Sherlock glared at the girl as Mrs Hudson babbled on pointlessly, about something unequivocally unimportant. The girl stared back evenly, tugging on the end of her red and gold school tie to straighten it. Everything from the school uniform to the Head Girl badge screamed school leaver. As in left this morning. But, that much was obvious and Sherlock hated to be obvious.
"Haven't seen her since she was about ten, bless her. Her parents moved their practise to, oh where was it dear..."
She looked older than the average eighteen, perhaps twenty. Held back a year? Although people who were held back a year didn't usually become Head Girl. She wore robes over her standard school uniform and they were as unfamiliar to him as the lion crest adorning her chest. She stood tall, although her height wasn't very great, showing either confidence or arrogance.
The ink stains on her fingers and the toned muscles on her exposed arm almost screamed academic to him. You could only get shoulders like that from dragging large number of books around with you. Not strong enough to be a weight lifter, nor did she have the build of someone who competed in sports. The handle of...something poked out of one pocket, clearly important enough to be kept in close reach. No watch that he could see, although one sleeve was tightly buttoned around her arm, the other left loose and rolled past her elbow. Now that was interesting. Hiding something?
"Hi I'm Dr John Watson. A pleasure to meet you Hermione." John held out a hand which the girl, Hermione, shook reluctantly.
Hermione, a classical name, Shakespeare's "Winters Tale", suggests middle class background, perhaps doctors or teachers.
Hermione smiled slightly, revealing perfectly straight and white teeth.
Dentists. Her parents were dentists.
"And the brooding weirdo behind me is Sherlock Holmes. Say hello, Sherlock."
"Hello Sherlock." He replied tonelessly, eyes still darting over the girls appearance.
"Hello, Hello Sherlock."
John snorted in amusement before catching the look on Sherlock's face. Like an otter presented with a challenge.
"Oh no. Sherlock please don't do..."
"Do what?" The girl asked innocently, glancing around the flat as she did so, eyes lingering on Sherlock's chemistry experiment, which was emitting a lingering odour of sulphur.
"He does this thing where he analyses everything about you and then presents it in the most insulting and tactless way possible." John ran a hand through his hair and glared at him.
"Tactless? Hardly John."
The girl dropped the handle of her trunk, which thudded heavily against the floor and clasped her hands in front of her.
"Go for it." She dared, one eyebrow cocked.
"Well there's the obvious. High school leaver, does well academically and socially, although not vapid or vain, judging by your hair and lack of make up. Obsessive over details and fussy about presentation, judging by your appearance. Obviously private school, due to the unusual crest and uniform. Your pale skin and warm uniform points to a location up north somewhere. Probably Scotland? Parents were middle class, if not higher and well read. Dentists if I'm not mistaken. However something has happened otherwise you'd be staying with them. Now then there are the less obvious signs. You've recently recovered from a bout of malnutrition, lasting about a year or so. You don't sleep well at night. You've been in fights judging by the scar on your neck. You hold yourself the way John does. Like a soldier. You've got worry lines which don't match your age and if I'm not greatly mistaken...A cat."
Hermione smiled slightly.
"Very astute Mr Holmes. Especially for an ex-pirate." She turned to Mrs Hudson. "Do you mind if I go to my room and settle in. It's been a long day."
The two women left the door clicked shut behind them.
John gaped at his unusually silent flatmate.
"How did she know you wanted to be a pirate?"
Sherlock scowled and began to poke around in the shelves.
"What are you looking for?" John asked warily, almost certain he wouldn't like the answer.
"The spare video camera to bug her room with."
Who is Hermione Granger?
Mycroft Holmes swept into No. 221 Baker Street with his usual air of fastidiousness, a week after Hermione's arrival. He nodded cordially to Mrs Hudson on the way up the staircase and rapped once on the glass door with his cane. Stepping neatly into the room, he swept a quick glance around before leaning his cane against the wall and smiling gently.
"Good evening Sherlock. Dr Watson. Miss Granger."
"Mycroft." Hermione acknowledged over the top of her newspaper.
"What are you doing here?" Sherlock asked, over the top of a laptop he was dismantling.
"Wait a second. How do you know Hermione? Did you ask her to spy on Sherlock too?" John almost seemed to puff up in righteous indignation, causing Hermione to smile gently at her paper.
"Hardly. I know Miss Granger through more official circumstance." Mycroft perched on the edge of an armchair, and folded his hands neatly.
"Who did she kill?" Sherlock asked, almost gleefully.
