The Avengers: Caribbean Cruise Adventure (A Fanfiction Screenplay Part 2)

The Avengers: Caribbean Cruise Adventure (2015)

The Avengers: Caribbean Cruise Adventure (2015)

Act One: Meetings

Scene One – Opening Credits

Exterior – Decks of a cruise ship

Opening credits play and we get a collage of scenes across the ship. The cruise is a tiny version of the world with every sort of person, hierarchy, and relationship present. We see the workers in the kitchens, a family with children splashing in the pool, a school group running around, a seniors group doing yoga, bi-racial couples, same-sex couples, politicians, and celebrities. There is the sound of laughter, conversation, and chaos.

Scene Two – New Cargo

Interior – Basement deck of ship/cargo hold

Men move around and secure items in the cargo hold using forklifts and their own arms. There are two security guards present who are double checking the manifest and using devices to scan bar codes on some of the containers that have been brought on board. A man named Sly, dressed in a black suit with sunglasses approaches the guards with an entourage of similarly dressed individuals behind him. They are escorting a large, unlabeled container.

Guard: May I help you, sir?

Sly: The doctor has arrived.

The guard appears to be confused.

Guard: Where’s your manifest key code? I don’t see any doctor on my list.

Sly: That’s too bad.  Boys.

Sly gestures to two men standing behind him. The men come forward and each of them raises a sizable gun. They shoot the two guards full of bullets. The rest of the entourage lift similar weapons and proceed to fire at and kill the other men who had been working in the cargo hold when they entered. Bullets and sparks light up the dark space.

Scene Three – Interruptions

Exterior – Upper deck of ship

A woman named Violet, around thirty years old, sits in the sun on a white lounge chair. She is moderately attractive and could care less.  Her feet are propped up in front of her and crossed at the ankles.  She holds a paperback novel just below her face. Her light-brown hair is pulled back in a ponytail and her dark blue one-piece bathing suit catches a glint of the sunshine in its material. There are other empty lounge chairs on either side of her. She’s reading, but easily distracted by the people who walk in front of her. She looks up from the pages often.

A group of three teenage girls passes her by. Unlike Violet, they have nice tans, are skinny, and are wearing neon-colored bikini suits.  They are running away from an insect, swatting at it and squealing.

A few paces behind the girls, follows a man, Loki, walking right next to the deck railing. He is wearing a lightweight, collared shirt with the first two buttons undone and grey chinos.  Also reading a book, he is engrossed in the words before him, he shows no interest in any of the people surrounding him. His black hair hangs just brushing his shoulders and hiding part of his face.  Unconscious of his actions, he dampens one finger in his mouth, using it turn the page.

More tourists pass him as he is strolling along. He is concentrating on reading and less focused on his movements.  He makes a creeping progress forward  A couple with arms around each others waists walk past.  The woman of the couple laughs at a shared, secret joke. Everyone gives Loki a wide berth as if, for some reason, they do not want to get too close to him.

Violet glances at him as he continues to approach the place where she sits.  The bikini-wearing teenagers return having lost their insect somewhere.  They look at Loki as they move around him.  The girls begin to arrange themselves on the empty lounges beside Violet. They giggle and talk loud enough for anyone in the area to hear. One of the girls browses her phone searching for something on the Internet.

Teen One: …What a freak. Did you see that guy back there? His hair is gross!

Teen Two: I know. Who does that?

Teen Three: Hey, have you guys seen this new One Direction video?

Teen Two: Gasps*

Teen One: What…? Shrieks* upon looking at the phone.

Violet rolls out of her lounge and rolls her eyes.  She turns her back to the teenage girls.

Cut to: Loki continues walking in the same direction, but his back is now facing the camera in this shot. Violet is hurrying towards him and towards the camera. Her head is down and she doesn’t see him. She moves straight into him. He is pushed back against the deck railing and Violet stumbles. Loki’s book falls to the floor of the deck and Violet fumbles to pick it up while she is still carrying her own book.

Violet: Oh, I’m so sorry. Are you okay? Here. Sorry.

Loki has backed away from her and stands as still as a statue.  Violet picks up the books and hands one back to Loki.

Loki takes the book from her without looking at it.  He is too busy giving Violet a cold glare.  Seeing his reaction, Violet runs away in the direction she’d been heading. Loki’s own walking pace is now uncomfortable and his strides uneven. His free hand clenches and un-clenches. He doesn’t try to read anymore.

Scene Four – Boredom

Interior – Loki’s Cabin

Loki lies on his back on his bed. His book is resting flat on his chest. He picks it up to begin reading again. He stares at the cover in confusion.

LokiReading

Cut to: Book Cover. Pride & Prejudice With Zombies with a woman’s rotting face on the cover.

Loki sits up straight in the bed. The book falls to his lap and he reaches his hands out as if to blast something with magic. Nothing happens. He examines his hands for a moment before dropping them in front of him.

Loki: I hate Odin!

He flops back down on the bed.

Cut to: Close up of book in Violet’s hands as she runs away from Loki on the upper deck. The title reads: Poetic Norse Eddas.

Return to Loki’s Cabin: Loki picks up the zombie book once again and flips through the pages.

Loki: What is this horrifying drivel? Should I be stuck on this boat with nothing to read but this?

He drops the book once more as the camera slides across his room, through the wall and into the adjacent cabin.

Scene Five – Hearts

Iron-Man-Playing-Cards

Interior – Tony Stark’s Cabin

Thor, Bruce, Steve, and Tony sit around a square table, one of them seated on each side. Tony shuffles a deck of playing cards. Led Zeppelin plays in the background from an iPod and speakers on a counter nearby. They are all dressed as civilians.

Loki (Muffled shout from the other room): I hate Odin!

Thor: Did you hear something?

Thor tilts his head, trying to listen through the music.

Bruce: Hear what?

Thor: Sounded like someone yelling…a familiar voice.

Steve: I didn’t hear anything.

Bruce: Tell me again why we have to play hearts.

Steve: Because none of us besides Stark have any money to gamble away.

Tony: We could play strip poker? Let’s play strip poker.

Steve: None of us want to see you naked.

Tony: Who said I’d be the one who was naked?

During this conversation Thor has gotten up from his seat and is listening at the wall that borders on Loki’s room.

Tony: Hey, are you playing or not, blondie?

Thor returns to his seat.

Thor: What does one do with these?

Thor holds his cards backwards and forwards in a jumble in front of him.

Steve: You hold them like this.

Steve begins to explain the rules of the game to Thor in the background as the others talk.

Tony (turning to Bruce): You ever get the feeling that things aren’t quite right around here?

Bruce: Since we got on this boat, there have been times when I feel like my brain’s been scrambled.

Tony: Like you’ve forgotten your toothbrush but then you realize it’s much more than that?

Bruce: Yeah.  We just showed up at the port with a mission to accomplish. I don’t even know how exactly we got here. I don’t remember driving and we were just all here, like we fell out of the sky or something.

Tony (lost in thought): Strange. And why doesn’t he know how to play cards?

Tony and Bruce look pointedly at Thor.

Scene Six – The Machine

Interior – Basement Deck of Cruise Ship

A number of men work in the dark bowels of the ship.  The dead bodies of the ship’s original crew have been taken away and the workers are replaced by Sly’s entourage dressed in dead crew’s uniforms.  One of the men is Dr. Zhivkov. He is large, wealthy, and his hair is prematurely going grey.  Sly has now replaced his sunglasses with spectacles.  He tinkers with a large piece of metal machinery with wires and tubes sticking out of it.  A liquid bubbles in a tank to the side of the machine.  Sly’s entourage are helping him around the room – carrying things and putting small things together. More men are just standing around.

Zhivkov: Will the machine be ready for the experiment?

Sly: I just need to make a few power adjustments. The machine the way it is now won’t give off enough voltage to carry the virus throughout the ship. With my readers, I detected an extra power source on the ship. I’ve created an input collection booster that will drain the energy from the source without interfering with the ship’s systems.

Zhivkov: Good. How soon will we have power?

Sly: It will take a few days to charge up. Not until after we make the second port. The power source I’ve found is strong. It’s the only way I can maximize the output of the virus, but the energy comes in spurts so it will take longer to charge the machine.

Zhivkov takes a gun out of his jacket and shoots three of the men that are just standing. He puts the gun away. Everyone stops work to look at the dead men.

Zhivkov: Excellent, Sly. (To the other men) Everyday Sly is still working on this machine another one of you will die. It seems you aren’t busy enough anyhow. No one stops working until all the people on this boat are infected. Am I clear?

The men who stopped working redouble their efforts. Zhivkov exits with some men in black suits following him.

Scene Seven – Call to Arms

Interior – A conference room at SHIELD headquarters, day before the cruise

Nick Fury is stands in an empty conference room. There are four empty chairs at a table. Each chair has a file in front of it. Fury looks at his watch.

Cut To: Tony in his Ironman suit is overseas in a desert. There is gunfire and explosions. A bomb is ticking down to zero. Ironman is attempting to disarm it. The timer gets down to one second. The next moment the count down stops, but Ironman vanishes in an explosion of blue light to reappear next to Nick Fury in the SHIELD conference room.

Cut To: Bruce Banner is in a science lab. He is wearing a lab coat and goggles. A research assistant watches him. He holds a beaker of golden liquid with a pair of tongs and prepares to tip it into another liquid.

Bruce: If my calculations are correct, this monkey urine will neutralize the vapors from the invisibility serum.

Bruce vanishes in the same way as Tony did earlier in a flash of blue light.

Assistant: Didn’t work.

Cut To: Thor in Asgard. He is using his hammer, Mjolnir, and fighting with Heimdall. There are alien creatures all around them. One of them spears Thor through the chest.

Computer voiceover: Simulation terminated.

The aliens vanish, but, in a flash of blue light, so does Thor. Heimdall growls.

Cut To: Steve Rogers in his apartment looking at old photographs and listening to jazz.

Steve: If I had to live it all again…

He vanishes with the blue light.

Cut To: SHIELD conference room. Nick Fury and Tony are joined by Bruce holding a beaker of monkey urine, Thor groaning on the floor, and Steve looking around.

Fury: Have a seat, boys.

Nick Fury gives them a briefing. Steve is now sitting with his hands folded in his lap. Tony has his metal feet resting on a tabletop. Bruce is examining some papers on the table in front of him, the monkey urine nearby. Thor stands behind him, looking over Bruce’s shoulder at the papers.

