(Animated cover by ShortlockHolmes)
Summary: Benedict and Martin wake up to find themselves inexplicably in the world of Sherlock. They meet their modern interpretations of the characters face to face and madness ensues.
Disconcerted, dizzy and barely breathing- that’s how Benedict awoke- feeling like his lungs were on fire and his vision blurred as he whirled precariously on his feet seeing stars. He fell to his knees heaving desperately and was vaguely aware that his hand rested on something warm and alive. He closed his eyes and let himself collapse without a care as to what he was collapsing upon. After what felt like hours of agonizing dizziness and nausea, Benedict finally was able to recognize the voice groaning from under him. It was none other than Martin. He blinked quickly and pushed himself onto his knees holding a steady hand on what he believed was Martin’s shoulder.
“Martin- Alright?” He managed to say.
A string of curses came first and then a hand reached up gripping his shoulder for support and Martin pulled himself into sitting position.
“What in the bloody hell just happened…?”
The world had stopped spinning now and Benedict could feel the dizziness ebbing away leaving a dull throbbing headache in its wake. He looked around to find that he was on the Sherlock set. Bewildered, he closed his eyes, shook his head vigorously and opened them again. Sure enough, he wasn’t seeing things.
“I haven’t the foggiest, but I have theories.”
Martin looked up at him skeptically. “Theories for how we went from being in our respective beds in our respective homes to here?”
Benedict met Martin’s gaze and heaved a sigh. “I never said they were good ones.”
Rising to his feet, Benedict offered Martin a hand up and the two men stood in the middle of the room patting the dust off themselves; Martin was in his boxers and Benedict in a housecoat. The two looked sideways at each other and couldn’t help chuckling. At length, the men grew serious and Martin spoke first.
“If this is Mark and Steven’s idea of a joke-“
Benedict was quiet as he surveyed the space around them. “I don’t think it is…”
“Then how the hell did we get here?”
“My guess is as good as yours, but take a look. Doesn’t something seem different to you?”
Martin looked around, and now that Benedict had pointed it out, he couldn’t help but notice that the set of 221B Baker Street looked less like a set and more like the very lived-in home of two bachelors. There was a scent of Chinese take-out still in the air along with the unexpected and unnerving stench of formaldehyde. There was a lab set up in the kitchen, boxes of books stacked in the living room and papers strewn across the desks and floors.
“Did the set look like this yesterday?” Martin asked.
Benedict shook his head. “Not that I remember, and if memory serves me right, I’m fairly certain that there was nothing in the script about any of this either.”
Martin shifted his weight from one foot to the other uncomfortably. “Let’s just call a cab and go home, Ben.”
“Of course,” Benedict agreed without looking at Martin, but couldn’t help his curiosity as he took silent steps toward the door that led to Sherlock’s bedroom. “I wont be long, I’m just checking something…”
Benedict reached for the handle, turned it slowly and pushed the door open. The lights were off and all was ominously still. He took a step inside seeking the light switch on the wall blindly with his hand. Soon he brushed the switch and the lamp next to the doorway flickered to life just as a shadow descended on him in a flurry. Benedict felt an arm lock around his neck and a strong hand press against the back of his head. He choked against the pressure on his neck and clawed at the arm desperately. Using all the force he could muster, he kicked back on the floor driving himself and his attacker against the wall with a bang. He felt the arm loosen just a fraction and he elbowed the brute in the ribs. The arm came away from his neck and he jumped forward spinning round to face his attacker. He stopped dead when he saw his own face staring back at him with mouth agape and the shock of pain straining his features.
“Benedict.” Martin’s voice was level. Benedict turned to see his friend with a gun pointed at his head. Perplexed, he observed that the man holding the gun to Martin’s head was Martin. It was almost comical to see Martin in boxers with Martin in boxers and a white shirt holding a gun to Martin’s head. Briefly acknowledging how confusing that had all sounded in his own mind, he quickly reminded himself to focus on the problem at hand. A gun. Pointed at Martin’s head. By Martin. And there he was off on another tangent.
It wasn’t long before his train of thought was once again snapped into focus however; Benedict’s own double was rising slowly to his feet, supporting his weight on the wall while clutching his ribs. He watched transfixed as the angles of his own face contorted out of pain and into a smug smirk.
“Oh clever, clever. Moriarty really outdid himself this time.”
Benedict quirked a brow in response.
“Send doubles to take our place while he takes us captive to play his games? Yes, I can see it now.” Benedict’s eyes widened as everything started clicking into place. This was his representation of Sherlock, except in this case it was not him reciting memorized dialogue. No, this man standing before him believed he was Sherlock, indeed he seemed to be Sherlock Holmes.
