Chapter 1: The Leviathan's a Major Dick
In which there are introductions.
Location: 221B Baker Street. The fire crackles as the snow falls outside the windows. Sherlock Holmes, the world’s one and only consulting detective, stands by the darkened glass, brooding as he always does. No one is quite sure what happens inside his head. The only people who can even come remotely close are John Watson, former army doctor turned blogger and consulting assistant, and the Doctor.
The Doctor sits at the desk wondering why humans have so many strange habits. Though Sherlock never really qualified as human, exactly. Oh, sure, the man has a heart, of course he does. But he is a no-nonsense type of person, one who doesn’t let emotions get in the way. This is why the Doctor enjoys his company sometimes- he doesn’t babble on like those two Americans in the room.
Sam and Dean Winchester are arguing… again. The Doctor isn’t sure about what, exactly, but then again he never is. Sherlock has become most adept at ignoring their constant squabbling. What the Doctor can make of it, Sam didn’t get the right food for Dean. Trivial things to argue over, it’s so… human of them, which is amazing considering what they’d been through.
The Doctor hadn’t been sure that taking Sam and Dean to meet Sherlock and John was a good idea. It’s like putting two atomic bombs in a room and telling them to buddy up. It had gone better than he expected, though, even if Sherlock immediately knew everything about them.
The Doctor went back to three days ago, remembering…
“Doctor, seriously, where are we going?” Sam asked, leaning against the bronze railings next to the TARDIS’ console. He was always the curious one. Dean never really asked questions that often, just sulked in a corner somewhere.
“I’ve got a friend back in London,” the Doctor said, pulling a few levers and pressing a button or two. “I think he can help you find the Leviathan.”
“’Think’ isn’t good enough,” Dean grumbled. “I don’t want to waste more time than we already have!”
“Okay, then I am positive that this man can help you two,” the Doctor said, grinning in spite of himself. Dean tried so hard to be tough and uncaring, but really, he cared so much it caused him physical pain. His life revolved around two things: keeping Sam safe, and above all, keeping Castiel alive. And he’d failed in both aspects.
“Who is he?” Sam walked around the main console to stand next to the Doctor, looking at the screen. He couldn’t read Gallifreyan, of course, but he really tried to understand what the symbols meant.
Sherlock, still standing by the old windows, ponders what brought him here. The Winchesters had a family dynamic almost more strange than his own with Mycroft. Of course, they didn’t cause national security issues, but fighting and killing demons… It’s similar to dealing with Parliament.
Sherlock grins at his own joke, listening to the brothers snapping at each other’s throats. Yes, most Parliamental debates went something like this. Sherlock recalled what he could deduce about them. Mother dead in an accident when they were young, most likely violent. Trained as fighters by a single father. Looking at Samuel, the younger one, it was quite easy to deduce him. Pursued education in lieu of taking up the “family business”. Left his education behind to find his father… why, though?
When he had met the boys two days ago, he told them all this. Samuel had gaped open-mouthed at him, though when he touched on the subject of the search for their father, he closed his mouth and became very shielded and closed. Someone close must have died. Possibly a friend, more likely a girlfriend. Samuel had moved forward, as if to hit Sherlock across the face, but the Doctor had stopped him.
Sherlock had looked closer at the elder brother Dean. Very loyal to friends and family. He had lost someone recently, who had apparently been the owner of the long coat he held clenched in his right hand. Why keep the coat? This person had left him, then- he wouldn’t have kept it otherwise. Humans are sentimental that way.
But something was wrong. There was still something he couldn’t figure out. What was the family business?
Ah, of course…
The Winchesters had looked surprised that he knew about demons, but, well, it wasn’t the first time Sherlock had dealt with the “sons of bitches”, as Dean would put it. Jim Moriarty had been possessed for a time, and he’d had far too much fun exorcising that one, once he’d found out how. Ever since, there had been a demon trap on the underside of the welcome mat, and salt and holy water in a hidden compartment under the desk. Within reach, but not obviously so.
Sherlock is shaken back to the present by a text alert on his cell phone. He opens the text with a button and reads it out.
I found the Leviathan’s leader. You’re not going to like it. –Crowley
He flips open the phone and texts back.
Tell me everything. –SH
Instead of a reply text, the phone begins ringing. Sherlock answers it. “Sherlock Holmes.”
And Crowley is right. The answer is not at all what he expected, and he doesn’t like it at all.
Chapter 2: Revelations
In which there is drama, bickering, and a DRAMATIC REVEALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
Sherlock Holmes stands by the window, listening to the demon’s voice crackling through the cell phone. The demons have had a strange respect for him ever since the first one tried to kill him. Maybe it’s because he’s not like the rest of them- humans, anyway. He’s far closer to a demon than to a human.
“Listen, so I’ve been looking up some stuff on the Leviathan’s leader, right? Well here’s what I’ve got…”
Sherlock listens to Crowley for a few more minutes, then interrupts him. “I’m handing you over to the Doctor.” He moves from the window to the desk. The Doctor has already noticed the phone call and reaches up to take the phone.
“Hello?” The Doctor pauses. “Yes, of course. No, I can see why this is a problem. Yes, we’ll take care of it. Thank you, Crowley.” He snaps the phone shut.
The Winchesters unhelpfully choose this moment to stop their argument and begin paying attention. “Crowley?” Sam says with an incredulous look on his rather square face. “You’re talking to him?”
“That son of a bitch is back?!” Dean’s head snaps around. “You know he’s a demon, and you choose to talk to him and trust him anyway?”
“He’s given us valuable information that I can confirm as being true,” Sherlock replies smoothly. “I do not trust him, Dean Winchester. But I will take his information and use it for myself.”
“But how can you know he’s telling the truth? Even if you are a ‘proper genius’, in your words,” Dean asked, baffled.
“Dean,” Sam interjected. “It’s that… deduction-y thing he does. Remember how he knew everything about us when we walked in?” Dean is silent now.
“Good. Well, Crowley’s found the Dick,” the Doctor says. Sam and Dean stare at him for a moment.
“Excuse me?” Dean says with a confused face. “The Dick?”
By now Sherlock has taken a seat in his favorite leather chair by the fireplace, eyes closed, fingertips pressed together as in prayer. Without opening his eyes, he says, “The Leviathan’s leader… a king, as it were.”
“I’m still not sure about trusting a demon with this kind of important stuff,” Dean mumbles angrily.
“I don’t think it’ll be like… last time we trusted a demon,” Sam muses. “I think Crowley really wants to help us.”
“I don’t even want to talk about last time.” Dean turns away, running a hand through his hair, subconsciously laying the other against the folded trenchcoat on the edge of the couch. Sherlock now knew, thanks to the Doctor and Samuel, all about the angels, especially Castiel. It appeared that Castiel was closer to Dean than Dean cared to admit, but Sherlock wasn’t one to pry… after all, the three people that knew him best at this moment were all in this flat. The Doctor had told him that Castiel had been taken over by the Leviathan and had died in the struggle, and Sherlock had had no cause to believe otherwise… until now.
“I knew Crowley back when he was Canton,” the Doctor murmurs, seemingly to himself. “He seemed a very helpful fellow.”
“What? Are you still not over it?” Sam approaches his brother, who clenches his hand tight around the coat. It seemed to calm him at times. This time, though, it might not help. “For God’s sake, Dean, that was a long time ago!”
“No, I’m still not over it! You chose a demon over me!” Dean snaps at Sam, who steps back in alarm.
“Trust issues… yet you’ve chosen to trust the Doctor, of all people,” Sherlock mutters, opening his eyes.
The Doctor looks somewhat offended at this, and tell Sherlock sternly, “Just because I am a madman with a box does not mean I cannot be trusted, Sherlock. In fact, several people have entrusted me with their lives on numerous occasions. Yourself included.”
“I understand this, Doctor,” Sherlock says patiently, ignoring the continued exchange between the brothers. “Yet Dean Winchester has a difficult time trusting anyone. In fact, he walked out on his brother after the demon blood incident. And you are not exactly the most straightforward person I've ever met.”
“Yes, but Sherlock,” the Doctor protests calmly, “Sam, and Castiel for that matter, have each given Dean a reasonable cause for not trusting them. I, on the other hand, while not always entirely forthcoming, have not done so. Nor have I ever led Dean astray or in the wrong direction.” Sherlock looks over to the Doctor, impressed by the eloquence of the argument.
“I believe you’ve made your point,” Sherlock concedes. The Doctor and Sherlock both turn their attention back to the Winchesters.
“Dean, I thought you were over this. You need to grow up.”
“Jesus Christ, Sam…”
“Dean. We killed Ruby. I said sorry. Can we please get past this?” Sam really was angry with Dean for bringing up the whole Ruby situation. He never understood why it was such a big deal. I mean, not the demon blood thing- that was a big deal. He didn’t understand why Dean wouldn’t just let it go. “I already went to hell. Isn’t that punishment enough?”
“Sammy…” Dean pauses, remembering his two trips to hell. There wasn’t much, but there were flashes of red and black, screams, sometimes his own, and pain beyond imagination. After the first time, he hadn’t imagined a situation where Sam would ever need to go there. But he had. “I never wanted that for you. It’s worse than anything I could’ve done… I was supposed to protect you.” Dean is fighting back tears again. He really needs to grow a pair, he tells himself. “Look how well that turned out.”
“Yeah, well, I went to hell anyway, Dean. And then I went nearly a year without my soul. How can you still hold Ruby against me after all that? Don’t you think I’ve learned my lesson?” Sam steps closer to Dean, their faces inches from each other, Sam looming over Dean. “How can you still treat me like a child?”
“I don’t hold it against you, Sam.” Dean tries to articulate his response better than the last few. “I left you alone for four months. And I tried, Sammy, I really did, but I just can’t trust those demons.” He stops, clears his throat so it doesn’t sound like he’s crying or anything wimpy. “Not after what happened to Cas.”
“Boys,” the Doctor interjects before Sam can reply scathingly, “I believe your family issues are not more important than the lives of the people here.”
“Shove it up your ass,” Dean says, turning away.
“Why I never…” The Doctor begins to protest, but Sam interrupts him.
“Doctor, if Dean doesn’t trust me, I don’t see how we can be a team.”
“Stop that ridiculous nonsense at once. Get your act together and act like a family. The Ponds had much more dysfunction than you and they remain more cooperative than you Winchesters,” the Doctor scolds them. Sherlock hardly moves at this mention of the Ponds, but some old pain arises at the familiar surname. Amelia Pond, the girl who waited, but not for him. The one he could never have.
There is a long silence. Finally Sam says “Sorry, Doctor. Sorry, Dean.”
Dean doesn’t apologize, exactly, but it’s probably a better one than he’ll ever get out of him. “It’s okay, Sammy. But we’re not done. Kill evil bitches now. Talk later.”
“Yeah. Okay. Sherlock, what do you know about the Leviathan? Or Crowley. Or Cas, for that matter,” Sam says, turning.
Sherlock winces internally. This was going to be difficult, especially considering tact was not his specialty. But the Doctor could help with the emotional bits. “From what I can deduce, Crowley has been tracking the Leviathan’s leader for several weeks now. He’s found him in a remote location in the Midwestern United States. The Leviathan’s leader thrives in bodies of water, and must have an extremely powerful host.” That was good. Don’t mention it yet. Let the Doctor handle it. Surely Samuel would figure it out, he was intelligent that way.
“Alright, let’s light ‘em up then,” Sam says.
“Samuel- wait.” Sam stops. He’s not used to being addressed directly by the detective. Sherlock tries to be gentle. “I don’t think you’ll want to act so hastily.”
“I don't think the Leviathans are entirely opposed to reason,” the Doctor reasons. “Perhaps we could explain the issues with their way of life. This is not the first time a species tried to take over the earth by eating its population.”
“It’s not that.” You know why I’m stalling, Sherlock thinks darkly. “It’s just the… particular host the leader has chosen.”
Sam and Dean stare at Sherlock with nearly identical expressions. “What are you talking about, Sherlock?” Sam asks. “Who’s the host?”
“Come on, quit avoiding the subject,” Dean demands.
“Sherlock, before you tell them…” the Doctor begins to warn him.
“How haven’t you two figured this out yet? I’ve given you all the clues.” Sherlock looks closely at Dean. “Honestly. You ought to have it by now.”
“Would you please stop insulting our intelligence?” Dean grumbles.
“Dammit, guys, just tell us,” Sam says agitatedly.
“Perhaps we should rationalize,” the Doctor begs Sherlock. “They will likely overreact.”