Fury: I’ve brought you here using the latest technology in transport. I wouldn’t have done it this way if this wasn’t a mission of top priority. Dr. Zhivkov is a potentially dangerous security risk that must be dealt with quietly and efficiently. (Zhivkov’s face appears as a hologram behind Fury) His team of researchers have been able to produce a weapon Stark Industries could only dream of. Upon contact, this weapon would shut down the emotional centers of the human brain, rendering everyone incapable of feeling. We’re calling it the Zombie Virus.

Humans need to feel anger, hate, love, and joy. No one will be able to function normally without emotion. According to the files from Zhivkov’s lab, test subjects who contract the virus become entirely violent and reckless. With no feelings of guilt, people either do whatever the hell they want or they simply become so withdrawn that they abandon other essential human needs like eating. Anyone infected dies within 24 hours. It started showing up last month in a number of cases in large cities around the world – London, Moscow, Hong Kong, Istanbul, New York.

Thor: How do we stop it?

Fury: That’s where things become difficult. Dr. Zhivkov himself died on a cruise three years ago, before all of you had that little party in New York with Loki. Someone on that cruise stole from Zhivkov vital information for recreating the virus. Zhivkov then took the identity of this thief to his grave.

Steve: Whoever stole the virus back then is using it now?

Fury: That’s what we believe. The easiest way to discover the virus’s origin now is to determine who stole the information on the cruise three years ago. But more than that, we need to stop the creation of the virus before it starts. There have already been about 30 worldwide cases of the virus so far, but who knows how far it will spread by the time we find where it’s coming from. We need to target it at its source before anyone had the chance to become infected.

Bruce: So you’re saying we need a time machine?

Steve: I might have been frozen for decades, but I still don’t understand how that’s possible.

Fury: As I said, there are risks. We’ll be sending you back in time by using alterations made on the Tesseract – a version of the same technology that helped bring you here. There will be side-effects such as memory loss. In addition, we don’t want this to make headlines. Since you will be operating in the past, anything you might do could change the outcome of events such as Loki’s bid on world domination. If The Avengers Initiative had been made public three years ago, we wouldn’t have been able to use the element of surprise against Loki.

Tony: Like Captain Hammer said, what are we supposed to do about that?

Fury: Once you reach the past, you will be forbidden from using any of your powers or talents. You’ll use your intelligent minds to find the thief and take him out. Then you will destroy the information on the virus that Zhivkov carries with him.

Bruce: Alright, say we get there and find this Zhivkov guy. How are we supposed to get back to the present?

Thor: Why would you want us to do this? I don’t understand. If we don’t have any of our abilities, why not just send normal mortals?

Fury: We’re sending you because even without your talents, you are still the best team there is. You’ve worked together before and been successful. That’s better than sending any random group of people.

Cut To: The group walks down a corridor inside SHIELD.

Bruce: (To Tony) I don’t get this memory loss deal. How’s he gonna keep me from changing? What if I forget to not be angry?

Scene Eight – Oldest Goes First

Interior. – Time Machine Room at SHIELD, day before the cruise

Fury and the four Avengers stand in front of a metal chamber. They have all changed into every-day civilian clothing. Each of them, except for Fury, has a suitcase with them.

Fury: You will all arrive at the port of call at approximately the same moment. All the information you need on Dr. Zhivkov is in the file I’ve copied for each of you. The Tesseract has been programmed to bring you back to the present at the moment of Dr.Zhivkov’s death. At that point you will have either succeeded or failed and your presence in the past will no longer be relevant.

Steve: So who goes first?

Bruce (looking at Steve): I’d say the oldest should go first.

Thor (putting his hand on Steve’s shoulder): You do have the most experience in time travel.

Steve: Come on guys. I’m pretty sure Thor’s been around longer than I have…He’s been to other universes…

Tony shrugs at him and so Steve sighs before stepping forward into the metal chamber with his suitcase. He is standing inside when we see a blue flash through a window and then he is gone.

Slide2

Cut to: A blue flash in a parking lot and the four men appear with their luggage.

Bruce: This is as normal as hell.

Tony: I don’t know what you’re talking about. Groups of unmarried men go on cruises together all the time.

Scene Nine – Back-Up Plan

Interior – Time Machine Room at SHIELD, day before the cruise

Fury stands in the same place in front of the time machine chamber. Sly is with him now.

Fury: Agent Sly. Glad you could join me. Your mission is to make good with Dr. Zhivkov. You will make sure that the Zombie Virus remains intact and you will bring it back to me. In order to prevent future wars, you will capture an individual on the ship who calls himself Loki.

Sly: What about The Avengers, sir?

Fury: Your mission is top priority. Anyone who gets in your way must be destroyed. The Avengers are merely a back-up plan. Do you understand?

Sly: Yes, sir.

Fury: I’m sending you back a week before the cruise leaves. You have that much time to convince Zhivkov to hire you. If you need to communicate in an emergency, send a message to this email address. It’s old, but still working.  Although you don’t know it yet, you’ve already told me Loki was on the ship.  

Sly takes the paper and sticks it in his pocket. He steps into to time machine and the door closes.

Scene Ten – Escaping

Interior – The ship’s dining hall.

Loki sits at a table by himself. He has no food with him or any other objects. He glares at each female who walks by, examining them. He looks at their hands to see what they are carrying with them.

A woman passes by him and makes an affronted face as he continues to stare after her.

There’s a scrapping noise as someone pulls out the chair behind him. The table rocks as Violet bumps it when she sits down. She has a plate full of slimy or overly crunchy food with her.

Violet: Mind if I join you?

She puts a napkin in her lap.

Violet: I’m sorry about running into you the other day. I really am. Then when I got back to my room I realized I had this.

She bends down to retrieve something and the Poetic Norse Eddas plunks down on the table in front of him. He looks at the book and then looks at Violet. He places a hand over the top of the book.

Violet: Don’t worry. I didn’t eat or anything while I was reading it. I did read a little of it. I hope you don’t mind. Norse mythology has always been really interesting to me. I saw the inscription inside. It’s always nice to get books from your mom. Frigga’s your mother?

Loki: I have to go.

Loki turns toward the door and sees his brother, Thor, along with Tony, Bruce, and Steve, waiting to be seated. The image of Loki becomes blurry as he tries to cast an illusion on his appearance, but can’t. His image clears and he looks the same. Thor turns in his direction and Loki retakes his seat abruptly once more. Loki turns so his back faces Thor.  He is now looking directly at Violet.

Loki (chuckling): Frigga is my mother.

Violet: I’m Violet by the way. Vi for short. Are you okay?  You looked sick for a minute. Drained. You don’t have to leave on my account.  Frigga is a really pretty name when you think about it. I bet she’s a beautiful woman. Just like Odin’s wife in the stories in your book, huh?

Loki: Yes. Just like the stories.

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Loki (quickly before Violet can go on): You don’t need to sit with me. I’m not very good company.

Loki watches Thor cross the room heading towards an empty table nearby. Loki looks back at the exit calculating the distance between it and himself. Thor sits down at a table some ways in front of them and to Loki’s right.  Loki moves his chair closer to Violet so that she helps block him from Thor’s view.

Now that Loki is beside her, as Violet speaks she places her hand on his arm before taking it away again.

Violet: I don’t mind. I’m all by myself here anyhow. I mean who goes on a cruise by themselves?…Well, I guess I do, but I saw you all alone too so…

Violet eats her food, realizing that if she doesn’t have anything in her mouth, she’ll just keep talking about nothing. Then she holds out a fried chicken leg.

Violet: Here. Take it. Aren’t you hungry?

Loki: No. Thank you.

Violet: Come on. It’s good.

Loki scowls at the thing in her hand.  Violet’s fingers are shiny with grease. He looks again at Thor talking to his friends before taking the chicken.  He tries to touch it as little as possible.

Violet: Haven’t you ever had fried chicken before?

Loki raises an eyebrow for a second as she laughs and then he frowns, placing the chicken back on the table.

Loki: Is that what this is?

Violet: Oh, don’t be that way. I’m sorry I laughed, okay. You don’t have to eat it.

Loki doesn’t eat it.

Violet (looks at him in earnest, wiping her hands on a napkin): I’m trying to figure you out. You’re very unhappy, but yet you’re on a cruise. I get the feeling you don’t want to be here with me, but something is keeping you from leaving.  You’re all shifty. You don’t like to talk, but you don’t want to be alone.

Loki: How could you possible know that?

Violet: I’m here alone because my family ditched me. This trip was supposed to be for my birthday. I planned it all out, ordered them all tickets. I should’ve known then – getting my own birthday present. But I thought we could spend lots of time together. I could go to an on-board magic show with my brother, sunbathing with my mom, shopping with my sisters. It’d be great family time, I thought. But when the time came…(different voices) Oh, is it your birthday already? I’m too busy – work, babysitting, illness. (normal voice) But I wasn’t going to let it go to waste. So here I am. All by myself. I always wanted to go on a cruise and I am going to enjoy it. Joke’s on them, right? Just because they don’t appreciate me, doesn’t mean I’m not going to do whatever the hell I want.

Loki is looking down at the table as she speaks and dodges away in order to avoid Violet’s great gesturing.

Cut to: Flashback of last scene in Thor film. Loki is dangling at the end of the bifrost. He looks Slide1up to see Thor and Odin above him.

Loki: I could have done it, father. I could have done it. For you. For all of us.

Odin: No, Loki.

Loki lets go of his staff. Dropping into the closing portal.  We see him come out the other side of the portal, dropping towards Midgard/Earth. He lands on the deck of the cruise ship. The night is dark and quiet, but there are faint sounds of a party going on elsewhere – music and laughter. Loki gets up. He is still wearing his Asgardian garb. His image shimmers as he tries to change his appearance once more. The shimmer vanishes and he’s still dressed the same.  He examines his hands.

Loki: Odin’s taken my powers?

Loki looks around and a single man comes out of the darkness. He’s well dressed in a shirt and grey chinos. The man is still buoyed up from the party – smiling. Loki flashes out an arm, trying to zap the man with magic and nothing happens.

Man: Hey, neat costume.

The man comes closer and Loki punches him in the face then shakes out his hand. The man touches his bloody nose and comes back at Loki, swinging fists. Loki grapples with him for a minute on the floor. The man is much larger than him and for a time, Loki is pinned beneath him. With a cut on his face, Loki grabs a nearby object and hits the man in the head with it. Loki gains the upper hand and gets the man flat on his back. He holds the man by the throat, strangling him.

