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Sherlock's Journey

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Sherlock sat in the gardens of his posh boarding school. All around him were the finest English flowers money could buy. Vibrant pinks popped amongst the lush green leaves. Lifting his pen from the sketchbook in his lap he cautiously moved one leaf out of the way to look at the cluster of ants below. “Look how you’ve grown.” He muttered to himself.

As he reached the end of his thorough list of observations he found a shadow cast over his shoulder. “Please don’t hover over me.” Sherlock insisted to the man behind him.

“I’m not hovering.”

Pushing himself to his feet Sherlock spun around to look at the man who had come into the garden. He was tall, taller than Sherlock by several inches, his tailored suit was worn at the elbows and a permanent ink stain surrounded his right cuff. “You’ve missed your French lessons again.”

“I don’t need French lessons, professor.” He could taste the distain in his voice. “Sherlock,” the professor tried to sound sympathetic, “you cannot just skip out on your lessons, and you’re a very bright student.” His eyes feel upon the sketchbook that Sherlock clutched to his chest, “Very bright.” He repeated.

“I don’t need French lessons.” Repeated Sherlock. A small bee buzzed past, landing gently on the older man’s shoulder. Intently Sherlock watched as the bee walked very slowly up the man’s collar. Both were silent, the professor had turned his head to watch the bee. Breathing in deeply the man spoke again, “Sherlock you know that all of the boys here at Castwell’s have to pick between French, Italian, and Greek. Perhaps you’d prefer to take Italian or Greek, would those keep you in your classes?” The bee took flight, moving to a flower in the garden.

Shifting his weight Sherlock tried to calm himself. The anger that he felt slowly rose into his throat. Calm. He told himself. Calm.

“Professor Brown, your interest is… admirable.” His voice dripped with sarcasm. “But must I continue to remind you that I am fluent in French? Ma mère et grand-mère would have heart-attacks if I couldn’t speak French, but thankfully enough,” he moved his sketchbook to one side, “I speak it fluently.” Sherlock picked at his deep green school uniform, pulling the creases out. “I shall be leaving now.” And with that he strode away, walking back up towards the school.

Castwell was an old, elaborate school that was built on the side of a broad English hill. The castle had once been the summer home of a wealthy duke who had terrorized the village just down the road; but after the First World War he had left the castle to be turned into a school for wealthy boys. The once spotless, manicured castle now was inhabited by some of the richest boys in the country.

Awful boys. Sherlock reminded himself. The first time he had ever set foot in Castwell he had been ten, with his nose planted firmly in a book about the effects of poison on the human body. In the years since nothing had changed much. Sure, he had grown, sprouting thin, gangly limbs, his face maturing and his voice dropping to a pleasing baritone, but nothing about the way people treated him had changed in those years following years.

Quickly he made his way through the castle, the grand ballrooms that had once held the finest dances were now adorned with blackboards and old class projects. His polished gave a soft thud against the glossy hardwood floors as he made his way up the grand staircase.

A young schoolteacher passed him walking down the stairs; her long dishwater blonde hair was pulled back in a messy bun. –Pregnant- thought Sherlock. She’d been throwing up most of the morning, he glanced at her clothes, baggy and unnatural, she was trying to hide it.

Sherlock forced himself to look away, to stop picking every detail of her life apart. The year beforehand a teacher had left Castwell after Sherlock had taken the first five minutes of his lecture to pick apart every little secret that he had been hiding from the administration. Mummy had forced him to promise that he would not do it again, or he’d be shipped off to France to live with a distant uncle. It was a difficult trade off, Sherlock had never been able to control his ability, also slipping easily into a monologue of his first thoughts, but it was what Mummy had wanted.

His room was empty, the Welsh boy he shared the room with was never around, he was always off doing something with the drama club. This year he had taken up the habit of drinking though, leading to many uncomfortable confrontations between the two roommates.

Above Sherlock’s bed was a simple poster of the periodic table, a color coated table that was crammed full of information in Sherlock’s delicate handwriting. A single photo sat on his bedside table. A young mother smiled up at him, a small boy of about seven sat in her lap, a teddy bear clutched to his chest. On their right was a man, the woman’s husband judging by the matching wedding bands, holding a tiny baby no more than two or three months old in the light green blanket. Tenderly Sherlock picked the photo up, it was the only family photo that he had ever kept with him. Others had been misplaced or forgotten now that he was older, but one he had always kept so close to him, sleeping with it next to his bed every night.

