The day Sherlock Holmes discovered he was a wizard was not an unexpected one. Running back through the 1800s, save two unfortunate sods, everyone in his family had been a witch or wizard. The chances of his becoming a squib were so undeniably low that everyone probably would have gone into shock if he had. Approximately four days and fourteen hours after the younger Holmes’s eleventh birthday, Mycroft had been striding about being his usual annoying, high-held, overconfident tosser self, ‘nonchalantly’ bringing up the subject of his being awarded the responsibility of Head Boy his seventh year at Hogwarts. Trying to concentrate on his novel, Sherlock had looked up angrily to the drawl of his brother’s voice, wondering if it was at some special frequency that could cut through any filter of his mind he tried to put up.
It had happened quickly and simply. The young boy with his tousled, brown hair had glared at the vase on the centre of their table and thought, ‘I desperately want that to crash into him so he’ll shut his trap’. And so it had. Not forcefully, no, it was a weak little performance, but the porcelain vase had shot off the table and right into Mycroft’s gut, then fell with a crash to the floor. The elder boy wore an astonished look, Sherlock an accomplished one, and his mother a simple weary expression.
“Really, Sherlock, couldn’t you have tried for the book sitting on the chair?” she had asked, pulling her slim, ivory-coloured wand from her sleeve. Sherlock gave a little huff of laughter and turned back to his novel as his mother repaired the vase. Mycroft, seething, swanned off to his room and wasn’t seen again until dinner. The matter of Sherlock’s discovery wasn’t discussed but for once to inform his father later that evening, who gave a disinterested nod and mumbled something along the lines of ‘saw that coming’, then returned to his paperwork. The entire subject was forgotten until July the next year.
Strolling through Diagon Alley surrounded by bustling witches and wizards, loud children, and screeching owls was not appealing to Sherlock. He did not desire to be around anyone, magic or muggle. Too much noise, too much contact, and too many sticky hands and fingers fumbling around in close proximity. With his mother and father away in Paris, however, Mycroft had forced him along.
“This is ridiculous!” he snarled as his brother pulled him along by his shirtsleeve. He received a scowl and a harder tug, causing him to stumble forward and bump into some strange wizard with an alarming hat.
“Terribly sorry,” Mycroft had apologised to the man with a suck-up grin. “He’s just nervous.”
“Yes, nervous my ar-”
“Come along!” His brother hissed, pulling so hard that the young boy was almost lifted off his feet. With an aggravated huff through his nose, Sherlock had clamped his mouth shut and followed along, a glare ever-present in his icy blue-grey gaze.
After almost being sick on the twisting-turning ride down to their Gringotts vault and gathering books, scales, and a few other required items from various bright shops, the Holmes boys made their way into Ollivanders. Young Sherlock walked up to the counter and stretched up on his toes, then gave a little yelp as Mr. Ollivander himself popped up from behind it. He chuckled, oblivious to Sherlock's glowering, and flitted around the shelves, muttering under his breath.
"Sherlock Holmes," he said aloud with a smile. "I remember it as though it were yesterday when your older brother strode in to my shop." Sherlock had rolled his eyes and crossed his arms impatiently, whilst Mycroft gave Mr. Ollivander a toothy smile. "Rowan, Phoenix core, wasn't it?" There wasn't a lick of doubt in his voice; of course he knew exactly what the type was. "So, Holmes the younger, how about... This?"
Sherlock stared at the wand before him, Rowan like his brother's, with a unicorn tail core. "That won't work for me," he said stubbornly.
"I- I'm sorry, what?" Mr. Ollivander questioned, taken slightly aback. "You won't know, Mr. Holmes, until you try it out."
"Unlikely," the young boy countered, ignoring his brother's hiss of 'Sherlock!'. "Often times the wood of a wizard's wand is related to that of his birthdate; mine being in December, the most compatible wood would be birch," he explained with a matter-of-fact tone. "I doubt the core would be unicorn tail; no one in our family has been very 'pure of heart', have they, 'Croft?" Sherlock arched a knowing brow and pushed to his tiptoes, leaning up over the counter. "The size of the wand also comes into play - closely related to the general estimated height of a person. As most people in our family are quite tall, anything less than eleven inches is unlikely to work for me. Try that one." He pointed to a box on the shelf directly behind Mr. Ollivander, containing a 13 & 1/4 inch, Birch wand with a dragon heartstring core.
