Author: summerlinde PM
John is pretty sure that sitting together on the train on the way to school is not really a good reason to be best friends with someone, but he can't quite stop himself from being best friends with Sherlock anyway. By the time their investigations start, it's too late to be anything else. Sherlock characters at Hogwarts.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Mystery/Friendship - Sherlock H. & John W. - Chapters: 7 - Words: 25,664 - Reviews: 25 - Favs: 29 - Follows: 49 - Updated: 05-16-13 - Published: 12-06-12 - id: 8771013
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Eleven-year-old John Watson lugged his trunk toward the train, trying to convince himself that he was not upset that he'd had to leave his parents on the other side of the brick wall, back in King's Cross proper with the other muggles, and that he was not awed by what was, technically, nothing more than a train platform, and that he was not the slightest bit intimidated by the thought of trying to get his trunk from the platform to the train itself. Mostly, it seemed to be working, because while he wasn't sure he believed any of it himself, he seemed to have the other people on the platform convinced that he knew exactly where he was going and what he was doing.
John was a small boy for his age, he always had been, and he'd found in primary school that competence – not cockiness, but competence – was the easiest way to make up for it. People noticed less that he was small and round-faced and a little bit tubby if he also looked like he was in control of himself and like he wasn't the type of person people usually bullied, and it seemed to be working here as well as it had in the normal world. That was a relief. At least some things were the same here.
At the door of the train, he took a deep breath, rearranging his grip on his trunk as he did so that it looked like he knew he could do it and not like he was reassuring himself, and tried to heft it over the gap between the platform and the train all by himself. He almost even managed it, before a spiking pain ran down from his shoulder to his hand and he nearly dropped it entirely. The trunk wobbled, John wobbled, and then a strong hand reached out from inside the train and caught the trunk's handle, pulling gently and steadying them both. The hand was followed by the rest of the person it belonged to, a tall, round-faced older boy with neat brown hair, a shining silver badge pinned to the front of his pinstriped robes, and an umbrella hooked over his opposite wrist. "Here, let me help you with that."
John shoved up the sleeves of his tan jumper, straightened his spine and answered, "It's alright, I've got it." Then with another try, he hefted the trunk the rest of the way into the train and then stepped across after it, trying not to let the older boy see that he'd tweaked his shoulder again. It hadn't quite healed yet from his bike accident a week ago.
Now that he was closer to the older boy, he could read the badge on his chest. It said, "Head Boy." John almost blushed. "Um, I mean, thanks though," he mumbled, hoping he hadn't insulted the boy by refusing to take his help. It wouldn't do to insult the head boy before he even got to school. But the boy didn't seem insulted. He seemed calculating, looking John up and down for a few moments in a way that made John want to fidget. But he didn't. He stood perfectly still, back straight, and looked back at the stranger, meeting the boy's eyes as if he, too, were measuring the older boy. He wasn't afraid, after all.
"Yes," the boy said decisively, "You'll do."
John frowned. "I'll do what?"
The boy looked him up and down once again, eyes twinkling this time, and announced. "You'll do nicely. Follow me, please." John's forehead wrinkled. That wasn't an answer, and he didn't like not having answers. But he also knew that causing trouble when he'd only just managed to get to the train would not be a good start to this whole Hogwarts endeavor, so he picked up his trunk and followed along, trailing obediently behind the head boy for the moment. If he didn't like where this was going, he could make a break for it.
The other students got quickly out of their way as the head boy stalked down the train, carrying his umbrella imperiously by his side, but they didn't say anything, either to John or to the boy. Given the many conversations he'd been surrounded by since crossing through the wall about how no one had seen each other since the end of last term and wasn't it good to be together again and hadn't the summer been wonderful and wasn't it going to be a wonderful year, that seemed like a bad sign. Did no one want to catch up with this boy's doings of the summer? But perhaps not. He had an air about him that almost made John not want to know anything about him at all. Either that or he wanted to know everything. He wasn't sure yet.
As they came to a halt, John decided that he'd prefer not to know anything. The boy was giving him that calculated look again, as if double checking that John hadn't changed in the last three minutes, and John half wondered if he might prefer never to have met this boy at all, because he looked like he might be deciding whether to throw him into a tank full of sharks or not.
