The Loneliness of Company

Chapter 2

Several weeks later:

He had eleven missed calls from his mother. Seven from his brother. This week. He had not answered a single call all year. They were probably furious at this point.

Cisco powered down his phone and fell backward onto his bed with a sigh. He should call them, but he didn’t want to. They’d just ask when he’s coming home and he’d spend the entire conversation evading the question.

It was much easier to ignore them.

With a yawn, Cisco took the napkin out of his pocket and stared at the spidery handwriting once more. It was almost habit by now. He had the lines memorized and he kept the napkin in his pocket almost constantly. It was an obsession he didn’t understand. Something about the words made his mind itch. It was so tempting to call.

No. He decided that he would ignore his desire to meet the man because lately his ‘hunches’ had been downright terrifying. They’d only gotten more accurate of late.

He knew things he shouldn’t and didn’t know why or how. Every so often he caught a glimpse of the insanity erupting from his hometown on TV. The explosion at StarLabs had changed people.

Had he been changed?

No, that was ridiculous. He was just traumatized, coming up with his own version of reality. Quietly, Cisco snorted. Why was ‘just traumatized’ a good thing now?

It was entirely coincidental that he dreamed about a man that could control the weather. Or a woman will an obsession with bees. Or another woman who could teleport.

It was just his mind. After a few moments, he closed his eyes. Sleep would be nice… Sleep the night before had completely evaded him. He’d just rest for a moment.

Cisco didn’t realize he acquired his goal until he woke up three hours later with a shout. His heart pounded and his throat was dry. Scrambling out of bed, he successfully tripped on his blankets three times before finally making it to his desk.

He shouldn’t have allowed himself to sleep but now that he had, he didn’t want to forget the dream. Not yet. His dreams were getting stranger. They felt important.

But Cisco couldn’t convince himself that they didn’t also terrify him. Still mostly asleep, Cisco fumbled for a pencil and quickly sketched what he remembered of the nightmare. He wasn’t an artist, but he could get by.

After several minutes, he sat down and stared at the drawing skeptically. “This is so stupid,” he muttered angrily.

Quickly he tossed the drawing to the floor and stood. In the dream, he knew things he shouldn’t as well.

He sat in StarLabs, shaking ever so slightly. He clenched his fist and slipped it into his pocket as an older man approached him, concern in his pursed lips. “Do you need me to inform you of the statistical probability of two successful hunches of this sort?”

Cisco shook his head. He felt like pulling his knees into his chest, but he stayed perfectly still, not looking at the man. “I just - I get this weird vibe...”

And then he woke up.

It was infuriating. He felt like this other him, the one from the dream, somehow knew more, or was getting somewhere faster than he was. That Cisco still worked at StarLabs. Caitlynn was still around. Dr. Wells was… absent for some reason, but replaced by several other people Cisco couldn’t place.

A young man dressed in red.

An older man with a beautiful mind.

A pretty journalist.

Scores of baddies he didn’t know he had the imagination to create.

Not to mention, occasionally his dreams dipped into the realm of Sherlock Holmes. The dark stranger was always followed by a blonde man, crime scenes, and shouting.

Why was he dreaming about these people?

Standing up, Cisco brushed himself off. He’d taken to avoiding any news about his hometown just in case it mentioned someone or something from his dreams. He didn’t want to know. He wanted to continue thinking it was in his head. Maybe that was stupid. He didn’t care.

“I need a distraction.” Cisco murmured out loud. “Something really, really distracting.” Usually, he found himself in an arcade. Or the movie theater. With three cans of Redbull.

But neither place held any interest to him. Glancing at his bed, he fished through the covers until he retrieved the Starbucks napkin.

Forget it. He needed to make something explode.


The lab was by far more primitive that StarLabs, but hey, it was better than the crap microscope he bought off of EBay. Grinning, Cisco let the door close softly behind him. The lab was sterile and brightly lit, with scores of chemicals and laboratory equipment scattered about.

Sherlock Holmes stood silently to the side, watching. “I take it you're used to a different sort of lab.”

Cisco let out a short laugh, forgetting his fake accent. “Are you kidding me? This is awesome!”

Sherlock smirked. “Well,” he gestured toward the equipment, “Don’t touch anything you don’t understand.”

