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 Eighty One: What You See Is Not What You Get
It was difficult to say how long Moran kept firing. John felt it too long, regardless, as her thoughts went in a loop: Why is he still shooting, where is backup, how can I tell this to Jackie, please not Benedict, please don't cry baby…
Eventually John heard sirens over the screams. Flashing blue and red lights hit the opposite wall. The gun shots stopped. At least John thought it did. She couldn't focus. Her entire world was narrowed down to Sherlock around her and Benedict bawling inconsolably into her chest.
John eventually tuned into the sound of someone shouting orders over a megaphone. The voice sounded unfamiliar. It told the citizens where to go.
"Backup?" John asked, as she willed Benedict to stop crying.
"Yes," Sherlock whispered.
John let out a shuddering sigh. Megaphone person continued speak. Soon John unwound enough to look up and around. The first thing she saw was a trail of blood. John looked away quickly.
There was another gun shot. The person on the megaphone was cut off mid-sentence. The screaming renewed with greater furor.
John felt a chill run through her body. "Did he just…?" John asked weakly.
Sherlock nodded mutely.
John swallowed. "But that doesn't … he's—"
"Moran isn't a true sniper anymore," Sherlock muttered. "If he was, he would've stopped after he shot Shin. He's wants a killing spree. Obviously."
John felt sickened to the soul.
The two of them fell silent again. The noise in the background increased, as the police presumably scrambled to defend themselves against the shooter. John and Sherlock stayed where they were.
Then John phone's vibrated out of the blue.
A thousand thoughts ran through John's mind. Who could it be? Dumbledore? Sirius? Jacqueline? Or was it Mrs. Hudson, calling them frantically to make sure they were alright after watching the news? Had enough time elapsed for the press to descend upon King's?
John took out the phone. There was a new text message. The sender's number was hidden. The locked screened flashed the following message:
Catch me if you can John
"What …?" John began.
The phone vibrated again. There was another text:
One kill per minute to help you along
Ron stared, horrified, at the large screen showing terrified Muggles screaming, fleeing and getting shot at. So did his friends, who may not be any longer.
He blew it. He completely blew it. Harry's vision was the worst thing he could've aired, and it didn't even show You-Know-Who. He ruined it for everyone and the Ministry was going to send him to Azkaban and…
"Oh, no, no, no, no," Hermione squeaked. "Why didn't we check the memory first, we should've checked it, we should've—oh NO!" she screamed and pointed. "Fudge and the Ministry are heading this way!"
Ron looked in spite of himself. He saw Fudge, Dumbledore, Madam Bones and a half a dozen Aurors wearing scarlet robes hurrying towards them.
Ron collapsed to the ground. He wanted to hide or just throw up. He was done for. Things couldn't get any worse.
"Don't panic!" Julia shouted suddenly. "We're not the ones airing that footage! It's from someone else!"
Ron and Hermione stared at her, shocked, bowled-over and completely confused.
"No, wait, what?" Ron sputtered.
Julia pointed at the six holographs in front of her.
"These are from the cameras and this is from Harry," she said swiftly, pointing at the five small holographs and then the large one dominating the right side of her desk. "The final cut is what I'm transmitting to the screen. See? They don't match!"
Ron squinted. The final cut holograph indeed showed something entirely different from the footage displayed on the screen.
It featured a dark chamber, as high as a church and full of nothing but towering shelves covered in small, dusty, glass orbs. They glimmered dully in the light issuing from candle brackets set at intervals along the shelves. Each bracket held a blue-flame candle. As Ron watched, the perspective moved slowly down a row of shelves. The camera then focused on the orbs and the yellowed and dusty label affixed below them. In closer inspection, some of the orbs glowed with a faint inner light and yet others were dark.
Ron had just started to feel puzzled at what he was seeing when a group of people marched into the editor's tent. As one, Ron, Hermione, Julia and Neville jumped in front of Harry, who was still unconscious, and hid him from view. Then Ron turned to face the new arrivals.
