Gold is precious.
Blond is golden.
John Watson's hair is blond.
Therefore he is precious.
When he was a child, he often sensed people staring at him. They stared at him because of his golden hair, which sparkled in the sun. They often would offer him obscene promises, if he would share his golden shine with them at night.
Mind you, he was still a little child.
His mother would always grip his hand tightly in hers as they walk down the market, to buy the food they needed to survive.
Their errands were filled with anxiety and caution. Terrified that strangers could abduct him for his golden hair. Which is why at the age of four, he needed to wear a hooded cloak every time he went outside. The hood was essential especially when the sun was at its highest point.
It didn´t really help that he was the only one in his family who possessed this rare hair colour. Whereas his mother and Harry had dark brown hair and his father had a slightly red tone in his light brown hair so there was no wonder that people assumed he must be adultery's child.
It had ultimately led to his fathers decision to leave them because he couldn't stand the gossip anymore. His mother would find his farewell letter one morning, carefully placed on the kitchen table. She would burn it in the fire without giving the content a glance.
"We don't need him...hell, we won't need him. If he decided to be a coward, then so be it."
John knew that despite his mother's display of strength, she would cry every night because of the loss of her husband. He knew that every time he looked into her eyes, she cringed inside blaming him for everything that had happened.
She was not the only one.
Shortly after their father left, Harry's addiction to the smelly liquids they sell at the taverns began.
She would sneak out every night to meet strange people she called her friends, though they were much older than her.
In the morning she would come home more desperate than the day before. And when she finally took a glimpse at John, who was wide awake in his bed because of the noises she'd make when she returned home, she would scream at him.
"It's your fault. I hate you! I want Dad back. I want him back so badly. I wish you were never born. I hate you. I hate you!"
And his mother would pretend that she didn't hear her own daughter insulting her brother.
It was so much better to ignore the pain. Ignore the fact that their family was broken.
It was all because John Watson had golden hair, which sparkled in the sun.
"John...John!... How often do I have to call you before you would get up?"
John began to stretch his limbs lazily in his bed. Every morning it was the same procedure. His mother would use up all her energy, just to pull him out of his dreams.
He blinked the signs of sleep in his eyes away. It was the third day of the week.
Today he has to help the old fisherman out at the market.
He washes his face in a tub at the corner of the bedroom, observing his face on the surface of the water.
At the age of approximately 28 winters, his outward appearance betrays people, who always thought him to be much older.
It was no wonder, since Harry left their home as well searching for her own happiness as she had called it. This led to them to work harder to survive.
His mother recently developed a persistent cold so that the only bread-winner left was him.
"John." He turned around just to see his mother waiting at the door frame for him. She looked better now that he could afford to buy the bitter medicine which improved her health.
"John, don't forget your cloak." With those words she went back to her room, intending to rest after she successfully woke her son up.
John smiled. Even after all the misery she has suffered because of him, she would never let any harm come to her son.
People were even more eager to find human beings who are blessed with golden hair.
It seemed as if his hair sparkled more with every year that had passed.
So going out without the cloak was not possible anymore. It was necessary to stay alive.
When he arrived at the market a strong but familiar scent hit him.
The old fisherman had not begun with the disemboweling yet.
"Bless you John. It's really fortunate that you are already here. You know, my son has developed a nasty cold yesterday. Really nasty, yes... I'm very sorry but I guess you have to handle this whole thing alone again. But I promise you John it's the last time. I promise you. But you know my wife..."
"It's okay, Bill...I know. Go home. I think your son and wife need your help more than I do now."
"Thank you. Then...I'll be going. Don't forget the delivery you have to do today. The address is written in the roll on the table. Seems to be a big fish..Hahaha," he laughs at his own joke as he cleaned his hands with fresh water.
John sighs when the old man left the booth. He knew there was no sick child at home. As there was no robbery, injured wife or any other cases of emergency in the days before.
"You know the old man is swindling you. He is probably tasting a bought woman's flesh right now. Why are you doing this?"
Sally, who started to work for the fisherman 2 winters before he joined them, is looking at him with curious eyes.
"I need the money. Even if I have to work twice as hard as any other man would do, it's worth it, when I can be assured he will give me the money for my family's survival. My mother is still in recovery. Refusing his wishes would probably cost me this job."
Sally's curiosity turned into pity.
Without a word she continued washing the tools, they later needed to disembowel the fishes.
John didn´t mind getting pitied. As long as he would get the money and nobody would discover his secret, everything was fine.
Sure, at the beginning they all laughed at him, the man who would never take off the hood, no matter how hard the sun could burn at times.
