Chapter 1: The Great Pirate Holmes
Birthdays were dull. This was one of the many observations the boy wonder Sherlock Holmes had made in the course of his now 10 year life span. It was always the same affair: the posturing and preening by Mother, the cake rapidly devoured by Mycroft and his friends; the crippling loneliness most of all. Not that Sherlock would ever admit to being lonely. As Mother said, emotions were a sign of weakness and made everything entirely too complicated; Sherlock agreed with this whole-heartedly.
This birthday was like every other. He could tell by the pockets of Mother’s special imported perfume in the halls that always meant she was trying to make an Impression (as she called it). On those days, he and his older brother were forced to wear tight black suits with matching ties. Adorable when they were younger, but now Mycroft was growing too old for such ridiculous displays, which meant Sherlock was too, naturally.
As if on cue, Mycroft passed Sherlock’s bedroom on his way downstairs to the party, in the process of putting on his tie- a red number with a shine to it that could only mean store bought. Judging by the creases, just out of the box. Bought purposefully for this day.
Mycroft noted Sherlock’s gaze as he passed by the door, pausing to look in on his little brother. He noted the deep blue around the younger boy’s neck; the same color of the tie he had hidden deep within his sock drawer.
As usual, Sherlock’s room was a place he rarely ventured, preferring much lighter places. And indeed Sherlock’s room was quite dark. He never turned the lights on, giving the room an odd, twisted feeling to it as if it were some underground lair. That description was certainly not far off from the truth. Despite Mother’s initial attempts at furnishing it with age appropriate materials, Sherlock had turned it into a realm all his own. The housekeeper no longer dared enter ever since she found the corpse of a partially dissected rat on his oak desk. Needless to say, the place was a mess of clothes, various toys, and lab equipment. It was still partially set up as the Mind Palace, the make believe pirate ship that Sherlock used when playing at adventure where he was the Great Pirate Holmes.
The boy was sitting in the ship now, tying his pinching fancy shoes. The tie was still undone around his neck, a bit wrinkled from his previous failed endeavors at getting it to do his bidding. Mycroft took in the scene a moment, relishing the peace before the storm he was about to cause. He was a good few years older than Sherlock, and new what he was planning on doing would hurt him most of all.
“May I come in?”
Sherlock glanced over from his shoe, not at all surprised to see his brother in the doorway. He had been aware of his presence the entire time, but that didn’t make him any less happy to see him. He regally straightened from his business and gestured to the room.
“You may enter my domain.” He declared, every syllable made grandiose.
Mycroft resisted the urge to chuckle, rather bowing deeply with great solemnity. It appeared as thought the game of pretend had not ended quite yet.
“I thank you, Great Pirate Holmes.”
Sherlock sniffed with an air of put on condescension, vastly different from his normal aloof intelligence. The Great Pirate Holmes was grander, more royalty in his demeanor.
Mycroft knelt in front of Sherlock, now almost at his eye level. Mycroft was tall and gawky for his age, without the scrawniness that usually comes with the territory. This seemed to come in handy for Sherlock, especially when he needed a great white whale in his adventures.
“May I have the great honor of doing up your tie for you, Captain?”
Sherlock nodded once, sharply.
“You may, First Mate Mycroft.”
Mycroft reached over to the little boy and began to assist him. He glanced up to his brother’s face, to see his eyes trained on the elder’s tie, the pirate slipping to reveal the boy.
He chuckled nervously as he worked, suddenly avoiding Sherlock’s accusing gaze.
“Sorry about the whole tie bit. But don’t you think we’re a bit too old to be doing this sort of thing now? It’s beyond the point of adorable into just…well, I don’t know…”
“Bizarre?” Sherlock offered blandly, his own gaze steady.
Mycroft hesitated, trying to discern the meaning behind the offered word.
“Yes, yes. That’s the word.”
There was a moment of silence, and as soon as Mycroft had finished, Sherlock stood abruptly, the tie slipping out of his brother’s hands. He avoided looking at his brother, rather drifting over to the Mind Palace.
“I’ll see you downstairs.” Sherlock mumbled.
That was his cue to leave. Mycroft rose with effort, and trudged back to the doorway of the boy’s room.
“I’ll be seeing you, Captain. Make sure to come down?” He said not without affection.
“I’ll be down in a minute.” A sulky air pervaded his words.
“Right. Good. Meet you in the foyer.”
With that said, Mycroft turned on his heel and continued down the hall, brisk steps fading into the murmur of the party guests below.
