Chapter 1: The Fall
Mycroft had always found it odd that his father would cast out one of his sons. Odin loved all his children, and would rather keep them healthy and happy there in Asgard. But Mycroft was also witness to Odin stripping his youngest son of all Godly powers and throwing him across the rainbow bridge to Midgard to live as a human for as long as his now-mortal body would let him.
Anthea cried. Of course she did, though. Sherlock and she had the same kind of sarcastic wit about them, and he had truly become her little brother. Mycroft had given his wife a kiss before going back to the palace, but Anthea did linger long after that.
Sherlock wasn’t sure what he did wrong to warrant such a punishment, but as he hurtled down through space to Midgard, he made a silent promise that one day he would return. Not right away, however. Sherlock would bide him time, waiting for the opportune moment.
It took too long, this journey. But Sherlock was hurtling too fast and too hard through space. Though if he turned his head to the left or right, he could see stars and galaxies, and then planets as he went past the clouds of dust at the edge of the Milky Way Galaxy. He hurtled fast passed gas giants planets and asteroids, until he was just passed Earth’s moon, and--
When he hit the ground, he was jarred. Oh, how mortality hurt. Not just this new body, but his pride as well. The body was weak, and the clothes Odin had left him with were flimsy compared the full suit of armor he had been wearing when he stood proud at his father’s side.
‘With wings I wouldn’t have even noticed the journey,’ he thought, a little dizzy.
“Oi, could you please get off me? I’m late for work!” cried a voice from under him.
Sherlock blinked and climbed off of him, not even apologizing.
The male blinked as he pulled himself up. “You… kind of fell from the sky, mate,” he pointed out.
Stupid. Humans were stupid, Sherlock remembered.
“Can you… can you talk?” the mortal asked.
Sherlock nodded, “Of course I can.”
“You fell from the sky,” the man said again, “Are you an angel?”
Sherlock? An angel? Well… they did wear wings when they had visited back in the Old Ages of Midgard, and they wore them when going back up. Sherlock would get his wings back if he ever showed his father that he was a good son…
“Not quite,” Sherlock growled.
The man looked around, “Oh, right. I’m John. John Watson.”
Sherlock glanced down his nose at John’s hand, which was outstretched in greeting. He looked away from it, ignoring it as he said, “Sherlock Holmes.”
“Odd name for a god,” John commented.
Sherlock blinked. This one was smarter than the rest.
“Greek, Norse, Celtic? Which one are you. I can finally win the theological disputes,” John said, clearly joking.
“I come from… Asgard, if that helps at all…” Sherlock replied, now intrigued by this mortal.
“Asgard. Norse mythology. Looks like Skiff was right,” John grinned. “Anyway. I’ve got to go to work. You going to be all right?”
Sherlock wasn’t sure. It was January, so it was freezing cold outside. He was wearing clothes that were something like thermal underwear, and his human body was shivering. John noticed this, “Damn. Let’s get you to my flat, then. Jesus, I thought you said you were a god!”
“I was. My father cast me from Asgard for no reason at all!” Sherlock cursed as John tugged on Sherlock’s wrist. Sherlock would have flinched away, but the mortal’s touch was warm compared to the freezing air.
“That’s what all children say when they’re punished,” John muttered, “Down here, at least.”
Sherlock grumbled a bit before John let go of him to fumble in his pocket for his keys. “I’m taking a day off for you,” he said. “Bloody Prince of heaven falls from the sky and I lose money for it,” he grumbled.
Sherlock blinked. It wasn’t usually like him to care about anyone other than his immediate family… which included Anthea, since she was married to his elder brother Mycroft.
“You’re a retired soldier… no not retired… invalided. You’ve a slight limp, but it’s died away thanks to your job. Did a friend get you to be a teacher with him at the hospital?” Sherlock asked.
John turned to him, “Are you… did you bring some magic with you?”
Sherlock growled, “Please. As if my people would let me. It’s just a hobby I picked up. Being a prince is not all it’s hung out to be.”
“You poor baby,” John replied, opening the inner door once he was up the seventeen steps. “Welcome to 221b Baker Street, your highness.”
The flat was far too clean. But it had a sort of Victorian era charm, with the modern day twist about it. There was a laptop on an armchair. There were two armchairs near the gas fireplace. The couch was pushed against the other wall, there was a table in between the two windows and stairs leading up to more bedrooms and a kitchen. It was cozy. But Sherlock didn’t say anything about it.
“I’ll try to make this up to you, John. I can get a job, pay my own way in a few days…” he said.
“What would you do?” John asked, scoffing a bit.
“What I just did. Observe and deduce. There’s got to be job out there for people with those skills.”
“Policeman,” John replied. “Or private detective.”
“Police don’t go to private detectives. No… I think I want to be more of a… consulting detective. Have you a… oh what are those journals called… the ones on the computer?”
“Blogs? Yeah, I have one,” John replied.
“Wide readership?” Sherlock asked.
“Family, a few friends. I’m not exactly friends with everyone on Scotland Yard…”
Sherlock thought about this for a moment, “Well, until I get my own blog that will do. You can write a blog about me and advertise,” he said, waving his hand at John as a gesture to make him go do it. “If you would be so kind,” he added more as an afterthought.
“What if I don’t want to?” John asked.
Sherlock gave him a cool stare, but he was actually thinking about it. “Can you afford to take care of me on your professor’s salary?” he asked.
“I… don’t know. What do you eat, if you do?”
Sherlock was taken aback at this, but he heard his mortal stomach growl and moan. John smiled and went into the kitchen. Sherlock followed him, fascinated by everything a mortal did to stop the pain in his stomach. “I guess I need everything you need. Which is… irrelevant where I come from…”
“I lecture every day, about three classes a day, so I can afford to put you on my own meal plan and such. But two paychecks are always better than one, and Mrs. Hudson, my landlady, might be wanting you to pay you’re share of rent once she realizes that you’re not… my… um…” John suddenly faltered in his speech, which was interesting.
Sherlock studied him for a minute, “Your what?”
“What humans like to call a one-night-stand?”
“A lover one only has for one night,” oh, that seemed painful for the mortal male to get out.
“I thought the human race was better about sexual liaisons between members of the same sex nowadays,” Sherlock said.
“We are! Well… some of us are. Don’t get caught in the Middle East,” John quipped. Then his arms were flailing a bit, “But that’s not the point! Mrs. Hudson will want money from you once she notices that you’re… probably going to be around a lot.”
Sherlock pinned John’s flailing arms at his side, his hands placed gently on his sides. “Stop that. It’s annoying.” The hands were gone in seconds.
John sighed, but returned to preparing food for the fallen God. “So, did you have anyone up there?”
“Hmm?” Sherlock asked, walking around the kitchen, looking at things and touching some of them. He had read about some of these things in books, seen glimpses of human history through his father’s all-seeing eye.
“Any family, people you’re close to?” John asked. “Besides your father.”
“Oh, my brother and his wife,” Sherlock replied. “And the other gods and goddesses. But I haven’t seen them since I was a young child.”
“By choice?” John asked.
“Yes,” Sherlock replied.
There was more silence between them as Sherlock circled the island counter in the middle of the kitchen, exploring everything.
“So… you haven’t got a girlfriend?” John asked.
“No, not really my area…” Sherlock replied, still more interested in kitchen appliances.
“Oh. Boyfriend?” John asked.
Sherlock’s eyes snapped back to his rescuer, the cutting grey steely as he looked the man over. John seemed a bit too curious for Sherlock’s taste.
“Which is fine, by the way—“
“I know it’s fine,” Sherlock snapped.
“So you’ve got a boyfriend?”
“Oh, you’re unattached. Like me. Fine. Good,” John stuttered.
The wheels began turning as Sherlock leaned against the island counter, studying his companion. John was blushing slightly.
“Look, John, while I’m flattered by your interest, I’ve only just met you and I’m not this… one-night-stand kind of person so—“
“No, no. I wasn’t hitting on you. Trust me,” John replied. “I just get… slightly uncomfortable when my roommate brings home girlfriends and/or boyfriends. I live here too, you know.”
“Not like I was going to bring home someone,” Sherlock replied, “I don’t do relationships.”
“Ah. Asexual?” John asked.
Sherlock shot him another steely stare. “No. No one’s come along yet.”
“And are all the Holmes’ heartless bastards?” John asked. He put whatever he had been cutting into a casserole dish.
Sherlock blinked, thinking about it. “Mycroft isn’t. But his wife as softened him up a bit. He’ll need to be less of a ‘heartless bastard’ once he takes the throne from our father, though. I think that’s why our father put them together so quickly after seeing their destinies entwining in their futures…” he mused. “But I don’t need to soften. I’m probably going to be my brother’s advisor or something equally dull.”
“Hang on… you’re father is Odin, right?” John asked.
“So we’re still pretty popular?” Sherlock asked, raising an eyebrow.
“I had a phase in grade school where I wanted to be Thor,” John replied. “Later I became a soldier… though I guess that’s more Tyr’s area.”
Sherlock raised an eyebrow, “The Norse got Odin’s name correctly… I’m not sure I know Tyr or Thor…”
John stared at Sherlock for a moment, “Wow… then we really got some stuff wrong. So there’s not serpent biting its tail here on Earth? Or a giant hell-hound? Or Loki? Frejya?”
Sherlock shrugged, “I don’t even know who you’d be talking about in the Palace,” Sherlock replied.
“Thor was the god of thunder, I think… with the hammer?” John asked.
Sherlock still shook his head, “There’s me and my older brother, Mycroft, and his wife Anthea. Odin is Odin the All-Father with the all-seeing eye. He gauged out his own eye for that gift. Of the serpent and the dog… my brother owned a snake like the one you’re talking about, but one of the other god’s killed it when we were younger. The dog… Well… I used to have dogs when I was a child, nothing like this Fenrir you’re talking about.”
John blinked, “Then where could these legends have come from?”
Sherlock shrugged and went into the living room to study everything there.
Anthea should have started to worry right when Odin cast his youngest son out to Midgard. Because she didn’t, she should have started worrying when Odin asked Mycroft to keep an eye on his younger brother using Odin’s all-seeing Eye, an orb that saw the past, present, and future of anyone in the worlds. Odin never let any of his family touch it, and here he was giving it to Mycroft to watch over his brother. Anthea, of course, would assist her husband. But what made Anthea worry was that Odin then disappeared into his rooms, and he had no wife to watch over him.
Mycroft wasn’t pleased that he had to babysit the Eye and watch his brother. The younger Holmes seemed to be doing fine: he had found a roommate that first day, and his roommate seemed fine with assisting his brother in all ways of the Midgard mortal. They went shopping and out to dinner that night, and the mortal had eventually written up a blog about Sherlock’s skills in observation and deduction, a skill that Mycroft had trained Sherlock in.
“So it is useful,” Mycroft teased. Anthea knew he missed his brother, secretly.
Anthea was stuck alone with the Eye one evening as Mycroft had a meeting. His father never came out of his bedroom, and so Mycroft was his second in command.
Anthea watched the orb for a few minutes, yawning slightly as the tedium of John’s life clashed with Sherlock’s: Sherlock had some private clients now, and John was still teaching at Bart’s. Sherlock and John, though living together, didn’t quite get along, however. John probably felt disturbed that a former God was still living in his apartment with him.
She shouldn’t have pried, however. But she was a natural woman and she wanted to know if the two men would ever at least be friends. She unconsciously tapped the orb slightly with this question in mind, and… the scene changed.
Anthea was taken aback. She saw John all in white, Sherlock standing beside him all in black. They looked like they were at a wedding, but the wedding was no Midgard ceremony. It took her back to her own wedding with Mycroft, only she wore a dress and John wore slacks and a uniform shirt. But there was a certain power about John that Anthea had seen only once before: a mortal usually didn’t have that aura around him unless he had been turned immortal from the Kiss of Rebirth.
She blinked, but the image was gone in a flash. She looked around her warily before going back to the present of John Watson and Sherlock Holmes. But the Eye was all-seeing, and she knew her brother-in-law would have a spouse of his own… but not an ordinary one. Well… ordinary by Asgard standards, at least.
Chapter 2: Enigma
Back in Midgard, Sherlock was really having a grand old time. Every day was something new. He learned more and more about mortal living, especially as his consulting business mostly dealt with murder and the like. There was nothing he liked more than a serial killer. There was never a dull moment. And when there was, there was always John.
John had a simple job teaching at the medical school at Bartholomew’s Hospital. He was an ex-military man, so he had his rituals, and when Sherlock wasn’t running around London, he was messing with John’s head, or his ritual, or some part of him. Sherlock’s roommate fascinated him, and John only took it as a vengeful god taking out his fall from grace on him.
Mrs. Hudson had indeed made the mistake that Sherlock was John’s one-night-stand. John wasn’t embarrassed by the fact he happened to like blokes a bit more than girls. There were some times in his life he wished he only liked blokes. But sexuality was sexuality, and as Lady Gaga had put it, he was ‘born this way.’
Once Mrs. Hudson had seen Sherlock around more often, she made the mistake of thinking that John had finally settled down with a nice bloke, and hinted at nice date spots for about a month before John said, “He’s my flatmate, Mrs. Hudson. I’m making him pay half the rent.”
In all actuality, John hated Sherlock. But he wouldn’t tell Mrs. Hudson that, it would break her poor matchmaking heart. But John could tell one of his dearest friends:
“Why do you still live with him, John, if you hate him?” One of John’s TA’s and best friends asked.
John couldn’t tell her, he really couldn’t. “He needs me. Without me, he would still be on the street,” the lie was still a half-truth, anyway.
Molly Hooper raised her bottle, “I’ll take that. Cheers!”
“Cheers,” John replied.
After a few weeks of private clients spreading the word about the World’s Only Consulting Detective, Sherlock had enough money to buy himself a mobile phone. It made communication easier than the blog John had helped him set up (grudgingly). Once that was done, John was annoyed even more as now Sherlock had texting in his list of tools to annoy the hell out of him. But he took it in stride, knowing Sherlock was still green to being a mortal, and that he actually needed John to ‘fit in.’
“He’s a catch,” Molly had said. “He comes around to Bart’s to do experiments, and he has such away about him that I can’t help but let him do whatever he wants. I would be careful with him, Dr. Watson.”
John shuttered, “He’s not my catch, Ms. Hooper.”
“He should be,” Molly replied. “He wouldn’t be giving me or any of the other girls the time of day if he didn’t need something from us.”
Molly was a smart girl, but very meek. But Dr. Watson was as stubborn as the girl was meek, and he shook his head. “I don’t care that we both fancy blokes,” John muttered, “He’s a right bastard.”
The first time Gregory Lestrade and John Watson met was a few weeks after Molly had suggested that, like a fisherman, John should catch his consulting detective fish before he swam away to another fisherman, so to speak. He was lounging in John’s armchair when the good doctor returned from his day teaching, briefcase in hand, ready to tackle a few badly written papers.
“Can I help you…?”
“Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade. Your flatmate has been kind enough to consult with us on a suicide case.”
“Murders,” Sherlock replied from the kitchen. “A serial killer.”
He was putting on his scarf as he said this, and he went to pop the collar of his expensive coat. The Inspector got up out of the chair, “Well… the others won’t like this, but we’d better hop to it. My grandmother better be right about you.”
And with that, they left.
John was always intrigued with Sherlock’s cases, but he was still convinced that Sherlock thought him plain, an ordinary mortal man. Why Sherlock was still with him, or even helping other such mortals, was still beyond him.