Blackout.

Then we see Loki wearing the man’s white shirt and chinos.  Loki walks away from the dead body.

Back in the dining hall: Loki turns to smile coldly at Violet then glances back at Thor at the dinning table.

Loki:  Your family disrespected your gift.

Violet: That’s an interesting way of putting it. But yeah!

Scene Eleven – Spy

Interior – Ship’s dining hall.

The Avengers sit around a table, having dinner. We see Violet in the background and at times, glimpses of Loki with her.

Bruce: So we need to make a plan.

Steve: I say tomorrow we split the ship up into four sections and we each get to know our section. See what people are staying in that area – what they do, where they go. Get to know the boat backwards and forwards. Get to know our target. We need to locate him before we make the first port and he has a chance to get off the boat.

Thor: We’ll need a map of the vessel.

Tony: Okay. Where can we get one?

Bruce: They probably keep a copy stored away for emergencies somewhere in the main control deck.

Steve: We’ll need stealth and a persuasive story if we’re caught. Tonight Tony and I will sneak into the control deck and see what we can find.

The view pans out to include the table where Loki and Violet are sitting. The view then focuses on Sly who is standing in a corner outside of the dining hall listening to the Avengers with a device.

Tony (through Sly’s listening device): Who made him the leader?

Scene Twelve – Electric Transmission

Interior – Dining Room, Cruise ship corridor, and Zhivkov’s cabin

Sly starts walking from his corner. He moves through the ship’s corridors.

Sly Voiceover: What do we use everyday and never realize it? It’s around us all the time, but we don’t see it, such a part of our lives that without it many would not be able to cope. Electricity. Energy. It’s the perfect enemy. Take it away, and people would kill to get it back.

Lights come on in a dark corridor as Sly moves into it.

Sly Voiceover: But what if flipping a light switch could give you the measles? Plugging in a laptop or a phone? Bird Flu.

Sly continues down the hall, pulling out his phone and typing out what he had been saying in a message to Fury.

Sly Voiceover: Turning on the TV? Ebola. Airborne diseases spread quickly enough. What about electric borne illness? Once you flip the switch there’s no going back. You’re sick. There’s nothing you can do. After that, an infected individual can give the disease to whoever they contact. But the initial infection is inescapable, widespread, and untraceable. What if I told you the means of doing this were right here on this ship?

Sly comes to a door and knocks. A man in a black suit answers the door. The man steps back to allow Sly to enter. Sly goes in and turns the corner. Zhivkov is bench-pressing weights in his cabin. His own suit is replaced by a wife-beater and mesh athletic pants. Another man in a suit is acting as his spotter and standing behind him. As Sly comes in, the spotter helps Zhivkov return the weights to their stand. Zhivkov sits up.

Sly: The machine will be ready much sooner than I thought. You can activate it in three days.

Zhivkov nods and wipes his face with a towel.

Thank you to Marvel, Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, and all the other writers, directors, and creative minds/hands involved in producing such a large number of enjoyable films.  And of course the actors: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, Idris Elba, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Hiddleston, and Chris Hemsworth.

The Avengers: Caribbean Cruise Adventure (A Fanfiction Screenplay Part 1)

The Avengers: Caribbean Cruise Adventure (2015)

The Avengers: Caribbean Cruise Adventure (2015)

As I’ve been thinking more about fangirling and seeing how people have enjoyed reading my Wholock fanfiction, I decided to post more of the fanfiction I’ve written.  The following piece, as you can guess is Avengers fanfic.  For the four main Avengers, the story takes place between the first and second Avengers films.  For Loki, the story is happening directly after Thor #1.  There’s some time travel involved.  Plus all of the other things you love about cruises: magic shows, buffets, disguised evil villains, snorkeling, karaoke, alcohol, culture shock, dancing, family drama, hand-to-hand combat, memory loss, teenage girls, and fast spreading illnesses.

I have also added an extra heroine to the story named Violet.  She gets to help out the Avengers while they fight the bad guy.  Violet represents the effects of being a woman living among male “gods” and possesses some of her own super powers that the Avengers are lacking.  She is Loki’s foil, the similarities and differences in their characters helping to enhance each of them in turn.  She is to a degree his advocate and holds a type of control over his life due to her serving as a self-appointed go-between for Thor and Loki.

I have done a little research on writing screenplays, but I actually have no idea about making a film or script formatting, so bear with me if directions/terms are not correct.  It reads kind of like something between a novel and a play.  I’m also sorry to everyone who is a bigger Marvel geek than I am (You’re much cooler and I wish I were you.) if I make some sort of faux pas in regards to the original story line or comic books.  I’ve taken some fictional liberties that I hope you have fun reading!

Thank you to Marvel, Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, and all the other writers, directors, and creative minds/hands involved in producing such a large number of enjoyable films.  And of course the actors: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, Idris Elba, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Hiddleston, and Chris Hemsworth.

Wholock: Two Bodies in Time (Part Seven)

Scene 9: Sherlock Holmes (Friday night,  A London Pizzeria)

“Remind me again, brother, what we are doing in a pizzeria.”  Mycroft put his cigarette out in a plastic ashtray that lay on top of a red and white-checkered tablecloth.

“Not all of us are food snobs.”  Said Sherlock, playing with the salt and pepper shakers.

“It’s called a diet.  You’re a good one to talk.  Sometimes I think you’re a vampire.  Never eating anything.  And that’s not what I meant.  We’ve been following John Watson around town for the last two hours.  If they’d actually gotten on the London Eye, I think I would’ve hurt someone.”

“Aren’t dates ridiculous?  Why don’t they just eat, say they like each other, and go home?  What’s all this other rubbish?”

“Romance, I think they call it.”

“Dull.”  Sherlock said.  And it had been dull.  All of this messing about and still John and Molly had not said a word to each other about him.  They were getting on just fine.  How boring.   John looked like he was having a good time, smiling and laughing with Molly.

“Sometimes I don’t see why John wastes his time with it.  We could be chasing a murderer right now.”  Sherlock said.

You could be, but you’re not.  You’re here spying on your friend’s love life.”  Mycroft argued.

“What are you doing here, Mycroft?”  Sherlock thumped the salt shaker down on the table a little harder than he meant to and glared at his brother.

“You wanted me to come.”

♦♦♦

John knew that his friend had been following them for the last hour, but he decided not to let it bother him.  Sometimes there was just no understanding Sherlock.  Perhaps he was just going through one of his down periods.  Everyone gets depressed once in a while including great detectives.  John was just glad that it was so easy to tell when Sherlock wasn’t feel as upbeat as usual.  In that respect, Sherlock was very predictable, which allowed John to prepare the support Sherlock needed.  John actually invited the fact that he was being followed as long as Sherlock wasn’t ruining his date with Molly.

The thing John wasn’t sure about was whether or not he should tell Molly that they had company.  It didn’t seem right not to tell her, but he knew how she felt about Sherlock.  If he told her that this man was watching, her attention would immediately be diverted from himself to Sherlock.  He wasn’t sure he’d be okay with that.

“So…”  He shifted in his seat.  “What made you decide to work at the mortuary?”

“Well, I’m not sure.  It’s not what I started out wanting to do.  I started out wanting to be a nurse, but…this might sound strange, but it actually takes a stronger stomach to work with people who are living.  Death doesn’t bother me the way that people dying does.  In a way it’s comforting to know that they’re already gone.  They’re done suffering.”   Molly explained.  “It’s too painful to see people in the process of going.”

“That’s understandable.  I’ve seen my share of death.”  He said.

“But you’re more like him that way.  You like the excitement.”  She nodded in the direction of Sherlock and Mycroft who were sitting in the back of the restaurant in a booth behind John.

“I like a certain amount of adventure in my life, yes.  But not the suffering of other people.  Neither does Sherlock.  He just doesn’t like to talk about it.   When did you notice they were following us?”  He asked.

“Two blocks away from the flat.”

“Really?  I didn’t see them until we changed lines at King’s Cross.”

She giggled.  “At one point I thought Mycroft was going to throw a fit.”

“I bet Sherlock is having a time of this.  He can’t stand we’re together without him.  Let’s pretend like we’re making fun of him.”

“That’s mean, John!”

“Oh, yes?  And he hasn’t done enough mean things to you?  Besides, we live to give each other a hard time.  He loves it.  It’s all fun if I’m the one that’s making the fun.  Give me your scarf and I’ll act like I’m him.”

She laughed despite herself as he knotted the floral printed scarf around his neck.

“And then…”  He flipped up the collar of his suit jacket.  In a forced, deep voice he said, “Get a brain, Lestrade.  I’m a high functioning sociopath.  Go have a Merry Christmas.”  He went back to his normal voice.  “How’s that?  Tell me is he looking?”

When Molly had recovered herself from laughing she answered.  “Yes!  He looks confused.”

“Are his eyes narrowed and his lips kind of like this?”  He made a face and she burst into a stream of giggles again.

“Yes and no!  It’s a good impression, but you don’t look anything like him.  That in a way makes it so much better – so much funnier.”

“Here.”  He handed the scarf back to her.  “Thanks.  Not sure if that scarf’s my color though.”

“Oh, I think it looked cute.”  Her cheeks turned pink.  “I wanted to tell you something.  I knew that Jim Moriarty was gay when I went out with him.  I’m not clueless like some people assume.  But I didn’t know he was trying to kill Sherlock or that he would try to hurt you.  It’s just…”

“It’s nothing.  Doesn’t matter.  I know you’re not clueless.”  John cleared his throat and changed the subject.  “You’ve known Sherlock longer than I have.  What was he like before I met him?”

She thought for a moment.  “He was the same in that solving a case was his life.  But he was crazier about it than he is now.  It was the only thing that he did and so things always went a bit too far.  His website was one thing that he totally overdid.  There weren’t any murders then, so he became obsessed with analyzing tobacco ash.  He put articles about it on his site thinking people would find it as interesting as he did.  I think he was lonely.  Really lonely, even though he pushed most people away.  But I also think that it was other people who did most of the pushing.  If the world is cruel to someone, what can you expect to get back from that person but cruelty?  People said he was a freak and so he became one.  And you…were the only person who proved to him that it wasn’t true.”

♦♦♦

John was making fun of him.  Lot’s of people made fun of him, but John wasn’t lots of people.  The making fun wasn’t what bothered him.  What troubled him was that he didn’t entirely understand his discomfort.  It was like John had some sort of disease that had changed everything.  Sherlock didn’t know how to act around him to talk to him in the same way.  What do you say to someone who is dying?  Or will be as good as dead to you at any moment?  And what if you can’t tell them they’re dying?  How do you say good-bye to John Watson without actually saying it?

“Why am I his friend?”  Sherlock said out loud.  He meant to be talking to himself and had forgotten Mycroft was next to him.

“Well, you make his ordinary life more interesting.  You’re like John Watson’s Moriarty.  But I’m confused.  Which one of them are you jealous of?”  Asked Mycroft.

“Jealous?”  Sherlock’s word was covered by a crash as two men barged in the back door of the restaurant.  They both had full, red beards and long curly hair.  It looks like they’ve come all the way from the Scottish Highlands, Sherlock thought.

“Holmes!”  They bellowed upon seeing Sherlock and Mycroft in their booth.  “You will die, Holmes.”

“What in hell did you do this time, Mycroft?”  Sherlock asked at the same time his brother pointed a finger at him.  “Oh, Please.”

♦♦♦

More bearded men (and women) came through the front door, yelling.  John and Molly were on their feet now.

“The Buhoo!  They’re after Sherlock.”  Molly said.

One of the Buhoo had picked Sherlock up by the lapels of his coat.  The creature threw him across the room.  He landed on a table and slid the surface of it to fall on the floor on the opposite side.  But Sherlock was just an extra piece of garbage.  The Buhoo were now heading for Mycroft.

“You killed our Queen.”  Said the Buhoo closest to Mycroft.

“Not Sherlock then.”  John said.  He was headed across the room to where his friend lied on the floor.  “You okay?”  He asked Sherlock, offering him a hand.

“Sherlock jumped up, ignoring the hand.  “I’m fine.”  Then kneed the nearest Buhoo in the stomach.  “Get Mycroft.”

The Buhoo at the booth was now trying to pull Mycroft out from behind the table, but Mycroft had sunk down on the bench so that most of him was hidden beneath the tabletop.  The Buhoo had made a grab at his prey’s shoulders when John leapt onto his back.  John’s weight pulled them backwards.  John found himself crushed between the Buhoo and another tabletop, but not before they had run into a waiter who was trying to calm the rest of the customers.

Just then The Doctor entered the scene with a running slide.  He bumped into Molly and grabbed onto her to keep his balance.

“Doctor!  What do we do?  I don’t want to hurt anyone.”  Molly said.

“Here.”  He revealed two things that looked like a toy guns that might belong with a cowboy costume.  He gave her one and kept the other one.  “This won’t hurt the Buhoo.  It’s a transport gun.  All it does is send them back home.”

She stared down at it.

The Doctor shrugged.  “It’s all I could find to make this kind of weapon.  I don’t have everything in the TARDIS.”

A yell interrupted them.  Sherlock was trying to untangle John from the Buhoo he had tackled.  It now had John in a headlock on top of the table.  Meanwhile, another Buhoo had grabbed Sherlock from behind and bitten him on the neck.  Mycroft weaved around, avoiding the blows of the third Buhoo.  It looked like they were part of some sort of ritual dance.

Molly shot at the Buhoo who had John.  She hit it in on the side of its hip.  The creature disappeared into thin air with not so much as a grunt.

John jumped up and punched the alien biting Sherlock in the forehead.  Molly took care of that one as soon it was away from the detective.  This time the gun’s blast hit it right in the chest.

The Doctor took aim at the other Buhoo surrounding Mycroft and in an instant all that remained in the restaurant were humans.

♦♦♦

They stood in a line in the alley outside of the pizzeria facing The Doctor and the TARDIS.  Mycroft stood on the far right followed by his brother and John.  Molly came last on the left.

“Sometimes humans are so disappointing.”  The Doctor said in front of Mycroft’s face.  “They’re disappointing because they are capable of so much more than violence.  And sometimes that’s the only thing they believe in.”

Mycroft blinked twice.  “Torchwood…”

“Oh, pish!  Torchwood only does what the government tells them to do.”  The Doctor moved down the line to Sherlock and John.

“Ahh…”  The Doctor examined Sherlock’s bite.

“What?”  Sherlock took a step back, not used to having strange men that close to his face.

“Looks good.  Just keep it clean and it won’t get infected.  I’d go to the hospital though, if you start growing a beard, but I doubt if that will happen.  The Buhoo venom isn’t very strong.”  The Doctor said.  “John, it’s good to see you again.”

“Again?”  Asked John.

“I don’t need to say it, but you two look out for each other.”  The Doctor waved his finger horizontally from John to Sherlock.  He moved on.

“Molly! You were brilliant!”  He declared.

“Wait! Who are you?”  John asked stepping forward and closer to Molly.

“John.  Let it go.”  Sherlock told him.  “He’s fine.”

“Thank you.”  Molly said to The Doctor.  “The last time we met, you said perhaps later.  Is now later?”

“Well,” he thought it over, “I suppose…if you wanted…”

She shrieked and hugged him.  “Come on! Let’s go!”

Taking his hand, they ran to the TARDIS.  The Doctor turned around and waved to them before closing the door behind them.  The whirring sound began to issue from the spaceship.

“But I wanted…”Sherlock began, but the TARDIS was already gone.

He looked at John who shrugged and started to walk away.  Sherlock followed him, still staring at the place where the TARDIS had been.  Mycroft brought up the rear.

“I guess I can always go out with that girl from the laundromat.”  John said as they made their way back to 221B.

Thanks for reading!  I hope you enjoyed it!

Note: Characters and settings belong to Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Russell T. Davies, and various other writers.

Wholock: Two Bodies in Time (Part Six)

Scene 7:  Molly Hooper (Friday, 221B Baker Street)

Molly arrived early Friday night at John and Sherlock’s flat.  Mrs. Hudson let her in.  When she came into the sitting room, Sherlock lay curled on the couch asleep.  He still wore his white dress shirt and black pants.  She could see skin above his socks where the pants had ridden up his leg.  Black curls splayed across his forehead.

He’s like a puppy  or a child when he doesn’t open his mouth, she thought.

He started mumbling something in a dream that she couldn’t understand.  It sounded like he was saying “don’t” over and over again, but she wasn’t sure.  His face creased into a frown.  Oh, Sherlock, you keep so many things inside; too many things.  Molly wanted to reach out and soothe that forehead and push back those curls.  She took a step toward him into the room.

The floor creaked and he shot upright.

She shrieked.

“John!  What’s happened?”  He saw her and seemed to recall where he was and that it was just a dream.  Getting to his feet, he stretched his long arms out behind him.

“Molly.”  He looked at the clock.  “John must still be getting ready.”

“Actually, I came over a bit early to see how you were doing.  You didn’t text me back.”  She said.

“I’m fine.  Is that what you’re wearing tonight?”  He said with a frown.

She glared at him and pointedly tugged her cardigan down.

A thunk issued from the bathroom.  John must have dropped something on the floor – his razor perhaps.  Sherlock’s eyes darted toward the sound.  She  saw now that the way he’d been looking at her was an act compared to the genuine weight his frown now carried.

“We have some cake left over from Mrs. Hudson’s birthday.  Would you like some?”  Sherlock offered, trying to smile.

Something was wrong.  He was attempting to be polite and make amends.  “It sounded like you  were having a nightmare.”  She said as he sat down in his chair.

He folded his hands together and rested his chin on top of them.

“Sherlock? Can I tell you something?”

His eyebrows went up and nodded once.  He stared at John’s empty seat on the other side of the fireplace.

“People say that Sherlock Holmes has no friends.  You say that you only have one.  But I hope that some day you’ll see that it isn’t true.  People…Many people would fight for you if you would let them.”

When she’d finished, he looked at her, moving his eyes but not his head.  She wondered what was going on behind those blue eyes.  Then John came down the hall and the moment passed.

She turned towards her date and smiled at him.

“Molly, how are you?  You look very nice.”  John told her.  She was delighted to see that he was smiling too.

“Thank you.  I’m looking forward to this.  I’ve been so busy this week.  It will be nice to have some fun.”  She imagined Sherlock looking at her pony tail and the back of her blouse.  She shivered.

“Oh, you cold?”  John stepped forward and rubbed her back.  He guided her around to the door before turning back to his friend.  “Just so you know, I hung up your towels in the bathroom.  They were everywhere so…I hope you have a good dinner with Mycroft.”

“Piss off.”  Sherlock told him.

“Goodnight to you too.”  John said as he followed Molly out the door.

Scene 8: Sherlock Holmes (Earlier Friday, St. James’s Park)

uktv_sherlock-moriarty“They’re so reassuring, so calming.  I love it when they start pecking each other.”  Jim Moriarty tossed out more breadcrumbs to the pigeons at St. James’s Park.  “I come here when I’m stressed, Sherlock.  I watch the gluttonous pidgins scrambling about.  Then I think about how easy it is to get people to hurt each other and then I’m bored again.  It makes me want to see you.”

“Why did you send me that message in the dead man?”  Sherlock asked.

“I thought you might like the pigeons too.  The small joys in life and all that.”bri8.jpg

“Do you want to ruin me?”  Sherlock decided to cut to the chase.  He wanted to be back at the flat before John left for his date with Molly.  That way his friend would leave first and he could follow them, dragging Mycroft with him if it came to that.

“You disappoint me.  I thought the answer to that was obvious.  I did say I’d burn your heart out.”

“I need you to kill me.”  Sherlock said.

“Nope.  Too easy.  It wouldn’t be any fun if I did what you wanted.  Why are you doing this?”

“You’re a genius.  What do you think?”

“I think I’ll just have to find my entertainment elsewhere.”

“If you do this, and fake my death, we’ll both get what we want.  I disappear and you have the satisfaction of watching me fall.  In the end, I’ll still be around so that your little games can continue.”

“I don’t think you really want to collaborate with me.”

“Then things stay on as they are.”  Sherlock explained.  “You keep murdering and I’ll keep hunting you down.  The same, old, boring story.”  He emphasized each word in his last sentence before getting up from the park bench and walking away.

Come back later for the final installment!  What will happen on John an Molly’s date?!

Note: Characters and settings belong to Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Russell T. Davies, and various other writers.

Wholock: Two Bodies in Time (Part Five)

Scene 6:  Sherlock Holmes (Wednesday, St. Paul’s Cathedral)

That morning, Mrs. Hudson had informed Sherlock that his mobile had been beeping like mad while he showered.  He pulled it out of his jacket, now on his way to St. Paul’s.

