"The chamber of secrets?" It was about the hundredth time Sherlock had said those 4 words in the past hour. Each time it changed; A question, a statement, an exclaimation. John's mind felt muzzy and hazy, like fog was bunging up the cogs in his brain, slowing it down. Sherlock sat opposite him, stray butterbeer foam sticking to his upper lip. It looked cute, in a sort of 'stop looking' way. The Leaky Cauldron was practically dead... most of the campus was - everyone safetly tucked away from the constant reminders of the 4 petrifications, and the looming, sinister presence lurking somewhere within Hogwart's walls. The sat alone, after Greg took Molly back to her dorm (just in case something happened), in a rather uncomfortable silence, trying to puzzle out the pieces. Though John's mind was in a slightly different place.
"Sherlock, can we talk about... what, urm, happened?" He looked up at the boy next to him, expecting the usual stoniness, and was met by a pair of green eyes so full of anger and desperation, he almost felt like a intruder.
"Nothing, John. Nothing happened."
"No John. If you dont want to get hurt, dont let yourself feel. Dont care. Caring is not an advantage, especially not with me." He lowered his gaze and stood up, turning on his heel and striding out, long coat trailing behind. Then he was alone with his butterbeer. The air held a sudden chill, like a ghost was breathing down his neck.
He didn't even realise someone actually was until the hands clamped around his shoulders and pulled him backwards into darkness.
Snow crunched under Molly's boots, soft and perfect across the grounds. Around her feet, her robes were damp and her hair blew across her face, lips chapped and ears pink. Around 4 every afternoon, she skirted the forbidden forest, with a few apples in her pocket. She wanted to be back in time for Gryfindor annual bonfire night celebration. It was one of the only muggle traditions Hogwarts celebrated, but it was always fun, roasting marshmallows and singing around the enourmos bonfire on the quiditch pitch. She knew she had to hurry, if she wanted to make it on time. She practically ran down towards the line of trees. Two months ago, she had been down at the gamekeepers cabin, and heard a gentle whimper, like a baby crying. The night was beginning to settle over the trees, and she had been ready to turn and run back to the school, but the noise had melted her to her core, and she had gone looking. About half a mile into the woods, she had gotten completely lost, stumpbling through the shadows and over loose twigs. It was when she fell facefirst onto the soft, mossy ground that she first saw the hoof prints; so small and all over the place, like a foals first wobbly steps. Swallowing the fear spiralling up her spine, she followed the tracks to a hollow tree. Inside was a bundle of scrawny linmbs, slivery feathers and umproportioned, powerful wings.
Every day since, she had bought down apples and blankets to the orphaned hippogriff in the hollowed out tree.
She didn't tell anyone about him, afraid they would send him away, even though she could take care of him. He was so big now, and she still had a month or so before the christmas holidays... he would be strong enough by then to last a couple of weeks by himself... she was sure of it. Since she found him in september, legs had grown to amost the size of her, his eyes shone with a healthy light, and with his beak he could snap up a meal faster than Molly could say 'pizza'. But it wa his wings that took her breath away. Every day, he seemed to get healthier and his wings could now blow her backwards, silvery and fluid when they moved in the light, each of the feathers like ripples on water. He was so much stronger than the sickly, small foal she found cowering in the tree.
So she decided not to dwell on the fact that he couldn't fly... his mother dead before he could be taught. He would be fine. It would be fine. She would be-
"Um? My educated guess is that you're not out here to pick apples?" The sharp, husky voice cut through her reverie, and she span around so fast the apples in her pocket came around seconds after and whacked her in the stomach, momentarily winding her. Or maybe it was just seeing sherlock standing on the ledge above her, an apple in his grasp. He looked devastatingly handsome in his long robes, hair ruffled by the wind, ivory skin gowing in the white light of the frosty evening. In one elegant motion he jumped of the ledge and was infront of her, holding the fruit out.
"You dropped this." He smiled but the contained anger in his ocean eyes made her lose control of her lungs again. She realised then that she should be speaking but the words seemed to jam in her throat, so she just took the apple and lowered her gaze to her feet. For a few moment, the silence weighed down on the two of them. Then he cleared his throat; she looked up and his eyes had softened.
"I would strongly recommend you don't go into the dark forest tonight, Molly. Whatever it is can wait until tomorrow. And, um... I might need... some assisstance. Now."
"You? Need my help?" It came out more surprised than she intended, but it was still an improvement on insane or intorerably needy. The anger rose up in his eyes, and colour bloomed in his cheeks, with made her smile, a small secret smile he wouldn't even notice.
"Well, I found something at the scene yesterday, however it requires some more thorough experimentation by someone more... knowledgable upon the subject of animals."
