Author's Note: I am certainly not the first person to have taken the liberty of having Holmes and Watson meet in their younger days, and I very much doubt I will be the last. Bear with me, I think I have at least made it believable, and if, after you have given it a chance and read it through, you disagree, feel free to say so. Of course, you should certainly feel free to say anything else you like as well, within reason, especially if you enjoyed it.
As to Lestrade, I know there has been some animosity between the good Inspector and Sherlock Holmes, but under the influence of author Bartimus Crotchety and the episode "The Six Napoleons" with actor Jeremy Brett as Sherlock, in which Lestrade informs Holmes that they are not jealous of him at the Yard, but rather proud of him, I like to think that perhaps there eventually arose some sort of friendly relationship between the three, especially considering the companionship Watson had with Lestrade during Holmes' death.
That having been said, I hope you enjoy this. I did.
"Holmes," I called to my friend, "you have to see this." I had, in an attempt to pacify the man, been tearing through my room in much the same manner he had previously upset the sitting room before disappearing into his own bedroom in search of the elusive case he had suggested Inspector Lestrade might find interesting.
"Unless it is those papers wich I seek," He growled back from his own room, "it is of no importance to me."
"Are you sure?" I asked, eyeing the papers I now held in my hand, still struggling to wrap my mind around the implications of it. It was, to be frank, absolutely mind-boggling. I stood from my bed and made my way across the mess of papers that now littered the room. I did not usually allow my companion's searches to desecrate my room, especially when I knew exactly what I kept in it and where, but Holmes had seemed so intent, and Lestrade so enthusiastic at seeing the case, that I had not the heart to disappoint either of the two men.
And as a result I had come across these early scribblings, stuffed into a drawer and forgotten along with other papers from a time that seemed an eternity ago.
I reentered the sitting room. Lestrade still sat on the couch, nearly buried in papers, an amused expression on his face as he also held a stack that Holmes had thrust into his arms. I returned his grin, and he chuckled as I began studying the floor, trying to pick out a path that would allow me to reach the other man with causing too much damage to the papers lying about.
"Is that it?" Lestrade inquired curiously, eyeing the yellowed pages tucked safely under my arm. I shook my head.
"No. It is, however, still rather interesting." I replied, giving up. Standing in the doorway seemed the only course of action available other than to begin straightening up, and I was loathe to attempt to clean up anything until I knew for a fact that Holmes was done ransacking the place.
"A case?" Lestrade inquired. "It appears rather old."
"No, not a case. Not exactly." I tried to decide how best to explain it. "It is one of my earliest writings, back when I was still studying to be a doctor."
"Really?" Lestrade shifted slightly, and I was relieved to see that he was careful of the papers by which he was surrounded. "What was it, a patient?"
I hesitated, then knelt and began clearing a path to the couch. "There was an injury involved." I allowed. "I had all but forgotten the incident."
"And Mr. Holmes isn't interested?" Lestrade inquired, formal as ever. I tried to remember if I had ever heard the Inspector address Holmes by any other title.
"If it is not what I am looking for, then it is irrelevant, and therefore unimportant!" I jumped; Holmes had come up behind me without my hearing.
"Nonetheless, I think you might want to take a look at it." I said, straightening enough to offer the papers to him. He merely eyed them with annoyance.
Lestrade sighed. "Come now, Mr. Holmes, it is not as if any actual case rests upon the finding of these papers, and as amusing as it has been to watch this whirlwind of activity, I am not sure the place could endure much more of this.
"You'd be surprised." I muttered, thinking of numerous other searches over the years. Holmes merely dismissed the statement with a wave of his hand.
"This was for your instruction, not for your entertainment, Inspector." He informed the man.
"And I came over to take a break from work, remember?" Lestrade replied. "It's been so busy down at the Yard recently, and here too, I am quite aware, that-"
"That the only way you can get a few hours away is to come calling with the pretense of seeking my assistance, thus keeping us from our own work." Holmes interrupted. Lestrade merely shrugged, he was too tired and overworked to argue or apologize.
"Not that the chance to breathe is unwelcome." I amended, shooting a glance up at the man standing behind me.