There was a text from John sent last night that he hadn’t seen.  I don’t know what you’re doing SH, but I’m not taking salsa-dancing lessons.  I’m in the bedroom you know.  I can hear you. – JW

He hadn’t been that loud.  He was only practicing a few of his moves and experimenting with Latin Jazz.  It got rid of some of the extra energy when there wasn’t a pressing case to work on.  He texted back: Sure?  You’d be a great dancer, JW.  -SH

There was another message from Molly.  Watch yourself. :)

A beep issued from the phone.  A reply from John – work must be slow at the clinic today.  I always knew you  were an idiot. -JW

He allowed himself one pronounced, “Ha!” Before tucking his phone away again.

“Sherlock.”  Someone mumbled.  It sounded more like he was saying “Sharla.”  This could only mean one thing: the man calling after him had his mouth full of cinnamon roasted almonds.  Sherlock turned around and discovered that it was the man he was looking for.  The Doctor.

“Wan sum?”  The Doctor held out a plastic cone with the nuts inside and swallowed the food in his mouth.  The smell of sugar and butter mixed with a sharp spice permeated the air.  “I love these things.  Every time I pass that vender by Millennium Bridge…I can’t help myself.  It smells so good.  Mmm…Earth.  I need to talk to you somewhere more private.”

For once Sherlock didn’t know what was going to happen.  He followed The Doctor to the very top of St. Paul’s dome where gust of air carried their conversation away.

“Nice coat.”  The Doctor said.

“What?”

“Your coat.  Very stylish.”

Sherlock scowled and glanced at his outfit and then at the man’s next to him.  He scowled because what they wore was nearly the same.  He looked up at the man’s face.

“What was that blank paper you showed me the last time?”  Asked Sherlock.

The two of them stood staring out over London with their hands in their pockets and the wind blowing back their hair.  They had walked side-by-side through the silent nave with shoes thudding thunder.  Somewhere a child tourist was whispering and pointing at something.  Sherlock had felt the rush of the city leave him, but something else filled him up – a type of still power that hung over his head and came pressing downward.  He wasn’t sure if it was the cathedral or the man he was with.

The Doctor pulled out his wallet.  “This is the psychic paper.  It shows people whatever they want to see.  It doesn’t work on you because you see exactly what is there. But there is so much more that you miss.  Oh, so much more, Sherlock.”

“Tell me what you know about John Watson.”

“Ah, John Watson!  If there is one thing we can agree on, it’s that John is a beautiful piece of humanity.  Small as he may be in the universe, he is a great part of it.  Oh, the beauty of humans.  Don’t you love them?”  The Doctor’s face split in a fantastic grin.

“You’re mad.”

“Eh, well…”

“If you’re using John to get at me, it won’t work.  We’ve dealt with this before.”  Sherlock told him.

“No.  For once Sherlock, this has nothing to do with you…Well, sort of…well, you’ve become a part of it.”  There came a whirring noise somewhere between gears letting off steam and two sheets of metal rubbing against each other.  A blue, rectangular box materialized out of the air.  Police Public Call Box was written across the top.  “There she is.  I was looking for you!”  The Doctor reached out and stroked the thing’s door as if it were a pet.

“A part of what?”

“Your friend is not who you think he is.  John Watson is your John Watson, but he’s also John Watson from 1886 and 1519 and so on and on through time.  I’ll show you.  Come inside for tea?”  The Doctor asked and disappeared within the box.

Sherlock peered into the partially open door before stepping into a huge room.  In the middle was some sort of circular control panel.  In the middle of this panel was pillar of strange light.  The Doctor rummaged in a compartment under all of the knobs, switches, and cranks looking for his tea-things.

“Earl grey with lemon okay?”

“This is a time machine.”  Sherlock said.  “But how does it work?”

“It’s called the TARDIS.  I can go anywhere in the universe on any date I want.  Does it matter how it works?”

“I’ve looked you up in government archives.  You turn up over and over again.  Same person, different times.”

“You hacked into your brother’s computer.”

“Of course.”

“Look at this.”  The Doctor made his way over to a screen and typed some things on a keypad.  Sherlock stood behind his right shoulder.

The screen buzzed into life and an image like a movie appeared.  A man walked down a version of Baker Street dressed in clothing from the 1800’s.  At the corner of the sidewalk, he looked up to the camera.

“That’s John.”  Sherlock whispered.  The image changed to a scene that could have been King Henry V’s court.  There was John.  It changed again and John was standing next to another man on a battlefield holding a sword in the midst of severed body parts.

“See that?”  The Doctor pointed to the man next to the medieval John.  “Galahad.  That was my best summer vacation ever.”

“What’s happening to John?”  Sherlock’s patience grew thin and he realized he was yelling.

“For reasons I can’t determine, John Watson has been living in different times or different realities.”

“You mean like parallel worlds?”

“Sort of.  His random existence in different years changes what happens in history, which creates a new reality.  You can call it a parallel world if you like.”  The Doctor explained.  “You could be walking down the stairs, leaving your flat together, and John Watson could just disappear only to reappear in another time.  It could happen at any moment.”

Sherlock didn’t say anything – couldn’t say anything.  He thought about John’s strange premonition he’d mentioned in their last conversation.  Do you ever get the feeling you’re living in two separate realities?  John had said.

“Does he know this?”  Sherlock found his voice.

“No.  He can’t know it, or he would go mad.  It would be too much for the human mind.  You can’t tell him any of this, Sherlock.”

“Then why are you telling me about it?”  He felt his heart rate increase and his head felt hotter.  “If nothing can be done about it…And now there’s a greater risk that he might find out.  What if I accidentally tell him?  You idiot!”

“Sherlock.”  The Doctor handed him a cup of tea, but he barely realized it.  “John has connected himself to you.  Each time he moves to a new time, he seeks you out.  Even though he doesn’t know it, he’s restless until he finds you.”

“So I’m in these parallel worlds too?”

“Yes, but you don’t jump around in them.  Only John does.  He only ever jumps to a new time after he meets you.  Sometimes you know each other for one minute, sometimes ten years.  But he never jumps until after you’re friends.”

There followed a silence in which Sherlock absently sipped at his tea.  “What if I disappear instead?  What if he has to keep looking for me or gives up on it?”

“I don’t know.  It might work for a while.”  The Doctor considered.

“What if I came and traveled with you?”  Sherlock asked.

“That wouldn’t work.”  The Doctor answered a bit too quickly that time, Sherlock thought.

“I have to go.  Busy.”  Sherlock said, putting down the cup and saucer on the control panel.  He needed time to be alone, to get some nicotine patches and to think.  Or perhaps it would clear his head to do that experiment on the dead rat he’d put in the icebox.  He wanted to get away from the world now.  Science did that – ironically.  An ordinary person would think that he was avoiding the problem, but concentrating on something trivial made it easier for him to consider more important things later.  Like what was the problem anyhow?  John was going to vanish?  Sherlock couldn’t stop it?  He no longer understood his best friend?

As Sherlock was leaving, The Doctor called after him.  “Be careful!  There might be an alien wanting to kill you!”

Note: Characters and settings belong to Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Russell T. Davies, and various other writers.

Wholock: Two Bodies in Time (Part Four)

Scene 5:  Molly Hooper (Wednesday, Covent Gardens)

She’d caught up with the man running away from her toward Covent Gardens.  He was only two feet in front of her now.  They passed the parliament building and kept going, dodging all of the tourists.  Molly gasped for breath, her footsteps pounding in her head and in her chest.

“Come on!  You got him.” She heard The Doctor give encouragement from behind her.

She reached out a hand to grab the man, the Buhoo.  If she could just grasp the back of his coat, he might stumble and fall.  Her fingers glanced off the slippery waterproof cloth of the jacket.  With her weight leaning forward toward the Buhoo, she almost fell on her own face, but it only took a moment to recover.  She propelled herself off of a brick building with her hand and got back into the pursuit.

The only way to stop him is to tackle him, she thought.  Molly gave a last burst of speed  and launched herself at the Buhoo’s back.

They landed in a pile, the air leaving both of them in a whoosh as they hit the ground.  She even imagined that she felt her captive’s lungs deflate beneath her.  In a second, The Doctor was at her side with the device she now understood was called the sonic screwdriver pointed at the Buhoo’s neck beneath its beard.

“Don’t move.”  He ordered it.  “Molly, are you okay?”

She nodded, not having her breath back enough to speak yet.

Molly had been riding the tube home from St. Bart’s when The Doctor had boarded at Blackfriars Station.  She recognized him immediately even though he had his back to her.  He grabbed the bar above his head and turned around to face the rest of the car.

“Molly!”  He’d said grinning.  “Didn’t I say we would meet later?”

“Yeah…I suppose.”  She wasn’t sure what else to say.  “How is it going, hunting down those thingies?”

“Oh, the Buhoo?  Not so good, actually.  They’ve become violent – intentionally killed some government people.  I need to capture one to find out why.”  He pulled out another handheld gadget that looked like an iPhone made of scrape metal.  “I’m currently tracking one that’s headed for the Victoria line.”  He glanced out the window of the car as they slowed.  St. James’s Park.  The next stop was Victoria.

A group of people got on the train and somehow managed to squash themselves between Molly and The Doctor, forcing The Doctor further into the car and away from the doors.  She kept her eyes on the platform as they pulled into Victoria.

“There he is!”  The Doctor pointed at a bearded gentleman headed through a tunnel transferring to Victoria.  “Molly!  Excuse me.  Sorry.”  He tried to push his way to the exit.  The man had spotted him and started running.

Molly didn’t think.  She jumped off the train and started chasing after the man who decided he could escape by going topside into the city streets.  The Doctor caught up with her as she reached the sidewalk outside Victoria Station.

Now, near Covent Garden, Molly felt the eyes of passer bys on them – shoppers and a performer with a ventriloquist dummy in his arms.

“Earth, a level 5 planet, is off-limits to colonization by order of the Shadow Proclamation, so what are the Buhoo doing here?”  Demanded The Doctor of the captured Buhoo.

“We were never going to stay here.  We were going to leave after our new Queen was born.  We wanted to be peaceful.”  The Buhoo answered.  Its voice was soft and feminine.  Molly realized that it was actually a woman.  A bearded woman.

“Your children bursting from the chests of humans – killing them – you call that peaceful?”  The Doctor nearly shouted.  For the Buhoo, it is an honor to be chosen as a host for reproduction and even a greater honor to carry a Queen.  We did not understand that we would be…murders to humans.”

“But why Earth?  Your own people were becoming infertile hosts?”

“We had to find the perfect host for our new Queen.  We scanned the galaxy looking for such a host.  We found him here.  Please, Doctor, let me stand up.  I mean you no harm.”  The Buhoo pleaded.

The Doctor nodded at Molly and she stood up, releasing their prisoner.

“But things have changed.  You killed a man in cold blood.  Why?”  He asked.

“There was a group of men on the street.  They had captured our Queen’s host.  Torchwood, they called themselves.  The one in charge told the others to push our host into the way of a bus.  Our new baby Queen was murdered by humans.  We must take our revenge.”

The man in the morgue with the green ooze, Molly made the connection, had been carrying the new Buhoo leader when he was killed.  The bus had destroyed the baby inside of him.

“So you are killing anyone that was involved in pushing your host under the bus.”  Molly finally spoke.

“All we want is the man who gave the orders.  After we destroy the man in charge, we will leave and never come back.”  Said the Buhoo.

“Who was this ‘man in charge’?”  Asked The Doctor.  “Do you have his name?”

“His name is Holmes.”  Said the Buhoo.

“Holmes!” One person with that name came to Molly’s mind.  “Sherlock?”  She whispered.Slide1

At that moment of contemplation and shock in her captors, the Buhoo made her escape, running off into the crowd of people.  Molly made to follow her when The Doctor put his hand on Molly’s shoulder.

“She’s gone.  Let her go.  We’ll find her again.”  He said.  “Come on, Molly.”

She walked with him into an alley where a blue phone box stood in the corner.  The Doctor took out a key and unlocked the door of the box.

“What is this?”  Molly asked.

David-Tennant-doctor-who-35677968-2197-1463“This is my spaceship.  I call it the TARDIS or Time And Relative Dimensions In Space.”  He stepped one foot in the door.

“Wait!  Can I come with you?  What about the man the Buhoo are after?  Will you protect him?  I want to help you.”

“Not now, Molly.  I promise nothing will happen to him.  I have to go now.  There’s someone I need to meet at St. Paul’s.  But perhaps later…”  He disappeared inside of the TARDIS.

Molly stood back from it as it made rushing whirring sounds and vanished.

Next Post will be on Sunday.  Sorry, but I work all day on Saturday. : (   Come back on Sunday to hear about what Sherlock learns from The Doctor about John Watson.

Note: Characters and settings belong to Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Russell T. Davies, and various other writers.

Wholock: Two Bodies in Time (Part Three)

Scene 4: Sherlock Holmes (Monday, 221B Baker Street)

Sherlock was already back at the flat by the time John got home from the hospital.  The consulting detective sat in his chair to the right of the fireplace playing with a loop of string tangled in his fingers.  He looked up when John came in.

“Mrs. Hudson?”  He asked because it was the first thing that popped into his mind.  For some reason Sherlock didn’t have the same filters that ordinary people had.  It had ceased to bother him at the age of ten.  He didn’t even realize that he was doing it anymore.

“Are you on drugs again?” Said John.

“Did you call Mrs. Hudson?”  A bit of annoyance was added in Sherlock’s tone.  “I thought I’d told you to call her.”

“Why?  No.”  John answered.

“The ice machine’s broken.”

“We don’t have an ice machine.”

“Hmm.”  Sherlock went back to concentrating on the string.

“You just have to put the water in those little trays.”  John sat down in his own chair.

John-and-Sherlock-at-Baker-StreetHis face looks different, thought Sherlock.  It’s lighter with fewer lines.  The brows are more relaxed.  Sherlock tilted his head to the side to scrutinize John.  “What’s changed about you?”

“Hold on.”  John leaned forward in his chair.  “Are you…concerned?”

“Something’s different.  You’re happy.”  Sherlock declared.

“Is that so wrong?  So what if I am?  As my friend, aren’t you supposed to be glad about it?”

“I never said it was wrong, John.  I said it was different.”  A silence fell between them before Sherlock continued.  “So, what have you been up to?”

“What have I been up to?  You run away and leave me and now you want to know what I’ve been up to.”  John looked away, indignant.

“Oh, shut it.  I’m just trying to make conversation.”  He said, and it was the truth.  One thing that Sherlock couldn’t stand about people was that they assumed he was attempting to make them angry.  He wasn’t.  He just wasn’t any good at talking to people.  He didn’t purposefully make them mad or offend them.  John understood that about him, even though his flat mate sometimes pretended not to – like now.  John still wouldn’t look at him.  Sherlock tossed the string at him, but it floated down to the rug between their chairs.  “Come on!  What happened?”

Now John was smiling.  “I love to see you flustered.”

“I’m not flustered.  I don’t get flustered.”

John laughed.  “Why do we argue so much?”

“Because you’re the only one who thinks it’s fun.” Sherlock answered.

“I was in the lab with Molly – where you left me.  We did an analysis on a green substance, which turned out to be alien in nature.”  John told him.

“Alien?”  Sherlock got up and went to the window.

“Yeah.  Molly said there was some man that came into the mortuary and told her about a kind of hairy creature.”

Sherlock pretended to peer out onto Baker Street while his left hand absently went to the place on his chest where his scarf usually hung on him.  That doctor thought my scarf was a beard, Sherlock mused.  If there really are aliens, does that mean the other things The Doctor told me were also true?  The thing about John disappearing?

“Sherlock?  Are you okay?”  Asked John.

“I’ve just remembered that we’re condescending to have dinner with Mycroft on Friday.  He said he’d send mom and dad here for the weekend if we didn’t show up.”

You’re condescending.”  John corrected him.

Sherlock looked back at his friend.

“I have a date.”  John cleared his throat.  “With Molly Hooper on Friday night.”

“Molly?”  Sherlock returned his gaze to the street.  It’s happening again, he thought.  John is abandoning me for a silly date.  Pointless things are dates.  But Molly?  That’s not right.  John is only supposed to date women I don’t know.  What in the world will they be doing without me?  “You should take her to that new place on Chattington.”

“Is that where you’re meeting Mycroft?”  John said.

“Where are you taking her?”  He persisted.

“Not the new place on Chattington.  Why do you care?”

“Are you taking her to the cinema?  I remember seeing posters for The Hobbit about town.  Is this the sequel now?”  Cinema was the last thing he was interested in, but the advertisements were unavoidable.  Dragons and dwarfs everywhere.

John visibly shuddered.  “Sorry.  Someone just walked over my grave.  Do you ever get the feeling you’re living in two separate realities?  That happened to me just now.”  He shook his head.  “Probably nothing.  Did you find anything out about that note in the bottle?”

“No, actually.”  He said.  “I did other things.”  It seemed that Sherlock would in fact be making a visit to St. Paul’s rather soon.

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More coming tomorrow!

Note: Characters and settings belong to Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Russell T. Davies, and various other writers.

Wholock: Two Bodies in Time (Part Two)

Scene 2:  John Watson (Monday, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital)

GJt2Y5IzJohn sat on a stool and watched her at her microscope.  This was the first time he’s ever really worked with Molly before.  She always seemed to attach herself to Sherlock when the man entered the room and John was put aside; made to sit in the lab and spectate from the background.

Molly’s hair in a long braid hung over her shoulder.  It was rather shiny and quite soft looking.  He’d never gotten close enough to see that before.  She wore a barrette that was red with black spots like a ladybug and little, silver heart earrings.  They were cute in an odd way, though he’s never tell anyone he thought so.  Her hair and jewelry were girlish.  Innocent.  And yet here she was working with cadavers.

“Molly…”  He started.

“Oh, my.  The Doctor wasn’t lying.”  She whispered and John wondered what she could mean.

Molly_Hooper“Would you like to have a look?”  She scooted over off her stool so that the microscope was open to him.

“Oh, thanks.”  He sat down where Molly had been.  “What is it that I’m looking at?”

Sherlock never would have asked him to look.  Why would John want to look if he didn’t understand what he was looking at?  He was sure that’s what his friend was thinking.  Sherlock acted differently in every situation because he analyzed every situation individually.  If there was something John’s perspective  could add to a case, than Sherlock respected his observations, but if not; Sherlock wouldn’t see the point in asking.  It was just one more thing that John put aside due to the fact that any respect from Sherlock Holmes was as rare as purple diamonds and priceless to John.

“It’s kind of a long story, but there was a body brought in that had a green substance coming from its ears.  See the little swirly things there to the left?”  She asked.

“Yes.  What is that?”  He made some minor adjustments to the focus.

“I’m not entirely sure.  It’s nothing I’ve seen before.  Not on this earth at any rate.”

“You mean…”  He looked at her and saw that she was smiling.  “Alien?”

“That’s what I mean, John.”  She said.

“So, what…What are you laughing at?”

“Sherlock.  What would he say?  What would he do if he found an alien?  He has to have an explanation for everything.  Imagine it.”

“You’ve found an alien substance, and you’re wondering about Sherlock?”  He said.

“There was a man who came in this morning.  He wanted to see the body with this green stuff in it.  Well, I think he knew something about it…”  She trailed off.

John tried to determine if what she had just said was important.  Perhaps he should ask her more questions about what happened.

Silence followed for a few drawn out minutes while Molly made some notes on her laptop.  John watched her adorable fingernails typing away.  He forgot that he was going to ask her any questions at all.  As an objective observer, there was nothing distasteful about her appearance.  There’s no reason why any man might not find her at least moderately attractive.

“You know he doesn’t think about you…that way.”  John finally said.

“Hmm?”  She hadn’t heard him.

“Sherlock.  He has the sexuality of a robot, by which I mean he’s nearly asexual.  He doesn’t think of women the way you think of him.  It’s not that he doesn’t have sexuality; it’s just that it doesn’t enter his mind.  It doesn’t compute.”  He explained.

“He loves you though.”  She said, looking up from her notes.

“Yes…but we’re not a couple.”

“Oh.”

Almost as soon as the syllable left her lips, he was pushing onward – blurting out before he could stop himself.  “Would you like to have dinner with me this Friday?”

“Oh.”

“I-I’m sorry.  Not a date.  Not a date then.  Let’s just call it something we do to annoy Sherlock.”  In the end, all his socializing came down to Sherlock anyhow.  It seemed that his best friend determined whom he saw and what he did with them.  And he knew that Molly would enjoy another opportunity to try to prove to herself that she didn’t just date psychopaths.  John was okay with that.  They could be friends.  He only wanted to do something nice for her because Sherlock treated her so horribly.

