A Study in Magic
by Books of Change

Warning/Notes: This is a BBC Sherlock and Harry Potter crossover AU. The HP timeline and BBC Sherlock's timeline has been shifted forwards and backwards to match up. One major BBC Sherlock character's gender has changed for the sake of the plot. The story was planned and written before season 2 (but incorporating elements of thereof as much as possible). Readers beware!


Chapter Fourteen: Neville and the Man with Two Faces

When Neville got his Hogwarts letter, he got all sorts of advice from his relatives on what to do once he got there. The most repeated among them was making good friends. His grandmother was very particular about that.

"Your friends will make or break you," she said very seriously. "So choose them wisely."

When he got there, though, Neville was rather in the frame of mind he'd like to have a friend. He seemed to be doing everything wrong, even when he tried his hardest not to. It was enough his fellow Gryffindors tolerated his clumsiness and didn't mind when he was around.

Harry was an odd one in that aspect.

"How come you live with your grandmother?" he asked casually in one Herbology class.

"Uh … well my mum and dad, they…" Neville floundered, refusing to look up from his pot of giggling shrub. "They, um…"

"Can't be with you?" Harry said kindly.

"Um, yeah," said Neville, very grateful for the save.

Harry nodded and moved on. He was nice like that. Even before that incident, Harry seemed to remember Neville all the time. Harry was the one who picked up his Remembrall after he dropped it at their first flying lesson, made sure he made it back to the Gryffindor Common room by curfew, and sat with him in class (he rather suspected this was the teachers' doing, but still, Harry hadn't complained). He'd invite Neville to play with the other boys, and visited him at the Hospital wing whenever he'd hurt himself (again). It was a nice feeling, knowing he wasn't forgotten. Especially considering how many people Harry was friends with and how much he valued his alone time.

The latter was something Neville observed since the beginning. Perhaps it was because he was so aware to his own loneliness and enforced solitude, but Neville noticed Harry spent a lot of time by himself. Yes, he goofed around with Ron, practiced breakdancing (some kind of Muggle dance — Neville thought it more acrobatics than actual dancing) with Dean and generally could be in the centre of all the fun, but then on the next blink he was gone, returning hours later without saying where he'd went. Ron, his best friend, just shrugged it off as an oddity of Harry's, but Neville wondered. Late at night, he'd sometimes find Harry sitting on the windowsill with his bare feet dangling outside in the cold. There was no pattern to this behaviour as far as Neville could tell—it happened whether Harry had a good day or bad day earlier — but Harry always seemed so … sad … when he did this, like his aunt Gertrude when the anniversary of uncle Alfred's death rolled around. Neville took to sitting next to him whenever he found Harry this way, thinking he'd at least not mind the company and hopefully find some comfort knowing he wasn't alone.

The night IT happened started like the others. Except this time, Harry spoke:

"I can't sleep sometimes."

Neville was so surprised he almost fell off. Harry grabbed his arm before he pitched backwards.

"Sorry," said Harry, "I didn't mean to surprise you."

"It's okay," Neville breathed, trying to still his rapidly beating heart. He was rather surprised Harry had noticed him; he thought Harry was millions of miles of away.

They sat in a companionable silence at the window. Neville wondered how long Harry was going to stay there tonight. His feet were getting a very cold, despite the bunny slippers.

"Thanks, Neville," said Harry at length.

"I'm not doing anything," Neville protested.

"Yes, you are. Even Ron didn't notice I do this."

Neville looked away rather embarrassed. Then he blurted out the question that he had for a long time.

"Why do you do this?" he asked.

Harry shrugged. "Dunno. It's like bad weather. I just can't help it."

They sat in another companionable silence. Harry drew his knees to his chest and hugged his legs. Rather than staring down the tower, he was looking up.

"My birthday's on July thirty-first," he said abruptly.

"Mine's on the thirtieth," said Neville.

Harry stared at him. "Really? Wow, we almost share a birthday!" then he grinned. "Wanna come over to my place this summer? We can celebrate our birthdays together!"

