Chapter 1: Day 1: Shaky Hands
It is surprisingly cold for the beginning of October and John and Sherlock have spent the whole day looking for their latest murderer. Unfortunately, it all ended rather unexciting, due to the fact that murderer gave himself up to the police. At that point, Sherlock and John had run through London approximately three times, and they are both tired and frozen.
“Well.“ John clasps his hand over his hot mug of tea. “I’ll better be off in a few minutes, I will have to relieve the babysitter of Rosie.“
Sherlock quickly busies himself with making his own cup, so John won’t see his disappointed face. The case may have been tedious, but they had spent the day together and nevertheless had fun. It felt like old times and for a few hours Sherlock was allowed to pretend that everything was back to normal. Obviously John did not feel the same thing and preferred to go to the house he shared with his perfect wife and the mother of his daughter. The wife who shot Sherlock, wanted to do it again in Lauriston Gardens, constantly lies and mocks them but since John loved her, Sherlock had to smile and accept it all and be Mary’s friend. With her murder, this all went crashing down, first John blaming Sherlock for her death, then Sherlock on a drug binge, then John nearly pummelling Sherlock to dead on the floor of a morgue. Neither of them never talked about any of it. They don’t really talk about anything at all any more, except about their cases.
Sherlock looks down on his hands. They are shaking, and he has spilled some tea on the kitchen counter.
John was humming silently to himself, it sounded like a nursery song. He probably sings it to his daughter while he makes her ready for bedtime.
“The babysitter has luckily agreed to take Rosie again on Friday. I’m meeting up with a colleague from the new clinic.“ John shrugs and laughs. “She seems nice, and she makes the patients laugh, so I hope she is not a psychopath.“
Right, Rosie. Sherlock hates that name. Of course, neither Mycroft nor Sherlock have usual names, but in Sherlock’s opinion, Rosamund Mary is so much worse. Mary put a target on her small daughter with her selfish choice.
John wanted to name her Catherine. John actually never wanted a child. Of course, he loves Rosie now that she is here and John is allowed to play happy father with a nice house, a normal job at the clinic and his irregular visits to his (best?) friend. And now that he seems to have mourned enough, he is looking for the new Mrs. Watson.
It will never be me, Sherlock realizes with a sudden clarity. He will never choose me. I blew it by jumping from that bloody roof and nothing has ever been the same.
“Have fun.“ Sherlock tells him and doesn’t really mean it. The two look at each directly for a moment.
“You too. Give my love to Mrs. Hudson.“
It wasn’t supposed to be like that. Sherlock Holmes and John Watson at Baker Street, catching criminals, with Sherlock’s hands not shaking and John’s hands smelling of gunpowder, with Mrs. Hudson baking cupcakes upstairs and the sound of London in their ears.
But that is not their reality and there is nothing he can do to change that, Sherlock thinks. He listens to John walk downstairs.
Sherlock will never know that John had thought the same thing.
Chapter 2: Day 2: Explosion
Sherlock and Mycroft meet up at a cafe.
Warnings (do not read if you don't want to be spoiled!): Minor Character Death.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The day started, as many terrible days do, with a bad cup of coffee. Sherlock tries to hide his disgusted grimace at his first sip with his cup. It’s the first day for the waitress, who needs her job to continue studying medicine at one of the most expensive cities in the world, and he doesn’t want to ruin it.
Mycroft usually has no such qualms, but thankfully he prefers tea to coffee anyway.
The two Holmes brothers are sitting in a booth at the coffee store somewhere around Marylebone Road. The café is a bit isolated from the rest of the busy street, so it’s relatively quiet. No one else is there in the morning except Mycroft, Sherlock and the waitress whose name is Violet according to her name tag.
“Doctor Watson is already at work, I presume?“ Mycroft asks. Well, he never really asks because he knows everything thanks to his security cameras anyway. He only does it to drive up Sherlock’s nerves immediately.
“Yes.“ Sherlock answers curtly. John’s job at the clinic is not a good topic for either of the friends at the moment. John talks something about responsibility, wages and being an adult, when he could be much more useful at the flat with helping Sherlock solve cases! Or assist him at the often weekly sparring matches between the Holmes brothers.
“Good for him. I’m sure he is glad to get out of that small flat every day.“ Mycroft says smugly.
