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25 June 2011 @ 12:33 am
FIC: A Spell of Deduction (1/?)  
Having successfully roped lareinenoire into co-writing with me, I'm now pleased to announce that we're far enough along in the story to start posting it! We even have cover art, which I will post soon.


Title: A Spell of Deduction
Authors: WinterofourDiscontent and lareinenoire
Beta/Britpick by rosamund
Characters: John, Sherlock, Mycroft, Lestrade, Percy Weasley
Pairings: John/Sherlock eventual, others
Rating: If you’ve seen the BBC!Sherlock and read Harry Potter, you’re old enough to read this.
Word count: 2800 for Chapter 1
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter verse is property of JK Rowling, long may she write, and Arthur Conan Doyle created the original Sherlock Holmes, while the BBC are responsible for the most recent incarnation. We own nothing and make no profits.
Summary: Newly returned from fighting Death Eaters in the Middle East, Healer John Watson gets a new flatmate and discovers he’s exchanged one battleground for another in postwar London

Read Chapter One at AO3 or below this 

***
There was a line John vaguely remembered from a play his sister Harry had made him see on his last leave. Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war. He wasn't sure about the second part--he'd seen trained dogs in some units, seen them grinning, tongues lolling, at their trainers one second and leaping for the jugular moments later--but cry havoc was right.

Especially when there was magic in the mix.

God help the Muggles. If they were lucky, it was a Killing Curse, green and silent, over in an instant. He'd seen the bodies of men hit with Cruciatus, their faces frozen in a rictus of pain and pure, hopeless confusion. Mostly pain. Cruciatus did that to a person, regardless of whether or not they knew what it was.

It wasn't John's job to fight. He did, when push came to shove, but he'd been sent here to be a medic--a mediwizard, technically speaking, dealing with the spell damage the Muggle doctors couldn't handle.

Somewhere in the distance, he could hear the telltale rattling of machine-gun fire. Strange how that was a relief, a moment of respite.

The last he'd heard from Harry was that it had been weeks since they'd last read about a captured Death Eater in the Prophet. John had smiled bitterly at that. It's because they're all here, sis, in this bloody desert. He hadn't recognised any of the ones they'd killed so far, but that wasn't a surprise. You-Know-Who--he'd never got out of the habit--had had followers all over Europe, and when he'd fallen, they'd taken flight, sought out the places where nobody in their right mind would go, but where there were older, deeper magics to be found.

They were fighting now in the shadow of the Hindu Kush, where gigantic statues carved into the cliffs watched them in silence as they'd watched hundreds of thousands of generations battle over these wastelands. Try as he might, John couldn't understand why.

A few fitful red sparks spat from the end of his wand to tell him five minutes had passed since the last spell he'd cast. Grabbing his kit, he crept out from behind the boulder where he'd taken refuge and made his way toward the nearest prone figure. This one was at least still breathing, keening under his breath and clutching what remained of his left leg.

John had never been squeamish, and even if he had been, three years in eastern Afghanistan would have cured him quickly enough. There simply wasn't time to be squeamish. His hands moved mechanically--antiseptic, then bandages, enough to get him to the field hospital.

His first thought when the curse grazed his shoulder was that it was patently unfair to sling Sectumsempra at a medic. But the Death Eaters had never played fair.

***


It was just as well he’d never needed much sleep, because Mycroft Holmes suspected any self-respecting healer would have quit refusing to give him Rest Charms months ago. Not that many were left, of course, and not that they didn’t have far better things to do than worry about the sleeping habits of a minor Ministry official in the Department of International Cooperation. There was so much work to be done, still, and he knew that fully cleaning up the mess left by You Know Who’s return would likely be the work of decades. At least they’d finally gotten the werewolf problem under control, and his three o’clock meeting with Nachtboff, the goblin representative, held the promise of finally getting the new treaty signed. They certainly didn’t need a Fifth Goblin Rebellion just now, with wizarding resources strained almost to breaking and so much mistrust, everywhere. Years of not knowing what side anyone was on still...stained...far too many interactions.