There was Madam Bones, the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. She looked grave and serious. The Aurors accompanying Bones held similarly grim and thunderous expressions to a person. Professor Dumbledore, who stood further back, looked like he aged another century. But Fudge was beside himself.
"So it was your doing!" shouted Fudge, crushing his lime-green bowler in one hand and pointing a finger at Ron with the other. "You were responsible for this whole mess!"
Ron gulped. Madam Bones grimaced.
"Fudge…" she started.
"Arrest him! Now!" ordered Fudge, now facing the Aurors. "We've caught him red-handed! He's the only one who can send the images to the screen!"
"Fudge," Madam Bones said again, more firmly. The Aurors didn't move.
"WHY ARE YOU JUST STANDING THERE!?" Fudge shouted. His face was puce with anger. Spit was flying out of his mouth.
"Fudge, if you can be reasonable just this once!" said Madam Bones angrily. "Look at the images they're editing! None of them are showing the carnage! Obviously they've got nothing to do with it!"
Fudge gaped at Madam Bones. He seemed to shrink like a beaten dog.
"But … Can't you see…?" he whimpered pathetically.
Madam Bones just turned away, looking disgusted.
"I've heard enough from you," said Madam Bones curtly. "My apologies, Mr. Weasley," she added, turning to Ron. "His words don't represent the Ministry. I hope you know that."
Ron nodded numbly. He couldn't believe how things turned out.
A tall, black and bald Auror tapped Madam Bones' shoulder.
"Ma'am," he said with a deep voice. He gestured at the final-cut holograph. "Isn't that…?"
Madam Bone immediately turned aghast when she saw the holograph featuring the dark chamber.
"This can't be!" she cried. "That hall has maximum security! Shin guards the place personally! How did you gain access to it?"
She looked at Ron, who froze once again. Julia worked on her throat and just trembled.
Hermione stepped to the front, looking frightened but also incredibly brave.
"That… that is the question we want to ask the Ministry!" she said, wobbly at first, but more steadily and forcefully as she went on. "The Ministry inspected and verified all our cameras! Harry's not even filming right now! So all we can broadcast is the maze! Isn't it more likely a Ministry insider broke into the MMN? We're using the Magical Mobile Network because you insisted on it! What is this place, anyway?"
"That's none of your business," growled another Auror. "This is classified information. Ma'am, we should—"
"That's not important, Dwalish, you fool!" snapped Madam Bones before turning to all the Aurors. "Everyone, get back to the Ministry! Get back now! The Department of Mysteries has been breached!"
And with that, Madam Bones and the Aurors hurried out of the tent. Fudge lingered, looking equal parts betrayed and furious. But eventually, he too, shuffled out after them.
Ron gaped open-mouthed in the silence that followed. He felt numb. He couldn't even begin to comprehend what had just happened. All he knew was that he wasn't out of the woods just yet. In fact, it was quite possible he was in a deeper mess than he'd initially thought.
There was a rustle. Ron looked impulsively, fearing the worst. But instead of more Aurors, Ron's parents galloped inside, and before he knew it, Ron had all the air squeezed out of him as his mother and father crushed him in a tight hug.
"Ron … oh, Ron, dear, are you alright?" Mum asked frantically.
Ron mumbled something incoherent. His dad gripped his shoulder painfully from the other side.
"Don't worry, Ron, it'll be alright!" Dad cried. "We'll take care of this. We'll manage."
Relief – glorious relief washed over Ron, even as he wondered how they were going to manage. Though the assurance made no logistical sense whatsoever, he couldn't help but believe his parents would take care of everything. From the corner of his eye, Ron saw Mr. Lestrade giving similar reassurances to Julia as he held his daughter very tightly.
Ron was able to gather his bearing after Mum stopped clutching him. He noticed Mr. Jason standing awkwardly in the corner. He seemed to be observing Dumbledore, who had been curiously silent throughout.
