"HP: Potterlock" AU
'The Case of the Stone'
Chapter One
- Predictable and Dull -

A/N: I don't own squat. That mad woman who does paired the dumbest character with the smartest, and left the hero with the stalker. Sorry Lady, but that was pretty stupid.

The wanker that brought a detective to the 21st century struck gold, then bombed spectacularly when he took over Doctor Who. Regardless, I don't own that universe either.

Timescale is shifted forward ten years for HP, and back around ten for Sherlock. So, expect to see modern (ish) conveniences like mobiles, Google, and the Millennium Bridge… amongst other things. Pop culture will be easier for everyone involved, including me. First year is 2001, for the record.

Second foray into Potterverse, but first for Sherlock. Hopefully I'll be able to portray the genius. May be a bit of a softer touch, but still evoke the 'piss off' response in most people.


Yes, this distracted me from Chaos. I'll probably bounce back and forth between them. Numbers ground to a halt, but Converge and River Run will continue before the holiday. Promise.

As cases went, this one was rather dull. Typical domestic aggression that led to abuse, which eventually led to an explosion. That was the interesting part. However, it did chase away the boredom. Then, there were those… people… if you could call them as such. Honestly, it was a wonder they could even breed, what with their tendencies for malicious OCD behaviour. It was disgusting.

If it wasn't for Lestrade's son, it wouldn't have even been a ripple in Sherlock's head space. Mostly, he was diving into the new world of the internet. It was intriguing and fascinating how what used to be something for Universities was now being made available to the masses.

Then Lestrade brought a simple abuse case to him that was completely unprovable. To him, at least. To Sherlock, it was as simple as ABC. Pedestrian to the point of mind numbing that induced drool, with a possible head twitch to make it fun. When he found the amount of people that had evidence of being obliviated, he got his brother involved. It was regrettable, but Mycroft did have the better connections.

The computer next to him on his desk was rather large to his mind, and more often he wondered how long technology would parse it down to a manageable level. Desk space was a premium. If he could discover a way to marry the infernal contraption to the DynaTAC mobile, and there was an ironic misnomer, then he could spend most of his time on what he wanted – which was not to worry about silly things like money and food, and focus his attention on discovering things. Patents Paid.

That was a rather good idea… File that one for later.

Sitting in his rocker in the middle of the flat – Sherlock had his elbows on the armrests, with his hands pressed together under his chin in a mock prayer pose – idly rocking and watching the small boy sleeping on his couch. The lad was horribly underfed, reminding him of his own rather interesting childhood.

Eldest of his two brothers, Mycroft was the epitome of class and style. Quite the proper pure-blood, he was the wizarding contact for the muggle government and a proper pain in the backside when concerning his youngest brother. Just because a wand didn't do much for him in the beginning didn't mean he was incompetent!

Besides, I can out-think him without even trying. Prissy bastard.

It didn't help that his other brother was the youngest potions master in decades. Nor was it his fault that the man's father hated anything to do with magic. The last thing that wasn't his fault, was that his mother went back to her first husband after a near fatal beating.

Needless to say: They didn't get along.

The healers blamed that beating for him being born a so-called-squib, but that didn't mean he was left out in the cold like so many had before. The House of Holmes recognized the necessity of bridging the magical and non-magical worlds. Oddly enough, the non-magical was more financially stable, even with the more favourable interest rates at Gringotts. Of course, father wanted him to go into the stock market. Please.

This of course meant that their relationship with the Greengrass family was justified, if somewhat distant. They called it an 'economic alliance', but that was mostly as far as it went. Mycroft had to take over the family business when their parents were 'accidentally' killed in the eighties. Fortunately, he was able to juggle his time between MI6's M-Division and the Wizangamot. That made him the centre of attention amongst the so called neutral families.

He wanted nothing to do with that backward, myopic, pedestrian infighting. Too dull and predictable for his taste. It was just as well that he 'wasn't' magically inclined. He knew enough to get by, as he was a rather late bloomer. His forays into Diagon and Hogsmeade went unnoticed – which was how he liked it. Butterbeer and firewhisky were superior to the swill that permeated most pubs after all.