"Just humour him, please," Mycroft requested. He had both index and middle fingers pressed to his temples now, leaning against the window in the front of the shop. Mr. Ollivander set the Rowan wand down on the counter, evidently bewildered, and backed up, turning to pull the indicated wand down from the shelf. He held the box out to the young boy with a disbelieving air.
Sherlock leaned back down on to his heels and gladly took the slim box, pulling the spindly, twisted, bent, light-coloured wand out and holding it in his equally skinny, bony hand. It fit perfectly - as he suspected - and when he gripped it, a shower of bright blue sparks shot out like an eel and slithered around his head before soaring around the room and dissipating in Mycroft's face. Sherlock felt as though he was engulfed in warmth, like a beam of shining sunlight was directed entirely on him.
"Told you so," he said with a wide grin, turning the deformed thing over in his hand. Mycroft was giving it a strange look, as though something so ugly and ill-shapen couldn't possibly be allowed in a wand shop. The younger Holmes, however, already felt a growing attachment for the alien thing. "Thank you, and good-bye, Mr. Ollivander." He tossed down a few galleons and slid his wand into his sleeve before striding swiftly out the door.
"I apologise," Mycroft called back to the wandmaker, quickly following after his brother and leaving Mr. Ollivander baffled and staring after the unusual wizards. Once caught up, he grabbed Sherlock by the collar of his shirt and turned him around. "You cannot just do that," he said, his voice a mock-calm tone.
"Why not?" Sherlock asked, his pleased expression still present above his irritated tone. "I just shaved five minutes off this trip. The sooner we are gone from this miserable place, the better." His mouth twisted into that of distaste as he looked around the Alley that nearly everyone called wonderful, beautiful, and fun. All he could see was a dirty shopping centre.
"You've probably just turned Mr. Ollivander's understanding of how wands are distributed to wizards entirely upside down." Mycroft glared down at his younger brother. "Which is not good." The older boy released his handful of Sherlock's shirt and began walking in the direction of Madam Malkin's, leaving the small wizard to angrily straighten out the fabric around his neck and scurry after his brother.
Once fitted with robes that had sleeves slightly too long and draped out dramatically behind Sherlock as he liked, once Mycroft had paid Madam Malkin, once Sherlock had stopped to point out that Mycroft had forgotten at least three things on his own list, and once they had flitted around and gathered the aforementioned items; once all that was finished, the two were strolling at a comfortable pace on their way out of Diagon Alley when Mycroft had turned Sherlock right around and pushed him through the door of the loud, screechy, smelly Owl Emporium.
"What are we doing here?" Sherlock whined, looking up at his brother with a brow furrowed in confusion and agitation.
"When I started at Hogwarts, I was allowed a pet, and mummy has informed me that you are to choose one as well."
"A pet?" the young wizard inquired, slightly exasperated. He held back a groan of dismay, knowing that nothing would get him out of this; not when mummy had already decided for him. Seven years ago, when Sherlock was around four, his brother had come home with a young, light feathered, proud tawny owl, which he ended up calling 'Anthea', by his mother's suggestion. The thing practically never left his shoulder over the years, save for when she needed to fly out and send a message to whatever friends Mycroft appeared to have. Sherlock, on the other hand, didn't see the point in having a personal owl - there were owls provided at the school for when it was absolutely necessary to send out a letter, and otherwise he didn't desire a companion. Nevertheless, he reluctantly began walking around Eeylops in search of something. Not an owl, for aforementioned reasons; no toads - he would be too tempted to experiment on it. A cat then. Cats were generally solitary, self-dependent creatures.
Striding about the room in his sulking fashion, he observed cat after cat (too jumpy, too large, too loud) until he came across a lanky kitten who looked almost as if it were glaring at everything around it.
"Just as miserable as I am, aren't you?" he asked quietly, crouching down around a foot away from it. A girl, he noted, judging by the body structure. She was nearly entirely white, except for the tips of her ears, tail, and covering her paws, where the fur was a shocking blue-grey. On her front, right leg, the coloured fur rose up in a tendril that wrapped around the appendage and stopped at the base where leg met torso. Her vibrant, icy eyes met Sherlock's in that moment, sharing two common factors: the colour of their irises, and the extreme disinterest in the people around them.
