The first day, no one registered anything out of the ordinary. But the clouds were gathering, and with intent.
"Really? Round! Oh, that is hilarious," claraharry wheezed, one set of arms wrapped her torso as she laughed, another hand covering the mirthful smile of the other side of her face. "Oh, oh, don't tell me, don't tell me, next you'll say the Earth goes round the Sun!"
johnsherlock frowned petulantly at her, as well as chidingly. "Excuse me for not deigning to place importance on remembering such a worthless detail--"
Gazing outside johnsherlock hmmphed softly, cutting off himself before he launched into another scathing diatribe against the other. "Well, it looks like rain again," he began as he also muttered, "when does it not look like rain?"--"and I'd rather not get caught in the downpour, so until next time."
Once goodbyes were made (only one set of johnsherlock's arms hugging both sets of claraharry's, the other pair decisively refusing to do so due to a bruised ego), johnsherlock exited the small cafe.
"That's finally over with, I don't know how much more I could have stood," he stated icily as he made his way back home.
"Oh, it wasn't so bad this time--"
"Wasn't so bad? She laughed so hard tea nearly came shooting out both her noses. At least one face had the decency to try and keep it together," he grumped while his other face let out a soft laugh.
"But thinking the Earth is round is a bit funny. Lighten up a little, yeah?"
But johnsherlock merely crossed a pair of arms and huffed out, "No, I will not, and the next time I feel like having a laugh at my expense, remind me to resolutely not."
He continued walking in silence, knowing it would be useless to try and console himself while he was in such a state of deep annoyance. Instead he occupied himself with watching other people going about their business, some of them seeming to be hurrying home to take shelter before the storm hit same as he was. He occasionally waved to whom he recognised in passing, some returning the gesture in kindness, some grimacing instead. johnsherlock was liked and loathed in (almost) equal measure.
Reaching the flat, he trudged up the stairs, still in a stroppy mood which was not alleviated in any way when he saw a figure standing primly in the midst of the sitting room. He stared silently, wishing for the intruder to drop dead but willing to settle for the immediate absence of presence via the door (or even window, he thought wryly).
When it became clear that johnsherlock was stubbornly refusing to acknowledge him and speak, mycroftanthea disapprovingly sighed, "Really, this childishness is so unbecoming. You could greet me properly, you know."
"And you could not let yourself in whenever you like, you know," johnsherlock sneered before suddenly turning around and saying, "But what is it that you want this time?"
mycroftanthea, uninvited and very much to johnsherlock's dismay, sat at one of the chairs specially designed for two pairs of legs, one pair crossing at the knee, the other at the ankle. johnsherlock arranged himself in his favourite chair, simultaneously assuming a languid and alert pose, and steepled one set of hands underneath one chin while a hand pulled down the sleeve of his jumper further down his arm. When both were satisfactorily settled, half of mycroftanthea busily paging through and making notes in a small datebook, he stated, "I only wished to see how you were doing; you know how I worry about you."
Two sets of eyes rolled at the blatant statement. mycroftanthea never did anything without an ulterior motive, especially when it came to johnsherlock. "You can cut right to the chase, I have no time to quibble back and forth with you until you reach your point of purpose." johnsherlock cast pale eyes at the other, surveying the effect of his words and veracity of mycroftanthea's next words.
"Very well then," he said, removing an envelope from an inside pocket of his jacket. "A family gathering is coming up and you are specifically requested to attend. It has been quite some time since you've spent time with our kin."
johnsherlock sighed in response, "Isn't it taxing enough for me to have to tolerate you, much less our cousins in a tedious show of togetherness?"
mycroftanthea stood, bracing a hand against the polished wood of his ever present umbrella and said, "There will be no complaint about this." Turning to leave, she added, "And you don't want to upset Mummy any more than you already have," and johnsherlock were once again left alone in the flat.
"She has a point," he reasoned as he also nearly spit out, "He grates on my nerves and knows I didn't upset Mummy!"
"There, there," he comforted with a hand rubbing soothingly on one of his arms. "It won't be so bad, and if it is, I can leave at any time." He smiled as the rain began to fall. "And this time without any embarrassing revelations."
That was the last thought johnsherlock had before the world exploded around them.
The clouds flashed, lightning strikes falling indiscriminately. The few people still outside gazed up in confusion as the rain fell harder. But then a scream rent the air when a shining bolt hit one of them.
