It was on the train where Sherlock first met John. It wasn't a meeting Sherlock could look back and be proud of, especially considering... they both just needed a friend.
John was alone with no one to tell him what to do, or where to sit, or if it would be considered rude to sleep on the train. John had expected all of that. He needed structure and discipline to wean him from his previous home's structure and workings, or the very dangerous lack there of.
John was one of the last kids to go through the gateway because Harry had woken up late, his dad refused to provide transportation after having already given the boy at least 100 quid for supplies, and John's mum put up with so much already; he really didn't want to be a bother to her. So, John rushed Harry out the door and was left to carry his trunks to the platform.
John didn't buy an owl. John's dad wasn't on to let him have a bird in the house, squawking it up in the middle of the bloody night. John's mum took a sweeter approach and told him to maybe focus on school and not so much on pets as this was a once in a lifetime opportunity for him. John certainly didn't want to disappoint his mum, so he agreed that he didn't need a pet to go with him to Hogwarts.
John had just made it to the train on time as there were hardly any children out of the Hogwarts Express. He put his trunks onto a trolley nearby and rushed to one of the doors. John kept his Ukelele and a few other things that could occupy him on the journey, on his persons just in case if he got bored or wanted to play something. He showed his ticket and was let in. kids of all ages already filled the cars and cabins, their voices muffled and filling the small rooms with laughter, stories and well-constructed conversation.
"Hello," A voice said behind John. He had a black robe on with hints of red and orange, John saw as he quickly turned around. "You're a first year, aren't you?" The boy asked. John nodded, gulping down a ball of anxiety as the older boy chuckled. He introduced himself warmly as Jacob, a perfect in Gryffindor.
"Alright, let's find you an empty cabin, then," He said. His voice was smooth and comforting, but also as if he could turn it into a commanding yell in only but a second. John didn't want that...! John was quiet as they walked down some cars' aisleways, peeking in to see if it were overcrowded or not. All of them so far were filled with kids who were somehow already acquainted with one another, making John anxiously assume he'd missed something before the beginning of the year.
They saw one near the front, which no one but a single boy sat in. John didn't understand why, but the boy urged that John continued with him. John fell in behind the older boy, who continued down the aisleway as if he were walking in a squad-line. John slowed to a stop and wandered slowly back to the car with only one boy sitting in it.
John opened the cabin door with a slide and walked inside. The boy opened his eyes and looked up from his hands, which were strategically steepled under his nose and chin. John tried to be quieter as he shut the door and walked further into the little room. John sat down, looking at the boy across from him. The boy unfolded himself from the seat, placing his feet to the floor quietly, neatly folding his hands over his lap, and looked John up and down as he carefully placed his Uke on the seat cover next to him.
"What do you want?" Sherlock asked, his eyebrow quirking up in confusion and annoyance. John straightened his posture as he looked back at the boy.
"Um," John began,
"Well?" Sherlock snapped impatiently, "It's one thing for a Muggle-born to come waltzing into the Holmes' car, but it's an entirely different disrespect to waste my time with insolent gibberish," He said with a low growl in his voice. The boy's body language was claiming aggressiveness and his eyes were sharp and wild as if begging for someone to pick a verbal fight with him, but John was used to people shouting at him.
"I was going to say that everywhere else was full and I'm trying to make friends, but it seems like you're being a complete twat about it," John said with a huff of frustrated breath. Just as Sherlock smirked and folded his arms across his chest, "So, I guess I'll have to try harder," That seemed to surprise the boy as he stopped right before making another snide arse comment coated with venom, "My name's John Watson," John said with a warm smile, sticking out his hand,
"Sherlock, but this doesn't mean we're automatically friends," the boy said with a posh smirk as he reached out to contribute to the shake of hands.
"How did you know I'm a Muggle-born?" John asked, tilting his head as their hands released from one another. John moved back into his seat more to get a bit more comfortable. Sherlock scoffed again, folding his arms once more, crossing his leg with a quick swing of it,
"I knew because you insisted on coming to meet me," Sherlock gave casually. John's eyebrows furrowed in slight confusion, "I'm a pure-breed, idiot," Sherlock said, "All of my family that was my family has always been in Slytherin and that's where I'm going to go when I get sorted, I know it...!" Sherlock smirked eagerly.