A smirk crossed the younger Holmes's face and he stood, staring down at the kitten expectantly. With an expression Sherlock could only name as 'amused', she clambered gracefully upright and rubbed her head up against his leg. Once sure she was out of his way, he began walking to the front of the room, the curious little cat at heel. He was vaguely aware that he'd just made an unspoken agreement with a cat; they were to keep each other entertained and blatantly ignore everyone around them otherwise, but as a wizard, he didn't particularly find it strange.
"Alright, can we go now?" he questioned wearily as he rejoined his brother by the front counter.
"You got her to follow you?" the shopkeeper asked, clearly baffled. "She wouldn't even let me come near her, and I feed her!"
Something akin to pride crossed Mycroft's face for a split second before he paid the burly man and beckoned Sherlock to follow him. The kitten trailed after her deemed master, slinking masterfully between pairs of feet and bustling people to keep up with him.
"Picked a clever one," Mycroft had pointed out as they stepped into the sleek black car waiting beside the kerb outside the Leaky Cauldron. The young cat, which Sherlock had decided to call Corvino, was curled into a tight ball and asleep on the cushion beside him.
"I know," he had replied simply, a smirk dancing around his lips.
"Sherlock, get up," Mycroft insisted, gently shaking his brother awake by the shoulders.
"Shut up, 'Croft," Sherlock muttered into his pillow, curling down defiantly into his mattress. The fact that he'd even bothered to go to bed the previous night was a clear show of how exhausted the boy was, and that he ought to be left to sleep. "Tired."
"You can be tired now and sleep on the train, or you can sleep and miss it, then have a miserable time trying to explain why to mummy next week."
Sherlock growled into the compressed mass of his pillow and tore his eyes open wearily, lazily turning on to his back and squinting his eyes against the light shining down on him. Mycroft was leaning over his bed with a somewhat annoyed expression at his brother's refusal to ready himself for the day. Ignoring him, Sherlock tore back the duvet and slung his legs off the bed, his toes recoiling against the cold hardwood floor. Corvino gave a quiet yowl of protestation as the heat from the bed began flooding out into the room, and turned on to her back to stare up at Mycroft expectantly. Disported, the Head Boy reached down with a smile and absentmindedly scratched her soft stomach before turning on his heel and sweeping out of the room.
"Don't go back to bed!" he called out knowlingly before shutting the door behind him. The young wizard rolled his eyes and adamantly flopped on to his back, legs hanging over the edge and his feet dangling a few inches above the floor. His clever little cat, however, got the message, and began clawing softly at his arm and making mewing noises, urging him to do as asked.
"Fine, fine," Sherlock hissed, shoving her away. She made a satisfied noise and curled back up as the boy made to get dressed.
Some minutes later, fully dressed and still irritable, Sherlock carted his heavy trunk into the sitting room and plopped down in front of the fireplace to pull on his shoes. Corvino followed behind quickly, wriggling her bottom before pouncing up on to the top of the upright trunk and sitting down, accomplished.
"Got your wand?" Mycroft inquired, striding around the room in final preparation.
"Yes," Sherlock replied, somewhat vexed.
"And did you-"
"Mycroft, I'm ready!" the young wizard said loudly, causing a pile of books to topple over on the other side of the room with his aggravation. Mycroft sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose before straightening out his shoulders and giving his brother a pointed look. Sherlock stuck his tongue out and pushed up to his feet, straightening out his shirt once standing. He took the handle of his trunk and shook it lightly, signaling for Corvino to hop off and slink around his feet as he walked to their car. The Head Boy grabbed his things as well and held the door as his brother passed through. He gave a final glance into the house and whistled for Anthea, who flew out and perched on his shoulder, ruffling her feathers into place. He loaded their trunks into the back and did a double check over his brother's things before sliding into the car.
"Alright, all ready," he said to the driver, settling in next to Sherlock. The muggle in front, as always, eyed the owl dozing comfortably on Mycroft's shoulder and put the car in gear, pulling out to the sparsely covered streets and driving off in the direction of King's Cross Station. Sherlock was already slumped over in the seat, evidently knackered, and his kitten stretched comfortably over his lap.
"You should have slept this week," Mycroft scolded quietly.
"Wasn't tired," the young wizard argued. "Didn't see a point." There was a long, tense pause before the elder Holmes spoke again.