“I could go in for that.”  She said.  “You know what’s funny?”

“What?”

“Sherlock thinks that he can manipulate people by using their feelings.”

“I know.  Isn’t that hilarious?  He once pretended to be this girl’s boyfriend so that he could interrogate her father.  He looked so ridiculous.  He called her…oh, what did he call her?  Smoochums.  But it sounded like a cow coming out of his mouth.”

“How could she not have known he was pretending?”  Molly asked, laughing.

“Honestly, I have no idea.  No idea.”

Scene 3: Sherlock Holmes (Monday, A London Street)

Moriarty again.  Jim Moriarty had written the note inside that bottle inside of the dead man.  It read something like this:  Meet me at blah, blah at such and such at time if you want to know more.  Dull.  But it wasn’t the contents of the note that bothered him.  It was his response to it.  He hadn’t wanted Molly and John to see his excitement, which later would turn to self-disgust.

Jim?  Could he really think of this man in such a familiar way?  Could he have really been exhilarated at the prospect of talking to him?  A psychopath.  Jim: a man who paid people to torture children.  John would never know how this gave him nightmares – not the torturing of children, but the fact that he thought of Moriarty as someone he would enjoy having tea with.

Everyone except John seemed to know that it was true.  Sherlock Holmes was on his way to becoming a psychopath just like Jim Moriarty.  He tried to joke about it to make himself feel better, explaining that in fact he was a high functioning sociopath.  He loved telling people that.  It made him feel a bit more human.  It brought him back from the edge and reminded him that he really did care.  As long as he felt, if just for that moment, he wouldn’t become Jim Moriarty.

After leaving the hospital, Sherlock had wondered around the city, not quite sure where he was going.  Despite being filled with boring people with their boring lives, London did something to unlock his own brain.  Feeling it moving around him energized him and honed him like nothing else could.  He could vanish inside of his mind palace and not come back until he somehow ended up at Baker Street.

“You! Stop!”  He heard someone calling from behind him.

Sherlock glanced over his shoulder, only partly rotating his body while he kept walking.  It’s probably one of Inspector Lestrade’s cronies come to summon me in regards to a new case.  The Inspector can’t get enough of me.  Sherlock was about to tell Lestrade’s officer that he was too busy when he realized that he  didn’t know the man who was shouting at him.  Sherlock stopped and turned all the way around.

The stranger was dressed in a brown, pinstriped suit, a tan overcoat, and white Converse sneakers.  He wore thick-rimmed glasses ad_120800834and his hair resembled a rooster’s comb.  He didn’t do his laundry and he was not shabby – there was no wear on any of the man’s clothes except the shoes which had scuff marks on the outsides.  This man could afford to buy new clothes often, but the shoes said that he traveled often.  He’s rich.  But not a businessman.  The wild hair indicates that he doesn’t follow social norms.  A criminal involved in underground business?  But why would a criminal approach a detective unless he didn’t know any better?  This man seemed to recognize him, so not a criminal.  The man’s glasses have fingerprint smears on the rims, but not on the glass.  He takes them off a lot.  Never really uses them.  He doesn’t actually need glasses, so why does he wear them?

“Who are you?”  Sherlock asked.

The man held out a wallet with a bit of blank paper in it.

“That’s a blank piece of paper.”  Sherlock raised an eyebrow at the man who was forcing him to make the most obvious statements.

“What?  Is that not working on you then?”  The man turned the paper around and looked at it.  “Hmm.”  He shrugged and put the wallet back in his coat.  “I’m sorry.  I thought you were a Buhoo – an alien species.  They have lots of hair and for a second your scarf looked kind of like a beard.  Anyhow…”

images-1Sherlock placed a hand over his scarf and resisted the urge to glance down at it.

“Wait a minute!  You’re Sherlock Holmes!  Oh, I knew I recognized you.”  The stranger acted as if he had just run into an old friend after not seeing him for years.

“I don’t think I know you, though.”  Sherlock said.

“I’m The Doctor.  You’re friends with John Watson, the man lost in time.”

“What do you mean, lost in time?  What alien species?”  Asked Sherlock.

A faint buzzing came from The Doctor’s coat.  For the first time, the man’s face creased in what Sherlock thought was worry.  The Doctor pulled out a vibrating device with a blue light on the end.  It seemed to pull The Doctor in one direction and then another, making the man stumble all over the street corner.  The machine was guiding him toward something.

“I have to go.”  The man grunted, trying to keep his feet.  “Buhoo to hunt down.  The sonic screwdriver has caught their trail.  Just one more thing: your friend John Watson is going to disappear.  Keep an eye on him.  If you need me, come to St. Paul’s.”  The man ran off down the cross walk and Sherlock lost sight of him on the other side of the traffic.

Now there’s a psychopath, Sherlock thought in what wasn’t completely good humor.  He’d seen a good share of crazy people in his lifetime.  There were the Jim Moriarty’s and then there were those that were part of his homeless network – people whose poverty caused their minds not to work quite right.  He got the sense that The Doctor was neither of these types of crazy.

Aliens, the man spoke of.  That was very odd indeed.  But that was probably nothing.  As for the other things The Doctor had said; the things about John, well, threats were almost always made against John.  People who disliked Sherlock seemed to think it great fun to do something mean to his flat mate in order to get to Sherlock himself.  Perhaps that’s all this was.  The man’s threat didn’t even seem to be very vehement.  And why did he think that Sherlock would need him?  It was probably nothing.

Come back later and find out Sherlock’s reaction to the idea of John and Molly going on a date and what happens when Molly meets The Doctor for the second time.

Note: Characters and settings belong to Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Russell T. Davies, and various other writers.

Wholock: Two Bodies in Time (Part One)

Note:  So here is the only piece of fan fiction that I will probably ever write.  In case you are not familiar with the concept, Wholock is a combination of the TV series Doctor Who and Sherlock.  The time in which my story takes place within the two narratives is before Sherlock fakes his death and I’ve used the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) version of The Doctor’s character.  The entire story turned out to be 39 pages, so I’ve decided to post it here in several installments.  Enjoy!

Scene 1: Molly Hooper (Monday at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital)

It’s a blessing that dead people don’t care.  This bloke won’t push me away so easily.  He won’t say, “Molly, what did you do to your hair?  It’s annoying.  I can’t think.  Molly, did you really eat that whole bag of crisps?  Molly, your lips are too small.  You’ve gotten taller and now it doesn’t suit you.”  The dead will never care.  Sometimes I wish Sherlock Holmes were dead, Molly thought as she gazed down at the deceased in front of her.

Two bodies currently rested in the mortuary with her; and though she couldn’t know it, one of these bodies would change her life.

The first body: hit by a bus.  His spine had snapped in half and his face had smashed inwards.  She couldn’t have said what he looked like with his part of his skull crushed to dust.  The bus  had run over him twice.  But there had been something odd about this one.  While she’d performed the autopsy, a green substance had begun to seep from what remained of the man’s left ear canal.

She had been collecting the viscous ooze in a test tube for further analysis when a strange man walked in.  He’d said he was a doctor and he’s shown her his credentials.  Molly didn’t think he’d looked like a doctor though.  His hair stood on end and he wore a brown suit with awful white shoes that didn’t match the rest of his outfit.  He’d slipped a pair of thick-rimmed glasses on to scrutinize the deceased’s ear.

“Oh, yes.”  He’d said, his mouth falling open in fascination and his eye’s wide.  He’d reached into his coat then and pulled out a device Molly had never seen before.  It had a blue light on the end and made a peculiar buzzing sound when he moved it over the dead man’s chest.  “Oh, yes.”

“What is it?”  She’d asked him.  “Who did you say you were again?”

“I’m sorry.  I’m called The Doctor.  And you are?”  He’d asked, holding out a hand to her while sticking the device back in his pocket with the other.

“Molly Hooper.”

“Molly Hooper, you haven’t happened to see any rather hairy men about, have you?”

“Um…no.  Why?”  It hadn’t seemed like she was making any headway with this stranger and she’d considered calling security.

“Can you keep a secret?” The Doctor had said.

This was becoming far too interesting for her to call security.  She’d had to see what would happen next.  It seemed like anything could come from this man’s lips

“Yes.”  She’d decided to take a wild chance.

Doctor-Who-New-Earth-david-tennant-12041777-768-456“This man had a parasite growing inside of him.  It was destroyed when the bus hit him.  That’s what’s caused the green stuff in his ear.  The parasite was put there by a group of alien individuals calling themselves the Buhoo.  The adults look mostly human except that they have a larger amount of hair.  The parasite is how they reproduce.  I have to stop them before they take over the city.”  He’d told her.  His eyes and face had lit up at the prospect as if it were some fantastic game he was playing.

That’s when she’d pushed the button for emergencies on her pager.  Soon there would be more medical staff and possibly a security guard dashing into the room.  “I don’t know who you are, but I’ve called security.”  She’d tried to sound threatening.

“Well, in that case…I better run.  Some other time then, Molly?”  He had run out the door and vanished.  The guards hadn’t even found a trace of him.

Though the encounter had occurred just that morning, it seemed like it had happened in a different world.  It was proving to be quite an interesting day and it was only one o’clock.  She shook the memory of it from her mind and returned to something she enjoyed thinking about.

Sherlock.  I don’t really want him to be dead.  Sherlock.  I love the way ideas make his eyes dance.  His blue eyes with that blue scarf.  I wonder if it ever gets washed.  Sherlock.

What an awful man to like.  But I could never really dislike him.  Why is that?

She covered up the body from the bus accident and closed him back up in the little cave/cupboard she locked them all inside.  All the dead bodies; they are just hibernating for now.  Hopefully, they’ll wake up somewhere where it’s spring.

What is wrong with me that I have a crush on the most insensitive man I’ve ever met?  But what makes me different from John Watson – some say Sherlock’s only love apart from an unanswered question?  Everyone thinks a bromance is adorable, and yet I’m sure John thinks I’m stupid for caring for the same man.

Anyway, I’m sure I’m not the only woman who wishes she were John Watson.

Molly moved on to the second body.

Every time a new cadaver came in, a part of her would absently think: please, let it be murder.  Just like she didn’t really want Sherlock to be dead, she didn’t really wish for any strangers to be killed either.  Her desire for the event of hateful crimes would never reach the full surface of her consciousness.  Yet it was there.  Hiding.  Because murder meant…him.  For Molly, murder amounted to the sound of familiar footsteps approaching.

