Original Story Title: The Forest Again/After the Battle
Original Story Link: http://multiplegrooves.livejournal.com/22395.html
Original Story Pairings: Sherlock/John
Original Story Rating: PG-13
Original Story Warnings: SPOILERS For the entire Harry Potter series, but explicitly for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, implied major character "death"
Remix Story Title: 3 Witches, a Wizard and a Squib: 5 Conversations that Shaped Sherlock
Remix Author: call_me_ishmael
Remix Beta: tartancravat, heqakheperre
Remix Britpicker: rubyofkukundu, thesmallhobbit
Remix Story Pairings: Sherlock/John (unrequited)
Remix Story Rating: PG-13
Remix Story Warnings: Spoilers for the entire Harry Potter series and season 2 of Sherlock. Mentions of character death.
Summary: John Watson is the boy who lived. Sherlock Holmes is the boy who stood beside him. A series of conversations Sherlock had through the years, from his early days at Hogwarts to the final confrontation with Voldemort.
"3 Witches, a Wizard and a Squib: 5 Conversations that Shaped Sherlock"
1. Sally Donovan
Sally leans against the wall, tossing her head back and jutting her chin forward. Might as well get this over with. “Hello, Freak.”
Sherlock doesn’t bother looking up from his book. “As charming as ever, Sally. Sleep well?” It hasn’t even been two months but it’s obvious enough that Sherlock and Sally are sharing a similar schedule of housemate avoidance. Best to be initially cordial.
She snorts. “Of course I didn’t; I’m the only muggleborn in Slytherin. If I didn’t sleep lightly with my wand in my hand I’d be an idiot.”
Now he looks at her, exasperated. “But obviously you are an idiot. You’re a muggleborn in Slytherin.” So much for cordial.
She sets her jaw, fingers gripping her wand with too much force. Anger, bitterness—old, not new wounds. “I thought Slytherin was about getting results, not elitist snobbery about who your mum and dad are. Guess having magic doesn’t make people any less awful.”
“Nothing changes what humans are. It’s pointless to expect anything different. Luckily the stigma of this house makes it easier to avoid dealing with them.”
“You’re a freak.” Sally has never been one for sugar-coating. It’s rarely gained her any friends but she reckons anyone who can’t take the truth isn’t worth the effort. “But it looks like we’re freaks together. I’d rather be stuck with you than the lot of them. Let’s give the rest of our house a taste of their own medicine.” She shoves her hand out. “Truce?”
Sherlock’s mouth curls up into a small, forced smile. He clasps her hand, shakes once. “Truce. Tell me how you got Malfoy to vomit maggots. I’d only heard of slugs before.”
“Mr I-can-tell-your-personality-from-you r-wand wants to know about my hex?” She shakes her head. “It’s the only one I can do. Why are you so interested?”
“You are creatively vicious and far more talented in that area than a person previously unfamiliar with magic typically would be. Most take years to learn anything properly nasty, never mind creating an alternate version. I’m sure you will think of more.”
The corner of Sally’s mouth quirks up. “Careful. That sounded like a compliment.”
“Credit where credit is due.” Sherlock stares at his book, obviously not reading a word of it. He shifts in his chair and meets her gaze. “Between the two of us I’m sure we can keep the rest of our house at bay.”
Her face lights up with fierce glee. “Malfoy won’t know what hit him.”
“Exactly.” Sherlock almost vibrates with energy as he grabs another book from the pile. “Take a look at this spell.”
2. Harry Watson
A sooty, small figure stumbles out of the fireplace, tripping over the inconveniently placed ottoman. He should’ve expected that, of course John’s family wouldn’t be used to floo traffic. He’s lucky John’s house is connected at all—many squibs living among muggles don’t bother.
Sherlock frowns, kicking ash off his shoes. Perhaps should have owled John first. He scowls as he tries to get the worst of the mess out of his hair. Irrelevant.
The door to the living room crashes open. A wild-eyed blonde girl close to his age is wielding a large knife. Her hair and build make it immediately clear who she is. “Harry Watson.”
Her eyes dart to the wand, the soot. “You came out of the fireplace.”
“Obvious. But more than most muggles would see,” he adds only because she’s John’s sister.
“Squib, not muggle.” She snarls. Just like John—all her emotions broadcast for anyone to see.
They stare, sizing each other up. She squints, looks at his hair, his scarf, and relaxes. “You must be Sherlock. John never shuts up about you.”
Sherlock opens his mouth but she keeps talking, “But he’s not here.”
He really should have owled first. “When will he be back?”
“Tomorrow. He’s off with friends. Muggle ones. Never gets to see them anymore, since he’s away at Hogwarts.” She puts the knife down on the table, crosses her arms. “Aunt Maggie and Uncle Bertram are at a dinner party. Lucky, that. They’d have had your head for showing up here.”
