Title: Our Inherent Home
Words: 1,133 (this chapter)
Summary: An accident renders Sherlock and John momentarily unconscious in the present...and perhaps permanently stranded in the past.
Genre: gen, mystery, time travel!
Characters: Full Canon.
Disclaimer: I am not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or his ghost, or his relative, or anyone who works for the BBC and the like. I'm not even British. That should about cover it.
"Oh dear, Mr. Holmes," a soft chiding voice spoke from the doorway. "I'm afraid you cannot work in such dim light!"
"Don't call me that, Mrs. Hudson," Sherlock shot back from the darkness across from me. During our interview with Mycroft, the night had slowly crept through the windows, and with no lamps or candles lit, the figure of Sherlock Holmes had slowly dissolved into a backdrop of black.
"I beg your pardon?" The landlady sounded profoundly confused.
"There is no 'Mr. Holmes' or any such nonsense," Sherlock replied irritably.
"But that is what you are always called," protested Mrs. Hudson. "Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson."
"Oh, I rather like that," I chimed in, pleased with such a regular use of my professional title.
"It's 'Sherlock' and 'John' and nothing else!"
"But Mr. Hol-"
"But Mr. Sherlock Hol-"
I refrained from yelling "John Watson!" to complete the set for fear of Sherlock bending his growing frustration upon me. I had begun to anticipate a great deal of problems as a direct result of our sudden visit to the past, but I had not foreseen the simple issue of formalities. Sherlock wasn't delicate with social things, and if he balked at the issue of names now, I could soon look forward to his reaction to Victorian society. To laugh or groan at the image, I still couldn't decide.
Mrs. Hudson had left the room clearly flustered, hurriedly closing the door behind her in an effort to escape any further fire from Sherlock. And so I was shut off in a room, in the dark, with my friend who could at any moment explode into another fit of fury, with myself directly in his path. I kept an eye on the door and formulated the quickest path to the exit should I need to move fast.
When Sherlock spoke next, however, he was calm. "I need light."
"What happened to your torch?"
"Gone. The driver who found us took it."
"Great, we've upset history thanks to you giving out technology before its time."
"Just light a lamp, John."
As if I knew where anything was in this new flat. "Hold on, just let me find two sticks to rub together."
"Oh, for God's sake," Sherlock snapped, and his eyes lit up in the sudden flame that flared in front of his face. I blinked. Why would he be carrying…?
I folded my arms. "You've been planning on smoking."
Sherlock had found two small lamps on the mantelpiece to light, and soon a soft glow began to soak the room. "You have no proof," he said, his back still to me.
I cleared my throat. "Matches in your pocket, it looks like, from the angle you were sitting. You've had a bit of a nervous twitch, even before that cab hit us, but since I was with you, you couldn't smoke then. Even now you are studying the collection of pipes that are on that mantelpiece, and are sniffing out the tobacco that is probably hidden nearby."
Sherlock whirled on me, a dubious look on his face. "Well, clever you."
"Could I have that in writing?"
Sherlock gave the pipes one last glance before settling back into his chair. He looked across at me earnestly. "We have a case now, John. To find Mycroft's rooms must be our next move. No, palace. He probably has a large, sprawling flat. Suits him."
"Shouldn't we have a look around first?"
My friend's brow furrowed. "Around what?"
"The flat, this new 221B. If we're stuck in 1892, we might as well become familiar with it."
Sherlock threw exactly two and a half glances around the room and sighed. "Not much to see, I'm afraid. More pressing matters await." He struck his fists against the chair and jumped to his feet, crossing the room in three strides.
"You're forgetting something, Sherlock."
He released the handle to the door and slumped against it. "Oh, what now?"
"Yes, I'm wearing some, thank you."
"I don't think the Queen would be pleased with it."
"Queen Victoria. Have you forgotten where you are?"
Sherlock grabbed the handle again. "London," he retorted nonchalantly.
"Over a century ago!" I rose from my chair and pointed to the hat rack by the door. Two heavy coats, a top hat, and a bowler hung from it. "Now dress like it."
It was difficult to argue the point of time travel with any man, but to convince Sherlock Holmes that he must play along with it was like…oh, there just weren't words for it.
"Think of it as a disguise," I offered, trying to use an encouraging tone. "We need to blend in. It looks as if we'll be here awhile."
"Maybe just a few days," I added quickly. "But if we have to live here, we need to keep a low profile. No modern clothing or flashy mobiles. When in Rome…"
"We're not in Rome."
"You know what I mean!"
"Yes, you were making an erroneous geographic statement."
I briefly reminded myself that murdering one's flatmate would probably break our tenant contract with Mrs. Hudson, in addition to getting myself thrown into a dark prison while Sherlock ran around Old London doing God knows what…and we couldn't have that. Silently crossing the room, I lifted the top hat from its hook and eyed its size.
Sherlock cleared his throat. "That's mine."
I frowned. "Why do you get to wear the top hat?"
"Because I'm dark and mysterious, John. You are obvious and shorter, so you get to wear the bowler."
I scoffed and held the hat away from him at arms length. "That's ridiculous, Sherlock. Even you know that's faulty reasoning!"
"Would you care to hear the real deductions, then?"
"God, no." I tossed the top hat in his direction and donned the brown bowler without another word. I was immediately struck by how familiar the hat felt, as if I had been wearing it for years. Odd, the coat fit almost too well. I had never worn anything like them before, but something seemed as if…
"Did you get your revolver from the desk drawer, John?" Sherlock suddenly asked. My head shot up and I saw a look of confusion cross Sherlock's face. His expression must have matched mine.
"I don't keep a revolver…in a desk," I replied slowly.
"I don't know why I asked you that," my friend muttered absently, fumbling with the rack before freeing his own coat from it and slipping it on.
I shrugged. "You've said stranger things."
"I don't often ask about things I already know."
"Drop it, Sherlock. Your brain is probably just addled from time travel."
He rolled his eyes. "Then let's add a second family reunion to the list."