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 incorporates elements of season 2 as much as possible. Readers beware!
Chapter Seventy Six: Pulling the Plug
Harry spent the first five days of Easter Holidays getting his homework done. The load seemed at least twice as large from the previous years, and Harry knew O.W.L.s weren't solely to blame. Voldemort and the Ministry's machinations took away a large chunk of the time he should be spending on school work, and his marks reflected this. For the first time since he started Hogwarts, Harry barely managed to scrape an Acceptable for most of his classes (which for Potions was an improvement, ironically enough).
"We know why you're having trouble, so don't worry about it," said John after reading his report card. "Just do well in the finals. That's what counts, after all."
Harry grumbled getting high marks in his final exams was not an easy matter, but nevertheless vowed to catch up, as he had no desire to give either the Ministry or Voldemort the honour of causing him to fail. Harry asked Sirius and his best friend Remus for help, and they rose magnificently to the occasion. Sirius in particular seemed to relish in the time together, even though it was for something as boring as homework.
"I'm glad to know you're not struggling over the material, Harry," Remus said as Harry tackled his Transfiguration essay. "Professor McGonagall and Flitwick have been worrying about you."
"Why?" Harry asked.
"They noticed your essays were, I quote, shoddier and you had difficulty mastering spells," said Remus. "Since this happened shortly after Benedict was born, they wondered if you were having trouble adjusting to having a sibling."
Harry gaped after hearing this. He didn't put much thought into how his teachers perceived him—except, of course, Severus Snape, whose opinion of Harry had been absolutely clear since day one—but he didn't think they would put much thought into him; regardless of what the Daily Prophet said, he was just over average, meaning he was neither interesting nor worrisome.
"I managed to convince them you love Benedict very much and enjoy his presence immensely," Remus continued. "This led them to speculate the negative effects of Rita Skeeter's articles. I left them at that."
"I didn't even know she was writing about me until that fight at the entrance hall," said Harry honestly.
Remus smiled wryly. "Well, you certainly had deeper things to worry about at that point."
"But not anymore," said Harry savagely. "Sherlock's plan is working. After Voldemort goes down, we can start working to get rid of every last piece of him…"
"That's the spirit," said Sirius, ruffling Harry's hair. "We'll have a laugh over Voldemort and his Death Munchers before summer, I just know it. And, Merlin, I would love to be a fly on wall when LV learns a Muggle outsmarted him…"
"Very tempting," Remus agreed. "But for the sake of John and Sherlock's safety, let's hope he never does."
The three of them spent some time talking about what they wanted to do after Sherlock's plan came to full fruition. Sirius mentioned overseas trips to exotic places (he quite liked Thailand and wanted to go there for reasons other than hunting down drug runners). Then he elbowed Remus in the ribs, and slyly asked if he would collabourate with his pretty and young cousin Dora for his Defence Against the Dark Arts classes next year. Remus held himself in a very dignified way and confirmed, yes, he was planning to, which Harry thought was quite a bold response for him.
"What about you, Harry?" Sirius asked. "Are there any girls that strike your fancy?"
"No," said Harry.
"No?" said Sirius in disbelief. "There is no one now? No one before? C'mon, there has to be at least one…"
Harry shook his head. There were girls he thought looked very pretty, of course, but that didn't mean he had to do something about it. Moreover, he handled too many stupid cases where men acted in the most idiotic ways for beautiful woman to fall for the first pretty girl that came in sight.
"What about Arthur Weasley's daughter? Isn't she cute?" Sirius persisted.
"Maybe, I don't know," said Harry indifferently. "Can we not talk this? I have to get this done."
Sirius scowled. "You don't think girls are gross, do you?"
"No, and that's even after I got the Talk," said Harry.
"You got the cauldrons and wands talk? Who did it? John?" asked Remus, as Sirius's eyebrows ascended.
Harry felt a bit evil as he told them the truth. "No, Sherlock."
Sirius and Remus's jaws dropped.
"It was an hour long," said Harry casually. "There was a slideshow, and he used models."
Sirius and Remus never brought up the subject again after that.
Harry eventually finished all his homework. He might have done it faster if he hadn't spent many hours taking inspirational showers or his head down on the table quietly despairing over the likelihood of ever getting the work done. But get it done he did; Harry proclaimed as much after throwing down his biro and punching the air in victory. Then he slumped back into his chair and sat there limply with his head thrown back.
John, who often sat across Harry writing blog posts or feeding Benedict while he worked, chuckled at the sight of him.
"Good job, you," she said. "Fancy a walk? I need some air."
Harry agreed. He flopped out of his chair, rolled on the ground, and rose to his feet like a stiff-limbed zombie. John shrugged on a coat and left Benedict with Sherlock, who didn't budge from his spot at the kitchen, poring over his microscope.
They went to Regent's Park. As they roamed around the grounds, it suddenly occurred to Harry that the last time he and John took a casual stroll was four years ago, the day before he left for Hogwarts as a wide-eyed firstie. Had it really been that long? Harry thought, as the grinned at the herons.
"What are you laughing at?" asked John.