After that first case with Scotland Yard, which must have been a success, Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade consulted with Sherlock a lot more. Private clients and Scotland Yard both were vying for help from the Great Sherlock Holmes. John knew Sherlock must have been feeling like a God again. John became even more annoyed with him.
Maybe he was a secret masochist that liked the pain his mortalized God was giving him by even existing, but John liked to think he was just a Good Samaritan, keeping a small puppy or kitty safe from the terrors of the world outside while it grew up. When John had found him, the brunette was cold, starved, and penny-less, and would get nowhere in the world.
The one other thing that fascinated John about his strange flatmate, besides the Consulting Detective aspect, was the God aspect. When Sherlock was being especially bothersome, John would leave 221b to go to the library and read up on Norse mythology. Some of the things Sherlock talked about when he was trying to seem more mortal debunked all the Norse mythology the Norse had passed down in the form of stories. Sherlock had learned to use a computer and had looked up everything John had said that first day.
“I have to tell you, though, if I ever get back to Asgard, I’m breeding puppies again and seeing if I can breed a Fenrir wolf. Though I won’t be like Loki and endanger people… I’d train him to harm only those who annoy me…”
Prat. John thought as he debunked the myth of Tyr, Loki, and Fenrir.
“You’re becoming quite the scholar,” a feminine voice said from behind him.
He looked. The mythology librarian was a very attractive woman who wore glasses, but still put her hair up in an elaborate bun and put lipstick on. But John knew her, because her other job used to be a dominatrix that specialized in breaking in new female subs. She had come in to Bart’s to ask a question of Dr. Watson about how to care more thoroughly for BDSM virgins. They had been friends ever since. (Once she had married, however, Irene Norton nee Adler stopped her night job but kept her librarian job. Her essence still screamed dominatrix, however.)
“Hello, Reeny,” John said. He should have been a full gay man with all the women friends he managed to keep. “It’s the only way I understand Sherlock.”
Irene leaned against the table, setting down some books, “Thought you might want to take a look these. Is this Sherlock a gamer or something?”
John wished, “Consulting Detective, I told you. But one of his… less-morbid interests is Norse mythology.”
“Mmm… he’s so pale and his eyes are so blue that he could be Norse somewhere in his bloodline,” Irene replied. She had seen the link to Sherlock’s website (The Science of Deduction) on John’s blog and followed it. There had been one picture up, but Sherlock had taken it down after his first real case.
“How’s Godfrey?” John asked, wanting to change the subject. It was dull when all he discussed with his friends was his tosser of a roommate.
“Wonderful. Got a promotion at the bank. We’re going to New Jersey with the money to see my parents,” Irene replied. “Well, I won’t keep you. Try some of the books I picked for you, they’re really interesting.”
John nodded and thanked her. She walked off in the opposite direction she had come from and helped a university student pick out some books. John went back to his reading.
“Are there frost giants, at least?” John asked him that night.
Sherlock looked up from his experiment in the kitchen. “There were. My father closed off Jotunheim before my brother was even born.”
So the Norse had gotten that right, at least. John went back to reading a book Irene had picked out for him, and Sherlock went back to his experiment.
When John looked up at his roommate again, though, he saw that Sherlock had a faraway look in his grey eyes. He must have been back on Asgard.
It had been a few days (Asgard time) since Anthea had seen John’s future (his destiny?) in the Eye. She contemplated telling her husband what she had seen. Mycroft was finding that he, too, was getting random feeds from the Eye about the futures of his brother and/or this John Watson bloke (pasts, too, but that was irrelevant). Nothing was as profound as what Anthea saw. She stayed with Mycroft during these times, and nothing shocked her like the revelation of a powerful mortal one day being chosen as a God’s life partner.
“Mycroft,” Anthea said, when a patch of Sherlock’s life was slow.
“Darling?” Mycroft asked.
“What do think of John Watson?” she asked, starting safe.
“He could be the making of my brother… or make him worse than ever,” Mycroft replied. “Anthea, you can’t keep things from me. I know there’s something else on your mind.” He put his arms around his wife, and she leaned in to him slightly.
“Do you think John could learn to love him?” Anthea asked.
“Anything’s possible,” was Mycroft’s cryptic reply.
Anthea chuckled slightly at this. It was common knowledge that Sherlock had trouble with the other gods in the Palace of Odin. Mycroft had found Anthea, through his father’s meddling. But when Odin had put the Eye over baby Sherlock’s forehead he saw only the man Sherlock would become physically. The Eye often made romantic matches at birth, or at least prophesized great things. For Sherlock it did neither. It didn’t mean the young prince had no future. It just meant that Sherlock would forever be an enigma.
“I saw John in a wedding jacket, Sherlock on his arm,” Anthea said, pulling away from her husband slightly so she was looking into his deep eyes. “There was an aura about him, one I’ve only seen once, and that was so long ago.”
“An aura like… Mummy’s?” Mycroft asked.
Sherlock and Mycroft’s mother had been mortal once. But Odin had loved her so much, and she loved him so much, that he Rebirthed her. No one missed her on Midgard once she was Rebirthed. An immortal mortal was hard to come by, especially since there were certain rules for creating them. Incidentally, ‘Holmes’ had been their mother’s maiden name. After her disappearance, Odin suggested his two boys take her surname to remember her.
“What kind of aura did you see around him? Some kind of Magery?”
“Healing,” Anthea replied.
“Like you,” Mycroft stated.
“You know I’m not just a healer, Mycky.”
“You have the Old Ways about you, Annie,” Mycroft replied, nodding. “But he’s a Healer?”
“He would be here, at least,” Anthea replied. “He is an accomplished doctor down on Midgard. The hospital he works at wouldn’t allow him to teach if he wasn’t.”
Mycroft watched the scene in the Eye, “Sherlock resents this doctor so much, though…”
“John isn’t much better,” Anthea replied, putting her hand around her husband’s waist.
They gazed into the Eye for a few moments before: “Sherlock’s violin,” Anthea pointed out.
Mycroft glanced at her, “What about it?”
“Couldn’t we send it down?”
Mycroft thought about it, “I guess we could. He’d curse us out for days, but we could. Why, darling?”
“He seemed so… human when he played,” Anthea replied. “I just think… John needs to see a more human part of him. To see that he… has feelings like the rest of us…”
Mycroft thought about this. “The Eye never said anything about meddling,” he chuckled. He summoned Sherlock’s violin from his old rooms. No one had done anything about them, so they were probably as messy as ever.
Touching the violin gently, he closed his eyes, and the violin erupted into a ray of rainbow light.
Anthea watched the Eye, and saw the violin and bow show up in the corner of Sherlock’s room. He wasn’t there to see it arrive, but the Eye jumped to the time he discovered it. Sherlock seemed surprised at first, but he ran his hands over the wood and picked it up, beginning to play.
“John isn’t home,” Anthea pointed out.
“No,” Mycroft answered, “But my brother won’t want to play with John around. For some odd reason, showing human emotions to John is a foreign concept. One day he’ll learn.”
Anthea nodded, just as Sherlock heard the front door open and stopped playing. “Thank you Mycroft,” the two Gods heard the Consulting Detective say. “Rather, thank you, Anthea.”
Anthea smiled. “He’ll know we’re watching over him now.”
“Yes, but does he know we’re trying our hand at matchmaking?” Mycroft asked.
Anthea giggled, “No… No I think he’s going to be pretty thick about it… until… until it might be too late.”
Mycroft put a hand to his lips, “Let’s hope, for John Watson and my brother’s sake, that doesn’t turn into a Breathed Prophecy.”
“No,” Anthea replied, “No, it won’t.”
Her words hung pregnant in the air, for they both knew a love like John and Sherlock’s would transcend mortality…
Chapter 3: Brain Freeze
Asgard wasn’t just a city. The main City just looked gigantic in comparison to Midgard cities. The City was surrounded on one side, facing the rainbow bridge to the rest of the branches of the nine worlds—Yggdrasil—by a great waterfall, which is why they had the rainbow bridge in the first place. The waterfall stretched on for miles, but it wasn’t the only thing that bordered the City of Gods. Behind the City was a long stretch of high mountains. No one dared cross them, because the mountains once more became the sea, and the sea fell off the planet just as it did on the City-side. There was no atmosphere there on Asgard, but the mountains were thick with snow, and the City had a more tropical feel. Above the citizens of Asgard was a rainbow sky, complete with stars. Those stars were brighter than suns, but since they were light-years away, they only burned like lamps in the rainbow-tinted black sky.
The mountains were treacherous to climb, and only the bravest attempted to climb them. But the Gods had no need to, and so they stayed away. Except for one brave man—a boy, really—who climbed the mountain once a week or so. No one knew why. He would just leave the Palace and walk to the city limits to the foothills. He would climb up, dressed in warm clothes for the snowstorms that raged toward the peaks, and take the same route to the same spot. He had started only a few months ago, but every time he climbed, it seemed he was on a mission.
This boy was Sebastian Moran, a Mage concentrated in soothing beasts and making them come to him. He had a tiger as a friend, who he just called Flem. The tiger had changed colors here in the mountains: she was usually orange with black stripes, and now she was white with blue-grey stripes. Moran himself was nervous, and Flem could feel her friend’s anxiety.
Moran was watchful. He didn’t want people to know what he was up to. His excuses for climbing the mountain were that he lacked the strength of some of the others, and he was hoping the climb would help.
He made one final heave and pulled himself onto the nearest ledge. Flem jumped gracefully up beside him, her tail twitching slightly. There was a cave behind them, big enough for a man to enter without crouching. Moran entered, but Flem stayed at the mouth of the cave and turned away from it, standing guard.
“Moriarty?” he breathed, shuddering out the name rather than bravely speaking it like he had wanted.
“Seb? That you?” a breathy voice asked.
Sebastian braced himself. He would never get used to the creature who called himself Moriarty.
The creature came into Moran’s view. He was shorter than Moran, with dark hair and darker eyes. His skin was a strange grey-blue color, and even though Moran was ten paces away, he felt colder than he should have. Moran had to remember that this creature had once been more powerful: a giant. Now that his world was closed to the worlds, the people had deteriorated away. Except for this one. Moriarty.
Moriarty walked with a reptilian gate, slow and steady winning the race. Moran was, no pun intended, frozen to the spot. But Moran wasn’t afraid of Moriarty. He was in awe of him.
“Seb,” Moriarty purred, the back of his fingers making contact with Sebastian’s face. It was colder than the air outside, like a winter wind hitting his face—no, not hitting his face… caressing his face.
Moriarty was one of the last frost giants. When Odin had closed the door on Jotunheim, Moriarty was just a boy. But boys grow up. Without power from the other worlds, his people dropped like flies and became part of the icy tundra, but alone Moriarty survived. He was smaller than he should have been, human-sized, but he had survived. He, of course, blamed his peoples’ death on the Gods of Asgard, and vowed to avenge his friends and family. When he was older and cleverer, he found a crack in the walls that none of the others had ever found when they were alive. Being the last of the frost giants was lonely, but it made Moriarty look back and laugh at how pathetic his race truly was. But it didn’t mean he still had his icy fire in his heart to avenge every last one.
The crack got him between worlds, between Jotunheim and Midgard. But Midgard wasn’t what he wanted. But he was stuck, so he made the best of it, calling himself a ‘consulting criminal’ in Victorian London, as well as teaching a couple of Maths classes at the university there.
His salvation from this life came in the form of the first man on the moon in 1969. He stayed on the moon for a long while before it came in the right position so Moriarty could jump into the stream called the rainbow bridge. He was finally in Asgard.
But he had to get out of the City of Gods quickly before anyone noticed him. He ran down the streets of the City as quickly as he could, but of course he wasn’t exactly looking where he was going. He crashed right into Sebastian Moran, who was on his way to target practice, walking alone with his tiger.
It was lust at first sight. At least for Sebastian it was. Moriarty was a frost giant, and his only love was for snow, ice, and his people. Because of the feelings he put into Sebastian, however, he learned he could manipulate the lad into doing whatever it was he needed to do. He needed an ally on this forsaken planet with these forsaken Gods.
It was Moran who placed a single seed of Moriarty’s most potent hair-ice in Odin’s drink. Odin sucked down the wine without a single thought about what might be lurking in the bottom. Moran watched from the table, head bowed only until Odin had finished the drink. It was then that Moriarty took hold of Odin’s thoughts, reading them carefully. He could only plant doubts in the All-Father’s head, doubts about his son Sherlock.
Sherlock worried Moriarty the most. He wasn’t distracted by being second-in-command, or by a wife, like Mycroft was. Mycroft wouldn’t be a problem. Once Odin was dead, Moriarty could use Anthea against Mycroft, make him fall on his own accord if it was only to keep the little bird safe. Sherlock was a different matter. Sherlock had no human emotions. So Moriarty, with help of Odin, cast Sherlock from Asgard into the world of the mortals. His plan was still in motion, for now the ice from the seed had grown into a mighty tree, freezing Odin’s brain from the inside, making him weaker and weaker. Soon Odin would die, and Moriarty could cast Mycroft out as well. Asgard would be his. Rather, it would be Moran’s. Moriarty could die in peace knowing that Odin and his sons were gone from Asgard. He would leave a set of instructions with Moran if he needed, if the boy was as stupid as he looked.
“I’ve missed you,” Moriarty told his companion, slowing forming circles of ice on Moran’s cheeks and nose.
“You always say that, sir,” Moran replied, hardly looking at Moriarty. His master.
Moriarty stepped closer, like he would pass Moran. He didn’t, and instead whispered, “And you know I always mean it, darling.”
Moran shuddered at this, both from the cold and from Moriarty’s tone. Moriarty was quite asexual, but the way he whispered into Moran’s ear about the power Moran would possess once Moriarty’s plan was completed made it feel like Moriarty was making love to him.
“What’s the news?” Moriarty asked, his tone changing.
Moran breathed out slowly, the tension escaping now that Moriarty had stepped away and was no longer touching him.
“Sherlock seems to be getting used to mortal life. Lord Mycroft and the Lady Anthea are trying their hands at matchmaking.”
Moriarty was surprised at this this, “Whom with whom?”
“Sherlock and this mortal he’s been staying with down on Midgard,” Moran replied. He seemed slightly confused.
“That doesn’t sound right,” Moriarty mused. He began to pace as he continued: “Sherlock has never felt an emotional pull to anyone. I would have noticed it if he had. He’s always been an enigma, but I know him. I know that he’s bored and needs entertainment… maybe Mycroft really is an idiot, and he’s confused potential romance for a mere fascination…”
Moran cleared his throat, immediately regretting it when Moriarty’s reptilian head snapped toward him. Moran averted his gaze at the stare his master was giving him.
“Speak, Seb,” Moriarty finally said, “I didn’t give you a control seed…” That only meant Moriarty couldn’t read Moran’s thoughts.
“The Lady Anthea has seen Sherlock’s future. Apparently he… marries this mortal man. But this mortal man is like… like Queen Angela, Odin’s immortalized mortal wife.”
“A mortal with incredible power here on Asgard?” Moriarty had started pacing as Moran was speaking, but he stopped to ask his question, dark, demon-like eyes fixing on his companion.
“Y-Yes, sir,” Moran replied, trying to look at Moriarty, but failing miserably. “Though… there may be hope.”
“Yes?” Moriarty asked.
“The Lady Anthea might have made a…” Moran gulped. “A Breathed Prophecy.”
Moriarty stepped back, confusion set on his face. Moran nearly gasped at the temperature’s short drop. “What in the worlds are you talking about?”