Of course they’ll overreact, Sherlock thinks. Dean’s in love with the angel. We’d be lucky if he didn’t overreact. “It’s better for them to know the truth.” He avoids Dean’s eyes. Sherlock is familiar with the kind of pain associated with losing loved ones. He doesn’t want to witness it again.
“The truth… the truth about what?” Sam suddenly looks scared of whatever it is they’re trying to tell him. He doesn’t want to know. The way Sherlock is avoiding the subject, and Dean’s eyes… it’s going to hurt. Sam Winchester knows pain. He doesn’t want any more of it in his life.
“Sherlock, this will not end well for any of us,” the Doctor says warningly.
“I know that. We can’t just keep this from them.” Sherlock knows that in their place, he’d rather know than be kept in the dark.
“Sherlock, please,” the Doctor says quickly. “In 900 years, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that timing, while it can be manipulated, it everything.”
“But why would you keep it from us? Unless…” Sam suddenly figures it out. Everything clicks into place, and Sherlock can see the pain in his eyes. “Oh my God,” Sam breathes.
“He’s got it,” Sherlock murmurs.
“What the hell is going on? Sam-” Dean grabs the front of Sam’s jacket. “You tell me or I swear-”
“Dean Winchester, put your brother down this instant!” The Doctor snaps. Dean slowly lets go of Sam, who backs off.
“Then you tell me exactly what the fuck is going on,” Dean says, breathing heavily.
“Dean… it’s Castiel,” Sherlock says quietly.
“What’s Cas? Did you find him?” Wild-eyed, Dean moves closer to Sherlock. “What about Cas?”
“Castiel’s the host.”
Chapter 3: An Angel in the Hands of Evil
In which angst. Sorry not sorry.
“Castiel’s the host.”
In this singular moment, Dean lost all sense of reality. One sentence from the consulting detective destroyed every single thing he’d taken for granted the past months. He’d lost Cas, grieved for him, then tried to let him go. He’d kept the trenchcoat to keep his sanity. There had been nights that he wouldn’t sleep, and visions of Cas would flit across his mind, whispering to him. He would sneak out of whatever shitty hotel room he and Sam were staying in, and he would sit in the back seat of the Impala, holding the coat to his face to try and stop the tears that came, the sobs that wracked his body. He would literally cry himself to sleep, and because some stupid bastard of an angel that had to go and get himself killed.
Because of Cas.
And now, this overstuffed British prick that he’d only met two days ago was telling him that Cas was alive. They’d only met this man, Sherlock Holmes, because the Doctor had insisted that he could find the Leviathan’s leader, and Sam, of course, had been his usual chirpy self- “Well, it wouldn’t hurt to try, would it?”- and in this time, he’d grown to… well, not hate, exactly, but dislike the man. He could see through you, and it was unnerving. Every little detail about you turned into some part of your life story.
Dean had stumbled back from Sam, Sherlock, and the Doctor, who were all watching him, albeit in different ways. Sam was concerned- of course he was- as was the Doctor, while Sherlock just watched him like one of his many experiments about the apartment. Or “flat”, as they called them here. Why can’t British people just be simple?
Dean snaps back to the present. “But Cas- Cas can’t be alive. He’s dead.” When no one replies, Dean says a little more forcefully, “We watched him die.”
“But did we, really?” Dean looks at Sam incredulously. How can he even suggest that-
“I mean,” Sam says, backpedaling a bit, “All we saw was the coat…”
“Yeah,” Dean says, approaching Sam, who, to his pleasure, continues to back away from him. “And you know what else we saw? We saw Cas explode. The Leviathan ripped through his body. He doesn’t HAVE a host anymore, Sam!”
“But he’s exploded before,” Sam insists, even though he is backed against the wall. “When we opened the pit and I, uh… fell. He blew up then. It’s not impossible.” Dean knows that it’s not impossible. He just doesn’t want to accept that Cas would go for so long without letting him- them- know he was alive. Dean turns to the Doctor and Sherlock, a pleading look in his eyes, begging them silently to prove his little brother wrong.
“A former host of an angel…” Sherlock mused quietly, quite unaware of those watching him. “Very powerful. Possibly the most powerful host the leader can have. He’ll still be in that lake… the host, anyway. I am not as familiar with the nature of the angel Castiel himself, but it is possible that Jimmy Novak has all but ceased to exist. I believe the host is now a physical human embodiment of Castiel, taken on by the Leviathan’s leader… Yes, the angel is still with him. But not for long.”
“God, no… Cas.” Dean wants to be able to reach Cas now, before it’s too late. But… how could they?
“Sherlock indeed has the gist of it.” The Doctor rises from the chair at the desk. “As a vessel for an angel, Jimmy’s body was already very susceptible to outside organisms… Also, it’s quite likely that the Leviathan would recognize of the importance of having a connection to the angels in heaven.”
“Cas did say there was a connection between a vessel and its angel…” Sam says cautiously, slowly pulling himself away from the wall, clearly afraid that Dean will burst out at him again.
“It shields him from the view of other angels,” Sherlock says quietly. “However, he is still sensed by demons, which is where Crowley comes in. They didn’t think that would be an issue, as Samuel and Dean would never trust a demon, and demons would approve of that kind of destruction.”
Dean is still standing away from the others, still in shock, still in pain. Even as Sam watched, he was shocked to find a single tear prick up in the corner of Dean’s eye and slide over his cheek silently. Dean turned away before Sherlock or the Doctor saw, but he couldn’t hide it from Sam.
Cas. So he hadn’t gotten to them because he was possessed by some evil douche? Dean couldn’t believe that God, wherever the prick was, would let this happen, because clearly Cas was important to him- the number of times he’d brought Cas back to life for their quest alone was shocking. Cas, you dumb son of a bitch, how could this happen?
“Dean. Dean, are you okay?” It takes Dean a couple moments to register Sam’s voice. “Dean,” Sam says a little more insistently.
“I- Sam, I’m-” Dean can’t even bring himself to tell his usual lie. I’m fine, Sam. He always tells Dean this, no matter how much pain he’s in. He has to protect his brother. But at this point in his life, what’s the point? Sam’s not that little kid that believes in Santa Claus anymore. “I just need to- I’ll be right- I have to go.” Dean looks away from his brother and moves toward the door.
“Dean, wait,” Sam says quickly, moving toward his brother. “I’ll come with-”
“No, Sam.” Dean pauses, one hand on the doorframe. “I just can’t… I need some time alone.”
“Ugh. Humany-wumany,” the Doctor mutters disgustedly.
“I agree,” Sherlock murmurs. “Emotions are boring.”
Dean tries to ignore the two men with the British accents and stay focused on avoiding his brother. “Sam, what do you want me to think? He was my best friend. I watched him DIE in that lake, and now I’m just supposed to accept that he’s alive?” His frustration is showing through his voice now. He has to stay calm, or Sam will be able to guess that-
“He was my friend too, Dean!” Dean literally steps back at Sam’s intensity. There’s something in his gaze that says I have had enough of this bullshit. “I was at that lake too. You think I don’t know how you feel? Cas was like family to me. And then he screwed with my head, and left me with no way to even consider getting away from Lucifer and Michael. So Dean, you gotta suck it up and focus on the job.”
You don’t understand, Dean screams inside his head. It’s different for you. Just another damn friend you’ve lost. It’s not like that for me!
Dean tries to be civil. “Sam, you… You don’t understand.”
“Then make me understand, Dean!” I can’t put more pain on you. It’s my pain, Sammy, please- “You don’t have to carry this by yourself!”
Why can’t you just let it go?
Both Sam and Dean are so involved in their argument that neither notices when Sherlock stands silently, taps the Doctor’s elbow, and disappear into the kitchen.
“What is it you need to talk about, Stormy?” the Doctor asks Sherlock lightly. Sherlock scowls at his old nickname.
“I told you, Doctor. I am not Stormaggedon any longer. It’s Sherlock. Sherlock Holmes,” Sherlock growls, placing his hands on the kitchen table, careful to avoid the dish of E. coli growing to his left.
“You can’t run from your past, Stormy,” the Doctor reminds him. “You know that as well as I do.”
Sherlock paused for a moment as the Doctor’s history ran through his brain. Millions of people, planets, galaxies even, dead because of him. “Yes,” Sherlock says quietly. “But this is not the reason I wanted to talk to you.”
“No, I suppose it’s not, but there’s not much to discuss, is there?” The Doctor steps over what looks to be a jar of human intestines on the floor and stands looking Sherlock directly in the eye. “Castiel is the host, it’s as simple as that.”
“How could you possibly have found a way to make this more complicated?” the Doctor says exasperatedly.
“Do not underestimate me, Doctor. You have made that mistake in the past.” Before the Doctor has time to speak again, Sherlock continues, “I do not think we can defeat- how do they say it, gank- the leader without destroying Castiel’s vessel. And from what I’ve seen in Dean lately, it would cause him unbearable pain.”
“Sherlock…” The Doctor pauses, considering his words carefully. “An optimistic view is what the boys need right now. And if the vessel is, in fact, destroyed during our mission, there is no reason to believe that Castiel himself won’t be preserved.”
“Dean won’t be able to help us. Not if it comes to that.” Sherlock knows how betrayed Dean would feel, but he would interfere, and Sherlock can’t have that.
“I disagree,” the Doctor counters. “If it comes to anything happening to Castiel, Dean must be involved. I don’t think he’d be able to handle it otherwise.”
“He’ll be physically unable to let us destroy Castiel, but… if you think it’s best, we’ll bring him along,” Sherlock says hesitantly. Hesitation, more than anything, bothers Sherlock. Not being able to trust his own decisions and instincts. Doubt.
“We’ll discuss it more later. Perhaps we ought to include Sam in the final decision,” the Doctor muses. “After all, he knows his brother best, contrary to what Dean might think. But I think our attention is needed elsewhere, unless you’d like Mrs. Hudson to call the cops,” the Doctor adds, as the volume in the other room swells to the loudest it’s been all day.
“Indeed.” Sherlock and the Doctor go back to rejoin the Winchesters.
“You don’t have to carry this by yourself!”
Sam, just leave it alone. “Listen to me, Sam,” Dean says, almost pleading with his brother, “you can’t even begin to understand what this is like for me. I have to carry this. It’s my weight.”
“Dean. We both know keeping this kind of thing bottled up screws you all to hell. Literally!” Sam snaps. Dean flinches at the mention of his time- and Sam’s- in hell, and like a wounded, cornered animal, shoots low.
“You never talked about Jess’ death.”
Sam visibly reels back from Dean, a wild look in his eyes- anger, shock, and most of all, pain, gathered together in one hell of a dangerous combination. Obviously trying not to beat the shit out of Dean, he says with a forced calm, “And look how well that turned out.”
“But Sam, that’s the thing. I can’t-” Dean begins, but is cut off.
“You know what, Dean, I am sick of you treating me like a child. I’m almost 29 and I’m trying to help you,” Sam snaps at Dean, who has no more comebacks and can’t continue an argument like this.
“Sammy, please-” Dean’s voice breaks. “I can’t.”
“Fine, Dean,” Sam huffs. “I’ll just talk to Lucifer about it inside my head, because obviously he’s the only one who cares what I think anymore.” Sam stalks away from Dean and throws himself onto the couch.
“Samuel Winchester, that is the most childish thing I have ever heard,” the Doctor scolds him briskly, stepping out of the kitchen along with Sherlock. When did they leave the room? “If you breathe a word to Lucifer, in your head or out, I will take you to the Slavines and leave you there.”
“Ugh, Slavines. Dull,” Sherlock mutters
“I wouldn’t call getting your skin stolen dull,” the Doctor inserts. “But honestly, Dean. There’s no point in acting like we can’t see what you’re thinking.”
“I loved him, okay?” Dean shouts, maybe not necessarily at the people in the room, but at the entire universe, and maybe even at God. If Cas was so important to God- so important that he brought him back from the fucking dead to be on Earth- why didn’t God bring him back this time? Why couldn’t God save Cas from the Leviathan? The only reason Dean was left with was because this time, God didn’t give a shit.
And that’s what hurt Dean more than anything.
The other three men in the room sat in silence- not as if they were shocked, because they weren’t- but like they hadn’t expected Dean to come out with it.
“Dean.” Dean doesn’t look at Sam. “I know you loved him. I know. I knew as soon as I saw how you two were together,” Sam says quietly.
“How… how could you know, before I even knew?” Dean asks softly, all the anger gone, replaced by hurt and sorrow.
“Because I’m your brother. It’s kind of my job,” Sam replies in kind. Dean rolls his eyes, determined to keep some semblance of his ego in play.