Knockturn had a rather nice wand crafter. The built in charm that made his ebony and griffon tail wand appear to be a muggle collapsible pointer made his life so much easier.

Of course he knew the lad that was currently napping fitfully on his couch. You couldn't wave a simple stick and hit a wizard or witch who didn't know him. The scar was the telling clue, which was interesting in itself. No one was there when it happened, and yet everyone knew what it looked like? Not to mention, why the devil did it still look fresh?

The only good thing about his eldest brother, was that he ensured that his flat was properly warded. It was an interesting blend of runic symbolism that came from both of the Americas and the Far East, and completely marred the Ministry from finding out about his questionable abilities. Only thing missing was muggle repelling and active defences.

He'd probably regret the latter later. Make another note to look into that.

It was a shame that the whale and the equine were obliterated in that blast. He would love nothing more than… No, that was Severus' way of thinking. Avoid at all costs or have a seizure.

His investigations into the case came to an abrupt halt, when the boy teleported (Yes, yes. Apperated. Shut up.) in front of him a split second before the house erupted in flames. Fortunately, he himself learned that art a few years ago, and removed the boy before the Aurors arrived.

Looks like I'll have to give up smoking, and that gum is nasty. Time to distil some nicotine.

At least he didn't have to deal with the whalespawn. An orphanage would force that spoiled brat to act human. Maybe.

Only one problem with all of this – well, two. The first was putting up with Mycroft more often. The second was admitting that he now had two people under his protection. Admittedly, Mrs. Hudson (an actual squib) was more likely to make dinner now with young Harry… Now there was something else that bothered him. Who names a child a nickname?

This meant another call to Mycroft to investigate something else… Brilliant. Being listed as a squib … wait. That was a Ministry definition. St. Mungos was out as well, so yes. Gringotts it is.

Donning his coat, Sherlock went down the stairs in a bit of a dash. "Mrs. Hudson! I need to go to the bank. Can you watch Harry for a couple of hours? Yes? Brilliant!"

Seven Years Later

John wasn't sure what to make of all this. Standing there and watching, while Sherlock and Harold embraced for the third time in front of that rather backward steam engine. How do they hide something that red? Still, that wasn't what had him confounded.

Yes, magic was real. That much was readily apparent after dealing with that Moriarty psychopath. But, an entire sub-culture devoted to nothing but magic? It was mind boggling!

However, it did make sense now that he thought about it. Harold was just as bright as his father, and they still wouldn't tell him who his mother was. Mycroft and Sherlock both had blue eyes, but Harold's were so green that it wasn't natural.

That aside, the way the lad seemed to read people was even more upsetting than when Sherlock did it. 'Don't depend on that,' Sherlock would often say rather snappishly. 'There are people that can defend against it, so what do we do?'

'Observe everything,' Harold responded instantly, 'deduce the situation from the facts presented, before drawing any conclusion.'


It didn't make sense until he found out that the lad was actually reading people. It took a week for them to convince him that Harold wouldn't do that to him, unless he was being a stubborn prat. Which was a lot of the time, now that he thought about it. Catching the grin on Harold's face when he thought of that just made him even more frustrated with himself and them.

The two were infuriating, yet exceedingly brilliant all at once. He about shat himself laughing the first time he heard Andersen telling Harold to piss off. The matching eye-roll between father and son was comical to watch, and said it all to whomever saw it. Yes, they were arrogant, but they were right more often than not, so it was warranted. Not that people appreciated it.

John was doing his best to impress upon the lad the need for toning it down. It just wouldn't do to aggravate people all the time. It especially wouldn't endear himself to any girl he fancied. That got another and more emphatic eye-roll.

Honestly, he wasn't sure if he stayed with them due to how they dealt with things, or whether it was to ensure that he was in their good graces. It was frightening how they interacted. More often than not, it was completely without words.

What sealed the deal with him sharing their flat, was when it was invaded. Their reactions to Mrs. Hudson being struck was vicious. Out of the five men in the room, only one survived to live another day. Not that it mattered. He didn't make it out of the hospital.

What made it worse, wasn't the fact that Sherlock killed them in front of his son. It was that Harold was the one that fought back first, and was just as violent. It was disturbing how they argued over which of them actually got the most. Then again, it was Mrs. Hudson they were defending. Or was that avenging? Regardless, the argument over the tally was positively macabre.

