A Study in Magic: The Application
by Books of Change
Chapter Five: Explosive Ordinance Disposal for Wizards
Much to Harry’s surprise, John let Harriet Watson take him away from Baker Street without another word of protest, even when they realized Aunt Harry’s mode of transportation was an ancient motorcycle. Harry wondered about this until he realized Aunt Harry was NOT taking him to some place obvious like Battersea Station, but rather the outskirts of the very rough side of London.
Aunt Harry eventually stopped in front of a condemned building so dilapidated not even homeless squatters appeared to have bothered with it. There was so much overgrown greenery around the building’s perimeter it looked as though it was situated in the bush. The moment they stepped inside the smell of rotting urine punched Harry in the face. Eyes watering, Harry wondered how Aunt Harry could take it all without even batting an eye, as she faced him standing soldier-straight and arms crossed.
“Let’s get this out of the way,” Aunt Harry started. “I’m not here to train you. We haven’t got the time for that.”
“Why are we here, then?” asked Harry, an arm over his nose.
“We’re here to see how you’ll react to explosions,” said Aunt Harry. “And, as much as possible, make you get used to them.”
Harry doubted anyone could get used to explosions, least of all him. Aunt Harry smirked at Harry, as though she knew what he was thinking.
“Trust me, you can get used to anything,” she said. “In some parts of the Middle East, no one even blinks unless it’s their own house that got hit.”
Then Aunt Harry turned heel and walked away. Harry soon found himself standing alone inside the building.
“Use everything you’ve got!” Aunt Harry shouted from somewhere. “And I do mean everything!”
“Wait, what am I supposed to be doing?” Harry hollered.
There was no answer. Harry felt his palms sweating and heart pumping as the silence dragged on. His brain churned with questions: was he supposed to stay here while bombs went off? Was he supposed to seek safety? Would he flip out if or when Aunt Harry set off whatever she rigged up? What would Aunt Harry do? Would she really set up real bombs? More importantly, what was Sherlock trying to prove?
Harry eventually decided to seek better shelter, because as far as he was concerned, staying put where his enemy (Aunt Harry) knew where he was at was just nuts. But how was he to do that? The only thing Harry had to his advantage was Magic, but he wasn’t allowed to use it during summer holidays. However, Harry learned from experience it was better to assume permission and ask for forgiveness later when Sherlock was in the picture. Besides, he had other options.
Harry took out his Invisibility Cloak and wrapped it around himself. As he did so, Harry wondered if Aunt Harry had those thermal goggles that let you detect living creatures via their body heat. Would those things still work in the light day? Harry had to assume that they could; better safe than sorry.
Harry pulled out his wand. He then paused for a moment as he tried to remember the incantation Hermione used to conjure her waterproof and portable bluebell flames. He came up blank. So he thought of a Latin word that best encapsulated what he wanted:
“Inflamarae,” he whispered.
White balls of fire appeared. Close enough, Harry thought, as he quickly magicked them into humanoid shapes.
Harry thought he heard someone swear from a distance as he tiptoed away. But before he could get too far, a series of small explosions on the ground followed his trail. Harry knew instantly Aunt Harry had detected him based on disturbances his feet left as he walked (John used the same tactic while they trained in Yorkshire). So Harry cast a spell that conjured large billows smoke. Aunt Harry’s response to this was shooting rockets around the perimeter … all except one spot, where there was an ancient oak tree. Harry hurried over to there.
Harry stopped dead in his tracks once he got close. Tied around the massive trunk was something that looked a lot like a time bomb. Also half-buried around the tree were small metal boxes that were probably mines.
Real EOD doesn’t work like the movies, said John’s voice in Harry’s head. In the field, you don’t mess around with wires. Instead, you walk away, tell the guys where the bombs are from a safe distance, and the sniper takes them out.
Harry backtracked to the building. Once inside, he took out his wand and banished the bomb and mines. The moment he did so, Aunt Harry started firing at that spot. Clearly, she was tracking all of her devices, somehow.
“All right, change of plans,” Harry muttered. “Capture the enemy.”
There really wasn’t any other choice. He couldn’t do anything while Aunt Harry was loose. But how could he, Harry, locate and disable Harriet Watson? Muggle she may be, Aunt Harry was a seasoned field operative. In almost all sense of the term, she was better equipped than Harry could ever be. How could he locate a hiding soldier, anyway?
It came to Harry almost immediately: the rockets. Harry studied the trail of white smoke they left. They seemed to originate in two places, in opposing sides. Unless Aunt Harry was a witch, she couldn’t move between the two locations so quickly. Therefore she had backup (of course she did). So … should he get them both or just Aunt Harry? Who was her backup, anyway?