“Like you loved Jess, Sam. That’s what it was like. And I never got to tell him, and now…” Dean swallowed, tears forming in his eyes. “And now he’s gone.” Except he’s not. He’s the fucking Leviathan king.
“Of course. A tragedy in the most classical sense.” Sherlock opens his eyes and glances about the flat. “Has anybody seen John?”
“Dean, how could you think I didn’t know how you felt?” Sam says gently. “I’ve lived with you literally my whole life. I know everything about you. It was all over your face.”
“Jesus Christ, what am I, an open book?” Dean says, disgusted at himself.
“Yes,” Sherlock replies without pausing.
“Nobody asked you.”
“Great, everybody’s got love but me,” the Doctor mutters. “Although, the version of my tenth regeneration that lives in Rose’s universe got married.”
“Dean, you’re only an open book to me,” Sam says, trying to ignore the Doctor’s random comments. “Sherlock just sees through everyone.”
“I don’t have love,” Sherlock interjects. “Love is overrated.”
This comment is so unheeded that Dean actually cracks a smile, wiping a few stray tears off his face as Sherlock takes in the faces of the men around him.
“…everyone but himself, it would seem,” Sam laughs, seeing the smile on Dean’s face and the hope it brings with it.
“What are you talking about?” Sherlock asks, frustrated. The way he creases his face in frustration, clearly upset that everyone else knows something he doesn’t, is so ridiculous that Dean actually busts up laughing, Sam with him. “Doctor,” Sherlock complains loudly.
The Doctor smiles at the brothers. Now that they have hope again, it seems they can do anything- even take on the world.
Chapter 4: Humany-Wumany... Things
In which there is a discussion about perceptions.
Location: the console room of the TARDIS. The TARDIS- Time And Relative Dimension In Space- is a vessel, designed and built on the planet of Gallifrey, with the ability to travel through- you guessed it- time and space. This particular TARDIS has even been known to travel into alternate dimensions through cracks in the universe.
The captain on this ship is not called “Captain” at all. In fact, he was never intended to pilot this ship. However, there’s little you can do when your home planet is being destroyed-
But that’s a story for another time.
The Doctor stands at the console, gazing quietly at a display screen, reading a message in his native language comprised of concentric circles and other galaxy-resembling shapes. The Doctor became a completely different person in the TARDIS- a change that was not lost upon the other three men in the ship.
The Winchesters hadn’t bickered once since they’d left Baker Street, or rather, after Dean had professed his love for Castiel- which had surprised no one in the least, especially not Sam. Sam had finally laid off Dean, who was much calmer, nearly docile, once the weight was off his chest. Right now, Sam walks over to stand next to the Doctor and concentrates on the foreign symbols. Sam has always been the more intellectual of the brothers, and he wishes he knew what the symbols meant, like all the times he’d tried to read ancient Greek or Enochian. Dean leans back against the bronze railing around the console and takes a deep breath. Though he tries not to show it, he’s excited in a very strange way- he’s getting Cas back. Sure, he killed a bunch of people, and sure, he’s possessed by the evilest thing known to mankind, but still- it’s Cas. And that’s all that matters.
Sherlock Holmes, clad in a black wool peacoat and a deep blue scarf, has a far less optimistic view of the situation at hand. He doesn’t think Dean can get Castiel back at all, but that the Leviathan will destroy Castiel’s vessel completely. He won’t tell Dean this, though- the “blissfully in love” Dean is much easier to deal with than the “emotionally distraught alcoholic” Dean. So Sherlock just sits back with his trademark brooding expression and frowns. Of course, he would rather think about the Leviathan than about the conversation they’d had before they left.
They were still at the flat at Baker Street after Dean had finished spurting forth his completely obvious “confession” (though you can’t really call it a “confession” if everyone present already knew). Sherlock was- well, he wouldn’t have said worried, exactly, but slightly concerned at John’s absence. John had only stepped out to get the milk, and was usually gone approximately an hour before his return. It had been three hours now.
“Doctor, have you seen John?” Sherlock asked as he rang John’s mobile phone for the 6th time that hour.
“No, Sherlock,” the Doctor said, somewhat amused at the detective’s obvious concern and attempts to hide it. “I’m sure he’s fine.”
“You can’t know that- it’s my job to know things,” Sherlock groused, curling up like a black cat in his favorite leather chair.
“Well, I can be sure of it. I even sent someone to check up on him.” The Doctor lifted the skull off the fireplace mantle and gazed at it. “He’s fine.”
“Who did you send?” Sherlock snapped, bolting straight up, extending to his full height. “I swear, if you sent Amelia Pond-” Sherlock stops as an old, dull pain ripped through his soul, like a half-healed burn being prodded by a red-hot iron. Amelia Pond. Amy.
“I did not send Amy Pond after him, whatever that is supposed to mean,” the Doctor commented mildly. “Amy and I have… fallen out, I suppose. She doesn’t travel with me anymore.”
“Amy Pond?” Sam interrupted. “You know her?”
“You know her?” Sherlock looked just as surprised.
“I met her when I was a kid. She was a kitsune. She…” Sam hesitated, glancing at Dean briefly, and looking back at Sherlock. “She died.”
“No,” the Doctor said quietly.
“What do you mean, no? I was there!” Dean said incredulously.
“She didn’t die. You two didn’t know much about kitsunes before you tracked her, right?” the Doctor inquired.
“Well, no, and we didn’t the first time around either, but-” Dean began to protest.
“She’s not dead. Kitsunes… well, they can shift, in a way. Or rather, alter your perceptions of them.” The Doctor walked toward the windows of the flat. “Sam, you saw Amy as a blonde-haired woman with an American accent, probably because you saw her true form when she was young, and because she reminded you of Jessica.”
“Reminded me… of Jessica?” Sam stuttered.
“A romantic attachment you had before the whole Devil’s Gate disaster,” the Doctor explained. “She was your… what would you call it?”
“His type,” Dean suggested with a grin. Sam glared at Dean. “Dude, come on, you had a thing for blondes until the apocalypse. Ruby was even blonde until the whole thing with…” Dean winced, clearly remembering the time he got ripped apart by hellhounds. “Yeah.”
“Shut up, Dean.” Sam turned back to the Doctor. “So, fine, whatever, she was my type. Why’d she look the same to Dean, then?”
“Dean had heard you describe her, so his image of Amy was the same as yours. Obvious,” Sherlock scoffed.
“What about… when she died?” Dean said hesitantly. The Doctor was, of course, fully aware that Dean had killed Amy, at least in his mind, but didn’t want to bring it up at the moment.
“Again, Dean, perceptions,” the Doctor reminded him. “You believed you killed her, and your perception changed to match that.”
“And… so, because Dean told me she was dead, I believed it, and my perception changed?” Sam said slowly, beginning to grasp the concept better.
“Precisely,” the Doctor said, beaming. “For me, Amy Pond was a Scottish woman with ginger hair. I always wanted to be ginger,” he added wistfully.
“Huh.” Dean pushed away from the wall. “What about you?” he asked Sherlock.
“Amy?” Sherlock considered this, amused. “Hmm. She sort of looked like John. Sun-bleached hair, naturally tanned skin… she always wore those sweater-dress-type things, I don’t really know. Fashion’s not really my area.”
“And… how exactly do you know her?” Sam asked curiously.
Something of his old pain must’ve shown in his eyes, because all Sherlock said was, “We’ve met.”
Later that night, Sherlock was sitting by the fireplace, gazing into the flames, thinking about Amy, when Sam walked in and sat opposite him. Sherlock ignored him. Sam would want to talk about his feelings, he always did. Sherlock just wanted to be left alone, save for John, who was always excellent company.
However, Sam didn’t speak for a while. He just sat in comfortable silence with Sherlock, watching the fire, obviously having something specific on his mind, but not mentioning it.
Within the hour, the fire was about to die. Sam stood, glanced at Sherlock one more time, and shook his head almost imperceptibly, as though he wanted to say something, anything, but couldn’t form a sentence properly.
“She never came back, you know.”
Sam turned back to Sherlock, who wasn’t quite sure what he was saying or why, but kept speaking anyway.
“Amy never came back. Not even after…” Sherlock swallowed hard. “She left me here, to travel with the Doctor, to see bigger and better things. And I never really forgave her for that, even though I had no reason to be angry.” Sherlock looked at Sam, who had returned to his seat by the fire, and met his gaze. “Have you- have you ever felt this way?” He was almost pleading now, and some sector of his brain was screaming at him to shut up, shut up you idiot but he kept talking anyway because he needed to know.
“Of course I have.” Sam looked surprised at Sherlock’s question. “I thought- when I left for Stanford, I thought my dad didn’t want me anymore.” Sam thought for a minute before continuing. “He always liked Dean more. And Mom died in my nursery and I just thought-” Sam stopped quite suddenly, swallowed hard and went on. “I thought he blamed me for that, and he wanted me gone. And I never got back on his good side, not really. We were always butting heads.” Sam grinned ruefully at a lost memory. “Anyway, Sherlock, it’s completely normal to feel abandoned, or used or… whatever you’re feeling. You shouldn’t be ashamed of it.” Sam stood and made for the stairs. Pausing at the door, he looked back. “And, Sherlock?”
“You’ll find the right person.” Sherlock looked up at Sam more closely. Sam smiled at him. “He might even already be here.” Sam walked out of the flat and down the stairs to the room he and his brother were sharing. Who could Sam possibly mean?
The answer, of course, was obvious in retrospect.
Chapter 5: This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
In which I gave this chapter a happy title to cover the pain. Also classic rock and the 1970s.
Flying the TARDIS can be insanely difficult at times. For some reason, River Song could always fly it better than the Doctor, which never made much sense, considering his several-hundred-year advantage on her. (Although, the Doctor really did like that sound it made, so maybe that accounted for the rough rides.)
They were having one such experience when Sam, Dean, and Sherlock were riding with him on a joint mission- both to retrieve John and River and to stop Cas- well, the Dick, really, but that’s irrelevant- from reopening Purgatory and eliminate humanity and whatnot. This would have gone fine, if the TARDIS hadn’t started flipping out as they approached 1970 and the Isle of Wight Festival.
This is starting to sound like the Doctor telling a story, isn’t it? Perhaps we ought to start over…
Before they left Baker Street, Sherlock rang John’s mobile once again and, when John didn’t answer, finally snapped at the Doctor.
“Listen carefully,” Sherlock seethed, “You have exactly twenty-two point seven seconds to tell me where you sent John, who is with him, and why you sent him. Start now.”
“Firstly, Sherlock, you have to understand,” the Doctor said, crossing the kitchen table so he was on the opposite side from Sherlock, “There are times I don’t tell you all the information, and you just need to trust me.”
“Why should I trust you right now?” Sherlock took a step around the table, and the Doctor answered with a step in the same direction, keeping the main body directly between them. “You could have put John in considerable danger, I don’t even know who you assigned to keep John safe, and you’re being incredibly withheld, more so than usual, which creates significant suspicion on my part.”
“If I told you the whole truth, I wouldn’t need you to trust me,” the Doctor said serenely, more than aware that Sherlock’s arms were long enough to reach across the table and grab him. Sam and Dean stood back, trying to act as though they weren’t listening and yet ready to intervene if need be. Dean seemed to think the site of the two lanky men with the British accents circling each other like dueling animals highly amusing, and was having difficulty restraining a grin.
“How about you start?” Sherlock slammed his hands down on the table, knocking a glass vile of Leviathan onto the floor, where it shattered and spread across the wood like a particularly sticky shadow.
“Okay, okay!” The Doctor scurried back from the table, bumping into the sink counter (and the jar of preserved fingernails that happened to be there). “He’s with River. River Song. I thought she was trustworthy enough to handle him and a few Weeping Angels-”
“Weeping Angels?” Sherlock spluttered, hands tightening on the edges of the table as though he intended to flip it over. Sam stepped forward, reaching out a hand to restrain Sherlock, then seemed to think better of it and folded his arms back into his chest.
“Sorry, I, uh, don’t want to interrupt, but for one thing, we’re kind of on a timetable here, and two, what in the ever-loving fuck is a Weeping Angel?” Dean butted in before Sherlock could get a hand on the Doctor. “Cas does not cry.”
“Not your angels, Dean, the Weeping Angels,” the Doctor explained, not taking his eyes off Sherlock. “Very fast, you can’t even blink. If they touch you, they’ll transport you back in time. And like I was saying,” he continued, addressing Sherlock now, “River is a very capable woman and can deal with Weeping Angels just fine.” Sherlock glared at the Doctor, but appeared to relax a small amount.