'That's bad, isn't it?' Sherlock commented at John's upturned brow.

'Yes. Yes it is,' John replied. 'Especially for him,' he said while looking at Harold.

The one thing they hadn't topped, was when Irene Adler was shocked into silence over appearing nude in front of a ten year old. Harold's rather petulant, 'Oh, do put something on before we have you arrested for indecent exposure to a minor,' had her out in a hurry after the blush radiated down to her rather pointed nipples.

'By the way, nice backside. The front isn't that bad either, but I'm far to young for such a thing. May look you up in a few years, though!'

The incessant giggling over that one didn't stop for a quarter of an hour.

The whole Moriarty Nightmare had him raging at the pair for weeks. One, for having Harold ensure that the man was dead. Two, for not telling him that Sherlock could bloody teleport.

'So, you basically jaunted from behind the bus to the ground?'

'With a split second pit stop home first, yes. Also, nice reference to the Tomorrow People. Hadn't thought of that one.'

'One of my favourite programmes as a child. And the blood?'

'Splinched myself.'

'Told you that would happen,' Harold interjected.

'Yes, but it made it all the more real, yes?'

'You didn't have a pulse!' John sputtered.

Harold grinned. 'Rubber ball in his pit. Cut off the circulation.'

'Both of you are COMPLETE BASTARDS!'

'He really does care, doesn't he dad?'

'One would think so. However, it's so amusing to see his brain spin. Isn't it?'


"You have everything?" Sherlock's dulcet tones murmured into his son's hair, bringing John to the present.

Harold nodded. "Everything, including the solar charger for my mobile."

"I still don't know how that works," John groused. "My phone self destructed in the alley."

"American Ministry Made," Harold said quietly as he let go of his father. "The sat phone is shielded."


"Best go and find a suitable compartment," Sherlock said, prompting the boy. "Wouldn't want you to have to sit in the corridor for the whole trip."

"I still don't understand why we don't simply floo to Hogsmeade," Harold muttered.

Sherlock smirked. "Tradition."

"Wonderful," Harold grumbled. "The more things change, the more things stay the same. It's a wonder Britain isn't a laughing stock of the ICW."

Sherlock ruffled Harold's shoulder length, black hair. "Who says we aren't?"

John was surprised with Harold's brief hug, and smiled. "Keep yourself out of trouble, and call whenever you can."

It was Harold's turn to smirk. "I'm completely innocent. Trouble just seems to follow me around like a lost puppy."

"Likely story," John said, chuckling.

"Don't worry. I'll send lots of pictures," Harold said with a genuine smile. "Bye, John. Bye, Dad."

John eyed his friend from the side when Harold disappeared into the train. "Getting sentimental in your old age, Sherlock?"

"Shut up. He's my son."

"Right. Sorry."

Coming into the train, Harold was impressed with how new something this old appeared. Wood panelling, nice carpets, it was a throwback to the early days of industrialization. There weren't any nicks in the wood, nor ratty spots in the carpets either. He supposed the house elves of Hogwarts serviced it daily.

He found an open compartment with a boy and a girl sitting on opposite sides. The boy was holding on to a toad as if it would get away at any moment. The girl was reading Hogwarts: A History while biting her lower lip. Liking the even odds, what with the apparent pure-blood tolerating an obvious non-magical-born, he rapped his knuckles on the door frame. "Mind another?"

The boy and girl looked up to appraise the new arrival. The girl looked to be overly excited and nervous, while the boy looked positively petrified. Of what, he could hardly guess. "Harold Holmes," he said, bowing slightly.

"Sure. There's plenty enough room," the boy said. "Neville Longbottom." The boy eyed the embroidered crest on Harold's robes and blanched. "Potter?" He looked up at him. "Harry Potter?"

"I don't prefer that name, but yes," Harold said with a grimace, as he sat down a bit away from the girl and across from Neville. Looking down at his family crest, he ran his fingertip over it and caused it to fade – chastising himself for forgetting to use the built in charm.

"I read all about you," the girl said with wide eyes. "Oh! Hermione Granger. It's a pleasure to meet you!"

