Chapter 1: Oak, Birch, and the Very First 1st
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.
Chapter 2: Was I Just Violated by a Ghost?
Settling into life at Hogwarts is rather befuddling, and John discovers why Sherlock wasn't too well liked at his old school.
I am so sorry about how long this has taken. I am terrible. I procrastinated doing things I enjoy. Tumblr has taken over my mind.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Oh my god," John breathed, eyes wide and glistening with wonder. He had expected a school. This was something entirely different. This was a castle; a full blown, towers-and-bridges-and-a-lake castle. His mouth gaped as he stared, frozen in place with awe.
The rest of the train ride had been rather mundane; Sherlock had told John a few things about wizarding families and put on a few more shows of magic (thankfully not attracting the attention of Mycroft), and John had told him about how he'd found out he was a wizard. He'd been awarded with a laugh from Sherlock, which made him happy, for whatever reason. The dark haired boy didn't seem like one who would laugh all that often. About thirty minutes before they arrived, Mycroft had stepped in and informed John that he should change. Now all the First Years were standing in a bunched group and John felt smaller than usual, but he couldn't be bothered with it for the sight in front of him.
A large (and when he said large, he meant large) man with wild hair was ushering the children forward to a series of boats, and by a bout of unfortunate luck John had been separated from his new companion. He ended up paired with two girls; a shy one with long brown hair who introduced herself as Molly, and the other was Irene, who looked sly and a bit untrustworthy with black hair held in a french braid down the right side of her head. She watched with interest as John and Molly chatted a bit, but didn't say a word herself, which worried him slightly. Molly was nice enough, and rather bubbly once she got talking. Her dad was a wizard, but not her mum, and she had an older brother, Jake, in 'Hufflepuff' (which she then explained was one of the houses). John smiled and asked simple questions to keep the conversation running until the boats docked on the opposite side of the lake and he stumbled out, nearly trembling with excitement. He waved a simple good-bye to Molly and Irene, who paired off and began talking cheerily with each other, and looked around for Sherlock. He wasn't all that hard to spot with the bright white kitting darting around between his feet, so he scrambled hurriedly to reach the boy.
"This is amazing!" he exclaimed once by Sherlock's side. The taller boy smirked down at John, almost condescendingly, and nodded in agreement.
"Wait until you see inside," he said with a teasing raised brow. John grinned and pulled his robes tighter around him, the hem being slightly too long so that he almost tripped over it, to shield himself from the chilled evening air.
The trek inside wasn't long, especially with the excitement of all the children, and as they stepped into the corridor there was a collaborative audible gasp of awe. The ceiling stretched high above, and though he knew it was impossible, John vaguely wondered if it actually touched the sky. It was full of warm, glowing orange light which was quickly identified as fire from torches bolted to the stone walls. He could hear loud sounds of a large group of people chatting just down the corridor aways, through an equally high-lifted, huge archway. At closer glance, John could see an impossible amount of staircases, and as he tried to follow them upward, one set moved. A wide grin broke out on the small boy's face with amazement at everything around him - magic. It was all real, the silly little stories his parents had told him when he was really litte of wizards and dragons and knights were all real, and it was shocking.
"Gather 'round!" A firm voice called. John pulled his eyes away from a painting - the pictures moved, too! - and set eyes on a very strict-looking witch with her grey hair up in a bun and square glasses framing her sharp eyes. He immediately held himself higher - a form of respect, like he did for his dad whenever he had been back from Afghanistan - and gave the woman his full attention. "I'm Professor McGonagall," she explained, stopping before the bunch of First Years and looking them over. "We're about to enter the Great Hall where you'll be sorted into your houses - Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. While at Hogwarts, your house will be like your family; you can earn points for academic achievements and they can be taken away for misbehavings." John recalled now what Mycroft had said to his brother - I would take away two hundred points! It made a lot more sense now. "Line up, single file if you will, and follow me."
There was a shuffling of feet and rustling of robes and John found himself pressed in line between Sherlock and someone he hadn't yet spoken to, and then they were moving forward, stone castle walls floating by and firelight flickering off the floor around them. As they stepped in, between two tables filled with students wearing the same black robes and school uniforms, the room positively buzzed with a flurry of excitement and anxiousness from the group of First Years. He drank in their surroundings, the flickering firelight from the candles above them - floating candles, of all things! - and the large table up front with who John figured must be the professors. The ceiling was dark and littered with stars and misty clouds, and John wondered for a moment if maybe it were completely open.
