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: My Muse is giving me a tour of an Alternate Universe. 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. Sherlock thinks that 'retail therapy' in Diagon Alley might be fun.
Warnings: Alternate Universe and ART!FLAIL
Word Count: 2750 plus dubious ART
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 Hogwarts 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. Also in this series: A Study in Slytherin: How to Train Your Broomstick.
Now, this story is set after John and Sherlock have been introduced, but before they become good friends.
Feedback is always appreciated
There was not much to do at Hogwarts School on Saturday mornings so Sherlock welcomed this little puzzle. Five sets of running foot prints ended at the edge of the Forbidden Forest. Four people had stopped, but not the fifth. The trainers of the one being chased had plunged down the path without pausing. Sherlock smiled. The bigger students had not managed to catch John this time.
Sherlock paused for a look around before trailing the footprints deeper into the woods. Their spacing and depth told him that John had slowed to a walk and was being careful with his steps. Sherlock slowed as well, exercising caution. Suddenly, in a cluster of trees, the footprints just stopped. He looked around the base of the trees, when... THOK! An acorn bounced off his head.
‘Very funny, John.’ Sherlock said as he looked up into the lower branches. If John had not smiled and waved, Sherlock was not sure he would have been able to spot him. John climbed higher.
‘Wingardium Leviosa is a simple charm, John. I would be happy to teach it to you,’ he called up.
‘That’s all right. I already know it. We learned it last month,’ John replied, reaching for a higher branch.
‘Its permutations are infinitely useful. You could levitate and you would not have to climb these stupid trees.’
‘I like climbing. And trees aren’t stupid. Some of them are...’
Tell that to the whomping willow! John snorted as he tested the next branch and pulled himself higher still. Now he could see the turrets of Hogwarts and the glimmer of the lake. Sherlock muttered the self-levitation charm and drifted up to John’s level.
‘I’m going to London. Do you want to come?’
‘There are no trains today.’
‘Don’t be an idiot. Trains take too long. I’m going to apparate.’
John nearly lost his grip on the branch in surprise.
‘Sherlock, you can’t apparate!’
‘Why not?’ he grinned.
‘For one: you’re underage, so it’s illegal. Two: it’s dangerous. And three: we’re still on Hogwarts property. Nobody can apparate or disapparate in or out of Hogwarts.’
‘Really, John? How predictable! The law prohibiting minors from apparating is centuries out of date. And it’s not dangerous if you know what you’re doing. Oh, and technically, since we are in the Forbidden Forest, we are no longer on Hogwarts’ property. Speaking of which, what part of forbidden don’t you understand? Were you not expressly forbidden from entering the Forbidden Forest on more than one occasion?’
‘That’s different. You know why I have to...’
Instead of replying, Sherlock reached over and grasped John’s arm.
‘Don’t fight it. Resisting will only make it worse.’
‘Make what worse? Sherlock, let me go! Don’t you dare…’
John suddenly felt as if he was being squeezed. He lost his grip and started to fall. Only instead of falling to the forest floor, John found himself on his hands and knees in a dirty alley, trying to catch his breath.
When he could breathe again, he looked around. Sherlock was standing there with a triumphant look on his face. Traffic passed on the street beyond... London traffic. Unmistakably London traffic. Home! John looked back at Sherlock.
‘That… that was… awesome!’ he exclaimed as he willed his legs to stop shaking.
‘Really? Er, I mean, hurry up. We should get to Diagon Alley before the shops get too busy. There are a few things I want to see and you really need an owl of your own.’
‘Erm, Sherlock? I haven’t got any wizard money on me, maybe five Muggle quid, and that isn’t enough to buy anything.’
‘Oh, don’t worry about that. The manager at the Owl Emporium owes me a favour.’
The two boys started down the street. London, this early Saturday morning, was not very busy. The streets contained only early shopppers, intrepid tourists, and street people. A block later, John spotted a phone booth and went inside to call home. Sherlock just rolled his eyes impatiently.
‘Hi, Harry, it’s me, John... Can I speak to Mum? What do you mean, no? She can’t be gone shopping already... Because she worked the late shift last night, that’s why... Please wake her... Why not? I’m not trying to upset her! I didn’t mean to... Don’t be such a … Oh, come on... Harry... Please! I need to talk to her! That’s none of your business... It’s not like that... Please, Harry... No, don’t hang up! Don’t...’
John slammed the receiver home with an explicative.
Sherlock could not help overhearing John’s conversation and was unsure what to say. John was fuming.
‘Older brothers can be such turds,’ Sherlock offered.
‘Your brother, Harry. He’s a controlling wank, just like my older brother.’
‘Harry is short for Harriet. She’s my sister. Other than that, you are right about the controlling wank.’