Mr. Jason approached the headmaster tentatively.
"Are you alright, sir?" he asked.
Dumbledore slowly turned to Mr. Jason. Ron couldn't help but note how desolate the headmaster's normally bright blue eyes looked.
"Oh, Jason, I don't know how to tell you," said Dumbledore bleakly. "But I believe … the footage on the screen showed your father getting shot."
Mr. Jason didn't even flinch. "I see."
Dumbledore looked at him sharply.
"You're not surprised."
"He warned us," said Mr. Jason.
Dumbledore's blue eyes blazed with a hidden fire as he regarded Mr. Jason. Everyone seemed to hold their breath as they watched the two.
At length Dumbledore let out an explosive sigh that sounded like a sob and a laugh.
"Your father is the most cold-hearted and mean-spirited blackguard I've ever had the pleasure to meet," he declared.
Mr. Jason scratched the back of his head, looking very embarrassed. "He is. Sorry, sir."
"Wait, back up!" Mr. Lestrade shouted, looking as galvanized as Ron felt. "Did you just say my FIL got shot!?"
"By the sniper Moran," said Dumbledore helpfully.
"THEN WHY ARE YOU SO CALM?!" roared Mr. Lestrade. "JASON WHAT THE F— IS WRONG WITH YOU!?"
"Dad pulled this sort of shite often when he was a freedom fighter in his teens and twenties," Mr. Jason explained.
Mr. Lestrade wheezed like someone kicked him in the stomach. Julia looked no better.
"…HE WAS A FREEDOM FIGHTER?!" Mr. Lestrade eventually bellowed, for the lack of better idea, probably.
"Yeah, like William Wallace," said Mr. Jason. "He's secretly a hundred and five, remember? He grew up during the colonial times. He knows war."
Mr. Lestrade looked like he was about to punch Mr. Jason's face out of rage, but at that moment, Harry woke up.
"Professor Dumbledore! Voldemort broke into a place called the Hall of Prophecies!" he shouted.
"Yes, I know," said Dumbledore. "You need not worry. I'm already there."
Harry frowned. "But you're here."
"The blackguard I call friend taught me a very useful spell," said Dumbledore, shaking his head like a man who'd just realised how thoroughly he'd been suckered. "It lets me be at two places at the same time."
Still shaking his head, Dumbledore reached into his pocket and pulled out a teacup shaped like a ceramic tube.
"Harry, could you do me a favour?" asked Dumbledore.
"Uh, sure," said Harry, looking at the headmaster curiously.
"This will take you to the Department of Mysteries," said Dumbledore. "I need you to find me there and tell me that he lives."
Harry gaped as he worked that out. "O-okay."
Ron broke free of his mother before he knew what he was doing.
"I'm going too!" he blurted.
"Me too!" Neville chimed in.
"You're not sending him alone!" Hermione exclaimed.
"We're all going!" Julia shouted.
"Ron, no! It's too dangerous!" cried Mum while Dad sputtered.
"I have to go, Mum!" said Ron furiously. "You can't stop me!"
"Don't talk back to me, young man!" Mum shouted. Then she rounded at Dumbledore. "Why are you sending Harry?! Surely you can go there yourself!"
"Julia … babe…" Mr. Lestrade protested.
"Shut up dad," Julia snapped. "Clones can't do magic, and the Dumbledore here is a clone."
His parents and Mr. Lestrade started at this. Ron sensed the opportunity.
He shared one look with Harry, Hermione, Neville and Julia. Then they all dived for Dumbledore's teacup.
In the middle of the dim and silent gloom of the Hall of Prophecies, a straw-haired young man lay twitching on the floor. He was foaming at the mouth and his eyes were completely rolled to the back of his skull. Standing a little apart from him was another man. He was tall, skeletally thin and black robed, and he had a gaunt, bone-white face and scarlet slit-pupils for eyes.