“River… that woman whose hair takes up the whole screen?” Sam asked, hoping for a confirmation.
“Well, that’s a bit of the pot calling the kettle black, isn’t it, Sam?” the Doctor replied breezily. Dean snickered.
“Well, let’s go get them, then,” Sam said, ignoring his brother.
“Very well,” the Doctor agreed. “We’ll have to find out what time stream they’re in first, though.”
As it turned out, the Weeping Angels had apparently caught up with John faster than either the Doctor or River would’ve guessed, so she used her vortex manipulator to transport them somewhere (relatively) safe.
The Doctor swept his sonic screwdriver around in the air while the other three men stood around feeling fairly useless. They were near the TARDIS, which had been hidden behind a recording studio somewhere in the back alleys of London. “River must’ve been trying to get inside the TARDIS to get away from them, but she got cornered…” the Doctor turned about and dithered for a moment before pointing the end of the screwdriver down another alley that branched off behind a law office. “There.” The Doctor scurried down the alley, followed by Sherlock and the Winchesters, none of whom ‘scurried’ in any format; they took their time, not wanting to listen to the Doctor’s rambling any longer.
“So when she grabbed John and took off, she would’ve been looking for somewhere we could easily find her, but where she could blend in easily…” The Doctor waved his screwdriver around near the pavement, then laid out flat on the ground and put his ear to the concrete.
“She wouldn’t have had time to disguise herself, much less herself and John,” Sherlock added. “So they couldn’t have gone too far back in time.”
“And the accents, so she would’ve stayed in Britain…” The Doctor pulled a stethoscope out of his jacket and started placing it on bricks in the wall. “Britain, plus the recent past, plus large groups of people, factoring in her hairstyle and clothes… and it all adds up to-” Something in the vicinity let out a loud ding, and the Doctor reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a slip of paper like a receipt. “1970, the Isle of Wight Festival. Brilliant,” he said crisply, folding the paper up and placing it and the stethoscope inside his jacket.
“Weren’t there, like, a million people there?” Dean asked tentatively.
“Upwards of six hundred thousand,” Sam told him matter-of-factly.
“Okay, why do you know that?”
“I took a History of Rock and Roll class at Stanford-”
“That’s all very well and good, Doctor,” Sherlock interrupted the Winchesters, “but how are we supposed to find anyone in that crowd?”
“Well, we’ll trace her signal through the crowd, the vortex manipulator does leave traces when you get close enough to it,” the Doctor said. He pulled himself up to his full height, causing Dean to mutter under his breath about how he didn’t appreciate being the short one here. “We’ll just pop over to Abbey Road and be on our way.”
“Abbey Road? Like, the Abbey Road?” Sam said, suddenly looking highly excited.
“Of course, Abbey Road. I’ll have to take you to meet the Beatles someday. They were quite enjoyable in the early days,” the Doctor said distractedly.
“I didn’t think you listened to the Beatles,” Dean commented to Sam as they trailed behind Sherlock and the Doctor.
“A lot happened at Stanford” was all Sam would say in reply.
Right now, though, Dean and Sam aren’t talking about the Beatles, or Stanford, or any other type of pleasant topic. They’re clinging to brass railings for their life as the TARDIS rocks back and forth through the time vortex. Dean is keeping up a constant dream of fluent cussing, has been doing so for the past five minutes, and doesn’t appear to be stopping any time soon. Sherlock is sitting impassively in one of the chairs built into the railing as the Doctor flails around the center console, bowtie askew and long hair scraggly and tangled.
“Oh, come on, what’s wrong?” the Doctor yells up at the ceiling of the console. “It’s just the 1970s! They’re not that frightening!” He throws a few levers, uses a viewing screen to swing around to the opposite side of the console, and deftly presses five or 6 buttons and kicks a peddle by his right foot.
“Come on, Sexy! You’re fine! You can do it!” The Doctor scrambles to a hatch in the glass floor and jumps down below the deck to find a switch within the wiring.
Dean suddenly stops swearing as he registers the Doctor’s words. “Did he just call this thing… Sexy?”
“You call your car Baby, Dean, it’s really not all that different,” Sam reminds him snidely.
“Shut up,” Dean mutters.
Suddenly, the shuddering and pitching stopped, and the engines of the TARDIS switched off. The Doctor popped his head out of the hatch in the floor, his face blackened and his hair standing straight up off his head. “Well!” he exclaims, clambering out onto the floor. “Looks as though we’ve arrived!”
Dean hears the dull roar of several hundred thousand people all talking at once through the doors of the TARDIS, and below that, the faint echo of drums and electric guitars. “Let’s get going then,” he says, vaguely wondering who is playing right now.
“Hold on just a moment, I’ve got to go pop into the wardrobe and get something for Sherly over here,” the Doctor says sweetly, disappearing through a door set into the wall. If it is possible, Sherlock’s frown becomes even more pronounced and his face even more brooding. Dean starts snickering again, and Sam can practically hear Dean creating more and more nicknames for the consulting detective.
“You can’t wear that coat outside, Sherlock, you’ll get heatstroke,” the Doctor comments, dragging a few hangers behind him. “You’ve got to blend in. Right now…” The Doctor pauses to listen to the faint music for a moment. “Ah, yes, the Doors are playing, and the Who will be on next, then. So this’ll do.” The Doctor pulls a long tunic-type shirt out of the mass of fabric he’d dragged up from the wardrobe- creamy light fabric and colorful paisley embroidery.
Sam and Dean burst into laughter as Sherlock throws a surly look at the two of them. “I am NOT wearing that ridiculous garment.”
“You are if you want to go with us to get John,” the Doctor counters pleasantly. Sherlock stares him down, and when there is no effect, he snatches the tunic from the Doctor and stalks off toward a different room. “You’ll find some other things helpful in there,” the Doctor calls after him. The only response he gets is a slamming door.
“You two are fine,” the Doctor adds, glancing at Sam and Dean. “Denim was very popular in the 70s. Lose the leather jacket for a minute, though, Dean,” he continues, seemingly talking to himself now. “Greasers are very 1950.” Dean and Sam exchange a look and Dean drapes his leather coat over the bronze railings.
Sherlock steps out into the room, now wearing the tunic, as well as a beaded headband he must’ve found. One of the strangest things about his appearance- other than his lack of shoes or a scarf- is how easily he fits into the role of 1970s hippie. “I would appreciate if you two stopped gaping at me,” Sherlock growls, “and if we could get this done as soon as humanly possible.” Sam and Dean quickly avert their eyes.
“Alright then!” the Doctor announces. “Away we go!”
The four men step out of the TARDIS into a thick haze, although this is really only a problem for Dean, as the other three men tower above the layer of smoke. Outside the TARDIS, the music is much more audible, and they can hear the Doors going into an acid-induced freeform section of Light My Fire. “Hey, Sammy,” Dean says suddenly, his eyes lighting up, “d’you think we could get some LSD off these people if we asked?”
Sam shoots him a patented bitch-face before saying, “We could, but now’s not the best time to be experimenting with drugs, Dean.”
The Doctor is fiddling with some kind of detector, which starts beeping and lighting up. The Doctor pivots about on his right foot before choosing a direction to take. “This way, boys,” he says cheerily, setting off through the throngs of swaying people.
This is quite possibly the strangest day of John Watson’s life.
Most people would think he’d have gotten used to bizarre things happening to him- after all, he lived with Sherlock Holmes, and strangeness stuck to him like burrs on a jumper. He’d chased down serial killers, been kidnapped by the Chinese mafia, and had explosives wired to him, he’d traveled with the Doctor and seen many planets, and he’d performed an exorcism, but never before had he been stuck in the 1970s with River Song and a broken vortex manipulator.
They’d found a place to hide for the time being while River attempts to fix her manipulator. “So, River,” John begins, “you said we’re being chased by-”
“Weeping Angels,” River says disgustedly, popping the back panel out of place. “Such a royal pain…”
“But I thought-”
“Alternate reality, rebooted the time stream, I can’t believe this happened again,” she finishes, placing the panel back into the device. The thing lights up for a moment, before sparking violently and smoking a bit. “Ah, no! Come on!” She begins taking the entire manipulator apart to find what the issue is.
John looks around. It’s right at the beginning of the Who’s set, and he can hear the strains of a song called Heaven and Hell echoing toward them. Why can’t we have eternal life and never die, and never die…
This song just serves to remind John why he’d gone out for milk in the first place.
A knock on the door downstairs. John could hear Mrs. Hudson bustling to get it. Sherlock sat at the kitchen table, absorbed in some new kind of experiment, this time involving the difference between brands of cosmetics… or something. Sherlock probably wanted to topple the cosmetic industry single-handedly.
“Boys! You’ve got some visitors!” Mrs. Hudson’s voice echoed up the stairs.
“Go and see who it is, John,” Sherlock says without looking up from his microscope. “I don’t want to waste my time.” John rolled his eyes and went down the stairs, where he was met with one of the strangest trios to come to their door. The man leading them he recognizes, of course- it’s the Doctor, in his usual getup of a tweed jacket, bowtie, and suspenders. John hadn’t expected him to drop in, but honestly, you couldn’t really predict the Doctor most days.
It’s the two men with the Doctor that confused John. One was quite a bit taller than the other- at least a foot- and they both looked as though they’d stepped right out of an American soap opera. It seemed the Doctor made a habit of choosing ridiculously attractive people- sorry, people with above-average appearances- to travel with him. Seriously, the two men standing behind him were just too pretty. Like something off one of Mrs. Hudson’s programs.
John shook his head slightly to clear it. “Doctor,” he began, “what’re you doing-?”
“Well, that’s no way to greet a guest, is it, Doctor Watson?” the Doctor interrupted him, strolling through the door frame. The two men followed him, looking around curiously. The taller one, who had hair that nearly reached his shoulders, was wearing an old plaid shirt, while the shorter one was wearing a leather jacket over a basic T-shirt. The Doctor noticed John observing them and proceeded to introduce them. “John, this is Sam and Dean Winchester,” he said, indicating the taller one and the shorter one, respectively. Sam raised his right hand in greeting, showing a thick scar across the palm, while Dean simply nodded. “Sam, Dean, this is Doctor John Watson. Sam and Dean have a certain… problem,” the Doctor told John, hesitating slightly while the Winchesters exchanged looks. “I believe Sherlock can help them, is he in?”
It took John a moment to find his voice. “Yeah, um, of course he’s in, I’ll… I’ll tell him you’re here.” John trotted back up the stairs to their flat.
Sherlock hadn’t moved a centimeter. “Well, John, who is it and is it important?” he said somewhat impatiently.
“Well…” This was going to be difficult, as the Doctor and Sherlock hadn’t parted on the best of terms. A lot of shouting had occurred. Something about ‘childhood promises’ and ‘new identities’ came up in the process. John really wasn’t eager to repeat that again. “It’s, um, the Doctor. And he’s brought a couple people with him.”
Sherlock went unnaturally still, even for him. “What kind of people?” he asks, and John could hear him trying to keep his voice steady, fairly well, considering the kind of grudge he knew Sherlock could hold.
“They’re called Sam and Dean Winchester… And the Doctor says they need help. That’s honestly pretty much all I know,” John confessed. Hell, he didn’t even know if they were family or a married couple.
Sherlock sighed. “Send them up. I’ll put away the experiment.”
John furrowed his brow in confusion. Sherlock never stopped what he was doing for a client, why were these ones so important? Was it because the Doctor was bringing them? Somehow, he didn’t think so…
He went back down the stairs to find that Mrs. Hudson had served them all tea and biscuits. The Doctor, John knew, loved a good cup of tea, but seemed a bit preoccupied. Sam appeared to have accepted his tea with all the appropriate manners and was now chit-chatting politely with Mrs. Hudson. Dean was staring into his cup as though willing it to become a different drink- if John had to hazard a guess, something much, much stronger.
“Sherlock’s sent me to get you,” John said to no one in general. The Doctor stood, placing his cup back on its saucer and heading over to John. Dean took a few moments to register John’s words, and when he did, knocked back the rest of his tea in one gulp. Sam took up the responsibility of thanking Mrs. Hudson for her kindness.
John led them up the stairs to the flat. “Well,” the Doctor stated, slowly regaining his chipper attitude, “I’ll just go fill Sherlock in, shall I?”
“I don’t know if that’s wise, Doctor-” But the Doctor was already gone. John sighed and glanced back at the Winchesters, who were both looking somewhat lost. On closer inspection, Dean appeared to be sleep-deprived, and Sam had a habit of flicking his eyes into unlikely places as though distracted by things only he could see. The two men must’ve had more on their plate than he first thought.
