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Chapter 5: Sherlock


I brought Sherlock leaves just changing colour and icicles from the very top of the manor house so he could compare them to those that had formed at ground level. I pulled him through the shadows with me to examine cocooned butterflies all across the parish. When the maid’s bitch whelped a litter of stillborn pups, I showed him how to dissect them and find what had gone wrong in their tiny bodies. We explored every pond, stream, hillock, and barrow within Sherlock’s domain. I fetched the boy sulphur and saltpetre, and then whisked him to safety when he blew out a corner of the stables. I popped his dislocated shoulder back into joint and assured him that even the bravest of soldiers would cry when so injured.

In return, Sherlock mocked my anachronisms until I mastered the intricacies of modern speech. He taught me about DNA and computers, neurons and the power of the atom. I refused to believe his tale of Hiroshima until he showed me a book in the manor’s library which documented the – I will not call it a battle. It was a judgment, like a plague or storm that the Queen would have called to destroy all in her path. I spent a day locked in the library reading histories of the times and places that young men had bled for Queen and Country in the years I’d let slip away. When Sherlock found me there, weeping, he demanded that I tell him what was wrong. I had no words for him. He climbed into the chair beside me and curled up there to read and re-read the book I held in my lap, as fiercely as if he searched for an enemy in its pages.

The summer was nearly over when Sherlock summoned me to his bedroom. “We’re leaving,” he announced angrily, tossing me a rucksack. I sniffed it – the bag held clothing, a few items of food, the money Sherlock kept hidden under his mould experiment, and his Swiss Army knife.

“What’s happened?”

“Mummy’s trying to send me to boarding school. I told her I wouldn’t go, and she locked me in my room like a misbehaving child!” His voice cracked on the last word.

“Boarding school? But … that should be years away! Mycroft didn’t go to boarding school until –”

“Well apparently Mycroft wasn’t such a disappointment to her,” Sherlock spat at me.

“Disappointment?”

Sherlock shot me the look that meant I was being very stupid indeed. “The usual.” He spoke in a mocking soprano, “‘You must attend the lessons with your tutors, Sherlock.’ ‘Why haven’t you any friends, Sherlock?’ ‘You disappear for days at a time. Where do you go, Sherlock?’ Days. Hah! Mummy must have no reasonable argument at all, to resort to hyperbole.”

“Wait. You don’t have any friends?”

Sherlock began pacing about the room. “Why would I need friends when I have you, púca? Now, the car will be here to pick me up first thing in the morning, so we’ll need to be gone long before then –”

“No.” Sherlock had no friends. Of course he didn’t. He spent all his time with me.

“I know it’s difficult for you to pull me into the shadows with you, but once we’re off the estate I can walk. There’s that abandoned mill five kilometres to the southeast. We’ll hide there during the day, and then catch a ride on a freight train headed to London. You’ve seen how they slow down there, at the embankment. It should be quite easy to hop on board.”

“No,” I snarled.

Sherlock turned to me, startled. “What do you mean, no?”

“No, you are not going to London. You are going to boarding school. And I…” This was my fault. I’d thought Sherlock would draw me into the sunlit world, but instead I’d carried him with me into the twilight. Gone for days on our little adventures? I’d not noticed the passage of time, a sign I’d lost touch with the mortal world. What truly worried me was that Sherlock hadn’t noticed it either. “I’m leaving, Sherlock.”

Sherlock took a single step towards me, then stopped. “We made a deal!” he screeched.

Oh, Sherlock Holmes. You never had any idea of what keeps me by your side, did you? “We did,” I said. “And when’s the last time you left out a saucer of milk for me?”

Sherlock paled. It had been months. For a minute neither of us said a word. We stared at each other, eye to eye. The boy had grown to match my height.

“Fine,” he snapped, and the silence shattered around us like glass. “I’ll have no use for a stupid púca at boarding school, anyway. I imagine boys will be queuing up for the privilege of helping with my experiments.”

He began unpacking his rucksack with shaking hands.

“Sherlock, I will come back. And if you ever need me -”

“I won’t,” he interrupted coldly, turning away from me and opening his closet door. He grabbed an armful of clothes and hangars and chucked them onto the bed. Sherlock glared at me, heart pounding, his body in tight lines of fury. “Leave then, since that’s what you want,” he said. “I’ve got a lot to do to get ready for school.”

I crept away into the shadows, and I left him. I had to.

I had to. Because if I didn’t, I would take him with me. I would be just a púca lost in the shadows, and Sherlock lost with me, and that wasn’t what I wanted for either of us.

He’d named me Doctor John Watson once, and then taken it back. Fair enough. I hadn’t earned it, not then. But I would. I would become a man, a soldier and a doctor, in this bright new world the mortals had built. Someday, we would meet again. He would be bold and brilliant and at the height of his powers. And I would once again be Sherlock Holmes’ assistant and his friend. Someday.

Final Chapter

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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
noirrosaleen
Sep. 28th, 2012 03:12 am (UTC)
*pets fic* You are pretty and cuddly and I would leave out saucers of milk for you. I can't wait for tomorrow's final bit.
keerawa
Sep. 28th, 2012 06:13 am (UTC)
*beams* Thank you, noirrosaleen!
yeomanrand
Sep. 29th, 2012 06:53 am (UTC)
Ack! Where's the end?

:)

Thank you.
keerawa
Sep. 29th, 2012 08:02 am (UTC)
Ha! Ack, it's here. *mutters and HTML fail.

http://keerawa.livejournal.com/159285.html
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )