The Consulting Master
Chapter 1-Tick Tock
"Sherlock, what is this?" John gestured to the general area of the skull above the fireplace.
"I already told you—A friend of mine." Sherlock answered uninterested without looking back, tearing books out of his bookshelves.
"No, I mean the pocket watch between your friend and… Are those tongues in a jar?" Sherlock turned to look at an incredulous and slightly disgusted John, who was still not used to Sherlock's antics after months.
"Oh, you mean this?" Sherlock walked over, picking up the watch with intricate circles inscribed on the surface. Faintly, he could have sworn that he heard 'thump thump thump thump' continuously. Shaking him self out of the familiar drumming, he set it back down and turned away.
"So what is it?"
"I'm not sure. Probably something that Mrs. Hudson left here. It was already there before I came. Boring." He continued to pull some more books out from the shelf, A Guide to Famous Archaeologists, Scientist of 21st Century, Philosophers of Today….
John was quite worried about Sherlock—it wasn't like him. The watch was clearly something special, no matter how Sherlock dismissed it. And as far as he was concerned, the watch was never there. But he trusts Sherlock and his judgment; there was probably a better reason behind it.
"So what exactly are you doing? Another case for Lestrade?"
"No, not anyone of his dull cases. It was obviously a planned suicide—the people in Scotland Yard are truly oblivious of their surroundings."
"Then what is this? A personal request for someone?"
Sherlock scoffed and looked up from the book pile, "those people and their petty cases? Please, anyone with half an eye could help them out. Dull."
"So what is it then? What is so interesting that could make you search through every book in this house again?
Sherlock looked like he searched for something in his mind palace for a second, then returned his attention to John. "Say… John, have you heard of… The Doctor?"
"Nothing. Just the Doctor." Sherlock watched John curiously, awaiting his reply.
John frowned. "Never heard of it before, is it an organization or some sorts, a company for drugs…?"
"Very interesting, but no. He was actually one of my brother's… Acquaintances. Colleague of sorts. I don't have much idea who he was yet." He said, casually flipping over to the table of contents of Famous Doctors of the World.
"Oh? Then why don't you just ask your brother?"
Sherlock scowled. "I do not ask for help. Especially help from my archenemy. Also, he thinks that I know who this man is. And I acted that I do, but I don't, and I have to find out if this is one of the information that I previously eliminated from my brain or something's got to Mycroft."
John raised an eyebrow, but he didn't say anything. Just as John was about to ask what impressive feat this Doctor person did to make Sherlock so interested, Sherlock's phone went off.
"Lestrade? Don't you bother me now, I said no. And I don't care—" Sherlock suddenly stopped as he listened.
"An unidentified letter for me? Wait, I'll come." Sherlock switched off his phone before he had an answer from the other side.
"John, come along. We have a letter to read."
When Sherlock and John arrived, Lestrade was busily making his coffee, dark circles evident around his eyes. Sally was muttering something suspiciously along the lines of 'freak and his sidekick' while Anderson stiffly turned his face away from the trio.
"What? You all have to pull two all-nighters for that case? It's merely a planned suicide, case closed. Now… Where is my letter?"
Lestrade turned and started to walk to his office as he said, "Your letter came here this morning, when I left to eat breakfast. It was on my table when I returned. No fingerprints, no writer's name, no return address." Lestrade gestured the while envelop on his desk.
Indeed, nothing was on it but "Sherlock". Of course, Lestrade had enough sense not to open it.
Sherlock took the envelope and opened it with a letter opener in a swift motion; the he scanned it as fast as possible.
It is I. And I found out who you are, you cannot hide from me.
Do you really believe you are helping the weak-minded police? Or are you just enjoying yourself in this endless game? The thrill a mystery gives you…
I know you won't refuse this: come play.
Sherlock frowned at the small passage. Rarely does anything truly puzzle him. He was not aware that he hid any part of his identity to Jim Moriarty, and what does he mean by come play…?
"John, I think after all, we have something other than going through books today."
A beautiful wheezing sound of the universe interrupted Mycroft's well-deserved dessert as a blue box materialized in front of him. He frowned and put down his plate. The door swung open with a sudden exclamation of—
"How many times have I told you to stop calling me that?" Mycroft said annoyed, trying to get back to his cake.
"Not enough times. Plus, I've called you that for forever! After all, you named yourself that."
"I was ten months old!" Mycroft's childlike behavior surfaced before his old friend, the mad man from the blue box. "About time, it's been three years since the last time you came!"
"And it's been a few decades for me… But nevertheless, how is everything going on for you?"
"Quite the usual. Government, cake, and more government. Do you want some tea?" Mycroft asked as he noticed that the Doctor wasn't even listening. He was too busy concentrating on the beeping device in his hand. "Doctor, this is not merely a social call, is it?"
The Doctor looked like he was a little bit embarrassed, "Um, no. In fact, I detected something wibbly-wobby going on here in London 2012, so I decided to drop a visit. There's a very suspicious presence in Cardiff…"
"Detecting suspicious alien presences, eh? You and Sherlock, both are always sniffing around and extremely prone for accidents."
"I am not, actually I— Wait, who is Sherlock?" Doctor asked, confused.
Then it was Mycroft's turn to be confused. "Sherlock Holmes, my brother who's seven years younger than I am." The Doctor did nothing but raised an eyebrow.
"Yes, how can you forget him?" Mycroft was suspicious.
"I didn't. I never even knew him." The Doctor said as he punched in a few things on his beeping device's screen. "Have you ever heard of Arthur Conan Doyle?"
"Who?" Mycroft shook his head, "Never mind, don't change the topic. How could you not know Sherlock? You visit us together nearly every single time! Last time you saw him you gave him a pocket watch!"
"I never did. I know I didn't. I'm not that old yet. Where's the computer?" Doctor asked suddenly, taking out his sonic screwdriver. Mycroft gestured the computer on his desk, still frowning slightly.
The Doctor pushed his way through to the computer, and typed in 'Arthur Conan Doyle'. No search results. He flashed his sonic screwdriver in front of the screen. Articles about the author started pop up on the screen, as if unlocked from out of nowhere. Mycroft watched the screen shifting with phrases like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Arthur Conan Doyle-Wikipedia and saw the names of 'Sherlock Holmes' and 'John Watson' in every single post.
"Oh, this is very, very clever. But I'm even cleverer… Thought hiding Doyle's articles could fool me, eh? And to think I've accidentally landed in a different uni—"
"Doctor?" Mycroft was getting impatient with this apparently 'amusing' find of a person's life and their relation to his brother. "What exactly is going on?"
"Something particular. I think I found the reason my old girl brought me here."
"And what is it?"
"An impersonator who pretended to be your brother, erasing all the information of the original creator. Implanting false memories—but that could not fool me…"
"Excuse me? Although Sherlock is my archenemy, I am well aware that he is real. I went to his apartment, just last week. You should remember, the first time you saw him, you said that he would be something great and he called you the Mad Man with a Bowtie…" Mycroft said, walking close to the Doctor.
"Bowties are cool. Oh, I really don't know how to explain this. But trust me—you and John are both real, but having Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective, could not be a coincidence. It simply does not happen, too big of a coincidence, having a version of reality nearly identical to the fictional world. Someone else deliberately tried to create this, trying to catch my attention…"
"Now Doctor, you simply could not suggest that—"
"Oh, but I did. What is Sherlock's middle name?"
"What does this have to do with anything?"
"Just answer me."
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