Sherlock sighs: “Why did you want to talk with me?“ The sooner they can end this, the better.
“Mummy called me to ask us about our Christmas plans.“
Sherlock nearly snorts out his disgusted coffee all over the table. The waitress gives them a befuddled look, then returns to her baking.
“It’s October!“ Sherlock cries. “Christmas is ages away.“
“Certainly not on her schedule. She told she’s been waiting for a notice from us since August.“ Mycroft says.
“I guess she’ll expect us both on Christmas Day at their house, correct?“
“She says we owe it to her.“
Sherlock stares at Mycroft: “What did I do? It was your idea to set her up on her birthday with that secret sister ridiculousness.“
Mycroft shrugs: “Honestly, I don’t see what the big fuss was. We all had fun afterwards.“
“John got a cold from that stupid boot you tricked us on.“
Mycroft fires back: „If you two cannot appreciate some sailing, then that's not my fault. Speaking of John, she invited him too.“
“Whatever for?“ Sherlock cries, although he feels very pleased about that. Their parents enjoy John’s company and have long forgiven him for Mary's shenanigans, as they call it.
“She says he is family, and you would be insufferable without him there to control him anyway.“ Mycroft explains.
Now Sherlock has to hide his glowing smile behind the cup.
There is another thing he is very happy about that Mycroft has not mentioned yet. Something is developing at 221b Baker Street. John has been touching Sherlock more often these weeks, ruffling his curls, brushing his fingers, clasping his shoulders. Every touch sends Sherlock little explosions through his spine. It all came down two days ago in the evening. They had been watching the latest Great British Bake-Off Episode, when John has suddenly kissed him. Just like that! They haven’t done anything else so far, but Sherlock is so happy he doesn’t remember when he had ever felt better.
The oven blinks, and the waitress is busying herself with getting the warm cake out. Sherlock wonders if John would appreciate a piece of cake when he returns from work, and decides on yes. Sherlock would like to be a considerate and affectionate boyfriend (with John of course, not just with some random guy). Cake will certainly help with that.
He gets up and asks Mycroft if he wants something too, but his brother shakes his head, typing on his laptop.
“No thank you.“ Mycroft says absently and Sherlock wanders to the counter. The counter is on the other end of the café, so Sherlock is about 10 steps away when their corner explodes in a blazing glory. Sherlock’s body is thrown back from the power of the blast, and he knocks his head hard when he crashes down.
There is a ringing in his ears, something is down his face, and his head hurts like hell. There is grey dust, glass, splinters and rubbish everywhere. He can hear the waitress beginning to sob behind him, but all Sherlock can concentrate on is where their table and chairs stood just seconds ago.
Now, there is nothing there.
With his next breath, he wonders if he is breathing in the ashes of his brother’s body.
The continuation of this chapter will arrive tomorrow.
Chapter 3: Day 3: Delirium
John has normal day at the clinic until he hears the news.
Continuation from chapter two.
Warnings: Minor Character Death.
John has made it his life’s mission to prove Sherlock sometimes wrong about him. He never actually spoke that out loud, but it’s a thing nonetheless. He had a few big wins these past months. First, teaming up with Mycroft without telling Sherlock to get rid of Mary, then kissing him during The Great British Bake-Off and now that John likes his job at the clinic.
Which is a lie.
He doesn’t really hate it, he just wants to keep one part of his life somewhat independent. He didn’t inherit any money from his parents, and he donated all of Mary’s dubious funds (it felt wrong to keep it).
At night, when he is laying in his bed (they haven’t shared a bed yet), John dreams of them twenty, thirty years in the future, with a small house and garden somewhere close to the sea, with bees in their backyard, a dog and a silver ring on Sherlock’s finger. This may be somewhat new to Sherlock, who never had to care (much) about money, but John is aware that his dreams cost a lot of money, and so he is driving to the clinic every day, instead of working cases. Well, they still do that together in the evenings, on John’s free days, on weekends, or whenever Sherlock needs him, which is always (John is pretty charmed at this).
Today, he had approximately two dozens patients, but it feels like so much more. He didn’t even take his lunch break, their waiting room was just too busy. That is why he only hears about the explosion when he gets his stuff out of his closet.
“An explosion, really? You mean like a gas leak?“ He asks and shrugs his jacket on.
