Mum drove us to the train station, Harry and I. Thank God she couldn't get to Platform 9 ¾. Her old Muggle car trundled into the car park and she left us with a kiss on the cheek and a tearful goodbye. Harry could bring herself to look sad, but I was too excited to care very much.
Mum and Harry are still uncomfortable around each other, no matter what they said. They hugged stiffly for a few moments before Harry lifted the two worn trunks out of the boot of the car and handed one to John.
The thing was, Harry hadn't been kicked out because she was a Witch. Mum had married a Wizard with a full knowledge of who he was. No, Harry had been sent to Hogwarts in shame because Mum had seen her kissing another girl in the shed in the garden.
"You're only eleven!" Mum had yelled, amidst homophobic slurs. "You can't make decisions that will affect the rest of your life right now!"
"IT'S NOT A FUCKING CHOICE!" Harry had screamed, tears falling from her eyes.
"That's it! OUT! OUT OF MY HOUSE! AND DON'T COME BACK!"
It had been the middle of summer and Harry had found a room in the Leaky Cauldron to stay in until school started. She'd had to wander around London by herself, with only the money in Gringotts that our Father had left for her and only her.
So it was still a bit awkward for them. Mum still hated, loathed, in fact, the idea of Harry kissing other girls. I was still scared and more than a little confused. But I'd had to grow up fast, faster than I'd care to admit, and I couldn't express my doubts.
We were on the train two minutes before it left, and Harry grabbed her best friend Clara's hand and dragged her off to a compartment, leaving me by myself. I soon found an empty seat, and shoved my trunk onto the rack before slumping down and staring out of the window at all of the Wizards and Witches who were seeing their children off from the platform. I wished I had a parent who could do that.
"This seat empty?" a rough voice asked.
I turned and saw a pudgy young boy with a Hufflepuff scarf tied loosely around his neck.
"Mike?" I replied in disbelief.
"Johnny-boy? Oh my God, haven't seen you in ages! Ever since I was expelled for setting the school roof on fire!"
I blinked at him, barely believing he was there. Mike Stamford had been two years above me at my Primary School, and there'd always been something a little odd about him. Of course, I'd suspected what it was, but although we'd been friends of a sort, I'd never confronted him about it.
"Yeah, I got fat," he said, to fill the silence.
"Oh," I replied. "Well, you're not really…" I trailed off, because he really was.
We sat in companionable silence for most of the train journey, and he ordered far too much food off the trolley and shared none of it.
"I'm worried I won't find any friends, y'know," I was saying pitifully. "It's not Primary School anymore. And who'd want to be friends with me, anyway?"
"Do I not count?" he laughed.
"You're two years above me," I said. "You've got all your mates in your year…I've got no-one."
"It's funny, someone said the exact same thing to me about a week ago. 'I've got no-one'. 'S not true, though. He's got his brother."
"Who has?" I inquired, intrigued.
"He'll be here, somewhere," Mike replied. "C'mon."
We walked down three compartments before Mike stopped us, grinning goofily through the glass at the two occupants.
One was small girl with mousy brown hair, who was literally unwrapping sweets and handing them to her companion, an infatuated look adorning her pretty features.
Her friend was a tall boy with high cheekbones, dark curly hair and pale skin. His pose was haughty, arrogant, as he took advantage of the girl next to him. He almost seemed oblivious to her crush, but the almost unnoticeable smirk on his lips suggested otherwise.
Mike pushed the door open and grinned at them.
"Molly, can you go ask the driver when we'll be arriving?" the boy asked, and 'Molly' immediately jumped to her feet and scampered off.
Mike cleared his throat as Molly pushed past us in her haste to follow the boy's orders, and he turned to us.
"Ah, Mike. May I borrow your wand?"
"Sorry, left it in my trunk. Didn't think I'd be needing it."
"Obviously," the boy sniffed.
"Uh, here, you can borrow mine," I said awkwardly, handing it to him. He took it and inspected it before muttering a few words under his breath and pointing it at the seat, with no visible result.
"Psychosomatic," he said suddenly.
"What?" I responded, bewildered.
"Your therapist. She thinks your limp is psychosomatic. I think she's probably right."
"What does that even mean…?"
"And this wand. It's your brother's, right? Your Mum bought him a new one, possibly out of guilt, and you got the hand-me-down. Shame, it could ruin your potential as a Wizard."
"How did you...?"
"And your Father, he's dead. I suppose he was where you got the Wizard blood, as your Mother is plainly a Muggle. Killed in the War, was he? Was that how you got your limp?"
"I'm Sherlock Holmes, by the way. And Mike, I don't have 'friends'. Nice try, but no."
"John Watson," I replied instinctually. At that moment, Molly returns and Mike pulls me away by my arm.
"How did he…How did he do that?" I demanded.
"Oh, he just does it to show off," Mike laughed. "He can be less of an arrogant asshole. Sometimes."
"No, I thought it was…brilliant. Honestly, brilliant."
Mike and I whirl around, to see where the amused voice is coming from. Sherlock stands in the doorway, twirling my wand in him long fingers. He hands it to me and smirks before turning and shutting the compartment door behind him.