Sherlock never went to Quidditch matches. He simply didn't understand the appeal of watching fourteen idiots on brooms trying to catch a variety of balls, and honestly thought the whole thing to be beneath him. However, since he started dating the Captain of the Gryffindor team, loyalty compelled him to at least attend the matches in which his boyfriend played. Well, actually, not so much loyalty as a disgruntled Sally Donovan, who had run into him when he was on his way to the library, walking against the flow of students headed for the Quidditch pitch. She had caught him by the wrist with a reproachful look.
"Too good for Quidditch, are you? I get that you have no interest in seeing us play but I thought you'd at least want to support John, you know, him being your boyfriend and everything."
He had replied contemptuously, stating that John was more than a good enough player to have no use whatsoever for his support, but after she had let him go with a disbelieving shake of her head, he'd got to thinking. This kind of thing was expected from people who were in a relationship, right? Dates in Hogsmeade and sneaking out after curfew to make out in empty classrooms and, well, cheering for your Quidditch Captain of a boyfriend? Granted, Sherlock and John were not exactly in a conventional romantic relationship. Dates in Hogsmeade consisted mainly of John trailing after Sherlock as he searched for obscure or barely legal ingredients in shady pharmacies, sneaking out to empty classrooms happened more often than not because Sherlock needed a place to do some of his more dangerous experiments (the kind that would have gotten him kicked out of his dorm, scary and persuasive older brother or not), and making out... well, let's say it was rather appropriate that those activities mostly took place in the dungeons - or, for the more conventional kind, simply in John's bed, as Sherlock had gotten rather brilliant at deducing the Fat Lady's passwords. Still, maybe John would appreciate it if Sherlock were present at his games?
So Sherlock had turned around before even arriving at the library, made the detour to his dormitory to drop off his bags, and followed the last students headed for the pitch.
The stands were crowded, and he looked around, trying to find a free seat. Suddenly, he heard someone call his name. He turned his head and saw Molly Hooper waving at him from the very top of the stands, her other hand pointing to the free seat next to her. He made his way through the benches to join her and smiled gratefully as he sat down, then tuned out as she started chattering.
"It's so lovely that you're here! I didn't actually think you'd come, you don't really like Quidditch, do you? I get it, you know, I'm not a big fan either, but, well, Irene is playing, so..."
She blushed a bit as she said those words, and Sherlock's attention snapped back to her.
"You're in a relationship with Irene Adler?" he asked disbelievingly.
"I, uhm, yes, we're dating, yes." Molly stuttered, and Sherlock couldn't help feeling a bit fond at the happy smile she didn't quite manage to suppress.
"It's a bit scary, sometimes, you know?" she added bashfully. "But she's really wonderful."
"Wonderful" wasn't exactly Sherlock's personal assessment of Irene Adler - he had yet to get over her somewhat aggressive seduction attempt from the previous year-, but Molly seemed to trust her, and Sherlock trusted Molly's judgment. So he smiled and congratulated her and was secretly glad when the start of the match interrupted the conversation.
The two teams walked onto the pitch, Captains at the front of the line, dressed in leather and red or green robes. Leather was a good look on John, Sherlock thought. He glowered when John shook the Slytherin Captain's hand with visible reluctance. Sherlock despised Sebastian Moran - granted, he was better than his complete psychopath of a boyfriend, but while Jim Moriarty mostly taunted Sherlock with hurtful jibes and false rumours, which Sherlock could very much defend himself against, Moran was the kind of bully who "accidentally" slammed him into walls or elbowed him in the ribs when walking by, making Sherlock feel unbearably weak and helpless.
Dispelling those unhappy thoughts with a shake of his head, he focused his attention on the match. The two teams had risen up in the air, and Sherlock's gaze searched the pitch until he found John, Quaffle already clasped against his chest. Sherlock smirked inwardly - so invested in such a pointless game, his otherwise so reasonable John. He was currently zigzagging between the other players in the direction of Sarah Sawyer, one of the other Gryffindor Chasers. Even Sherlock could see that she was placed ideally for scoring, but John's trajectory was cut off by a brutal Bludger, and he just narrowly avoided being hit. Sherlock all but hissed when he saw Moran still poised with his bat outstretched just after the shot, and smiled broadly when he was nearly knocked off his broom by another Bludger, shot by Sally Donovan. He might not get on with the girl, but he'd pick her over Moran anytime.