Moran gulped, “The Lady Anthea has… has the Old Ways about her. Healing, Scrying, little magicks like that. But the one thing she is uncanny about in her ways is the Breathed Prophecy…” When his master was still confused, but the temperature had risen some, Moran went on, “It means she can say something, and it can change the path of the future so that… that what she says actually happens.”
Moriarty was intrigued, “So… what exactly did the bird say?”
Moran was beginning to regret what he was saying: he like the Lady Anthea. When Mycroft finally fell from Asgard, and Sebastian was King, Sebastian would probably seduce Lady Anthea into becoming his Queen. She was due to be Queen any moment anyway…
“She said that it would be too late for Sherlock and this mortal to… be together…” Moran explained.
Moriarty liked the sound of that, “Excellent. Well… even if it isn’t exactly a Breathed Prophecy, I will make it so myself,” he said, and began pacing again: thinking up the best way of at least endangering the mortal in question.
“He won’t be of any use until he comes to Asgard,” Moran pointed out, talking out of turn. He regretted it when Moriarty turned his sharp gaze to him.
Moriarty then chuckled and shook his head, “Leave me, Moran. You’ve been a good boy,” he added, giving Moran a hint of a smile.
Moran seemed at ease as he left the cave. Flem felt well too as they climbed down the mountain.
It only hit Moran when they got to the foothills and Flem’s fur was changing colors from white and grey to orange and black: Moriarty had no idea how a mortal could be turned immortal.
(And he would never know because—well, that’s not a story for right now.)
Chapter 4: A Change of Heart
John H Watson resented his roommate. He didn’t have to go to ‘I Hate My Flatmate’ Anonymous, because almost everyone who knew him knew he hated Sherlock Holmes. Half of his blog were locked posts about Sherlock (and even then, Sherlock could still read them). And Sherlock was indeed hate-able:
He had somehow gotten ahold of a violin, and he played it at two in the morning. And not pretty songs, but high-pitched screeching and violent string-plucking. Sherlock seemed to have no human emotions, though John had heard that both his father and brother had human-like emotions. Sherlock told him he had never encountered a reason to be quote—‘human.’
“AKA he needs to get laid,” John muttered to himself when Sherlock had told him about his male family members.
Though the flatmates equally fascinated once another, Sherlock seemed to resent John as well: Sherlock was embarrassed by the fact that he was on Midgard at all, but especially that a mortal being would be caring for him: letting him live with him, letting him eat the food he bought, etc. For a God to have stooped so low as to need someone less powerful to show them a little kindness could make any-God resent the one person who did, even though they hadn’t needed to.
Evenings had been reduced to hard silence on both parts: John would grade papers or blog, and Sherlock would experiment or he just wouldn’t be around because he would be out catching criminals.
One evening, John was late coming home. He had fallen asleep on the Tube, got off at the wrong stop, and so he had to walk an extra three or four blocks to Baker Street. He came in on the other side of the door from where the one window looked out onto the street. That was probably the start of something… new.
He was quiet as he trudged up the steps, which might have been the reason Sherlock hadn’t heard him, and the reason John caught his roommate doing something amazing. He was playing the violin. It was a simple melody, but it stirred in John such feelings that he thought could never feel about Sherlock.
Sherlock must have been a God, for the song he played was nothing John had ever heard on Midgard. It reminded him of every foreign, fantastical land in every story created by man on his term on Earth: Oz, Eden, Narnia, Middle Earth, Neverland. They were all thrown in a blender and then blended so thoroughly that John might have seen stars. John paused before he opened the door, wanting the moment to go on forever. He imagined fantastical beasts, every mythos he had heard of came into his mind. And then it was Asgard. If Sherlock was playing something so wonderfully fantastical, it could only be in memory of Asgard.
Did Asgard look like a blended version of the lands of Oz and Middle Earth? Were there talking animals and mermaids and flying boys? Was Asgard where the first mortal man and woman made? John found himself breathless as he actually thought about it.
And then there was that sadness about the violin song. Sherlock missed it. And that simple human emotion stood out to John, made him feel the sadness Sherlock felt. The music that Sherlock played conveyed the human emotion that Sherlock possessed. He wasn’t a mortalized immortal machine. He missed Asgard, he missed his family, and whatever friends he had up there too. He probably wanted to go home.
“My, what an ass am I,” John muttered, finally opening the door.
Sherlock’s violin screeched as he whirled around. He had been at the window, possibly looking for John coming the other way.
“Don’t mind me, Sherlock,” John said, smiling slightly: the first real smile since meeting his impossible flatmate. I know you’re human.
That night, John poured over the books he had checked out from the library. All the mythology books he had he opened and read through, trying the indexes to look for something, anything, on how one might get back into Asgard if one was banished. He was beginning to understand his flatmate a bit more, why Sherlock did the things he did.
For as he did his research, he really thought about Sherlock.
It had been about four months since Sherlock had fallen out of the sky and had landed on top of John on his way into work. In that time, though John had told himself and others that he hated the ex-God, he had also gotten used to Sherlock’s habits and interests. John had tried to understand Sherlock by questioning him and reading up on Norse mythology. And Sherlock experimented too. He took body parts from Bart’s and left them in the fridge or in the kettle, but he was really only trying to figure out human life and human nature, to learn something while he was trapped on Midgard. John figured the least he could do now that he knew that his flatmate was at least partly human, that he had a heart and he felt emotions and all that, was help Sherlock return to the place that he called home.
John looked out his window and wondered if he would ever want to return here if he was somehow banished to another part of the World Tree Yggdrasil.
Maybe. He had a job and a life. His family was dead except for an estranged sister. He was a bit of a workaholic so he didn’t really keep the friends he made. Did he really have anything here of value here?
He had Sherlock… oh.
After John had walked in on him playing, Sherlock had put the violin away for a while. He was embarrassed that he had shown this part of him to John. It had been an accident, for he had been relying too much on John’s practice of having the same route to and from work each day. But now John knew that Sherlock didn’t just make the violin screech.
Sherlock unconsciously missed his home. He missed his father, and he missed his sister-in-law. He even missed his brother.
He liked being a Consulting Detective, and he liked experimenting on dead things. It helped him understand Midgard and the inner ways in which the planet worked. But there was no magic on this world… it had all sapped away. Asgard used both science and magic, and Sherlock almost preferred it that way. The closest the mortals had gotten to was the mythology of almost every nation in Europe and Asia. But it wasn’t enough. He missed home.
Sherlock looked at the violin in the corner of his room and sighed, getting up off his bed and going down the steps to the living room, where John was working.
John looked up, “Have you had dinner?”
Sherlock looked at him and studied him for a moment. John was becoming an enigma once more to Sherlock. Ever since that day John had been staying up late, reading Norse mythology. He would get up at the usual time every morning, but he would make coffee and breakfast for both Sherlock and himself. He was kinder to Sherlock, which, to be truthful, freaked Sherlock out a bit. He wasn’t adverse to it but… it would take some getting used to.
Sherlock’s heart fluttered a bit, though he wouldn’t show it to his changed flatmate. “No.”
John put a paper he had been grading in the mythology book he had been studying as he closed the latter. “Get you’re coat. You don’t have a case?”
Sherlock was fascinated, “Why?”
“It’s freezing outside. It tends to do that in the Northern Hemisphere in January…” John replied.
“No, I know that,” Sherlock replied, his monotone never faltering, “Why are you taking me out to dinner? We haven’t done that since… I arrived.”
John gave him a little smile, “Just thought you’d like something other than beans and rice. I forgot to do the shopping again…”
Sherlock nodded. John had been studying up on his mythology for the past week, as well as his usual grading of papers and writing of blogs. He had forgotten to do much else that week except what his body required of him. Almost like Sherlock when he was on a case…
“Well… if that’s the case, then I say we go,” Sherlock said.
“We should try Angelo’s,” John said, grabbing his coat as Sherlock grabbed his.
Sherlock tied his scarf around his neck, “That sounds… nice.”
John nodded and led the way out.
Mrs. Hudson peeked through the curtains over the window to her door. “That’s odd…”
The first thing Sherlock noticed about Angelo’s was the atmosphere. It was darker than a restaurant should be, and there were a lot of couples here. He looked to John and wondered for a moment if this dinner was a set up to another proposition. Well… not another proposition, but a sort of “Hey, we’ve known each other four months and you haven’t run away just yet, want to form a romantic/sexual relationship?”
But John wasn’t that type of person. Sherlock hadn’t noticed John with any other man or even a woman since he had met him, and he certainly didn’t proposition anyone, that Sherlock knew of, often. So the food was excellent here if John went often by himself or with friends… or maybe he had taken a date here. Sherlock didn’t have enough data to fully comprehend his flatmate’s dating vs. friendship views.
“This isn’t a date,” John said, sitting down at a table towards the front.
Sherlock lifted his head a tad, and then nodded. He sat down across from his flatmate and opened the menu the maître d handed him. He had finished a case the day before, and he had half-staved himself for about six days to finish it.
A heavy-set man with a ponytail bounded up to their table, “Mr. Holmes! So nice to see you again.”
John recognized the man from the picture on the menu and widened his eyes at Sherlock, who would have blushed at the attention he was receiving. “This, as I can tell you already know, is Angelo,” he said, by way of explanation. “About a month ago, I successfully proved to Scotland Yard that he wasn’t part of an Italian gang set here in London, but that he was innocent, and the only thing that should be on his record that he was in another part of town housebreaking.”
“She knew I was coming,” Angelo said off-handedly, “And without this man, I would have gone to prison for a lot longer than I did.”
John was in awe of the entire story. Angelo grinned at him, “Anything on the menu’s free, Sherlock. For you and your date.”
“I’m not his date!” John replied immediately.
Angelo didn’t here him, “I’ll get a candle for the table. It’s more romantic.”
“I’m not his date!” John nearly squealed.
Sherlock chuckled, “People get notions into their head, John… and this looks like more of a date place anyway…”
John shook his head, “The food is excellent, though…” he commented, opening the menu.
Sherlock mirrored his flatmate, “So… though I can hazard a guess… what made you change?”
“Change?” John asked.
“Your views about me?”
John thought about it, “That song you played was beautiful—let me finish,” Sherlock had made to protest, “And… the emotion you put into it was human. Nostalgia and sadness and… well… it made me realize that you were human underneath that God-like disdain for having to be taken care of by a lowly human like me.”
Sherlock blinked, startled a bit. “You… hated me because I wasn’t human to you? But… I’m not.”
“You were stripped of your powers when you were sent down here. You’re as human as me or Angelo,” John replied.
Angelo returned with the candle, took their orders and their menus, and then left again. All the while Sherlock looked pensive.
“I… Thank you.”
John looked at him. “What?”
“Thank you… for… for everything you’ve done. Even if you did hate me for a while there…”
John smiled, “Well, thank you for being less clever last week and letting me walk in on a human moment of yours…”
Ever since Angelo’s Sherlock had John on his mind almost constantly. Even when he was swamped with a case he was thinking about the good doctor. A verbal thank-you wasn’t enough for Sherlock and he wanted to do more. He just wasn’t sure what to do. He hadn’t studied enough of human nature to know what other mortals did besides verbally express their gratitude.
“Lestrade,” he said one morning as he was stuck at Scotland Yard to give them his statement for a case. “What do you do when you’re grateful to someone… but words aren’t enough?”
Lestrade blinked. He really didn’t understand Sherlock Holmes (who did?), but he liked the man for his intelligence and his speed. He wouldn’t ask questions about Sherlock like most others did, either. “Well… sometimes gifts work…”
Sherlock’s eyebrow rose, “What kind of… gifts?”
“Thoughtful ones. Usually flowers, but that’s a bit mainstream…”
Sherlock nodded, And though John might appreciate them, it isn’t enough.
He was in a haze for the next few days. The case was closed, so he spent most of his days lounging on the couch in a dressing gown. John would come home and Sherlock would still be in the same position he had left his flatmate in that morning. John didn’t worry about Sherlock when he did this, though. Besides, Sherlock always looked thoughtful.
It was a surprise, then, when John came home and saw that Sherlock was gone. There was a note on the couch, however: Off out. Library. Don’t wait up. Bringing home take away.
John couldn’t help but chuckle.
Sherlock had never met Irene, but John had her number in his phone, and from the times Sherlock had gotten hold of it, gotten through the password, and read some of the texts (yes, Sherlock did this before John and Sherlock had gotten… closer), he had learned that Irene often had to text John first before he would actually talk to her. He knew Irene worked at a library, and finally learned which one when he looked at all the Norse mythology books Irene had spoken about in her texts.
So looking at the gorgeous librarian in front of him, stroking her paper cup of coffee like a lover, and laughing up a storm about how John and she had met, Sherlock completely understood why John had made friends with her in the first place.
“… Then I got married, so I stopped taking on new subs, at least,” Irene said, finishing her story.
Sherlock nodded, “But you kept some of them?”
“My husband’s a wuss in the bedroom, but I love him for his intelligence and his personality. But I need a little kink once and a while, and I promised not to have sex with my lovely girls,” Irene replied.
Sherlock nodded, almost flushing violently.
“Anyway,” Irene said, taking a sip of her drink, “I know you didn’t ask me for coffee just to hear me prattle on about my hobbies. It’s about John, isn’t it?”
Sherlock’s eyebrows shot up, “Yes.”
“Oh, that dear man,” Irene sighed. “A workaholic, and much too invested in humanity sometimes. But he’s a good man. What do you want to know?”
Sherlock looked at the wall behind the dark-haired woman for a moment. “I’m so grateful to him for all he’s done. I want to… to show my gratitude, but words and flowers won’t do the job properly.”
Irene smiled, Oh John Watson. Somebody loves you. “John has different tastes anyway,” she said, leaning forward to put her elbows on the table. She cradled her cheeks in her hands as she hummed lightly, thinking. “You ever notice that he kind of looks like a hedgehog?”
Sherlock’s eyebrows furrowed somewhat. “What?”
“Molly says he reminds her more of a kitten, but I’ve always said he looked more like a hedgehog. Though both animals are adorable, I will give them that,” Irene continued, musing now.
Sherlock was utterly confused, “I’m not quite getting your line of thinking, Mrs. Norton…”
“Irene, please,” the dominatrix replied, smiling at him as she lifted her head off her hands. “I’m just saying, I see him as a hedgehog. Plus, he likes adorable things like that.”
Sherlock finally got it, “Oh…”
Irene smiled and winked, “He can’t care for a live one, mind you. He’s got you, doesn’t he? And he won’t like anything too cutesy either. Nothing you would give someone for Valentine’s Day. Not yet, at least.”
“We’re not a couple,” Sherlock said.
Irene made a slight humming noise, “If you deny it, then you’ve at least thought about it. Don’t give too much away, Sherlock dear.”
Sherlock smiled slightly, “I’ll keep that in mind. And thank you.”
“Anytime, Sherlock,” Irene replied, returning the smile somewhat. She was quiet for a brief moment. “Be sure and take John with you when you go home.”
Sherlock’s eyebrow rose at this statement, “We never go anywhere together, so how can we return that way?”
“I mean when you go home,” Irene replied, her smile fading somewhat.
“London is my home,” Sherlock replied.
Irene shook her head, “If you’re going to play thick, then all right. But I think you know what I really mean.”
And Sherlock did.
Four or five days later, Sherlock got a package in the mail, and he opened right in front of John. He was clever in the way he looked so surprised when he lifted the stuffed animal from the box. “Hmm… must be a joke from one of your… friends,” he said, looking down his nose at his flatmate.
John’s eyebrows went from both raised to only one. He said nothing though.
Sherlock shrugged, “Well…” he dropped the well-crafted hedgehog-shaped stuffed animal on John’s lap carelessly, “There. I guess this can be your thank-you present.”
