Disclaimer: Neither BBC's Sherlock or Marvel's Avengers belong to me; however, I am certainly enjoying myself thinking of ways to mash them together.
Summary: The Holmes brothers never knew their father; in the aftermath of the Manhattan incident and the Reichenbach Fall, old truths come to light, and Sherlock is thrust into a world of gods and heroes.
Chapter 1: Bastard Children
Director Fury swept into the meeting room, coat billowing behind him. Agent Hill was already present, a pair of tablets sitting in front of her; she slid one across the table wordlessly as her boss settled into his chair.
The man made no effort to take the tablet; he fixed the agent with a determined, one-eyed stare. "What's this about?" he asked, straight to the point as always. "You did say it was urgent."
"It is, sir," Hill said, not fazed by the attention like most people would be. "The short story is that we may have another Asgardian running around Earth."
Another Asgardian? It had been less than a month since the catastrophe that had been Loki waging war on Manhattan. Fury could feel the beginnings of a headache forming; it was too soon for him to want to deal with more mythological mayhem. God, he needed coffee.
With an understanding expression, Hill produced a large mug of steaming hot coffee, passing it over. This, Fury took gladly; one sip, and the bitter taste of strong, dark coffee filled his senses, putting him more at ease.
Sighing, he took the tablet, motioning for Hill to carry on. In the back of his mind, he made a mental note to give her a pay raise; this was good coffee.
The picture of a man appeared on the screens; he had dark, curly hair hidden underneath a ridiculous hat, very pale eyes and sharply defined features. Something about him nagged at Fury, but he wasn't certain what.
"Sherlock Holmes," Hill informed Fury. "British. He worked as a consultant for the detectives at Scotland Yard in London up until two months ago; he's a minor celebrity due to his ability to solve almost any case."
"What happened two months ago?" Fury asked, studying the picture as he sipped at his coffee. The name and face were familiar; Holmes had been on SHIELD's watch list for some time, but had never done anything quite worthy of his personal attention before today.
"There was a confrontation with an individual named Professor James Moriarty," Hill said.
Now that was a more familiar name; SHIELD had kept a close eye on the self-declared consulting criminal. Fortunately - for Moriarty, at least - while the man had controlled a significant proportion of the world's crime prior to his demise, he had little ambition beyond that. As such, SHIELD had been content to leave him be, having bigger priority targets to worry about.
"Didn't he kill himself?"
"Which one, sir?"
Fury raised his eyebrow. "They both killed themselves?"
"Yes, sir. Moriarty successfully framed Holmes for fraud, and blackmailed him into killing himself; I believe the offer was his life or that of his friends. He then killed himself. However, our intelligence reports that Holmes only faked his death; his latest whereabouts is in Paris, where he is trying to take down Moriarty's criminal empire single-handedly."
What a fascinating tale this was turning out to be; fascinating, but utterly pointless and time-wasting. "I have yet to see how this has anything to do with Asgard," Fury remarked.
Hill fixed him with an exasperated look that only she was permitted to use on him. "I'm getting there, sir," she said.
"As per protocol for individuals on our watch list, we had obtained a sample of Holmes' DNA for our files. Since he was a low priority mark, the full analysis wasn't completed until last week." With a few touches, she brought up the report. "To say the least, it had a few surprises."
Fury scanned through the report as Hill kept talking. "Holmes' DNA had a number of peculiarities in it, ones we didn't recognise as any normal genetic defects or variations. As his official medical records held no explanation of gene therapy or other such procedures, we ran a comparison with the other… unique… individuals in our database to pinpoint the cause."
Now she brought up a screen showing four different strands of DNA. "As you can see here, the DNA on the far left belongs to a regular human. On the far right is DNA obtained from Thor. In the middle, we have Holmes and Loki."
Staring intently at the pictures, the relationship here was apparent. While humans and Asgardians were physically similar, they had noticeably different DNA; both Loki and Thor were distinctly different to the human. Holmes, however, appeared to be a mixture of both human and what they were coming to term as Asgardian DNA.
"There's more, sir." Hill wiped the human strand from the picture, rearranging the strands into a triangle. "The DNA of Loki and Thor is similar, both Asgardian, but does not indicate a close relation."
"We know that, Agent," Fury reminded her. "Thor told us that himself."
Hill ignored that comment. "However, the DNA of Holmes and Loki is extremely similar, even accounting for racial differences." She looked at him then, eyes intense. "Director, if this had been two human samples, we would know them to be direct blood relations; either brothers, or father and son."
