock would walk back into it at any minute. It had been hard to open the wardrobe and see the tailored clothes hanging there. They still smelled of Sherlock and John could not help but give in to the temptation to take a few deep breaths.

He came back to himself quickly when Mrs. Hudson came in behind him and started clearing out the dresser. It was good that she was here. She kept a running dialog about everything happening in the neighborhood, and helped to keep his mind off of what he was doing. John allowed himself to go on autopilot as much as possible and just tried to complete the task without thinking about who's things he was packing away and why. There would be time later for that. But Harry would need a room to sleep in tonight, so they continued to work until it was done.

John then shifted his few possessions into Sherlock’s room while Mrs. Hudson changed the sheets on the bed in John’s old room. The room John had occupied for two years was smaller than the one down stairs, which had an attached bath, and John thought that Harry would be comfortable in here. It needed some sprucing up to make it a proper little boy’s room, but John thought that Harry might like to pick out his own things. He would wait for a few days and then take Harry shopping for whatever he needed.

After explaining to Mrs. Hudson the situation yesterday, she had immediately put his fears about not wanting a child in the house to rest. Her only question was “When will he be here?” before she started making a list of all the things they needed to do and what kind of biscuits did John think Harry might like. Once again John was reminded that he really did have the best landlady in London even if she wasn’t his housekeeper. Truthfully she was more like a second mother to him after his had died so many years ago. She was also scarily efficient when she had a goal in mind. John had exhausted himself trying to keep up while she had made her list and sent him on errands.

There had been a brief worry about his financial situation before he remembered his meeting with Mycroft the previous afternoon. He had checked his bank account and nearly choked on his tea when he saw the balance. A very large sum of money had been deposited into his account. He had received a thick bundle of papers that morning by courier that had explained he would continue to receive a monthly allowance that was almost quadruple what he made at the locum surgery, which would be directly put into his account on the first of every month. The deposit that had been made into his account already was a sum that was backdated to the reading of Sherlock’s will.

He’d assumed Mycroft had been taking care of the rent and bills, but according to Mrs. Hudson, she had received the equivalent of five years of rent and bills from Sherlock’s will so she hadn’t said anything about it to him. He had also noticed a few property deeds and other financial papers that he had put back in the envelope without looking at them. It seemed he was indeed a wealthy man thanks to Sherlock.

Putting his thoughts and worries aside, he brought a cuppa to Mrs. Hudson who was sitting in his chair and sank down onto the couch. They had finally finished putting the flat in order and had roughly an hour to spare before Dumbledore was set to arrive. He could hardly believe how much his life had changed in a little over a day. After their cuppa, Mrs. Hudson left to get ready for her bridge club meeting, saying that she was very excited to meet Harry and would be up early in the morning for her introduction. After she left John decided to clean himself up and have a small bite to eat.

Promptly, at half past six, John heard the same popping noise as when Dumbledore had left yesterday, and was suddenly faced with three people appearing in his sitting room. He blinked trying to figure out what had happened, before deciding to just go with it.

“Right, yeah, okay...Professor Dumbledore,” John greeted him with a nod and rose to shake hands once again. Dumbledore introduced the man and woman standing next to him.

“These are my colleagues, Minerva McGonagall and Kingsley Shacklebolt. They are here to help me with the protective spells and charms. This is Dr. John Watson cousin and new guardian of Harry Potter.” John shook their hands after introductions were made.

Dumbledore and Shacklebolt immediately set to work while Professor McGonagall continued to stare at John. Minerva noted that the doctor did not flinch and fidget like most people when she leveled him with the stare, he simply stood there and gazed back at her making direct eye contact. After a few minutes of this she found what she was looking for in his gaze and broke their connection with a small smile. “Yes, you will do very well Dr. Watson.”

With that statement she turned away and began to chant quietly under her breath. All three of John’s guest had wands in their hands that were sending pulses and jets of light around the room in a non threatening manner. Each were quietly whispering in what sounded to John like Latin or some version thereof, and he could visually see what looked like a protective barrier of some kind begin to absorb itself into the very walls of 221B. John remained where he was as he watched the magic being performed around him.

During their conversation the evening before, Dumbledore had explained the Statute of Secrecy and the special permissions he had had to obtain for John to be able to even know about magic, much less see it being performed. He was strictly forbidden to share with anyone, other than the witch and wizards currently present, anything about Harry’s identity and secret. Dumbledore had also explained a few of the ins and outs of the wizarding world and had left John’s head spinning with all the information.

In only a few minutes, all three turned back to John and put their wands away inside their robes. Dumbledore smiled at John. “Still with us Dr. Watson?” John cleared his throat and tried to wipe the stunned look off his face.

“Right. Yeah, yeah I’m still with you.” Eyes twinkling, he extended his arm to John like a gentleman of old.

“Then lets go pick up young Mr. Potter and bring him to his new home. We are going to apparate. Hold on very tightly and do not let go, no matter what.” Nodding his head, John stepped up beside the professor and grabbed his arm tightly. He heard the popping noise again and squeezed his eyes shut as he felt himself get sucked into what felt like a vacuum hose.

Seconds later, he felt his feet hit solid ground and stumbled a bit before being righted by Shakleboat. The tall dark man steadied him before giving him a smile. “Takes a few tries to get the landing right.” He told John in a very deep voice.

Standing under his own power once again, John allowed a small smile and nodded. “Um..okay. I’ll ..uh..work on that.”

Shaklebolt laughed again before becoming serious. They looked around at the firmly middle class neighborhood they now stood in. They were in the mouth of an alley in the shadows. It was just becoming dark as they stepped out into the light cast by the street lamp. Dumbledore started walking toward Number 4 and knocked on the door. John stood at the back of the group, Standing slightly behind Shacklebolt whose height dwarfed John.

He wasn’t sure if he could face his cousin calmly knowing what she had done and had allowed to be done to a child. The door was opened by a large man with light brown hair and a ruddy complexion. “You lot, what are you doing out here? Get inside before the neighbors see you!”

He stepped aside and hustled the small group into the sitting room. Petunia appeared from upstairs and came to stand beside her husband. Dumbledore looked over his spectacles at the couple. “I believed you received a letter from me just a few days ago. We are here to take Harry. It was brought to our attention that you are treating him quite ill and that cannot be allowed to continue.”

Vernon sputtered and began to shout about the ingrate freak that had been brought to his house only a few years before. Instead of letting the insults continue, Kingsley stepped up and looked down at Mr. Dursley. “Where is Harry? We will leave as soon as we have him.”

Petunia looked at her husband, then back at the magical group front of her. “I sent him out earlier. We are going to dinner and he knows not to come back into the house until we have left.” Dumbledore looked at MInerva and Kingsley who turned and left the house to search for the small boy. Once Kingsley had moved, John was visible to his cousin.

“John! John Watson?” Standing at parade rest, John’s expression of distaste did not change as he addressed his older cousin. “Petunia.”

“What are you doing with those people John? Don’t tell me you one of them?” Petunia looked horrified at the thought of her cousin being a wizard.

“No, Petunia, I am not part of the magical world. I am here to escort Harry to my home. He will be coming to live with me.” Vernon and Petunia both immediately tried to tell John what trouble the boy was, how to discipline him, etc...but before they could get carried away John crossed his arms over his chest and in the blink of an eye Captain John Watson was standing before them.

“Enough.” It was said in a normal volume, but in a tone that had caused more than a few hardened soldiers to come to attention. Both Dursley’s immediately stopped talking, although Mr. Dursley’s face went from red to almost purple at being spoken at thusly.

“I neither need or want the advice of two child abusers on how to raise Harry. Petunia, your parents must be rolling in their graves with how you have treated your own blood relations. My mother as well. You always were jealous of Lily, but taking it out on an innocent child is unacceptable. I renounce all ties with you and cut you out of my family.” With that, John marched out the front door and into the now darkened street. He was so angry, he started shaking. Other than Harriet, the alcoholic sister he rarely spoke to, and now Harry, he had just cut ties with the last of his family. Good riddance too.

Taking deep breaths, John was able to calm himself down by the time Dumbledore joined him in the yard. Dumbledore simply put a hand on his shoulder and stood beside while waiting for John to speak. “I am sorry Professor for losing my temper. We need to find Harry. Where shall we start looking?”

Dumbledore squeezed John’s shoulder once before letting his hand fall. Minerva and Kingsley were walking back towards the house from opposite directions and met up with the two men waiting at the end of the drive.

“I did not see him, Albus.” Minerva told him quietly, Kingsley just shook his head in the negative. panicking slightly, John forced himself to calm down.

When he was a small boy his favorite place had been in the woods behind his parent’s house. Trees to lay under or climb had been his playground. “Is there a park nearby?”

Kingsley nodded, “I walked past one but did not see anyone there.” John nodded.

“I’m going to go back and check. Is there a spell you can do to locate him?” John looked to Dumbledore who shook his head in the negative. “It will draw attention to the area if magic is performed here. We want to avoid that if possible.”

Nodding again, John looked in the direction Kingsley had come from. “I have a feeling he’s in the park. I’m going to look again. Kingsley, if you’ll come with me?” Kingsley nodded his assent. “We’ll be back in a few minutes, hopefully with Harry.”

They departed for the park leaving the two professors behind. Entering the park, John instructed Kingsley to look in the trees while John began searching the shadows for the boy. Almost halfway around the little circular park, tucked into a deep shadow, the small torch that John carried illuminated the figure of a small boy asleep on the grass. John stepped closer to him after giving Kingsley a small whistle to let him know that he had found Harry.

As John knelt down to check the boy and began shining his light over his face, both his anger at his cousin and his grief over losing Sherlock rushed through him. The small boy had a head full of unruly dark hair, quite reminiscent of Sherlock’s wayward curls. He was small and clearly malnourished. There were bruises in varying degrees of healing on his arms and John would bet other places on his body.

As Kingsley joined John, he let out a low growl in his throat at the sight of the small boy. Using the light emanating from the end of Kingsley’s wand and putting away his own torch, John carefully picked the boy up to place his head on John’s shoulder. Cradling him carefully in his arms, John stood and turned to make his way back to the other members of their group. As they walked, John took stock of the boy in his arms. He was very light and John could feel the ribs and vertebrae sticking out slightly in the small boys back and chest. He was wearing dirty jeans and a worn t-shirt with a hole in it, as well as trainers that looked to be too large for him. Gaze forward and jaw clenched, John and Kingsley made it back to Number 4. Looking Dumbledore right in the eyes John made sure to let his rage show. “You need to get us away from here Professor. Before I go back into that house.”

Dumbledore nodded. “If you will hand Harry to Kingsley, we will take you back to Baker Street.”

John carefully handed the small boy off and took hold of Dumbledore’s arm once again. With a final glance at Number 4 Privet Drive, the small party apparated out of sight.

Chapter Text

When Harry opened his eyes, he noticed very quickly that he was not in the park where he had fallen asleep. He looked around the unfamiliar flat. There were two mismatched armchairs and a small coffee table. A large bookcase stood against one wall and was full of books. The was no fire in the fireplace across from him that was flanked by two windows. He could hear several adult voices from the kitchen talking quietly.

Sitting up, he continued to look around. A chair scraped the floor in the kitchen and soon a man with dirty blond hair streaked with grey and a lined face appeared in the kitchen doorway. He was fairly short for a man, but looked strong. He wore a beige jumper, and faded blue jeans with tan colored boots. He smiled when he saw that Harry was awake and sitting up.

“Hello Harry. I’m John Watson.” Harry continued to look at him, but stayed quiet. He wasn’t sure what to expect from this man that he did not know. John walked toward Harry, who drew himself back onto the couch. John stopped immediately after seeing Harry’s reaction to his approach. He sat in the red chair across from the couch and leaned forward with his forearms on his knees. He never dropped the smile and Harry thought that he looked nice. John continued to talk to the boy in his best non-threatening bedside manner.

“Harry, I am your Mum’s cousin. It has been decided that you will be living with me here at Baker Street because your Aunt and Uncle were not very nice. Are you okay with that?” Harry stayed still and did not answer John. John knew he needed to tread carefully so he didn’t startle the young boy.

“Harry, I know about what your aunt and uncle did to you. It was not your fault and you need to know that. I also need you to know that I will never hurt you Harry. I won’t hit you, I won’t lock you into closets, and I will do my very best not to yell. You are safe here with me. Alright?” Harry looked at John for a few more moments, before nodding his head very slightly. He wasn’t sure he could trust this man, but felt that he needed to answer before he got into trouble.

“Are you hungry Harry?” Harry nodded again and watched the blond man stand up and begin walking toward the kitchen. He stopped in the doorway and turned back.

“Are you coming? Lets see what we can find to feed you up, yeah?” John waited in the doorway for Harry to slowly slide off the couch and walk toward him. Harry stopped when he was just out of arms reach. John’s heart cracked a little bit to see the child so wary of him, but turned toward the kitchen before he could let the emotion show on his face.

Harry followed quietly behind, stopping only when he saw the other adults at the kitchen table. They were all quiet and watching him. The older man with the white beard spoke first. “Hello Harry, my name is Albus Dumbledore. I knew you when you were a baby and I knew your parents as well. They were wonderful people and I admired them greatly. They loved you very much.”

The old man’s face wrinkled into a cheeky grin and his eyes twinkled at Harry. Harry looked at him before whispering, “Thank you, sir.”

The man and woman at the table introduced themselves in turn. Harry stayed in the doorway while the introductions took place. John stood near the counter and waited until introductions were taken care of before asking, “Well Harry, what do you like to eat?”

Harry looked at him not understanding the question. He never got to choose what he ate. Aunt Petunia told him what he could have. “I dunno,” he whispered again. John thought he understood what the comment meant.

“Well, I’m not much of a cook, but I was thinking that maybe some spagetti might be nice. How’s that sound to you?” Harry nodded once and took another step into the kitchen.

“If you show me where things are, I’ll make it.” Silence continued to reign after Harry’s statement which was spoken just above a whisper. John took a deep breath and reminded himself to go slow. He squatted down until he was at Harry’s level.

“Harry, you don’t need to cook here, okay? That is a job for an adult because we don’t want you to get burned. Either I or Mrs. Hudson, who you will meet in the morning, will do all the cooking. Alright?” Harry wasn’t sure how to respond.

“I’m sorry.” He mumbled quickly, not really sure what he was apologizing for.

“Harry, you don’t have anything to be sorry for. It’s going to take us a little bit to get used to each other. Remember I told you that you were safe here, and I meant that. Cooking is not safe, so that’s why an adult needs to do it. Do you understand?’ Harry nodded again.

John smiled, “Good lad. Why don’t you go sit at the table while I get our dinner ready?”

Harry turned to make his way over to the table and climbed into the empty chair that was waiting there. The other adults continued to look at him until he dropped his eyes to the table top. Understanding the boy’s response Minerva picked up the conversation with the other adults to give young Potter some time to figure his new situation out.

They talked quietly and sipped their tea while John prepared dinner in the area behind them. Harry listened to the adults talk above him and watched discreetly from under the fringe nearly covering his eyes. The conversation continued around Harry until John set a large glass of milk and a plate of spaghetti in front of Harry. He fixed plates of food for the other adults at the table, before standing with his back against the countertop with his own plate in hand. Harry picked up the fork he was given and began to eat his dinner. He finished his portion quickly and stood up to take his plate to the sink.

“Harry are you still hungry? Do you want more?” Harry stopped and looked up at John again. He was still hungry, but wasn’t sure if he was allowed to ask for more to eat. Harry did not answer, so John asked again, “Harry are you still hungry?”

When Harry nodded at him John reached out slowly and took the plate from Harry before adding more spaghetti to it. He turned around and carried the plate back to Harry’s place at the table. Harry watched him do this before moving to the chair and climbing back up. John returned to his place at the counter and resumed eating his own meal. He didn’t say anything to Harry, but gave him a warm smile. Conversation continued in the kitchen until all of the adults had finished their meals. One by one the adults moved to put their plates in the sink and to thank John.

The white bearded man who had introduced himself as Dumbledore turned to Harry. “Harry we must be getting back, but I would like to visit with you very soon. Would it be alright with you if I drop by?” Again Harry was slightly confused about an adult asking his opinion, but he nodded his head anyway.

“Dr. Watson, I will see you both soon and the communication system I told you about should arrive tomorrow. If you need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to inform me.” John nodded at the group.

He followed them out of the kitchen before saying, “Professor, that popping thing you do? Apparate, I think you called it? You may not want to do that in the house. May startle Harry, yeah?” Giving a chuckle, Dumbledore smiled at the doctor.

“Right you are Dr. Watson, I do believe that ‘popping’ thing we do would quite startle Mr. Potter. We shall leave the area before we do it. I will be seeing you soon Dr. Watson.” His two companions followed him out the door and down the stairs.

John turned back into the flat and saw that Harry had pulled up a chair to the kitchen sink and was washing the dinner dishes. “Harry, you don’t have to do that. I can wash those later.”
Harry froze in the middle of washing the plate in his hands. If he wasn’t allowed to cook and he wasn’t supposed to wash the dishes, what was he supposed to do? Dr. Watson walked back toward the kitchen.

“Harry do you want to do the dishes?” Harry nodded quickly emerald eyes large behind his round glasses.

“Alright then, you wash and I’ll dry. Then we’ll watch some telly. I think there is a new Dr. Who on tonight.” John moved to stand beside Harry in his chair. Harry finished washing the dish in his hand and carefully handed it to John next to him. John did not try to talk to Harry, but quietly stood beside him and let the boy get used to him being close. They finished cleaning quickly and moved into the sitting room.

John moved to settle on the couch and Harry curled up in Sherlock’s old chair. The boy pulled his knees up to his chest and rested his chin against them. He looked so much like a miniature Sherlock that John had to look away. He turned on the telly and found a new Dr. Who episode followed by re-runs with the tenth doctor. After three episodes, John looked over to the chair to see the young boy had fallen asleep. He rose and picked him up gently carrying him up the stairs to his old room. John lay him on the bed and removed his shoes before pulling the covers over him. He watched the boy sleep for a few moments, whispered “Goodnight, Harry” and switched off the lamp while leaving the room. He left the door cracked so that he would hear if Harry needed him.

John returned to the sitting room and thought back over his day. He was disgusted with his his cousin and her husband. He had examined Harry quickly when he first returned to the flat to find that there were bruises on most of his body. Like the ones on his arms they were in various stages of healing. John knew he would need to take Harry for a check to make sure there was nothing more he needed to be aware of.

Dumbledore had provided legal papers for Harry such as his birth certificate and papers showing John to now be his legal guardian. It reminded John of Mycroft, except Dumbledore was infinitely easier to talk to. The adults had also given John more information about the wizarding world and had even provided him a few books to read about their history. They had told him that he should expect strange things to happen around Harry, especially when his emotions were high, as this would be when he would be unable to control his magic. It was apparently a common occurrence in young, untrained wizards. While most wizards had parents who could help them control their magic, John being non-magical might have more problems with it than normal. He was assured that he could call on any of the three adults that had been with him today at anytime if he needed assistance. John had a slightly panicked thought that he was in over his head, before he reminded himself of the small boy asleep upstairs. Harry needed him and frankly, John needed a reason to get on with living.

Deciding to take each day one step at a time, John made a plan to take Harry shopping for clothes the next day. It seemed that the boy only had the ill fitting clothes he was wearing and was in desperate need of a bath. Dragging himself into Sherlock’s old room, he prepared for bed and fell into it. He slept better that night than he had in the ten months since Sherlock had jumped.

Chapter Text

Just had just pulled himself out of bed and had started the kettle when he heard Mrs. Hudson coming up the stairs.

“Yoo Hoo, John!” John smiled

“Good morning Mrs. Hudson. I just set the kettle, should only be a mo before it’s ready.” Mrs. Hudson entered the kitchen carrying a tray with fresh baked scones and muffins.

“I did a little baking this morning before coming up. Thought the little one might want something fresh.”

“You’re a saint Mrs Hudson, I’m sure Harry will love these.” The kettle finished and John prepared himself and Mrs. Hudson a cup. Joining his landlady at the table, John placed his cup down after a few sips.

“Mrs. Hudson, you need to know a few things before Harry comes down.” John explained about the abuse at the hands of Harry’s aunt and uncle. That he was shy of physical contact and rather quiet. He also explained about Harry trying to do the chores and offering to cook dinner last night. “We are going to have to be very careful with him Mrs. Hudson. He’s kind of like Sherlock was when on one of his danger nights. Tread lightly and carefully, alright?”

“Oh John! That poor boy. Those people should be hunted down! I can’t believe they have a child of their own but treated Harry like that.” John rubbed his hand over his face.

“Unfortunately there is not much we can do at the moment. Harry is a special case and they weren’t abusing their son in the way normal people define abuse. That boy was overindulged in the extreme. It is a form of abuse, but most people don’t see it that way. I’m just grateful to have gotten Harry out when I did. It was bad and would only get worse if he had been left there.”

They drank their tea in silence for a few minutes before they heard a soft thump from the room above them. Footsteps padded toward the bathroom and a few minutes later they could hear Harry coming down the stairs. Harry stepped into the kitchen and looked at Mrs. Hudson.

“Harry, this is Mrs. Hudson, our landlady. She lives in 221A. Remember I told you that you would get to meet her today?” Harry looked at John and nodded his head. “She brought us some scones and muffins that she baked this morning. Are you hungry?”

Harry nodded again and made his way to the chair he had used last night. “Would you like milk or juice this morning?” Harry’s nose wrinkled at the choice that was once again offered to him. After a few moments of thinking, he looked back at John. “Juice, please.”

While John poured Harry’s juice and refilled his and Mrs. Hudson’s teacups, Mrs. Hudson pushed the tray of baked goods towards Harry. “What would you like to eat this morning Harry?”

Harry eyed the tray in front of him and looked over the assortment of food he was being offered. He chose a muffin and slowly reached out to take, expecting his hand to be slapped. When nothing happend, Harry drew his hand back with the muffin and slowly began to eat his breakfast. John listened as Mrs. Hudson updated him on all the neighborhood gossip he had missed out on in the last two days. Harry finished his muffin as they talked and looked over at John. He was still hungry and John had let him have more last night. Would it be okay to ask for another? Harry chewed his lip for a moment contemplating. When there was a break in conversation as the adults sipped their tea, Harry mumbled, “Cn I ‘ve n’ther?”

John looked back at Harry. “Sorry Harry, what did you ask, I didn’t understand?”

Harry looked at the table top, then back at John. “Can I have another? Please?” Looking down quickly again he waited for John’s reaction to his request.

“Of course you can Harry! You can eat as much as you want. There is no reason for you to be hungry here, alright?” Harry nodded and quickly retrieved another muffin. They were blueberry and quite tasty. He had seen his aunt and uncle eating them, but had never had one himself.

John and Mrs. Hudson exchanged a look over the top of the boys head. They picked up their conversation and continued to sip their tea as Harry finished his second muffin and his juice. “So Harry, I thought we might go out today and get a few things for you. You need some clothes and shoes and things like that. How does that sound?”

Startled green eyes met John’s blue. “You mean go to the store and pick stuff?” Harry couldn’t believe it. He never got stuff from the store. He got Dudley’s old clothes when he had outgrown them.

“Yes, new stuff from the store. You can pick out what you like.” Harry nodded, excited about the idea of getting something new. “We’ll also need to stop by my work and get you checked out by the doctor. You need some of your vaccinations and I want to ensure you are healthy.”

Harry knew vaccinations meant shots, but they really didn’t bother him all that much. Doctors were usually pretty nice, but very busy, so it didn’t take very long.

“Okay.” He sent Harry up to take a bath even though he would have to put back on his dirty clothes and put in a quick call to Sarah at the clinic to let her know he was bringing Harry in to see her. He knew he would have to explain Harry’s presence as well as his bruises, but hopefully armed with the documents Dumbledore had given him, it wouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Chapter Text

A short time later, the three residents of 221 Baker Street set out for the shops. Mrs. Hudson tried to engage Harry in conversation while they rode in the taxi, but Harry was busy looking at the sight of London around him. Mrs. Hudson gave up on her conversation and began pointing out things she thought that Harry might like. John was quietly listening to the two together. When they arrived at the shop, John paid the cabbie and stepped out. He held out his hand and was surprised when Harry took it without hesitation.

The three quickly found the children’s clothing section. Mrs. Hudson and John consulted their lists for what was absolutely needed while Harry stared around him in awe. “Alright then, Harry lets start with shirts and jumpers and we’ll go from there.”

The three of them shopped for several hours. It took longer because John insisted that Harry pick out everything. Harry felt a little overwhelmed about all choices available and had a hard time trying to decide. Both John and Mrs. Hudson were patient with him though and they eventually got everything that they needed. Loaded with shopping bags, they hailed a cab and sent Mrs. Hudson back to the flat with their purchases. John promised the cabbie an extra tip if he would help the landlady carry everything inside.

Harry and John walked hand in hand a few blocks before turning into a restaurant on Northumberland street. Entering the small Italian restaurant gave John a sense of deja vu. Angelo was already headed their way, so John couldn’t change his mind now. “Dr. Watson! It is good to see you! You haven’t been here since...Sherlock.”

John managed to extricate himself from Angelo’s bear hug. “Sorry, yeah, I couldn’t...I wasn’t ready...sorry.” Angelo squeezed the doctors shoulder in understanding.

“Well you are here now!” Glancing down, he saw the small dark haired boy hiding behind John. “Who is this?”

John looked down at Harry hiding behind his legs. He stepped to the side so Angelo could see Harry, who was wearing a change of his new clothes, a white long sleeved T-shirt with a picture of the Tardis on it, new blue jeans, and bright red converse sneakers similar to the ones the tenth doctor wore. John had been surprised at Harry’s choices, since he wasn’t at all sure how much of the show he had seen last night before he fell asleep. But the shirt and shoes were two of the items Harry had picked out without any hesitation.

“Angelo, this is Harry. He lives with me now at Baker Street. Harry, this is Angelo, he owns this restaurant.” John watched as Angelo lowered his large frame down to Harry’s level. He held out a hand toward Harry. Harry put his small hand in Angelo’s for a quick shake before pulling back and moving back behind John.

“Hello, Harry, welcome.” Standing Angelo smiled at them both. “Your usual table?” John nodded and followed Angleo to the table by the window that he had sat in with Sherlock the night of the Pink Lady case.

He helped Harry choose lunch from the menu and watched as the boy looked around the restaurant and watched the street traffic through the window. Harry would occasionally ask a question about what he saw in his quiet voice, with John answering quickly after. They ate their lunch, had their quiet conversation and thanked Angelo before leaving. Harry reached for John’s hand without prompting and they walked the few blocks to the clinic where John still did locum work.

He wasn’t scheduled to go in for the next few weeks, which worked out well to give he and Harry time to settle into a routine. They walked in the door of the clinic and signed in with the receptionist. Mary was confused about John signing in until he explained why he was there. Mary came around the desk and introduced herself to Harry before going quickly back to work when the next patient came in. John settled Harry and himself in chairs out of the way. “This is where you work?”

John smiled gently at Harry. “Yes, I work here as a doctor sometimes to help them when another doctor is out.”

Harry gave a nod and went back to observing the room around him. They were called in to see Sarah soon after and once introductions were performed, Sarah quickly set to work examining Harry and administering his vaccines so he would be up to date. She made sure to explain what she was doing to Harry during the exam which helped him to relax. When finished she pulled John into her office.

“I agree with what you told me on the phone. Malnourished, severely underweight, definite signs of abuse. I didn’t find any evidence of fractures. I’ll let you know when we get the blood tests back, but like you, I suspect anemia.” John nodded as Sarah confirmed his diagnosis from the night before.

“John, are you sure about this? After Sherlock....I was very worried about you. You weren’t handling things very well. It hasn’t even been a year yet.” John sighed. “Sarah, I’m the only other family he has left. You can see what they did to him physically and I’m sure you picked up on some of the mental trauma. Even if I wasn’t sure, there is no way I wouldn’t keep him. You were right to be worried after Sherlock, I was coping worse than when I came home from Afghanistan, and it was bad then. But I think Harry is going to be good for me. Give me a reason to move on, yeah?”

Sarah nodded. “Alright, good then, I’ll let you get home.” John collected Harry, thanked Sarah, and left the clinic with Harry walking quietly beside him.

“Harry, I want you to know you did very well at clinic. I am very proud you.” Harry looked up at John. That was the first time anyone had told him he had done well. A small smile tugged up the corners of his mouth, while his cheeks pinked a bit with a blush. They made it home quickly and hauled Harry’s new things up the stairs to his room. John helped Harry organize his purchases in the dresser and wardrobe. He left Harry arranging his few books and toys to start the kettle for a cuppa. He was settled in his chair with a fresh cup at his elbow, in the middle of the days paper when Harry came down the stairs with a new picture book. Harry settled once again into Sherlock’s chair and the two spent the remaining hour until dinner reading quietly.

Chapter Text

John felt like he was muddling through this parenting thing fairly well. In the last few months he and Harry had gradually begun to get to know each other. They had developed a routine that worked for them. Harry was also very slowly opening up. He showed more trust and less fear when he met new people, and with John and Mrs.Hudson he was surprisingly affectionate. John had enrolled him in a day school for the times when he needed to go into the clinic. It had taken several days before Harry would speak and interact with the other students and teachers, but soon he was excited to go on the days that John worked. All of the adults had agreed that it would be a good thing for Harry to interact with children his age.

Dumbledore came by occasionally and used the owl he had sent (John still shook his head about the owl that lived in his sitting room.) to keep up with John and Harry. McGonagall came by floo once a month to teach John more about their world.

Harry had not yet had any incidents of accidental magic, so John really wasn’t surprised when Harry’s meltdown came on the heels of a very long day which threw off their schedule. He had been called into the clinic at the last minute. Harry had felt a little warm and was unusually grumpy when John had dropped him at school. A call from the school four hours later confirmed Johns fears of Harry being ill.

After collecting Harry and getting him home, John tried to put him down for a nap. For the first time Harry fought John on going to sleep, ending with tears, a red face, and all the objects in the flat floating mid air. Once objects started floating, Harry stopped crying mid-tantrum. “S..s-orry, John, I’m sorry..I didn’t mean to.”

Eyes wide, Harry began to inch away from John. This was the Harry that John first met, a child scared of himself and his own abilities. “S’okay, Harry. I”m gonna send for Professor McGonagall and we’ll see if we can’t set it to rights.”

John scribbled a quick note, attached it to Hedwig, and opened the window so she could be on her way. Moving to Harry, he picked up the boy and held him while quietly humming under his breath until he fell asleep. John half expected the floating objects to come crashing down, but they continued to float lazily near the ceiling.

John was still holding Harry, lost in his own thoughts when Professor McGonagall stepped out of his fireplace. “Well. Must have been quite a strop.”

John smiled and watched as she took out her wand, gave a few flicks of the wrist, and floated all of the flat’s objects back into their proper places. “Thanks, Minerva. I think he’s got a touch of the bug going around his school. Do you have time for a cuppa?”

“John, there is always time for a cuppa.” Eyes twinkling, with a small smirk gracing her mouth, she put her wand away and moved to sit in the wingback chair.

“I’ll put him to bed and then get the kettle on.”

Ten minutes later, they were settled in with a steaming cup in hand. At first, John hadn’t been sure how to interact Professor McGonagall, as she reminded him greatly of his Gran. Strong and stern, she could be quite intimidating when she was of a mind to be. He had slowly begun to notice her other qualities. She had a wicked sense of humor, but didn’t suffer fools gladly. Once she had learned of his Scottish ancestry, they found they had more in common than either had thought. They often chatted after her lessons and John found himself looking forward to her visits.

In the months that followed, there were no less than three other incidents of Harry’s accidental magic. When the first new Doctor Who of the season came on, Harry got so excited, he exploded the lightbulbs in all the lamps of the sitting room. When John left for three days to go to a medical conference, he came back to find Harry having a conversation with the skull on the mantle while Mrs. Hudson knitted on the couch. (How a skull could talk without a tongue was anyone’s guess.) There was the time the toaster popped up John’s toast for breakfast one morning and continued to produce toast on it’s own. (I was hungry, John!) To Harry’s delight and John’s amusement, this resulted in Harry’s first trip to feed the ducks. For the most part, it was fairly easy to forget that Harry was a wizard. Most days they muddled through fairly well.

Chapter Text

Usually when John picked up Harry from school, he barely made it in the door before a small bundle of elbows and knees was hurtling into his midsection, so it took John by surprise when he walked into the classroom and immediately braced himself for an impact that didn’t come. After a few seconds he looked around only to see Harry and a small girl with long curly light brown hair sitting on a mound of pillows sharing a book. The teacher noticed John standing near the door and walked over with a smile.

“Hello Dr. Watson. I would like to speak to you if you have a minute.” John had a slight moment of panic that something had happened with Harry’s magic while at school, but was quickly reassured by the teacher who had seen his frown.

“No worries, Harry’s not in trouble. I just thought you might like to hear the story of this afternoon’s adventure from an adult before you hear it from Harry.” The teacher was smiling in amusement before she began her tale.

“I became quite concerned this afternoon when I heard quite a bit of noise coming from the suddenly rolled up rug near the reading corner. When I went to check, Ms. Granger,” the teacher motioned to the girl reading with Harry, "had rolled him up in the rug. I thought at first that he was crying, but when I got him out of the rug, he just looked at me and said “I’m Skippyjon Jones, why did you take apart my burrito?” At that point he and Ms. Granger started meowing at each other again. It took me a moment to figure out the situation, but they were apparently acting out one of the books that we have in our library area. When I told them I thought there was a problem, Harry informed me that ‘Mione was his best friend and they were on an adventure together. I just wanted you to know that Ms. Granger hasn’t had the easiest time making friends, but Harry seems to have taken her under his wing. I’m quite proud of him for that and thought you might want to know about it as well.”

Throughout the teachers tale about the afternoon adventure, Johns frown had been slowly replaced with a smile. Thanking the teacher, he walked over to the reading corner and sank down onto the cushions beside Harry. After glancing up a John, Harry returned his attention to the book that Hermione was reading aloud to Harry.

“Holy guacamole! Exclaimed Skippyjon Jones.” Hermione read very well, and John sat quietly and listened as the two finished the book. When Hermione finally closed the book, Harry launched himself at John in his usual greeting. Harry was talking a mile a minute and telling John all about his day and what he had learned.

“And John, I got a new best friend. ‘Mione and I like the same books and toys and she’s really smart!” John laughed at Harry’s enthusiasm.

“Well why don’t you introduce her to me then.” Harry jumped up from John’s lap and went back to Hermione who had been watching and listening to Harry quietly.

“‘Mione, come meet my John.” Holding her hand, Harry turned back to face John.

“John this is my bestest friend ‘Mione. ‘Mione, this is my John.” John smiled at the little girl. She was about the same size as Harry, but had a wild mane of curly hair light brown hair around a rather sweet face. She returned his smile and held out her hand.

“It is very nice to meet you Dr. Watson, I am Hermione Granger.” John chuckled at her rather proper manners and shook her hand gently.

“It is very nice to meet you as well Hermione. I heard you had quite the adventure today.” This set the two children to telling John all about their adventures with mummies, visiting planets made of spice, and their band of amigos. John was quite amused and very happy that Harry had found someone he was getting on so well with. After their story of adventure was finished, John had Harry gather his things and they headed out. John had quickly written down his contact information on a scrap of pink construction paper laying on one of the tables and asked the teacher to pass it along to Hermione’s parents. He thought a possible weekend playdate might be in order in light of Harry’s finding a best friend.

Chapter Text

Mycroft Holmes let himself into his town house in the early hours of the morning. He had just returned from a several weeks long tour of several countries. Being the British Government had its perks, but some days or weeks in this case, it was simply exhausting. As he made his way into his modern chrome and granite kitchen to start the kettle, he booted up his personal laptop and began going over e-mails and updates from his staff. The first few e-mails were simple questions that his staff should have been able to answer for themselves. He quickly responded and paused to fix his cup. Settling in once again, he opened the e-mail from the head of the security detail assigned to 221B.

The first e-mail was information about how the the audio bugs and cameras hidden around the flat suddenly stopped working the day before a child had appeared, along with three unknown adults. The replacements for those devices also did not work. His security team had had to rely on old fashioned window peeping and following the doctor and child when they left the flat. There was also reports of a snowy white owl that had arrived the day after the adults and child, it was spotted arriving and leaving through the window in the sitting room, often with a roll of paper tied to it’s leg or in it’s beak. When the owl was in residence, she seemed to stay in a large white cage in the sitting room.

He began to skim the following e-mails quickly, until he came to the description and photo of a small boy who was never seen entering the flat, leaving it with Mrs. Hudson and Dr. Watson. The photo that was provided caused a small frown. This child seemed to bear a striking resemblance to Sherlock, but surely he would know if his younger brother had sired a child? No, he was confident that this was not Sherlock’s child, he had none of the trademark Holmes qualities, but the resemblance was slightly uncanny.

As he pulled up the next picture, which provided a closer view, thanks to the telephoto lense it was shot with, he became even more confused. He could see the bruises on the child’s skinny arms and he seemed to be very small for his age. Mycroft was almost assured the child could only be around four or five at most. How had this child ended up with John Watson and Martha Hudson? He was too dissimilar to John to be his progeny. What was happening on Baker Street?

He continued to read the rest of the report and the ones that had been sent in the following days. Apparently three adults had left the flat, each wearing colorful robes, had proceeded to a nearby alley and then had apparently disappeared between one blink of the eye and the next. He looked at the photos of the three adults who had exited Baker Street and was surprised to find he recognized one of the men in the picture. Kingsley Shacklebolt was an important member of the Ministry of Magic. His position was not quite as high as Mycroft’s, but it was very close. He had met with the man on a number of occasions and found that he quite enjoyed his company, something he could not say about many people he worked with. Politicians really could be quite tedious.

As he studied the picture further, he theorized that the other two people with Shacklebolt would also belong to the magical world based on their clothing and seeming familiarity with Shacklebolt. The fact they had disappeared mid-blink only furthered his theory. It took only moments for Mycroft to recall that this form of transportation was called apparating. Two wizards and and a witch had visited Baker Street, an owl was apparently being kept as a pet, and now there was suddenly a small child in residence as well.

He texted his assistant, Aubrey, as she chose to be called this week to try to set up a meeting with Kingsley Shacklebolt. Checking the CCTV cameras around Baker Street and asking for an immediate update from the security detail posted there, he was able to ascertain that the residents of the house were tucked in for the night and had been home since early evening. It seemed that he was due for a visit to Baker Street at the earliest possible time.

John groaned as his alarm blared the next morning. Though he was sleeping much better than he had since Sherlock’s fall, he still found it a chore to get out of bed. Forcing himself up, he exited the room, pulling on one of Sherlock’s old dressing gowns. It engulfed him from head to toe and he had to roll up the sleeves, which Mrs. Hudson had tacked for him, to be able to do anything while wearing it, but he could now see why Sherlock had loved it so much, it really was unbelievably comfortable.

He sat the kettle and turned to the cupboard while giving in to a yawn. He stopped suddenly and looked back to his left. Mycroft Holmes was sitting in his chair, umbrella propped against the side, reading the paper. Groaning and rubbing his hands over his face, he preceded into the sitting room. He allowed himself to flop gracelessly down onto the couch.

“I could have sworn that I told you very explicitly to leave me alone. You have no business here anymore, Mycroft and I don’t particularly like you very much, so why would you think it okay to be sitting in my flat before I’ve had my first cuppa of the day?”

Folding the paper neatly and placing it to the side, Mycroft took in his first look at John in weeks. He could see that he had regained some of the weight that had been lost immediately following Sherlock’s suicide. He looked less drawn and tired, even with sleep still clinging to him. The dark circles were still present, but vastly improved from the last time they had met. If his hair had a bit more gray and if there were a few more lines on his face, well Mycroft knew better than to comment on it.

“Ah, Dr. Watson, how have you been lately?” John rolled his eyes and sat forward placing his elbows on his knees.

“What do you want Mycroft? I’m really not in the mood for social niceties.” Mycroft’s face never changed from the falsely pleasant expression that he wore.

“I have been out of the country for the last few weeks and upon arriving home last night, I became aware that there is a new resident at 221B. I simply came to meet the young man.” John rolled his eyes. He figured this was about Harry. Mycroft’s boundary issues were just as bad as his brother’s used to be, even if they were presented with a more polite facade.

“It really not any of your business anymore who lives here. He has nothing to do with Sherlock. Why are you so interested, Mycroft?” A small quirk of the lips that passed for a Mycroft smile appeared.

“I’m simply concerned about you Dr. Watson. I do worry you know. You were my brother's best friend. I feel it is my duty to look after you since he is no longer able to do so himself.” Another eye roll from John greeted his statement.

“Right. Or it could be that you’re just a nosy overbearing git who can’t stand it when he doesn’t know what’s going on. Careful, Mycroft, some might mistake your worry for caring. We wouldn’t want that now would we. After all, I believe it was you who told Sherlock that caring was not an advantage.” John hated how bitter he sounded, but he knew that if he let Mycroft have his way on this, he would continue to expect to get his way in everything.

Mycroft let out a small sigh. At the time he told Sherlock that, he really had believed it. It had been drilled into him his whole life and it had never proved wrong, until a madman named James Moriarty had dismantled the most important thing in his life. Caring may not be an advantage, but it didn’t stop him from caring about his brother, and by extension Dr. Watson. He had never seen his brother so settled and content as he was in the short time that he and John were flatmates.

“Dr. Watson, John...I know I made mistakes with Sherlock, you do not need to point them out to me. I am well aware of their number and I recall them in vivid detail. I am simply trying to fulfill a promise I made to him. It is one that I do not wish to break, as I have broken so many before.”

John regarded Mycroft closely. He still had on his usual blank mask, but John had learned to read the very few minute tells that a Holmes gave away. He could see the fatigue in the wrinkles around his eyes and mouth. His suit was impeccable as usual, even if it fit a slight bit looser than it should. He knew that Mycroft had just given him the Holmes version of an apology or at least as close to one as he would get.

Giving in to the inevitable John stood and walked toward the kitchen. He prepared two cups of tea, still remembering how Mycroft preferred his. He returned to the sitting room and handed Mycroft his tea before settling back down on the sofa. He took a couple of fortifying sips before placing his cup down and addressing Mycroft.

“Harry is my first cousin’s son. She and her husband were killed and he was sent to live with his aunt and uncle. This happened while I was still in Afghanistan. It was recently found out that they had been abusing him, so I was asked as the next closest family member to take him in. I did so and I do not regret it.”

Frowning, Mycroft filled in the blanks of what John did not tell him. He would need to look into this aunt and uncle. It did not sit well with him to allow child abusers to go free.

“I see. I thought at first, he might be Sherlock’s child due to the resemblance, but quickly dismissed that idea. I knew he could not be yours as there were no common traits. It pains me to say that no one in my office was aware that you had first cousins. I’ll be having words with my staff about that, but it does not matter at the moment.”

John had picked up his tea and was sipping again while Mycroft spoke. He was amused at the thought that heads would roll because of such a small oversight. He hadn’t spoken to either of his cousins in years and they had different last names, so it wasn’t surprising that they had never discovered a connection.

“It’s fine Mycroft, not their fault. No one needs to get fired over me having cousins no one knew about.” Mycroft sipped his tea.

“So the boy then, how is he settling in?” John finished his tea and placed the cup down once again.

“I’m sure you know that we are all fine Mycroft. Harry’s doing great, coming along in leaps and bounds. He goes to a school which he loves, he just found his first best friend, and he’s crazy about Dr. Who. Mrs. Hudson might be his favorite person in the world because she lets him have biscuits before dinner, but I like to think I run a close second. He is a unique little boy and I’m enjoying having him here. He’s as good for me as I am for him.”

“Yes, I would have to agree with you on that. You are looking in better spirits since our last visit.”

Now that he understood what the boy was doing living with John, he felt a little knot of tension release from him. He had never mentioned that he knew of the night John had almost given in to the grief and loneliness. Mycroft was seconds away from giving the order to the security detail to go in and prevent him from taking his own life by whatever means necessary, when the doctor had suddenly thrown the handful of pills on the floor and curled up on his bed sobbing. He had upped the security risk on the doctor after the incident, though he had never gotten so close to the edge again. If it could be helped, he would never mention that night to anyone, it would not do to upset the accord they had reached, however temporary it may be.

“Well, ta, for that. I’m afraid I have to work the early shift so I need to get our day started.” Knowing when he was being dismissed. Mycroft rose and collected his umbrella. He walked to the door and opened it, but turned before stepping through.

“John, you never told me the boy’s name.” John stood up straight from where he had been collecting teacups and turned towards the door.

“His name’s Harry. Harry Potter.” With that John walked into the kitchen to deposit the dishes into the sink and begin making their breakfast. He heard the door close with a soft click and could hear footsteps on the stairs, accompanied by the tapping caused by the tip of the umbrella.

Settling into his car, Mycroft allowed the shock of learning that the most famous little boy in the magical world was living with Dr. John Watson. Even he, a muggle with only occasional contact with the magical world knew who Harry Potter was and how important he was in the history of magical world. The Boy Who Lived was being raised by an ex-army surgeon turned blogger and detective, turned Mr. Mom. He lay his head back against the seat and let out the groan he had been holding in for hours. This would definitely not be boring.

Chapter Text

Greg Lestrade’s head was pounding. He was in the middle of two separate cases and unable to get either one of them closed. He sat at his desk with his head in his hands. He hadn’t been home in three....no four days now and the overdose of fast food and caffeine was definately starting to get to him. He’d been kipping on the small couch in his office when he got the chance, but even he knew he wasn’t getting enough sleep to be of any use to his cases.

 

Rubbing his hands over his face, he stared at the small brown package on his desk addressed to Dr. John H. Watson. He remembered an identical package sitting in the same place a year before, addressed to Sherlock and what that seemingly insignificant brown package had ended up being. He hadn’t spoken to John since the day they had cleared Sherlock’s name and John had been at the yard for the press conference.

 

He understood John‘s anger, he had no small amount of guilt eating away at him for his part in Sherlock’s downfall, but he had to admit he missed the friendship that he had developed with the doctor. At the beginning of the investigation, he had refused to be the one conducting the interrogations, much to his boss’s displeasure, although he was forced to be present for them. After John had punched the Superintendent in the nose (Lestrade secretly thought he had deserved it) the man was out for anything he could get on John, trying to arrest him on trumped up charges.

 

Lestrade had done his best to fight for both Sherlock and John, even Donovan had argued in John’s favor, but it took Mycroft eventually stepping in to remind the Super what happened to cops who turned dirty before the charges were dismissed. John had gotten away with paying a fine for assault of a police officer to go along with his ASBO.

 

His office door opened and Sally placed a cup of coffee on his desk before moving to sit down in front of it. “It’s the good stuff from down the street, triple shot of espresso.”

 

Digging through his desk for paracetamol, he popped three in his mouth chased by his first sip of the coffee. “Thanks, Sal.”
Sally nodded and eyed the package on his desk. “So, you going to call him in or are you going to open it this time?” As much as he hated his decision, he already knew what he had to do. Greg sighed and took another sip of his coffee before reaching for this phone. Scrolling through his contacts list, he selected Johns name and hit call. As he waited for the phone to ring and be picked up, he tried to mentally prepare himself for the conversation that might follow. When the phone rang through to voicemail, he hung up and tried to call back immediately. After it rang through the second time, he decided to leave a voicemail.