“What?” John asked.
“Words aren’t enough for all you’ve done for me, John,” Sherlock said, fixing the man in question with a meaningful gaze. John returned it, but his face didn’t convey so much steady apathy as an adorable look of perplexity.
“I… You’re… You’re welcome,” John finally said, breaking the non-competitive staring contest and picking up the small toy.
Sherlock finally looked away from his roommate, but not before he saw the embarrassed smile John gave the gift Sherlock had gotten for him, pressing it into his stomach for some sort of comfort.
Chapter 5: Trouble Back Home
Mycroft smiled at the image in the Eye and looked to his wife, who put a hand over her heart. “He’s called it Sherlock,” she said.
Mycroft smiled, “You’ve been reading his thoughts again, my dear…” he said, putting a hand at the small of her back.
She smiled, “Oh I can’t help it. I didn’t know that both of them would have a change of heart so quickly,” she said, nearly bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet like a crazed fangirl.
“Just don’t do it all the time,” Mycroft replied, giving her a soft smile. He turned away from the Eye. “But it is odd that Sherlock would have miscalculated John’s route that day…”
Anthea put up her hands, “I did not meddle! We promised after Midgard’s Scientific Revolution not to interfere unless the fate of the worlds was at stake.”
“Although, when it comes to Sherlock, we meddle all the time,” Mycroft mused, remembering the violin.
“That’s Sherlock, though. I wouldn’t make something happen to John to get them together. That whole thing wasn’t my fault,” Anthea replied, but she was smiling and giggling a bit.
Mycroft chuckled at his wife, but then his smile faded when a servant from the Palace approached them. “What is it?”
“Lord Mycroft. Lady Anthea,” she said, curtsying low. “King Odin. He’s worse.”
Mycroft turned to his wife and raised an eyebrow.
Anthea sighed, “I’m coming.”
Anthea never had to act as doctor on Asgard because she was a Lady of the Palace, and one of the very higher ups. But her Healing was much more powerful than the others, because she had Old Magick in her blood. She was one of the last, too, which was one of the reasons the Eye saw Anthea and Mycroft’s union at Mycroft’s birth. Perhaps a child from this union would benefit the worlds…
Anthea rushed down the halls, not exactly running but… gliding. She hardly looked at the others as they told her good afternoon and made such pleasantries as those. She was worried about her father-in-law. The other Healers had done all they could, but they were having trouble locating the place of the sickness, so they had no clue as to what it was.
When she got to her father-in-law’s chambers, he absentmindedly curtsied before entering, but once the pleasantries were done, she rushed to Odin’s bedside. He was a big man, with white hair and eyebrows. One eye was covered from his sacrifice to get the All-Seeing Eye, which Mycroft and Anthea had been watching for a long time now. He looked so weak, though, lying in his bed, hardly breathing. She touched his hand, “Father Odin?”
He hardly stirred, but he had heard her. That was good. But his life-force was fading. It was something all Healers could feel: the life-force. Usually centered in the heart, but some other beings had them placed elsewhere, such as the giants, who had their life-force in their brain.
Anthea kept one hand in her father-in-law’s as she touched his face. It was cold. That was odd, for skin was always warm in humanoid persons. She traced patterns on the All-Father’s skin, feeling the places that mattered: forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. She then touched the old man’s temples, right above the ear, with both hands and nearly screamed at the temperature.
A Healer rushed in the room, “What is it, Lady?”
Anthea’s breathing was rushed as she recoiled from her father-in-law. “It is worse than I expected… Even I cannot heal him. There is… there is ice in his mind!”
Anthea told her husband, who told his council. There was a traitor in their midst, someone who was keeping a frost giant in Asgard, somewhere.
Moran stiffened, but didn’t come forward, even when the fate of the worlds was at stake.
Mycroft despaired as he paced in front of the Eye. Anthea watched her brother-in-law and his roommate with a suddenly saddened expression on her face. Then she had an idea. “Darling?”
“What, Annie?” Mycroft replied. His tone broke his wife’s heart for a moment.
“I’ve read about the powers of frost giants…” Anthea began. Her husband knew not to say anything when she was speaking, “They use their life-force to plant doubts in people’s heads, and it looks like the person’s dying. If it gets out of hand, the person can. Even if we find the culprit… Odin could die. But since he’s being controlled by this giant, he wasn’t actually thinking when he cast Sherlock out…”
“No,” Mycroft replied, “We have to be sure.”
“But they can help! John’s been researching ways to get Sherlock back, and this is his chance!” Anthea replied. “We need John, if what the Eye has seen is true! And you know it is true! He’s a powerful Healer, and he and I can Heal Father Odin together! And with your deductive minds put together, Sherlock and you can find the God responsible for keeping the frost giant in our midst! You can get information out of him, and we can punish it!”
Mycroft sighed, “I have to be sure,” he replied firmly.
Anthea breathed in and out slowly, “All right. But we should at least warn them.”
Mycroft looked pensively at the Eye, watching the truly domestic scene within before he nodded. “Sherlock should know. But there is no way to tell him. He is family, and it is not allowed to use Dream Communication.”
“John, dear. John is not family… yet,” Anthea said, putting a hand at her husband’s waist and one on his shoulder.
He smiled at her, “I should not be forgetting about dear Doctor Watson.”
“Perish the thought, my dear,” Anthea replied, smiling for the first time in days.
John Watson had had a long day. He had spent about half of it in class, and then he had to substitute for Mike’s class, which took the bulk of the afternoon. He still had tests to grade, so he graded about half of them when he got home. Sherlock made dinner, which wasn’t a complete disaster, but Mrs. Hudson would be tutting as she made her rounds over the weekend. John spent the rest of the evening reading the textbook he used for his class to make a PowerPoint presentation for next week’s lecture. At about 11, Sherlock shut his laptop.
“You have tomorrow and the weekend to work on that. Get some sleep,” he practically ordered.
John sighed, rubbing his eyes hard with his hands. He then pushed his laptop off his lap, smiled at Sherlock, who would be up all night anyway, and made his way to his bedroom. If it weren’t for Sherlock, John would probably be malnourished, sleep-deprived, and possible dead by now.
He changed into a pair of pajama bottoms, forwent a shirt, and climbed under the covers. Despite everything that was drifting through his brain, he fell asleep a little later.
His dream started out normal. He used to dream about the battlefield, but since Sherlock fell on him, he’d been going to his version of Asgard. He knew his imagination was probably wrong, but it was a nice place to go after a long day. He often walked in forests swirling with rainbow mist. He just walked, most nights. But tonight, he seemed to have a strange purpose. He trekked passed painted trees and vines before he came to a clearing full of wildflowers. They had sentient faces, which smiled and sang to him as he passed them. He smiled back, chuckling at their childish voices. He came to a rock formation and was compelled to climb. As he stood in the middle of the meadow of singing flowers, he felt like the conductor of this choir of flowers. The voices suddenly lowered, and another voice came over the field.
“Hello, John Watson.”
John turned. He came face to face with an older gentlemen with reddish hair and black, beady eyes. He had a hooked nose, but otherwise he looked very much like Sherlock Holmes. “You must be Mycroft Holmes,” John replied. “I’m guessing this isn’t a normal dream?”
Mycroft chuckled, leaning on a staff as he did. He seemed uncomfortable, like he didn’t get out much.
“Is something the matter?” John asked.
“The worlds might very well be in danger, Doctor Watson,” Mycroft replied after a few moments of intense thought on the older Holmes’ part.
“Why?” John asked, going from highly suspicious to worried.
“My father is sick,” Mycroft replied slowly. “We believe the only reason for Sherlock’s banishment was the fact that a rogue frost giant made his way into Asgard with the help of one of my men, and poisoned my father from the inside for a couple of months. We need Sherlock’s help here on Earth, but I am afraid to take him back with me just yet. I wanted to… to send him a message through you.”
“Why can’t you just go to him?” John asked.
“He hardly sleeps,” Mycroft pointed out, and hint of a smile on his strange face, “But also, it is forbidden to use Dream Communication with family members: blood or marriage.”
John nodded, “So… you would like me to convey this message to Sherlock?”
Mycroft nodded, “If you would be so kind, Doctor.”
John nodded. “So he can go back?”
Mycroft sighed, “Not yet. Things are getting desperate, though, and I may have to take my wife’s advice soon.”
“What advice?” John asked.
“To bring both you and Sherlock with me to Asgard… we will need all the help we can get.”
“Yes… yes I guess that’s a good assumption,” John replied. “But you don’t know when?”
Mycroft shook his head, “In the meantime, if you and Sherlock could help us along from Midgard that would be very much appreciated.”
John nodded, “All right.”
In a flash, Mycroft was gone, and the song of the flowers had reached a crescendo.
John climbed down from the rock, picked a random direction, and walked as far away from the din as he could, deep in thought about what Mycroft had gone out of his way to tell him.
John woke up without his alarm clock. It was the usual time in which he normally woke up, but his alarm wasn’t even on. Sherlock would have woken him up had he slept in, even if he was working on a case, which he wasn’t as of now.
After dressing himself for the day, John went downstairs and saw Sherlock had fallen asleep on the couch. Smiling at how calm Sherlock was even in sleep, he slipped passed his flatmate as quietly as possible and went to the kitchen to start his tea.
“Could you get the coffee started too, John?” came a voice for the main room.
John peeked out at his flatmate, “Oh, you’re awake.”
“I’m a light sleeper,” Sherlock replied, stretching, “Have been since I was twelve.”
“Which must have been centuries ago,” John replied, going to the sink to fill up the coffee maker. “And you started young.”
“Deducing? Mycroft was my teacher, of course,” Sherlock replied matter-of-factly. Then: “Did you leave this book open last night?”
John finished preparing the coffee maker and pressed the ‘start’ button, and then put the kettle on the stove. He went into the kitchen and saw that Sherlock had picked up his Norse mythology book and was keeping the page opened with his finger as he flipped through. John leaned over his flatmate and opened to the page the dark-haired ex-God had bookmarked with his thumb.
“’Frost Giants,’” John read.
And his dream came rushing back.
“Your… Your brother Mycroft… Dream Connection… your father’s sick!” John said as the order of the dream came back to him.
Sherlock’s eyes widened and he dropped the book, stomping over the table separating John from him, and pushing the ex-soldier back so that he could grab the sides of his head. “Tell me everything,” he said, getting his face close to John’s as he began spinning them around. “Everything, John!”
John began outlining his dream: from the meadow of singing flowers to Mycroft’s leaving, at least.
Sherlock pulled away from John when he was done explaining Mycroft’s message, hearing the kettle sing in the kitchen. They both migrated toward the kitchen to pour their respected caffeine drinks, both pensive and breathing hard.
“You said he doesn’t know when or if he’ll need us?” Sherlock asked.
John nodded, “In the meantime, he wants us to get as much information as he can. He’s keeping watch over us, and Anthea can—“
“Read minds, I know,” Sherlock replied, blowing on his coffee. “Qu-Quit your job.”
“What?” John asked.
“Or take a vacation,” Sherlock continued really thinking about it. “Right now. You’ve got about ten weeks of vacation time saved up, don’t you?”
John blinked, but nodded, “Yes, but why?”
“When you go to Asgard, everyone will forget about you. It’d be better if you quit your job, but you might return, so going on vacation makes more sense. If you come back, then they’ll remember you again, since you were born here. I’m not sure why it doesn’t go like that in Asgard, but that’s the Rules Father set up when he met Mother…” Sherlock mused, pacing now.
‘I wouldn’t want to leave you,’ John thought, his eyes growing wide at his almost unconscious statement. ‘And I’m not sure you want me to leave you, either…’
From her perch near the Eye, Anthea nearly cried out with joy. She was alone, as Mycroft was in the library trying his hand at scrying. “You need a name for that dear,” Anthea had told him time and time again. He wouldn’t listen. He just needed the traitor God who was keeping the giant hidden, anyway.
“Oh, they’ll be married soon enough after that statement of the facts!” she cried, shaking her fists triumphantly.
Chapter 6: Desperate Measures
It was about a week after Mycroft had made the Dream Connection with John. Sherlock was refusing cases, and John had indeed called up Bart’s and told them he was taking a vacation with the days he had saved up. Mrs. Hudson had taken to bringing them an evening meal, at least, and making sure they had enough food for breakfast and lunch, even though her motto was that ‘she wasn’t their housekeeper.’
John had really thought about this new reality of his. He’d never seen Asgard, but if it was where Sherlock lived, then he wanted to stay there as long as Sherlock wanted to stay. His roommate had saved him, rather than burdened him. Without Sherlock in his life, he would have probably shot himself. He still had his service revolver, after all.
As he went to the library and saw Irene, she smiled at him and Sherlock, but didn’t come over as she usually did. Molly and she weren’t really his friends, and Mike was just another coworker. Yes, Molly and he hung out together a lot, but Molly had her real friends, and John…
John had Sherlock. He had made his choice: an alcoholic sister (who he honestly never saw anymore), a dominatrix, her submissive, and a coworker weren’t keeping John here. Sherlock had become John’s best friend, and he would follow him wherever he went.
And maybe that wasn’t friendship, John had thought as he and Sherlock stayed up late one night, trying to figure out what exactly had happened to Jotunheim that one frost giant could have escaped. (“Though, their life-forces are located in their brains. One of them could have gotten cleverness instead of extreme brutish stupidity…” Sherlock had mused.) John had taken a break and had cut up some pita bread to go with hummus (high in carbs and protein. They would need to take all they could get tonight), and was thinking about his reasons for potentially leaving Midgard forever (if he had to).
“Sherlock… would you rather stay here or go back to Asgard?” John suddenly asked.
Sherlock paused in his musing and looked up at his friend, “Why?”
“Because… I was thinking about it. You’ve been moping for a good seven months now, and… I know we’ve only been real friends for three of those months now, but… I’d want to follow you wherever you went. Even if I was forgotten by the few people I know…”
Sherlock blinked. He had been thinking about John and if he’d really follow Sherlock after this. He had come to be used to his stalwart friend’s presence. John had let Sherlock in, and even though he had come to resent the ex-God, he had put aside his pride, cashed in his resentment, and had turned to caring for Sherlock… and vice versa.
“That’s… sweet, John,” Sherlock said, trying to control his breathing. “I… I would rather you stay with me, but it’s honestly your choice. I… I don’t think I could go back to having only my brother be intellectually stimulating enough to talk to me. The other Gods and Goddesses were never… never my friends, like… like you.”
John nodded. “So… if Odin is indeed just being controlled by a frost giant, then you would probably go home?”
“Only if I got to stay with you,” Sherlock replied quietly, turning away from his flatmate in slight embarrassment.
They went back to researching and studying and thinking, but John had made his final decision: he would follow Sherlock to the ends of the worlds.
Mycroft looked cruelly down his nose at his prisoner. Sebastian Moran. Cleverly caught when a young Healer by the name of Sarah saw him leave the Palace in the wee hours of the night when she was taking a break by standing on the balcony outside Odin’s rooms. The City had been shut down: given a curfew for the safety of its inhabitants while a frost giant was still at large. Sarah called the alarm and had Sebastian caught before he could go tell Moriarty he was in danger.
“Who is he?” Mycroft asked, pushing his staff at Moran, who was tied pretty tight to a chair carved into the stone that the rest of the Palace was made of.
“No, I won’t tell you.”
Mycroft knew loyalty when he saw it. He knew he wouldn’t get anything out of Moran: that he himself had gone soft in his marriage to Anthea. He turned from Moran, “You know Sherlock, my little brother? Oh, of course you do… You grew up with him. What if I were to bring him here?”