Down she went, cushioning her fall with her hands, but it was…different. Both set of arms had hit the ground, both faces peered through rain plastered hair down at the concrete beneath her. And both felt a searing pain. She turned her head cautiously (something was wrong, everything was wrong), and she saw herself.
She stared in shocked silence, eyes searching in terror, hands gripping desperately at one another. When she registered the screams of bystanders, nay, the world, she clutched at herself, heads over shoulders, cries and screams joining the cacophony.
Lightning struck every child of Sun, Earth, and Moon, splitting them all. Floods of wind and rain rose up, and did something to them they didn't even have a word for: separated.
Growing up, when Sherlock was being particularly wilful, his mother would tell him, "Don't be so obstinate, Sherlock, lest you end up quartered." Every child knew the price of arrogance, but Sherlock never put much stock in those old myths.
Another subject he didn't believe the tales of was love. It was not some predestined kismet; it was at most a common name for the chemical reaction produced in individuals by the presence of an object or act of doing something or other that incites intense pleasure. For instance, Sherlock loved his work and lived for the puzzles and challenges. How could a singular person ever replace that?
When Mycroft appeared at a crime scene to monitor Sherlock's progress on his case ("It's a complicated, yet delicate circumstance, but I'm sure you can muster some discretion in solving it, Sherlock.") with a new personal assistant in tow, occasionally sharing weighted glances that took the place of speaking aloud, Sherlock dug his heels in and refused to think about meaningless things like love. It was ridiculous to even entertain the thought that he needed another with an emotion so often used as an excuse for the gruesomest of crimes. He was better off without that (pain, hurt, vulnerability) flaw of mental acuity.
It was merely coincidence that Mike ran into an old friend recently back from a war. It was coincidence that said friend needed to live in some surrounding that didn't make him want to just end it all. Coincidence that Sherlock needed a (living) body to maintain residing in a way he's grown accustomed to (mostly to maintain a residence near the heart of London, but paramountly to get the hell away from his damnably annoying brother).
But it isn't hard to look past coincidence into what may well be fate at play.
It is easy to ignore something if you haven't been looking for it, but Sherlock Holmes was not a man known for ignoring anything. Still, it took an inordinate amount of time (especially by his standards) to realise that there was something different about John Watson. Different, yet annoyingly familiar.
It was not until one fateful night (a phrase Sherlock detested because fate was a construction of human will, not the hand of an equally constructed deity that watches over all) that it all changed.
The explosion was not as devastating as the one that resulted from the old woman's murder, but the blast was still enough to destroy part of the walls and framework of the pool. When the ringing in his ears ceased and his vision cleared enough to see through the hazy smoke, Sherlock estimated that their proximity to the bomb was not close enough to cause them lasting damage. Knowing this logically did not help stop his heart from trying to beat its way out of his chest.
"John," he coughed out, crawling from beneath one of the fallen pillars (that fortunately did not crush him). Blood trickled into his eye, a bit of rubble must have struck him across the head and a cautionary touch of his fingertips to a burgeoning bruise proved it conclusive. "John!"
A large slab shifted, and from beneath it emerged the dust and ash covered form of John Watson. Sherlock climbed over the debris, heedlessly dropping to his knees in front of the other man and running his hands all over what he could reach, asking "Are you hurt? Are you alright?" in a near babble.
"Sherlock. Sherlock, I'm fine," John responded, placing a steadying hand over Sherlock's, stopping his hand from fluttering here and there over his face. There was a gash somewhere and blood was streaked over his face, but it didn't matter because he was here, whole and alive (John wouldn't sound so sure if he were grievously injured, Sherlock reasoned to himself when he felt the air exit his lungs in a sigh of relief).
Sherlock stared at John, mouth quirked into a smile at having defied death once again, eyes shining with survival. John that was pulled into this mess by Sherlock and yet was not furious at him (or maybe he was or will be later, but it didn't matter because right now he wasn't). John, who had suddenly appeared in his life, fitting in and around his work, smoothing the rough edges Sherlock left behind in others with his politeness, so interesting and new and yet…familiar.
"Sherlock," John murmured after a moment, hand having never left Sherlock's, his blood over both their fingers.
Sherlock shushed him and shook his head. "I know, John." Before John could drop his gaze and let disappointed fill him, he breathed in and added, softly, "I know. Later." He curled their fingers together. "I promise."