"Sherlock, is the ceil-"
"Just a reflection," Sherlock affirmed with a smirk, though even the excitement in his tone was undeniable. John grinned widely, even as he stumbled over his robes and bumped into the other wizard's back. The First Years jumbled together in front of all the house tables and Professor McGonagall stepped up to a large pedestal and pulled out from behind it two things; a wooden three legged stool and a tattered hat that looked like it may fall apart if someone tried to wear it. There were patch repairs made in multiple places on it and a long stich above the brim that looked scarily like a smile. McGonagall brought the stool out in front of all the First Years and set the hat down, then took a step back. She looked at it expectantly, as did all the students in the Hall, but John couldn't figure out what, exactly, they were waiting for. It became apparent to him when the large stitch that looked like a mouth did, in fact, turn out to be one, and a rough, singing voice flowed from it.
"As we sit in this Great Hall,
I welcome new, but welcome all,
Something now, a tale I tell,
Shall meet your ears, with hope to quell,
Any questions you may hold,
If I do dare to be so bold,
I'll speak it now, but do be-ware,
It really was a great affair.
Some years ago, a wondrous hero,
Much too humble to call himself so,
Defeated a man of the greatest evil,
But left our school in terrible crumbles,
Now, today, we stand inside,
Our reconstructed school with pride,
And soon the sorting shall begin,
To reveal where you belong within;
A Gryffindor, our hero was,
But then, we do all have our flaws,
There have been Gryffindors gone to bad,
But that's not all there is to be had,
Ravenclaws, a smart bunch you are,
You make a change and set the bar,
But even so, there have been those,
Stupid, witless, behind your doors,
Hufflepuffs, the loyal and shy,
There've been a few brave enough to fly,
And Slytherins, the lot of you,
There seems to be only a few,
But there have been some kindly ones,
And here, one teaches you of cauldrons,
So, don't be labeled by your peers,
Your house does not define your career,
Stay true to heart,
and we shall start,
This lovely Hogwarts year."
There was a moment of silence as the last word rang throughout the Hall before the entire population of Hogwarts burst into applause and cheers. A singing hat. A singing. Hat. Everything was just further awe-inspiring to John as he clapped, stunned still with his mouth slightly open in a smile of pure elation. When the noise had died down with a bit of help from Professor McGonagall, a roll of parchment was pulled from the inside of her cloak and she cleared her throat.
"When I call your name, please step forward and take a seat. The Sorting Hat will do the rest," she explained, lifting the tattered thing - smiling wide, now - and unrolling the parchment. "Irene Adler!"
The girl John had been sitting in the boat with strolled forward confidently, the sway of her hips seeming a bit too scandelous for someone of just eleven years old. She hopped on to the stool and crossed her legs as the Sorting Hat was settled on her head, falling over her eyes just the slightest. There was a quiet throughout the room as everyone waited with anticipation. Just a few seconds later, the hat shouted out, "RAVENCLAW!" and Irene slid off the stool, McGonagall having lifted the hat back up and sent her on her way. The table of students cheering must have been the Ravenclaws, John figured, with their blue and bronze ties. An older girl with the same black hair tied up in a sleek ponytail greeted Irene with a smile and a quick hug and they sat down together as the clapping and hooting died down. Three more students stepped up, a Hufflepuff and two Gryffindors, before John heard a name he recognised.
"Sherlock Holmes!" The young wizard with his bright eyes snapped his attention up from the floor and stepped forward, Corvino trotting close behind and circling protectively around the stool once her owner had taken his seat.
"A second Holmes?" The Hat questioned in his ear. "Your brother has done rather well hasn't he?"
"I couldn't care less about my brother's accomplishments at the moment," Sherlock drawled in a bored voice. There were a few murmurs in the crowd wondering why the boy was speaking aloud rather than keeping his conversation with the Hat private.
"You'll be a difficult one," the Hat continued, silent to all others. "Don't you mind what they're told about you?"
"I can't see why I should. Their opinions mean nothing to me in the fact that they may see me but what they observe is most likely not true."
"So then, Mr. Holmes, where do you think you belong?"
