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A Peck of Owls

John spent much of his first few days in bed. His connection to Sherlock was tenuous at best, but with his senses dulled, his visions became muffled. The nightmares didn't stop, but that's all they were, and eventually, he sat his mother down at the kitchen table and explained everything that had happened the previous year.

She sat quietly, listening through every halting word, only asking the occasional question, and passing him tissues.

When he was done, he felt empty and raw, and gulped down a glass of water while he waited for his mother to say something. It wasn't until his mother came around the table and wrapped him in her arms, that he realised he was shaking, and cried into her shoulder.

'I'm really tired, Mum,' he choked.

'I can tell,' she said, stroking his head. 'Sounds like you had a year of it.'

'I wasn't the only one,' John sniffed. 'I couldn't save Cedric.'

'It wasn't your job to save him,' she said quietly, pulling away and looking him in the face. 'It was everyone who was in charge of that stupid tournament's job to protect him. Dumbledore's for hiring that nutcase in the first place.'

'But what is it all for, if I can't use it to help anyone?'

'Does it have to be all that important? You helped that Neville boy find his toad, didn't you? And your friend's brother had fun doing his project on you, didn't he?'

'I suppose…' John slumped in his chair.

His mother suddenly smiled. 'I think I know something that will help.'

John looked up curiously.

'Why don't you invite Sherlock over?

John felt his cheeks warm.

'I can tell that you miss him.'

'It's only been a few days since I saw him,' John said, rolling his eyes.

'As if that would stop you. Does he have a telephone, or should we send a letter?'

'No need, hang on.'

John closed his eyes and reached out for Sherlock. It was faint, but he got the impression across. 'He's busy…' John mumbled. 'Somewhere cold… Sweden? No, Norway… He'll be back in a couple of weeks…'

'Okay, so he'll come here, then. Until then, I want you to stop blaming yourself. There was only so much you can do, and by the sounds of it, you did that.'

'I'll try.'

'And stop spending so much time in bed. I'll make you some tea, but then you should go for a walk and get some fresh air.'

'If you insist.'

She smiled again, but John saw her glance at the picture of his father on the wall.

'It's not the same,' he mumbled.

'I didn't say it was.'

'I'm not like him.' He stood, ignoring the cup of tea she made for him. Anger bubbled up inside him before he could stop it, and though he knew he was being irrational, her sympathetic expression only made him angrier. He brushed off the alarm coming from Sherlock and stormed from the house.

It was horribly warm outside, with only a slight breeze to alleviate it. The leaves on the hedges outside their house had begun to curl and turn brown. John walked down the street, ignoring all the children running around, and giving the ones playing with a hose a wide berth.

Not for the first time since he'd been home, his thoughts turned to Harry, and then to Voldemort. His head spun as all his visions came back to him, and he stopped walking so he wouldn't vomit into his neighbour's hydrangeas. They had an idea of some of his plans, but what was he doing now, at that very moment, John didn't know. He tried to look, but only got as far as Wormtail, before he was forced to abandon it and sink to the floor. He got the impression that Sherlock wanted him to rest, but instead he turned to check on the others.

Harry was the easiest to find, and John saw him lying under the windowsill outside his house, listening to the news coming from the television inside. He looked hot and frustrated, but otherwise, he seemed all right.

Then he moved on to Hermione, the closest to him. She was sitting in her bedroom, surrounded by books, with The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts in her hand. Her hair was tied up, she had a pencil behind her ear, and several glasses of water dotted around the room. There were pieces of parchment littering her bed and lap, and she was twirling her wand in her other hand, mouthing the words she was reading. John smiled and moved away.

Firstly, he passed by Sam and Dean. Sam was pacing around Dean, reading out the notes he'd made about John, and Dean was throwing a misshapen Quaffle up and down, looking thoroughly bored. Then he moved over to the Weasleys. Most of them were outside, playing Quidditch, and he saw Mr and Mrs Weasley in their kitchen, talking and looking worried.

Lastly, he tried to pinpoint Castiel. He was the furthest away, and John couldn't make out more than his blurred outline, before everything turned white and he heard a high-pitched whining in his ears. He eased out of it, disappointed, then reached for Sherlock again. All he got was a vague sense that Sherlock was rolling his eyes.

