John stood on the platform, looking for his friend, Mike. For the past two years they had met up before school started, but this year Mike had wanted alone time with his girlfriend, Sophie, so instead they had agreed to meet here. The thing they hadn’t really thought about was just how many people would be there. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a small boy standing at the back of the station, looking pretty lost. He was smaller than most of the first years, but he wasn’t with a family saying goodbye to anyone, so he must have been. Giving him another quick glance, John realised he didn’t even have any adults with him. But it wasn’t his problem.
He scrunched up his eyes, shook his head and gave a big sigh before looking through the crowd for Mike. It’s none of my business anyway. I should just leave it alone. His resolve breaks in less that 3 minutes. And he walks over to the boy.
“Good morning,” he started, extending a hand and smiling. “I’m John Watson.” The boy looked up at him, staring at him for a beat longer than people normally do. John almost thought he should lower his hand the moment the boy took it and gave a small smile.
“Sherlock Holmes.” He could hear the fear in Sherlock’s voice. John smiled at him widely.
“It’s okay to feel nervous, Sherlock. Aren’t your parents here?”
“No, they… left earlier.” Before John could ask an more about this The boarding whistle blew.
“Come on, we better get a move on if we don’t want to miss the train. Come sit with me and my friends.”
“I insist, Sherlock.”
It didn’t take too much searching to find the compartment, already mostly crammed with a couple making out and another pair speaking to each other animatedly people.
“Ah, here we are. Sherlock, this is Mike, his girlfriend Sophie next to him, and here we have Beth and Jess.” The two girls waving their hello’s and Jess swiftly kicked at Sophie, making them both pause their session just long enough to greet Sherlock and John before restarting. John sighed as he walked past and sat himself down between the window and beth. So much for meeting me on the platform , He thought bitterly, throwing one more glance over at Mike and Sophie before focussing out of the window. He had kind of a short fuse most of the time, but he would only stay angry for a couple of seconds- minutes at the most.
Once he was sure he was calm, he looked over at where Sherlock had sat himself. He didn’t meet his gaze, choosing to stare adamantly out of the window, visibly uncomfortable sitting next to the making out couple. Jess and Beth and gone back to their hyperactive talking, none of them really paying attention to what John or Sherlock were doing, so John took a second to just smile and look over the new boy.
There really wasn’t much to tell just by looking. He guessed it was probably time for some small talk. He had to start somewhere.
“Lovely day, isn’t it.”
“Do you travel a lot normally?”
“Are you liking the train ride so far?”
It carried on like that for a while, John asking questions and being lucky to get more than one word answers, but he was okay with that. He could see Sherlock’s expression clearly reflected in the window. Most people would say he was arrogant, but John had seen that look before, and he knew what it meant. Lowering his voice and leaning in he started asking some more personal questions.
“So, did you always know you were a wizard?” He looked up at John at this one.
“Not for sure, no”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, neither of my parents have it, but my brother, Mycroft, does. He was here nine years ago. I read through most of his books when he was home for summer holidays” John was so shocked to get a full answer he almost forgot his follow up questions.
“Right. Well then, I guess you know about houses? Mike and I are in Hufflepuff, we’re both third years, so is Sophie although she’s in Gryffindor then you’ve got Beth in fourth year and Jess in second year, both in Gryffindor as well.” He paused, looking back over at Sherlock.
“Do you know what house your brother was in?”
“...Slytherin,” he answered after a slight pause, looking down at the floor. John frowned lightly at him. He must already know about Slytherin’s reputation.
“It’s okay to be sorted into Slytherin.”
“I know it’s okay,” he shot back quickly, fixing his eyes on John, before quickly glancing over to the people sat next across from him.
“But it would be nice to have a choice.” John followed his gaze to Jess and Beth. He couldn’t remember mentioning they were sisters, but he must have done. They didn’t really look that alike. Then it clicked.
“You know, siblings don’t always go in the same house,” he said, looking across at Sherlock. He took a beat, looking into mid space, before turning to meet his eyes.
“Really?” He seemed fascinated with this small revelation. “I just kind of assumed.”
Before John could give any answer but a kind smile the compartment door opened to reveal the kind, smiling vision of the trolley witch.
“Anything here you want, dears?” she asked, beaming down at the smiling, hungry faces. Well, 5 smiling, hungry faces. One speculative stare.
Everyone started speaking over each other, clamoring to grab pumpkin pasties, cauldron cakes and chocolate frogs, exchanging them gratefully for sickles and knuts. It didn’t escape John’s notice that Sherlock sat stoic, once again staring out of the window. Maybe he can’t afford it. He would find a way to ask him without being too forthright about it.For now, he started tucking in to what he had. Finally, Sherlock spoke up again quietly.
“Who was that woman, John?”