"Father and-" Fury cut himself off, fingers working furiously to bring up Holmes' and Loki's faces side by side. He held the tablet up, letting facial matching software begin to run; however, seeing the photos together like this, he was acutely aware of the probable outcome.
He'd be damned if the two didn't look extremely alike. They had the same dark shade to their hair, the same facial structure; Holmes' eyes were a few shades lighter, but very much like Loki's. If he had seen the two man standing together, with no prior knowledge of them, he would have assumed them to be brothers. But knowing the Asgardians to be a long-lived race - just how old were Thor and Loki, again? - anything could be possible.
Suddenly angry, he slammed the tablet down on the table. He'd thought that his worries about Loki were over and done with the bastard's return to Asgard; now, he had a relation to deal with, one he might not be able to deport so easily.
"I want a full report on Holmes on my desk yesterday," the Director ordered. "Background, work, abilities - everything." As Hill made to rise, he snapped, "And get me Thor here now - I need to know how this could be possible!"
The following day, Fury was waiting in another meeting room, foot tapping impatiently. He kept glancing at the door, frowning when it remained closed.
Finally, it opened; Hill strode into the room, carrying just one tablet this time. Close at her heels was Thor, a puzzled expression on his face.
"Hurry up and sit down," Fury snapped, "we haven't got all - what are you lot doing here?"
It seemed that Thor hadn't been the only Avenger to answer the summons; the remaining five superheroes had traipsed in behind him. Stark was already making himself comfortable, sprawling on a chair with his feet resting on the table; the other Avengers were also taking seats.
Rogers met his eyes from across the table, a resolute look on his face. "Agent Hill said this has something to do with Loki," the man said evenly. "That makes it our problem too."
"Besides, what affects one affects us all, and other sentimental crap like that," Stark chimed in from across the room. "Wasn't that the whole deal with the team thing?" Surprisingly, one stern look from Rogers was enough to make Stark shut up; the billionaire scowled, taking out his phone and fiddling with it, attempting to look like he'd rather be anywhere else.
Barton simply shrugged at Fury's stare; Romanoff's blank stare didn't waver. Banner gave a sheepish smile. Thor was looking quite uncomfortable, but to his credit, he didn't try to justify his actions.
This wasn't what I expected when I thought of the Avengers Initiative, Fury thought as he gave in with a sigh, waving at Hill to start. They were supposed to gang up on villains, not on SHIELD!
"This meeting was called to discuss the individual Sherlock Holmes," Hill began, putting Holmes' picture on display. "It has been discovered that he bears a significant proportion of Asgardian DNA, which is also similar enough to Loki to indicate a possible relation."
The reaction to this information was immediate; Barton sat bolt upright, every muscle tensing. Romanoff put a calming hand on his arm, but her own eyes blazed. Stark's feet fell off the table with a thud; Thor had gone extremely pale.
"There's more Lokis running around?" Stark spluttered. "One was too many! Thor, did you know about this? Any other long-lost brothers you forgot to mention?"
Thor cleared his throat once, twice. "No," he said hoarsely. "I have no other brothers, nor any sisters."
"Thank God for that," Fury muttered under his breath. Or Odin, in this case.
"Holmes is of age 30," Hill continued. "He has one sibling; an older brother, named Mycroft Holmes." A picture of the brother appeared. "Mycroft is seven years senior. Officially, he occupies a minor role in the British Government, but he is the main political power in that country due to his influence behind the scenes."
"Politicians," sniped Stark, tone scathing. Rogers whacked him around the back of the head.
"Their mother is Margaret Holmes, deceased for ten years now. No father is listed for either child, nor was the woman in question ever married. DNA obtained from the elder brother shows the same mix of Asgardian and human DNA; they are definitely full siblings. No DNA could be obtained for the mother, but our current assumption is that she was human."
"Then the father is Asgardian?" Banner queried. "Thor, I thought you said you were the first of your people to come here in centuries."
"So I thought," Thor acknowledged, eyes troubled. "If any have come here, it was not through the Bifrost, or it would have been known to Heimdall, and thus to my family."
"Yet here we have two Asgardian half-breeds," Stark said. "So much for seeing everything."
"You said that Holmes was a possible relation to Loki," Romanoff said, leaning forward. Her hand never loosened its grip on Barton's arm. "Could that make him the father?"
All heads turned to Thor. The God of Thunder was sitting with his head in his hands, rubbing at his temples.
The demigod sighed heavily, lifting his face. "I do not know all my brother's movements," he said. "Yet of all citizens of Asgard, he alone possesses the ability to move through the gaps between worlds without the aid of the Bifrost. It is also within his power to veil his actions from Heimdall's gaze."
