[identity profile] yawmin.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] catadamon
To Advance an Honest Mind (7/7)
Fandom: Sherlock Holmes (book!verse/hints of Granada); crossover with Howl's Moving Castle. Sort of.
Pairing: Eventual H/W
Rating: PG for so much fluff it could be hazardous to small children
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters or universes. And I'm sure ACD and DWJ are happy about that.
Summary: A fanfiction universe mash-up of Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle and the Holmes universe. When Mr. John H. Watson meets a consulting detective named Mr. Sherlock Holmes, he finds himself lost within Holmes' strange adventures. Holmes has sacrificed much in his quest, including his own heart. Can Watson help restore what was once lost before it is too late?







Chapter 7
In Which A Heart is Found



The sky Christmas morning was quite the opposite of what it had been the previous days. The sun was bright, almost blinding, and woke Watson up far earlier than he intended on rising. He had been up late making more notes on the Donne poem, but also because Holmes decided that late night solo violin concerts should last past three in the morning. Groaning at the sun's rays, Watson shoved off his blankets and slowly got dressed for the day. He heard no movement from the sitting room below, but that was to be expected. Holmes was not the early riser if he could at all help it. Watson decided he was going to get revenge by making sure to make a good racket when he came down his small stairway. Watson walked slowly down the stairs, making sure to stomp each foot more heartily than he normally would. His leg was still giving him problems due to the cold, but it was not nearly as bad as it had been in days previous, so he could take this liberty in order to annoy Holmes.

Watson heard no movement within Holmes' room. When he tried the door, it was locked and there was no answer when he knocked. Deciding to let Holmes rest, Watson walked over to the writing table instead. He had left his papers out last night, and thought it would be best for Holmes to not see the extensive notes he had been taking. But his papers were gone. And Adler's photo was missing. Quickly, he walked over to the desk and opened the drawer. It was completely empty. Guiltily, he thought of Holmes waking in the night to find Adler's photo out, as well as the several personal notes Watson had taken. Watson resolved to apologize as soon as the detective was awake.

The sound of the front door closing echoed from downstairs. Watson listened for Mrs. Hudson’s voice, but heard only footsteps. He decided to investigate on his own. Leaving the sitting room and descending the seventeen steps, Watson stopped short on the first landing.

Standing at the foot of the stairs was a man Watson had never seen before.

He was extremely tall, pale and thin, even more-so than Holmes. His forehead domed out in a white curve, and his sharp eyes were sunken deeply into his head. His shoulders were rounded and his head slowly oscillated from side to side in a curiously reptilian fashion. Mrs. Hudson was nowhere to be seen. "Good morning, Doctor Watson. And if I may, Happy Christmas." Even the man's voice sounded cold-blooded. Watson was so shocked by the stranger's presence, he could only remain still, his hand on the stair banister tightening. "You evidently don't know me."

"It is not in my habit to be in the acquaintance of people who break into other people's homes so early in the morning."

The man gave a tight smile. "What a mouth you have! I did not expect that from my reports." He moved his head back and forth once more. If he slithered his tongue, Watson would swear the man was actually part lizard.

"If you have come to see Mr. Holmes, he is not available at this time," Watson replied, narrowing his eyes at the stranger. "But if you would like to leave a message with me, I can tell him that you called. I will even omit that you came into our house uninvited."

The stranger shrugged. "There is no need to trouble yourself with that, doctor." He then gave a slight nod.

Watson glanced to his side to see another figure. How on earth? He had heard nothing come from behind him! Watson tried to jump away, but the stranger grabbed him from behind, and placed a large damp cloth over his mouth and nose. Watson could smell that the cloth had been soaked in chloroform, and tried to fight against the man holding him.

The stranger slowly ascended the stairs, watching Watson struggle against his attacker. "You see, the message I will be leaving him will be much more poignant."

"He's a fighter al'right, Professor!" Watson's captor commented with a deep chuckle as he twisted along with Watson.

"Yes, make sure you don't damage him too much, Moran, he has a long journey ahead of him," the other gentleman remarked. Watson heard footsteps approaching him, but it was becoming all too hard to keep his eyes open to see. Just as the room began to dim, Watson heard a voice whisper in his ear: "Have you caught your falling star yet, Doctor Watson?"