Three interdepartmental memos floated onto his desk, the last so poorly folded it wobbled on its wings. Ah well, he hadn’t especially planned on stepping out for lunch today. As usual. Right now, he had more important work to do than addressing the memos from Muggle Relations, Magical Trading Standards, and, from the poor construction, the latter clearly hailed from Sports.

The scrolls on his desk now represented the culmination of months of work, of scrying and travel by his best people, but he finally had in his hands a list of all the living Ministry personnel scattered to the four winds by the fighting. Magical tattoos would have been so much simpler, but of course, too many people had objected with paranoid, short-sighted, needlessly emotional concerns about it being too close to a Dark Mark.

He conjured up a butterbeer and began reading, stopping to sip his drink and take notes on who should be left in place, promoted, demoted, rewarded, arrested, recalled... Many of the summaries made for interesting reading, he made a note of which could be safely leaked to the Daily Prophet. One or two made for especially interesting reading, those he earmarked for the Quibbler.

The next name had a slight glow to the ink, indicating Thais had flagged this one. Hm... St. Mungo-trained mediwizard, embedded with Muggle military in the far East...interesting. Trained in Muggle healing as well, but had gone through standard Ministry combat training...this had the late Albus Dumbledore’s fingerprints all over it, and Mycroft wasn’t surprised to find that he’d been a prefect at Hogwarts (Hufflepuff) and that, yes, Dumbledore had written glowing references, veiled threats, and anything else that had been necessary to place his ex-student where he’d wanted him, protecting unsuspecting Muggles.

He threw some floo powder into the roaring fire. “Weasley, when convenient?”

Promptness was one of Percy Weasley’s strong points, and he stepped out of the fire precisely three minutes later. “Mr Holmes?”

“I need you to get me the current location and status of John Hipparchus Watson.”

“Hipparchus with two p’s, sir?” Weasley was scribbling the name in his ever-present notebook.

“Correct.” The boy was still desperate to prove himself here at the ministry, and to his new boss as well. Mycroft appreciated eagerness in subordinates.

With a smart nod, Weasley disappeared back into the fireplace. Rather to Mycroft’s surprise, he returned less than an hour later, just as he’d been preparing an elegantly folded crane for Sports, to tell them that if they couldn’t start handling things at their end he would arrange for the cancellation of the next Quidditch World Cup.

“John Hipparchus Watson is currently in the Spell Damage ward at St Mungo’s, but I’m afraid I could get little more than that from his paperwork.” Weasley was looking at his shoes, clearly displeased with himself. “Half of it’s been redacted, sir. Whoever he is, someone high in the Ministry ranks is interested in making sure nobody knows about him.”

So someone was still watching over Watson. To protect him, or to... Mycroft allowed himself a hint of a smile. This was getting more interesting. Certainly more interesting than handling those oafs in Sports. “Thank you, Weasley, that will be all for now.”

“Very well, sir.” That was another useful trait of Weasley’s--he never asked unnecessary questions, at least not of Mycroft. It seemed he’d started asking them during the False Administration, the one the Ministry refused to discuss on account of it having been run almost entirely by wizards under the Imperius Curse. Mycroft was not the sort to rule through fear, manipulation was far more effective, but he was not above taking advantage of his subordinates’ existing proclivities.

Once Weasley had headed back into the fireplace, Mycroft turned to address one of the many portraits covering the walls, this one of a rather stout witch wearing Healer’s Whites and with an expression suggestive of a pleasant bedside manner. “Madame Derwent, would you be so kind as to look in on a fellow healer who may be in need?” He added a slight bow for good measure.

“Oh, go on then, you...” the portrait of Dilys Derwent replied, eyes twinkling at the overt flattery. “Back in two shakes of a hippogriff’s tail.”

