The expression of shocked surprise on Sherlock's face would almost be comical if John felt anything like laughing. Someone died after jumping from John's window: of course Sherlock would want to check out the room. Obviously Sherlock's surprised that anyone as 'dull and mundane' as John could have worked out his plans.
"John." Sherlock begins and then seems to just stop.
John rolls his eyes. "It's alright, I know why you're here, I'm not going to bother you, just wanted to make sure you didn't do any weird experiments on my stuff."
Sherlock just nods, seemingly nervous. He doesn't move; it's as if his feet are rooted to the rug he's standing on.
"Aren't you going to get on with it, then?" John asks. He knows his tone is blunt, and if he's honest, verging on rude, but he's not the one who has just broken into someone else's room. It seems especially egregious after nine months of no contact between the two of them.
"Well, I-" Sherlock starts again and then breaks off his eyes darting up to meet John's briefly, then skittering away again.
It's strange, but even after months apart John still fancies he can work out what Sherlock's thinking. He'd always been better at it than most. And right now, John senses that what Sherlock wants is for John to go away and leave him to his own investigations.
But the thing is, John remembers Carl Powers and those couple of days when Sherlock went off on his own to try and figure out the mystery. And that was before they knew how dangerous Moriarty was.
There's no way John is leaving Sherlock to do this on his own. John knows what was written on the dungeon wall, he occasionally dreams remembered hissed threats in a sing song voice when Sherlock's name was spat at him like a curse.
"Look, right ,I think we both know what this is. Or rather, suspect who is behind this. And we both know that he's too bloody dangerous for one person to deal with so..." John sort of runs out of steam here.
It's not like he wants to force himself on Sherlock or anything, he's got too much of backbone to actually ask to be allowed to assist Sherlock in this. But he also remembers a promise He had forced Sherlock to make, almost a year ago, about not doing dangerous things on his own.
"...so until you work out who did this, you're stuck with me." John says, hoping his voice sounds firm.
Sherlock shakes his head, like he's attempting to rid his ears of water, like he's sure that he hasn't heard John right.
He's apparently managed to surprise Sherlock twice in one night, John thinks that's probably a record.
"You heard me."
"But it's dangerous!" Sherlock insists, spreading his fingers wide and gesticulating fiercely into the air.
"I know."John says, belligerently. He's almost enjoying Sherlock's consternation.
"Oh please, don't be stupid-"
John immediately stops enjoying anything about this conversation. The word hangs in the air like it's suspended in the sudden tension.
"I didn't... I didn't mean-"
"Oh, save it, Sherlock. You don't say things you don't mean, we both know that. And you can call me stupid all you like; I don't give a damn anymore. But don't you dare imply I'm ignorant of what Moriarty is capable of."
John isn't aware that he's shouting until he stops and the silence is so absolute it's actually ringing. John can feel his heart hammering away in his chest, months of subdued anger suddenly flourishing through him. He finds he can't quite look at Sherlock so instead focuses on the window just slightly to the left of where Sherlock is standing. The window which Julia Stoner had fallen from hours earlier, inadvertently causing this long overdue showdown.
John risks a glance at Sherlock and hopes his anger isn't as such that he'll simply step forward and strike the idiot. Sherlock's eyes are closed, screwed tight and his jaw is taut as if he's clenching it painfully. John looks away again and it's still a moment or two before Sherlock speaks.
"John, I honestly did not mean to imply that you were unaware of Moriarty's capabilities. I simply thought that because you were so closely acquainted with them that you would wish to steer clear of any potential further confrontation with him." Sherlock's words are carefully chosen, clearly trying not to offend him.
John snorts. "Why should I be so bothered? It's you he wants, he told me."
Sherlock startles and his eyes narrow, clearly confused.
"In the dungeon. Just kept going on about how I was in the way, how he was getting rid of me for your sake. Didn't your brother tell you this? I had to tell him and the Aurors working on the Moriarty case after I started remembering things."
"I- no. No, Mycroft didn't say that's what Moriarty said."
"Doesn't matter, the bloke was clearly round the twist. If only he'd heard you earlier that evening at the Yule Ball, he'd have realised ... well he'd have realised." John hates the sad, wistful note in his voice and he can't bring himself to meet what would undoubtedly be Sherlock's cool and distant gaze. He looks down at the floor.
"John, I am so very sorry." The sincerity in Sherlock's voice is more comforting that it has any right to be.
"It wasn't your fault, Sherlock, Moriarty is just insane-"
"No! You don't understand, John, I'm sorry for everything I said that night, it wasn't true, none of it."
John's head snaps up and he finds himself looking at a very different Sherlock Holmes to the boy he thought he had known. This Sherlock is agitated, but not from excitement over a puzzle about to be solved, but because he's nervous. He is contrite and he wants John to believe him, his eyes are beseeching.