“Why? Isn’t it common, for,” he stumbles over the word, “friends to visit each other?”
“Yeah. But we never have them over. Especially not by floo.”
“If you never use it, why are you connected at all?”
“I never said that. Uncle Bertram uses it sometimes. He works in the muggle media for the Ministry, makes sure everyone stays in the dark. He’s good at that.”
There’s muffled screeching from upstairs—John’s owl must have heard them and be out for blood. Sig loathes all creatures that aren’t John. If Sherlock didn’t understand the sentiment he would’ve encouraged Belstaff to eat the vicious puffball ages ago.
“Oi,” she stares at him like she can pin him with the sheer force of her stare. “Show me some magic.”
Perhaps he misheard. It doesn’t make any sense. “You live with John.”
Harry scowls. “My aunt and uncle, they won’t let me see any; say all it’ll do is upset me. Won’t let me go anywhere, either. Not even Diagon Alley. It’s like they think I’ll burst into tears at the sight of a broom or something.”
Her knowledge, her anger all click together. “You read John’s books when he’s away.”
“When his stupid owl isn’t dive-bombing my head. Spells aren’t the only things that get locks open,” she shrugs, forced nonchalance hiding the bitterness beneath her words. “Got to find some way to learn about the world my parents belonged to. About why they were murdered.”
The conversation falls flat, a bloated corpse of awkwardness.
Harry sighs. “I know I shouldn’t have asked. There are rules, fine.”
Sherlock pulls out his wand. He starts writing in the air, shining letters coming to life.
SOD OFF, MYCROFT.
She frowns, but the tension in her shoulders eases. “Is that some kind of code?”
“Close enough,” Sherlock admits. His brother can deal with any potential fallout of a few harmless spells. He tells himself he’s doing it to give Mycroft a hard time, to gauge reactions to spells from somebody who only knows them on a theoretical level, not out of any compassion for a squib. Slytherins don’t do sympathy.
A handful of charms seem like a small price to pay for a source of potential information. It is depressing, really, that changing colours and making a few objects dance midair are enough to be considered extraordinary to the nonmagical.
Sherlock’s mind wanders, eyes darting about the room. Neat pile of shoes by the door, two display cabinets filled with delicate figurines, framed prints of muggle-painted landscapes, refrigerator bare of magnets, pristine white carpet, coffee table with remote, coasters, two stacked magazines about gardening. Further search of the house would be conclusive, but backed with statements from John and Harry, more than enough data for a solid hypothesis.
Harry’s voice cuts through, filled with grudging awe. “What else can you do?”
“Many things. But those are mere flicks of a wand. Here,” he taps his wand against his head, “is where my power lies.”
Harry scoffs. “What an arrogant arse you are. Ok, then. Impress me.”
“Your aunt and uncle never wanted children.”
Harry starts, blood draining from her face. “What did John tell you?”
“Nothing. Which makes it clear enough his home life is strained.” Sherlock caught that right away—he is just as reticent about his own family, after all.
Harry bristles, hands clenching into fists. “Did you—did you magic that up? Spell out our secrets or something?”
“I didn’t need magic. I observed.”
“The furniture has left deep dents in the carpet; it’s never been moved. No baby would’ve been safe in the same room as those cabinets. No stains from spilled drinks or scuffed walls, impossible to avoid with children. No magic to erase it happening. Conclusion: you and John were not allowed in here when you were younger, kept to your rooms. Continued lack of presence makes it obvious. They don’t want to see you around.” Sherlock straightens his spine. “See? No magic necessary.”
Harry furiously wipes at her eyes. “You can do all that without magic? But, you’ve got all those spells. You can do anything with them. Why—”
“A wizard who doesn’t know what to do without magic is a fool, turning his greatest weapon into a crutch. It is just a tool at my disposal.”
She’s quiet for a long time. Sherlock stays silent, some instinct telling him to let the moment be. Harry is interesting enough that he doesn’t want to leave. Not yet, at least. She could reveal more about John’s home life.
“Tell me how you did it.” Her expression turns fierce. “Can you teach me?”
While John had always been interested in his deductions, he’d never wanted to learn Sherlock’s methods. The thought is intriguing, but inherently flawed. “Given your pedestrian intellect, I don’t think—”
Harry grabs the front of his robes. “You stupid prat, can’t you just,” her hand drops, shoulders slump. When she finally speaks, it’s quiet, almost timid. Not what he’s already come to expect from her. “Please.”
She isn’t stupid. She’d never have found ways around her restrictions if she were. He’s curious. That’s all this is, curiosity. “I won’t slow down for you. If you can’t keep up, you’re obviously not worth my time.”
Sherlock is a poor teacher and Harry is a terrible student. They end up screaming at each other.
He never tells John.
3. Albus Dumbledore
“Why did you call me in here?” Sherlock bristles. “Aren’t you sending me to Snape for punishment?”