Then Harry noticed the smoke from his left was erratic. Like it didn’t know how to aim. Aunt Harry could probably do better, Harry thought, as he readied himself.
Harry quickly created a clone and cast the Disillusionment Charm on it. The semi-invisible clone headed to the left while Harry raced towards the right. More rockets followed. Harry tried to clear the resulting smoke with another made-up spell. But instead of clearing the smoke, the spell conjured a flock of flamingos.
Harry heard a voice swearing up a storm as the flamingos flew to and fro. Figuring the voice belonged to Aunt Harry, Harry headed towards it, dodging debris all the way.
He found a makeshift tower just outside the bush. The person who was inside appeared not to notice his presence, as no one came out to investigate.
Harry tiptoed to the back as another rocket flew out from the top of the tower. The tower, it turned out, was actually a braced wall with a raised platform and window. An unfamiliar woman wearing shorts and running shoes was manning the latter. She was not operating a rocket. In fact, there was nothing resembling a weapon on or around her.
Not wanting to take any chances, Harry used Petrificus Totalus on the stranger. Down went the woman, her arms and legs snapped together as she fell to the floor with a thud. Harry briefly wondered who she was as he walked over to the window where she used to stand.
The rockets stopped by the time Harry reached it. Everything went eerily quiet and still. Harry looked around, wondering where Aunt Harry was.
Suddenly Harry felt something fast whip past. His Invisibility Cloak fluttered, revealing Harry for a moment. Instinctively, Harry scrambled for cover. Not a moment too soon— the tree behind him shattered with bullet holes.
“What the hell! Those are real bullets!” Harry shouted as he crawled away.
Harry left the braced wall and made his way to the opposite direction. There were no towers or walls there … Just Aunt Harry in the growth. Not that Harry could see her; she was better than that.
Harry pointed his wand in the general direction of the growth.
“Homenum Revelio,” he muttered.
A place he completely didn’t expect glowed yellow. But before Harry could act on this information, Aunt Harry burst out from the bush.
On the next conscious moment, Harry found himself on the ground and unable to breathe. Aunt Harry loomed on top of him, a wild look in her eye. Harry panicked as the vice-like grip around his throat tightened. Was she really going to kill him? Was he really going to die?
A pair of arms grabbed Aunt Harry from behind.
“Stop it, Harriet!” said Sherlock’s voice. “That’s enough!”
Aunt Harry stiffened. She remained as is—her right hand on Harry’s throat and other drawn back—despite Sherlock’s tugging. Despite his predicament, or perhaps because of it, Harry wondered just how strong Aunt Harry was. Sherlock could straighten a bent iron poker (he’d seen him do it), therefore was no slouch in the physical strength department.
Eventually, the strong grip around Harry’s windpipe loosened. As Harry gasped for breath, someone raised him to a sit and wrapped their arms around him.
“It’s okay, you’re okay, it’s over,” John’s voice whispered above him.
Harry let out a shaky sigh and went limp. John. He was safe. It was over.
There was a scuffle. Harry looked up just in time to see Aunt Harry throw a punch at Sherlock, who blocked it.
“Calm down!” Sherlock grunted as Aunt Harry followed the punch with a powerful jab. “What’s the matter with you?!”
“How the”— Aunt Harry spewed a string of obscenities Harry had never heard used in such a combination — “did you raise your kid!?”
“We taught him to defend himself,” Sherlock replied, fists up like a boxer.
“Don’t f#@$ with me!” Aunt Harry screamed. “You know how it works as well as I do!”
Sherlock frowned. John said nothing but just held Harry tighter. Harry peered at his Aunt curiously.
” ‘There are daring pilots and there are old pilots, but there are no daring old pilots’!” shouted Aunt Harry. “Your kid knows war! He didn’t f@#$ing lose his head, and f^#@ing found me in five minutes! And those flamingos! Where the f#@$ did they come from? How the f— did he turn completely invisible?! Seriously, what the f&$% is your kid!?”
No one said anything in the silence that followed the tirade. All one could hear was Aunt Harry’s heavy breathing. Then, without warning or any noise, Mr. Lestrade and Mr. Jason appeared out of thin air.
John looked away.
“Harry, I’m sorry.”
Harry twitched. At the same time, Aunt Harry frowned.
“What?” she said. Oddly, she spared no attention to the two wizards behind her.
“I’m so – so sorry,” said John, grimacing as though in pain.
Harry looked at John, at Aunt Harry and back, his eyes growing larger. Aunt Harry started to look alarmed.
“Johnny? What are you…”
She didn’t finish. Mr. Jason cried: