A/N: this plot bunny was stuck on my harddrive, so I decided to post it. It won't be finished, as I don't remember what direction I wanted to take it in.
Timeline has moved up 20 years. So PS/SS takes place in 2011-2012 instead of 1991-1992.
Sherlock wasn't pleased when the limo pulled up to him and Mycroft waved him in, thus he only stuck his head through the window.
"Sherlock, I don't know what's going on, but you're needed," Mycroft said bluntly while Anthea worked on her blackberry. "Get inside."
Sherlock could see that, A, Mycroft really was puzzled – which was a rarity and a treat, as far as he was concerned – and B, that it wasn't a good time to argue. So he got in.
"What is it?" Sherlock asked shortly.
"Child services wants to see you about the guardianship of a young female."
Sherlock's eyebrows rose. "Who?"
"Never heard of her," Sherlock said, mentally going through Anya's and Potter's separately. He came up empty: enough Potters, three Anya's, but nothing that stood out.
"Born to James and Lily Potter in 2000, who were subsequently murdered on Hallowe'en 2001. Any of them ring a bell?"
Sherlock ran that through his mind palace. "I ran into a Lily in early March of 2001," he said finally. "She had a child with her who was seven or eight months of age. Red hair, green eyes. She was in danger."
"That seems to match," Mycroft nodded. "Apparently, she's written you down as a guardian for her daughter. Anya's previous guardians, Mr and Mrs Dursley, are respectively declared unfit and recently deceased."
Sherlock frowned at Mycroft. "How bad?" he asked quietly.
"Bad enough," Mycroft replied grimly.
They soon arrived at the Child Services office where Sherlock was subjected to a lengthy interview that declared him fit to raise a child.
"If you and Anya both agree, you'll become Anya's temporary guardian," the social worker explained. "This can be changed into permanent guardianship in three months' time."
"Would it be possible to invite her to lunch with us in order to get to know one another in a less.. clinical.. atmosphere?" Mycroft asked.
This was possible, and they were shown to another room where a girl was sitting on the floor, meditating. She was heavily bruised and sported a cut on her cheek.
When Sherlock opened the door, she immediately jumped up – and winced.
Still injured. That wasn't good.
Anya wasn't a happy girl.
She'd been forced to flee Hogwarts when Fudge came to arrest her as a suspect in the opening of the Chamber of Secrets. Having hidden beneath her Invisibility Cloak and being transported to Privet Drive by Dobby the house-elf who was all too glad to help her get away from there, she arrived at the house to find an ambulance standing before it, as something had apparently happened to Aunt Petunia. One look at her and Vernon – she refused to call him 'Uncle' any longer – had violently forced her inside.
The paramedics hadn't spared the encounter a second glance, busy as they were trying to save Petunia's life. But once Petunia was pronounced dead, one of them had asked the police to investigate. They found sufficient 'cause' to arrest Vernon.
She actually liked Sherlock and Mycroft. Sherlock was a bit awkward but nice and reliable, and Mycroft had a sense of humour so dry it was dusty, and was very calm. She liked that.
She ordered a bowl of soup at the lunch room the brothers took her to eat – she couldn't really stomach anything, but didn't feel able to decline eating.
Presently, Sherlock – at Mycroft's suggestion – was telling Anya about how he'd met her parents.
"In March 2001 I was alerted by my Homeless Network to a woman and baby who appeared to be on the run. As I was lacking a good case at the time, I decided to investigate," Sherlock said. "I learned that she was, indeed, running from someone who was threatening her family. Your mother had taken you and fled the safe house while your father tried to lead your pursuers into another direction. She had no way of knowing if he had succeeded and no way to get in touch with him. I guarded Lily and you for three days before she disappeared without warning, although she left of her own free will."
"I didn't know that," Anya replied.
Before she could say more, though, they were joined by John.
He cast a concerned glance over Anya's black eye and the cut on her cheek before turning to Mycroft. "You had me picked up?"
