In Hindsight, Maybe This Was A Bad Idea
The guard looked at Grindlewald like a wild dog that needed putting down, and promptly closed the cell door behind them.
"Come and sit down." Grindlewald gestured. The heavy chains fell off of Harry and Sherlock, and some stones in the far wall shifted, turning into a protruding bench.
Harry couldn't help but feel apprehensive. "Weren't these chains important?"
"Overkill." Grindlewald waved away his concerns like flies. "My precious Nurmy knows that you won't try to break me out."
"Nurmy?" Harry asked.
Grindlewald stroked the walls of his cell, and they seemed to stretch out to accept his touch. "My dear daughter, Nurmy. You've no idea the trouble I went to making sure she was absolutely foolproof. Nobody's escaped from her walls, ever. Which is something I can't say for Azkaban. If she thinks it's safe for you to take those ridiculous chains off, then you needn't worry about me using you to escape."
Harry was very, very, creeped out.
"Ignore his posturing." Sherlock said, sitting down calmly on the bench opposite. "He's always doing his best to frighten people, in that respect alone he is similar to Voldemort. Once, just to prove he could defeat France himself before Hitler began his blitzkrieg, he turned in his wand to the French ministry, then went to meet a squad of their best aurors. He went alone and unarmed, and the next day the aurors were found atop the Eiffel tower, and Grindlewald had his wand back. The end result; France surrendered quickly."
"Ah, the good old days." Grindlewald leered.
Harry decided to sit down. Even though he felt like he was sitting across from a dragon. "You said you were expecting me for a long time?"
"Yes." Grindlewald said. "Ever since I first got a hand on these. Nurmy?"
One of the bricks of the wall shuffled out and fell on Grindlewald's lap. One side of the brick was absent, and the brick was hollowed out. Grindlewald produced from it a deck of cards.
"Now that's interesting, how did you get those?" Sherlock asked.
"My Nurmy got them for me." Grindlewald grinned, and began to shuffle them. "After all, if I didn't have them, I'd be liable to escape out of boredom, and as much as she loves me it's against her nature to let me escape." He pointed at Harry mischievously. "Which is why you intrigue me so much."
Harry blinked. "Well, yes, I do have that effect on people." He chuckled weakly.
Grindlewald nodded. "Very good. When confronted by somebody more powerful then you, always talk big. Never let on that you're weak. You need a bit more practice lying though, you have too honest an air about you."
Harry was spared the task of coming up with a witty comeback by Sherlock. "You're not up against something dangerous Harry. He's no more a threat then a caged mockingbird."
Grindlewald chuckled. "Well then, if the great Sherlock Holmes wants answers, he'd better ask his questions."
Sherlock leaned forward, and his eyes said the game was afoot. "Do you know why we're here?"
Grindlewald juggled his cards, his face giving nothing away. "I'm an extremely powerful wizard, who has a history of doing impossible things, sometimes several impossible things at the same time. You are a detective who specializes in solving only the most baffling cases. And you're coming to visit me. If I had to solve this puzzle, of which there are exactly two pieces, I'd guess that something happened. Something impossible. And you suspect me."
"Well done." Sherlock said. "You almost made a very impressive deduction."
"Did I get something wrong?"
"Only one thing. I never suspect. I deduce."
Grindlewald chuckled. It was the deep throaty chuckle you'd hear from someone who wanted to take over the world. "Very well detective. I deduce you didn't come here to hear what I could deduce. Ask your questions."
Sherlock steeples his fingers. "If you were to attack Hogwarts, then why would you do it, and how?"
Grindlewald considered. "I would never attack Hogwarts. I'd probably send a little demonstration Dumbledore's way to let him know that I could, and then hide for the next decade hoping he doesn't get too upset." He chuckled. "We takes our children very seriously."
Sherlock nodded. "Grindlewald, one of the Harridan's went rogue and attacked the school."
"Is this true?" Grindlewald didn't ask Sherlock, but rather the cell. Harry shuddered again as 'Nurmy' bent a bit in answer. "Ah, Solomon Grundy. I made him myself to be the chief warden. The first, the best of the Harridan." He leaned forward. "I'd be interested in knowing how Dumbledore dispatched him."
"The recently discovered Homorphus charm." Sherlock grimaced.
"And while this is very interesting, what reason do you have to suspect me?" Grindlewald asked.
"No reason at all." Sherlock admitted. "Solomon Grundy was carrying a note to Dumbledore, signed by you, and while the signature was a perfect forgery the handwriting wasn't yours. I don't suspect you at all. Rather, I want to know what you think of the whole business. Who would want to frame you?"