"Just because they couldn't be here to see you off doesn't mean you should-"
"That isn't why!" Sherlock spat, hatred flooding his tone. "Mind your own business." The Head Boy turned his gaze out the window, his expression turning sad. Their parents were both gone the entire week and through the next, leaving young Sherlock in Mycroft's hands. They wouldn't be returning until the Holmes boys were already a week into their schooling, and despite the fact that Sherlock denied it, Mycroft could tell it upset him. After all, one's first passage through Platform 9 and 3/4 as a student was rather important. Either way, he let his brother sulk, head leant against the window, and they sat in silence. Corvino identified the distressed tone of Sherlock's emotions and incessantly pawed at his leg, nudging her nose into his chin. He gave a half-hearted shove in her direction, but a soft giggle slipped when her whiskers tickled his neck. She took it as a welcoming and crawled into his lap to console him. The rest of the ride was silent.
"Go on, then."
Sherlock furrowed his brow and looked up at Mycroft, trunk standing beside him and Corvino sitting possessively by his feet. "You always go first," he said hesitantly.
"Yes, considering I'm the only one to go on average. But this time, you're going to," the Head Boy countered, crossing his arms impatiently. Anthea hooted enthusiastically from her cage on Mycroft's trolley and people were starting to stare. "And be quick about it, the muggles are going to notice if we sit around much longer."
"I don't want to." The young wizard crossed his arms as well, straightening out his back and staring up at his brother with an air of defiance. Mycroft glowered back for a moment before shifting uncomfortably and biting the inside of his bottom lip.
"Fine," he complied, fed-up with his brother for the morning. The elder Holmes took hold of his trolley and spun it around, moving at an unceremonious jog at the bricks. He phased directly through, leaving Sherlock, Corvino, and his trunk alone in the station. With a small smirk set at the corner of his lips, the young boy looked down at his cat and nodded forward. Understanding, she trotted ahead and walked right through. Only him now, the young wizard let out an excited sigh and grabbed his own trolley. Not willing to move at a run, he simply walked into the wall and willed it around him. I am Sherlock Holmes and my superior mind is nothing compared to this wall, and so I shall just walk through. And so he did, his eyes shut. The strange liquid feeling of the brick surrounded him, and then the bustling sounds of children, their parents, various pets, and a whistle of the Hogwarts Express started up. He took a deep breath in and noted the pawing at his leg before letting his eyes flutter back open to take in the familiar sight of Platform 9 and 3/4.
"Sherlock!" Mycroft called demandingly from the steps of the train. The young wizard simply rolled his eyes and knelt down to scoop up his cat, placed her on top of his trunk and rolled the trolley over to have his things loaded inside. Corvino hopped on to his shoulder, claws digging in lightly to his skin, and nuzzled against his cheek. He pulled her down into his arms and scurried on to the train, making way for the compartment furthest back and empty that he could find. He immediately changed into his school uniform and robes, and then flopped down on to the seat, his cat curled up in his lap, and waited for the train to depart, ignoring the annoying noises of other students climbing aboard.
"You'll do great!"
"What if they make fun of me?"
"They won't; I'm here for that."
"Harriet, be nice to your brother!"
John rolled his eyes but a light pink still flushed up on his face. "I am not weird," he argued, resisting the urge to stomp his foot. The barn owl in the cage on his trolley hooted in support, though that just brought an 'I told you so' look to Harry's face and an arched eyebrow. "I'm not weird, I'm special." She let out a scoffing laugh.
"Special? John, you lit a bookshelf on fire with your mind!" Harry exclaimed, deepening the red in John's cheeks. "You are some kind of... magic... thing!"
The young boy had to clench his teeth against the angry tears rising up in his eyes. This wasn't fair. It wasn't his fault, he had just been upset and Harry wouldn't let him out of the headlock. Then, the fire alarms were going off and John was gaping. He'd been staring directly at the shelves, and there had been a strange, burning feeling in his chest, and then a spark had lit and the books had been engulfed in flame. No one had so much as thought it was him until later that evening when an owl flapped in the open kitchen window and dropped a letter addressed to him on their dinner table.