Watson awoke, unable to see. His eyes were trapped in a darkness, and his head felt incredibly heavy from inhaling the chloroform. Quickly assessing the situation, he found that his hands were tied, and it felt as though there was something wrapped around his head. A blindfold, then. That would explain the darkness. He could hear the echoes of a train running along the track, and his body was being swayed gentle back and forth. If he were Holmes, he would be able to tell instantly what direction he was going, as well as exactly where he was currently by the sounds of the wheels crossing the tracks. But he was not Holmes.

Holmes!

He was already incapacitated, could it be that they got the detective too? "Holmes?" Watson called into the darkness.

"Ah, I see you are awake, doctor," a slithery voice answered. It was the same man who had invaded their home. It was definitely not Holmes, and he did not need to be the consulting detective to deduce that he was in fact in the capture of Professor Moriarty. Watson felt a hand cup around his chin. "I was beginning to worry that Moran had used a bit too much chloroform on you. You have been quite motionless for the last few hours."

"Where is Holmes?" Watson demanded.

The voice chuckled. "So long as he has not killed himself in the effort, I am sure Mr. Holmes is on our trail at this very moment."

It was Watson's turn to laugh. "You must not know Holmes very well. Kidnapping me would do you no good. He would not fall for such an obvious trap."

"How can you be so sure this is a trap?" Moriarty slid his fingers up Watson's jaw. "After all, I could have just as easily grabbed Mr. Holmes instead of you,"

Watson realized this was true and gave the Professor a suspicious look. "Then why take me?"

"I require something of Mr. Holmes. He has already failed to comply with several of my gracious requests, I therefore had to resort to drastic tactics."

"He will not come for me."

"You sound so sure." Moriarty playfully tapped the doctor on the face. "But I have already received reports to the contrary. "

They traveled by train for several days. Watson was uncertain of the precise of a duration of time that had passed, as his blindfold was never lifted, and he sometimes found it difficult to keep conscious. At one point, Watson overheard a ticket collector say something to the Professor in French that he did not understand, but clearly heard the name "Strasbourg" meaning they had crossed the channel at some point, probably whilst Watson was still unconscious, and were now making their way through France.

There were times that he was moved from train to train, at which point he would be gagged in order to prevent him from making a scene. Only Professor Moriarty, with his super-network of connections could get away with escorting someone blindfolded and gagged without arousing any suspicion. Watson assumed the change of trains was to throw Holmes off of their path, but why? After all, wasn't that what Moriarty wanted? To snare Holmes into his trap? Perhaps the Professor did not want things to appear easy. Whatever his plan was, Watson could not make heads or tails of any it.


The blindfold covering Watson's eyes was removed after the small group boarded a horse-drawn carriage. Watson squinted at the bright light after being in darkness for so long. After his eyes adjusted, he quickly took in his situation. They were near mountains, snow covered and gleaming with sheer beauty, reminding Watson of his time in India. Ahead of them was a quaint village, that would have been charming and quite inviting had he not been a prisoner of a criminal mastermind. The ground where they were was clear of snow, but the grass had already succumb to the death of Winter.

In the carriage were the three members of their traveling party. The same middle-aged man with the bushy moustache, who had captured Watson back at 221B that the Professor had called Moran. He held Watson's arm forcefully, preventing any attempt of escape. Now that Watson got a good look at his attacker, he could see that he had a military air to him. In any other circumstance, he might have considered Moran a comrade in arms, but the harsh lines dug into Moran's face that signaled to Watson that the two men were enlisted for two very different reasons. Moran was a dangerous man, who liked the hunt and looked forward to the kill. In his lap he had a small Gladstone bag, with his other arm lying protectively on the parcel. Sitting across from him in the carriage was Professor Moriarty himself. Being so close to him, Watson could see there was a coldness to his eyes, though they were similar to Holmes. But while Holmes' grey eyes were things of beauty, looking into the Professor's eyes ran a chill down Watson’s spine. There was nothing but evil and maliciousness in them.

"Where are you taking me?" Watson demanded.

Moriarty chuckled. "My dear boy, I thought you had figured it all out. From what Moran found of your notes, you seemed to understand the thing quite thoroughly as an outsider."