"Nothing," said Harry. "I just … it felt like before, when it was just me and you and Sherlock."
John gave him an inscrutable look. "It's been a while since we had just me and you time, hasn't it? Sorry about that."
"It's okay!" said Harry quickly. "We're going to have plenty of time soon! Just a few more months and it'll be over … well, mostly over."
John made a vague accenting noise. It filled Harry with an unfathomable dread.
"You don't think…?"
"Call me paranoid, but I don't think I'll be able to relax until LV is well and truly dead," said John flatly. "Especially since LV won't die even if you put a bullet through his head at this point. He's worse than a zombie."
Harry smiled lopsidedly. "At least zombies die from a headshot…"
"So inconsiderate," John agreed.
There was a beat.
"So what is the training regime Dr. Robert cooked up?" Harry asked.
"Well he basically gave me three options," said John. "He said, when it comes down to it, magic is about making things more. Since Dao-ga keeps magic to yourself, doing something that will make you … better, in a sense, would do the job. Now, I don't think you're interested in turning into a mental genius."
Harry shook his head frantically, which made John smirk.
"The other options are fitness and music," John said. "Since you're already learning violin, we can use that. But you'll have to really up the ante. I'm talking about getting good enough that people will pay you money to play on stage here."
Harry glanced to the side. Just thinking about the amount of practice he'd have put himself through to get that good at violin made him want to take a long nap.
"Yeah, I didn't think so," said John lightly. "You're more of a pleasure player, and there's nothing wrong with that. So that leaves fitness. Would you be interested in learning MMA?"
Harry perked up immediately. "Mixed-martial arts? Yeah, I would!"
"Okay, that's good," said John. "Robert and I agreed the physical fitness rout is probably our best option since we'll have to build you from ground-up, and that's a lot of room for improvement, which is exactly what we want … but it's going to be really tough because your foundation is bit shakier than others."
Harry pulled a face. "My EIA?"
"And other things," said John wryly. "We'll work around it. Robert recommended some potions. Hopefully they'll work better than albuterol."
Harry felt tentatively hopeful. Perhaps it was because he was a wizard, but asthma inhalers and Muggle medications just didn't work for him. It made him wonder if that was the reason why even Muggle-born witches and wizards opted to see a Healer rather than a Doctor.
"The other challenge is that I'll have to challenge you to the point you feel like your life is being threatened," said John grimly. "I don't want to give you PTSD; you know it's not fun."
"Why?" Harry asked.
"You know life and magic are intrinsically tied together, right?" said John. "The only way to improve is to go through challenging practice. So the question is, how do you challenge your life? One way is to threaten it. Apparently that's why Robert does parkour. And no," John added when Harry opened his mouth, "You're not learning parkour. It's too dangerous. Johns Hopkins has a betting pool on the day Baltimore city police will ring them up to report an idiot who busted his skull jumping from building to building, they'll look for Robert to do the operation, only to find the idiot was him."
Even so, Harry still felt like protesting. He'd wanted to learn Parkour ever since he'd seen Dr. Robert vault over battlements and leap from tower to tower two years ago. He could only imagine how much freedom and fun he'd experience.
"Don't even think about doing it on your own," said John sternly. "You can't even run a mile at this point."
"Yes, I can!" said Harry indignantly.
"Oh yeah?" said John, eyebrows raised. "We'll see about that. Let's race. Starting now."
They dashed. Harry was in the lead for the first two minutes or so, but afterwards he had to slow down, and then completely stop because he was winded. In the meantime, John swiftly ran pass Harry and kept running at a brisk pace. I can't even beat my mum, Harry thought mortifyingly as he sucked in air.
John eventually turned around and jogged back to Harry.
"No parkour," she declared, arms crossed.
Harry raised a hand in surrender and reluctant agreement.
They headed back to Baker Street a few minutes later, shortly after Sherlock sent a text that said: Return immediately. Benedict in deep distress. SH. Harry and John grumbled Sherlock was probably exaggerating until they were about two streets away. Benedict was screaming so loudly, people around them were looking up to see where the noise was coming from.
"Oh, f…," John hissed as they quickened their pace.
Benedict's cries reached a fever-pitch by the time John and Harry entered the flat. Sherlock, who looked very harassed, quickly shoved Benedict into John's chest, and that muffled his screaming somewhat. Everyone let out a sigh of relief when he eventually quieted down, suckling John's chest.
"Yep, I'm just the person who has the boob," John grumbled as she stretched her legs on the coffee table.
"A grand privilege," said Sherlock as collapsed into his customary seat by the fireplace.
There was a moment of quiet as everyone sagged into their seats. Then Harry's phone made a rooster's crow. Ron's face sprung up when Harry connected the call.
"Hey, Harry, John, Sherlock," said Ron. "Sorry, but we have a bit of a problem."
Harry was instantly filled with alarm.
"What?" Sherlock asked sharply.
Ron scratched the back of his head. "We just learned Umbridge is in charge of managing the Ministry-owned MMN."
Harry blinked at this. "Isn't that a good thing?" he asked.
