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A Picturesque Meeting - Sherlock's POV

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Sherlock stood by the hotel lake, sulking slightly. He had come outside to explore, but had soon found that while the lake at sunset may be what some people (not him) might call “beautiful,” it had little to offer in the way of intrigue. If he had had more time, he might have been able to explore more of the park, but Mycroft was insisting he attend dinner at the hotel restaurant. Dull!

Sherlock’s sulk was interrupted when he suddenly felt a prickling on the back of his neck, as if sensing a presence behind him. He stiffened, whipped around, and almost gasped at the sight in front of him. Sherlock found himself face-to-face with a man perhaps five years older than himself, whose blond hair perfectly complemented his deep blue eyes. He was short, but appeared strong and sturdy, and held himself with confidence. Even in a suit that was terribly out of fashion, Sherlock thought he was the most handsome man he had ever seen.

As Sherlock took in the man’s appearance, deductions started to fly through his head, and he let them out without hesitation. “You’re a doctor, always wanted to be one, but now are dissatisfied with what you’ve found to be a completely boring occupation. Just broke up with a beau, too, but you’re hoping to start a new romance soon. In fact, you already have a woman in mind, and you came here hoping to woo her. Interesting.” Disappointing too. Sherlock would have preferred the man to be unattached. However, his disappointed was quickly replaced with confusion at his next deduction. “And there’s something else…something strange…you’re not from around here, but where?” Sherlock narrowed his eyes, thinking hard, before suddenly widening them in realization. This must be the man Mycroft warned me about. “Oh!” he exclaimed. “It’s you, isn’t it?”

“Um, what?” the man said.

Sherlock furrowed his brow in confusion. Maybe it wasn’t him after all? But Sherlock had been so sure… “Isn’t it?” he asked again.

The man hesitated a moment, then responded, “Yes.” Sherlock felt butterflies fill his stomach in a mixture of excitement and nerves at the confirmation. This man was going to change his life. Naturally, he was intrigued, but if he was honest with himself, he was frightened as well. Mycroft had always made it sound as if this man would bring harm to Sherlock.

The man was looking at him gently. “I’m sorry if I startled you when I came up behind you,” he said.

“I wasn’t startled,” Sherlock lied, perhaps too quickly.

The man opened his mouth to respond, but before he could get a word out, a familiar voice snapped, “Sherlock! What have I told you about talking to strange men?”

Sherlock looked up to see Mycroft, dressed for dinner and with his ever-present umbrella draped over his arm. Sherlock rolled his eyes and scowled.

The blond man, however, snorted. “What, stranger danger? He’s not five!” He glanced at Sherlock, who couldn’t keep his lips from twitching up into a smile. No one spoke to Mycroft like that. This man was very brave.

Now it was Mycroft’s turn to scowl. “I must insist that you refrain from distracting my brother. Otherwise, I shall have you removed from the property for loitering without a room. Come along, Sherlock,” he snapped, turning to leave. “We’ll be late for dinner.”

Sherlock huffed out a sigh, but reluctantly followed after him up the path towards the hotel. He felt regret, though, at leaving the man behind; he should have at least said goodbye. He briefly contemplated turning back and waving, but that was a stupid idea – Mycroft would see and there would be hell to pay. So he did the only thing he could think of to signal his interest without attracting Mycroft’s attention: he looked back over his shoulder, and, seeing the man still looking his way, winked at him. Then, mortified at his own daring, Sherlock hurried after Mycroft around a bend in the road and out of sight of the mysterious, handsome man.