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Title: Thundersprite
Recipient:[personal profile] dryadinthegrove
Author: [personal profile] zaffrefic
Verse: BBC Sherlock
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock Holmes/John Waston
Rating: Mature
Warnings: none
Summary: Sometimes, lightning does strike twice.
A/N: A million zillion thanks to PipMer for the quick beta on this!

He only comes with the thunder.

Sherlock doesn’t initially understand why or how it happens. In fact, the first time he catches sight of the unearthly creature, it’s lurking in a dark corner of his hospital room, the glow of its eyes flickering like lightning smothered by leaden storm clouds. It doesn’t approach, just observes him for long minutes and then abruptly vanishes between blinks as the outside sky lightens and the last thunderclap sounds. Sherlock dismisses it as a narcotic-induced hallucination and focusses instead on a way to escape the dull hospital room before Mycroft can show up and chide him for using his body as a lightning conductor.

The next time it appears, Sherlock is back in 221B and lying on the sofa, thinking through a case. Because his senses aren’t dulled by an IV this time, he notices the goose pimples suddenly popping up all over his transport and the biting smell of ozone appearing from nowhere. He feels a sudden presence in the flat, and turns his head to find the being from the hospital room in a half-crouch in the middle of the sitting room, a hazy bluish blush covering its damp skin as if it’s been caught out in radioactive rain.

Sherlock inhales sharply, pushing up onto his elbows. The flat is almost too dark to read comfortably - the downpour that had been threatening all day had finally arrived, complete with cracking and booming loud enough to shake the windows. The calm in the eye of the storm’s intensity, the creature remains still and silent, watching Sherlock with those oddly luminous eyes, its windswept hair completely motionless.

“What are you?”

As if drawn in by the sound of Sherlock’s voice, the creature slinks forward still in a crouch, sinuous and steady. Sherlock freezes, uncertain whether this intruder is friend or foe and lacking data to support either assertion. It comes around the coffee table towards Sherlock’s torso and pauses within reach of the sofa, the rise and fall of its chest verifying it is alive and at least humanoid.

“Why are you in my flat?” Sherlock tries again, but stops speaking when it reaches out and tentatively touches his face, the warmth of its skin catching him off guard. It’s like being touched by summer rain - humid and damp but oddly refreshing. Sherlock remains frozen, too startled to do anything beyond observe. It traces over his eyebrows, up and down his nose, along his cheekbones, and then down to his throat.

Then it runs its thumb across Sherlock’s lips and he inhales again, inadvertently sucking the digit into his mouth. The creature’s eyes widen, the sparking light in them intensifying. Feeling bold, Sherlock licks its thumb, trying to gather information in any way possible, and receives a small shock like the time he’d put his tongue over both terminals of a 9V battery to disprove Robbie Miller’s assertion that he’d die if he did it. The same slightly acidic tang is present, too, this time accompanied by a tingling feeling in his fillings.

The liberty he’s taken seems to startle the creature, because it jerks its hand and then entire body back, the blue halo around its body changing to a reddish-orange. It growls at him in a low rumble, but before anything else can happen, the creature vanishes abruptly.

The sound of rain hitting the windows slows and then stops. Sherlock blinks rapidly at the spot on the carpet where the creature had once been, trying to make sense of what had just happened. Then, he sinks back down onto the sofa and lets his brain go to work.

He first hypothesizes there is a link between the creature’s appearance and thunderstorms, and sure enough, it appears again when the very next brief downburst condenses over London. It keeps its distance at first, but just as the storm starts to let up it cautiously edges closer to Sherlock, then stands to its full height. The creature is shorter than Sherlock, but seems to radiate a supernaturally enhanced power that leaves little doubt as to which of them would come out ahead in any sort of physical challenge. This thrills and unnerves Sherlock in turns, but before he can do or say anything and per the identified pattern, the being vanishes as the storm finally completely fades.

Determining why it shows up then and specifically for him takes a little longer, but Sherlock doubts it is coincidence that it first appeared after he’d been struck by lightning. The bolt must have altered his body’s electrochemistry, making it strong enough to attract the creature away from the clouds as well as being permanent. Indeed, no matter how many doorknobs he discharges against, he cannot seem to lose his electrostatic charge. Fortunately for him and the work, the change isn’t so strong as to be lethal (he’d tested that out on an extremely displeased Mycroft).

Sherlock decides to call the creature a sprite after coming across that term in the exhaustive research on thunderstorms he pursues in order to better understand the phenomenon happening to him. The term fits much of the data he’s gathered on his strange and curious being, and Sherlock’s much happier using an accurate term rather than constantly referring to it as a ‘creature’.

For a while, there’s not much beyond careful touching from the sprite and constant questioning (that goes completely unanswered) from Sherlock over the course of several thunderstorms over several months. The sprite is in Sherlock’s presence for between three and fifteen minutes each time, and Sherlock immediately drops whatever he’s doing in order to scan it or take a hair sample or attach electrodes to its strange skin. The sprite mostly tolerates this behaviour, its facial features at first betraying nothing more than bewilderment, then curiosity, then bemusement. Unfortunately, Sherlock isn’t able to determine much from these tests and samples, just that the sprite appears mostly humanoid and is oppositely charged from him. He plans to be at Bart’s the next time it thunderstorms so that he can ‘borrow’ some more invasive equipment to give him more specific data.