"It's not a matter of who I killed." Hermione murmured, turning the page. "It's a matter of who I saved."
"Quite. Anyway after your insistence at finding out who Miss Granger was I decided to come and pay you a visit." He smiled thinly. "I did not expect to find her in residence."
Hermione quirked an eyebrow at Sherlock, who stared back unrepentantly, almost smirking.
"If I known that was why you were drawing a picture of me, I'd have given you a better view."
"Oh believe me if the photographs had taken I'd have had some excellent shots."
"Oh stop flirting." John frowned. "What do you mean photographs?"
"I tried taking pictures of her. Digital. Film. Everything came out over exposed or distorted." Sherlock went back to unscrewing the laptop.
"It's driving him insane." Hermione said to John. "He has no idea how I'm doing it."
Sherlock continued as though she hadn't spoken. "Have you noticed every bit of technology in the house has been on the blink since she arrived?"
"Is that my laptop you're destroying?"
"So," Mycroft turned to Hermione, effectively cutting his brother out of the conversation. "What are you doing here?"
"I told you I was going to move in with an old friend of my parents."
"You specifically didn't tell me whom, if I recall correctly."
"Well I figured you'd want a bit of a challenge, if you were trying to track me down. Imagine my surprise when one of her boarders turns out to be the little boy from the photo on your desk."
"You have photo of me on your desk?" Sherlock's head whipped around from his argument with John so fast it was a wonder he didn't get an injury.
"There are photos of Sherlock as a child?" John grinned, rubbing his hands together, evidently seeking revenge for the death of his laptop. "Lestrade would pay a fortune for those."
"I thought you were on my side."
"I'm on my own side when it comes to you. Does he look cute?"
"Oh adorable." Hermione grinned. "I just wish I had a copy. He's got gorgeous curls poking out from under his pirate hat and a smile to make butter melt."
"I'll send you one." Mycroft murmured. "But if everything is in order here I really must be going. Country to run and all. I'll be in touch Miss Granger."
"Do trip on the way out would you?" Sherlock called after him.
"Be nice to your brother." Hermione teased.
"Oh shut up."
"Aye aye, Captain Sherlock."
Sherlock didn't speak to her for three days after that.
"Sherlock's asleep." was John's greeting when she walked into the kitchen, from whatever it was she did in London everyday. "Under no circumstance are you to wake him."
Hermione raised as eyebrow but kept quiet and retrieved the milk from the fridge.
"Why would I wake him?" She questioned. "The only time I get any peace is when he's asleep. Do you know there's a severed head in here?" She added quietly, fixing herself some tea.
"Yeah. It's one of his "experiments"."John rolled his eyes. "Personally I think he keeps them in there just to see if we'll leave. Never seen him use them for anything. Now the eyes in the microwave he does use. But they're horse eyes, so it's not such a problem."
"Huh. Well better than shredded boomslang skin I suppose." Hermione sat opposite him and cleared a space large enough of clutter to rest her teacup. "So tell me about yourself Dr Watson. It's rare I get a chance to talk to you without him around." Hermione flicked her fingers in the direction of the closed bedroom door. "Job? Girlfriend?"
"I'd like to think I would, if it wasn't for Sherlock." John toyed with his teacup, smiling slightly. "He gets kind of possessive. If I go out on dates, he shows up and drags me out on cases, or worse still invites himself along. If I go to work, he makes me late and tired and I get fired. He likes having us around."
"I don't know whether you realised but when Sherlock accepted you were going to be living here permanently you became part of his "Process"."
"His process. How he solves cases. Usually he'd just bounce ideas off me. Actually he'll do that with anyone. I'm convinced he keeps talking when I leave. Doesn't even notice. But anyway, when you face the facts I'm an intelligent man."
"You're a doctor. You'd have to be."
"Exactly. But I can't keep up with him. You can. You provide him with a challenge. Mental stimulation."
"So I'm a brain teaser?"
"If you like. But you see now that he's got you, he's not going to let you go."
Hermione sighed and rubbed at her temples, a few strands escaping the knot on her head.
"Wonderful. Just what I need. He doesn't even like me."
"I think he does. Besides no one needs Sherlock in their lives. But once he's there he's somewhat addicting. My turn. Tell me about yourself. What do you do every day? Job hunting?"
"Something like that."
"You heading off to uni?"
"Nope. I haven't got any A levels." Hermione sipped her tea and frowned slightly. "Or any GCSE's for that matter. Mycroft is working on something for me, but until that comes through I'm living off my inheritance."
"Hang on. I thought you were Head Girl."