Neville felt like exploding into three different directions. On the one hand he was completely stunned that Harry would even think of inviting him to his birthday and utterly delirious that he did. On the other hand he was terrified Harry would find him boring and awkward. Oblivious to Neville's turmoil, Harry went on how Mrs. Hudson was going to bake the cake, that they could go visit Regents Park or the London Zoo or watch movies or maybe they'd go to Hamleys, he'd wanted to go there at least once.

They were both so caught up in their own happy thoughts neither of them saw the cloaked figure rise up to the window like a nightmare.

Neville let out a horrified yell when Harry was suddenly jerked out of the window. He instinctively dived after him, and, wonder of wonders, got hold of Harry's ankle. The cloaked figure — a terrifying image of coarse black cloth dripping with something silver, sticky and liquid — stunned Harry with a spell. Harry slumped like a ragdoll. Then it pointed its wand at Neville. Neville screwed his eyes shut, terrified, but he didn't let go. Then he found himself unable to move at all. Neville knew exactly what happened to him. Malfoy had done it to his legs once.

He was petrified.

-oo00oo-

When Neville was able to open his eyes again, he immediately wished he didn't because—ohmygosh that dog can't be real there's too many heads why is it so big he's going to die ohmygosh ohmygosh…

"Neville, calm down," said Harry's voice. "And let go, you're cutting my circulation."

Neville couldn't move. He was too terrified. Harry sighed and wrenched his ankle out of Neville's death-grip. Then he stood up and grimly studied the monstrous dog with three heads.

"He's sleeping," said Harry incredulously. "Hagrid wasn't lying when he said Fluffy falls asleep with a bit of music. I can see a harp over there."

Confusion and terror warred within Neville.

"W-w-what are you talking about?" he sputtered.

"Oh, yeah, you don't know," said Harry, sounding far too calm considering the circumstances. "You remember Dumbledore's warning at the beginning of term? THAT—" he pointed at the dog. "—is one the things that are going to cause the very painful death he talked about. We need to get out of here."

They fumbled at the door. It was locked and neither of them had wands. Neville felt terror swallow him up again. They were trapped.

"I don't know how long we can keep Fluffy asleep, my batteries are dying," said Harry as he fished out his ever-present phone and started playing a tune with it (how?). Then he frowned. "Hey, look, there's a trapdoor."

Indeed there was. It was right underneath one of Fluffy's (why in the world did Harry call it that?) gigantic paws. They heaved the paw out of the way and wrenched the door open. It was dark beyond the small opening and the drop seemed to go straight down without any stairs or ladders.

"We can't stay here," said Harry. "My phone's not going to last more than fifteen minutes. After that we're toast. Let's go down."

"B-but!" Neville tried to protest. He couldn't even imagine what could be down there if Fluffy (seriously, why?) was only the first in a series of death traps.

"We have to take the chance," said Harry firmly. "C'mon. I'll go first."

Neville grabbed Harry's wrist in alarm. "Don't leave me!"

Harry jumped, taking Neville with him. They went down the drop and eventually landed on something soft with a thump. Neville was too terrified and disoriented to even feel relieved.

"Ow, good thing we have a soft landing," Harry said as he fumbled for his phone. He did something so it would shine a bright light. "I wonder what—"

They both let out a frightened squawk as they took in the large mass of sinister-looking wriggling and flailing vines that covered half of the small chamber they've entered. Small tendrils and creepers had wrapped themselves around their limbs and necks and they haven't even noticed. It all retreated to the far corners as the light of Harry's phone shined.

"That was a devil's snare!" Neville squeaked in a high-pitched voice.

Harry goggled with his mouth hanging open.

"It was only dumb luck we're alive!" he whispered in awe. "Devil's snare likes it damp and dark—if I didn't have my phone, we'd be dead!"