 

"John, it's Lestrade. I know you don't want to talk to me, mate, but we recieved a package at the yard with your name on it. It's almost identical to the one Sherlock recieved during the pool case. I need you to come down and open it. If I haven't heard back from you in two hours, I'm coming by your place, fair warning." Greg disconnected the call and looked over at Sally.

 

"He's probably ignoring you, you know." She sipped her coffee calmly. She almost hoped that John didn't call back. She had warned him the first time they had met to stay away from the Freak, but he didn't listen to her. Now he was heartbroken and though she was sorry he had gotten hurt, she still felt that he had brought it on himself.

 

"Yeah, I know. I wouldn't want to talk to me either. But if I don't hear back, I'll go over and see if I can't route him out anyway. We have to deal with whatever this is no matter what." Stomach churning from the coffee and the stress he was under, he pulled the folders from his current cases toward him.

 

"Alright, lets go over this again. Do we have anything new?" They discussed the cases while they waited for a call back.

Across town, John and Harry were seated in Angelo's waiting for the Grangers to join them. Mrs. Granger had called John earlier in the week and had they had decided to meet for dinner to get to know each other before starting playdates between their children. John respected that they didn't want their child around an adult they did not know and he had to be especially careful due to Harry's past and magical abilities.

 

Harry was not nearly as nervous as John thought he would be and he was currently telling Angelo all about his day at school and his best friend 'Mione who was joining them for dinner. He was really quite relieved that Harry was doing so well in such a short period of time. The quiet boy he had first met was not often present and Harry asked a million questions that John tried to answer to the best of is ability.

 

John felt his phone buzz in his pocket and pulled it out to see Lestrade's name on the caller ID. He hit the ignore button before setting it down on the table. When it buzzed again just as the Grangers appeared in the doorway, he once again hit ignore before turning the phone off completely and putting in back into his jeans pocket. He stood to greet the Grangers, shaking hands, before they all settled in to start their dinner.

 

Two hours later, after a wonderful dinner with the Grangers, John and Harry arrived back at 221B. Opening the heavy black door with it's golden numbers, John allowed Harry in ahead of him. Harry rushed up the stairs with John following much more slowly behind him. Harry had been chattering about his weekend playdate with Hermione, who would be coming to Baker Street for the majority of the day on Saturday. When there was a pause in Harry's chatter followed by "Hello! Who are you? I'm Harry and I'm four!"

 

John's instincts went on alert and he finished climbling the steps in few leaps. Harry stood in the doorway of the sitting room, hand still on the doorknob, looking at Greg Lestrade.

 

To say that John was not happy to find Lestrade and Donovan in his sitting room would be a massive understatement. He wanted nothing to do with either one of them and he had thought he made that perfectly clear after their last meeting. He still didn't know why Lestrade had called him earlier, but it seemed he was about to find out.

 

He nudged Harry into the room gently and shut the door behind him. He removed his and Harry's coats, hanging them on the back of door before turning back to his two unwelcome visitors. Harry stood close to John and watched the two adults to see what would happen. Lestrade smiled at Harry and spoke to him in a cheerful voice. "Hello, Harry, my name is Greg Lestrade."
John crossed his arms over his chest. "Is there a reason you are in my flat uninvited?"

 

Lestrade's attention was pulled from the small boy to John. His face was relatively blank, but his jaw was clenched. Lestrade could see that he was holding himself in very tightly. John had already answered two of his questions unwittingly. Yes, he had been ignoring his call on purpose and no, he hadn't listened to his voicemail. Lestrade let out a small sigh and ran his hands through his hair.

 

"John, I take it didn't listen to the voicemail." John shifted slighty, pulling his phone out of his back pocket before booting it up. He pointedly pressed buttons to get into his voicemail and put the phone on speaker. After they had all listened to Greg's message, John ended he call.

 

"No, I'm not getting involved. You can open it if you want, but I'm not playing anymore games with madmen. Please see yourself out." With that, John reached down for Harry's hand and walked around the two officers standing in the middle of the room.

 

"Right then Harry, I promised you a book if you did a good job in the restaurant tonight, and you did a fantastic job, so why don't you go up and pick out two books. I'll be up in a mo." Harry gave John a bright smile before once again racing up the stairs. John turned back to the two adults that had not left.

 

"John, you know we wouldn't be here if it wasn't important. We don't know what's in the package, it could be anything." John looked Lestrade over, noting how bad he really looked. The hand that he had run through his hair had a slight shake to it. He looked pale and drawn. The lines aound his eyes and mouth stood out very distinctly. Normally he would enquire how long Greg had gone this time without going home, but they weren't friends anymore, so it was no longer his place.

 

"I said no. I will not be getting involved. We all know what happened the last time a package for a resident of 221B showed up at Scotland Yard. I lost my best friend because of a madman, but it all started with that damn phone. I've got Harry to think about now. So no, I won't be coming down to the yard, I won't get involved, and I don't care what you do with it. You are no longer welcome here, either of you, so unless you have a warrant, kindly get out of my flat!"

 

John's voice had remained even, but his tone had an edge of steel to it. Lestrade knew how stubborn he could be and could not blame him for not wanting to get involved. He did not know what was in the package but he had a pretty good guess. If it was anything like last time, the results of opening the package could be disastrous, but needs must.

 

Greg was just about to open his mouth to try to reason with John, when Donovan, who had been uncharacteristically silent, and who apparenty was completely obtuse to John's mood spouted out her ill timed and ill concieved question.

 

"How did you end up with the Freaks' kid? And is he as bad as the Freak was? Is there something wrong with him?" John froze where he was standing, expression turning positively glacial. Greg facepalmed before taking a step away from Donovan. Sally continued to stare at John, eyes disbelieving, head tilted to the side as if trying to figure something out. She held herself loosely as if there wasn't a deadly threat coming from John standing only feet away. He moved quickly enough that she was startled for a moment. Sally Donovan suddenly had a face full of enraged Army Captain.

 

"You listen to me very closely, you unfeeling Bitch. If you ever use that word in my presence again, I will not hold myself back. Do not ever mistake my silence for apathy. I've never said anything to you, because Sherlock asked me not to, but since you helped him off the side of a building, I no longer have to honor that request. So hear this, if you continue to open your mouth before thinking I will not hesitate. I. Will. End. You. I will take your badge, your good name, and anything else that I can get my hands on. And if you ever doubt me, Donovan, remember this. I have killed men far better than you and laughed about it afterwards." John turned away from her abruptly and moved quickly into the kitchen. He had never come so close to hitting a woman as he had just then.

 

Sally stood there stunned. She had never seen or expected John Watson to be so menacing. She absolutely had no doubt about anything he said to her. A shiver ran down her spine. She looked over at Lestrade. Lestrade returned her gaze then shook his head at her.

 

"You never did understand Sally." A small frown formed between her brows. "Understand what?"

 

Lestrade glanced over his shoulder as he walked toward the door. "You always said one day we'd be standing around a body and Sherlock Holmes would have put it there. Do you ever wonder if we have already stood over a body, and John Watson was the one that put it there? "

 

Sally was still not catching his meaning. She continued to frown as she followed him down the stairs. He stopped as he opened the front door, looking back at her once more. "What I'm saying Sally, is that Sherlock was never the one you needed to worry about."

 

As his meaning hit her, she stumbled a bit before quickly righting herself. She looked at him over the roof of the car, then glanced back up at the illuminated windows of 221B. In the window to the left, she could see the silhouette of the doctor and blogger. Another shiver made it's way through her as she turned away and climbed into the car.

Chapter Text

The following morning Greg and Sally were once again back in his offfice at NSY looking at the package on his desk. A polite knock was heard before his door opened to reveal Mycoft Holmes. "Detective Inspector Lestrade, do you have a moment? I need to discuss a serious matter with you."

Lestrade was thrown for a moment, before regaining his composure. He shouldn't be surprised that Mycroft knew about the package for John. He motioned for Mycroft to sit in the only other chair available in his office. Mycroft sat gracefully with only a nod toward Sally to acknowledge her presence.

"You're here about the package then?" Mycroft's face held his usual calm, polite mask. He was dressed in his usual impeccable bespoke suit and carried his umbrella. Glancing out the window, Greg could see his assistant, Amanda as she had told him her name was, standing outside his door typing away on her ever present phone.

"Indeed, Detective Inspector. As well as another matter that I wish to discuss with you later. Please tell me about the package." Greg sat forward in his chair placing his elbow on his desk and running his hands over his face and then through his short silver hair.

"Arrived two days ago in with the regular mail. No fingerprints, no traces of anything on the outside of the package, no return address or distinguishing marks of any kind. I've had the bomb dogs go over it, but they found nothing. Same for forensics. The only reason it was brought to me was because the mail boy is a fan of Dr. Watson's blog." Mycroft nodded, then reached toward the package.

"May I?" He picked up the package and turned it over and around, looking it over with a critical eye. He sat it back on the desk and leaned back into a comfortable pose in his chair.

"You will not find any evidence, even once the package is opened, on the identity of the sender. I suspect the only person who the contents will have any meaning for is Dr. Watson." Greg sighed and ran his hands through his hair once again.

"I figured. You don't think this is Moriarty do you Mycroft? It's identical to the one Sherlock recieved when that whole mess started. John is refusing to get involved, rightly so, I think."

"I can assure you with utmost confidence that James Moriarty is not behind this, Gregory. Dr. Watson is being stubborn for no reason other than his anger at the people in this room. I have asked John to join us here and he is on his way as we speak so that he may open the package and answer everyone's questions about it once and for all." Mycroft seemed completely unperturbed so Greg let go of a slight bit of the tension he was holding in his shoulders.

"What was the other matter you wanted to discuss?" Greg had an idea that Mycroft may not want John privy to the next part. He couldn't read the man anymore than he could read his brother, so he just called it gut instinct.

"Ah yes, you met Harry during your visit last night to Baker Street?" Lestrade nodded. Mycroft could see Sally's face pinch out of the corner of his eye.

"Harry is John's second cousin. He is an orphan who lived with his maternal aunt and uncle before John took custody of him several weeks ago. I have been out of the country during this time, otherwise the matter would have already been handled, however, it has come to my attention that the reason Harry is now residing with John is because the aunt and uncle were abusive. Normally I would handle this on my own, but considering how much they seem to rely on what their neighbors think of them, I thought it might be appropriate to hand the matter over to New Scotland Yard to deal with." Mycroft's normally placid face slipped a bit and Greg could see the disgust and utter contempt in it while he spoke of the Harry's relations. He glanced over at Sally to see her bead bowed and a blush creeping into her cheeks.

"So basically, you want me to arrest these people for child abuse and make it as public as possible?" Mycroft smirked, which sent a shudder down Greg's back. In this moment, Mycroft looked like an absolute preditor. "Exactly Detective Inspector."

Greg returned his gaze for a few more moments before glancing at Sally again. She hadn't moved other than to clench her hands into fists. "Normally I would say it's not my department, but just this one time, and since you asked without kidnapping me," Greg smirked in amusement, "I'll gladly help you. It should only take a few hours to get a team together. You'll have to give me the evidence you have for the warrant, but I' sure you already have all the details tied up nicely."

A geniune smile of amusement crossed Mycroft's face, "Indeed, Detective Inspector. I've even procured a warrant that can be enforced at any time."

Greg snorted and rolled his eyes. "Of course you did."

John Watson took a deep breath as the cab pulled up in front of the imposing front of NSY. He thought back on all the times he had come here with Sherlock and even all the times after the Fall. He had hoped that he had seen the last of the building the day that they cleared Sherlock's name, yet here he was, getting dragged back in.

He exited the cab and reached back to help Harry out. John hadn't wanted to bring him, but with Mrs. Hudson out at one of her group meetings and the school closed for teacher inservice, he hadn't had a choice. Harry reached for his hand and together they made their way into NSY.

Walking through the cubicles toward Lestrade's office, John could feel the stares and hear the whispers that were left in their wake. Harry waved at the people that openly gawked at them and asked John questions about anything and everything. John could feel himself tensing up the closer they got to Lestrades office. He could see Anthea standing next to the door head down, phone in hand. As they approached her she looked up and smiled.

"Hello Dr. Watson. I've been told that Harry and I will be having a treat at the cafe across the street while you all have your meeting. With your permission of course." Mycroft, thought John, taking care of the details as usual. He watched as Anthea squatted down so that she was on Harry's level.

"Harry, my name is Anthea and I'm a friend of John's. I was wondering if you would like to come have a treat with me, while John goes into his meeting?" Harry stared wide eyed at her before tugging on John's hand. John leaned over as Harry reached up to whisper, (not as quietly as he tought) in Johns ear.

"Can I go John? She's really pretty!" John laughed and gave Harry a quick squeeze around his shoulders. Standing back up, John addressed Anthea as she also stood.

"Don't overload him on the sugar. He prefers milk with his snacks if they have it. How many shadows will you have with you?" She knew John was referring to the discreet security detail Mycroft always had around the people in his life. "Three."

John nodded his head and squeezed Harry's hand lightly before relinquishing it to Anthea. He watched as she and Harry walked back the way they had just come. Taking another deep breath, he knocked on the door to Lestrade's office and walked in.

Chapter Text

John walked into Lestrade's office. Lestrade was seated in his chair behind his desk, Mycroft and Sally in the chairs in front of it. He gave a slight nod to the room in general, but didn't move away from the door after closing it. He leaned against the door for a moment before he forced himself forward, closer to the desk. He could see the package clearly, sitting on top of a stack of case files. When he reached for it, he noticed absently that his hand was steady.

Without saying a word he picked up the package and held it in his hand. It was a small rectangular box, wrapped in brown packing paper. The label on the front was white with black font. His name was on the label along with the address of the NSY. The box was light, less than a pound in weight. He could feel all eyes in the room on him, but stayed silent.

He put his finger under the edge of the wrapping and pulled. Like ripping a plaster off a wound he unwrapped the box quickly, revealing a plain white cardboard box underneath. He pulled the lid off the box along with the white batting that was placed over the top of the object inside for padding. He looked down to see a cell phone that was identical to the one from the pink lady case. He knew it wasn't the exact same phone, but made to look like it. A sudden memory came back to him of Sherlock saying almost the same words about the phone that had been used to send the pips.

His breathing quickened, but his hand remained steady. He took the phone out of the box and read aloud the note that was underneath it.

Figure out the passcode to solve the first puzzle. - SH

John squeezed his eyes shut and tried to catch his breath. One sentence, two initials, and John felt like he had been punched in the gut. There was no way....he couldn't be alive. He had buried him, said goodbye standing at his gravestone. John opened his eyes and stared straight at Mycroft. If anyone knew, it would be Mycroft. John begged with his eyes for answers."I cannot give you the answers you seek Dr. Watson. You'll need to access the phone to get those."

Mycroft never flinched or moved a muscle, but John could see even he was slightly surprised by the note. Sally and Greg were openly shocked and probably thinking the same thing he was. Why now? It had been almost a year since Sherlock had jumped from Barts. If it was really Sherlock who had sent the package, or arranged for it to be sent, why?

John was pulled out of his thoughts by Greg, who had risen from his chair and moved to stand by John. "Do you know what the passcode is?"

John looked down at the phone and pushed the home screen button on the bottom. The full keyboard came up along with the box to type it in. John had been expecting a four digit number, but this looked like it was a word or words. John stared at the screen and tried to figure out what it could be. He tried several of the first options that popped into his head but they were all summarily rejected. He looked up at the others in the room.

"I don't know...I just....I don't know." Greg clapped him on the shoulder. Then stepped away.

"Anyone have any ideas?" John looked at Mycroft again. He had a small frown between his brows and his hands were pressed fingertips together in front of his mouth in a very familiar way. John could tell he was thinking deeply, in his version of his mind palace, so he looked to Greg who shrugged and then to Sally, who refused to meet his eyes. He started pacing the small space left in Lestrade's office, then stopped to look out the window into the pit. He didn't know how long they all sat in the quiet absorbed in their own thoughts, but he turned when he heard Sally start to speak.

"If it's really him, it'll be something only the two of you knew. An inside joke, or something like that. Not something that would be easy for anyone else to guess. He would have made sure only you knew the answer. There might be more than one code to crack. He would have made it as clever as possible." She did not speak in her usual brash way and she still didn't meet John's eyes, but he thought of what she said and knew she was probably correct. Donovan could be a good cop when she wasn't throwing insults around.

"Right. Okay then, I'll think about it and let you know when I've figured it out." He pocketed the pink phone and moved toward the door. He stopped before opening it.

"Mycroft, do you have shadows on Harry?" He turned back to the room. Mycroft nodded. "Increase them and move them in closer when I'm not with him. Just in case."

Mycroft looked at John and immediately understood what he was saying and asking all at once. If this wasn't Sherlock, but someone else, Harry could possibly be a target. This was John's way of accepting his help and telling him to protect the boy at all costs.

"Understood." With a nod of thanks at Mycroft, John left the room and walked back through the pit toward the elevators. His mind was buzzing with everything that had happened today and he couldn't help but wander how this situation was going to turn out.

In the office, the three remaining adults looked to one another. Sally spoke first. "What did he mean by shadows?"

"He's talking about the security detail that John and Sherlock, and now Harry always have with them when they leave the flat." Surprisingly, it was Lestrade who answered her and not Mycroft.

"Wait, if they had a security detail, why were they always getting hurt and kidnapped? Shouldn't they have prevented that?" Mycroft huffed out a breath that couldn't quite be called a snort, but was close. Lestrade just grinned.

"My brother and his blogger were rather good at loosing their tails or shadows as Dr. Watson calls them, when it suited their purpose." Sally nodded, it definitely sounded like something the two of them would do.

Chapter Text

John collected Harry from the cafe across the street. He and 'Thea, as Harry called her, had apparently had a lovely lunch date. John shook his head with a grin when he thought back to how she had shut him down the first time he met her and now here she was with a four year old asking if they could do it again soon. After deciding on Sunday afternoon tea, John gathered Harry up and let him say his thank yous. He hailed a cab and soon the two were headed back to Baker Street.

John was appreciative of Harry's constant questions about his surroundings as it took his mind off the phone burning a hole in his pocket. They arrived home to find Mrs. Hudson had baked again, despite her continued protests of not being their housekeeper, so they all settled in to have their tea and the fresh, still warm biscuits. Mrs. Hudson and John talked about her bridge club meeting and filled him in on all the neighborhood gossip that she had heard.

When they were finished with their tea, Harry asked to go back downstairs with Mrs. Hudson so they could work on the puzzle that had been started earlier in the week. Ageeing to call him before dinner, John listened as they headed downstairs.

He pulled the pink phone out of his pocket and allowed memories to wash over him. He was surprised to learn that they weren't as sharp emotionally as they had once been, and he was even able to appreciate the humor in some of the situations they had found themselves in. He knew the key to opening the phone would be in there somewhere. He started at the beginning, their first meeting at Barts, and went forward from there, searching for any clue Sherlock might have given him. He had made it all the way to the case with the Woman, when "Oh!"

John picked up the phone and entered vatican cameos. The home screen of the phone came up immediately. There was only one application on the home screen so John tapped it and waited for it to load. When it finally came up, John couldn't help but chuckle. It was an application in which you could create your own crossword puzzle. He started to read through the clues at the bottom and filled in the puzzle line by line.

Across
1 We are out of ______

 

3 Five letter word for what I am

 

5 Answer to the first question I ever asked you.

 

7 That thing you did...

 

9 Anderson's favorite animal

 

11 Mycroft's theme song

 

13 You are not my ______

 

15. If Mrs. Hudson Leaves Baker St

 

Down

2. I once told you I was on the side of these, but not one of them

 

4. Moriarty's Ringtone

 

6. I don't have friends...

 

8. We can't do this at a crime scene

 

10. What did I wear to "The very heart of the British Empire"

 

12. When you walk with Sherlock Holmes you see the

 

14. The wall

 

John filled in the last blank of the puzzle and hit enter. Moments later the screen of the phone went black before a video came up. John set the phone down quickly. He wasn't sure he was prepared for whatever might be in the video. Using his own phone, he sent a text to Lestrade and Mycroft.

Figured out the passcode. Donovan was right about additional puzzles, but worked that out too. there is a video. Haven't watched it yet. 9 pm Baker Street. -JW

John locked both phones and put them on the mantle next to the skull. He started dinner for himself and Harry and pushed thoughts of the video from his mind as much as possible. They had a quiet evening as had become their norm. As John was tucking Harry into bed, Harry asked a question that stopped John in his tracks. "John, who's Sherlock?"

John looked down at Harry. "Where'd you hear that name Harry?"

"'Thea mentioned him, and Mrs. Hudson. You yelled it the other night when you had a bad dream too. Then on the voicemail the policeman left you." Harry was running his fingers over his Tardis bedspread. John sighed. Harry was apparently more observant than John had given him credit for. Idiot, he thought to himself, you should know better.

"Sherlock was my best friend and my flat mate. We lived together here at Baker Street. He solved crimes with the police and I wrote stories about it. He...died about a year ago." John's voice broke little, but he cleared his throat and regained his composure quickly.

Harry crawled into Johns lap and wrapped his arms around Johns neck as tightly as he could. "I'm sorry he made you sad John. You wanna tell me about it, like I tell you when I'm sad?"

John gave Harry a squeeze then helped him back under the covers. "That might help, Harry, thank you. How about we start with how we met?"

Harry nodded and got comfortable while John told him of how he and Sherlock had met. He had just started the beginning of the Study in Pink case when Harry fell asleep. John leaned over and laid a his hand over the top of Harry's head. He leant down and placed a gentle kiss over the lightning shaped scar then turned off the lamp and made his way back downstairs.

Chapter Text

Here are all the answers to the puzzle!

1. We are out of
milk

3. Five letter word for what I am
bored

5. Answer to the first question I ever asked you.
Afghanistan (A Study in Pink)

7. That thing you did....
That you offered to do...it was good. (The Great Game)

9. Anderson's favorite animal
dinosaurs (not really sure where this came from!)

11. Mycroft's theme song
God Save the Queen

13. You are not my....
date (A Study in Pink)

15. If Mrs. Hudson leaves Baker Street
England will fall

Down
2. On the side of these, but not one of them
angels (I may be on the side of angels, but do not think I am one of them)

4. Moriarty's Ringtone
Stayin' Alive - The Great Game

6. I don't have friends
I've just got one - Hounds of Baskerville?

8. We can't do this at a crime scene
giggle (We can't giggle, it's a crime scene!) - A Study in Pink (I think)

10. What did I wear to "The very heart of the British Government?"
a sheet. (You are standing in Buckingham Palace, the very heart of the British Government. Sherlock Holmes, put on your trousers!) -A Scandal in Belgravia

12. When you walk with Sherlock Holmes you see the
battlefield

14. The wall.....
had it coming (Why are you shooting at the wall? The wall had it coming!) - The Blind Banker?

Chapter Text

It was a quarter to nine, so John started the kettle but poured himself two fingers full of the good whisky Mycroft had given them as a christmas gift last year. He was almost certain he was going to need the liquid courage to make it all the way through the rest of the evening. He refilled his glass once more, then fixed himself a cup of tea. He heard the door downstairs open and listened as Greg made his way upstairs.

John automatically fixed him a cup and handed it to him as he came into the kitchen. He didn't want to do the awkward 'I'm sorry for putting you through hell' thing with Lestrade, so he immediately started talking about rugby, then switched over to football to try to divert the speech he knew was coming. Lestrade was going off about his favorite player and his on field antics in the last game, when he heard Mycroft coming up the stairs.

When Mycroft came through the door he was also handed a cup of tea and all three made their way into the sitting room. They informed John that the Dursley’s had been arrested that afternoon, and by the looks on their faces, John could tell they may have enjoyed it a bit too much. They had been worried that Mr. Dursley’s head might actually explode going by the alarming shade of purple he turned, while Mrs. Dursley had covered her head with a scarf and had not looked up at any point until they left the neighborhood. Their child Dudley, had been sent to live with Vernon’s sister, his only protest that he would miss his favorite shows because she tended to hog the telly.

After they told their rather hilarious tale, John retrieved the phone from the mantle, and entered the passcode once more. The men in flat became quite serious as the black screen with it's play button came up immediately. He laid the phone on the coffee table and tapped the screen once to start the video.

There was a bit of sound, like something brushing too close to the microphone, then Sherlock's face and upper body came into focus. John gazed at that face, that had haunted so many of his nightmares in the past months and couldn't help but shudder out a breath. Sherlock was seated in his chair in 221B. John could see that there was rain running down the outside of the windowpane behind him. He was dressed in his black suit, white shirt underneath, unbuttoned to the second hole, hair it's usual tousled mess. He sat with his elbows on his knees, leaned forward toward the camera. John could practically see the tension vibrating off of him.

"John, there are things that I need to tell you, things that need to be said, but there is no time to do it in person. I thought this would be the second best way. If you are seeing this video, then things didn't go to plan. Of course, as it's my plan, I don't see why it wouldn't work, but one must be prepared." Sherlock paused moved his hands into his thinking pose and then continued.

"Moriarty was just here, we had tea, it was all quite civilized I assure you. You would most certainly be proud." A quirk of his lips.

"I haven't worked it out just yet, but I'm sure that he is planning something. I've almost determined what it is, exactly. He said that he 'owed me a fall', and I can only take that to mean literally as well as figuratively. There is a purpose behind this, a means of winning the game, but you already know the outcome, so I won't get into any of that."

"His web is huge. I'm certain that it spans the globe and will need to be dismantled, whether he lives or dies. His right hand man and his best sniper, name unknown, will need to be dealt with as soon as possible. He is the largest threat to you." At this Sherlock fell silent for almost a minute before continuing.

"Do not take this to mean you should go looking for him. Just be aware that he exists and use those infamous army instincts that got us out of so many scrapes."

"Mycroft, I know you are there or will at least see this video at some point. Your prying, overbearing ways wouldn't let you not see it. I will remind you of the promise which you made to me. Do not forget it, and tell no one."

"Lestrade, you're probably there too. Fire Anderson, he's a bumbling idiot bringing down his whole profession, as well as those of everyone in his general vicinity. A ten year old could do a better job than he does, and that's being gracious. You are mildly competent, so do try to use what I have taught you over the years. You should be able to solve most of the cases that cross your desk if you do."

"And John, you know I don't do sentiment, but if I must and if this is the only chance to say this....you were my best friend, my only friend. The best man I have ever known. You were my compass and with you things in my head were mostly quiet. You were not always boring and you were above average in intelligence. So...thank you, for staying...it was....good."

The video cut off after that. John had tears rolling down his cheeks. Mycroft was somber and mirroring Sherlocks pose almost exactly. Lestrade just looked stunned. The three sat in silence for several minutes, each lost in their own thoughts and emotions.

Mycroft recovered first by pulling out his phone and texting rapidly. His black ops teams had been raiding sections of Moriarty's web since the day of his death, but now he had a new number one priority in getting rid of the sniper.

John got up and left the room, entering the bathroom and closing the door behind himself. The sound of running water didn't quite cover up the sound of sobs coming from within. Five minutes later the water shut off and the door opened. John was composed, as he sat back into his chair, the only proof of his tears was the red around his eyes.

"He's alive, isn't he?" John spoke softly, looking Mycroft directly in the eyes. He knew, he was in on it, John was absolutely certain of it. Mycroft was absolutely unreadable at this point, but John just knew. What was it Sherlock always told him? When you have gathered all the facts, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

"Yes. Though judging by the video, I don't think even he knew if he would survive Moriarty's final plan. So you see, it is absolutely vital, John, for your safety and his, that no one outside this room find out. Your role is to go on as you have been. Think of Harry if nothing else." John nodded, he had learned to speak Holmes fairly fluently. Sherlock's cover was that no one would be looking for him because he was 'dead' and John's role was to continue to convince everyone of that fact.

Greg was still in a state of shock. "What is my role then?"

Mycroft glanced over at him. "The same as John's. Carry on as you have been. Be seen helping John through his 'grief'. Lives depend on this cover. Yours included. Neither of you would have found out if it wasn't for this message, so you must continue to act as if you do not know the truth. My brother trusts you both, obviously, with his life. I do not have to tell you the consequences if you were to let him down." Both men acknowledged the truth of Mycroft's words before a look of understanding passed between the two of them.

"Should we even be having this conversation here? If Moriarty was ever in the flat, he probably had bugs planted, along with yours." John's mind was moving quickly from one danger to another. His soldier's training picking up any holes in the plan that may exist.

"All of my devices stopped working the day Harry moved into your flat. Their replacements as well. I can only assume any others would have met the same fate." One raised eyebrow from Mycroft told John all he needed to know. Mycroft knew or suspected the truth about Harry.

"Right, okay. So any further conversations about this need to be held here." A nod from Mycroft.
"Good. Greg, if you're supposed to be helping me through my 'grief' we'll go down to the pub on Friday and catch the game. Make it look like tonight was about making amends and we've decided to be friends again."

"Sounds good. Are we actually friends again?" Greg's face held a frown. He wanted to be on good terms with John again, not just because of Sherlock, but because he genuinely liked the man. He knew his part in Sherlock's arrest is what had caused the main breech, with the intense investigation that followed his death, only widening it.

"Not yet, but we'll get there. Won't be hard to fake rebuilding the friendship, since that's what we'll actually be doing." Greg nodded, gave a small smile, and then rose from his seat.

"See you Friday, then. Text me a time. Interesting as always Mycroft." With a small wave, he was out the door. He knew they needed to talk and with his phone vibrating in his pocket for the last two minutes, he suspected he needed to get back to work.

Chapter Text

You weren't going to tell me, were you?" John ran his thumb over his bottom lip. He had been kept in the dark for nearly a year, he doubted he would have found out if it weren't for the video.

"It may surprise you, John, that I was in disagreement with my brother on this point. I felt you had a right to know. He argued that you did not need to know, as he suspected it would drive you to do something rash, like go looking for him." John was mildly shocked. He figured the argument had occurred the other way around.

"Is he coming back then? When was the last time you spoke?" It was not often that either Holmes answered questions in so forthright a manner, so John figured he should take advantage while Mycroft seemed to be in the mood to indulge him.

"Yes, he is planning to return when he deems it safe for both of you. I take that to mean once he has destroyed every last person who could pose as a danger. As for the second question, we do not speak as such. We have set regular check in times and days. He texts me a code word and the coordinates to the closest largest city. In return, I text him coordinates to pick up supplies and funds using that knowledge. I do not know his exact location, but always have a general area in which he should be. He has not missed a check-in since he left." John absorbed this information. It was very clever, but at the same time very simple. He was only surprised that Mycroft let him have that much freedom.

"It was one of his stipulations in accepting my help. I had to let him handle the problems as he saw fit. He pointed out that it was easier to get one man in and out of a situation than it was for a team of people. If he does not make check-in, we have an area to start searching, and I always have a team on standby for that eventuality."

"Bugger. I don't like it, but if it works, okay." John ran his hands through his hair. The thought of Sherlock out there without backup did not sit well with him, his every instinct screaming at him that he should be there. Then he remembered the main reason that couldn't happen. Harry.

John had already decided to trust Mycroft with Harry's safety when they were in Lestrade's office. He had thought the phone might be a trap by the enemy, although it wasn't. The things that it revealed made John even more sure of his course of action. There was still the very real threat of danger. Albus and Kingsley would need to be informed, Mycroft as well. If something were to happen to John, Mycroft would be the first to know and therefore would become Harry's second line of protection against the unknown.

"How much do you know about Harry, Mycroft?" John was suddenly more than a little nervous. He was not supposed to share Harry's secrets with anyone, but then Mycroft was not just anyone.

"Relax, John. You do not have to tell me his secrets. I already knew of him and made the connection once you told me his name. In my position, I often have contact with the magical world. I have worked very closely with Mr. Shacklebolt in the past and we had a meeting about Harry's situation very early this morning. He explained everything quite clearly once he understood your role in my life and that you were under my protection, which now extends to Harry as well, he was quite relieved." Mycroft was very calm, but John had to roll his eyes at his interfering once again. He understood that it was in Harry's best interest, but it didn't make it any less annoying.

"See that right there, Mycroft, secret meetings behind my back, that's what annoys me and makes you very hard to like." John's tone was exasperated, but held no real heat. "Also, when did I suddenly come under your protection?"

Mycroft was amused and let it show. "John, really? You have been under my protection since the night you shot the cabbie to save Sherlock. I honestly thought you were aware of that."

"No, sorry, must have missed that memo. Aright then, is that all? I'm knackered." He rubbed his hands over his face for a moment, before looking back to his guest. He had a lot to process after tonight.

"Just one more thing, John. I would like to spend some time with Harry. I'm quite intrigued by him." John was shocked. He had not been expecting that and wasn't sure how he felt about the idea of Mycroft and Harry spending time together. He didn't think Mycroft would want to have much to do with children.

"Sorry, I think I misheard you. You want to spend time with Harry? You do know he's not an experiment?" Mycroft gave John a look that said he was being an idiot.

"Wrong brother. I do not experiment on children. You should also realize that while I normally do not spend time around children, it does not mean that I do not like them. I practically raised Sherlock after all. Forgoing all of that, Harry is a very special little boy and as close to a nephew as I am likely to get, so I thought it would be appropriate."

Again John was shocked. Did that comment mean that Mycroft thought of John as a brother (shudder) or that he expected Sherlock to help raise Harry when and if he ever came home? Back burner, Watson, you're not ready to think about that yet, he thought to himself. John trusted Mycroft to a point. He knew Harry would be as safe as Mycroft could possibly make him, physically. Was Harry mentally ready to take on a Holmes, though? Probably better for him to start with Mycroft, either way.

"Alright, but I want Anthea with you the first few times you meet. He likes her and is comfortable with her. I think he might even have a bit of a crush. No kidnapping him for any reason and you always clear it with me first. I always know where you are going and what you are doing. Think you can abide by that?" John didn't really expect for Mycroft to concede, but thought he should try to lay down some ground rules on principle.

"Of course, John. All very reasonable requests. You make quite a good parent." John listened for anything condescending in either his words or tone, but did not find anything.

"I believe Harry has a tea date with Anthea on Sunday. Would it be too much trouble for me to join them?" John just shook his head. Of course Mycroft knew what he and Anthea had planned this afternoon when he had collected Harry at the cafe across from NSY.

"No, that's fine. I'll let him know to expect you to be there." John rubbed his forehead with two fingers. Mycroft rose from his chair, as gracefully as ever, buttoned his suit jacket, and collected his ever present umbrella.

"I'm glad we've come to an understanding, John. I'll look forward to meeting our young friend on Sunday and will let you know if I hear from Sherlock. Goodnight"

Mycroft made his way to the door. John called a quick 'Night' to him before he let his head fall against the back of his chair. He closed his eyes and let himself get lost in all the thoughts this day had left him with.

Chapter Text

The rest of the week passed fairly quickly after learning all he had on Tuesday night. John felt like a weight had been lifted off his chest. Sherlock was alive, he was planning to come home at some point (if he survived the evil genius criminal mastermind’s minions) and all John had to do now was carry on as normal and watch his back. He was angry at Sherlock for putting him through the emotional ringer and hadn’t yet decided whether to punch him or hug him when he returned, maybe both, but he was fairly certain he had a while before he needed to worry about it.

Friday afternoon, during a break between patients, John pulled out his phone and texted Lestrade. Forgiving him for doing his job was a little easier knowing that Sherlock was alive. They had had regular meetings at the pub before the fall, and John had to admit he had missed that a little bit. He could also admit that he had drawn so far into himself that he had almost cut off every person that reminded him of Sherlock afterwards, with the exceptions of Mrs. Hudson (who was a treasure) and Mycroft (who wouldn't leave him alone no matter how much he protested).

Harry and Mrs. Hudson were settled in to 221A to have a movie night. John strolled leisurely to the pub that was half way between Baker Street and the NSY. It had been his and Greg's usual meeting place when pub nights had been a regular thing. Entering the pub, John looked around quickly, but not seeing Greg he went to the bar to get a couple of pints, after which he managed to snag a table in the very back corner. Being Friday night, the place was quite busy. John people watched while waiting for Greg.
Occasionally he was able to deduce something about a fellow patron. The tall man in the corner, had a small white dog, perhaps a toy poodle. (Curly white hairs on his trouser leg above he ankle, but below the knee.) The woman in the red business suit sitting at the bar was cheating on or divorcing her husband. (Tan line on the left ring finger. A ring was obviously worn, but was not in sight. Husband, because of the flirtatious smiles and body language for the bloke next to her.) The bloke standing at the bar looking at John. (Gay, trying to figure out if he wants to come over and chat me up. Theory confirmed by the wink and smile.) John looked away quickly. Luckily Lestrade chose that moment to walk in the door of the pub. John waved slightly to get his attention, then gestured to the pint already waiting for him. Lestrade made his way over and practically fell into his chair.

"Ta, for this mate!" Greg toasted with his glass before chugging half of it in one gulp. John grinned.

"Good day at the office then?" Greg slumped back in his chair, setting his pint back on the table. He ran a hand over his hair and sighed.

"Got a case, would be right up Sherlock's alley. Locked room, no visible cause of death, healthy nineteen year old boy. Tox screen is coming back clean as a whistle. Autopsy couldn't give us anything either. It's like he just died for no reason." John had nodded as Greg relayed the facts.

"No medical reason? Bad heart, brain tumor, anything?" Greg shook his head.

"Kid was in great shape, there is nothing." Another chug on his pint.

"Anyway, you're not here to listen to me whine about not being able to solve crimes. How've you been? How's Harry?" John gave Lestrade a quick briefing of life at Baker Street, leaving out all the best anecdotes. (Most had to do with Harry's accidental magic) He also told him about Mycroft wanting to spend time with Harry.

"I don't know if it's a brilliant idea or an absolutely crazy one! Can you imagine Mycroft in his three piece suit at the zoo?" Greg's head tilted as if he was trying to picture the scene in his head. After a few moments, a grin, then a small chuckle. He shook his head.

"Nope can't picture it, but I would pay to have a picture of it!" Another chuckle from both of them.

"What about you Greg? What's new?" Greg put him on pause to go to the bar to get another round. After returning, he set John's drink in front of him and sat back down with his own in hand.

"Got divorced. Papers went through in August. She got the house and is pregnant with another man's child, I got my motorcycle and an overpriced flat closer to work that I don't spend enough time in." Another gulp of beer and a discreet perusal of the woman that walked by the table.

"God, mate, I'm sorry to hear that." Greg gave him a dazzling, genuine smile.

"Why? I'm not. Truth is, I'm the happiest I've been in years and so is she." John smiled wryly.

"Well as long as everything worked out in the end, yeah? Looks like I've got myself a wingman!" A clap to Gregs shoulder accompanied the statement.

"Oi! Like you need a wingman Mr. "Three Continents Watson"! I think you should be my wingman. I've been out of the scene for a lot longer than you have, you'll have to remind me how it's done."
They both chuckled again.

"I haven't been TWC in a long while, Greg. Besides, I think all you'll have to do to pull the ladies is put on your gear, get on your bike, a give 'em that charming smile of yours. You're a silver fox, you are!" John faked being awestruck by Greg's good looks, dopey smile in place, elbow on the table, chin in hand.

Greg faked being shocked. Hand to chest in a rather effeminate manner, eyelashes fluttering, high (very bad) Scarlett O'Hara voice coming out. "Why Dr. Watson, I never knew you felt that way! Oh, happy day!"

They dissolved into giggles and John though they must look like maniacs. He was really enjoying himself, which he hadn't done in a long while. They finished their second round of pints and John went to the bar for more. Just as John reached the table and set down both glasses, his phone vibrated. He pulled out his phone first, saw there was no message or alert and then pulled out the pink phone he'd taken to carrying around with him. There was a text waiting. The number was blocked and when he opened it there were a set of coordinates, a date and a time, followed by a series of numbers and letters.

24 Oct 10:20pm 52*22'N 2*9'W 4D2H0E NI CFSB

John's heart thundered. Mycroft had told them that Sherlock checked in with coordinates to the city he was closest to. He must have figured out John would have received the phone by now and texted him as well as Mycroft. Greg noticed that John was staring intently at his phone and stood up to read over his shoulder. He frowned not understanding why John needed coordinates.

"John, what's wrong? What's that message mean?" John looked up from his phone, his smile blinding.

"Oh, that impossible git!" He pulled Greg in close and whispered in his ear. "You remember our friend who is traveling? He's checking in, letting us know he's okay and where he is." Stepping back, John pulled up the browser on his phone and searched for the coordinates. Amsterdam. John still didn't know what the letters and numbers meant, he'd have to check with Mycroft.

They sat back down, but both knew they couldn't risk openly talking here. In agreement they quickly finished their pints before leaving to make their way back to Baker Street. When they arrived at 221B John popped his head in to Mrs. Hudson's flat to find them both asleep on her floral sofa. Mrs. Hudson's head was resting against the back of the sofa, knitting resting in her lap, snoring quietly. Harry was curled up beside her, head on her shoulder, wrapped in his Despicable Me throw blanket. The movie UP! was playing on the telly in the background. John decided to leave them where they were until he and Greg could finish their talk.

He quietly made his way out, shutting the door behind him before joining Greg upstairs. Greg had put the kettle on and was in the kitchen leaning against the countertop when he came into the room. John sat himself in one of the kitchen chairs and allowed Greg to prepare his cuppa. Once they were both settled in, John filled Greg in on what Mycroft had told him about the check-ins and coordinates.

"I don't know what the code means, he didn't mention that part to me. I would try to figure it out, but I'd probably just give myself a headache. I thought it might be like the Blind Banker case, put there were no letters in that one, only numbers. I'll ask Mycroft about it on Sunday, then I'll let you know."

They talked for a little while longer before Greg headed home and John headed back downstairs to collect Harry and send Mrs. Hudson to bed with a thanks and a kiss on the cheek. Harry didn't stir while John carried him upstairs and put him to bed, which was probably a good thing. He had a big day tomorrow, with Hermione coming over for their playdate and then tea with Mycroft and Anthea on Sunday afternoon. Sometime in the next week they'd need to get Harry a Halloween costume.

Greg had reminded him that the Yard always opened their doors for kids to trick or treat there in a safe environment, as opposed to going door to door and John thought it sounded like a good way to start rebuilding relationships with those he had been estranged with at the yard as well as introduce Harry to everyone.

It looked to be a busy week and John was glad for it. He missed the adrenaline of chasing Sherlock through the streets of London in pursuit of a suspect or data for a case. His life with Harry was almost a complete 180 of his life with Sherlock, but it was still never boring.

 

Chapter Text

On Saturday morning, John was awoken by Harry launching himself into his bed. He was still all knees and elbows which caused John to grunt quite a bit when certain sensitive body parts were accidentally struck. When he finally settled, Harry was on his knees beside John, skinny arms propped on John’s shoulders, face about an inch from his own. John cracked one eye open just enough to see and was slightly taken aback by his proximity.

“John.” Harry whispered. “John are you awake?” John chuckled. After the whirlwind named Harry had hit his bed, it would be impossible for him to not be awake.

“Mmmmhmm. I’m awake.” Harry scrambled up to his feet and started to bounce on the bed.

“John! Hermione is coming today, we have to get up!” John opened both eyes and grinned up at the bouncing figure. He glanced over at his bedside clock and groaned before sitting up. He snagged Harry under his arms and pulled him down to sit in his lap.

“It’s half seven, Harry. Hermione won’t be here for another three hours. We’ve got plenty of time. Why don’t you go turn on the telly and watch cartoons while I get up and get our breakfast started?” Harry reached up and gave John a hug before scooting off his lap and down to the floor.

“Hurry John! I’m starving!” He ran out of the room and a few seconds later he heard the telly turn on in the sitting room. Stretching his arms he climbed out of bed and began his morning routine. Showered, shaved and dressed, he went to the kitchen and started the kettle, then pulled bacon and eggs out of the fridge. He set about making their breakfast and the rest of the morning passed in their usual routine.

Harry had been practically vibrating with excitement the whole morning, so when the bell rang for the outer door, Harry was down the stairs and pulling the door open before John could tell him to be careful. “Hi ‘Mione! Hi Mr. G’anger!”
John was at the top of the stairs watching Harry and Hermione, who was in a very similar state, start chattering the minute the laid eyes on each other. Harry grabbed Hermione’s hand and they made their way back upstairs so he could show her his room and all his toys. John met Mr. Granger at the bottom of the staircase.

“Hi Dr. Watson, sorry about being early, she’s been bouncing off the walls in excitement. It’s all she’s talked about for the last two days. You would think they hadn’t seen each other in weeks instead of days.” Both men smiled at each other and shook their heads.

“Harry’s been the same. I was thinking of taking them to the zoo today, weather is supposed to be nice.” Mr. Granger nodded.

“Hermione loves the zoo. I’ll be back around nine to pick her up. The wife and I are going to use this as date night. Call me if you need anything though.” They shook hands and Mr. Granger left for home.

Back upstairs, John checked the backpack he had packed in preparation for their zoo trip and went up to Harry’s room to get the kids ready to head out. He found them both laying on their stomachs on Harry’s bed looking through his animal encyclopedia.
“You guys ready to head out?” They jumped up off the bed and the trio made their way out into the street headed towards the zoo. John had each child by the hand and he listened to their commentary, chiming in every so often. After they acquired a cab and were on their way, the subject of everyone’s favorite animal came up.

“I love giraffe’s! They are funny with their long legs and necks! Did you know their tongues are black and can be up to 18 inches long? They eat almost 25 pounds of food and drink almost 10 gallons of water everyday!” John smiled at Hermione’s shocked look. He had taken Harry to the library and gotten him several books, but he one on giraffe’s he had read and reread until he could almost quote the book line for line.

Knowing that Harry could and would continue, John interrupted. “What about you Hermione? What is your favorite animal?”

“I like elephants. They are very smart and they touch each other a lot. They can be up to 11 feet tall and they eat plants! Only, I wish they were pink. Grey is boring.” Hermione told them.

Shortly after they arrived at the zoo. John held their hands again while he got tickets and they made their way in. The started in the reptile house, made their way through to the aviary, then on to the small mammals and aquatic animals. John saved the african animals for last figuring they would be spending a lot of time there.

The lions were a hit with the two youngsters, but started off a round of meowing and giggling. The primates were also quite enjoyable to watch until John saw two of the monkeys start to mate and decided they should move along. He answered questions when he could, and read off the plaques when he didn’t know the answer. They finally approached the giraffes, where John paid five pounds each for the kids to be able to feed them by hand. Hermione squealed when the giraffe’s tongue touched her hand, but Harry was about as close to heaven as he could possibly be. After half an hour, they convinced Harry to move onto the elephants so Hermione could have her turn with her favorite animal.

The zookeepers were giving the elephants baths when they arrived. John stepped back from the enclosure when his phone rang, still keeping the two children in sight. It was Sarah from work asking about a patient he had treated earlier in the week. John told her all she needed to know and just as he hung up there was a commotion from the zookeepers in the enclosure. Harry looked terrified and glanced at John quickly. Hermione had an intense look of concentration on her face and didn’t look away from the elephants.

John looked into the enclosure and nearly swallowed his tongue. The elephant that had been getting a bath was now covered in pink polka dots. The zookeeper was frantically trying to wash them off, thinking it must be some kind of prank, while yelling at his co-worker who was in turn yelling into his hand held radio. John gathered up Harry and Hermione quickly and told them it was time to be heading home. He tried to remain calm and remember what Albus and Minerva had told him about situations such as this. When they were a safe distance away from the african animals, John pulled out his phone and dialled Mycroft.