Sherlock didn’t move for a moment, contemplating the risks of running away to the garage for a few days. The mere thought of Mother’s ire brought shivers down his small spine, and finally brought him to a forward motion towards the door.
He paused, then turned back at a rushed pace to the Mind Palace. From within the confines of it, he withdrew a small plastic dagger, his characteristic Great Pirate Holmes weapon. When going into battle, it was key to take a weapon of choice.
He straightened, and with the fierce air of a soldier of war heading into battle, he marched out of the confines of his room to the blindingly bright lights of the halls to meet his maker. Literally.
Chapter 2: Shipwrecked
Off to sail the stormy waters of his birthday party, Sherlock encounters an obstacle he cannot overcome.
Sherlock emerged from the hall to the balcony overlooking the gilded foyer, too small to see over the polished brass railing. However, he could see through its design and what met his eyes was less than welcoming.
People he barely cared to know were packed into the large space, swirling around like a flock of geese. All of them were honking and far less interesting than the birds they resembled. Sherlock could immediately pick out his mother among the party goers- who could miss her? She was certainly in her element as hostess, strutting around like some puffed out peacock in fancy clothes and expensive perfume. But there was someone missing.
The sight of his mother in makeup always terrified Sherlock. He had seen her once without it, and that certainly put the metaphorical fear of god in him. Ever since she seemed to be wearing this rouged mask over an aging entity of gathering wrinkles and sharp angles. What lay beneath the painted surface never left, and Sherlock often combined the two when he saw her visage. It stared up at him now, meeting his stare with upturned lips and cold eyes: the Kraken emerging from the dangerous sea the Great Pirate Holmes was about to dive into headfirst.
Her voice seemed to rise above all the small talk and general hubbub with a dark magic that was all her own.
“Here’s the little man of the hour! Sherlock, come down and say hello to your guests!”
Filled with false, ringing mirth, the words dragged him downwards to the waiting sea of family friends and tiresome conversation. He slowly sheathed his dagger in the back pocket of his pants, letting his jacket fall over it like a secret. He was Moses from the fairy tale, and the people parted before him leaving a clear path to his mother. He approached her unwillingly, and felt the weight of her hand on his shoulder, holding him in place like an iron trap. Those who had previously backed away swarmed around him- suddenly not as unappealing now that he was in the control of his mother.
He accepted their well wishes in sullen silence, the claw on his shoulder a reminder not to speak out with the other sharp dagger in his mouth. However he could not be kept silent for long. A group of children his own age approached, all looking just as miserable as he must have appeared. They seemed angry to be there, obviously forced to attend by social climbing parents and shoved into the same kind of miniature finery as the birthday boy. There should have been some sort of commiserating kinship of understanding between them, but there was nothing except blatant dislike and feelings of superiority on both sides.
“Happy birthday, Sherlock.” They chimed together, like so many sheep in a herd. Although some had the look of only submission etched on their features, the majority had a defiant tone to their voice, snide and cruel to show their anger at being in the same room as their classmate.
Sherlock did not reply for a moment, a bit taken aback at their presence. His eyes narrowed, and before he could remember to be polite the words had left his mouth.
“Why did you invite them.”
“Sherlock-“ his mother began, hand tightening on his shoulder. Her voice, although still polite and cheery, was beginning to have a hint of wrath swirled into the mix.
He blazed on.
“Why are they here. I don’t want them here.”
The group of children shifted awkwardly, while Sherlock’s mother drew herself up to launch a tirade about his behavior. But Sherlock’s mind was already beyond this unpleasant encounter.
And that was when the silence went from simply unpleasant to truly still. His mother seemed to deflate, and the children took that moment to fade away into the background, thankful that they were released form the situation. Now it belonged to mother and son alone.
With a hand still clamped down on him, she guided him away from the party, laughing and apologizing as she went, all with the falseness of society. They reached the secluded hall leading to the kitchens when she finally dropped the charming housewife act to reveal the harpy beneath the makeup. The plastic dagger poking into the small of his back was the only comfort against the storm that was approaching his small ship.
He stared up into the face of the Kraken, and saw the wheels turning in her head. Her cunning was something he was quite familiar with, and the look on her face set his teeth on edge- a battle neared.
“Where’s Myrcroft.” He repeated, with more force.
She stared down at him, a decision made somewhere within her.
Her simple answer gave him pause.
“Gone? But it’s my birthday. He’s always here on my birthday.”
“He’s outgrown you. He’s off to pursue some fantasy where he’s this government freedom fighter and the rest of the world doesn’t matter. This stupid little scheme doesn’t seem to involve any family whatsoever.”
“You’re wrong,” Sherlock declared without emotion. “You’re the stupid one. And you’re wrong!”
Fury engulfed the little body easily, sweeping him away down into a current that was pulling him towards a conclusion. But he couldn’t think with all this noise, this useless idiotic pretense. But The Great Pirate Sherlock never ran. He held his ground, staring chaos and destruction in its powdered face.
Both entities hated losing, and his mother had a power he didn’t- an unmatched authority given to her by parent status.
“Go sit in the kitchen until this…this little tantrum has passed. When you’re ready to act like an adult you will come back to the party and apologize to those children.”
He glared at her for a moment, before breaking. He stomped to the kitchen doorway under the hateful gaze of his mother and stood in the doorway defiantly.
“I’m doing it because I want to, not because you told me to!” He roared, before he slammed the door behind him leaving him in peaceful solitude.
He did not even have time to take a breath before his mind swept him back aboard the Mind Palace, where suddenly everything began to click. The cook had a day off, thankfully, or else this setting would not be possible for his ship to exist. It only appeared when no one was watching.
He sat under the counter’s overhanging marble surface in darkness, letting the Mind Palace sail through the undertow. He was buoyed up by it as he went through these dangerous waters.
Mycroft is gone. Gone on my birthday. Not only that, but he had a new tie which meant that he no longer wanted to be connected in such a close way to me. By severing that connection, there could be only one thing he wished to accomplish- solitude. I certainly can’t blame him for that…but why? He knows I would understand the need for peace. Unless…he’s not only outgrown the connection. He’s also outgrown me. Now that I’m older, such behavior isn’t suitable in his eyes. He thinks I’m…I’m…
The word came as a whisper, like the last gasp of a dying man. It tasted dirty on Sherlock’s tongue, as the Mind Palace broke around him dashed on the hard and twisted rocks of reality.
Chapter 3: The Man Who Smelled of Infinity
A less than pleasant character has found Sherlock's hiding place, and he is certainly as mysterious as he is annoying.
He didn’t cry. Crying was for someone weaker, and less experienced with the harsh realities of betrayal. This was something he had been raised to handle- and maybe it was a bad thing he couldn’t just break down and wail like the child he was supposed to be. It lurked inside, seething and slowly eating away at Sherlock’s insides; a cancer without remedy. All of this unknown to the older brother, but would be felt presently as one feels the depth of a ravine while standing on the edge.
Perhaps this was why Sherlock did not notice the man enter. He was so deep within this revelation, that the world escaped his notice for a time. Only the sound of the refrigerator opening with a click and a whir called his attention back to the real world.
His head twisted about faster than the rest of his body could manage. An intruder in his wreckage! Some lost party goer, maybe? No, his mother would never have allowed them to set foot in any place not streamer-ed and sparkling. It could only be a family member.
He sprang to his feet and ran at Mycroft’s legs, grabbing onto them for dear life. But that smell…that wasn’t Mycroft’s usual mix of puberty and cologne. It was something deeper than that. As if every atom had a different scent from a million or more places. The immensity and variety of something so simple and definite like a smell frightened him beyond words.
“Well, hello there!”
The voice that responded was in no way a familiar one. It was infused with a bright and cheery lilt that Mycroft lacked severely. Sherlock leaped backwards, smacking straight into more marble. He grumbled as he rubbed the back of his head, not sure whether to be more embarrassed about the mistaken identities or his own clumsiness.
“Not who you were looking for, eh? Sorry about that. People tell me all the time I look like this person or another.”
The man had forgotten to shut the door to the refrigerator, the slight hum of the machine adding to the chaos of the stranger’s words. With the light reflecting him from behind in an eerie, ethereal manner, Sherlock began his analysis.
A tumbling mess of mousse hair that could only be described as floppy- the man obviously had no opinion on his appearance. This ruled him out as a friend of his mother’s. But this observation was directly challenged by what he was wearing. A tweed number with collard shirt and smart red bow tie. This practically screamed stuffy academic- but the suit was well taken care of. This ruled out any sort of student. Their suits would be crumpled with little effort thrown into their maintenance. He was young though. Perhaps not college age, but only slightly older than that. The square jawline was devoid of sagginess, and the only wrinkles were around the eyes and mouth, an indication of a constantly smiling man. But there were also plenty starting to grow on his forehead- a thinker.
The stranger was put off by this sudden silence and intense scrutiny. He bounced on his heels a bit, looking around the room in a purposefully awkward manner. He took a sharp intake of breath that seemed to slide into his sentence.
“So it seems to me that-“
He froze- eyes blinking, jaw open in mid sentence.
