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 Eight: How To Catch A Dark Lord
Harry and his friends sneaked into the Room of Requirement after Ron and Hermione returned from their meeting with Umbridge. Ginny joined them this time, as she didn't have a date with Michael Corner on that particular night.
"I told him I was busy today, with exams and such. That made him upset. Seriously, are guys supposed to be this clingy?" Ginny complained to Hermione as they waited for Sherlock to appear.
Harry didn't pay attention to Hermione's reply and cocked an eyebrow at Julia, who smiled wryly and shrugged her shoulders in return. Apparently she, as a girl, didn't get this dating business either.
Sherlock eventually showed up on the mirror. Ron and Hermione wasted no time telling him about Umbridge: how she was completely over her head in regards to the Magical Mobile Network and now was desperate enough to ask them for help … how in the end she threatened to take them to court, though she had no hope to win the case…
"The only way to get help now is to twist Miss Jack's arm," said Ron with relish. "I doubt they'd find her, though."
"Wrong," said Sherlock. "Fudge did figure out she was hiding in the States and tried to bring her back via extradition and later subterfuge. The Americans, of course, were not amused."
"So she's safe?" asked Hermione.
"As safe as a naturalized citizen of the US can be in British soil," said Sherlock gravely. "That may not mean much if or when she returns to England."
"WHAT D'YOU MEAN?" Julia shouted furiously, startling everyone. "Wasn't the point of marrying her off keeping her out of the country, where it's dangerous?!"
"Our purpose is destroying Voldemort," said Sherlock sternly. "Not marrying off Jacqueline, not making a killing with Zing ®, and certainly not bankrupting the Ministry of Magic, as vindictive as it was. The latter in particular did us little good."
"Why?" demanded Julia, arms crossed.
"LV can replace key members of the Ministry of Magic with his Death Eaters while it's in turmoil," said Sherlock. "This, more than the acquisition of the MMN, would facilitate LV in achieving his preliminary goal of becoming the Wizarding World's overlord. I doubt this didn't cross his mind. In fact, that the Floo Network Authority was able to come up with a solution that corrected the MMN's telephony problems in two short weeks seems to suggest LV is using the opportunity for all its worth."
For a while no one spoke, they were so shocked. Never in his wildest dreams did Harry think Lord Voldemort would want the MMN purchase to fail. At least, think it was of no consequence to him ultimately. Not for the first time, Harry marveled at the depths of Sherlock's genius and quietly despaired of ever being as good.
Then a thought occurred to him.
"…And if he was upset about the way the MMN turned out," said Harry slowly, "I would've dreamt about it."
"Exactly," said Sherlock, nodding once. "I assume you didn't have any visions lately. Chances are he anticipated this outcome and prepared for it … all without telling his followers. Of course, why would he care if his followers are put in the penury when it would make them more dependent on him? And why would he care about their financial support when he can get his hands on the Ministry's tax revenue?"
Everyone nodded grimly. Julia took several deep breaths before putting a very forbidding expression.
"So you—we— need to smooth things over?" she asked, her arms still tightly crossed. "Before my Dad makes the underhanded deal public and throw all the participating Death Easters in Azkaban?"
"Obviously," said Sherlock, smirking a bit before turning serious. "The original plan was to have your Uncle Jeremy acting as the on-site coordinator at the Ministry after the purchase. He would've 'saved the day', as it were, once the majority of the customers transitioned to Zing ®. I never intended Jacqueline to leave America until the dust settled, but Umbridge's stupidity made things go too fast, too deep, too soon."
Julia sighed deeply. "Well I can't blame you for Umbridge. So what happens now?"
"Jacqueline will announce her attention to salvage the mess and partially refund the Ministry for goodness sake," said Sherlock. "Our hope is that she will be able to do so remotely. Afterwards, Lestrade will reveal Fudge's underhand deal to Madam Bones. Not ideal, but it'll do."
"Figures things wouldn't be straightforward," said Ron after Sherlock adjourned the meeting, and as they tiptoed back to the Gryffindor tower (Julia flew back to the Hufflepuff common room through an open window riding her broomstick). "No regrets on selling the MMN off, though. It did Miss Jack a load of good."