"Destiny, then?" John chuckled,
"More like pure logic, mud-blood," he said snapping his head up pridefully. John tilted his head, "My brother said 'Mud-blood' is another term for Muggle-borns," Sherlock explained. John nodded, and Sherlock continued on his prideful rant about how he belonged to Slytherin.
John didn't know any better, so he agreed. I mean, the proof was in the name, wasn't it? " What about you? Do you have any idea where you'll be sorted, or are you just as clueless as the rest of those insipid children out there?" Sherlock asked.
John shrugged, sorry to disappoint, "what do you think I'd be?" He asked, leaning forward with a grin. Sherlock narrowed his eyes, accepting the challenge that seemed to thrill him, by the look in his eyes. He hummed briefly as if thinking, still searching John for an answer.
"I think you'll be in..." Sherlock drew out, furrowing his eyebrows as if still unsure, "Gryffindor or Hufflepuff," he sat back with a smirk on his lips. John smiled as he leaned back, too. "My Galleons are on Hufflepuff, though," he assured, folding his arms.
John smiled as he narrowed his own eyes, "I have thirty Galleons, twelve Sickles, and seventeen Knuts left from Diagon Alley," John said, reaching and digging into his pocket to pull out his mum's old coin pouch, which was decorated with music notes, and snapped the top open. Sherlock's eyebrow arched.
"That's all you've got?" He asked, leaning forward to try peeking into the pouch. John frowned for a moment but reigned his expression in quickly.
"I'll get more, once mum gets paid," he chuckled. It was a lie. John's mum doesn't work because she relied on his dad, who only worked to get high and drunk. "Don't worry about it. What do you have on you?" Sherlock stood and John hadn't known how short the boy was until he did so. He stepped on to the seat and reached over the rack to grab and pull one of his bags.
"I have with me," Sherlock groaned as he hopped down with a little bag, similar to John's musical coin pouch, and looked down at it as he sat on the seat heavily. He pulled out a paper and unfolded it to read the numbers. "A lot more than you at the moment, however, I'd wager seventy-five Galleons and eighty Sickles that you'll go into Hufflepuff,"
"Wow!" John said, his eyebrows flying up in surprise, "that could feed me for a week!" John laughed, then furrowed his eyebrows, "I think," Sherlock let out yet another posh laugh.
"Idiot, you don't know that the room and board are compensated for?" Sherlock asked, shaking his head. John's ears burned in embarrassment.
They shook hands and the bet was set. They casually talked and John got bored on the ride there so he lied on the seat with his feet up on the wall, strumming a mindless tune on his Uke as he hummed his boredom, "yeah, yeah, yeah...!" John muttered and adjusted his fingers on the strings as he played.
They held staring contests, highest seat-jumper competition, and loudest humming sessions. None of them counted for anything because they were just bored.
A while later, there was a knock at the door and John's practise of rifts stopped for the door to open peacefully. It was a boy John hadn't seen before. "William, get your robe on; we'll be arriving soon," his voice was a little harsh as he leaned his upper body into the cabin. John wasn't as surprised as he saw the green outlines on his own robe.
Sherlock sighed as he sold reaching up to put his Galleons back. He pulled down a smaller trunk where he had his solid black robe. John stood and did the same, replacing his robe with the Uke he'd been using to alleviate boredom. John had noticed that Sherlock hummed the song that John played as they threw their robes on.
"Who are you?" The boy asked.
"I'm John Watson," John said, looking down at himself to see how he looked. John flopped himself back onto the seat, "I'm a first-year," John pulled his leg up with a grunt and pulled his wand from his sock. He smiled at Sherlock, who smiled back at him.
"Get out." The older boy said. John snapped his head up, his smile dropping quickly. "You're not welcome in this car, let alone this school, mud-blood," he sneered. John's eyes widened. He looked at Sherlock, who had the same reaction. "Go, out, now!" He shouted, startling John from his seat. He was grabbing his things and hurrying out of the cabin within seconds. He looked dejectedly as Sherlock as the door slammed shut. Sherlock was looking to the floor as muted yelling came from the boy who'd kicked John from the cabin.