"Top of my year too. Actually I got the best exam results the school had seen since Rowena." She smiled slightly. "One of the school founders. She was brilliant."
"Then why no A levels?"
"My school ran it's own curriculum. Which is all very well, but the exams only correspond with a few government departments. None of which I want to work in." She shrugged.
"So you have no qualifications at all?"
"I think I did a spelling test in Primary Seven which might still be valid."
"Nice having someone around with a sense of humour."
"Sherlock has a sense of humour."
"Severed heads aren't funny." John frowned and toyed with they fraying edge of the table cloth. He didn't even know why they had a table cloth. The only one who cooked was Hermione and she just ate on the sofa and occasionally force fed Sherlock. She once tied him to a chair and spoon fed him dinner after finding out he hadn't eaten for a week.
"Sherlock said you were a soldier."
"Sherlock says a lot of things." She smiled. "I'm not a soldier."
"Not any more."
Hermione blinked in surprise.
"What makes you say that?"
"I was a soldier. Professionally. And of course I was a doctor. So I saw the look in your eyes a lot. The look of the bombing victims, the injured. Those who've seen their friends die in front of them. But you're too young to be fighting professionally."
"It was an underground war. And you can say I was too young to fight. I was fighting from eleven." John's mouth dropped open in surprise, but she waved him off. "I agree. I was too young. Too young to fight, but young enough to die. It was a quiet war. People died. My friends died. I lost my family. I spent a year on the run, fighting and hiding. Playing an impossible game of hide and seek. And then it was all over and I went back to school. My friends moved on. People forgot about me."
John reached out and clasped her hand. Her right hand, on the arm that she always kept covered.
"I'm so sorry."
"It's not your fault." Hermione shrugged and gently tugged her hand out of his grip. "It's not anyone's fault really."
"How could someone just forget about you?"
Hermione smiled gently.
"They had good reason I suppose. Life was moving on. We'd buried the dead. People just wanted to forget. They wanted me to be someone I didn't want to be. Wanted me to do things I didn't want to do. They forgot who I was. They didn't forget that I was there. They forgot that I wasn't the person they thought I was." She squeezed his hand gentle. "So I ran away. And I found Mycroft. And I found you two. The famous Doctor Watson and the Detective Sherlock Holmes. And even if all I'm useful for is antagonising Sherlock and helping you get him to eat, then that's better than going back."
Hermione left the kitchen shortly afterwards but instead of turning downstairs, she crossed to Sherlock's bedroom and pushed the already ajar door open.
Sherlock lay spread eagle on the bed, for all intents and purposes, asleep. Hermione laughed softly.
"Did you get your answers?" She asked quietly.
She didn't get a response, but she wasn't really expecting one, so she turned and left.
"It's a B flat."
The repetitive phrase he'd been playing over and over on the violin for the past hour stopped.
"The note your looking for. To link those two phrases. It's a B flat."
"Is too. And once you realise that I'm right, could you kindly stop? John's been at the pub for almost five hours. He's got work tomorrow."
Sherlock blinked at her.
"We don't have a case tomorrow."
"Believe it or not John has a life outside of you and the hospital won't accept sharing a flat with a bored Sherlock Holmes as an excuse." Hermione sighed and turned for the staircase.
"Are you wearing my shirt?"
"Astute observation, Sherlock. I can see why you're a detective."
Hermione returned to her room and curled up under her duvet, after texting John that the coast was clear. Mrs Hudson had insisted she got a mobile, to keep her safe. Quietly Hermione wondered what a Death Eater with a grudge would do when faced with terrifying muggle technology.
She could have just cast a Silencio to drown out Sherlock, but she was trying to stay away from her wand, an exercise which was proving fruitless. It was hidden in her beaded bag, which she still took with her everywhere.
Some wartime habits never left you.
Hermione still checked the wards every morning, despite knowing they were interfering with the boys electronics.
She still went everywhere disillusioned.
She still carried a full set of Healers potions with her.
And she still carried a tent.
A floor above her the violin replayed the phrase, paused poignantly on a B flat, and then rushed smoothly into the next section.
"Hello. I'm looking for Hermione Granger. Does she live here?" John frowned.
"And you are?"
"Ron Weasley." The redhead held out a hand, which John shook firmly. "I'm Hermione's fiancé."
"Really? She's never mentioned you." He remarked and glared at the boy, who flushed, ears staining a violent red.
"Look can I come in? I really need to talk to her."