They quickly ran towards the other end of the chamber and entered a narrow passageway. The stone walls there were dripping with water—no doubt so the Devil's snare would thrive in this horrible place—and floor slanted downwards. They eventually arrived at brilliantly lit chamber with a ceiling arching high above. Hundreds of what looked liked jewelled birds were fluttering and swirling all around the dome. On the opposite side of the chamber was a heavy wooden door. A number of brooms were leaning against the walls.

"Those aren't birds," said Harry suddenly, pointing at the enchanted flying objects. "They're keys! I bet you're supposed to get the right one to open that door. See, the brooms are there so you can catch it. Nothing deadly here."

Neville let out a sigh and collapsed to his knees. The trap here wasn't deadly. They weren't going to die. He was so relieved he's mind went numb and empty. Harry joined him at the floor.

"Guess we can wait here," he said. "Reception's kind of weak, but I can still text my parents. They'll let professor Dumbledore know."

That was even a greater relief. Neville heaved and Harry did whatever it is he did to instantly contact his adoptive parents. His phone made a little chiming noise when they replied back.

"'K, now they know we've been kidnapped," Harry said. "I told them where we are. One of the professor's will come get us soon."

While they waited to get rescued, Harry told him the purpose behind the Forbidden Third Floor Corridor. Neville felt his head spinning as Harry spoke about Nicolas Flamel, the philosopher's stone, and the thief that was after it.

"Anyway, we think Snape is—"

"P-P-Potter? L-Longbottom?"

They both looked up. Professor Quirrell was standing behind them, looking particularly absurd in his large purple turban, twitchy face and violet robes that just hug off of his thinning frame.

"Professor Quirrell!" Harry exclaimed in surprise. "Wow, you're fast!"

"M-my night for patrols," Professor Quirrell muttered, looking as if he really didn't want to think about it. "Y-y-you really have th-the most r-rotten luck, Potter."

They got up. Instead of leading them back to the wet passageway, Professor Quirrell headed towards the brooms.

"W-we can't go back," he said. "S-security forces you to go forward only."

"Oh, so it corners you to a dead-end, kinda," said Harry.

Professor Quirrell nodded. He handed over a broom to Harry and said he had to catch the large silver key with blue wings. Harry spotted the key in an instant and took off. It took Harry less than ten minutes to catch the right key. Neville whooped when Harry snatched it out of the air after doing an incredible cork-screw turn and long backwards loop. Professor Quirrell took the key and turned the lock.

The next chamber was very dark, but lights came on as they walked in. It had a huge chessboard that stretched from one side of the chamber to the other. There were two sets of chessmen carved from stone, all very tall and all neatly arranged for a game.

"Wizard's Chess?" Harry guessed, and Neville sputtered. "We have to win to go across?"

"Yes," said Professor Quirrell. "You be a Knight, Potter. Longbottom, you'll be a Rook. I shall stand as King."

As if they understood, the black king, rook and knight removed themselves from the board. The three of them took their places, and as soon as they did so, a white pawn moved forward two paces. Professor Quirrell directed Harry and Neville and the other pieces where to move. Neville found it a bit odd how calm he sounded, but then he thought it was because Professor Quirrell was a good chess player. In six moves Quirrell called checkmate, the white King dropped crown and all the remaining pieces cleared the board. They moved on to the next chamber.

There was a very large, very disgusting mountain troll there. Thankfully it was knocked out, but the smell alone was enough to stop people in their tracks.

"But who knocked it out?" Harry wondered as they swiftly jogged passed it, holding their breaths. Professor Quirrell didn't reply and ushered them pass the next door.

Immediately purple flames sprung up and swallowed the door behind them. On the other side, black flames rose and covered the doorway leading to the next chamber. The chamber itself had nothing but a table with seven different sized bottles filled with liquid and roll of parchment. On the parchment was a riddle:

Danger lies before you, while safety lies behind,
Two of us will help you, whichever you would find,
One among us seven will let you move ahead,
Another will transport the drinker back instead,
Two among our number hold only nettle wine,
Three of us are killers, waiting bidden in line.
Choose, unless you wish to stay here forevermore,
To help you in your choice, we give you these clues four:
First, however slyly the poison tries to hide
You will always find some on nettle wine's left side;
Second, different are those who stand at either end,
But if you would move onward, neither is your friend;
Third, as you see clearly, all are different size,
Neither dwarf nor giant holds death in their insides;
Fourth, the second left and the second on the right
Are twins once you taste them, though different at first sight.