'Fine, maybe I do miss you,' he muttered, to the sound of laughter in his head. 'Shut up, you're making me look mental. Yes, ha ha, I look mental already, you're hilarious.' He leaned back against the brick wall he had sat in front of, and watched the clouds until they started to form shapes. He didn't know what they meant, and he didn't bother trying to interpret them. Instead, he just watched until the sun touched the horizon and he finally decided to go home.

The kettle had already been switched back on when he went back into the kitchen.

'I'm sorry,' he said, without meeting his mother's eyes.

She squeezed his shoulder as she placed a fresh mug of tea in front of him. 'It's all right,' she said. 'I'm not angry with you, I just want you to feel better.'

'I know.'

She sat back down and again looked up at the picture. 'Things were difficult with your father,' she said.


'And I miss him all the time. I hated watching him go the way he did.'

'Yeah, I was also there.'

'John, please,' she said. 'I love you and your sister so much. I don't want you to go through the same thing he did.'

John groaned. 'I won't.'

His mother grimaced. 'You already are. Keep talking to people, okay? Me, Sherlock, your friends. Anyone.'

John took a sip of his tea. 'Not Harriet.'

'Not Harriet, if you don't want to,' she snorted.

John smiled at her. 'I love you too, Mum. And I'm sorry for my mood swings. I'll try not to take it out on you so much.'

'I'm sure I can take it.' She swallowed some of her own tea. 'So… Sherlock?'


'What, I can't ask? With your sister, I knew since she started school, but you, I had no idea.'

John groaned dramatically, leaning back against the chair. 'I didn't know either, it just sort of happened.'

'He seems a little…'

'His mind works differently to everyone else's.'

'I'm not sure about him.'

'Neither am I.' John laughed at Sherlock's indignation in the back of his head. 'He helps me,' he added at her frown. 'I like him. He'll do.'

'He'll do?'

John waved a hand. 'I really like him. I also like teasing him, because he can hear me, and it's funny.'

'I still don't quite understand that part.'

'Neither do we, but it's still funny. Don't worry, he does it to me too.'

'As long as he makes you happy.'

'He does.' He blushed at both the smile on his mother's face, and the fondness coming from Sherlock.

Just then, the front door opened, footsteps came down the hall, and John suddenly found himself in a headlock.

'Ah, Harriet, get off,' John complained, struggling against her arm.

She laughed and let go, and moved around to give their mother a kiss on the cheek. 'Hi, Mum,' she said brightly.

'Hello, dear. Lovely to see you, Clara,' she added, as Harriet's girlfriend also came into the room.

'You too,' she smiled.

Harriet made them both tea, then threw herself down in the chair next to John. She had cut her hair short, and was wearing one of their father's army jackets. 'So, it's true what they say about boarding school boys,' she grinned, knuckling John's head.

Clara giggled, leaning against the kitchen counter with her cup of tea.

'Seriously, what do you see in her?' John asked Clara. 'You're way too pretty for her.'

'She has a certain charm,' Clara replied.

'Oh yeah, she's charming all right,' John grumbled, as Harriet put her heavily booted feet up on the table.

All the people in the room started to hurt John's head, so he finished his tea and left for the peace of his bedroom.

'Is he going to be okay?' he heard Harriet whisper.

'I hope so,' their mother whispered back. 'He's having a rough go of it.'

John sighed, and carried on back up to his room.

Dolly was sitting in her tank. She had been quiet since they had returned home, croaking mournfully.

'I bet you miss Trevor,' he said to her. 'You'll see him again after the summer.'

She just crawled into the cave in her tank to hide, but croaked sadly again.

John lay down on his bed, trying not to think too much.

His trunk lay empty in one corner, his robes hanging up in his wardrobe until it was time to pack them. He had both the Slytherin tie that Sherlock got him, and the tie with the rose in the corner framed, sitting on his bedside table. His books were all stacked on his desk, since they hadn't received their book lists yet, and he didn't know which they would need. The crystal ball that Professor Trelawney had given him was under his bed. It still had the black bag around it, where John had at first shoved it to the bottom of his trunk, then rolled it under his bed without looking into its misty depths.

