They were chasing their suspect in one of the most bizarre cases yet. Two people murdered, seemingly untouched. Sherlock suspected mutant's work.
John was angry with Sherlock. He had baited the killer, and now they were chasing him. He was angry because now they were standing on a rooftop, blocking the exit. The man glared at them. He couldn't jump again, there were no buildings near enough, and Sherlock and John were in front of the fire escape. Sherlock was grinning. The man was, apparently, well and truly trapped.
"Just come quietly, and we won't have to hurt you," said Sherlock, grinning. John wanted to yell at Sherlock, after all, this man could apparently kill people without touching them. Baiting him was nothing short of idiotic. The man shot out a hand, pointing it at Sherlock and John. Nothing happened, and Sherlock was confused for a moment. Then, John was no longer beside him. He was floating over the edge of the roof, their quarry's hand directed at John. "I could squeeze the air out of him," he said, mockingly. "But I think I might just let him drop instead. Let me go, or I will kill your friend."
"Why should I trust you? I say yes and you let him fall anyway." The man shrugged.
"As you say." And dropped his hand. And then John fell.
Everything happened in slow motion. Sherlock shed his jacket, and flexed the wings. They slid out of the slits in the back of his shirt, thank god he'd worn this one today, and he dove headfirst over the edge of the roof.
And so John was angry, through the fear as he saw Sherlock leap toward him, because now both of them would die. Sherlock kept the wings streamlined, tight against his back, arms stretched out for John.
John closed his eyes. He didn't want to see either of them hit the ground. He felt Sherlock's arms wrap around him, then a jolt, and Sherlock grunted in pain, and they weren't falling anymore. Odd, he though it would hurt a lot more. Then, they were moving upward again. He cracked an eyelid. No broken and bloodied corpses on the ground, which was rather frighteningly close, though not as close as it should have been. And they were still moving up. Sherlock's arms were looped under his armpits, behind him, and when he tilted his head back, he could see Sherlock, tendon's straining in his neck, as he focused on some point above them. Shadows John could barely see lurked behind Sherlock, and still they moved upward. His brain felt slow. And nothing was moving at the proper speed. Then, all at once, they were eye level with his would be killer, then just a bit higher, and suddenly, Sherlock swung him with rather incredible force, and his feet connected solidly with the shocked man's face. He went down immediately.
So did Sherlock and John. The sudden jarring motion caused Sherlock to drop John, and as they had been moving quite quickly, no matter how slow it had felt, they dropped out of the air and went skidding and tumbling across the roof. John lay on his stomach, feeling a bit battered, but alive. He tried to piece together what had happened. And then pushed himself up to his forearms, and just stared at Sherlock.
Catching John had hurt. He had definitely pulled several muscles, stopping as suddenly as he had, with the added dead weight of John in his arms. He could figure out the physics of it later. Then, flying upward, on sore wings, with said dead weight and absolutely no thermals of any kind….it hurt. And would probably take a while to heal. But he had to stop the killer. And he had a plan. Of sorts. He was a bit surprised that it worked, though he had forgotten that he and John would probably get hurt in the process. It was a bit like if a bicycle hits a curb. Except that he and John both went head over heels when their forward motion was suddenly halted by John's feet in the killer's face. The bouncing across the roof definitely hadn't helped the situation with his wings at all. Everything hurt now, and Sherlock lay on his back, wings splayed to either side.
The whole episode took maybe forty five seconds. It felt like lifetimes. And Sherlock closed his eyes. He could hear John moving a few feet away, and he felt as though something was lost. There was no hiding anything anymore. And John would finally see him for the freak he was. Sherlock didn't want to have to watch.
Finally, he sat, back still to John, and cautiously shook out his wings. No lasting damage at least. A few feathers dropped away, skipping across the rooftop. Sherlock stood, but didn't turn around. He wrapped his arms around himself and stared at the horizon, wings stiff and straight back, pulled close together. There was no folding them away, not without taking off the shirt, and really, what was the point anymore?
"Well," John choked out. "That explains a lot." Wings. He had wings. Big black wings, spreading from under his shirt. They looked slightly beat up right now, but, interestingly, they were still rather beautiful. John recalled the feathers he had found, Sherlock's odd reactions to them, the way he'd never once seen Sherlock without a shirt of some kind, his opinions of mutant rights, Sherlock's reaction to the word 'freak.' Suddenly things made sense.
The wings twitched, and John could tell that Sherlock had tensed his shoulders when John spoke. He slowly climbed to his feet. "Sherlock, look at me." Sherlock didn't move, but the wings twitched again. They were much more expressive than his face.
