This is up a bit late, but oh well. So, in explanation, Oct. 23-29, 2011 is Asexuality Awareness Week. In honor of that, I've been doing a short fic a day in different fandoms, all somehow pertaining to asexuality. I wanted to do Sherlock and Harry Potter, but somehow this turned into a crossover of both of them. So, yeah. Please read the notes!
For those of you who don't know what asexuality is, please take some time to visit the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network and read their overview! Thanks!
Title: Of Like Minds
Prompt: Asexuality Awareness Week.
Characters: asexual!Harry Potter, asexual!Sherlock Holmes
Warnings: Insane crossover AU snippet. Also, still not beta'd.
Summary: In which Harry has a problem, and Sherlock offers some unexpected advice.
Notes: So, uh. There was a point when I realized how eerily similar Sherlock Holmes is to the movie!Snape. Listen to them talk. Cumberbatch's Sherlock sounds disturbingly similar to Alan Rickman. Also, note the fondness for dramatic entrances/exits. Chemistry, potions, acidic snark. So this AU popped up in my head in which Sherlock is actually an alternate universe incarnation of Snape, and somehow Dumbledore summons him and John to Hogwarts to solve an uncrackable murder mystery (or something like that). And everyone is weirded out by Sherlock's antics, and Sherlock is viciously critical of and condescending towards wizarding society. And much hilarity ensues. Don't judge me for this. Also, in this fic, Harry is a bit older when the Triwizard Tournament happens, solely because it felt like it worked better that way for the purposes of this fic. Think fifteen or sixteen. I dunno. It's an AU. Just run with it.
Of Like Minds
"Take a friend."
Harry starts and looks up from his books at the tall, black-clad, pale man who is definitely not Snape, even if their voices sound eerily similar. Sherlock stares back down at him, green eyes somehow both expectant and bored. "Erm, what?"
"Ugh." Sherlock rolls his eyes in disgust towards the Great Hall's storm-cloud ceiling and grimaces. His ire shifts targets momentarily, and he glowers at the illusion as though resenting the very fact of its existence. Which, from what Harry has seen and heard of the man thus far, is probably spot on. "Unbelievable! One would think that, in possessing such remarkable abilities, witches and wizards would also possess a modicum of intelligence above the numbing idiocy I'm forced to endure daily. But no. Your minds are just as scattered and foolish as your ludicrous flights of fancy would indicate." He bats a hand contemptuously towards the ceiling.
Harry bristles. He clenches his jaw and grinds his teeth together to prevent himself from saying anything he might regret. In moments like these, Harry has no trouble at all seeing how this man could be—as Dumbledore claims—an alternate dimension version of everyone's least favourite Potions Master.
Sherlock meets his glare evenly. For a few seconds, they are completely still, and Harry is sure that the insufferable detective will flounce off to find something more worthy of his attention.
But, to his surprise, Sherlock takes his gloved hands from the pockets of his coat and links them together on the table as he sits down across from Harry and studies him.
Harry feels abruptly like a troublesome potions ingredient that's being examined for dissection. He shifts uncomfortably.
Finally Sherlock speaks, enunciating each word slowly and sharply. "Take. A. Friend. To the Yule Ball."
Harry stares at him, his anger long forgotten. He's heard of the man's uncanny insight—even seen him in action a couple of times around Hogwarts—but he's never been the target before. It makes him feel like a fruit being peeled and split open, his secrets laid out in sections for examination. "How'd you—"
Sherlock cuts him off, obviously used to the question, and fires a rapid list of points so swiftly that Harry can barely follow. "You've been avoiding your classmates with a reclusiveness that borders on paranoia for the past week, coinciding precisely with when said classmates have begun asking one another to this ridiculous Ball. One could credit nervousness, but, as evidenced by your tie, this is clearly not the case. You have also checked out a book on traditional wizard dance forms, but you haven't even opened it once, which you would have done if you were even the least bit interested in learning from it. But, you keep the book with you at all times, carefully positioned so as to be visible over the top of your satchel, implying that you want people to see it so that they'll think you're trying."
Harry's mouth has dropped open. He glances guiltily over at the aforementioned book. Sherlock is right, of course. The detective sweeps on through his deductions without pausing for breath.
"That tactic hardly delays the inevitable. As one of the Four Champions, you're expected to attend with someone, and since you haven't found anyone, you're here sulking and feeling miserably anxious. Very anxious, if your fingers are any indication."
Harry looks down at his hands. They're ink-stained—more so than usual—and the dry skin around his cuticles is savaged from where he's been subconsciously jabbing the tip of his quill.
"So. You have plenty of options, but are actively uninterested—not intimidated or nervous—but uninterested in any of them. The entire concept bores you, but you can't simply not go. The solution is simple; take a friend."
Harry blinks. "But…"
"But what?It's a perfectly logical and viable solution."
"But all of my friends are already going with someone else!" Harry blurts. "Ugh." He sinks his head into his hands with a frustrated groan. "Even 'Mione and Luna have dates."
Sherlock's lips part silently, and he leans back. "Ah."
"I don't want a date, either!" Harry storms on, and it feels good to vent to someone else, even if that someone else is Snape's alternate dimension self. "If I could go with someone who I know could understand that, who wouldn't get any ideas or hopes for later, then that would be brilliant. But I'm not going to lie or pretend just to get through this. I'm sick of everyone assuming that it's easy for me and that I should have someone I fancy and just ask her! It's stupid!"
Sherlock is silent. After a few seconds, Harry wonders if the man has up and left sometime during is diatribe. He lowers his hands and looks up. Sherlock is still there and, astonishingly, is smiling a quiet, knowing smile.
"I believe I can help you on that note," he says. "I don't normally bother with this sort of thing, but it is admittedly more relevant to my interests when I notice the rare individual who shares my—and your—persuasions."
Harry frowns and opens his mouth to say that no, he's not gay thanks, but Sherlock's next words shrivel his protest before it can be born.
"Edwina Rivers, a Hufflepuff, is also asexual. She's struggling with similar peer pressure difficulties. You might find some common ground to discuss."
Harry stares at him, speechless. He has never heard the term 'asexual' before, but it's obvious what it means, both by the word itself and by how perfectly it resonates with those inexplicable eccentricities that before were just more tallies under the label 'Freak'. Okay,I have to look this up, he thinks, because if it means what he's pretty sure Sherlock is implying that it means, then he's not alone; there are more like him. That knowledge lifts him and lightens him, drains the tension, the anxiety, the fear, and the anger away. "Edwina?" he says.
Sherlock nods. Harry digs for a scrap of parchment and scribbles the name down. "So, you're…asexual, too?" he tries the word out. It feels awkward on his tongue, but not unpleasant.
"Yes, I did say so," Sherlock replies, his patience clearly spent.
Harry looks up and frowns. "You said that this stuff isn't worth your time or attention. So why help me out?"
The scorn disappears from Sherlock's eyes. Just for a moment, Harry sees the aloof green soften with empathy. Sherlock sighs and stands, slipping his hands back into his coat pockets. "Because," he says, "I had the same experience once, a long time ago." He pauses. "Mine ended far more unpleasantly." He meets Harry's eyes. "Take my advice."
Harry nods. "I will. Thanks."
Sherlock nods, turns, and walks away down the length of the Great Hall, his formidable mind already refocusing on the problem he was brought here to solve. "JOHN!" he bellows. "JOHN! I HAVE NEED OF A PAPERCLIP!" When no response is forthcoming, Sherlock snarls something uncomplimentary about cell phones and wizard castles, and stalks off in search of his partner.
Harry smiles. He packs his books away in his satchel and picks up the scrap of parchment. Time to find Edwina.