Harold smiled and kissed her offered hand, which caused a rather pleasant looking flush across her cheeks. "Pleasure's mine, my dear. However, if you've read anything about me, the only book to get even close is 'The Rise and Fall of Dark Lords of the Twentieth Century.' The rest is pure fiction that I'm currently in litigation with the publishers for the rights of. Apparently, they assumed I wouldn't mind if they used my name and not pay me a knut in licensing fees."

Neville looked impressed. Hermione looked betrayed. "None of that's true? Wait. Of course it's not. An eight year old fighting dragons. Oh, I should've known."

"Don't feel too bad," Neville said. "Most of the wizarding world believes anything printed about The-Boy-Who-Lived."

Harold closed his eyes into a cringe. "I hate that name." Seeing their looks of confusion when he opened his eyes, he explained. "Imagine for a moment, what that really signifies and expand the title to: The-Boy-Who-Lived-Because-His-Parents-Died."

Understandably, both of them flinched and apologized. "It's all right. Most people don't think that part through."

"So, you didn't grow up in a castle?" Hermione asked.

Harold snorted. "Hardly! I live in a flat with my dad in London."

"So, the robes are new then?" Neville asked, waving his fingers at his outfit. Harold nodded. "No scar either, I see."

"Glasses either," Hermione commented after Harold lifted his hair to show his bare forehead.

"Nope," Harold shook his head. "Wonderful beings, the Goblins. They healed my scar and my eyes all in one go. Hurt like the devil, but I have somewhat better than normal vision now."

"Why'd it hurt?" Hermione asked. "Didn't they sedate you or anything?"

Harold looked at either of them, then the door – which he closed. A muttering and quick wand motion silenced the room, impressing both of them. "According to the fiction, it's a curse scar, yes?" They both nodded. "It wasn't. There was a bit of so-dark-it-might-as-well-have-been-black magic centred in the scar. The twit bastard that left me with my now late aunt didn't even check to see if anything was wrong with it."

He blinked a bit, remembering. "The goblin healers did a ritual that removed that bit of dark mojo. They fixed my eyes afterwards, and corrected the methanol poisoning that messed them up in the first place."

"Methanol poisoning?" Hermione blurted. "How old were you?"

"Four," Harold said without inflection and a flat voice, "on purpose by my aunt and uncle."

"I don't understand," Neville said.

Blinking rapidly, Hermione forced herself to look at Neville while wiping her face. "Methanol is alcohol distilled from wood. Normally it's used to disinfect cuts and whatnot. While it will intoxicate you, it also poisons you. It will lead to blindness in certain amounts, and at the worst kill you."

"Why would they do that?" Neville sputtered, appalled at such a thing.

"They… didn't like me and hated magic," Harold whispered. "May we please talk about something else?"

Shaken out of their state of shock, Neville nodded while Hermione slid over and hugged Harold from the side. "Of course! You have someone now, though, right? I mean, from the name Holmes and the mention of a dad, that would mean you were adopted?" The relieved smile and head nod made some rather uncomfortable floppy motions in her stomach. She let go and flushed again. "Sorry. Didn't mean to be so forward."

"S'allright. I like hugs," Harold said with a grin. He was completely amused at how the littlest of smiles would make this girl flush so spectacularly.

He couldn't help it, but he felt out with his mind to see what they were thinking. Hermione was appalled at his treatment, yet completely enamoured with his eyes and smile. There was the bitter sting of the betrayal of books, but it was fading rapidly.

Neville was a bit muted, must have been trained in occlumency, but he was equally disturbed. And there was something else. Looking at him, Harold was startled. "Longbottom, as in the son of Frank and Alice?"

The boy frowned and nodded. "Yes."

"Your mother was my godmother," Harold said with a smile.

Neville looked relieved. "And your mother was my godmother."

A look of confusion went over Harold's face. "Does that make us godbrothers? I never fully understood how that worked, but I would've liked to have had a brother."

"Kismet," Hermione said quietly, confusing the both of them. "It means fated." Harold nodded, making her grin, but Neville shook his head, not getting it. "You two don't know each other, meet on the train, and both your mothers named the other godmother. Coincidence?"