"Then he could have come to Earth before, without us ever knowing about it?" Fury felt cold; how much damage might the God of Lies have caused, SHIELD left oblivious, had he not chosen to come after the Tesseract? Thank goodness he's under arrest on Asgard now; at least we know where he is.
"I did not previously consider this, but Loki seemed strangely comfortable in this world," Thor admitted. "He is clever and quick to adapt, but not that quick."
His mouth thinned; he kept staring at the screen, where the pictures of the Holmes brothers still showed. "I cannot know for certain without asking my brother, but your tests for a blood relation are most likely accurate. It fits."
Silence reigned, but only for a few moments. "Are you telling me," Rogers said, looking sick, "that Loki tried to destroy the world his own children lived on?"
"No!" Thor shot up out of his seat, the word coming out as a strangled shout. Fury glared at him; the Norse God slowly reseated himself, looking contrite. "No," Thor repeated, "no, not even Loki… he must not have known. He could not have known."
"Who was the mother?" Barton asked, the first words he had spoken the entire time.
Hill gladly leapt onto the change of topic. "Margaret Holmes," she said, pulling up another picture. It showed the portrait of a young woman with long, red-brown hair and large blue eyes. Her looks were strikingly beautiful, but not in the conventional manner; her face was too serious. She bore a remarkable resemblance to the earlier picture of Mycroft Holmes.
"She was the only daughter of Siger and Penelope Holmes; they're an old British family, quite wealthy. Growing up, Ms Holmes exhibited a keen interest in scientific explanations of the supernatural. She was an exceptionally bright young woman, well educated for her time."
"So what happened?"
"At age 20, she fell pregnant. The father never came forward, and it was hushed up by the family; she disappeared out of public eye."
"Looks like she found her 'scientific explanation'," Stark commented, complete with air quotes.
Frowning at the interruption, Hill continued. "The child was raised on the family estate; he was home-schooled prior to his university years. Seven years after the first time, Ms Holmes fell pregnant again; as before, she never named the father."
"Seven years is a long time," Banner said thoughtfully. "This may have been a short-term fling, revived upon a later meeting. It's possible that she never even told Loki about the first child."
"Why not?" Rogers asked. "Surely she would have wanted him to know he had a son."
"Not if there hadn't been any contact for seven years," Banner countered. "She probably thought he was never coming back after so long."
"This is pointless," Romanoff broke in. "She's dead, he's locked up - what's more important is whether she told the kids."
Fury sat back, thinking hard. "No," he said, remembering what Hill had said about the brothers. "If they'd known, they would have come looking for answers after the Manhattan incident." Thank goodness they didn't. On second thoughts, extra persuasion against Loki could have proved useful when everything went to hell.
"Great," Stark sighed. "Two oblivious Loki-brats. Can't we just ship them to Asgard and let Daddy deal with them?"
"British, Stark," Banner reminded him. "Like it or not, they're Earth citizens; we're stuck with them."
"What are they like?" Thor wanted to know. The troubled expression from before was long gone; in its place was eagerness, curiosity.
"Both have genius-level intellects," Hill said. "In particular, their powers of observation is almost supernatural." At the unintended pun, Hill winced, but Stark chuckled. "Each has received a university-level education at Oxford. The elder brother used his time to forge connections; when he entered the government directly after graduating, he very quickly rose through the ranks. Mycroft is also highly placed in the Secret Service."
"A spy?" Romanoff leaned forward, interested.
"Only briefly. He prefers to work from the shadows controlling everything, rather than do the legwork himself. He appears to have no close friends or partners; he managed to obtain the nickname 'Ice Man' for his apparent lack of emotions. He lacks compassion and caring towards any but his brother, with whom he is estranged; however, his loyalty to Britain is absolute."
"Just a typical politician, then," Stark said, clearly bored. "What about the younger brother? Sherlock, wasn't it?"
"Now Sherlock Holmes has led a far more eventful life. He's a former drug addict who was forced into rehab by his brother. He solves crimes for a living; he worked as a consultant for the police in London for a number of years, as well as taking on private cases."
"A consultant?" Stark grinned. "My kind of man!" Fury had a sudden urge to throw something a the smug bastard; was Stark ever going to let that go?
"Sherlock came to the attention of a criminal mastermind named Moriarty; they kept clashing until one of Moriarty's schemes caused Sherlock to be framed for fraud and commit suicide."
Thor slammed his palm on the table. "He's dead?" Rogers laid a hand on the demigod's shoulder in silent support.
