Walking Sideways

by Henry Wyckoff
A Multiple Crossover Between
Due South/Sherlock Holmes/Kung Fu:TLC

Standard disclaimers apply

Author's Notes

* I wrote most of this story around 1996, but never got around to finishing it for some reason I can't remember. But now it's done, and very much improved, if I say so myself. Even so, as an author who cares, I always love and could use feedback, even though this is a "finished" story.

* I'm not sure how to rate this, since everyone has their own danger zones. I'd rate this as a PG-13, but will raise it to R if anyone brings it to my attention with a case example.


It was a quiet evening in the home that Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson shared. At this time in their lives, they were still young men, and Dr. Watson had not met even his first wife yet. Dr. Watson was reading some medical journals having to do with revolutionary new medical techniques, whereas Mr. Holmes was occupied with his pipe, staring off into space.

Holmes was often in this state whenever there wasn't a crime-related job to occupy his mind. He very often stated to one of his few true friends, Watson: "My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation." If he had no jobs to occupy him, he would revert to his needle. It was something that scared his friend to no end.

"Say, Mr. Holmes," Watson mused, "it says here that in Berlin, one bacteriologist named Shibasaburo Kitasato has found the cause of tetanus." Being an Englishman of his time, his pronunciation of the Japanese name left much to be desired.

"Surely any doctor would say that tetanus would be caused by filthy wounds." His voice was as sharp as his mind, if not sharper.

Watson snorted and glared at him over his spectacles, "Spoken like a true man who would say that the earth is round because it is not flat." He read on, "Apparently it is caused by a bacterium present in filth, Clostridium tetani."

"Bacterium, is it not the discovery of that Frenchman, Pasteur?" He looked pensive suddenly. "It is interesting how a body far much larger than any infinitesimal organism may be decimated by it."

"Yes, it is." Watson was about to expound on that thought, but he was interrupted by a knock at the door that broke both of them from their respective concentration.

"I'll get it," offered Mr. Holmes. "It's for me."

Watson, wondering yet another uncountable time if his partner was psychic, nodded in thanks and went back to his reading, but kept his ears open.

"Mr. Holmes! It's a great honor to meet you at long last!" Watson couldn't quite place the accent. Some American and perhaps some Celtic in there. It was very hard to say, especially with the Celts losing their accent in America and Americans gaining accents in the Queen's Islands, even with very short stays (or even worse, a change in attitude).

"You have me at a disadvantage, sir," said Holmes, ever polite and unsurprised. In fact, it seemed that he was quite pleased by this unexpected visitor. "Please come in and warm yourself by the fire. Perhaps you might even care for some tea and a pipe?"

"That would be wonderful, sir," the voice had a lively Irishness, and yet a grave Scottish tone. That was quite a feat of contradiction, and Watson didn't like those. Watson couldn't yet determine which was which, and it bothered him because he knew that he should be able to tell the difference. "But being the guest that I am, I also brought something that might bring a touch of the unusual into your house: I have fresh oolong tea leaves. That and the wonderful tobacco I smell should blend quite well."

Watson couldn't see the guest, or perhaps client, but he could see the side of Holmes' face and the raised eyebrows on it. Watson raised his as well. Holmes hadn't been smoking tobacco, but both of them knew that he did have a rare, moist, and quite heavenly batch of tobacco which he was saving for a special occasion.

The doctor had a feeling that their guest was hinting at the fact that he somehow knew about this, because the smell of opium smoke was quite distinguishable. Holmes must have obviously known of this as well, because he nodded without a hint of surprise, "By all means. Please make yourself comfortable, and I will have the tea boiled."

The guest, now that Watson could directly look at him, was a young man, perhaps in his late twenties, and wearing summer clothes, which was odd, because this was the middle of winter. His clothes were of quite an unusual design, but serviceable and civilized nonetheless. He wore baggy gray pants, canvas boots perhaps made for mountain climbing, and a cotton shirt in a blue and red plaid design. It certainly resembled no clan colors that Watson had ever seen during his time spent in Scotland. (Though few Scots wore the kilt outside of special occasions, one could still see the colors everywhere, as any race hiding their strong nationality would do. He'd seen more than enough of that in India and Afghanistan.) Though snow was frozen into his rather long and uncombed hair, his face showed an expression that couldn't be other than sheer comfort and bliss. His face was covered with a thick and curly brown beard, neatly combed.