Then the 7th-year (because obviously that's what he was, if he was head boy, wasn't he?) opened the door with a flourish and ushered John through it, holding his umbrella out as if pointing the way. Inside the compartment was a boy who looked just about as much like John's opposite as another white boy could be. Even sitting scrunched in the corner, huddled over a book, the boy was clearly tall and even more clearly thin, his cheekbones standing out sharply from his face and his bony wrists sticking out of the sleeves of the plain black uniform robes he'd already put on. His hair was dark and curly (John's was light brown, barely a shade darker than blond, and while it could curl, it didn't, not unless he grew it out quite a bit longer than his mother liked it to be) and the eyes gazing briefly up at them were blue, though a bit greyed by the distance between the door and the corner of the compartment.
As John and the boy in the corner surveyed each other, the head boy slid John's hand away from his trunk and hefted it up onto the overhead shelf with a grunt. John's eyes widened and he turned toward the head boy again, but before he could say anything, the boy in the corner spoke, making John turn halfway around to look at him, too. "You know, I can find my own friends, thank you, Mycroft."
The older boy laughed. "Yes, but I also know you won't, Sherlock. And a boy needs friends. Can't get along without them in this world. And he's a good one."
Ah. That explained it, then. This Mycroft boy had mistaken him for someone else. Probably some young wizard from a wizard family who looked a bit like him. How embarrassing. John cleared his throat. "I . . . ah . . . I think there might've been-"
The boy in the corner interrupted. "Oh, no, John, don't worry, there hasn't been a mix-up. Mycroft's just irritating like this. And I'm sure he hasn't told you anything. Melodramatic git."
John's forehead wrinkled again. He hadn't told either boy his name, and he'd only been in here for a few minutes, and was the boy in the corner really going to just sit here and insult the head boy? "I . . . what?"
Sherlock rolled his eyes, but Mycroft's face split into a grin. "See! Friends already. I'll just leave you two to it." And then he let himself out, closing the compartment door behind him, and John stared after him for a moment, still confused, and not entirely certain what Mycroft was leaving him and Sherlock to.
By the time John realized that he didn't have a prayer of getting his trunk down on his own to leave, at least not with his shoulder still twinging a bit, Mycroft was gone, as if by magic. No matter how hard John strained his eyes to look down the corridor, there was no sign of the boy. And then the train started moving and the last few people from the corridors ducked into nearby compartments and it was too late. John closed the compartment door, wishing he hadn't hesitated before going after Mycroft, and eased into the nearest seat, across from Sherlock and away from the window. "So . . . um . . . hi," he said hesitantly.
The boy had gone back to his book, but now he closed it with a snap and placed it on the seat beside him, leaning back into a slouch that made him look even taller and steepling his fingers in front of his face so that as he looked at John, he peered over them. "Hello."
Now Sherlock was giving him the same sort of look Mycroft had given him earlier, as if he were studying him down to his pores, but when Sherlock did it, he looked more curious and less judgmental. Also considerably less terrifying, though that might have been the slouch, which really was quite spectacular. John almost wondered for a moment if Sherlock might not actually have bones in his spine, but of course, that was ridiculous.
The silence was awkward, though John noted absently that it was perhaps not quite so awkward as it could be, all things considered. Even so, it was more comfortable to fill the silence with something, and as strange as this boy and the one who had brought him here both were, it was always best to be polite.
He started to introduce himself. "I'm-"
Sherlock interrupted again. "John H. Watson. First year. Muggle born. Father is military, mother is a housewife." He stopped for a moment, but John could tell he wasn't done, because his eyes had half closed into something a bit like a glare and a bit like a cat being petted, and he was still studying John like he was a puzzle that needed worked out.
"One older sibling, but not here – he's not got any magic, so he can't come and probably resents it. Or will. But my guess is that he resents it already. But he's not how you got the shoulder injury. That's older, almost better now, you're annoyed with it for not being better quite yet. I'd have guessed you fell off your broom, but that's ridiculous, isn't it, you're muggleborn, so it was probably a bicycle – no, definitely a bicycle, but you weren't doing something stupid on it, because you're not stupid, are you, you're perfectly average."
