"Come along, darling," the well-dressed woman said, tugging gently on the hand of the tiny boy with her as they hurried through the early morning traffic. "It's not much further now. See, look! There's Baker Street, where my friend lives. Just a little ways more, love."
The boy didn't reply, merely kept his little legs moving as quickly as he could, while rubbing his sleepy eyes repeatedly. But his short gait was no match for the woman's much longer legs. In fact, he stumbled several times in his efforts to keep up. The woman noticed this, and, instead of scolding him like he had expected, she swept him up in her arms. "This is better, isn't it, love?" she asked, and he answered by nodding sleepily and burying his face in her strawberry blonde hair.
The woman smiled, tightened her grip, and quickened her pace. She caught sight of the cafe she'd designated as her landmark and corrected her course accordingly. Just before getting to the cafe, she saw the simple black door with its shiny knocker. She took a breath, tucked the boy more firmly into one arm, then reached out to that knocker. Letting it fall once, she stepped back to wait, noting that her bundle was now asleep.
"Yes?" A pleasant looking older lady answered the door with a politely disinterested smile on her face.
False, definitely interested, the younger woman's inner voice insisted, but instead of listening to it, she smiled back. "I'm sorry to bother you, but does Sherlock Holmes live here? I have a… situation that requires his assistance."
"Oh, of course, dear!" the older lady effused. "Come in, come in! He's just upstairs. I'll take you to see him."
The younger woman stepped into the house and let the older shut the door behind her. It was imperceptible, perhaps, but the younger relaxed minutely, letting her guard down just the tiniest bit. Until she saw the flight of stairs she was needing to ascend while still carrying her little sleeping bundle. Groaning, but only to herself, she began to follow the older lady again.
"Sherlock'll be so glad to see you!" The older lady, who was assumed to be a landlady or housekeeper of some sort, kept up a steady stream of chatter as she climbed, much to the younger's astonished amusement. "After the boys cleaned up the whole Moriarty/Moran mess, Sherlock's just not had enough to keep his interest. A new case will be just the thing, I think. Yoohoo, Sherlock! You've got a new client, dear!"
The chatty landlady, as the younger woman had decided upon (no one cleans house looking that put together, after all), led the way into a sitting room, where a fully grown man had somehow managed to curl himself into the seat of an armchair. He looked more like an overgrown toddler, pouting as he was. "Mrs. Hudson, I told you not to bother-" He cut himself off when he saw the visitor.
"But you've got a new client, Sherlock, dear," Mrs. Hudson protested, not noticing the change in her tenant's visage.
"Mrs. Hudson, leave." His deep voice carried no venom, only impatience, but the landlady was hurt, nonetheless.
"Please," he added with a sigh.
"Fine," she sighed as well, turning to leave the room. "Good luck with this one, dearie," she added to the younger woman on her way out. "You'll need it."
Once the door closed and he could hear Mrs. Hudson's footsteps on the stairs, Sherlock spoke. "Violet Evans. It's been a while. To what do I owe this pleasure?"
Violet snorted indelicately. "Sixteen years is 'a while'. Of course, it's you, the man who would accidentally starve himself if not for the intervention of others, so not terribly surprising."
"Has it really been that long?" he asked, seeming rather blase.
False, her intuition screamed again. "You know exactly how long it's been, prat. I'm putting Harry down, and then we can continue this lovely chat in the kitchen."
She gently laid the small boy on the couch and covered him with Sherlock's coat, which had been hanging haphazardly off the arm. Sherlock concealed his amusement as she chivvied him into the kitchen, then bustled around making tea, as if she lived there and not he.
"Now that Harry can sleep a bit more comfortably, we can talk. I- We need your help, Sherlock." This statement was punctuated with a sharp whistle of the tea kettle, giving her a moment to avoid speaking.
But Sherlock refused to allow her silence. "You might begin with who Harry is, and what kind of help you need," he prodded, in his impatiently know-it-all way.
"We just need a place to stay for a while. A few weeks, a month, at the very most," she promised.
"Why? Why now? We haven't spoken since we were sixteen, and now you show up, unannounced, with a small child, and expect me to allow you to stay here indefinitely?"
"Don't be such a git," she spat, slamming a tea cup on the table in front of him, though not a drop sloshed out. "Look at Harry. Deduce him. And then ask me why I'm here."
Sherlock turned and looked at the boy. Even from his seat at the table, the large, yellowish bruise was clearly visible. "He's been beaten, possibly often, malnourished, as well. Based on his size, I'd say he was two, possibly three years old, but given the extent of abuse, I'd say more like four. And he's not yours, and he's not with you under the most legal of circumstances, otherwise you wouldn't be here."
"He just turned four last month," Violet smiled, though it didn't reach her eyes.
"Why are you in my flat with a kidnapped child?" he accused.
"I notice you're not calling the police, so you can't be that disturbed by it," she pointed out. When he nodded in slight agreement, her smile broadened. "Harry is Harry Potter."
Sherlock's lack of reaction caused Violet's eyebrow to raise slightly. "The Boy Who Lived?" Still no response. "The boy who caused the downfall of Voldemort?"
"Hm, I thought his name was Harvey," he said offhandedly.
"Oh, sweet Circe," Violet sighed. "Anyway, Harry is also my nephew. You do remember Lily?" He nodded absently. "Harry is Lily's son, and after her death, Dumbledore sent him to live with Petunia." A quick clench of the jaw was enough to tell him how she felt about that. "It was to protect Harry, of course, blood bonds and such, since Lily and Petunia were full sisters, and there was no way I could have taken him at that time, what with my living situation. But I went to visit them, oh, it's been a week now, and I saw Petunia's behemoth husband beating Harry simply because he forgot to take out the garbage. That was where he got the bruise on his cheek. I wasn't about to leave him there, and clearly, they didn't want him, so I took him. And now I need a place to stay for a bit while I sort out a place for us to actually live. So can we stay, Sherlock?"
The man in question shook his head in disbelief. "When have I actually been able to say no to you?"
"There was the time when I asked you to marry me," Violet quipped with a smile.
"We were seven. I thought marriage was only for old people."
"I was eight, and you still wanted to be a pirate," she corrected.
"It is still a possibility," he countered.
"Not if your brother has anything to say about it."
AN: This is my first foray into crossovers, so hopefully I can do this justice. Let me know what you think!