In a striking comparison Michael, his forever-absent roommate, had decorated his side of the room with dozens of posters of different football clubs and various models. One particularly old poster of a woman in a red swimsuit dominated the wall it was tacked upon. Once Sherlock had asked about the woman in the poster, but that had only led to a detailed response from Michael about the woman’s acting career. She was famous in American, Michael had assured Sherlock, although Sherlock had failed to how or why.

He flopped down onto the bed, choosing to leave his shoes on as he lay on top of his school issued comforter. Absently he traced his fingers over his leather bound notebook. Professor Williams had taken him by surprise in the garden. How was he going to continue with his observations in the garden if everyone else had caught on to him skipping lessons?

He flipped the cover of the notebook open. The delicate pages had been filled with sketches of every bug that Sherlock had come across. His eyes cast down fondly on a sketch of a beetle he’d seen in the natural history museum in London. He remembered drawing and erasing the shell a dozen times. That day he’d been left alone in the museum while his mother and brother scuttled off around London to buy Christmas gifts. The room with the beetles had been quiet all day, a security guard wandering in and out every so often, but for the most part he’d been left to his own devices. The plaque next to the wood and glass case had described the humid climate of Brisbane that claimed the title of the home of the Rhino beetle. It’s hard shell had shined under the lights, just like a priceless, royal jewel.

“Oh, I didn’t know you’d be here.” Sherlock felt his heart jump. He looked up from his bed to see Michael standing in the doorway holding several thick textbooks. His hair was disheveled and his trainers were caked in mud, he’d been on one of the muddy walking paths that crisscrossed the woods just to the east of the school. “Will your girlfriend be joining us at dinner?”

“Stop reading me Sherlock, I just want to be invisible and you’re not helping anything.” Michael threw his books on his desk and sat down at the desk that sat comfortably on the wall between the two beds. Quietly he opened one of the drawers, pulling out a notebook and a pen. He scribbled a title across the page and then picked up one of the textbooks on the desk, opening to a page towards the middle that had been marked by a scrap of paper. Peaking over Sherlock could see his roommate hunched over his textbook, devouring the information. Something about physics, Sherlock decided from the look of the diagram that was placed neatly on the corner of the page.

“Can I tell you something?” Michael had removed his thin wire-frame glasses and set them on his desk. His blonde hair was steadily becoming darker, it’s young shade disappearing as it moved into a more mature color; his brown eyes looked worn and tired. Something about him had changed during his time away from the room, something had happened that Sherlock couldn’t read, something that was troubling the boy.

Hesitantly Sherlock answered, “I don’t think I’m the best person to confide in.”

“I don’t care, I just want to talk and have a warm body listen.”

Sherlock shrugged, “Go ahead, but I don’t think that I’ll be of any help.”

“You’re gay, right?”  Michael looked as though he might be sick. He had become pale, and sweat was developing on his forehead.

“I’m very dedicated to my studies right now, I don’t have time to worry about my hormones.”

Michael looked nervously down at his roommate. “I was just wondering if you’d do something for me. You don’t have to do it if you’re- ah… uncomfortable or anything, I was just wondering if you would kiss me.” He blushed deeply.

Very quietly Sherlock sat up, swinging his legs over the edge of his bed. He sat eye to eye with Michael. Letting himself read the nervous boy. Every detail had to be reviewed and catalogued, he need to know what Michael was really thinking, what really could have motivated this sudden interest. “Why?” Sherlock asked suspiciously.

“I just want to know what it’s like to be kissed by a guy.” Michael slid to rest on the edge of the chair he was sitting on. He was mere inches away from Sherlock, his breath becoming short, and shallow. “I think I’m ready for this.” He whispered.

Sherlock looked over roommate. The school shirt, one size too small; the mud-caked trainers that had once been a pristine white; the way his freckles made patterns across his face; everything felt wrong to Sherlock. Desperately he tried to stop himself, think of anything that could prevent him from kissing this boy that he barely knew other than a few passing words and an intimate knowledge of how he slept sprawled out across his bed. He wanted to stop, to save himself from the future regret and anger he would feel, keep all the feelings that may have ever come to mind about this boy just harmless fantasies that he harboured to keep the endless days of school interesting. For the first time he began to pray for anything to stop this awful moment, this moment he would live to hate.