“Odin banished him,” Moran replied smugly.
“Ah, but that was under the influence of your… friend’s malice. Now we know it was him thanks to my lovely wife, and I think I can secure my little brother’s passage home…”
Moran’s eyes widened with fright at this, not just at Moriarty’s seemingly airtight plan’s malfunction, but also because Sherlock Holmes had a certain way of interrogation, cold and calculating, that made many people confess. He had been a sort of chief of Asgard police when he was still around…
Mycroft smirked at Moran’s sudden silence and left the room, walking to the room where the Eye was situated. Anthea looked up at him, “No luck from down on Midgard…”
“I thought as much. Sherlock will need facts and real evidence, not just mortal stories and his own thoughts,” Mycroft said, sighing. “We need to bring them both. Not just Sherlock. The Eye is never wrong, and its said that John will be a strong enough Healer that maybe, if he can’t do it by himself, both of your powers combined can Heal my father. An Asgard without Odin would be chaotic—is chaotic…”
Anthea nodded. She saw her husband’s pensive look, however. “Do you want me to go get them, darling?”
Mycroft blinked, but threw away his doubts. Anthea was a beautiful and strong woman, and she would just be going to 221b Baker Street anyway…
“Thank you, darling.”
Sherlock and John had fallen asleep: Sherlock in his armchair and John on the couch. They woke up, suddenly, when a flash of light noisily made its presence known to them right in the middle of their living room.
Sherlock was the first to speak as he noticed a form appear in the middle of the light. “Anthea.”
“Sherlock,” a beautiful brunette said. She was wearing the same robes John had seen Mycroft in, so he figured this must be Mycroft’s wife the Lady Anthea. She was also wearing what looked like paper angel wings on her back. She curtsied to John. “And John.”
John made an awkward bowing motion to her, “Hello… uhm… Lady.”
“Please, you’re practically family,” the lovely woman replied. “It’s Anthea. Besides, we’ll be working closely, so a first name basis would be preferred.”
Sherlock’s eyebrow rose, “Then you need us?”
“The traitor has been captured. He’ll respond more to your… style of interrogation than my husband’s…” Anthea replied, her voice and eyes growing steely.
John’s eyebrow rose as he turned to Sherlock once more.
Sherlock chuckled, “The reason I didn’t want to be a police officer when I first came here, John, was that I was something like the Chief of Police back home. I didn’t want to be outranked by Lestrade…”
John’s other eyebrow joined its partner in the position on his face, but he nodded in understanding.
“Anything you need before we go up, boys?” Anthea asked.
“My violin,” Sherlock replied.
Anthea smiled, “Of course. You think better when you play.”
She closed her eyes, snapped her fingers, and opened her eyes once more. The violin in the corner had disappeared. She turned to John and raised one eyebrow.
John suddenly looked a bit embarrassed as he actually thought about it. He chewed on his bottom lip for a brief moment before he went up to Anthea, put his hand up near her ear so Sherlock wouldn’t read his lips, and whispered what he wanted from Midgard to be taken up to Asgard. She smiled, chuckling prettily as she repeated her actions from before, with the violin. Of course, whatever he had asked for didn’t disappear from the immediate vicinity, but by the smile on Anthea’s face, Sherlock knew it had reached its destination. He didn’t ask about it, though. John’s secret was his to keep.
Anthea came between the two men and took their hands. “Ready?”
John and Sherlock nodded. Anthea squeezed their hands, and John felt a sort of tingling sensation in his feet before he looked down and saw that the ground beneath them had vanished, and that stars were swirling around him. He tightened his grip on Anthea but she gave him a smile that calmed him down a little. “I’m not used to it either,” she mouthed.
There was suddenly something akin to a rainbow under their feet, over first a waterfall, and then the water that rushed off the planet and disappeared among the stars. The bridge, for that’s what it had to be, felt solid, and Anthea was taking a step. But John was frozen in place, staring at the beautiful City in front of him.
A truly enormous city loomed in front of the group. It looked like the palaces and buildings were made of polished stone or (and?) goldish metal. There was a tropical feel to it all, with what looked like palm trees growing from the stone, making the buildings look like they were covered in ivy, when they were really covered in gardens of palm trees and fruit-bearing trees with a plethora of colored fruits. But what struck the mortal man was the sky: which was black except for a thin film of rainbow dust, dotted with the brightest stars John had ever seen. John turned around, trying to find Earth out among the bright stars, but it must’ve been farther away than the journey would have had John believe.
“Time hasn’t turned much here,” Sherlock replied, walking forward.
John snapped out of his reverie as Anthea pulled at his hand.
Sherlock had dropped hers as he looked forward, “Ah, Brother Mycroft,” said he with an ironic tone.
Mycroft Holmes had come to welcome his brother back home, apparently… “Don’t take that tone with me, Sherlock. It was our father who cast you out.”
“Though it turns out he was being controlled by a clever frost giant,” Sherlock mused.
Anthea pulled John forward, “You two make nice,” she scolded.
“Yes, Sister Anthea,” Sherlock replied, and then he turned to Mycroft again, “Where is this prisoner of yours?”
“In the Jury Room,” the elder Holmes brother replied, putting his free hand behind his brother’s back to lead him. Sherlock made a disdaining noise and batted the hand away childishly.
Anthea shook her head, “Well come on,” she said, tugging at John’s hand again, “I need to teach you natural Healing before we go on to the good stuff…”
“The All-Seeing Eye of Father Odin’s saw you as a pretty powerful Healer here on Asgard. Sadly, only here do you have magic,” she said. Oh, she was manipulating John, all right.
“Hang on!” John said, tugging his hand free from the Goddess’s “You mean, mortals have magic here?”
“Science and magic are all around us, John,” Anthea replied, “For some odd reason, the magic on Midgard faded away, but here they’ve always gone hand in hand. We Heal using our own life-force, but we understand the arteries and veins that pump blood and oxygen,” Anthea explained.
“But… Mortals can do magic?” John repeated.
Anthea grinned, “There’s only been two people I know of who have been mortal and been magic: Sherlock and Mycroft’s mother, and you, John Watson. The All-Seeing Eye does not tell us lies…”
John blinked. To think he had been wasting valuable talents on Midgard. “And you think I can Heal Odin?”
“If you can’t do it by yourself, then you can help me. We’ll start with herbs first, and then we’ll get into the life-force aspect when you feel more comfortable.”
As John followed Anthea inside the Palace and made a long journey to Odin’s bedside, he asked questions of the Lady.
“So… will I really be forgotten down on Midgard?” he asked. He was only curious.
“Not totally,” Anthea replied, “Oh, that naughty boy,” she suddenly mused. “Sherlock made you believe you were going to be totally forgotten?”
John shrugged, “I don’t… know. And I wouldn’t mind being forgotten. It would save my cell phone from Harry’s drunken calls about where I am…”
Anthea chuckled. “No… you’ll be forgotten about, but it’ll be like you went away, not like you were never born or anything like that. People’s lives will take over, and their memory of you will be hazy. Like when someone you’re not close to goes away for a while and you hardly think about him or her until they get back? You’re absence will be like that. If you want, we can make arrangements with your landlady to rent out the apartment…” Anthea said, getting ready to have one of her staff do so.
“Would you?” John asked, huffing a bit as they climbed yet another flight of steps.
Anthea snapped her fingers and a young girl appeared next to her. “Jeanette, do go to Midgard and become the tenant of 221b Baker Street. You’ll be relieved as soon as John makes a final decision about whether he wants to go back or stay here,” Anthea told the pretty brunette, winking back at John.
When the servant had curtsied and disappeared to go do her orders, Anthea stopped just outside a large door. It opened automatically and let the two Healers inside.
The chamber was cavernous and very yellow. Drapes hung over the large windows, but John could tell there was a balcony on the other side of those large, church-worthy panes. Odin’s bed lay in a ditch-like area, and steps surrounded the circular opening in the floor. Odin’s sheets were white, and his comforter was a shade lighter than his drapery was.
Sarah, the head Healer, moved out of the way of John and Anthea; Anthea dismissed her after getting the herb pots out.
They began work right away, after Anthea gave a small lecture about the various plants and pastes, giving away every secret use for them. It was a Healer-to-Healer need-to-know only.
After going through them and testing John on his knowledge, Anthea went to Odin and tested his forehead once more. She guided John’s hands over the body, and was pleased when John felt the icy cold touch of Odin’s forehead.
“Ow! A frost giant did this?” John asked, wrenching his hands away like the sickness had burned him and trying to suspend his disbelief.
Anthea chuckled, “I’ve never seen anything like it, but a cold body that’s still got a tinge of a life-force screams frost giant.”
John nodded, “And all you’ve been able to do is dab his forehead with a warmed up washcloth?”
“It keeps him comfortable. He needs a boost of life-force before we try any actual Healing, which is why we needed you…”
She came close to him and touched his chest with two fingers. He nearly flinched away, but he saw a burst of energy erupt from her fingers into his chest. There was a flash of brilliant light, a warm sensation under his sternum and then an intense glowing from John’s chest.
“I’ve activated your life-force so you can see,” Anthea explained, doing the same thing to herself. “You see how much bigger your life-force is than mine?”
John looked and, though his life-force was at least fading from his view, he saw how much brighter his was than even Anthea’s, who had a big, bright life-force. “Is it because I’m a mortal?” he asked.
Anthea shook her head, “I’m not quite sure what makes yours bigger. But… I remember a time when I was smaller, and I was playing around the gardens. I met a boy, as if fate was guiding me. He was about eleven years old to my four, and he was playing with a boy about my age. The older boy struck me that day, though. My mother tested my life-force that night because she thought I was sick, but instead of a weak light, the light of my life-force was brighter than ever. The Eye might have seen my marital union with Mycroft, but it was of my own accord that I met Mycroft and fell for him that day. What I’m trying to say, John, is that I think the life-force is strongest when you love something almost too much…”
John blinked, flushed lightly, and turned away. “Oh.”
Anthea took John’s hand and tried to make him look at her, “My life-force is less bright than yours because my love is returned, and I know it. Yours is perhaps brighter because you don’t know whether yours is returned or not.”
“He doesn’t have many emotions… especially toward mortals,” John replied, his eyes flickering to her before flickering away again.
“He has plenty,” Anthea replied. “But as a Healer, we must use our feelings of love and caring to Heal the sick and possibly dying,” she said, turning her attention back to Odin. “But your love, John Watson, can Heal Gods. It’s just the reason for Healing them that you need to find before we can do anything here…”
Chapter 7: Sherlock's Lullaby
After about six hours of trying to help Odin get as comfortable as possible with potions and potpourri and any other natural remedy John and Anthea could think of, Mycroft came into his father’s chambers, “Hello darling. John. How goes it here?”
“We’ve done every natural remedy we can think of. I was thinking of starting John in on the life-force Healing before you came in…” Anthea explained. She saw her husband’s face, “No luck with Moran?”
“Sherlock wanted to see him tomorrow. He’s been searching the city and beyond for any place that a frost giant could be. We even had one of our beast mages fly hawks over the mountains.”
“No luck?” Anthea asked.
Mycroft shook his head, “I realized almost too late that Moran had a tiger connected to him. She fled and must have warned the icy bugger.”
“I think you need a rest,” Anthea said, looking over at John, “All of you. I’m calling a lockdown of the rooms once you enter them. They’ll be locked from the inside and outside until morning. We need to rest up.”
John was a little confused, but soon he was being shoved out of the room by Anthea, who was tittering on about something-or-other.
“You’ll be staying in Sherlock’s rooms,” she said as they rounded a corner.
“What? Why?” John asked. “Isn’t this bloke Moran not using his?”
“Yes, but as soon as we ransacked his rooms, Mycroft made it disappear. He does that,” Anthea replied, “And before you ask, we don’t get guests usually, so we don’t have hotels up here. Sherlock doesn’t mind… doesn’t he stay up all night anyway?”
“You’ve known him longer,” John replied. “How does time work, exactly? You said you fell in love with Mycroft when you were four… by mortal standards that’s a bit… odd…”
Anthea had gone from pushing the mortal man to walking beside him now. She sighed, “Well… our space-time is sort of… a sentient being. It’s a God in-and-of-itself. So it slows down and speeds up whenever it wants. And it takes a toll on everyone, making it so that 16 years Midgard-time probably went by and I only looked and felt four years old at the time. We learn to ignore time, though, so I can’t be totally sure.”
John blinked, “Is that true with mortals here on Asgard?”
Anthea sighed, “Sadly, time still affects you here. Your body won’t age, say, if space-time decided to slow down, but after your allotted 80 or 90 years of life is done—Midgard-time is still connected to you as mortal—you will die, whether you’re here or not. Immortals are… Immortal.”
John let this simmer in his mind for a moment. “So I might die even if I stayed here?”
“Are you thinking of staying?” Anthea asked, her face brightening slightly.
“I’m thinking about, at least,” John replied.
“Well… if you were to stay there are ways of making you Immortal…” Anthea said. “But I wouldn’t be thinking about that just now… There… isn’t much of a reason for you to be Immortal, besides the fact that you’re best friend will probably be returning to his former glory as one…”
John nodded, a bit disappointed in Anthea’s explanation. He decided to change the subject a little bit, “How old is Sherlock?”
“My age,” Anthea replied, shrugging. “Though he can add the seven months he was banished to Midgard to that. He’s older than me in that case… but only by about four months, even with his advantage.”
That really didn’t help John, but he wasn’t about to ask the Lady for her real age or anything. He could ask Sherlock himself if he had to know.
Lady Anthea was slowing down, approaching one of the gigantic mahogany(ish) doors. “Here we are,” she said, touching the door and making it suddenly spring open.
John thanked her, and she curtsied back. “Meals will be served in the rooms. I’ll come and get you after breakfast tomorrow and we’ll jump right back into your Healing lessons.”
John nodded, “Thank you, for teaching me and explaining this business to me.”
“It was an honor, John,” Anthea replied, nodding her head. “See you in the morning.”
After Odin’s rooms it was nice to step into a room with a little more light coming through the window. This room was darker, though. The drapery was red, and the bed was clothed in a black blanket that was one of the softest blankets John had ever felt. This bed had a white silk drape around it, with a dark blue canopy overhead. The walls were covered with the same drapes as the ones over the windows, only they were dark blue, black, and a rich purple. There was a ditch area, like in Odin’s room, but it held a large table and a deep red couch. There were rugs made of black fur on the floor, but John knew they were rugs by the little spots of cold stone that popped up in some places. John saw that Sherlock’s violin was near the table, and Sherlock was lying rather limp on the couch.
“You asked to come with that ridiculous stuffed hedgehog?” Sherlock asked, throwing the stuffed animal to him suddenly.
John caught it as he approached the couch. “Right. Now that you’re back home, sentiment is dead to you?”
Sherlock opened one steely grey eye at him, “Of course not. I’m flattered. I’m just also exhausted.”
“Then go to sleep,” John said. It wasn’t an order.
“Can’t. Night doesn’t really come here thanks to us having no Sun. Night cannot deceive me into sleeping here, and I need to work.”
“Well, I need some food, and I need some sleep. We’re getting nowhere with your father with just herbs and potions, and I need to recuperate so I can be helpful when the real Healing begins tomorrow,” John replied, moving Sherlock’s legs to sit down on the couch with him.
Sherlock opened both eyes and looked at him. “Anthea’s pegged you as a Healer?”
“A pretty powerful one. Your mother was the only other mortal with my aura, apparently.”
Sherlock was silent now, staring off into the distance, his head now turned towards the table.
John decided to break the silence, once more having to change the subject, “What have you got to do?”
“We haven’t got a name, so Anthea can’t scry. I’ve got to think up a list of questions for Moran, pour over maps of Asgard, and generally think about things I might be missing here…” Sherlock replied.
John nodded. “Anthea said she and your brother were locking down the Palace…”
“There’s a bathroom that way,” Sherlock replied, pointing away from the bed area and the window.
“It’ll be around. Cook must think it weird… I don’t eat in my rooms, usually.”
“Right… and you never took a girl to bed, either,” John muttered.
“Nor a man,” Sherlock replied calmly.
“No, that neither. You preferred men, though?” John asked.
“I preferred no one. Not here, at least,” Sherlock replied cryptically.
John watched the table until he noticed the food was actually forming as he watched, like a ghost meal at first, solidifying and the flickering out of existence until it was totally solid. “There’s enough for two,” he said, going over to the table.
Sherlock’s eye opened again, “I guess I’ll have to eat now…”
John glared at him, “It’d be a compliment to the cook if you did.”
“Were you only kind on Midgard?” John asked.
“I only have to be kind on Midgard. It gets me what I need.”
“So is that what you were doing when I took you home? When I caught you being human when you were playing that damn violin?” John asked, wondering why he was suddenly so angry.
Sherlock’s other eye opened and he sat up, “John.”
“No… shut up,” John replied. “You really are different when you’re here. After this giant is caught and Odin is Healed, I think I will go home.”
“John!” Sherlock said, standing, “I admit I might have manipulated you a bit in the beginning, but everything after you caught me being human was real! I don’t… I don’t know what I would do without you…”
But John had closed his ears to Sherlock. He had uncovered one of the plates, picked up a fork, and had walked to the doors to the balcony, where he quickly discovered that a ‘locked up Palace’ didn’t include the balconies.
Sherlock sighed, picking up the hedgehog John had left behind. He knew nothing would come of trying to reason with John right away, so he went to the table, unfolded a rather large map of Asgard, uncovered the second platter of food, and began to pick at it as he studied the map for any ideas as to the frost giant’s location.
When John came back inside, he had finished eating the delicious meal, and as soon as he set the plate down on the table out on the balcony, the plate and fork disappeared much the same way they had appeared. Once inside, though, his exhaustion seemed to hit him like a ton of bricks, so he made his way to the bed, kicked off his shoes, and just lay there for a moment. His eyes closed, and he thought that was that.
But it wasn’t.
He felt hands on him, and moved to swat at them. There was a chuckle, but the hands were relentless. They took off his jacket and moved the covers from directly under him to over him. A sense of warmth came over him as he was moved to a better position on the bed.
Sherlock chuckled as John murmured in his sleepiness. He sat down on the bed near John before he nuzzled the hedgehog near John’s face, and watched with a smile as the other man cuddled into the fuzzy thing’s touch. He left the stuffed animal under the covers with the mortal man, and then he watched him for a moment before he got up and went back to work.
It was only a few minutes later that John sat up in the bed and saw the hedgehog near his body. He blushed and looked over at the couch area. “Sherlock…”
Sherlock turned, “I thought you were asleep.”
“I thought I was too…” John replied, pawing at the hedgehog a bit. “I guess I couldn’t actually fall asleep knowing… I’m sorry for what I said earlier. You’re… I guess you’re allowed to be a total prat…”
Sherlock shook his head, “No I’m not,” he said, going back to the bed. He leaned against the bed frame with his arms crossed and his head tilted to one side. “Even a Prince of heaven is supposed to be genuinely polite and caring.”
John laughed, “But I wouldn’t know you as anything but a manipulative tosser.”
Sherlock’s mouth opened, but John could see the mirth behind his eyes, “You’re not allowed to address me like that!”
“Sorry,” John replied, trying not to giggle, “I wouldn’t know you as anything but a manipulative tosser, my lord,” he corrected, bowing a little in the waist.
Sherlock laughed, lolling his head to look the wall on his left. “I really don’t know what I’d do without you, John.”
John looked up at the canopy over the bed, suddenly quite serious, “I know what I’d do without you, Sherlock.”
Sherlock looked back at him, his eyebrows dipping in worry.
John caught this look and smiled, “Live my life for a while, going to work, having meaningless drinks and coffees with people I know, and living my life in anguish knowing that my best friend is a Prince of bloody angels, and I’m nothing but a boring mortal. God, even death wouldn’t get me back to you, would it?” John asked.
Sherlock’s heart nearly broke at this, and he went to the edge of the bed to sit down, his legs dangling off the side of the bed, but his torso turned toward John’s. He almost took up the mortal’s hands, but thought better of it. “No, John. You’d go to the Underworld… the lowest part of Yggdrasil…”
“Thought so,” John said, leaning back against the pillows. “That’d be torture enough, knowing I’m about seven worlds away from you and Anthea and even Mycroft, for heaven’s sake…”
John put his hands in his lap, the hedgehog forgotten at his side. Sherlock picked it up and tossed it from hand to hand. There was a half-awkward silence for what seemed like eternity (and John knew it wasn’t space-time’s fault). Finally, Sherlock put the hedgehog in John’s lap, stood up, and went to the couch area. John blinked, but got comfortable under the covers once more.
There was a sudden noise, and John looked over at where the sound was coming from: Sherlock was playing his violin.
The song wasn’t exactly a lullaby, but it was soothing enough that as John sunk down under the covers, he childishly pulled the hedgehog close to him, ducked his head under the blanket and was fast asleep in minutes.
Sherlock kept a watchful eye on the mortal as he played, and he continued playing long into the night: it helped him think. When he had played enough, he put the violin down, grabbed a pad of paper, and furiously started writing down some key questions he needed to ask the prisoner before he resorted in any torture.
In the night, John flew on the back of an eagle, soaring above the mountains behind the City walls at Asgard. He was wearing a white suit, carefully hand-made and stitched with patterns of white all around the lapels of his coat. He wore a cream-colored shirt under the jacket, and there was a white rose pinned to his breast pocket. He and the beast he was riding landed on the balcony of a different part of the Palace of Gods, and there was Sherlock, wearing the same outfit as he, only in black and dark grey. Sherlock had been leaning over the parapet, but as the eagle landed he stepped back and helped John down from his perch.
John pressed his nose against the eagle’s beak, and the eagle soared away, put not before he emptied a bag of white rose petal down on John and Sherlock. Sherlock grabbed John’s coat and pulled him close as they stared at the petals raining down on them.
“The groom’s not supposed to see the bride before the ceremony,” John said, looking over at Sherlock coyly.
“You are not a bride,” Sherlock replied, “I think the dress would just look ridiculous on you, darling.”
John felt his face heating up some, but he smiled, “And since I’m technically not a bride…”
“I can see you all I want,” Sherlock replied. “But come, Anthea will want to walk my husband-to-be to the church steps, and I’m sure Mycroft will want to talk to me about my vows.”
John suddenly woke to blackness before Sherlock could kiss him in the dream. The candles had burned out long ago, and John was sure Sherlock was passed out on the couch. He settled back down into the bed and closed his eyes again. This time he dreamed about nothing, and he soon forgot about the first dream altogether.
There was a small shudder from John’s immediate left, however, that John probably should have paid attention to, or what happened in the early hours of the morning might have been a bit less… surprising…
Chapter 8: Master and Student
Warnings for this chapter: Non-Graphic Torture and a bit of reference to BDSM.
Despite there being no real shift between night and day on Asgard, there was the lighting of the lamps early the next morning that shifted John from sleeping to waking. It took him a few minutes between waking up and opening his eyes, and then another few minutes between opening his eyes and sitting up.
It was then that he realized his movement had caused another to awaken, and that this ‘other’ was lying on the bed with him. Sherlock Holmes, however, had chosen to sleep under only the thick black blanket and not under both the sheet and the blanket, so John’s mini-heart attack shouldn’t have happened in the first place. But it did.
“Oh, bugger!” John cried, just as Sherlock was rubbing his eyes, yawning, and slowly sitting up.
“What’s wrong?” Sherlock asked, his voice lower from nonuse.
“Just… you. Me. Sharing a bed. People might talk,” John replied.
Sherlock chuckled as he rubbed the last of the sleep from his eyes with the palm of his hand, “People do little else, John.”
John smiled and covered his mouth as he giggled a little bit. Adrenaline was pumping through his veins, and he was a bit high off of it. Then a smell came over him, and he looked the table, where breakfast was waiting on the same silver platters and silver covers. The dishes were probably washed, but they looked about the same as the ones from last night.
“Thank you,” John said, turning back to his friend.
Sherlock glanced up at him. “For what?”
John was surprised to see his usually perfectly groomed roommate had bedhead. He was also shirtless, and pantless, but he was still wearing boxers. So he hadn’t just passed out beside him, he had purposefully slept.
‘But he never purposefully sleeps when he’s on a case…’
“For taking care of me last night. Playing me to sleep? Talking with me about my fears?”
Sherlock shrugged, “You’d do the same for me, I’m sure. Do you want to eat?” Sherlock then asked, changing the subject as if he was slightly… embarrassed.
John had a feeling Sherlock knew that John had been staring and had known something was up. Sherlock’s habits weren’t hard to figure out: if there was a case, Sherlock wouldn’t do anything else but work on that case. As soon as the case was finished, he would eat like a starved lion, sleep like a hibernating bear, and lounge around like… a lazy teenaged boy.
John shuddered out of his thought process a bit when Sherlock climbed out of the bed and began pulling on clothes. It was then that John realized his jacket was off of him and on the floor. Right, Sherlock had cared for him in the night. He was just finished being awkward about his thanks.
He shook his head, rubbed his eyes, and slipped out from under the covers. He walked over to the couch-and-table area and sat on the couch, leaning over as he got the last of the sleep out from the corners of his eyes. “How much did you get done last night?”
“Not much. I have a list of questions for Moran, and with a little intimidation, I believe we can get something of value from the man,” Sherlock replied, handing John an uncovered plate.
“You seem certain. Does intimidation usually work?” John asked, a little queasy at the thought. “You won’t… won’t hurt him, will you?”
Sherlock glanced over at his friend, remembering the slight limp John had had when they had met. A psychosomatic limp that he had quite forgotten about once he and Sherlock had really become close. It would return if John went back to Midgard alone. The implications, though, of the ailment, however, was that he was wounded-in-action. Not tortured… but he had seen the results of such torture, being an army doctor.
“I’m rather gentle, John,” Sherlock replied. “He’ll be deprived of his sense of sight, and his arms will be tied to ropes found on the ceiling, which will make the light touches from the crop and the switch feel like a blow, but they’re not. And the whip won’t ever touch him… just the floor,” Sherlock saw the look John gave him, “He’s the enemy, John. We need to get the name of his master so we can save my father and make your job a bit easier.”
John nodded, his heart sinking a little. “Even if the giant is dead… his magic might live on in your father,” he said as warning.
Sherlock nodded. Of course he knew. He knew everything, practically.
They were silent as they ate their food. Sherlock had joined John on the couch and was deep in thought about his ‘to do’ list for the day. John was wondering how he was going to save Odin. He had overheard Anthea talking to a Healer the other day about how there would be a period of chaos if the All-Father of the Gods were to die. It wouldn’t be like the royalty of Midgard back in the olden days. Mycroft wouldn’t just be able to have a short coronation and sit on his throne to be crowned.
“Why is it when the All-Father of the Gods dies unnaturally, the heir has to go through a long series of tests? Anthea said something about that and it confused me,” John asked.
Sherlock shook his head, “I never actually paid attention to that. Politics are dull.”
“Then what would happen if, hypothetically, Odin didn’t die? What if he just wanted to… retire?” John asked.
Sherlock thought for a moment, “Then Mycroft would take the throne without a fuss. But that’s because my father would willfully be giving up the throne. If Odin dies without handing over the keys, so-to-speak, he hasn’t really given up the throne. So it’d be a bit like Mycroft was stealing Odin’s throne as opposed to taking it over from him because that’s what Odin wanted…”
“So it makes no difference if Odin had thought about handing over the keys in his sleep?”
Sherlock turned to his companion and made a face at him, a face of contemplation, like he was reading John, deducing what John was saying.
“You might have the same blood as Anthea…” Sherlock said. “Are you hearing thoughts from my dear father?”
“No! No! It’s just… I figured since Mycroft was the oldest, Odin would want to hand over the throne…” John replied, suddenly uncomfortable.
“I have a feeling you’d need prince lessons if you stayed here,” Sherlock muttered.
“Why prince lessons? Am I your secret brother or something? Sent down from heaven when I was a baby… am I like Jesus or something?” John asked.
Sherlock laughed out loud at John’s sincerity, “No. Forget about it. No… you should go home to Midgard after this. Anthea has always withheld the way to make a mortal Immortal, so I’m not sure if I could keep you…” Sherlock replied.
“Keep me?” John asked.
Sherlock made a face at him, “Oh, you know what I mean. I’d worry about you if you didn’t… if we weren’t… together. But I’m not sure if I’ll be able to go back to Midgard with you. I’d have to be there for Mycroft whatever… whatever happens in the next few days.”
John nodded, “And I’m helping as much as possible.”
Sherlock smiled slightly, “I know that.” Silence. “Thank you.”
After breakfast the doors magicked open, and Anthea was dragging John away to his Healing lessons.
Sherlock made his way down the halls and down several flights of stairs to the dungeons, which held the Jury Room. The stones down here were wet, because the Palace sank beneath the waves surrounding the planet. He met up with Mycroft in a room next to the one Moran was placed in. “The usual, Mycroft?” he asked.
“I love watching you work, my dear brother,” he replied. “You have a list of questions?”
Sherlock handed him a piece of folded paper and a quill. “You have ink here, I know,” he commented. Then he was walking into the next room.
Moran was standing in the middle of it. Which was easy enough to do for there was no real furniture in the room. His hands were tied to the ceiling, so he formed a sort of ‘x’ shape. His shirt was pulled off, as Sherlock had requested to his brother that morning. There was one box under the one-sided mirror, and Sherlock went to this, opening it and showing his wares: there were several varieties of canes, a crop, and a cat-o-nine-tails whip.
One thing about Sebastian Moran was that he had been training to be a knight of Asgard. Sherlock had said he was sort of like the police chief of Asgard, when in reality he was the head Knight of the Palace. Moran was his apprentice and one of the only lads in the Palace who wanted to be trained by Sherlock himself. He needed a compatriot, even though the knights weren’t always mobilized, and in the past it had been only Odin defending Asgard and the Nine Worlds. Moran had been proving a wonderful apprentice… until whomever he was now working for had cost Sherlock his place in Asgard for seven months.
“You’re familiar with my methods, Moran. You were such a good apprentice to me,” Sherlock mused.
Moran shuddered as Sherlock approached him with a piece of black cloth. “Don’t worry… I’ll try to be gentle, but if you anger me, Sebastian, I can’t promise you anything.” It was all a show, and Moran knew it. But still the boy shivered as Sherlock put the blindfold around Moran’s head. Funny what a night of fear could do to someone, even if they knew what to expect.
“Was I not a good teacher to you, Sebastian?” Sherlock asked, picking up the whip and running his hand along the leather. He was wearing leather gloves, and Moran’s sensitive ears picked up the sound of leather on leather. He tensed up.
“You were… you were…” Moran was suddenly sweating and stuttering. Sherlock cracked the whip on the stone floor, which, with the sensory deprivation Moran was experiencing, made the whip sound louder, and startled Moran like a deer when a wolf suddenly appears in front of it. “You were a fine teacher, Prince Sherlock!”
