"Hey, um, Greg?" Greg whipped around and nearly headbutted Molly in the process. She was always amazingly light on her feet, and he felt his stomach hiccup when he turned round to find a pair of gentle, brown eyes inches from his face.
"Shit... sorry! I scared you... well I say scared, sorry... I shouldn't have crept up... and you look - sorry - a bit preoccupied...sorry."
"Hey, Molly? Stop apologising." He smiled, but she didn't see. She never did.
"Sorry... no, that wasn't... ok."
Greg remebered Molly as a first year; skinny and clumsy, with eyes too big for her face. He remembered her at the winter ball in her fourth year; a pretty black dress with a silver hem, sparkling in the white light and unmatched earings. He remembered her when she had came back, after spending the summer with her muggle family; hair a shade lighter - honey coloured - and falling in curls over her face as she talked easily to the new boy.
Molly had never even noticed Greg until John had introduced them, and even then he seemed like a dull star next to Sherlock - a supernova. She didn't remeber the face of the boy who had picked up her books for her when Irene Adler - a slytherin girl - had knocked them out her hands. She didn't remember the name of the boy who had given her his only potions textbook so she could pass, even though he was failing. Or the way that boy had looked at her when she twirled and stumbled and jiggled her way through the winter ball. Greg had been a constant wallflower in her life.
"It's alright. What can I do for you, Molly?" His cheeks felt too hot, and his pulse was soaring around his body, but his voice came out impassive, unaffected despite his somersaulting stomach. I can get away with this, he thought, I can pretend not to care...
"Why do you do that? Say my name, every sentance you say, it's like you have to remind yourself who I am?"
"I... I do remember your name Moll... sorry. I, ur, am a bit busy right now. Got a... er... incident that needs looking at." Kicking himself for sounding like such an idiot, colouring darkening his cheeks, he lifted up his chin and turned, walking in the direction of the Gryfindor common room, letting out a breath he hadn't realised he was holding when he heard Molly jog after him. The walked side by side in silence, until Molly finally interupted his train of mental self-abuse.
"That was rude of me. I can be a bit abrupt with people I don't really know," Greg wanted to tell her that they had known each other for year, but bit down on his tongue. Hard. "But, I actually needed to talk to you. I heard about the 4th girl. The one who was petrified... and I heard there was writing on the wall, were they found her. I want to know what it said."
"Molly, I don't-"
"Please? I think I know something... one of the ghost's in the girl's bathroom told me something. A name. A place. But I can't be sure until I see the note." Determined clarity burnt in Molly's bright eyes, disguising her trembling heart drumming in her ears, and the crushing fear that things at Hogwarts were about to change for the worse. For the first time since Greg could remember, he looked at Molly and didn't see someone who needed protecting, but someone who was smarter than she let on, and was someone who he would be happy to fight beside. Brave. Clever. Passionate. Loyal.
"Please, Greg. For me?"
The uproar that followed after Greg turned up at the scene of the accident with Molly was a small price compared to the way her face lit up like a star when he agreed.
John caught up with Sherlock by the doors of the Great Hall, keeping pace with the taller boy, shoulder to shoulder. The silence was booming.
The corridor where the accident had happened was too brightly lit, a sharp blue illumination stinging the back of John's eyelids, and all around him people moved wordlessly about in matching blue overalls and cast curses that made hidden things noticable. It seemed alien and everything about it set John's tongue to his teeth, but Sherlock weaved in between the rabble like a fish going with the current. Completely in his element.
Greg was lounging in a doorframe, the blue of his coverups emphasizing the veins in his neck, straining with stress. He was talking intently to a professor - Professor Sholto, John's 'Magic in combat' teacher - and the slytherin prefect with the caramel skin and dark curls like liquorish. As they walked in, she turned, eyes blazing like burning coals when she saw, and stomped across the room, professors and students parting for her.
"What are you doing here, freak? Professors and prefects only-"
"I. Was. Invited." There was no denying the glimmer of hurt in Sally's eyes, as they flickered over to Letsrade. John felt his lashing anger towards her dull a little inside his chest, understanding how her bitterness, like his repressed anger, was just a side affect to a lifetime of people letting her down. Sherlock, for someone who observed everything, didn't see very far beneath the surface.
"Now, Donovan, let me go and clear up your mess." A smirk played across Sherlock's face, tinting his voice with a snigger "Speaking of mess, Sally, have you seen the state of yourknees?" With that, he swept past her, and in a few elegant strides was beside Lestrade, still smirking, leaving a very lost John staring uncomprehendingly at Sally Donovan's knees. When he tried to follow Sherlock though, it was like an invisible barrier fell in front of him, with just a flick of Sally's wand.