Thankfully that moment was delivered, the clock tower bell had begun to ring its standard melody to signify dinner, and they could hear the footsteps of students pounding through the corridors.

“We shouldn’t.” And for the first time in a very long time Sherlock left with the general crowd for dinner.

***

Sherlock slowly opened his eyes, warm morning light flooded in through the window above his bed. The thick comforter that normally lay over his body was pushed to the side, his pale, white body bared to the world. He stretched out, yawning, before turning his body over to look at his alarm clock.

It had been years since Sherlock had lived at Castwell, he’d graduated and moved on to the best university that Mummy could find. Something prestigious, she had insisted, but flexible enough to handle Sherlock’s “uniqueness” a word that had sounded as though she was trying suppress her real feelings on the subject as she spoke it. And with those simple criteria Mummy had managed to find what she had concluded to be the perfect school, although Mycroft had felt otherwise, and had spent several months loudly protesting Mummy’s choice of school to anyone in the family who would listen.

Slowly, he moved through his daily routine, gathering up his toiletries and making his way into the communal bathroom. Everyone else in his residency hall had left the previous day for a music festival up in the countryside, leaving Sherlock almost completely alone in the hall. Leisurely, he let the hot water pour over his body as he stood in the shower. The day ahead of him was simple, a couple of hours in the library reading the backlog of medical journals, and then he’d scheduled time in the empty chemistry lab.

After he had finished his routine he made his way outside, where the bright sun poured down for the first time in months. It had finally penetrated the cool grey sky, and the students still left at the university were scattered about the lawns enjoying a little reprieve from their busy academic schedules. Sherlock chose not to sit and enjoy the warmth, but continued walking, slowly deducing the couple that sat entwined on the lawn just a few meters away from him. She was new to the school, he was a year ahead of her-

But his thoughts were cut short as his body hit the ground.

 “Unf.” Sherlock’s head connected with the ground at full force. His hand pulled back, scrambling over his head trying to find any blood. A medical checklist dominated his thoughts, as he combed over his body.

“Sorry, mate.” The man that had run into Sherlock was now on his feet holding his hand down to Sherlock. A shining, metal-banded watch surround his wrist, and his pale blue rugby shirt clung tight to his chest. Sherlock took the hand in his and helped himself to his feet.

“I’m Sebastian,” offered the man with a smile, and another hand, this time with the intension of giving a handshake, “and you are?” Wearily, Sherlock inspected the new man. Reading him was incredibly boring for the genius mind; an economics student, cartoonist in his spare time, and a gay man. An attractive one at that, he thought to himself, although Sherlock had paid little attention to the attractiveness of men since he’d arrived at University and had been caught up in his research. He took Sebastian’s hand and shook it, “I’m Sherlock Holmes.”

Sebastian gestured back at his friends that were grouped around waiting for him to return, “I have to get back to my game, but do you want to go get a drink sometime to make up for my clumsiness?” His eyes seemed to twinkle with the light of a hidden plan.

With an almost interested tone Sherlock answered, “Where would we be going?”

“There’s a little pub just a few blocks from here, I’ll stop by around eight and we’ll take a cab down. Which hall do you live in?”

“Mendel’s, room 213” He answered shortly.

“Fantastic, I’ll see you tonight at eight.” And with that the economics student jogged back to join his friends.

Nervously, Sherlock left the quad and headed off to the library. As he weaved through the empty stacks delicately pulling medical journals he tried not to think of the chance encounter from that morning. He pulled another thick volume and sat it on the stack in his arms and expertly flipped to a page in the back, searching for something.

Where are we going? The thought crept into his mind as he slammed the book shut and replaced it on the shelf. Another volume slipped from the shelf and into his arms. What does he want? He left the volume cleverly entitled Early European Studies in Anatomy in his arms and moved over to a table just a few paces away. Carefully setting the books down he took a seat and began to examine their contents one by one. Is this a date? The last thought came to Sherlock as he read a passage detailing an experiment involving cow hearts. He tried to ignore the thoughts and continued to read the lab report that outlined the various post mortem symptoms of poison, but the thought continued to linger and weigh heavily on his mind. Finally, when he could no longer prevent the thoughts from occurring he abandoned the books and left the library.

The lab was no more helpful in calming Sherlock’s mood. Even as he mixed together the acids he had been working with his mind was distant and scattered.  

I studied the man; Sherlock thought to himself as he gently turned the heat of the Bunsen burner up. I know everything there is to know about him. Why am I even doing this?

But he there was something else there, something he was hiding, another side of his brain chimed in.

This bickering within his mind continued throughout the rest of the day. As he finished his lab studies, as he dropped his things off in his hall, as he carefully insulted the woman at the chemist’s who refused to sell him any cough medicine even after he had explained its use in one of his many experiments, and finally as he sat in his room waiting for Sebastian to arrive.

He picked up his textbooks and shoved them over onto his desk. His poster of the periodic table of elements had been moved carefully to his room in Mendel’s hall, by now he had marked with a single dot on each of the elements that had recently been used to kill someone within the British Isles and the Americas. Nearly of the naturally occurring elements on the table sported a dot. His desk, which sat at the foot of his bed, was a mess. Half-filled notebooks and thin black pens were scattered underneath Sherlock’s marked up textbooks.

Frowning, he turned away and instead fiddled with his belt buckle. The thick silver buckle sat low on his pelvis, leading to an uncomfortable strain on his waist. He quickly undid his belt and pulled up his trousers, slightly readjusting his boxer briefs.

“Oh well, if I had known the party was here I would have arrived earlier.”

Sherlock turned, blushing at Sebastian, and finished doing up his belt.

“Hello, Sebastian.” Sherlock looked over the economics student. He had dressed in expensive jeans and a white oxford shirt. “Was your walk over from Crispin’s hall…” he searched for the word, “pleasant?”

“You don’t want to hear about that.” Sebastian threw him a devilish grin. “Now lets go out to the pub.” He held his arm out and led Sherlock out of the room.

 

“Do you think I like this?” Sebastian raised his arm above his head. His hand came down slamming against Sherlock’s face. “Do you want me to do this to you?” Sherlock could smell the expensive bourbon on Sebastian’s breath. His head swam, he tried to record everything in his mind, the way he could feel Sebastian’s hand holding him down against the bed, the distant sound of traffic down on the street outside out Sebastian’s flat, the rush of air from the slap.

Can’t anyone hear him? Sherlock prayed that someone would stop Sebastian; that someone could take him away from everything that was happening.

“Look at me.” Sherlock was drug back to the situation. He brought his eyes back to Sebastian. Sebastian’s tie was torn; his shirt was missing a button. “Do you think I want to hit you?”

Sherlock was pinned to the bed; one of Sebastian’s hands was pressed hard against Sherlock’s shoulder, keeping his upper body steady.

“I don’t mean it,” Sebastian’s face softened, he moved his arms down to either side of Sherlock’s head. “I’m sorry, I love you.” He kissed Sherlock, his lips moved sloppily against Sherlock’s unmoving lips.

“I love you,” he moved one hand down to cup Sherlock’s crotch. “Do you still love me?” Sebastian’s words were slurred, his movements clumsy. His fingers slipped to Sherlock’s belt.

“Stop.” Sherlock’s voice was weak, he felt like he hadn’t spoken in years, as though he was speaking his first words. Yet he could feel Sebastian’s hand as it worked his belt off and working the button on his trousers. He tried to block out the feelings to think of anything else but what was happening.

The arm Sebastian was propping himself up on buckled and the full weight of his body fell on top of Sherlock. “Bloody hell,” he struggled up, pulling his hand roughly out of Sherlock’s pants.

“I’m leaving.” Sebastian got up out of the bed, throwing a disgusted look at Sherlock.

Sherlock sat up, looking at Sebastian. His boyfriend trudged away, slamming the door as he left. Falling back onto the bed Sherlock could feel his heart struggling out of his chest. He could still vividly feel Sebastian’s hand as it groped down his pants. He tried to force the thought to a different part of his mind, a part he never wanted to think about again.

He’d let Sebastian do this for months, abuse him and use him without any rules or stopping point. But he felt he could do nothing; just after university when Sherlock had returned home from a party Mycroft had discovered Sherlock locked in the loo readying lines of cocaine. The last Sherlock had heard from anyone in his family his trust fund had been frozen and no one would contact him until he was ready for, he shuttered at the thought, help.

He spent the rest of his night lying very still in his bed, waiting for Sebastian to come back at any moment. As he lay there he thought of the photo of his family, buried in a box next to the Periodic Table poster that he loved so much. When he had moved in with Sebastian all of his precious things; his notebooks filled with notes on his experiments, his letters from his father, his grandparent’s rings, had all been buried away in a closet.