She was as good as her word, appearing back in her frame only a quarter of an hour or so later. Her mood, however, had changed from flirtatious to what he could only think to colloquially describe as mothering, though it was not a mood that would have ever been found on his mother. “Poor lamb, he’s been through a lot. Sectumsempra to the shoulder, still healing, miracle he’s as well as he is. Cruciatus curse to the leg, I shouldn’t wonder, and of course he’s not eating nor sleeping enough.” She twisted her hands together in a way that suggested a fervent desire to immediately begin treating him. “If you ask me...”

Mycroft interrupted before she could begin what looked to be a long litany of concerns about how St. Mungo’s healing standards had obviously gone downhill in the last three hundred years. “Will he recover?”

“Dark curses all come down to the strength of will of the caster and the victim, but if he’s made it so far I expect he’ll survive, though not without scarring and some loss of mobility. Cruciatus...it affects people differently, there’s no way to tell before he’s using the leg again.” She shrugged. “The rest is nothing that rest and care couldn’t cure. I’d say he’s perfectly capable of a good recovery, physically speaking, though the poor duck is likely to have nightmares for some time to come.”

Mycroft thanked her, then began preparations for his afternoon meeting with the goblins.

***

She doesn’t cackle with glee, but it’s a near thing. Weeks of negotiations, meetings in alleys and secret messages, for this. This moment. The only wrinkle is the knowledge she can’t tell anyone. Oh, but it would be a treat to show them, to see the envy on their faces and know that just once she’d actually gotten one over on them. As it is, though, she’ll have to settle for knowing she’s better than them, that she has this, and they’ll never even know. Surely there’s a great deal of pleasure in that, as well. But for now, she pushes all thoughts of anything else aside to focus on the wooden box in front of her. It’s smaller than she’d expected, but good things and small packages and whatnot. Carefully, carefully, she lifts the lid...she’s not a child at Christmas, after all, to ruin a thing by being too rough with it.

The last thing she sees is a flash of purple light, and if she has time to think anything before the end, it’s that it’s every bit as beautiful as she had hoped.


***

John wasn’t entirely sure how long he’d been in hospital. There were the vague, snatched memories of being carried beneath fluorescent lights and the incessant beeping of various machines--only, suddenly, it had all stopped and he couldn’t recall exactly when or under what circumstances. When he’d finally come to--really come to--there wasn’t a single machine in sight. The smell, too, had shifted, from the tang of Muggle antiseptics to smells of herbal concoctions that tugged at his scattered memories. It all added up to two things, one, he wasn’t dead, because death didn’t hurt so bloody much afterwards, and two, he was back in St. Mungo’s, back in London, back in England, back...home.

And with that thought, his exhausted body made the executive decision that that was quite enough thinking for the nonce, thank you very much, and he promptly passed out again.

This pattern continued for more days than he was able to count. Occasionally he was poked or prodded by a mediwitch or wizard, and far more often than he’d have liked a truly vile concoction or two was poured down his throat. Every now and again, he’d wake up to find a bouquet of flowers on the side table with a card from someone whose name he didn’t recognise until he hit the surname and remembered he’d served with them. He heard nothing from his sister, but then, he hadn’t really expected to. On the rare occasions he could manage it, he pestered staff for their copies of the Daily Prophet, to try to make up for all that he’d missed of the wizarding world.

You Know Who’s major supporters had all been killed or tried and sentenced to Azkaban, they’d begun reconstruction at Hogwarts...and strangely, that had hurt too, to think a place he associated with some of the best years of his life was another casualty of this sodding war. And always, references to the Boy Who Lived. It really said everything you needed to know about the whole damned war when you realised the highest title they could give to someone was that of a survivor.

He’d finished his seventh year at Hogwarts before Harry Potter had started, so he’d never had the dubious pleasure of meeting him.

The gardens at St. Mungo’s were, thankfully, actually outside, instead of just being enchanted to seem that way. The sky over London bore not the slightest resemblance to the clear, star-filled black of the desert, but it was still a sky, and it had been a great relief when John had been judged healthy enough to roam there, cane at the ready.

