Hello! A friend recently got me hooked on Sherlock Holmes, and eventually, this story was born. I'm still working my way through all the stories, but rest assured that I will finish them long before this story is complete. (Technically, I shouldn't be starting another chaptered fic, since I have four others in two other fandoms requiring attention, but my muse can be such a pain about these things. *sighs*)
Anyway, I ran it by my friend with a little bit of trepidation, and she said it was good. Hope you enjoy!
==A Time to Heal==
When Holmes and Watson wander into the year A.D. 2025, they are taken in by a family broken and haunted by past and future. Can the two friends help the family heal, or will Holmes's reticence interfere?
A Most Singular Beginning
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
It was the spring of 1904, and my good friend Dr. Watson was visiting me over the weekend as he often did. This particular weekend, he arrived on Friday night rather than Saturday morning, and in the morning, we embarked on an early walk, when the world was fresh and the sunlight gentle. If we could have somehow foreseen the consequence of this small sequence of events, I wonder if we would have gone out on that walk at all.
It was an April morning, misty and quite cool. We took to the woods beyond my own property and strolled readily through the fog, despite its damp chill. At one point, the fog overtook us completely, and though Watson grumbled about his shoulder and leg, I felt a strange thrill of anticipation, such as I experience when setting out on an intriguing case. I could not then have known how greatly our lives were about to be changed.
"Come along, Watson," I urged. "Something is in the air this morning, something grand."
"Grand?" he groused. "What can be grand about such fog?"
In about half a minute, we had come out of the mist and out of the woods, and a singular sight met our eyes. Before us stretched what I perceived to be a road, but it was unlike any road I had ever seen, for it was near-black and smooth, and divided in half by one yellow line and yellow dashes running alongside it.
"Good heavens," Watson breathed.
But what caught my attention was an extraordinary spectacle on the other side of the unusual road. The only thing to which my mind could connect it was an automobile, yet so large and so completely covered that I almost dismissed the idea. But there were the four wheels and the same basic shape of the automobile, and I wondered if perhaps it was some new motorcar that had not yet been unveiled for the public use.
Out of the back of the automobile appeared a woman, muttering under her breath and bearing a thick tyre. From our position on the opposite side of the road, I could hear the words, "Figures. Good thing the team isn't here to see this." She was American, and Yankee, to boot.
I must admit that I generally pay little attention to women unless they are involved in my cases, but this one was a case unto herself. She was performing rather strenuous manual labor, as she actually raised the motorcar on a gleaming metal tool and proceeded to remove the tyre of the back right wheel and replace it with the tyre she had taken out of the car. I have walked the working districts of London and seen women in manual labor, but this was different. This mystery woman did not have the air of such women—and even on the other side of the road, I could see that her hands were tanned but smooth, not rough with labor. She was perhaps five foot ten, slender, and deceptively strong, and she moved with a smooth, catlike grace.
This was not the only reason for my interest, however, for her clothes were as foreign as her motorcar and as the road itself. She wore trousers, of a dark blue and durable material, and I must confess that I flushed a little, for all my investigations had never shown me what a woman's leg looked like beneath her skirt. A black leather coat hung loose around her slim frame—I surmised the coat to be her husband's, judging by the engagement and wedding bands on her left ring finger. Her dark hair was pulled back in a braid and interspersed with silver, indicating that one of her parents must have had black hair—dark brown hair grows grey with age, not silver, unless by genetic intervention.
"Holmes," Watson murmured, "do you suppose we should help her?" Ah, my dear, dear Watson: ever the gentleman.
"I am not sure," I replied quietly, my gaze still intent upon the woman. "I do believe the lady has her situation under control, despite her muttering."
Watson shifted uncomfortably.
"But," I continued, "I suppose chivalry demands it. Very well."
Watson strode ahead of me, while I lingered back a bit, absorbing the surroundings. I knew for a fact that there was no such place as this anywhere in my region of retirement, and further, that there was no such place like this in all the British Isles. The trees and the general look of the lonely stretch of road suggested not even Europe, but America. Of course, the natural question to follow was: how could Watson and I have walked from my farm in Sussex right into the United States of America? That was a worthy dilemma that I, naturally, determined to puzzle out.
"Madame," I heard Watson say, "may I be of any assistance?"
