Written for the fuckyeahjohnlockfanfic competition on Tumblr: AU fic between 1000 and 5000 words.

I hope you like it!

His Dark Materials/Sherlock crossover

From the moment of his birth, Sherlock Holmes had been different. He was smart, prodigy smart if not for his older brother, and he was strange. He uttered his first word at barely twelve months old, could walk and talk coherently at age two. His brother had been much the same, and Mycroft's dæmon sat on his shoulder, occasionally correcting Mycroft's schoolwork as Sherlock sat beneath his desk, stroking his own dæmon.

The Holmes brothers grew up close until Sherlock was eight years old, and Mycroft left for university in London, leaving Sherlock and his mother to live with their father. Sherlock used the term father loosely, for Basil Holmes was not a good father, and Sherlock believed was not worthy of the title. By the time Sherlock was thirteen, he had become cold and hard to the ways of the world, embittered by his father's treatment of his mother and him, he appealed to Mycroft for help. But at thirteen, most dæmons settled down, had a true form, and could no longer change. Sherlock's never settled. Even now, at thirty one years of age, the dæmon had still not settled.

For John Watson, it was clear cut. John was born into a normal family of Scottish heritage in the south of England and, as his father had been a lance corporal, he decided to join the military when he was sixteen. He entered the army and worked his way up, his dæmon having settled into the form of an Irish Wolfhound.

Upon doing some digging, he found out that Irish Wolfhounds were described as: an easygoing animal, they are quiet by nature. Wolfhounds often create a strong bond with their family and can become quite destructive or morose if left alone for long periods of time. His sisters dæmon was a crow. Loud and raucous and ruthless, and a solitary creature. Harry and he never really got on, but when he departed for the military, she gave him a hug and told him to stay safe.

It was those words that carried him through the desert sands, even when the bullet buried itself in his left scapula, he heard Harry's words and dug the bullet from his shoulder until he bled himself into unconsciousness on the blisteringly white sands.

He woke in a camp hospital, and a man was looming over him, ticking his name off a list and telling him he was going home. He was going to go home and could not come back into service. His arm was too wounded.

When he went back to London, he had a limp. A psychosomatic limp, that was the worst thing, he knew it was false. His dæmon supported him, lying against his leg when the phantom ache began, licking his hand and talking to him, coaxing him through the bad nights. For the first few months, there were a lot of bad nights.

And then he met Sherlock Holmes. An old army mate, Mike, introduced them. Mike's dæmon was a jet black rabbit that sat uneasily in the pocket of his coat, constantly alert. The first thing John had noticed was the dæmon. How it continually shifted and changed, first a raven, then a mouse, flitting momentarily to a snake and then resting on a cat briefly, all depending on what Sherlock needed it for. The other fact that startled him was that Sherlock didn't talk to his dæmon. Not at all. The dæmon seemed to just… know where it was needed and when.

The deduction left him reeling, his mind confused and when he retreated to think he couldn't get the image of the detective out of his mind. His dæmon nuzzled the palm of his hand and licked it, trying to reassure him that it was fine. Unfortunately, talking about Afghanistan had made it all too real, and all too close to the forefront of his mind. He curled up alongside his dæmon and lets the warm, rich voice soothe him, the brindled fur across the Wolfhounds mantle a warm and comforting texture beneath his fingertips. The dæmon gently licks his hand to offer support, and when Sherlock texted him to go, it was the dæmon that persuaded him that it was right.

John moved in, and for the most part it was good. Sherlock left heads in the fridge and eyes in the microwave, but for the most it was okay. There were down days, when Mycroft, or Holmes the elder (with a dæmon that was a falcon, gazing down a hooked beak with a cold, merciless gaze at John) told him he had to be there for him on those days. And John was. He updated his blog because he actually had a reason to now, not just because his therapist (with her ridiculous dæmon, a sand coloured rabbit that lolloped around her office. John had an instant dislike for her because of that) told him to. No, he updated his blog because people read it, and Sherlock gave him a cause to.

Unfortunately, the blog was to be what triggered the chain of events that lead to now.

Moriarty, that was his name, Jim from IT; remember me? John did, of course he fucking did. Jim Moriarty had a jet black snake as a dæmon, and it was trailing across his arm on the first meeting. Now it was slithering over his dæmon and John could feel it. He could feel the scales rushing across the warm fur; feel the insidiousness beneath that man's crisp and cool exterior. Jim Moriarty had dripped poison in his ear and left him there to dwell. And dwell John did. Every cross word with Sherlock, he began to doubt. That was the worst thing, he thought, the doubt.

Not that he had long to dwell on the doubt. He was strapped into a vest full of semtex and shoved to the poolside. The look in Sherlock's eyes killed him. His dæmon shifted from a glaring German Shepard with its hackles up, to a frightened looking mouse in under a moment. The only sign of Sherlock's true fear was his dæmon. John could have cried in that moment, as pain spasmed through him. Moriarty's dæmon was strangling his own, the teeth sunk into the jugular of his hound. Sherlock blanched at the look of pain on his face.