Sherlock swallowed. He couldn't look at John right now, he just couldn't. He'd see disgust, or fear, or…pity or worse, and he could not bear to see any of that on John's face, not if John was looking at him. It didn't help that John's voice sounded funny, sort of hoarse and choked and disbelieving. Sherlock wished he could turn back the clock, make it so they were never on this rooftop, that John hadn't been thrown off, that Sherlock hadn't had to save him. He was really very stupid at times. He shouldn't have baited the man. He was a killer, just because Sherlock had thought he was trapped, didn't mean that he didn't have something up his sleeve, and Sherlock should have remembered that. He dug his nails into his arms, feeling the pressure under his shirt. His wings stilled and he clenched his teeth, absolutely furious with himself.
When it became clear that Sherlock was not going to move, John decided to walk around. He wanted to see the wings from a different angle anyway. They were taller than Sherlock, though not by much, and quite wide as well. He wondered how he got them to fold so well under his shirt. He moved to Sherlock's front. He was glaring at the skyline, holding himself so stiff John thought he might break. "Sherlock," he said again. Sherlock looked pointedly off in another direction. John continued. "You saved my life."
That was unexpected. Sherlock turned his face, finally, to meet John's. "Thank you," said John, seriously.
"It shouldn't have been necessary," replied Sherlock, sharply.
"You couldn't have known," began John, but Sherlock interrupted.
"But I should have," he snapped, wings flaring suddenly. "That is what I do. I know things. I should have known…figured out what he was going to do. I knew he was capable of murder. I should have…." He trailed off. There were lots of things he should have done. None of which he had, and the result was that John had almost died. Now, John was alive, and looking at Sherlock like he was….actually, John was looking at Sherlock in exactly the same manner than he always did. A bit impressed, a bit annoyed. There was a trace of disbelief, and his eyes kept flicking to the wings, but he didn't look disgusted or horrified. At the moment, he also looked a bit pleased with himself.
And just for a moment, John was pleased. He'd managed to make Sherlock start in on an angry tirade of course, but he had also been acting much more like himself, for those few seconds. "You can't know everything all the time," he insisted. "You're human Sherlock."
"Am I?" Sherlock challenged.
"Oh, don't start that," said John. "Of course you are. How did you put it in that article? 'Just people with abilities beyond the norm?' or something like that?" Sherlock looked momentarily stunned. John smirked slightly. "That was you, wasn't it? D. Arthur was a pseudonym."
"Obviously," muttered Sherlock. He was a bit speechless, for once. He didn't like the feeling.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"That I was writing articles about mutants under a fake name?" asked Sherlock, a bit snarkily. John rolled his eyes.
"You know what I mean. You didn't think I might like to know about the fact that you've got wings? Didn't you trust me?" Because that's what hurt the most. The fact that Sherlock hadn't trusted him, that even now, he looked like he wished he could take everything back, or that John was going to start being horrified. Sherlock didn't reply for a long while, long enough that John thought he wasn't going to. Finally, in a quiet voice, Sherlock answered.
"You were the only person who didn't think I was…a freak, because…because of what I can do. The observations. Deductions. You thought it was fantastic. I didn't want to lose that. I didn't want you to think I was a…freak too." John ran his tongue over his teeth.
"Sherlock, I would never think you're a freak. You do some freaky things sometimes. But so does everyone. I mean, I don't like pudding. Some people think that's freaky." He grinned a little. "But you are not, and you never have been, a freak. And….you can fly. Do you know how many people would give an arm to be able to fly?" Sherlock shrugged, but he looked a bit interested despite himself. "If you ask most people what superpower they'd like to have, given a choice, they answer flying. And you actually get to do it. It's fantastic Sherlock."
And finally, Sherlock smiled too. John wasn't going to leave, or run off, horrified and sickened. He was amazed, and he seemed to like his wings, maybe even was a little jealous. And he didn't think Sherlock was a freak, or diseased, or…wrong.
"Well, I could take you sometime. Flying I mean. For real, not just…if someone throws you off a rooftop." And John's face broke into a huge, genuine grin.
"You would? God yes. Oh god, that would be…brilliant."
And it was, definitely, absolutely, wonderfully fantastic.
So, yeah, that's that. I might throw in a bonus chapter, just a little ficlet about a time before this story. It all written and everything, about half on the computer, but it really didn't flow with the story, and it would have just dragged everything down. So…yeah. Might post that at some point, depending on if ya'll want to read it or not.
I don't own Sherlock or John or anything really. Thanks for reading! And reviewing, those who reviewed. And story alerted and 'favorited' Those emails always make my day!