"You're contemplating Slytherin," Sherlock concluded, absentmindedly picking a tuft of something off his trouser leg. "Understandable."
"It's clear by the fact that I couldn't care less about what people think of me; I hold myself in higher regards than most people around me. You see that."
"Yes, I do," the Hat agreed. "But why do you think you don't belong there? What appeal does Ravenclaw hold for you?"
"We're both aware I'm a proper genius," the young wizard mused, "and that the other children in the house are generally more intelligent. More tolerable, at least, than the oafs in Slytherin."
"Mr. Holmes!" McGonagall reprimanded in a hushed tone.
There was a rustling at the table on the end furthest from where John was standing, Slytherin House he figured, and quite a few of the students held aggravated expressions. John was actually a bit irked, too. Sherlock was certainly being rather rude, especially when he could be going over all this a bit more quietly, and the disapproving look on Professor McGonagall's face proved that this was certainly not normal nor acceptable.
"So that would be your preference?" the Hat asked after a moment.
"I think you know where I belong."
"Right, then. Better be RAVENCLAW!"
The Hat shouted the last word aloud and it rang in the room as though it were empty; not dampened, not cut off by applause. There was no applause. Not this round. Sherlock didn't seem to care, at least. He simply pulled the hat off of his messy hair, leaving it on the stool, and strode silently in the direction of the Ravenclaw table, his curious cat glaring at everyone who looked as though they might punch the boy. He slid on to the bench at the end of the table and made it obvious he didn't care to converse with anyone; though none of his peers wanted to anyhow. McGonagall cleared her throat to break the awkward silence and called out, "Molly Hooper!"
Molly, still quite taken aback from Sherlock's little performance, didn't move forward at first. She figured it out after a few seconds, though, and stumbled forward, her cheeks blushing a light red. She sat fidgeting on the stool as the hat slipped over her eyes. It was on for what seemed to be less than a second before it shouted out, "HUFFLEPUFF!" The table started clapping enthusiastically, Sherlock's sorting already being passed off and forgotten in favour of welcoming the newest Hufflepuff student to her house. After Molly went a skittish-looking boy named Henry Knight (Gryffindor), and then the first new Slytherin; a boy named Scorpius Malfoy. He had an unpleasant air to him, like everyone around him was filthier than the underside of his shoe. Nonetheless, he got a more hearty cheer than anyone had yet. Following right after him into Slytherin were two boys; a dark haired, somewhat pleasant seeming one named Jim, and Sebastian, who reminded John of the bullies back at his old school. Taller than he should have been for his age with blond hair and stern eyes; he also held the impression of being a great deal stronger than most. Then came a sweet, shy girl named Mary Morstan (Gryffindor) who smiled at John as she passed.
"Albus Potter!" Professor McGonagall called out next. A proud smile spread over her face as the room fell silent. This was a different silence than the other students had received; this was an anticipating, excited, respectful silence. John pushed up on his tip-toes to get a better look at the boy. The professors were all smiling with a nostalgic look in their eyes at him, and the other students in the room were all craning their necks to get a good view of him. With a nervous grin up at the headmaster, Albus sat himself on the stool and the Hat was placed on his head. He seemed to be muttering under his breath - conversing with the Hat, John realised - with a hopeful expression. A few more seconds passed before the Hat shouted out "GRYFFINDOR!" and the room was bursting with sound. Even Slytherin table, it seemed, was shouting particularly loudly for someone not brought into their house. A girl with nearly alarming coloured orange hair was holding a thumbs-up to Albus with a large grin on her face.
"Who was he?" John asked apprehensively. The girl looked him over a moment before giving him a friendly smile.
"That's Albus," she informed him. "His dad was the 'great hero' the Sorting Hat sang about."
"It said he defeated a man of the greatest evil," he said uncertainly. "What did it mean?"
"Well, there was a man named Voldemort, a really evil wizard. He killed for fun and had followers that would act on his whim," she explained matter-of-factly. "But Harry - Albus's dad - defeated him. Voldemort tried to kill him when he was a baby but he couldn't. I think my mum said it was because of love, but it doesn't make much sense to me." She shrugged it off.
John's eyes grew wide with the short tale. He shouldn't have been surprised as he was - after all, wizards were just people capable of using magic. It didn't mean they were any different in personality than regular people, which meant of course there would be evil and good in their world.
"That's mad," he mumbled, astonished.
"It's all history now," she replied. She held her hand out to the short boy and smiled that soft smile again. "Rose Weasley, and you are?"
"John Watson," John returned, reaching out to shake her hand in a friendly fashion.
"Nice to meet you. Oh, we better be quiet, the next one is up." Another boy, Carl Powers, strode to the stool and was sorted into Hufflepuff. Following him was a girl named Sarah who was sorted into Ravenclaw, and a stout boy named Mike who got sorted into Gryffindor.
"John Watson!" Professor McGonnagal announced next. A mix of excitement and nervousness wound itself in John's chest and he could feel the warmth rush up to his cheeks and ears. He stepped forward, holding himself straight and confident, and sat down on the stool. With the Hat placed on his head (and falling over his eyes) he swallowed hard and waited.
"You're a new one, aren't you?" the Hat pondered in his ear. John's breath caught for a moment. "Where should we put you? Eager to learn, yes, and brave, coming into this new world of magic and mysteries." The young boy swallowed hard and nodded in slight, causing the hat to fall even further on to his face. "Oh, did you want to be a soldier like your father?"
"I still do," John mumbled at the Hat. "Because I need to finish what he started and make him proud." A lump formed in his throat and he took a deep breath to push away the feeling of brimming tears.
"I think, then, that I have your house, young John," it assured him. "You'd best be in GRYFFINDOR!"
As the cheering started up from the far right table of the room John heaved a sigh of relief and let a grin spread over his face. McGonagall pulled the hat off of his head and he stumbled off the stool in the direction the other Gryffindors had gone. The Prefect he met on the train, Greg, clapped him on the back and congratulated him, then offered him a seat. Already feeling extremely welcome, John nodded eagerly and plopped down next to him to watch the remaining student, Rose, get sorted into Gryffindor as well. She strode over to Albus with a large smile and immediately resumed conversing with him and a boy that looked like he must be his brother.
McGonagall picked the stool up and brought it back behind the podium, then called for attention.
"Now that the houses have welcomed their newest students, there are a few things that need to be reviewed," she informed them. She explained the fact that no one was to roam the corridors after nine - ten for the Prefects and Head Students - and that the forest at the edge of the grounds was forbidden and no one was to saunter off and sneak in. "Alright - the feast can begin!" She waved a hand from left to right and there were a series of mingled gasps and grins as goblets and heaping plates of food appeared. John's eyes widened and he thought that he really, truly, had never seen so much food. He followed the actions of others and grabbed a piece of chicken and a spoonful of potatoes. The young Gryffindor was never one to take more than he was sure he could eat so when he did finish that, he tried something more. Greg asked him about his life at home and John asked him about the kinds of things they did at school and the apprehensive feeling in his chest was replaced by something excited and warm.
"Aren't you going to eat something?"
Sherlock snapped his gaze up from the table to search around for the source of the voice. Ah. Irene, of course. She hadn't stopped eyeing him since they stepped in the building, and frankly it was rather distracting to have someone stare at you so intently over such an amount of time.
"Not hungry," he replied simply with a bored tone. Irene canted her head slightly and looked him over.
"You should still eat," she said with a shrug.
"What would be the point of eating if I'm not hungry?" Sherlock questioned irritably. "That would be stupid."
"Just because you don't feel hungry doesn't mean your body doesn't need the food." Irene shrugged again and took a bite of her pumpkin pastie. "That's what my dad says, at least. He's a doctor."
After a moment, Sherlock gave a quiet huff and reached out to take a roll of bread. He tore it in half and started ripping small pieces off of it, putting one in his mouth every now and again.
"Do you really think all the Slytherins are idiots?" she questioned after a few beats of silence.
"Most of them," he agreed.
"Because they are," he practically sighed. "You ask an awful lot of questions."
Irene smiled a sly grin. "I'm a curious girl."
Sherlock eyed her for a moment and opened his mouth to speak but was cut off by a painful grip at his shoulder turning him in his seat. "Ow! What the - "
"I cannot believe you!" Mycroft hissed. "I am so completely disappointed!"
"Not disappointed enough, apparently, to wait until after you ate to admonish me," Sherlock muttered angrily, pushing at his brother's arm.
The elder Holmes ignored him. "Why on earth would you go and embarrass our family like that when you could have so easily kept your thoughts to yourself?"
