The wind hit the shutters like a wave of rattling noise and shrieking glass, and the lights flickered and died momentarily. The dorm room was practically empty, save the one boy, head of dark curls bent over a book - and this was nothing unusual. He had shared a room with himself since he was 12, and preferred it. The time he had roommates was neither pleasant or long lived, no matter how many poor guinea pigs (aka first years) they had dumped with him.
Sharp, hooded green eyes swallowed each word of the dark arts textbook, but nothing seemed to sink beneath the surface, nor found its way to his mind palace. Sighing dramatically, he closed the book, rolling his eyes in agitation, despite there being no one around to see his performance, and made his way to the window. It was hard to focus, the noise of the storm crescendoing and the view of the lake surrounding the school, dancing ferociously with the low, dark clouds, crackling with lightning every so often. In all of his 6 years at the school, he had never seen the weather so ominous, but as far as he was aware, nothing could be deduced about the sudden change of climate... It seemed magic. Magic, again, was nothing unusual.
Sherlock, however, missed completely the only thing out of the ordinary. He barely heard Professor Hudson, housemother for Ravenclaw, shout up the stairs to the dorms; "Ravenclaw! Assemble in the Great Hall, to welcome the new first years! Hurry, most of the other houses have already taken there places in the hall... we don't want to start the year out late, do we?" but he did, unfortunately. Grudgingly, he turned away from the storm, so he didnt see the small boat rocking precariously over the waves. He walked into the Great Hall and sat by himself at the Ravenclaw table, head down. Like he had since he came to Hogwarts 6 years ago.
He didnt look up, not when Head Master took to the podium, or when a Slytherin girl whispered "freak" into his ear as she passed, or even when one of the house captains - who he couldnt remember the name of at present. Gavin? - walked past him with a short, blonde boy, and what he deduced was his sister, with her arm slung protectively around him, who Sherlock presumed were both new. He listened absently as the traditional, 'inspirational' speech leaked of the Masters lips and flooded the hall via microphone;
"Welcome!" he said. "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!" He paused, looking around us all, as if to let it sink in. All Sherlock noted, ocean eyes still trained on the wooden table, was that the Master's booming voice only emphasized the silence. It was deafening.
The scarping of a chair along the floor turned everyones head, like a gunshot against the quiet, and Professor Hudson tittered sympathetically as all eyes flickered towards the noise, moths to a flame. Sherlock raised his head to see the blonde boy, awkwardness literally bleeding out of him as he took a seat at the Hufflepuff table, colour blossoming on his cheeks. Even after most curious heads had turned back to the front, eargerly awaiting information about the stupid tourniment he couldnt have given more of a crap about, Sherlock stared at the boy, already knowing that he hadn't been discovered as a wizard at 11, had been kicked out of his fair share - maybe 5? 6? - muggle schools for dispruptive behaviour. He assumed this was because his two parents had died when he was young, evident from the lack of well fitting clothes and the picture in his left pocket, that couldve been considered as simply a piece of paper to a human eye, but to him he saw the photographic lamination and the fact that it hadnt been folded to fit into his back pocket (still thin against the jean material instead of bulking) suggested that it was a small poloroid photo. What was the point of having a tiny, laminated piece of paper? He could also tell this boy was unhappy with his house - understandible. The house of the loyal, phfttt- but that was mainly because he was put into a different house to his sister, who couldnt be considered loyal, as she turned to drink when difficulty showed its toxic head...
"And before I introduce you to our new first years and we begin the sorting," The booming, enhanced voice sliced through Sherlocks train of thoughts like a dagger, jarring him out of his reverie with a shudder "I would like to welcome Harriet and John Watson to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardary, houses of Gryfindor and Hufflepuff. I trust you will make them feel welcome." Chancing one more look at the boy - John - Sherlock looked up through thick eyelashes, and felt his stomach flip flop and his blood soar as he was met by a pair of startling blue eyes, honest, like stars in a morning sky...
John had never had a particularly easy relationship with water. His father had been a marine, so him, his mother and Harry had been relocated more times than he cared to count. It had never been much of a problem - neither he or Harry had ever made it to the end of the year without being kicked out for things beyond their control - until his father had drowned out at sea when John was 5. Dreams of waves crashing down on him from thousands of miles up, the pressure soffocating, claustrophobia and difficult relationships with everyone who reached out to him were all happy aftermaths of the death. When his mother died of cholera a year or so after, Harry had turned to drink, and John was diagnosed with ADHD. It was all put down to trauma, but things became unexplainable; John exploding locks of doors when he was frigtened to be in a confined space, Harriet contorting water into wine. It wasnt until John was 16 and Harriet 17, that the ministry of magic intervined, showing up at the orphanage and casually dropping the fast detonating, world stopping bomb that they were both of 'magical blood'.