Elizabeth tips furiously on her phone to find the article, then she reads out loud: “Explosion in Cafe at Marylebone Road, Suspected Terrorist Attack, One person confirmed dead so far.“ She goes on, but John isn’t able to listen any more.
“Wait, did you say Marylebone Road?“ He demands and grabs Elizabeth’s phone. There it is, together with a horrible picture from the blown open building. It reminds John so much of the war, but he can’t go down that road now.
Elizabeth calls out something after him, but John doesn’t listen any more. He fumbles with his own phone, nearly drops it, swears. No new messages, the display says. John goes to speed dial and calls Sherlock’s number, trying not to think about the last call that felt so similar to whatever this is now.
No one answers.
Don’t panic, John thinks. Don’t panic. He dials Mycroft’s number next. Mycroft always answers, and if he doesn’t Anthea does.
No one answers either.
Maybe now it’s time to panic. John flags a cab down and skims the article again, but there is no mention yet where they have brought the victims. He throws his phone on the seat next to him and tells the cab driver to just drive to the closest hospital as quick as possible. Traffic is horrific on a normal day at this time, but now it’s a single traffic jam at every corner. The radio is on and between speculations about the attack there are worrying news about diplomatic accidents all over the world.
John knows that Sherlock and Mycroft were meant to meet at the café, and he wonders if what he is listening to is a world without Mycroft Holmes’s influence.
Speaking of Holmes… John dials Margaret Holmes and waits. This time, someone answers.
“John, oh dear, do you know anything?“ The normally calm Mrs. Holmes sounds erratic.
“I just heard about it, I… Wait, how do you know something happened?“
Silence, John can hear Mr. Holmes voice in the background, then: “We have received a message from Mycroft’s office that he is involved with that ghastly incident, but nothing has arrived since then.“
“I’m looking for them at the hospitals.“ John says.
“Them? Don’t say Sherlock was there as well?“
“I think so.“ John gulps. He promises Mrs. Holmes to call her immediately, then ends the call. He ignores the worried glance the cab driver throws him and stares out of the window.
Please, he prays. Please let them both be okay, I don’t want to tell another mother this kind of news. I only just finally found him, please let him be alright.
They arrive at the first hospital, The Western Eye Hospital, but the receptionist tells him they have not taken in any patients from the explosion. John finally gets the idea to just call all the hospitals, something he should have done first, and receptionist at The Princess Grace Hospital informs him that they have taken about two dozens injured.
John decides to walk there and quickly pays the cab driver. Fortunately, the hospital is not far away. Most people catch a quick glance of him and jump out of his way. The sun is shining and the street looks beautiful, but John doesn’t register any of it. He is praying with his every step.
At the hospital, he walks right through the long queue of worrying family members and friends at the reception and continues his way through the hallway. On the stairs, he encounters a young woman, whose waitress uniform is completely grey. She is being helped by her girlfriend, who rubs her shoulder while the waitress sobs quietly.
It’s not the first bed, or the second, or the third, but finally it is the fourth at the trauma station. John glimpses a set of formerly black, now grey curls and yanks the curtain open with brutality.
“Sherlock.“ He whispers, his tone betraying all the worry and relieve that is cursing through his body.
Sherlock is laying curled on the bed, hiding his head in his arms. He is still wearing his shirt, his trousers and socks, his shoes are peaking out from under the bed. John doesn’t spies his coat, scarf or mobile. They must have been lost in the explosion.
John doesn’t bother with getting a chair. He sits down carefully at Sherlock’s side. John can feel the heat from Sherlock’s body through his shirt, and it calms his down enough to fully slip into doctor mode. He caresses his hand through Sherlock curls to jitter Sherlock’s nerves, but the detective doesn’t react. John gently pries his arms away from Sherlock’s face, whose eyes are scrunched shut. There are multiple bruises forming on Sherlock’s right side of the face, probably the side he fell on. His eyebrow is crusted with blood, and there are small pieces of glass in his hair. John gently pulls Sherlock up in a sitting position and presses Sherlock’s face to his chest.
“Breathe darling, just breathe.“ John whispers into Sherlock’s ear and rubs his back.
“Sir, visitors are not allowed so far, you need to talk downstairs with the nurses.“ A voice says behind them.
John gets out his card and shows it to the intruder without letting go of Sherlock.