It was Lord Voldemort, and the young man twitching at his feet was Barty Crouch, Jr. Voldemort regarded Crouch dispassionately, almost disdainfully.
"What a waste," he said softly.
Then he took a step back, and made movements to turn.
"Good evening, Tom," said a voice.
Voldemort looked up.
He saw Dumbledore walking towards him. Dumbledore's stride and stance was that of a person taking a leisurely stroll. The aura of icy calm enveloping the old headmaster, however, befitted a man entering a battlefield.
"You found me early," Voldemort remarked.
"I found you late," said Dumbledore in a deadly calm voice.
Voldemort smiled a terrible lipless smile.
"Did you like what I did to Shin? I made sure Moran shot the real one and not one of his pesky duplicates."
Dumbledore flicked his wand out in lieu of an answer. A golden shockwave tore through the hall. The tall shelves to his either side toppled over each other like dominos. The glass orbs on the shelves fell to the ground. Ghostly images of people rose like smoke as they shattered. Voldemort conjured a shining silver shield just before the shockwave-spell hit him. The spell did no damage to the shield, but a deep gong-like note reverberated from it.
"You are angry," said Voldemort, his scarlet eyes narrowed over the top of the shield. "You are actually angry."
"I'm quite furious, yes," said Dumbledore. "You did a very foolish thing, Tom … very foolish indeed. You shouldn't have killed him."
Voldemort responded with a killing curse. Dumbledore turned and vanished with a whirling of his cloak. Next second, he reappeared behind Voldemort. Voldemort waved his wand and another jet of green light streaked at Dumbledore, who waved his wand at the broken shelves. They clustered together before him like a fortress and shattered into dust when the killing curse dissipated uselessly against them. Dumbledore waved his wand a third time and a glass centaur, armed with a bow, formed from the broken glass orbs. The centaur cantered around Voldemort, aiming an arrow at him menacingly.
"You do not seek to kill me?" called Voldemort. "Above such brutality, are you?"
"Merely taking your life would not satisfy me," said Dumbledore as he walked towards Voldemort. "Indeed, I find it comforting to know that there are other ways to destroy a man … ways that are much worse than death."
"Nothing is worse than death, Dumbledore!" snarled Voldemort. Then he added mockingly, "So you want good old-fashioned revenge! So much for the great Albus Dumbledore, the epitome good! Should you not be above this sort of thing?"
Voldemort flicked his wand. The shards of the broken glass orbs rose as one and flung themselves towards Dumbledore like a thousand sharp needles. Dumbledore whipped his wand around him. A ring of fire burst out from the end. It circled Dumbledore like a shield and burned the glass shards to ashes before they could reach him. Voldemort fired another killing curse, and the glass centaur galloped in front it. It took the blast and shattered into a hundred pieces. In the meantime, Dumbledore vanished again.
Dumbledore reappeared and waved his wand as though brandishing a whip. A long thin flame flew from the tip; it wrapped itself around Voldemort, shield and all. But the fiery rope turned into a serpent, and relinquished its hold on Voldemort at once and turned, hissing furiously, to face Dumbledore.
Dumbledore brandished his wand in one long, fluid movement before the snake could strike. The snake flew high into the air and vanished in a wisp of smoke. Voldemort vanished with it.
"Well, no," said Dumbledore calmly as he waited for Voldemort to reappear again. "Apparently, I am neither."
Final Notes: So is Shin dead or not? What do you think? (FYI: I'm a wimp).
I've selected Mr. Shin's age as 105 deliberately. He was born just before his motherland was annexed/colonized in 1910. The attempt to turn him into a soul wand happened in 1919, when a nation-wide nonviolent resistance movement was ruthlessly crushed by colonial forces and the participants were massacred by the tens of thousands. As a young man he joined the Independence Movement as a guerrilla fighter. Thus he knows a lot about warfare.
The next chapter should be the last chapter of ASIM.
(There will be a sequel! It's tentatively titled: A Study in Magic: the Application)