Watson's eyes grew a bit wider as he stared for a moment. "It was you sent me the poem."

"Admirably deduced. Mr. Holmes has trained you well." Moriarty signaled to the driver. "Drive on!" he said and the carriage began to pull away. The Professor turned his attention back to Watson. "Our final destination is a small hamlet called Rosenlaui, however it is quite an undulating path so we shan't be able to take the carriage the entire way. You will like the view I think, doctor, as I have visited here once before. It is quite breath taking." The Professor's mouth formed a cold grin. "And fear not! Your beloved Holmes will be joining us quite soon. Quite soon. He knows the way." Moriarty turned his attention out the window, seemingly to lose interest in Watson completely.

"Holmes will not come," Watson repeated. The Professor chuckled to himself, but continued to look out the window.

"Of course he will come," the Professor said, with a playful tone. "And when he does I will get him to understand my way of thinking one way or the other."

Watson began to fear that, as usual, he had missed something quite obvious. Usually Holmes would be there to guide him along the logical path, but without him here, the doctor had to admit that there were quite a few things he didn't understand. The one thing he did know, however, was that he needed to escape. If Holmes was on their trail, Watson needed to stop him from confronting Moriarty. Holmes was in no condition for anything at the moment.

As they progressed on their journey, the carriage went over a large bump, causing the bag from under Moran's arms to tumble forward. He scrambled to grab the bag before it fell to the floor, leaving Watson free to try to play against his restraints. Moran failed, and the bag snapped open. Watson saw in the corner of is eye a blackened rock roll out of the bag. It was a strange shape and rolled in an awkward circle.

"Be careful, you fool!" Moriarty bellowed, his attention snapping back to what was happening inside the carriage.

Moran's face flushed as he scrambled to put the small rock back in the bag. "My apologies, Professor," Moran mumbled, putting both arms around the bag, and leaving Watson alone. "It won't happen again."

"I am most certain it will not, for you know what will happen if you were to lose it." Moriarty glared.



They stopped at a small village called Meiringen, where the entire party exited the carriage. Moran took the lead, carrying the Gladstone bag as if his life depended on it (and Watson was beginning to believe it did), Watson followed as Moriarty took the rear aiming his mini-pistol at the doctor, ready to fire should he decide to deviate from Moran's lead.

It was a somber party indeed. While there was no snow to speak of on their path, Watson was by no means dressed for climbing the steep hills. When Watson slipped on the rocks, which happened several times, he struggled to regain his balance with his hands still tied together. As they climbed, the sound of rushing water became louder and louder, until finally the source was visible. Their approach had taken them to the middle of a large waterfall. It was a fearful place. The torrent plunged into a tremendous abyss, from which the spray rolled up like the smoke from a burning house. The entire party, quite unintentionally, paused in awe of the natural beauty. Even Watson, who was trying to free himself from his restraints while the other two were slightly distracted, found himself overtaken by the fierce scene.

Because of the deafening roar of the falls, no one in the traveling party heard footsteps approaching. "Taking a trip down memory lane?" A voice suddenly asked. Watson, as well as the other members of the party, turned around to see Holmes standing there. He looked quite haggard and pale, but determined as ever, his eyes glowing. Watson had never been more happy to see anyone in his life. Because of the rolling water's sound, Holmes had to shout in order to be heard. "After all, this isn't your first trip to the falls of Reichenbach, is it, Professor Moriarty?"

"Good afternoon, Mr. Holmes," Moriarty smiled and tipped his head. "I was expecting you. So glad you could join us on our way to Rosenlaui. You remember Rosenlaui, don't you?"

Holmes' stare turned cold. "Not very fondly, I assure you." He looked to Watson. "Are you alright?" Watson nodded once. Turning his attention back to the Professor, Holmes seethed, "The game is over, Moriarty. I saw to it before I left England to have your criminal network destroyed."

The Professor shrugged, "One is easily built again. Especially with assistance from someone who shares my condition."

The mask of self-confidence slipped from Holmes' face. Glaring, he retorted, "It was not your place to steal Watson away like that. He was not involved in this."

"On the contrary, Mr. Holmes. You have brought him into your world and therefore put him at risk. It was a calculated move to take him, but in the end worked, as you are here. I would make an offer of exchange at this point, but all that I have to say has already crossed your mind."

