Title: Within the Lamp
Summary: When John moved into 221B, he expected trouble. In a way, he was asking for it- keeping such a massive secret under the nose of the world's only consulting detective. You see, John is a djinn.
Origins: Idea has roots from the book Children of the Lamp, intermixed with the main ideas from BBC's Sherlock. (I do not own)
Setting: follows A Study In Pink, but deviates from there.
Pairings: None (as of yet, but if any do develop, they will not be slash.)
Updates: 3 times a week (more if there are a large amount of reviews, or if the reviews are extra detailed. Critique and suggestions are welcome, flames are not.)
Other Notes: Djinn means genie (pronounced gin, like the drink).
Be warned- the first two chapters are a bit fast, but I'm just getting through 'A Study in Pink' so the real content can begin. Reviews are much appreciated.
It wasn't coincidence that found me cautiously entering the lab where I was to meet my future flatmate, friend, and (unfortunately often) antagonist. It wasn't fate, or luck, or destiny, or whatever higher power one might blame such occurrences on. No, it was something far more discernible than a vague superstition or idea.
Unfortunately, it took me longer than it should've to recognize the real force between our converging paths.
Chapter One: In the Dark
I followed Stamford into the pristine super-modern lab, the powerfully clean scent of rubbing alcohol and the smell of the microscopes (warm plastic from running all day) as familiar to me as a security blanket. It was a bit newer and higher-tech than what I was used to, but in a comforting way. It was being a doctor before that meant explosions and gunpowder and deliberate harm, before the war. The lack of dust and screaming men, like metal on metal, was a definite improvement, let alone the computers and automated systems.
My attention was drawn to a lanky figure operating a pipet, leaned low in concentration, but operating the pipet with such ease that he was obviously thinking about something other than the drops of fluid (water, likely, from the wet-mount slides I saw lined in front of him) he so perfectly eased onto each bit of glass.
No scrubs- were those old-fashioned now, too? He had a dark sort of suit on (not sure what kind- I tend to doze when topics moved toward wardrobe fashion), and had black curly hair, and pale skin. The harsh white-and-black contrast was startling. His eyes didn't even move from what he was doing to notice us.
I don't know why I lent such a peculiar man my phone. I've been called too trusting and moral before, but I'd thought the war had tempered it a bit. Guess not. Or perhaps it was the peculiarity about him that made me do it.
And then he knew my life. That should've been my first hint toward the truth, but I was a bit shell-shocked and in awe. Anyways, if he was so observant, then it should've been he who made the connection first, so I didn't even entertain the idea. That, paired with the blatant disregard toward the woman that betrayed his appalling apathy, killed the thought at the root.
I confess, his assuming manner made me a bit peeved, but I was intrigued with this odd creature enough to remain cool. Intrigued enough to go to 221B Baker Street.
Between the first and the second meeting with Mr. Sherlock Holmes, I occupied my time by ridding myself of as much nervousness and energy as I could, hanging around the hospital under the pretense of looking for a potential job. Little did they know, I was already working, paying visit after visit until a particularly draining stop to a kindly woman in the cancer wing left me exhausted.
I was out of practice- I hadn't given her more than two extra years.
But it did help me, at least, and enough others that I didn't feel like I was doing it to be self-serving. I felt suitably relaxed and languid by the time I arrived at 221B Baker Street. Djinn power was like coffee- focusing and helpful in some cases, but in an overabundance or in the wrong situation, it led to jitters.
My own djinn energy was pleasantly mellow when Holmes stepped out of the cab.
I was glad to meet Mrs. Hudson, who seemed very kind, if slightly frail, both of which were great benefits. She would be a promising outlet, if Holmes proved to be a bad idea. Despite the mentioned incident about the death charge in Florida, I sensed a compassionate, empathetic soul in her.
The flat itself was comfortable, if a bit untidy. I noticed a skull on the mantle. It wasn't fake. The police suddenly were there, asking for his help, and he was dancing like it was his eighth birthday. About a serial killer. I was beginning to have second thoughts, until he was back and asking if I wanted to go.
I'd thought I'd had my fill of violence, but I found myself agreeing whole-heartedly. As much as I enjoyed helping at hospitals, this was real adventure, where it was uncertain if we were helping people after the fact or before it, both arriving too late to stop death but tracking its cause to prevent it in the future.
Plus, I had already become a seasoned violence campaigner. Might as well put to use my adaptation to danger, as well as my djinn power. I suddenly regretted spending so much of it already today, but how was I supposed to know that I would be dragged off on a police investigation?
Holmes asked me to observe the body. With his keen eyes on me, and my tendency to become clumsy when fatigued, I dared not employ any djinn power, instead relying on mortal doctoring skills. I wasn't sure what Holmes was looking for- a man clever as he probably already knew everything I told him. I wasn't even sure why he'd taken me to the crime at all, but that was Holmes for you.
Then, would you believe it, he was off again, shouting about pink and leaving me at the crime scene, and I wasn't even sure what street I was on. Cursing under my breath, I vowed to keep enough energy to at least skip short distances, and asked the lady police officer where the main road was.
She gave me directions, as well as a bit of advice about Holmes. I wasn't sure if she was just bitter about the affair he'd so belligerently pointed out to everyone, or was seriously warning me. I began hobbling toward the road, cursing more as the rain made my leg ache. The shot I'd taken to the shoulder during the war had clipped my spine, damaging important nerves that operated that leg. As lucky as I was to not have been completely paralyzed, I was still slightly bitter about the whole ordeal. Nobody believed that a shot to the shoulder could ruin a leg.