“Mycroft, I’m at the zoo with Harry and Hermione. We’ve had a little incident and I need Kingsley here as soon as possible.” He listened for a few moments. “Well..oh God...lets just say there is now a gestating elephant sporting pink polka dots.”

John listened for a few more moments before relaying their position to Mycroft. He stood there with Harry and Hermione who were whispering furiously to each other, for no more than two minutes before Kingsley Shacklebolt walked up behind him. “Afternoon, John! Harry! And who might this lovely young lady be?”

Harry grinned up at Kingsley. “This is my best friend ‘Mione!”

After introductions were finished they made their way back to the elephant enclosure with Kingsley in tow. When he got a look at the pink polka dotted pachyderm, he couldn’t contain his laughter. After getting ahold of himself he muttered a few words and discretely flicked his wand wrist. The pink polka dots started to wash away with the water.

“I’ll meet you back at Baker Street. I think we need to have a talk.” John nodded and watched him walk away. The ride back to Baker Street was far quieter than the ride this morning had been. Harry was obviously worried about John’s reaction and Hermione was wringing her hands in distress. When they arrived, he escorted the two somber children up the stairs to find Kingsley waiting in his sitting room. “You two on the couch.”

The children climbed onto the couch and John took Sherlock’s old chair since Kingsley was already settled into his.

“Harry, I’m not mad about what happened, but we have talked about his and I’m very disappointed that you chose to do something like that in such a public area.” Harry was shaking his head no the whole time John was talking.

“Actually, John, I don’t think it was Harry.” John looked at Kingsley in confusion. If it wasn’t Harry....he then looked over at Hermione. She had her head down and was still worrying her hands.

“Hermione, did you do something that caused the elephant to have pink spots?’ She nodded without looking up. John looked at Kingsley again, eyes wide as if to say “What the hell?”

“Hermione, how did you do that?” She finally looked up at him and he could see the tears in her eyes.

“I just thought about it really hard and pictured it in my head. I’ve done it before. Sometimes when I don’t like the show on the telly, if I concentrate really hard, I can change the channels. When I get mad, it gets windy in the room, even if the windows aren’t open.” Bloody hell, thought John. Harry would find a best friend who happened to be a witch herself wouldn’t he?

“Alright Hermione, it’s okay, I’m not mad at you. We’ll talk about it later. Harry, I’m sorry I thought it was you.” Harry gave John a small smile, though Hermione still looked pretty miserable.

“Can we go play in my room?” Harry asked.

“Sure, go ahead.” They ran up the stairs quickly, obviously eager to escape.

John looked back at Kingsley who had tried and failed to hide his amusement. “Your kid would be the one to find a muggle born witch and make her his best friend. I for one thought the pink polka dots were quite a stylish addition.”

John tried to frown and look stern, he really did, but he lost his battle as well and they both dissolved into grins and chuckles.

“So what do we do next? If her parents are muggles, they don’t have a clue about magic. She and Harry are practically inseparable, so now we’re going to be dealing with two of them instead of just one.”

“I’ll let Dumbledore know what happened. He or Minerva will talk to the parents about the situation. Although I must say, most four year olds don’t have enough control over their magic to make things happen. As you know they usually happen by accident because of strong emotions. That Ms. Granger can already focus her magic means she may be quite a powerful witch.” John nodded his understanding.

“Good. I won’t mention this when they pick her up this evening. Thank you for coming so quickly. Hedwig is still at Hogwarts and hasn’t been home in almost a week, so I had no way of getting into contact with anyone else.” Kingsley assured him it was his pleasure, shook his hand, and then walked downstairs before apparating back to the ministry.

The rest of the day was incident free. By the time the Grangers arrived to collect Hermione, all trepidation about the zoo trip had been forgotten and John handed off a sleeping Hermione to her father with a whispered goodnight to the two adults.

 

Chapter Text

Sunday afternoon was a typical London day. It was rainy with a thick fog surrounding everything. John had dressed Harry warmly in jeans and a jumper and tried to get his hair to lay flat to no avail. He knew that if Mycroft was involved tea would likely be in a four or five star hotel or restaurant and he didn't want to send Harry into that unprepared.

"You remember your manners. Say please and thank you. Wait for Anthea to sit down first and pull her chair out for her. Ready?" Harry nodded and they went down the stairs.

At precisely three o'clock there was a knock on the outer door. John let Harry open the door and invite Mycroft and Anthea in. To John's surprise they were both dressed casually, well as casually as he could ever imagine Mycroft dressing. He wore black dress slacks, and a white button down shirt, over the top of which he had on a dark green cashmere jumper. John would bet that his outfit probably cost roughly the same as John's entire wardrobe, but he had learned long ago to be content with what he had. Although that jumper did look rather comfy.

Anthea was the picture of up to the minute style in dark skinny jeans, knee high boots, white button up with a cardigan over the top as well as a scarf draped around her neck. She smiled widely at Harry and got down on his level once again so he could give her a hug. If John didn't know better he would think this was her twin. She was wonderful with Harry, but a completely different person than the one he saw when she was at work, not that he was complaining. He never saw her ever present cell phone when she was with Harry either.

Mycroft was standing next to John watching with an indulgent smile on his face. Harry eventually turned around and faced Mycroft. He'd had Hermione practice with him yesterday afternoon on how he should introduce himself. "Hello Mr. Holmes, I'm Harry Potter Watson."

John nearly swallowed his tongue trying not to laugh. He definitely hadn't taught Harry that introduction and it sounded suspiciously rehearsed. Harry Potter Watson? Where had that come from? Mycroft was looking way too amused for John's peace of mind. "Well Mr. Potter-Watson it is my pleasure to meet you. Are you ready for tea?"

Harry nodded his head and after a glance at John, added "Yes, sir."

Harry went to John and gave him a quick hug around his leg. John couldn't resist getting in a dig for the Potter-Watson gibe from Mycroft. "Be good for Uncle Mycroft, Harry."

Anthea took his hand and headed out toward the car. The driver was waiting outside the door with an umbrella at the ready. Mycroft turned to John. "Childish Dr. Watson."

John just grinned and shrugged his shoulders. He really did enjoy messing with Mycroft. "You're the one that said he was your nephew. I'm just helping you out."

"Yes, well....we will be at this location. You have our numbers should you need us. We will return at promptly six pm." Mycroft handed him a card with all the details on it and then joined Harry and Anthea in the car.

John was slightly concerned about how the afternoon would go, but hopefully Anthea's surprising warmth with Harry would soothe any prickles that Mycroft might cause. He returned upstairs to start the weekend chores that had been put off due to yesterday's playdate.


In the car, Mycroft was content to let Harry talk. He learned quite a bit about the boy just from what he was telling Anthea. He seemed to be considerably well adjusted given what his formative years had been like. He was also quite like Sherlock had been as a child. He was very curious about the world around him and was fairly observant for a child who was not a Holmes.

When they arrived at the family restaurant Anthea had chosen he watched as Harry pulled out Anthea's chair for her before climbing into his own. He saw John's tutelage in that move, but could not find fault in it. When they were settled and were ready to order their tea items, they hit a small glitch when Harry protested his choice in sandwiches, but was easily cleared up when the waiter let them know of the more child friendly choices.

"I'm sorry, Uncle Myc'oft, but I don't like cress." Mycroft's eyebrow went up a little at the use of 'Uncle' but he let it pass.

"It's quite alright Harry. I have not been around children in a very long time. I seem to have forgotten what you like to eat. What else do you not like?" Harry only had a small list of things that weren't palatable to him including brussel sprouts, nutella, mangos, and olives.

"I heard you had quite an adventure at the zoo yesterday, Harry. Would you tell me about it?" As Harry told them of his adventure yesterday that ended with pink polka dotted pachyderms, both Mycroft and Anthea were nearly in stitches at his description of the days events.

"Well it sounds like Hermione is a lovely girl." Mycroft’s smile was genuine.

"She's fantastic!" Harry chimed in enthusiastically a crooked grin on his face.

"Is she the one that taught you to introduce yourself as Harry Potter-Watson?" Harry nodded.

""Mione said that because John is my Papa and his last name is Watson then my last name should be Watson too. I told her John wasn't my Papa, that he was my cousin, but she said he does all the things Papas do, so that makes him my Papa." Mycroft listened carefully. For two four year olds to have such a logical argument surprised him a little, though growing up with Sherlock had prepared him for quite a lot.

"Would you like to call him Papa, Harry? I'm certain that he won't take offense to whatever decision you make." Harry chewed his lip as he thought over Mycroft's question.

"I think I do. I know my Mum and Dad are dead, but all the other kids have Mums and Dads. There is even a boy in my class that has two Mums and no Dad! Do you think it will be okay?" He looked to Mycroft, eyes wide behind his round glasses.

"I think he would like that very much, Harry." He gave him a reassuring smile before Anthea quickly started them in on a new subject while their tea was being served.

Somehow, a game of "Did you know?" got started toward the end of the meal and Mycroft found he was impressed by how much Harry did know about animals, plants, and Doctor Who. Anthea was the one who called the game to a halt when she received a text on her phone saying that John had gone out to run errands and was going to be a bit late getting back to the flat.

They decided to wait at Baker Street for John. The black car was at the curb, but was empty when John entered the flat loaded down with grocery bags. He made his way up the stairs and opened the door before stopping dead in his tracks. Anthea was seated on the sofa recording the scene before her, which consisted of Harry with one of John's neckties tied around his head and a black patch over his eye waving John's old aluminum cane. Mycroft, attired similarly, was using his umbrella as a sword.

"Arrrr, you knave! Surrender! You have plundered all my treasure and I'll be havin' it back!" Mycroft announced as he tapped the cane with his umbrella a few times.

"I'll never surrender. I found the treasure and I'll be keepin' it! You'll walk the plank!" At that Harry used the cane against the umbrella a few more times before getting in a jab to Mycroft's stomach that made John wince in sympathy.

"Oh! You've got me!" Mycroft pretended to sink the floor as if he was dying. "It'll be Davy Jones' locker for me yet!" As Mycroft 'died' Harry ran back to the take away box on the coffee table and picked it up before coming over to Anthea.

"Fair maiden! I have found the treasure for you and killed the mad pirate Holmes!" Anthea stopped filming so that she could play her part.

"Oh my hero!" She proceeded to grab Harry and cover his face in kisses until he was laughing hysterically.

Once he had calmed down he spotted John standing in the doorway with his jaw nearly on the floor. "John! I killed the mad pirate Holmes and won the fair maiden and the treasure!"

Harry was beaming at John. "I saw that." John looked over to Mycroft who was getting up off the floor and Anthea who was blushing slightly. John shook himself and focused back on Harry

"Well I'm glad that the world has one less mad pirate! Well done!" He smiled. He was still not sure what exactly he had seen, but Harry was happy, so he wasn't going to say a word. He walked into the kitchen and sat the groceries on the table before returning to the sitting room. Harry was saying his goodbyes and thank yous to Mycroft. John walked over to Anthea.

"What are the chances of me getting a copy of that video?" She smirked up at him. "Already sent to your phone and e-mail."

John smiled. "You're the best!"

Another smirk was set his way. "I know. It's one of the reasons he pays me so well!"

Mycroft walked over to John as Harry switched over to Anthea. "Thank you, John. We had a wonderful time today. We would like to take him out again next Sunday, if you don't mind?"

John just nodded. "He seemed to have a good time too. Send me the details and I'll let you know."

"I wanted to ask you about something, step in here for mo?" John gestured to the kitchen. With a slight nod, Mycroft followed him in.

"I got a text on the pink phone. Coordinates for Amsterdam. There was a code following the coordinates, what does it mean?"

"Ah, he must know or have anticipated that you had received the phone. It is simply a status report. 4D2H0E - 4 dead, 2 hurt, 0 escaped - meaning the operatives he was aiming for. NI - no injuries, meaning to himself. CFSB - clothing, food, shelter, bullets - the list of supplies he needs for his next mission. It is a simple code if you know the meaning behind it."

John thought about it for a moment. "It's clever in it's simplicity. So I just have to think about what he might need. Keep it at the basic level and I should be able to figure it out?"

"I believe so, yes." John thought about it for a second longer before pushing it to the back of his mind to pull out later and mull over.

"Right, thanks. I'll let you know about next weekend." They walked back into the sitting room.

With one last goodbye Mycroft and Anthea departed. Harry filled in John on all the details of their tea date while he unloaded and put away the groceries. John sent Greg the video of Mycroft and Harry playing pirates at the first opportunity. It really was too good not to share.

Chapter Text

After the rather exciting weekend they'd had, John found himself getting up way too early on Monday morning. He had stayed up well into the night thinking over all the mind boggling information he had been hit with in the last week. Sherlock was alive, Greg was divorced and rode a motorcycle, Harry's best friend was a witch, Mycroft played pirates (fairly well, not that John would ever admit it out loud) and Harry had asked to call him Papa.

When he had put Harry to bed the night before, he had told him of another case he and Sherlock had worked on together. Normally when he was done with the case Harry was fast asleep, but tonight he was wide awake. John had been watching his up down glances for the last few minutes and Harry wa practically wringing the fabric of his bedspread in his hands.

"Harry did you have something you wanted to ask me about?" He looked up at John.

"Can I call you Papa?" He whispered it, but John heard and couldn't help but be flabbergasted. He had never planned on having kids, but hadn't thought twice about taking Harry in. He already thought of Harry as his, so why did such a simple question cause something in his chest to catch? It wasn't fear or trepidation, honestly John was having a hard time identifying the emotion, but he knew it was a good one.

John let loose with his biggest smile. "Of course you can call me Papa, Harry. I am honored that you want to."

Harry smiled back shyly while John blinked away a few tears. "Now tell me what you want to be for Halloween! We only have a few days to decide!"

"I want to go as the Doctor!" John giggled, somehow he was not surprised by this choice. He thought it over, the costume should be easy enough to pull together with a trip to the department store.

"What about you Papa? What do you want to be for Halloween?" That hitch happened in John's chest again and he rubbed the spot over his heart. He thought it over for a few minutes before coming to a decision.

"How about if I go as Rory the Roman? Then we can look for our missing Ponds together?" Harry's eyes got wide and his crooked little smile lit up his face. "Really?"

"Really, really. We'll go tomorrow afternoon after work and school and get our costumes." He gave Harry a hug, then kissed his lightening scar as had become their bedtime ritual, then left the room after turning out the light.


After dropping Harry at school and arriving at the clinic, he found his day dragging by. He had to admit that he was looking forward to spending the evening shopping for costumes. Last year, he had not been in a good place and had not celebrated the holiday, the year before that he and Sherlock had been on a case, and the previous years before that he had mostly been deployed. On the few years he was home for Halloween, he used to dress as a soldier. He was looking forward to going all out with Harry this year.

When his day was finally over, he collected Harry and they were off to the shops to get what they needed. A few hours later, they were set. John tried not to think about how cold he was probably going to be in his costume and sandals.

The rest of their week dragged on in the same manner as Monday, but Halloween finally arrived. Sarah let him leave early along with the few other parents on staff. Back at the flat he got Harry dressed first. He had on a pair of dark colored corduroy trousers and black boots. John had found a blue dress shirt, red suspenders and bowtie, and luckily a brown tweed jacket. John used gel to comb his hair over to the side and with his sonic screwdriver toy he looked like a miniature version of the Doctor. John took a few pictures with his phone until Mrs. Hudson came up and started cooing over how adorable he looked. She had brought treats with her, so Harry didn't seem to mind too much.

John went into his room and pulled his costume out of it's hanging bag. When he had suggested going as a centurion, he hadn't really thought through what the costume would consist of. He pulled on his red boxer briefs, then the red undershift. Luckily it was long sleeved. He then put on the red overshirt and breastplate, from which the leather strips of his 'skirt' and scabbard fell. Pulling up the brown leggings, he put the sandals on followed by his arm gauntlets and shin guards. He gathered the cape and plastic sword and went out into the sitting room standing at attention to pull off the look of a soldier.

"Papa, you look fantastic!" Harry cried when he spotted John decked out in his costume. Mrs. Hudson smiled and took the cape from him before attaching it to the hooks hidden in the collar of his shirt. He slid the fake sword into its scabbard. Mrs. Hudson insisted on taking pictures of the two of them and they happily posed for her while she went on about how handsome her boys were.

They managed to extricate themselves a few minutes later and headed toward New Scotland Yard. They had to walk a couple of blocks before they could get a cab and were stopped five times so strangers could comment on how cute Harry looked. Harry loved all the attention he was getting, but kept insisting they must be on their way, they had to find their "Ponds"!

When they finally arrived at the Yard, they took the elevator up to Lestrade's floor. John handed Harry his treat bag as they exited the elevator and they begin to make their way to all the occupied desks. Harry charmed his way through several of the Yard's finest officers simply by being himself and occasionally quoting lines of Doctor Who to them. John could see the questions in their eyes, but instead of asking them, they simply said it was good to see him again and how handsome he looked as a Roman.

John was grateful that they didn't bring up Sherlock or spout rude questions in front of Harry. He thought they were doing fairly well until he spotted Donovan and Anderson sitting on her desk. He tried to steer Harry in the other direction, but Harry was having too much fun to be diverted from his goal. As they approached the pair, John shot warning looks with his eyes. Sally picked up on them immediately, it seemed their little 'discussion' had had the desired effect. Anderson, however, was gaping at the pair of them.

"Oi, Watson! What are you doing here? I would have thought you'd be too ashamed to show your face here after what the Psychopath did!" Sally elbowed him in the side trying to get him to shut up, but it seemed he was as obtuse as Sherlock had always accused him of being. He looked down and Harry and opened his mouth, but Lestrade, who had been approaching from behind him managed to speak first.

"Anderson! You are completely out of line!" He barked. "John and Harry are here on my invitation, so shut it!" Anderson flushed red at being reprimanded in the middle of the fairly busy room. Harry was looking between the adults in confusion. John was desperately trying to reign in his anger, Sally was trying to pull Anderson from the room, and Lestrade was furious.

Still, knowing when to shut up had never been one of Anderson's strengths, so he looked back at Harry, and unwisely said what he was thinking. "Is that the Freak's kid?"

He looked back at John, whose hands were clenched into fists, before Harry let out a yell the likes of which John had heard only once. " I AM NOT A FREAK! You are a mean man, you.....you.....DALEK!"

Harry stomped his foot once before turning to John as the tears started to flow. John immediately let go of his anger and picked Harry up. He needed to calm him down before things got out of control. At this point, Sally had her head in her hands and had moved away from Anderson, while Lestrade approached him and quite vocally told him that he was suspended until further notice starting immediately.

Anderson sputtered. "Why? You can't do that!"

They had the whole room's attention by now and it was eerily quiet other than Harry's soft sobs and John's soothing words to him.

Lestrade pinched the bridge of his nose before looking up. "Anderson, you just verbally assaulted a four year old in public simply because he happens to resemble a dead man, who I might add, was cleared of all charges. When you and Donovan went at it with Sherlock, that was one thing, but I will not allow you to act that way around a child who has done nothing to you! You will apologize to Harry, then you will leave the building, or I will have you escorted out. Do not return to work until you have heard from me."

Anderson glared at Lestrade for a moment in utter disbelief. He then turned to John, who was still holding Harry, although he had managed to calm his sobs down to whimpers and shaky breaths. "Sorry."

He didn't mean his apology and that was clear to everyone in the room. Harry lifted his head up off of John's shoulder and stuck his tongue out at the mean man. Anderson pointed incredulously and looked back at Lestrade who shrugged. "He's four Anderson, not stupid, get over it."

Anderson huffed and turned toward the door. As he passed his co-workers they muttered caustic comments under their breath. "You really are an idiot, Anderson." "Way to make the kid cry!" "Shoulda stopped while you were ahead!" and many others in a similar vein.

Greg walked over to where John was holding Harry. "God, John, Harry, I'm so sorry! I told him not to say anything, I swear. I'm sorry, mate!"

John shifted Harry up a little higher. "Not your fault, Greg. I knew it was a possibility something might be said when we came, but we'd being doing good until then. Right then, Harry, there are two more floors to go, are you ready?"

Harry lifted his head again and looked between John and Lestrade. "I'm not a freak!" He pouted.

"Of course you're not! You're the Doctor! You're a Time Lord!" Greg told him. Harry gave Greg a small smile.

"No more mean Dalek men?" Greg shook his head.

"No more mean Dalek men. I'm going to come with you to make sure of it." Harry looked at John, then leaned down to whisper in his ear. John barked out a laugh which confused Greg.

"He says you can come with us, but you have to be our Amy Pond." Greg facepalmed, but looked up again quickly with a smile on his face.

"Alright, sounds like a deal. Shall we?" They turned and made their way through the rest of the room. Harry finally asked to be let down and after thanking the last person for the candy they placed in his bag, he turned to the two men tailing him.

"Come along Ponds! Geronimo!!!!!" He yelled quite loudly causing several chuckles around the room.

Chapter Text

November


1 Nov 4:26am 52*30N 13*25E 2D0H0E MI FM
Berlin - 2 dead, 0 hurt, 0 escaped. minor injuries, food & medical supplies

 


8 Nov 2:14pm 55*40N 12*34E 0D0N0E NI C
Copenhagen - did not engage, no injuries, currency (money)

 


18 Nov 5:42pm 59*57N 10*42E 3D2H2E MI SMB
Oslo - 3 dead, 2 hurt, 2 escaped. minor injuries, shelter, medical supplies, bullets

 


30 Nov 1:16am 49*17N 18*3E 6D0H0E MMI SMF
Stockholm - 6 dead, 0 hurt, 0 escaped. major injuries, shelter, medical supplies, food.

 

 

14 Dec 6:04pm 59*56N 30*18E --HP--
St. Petersburg - holding pattern until further notice

 

Chapter Text

John received the last of Sherlock’s updates while he was on his way to the Yarder’s Christmas party. Greg had invited him as his plus one and although John had at first protested, in the end he gave in. There really was no reason for him not to attend other than a lingering awkwardness that he felt around some of those who still held a grudge against Sherlock or still felt that he was a fake and were vocal about it in front of John.

On a few occasions he had gone to the Yard to meet Greg before one of their pub nights. Greg had even called him in for his medical opinion on one case. Donovan had been professional and distant while Anderson had been outright hostile, earning himself another suspension, this one without pay. The rest of the Yarders were either openly friendly or at least professional and several had encouraged John to join them for the night when they overheard Greg’s invitation.

Mycroft had invited Harry to spend the weekend with him and Anthea who were going skiing in the Alps. John had never been on that kind of trip, but he couldn’t deny Harry the experience. Things had become easier in his relationship with Mycroft once he realized that Mycroft and Anthea were together. (Apparently for a few years now.) She helped smooth out the rough edges and helped melt The Ice Man persona, at least when he was with Harry. So really John had no reason not to attend the party with Greg.

All of this led up to his walking into the ballroom of one of London’s older hotels and looking around for Greg while simultaneously being greeted by already-feeling-it revelers. He was handed a drink and given hearty slaps on the back, before eventually being pointed in the direction of Greg who stood against the far wall with his back to John chatting up a woman. Greg’s shoulders blocked her from view, but something about her was familiar to him.

John joined them, tapping Greg on the shoulder to get his attention. Greg turned with a grin on his face. “John! You made it, mate. I was beginning to wonder if you were going to stand me up!”
The young lady gasped and looked between them in confusion. John glanced in her direction and then did a double take. “Molly?”

A tremulous smile accompanied the confused expression on her face. “Hi John. I’m sorry I didn’t realize you guys were here together. I thought......um....anyway, how have you been?”

She tried to play it off, but it was obvious exactly what Molly thought. “Molly, Greg and I aren’t together. We’re just mates. He invited me because he couldn’t land a real date. I’m good though. No worries.”

“Oi! Watch it Watson!” John just smiled at them both. The interest was back in her eyes when she looked at Greg, so John decided it was time to make himself scarce in true wingman fashion.

“I’m gonna go find Dimmock. He challenged me to a game of darts, and since he’s already pissed, I’m pretty sure I’ll be collecting the ten pounds he put on the game. I’ll catch you guys later.” He did in fact go in search of Dimmock and also went home with ten pounds in his pocket, but he never caught another glimpse of Molly or Lestrade that evening.

John heard from him later in the week apologizing for leaving him high and dry, but John brushed the apology aside. Greg and Molly were apparently dating now, so he was happy for them both. By the end of their conversation, he asked Greg to join them at Baker Street for Christmas and when he got an affirmative answer, he thought it might be time to let Mrs. Hudson know that this was going to be a little bigger party than he anticipated.

They had decided to go all out for Harry’s first real Christmas. Mrs. Hudson was staying here instead of going to her sister’s, Mycroft and Anthea would be here for Christmas Eve before leaving for the countryside and Holmes Manor (or whatever they called the monstrosity of a house that John was absolutely bloody sure stood on acres of land and had been in the family for generations) to spend Christmas Day and Boxing Day with Mummy Holmes. He’d had to do some very quick talking to get out of being dragged there along with Harry, but John was sure the only reason Mycroft ceded his wishes to Johns was the rather hard elbow that Anthea had delivered to his ribs.

They were also expecting Greg and now possibly Molly to join them. He had invited Albus, Minerva, and Kingsley, but they had already had plans. Even so, John was quite pleased with how this Christmas was shaping up. Harry was over the moon and had spent so much time placing each ornament perfectly on the tree, that it had taken several hours to finish decorating it. The skull wore a Santa Hat, the headphones on the bison skull had been replaced with reindeer antlers on a headband, and there were garlands draped over the mantle and around the doorways.

 

He and Mrs. Hudson had been busy making party trays of various appetizers, dips, and sweet treats all day. When his party guests started arriving, he put on christmas carols in the background and allowed himself to enjoy the evening. There were the usual getting to know you, how have you been, conversations at first. Those switched over to did you know this about so and so, and then evolved into funny stories about past escapades and adventures. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and Harry was fascinated by the stories that the others told about John and Sherlock. Mycroft had excused himself at one point, but no one seemed to notice.

Suddenly there were heavy boot steps on the stairs and everyone turned as the door to the flat burst open to reveal...Santa? John looked closer before he started to laugh uncontrollably. It wasn’t just Santa, it was Mycroft Holmes dressed as Santa. He wore the traditional red and white suit and carried a red velvet bag over his shoulder that was bulging with presents. The other adults in the room had also put two and two together and the reactions varied from shocked to absolutely gleeful. Greg and Anthea’s phones both made sudden appearances and started filming while Harry squirmed out of John’s lap and made his way over to the man at the door.

Harry grabbed Santa’s hand and pulled him over to the seat Mycroft had abandoned earlier. As he sat and placed the bag beside the chair, he pulled Harry onto his lap. “Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas! What a fine group of party goers! Tell me, Harry, have they been naughty or nice this year?”

Harry was wide-eyed but bouncing with excitement. “They’ve been very nice, Santa!”

A chuckle followed his announcement. “And what about you, Harry? Have you been nice this year as well?”

Harry looked over at John before answering somberly. “Mostly! Sometimes, I get in a strop, Mrs. Hudson says. And there was that one time I yelled at Mr. Anderson, because he was being very mean! But I listen to Papa and I share my toys with ‘Mione ‘cause she’s my best friend. Also I eat all my vegetables except brussel sprouts.” He leaned in to whisper. “They’re really yucky!”

He looked back at John who gave him a nod and a smile. The other adults chuckled again and there was an “awww!” from Molly’s direction.

“Well, it sounds to me like you are a very nice little boy. Would you tell me what you want for Christmas?” Harry got excited one again and was beaming as he listed off the usual wants of a four year at Christmas. He stopped and chewed his lip a little before continuing.

“Santa, can I ask for just one more thing? It’s not for me, it’s for my Papa.” Mycroft glanced at John before looking back down at Harry.

“Of course, Harry. What would you like for your Papa?” Harry waved Mycroft down and leaned up to whisper in his ear for a few moments. Mycroft was nodding, but his gaze was locked on John. Harry finished asking for whatever it was, and Mycroft sat back up.

“Well Harry, that may take sometime. I won’t be able to get it here in time for Christmas, but I will do my very best to get that to him as soon as possible.” Harry smiled up at him.

“Promise?” Mycroft nodded and held up his pinky which was covered in a black leather glove.

“Pinky Promise! Now, I believe I have some presents here for everyone. Will you help me hand them out Harry?”

They passed out the gifts that were in the sack as well as several that were under the tree or had been brought to exchange with others at the party. Soon there were piles of wrapping paper on the floor, happy smiles on everyone’s faces, and thank you’s flying around the room. Mycroft had left as Santa but came back as himself and re-joined the festivities. When Harry had asked where he had been, he was given the excuse that work had called, but Harry just squinted his eyes and looked disbelieving for a few moments before being distracted by Anthea. Apparently those observation skills Mycroft had been teaching him were coming back to bite him in the arse.

As the party started to break up, John made it a point to pull Mycroft aside to ask what Harry had requested on his behalf. Mycroft had balked at telling him at first, but eventually gave in. “He asked me to bring Sherlock back so you could stop missing him and would stop having nightmares.”

Neither man knew what to say to that, but John got that hitch in his chest again that he had finally identified as parental love.

“I thought the nightmares had stopped, John.” He studied John intensely looking for any clue as to what was happening.

“They did for a while, but like the dreams from Afghanistan they come back every now and then without warning. I helped Greg with a case involving a man who seemingly committed suicide by jumping off a building, but was later found out to have been pushed. It triggered all the memories, and even though I know he’s alive, I can’t wipe those images from my head Mycroft. I can’t delete them. God knows I’ve tried! I had a couple of bad weeks, I woke Harry up more than once.”

Mycroft understood. He had seen the video footage of that day and for a few hours he had also believed his baby brother to be dead. The fact that he was still breathing couldn’t let you un-see something that had shaken your whole world so completely. Mycroft had only seen it on video and only believed for a few hours, John had been there in person, touched the body, and had lived with all the emotions that brought for almost an entire year. His emotional scars ran much much deeper.

“I will do my best to fulfill my promise to both my brother and to Harry, John. You do know that don’t you?” John nodded, took and deep breath and then released it shakily.

“Yeah, I know.” John put his arm on Mycroft’s shoulder briefly before turning back to his departing guests. Hugs and well wishes were passed around. By the time everyone left, both John and Harry were exhausted and showing it. Greg and Molly would be back the following afternoon for Christmas dinner, there was quite a mess in the sitting room that needed to be cleaned up, but for now, John put both Harry and himself to bed.

Christmas day, they woke early, with Harry once again storming John’s bed. They had the traditional Christmas Breakfast that John’s Mum had always made, opened gifts with Mrs. Hudson, had lunch with Greg and Molly, followed by board games in the afternoon. That evening the two of them settled in for another Watson tradition. John couldn’t remember a single Christmas they hadn’t watched the Doctor Who Christmas episode as a family, even when he was in his teens, so he and Harry were back in their pajamas, curled together on the sofa with a blanket, hot chocolate, and fire going in the fireplace five minutes before the special was due to start.

John, thinking on what Mycroft had told him kissed the top of Harry’s head and murmured to him, “Happy Christmas, Harry.”

Harry snuggled in to John a little more. “Happy Christmas, Papa.”

And it was a very Happy Christmas indeed.

Chapter Text

January:

15 Jan 4:57 pm 22* 20N 114* 11E 7IC NI --
Hong Kong - 7 in custody, no injuries


23 Feb 2:27am 35* 40N 139* 40E 1D NI FB
Tokyo - 1 dead, no injuries, food and bullets


7 Mar 7:43 pm 1* 14N 103* 55E --T--
Singapore - traveling through


2 Apr 6:21 pm 34* 0S 151* 0E 0D, 2H, 0E, 3IC MI CS
Sydney

26 Apr 1:15 pm 35* 58S 18*22E 4D, 0H, 1E MI SM
Capetown


8 May 3:06 am 22* 57S 43* 12W 14D, 3H, 3E NI CSF
Rio de Janeiro


31 May 2:13 am 34* 3N 118* 15W 3D, 2H, 1E MI ---HP--
Los Angeles - holding pattern


10 Jun 12:27pm 40* 47N 73*58W 14D, 0H,0E NI CP
New York - currency, passport

Chapter Text

On Mycroft and Anthea’s invitation, John and Harry joined them at Dearbourne, the Holmes family seat, for the month of July. Mummy Holmes had relocated to the French countryside to visit with her relations there. They were all relieved to be free of London which had been sweltering in above average temperatures. Harry had plenty of space to run and play outside to his hearts content and they spent many afternoons collecting flowers, bugs, plants, rocks and all the other things little boys deemed important enough to put in their pockets and carry home.

They always had at least one shadow with them, even though the house and surrounding grounds had a security system that was not yet on the market for people who weren’t the British Government. For the past three months John had received threatening letters at his home, work, and even at the Yard. More than once, his soldier’s senses had told him he was being watched or followed. Mycroft had tightened security on everyone that had regular contact with both John and Harry.

The closer to home that Sherlock got, the more threatening the letters, until the last one had arrived at the end of June with a picture of Harry as seen through a sniper’s scope. Mycroft had been diligently teaching Harry how to observe and deduce those around him and he was quite good at it for a four - almost five - year old. He had been the one to catch the sunlight reflecting off the lens of the scope on the building across from the Yard while looking at he view from Greg's office.

They all knew these threats were coming from Colonel Sebastian Moran, he had signed every letter that had been delivered. It had taken quite a bit of digging, his past was buried as deeply as Moriarty’s had been, but they had eventually located the original records on him. He was as psychopathic as Moriarty had been given the number of bodies he left in his wake, he was just better at hiding it.

John had known him during his army days, had been taught sniper techniques by the man in fact, had even saved his life from a shrapnel wound to the abdomen. The fact that Harry had been marked as a target was unacceptable to John. He would do everything he could to protect Harry. Albus, Minerva, and Kingsley had all been alerted and had done what they could to put magical protections on the property, but no one was sure if they would be able to stop a bullet. The wise thing would have been to keep Harry inside, but John refused to do so. Snipers could shoot into buildings as easily as they could in the open, especially one of Moran’s talents.

John began to practice daily with his gun. Mycroft had converted the former archery range into a shooting range for this use. Both he and Anthea joined John in his daily practice, which surprised him. Mycroft was as bad a shot as his brother, but Anthea, John was relieved to note was almost on the same level as himself. She had also had training in several different types of firearms, including a sniper’s rifle. John’s respect for her went up with every new facet he learned about her.

They had celebrated John's birthday on the seventh with a small family dinner and movie night and were planning a large party with friends and family in for the weekend for Harry's birthday at the end of July.

The logistics of pulling off a large house party under the threat of a sniper attack seemed a bit crazy to John, but he had been overruled in true Holmes fashion. Mycroft had even called Mummy Holmes, whom John had never met and yet was still somehow intimidated by, even over the phone.
She had 'pursuaded' him to let them throw Harry his fifth birthday party. Even after dealing with both Sherlock and Mycroft, the fact that Mummy Holmes was able to addle him enough over the phone to change his mind about something meant that she was the scariest Holmes by far.

Aside from dramatic party planning on the part of Anthea and running the government from afar on the part of Mycroft, their month was spent lazily soaking up the sun (when it wasn't raining), exploring the woods, and discovering hidden passages inside the house (which Mycroft assured John was absolutely safe and booby trap free and had even been Sherlock-proofed)

So when Harry couldn't be found for several hours, they assumed he was in the passages. After four hours, the more extensive search was started, and John had to be talked down from the panic attack he was intent on having. Two texts came in simultaniously on John's and Mycroft's phones.

The message on Mycroft's phone was from Sherlock.

20 Jul 4:36pm 51*32N 0* 5W - London
Hello brother dear, where is my blogger?


The message on John's phone was from Sebastian Moran.

Missing someone? Sherlock has forty eight hours to find me before I put a bullet in his sweet little head.

There was a video of Harry attached that showed the boy was dirty but asleep on a small mattress pushed up against a dirty wall. John watched his chest rise and fall before handing the phone over to Mycroft so he could see the message. His panic attack was completely forgotten. He felt a peaceful calm come over him. The buzzing in his ears ceased and all he heard was silence. He was in his 'killing space' as he'd always called it. Ironically enough, it was Moran who had taught him how to get into this head space. Now all that concentration was directed back at him. John pushed aside all emotions and was immediately in soldier mode. An enemy had threatened one of his own and now he would hunt and kill the bastard.

John looked at Mycroft and Anthea and started issuing orders, his Captain's voice taking complete control of everyone in the room. Mycroft's shadows snapped to attention before running off to follow his orders, never questioning if he had the right to issue them in the first place. Anthea's fingers flew over her phone's keypad relaying John's instructions to the rest of the minions in Mycroft's employ. Mycroft forwarded his brother the message from John's phone. Sherlock may not know about Harry or why he was important, but the fact that Mycroft had added the word pirates to the end of the message would give his brother all the information he would need. If vatican cameos was the codeword Sherlock used with John that only the two of them knew the meaning of, pirates was the codeword for the Holmes brothers.

He also gave in to the inevitable and called Mummy. She would find out soon enough anyway that Harry was missing and Sherlock was back, better to get her on board as soon as possible. For all that he and Sherlock were proper geniuses, they had gotten it all from somewhere and that somewhere was Vivienne Rachelle Lisette Archambeau de Orleans, now Vivienne Holmes. It was a truth very widely known that one did not cross Vivienne Holmes. She had stayed out of the whole James Moriarty debacle at their request and allowed Sherlock to handle it his way, but it was now time to end this once and for all.

In the french countryside, in an extravigantly appointed sitting room, Vivienne Holmes took the call from her eldest son. When he apprised her of the situation and had rung off, Mummy Holmes began to plot and plan. She would be on her way home in a less than an hour and then she was going to get very inventive in all the ways she would make Sebastian Moran beg her forgiveness for daring to threaten her family. A small smile appeared on her still gorgeous face. Oh yes, this was going to be quite lovely!

Chapter Text

48 hours

Sherlock Holmes was exhausted. After eighteen months, he was finally back in England, back in his beloved London, and Baker Street was in sight. There were times in the last months that he was not sure whether he would ever see this sight again. At the moment, he wanted nothing more than to see his blogger's face, to let him punch him (he'd calculated this at a 90% probabability, though John did always manage to surprise him) and then to sit with him and have tea even if only for a few moments, so the could once again revel in the feeling of being home.

Shaking his head at himself he tried to get his brain to focus. Sentiment. He had been plagued by it more and more often. The longer he had been away from home, the worse it had gotten. He had noticed that when he was tired or ill, he could not seem to contain it.

He approached 221 from the rear of the house. If Moran had eyes on the house, they were most likely in the front, still he proceeded with caution. When he approached the house he looked into Mrs. Hudson's windows first. There was no movement in the flat, and after glancing around for only a few seconds, he noted the fine layer of dust that covered most of the flat surfaces. Gone less than a month, then. Ah, July, the month she usually spends with her sister. Leaving the window, he moved onto fire escape which had been replaced sometime in the year and a half he had been gone. He wandered why, but quickly put it in a file to analyze later. He finally came to the window that looked into his bedroom. He tried to pry the window open, but nothing he could do would make it budge. He had specifically tampered with this window so it would be easy to open from the outside! He looked into the room and noted that it was neat, but had the same film of dust covering its contents as Mrs. Hudson's flat had.

Where was John? Surely he didn't go with Mrs. Hudson to her sisters? No. Staying with friends? Unlikely. Wait, it was July. Mycroft. He pulled out his phone and sent off a quick text. Mummy would be at the French Chataeu, so Mycroft and Anthea would move to Dearbourne for the month. It was possible that John was with them. His text was returned in minutes, but it was not the answer that he was expecting. A threat accompanied by a picture of a small boy and the word pirates. This was more than a bit not good. He went back to trying to get into the flat, even tried to pick the lock on Mrs. Hudson's door to no avail. His phone interrupted his breaking and entering with another text from his brother.

Go to Molly. You must not be seen.

He followed his brothers direction without question. As much as it chaffed him, at the moment Mycroft knew more about the situation than he did. Who was the boy and why was he so important that Mycroft would invoke the code? He hadn't even gone that far when Moriarty had revealed his threats agains Sherlock. Still as he made his way through the London back streets and alleyways to St. Barts morgue, he couldn't help but wander what made this boy so special to his brother?

He entered the morgue through the underground entrance where the coroner and funeral homes delivered or removed bodies. Though this part of the hospital was rarely populated, he stuck to the shadows and moved as quietly as possible until he entered the morgue. Molly was examining the upper intestine of the body on her table while speaking notes about her findings into her recorder. She hadn't heard him enter, so he simply observed her from the doorway.

She looked more put together than she had. Her clothes were the current fashion, if still mass market rather than designer, her makeup now suited her face and enhanced rather than retracted. She seemed to stand and work with a more confident air. Steady boyfriend, new more fashionable female friend as well, a close group that has worked to build up her confidence. She finally believed she was as important as he had told her she was. Good.

He moved forward, making sure to let his shoes sound on the tile flooring. She turned from what she was doing. A beaming smile and then a finger indicating that he let her finish. She recorded the last of her findings before turning off the recorder and stripping off her gloves. To his surprise, she launched herself at him and caught him in a hug before he could protest. His only available options to either catch her around the waist or let her body weight drag them both down. That pesky sentiment reared its head once again and he caught her and held her to him, squeezing just a bit in return.

He heard footsteps coming down the hall and quickly put her down, but Molly didn't seem concerned at all. "That'll be Greg. Mycroft texted us."

Sure enough, Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade pushed open the door within moments and entered the morgue. He stopped short at the sight of Sherlock, or maybe the fact that Molly was in his arms, before moving forward. Molly stepped back and it was as if the two were in perfect synchronicity. Greg's fist landed on one of those razor sharp cheekbones and while Sherlock didn't go down completely he was spun off balance and ended facing the opposite direction he started in.

As he turned back to his two colleagues, they both smiled. Greg was the steady boyfriend then. Greg came toward him again, and while Sherlock flinched, he made no move to prevent whatever was coming. Greg pulled him down into a hug. "You are the biggest prat that ever walked the earth! But we are happy to have you back."

Sherlock pulled out of the embrace. One eyebrow went up and he gestured to his quickly bruising face. "This is you happy to have me back? Your social skills seem to have deteriorated in my absence, Lestrade. Obviously a result of far too much time spent in Anderson’s presence. Perhaps John’s, considering the more physical reaction."


Molly giggled a bit as she moved to get him a cold pack and Lestrade looked way too proud of himself. "You deserved that and more you wanker!"

Greg's phone beeped. John was wanting a status update. Greg texted back and then turned to Sherlock. "John is mobilizing Mycroft's forces into extraction teams. We know this is Moran, we just have to find him, that is going to be your job. John's will be to get Harry out safely. I'm also supposed to let you know that Mummy Holmes will be wheels down in England in less than three hours."

Sherlock's heart studdered momentarily. Mummy was getting involved. He almost felt sorry for Sebastian Moran. "Tell me what we know so far."

As Greg gave him a rundown of the past few months, the threats, the past month at the country house, Harry disapearing from the house, everything they had on Moran and his past, Sherlock paced processing each peice of information he was given and filing it in his mind where it helped to fill in the puzzle. Long after Greg had given him all the information they had, he continued to pace. He was slotting in the new information he had recieved along with the information he already held on Sebastian Moran.

Eventually he pulled up the attached picture and studied it intently. No natural light, underground then. Concrete walls and support beams, the lower levels of a tall building, drain in the ground barely visible at the edge of the picture, there for several possible reasons. He studied the boy, sedated, likely to remain asleep for quite some time. Thin mattress, easily found.

Sherlock gave up on the picture. There were too many possiblities. He began going through his mind palace, searching each room for more information. Greg and Molly stayed with him. They brought him food, which to their surprise he ate while thinking, something he had learned was a necessity while being away. He also drank the coffee that was brought in at some point. Greg kept him updated on John's and Mummy's progress and while he absorbed and filed the information, he remained silent.

His thoughts buzzed in his head. He contemplated and disgarded ideas and locations quickly. Looked at the situation from every possible angle. Finally hours later, answers started to click into place, like pieces of a puzzle fit together. He stopped his pacing, which caused Molly to prod Lestrade who had been napping on one of the exam tables. They both looked at him expectantly.
"I know where he is."

Chapter Text

21 Hours Remaining

In a well appointed, but comfortable townhouse across London, John Watson unknowingly mirrored Sherlock Holmes. He paced the sitting room they had set up as command central. He barked orders to questions he was asked, and kept everyone focused. He ate and drank whatever he was handed, though he couldn't tell you what any of it was. He had not once left the headspace he had sunk into upon learning that Moran had Harry.

When he had been introduced to Mummy Holmes, she had taken one look into his eyes, kissed him on the cheek, and let him be, while simultaneously terrorizing Mycroft and his staff. Kingsley had been called in by Mycroft and he stood sentinel in the room. If Sherlock could not find Harry, he would cast a locating spell for him, but only as a last resort. It was understood by all that using it would only bring more trouble on their heads. Magical trouble was not something any of them were prepared to deal with at the moment.

He managed to catch a few hours of sleep while leaning against the wall of the room when Mummy Holmes insisted on taking over the running of operations for a few hours. He handed control over to her without a second thought and before she could send him up to one of the guest beds, he was asleep standing up. She could admire the efficiency in that, so she left him where he was. He was awoken a few hours later by the alert going off on Anthea's phone.

"Sherlock knows where he is. He wants us to meet him there in one hour." John snorted. He knew Sherlock better than to trust that he would wait for them to mobilize.

"He's planning to go in alone. I'll meet him there now, send the location ASAP, but wait for my order to enter." Anthea, having anticipated this reaction handed him an earbud which he put in while she secured the microphone to his jacket sleeve. He watched avidly as Mummy Holmes pulled his browning from a hard plastic carrying case and checked it before handing it to him piece by piece so he could assemble it himself. The woman was frightening and awe inspiring all the same time. When he was ready, she was the one he looked to. She approached him and laid a hand on his cheek.

"If you can, leave him alive for me John. I want to break him." John repressed a shudder, but vowed to do his best to try not to kill Moran. He had no doubt that handing him over to Mummy would be a far greater revenge than simply killing him would.

He departed, with Mycroft's assurances that there were already operatives in the area awaiting John and his orders. He was notified when Sherlock arrived at the building, only minutes ahead of him. John would forgive Sherlock almost anything, but if his impulsiveness ended with Harry hurt or worse, he would not be able to forgive him that.

He arrived at the abandoned office building on foot, having had the driver drop him off a few blocks away so as not to draw attention. The door Sherlock had entered was still open enough that John could get his fingers in the crack and pull it open enough to squeeze through. He let his eyes adjust to the darkness and using the light from the exit signs over the door, he made his way into the corridor, moving silently the way he had been taught.

He followed the directions being relayed into his ear by Mummy, catching Sherlock's shadow a few times along his path. He fell back on those occasions to allow the space between them to widen, until he deemed it safe to continue following without being discovered himself. The corridor eventually ended, opening out into a large room with several doors that opened off of it. He watched Sherlock move silently, looking into each room through the small square of glass in the door. When he looked into the fourth room, he could see the boy still laying on the thin mattress. As he reached for the knob, a door further down that he had not yet checked opened. A gun preceded the man as he exited into the larger room.

Sebastian Moran was tall and powerfully built. "Mr. Holmes, how nice of you to join us. And in record time too! I do apologize that I could not set you a more complicated puzzle, but that was really more of Jim's thing than mine."

Sherlock turned to the man who had a gun trained on him. "Do give yourself more credit Mr. Moran, I've been trying to catch you for eighteen months after all. Though I will admit I got a bit distracted here and there."