The woman looked up from her work, and an expression of shock passed so swiftly over her features that a casual observer would not have noticed. But I did, and my curiosity was piqued. She looked over her shoulder to see me standing on the road a few feet from her, and this time, there was no denying the shock in her face, however swiftly it was buried.
"Holy cow," she murmured, and turned back to my companion. "I think I have it covered, sir, but thanks anyway." As she continued to work at the wheel, she asked without looking up, "Do you gentlemen need a ride? You look a bit lost."
"I believe we may be," I admitted aloud. "Would you be so kind as to tell us where we are?"
"The backwoods of New York State," was the swift reply.
It was Watson's turn to look at me in shock. "Good heavens! Holmes—"
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her stiffen. "I might have guessed, Watson," I said slowly, noting that her posture stiffened further for a moment before relaxing.
"But really, this is incredible…"
Our lady friend looked up again, glancing between myself and my associate. It was then that I truly noticed her eyes and was taken aback once more, for there was no mistaking the penetrating intelligence lurking in those dark brown eyes. For one of the few times in my life aside from meetings with my brother Mycroft, I felt myself in the presence of an intellectual equal.
"I take it that you gentlemen do need a ride," she said dryly. "If you can wait a few minutes, this thing will be road-worthy again."
"Well, I suppose if it's no trouble to you," Watson stammered.
Returning to her work, she shook her head. "Don't worry about it." A heartbeat passed, and then she said conversationally, "So. Holmes and Watson. Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson?"
"You've read my tales?" Watson ventured.
"Every single one." She did not look up, but her voice carried her smile. "Kathleen Duran. Pleasure to meet you."
"The pleasure is all ours," Watson said sincerely.
"Thanks." She paused pensively, then continued. "Gentlemen, allow me to make some deductions?"
I arched an eyebrow. "If you insist."
She nodded slowly. "You two aren't supposed to be here, are you?"
Watson glanced at me. I gave him a conceding look, and he admitted, "No, we are not."
"Right." She nodded again. "I'm somewhat going out on a limb, here, but I'd say that you gents are supposed to be in Sussex? Early 1900s."
I eyed Mrs. Kathleen Duran warily. "Yes?" I prompted.
She sighed. "I'm sorry, gentlemen, but there's no easy way of breaking this that I can think of, so I'm going to be blunt. This is the year 2025. You've crossed from Sussex, turn of the century, to New York State, 2025."
It is rather difficult to describe what I felt at that moment, or what my companion felt. Past the shock, however, I knew it was true. Somehow. After all, if one can cross from Sussex to New York by simply walking, time travel suddenly seems a bit more possible. And it explained the strange appearance of the road, the motorcar, and the woman herself.
One hundred twenty-one years…
"But-but how can that possibly be true?" Watson spluttered.
Mrs. Duran looked up sharply and pinned us both with an abruptly hard gaze. "I could ask you the same question, gentlemen. For all I know, you're lunatics or liars. How am I to know that you are really who you claim to be?"
Returning her steely gaze, I countered, "If you are as intelligent as I think you are, you can reach that conclusion on your own."
"Holmes," Watson breathed.
Mrs. Duran's eyes narrowed—and suddenly, she smirked. "Touché. Genius recognizes genius, hmm?" She returned to her task. "All right, then, Mr. Holmes: I have reached that conclusion on my own. I'm just leaving a little room for margin of error."
I raised both eyebrows. "Indeed?"
Watson motioned me away, and I followed. "Holmes, this really is incredible!" he whispered. "Even if it is true, how on earth can it be?"
"I must confess I don't know, Watson," I frowned. "Perhaps Mrs. Duran can venture a theory."
"I've noticed that she does seem to be rather on your level of intelligence, old chap. Something about her air, I suppose."
"Quite so," I murmured, contemplating this extraordinary turn of events.
"What I should like to know, further," my companion continued, "is why we are here. Surely something of this nature must be more of the supernatural than the physical. Do we have a purpose to fulfill here?"
I glanced back at Kathleen Duran, who appeared to be almost finished with her task. "If we do, perhaps we may soon find out."
I must say that I was rather nervous about using Holmes's POV, but I wanted him rather than Watson to start it out. The POVs will shift throughout the story.
Either the next chapter or the chapter following will explain how Kathleen Duran figured that our boys are the real deal—there would just have been too much of her own back-story to fit into an explanation here.
Lastly, this story will have quite a bit of angst, h/c, and… fluff. Definitely fluff. You've been warned. ^^