Original Story Title: Cardinal Points
Original Story Link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/1112422
Original Story Pairings: None
Original Story Rating: Gen
Original Story Warnings/Content Notes: None
Remix Author: persiflager
Remix Story Title: A Fixed Point
Remix Story Pairings: None
Remix Story Rating: Gen
Remix Story Warnings/Content Notes: None
Remix Story Beta: tiltedsyllogysm
Remix Story Britpicker: N/A
Summary: Sherlock knows where he’s going.
Sherlock had been kneeling on the hard cobbles for hours and his knees were quite spectacularly sore. He could hear a light breeze whistling across the courtyard of the monastery and feel the mid-morning sun beating down on the back of his neck through the coarse brown fabric of his robe. The sharp, bright smell of butter tea filled his nose.
A soft bell chimed.
Sherlock opened his eyes, squinted at the elderly monk sitting opposite him, flashed an insincere smile, picked up the small stone cup in front of him and took one sip of the rapidly congealing tea as quickly as he could.
The monk sipped from his cup before saying something quietly in Tibetan, climbing slowly to his feet and walking away.
“He said that he is glad you are finally leaving,” said the young man sitting in the shade at the side of the courtyard and holding a small copper bell. He wore a loose, open robe over jeans and a patterned t-shirt and looked relaxed, as if he had nothing better to do than sit around watching people drink tea all day. From the conversations Sherlock had had to endure during the weeks Rabten had been acting as his guide through the mountains, he considered it likely. “Apparently your aura has upset the navigational senses of his bees.”
Sherlock let his opinion of the legitimacy of aura-based beekeeping show on his face.
Rabten laughed silently, showing his teeth. “You know, most visitors find the tea more of a challenge than the silence.”
Sherlock looked pointedly at his watch.
Rabten held out one hand in front of him and waggled it from side to side. “Perhaps three more times, for politeness. Say one hour. Then we may leave.”
Another wizened monk shuffled into the courtyard. Sherlock gritted his teeth, re-filled the cups and bowed his head again.
They finally left just after noon. Outside the confines of the monastery walls, the wind whipped the dry, rough dust up into their faces.
“You could have kept the robe,” said Rabten, tucking his own neatly away in his backpack as he extracted the map and battered silver compass he’d used to navigate their way there. “Souvenir.”
Sherlock grimaced and scrubbed his hands through his hair, shaking it out. “Funnily enough, no. How quickly can we reach the town?” The drug smuggler that he’d unmasked the previous day had kindly volunteered the name of her contact in what remained of Moriarty’s network. After eight days of waiting and meditating and drinking endless cups of butter tea, Sherlock was quite willing to run the whole way down the mountain.
Rabten unfolded the map on the dusty ground and held the compass in the palm of his hand, talking quietly to himself.
While he was waiting for an answer, Sherlock took out a bottle of water from his own bag and swilled a mouthful round his mouth before spitting it out in an attempt to rinse out the pungent tang of the butter tea. After several impatient minutes, he finally gave up and snatched the compass away.
“Oh, for -- it’s broken. Why did you bring a broken compass?” The thin metal arrow was pointing much further west than north, as far as Sherlock could tell from the rough map he’d memorised of the area before setting out on this expedition. Someone of a sentimental disposition might have noted that it pointed roughly in the direction of London -- four thousand miles and at least six months away.
Rabten glared at him and snatched the compass back. Sherlock watched as the arrow swung back to north in Rabten’s palm. “Not broken. Perhaps your aura has upset it.”
Sherlock filed both comment and the apparently malfunctioning compass away with some of the more ridiculous ceremonies that had recently been inflicted on him under ‘jokes at the expense of the ignorant foreigner’. In their defence, he acknowledged that the entertainment facilities in the Himalayas were limited.‘“Somehow I doubt that.”
Rabten shrugged. “Then this way,” he said, pointing south-east across the sepia mountain landscape. “Six hours.” He put the map and compass away and stood patiently.
Sherlock turned his back on home and walked.
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