"Not entirely unwelcome, no." Holmes admitted, still refusing to accept the papers I was holding out to him. "Show them to Lestrade, Watson. He actually seems to care about their contents!"
I stifled a sigh and went back to clearing a path to the couch. "You never did appreciate my stories." I complained, almost eliciting a chuckle from my friend.
Lestrade, however, laughed outright as he looked from the mess to me and from there to the papers in my hand and finally up at Holmes. "You know, we used to wonder how on earth anyone could stand to live with you, Holmes." He commented cheerfully. "We actually considered sending someone down to warn the doctor about you, as we figure no man in his right mind would knowingly accept such a situation.
I laughed. "Actually, a mutual acquaintance suggested he was a bit unusual, and Holmes warned me himself that he was not the choicest of room mates." I told him. "If I recall correctly…" I paused for a moment, trying to recall. "His 'shortcomings' as he put it, included smoking tobacco, conducting chemical experiments, and 'getting in the dumps' and not speaking for days on end."
By this time, I had reached Lestrade, and was rescuing him from the papers surrounding him. Holmes, a step behind me, was clearing off the rest of the couch so that we would not be forced to stand during the duration of the Inspector's visit.
Lestrade stood as he was finally freed, and stretched. "Now what are these writing of yours, exactly?" He asked curiously, and I handed them over. He promptly began skimming over them for an idea as to their contents.
He abruptly stopped, and the color drained from his face. "Good heavens!" He gasped as he sank back into his seat. He stared at the papers for a moment more before turning his gaze upon me. "That was you?"
Now Holmes was interested. He snatched the papers from a still shocked Lestrade and also began to look over them. He had not gotten far before he too, turned to stare at me in fascination. Then he sat down beside Lestrade.
"Of course." Was all he uttered as he returned the papers to me. "I should have realized."
I fought back the urge to grin as I settled on the other side of Holmes. I gave them both a minute to recover, then began reading.
I sit and write this as I wait, fearful of falling asleep before the police arrive. They, I have been assured, can take over things here once they arrive. But in the meantime I must wait, and be watchful, and hope my patient does not get any worse.
I say my patient, though he is not, not really, and I am certainly not a qualified physician as of yet, merely a student. Nonetheless, I have done what I may to aid him, and can only hope he does not get any worse before help arrives.
I am utterly and entirely exhausted, I must admit, or I would not be sitting here writing in front of this young man, an almost complete stranger, as I have always been reluctant to have my scribblings, as I like think of them, examined or critiqued, for they are neither very good nor do they promise ever to be.
Still, I do not think he is interested in me in the slightest now, and am quite safe in pulling this notebook out and attempting to get some of the events of this day out of my madly whirling brain and onto paper.
It started this morning. It was actually sunny outside, though snow lay upon the ground and the air was rather cool, or, as my classmate put it when I informed him I was going out, frigid.
But it was not cold enough to bother me, and so I went out, and was enjoying a brisk walk and resigning myself to the thought of spending the rest of the weekend studying for the exam we had coming up the following Monday. I would have preferred, at that point, to do almost anything else that weekend, for it seemed that all I had done since starting on this path that all I had done was sit inside and work.
Little did I know that shortly I would indeed be presented with something else to worry about.
A young man turned the corner just ahead of me at breakneck speed and darted towards the street, apparently unaware that he was running out in front of a cab. Given that his head was turned to look behind him, it was no wonder he had not seen it.
Without pausing to think about what I was doing I sprang forward toward the street and this stranger. In a second he realized his mistake, but by then it was too late for him to do anything about it. I, however, promptly tackled him, knocking us both out of the cab's way and further into the street.
We rolled, and he was up again in a second, grabbing the sleeve of my coat and dragging me along with him. He released me as we reached the other side of the street, and once again looked back over his shoulder.
"Come on." He urged, taking my arm quite familiarly and leading me down the street. "Act casual. As if we were simply two good friends out for a walk in the brisk morning air." He spoke quickly, urgently, as if we were in some danger.
"Are you all right?" I asked as we walked, arm in arm, down the street. "You could have been killed."