The sun dimmed and John crawled under the covers. His mother came in and put a plate of sandwiches on his bedside table, but he didn't have much of an appetite.

Sleep was both the part of the day he most looked forward to, and the part that he most dreaded. It was no different that night. His dreams swirled, and he woke himself up with his own screaming, breathing heavily and shaking. He scrubbed the tears from his face and held his head in his hands. 'Why won't it stop?' he stammered.

Sherlock couldn't answer from so far away, only send faint sympathy.

'Why did you have to go to Norway, anyway?' John sniffed and wiped his face again, but slipped out of bed.

He walked out into the hallway, and saw that a lamp was still on in his mother's room, and felt guilty for keeping her awake again. 'Mum?' he mumbled, pushing open her door.

She looked up from the book she was reading.

John's chin wobbled and he was still shaking. 'Can - can I-?'

'Come here,' she said softly, pulling back the blankets on her bed for him.

He climbed in beside her, and she pulled him in for a tight cuddle. 'You won't tell Harriet?'

''Course not.'

John went back to sleep in her arms, and the dreams bothered him less that night.

They both pretended that it hadn't happened the next morning, but it became John's best coping method when the dreams were too much. Most nights, when he'd chased Harriet off to Clara's with his screams, he'd creep into his mother's room, and curl up beside her while she hummed him to sleep.

He tried not to be too embarrassed by it, especially since it was working. The nightmares faded, and after two weeks, he was spending more time in his own bed.

The night before Sherlock was due to return from Norway, John woke suddenly, bolting upright in bed. He had not been dreaming, nor was he shivering or sweating. He felt almost normal, but something was off.

It was late, pitch black outside but for the street lights, and John stared out of his window into the darkness. There was magic nearby. He slowly stood up, his bare feet touching the floor without a sound. He focused in on the magic, and gasped as he saw the white masks of three Death Eaters. They drew out a map, and one of them pointed at his house on it.

He grabbed his wand dashed from his room, and shook his mother awake.


'Shh.' John yanked her from her bed. 'They're coming.' He desperately tried to wake Sherlock, pushing through the pain it caused him as he pulled his mother down the stairs. Sherlock! He thought so loudly it reverberated across their link, and Sherlock finally woke up. Death Eaters!

John hurried into the kitchen, closing the door behind him, and hiding them both behind the kitchen counter. He pointed his wand at the door, intending to lock it, but he couldn't remember the spell.

Colloportus, Sherlock's voice whispered.

John repeated him as quietly as he could, and ducked behind the counter again. Hurry up, John called.

All he could hear was his and his mother's breathing, then both of them froze as they heard the front door open. One of them went upstairs, and the other two walked slowly along the hallway.

'In here,' one of them muttered, as he tried the handle to the kitchen door. 'Alohomora.'

The door clicked open, and the Death Eater crept slowly inside.

John's heart raced, and he pushed his mother even further into the shadows. He crawled closer to the one that had come into the kitchen, as quietly as possible in an attempt to catch them by surprise.

He held his wand in his trembling hand and rounded the kitchen counter. 'Silencio,' he whispered, then, 'Impedimenta,' to immobilise him, without alerting the others.

Where are you? he called to Sherlock, to no response.

Then, John's time ran out. He'd kept the Death Eater in the kitchen silent momentarily, but the one that had gone to check the living room, came out and saw them.

They stared at each other for a moment, until John rolled across the floor, under the kitchen table, putting the Full Body-Bind in the Death Eater he'd already jinxed as he went.

'Stupefy!' the other Death Eater cried, his spell just missing John under the table.

His mother then jumped out from behind the counter and slammed a heavy saucepan on the Death Eater's head, knocking him to the floor.

'Mum!' John shouted, as the last of the three barrelled down the stairs and aimed his wand. 'Protego!' He threw himself out from under the table, deflecting the curse coming at him without even hearing what it was. He pushed his mother back down, tripping over the Death Eaters on the ground. 'Mum, get-'


Before he could react, John's mind went blank, and he dropped his wand.

'Come with me,' the Death Eater's voice said, and John obeyed.

He could hear his mother shouting, but he cared very little for it, he just walked towards the front door. The front door slammed open before he could reach it, and the curse suddenly lifted.