And John really wants to believe him but it has been nine months, nine bloody months, of nothing. Of silence and averted gazes and turning the other way when he spotted John in the corridor. It's been nine months of John thinking Sherlock felt a certain way about him and having a heck of a lot of evidence to back that assumption up.
John sighs, "Sherlock, you can look around my room, I'll keep an eye out for you, right? You don't have to be bothered with apologising."
"Besides, I think we've gone past that point." John avows, his voice weary, even to his ears.
Sherlock is staring at the pattern on John's bedspread like it's the most fascinating thing on the planet and his jaw is still clenched tight as a violin wire. John's own jaw aches in sympathy. After a moment Sherlock shakes his head.
"So why would you care what happens to me?" he asks, sounding genuinely confused.
It strikes John that this is rather darkly amusing, perhaps the ultimate example of what a sham their friendship was. Sherlock doesn't even understand the simple fact of caring about someone, yet alone companionship.
"Because I wouldn't wish what Moriarty did to me on my worst enemy." John scoffs and is rather satisfied to see Sherlock's mouth twist in what he can only assume is distaste.
But before Sherlock can say anything else John hears footsteps racing up the stairs, and someone calling his name. Sherlock throws him a slightly panicked look and then slides behind the open door, barring himself from the view of a panting and worried looking Mike Stamford.
"John," he gasps, "they've found another one. Someone else jumped."
"Off the Astronomy Tower," Mike takes a deep breath, the steep stairs are obviously at odds with Mike's stout frame and aversion to exercise. "Slytherin, a boy in second year, lad called James Phillimore ."
John risks a glance at Sherlock who is leaning against the wall, a pensive finger pressed to his lips. His gaze is pinned to something a thousand miles away, his mind working through this new information.
"Well... do they know why?"
Mike shakes his head.
John licks his lips. This is bad, very bad. Carl Powers had been an isolated incident, unless one counted the subsequent sacking of Luglarr as an actual desired outcome of Carl's death. In actuality Luglarr was probably just an unfortunate victim of Moriarty's machinations.
Another death amongst the student body suggests that whoever is involved is confident, arrogant and reckless enough to get away with murder twice in one day and they aren't going to stop.
The unease which had been growing in John's stomach dissolves into a full on tingle in his spin, a nervous yet powerful new energy in his veins. He has no doubt that Moriarty is behind this. And John is determined that no one else will die.
Sherlock's mind is racing. Another death, a Slytherin boy in second year, different location yet apparently the same modus operandi: 'fell' from a tall building.
His synapses are firing, trying to make connections, make sense of this new information yet it doesn't quite fit somehow. He's fairly sure that there'd be no connection between a second year Slytherin student and a sixth year Gryffindor. From what Sherlock had seen of Phillimore he was a detestable little twerp with a side parting who was of the opinion that only Pure Bloods should be allowed to attend Hogwarts.
On the other hand Julia Stoner had been described in glowing terms by an obviously deeply upset band of friends at the earlier assembly. The Gryffindor housemistress had even been crying, for heaven's sake.
Obviously Sherlock will check for connections but he already doubts there will be any. Apart from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. That's a worrying thought: if the killer, and Sherlock doesn't know how but with this second death he cannot doubt that there is a killer, is choosing people at random... everyone is at risk.
Including John, who has now shut the door having shooed Mike away and is sitting on his bed.
"Mike say's the school's in lockdown. Anyone found outside of their dorm could face immediate expulsion." John says, rather flatly.
It's probably school policy for the staff to be patrolling the corridors all night. Still, Sherlock will simply have to risk it. It's not as if-
"I'm assuming you left some sort of spell which gives the impression you're sleeping peacefully in your dorm?"John asks.
Sherlock smiles ruefully at his feet. "Actually I told one of the Prefects I was feeling unwell and that I was going to the Infirmary. Madame Hudson said she'd cover for me."
He doesn't tell John that the main reason that Madame Hudson was so happy to help was that she'd gotten it into her head that Sherlock was sneaking into the Gryffindor Common Room to make up with John. She, like Mummy, Mycroft, and Irene, was tiresomely worried about him. Although he appreciated the chocolates she kept slipping him.
It's probably just another sign of how little he deserved John's friendship in the first place but Sherlock is incredibly pleased to have the deaths to distract him from...everything else. The conversation with John is still too raw in his memory for him to even begin to analyse. He's itching to just slip away, smoke a few cigarettes and focus on the case rather than John and the way the other boy makes him feel.
Sherlock gestures towards the door about to take what must be his mutually desired leave. "I'll just be-"
"Sherlock, did you not hear what I said? The staff'll be crawling all over the building, they'll find you for sure."
"I'll be fine." Sherlock says, offhandedly. John's expression darkens with annoyance
"Oh, right, yeah I forget, you're Sherlock Holmes and you always know best, don't you?"