"Yes, yes." He replied dismissively, as if it were the most ordinary thing in the world for a person to be nearly run over by a cab only to be rescued by a complete stranger. "Thank you, I believe, is the appropriate response."
"Well, you're quite welcome." I replied uncertainly. "Where are we going?"
"Scotland Yard, if we can get there before our shadows catch up with us." The young man replied brightly. He was about my age, I decided, maybe a year or so younger, but not much. His grey eyes were sharp, intense, and his manner was that of a hound in the midst of a hunt.
"Scotland Yard?" I repeated as I suddenly realized what he had said. "Why the Yard?"
The young man sighed impatiently. "Because the men who are following us are the same as were involved in a recent string of robberies."
"Really?" Was all I could think to reply. What on earth had I gotten myself mixed up in? "And they know you have this information?" I asked, though I was already certain of the answer.
"Of course they know!" He retorted. "Why else would they be following us?" We walked on in silence after this outburst, and I figured it was better not to try conversing with this individual. We continued down the street, warily, and I wondered what would happen if these men did catch up with us.
"I fear I have placed you in danger." My companion said after a moment. "I was hoping that they would not expect me to be with someone and would therefore pay us no heed, but it seems I was mistaken. I do apologize."
"Not at all." I replied cautiously. "If you are need of assistance, I am glad to give it."
"Still." A frown. "Your very life may now be threatened." He said, and I could not help but believe him. I forced a smile.
"I was hoping for an excuse not to spend the weekend studying anyway." I offered, and I started as the young man let out a short bark of laughter.
"Very well, then." He said amiably, as if he were allowing me to come along and I should be grateful. He stiffened, suddenly. "Run!" He cried, dragging me along with him, and I needed no more urging. They were shooting at us!
My companion released his hold on me and the two of us were soon racing down the street, he leading the way down streets and alleys, presumably towards Scotland Yard, where we would be safe.
I didn't hesitate as he scrambled over a wall into someone's back yard, but followed promptly, finding trespassing preferable to being shot down by burglars. I needn't have worried about the former, however, because the house turned out to be empty.
A second later he was at the door and fiddling with the lock. I frowned. "Are you breaking and entering?" I asked, too winded to sound alarmed.
After far too long, and several seconds which my companion spent cursing the lock, the door swung open, and we darted inside.
We stood gasping for breath, listening for sounds of pursuit. For a moment I thought we had lost them, and my companion appeared to believe so as well, for he relaxed and allowed himself a sigh of relief. "Well." He started to say, but then darted to the window.
"They're still with us!" He announced. "Come on, out the front!" We dashed through the empty house and towards the front door. He pulled the door open and froze, staring at the man before him, a gun raised as if to fire.
My companion's eyes darted toward the window behind me, and he dove forward to tackle the man's legs. "Go get help!" He shouted at me. "Get out of here!" He added when I hesitated.
I nodded and bolted for the window, relieved to discover that neither the lock nor the window itself were very rusty. The window opened easily, and I was through it in an instant and running for all I was worth down the street, wondering how on earth I was going to get to Scotland Yard in time.
I fairly flew around the corner, and ran into something rather solid. I jerked away from the other person, but he did not relinquish his grip. "Here now, what's this?" He demanded. "Are you all right?"
He let me go, then, and I realized with some small relief that I had run into a constable, a young man close to my age. "I need to get to Scotland Yard." I told him. "My - friend," I stumbled slightly over the word, "is in trouble. He's says he knows who's been committing all those burglaries, and we were being followed, and now they have him!"
He frowned for a moment, trying to decide if I were simply joking, but my appearance must have convinced him, for he nodded briskly, pausing only long enough to scribble out a message for a nearby young lad to take to Scotland Yard before urging me to lead the way.
I wasted no time in leading him back, and it did not occur to me that I was running right back into danger. The constable passed me as we reached the house, making straight for the front door. I burst in a step behind him, and felt a momentary twinge of alarm as I realized that we had walked directly into an uneven fight.
The man I had left behind lay sprawled on the floor, undoubtedly where someone had shoved him. At the shout one of his captors had let out upon our appearance, he was up on his feet and ready for a fight.
And what a fight it was! I had had little experience with brawling of any sort, but I dove in willingly all the same, at least understanding the concept from disputes my brother and I had been in during our childhoods.