"Well why didn't you just ask John? He takes care of magical creature too-"
"No." He hadn't meant to sound as harsh, but she flinched just the same. His green eyes burnt, like rivers of fire and his fists clenched, veins straining against his pale skin. "No. I need you." And like that, he was him again, hand raking through his dark curls, eyes alert and warm and so close to her his breath warmed her cheek.
Then he smiled and kissed her. It was soft and hesitant to start with, and Molly didn't know where to put her hands. She had thought about kissing Sherlock for so long, she thought she would know what to do with herself. When his tongue licked across her bottom lips, she shivered, subconciously raising her hand to tange in his hair, silky against her palm. The kiss deepened, and his hands grazed her body through her coat, her tongue sliding into his mouth to tangle with his, and she pressed her hand to his lower back and pushed them closer together. His teeth grazed over her lower lip, and she tasted the bitter, metalic flavour as a cut opened up. He seemed to taste it too, because all of a sudden he pushed back, leaving her cold and embarrased, a rosy blush creeping all the way up to her ears. His eyes flickered everywhere but her, and his breathing was ragged and heavy. She pulled her coat futher around her, the apples suddenly heavy in her pocket, and she remembered her hippogriff. It was too dark now, the hazy lights in the castle casting eerie shadows across the grounds, and she prayed he would be alright for just one night.
Sherlock looked up at her again and she felt herself drop on the inside when she saw the emotionless apology glitter in his eyes. She knew it hadn't meant anything; he had needed someone, and she had been available. She couldn't find it in herself to care.
She just wondered whether this had anything to do with John.
He moved towards her again, a sad smile across his face, that held so many lost opportunities and broken wishes. For the first time, Molly realised Sherlock Holmes might be more broken than anyone knew. Even himself. But still he smiled.
"I'm sorry. Let me walk you back. We will be late for the bonfire at the quiditch pitch. Remember, remember, the fith of November. Stupid muggle traditions, but still the house's like the celebrations. Let me walk you back." He held out a hand, translucent in the rising moonlight
"Let me walk you back. Please?" She had never heard him plead. She never wanted to again. So she just gave him her hand.
It wasn't warm like Greg's hand was.
The hallways were practically empty, but Sherlock still felt claustrophobic and breathy, like he was drowning in empty space.
He was such an idiot. He deserved to be alone.
Everyone was down at the quiditch pitch, the soft hum of their singing wafting up through the open windows of the library. Molly was down there. Lestrade. John... probaby with Mary, holding her hand and kissing her. He bit down the unexpected angst welling up inside him and tried to focus on the word in the book. They swam before his eyes and he slammed the book shut with such a force the entire table shook, his empty mug knocked off the edge, smashing all over the floor.
Bending down, he began scooping up the small fragments of china, scattered across the wooden floor. He had nearly retrieved all the pieces when he stopped, lifting his head above the table and scanning the motionless room, eyebrows knitting together. The silence seemed so much louder all of a sudden. He stared back down at the broken mug on the floor and began cleaning again, but then the noise came again. Footsteps, hesitant and gentle on the wood, and the glow of a lantern lit up the small alcove where Sherlock was huddled on the floor, surrounded by shattered china.
"Piss-" Sherlock muttered under his breath, not looking up, determined not to get caught in the restricted section again. Holding his breath, he crouched further behind the desk, and tried to shadow himself, hiding from the gleam of the light. But when he tried to maneuver himself, he wobbled, putting his hand down to steady himself right on a shard of the shattered mug. Pain laced through his hand and he jolted backward, falling and knocking over a chair. His back smacked the ground, and he choked on his own breath as it tried to rush out his lungs. The lantern was moving towards him, the light shadowing the holder, but Sherlock could tell he had been spotted, and he just couldn't care. He cradled his hand to his chest, red blossoming across the white of his shirt, and tried to sit up, the wind still knocked out of him.
A gentle hand pushed him back down as he tried to get up. Warm and affectionate.
"Sherlock, what in God's name...?"
John's electric blue eyes shone down with him, so full of concern and so beautiful. Beautiful. The word seemed so naturally fitting, like it was meant to describe John's eyes. His hands stroked over Sherlock's forearms, gently but determinedly keeping him on the floor, and he was so aware of Johns fingers lingering at his sides, before taking Sherlock's hand in his, uncurling his fingers to examine the cut.
"It's not so bad. Deep, but I dont think it'll need stitches... Are you alright?" His voice hitched on the last word, his eyes darting all over Sherlock's face, everywhere but his eyes. He wasn't alright. Not really. The soft curve of John's jaw tightened, obviously out of anxiety, and Sherlock didn't know whether he wanted to punch it or kiss along the curve. He wanted so much to deny any attraction but the way John's shirt rode up around his smooth torso made his finger twitch and his breath catch. He was smart enough to know what was good for him, but every time John spoke, his brain shut down.