Dumbledore gestures to the chair in front of his desk. “Please sit. Contrary to your belief, I am not going to discipline you for sneaking into Gryffindor. Again.”
Sherlock’s mouth opens, then closes as he thinks better of it. He folds himself into the chair, but is unable keep the disbelief off his face. “Is this some kind of trick?”
“Friendships between Slytherins and Gryffindors are uncommon. Even rarer are strong bonds such as the one you and John Watson share. I would be a fool to discourage it, although I advise more discretion next time. This is about another matter.” Dumbledore’s keen eyes flicker to the feathers still caught in Sherlock’s hair. “Mr Holmes, I know what students who both enjoy breaking rules and have a talent in transfiguration do. I am reminding you that I am always happy to talk to students when I have the time, and am quite skilled in transfiguration.”
“You’re encouraging me to break the rules.”
“Mr Holmes, you are one of the most brilliant students this school has been lucky enough to have.” Dumbledore’s eyes flick to Sherlock’s wand. (Twelve and three quarter inches, yew and dragon heartstring.) “But you are headstrong and careless. I’m hoping to keep you from hurting anyone by attempting dangerous spells without supervision.”
“Why? You can’t stand me. You hate how I don’t obey anyone, how I don’t play nice with the imbeciles around me.”
“I am fond of all my students, even the most trying. This is about more than rule-breaking. Forgive me for my bluntness, but it seems best if I speak plainly. Mr Holmes—Sherlock—you are not your brother, and I can think of nothing worse than you turning out like him.”
It is clear from Sherlock’s face that no one has ever said this to him before.
“You are not wrong in your assessment. You are often callous, rude, and arrogant. I take umbrage to your attitude and cruelty towards your fellow students. But,” his piercing gaze meets Sherlock’s grey eyes. “Your brother followed every rule. He was calm and polite, the epitome of what a Head Boy should be.” Dumbledore leans close, “And he was insufferable. He never meant a word of it.”
Sherlock stares at him like he’s never seen the headmaster before. His hands are gripping the arms of the chair so hard his knuckles are white, his eyes wide and almost wild. “I can’t stand Mycroft. Everyone knows that.”
Dumbledore smiles, but it doesn’t reach his eyes. “Hating somebody and wanting to be like them are not mutually exclusive. Envy and loathing are often linked. You know that.”
A pained noise escapes Sherlock’s throat, but no words follow.
“You remind me of someone I once knew.” Dumbledore’s eyes are distant, caught in memory. “You are brilliant, Sherlock, but you hold yourself aloof from others, think yourself superior. If John Watson and Sally Donovan did not exist, I fear you would tread down a dark path.”
The chair creaks as Sherlock shifts his weight, “I don’t need them. I don’t need anyone.”
“A man may exist alone, but that does not make him better for it. Value their friendship. Caring is not a weakness. I hope, one day, you will come to understand that.”
Sherlock remains silent.
They do not have another moment alone until years later.
“Caring didn’t save her,” is all Sherlock says, voice thick and bitter.
4. Molly Hooper
Sherlock glides into the library, stopping when he notices it isn’t empty as expected. “Molly.” He pauses, starts again. “I didn’t think you’d be here.”
“It’s alright, everyone else is busy with,” she turns away. “With the ball.”
“Did you find what I needed?”
“Yes. Um, here,” she thrusts a roll of parchment at him, covered in notes.
He skims the words, ignoring her presence until she nervously clears her throat.
“I, um. I thought you’d be at the Ball.”
It is difficult to refrain from rolling his eyes. “Boring.”
“I mean, that veela, she did ask—”
“Irene is,” Sherlock never bothered to untangle the complicated reaction she evokes, to come up with words that fit her. He’d rather not feel anything in the first place. The humiliation of his first encounter with her and the memory of John’s laughter still burns. “Distracting.”
“Right,” she tucks a lock of hair behind her ear, looking anywhere but at him.
Molly is spending time with him despite social pressure to be elsewhere. Going by previous encounters, there is only one thing this can mean. He should’ve expected this. She’d made efforts to spend time with him since she’d been saved from Tom Riddle’s diary. At least Mummy had told him how to turn people down with minimal blubbering. “Molly, while I’m flattered by your intere—“
“Stop, Sherlock. Just, stop there. I’m not,” she turns to look at him, hands wringing. “I mean, I see the way you look at John. When you think no one is watching.”
Sherlock goes still, quill frozen midair. He catches himself, lets his hand drop. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Her eyes are pleading, defiant, scared. She flinches at his tone but doesn’t look away. “I know what it means. When you look sad when you don’t think anyone can see.”
“You can see me.” All pretences of studying have been dropped.