But that doesn’t happen, because first there comes the night when an hour-long storm hits London. Sherlock had been on a case and had not slept for three days, so he’d neglected to mind the forecast. So he’s startled awake by kisses being sprinkled down onto his forehead, his cheeks, his nose. And suddenly there’s laughter, like the tinkling of the first wave of raindrops on glass, that’s not a sound he’s ever heard before from the sprite.

It shifts down his body, abandoning his face to leave tiny static electric shocks along his skin as it traces his ribs, and Sherlock feels all the hairs on his arms rise again, this time in anticipation. The ozone smell is strong tonight, and the combination of it and the shocks have him fully conscious and aware in moments.

And then he’s awake, and the sprite pauses, looking at him with those luminous eyes and Sherlock instinctively knows what it’s asking, knows what it wants. And Sherlock wants that, too, so he nods and the sprite’s skin glows brighter blue as it lowers itself fully onto him.

And, oh. Oh.

The wind and rain batter against the windows as the sprite wrenches his clothing from his body, desperate and forceful, barely pausing to prepare Sherlock before it slams its way home. Friction superheats them both, sweat coalescing then vapourising, the air muggy and heavy. The sprite is his conductor of pleasure, stroking, clinging, contorting and swelling, pure kinetic energy. Sherlock can do little else but hold on, riding the shock wave and the atmospheric instability the sprite generates, intense pleasure being wrung from him as the howling wind drowns out his cries of bliss.

He’s barely come, there’s barely been a delay between the sprite’s orgasm and the rumbly sound it makes, before the storm’s intensity audiby lessens. Sherlock tenses, trying to hold his sprite to him, trying to defy the usual pattern, hoping that maybe their extended electrodynamic coupling has been enough to allow his positive charge to cancel out the sprite’s negative charge and keep it from being pulled away from him. But moments later he is alone again, alone and wanting.

Sherlock worries it might be a one-off, or will only happen when a storm is big enough or remains long enough, but the next time his sprite appears, it sucks him off in the kitchen during a mid-afternoon cloudburst. From then on, usually about once a month (with the exception of summer - in July he gets visited by the sprite five times) he is allowed a visit from his sprite.

Then there’s a drought for all of autumn and Sherlock is positively miserable, driving Mrs Hudson up the wall and completely frustrating Lestrade, Molly, and Mycroft in turns. It might actually be worse than the drugs, the cravings he has for his sprite. His desire for his sprite soaks through every single cell in his body, drenching him as though he’s been caught by a downpour of lust. However, not being able to control the frequency and intensity of this drug’s dosing nearly drives him mad. If only there were a way to know for sure he’d be able to see the sprite beyond analysing historical meteorological data and obsessively checking the forecast.

And he does check the forecast religiously now, hoping that the very weather most Londoners dread will arrive more frequently and sooner. And if Sherlock has gotten too absorbed in a case or an experiment and forgets to check, the first sound of thunder is his reminder to sprint to his room and strip. He’d learnt his lesson on that one  day that a half dozen buttons and his favourite dressing gown had been a casualty. On nights when it’s supposed to storm he doesn’t bother with pyjamas at all.

Eventually, the idea for a cloud seeder begins to take shape. After two months of effort yield no discernable increase in thunderstorms, he finally gives up. His sprite’s laugh had rumbled at a deep register, mostly mirth, but also a tiny bit of sadness when Sherlock had confessed to his failed attempts at summoning and keeping it.

But it’s not all tragedy and failure. Once, Sherlock had been in the country for a case and a thunderstorm had begun while he was in the middle of a field searching for evidence. He’d despaired, believing that his sprite would only be able to find him if he was in 221B. But then his sprite had appeared and taken him right there amongst the wildflowers, heavy raindrops pounding onto their skin as his sprite pounded into him.

Emboldened, Sherlock then risks a trip to Valparaiso, Indiana, USA in May to solve his favourite sort of case: a locked-room double-murder. There he experiences constant orgasmic bliss for hours and hours in a Motel 6 while a supercell thunderstorm produces golf ball-sized hail that destroys his rental in the parking lot. The tornado sirens scream warning that he and his sprite completely ignore in favour of everything they can think of doing to each other. And when he’s completely wrung out, they just lie there holding hands, listening to the storm’s fury.

Analysis of recent and historical weather data necessitates a vacation to several tropical locations in December and January. Mycroft doesn’t understand his sudden obsession with solving crimes in rainforests, and Sherlock would stay there permanently if he didn’t love London so. Also, money is a pesky thing - he likes to pretend it doesn’t concern him, but he does unfortunately have bothersome bills to pay whenever he can be arsed to be reminded of them.

He does never determine how his sprite enters his flat (nor does he really care, just as long as it comes). Nowadays it always appears between the first flash of lightning and the clap of thunder that follows, completely nude and ready to take Sherlock. In fact, Sherlock has never once seen it clothed in anything other than one of his sheets while they rest between romps. Sometimes the sprite has hours to draw pleasure from him if a particularly massive storm cell is rolling through London. Other encounters are mere minutes, rushed and rough, as if the sprite is worried it won’t finish before the last of the thunder fades away. In truth, Sherlock’s not sure which way he prefers.

Today’s storm is quite prolific, a rainband that covers the radar for miles, and his sprite has had him twice, sliding against him so as to create sparks, and Sherlock just wants to crawl up into him and dwell in this space and time forever. Despite knowing it won’t work, he keeps trying to cling to his sprite as the storm fades in order to go wherever it vanishes to when the last boom of thunder sounds. But as always, he’s left in an empty bed in an empty flat, fingers clutching sheets that rapidly lose their warmth, face damp with more than just the sweat from their exertions.

“Who are you?” Sherlock asks.

“Where do you go?” Sherlock demands.

“Please, stay. Don’t leave me,” Sherlock begs.

But his sprite always sadly shakes its head and says nothing.

For a while he’d tried to teach it how to read and write, hoping they might be able to communicate in ways beyond nods and sighs. But his sprite hadn’t shown any interest in the flashcards or children’s books Sherlock had tried to gift it, instead dumping them off of the side of Sherlock’s bed or the kitchen table or the sofa in order to get on with the fucking. Sherlock fairly quickly gives up on those attempts, a bit preoccupied with a damp mouth and delicious stretches of petrichor-scented skin to explore.

Sherlock then changes tack, deciding to focus his energies on keeping his sprite with him in his beloved London. He hypothesizes that there’s some kind of magnetic force at work, with the charges of the clouds and him competing for the sprite’s attention. The clouds are a stronger pull until the sprite gets close enough to him and then he can use Sherlock’s weak pull to anchor him for a time. But the moment the thunderclouds move on, so too must his sprite. So, the options then are to either increase the strength of Sherlock’s pull, which might mean frying Mycroft and other persons of his acquaintance, or find a way to cancel out the pull of the clouds. Fortunately for Mycroft, the simpler solution is the latter.

What seems like an obvious solution takes weeks of experimenting and tinkering. Sherlock throws himself into his engineering conundrum with gusto, learning on the fly and wishing he’d paid as much attention in his physics coursework as he had in chemistry. However, his brain has always been his sharpest tool - if aimed at the right problem it will succeed in reaching the target. In the meantime, the flat becomes littered with discarded prototypes and leftover bits of metal and wire.

Mycroft is positively baffled by his latest obsession and during his next visit asks, “What possible case are you causing such a mess for?”

“Shut up, Mycroft.”

“Well, whatever this all is, please do not electrocute yourself again. Mummy would be so upset if you finished the job you started a few years ago.”

“You know perfectly well that 90% of lightning strike victims survive, and it’s not like I was trying to get electrocuted - I was trying to solve the case!”

“Still, let’s not tempt fate, shall we?”

And then the day arrives that he’s tested his final version in every way but on his sprite. It’s been nearly three years since the first time he saw his sprite in the hospital, three years of strangeness and pleasure and excitement. Sherlock can’t remember what it was like to not crave the electric touch of his sprite, to not wish for glowing eyes and skin to brighten up rainy days. And now, here he is on the cusp of potentially having his sprite with him always and he feels terrified. Because if he’s wrong, if despite his care and caution and all the simulations and double-checking of his maths, if he somehow ends up repelling his sprite or neutralizing his own attractive powers and he never gets to see his sprite again, then, well, he doesn’t really know what he will do with himself.

So, to be safe, he waits until after his sprite has appeared and they’ve had a chance to slip and slide and sigh one last time before he takes it by the hand into the sitting room. He shows it the neutralizing device he’s conveniently condensed into an armband and tries to explain what it will do and why he’s made it.

Then he asks the most important question.

“Do you want to stay with me, here, always?”

There’s barely a moment’s hesitation before his sprite nods.

“Good.” Sherlock cannot help the grin that breaks across his face. He forces himself to sober for the next bit. “Do you understand the risks, though? Do you understand that I don’t know everything about you? That I might not have accounted for something in your physiology and that this device might instead keep us apart, possibly forever?”

Luminous eyes bore into his. Another nod.

“Ok. Hold out your arm.”

Breathless, Sherlock slips the armband on and presses the button to initiate the ion stabiliser. His sprite doesn’t react when the band glows bright green, beeps, and then darkens again. They stand silent, expectant, listening as the storm begins to fade away. When there’s no further rumbling for a full minute, Sherlock reaches out to check the band but his hand is arrested by a new voice in the still sitting room.

“My clever beauty.”

Sherlock’s lips part and he sucks in a breath. His sprite’s voice is nothing like he imagined, pattering down upon him lightly but supported by an undercurrent of intensity. That voice is already doing all kinds of wonderful things to his insides.

“My name is John,” says his sprite as it smiles up at him, skin glowing vibrant turquoise. “And it has been my deepest desire to stay with you always since the moment I first saw you.”

Sherlock nearly faints with relief and joy.

The End
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