‘Would she make a nice frog? How about a face full of pimples? You’re a wizard now. Why not turn the tables on her?’
John smiled as he considered the possibilities. He and Harry never got along. ‘Forget about it. Diagon Alley is far more interesting than my sister could ever hope to be.’
No one seemed to notice as the two boys slipped into a disreputable tavern called the Leaky Cauldron. They were just passing though, so they did not stop to chat with the barkeeper. Their first point of business took them to the Owl Emporium. The bells above the door jingled, announcing their presence. Rows of owls in cages blinked their sleepy eyes in the direction of the two boys.
‘Sherlock, it’s good to see you!’ said a middle-aged woman, enveloping the squirming taller boy in a hug with the wings of her shawl. John liked how she smiled with her eyes, and not just with her mouth.
‘This boy,’ John grinned as the shopkeeper squeezed Sherlock in another smothering hug. ‘This boy saved my shop. I would have been out of business if not for him!’
‘Angela was being swindled by three of her suppliers. I just helped a little.’
‘If not for Sherlock,’ she told John, ‘I would have been up to my eyebrows in illegal species. Sherlock, anything you want is yours, free of charge.’
‘Angela, this is John. He’s first year at Hogwarts and he needs an owl.’
‘Welcome, John. Anything for a friend of Sherlock’s! You are welcome to choose any one from the stock on hand. I’m sorry there isn’t as much selection as at the beginning of the school term. This great horned owl is the best I can offer. He’s yours if you want him.’
John walked slowly down the aisle under the curious scrutiny of the shop’s inhabitants. Rows of owls hooted softly to get his attention. They ranged in size, were all in good condition, and seemed to find him of interest. Poor things, he thought. Not much of a life, living in a store, longing to be purchased and allowed to fly again. Regrettably, he would have to decline the offer of the great horned owl. He needed to get an owl that would not stand out too much. He feared that any bird he chose would also become a target just like him.
Impertinent hooting startled John from his thoughts. It was coming from the last cage on the right. John peered in at the large black raggedy bird. It hooted at him again using the call of yet another kind of owl.
John’s eyebrows shot up in surprise.
‘You’re a raven!’ He unnecessarily exclaimed, ‘A Tower raven.’
The raven’s chuckle sounded surprisingly human. John smiled.
‘You must be a good flyer,’ The Raven seemed to glare at him. ‘OK, a very good flyer.’
The bird stretched out a tattered but serviceable wing.
‘Oh, you’ve seen a bit of trouble too… do you want to see some more?’
The raven snapped to attention.
‘Miss Angela, I think I have found my owl.’
‘As much as I would like to be clear of him, that one suffers from an excess of personality. I’d go with something more conventional and reliable if I were you, dear.’
‘No. He’s the one.’
‘If you insist... but I warn you: he makes lots of inappropriate sounds.’
Cool! John thought: a bird that was both smart and tough enough to handle himself in a crisis. Perfect! Sherlock sidled up next to John while Angela retrieved the raven’s cage and the associated paperwork.
‘Are you sure about this?’
‘Yes. Yes, I am. Why do you ask?’
‘I thought you didn’t want to attract further attention.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Oh, I don’t know! How about Evil Johnny Watson and his great black carrion bird? You might as well get a vulture... or perhaps a vampire bat! And you thought you didn’t belong in Slytherin!’
‘Ravens aren’t evil, Sherlock, and neither am I… ’
‘Oh, don’t worry. I approve! I just wanted to know if you’d thought this through. Actually, I think it’s brilliant!’
As they exited the store, John’s raven called out to the remaining birds inside with the sound of a child blowing a raspberry. Angela and the owls let out a collective sigh of relief as the door swung shut.
‘What do you want to go down there for?’
‘I need some ingredients for Potions.’ Sherlock replied.
‘Don’t lie to me. All of the ingredients for class can be purchased in Diagon Alley. Why do you really want to go down there?’
‘Knockturn Alley has some brilliant shops, and they have greater variety of specialty items and amazing books. I wouldn’t want to go there at night, but it’s perfectly fine in the daytime.’
‘Maybe so... but it feels odd. Like there is something wrong... ’
‘If you’re scared, you can stay here, where it is safe.’
‘I’m not scared!’ John protested even as the short hairs on the back of his neck stood on end.
The raven shifted restlessly in his cage, and gave the boys an inquiring look. John moved to unlatch the door.
‘What are you doing? He might fly away.’
‘I’m not carrying this cage through that street, and I won’t leave him here. He’d be helpless.’
John released the latch and held the door open. The raven sidled along its perch and with a small hop landed on the cobble-stoned street. With another hop and a stretch of his wings, the raven took flight, disappearing beyond the rooftops with a great echoing cackle. The two boys watched; one in disappointment, the other with great amusement.