John frowned and stepped back. If Sherlock was here then it'd be fine. John smirked slightly. It was funny to think that in this house, Sherlock was the one you went to for protection. Not the ex-soldier.
"Come on. I think she's in the sitting room."
He led him through the door and up the staircase. Ron looked around in amazement.
"What, you never seen a house before?" John pushed open the glass door. "Sherlock, is Hermione here?"
Wordlessly he pointed to the sofa were Hermione was reading a book, and just as wordlessly, ignoring Sherlock.
"Hermione." He called softly. "Someone's here to see you."
"Oh really?" She muttered. "That's strange, seeing as I told no one I was living here. So tell me Ronald Bilious Weasley, what gave you the right to spy on me?"
She still hadn't turned round but John didn't think he'd ever heard her so furious. Not even when she discovered Sherlock hiding in her wardrobe, with a notebook. The young man by John's elbow paled, throwing his freckles into sharp relief, evidently familiar with Hermione's temper, as Hermione's hair, loose around her shoulders, began to charge with static.
"'Mione listen. I didn't spy on you I just used..." He paused and glanced at John and Sherlock. "Are you living with muggles?"
Hermione stood up and turned to face him. She may have been tiny compared to the boy's gangly height but for some reason it'd be her John would bank on in a fight.
"Yes I am. Although that's no business of yours."
"Excuse me. What's a muggle?"
They both ignored him.
"Look Kingsley helped my track you down. Honestly Hermione you can't seriously want to live like this. Come home with me."
"Yes because the thing I really want to do is go home and live with your mother." She spat.
John settled himself onto the now vacated sofa and watched as even Sherlock appeared from behind his laptop to watch the scene.
"What's wrong with my mother?"
"She wants me to be a bloody housewife. She wants me to be with you. At my graduation she turned up clutching bridal magazines. I'm nearly twenty one. I DO NOT WANT TO GET MARRIED." She enunciated each word, by smacking the boy with her book, a large tome of at least six hundred pages, with a cracked leather spine.
"So this is about us then? And your only nineteen" The boy retorted, raising his arms defensively to fend her off.
"Us?" She screeched in amazement. "There is no us. There hasn't been for over a year. You don't even know how old I am. You and Harry went off to Auror training and I went back to school. I was in that hell for a year. Did it even occur to you how awful it was being in that place? Every time I walked to class, seeing where our friends died. I spent a year with the ghosts of that castle. Do you know how many of them came back? I spent a year trying to deal with what she did to me. You never even thought to ask how I was doing! How miserable I was! How I wanted to be anywhere than there. And don't give me any of that "you were too busy to write" because Ginny got a scroll a week from Harry and you were doing the same bloody thing. You weren't busy. You forgot about me!"
"Forgot about you?" Ron ran his hands through his hair in exasperation. "Blimey Hermione, how could we forget about you? You were our best friend. You saved our lives countless times."
Hermione chuckled softly.
"And I guess that's the clincher. Because you didn't need me any more. You two were big shot Aurors and the first time in a year you took the slightest bit of notice of me was when I left. My parents died, Ronald and Harry took the time off work to come to school and see me. Ask if I was okay. I couldn't go to their funeral Ron. Do you know how that felt?"
"You never told me they were dead!" The boy cried.
"YOU NEVER ASKED. You only noticed I was gone because someone took your toy away from you. Did it ever occur to you that I wanted more than to be the brains of the Golden Trio? That I wanted more than "Here we go, the War's over, the biography's written, settle down and three cheers for Mrs Hermione Weasley". Did it ever occur to you that I wanted more than that?"
"Merlin, Hermione, if the idea of being with me is so bloody awful I may as well leave you here! Because you're right you know. We don't need some stupid Ministry worker bookworm hanging around anyway."
Hermione laughed again and it sounded maniacal. John glanced at Sherlock, hoping he'd step in.
"At least I won't go down in history as the sidekick." She spat.
The boys ears flushed a dangerous red and finally, Sherlock spoke up.
"Nicely delivered Hermione. Please leave idiot."
"What? Who the bloody hell are you?"
"Sherlock Holmes. Hermione's boyfriend. So leave," And he stood up clad in silk pyjamas and looking intimidating as only Sherlock could. Ronald paled again and turned to stare wide eyed at Hermione. Hermione didn't break her glare but John noticed she did throw her shoulders back and stand up straighter.
"Go away. Harry is welcome to visit and Ginny. I won't forget Teddy either. He is my godson. Hell I'd be happy to see Luna and Neville. But I want nothing to do with you. Not until you've learned some manners."