"And my answer has crossed yours," Holmes replied, taking a step towards Watson.

"You stand fast then?"

"Absolutely."

Moriarty tilted his head slightly. "A pity." He looked over to Moran. "I suppose we will have to proceed with our alternate plans then, Colonel."

With a brief nod, Moran kicked Watson in the back of the knees. Watson fell to the ground instantly, struggling to keep himself propped up with his tied hands. His bad leg throbbed. Moriarty cocked the mini-pistol and aimed it at Watson's head. "His life in exchange for what I want done, Mr. Holmes. I will only ask once."

"I cannot exchange what I do not have," Holmes said calmly. Watson looked to Holmes, meeting the detective in the eye. He could recognize that Holmes had a plan, he was only waiting for the perfect moment to execute it. As always. Watson shook his head. If they survived this, he was going to enact the most severe of revenges on the detective.

Moriarty oscillated his head back and forth, glaring at Holmes. "You will excuse me if I find that quite difficult to believe. Perhaps after the doctor's condition leaves you no alternative, you will see reason." Watson felt the pistol push against his head.

A shot rang past his ears, half drowned by the sound of the falls. Watson closed his eyes the instant it sounded. There was no pain. He opened his eyes to see Moriarty clutching at a now empty hand, the pistol having fallen unseen on the ground. Moriarty let out a great howl and charged at Holmes. As Watson looked up to see what was happening, he saw a male figure some distance away, lowering what looked to be an air riffle. Holmes brought backup, apparently. Watson hoped that this was not the conclusion to Holmes' preparation. Wasting no time, Watson found a thin rock sticking out of the ground. He slid the rope around the rock and pulled. The rope snapped, and his hands were finally free.

Meanwhile, Moran gently placed the Gladstone bag on the ground. The colonel opened his jacket as he walked towards Holmes and Moriarty fighting. He pulled out a pistol. Using his left arm to steady his aim, Moran set his sights on Holmes. Returning the favor done earlier, Watson grabbed Moran by the knees. Moran dropped the gun, which rolled down into the grass, lost. In an attempt to be released from Watson's grasp, Moran began to kick his legs mercilessly. One leg managed to kick Watson in the shoulder. Watson recoiled in pain and released the colonel. Moran recovered, pulling himself to standing while Watson knelt on the ground. The two men stared at each other, breathing heavily before tackling each other once more in an all out gentleman's brawl.

Holmes' fight was not fairing much better. It was clear that Moriarty had no method to his fighting, but simply wanted to tear Holmes limb from limb if necessary. Holmes managed to grab hold of one of the Professor's arms and slowly maneuver him into a lock hold behind Moriarty's back. Another shot rang close to them, distracting Holmes for enough time for Moriarty to break out of Holmes' grasp. Not allowing the advantage, Holmes tried to pin down the Professor. Moriarty would not yield to the ground and threw his long arms around Holmes. Two struggled back and forth, pushing each other's weight against the other.

The colonel was a formidable fighter. Watson, even with his own Army training found it hard to take the advantage in the fight. He had received several hits to the face, and one to the solar plexus. Watson could feel blood dripping from one of the hits, and he could taste copper in his mouth. He was fading. As he was about to strike Moran again, another shot rang out and stuck Moran through the back. He made a gurgling noise, and grabbed his chest before falling to the ground. Watson stood there, dazed for a moment, and then blinked up at the marksman still hiding in the hills. Then he heard a strangled noise from where Holmes and Moriarty were still struggling, and his attention snapped to his friend. "Holmes!" Watson shouted, rushing over.

"The– bag–" Holmes grunted, pushing against Moriarty, trying to get the upper hand in their struggle. Moriarty growled as he pushed back.

Watson scrambled to reach the Gladstone bag and opened it. Inside was a jewel that looked remarkably like the Blue Carbuncle in shape and size, but was murky and black as midnight. It felt heavy in Watson's hand. The stone then began to throb like a heartbeat. Watson nearly dropped it in surprise. "The heart!" he exclaimed. "Holmes, your–"

Watson turned his attention back to Holmes to find that the two men were headed dangerously close to the edge of the falls. Without delay he raced over to Holmes just as the detective slipped out of the Moriarty's grip. Thrown by Holmes' parry, Moriarty clawed at the air in a vain effort, trying to stay standing. Finally his balance gave way and he fell into the torrential falls.