The Death Eater controlling him swore loudly and Disapparated, followed by the two in the kitchen.

John blinked, struggling to pull himself together.

'John!' someone called, and cool fingers cupped his face.

'Sherlock?' John mumbled, squinting.

'Yes, it's me. I'm here.'

John took a deep breath to steady himself, Sherlock before him, and Mycroft standing in the doorway. He looked around and gasped. 'Mum!' he shouted, scrambling back into the kitchen. 'Mum!'

'I'm all right!' she said, coming out from behind the kitchen counter. 'I'm not hurt.'

John hugged her tightly. 'I'm sorry,' he said.

'Don't be silly,' she said. 'I'm fine.'

'Sorry to barge in, Mrs Watson,' Sherlock said, stepping over to them. He was still in his pajamas.

'Nice to see you again. Who's this?' she asked, nodding at Mycroft.

'My brother,' Sherlock told her. 'He works at the Ministry.'

'How did they know where I live?' John asked, pain building in the back of his head.

'It appears they have already infiltrated the Ministry,' Mycroft said. 'A lot quicker than I was expecting.'

'If you thought they were going to get in, why did you make us go to Norway?' Sherlock demanded.

'Not your concern,' Mycroft said shortly.

John sank to the floor, holding his head.

Sherlock knelt next to him and waited.


Sherlock shushed Mycroft irritably.

John fought it momentarily, then gave up, allowing the vision to take him.

It was just flashing images, mostly of rows upon rows of swirling orbs. He saw Nagini briefly, then everything turned pink. He tried to force it into a more linear progression, and so it would make sense, but it refused to be anything more than lights and images. It eventually ended with a last, lingering look at Nagini, and he snapped back into the hallway, breathing heavily.

'Relax,' Sherlock murmured.

'I'm okay.'

'What was it?'

'I couldn't get a good hold of it,' John said, massaging his temples. 'Nagini was there though.'

'I think we should get the crystal ball.'

John grimaced. Sherlock knew full well that John was reluctant to use it, and set off stronger visions. 'Yeah, you're probably right,' John sighed.

'I wish I weren't.'

John snorted. 'Don't lie, you love being right.'

Sherlock opened his mouth, but clamped it shut again.

John's cheeks burned, knowing exactly what Sherlock had been about to say, and briefly returned the sentiment.

Sherlock cleared his throat. 'It's in your room, isn't it? I'll get it.' He kissed John's forehead, then raced up the stairs.

'How does he know where your room is?' Mrs Watson asked.

John shrugged. 'He once worked out how to find someone's bed based on the architecture and the amount of litter on the floor, without even speaking to the person. I'm sure he'd have no problem finding mine.'

Sherlock came down with the ball in his hands, still wrapped in the bag.

John stared at it apprehensively. 'Mum, why don't you and Mycroft have a nice cup of tea in the kitchen?'

'Are you sure? I can stay.'

'I'd rather you weren't looking at me while I do this. It looks ridiculous.'

'Come, Mrs Watson,' Mycroft said, taking her arm and walking her into the kitchen.

John smirked at him as they walked. 'Does he sleep in his robes, or something?'

'He doesn't sleep, he hangs from the ceiling like a bat,' Sherlock said, making John laugh. 'Are you ready?'

'I suppose.' John took the ball from Sherlock's hands and reluctantly unwrapped it.

The ball was warm in his hands, full of energy. It felt almost eager to be used. John stared at it, watching the mist form shapes. It showed him the orbs again, the same ones from his vision, then it showed him Mycroft.

'Weird,' he muttered. 'Why Mycroft?'

The mist reshaped itself into a long corridor, then showed him the Ministry of Magic crest.

'Something at the Ministry?'

It showed the orbs again, then he nearly dropped it when the Dark Mark suddenly appeared. He shoved it back into the bag.

'Anything?' Sherlock asked.

'I'm not sure. Something about the Ministry and Mycroft?'

'He's the Head of the Department of Mysteries. Something in there, perhaps?'

'Then the Dark Mark…' It rattled around in his head for a moment, and he again saw flashes of Harry and Cedric in the graveyard before gaining control again.

'You-Know-Who wants something in the Department of Mysteries,' Sherlock said, nodding mostly to himself.

'What could he want in there?'