Grindlewald smirked. "I could think of a great many people who would want to frame me. Do you want a list?"
"Just the cliff notes?"
Grindlewald considered. Then with a smile said; "Pow-kumb the powerful, ruler of the rabbit realm."
"If you're not going to take this seriously…" Sherlock stood up threateningly.
"Oh, please sit down." Grindlewald sighed. "I'll answer your questions for you detective, but first I need my fun. This is the first time I've had a visitor in years, and as I said, I've been expecting him for a long time."
"Why were you expecting me?" Harry asked.
"Because you…" He seemed to pause only for dramatic effect. "… will be the one who breaks me out of prison in five years."
Sherlock looked at him curiously.
"Before you ask, detective, I don't know how or why. I just know he will. And since even I can't think of a way to beat Nurmy, even if I wanted to, I can't wait to see it."
"I wasn't going to ask that." Sherlock said. "I was going to ask whether this date five years later happens to be around the date where your curse ends and we're allowed to execute you for your crimes without recrimination?"
Grindlewald grinned. "He'll free me the week of."
"You thought I'd play fair when the war ended?" Grindlewald laughed half heartedly, then sighed. "No father wants to see his daughter fail. I suppose that's what Dumbledore was counting on to keep me in prison. He never understood. He thinks we can beat fate. I don't want to leave and break Nurmy's heart, but you…" He pointed accusingly at Harry. "… will break me out, and I will let you regardless of our feelings."
The chains rattled angrily. The walls seemed to hiss at Harry.
"I'm sorry for maybe being able to kidnap you from prison in the future." Harry said. He was doing a rather bad job of hiding his nervousness.
Grindlewald waved him away. "It's not important." He said. "She'll get over it with counseling, and there are things I need to do before I die. Things on the outside." He leaned forward. "Lend me your palm Harry Potter."
Harry looked nervously at Sherlock, who nodded. Grindlewald eagerly studied Harry's hand. "Your life line is the strongest I've ever seen… no, your life line is too weak, you should be dead… it appears strong because it's been… influenced… unnaturally altered…" Grindlewald looked back up at Harry with a grin. "Curious. That scar of yours isn't the only strange mark you bear."
He released Harry's hand, and took his cards out again, beginning to hum a simple song. "Since I can't divine from your physical appearance, altered as it may be, I'll divine your fates from the cards. Unless you're scared." He spread the deck out in front of him.
"I've never been scared of cards." Harry said, before reaching out for one.
Sherlock took his hand, quickly. "Harry, that's not wise." Sherlock said. "Grindlewald is a very powerful seer, and a cunning wizard. He's right, he can't escape without outside help, but he can manipulate events outside of prison. His… daughter seems quite eager to help him, in any respect besides escape."
Grindlewald smiled a toothy smile. "Your faith in me is overwhelming. Harry… if you want to take a card he won't stop you."
Harry looked to Sherlock, who just frowned.
"He's far too curious. Ever the detective. He's curious what I'll do… I've been in prison for almost half a century, and who knows how long I've known you were coming, how long I've waited for you? How long I've planned to act one whatever my reading reveals."
He held out the cards again. "Just a tap, and I'll reveal your future. Be warned, that while the cards reveal the truth, I am the only one in this room with the inner eye. I am the only one who can interpret the cards. In the end… you can't trust me to tell you your future."
He leaned forward, and Harry caught a whiff of smoke on his breath, like Grindlewald could breath fire. "But it's not like you're your 'grandpa'. What's the fun in life if you don't take a risk every now and then?"
Harry tapped a card.
Grindlewald nodded. "The past." He flipped it over, setting it down on a section of the stone bench that suddenly had colored markings on them. The card revealed an old bearded man with one eye, hanging from a tree by his neck. "The Hanged Man." Grindlewald nodded. "Your past has been decided by the wise men. Or those who suppose themselves wise."
He held out the cards again. "The Present." He flipped the card Harry tapped over next to the Hanged Man. "The Chariot. In order to progress, you need to take your own reigns. As you are now, other people have control over your life. You need to stop being acted upon, and start acting on them."
"I am." Harry said. Grindlewald glared at him for the interruption. "I already have the reigns in my own hands."
Grindlewald glance at Harry with irritation. "Don't interrupt Harry, the Inner Eye is delicate. If the cards say you aren't in control, then you aren't."
"And if I say I am, then I am." Harry said.
"You're only eleven years old Harry." Grindlewald snapped. "And everybody's taking advantage of you now when they still can. You're more imprisoned then you think."