John couldn’t hear any shouting from inside the flat, so he deemed it safe for the Winchesters to go inside. “Um… come in, please,” he said awkwardly, holding open the door for them. As Dean passed him, he noticed the wad of fabric he was carrying.
Sam smiled slightly at John. “Thanks… John, right?” he said. His voice was fairly deep, but not so deep as to be shocking- after all, the man was built like a car, broad-shouldered and sturdy. He also had an American accent.
“Right.” John wondered at Sam’s behavior for a moment- he was almost unnecessarily polite- but just decided it was a personality thing. Maybe he felt the need to cover for Dean’s near complete lack of manners. John certainly felt the same way about Sherlock.
John could hear Sherlock inside, deducing what he could about the Winchesters, and rolled his eyes in exasperation. It was bound to be an interesting few days.
John leans against a tree trunk as he recalls the rest of the past three days, and sighs. It could take hours, maybe, for River to fix the sonic manipulator.
“They’re this way, the signal’s pointing this way!” A voice echoes over the crowd. It sounds like… but it couldn’t be the-
“Yes, we’re getting very close now,” the voice says again, and this time John is sure of it- it’s the Doctor, he’s here in this time and place and if it’s the Doctor, then it’s Sam and Dean and Sherlock.
The Doctor appears from behind a cluster of teenagers, looking normal except for the ridiculous tie-dyed cloth he has tied around his head, closely followed by Sherlock, who is wearing God knows what, some obnoxious outfit that the Doctor clearly scrounged up, but John doesn’t care, and he’s never been more happy to see Sherlock in his life.
“Sherlock!” John calls out happily, and Sherlock whips his head around, staring right into John’s eyes but not seeing him, somehow. “Sherlock, come on!” John calls, worry building in his chest.
“Can you hear something, Doctor?” Sherlock asks the slightly shorter man concernedly.
“No, I-” The Doctor stares where Sherlock is looking, and stops quite suddenly. He bustles over to where River and John are standing and places a hand on River’s shoulder. It doesn’t pass through her, so she’s solid, and clearly visible, so why can’t Sherlock see-?
River nearly jumps out of her skin. Biting back several ancient Gallifreyan curses, she stands and embraces the Doctor. “You could’ve announced yourself!”
“River, where’s John?” the Doctor asks without preamble.
River tilts her head slightly. “Who?”
“John, River, John Watson,” the Doctor says, a look of understanding coming into his eyes. “I assigned you to protect him at all costs. Where is he?”
“I’m right here!” John says indignantly. Sherlock flicks his eyes toward him, then back to River. Panic starts overtaking John as he realizes that everything River said could’ve easily been to herself. What had happened in the vortex?
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Doctor,” River says, regaining her air of superiority.
The Doctor is silent for a long moment. “It’s the cracks in the universe.”
Sherlock’s eyes grow wide. “You don’t mean-”
“I do. John is here, we just can’t see him. You can hear him, somewhat, like Amy could hear me… but it’s different this time. We can all still remember him,” the Doctor muses, “except you, River.” River just shakes her head.
“Do you think he’s still alive? Still here, somewhere?” Sherlock asks, barely managing to conceal the shaking in his voice. John impulsively reaches out to place a hand on Sherlock’s arm, to comfort him in some way, but his hand just passes through. Sherlock brushes his arm as though a mosquito may have landed on it.
The Doctor studies Sherlock for a moment. “Yes,” he says gently. “I think he’s right here with us, probably shouting at us but we can’t hear him.”
“What do we do?” Sherlock persists.
“Nothing we can do, really,” the Doctor says quietly. “We’ll just have to find the source of the disturbance in time and fix it, and he’ll show up, either here or back at Baker Street.” The Doctor stands awkwardly with the Winchesters before saying, “Well, we ought to get back to the TARDIS, haven’t we?”
“No!” John cries, his voice breaking, because he can’t stand being left here alone, not the least being left here by Sherlock, of all people.
“Yes… just… I’ll be there in a moment,” Sherlock says quietly. The Doctor traipses back to Dean, who exchanges a knowing glance with Sam before accompanying the Doctor back into the crowd.
Sam pauses before following them, placing a hand on Sherlock’s shoulder. “Remember what I said.” Sherlock merely nods and Sam trails after Dean and the Doctor. John wonders what Sam could have possibly told Sherlock that he wouldn’t forget.
Sherlock looks up, right into John’s eyes, and John catches his breath for a moment, because they show so much more emotion than John knew was possible from Sherlock. There is pain, there is anguish, but what’s more, there is something stronger- longing, desire, maybe even… love?
No, John tells himself. Sherlock doesn’t love anyone, and you’re just a friend. Quit fantasizing.
“John?” Sherlock says, his voice shaking slightly. John has never seen Sherlock this broken down, this open with his emotions. “John, please, I can hear you, I know you’re here. Say something, please,” Sherlock pleads into what, for him, is open air, and his voice breaks into a higher octave.
“Sherlock, I’m here,” John says quietly, not needing to yell now.
Sherlock closes his eyes. “I knew it,” he muttered, tears forming under his eyelashes.
“Sherlock?” John reaches out a hand to comfort Sherlock and is shocked when it makes contact with Sherlock’s skin. Sherlock smiles slightly. “How… how can I be touching you? How is this happening?”
“Closing my eyes helps,” Sherlock explains. “Amy told me about a thing like this.”
“Ah.” John remembers Amy Pond, vaguely- she’d had clear blue eyes and dark hair. That’s not the point, though. “Sherlock, you need to go with them, to solve their problem, you know, the one with the world ending,” John tells him, smiling slightly.
“I don’t want to leave you here,” Sherlock whispers, the pain completely obvious in his voice. “I just found you, and I knew something would happen to you, and I don’t want to leave you here, alone, where no one can see you.”
“Sherlock…” John barely knows what to say here. How do you comfort a man who has never shown this level of emotion in the whole year you’ve known him, possibly in his whole life?
Sherlock falls onto his knees in desperation, and John follows him, crouching in front of him, holding his face between his rough, calloused hands. Tears fall over John’s fingers. “Sherlock, I’ll be fine,” John murmurs, leaning his forehead against Sherlock’s. “Go. Save the world. I’ll be waiting for you.”
Sherlock lets out a strange sound, somewhere between a sob and a laugh, and stands, opening his eyes. As he opens his eyes, John’s hands become insubstantial again, passing through his face. He wipes the tears off his face and straightens to his full height before strolling off.
John sees Sherlock pause, turn back and say something, but whatever he says is lost in the crowd and the music. The Who is still playing.
Tommy can you hear me? Can you feel me near you? John murmurs the last lines under his breath.
Tommy can you feel me? Can I help to cheer you?
As Sherlock strolls away from John, he pauses, remembering what Sam told him the night before they left. He turns back and calls to John, “I love you!”
But John isn’t there anymore, and he probably couldn’t hear him, anyway.
Sherlock hears the music echoing over the crowd as he wanders back to the TARDIS. One line catches his ear.
There’s a man I’ve found could remove his sorrow, he lives in this town, let’s see him tomorrow.
“I’ll see him tomorrow,” Sherlock says to himself over the final line of this song.
Chapter 6: Generally Unhelpful
In which there is a massacre, a secret that wasn't really, and angst.
Sherlock Holmes has an IQ of approximately one hundred and fifty-two.
No one’s ever bothered to test him- since his early days, he’s shown a great level of intelligence and excellent observational skills, something Mycroft can attest to. At the age of six, he built his first microscope out of his father’s glasses and a cardboard tube. At eight, he was able to perform complex quantum physics problems in his head. He also told Mycroft their parents were getting a divorce seven days and eleven hours before their parents decided to divorce and nine days and three hours before they told the brothers. (Not that it was a surprise to Mycroft; he’d deduced it approximately two days earlier. This time difference was only a matter of age and practice.)
One thing Sherlock Holmes is not good at, however, is tact.
Lack of tact doesn’t necessarily come with a genius-level IQ; that’s simply a stereotype. Look at Sam Winchester, for instance- he’s got a 122 IQ and is one of the kindest people to exist in the universe. (The Doctor would, in fact, confirm this fact. However, he would also tell you that Sam has a tendency not to use his gifted brain and this often gets him into trouble.) Sherlock has never been good with people. That’s just the way he is.
Which could be a problem for their current job.
Sherlock, Sam, Dean, and the Doctor are travelling to modern-day America in the TARDIS to find the Leviathans’ leader. They’re not sure how to approach finding him- Sam and Dean suggest the usual FBI agent approach, but the Doctor thinks that will be too slow. Sherlock doesn’t much care either way. When he’s not being directly spoken to, he has an odd glazed look in his eyes that many would equate with drug use. The Doctor recognizes it as Sherlock trying to see through time and space to look after John, because he himself has had that look in the past.
Eventually, the Doctor agrees to go with Sam and Dean’s plan of using their normal hunting techniques until he can set his sonic screwdriver to “Leviathan”.
They hear about a slaughter that takes place in the auditorium of the high school in Effingham, Illinois, and proceed to take the Impala to the scene- they were only an hour and a half from the town anyway. Dean finds the name “Effingham” a highly amusing name for a town and spends a good deal of the ride to Illinois snickering.
When they get to the scene, Sam and Dean change into their FBI suits, grab their handguns, and slam the trunk lid before rounding on Sherlock and the Doctor.
“So, I’m not sure how crime scenes work in Britain-” Sam begins.
“-but here in America, you can’t just go spouting off your deductions like you usually would-” Dean interrupts, cutting over Sam.
“-so you two have to follow our lead,” Sam finishes emphatically.
Sherlock grumbles something unintelligible (it sounds quite a bit like he’s saying obviously), but the Doctor puts on a bright smile and exclaims, “Alright then! What is it you’d have us do?”
Sam turns to his brother. “We can say they’re from Scotland Yard,” Dean says, shrugging.
“I’ve got my psychic paper,” the Doctor adds helpfully, pulling out a badge holder that appears to contain a photo ID emblazoned with the words “D.I. John Smith, Scotland Yard”. Sherlock mutely pulls a small ID out of his coat pocket and holds it out to Sam. When he takes it, he reads the name once, then twice, then hands it back to Sherlock carefully.
“Who’s Greg Lestrade?” he asks.
“You took Lestrade’s ID?” the Doctor cries, snatching the ID from Sherlock and inspecting it.
“I was bored,” Sherlock mutters. “And I need it sometimes. Like now, obviously.”
“It’ll work,” Sam said quickly, before the Doctor can launch into a speech about “social code” and “unacceptable behavior” and Sherlock Holmes, this is not the way a proper detective works, so help me, when we get home-
“Let’s get going,” Dean says gruffly, walking toward the police line with the three taller men in tow.
When they get there, the police look a bit surprised at having four men show up to investigate, but allow them in when Sam explains that there have been similar attacks in the U.K. Dean thinks briefly that maybe the British men’s appearances threw them- the Doctor is all smiles and tweed, whereas Sherlock is shrouded in black and brooding. (Sam would point out that the Doctor isn’t actually British; Dean would tell him to shut the fuck up.)
When they approach the scene of the crime, Sam and Dean immediately begin examining a body near the back wall of the auditorium. The Doctor goes slightly pale and mutters something about the amount of blood in the room and wanders over to a curtain on the stage (where, when the slaughter occurred, there had been a fairly bad production of Hairspray, and the lights on set are still flashing rainbow colors) to examine the splatter of brain up the side. He hides his sonic inside his coat so as to not confuse the Illinois police standing around.
Sherlock joins Sam and Dean. “It looks the same as all the others we’ve found since Cas went postal,” Sam remarks, drawing a glare from his elder brother. “You got anything, Sherlock?”
“There were twenty-one victims, mostly members of the play cast, and the Leviathans had been impersonating various members of the school’s staff when they attacked,” Sherlock recited, sounding extremely bored. “There were three couples on the cast, although one was being rather unfaithful, it seems, with his dance partner-”
“I meant about what the Leviathans’ game plan is,” Sam said quickly. Sherlock wrinkles his nose slightly.
“How am I supposed to know that?”
Dean and Sam gape at Sherlock- who always knows what he’s doing- until Sherlock decides to point something out. “This is strange, though, in the remains, there is no sign of a struggle.”
“Dude, they literally spilled their guts, of course there was a struggle,” Dean says slowly and somewhat fearfully, as though Sherlock’s lost his mind.
“No, I mean- look at the patterns, will you?” Sherlock snaps, gesturing at the blood sprays on the floor. “The victims didn’t move while they were being attacked, not an inch. They didn’t fight back or try to stop the Leviathans from tearing them apart.”