Yet, as he rose the next morning the flat was still empty. Pattering into the kitchen he found himself breakfast. Sherlock sat at the dark wood table that furnished the dining area looking out over the street. The flat had been a gift from Sebastian’s wealthy parents, paid off for a full year with the accompanying gift of a job at the finance firm that Sebastian’s father ran. After a particularly loud argument with Mycroft Sherlock had been offered a permanent place in Sebastian’s bed. He dug his spoon into half a grapefruit and dug out a sugar-covered morsel. Of course, Sebastian hadn’t always been so angry, thought Sherlock as he moved the grapefruit spoon into his mouth.

The lock to the flat clicked open. Sherlock turned his head to look at the door; his eyes found a meek Sebastian slinking into the flat.

“You’re back early.” Sherlock commented.

Sebastian threw him a dirty look, “Yes, did you shoot up while you I was gone?”

“I can’t remember if I got high before or after you sexually assaulted me.”

“Fuck off Sherlock, if you don’t like what I do in my own home you can just leave right now.” His face was set in a determined stare, “Of course once you go out there you’ll be left out on the street.” His eyes looked over Sherlock, “No one wants you, Sherlock, not even your own family wants you right now, I’m the only one that can do anything for you.”

Sherlock could feel the anger boiling up inside, dominating all of the feelings he had bubbling up to the surface ready to burst. Don’t say anything. He began counting in his head, trying to calm himself down.

1, 2…

“You could walk out right now and no one in the whole of London would even want you, Sherlock, no one wants you anymore, you’re a wasted genius.” Sebastian’s face had contorted as though the word tasted disgusting in his mouth.

…3, 4

“You don’t have any friends, any family, you don’t have anyone- except for me.”

5, 6

“Just give up now, Sherlock, you’re never getting out.”

7, 8

“You’re going to end up staying with me, just like back in March when you swore you’d press charges, just like in June when you cut my arm open struggling against me- you’re going to stay with me.”

9, 10

Sherlock closed his eyes and took a deep breath. His head was swirling, he could almost feel the air thick around him. “I think I’m just going to step outside.” Opening his eyes he stood up from the small table that sat in their breakfast nook. He walked to the hall closet and rummaged around, shoving coats and shoes out of the way until he found the box that he was looking for. It was large and heavy; his own handwriting had scrawled Personal Items across the outside of the box.  He balanced it in his arms as he made his way out of the flat, leaving for good.

***

It was late, the basement holding cell had gradually become colder and colder as the night progressed, finally leaving Sherlock freezing as he sobered up. His shoulders shook violently, his body swung wildly in and out of chills and hot flashes, and he could feel a dizzying migraine pounding in the back of his head. Everything about the night was turning out to be a disaster, just moments after he had found the house of a sought after South American drug lord a cocky Detective Inspector had burst in with a team of young hot shots and promptly arrested him before throwing him into a cell and leaving him alone all night.

“Are you ready to talk, or do you want to yell about the “incompetence” of my team more?”

Sherlock looked back over his shoulder, he could feel the beads of sweat pouring down his forehead as he turned to face the Detective Inspector. His eyes stole over the older man; it was the same man that had arrested him earlier that night. “Go right ahead and ask me whatever you want, but that drug lord you’re looking for is already in Brazil.”

“Brazil?” the man’s eyebrows crept up his face, “What makes you say that he would be in Brazil?”

“Why does it even matter?” His body gave a particularly violently shake, “I just want to get out of here.”

“I’ll get you out of here when you can explain to me why you think that Raul Gonzalez fled to Brazil.”

Neither man moved for several moments, letting the silence hang in the air. “What’s your name?”

“Holmes, Sherlock Holmes.”

The DI looked around, finally settling his eyes on a folding chair in the corner. He pulled it over, sitting down in front of the cell that Sherlock inhabited. “Okay, if I take your word for it, that Gonzalez is in Brazil, what else can you tell me?” He leaned forward resting his elbows on his knees. “I want to know everything that you have on the case.”

“Get me out of here.” Spat Sherlock.