‘Well, that solves the problem of the raven. Well done, John!’
‘Shut it, Sherlock,’ he replied and followed Sherlock into the gloomy alleyway.
They had only passed a handful of stores when the smirk suddenly left Sherlock’s face. He stopped in his tracks. Three shadowy characters blocked the path ahead.
‘Well, well! If it isn’t that Holmes whelp!’
‘Grab his wand, Spider! He won’t get away this time!’
Sherlock spun and ran. So did John, but a jinx hit him square in the chest, knocking him off his feet. White pain shot through him, reaching all way to his fingers and toes. The skin on his face and hands was scraped raw as his momentum slammed him into the cobblestones. Magic crackled through the air above him.
Sherlock felled one and was still exchanging spells with the remaining two, trying to keep them away from John.
‘Get up, John! Get out of here!’
Try as he might, John could not regain his feet. His limbs refused to co-operate and he flopped about like a freshly landed trout. Sherlock yelped.
‘Got ‘em!’ cried one of their attackers.
Suddenly, John was being roughly shaken and someone was trying to snatch the wand from his hand.
‘Give it over, kid, or you’ll regret it!’
John refused to let go, and received a punch in the face in return. John knew he had to resist. He would be helpless, (more helpless) without his wand. The pain from the initial jinx was wearing off, but the abrasions from his fall were stinging like mad.
‘Conjunctiva!’ he gasped and his attacker fell away furiously rubbing his eyes.
John looked around to see the other attacker throttling Sherlock and lifting him bodily off the ground. Sherlock continued to struggle but the man outclassed him in both size and strength. John tried to rise but his attacker recovered too quickly. A second jinx was followed by a solid kick to his stomach. More blows fell as a fog threatened to overwhelm his consciousness. Retaining his wand was his only thought.
Suddenly the sounds of a siren could be heard approaching.
‘It’s the muggle police! Run for it!’
‘I ain’t stayin’ to find out!’
John heard the sounds of their footsteps as their assailants fled down the alley. All was quiet. Sherlock lay in a heap where he had been dropped. Where were the police? John stumbled over to his friend. Sherlock was unconscious and had a nasty burn mark on his right arm.
‘Sherlock? Sherlock, please wake up.’
Where were the police? John looked at his watch. He had only been dazed for a few minutes at most. The police should still be here. He nudged Sherlock again and still received no response. John could feel the eyes of Knockturn Alley watching them and he knew he could not fend off another attack alone.
‘Sherlock, please get up. We cannot stay here.’
Still no response. Shadows appeared to be spreading. John spotted his raven, perched on a nearby lamppost. Had it been there all this time? The raven urged John to follow with a low, impatient hoot.
‘Wingardium Leviosa,’ said John, taking Sherlock’s arm and hoisting his now near-weightless form into a standing position.
The raven led the way with John and Sherlock close behind. By the time they reached the gateway back to Diagon Alley, John was in a lot of pain. His stomach hurt and one of his eyes had swollen shut. Sherlock groaned as he started to regain consciousness.
Once safe again in the sunlit corridors, John sat himself and Sherlock down on the steps in front of the sweets shop. He needed to rest his head against the handrail just for a moment... just long enough for the dizziness to pass. Sherlock came to his senses and shook himself.
'Diagon Alley? How'd we get back here? John?'
The sight of his friend's bedraggled condition, the marks on the ground, and the residual magic surrounding them both told Sherlock more than John's words could have. They had been extremely lucky. The raven perched near John's ear and hooted softly. John grimaced and opened his good eye.
‘You all right, Sherlock?’
‘Yeah... I think so. Just a bump on the head. What happened?’
‘No I didn’t! I don’t faint!’
‘Sure, Sherlock. Whatever you say.’
‘You’re a mess. Are you hurt?’
‘I’ve had worse. Can we go back to Hogwarts now? I’ve had enough of London.’
With his finger, John lightly stroked the sleek feathers on the raven’s back. The saucy bird purred like a cat. Although it pained him to do so, John could not help but smile.
‘I bet you can do police sirens too, can’t you?’
The raven replied with the jingling of the Owl Emporium doorbells.
‘He needs a name, John. Something fierce.’
‘He has a name. It’s Murray.’
‘What kind of name is that?!’
‘Ha! What kind of name is Sherlock?
The Boggart, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
John Watson had not slept a wink that night. Studying through the night had two benefits: one, he was finally caught up in his transfiguration lessons, and two, nobody could sneak in and prank him if he remained awake. He entered the Great Hall for breakfast barely awake, but starving.
‘Hey Watson, I hear they’re going to rename the detention room after you!’
‘I heard it was the infirmary!’
John sighed. No original taunts this morning.
Alternate Universe Crossover