"I'll live." He couldn't decide who he was convincing. Certainly not himself. John just sighed, like his answer had upset him, and heaved Sherlock up into a sitting position. John knelt by Sherlock's side, and gathered up the pieces of china, the muscles in his back flexing through his shirt and Sherlock had to actively stop himself from staring, so started to make small talk - not his strong suit.
"So um, " His voice sounded hoarse, his breath still slightly lost. "Aren't you supposed to be at the bonfire?"
John placed the pieces of china on the desk, standing up and offering a hand down to Sherlock. From that angle, John's face was contorted by the shadows of the soft light, his cheekbone more angular and his eyes dancing with golden shadows. His hand felt rough and strong in Sherlock's, as he pulled him up, so he was facing the taller boy. Sherlock decided it was just the light that made John's eyes look wet and sad... his probably looked the same. John breath tickled Sherlock's neck when he spoke, so soft it was almost a whisper.
Sherlock laughed in spite of the situation and the pain spiraling through his arm.
"I don't really think im wanted down there.." John smiled, a real, honest smile that cut dimples into his cheeks and crinkled around his eyes, as he looked up at Sherlock through thick, blonde eyelashes that caught the candlelight like embers in a fire. His fingers still gently ran circles over the cut on Sherlock's palm, and Sherlock couldn't help but let out a small gasp at the proximity.
"Maybe not. But now I'm here, and I want..." You. The unspoken word hung in the air. John's eyes fell to the floor, a blush creeping up to his ears. Shivering with anxiety, Sherlock stepped closer and placed a hand on John's arm. The fabric of the jumper was soft, familiar and yet still such a new sensation, and he stroked up the other boys arm, over his neck to cup his cheek. As he caressed John's smooth jawline, he lift the smalled boy's face up to his. He waited until those intense, blue eyes were locked on his, and then he told him the big secret;
"Im not okay John. I don't know what i'm doing. You could go and be with Mary... you don't need this, you have no idea how to be with me... I'm not okay."
He stopped breathing as John leant forward and gently pressed his lips to his cheek. His lips lingered there, his finger ghosting across Sherlock's hips, everything hesitant and slow. Stiff and unsure, Sherlock fluttered about with his hands, holding back. The stupid thing was, was that he had only just kissed Molly, even if it had been forced and uncomfortable, but it felt different with John, like his body was on fire every time John's fingers brushed his skin, and he wanted to stop himself internally combusting by keeping his distance. John seemed to sense Sherlock's hesitance;
"No... no, yes oh god yes..." He felt himself tremble under John's touch.
Then John's lips were moving across his jaw and pressed against the corner of Sherlocks mouth, his hands gently sliding under his shirt and rubbing circles over his hip bones. Tension burnt through Sherlock, his fists gripping John's jumped much to tight and he could feel himself straining against the kiss.
Then John's lips were covering Sherlock's and Sherlock let himself curl into John, pressing his lips harder against John and winding his arms around the other boys neck. A soft moan purred from John's throat, obviously pleased Sherlock was reciprocating, and he moved his hands futher up Sherlock shirt, skirting across his smooth torso, and winding their way to his lower back, just above his ass, to press their hips closer togetther. The feel of John's tongue tangled with his, and their hips pressed so close together made Sherlock shudder with anticipation, and he pulled gently on John's golden hair, exposing his throat. He tailed kisses down his neck, nipping playfully at the sensitive skin above John's collar, and was rewarded by a involuntary gasp. He bought his lips back down to John's, licking all over his bottom lip, and looped his fingers through John's belt hoops, pulling him closer still until there was no space between them, and he could feel each ragged breath John took. He felt John smile against his lips, spurring him on until his body and hands and lips reacted instictively. He felt his fingers run over John's stomach, lower still until he was fiddling restlessly with the flyers on John's jeans. Panting against Sherlock's cheek, John breathed out "Sherlock, not here." Then he was silenced by Sherlock's lips covering his once again, unable to deny himself another kiss. He's waited so long, and he couldn't mess this up. John's hands tangle in Sherlock's soft, dark curls and the heat of his body made Sherlock shiver. Their mouths fitted together like puzzle pieces, slanted slightly and tongues licking over each other. John's spine curled under Sherlock's touch and their bodies melted together seamlessly. It felt so good to be with someone like this. Sherlock's heart raced against John's, and suddenly they were kissing anymore, just pressed against each other, John's head tucked neaty into the crook of Sherlock's neck, his hands still tangled in Sherlock's hair, Sherlock's hands pressed against his shoulder blade, where his wings should've been. And Sherlock didn't want distance anymore.
It was worth the fire.