Moran dipped his chin in acknowledgement of the compliment he had been paid. "Still, playtime is over."

He tossed a pair of metal cuffs to Sherlock. "Wrap your arms around the central column and then secure them with the cuffs." He turned to the opening of the hallway.

"Captain Watson, why don't you join us as well?" Damn, John didn't think he could be seen. He engaged the emergency alert device Anthea had placed in his pants pocket with a tap of his fingers. The Alpha and Bravo teams would be here in a matter of minutes. He pulled his browning aiming toward Moran and moved out of the corridor never taking his eyes from him.

Sherlock took in John like a man starved for water. He was completely immobile with his arms secured around the column. John did not once look his way, which perturbed Sherlock a bit, but he pushed aside the feeling.

"No greeting for me Captain?" John stayed where he was but arched an eyebrow at Moran.

"You kidnapped my child Colonel, what exactly do you expect me to say?' Moran had the gall to laugh.

"Come now, Captain you know that's not true." Sherlock was completely confused, which was not something he was used to feeling. John face held no expression that Sherlock could read.

"I neither kidnapped the boy, nor is he your child. He walked straight into my arms like a gift, so really there was no kidnapping involved. We also both know he's your cousin and not your child. You do remember, Captain, how I hate being lied to don't you?"

John did not answer, but his finger tightened on the trigger of the browning. Between one breath and the next, Moran fired at Sherlock.

Only seconds after Moran had fired, John fired as well, hitting Moran in the shoulder. No one in the room saw the second door open, or saw the small boy who stood in the doorway. Moran laughed again, aiming for John this time. Before either one could fire their weapon, the Alpha team stormed into the room behind John and they all heard Harry scream "No!" before they were hit with a burst of energy that flung them back like ragdolls.

Chapter Text

As the dirt and debris rained down on the room there were only three people on their feet. John still had his gun pointed in the direction Moran had stood in only seconds before. The man was now slumped down next to the wall, roughly seven meters back from where he had stood, gun halfway between John and his body. Sherlock was still secured to the column, shouting John's name in panic, desperately trying to see through the dust that was still floating in the air. Harry stood in the doorway looking for his Papa. The medication he had been given was making him nauseous, and his vision was swimming with black spots. When he finally saw his Papa, he ran over to him and threw himself into his arms.

The Bravo team led by Mummy and Anthea entered the room stepping over their unconcious colleagues. They had everything under control within minutes. Moran was secured immediately. Sherlock was released from the cuffs and checked over despite his protests. Most of alpha team was beginning to stir and sit up. John held Harry, one arm under his bum to support the weight, the other still holding his gun, wrapped around his back. Harry, who was doing a very good impression of an octopus had his arms around John's neck, his legs around his waist and was sobbing into his shoulder.

Johns brain was finally registering that it had not been a bomb that had cleared the room, but Harry's magic. An incredibly powerful burst of magic. His mind started planning as Mummy walked toward him. "We need to move Harry, quickly. That much magic is going to be noticed. He cannot be found here."

Mummy nodded and relayed the location of one of their vans. She had planned for this eventuality, though she hadn't thought she would really need to execute that plan. Leaving Anthea in charge, she escorted John and Harry out of the room and back into corridor. They took a different route than John had when coming in and exited at the back of the building and into an already idling blacked out van.

John climbed into the back with Harry, who had begun to calm down, but was now shaking and clammy to John's touch. As Mummy climbed into the passenger's seat and pulled away from the scene, John began to check Harry over for injuries. He found three separate injection sites on Harry's arm from where he had been given a sedative. Still hearing the chatter from the scene, John relayed a request to search for any kind of medication and relay back findings as soon as possible.

Now firmly in doctor mode, he did his best to comfort Harry until they could get back to Mycroft's townhome and he could try to counteract whatever he had been dosed with. He made it a point not to think about seeing Sherlock cuffed to the support pillar and completely vulnerable except for his wit and sharp tongue.

He did allow himself to think about his interaction with Moran. The man had changed drastically since John had last seen him. Gone was the calm controlled facade he had always displayed while John had known him in Afghanistan. His mind had obviously broken at some point, though that just made him more dangerous. He had seen desperation and vengeance when he'd looked Moran in the eye. John had to wonder what had pushed him there.

Hours later, back at Mycroft's townhome, John lay on one of the guest beds with Harry curled up next to him, hands fisted in his jumper. He had been violently ill from the sedative Moran had given him and that combined with the events of the last two days, had him unwilling to let John out of his sight.

John and Sherlock had not yet had a moment to say hello. They had been separated at the office building, when John had needed to get Harry to safety. He knew Sherlock was in the house somewhere, he had been informed of the fact by Mummy when she had brought up crackers and ginger ale in an attempt to help settle Harry's stomach. Still, he was unwilling to leave Harry here alone. Eventually John drifted, not quite asleep but not really awake either.

He was immediately alert when the bedroom door opened quite a bit later. Sherlock entered the room and approached the bed. Asking permission with his eyes, he gently climbed onto the bed until Harry's back was flush with his chest. He laid his arm over the child and reached out to take John's hand, lacing their fingers together. They finally had the chance to study the changes that the past year and a half had wrought in the other.

Sherlock was not as thin as he had been, though that is not to say he wasn't still lean. He had a new scar above his right eye just at the hairline, still pink in it's healing. His face had become more harsh somehow, the lines in his forehead a bit more defined than they had once been. His left cheekbone sported a large darkening bruise. His lips were severely chapped and John could tell that his nose had been broken at least once in his absence. The hand that held his was rough with callouses that were not from playing a violin and there were still healing scabs over the knuckles. He was in a set of silk pajamas, that John knew didn't belong to him, but struck John as being very Mycroft.

The biggest change John could immediately see was when he looked into Sherlock's ever changing blue-grey-green eyes. For the first time he was allowing John to read his thoughts and emotions through his gaze. He was hiding nothing and holding nothing back. It occurred to John that this was the most vulnerable John had ever seen him. They had a whole conversation without saying a single word to each other.

I'm sorry for everything.

I know.

I did it for you. I couldn't stand the thought of you not being a part of this world.

I thought the same of you.

You're angry.

Of course I am you idiot! You went in without backup, even though an innocent's life was at stake.

Oh! You're not mad about me dying, you're mad that I put myself and Harry in danger?

Give the man an award, he gets it!

Sarcasm does not become you, John.

Yeah, okay. Are you back for good? No more traveling? No more mad men?

Is there room for me still? It didn't escape my notice that he had your undivided attention tonight.

Of course there is room for you, you berk. The space has just transformed a bit from what it used to be.

What are you saying?

He is my first priority now and that will not change, but I want you here. We want you to be here.

For how long?

Always. You never get to leave again.

Yes, please. My dear John. I was lost without you.

Missed you too, Sherlock.

As one they moved into each other as much as possible, given the small child in between them, until their foreheads touched. The breathed each other in, taking comfort from the proximity, the smell of home radiating from the other, until they fell into the sleep of the exhausted but content.

Chapter Text

Harry woke first the next morning. He looked up into his Papa's face, checking once more that he was there and safe, before realizing that there was someone on the bed behind him. A long fingered hand held his Papa's, the arm it was attached to resting on his hip. He slowly turned over to face this man that he had only heard of in the stories his Papa and Aunts and Uncles had told him. He studied the man before him the way Uncle Mycroft had taught him. Start with one point and work your way out. Once done with his observation, he compared this man in front of him to the one in the few pictures he had seen.

Feeling that he was being watched, Sherlock opened his eyes, expecting John to be awake. Staring back at him though, weren't blue, but were perhaps the greenest eyes he had ever seen. Eyes that were much too old to belong in such a young face. He didn't say anything to the boy, not that he really knew what would be appropriate anyway, but studied him as he had felt himself being studied.

The unruly dark hair, just a bit too long and reminiscent of his own, almost hid the strange lightning shaped scar near the hairline. His face was round, but Sherlock could already detect the strong jawline he would have after he matured. The boy was as small as he had been as a child, though he could see signs of previous neglect and abuse, which Sherlock had thankfully never suffered. There were small scars here and there all over the boy, as well as old burn scars on his hands and wrists. He was healthy now, under John's care, that much was easily seen, even after his drug induced illness of the night before.

The most curious thing to Sherlock though, was that he could not read this small child half as well as he could read most adults he came across. To the contrary of what most people would assume, Sherlock loved children. Most had not yet been taught the narrow mindedness that plagued so many adults. They still used their brains, which were like sponges, soaking up anything and everything they could.

Sherlock could see that Harry had as many, if not more, emotional walls as he himself had. It had taken Sherlock years to build up that level of protection for himself. It was disconcerting to see it in one so young. He could tell there was something else, something infinitely special about the child, but for all his genius he could not figure out what it was. After minutes of taking each other in, Harry finally broke the silence.

"You got hit in the head with a metal pipe. Your nose was broken twice. You have several cracked ribs that are still healing, and a stab wound that got infected. You are happy to be home but scared too. You missed my Papa a lot. You shouldn't have left him. That was a bit not good."

Harry had spoken softly but confidently. Sherlock was rendered speechless, the reply that had already been forming on his tongue, evaporated in a puff of smoke. His mind began to race through all the possibilities. This small child with eyes too old had not only just deduced his injuries, but he had seen past those emotional walls in only a few minutes. No one had ever seen him that completely before, not even Mummy. He had never allowed it.

"Fascinating." Sherlock whispered.

He once again studied the boy in front of him. "Did I get everything right?"

Sherlock tried not to smile, that was usually his line. "You did."

Harry beamed. "I usually forget something." He asked for the eyeglasses on the bedside table and Sherlock handed them over.

"Come on, Sh'lock. Papa will sleep for a bit longer. Mimi Holmes said cook would make me cinnamon rolls as big as a plate if my tummy felt better this morning!" Sherlock's smile could no longer be held back. Mimi Holmes?

Then he registered the rest of what Harry had said. He remembered cook's cinnamon rolls, though it had been several years since he'd had one. They really were the size of a plate, though it was a small one. They were also buttery, flaky, and gooey all at once. His stomach let out a growl, causing Harry to giggle.

He gently rolled out of the bed, trying not to jostle it too much and wake up John. Harry followed his example, though Sherlock had to help him to the floor because of the bed's height. Harry wrapped his small hand around two of Sherlock's long fingers and pulled him to the door and down the stairs. Harry apparently knew his way around the townhouse as he unerringly pulled Sherlock into the kitchen within minutes of leaving the bedroom.

Mrs. Yates, who had once been the cook at Dearbourne, but had moved to Mycroft's to be closer to her grandchildren, grinned at Harry and Sherlock from where she was kneading the dough for the cinnamon rolls at the counter. "Mr. Harry, Mr. Sherlock, good morning! There is a batch in the oven that will be ready in a few minutes. Coffee is ready as well. Milk or juice for you Harry?"

Sherlock helped Harry get the milk he had decided on before fixing himself a coffee. Mrs. Yates sent them into the dining room with a promise to be only a few minutes with their cinnamon rolls. Sherlock could hear a few stirrings coming from upstairs, but no one had yet appeared. Harry used this time to fill Sherlock in on all that he had missed since Harry had come to live with John. Harry told him of the Dursley's and then living with John the first few months. Then he talked about Nana Hudson and Hermione, Uncle Mycroft and Aunt Anthea, Uncle Greg and Aunt Molly. Harry told him about the giraffes at the zoo, but left out the part about the elephants. When he told him about Dalek Anderson at Halloween, Sherlock nearly fell out of his chair laughing, not even caring that his still sore ribs were protesting. He was just finishing telling Sherlock about Mycroft playing Santa at Christmas, though none of the adults thought he knew, when Greg walked into the room, quickly followed by Mycroft himself and then Mummy.

John awoke in the bed alone when he heard Sherlock's laughter drifting up the stairs. He rolled onto his back and let his mind drift back to the evening before. Moran had known he was in the hallway though John was sure he could not be seen from the room. CCTV cameras? Probably. The monitors must have been in the room he stepped out of. He'd need to get debriefed as soon as possible. After setting the emergency beacon and pulling his gun, John made it a point not to look at Sherlock as he entered the room. He'd had only one goal in mind and that had been to get Harry out safely.

While Moran had tried to get into his head, John had simply waited for an opening. When Moran reminded him of how he disliked being lied to, John knew his chance would come within moments. He recalled the 'punishment' Moran had given his soldiers back in Afghanistan. It had bordered on abuse but because it was done in the training ring, in hand to hand, no one was able to prove anything. John had patched up several soldiers after their discipline lessons with Moran.

He couldn't figure out though, why Moran had missed hitting Sherlock with that bullet. He never missed unless he meant to. When John saw his finger squeezing the trigger, he knew this might be the only opening he would get, so he had fired, keeping in mind Mummy's request to leave Moran alive. He aimed for and hit the right side of his chest, millimeters below the clavicle. The wound should have disabled the arm as it was nearly identical to the one John had received, even accounting for the smaller round used, but Moran had lifted the arm again just before Harry had sent out that shockwave of magic.

John had gone over it in his head last night while he held Harry, but he turned it over in his mind once again. He couldn't figure out how he had still been on his feet when the dust cleared. The burst had obviously not been a controlled reaction. Sherlock was standing because he had the pillar supporting him, Harry because the magic had originated from his little body. Everyone else in the room and even those in the corridor had been thrown at least five feet into the air, most landing when they hit a wall or another body. Luckily all weapons had been jammed by the surge, so no one's gun had gone off accidentally. His browning had been affected, but John had not. He had simply felt a wave of electricity, similar to the shock you got from rubbing stocking feet on the carpet, rush over his body, raising hairs and leaving goosebumps.

John remembered Minerva telling him that small amounts of magic by minors, especially ones as young as Harry, could not be detected by the Ministry. The surge last night was definitely not a small amount of magic, so John had removed Harry from the area as soon as possible. The fact that Harry was legitimately ill had helped his cover. He'd need to contact Kingsley to let him know what had happened, if he didn't know already.

Several voices were now drifting up the stairs, so John pulled himself out of bed and went downstairs to join the group. He was the last to arrive in the dining room and the only open seat was the one to Sherlock's right. He sat there after getting himself a cup of tea. Mrs. Yates brought in a tray full of the largest cinnamon rolls John had ever seen and they were greedily snatched up and deposited onto plates. There were several conversations happening at once around the full table so John stayed quiet and listened to those around him. His hand rested on the table next to his plate and when he felt Sherlock cover it with his own, he turned to look at him. They had another of those silent conversations in their heads.

John, are you alright?

Everything's fine, just worrying.

About Harry?

Among other things.

He's fascinating John and smart and observant. He deduced me perfectly in under five minutes. How is that possible?

He's more special than you know, Sherlock. But he also has the ability to see all the emotions that you don't always allow yourself to notice. I think it makes him a better observer.

Agreed. We'll talk later?

Yes.

They looked away from their conversation to see that everyone in the room had been watching it happen. There were varying degrees of reaction, but Greg summed it up best when he blurted out his thoughts. "Blimey, it's about time you two!"

John cleared his throat and blushed, Sherlock looked smug and simply laced his fingers through John's and refused to let him go. They hadn't actually had that talk yet, but they both knew it would happen soon. It was obvious to everyone present that the dynamic had changed.

There was a tapping on the window and John looked up to see Hedwig with letter in her beak. He felt a small rush of panic go through him, but reined himself in quickly. Harry jumped up and opened the window to let her in and she flew around the table rather than over it, much to Mrs. Yates' relief. She landed on John's good shoulder and after he took the letter from her, she nibbled at his ear a bit. "Sorry Hedwig, I don't have any treats with me, but go with Mrs. Yates and she'll get you some fresh meat."

Hedwig flew over to the arm Mrs. Yates held out and the cook carried the owl into the kitchen talking to her the whole time. Sherlock was dumbstruck and everyone noticed. There were small giggles up and down the table at the look on his face. "Did you know, brother dear, that with your mouth open like that, your lips form a heart shape?"

Mycroft had a smug look on his face as Sherlock snapped his mouth closed. He glared at Mycroft for a moment before looking at John. "John, why did an owl just deliver the post?'

John looked up from the letter he had opened. "Remember how I told you Harry was more special than you knew? This is part of it. I'll explain later."

He turned back to the letter and finished reading it before passing it to Mycroft. As Mycroft read the letter, Sherlock studied them both. There was something going on and everyone but him knew about it. He didn't like the feeling. He opened his mouth once more, but caught the look Mummy was sending him, telling him to leave it for the moment. Mycroft finished the letter and passed it back to John after folding it back into it's original shape.

"John and I have decided to return to Dearbourne later today. We still have Harry's party to get ready for and I did promise them an entire month in the country. Greg, Molly, I understand that you can't join us until next weekend due to your work schedules. There will be a car waiting to bring you to the manor when you are ready to join us. Let John know of the time and location that will work best for you. The rest of us will leave after luncheon."

He left the room after his announcement, Anthea on his heels to make plans to move house for the second time in three days. Harry finished his cinnamon roll and left with Mummy to go get dressed for the day. Molly and Lestrade made their excuses and left to enjoy what was left of their weekend.
John and Sherlock were left alone, hands still linked, in the silent dining room. By mutual consent, they stood and made their way back into the room they had shared last night. John had a lot of information to cover in a short amount of time and Sherlock had some very big decisions to make.

 

Chapter Text

Sherlock shut the door behind them as he followed John into the bedroom. He had not completely regained his equilibrium and the situation just seemed to get more complicated. He knew that whatever John had to tell him and whatever they decided during this conversation would not only change his life, but would also map out their future. They settled on the bed, backs against the antique headboard, with pillows for comfort and cushioning behind them. Sherlock had taken John's hand again, needing the physical contact.

"How much have you been told about Harry?" John was sure Greg had told him at least a little, as well as whatever Mummy and Mycroft had told him last night during their debriefing.

Sherlock cleared his throat. "I know that he is your ward. A cousin that you took in almost a year ago. He is important enough to Mycroft for him to invoke the emergency code we have. Even Mummy seemed to be very protective of him. Moran knew he was important enough that we would try to find him. I deduced this morning that he had been abused and neglected prior to living with you. Other than the events of the past year that he filled me in on this morning, that is it."

"Right, okay. Harry is very special. Before I can tell you any more than that, I need to know if you will marry me?" Sherlock was more confused than ever by the change in topic. He stayed silent prompting John to start babbling nervously.

"I know it's abrupt. But it does have to do with Harry. You just got back and now I'm hitting you with this. It doesn't mean we have to have a typical relationship, we could go on like before. Unless you wanted a relationship, but we'd need to talk about that. Anyway, I can't really tell you anything until you answer that question." He stopped and looked over at Sherlock.

He could see Sherlock was thinking, probably somewhere in his mind palace, so John turned to face him fully. "Sherlock. Sherlock!" He called his name loudly, until those changeable eyes met his.

"I meant what I said, you never get to leave again. I will never leave you either. So if you say yes, do it because you want that, not because you want to know about Harry. It doesn't have to happen right away, but you do have to completely believe in your answer." Sherlock searched his face until he found whatever it was he was looking for.

"Yes."

John smiled, and felt the barrier break that had held back his answers about Harry. "Alright then. What I'm about to tell you is going to sound completely unbelievable to your scientific brain, but let me finish before you start scoffing."

Sherlock nodded at him to continue. "Harry is a wizard. There is a whole society of them that live side by side with the non-magical world. You are either born with the ability or you aren't. My cousin, Harry's mum, was a witch. They have a school that they attend for training and that is where Lily met Harry's father, James. They got married after leaving school and had Harry. But there was a dark wizard who had come into power. He targeted Harry and both James and Lily died protecting him. Harry, at eighteen months old, defeated the wizard."

John stopped for a breath. Sherlock was still listening. "The scar. It's shaped like lightning. Too defined to be an accident."

John nodded. "That is apparently where the wizard's wand touched Harry when he tried to deliver the killing curse, as they call it. Only the curse backfired on the wizard. No one has located him, but some still believe he is alive somewhere."

"This is when he was sent to live with the Dursleys?" John nodded again.

"There was apparently a spell that transferred from Lily to him when she gave her life for her child. It protects him in many ways, but only works if he lives in the home of a blood relative. James had no family left, Harriet was already in the bottle, and I was deployed at the time, so Petunia was the only available option."

Sherlock listened as John explained things. He filed what he thought he might need in his mind palace for later examination. It didn't even strike him to not believe what John was telling him, simply because it was John, no matter how impossible it all sounded.

"The bomb last night, it wasn't actually a bomb was it?" John shook his head.

"That is what Mummy wants everyone think, she even planted a defective bomb on site, but that was Harry. He sent out a wave of very powerful magic, more than I thought him capable of actually. He doesn't have any control over his magic yet, it mostly comes out when his emotions are very high and it has never been anything that powerful. His best friend Hermione, though, she has already learned to control hers to some extent."

Sherlock glanced at him. "His best friend is a witch?"

John smiled. "Happy coincidence. She is what is called muggle born, her parents are non-magical, and they just happen to attend the same day school. She had a hard time making friends, so Harry made it a point to play with her. Now they are almost inseparable."

John remained silent allowing Sherlock to shift this new information around in his mind palace. He was impressed that Sherlock wasn’t scoffing at the idea of magic. Maybe the past eighteen months had taught him to accept that sometimes things just were.

"The wave of magic Harry sent out is why you left so quickly last night. It is also the reason we are going back to Dearbourne today?" John sighed.

"Of course. The wizard that Harry defeated still has devoted followers that would love to get their hands on him. Magic as strong as what he used last night would have alerted the magical government, called the Ministry of Magic. They sent their agents to investigate. Luckily one of them already knows about Harry, the situation we found ourselves in, and what happened, so he was able to intervene and turn their attention elsewhere. No one saw Harry and the magic can't be traced back to him because it wasn't a location he normally inhabits. Moving back to Dearbourne is just a precautionary measure. We can always claim we've been there the whole time."

"Mmm. I see. What is the reason for our pending nuptials then?" John pulled out the letter from Minerva and handed it over to Sherlock. Sherlock opened the letter and read it quickly.


John,

We are so very relieved that you managed to find Harry and that you both came out of the ordeal relatively unscathed. Do not worry about his use of magic being traced back to him, Kingsley is already diverting attention away from the situation. However, you may want to remove yourself from London as soon as you can, simply to put some distance between yourselves and the situation.

Kingsley informed us that your Sherlock had returned. Albus has asked me to remind you of the conditions put in place for this eventuality. You will not be able to share any information about Harry with him unless he meets the conditions. I have also been asked to remind you of your talk with Dumbledore on the subject of relationships. I do not know what was said, but was told that you would understand.

Please let us know how you and Harry are getting along once you are safely back at Dearbourne. We will be 'popping' in for Harry's party and wish to meet your young man then. Best of luck to you all.


Yours,

Minerva McGonagall

 

Sherlock reread the letter, then studied the paper it was written on. "This is proper parchment! Written with a quill pen!"

John rolled his eyes. "Bloody expensive is what it is."

Sherlock regained his focus. "The conditions mentioned in this letter, what were they?"

"They are the same conditions that apply to every witch or wizard who is in a relationship with a muggle. The Statute of Secrecy prevents a magical person from sharing their secret with a non-magical person unless the couple is engaged to be married and actually plan to marry. Until then, you are literally bound to secrecy. I have special consideration because of Harry's status, but I am also officially listed as a magical person in their census. It took Dumbledore and Kingsley months to achieve that feat without anyone else noticing. I even had to take my OWLS and NEWTS! I'll explain those later."

"How did Mycroft and Anthea, as well as Mummy get around that?" John smiled.

"Mycroft and Anthea know because of the minor positions they hold in the government. They have worked with Kingsley for years. As for Mummy, you would probably know the answer to that question better than I do." Sherlock raised an eyebrow.

"Mummy used to be a spy for MI-6. She was one of their double oh agents, not allowed to tell you which one though. She still carries RED status. Retired, extremely dangerous." He tossed out the information nonchalantly, as if he thought John should have already figured it out.

John put his face in his hands. "Oh dear God. Harry's Mimi is Jane Bond!"

They dissolved into giggles. "Don't let Mummy hear you say that! She despises James Bond."

When they were finally able to gather their senses, Sherlock became serious rather quickly.
"This McGonagall mentioned a talk about relationships. Will you tell me?"

"Dumbledore explained to me that a relationship is about the two people in it, not the sex of the two people involved. He said that I could love you without it meaning I was suddenly gay. Because, well its just you, not any other guy. It helped me to put into perspective that I haven't been lying to myself about not being gay, or being straight, or maybe bisexual, but its about me allowing myself to simply love my soulmate, no matter what package they came in. We define for ourselves the labels we place on our relationship, so I choose to think of us as John and Sherlock, Watson and Holmes, two pieces of a puzzle that just fit together."

"Holmes and Watson, I think, has a better ring to it." Sherlock smirked at John. John reached up to push his shoulder, but Sherlock caught his hand and brought it to his lips. He gave the knuckles a gentle kiss, before pressing John's palm to his bruised cheek.

"Thank you my Dear Watson." John leaned forward and pressed his lips to Sherlock's forehead. It would take them some time to figure out what this was and what it was going to be, but they would get there in the end.

Chapter Text

There comes a point in which every person must take responsibility for their actions. Sitting on a chaise lounge in the French country themed downstairs sitting room (recently turned war room) Vivienne Holmes thought this had now become one of those times for her youngest. They were all gathered, the key players, for the debriefing of events leading up to the capture of Sebastian Moran. There was also the matter of re-instating Sherlock back into the land of the living.

As she looked across the low table in front of her to her youngest, she had a stream of thought that had come to her countless times over the years. This genius of theirs, was it a blessing or a curse? At what cost had it been granted them? Was it a cost she was willing to continue to pay?

The answers to those questions had changed as many times over the years as they had been asked. Where is the line that you cannot bring yourself to cross? Is this action going to take from you a part of yourself you will never be able to regain? How much of yourself are you willing to give?

She thought of, and answered, all of these questions for both herself and her son as she listened to him tell of his adventures taking down the spider’s web. Her eyes slid to the ordinary man next to him. This was the man Sherlock spoke to, though there were others in the room. This was the man that had all of his formidable focus, that blazing intelligence centered directly on him. It essentially all boiled down to one question, these thoughts, is there anything you wouldn’t do for family?

That question had been answered in a finite and irrevocable manner the day her son had stepped off the ledge of a hospital roof in order to save this ordinary man in front of her. She had believed for a few hours that he was truly gone, had begun to mourn the loss of that supernova that had shone so brightly. Of course, she had not mourned in the way one would expect. There were no tears, no sobs, no loss of any emotion actually, other than white hot anger. How dare one little upstart of a psychopathic genius try to destroy what he couldn’t control! Like a black hole trying to consume everything around it. But her little supernova had not been consumed, dimmed a little yes, but never destroyed.

Her thoughts circled back to that final question. Is there anything you wouldn’t do for family? For no one could convince her that John Watson was not family to Sherlock Holmes, that he was not the physical embodiment of home. John Watson, that perfectly ordinary man, who absorbed all the radiance that was Sherlock and reflected it back to him so that he could see and feel and believe the truths about himself that he had hidden from for so long. This ordinary man, who could never be ordinary really, had accomplished what no other person on this earth could. He had taught Sherlock, her supernova, what it meant to be truly free.

There were days, months, years even that she had wondered if he would survive himself, because Sherlock’s worst enemy was, is and always would be himself. He was never able to turn it off, that kaleidoscope of thought, never able to completely silence it. He had found ways to dull it, some more destructive than others, all with varying degrees of success. Nothing ever worked for very long though. Those thoughts, those demons that constantly plagued him, that had tried to pull all of the light from him, were never silent. She should amend that now, though. Those thoughts, those demons, had never been silent. Not until ordinary, extraordinary, John Watson had taken her supernova’s hand and had given him his heart.

Sherlock had not known what to do with a heart at first, because he was and had always been the brain. The demons, the cacophony, the darkness, now had an angel of silence and light to combat them, to war with. One thing John Watson had always been, even before he technically was, is a soldier. He was simply made for war, he embraced it, always, as an old friend. He walked in it and around it and through it without once flinching. He never risked losing himself in it, or fearing it, or hiding himself from it because it was only one part of the whole that was John Watson. His other self, the doctor, balanced the soldier. The balance he maintained within himself was now given to Sherlock. John Watson was the balance for Sherlock Holmes, the heart for the head, the emotions for the intellect.

All of this ran through Mummy’s head while she listened to Sherlock. She had helped him make plans over the last eighteen months, had strategized and conspired and done everything in her power to make sure that he would be sitting here today. When she had met John, though, and had looked into those eyes at the soldier, she knew she was not the reason he was there, across from her. It was the contradictory man seated next to him that they all had to thank for that.

Vivienne tuned back into the conversation when the subject of Harry’s kidnapping came up. “How did he get out of the passages? You told me they were Sherlock proofed, Mycroft!”

Sherlock snorted. “There is a door to an underground tunnel that leads into the woods on the south side of the property. You obviously never found it. How exactly did you think I got out of the house so often as a child Mycroft? Really!”

"So you think Harry found this tunnel and Moran snatched him out of the woods?" John asked. He had asked Harry about the incident, but the sedative had apparently caused some memory lapses as well as making him sick. The last thing he remembered before waking in the office building had been playing in the passages.

"I don't think, John, I know. There is absolutely no way that Moran could have gotten into the house. Mummy's security system is actually me-proofed. I wasn't able to get into the house even once when we were testing it. That combined with the magical protections you told me of on the house means he did not get into Dearbourne." Sherlock was back to being his usual snarky self when in the company of others it seemed.

"Alright, that makes sense. Moran could have easily been in the woods. He did say Harry walked right into his arms." John scrubbed his hand, the one Sherlock was not in possession of, over his face.

"So what happens to Moran now?" All three Holmes' smirked identically, which cause a chill to run down the spines of John, Kingsley, and even Anthea.

"Now I get to do what I was trained for. Extract as much information as possible by doing whatever I need to do to get it." Mummy replied.

John swallowed before answering. "I don't want to know about that do I?"

Mummy's smile got a little bit wider, which means it also got a little bit scarier. "Plausible deniability, my dear, I'm sure you understand."

John nodded and tried not to shiver. "So what next? Where do we go from here?"

"We have to raise my brother from the dead. With the evidence he has collected on Moriarty's web, the press will have no problem turning in his favor once more. You and Detective Inspector Lestrade have already managed to clear his name with New Scotland Yard. The groundwork you've been laying there will help as well. We will hold a press conference after Harry's party. Lestrade will act as our liaison with the Yard. We have handpicked the journalists who have been invited as we believe they will be the most likely to report accurately what has transpired." As he spoke, Anthea handed packets to everyone in the room. The room was quiet for a few minutes as everyone looked through what they had been given.

"We will all be joining my brother there as a show of a united front." Mycroft began, before being interrupted by John.

"No. Harry will not be there. I will not put him in front of the press like that. Don't forget he has his own enemies, Mycroft." John's jaw had firmed. He thought he might have a fight on his hands about this. Mycroft wanted them to play happy families for the camera, but John would not allow Harry to be pulled into it.

"John," Mycroft started before being interrupted once again.

"I agree with John, Mycroft. While Harry's enemies are part of the magical world, that does not mean they don't have ties and lives in the muggle one. It is too risky." Kingsley announced his opinion.

"I agree with them as well." Mummy chimed in.

Mycroft looked to his brother. Sherlock had surprisingly not commented yet. The two had one of those silent battle of wits that no one else seemed able to keep up with, except perhaps Mummy. After several minutes of silence Sherlock finally spoke. "For once, Mycroft, instead of thinking about what is best for the country or for the family, think about what is best for the individual in question here. He does not need to be subjected to that now, he will be soon enough. Don't keep repeating the same mistakes, Mycroft."

Mycroft gave the Holmesian version of a jerk, that is to say he blinked, at Sherlock's statement. It was not said with malice or anger, but was simply a reminder of things only three people in this room knew the complete history of. They maintained eye contact for a few seconds more before Mycroft dropped his gaze.

"Very well, Harry will not attend and we will do all we can to keep him out of the spotlight and the press. Everyone else, however will be there. John we need to get you a new suit, the one you own is deplorable." John frowned, but the rest of the room chuckled.

"I told you it was hideous." Sherlock sounded a bit too amused for John's liking.

"Oi, shut it, you!" Before they could get into a bit of a tussle, Mycroft continued.

"We will be presenting all relevant evidence, using confessions of the few captured associates, as well as the audio from the roof, edited of course. Then we will announce that Sherlock will resume working with New Scotland Yard and taking private cases. We will also announce your engagement."

Both Sherlock and John protested this loudly and spiritedly. "No!" "Absolutely bloody not!"

Mycroft raised an eyebrow. "Do you not plan to share our news?"

"You know we don't Mycroft. When we get married, it will not be some overblown affair with all the right people invited and having to get security to keep out the paparazzi. It will be done our way, on our terms, and on our timetable. If you can't abide by that, you will not be there." John was back in Captain mode.

As John stared him down, Sherlock squeezed his hand lightly. For the second time that day Mycroft dropped his gaze first. "Very well."

John relaxed back into his seat as they switched over to the topic of Harry's party and Anthea took over the meeting. As they were leaving to go into dinner, he found Mummy had sidled up next him and while Sherlock's attention was on giving Mycroft grief about his diet, she gave him a charming smile and a wink. "Bravo, darling."

Yes, she thought to herself, John Watson was definitely family and he was going to look lovely in the suit she picked out for him to marry her supernova in

Chapter Text

The week leading up to Harry’s party was strange in many ways. For John, he was rebuilding and strengthening his relationship with Sherlock while also trying to adjust to the dynamic change. He was delighted with how well Harry and Sherlock were getting along. Sherlock was fascinated by Harry, with the way he thought, and the whys of doing things. They spent hours together outside in the garden and the woods as well as inside. Sherlock and Mummy had gone into the tunnels after their debriefing and childproofed the door that led into the woods, so he and Harry spent time in there as well. They seemed to have found a new playmate in each other.

Sherlock had changed. In some ways it was subtle, while in others it was glaringly obvious. He ate and slept more, though still not as much as John would like. He hated inactivity and being bored, but instead of trying to shoot at the walls or taking it out on those around him, he would find something to grab his attention. He was more openly affectionate, with both John and Harry. He was infinitely patient with Harry, answering any and every question posed him, never once treating them as stupid. He and Mycroft still sniped at each other almost constantly, though. He was deferential to Mummy and polite to the staff. He still got lost in his own head quite often, but he was quicker to respond to outside stimuli than he had been. The biggest difference was that he talked. He didn’t hold back from sharing things with John, there were no more secrets between them.

They were in the large library, John sitting on the end of the overstuffed couch, Sherlock lying on it with his head resting on John’s thigh. They both held a book, though they had been abandoned during their talk. The french doors were open to the garden, where Harry was being taught to play chess by Mummy. Sherlock had been sharing his memories of when Mummy had taught him to play chess as a child when John had interrupted him.

“Sherlock, why are you telling me all these things? Not that I want you to stop, but before, trying to get you to tell me anything was like trying to get Mycroft to stop bugging the flat.” Sherlock had closed his eyes and while he thought John watched him, continuing to run his fingers through that wild mop of curls, which he had unconsciously been doing while they read. Finally Sherlock had opened his eyes and tilted his head back slightly while he replied to the question.

 

“Partly it is a way of making amends. I am also making up for lost time, when you weren’t there for me to tell. Mostly, I just want you to know. I want you to be able to understand.” A small smile appeared on John’s face.

 

“Alright. Thank you for telling me.” Sherlock finished telling John about the memory. They went back to their books and read for a while longer until Harry came barreling into the room landing on Sherlock’s midsection.

 

“Papa! ‘Lock! I beat Mimi!” Mummy had followed him into the room and while John and Sherlock gave him indulgent smiles thinking that she must have let him win, when they looked over to her, she had a thoughtful look on her face.

 

“He beat me fair and square. I didn’t throw the game. He anticipated every move and countermove. I believe we may have a master strategist on our hands.” Sherlock smiled and John congratulated Harry. They were interrupted when the first of their guests for the weekend were announced.

 

Anthea and Mycroft had gone all out for the party. It was a whole weekend affair with activities scheduled for each day, with the actual party being held on Sunday afternoon. When the butler announced Molly and Greg, Harry had launched himself off of Sherlock and across the room into Lestrade’s arms. Sherlock grunted and tried to get his breath back, but didn’t say anything about being used as a human launch pad. This routine was repeated a few more times throughout the afternoon and early evening as people continued to arrive. Mrs. Hudson followed soon after Greg and Molly. The Grangers arrived in the early evening, both waiting until after work to leave London. Sherlock had been reminded several times that these were the parents of Harry’s very best friend and that he absolutely must not upset them or dire consequences would follow. This, it turns out, was not really needed as Sherlock was almost as enraptured by Hermione as he was with Harry. He was polite during the few conversations he had with the Grangers, but for the most part he played with the children or stuck by John.

 

Sunday afternoon arrived quickly. Almost everyone was present already, with several of Harry's school friends making the trip for the day, but when Harry heard the sound of four adults apparating into the garden, he ran around the side of the house to greet them. Greg and Molly were the only ones present who knew about the magical world, but were not exactly supposed to. Mrs. Hudson had been told because she was listed as Harry’s Gran and as much as she put off the air of being absent-minded, she was actually very sharp. Not to mention suddenly interactive skulls did have a way of getting one’s attention rather quickly. Greg and Molly had been at Baker Street for dinner when he’d had one of his accidental magic incidences, this time causing the silverware to drum rhythmically on the tables. Greg had simply raised an eyebrow at John. “Do I want to know?”

 

John had shaken his head. “Can’t tell you even if you did.”

 

"Anything I need to be worried about?"

 

"No. Let's just say it's one of his quirks." A look passed between Greg and Molly.

 

“Alright then, we’ll see you soon.” They had departed and nothing more had been spoken about the incident, but John knew they were both aware it wasn't exactly normal behavior, even if they didn't have a explanation for it.

 

Sherlock watched curiously as the new additions to the party, following Harry, made their way over to where he sat beside John. The older grey wizard walked slightly ahead of the others, this must be Dumbledore. Like Harry, he could deduce several things about the wizard, but could not completely read him. He was followed by a small, intimidating woman, McGonagall. She was fairly easy to deduce, but she reminded him of both John and Mummy. Best not to underestimate her, yet he looked forward to her being able to surprise him. He had met Kingsley during their debriefing. When his eyes finally came to rest on the fourth member of the group, he found himself intrigued. So many secrets were hidden behind his nearly black eyes. His skin was sallow, his hair black and stringy. He wore long black robes and held himself in an aloof manner. The look on his face could best be described as a sulk, though Sherlock could tell he was very interested in being there for an as yet to be determined reason. He was taking in Sherlock in much the same manner as he was being observed. Strangely, Sherlock felt a disturbance in his mind palace, like there was a presence that shouldn't be there. He quickly scanned his mind, slamming doors and creating walls where there had been open spaces. The look on the other man's face was a mixture of suprised and impressed.

 

The group finally stopped in front of them and they stood to greet them and make introductions. Sherlock listened with half an ear, still studying the wizard before him. He was finally pulled from his observations by John sliding his hand into Sherlock's. "Albus, Minerva, I would like you to meet Sherlock Holmes."

Sherlock nodded to each in turn, but chose to stay silent. Dumbledore's eyes twinkled merrily as he took in the positioning of the two men in front of him. "I see he took the news rather well."

 

John blushed, a slight pink tinge to his cheeks, before answering. "Surprisingly so."

 

Dumbledore clapped his hands together, merrily. "Well it looks as if I have a new student to teach then! I find myself looking forward to it."

John sighed. "You really shouldn't be. He's quite a pain in the arse."

"John!" Sherlock faked a gasp.

 

"Oh don't act like you're offended. You know it's the truth." A devilish smile tugged at the corners of Sherlock's mouth, accompanied by an eye roll.

 

"I must admit I'm intrigued by everything I've been told. I've deduced that you are rather well respected by your colleagues as well as most of the magical world, so I suppose you'll do as a tutor. Just try not to bore me." John squeezed his fingers tightly. He rolled his eyes once more. "Fine. Please try not to bore me. Thank you." He huffed, slightly put out by John's insistence on manners.

Dumbledore just chuckled. "He's exactly the way you showed him to be, John! I am quite looking forward to getting to know you better Mr. Holmes!"

 

Sherlock's eyes had narrowed at Dumbledore's exclamation. "What do you mean he showed you?"

 

"Ah yes, John was willing to show me some of his memories of you. It's done by a method of extracting the memory through a spell and then observing it through a tool called a pensieve. It allows the observer to feel almost as if they were present during the events of the memory."

 

"Interesting. I've not yet been able to read the books you have given John, but once I am done with my data collection, I expect I will have several questions."

 

"As I said I look forward to it. Oh, I'm afraid I've failed to introduce my other collegue to you all. This is Severus Snape, Potions teacher at Hogwarts. I asked him to accompany us today, because I thought you two might have quite a bit in common. Potions is the subject most closely related to chemistry, which I have learned quite interests you." Dumbledore motioned for Snape to step forward. The man had a sour look on his face, but they both disregarded it.

 

"How do you do?" His voice was almost as deep as Sherlock's and he carried himself with much of the same air, but that seemed to be where the outward similarities ended. John looked at him closely, instincts unsure of what to make of him. He was here because he had been asked to come but John could tell that there was another reason, even if he hadn't yet discovered it. He made it a point to ask Sherlock at the first opportunity.

 

"We're very well thank you." John's manner was stiff and formal, which made him uncomfortable, and drew Sherlock's attention. He'd noticed him stiffen into his attention stance immediately of course, but wasn't sure why he was perceiving Snape as a threat already. He squeezed John's hand lightly.

 

"Right, sorry, I should get you all drinks and introduce you to the others. The games are due to start soon." John released Sherlock's hand but made eye contact before he turned to lead the group over to the other adults at the party. Sherlock watched them for a while, before joining the children who were already involved in a game of chase, as per John's silent request to stick close to Harry.

Chapter Text

While John had been introducing the quartet to the other guests at the party, he was serepitiously keeping an eye on the newest member of the group. He could easily tell he wasn't there simply because he had been asked to come and to make Sherlock's acquantance. There was an ulterior motive there, and John needed to suss it out before he would feel easy.

After almost an hour, he was finally able to get Albus aside so that he could ask him about the strange man. "Albus, how well do you know Snape?"

Albus was quite enjoying himself and was quite merry, so he didn't think anything much of John's question. "Severus? I've known him for years. He was a contemporary of Harry's parents at school. Although I must say he did not get along with James. Why do you ask John?"

John paused before he answered. "Do you trust him Albus? I've got a feeling he's hiding something."

"Ah, yes, I see." Albus became serious rather quickly. "I trust him with my life John, otherwise I would not have brought him here. I suspect that Severus is hiding a great many things, as we all do, but I do not believe that he means any ill intent. He was, in fact, quite stricken to learn of Harry's history while with his aunt and uncle."

John's posture was slightly defensive, arms crossed, brow creased, and lips pursed as he analyzed what Dumbledore said. "So he's here to check us out. What exactly does he think gives him the right?"

Dumbledore sighed, his eyes following the object of their conversation, who was currently looking miserable while Mrs. Hudson seemed to talk his ear off. "I am afraid, John, that that is not my story to tell. I will only say that while he did not get along with James Potter, Lily was an entirely different matter. Harry and Hermione remind me quite a lot of the two of them as youngsters."

John's posture relaxed as he began to understand what he was being told. If James and Snape didn't get along, but Lily and Snape did, there were probably some jealousy issues there. If they were friends like Albus implied, but Lily married James, it was likely that Snape had been in love with his cousin. "Okay, I think I get it. Thank you Albus."

With a nod, Albus left John where he was standing and made his way over to where Mummy was sitting. She smiled up at him and the two struck up an intense, but jovial conversation. John's contemplation of the situation was further interrupted when Anthea announced that it was time for the games to begin.

The party was, of course, Doctor Who themed and Anthea had modified several games to fit. There was the Dalek relay, where each child had a cone shaped piece of plastic which they were required to hold up and run across the lawn in until they reached their partner, where they then swapped and the partner ran back to the starting line.

There was the banana eating contest, to see who could peel and eat three bananas first. Cyberman tag, in which several of Mycroft's staff had volunteered to dress in silver jumpsuits and chase the children around. If you were caught, you were 'upgraded' and had to switch over to the cyberman's team. There was a Tardis building contest using gingerbread dyed blue, which the adults voted on and the children got to eat after it was all said and done. Finally there was pear bobbing which ended the games with wet, sticky, happily exhausted children.

Harry enthusiastically opened his presents, exclaiming over everything he recieved before everyone had fish fingers (which were really wafers rolled in cookie crumbs) and custard instead of cake. It was late afternoon when the party began to break up, parents needing to get their children and themselves home, and soon it was only just the close group of friends and the quartet of wizards.

John and Sherlock were sitting next to each other with the rest of the group scattered over the various pieces of lawn furniture around them. Harry was perched in Lestrade's lap where he was holding court telling stories of John and Sherlock's adventures to the Grangers, Minerva, Albus, and Kingsley. Molly and Mrs. Hudson were sipping tea and talking about knitting patterns they might trade. Mycroft and Mummy were in conversation about how well things had gone, while Anthea quietly but efficiently guided the staff in clearing away the deritus that remained.

Snape approached John and Sherlock. "May I?"

He gestured to the chair on their right, the furthest away from everyone else, and waited for Sherlock's nod before he sat. "I am aware that you do not know me, and therefore, most likely will disregard whatever it is I have to say, however, I am of the opinion that Mr. Potter is doing quite well with you."

"Yes, we are aware, what we are not aware of, is why exactly it matters so much to you." Sherlock's tone was mild, but it carried a certain air of protectiveness in it. John had already relayed Dumbledore's revelations about Snape to Sherlock, who had not commented on it at the time.

Snape didn't move other than to stiffen a bit more in his chair. "I attended Hogwarts at the same time as Mr. Potter's parents, but I new Lily before we left for school. We were quite close for many years, but....events managed to seperate us. I simply wanted to insure her child had a similar childhood experience to what she enjoyed."

"Mmmmm.." Sherlock murmered, hands coming to rest under his chin, in what John began to call his thinking pose. "There's more. Don't try to deny it, it's tedious in the extreme, just get it over with."

Snape scowled even more than he already was at Sherlock's impatient declaration. "There is nothing more."

"Boring. I didn't take you to be so predictible, pity. You were in love with Lily, hated James because he bullied you, and you really came here to see how much Harry is like them. You are hoping he takes after his mother, he has her eyes after all, but you were extremely disapointed in how much he looks like his father. Had you taken the time to observe him, instead of dismissing him after your first glance, you would have seen how he interacted with every child here today. He is not the bully his father was. John reliably enforms me that along with her eyes, he seems to have inherited her heart and sensibilities." Sherlock smirked while taking a deep breath, watching the various reactions on Snape's face.

"Furthermore, I believe it is quite rude to try to read my mind without my permission. Although I am intrigued to learn about the process behind it. In future you should ask first." Snape was shocked, but tried not let it show overmuch.

"How could you possibly know about occlumency, you are only a muggle." Another smirk was sent his way, this time in double. Sherlock looked at John, with a raised eyebrow.

John shook his head. "Go on, you might as well."

"I didn't know, I deduced. Everything about you gives me answers, from the way you carry yourself to what you are not saying when speaking. As for the other, I could feel you in my head, you confirmed that it was you rooting around for information by your facial expression when I booted you out."

