"It's beautiful." He breathed, face pressed up against the window of the cab. Mike chuckled; his bowler hat perched precariously on his head.
"They're calling it the ship of dreams you know John." He reminded facetiously. The other man turned his head to grin boyishly before rooting his gaze back to the monstrosity looming just a few feet away. Enclosed in their pockets were tickets that read White Star Line: Titanic, their passage to a new life. New York City held all sorts of wonders and Michael Stamford had managed to fill his friend's head with the notion that perhaps some of those wonders were meant for them.
John Watson was more than ready to leave England. Buying into the 'American Dream' was all too easy; in fact it was the distraction he had been looking for. Not six months out of the army, work was scarce for a doctor and Mike promised that they would be hired right away; he claimed to have an arrangement waiting. A fresh start was what they both had needed and when the Titanic started selling passage it was an opportunity that wouldn't be passed up.
The cab stopped, the driver turning around. "Sorry lads, this is as far as I can take you." He rumbled. John looked equally sick and excited, reaching for his cane. The Afghan War had not left him unscathed, quite the contrary, a nasty shoulder wound was what had sent him home. He had spent his time back on a meager pension living above a pub.
Mike paid the driver, smiling at his friend. "Ready?" he asked.
John grinned, opening the door. "After you Stamford."
The crowds were so thick that to the pair it seemed like one endless patchwork quilt of coats. Mike huffed as he handed their trunks down to the other man. John balanced the weight awkwardly, wincing as he did so. Thoughts were racing through his head, sidetracking him much to his friend's irritation. England was his home, would he ever miss it?
Flashbacks of the last five months streamed into his head. The nightmares, the pain, the sadness, the guilt. His eyes shifted back up to Titanic, it was his saving grace.
No he would not miss England. Not one bit.
Sherlock rested his head against the back of the seat as the car as his brother peered outside. "It's rather big." He commented.
"I don't know why we had to travel in this one." The younger man stated crisply. "The Olympic seemed just as nice, honestly Mycroft extravagance isn't really something we can afford."
Mycroft Holmes scowled, his grip tightening on his umbrella. "I think you'll find, dear brother, that appearances are everything."
The driver slid the partition aside and poked his head in. "Mr. Holmes? I'm sorry sir but you'll there's no way to maneuver through the crowd. Would you like me to call a valet to escort you through?"
Mycroft sighed, waving his hand. "That's fine Henry, thank you." The driver nodded once, exiting the stalling vehicle to hail an attendant.
Sherlock in a childish gesture, refused to say any more to his brother, preferring to sulk. Curious bystanders outside were gazing at the Renault, wondering what First Class passenger might be inside. The younger Holmes didn't care; he loathed this, all of it.
America was a dirty place filled with Yankees and he wanted no part in its promised wealth and happiness. He wanted to stay here, in England, away from all the looming chaos that the aristocratic Holmes family was about to fall victim to. Their name was in danger of scandal and dishonor and so his mother had thought quickly to save it.
The Adlers were a respectable family, having established their name in the processing and refining of gemstones. More importantly, they had money. Mummy had been delighted to find that they had a daughter and within a week of this discovery Irene Adler was to become a Holmes. They were calling it the wedding of the decade. This was what Titanic was to him, a symbol of his hatred, the vessel that would be carrying him and his fiancée to America where they would be wed so his family could leech off of her wealth and status.
The door to the car opened and a young but confident white-gloved valet puffed his chest out. "Mr. and Mr. Holmes," He said respectfully. "I've come to escort you to the ship; several other officers are on their way to help with your luggage if you'll just follow me we can board you first."
Mycroft smiled, adjusting his jacket before stepping out. Sherlock followed, turning his collar up and pacifying his foul mood by glaring at passing strangers.
John limped along the best he could, trying to keep up with Mike. The man walked surprisingly fast for someone so plump. "Wait up!" the soldier called, speeding his pace up.
"You've got to move faster John!" came the reply mingled with a thousand other wisps of conversation from the throngs. "We've got to hurry to make it past the checkpoint!"
Their luggage had already been dropped off to be boarded on ahead of time and all the pair needed was to present their medical bills to prove they were without disease and submit to some simple checks. Grumbling to himself he put his head down and began to push harder through the people which seemed to be getting thicker.
Ahead he heard the sounds of someone shouting to make way, he guessed that it was for some First Class twit. He had once envied their hedonistic lifestyle, but after seeing war and knowing what others went without, he scorned it. People were shifting, and he knew that the crowd was parting. Mike was so far ahead of him that he was afraid he had lost him completely. Panic set in at the thought and he was all but falling over in his attempt to catch up. Thundering through the masses he found himself stopped quite painfully by a tall, finely dressed man.
The force at which they hit made the other man stagger, but John fell, landing on his shoulder badly. The surrounding people went quiet as the soldier looked up to see a shocked expression on the other's face.
"It would do well to watch where you're going next time." He sneered.
John blinked, struggling to his feet. "I beg your pardon?" he said heatedly, jabbing a finger at him. "But you were in my way."
The man regarded him coldly. "I don't think that's the case, as I see the sea has been parted for me and not you. I have the right of way here."
The doctor opened his mouth to say something rude when the hands of a valet closed on him. "So sorry Mr. Holmes! I assure you we did not intend this to happen!" he hastily apologized.
The so-called Mr. Holmes sniffed. "See to it that I'm not rubbing elbows with such company again." And with that he was gone, stalking into the distance. The valet looked at him sternly before following.
John stooped painfully to pick up his cane and then swore. Mike was gone and he had no idea where he needed to be. His temper had gotten a hold of him and now he was stuck in the swarm.
Mycroft was waiting for him at the boarding zone, looking over him concerned. "What happened?"
"None of your business." Sherlock snapped back, readjusting his coat. His brother looked irritated but had no time to put him in his place as an enormous foghorn sounded, alerting the passengers that it was time to move it along.
The younger Holmes didn't say anything as their tickets were punched and they were escorted on. Climbing the gangway however, he turned and looked out to see England one more time before the ship swallowed his beautiful country whole.
Mycroft tilted his chin in Sherlock's direction as they walked. "Do try and be in a good mood for dinner. The Adlers will be there need I remind you and we don't want to frighten them away with your perpetually bad attitude."
"Why don't you just marry Irene yourself." He countered.
"I know you're upset but-,"
"Oh I'm more than upset Mycroft!"
"Keep your voice down!" the older brother snarled with such uncharacteristic ferocity that Sherlock actually listened, raising his eyes brows. "Think about someone other than yourself for once. Remember our current standings and remember that we need them, you're working towards a purpose greater than yourself Sherlock." Mycroft's words were put sharp hisses and growls as they wound along the corridors in search of their room.
John squirmed as the cold metal comb would through his short bristly hair. The lice check was taking forever, Mike was standing nearby waiting for him, looking at the directory he'd been given in order to find their rooms. The officer performing the procedure went over once more and then nodded "You're clear." He stated briskly. "Now move it along."
The pair of old friends practically bolted the rest of the way to the Third Class entrance. The man there looked over their papers before motioning for them to board. "Welcome aboard Titanic mates." He said with a smile.
"Thank you!" John called over his shoulder, and he was very grateful indeed.