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Fic: The Path of the Clouded Leopard

Title: The Path of the Clouded Leopard
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson
Length: 350 words
Alternate Link: AO3
Author's Notes: Magical realism AU, written for the watsons_woes July Writing Prompt #24: Picture Prompt. Follows on from A Personal Monograph on the Identification of Animal Totems, but can be read as a stand-alone. Unbeta'd. Spoilers for the Season 2 finale. Post-Reichenbach, with all that entails.
Summary: In times of great stress, an individual's totem may provide guidance. Sherlock Holmes is, of course, perfectly capable of making up his own mind.

Sherlock lay back on Molly's couch, all soft pillows and strawberry scent, from her shampoo, so different from his own couch at 221B. Richardson would need another ten hours to implement the 'Sigerson' identity to Sherlock's specifications. With nothing else to do, for the first time since his rooftop confrontation with Moriarty, Sherlock allowed his body to relax into sleep.

Sherlock stalked through the streets of his territory, at once a city and a sprawling jungle, winding his way through alley-way game trails in the undergrowth and climbing tall sky-scraper trees. He caught the scent trails of prey that would lead him in a dozen directions across the world, but ignored them all. For now, he followed a sound, the only sound in all the jungle, a distant chitter of distress.

Sherlock paused at the edge of a clearing, remaining in the shadows, and watched. At the base of the tree of St. Bart's lay the corpse of a cloud leopard, its neck broken, fallen from a great height. A mongoose stood beside it, bedraggled and limping, bleeding from a dozen wounds. Sherlock could deduce that it had already driven off scavengers many times its size. The mongoose licked at the leopard's face and chittered, nudging it, urging it to its feet.


Sherlock need only to reveal himself to comfort the frantic mongoose. Yet he knew that he was not the only one watching this scene. There were other eyes in the forest, predators ready to pounce on them both should he break cover.

The mongoose climbed atop the cloud leopard's cold, stiff body, draped himself over its broken neck, and began to keen.

Sherlock stepped away, silently melding back into the deep shadow of the undergrowth, and woke up on Molly's couch. Wiping his face, he shakily made his way to her kitchen for a glass of water. His totem had only confirmed what he already knew. Sherlock had thought through his actions, time and again, branching probability trees that led only to disaster. There was only one possible path, and he was on it.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 25th, 2014 10:55 am (UTC)
Poor mongoose, er, Watson!
Jul. 25th, 2014 09:24 pm (UTC)
*nods solemnly* Thank you for the comment, captain.
Jul. 25th, 2014 12:12 pm (UTC)
Offers the poor mongoose hugs.
Jul. 25th, 2014 09:25 pm (UTC)
Poor John needs all the hugs! Thank you, huntingospray.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )