The Loneliness of Company

Chapter 5

Sherlock waits at the phone while sitting in a taxi. The cabbie is more and more baffled by the half-conversation he hears as Sherlock speaks into the device.

“Finally. Pick up quicker, John.”

“It’s a perfectly valid request.”

“Yes, I saw him.”

“He was glad that I was alright. Mostly he was just… fine. Oddly so, actually.”

“I don’t know. He refused to explain himself- oh! I called you because Cisco says he thinks there is someone in America who can help get us back home.”

“Yes. Have you heard about the red streak taking care of the Metas?”

“Yes, that one.”

“I don’t know how he knows him! Something to do with parallel universes. Apparently this man can run fast enough to create holes in reality fabric.”

“I never thought I’d say that either.”

“I’m sure. Cisco won’t talk, but I believe he can collaborate with his other versions of himself. That’s how he knows. Anyhow, it’s my current hypothesis.”

“No, I couldn’t get anything not related to us out of him. He refused to talk about last night and-”

“How can ignoring trauma be normal?”

“You… are talking from experience.”

“Yes, I suppose you were a soldier.”

Long pause.

“Either way, Cisco said that we should try to find the man and I agree. I texted Mycroft and got us plane tickets to Central City tonight. He’ll join us there as soon as he can.”

“Of course, Cisco is coming. Don’t be dull. How else are we supposed to find a vigilante?”

“Yes. Right. Uh, huh. I’ll meet you at the airport. Pack what you need.”

“Alright. Goodbye, John.”

Click.

The Cabbie shakes his head. People are getting more ridiculous every year...


Somewhere among the many parallel universes, (he figured there had to be many) Cisco imagined that a version of him was having an epic journey through the untamed wilderness. Wind blowing through his hair or something.

Meanwhile, he was failing to open a tiny packet of peanuts in a tiny metal can.

He hated flying. Like, seriously, it was a problem.

Sherlock sat across the aisle and John was in the seat next to Cisco. They plane flew over dark, sparkling water and Cisco peered over the edge of the wing to catch a glimpse of the horizon. This high up, you could see the curve of the Earth and Cisco found that seriously cool.

He claimed the window seat (that was probably immature, but then again, Sherlock looked ready to argue with him for it until John shot him a look) and they had not said anything against for at least an hour. Sneaking a glance at Sherlock, Cisco was startled to meet the detective’s gaze. Sherlock’s eyes glittered but after a moment he sighed and stared up at the ceiling. Bored.

Cisco agreed.

Why was he doing this again? He was on a plane back to Central City. Back to where it all started going downhill. And why? To help some people he hardly knew?

Why did he even care?

But Cisco did care. Something awful would happen to them if he didn’t. Besides, he’d already told himself to stop moping around. Going on some harebrained search for a vigilante that he only recently knew through secondhand memories was a wonderful distraction.

He could pretend, at least for the moment that he wasn’t afraid or lost or confused. There was nothing strange about him. Sort of.

Like Sherlock Holmes, Cisco was good at faking alright.

“So…” John cleared his throat and Cisco started out of his thoughts.

“Gosh, I thought you didn’t speak.”

John rolled his eyes. “Cisco?”

“Hmm?”

“Who is the red streak?”

Cisco shrugged. “I’m not exactly sure. But he can help.”

“But how…” John frowned, messing with his hands. “How are we supposed to find him?”

Smirking, Cisco sat back. This would be the fun part. “I thought we might become supervillains.”


“Right. So, here’s the plan. Sort of.”

Deep within Central City, four men stood in a loose circle. A consulting detective, a broken soldier, a government official, and… Cisco.

Cisco didn’t quite know how to describe himself. Inventor? Scientist? That weird kid?

Meta?

No. He wasn’t going to worry about titles. He was Cisco Ramon and that was enough.

The warehouse was damp with yesterday’s rain and broken beer bottles testified to the numerous secret parties hosted within the damp hall.

It was the perfect place to set off a bomb. Like, classic.

“It’s not a real bomb, obviously,” Cisco explained. He held up a device in the blue tinted light. “It’ll just knock out everyone within a ten-foot radius if there’s any… problems.”

Mycroft frowned, drawing circles in the concrete with the tip of his umbrella. “And that doesn’t count as a bomb?”

“It doesn’t hurt anyone.”

“Unless they hit their head when they fall.” That earned John a glare.

“Which they won’t” Cisco drawled. “Unless they’re an idiot and at that point, they might need knock on the head.”

John opened his mouth to protest, but Sherlock hushed him. He stared intently at Cisco, considering, and the attention made Cisco’s skin crawl. “You plan to create a hostage situation, to lure your friend here?”

“Yup.”

“Who will be the hostage?”

Oh. That was a good question. They all glanced at each other and eventually their gazes landed on Mycroft. Mycroft snorted. “Over my dead body, children.”

Cisco shrugged. “That can be arranged.”

Mycroft obviously did not appreciate his sarcasm. He wrinkled his nose and stood just a bit taller so that Cisco had to look up at him. “Who put the teen in charge, anyhow?”

“For your information, I am twenty-two, so... eat it. And, moving on, who’s the hostage? Sherlock can’t, for one. He looks the evilest out of all of us.”

Sherlock smiled at this, fairly pleased.

“And Mycroft…” Cisco swiveled toward him.

Mycroft nearly growled. “I’m not doing it.”

And Cisco swiveled away. “Gotcha. That leaves you, John.”

John pursed his lips. “Can’t you do it?”

“Me?” Cisco replied. He supposed he could. He could work with the ‘kid’ appearance he had going on and…

“You’re young,” John continued, voicing his thoughts. “Not to mention a local. Our accents would give away our connection.”

“No.” Sherlock’s hands were in his pockets and he shook his head. “If we’re planning on pulling a hostage situation with a supervillain… at least one of the ‘bad guys’ has to have powers.”

John shrugged. “He could still be the hostage and make it look like it was you with the abilities.”

Cisco froze. His mind stuttered.

No. That wasn’t happening. He was ignoring his ‘problem.’ It was the whole point of this trip (at least for Cisco). He sputtered. “Yeah, but- but we could- we… I can’t. I don’t know how to, to…”

Sherlock raised an eyebrow. “You want to help us, yes?”

Cisco gulped. “Yeah.”

“And we need your friend?”

“Yes,” Cisco conceded again.

And he’ll only come if we attract a lot of attention.” Sherlock pursed his lips. “Do I need to continue spelling it out? We need this to look convincing. Unless you have another idea?”

Did he have another idea? Cisco wracked his brain. Sherlock made sense; far more sense than he liked. He sighed.

I’m actually going to have to do this.

He glared at Sherlock. “I hate you.”

“You’ll do it then?”

Cisco ran his thumb across the surface of the ‘bomb’ still in his hands, reluctant. “I’ll… try.”

“Not ideal, but I’ll take it.”

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