"John…" The word was out before he could stop it, and John's face was a bitter mask of pain, tears streaming down his still faintly tanned cheeks at the pain. He couldn't move, the dæmon was as far from him as he could go without pain, and Jim's was still nearly killing his own.

"Sherlock." John's voice seemed to shake him from his reverie and Sherlock's dæmon changed into a wolf. A soft silver colour, the amber eyes burned with an inner fire, and it launched itself at the other two dæmons as the two men exchanged a verbal sparring match. And then the pressure was gone and so was Jim, and his dæmon licked his palm as he collapsed against the wall.

Only it wasn't his dæmon. It was Sherlock's. The wolf was licking his palm and staring up at him with those huge amber eyes. The unwritten lore of dæmon's is that no one may touch another's dæmon. But here, Sherlock's was locking his palm and butting its large head against John's wrist. When it spoke, the voice was soft and velvety rich.

"John." And then Sherlock spoke at last, the gun and the hand holding it shaking. "John…" He stood again, the jacket having been pulled off by Sherlock in a frenzied moment before he fell. John leant against the wall of the room, his hand gripping the tiles as hard as he could. Sherlock was looking past him now, and he followed his gaze.

In the unnatural light of the pool, the two dæmons were nuzzling one another, and Sherlock's was still the wolf, licking the muzzle of John's. Sherlock spoke again, and his voice was scared.

"What does it mean, John?" He asked, voice trembling.

"Soulmates…" He breathed in reply, the two dæmons still nose to nose. He looked over at Sherlock and lightly touched his hand, not daring to be too forward. "Soulmates, Sherlock." It was a rare phenomena. The two dæmons had bonded irreparably, not able to be undone. Sherlock gripped John's hand tight and looked down the building at the two dæmons, unable to tear his gaze away.

"We're soulmates…" Sherlock breathed, finally everything was slotting into place. The feeling he'd had for John when he'd met him, their easy and amicable friendship, the way that everything about them just worked… suddenly it all made perfect sense. Sherlock looked at John. "Where do we… go from here?" He asked softly, looking at their linked hands.

"We… I don't know Sherlock." There was a pause, and then sirens wailed in the distance. John cast a fleeting glance at Sherlock and then gently stroked his cheek with a hand. He made to pull away but Sherlock's hand kept him still.

"Don't go…" He whispered, looking at John with eyes wide and frightened. John secured their hands together firmly and looked back up at his face.

"What do you want from me, Sherlock?" He asked softly, his head tipped up so he can look the detective in the eye. Sherlock gingerly reached out a hand to cup John's cheek.

"We're soulmates, John… I just want… I just want you." John gently placed his hand on Sherlock's cheek and stroked his cheekbones with the pad of his thumb. Sherlock looked so utterly lost, all the arrogance and self-assurance from before gone. John had never seen him so out of his depth, and he softly stroked a strand of hair from his forehead.

"Are you sure?" John asked softly, chin still tipped up, almost defiantly.

"I'm sure." Sherlock's voice wavered, but he met John's gaze with clear eyes. John went up on tiptoes and pressed his lips against Sherlock's, sliding the hand on his cheek into his hair, but pulling back in case he overwhelmed the detective. Sherlock placed a hand against the small of John's back and drew him closer, an arm tightening around his waist. His heart picked up, but the feel of John's lips against his own was a feeling that calmed him. John pulled away and let Sherlock wrap his arms around him, tucking his head into the join between neck and shoulder.

"Soulmates… I never believed in them before…" John remarked softly, his lips against Sherlock's neck.

"I know." He said simply, stroking John's hair. Their dæmons padded back to them and sat beside them, John's licking the muzzle of Sherlock's. After a few moments, Sherlock said softly: "My dæmon can't… can't change any more." John looked up at him, eyes wide.

"Oh." He replied just as softly, feeling the warmth of Sherlock's body leech into him. Through him. Through his entire body to the core. The sirens drew closer and closer, but John found that he couldn't bring himself to care, and Sherlock buried his face in John's hair.

Neither of them looked up when Lestrade appeared in the doorway of the pool, head tilted to one side. His dæmon, a silver fox, looked up at him and in a few moments of quiet, fervent whispers, Lestrade suddenly understood the significance of all of this.

Soulmates: A soulmate is someone you have experienced many lifetimes, learned life's lessons, bonded with and loved. Some believe your soulmate is literally the person who carries and completes the other half of your soul.

The dictionary definition of soulmates was ingrained in Sherlock's mind, from a chance reading, and as he stood with John on the poolside, feeling the warmth of the doctor's body leech through him, feeling the press of their dæmons against his leg, he finally felt like he understood what a soulmate was. In his mind, he rewrote that definition.

Soulmate: Doctor John Hamish Watson.

I hope you liked it (: