That sledging hill changed my life forever. I was a 20-year-old, London bred uni student who hadn’t found his soulmate yet. As I was without my soulmate I couldn’t see in colour yet, which made being a pre-med student difficult. The only way to find my soulmate was the almost tattoo-like design on my left arm, but it hadn’t so much as shifted grey-tones since I was born. The design is called a “Fixation”, most people have one, and a Fixation always has a match out there somewhere. When (or if) you find your Fixation’s match, the world blooms into colour.
It was -1 out, and I was trudging up a hill of knee deep snow after my friend Mike. The air smelled of smoke from local bonfires, and the air was dry, making it painful to inhale. The hill was bordered by skinny trees, devoid of leaves. Mike was running cheerfully up the slope, while I was dragging a rented, stiff plastic sledge by its long rope handle. I kept having to jump out of the way when out of control sledges went in my direction.
“Sorry!” called a little boy who nearly bowled me over.
When I finally reached the top, Mike turned to me with a huge grin, his cheeks red from the cold.
“John, you go first. We have to be quick, because I need to be back in time for a lab.” He gestured at the sledge with gloved hands.
“Do I have to go at all, Mike?” I begged.
“You’ve already paid, and there’s no other way down, Watson.”
He grabbed my shoulders and sat my short frame down in the sledge, I made a noise of protest, (which he ignored) before he quickly pushed the sledge down the slope. The sledge quickly picked up speed and was soon hurtling down the seemingly mountainous hill. The sound of the sledge coasting across the crusty snow was deafening. My buzzed hair did nothing to protect my face from the frigid wind as my beanie fell off my head, landing in the snow behind me and quickly disappearing out of sight. I shifted my knees closer to the centre of the sledge. I sighed with relief; I was quickly approaching the bottom, with no disaster in sight. Just as I had finally started to relax and enjoy myself, the bottom edge of the sledge caught on a chunk of ice and the sledge veered towards the trees.
“Help!”, I frantically tried to stop, my feet and hands scrabbling for purchase but having no effect. I braced myself, turning my head in anticipation of the inevitable crash. Right before my sledge entered the trees, a person on an innertube appeared in my path. A pale face looked at me with shock just before we collided, the tube crashing into my legs. Our collective tangle of limbs and sleds slid to a slow stop. My legs had been caught under the boy’s innertube and their left wrist was twisted in the rough rope handle on my sledge.
They quickly disentangled themselves and stood up, easily reaching 6 feet tall; while I remained at their feet in a miserable frozen lump. As they shook the snow from their knee-length coat and scarf, I could feel the snow melting through the thin fabric of my jeans. Short and dark curly hair peeked out under the band of their cashmere hat, framing their thin, pale face. As their transparent eyes met mine, glittering with obvious intelligence, I started, realising that I had gotten distracted staring at their face.
They raised their left eyebrow with a smirk and extended their manicured, immaculately thin hand towards me. I grabbed it, marvelling at the lack of callus and at how the bones in their pale fingers stood out sharply. They lifted my compact body up from the frigid ground with surprising strength.
“Sherlock Holmes,” they nodded at me, with a crisp tone, “I apologize for colliding into your sledge. My brother, Mycroft, determined it would be humorous to push me down a hill in an innertube with little warning,”
Sherlock sniffed with indignation.
“Oh, uh, it’s fine. Pleasure bumping into you,” my cheeks burning, I awkwardly adjusted my thick, wool jumper and looked over their shoulder to avoid looking at their eyes.
“I’ll be off then,” Sherlock turned and started to walk off to the sledge rental building.
“No, wait!” I grabbed at their shoulder and the way Sherlock looked at me made it clear that they believed I was not worthy of their attention.
“My name’s John, uh, would you maybe like to get coffee sometime?”
They started and looked at me with shock.
“Oh,” they said, their voice dropping down to a whisper, and their eyes widened with amazement.
“Show me your arm! Your left.” Sherlock looked at me with an eagerness I could only describe as a result hunger for information.
I pulled the left sleeve of my cable knit jumper up to my elbow, revealing the black and white honeycomb pattern spanning the length of my arm. Wait. Not black and white, but a fluctuation of shades that I couldn’t begin describe had begun to spread over my skin.
“Sherlock,” I stuttered, “Show me yours.”
They slowly lifted the arm of their black coat, grinning as they did so. “Now you catch on, cleverer than Mycroft at least.” Sherlock mutters to themself.
Their Fixation was identical to mine.