Lestrade grinned, “I’ll get you out of here, you just have to be patient.” Sherlock carefully watched Lestrade as he worked the buttons on the front of his thick winter coat, even from where he sat Sherlock could see Lestrade’s hands as they shook trying to recover from the harsh London winter outside. As the final button slipped through Lestrade shrugged the coat off his shoulders and tossed it over the back of the chair. Smiling, he pushed a hair through his thick hair trying to smooth it down. “Now tell me everything you know.”

 

Slowly Sherlock rolled off of the couch, catching his body weight on his fingertips. He brought his knee up under him planting his foot carefully below his body before standing up as quietly as he could. Fifteen short strides between him and freedom, all he needed to do was to snake through the old, worn furniture; open the door as quietly as a possible; and finally make his way down the stairs outside of the flat and out of the building. Keeping his footsteps quiet he reached the front door, the taunting brass lockset was notorious for creaking at even the slightest touch. Yet without any hesitation Sherlock reached out and unlocked the door.

“Going somewhere?”

Sherlock whipped around. Lestrade stood behind him, shirtless in only his old maroon pants. He yawned and then walked up to Sherlock, shivering in the cold evening air. “Do you want some tea, Sherlock?”

Apprehensively he followed Lestrade into the kitchen. This was not the first time that Sherlock had tried to leave, not the first time he’d come so close to leaving before getting pulled back in. It had been a rough struggle since their first case together, Lestrade had helped Sherlock, given him a place to live after not even the lowest of the London neighbourhoods would have him, anything else he would need in return his to sobriety. The long sleepless nights sitting together as Sherlock shook violently were still fresh in their minds. Sherlock broke through the silence, “You can’t stop me.” Lestrade looked up at Sherlock, his eyebrows puzzled as he set the sugar on the table. “Stop you from what?”

With an exasperated sigh Sherlock shouted at Lestrade, “From leaving, from going and never coming back. Why do you always stop me?” He furiously scratched at his scalp with both hands. “Why won’t you just let me disappear?”

Lestrade tapped his fingers against the faux-stone countertop. In the uncomfortable quietness the normally silent kitchen light buzzed louder with every passing moment, the sound filling Sherlock’s already swirling mind. He had become hypersensitive to everything around him, the way his cotton shirt hung so loosely, the perfectly etched lines in Lestrade’s face, the sound of the gas burner beneath the kettle.

“I’m not stopping you, I’ve never stopped you.” Corrected the older man. “If you want to leave you can go, I just want you to think of everything before you leave.” The kettle gave an ear splitting whistle. Busying himself he turned and finished the tea, handing Sherlock the cup of hot, unsweetened tea. The warm ceramic mug boasted of a distant German village, it’s lettering done in a thick green paint. “You’ve got a lot here. You’ve even got some family here, judging by that government bloke that calls round the office once a week to check up on you.” Sherlock winced at the thought of his older brother checking up on him like he was still a child in boarding school. “But I don’t think I can really say anything that will change your mind.” It was true, no matter how important Sherlock deemed his new host he would never be able to control Sherlock.

The thoughts in his mind were all threatening to spill out and reveal the things that he kept hidden. He had never stayed in once place for long after he had left Sebastian; a few nights in an alley here, the guest room of a distant relative that didn’t ask too many questions there, but the only semi-permanent home he had managed to find was here, with Lestrade.

“What?” Sherlock had noticed that Lestrade had begun talking again while Sherlock was lost in thought.

“I said- did you have fun in America?”

“Fun is a relative term, I helped bring justice to the situation, if that’s what you’re really asking as opposed to asking me such a silly as ‘Did I have fun?’.”

Lestrade shrugged, “You don’t have to jump down my throat about it.” He shifted his weight nervously, moving from one foot to the other. His old pants hung loosely off of his frame, their color faded to a dull maroon with a bleach splash that had sucked a speck of color from a spot on the elastic waistband. Sherlock carefully studied Lestrade’s body language as the two silently finished their tea. Dozens of cases, dozens of convictions, and his patience for Lestrade was beginning to wear thin. Everything there was to know about Lestrade had been written on his face at some point, documented for everyone in the world to see if they just looked carefully at the silver fox. Raised in a working class, protestant household by a mother who died of cancer just before Sherlock had come onto the scene and a father who had worked in an office all of Lestrade’s life. He had grown up a man of simple tastes, who strived to live a quiet life.

 “We should all just go to bed and talk about this in the morning, maybe there will be a murder between now and then.” Lestrade set his cup in the white porcelain sink. “I’ll talk to you in the morning.” He pattered out of the kitchen and back down the hallway to his own room, leaving Sherlock alone in the kitchen.