"You seem to know an awful lot about that." Harry said, daring Grindlewald to say more. Grindlewald was distraught for some reason. Maybe it's something to do with him interrupting the fortune telling process. Whatever it was, Harry wanted to push it.
The older wizard looked like he could snap Harry's neck. "Oh, you have no idea. Who decided where you lived? Dumbledore? Do you think for a second you'd have stayed with your precious family if it weren't Alastor's family? Why are you here? Are you here because you're investigating the attack on your school? Or are you here because Sherlock asked you to be here?" Harry backed away, as the old wizard leaned forward. "Those chains have Nth metal traces in them, to stop people wearing them from performing magic. My Nurmy doesn't let people use magic around me. Sherlock's a muggle. So what are you Harry? Go ahead. Try and cast the simplest spell. Cast Lumos."
Harry felt both Grindlewald and Sherlock's eyes on him. The guards hadn't taken away his wand when he came in; apparently, taking away another wizard's wand was taboo, unless he was a prisoner. He took out his wand, and cautiously cast Lumos.
"You're more trapped then you think Harry." Grindlewald glowered. "Now, two cards this time. Unless you think I'm full of dungbeetles."
Harry stretched out his hand, but this time he hesitated. Why was he going along with this? If Grindlewald was to be believed, then he was going along with too many things already.
But then he remembered the time he played card with his dad… his dad was counting the cards, and knew Harry was about to put down an Ace, so he put down a Jack instead. His dad was able to win the game thanks to that Jack, but he couldn't have if he'd just played down an Ace.
Just because an opponent's expecting you to do something, doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do.
Was Grindlewald his enemy? After a brief period of thought, Harry decided yes. Yes he was. And maybe he was out-gunned, but he wouldn't let Grindlewald spook him again.
With renewed Gryffindor courage, Harry tapped two cards.
"Your enemies. Major, and Minor." Grindlewald flipped them over. "Major, the Wheel of Fortune. It appears you won't have one major enemy, so much as several. Sometimes working in unison to achieve their own goals, and sometimes their goals will be your destruction." His toothy smiled returned. "Impressive."
"While your major enemies are foes far more powerful than you that you must risk life and limb to overcome, your minor enemies are those close to you, those you will face on a day-to-day basis. Minor, the Five of Stars. Inverted. They could have been your friends had you met in different circumstances. And sometimes you'll have cause to work together, fighting the major foes alongside the minor. But as cordial as you may be, you will always be…" Grindlewald seemed to choke at this last bit. Harry thought he saw his eyes watering up.
"Two again. Your allies." Grindlewald's voice was cold again, as he motioned for Harry to pick more cards.
"Your minor ally, your friend; the Eleven of Wands." He threw back his head and laughed. "How incredible! Do you know Harry, these cards can change from time to time, but I've never drawn a completely new card before. There is no eleven of wands in this deck. Eleven is obviously your lucky number. Remember it."
"Your major ally, somebody far more powerful then you, to act as your guide but never companion. The Empress." Grindlewald stared intently. "I… cannot read this card."
"Why not?" Harry asked.
"At a guess?" Grindlewald growled. "Whoever this Empress is… she's protected herself against intrusions of the inner eye." He shook his head, his irritation showing clearly. "How frustrating. But the odds are, she's a powerful ally for you. You may just survive the wheel of fortune."
He laid the cards out, the enemies and allies symmetrical on different side of the 'present' card, making a 'Y' shape. "Now the interesting bit… the future."
He flipped the card Harry tapped over. "This year… The One of Wands. You'll come into your own this year. You'll outwit your superiors, and you'll have your first encounter with your major enemy."
"Next year… The Hierophant. My my… A school of magic, similar to Hogwarts but at the same time dark and twisted, and you'll have to choose between the two schools. A threat to the ones you love, which you will not be able to overcome. A hidden threat, one that your friend will know about, but won't tell you until it's too late." He leered at Harry, even as he reached out with the cards. "You have my condolences."
"Next year… The Tower. Your childhood caretaker will return to your life." Harry's mind shot to the Dursleys, and he shuddered involuntarily. "Oh, and be wary of things that fall from the sky. I don't generally do 'fortune cookie' futures, but it looks like a lot of things will fall from the sky, all of them bad."
"Year four… the King of Cups. A competition. Not just any competition; the Tri-wizard tournament will come to Hogwarts. You'll be a participant, but for you the stakes of winning or losing will be much, much harder."
"Next year… Justice, Inverted. You will become the target of the Ministry. Everything they can throw at you, they will throw at you."
