Inspired by this post. (AU: Sherlock and Moriarty suffer amnesia after Reichenbach and can’t remember anything about their past. One day they meet at the beach.)
The man wandered along the beach, kicking up clouds of sand with his bare feet as he went. Wandering. It’s all he could ever remember doing. He simply wandered from place to place, stopping only to eat when absolutely necessary and to catnap when he found a suitable place to do so. He tried to avoid sleeping as much as possible; every time he shut his eyes for a moment too long, alien images and words would flood his aching mind. Blood all around… 221B… Reichenbach… Richard Brook… Scotland Yard… Yellow spray paint… John… John… John…
He had just happened upon the beach a few days ago, and had been struck by its beauty. The salt air felt stingingly familiar in his nostrils and soothed the headache that haunted every waking moment. He had decided to walk the length of the beach until the sand ran out under his feet or he collapsed from exhaustion and died. It felt good to finally have some sort of objective, even if that objective involved his potential expiration.
The sound of something fluttering above him caused him look up from his feet, which he had been wiggling into the sand. He looked in the sky above him, expecting some sort of bird, when something bright and fast slammed into his back, knocking him to the ground.
“Oh- oh my god, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry! Are you all right?” The sound of feet slapping quickly against the beach greeted the man as he spat out a mouthful of sand and found himself unable to open his eyes, as it felt as if there were tiny shards of glass hiding under his eyelids.
“Sir, sir, are you okay?” He felt a hand on his back as he lifted himself to his knees, still trying to see.
“Yes, yes, I’m okay, I’ve just got sand in my eyes,” he replied to the unseen stranger. “What hit me, exactly?”
“Here, have some water. Splash it onto your face, it’ll help.” He felt a bottle of water being pressed into his hand, and accepted it. “And that was my kite. I sort of lost control of it, I really am sorry. There usually aren’t people around, I’m not used to having to control where it lands.”
“It’s okay, no harm done. Thank you for the water,” the man said, blinking away the sand grains. The blurry outline of someone crouched next to him began to come into view.
“Oh no problem, my pleasure. Don’t get to talk to people often, usually all on my lonesome. Except for Nanny, my caretaker, but she doesn’t say much. So, what’s your name, then? I’m Jim,” the blurry figure named Jim rambled.
Name? The man had never been asked his name before, not that he knew of. “I… I’m not sure, to be perfectly honest. I think it might be John… Or Sherlock. John or Sherlock, those are the names that seem to rattle about in my head the most,” the nameless man replied, rubbing at the last few grains of sand in his eyes.
“Sherlock… I like that name. Kind of weird, you know? John is such a boring name, so common. I’ll call you Sherlock, then!” Jim proclaimed, jumping to his feet.
“You don’t think it strange that I don’t know my own name?” Sherlock asked, now taking a swig of water to rinse out the sand that clung to his teeth.
“Oh, no, not really. I sort of woke up here, well up in that cottage over there, one day and was just the same. Didn’t who I was, where I was, nothing. Just knew my name was Jim. Nanny says I do that every couple months or so, I just wake up and haven’t a clue as to who I am. Some sort of brain damage or mental illness, I suppose. Since I don’t know anyone else, I just have to believe her I guess. I have strange dreams, sometimes, though. Dreams where I’m wearing posh suits and I’ve strapped a bomb to some poor bloke…” Jim trailed off, and Sherlock glanced up at him for the first time. He was struck by the familiarity of Jim’s face. It was highly doubtful Sherlock had actually ever known Jim, but it was oddly comforting meeting someone who seemed even distantly familiar.
“I can sympathise. I’m not sure where I was before a few weeks ago, but I just found myself walking. So I didn’t stop walking.” Sherlock wasn’t sure how else to put it.
“Understandable, I guess. I’m not actually sure if that’s normal, but I can understand it. Maybe there’s a lot of people like us. Maybe your caretaker lost track of you and now you can’t remember how to get back? Oh, my Nanny would be so anxious if I ever got lost. Sometimes I’m tempted to just wander off just to see what she would do, but I’m afraid to. What if what happened to you happens to me? No, that wouldn’t be nice at all. Anyway,” Jim clapped his hands together, “since I knocked you down I suppose I owe you a bit of fun. Have you ever flown a kite before?” Sherlock watched, still kneeling on the ground, as Jim snatched up the colourful piece of fabric that had knocked him over.
“I… don’t think so,” said Sherlock, climbing to his feet and brushing sand off of himself. Jim grinned.
“Oh, you’re in for a treat,” Jim said as he untangled the string. “Here, you hold onto this bit,” Jim handed Sherlock a roll of string with two handles poking out the sides, “and I’ll run the kite. Hold on tight!”
Sherlock dubiously watched Jim run down the beach, clutching the kite in one hand above his head. The roll of string in Sherlock’s hands unravelled at a rapid pace and he tightened his grip. Jim glanced back at Sherlock to make sure he was watching, then threw the kite into the air.
“Run in the opposite direction!” Jim called, laughing at the look of astonishment on Sherlock’s face. Sherlock immediately began to sprint, pulling at the kite to make it rise higher into the air. When it was a good forty feet above his head, Sherlock stopped for breath, panting and grinning at the piece of fabric whipping in the wind.
Jim caught up to him a few moments later, also gasping for breath. “Amazing! Beginner’s luck I suppose,” Jim panted, also grinning.
Sherlock smirked as the kite dipped and dived above them. “Well… not just beginner’s luck. I imagine you usually fly this alone, meaning you don’t have anyone to run it out for you. I assume you have to run it yourself while also operating the spool, which makes you run slower since you’re distracted. This means the kite doesn’t get as much thrust, which is required for it to take off. Since this time I was in control of the spool, you were free to run as fast as you could and throw the kite into the air, making more thrust than usual. Hence, I got it into the air on my first try. Unless it’s already very windy out, I imagine it can be difficult to get it off the ground by yourself.” Sherlock said all of this very quickly, his eyes still fixed on the kite. “Oh… that was strange, I’m sorry,” he said, tearing his gaze away from the kite. He felt very strange now, and unsure of himself. He realized he felt… normal. For the first time since he could remember, he felt like he was in his element. Perhaps… perhaps he had been some sort of kite maker in the black hole that was his memory?
“No… don’t be sorry. That was… incredible, actually. I like you, Sherlock. I feel as if we might have been friends some time in the past, in a time neither of us can remember.” Jim was looking at Sherlock, his head slanted at an angle, studying the man next to him in an almost reptilian fashion.
“I guess it’s possible. I really don’t know. I don’t know anything. I don’t even know who I am…” Sherlock trailed off, smiling slightly at Jim.
“Neither do I. You should stay, Sherlock,” Jim said, grabbing Sherlock’s free hand. “Somehow, maybe we were meant to meet again. Start fresh.”
Sherlock glanced down at the hand that was being clasped by Jim. It felt right, being here with Jim, but at the same time a name echoed in the back of his mind. John… Sherlock pushed it aside. Whoever John was, he was in the past and all but forgotten. Sherlock squeezed Jim’s hand in return. This was his life now.
“I… I think I’d like that,” Sherlock cracked a half smile. In unison, the two men lifted their heads to look back up at the kite above them. “I think I’d like that very much.”