Snape looked thoughtful for a moment. "Is this deducing you speak of something that can be taught?"

"Rarely, though it is not for lack of trying. Most people are idiots, they see but they do not observe!" John rolled his eyes at this common refrain once again coming from Sherlock.

"I believe we could...work out a trade, if you were...amenable." Snape said in his drawn out way.

Sherlock observed him for a moment, easily picking up his train of thought. "Yes, I do believe we can. I am interested in learning if potion making is more similar to cooking or chemistry. We'll set something up once we return to Baker Street. I'll send the owl."

John wasn't sure it was a great idea to let the two spend any time together, but apparently Sherlock read all he needed to know and chose to spend time with this man in front of them. Though he still had his doubts about Snape's motives, he decided to see how things played out.

Not long after the end of their conversation, the witch and wizards took their leave, Harry, who had fallen asleep in Lestrade's lap, was put to bed, and the adults slowly gave in to the inevitable end of the evening making their way to their rooms in singles and pairs.

Chapter Text

They stayed on the estate for three days following Harry's party before making their eventual return to Baker Street. When they had first entered the flat, Sherlock had become quiet. He looked around the rooms like he had never seen them before, noting all the changes that had taken place in his absence. It was notably cleaner and less cluttered, signs of all three of them were everywhere though. On the mantle the skull now sported a fez. Next to it stood the picture of Harry and John from Halloween along with several pictures of Harry alone, with Hermione, and a group picture from Christmas. Sherlock noted that his chair had a small Harry sized divet in it, many hours spent there leaving a mark. John's mark on flat was noted as well in the antique army memorabilia and the quilts laid across the backs of the furniture. The desk in the corner held his laptop, a cup with the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers crest holding pens and pencils, and a sketch pad. Above it, from a hook in the ceiling hung Hedwig's empty cage.

He noticed John gently led Harry upstairs to unpack so that Sherlock could have a few minutes alone. He noted the yellow smiley face was still on the wall, the harpoon mounted high above it, but the kitchen held nothing resembling science equipment. He and John had discussed it and at Mummy's suggestion, he would set up his lab in 221C. Mrs. Hudson had readily agreed with renting them the extra flat at an obscenly low price as it was honestly uninhabitable without major work.

He sank into his chair, hands coming up in front of his face, fingertips touching and retreated into his mind palace to start reorganizing and planning. Tomorrow they would hold a press conference to announce Sherlock's return to the living as well as his reinstatement with the Met, who would now being paying him for the cases he worked for them.

Greg had advocated that having him on retainer would be less risky for everyone involved and would hopefully prevent another scenario like Moriarty from happening again. It also gave Sherlock a more secure and respectable position to work from as well. He would still take private cases, those were after all more profitable, and he would still get to choose which cases he consulted on with NSY.

The Grangers had offered to let Harry stay with them while the adults were all at the press conference and for the week following it, to keep him out of the worst of the media storm that was sure to follow. He would be able to keep to his normal schedule, attend school, and it would give everyone a chance to adust to life being normal, or as normal as it would ever be on Baker Street.

John & Sherlock had agreed to this only on the terms that they would take Hermione for four long weekends whenever the Grangers wanted to get away, just the two of them. Harry and Hermione, needless to say, were over the moon at the prospect of a week long playdate and slumber party.

The Grangers had taken the news of Hermione being a witch incredibly well according to Minerva, who had been the one to sit down with them and explain. When they had found out Harry was a wizard, they'd simply shaken their heads and said much the same thing about Hermione being able to find a wizard best friend as Kingsley had told him. They weren't recieving all the lessons and visits that John had been privilidged to, but he was always happy to talk to them about things and to act as a go between if necessary. He really couldn't ask for more level headed people to go through this unique situation with. Even Sherlock had to say he respected the couple's relative ease in accepting the situation as well as their complete support for not only Hermione, but Harry as well.

Sherlock's contemplation of events was interrupted when Harry and John came back down the stairs. John continued into the kitchen to start the kettle and order takeaway for dinner, while Harry made his way over to Sherlock and climbed into his lap. "Welcome home, 'Lock. Yorik says he is happy to see you. He told me he missed talking to you, so I talked to him instead."

It took Sherlock about three seconds to figure out who Harry was talking about, before realizing it was the skull. "You talked to my skull? What did you and Yorik talk about? And why would you give him a name like Yorik?"

Sherlock sounded so offended by the name that Harry giggled and leaned into him further. "He told me that was his name. He used to be a viking a long time ago, but he was killed when he came to England to raid towns. He's kind of grumpy about not getting a proper viking burial. He talks about that a lot. He also tells me stories about the Norse Gods. Those are all really cool! Thor is my favorite though! "

Sherlock chuckled at Harry's enthusiasm. He really was delighted with Harry. "Remind me to tell you about a case I solved once where the killer dressed as different Norse Gods then. I'm sure you'll quite enjoy it."

They spent the rest of the evening settling back in. Harry showed Sherlock his room and after dinner, bath, and a puzzle, Sherlock tucked Harry in and told him the story about the Norse God killer, edited at John's insistence, until he fell asleep.

Later that night, John and Sherlock were in bed in Sherlock's old room. They had gotten used to sleeping side by side at the manor and found comfort in being close, so they hadn't bothered with trying to come up with another solution when they returned home. Sherlock usually only slept for about five hours a night, but John didn't say a word when he woke up alone, happy he was sleeping that much. John hadn't had a single nightmare about Afghanistan or Sherlock's fall since he had returned, so he was considerably more well rested than he had been in years.

They sat propped up, side by side, once again covering the questions that Mycroft and Anthea were sure would be asked. They (mostly John) rehersed the approved answers and did his best to memorize them. Sherlock looked over the contingency plans that had been drawn up in case a reporter went rogue and asked a question not on the list. Needless to say there was a lot of snorting eye rolling, and a few "Oh, for the love of God, Mycroft, really?"s thrown out.

John was more nervous about the following day than he wanted to admit. He remembered the backlash after Sherlock's fall and even after he had been cleared of all charges and wrong doing, there had been those that had lashed out verbally, and once physically, at both John and Lestrade. He didn't think Sherlock's resurrection would go over very well, or at least not as well as the detective believed it would.

Frankly he had gotten off fairly lightly with his friends, thanks to his phone message and Mycroft's decision to let them in on the secret of Sherlock being alive. They had had months to deal with the idea and accompanying emotions before he actually came home. John admitted that he had gone through the full spectrum of feelings. He had been unbearably happy, then he had raged like never before. He felt betrayed that Sherlock hadn't told him, but at the same time understood why. He was scared he would loose him for real before getting to see him again and then had gone back to all the ways he could hurt him in return for leaving John in the state he had been in before Harry. He had briefly contemplated leaving Baker Street and starting over with Harry somewhere that was not in London, but that thought only lasted a few minutes. In the end, he hadn't really had time to react to Sherlock's return because his focus had been on Harry and Moran.

After the danger had passed, while he was laying on the bed holding Harry back in the guest room at the Manor, he thought back to the many conversations he had had with Albus about feelings and leaving things unsaid. He had already had regrets about those things and he didn't want to feel that again if something were to happen a second time, God forbid. So John had finally settled on being happy to have his friend back, to do his best to let the past go, though he would never let himself forget those dark days.

Still he worried for Sherlock. This would be their first time back in the public eye since his return and things had noticeably changed between them. Would the press pick up on that? Would they find out about Harry? There were so many things that could go wrong, John wasn't sure where to start.

"John, stop thinking so loudly, you're distracting me!" John gave up on trying to cram for the interview tomorrow and set the papers on the bedside table at Sherlock's exclamation. Sherlock looked up from his own stack and sighed.

"Stop worrying about it. Everything will be fine and we'll deal with anything else as it comes. They are very unlikely to ask any of the right questions anyway. Idiots, all of them!"

John frowned. "Sherlock...."

Another sigh from the detective before he interrupted once more. "John Watson, it will be fine. Let it go."

John studied him for a minute longer, before sliding down the bed with his back to Sherlock deciding he wouldn't say anything more about it. He was going to pick his battles and this was one he most likely wouldn't win, so a tactical retreat was in order. He just hoped everything turned out the way that Sherlock believed it would.

Chapter Text

When the alarm went off the next morning, John grumbled as he rolled over and turned it off. After only a few seconds, the plans for the day washed over him and he couldn't help but sigh as the butterflies once again took up residence in his stomach. He knew he was alone in the room, but he reached over to Sherlock's side of the bed anyway, finding it completely cold. He had been up for quite a while then. John stretched, then got out of bed, wrapping himself up in Sherlock's modified dressing gown before going into the kitchen to put on the kettle.

Both Sherlock and Harry were seated at the table. Harry was sleepily eating a bowl of cereal, hair sticking up in all directions, and still in his pajamas. Sherlock was fully dressed for the day, in one of the new suits Mycroft and Mummy had had sent over, reading the paper, occasionally humming or scoffing at something he read. He looked up when John entered, but went back to his paper without saying anything. John couldn't help but to have a sappy moment to think that if this is what his mornings would be like from now on, he would be quite content.

He went about making toast for himself and Sherlock while waiting for the kettle to boil. He prepared their tea and carried it all over to the table, setting Sherlock's in front of him. The silence was uninterrupted as they finished their breakfast, Sherlock only eating one piece of his toast, though he did it without complaining. John sent Harry to get ready for school, where they would drop him on their way to Scotland Yard. The morning sped up after that, becoming it's usual whirlwind of activity to get out of the house on time. John took extra care with his appearance, then stepped into the new (and he had to admit, quite gorgeous) suit that had been sent along with Sherlock's.

The suit was a traditional cut, but fit him extraordinarily well. The fine slate gray material did all the things a good suit was supposed to do. It made his shoulders look broader, his waist trimmer, and his legs longer. There was a caribbean blue dress shirt that accompanied it and a cream colored silk tie with small polka dots in various shades of blue. He noticed that the overall effect it gave him was one of assurance and confidence and once he assumed his military straight posture, he looked quite dapper.

He exited the bedroom once again. Sherlock was gathering up Harry's bag where it had been pulled down the stairs by the young boy. Harry was school presentable now and talking a mile a minute to Sherlock about all the things he and Hermione would do in the next week. They both stopped as John entered the sitting room. Sherlock immediately scanned John, before his mouth quirked in a lopsided smile. Harry's face split into a huge grin. "Papa, you look fantastic!"

John smiled at the boy and at Sherlock. "Thank you, Harry. Are we all ready then? Can't be late today."

They exited the house after collecting Mrs. Hudson, who wore a lovely purple dress and had a hat purched on her head. As agreed, one of Mycroft's cars was waiting to pick them up. They climbed in, as the driver held the door open. They stopped at Harry's school, John introducing Sherlock as another of Harry's guardian's and quickly filling out paperwork that would allow the Granger's to take him home for the following week. Harry gave them all a hug and they promised to call him everyday to check in. Mrs. Granger came in with Hermione, just as they were leaving and they exchanged a few last minute details, before she laid her hand on John's arm and assured him it would all be okay. "We are only a few blocks away, he'll be fine. Good luck today."

Sherlock pulled him insistently out the door. "John he's fine. Stop acting like he's never been away from you before."

They got back in the car. John shook himself and tried to get his emotions back under control. He knew Harry would be okay, he was just nervous and venting it in the only manner he could at the moment. They arrived at Scotland Yard much too soon for his peace of mind, but forced himself to calm down as they were escorted in by Mycroft's men and up to Greg's office. The rest of the group was waiting for them when they arrived. Everyone was dressed to kill and John noticed that Greg was sporting a new suit quite similar to his own. Both Anthea and Molly were in dresses similar to ones recently made popular by the Duchess of Cambridge. He looked over to Mummy, who looked like the cat that got the canary and knew immediately she had interviened in wardrobe selection for the day.

They quickly went over last minute details. Reminders coming from both Mycroft and Mummy (mostly directed at Sherlock) that they would only have one chance at this and everyone had to be on their A game. Finally, it was time to go to the press room. They filed out of the office, John and Sherlock trailing behind a little bit. When they reached the door to the press room, John squeezed Sherlock's hand, causing him to look down at his doctor.

"Together?" John asked him. Sherlock squeezed his hand before dropping it. "From now on, John."

Sherlock nodded to the two officers stationed at the door. The doors opened and the group made thier way into the room amidst what felt like thousands of flashbulbs going off and questions being shouted at them from the reporters. They did an admirable job maintaining their poker faces for the crowd, though most of them could see through each other if they looked closely enough. They got themselves seated at the long table, which held a microphone for each of them as well as a name plate to indicate their seating arrangement. The reporters were still in a frenzy of shouted questions and picture taking.

Once the room was finally settled enough to speak over, Greg began talking. "Thank you all for coming today. As you know, we are here to announce that Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective, is in fact alive and has rejoined us in London after completing his deep undercover mission to dismantle the crime network of James Moriarty. Three years ago it was reported that Mr. Holmes committed suicide by jumping off the roof of St. Bartholomew's hospital. This report was obviously false, however, as part of his cover, a much needed situation. We will begin by once again listening to the recording from the rooftop of St. Barts between Mr. Holmes and James Moriarty, before we present new evidence that has come to us since Mr. Holmes' return. We will then open the floor for questions."

The room became eerily silent as the exhange between Moriarty and Sherlock started to play over the loud speaker. John looked into the audience of reporters, noting the tape recorders, television cameras, and the now only occasional flashbulb, were recording their reactions. He did his best to keep his features schooled, but hearing Moriarty's voice still caused a chill to run down his spine. The recording ended with the sound of the gunshot followed by Sherlock's whispered "No."

John looked over at Sherlock, whose face was like stone, before noticing that the room had exploded once again. The first time the recording had been released, it had been edited to end just before Moriarty had killed himself. It was part of the plan to reveal that Moriarty was dead and the manner in which it had occured. Greg managed to get the room back under control in only a few minutes.

"As you can tell, we had previously edited the content of the audio recording, but felt that it was time to let you hear the unedited version." Greg was interrupted by a reporter shouting a question at Sherlock.

"Mr. Holmes! Is this proof of Moriarty's death? Or was he only injured?"

Sherlock rolled his eyes. "James Moriarty had a gun concealed on his person. Once he let it be known that only he could call off the snipers trained on my friends, he killed himself by putting the barrel of the gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger. He was dead before he hit the ground."

There were several shocked gasps and winces in response to Sherlock's blunt and vivid description, but Greg continued before Sherlock could. John kicked Sherlock under the table while glaring at him descretely.

"As I was saying, James Moriarty ended his own life by discharging a gun into his brain. His body is buried in a London cemetary under an unmarked tombstone." Greg took a deep breath and glanced at Sherlock and John before continuing.

'Now as for the new evidence. We have recieved enough evidence to charge James Moriarty, Sebastian Moran, and 20 others with manslaughter, abduction, terrorism, trafficing of weapons into Iraq and Afghanistan, human trafficking, child pornograpy, ditribution and production of narcotics and other drugs, blackmail, and bribery as well as 46 lesser charges. We will now open the floor for questions. You may address anyone on the panel."

The questions started to come at them rapid fire. It took a few moments before they were able to distinguish between questions and who they were for. The first question was, of course, for Sherock.

"Mr. Holmes! How did you survive the fall? Did you actually jump from the roof of St. Barts?"

Yes, I did actually jump from the roof. I had a plan in place just for that eventuality, however I am not at liberty to share the specifics with you."

Dr. Watson! Did you know that Sherlock had faked his death?

"Not at first, no. I was informed of his survival around six months ago." John's hands were clinched in his lap. He knew he would be asked the question, but it still was not easy to think about that situation.

Miss Hooper, what role did you play in this scheme?

"I declared Sherlock dead as we planned ahead of time. It is my signature on his death certificate." Molly blushed a bit, but was able to answer in a fairly confident manner.

DI Lestrade! Who is Sebastian Moran?

"Sebastian Moran was the sniper assigned to Dr. Watson. He is a former Colonel in her Majesty's Army discharged for misconduct. He was also James Moriarty's right hand man and took over running the operation after his death."

Where is Moran now?

"Moran is in the custody of MI-6. He has been charged with all the crimes I listed earlier."

How was he captured?

"Dr. Watson was able to subdue him in a standoff. He had taken Mr. Holmes hostage. It was a joint operation between New Scotland Yard, MI-5 and MI-6. As this is still an ongoing investigation, that is all I am able to share with you."

Mrs. Holmes, your name tag says you are with MI-6. What was your role?

"I acted as liason between Sherlock and MI-6 during the entirety of his operation. I was also present during the capture of Sebastion Moran."

DI Lestrade, will there be any charges pressed against Mr. Holmes?

"No. Mr. Holmes was cleared of all charges before his return, as you know. Everything that happened after his jump is under the jurisdiction of the British Government."

Mr. Mycroft Holmes! You work for the goverment. Will there be any charges pressed?

"No. My brother acted with the full backing of the government as well as the royal family. He is a fully sanctioned government agent and acted accordingly."

Mr. Holmes, will you be taking cases again?

"Yes. I will continue to consult with New Scotland Yard as well as take private and government cases."

Dr. Watson! Will you assist him again? Will you start your blog back up?

"Yes, I will assist Sherlock on future cases. We have not decided on whether or not to continue the blog. I do have a contract at the moment, though to turn my blog into a book or a series of books."

Are you and Sherlock a couple?

John and Sherlock pointedly did not look at each other. "Our personal life is still not up for discussion. Next question." Sherlock replied.

There were a few murmurs, but the questioning continued. Mrs. Hudson, you were one of the ones Moriarty threatened. What is your relationship to Mr. Holmes?

Mrs. Hudson was a bit startled about being addressed. She and Anthea were sat behind the group at the table as a show of support.

"Mrs. Hudson is the owner of the house on Baker Street. She was one of my first clients, at the beginning of my career." Sherlock answered in a protective manner.

Mr. Mycroft Holmes, why were you and Mrs. Holmes not targeted by Moriarty?

"We believe it was due to our positions. We are both afforded a level of security and protection that most civilians do not have."

Dr. Watson, there were reports from the scene at St. Barts the day Mr. Holmes jumped that he called you. What was said in that phone call?

John cleared his throat. "Sherlock called me because I was not supposed to have returned to the hospital. I had been called away with a false report that Mrs. Hudson had been injured. Once I realized that it was not the truth I returned back to St. Barts." He stopped and took a few deep breaths. "When I got back and received Sherlock's call, he was already standing on the ledge. He told me that the call was his note. Then he jumped."

A few murmurs could be heard and the cameras clicked a little faster. Mr. Holmes, why did you call Dr. Watson? Why did you not tell him you were alive?

"John was walking into the path of the sniper, Moran. I had him walk back to a safer location. I decided not to tell John it was a hoax because he needed to believe I was dead. It was part of the cover. If any of Moriarty's colleagues thought that I was alive, DI Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson, and John would be in danger again. To my knowledge there was no time limit on the kill order given by Moriarty."

Dr. Watson, you said you found out six months ago that Mr. Holmes was alive. Who told you and why?

"Yes. I received a package that had a video from Sherlock. I began to suspect then that he might not have died. Mycroft confirmed that he was alive, but under cover. Both DI Lestrade and I found out at the same time."

After another hour the questions started to die out and the group got ready to end the interview. Just as they were standing for pictures, the doors burst open and Kitty Riley charged through them. She was screaming hysterically about how they were lying and how Moriarty had actually been Richard Brook. She pulled open the large down jacket she was wearing revealing a semtex vest strapped around her upper body. She held a detonation device in her hand. Mycroft's security as well as other members of the yard started moving forward, but John could tell they would not make it in time. There was a security guard moving quickly towards him and as he got within arms reach, John sidestepped and pulled his firearm from the holster at the small of his back. He completed his spin to avoid the man and aimed at the forehead of the crazed former reporter. One deep breath to center himself and then he pulled the trigger.

Chapter Text

The room was already filled with screams and people diving to take cover when the gun shot rang out. John was hit with a solid weight that sent him crashing to the floor. His head collided with the corner of the chair seat as he was going down and he saw stars before blackness engulfed him.

Mummy and Mycroft began giving orders for the room to be cleared, but people were already stampeding toward the doors. Two agents that had been closest to Kitty Riley were able to catch her as she fell backwards, a single gunshot wound in the middle of her forehead. They lowered her body to the floor carefully, mindful of the bomb still strapped to the body. One pulled the detonation remote from her hand while the other set about getting the vest off the body. Officers were pouring into the room, including the bomb squad.

On the slightly raised platform behind the table, Sherlock pushed himself up off of John's still form. Greg moved over quickly and started trying to rouse John before yelling for a medic. Sherlock was as frantic as Greg had ever seen him, yelling John's name over and over again while shaking him and patting his face. Two medics rushed into the room and Greg quickly moved aside. Mycroft had to pull Sherlock back before he would let them get close enough to assess John. They quickly checked him over finding the back of his head was bleeding profusely.

They worked quickly and efficiently, one applying gauze and pressure to the wound, while the other opened a pack of smelling salts which he began to wave under John's nose. After only a few seconds, John gasped and blinked his eyes open. He still saw stars and quickly blinked to try and get his vision back. He saw two unfamiliar faces directly above him. He turned his head and could see his Sherlock being held by Mycroft and Greg. "Did I get her? I must've, the room's still intact. I got her right?"

The words were slightly slurred and out of his mouth before he could remember who it was he was after. He could feel the cool weight of the gun in his hand and could detect the distinctive smell of a recently fired weapon. In the next few seconds his memories of the past few minutes came rushing back in. "Damn it Sherlock! I told you something would go wrong!"

Sherlock gave a startled laugh before he was released by Greg and Mycroft. He knelt next to one of the medics and took the gun out of John's hand, holding it out for Greg to take. "John you realize you just shot a woman in the head on live television, right?"

It took a few seconds for Sherlock's words to penetrate the still slightly hazy brain, but when they did, he closed his eyes and said the only word appropriate for the situation. "Fuck!"

Both Mycroft and Greg smiled. "Indeed John, indeed."

After lying there for a few more minutes, he finally sat up with the help of the medics and Sherlock. Mummy had rejoined the group by this time and all John could do when he saw her was apologize profusely for getting blood on his lovely suit. Sherlock snorted at this. "I have an excellent dry cleaner, John, as you know. A little blood will be no problem for him."

They eventually got him to his feet. One medic still holding the gauze to his wound, the other ready in case he wobbled. The bomb squad was in front of them, carefully moving the bomb from the body of Kitty Riley into a portable blast box for removal and later detonation. There were a handful of reporters and tv cameras still on the scene, recording the events that were unfolding. They made to move toward the group on the stage, but were held off by officers and security. The group left the room and made their way slowly back to Lestrade's office where Anthea, Molly, and Mrs. Hudson were waiting. He let Molly fuss over him and stitch up his head, since she was the only other doctor in the room and he didn't plan on going to the A&E.

"What now? Have you checked on Harry & the Grangers?" He looked up at the group surrounding him. Mycroft, Mummy, Anthea, and Lestrade were near the door obviously planning while Anthea typed rapidfire instructions on her phone. Sherlock was sitting on the floor at his feet, Mrs. Hudson clucking from the desk chair, while Molly finished stitching him, assisted by one of the medics.

"They are fine John. Mr. and Mrs. Granger have already checked in. They were watching the interview at their dental practice. Mrs. Granger is picking them up from school as we speak. Next, we give our statements and then we are sending you home." Anthea replied to his questions without missing a beat in her texting.

The rest of the day went exactly as predicted. Five hours later John, Sherlock, and Mrs. Hudson made their way through the black door of 221. Sherlock helped a still off balance John up the stairs while Mrs. Hudson moved into the kitchen to start tea. John immediately went into the bedrom and removed the bloody suit he still wore, exchanging it for his usual jeans and jumper. He sank back into his chair just as Mrs. Hudson brought the tea into the room.

"You are a saint, Mrs. Hudson." She smiled as she handed him his tea. "Just this once, mind you, because you're injured, I'm not your housekeeper."

Both John and Sherlock smiled. "Of course not. You're Harry's Gran and like a second mother to me. You are invaluable."

She blushed, and waved off John's comment. "Oh you! That knock on the head has addled your brains!"

She bustled off, but John could tell she was pleased and touched by his words. They really should tell her these things more often, he thought.

He looked over at Sherlock, who was stretched out on the couch, fingers steepled in his thinking pose. "Sherlock, you alright?"

Sherlock glanced at him, before returning his eyes back to the ceiling above him. "Obviously, as I'm not the one with the head wound. However, I would appreciate your silence, I need to think."

John was slightly taken aback. That was the sharpest Sherlock had been with him since his return. Looked like the honeymoon phase was over then. He sipped his tea. "Don't do that."

"Do what?" Sherlock sneered.

"Try to shut me out because you got a scare today. We've been through too much in the last five years. Too much hurt on both our parts. We don't need to inflict it on each other. Frankly I'm not going to accept it anymore. I'm neither your assistant nor your lapdog, and I think I've shown on several occasions that I'm your equal if not your superior in many ways. I won't let you push me back into that place where I don't know what's happening or what to expect. I asked you today if we were in this together, and you said from now on, so don't go leaving me behind again."

With that said, John got up and walked toward the bedroom. He took his tea and his laptop with him and shut the door behind himself leaving Sherlock to his thoughts. He settled on his side of the bed and worked on the commissioned book for a while, before setting his phone alarm to wake him in two hours. He definitely had a concussion and would need to be woken throughout the night, but a two hour nap sounded blissful. Maybe Sherlock would be in a better mood when he woke up.

Chapter Text

John roused easily when his phone alarm went off. He knew that was a good sign for his head injury. He made his way back into the sitting room to find Sherlock still in the same position as when he had exited the room earlier, though he immediately sat up and gave John his attention. John walked over and settled into his chair. He had a vague thought that he should probably have made tea for this discussion, but knew if he tried to do it now, Sherlock wouldn't be willing to
wait.

"You were right." Sherlock started. "You did scare me today and we both know that is not something that is easy for me to admit."

John sighed. "Look, Sherlock, I know that you don't do feelings, I get that, but you have to understand that you can't just lash out every time you don't know what to do with a feeling."

"I..John....I..." For the first time, Sherlock looked unsure, vulnerable even.
"Everything I did John, from the moment I sent you out of the lab to Baker Street, was to keep you safe. I did what I thought was necessary, even though I knew you would be hurt by my actions."

John let out a harsh laugh. "Hurt by your actions? I wasn't hurt Sherlock, I was devastated! I had built almost my entire life around you, around us. The first month, I didn't leave the flat. The only person I could stand was Mrs. Hudson. I completely cut off Lestrade, Molly, anyone that had anything to do with you. Mycroft kept me under surveillance, did you know? Then I had to deal with the fallout, even though I didn't have any of the answers they wanted. I never have the answers, because I never really know what's going on, not completely."

John took a moment to calm himself down a bit and Sherlock didn't speak. "There was one night, in the middle of the investigation of all your cases. I'd spent all day at the Yard going over and over the details, what I could piece together of your thought processes, the evidence that you had left in your journals and papers. I was sitting in the middle of the floor, going through the papers, trying to sort them for each case that you had done. I was drinking, I'd had half a bottle of the good scotch Mycroft gave me for Christmas, and I thought, why? Why should I keep feeling like this, dealing with all the crap, when no one else was around to care. So I got up and went to the medicine cabinet and pulled out every bottle of pills we had in the flat. Went to my room and had them in my hand, I was ready, so ready to end it all. Because what did I have left? I sat there for an hour and I remembered. Every stupid row that we'd ever had, and the mad chases across rooftops, and the giggling at crime scenes. You wearing a sheet in Buckingham Palace and stealing that ashtray. I remembered it all, because that's how it was supposed to be. I was so very close to taking those pills too, seconds away, and then I remembered that last conversation, you standing on that bloody roof, telling me it was a magic trick. A magic trick.....don't look away, keep your eyes on me. Why else would you have made me watch? That's what pulled me back, you know, the possibility of a magic trick, that things weren't what I thought they were. I didn't think you were alive, but God, I hoped."

John's voice was a bit shaky now, so he cleared his throat before continuing. "I hoped and I moved on. I went to the cemetery and said goodbye. Then Harry came along and I had another reason to get on with things. He saved me as much as you did after Afghanistan. I've been alone Sherlock, and I've been lonely and at my wit's end, but I also figured out that you hold onto those things precious to you with both hands and you fight for them, because once they're gone, you may not get them back. Not everyone gets a second chance, not everyone lives twice. So I'm going to fight for you and I'm going to hold on tight, but I need you to do the same. I need you to fight with me, not against me, and to hold on tight and to never let go again."

After he was done, John looked at Sherlock. The look on his face was similar to what John imagined his face reflected during that first month after the fall. There was absolute loss there. Sherlock's breathing was rapid and ragged.

"I...today, when you shot Reilly and stood there, I thought that everything I had worked so hard for, left behind, given up would be gone in a matter of seconds. I was an idiot for not anticipating that something would happen. I underestimated her once, how could I do it again? I failed you, John. When everything was supposed to be okay, at the first opportunity, I failed you! Twenty months worth of work and doing everything I did and already I failed you! I can't...I can't let you down again. Don't you see? You told me friends protect each other but I couldn't protect you. What can I possibly do that will be enough? You...John, you nearly weren't anymore. You wouldn't have been here when I came home and then what would I have done? It was for you and I don't know how to explain that any better!"

Sherlock had stood up and started to pace, arms gesticulating wildly, hands tugging at his hair. He was frustrated with his inability to communicate. Nothing was coming out the way he wanted. This continued for a few minutes, until John rose and blocked his path, pulling his hands out of his hair.

"I get it, you don't have to explain anymore. You didn't fail me today Sherlock, it was just my turn to do the protecting. I had the opportunity, the best chance of a favorable outcome as you would say, so I took it. Sometimes it will be your turn and you'll do what needs to be done." Sherlock had begun to match his breathing to John's, letting the quiet words wash over him and as they did, he let them begin to calm him down.

"I'm sorry, John." John looked into those sea glass colored eyes. "I know."

"So what now? How do I fix this?" Sherlock was completely out of his depth and he knew it. Feelings were John's area.

"You don't, we do. Together. Come on." John pulled him over to the couch and they sat side by side. John thought about how to approach the rest of the conversation before he started talking.

"Alright, how about this? We'll take turns, you have to be completely honest, do the best you can to explain, yeah?" Sherlock nodded.

"Okay, right. My biggest problem is that you don't tell me what's going on in that massive brain of yours. You keep secrets and you lie to me. I hate that. I want full honesty from you from now on. You're going to have to earn back my trust and that's going to take a while, but you'll have to deal with it."

Sherlock's brow furrowed. "You don't trust me John?"

John frowned, then sighed. "Yes and no. I trust you with my life and with Harry. I don't trust you to always tell me the truth or to make decisions that affect us without consulting me first."

"Understood. My biggest problem is that I don't know how to do this part? I don't know what to do with all these feelings and sentiment. I'm going to need you to help me with that. It's not my area."

They both chuckled a bit at that. "Okay. I know I've said this before, but Harry comes first, always. That means I may not be available to run off with you on the spur of the moment, or fetch you things when you're too lazy to get them yourself. No more three a.m. violin screeching or body parts in the fridge. No shooting the walls. Experiments and chemicals stay in the basement and Harry is absolutely off limits to experiment on. No testing his magic and whatnot."

"Agreed. I'll need to get a fridge for the basement then. I can do more of the dangerous experiments at Bart's lab. But I want to teach him science and deduction. I don't want him to grow up to be like all the other idiots in the world. You have to let me." Sherlock practically demanded it, but John smiled.

"Science experiments approved by me ahead of time only. And only if he's interested. He's already learned some deduction from Mycroft and his own experience." Sherlock nodded.
"When you go back to work, I'll help out as much as I can, but I need you to be more aware of the danger you put yourself in. You refused to listen when we told you not to get involved with Moriarty. It was a game to you. I need you to listen to us when we tell you to pull back. Be more cautious, please. I don't think any of us can stand to go through that again." John stated this quietly, expecting Sherlock to balk.

Sherlock stiffened, but after analyzing what John was saying, he relaxed again. "I will not promise anything, but I will try to be more cautious."

That was better than John was expecting. "One other thing. Could you try to work a little harder at not offending people, especially the yarders? I won't ask you to go so far as to get along with them, just keep personal deductions to yourself. Don't attack unless provoked. Quite a few of them went to bat for you when everything hit the fan, so they are obviously not all idiots, but just try, yeah?"

That was an interesting piece of information that he hadn't known. He wondered who had backed him, besides the obvious of Lestrade and John. "If I must. But not Anderson. He's fair game. His stupidity knows no bounds after all."

John just shook his head and chuckled. "Fair enough. Now what do you want for dinner?"
They called for take away from the Sherlock's favorite thai place, then watched crap telly, all the while Sherlock's comments and side notes about the programs kept John in stitches. He finally retired to bed after reminding Sherlock to wake him every two hours. (He set his phone alarm anyway). He went to bed alone for the first time since Sherlock returned, but he honestly didn't mind. Sherlock had pulled out his violin, inspecting it carefully, before tuning it and beginning to play calming lullabylike songs well into the night.

Chapter Text

Harry woke up just after the sun on his first morning with the Grangers. They had told him last night that something had happened during the press conference but refused to let him watch any of the footage that the various news stations were showing. They tried to assure him that no one was hurt and promised that he could call home this morning. He was very worried about his Papa and ‘Lock though they were supposed to be okay.

He got up quietly, so as not to wake Hermione, who slept on the twin bed his trundle bed was usually underneath. He slid his feet into his slippers and made his way to the kitchen. Both of the adult Grangers were already up and drinking their coffee. They looked over to him when he entered. “Can I call Papa now, please.”

Mrs. Granger smiled softly while Mr. Granger went over to the house phone and dialed John’s cell phone number. It rang three times before being picked up with a sleepy sounding “‘Lo?”

“Hey John, it’s Chris. Harry wanted to call last night, but you were still at the Yard. We told him he could call this morning, first thing. Didn’t expect it to be quite this early though.” They both chuckled a bit before there was rustling in the background and then a distinct deep baritone could be heard. “John who is it?”

“It’s Harry. He wants to talk to us.” Chris heard more rustling before the distinctive click to speakerphone from their end. He handed the phone over to Harry, who had been chewing on his lip and looking rather worried while waiting for the adults to get it together.

“Harry? You there?” John’s voice was still a bit rough, but he cleared his throat while waiting for Harry to answer.

“Papa? Lock? What happened? Are you okay?” The questions rushed out. “I want to come home!”

He couldn’t help the slight whine in his voice. He wanted to be with his parents right now. He felt safe with them and after what happened yesterday, he just wanted his Papa. “Harry, calm down. We are fine.”

Surprisingly, it was Sherlock’s voice that Harry heard. “I wanna come home, Lock. Please.”
John and Sherlock looked at each other. They were now sitting up in bed, side by side, with John’s phone held in his hand between them. They could hear the distress in Harry’s tone and while John wanted to immediately give in and let him come home, one head shake from Sherlock was all it took to remind him of why that was a bad idea.

“Harry, you know that you can’t come home at the moment, though I wish you could. I need you to stick it out for a little longer, buddy. Can you do that?” John used his bedside tone, trying to keep Harry calm, but the words were obviously not what he wanted to hear.

“No! I want to come home! Right now, Papa!” The Grangers were a bit startled when Harry’s voice suddenly rose. There were quiet tears rolling down his round cheeks and his breathing was a bit labored. He was clearly trying to control himself but it wasn’t quite working. When his little shoulders sagged and a stern voice could be heard from the phone, they raised their eyebrows at each other when it became clear that it was Sherlock’s stern voice that could be heard.

“Harry James Potter, it is unacceptable for you to speak to your Papa like that.” John looked at Sherlock like he had grown a second head. He had no idea that Sherlock even knew that particular tone of voice or phrasing of name. Sherlock just smirked and winked at him.

“Sorry Lock. Sorry Papa.” Came his mumbled reply.

“That’s better. Now, we are not able to bring you home at the moment, but what if we met you for lunch? You could hug your Papa and assure yourself that he is okay. Would that be satisfactory?” John smiled at him. Apparently Sherlock understood Harry’s need for reassurance after all.

A sigh from Harry and then a quiet “Yes, please.”

“Right. Harry, let me talk to Mr. Granger again and we’ll see what we can do about lunch. I love you.” John, still using his calming tone, told him.

“Love you too, Papa.” Harry handed the phone back to Mr. Granger and walked over to Mrs. Granger when she held out her arms. She pulled him up into her lap and wiped his face before giving him a reassuring squeeze. Together they listened to Mr. Granger make plans to meet John and Sherlock for lunch.

“Chris, sorry about that. He’s not handling this very well and we didn’t need a magical incidence on our hands to top it all off. Could you meet us at Angelo’s around noon? We’ll be able to get in, but the press won’t. If you get there ahead of us, they won’t know that you’re even there.”

“No worries John. I’ll have to bring Hermione too, but we’ll get there around a quarter till just to be safe. He’ll be alright, I think, just needs to see you for himself to check that you’re okay.”

“Thanks, mate. We’ll see you then.” They disconnected the call and Chris filled in Kate and Harry on what the plan was. After a few more minutes of cuddles, Hermione came down the stairs and joined them at the breakfast table. The rest of the morning carried on from there, with Kate dropping the two at school for the morning and promising that Chris would be there to pick them up in time for their lunch date.

Harry’s morning at school crawled by. He didn’t join in as he usually did during morning circle time and Hermione tried to cheer him up to no avail. She was unhappy that her friend was so sad but knew that he would be okay once he saw his Papa and Lock. They both ran to greet Mr. Granger when he arrived at half past eleven to pick them up and they all quickly made their way a few blocks down to Angelo’s. They didn’t see any reporters when they slipped in but ten minutes later, the front of the restaurant was filled with flashbulbs and shouted questions. Angelo met them at the door, helping John and Sherlock through the mob and locking the door against the reporters.

The other customers in the restaurant were interested to see who the fuss was about but no one approached them. They continued to watch while Angelo escorted the two men into the alcove booth hidden from the front of the restaurant by a large privacy screen and potted plants. “Thank you, Angelo! This is perfect.”

John patted the much larger man on the arm before turning to Harry, who had launched himself out of the booth and was making his way over. He swept him up in his arms and squeezed him tightly. Placing a kiss on his forehead over the scar, John set him back down and watched as he turned to Sherlock. The tall detective stooped down and gave him a hug as well. The motion once again surprising John with how natural it was performed.
He had expected Sherlock to balk at the physical affection shown to him by Harry but was constantly surprised and delighted that Sherlock seemed to have no qualms about accepting and returning it. “Better now, Harry?”

The small boy nodded and they settled into the large booth. John and Sherlock told the very edited version of yesterday’s events while their server brought out the small salads for them to eat before their meal. Harry chattered in his usual manner now that he had been assured that his parents were in fact unharmed.

Harry was the happiest he had ever remembered being since he had come to live with John. He had heard stories of Sherlock and was excited to meet him when he finally came back from defeating the bad guys. He made Papa very happy and Harry felt like they were a proper family. Owen in his class had two moms, so Harry thought it would be okay if he had two dads. He would have to talk to Hermione and figure out what he could call ‘Lock.

When they finished their lunches and had another round of hugs and kisses, the two men left after promising to call that night before bedtime. The three remaining waited for twenty minutes or so, lingering over the dessert Chris had indulged them in before leaving through the back door and being escorted to the street by one of Angelo’s sons. They walked in the opposite direction of Baker Street and were quite oblivious to the lingering reporter who followed them to the park snapping pictures randomly.

Said reporter was equally oblivious to the two highly trained SAS agents trailing him as he trailed the small group. He caught on quickly when he was grabbed and thrown into the back of an unmarked black sedan after being stripped of his camera equipment. He pushed himself up by his arms and found himself only a few feet away from Mycroft Holmes. “Mr. Stanley, how nice of you to join me. If you would be so kind, I would appreciate you telling me how you found out about my nephew.”

The predatory smile that spread across the haughty face sent chills running down his spine and it took only seconds for the information to come spilling out. Tad Anderson was going to be hurting big time when the Holmes’ got their hands on him.

Chapter Text

Sherlock and John had made it back to Baker Street after their lunch with Harry and two of the Grangers. The boy had seemed to be back to normal by the time they left, though John still suspected that he was worried about something. Maybe he would open up about it once they all got home and settled into a routine.

The reporters had been camped out on their doorstep before they'd awoken this morning, though they had both expected that. John had frozen for a moment at the sight that had greeted him when he'd opened the door, his mind taking him back to the time immediately following Sherlock's fall. The touch of Sherlock's hand on his back propelling him forward had broken him out of the memories quickly though.

They'd caught the cab, having called Angelo earlier in the morning to let him know what was happening. The reporters had followed, motorbikes surrounding the cab despite the lunch hour traffic. They'd both pretended to be engrossed in their phones, looking nowhere but there. In truth they were sending each other texts to communicate rather than risk having their lips read (correctly or incorrectly).

The return home had been almost identical, but they were now stretched out on the furniture of their flat. John was typing up a blog entry about the past few days and Sherlock's return while Sherlock lay on the couch "organizing his mind palace" as he'd told John. As a result, he did not move when his phone vibrated an incoming text on the table followed quickly by several more.

John set aside his laptop and reached for Sherlock's phone. Six texts from Mycroft. John opened the first one and read through them all quickly. "Sherlock!"

Sherlock actually startled, not that he would ever admit to doing so. "John." His tone was bored until he looked at the panic and anger on John's face. John held out the phone to Sherlock who read through the messages before looking back at his blogger.

"I always knew Anderson was an idiot, but I never could have imagined he'd be this stupid. Mycroft is going to eviscerate him! Oh, John! It's Christmas!" Sherlock had an unholy gleeful look on his face.

"You're going to let Mycroft handle this? Really? That bastard told the press about Harry! He's put him in danger, even if he didn't know it! I'm going to bloody murder him! You can help me hide the body." John was red faced and angry, definitely in overprotective parent mode.

Sherlock stood up and walked over to the shorter man, putting his hands on those broad shoulders. "John, don't exaggerate. Anderson only told one member of the press about Harry. I would of course be able to hide his body so that it was never found and be able to get you out of a murder conviction as well, however, think about this for a moment. As much as I loathe my brother, he can absolutely destroy Anderson and he has already extended an invitation to let us watch. John, MYCROFT is doing legwork! You know how he hates that! Besides, no more Anderson mucking up my crime scenes or lowering the IQ of everyone in a two block radius!"

Sherlock twirled away from John, once again gathering up his things in preparation for going down to the yard. John let Sherlock's words sink in and started to see a small bit of humor in the situation. He had never liked Anderson and since the episode at Halloween he had actively tried to avoid him when possible. He'd told Sherlock once that he always heard "hit me" when Sherlock spoke, but John always heard "shoot me" whenever Anderson spoke.John managed to calm himself down and they once again exited their home, this time headed to Scotland Yard and the Fall of Tad Anderson.

Sally Donovan knocked on DI Lestrade's open door with a sense of purpose she hadn't had in awhile. She walked in at his invitation and closed the door behind her. His eyebrows went up slightly at the action, his door was rarely closed. "Sally. What's up?"

She settled in the chair in front of his desk analyzing once again what she was about to tell her boss. "Anderson told me something earlier that I thought you needed to know. He said that he told his brother­in­law about the boy that lives with Dr. Watson. It wouldn't be a big deal, only his brother­ in­ law works at one of the newspapers as a photographer. Harry wasn't at the press conference yesterday, so it seemed that Dr. Watson was trying to keep him out of it, so I didn't think they'd want the press to know about him. Anderson crossed the line, sir. This could endanger the boy and no matter who his guardians are, that's not okay."

Greg ran his hands over his face. He knew for a fact that John and Sherlock didn't want the press to know about Harry. Oh buggery fuck, this was not good at all. "Thank you, Sergeant Donovan. I'll address it to the higher ups immediately and let John and Sherlock know as well. Let me know if you hear anything else about it."

Sally rose with a nod and exited the office closing the door behind her once again. Greg picked up his phone and placed a call to his immediate supervisor first, Mycroft was next on the list, though he only got voicemail in both cases. He then called John and Sherlock, surprised that they were already en route.

He was standing in front of the Chief Superintendent's door fifteen minutes later. Mycroft was seated already. They brought Greg up to speed on what had happened and he told them how he'd found out. By the time Sherlock and John arrived, Greg, Mycroft, the Chief and several other higher ups were seated around the large table in the conference room.

The two men were shown in and updated on the decisions that had been made. When Anderson was summoned from his desk by a constable to meet the Chief in the conference room he thought he might actually be getting that promotion he had been working for. When he walked into the room though, his hopes were immediately cut down to nothing. When he saw both Holmes' and Watson there along with the highest of the high at NSY his stomach actually plummeted. Holmes (the one that was supposed to be dead) had a look on his face like it was Christmas and his birthday all rolled into one. "Dalek Anderson! How awful to see you again! I heard our four year old told you off! Congratulations! The fact that you felt the need to target him in an attempt to make yourself feel superior only proves my prior assessment of your intelligence level."

Sherlock was giving off a slightly manic smile, which turned to a scowl when John told him to shut it and Greg visibly kicked him under the table. There were snickers from various other people at the table, though whether it was from Sherlock's comments or his reprimand, no one could really say. "Dr. Anderson, it has been brought to our attention that you informed a member of the press about the residence of a minor in Dr. Watson's custody."

The Chief had a neutral look on his face, but that didn't make Anderson sweat any less. "I don't know what you're talking about." His voice was shaky and his eyes bounced between the people at the table.

"Dr. Anderson, we have proof of your actions. You have only been granted this inquiry to tell your side of the story. If you persist in lying to us, you will immediately be placed under arrest until your sentencing." The Chief told him in a huff. Anderson looked around the table again, his eyes settling on the elder Holmes.

Mycroft Holmes had intimidated Anderson on the few times he had seen the man around the Yard or at a crime scene, but he had never felt the weight of those eyes on him or been addressed in that tone that he knew was only slightly above glacial. "I might have mentioned something about him to my brother­ in­ law over a pint last night."

"Interesting, Dr. Anderson. We have Mr. Stanley in custody. He said you not only mentioned that Dr. Watson was now guardian to a child, but that the child was, and I quote "Like the Freak. Something is off about him. Find out what you can and then you can have the exclusive." The chief read the words off of one of the papers he had in front of him before looking at Anderson again.

"Well, the brat is weird. I thought he was the Freak’s son the first time I saw him." Anderson fidgeted in his chair.

The glares he received from the Holmes/Watson contingent growing even stronger. "Mr. Stanley also stated that you told him "They are trying to keep the mini­freak from the press. Don't want you to know about him. That's why he wasn't at the press conference today." The Chief read and then looked up once again.

"Um...well that much is true. They are trying to hide him or something about him." Anderson knew he wouldn't be able to defend himself.

"Tell me, Dr. Anderson, did you ever wonder why the minor's guardians may not have wanted the press to know about him?" One of the HR managers asked him.

"No." Anderson adjusted in his seat again.

"The reason, Anderson, that we didn't want the press to know about Harry is that his parents were murdered, their killer still at large, and he was then abused by his Aunt and Uncle for years before coming to live with me. You would have effectively put a bullseye on his back for whoever already tried to kill him." John's voice was quiet when he spoke, but underneath there was an edge of steel that even Anderson, as dim as he might be, knew to be wary of.

"Now that you understand the situation fully, Dr. Anderson, do you admit that you endangered a minor with your actions?" The Chief asked him.

"I didn't know." Anderson practically yelled it, sounding like a toddler.