Adrian Watson crouched down and gently put her hands on John's shoulders. "Don't listen to her," she said with a soft smile, ignoring the somewhat disgusted noise Harry made. "You're very special, and this is going to be a big adventure for you, right? You love adventure." John sniffed back the tears and nodded, gripping tighter to the smooth, sturdy, oak wand in his left hand. "And you'll make friends, I'm sure of it. I bet there are some other kids who don't have wizard parents, and you're a very nice boy. You'll have someone to call your best friend in no time."
"Promise?" The young boy asked, his light blue eyes still glistening with the tears that hadn't fallen.
"Promise," his mother repeated, reaching to pat down a tuft of his hair. She dusted off the shoulder of his jumper and pulled him into a tight hug. "Ooh, I'm going to miss you," she said, moving her hand to poke him right where he was ticklish. He laughed and gave her a shove.
"Mum," John protested with a wide smile, leaning away from her. "I'm not a little kid, don't tickle me!" Adrian grinned and fixed his hair again before standing and wrapping an arm around his shoulder.
"Come on, let's get your stuff on the train, yeah?"
"Yeah, alright," he agreed with a more confident air. Harry simply scoffed again and turned around to walk back towards the wall leading off the platform.
"If anyone needs me, I'll be on the other side of the magic brick wall with the remains of everything ordinary!" she called to them, ignoring the pointed looks from other wizards and witches surrounding them.
"She's jealous," Adrian whispered with a playful grin down at John, who allowed himself a pleased moment. Harry was jealous of him for once. It was a nice change of pace.
"Do you think I have to stow away Tegwin?" John asked sadly, reaching his fingers through the bars of the cage to ruffle her feathers. Tegwin hooted appreciatively and nipped at his fingers, drawing out a small giggle from the young wizard.
"I'm not sure," his mother replied, looking around for someone who seemed to know what they were doing. There was a tall boy already dressed out in his robes and uniform with a silver badge on his chest directing students on to the train, so she figured maybe he could help. "Come on, let's ask him, he looks like he knows what's going on." John looked up from his pet at the boy, a blue and bronze tie done up expertly around his neck, and very authoritative and professional looking. The young wizard nodded and pushed his trolley in the direction of him, stopping just before him and piping up.
"'Scuse me," John remarked. Mycroft looked down at the young, sandy haired wizard peering up at him and put on his nicest, welcoming smile.
With a glance up at the woman beside him - same coloured hair, same charming blue eyes (must be his mother) - he cleared his throat and asked, "only wizard in the family?"
Adrian grinned and put a hand on John's shoulder again. "Lucky guess - do we stand out that much?"
"We get a lot of muggle-borns," Mycroft assured. Adrian gave him a confused look and he clarified. "Non-magic families."
"Oh! Of course. Well, John just needs some help loading his things on to the train."
"Absolutely," said the Ravenclaw cheerily. He held a hand down to John. "Mycroft Holmes - Head Boy this year. I'll be patrolling the compartments later if you need anything more." Somewhat hesitant, John lifted his hand to be clasped by the older boy's and smiled apprehensively. A chuckle slipped Mycroft's lips and he gave John a pitying look. "It is a bit nerve-wracking, I'm sure, to come into a world of magic with no prior experience, but I can assure you, you'll fit right in. You may board the train; we'll make sure your things are packed safely away and your pet is stowed comfortably." Mycroft released his hand and moved to push his trolley in another direction, leaving John to say a final good-bye to his mother.
"Be safe, alright?" Adrian requested, crouching down again to meet John's eyes. "Even if you are a wizard, you don't need to be getting into any trouble just because you're away from home." John smiled and held himself tall - despite his short stature.
"I'll be fine," he promised, the corners of his eyes crinkling with his grin. The train whistled again, signaling one minute to departure. "I think I have to go now, though." He wrapped his arms around his mother's neck and held her tightly. "Will you tell Harry I said good-bye?" he asked good-naturedly. Even though his sister had been making fun of him, he hated not being able to see her right before he left.
"I will. I'm sure she'll miss you just as much as I'm going to." She squeezed him endearingly and pulled back. "You'll do great," she said again. "I love you."
"I love you too."