“Well, that was the trolley witch,” He answered, smiling incredulously. Surely he had worked that out.
“Yes, I mean rather, what is she?”
“..I don’t know what you mean.”
“Well, it’s just that I noticed things about her were a bit off. Her hands and mouth for instance. They were almost quivering. Her clothes didn’t have any of the creases you get from sitting down, but they weren’t new. She didn’t blink at all when she was serving everybody, and she didn’t seem to even have stains on her teeth from eating anything since she brushed them.” He finished his small monologue and stared up into John’s confused face, who was just about to express that he didn’t understand when Sherlock gasped and looked down at his hands, silent for a minute.
“Ofcourse! She isn’t human!” he exclaimed in a whisper. John just stared at him, not sure how he even thought that.
“No, I don’t understand.”
“But I just told you. Look, her mouth and hands must change shape, that why they were quivering like that. If she doesn’t get tired, she wouldn’t need to sit down ever, just keep on walking. Maybe she also doesn’t need to blink, or eat, or at least not as often at humans do. That’s fairly obvious when you look at her.”
“Sorry, what? Obvio-”
“She must be some kind of alarm system,” He stated. “At a guess, her mouth will open wider than a human’s could to emit a louder noise than a normal mouth would be able to create, and her hands would grow to an enormous size to catch any assailant and hold them until the authorities could get there.” John just stared at him as he looked vacantly towards the door.
“...You worked that all out from her being here for less than a minute?”
“I like puzzles,” he professed with a shrug. John felt like he was really seeing him for the first time. As is a piece of Sherlock had just shown itself to him.
“Amazing.” Sherlock looked up into John’s face, and then quickly averted his gaze, a blush creeping over his cheeks while he stared at the floor.
They sat in a comfortable silence for another couple of minutes, both watching the sunset over fields and trees as the rushed past.
“So you’re, what, some kind of genius?” Sherlock snorted.
“Hardly,” He answered. “I may be smart, but nowhere near as clever as my brother.”
“Well, give yourself a break, if he left Hogwarts a while ago he must be quite a bit older.” Sherlock just shifted, looking slightly uncomfortable.
“I suppose you’re right about that,” he replied in barely a whisper. Suddenly his reaction to John’s compliment was shown in a new light. Maybe then if people met his brother before him he didn’t seem so sharp. Maybe his parents never told him he was clever in that case. Maybe his brother was always undermining every time they did. Either way, if he really believed that, he wouldn’t hear the compliments anyway. Right. Well, we’ll have to try and change that then.
“So, Sherlock, what’s it like growing up in the muggle world? What do your parents do?”
“They’re both professors at a university near where I live,” He replied. John didn’t push him any further or make him answer his first question. He knew a few muggleborns, so he knew that professor was one of the higher paying jobs in the muggle world. It was good to know that Sherlock wasn’t going to starve because of a lack of money at any rate.
“Well, it’s starting to get dark,” John started, peering out of the window. “Come on let’s get our robes on.
It's barely important, but this is set in the 1820's. Mostly, it's just set at Hogwarts, but this is before the time you couldn't physically beat a child. I haven't written about it so far, but I can see it as a possibility. I AM IN NO WAY CONDONING VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN, OTHERS, OR YOURSELVES, and I will tag warning on any chapters that need to, if/when I continue this. So far, everything is just fluff, but it may get darker.
“First years! First years over here please!” Was the cry that met the students as they disembarked the train. The voice was all at once sugary sweet and high pitched, yet also somehow gruff and low, but still obviously the same voice. Sherlock started towards the voice, only to stop dead in his tracks just a few paces forward when he saw the woman speaking. At first he thought she was this huge amazonian woman, but the the crowd cleared and he saw the rest of her. John walked up to him and whispered.
“That’s Aoede,” He explained. “She’s got very good ear and a short temper, but you get on her good side and you don’t leave easily. She’s a female centaur-”
“Centauride,” Sherlock corrected automatically. John looked down at him before continuing.
“Right, a centauride. She’s groundskeeper here. It’s tradition that she takes the first years over the lake to the school.”
“Yeah. Did your brother just tell you nothing about this place? If I ever meet him I’m definitely having words with him,” John huffed. “He’s got a lot to answer for.” Sherlock giggled slightly, then seemed to catch himself, and return to the stoic composure he had been holding onto all journey. Behind him he could hear Mike shouting his name.
“Right, I’ll see you in a bit, sherlock,” he smiled. “I’ll travel in with Mike and that lot.Good luck with the sorting!” Once he, Mike, sophie, Jess and Beth were on board one of the horseless carriages, he looked over to see Sherlock, but all he could really make out was Aoede’s long black hair shaking as she continued collecting first years to her. He smiled, remembering his own first year trip over the lake. It was magnificent. Sherlock was going to love it, even if he didn’t show it. Quickly he turned back to his friends and chatted away with them, preparing himself for the short journey he was about to embark on.