"And next year, the year you break me out of prison, will be…" Grindlewald's face froze in a mask of rage. "…The Hermit. Inverted."
He stayed quiet in rage for half a minute before Sherlock interrupted. "What does the Hermit inverted meaned?"
"Can you not see it detective?" Grindlewald snarled, and tapped the golden Ankh in the middle of the card. "The Hermit is a source of wisdom. A wise old man whose only caretaker… is fate."
"Fate?" Sherlock asked. Harry was surprised. For the first time since he'd known Sherlock, he looked nervous.
"That's right. Dumbledore will die. And you, Harry Potter, will have a hand in it."
There was a pause as both sets of eyes turned to Harry. He couldn't imagine feeling more uncomfortable. He couldn't imagine killing Dumbledore either. Or killing anyone.
"How long have you known Dumbledore was going to die?" Sherlock asked.
"I've known for years." Grindlewald mumbled. "I've known since Riddle started calling himself Voldemort. And then the year after… always the same." He held out the cards again, and Harry, with some trepidation, tapped a card. Grindlewald took one look at it and sighed. "Always the same… The Joker."
He placed the card down at the end of the line of card. A man in a jester's costume with a wicked looking grin danced on the card. "It's always the same. First, Dumbledore's death is the last piece of the future I can see. After that… The Joker. Always The Joker! Not just for me, for everyone! I don't know what it means, or what's going to happen, but that's where the future will end. With the rise of The Joker."
"Intriguing." Sherlock began to pace around the room. "I wonder what could kill Dumbledore…"
"I hope you figure it out." Grindlewald said. "When I escape, I want to be able to wreak my vengeance on whoever did the deed."
"If I do find out, you can rest assured Dumbledore will not die." Sherlock said firmly.
Grindlewald shook his head. "You and Dumbledore never could understand. Fate cannot be changed like the mind of a wayward child, or beaten like a foe in a grand game." He looked to Harry. "Look at the pattern these cards make; a sword. Knowledge of the future is a formidable weapon, Harry. You can't change the future, but you can take advantage of it."
He turned to Sherlock. "The person behind the first attempts at the stone, was a man named Ras Al Ghul. But since Gringotts, it's been hunted by Voldemort."
"I considered that, but this isn't Voldemort's style." He said. "Voldemort wouldn't go about trying to distract Dumbledore, he'd want him to know who was responsible."
"Well, it's a good thing he's not working alone then." Grindlewald said. "Now get out of here. I don't want to look at you any more."
With that, the pair were bound in chains again, and the door opened.
As the flying carpet took the away from the house in the middle of the volcano, Harry tried asking Sherlock a question. "So what do you think of all that?"
Sherlock was stroking his chin. "If it is Voldemort… then that would explain the unicorn maulings."
"Yes, Hagrid's very concerned about them. There's more than one way to live forever Harry, and Unicorn blood is one of them. Not recommended, but certainly one of them."
They both took hold of Fawkes, and the pheonix let out a cry. The three of them burst into flame, and Harry felt the sensation of the Pheonix flying them back to Hogwarts. It was like swimming, except at hurricane level speeds.
"So if he's in the forest right now… then why doesn't he have this stone already?" Harry asked mid-flight.
"We have several defences." Sherlock said. "I believe you've already tested the defences we have against spirits."
"Voldemorts a ghost?"
"Something like that."
"And he's working with someone?"
"He'd have to be."
"My money's on Professor Anderson."
"He is the obvious choice. The only member of the Hogwarts Staff that Dumbledore doesn't trust implicitly, and he only received his teaching position two years ago. But you shouldn't jump to –"
Suddenly, Fawke's flying became more erratic. The pair of them tightened their grips on the phoenix, before their lightning-fast flight slowed and the fire around them disappeared. They slowed down, somewhere over the British countryside.
"Why are we slowing down!" Harry asked, having to yell over the wind they were now exposed to.
"Pheonix's can only apparate where the sun reaches!" Sherlock yelled. Harry looked around and saw that the sky was filling with dark clouds.
"This doesn't look like normal weather!" Harry yelled.
"No!" Sherlock agreed. "This is the work of aliens!"
Harry stared at him. "Aliens! Are you serious!"
Harry sighed, and the three of them touched down. "What on earth makes you think it's an alien invasion?"
"What on earth makes you think it isn't?"
"I dunno, maybe the fact that aliens don't exist."
"I used to think magic didn't exist. If you eliminate every possible answer, then whatever remains however impossible, must be the truth."
"And how do you know magic isn't behind this?"