“I don’t count.” Her eyes are wet. “Sorry, I’m. I don’t mean to cry. It’s not—it’s not you. The tears, I mean. My dad, he—”
He sneers, “While that’s very—”
“Sherlock!” There’s steel in her voice, more than Sherlock would have ever believed possible. He stops mostly out of surprise.
“What I’m trying to say is that, if there’s anything I can do, anything you need, anything at all—you can have me. To talk to, or whatever you—” A few tears spill over she hastily grabs her parchment and quills. “Never mind.”
She stops but doesn’t turn around. Her knuckles are white, gripping so hard she’s going to ruin her parchment. “You should tell him, you know. Before it’s too late.”
They don’t exchange another word until John disappears during the tournament.
The first thing he says to her when it’s all over is “You may be right.”
“But you aren’t going to say anything.” It isn’t a question. She reaches her hand out, hesitating a moment before placing it on his shoulder. He flinches at the contact, muscles tense.
Sherlock watches John talking to Mary. “No,” he shifts from foot to foot before turning to leave, forcing her hand to fall. “Thank you, Molly.”
She winces at his flat tone, but doesn’t falter. “I did mean it, you know. If you need anything, just ask.”
Sherlock stares at her, opens his mouth to speak, but stops. His face wipes itself blank of expression. “What could I possibly need from you?” He marches out the door before she can answer.
Three years later when he asks her to come hunt horcruxes, she says “Yes,” without stopping to think about it.
5. Luna Lovegood
“That was fun. I didn’t realize destroying a horcrux could be,” Luna says in that dreamy quality she always has. “It was interesting to see the Chamber of Secrets. Molly told me about it, but it’s much better to see for myself. Thank you for bringing me, Sherlock.”
He’s always found her tone incredibly irritating, like everything else about her. He would’ve preferred to bring Molly, but she’d gone with John to find the diadem. Luna had been convenient and didn’t ask questions. “Can’t say I share the sentiment.”
She gives him a sidelong glance. “I never thought you were the Heir, you know.”
Sherlock glares, quickening his pace. “Stop talking. Find somebody else to bother once we rejoin the others. I’m sure Longbottom will be happy to speak to you.”
“I’ve already talked to Neville and Molly.” Her smile is soft, warm. “We’ve worked things out between us. Though I don’t think Neville quite believes it happened.” She blinks, her eyes looking far too large for her face. “But you haven’t spoken to anyone. Not properly.”
He can’t help the glance toward the Ravenclaw commons, separated through layers of stone. “I don’t want—”
Luna shakes her head, stopping in front of him and putting a finger on his lips. It startles him into silence. “Of all the times for lies, now certainly isn’t one of them. Just because you don’t want to, doesn’t mean you don’t need to. I pay attention, you know.” She smiles serenely. “You aren’t the only one who watches people. Though I suppose being friends with Molly might be considered cheating.” Her head cocks to the side. “Or the bilflaxes. They’re terrible gossips.”
Sherlock glares, looming over her. “I—”
Luna reaches forward and wraps her arms around him, letting the basilisk fangs fall with a clatter. She feels small and thin, not like someone who has survived torture and faced down Death Eaters in the Hall of Mysteries. It makes him angry all over again, that she lived and Sally—
He should push her away, wrestle out of her grip, but his body refuses to move. His back aches from the strain of holding himself rigid. “Let go.”
She grips tighter. “It’s not a proper hug yet. You need to hug me back.”
He thinks of ten particularly nasty hexes he could cast on her. “While I’m sure—”
“Sherlock,” she pulls back just enough so she can look him in the eye. Her voice is soft, but firm. “Hug me back.”
His arms move of their own accord, awkward and wooden as they tentatively settle on her back. He must be tired, too tired to fight this small, stupid battle before one so much larger. He feels the tension drain out of his spine, body relaxing into the comfort of human touch, betraying him. It’s only then he realizes his hands are shaking.
Luna finally releases him, ducking down to pick up the fangs like nothing happened.
It takes him a moment to find his voice. “What—what was that for?”
“You needed it. You have done for a long time. They’re very important, you know. Hugs, I mean. You look like you never get enough of them.”
She gives him another quick squeeze with her free hand. “John won’t end up like Sally. He’ll make it through. You’ll see.” She is convinced. Utterly certain of her optimism despite all the evidence against it. “Have some faith.”
“Faith,” Sherlock snarls, “is useless.”
“You have faith in John,” Luna points out.
Sherlock fumes, but says nothing.
They continue walking in silence. For several minutes he isn’t thinking about horcruxes and death, but about the way his hands shook but her smile never did. Caring wasn’t her weakness, but her strength.
Then John finds them, and it’s all a blur of activity and mayhem.
John is going to confront Voldemort. There’s no question of what Sherlock will do.
John, stupid, self-sacrificing John, has other ideas.
Right before he blacks out from John’s spell, he hears Luna’s voice.
Have some faith.
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