"I didn't, that must have been Anthea's foresight," Mycroft replied. "Anthea is my assistant," he explained to Anya. "Anya, this is Dr John Watson, Sherlock's flatmate. Dr Watson, this is Anya Potter, the daughter of a friend of Sherlock's."
"If Anya wants to, she's coming to live with us," Sherlock said without preamble.
John blinked and sat down. "Okay," he said slowly. "Whom are you living with now?"
"I've been at the hospital for the past two nights," Anya said softly before turning to Sherlock. "I can come and live with you?"
"Of course, if you'd like," Sherlock said. "You want to?"
"Yes," Anya voiced, barely daring to believe.
"Then I think we should go back to the office for the paperwork," Mycroft proposed – although it clearly wasn't a suggestion.
Anya was tired. The only sleep she had gotten in the last three nights was that first night in the hospital, where the heavy dose of sedatives had practically forced her to slip into unconsciousness. She tried to pinch herself into staying awake, but she barely felt the pain through all her other injuries.
She hadn't been in the limousine for more than five minutes before she was fast asleep.
Sherlock, of course, was the first to notice. "She's asleep," he said in a mostly-quiet voice. "Let's not wake her. Mycroft, we're taking her home with us."
The request/order was simple: have them allow us.
Mycroft succeeded in convincing Child Services that Anya had given her consent and that it really would be better if they didn't have to wake her again, so Anya – and John, and Sherlock – spent the night at Mycroft's. 221B was in no way yet ready for a third occupant and didn't have a guestroom, while Mycroft's house did. Thus Sherlock took off Anya's shoes and put her in Mycroft's guestroom bed.
Anthea hadn't been slacking off, and had found that the monthly allowance granted by the Potters' Will to the Anya's guardians, in this case the Dursley family, came from an account at Gringotts.
"Her parents are wizards?" Mycroft murmured to himself. He conferred with Anthea, who managed to dig up that Lily and James Potter had, indeed, both attended Hogwarts School for the Extraordinarily Gifted, and that Anya was also listed as attending.
"Sherlock, John," Mycroft called them to attention from where Sherlock and John were discussing Anya. "As temporary guardians of Anya Potter, you have the right to be aware of certain classified information."
Now that would always catch Sherlock's attention.
Mycroft only knew the basics of magic and thus the explanation was short and to the point, although they did speculate on what Anya was doing away from school and whether she was planning on returning.
When Anthea (the only female present) came to wake Anya, however, she found her room empty. Sherlock deduced she must have left because she didn't feel safe, but that she'd probably stayed on the property because she had appeared to trust them, the day before.
They quickly decided on a search and it was barely ten minutes later that Mycroft found Anya sitting outside beneath a window sill. She had her eyes half-closed in her pale face and she was trembling.
Mycroft thought for a moment before coming to stand next to her, leaning against the house. "You must be cold," he observed.
Anya's eyes flew open and she flinched away from Mycroft. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to –"
"There is nothing you should apologize to me for," Mycroft said calmly. "You woke up alone in an unfamiliar place; 'tis not strange you left." Mycroft took off his coat and offered it to Anya, who took it seemingly without registering. "Tell me, how was your night?"
"Thank you, sir," Anya said, covering herself with the coat. "I slept kind of good until I started dreaming."
"Nightmares have disturbed many a rest," Mycroft replied neutrally. "Will you tell me about it?"
"I'd rather it just go away," Anya whispered.
"Then let us get out of the cold," Mycroft decided, crouching down to help Anya up and assisting her with putting on the coat correctly. He guided her to the closest entrance, running into John on the way.
"Anya," John breathed, relieved. He knelt down before her, looking up at her with concern. "Your lips are blue. How long have you been outside?"
"Not sure," Anya said softly.
John reached out to her arm, but stopped five inches short. "May I?" he asked.
Anya gave him her arm, and John took her pulse. "Little slow, but that's to be expected," John noted. "How about you go inside and warm up, and I call the others?"
