Disclaimer: I do not own either Sherlock or Doctor Who.
A Case of Identity is Solved in Time
It was late one Thursday afternoon when John poured himself a cup of tea. He had only recently gotten back from the clinic, and immediately went over to the kitchen to boil a pot of water. He glanced around the flat, but Sherlock was nowhere in sight. Silence, thought John. A rare bliss that John would cherish briefly until the itch of adventure would begin to resurface.
He sat down in the armchair and turned on the telly, watching who-cares-what for several minutes before Sherlock's bedroom door opened slowly. John was surprised, having had no idea that his flatmate was even home. Turning toward him, he was even more surprised to see the expression on Sherlock's face, remote and peculiar and scared. He held what looked like a fob watch, clutching it in his hand like he was afraid to let it go, staring at it as though it held the secret to an impossible mystery.
"Sherlock...?" John asked, beginning to rise from his seat until Sherlock seemingly snapped out of his reverie to wave John back down, walking over to sit on the sofa.
"John," said Sherlock. "I want to tell you a story."
"Alright," said John, feeling just as uneasy as Sherlock looked.
"How do they tend to start again?" said Sherlock. "Oh yes. Once upon a time there was a race of beings as old as the universe. This race was very wise, and one day it discovered the secret of Time itself. With this new understanding of life on such a grand scale, they realized that this power could, if put in the wrong hands, be used for evil and corruption. So they made a law never to interfere. But over the millenia, many of these people, these Lords of Time, grew restless. Being able to see but never to touch, they decided to forsake the law in order to become renegades, exiles from their own planet. Some used their freedom for evil, and some for good, but the majority just wanted the taste of adventure after so many years of stale ceremonies and traditions.
"One of these exiles," Sherlock continued. "A relatively young man in comparison with his race's lifespan, became restless and decided to leave his home to carve his name into the stars. But what he found was so much smallness, so much ignorance, that if he stayed in one place for too long, then he became frustrated, bored. So he traveled from planet to planet, year to year, seeking the excitement that he craved, never once looking back or wondering about the friends and family that he left behind. Until, one day, his people called him back home.
"He had found that his people had waged war against Evil itself, with the fate of the universe at stake. So the man returned, determined to fight for what he knew was right. But the war was so vast, so destructive, that he thought it would never end until there was nothing left in existence. He witnessed the death of his family, his friends, even his enemies. He became so scared that he did the only thing he knew how to do; he ran away. He hid himself where no one could find him, becoming lost even to himself. But he eventually found himself again; though, it was too late. Everyone was gone. He was all alone. He had taken everything for granted, and so they were taken away from he who was so undeserving. And he was left to grieve for his loss for the rest of his life. The end."
"Interesting," said John, who had remained patiently quiet until he was sure Sherlock had finished speaking. "What was that then? German folklore? Sounds like something they'd write. Or was it Hans Christian Anderson? His stuff could get really depressing."
"No, John," said Sherlock, shaking his head sadly. He then rose from the sofa and went to shrug on his coat, still holding onto the fob watch "Come. I've an errand to run."
John followed Sherlock as he left Baker Street and hailed a cab. They eventually found themselves outside a plain white door to a sixth story flat. Sherlock knocked. He heard a woman's voice call out 'Coming', and after a moment, the door opened to reveal Molly Hooper. To say that John was not expecting to see her familiar face would be an understatement, and it seemed that Molly was no less aware that she should have been expecting them.
"What are you doing here?" she asked, warily.
Sherlock looked at her with a mournful expression and extended his hand to show her the fob watch "I'm sorry I forgot you."
Molly instantly grabbed him into a hug, and Sherlock reciprocated. "I thought I would have to wait for you forever," she whispered. "And I would have. As long as it took."
"I know," said Sherlock, shushing back her quiet sobs.
"I've missed you," she said. "I mean you-you, not him-you. He was kind of a jerk, actually."
Sherlock laughed at that, but suddenly frowned again. "Molly," he said. "They're all gone."
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"The Time Lords," he told her. "We lost."
"But how can you know?" she asked him, a shocked expression on her face.
"I just... feel it," said Sherlock, shaking his head sadly. "I can't explain."
Molly reached to softly caress his cheek, gazing at him silently.
John was used to being confused around Sherlock, but the sight of Molly comforting his flatmate was just too much. "I'm sorry," said John, interrupting the somber moment. "But do either of you mind explaining to me what you're talking about?"