But they soon became accustomed to his strange behaviour, even calling him prank names such as "shadow face" or "hoody head".
They didn't know that every time he came to work, he was afraid of someone pulling the hood back and discover his hair.
"Do you know where today's supplies should be delivered?"
Sally pointed at some paper roll on a table.
"Thought the old man said the address was written in there. Good luck. I think it must be a household from one of the Almighties...judging by the clothes the messenger was wearing."
"Sal, is that jealousy hidden in your voice?" John smirks.
"Not for every penny in the world would I want to be involved with them. I heard that they even kill little children to benefit from their blood because it gives them strength and intelligence."
"You should never believe in the gossip from the market-women..."
"Well, they sure don´t make it better with all their isolation from us common people."
"Maybe they are afraid of all those people, who want to demand something from them, abusing their generosity to help them with magic."
The young woman stared at John before she started laughing.
"Really John, you should listen to yourself. You sound like you wish to be one of them."
John didn´t answer her back but opened the roll to read the address. He would never admit that part of him wished to be one of them. He wished to be magic´s child. He would help people soothe their suffering while possessing a knowledge that no common man would ever have. But it was hopeless. You have to be born with the gift. And so far John hasn't discovered any special thing about himself at all. Except for his hair, it was more a curse than a blessing.
Some people think the Almighties use dark magic to improve their strength and endurance because even magic has its limits. Should a blessed person use too much of his magical resources, he could be in great danger.
Dark magic is feared by everyone and it is believed that the only way for protection is the possession of gold from a human body.
That is why some people specialized in abducting blond-haired human beings. Because even golden hair, serving for protection, falls apart after a certain time and it should be replaced with a new strand. As a result, it was more comfortable to possess a living exemplar as a supply. Although it is highly illegal to do so and there are rumors that those people die in a short time because of mistreatment, there is no way in stopping the trade.
The funny thing is that the method is very doubtful and it is not proven that golden hair has any effect on dark magic at all.
John doesn't think its funny, given the fact that this nonsense has made his life a living hell.
The term Almighty specifies a person from one of the three magical households, which has protected the whole country for generations.
They are named Lestrade, Moriarty and Holmes.
It is believed that the household Holmes is the oldest and most powerful one of them all.
Even though the house of Holmes is said to be more powerful, the other two households shouldn't be underestimated.
Whereas Lestrade is known for generosity to help people with apparently endless magic, Moriarty is known for the power to defeat enemies with their overwhelming strength. But because people never saw any one of them, rumors started.
Though it should be noticed that dark magic is more likely to be connected to the household Moriarty, which is also famous for the cruel and malicious way they handle their enemies.
John's mouth fell down as he read the inscription on the paper.
Sally was right. The customer is one of the Almighties. He couldn't believe it. Would he be able to see one of them before his own eyes?
He felt excited.
His coworker must have sensed his excitement because she said:
"Don´t get too happy. I doubt you would be able to see anything but their front door, especially not today. I´ve heard that one of the sons is getting bonded today. They won´t let you even take a step on their grounds. You could disturb the little ceremony or whatever they are doing in that weird mansion."
But John didn't hear her anymore. He was already on his way.
Sally closed her eyes.
"I just hope you won´t get in trouble, John," she whispered to herself, staring after the distant figure.
It was magnificent. Every part of the mansion must have been worth thousands of farms. John couldn´t take his eyes off of the thick wooden front door with ornaments or the gargoyles, which seemed to watch out for unwelcome visitors.
He hesitantly knocked at the wood.
Almost one second later a servant opened the door, took his delivery and paid him with some coins.
It happened so fast that John wasn't even able to see a thing.
He was disappointed.
Was it childish for him to have believed he could take one glimpse at the household?
"Who are you kidding? As if I would have had the chance to see anything. Of course they won't even come personally to take the delivery... John...you're so stupid..."
He almost started to walk back to the market when a cat touched his cloak.
John looked at it. The animal looked back as if it was challenging him. Then it jumped through a hedge.
Through the Holmes' hedge to be precise.
John was perplexed for a minute. Before he knew it, he followed the cat. Making sure that no one saw him, he entered some sort of a front garden.
For a magical household being so fond of isolation it was surprisingly easy.
Before anyone could discover his entrance he quickly looked for a way to hide himself.
He was about to choose a tree when an open window caught his eye.
"You have gone crazy...," he mumbled to himself. But every part of his body ached to see what's behind that window. And minutes later he found himself in a large corridor.
Suddenly John could hear loud voices coming nearer and he panicked.
What if they would discover him? Would they punish him for breaking into their house? Or even worse...kill him for his boldness...
