Chapter 17

The Elder Wand

[A/N: So, now we have the lovely, angelic, wonderful sakemori as the beta reader for this fic. Good days ahead!]

Atop the Astronomy Tower, Albus Dumbledore and Mycroft Holmes faced each other. There were no witnesses to their encounter, but had there been any spectators, they would have seen the electricity crackling around the two wizards.

"Albus," Mycroft said pleasantly. "I do not understand why you would take such offence to my words."

Victoria trilled behind him, spreading out her magnificent wings.

Dumbledore visibly fought to bring his temper under control. Finally, he smiled kindly at the younger man, and Fawkes hovered near his shoulder. "I am too old for you, my dear Mycroft. And while I am very flattered by your attention, it does not suit you to court a wizard old enough to be your grandfather."

Mycroft blushed and was immediately annoyed with himself. He had intended to provoke the Headmaster when he had walked into his chamber and demanded to see his wand. Dumbledore's furious outburst had shattered several of his delicate glass instruments before Fawkes and Victoria had turned up and relocated the two wizards.

"Vulgarity does not suit you, Albus," Mycroft said. "I merely wish to confirm if that is the Elder Wand."

Dumbledore smiled again, but his eyes were cold. "Really, Mycroft, this is insulting. Who is being vulgar now? I am certain even you can think of a better innuendo."

Mycroft regained his composure instantly. He had been thrown off balance for a while by Albus' reaction (and he certainly did not wish for things to be awkward), but now he knew the game of distraction Albus had begun. He smiled to himself. There was nothing more stimulating than a clever adversary, after all.

"Stupefy," Dumbledore said.

Mycroft put up a shield reflexively, surprised. He knew Dumbledore had no need for incantations, so he had clearly said it out loud to warn Mycroft. He narrowed his eyes. What was the old wizard thinking?

"I am not yet ready for death, my friend," Dumbledore said quietly. "I am afraid I cannot hand over the wand to you."

Mycroft arched an eyebrow. Ah, so Dumbledore was under the impression that the ownership of the wand would only shift upon his death. No, that could not be correct – Dumbledore had not killed Grindelwald when he had taken it.

"I have no need for the Elder Wand, Albus," Mycroft assured him. "In fact, I believe there is no better owner for it than you. I merely wish to confirm if the one in your hand is actually the Elder Wand." He summoned all the killing intent he could muster, pointed his own rarely-used wand nestled in his pocket at Dumbledore and whispered, "Expelliarmus."

The Elder Wand shot out of the Headmaster's hand and into Mycroft's waiting one. Dumbledore would think of it as wandless magic, which suited Mycroft just fine. Mycroft examined the exquisitely crafted wand and felt its alluring power respond to him. Yes, this was certainly the original, and he felt the wand's loyalty shift as clearly as if the wand had spoken to him. Serve Albus as you have until I call upon you, he thought, and he felt the wand agree, albeit grudgingly. He handed it back to Dumbledore silently.

Dumbledore sighed, exhaustion lining his aged face. Fawkes landed on his shoulder and nipped his ear gently.

"I took it when I defeated Grindelwald," he said softly.

Mycroft nodded. "I am truly glad that you did, Albus. I cannot imagine a better owner for one of the Deathly Hallows."

Dumbledore smiled slightly. "The infamous Holmes brain, indeed. I do not know if it is good or bad that your family returned to the wizarding world, Mycroft."

"I believe it is good for Harry," Mycroft said sharply.

"Indeed," Dumbledore said. "So, you believe that Lord Voldemort will attempt to acquire the Deathly Hallows?"

"Surely you agree?"

Dumbledore nodded.

"We shall rely on you to keep the wand safe, then," Mycroft told him. "We shall enhance the protection for the other two."

"Thank you," the Headmaster said. "How is Mr. Potter doing?"

It was Mycroft's turn to sigh. "He shall require a few days to recover. Witnessing the Dark Lord's resurrection and being forced to bear the agony of numerous rounds of the Cruciatus has been a little too much for the child. Physically, he should be fine by this evening, but…"

Dumbledore's face was a picture of guilt and grief. "I understand. He has my permission to recuperate at home until he is ready to return."

Mycroft thanked him. "We intend to teach him the basics of Occlumency, at least until we can figure out why he is still connected to Lord Voldemort. Could you arrange for his lessons to continue at school, Albus? We shall leave a residual shield in his mind until he is able to create one himself, but the sooner Harry is able to, the better."

Dumbledore beamed at him, his approval clear. "Excellent," he said. "I shall speak to Severus immediately."

Mycroft returned his smile with one of his own. Professor Snape was smart, resourceful and still in love with Lily Potter. Now, if only his nephew could present himself more as his mother's son than his father's…but perhaps such duplicity would be beyond the child at the moment. Maybe he could get Emrys to fix the boy's eyes. The visual impact would be significant…and really, why should a magical child need glasses, and such unfashionable ones at that?

"There is also the issue with the Ministry," Dumbledore said. "There is dissent about Lord Voldemort's return, and though it is not in my place to interfere, Kingsley asked me for advice."

Mycroft waved away the Headmaster's concern. "The Ministry can play the ostrich as long as they wish. It would not impact us at the moment. I will ensure we get the required support from the Ministry when we need it. In any event, we believe Lord Voldemort would not take any major action until the World Cup. Surely you agree, Albus?"

Dumbledore nodded wearily. "I do, Mycroft, but an old man worries. Azkaban…"

"Emrys will know if the Dementors defect," Mycroft declared. "As for the Tri-Wizard Tournament…"

"I have requested Alastor to take up Defence Against the Dark Arts for the coming year," Albus said. "I am reinstating the Order of the Phoenix, and Sirius and Remus will be busy with that."

Mycroft frowned. "They should stay close to Harry, Albus."

"We do not have the luxury of choice, Mycroft," Dumbledore said tiredly. "Sirius has also kindly offered us the use of his family house as headquarters." He smiled slightly. "I believe Harry is well-protected by his new family."

Mycroft did not bother to argue, immediately working out alternative protection at Hogwarts for his nephew. Albus, great as the man was, had a tendency to take risks. Ordinarily, Mycroft would neither care nor interfere, but since Harry was involved, he would hardly stand for removal of guardians with absolute loyalty to his nephew.

Victoria trilled and landed on Mycroft's shoulder. He stroked her absently.

"Very well," Mycroft said finally. "You will keep me updated on the heroic quests you send off my nephew's godfather to, won't you, Albus?" His eyes flashed a bright blue.

Albus Dumbledore nodded silently. It would be unwise to refuse the eldest Holmes brother, after all.

An exhausted Mycroft returned to 221B Baker Street well after dinner time.

"Where have you been?" Sherlock demanded as soon as he stepped in.

"Apologies, brother mine." Mycroft sighed and dropped onto the couch. "It has been a long day. You would know why if you followed muggle news today."

Sherlock shook his head impatiently. "Forget about that. Were you able to deal with the Elder Wand?"

Mycroft smirked. "Of course."

"Details, now."

Harry stepped into the room with a tray. "Let him off for a minute, Dad," he scolded. "He looks dead on his feet." He turned to Mycroft and grinned. "Tea and sandwiches for you, Uncle Mycroft."

"He's on a diet," Sherlock muttered, caught between joy at being called 'Dad' and annoyed at being scolded because of Mycroft.

"It's low-fat," Harry told the detective. "Besides, Uncle Emrys said we should wait until they returned."

Mycroft smiled indulgently and bit into a sandwich. He listened to Harry speak of his day at home until Emrys, Arthur and John came back with an alarming number of shopping bags.

"What on earth have you been buying?" Sherlock asked incredulously.

"Harry can't swim, Sherlock," John replied patiently. "We are taking him out for swimming lessons until he needs to return to Hogwarts."

"I am not letting you take him to a public pool," Sherlock snapped. "That is repulsive!"

"I must agree with my brother, Dr Watson," Mycroft drawled.

Sherlock and Mycroft had an identical look of disgust on their faces. Harry, whose face had lit up at John's words, looked resigned.

"However," Mycroft continued. "You are welcome to use my pool. It is not very big, but it should suffice for swimming lessons." He turned to Sherlock. "Should I arrange for an instructor or would you rather teach Harry yourself?"

"I'll teach him, of course," Sherlock said, sniffing haughtily. "I am better than you or Emrys."

"I'll help you," John added quickly. Sherlock's eyes had a dangerous gleam.

Harry grinned ear-to-ear.

Emrys clapped his hands. "Sorry, guys, but we need to speak of the Elder Wand." He looked at Mycroft. "Any trouble, big brother?"