"A logic puzzle," Harry muttered, frowning. "Hey, wait…"

"Smallest bottle at the end, Potter," said Professor Quirrell. "A single drop will do."

"No, wait," said Harry, raising a hand. "The Puzzle says safety lies behind. If nothing stops you from walking across the chessboard, then you can take a broom from the key room and got back." He stared at Professor Quirrell. "What's going on?"

There was a moment's silence.

Then Neville left a cold, steady hand clutch his windpipe and a wand stab his jugular.

"Really, Potter," said Quirrell in an unfamiliar cold voice. "Don't make me hurt him."

-oo00oo-

Neville took in Harry's stunned face as his veins flooded with fear, confusion and a sense of betrayal.

"You?" gasped Harry.

"Me," said Quirrell calmly over Neville's head. "For one so clever, you're very naïve and trusting."

Harry shook his head in disbelief.

"But I thought the thief was—stupid!" he exclaimed suddenly, "Occam's Razor. Why have two thieves when one is enough?"

"Yes," Quirrell laughed, and it wasn't his usual quavering treble, but cold and sharp. "Yes, and all this time you were trying to encourage me to resist the thief. You have no idea how difficult it was for me to not laugh at you, Potter, but then again who would suspect p-p-poor, st-stuttering P-Professor Quirrell?"

Neville felt his jaw hanging open. He just couldn't take it all in. The Philosopher's Stone thief Harry told him about was Quirrell? But Harry said he thought Snape was…

"I rather hoped you'd think Snape was after the stone," Quirrell went on, flicking his wand and conjuring ropes that tightly wrapped themselves around Harry. "He always looked the type, swooping around like an overgrown bat. But you didn't take the bait."

"He was at the first Quidditch match," said Harry, looking very brave despite the ropes that tied him. "You weren't."

"Ah, of course," said Quirrell coolly. "While everyone was out there staring at you and Snape was trying to save your neck, I was in the castle trying to see what was guarding the stone. You would've done me a great favour if you died, Potter. A few more seconds you would've been hurled off and I would've found all that I needed to know."

"You let in the troll too, at Halloween," Harry went on, "The first three people who came into the girls' toilet are the ones who had the greatest interest in what happened to the troll. The three were: McGonagall, Snape and you. McGonagall and Snape were at the Quidditch match, so it has to be you."

"Again, correct," said Quirrell. "I have a special gift with trolls — you've seen what I did to the one in the chamber back there? Unfortunately, while everyone else was running around trying to find it, Snape went straight for the third floor to head me off. Not only did the troll fail to beat you to death, the three-headed dog didn't manage to properly bite Snape's leg off."

Quirrell edged towards the table, and picked up the smallest bottle.

"You're too nosey to live, Potter," Quirrell said as he uncorked it. "Scurrying around looking for the troll at Halloween, always lurking near the Forbidden Forest and keeping watch from the Gryffindor tower at night … No doubt you've seen me enter the Forbidden Forest to procure unicorn's blood. Really, you've brought this upon yourself."

Harry remained silent, but Neville knew what he was thinking. Harry's walks near the Forbidden Forest were just that: walks. Also, Neville was there when Harry sat on their dormitory's windowsill, and he was pretty sure Harry had been staring at nothing in particular during those long nights. But Quirrell would never believe them.

"Take the potion, Potter, or Longbottom dies," Quirrell said severely.

Harry glared at Quirrell defiantly. "And you'll let him go if I do?"

"Certainly."

"No, you won't!" Neville shouted.

Both Harry and Quirrell stared at him. Neville tried to look very brave despite the fact he was shaking all over, he could barely stand and he wanted to throw up.

"I'm going too," Neville said with a trembling voice. "I don't trust you. Where Harry goes, I'm going, too."