"I don't believe in coincidence," Harold said automatically. It was something that his father instilled into him for six years. "I did feel a bit pulled to this compartment though. Not sure why. Maybe we three were supposed to meet? Not sure I believe that, but I like the result. Dad would lecture for hours how coincidences were evidence in disguise, though."

"Why's that?" Hermione asked. "What's he do for a living?"

"He's a consultant detective," Harold grinned.

Neville looked confused again, but Hermione's eyes popped open wide. "You don't happen to live with Dr. Watson, do you?"

"Read the blog, did you?" Harold countered.

Hermione nodded with a large smile. "Your adopted father is Sherlock Holmes? I'm so jealous! I've referenced his work in a lot of my theorems!" She looked to the confused Neville. "Sherlock Holmes is a legend in the muggle auror community."

"That's one way to put it," Harold scoffed with an eye-roll. "Honestly, we get told off more often than anything else. The most common phrase is either 'He's a right bastard' or 'piss off'."

"You've been on cases with him?" Hermione asked. "Which ones?"

Harold nodded while texting. Met two nice people. Believe it or not, I just met Neville Longbottom. Small world. The other seems to be a fan of yours. Just as well. After being told that the whole book line was nothing but fiction, she seemed to warm up. Told a bit of truth. Expect a letter from the Dowager Longbottom. I have a feeling that Neville is just as upset as you were about my relatives. [Photo Attachments] HH

"Yeah. Using the blog references, I've been with dad on 'The Geek Interpreter', 'The Speckled Blonde', 'By Royal Appointment' and the follow-up of 'The Woman', plus a few others," he paused, thinking. My least favourite was dealing with Moriarty. Now that was one brilliant psychopath. Makes Voldemort look like a simple thug with a gun – or wand in this case."

Neville shuddered. But much to his surprise, Hermione didn't even flinch at the name. "I will never understand wizards and witches who are afraid of a made up name. Did you know that if you translate it from French it means…"

"Fleeing Death," Hermione interrupted, making Harold smile again.

"Parlez vous français?" Harold asked with a wide grin. {You speak French?}

Hermione matched the grin with a wide smile. "Oui, je le fais. Comment êtes-vous couramment?" {Yes, I do. How fluent are you?}

Harold's eyes were sparking now. "Je parle couramment plusieurs langues. Français, italien et espagnol. Je suis étudiant en allemand, en latin et en grec aussi bien." {I'm fluent in several languages. French, Italian, and Spanish. I'm studying German, Latin, and Greek as well.}

"While I speak French, I'm obviously not as good as either of you," Neville interrupted. "Could we please continue in the Queen's English?"

"Sorry," they both chorused.

Harold's mobile chimed. Oh wonderful. Augusta is worse than Mycroft. Well, at least you found some people that will see beyond that horrid stereotype. I still have people coming up to me wearing those ridiculous hats. Neville seems to be well fed. The girl could use some conditioner or tie her hair back, but who am I to judge? Have a safe trip, son. SH

"How does that even work here?" Hermione said, trying not to read the bit about the conditioner and failing miserably. She hated how her hair REFUSED to cooperate.

"It's shielded." Noticing how close she was, and her downtrodden expression, Harold quickly pocketed the mobile. Being his father's 'translator' for so long, this part was completely automatic. "Uhm. Don't take anything dad says personally. He doesn't view things the same way as most people. Honestly, to him – if your hair is the only thing he mentioned – well… it means that's the only fault he found. It's actually a mishandled compliment that meant to say that you're pretty. I think so too."

Hermione looked up completely startled, and became fixated on the colour green. "You think I'm pretty?" she whispered.

He looked at her as if she were mad. "Yes. Is that a problem?" He blinked and shook his head. "Sorry. I tend to snap when my opinion is questioned. John said it's the worst trait I picked up from my father. I apologize. I do think you're pretty though. Please don't question my opinion, because it's not likely to change any time soon."

Her second hug was tighter than the first, which was bone crushing itself. "Thank you," she whispered. Then, realizing what she was doing, she let go of him and slid to the opposite side of the bench to hide behind her book. She cast quick glances at him, much to his amusement.

The door slid open, breaking the silencing charm. The three boys eyed them all with sneers. "Anyone seen Potter?" the blonde one asked rather petulantly.