"Uh, no. Who are you?"
"I'm with him... John Watson. His...ur, um... colleage?"
"Let him through, Donovan!" Lestrade bellowed across the corridoor, and with a sullen wave of Sally's wrist, the barrier fell. With a shy smirk in her direction, John shuffled past Sally, and jogged across the room to where Sherlock and Lestrade stood waiting in a closed doorway. Greg held out a matching blue overall to him, his rough face grim and anxious, his eyes shining with fear and confusion, like he'd found out some ba news he didn't quite understand. John took the overalls, before looking up at Sherlock, dressed in his black and blue robes, huffing impatiently.
"Are you not wearing them?" For that comment, John was rewarded with a look of demeaning amusement, like it was the stupidest and funniest thing Sherlock had ever heard, ocean eyes illuminated and burning with anticipation. When Letsrade and John were suited up and ready, with a small nod, Sherlock swung open the door, sauntering inside... only to walk straight into a wall of man. The boy standing in the now open doorway - tall, muscular and dark-haired with a face that made john think of a small rodent - looked down at Sherlock (which very few people could do) with a mixture of surprise and distaste clear as day across his ratlike face. Sherlock, however, recovering himself quickly and stepping away from the older boys chest, plastered a sarcastic smile all over his face, beautiful eyes cruel and contemplating.
"Now, this is a crime scene, I don't want it... contaminated." Anderson concluded with a sneer.
"Of course not." Subconciously, John knew he should move on, stop Sherlock from... whatever it was he as doing. He knew the way Sherlock's eyes sparkled in a sort of manic light when he was about do something stupid, and how his voice became silky and he picked up pace when he was about to make a deduction. He knew that it would piss off everyone and probably not end well, but still some part of John wanted to know what Sherlock had to say. Or maybe he liked the manic twinkle in Sherlock's gaze. Who knows? "Now Anderson, maybe it wasn't such a good idea to involve yourself with a girl from another house? Is it not going as well as you'd hoped? So sorry to hear-"
"Oh, don't act like you figured that out! Somebody told you!" roared Anderson, which only seemed to encoarage the bright-eyed troublemaker.
"Your deoderant told me."
"Yes, it's for a man."
"Of course it's for a man! I'm wearing it!"
"So... is Prefect Donovan. Don't worry, I'm sure she just came over to study for your herbology project. But going by the state of her knees, it looks like she scrubbed your floor, too! But then..." With a look of mock confusion, Sherlock physically moved Anderson out of his way "...their are spells that could tidy your dorm for you." Sashaying past Anderson, Sherlock dissapeared into the crime scene, followed quickly by Lestrade, and yet again, John was left dumbfounded, lost and staring at Sally's knees. Then he stumbled into the room, Anderson's protests cut off as the door slammed shut behind him, and felt his blood turn cold in his veins.
Light's flashed blindingly around the 3 boys, illuminating the scene infront of them. Here's the first thing John noticed;
- The girl, probably a similar age to him, lay still and cold on the floor, fine, night-black hair falling wildly over her golden face. She was chinese, and had slanted, ebony eyes, open and blank.
- She was very pretty.
- There was no blood, and when the took her pulse, a vein beat lightly against his fingers. She wasn't dead. Petrified.
- She really was very pretty.
- Very, VERY pretty.
- There was a note scrunched into her palm; "Zhi" it said
When he looked closer, he worked out form her body temperature she must've been in this state for a good few hours. That she was heading towards the girls bathroom. And that no matter how pretty she was, he couldn't stop thinking about how soft Sherlock's curls had been, or how cool his breath had been on John's ear and how gentle his hand hand felt against his skin, until he couldn't even focus on the girl anymore...
Here's the first things Sherlock noticed;
- The scarlet writing splattering the wall.
- She was going in the direction of the toilets, but was facing the east wall, where a small, glass vent led down to the sewers (below the bloody note colouring the wall, about eyeheight), which was steamy, like hot breath had panted against it, but the air was cool.
- "Zhi" meant value in chinese.
- She had been writing her brother's name, not chinese. Yes, her brother, and he knew this because her books were all named, originally "Zhi Zhu", but the first name was croosed out and replaced with "Soo Lin"
- John kept looking at her.
- The bottom of her robe was damp, but it hadn't rained recently, and the only rooms with water on the floor were the toilets. But that was the direction she was headed in. Why would she be going back?
- She had been running when she had been attacked. Chased. There were different size footprints, bigger. They had turned around and left before they reached her.
- She had originally been a slytherin, but had got herself transfered into Gryfindor.
- John kept looking at her.
- The scarlet writing on the wall.
Thing's were about to change.
'THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAD BEEN OPENED"