Molly looked to Sherlock. "You haven't told him?" asked Molly.
"Sort of," said Sherlock. Then after a moment, "No, not really." He sighed and turned to John. "John, you know how Sergeant Donovan always says I'm not human?"
"Yeah...?" said John, unsure of where this was going.
"Well," continued Sherlock. "She doesn't know this, but I'm actually not. Human, that is. I'm from a race of beings known as the Time Lords." He then paused before adding. "The last of them, I suppose."
John vaguely noticed as Molly reached out to clasp Sherlock's hand and that he did not pull away from her, but that was not his main concern at the moment. "Sherlock," he began slowly. "Are you alright? I mean, you've been acting strange all evening. And now this... I honestly don't know what to make of you right now."
"It's alright," said Sherlock. "I didn't think you'd understand me at first. I suppose I'll just have to show you my TARDIS." He turned to Molly. "You coming with?"
"Is that even a question?" she said to him.
Sherlock gave her a friendly look, linked his arm around hers, and said, "Come along then," as he began walking down the corridor towards the lift.
John, more than a bit confused, followed, as it seemed like the right thing to do.
After hailing and entering a taxi which all three squeezed into, John finally asked, "So, where exactly are we going?"
"To my TARDIS," said Sherlock. "Poor girl, probably been pining away for me all this time..."
"And what's a TARDIS?" asked John.
"TARDIS: Time and Relative Dimensions in Space," Sherlock explained. "It can travel throughout all of space and time."
"Hold on," said John. "You're saying you own a time machine?" Blimey! First, he's an alien, now he's a time traveler... What's next, he's actually hundreds of years old?
Sherlock noticed John's incredulous expression. "Molly can confirm," he said. "She's been traveling with me for some years now."
"It's true," said Molly. "We've been all over the galaxy together at different points in time. I got to see Rome... with actual Romans, tunics and everything. But I think my favorite spot you've taken me is the Eye of Orion; it was the most beautiful and serene place I've ever been."
"Well," said Sherlock. "We can always go again."
"You both are delusional," said John.
Sherlock just smiled at him, and said, "Just wait."
The cab dropped them off in front of a storage unit facility. John and Molly followed as Sherlock found his way through all the identical looking units until he finally paused in front of one, and said, "Bingo."
"Oh good," said a woman's voice all of a sudden. "You found it." The three turned around to find Mycroft and his assistant standing behind them. Strangely, John noted, Mycroft remained silent as the woman who wasn't named Anthea spoke to them.
"Hello, Sam," said Sherlock.
"Hello," she said, walking over to him.
"Sam?" asked John.
"Really it's Samerythyrevanna," said Sherlock. "We call her Sam for short." Well, thought John, there was no way he would have guessed that name.
"And he's still Mycroft?" asked John, indicating the man who still hadn't said a word.
"Well, Manual Care Robotic Functioning Technology," said Sam. "It's an acronym; I made it up."
"Wait a minute," said John, whose brain felt too overloaded at the moment. "Robotic?"
"Yeah," said Sam. "He's a robot that I built. I can control him with this portable device."
"But that's a blackberry," said John.
"No," she said. "It just happens to look like one."
John peered helplessly across the room. "You all are sick," he said, slowly backing away.
"John, wait," Sherlock pleaded. John stopped. "Please. I know this is a lot to take in all at once, and that it hardly seems believable to one of your scope of knowledge-" John snorted derisively. "But just let me show you one thing before you completely give up on me."
The desperate look in Sherlock's eyes almost made John want to believe everything he said. He rubbed his hands down his face and sighed. "Fine," he said, giving in to Sherlock's request.
Sherlock grinned and moved over to the storage unit; he turned his head back once more before lifting the door up. Inside the unit was bare except for one large gray box, shaped like, John mused, one of the dice from Dungeons and Dragons. Sherlock moved over to it, the smile never leaving his face as he lifted his hand to lightly stroke the box's surface with his palm. And, John wasn't positive, but he could have sworn that the box actually hummed as Sherlock caressed it.
Not letting his sight off of the strange box, Sherlock said, "Key," and stuck out his other hand behind him. Sam pulled out a chain with a key attached from around her neck and walked over to hand it to Sherlock. He then stuck the key into a lock that John hadn't noticed and opened a door that John hadn't realized was there before. He watched as Sherlock disappeared into the box.
Molly turned to John and said, "Come on, then."
"What?" asked John. "In there? There's no room."