"That has never been a good enough excuse. Answer the question, Dr. Anderson. Did you, knowingly or not, endanger the life of a child with your actions?" The Chief asked again.

"It seems so." He was shaking now. This was going to be very very bad.

"You have had two previous suspensions in the last year. One incident already involving this minor. It has been extensively noted by your colleagues that you verbally attacked him unprovoked. The second, also extensively documented, was a verbal attack on Dr. Watson, a civilian, despite direct orders from your superior to cease and desist. Is this correct?" The HR director asked him.

"Yes that is correct."

"With that information and your own confession of child endangerment we have no choice but to inform you that you are terminated from your position with New Scotland Yard immediately. Dr. Watson has decided to press charges against you for child endangerment as well as invasion of privacy, so you are also under arrest. Constable Barclay, if you will."

 “You can’t do that! I’ve worked years to get where I am. Then this ex druggie Freak starts showing up at crime scenes telling us how to do our jobs! He was supposed to be dead! Now he’s back and I’m the one going to jail! For telling about a kid living with the Freak’s sidekick? No! It’s not right! He should be the one in jail! He’s the psychopath!”Anderson had jumped up from his chair. He was in a full blown panic as well as being angry.

Mycroft spoke in that icy tone that had earned him his nickname. “I could offer to handle your case myself Dr. Anderson. However, you would not simply get jail time for your offenses. You have threatened my family and as a member of the Government, we are afforded immunity in certain situations, you understand.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” He put his hands flat on the table and leaned forward trying to understand what the posh git was telling him.

“It means Dr. Anderson, that I could torture you, murder you, and use your entrails to decorate this room, with all of these people as witnesses, and the law would not be able to touch me. That is the kind of power that rests behind the Holmes name. If I were you, Dr. Anderson, I would thank Dr. Watson for pressing charges. If he hadn’t, you would have been released into the custody of MI­6. Our Mother is in charge there. She is more vicious than my dear brother or I could ever hope to be and she is ever so protective of her family.” Mycroft never raised his voice, but the words and tone of voice, along with the pleasant smile similar to what one would give to their companion over tea, assured Anderson that this man was telling him the absolute truth.

“So I can be arrested now or I can turn myself over to MI­6?” He refused to think about what would happen if he put himself at the mercy of the Holmes family.

“Precisely, Dr. Anderson.” Mycroft replied in that same tone.

“I’ll stay at the Yard then.” He turned and nodded to the constable in the corner. The constable that had escorted him from his desk came forward and cuffed a numb Anderson before escorting him from the room.

There was silence for a moment, before John stood and thanked the members of Scotland Yard before turning on his heel and leaving the room. Sherlock looked at Mycroft who just raised his eyebrows in reply. Sherlock followed quickly after John, leaving Greg and Mycroft to schmooze with the higher ups. Mycroft hated showing his hand, but it seemed that Dr. Anderson was indeed as stupid as his brother had always accused him of being. He and Greg stayed and worked their charm on the ‘important’ people putting their minds at ease about any repercussions coming their way stemming from Dr. Anderson’s actions.

Chapter Text

It had taken Sherlock several hours and one trip to Tesco’s for jam, milk, and biscuits before John was able to calm himself down enough to think about the situation reasonably.

He knew he was overreacting since the situation was already in hand, but he couldn't help the protective instincts that rose to the surface. It seemed that when it came to Harry he had all the protective instincts that any parent would have. It helped lighten his mood when Sherlock had come back to flat after leaving without a word with a Tesco's bag in hand, looking like he had just been told he had a locked room triple murder handed to him. "John! I bought milk!"

John had heard him come in the door downstairs and upon his exclamation he turned from the sink where he was viciously scrubbing an already clean plate to see his flatmate and best friend staring at him triumphantly. He was smiling like a loon and held the bag aloft so that John would be sure to see the aforementioned milk. John blinked, then promptly burst out laughing.

Sherlock set the bag on the table and turned to pull him into his arms, joining the chuckling he still heard from his roomate. They stood for several minutes, Sherlock's arms around John's shoulders, Johns around his waist. "He'll be alright John. Mycroft stopped anything from getting out."

John pulled back. "I know. But what about next time or the time after that? What happens when some other enemy of ours finds out and tries to use him against us?"

Sherlock nodded, knowing John was probably right. "We'll figure it out. We don't have to make all the decisions tonight. You know as well as I do, John, that the future is unpredictable. We'll deal with it as it comes. Now I bought the milk, you make the tea."

"Git." John grinned as he turned to make the tea and put away the other items Sherlock had purchased. Sherlock made his way into the other room and pulled the nearest laptop (John's) into his lap and proceeded to look at the comments on John's blog. John listened as he randomly read comments or snorted at them in disgust before making an off color comment of some sort.

John could feel his mood lifting. He fixed their tea and carried it and some of the biscuits in to Sherlock before settling next to him on the sofa. They passed an hour or so looking over the blog, answering comments and deleting others. Sherlock eventually handed the laptop off to John and moved to the corner where his violin sat in it's case. It was one of the things he missed most while he had been gone and he was looking forward to playing again.

He went through his preparations methodically before finally tucking the instrument under his chin and raising his bow. He glanced over at John who had closed the laptop and was watching him. He began to play; the tune was one of his own compositions. Closing his eyes he let himself get lost in the music.

John watched Sherlock play, a sight that he had sorely missed. When the first haunting note sounded, he closed his eyes and listened. The first piece was melancholy, with hints of loneliness and longing. The second was sweet, slightly more upbeat, and it made him feel content. When that changed into the third, he couldn't help but smile. It was lively, and happy and fast. It reminded him of Harry. When Sherlock finally finished he but his instrument away carefully and turned to John.

"Those were new. You've never played them before." Sherlock walked over into his arm chair and sat, pulling his legs up and resting his arms on them.

"I composed the first and second while I was gone, the third while we were at the manor. That one is for Harry." He smirked at John.

"I thought it sounded like him." John closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the couch. "You'll have to play it for him when he gets home. He'll love it."

The rest of their week was spent quietly. Sherlock set up his lab in 221 C, which took the better part of two days before he was happy. They talked to Harry at least once a day. John blogged cases they had completed before the whole Moriarty debacle had happened. Sherlock played his violin for John in the evenings, and John kept Sherlock in warm tea. The week was one of the best he could remember.

A few blocks away, Harry was having an equally great week. He and Hermione were in the back garden. Her mum had spread a blanket in the shade of a tree and they had brought out several books and games. He decided it was finally time to ask Hermione if she had any ideas of what he could call Sherlock. "'Mione, do you think I should call 'Lock Dad?"

She looked up from her book at his question. "Do you want to call him Dad?"

Harry shifted. "Maybe. I dunno. I call John Papa like you said. Sherlock is kinda like my other Papa, but if I called him that, they wouldn't know which one I was talking to right?"
She thought about it before nodding. "There are other names instead of Dad. What about Father?" Harry shook his head and scrunched his nose. "No, that's what Uncle Mycroft calls their Dad and I don't think 'Lock liked him very much. What else?"

She tapped her finger against her lips. "What about Da? That's what my cousins call their Dad."

Harry thought about it. He liked that it was short. He could always go back to Dad if he didn't like it. He grinned at 'Mione. "I think I like that one."

She smiled back at him. "Come on, lets go see if my Mum will let us have a snack."

As the two four year olds made their way inside it was with a sense of great accomplishment in being able to solve this problem on their own.

By the time John and Sherlock walked up to the front door of the Granger's house at the end of the week, they could both admit that they had missed Harry. Between Mycroft, the Yard, and not leaving the flat since the day of Anderson's firing, the press had quickly given up and cleared off their front stoop. It probably helped that there was some sort of royal picture scandal (nothing to do with Irene Adler this time, thankfully).

They were ushered in by Kate and met with the whirlwind that was an excited Harry. "Papa!"

Harry slammed into John's legs before practically climbing him like a tree until he was in his arms. They both had enormous smiles on their faces and John gave him a tight squeeze before turning to where Sherlock stood. "Hi love, we missed you."

Harry looked over at Sherlock. "Hi Da!"

John laughed at the look on Sherlock's face. The taller man looked away from Harry to meet John's eyes. "John! He just..."

This was the first time John had ever seen the look of shock and awe on Sherlock's face. If possible, it was even happier than the look he had worn at the news of Anderson's demise. He could relate to exactly what he was feeling in that moment. Sherlock reached for Harry who practically lept into his arms. He gave to boy a grin and a squeeze.

"So you're calling me Da now?" Sherlock grinned at the small boy.

Harry looked uncertain all of a sudden. "Is that okay?"

Sherlock chuckled. "Of course it is. It'll drive Mycroft around the bend! Oh you clever boy!"

The rest of the adults laughed at his antics and Harry shot a relieved glance down at his best friend.

"Mione helped me. She told me lots of names and I chose that one." Harry beamed at his new Da.

"Well Hermione is a very clever girl. Between the two of you, I'm sure you could work out the toughest of problems in no time." This earned him a grin from each child.

They said their thank yous and goodbyes not long after and finally made their way back to Baker Street.

Chapter Text

As the family of three made their way back home, they were surprised to see a snowy white owl waiting for them on the railing that ran along their upstairs windows.

"Look, Papa! It's Hedwig!" John smiled upon seeing the owl who hooted a greeting back to Harry.

Sherlock unlocked the front door and preceded them in with Hedwig flying in after John. She flew up the narrow staircase, landing on the bannister as they made their way up the stairs and then followed them into the flat. John held his arm out to her and she landed easily so he could remove the parchment tied to her leg. He passed her to Harry who gently smoothed her breast feathers and spoke to her quietly.

Inspecting the parchment, he was surprised to see that it was addressed to Sherlock. He handed it over to his flatmate with a small frown. Sherlock inspected the paper quickly before popping the wax seal and reading the note.

Mr. Holmes,

     Headmaster Dumbledore has made it known that he wishes for me to be your magical tutor. Essentially, I would be meeting with you a few times a week to make sure you have all the proper information so that you may raise Mr. Potter with at least a modicum of knowledge of the ways of the Wizarding World. I am also interested in learning more of your methods of deduction as we discussed at Mr. Potter's party. I am free from obligations on Friday, if this is convient for you please reply in the same manner as you received this note.

Professor Severus Snape 

"It's from Snape. Apparently the headmaster has assigned him to be my magical tutor. He wants to meet me on Friday." Sherlock relayed to John, who had moved into the kitchen to make tea.

Upon hearing this, John moved back into the doorway between the two rooms. "I assumed it would be Minerva since she is my tutor. It doesn't make any sense for us each to have a different one."

Sherlock handed the note off to John so he could remove his coat and scarf. "Yes, but this is the perfect opportunity to get to know the man better. I'll be able to figure out his motivations in regards to Harry. There is a story there, I know it!"

John sighed know that Sherlock was probably right. "Fine, but I don't want Harry to be left alone with him. I'm scheduled to work on Friday. I'll see if Mrs. Hudson is available to watch him." 

"Nonsense, John. He will be with me. Everything will be fine. I have been researching a few of the more child friendly science experiements that we can do together. We'll make a day of it in the lab. Besides, it might do Harry good to hear these lessons first hand. If all is not well, I will send him to Mrs. Hudson." Sherlock made his way over to the desk and pulled out some of the heavier stationary Mummy had gifted him with years before.

It wasn't quite parchment, but he thought it would be presentable for a return note. He had just finished his reply when John set a cup of tea next to his elbow. "Before you send Hedwig off again, I want to write to Minerva."

Sherlock stood so John could take his seat and made his way to the sofa. Harry had claimed his chair once again and was currently telling Hedwig all of his news. Sherlock was halfway through his tea (no more letting it go to waste, he'd missed it terribly during his absence) before Harry looked up a him. "What's a science day Da?"

"Oh, Harry, it's one of the best days ever! We will do experiments and make volcanoes, and play with goop, and even make playdough if you would like to!" Harry watched as his Da's eyes sparkled with excitement. He let out a giggle.

"Okay, Da, that sounds like fun!"


 

 Harry was in the sitting room on Friday morning, curled up in his Da's chair with a new library book open in front of him when the fire in the grate turned green. He looked up from his book at the familiar whooshing sound that came with someone flooing into the living room.

The tall dark man he had met at his birthday party stepped into the room gracefully. He glared at Harry but remained quiet. Harry was left with the same feeling as he had just before Uncle Vernon started yelling and hitting him. He frantically tried to remember the man's name for several seconds before giving up. "Hi P' fessor. Da will be up in a few minutes."

Harry stayed quiet as the man continued to stare at him. He could see his eyes moving from his head to his toes, where they were encased in his house slippers. For some reason the man's gaze kept coming back up to his eyes and the scar on his forehead. This standoff lasted several moments before the man spoke causing Harry to start slightly.

"Well? Are you not going to invite me to sit? Offer refreshment of some sort?" The man, Harry noticed, had a deep silky voice that sounded a lot like his Da's. He wasn't quite sure what to do in this situation. He could tell the man to sit, but he wasn't allowed to prepare tea or coffee because Papa thought he would burn himself.

He watched as the man shifted his weight, obviously beginning to get impatient. "You can sit anywhere P'fessor, but I'm not allowed to make coffee or tea. I can get you some milk or juice, though?"

Harry watched the sneer that crossed the man's face. He was trying to be polite, but he did not like the black clad teacher. When no response came from the man other than for him to sit in Papa's chair, Harry slowly uncurled himself and placed his book on the table next to him.

He was just preparing to go get his Da when he heard his footsteps coming up the stairs. His Da walked into the room and quickly took in the tension. "Ah, Professor Snape, terrorizing my son with your usual intimidation techniques are you? That is quite discourteous of you. Perhaps I shouldn't have reassured John so quickly that you could be professional in this situation. I don't need to remind you that the CHILD in front of you is not his father or your childhood bully do I? After all those events happened several years ago and the man is dead after all. I was so sure you would be able to see reason, but I always miss something."

Sherlock quickly walked over to where Harry was frozen half on and half off of their chair. (He had decided to share it with Harry, since he enjoyed sitting there so much). He picked up the small boy who immediately wrapped his skinny arms and legs around him and buried his head in Sherlock's neck. Sherlock shifted his gaze to the potion's master in front him to try and gage his reaction to the recently spoken admonishment. Sherlock had to give him credit, he had one the best poker faces he had ever come across, but still gave off minute signals that he was having problems reigning in his temper and embarrassment.

Deciding that his message had been recieved as intended, he put Harry on the floor before squatting down in front of him. "Harry I laid your clothes out on your bed. Go upstairs and get dressed, brush your teeth and then attempt to comb the mop that is your hair. When your done, I'll be right here and we will go down to the lab and begin our Science Day."

Harry smiled at his Da and took off at a run for his room, not sparing another look for the dark man in his Papa's chair. He was very excited for science day!

As Harry left the room, Severus cleared his throat. Sherlock stood and gave the man his full attention once again. Eyes narrowed they studied each other similar to the way they had when they first met. "I do not make it a habit to explain myself often, but circumstances are more complicated than you believe Mr. Holmes. I am finding it rather difficult to seperate my emotions from my logic when the br­, boy, looks at me in such a way."

Sherlock continued to study the man, his brain swirling with many different thoughts about how to handle this situation. "While I may not know all of the facts, Professor Snape, I am positive I have quite a good grasp of the situation. If one can count on information from others as reliable, which I do depending on the source of that information, then one can easily deduce what is happening here. You and Lily were best friends for many years. You, who does not trust easily trusted her. James was your biggest bully at school and stole the person you cared for most, because you made a mistake in your anger. You are now taking all that frustration and revenge out on a child who does not even remember his parents and was most assuredly not to blame for anything that happened in your or their past. Am I correct so far?"

The potions master inclined his head slightly, so Sherlock continued. " What you have failed to understand, however, is that by continuing to act in this manner, you are simply become what you most despise, a bully. No matter how you justify it to yourself, that is the fact of the matter. What you also fail to understand, is that I will not tolerate that behavior from you in the future. I may have only know him for a short while, but I will not let that child be hurt by you or anyone else. So you should make a decision now how you are going to procede."

Both men sat in silence for a few moments before Snape inclined his head slightly, "I understand. I will strive to treat him as his mother's son."

Sherlock smirked. "So what shall we cover today? I've read all the books John has been given and find myself quite fascinated. The wolfsbane potion is very intriguing. Harry also wanted to know if it would be possible to brew a healing balm that he found in the year one book to help John with his war wound."

Snape had to admit to being a bit thrown off that the boy would have already read the first year book and was interested in brewing anything. His father had been only barely adequate in potions, but Lily had almost been his equal. He sincerely hoped the boy took more after her than his father in that regard as well as many others.

"I had planned to start with the basics of brewing. First identifying the different ingredients and their properties and then proper preparation techniques. I have no doubt you will pick these up easily, unlike most of the dunderheads I am forced to teach. Then we will move on to brewing simple, harmless potions and salves and work our way up from there. I have no doubt you will be well on your way to being an accomplished brewer in a matter of a few weeks. The boy may slow you down, however."

Sherlock smirked as they heard small feet coming down the stairs. "You may be surprised, Snape, at exactly what Harry is capable of learning."

The three moved down to Sherlock's lab. He couldn't believe he hadn't thought of using 221C before now. It had a similar environment to the hospital labs and had almost perfect temperature and light conditions. He and John had pulled up the carpet and left the bare wooden floors exposed.

Mycroft had sent in two men who had sanded and sealed them as well as removing the old wallpaper and plastering the walls. Two coats of paint later and the space was almost unrecognizable from what it had been.

Snape looked around the lab and had to admit that it was quite well done considering only muggle means had been used. He made a few improvement suggestions, and after being given permission, proceeded to make the room soundproof from the inside, fire and waterproof, and was able to banish the mold that grew in a few places that had so far been resistant to removal.

He pulled out a shrunken wooden chest that held various potion ingredients, all grown at Hogwarts, and enlarged it. He was surprised to see both men watching him with excitement in their eyes as he pulled out various ingredients and explained what they were. They went on in this manner for a few moments while both made comments on one ingredient or another.

He had at first thought the boy was singing simple nursery rhymes, until he realized he had used the melodies to create his own songs for remembering the uses and properties of the ingredients, including which would have adverse reactions. He would never admit it out loud or let it show, but he was impressed.

After only an hour, Snape was prepared to let them brew a very simple healing balm. He explained different cauldrons as he set up an area for them to work. The boy had gotten the book and looked over the instructions before asking questions on any point he was unsure about, much to his surprise. They began brewing with Snape watching them both very closely. An hour or so later, they were interrupted by a knock on the door.

They had just been putting their finished balm in unbreakable jars When the door opened to reveal John. Harry quickly jumped down from his stool and ran to his Papa, the jar of salve held high above his head. "Papa! I made you some balm for your shoulder! P'fessor Snake showed me and Da how! It was so fun Papa! Some of the ingredients were squishy and slimy, and some smelled funny, but the P'fessor said I made an 'above average sample of a person of my age'! Da said that means I did a good job and the P'fessor is too stubborn to admit it!"

All three men listened to his excited chatter and watched him practically dancing in his excitement. John and Sherlock laughed at his candid retelling of the days events while Snape had a slight blush on his cheeks and a glare for the detective.

The fact was the boy had done better than he could have ever expected. He took to brewing even more naturally than Severus himself had. Harry continued to chatter as they finished cleaning the lab and made their way upstairs. John immediately started tea and they all settled in for a small chat for a little while.

As Severus was leaving, he felt a tug on his robes and looked down to see the boy standing beside him. He looked at Severus with happiness dancing in his mother's eyes.

"Thank you P'fessor Snape for teaching me poshuns! Can we brew something else the next time you come?" Severus continued looking into his eyes for a moment before he cleared his throat so he could answer.

"I suppose that we could...Harry. I will see you in a few days." He threw the powder into the fire and flooed away before Harry could ask him anything further. it would be interesting to see how this child turned out. He would have a great many things to deal with in the upcoming years, but for some reason that he couldn't put his finger on, he was quite sure that the boy would be able to handle it.

Chapter Text

After their first potions lesson in August, the trio of Sherlock, Snape, and Harry met at least twice a week in the lab in 221C. They alternated between a potions lesson and a muggle science experiment. Although they had started out at a children's level they quickly advanced into more complicated lessons. To everyone's surprise, Harry did very well in the practical lessons, but had trouble following some of the theories due to his young age.

Still, by the middle of October, Snape and Sherlock were deeply engrossed in discussing improvements that could be made to the wolfsbane potion. They were currently stuck at an impasse on what the best way to proceed would be, magic or muggle, when Harry looked up from the potions book he had been studying. "Why does the wool'sbane potion only treat some of the symptoms? It makes it so the wolf can still think on the full moons, but doesn't help with the pain that comes when they have to change. They have to take a pain potion for that. Can't you put the pain potion in the wool'sbane potion?"

Both men had stopped what they were doing and looked at Harry when he first started to speak, but neither replied to him for a long while. His Da was in his thinking pose, hands folded below his chin, eyes closed, mind working frantically. Snape just gaped at him, but Harry could see he was thinking furiously as well. Why hadn't anyone thought of that before?

Snape was the first to snap out of it. "Where did you come up with that idea Harry?"

"I was reading this book about werewool's that P'fessor Mac let Da borrow. The man that wrote it, R. Lupin, said he had to make sure he had both potions when he changed. The wool'sbane so he could think and the pain potion because the change hurt. But when I'm sick my medicine is all together and Papa gives it to me in a s'ringe. It makes me better and helps with the fever and pain. Shouldn't the woolsbane do the same thing?"

His Da had come out of his mind palace half way through the explanation, and he and Snape glanced at each other before putting their heads together again. Snape wrote quickly while Sherlock recited rapidly to himself. Sherlock ran out of the lab and up two flights of stairs before coming back with the book Harry had spoken of. The men thumbed through the book quickly reading the chapters about the time both before and after the change. This continued for quite some time. Harry had gone back to his book quite a while ago, ignoring the rising excitement of the two older men.

His belly eventually started growling and he looked up from his book to see the two men still engrossed in their project. "Da, I'm going to Nan's for a snack."

Sherlock looked up briefly acknowledging him with a slight nod and Harry walked up the stairs to his Nan's door. He knocked perfunctorily before pushing open the door and half running into the room. "Nan! Where are you?"

Mrs. Hudson stuck her head out of the kitchen doorway and tutted at him. "Slow down Harry! I'm right here in the kitchen and I have company. Remember your manners!"

Harry slowed down immediately and gave her a sheepish smile in return. "Sorry Nan, but Da and P'fessor Snake are busy and I'm hungry. I wanted to come see if I could have tea with you."

"Of course you can love, but remember we have company. Come on then." She turned back into the kitchen and he followed her in to see two people sitting at the table. One was an older woman who looked to be around his Nan's age and the other was a boy who looked to be around his age. He smiled at both, before making his way to the empty chair and climbing onto it. His Nan put a plate and a small glass of juice in front of him before returning to her own seat.

"Is this him then, Martha? The new grandson you were telling me about?" The woman was looking Harry over with a pinched expression on her face. She wore a maroon colored dress suit with matching kitten heels. His Aunt Anthea would say that it was a vintage suit, but to him she just looked like she should be in one of the World War II movies his Papa liked to watch. There was a rather large hat sitting on the chair next to her that matched her suit, but which had a very large and ugly stuffed vulture on it. The boy seated in the chair next to his was a little taller and a little pudgy, with dark hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a cardigan with a buttoned up shirt underneath and a pair of corduroy trousers. He looked very nice, if maybe a little bit shy.

Harry smiled at the lady. "Hello, my name is Harry."

She nodded to him, the expression never changing and turned back to his Nan. "Yes, Augusta, this is my grandson Harry. He's been living with us for a while now. Dr. Watson is in the process of adopting him and Sherlock too, now that he's come back from fixing that dreadful business with that Moriarty fellow."

If possible the woman's face scrunched up even more. "I am quite put out over what that boy did to you, Martha. Disrespectful it was. My Frank would never have done such a thing. But I'm getting off subject, who are the boys parents, his family? Why are they not caring for him as they should?"

Harry could see that his Nan was a bit upset by what the lady was saying, so he decided to answer the questions himself. He didn't like that this lady was upsetting his Nan. "My Da left to protect my Nan and Papa and Uncle Greg from getting shot. My parents were James and Lily Potter and they were killed when I was a baby. That is why they can't be here for me. My Papa and Da and Nan are my family and they love me and I love them, so stop being snotty to my Nan!"

The woman had been taking a sip of her tea when he started to talk but had put down her cup when he said his parents names. She was gaping at him now along with the boy that sat beside her.

"Harry!" His Nan was looking at him with a disapproving glint in her eye, but he could see the corner of her mouth trying not to twitch into a smirk.

"Who did you say your parents were? What is your full name?" The woman had recovered from her shock and was staring between his eyes and his forehead and his hair.

"My mum was Lily Potter and my dad was James Potter. My name is Harry James Potter. We will add Watson when my Papa finishes adopting me." Harry was watching the lady try to process what he had told her. She seemed to be in shock. He wondered if she had known his parents.

"Harry Potter? The Harry Potter? Gran, he's Harry Potter!" The boy beside him was looking at Harry in awe. He was so excited he was almost bouncing in his seat.

The woman rose and came around the table to approach Harry's chair. She reached out for him slowly and although he wanted to move away, he didn't. She slowly and surprisingly gently pushed the bangs off his forehead until she could see the lightning bolt shaped scar that lay there. Her hand moved down until it cupped his cheek and she looked into his green eyes. "Oh Harry. Little one, it is so good to see you again."

She stepped back and let her hand drop back to her side. She then turned to his Nan. "Marha do you know? Do you know who he is? About us?"

His Nan looked at her friend. "Really Augusta? I never would have guessed. Of course we know. Between Professors Dumbledore, Snape, and McGonagall they've told us just about everything. But how do you know our Harry? It isn't simply because of his celebrity is it?"

Augusta moved back to her chair and took a few minutes to compose herself. "No Martha. Not his celebrity. The Potters were very close friends of Frank and Alice. The boys used to play together when they were babies. I would watch them during meetings. They were as close as brothers, almost twins given they were born only a few hours apart. Then that night happened and James and Lily were gone along with Frank and Alice. I begged Dumbledore to let me have Harry. Alice was his godmother after all, but he wouldn't hear of it. All he would say is that he was in a safe place with family. What happened? How did he end up here?"

Before his Nan could explain, Sherlock and Severus burst through the door. "Mrs. Hudson! My son is a genius!"

Sherlock swept Harry out of his chair and spun him in circles causing them both to giggle. Mrs. Hudson looked on in amusement. "Sherlock! We have company!"

Sherlock stopped spinning and sat Harry on his hip while turning to look at the two guests that were seated at the table. He was obviously deducing their life stories, but had learned to keep his deductions to himself (at least most of the time). After only about a minute he smirked and offered his hand to the woman. "Sherlock Holmes, how do you do?"

She shook his hand briefly before pulling hers back, her eyes traveling between him and Harry a couple of times, before looking back at Martha. "Sherlock, this is a friend of mine from way back, Augusta Longbottom and her grandson Neville. Augusta, this is Sherlock Holmes and Professor Severus Snape."

Augusta only then noticed the potions master standing in the kitchen doorway. She nodded her head to him. "Professor Snape."

"Dowager Longbottom." He said with a small bow in her direction. He turned to Mrs. Hudson. "Please pardon our intrusion Mrs. Hudson, but Harry has just caused the first breakthrough related to the wolfsbane potion to occur in the last sixty years. He may even have given us a base idea for a more effective treatment than the wolfsbane itself."

Both women then noticed the usually dour man was almost vibrating with excitement, though nothing resembling a smile touched his face. Sherlock on the other hand was grinning widely, with what John called his 'Triple murder, it's Christmas face'. "Well what is this breakthrough then? And you said Harry gave you the idea?"

Sherlock sat Harry back in his chair and started pacing in the small confines of the kitchen. "My brilliant son, Mrs. Hudson, wondered aloud why a werewolf should have to take separate potions to deal with all the symptoms of the change when he only had to take one medicine when he is ill that treats all of his symptoms. Both Professor Snape and I pondered this and discovered that the only pain potion that does not have adverse reactions with the ingredients in the wolfsbane potion was only invented a few years ago. It is one of Professor Snape’s personal creations and hasn't been available to the public. In addition to adding the pain numbing effects to the current wolfsbane potion, two of the ingredients react in a way that is rather unexpected. We believe that the reaction may be able to prevent the change from even occurring. We haven't been able to test it of course, but do you understand what this means? We might have a vaccine for lycanthropy!"

Augusta's jaw had dropped at the news. "A cure for lycanthropy? Really?"

"Not a cure, Dowager Longbottom, but a treatment. If this works the way we think it will, the individual will still have lycanthropy, but will be able to prevent the change and the side effects that appear both before and after the full moon. It would be similar to treating diabetes or heart disease. You still have it, but it can be controlled." Snape, who had not moved from the doorway, was the one to answer her.

"Oh boys! That is wonderful news! Come in and sit, and I'll get out those biscuits that I made yesterday." They all managed to squeeze in around the small table while Mrs. Hudson produced two more tea cups and the promised biscuits. Augusta, who had recovered from her shock was discussing the repercussions this could have in the magical world on those with the disease who were currently so limited in options and freedoms with Snape while Sherlock listened in avidly.

This finally gave Harry and Neville a chance to talk. "Hi, I'm Harry."

The boy looked at Harry shyly, but with a large smile on his face. "I'm Neville. We have pictures at home of the two of us, from when we were babies you know. My gran said we used to play together all the time."

Harry grinned. He didn't think he had ever seen a baby picture of himself. "Do you want to go play now? I can show you my room."

Neville nodded. "Nan, Da, can Neville and I go play in my room?"

All of the adults turned to the two boys who both had grins on their faces. Sherlock looked to Augusta, who gave a slight nod, before sending the boys on their way. As Harry pulled Neville out of the room with a hand on his wrist, both Sherlock and Severus caught the wistful look that flashed over the Dowager Longbottom's face at the sight of the two boys together again.

Chapter Text

Harry studied Neville as the older boy looked around his bedroom with wide eyes. He had already decided to make Neville his friend because he could see that the boy was lonely as he had been when he lived with his aunt and uncle.

"So what do you like to do? Do you like Doctor Who? Hermione and I do and my Papa does too." Neville had a bewildered look on his face as Harry tried to start the conversation.

"Um....I like to read. And I'm pretty good with plants. I help Gran out in the greenhouses sometimes. I also like to make up stories in my head, but I don't tell them to anyone or write them down or anything, they're mostly just to pass the time." Neville ducked his head as if embarrassed about that.

"Really? That's awesome. Maybe you can tell me and 'Mione one of them sometime! We like to read stories and then act them out. My Da is teaching us about how to do d'ductions too! He solves crimes with the police." Harry had settled in front of the toy box and Neville had joined him as he was talking.

"So um..who is Doctor Who? And what are deductions?" Neville still looked timid, but Harry could tell he was actually curious.

"Doctor Who is a character from a show on the telly. That's a picture of him on the wall. D' ductions are when you look at someone and learn about them from observing. That's how my Da solves crimes. My Uncle Myc'oft can do it too. Mimi taught them when they were little. Now they are teaching me and 'Mione. I bet you could learn too!" Harry had pulled out several toys and Neville had also spotted a few things in the box that he was curious about.

"My Gran told me about the telly, but we don't have one. Maybe we can watch on yours sometime? I don't think I would be very good at deductions, but it does sound like fun. I'd have to ask Gran though. So what is this supposed to do?" He motioned to the toy in his hand and Harry launched into his explanation. The boys became fast friends as they bonded over legos and other toys.

Downstairs at Baker Street, four adults were in serious discussion about several topics.

"How do you two know each other Dowager Longbottom? I wasn't aware that you spent much time in the muggle world." Snape was curious how Augusta Longbottom had coincidentally come to be at Baker Street.

"Oh! We've known each other since we were girls. I think it was back in '63 that we met. The height of Beatlemania. We bonded over our mutual love of Paul McCartney. He was quite dreamy I thought. Still is too. Oh don't give me that look Sherlock!" Mrs. Hudson swatted at Sherlock playfully as she answered the question for Augusta. Severus merely raised an eyebrow.

"Yes, I think that's right Martha. That concert at the Granada Cinema. We were standing next to each other in the crowd. Hundreds of us pushing and shoving to get as close as possible. We hit it off immediately even though we didn't have all that much in common. My parents disapproved of course, but we stood our ground. We've gone through quite a few ups and downs over the years, but here we are fifty years later." Augusta had a bit of a wistful expression on her face while she spoke before her look turned mischievous.

"Do you remember that weekend down in Devon? When we met those two boys who taught us how to..."

"Augusta! We swore never to talk about that! Hush you!" Both ladies had pinkened a bit, and now had a certain sparkle in their eyes.

"Oh please, do tell us what you learned down in Devon." Sherlock wiggled his eyebrows at the two.

A still blushing Mrs. Hudson swatted at him again. He noticed that the other woman had become a bit somber again. "Martha, you never did say how Harry ended up here."

"Oh yes. Professor Dumbledore placed him with his mother's sister's family, but they treated him horribly. When he found out what was happening and that John was back home from the war, he asked John to take him in. John, of course, did so immediately. Sherlock was still on his trip then, but it has all worked out in the end. Now that we all know about each other, I'm sure the boys will have time to become the best of friends again." Mrs. Hudson reached over to squeeze her longtime friend's hand in reassurance.

"Well back to your discovery then. What do you plan on doing next? This could be absolutely revolutionary. It will change many lives." Augusta had managed to shake off the melancholy of Harry's past situation for now.

"First, we must do more in depth research. I do believe we have an excellent chance to discover something extraordinary however. Our preliminary findings are promising. At the very least we can make the process less painful if not completely pain free. As stated, it could turn into much much more than that, but I am more inclined to be cautious with my optimism." Snape, who had been quiet until now spoke up.

"If all goes well, I will need to have a conversation with both Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson before contacting Lupin in regards to his book and his possible participation in the clinical trials. I am loathe to involve him, but he is the only werewolf I know who would possibly be cooperative." Augusta nodded her understanding knowing the history between the two as well as Lupin's history with Harry's parents.

“I assume that he has not been allowed any contact with Harry, same as the rest of us. I’m sure that he would be happy to help if he was able to see his honorary godson again.” Severus nodded, but Sherlock’s eyebrow rose.

“Honorary godson? Not actual godson? I’ve been meaning to ask about that actually. How did Harry end up with the Dursley’s in the first place? Surely his parents would have made provisions for his care, especially in a time of war?” Sherlock spoke quickly, once again pondering the circumstances that brought Harry into their care.

“Dumbledore, as head of the Wizengamot, had the will sealed just hours after the death of the Potters. While we knew that James and Lily’s first choices of guardians were Alice and then Sirius, by the time I was able to recover from the attack and have care set up for Alice and Frank, Harry had already been gone for a week and Sirius was in Azkaban. I went to Dumbledore then, but he was adamant that Harry was safe where he was. I couldn’t legally do anything as I am not his actual godmother. As much as it pained me to do so, I had to trust that Dumbledore was confident in his placement with family.”

Sherlock sat with his hands steepled before him. “So what about this honorary godfather of Harry’s? Where has he been all this time?”

Severus shifted, his thoughts immediately turning to the past. “Lupin is a werewolf, as I’ve stated. Part of the restrictions on werewolves is that they cannot take custody of a child. They are deemed to be too great a risk to be around children.”

“Mmm….I’ll have to speak to John about this then. In the meantime, Try to locate Lupin, Severus, and see if he is willing to help with the trials.” The adults continued to make plans both about the wolfsbane trials and about playdates for Harry and Neville.

Chapter Text

Over the next several months, Sherlock worked with Severus on the improved formula for the wolfsbane potion in between taking his cases with the Yard. It had been a very busy time for them all. John had been offered a permanent position at the clinic, though he still worked only part time hours and continued to fill in when needed when one of his coworkers was out. Sherlock had his cases and experiments, as well as his continued self education of the wizarding world and all it was capable of.
Neville was now an almost constant visitor, splitting his time between Baker Street and the Granger’s home. He had fit in almost seamlessly with Harry and Hermione and it was hard sometimes to remember that they had not always been a trio. After much persuasion (and puppy dog eyes on the part of the children), Augusta even allowed him to attend school with Harry and Hermione. He was quickly becoming more confident in himself as he spent time with them.
Sherlock was currently sprawled on the couch in his thinking pose. This was the first time in quite a while that he had time to do construction on his mind palace and he was going to take advantage of it. As he organized and deleted unnecessary information, he became aware of how many times either Severus, Minerva, or Dumbledore mentioned that they did not believe Voldemort was gone for good. He knew that Dumbledore had not completely disclosed all his knowledge in regards to both Harry and Voldemort. Sherlock had more than a sneaking suspicion that the two were somehow destined to meet again.
He made a mental note to speak with John, Dumbledore, Severus and even Mycroft about the situation. He was certain that between them they could come up with a solution to the problem before it got out of hand again, or involved Harry, which was not to be tolerated.

It was only a few days after his mind palace session that Sherlock had arranged for them all to gather in Baker Street to discuss the situation with Voldemort. John was in the kitchen making tea for their guests, Mycroft was sitting in John’s chair, dressed impeccably as always discussing politics with Dumbledore who was once again dressed in eye catching robes in a periwinkle blue that almost matched his eye color. Snape was dressed in his usual black teaching robes, buttoned to the collar, and quietly analyzing the others in the room. He was using both his spying knowledge and his newly acquired skills in deduction to attempt to read more about his guests with moderate success. As he discovered some new facet, he would share with Sherlock, who had a very Snape-like smirk on his face. Mummy sat on the couch as though it was a throne all the while looking as if she was in a room with a group of naughty schoolboys.
As John came in with the tea, though, everyone turned their attention to Sherlock. “Well, dear brother, you asked us all here for a reason, I assume?”
“Of course, Mycroft. I believe we need to do something about Voldemort now, before he becomes a problem, rather than wait for him to become powerful once again. John and I have spoken and we will not let this annoyance put Harry in danger.” Sherlock was seated on the sofa next to John and was leaning forward, elbows propped on his knees, hands in this usual thinking pose.
“I am afraid, dear boy, that that may not be possible.” Dumbledore said eyes and robes twinkling madly. Annoyance, indeed.
Mycroft raised an eyebrow at the older wizard. “Why, pray tell, would it not be possible?”
Dumbledore glanced quickly at his potions master before answering. “There was a prophecy made a few months before Harry and Neville’s birth. It told of a child, born at the end of July, whom would be marked as Voldemort’s equal, that would have the power to defeat him. This prophecy was given during an interview I conducted for the post of divinations professor and was overheard by one of Voldemort’s followers, who in turn told his Lord. While I do not normally put much stock in divination, Voldemort obviously believes greatly in the part of the prophecy he was told. So much so, that he attempted to kill those two whom he believed could be the children spoken of in the prophecy.”
“Neville and Harry, both born at the end of July, only a few hours apart.” John swiped a steady hand over his face.
Mycroft and Sherlock exchanged a look. “I believe, Professor, now would be a good time to disclose the exact wording of that prophecy as well as your suspicions on how and why you believe Voldemort will return. You have five of the greatest minds available to you in this room, including your own. I am certain we shall be able to come up with at least one plan of action.”
“Very well, Mr. Holmes. I am quite unused to sharing my thoughts, but I believe you may be correct. Voldemort only knows the first two lines of the prophecy, but I shall tell you all that I heard.” After Dumbledore shared the prophecy with the group, they were all quiet for a short time, thinking over what they had heard.
“So Harry is the one marked as his equal because of his scar. He chose Harry rather than Neville to be his equal.”
“He did. He and Harry have more in common. Voldemort himself was a half-blood, born to a squib mother and a muggle father. His mother died shortly after his birth, leaving him to the orphanage that she had taken refuge in after the father had abandoned them both. Merope Gaunt had been dosing Tom Riddle Sr with a love potion. With Tom Jr. being conceived under this love potion, I believe that he is unable to feel love. It has not been documented as a fact, but every known case of a witch or wizard conceived under a love potion has resulted in that witch or wizard embracing the darker parts of their personalities. Several dark lords and ladies have started in this manner." The group quietly thought about that revelation.
"I am seeing several parallels with Hitler here. Erase that which has in some way hurt or offended you, create a master race, and so on. It is quite disturbing honestly, however, it does not answer why it would not be possible to defeat him." Mummy sipped her tea before continuing. "The prophecy states that "he will have power the Dark Lord knows not" and that "either must die by the hand of the other" it does not specifically state that Harry must be the one to kill him."
"Not long ago, the right hand, was a reference for the person second in power only to the King. He was the head of his armies and could act independently with the King's full blessing. Could the phrase in the prophecy not be interpreted as such? Riddle must die by Harry's hand, either figuratively or literally. As for "the power he knows not," how familiar is Riddle with bombs, guns, and IED's? I'm willing to bet he has no idea the power they can have."
Mycroft looked pensive for a moment while the others thought of the argument they had been presented. "I believe those are very valid points Mummy. My question however is how Riddle survived in the first place? Usually when one is dead they are actually dead. Unless of course you are my dear brother."
Sherlock raised his head at this. "Oh piss off, Mycroft!"
The rest of the group ignored the byplay between the two knowing it would do no good to try and intervene. This time it was John who spoke up, questioning the wizards present in the room. "Do you have any ideas about how he could survive? You told me that you believed the killing curse to be reflected back at him. No one except Harry has ever been known to survive that particular curse, so how do you believe that Riddle did so?"
Snape looked to Dumbledore who gave him a small nod, before replying. "You are not aware, but in my youth I delved quite deeply into the study of the dark arts. It is one of the reasons that I was recruited into the Dark Lord's service. The Dark Arts can be quite intoxicating once involved with them, a sort of high if you will. The Dark Lord of course has immersed himself in them deeply. I personally know of several rituals I believe he performed on himself or others based on potions I was requested to prepare for him. I, we, believe that the Dark Lord possibly created horcruxes. Horcruxes are one of the darkest magics. Their basis is found in Ancient Greece. It is likely that the Dark Lord learned of these and perverted the rituals for his own purpose."
"Horcruxes are created by committing murder. When a witch or wizard murders another, their soul is ripped apart. You can then encase the portion of ripped soul into an object with a spell. The detached fragment with remain within the object indefinitely until it is destroyed. It will also act as an anchor. It ties the creator of the horcrux to earth, though they live as a non-corporeal being. There are rituals which can bring the being back into a body, but thankfully there are very few. Creating these also has severe side effects of dehumanizing the creator. Riddle was quite snakelike by the time of his confrontation with the Potters. We believe that if he created horcruxes, he most definitely created more than one. There has been only one other confirmed wizard who has created a horcrux and that was Herpo the Foul. He was an wizard in Ancient Greece and was believed to have created the first horcrux." Dumbledore had continued the explanation and was now met with silence.
"So, Riddle created horcruxes. We need to figure out what he used and then how to destroy them. Which I am sure is easier said than done." John stated once it seemed no one else was going to.
"I can answer one of those. Horcruxes must be destroyed beyond magical or muggle repair in order to destroy the soul inside. So magically we can use fiendfyre. There are many muggle ways of course, including the bombs spoken of earlier. " Dumbledore explained once again.
"Do you have any idea of what he may have used as containers?" Mummy questioned.
"That is a little harder to work out. It could be anything of course, but I believe he would have used objects of great importance to the Wizarding World. I am currently reviewing several memories I have acquired from various people who had contact with Riddle before he became Voldemort. I have a few possible objects in mind, but would like more evidence before sharing my suspicions." Sherlock nodded as Dumbledore finished speaking.
"Get me anything you possibly can related to Riddle. I am quite sure I can be of great help to you. It is a large part of my work to solve puzzles such as this." Dumbledore agreed to bring what he could for Sherlock to look over.
"I am not inclined to share the book that explains the horcruxes, the fewer who know how to create them, the better, I believe. There are only three known copies of the book that explains them in detail. I am in possession of one, the Lestrange family is the last known possessor of the second which the Ministry of Magic destroyed after the end of the death eater trials. I personally watched it destroyed so there is no doubt on that. The third belonged to the Black family, and by extension of being his Godfather's heir, which now belongs to Harry. It was still be in the Black Family library at their ancestral home, when the last inventory was performed last year by the Gringotts Goblins." Everyone in the room nodded their agreement, though John could see that Sherlock was not pleased to be denied information.
Mycroft's phone had been buzzing for the last several minutes of their discussion and now Sherlock's text alert went off as well. Picking it up, he quickly read the message from the Granger's saying that all three children had been picked up from school where there had been a small altercation with a few other students.
"Shall we pick up the discussion again in a few weeks after you have had time to go over more of these memories? It seems our son and his friends have been in a small altercation with a few of their schoolmates." John snatched Sherlock's phone from his hand upon hearing this to read the message for himself.
"Agreed. Anthea seems quite put out that I have not been replying to her messages. It seems the Prime Minister is making poor choices again. I must be off." Mycroft rose from his chair and held out a hand to Dumbledore and Snape before leaving down the stairs.
Mummy stood after putting her empty tea cup on the table. She stopped momentarily to give both John and Sherlock a kiss on the cheek before nodding to the two other men and departing without a word, already plotting and planning how to deal with this new situation.
Both wizards departed not long after using the floo and John and Sherlock were out the door within a few minutes of their flat emptying itself of guests. They walked the few blocks to the Granger's to see what trouble their brood had gotten itself into this time.

Chapter Text

John and Sherlock arrived at the Grangers and were promptly shown in to find all three children with their noses in separate corners. Sherlock turned to Kate with an eyebrow raised in question. Kate was trying to look stern, but failed to hide the amusement in her eyes. “I’ll let them tell you what happened. You won’t believe it from me.”

She made herself comfortable in one of the chairs, while Sherlock and John moved to sit on the sofa. Once the adults were settled, she called the children over to them. As the three made their way from the corners, the two men could see the dried tear tracks on their faces as well as several places where their clothes had small tears in them. Hermione had a bruise forming on her cheek, while Harry had a busted bottom lip that was slightly swollen. Neville was the only one of them without any visible injuries, yet he looked the most guilty of the three.

The three children glanced at each trying to decide who would explain the situation when after a few moments, Hermione finally stepped forward. “We want you to know that we are sorry Justin got hurt, but it was really his fault that it all started. We were playing wedding in the home station, because it was my turn to choose. Neville and Harry were getting married and I was to officiate the wedding. We were almost to the part where the grooms are supposed to kiss when Justin came over. He called Nev and Harry fairies and pushed Harry down. When Harry fell, he hit his mouth on the play stove. When Nev saw that Harry was bleeding he jumped on Justin and knocked him down. I tried to help get Neville up, but Justin was trying to hit him and ended up hitting me instead. When Neville saw that, he got really mad and…..”
Hermione trailed off before looking at Neville while biting her bottom lip. He glanced at her quickly before looking back towards his shoes. Harry was looking through his fringe at Sherlock and John trying to gauge their reaction so far. She looked uncertainly back at the adults who were patiently waiting for her to finish. Taking a deep breath she continued. “Um… I should tell you that earlier we had made pictures of chickens with feathers on them, because it’s farm yard week, you know?” She waited for them to nod. “So Nev was really mad and the feathers were still on the table with glue just next to the home play area and well, Nev may have used his accidental magic to pour the glue and feathers all over Justin and Harry may or may not have caused him to cluck like a chicken. It’s also possible that I might have made it so the teachers couldn’t wash the glue and feathers off of him. Although, we are not completely sure who upended the glitter container onto him. A lot of people had come over at that point. I have a suspicion that it might have been Owen though. He’s the one that has two Mums.” Both boys nodded their head at this, but neither would look at the adults.