“But I heard from my dear brother that you had found someone else to teach you. Someone who later caused me to fall out with my father over my methods in putting power-hungry idiots like yourself in their place,” Sherlock replied, now behind Moran. Moran’s head was swiveling violently, trying to follow the sound of Sherlock’s voice, but the younger Prince of Asgard was circling the younger man slowly, like cat with a wounded bird or mouse.
Sherlock went to the box and took out a thin stick made out of some sort of metal. He bent it a little, and smiled. He gently tapped Moran’s chest with it, making the boy hiss at the cold temperature of the metal, and also the soft contact in which it had hit his body: he hadn’t been expecting it, thanks to his eyes being covered.
“I must thank your new teacher for that, Moran, when you finally squeal about his name,” Sherlock purred, sliding the metal across the boy’s body. Sherlock had heard many stories about Irene’s scenes with Molly and a few of her other girls. He suddenly chuckled at the thought of Irene Adler knowing that her ‘toys’ to Sherlock were tools. He then remembered that this kind of torture sometimes happened between a Dom and his or her Sub. But Moran wasn’t enjoying this. Not at all.
“W-Why?” Moran asked in reference to Sherlock’s comment.
Sherlock pressed the metal deeper into Moran’s skin. Sherlock supposed he didn’t like to see his prisoners in pain. He didn’t poke and prod and make them jump because he ‘got off’ on it. It was a less messy way of getting information out of people. He never allowed himself to make another bleed, or to even kill them. He focused on the fear and the way most people didn’t want to feel the pain, even if it was light but constant tapping, or the feel of leather around their neck and face. It was terrible, but Sherlock was trying to keep it toned down.
As he pressed, he put his lips up to Moran’s ear, “Because I met John Watson. He’s the most important mortal to me. And I know your new master is the most important person to you. So I know--” he whacked Moran’s nipple with medium strength, and Moran’s breath hitched, “—you won’t give him away so easily. And you know what that means?”
Moran’s breathing became fast and heavy. Sherlock nodded gravely. “I can tell you do.”
He went away from Moran and put the metal stick back in the box, it landing among the others with a light noise that still made Moran jump. Sherlock cracked the whip on the floor once more and his prisoner jumped again. Sherlock circled his former student thoughtfully, every once in a while cracking the whip on the floor. Maybe he wouldn’t need to get the crop out this time. He could tell Moran’s arms were losing circulation in them, and that every crack of the whip was making him more and more paranoid. The boy’s neck must have been hurting him, since he was turning his head every time the whip was cracked, trying to figure out where it was. “I’ll stop, if you want,” Sherlock suddenly mused. “What’s his name?”
“I… I won’t tell you.”
“You’re loyalties lie with the wrong man. If you answer me without me resorting to other matters—“ The whip cracked again, making the boy jump and whimper, “—you’ll probably only be banished to the mortal world as I was. Though you probably won’t get as lucky as I did,” Sherlock told him. “If not, we will have you thrown in the water so you make the Plunge Into Nothing along with your master.”
Moran shuddered at this thought, but he remained strong. Sherlock sighed and went back to the case, picking up his riding crop. As he approached Moran once more, he cracked the whip much closer to Moran, who felt the air sharpen as the whip whizzed fairly close to his legs. He yelped, but it turned into a whimper as Sherlock put the crop’s end delicately on his neck, right under his Adam’s apple. Moran gulped, and the crop followed the movement. Sherlock moved the end of the crop up to Moran’s cheek, then under his eye, then down his nose and back across his neck. “Courage is the kindest word for stupidity, Sebastian. I know you want to seem loyal, but your life is on the line as well. What power can your master give you when you’re both worse than dead? You’d be nothing, Sebastian. At least on Midgard you could start a new life. True, you wouldn’t have your darling tiger nor your powers of beast-magery. But you could carve a different life down there. Become a real soldier.”
Sherlock dropped the crop to the floor, and the sound made Moran jump. He was sagging now from the limpness in his arms. Sherlock knew Moran was so on edge now that he was thinking about anything that would get him some oxygen and nutrients into those half-starved cells in his arms, and to stop the paranoia building up in his mind. Sherlock cracked his whip with more force than usual, a final warning.
Moran jumped, suddenly hissing, “Moriarty. The frost giant’s name is Moriarty.”
Chapter 9: The Kiss of Rebirth
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
“Moriarty,” Mycroft said as a Palace attendant carted Moran away to recuperate, and then for Mycroft to cast away to Midgard. “The last one of his kind. No wonder he’s after us.”
Sherlock shook his head, “Shouldn’t matter. I should thank him for all he’s done.”
“You love him, don’t you? Doctor Watson?” Mycroft asked as Sherlock went to go find Anthea. They could scry for the frost giant now.
Sherlock paused, “I do… but I don’t know how to express it, how to keep him when I can express it, and whether or not he’d take me once I figure out how to keep him…”
Mycroft nodded, “Father would have to tell us. He’s the only other God who fell for a mortal being.”
Sherlock laughed, “Isn’t it funny that the only thing Father and I have in common is that we both fell for mortals?”
Mycroft wasn’t laughing, “I think its sweet. And you’re more alike than he lets you believe…”
Sherlock growled and made to leave again, and Mycroft let him, following after him after sighing disappointedly. Maybe Sherlock’s belief that his father hated him would make Sherlock leave if Odin got better. Maybe he could be with John on Midgard where they would probably die in each other’s arms instead of Asgard where they could live forever together…
Mycroft’s thoughts were interrupted, though, when Anthea rushed toward them, suddenly crying, “He’s got him!”
“Who has got whom, darling?” Mycroft asked, catching her up in his arms.
“The frost giant has got John!” Anthea cried.
Sherlock tensed up, “Where?”
“He… he told me he’d be waiting for Sherlock, and Sherlock only! In the West Wing Ballroom!” Anthea breathed.
Mycroft swore lightly, “You’ll have to go alone, Sherlock.”
“Then I’ll go alone!” Sherlock said, “There the Record Rooms next door, open a Peeking Window from the shelves to whatever wall you can to the Ballroom.”
With that, Sherlock rushed to the West Wing of the Palace to confront Moriarty.
Anthea suddenly pulled at her husband’s hands in the same direction, and they hurried to the Record Room, which was really a glorified library. They went to the very end of one of the stacks, and Anthea wiped at the air, murmuring something in Old Norse. The place where her hand was making the wiping motion cleared like she was dusting an old mirror, only the mirror looked out next door. She had opened a Peeking Window to watch over the proceedings of Moriarty and Sherlock.
She suddenly cried out when she saw that John was wounded, passed out from cold, and Moriarty was only pacing next to him, waiting for Sherlock to come to claim his friend…
Sherlock burst in through the doors, which crashed closed behind him. Sherlock took a good look around him, spinning slightly. “Don’t do this, giant.”
“Oh,” a new voice said, “Trying to insult me with what I am? Giants aren’t disgusting, Sherlock. Our life forces are in our brains, so that makes us more clever than you human types.”
Sherlock looked over at the source of the voice. Moriarty didn’t fit any of his expectations. He was short and dark haired. He was dressed in a suit of the Midgard variety, which made Sherlock think that this giant had done some time down there. He was clean-shaven, with beady little eyes and an almost meek demeanor, which was even more odd than his short stature.
“I can hear you sizing me up, Sherlock. But I would worry less about me and more about your future husband.”
“My… what?” Sherlock asked, genuinely confused.
Moriarty snapped his fingers, and a little snow storm pushed John into view, the wind picking him up like rag doll. Moriarty decided to keep him up there, looking like a cross between Jesus on the cross and the Snow Queen from Narnia: ice cold and splayed out in a cross shape. Ice and snow swirled around him in a sort of whirlwind shape, making it hard for Sherlock to get close.
“A little beast mage told me that your dear brother and sister-in-law saw a snippet of your wedding to this darling creature in Odin’s All-Seeing Eye. Seems your little enigmatic childhood is finally unraveling…”
Sherlock looked up, now breathless. “I forgive my brother and his wife for their deception, but I can’t forgive your little beast mage for bringing you in and making me think my father hated me more than he let on…” Sherlock hissed. “But I must thank you, both for telling me my future with this man, and paving the way for me to meet him in the first place. Obviously my marriage to him wasn’t forseen in the Eye when I was a lad because it didn’t forsee you taking over my dear father’s brain and making him cast me out…”
“So me being here is a double-edged sword,” Moriarty pointed out. “Without me, you wouldn’t have met your friend, and on the other, Chaos will happen if I get what I want.”
“You want me out? Then I’ll cast myself out, if you will just… give me John now,” Sherlock pleaded.
Moriarty laughed, “Oh, so attached we get our pets, Sherlock,” he mused. “No. That won’t do. I want Odin dead, and I want both sons of Odin out. I want Moran on the throne, and I want to die knowing that Asgard’s been shafted, just as my dear Jotunheim was so long ago…”
Sherlock heard the doors crash open, and Mycroft and Anthea were at his side in moments. “This was your plan all along?” Mycroft asked, but only as conformation.
“Yes,” Moriarty replied, disdain evident in his cold eyes.
“Then… then I will go,” Mycroft said, putting his hand on his brother’s shoulder. Worry was evident in his eyes as he looked into Sherlock’s. “Your happiness and future is more important than Asgard is…”
Anthea sniffed, “And I will go too. We can make a new life on Midgard, and still be with you and John should you need us…”
“How sweet,” Moriarty said, the sarcasm evident in his voice, “You’re not the least dysfunctional as Moran had me believe…”
Sherlock sighed, “Let John go… we’ll come to your terms and—“ Then something inside him tugged at him.
He looked over at Mycroft, who had the same expression of shock on his face. Anthea was feeling it more, and she literally began giggling, “Odin is awakening!” she cried, opening her brown eyes to point and laugh at Moriarty.
Moriarty’s eyes widened considerably, and he fainted right then and there, making John crash to the floor in the process. But Sherlock was under John in a second, catching him before the marble could do much damage to his limp friend.
“What is the meaning of this?” Mycroft asked.
Anthea smiled, “Let us go to his chambers and see.”
John was not present for the final confrontation with Mycroft. He was in body, but not in spirit. When Moriarty snatched him up, the frost giant had frozen the mortal’s body stone cold, making his insides freeze and slow down considerably. So his spirit was free to detatch a bit… and he had been ‘captured’ right in the middle of trying to keep Odin’s body temperature up through life-force Healing.
He separated from his body, then, thinking that he had gotten away from the insane frost giant. He had no clue his body was being dragged far away to flaunt in front of his dark-haired friend.
So he didn’t know what he was really doing as he focused his energy on Odin, thinking he was raising his temperature when he was really putting his own life into Odin to help him awaken properly. He should have known something different was happening when he felt himself go through Odin’s nerves up to his brain, his very essence melting Moriarty’s mind control. His essence was spilling into Odin, his life-force very nearly replacing the All-Father’s.
John Watson was sacrificing himself unknowingly to save Odin’s life.
Mycroft, before entering, told an attendant to cast Moran to Midgard, and to take the unconscious Moriarty and toss him out a window into the churning waters to his Plunge into Nothing.
Anthea was at her father-in-law’s bedside, her hands on his temples, reading him. She shook her head, “I don’t know what’s going on.”
“John should be awake,” Sherlock said, as if that was the answer to Anthea.
Anthea looked at him and then put one hand on John’s forehead, and her other on Odin’s. She hissed, and Mycroft took one step forward, worried about his wife. Sherlock put a hand at his chest to stop him from interfering.
“John… John is giving his life-force to Odin… oh!” her eyes knit in worry, “If His Majesty doesn’t get the picture and use his own, John might die!”
Sherlock launched forward, his fingers digging into his brother’s arms a little. “John, you idiot.”
“If he stays I’ll teach him better,” Anthea said quietly. “And there are many gods that can teach him how to be a proper Prince…”
“At this point, he’ll die and we’ll never go through with this marriage the Eye forsaw,” Sherlock growled. “We’re too late. I’m too late.”
Anthea hung her head. Looks like her words did become a Breathed Prophecy after all. Mycroft put his hand on her shoulder to comfort her in her distress at this revelation.
Odin let out a ragged sighed and his eyes opened. He had the same grey-blue eyes as Sherlock. Anthea suddenly cried and wept silently on her father-in-law’s beard. “Oh my…” Odin said, patting her head. He slowly sat up and looked around. “I think I have been away far too long…”
Mycroft was at once reiterating all that happened, starting from when Odin drank the wine at the feast that had started it all, just in case that was when the frost giant’s pill had begun what it was destined to do. He ended with Moriarty’s downfall, and John’s sacrifice.
Odin glanced down at the mortal, whose body was slumped over the edge of the bed. “My sons, I must apologize for everything that happened while I was away, obviously I did not mean any of it… but without Moriarty, it seems Sherlock would have never found someone who liked him for who he was, not what he could give them…” he smiled at his youngest son, who’s knees suddenly went weak, and he was looking dejectedly at the mortal.
“He hasn’t woken up. You said if Father started using his own life-force, John could be saved… it shouldn’t take this long for him to recuperate!” he said, looking at Anthea as if it were her fault.
Mycroft was about to defend his wife’s honor when Anthea suddenly got a bright light in her eye, “There’s a way you can save him, Sherlock! Your Majesty… how did you save Mycroft and Sherlock’s mother when she was dying, before she was Immortal?”
Odin smiled, “Ahh… the Kiss of Rebirth.”
Sherlock’s eyes widened, “The… the what?”
“It’s a bit like Midgard mouth-to-mouth,” Odin explained. “Only with an active transfer of life-force. John was doing a bit with me, only he didn’t use his mouth, but his entire soul…”
“He’s still doing it, for the looks of it,” Mycroft quipped.
Anthea hushed him.
Odin slowly got out of bed, “Come Mycroft, Anthea. You can fill me in on meetings and Eye readings as I get my legs back,” he said, slowly standing.
Anthea took his hand, and Odin winked at them, taking one last look at his youngest son and the mortal man.
They nodded, and they left the room, Odin still in his sleeping gown.
Sherlock turned to John and crawled over to him. He clutched at the blanket a bit as he stared at John, willing him to awaken without Sherlock having to… Kiss him. He bit his lower lip a bit as he thought, then he slowly gathered John up in his arms.
“I can’t live without you, John Watson,” he said. “And I know if I do this, you’ll become a full Immortal, and we’ll have to give you Prince lessons and Healing lessons… but… but I hope I can at least make it worth it all…” he mused. “And… And I really hope this works,” he said as he opened John’s mouth a little, and then touched noses with John before sliding his nose across John’s and touching lips with the mortal man.
He could still feel the breath of the mortal as he closed the gap, but he feared a sort of coma would be the future diagnosis, and because he was mortal, he could die without ever waking from it. Sherlock’s breath hitched as his lips touched John’s, and he then breathed out, focusing on the image of his Immortal life-force being pushed into John’s slowly fading mortal body. He paused there, waiting for John’s lips to press back, or for him to push the Prince of Asgard’s body away and yell at him for making him into an Immortal.
But John’s body was still limp, and so Sherlock pulled away, a worried expression on his face. Had Sherlock failed? Was John going to spend the rest of his life in a coma? Had the Eye been wrong about Sherlock and John’s destiny together?
Have I lost the one person who I have fallen in love with?
One more chapter, and the story shall be resolved. Whether it be a happy ending or a sad ending... I would wait for the chapter to be posted. Which should be soon enough.