"I was pre-empting any opinions to be formed about me!" Sherlock rebutted, trying to pull away Mycroft's hand.
"With a new opinion that you're a stuck-up braggart?!"
"I'd rather they think me a prat than a freak!" The younger Holmes finally managed to wriggle free of his brother's grasp and blinked hard against the angry tears in his eyes. "I've let them form an opinion I'd prefer, so you can keep your fat arse out of it!" He stormed around Mycroft and fled to the corridor, leaning back against the wall and sliding to the floor. Corvino had hopped up immediately and hissed at Mycroft before trotting after her owner.
The elder Holmes rubbed a hand against his forehead and stared down at the floor wearily.
"Why would people think he's a freak?" Irene asked him.
Mycroft looked over at her with a small frown and replied, "because he's much smarter than anyone here. You'll find out soon enough." He sighed and turned in the direction of the corridor, striding quickly to make sure his brother didn't end up in trouble somewhere else in the castle. He rounded the corner and started to call Sherlock's name, but he quickly located him, sitting on the floor and petting his cat.
"'Am an idiot' had better be the remainder of that sentence," Sherlock grumbled. He didn't look up at Mycroft, just glared at the far wall opposite them.
Mycroft frowned and crouched down, then sat on his knees. "You cannot simply assume that everyone here will think you're a freak."
"Everyone else has. What's to say this school will be any different?"
"It's a different type of school. You'll be learning magic here, you won't be doing something simple like maths or English, where it's so much easier for you to show off."
"If I'm advanced in mind, it doesn't really matter what subject I'm leaning, does it?" Sherlock snapped. "It's going to be the same all over. I'll be past proficient and people will make fun of me." He curled his arms around his legs and hugged them tightly to his chest, still staring at the wall. "It never changes."
Mycroft ignored the aching sorry feeling in his chest and took a deep breath. "You shouldn't let them get to you," he said. "Your intelligence is a gift."
"Ruddy horrible gift, it seems. It's better now, they'll all just be leaving me alone. They won't want to be around me - can't you just let me be?" Sherlock finally turned his gaze from the wall to glare piercingly at his brother with shockingly light eyes. The grey colour of his irises was a near white.
Mycroft sighed and stood, brushing off his robes. "This discussion isn't over," he said firmly. "Dinner is over in five minutes. Don't get caught up in the crowd when everyone starts to come out. And please make an attempt to behave." Mycroft gave Sherlock one final sad look before heading back into the Great Hall, leaving his brother alone.
Sherlock rested his chin on his knees and shut his eyes. He truly did think it was the smartest thing to do - to cut off opinions with one he found more bearable, to form an image of himself, seemed extremely intelligent of him.
He didn't understand why so many of his peers thought him odd. Strange, weird, creepy - a freak, because he could notice things they could not. He had attempted to explain multiple times that it was easy if you just observed - but he had been shoved off and ridiculed. So many people admired his brother for his intelligence and charm. Sherlock, of course, found he lacked that helpful social skill; or any, at all, quite truly. Everyone was so dull, so plain, so loud and obnoxious or too quiet and stuttery. There was something about anyone Sherlock came across that annoyed him to no end. Why even bother to care what people thought about him? He was going to have nothing to do with them in any case.
Corvino nudged her nose up against his side and gave a small mewl that almost sounded concerned. Sherlock absentmindedly scratched her head and sighed. He felt exhausted.
John decided that his first fifteen minutes at Hogwarts were probably the best of his life that he'd yet experienced.
His house members were quick to assure him that there were a lot of muggle-born students in the school and that he would be quick to pick things up. Greg and Sallly (both fifth years and Prefects) told him about some of the subjects he'd be learning in his first year. He - like most other first years - was already fawning over the idea of Defense Against the Dark Arts classes. The food was amazing - the dessert was even better. His housemates were friendly and told stories of the day they found out they were wizards (and they laughed when he told them his). In the back of his mind, he wished Harry was there to share it with him, but he was also glad he had something of his own. And he'd have things to tell her when he got back home.
While he was listening to Greg explain Quidditch (flying brooms!) he caught a glimpse of Sherlock fleeing the room looking upset, and Mycroft following after moments later.