Must be the spokesman. The blonde looked almost fake, save for the fact that it started at the hairline, so it wasn't bleached. However, the dark eyebrows were an odd counterpoint. The two larger boys behind him reminded Harold of the inbred idiots that uncle Mycroft went on about when he spoke of the last war. "Who wants to know?"

That seemed to startle the boy, since Harold was right by the door. "Malfoy. Draco Malfoy. This is Vincent Crabbe and Greg Goyle. And… you are?" he asked with practised disdain.

Harold didn't like him already. The way this boy was strutting reminded him of an overly fluffed peacock in mating season. Standing, he looked down and matched Malfoy's sneer with one of his own. "Harold Holmes," he introduced himself with a hand out.

"Pleasure," Malfoy oozed, shaking his hand. "So, you haven't seen Potter either?" Harold just shook his head slowly. "Ah well. So what house do you expect to be sorted in? I, of course, will be placed in Slytherin."

"Interesting," Harold drawled. "According to my uncle, that entire house has been corrupted into a mockery by Voldemort."

Malfoy jerked his hand away. "You dare speak his name?"

"Why not?" he asked with a tilt of the head. "In French it means 'Fleeing Death'. Sounds cowardly to me, running from the inevitable – most likely screaming in fear. Wouldn't surprise me in the least if he's haunting some poor sod while trying to avoid the reaper."

"You best watch your back, Holmes. When my father…"

"Is this the same Lucius Malfoy that used the Imperius Defence?" Harold mocked. "Dear me. Either he's weak willed to the point of indolence, or a liar. Tell me, how much gold did he use to buy his way out of Azkaban?"

Red faced now, Malfoy was sputtering. "Your family can't remain neutral with an attitude like that! And now you're hanging out with squibs and mudbloods!"

Draco never saw the fist that broke his nose. Crabbe and Goyle were so startled that they didn't even catch him when he fell. Harold's voice was cold. "Do yourselves a favour and take out the trash, then get as far away from him as you can. With his disposition, I wouldn't be surprised if the Griffs bludgeon him to death." With that, he slid the door closed and locked it. He watched through the window as they drug the unconscious arse down the corridor, before turning around.

He was faced with two pairs of wide eyes. "You're going to get into so much trouble, Harold," Hermione whispered.

Decked Malfoy Jr. for mouthing off. Expect a howler. Racist git. HH

Taking a moment to centre himself, he removed his shrunken trunk from his pocket and placed it on the floor. Tapping it with his wand, it restored itself. "The magical world isn't that much different from the non, Hermione. Neville can tell you as much, but there are factions within it that barely tolerate each other at best. Those that just left are considered Dark."

Hermione noticed Neville nodding and watched Harold search his trunk. "Why did you hit him though? That wasn't very smart."

I'll burn it when it comes in. SH

"The terms Squib and Mudblood are epithets that I abhor," Harold said as he found the book he was looking for. "Squib refers to children of magical parents who aren't themselves magical. Mudblood refers to the reverse, and means dirty blood. It's a racial slur that was aimed at you, and I effectively told him I wont tolerate that form of verbal abuse."

Hermione's eyes were wide now. He fought for me? Defended my honour? Oh my! A quick glance showed that Neville was still nodding at what Harold was saying, then a book blocked her vision. "Here, read this," Harold said. "While it's completely vulgar, I believe you need to know what some pure-blood's believe. Knowledge is power. You can return it later."

"I can't decide if you're going to be a Gryffindor or a Ravenclaw," Neville said quietly.

Closing and shrinking his trunk, Harold pocketed it and sat down. "Honestly, I want nothing to do with Gryffindor. I find the rivalry between them and the Slytherin house to be rather dull and distracting. While I'm loyal to a fault, when it concerns those that have earned my trust - and would do well in Hufflepuff - I'm too much of a nerd to not be in Ravenclaw."

Neville didn't know that word, but Hermione's smirk meant that he missed a joke somewhere. "Nerd?"

"Means I like books," Harold explained. "Give me a library any day."

The smile on Harold's face, then Hermione's made Neville eye the pair of them warily. Bookhounds, the both of them. He didn't know what to think about that. "I'll probably end up in Hufflepuff," he said quietly, looking a bit morose.