I staggered as I took a blow to the face, and out of the corner of my eye saw the constable take down one of the men. I tightened my focus on my opponent, and managed to get in a blow of my own before the man shoved me backwards and across a table.
A grunt, and as I hit the floor I saw the constable go down, felled by one of these men. My companion lunged towards him with a snarl as I dragged myself to my feet.
I dropped instinctively as gunfire rang out. One of our assailants let out a cry and fell to the ground. I looked around desperately, and my eyes fell on my companion, who had dropped by the man the constable had felled before going down himself and found his gun.
He leveled it at one of the two remaining men. "Give it up!" He demanded. The man merely grinned and took a step forward. I jerked as my companion rewarded the man's confidence with a bullet through the knee. The last of the gang chose to remain still.
My companion glared at him. "If you have any weapons, I suggest you relieve yourself of them." He said coldly. The man reluctantly removed a knife and a gun from his person, placing them on the table. My companion wasted no time in locating something with which to restrain him while I turned my attention to the injured.
Two of our assailants were merely unconscious. Another had a rather nasty gunshot wound in his knee; I doubted he would ever walk again without a limp. The last-
"He's dead." I said wonderingly.
"I should hope so." My companion replied. "That was my intention." But he, too, looked troubled by the fact. "He would have killed any of us without thinking twice about it."
That much was true. I turned my attention to the constable. He had taken a blow to the head, and I recognized that he needed treatment. I, however, did not yet have the knowledge to do much more than keep watch and hope help came soon.
My companion finished tying up the criminals and came to stand by me. "He's alive." I told him. "But he has a head injury."
"Can you do anything for him?" I shook my head.
"Not much. Keep an eye on him, hope he doesn't get worse. Help should be coming soon." I sighed. "Are you all right?" I asked.
"Fine." Came the soft reply, and I turned to look at the man. He stood stiffly, and slightly unsteadily, with his left arm clenched to his side as if to protect it. Several dark bruises were already forming on his face, and there was blood on his shirt.
"You're hurt!" I exclaimed. He seemed amused by my observation.
"Yes, well, I took a bit of a beating from these gentlemen, but I assure you that it is nothing serious."
"Well, sit down, and let me have a look." I said quickly, moving to help him down. He allowed me, reluctantly, and when he had sat I began to examine him.
He was mostly bruised, and had somehow wrenched his ankle, as far as injury went. That aside, he looked as if he had not eaten or slept in some time, and I remarked on the observation.
He frowned, considering. "I suppose it has been several days." He admitted at last.
"Good heavens, man! What have you been doing that is so important that you would refrain from eating or sleeping for such a period of time?"
The man shrugged. "It must have slipped my mind." He replied with some irritation.
"Yes, well." Assured that his injuries were minor, I turned back to the constable. He was unconscious, but his condition seemed stable. Of course, that could change for the worse in a moment, and if he did get worse, I would do what I could for him.
I looked over at the other man; he was in no condition to go for help. In fact, he was nearly unconscious himself. We would have to wait for help from the Yard.
I settled myself to watch over these two and wait, hoping that my companion had tied up these criminals thoroughly.
I yawned, for it was now approaching sunset and it had been a long day. It did not help, of course, that I had been up half the night before studying a corpse that was to have been removed this morning. I had to stay awake, though, for the sake of the young man lying still beside me.
And so I come to the end of this narrative, and feel even more tired than ever. I wonder where on earth the police could be, and what could be taking them so long. Thankfully, the constable has not gotten any worse, and my other companion seems to have gotten some much needed rest, though he is watching me now as if he knew exactly what I was writing, or even what I was thinking.
A noise outside; the police, I hope.
It was the police, and it was the rest of the night and a large portion of today before everything was straightened out and police allowed me to go, thanking me for my assistance in this case and assuring me that both the constable and my other companion would be fine.
And so I made my way back to my room, staggering in exhaustion, and hoping to get a little sleep before my classmates realize I am back and roust me out of bed demanding an explanation on where I have been. I pause only to finish this up and announce that the burglars were apprehended and that the case had been completed before I collapse onto my bed.