He didn't want to be curious about Sherlock. Not after the rude display he put up on both the train and in front of the entire school - but he was. He wanted to know why he was being so rude. He had seemed nice enough after, showing John magic and laughing with him, but then he had gone back to acting like when he first ran into him.
" - John?"
The Gryffindor snapped back to attention when he heard his name. "Hmm? Oh! Oh, no it sounds great," he said quickly, nodding his head with what he hoped was an excited smile. He still felt quite ecstatic, so it wasn't all too hard to fake. "I can't wait to see!"
"Well, maybe you could try out next year," Greg said, returning his smile. "And you're always welcome to come and see our practises."
"I look forward to it," John assured him. He started talking about how his father was a keeper, too, when he was at Hogwarts, and most of John's thoughts about Sherlock left his mind.
Not too long later, Professor McGonagall's voice sounded from the front of the Great Hall. "Attention!" she called, stepping forward and in front of the podium. "Attention!" The room quieted and heads turned to regard her, awaiting announcements.
"Thank you," she said with a short smile. She waved her hand and plates, goblets, and platters cleared from the tables. "Prefects will lead their houses to their respective common rooms and prepare for lights out, Head Students will proceed to patrol the corridors." A warm grin crossed her expression and she finished with, "Welcome back."
There were a few cheers amongst the commotion as everyone began moving, along with shouts of, "Slytherin First Years, follow me!" and "Hufflepuffs, this way!" John found that he was more than ready to fall into bed and sleep, though he was also coiled with anticipation for the next day. He stood and started moving alongside his bustling housemates, finally having a moment to take everything in.
It was, truly, unbelievable. He was about to have one of the best experiences of his life. To see, perform, magic - something he didn't think existed just a few months ago. The entire idea was more than extraordinary, and now that it was happening, it left him breathless.
As they ascended a staircase - one that was okay enough with their presence to remain still as they walked - a few high shrieks echoed around them. John turned his head just in time to see a squat little man fly past them, cackling.
There were a few, angry calls of "PEEVES!", but that only seemed to raise the volume of the man's laughter.
"That was Peeves," Sally explained when they reached the top of the staircase. "He's the poltergeist, and a highly annoying one. If you come across him, shout for the Bloody Baron, Slytherin's House Ghost. For whatever reason, he's the only one that knows how to handle Peeves." Murmurs of half-minded agreement buzzed throughout the group and they continued walking. The people in the picture frames that heavily lined the walls were waving and chatting with both students and each other, smiling and laughing like they were real. John wondered if maybe they were, once. He was getting to be too tired to care much right then. Suits of armour gave creaky salutes every now and then, nodding their heads and shifting as though they were uncomfortable.
John caught his first glimpse of a ghost right before it walked into him. Or, rather, through him. It was alarming at first, but after it was mostly extremely unpleasant. A wave of ice cold flooded him and he felt somewhat nauseated and dizzy. He stumbled forward and stopped in his tracks to catch his breath.
"John, are you alright?" The inquiry came from the stout boy, Mike, who had sat next to him at dinner.
"I don't know," John said, swallowing hard. "I think I was just violated by a ghost."
His housemates were quiet for a moment before half-stifled laughted broke out among them. "Oh, very funny, you go and try it!" John exclaimed, trying to keep his smile from forming. He gave a small shove at Mike, who grinned and gave a friendly slap to his back.
Sherlock had to move in order to keep from getting trampled. He found that getting out of the way, though, was almost impossible. The population of Hogwarts seemed much greater when it was clumped into one corridor, rather than spread out across the Great Hall. He had to force his way through, Corvino held close in his arms, until he found refuge under a staircase, out of the way of everyone. Corvino clawed at his arm and he let her down, though all she did was skitter around and hide behind his legs.
One of Sherlock's favourite things to do, because he despised being in the crowd, was simply people-watching. How they interacted, how their facial expressions so loudly expressed the type of conversation they were having; their body language, hand gestures, the expressions of the people listening to them. They were all contributing factors in deductions - things he could see in moments, though they were a bit incomplete. Nothing like Mycroft's, not yet. He didn't have enough experience. So he kept observing.
Upon hearing the high pitched screams reverberating around him, Sherlock poked his head out to risk a glance. It wasn't long before he saw Mycroft and the Head Girl racing past and after Peeves. He had to hold down a laugh.
