A Study in Magic: The Application
by Books of Change
The longest day of summer was drawing to a close, and the city of London was humming with excited activity, particularly in one of its dingier streets. There, a crowd of news agency vans surrounded a cordoned-off building like vultures to a corpse. Several cameramen were out adjusting their tripods or mounting their long-lens cameras on them. Those who had their equipment ready were filming the uniform constables standing in attention just outside the yellow tape, or the building where the mysterious shockwave that tore through that part of London and took out the power of an entire city block originated.
Eventually, the orange sky darkened to a dusty blue, and by then police were flitting in and out of one particular flat. The mark of an epicenter was in the middle of its living room, plain as day. The flat’s windows only had a few lonely pieces of glass clinging to their frames. The rest were out on the streets somewhere, wherever they landed after they were blown off. The wall studs and water pipes were all caved severely outwards if they remained at all, and bits of chair, table, cups, and plates were smashed against the surviving walls, some penetrating through the plaster.
Everything about the scene pointed to a bomb explosion. However, there was no trace of smoke or fire inside the tiny flat. The baffled firemen from the London Fire Brigade said as much to one of the SOCOs on site. An equally baffled bomb technician from the Met added her own expert opinion to the discussion. The walls caved from rapidly expanding air pressure, which implied a bomb. Yet there were no traces of chemicals or gas inside the flat … there wasn’t even a hint of laundry detergent! How was this possible?
While the firemen and bomb technicians argued among themselves, two solemn-faced constables moved a body bag on a wheeled stretcher. Newly promoted Detective Inspector Sally Donovan and Detective Chief Inspector Lestrade watched them go, standing side by side. Donovan looked grim yet composed, but Lestrade appeared pale and shaken.
“You knew her?” Donovan asked quietly after the constables disappeared from view.
“She was the aunt of one of my daughter’s schoolmates,” muttered Lestrade. “I met her a few times.”
Donovan nodded wordlessly.
The two stood quietly again for a few more heartbeats.
“Will you be alright, handling this?” Donovan asked at length.
Lestrade didn’t reply for a blink. Then he let out a deep sigh.
“…Yeah,” he said stoically. “Yeah, I’ll be fine. Donovan, you take care of the crime scene. I’ll notify family.”
Donovan made an affirmative noise. Then she joined the SOCOs trying to collect evidence from the destroyed flat.
Lestrade headed out. On his way down, Lestrade made several calls. For the first, he used a black iPhone like any other. For the other calls, he used a mobile phone that was nothing more than a flat, palm-sized glass case that contained burning purple flames. As strange as the latter sight was, none of Lestrade’s colleagues seemed to take notice of it.
Lestrade finally got inside his car. There, he put away the glass phone and retrieved another glass phone that had green flames instead of purple from his inner jacket pocket. He then called out a name:
Miles away from his usual stomping grounds in London, Sherlock Holmes was lounging in a comfortable chair with his feet propped up on a desk and a baby boy snoozing against his chest. The monitors on the desk, which Sherlock was studying lazily, showed John Watson, armed with what looked like an AK-47, chasing a wizard named Sirius Black through a large span of grassy heath.
Sherlock let out an irritated grunt when the mobile phone in his pocket started to vibrate. He silenced it without disturbing the baby on his chest and continued to study the monitors.
The phone vibrated persistently, however. The baby eventually sensed the incoming calls and started to make keening noises. Only then did Sherlock pull out his phone and swipe the virtual bar.
“I told you I’m busy!” snarled Sherlock.
“LV murdered Amelia Bones,” Lestrade snapped in reply.
Sherlock put his feet down and sat up straight. His grey eyes gleamed with intense focus.
“I didn’t think he’d dilly-dally,” he said in a low, rumbling voice.
“He obviously didn’t,” growled Lestrade. “The Ministry of Magic’s handling the case, but media caught wind of it before I got there. Your brother probably knows all about it.”
“He’s likely discussing counter-strategies with the PM and Secret Service right now,” said Sherlock snidely. “I assume this means the next Minister for Magic is going to be Rufus Scrimgeour?”
“Yes, but never mind that. When are you returning to London?” asked Lestrade.
“Why should I?” Sherlock sneered. “You already know who the murderer is—not that you can arrest him!—and for magical cases, there’s no difference between me working here or there.”
“I didn’t think you’d prefer Yorkshire over London.”
“I don’t,” said Sherlock between gritted teeth. “I hate it here. But Benedict still can’t sleep when there are cars roaming about and John demanded training time—”
“Didn’t think you’d bow to domestic concerns, either,” said Lestrade, his grin evident from his voice.
“Shut up!” Sherlock snapped.
Then he paused for a second. The monitors now showed John rapidly gaining on Sirius. Soon, John had him face down on the ground with his wand arm twisted behind his back. John’s next move was a lightning fast swipe to the left. A silvery cloak appeared out of nowhere and underneath the folds emerged a skinny, white-haired, bespectacled boy who had the pinched, slightly unhealthy look of someone who has grown a lot in a short space of time. The boy—known as Harry Watson to the locals, but Harry Potter to others—put his hands up in surrender when John aimed the faux-AK-47 at him.
“John is done with basic training,” said Sherlock, a satisfied smirk on his face. “We can now move on to urban guerrilla warfare.”
“Do I even want to know what you two are up to?!” Lestrade shouted.
“No,” said Sherlock gleefully.
“What about your baby?!”
“Got him well taken care of,” said Sherlock breezily as he got out of his chair. “We’ll take the train back to London this evening. Alert Arthur Weasley and the rest. Don’t dally!”
And with that, Sherlock ended the call, blithely disregarding Lestrade’s furious expostulations. Then he dialed two on his speed dial.
Before long, the monitors showed John Watson pulling out a mobile phone, Harry Potter lowering his hands and Sirius Black shakily getting back to his feet.
“It’s time,” Sherlock intoned.
Harry seemed to sag a little. Sirius bared his teeth. John merely shrugged.