"How do you know?" asked Neville.
"Fred and George are visiting her right now," said Ginny. "I don't know if we should thank her husband for this, but they just told us she looked like she actually gained weight…"
On the other side of the Atlantic, Fred and George Weasley were inside a sizeable house in the suburbs of USA. At the moment, they were both sitting on wooden stools at a marble-top kitchen island and had just finished telling Ron and Ginny via text that there was a definite healthy tinge on both of Jacqueline Shin's cheeks and they didn't look sunken. After putting their phones away, they stared at their surroundings with great interest.
"Didn't think you'd opt for a Muggle kitchen, Miss Jack," said Fred as he beamed goofily at the shiny two-door fridge.
"Neither of us knows how to cook magically," said Jacqueline, their host, who was taking out an electric kettle. "You two can poke around, if you like."
As soon as she said this, Fred and George eagerly jumped off their stools and started opening cabinet doors.
"What is all this?" asked George as he pointed at a cabinet filled top to bottom with tins and boxes of tea, only one of which declared it had 'English Breakfast'.
"Tea," said Jacqueline as she shook her head. "Robert tried to stock up on tea before I moved in. Only, he didn't know what to get, so he got a bit of everything. Americans have funny ideas about tea—the more exotic and oddly flavored the better, from what I can tell."
"Can we try this one?" asked Fred, holding a box of rooibos tea aloft.
"If you like," said Jacqueline, looking dubious.
Soon the kitchen started to smell like a mixture of grandpa's pipe and cough medicine as Jacqueline poured hot water over teabags of rooibos.
"So how is the joke shop going?" Jacqueline asked as she pushed the mugs across the kitchen island.
Identical grins spread across Fred and George's faces.
"Booming," said Fred happily. "Far better than we hoped for. The orders are coming in droves … our phones are seriously ringing out our pockets!"
"That's wonderful," said Jacqueline warmly. "I always thought you two had the knack as entrepreneurs."
"Thanks, but couldn't have done it without you, Miss Jack," said George, beaming. "We never would've had the shop up and running this quickly on our own."
"You would've got there eventually, with or without my help," Jacqueline demurred. "Glad I could help nevertheless. How is your mother taking it?"
"Haven't told her yet, but with the Ministry as it is right now, I think she'll be fine about us not working there," said Fred. "In fact, I think she'd even be okay about us leaving Hogwarts early."
Jacqueline made a thoughtful noise.
"What about the instant delivery?" she asked. "How is that working for you?"
"Fine," said Fred, "For the most part. I mean, we had a few people complain to us for being late or sending the wrong thing. Usually it's our fault, but sometimes it's not."
"Not?" asked Jacqueline. "How?"
"Sometimes students prank each other," George explained. "Pretend a package is from us, when it's from them. So the person is expecting one thing, except the egg has something else, and it blows up on them."
"Spoofing," said Jacqueline, nodding grimly. "I expected this to happen. How frequent?"
"Mmm, pretty often lately," said George thoughtfully. "I can't think of the number off the top of my head. About five times this week. What d'you think, Fred?"
"Sounds about right," said Fred. "It's usually not that hard to figure out who actually sent the package. Zing shows you the real name of the sender, even if you use someone else's phone or register as someone else."
Jacqueline regarded the two pensively.
"If I challenged you two to find a way to send a crate of dungbombs to, say, Mr. Filch's phone," she asked slowly, "without anyone including Dumbledore the wiser, do you think you can do it?"
"Sure, just give us a week," said Fred confidently. "I always wanted to try that. Why d'you ask?"
Jacqueline set her teacup aside and clasped her hands.
"I want you two to break Zing," she declared.
There was a moment of stunned silence.
"Why?" asked Fred, looking aghast.
"To stop people from actually breaking it," Jacqueline replied. "Users are already doing it, as you well know. It's only a matter of time before the problem goes out of hand. I'm willing to pay top dollar for someone who can find ways to exploit Zing faster than anyone else."
"How much?" asked George, and then almost fell off his stool when Jacqueline named the figure.