Adrian placed a kiss on John's cheek and gave him a final squeeze before ushering him on to the train. "Good-bye!" she called after him. He waved from the window just as the Hogwarts Express began pulling out, trying to contain the jumble of nerves and excitement swirling around in his stomach. When his mother was finally out of sight and the boy realised he was alone, he blinked and looked around cautiously. There were some children his age, some older, flitting from one compartment to the next and chatting amiably with each other, and John felt terrifyingly alone in that moment. He lifted his wand uncertainly and looked down at it. When it had been handed to him he had been hesitant to take it. The smooth, flawless, wood had intimidated him, knowing that encased in it was magic, seemingly impossible magic contained in a simple crafted piece of wood. After lifting it from the box a misty red coloured cloud had swirled around him like a small cyclone and he had just gawped at it. He had used a magic wand. He, John Watson, had gotten a wand of his own. And now, looking at it, he wasn't so sure anymore. But as he turned it over in his hand a feeling of warmth pooled in his chest and he felt breathless. He stepped forward, still staring down at the slim item, and directly into someone he hadn't seen, striding quickly through the hall.
"Oh, I'm sorry," John said quickly, moving to untangle his legs from the robes of the boy lying next to him.
"Watch where you're walking," he snarled under his breath, pushing unceremoniously to his feet. John caught a glimpse of a pair of shocking blue eyes and a mass of curly hair before the boy was gone in a rush of black fabric, something white and sleek trailing quickly in his wake.
John's mouth was still open slightly as he tried to assess what just happened when he felt a strong hand on his arm, helping him to his feet. "Alright there?" a slightly gruff voice asked. He looked up to see an older boy with a red and gold tie, a badge with a large 'P' on it, and soft eyes looking down on him. "Sorry about him, he's a bit ill-tempered. I'm Greg, Gryffindor Prefect," he explained.
"Who was that?" John questioned, craning his neck to look in the direction the other boy had swanned off in. There was no sight of him.
"Sherlock Holmes," Greg said with a frown.
The last name struck a bell in John's mind. "That other boy out there, the Head Boy, was that his brother?"
"Mycroft? Yeah," the Gryffindor affirmed. "Bit more level-headed than Sherlock. I've only been around him a few times, but he's certainly... something." He pursed his lips and shook his head. "I wouldn't bother too much with him, he doesn't like to deal with other people all that much."
"Right," John said with a nod, finally tearing his eyes off the empty corridor to look up at the Prefect. "Thank you. I'm John. John Watson. What's a Gryffindor?" John tacked on to the end. He had figured out by now that a Head Boy and a Prefect were probably students higher in charge like the teacher's helpers back in his regular school. Greg chuckled quietly and grinned.
"Muggle-born, then, are you? Gryffindor is one of the four Hogwarts Houses," he told John. "Headmaster McGonagall will explain further when we get to the school. In the meantime, you should probably sit down, we've got a long ride." The younger wizard nodded gratefully and straightened out his jumper.
"Right, thank you," he repeated, smiling up at the prefect. He nervously strode off down the hall, avoiding the gazes of those around him and wishing that he had Harry to help him out. He never really went anywhere on his own - he always followed after his sister, and his father when he was still alive. Now he was alone again, wand held tightly in his left hand, and he found himself stepping into a compartment that looked generally empty. When he stepped in, though, his eyes fell on a slim, dark and curly haired boy sitting on the corner of the seat near the window.
"Oh, sorry, I'll-" he cut off when he realised who it was. "Oh. You know, you could have let me apologise earlier," he said adamantly. The boy - Sherlock, had Greg said? - gave a small huff and crossed his arms, before turning to meet John's eyes with two piercing green ones. Hadn't they been blue just minutes ago? He shook himself and forced himself to keep his eyes locked on Sherlock's.
"You could have payed closer attention when walking rather than gawping at your wand and strolling absently into the corridor," Sherlock replied smoothly, arching a defiant brow. He gave John a once-over before adding, "muggle-born, are you? Figures. No wondering you were staring at the thing like it shouldn't exist." John furrowed his brow in confusion and felt suddenly like muggle-born was an insult rather than a simple recognition of him being the first wizard in his family.
"What's wrong with that?" he asked, straightening up to make himself seem taller than he actually was. "So everything's a bit new to me, that doesn't mean you have to be-"
"Nothing wrong with it," Sherlock said, slightly louder than John, effectively cutting him off. "I'm simply observing the fact. Are you going to stand there in the doorway the entire time or are you going to sit down?" He gestured lazily to the bench across from him and pulled his legs up to his chest, his skinny arms moving to wrap loosely around the lanky appendages. John wavered, unsure of whether or not he wanted to be around this rude boy, but figured that since he was the only one who had (sort of) asked him to join them, he had nearly nothing to lose. He stepped forward apprehensively and sat himself in the centre of the seat facing Sherlock.
There was a somewhat tense silence as the two looked around the compartment, not saying anything and not meeting each other's eyes. Eventually, John cleared his throat and his gaze, having finally run out of things to observe absentmindedly, fell on the boy in front of him. He had sharp features; high cheekbones and piercing irises, suddenly grey - and yet John had sworn just minutes ago they were green. He shook the thought and decided the light must have been tricking him. The colour of Sherlock's pallor was near frightening; pale to an almost sickly complexion, as though the boy were of a ghostly descent, and the curls that lay in a tousled mass just falling over his forehead were shockingly dark compared to it. He reminded John of the vampires out of stories his dad used to tell him, and he suddenly had a strong urge to get a look at his teeth; if wizards could exist, couldn't vampires?
"Alright?" Sherlock asked with a cocked brow, shocking John out of his thought and causing an embarrassed blush to crawl up his neck.
"F-fine," he sputtered quickly, diverting his gawking stare to the floor. "Fine." His grip tightened momentarily around his wand before relaxing entirely and allowing his eyes to flick back up to Sherlock, who was looking at him pointedly with his head tilted slightly. John's eyes quickly returned to his feet and he distantly heard the compartment door open.
"Sherlock, I- Oh, hello, John," Mycroft said, pausing in the doorway with a soft smile on his face. John looked up, glad to see someone vaguely familiar, remembering that Greg had confirmed these two were brothers. Looking between the two, the young wizard couldn't really see it - Sherlock looked extremely sculpted, his hair dark and skin like ice, whilst Mycroft looked positively ordinary; reddish-brown hair that lay flat on his head and human skin tones, his features more... soft, in a way. "Anyway, Sherlock, mummy sent an owl, and it arrived just a few minutes ago. She said that she and father are terribly sorry they couldn't be here to send you off and they're going to be around for the Christmas holiday."
Sherlock sneered in the direction of his brother and opened his mouth to speak, but when he did, John couldn't understand him. He finally figured out that the boy was speaking in French of all things. From Mycroft's reaction, it wasn't particularly appropriate, either. Taken aback and somewhat angry, Mycroft snapped something back at his brother before giving John an apologetic look and shutting the compartment door.
"What was that?" he questioned, brow furrowed as he turned back to Sherlock.
"Don't you think if I wanted you to know, I would have spoken in English?" the wizard asked, accent back to normal, not a lick of French leftover.
"Oh. Right," John mumbled, leaning against the compartment wall and trying not to feel too much like an idiot. It had been a somewhat stupid inquiry; of course Sherlock hadn't wanted him to know - why else would he have turned to a language he was probably sure that John didn't know? He tried not to dwell on it too much, turning his attention, instead, to a small creature that had pounced on to the cushioned seat beside him. A small cat, rather young, with the same piercing eyes that Sherlock had. He tentatively held a hand out for her to sniff and nuzzle at, which she gladly accepted, nipping softly at his end finger and purring. Sherlock's brow raised, seemingly impressed.
"Interesting," he murmured.
"What is?" John asked, eyeing him through his peripherals.
"She doesn't like many people," the young wizard explained. "She doesn't even like 'Croft. Just me and my mother." The kitten gave a mew that contradicted Sherlock's statement and crawled into John's lap, where she pushed up to her hindlegs and put her little front paws on John's chest. A smile broke out across his face and he petted her happily while she leant up to nuzzle his nose. Sherlock simply watched with a raised brow.
"What's her name?" John inquired absentmindedly, scratching behind her ear.
"Corvino," Sherlock announced. The young wizard across from him gave him a questioning look and he added, "Italian, for Raven."
"Oh. Why Raven?"
"Well, I have a general idea of the house I'm going to end up in. And I like the way it sounds, even if I don't get what I want." John furrowed his brow again at the mention of the houses, but didn't ask in an attempt to keep himself from looking stupid further. He instead nodded like he knew what Sherlock was talking about.
"But, why Italian? Weren't you just speaking in French?" he asked instead.
