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Patterns of the Heart

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Heartlines AU - Set in a world where the lines on your hand determine your fate. Sherlock is born without a heartline.


Patterns of the Heart

Sherlock is born without a heartline,

Father is horrified. He can't imagine living a life with no emotions, but that's just because he relies so heavily on his own. The one strong line that curves across his palm runs his life, governing his every movement and decision.

Mummy is secretly pleased. She knows her son will never have to endure the harshness of the world she hates so much.

Mycroft is jealous. He goes to school and endures the mocking of his classmates, dreading the inevitable outcome of his own heartline. 'Yes, that's very bad - running into the lifeline. That means his heart will be his downfall.'


Sherlock is trained to believe that the lines on your hand do not decide to your fate. The notion is full of hopeful sentiment - wishful thinking, at best.

Heartlines are a national obsession. Personally, Sherlock doesn't see what all the fuss is about. But then again, he doesn't have one.


All lives end, all hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage.


John's heartline actually curves into a shape of a heart.

All the girls at school are jealous; they say it means he'll find true love. John doesn't believe that. His mother's line curved the same way, but it didn't stop his father from beating her every single day.

If that's 'true love', John isn't interested.


Jim's lines disappear after his twin Richard dies. Heart, head, fate, luck, life - all gone. They don't come back, even after Jim's done grieving and starts playing.

Jim does whatever the hell he wants. The lines don't come back. Nothing. No lines. He's "clean", as the legends say. He has no set fate, no foreseeable future, the rest of his life is in flux. He's a variable in a world of constants, and he feels wonderfully free.

"I'm so changeable!"

He lack of a heartline isn't troubling to him. Hearts are weaknesses - he should know, he sees it all the time. People flounce around, tripping over their lines or running into them like a brick wall.

Jim finds Sherlock's blog online. He brags about being 'The man without a heart', and for a second, Jim thinks he may have found someone like himself. There's a flicker of familiarity, a bit of hope that sparks inside him when he realizes he might not be the only heartless one in the world.

Jim is wrong.

"I will burn the heart out of you."

"I've been reliably informed that I don't have one."

"Well, we both know that's not quite true."


Sherlock may have a minor fascination with John's hands.

Admittedly, how can he not? John's hands are a painting - no, a masterpiece - showcasing every minor detail the man's life. Battle scared, bruise, calloused, rough skin and smooth palm, lightly chapped from excessive hand washing, immaculately -

John's hands are perfect. And that's not even counting his lines.

John's lines are like brush strokes, tying the masterpiece together. His lifeline is long and deep, curving elegantly and ending just at the base of his thumb (a long, healthy life). The head and the life line end at the same place, indicating a life of good decisions. Sherlock thinks the heart line is the most interesting, though. It starts below his pinky, curing up into the shape of a heart. Not an actual, anatomical heart, mind you. One of those clichéd hearts that children love so much.

Sherlock finds it fascinating.

"It's not even anatomically correct," John complains one night. Scowling, he continues, "It looks silly, too. I feel like a teenage girl."

It takes every ounce of control Sherlock posses not to scream at him about how amazing it it. "That doesn't matter. It's interesting."

John's face softens. "Do you really think so?"

"Of course."

John smiles. "Thanks."

"Your welcome," Sherlock mutters, before stalking off to his room, leaving John staring at him hand looking pleased.


The morning before Jim dies, lines on his hand appear. A broken heartline, a jagged headline, and a short lifeline.

Lonely, crazy, dead.

He doesn't know how he could've expected anything else.


It's changed. SH

I warned you this would happen. MH

What the hell am I going to do? SH

There's only one thing you can do, brother dear. MH

And what's that, brother mine? SH

Deal with it. MH


John is slightly bothered by the fact that Sherlock always wears gloves.

Sherlock is a very private person, he tells himself. It doesn't mean he doesn't trust you. John doesn't really believe that, but he tells himself it anyway.

The only time Sherlock doesn't wear gloves is when he's playing violin. John tries to look between the detective's frantic fingers, hoping to get a quick glance at his palm. Sadly, he doesn't.

John can't help wondering what his flatmate's hands look like. Is his lifeline short and shallow? Is his heartline faint but long? Is his headline deep, or jagged, or crooked, or straight? John wants to know - no - John needs to know.

One day, John can't take it anymore. He blurts out, "Can I see your hands?"

Sherlock stops typing abruptly. "No."


"It's nothing personal."

"No, but it is weird."

"I'm weird." That's true. "What do you expect?"

"I don't know anymore." John really doesn't. The definition of 'normal' for Sherlock is the definition of 'insanity' for anyone else. "But I wish you could, or would, show me."

Sherlock frowns, unconsciously fiddling with his hands. "I can't."

"Can't or won't?"

Sherlock stands up and stomps towards the fireplace, leaning on the mantle and trying not to look furious. "Won't, I suppose." He sighs, almost frowning. "Why do you want to see?"

"Curiosity," John answers honestly.

"You don't want to check if I'm a 'freak'?" Sherlock says flippantly.

"No, of course not. Sherlock..." John pleads, "Just show me."

For a second, a brief second that feels like an eternity, John sees the worry behind Sherlock's eyes. John hasn't seen that kind of emotion since they returned to the flat after the pool incident, when Sherlock thought John was going to leave him. He didn't leave him, of course. He would never leave him.

Silently, Sherlock removes his gloves and turns his palm up for John to see. John walks forward cautiously, taking his friend's palms in his hands and carefully examining them.

Their palms are identical. Long lifelines, strong headlines, tapered fatelines. Everything is the same, right down to the clichéd curve of their heartlines.

John doesn't know what to say.

Sherlock, as always, is never short of words. "I didn't used to have a heart line, um -" he stammers, his eyes locked with John's. "That was before I met you, of course. After that... I don't have a heart. I just have you."

John smiles. Without thinking, he reaches up and kisses his flatmate (boyfriend? colleague? soul mate?)

Sherlock, for once, is rendered speechless.


Loved writing this.

Chapter Text

Not a Goldfish, but a Shark

Mycroft assumed love would be his downfall.

It ended up being his salvation.

Greg's heartline breaks halfway across his hand. Before the break, it's shallow, barely visible against the calloused surface of his palm. After the break, it's deep and steady, curving elegantly up under his middle finger.

He's been told this means he'll have his heart broken badly, but then repaired and made stronger, and the rest of his life will pass by with him being consistently, head-over-heels in love and having amazing sex every day. (He hopes that last part is true.)

When Greg meets his future wife, he knows their relationship won't last. Her heart line is broken too, and in the exact same place it is. The future doesn't look good for the couple. Still, Lestrade tries. They get married, have kids, and he can't help falling madly in love with her.

He isn't surprised when she cheats on him with the P.E. teacher. He can't help being a little disappointed, though.

Mycroft Holmes is very happy in his life, thank you very much.

He's happy with his diet, and he's happy with his job, and he's happy with his club, and his cigarettes, and his PA, and his brother. He's happy with the long hours and grueling work schedule. He's happy with coming home alone. He's happy with his empty mansion, and his quiet office, and private cars. He's happy with his meddling and his secrets and his plans and his schemes.

Yes, Mycroft Holmes is 100% happy in his life.

(Most of the time.)

Mycroft sits across from his brother, an sardonic grin masking exasperation. "If you seem slow to me, Sherlock, imagine everyone else. I'm living in a world of goldfish."

Sherlock smirks, leaning back in his chair. "Yes, but I thought perhaps you'd found yourself a… goldfish."

Downstairs, Greg Lestrade sits awkwardly on Mrs. Hudson's purple couch. He hates having his future read, but he can't resist Mrs. Hudson's persistent nagging to come in for a tea-leaf reading.

He drinks the tea (chamomile?) and sets the cup down, careful not to spill the leaves as he turns the handle towards himself. Then, carefully, he picks the cup up, leaving a pattern only discernible to the older woman.

Mrs. Hudson takes the cup early. Her eyebrows shoot up.

"What is it?" Lestrade asks eagerly.

Mrs. Hudson frowns. "Well, it's just sort of… It looks almost like a shark."

"Is that good?" That doesn't sound good.

"Depends, do you like sharks?"

They're okay, I guess. Lestrade frowns, taking the cup from her to examine.

It does sort of look like a shark. Not really a shark, but it has a sort of sharkiness to it.

Meanwhile, upstairs.

"I'm not lonely, Sherlock," Mycroft lies.

Sherlock squints at him, a ridiculous hat atop his head. "How would you know?"

Mycroft gets up to leave, but Sherlock stops him in the doorway. "There' s a perfectly good goldfish downstairs…"

Mycroft smiles nervously. "Yes, thank you for your consideration. But the last thing I need is you setting me up on a date."

As Mycroft leaves the flat, he hears Sherlock mumbles something that sounds vaguely like, "This isn't a date; this is fate."

Oh, hell. "Well, um, thanks." Lestrade gets up to leave, careful not to knock over the coffee table as he stumbles up.

"I can do it again if you like!" she yells, but Lestrade doesn't hear. He's too busy running to the front door and in to a brick wall of a man standing there, smoking.

The man doesn't even seem remotely phased that Lestrade ran into them. He just takes a slow, bored puff of his cigarette and starts talking. "Exasperating, aren't they?"

Lestrade nods. "You have no idea. I just had someone tell me I was a shark."

The man smiles, then, randomly, starts laughing.

Lestrade starts to worry that this man might be a bit off his rocker. "What's so funny?"

In between laughs, the man gasps, "They're trying to set us up together!"

Lestrade looks at this man, this oddly attractive man who looks a handsome, formally dressed version of the Penguin from Batman, and starts laughing as well.

They stand together laughing like a couple of mad men for the next minutes.

When he can't laugh anymore, the man stomps his cigarette into the pavement and holds out his hand to shake. "Mycroft Holmes," he introduces. "Would you like to go to dinner?"

Lestrade accepts at once.

I was wrong. MH

Oh, really? How so? SH

He isn't a goldfish. MH

He's a shark. MH

Thank you. MH







I hope you enjoyed!