Molly just gave him a knowing smile and grabbed his hand, pulling him to enter the box along with her, Sam, and Mycroft... her robot- John would have to get used to that.
And that wouldn't be the only thing John would need to get used to. "It's..." he gazed wide-eyed at the gigantic chamber, hanging vines covering the bronze walls, a large, mechanical column occupying the center of the space above a console system, glass orbs hanging from the ceiling; it was the most magical thing John had ever seen. "It's bigger than it looks from the outside."
"That's because it is," said Sherlock, who was looking very pleased with himself as he leaned against the console in the center of the chamber. "Bigger, that is. It's dimensionally transcendent."
"Oh," was all John could think to say at the moment.
"And it can take us absolutely anywhere, anywhen," said Sherlock. "Come on, where have you always wanted to go?"
"Me?" asked John. "I don't... I mean, I'm not..." His sentence trailed off.
"Be creative," said Sherlock. "You can pose for Picasso, chat physics with Einstein, dance with Ginger Rogers-"
"Sherlock," said John, shaking his head. "I'm not going with you."
"What?" said Sherlock, his brow furrowing in confusion.
"I can't do this," he said. "I can't run away from my life."
Sherlock frowned. "You think that's what I'm doing?"
"Sherlock... I have absolutely no idea what you're doing. I have no idea who you are."
Sherlock paused for a moment to consider before saying, "My name is Sherlock. I'm incredibly smart. And I'm the very last of my species."
"Um," said Sam. "If I might interrupt." Sherlock quickly turned his head to face her. "I've been doing some research, and I don't believe the you're the only Time Lord."
"What?" said Sherlock, his features betraying emotions of confusion, hope, and joy.
"Does the name 'The Doctor' mean anything to you?" Sam asked him.
Sherlock let out a deep laugh. "Of course he would... He was always such a showoff. Ha, the Doctor..."
"I take it you know him then?" said Molly.
"Every Time Lord knows... knew... of him," Sherlock explained. "He's pretty insane, but basically harmless. And he has a bit of a soft spot when it comes to the Earth; Rassilon knows why. If you stick around here long enough, you're sure to bump into him one day. Just look out for a big blue box and that's him."
"Should we contact him?" asked Sam. "Let him know you're here?"
"Oh, I suppose..." said Sherlock, none to thrilled at the prospect.
"Right," said John. "So you seem a bit busy at the moment. I'll just be off."
"I do want you to stay, John," said Sherlock. It was the first time he had ever admitted to that, even when he and John had first become flatmates and then friends; but, to John, it just wasn't the same.
"I can't," John explained again. "I have a life, a job, family, friends-"
"I'm your friend," Sherlock interjected.
"You are," said John. "You always will be; I'd risk my life for you, but I won't abandon it for you." John paused and looked at Sherlock, where he could see the hurt in his former flatmate's eyes. "I have a date with Sarah tonight. She'll be expecting me."
"Of course," said Sherlock coolly, stepping forward and extending his hand. "Goodbye then. It was a pleasure."
John shook Sherlock's hand, and said, "Goodbye." After a moment, he added. "What am I supposed to tell people? I mean, about your leaving."
"I don't know," said Sherlock. "Tell them that I moved out."
"To Mrs. Hudson?" John asked.
"Tell her that I died," he answered.
"There'd be an investigation," he said.
"So tell them Moriarty pushed me off a cliff or something," he said. "You can be imaginative."
John frowned, but then said, "I will miss you. You were the strangest, most fascinating person I'd ever met."
"You were pretty interesting yourself," said Sherlock.
John turned to leave, and Sherlock walked him out of the TARDIS, where they stood alone.
"Will you ever come to visit?" John asked.
Sherlock gave a small smile, and said, "I'm sure I could find the time." With that said, Sherlock turned back to the TARDIS and closed its door. John watched, and, after a few moments, there was a strange whooshing noise which John had never heard before, followed by Sherlock's TARDIS vanishing into thin air.
For a moment, John forgot to breathe, so awestruck by the event as he was. But then he finally let out a long sigh. He suddenly felt his phone in his back pocket vibrating, so he answered it.
"Hello?" he asked.
"Hi, John," said Sarah. "I'm going to be a little bit late tonight, probably a half hour. I hope that's okay?"
"Sure," he said. "No problem. I'm looking forward to it."
"Me too," she said. "Bye."
"See you then," he said. John replaced the phone back into his pocket and then turned to leave the empty storage unit, whistling a happy tune.