So, two weeks later, John sat trembling, circled in Harry's arms as the waves drummed against the small boat, irregular and powerful, mirroring the shaking beat of John's own heart. The boat was unmanned, and nobody steered, but somehow it manouvered its way to the shore like a magnetic force. It rowed itself and docked perfectly without assisstance. It seemed magic. But it also didnt seem important to him, in amongst the grand scheme.
The relief that followed being on land was short lived, ice forming in the pit of John's stomach as he craned his neck upwards to look at his new school. His new home. The building was beyond impressive; turrets invading the sky and stained windows coloured with more shades than he believed existed. The doorway was at leats 10 meters high, and glowing candlelight bled through the crack the doors, illuminating half of Harry's face. It was contorted with so much... fear, pride, love, fear. Fear. Fear.
"Harry," He had meant to sound reasurring, but his voice was tainted with his own anxiety, trembling through with each syllable. Breathing hard, he tried again, steadier and gentler, "We're going to be okay now. We've made it this far, havent we?"
Her laugh was bitter and soft but she pushed open the door, wobbling inside on shaking legs. Haloed in the candlelight, she turned over her shoulder, blonde waves cascading down her back, pretending to be the kind of person who pretended not to feel fear.
"John, Im at a point where im just happy to have survived. Its enough for me to be proud im still here. There is no 'making it' for people like us..."
She quickly shut up when the unmistakable sound of rocketing footsteps sounded from the staircase above them. Dissapointment and resentment still roaring through him, John called up "Helo?" just as an older boy came racing down the stairs, brows knitting together in frustration.
"Sorry, shit im sorry. I completely forget about the two newbees amongst all the excitment! Im Greg, House Captain of Ravenclaw... Greg Lestrade." The boy had dark hair, cut close to his head and a kind face, rough and open. He smiled at them and his tie flashed blue, like the sea that crashed down, sinking his father's boat. Distrust bloomed in John's stomach, a reflection of the same unease tinting Greg Lestrade's stormy grey eyes.
"Im Harriet. This is John. Where should we take our bags... I hope it will be alright that we board here?"
"I'm sure it will for you, Miss Watson. I understand you are assigned to Gryfindr and there are few Gryfindor girls. As for bags, they are already in your common room." Sure enough, the two suitcases had disappeared from the entryway, as if they had disintergrated into nothingness. He then turned to John, biting his lip like a bad secret was fighting its way out of his mouth. "But I'm afraid you will have to talk to Mike Stamford, Hufflepuff house captain... your house right? I think there's no dorms for boys left. We're pretty tight for accomodation for boys ourselves. Only one dorm left and its not exactly... desirable... " Crashing waves. Unwanted. Locked in. Locked out. Spare part. ADHD.
Greg mustve seen all these thoughts pass over John's face, seen it like smoke on a mirror, because his face twisted into a plastered on smile and he led them down the corridor, towards the buzz of noise from what John coud guess was the hall, chatting while walking. Zoning in and out of the conversation, John kept up, sinking the fear to the pit of his stomach and smiled when appropriate.
"...not to worry. We'll find somewhere..."
"...Very exciting year..."
"...Gryfindor is brave, Ravenclaw is smart, Hufflepuff is loy..."
And suddenly, light flooded Johns vision, a hall so brilliantly lit it physically hurt, candles floating against the nightime ceiling and row upon row of teenagers, sitting at tables: eating, talking, laughing, throwing notes, waving wands, arguing and cursing. At the far end was a row of teachers, all older and interesting to look at. He stood, paralysed in awe as a oragami bird flew past him, inches from his nose, not really noticing that the man with the trimmed beard and funny spectacles had begun speaking. It wasnt until the pressure on his arms tightened significantly and he gave a small, accusing gasp, that he realised Greg was dragging him uselessly toward his own table.
He didnt even consider the noise that he would make, sitting down, until every pair of eyes was watching him, and only then did he understand the phrase 'rabbit caught in headlights'. There was nothing reassuring about the weight of Gregs hand on his shoulder, though he guessed it was a show of affection and a brotherly protection. John had never wanted or needed a brother. As more and more faces lost interest, turning their backs to John, he finally felt safe to take his seat. With a final whisper, breath tickling John's cheek, Greg Lestrade took his seat at his own table,
"Come find me after Professor Magnussen dismisses everyone. We'll sort out dormitories."
Feeling completely lost, he scanned the crowd at Gryfindor's table, a mess of red scarves and gold ties and kids whispering and laughing, for Harry. She was sitting next to a pretty girl, talking intently and smiling a little too wide, and she didnt even notice John. Bowing his head, he breathed so deeply his head spun, wondering if it was possible to feel claustrophobic in such an enourmous room, and closed his eyes briefly, images of suffocating waves burning into the backs of his eyelids. Even though he was completely alone at the table, Professor Magnussen blabbering on about something completely pointless, he couldnt shake the strangling feeling that he was being watched - which was insane, feeling that way in a bustling room overflowing with people.