"Nothing wrong with that," Harold said. "Loyalty and hard work are their mantra. Their head of house teaches the Herbology classes too. Ironic, since her name is Pomona Sprout, but I digress. Honestly, don't worry if you end up there. From everything I've heard, they're a good lot. I think you'd have a lot of friends there if you get sorted as a Badger," he grinned.

"I suppose," Neville hedged. "Gran would be disappointed though. She wants me to live up to my father. He was an auror during the war. She even let me use his wand," he held it up for them to see.

"She is a bit of a hard-liner," Harold nodded. "Still, I don't think she'll stop loving you if you end up a Badger. I mean, look at Madame Bones. She's the director of the DMLE, and a Hufflepuff Alumni. My Uncle is more scared of her than your Gran, and that's saying something."

That got Neville to smile.

"Wait," Hermione interrupted, looking up from her new book. "Did you say that she let you use your father's wand?" At Neville's nod, she shook her head. "Ollivander said that wands choose the witch, or wizard in this case. If your wand isn't attuned to you, then you're going to have a lot of problems in class. I think your education should be more important than her pride." She caught herself and shook her head. "I'm sorry, that was rude."

Harold grinned. He liked this girl. "Might've been rude, but you have a rather valid point. Neville, if your Gran gives your trouble for asking for your own wand, I suggest you join us in the library so we can look up wand lore. A missive explaining the pros and cons of an attuned wand should persuade her."

Neville looked at his father's wand, completely torn. On the one hand, he wanted to do his father proud. On the other, he wanted to do his Gran proud. Could he do either with his own wand?

"Don't feel guilty," Hermione said, noting his expression. "I'm sure you can have your father's wand framed for display, or something."

"That's a good idea," Harold agreed. "Even if she disagrees, we can still get you your own wand. I'll even pay for it. I got mine from Gregorovich the Younger in Knocturn Alley."

"I can't let you do that!" Neville protested. "Speciality crafted wands are expensive! Besides, how can we get there while we're in school?"

"Of course I can," Harold argued. You're my godbrother, and it's the least I can do. As for getting out of the castle, I'll work something out."

He pulled his mobile out and started texting furiously with both thumbs. Dad, Dowager Longbottom is forcing Neville to use his father's wand. Something about honouring his father, or some such rot. He'll never get the grade without an attuned wand, and I want to buy him one if he can't convince his Gran. HH

"Thank you," Neville said, a bit more subdued. "What is that, anyway?"

"Mobile phone," Hermione explained as Harold was busy. "Muggle device. He's texting his father."


Hermione's eyes darted around while she searched for an explanation. "Think of it like two parchments that are charmed, so that what you write on one, shows up on the other… no matter the distance involved."

"Good explanation," Harold said, not looking up.

Also: Hermione, the girl, has one hell of a sharp mind. HH

"Oh. I think I understand," Neville said. "But could you tell me something?"

"What?" Harold asked.

Neville tilted his head in confusion. "How did you know that I liked Herbology?"

Harold grinned and pointed at Neville's feet. "Potting soil in the seams of your shoes."

Hermione bent to look at Neville's feet, then turned her head to stare at Harold. "You are nothing like those rubbish fictions they wrote about you."

"This a good thing or a bad thing?" Harold asked with a brow up.

Her smile was wide. "Good thing. Very good thing," she said rapidly. "Study partner?"

"Absolutely," Harold said, shaking her hand. He was interrupted by his mobile chiming.

I have no problem helping the lad. Let me know if she refuses the request. I'm intrigued about this Hermione. However, don't get distracted from your studies. SH

A different chime rang out.

Don't listen to him. Live a little. A girlfriend might loosen you up. Books aren't everything, you know. JW

Harold wasn't fast enough to keep Hermione from reading that, if her blush was any indication. To be perfectly honest, she looked fit to self combust at any moment.

Her eyes dilated. "Wait … Sherlock Holmes is a wizard?"

Grinning madly, Harold put a finger to his lips. "Shh. Late bloomer." His wink at her had to have burst a blood vessel in her face somewhere, it was so red.

Neville watched the pair, looking back and forth. "Late bloomer. I wonder…"