"Eh, yes and no," said Ron. "She's so stupid the plan would work faster, in the long run, but right now that's a problem. Me and Mr. Jeremey were banking on the Ministry to go through a transition period before we handed the whole thing over. But Umbridge won't have any of it. She wants us to hand over everything now."
Sherlock pursed his lips. "That won't leave you much time to launch the third attack."
"No," said Ron, shaking his head. "Mr. Jeremy's talking to Umbridge, but honestly, I don't think it will change things."
Sherlock clicked his tongue.
"The idiot," he growled. "How can someone this stupid even exist?"
Inside the office of the Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic, two people were at a standoff. Behind the desk sat Dolores Umbridge, and across from her sat Jeremy Shin, consultant to the Magical Mobile Network. There was a look of callous pleasure plastered all over Umbridge's face, whereas Jeremy looked as though he wished to tear it off with his teeth.
"Madam Umbridge," said Jeremy Shin. "I'm not advocating the MIT-S because I will have financial gain from it. I am stressing the importance of the service it provides in good conscience. It is the backbone of the MMN. Cutting it off would be disastrous."
"To you, perhaps," sniffed Umbridge. "Those who are proper witches and wizards do not need Muggle tricks."
"It's not a trick," said Jeremy between gritted teeth. "It's something only 1% of the Muggle population is capable of making."
"That means nothing in the Magic World," said Umbridge dismissively. "I have wasted enough time talking about this. Good day."
She dismissed Jeremy with an imperious wave of hand. Jeremy glared at Umbridge for a moment before he jumped to his feet.
"On your head, then," he growled.
Then he turned and stormed out.
In the days that followed, most of the wizarding world didn't think much of the news that the British Ministry of Magic gained ownership of the Magical Mobile Network. They simply noted their phones still worked as it always did when Minister Cornelius Fudge made the announcement and then went on with their lives. Perhaps a few hundred noted the effective date of transfer was the last Monday of April.
The customers of the Magical Mobile Network eventually received written notices—by Owl—from the British Ministry of Magic about the transfer. The fliers promised better service and no scandalous footages from now on. Maybe half of those who actually took the time to read it took the promises seriously.
Then Effective Date of Transfer dawned. Hardly anyone noted the significance of the date during early morning hours. Customers merely went through their daily rituals, which for many people was taking out their phones to watch the Magical Mobile Network's televised news.
Except on that day, they realised their phone had stopped working.
"What the hell happened to the MMN?"
That was the first question Ron faced after he and Hermione settled in Hogwarts Express and waited for the rest of their friends to arrive. The person who asked it was Seamus Finnigan. He looked quite a bit irate as he brandished his MMN phone, which was completely devoid of flames.
"Dunno," Ron answered. "The Ministry hasn't contacted me since they bought it two weeks ago."
"So they're not asking you for help?" asked Dean, who was with Seamus.
"No," said Ron, shaking his head. "I'm completely barred from the thing. I'm not that much help, anyway. Phone not working is a network problem, and only Miss Jack really knows the network."
Seamus swore horribly.
"How could the Ministry mess it up this badly?!" he roared. "They said it was a simple process! It's supposed to go without any hiccups!"
"Hell if I know," said Ron blandly. "Miss Jack set everything up so the whole thing is completely automated. There was literally nothing to do except answer customer's calls. All the ministry had to do was take everything as is."
Seamus swore again.
"Do you think they can fix it?" asked Dean.
"Maybe. I don't know," said Ron, shrugging. "The Ministry'll probably try to get ahold of Miss Jack. I say good luck. She's been MIA since she left the country to see her fiancé."
"Ha, like she'd answer a call to work when she's on a holiday," scoffed Seamus. "I reckon I'm better off cancelling, but Mam thinks if I do, we won't get compensated, so she's sending Howlers every day instead. What do you think?"
"Cancel when the Ministry promises compensation for the lost service," said Ron. "Don't stick around. Who knows when it'll come back online? I'm not holding my breath, honestly."
Seamus and Dean left the compartment after this exchange. Hermione, who had been observing it from her seat looking quite gratified, showed Ron the front page of the Daily Prophet. The headline article had a wizarding photograph of Fudge and Umbridge moving swiftly away to the edge, both looking shifty and harassed. Ron noted the slightly burnt quality of Umbridge's cardigan and hair with savage satisfaction.
"What did it say?" Ron asked after returning to his seat.
" 'The Ministry is looking into the matter and is trying to resolve the problem as quickly as possible,'" said Hermione. " 'We are not overlooking any possibility; be it Floo-network glitch to an old Magical Mobile Network employee sabotaging the network out of malice'."
Ron huffed. "Of course he'd try to blame us."
"Let him try," said Hermione sniffily. "I have all the documentation. We can even take him to court and win."
"Oh, yeah, about that," said Ron, a bit nervously. "Mr. Jeremy said I might actually have to go to court. When the, uh, Ministry continues to fails to fix the network. Can you go with me?"
Hermione looked flattered.
"Of course! What do I have to do?" she asked eagerly.
"What you usually do," said Ron breathlessly.
Final Notes: Still not done with Umbridge. Nope.