When he opened his eyes, and looked up, he was only half surprised to be met by such intensely beautiful ocean green eyes from the table opposite. The boy staring at him, in almost medical fasination, was all sharp angles and enourmous, slanted cat eyes. His hair curled around his face, falling across his eyes, like a sweet contrast to his sculptured cheekbones and angular jaw line. He didnt look away when John met his eyes - if anything his face softened fractionally, like a panther lounging elegantly, examining its prey.
He was undesputidely beautiful.
Some part of John knew, deep down, he couldve watched the Ravenclaw boy all night, but like a cruel plot twist, he felt a hand tap his shoulder. Sighing mutely, he turned around, already willing Greg to leave;
"Look Greg, he hasnt even finished talking yet-" The face looking down at his was not the rough face of the Ravenclaw House Captain.
"Um, Hi, Im Molly," The girl standing behind him had waving, mousy hair, and eyes that reflected the soft candles when she smiled. And right now she was smiling down at John. "You're new to Hufflepuff right?"
Deciding mentally that he really did need a friend, John painted a smile onto his face and decided to like Molly.
"Um, yeah... I'm John" Molly laugh was musical and sweet. Birdlike. Like her.
"John Watson. I know. I wondered if you had any questions... or I mean... this is a difficult time to start what with the tournament... and I mean... you look a bit... you know... sick?"
He couldnt help the smile that played across his lips. No matter how hard he tried, he always did have the 'new kid' look about him.
"... and i heard about the problems with dorms... im sure you'll find a roommate!" Molly stuttered and spluttered like a rusty engine, so John cut her off like he would cut off the gas.
"Hey Moll? That boy-" The ravenclaw boy was looking down at the table again, like it might sprout wings at any second, dark curls catching the soft light like falling sundrops "who is that?"
Molly's eyes glassed over, her fingers clenched into fist when she looked over. It didnt take a genius to work out signs of unrequited feelings, and these feelings might as well have been broadcast via a flashing neon billboard.
"That's SHerlock Holmes... He doesnt get along with... well, anyone. Theres a good person in there though, I know there is."
He didnt know how to respond to that, so he sat besides Molly in comfortable silence, the solidarity of her arm against his, and absently listened to the Professor as he welcomed him and Harry, all the while, his glacial blue eyes trained on the mediteranean, ebony curls, and the long eyelashes hooding olive eyes, and the way his fingers intertwined in a praying position, his soft, defined mouth pressed gently against his two first fingers. Concentration furrowed Sherlocks brow and it made John smile subconciously. He stopped though, whenever he felt Molly's gaze, calculating and curious, on him.
When the new first years had all been sorted - John and Harry had been placed by one of the seniours named Mycroft beforehand - and were seated at their tables, crowded and bubbling with excitment, they were all dismissed back to their common rooms a house at a time. When Ravenclaw rose, splashes of blue colouring each of their dark uniforms, John muttered a half-hearted goodbye to Molly, and followed Greg out of The Great Hall. He was waiting by the door, chatting easily to a plump, easy looking boy, with glasses that kept falling of his nose. Slowly, John edged up to them, selfconcious of being younger, but both boys turned to him and smiled, Gregs smile distrustful and fake, but helpful. John still didnt know what quite to make of Greg Lestrade.
"John, this is Mike. Mike Stamford, house captain of Hufflepuff."
"Hi." Mike's tie was yellow, sickly but pretty. He loathed yellow.
"Hello, John. It's good to see you, and welcome to Hogwarts! Im afraid we're having a bit of a sticky situation..." John clenched his fists, focusing on the words and sinking the irrational feeling of resentment. "You see, we can't put you in with the first graders, but we don't seem to have any others dorms. There is one other option but-"
"I'm not going to find a dormmate, am I?" The small, blonde boy with burning blue eyes cut in, agitation clear as day in his voice. Greg and Mike shared a look, a silent agreement, before Mike placed a hand on John's shoulder, smiling down with curious amusment.
"It was just earlier today that another person said the exact same thing to me! And if Greg is happy for you to bunk with one from his house, I'd say we have found you a dorm? I'll have you bags sent down to Ravenclaw!" Mike trotted off, obviously pleased with himself. Though, the house captain of Ravenclaw looked none too pleased. A funny, pained expression flickered like a light across his face and shadows of curiousity and concern danced in his eyes, but when he looked down at John, he smiled a smile that didnt reach his eyes, nodded and led them down the gloomy corridor.