Arc Two - Chapter Eight

It took a good five minutes for Sherlock to stop laughing. John checked his watch again, politely waiting for the soft chuckles from the other side of the kitchen table to subside before speaking again. Finally Sherlock let out a long, slow breath and fell silent.

"So," John said. Sherlock snorted, rolling his eyes.

"Don't you dare start that again," Sherlock said, hands curling around the now lukewarm mug of tea in front of him. John was just happy he wasn't twitching any more.

"I think it's your turn to explain," John replied, eyeing his own tea. "Unless you want to put on another pot of tea first."

Sherlock absently waved a hand and John watched as the stove flared to life, the fire curling around the base of the kettle, which was being filled with a floating glass of water. Cups and tea bags were magically pulled from cupboards and danced through the air to land gently on the table.

"You're a bloody show-off," John told Sherlock, who grinned.

"I admit I have become reasonably accomplished at manipulating my immediate surroundings," he replied. "It has been of immense help during my experiments."

"Reasonably accomplished? I don't think I could name a wizard who could do all that," John gestured to the stove and sink, where the old cups of tea had discreetly moved and were washing themselves. Sherlock shrugged.

He looked uncomfortable.

"You were going to tell me how you became Sherlock Holmes," John prompted as the kettle poured freshly boiled water into the new mugs. Sherlock sighed through his nose.

"Where should I begin?" he asked.

"The middle," John said immediately. "Luna always says starting at the beginning is too predictable."

"That does sound like something Luna would say," Sherlock agreed, catching the milk as it soared from the fridge and passing it to John, who thanked him. "Very well then; the middle."

"It was four years into my life sentence when I received my first and only visitor," Sherlock began. "He was intriguing; obviously muggle and yet also so very powerful. I was presented with an offer of freedom and a new life, in exchange for using my talents to serve Queen and country. How could I refuse? By that time I was ready to commit to anything to escape Azkaban."

"You know, in the end the worst part wasn't the dementors, or the memories, the nightmares, the loneliness, or even the starvation. It was the boredom," Sherlock laughed. It was an ugly, bitter sound. "I'd forgotten, in those years at Hogwarts, just how much I'd always loathed boredom."

"You never could sit still at Hogwarts," John agreed absently. "Always bouncing from one adventure to another."

"A trait I have since perfected," Sherlock offered John a sly grin. "I agreed to Mycroft's terms, and soon found myself back in the real world. I had a new name, a new past, and a new future ready to explore. It took some time to acclimate, I will admit. There were times when my old life encroached on the new, and Mycroft had to get his minions to clean up the mess. More than once I've been the cause of a mass obliviation."

"Obliviation?" John interrupted. "Mycroft has wizards on his payroll?"

"He is always one to be prepared," Sherlock rolled his eyes. "He keeps an eye on those citizens that suddenly go to a far off boarding school or get homeschooled at the age of eleven, and when the muggleborns return to the muggle world, disillusioned and angry, he offers them a position in his private 'security firm'."

"He must have an army of them by now," John joked, sipping his tea.

"As I said, always prepared," Sherlock said mildly, taking a drink from his own cup.

John wasn't quite sure how to feel about that.

"So Mycroft's security firm spent a few years cleaning up after me as I settled back into society," Sherlock continued. "At least, as well as one such as I ever could. In the meantime I began to fulfil my end of the bargain. Mycroft would send me on missions, ones that were too secret or too obscure to be handled by the Queen's regular resources. I essentially became the royal family's personal investigator. I researched, experimented, hunted, and reported my findings back to Mycroft."

"It was good for me, the work. It kept me busy, kept my mind focused. I started to interact with the outside world more, made myself known as a consulting detective, introduced myself to the police, the hospitals, any other places I might be needed. In doing so I realised that I would need to ensure no one discovered I wasn't in Azkaban where the wizards had left me, so I created a spell similar to the Fidelius Charm. Instead of rendering a property unplottable, I designed the spell to lock away the information needed to connect me to Harry Potter. It was tricky, of course. I couldn't erase the existence of Harry Potter altogether, I just had to lock away the recognition that Sherlock Holmes could be Harry Potter. I cast a long term glamour over my eyes to make them appear blue and then cast my own spell, tying them together. So long as my eyes appeared to be blue, no one would connect the dots."

"I'd been wondering why I hadn't figured it out sooner!" John exclaimed. "So when I saw you with green eyes, the spell lifted?"

"In a way," Sherlock agreed, folding his arms behind his teacup. "I've taken the spell off completely for now. If I'd just taken the glamour off, you'd have recognised me, but when the glamour went back up the spell would have started trying to change your perception again. You'd have ended up with an awful migraine. I'll recast the spell later, and this time you'll be able to remember that I am both Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes, much like myself, Mycroft, and Mummy."

"Mummy?" John asked. Sherlock smiled.

"That is a story for another time, I think," he said. "Today has been party to enough groundbreaking surprises as it is."

John cocked an eyebrow, but let it go.

"So, you fideliused your old identity, what happened then?" he asked instead. Sherlock's smile widened into a devilish grin.

"Why, my dear Watson," he drawled. "Then I was unleashed upon our dear friend, Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade."

"You do know his name, you bastard!" John laughed. "I knew it!"

"Someone's got to keep the man on his toes," Sherlock sniffed, adopting an innocent expression that John did not believe for a second. "Especially with the clueless children he has for minions."

John shook his head, chuckling. Sherlock sipped his tea, looking smug.

"So, that's the origin story for the infamous Sherlock Holmes, then, is it?" John asked, after a few moments of comfortable silence. "Bust out of prison, create impossibly complex magic, and then bother Scotland Yard until I came along?"

"More or less, I suppose," Sherlock replied, staring into his tea cup. "There have been a few death-defying adventures and such in the meantime -"

"You wouldn't be you without them," John butted in with a grin. Sherlock snorted and flicked a teabag at him.

"Yes, yes, Sherlock can't resist dangerous shenanigans," he drawled. "Common knowledge by now, I assure you."

John shot him a wink, utterly unrepentant.

"Apart from my penchant for getting myself into bizarre and lethal situations, I must admit my life has been... stable, in a way I'd never before experienced. I have a support network I never imagined could exist for one such as I; staunch supporters, reluctant allies, even friends. I have, in my own odd way, finally built a family for myself."

John paused, watching Sherlock's soft expression for a moment.

"I'm glad," he spoke quietly, not wanting to encroach upon Sherlock's moment. "You, of all people in the world, deserve nothing less."

Sherlock offered him a grateful, familiar crooked smile. John smiled back, even as Sherlock's expression twisted into a sly smirk.

"And all it took was getting thrown in prison for life," he joked.

John laughed.

AN -

And so we conclude this part of the Mr Holmes saga!

It's been a ridiculously long time coming, let's be real. Thank you to all of you who have stuck around for this long, and welcome to new readers! I hope you've enjoyed everything so far.

This marks the end of everything I've planned so far, apart from a few far-in-the-future moments, so we shall all be eagerly waiting to see what happens next! I hope to get into a new arc soon, so keep an eye out!

Thank you all so much, until next time!