Anya nodded, and Mycroft voiced his thanks to John.
Mycroft escorted Anya to the den, where she curled up with a blanket in a chair before the fireplace while he handed her a cuppa and stoked the fire while he caught her up on the events of the day before. Sherlock, Anthea and John entered barely two minutes later.
John made short work of taking Anya's pulse and temperature, frowning slightly. "Hypothermia," he said. "When you've finished your tea, I'd like you to take a bath in order to warm up. I'd prefer not to leave you alone, so perhaps Anthea can assist you?"
Anya looked extremely apprehensive at that. Anthea was about to reassure her when Sherlock spoke up. "Gender is only part of the problem," he observed. "You don't want to show your injuries. Would you be more comfortable with John assisting you? He's a doctor, he's probably seen everything before." He studied Anya for a moment before nodding. "Excellent."
Still, they all noticed Anya was far from enthusiastic.
A few minutes later, John and Anya moved for the bathroom. Anthea handed Anya a package. "Nightgown," she explained. "It will give you some cover. I'll have clothes laid out for you in your room."
Anya thanked Anthea and followed John out.
John had thought about how to handle this, and allowed Anya to enter the bathroom before him. He closed the door behind them, leaving it unlocked. Anya sat down on top of the toilet seat and John started to draw a bath.
"How about you hold your hands under the tap while I take off your shoes and socks?" John proposed. It would stop her hands from cooling again, and after seeing how much trouble she'd had only holding a cup of tea, taking off her own shoes would be nigh impossible.
Anya nodded and did so while John knelt before her. Once her shoes were off, he suggested that either they did her trousers next, or that she went to sit on the rim of the bath with her feet in the water.
Anya closed her eyes. "Trousers," she forced the words out in a whisper.
John handed her a towel. "Cover," he explained with a soft smile. "Can you manage the buttons?"
Anya seemed determined to do those herself, although John helped her to actually take of the trousers. He paid no obvious attention to the bruises on her legs, although he catalogued each and every one of them.
"Alright," John looked around for a moment. "Let's get you in the tub before we take off your shirt, okay?"
The towel covered Anya's thighs and waist, and she pulled it closer around herself.
"Can you shift to the rim?" John asked.
Anya did so. She was now sitting on the rim with her legs outside the tub. At John's directions, she moved her feet into the bathtub, and then went to sit down in the tub.
John directed her to keep her hands under water until she had enough control over them to take off her shirt. John turned away as she did so. She partly succeeded in taking off her shirt, but needed John's help for the last part. John kept his eyes closed as he pulled the shirt off her arms, accepted her bra when she handed it to him, and held the nightgown before her. It was a nightgown more reminiscent of a hospital gown, in that it had buttons on the back. Anya didn't close them, nor did John offer to help. The nightgown was only about decency, after all.
"I'm decent," she said softly.
John opened his eyes, and indeed, she was sitting in the still-filling tub wearing the nightgown. Bruises covered her body. John adjusted the temperature of the taps filling the tub, so that the water entering now would be hotter.
"Social services gave us the doctor's report," John said. "How are the injuries?"
Anya flinched. "Some hurt more than others, sir," she said, not making eye contact.
John nodded. "Let me know if you want a painkiller. I'd like to check your back and the stitches, but the other injuries I will only check if you want me to. Truthfully, the only injuries I can do something about are the cuts."
John made some small-talk until Anya's temperature and pulse had risen to normal temperatures again. He then washed her hair and helped her wash herself. While washing her hair, he surreptitiously cast an eye over her back. It was bad, and some of the lashes were bleeding a little into the bath water.
After Anya had finished bathing, John assisted her in changing by handing her towels and clothes while with his back to her. Instead of a shirt, though, she wrung out the nightgown she'd used while bathing and put that on. "You wanted to see my back," she said, entering her room and laying face-down on the bed. The nightgown's top button was the only one that was closed, but she had laid the gown strategically to cover her back.