On the way, I witnessed something very strange- a phone in a telephone booth ringing. Was it even possible to call them? My instinct made me uneasy, and I suspected it had to do with me, but I dismissed it. A telephone booth on a busy street ringing for me, one in a large crowd. Not likely.
It happened again, and my curiosity got the best of me. I entered the booth and hesitantly picked up the receiver. The voice on the other end was presumptuous, but anyone who could control the street cameras and ring a public phone had every reason to be proud. I thought of my gun, lying useless in my desk, as I climbed in the vehicle.
We arrived at a warehouse. The ride had been uncomfortable, filled with anticipation and nerves and the infuriating clicking sound as that woman texted away, with that damn cocky higher-than-thou smirk that I was so unfortunately familiar with on women's faces. Though I was used to violence, I wasn't a violent person myself, so I tried to make small talk. With no success.
The warehouse was open and what I supposed should be intimidating, a proper place for a mysterious man of great power to have secret meetings. It was surreal, like something out of a movie. He requested I spy on Holmes for him, in exchange for money. I refused.
"Then, please, I will give you whatever you desire, if you just swear this one thing- not for my own desires, but for the greater good. I promise, this one thing isn't self-serving," the man, Mycroft, said unexpectedly. His tone made me all the more nervous.
"Depends on what it is, I suppose," I said neutrally, preparing to refuse as tactfully as possible.
"You must not let him know anything about the genie world."
My first reaction, a gut reaction, was to bristle. The word 'genie' was so overused that it had become a slang term one such as I. The ideas of floating blue Arabic men granting three wishes was woefully inaccurate, not to mention demeaning. I'd had an estranged uncle who'd been called a 'genie' by a group of proud, nomadic djinn. In response, he'd skipped all their belongings to the mucky depth of the Thames, right in the path of a boatload of suddenly-rich mudlarks.
My second reaction was shock. Who was this man, who proclaimed himself as my flatmate's 'arch-enemy' (do normal people even have arch-enemies?) and then revealed that he knew of djinnkind? How did he know? He wasn't a djinn- one djinn could always sense another, unless he'd had his powers bound.
Then, fear. This man, with obvious power, knew about djinn, and knew I was one. And either he was incredibly knowledgeable about the subtle workings of the world, about the three sects of beings, or he was a djinn himself who had done something horrible enough to have his powers bound. Neither idea was appealing to me.
"I can see you have questions. All you need to know is that I'm not a djinn myself, unfortunate as that is, but I do know people who are. Just believe me when I say that Sherlock Holmes must never know about that world."
"I hadn't planned on telling him," I said. Mycroft nodded.
"And you don't need to give me anything."
"I can give you anything, things that even djinn power can't grant."
"No, thank you. I just want to go home," I said, wondering where everything had gone insane. Probably when I leant Holmes my phone, and he suddenly knew my life.
The meeting ended as it had started- awkward silences with the texting woman. I exited the vehicle in a huff.
I retrieved my gun. Djinn power couldn't be used to kill others- the power of man kept us from forcing death or change on them directly. I couldn't do anything directly to a man against his will, so I had to stick to mortal means for defense.
More adventures followed. I minded Mycroft's warning, and didn't use any djinn power around Holmes, not when we were chasing a cab across London (could've used djinn power to pop its tire, or to simply skip across town to catch it, or to at the very least slow it down) or when Inspector Detective Lestrade was rummaging through the flat (to hide a select few objects from view). It was very tempting to use it when Holmes was all but overdosing on nicotine patches, but I wasn't even sure how to use the power to help.
No, I kept my power tightly sealed within, only using it when I was certain Holmes was elsewhere, and even then, only granting the smallest of boons to just take the edge of the jitters off. I wondered how long I could keep it up.
Not for long, I soon found out.
Holmes was equal blessing and curse. He expressed a level of genius unseen in anyone I'd ever encountered, and yet, was so bloody ignorant about other things that I wondered whether he was mentally handicapped or not. He was the worst and the best flatmate I could've asked for. The flat was a mess- the cabinets in the kitchen were full of chemicals and unmarked jars, so when I made tea, I was glad that my djinn blood made me immune to poison, in case I mixed up the containers. He was lazy and temperamental and disrespectful, and there was an unnerving edge to him, like a lion that thought it was a housecat.
But he had his perks. He was full of a boundless energy that was unmatched in any others. There was never a dull moment. There was so much excitement about him that what I'd believed to be impossible had happened- my leg was restored.
Holmes claimed it was psychosomatic, but I had other thoughts. Perhaps this man was more than a man. But that didn't make sense- I should have been able to sense inhuman power from the very beginning. And Mycroft's warnings ran in my ears. As I walked freely again, for the first time in too long, I wondered long and hard about the happenings around Holmes.
Crisis struck. I realized what had happened moments after Holmes left the flat, and the GPS track of the phone showed it leaving 221B exactly as he left 221B. I stared at the moving dot on the screen, at odds with what to do.
I could try to guess where Holmes and the killer were going, but that was a risky choice. If I did, however, and guessed right, I would arrive only moments after they did.
I could also wait, and see where they were going so there wouldn't be the chance of going to the wrong place. If I went to the wrong place, then Holmes would almost certainly be dead, so waiting was a better idea. But waiting took up precious time, and it was nearly as risky.
The last option was to do the best of both choices- to wait and see where they were going, but also arrive only moments after they did. I could skip to that location in a split second. It was still very risky, but this time, my own risk rather than Holmes'.
Holmes- or, rather, Sherlock's. Friends use Christian names. We had become friends, if that was the right word for it.
There was only one choice, really.