"Hermione..." The boy pleaded.
Hermione reached back and threaded her fingers through Sherlock's outstretched hand.
"Just go Ronald. Please."
The boy stared at her. Seeing the utter resolution on her face he turned and left. They heard the crack as he shut the front door.
Sherlock dropped her hand like it was diseased.
Hermione rubbed a hand down her face and collapsed on the sofa next to John, curling into him slightly for comfort.
Sherlock, without a word, got up an walked down the stairs to the front door.
"You all right?" John asked as he wrapped an arm around the girl.
"Yeah." Her voice rasped slightly and she seemed exhausting. "That was a long time coming. I'm just glad to get it over with."
"Hang on. I'll make us some tea." John sighed and frowned at the door. "Where'd Sherlock go?"
"He's probably trying to work out how the front door closed with a crack. He'll be back soon enough."
Sure enough, Sherlock reappeared, his dressing gown flowing behind him like a cape, reminding her of an old professor.
"Are you going to ask me or will you try and work it out by yourself?" Hermione closed one eye and watched him pace across the room.
"You are not logical."
"I beg to differ. I'm incredible logical."
"What does my brother know that I don't?"
"A lot of things."
"It must be big. National big for it to concern Mycroft."
"Somewhat like your ego."
"I deal with mystery on my cases... not in my flat."
"I'm hardly a mystery." Hermione frowned. "Are you even listening to me?"
"It's not like you're stupid. John is stupid. Lestrade is stupid. You're just..."
"Wrong. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!"
"John can you come here a moment?"
John wandered into the kitchen flicking through the mail.
"Letter for you 'Mione." He passed the thick cream envelope over to her and frowned at the two of them pouring over a large piece of paper. "Is that a star chart?"
"Yes. It's my one from school, so it's not brilliant. Astronomy class always was lacking somewhat. I've modified it for my purposes."
"You took classes in Astronomy?"
Hermione nodded chewing the end of a quill.
"Anyway I was just explaining to Captain..."
"Don't call me that."
"About the solar system. I was telling him about the six planets in the solar system. There's Earth, obviously. And Zion, Galifrey, Adipose, Brus and the fire planet by the sun Pyrovillia."
Sherlock continued to stare at the map.
"Honestly I can't believe you deleted all of this. It's primary school stuff. Right John?"
"Oh yeah." John fought to keep his voice free from laughter and moved on to a different subject. "Primary school. So Astromomy?"
"Oh yeah. Well I told you we had a strange curriculum."
"I need to update my blog."
"What is Anderson doing here?" Sherlock barked, looking disgusted.
"He's motivation." Lestrade grinned. "If you don't come with me, I'll leave him here."
"You wouldn't dare. Get away from there." Sherlock glowered at them, shooing them away from the fridge. "What do you want anyway?"
"We've got a case for you."
That got Sherlock's attention. He relaxed and the antsy restlessness went out of him, like an addict getting his next high.
"What sort of case? Murder? Serial killer?"
"What kind of psychopath are you?" Anderson spat, glancing around the flat.
"I'm a sociopath. And I'm BORED!"
"It's a murder case." Lestrade frowned slightly. "Is the boy dressed as a pirate in this photo you?"
"What? No. Can we go?"
"Yeah. Car's downstairs."
"Fine." Sherlock grabbed his coat and scarf. "HERMIONE!"
Hermione marched up the staircase, glowing at her flatmate, wearing jeans and a large maroon and gold jumper with Potter, emblazoned on the back and a lion embellished on the front.
"Who're you?" Anderson spluttered.
"Sherlock why is there an idiot in your flat?"
"I brought him. Detective Inspector Lestrade. And you are?"
"And why are you in Sherlock's flat."
"I live here with my fiancé, obviously." She rolled her eyes as though anyone should have known that, and kissed Sherlock on the cheek, a gesture she suspected he only tolerated because it was winding up Anderson. "What did you want Sherlock darling?"
"But you're normal..." Anderson spluttered. "What're you doing with him?"
"Shut up Anderson. Where's John?"
"What? When did he go to Dublin?"
"Two days ago. Didn't you notice?" Hermione frowned. "Forget that. Can I help?"
"Seen any danger recently?"
"Not for a year."
"Want to see some more?"
"Well..." Hermione checked her pocket watch, a large mechanical one, which never seemed to need to be wound. "I have time."
"Good. I can't stand being alone with these idiots."
"I'm going for their safety then. Move it pirate boy."
A/N Sequel now up. "Soulmates"
Please review and let me know what you think.