Mycroft smirked. "The ownership has been transferred successfully. I do not believe Albus is aware of it yet. I have instructed the Elder Wand to continue serving him until called upon. I do not believe there shall be any issues unless he attempts to harm me or any of my blood." He smiled at Harry. "Yes, nephew mine, that includes you, thanks to Sherlock."

He went on to summarise his visit to Dumbledore.

"Will Sirius and Remus be in danger?" Harry asked quietly.

Mycroft sighed. "Perhaps," he replied. "However, you have my word that I shall try my best to protect them both, Harry."

Harry nodded stoically.

"And what about Harry's protection at Hogwarts?" Sherlock asked. "We can't leave him unsupervised. Someone reliable needs to be close at hand. Someone with personal loyalty to Harry."

"I don't need–" Harry began, but was stopped by a glare from Sherlock.

Emrys chewed on a biscuit slowly. "Sirius and Remus stay on until the end of term, right?"

Mycroft nodded.

"It is reasonable to expect that Voldemort will make his next move at the Quidditch World Cup," Sherlock said. "After that, since the Tri-Wizard Tournament is being revived and Hogwarts is hosting it, does it not make more sense to keep Sirius and Remus at hand, especially since Durmstrang's Headmaster used to be a Death Eater?"

Mycroft shrugged. "I do agree with you, Sherlock. However, I believe alternate arrangements for Harry's safety can be made. After all, you insist on taking Harry to the Quidditch World Cup, despite the risks."

Harry's jaw dropped and he turned to Sherlock. "We are going for the Quidditch World Cup?" he asked, emerald eyes wide.

Sherlock glared at Mycroft. "Thanks for ruining the surprise, brother." He smiled at Harry. "Yes. John has been in touch with your friends' parents as well."

Harry squealed and flung himself at his adoptive father. "Thank you!"

Sherlock ruffled his hair affectionately.

"Hang on," John said. "What's this about revival of the Tri-Wizard Tournament? Didn't a student die last time? Why on earth are they doing it again? And at Hogwarts?"

"International magical cooperation, John," Sherlock replied.

"Albus is not wrong in wishing to strengthen international friendships, and there will be some safety measures such as a minimum age for participation," Mycroft said. "However, as Sherlock pointed out, Headmaster Igor Karkaroff is a former Death Eater. He sold out his fellow Death Eaters last time, though, so he is hardly likely to be on Lord Voldemort's Christmas list. Quite the contrary; I believe he will seek sanctuary with us."

"Can't trust a traitor," Arthur muttered.

Emrys nodded thoughtfully. "Can you arrange for Arthur and I to join Hogwarts, Mycroft?"

The British Government smirked. "Of course, baby brother."

Sherlock grinned at his younger sibling. "If you intend to replay our Beauxbatons Grand Fountain, do let me know."

"Absolutely not!" Mycroft snapped. "I had to spend a week in France cleaning up your mess!"

"But it was fun, Mycroft," Emrys whined, giving his brother a lop-sided grin. "It'll be a good welcome gift for Olympe."

"We are attempting to promote international cooperation, baby brother, not annihilate it." Mycroft sighed dramatically.

Sherlock and Emrys winked at each other.

"Ok, now I am curious – what the hell did you two do?" Arthur asked.

Emrys blew a raspberry at the Once and Future King in response.

"Oh, come on, we know those Holmes genes; you are dying to tell us!" John said, elbowing the Consulting Detective. "That's the frailty of genius, John, it needs an audience," he mimicked.

"We should not corrupt my son, John," Sherlock replied sanctimoniously.

Arthur waved a dismissive hand. "He's got Marauder blood, he'll be fine. Now, spill."

Harry laughed. "I want to know, too!"

Sherlock and Emrys started speaking at the same time. Mycroft sighed.

"Allow me to narrate," the eldest Holmes said. "But everyone goes to bed after this. Promise?"

"Promise," everyone intoned.

"Well, then. It was Emry's third year and Sherlock's last year at Beauxbatons…"

Mycroft spoke softly, weaving a sleeping spell into his words. Within five minutes, everyone was asleep.

"You tricked us, Uncle Mycroft," Harry muttered sleepily. "Not fair. Good night. Sweet dreams."

Mycroft smiled fondly as he relocated everyone to their beds. He lingered over his nephew for a few moments, and then tucked him in the muggle way.

"Good night, child," he said softly and Disapparated.