Q, formerly known as Harry Potter, kicked his shoes off, grabbed a bowl of buttered popcorn and a bottle of butterbeer, and relaxed comfortably on his leather sofa. He picked up his remote, cued up the video footage, and prepared to be entertained.
"What are you watching?" James Bond, Q's lover and partner-in-hijinks, poked his head around the door from the bedroom.
"Hmm. Training video," Q said, crunching happily. "Want to join me?"
James pulled on a plain black tee as he strode into the living room, sitting next to Q and propping his own bare feet up on the coffee table. He'd just been debriefed from his last mission, and was looking forward to some down time with Q. "And why are we watching a training video?"
Q grinned wickedly. "It's George and Ron teaching Alec some basic magic, Weasley-style. I wired up their back room at WWW so I could have blackmail material, oh, ages ago. When I heard that they were taking it upon themselves to teach Alec what he REALLY needed to know about magic …." Q paused, then snorted. "You know I had to watch it."
James helped himself to some of Q's popcorn. "This ought to be interesting."
Alec Trevelyan remembered his grandmother fondly.
The elderly witch had taken pains to teach him about the world of magic when he was very small, but when she died, Alec was taken to an overseas orphanage, and he learned that to most, magic was simply fairy tales. He accepted that, over time, and turned his own considerable talents toward the military, then toward espionage, never knowing that his Babushka's tales were true.
Never knowing that he, himself, had magic.
So when Q had introduced him not only to the reality of magic, but to a few select people who could help him access it, Alec embraced the opportunity with both hands. His fellow agent-now magical consultant-Severus Snape took him to get his wand, a lovely ebony-and-dragon-heartstring creation that he kept holstered to his right arm, and helped him quickly learn how to access and channel his magic through the wand for simple spells. The basic training he'd received from Severus covered what he needed to know for his first magical mission-Notice-me-not, Disillusionment, and Q's special spells for setting off the dampeners. There hadn't been time for much else, pre-mission.
Severus promised to help him learn some more, and he'd plied him with seven books of spells that made up his alma mater's basic curriculum. "You're an adult wizard," Severus pointed out at the time. "You've never been trained, but if you can access and channel your magic, you can learn the spells and wand movements from books to build your repertoire. Just make sure you use a well-warded space to practice in, and try to make sure you have company who can help put things to rights if something blows up."
Q had integrated such a space into his private lab at MI6, and Alec did take the time to practice there when he could, but with Q's schedule as it was (seriously, how did he manage to run missions, invent new equipment, oversee his department, and maintain the computer network? Alec suspected time travel, but was keeping mum) Q rarely had time to supervise. Instead, he'd put Alec in touch with his old friends, Ron and George Weasley.
The Weasley brothers owned a joke shop in Diagon Alley, and it contained a warded back room they used for experimentation and invention. They also had offered it up for Alec's use for training.
"Seriously, mate," Ron had said, clapping Alec on the shoulder on his first visit to the Alley, "any friend of Ha, er, Q's is more than welcome here. He's a silent partner, you know."
"Which means he doesn't want that out, brother-of-mine," George chimed in. "As in, he's SILENT."
Alec shrugged, grinned, and accepted.
Which brought him to now, standing in the back of the back room, Groshawk's Year One spell book laid out in front of him, and two grown wizards taking turns telling him which spells were useful and which were rubbish.
"Wingardium leviosa is good," Ron commented lazily, paging through the book. "Used that one to take out a troll."
"A troll?" Alec asked. "Seriously? What's a troll look like, then?"
"Bit like Q without his tea, really," George said, rolling his eyes.
"Oi!" Ron snorted. "That's mean. Q doesn't look anything like a troll."
"Just acts like one. All that grunting. Can't be healthy," George said.
Alec smirked. "Seen him without tea. If that's a troll attitude, I think I know just what you're talking about."
"Yeah, that's the attitude all right. The looks, though. Think big and hairy. More brawn than brains," Ron nodded.
"Like the average thug, got it," Alec said. "And how did this 'wingardium leviosa' get used to take out a troll?"
Ron shrugged. "Levitated his club and it fell on his head, which knocked him out. 'Course, Q had already stuck a wand up its nose, so it wasn't all that happy to begin with."
Alec blinked. "Q stuck a wand up its nose?"
"We were eleven, mate. Didn't know how to do much else on two months of magical training."
"You stuck a wand up a troll's nose at eleven, Q?" James asked, grinning at the mental image.