Soon enough, the train slowed to a stop and John was wandering around in the aisleways until it did, looking into the windows to see if he could find one to fit into, but there wasn't any room for him. The doors were opened by upperclassmen. Johns remaining trunks were taken by Jacob, who he'd run into as he stepped off of the train.
"Hey, you okay?" The perfect asked, looking concerned at the paled first-year.
"Uh-uhm...ehr..." John's breath was quickening and his eyes darted around looking the crowd over as he remembered to keep his head down. John's head bobbed down, his eyes were watering and he didn't understand why. There was a lot of new noise surrounding, drowning him.
"Hey," Jacob's voice said calmly, "why don't we go someplace quiet for a few, eh?" He offered and John nodded.
They walked and Jacob told the other perfects where he was going so he wouldn't be discounted for. It was infinitely quieter away from the crowd and Jacob stopped and gave a gentle elbow to John's side, telling him to pay attention.
"Don't tell anyone I did this, but it's too good to resist," he said with a smile on his lips. John nodded. Jacob slipped his wand from his robe and wanted it into the air, saying some kind of incantation. Then, after a flash of light, there was a Bay stallion striding from the stars above. He only appeared for a moment, then dissipated into the sky again as if it had just been dust in the wind.
John watched in wonderment. His eyes went wide and his jaw went slack. Jacob laughed and John looked over at him. Jacob was a fairly attractive boy, taller considerably that John was with sharp green eyes and a face that even 'mommy dearest' could love. John's heart raced and his lips quirked up into an involuntary grin. He ducked his head down.
On the walk back, which really was pretty brief, Jacob asked, "so, are you parents wizards, or...?"
"No, I'm a Mud-blood," John said casually with. Shrug. Jacob stopped in his tracks.
"Hey, don't say that!" He said. John looked at him confusedly.
"Isn't that... Isn't that another way of saying Muggle-borns?" He asked.
"Um, well," Jacob said, struggling with the words to say what he wanted, "it's a bad way of saying it. Like, um... I-I don't want to say that it's racist, but it's kind of like that, you know?"
"Oh," John let out. Did Sherlock trick me, or did he not know? John thought. John and Jacob made it back just as the last of the first years had filled up the wooden rowboats.
"Hey, there, kiddo," Hagrid said, seeing John as he himself was about to sit in his own boat. He was huge. John looked up at him, "c'mon. We can share a boat," he said. His voice was low and rough, but it seemed as though his intentions were pure, which he was sure was true. John looked back to Jacob, who was already walking away.
The ride on the boat was fun. It was supposed to be tranquil and calming, but Hagrid gave him a few playful splashes of water, which lightened it up for John.
John thanked Hagrid once they arrived with the first-years with a smile. As they headed up the long case of stone stairs, some kids asked if Hagrid was nice or not. As the group entered, John looked over the group. He caught Sherlock trying to look at someone up front with John, but as soon as they saw each other, Sherlock ducked his head quickly. John shrugged it off and looked forward again as an older woman walked up to the group of young students.
She gave them the talk and led them into the Great Hall, where all of the older kids sat with their black outfits. The other professors and other staff of the school were up front. They stood in the front, looking at a wooden stool and an old hat made of a thick, brown material.
"Do we have any volunteers?" Mrs McGonagall asked as she held the rolled up paper in her hands. John smirked and rose his hand high. She seemed surprised at this act of bravery and asked bored his name.
"John Watson, ma'am," he said, stepping from the group of scared kids. He was ready to win those seventy-five Galleons, twelve Sickles. She motioned for him to sit on the stool. He walked up and Mrs McGonagall took the hat up to carefully place it on his head when he sat. It began moving, squirming.