Suddenly the smug expression on Sherlock’s face slackened. His rapid-fire monologue came to a sudden stop mid-sentence. “No- There’s something wrong. Your expression is all wrong. You’re in shock- in awe? Yes. Awe. Not the response you’d have if you were here to kidnap us. No, you’re just realizing something. What? What is it?” Although Benedict was intimately familiar with this character, he was not prepared for the sudden invasion of his personal space as Sherlock’s face was suddenly inches from his own, his silver eyes boring deep into what felt like the depths of his soul. Benedict held his breath. This may be his face, but he was not used to seeing his own eyes watching himself with such intensity. He knew he was being laid open; he felt Sherlock’s gaze dissecting him and sizing him up.
“Your housecoat suggests you weren’t prepared when you found yourself here- a surprise then. Furthermore, you’re obviously in shock. You have my face but no visible signs of surgery- though these could easily be concealed by your hairline. Though your hair has obviously been dyed to match my own shade, but why?” Sherlock suddenly lapsed into silence and circled Benedict once before huffing and storming out of the room. Benedict followed him with his eyes and glanced in Martin’s direction to find that the gun was still trained at his temple. He was silent as the grave.
“Put it down, John.”
“They’re not here to kill us.”
“I don’t know. I said put it down.”
John dropped the gun to his side. Martin exhaled and Benedict was quickly at his side.
Martin gave him a withering look and he took it as a good sign.
The John Watson version of Martin stood at attention watching the intruders vigilantly; ready to shoot at the sign of sudden movement. Benedict held his hands up peaceably. “I assure you we’re just as confused as you are.”
Sherlock had moved from the kitchen to one of the living room chairs and was now sitting in it like a gargoyle, crouching on the cushion, his fingers steepled under his chin. His eyes were glowing in the dimly lit room. Martin and Benedict could almost see the information being processed by his computer of a brain: analyzing the information, disposing of hundreds of dead-end theories, reassessing, factoring the odds of improbability and impossibility and finally ending with his brows furrowing violently, his eyes shut tight and his teeth grinding in frustration.
“Nothing makes sense!” Suddenly he sprung up from his chair and circled the two men again, poking and prodding-neither dared to protest lest John Watson raise his gun again.
“There’s not a scratch or scar on you to suggest surgery. Your faces… Have never been altered.”
Martin finally had reached the end of his wits and he shouted. “Bloody well right this is my bloody face, and what I’d like to know is what the fuck is it doing on another bloke?!”
Benedict watched John Watson warily to see if his finger had tensed on the trigger at all, but much to his relief the man had remained stonily in position.
Benedict looked up to see his face-Sherlock’s face-with his mouth agape and eyes wide.
“You think we’re the impostors.” He rumbled slowly. Dangerously. The genuine frustration in the tones of John’s doppelganger were steamrolling all of Sherlock’s deductions into the ground- every turn he took in his maze of logic, every piece of information the intruders offered left him with nothing to reasonably explain their intentions or the reason for their being in 221B Baker street. They obviously weren’t working for Moriarty, or now that he thought of it, even Mycroft might attempt a heist of this sort- produce exact doubles of Sherlock and John to take act on the surface while they went undercover to expose and sabotage Moriarty. It would have been perfect, but these men wouldn’t have any reason to arrive at the ungodly hours of the morning were that the case. Let alone wearing nothing but night clothes.
Benedict cleared his throat and spoke at last. “Yes, well- I think this is probably a dream.” He concluded simply.
Sherlock blanched. “A dream?”
Benedict, feeling confident now, stood straight and started to explain. “I’m face to face with my version of Sherlock Holmes- Martin is with me and face to face with his version of Doctor John Watson. I’m fairly sure this can be nothing more than a dream.” Feeling giddy he added, “It’s actually quite thrilling to be able to meet you like this.” He held out his hand in spite of himself. “I’m Benedict. I suppose you could call me the other you when you’re not Sherlock.”
Sherlock, if only out of morbid curiosity, took his doppelganger’s hand and shook briefly before letting go with a shudder. He didn’t know how to feel about the genuine smile spreading across his features-on a face that wasn’t his looking back at him from a mirror. He wondered how he could ever not be Sherlock and suddenly his mind kick started once more, delving into more unlikely deductions. Feeling the hand of his double confirmed that this body standing before him was exactly his body- inch for inch, cell for cell. Sherlock was silent as he contemplated the impossible.
Martin had turned to his own doppelganger now. “Seeing as I’m dreaming, I guess I may as well…” He looked at himself, not himself- John Watson- and smirked. “Well, I can scratch this off my bucket list. Always did want to meet myself face to face, though back then I’d said I’d kiss myself. Much as I like you, mate, I don’t think I want to kiss you now I’m here.”
John gave Martin a bewildered look and stepped back holding up a hand. “I have a gun, remember?”
Martin laughed. “Easy. I’m not coming anywhere near.”
Sherlock sidled up to John, the latter turning his head to look at the detective. “So we’re dreaming?”
Sherlock shook his head. “John,” he paused, his eyes staring blindly up at the ceiling. “I really don’t know.”
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