 

The next morning did not improve Sherlock’s mood. He had dozed off on the couch after hours of sitting and letting his mind buzz, and he opened his eyes that morning to see his brother standing over him.

“Done having a lie-in?”

Of all the unpleasant sights Sherlock had awoken to this surely ranked above the many sketchy flats he had spent his nights in during his drug addiction. The finely pressed suit with thin off-white pinstripes and perfectly matching vest contrasted sharply with Sherlock’s rumpled, old dressing gown.

Just got a pay cut.

Bad news, something about our family.

“What do you want, Mycroft?” He flipped his body over onto his side.  “Did Mummy find out that you’ve had your pay cut?”

Mycroft’s brow furrowed in a twinge of anger, “Don’t play with me, Sherlock, you can’t stay here any longer.” He pulled his phone from his pocket, “Get up, I’ve found you place to live.”

***

Three years later had changed little, leaving Sherlock bouncing between sub-let flats. (The last had ended after a particularly violent fight with his landlord about his right to keep chilled cow hearts in the communal fridge.)

“You’re here early.”

Sherlock looked up, Mike Stamford, a portly, middle aged man that taught the newest students entering St. Barts, had just entered the lab.

“I didn’t go home.” Sherlock answered. It was true, he had spent that night experimenting with a new synthetic club drug that had just entered the trendy nightclub scene. Although his new forms of experimenting were nothing like his days of old, no more personal use of the drug, only careful lab work. Not that he had anywhere to go, even with all of his stuff stored at Mycroft’s he refused to stay there. His boxes of books, piles of clothes, and his assortment of everything else had sat in a spare room in Mycroft’s upscale townhouse while Sherlock spent his time flitting around trying to find a permanent home.

Stamford shrugged out of his coat, hanging up his old, worn tan coat on a peg next to Sherlock’s coat. “Don’t have anywhere to go?”

Boring questions were a classic trait of Stamford. He never probed any deeper than a few cursory questions about a person’s weekend or summer vacation. Sherlock slid a few test tubes around on the table, “No.”

“Ever thought of getting a flat share?”

The corner of Sherlock’s mouth twitched into a frown before springing back to its normal position. “Who would want me for a flatmate?”

***

Meeting John Watson was the closest thing Sherlock Holmes had ever had to a religious experience. Of all of the flatmates he’d ever had, of all of the complex relationships he’d ever had, this was the first that had ever fulfilled him. John was the first person that he’d ever met that had fit his life.

What would have once been Sundays filled with black periods had become lazy days with John reading aloud from the paper while Sherlock played endless minor chord progressions.

“How do you know Sebastian?” John and Sherlock sat together on the couch, Sherlock lounging across the whole couch, his feet on top of John’s lap. John had just set down an American paper that Sherlock had delivered every Sunday. The title “SCANDAL IN THE WHITE HOUSE” was plastered across the front, with an equally scintillating photo accompanying the headline.

“University.”

Frowning John continued on. “You don’t have any friends from university, I don’t think you spent any time outside of you classes. What makes him different?”

Anger was stirring beneath Sherlock’s surface as he tried to phrase his sentence. “We knew each other at uni, I lived with him briefly after we had graduated.”

John gave a mock look of shock, “You had others before me?”

“He was nothing like you.”

A silence settled over the friends. The nervous tension that filled every corner of the flat felt thick, as though it were a fog that had just rolled in. Sherlock plucked a single string on his violin, letting the crystal clear note ring through the flat. His eyes turned to the wallpaper, tracing over the pattern.

“Is there something you want to tell me about whatever happened between you and Sebastian?” John’s brow had furrowed, his eyes had a look of concern hidden within them.

Sherlock breathed deeply, “I thought he loved me, it turns out that he was just using me for himself.”

“Did he hurt you?” John’s voice was small and tentative.

“Physically? Yes.” Sherlock could vividly remember the way he felt as Sebastian hit him. “He hit me, he verbally abused me, he used his power over me.” Setting the violin down on his chest he put his fingertips up to his temple, closing his eyes. “But I got out.”

John reached his hand over, slipping it under Sherlock’s. “I’m glad you did.” His fingers curled between Sherlock’s.

A few small tears welled up in Sherlock’s eyes. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” John said, “I love you too.”