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Crossover Fanfic: Standing By, Innocently (Sherlock BBC / Merlin, JWP #16) - CaffieneKittySpace
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Crossover Fanfic: Standing By, Innocently (Sherlock BBC / Merlin, JWP #16)
Title: Standing By, Innocently
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)/Merlin
Alternate Postings: AO3
Rating/Content: PG13, crossover, crime scene, chase scene, peril, magic, crack
Warnings: None
Word Count: 1725
Disclaimer: Not my worlds. Neither of them.
Notes: Written for watsons_woes July Writing Prompt #16: ”I Feel A Bit Prouder Knowing Sherlock Holmes Is British”: Crossover with another British-based character. I've actually only seen up to the end of the third series of Merlin so far (though obviously I'm aware of certain elements of how it ends), so I apologize for the grievously OOC errors I am no doubt about to perpetrate on my first foray into writing anything relating to the fandom. Please avoid mentioning anything spoilery for Merlin Series 4 and later in the comments.

Summary: For someone so obviously elderly, John marvelled as he ran, the old man can hustle.

Standing By, Innocently

For someone so obviously elderly, John marvelled as he ran, the old man can hustle. He must be well over eighty.

If John hadn't been standing next to Sherlock when the shifty-looking bystander at the crime scene had taken off running, John might have thought it was Sherlock in disguise. Ridiculous hat, long white hair and beard, disreputable coat and boots, shoulder bag. As soon as Sherlock had pointed the fidgeting man out to John, the old boy had taken off like a scalded rabbit, so of course John chased after him.

No idea why he's running though, John thought, dodging pedestrians to keep the white hair in sight. It's not like it was even really much of a crime scene. A mugging in a dim side street stopped in the act when the would-be mugger had been hit on the head by an unexpectedly falling shop sign - stroke of luck, that - the intended victim was left shaken, but unharmed. In the end, no crime had been left unresolved and it was just a matter of waiting for the police to show up to arrest the unconscious failed mugger for his attempted crime.

If we hadn't been walking back home along Baker Street from that late lunch at Angelo's, we'd never have even known it happened. No reason for the old man not to stick around as witness, and certainly no need to look so horribly guilty and afraid.

Maybe the mugger had targeted the old man earlier and he'd been scared of the man waking up? But why run from John? There were other witnesses, but something wasn't right about the old man and questions needed answering.

The crowd thickened near the Baker Street Tube Station entrance and John caught a glimpse of long white hair disappearing through the entrance. John followed him down, getting caught up in the late-afternoon commuter rush. He stopped at the edge of the throng, stepping up onto the corner of a full bench to try to spot the white hair in the crowd, despite the glares of the people sitting on the bench.

The station wasn't as packed as it would be in another hour, but there were plenty of commuters nonetheless. John spotted several grey- and white-haired people, but only one with a horrible hat and coat and a flowing beard like Father Christmas stood out in the throng. He was right near the edge of the platform, agitatedly looking down the line for the next train and not in John's direction at all.

John hopped off the bench he'd stood on and began threading through to the front of the crowd, receiving a string of passive-aggressively faux-polite non-apologies and dirty looks as people assumed he was queue-jumping in some way. He really didn't have time to stop and explain that he wasn't in fact queue-jumping, that he had no intention of catching the Tube to wherever the next one was going, he was instead simply chasing down an elderly man who had done nothing wrong.

John spared less than a second of thought to be bemused at the state of his life.

He got to the edge of the platform and began picking his way along the edge, both feet on the wrong side of the yellow line painted at the platform's edge since that was the only clear path to his target. Threading past the bulk of the crowd, he kept the long white beard, hat and coat in sight, drawing ever closer. When he got close enough to reach the old man's sleeve, John said "Oi!" and made his grab, right as the old man began to turn towards him.

Just then, a besuited man trying to get a signal on his mobile stepped over the yellow line and jostled John, making him miss his grab and lose his footing entirely.

In that moment, John knew he was going to fall onto the tracks. His balance was gone and he was going down, immediately falling, straight down, onto the electrified rails, instant fried John, absolutely no chance of stopping. Oh bugger, John thought.

Except he sort of did stop. Or at least it seemed like he did.

The old man was reaching out towards him, face intent, but even though he hadn't grabbed any part of John yet, John didn't feel like he was falling anymore. But he had to be falling; his feet weren't under him at all, and they were barely touching the platform. He must be hanging out over the tracks with the old man reaching for him.

The old man's eyes are gold, John thought nonsensically, because they were.

Then the old man blinked and lurched outward to grab John's arm, jerking him back onto the platform just as the commuters around started to shout in alarm.

He let out a relieved laugh. Funny how time seems to stretch like that when you're certain you've just made a terribly painful fatal error. John's head spun as commuters crowded around them, exclaiming how lucky, and how John should be more careful, and marvelling at how fast the old man had been in catching John's arm.

