'Did you get that form signed?' John asked one afternoon at lunch, after an enjoyable lesson of Care of Magical Creatures (even Sherlock had liked it). 'The one about visiting the village, I mean.'
'Oh!' Sherlock grinned. 'Yeah, I did. It'll be good to get out of the castle for a few weekends this year.'
'Definitely,' John said happily. 'What's down there anyways?'
'Sweetshop, few pubs and restaurants, joke shop, post office, houses...the Shrieking Shack.' Sherlock looked at John.
Sherlock chuckled. 'Most haunted house in Britain-if you believe what people say. No one's ever been in it to see if it's a ghost or not though.
'Wow. We should check it out. Be alot more interesting than looking at shops all day.'
Sherlock nodded. 'There's alot in Hogsmeade to do. Should be fun.' Sherlock pulled out his star charts, unfinished and due that night. 'Can I see yours?'
'No.' John said firmly.
John turned to look behind him. 'Oh hey Henry,' he said, swatting away Sherlock's hand as the boy reached for John's bag. 'I'm not letting you copy mine, Sherlock.'
'Hi John.' Henry stopped beside Sherlock, and Sherlock turned.
'What is it?' he asked. 'Dear god, please not another lost pet.'
'No...' Henry frowned. 'Um can I sit?' Sherlock nodded, raising his eyebrows at John. 'Listen...my family...they're rich, right? And after my father died, I've inherited everything...but the thing is that everyone in direct line to my inheritance has been killed off for ages.'
'Not just died?' Sherlock asked.
'Sherlock, I saw my father ripped to pieces a few years ago out on the moor at Dewer's Hollow.'
John swallowed. 'What...what ripped him to pieces?'
'The monster,' Sherlock said in a mockingly-spooky voice, widening his eyes in playful fear. 'There's a legend of your monster, the Baskerville killer.' He grinned. 'I'm far from believing in ghost stories, Henry.'
'No, I am too!' Henry looked at Sherlock urgently. 'This isn't some made up fantasy, Sherlock. I've seen evidence!.' He sighed. 'For ages after my father was killed, I was to scared to go back, but the healer at the manor, Mrs Mortimer, told me it would do me good, so before term started, right after we met in Diagon Alley, I went back alone. ' He frowned. 'I saw them.'
'What did you see?' John asked.
'Footprints,' Henry said quietly.
'A man's or woman's?' Sherlock's voice was incredibly lazy. 'You probably saw some sort of prints that looked like a monster's...must've been dark, yes?'
'Yes, but Sherlock-'
'They could be anything, then, which tells us nothing at all.'
'Sherlock!' Henry looked at him and swallowed. 'They were the footprints of a gigantic hound!'
Sherlock snorted. 'Someone's been told to many tales about this so-called monster.' He stood up, slinging his bag over his shoulder. 'There's no monster, Henry. The only thing you likely have to fear is human, which the dementors can protect you from. Excuse me, I have star charts to make up.'
John sighed, watching Sherlock walk away. 'Dunno what's up with him, normally that sort of thing would be interesting...'
'Say that again though!' Sherlock was back by John's side and John jumped. 'Say that again!'
'Er..I just said...' John started hesitantly.
'No, not you!' Sherlock looked impatient. 'Henry. What did you last say?'
'okay...' Henry looked up at him questioningly. 'They...they were the footprints of a gigantic hound.'
Sherlock grinned. 'Perfect. What did you want from me though?'
'Wait. Hold on.' John was staring at Sherlock. 'Four seconds ago, you were walking away because footprints were boring.'
'Remember what Victor was talking to us about,' Sherlock said to John. 'The Knight Industry, or whatever they're calling themselves now. They've been doing experiments on magical creatures-it's rumoured, at least-for ages.' He looked at Henry.
'I...was wondering if you two would want to spend Christmas down at the manor with me.' Henry looked down. 'I apparently have to go, and ... no one takes me seriously enough to go looking for a creature. Even though they put dementors up all over the place,' Henry said darkly. 'But...well, you guys have done alot here in two years, and I think I'd feel safer with you two around...'
'It's worth a look. It might be interesting,' Sherlock said. Then he looked away and said hesitantly. 'And..and er...the dementors....?'
'They'll be there...' Henry looked upset. 'Sorry Sherlock, I can't do anything about them.'
'No,no...no problem,' Sherlock flicked a smile. 'I'll figure something out.'
'Awesome. Thanks Sherlock. John, you're coming too?'
'Of course,' John smiled. 'Thanks for asking.'
'Great.' Henry stood and left.
'What are you going to do about the dementors?' John asked worriedly.
'Absolutely no idea.' Sherlock looked out the window. 'But that's my problem. C'mon, we've got class.'