"That's how important I think it is," said Jacqueline calmly while the twins gibbered incoherently. "I don't have any official requirements yet, and you two will be more like interns at this point, but I recommend getting an N.E.W.T. in Defense Against the Dark Arts."
"Did you talk to mum about this beforehand?" asked Fred, eyes narrowing.
"Maybe," said Jacqueline, briefly looking mischievous before sobering. "One of the reasons why I didn't push the instant delivery service earlier was because I couldn't find a way to authenticate phone users and create trustworthy connections. Even with that, people are finding ways around it. The pranks are harmless enough at the moment, but I can't rule out the possibility You-Know-Who may use Zing for something far more sinister, especially now."
The twins nodded.
"Why not hire someone like, I dunno, Alastor Moody?" asked George. "I mean, we'd love to do it, but he already knows, you know?"
"I've already hired him," said Jacqueline, sounding rueful. "His Auror experience really is invaluable, and not many people can think after the thoughts of dark wizards as well as he does. Only sometimes— all the time, really— he doesn't know when to stop."
Jacqueline took out her magical mobile phone and clicked the home button. A holograph showing Alastor Moody and Jeremy Shin projected out from the screen. The holographic Moody was examining a small parcel with his magic eye, and the holographic Jeremy was glaring at Moody with his arms crossed. Boxes upon boxes were heaped in piles all around them.
"Looks like a chocolate frog," growled Moody, while eyeing the parcel he was holding suspiciously. "But I can't rule out someone putting poison in it … could've put a sleeping spell in the box and then jinxed the frog to attack the recipient while they're asleep … It'll take me about a week to be sure …"
Jeremy threw his hands up.
"MOODY! WE ACTUALLY HAVE TO SEND THESE PARCELS AT SOME POINT, YOU KNOW?!" he roared.
"…See what I mean?" Jacqueline sighed.
During the month of June, things were seemingly quiet in the wizarding world. John had a suspicion Magical UK was so tired of embarrassing itself to the wizarding world at large, that the citizens did their best to give the appearance that all was back to normal.
As planned, Jacqueline 'fixed' the old Magical Mobile Network and partially refunded the Ministry of Magic the Galleons she received for its sale. Many members of the Ministry, who were on the verge of being made redundant, received the news with great gladness. Lestrade said they even threw a ruckus party for her, they were so grateful, but Jacqueline declined to attend. She rather liked living in America, she wrote in her RSVP, and had no intention of leaving it just now. John later asked her if she was serious, and Jacqueline replied yes, she was, thank you. Oh, by the way, no one tried to send a bomb through Zing just yet.
Fudge continued to act as Minister for Magic, even after Madam Bones, the head of the Department Magical Law Enforcement, somberly announced that several high-ranking Ministry officials, who she left unnamed, were convicted of bribery, embezzlement and illicit business practices. Arthur assured John and Sherlock that Fudge had been successfully impeached, and would leave the Minister's office after the Triwizard Tournament. So far so good, John thought, until Arthur told them Lucius Malfoy was not among those who were prosecuted for their hand in the MMN purchase, as he was too sensible to squander his own capital on a risky business venture. He was, however, heavily fined for enticing other people to invest in the MMN acquisition in exchange for kickbacks.
Dolores Umbridge vanished from the face of the earth. No one seemed to know what happened to her— at least Arthur, Kingsley and Lestrade didn't know anyone who knew— but Shin, who could hear the thoughts of anyone close by, told Lestrade both Madam Bones and Chief Auror Rufus Scrimgeour were aware of the fact she used the Imperius curse on Jacqueline and fed Hagrid veritaserum. Since the former act was illegal enough to earn someone a life sentence in Azkaban, Lestrade speculated the Wizengamot, which reinstated Dumbledore as chief, did something about it.
But that was it. The person Sherlock rattled the entire Wizarding World to flush out, Lord Voldemort, remained in the shadows and refused to react. It was as though he didn't care all but five of his Death Eaters were in prison, and the two people who could do something for him—Snape and Lucius Malfoy—had their hands tied because of the MMN scandal. To top it off, Harry reported no visions or strange dreams.
"Not even one?" asked Sherlock impatiently.
"I did have a funny dream where I walked down a dark corridor that ended at a door," said Harry. "I really wanted the door to open, but it didn't, so I kept staring at the door."
"When did you have it?" asked John.
"The night before Ron got a letter from Percy," said Harry, his eyebrows furrowed. "That's the day before the Daily Prophet wrote that article about Hagrid."
"Did you have the dream again?" asked John.
"No," said Harry, shaking his head, "Just that one time."
Harry, of course, worried himself sick over LV's lack of activity. John sensed something else was bothering him, though, because Harry frequently bemoaned that even if Lord Voldemort were doing something, he'd be too blind and stupid to pick up the hint.
"Don't say that," said John sharply. "You're far from blind and stupid."
"That doesn't mean I'm smart enough!" Harry snarled. "I might miss something really important again!"
"Or you might pick up something everyone else missed, like the last time," said John, as she wondered if Harry still felt guilty over Winky.
Harry pulled a face and said nothing.
"Brains aren't everything, you know," John went on, "even for detectives. I don't remember what brought it up, but Sherlock and I talked about his deduction and observation skills once—what made him discover it and develop it, that sort of thing."
"Mensa society," said Sherlock. "That society for people who have high IQ, which I am not member."
"Oh, yeah, right, I asked if you'd join," said John.
"Pointless," Sherlock scoffed. "If raw intelligence and intelligence alone accounts for a person's ability to observe and deduce, then every single member of that society would be a great detective. At any rate, my abilities are largely the result of systematic training."
"Though your French grandmother might've contributed some relevant DNA," John retorted. "Anyway, I read a book that said after a certain point, greater intelligence has diminishing returns. Meaning you don't need to be a genius, in the popular definition of the word, to master something well enough to be brilliant at it. Good old fashion hard work and practice can get you there just fine. Can you guess what the book said how long it generally takes to master something?"
Harry gaped a little. "No, how long?"
"10,000 hours," said John. "That's about ten years. Sherlock's been practicing deduction since he was a six, meaning he has more than thirty thousand hours of practice under his belt. So of course he knows how to be a great detective."
That seemed to assuage Harry of whatever that was upsetting him, because he started to worry about nothing but Voldemort's inactivity afterwards.
Messages and calls from Harry dwindled to nothing as his final exams drew near. Even Sherlock, who was untiring and indefatigable when it came to his cases, started to find other things to put his mind on.
Then one day in late June, Sherlock had so far relaxed as to go for a walk with John in the Park, where the elms were lush with green and the sticky spear-heads of the chestnuts were bursting with their five-fold leaves. After leaving Benedict in Mrs. Hudson's hands, for two hours they rambled about together, in silence for the most part, as befits two people who know each other intimately. It was nearly five before they were back in Baker Street once more.
John was expecting the first thing they'd hear was the sound of Benedict screaming. Instead John's phone mooed like a cow. John blinked in astonishment and Sherlock looked just as surprised. But the text that triggered the sound made both Sherlock and John's jaws drop:
I admit you were right about the cardio. SS
"…What the f—, Snape?!" John shouted while Sherlock snatched the phone away. "Are you dying?! Are you dead!? Answer me dammit!"
Sherlock replied to the text within seconds. Instead of Snape, they got a text from Albus Dumbledore.
I would greatly appreciate if you met me and June Hu at his office in King's College. AD
Final Notes: Obviously the new bike hasn't killed me yet ;) Two weeks after the purchase, I concluded hour-long bike rides are quite fun, but arranging and defusing coups in HP-fanfic not so much, alas.
Jacqueline has not been exposed to enough Americans to properly know what they think about tea. She hasn't had sweet tea yet, but Robert will get her some eventually… after all, Maryland is technically a southern state (BOC is shot).
The book John was talking about is: Outliers; The story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. In case you forgot—and I don't blame you if you did—the ringtone John set for Snape is a lowing cow sound.
As posted in my profile page, I will be studying and preparing for a job-related certification exam until February. Unlike the masters' thesis, I need to sit down and learn stuff I don't know much about for it. :(