You're brave, aren't you? Muggle boy, going to save his mum from a life of horror, eh? John nodded, looking determined, hmmm, you're plenty loyal. Considering, you grew to the Holmes boy quickly. His eyes scanned across the crowd calmly until they landed on Sherlock. He smiled softly as the boy let out a distant scoff as if to say that he was mad for volunteering. The hat hummed for a moment, contemplating where to put John, then,
The kids in Gryffindor stood and applauded loudly as John jumped off the stool with a smug smirk directed at Sherlock as if to say, You were wrong; pay up,
No one else volunteered as John had, so McGonagall just read off the list of names to the group of many. "Ben Cooper," she called. A blonde boy shyly set himself from the herd and sat on the stool. He was a Gryffindor.
There were many new Gryffindors this year, but not as much as there were Hufflepuffs. In the midst of all the sorting, McGonagall called for, "William Sherlock Holmes," and Sherlock's curly head walked pridefully down to the stool. He gave a knowing smirk to John, and the Slytherin table, then to McGonagall. She lowered the hat to his curls.
It took a long time for the sorting hat to come up with a decision, so long that John began to wonder what would happen if a kid had lice, then wore the hat. It'd be a bloody epidemic! John snickered briefly at the thought and tuned back into the ceremony only to hear,
The room fell silent. That wasn't supposed to happen. There was a slam on the table.
"Like hell!" Shouted the boy who hurried John from the cabin. He looked absolutely livid. John looked back at Sherlock. He looked scared, confused, mindless. The Slytherin around the yelling teen pulled him down as scattered, reluctant clapping from the Ravenclaw table. Mrs McGonagall lifted the hat from Sherlock's head. He slowly stood, his head down, and began walking to the table he now belonged to.
"You're no brother of mine!!" The teen from the table shouted, still struggling against his mates. "You'd better hope to God I don't bloody see you in the halls, William!" He threatened with a sharp tongue.
"That is enough!" Mr Dumbledore called from his seat, where he rose from. Everyone stopped and looked at him. "He's just a boy, your family, Mycroft," he said, "I cannot sit idly by as you threaten him like that. And, for what, being a Ravenclaw?" He asked. "I'm going to have to remove your title as Perfect of Slytherin, Mycroft Holmes," the Slytherin table gasped and groaned as he also took ten points from Slytherin.
"Way to go, twat!" The kids from his table said, some of the closer ones giving a smack to his arm. They forced him back down, but he still glared at the boy from across the vast room.
After Dumbledore gave an apology for the rocky start to a new year at Hogwarts, he gave his entrance ceremony speech, then allowed the supper to begin.
John ate pretty quickly and stood up. A lot of the upperclassmen that sat around Sherlock had left already to prepare the common room for the first-years, which was what also happened with most Gryffindor upperclassmen, too. John kicked his leg over the bench next to Sherlock. He hadn't eaten at all.
"Hey," John said softly, placing a gentle hand onto his shoulder. Sherlock looked over at John with a weak, forced smile. "It's okay, you know, to be a little different," John reassured with a smile as his eyebrow lifted some.
"That's easy for you to say," Sherlock said with a bitter chuckle, "Congratulations, by the way," he said, digging into his pocket to pull out his bag of Galleons, "You can count your winnings; I won't mind if you took more," Sherlock plopped the sack on the table in front of John, who looked up at Sherlock.
John only took thirty Galleons, ten Sickles. He slid the bag back to Sherlock, who took a sideways glance.
"You were wagered seventy-five, John," Sherlock said, "I don't deserve any of it," He shoved the bag to John, who pushed it back gently.
"I think you deserve a lot more," John tried sweetly.
"Well, you don't matter, John!" Sherlock snapped, his face red with frustration and his nostrils flared. John stilled. His eyes widened and he didn't really know how to react. His urge was to say something petty, like 'Now, I know why nobody likes you,' but John knew he'd regret that. He knew that Sherlock would act hostile to him. Not that he wasn't already, John's brain screamed, begging him to react in some way because it needed, craved the twisted satisfaction that the idea of revenge brought.
Who was Sherlock to say something he already knew anyway? Who did he think he was to make John believe he'd be different than the rest of them? "Yep," John muttered through tightened lips, tapping the table. He grunted lightly as he stood and rejoined his table.
They soon we're dispersed to find their houses. John spent little time socializing. He went to bed early, just lying there as he repeated the words in his mind.
You don't matter,
You don't matter,
You don't matter,