The Weasley men took Alec through the spells, which were mostly charms, in the first spell book, then ran him through a series of small transfiguration exercises. George hauled out his battered copy of "A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration."
"Why is it we start with matches, anyway?" Ron wondered out loud. "I never did understand that."
"It's about shape and weight," George said absently, paging through the text. "It's easiest to change something into something else if the original something is close to the same size and weight."
"It's physics, actually," Q commented. "Mass and elements. Wizards don't know the science."
"But you, Doctor Q, actually do."
"Yep. And I can transfigure just about anything, since I know how it works on the atomic level."
"Right, then, matches into needles. Go," Ron waved a hand at Alec.
"That's it? No instructions? Just … go?"
George laughed. "I found it's easiest to visualize what you want to have happen, then channel your magic through your wand to make it happen. Just try it."
Alec squinched up his handsome face and pointed his wand at the matchstick.
Q was rolling around on the couch, laughing. "He looks constipated," he managed to stutter out.
James chuckled, too.
"Merlin, you look constipated," George observed. "Stop." He walked around Alec and picked up the match. He handed it to Alec. "Hold that." George pointed his own wand at the match, closed his eyes, then focused on the match, which lengthened and silvered until Alec was holding a needle. "Now look at that. Feel it. See it."
Alec rolled the needle in his fingers. "OK, got it."
George nodded, then turned the needle into a matchstick again. "You try it."
Alec set the matchstick down, drew a deep breath, closed his eyes to visualize the needle, and channeled his magic through the wand.
The match lengthened a bit.
"Good, keep that up!" George encouraged him.
Alec kept concentrating on his image and directing magic through his wand, until, "Behold!" he shouted in his best Russian accent. "I have made a needle!"
The Weasleys applauded.
"Oh, well done, Alec," Q nodded along. "That usually takes longer to get. Though, I suppose, he's an adult."
"And he's been visualizing targets for years, Q. I imagine the skills probably translate. Deep breath, focus, and action," James added.
"True. Hadn't thought of it that way," Q acknowledged.
"I wonder how long he's been channeling magic into his work?" James mused.
"Don't suppose we'll ever know," Q said. "There's no way of knowing how many magic folks have fallen through the cracks like Alec did." He held his popcorn bowl up. "More?"
"Don't mind if I do."
"Well done for a first time with transfiguration, mate," Ron said. "So, what's next?"
"Well, we've gone through most of the charms, started transfiguration. He probably doesn't need much DADA-"
"DADA?" Alec broke in.
"Defense Against the Dark Arts. Ha-Q's specialty," Ron said. "In your line of work with muggle espionage, you're probably going to use your gun first. Though I suppose some defensive shields might be useful."
"Maybe," George added thoughtfully. "If you've got serious defense training already, spells are just going to throw you off. Best to ask Q."
Alec nodded. "So what does that leave?"
"Potions, I suppose." Ron sighed. "Never did do well in Potions."
"I, on the other hand, am a Potions genius," George boasted. "And though Snape is a Potions Master, you're better off learning from me. I have all the useful potions skill."
Alec quirked an eyebrow. "Such as?"
"Oh, potions to turn people different colors, or into different animals, or that kind of stuff. You know, for pranks." George waved a hand wildly. "Everything else is unnecessary."
"Er, unless you're ill, George," Ron pointed out. "Potions are the primary basis of our magical healing."
"True. Forgot about that."
Q snorted. "Severus is one of the top ten ranked Potions masters in the world. There isn't a potion he can't make, or improve on, or invent. I swear. So if we need one at Q-branch, I'll be calling him."
James stole the last sip of Q's butterbeer, and swallowed it. "That being the case, the rest of this is superfluous."
Q nodded. "But we best watch what we eat and drink around here."
"Looking for poisons?"
"And here's the star of our little collection. The product that got WWW its start, and still popular-Skiving Snackboxes." George pulled a box off of one of the shelves in the back. "Eat one end, and cause one reaction; eat the other to counter it. Puke, bleed or faint to get yourself out of class. It's a classic."
"And the reason all WWW products are banned at Hogwarts," Ron added.
Alec looked at the box. "There might be other applications for this, though."
The Weasleys looked thoughtful.
"Well, if there is," George said, "then it's certain that Q will think of it."
"It's what he does," Ron added. "It's become a bit of a challenge, actually."
"How can we pull one over on Q?"
Alec grinned broadly. "Ah, gentlemen. That's something I can help you with. But first," Alec pulled a dampening bug out of his pocket and looked right at the camera Q had set up in the back corner, "we'll have to get rid of the surveillance."