Every time Sherlock raised his hand to answer a question, the teacher would scan the room of sleepy students – none of whom had their hands up – then would roll his eyes and finally come back to Sherlock.
"Looks like Mr. Holmes is the only one who knows the answer – again…"
When the class was finally over, I approached Sherlock by his locker, my books pressed tightly to my chest as apprehension welled up inside me.
"Er, hi." Christ, did I really just say that?
The boy raised his head and stared at me with that same intent look he'd given me earlier in the classroom.
"What a thrilling conversation starter. Have you got any more?" he asked. His eyebrow quirked, linking in perfectly with his sarcasm.
I was taken aback for a moment by the deepness and silkiness of his voice, but I soon came around.
"I just wanted to say how much I admired your, er, intelligence. I swear I'm great at science too, but you're… well… you're some kind of child prodigy. It's fantastic."
Sherlock waited, his eyes narrowing, seemingly confused at my stream of compliments. He rarely, if ever, received compliments from classmates by the looks of it.
"This is where you're meant to say 'thanks, John'", I prompted, lifting myself up onto the balls of my feet before dropping down again. I always did this when I was nervous.
With a sweeping glance down the corridor behind me, Sherlock turned around hastily and left, his figure disappearing within the crowd.
"Great. Nice to meet you too," I said, before I felt a light tapping on my shoulder. When I turned around I was greeted by the sight of a short, black-haired boy. When I say short, I mean he was about my height – which, yes, is rather short!
At first I was slightly startled – his eyes were of the blackest black and he was about as pale as Sherlock. He had that same intense stare that could bore right through your soul.
"Are you friends with Sherlock Holmes?" he asked in an Irish drawl, his lips turning up into an unnervingly false smile.
"Um, no, I barely know him. I'm new. I'm sharing a room with him and his brother this term, though. Oh, and Gregory Lestr-"
"Don't bother trying to make friends with Sherlock Holmes…" he cut in.
"Excuse me, but I doubt that's any of your business."
"He doesn't have friends, do you wonder why?"
"Er, not particularly. I do have a few other things to be worrying ab-"
"If you ever find yourself wondering what side you want to be on…" He pointed to himself with a manic grin and turned on his heel almost theatrically before skipping off.
What the bloody hell?
Looking out of the window, I noticed Greg and Molly walking down the grassy hill outside towards the lake. Usually in a new school, you'd follow the people you knew the best and stay with them, but something made me turn away from the window and walk down the corridor in the direction Sherlock Holmes had gone. I didn't look back.
He was standing in our room, his expression cold and detached as he played his violin. The way he delicately dragged the bow across the strings was mesmerising and I found myself unable to take my gaze off him. Well, that was until he clocked eyes with me and said, "Do you realise you're staring?"
"I… what… oh God, sorry…"
"No, it's alright."
"Really? I just-"
"It's fine. It's…" He appeared to struggle to find an appropriate word, "it's nice to have someone listen to me play."
"Well, you're a great musician. I'm surprised you don't have an audience piling up outside the room to listen."
He snorted. "Why would they? I'm exactly not well-liked."
I bit my lip, wondering what the heck to say next. He wasn't exactly a boy of many words.
"So, um, some Irish student came up to me earlier, Sherlock. He was kinda scary, actually. Really weird. And he prances around a lot. Do they have druggies here? Or is it just some kind of sugar high?"
"Ah. That's just my arch-enemy. Jim Moriarty."
"Enemy? What the bloody hell-? So you apparently have no friends but you have an arch-enemy? That's not like real life… that's… that's like a storybook or something."
I looked at him, exasperated. Greg was right. This guy really was an oddball. But something about him just kept drawing me in - this beautiful friendless genius with a violin and an enemy. I was like a moth being led to this extraordinary flame.
I smiled. "Wanna go get something to eat before our next class?"
Sherlock placed his violin down then flopped onto his bed, steepling his white fingers under his chin. "I don't eat on Mondays."