“How-” Dean begins, then stops, shaking his head. “Never mind.”
“Why wouldn’t they fight back?” Sam mutters, kneeling by what used to be the head of some poor bastard.
“Possibly they were mentally affected by the presence of the monsters,” Sherlock suggests. “I’ve already taken a sample. We’ve got approximately three minutes and fifty-four seconds before we get arrested for impersonating officers, because they will have looked up Lestrade’s ID on a smart phone. I suggest we are gone before then.”
“…Right.” Sam hurries across the auditorium to get the Doctor, who is attracting suspicious glances from the various police around the stage. The Doctor follows Sam off the stage, practically skipping down the steps (at which the police exchange looks and make comments toward the sanity of the British at large), and the four men exit the auditorium. After they pile into the Impala- Sam and Dean in the front seat, Sherlock and the Doctor in the back- Sherlock pulls a small glass vial from his coat pocket and holds it up to the light to inspect it.
“Is that- is that someone’s brain?” the Doctor stutters, going whiter than a sheet.
“Obviously.” Sherlock swirls the contents of the vial and looks at the light rays refracting through it. “It’s an experiment.”
The Doctor shakes his head slightly and hands Sherlock his sonic screwdriver. “You could find out the composition of the chemical they used,” he says, sounding dazed. “Whatever it was, it wasn’t from this planet.”
“What- you mean like alien?” Sam asks, turning in his seat.
“Possibly. Maybe Purgatory shows up as a different planet on the sonic. I’m not sure.” The Doctor leans back and closes his eyes, looking sick to his stomach.
“Hey, Detective Boy, can you even use that thing?” Dean sneers at Sherlock, who is twirling the sonic screwdriver between his fingers.
“Of course I can. I travelled many years with the Doctor,” Sherlock replies icily, uncorking the vial and pointing the sonic toward its contents. A small ding sounds and Sherlock glances at the inscription displayed on the side panel. Without opening his eyes, the Doctor reaches toward Sherlock for his sonic. “I’m not finished, Doctor. Calm down.”
“You are poking at some poor soul’s brain, how am I supposed to calm down?” the Doctor snaps, finally opening his eyes to glare at Sherlock.
“It was worse on Aneth,” Sherlock says smoothly, producing a long metal poker from inside his jacket and separating something from the mixed brain in the vial.
“That was different,” the Doctor mutters, snatching his screwdriver back. “They were having those horrid trials, and I never picked up the victims’ brains and prodded them.”
“I’m afraid this is necessary, seeing as I found this implanted there,” Sherlock says, holding up a small needle in a gloved hand. “They shot these into the victims’ brains, releasing a toxin that incapacitated them long enough for the Leviathans to have their cake and eat it, too,” he finishes, a slight grin playing the corner of his mouth.
“You are the worst half-alien hybrid I’ve ever had to deal with,” the Doctor groans, leaning forward to cradle his head in his hands. “At least Jenny got a conscience after a bit.”
“Wait, half-what now?” Dean blurts, taking his attention off the road once again.
“Half-alien. Didn’t he tell you? I should think it was obvious,” Sherlock murmurs distractedly, examining the needle.
“One specific alien, really,” the Doctor comments, his voice muffled by his hands.
“Oh my God, don’t tell me-” Sam begins, eyes widening.
“What, can’t see the family resemblance?” the Doctor teases, sitting up and uncovering his face.
“Not particularly,” Dean mutters, moving to fiddle with the radio dial until he finds a classic rock station playing Paranoid by Black Sabbath. Sighing in content, he settles back into his seat, nodding his head to the rhythm. Sherlock rolls his eyes and places the needle in an evidence bag he’d nicked from the local police force. “Don’t you roll your eyes at me, Tall, Dark, and Surly,” Dean says cheerily. “Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cake hole.”
“I’m neither driving nor shotgun,” Sherlock responds somewhat testily as he corks the vial and slips it into his pocket.
“So, if you’re his dad, why’d you name him Sherlock?” Sam asks the Doctor interestedly. The Doctor raises his eyebrows.
“I didn’t. He chose the name himself,” the Doctor explains. “All the Time Lords do.”
“But you said he’s only half-alien,” Dean says, turning down the radio to hear the conversation better.
“Well, I had a name for him, but-” the Doctor begins, only to be interrupted by Sherlock.
“It was a childish name and I grew tired of it.” It’s an effective conversation ender, at least until about half an hour later when Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love comes on the radio and Dean proceeds to sing along for the whole song in his typical tone-deaf voice.
The brief trip into the place in his mind where he makes deductions leaves Sherlock slightly more relaxed than before, but it’s not long before his mind turns back to John- John, stranded in psychedelic 1970, John, who believes whole-heartedly that Sherlock is able to get him back.
Sherlock doesn’t think he can get John back. Not if they take down the Leviathan.
In that way that no one else understands, Sherlock’s brain has made the connection between the Weeping Angels that caused River and John to flee to the Isle of Wight, the rift in space and time that made John invisible to all present apart from Sherlock, and the Leviathan’s plan for world domination. And it’s not pretty or nice for anyone involved.
Sherlock realizes he’s been staring out the back passenger side window for approximately twenty-seven minutes when Dean stops his car in the shed where Frank had hidden it and the music on the radio turns off abruptly. (Sherlock understands Dean’s taste in music is a reflection of his need to please his father, but he doesn’t take to why anyone would like it, really.) Sam looks at him concernedly before ducking under the doorframe to exit the car, and Sherlock follows in a kind of daze.
It’s been about thirteen hours since they left John. Or approximately forty-two years. Sherlock uses both time spans to define how far he is from John and finds there is no difference in the longing and pain that effuse him. He left John because he couldn’t save him.
“Sherlock.” The Doctor’s voice- a voice he’s known since birth- cuts across his dream-like state of mind and demands to be listened to. “I know what you’re thinking, that you’re to blame for what’s happened to John-”
“Because I am.”
“But you’re not.” Sherlock looks into the eyes of his father, who is so different than the one who was really his father, and frowns. “If anyone’s to blame, it’s me. I sent John off with River-”
“To keep him safe, which obviously I’m not capable of doing-”
“Sherlock Holmes, you listen to me when I’m talking to you!” Sherlock steps back in alarm, barely noticing the Winchesters’ nearly identical looks of shock at the Doctor’s anger. “No blame has fallen on you. Do you understand? You have done nothing to harm John. The fault is mine.”
“You always take the blame. You took the blame for Amy, for Donna, for Sarah Jane and Rose-” the Doctor makes an indescribable noise of anger and Sherlock changes tack at light speed. “And those faults were not yours to take, at least not entirely; do you not see this as hereditary?”
The Doctor looks at him sadly, though there is still anger in his eyes. “You were always the better of me,” he says quietly enough that Sam and Dean can’t hear him. “Don’t change that now.”
“It’s far too late for that,” Sherlock murmurs back. “I’m sorry.”
The Doctor shakes his head and pulls the keys to the TARDIS out of his tweed coat before turning to the Winchesters and putting on his huge patented grin and saying, “Alright, boys, let’s get going back to Baker Street, Sherlock’s got some analyzing to do and we’ve got a rift in the space-time continuum to sort out!” Sam and Dean look taken aback at this but quickly file into the police box, where River has been waiting since they got her from the Isle of Wight. (River is somewhat disillusioned, and keeps insisting that she fled the Weeping Angels alone; everyone else present knows this is not the case.)
Sherlock takes a moment to sort himself out before following them into the TARDIS.
It’s been a long time since he’s seen that kind of anger from his father.
The Doctor never raises his voice. His anger is confined to lowered voices and menacing growls. In a way, it’s the worst possible way he could express this, because shouting matches and physical contact don’t make you feel as though you’ve let down the entire universe.
Actually, that’s not true. He raises his voice out of frustration, but not anger.
The Doctor hadn’t been angry when he came to Baker Street after losing Rose in a parallel universe. He’d come to seek comfort. But at the time, Sherlock had been incapacitated by drug use, unable to show affection for the man who’d abandoned him. John Watson had come in to find the Doctor and Sherlock standing to their full heights, shouting words at each other that didn’t make much sense, and Sherlock had collapsed under the strain of the opiates in his bloodstream.
It had been a stressful night, to say the least. The Doctor was gone when Sherlock woke up.
John Watson knows nearly as much about Sherlock’s past as Sherlock knows about his. The Doctor told him everything of Sherlock’s childhood that he hides from all others. He doesn’t bring it up.
The problem is that Sherlock knows that John knows. And it unsettles him to be vulnerable, even to John, because it upsets the delicate appearance he’s been putting on for the crowds and the newspapers. That appearance (which Dean could immediately see was complete and utter bullshit on Sherlock’s part) requires him not to have emotional attachments. It has him in a cold, hard shell, preventing the normal relationships people have. This isn’t Sherlock’s nature, but he’s always been an actor, and with the way the press is these days, one’s entire life is the stage.
So Sherlock acts. He plays his roles and rarely, if ever, lets his guard down. But he really does care for the people he works with, the people he solves crimes for, and his family.
Mycroft would say that caring is not an advantage. The Doctor would say otherwise- that caring is the best advantage you could have.
Sometimes Sherlock wishes he didn’t have to act.
Chapter 7: Breakdown For The Takedown
In which you get some explanations... sort of. MUAHAHAHA.
It wasn’t the first one-night stand the Doctor ever had, but it was a memorable one.
He’d been newly regenerated after an encounter with some Aridians, and he was just getting used to his ninth regeneration. He was enjoying the haircut- it would be easy to manage- but ugh, the ears.
Her name had been Violet. She’d been very pretty, all strawberry-blond hair and bright green eyes, when the Doctor saved her from the threat of death by vaporization at the hands of a particularly violent group of Sycorax- Sycoraxes? Sycoraxi? Or maybe just Sycorax? No one really knows- and took her home in the TARDIS.
Strange things happen in the TARDIS sometimes. Well, quite often, really.
In any case, Violet had left the next morning with a big smile and the words “don’t be a stranger” on her lips. The Doctor had known that he’d never see her again-
-at least until about three months later, when he got a call from her. She actually called him from her landline in the mid-seventies to break the news.
Violet was pregnant.
He’d sped off back to 1975 as quickly as possible, only he got sidetracked by a load of escaped prisoners from an intergalactic prison in the year 17435, and landed in 1976, where he found Violet nine months pregnant.
“I thought you’d never come,” she says, a huge smile on her lips. “They all said you wouldn’t come.”
“Looks like I proved them wrong,” he says back, holding out his hand, which she takes.
The Doctor had taken her to the best hospital in all of space and time, on New New Earth many thousand years from her time, but even the best doctors can’t keep everyone alive. Violet died in his arms, leaving him with a newborn and a swirling storm of rage and guilt that wasn’t calmed until he met Rose Tyler many years later.
He’d called the baby- his son- simply “the Child”, because he would be part Time Lord, and would be allowed to choose his own name as soon as he could comprehend the concept. The Child lived with him in the TARDIS until he was three, at which point he’d begun calling himself “Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All” as a joke, and also because he enjoyed thunderstorms and liked being called “Stormy”. (Stormy managed to escape the TARDIS once, but the Doctor found him quickly enough, and didn’t learn where he’d been until his eleventh regeneration- living with Craig in modern day Britain.) The Doctor would smile and laugh, but in reality the name frightened him, because it reminded him far too much of another Time Lord, one who had stepped off the marked path and died in his arms.
When Stormy was three, the Doctor took him aside.
“I’ve arranged for you to live with someone else for a while,” the Doctor says, trying to sound cheery while falling apart inside.
“What d’you mean?” Stormy asks suspiciously.
“It’s too dangerous for you to stay with me for a while. I’ll come back for you,” he adds quickly, when Stormy begins shaking his head in panic, his dark curls bouncing above his clear blue eyes. “I promise, I’m not leaving you. I might not look the same, but I’ll always come back.”
“I want to stay with you.”
“You can’t,” the Doctor says with finality. “You could get hurt, or die. I don’t want that to happen. There’s a very nice family in London willing to take you in.”
“I don’t want to live in London, I want to live here!”
“Stormy.” The Doctor takes his son by the shoulders and holds him at arm’s length. “You have to. I’m sorry.”
Tears are cascading down Stormy’s face by this point, and the Doctor cradles him against his chest. “Father, I don’t want to.”
“I know.” The Doctor gives Stormy a moment to calm down, then continues, “Their last name is Holmes. You’ll have an older brother, his name is Mycroft. What would you like your name to be?”
Stormy thinks about this for a moment, then his face settles as he decides upon a name. “Sherlock.”