"Neville!" Harry protested.

Neville shook his head as he steeled himself.

"No," he said stubbornly. "Even if he lets go, I'm not going to run. So forget it."

Harry looked torn and frustrated. Quirrell rolled his eyes at the two of them.

"What a waste of time," he said. "Fine. Both of you take the potion. One drop each. Don't keep me waiting."

-oo00oo-

Neville became aware of his consciousness in stages. When he finally opened his eyes, he didn't see the dark canopy of his four-poster bed, but the familiar look of the Hospital Wing's ceiling.

"Harry," Neville whispered to the ceiling. "Please tell me I had a nightmare."

There was a pause.

"Sorry, Neville," said Harry's voice to his right.

Neville whimpered and covered his face. So the terrible images of a chalk white face with glaring red eyes and slits for nostrils placed where there the back of Quirrell's head should've been swimming inside his head were … were…

"Yeah, that was Voldemort," said Harry.

Neville threw the blankets over his head and lay there trembling.

"And before you ask, yes, Voldemort was the master Quirrell was talking about and the one he was trying to steal the Stone for."

Neville let out a muted scream under the covers. How could Harry use You-Know-Who's name so casually after going through all that?

"Um, you might want to get out from under the covers, Neville. Professor Dumbledore is here."

Neville blinked. Then he cautiously peered over the edge of his blankets and look around. That was when he saw the smiling face of Albus Dumbledore.

"Good Afternoon, Neville," said Dumbledore. "You've come to only a few minutes after Harry. Excellent."

Neville stared at him. Then he remembered: "Sir, the Stone! Quirrell—!"

"Calm down, my dear boy, all is well, as I've been telling Harry here," said Dumbledore. "You are both a little behind the times."

"Quirrell doesn't have the stone," Harry explained. "No one does. Professor Dumbledore's been telling me he had a chat with Nicolas Flamel, and they agreed to destroy it—even if it means Flamel and his wife is going to die. He hasn't told me why yet."

"And I will," said Dumbledore, sounding quite delighted. "To one as young as you two, I'm sure it seems incredible, but to Nicolas and Perenelle, who have lived six hundred and sixty-six years and six hundred and fifty-nine years respectively, dying is really like going to bed after a very, very long day. After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure."

Harry was silent for a moment.

"If you don't mind me saying so, sir, I don't think I agree. About what you said about dying, I mean. The last time I almost died really wasn't exciting."

Dumbledore smiled sadly.

"No, I supposed not. But you know: the Stone was really not such a wonderful thing. As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all. The trouble is humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them."

Harry nodded. "Love of money is the root of all kinds of evil…"

Dumbledore beamed. "You know, Harry, I do believe this is the first time in a long time I've heard that verse quoted accurately."

Neville lay there, lost for words. Dumbledore and Harry conversed quietly with smiles on their faces.

"Sir?" Neville blurted out. "I've been thinking … Professor Quirrell kidnapped us and left us with the three-headed dog because he thought Harry was watching him, right?"

"Yes," Dumbledore confirmed. "A guilty conscious always jumps to the worst conclusions when it thinks it is caught. And Quirrell was guilty in more ways than you can imagine: killing unicorns and drinking their blood to strengthen Voldemort was bad enough, but to kill something so pure and defenceless for your selfish goals … It's no wonder those who consume unicorn's blood are cursed. You did well to contact someone the moment you were safe."

"Harry did it," Neville mumbled. "I just sat there and panicked."

"No," said Dumbledore. "You stayed with him to the very end. That was the bravest thing anyone could've done."

Dumbledore suddenly became very interested in a bird out on the windowsill, which gave Neville time to recover from his shock and embarrassment.

"Why did he go back with us?" asked Harry while Neville tried to recover his voice. "I know Quirrell got stuck at the Mirror of Erised, but why did he want me to go back with him?"

"I do believe Quirrell honestly didn't expect you two to have survived Fluffy, let alone the Devil's Snare, when the Mirror foiled him for the second time. But when he discovered that you did, he perhaps wondered if you could retrieve the Stone yourself."