He was suddenly distracted by a flash of green and Molly's cry of "Isn't she brilliant?", and quickly looked away from John.
Irene had apparently seen the Snitch and was zooming at full speed towards the ground, Gryffindor Seeker in tow. At the very last minute, however, she righted her broom and shot into the sky. The Gryffindor seeker, who had fallen right into her trap, wasn't as quick, and crashed brutally into the ground.
Gasps and cheers erupted from the crowd, and Molly was on her feet, shouting
"A Wronski feint! She pulled off a Wronski feint! My girlfriend is amazing!"
"How do you even know what that is?" Sherlock asked.
"You can't date a Seeker and not know what a Wronski feint is, Sherlock!"
"I am dating a Quidditch Captain and only have the faintest grasp of the basic rules of the game." Sherlock said.
"Yeah, but you're you." Molly teased, but her words held no sting.
The referee whistled, signalling a time-out, and to Sherlock's total lack of surprise, John was the first on the ground, tending to his teammate.
Observing his boyfriend as he examined the other boy, Sherlock made a face.
"Hm. Mild concussion, from the way he moves and John's disappointed stance. Unlikely he'll be playing this match. Irene incapacitated the Seeker and in doing so probably completely destroyed Gryffindor's morale and chance of success, and this after barely five minutes of playing. Ruthless as we know her, Miss Adler."
"It might not have been very kind," Molly said, with a grimace that suggested that "not very kind" was right up there with "drowning kittens" and "kicking puppies", "but it was clever and brilliant technique! And you can't deny she's really a fantastic Seeker!"
Sherlock couldn't, indeed. The only Quidditch matches he'd ever enjoyed were those between Ravenclaw and Slytherin - he did attend his own House's Quidditch matches, mainly because Mycroft insisted on a modicum of House loyalty - because he admired the virtuosity displayed by Irene and Soo Lin, Ravenclaw's own Seeker. Seeing the two of them rival for the Snitch was really quite something, even Sherlock could see that.
The teams were back in the air now, Gryffindor with one member less.
"They've lost already." Molly said sadly. "It's just a matter of time before Irene catches the Snitch, now Gryffindor doesn't have a Seeker anymore."
Sherlock was inclined to agree, but some unexpected sense of loyalty made him say "Don't count them out yet. I may not know a lot about Quidditch, but I do know the outcome of a match doesn't hinge on Seekers alone."
Molly looked at him with a small smile. "You really love him, don't you?"
Sherlock huffed dismissively and looked away, ignoring Molly in favour of the events unfolding on the pitch. John had got his hands on the Quaffle again, and was hovering in front of the goals, preparing to shoot. Sherlock noticed with a start that, for all his ridiculing of Quidditch as a silly passtime, John looked really, really good while playing. Posture decisive and concentrated, crimson robes flowing off his frame and making him look just a tad bit more intimidating... He really was quite attractive like this. Maybe there were upsides to being expected to cheer for John during matches.
As Sherlock looked on admiringly, John aimed, shot... and scored! The crowd cheered and clapped, and the Slytherin Keeper - a rather burly girl Sherlock whose name Sherlock unsurprisingly didn't know - cowered a bit as Moran yelled at her.