'The question is, what wouldn't he want? They have all sorts of artefacts and experiments in there. Mycroft won't even let me in.'

'What are these orb things, then? You think that's what he wants?'

'Mycroft?' Sherlock called, and John winced.

'Yes?' Mycroft said, coming back out of the kitchen.

'Do you have any white orbs on shelves in your department?'

Mycroft didn't answer.

'If you do, You-Know-Who wants them.'

Mycroft turned slightly pale, but still didn't say anything.

A screech owl then swooped in through the open kitchen window, and dropped a letter with John's name on in his lap.

'I'm not touching that,' he said, sensitive from holding the crystal ball.

Sherlock picked it up and opened it, then rolled his eyes and tossed it at Mycroft. 'Friends of yours,' he said.

Mycroft looked over it and tutted. 'I will deal with it.'

'What is it?' John asked.

'You're expelled for doing magic in front of a Muggle,' Sherlock said in a bored voice.

'I'm expelled?' John said, aghast.

'You're not expelled. Mycroft will take care of it.'

Mycroft crumpled up the letter and made for the front door. 'I need to speak with Dumbledore. You'd better pack your things,' he said.

'What? Why?'

'We need to get you to a safe house. I'll send someone to collect you. You need to be ready.'


'You can't stay here.' With that, Mycroft swept from the house, leaving Sherlock behind with John.

John pushed himself to his feet and went to his mother. 'Are you sure you're okay?' he asked her.

She smiled at him. 'I'm sure,' she said. 'I just didn't know that magic could be… like that.'

'Yeah, it can be a bit scary.'

'You held your own though.' She looked up at Sherlock. 'Thank you for coming.'

'It's all right,' he said awkwardly. 'John, we should get packed.'

This time, John accompanied Sherlock upstairs, to his room.

It was odd to see him there, a little too tall and lightly touching the framed ties, with a small smile.

John closed the door and went to stand next to him.

'Did you miss me?' Sherlock said, still looking down at the ties.

'What kind of question is that?' John chuckled. 'I thought you were supposed to be clever.' John glanced back at the closed door. When am I getting a real kiss?

It was Sherlock's turn to blush, but he obliged, tickling John's head with his curls.

'You should get dressed,' Sherlock murmured, pulling away. 'I'll pack your trunk.'

John threw on some clothes, only pausing for a moment when the Dark Mark spiked through his head again.

'It'll be all right,' Sherlock said. 'Mycroft won't let him get whatever it is that he wants.'


'He's smarter than he looks.'

John laughed again, and started pulling clothes out of his wardrobe and stuffing them into his trunk.

He packed some things into his rucksack as well, including his crystal ball, so that he could get to is easily. He tried not to be too embarrassed when Sherlock found small things he'd kept that reminded him of Sherlock, but it was difficult when Sherlock smirked every time.

'Don't make me regret missing you,' he muttered.

'You would never.' Sherlock packed in the last of John's books. 'You can leave the ones you don't need in wherever Mycroft is taking us.'


'Do you think I'm going to let him hide you away somewhere, without me?'

'Are you worried about me?'

'I thought that one was fairly obvious, you did just have three Death Eaters attempt to kidnap you.'

'Well, I was never that smart.'

Sherlock kissed him again.

Even after months together, Sherlock was still hesitant with John, as though worried that even the gentlest touch would push him away.

'Nice of you to worry,' John said warmly, holding Sherlock's hands.

The door opened, and Sherlock pulled away slightly, but John didn't let go of his hands.

'John, there are some - er - people, waiting for you downstairs,' his mother said, trying very hard to keep a straight face.

'Be right down,' John said, softly running his thumbs over the backs of Sherlock's hands, and Mrs Watson backed out of the room.

'We'd better go,' Sherlock said, after a few minutes of silence. 'Have you packed everything?'

'I think so, yeah.' John took one last look around his room, now stripped bare. He took a deep breath, and started down the stairs to see who had come for him.

Hi guys, I'm back! Welcome if you're new, welcome back if you're not. There are going to be some intense chapters in this story, but don't worry, I'll put trigger warnings at the top, so you can skip if you want.

I'm in self-isolation atm, so hopefully I'll be back again soon, and we can really dig in to the story!