She could hear them now and her heart quickened.  Sherlock’s rubber soles clacking harshly and John’s hurried ka-thunk, ka-thunk.  John sometimes still walked with a limp in the hospital, perhaps because the place made him more aware of his injuries.

Sherlock never gave any other warning of his entrance other than the footsteps.  He flung open the doors with both hands, the back of his long coat flying out behind him.

cumberbatchf-as-sherlock“You’re looking rather bright today.  Have you gotten your teeth whitened?”  He asked her.

“The remains indicate that the man has been strangulated.  According to the police report, it appears to be accidental.”  She ignored his so-called greeting and returned to this second body of the day.

“Why don’t you tell me about something I can’t see?”  He came over and stood beside her.  His sleeve brushed against her lab coat as he bent down for a closer look.  “Just what I thought.”  He muttered, running a gloved finger across the torsions on the man’s neck.  “It wasn’t an accident.”

He smelled like London – rain, exhaust, old books, and cigarettes with a hint of shampoo.  It made her feel enthralled in the midst of the city – a part of its blood.  She swallowed, her mouth inordinately filled with saliva, but her throat dry.tumblr_inline_mvq0h8HuGI1rckzqs

“No.”  She agreed.  “It wasn’t an accident.  I found this.” She handed him a plastic bag containing a small, corked bottle.  A piece of paper curled around inside the bottle.  “This is what actually blocked his windpipe.  A message.  I saved it for you.”

She watched his brows furrow as he opened the bottle.  Molly handed him a pair of tweezers so that he could remove the paper inside more easily.

John came closer and tried to peer over Sherlock’s shoulder.  It was difficult, Molly observed, as Sherlock was so much taller than his friend.

“What’s it say?”  John asked.

Sherlock spun around John and headed for the door again.  “I’ll be back later.”

john-and-sherlock“Sherlock?”  John turned to follow him, but he’d already gone.

Molly looked at John.  He gave her a weak smile as if it would make up for his companion’s abrupt departure.  She felt like she needed to say something polite.

“You can stay if you like.”  She offered.  “You can help me run some tests in the lab.”

Come back later for Part Two and find out what secrets John and Molly share while Sherlock is away.

Note: Characters and settings belong to Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Russell T. Davies, and various other writers.

The Empty Seat

Note: This short story inspired by an occurrence at work.  Part of it was written while I was in an airport and going to Idaho.

He won’t talk to me, she thought as she settled into her chair.  She put her bags down in front of her and rummaged around in her purse for the book she’d bought at the last airport.  There’s an empty seat between us.  At an airport terminal who talks to the person two seats away from them?  One seat maybe…but two?  Isn’t that why people leave that space of one chair between them and a stranger?  No.  He won’t talk to me.

“Hey, how you doing?” She heard the voice coming from across that social barrier of the empty seat.

Just keep on reading your book and pretend like you didn’t hear him, she thought.  She opened the novel.  It was a paperback bestseller about some kind of detective solving some kind of murder.  On the flight here from New York, she couldn’t stop reading it.

“Hello.  How are you?”  The voice asked again a little louder.

She looked up.  “I’m fine.  Thank you.”  She went back to reading.

“Are you from around here?”  He asked.

“No.”  She looked at him full on.  “If you’ll excuse me, I’m in the middle of a good part in my book.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”  A whisper.

It was too late.  How can a person be so persistent in making conversation?  Doesn’t he see that I’m reading?  Doesn’t he see the empty chair?  She read the same paragraph twice before putting the book down in her lap.  She gazed out the terminal window allowing her mind to slip away into the flat expanse of runway.  A woman in an orange vest placed cones just as bright as her outfit onto the pavement – the pavement which is well over 100° in this Midwestern heat wave.  The humidity making the air heavy and unbreathable like a blanket hanging over you.  The space in front of her striped with intermittent green grass and grey cement.  The further away the grey stripe, the clearer she could see the heat wiggling up and across the horizon.  So much space, she thought.  So much space out there and here I am packed into a building where people just rush around so close to almost touching each other.

“It’s amazing, isn’t it?”  He said.  “The airplanes I mean.  To imagine that over thirty people can be put inside a metal tube and move thousands of miles per hour thousands of feet in the sky.  How did we ever figure out how to do that?”

She looked at him without speaking.  The best response to his question is nothing at all.

The man sat in a wheelchair at the end of their row of seats.  She felt guilty by the fact that the thing beneath him was what she noticed about him first, and yet it stuck out as the most obvious thing about him.  She didn’t want to judge him, but she did.  It made her squirm a bit in her chair at this realization.

“I’m sorry.”  She said.  He most likely hadn’t chosen to sit where he was.  In airports they usually employ teenage boys to cart around elderly in wheelchairs who are unable to walk clear across the airport.  Perhaps one of these young men had placed him here and left him.

“Oh, I was just musing about the wonders of the world.”  He said, mistaking the reason for her apology and thinking she hadn’t heard him the first time.

“No.  I mean people don’t usually talk to me in the airport.  Sorry if I sounded rude.”  She tried to explain.

“They don’t talk to me either.  It’s strange, but I guess that’s why I’ve gotten so good at making conversation.”  He smiled at her.

She noticed that he wasn’t an elderly man as she first thought – definitely older than herself, but not as old as her father.  His head was covered in scraggly gray hair that probably didn’t get washed often enough…or combed.  I wonder how long he’s been in the chair.  And he’s still smiling.

“So where are you rushing off to?”  He asked.

“Chicago.”

“So this is your only flight.  I have a layover at O’Hare.  Then I’m off to Colorado to visit my family.  You’re traveling on business?”  He looked at her formal jacket and pencil skirt that she tugged down under his glance.

“Yes.  I travel a lot.  I work in marketing for a drug company.”  She told him.

“That sounds interesting.”

“It’s actually quite dull.  I basically just talk to people – to doctors, to hospitals, to patients.  I just talk to people about the same things all the time.”

“You must be lonely.”  He stated.

What?  What is that supposed to mean?  She wondered.  Is he coming on to me?  Or is it an insult?  I’m not lonely.  I never get any time to myself.

“No.”  She said.  “It’s just that when I’m traveling, I don’t have to talk to anyone.  So I don’t.”

“Mmm.”  He said and went back to looking outside at the jets, which taxied by them every so often.

“You have family?  In Colorado?”  She asked after a few moments.

“Yeah.  I have two daughters.  One is about your age – probably a little younger.  I had kids when I was a teenager and then never got married.  One of my daughters is a hard worker.  You remind me of her a bit.”  He said.  “I miss them.  Never get to see them anymore now…

“Do you have a favorite place to go when you’re traveling for work?”  He asked.

“Well, I have some friends that I visit in Chicago, but I can never stay long and I have work to do.  Actually I don’t think I’ve seen them in a year or so.  I’ve talked to them on the phone, but haven’t seen them.  But I’m always around people so much that sometimes I just want them to go away.”  She said.

“You don’t want me to go away?”  He asked.

“No!”  Even if she did, she couldn’t have said yes.

“Maybe I could move over and sit next to that guy in the camouflage outfit.  He seems interesting, don’t you think?  Even his bags are camouflage.  I bet he has plenty of friendly stories about shooting things that he’s dying to share.”  He said.  “Or maybe those teenage girls need help picking out this year’s prom dress from the magazines they have spread out all over the floor.  You think they’d want my advice?  I am a genius on fashion.”  He ran his hands down the front of himself, flattening out his plain black t-shirt over his protruding stomach.  As he did it, he puffed out his chest, feigning pride in himself.

She laughed and rushed a hand up to cover her mouth as if she had burped.  She looked back down at her lap.

“What do you think about those people?”  He asked pointing to three old men decked out in sports apparel for various teams.  “What’s their story?”

She studied the strangers for a moment.  “I don’t know.”  She had never thought about the people around her in that way before.  They simply were there and she with them, but with her own life that didn’t concern them.

She looked at the man next to her who was leaning towards her across the empty seat and patiently waiting for more of a response.

“And, well…they must be going to a game together I suppose.  Perhaps they are old friends having a reunion…or maybe this is a tradition for them.”  She said.

“And her?  The lady with the baby?”  He asked.

She started to answer him when an announcer came over the loud speaker.  Their flight had begun boarding for: “women with babies and the disabled.”  She shifted her weight in her chair again upon hearing this word that referred to the person next to her.

“That’s me.”  He said, digging out a boarding pass from a pouch by his side.  “It was very nice talking to you.  I hope your work goes well.”

“Thank you.”  She said before he wheeled himself off.

•••

She spent the flight reading her book and must have fallen asleep.  The next thing she knew, the flight attendants were walking through the aisle getting people ready for landing.

As she came into the terminal at O’Hare, it took a minute to orient herself to the new environment.  The other passengers zoomed around her and so she kept walking.  Once she saw signs pointing her toward her luggage, the usual hurry set in.  Airports have a way of doing that to her even if she wasn’t in a rush to go anywhere.  The idea of hurry just set into her mind.  I have to get there.  I have to get there.  I can get a taxi and get to my hotel right away.  That way I can have time to relax before going to another business meeting at a hospital.  She kept her eyes straight ahead of her and dodged this way and that around the strangers surrounding her – just wanting to get out of the crowds.

Up around the next corner she spotted something protruding around the edge of the wall.  Most of the object was hidden by the corner.  Is that…?  What?  She headed towards it like it pulled her.  It is.  The back half of a pair of wheels stuck out.  A wheelchair.  I wonder if it’s him, she thought.  She kept walking towards it.  She had to go this way anyhow in order to get a cab.

She came up to the corner, was about to say something, when the truth smacked her in the stomach.  It was just an empty wheelchair.  There was a moment in which panic struck.  Her heart pounded.  Oh, my God.  She thought.  What if he’s fallen out of his wheelchair and been left somewhere?  She looked around her – for what she didn’t know – perhaps for help or perhaps for someone she recognized, but found neither.  She looked back at the empty chair.  This must belong to the airport, she reasoned.  The man I talked to is somewhere else.  He’s gone.  Yet she couldn’t move from the spot.  It was as if I had mistaken someone for a friend.  If I had a friend who always wore the same clothes everyday, and then I saw someone wearing those clothes.  Yet when I look at them there is a stranger’s voice and a stranger’s face.  She didn’t know what bothered her most – the fact that the chair was empty or the fact that she had hoped that it wasn’t.