Well, he was still getting accustomed to the cane. But that, his doctors had told him brightly, would come in its own time. John was getting used to hearing that. He knew he’d used the same upbeat, professional tone himself, once, but it grated to hear it from the other end.

“John! Merlin’s beard, John, is that you?”

He nearly spun on his heel before realising he could no longer do that. Leaning heavily on the cane and biting back a series of increasingly profane mutterings, he turned to find himself face-to-face with a man in Healer’s robes. A familiar-looking man.

“Michael?” he finally ventured, wondering why he found it so surprising. They’d sat the exam for St Mungo’s together, after all. Surely it couldn’t be that strange to find him working here. “Michael Sorrel.” He forced a smile. “It’s been...” How long had it been? “...a long time,’ he finished lamely.

Michael looked ready to clap him on the back by way of greeting before seeing the cane and thinking better of it. “Too long, John m’boy, too long.” He summoned over a bench wide enough for both of them and sat carefully down at one end. “Do us both good to catch up, I expect.” He laughed, and John was amazed to discover that Mike’s good nature, at least, had survived the war intact.

He learned, over the course of the next hour or so, that it was April, which explained both the chill and the threatening clouds. Mike had begun his residency at St Mungo’s within a few weeks of John’s shipping out for Afghanistan. He’d married, a blonde healer specializing in tropical diseases, and they’d both spent the war practically locked down at St. Mungo’s, treating any wounded they could get their hands on. “Muggles as well, if you can believe it,” Michael chortled. “Very nice, once you get to know them.”

“I treated a fair number of them myself,” replied John. “Enough to make me wonder what all the fuss was about. They’re not so very different from us, in the end.”

“No arguments here, m’wife’s one quarter and I have a Muggle great uncle. Named me after him, he always gave me butterscotch candies when we visited.” Mike smiled at the memory. “But enough politics. Tell me what you’ve been up to, John, from the look of things it’s quite a story.”

***

The witch had been in her forties, brown hair, robes that had seen better days. In life, she would have been average looking; in death, she was comparatively better looking than many corpses, there not being a mark on her. Of course, she’d have been in even better shape if she’d been found a few weeks earlier, but she’d apparently kept to herself, and the neighbors had only really realised something was wrong when they’d noticed the pile of Daily Prophets outside her door. There was also a bit of a smell, but one learned to ignore awful smells this close to Knockturn Alley.

Lestrade sighed. It was hardly the first mysterious death he’d seen (the count was three so far this month) but even when magic was involved, there was still a logic to crime. And, to his mind, an illogic to violent death, which there’d bloody well been enough of during the war to last another hundred years.

“Send an owl for Holmes, I have a feeling we’re going to need him on this one.”



Chapter Two
 
 
 
pringle_sam on June 26th, 2011 04:21 pm (UTC)
awesome!
Great beginning! This is a very interesting premise, and I'm looking forward to seeing where you go with it :)
WinterOfOurDiscontent: pic#110186340winter_hermit on July 8th, 2011 06:24 pm (UTC)
Re: awesome!
Thank you for your kind words. I hope you'll continue to enjoy this.
roweena5000: Sherlock curiousroweena5000 on July 10th, 2011 07:59 pm (UTC)
Hmm, very interesting. I like how you've woven the two universes together, it makes sense to me thus far. :) This is my first time ever reading a crossover and I'm finding myself to like it, looking forward to be reading the rest. Thanks for sharing.
WinterOfOurDiscontent: cactuswinter_hermit on July 11th, 2011 04:48 am (UTC)
Thank you! We're trying very hard to keep the characters themselves while still making sense in this mashup universe. (Part of the reason I wanted to write this was to explore a. the rest of the wizarding world in general and b. how the wizarding world would have been affected by the return of Voldemort, because there are so many *fascinating* questions left). We hope you'll continue to enjoy.