"If he was dead, we wouldn't be having this meeting," Fury said irritably. "So shut up and let the Agent continue."
"Thank you, sir. The scheme was supposed to force Holmes to die in disgrace, but it appears something went wrong. Instead, Moriarty killed himself, and Holmes faked his death, going into hiding two months ago."
"Hiding from whom?" Banner asked.
"Everyone, apparently. Not even his brother is aware of his continued survival. Sherlock appears to be using his death as a cover for his efforts towards dismantling Moriarty's criminal network."
Rogers whistled admiringly. "One man against that many? Man's certainly brave."
Hill pursed her lips. "Brave, yes. Definitely determined; he possesses the drive to act that his brother doesn't have. It's how he ended up on our watch list to start with."
"Conviction," Thor said softly.
"However, his personality leaves a lot to be desired. Holmes has been described by leading psychiatrists as a sociopath; he has very little empathy or respect for social norms. Quite frankly, he doesn't care for anyone or anything else, with a few notable exceptions."
At this point, Hill brought up pictures of three people; an old lady, a silver-haired man, and a short blond man. "These three people seemed to have gained Holmes' trust and loyalty, which belies his sociopath label. It appears his self-imposed quest is due to his desire to protect them."
"Who are they?" Romanoff queried.
"His landlady, his flatmate and his contact in the London police."
Fury studied the pictures for a moment; they looked utter unremarkable, certainly with nothing to suggest their unusual ability to gain a sociopath's friendship. Deciding that they were unimportant for the moment, he turned his attention back to the table.
"We can't simply let two half-Asgardians wander about unsupervised," he said. The Director let his gaze drift around the table, meeting each person's eyes in turn. "Since you so kindly invited yourselves to this meeting, do have you any suggestions for the committee?"
"Increase surveillance on Mycroft Holmes, but leave him alone for now," Romanoff said promptly. "He's not a problem we need to worry about."
Fury nodded, in complete agreement with the suggestion, as well as its implications. "Sherlock Holmes, on the other hand, could be a very large problem - especially considering his latest antics."
Banner jumped in at that. "If even one of the criminals he's targeting gets hold of his blood, it could be a catastrophe." As the doctor spoke, he unconsciously gripped his forearms tightly, right above his veins. "The last thing we need is criminals with access to Asgardian DNA."
"He's reckless," Hill added. "Surveillance wouldn't be enough to prevent him from being captured at least once; we can't afford to let that happen."
"Containment, then?" Fury said. It wasn't ideal, but it was better than letting Holmes run loose.
Rogers frowned. "He's not an enemy, not yet. Wouldn't that be a bit excessive?"
"So recruit him instead."
Barton didn't so much as flinch when all eyes landed on him; he met their gazes squarely. "If we can't just watch him, and we don't want to make an enemy of him, then we should recruit him."
"And what could possibly entice him to work for us?"
"Resources," Stark said suddenly. "More precisely, SHIELD's resources." Stark had put his feet back on the table, and was leaning his chair as far back as it would go.
"It's currently just him against a whole criminal empire. I don't know about him, but if it were me, I wouldn't be too keen on those odds. He could be at it for years and barely make a dent!" The chair was wobbling precariously, but Stark didn't seem to notice. "Offer him assistance in return for his services; you get him and get rid of a bunch of criminals at the same time. It's a win-win situation."
"We also have information about his father," Banner offered. "We could offer him the opportunity to find out the full extent of his heritage."
"What can a half-Asgardian do, anyway?" Stark asked the table. "Is he going to live forever like you, Thor?"
At that, the conversation dissolved into speculation about the possible abilities of a half-Asgardian. Fury let the conversation wash over him, not paying any more attention.
The idea had merit; Holmes had the potential to be a valuable asset to the organisation, given the right training and direction. Besides, his personality couldn't be any harder to deal with than the inflated egos currently sitting around his table.
The key to recruiting Holmes would be the first meeting; this would require the most delicate handling. Everything hinged on it.
Fury smiled knowingly then. He knew just the agent for the job.
A/N: Having recently watched both the Avengers and BBC's Sherlock within a short period of time, I was struck by some of the similarities between Loki and Sherlock. High levels of intelligence, similar personalities and views on sentiment, even physical similarities between them. The idea of how it might be possible to join the two worlds then hit me - what if the two were related? And thus this story was born.
I will be writing this story as I go, though I have a very good idea where this is heading. While I will endeavour to update weekly, I make no promises.
As usual, my work is un-betaed; all mistakes are my own. Feedback is very welcome.