He pulled back behind the staircase and sat, cross-legged, on the stone floor. Corvino crawled into his lap and curled up, and he gently stroked her fur. He had a feeling she was going to be his only companion throughout this entire experience. The boy from the train, John, flickered in his thoughts but he passed it off quickly. All he had learnt was that Sherlock had a knack for languages. He hadn't near experienced anything he could truly do, and he had just witnessed him acting like a complete prick in front of everyone. So, no. Of course not.
The corridors began to quiet quickly as students found their common rooms, and now that it was less crowded, Sherlock extracted his cat from his legs and stood, poking his head around the corner before strolling forward and looking around curiously. The school looked just as Mycroft had described it, if not a bit disorienting - with the moving staircases and spectres floating around every now and again the entire experience was partially dizzying.
He began walking slowly, careful not to let his steps echo off the stone floor. He figured it would be about five minutes until Mycroft or his counterpart showed back up to scold him, so he made the best of his time and began searching.
From what he could see, there were no hidden passageways nearby. He had overheard Mycroft complaining one year about catching a student trying to sneak off grounds by using a secret passageway, and after hearing this, Sherlock had decided he would find them. How else, after all, would he be able to go off like he so enjoyed? And if he was going to be learning about potions, which seemed to simply be magic chemistry, then he'd need to gather proper ingredients. Tiptoeing around the grounds would become a regular activity, he already knew it. But, he also knew that if he played his cards right, it could be simple.
He was about to turn a corner and endeavor down a new hallway when he heard a strained hiss that could only be Mycroft come from behind him.
"Sherlock Holmes!" he whispered furiously. "What on earth are you doing out here?!"
"I was curious," Sherlock replied with a shrug.
The Head Boy took a deep breath and grit his teeth. "Come. Common room. Now."
Sherlock crossed his arms adamantly. "I want to look around."
The younger Holmes heaved a great sigh. "Fine," he spat. Mycroft huffed, half in relief and half in annoyance, and waved an arm in the direction of the stairs. Sherlock strode forward but kept close enough that his brother could guide him to their house.
When they arrived, Mycroft escorted Sherlock inside and made sure he went to the First Year dorm before leaving to finish his patrol.
"Oi, where've you been?" one of the First Years asked as Sherlock stripped of his robes. "You were supposed to be here twenty minutes ago!"
Sherlock rolled his eyes and flopped on to his bed fully clothed. "Mind your own business," he muttered bitterly, curling his legs up against his chest and burying his face in his pillow. Corvino hopped up on to the bed and settled herself near the end.
He could almost see his dorm mates exchanging glances. 'What's his problem? He's worse than I thought. What a jerk.'
Sherlock shut his eyes and forced himself asleep.
"Tomorrow at breakfast, you'll get your schedules," Greg had explained in the common room. John's eyes had widened yet again at another fantastic sight - cush chairs and a fireplace, tables and bookshelves and areas to lounge and chat or read and relax. All but the First Years had gone straight to bed, leaving the space looking empty, but still warm. "All the Gryffindor first years have lessons together, but you'll be doubled up with another house for classes like potions and herbology. Your professors will be easy on you if you're late the first few days, but try not to get lost too often. Alright. Up to bed, then."
He'd directed the girls toward their dorm and then brought the boys to theirs before bading a final good-night.
"What do you think the lessons will be like?" a boy who'd introduced himself as Oregon inquired.
"Magic?" John had jested with a grin, toeing off his shoes.
"Oh, come on," Oregon laughed. "No, I mean really. Do you think it'll be hard?"
John sat down on his bed, peering through the window that looked over the moonlit grounds. "I think it'll be fantastic."
Oh, god, I am having too much fun writing this. I've never written a song before! And I had a tough time with some of the decisions for who would be in what house, but I think it's mostly accurate for their personalities. I feel kind of terrible about Sherlock's scene, though. I dunno. Seb was possibly the hardest, because I like to think sometimes he'd be a Gryffindor-gone-bad, kind of like Peter Pettigrew, but my headcanon is that adult Seb has bloodlust and a gun fetish, so I just sort of tossed him into Slytherin with Jim. And I have a lot of debate on John's sorting even still - he is, I like to think, predominantly Gryffindor, but I always see a huge amout of Hufflepuff qualities as well. Anyhow! Feedback appreciated, and I'm glad you guys are enjoying this as much as I am!