"Speaking of, how did we get the Stone out of the mirror?" Harry asked.

"Ah, now, I'm glad you asked me that!" said Dumbledore, beaming. "It was one of my more brilliant ideas, and between you and me, that's saying something. You see, the Mirror of Erised will show you your greatest desire at the moment. Therefore, only one who wanted to find the stone — find it, but not use it — would be able to get it, otherwise they'd just see themselves making gold or drinking Elixir of Life. My brain surprises even me sometimes…"

"I almost ruined everything," said Harry, shaking his head. "I thought I'd just see myself finding the Stone when I looked into the mirror. But when I looked, I found the Stone inside my pocket. Voldemort knew immediately." Harry frowned. "But how? He couldn't've seen it. Quirrell was wearing his turban at the time, and he didn't notice until Voldemort told him. Neville knew because he saw the me in the mirror put the stone in my pocket. Can Voldemort read minds?"

"It is one of Voldemort's many skills," said Dumbledore. "Those who are able to lie to him successfully are vanishingly few. All things considered, Harry, we must consider ourselves very lucky indeed."

Neville agreed. You-Know-Who had wanted them dead and Quirrell had been ready to kill. It was only Harry's miraculous touch that saved them. Neville shuddered as he remembered the way Quirrell's hands blistered and turned red as though he grabbed heated iron the moment he touched Harry, and how his face seem to melt off when Harry grabbed his face …

"Why couldn't Quirrell touch Harry?" asked Neville.

"His mother died to save him," said Dumbledore. "If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn't realise that love as powerful as his mother's for her son leave its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign … to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us protection forever. It is in Harry's very skin. Quirrell, full of hatred, greed and ambition, sharing his soul with Voldemort, could not touch Harry for this reason. It was agony to touch a person marked by something so good."

For another moment Dumbledore appeared to be terribly interested in the rather persistent bird at the windowsill as Harry blinked away tears and swallowed several times.

"Sir," said Harry at length, "I want to know—I have two questions…"

"Just two?"

"Yes. Snape—"

"Professor Snape, Harry."

"Um, yes, Professor Snape — John said he hates me because my father bullied him when they were kids. Quirrell said they hated each other. I get that. But if he hates me so much … why was he working so hard to protect me?"

"It is true your father and Snape detested each other. Rather like you and Mr. Malfoy, in fact. But then your father did something Snape could never forgive: He saved his life."

"What?"

"Yes," Dumbledore said dreamily. "Funny, the way people's minds work, isn't it? Professor Snape couldn't bear being in your father's debt … I do believe he worked so hard to protect you this year because he felt that would make him and your father even. Then he could go back to hating your father's memory in peace…"

Harry scrunched his eyes like swallowing the idea was physically painful. Neville sympathized. He couldn't understand either, and trying made his head pound.

"Okay," said Harry at length. "I don't really understand, but … Well, this isn't the question I have, but Voldemort's going to try other ways to come back, isn't he? I mean, he's not gone."

"No, he is not," said Dumbledore quietly. "He is still out there somewhere, perhaps looking for another body to share … not being truly alive, he cannot be killed. He left Quirrell to die; he shows just as little mercy to his followers as his enemies. Nevertheless, while you two may only delayed his return to power, it will merely take someone else who is prepared to fight what seems a losing battle next time — and if he is delayed again, and again, why, he may never return to power."

Harry nodded once and then winced. "Ow. Well, the question I do have is … Voldemort said he only killed my mother because she tried to stop him from killing me. But why would he want to kill me in the first place?"

Dumbledore sighed very deeply this time.

"Alas, the last thing you ask me, I cannot tell you," he said. "Not today. Not now. Truth is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution. I have good reasons not to answer, and I will not lie to avoid answering. You will know one day … put it out from your mind for now, Harry. When you are older … I know you hate to hear this … but when you are ready, you will know."