John glanced at Sherlock, who he could see was highly amused and then at Kate, who was also failing to hide her amusement. Looking back at the children, he rubbed the bridge of his nose. “So what you are telling me, is that you three basically tarred and feathered a kid, made it permanent, and then another classmate covered him in glitter because he called the boys a derogatory name?” The three glanced at each other quickly before nodding and looking away again.

Letting out a sigh, he turned to Kate. “What did the teachers say about the incident and their punishment?”

Kate tried to hide the smirk that was threatening to escape. “At first the teachers were horrified because they couldn’t remove the glue, feathers, and glitter. Our three had been separated and cleaned up already and they were trying to clean Justin up. The school called me and Justin’s mother right away apparently, so I arrived at the same time as Kingsley and his partner. It took the two of them around five minutes to undo the permanent charm and get Justin and the classroom cleaned up and then they obliviated the adults and Justin of the incident and planted that it was just a normal tussle in their minds. Our three are suspended for the remainder of the day, while Justin is suspended until Monday as the instigator of the incident. His mother didn’t arrive until after Kingsley and his partner had left, so she is only aware that her son started a fight and used that word. She made him apologize before dragging him out by his ear.”

John sighed again. “Alright, I don’t want to punish you because it is clear that you were defending each other, however, you all know that you are not allowed to use your magic against your classmates. So for this week and next, Science Day is cancelled as is our trip to the aquarium this weekend.”

John’s declaration was met with three groans and a few voiced protests, but the children weren’t really surprised that they lost their favorite things after what had happened today. They hadn’t really meant Justin any harm, but everything had happened so quickly and they were so mad for each other, that things got out of control before they knew what had happened. With a few sniffles, they finally nodded in acceptance of their punishment. Not long after, John and Sherlock left with the two boys, heading back to Baker Street. Once arriving, John made a floo call explaining what had happened to Augusta and then sent Neville home.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Later that evening after putting an unusually quiet Harry to bed, John joined Sherlock in the living room where the detective was sprawled on the couch, feet hanging over the end, wearing his dressing gown and pajamas. John made his way into the kitchen and started tea, bringing himself and Sherlock a cup after a few minutes. After placing Sherlock’s on the table, he sank into his chair with a sigh. They sat peaceably for several long moments, before Sherlock sat up and regarded his doctor.

“John.” He spoke, waiting until he had his full attention before he continued. “As I explained, Snape and I have created a possible vaccination for Lycanthropy, using Harry’s idea. Snape mentioned that a man by the name of Remus Lupin is the only werewolf he knows that might be willing to help us test the vaccine.”

John nodded to show he was listening even though his eyes were closed. “Dowager Longbottom mentioned that Lupin was very close friends with Harry’s parents. He was somewhat of an honorary uncle to Harry as well. I thought it would be prudent to check with you before we approach him about the vaccine, as he will undoubtedly want to reaffirm his relationship to Harry.”

Another sigh sounded from the chair before John opened his eyes to look at his companion. “Well I would imagine that like the others, he has not gotten to see Harry while he was with Petunia and her lot, so I couldn’t, in good conscience, keep them apart as long as Harry was comfortable with him. Just like the others, though, there will be rules and limitations on when this would happen, especially with Lupin being a werewolf. Hurting Harry is probably the last thing he would want to do and hopefully the vaccine will work, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. You can invite him in to help with the vaccine, and we’ll see how it goes from there.”

Sherlock tried not to show how excited he was to be given the go ahead on Lupin. He knew the combination of chemistry and potions would be revolutionary for the magical world if this vaccine was successful. He and Snape had already started brainstorming other potions that they would like to experiment with making improvements on. They had also cross checked muggle drugs that wizards did not yet have the equivalent of. There were not many, and although wizards had their own illnesses that were not seen in muggles, there were still susceptible to some of the same diseases that muggles were. He would of course do his best to make sure Lupin had honorable intentions before introducing him to Harry, but given what he had learned from both Dowager Longbottom and Snape about the man, he did not think he would cause any issues.


He turned his attention outward again. “Mummy has asked about the adoption progress as well. She wants to know when it will be finalized. She also made a few not so subtle queries about setting a wedding date, again.”

A small smirk crossed John’s face as Sherlock looked hesitant about bringing up the latter of the two topics. John was quite fond of the woman even as she sometimes scared him more than anyone he had ever met. He understood now why both of the infamously independent Holmes brothers still referred to her as Mummy. In this though, she seemed to be like every other mother, eager to marry her children off to good matches.


“I assume that you told her the adoption would be finalized in six weeks? That all we have left is the mandatory waiting period?” Sherlock nodded his head. “As for a wedding date, we haven’t really discussed that have we? I asked, you said yes, and that was pretty much it. So I suppose we need to discuss how we are going to handle our relationship, don’t we?”

John waited for Sherlock to tense up and close off like he would have before the Fall when discussing anything close to emotions. He knew that Sherlock had gotten better, if not more comfortable, dealing with anything resembling sentiment since he had returned, but after their initial few discussions about John’s feelings and what Sherlock had experienced, they had basically pushed the topic to the back burner. To John’s surprise, Sherlock didn’t tense up or close off, even though he seemed hesitant to speak.

“I told you once that I was married to the work. That was not always true. I have had relationships in the past, though obviously none have ever lasted long, for various reasons. A few years before I met you, while I was still at University, I met a man named Victor Trevor. He lasted the longest, but in the end I found that he had only been with me as part of a bet. You remember Sebastian Wilkes? Victor was a mate of his and Wilkes was part of the bet. That should explain some of the animosity between us to you without having me explain it all in detail. Victor was around long enough to make me trust him, begin to care for him, and sleep with him before I found out about the bet. Afterward, I began using more heavily than ever. I eventually met Lestrade and with the incentive of crime scenes he offered, entered rehab. I had been clean for only eighteen months before I met you. Mycroft controlled most of my trust fund, hence my need for a flatmate. I never could have imagined that night at Angelo’s just how vital you would become to me.”

Sherlock fell silent. John tried to control his emotions as Sherlock told his story. He knew he should have punched Wilkes when he had the chance. He also knew that Sherlock was waiting for him to respond. “I don’t identify as gay, and never have, you know this. This is not to say that I have never experimented with men in the past, because I was in the Army and it happens more than anyone is willing to admit. I was attracted to you when we first met, until you shut me down completely.” He stopped and both men smirked at this.

“I cared for you more quickly than anyone I have ever met. Through it all I kept my feelings to myself as I knew you weren’t interested. After the Fall, and after Harry came, Dumbledore and I used to meet every so often. He was teaching me about the magical world when he had time and sharing memories of Lily and James that I could pass on to Harry. He came by one day unexpectedly. Harry was out with Molly and Greg, so I was having a kip on the couch. He walked in during one of my nightmares. The one about you jumping. He woke me and asked about it. After I explained, he asked about my feelings for you and whether or not we were a couple. I couldn’t really explain to him what we were. After trying to describe it to him, we settled on life mates. It is something the Wizards call the person you see yourself spending the rest of your life with, whether a best friend, husband, wife, etc. The relationships can be platonic or non-platonic, but either way, you know you’ll be together forever. I decided at the time that that was the best way to explain what we are.”

Sherlock thought it over and decided that he liked the accuracy and ambiguity of the term. “It is quite a bit more accurate than ’best friend’. That moniker was never completely descriptive of our relationship. I will pose a question to you now though, John, would you prefer our relationship remained platonic, or would you be willing to try a non-platonic relationship with me?”

Sherlock held his breath while waiting for John to answer. It thankfully didn’t take very long before a grin split John’s face. “Definitely non-platonic, you gorgeous mess.”

John was up quickly and joined Sherlock on the couch. They had been more physically affectionate to each other since Sherlock had returned and had joined he and Harry in the bed at Mycroft’s house. They had even been sharing a bed at Baker Street since they had been home, but nothing more had happened between them than that. “Should we decide on a date now, or do you want to put it off a little longer? We can tell Mummy that we haven’t had a chance to decide yet.”

Sherlock grimaced, knowing that Mummy would know that line for the lie that it was. “We may as well decide now, she will become more insistent the longer we delay until one day we’ll show up somewhere and she’ll have planned the whole thing. It will be ostentatious, all of the extended family will be there to gawk. There will be four or five courses to the meal and a string band playing all the while. It will be absolutely hateful.” They both shivered.

John thought for a minute. “Alright well we don’t want all of that, so how about 29th January?” Sherlock looked at him from the corner of his eye. “The anniversary of the day we met John? Really?”

“Well, it gives us a couple of months to plan what we want. It’s sentimental, which appeals to me and it’s the opposite of what people would expect us to do, so it should appeal to you in that way.” Sherlock thought it over before nodding. “Fine, if we must pick a date, that one is as good as any, I suppose. I’ll let Mummy know.”

John, feeling a bit giddy at all that had transpired, cheekily asked, “So does this mean you’re finally going to go on a date with me instead of crashing all of them?”

Sherlock smirked. “A date? When two people who like each other go out and have fun? Come now, John, we do that almost every day and have done for years. Don’t be so pedestrian.” John rolled his eyes before pecking Sherlock on the cheek and rising from the couch to collect the empty tea cups. “Fine, you git. I’m heading to bed, you coming?” John threw a saucy look over his shoulder as he headed for the kitchen.

Sherlock raised an eyebrow and rose from the couch slowly. He stalked John’s path to the kitchen with a predatory air about him. He adored that John was always able to surprise him and decided to turn the tables on the shorter man. John stood at the sink rinsing their recently used cups. Sherlock stepped up behind him silently and leaned down until his mouth was centimeters from John’s ear. “Neither of us will be coming tonight, but soon John, very soon,” he practically purred before placing a whisper of a kiss to the skin of John’s neck just below his earlobe before spinning away quickly and heading toward the bedroom. John stood frozen at the sink, a shiver of anticipation running down his spine. After only a few moments he finished his task and headed for the bedroom. He was going to enjoy this new side to their relationship immensely because Sherlock, being Sherlock, didn’t do anything by halves and that apparently included seducing his life mate.

Chapter Text


Anthea was sat in her own plush office, while her boss and lover was engaged in an international conference call. On the oversized antique Victorian era desk in front of her sat the self updating ledger books, vault content lists, and property listings of the Noble and Most Ancient Houses of Black and Potter. After John had taken the few NEWTS that he could, he was eligible as Harry’s guardian to manage the assets of House Potter. Without an eligible sitting lord from the direct bloodline for House Black, management of those accounts went into the control of the heir of the house or, if underage, the heir’s guardian. John was self-admittedly not in a position to manage the vast portfolios of House Potter or the even larger portfolio of House Black, so he gratefully handed them over to Anthea, who was both qualified and eager for the challenge of managing both portfolios with the advice and assistance of the Goblins of the Gringotts Horde.

Anthea secretly thought that the Goblins were possibly the best investment bankers in the world, as they were able to increase profits and minimize losses almost effortlessly despite any downturns in the world markets. They were brilliant strategists and seemed to have a sixth sense about the trends of the market. If she were not completely muggle, she would have immediately sought to move her money to Gringotts once she learned about their existence. As it stood however, the Goblin Horde were not allowed to be the official account managers of any family in the wizarding world. Smart wizards, or at least ones who had any interest in keeping their money from stagnating, employed a goblin in an ‘advisory’ capacity to help them oversee their account. While some kept their advisor on a tight leash concerning any movement or investment of the family money, others gave their advisor quite a bit of leeway to run the accounts in any way they saw fit.

The current advisor for the Potter accounts was a brilliant goblin by the name of Stormcloud. He had increased the wealth of the Potter portfolio by nearly thirty percent in the few years that Harry had been with the Dursleys, all with no input other than the final instructions left by the deceased Lord and Lady Potter. He had worked the loophole in inheritance laws that stated a non blood related magical guardian, in Harry’s case Albus Dumbledore, had no access to or say in the accounts of his ward, while the same law stated that you must have at least one passing NEWT to be eligible to manage a portfolio of a Noble and Most Ancient House, which thankfully made that Dursley bint that was Harry's aunt ineligible to access the accounts as well. So Stormcloud, in all of his extraordinarily devious brilliance worked every angle he could, and there were quite a few, using the investment plan that the Potters had signed off on just before they went into hiding. No questions were asked and he made a tidy profit for both himself and the Potter accounts.

After meeting with him, Anthea was more convinced than ever that between the two of them, they would be able to quickly evaluate and organize House Black’s portfolio into being as productive as House Potters. The goblin that was employed as House Black’s advisor had unfortunately been basically sidelined by the previous Lord Black and had no wiggle room to maintain the accounts when there was no longer a sitting Lord to consult with. When the firstborn son and Heir Apparent, Sirius had first been disowned, the second son, Regulus, had become the Heir Apparent. When his death was confirmed from the family tapestry, Sirius had once again become the Heir Apparent despite the protests of his mother Walburga. When the last Lord Black, Arcturus, Sirius’ grandfather had died in 2011, Sirius had become the Lord Apparent, even while he was incarcerated in Azkaban. There had not been a sitting lord of the house since Arcturus’ death and the accounts reflected the lack of supervision.

Even with the great task of bringing House Black’s accounts back into the black (no pun intended) Anthea was enjoying herself immensely. She was currently going over the contents of the residence of Lord Black, a townhouse at Grimmauld Place in London, when she came across an item label that sent shivers down her spine. She immediately jumped up with the the inventory list in hand and made her way to Mycroft’s office. Knocking briskly she pushed open the door. He looked up from his computer where he had been making notes during his conference call and held up a finger to indicate that she should wait before speaking.

Mycroft ended the call with a sigh of relief after another ten minutes. Talking to the goldfish of the world, especially ones that considered themselves politicians was beyond tedious to him. His assistant also seemed to have something very important for him to look at if her anxiousness was anything to go by. “What is it my dear?”

She strode quickly to his desk and handed him the parchment scroll. “Look at the list and tell me what you see.” He scanned the list.

 

One set biting tea cups. Service for 12. Gifted to Arcturus Black and Melania McMillan at the announcement of their betrothal.

  One set silver dinnerware. Service for 24. Inherited by Orion Black upon the passing of Hesper Black née Gamp.

  One goblin crafted dagger. Imbued with venom from a Black Mamba. Gifted to Regulus Black upon his admission into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

  1 gold locket commissioned by Salazar Slytherin. Given to his lady wife at the birth of their first child. Soul container for one Tom Marvolo Riddle.

 

 “One of them is in the Black Seat then. I will have meet with John and Sherlock to give them the news soon. It is fortunate that no one other than Harry can access the house at the moment. I would not want this to fall back into the control of any of the Death Eaters. I do wonder however, how the object came to be there in the first place. By all accounts, Regulus Black the former Heir Apparent was loyal to Riddle’s cause.”

 “Perhaps he was entrusted with the locket by his Lord. Either way, we have already found one without knowing how many there are. Sherlock will be so disappointed that I’ve solved one of his mysteries without him.” She smirked at Mycroft while he chuckled.

 They would both have to be there when they told Sherlock that they had found one of the horcruxes. The look on his face would be priceless. She would have to film it so that she could send it to everyone.

 “Since the locket cannot be accessed, I will make Mummy aware that one has been located and we will discuss its retrieval and destruction at the meeting in two days time. Let us finish our work for the day. I believe that you have earned yourself a little time off.” With a smile and a swing in her hips, she went to clear up the ledgers and other papers that were scattered over her desk. They would be put in the safe for the night and she would return to them tomorrow.

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

 

Severus Snape was having an internal debate. On one hand he really did not want to contact Lupin and on the other he knew that he must have a test subject for the clinical trial of the vaccine. Working for the Dark Lord, he knew of quite a few werewolves as they had allied themselves to the dark faction of the war. He also knew that those were the ones who reveled in being a monster. They were vicious, bloodthirsty, and most of them were more than a little mentally unstable after allowing the wolf to take over so often and so completely. They relied heavily on the instincts of their wolf. He knew that they did not take wolfsbane for their transitions and would likely protest the use of the vaccine if it worked. For those who were bitten against their will, like Lupin, he hoped this would make their lives more bearable.

 He did not like Remus Lupin. Although the man had never instigated anything against Severus himself, he was often in the background when Black and Potter were at their worst and did nothing to stop or dissuade them from their bullying. He was, in Severus’ opinion a coward. He used his lycanthropy as a crutch especially after the events of that dreadful Hallow’s Eve. He had stayed in the wizarding world for a few years after the Potter’s deaths and Black’s incarceration, moving quickly from job to job to keep his disease a secret for as long as possible, until one day he had just disappeared into the muggle world. Severus had not seen him in many years and was not looking forward to seeing him anytime in the future. Unfortunately, needs must, and he needed Lupin to make this vaccine a success. With a sigh, he sat behind his desk and grabbed his personal stationary.

 

 

Lupin,

  I am quite sure that you have no idea of any reason that I would write you and a month ago I would never have imagined myself doing so, however here we both are. I have, in collaboration with a muggle scientist, found a possible vaccine for the Lycanthropy disease. We have run as many tests as we are able on the inert potion and now find ourselves in need of a test subject. I believed you might have an interest in helping us as this would be a mutually beneficial arrangement.

The potion is a more potent variant of the current wolfsbane potion. It is intended that you should not only be able to keep your mind but that the transformation itself should be optional. If you wish to transform into your wolf it will be a transformation more akin to the animagus transformation than the one you are used to. With the new formula, should you choose to transform, it should be much less painful if not pain free.

If you were to agree to trial the potion, we would provide three doses free of charge each month for the next three months. We are also willing to cover any medical bills that may be incurred due to the use of the potion or any side effects that may present after the potion has been ingested. We do not believe that there should be anything to worry over, but as this is an experimental potion, unforeseen events are always possible.

You should be aware that if you choose to trial the potion, you will be unable to take the wolfsbane potion for those three moon cycles. We will therefore provide an environment which is risk free for you and others for your monthly transformation, if it does indeed occur. Room and board will be provided during this three month trial as well.

Once you agree, as I am sure that you will, I will set up a meeting between you, myself and my colleague. We will discuss in depth what the potion does and how we believe it will change the essence of the transformation after three moon cycles. Please send your answer, either positive or negative, back to me within seven days. If you decide to join us, know that you will be expected to stay on the premises for the entire three months of the trial. This is for both your health and that of others.

I expect to hear from you in due course,

 

Master Severus Snape - Potions and Brewing

Potions Master and Professor - Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

 

Severus immediately left for the owlery to send the letter before he could change his mind about sending the missive. Holmes and Watson had better appreciate the sacrifice he was making by being in proximity to the wolf.

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

In a small cottage on the edge of the southern part of the Forest of Dean, Remus Lupin was editing his latest chapter of Practical Defense Against the Dark Arts, a fourth year curriculum book that had been commissioned by the American school Ilvermorney. He had spent the last few years moving from job to job before they discovered his condition only to find himself falling into the role of tutor to two American muggle born, or reborns as Americans called them, whose parents had been transferred to England to work in the American Embassy. He had literally run into the family, nearly knocking down the father, John, while leaving the Leaky Cauldron one day about a year and half ago. After apologizing profusely, John had struck up a conversation and mentioned that he was looking for a tutor for his two children who were not adjusting very well to the move and were therefore experiencing a higher than usual amount of accidental magic.

After having lunch with the family on their insistence, he was asked about tutoring the children. Liking the new family he had met, he disclosed his condition as the reason he should not be around the children, only to be met with their blasé attitude about the situation. Apparently in the States, being a werewolf was really not a big deal and there was little to no discrimination against them as long as they did not pose a threat to the population unnecessarily. He quickly found himself acting as a live in tutor to the family and enjoyed himself immensely until they had been recalled home three months ago. Before they left, John had spoken to some of his former school mates who sat on the School Board for Ilvermorney and recommended him to write and update several of the curriculum books for their fourth year syllabus.

Remus was incredibly grateful to the Grant family for everything they had done for him and promised himself that he would do his best to continue to better himself against all obstacles he may face and would not revert to the ‘poor me’ mindset he had for most of his life. John had pointed out the behavior very soon after Rems moved in with the family and told him that he was doing himself a disservice with that attitude. He rightly pointed out that Remus had a achieved a Master’s in Defense Against the Dark Arts on his own merit and that he should use his achievements to fight against the attitude that those afflicted with lycanthropy were mindless beasts or dark creatures.

He stood to refresh his tea, when he heard the tap on the window from the barn owl. Moving to the window he opened it, letting the bird settle on the back of a chair before untying the letter from his leg. Giving the owl a treat and a drink of water, he read the missive with surprise and quite a bit of hope. If Snape was correct, this could be an incredible breakthrough!

He could easily relocate for three months, as he could write from anywhere, and he was very interested in the reason that Snape would be working with a muggle colleague. Even if he didn't like the man, he could admit that Snape was a brilliant potions master so he wasn’t really worried about any side effects that may occur with the vaccine.

He quickly wrote back to Severus letting him know that he was willing to meet to discuss the treatment and wrote to John to let him know of the situation. Sending Snape’s note off with the same owl who had delivered it, he then tidied the cabin up a bit and went back to his work while he waited on a reply. He would send John’s letter tomorrow through the international owlery. It looked as if fate was still smiling on him favorably and he would use that to his advantage as much as possible.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

The sitting room of 221B was once again filled with some of Britain’s greatest minds, along with Anthea who was sat with Stormcloud of the Gringott’s Horde. After everyone was settled, Anthea began with the news she knew everyone was waiting for. “After discussing the situation with Account Manager Stormcloud, who brought it to the attention of some of the Gringotts Curse Breakers, we can say that a living being cannot be a horcrux.”


There were several sighs of relief at this news, the loudest belonging to Albus. “This is wonderful news, my friends. I am so very relieved to have been incorrect in my conclusions. However, I do wonder, if Harry’s scar is not a horcrux, what is it exactly?”

 


Stormcloud was the one to answer. “According to our Curse Breaker’s, it is most likely to be a failed possession. We believe Lady Potter used an ancient ritual along with runes to cast a protection spell over her son. In the ritual we believe she used, she would have drawn runes of protection in her own blood on her son. We believe this is why the scar took the shape of the rune Sowilo. This could have been done at anytime. To seal the ritual, Lady Potter would have had to offer herself as a willing sacrifice in place of her son. If this occurred before the False Lord killed her, any spell he fired at the young Heir would have turned back on him threefold. As we know, all that was found was a pile of robes and his wand. Therefore we are inclined to believe that the ritual was a success. With Lady Potter’s sacrifice imbuing Heir Potter - Black with blood protection, the possession would not have been able to exert the influence that a successful possession would. We believe this is why the young Heir has not been affected in any way. Lady Potter’s sacrifice is essentially acting as a shield. With this protection in place, we can easily remove the failed possession.”


Smiles and relief were shared between everyone in the room. “We have more good news to share.” Anthea continued. “We have located one of the False Lord’s horcruxes.”


Sherlock sat forward quickly. “How? Where? I have surmised that he made three. It is a powerful number in Arithmancy and would make sense if he was going to make more than one.”


Anthea smirked. “It is a locket located at the London seat of the Black’s, Grimmauld Place. I found it when going through the inventory that was done after the death of Lord Arcturus.”


She handed copies of the section of inventory around to the others. “Harry will have to go with us, to let us into the wards, but once the item is retrieved, the Horde is able to move the soul piece to another object without destroying the container it is currently in. The locket is a valuable artifact and once cleansed, it can be displayed at Hogwarts, though it will still belong to Harry.”


“Sorry, but how does it belong to Harry? He’s not a part of the Slytherin bloodline is he?” John was back to looking worried.


“He is not a part of the bloodline, however, when the False Lord, who is the last Heir of the Slytherin line, left behind his mark on the young one, he inadvertently marked him as his Heir. While primogeniture is the most common way to pass on a title, naming an Heir in an official Gringott’s document, like a will, or blood adopting someone will make them your Heir. There is another little known practice that has fallen out of favor, which involves sharing your magic with another. The failed possession acts in a way that Magic perceives as shared magic. Our documents are self updating. When we checked the documents we have on the Slytherin vault, young Harry was listed as the secondary Heir of Slytherin. Before you panic, we believe that once we remove the failed possession from the young Heir, this will no longer apply. The Lordship will be revoked without an heir and the assets & properties will fall under the control of Hogwarts as is written in the Hogwarts charter.”


Sherlock and Mycroft both nodded, following the convoluted inheritance laws easily, while John sagged in relief on hearing that Harry wasn’t going to be the Slytherin heir. Mummy, who had been quiet up to this point, cleared her throat before speaking. “I believe our priority should be to rid Harry of the taint that he carries with him. We can then go to Grimmauld and retrieve the abomination that is there. I believe that Sherlock and Professor Snape are meeting with Mister Lupin in two days time?” Sherlock nodded to his mother. “It may be wise to take Mr. Lupin with you to Grimmauld Place. My intelligence has found that he holds a Master’s in Defense Against the Dark Arts, and with the few things that are on this inventory list, I suspect the house could be very dangerous for us all if we are not careful. Mr. Lupin was also friends with the Lord Apparent, so it is possible that he has been to the house before.”

 


Everyone agreed that this would be a good plan of action. “Bring the Heir through the floo to Gringott’s tomorrow at 10 A.M. We will do the cleansing then. I, along with two Curse Breaker’s will accompany you to Grimmauld Place. At the moment, only the Lord Apparent, Heir Potter - Black, and myself are able to get through the wards. Do not attempt to cross them without me there. The Black Wards are infamous and they are deadly. They will not harm the Heir, but could easily kill you if you are not added to them correctly.” With this statement and a short goodbye, Stormcloud left through the floo back to Gringott’s to arrange the cleansing for the young Heir.

 


The rest of the group remained after the goblin’s departure. “Sherlock, you said that you believe that Voldemort made three horcruxes? Have you finished watching the memories I provided for you? Do you know what they could be?” Dumbledore was eager to know what the detective had come up with.


“Yes, I finished the memories. They were helpful. I believe he only made three, though I do not know why he stopped at those. Seven is an even more magically powerful number and that could have been his original goal. The first, I believe was made when he was about 17. That is the first time there is a large change in his personality and appearance. The second, when he was working at Borgin & Burkes after he finished his schooling. His appearance had once again changed. Then at some point between leaving Borgin & Burkes and the time he was seen for the first time as Lord Voldemort. The first time he was reported in that persona he had distinctly snake like features. It was only a few years between his first appearance as Voldemort and his demise at Godric’s Hollow. His appearance did not change in any great way during that time. I am hoping to find something more when we search Grimmauld Place. With Regulus being one of his Death Eater’s, before his disappearance, I am certain we will find something there to lead us to the next horcrux.” Sherlock was in his thinking pose. He could tell he was missing something important about Regulus Black and his role as a Death Eater, but until he was able to search Grimmauld, he doubted he would be able to figure it out.


Albus nodded. He had the same thoughts on when the horcruxes were created. “I will accompany you to Gringott's tomorrow if you will allow. I would like to see Harry freed of his burden for myself.”


With the agreement of John and Sherlock, Albus excused himself back to Hogwarts and the rest of the group also began to leave in singles and pairs. Finally, only Mummy was left and the boys both knew what she was after.


“We will be married on January 29th at the cottage in Sussex that Grandfather left me. It will be a small affair, no more than thirty guests at the most. We will have both the ceremony and reception in the greenhouse. It should be warm enough there and the views will be be stunning. Nothing over the top, plants and fairy lights for the decor, and Angelo will be coming to provide the food. You may choose the champagne and wine that will be served. We will let you plan the rest, if you can stay within our set boundaries.” Sherlock tried to be stern, but Vivienne’s smile was megawatt. She knew this would be the direction that they would go. Mycroft’s wedding, if he ever got around to proposing, would be a grand affair, but her Supernova and his Soldier Doctor would want something that was more about them than their surroundings.


“It will be spectacular, my little star. I will take care of everything, never you mind.” She smirked as she rose from her chair.


Sherlock groaned. “Mummy, I have told you not to call me that anymore! I am a grown man!” He also rose and kissed his mother’s cheek, grumbling all the while.


“That is exactly why I still do it dear.” With a smirk and wave she was off before he could protest further. John just chuckled at the betrayed look on his fiance’s face. “I really like your mother, have I mentioned that?” He continued to chuckle as Sherlock huffed and walked into the kitchen.

 


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 


Sherlock, John & Harry stepped out of the floo at Gringott’s Bank fifteen minutes before 10. They were met in the reception room by Albus and Stormcloud. Stormcloud quickly led them to an elevator which took them into the bowels of the bank and then through twisting stone corridors. The room they arrived at had massive wooden doors inscribed with runes and beyond them a circular stone room. There was a raised stone altar in the middle of the room.


Stormcloud explained to them what would happen and handed them a simple linen shift to change Harry into. After that was complete, John walked Harry to the altar and placed him on it. An unknown goblin approached them a minute later and had John walk to the containment area in the room. He spoke quietly to Harry and assured him that the procedure would not hurt him. Harry nodded and lay down, making himself as comfortable as possible on the cold stone.


The goblins in the room, four in total, stood at the cardinal points around the altar. Stormcloud made his way over to the containment area and raised the protection wards around it. The four in the containment area held their breath as the four goblins began to chant in their guttural language. The chanting continued for five minutes before Harry started to glow with a golden aura. Suddenly a shadow lifted from the area around Harry’s scar. The shadow was spherically shaped and appeared to be a dark mass. The goblin on the northern point of the circle directed his wand to the crystal that lay on the altar beside Harry and the mass was absorbed into it quickly, turning the crystal into a dark purple shade from it’s original light pink.


The glow around Harry seemed to sink back into his skin. The goblins chanted for another few minutes before closing the circle and ending the ritual. As soon as he saw the others move from their places in the circle, Stormcloud brought down the wards and John and Sherlock raced toward Harry. Harry was just sitting up and shivering when John picked him up. “Are you okay Harry? Does anything hurt?”


Harry snuggled into his Papa seeking warmth. “Just cold Papa. Da, are we done?”
The two adults shared a smile over his head, before walking over to meet Albus and Stormcloud. “Well done, young Mage. Your scar should start to heal itself now. Are you well?”


Harry smiled at the goblin. He had a funny way of talking, but Harry liked him. “I’m okay Mr. Stormcloud. Can you tell your friends thank you? They left already.”


The goblin nodded to him, amused that the child assumed they were his friends, but secretly delighted that he was so polite. “I will let them know, young Mage. If you would like to dress, I will lead you out.”


As Sherlock helped the boy redress, John and Albus spoke with Stormcloud. “The cleansing was a success. The golden glow that you saw was the protection that Lady Potter gave to her son. It should last until he reaches his majority at the very least, but could possibly last longer. I will check the records for the Slytherin vaults later today and let you know whether the young one is still listed as the heir. You should make sure that has chocolate at some point today and it is likely that he will nap for a few hours also. The ritual would have drained at least some of his energy, which is part of the reason he is feeling the cold so easily.”


The adults nodded and followed the goblin back to the ground floor of the bank. They paid the Knut to use the outgoing floo and arrived home only an hour after they had left. John wrapped Harry up in his Minion blanket and placed him on the couch. He made tea for the adults and a hot chocolate for Harry. They spent a lazy afternoon with Harry sleeping off and on and John and Sherlock planning for their meeting with Lupin, which would occur the following day.

 


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 


Remus Lupin checked his belongings, which were shrunk in his pockets, once more before walking into the third floor laboratory at St. Bart’s Hospital, London. He immediately recognized Severus Snape from their Hogwarts days. He was bent over a notebook next to another man with dark, curly hair. Both looked up when the door opened. Remus found himself captured by intense sea glass colored eyes. He could practically feel the judgement coming from the other man and felt incredibly vulnerable for a moment. If he wasn’t absolutely certain that legilimency couldn't be performed on his kind, he would be concerned that the man was reading his thoughts.


After another moment, Snape interrupted them. “Lupin, thank you for coming. Let me introduce you to Sherlock Holmes. We have collaborated on this project and it is a mix of potions and muggle chemistry. Sherlock Holmes, Remus Lupin.”


Remus moved forward to shake the man’s hand, when he got a whiff of a long missed scent. It only lasted for a moment, so he put it to the back of his mind quickly. Snape had continued to talk about the potion and what he could expect while taking it. They covered the potion and related topics for about two hours before the door opened again to admit a man of his own height, with dirty blond and gray streaked hair. He had a friendly face, but a guarded air about him. He walked up to Remus and shook his hand while introducing himself.


This time the smell of his cub was unmistakeable to both Remus and Mooney. This man was practically saturated in the scent. Using the hand that was in his, he pulled John in close and sniffed him again. His eyes went amber and he growled softly. “Cub, hurt, taken. Many moons. Failed pack, protect cub.” He continued to sniff John, while Snape held Sherlock’s arm to keep him from moving forward. “He’s feral at the moment Holmes. Give him a minute to gain control. John smells like his cub, the wolf won’t hurt him. He’s confused about why this man is not pack, but smells like his cub. The wolf brain is very close to nature. Their main thought is to protect the pack and the young.”


Snape made sure to speak loud enough that John could hear him, but that he would not startle the wolf. After another minute, Remus’s eyes went back to their normal hazel color and he released John. “I am sorry, Mr. Watson. I apologize if I startled you, but why do you smell like my cub? Where is Harry?”

 


Remus looked to Snape for his answer. “John is Lily Potter’s first cousin. He took Harry in and is in the process of adopting him. If my schedule is correct, Harry should be at school at the moment.”


Remus sagged against the bench. “He’s okay. My cub is healthy?” He looked to John this time. “Harry is very healthy now.”


“Now? Not before?” Remus’ eyes flickered amber for a moment, before settling back down. “Who hurt my cub?”


Snape answered him once again. “He was with Petunia for almost three years. John has had him since he was removed from her. She and her husband were arrested and are now in jail. As of yesterday, he is the healthiest he has been since he was living with Lily and Potter.”


Remus nodded shakily. “Will you allow me to see him? It has been years. I was away on a mission when my pack was betrayed and Harry was orphaned. He is all I have left of my first pack. He is my only cub.”


John and Sherlock shared a glance. “We were planning to let you see him, if he wanted to. We will explain who you are and how you know of him. If he is willing to meet you, you can join us tonight for dinner.”


Remus nodded with tears in his eyes. He turned away from the men and wiped his face. “Thank you. I can’t explain how much it means.” He turned back around and avoided eye contact. “Can you tell me more about where I will be staying?”


The men nodded and changed the subject to more details of his stay and what it entailed. It was easy to see how much this man cared for Harry and how broken he had been at the loss of his pack all at once.

 


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Harry and his two best friends were on the outdoor play structure when John walked out of their classroom’s back door. Although there was a brisk wind blowing, their teacher had decided that they absolutely needed some time outside today and his Papa was early to pick him up. They instantly climbed down and raced over to John giving him hugs in greeting. John hugged them each in turn and asked about their day which prompted them to begin talking all at once. John nodded as though he could understand each of them and smiled once they were done. “Well, I came to pick up Harry as we have a special guest who wants to meet him. Neville, I know that it is our week to pick you up, but you’ll be going home with Hermione today, alright?”

Neville nodded to John and after hugs goodbye, the two collected Harry’s bag before leaving. On the short walk back to Baker Street, Harry asked his Papa who was there to see him. “An old friend of your parents wants to see you Harry. He’s helping your Da and Professor Snape with their werewolf cure. He knew you when you were a baby and has been looking for you while you were with Petunia. He’s very excited to see you again.”

Harry wondered to himself who this person could be. He wished that he had found him when he was living with Aunt Petunia, but he would probably not have gotten to live with his Papa and Da if that had happened. He loved living at Baker Street and the family that he had now were the best he could have wished for. Suddenly doubts began to creep in. “He won’t take me away will he Papa?”

John stopped walking and knelt down on Harry’s level. “No, Harry, he doesn’t want to take you away. He just wants to spend time with you like your Aunts and Uncles do. He loves you very much and has missed you a lot. He only wants to make sure you are safe and happy.”

Harry thought it over before nodding slowly. He would give the man a chance, but he would be staying with his new family and friends. All too soon for his liking, they reached the black door with gold numbers and ascended the stairs. Harry was the first to the top and he walked into the sitting room to see his Da, Professor Snape, and an unknown man in the sitting room. He ran immediately to his Da and gave him a hug, then turned to the dour man sitting in his Papa’s chair. He assessed the man with his head tilted to the side.

“Don’t even think about it!” A deep voice drawled. Harry rushed over to him and gave a quick fleeting hug to the man’s arm before moving away quickly with a smirk and a chuckle. “Hi, P’fessor Snake!” The man grumbled about cheeky brats ruining his reputation, but Harry could tell he was secretly pleased. This routine had turned into a game between the two every time the man was there, with Harry trying to give him a hug, and the Professor trying to avoid the aforementioned hug. Harry was positive that he didn’t try very hard despite all his grumbling.

Harry then turned to the other man in the room, whose eyes he had felt watching him since he had come in. The man looked as worn as the clothes he was wearing. He had scars, some light and others darker, on his arms and hands, with a few on his face. His hair was similar to Papa’s with gray mixed in, although his was darker than John’s dirty blonde. Harry noticed quickly, that the man had tears in his eyes. “Hello, cub. It’s wonderful to see you again, although you probably don’t remember me.”

Harry didn’t answer immediately, instead taking a few steps closer to the man. When he did he could smell books, chocolate, and a hint of forest. He remembered that smell, though he wasn't sure why. Unbidden, a name suddenly popped into his head. “Uncle Mooney?”

The man practically beamed at him. While the others in the room were a bit shocked. John, who had hung his coat and dropped Harry’s bag by the coat rack, stopped on his way into the kitchen. “Do you remember him Harry?”

Harry shook his head. “Not really, but he smells like books, choc’late and forest. I ‘member that smell.”

Sherlock smirked. “Scent memory, John. His brain remembers the smell and that it was associated with Lupin, but doesn’t have any specific memory to identify him.”

Everyone nodded, though Remus’ smile had dimmed a little. “Yes, cub, you used to call me Uncle Mooney when you were a baby, though it sounded more like Unca Mooey at the time.”

“I’m sorry I don’t remember. Will you tell me about when I was a baby? We don’t have any pictures or anything.” Harry moved to sit on the couch beside the man. Remus’ heart became a bit lighter at the trust his cub was showing him. “Of course, cub. Let’s see, my favorite memory is when you got your toy broom….”


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Remus had shared many memories with the group and mentioned that Lily had several albums full of pictures of baby Harry, though he did not know what had become of them. He decided that it would be a good project to work on during his confinement when he wasn’t busy writing.

He had also received a note back from the Grants encouraging him to help with the vaccine and with the news that the board was impressed with his first drafts of the revised curriculum and were already talking about having him revise other levels. All said, he was currently the happiest that he had been in many years.

He had been told of the horcruxes and the partial possession of his cub after making an unbreakable vow to never reveal the secret. He was now, along with several others, making his way to the London seat of the Black’s. They rode in one of Mycroft’s black cars, though the man was not with them. He had been to the residence only once, but he had already shared what he could remember of the layout of the house and anything that Sirius had said about the infamous wards, which unfortunately wasn’t a lot. Before he knew it, they had stopped in a run down street with rows upon rows of homes as far down the street as he could see.

Once out of the car, they were met by Stormcloud and two curse breakers, who had arrived under a notice-me-not charm. Short greetings and introductions were exchanged, before Stormcloud took Harry’s hand gently and approached the front door. “Do you remember what you need to do, young one?”

Harry looked over to the goblin, who was only a few inches taller than himself and nodded. “I have to put my hand on the door and make the wards open to let us in. Then we have to go to the study and change the ward book to let ever’body else in.”

The goblin nodded to his charge and then prompted him again. “What do you do if the house elf is alive?”

“I demand that he obeys me as the heir of the house.” The goblin nodded to the boy beside him. “Very good, young one. Are you ready?” Harry nodded to him and they approached the front door of the house. Harry laid his hand on the door and commanded the wards to allow him entry. “As heir to the Most Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, I command the wards to open to me.”

Nothing happened for a long moment, then the house seemed to shudder and the door swung open with a loud groan. Still holding the goblin’s hand, Harry entered the house and then allowed Stormcloud to move in front of him. The entryway was dark and dusty, but dirty wall sconces flared to life as they continued into the hallway. The wallpaper was dingy and peeling in spots, though it was easy to tell it had once been very nice. They made it to the base of the stairs and Stormcloud immediately started up them, with Harry following behind. Harry thought he spotted movement in one of the dark corners, but dismissed it as a trick of the low light and flickering of the wall sconces.

At the top of the stairs on the next floor up, Stormcloud turned left and entered the second door along the hallway. The door groaned much like the front door had and the two entered a study that had more natural light than the hallway but was just as dusty. Harry followed the goblin over to the ornate desk and pulled open the middle drawer, extracting the ward book from it’s depths. Opening the book, he took the quill handed to him by the goblin and started to add the names of those still outside. He had a list that his Papa had written beside the book to make sure he was spelling everyone’s names correctly. Though he had learned to use a quill, it still took him several minutes to add the names to the book. When he was done, his childish scrawl looked silly when compared it to the elegant writing that was above it. While Harry was writing the names in the book, Stormcloud was reading the names at the top of the page and he had Harry cross out several of them.

Once finished, Harry placed the ward book back into its drawer and they went downstairs to let the others in. Each crossed into the hallway without issue, with the curse breaker's leading the way. They started scanning the hallway and quickly found a mild tripping jinx on the ugly troll leg umbrella stand and a permanent sticking charm on the portrait that hung further down the hallway. As they approached the portrait, it began shrieking. “Filthy creatures! Mudblood scum! How dare you defile the House of Black!”

Harry had covered his ears and retreated to John’s side immediately. The screeching continued but a hand on his shoulder had him looking up. John nodded to him and he was reminded of what he had been told to do should something like this happen. He took a deep breath then spoke in the most commanding voice that he could. “As heir to the House of Black, I demand you shut up!”

The sudden silence was deafening. The lips of the portrait seemed to be sealed shut. The woman glared at them all. Stormcloud studied the portrait. “That is Walburga Black, young Mage. She was the most recent Lady Black and she passed on two years ago now. She was a vile woman in life and that has apparently carried over into her death. While you can’t take full control of the wards, you do have control over the portraits and the house elf, if it is still alive. If you ask the portraits any questions, they must answer you honestly and fully. They, like the elf, will be unable to act against you.”

Harry nodded in understanding, before turning back to the portrait. “Is the house elf still alive Mrs. Black?” They watched as the she tried not to answer the question, but she was quickly compelled to do so and nodded her head. “What is the elf’s name?” Again they watched her struggle against the compulsion to answer. “Kreacher” she eventually spat out at them. Harry called the house elf after receiving a nod from the goblin and his Papa. The ancient looking and stooped elf popped in front of Harry only a few seconds later. “Dirty mudblood little master calls Kreacher?”

Harry narrowed his eyes at the elf. He immediately didn’t like him. “Kreacher, you will answer Stormcloud’s questions. That is a direct order.” The elf mumbled under his breath. “Kreacher understands he must answer filthy goblin’s questions.”

The adults in the room stiffened at the insult to the goblin in their midst. Stormcloud just smiled, showing all of his sharp teeth. “Tell me elf, do you know of the location of the False Lord’s horcrux?”

Kreacher began twisting his ears as he tried not to answer. “Master Regulus…oh my poor master!” The elf twisted his ears harder and began to pull at them. Sherlock, who had surprisingly not said anything since they had entered, finally got fed up.

“Answer you disgraceful elf! Tell us what happened to your Master Regulus and where the horcrux is! The heir to the House of Black is in danger because of its existence. Will you fail your Heir the same way you failed your last Master?”

Everyone in the hallway gasped at what Sherlock had said. Those that knew him, heard the old Sherlock in the bluntness of his statement and his demanding tone. Harry looked at Sherlock with a frown. “Da, that was mean.”

Sherlock glanced at him before going back to staring down the elf. “Yes, but it was true. An elf’s duty is to serve and protect his family. Kreacher knows about the horcrux, which means that he was involved somehow in its appearance here. He lamented his poor master. Regulus is dead, so it must have happened while they were retrieving the horcrux. The elf would not have acted against his Master’s wishes, so Regulus must have ordered Kreacher away before he died. Regulus must have given him a task to complete, otherwise his magic would have punished him for failing to protect his master. Tell us what happened Kreacher. We are here to destroy the horcrux, which is the task that Regulus left you. Tell us from the beginning.”

The elf was in clear distress. “The nasty muggle talks to Kreacher. How does filthy muggle know?” The elf mumbled to himself. John leaned down to Harry and whispered in his ear. Harry looked over at the elf sadly. “Kreacher I order you to tell me what happened to your Master Regulus.”

Kreacher keened as he heard the order. He pulled on his ears and then began to tell them of the night Regulus had ordered Kreacher to assist the Dark Lord. He told them about the cave and the poison that he was made to drink. He told them that once he had returned and told his master of what had happened, that Regulus was able to figure out the item was a horcrux and that he had grown disillusioned with the life of a Death Eater. He told them of the night they had gone to retrieve the locket and of Regulus ordering Kreacher to leave him and destroy the horcrux when the inferi had almost overwhelmed them. The elf told them of the many ways he had tried to destroy the locket, all to no avail. He was in hysterics by the end.

Severus had provided Sherlock with a few child safe calming droughts for Harry just in case and he pulled one out of his pocket now and handed it to John. John approached the distraught elf and poured the potion into his mouth after one of the curse breaker’s had restrained the poor thing. Harry had caught on and ordered Kreacher to swallow the potion. The elf began to immediately calm down, though he was clearly still upset. Remus, who had stayed well back from the demented old elf after hearing the stories that Sirius had told him, finally spoke up. “Kreacher, if you show us where the horcrux is, we can help you finish your task. It will only take the curse breaker’s a few minutes.”

The elf looked at the werewolf and nodded. His dearest wish was to complete the last task Master Regulus had given him, even if he had to accept help from creatures, muggles, and mudbloods. He got up without assistance and began to shuffle further into the house. The curse breakers followed him Immediately, with everyone but John and Harry following them. John had held Harry back, not wanting him anywhere near an actual horcrux. He stooped down to Harry’s level and spoke quietly to him. They could hear Stormcloud raising containment wards around the room and then the same chant they had used to move the possession from Harry to the crystal, this time with the goblin, two curse breakers, and Remus acting as the cardinal points of the circle. The chanting continued until there was an otherworldly screech and a flash of light.

The group exited the room after finishing the ritual, a cloth bag holding the crystal in Stormcloud’s hand. Something golden glinted in Sherlock’s hand, which he showed Harry and John once he had reached them. They looked at the locket and had a quiet conversation. Kreacher suddenly reappeared holding a journal, though the only one who had noticed that he was missing had been Sherlock. He approached Harry and thrust the book out at him. “This be Master Regulus’ journal. He writes all his secrets in here. Little master wants me to tell, but Kreacher cannot. This tells secrets.”

Remus, who was standing only a few steps away and still had his wand out, quickly began casting spells at the journal. The older of the two curse breakers had the same idea. The elf continued to hold the book and let the two test it. After only a minute, they stopped and nodded to each other. Remus then nodded to John. “It’s clean of anything harmful.”