The Slytherins tried to settle the score, but in vain. Despite his original mockery of the sport, Sherlock couldn't help but marvel at the way John played. He wasn't just a really good chaser, but - more importantly - a fantastic Captain. Team player to the bone, he never tried to make spectacular shots himself, but instead flawlessly worked together with the other Chasers, passing them the Quaffle so they could score, making sure to have their backs when they were flying with the Quaffle, creating openings when they found themselves surrounded, and never missing a shot when he had the opportunity to score a goal. Moreover, he was an excellent tactician: finding himself without a Seeker, he'd assigned Sally with the task of shadowing Irene and blocking her trajectory with a Bludger both times she caught a glimpse of the Snitch, effectively rendering her unable to put an end to the match. Add to this the fact that Gryffindor had an apparently brilliant Keeper - Greg Lestrade, Seventh Year, former Captain of the team, but he'd given up his position because he wanted to fully concentrate on his NEWTs in order to become an Auror - and two hours and a half into the game, Gryffindor found itself at an advantage of 180 points against 30. Eighteen successful goals for Gryffindor, only three for Slytherin, and it looked more and more every second like the unfortunate Slytherin Keeper was going to find herself on the receiving end of one of Moran's rather nasty temper tantrums - or worse, if he dragged his boyfriend into it.
As Moran kept shouting at his Keeper, Irene flew over to him and said something in his ear. Moran seemed to consider something and then nodded. Irene soared high over the other players and started circling the pitch, looking around intently for the Snitch. As she did so, Moran flew over to one of his Chasers and they exchanged a few words. The Chaser then speeded to where Sarah was just throwing the Quaffle to the other Gryffindor Chaser - a young girl, Third Year, Sherlock didn't know her - and managed to intercept the ball.
The spectators collectively held their breath as the boy avoided one of Sally's Bludgers and reached the scoring area. He aimed, and then suddenly screams rose form the crowd. High above the pitch, Irene was flying downwards so fast it nearly seemed she was falling. With no other Seeker left to fool, it was obvious she'd seen the Snitch, and Sally had no Bludger to stop her. Sensing victory, the Chaser aimed again, and shot. But, distracted by the encouraging cheers of the crowd, he actually missed.
Sherlock's heart leapt up in his chest when he suddenly noticed John, a few yards beneath the boy, shooting forward and catching the Quaffle in its fall. He leant forward in his seat, hands braced on his knees, as John flew at full speed towards the Slytherin goals, where Sarah was waiting for him. Meanwhile, Irene was still diving towards the ground, arm outstretched as she neared the Snitch, and Molly was biting the end of her Hufflepuff scarf in excitation, chanting "Come on, come on, come on." under her breath.
Forcing his broom to go even faster, John ducked to avoid a Bludger and threw the Quaffle towards Sarah, who caught it, whirled, and shot it straight into the golden hoop on the left. The Keeper, who was guarding the middle goal, wasn't quick enough to stop it, and, just as Irene's fingers closed around the Snitch at the other end of the pitch, the Quaffle passed just above the lower rim of the hoop.
The whistle announcing the end of the match was nearly drowned out by the screams of the delirious spectators, and Sherlock had to shout so Molly would hear him over the deafening noise.
"What just happened?"
"They won! Gryffindor won! Irene caught the Snitch but they still won! That almost never happens!"
"Told you John was full of surprises!" Sherlock smirked, and Molly beamed up at him.
"You're so smitten it's nearly ridiculous, you know that? But yes, he is."
On the pitch, the Gryffindor team, still on their brooms, had clustered in one big embrace, exchanging congratulations, hugs, and pats on the back. Irene had landed, arm still outstretched over her head, ever triumphant, even if she hadn't technically won, and Sherlock suddenly noticed Molly had vanished from his side and was racing down the stairs to throw herself into her arms for a thorough snog.
His attention was, however, distracted from the effusions going on on the pitch as he saw John detach himself from the group hug and fly right towards the stands where Sherlock was standing up on his seat. The students screamed and ducked to avoid him, his feet trailing just barely over their heads. When he reached Sherlock, he landed and stepped off his broom, smiling fondly up at his boyfriend.
"You came. You brought me luck."
"You don't need luck." Sherlock said, smiling back. "You're amazing."
At those words, John beamed even brighter, and grabbed Sherlock by the front of his robes to tug him down and off his seat. He then proceeded to kiss the living daylights out of him, amid the onlookers' approving cheers and wolf-whistles. Sherlock kissed back enthusiastically, and when they finally broke apart, he murmured against John's lips.
"Maybe Quidditch isn't so stupid after all."