Breathing as evenly as he could to calm his heart (which was still convinced he was falling onto the tracks to his death and not at all happy about it), John met the old man's eyes. They were very blue, and very wide. Not gold at all. How odd. Trick of the light. Must've been.

"Listen," John said, just loud enough for the old man to hear, but not loud enough to carry into the crowd, which was still clustered around them, exclaiming over the close call that had livened up their end-of-day commute. "Listen," John repeated. "It's fine. You aren't in any trouble. We just want to know what happened with that mugging on Baker Street, if you saw anything."

The old man didn't seem to hear him. He clung onto John's arm, staring into John's face, intense eyes searching his, looking like he was about to smile, or cry, or say something that might break his heart. After a long moment though, he shook his head. "No, no, it's wrong," he said in a sad, croaky, disused voice. "You're wrong. Right eyes, wrong face. Not yet."

Frowning at the old man's babbling, John took a closer look at him. He didn't seem to be in ill-health, definitely not after the way he ran, but perhaps he had some variety of dementia. "Are you alright?"

"Smile!" someone in the crowd crowed. John and the old man looked up just in time to be blinded by the flash of someone's phone. The old man drew a quick breath and jerked his hand away from John's arm as if burnt, casting a glance over the crowd, seeing more phones held up, flashing and recording.

"Wait!" said John as the man hunched low, muttering incomprehensibly to himself, shoving through the people, away from the tracks and back through the crowd toward the entrance. Cursing, John tried to follow him but got hung up among well-meaning commuters checking to see if John was okay after his near fatal fall.

When John finally passed through the crowd and back onto Baker Street, the old man was nowhere to be seen. John spotted a lump of fabric in a rubbish bin near the entrance that turned out to be the old man's coat and hat. He grabbed it, looking around for long white hair and a beard and seeing nothing even close.

He can't have just disappeared. John looked down the row of shops and other doorways in either direction along that section of Baker Street, before noticing a lone shadow standing in the back corner of the bus shelter outside the Tube station near the rubbish bin. No long white hair or long hair of any kind, but maybe the person had seen which way the old man had gone.

"Hey," John said, stepping into the bus shelter and in front of a tall beardless youth with short dark hair and a bag slung over his shoulder.

The boy stiffened in alarm, looking between John's face and the coat and hat in his hand with an abjectly horrified expression, wide blue eyes over cheekbones somehow even more ridiculous than Sherlock's. Despite the outlandish combination of features, the boy looked familiar. John dismissed the thought immediately, deciding it must be the dark-hair-and-cheekbone connection reminding him of Sherlock. He was certain he knew no one with ears that enormous.

"Ha! Um," the boy said, voice oddly hoarse. He coughed and stared at John, looking like he might yet bolt.

"Sorry, sorry," John said, lifting the hand not holding the old man's coat and hat. "Didn't mean to startle you. I'm just looking for an old man, would have run out of the station? Wearing this coat? Long white beard, about your height?"

With a flash of wide grin, the boy ruffled his hair with one hand and looked sideways at the coat in John's hand as if it might yet bite him, before clearing his throat again. "Ha. Hm. Ah. No, no, can't say as I've seen anyone like that. No one at all. Nope." He shook his head exaggeratedly, keeping his eyes on the coat.

"Blast," John turned to scan the crowd again, noting that the police had arrived at the site of the mugging much further down the street; short bursts on the siren clearing the one-way traffic, blue lights flashing off storefront windows.

"Although," the boy said slowly behind him.

John turned back to the bright blue eyes.

"Now that you ask," the boy said carefully, "I think I saw an old man running that way." He pointed vaguely over his right shoulder, away from the scene of the would-be mugging. "Really fast."

Uni students and their recreational 'memory problems', John huffed grumpiliy, then with a quick "thanks!" ran off in the indicated direction.

"See you!" The boy shouted inexplicably behind him. John half-turned as he ran. The boy stood in the rare sun in front of the bus shelter, waving the arm not holding his beat-up book bag, beaming a broad bright smile that took up his whole face and scrunched his eyes up.

John waved back in polite confusion, dismissing again that sense of knowing the boy from somewhere. He ran off down Baker Street in pursuit of his elderly quarry.

(That's all.)

Post Notes: I deliberately left out who Merlin thinks John might be because I couldn't quite decide, although I have a few top runners. Also up to interpretation, whether John finds re-youthed!Merlin familiar from being in pursuit of him as an old man, or from some deeper previous-life memory. I doubt this will go any further than this, ever, but there might be more Merlin fic in general at some point. Fair warning!

And again, please no spoilery comments for Merlin Series 4 and 5 because I haven't watched those yet!

Tags: , , , ,
Current Mood: nervous nervous
Current Music: "The Call of Destiny" ~ Merlin Soundtrack

2 comments or Leave a comment
donutsweeper From: donutsweeper Date: July 18th, 2016 01:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, intriguing! Excellent!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: July 22nd, 2016 05:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
2 comments or Leave a comment