Holmes, who was dangerously close to edge as well, was also struggling to stay standing. Watson grabbed the detective by the waist. He pulled the detective into his embrace and to safe ground. He took a few steps backward, bringing Holmes with him, just to be sure he was safe.

"You're not hurt, Watson?" Holmes said, maneuvering himself so he could look his friend in the face. His voice sounded quite desperate. "For God's sake, say that you are not hurt!" Watson shook his head furiously, but could not yet speak. Holmes patted Watson on the cheek and leaned his head onto Watson's shoulder. "Well done, my dear Watson," Holmes said, panting for breath. "I am sorry for being late."

The two men stood there for a moment holding each other and catching their breath as the sound of the rushing water filled their ears.

"I hate to interrupt this charming moment, but Sherlock dear, we're not done," said a voice from behind them. A female voice, and American at that. Watson looked up to see the marksman approaching them, who was in fact a woman. A woman Watson had seen before, but only in a photograph. He knew those remarkable features well indeed.

"Irene Adler?" Watson said, completely stunned by her appearance. She was dressed in a brown and grey boy's hunting uniform. Her cap managed to hide the voluptuous hair Watson had taken note of, however a few stray curls managed to escape hiding. The airgun, which she carried by her side, was modified. It was the same airgun she had in the photograph.

The woman tipped her head in acknowledgement. "Charmed, Doctor Watson. You are even more dashing than Sherlock described you to be." The doctor felt his face flush. "We've seen each other once before, although I doubt you realized who I was that first night you were out with Sherlock. As you can see, I have a liking for traveling in men's clothes. I find it rather– freeing?" Watson thought back to that night of the red-headed league, and the young man who had greeted them. It was Adler! She was even wearing the same suit as before, although now she had on a warmer jacket. She turned her attention to Holmes. "Sherlock– the heart," she said imploringly.

"I am quite capable!" Holmes replied, grudgingly pulling away from Watson, glaring at Irene as he did. "Watson, may I have the jewel please?"

"What?" Watson blinked, lost in the moment. "Oh, yes of course, Holmes." He placed the jewel gently in Holmes' open palm. "You found it, at last," Watson said, smiling.

Holmes let out an amused snort. "Yes," he said, taking the stone and holding up to the light and examining it. "I have indeed."

Pushing both hands together, Holmes crushed the jewel into powder. He then drew back his arm and flung the remains into the falls. Watson's mouth dropped open. "Holmes!" Watson took a few steps forward, watching the remains of the stone vanish into the water's mist. He turned to the detective, speechless. "But– Your heart–"

"Was not that blackened piece of charcoal," Holmes countered with a small smirk. "Unless you have some grievance with me ridding the world of Moriarty's black heart, Watson? You cannot possibly that forgiving–"

"That was Moriarty's–"

"Yes, and he had been separated from it for some time. He, like me, had decided to make the exchange not far from here in order to heighten his depraved mind to unthinkable levels. He thought the threat of making you do the same would cause me to return to this wretched place."

"He was right," Irene chimed in from behind Holmes. "You should have seen how panicked he was when he found me. There I was, enjoying a lovely lunch at a café in Paris when–"

"Yes, thank you, Woman, not that you made the search very easy either. She is the reason why I am late as it took me some time to locate her," Holmes glared. "Moriarty wanted me to join his ranks, not only for my intellect, but also because we shared a similar condition. Taking my heart would have increased his intellectual power twice fold, and would leave me helpless to move against him."

Watson shook his head. "But where is your heart, if it was not that?"

"Present!" Irene reached under her collar and produced another oddly shaped jewel, attached to the end of a necklace chain. This jewel was radiant deep blue in color. It reminded Watson of the color the Arabian Sea at night. She took off the necklace and handed it to Watson. "I only had it for safe keeping," she said, grinning. "Although you must admit it is rather a beautiful stone."

"You took it and disappeared to America with a lawyer while I was away on a case," Holmes seethed. "How is that safe keeping?"