-oo00oo-

After the incredible adventure with the Stone, the remaining five weeks of classes, final exams and the end-of-year feast felt like a distant footnote to Neville. But happen they did. Neville managed to scrape through the exams, his Herbology mark making up for his abysmal Potions one. Harry, of course, did extremely well, third best of the first years after Hermione and Anthony Goldstein in that order. Thanks to Harry and Neville's heroics—Dumbledore's term; Neville was still reeling at the idea of winning fifty house points for bravery and outstanding show of friendship after never once winning a single house point for an entire year—Gryffindor won the House Cup, despite their loss against Ravenclaw in their last Quidditch match due to Harry being pulled out in the middle of the game (Madam Pomfrey was adamant about his one hour limit). Speaking of the House Cup, Ron and Hermione won twenty points each for outstanding show of friendship too, plus the best chess game Hogwarts had ever seen (for Ron) and use of cool logic in the face of adversary (for Hermione).

"You went after me?" said Harry when they'd came to visit at the Hospital Wing.

"There wasn't much choice," said Ron. "Percy didn't believe me when I told him you got kidnapped. We tried to tell McGonagall, but she thought you were up in the Astronomy tower or something. We tried to talk to Dumbledore, but McGonagall said he left for London. So we sneaked to the third floor after everyone went back to sleep. We used the flute you got for Christmas to get pass Fluffy. Hermione use her flame spell to get rid of the Devil's Snare—she lost her head a bit before that, though; said 'There's no wood!', honestly—and I directed the chess game."

"Where you heroically and stupidly sacrificed yourself to win," said Hermione, shaking her head. "I had to go alone after winning. I passed the knocked out troll and got into the potion chamber. I'd just figured out which bottle had the potion that lets you move forward when Dumbledore entered the room. He knew everything: he just said: 'Harry is ahead, isn't he?'"

Harry and Neville stared at the two of them with stupefied faces for a long time.

"Why would McGonagall think I went up to the Astronomy Tower?" Harry wondered out loud.

"She said you're known to wander up to high places and sit at the edge when you're upset. Mental, I'm telling you."

Harry frowned. "Why would I go up to somewhere high up when I'm already in a high tower?"

Ron and Hermione stared at him.

"…Are you telling us you actually do sit at the edge of high places?"

"It's a bad habit of mine," Harry confessed. "Don't tell John, will you? She thinks I've stopped. Anyway, I was okay, I was never alone."

"Huh?" said Ron, confused, while Hermione silently exploded.

"Neville was with me," said Harry simply. "He wouldn't have let me fall."

Ron grinded both of his fists into Harry's temples and Hermione bopped him over the head for that remark. They later thanked Neville for looking after the 'stupid mental prat', as Ron put it. Neville couldn't help but smile. Harry was an odd one, definitely, but no one would've wanted him any other way.

Speaking of odd…

"Do you think Sherlock is going to be upset that we're not allowed to do magic over summer?" Ron asked on the train, referring to Harry's adoptive father.

"I suppose," said Harry. "But then he knows about Voldemort."

"He's not upset about that?" asked Hermione.

"Upset?" said Harry incredulously, "There's a mysterious evil dark lord who's not really alive and can't be killed out there! He probably thinks it's Christmas…"

-oo00oo-

Final Notes: Thus ends year one. Sherlock knows. Voldemort doesn't know what is going to hit him. Thank you for being so patient with the rehashing of PS (minus the incident at the Forbidden Forest). Now that Sherlock has an idea what Harry is up against, more deviations will follow…

…Which you will know by July. I'm afraid the Master's thesis I mentioned in chapter twelve is getting more urgent, and I need to focus. I've been writing fanfic between bouts of petulance and procrastination, which has to stop. Sorry, dear readers. Rest assured, I'm not done with ASIM. I have plans for all seven years (it won't follow JRK's, obviously, that would be boring). I also want to show, in a separate story, how John and Sherlock ended up married.

Now my obligatory self-plug for my other story: The Sword of Solomon. Unrelated to ASIM, I wrote it before TRF (though finished loooong after watching it).