"Well, for one thing we're on a road and no cars are driving by, indicating large-scale crisis. The cloud patterns are all wrong for any weather charm, and the since Fawkes didn't disapparate closer to Hogwarts, this same cloud must reach as far away as Scotland. Considering we're on the eastern outskirts of London, the cloud would be far too big for any wizard to create."
"What about more than one –"
Harry was suddenly interrupted by a loud bringing. It seemed to be coming from him, but he didn't own a phone.
"Your Mokeskin." Sherlock gestured.
Harry searched in his Mokeskin pouch, and brought out the Waynetech phone. "This thing gets reception in there?" Harry answered the phone. "Hello?"
"Harry!" It was Dick. "I saw the phone's GPS tracker was active. What are you doing outside of Hogwarts?"
"Uh… field trip." Harry said. He didn't want to explain to his friend that he was visiting the wizarding world's most wanted.
"Well, get back to Hogwarts if you can. Have you heard? Martians are invading!"
'Told you' Sherlock mouthed. Harry shot him a glance of annoyance. "Really? Martians?"
"Yeah, from Mars and everything."
Sherlock was looking very smug. "You find a safe place too Dick."
"Yeah, I gotta go. Stay safe!"
Dick hung up, and Harry looked into Sherlock smug face. "You look almost excited that we're being invade by aliens."
"H.G. Wells was a personal friend of mine." Sherlock said. "I once wrote an alternate ending to War Of The Worlds. He insisted that the martian's lack of common sense in overlooking biochemical warfare and wandering the earth without clothes would be more believable. I thought it just made the aliens look more human. He didn't have to relegate my alternate ending to the mouth of some madman digging in a basement. Why can't fiction be rational from time to time?"
"Wait… the crazy guy who wanted to hide underground, wait for them to grow complacent, and then steal their machines was supposed to be you?"
"Wells didn't flatter me there, did he?" Sherlock stroked his chin.
Suddenly, in one swift movement Fawkes took to the sky, and Sherlock dragged Harry off the road and into the muddy roadside. "What –" Sherlock's hand clamped over Harry's mouth.
Harry looked around for any signs of trouble. He didn't see anything.
Until a trio of alien spaceships zoomed out of the dark sky and incinerated Fawkes.
Harry stifled a cry, as the Pheonix vanished. The spaceships soared overhead, making an unearthly noise. Harry had no idea what to do. He'd only been in one of these situations once, when Sherlock told him Voldemort was still alive. Sure, he'd had plenty of failures, but he'd never been caught completely flat-footed. His dad taught him to expect failure, and while he wasn't very good at planning for it, he could at least expect it and improvise.
This was not some failed heist. Nor was this some monster trying to hurt his friends. This was an alien invasion. It came completely out of left field.
And yet, Sherlock was smiling.
"Why are you smiling!" Harry hissed.
"Because." Sherlock said. "It's not just hell out there. There's also an angel."
Harry looked up just as an explosion rocked the sky. The was a woman in the air, wearing a one-piece patterned like the American flag. She swung a golden lasso at another space-ship, and swung it through the air like it was nothing, using it like a mace to bring down the third space-ship.
Sherlock stood up, and Harry followed suit. "Hello there!" Sherlock waved the woman down.
She looked at him with a passing interest, and then she saw Harry and she snapped to attention. She flew down and landed in front of the pair. "Are you Harry Potter."
"Yes." Harry said cautiously.
"My name is Princess Diana of Themiscyra. I've come to protect you."
A/N: For those of you who don't know, this is the beginning of the Justice League. Martians invade, and the heroes have to band together to stop them. But what will happen this time? And why is Wonder Woman concerned about Harry? And since I'm not sure I'll cover it in later installments; yes, Sherlock is calling Wonder Woman an Angel because he met her when she travelled back to WWII. Yes, Grindlewald does have connections to Vandal Savage.
I hope you all enjoyed that little peek of the future. Well, the future is pretty straightforward, but feel free to take guesses at who Harry's Allies and Enemies are, they aren't easily recognizable. And I think you'll all be surprised at the role the Joker plays in book seven. Of course, I'll have to write five more books before then, so maybe not.
And yes, Sherlock Holmes once wrote Rational!Fanfiction. He was bored, and decided it would be fun. If you don't know what Rational!Fanfiction is, go read Harry Potter And The Methods Of Rationality. If you haven't read Harry Potter And The Methods Of Rationality, what in the world are you doing reading my story?
I'm sorry it took so long to get this new chapter up. Not so sorry for the cliffhanger. Reviews are welcome!