The first step into the great hall always made him feel more at home than home ever did. There were never huge arguments here, never any screaming matches. It was nice to be in a place where everyone, despite their differences, wanted the same thing: to learn.
He walked to his house table at the far side of the hall. Normally no one cares about that, not even the teachers, but on formal occasions, they all had to sit in their houses.
Not long after he and Mike had settled between a fifth year and a second year, the doors to the hall were opened by Aoede and the first year piled in, huddled together in more of a disordered jumble than anything with any sort of assemblance. John caught sight of Sherlock in the crowd. Even though he was easily the smallest in the group, he was the only one looking forward. Everyone else was transfixed on the night sky floating where the ceiling should be and tripping over each other in the distraction.
“Good afternoon, first years,” said an elderly, timid voice. “I am Professor Feeney, and I’ll be performing the sorting ceremony today. Now, I need you all to line up at the bottom of these stairs.” No one moved. “Come on, we haven’t got all day.. Now, just… yes that’s it, shoulder to shoulder…” Professor Feeney went to manhandle the children to get them to where he wanted.
“Good. Now. Let’s begin.” As he spoke he rose his wand and summoned a stool and an old battered hat to come and sit in the centre in front of the first years. John looked back at the first years, although all he could see was the back of their heads. Most of them had now started fidgeting. When they turned their head John could see the confusion, could hear the mutterings. This was his favourite part of the ceremony. The moment just before the first years found out what was about to happen.
“Now. One by one, I will call out your name,” Professor Feeney continued. It always surprised John that such a frail elderly man could be so loud and clear. “Burton, Juliet.” It didn’t take longer after the sorting hat yelled “Hufflepuff” that the first years started to visibly relax. The only person who did seem to was Sherlock. John, only half listening as “Casey, Arnold” was called into gryffindor, smiled at the thought that Sherlock was up there, probably trying to work out exactly how the hat worked. There was no real reason why he would feel this way, they had known eachother for all of seven hours. And maybe John would have thought about that at another time, but not “Haynes, Edith” was heading over to Slytherin, and soon it would be Sherlock’s turn.
As soon as “Holmes, Sherlock” was called, he walked determinately out of the diminished crowd of first years left at the front of the hall. Suddenly John felt a sinking feeling. He remembered the conversation they had on the train.
“My brother was in Slytherin…. I’d just like to have a choice.”
If Sherlock was put in Slytherin John couldn’t imagine an outcome to that situation that would end with him hating himself. Hating his family. What John had said on the bus was true though. There was absolutely nothing wrong with being in Slytherin. They had a slight rivalry with Gryffindor, sure, but going into Slytherin didn’t automatically make you evil. Besides, He’s muggleborn, it’s rare that he would end up in that house. There have only been a few muggleborn Slytherins, it’s unlikely there’d be another for quite a while-
After a split second of shock, John joined in with the clapping coming for the far middle table as Sherlock, looking bewildered for once, made his way to the ravenclaw table.
John couldn’t help but laugh. Sherlock’s expression was changing from confusion to composed every few minutes. So much had just happened that he didn’t expect, but John knew that his mind worked at such a lightening speed it was fascinating to just watch his face.He guessed Sherlock wasn’t often wrong. Or at least see proof that he is wrong. John thought back to the trolley witch theory he had formed. It was so far fetched, it was difficult to even follow the logic Sherlock had used. Maybe he just had a very active imagination.
Soon enough the sorting was over and the headmistress, Professor Burke, walked over to the podium to start her welcome speech.
“Welcome, everyone. It is nice to see so many fresh faces, along with the old, all ready to learn and spend the rest of the year amongst friends. Before we start the feast, I would like to give a few reminders to everyone who has come back, and a few rules to those of you who have just started.
“As usual, the forbidden forest is just that. Forbidden. Entering it will give you, at best, detention. Lateness to your classes is unacceptable. Up to five minutes will lose your house points, more than five will earn you detention. Unless you are invited, please refrain for entering any professor’s room. Doing so unattended may earn you detention. As usual, third years and above with signed permission slips may fo on planned trips to Hogsmeade.
“Now. Time to eat. Let the feast begin, and enjoy everyone.” John was glad of how brief her speech was. She had never been a woman of many words, but he was grateful for being able to get food so quickly.
Just wanted a chapter showing that little sherlock knows a hell of a lot but isn't always as right as he thinks :)
After the feast, prefects showed the first years to their new common rooms leaving the rest of the hall to continue eating whilst watching them neatly file out of their respective doors. It didn’t take much longer until Mike and John also left the hall, making their way slowly down the corridor to the Hufflepuff common room, just down the corridor from the kitchens.
Worn out from all the travelling and excitement of the day, they were soon heading for their beds.
“So,” John started, once they had both settled into their beds. “What did you think of Sherlock?”
“Who?” Mike answered yawning.
“You know, that kid who sat with us on the train.”
“Oh.” Mike sounded quite disgruntled. He didn’t see where John was really going with this and he was tired. “I didn’t really talk to him, John. He didn’t really seem like our kind of person though.”
“I don’t know, I think he was just nervous to be honest,” John replied. “I guess we’ll see.”
“Well, it doesn’t really matter. We’re probably not going to speak to him again anyway.” John loved hanging out with Mike, and always thought of him as one of his closest friends, but when he said things like that he felt like he didn’t even listen to him. It was always a reminder to him that if they weren’t in the same house they probably wouldn’t even be friends.
He tried to push away his thoughts and closed his eyes. He and Mike kept talking to each other a little, about random little things; what they were looking forward to, when the first Hogsmeade trip would happen, how Mike’s girlfriend was doing. It inevitably came back to Sherlock.
“I mean, he was really nervous on the train though,” John whispered after a few minutes of silence.
“Oh, right,”Mike answered, sounding too tired to want to talk about this. “So what?”
“He thought because his brother had been in Slytherin, he would be too.”
“Wait, Holmes? Has his brother got some strange name too?” John appreciated that Mike actually seemed to be taking an interest.
“Yeah, he’s called Something like Mycroft I think.”
“Yeh, I remember reading something about him when I was in a detention one time. He was head boy, from what I remember.” Mike started sniggering. “Apparently it was just because of him being a mudblood that he get it.” John stopped himself from flinching. He had always been pretty uncomfortable with the casual way people would put others down for things they couldn’t do anything about like their blood statuses.
“Why was his brother so concerned? It’s not like many of them lot get into Slytherin anyway.” Mike sounded like he was fighting the urge to laugh at Sherlock’s ignorance. It annoyed John to no end when he got like this. He wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed himself, and you would have thought that maybe that would have taught him some empathy towards others not knowing things. But no, it just made Mike insufferable.
“Whatever,” John answered, exasperated. He didn’t want to deal with Mike when he was like this. “Just go to sleep, Mike.” And with that he turned over and closed his eyes.
The next morning John made his way to the great hall, yawning and crumpet in hand. Every now and again a table would be left outside of the kitchen full of snacks for the Hufflepuffs as they made their way to breakfast. It’s not like there wasn’t plenty of food once they got there, but it was nice to have it anyway. He headed over to the Gryffindor table, where Jess and Beth were already sat, laughing at a joke a Gryffindor John wasn’t familiar with was making.
It didn’t take long until he had fully integrated into the conversation, sharing in the laughs while eating his breakfast, and Mike joined sitting next to the new Gryffindor, a second year called Greg. It wasn’t until 15 minutes to the end of breakfast that John spotted Sherlock sitting alone at the Ravenclaw table,his nose stuck into a book, no food in front of him. Something about the image made him excuse himself from his friends and make his way over to the boy.
“Morning,” he said to Sherlock, announcing himself and he sat down next to him. Sherlock barely even acknowledged him as he continued to read. John peaked at the page, and realised that it was a book on magical creatures that you wouldn’t have to read until the second year.
“Looks like you’ve been working your way through the library,” John remarked. “You don’t even need to read that one yet.”
“I already read all the standard books when Mycroft was here,” he answered. John could hear him stumbling over his words slightly with how tired he was.
“Did you even try to sleep last night, Sherlock?” He blinked up from the book. His expression became one of such confusion, as if he couldn’t even understand why someone would want to do that.
“No, I just read,” he answered. John almost laughed at the way that he answered. It was almost as if he felt that what he was saying should be obvious to anyone. It was endearing but he could also see it could get annoying.
“Right,” John said promptly. “You need to eat something.” Sherlock started to protest.
“That wasn’t a question,” he laughed. “If you don’t eat you’re going to fall asleep in your lessons. I would also suggest some tea.” By the end of breakfast, John had managed to get Sherlock to eat -with much whining- two quarters of toast, 4 forkfuls of scrambled eggs and drink 2 mouthfuls of tea.
“Good,” John declared, as people started leaving to go to their lessons. “Now at least you won’t fall asleep in your first lesson. What do you have?”
“Ah, well that’s good then,” he smiled. “You get to start with an interesting one anyway.If you’d have had History of Magic you wouldn’t have survived.”He laughed and Sherlock’s lips twitched as he packed his book away. Well, I guess that’s the best I’m going to get , he thought as he watched him start to get up.
“Well, I’ll see you at lunch time I suppose,” John said, joining him in getting up.
“...yeah maybe…” Sherlock replied quietly, already walking away.