"Well, it was away from any harm in America," Irene shrugged. "I wrote you a note. And Moriarty would have never guessed that you would be so far away from it. I would have returned it eventually. Besides, why are you belly-aching about it now? You have it back."

"Why are you giving it to me?" Watson asked, a bit bewildered.

"Sherlock asked me to," Irene said bluntly, a knowing smile on her face. "Besides," she shrugged, "It's rather burdensome to carry."

Watson looked to Holmes, who suddenly found the ground very interesting. The stone's weight felt heavy in Watson's hands. The doctor stared at it, mesmerized by the jewel's gleam. Like Moriarty's, the stone throbbed in a calming melody that moved Watson. It was much more beautiful than the Blue Carbuncle. But Watson could not imagine keeping Holmes' heart on the end of a necklace. He wanted to hear it beating inside of Holmes' chest. Watson shook his head, and held the stone out for Holmes to take. "No," Watson said. "I cannot."

Looking crestfallen, Holmes nodded and took the stone in hand. "I understand. It was too much to ask."

"I cannot take it because it is not mine to keep, Holmes," Watson replied as he folded his hand over Holmes' outstretched one and the stone. "I cannot be like Moriarty. I will not be the one who monopolizes your heart. I care for you too much."

Holmes stared at his hand enclosed in Watson's, and then into Watson's eyes. Slowly nodding, he said, "Then Sherlock Holmes will possess a heart once more."

Watson smiled, "I'm glad."

"And we will continue to go on adventures," Holmes added, smiling in return. He grabbed Watson's other hand and pulled the doctor closer.

"Naturally. So long as I get to follow your every step, and write down everything that happens."

"Naturally," Holmes replied. "I’d be lost without my Watson."

Meanwhile, Irene let out a put upon sigh. "While this is charming and all you two, it's still quite a walk to Rosenlaui and it's going to get dark soon. I'd rather not go rock climbing at night."


The group of three did head to the hamlet of Rosenlaui that evening, where another ceremony was performed in front of two witnesses. Holmes' contract was ended and his heart once more beat inside of his body. Once done, they headed back towards France, where Irene said her goodbyes in Paris, and the two men boarded a train to take them to Calais. From there it they would catch a Ferry to take them home to England.

After they boarded the train, and became quite comfortable in their private car, Watson was finally able to ask the question he had been most afraid to voice. "Do you feel different now that your heart has returned?" he said, meekly. Holmes had not changed much physically, although there was more color to his skin. His eyes were now a beautiful slate color, still overwhelmingly stunning, but less haunting. Watson found them more mesmerizing than before.

Holmes took a moment to think, looking up at the ceiling of the car as he did so. "Yes, I believe it does. My chest feels much heavier now, although I can block the feeling when I think to." He looked to Watson and leaned forward in his seat. "And I find my mind has slowed somewhat. It has been so long since I thought like an average man! How boring it is! Honestly, Watson I do not know how you can stand it all."

Watson smiled, "I am sure you will find your equilibrium, Holmes. I will help you."

Holmes eyes widened for a moment, and he then quickly said, "Be careful of that stain on the seat just next to you, Watson. It seems the overweight German businessman who sat in here with his alienated wife before us did not enjoy the taste of English tea and decided that it would serve better to stain peoples clothes. I rather like that suit on you, and do not want to see it ruined."

Raising an eyebrow and chuckling, Watson leaned forward in the car and said, "I rather think you will never be average, Holmes." He then pulled the detective in for a kiss. "And I rather prefer it that way."


FIN

Date: 2011-09-10 10:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lovelyhera.livejournal.com
Ooh! That was excellent. I'm not quite sure about the poem though. I get some of it, but not all of it. Where does mandrake root come in? Anyway - thsi was very good! I was expecting something more dramatic with regards to the heart ceremony but this fits much better with ACD then DWJ.

Date: 2011-09-11 11:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katelynna10000.livejournal.com
that was wonderful! It was different enough form cannon to not be boring hearing it all again, but still very true

I can rather see a smutty prologue as well, hehe

Date: 2011-09-15 06:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] schumers.livejournal.com
That was quite and interesting crossover, and I really enjoyed all the tie-ins. Thanks!
Page generated Sep. 20th, 2017 11:37 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios