Title: A Study in Slytherin: How to Train Your Broomstick
Beta: goldvermilion87 (Awesome! All Hail!)
Fandom: AU (BBC Sherlock & Harry Potter Crossover)
Characters: John Watson (aged 11 years), Hogwarts students, Sherlock Holmes (Durmstrang exchange student).
Disclaimers: Hogwarts and its settings belong to J.K.Rowling; BBC Sherlock characters belong to Moffat & Gatiss (with a nod and a wink to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle); if there is anything left, it might be mine.
Summary: Muggle-born John Watson is having a hard time adjusting to his new life at Hogwarts School.
Warnings: Alternate Universe and ART!FLAIL
Word Count: 1680 plus dubious ART
Author's Notes/What you need to know:
A Study in Slytherin is my crossover alternate universe where we meet the BBC Sherlock characters as children in the J.K. Rowling Hogwarts universe.
John Watson is in his first year at Hogworts School and he is being bullied because he is in Slytherin (NO WAY, you say... but it makes sense if you read A Study in Slytherin: The Chat in the Hat.) Sherlock is the boy-genius exchange student from Durmstrang.
Now, this story is set after John and Sherlock have been introduced, but before they become good friends.
Feedback is appreciated
The problem with the petrificus totalus charm is that it does not wear off all at once. Various parts of your body regain their feeling and function randomly. John Watson had stopped worrying about missing his third Transfiguration class this week when another thought become more pressing.
Could he control his bladder if he could not get his legs working soon enough? He really had to pee. Perhaps he should just let go. Perhaps a yellow puddle seeping out of the bottom of suit of armour would alert people that he had been imprisoned inside all morning. No. Hopefully it would not come to that.
There wasn’t enough time left for lunch and John knew he had to hurry to his flying lesson or he would get stuck with the worst of the school broomsticks. Apparently, the other first years had the same idea. Griffindors and Slytherins who could not afford their own brooms formed a long queue. John joined the end, trying not to attract attention.
As he reached for a broom, he was knocked aside.
“Watch it there, Watson,” Anderson laughed, grabbing the proffered broom and running off to join his fellow Gryffindors on the pitch.
John didn’t meet his house captain’s eyes as he was handed the last of the dodgy-looking school brooms. This broom looked worn and a little suspect but John could sense that the magic within it was in tune with his own and he knew he would be able to fly with it.
The two houses were divided into experienced and inexperienced flyers. The novices like John were left to practice rudimentary exercises while the instructors put the more experienced students through more advanced manoeuvres.
‘Up’ John commanded, and his broomstick responded. He looked around and saw others were not so lucky. Two broom handles caught their riders in the face. John winced, partially hiding an unsympathetic grin.
John easily mastered the commands and was completing lazy circles near the ground when he sensed something was wrong. One of the experienced flyers was having a problem with his broom. It was Anderson; his broom gave a magical shriek and took off with Anderson still gripping tightly, climbing higher and higher. John urged his broom to follow. The distance between them decreased as he urged for speed and Anderson fought to slow his runaway broom.
‘Hang on, Anderson!’ John shouted when he was within range. Reaching over to grab hold of the Anderson’s broom just above the bristles, he braced himself for contact.
The shock in response to his grasp nearly forced him to let go. Anderson’s broom was fighting for control. John had to fight to concentrate to overcome its jarring wail. It became a contest of wills which John had to win. If not, he would lose control of his own broom as well. He did not dare think what altitude they had reached before he felt them levelling off and could not call out to Anderson because it took all of his concentration to manage both brooms. The descent was just as perilous.
‘Jump!’ John shouted when they were a few metres off the ground.
Once free, all of the rogue’s power shot through John, startling him and pitching him from his own broom. The rogue broom fell harmlessly to the ground once it lost human contact. John rolled to a stop, spitting out a mouth full of turf.
Both boys lay about twenty metres apart. Anderson was shaking badly and lay on the edge of the grass. John’s body was numb and his head was ringing as if he had been too close to the amplifiers at a rock concert, but he was otherwise unharmed.
‘You OK?’ John asked, but Anderson was still shaking with fear.
John got to his feet and tried to concentrate; to sense for the source of the dissonance. There it was. A small black stick protruded from the bristles of Anderson’s broom. This foreign object’s presence had surely destabilised the broom’s flight. If Anderson had been a totally inexperienced flyer, he might have been killed.
John was so intent on his investigation that he failed to notice Anderson getting to his feet and advancing on him, picking up the other abandoned broom along the way.
‘Hey Anderson, have you ever seen anything...?’
The unexpected two-handed blow caught John on the side of his head, knocking him to the ground and leaving him dazed. Greg and Sally came running. Sherlock just sort of appeared.
‘Watson messed with my broom! He tried to kill me!’ Anderson screamed and swung the broom at John’s unprotected head again.
‘Hippus Hoppus Amphibianus!’
There was a green flash of light. The broomstick spun harmlessly away. Anderson was gone. In his place there sat a very bewildered frog.