John had no idea what to make of all those words one right after the other – Sherlock was right, but he was also racing like he was trying to win a speed-talking competition. It made John's head spin a bit, so he said nothing, and then Sherlock started right back to talking, a little bit slower this time. "Maybe a bit above. We'll have to see. Also a Gryffindor. I bet Mycroft thinks you'll be a Hufflepuff, that's why he's willing to set you up as a friend for me, but he's wrong. Gryffindor. That's alright, he's wrong about me, too. Thinks I'll be in Slytherin like him, but I'm going Ravenclaw. I'm cleverer than he is anyway."
John couldn't help himself. He laughed. "Cleverer?" Sherlock looked confused, and John was vaguely aware that he probably should too. But he didn't feel confused. He felt elated, somehow, and he had to know how the boy had done it. Because surely he was reading John's mind somehow. What a trick! He'd have to learn that one himself. "All that . . . just . . . brilliance . . . and then you're only 'clever'! I don't know what kind of spell that was, but I can't even make sparks come out the color I want them!"
Sherlock looked oddly disappointed. "Just average, then. Though I suppose it's nice you didn't tell me to piss off. Usually they tell me to piss off."
John had no idea what that meant, but it sounded like an insult. Even so, he had to know how Sherlock had learned so much so fast and so, wrinkling his forehead against the insult, he asked again, "But how did you do that?"
The boy sighed, putting his hands down so that instead of his fingers being propped up in front of his face, they laid gently over top of each other, like he'd been laid out in his coffin, with his head propped up by the back of the seat and his legs dangling out into the space between the seats with almost their full length. "I deduced it, John. It wasn't that hard. For someone paying attention. But no one ever does, do they?"
Now John was sure he was being insulted. He frowned. "I pay attention!"
Sherlock's left eyebrow shot straight up, though at this angle it looked more like it had shot straight backwards. "Do you, now?"
John's hackles raised. "Yes. I do." And now he'd done it. Because now he had to prove it, and there was no way he could do what Sherlock had just done. He still wasn't convinced the other boy hadn't been using magic! But he was going to have a go anyway.
"You're a first year, like me," John said confidently, trying to think through everything he could possibly say to match what Sherlock had figured out. "Your name's Sherlock, and your brother's Mycroft. Wizarding family, obviously, and your older brother's here at school and the Head Boy, so probably your family's got some kind of standing, or else he's "cleverer" than you give him credit for. And I bet you've never ridden a bike in your life."
It wasn't enough, not compared to Sherlock's river of words, so he added a bit more, off the cuff. "Your brother doesn't resent you. Maybe a little. Mostly he worries. He thinks you're antisocial, mostly because you haven't got any friends, but you don't really want friends either, do you? Because you're only talking to me because you want to prove him wrong. You want to prove him wrong about everything, don't you? And not just whether you're a Slytherin or a Ravenclaw. Whatever that means. And you're probably going to, too, because you're stubborn. But that's alright. 'Cause I'm stubborn too."
That really was all he had, now, and then some, so he tried to force himself to calm down, breathing through his nose. And then Sherlock's face twisted slowly into a massive smile and then the boy sat up straight for the first time, not leaning forward and not leaning backward, and he looked suddenly like an entirely different person.
"Bravo! Above average after all, then! But you're wrong. I was only talking to you to prove Mycroft wrong. Now I'm talking to you because you've turned out to be interesting! And that's terribly exciting, you know, because most people aren't interesting. Most people are just dull. And you're only a little dull. Not like the rest of them."
John flushed, angrily. "Well, you're not quite so interesting as you think, you know, because you weren't right, either! I don't know how you knew all that about me, but you only got most of it right, because I've got a sister, and you said he. Harry's not a he."
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "You've got a sister called Harry. You can't really fault me for mixing that up."
John sniffed, still mad. "It's short for Harriet."
Sherlock ignored the sniff. "But she does resent you?"
John wasn't sure why he was admitting it, but the words came out anyway. "Yes. She does. She says of course I'd be magic, 'cause I've got to beat her in everything, but unlike you, I'm not trying to do it."
Sherlock settled backward into his seat a little, not slouching magnificently as he'd done before, just leaning, his fingers back to their little peaks in front of his face. "Well, it's not your fault, John. You're special is all."
John leaned back into his own seat, feeling a little more relaxed now that Sherlock was neither studying him like a bug nor sitting straight up and down like he'd been electrocuted. "I'm not that special," he said, blushing.
"You don't think you're that special," Sherlock corrected in a very matter-of-fact tone of voice that made John feel both reassured and irritated at once. "You're very good at guessing, though. Most of what you said was right. Even if you weren't deducing it properly. You're clearly good with people. More than good with people. Usually even people who are called 'good with people' still can't handle me and Mycroft. You can. Hence, special."
It would have sounded reasonable, if he didn't still feel like there might be an insult in there somewhere, mixed into the compliments, but he just couldn't parse it out. "Well, I'm not as special as you," John answered finally, "With your whole mind-reading bit."
And then Sherlock laughed for the first time, with a sort of wild abandon, and he began to wonder if it might not be wiser just to leave this compartment. The other boy was fascinating and brilliant and more than a little intriguing, but something about the laughter was wild and uninhibited and maybe a little dangerous. "I told you, John, I didn't do anything but deduce! Your name's on your trunk, but underneath it is another name – Harry Watson – not your father, because the trunk's too new for that, hence sibling. Older, because you don't get hand-me-downs from younger siblings, and not at Hogwarts because then you wouldn't have needed Mycroft to help you with your trunk."
"It's an extra good guess because you're from a muggle family – you did a good job of pretending you weren't, but you also didn't run into anyone you knew, friend or foe, and you didn't seem to be looking at the people to see if you might know them. Clearly, you didn't. As for Harry resenting you, it's pretty common in muggle families with wizard children for the ones without magic to resent the ones with it, and you don't buy a new trunk for the kid not going to a brand new school, you buy a new trunk for the kid going to the new school. Unless you feel you owe the older one something. She either resents you already or your parents fear she's starting to resent you, so they're placating her."
Sherlock was talking a bit more slowly now, though he was still sprinting along fast enough that John had to listen intently to catch it all. He thought he was following it. How Sherlock had managed to notice and analyze so much so fast, he feared he might never know, but now that he was laying it out, John could almost understand how he'd done it. "It's probably your mother – she's the jumper-knitting type, because that's homemade, but you don't wear it like it's something special, so it's not from your grandmother or some other distant relative and it's not something you got as a gift, it's just something your mother does and so you don't realize, yet, that you're emotionally attached to them, but you probably will. Most kids do. They get homesick and then sentimental."
"And your father doesn't muck about with all those feelings, does he? He's military. It's in the way you hold yourself. Back straight and all that. Still a good father, I should imagine, the way you looked when I brought him up, but military all the same. The bike accident – well, technically that was a guess, but you seem the traditional type, traditional family, fluffy jumper in a conventional school-appropriate color, seemed like it should be a bicycle, and then your face gave it away. You're not a very good liar, are you, John Watson? But we can work on that."
John had no idea what to say to that one, so he just echoed what he'd said earlier. "Brilliant. Yeah. That's right. Nice to know you guessed, though. I guessed."
Sherlock smiled, and there was something odd about it, but it wasn't necessarily a bad kind of odd. "I know, John. S'why you were wrong about my family having status. And I did ride a bike once. Bit of an experiment. Turned out badly. Could be right about My', though. I never know what's on in his head, but worry could be it."
John laughed. "Oh, worry is in there. He's trying to find you friends himself in case you don't. That's worry."
Sherlock rolled his eyes expressively. "Or he doesn't want me to be enough of a loner to embarrass him. He could just want you to keep an eye on me and make sure I don't do anything crazy and ruin his image."
John wrinkled his nose. That did sound plausible, but it was awfully cold. Then again, Sherlock was a little cold and both Holmeses were extremely odd, so maybe the older boy really was just thinking of himself. "Well, I hope it's worry, then. Worry's nicer. Means he cares. Though I guess worrying about your effect on his image still means he won't try to pretend you're not his brother, so maybe he cares either way."
Sherlock looked at him as though he'd said something extremely interesting, his eyes narrowing into that same analytical slit for a moment in a way that made John feel slightly uncomfortable.
"So," John said, trying to cut Sherlock off at the pass, "Can you really tell who's going to be sorted into which house? The professor who came to explain it all to me said nobody knew until they got there."
Sherlock grinned devilishly, and if he hadn't already seemed to decide that he and John were friends, John would have been worried by the expression. "Of course I can! I can tell everything about everybody." He came over to the window and they spent the rest of the train ride peering out at the people walking back and forth in the corridor, Sherlock deducing and John memorizing, because he wanted to know if Sherlock would turn out to be right.