A/N: Thank you all for the kind reviews; they are appreciated more than you know!
There are not many words that get the full, undivided attention of Sherlock Holmes, but ones associated with "death" seem to work rather well. Only a second had passed since I had announced the presence of the corpse before I was nudged aside to make room for the room's only official detective.
"Bring that lamp down here," Sherlock commanded his brother, to which Mycroft briskly snatched the light up from the table and placed it on the carpet before us. It was in its sickly yellow glow that we saw what had fallen from a chair in the Diogenes Club parlour.
The stout form of a man lay face down on the thick carpet, his legs buckled and limbs splayed about in the posture in which he fell. The blood now drying on my hands had come from his head, which appeared to have been bludgeoned no less than four times from behind. His head was covered by a shock of fiery red hair, disheveled in the front and sides and matted in the back.
"Murder in the Diogenes," Mycroft whispered, his usual calm momentarily shaken. "A dead man in a silent club…"
"Poetic, Mycroft," Sherlock remarked, and I suddenly realized that my friend had crawled behind the man's chair to investigate the floor. "Damn the dark!" he added.
"There is a lamp positioned on the floor," the elder Holmes declared dryly.
"I hadn't noticed," the younger snapped. "We could do with about forty more hanging from the ceiling and switched on with a light switch by the door!"
Mycroft frowned, an expression that seemed not unlike that of a disapproving parent. "There is little time for such nonsense at the present moment, Sherlock."
"Electricity makes perfect sense," the detective grumbled. "Oh, I know! We can build a small fire here on the floor or wait until the sun comes up! Either way, we would have enough light to—"
"We do not need electricity to ascertain that a murder has been committed upon the premises," Mycroft countered sternly. "I suggest we inform Scotland Yard of the matter, unless you are still otherwise engaged."
"I'm still very much engaged, as you put it," Sherlock answered coolly. He glanced over his shoulder. "John, what does this man's body suggest to you?"
I took a deep breath. "Um. Well, he died about two hours ago, as his limbs are showing of rigor mortis. He's been hit multiple times with a blunt object to the occipital and temporal lobes, and the blood that has trickled to the front of his face suggests he was leaning over when I found him, though it was too dark to be sure. I…I think he was smoking. There was this haze of smoke in the room…still is actually," I paused to sniff the air. "Cigarette. Seems familiar."
Sherlock smiled. "Excellent, John! Anything else?"
I strained my eyes in the bad light, and then shook my head.
Sherlock straightened and stepped nimbly over the body. "I do believe you've covered all the facts. Well, the obvious ones."
I managed a thin smile. "Thanks. And what is it that you see?"
Sherlock shrugged. "Beyond the obvious facts that he has at some time done manual labour, that he takes snuff, that he is a Freemason, that he has been in China, and that he has done a considerable amount of writing lately, I can deduce nothing else."
I stared at him. "Where did that come from?"
Sherlock seemed equally surprised. "Did I say that out loud?"
He blinked twice rapidly. "Those words. I've said them before."
"Sherlock, you don't talk like that. You've never talked like that," I reminded him.
"Nonsense," Mycroft interjected with a clearing of his throat. "It's the first time the man has sounded himself this entire evening."
"Omne ignotum pro magnifico," Sherlock muttered.
"Was that Latin?" I exclaimed.
"Was it?" Sherlock had begun to pace absently about the room, stumbling over the occasional footstool in the dark. He suddenly whirled on me. "Why do I remember it?"
"It's a memory. A very old one, forgotten but now suddenly resurfaced. I've said it to you before."
"You've never recited a Latin phrase in your life," I argued firmly. "The only bits you ever say have to do with some specimen in the lab or under your microscope."
"'That which is unknown seems magnificent,'" he murmured to himself.
"You're not making any sense."
"That's what it means. The Latin."
I stepped closer to him and turned my back to Mycroft. "Sherlock, listen to me," I ordered in a low voice. "Right now. I don't know what this is about, but all your Latin and Freemasons in China are not memories. We were shot backward in time a few hours ago; it could be nervous shock. You yourself said we were in comas or unconscious in the real world. No, look at me. This isn't real, these can't be memories."
He finally nodded, and I saw an inward resolution take hold of him. He squared his shoulders and turned to face his brother with a quick pivot on his left heel. "I'm finished here, Mycroft. You may call in Lestrade and the others."
Mycroft nodded his head toward the hallway. "I believe they have just arrived."
"Thank you for waiting," his brother said flatly.
"My apologies. You seemed momentarily indisposed."
Mycroft cast a keen eye over my friend and pursed his lips, but said nothing. He had barely stepped away from us before Detective Inspector Lestrade burst upon the scene, flanked by two sergeants of less impressive standing. The rain had returned with a vengeance, as Lestrade's long brown coat was thoroughly soaked, the water droplets running their courses down his sleeves and front. Like all the friends we had met tonight, this Lestrade looked exactly the same as our future one, only now he used the clothing and speech of the bygone century.
"Ah, the other one is present," he said in that voice we knew so well. "I knew if one Holmes called for us, the other must be involved as well."
Sherlock was watching him, his sharp gaze flitting over each officer from the Yard. "Inspector Lestrade. It's good to see a familiar face."
The man tipped his hat. "Mr. Holmes."
"I beg your pardon?"
"My name is Sherlock."
"Aye, we know that. All of London knows that," Lestrade added with a chuckle. "You must think us daft."
"Never mind," Sherlock growled. He stepped aside and motioned toward the unfortunate man. "Lestrade, body. Body, Lestrade. Now that you're acquainted, I would like to see what Scotland Yard thinks of this little murder."
"Murder!" breathed the Inspector, stepping forward to get a closer look. "Who's this then?"
"I don't kn—"
"Mr. Jabez Wilson." I immediately clamped a hand over my mouth, and my wide eyes met the stares of every man in the room.