“What are you doing?” Sherlock tore his eyes away from the book he was reading and stared up at the little girl. He was sitting at a table by himself reading when the girl had come over to him. He looked to the girl with a frown.
“I’m reading.” he answered shortly. The girl tilted her head at him.
“Oh. Okay.” She pointed to the seat beside him. “Can I join?”
“Don’t you have other kids to play with?” he asked annoyed. He was perfectly fine by himself until she came. Why does she want to be with him?
“No,” she admitted quietly, “they think I am annoying.” Sherlock’s hard gaze softened, feeling pity for her. He did know what it’s like to be claimed weird and annoying. “I saw you sitting by yourself and I thought you looked a bit lonely. We could be lonely together.”
“Technically we wouldn’t be alone.” he told her. “How old are you, exactly?”
“Six.” she said proudly. “You?”
“I’m ten.” Sherlock answered. “Why is someone like you in a library?”
“My Mummy is the Librarian.” she pointed a woman in her thirties sorting books out with a smile. “She said that if I have nothing to do at school, I can just come here and read. I’m good at reading thanks to her.”
“Yep!” she nodded happily. “Mummy and I are reading The Hobbit at the moment.”
“Really?” Sherlock’s eyebrows raised in surprise. That book was for teenagers and up. He was greatly surprised. Perks of having a mother as a Librarian, he guessed…
“Impressive.” Sherlock mused. “So you’re quite smart, yes?”
“Yep!” Then without asking, she sat beside him. It was a bit difficult since the chair was bigger than her, so Sherlock aided her – only to get waved off by her. He smiled with amusement at how stubborn and independent she was.
“Can I read with you? Chemistry looks interesting. Almost as interesting as heroes.”
For a moment Sherlock just stared at her while she was distracted with his book. She was quite a unique girl, someone he’s never met. He was quite curious as to how she’d see the world in the future. “Sure.” he answered eventually. “I think you might like this.”
“Promise we will keep in touch?”
“Ana…” Sherlock sighed. He was going to university, thus leaving his only friend behind. Years passed, and Sherlock was surprised that she still hung out with him. Ever since the Library incident, she’s been following him around, slowly being befriended. He was quite shocked when he realised life was boring without her at his side. When at classes, he’d miss her optimism and comments and laughter. In class, he’s rejected by everyone and claimed as weird. With her, he felt loved and wanted. And now he was heading to university, and she was starting Grade 9.
“Ana, we have been friends for eight years now. What makes you think we’re going to stop just because I’m going to university?”
“Long distance.” she mumbled. “You get too busy eventually and then you won’t call. You’d make new friends.”
“I doubt I will make any friends in university.” Sherlock rolled his eyes. “It’s been eight years and you’re still my only friend.”
“Well…” she struggled to get her words out. “Things can change.”
“Not with us.” Sherlock told us. “We’re stuck together, remember? You made me cut myself and join our blood together when you were six.”
“I still have a scar from that!” Ana’s eyes brightened at the memory. Showing her right hand palm-up, there was a scar on it. “Well, blood truce and all, you know?”
“Yes, yes.” A throat being cleared from behind them snapped them out of their conversation. Mycroft stood there with a bored look on his face, his hand holding onto an umbrella.
“Sherlock, time to go.” Mycroft drawled out. “Don’t want to be late.”
“Of course.” Sherlock sighed, standing back to his full height from crouching to Ana’s height.
“Ana,” Mycroft greeted curtly, “nice of you to tell him farewell.”
“Well, he is my best friend.” she said in an obvious tone.
“Sentiment is not an advantage, little one.” Mycroft told her with a cold smile.
“Yes it is!” Ana frowned. “In the stories the heroes –”
“Heroes are fiction.” Mycroft told her. “They’re not real.”
“Mycroft!” Sherlock snapped, standing in front of Ana protectively. He knew that heroes weren’t real, but for the sake of Ana’s innocence and beliefs…
“Enough.” Sherlock told him sternly.
“See, Sherlock is a hero!” Mycroft smirked when he saw Sherlock wince at her comment that was luckily hidden thanks to his back turned to her.
“Time to go!” Sherlock’s mother appeared with a smile. Her smile faltered when she saw the way they stood; Sherlock in front of Ana protectively, glaring at Mycroft who wore a smirk on his face. “No-no,” she scolded, “no drama today. Sherlock is going to university! Isn’t that exciting?”
“No.” Ana mumbled glumly. Sherlock’s mother cooed, bringing the girl into a hug.
“Don’t worry, Sherlock will keep in touch.” she assured her. “Sherlock can’t live without you –”
“Mother!” Sherlock complained. She rolled her eyes with a wave of her hand, the car beeping from their father.
“Come on, time to go!” Mycroft and their mother went to the car, leaving Sherlock and Ana by themselves. Ana refused to look into his eyes. Sherlock huffed, crouching back down to her height and bringing her into a stiff hug.
“I promise you, we will not lose contact.” Sherlock said into her hair. Ana sniffed, hugging him back tightly.
“You’re my best and only friend.” she whispered.
“And you’re mine.” Sherlock replied.
“Sherlock, wait!” Ana called after him. She was trying to catch up with him, who was chasing after a criminal Scotland Yard wanted. “Come on, I want to be there when you arrest him!”
“Then catch up!” Sherlock called back.
Sherlock grunted as the criminal started running further away from him. He willed himself to run faster, eventually catching up with the criminal who reached a dead end in an alleyway. He stopped in his tracks with a victorious smile, stepping closer to the panicking killer. “It’s over now, Samuel Davies!” Sherlock called out to him. “You’re done. Scotland Yard is after you.”
“Oh really?” Sherlock’s eyes widened at the sight of a gun being aimed at him. “Didn’t deduce that, eh?”
“Damn it.” he cursed quietly. He didn’t realise the killer had a gun; too busy chasing after him.
“See you in hell, Mister Holmes.” Samuel sneered, pulling the trigger.
“NO!” Sherlock screamed, his face etched with horror at the sight before him. Unknowingly, Ana had finally caught up with him, only to jump in front of firing range to protect him. Anastasia Swan had just sacrificed her life for Sherlock Holmes. “ANA!”
“Crap.” Samuel muttered, the sound of sirens coming their way. “Well, I must be going –”
“Oh no you’re not!” Sherlock snarled, grabbing his own gun out in a blink of an eye, shooting at Samuel’s legs and hands to prevent him from running or using his gun. Samuel howled in pain, falling to the ground. Sherlock paid no mind to him though, and focussed down on Ana. He fell to his knees beside her, taking the gasping girl into his arms. “Shh…” he cooed, tears threatening to fall out of his eyes. He was absolutely terrified. “I-it’s going to be okay. They’re coming –”
“Sh-Sherlock.” she gasped, grabbing his hand tightly. “I-it’s cold –”
“No-no-no, you are not leaving this Earth.” Sherlock mumbled, the siren lights reflecting off his pale and now tear-stained face. “Come on, we’re stuck together forever, remember?” Sherlock whimpered, cupping her face in his hand. “Remember?”
“I’m sorry.” Ana whispered. “I-I’m sorry. You were going to get shot –”
“Shh, it’s okay, it’s okay.” Sherlock told her. “You’re a hero now, yeah? Like you said about me.”
“You’re still a hero.” Ana told him with a small smile. “You’re still a hero to me.”
“I’m no hero.” he chuckled bitterly, tightening his hold on her, one hand pressing down on her wounds. “You’re dying, and I can’t do anything.”
“There’s always going to be that one person that dies, but many others that will be saved in the future. A motivation for the hero, you could say.”
“No,” Sherlock refused, “you’re not going to die.”
“I will miss you, William Sherlock Scott Holmes.” Ana whispered, having trouble keeping her eyes open. “Until next time. Be a hero.”
“No…Ana, no. Open your eyes. Ana?” Sherlock shook her in an attempt to wake her up. “Anna? Stay with me. Anna!”
“Mister Holmes!” Greg Lestrade finally reached him. “Are you okay? Where’s the criminal –”
“He’s over there bleeding out.” Sherlock answered in a monotone, staring into Ana’s dead eyes. “You might as well save him before he dies if you want him to be sent to jail.”
“Okay – hey, who are you holding?”
“No one that concerns you.” Sherlock muttered, lifting his lifeless friend in his arms. “Excuse me.” While walking away from the scene, Sherlock’s walls grew higher and harder. He thought sentiment would not be a weakness, that Mycroft was wrong. But Mycroft was right. Sentiment’s not an advantage. And because of that:
Sherlock was then known as an emotionless, high-functioning sociopath that did not give a damn.