"Well, what am I supposed to do, hide in your cupboards?" Sherlock asks, gesticulating expansively towards John's wardrobe, eyebrows raised in disbelief.
John looks like he's going to argue back, but then his shoulders sag and he turns away, sighing in defeat.
"Do what you like."John says quietly.
"John-" Sherlock's attempted to be placating clearly grates as John spins back around, interrupting before Sherlock can say more than his name.
"No, alright? You don't get to use that tone with me and try and calm me down because I'm being 'irrational'. Maybe I don't want you to get excluded? Maybe I don't want whoever murdered the other two kids to get hold of you when you're walking alone at night!"
Sherlock's shocked into silence for a few moments. Despite John's not wanting them to be friends anymore ('past that point' rings in Sherlock's ears like a nasty playground taunt) it's obvious how much he still cares.
"You're suggesting I stay here?" Sherlock asks, trying not to think how nine months ago, John Watson asking him to stay the night would have been the ultimate wish fulfilment.
'It still is' whispers a treacherous part of his brain, the part which makes him dream of golden hair, soft smooth skin and warm, agile limbs, a hot mouth at his ear, on his throat, hours and hours of kissing. Then the inevitable shame in the morning and oh, there is simply no possibility that Sherlock can stay here.
And on top of that ,with the spectre of Moriarty prowling the school John is not safe if he's anywhere near Sherlock.
Clearly some of Sherlock's reservations show on his face. John rolls his eyes.
"Oh for fuck's sake, I don't snore, Sherlock. It's just one night and then you never have to speak to me again." John's already pulling clothes out of the dresser.
"I thought you wanted to help on the case?" Sherlock asks, hoping the question hides the sharp intake of breath which had accompanied John unbuttoning his school shirt and throwing it over the chair.
"Yeah, but you don't have to speak to me." he says, almost wryly.
John turns around and in the glowing light from the various lamps in the room Sherlock catches his first glimpse of the vicious looking scar on his shoulder. It sits like an ugly blemish, marring the lightly tanned skin and leanly muscular beauty of John's torso. The scar itself is like a starburst of dark pink flesh, and even after nine months of healing it still looks extremely painful.
It's only when John turns away, hastily pulling on a loose, deep red t shirt that Sherlock realises he must have been staring and has probably made John uncomfortable. Sherlock doesn't think that John would welcome the knowledge that despite its unpleasant appearance, Sherlock doesn't think the scar diminishes John, but rather makes him look like a born fighter and survivor.
So instead he grabs the clothes John has leant him and tries to harden his heart to the notion that this is the closest he will ever get to sleeping with John Watson. A night, rigidly lying on the opposite side of the bed with John silently resenting his presence.
John knows he shouldn't look but turnabout is fair play so when he catches a view of Sherlock shrugging out of his clothes in his dressing mirror, he doesn't feel too bad about sneaking a peek. After all, Sherlock has seen his scar.
He was aware that over the summer break Sherlock had grown into his long, gangly limbs somewhat, but the sight of Sherlock's broad shoulders tapering down to an incredibly narrow waist take John aback. His skin is the colour of clotted cream and the muscles in his back look like they've been sculptured. Only the occasional freckle shows that Sherlock has not, in fact, been carved out of marble.
John looks away before Sherlock catches him looking and finds that he is actually breathing more heavily which is...
Alright it's not entirely surprising. He's always known, on some level, that he holds a degree of interest in Sherlock's physical presence. He's always found the other boy's unusual facial features striking and has always been impressed by the way Sherlock moves, with a controlled energy and complete confidence.
But this is new: he doesn't think of Sherlock this way, does he? Surely John is just envious of Sherlock's good looks, that's all it can be. John shakes his head like he's shaking water from his ears. That was certainly an odd thirty seconds. Besides, even if he was... attracted to Sherlock physically, the other boy had enough faults with his personality to put John off him completely.
And, John thought guiltily, he already has a girlfriend. He hadn't even said goodnight to Sarah, but seeing as everyone has been told to go to their dorms he can hardly rectify that. He'll just have to make it up to her at breakfast.
John goes to the tiny, private bathroom and brushes his teeth. Sherlock does the same after summoning a toothbrush. He slides quickly into the right side of the bed so there isn't any awkwardness about which side they should sleep on when Sherlock returns from the bathroom.
Sherlock slides into the bed and then they are simply lying next to each other, in the dark. John's expecting at least a half hour of intense discomfort before he falls asleep, but it seems as though the events of the day have caught up with him and he drifts off almost immediately, without so much as an ill at ease 'Goodnight' from either of them.
Really, it's only when John wakes up entirely tangled up in long limbs, a heavy, solid yet pleasantly warm weight on his chest and Sherlock's curls tickling his chin that things start to get very weird indeed.