'Ribbit?' said the frog.
Sherlock gave an evil smile as he imitated blowing imaginary smoke from the tip of his wand. He gave the wand a blindingly fast twirl which ended with the it stuffed back in his pocket. Someone had been watching too many old west cowboy movies, John surmised.
Once realisation settled in, Greg and Sally screamed at Sherlock to undo the charm. He refused, but promised he would tell them how to undo it themselves after he found out what had happened, then he asked John to explain.
John said he was examining Anderson's malfunctioning broom and had just found a malevolent looking black spike embedded in the bristles when Anderson blindsided him.
'You probably put it there yourself!' accused Sally, looking ready to attack John herself.
'Yes. John and Anderson have been at each other since we first got to Hogwarts.' Greg agreed.
'Think, you idiots! Is a first-year Muggle-born likely to come up with magic this sophisticated?' Sherlock scoffed, examining the blackened spike for himself.
Greg and Sally considered the problem and agreed that John was not smart enough to have created such powerful magic. Sherlock helped John to his unsteady feet and they started to walk away.
'Ribbit?' croaked Anderson.
'Sherlock, wait! What about Anderson? Somebody tried to kill him!'
‘Actually,’ John winced, ‘I think that broom was meant for me... ’
‘Holmes! Are you going to restore him, or what?’
'Are you sure you want him back? I like him better this way. What about you, John?'
'It serves him right. But you’d better restore him. He’s not worth getting in trouble over.'
'This is very old magic. Surely you have read the fairie tales. Only a kiss will restore him. And I, for one, am not doing it!' Sherlock grinned and turned to leave. John picked up his own broom and followed.
'Ribbit?' asked Anderson.
Greg pulled back. 'Sorry, mate. You're on your own!'
'Ribbit?' pleaded Anderson, looking at Sally.
'Ewww... do I have to?'
The smooch was followed by magical restoration. But Anderson continued to ‘ribbit' for hours.
John did not know any of the sophisticated old magic, but he had become uncomfortably familiar with the petrificus totalus charm. Earlier that evening, he had spent half an hour on the margins of the Forbidden Forest, where the river delta formed the Menacing Swamp before he found what he needed. Now he stood silently in the library, his wand aimed at the oblivious Anderson who was rewriting his History of Magic essay.
John eased Anderson out of his school robe and house tie, leaving them strewn on the seat. He then dragged Anderson into a darkened corner and propped him into a slouching position, seated against the wall.
'I'm so sorry, Willowby,' John apologised to the bullfrog he pulled from his own pocket as he placed him on Anderson's half-completed parchment. Then, very carefully, he dipped the frog's digits into the inkwell and spelled out his message:
'What are you giggling about?' Sherlock whispered.
John put a finger to his mouth signalling silence, and pointed down the corridor where Sally and Greg were involved in an animated discussion. Whatever it was, it was causing Sally great distress. She pulled the frog from out of her pocket and showed it to Greg.
'Not again! Just kiss him and be done with it!' he said.
'I tried. Repeatedly! It’s not working this time. You do it!'
'No way! Take him to the Headmaster!'
'Greg, don’t be such a ninny! Kiss him!'
The boy and the frog traded grimaces as their lips met.
'It didn’t work!'
'I told you we should have gone to the Headmaster!'
'No! You just didn’t try hard enough. Kiss him again!'
'Look out! He’s escaping!'
'Oh great. He’s gone down the grate.'
'I’ll go find that Sherlock Holmes. You stay here in case Anderson comes back,' Greg said as he took off down the corridor, leaving Sally illuminating the grate with her wand and softly calling for Anderson to please return.
Meanwhile at the other end of the corridor, Sherlock fixed John with a strange look.
'You could not have transformed Anderson into that frog!'
'Nope! But the result is the same. If those two catch up with him again, they will be kissing that poor bullfrog all night!'
'So that was just a... '
'Real frog? Yes. I found Willowby down by the swamp. He liked the idea of travel and romance and seemed to have a good sense of humour...'
‘All right. All right! Give us a second.’
John slipped the message out of the small leg pouch and gave the bird the last of his bacon. The owl took flight as John read:
‘I’m in Hogsmeade. Come at once if possible. --S.H.’
Impossible, thought John, knowing that his first class was double potions. The bird was gone. There was no way to reply. Oh well, these things happen. John returned to his scrambled eggs, wishing he had not given his bacon away. At least he still had his toast.
John was almost finished when a second owl glided to a dignified halt in front of him, offering him another message.
‘If impossible, come all the same. --S.H.’
John scribbled his refusal on the back of the message and inserted it back in the pouch. The owl looked longingly at John’s last toast point. John took a huge bite and handed the rest to the owl who hooted her appreciation.
Only minutes after the second owl’s departure, a third, smaller owl careened to a halt in front of John. It hooted enthusiastically, trying to get his attention. Whatever. His eggs were too cold to eat anyway. He slid them over and retrieved the message:
‘Could be dangerous. Bring silver bullets. --S.H.’
Alternate Universe Crossover