John sits down next to her. He places one hand on her shoulder, feeling her tremble beneath him.
"Easy," he mutters. "I'm not moving until you say I can, okay? No reason to get all worked up.." He covers her until her waist with a bed sheet and continues to mutter reassurances. It took a few minutes for Anya to relax.
John started by cleaning the cuts, then putting a salve on them, and finally, loosely wrapping the cuts. By the time they are done, Anya is exhausted and drifts off into a light sleep.
John tucks her in and places a note on her bedside table, telling her where to find them once she wakes. He then dims the lights and leaves.
He was barely gone before Anya snapped her eyes open. John Watson had passed the test. Good. It was always good to know which men took liberties with a sleeping (or bathing) female, and which ones did not.
She waited thirty minutes before getting out of bed and slowly changing into a blouse, taking care not to aggravate her injuries. The note on her bedside table directed her to the den.
"Sir," she said from the doorway. Mycroft turned around from where he was writing at the desk.
"Anya," he greeted. "Sit down. Tea?"
Anya accepted and sat down on the couch. Mycroft joined her with his own cup of tea, sitting in a chair next to her.
"Sherlock and John are at Baker Street, readying the apartment for your arrival," Mycroft said. "This will give us some time to clear up a few things. Tell me, Anya, what are you doing away from Hogwarts?"
Scared eyes met his.
Mycroft started by explaining his knowledge of the Wizarding world – which was only as much as absolutely required, meaning, only the very basics. When it was clear that Anya was still apprehensive, he knelt down next to her, taking one of her hands in his. "Whatever it is, we'll fix it."
Anya looked him into his eyes for a long time, and after several minutes, seemed to find what she was looking for. "They wanted to take me to the wizard's prison for something I didn't do," Anya replied quietly. "The Minister came to arrest me and I left."
A dark look crossed Mycroft's face. "I'm glad you did," he said. "Besides the Minister not having the authority to arrest you – that's the job of the Aurors – that prison should be closed. To even consider taking a child there! Do you have your wand on you?"
"The Headmaster snapped it," Anya replied.
"Good, your wand can be tracked," Mycroft said. "Having been thusly expelled, they shouldn't come after you. Tell me, is there a reason the Minister himself came to arrest you?"
Anya informed Mycroft of the basics of the story of the Girl who Lived. Instead of looking at her with awe, Mycroft was sympathetic. "That must have been awful," he sympathized. "Do you have friends?"
"Two," Anya said. "Kind of. A boy in my year, and one of the prefects. He's the only one who knows about –" She gestured to her back. "He doesn't like the Headmaster much because of it. Real stickler for the rules. But wants to work for the Ministry when he graduates next year, so he might just agree with them. I used to have two best friends but they –" She cut herself off.
Mycroft nodded slowly. "You might want to send that prefect a letter, explaining what happened. The way they arrested you is definitely against the law. Keep it to one letter for the security."
For the next few hours, they talked about the Wizarding World in general. When Hedwig, Anya's owl, arrived, she sent her off with a two letters. One to Gringotts, and one to Percy Weasley.
"Stay with Percy," Anya said to Hedwig. "It isn't safe here. An owl as pretty as you would surely be recognized. Be safe, Hedwig. You're my best friend."
Hedwig hooted, nipped her finger gently, and flew off.
John and Sherlock arrived soon after, together with Anthea. "221B is ready for you," Sherlock said without preamble. "She –" he motioned to Anthea – "has arranged for someone to break down a wall day after tomorrow, but there's no reason you can't come home now."
She liked the sound of that.
And thus, an hour later, John, Sherlock, Anya and Mycroft were sitting in the living room of 221B.
"Really, I can sleep on the floor.. or on the couch," she hurriedly added at seeing the dark looks thrown at her. "You don't have to give up your room."
"It's simple," Sherlock said. "Separating by gender. Our parents were very clear on it: females sleep in a room separate from the males, and if there is only one bedroom, the females have the bedroom and the males have the public rooms."