"I like the way the Italian version sounds more," Sherlock conveyed with a shrug. "I know five languages. Currently learning a sixth."
John's mouth fell open for a moment with awe, before he quickly snapped it shut out of politeness. "Five?" he questioned with astonishment. "English, French, Italian and... what?"
"Spanish and Portugeuse." A proud smirk settled on the corner of the young wizard's lips and he let his feet fall off the seat and rest on the floor, figuring that if his cat liked John well enough he could be comfortable around him. "And right now I'm studying Dutch."
"But what do you need to speak all those languages for?"
"I like to know things," Sherlock informed him with another shrug.
"That's amazing," John said with a smile, his eyes flicking up to meet Sherlock's.
"...Really?" the young wizard asked. "Thank you."
"Of course!" John divulged. "Do other people not think it's amazing?"
"Well, people at my old school normally just called me an annoying know-it-all and-" Sherlock stopped abruptly and looked away. "I wasn't well liked," he added simply.
"Oh. Well, I like you, even if you ran off without letting me apologise earlier," the sandy-haired boy informed him with another smile. Sherlock looked back at John apprehensively. No, he meant it, he really did. It was evident with the small smile on his face.
"Thank you," he repeated softly.
John nodded and leant up slightly to look out the window. "How long, do you think, before we get there?" he asked.
Sherlock leant over as well to regard the surroundings outside the train. "Haven't been going very long," he observed. "Probably still another good six hours."
John groaned. "What are we supposed to do on a train for six hours?" he whined.
"Magic, I'm guessing," Sherlock mused with a smirk.
"I don't know any," the young wizard mumbled, turning his attention to Corvino, now sleeping in his lap.
"Well, I know something," Sherlock said happily. "And I think it'll bring you right out of your strop." John raised a brow as he reached into his sleeve and pulled out his wand. His eyes widened at the sight of it.
"That's a wand?" he asked, shocked. It was twisted and spindly and bent in strange places, though he admitted it quite matched the image of the boy in front of him.
Sherlock ignored John and pushed to his feet. "Come with me," he ordered, Corvino having already hopped off of John's lap in anticipation of following her master. John apprehensively stood and leant to the side to peer past Sherlock. Mycroft was in the corridor around ten compartments down, avidly chatting with someone about god knows what. "Watch this," Sherlock mumbled with a grin. "Incarcerous."
Before John knew what was happening, the Head Boy had given a small shout of surprise and was, within seconds, bound entirely by ropes to the handle of a compartment door. The young wizard was torn between awe at the act of magic and trying not to laugh too loudly as Sherlock pushed him back into the compartment. "That was brilliant!" he exclaimed through giggles. Sherlock's smile widened and he opened his mouth to reply but was interrupted by the compartment door sliding open. Mycroft stepped in, obviously fuming, and shut it loudly behind him.
"Sherlock Holmes!" he growled, "If I knew what house you were going to be in I'd deduct two hundred points from it!" Sherlock was still grinning widely, his arms crossed with an accomplished air about him. "You are not supposed to do magic on the train, and that certainly includes tying up the Head Boy!"
"I found it rather entertaining," Sherlock countered simply, smirking up at his brother.
"It doesn't matter that you found it entertaining! It is against the rules, and I won't have it!"
"It's not his fault," John interrupted with a sheepish smile. "We were just talking about magic, and how I didn't know some and I... I asked him to show me something." He straightened his back and pursed his lips with the bluff to make himself look assuring.
Mycroft looked him over with disbelief for a moment before continuing. "Even if you did, Mr. Watson, he had no right to tie me up like he did. He could have done a more simple charm."
"That wouldn't have been as funny," Sherlock said with a roll of his eyes.
"You aren't really helping yourself much, are you?" John questioned, giving the wizard a pointed look. Mycroft huffed and straightened out his tie, then glanced from his brother to John and back.
"Don't do it again," he warned, turning on his heel and slipping out of the compartment. Sherlock grinned, rather pleased with himself, and flopped back down on to the bench.
"You're a bit mad, aren't you?" John questioned with a small smile.
"Just trying to entertain us," Sherlock excused, welcoming Corvino as she hopped up on to his lap.
"It was brilliant," John repeated with a wider grin. Sherlock returned the smile and thought that, out of everyone on the train, this John boy wasn't so terrible.