The Doctor left Stormy- Sherlock- at the doorstep of the Holmes’ estate, where a seven-year-old boy had opened the door to meet him. Sherlock had looked back, but by that point the Doctor was gone.
Sherlock Holmes eventually made a vow never to love anyone as he had his father again, and the Doctor never stopped blaming himself for that.
No one currently in the TARDIS really likes talking about their childhoods. It’s understandable, seeing as they were all fairly traumatic.
Birds of a feather flock together, I guess.
On their way back to England, Sherlock is silent. This would be normal for him if he didn’t look quite so deathly pale. More pale than usual, anyway. The Winchesters just take turns looking worried and River starts cursing at the Doctor under her breath.
Sherlock doesn’t notice; he’s too busy remembering the various visits from his father during his childhood. When he’d escaped the TARDIS as an infant, he had been met by his eleventh regeneration in Craig’s house, and his ninth regeneration had taken him home. The time before his father had met Rose, still in his ninth regeneration, he’d been ten. The time after he’d lost Rose, he’d been fifteen. He’d been in his tenth regeneration, and Sherlock had been reluctant to believe that he’d been the same person, but in the end, the evidence had been obvious. When Sherlock turned 20 and had gotten into his habit of taking heroin, his father had visited in his tenth regeneration again and been… well, not angry, but disappointed. This was the reason he had gotten clean the first time.
It hadn’t taken very long for Sherlock to fall back into his habits, so that by the time he turned 25, it was a full-on issue. Lestrade, bless his soul, had taken a liking to Sherlock and helped get him clean permanently. Lestrade had later found a note on his doorstep, written in deep blue ink on thick paper, with the simple message “Thank you” inscribed on it.
John Watson had been a presence in Sherlock’s life the most recent time the Doctor had come to Sherlock’s door. There had been a lot of arguing and shouting, mostly over Sherlock’s life habits and the life he could have had, until finally the Doctor had left and Sherlock had sat on the couch, not speaking to anyone, for a day and a half. John had had to send any clients and visitors away.
Sherlock doesn’t like the feeling of disappointing his father. It’s worse than any anger could be.
When the TARDIS stops at Baker Street, everyone exits and Dean pulls Sherlock aside on the pretext of needing to get something from the bag he’d left in the flat.
“He’s not disappointed in you,” Dean says urgently, knowing that Sam is probably suspicious already.
“Excuse me?” Sherlock raises an eyebrow and removes his coat and scarf.
“The Doctor. Your dad. He’s not disappointed in you, whether you think that or not.”
Sherlock shakes his head. “He’s been disappointed in me since I turned three.” He draws out the vial from inside his coat and moves into the kitchen, where the microscope sits on the table.
“No, see, I know that look. I always thought my dad didn’t want me around, and that’s why I did what I did- I took care of Sam, I listened to his music, I dressed like him. It didn’t matter, because Dad never did feel that way,” Dean explains. Sherlock looks at Dean- who’s at eye-level now that he’s seated- and takes in the new information. Dean’s telling the truth.
“And I know you think whatever happened to John is your fault, but the Doctor’s right, it’s not.” Dean frowns, remembering something. “Cas went off the deep end, not just because his plan was stupid and dangerous, but we didn’t try to help him. I’ve been replaying it over and over and really, everyone’s to blame. It’s a different thing with you, you couldn’t have known what was going on.”
Sherlock shakes his head and buries his face in his hands. He feels like he’s been losing his ability to bottle his emotions and form intelligent statements since the Winchesters showed up.
“I can’t help thinking… that I could have done something,” Sherlock says finally, gesturing agitatedly.
“You know, uh, this one guy I know, he’d be better suited for advice here, I think,” Dean says, grinning. “He’d say something like, Well, you couldn’t do nothin’, so stop thinkin’ about it and get on savin’ the damn world. Idgit.”
“Id… jit?” Sherlock asks, slowly rolling the word over his tongue.
“It’s just what Bobby does,” Dean explains. “I’m an idgit, you’re an idgit, Sam’s an idgit, everyone’s an idgit.”
“Ah,” Sherlock says uninterestedly. He turns back to the table where the microscope in waiting for him to examine the contents of the vial. Dean gives up and turns to leave.
“Dean.” He turns back to see Sherlock looking away from him. “Thank you.”
“Um…” Dean is completely taken aback, because everything he’s heard from Sherlock since they met hasn’t sounded sincere or thankful in any way. “No problem, man.”
“Yes it was. It’s always hard to convince someone they’re wrong,” Sherlock corrected him. “Especially myself.”
“Yeah, well, you really are pretty stubborn, aren’t you.” Sherlock smirks and continues preparing his newest experiment. Dean knows Sherlock is back under his mask and exits the flat, rejoining Sam and the Doctor outside the front door.
Of course, he’s made himself think now- what he said to Sherlock is all completely true. Sherlock couldn’t have helped John, but Dean could’ve helped Cas, back then and now.
Dean is sure he can help Cas in some way. Anything.
Back inside the flat, Sherlock is on the same wavelength, but it’s taken a turn for the worse- he’s sure Dean can’t save Castiel, and he can’t save John, and nothing good will come out of this. It would be better for everyone if Castiel died, so as to end his suffering, if John could simply-
But the thought hurts too much. A universe where John doesn’t exist is a universe Sherlock refuses to live with. He knows Dean won’t rest, won’t forgive himself until Castiel is back safe with him.
Maybe all things don’t have to come to an end.
The Doctor knows what Dean and Sherlock are talking about- of course he does. He also knows things that he can’t tell anyone else, especially the people travelling with him at the moment.
He knows the Leviathan’s origins, how they operate, and how to kill them. He knows why John is trapped, why River can’t remember, and how to get him back.
Neither are anything good for anyone concerned.
Knowledge is a terrible burden, and no one knows that better than the Doctor.
Chapter 8: Our Bond Will Break
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Location: Casper, Wyoming. The TARDIS flickers into view with a familiar sound of rushing air and pumping engine, hidden safely behind an abandoned warehouse, out of view of the cars speeding by on Interstate 25. They’re here on a lead, an honest-to-God lead: a radical religious group, headed by a suspiciously familiar man in a trenchcoat, has been terrorizing various locations about the town, creating an Anonymous-esque controversy among the residents. The death toll is small- only one man has died, and the coroners have proven that a heart attack was the cause- and many people are secretly supporting the group’s actions.
“Tell us what you saw,” Dean says to the young receptionist who is currently living under police protection. The Doctor isn’t with them, thank God- he’s back at the TARDIS, trying to fill River in on everything she’s forgotten (including John Watson).
She looks around nervously. “I can’t tell you, I told the police that. They’ll come find me.”
Sam sighs almost inaudibly before leaning forward slightly. They’re at the girl’s home, sitting on musty couches and chairs, a table separating the Winchesters from her. “Look, Ms. Jackson- can I call you Maria?” She nods. “Maria, you have to tell us what you saw. Lives might be at stake here.”
Maria is sitting with her arms and legs crossed, a classic display of nervousness, but when Sam speaks, she uncrosses her arms and begins to speak. “There- there was this man, I’m sure you’ve seen him on the news, the one in the trenchcoat.”
“Can you describe him for us?” Dean asks, taking out a notebook on the pretext of writing a description down. Sam glances at his brother, notes the way his hands are shaking just slightly, and doesn’t mention it.
“Black hair,” she says. “Blue eyes. And the way he held himself- he was just… powerful. He knew it, too. When he came into the office, he called himself ‘God’.”
Dean’s face is pale, so Sam takes the next question. “You work at Advanced Unified International, correct?” She nods again. “Do you have any idea why he wanted to speak to your boss?”
Maria shakes her head. “No, I just know that- that I heard what they were saying. He said that what the company was doing was immoral, and that he had to be- had to be punished-” She breaks down in tears at the memory. “Mr. Jones never hurt anyone! I don’t understand why he died!”
“Ms. Jackson- Maria.” Dean seems to be back to normal. “You do understand, don’t you, that Aaron Jones died of a heart attack, not of any unnatural cause?”
“No, he can’t have, it’s not possible, the man must’ve done something to him-” Maria’s words become unintelligible as she begins sobbing in earnest. Dean looks at Sam, points to him meaningfully, mouths the words ‘all you, man’, then stands and goes to speak to one of the police guards watching the house. Sam sighs and moves to the other side of the table to kneel in front of Maria.
“Hey, Maria, look at me.” She shakes her head into her hands. “Maria,” Sam insists, placing a hand on her knee. “We’re working on the case as quickly as we can. We won’t let him get to you, I promise. Do you believe me?”
She looks up, somewhat startled, and nods slowly. “Mr. Jones’ death wasn’t your fault,” Sam continues. “We’re investigating it now. Get some sleep.” Sam stands and joins Dean, ignoring the stare of the woman at his back. “Let’s go.”
They rejoin the Doctor at the police station, where a fairly nonplussed deputy is conversing with the Time Lord. They get there just in time to hear, “You’re from Scotland Yard?”
“Yes, and I’m working with the FBI. I’m waiting for my partners- oh, there you are,” he says happily, turning to see Sam and Dean walk in the double glass door.
Dean pulls out his FBI badge. “FBI. I’m Special Agent Barrett, this is my partner, Special Agent Gilmour,” he begins, gesturing to Sam. “And our partner from Scotland Yard, Detective Inspector Smith. We’d like to speak with your police chief.”
The deputy blinks a few times, then presses a button on the counter behind the desk. A buzzer goes off from somewhere in the office. “Um, sir, the FBI’s here, they’d like to speak with you.”
“Send them back,” a gruff voice answers. The deputy gestures vaguely for the three of them to follow him. They enter a small office at the end of the hallway.
“Agents,” the chief greets them. “I hope Deputy Lewis wasn’t too much trouble.”
“Not at all,” the Doctor replies. “He was very helpful.”
The chief appears startled at the Doctor’s accent, so the Doctor continues to speak, pulling out is psychic paper. “DI Smith, Scotland Yard. I’m working on the cult case with the FBI.”
“Britain’s having the same problems we are?” the chief asks, a slightly contemptuous tone to his voice.
Before the Doctor can elaborate, Sam interrupts. “Can you enlighten us as to what those problems are, exactly?”
“Ain’t you seen the news, boy?”
Sam represses the urge to smack the derision out of the chief’s voice and replies with surprising smoothness. “The media doesn’t always tell the whole truth, Chief. You of all people should know that.”
“You could start by showing us some security tapes,” Dean suggests.
The chief sighs and presses a buzzer identical to the one behind the front counter. “Lewis, get the tapes from the cult case and show them to the Agents.” Within two minutes, the deputy is in the office with a large box, and Dean follows him out of the office.
“Now, Agent,” the chief says, leaning forward and putting his elbows on his desk. “You want to know what I know about this cult?”
“That’s the general idea,” Sam answers.
“Well, I can tell you that the cult all follows one person,” the chief begins. “I can tell you that we’ve identified the leader as a Mr. James Novak, of Pontiac, Illinois. Other than that, I can’t tell you anything useful. I don’t know why Novak is acting in this way, I don’t know why people follow him, I don’t know his next target, and I have absolutely no idea why the FBI cares so much.” This is followed by a pointed glare at Sam.
“Can we get the reports on the targets he’s hit recently?” The chief rolls his eyes but stands and opens a file drawer.
“Six attacks, and only one related death,” he says, throwing down a stack of files. “Can I do anything else?” His tone clearly indicates that he’s only saying this out of courtesy. Sam takes the hint.
“No, but if we think of something, we’ll call you,” Sam replies, standing and taking the Doctor with him out of the office. Dean is watching the security tapes with a mildly haunted expression. A familiar man in a trenchcoat is strolling into a corporate office.
“It’s definitely Cas,” Dean says softly. The look on his face, somewhat wistful and full of pain, hurts Sam on a deep level.
“Except it’s not really,” he decides to say, reaching out and turning off the television. “It’s the Leviathan.”
“For all intents and purposes, Sam, he is still Castiel,” the Doctor interrupts. “A hostage in his own body.”
“What do we do?” Dean asks the Doctor, doing his best to look determined and not terrified for Cas’ life.
“I don’t know, Dean.” The Doctor takes the tape out of the player- it’s actually a tape- and aims his sonic screwdriver at it. “In any case I’m afraid that the chances of getting Castiel out of this alive are very, very slim.” The Doctor glances up from his hands, taking in Dean’s expression. “I assume you’d rather not know the details.”
“It doesn’t matter. Normal odds don’t apply to us,” Dean reminds him, taking the keys to the Impala from Sam and walking to the door.