He shivered at the thought. The only solution for his problem was to hide in a large cauldron, which stood in a corner of a room, having the size of ten normal ones.
So he quickly climbed into it. Just in time when he could hear two men entering the room.
"Sherlock, please be obedient for once in your life. You knew it was time. There were even clear signs of distress from your magic. Making a bond with the decent lady Cooper surely can't be that horrible."
"Hooper, Mycroft. Not Cooper. She can't be that decent if you don´t even know her correct name. Of course my magic is unstable right know...it's merely because of the injury I suffered from the latest fight."
"That was last year, Sherlock. Just admit that it's time for you to settle down with a bond."
John was afraid to even breathe as he listened to the conversation.
One of them had the most captivating voice he has ever heard. It seemed to set everything in the surrounding area in motion with its deep undertone. This must be how powerful people sound like.
The other voice was just plain annoying.
They must be talking about the bond. It is a ceremony in which a person, who is blessed with magic, is connected with a compatible mate. They would be irreversibly united to use their magical resources together. It was necessary to undergo the procedure. If not, the magic could dissolve at some point, leaving its owner with nothing but a feeling of emptiness.
John had the suspicion that somehow they knew that there was an intruder in the room. He could literally feel their glance towards the cauldron. But that could be just his imagination.
"You can't make me participate in that hideous thing called the bond. Even the slightest attempt to imagine sharing my magic with someone as dull as Molly Hooper evokes a feeling in me I would rather not feel."
"Maybe I can't but the fact that Mummy can and with the possibility of the loss of your magic any second will make you bond with her. This can end nicely or with some ugly intervention, my dear brother. It is your choice."
John heard the other man going out of the room, being followed shortly by the other man, who didn't give up on talking himself out of the situation.
"Jesus...thank God they didn't notice me...," he whispered to himself.
His relief was shortly replaced by panic as he felt himself, or rather the cauldron, being lifted.
It took him a great effort not to yelp out, which would have revealed him.
"What do they put in the cauldrons nowadays? ...Feels like I'm carrying the whole village..."
"Shh...you better not complain. I heard that they degraded George to do the kitchen work for today's ceremony."
John would have laughed at them, if he wouldn´t have realised the dilemma he was in.
How could he even get out of the cauldron, if he was being carried around?
Finally they put him on the ground. After one glimpse to see if it was safe to sneak out, he wished he would have never chosen to enter the mansion at all.
He was surrounded by thousands of people. Judging by their clothes and appearance they were all magical people. Well, he wanted to see them, didn't he? He just didn´t imagine doing it under such circumstances.
"Silence my dear guests!"
In an instant the muttering stopped.
This time it was a woman's voice, obviously belonging to Mummy.
"I'm very happy to announce that my youngest son Sherlock is completing his magical journey today by creating a bond. We are very lucky and honoured that lady Molly Hooper from the nearby village has agreed to be connected with him."
John could hear applause after the last word.
"I now demand Sherlock and Molly to join the circle. Please stand in front of the ceremonial cauldron."
He realised with a shock that she probably meant his cauldron.
Moments later he noticed footsteps coming to a stop, right in front of him.
"I'm so nervous...don't you feel nervous, too, Sherlock? I mean...it's our union..I mean...you know...it's irreversible..."
John could clearly filter out the annoyance from the deep voice he heard before. This lady Hooper was certainly talking too much.
"You two know what you have to do? After you have let your magic flow into your mate, performing the ancient way to connect your souls, your bond will be seen by everyone, showing its strength by the unique flame that will be inflamed in the cauldron. Only by your fire we can discover if the bond was successful or not. It will show your combined power."
Now John was terrified. Burning to death? Not the way he imagined to die. After quickly deciding that being punished for his actions is better than turning into ashes he tried to get out.
"Wait...wait..please wait before you do anything...I´m so-ho-ry..."
He never finished that sentence because next he found himself falling. He must have somehow gotten stuck with one foot in the cauldron, resulting in loosing his balance.
He closed his eyes, awaiting the painful impact with the floor.
But the floor felt surprisingly warm under his chest. He even dared to say it felt soft and comfortable. Only seconds later he realised he managed to give the ground a good smooch.
Sally would have laughed at him for getting laid by the floor in front of thousand Almighties.
He realised too late that it was not the floor he was kissing but a pair of lips.
When he opened his eyes he stared into a world of grey mist. It was piercing and calm at the same time.
It was simply beautiful.
He stared into Sherlock Holmes' eyes.
Next chapter: John´s little accident appears to be a bigger problem than assumed.
A certain curly haired/tall Almighty is not amused.