“Excuse me, but did you just tell me to shut up?”
Sherlock spoke without hesitation.
“Yes and I’ll do it again if you don’t close that yammering vortex immediately.”
The man didn’t even seem offended; just mildly amused. He made a motion of zipping his lips and hopped over to a stool next to Sherlock. The boy continued his observation.
The one thing he usually focused on first was something that every fiber of his being told him to avoid in this one person- the eyes. With a hesitation quite unlike him, he began to observe once more.
It would be a cliché to admit that his eyes were like pools, but they were. They really were. That phrase was the first thing that popped into Sherlock’s mind, and he almost snorted with the indignity and mediocrity of it. But something held him back. Because they certainly weren’t pools of liquid, but rather of feeling and memory. There was a whole world in them that seemed to be aflame with pain and sorrow; deeper than that, lurked some terrible creature. Like the Mariana Trench, they went even deeper than he could understand. Something was waiting down there- a monster that lived only for the moment when the guard was lowered. It was a sadistic depravity, and Sherlock knew no name for it.
The knowledge stunned him, filling him with curiosity and a terror that made this man terribly exciting. He tried to remember how to move his mouth, and found words so heavy he could hardly let them go.
“Who are you?”
The man grinned, as if expecting the question at any moment. It was a silly kind of grin, with a way about it that made you believe he would never harm anyone. He straightened up, looking down at the wondering child and in that sliding tone, answered with a boyish air.
“I’m the Doctor.”
Chapter 4: Rivals
The Doctor grows more and more mysterious as Sherlock tries to unravel bits and pieces of this new puzzle. But Sherlock has more tricks up his sleeve than The Doctor gives him credit for.
Sorry about the delay. CTcon was last weekend and I wasn't really able to write all that much!
“I asked who you are, not what.” The boy snapped with more than a little annoyance. Rather than humbled by asking the man a quite obvious question, he was irritated beyond belief. That smirk on The Doctor’s face irked him to no end. It seemed taunting to him, and Sherlock couldn’t help but get snippy from wounded pride.
“It’s a bit of both really.” The Doctor replied airily, bringing his hands up in sharp gestures.
Sherlock observed that this was an action done to the beat of his sentences, like some maestro conducting an orchestra with gusto and enthusiasm. That all spoke for his eccentricity, and for brilliance. It dawned on Sherlock that this wasn’t about his words, but rather the ideas behind them. The Doctor would have immense trouble speaking without those gestures, or so Sherlock concluded. It was a way to bring the words from him and keep an order in that chaotic mind behind the eyes. Well, some form of order anyway. It wasn’t as though the gestures were on a regular beat.
While Sherlock was once again being brilliant, The Doctor drew out some sort of instrument- a cylindrical piece of metal, thin and ornate. It was obviously an instrument of some sort, but instead of some kind of blunt of purposeful end to the tool, it rounded itself off into a green dome made out of something that looked a lot like glass. He pressed a button on the machine, and it sprung to life with a kind of high pitched whine that did not stop, or seem to have any sign of doing so.
The Doctor stood and began to wander the kitchen, holding his tool to any and all surfaces, searching with the same intensity with which he gestured. It betrayed some great inner monologue, which managed to annoy Sherlock even more. He was supposed to be the one with all the answers, with all the knowledge. It burned him up to know that there was someone else who could possibly be on his level, and yet it also intrigued him. That was the moment he decided he would do his best to beat The Doctor and show him that Sherlock Holmes was better than any nameless man who had just a few quirks.
He turned to the man, mouth open to issue a challenge, when the sharp click clack of heels on the wooden floor interrupted him. He whirled around to find the door opening, his mother’s perfume heralding her presence. The Kraken was the last thing the shipwrecked pirate wanted to see, especially when he already had another more worthy adversary to face down.
He had no interest in his mother getting her talons into The Doctor. He was fiercely protective of things he found interesting.
He was about to turn back around to find the cause of the silence when his mother was in the room. There was no time. He drew himself up majestically, an unconscious imitation of his own mother’s battle stance.
She marched to him, towering above with arms folded across her chest with authority. He copied post haste- nothing was more annoying to his mother than disobedience.
“Can we help you, Mother?”
“Young man, this is no time to be taking an attitude. You must go back out to that party at once…and we?”
He sighed, more mockery than condescension.
“Don’t be rude in front of the guests. It’s not like you.”
Lips pursed in irritation, her eyes quickly surveyed the room.
“Sherlock Holmes, now is not the time to play stupid little games. This is your party, and you are going to be there whether you like it or not. Your little pirate games have no place here now. You are coming to the party and that, young man, is final.”