“I want you to be prepared for the worst,” the Doctor calls after him, hurrying to catch up with the Winchesters’ long strides. “Look at me- if we can’t save him, we have to take him down. Castiel wouldn’t want-”
Dean spins suddenly to face him. “Don’t tell me what Cas would or wouldn’t want,” he snaps. “Don’t pretend to know him better than I do.”
The Doctor looks startled. “Dean-”
“I am not going to lose him again,” Dean seethes, pulling closer to the Doctor so as to be more threatening. “I would rather face Hell alone than let him slip away.”
"Dean," Sam says quietly, because a couple of the officers are looking their direction with curiosity. "Let's go." To Sam's extreme relief, Dean allows him to get a strong grip on his jacket sleeve to pull him toward the exit. Dean fumbles in his pocket for a moment and pulls out a set of car keys, which he places in Sam's hand. Sam looks at him questioningly.
"Don't think I should be driving," Dean mutters. Sam's just thankful that he didn't have to say it.
They park the car outside of a small Catholic church near the center of the city. The leader of their church, Robert Anderson, has been particularly outspoken about the Word of God over the past couple of months, but his ideology is far displaced from what they think Castiel will place as his gospel. After all, Dean and Sam know him better than anyone, and they've put the information together quite quickly. Out of three locations- the church, a mini-mall, and a single man on the corner of East 12th and South McKinley- the Doctor has determined that the church is the only one with any possible chance.
So they wait. And while they wait, Sam and the Doctor finally get around to wondering aloud why the Leviathan would do these things- incite terror on a (relatively) small scale, instead of, I don't know, destroying the planet.
"Seriously, though," Sam argues. "Here he is just scaring a congregation of a Catholic church in freaking Wyoming. From what you've told us, he could be doing so much more- teaming up with an alien race or something-"
"Why on Earth would he do that, Sam?" The Doctor pulls out a burner phone when it buzzes. “He could do that, yes, but he won’t, not while he can keep Castiel as a host- he can do many things with an angel at his hands. Destroy Heaven, spread incurable epidemics… and make Dean watch him control his best friend.” Sam glances at Dean, who is very pointedly not paying their conversation any attention. The Doctor lowers his voice. “The Leviathan is ancient, cunning, and very well versed in the art of manipulation. We have to be careful.”
The flutter of wings precedes the arrival of the angel, who walks with a purpose toward the door of the church. The three men watch closely, ready to intervene should he become violent. But before he reaches the door…
He stops. “You don’t have to hide from me,” he murmurs, turning his head toward the place where they are hidden from sight. “I mean you no harm.”
“Son of a bitch,” Sam whispers. Dean moves to make himself known, and Sam grabs the edge of his sleeve. “What the hell are you doing?”
“He knows we’re here,” Dean hisses back. “There’s no point in hiding.”
“That’s absolutely right, Dean,” Castiel- no, the Leviathan- replies. “I won’t harm you. Unless, of course, you try to kill me… but I don’t believe you’re here to do that.”
Dean steps out of hiding, followed closely by Sam and the Doctor. “You’ve brought someone,” Castiel says with a conversational tone. “The Doctor, the Oncoming Storm. Aren’t so victorious now, are you, Time Lord?”
“What is he talking about?” Sam asks the Doctor under his breath. Instead of answering, the Doctor addresses the Leviathan masquerading as Castiel.
“That was a long time ago, Leviathan,” he begins. “That has no business here.”
Castiel grins wickedly. “On the contrary- it has a great deal of business here.”
“Cas,” Dean blurts out suddenly. “Cas, please, you have to stop this.”
Castiel raises his eyebrows, looking very shocked. “Stop this? Stop… what?” The evil grin returns gradually. “I’m not sure what you mean, Righteous Man.”
Dean steps back. “That’s not Castiel,” the Doctor whispers urgently. “It’s Leviathan.”
Dean looks at the Doctor, tortured. “Then how-”
“Then how do I know that?” Castiel finishes his question. He shakes his head. “Because it’s me, Dean, can’t you tell?” Castiel widens his eyes and tilts his head, and suddenly he’s Cas, his Cas, his angel. “Why would you believe him and not me?” he continues, stepping forward. “You barely know him.”
Dean’s brain is a whirlwind of conflicting thoughts and emotions- instincts screaming at him to run away, emotions telling him to stay, sight telling him it’s really Cas (he’s actually here, how can it be true), and logic telling him that there’s no way it could be- and he can barely form words. “Cas, please,” Dean manages (maybe if I say his name enough I can get through to him, why can’t he see?). “You’re not yourself, you have to give up the power.”
Castiel’s face sours suddenly. “You’ve replaced him. How can I use this face against you if you’ve replaced him?”
The Doctor realizes what’s going to happen a split second before it does, and all he can manage to do is point his sonic screwdriver in the general direction of the Leviathan before it breaks into movement with a snap of his fingers.
Dean hits his knees, the world spinning around him, and Sam and the Doctor are immobilized. Castiel- no, not Castiel- looks at the Doctor and puts on his best judging face. “Nice try, Raggedy Man,” he coos, plucking the sonic from between his fingers. “But you’re losing your touch; the years must be catching up to you. Oh, did I forget to mention… I've got Amelia Pond now." The Doctor can't move, can't speak, but the rage in his eyes is nearly tangible. "You should hear how she screams for you to save her. Her Raggedy Man, how precious."
By now Dean has managed to regain some control of his body, though his vision is still a bit impaired. He pushes up onto one foot just as Castiel turns back to him. "Ah, ah, ah, we can't be having any of that," the angel chastises him, kicking Dean directly in the chest so that his whole body is moved back. Dean lands on his back and automatically curls into his side in pain, gravel digging into his cheek, and he thinks that he's broken his wrist, and maybe all of his ribs as well. "Come on, now, get up. On your feet. You were always a fighter, Dean," Leviathan-Cas mocks him, moving around to his front as Dean struggles onto all fours. Castiel kneels and cups Dean's chin in his hand.
"You won't hurt me, will you," the Leviathan says quietly, quiet enough that Sam and the Doctor (still immobilized, watching the scene in horror) can't hear him. "You can't fight against this face, not when you're so afraid that you'll hurt him. You know he's in here, still?" The Leviathan leers at Dean, so close, too close, uncomfortably close, and Cas always had problems with personal space, but this isn't Cas, it can't be-
"No," the Leviathan corrects him. "Not anymore." And he shifts his grip on Dean's chin and throws him, and he hits the ground on his back and, more specifically, the back of his head.
So, why Wyoming, you may ask? (More like WHYoming amirite) Well, I meant to put the church in Topeka, Kansas, but as I was writing, I realized that's where the Westboro Baptist Church is. So, Wyoming.
Chapter 9: All Systems Go
Leviathan-Cas disappears and Sam can move again, thank God, and he rushes forward to Dean where he’s lying on the ground, unconscious. “Dean,” he mutters, “Come on, man, wake up.”
Dean blinks awake and looks up into Sam’s face blearily. “Not Cas,” he croaks through an injured neck. “Just… using his face.”
“I know. I’m sorry, Dean.” Sam goes to help Dean into a sitting position, but Dean pulls his hand away from his. “Your wrist-”
“I’m fine.” Dean pushes up without any help from his brother. “We’ve got to find him. We have to kill him, he won’t stop.”
“He’s got Amy,” Sam murmurs, glancing at the Doctor. “And his sonic.” The Doctor hasn’t moved since being released other than to stare at the ground the Leviathan walked on. They can almost taste his rage.
“Doc,” Dean says. “We gotta go.”
“Right- right, of course. Leviathan. Come on, then.” He strolls off toward the TARDIS, and Sam and Dean exchange a look before following.
“Maybe Cas being dead is a good thing,” Dean says finally, causing Sam to look up in wonder. “I mean…” Dean clears his throat uncomfortably. “It’s better to know he’s not there than to know he’s there and I just can’t get to him, you know?”
“Yeah.” Sam ducks his head again, fiddling with a bit of string in his hands, trying to ignore Lucifer. “What about him?” he asks, nodding his head at the Doctor, who is staring into the console.
“I’m probably gonna go to Hell- again- for saying this, but…” Dean shifts his weight. “The Doctor being angry is almost the best thing we could hope for.”
“Are you saying that Amy being kidnapped is a good thing?” Sam’s tone is incredulous.
“No- God, no- but since she is, the Doctor’s so angry that he won’t stop until he’s got her back. And the only way to get her back-”
“-is through the Leviathan,” Sam finishes, suddenly understanding. “So it’s good that he’s angry-”
“Because he’ll do whatever it takes to bring them down,” Dean answers. “And now I don’t have any reason not to let him.” The finality of the statement strikes Sam deep.
“What about John?” Sam asks after a moment. “Sherlock won’t let us harm him.”
“We don’t know that,” Dean says uncertainly. “Sherlock thinks through things like a machine. If it comes down to saving the world or saving John, he’ll do the math.”
“Do you think he’s capable of that?”
“He’ll have to be.”
Sherlock is doing exactly what Dean thinks he is. He’s calculating the risks. And when it comes down to it-
“We can’t save John,” Sherlock says, causing the Doctor to look up at him. “That cannot be our priority.” The Doctor doesn’t respond. Sherlock knows why- someone’s been captured by the Leviathan, and given all the possibilities, it can only be one person. Amelia Pond.
“Doctor, I know you’re upset,” Sherlock tries, moving around the console closer to him. “I know what happened to her. But the world, everything on it, that has to be our priority.”
“She’s still on this planet,” the Doctor mutters. “We can get to her, and we can get to John. It’s just a matter of finding out what they want with them.”
“They must be working with someone else, something else, there’s got to be a reason-”
“Father.” The Doctor stops dead and looks at Sherlock. “Please. It’s hard enough.”
The Doctor sits back in a chair on the edge of the platform. “I’m sorry. I didn’t think.” Sherlock takes over the controls at the console and the machine runs a little quieter under his command. “You called me Father,” he says quietly, almost to himself. “You haven’t called me that since…”
“I know.” Sherlock pulls a handle the Doctor usually ignores and the trademark engine noise dies down.
The Winchesters look over. “Are we there?” Dean calls.
“No, he’s just turned off the emergency brakes,” the Doctor replies. He returns his attention to Sherlock. “But what you said… there is still hope, Sherlock. You must always remember that. There is always hope.”
“I never put stock in intangible things,” Sherlock murmurs.
“Maybe you should start.”
1970, the Isle of Wight, halfway through Jimi Hendrix’s set. No one can see the Englishman leaning against a tree in the back of the crowd. If they could, they would notice only a few things about him, the first being his knit jumper- who in their right mind would wear that in this heat?- and the second being his expression.
After that, they wouldn’t want to notice anything else about him, because they would feel guilty just looking him in the eye. The look on his face is one of pain. It’s one of despair. And above all, it’s one of certainty. What he’s certain of, only he and one other man know, and that other man is currently forty years in the future, moving toward what will become this man’s death, or worse.
No one really wants to know the “or worse”. He’s trying not to think about it.
Halfway through Jimi Hendrix’s set. It’s been a whole day. The Isle of Wight wouldn’t necessarily be his favorite place to spend what could potentially be all of eternity, but there could be worse places. Milton Keynes, for one, or anywhere in America. He grins to himself reluctantly. Yes, spending eternity in the vast expanses of the American plains would be far worse.
If anyone could see this man, they’d hear him speaking. “Come on, John, pull it together,” he says to himself, shaking his head. “They’ll be back. They have to be.” Who’s coming back for him? Why wouldn’t they come back? It’d be a mystery to anyone, if they could hear him.
But they can’t.
No one can.
Dean is right, of course- the Doctor is far more efficient when he's angry. Over the next two days, he works non-stop on narrowing down the Leviathan feedback signal to track them more accurately and on analyzing Sherlock's test results from the sample they'd taken. Dean and Sam originally try to help him, but he's a whirlwind, and he won't stop for anyone, so they back down.
Two days. More accurately, 43 hours, 17 minutes and 32 seconds. A screen pops up a small window on the TARDIS console, with a species name on it. They hear him muttering to himself from where he's standing, head bowed, and cautiously make their way into the room.
"Doctor?" Sam asks quietly. The Doctor takes no notice of him.
"No, no, no, this can't be right, they're dead now, they died out years ago," the Doctor says frantically, throwing switches all around the screen and becoming louder as the result continues to flash from the screen without change. "It can't be right!"
"Who is it?" Sherlock strolls right up to the base of the console and physically turns his father away from the screen. "Tell me."
"It's the Daleks," he whispers. "The Daleks have returned."