Chapter 10: Immortality
John could hear muffling. It was foggy and dull, wherever he was. He opened his eyes, and he thought he had just passed out somewhere, but where he was wasn’t actually anywhere at all. He was alone, sitting on some kind of grey cloud or something. He still couldn’t hear very well, and he couldn’t really tell what he was seeing.
“Stop this,” he told himself, slapping himself sharply. It didn’t seem to work, so he sat down among the grey swirly stuff and meditated himself away. That seemed to work a bit better, but now he just couldn’t open his eyes. He felt groggy at best. He tried to move, but he was paralyzed. His breath was ragged, and he was in a lot of pain. But he was hearing things: Mycroft and Anthea’s account of what had happened. He had come back into his body, it seemed, right when Mycroft was telling Odin about what had just transpired down in the Ballroom, where John’s body actually had been. John couldn’t really do anything, so he just listened:
“My sons, I must apologize for everything that happened while I was away, obviously I did not mean any of it… but without Moriarty, it seems Sherlock would have never found someone who liked him for who he was, not what he could give them…” That must’ve been Odin. He sounded like a wise, kind old man. John hoped he was.
“He hasn’t woken up. You said if Father started using his own life-force, John could be saved… it shouldn’t take this long for him to recuperate!” Sherlock. John’s heart would have leapt for joy, but something was slowing it down and John wasn’t sure what.
“There’s a way you can save him, Sherlock!” Anthea. She sounded excited. “Your Majesty… how did you save Mycroft and Sherlock’s mother when she was dying, before she was Immortal?”
“Ahh… the Kiss of Rebirth.” Odin. ‘Wait… the Kiss of what now?’ John thought
“The… the what?” Sherlock, who either read John’s thoughts or was actually confused about something for the first time since John and he met.
“It’s a bit like Midgard mouth-to-mouth,” Odin. “Only with an active transfer of life-force. John was doing a bit with me, only he didn’t use his mouth, but his entire soul…” Oh. Oh. ‘Why isn’t my heart doing flip-flops? Is this some sort of thing where I can only hear what’s going on because my body is dying but my mind is very much alive?’
“He’s still doing it, for the looks of it,” Mycroft.
Anthea made a ‘shush’ noise, and John was sure she was elbowing her husband sharply in his flabby side.
There was a shifting of the bed as Odin got up out of it, probably. “Come Mycroft, Anthea. You can fill me in on meetings and Eye readings as I get my legs back.”
There was silence as John listened for cues: three pairs of footsteps left the room, one pair limping from disuse. Then there was a longer bout of silence before John felt Sherlock get close to him, and then take him up in his arms. ‘Come on, heart, you really should be doing flip-flops right about now!’ John scolded the organ.
Then he heard Sherlock’s voice: “I can’t live without you, John Watson… And I know if I do this, you’ll become a full Immortal, and we’ll have to give you Prince lessons and Healing lessons… but… but I hope I can at least make it worth it all… And… And I really hope this works.”
He felt Sherlock press his lips against John’s, and nearly screamed. But his body had shut down. It was only when he felt Sherlock’s life-force mingle with his own that he finally felt his organs tense up and slowly begin working again. But there was something new: he felt his organs rejuvenate, as well, like they were being re-oiled. His body was becoming Immortal!
‘I’ll live through all the lessons, Sherlock. You’d definitely make everything worthwhile,’ he thought.
It took a very long time for John’s heart and breathing to really start up. Apparently, John had just breathed out when his lungs had sort of shut down, and so he breathed in suddenly, startling poor Sherlock a bit, who surely must have thought that the Kiss of Rebirth hadn’t worked this time. John was pleased that Sherlock was still holding John close. His arms found their muscles again, and he threw his arms around Sherlock, his eyes fluttering open. ‘Yikes. Not use to the light.’
“Hello,” John said, trying to sit up by himself. It didn’t work, and Sherlock, still in shock, helped him to a sitting position.
“Were you kissing me just now?” John asked.
Sherlock’s eyes when from round disks to a sort of confused expression, “Yes… Problem?”
“Oh, nothing,” John replied, shrugging and getting some circulation to the places he hadn’t used for a while. “People will definitely talk now…”
Sherlock blinked, slowly getting over his shock. He looked down at John with a sort of shy expression, “And you don’t want them to talk about… us?”
John still had his arms around Sherlock’s neck. He smiled and leaned in to kiss Sherlock’s lips softly, his mouth closed this time. “It’s better that they talk about something that’s true, isn’t it?” he asked.
“What… What’s true?”
John laughed. For someone so clever, Sherlock sure was thick. “I love you, you idiot. I want them to talk about us because I want to stay here in the Palace with you. That means we’d be a couple, right?”
Sherlock blushed: actually turned a bit pink near those high cheekbones of his. He wrapped his arms around John’s waist and pulled him onto his lap again. “Right. Right… I thought I lost you,” Sherlock murmured, threading his hands in the Immortal mortal’s hair. “I thought you’d hate that I turned you Immortal!”
“No… No I don’t. It gives me an excuse to stay here and reign you in…” John replied.
Sherlock pulled away from John only to kiss him again. And again. And again—
“Sherlock!” John cried, laughing and pushing him away a bit. “I get that you missed me but—“
“Marry me,” Sherlock suddenly said, a bit unsure.
“What?” John asked.
“Marry me,” Sherlock said, a little more confident now.
John was shocked at first, but then he smiled. “Of course, Sherlock. Looks like I don’t have to reign you in at all!”
Sherlock chuckled, and then kissed John again, but this time John wouldn’t let him pull away, not for a while, at least.
It could have been in three weeks they were married, but by that time, John was used to the strange godlike being space-time, and so time was just… time. And they were married, Sherlock and John.
“Are you okay?” Anthea asked. She was the bridesmaid, of a sort. She was to shadow John, at least, and make sure he didn’t totally freak out.
Mycroft was to shadow Sherlock and do pretty much the same thing.
Odin was to give away Sherlock, as he was the father of the Prince getting married. So it really was a nonconventional wedding.
John was just tugging down his white jacket and smoothing down a grey cardigan he had chosen to wear under it. “I really should wear my medals from the army,” he said to her. She was one step ahead of him, arranging the awards and medal in the correct order on his breast pocket.
“I got them from storage when we pulled all of your things up from Midgard,” she explained, “And studied them for about two hours a night to get them right.”
John still checked over her work. “God, you’re the best sister-in-law-to-be ever.”
“The to-be will be knocked off in a matter of hours…” Anthea sang.
John grabbed his chest like he was about to have a heart attack, “I’m so nervous, Anthea! What did you do before your wedding?” he asked.
Anthea laughed and took her brother-in-law-to-be’s hands and twirled him around, “I went out on the balcony and yelled out my vows to the world. Since Mycroft was on the other end of the Palace, he couldn’t hear. Sherlock’s getting ready in his rooms so…”
“No, no… but I do need some way of calming down. I might throw up…” John said.
Anthea stepped away from him, an expression of disgust on her face, “That will not do, John Hamish Watson. How about you write a letter to your friends on Midgard? They may have temporarily forgotten about you in favor of their daily lives, but you can send them a letter telling them about your marriage… they’ll remember you for a split second, and then it’ll go to the back of their minds again…”
John liked the idea, and Anthea sent for a ream of paper and a quill-and-ink set.
“How do I look?” Sherlock said, spinning away from the mirror towards his brother.
“For the eightieth time, Sherlock, you look fine,” said-brother replied, slightly exasperated. After the fifteenth time, Sherlock’s nervousness ceased to be cute.
While John was in white, with his medals of honor from his time in the Midgard army, Sherlock was wearing black, with a grey cardigan (one thing should match on the couple, said Odin when they were planning the ceremony) under the black jacket over a white button-down shirt (that matched his husband-to-be’s as well). His pants and shoes were black, which was opposite of his husband-to-be. He also had a medal of honor for being head Knight of the palace on his left breast pocket.
“Are you sure?” Sherlock asked, breathless as he took a peek at himself in the mirror.
Mycroft chuckled and shifted the position of his staff to the other hand. “I know it’s a big day for you, Sherlock, but you must believe me… you look fine, and everything will turn out fine. You will be married to the one you love, and tomorrow you can begin your life together…”
“No honeymoon,” Sherlock muttered. “Too… too Midgard-ish…”
“Precisely,” Mycroft said, “And you have your duties as Prince. Both of you.”
John had gone through vigorous training to become a proper Prince of the Palace. Odin and Mycroft dealt with the politics of the Palace, as well as proper manners in the presence of Odin and any one higher up than John. John was to be the Head Knight’s consort, and so Mycroft, Anthea, and Odin were the three people who were higher than him. He shared equal rights and benefits with his husband-to-be, and was higher than everyone else.
Anthea covered his Healing, which he learned much quicker than the politics and other trainings Mycroft and Odin gave him (though Odin was the better teacher of the two in that respect).
“What am I going to do for thirty minutes?” Sherlock asked, pacing a bit back and forth.
“Not worry?” Mycroft asked. “John will love you even everything goes terribly wrong. Remember my wedding? When Cook had gone temporarily deaf and made cream of ferret stew instead of cream of carrot? The meal was ruined, but Anthea made a running joke out of it for months afterward, and we still laugh about it to this day…”
Sherlock laughed, “All right. I just… I’m getting married…”
“Yes you are,” Mycroft said. “Something the matter with that?”
Sherlock blinked, “No. It’s just… I never thought I would be. When I was born, Father said the Eye clouded over. Nothing about what I was to become, nothing about who I was to marry. I was an enigma. And then Moriarty had our father throw me down to Midgard, and the Eye suddenly sees this beautiful person and I, this powerful, wonderful person who I am marrying today!”
Mycroft smiled at Sherlock’s revelation and patted his little brother on the back, “You just needed time Sherlock. Time to figure out who you were. You needed John to soften you, and John needed you to get away.”
Sherlock nodded, “And I want him to look back on this day as a day of triumph. For us both.”
Mycroft nodded, “He will.”
The wedding ceremony was a bit different than those on Midgard. There was no alter, no church, and no vows before God. They were among the gods all ready. Odin walked his son down the aile in the Great Hall and placed Sherlock’s hand in John’s. Anthea sprinkled water from the sea around the planet, blessed with a little life-force from both Sherlock and John, and Mycroft tied a red ribbon around the couple’s entwined hands.
Their vows went smoothly, both promising fidelity and love. Odin said some words of advice, made the couple kiss the backs of each other’s hands and then to kiss each other while the ribbon was untied.
Anthea coveted the ribbon, and later Sherlock and John found it tied to the handle of their bedroom.
At the small reception after the ceremony, Sherlock, who hadn’t seen her for days, made a small observation about Anthea: “Anthea… are you pregnant?”
This lack of tact would have made John cringe, but as he wound his fingers around Sherlock’s he only looked from his new sister to his new husband in awe.
The Lady only grinned and took her husband’s hand, “It was time. The stress was gone, and we decided it was a better wedding gift than any materialistic trifle.”
“It certainly is wonderful,” John said, congratulating them both.
Later that night, the newly-weds slipped off to bed, and discovered the red ribbon on their door handle.
“Anthea kept hers on for ten days,” Sherlock said, putting a finger to his lips. “It’s kind of a code to the rest of the Palace not to disturb the happy couple once they retire for the night. Want to see how long we can keep our ribbon on?”
John rolled his eyes, “I never like to make my love-life a challenge.”
“But?” Sherlock asked, raising both eyebrows almost playfully.
“But since Anthea rode me so hard on my Healing lessons, I may have to crush her spirits a little with this,” John replied, pulling Sherlock into the room.
A SHORT(ISH) EPILOGUE
Time went by. It always does, even when it has a finicky personality like space-time on Asgard.
Anthea had a beautiful baby girl, who she named Molly: “A reminder of how you two met,” she said to John and Sherlock, the former who had helped in the birth of baby Molly, “And I really like that name.”
“Well, her namesake was a really strong, lovely girl,” John replied.
“She has to be strong, she’s Irene’s sub,” Sherlock muttered to Mycroft, earning him an elbow in the stomach from his long-suffering husband.
A few months after Molly’s birth, with no children of their own (save for a puppy and two evidently married cats), John and Sherlock agreed to babysit the child while Mycroft and Anthea were in meetings. Odin was planning on retiring to breed puppies, so Mycroft and Anthea were getting ready for that transfer of power.
Sherlock was at work, so John was looking after the child alone.
And she was a bright young girl, with her father’s hair and eyes but her mother’s face and spirit. She had inherited the Holmsian gift of the infinite capacity for knowledge, as well.
“Is Irene having kittens?” asked the little redhead, looking up at her uncle and pointing at the dark-furred queen.
“Yes, she is…” John said, worried about the cat as she mewed unhappily.
“Why hasn’t Thomas come around to help his wife?” Molly then asked.
“Oh, he’s around…” John said, but the child was already looking around Sherlock and John’s rooms for the tomcat. She found him out on the balcony, meowing sharply to come in. When John and Molly had followed the boy-cat in, Irene had all ready given birth to one kitten. John was not a vet, but he knew how to comfort animals who were birthing (he had helped two generations of puppies breed back on Midgard when he was a boy). The tomcat was a bit distressed at John’s help, but once he realized that John was helping, not hindering, he calmed down a bit.
Irene gave birth to six beautiful and healthy kittens, three of which looked like the ginger-striped father, two of which were the same dark-brown of their mother, and one, which was an odd tan color.
Molly squealed in delight, and rushed to feed the mother after her ordeal.
Sherlock came into the room just as Molly was going over to the kittens again with a bowl of water.
“We’ve had kittens, Sherlock,” John said, being licked by the dark-furred queen in thanks.
Sherlock smiled and sat down with his niece and his husband, patting the tomcat as he kissed John’s cheek as a greeting, “I was hoping for human-like children, John, but I think the kittens will do.”
Molly laughed and clapped her hands, “Heeheehee! Uncle John had kittens! That’s impossible, Uncle Sherlock!”
“Not really,” Sherlock said, petting the tan kitten with his pointer finger softly, “This one as Uncle John’s coloring…”
“No!” John said batting at Sherlock’s upper arm, but he was laughing, “Hopefully Uncle Sherlock knows what I mean and isn’t being unnaturally dense.”
Sherlock ran his fingers through his husband’s hair, “I am never ‘unnatural’ or ‘dense,’” he replied, kissing his husband’s forehead fondly.
Once Molly had been returned to her parents, John found Sherlock out on the balcony. The kittens were asleep in a basket near the door, just in case any of the cats needed to go outside, and the rest of the room was eerily quiet.
“Do you ever miss Midgard, John?” he asked when he felt his husband’s presence.
John’s eyebrow rose, “Why would I, Sherlock?”
“Well… you named our girl-cat after the human dominatrix, Irene Adler. Anthea named her daughter Molly… You go off in your own little world in the evening sometimes…”
As Sherlock spoke he came around John and embraced him from behind, dipping his nose in John’s hair after he had stopped talking.
“I sent them a letter the day of our wedding. Well… to Irene, at least. She’d have told Molly by now, and Mike, and maybe my sister. But they’re… they’re not where my heart is.”
Sherlock’s breath hitched at this, and John wiggled out of his husband’s grip until they were face-to-face once more. The ex-military man cupped Sherlock’s cheek. “My heart and life were bound to your heart and life when I married you. My heart is wherever you are…”
Sherlock wound his arms around John’s waist, and John’s arms voluntarily did the same around Sherlock’s waist. Sherlock smiled and leaned down to kiss his husband softly. “Then thank you.”
“For what? Marrying you?”
“No, John. For becoming my heart.”