Cisco rolled his eyes.

“I’ll be in the next room,” Sherlock continued, “You see that window? The room beyond?”

“Yeah.”

“I’ll be conducting an experiment on bookworms. Don’t interrupt me unless the situation is dire.” With that, the detective spun away and the door shut with a soft click behind him.

Bookworms? Whatever. Cisco stayed still in the absolute silence for several seconds. Then he grinned. “Why didn’t I do this forever ago?” he whispered.

Quickly, he scampered toward the cupboards and scanned the chemicals available. “Freaking genius!” Pulling out a shelf, he selected the supplies he would need.

Concussion gun? Totally happening.


“I can’t believe you let a teenager into a professional lab.”

Sherlock shrugged. He was not doing a study on bookworms. He was studying Cisco Ramon in his natural habitat. “Mr. Ramon isn’t a teenager. Also, he graduated when he was thirteen, John. He knows what he’s doing.”

And on that subject, what was Cisco doing?

Sherlock watched Cisco through his IPhone which was connected to the security camera system. It wasn’t a perfect setup, given that the boy kept pulling in and out of view while the rest of the room remained normal but it did allow him to watch Cisco work. “How does he do it?” Sherlock murmured. He passed the phone to John, who was leaning against one of the laboratory tables. John took the device and watched Cisco flit around the screen for a few minutes. “It’s like he’s shaking. All of him. All the time.”

“Vibrating,” Sherlock murmured, taking back his phone. “He’s vibrating.”


Two espressos, seven minor explosions, and a whole lot of tinkering later, Cisco held the smooth weapon in his hand.

Freaking beautiful. It would work. He didn’t need to test it out to be sure (he totally was going to try it out as soon as he could). He’d cleaned up his mess and the hospital was closing. He needed to thank Mr. Holmes and kick this pop stand before the detective asked what he’d just concocted. Not to mention he had a headache like a horse’s kicking hoof.

Too late. Sherlock opened the door and laid a curious eye on Cisco’s creation immediately. “They’re closing,” he murmured.

Cisco stood up and smiled. “Yeah, I know. I’m coming.” Quickly, he tucked the gun into his backpack and pulled the pack onto his left shoulder. “Thanks for, you know, letting me trash your lab.”

Sherlock smirked. It wasn’t his lab, the school owned him a favor. But that was unnecessary information. He had other issued to deal with. “I won’t lie to you, Mr. Ramon.”

“Cisco, please. ‘Mr. Ramon’ makes me sound a million years old.”

“Cisco. The only reason I let you in here is because you’re interesting puzzle.”

“I figured.” Cisco pointed behind him to the security camera in the corner. “I’ve been looking into security cameras after you told me about that glitch and realized they’re pretty easy to hack. You were watching me, right?”

Sherlock blinked but otherwise didn’t show his surprise. “Yes. I was.”

Cisco smiled. “Knew it. Find anything interesting?”

“You’re still glitching, if that’s what you want to know.”

Cisco nodded and the lights in the hall went out. He wrinkled his nose. “I guess that means were supposed to leave. Where’s your friend?

Sherlock cocked his head as they began walking toward the exit. “What friend?”

“Blonde? Wearing a jumper? Am I just totally missing this?”

“You mean John. How did you know about him?”

Quickly, Cisco opened his mouth to respond. He pushed open the door and they walked out into the blue night. He tried to respond, but his words stuck in his throat. Confused, he paused in realization. Had that not happened in real life? He was certain he’d run into John Watson at some point. Or not? “I...”

“What?”

“Just a… hunch, I guess?” That was really stupid excuse. But he couldn’t exactly say, hey, sometimes I hallucinate and it actually happens. Because that was crazy and ridiculous and totally not what was happening.

Frick.

Suddenly overwhelmingly nervous, Cisco stepped away. This wasn’t some story on the news. This wasn’t a dream. It was right in front of his face.

He couldn’t ignore it. Gulping, Cisco gestured toward the street. “I’ve got to, like, go. So… um, yeah. I’ll see you later.”

Sherlock frowned, but Cisco took off before he could say anything in return.

If that wasn’t suspicious, Sherlock didn’t know what was.


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