Sherlock took the diary from the elf when it became apparent that Harry wasn’t going to. He then addressed the elf. “Kreacher, we have two options for you. You can be given clothes or you can continue to serve the House of Black. If you choose to stay, however, there will be no more name calling. The Black House will be going in a different direction in the future than it’s usual dark leanings. You would also be expected to refurbish and maintain this house in a way that befits the status of an Ancient and Noble House. It is absolutely disgraceful the way it looks now. I cannot believe that your Master Regulus would have allowed you to slack off in your duties in such a way.”

As Sherlock spoke, the elf began to look around as if only just waking up. He was instantly appalled at the state of the house. He couldn’t understand how he had let the house fall into such disrepair. “John and I are Harry’s guardians, so you will be seeing us quite a bit and neither of us will allow you to continue acting the way you have been today.”

Remus cleared his throat and interrupted Sherlock. “It’s likely with all of the dark artifacts in the house along with the horcrux itself, that Kreacher’s actions have been influenced more negatively than they would normally be. I would suggest sending him to the goblins for cleansing and retraining.”

Sherlock looked to Stormcloud and the curse breakers who both nodded in agreement. “We are already scheduled to cleanse the house of it’s dark artifacts. We can take the elf and cleanse him as well. Once the house is cleared, he will likely have an easier time of renovating and cleaning. Already the atmosphere here is lighter with just the horcrux contained.”

Remus and the curse breakers all agreed. Remus was more sensitive to environmental changes because of his wolf while the curse breakers had learned to be aware of their environment due to the nature of their jobs. Even John had nodded. The air in the house felt much lighter than it had when they had come in, like opening the windows for the first time in the spring.

Kreacher looked over to Harry. “Little master lets Kreacher stay?” Harry nodded at the elf. “You can stay with House Black, but you have to be nice to people. No name calling anymore, okay?”

The elf thought it over before making a decision. “Kreacher will serve the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. Kreacher bes born here and wills die here. Then Little Master wills mount Kreacher's head on the wall with his ancestors.”

Harry looked horrified by that thought and wasn't able to say anything. Sherlock jumped in quickly. “Go with Stormcloud, Kreacher. He will arrange for your cleansing and retraining. We will call for you once you are ready.”

Kreacher nodded and followed the goblin and curse breakers out of the door. The three men and Harry followed after them. They watched the first group approach the notice me not area and portkey away before climbing back into the black car and being driven back to Baker Street.

Harry was tiredly leaned against John and all the adults were aware that the boy would most likely suffer from nightmares for the next little while. They were prepared to deal with them as best as they could and would support Harry through it all. None of them had wanted Harry to have to come today and had prepared him in the best way they know how, but it clearly hadn’t been enough. Hopefully, he would not be needed for the rest of the horcrux hunt and the adults would be able to handle it.

 

Chapter Text

I feel it safe to admit, even if it is only here and never spoken aloud, that the Dark Lord has become insane. He has turned from his original goal of preserving our traditions and now kills entire families who have been part of our world since it’s founding simply because they do not support him. I suspect that they would support him if he wasn’t into wholesale slaughter.

I will never be able to forget some of the things that I have seen since taking my mark. Even now, years after the fact, some of the acts of depravity I have seen committed in his name and for his entertainment turns my stomach. I do my best not to think of them at all, but sometimes, in the middle of the night, the memories invade my dreams and I am unable to stop them.

 

++++

It is becoming harder to hide my change in loyalties from others. I have used as many excuses as I reasonably can to stay away. I am a master occlumens, but HE is a master at all mind arts. He has never broken into my mind, but then he has never had reason to think he needs to. I cannot tell anymore if he is becoming suspicious or if it is simply my paranoia getting the best of me. For now, I will do my best to keep my head down and try to avoid drawing his attention, though I know it will not work for long.

++++

HE has become more unstable recently if that is even possible. He seems preoccupied by something as well. His moods, while always mercurial, have become dangerous. Porter was tortured today for wearing shoes that somehow offended HIM. I’m unsure how shoes could be offensive, but as I have stated, he is insane. He has begun to use the unforgivables even more often than before. He throws the cruciatus around like it is a tickling charm.

I know there are others now who are beginning to doubt the direction we have gone in. Lucius, for all that he agrees with the original goals, now has another heir on the way. He and Cousin Cissy have already lost one potential heir to the Dark Lord’s unfathomable rage. HE hit her with the cruciatus while she was in her first trimester and caused her to miscarry. HE says it was accidental, but I suspect it was to punish Lucius for failing to recruit Sirius. The worst part of all of it, if there is a worse part than losing a child, is that she isn’t even a marked supporter. Now she will never agree to be marked. If one thing terrifies me more than HIM, it is a female Black who has been wronged.

Severus has also seemed displeased lately. He is lucky that he is able to use his potions as an excuse to be absent much of the time. I will watch him for a little bit longer before approaching him. Although we have been friendly since my first year at school, even a hint of betrayal towards the Dark Lord will mean my death.

++++

I have approached Severus. He was more receptive than I could have hoped and we swore an unbreakable vow to keep the other’s true loyalty a secret. He is willing to assist me in whatever way he can. We have decided to start slipping a slow acting poison into some of the worst of HIS follower’s food. This does not include my dearest cousin Bella, who was “born cracked” as Sirius used to say. After she was forced to marry Rodolphus early because of the scandal with Andromeda, she seems to have become a demonic cackling version of herself. Gone is almost any hint of the girl I knew growing up. The only time we even catch a glimpse of our Bella is when she and Cissy are alone. She dotes on Cissy and always has. Now that Cissy is carrying, Bella seems more protective than ever before. With Bella being a truly accomplished witch, it can only be a good thing to have her on-side, even if it only extends to Cissy.

+++++

HE was boasting today, which in itself is not an unusual occurrence, but I was very interested in the subject of his boasting. HE stated that he had “gone further down the path to immortality than anyone had before.” Once we were dismissed I came straight to the library and began to research.

+++++
I have found it. The way that I believe the Dark Lord has made himself immortal is through horcruxes. I found a small book, hidden behind others and was curious. After reading it, I can see now why it was hidden. There are things in that book that even Dark aligned witches and wizards would be repulsed by. I am not ashamed to admit that after the reading I lost my lunch.

Now that I have a starting point, I can focus my research. It has been noticed that some of the Death Eaters that we have been giving the poison to have become weaker and sickly. Severus has assured me that it is untraceable and with the house elves putting it directly on the food, no one should suspect us. It is amusing to see some of them casting revealing spells on their food, changing seats, and avoiding those that have already been affected as if they have the plague. We will continue where we can. Severus has mentioned approaching Lucius. I told him I would think it over, but really I think Cissy would be a better choice. Again, nothing is scarier than a Black with a grudge.

+++++

I saved them today and I’m not sure why. My brother Sirius and that muggleborn Evans, (though I heard that she married Potter) where striding through Diagon as if they hadn’t a care in the world. Yaxley and Dolohov were following them at a distance. I say following, but I think they were herding them toward Knockturn. Sirius seemed oblivious, but Evans caught on to what was happening early. She spotted me, I think, watching them. She pulled Sirius into Fortescue’s saying that she had a sudden craving. It allowed me to divert Dolohov and Yaxley into Knockturn where I bought them each a pint. I left them there as soon as I could and continued into Gringott's which had been my original destination. Of course with my luck they were there. I was careful not to be seen by Sirius, but Evans, as observant as ever, spotted me. She made eye contact and gave me a subtle nod of thanks. I glanced down just as she smoothed out the front of her robes and noticed a small swell. She was obviously with child, though not as far along as Cissy. If I hadn’t been sure of my actions, I was now. I am glad that I chose to help them.

++++++

Three. That mad bastard made THREE horcruxes! It is no wonder that he has gone insane. Also, he is actually bastard, of a MUGGLE no less! After talking with my Mother, she unwittingly gave me quite a bit of information on the Dark Lord, including the name he went by when they were all in school together. Tom Riddle, Heir of Slytherin, or at least a branch of that family which still carries the name. As best as I can tell, he made three horcruxes spread over a twenty year time period. I can only assume he stopped at three once he realized he was HALVING his soul and not just splitting it. My gut tells me that he originally wanted seven, with how powerful a number that is arithmetically. I will continue my research into what they could be, though given how obsessed he was with the founders, at least according to Mother, I think it would be beneficial to look there first.

++++++

During another of his tantrums at the last meeting HE let slip that he had placed a curse on the DADA position at Hogwarts. The curse is apparently tied to an award for services to the school he earned while a student there. It will not allow a professor to stay in the position for more than a year. It confirms what many of us have suspected for a long while. I have often suspected that the constant rotation of teachers was to create at least a generation of magic users who would be unable to protect themselves adequately, making it easier for HIM to take over. I am unsure what to do with the knowledge at this time.


+++++
I have never admitted it to myself, but I always thought that Lily Evans was an incredible witch. Many said she was the brightest witch of our generation, and I have to agree. A letter arrived for me by owl post today. It appeared to be regular correspondence, the kind you would have with any distant acquaintance and along with the the usual sort of inanities, there was a strong recommendation about a book that I might enjoy, The letter wasn’t even signed, other than a sketch of a pond with lily pads on the bottom of the page. It took me a little while to catch on, I’m ashamed to admit. I thought at first that it must be a prank, but I went to library anyway and searched for the book title. Luckily Grandfather Phineas was a book hoarder and we indeed had a copy of it. I read it through and was admittedly stumped. There are only a handful of rituals in the book, most of which are unbelievably complicated, but on second glancé I believe that I found what she was leading me to. That brilliant witch has found a long forgotten ritual to reunite broken souls and FORCE them to move on. According to the ritual, if you have a split soul, magic recognizes you as dead. You must collect or destroy the majority of the soul pieces and then the ritual can be used to force the rest of the soul into the ether. I can’t tell if it sends a soul to judgement or obliterates it completely, it’s not really specific on what happens afterward, just that all the soul pieces are “dead”. Once I am able to collect all the horcruxes, I plan to use this ritual to rid the world of the Dark Lord.

I haven’t shared this with anyone, yet. Though I am positive I will need Severus’ help with the potion part of the ritual. My gut is telling me to keep this a secret for now.

+++++

The Dark Lord asked for a house elf at the gathering tonight. I volunteered Kreacher. I suspect this may have to do with HIS horcruxes and if so, I will need the information that Kreacher will be able to provide afterward. I only hope my loyal elf will live through this night.

+++++

Kreacher arrived home in a terrible condition. I have nursed him throughout the day and night, but he seems to be hallucinating all manner of nightmares.

Once he finally became coherent on the third day, he told me what it was the Dark Lord had him do. He made my poor Kreacher drink poison, then placed a locket at the bottom of a basin. Kreacher describes the locket as “unbearably evil” so I can only assume it is in fact a horcrux. Once Kreacher has recovered, I will order him to take me back to the cave. I will retrieve the locket and once I have done so, I will tell Severus about the horcruxes and ritual that his Lily found. May magic continue to guide me, as I go where none should follow.

+++++

Sherlock had reached the last entry of Regulus Black’s journal and was shocked at all that had been revealed. He immediately called John into the room and handed him the book to read. When John finished, they knew immediately that they would have to find the book with the ritual that Regulus and Lily had found. Knowing that they would have to travel back to the Black Townhouse, they mutually decided that they would not be bringing Harry with them.


They had of course contacted Stormcloud and the rest of the ‘think tank” as John called them with the the news. There was excitement for both the information that had been found in the journal as well as the news that the goblins had found a second horcrux at a dilapidated shack that had once belonged to Tom Riddle’s mother’s family. The shack was the last home of the Gaunt’s, who were the last known descendants of the Slytherin line.

After the locket had been found in the inventory of the Black Townhouse, the goblins had decided to inventory all of the known properties that belonged in any way to the Slytherin line. They had searched both the shack and the rundown mansion that had belonged to the muggle side of his family. Nothing had been found in the mansion, other than the lingering residue of the killing curse in the dining room, where the family was known to have been killed. The mansion had been stripped of anything that could be sold, although the goblins were unsure whether this had been done by Tom or the people of the village.


With the discovery of the ring under the floorboards of the shack, they realized that they had a majority of the False Lord’s soul collected already. Once they retrieved the book, they would be able to complete the ritual and would finally be able to fully finish off the False Lord.


++++++++

With the help of Kreature it was easy for John and Sherlock to locate the book that Lily and Regulus had referenced. After finding the ritual and waiting a full month for the potion they need to be brewed, the group, including Sherlock, John, Albus, and Mycroft were once again in the ritual room underneath Gringott’s. Stormcloud and the Bank Manager Ragnuk had joined them as the ritual team were drawing the runes that would be needed to power the ritual.

After appropriate greetings had been exchanged the Goblins began to explain what they expected to happen. “Although we will be behind a protective ward, you will more than likely be able to feel the magic as the ritual goes on. It will feel like oppressive, humid air and it may get hard to breathe. Be aware that should anything happen we will be unable to get help until the ritual is concluded.” All of the men nodded their understanding and as the protective ward was raised, Sherlock placed a hand on John’s back needing the comfort of contact.

Once the ritual started, just as they had been told, the air began to grow heavy, making it difficult to breathe and their hair stood on end as the electric feel of the magic touched their skin. As the ritual reached it’s zenith, a diadem suddenly popped into being over the two crystals that held the already recovered parts of Riddle’s soul. As the mist rose from the diadem and was pushed into a third crystal, the wraith form of Voldemort was pulled into the ritual circle. The wraith fought against the power of the ritual, but was unable to escape. The soul fragments rose out of the crystals, as the goblins continued to chant, and merged with the wraith causing it to let out blood curdling screams as the soul was pieced together.

With a flash that left most in the room seeing spots the soul of the Dark Lord was vanquished. Almost immediately following the flash a wave of magical backlash spread from the center of the room. It knocked everyone except John off of their feet, overpowered the wards of the chamber and continued out of Gringotts. The muggles would be the first to report any problems as they experienced severe and widespread electrical blackouts for several hours afterward.

As the ritual was closed after the team had regained their feet, Sherlock could see John was bent over and breathing harshly. As he began to gag, Albus quickly conjured a bucket and held it under him. As John began to sick up a dark substance, Sherlock could only rub his back and worry about what was happening. After a few minutes, John seemed to be done and Albus vanished the bucket and it’s contents. Just as John stood up straight, a team of Goblin healers arrived and began to scan each of the them in turn. When they scanned John, who was still shaky, they let loose a stream of curse words.

“Why was a Void allowed to observe a ritual of this nature?” The head healer snarled at Ragnuk. Both Stormcloud and Ragnuk gasped at the question.

“He can’t be a Void! There hasn’t been one in nearly 500 years!” Ragnuk was shocked.

“Well he is and is now suffering from the maliciousness of the False Lord’s magical backlash.” The head healer sneered.

John who was definitely suffering from something decided to interrupt to get some answers. “Hello, sorry, but what exactly is a Void?”


The goblins all turned to look at him. “You’ve heard of squibs, which is what we thought you were?” John nodded. “A Void is a very very rare mutation of the squib gene. Where a squib has magic and a magical core, but cannot release that magic a void absorbs the magic around them before releasing back in one way or another. For an example if you are tied to a ward, you will not drain them but the magic you absorb will instead power them, which will make them stronger. They are constantly fed as you release the magic you draw from around yourself. Rune based magics won’t be affected either way. If the magic is malicious in intent it will often make the Void ill as it has done you today.

As you absorb magic, if your intent is strong enough, you may be able to change what the results will be. I believe that you may have done that today as the backlash of the release of magic was unusually large. Never before has a ritual overpowered the wards of both this chamber and the outer wards of the bank itself.”

Everyone was a bit dumbfounded for a moment. “I most certainly need to know what you were thinking during the ritual as it may have influenced the magic of the ritual or changed it in someway.” The healer continued.


John shook his head. “I was thinking that I hope Riddle and those that wanted to follow him get what they deserve. That the victims and their families would get closure once he was gone for good. That there could be changes that are desperately needed to make positive change in your world.”

The goblins looked at each other before nodding. The healer walked away to speak with the ritual master. After a short conference, the healer re-joined the group. “After speaking with the rune master, we believe you essentially called judgement upon Riddle and his followers. What the fallout of this will be is unknown. Usually when judgement is called, Lady Magic will look at the intent of the actions called into question. As there were many followers that were never caught, plead imperious, or where tortured and blackmailed into joining we will almost certainly see various results.”


The group discussed for a few minutes what the possible outcome might be before breaking up to head their separate ways. The goblins had advised John to rest, have chocolate, and to be in a positive environment as much as possible over the next few days to combat the malicious magic he had absorbed.

Chapter Text


Daily Prophet

MAGICAL SURGE OVERRIDES THE GRINGOTTS WARDS - CAUSES MUGGLE BLACKOUTS AROUND DIAGON ALLEY


Earlier today, a large surge of magical energy exited the Gringotts Ward system and caused widespread blackouts in the Muggle areas around the Ministry of Magic and Diagon Alley. Several Wizarding businesses in these areas reported that their Ward levels had also been affected. Florian Fortesque of Fortesque’s Ice Cream Parlor reported that his wards were stronger than they had been in many years. His report was repeated by many other shop owners in the areas that were affected.


Gringotts issued a statement about the incident. “The Gringotts Horde performed an ancient ritual this morning. The strength of the resulting backlash overrode both our inner and outer wards and allowed the surge into the areas of Diagon Alley and the Ministry of Magic. We are currently working with the Muggle Liaison to restore power to areas that were affected adversely. We believe that Wizarding areas should have received a positive boost in their warding schemes. If your wards were adversely affected, you may file a claim with Manager Hammerclaw within the next three days.”

 

20 AZKABAN PRISONERS DEAD!


During routine checks this morning at Azkaban Prison, more than twenty long time inmates were found dead in their cells with no apparent cause of death. All of the inmates were convicted Death Eaters. Included in their number are the notorious Bellatrix LeStrange, Rodolphus LeStrange, and Rabastan LeStrange who were caught after they attacked the home of former Aurors Frank and Alice Longbottom and tortured them into incoherency. The Longbottoms have since the attack, been in the Janus Thickey Ward at St. Mungo’s for ongoing treatment, but have made little progress since their initial diagnosis.

The Prison Warden, Malcolm Church, assures us that the Dementors were not the cause of the inmate’s deaths. He also states that Sirius Black, the traitor of the Potters and right hand of Who Must Not Be Named is still alive.


With the death of the Lord LeStrange and his wife, who were childless, yet another pureblood wizarding line has been ended. The Daily Profit will release the names of other prisoners after their families have been notified.

 

 

WIZENGAMOT GUTTED! MAGICAL VOID FOUND! YOU KNOW WHO’S SOUL DEAD!

 

After the incident at Azkaban in which more than twenty convicted Death Eaters were found dead, reports began to come in from St. Mungos and various private healers that there was a sudden influx of wizards and witches who have seemingly lost their magic!

Upon hearing of these widespread reports, the Chief Warlock, Albus Dumbledore, called an emergency Wizengamot meeting this evening. As the Wizengamot convened it became clear that a large number of its members were missing. Noticing this disparity in numbers, the Chief Warlock asked for a formal Roll Call. The clerk, upon opening the Roll Call scroll immediately raised the alarm to the change in status of nearly one quarter of its members. The Lords and Ladies, who met last only weeks ago, were in many cases replaced by the names of the Heir Apparent or Heir Presumptive, the majority of whom are underage and therefore unable to vote their family seat.

As you might imagine this caused a near panic in the chambers, dear readers. Once the Chief Warlock was able to regain order in the chambers, he quickly brought the session to order. The missing and replaced members of the governing body were moved to the top of the agenda with a motion made by Madame Marchbanks and seconded by Lord Johnson.
Those of you who are particularly savvy may have guessed already which members the Wizengamot were missing. The bulk of the members were of the Traditionalist Movement Party and included the Lords Malfoy, Avery, Nott, Crabbe, Goyle, and Jugson. There were also two members who were part of the Neutral Party, Lords Rowle and Dolohov who were missing. See page 6 for the full list. All members were at one time accused of, or suspected to be members of the Death Eaters. All of the Lords listed above plead the Imperious Curse as a cause of their actions during the Voldemort Blood War. The Wizengamot voted to detain all missing members to question them on their absence.

After this vote, the Chief Warlock turned matters to the reason he called for the emergency session. He read a proclamation that once again had the chambers in an uproar. I have included the full content below.

“On this, the 15th day of November, in the year two thousand fifteen, I Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore declare that I have witnessed the destruction of the soul of the false Lord, Voldemort, born as the wizard Tom Marvolo Riddle, by ancient ritual. I declare also, that the ritual was performed by the Goblins of the Gringott’s Horde in accordance to all laws and treaties now standing and was further witnessed by the Leader of the Gringott’s Horde, Ragnock the Bloody Bruce, Her Majesty’s Royal Liason, the Baron Holmes, and the Proxy of the Ancient and Noble Houses of Potter and Black, unnamed at their request, status: Magicae Inanis. So I swear, so mote it be.”


By the end of the statement, the Chief Warlock had to raise his voice to be heard over the commotion in chambers. For those of our readers who are not aware a Magicae Inanis has not been found in over five hundred years in the wizarding world. That this Magical Void is the proxy to the Houses Potter and Black, and presumably the guardian of the Boy Who Lived is a great blessing from Lady Magic. For more on Magical Voids see page 3.
Due to the shock that was received by its members and their failure to calm in a reasonable amount of time, the Chief Warlock was forced to call a recess of the session which will reconvene tomorrow morning.

 

 

Wizengamot Chambers

Albus called the recess of the session with a bang of his gavel and quickly stood from his seat. As he made his way from the chambers, he made eye contact with both Minister Bagnold and Amelia Bones. He inclined his head towards the Chief Warlock’s office and after a slight nod from both women, made his way there. He waited only minutes before both were able to enter the office, after which he spelled the door locked and imperturbable. He sat heavily and gestured both women into the chairs across from him.


Minister Bagnold, a no nonsense woman, started with “What in Merlin’s name is going on Dumbledore?” Followed by a query from Madame Bones of “Who is this Magical Void you discovered?”

He smiled slightly at both women. “Let me start at the beginning shall I?” He filled the women in on the events of the past year and a half concerning Harry, John, and the discovery of the horcruxes that Voldemort had made. Both women were stunned by the tale, but greatly relieved that the threat of Voldemort no longer existed in any form.

“I am not sure how much either of you know about Voids, but according to the goblins, they believe that John managed to change some of the intent of the ritual as the magic was released through the wards. He was thinking of justice for those harmed and change to spur our world forward. I believe that the deaths in Azkaban, which were of Voldemort’s most loyal and lethal death eaters and the loss of magic in others is Lady Magic’s judgement and penalty upon their actions. Severus Snape, as you know defected before the Potter’s deaths and has been my spy since then. His mark has disappeared and he is still very much alive and with all of his magic. I theorize that Lady Magic is penalizing based on three factors. First, the willingness to join the organization, the actions you undertook as a member, and the degree to which you abused her gift.”

“In Severus’ case, he repented his actions and tried to help as many as he could, therefore Lady Magic has not penalized him. The worst of the Death Eaters are dead, and those that were not as...enthusiastic let’s say, have lost their magic.”

‘Based on this theory, it is my belief that in the next several days we will continue to see reports of magic loss, deaths, and possibly, hopefully, be able to reach those that were actually under the imperius curse.”

It was quiet in the office for a few moments before Amelia spoke. “You realize that if our missing Lords have indeed lost their magic, we can question them under veritaserum without Wizengamot approval? They may still be purebloods, but the way the law is written is that pureblood wizards are questioned only after the vote, not pureblood squibs. We can finally get some answers without all the interference we usually have.”

Both Albus and Bagnold smiled. Albus had not had time to think about that yet, but it would be a great asset in the coming days he knew. The Minister was happy that she was now able to think clearly for the first time in years. “I don’t believe that we will need to go far to find an imperious victim. I am thinking more clearly than I have in several years and those years are quite a blur, not sharp as memories should be. Albus, could you check, please?”

Both Albus and Amelia had been alarmed, but Albus quickly pulled his wand and cast the spell to check for residual traces of the Imperius curse. When Milicent glowed a bright red, Amelia let out a curse. She quickly cast her mountain lion patronas and gave it a message. “Shacklebolt, Smith, Henderson, report to the Chief Warlock’s office immediately.” The patronas leapt out of the room and Albus unsealed the door. Minutes later they were joined by the three Aurors. She relayed the relevant details to them about Albus’ theory and Millicent's imperious result. The six of them made a quick plan to start testing and detaining ministry employees. “This is finally the chance we have been waiting for. I want this building swept top to bottom and every single person that comes through tested for a dark mark and Imperious residue. Start in the Auror department, I know we all have a few that we are suspicious about. The three Aurors nodded.

“Once the department is clean, we start detaining those that have lost their magic. Former Wizengamot members at the top of the list. I’ll call in Moody and a few of the other Retired Reserve to help out. The three nodded again and left to get started. Amelia turned to Albus. “Is there anything else that I need to know?”

Albus shook his head. “Not at this time. Thank you Amelia, go and start your cleaning, you have a long few days ahead of you. We will see you in session tomorrow.” She nodded and placed a hand on Millicent's shoulder for a moment before walking out the door.

Albus and the Millicent looked at each other for a moment. “You know that you cannot govern without clearance from a healer. Shall I escort you to St. Mungos?” Millicent sighed and nodded. “Yes, you probably should. I feel better than I have in years, but there should be a corroborating witness that I signed myself in for evaluation and treatment.”

They rose and Albus once again sealed his office. They departed through the floo to St. Mungos. Albus waited patiently while the Minister signed herself in and then left her in the care of healers. “It is nice to have you back, dear friend.” He departed with a wink in her direction and a twinkle in his eye.

 


Daily Prophet -


AURORS AND MINISTRY STAFF DETAINED AND QUESTIONED

In an unprecedented and quietly executed defensive maneuver, Amelia Bones, Head of the DMLE, along with several Aurors swept through first the Auror Department and then the rest of the Ministry late last night and early this morning. They detained, questioned and tested every person that was present in or entered the Ministry building for the Dark Mark, signs of the Imperious Curse, and Dark Sympathies. Those that were found with any of the three things mentioned above were detained and questioned. Several were released after questioning, but many were kept and placed in holding cells for further questioning or testing. No comments or statements were available from the DMLE or Amelia Bones.

 

MINISTER BAGNOLD TESTS POSITIVE FOR IMPERIOUS

Minister Millicent Bagnold, in the presence of Chief Warlock Albus Dumbledore, entered St. Mungos after the emergency Wizengamot session yesterday evening and checked herself in for evaluation and treatment of long term exposure to the Imperious Curse.
It is a little known fact that certain positions including those of Minister, Chief Warlock, Chief Witch, and Partisan leaders must have clearance from a registered healer to return to work if they have tested positive for Imperious residue.
Minister Bagnold remained at St. Mungos overnight. The head healer of the hospital, Christoff Abbott, is expected to release a statement within the next twenty four hours on the Minister’s condition.

 

SIRIUS BLACK, 4 OTHER DEATH EATERS STILL ALIVE AND HAVE THEIR MAGIC

Sirius Black, the right hand of You Know Who and betrayer of the Potter Family is reported by Azkaban Warden Malcolm Church to be both alive and testing positive for normal magical levels. He, along with four other convicted death eaters were removed from their cells yesterday afternoon and moved to the Azkaban hospital wing in anticipation of either their deaths or the loss of their magic. As reported, all other convicted death eaters that were imprisoned were reported deceased yesterday morning. Neither healers nor the Warden have an explanation at this time why these five are in stable condition.

 

FORMER WIZENGAMOT MEMBERS DETAINED

Of the twelve members who missed yesterday's emergency Wizengamot session, five have been detained and four were found deceased. Among those detained were the Lords Crabbe and Goyle, along with House heads Allison, Bulstrode, and Flint. Lords Jugson and Dolohov, House head Carrow and Clan head Thickness were all found deceased. Still wanted are Lords Malfoy, Avery, and Parkinson. All detainees have been placed in interrogation rooms and some of them will be questioned during today’s Wizengamot session. No statement has been made on the status of their magic at this time.

 


Wizengamot Chambers

Albus, with Amelia by his side, watched as the Wizengamot chamber once again slowly filled. Everyone was wearing their magenta robes and there was a buzz in the air that had not been there yesterday. Each member had been questioned and searched as they entered the Ministry and many were very unhappy about the process. He glanced to Amelia, on his right and nodded to the clerk to sound the alert that the session was ready to begin. At the sound of the chimes, the members quickly took their seats. There was a large gap where the Traditionalist Party had their grouped seats, with only two members of the party once again appearing. Albus was surprised that they had passed the questioning and search, but trusted Amelia and her Aurors to be thorough.

“I call this three hundred and ninety-fourth session of the Wizengamot back to order. Clerk Cresswell please read the minutes followed by the Rolls. The clerk proceeded to cover the points from the previous evening and then once again called the formal Roll Call. They had lost another five members overnight, all but one were Ministry workers who had been detained during the sweep.

As the clerk finished, Amelia read out the agenda and then had the reports of the ritual passed out to each member in the chamber. Albus finally spoke and was able to get through his explanation of what had happened at Gringotts, what the Goblins, the Unspeakables, and he himself had theorized had happened when judgement was called upon the death eaters, and as much detail about John being a void as he could without giving away his identity. Overall the members seemed much more focus than they had been the previous evening. After questions were asked and answered, Lord Ogden brought a point of order to the room. “Lord Ogden has the floor.” Albus replied.

The older gentleman stood. “What are we to do about the reports coming out of Azkaban that Sirius Black and four others are still alive and with their magic? By your theory, they should be either dead or without magic by now.” He remained standing to wait for the answer.

Amelia asked for the floor and stood after she was acknowledged. “I had one of my Aurors pull the files for the five inmates in question. I received four files. The file for Sirius Black seems to be missing. Upon reviewing the files that I did have, I had the healers test the inmates for the Imperius curse. All four came back positive for long term exposure. Furthermore, it was noted that as each one was convicted and were tattooed with their inmate number, all four had the Dark Mark on their arm. When the healers looked again this morning, all the Dark marks had disappeared. I believe that we need to move the inmates here to have them questioned before this body.”

The volume of the chamber rose before settling again as Albus banged his gavel. Lord MacMillan stood and waited to be acknowledged. “In light of this new information, I move to have those five inmates moved to the Ministry holding cells to be question before this body.” He sat.

“We have a motion on the floor, do we have a second?” Albus called.

Lady Ainsley stood.” I second the motion.”

Albus called for the vote which was easily passed by the majority.

Moving on to the next item on the agenda, the detained Wizengamot members were brought in and questioned thoroughly. There were all found to have lost their magic to varying degrees, though not a single one of them rated more than two points above squib level. They could still see through wards and use magical objects, but were unable to use their wands for anything more than a lumos spell.

 

 

MALFOY DETAINED BY MUGGLE AURORS AFTER LOSING MAGIC!

Lucius Malfoy was detained by muggle Aurors in London after losing his magic. The former Lord was found wandering in the area of the muggle entrance to The Leaky Cauldron, but was unable to see the establishment. Some of the muggle business owners in the area called in the muggle Aurors about Mr. Malfoy’s confused and increasingly violent behavior.

When the Aurors arrived, Mr. Malfoy refused to calm and after a verbal altercation pulled his wand on the muggles. The muggles, assuming this was a weapon then shot a taser at Mr. Malfoy rendering him unable to move and arrested him. He has been detained since the incident. See an explanation for taser on page 8. The Queen’s Liason and Madame Amelia Bones are currently working to have Mr. Malfoy transferred to Ministry holding cells.

 

 

FOUR FORMER AZKABAN INMATES RELEASED BY WIZENGAMOT

Four of the former inmates that survived the death of You-know-who have, after testimony before the Wizengamot and under the influence of veritaserum, been found guilty of their actions, but released for time served. All four tested positive for Imperious residue and through their testimony proved that they did not take the Dark Mark willingly. Their further actions during the war were a result of the Imperious placed on them. All four are receiving mandatory treatment at St. Mungos. Sirius Black will be tried tomorrow morning before the Wizengamot.

 

 

ORDER OF MERLIN RECIPIENT FOUND DEAD NEAR OTTERY ST. CATCHPOLE

The full body fo Order of Merlin recipient Peter Pettigrew was found near Ottery St. Catchpole in Devon today. As you may remember, Sirius Black was accused of killing Mr. Pettigrew on the night after the Dark Lord was defeated by Harry Potter. At the time, all that was found of Mr. Pettigrew was a part of a finger.

The body was found in the orchard of the Burrow, the home of the Clan Weasley. Arthur Weasley, who works for the Ministry in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts office is the head of that branch of the Weasley Family. Mr. Weasley reports that his son, Percival, age 10 reported that his pet rat was missing earlier this morning. After leaving for work, Mrs. Molly Weasley allowed her older children to search the grounds in and around the family home for the missing pet. The identical twins, Frederick and George, age 8, were the ones to find the body.

Aurors were dispatched after a frantic floo call by Mrs. Weasley. The body was identified by a former classmate of Mr. Pettigrew, Auror Erasmus Biddlecombe. Statements given by the DMLE earlier this afternoon have left this reporter wondering what, if anything, Sirius Black may know about Peter Pettigrew and how his body came to be found on the grounds of the Burrow.

 

 

Chapter Text

Wizengamot Chambers - Ministry of Magic

The Wizengamot were gathered for the third time in less than a week. The press boxes and public viewing seats were filled, though several of the hereditary seats for members remained empty. As Dumbledore took his seat, he could see a handful of barely of age wizards and witches standing on the floor. He took a deep breath before banging the gavel. “I declare this three hundred and ninety fifth session of the Wizengamot open.”

After the session opened, the role call was done and the previous minutes read, Albus looked to those on the floor. “Do we have any declarations that need to be made?” The six on the floor shuffled their feet before a tall young man stepped forward and crossed his wand over his heart. “I, David Densmore, since the death of my father, four days prior, declare that I am the rightful and acknowledged Chief of the Clan Densmore. Furthermore, I declare my intention to assume my role as a member of this body as is my right by inheritance and law. I declare that my house will vote with the Neutral Alliance at this time, though reserve the right to re-align our allegiance at any time in the future. So I say, so mote it be.”

The members of the Wizengamot echoed, “So mote it be.” This formal acceptance of seats was repeated by the other five young adults on the floor before they took their seats. After this was done, Albus gestured to Mycroft, who was seated slightly behind and to his right. “I would like to point out that we have the Royal Liaison, the Baron Holmes with us today at the request of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. I will remind you all that the Royal Liaison will only vote in the event of a tied verdict. He is also serving as the third member of High Office needed to call the Wizengamot to order.” Albus asked for new business, of which there was none brought forward as the whole hall was eager to get to the reason they were all there.

“I call for the prisoner Sirius Black to be brought before this body to answer for any crimes he has committed. Please bring the prisoner in.” The doors opened and a gaunt, pale, but presentable Sirius Black was escorted in by two Auror guards and followed by his barrister. Once he was seated in the defendant’s chair, chains sprung up and wrapped around his wrist and ankles. With a nod from the barrister, Albus began.

“In light of the missing file of the prisoner known as Sirius Orion Black, the Head of the DMLE, the Royal Liaison, and the Chief Warlock, a quorum consisting of three of the four needed High Officers, as stated in Section 6, subsection 4, article 2 of the Statute of Secrecy, have unanimously agreed to try Sirius Orion Black for his crimes.”

“Sirius Black, you have been brought before this body to answer for the crimes you have been accused of. You are accused of being an accessory to the murder of Lord James Potter and Lady Lily Potter of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter. You are accused of the attempted murder of Harrison Potter, the Heir Assumptive of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter and the Heir Assumptive of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Black. You are accused of the the murder of the wizard Peter Pettigrew, Order of Merlin Second Class. You are accused of joining the terrorist organization lead by the wizard Tom Riddle, known as the Death Eaters. You are accused of the murder of thirteen muggles. How do you plea to these charges?” A hush had fallen over the room when Albus began to speak.

The barrister stepped forward. “Theodore Tonks, barrister hired on behalf of Sirius Black. My client pleads not guilty on all charges and requests the use of veritaserum while answering the court’s questions.” Murmurs were heard after the request.

Veritaserum could be requested by anyone on trial, though few were confident enough in their own innocence to request the potion. Once the potion was requested, the Wizengamot could not deny the request, so Albus nodded to the Ministry Potioneer. The man stepped forward and showed the vial to Barrister Tonks, the Chief Warlock, and the Ministry Prosecutor who all confirmed that the seal of the vial was intact. Three drops were administered to Sirius and the typical identifying questions were asked. Once it was determined the serum was in full effect, the Ministry Prosecutor began asking questions. It became almost immediately obvious to many that Sirius Black was an innocent man.

State your full name for the record.

Sirius Orion Black

What is your date of birth?

3 November, 1959

Are you known by any other names?

My nickname is Padfoot

Did you kill the Lord and Lady Potter

No

Did you attempt to kill Heir Harrison Potter?

No

Did you kill Peter Pettigrew?

No

Are you a member of the terrorist organization known as the Death Eaters?

No

At this time, both barristers looked at each other and had a small whispered conference. After a quick nod to each other, they turned to Albus. “Chief Warlock, we would like to ask the courts permission to proceed with another line of questioning. Both Barrister Allerton and I have agreed that it pertains to the case and may gives us answers to some of the questions we have surrounding the night of the Potter’s death.”

Albus received a nod from both Mycroft and Amelia before agreeing. “The court grants your request.”

Allerton began a new set of questions.

 

Were you the secret keeper of the home belonging to Lord and Lady Potter located in Godric’s Hollow?

No

Do you know who the secret keeper was?

Peter Pettigrew

How do you know that Pettigrew was the secret keeper?

I was there when Lily performed the ritual to create the Fidelus Charm making Pettigrew the secret keeper.

Where you aware that Peter Pettigrew was a Death Eater?

No

Did you suspect Pettigrew of being a Death Eater?

No

Do you know how Pettigrew could have turned up dead only a few days ago, when he was reported deceased four years ago?

He was an animagus. His form was a common rat. When I confronted him on the muggle street, he cut off his pinky finger before blowing up the street and transforming into his animagus form. I assume he escaped into the sewers. I was knocked down and hit my head in the explosion. When I woke up, I was in Azkaban.

At this point Ted cut in. “Have you ever had a trial before the Wizengamot?”

Not until today.

 

The Potioneer stepped up to give Sirius the antidote while aloud murmur broke out among the Wizengamot. A prisoner could only be held for up to one year without a trial. It was a good thing that Black was innocent as that bit of information would have resulted in a mistrial and they would have been forced to release him, even if he was guilty. The two barristers conferred once again before approaching the stand that Albus, Mycroft, and Amelia sat behind. Albus erected a privacy bubble and the five of them conferred for a full two minutes on how to handle the situation.

Once they agreed on a course of action, Albus dispelled the bubble and the barristers returned to their area. “The High Officers and the barristers for both sides agree that because of the high profile of this case and the individuals involved, we would like the Wizengamot to vote on a verdict rather than calling for a mistrial. We feel that it would be in the accused best interest if there were no question of his guilt or innocence in the eyes of the public due to the ambivalent nature of a mistrial verdict. If you have an objection please light your wand red.”

Albus waited for a full minute with no objections. “As there are no objections, we will now call for a a vote. For those voting guilty, please light your wands in red. Those voting innocent, please light your wands in blue. You have one minute to vote. If you do not light your wand during that time, your vote will be marked as abstained. Please cast your vote starting now.”

Almost immediately, the clear majority of the Wizengamot’s wands were lit blue. The seats that were empty were marked as abstained. They all waited the required minute before lowering their wands. “By a vote of 38 for, 0 against, and 12 abstained, I declare that Sirius Orion Black is innocent of all the crimes he has been accused of and grant him the status of a wizard in good standing with the Ministry of Magic. Any property taken at the time of his arrest is to be returned to him within twenty four hours. He is required to undergo mandatory treatment at St. Mungo’s Hospital under Head Healer Abbott for his time in Azkaban and exposure to the Dementors. He is to remain in St. Mungo’s for a minimum of thirty days and a maximum of ninety days unless he is released by Head Healer Abbott before that time.”

Albus banged his gavel and the chair’s chains released Sirius. The Aurors who had brought him in came forward to help him again. They would escort him to St. Mungos and the care of the Head Healer. Director Bones had made it clear that everything involving this man was to be done by the book. After what had come to light that day, they completely understood why she had made such a big deal of it. Black was an Auror during the war and if this could happen to him, then it could easily happen to them as well.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

John felt like he had the flu. He had almost all of the symptoms, but knew it was only the backlash of the magic. He had been confined to bed for almost a week. He slowly seemed to be recovering, but if he had to eat one more chocolate bar, he might never be able to eat it again. He was relieved to know that he had an appointment with the Head Goblin Healer later this afternoon to see how he was recovering.

Both Sherlock and Harry had been absolutely wonderful about taking care of him this week. Sherlock made sure that he had everything he needed and Harry had spent much of his time cuddled up with John watching movies. Mycroft and Albus had been so busy clearing things up on both sides that he hadn’t heard from either one since the day at the bank. While he was extremely glad that Voldemort wouldn’t be a threat to his family, he hadn’t realized how much work the cleanup would take.

His cynical side, that sounded suspiciously like Sherlock, realized that most governments were in some way, shape, or form corrupt. He just hadn’t suspected the depth of the corruption in the magical government. He read the Daily Prophet each day as soon as it arrived to keep up with what was happening. The fact that almost a third of the Wizengamot was caught in the purge alarmed him. He would have to suggest to Albus that the go over all the laws that had been passed in the last fifty years to see what needed to be changed immediately and what could wait. No matter what, the magical world needed to make changes now if they wanted to live without another dark lord rising.

He had done his best to help them along the way. Now all he could do was wait and see what they would do with the opportunity.

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

St. Mungo’s Hospital

Sirius held on tightly to Ted as they stepped out of the floo into St. Mungo’s lobby. They walked, with an Auror on each side past the elevator and into the Creature-Induced Injuries Ward. The Mediwitch there called for the Head Healer to meet them. In short order, Sirius was changed into the hospital issued gown and settled in his bed. Healer Abbott ran basic diagnostics before giving him a pepper up potion and a half of a bar of chocolate. They discussed his planned treatment for the next month before the healer finally left him alone with Ted.

“I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for me Ted. I am so grateful that Andromeda made you take on my case.” Sirius smiled tiredly up at his cousin-in-law.

Ted chuckled back. “You know how scary the Black females are. If I had refused she would have made my life miserable for the foreseeable future. She refused to believe that you were guilty or even capable of what they accused you of, from the very beginning, but without a powerful pureblood line backing us, there wasn’t very much we could do.”

“Well, when my belongings get to me, hopefully soon, I’ll take care of that little problem. Now, tell me about my godson. Who has been raising him? The Longbottoms should have gotten him after me and then Remus after them.” Ted could see the hope shining in Sirius’ eyes.

“That is a bit complicated Siri. Somehow, after that night, Dumbledore was made his magical guardian and he placed him with Lily’s relatives. That is all the public has been told. He requested that I advise you not to do anything in regards to Harry until he can come and talk to you about the situation. Also, the Longbottom’s were incapacitated by Bellatrix, her husband and brother-in-law, and Crouch Jr only a few days after you were sent to Azkaban. The four of them died a few days ago along with all the other incarcerated Death Eaters. Many of the ones that bribed their way out of Azkaban are either dead or squibs. We think that is what happened to Pettigrew. His magic killed him and he morphed from his animagus form into his human one. The Weasley twins found his body in the orchard. Between the fact that the five of you at Azkaban were alive and had all of your magic and finding Pettigrew’s body, not to mention the fact that they couldn’t find your file anywhere in the ministry, and we knew they would have to bring you to trial. So Andromeda sent me to represent you. It’s the best opportunity we have ever had to do so and we wanted to make it count.“

Sirius blinked, trying to absorb all he had been told. He was worried about Harry and vowed to himself that if he was with Petunia, he would strangle Dumbledore with his own beard. He remembered that all of a sudden a few days ago, the prison had gone eerily quiet before he had been moved to the hospital ward. There were other prisoners there with him and the mediwizards had run frequent diagnostic checks. He had gone to sleep that night in the hospital ward and woken inside a Ministry holding cell. A few hours after that, Ted had been lead in and told him briefly that they would be having a trial for him the next day. Ted asked the same questions that Barrister Allerton had and Sirius had demanded that he be given Veritaserum. He had been awoken early, checked over by a mediwizard, and had mercifully been allowed to shower, shave, and have his hair cut. Ted had brought a set of plain black robes for him to wear and they were in the courtroom very quickly after that.

All of these events had a slightly foggy haze to them, but he knew that was part of the lingering effects of Dementor exposure and that it would lesson the longer he was away from the creatures. He remembered to ask Ted about contacting Mooney before he drifted off to sleep, the pepperup he had been given finally wearing off.

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Sirius awoke the next morning to find Albus sitting by his bed reading the Daily Prophet whose headline exclaimed: Sirius Black Innocent! Never Received A Trial!


He cleared his throat and sat up groggily. Albus folded the paper and put it on the bedside table.

“Sirius, I owe you an apology. I was not aware that you had never had a trial, and to my shame I never checked. I am sorry that it has taken this long for you to have your justice.” Albus’ eyes were dim and his tone grave. “We are searching the records of who responded to the incident to try and piece together how you ended up in Azkaban without a trial.” Sirius nodded.

“What about Harry? I was supposed to raise him. James and Lily put it in their will. Please tell me he is not with Petunia!” Sirius was slightly manic to hear about his godson.

“He is not with Petunia. I admit that I did place him with her immediately after that night, but he was removed about a year and a half ago. He has been living with a cousin from Lily’s family. He is a very happy and healthy boy. His new guardian and his partner, John and Sherlock are their names, helped us to defeat the last remnants of Voldemort’s soul. Indirectly, John is also the reason that you are now free. They have agreed to bring Harry to meet you after the healer has cleared you to have daily visitors besides myself and Mr. Tonks. It is important for you to know the whole story of what happened that night and into the present, so I am requesting that you listen closely to what I am telling you before you make any decisions regarding Harry.”

Sirius nodded and watched as Dumbledore erected a privacy bubble. He told Sirius all of the events that had transpired from that devastating Halloween to the present day. To say that he was overwhelmed was an understatement. He understood now that Harry was happy and was a little relieved, if he was honest with himself, that he would not have to take on the parental role in his life. He could resume being the fun and crazy uncle that he had been when Harry was younger. He was very curious about these two men that were raising his pup, but if they had met Remus and Mooney had approved of them, then he felt he could relax a little bit. He was eager to see his pup and his oldest remaining friend.

Albus gave him the box containing the belongings he had on him the night he was arrested, including his fully intact wand. As he picked it up, he felt the wand connect to his core to re-establish the long lost connection. He thought over what he knew he needed to do before crossing the wand over his heart. “I Sirius Orion Black, son of Orion Black, grandson of Arcturus Black, claim by right of blood and magic the Lordship of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House Of Black. In the presence of this witness I call on the family magic to judge my claim.”

They both waited for a moment while Sirius could feel the tug on his magic. He was surrounded by a dark green glow and as it dissipated the ring of the Lord Black appeared on his right ring finger. Sirius grinned at Albus who twinkled back at him. “I call on the family magic to remove Bellatrix Eris LeStrange from the House of Black and recall all magics and monetary possessions she held claim to. I reinstate Andromeda Harmonia Tonks and all offspring she may have back into the House of Black. So I say, so mote it be.”

Sirius and Dumbledore talked for a little while longer before a commotion in the halls caused Albus to go and investigate its cause. He followed the frantic healers to the Long Term Spell Damage Ward but could not gain access. He left wondering what had happened.