"He's right," Mycroft confirmed.
"And I can sleep in Sherlock's room – it's only for two days," John added his piece. "So there's really no argument there."
The door of the apartment opened. "Sherlock, I do NOT appreciate being kidnapped by your brother's lapdogs!" Greg Lestrade thundered.
Only then did Lestrade actually look through the room.
"Mycroft," he frowned. He then noticed the fourth figure in the room.
"Lestrade, meet the newest resident of 221B and the ward of Sherlock and I. Anya Potter," John introduced. "Anya, this is Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade. We often work with him."
"He's the least irritating officer of the Yard," Sherlock added. "And the only one who is smart enough to realize he's in over his head, and call me."
Lestrade blinked. "Your ward?" He approached Anya and held out his hand. "Greg."
"Anya," Anya said, shaking his hand.
John had been to the kitchen for another cup of tea and a chair, and offered them both to Lestrade.
"So why am I here?" Greg asked of Mycroft.
"I thought you might want to meet Anya," Mycroft declared. "And as my brother would never invite you, I took the liberty."
Greg seemed appeased at that, probably because he had expected to be invited purely for Mycroft's pleasure.
"I befriended Anya's late mother," Sherlock said.
Greg nodded. "Do I need to arrest anyone for that black eye of yours?" Greg asked kindly.
"Surrey Police already did," Anya said softly. "They say I won't ever have to see him again."
"Right you won't," John said strongly. "Never again. I promise."
Mycroft and Greg left before dinner, but not before pointing out the security camera just outside the door. Mycroft told her she only ever had to clap her hands three times in front of it, and he would come as soon as possible.
Sherlock even promised he wouldn't take that one down.
Mrs Hudson brought them dinner, fussing over Anya's black eye all the while. Anya barely ate and was, to the trained eye (accustomed to see soldiers pretend they're alright), tired and overwhelmed. When she put down her fork after finishing her minimal serving, John waited a few minutes before suggesting she lie down for an hour or so. She smiled gratefully and went up to her temporary bedroom (John's old room).
She returned to the living room two hours later, when Mrs Hudson was long gone. "Bad dream," Sherlock stated.
Anya nodded and sat down. John poured her a cup of tea.
Sherlock started to teach her rudimentary Chemistry that evening. Anya seemed to enjoy it – whether it was the attention, the subject or the learning, John didn't know, but he didn't interrupt.
At 11 o'clock, John put an end to the lesson. "Time for bed, or time for relaxing if you don't feel like sleeping," he ruled. "We'll need to go shopping tomorrow, we're almost out of food and you need some materials for leisure activities. And we have a meeting with the bankers from Gringotts."
"I'll try to sleep," Anya said timidly.
John and Sherlock wished her good night.
"She's smart," was the first thing Sherlock said. "I like her."
"Well, that's good, given that we are her guardians," John said dryly. "Do you think we should set rules? Chores?"
"She would feel more secure when knowing specifically what is allowed and what is not, and what the consequences of misbehaving are," Sherlock said perceptively. "But rules are dull. Boring."
"She's a bit old and independent for strict rules, too," John added. "Alright, how about this. First rule, come to one of us if you're hurt. Second, leave a note or tell someone before you go out. Third, don't lie unless it's for a good reason."
"Sounds okay," Sherlock replied. "As for consequences, it's more important to make clear what won't happen. No starving, beating, assaulting or other types of violence."
"No touching when angry, period," John said.
Sherlock nodded and fell silent. After a few minutes, he spoke. "John?"
"Yes?" Sherlock didn't usually check before asking a question, so this was a rarity.
"How'd she look like?"
John knew what Sherlock was asking. He was surprised Sherlock had held out this long.
"It was bad," John said quietly, not knowing what else to say. "She's made of strong stuff, Sherlock," he added after a moment.
"I know," Sherlock replied.
Sherlock would, John thought. He exhaled a relieved breath.
They quickly settled into a routine.