"Come, sit!" Watson immediately led him to a comfortable chair, giving him a dry cloth for his head. "You must have had a horrible ordeal!"

"And what would make you come to that conclusion, Dr. Watson?"

"Why, you're inappropriately dressed for the weather, and you're half frozen!"

The guest laughed politely, and Holmes spoke from the entrance to the room, holding a teapot that still faintly whistled. "That, my dear Watson, was an honorable attempt at reasoning, but as you shall soon discover, was biased."

Watson looked a little angered by that, "What, my dear Holmes, would make you say that?"

"It's quite obvious from the evidence." Holmes easily slipped into a lecturing tone. "First, our guest is in full health and at ease, which suggests that he's either had no ordeal, or has such a resilient attitude that it wouldn't be an ordeal anyway. Second, you can see that he has a slight tan, which would suggest that he's from such a hot climate that he would find this a wonderful change of routine. That, and the slight touch of an American accent would suggest that he's spent quite a few years there, in heat which would make both of us quite uncomfortable."

The guest nodded, "Quite right, though I must dare add that even if I had lived here all of my life, I just happen to love the cold. I don't feel human until water starts to freeze."

Watson tilted his head a fraction, "Do you have an ailment, perhaps?"

"No," laughed the guest. "That's not why I've come here. Let us steep the oolong tea I've brought with me, and we may discuss why I have come."

The guest added his tea to the hot water. He added the leaves without use of a tea ball, and Holmes nodded approvingly, while he packed a pipe for himself and the guest. Watson had always refused, so Holmes didn't even ask if he'd like a pipe.

After a few moments and a few pipe puffs, the guest was ready to speak. "I have great need for your services, Mr. Holmes, but not, I am afraid, for your partner. Would this bother you or your partner in any way?"

Holmes looked at Watson, who shrugged, "I have a full-time medical practice and only consult with Mr. Holmes on occasion, so I would not be offended at all."

"Good," nodded the guest. "You may listen, if you wish, or not, if that is the case. It doesn't matter to me." He sipped some of the tea. "But first, would you mind greatly if I tested you with one question, to satisfy my own questions?" Holmes nodded. "What is the one statement you didn't make when you explained to Dr. Watson why his assumptions were off base?"

For once, Holmes almost failed to hide his astonishment. He paused for a few moments. "You are a very astute observer, though I wonder if you would have asked the same question if you didn't know the answer . . . You are not from here. That is obvious. But you also do not come from the America of now . . . The manufacture of your clothes and shoes suggest a skill and possibly machinery that doesn't exist at this time. The evidence can only suggest that you come from the future."

Watson stood up in astonishment and irritation, "That's preposterous!"

The guest smiled, "Perhaps, but it's the truth. That's precisely what I needed to hear. If Mr. Holmes had said anything else, whether true or false, he wouldn't be able to help me, and none of you would have been the wiser."

Watson sat, unconvinced but polite enough to wait for more evidence.

"It was also the device on your wrist that alerted me," said Mr. Holmes, pointing to a black band about the guest's wrist. "The material is unknown to me, as are the mechanisms, but I can see that it tells the time quite accurately. A digital clock, if you will. Several engineers and mathematicians have dreamed of such a thing, but again, only in the future can it be realized."

The guest bowed, "Again, a sharp observation. Most wouldn't have even noticed that detail, let alone wondered what it was."

"Perhaps you can tell me what it is that has brought you here, to the present?" Holmes got to the main point.

The guest nodded, "Simply enough, I wish to bring you into my present, to solve a demonic crime. It has baffled the police, and since I wish to bring this matter to a close, I have traveled to a possible past, to obtain the services of a man who has the reputation for solving the most unsolvable crimes."

Holmes took the praise well. "What is the nature of this crime?"

"A brutal murder."

Holmes' eyes narrowed. "I see. Tell me everything in great detail . . . "

* * * *

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