Sherlock wasn’t sure if he was imagining what she had said, or if she was even more idiotic than he thought.
“What do you mean games? He’s right there-“
He turned to where The Doctor had once stood, now just empty space. Rather than be startled at the sudden disappearance, Sherlock took the logical route. Now he certainly wasn’t insane, so creating a real person from thin air was most definitely not what had happened. The only conclusion he could come to was that The Doctor had heard the footsteps before he had, and had hid himself away in some corner of the kitchen. But why would he hide himself?
While he was pondering this, his mother had noticed the refrigerator door, still open with that eerie light shining dimly. She gave a small grumble and click clacked to it, shutting the door with the same sharpness with which she walked.
She met Sherlock’s eyes, an unspoken warning in them to heed her or face his demise. And in return, his own responded with absolute rebellion. Without another word, she exited the kitchen stonily.
Sherlock listened to the sound of her heels moving her down the hallway and farther still from the kitchen. Once they had faded to nothing, he began to search the kitchen, starting with where The Doctor had been sitting. This man was obviously sharp, and absolutely unpredictable. He could have been hiding anywhere…
“So you’re Sherlock Holmes?!” The Doctor’s voice was filled with a fan’s excitement, as if the very name overwhelmed him. And it was coming from directly under the table.
Sherlock looked down, feeling very much the fool at overestimating his adversary. But pride at this wonder made him feel less so. He knelt down to where the Doctor was sitting, the other man moving over to make room. Sherlock joined him under the table, both in similar positions with their knees drawn to their chins. The Doctor had to hunch more over, seeing as how his height played quite the factor in how he fit.
“I am.” He replied with a small smirk.
“Sherlock Holmes.” The Doctor repeated, feeling the words on his tongue with a kind of giddiness. He looked back over at the boy suddenly.
“But aren’t you a bit…small? I thought the Sherlock Holmes was a bit bigger, and maybe older.”
“I’m 10.” Sherlock replied defensively. “I’m plenty old.”
“Yes, you are at that.” The Doctor answered vaguely, other things quite obviously on his mind.
“You’re a time traveler, aren’t you.”
The Doctor, rather than looking shocked and perturbed, laughed out loud with a glee that spoke of excitement.
“You deduced that, did you? Wow you are going to be absolutely incredible! Now tell me, how did you know?”
Sherlock hesitated for a moment. Usually, he was told to shut up and mind his own business but this was a nice change. A very nice change indeed.
“The dirt on your shoes and cuffs.” Sherlock had adopted a bored tone, but he couldn’t hide the small smile that seemed the be getting larger and larger the more he spoke.
“I have done small studies of the dirt of different centuries, comparing them to one another. It’s an incredibly useful skill. Yours seem to be from the World War II era from Germany, and unless you haven’t cleaned that suit in who knows how long, and yet still kept it in perfect condition, all highly improbably, then you are a time traveler. Now how you do it is a different matter entirely…I’m afraid my knowledge in that area is limited to whatever books I can find in the library and Mycroft’s room. And some of his books I have not studied properly judging by their…obscene nature.”
The Doctor let out another cry of elation, free and wild without restraint.
“You are amazing! Actually brilliant, do you know that?”
“I could stand to hear it more often.”
The Doctor gave a small chuckle, and ruffled the hair on the boy’s head.
“Don’t worry. One day, you’ll be hearing it everywhere.”
Sherlock suddenly clapped his hands over his ears, glaring at him.
“Are you an idiot?!”
“There you go again, calling me an idiot. “
“I can’t hear about my future! Even my limited knowledge of time travel tells me that’s bad! You could disrupt the space-time continuum. You must be daft.”
“Sorry, sorry. Bad habit of mine, that. Can’t seem to help myself, especially now since…”
Sherlock slapped The Doctor’s shoulder, and the other pressed his lips together, with an apologetic lift of his hands. He pretended to zip his mouth shut, and nodded to end the subject.
Sherlock stared at him, waiting. The Doctor returned his gaze with his own quizzical one. After a moment of absolute silence, Sherlock decided to speak up once more.
“Time travel. How?”
The Doctor unsealed his lips in an irritating way, but still with an unapologetic air of childishness that Sherlock couldn’t hate him for. The Doctor leaned in to the boy, one kid to another about to share an amazing secret.
“Do you want to see my time machine?”
“As long as it goes into space too.”
“You were saving that one weren’t you?”
“I wanted you to be surprised. It appears that I succeeded.”
“Oh you’re good.”