I realize, as I write this, that I am not at all prepared for my exam in the morning. I wonder if anyone would believe me if I tried to explain why.
I finished reading, and the three of us sat in silence, Lestrade absently rubbing the back of his head. Holmes was staring absently at a spot on the wall.
"I told you you would find it interesting." I finally said, and Holmes blinked, coming out of his thoughts. He offered me a brief smile.
"Indeed." He replied. "And it certainly has been that."
Lestrade shook his head. "I can't believe it." He said. "All those years ago." Then he shot Holmes a mischievous glance. "But how is it you didn't recognize him the next time you met?" He asked impertinently. "Surely it would have been obvious to you, the trained observer, that it was the same man."
"He limped." Holmes retorted. "His shoulder, too, had been injured. He also possesed a rather military bearing that was not present upon our first meeting."
"Still…" Lestrade persisted, his eyes merry.
"Come now!" Holmes replied sharply. "The incident itself was altogether a rather unremarkable one, and I was not inclined to commit to memory details concerning either of my cohorts in that adventure aside from the fact that one was a constable with a promising career in the force, and that the other…" He paused for a moment, remembering, "was a student, studying to be a doctor, and impressively quick on his feet to be able to keep up with me."
Lestrade finally gave up trying to hide his laughter at the detective's irritation. "Well," he said as he regained control of his amusement, "it has been wonderful to be able to relax for a few hours, but I really ought to be getting back to work." He stood as he spoke, careful of the papers still spread about.
"Of course." Holmes replied immediately. "And we have a few things demanding our attention as well, Inspector." He too rose to his feet, and I followed suit a little more slowly.
"Good day, Holmes, Doctor." Lestrade took one last look around the room. "I don't envy the time you'll have cleaning this up." He declared cheerfully.
"Well, should you need to escape again…" I suggested with a grin.
"No," Lestrade chuckled, "no thank you. I am not that desperate. I'll see myself out, gentlemen."
"Amazing." I said to Holmes. "Absolutely amazing. To think that the three of us, that you and I- it is quite impossible."
"Improbable, perhaps." Holmes offered. "Admittedly unlikely."
"Almost as if it were meant to be. Maybe we botched it up the first time, and so were given another chance."
"I think not." Holmes countered. "For then we would not have worked half as well together, I believe. We were not ready then."
"A foreshadowing, then?" I offered hesitantly, for neither Holmes nor I were apt to discuss fate, or destiny, or the like. On occasion, however, I had found there to be occurrences that neither of us were prepared to simply logically explain away. This was one of those occurrences. "A sign of things to come?"
"Perhaps." Holmes replied.
I waded through the mess of papers to my desk and laid the yellowed pages in the drawer of my desk. "The visit seems to have done the Inspector some good." I observed. "He looked absolutely beaten when he came straggling in here."
"Hmm." Holmes agreed. "It seems to have done you some good as well, Watson. The constant activity we have been involved in lately was starting to take its toll, I believe."
I had to agree with him. We had been run here and there of late, and I couldn't remember the last time either of us had actually had a good night's sleep. I had either been out late, or up early, or had my sleep interrupted, and I knew Holmes had slept even less than I.
It had been good to forget about pressing cases and murders and other crimes for even just a few hours. I felt refreshed, ready to handle another night of who knew what with the man who was now reaching under the couch.
"Ha!" He said triumphantly, waving a bundle of papers in front of my face.
"You found it?" I asked. "I told you it wasn't in my room."
"Yes, I found it!" He declared. "And I shall keep it in case the need should arise once more for an escape from work, either for you or for the good Inspector. Furthermore, had you not bothered to check your room you would never have found that." He said, gesturing towards my desk.
"All the same, we have quite a mess to clean up." I said.
"I have work to do. I have been idle long enough. If you prefer to give more importance to the state of our rooms than to the disappearance of a woman's husband, then that is your concern." He said, striding towards the door.
I darted after him, relieved. "Surely a man's life is worth more than a few papers." I suggested as we left the sitting room.
"My opinion as well, Watson." Sherlock called over his shoulder with a grin.
Disclaimer: I do not own Sherlock Holmes