“I’m a doctor, and he is my partner. I know you are busy, but I know him and can take care of him.“
The nurse sighs: “Fine, but I will be back in ten minutes to check.“ He promises and leaves.
“Sherlock, can you look at me? You’ve got some spectacular bruising and I need to check if you have a concussion.“
John holds Sherlock head away from him and gets his small torch out. Sherlock has dilated pupils, with the left one a bit bigger than the right one, and when John touches his head, he can feel a bump on the back of his head.
The detective still doesn’t move on his own, and so John puts him back on the bed.
“Sherlock, you probably have a concussion. The nurse will be here shortly to examine you further. Can you tell me what happened?“ John inquires and clasps Sherlock’s hand into his. Memory loss is another signal for a concussion and John wants to check thoroughly.
Sherlock doesn’t answer. He opens his mouth, tries to move his lips, then turns green. John gets out the bucket under the bed just in time before Sherlock vomits with a groan.
Definitely a concussion then.
John puts the bucket far away from Sherlock, then sits back down.
Sherlock is glaring at the ceiling.
“Stupid. Should have seen.“ He slurs with difficulty.
“What do you mean?“ John asks and brushes his mouth clean with a handkerchief.
“Mycroft. I. Too slow.“ He screws his face.
“Where is Mycroft?“ John asks worried.
Sherlock makes a sudden move with his free hand.
“Gone.“ He says finally, then closes his eyes. John doesn’t ask further. He isn’t sure what to do.
They both sit there for a while until the nurse is back. He throws an annoyed glance at John before busying himself with their patient. John can’t be bothered.
He desperately needs a plan how to move on from this, how to help Sherlock. The hospital will want to keep him here for at least a night, but John will take him home. Surely Lestrade can drive them back to Baker Street.
For now, he has to call a mother and a father and tell them what happened to their sons.
Chapter 4: Day 4: Human Shield
Mary ponders her next step.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Mary knew she needed a joker to survive in this doomed marriage between her and John Watson. Not that she doesn’t love John — she does, in her own twisted way, but she loves her chosen life more - but sooner or later one of the Holmes brothers (probably the older one) would find out about her not so distant past, and she would be in desperate need of protection.
Fortunately, this protection arrived at her wedding day, when an emotionally vulnerable Sherlock made the wrong deduction about her being pregnant. It was laughable easy. John believed it because Sherlock deduced it, and she just had to look shocked and then smile. For goodnes’s sake, both her and John are medically trained, and yet John never asked her how it happened, although they always use condoms, and she takes the pill (she doesn’t want any nasty surprises).
But John is not as smart as Sherlock believes him to be, and Sherlock is definitely not as smart as everyone thinks he is, and so it all worked out rather well for her.
She ordered multiple fake bumps of different sizes over her colleagues amazon account and let it send to their office on John’s off day. That worked out rather well, especially because John spent the majority of her ‚pregnancy‘ at Baker Street, caring for a whining Sherlock. That detective was getting on her last nerves. She should have just shot him in the head and be done with it, but then John would have gone immediately after her and shot the murderer of his precious friend on sight. That was not an option.
Of course, at some point or other, John and her had to reconcile. Luckily, John only hugged her once and had not touched her again since Christmas. Sherlock’s favourite addict drugged them all and Sherlock shot Magnussen, which Mary has to admit was nice of him. Not necessary, because Mary would have taken care of it, but nice. It would not save him from her wrath, though.
The baby had to come out sooner or later sometime in January, and so Mary’s time was running out. One cold evening, John drove to Baker Street (always at the beg and call for the detective), and Mary could finally end this game.
She shed her human shield and dropped the fake bump on their bed, not that John had slept there since summer. Mary retrieved her weapons and her emergency kit and left the house in the suburbs for good.
That was two weeks ago. Mary wishes she could have seen the Holmes’s reaction the fake bump. That must have been a funny sight.
Mary knows she can be short-sighted with her plans, but so far this one had gone well. She only needs new Human Shield now. Fortunately, her new protection is just running up the stairs.
Mary loads her guns with steady hands. One foolish message was all it took to trick Sherlock Holmes once again. He still believes that she wants to return to John and that he can save her from troubles.
Sherlock knocks on the door and Mary grins. Her car is parking outside, the tank is full. She and the detective are going to have a nice talk on their way to Serbia, and nobody is going to stop them.
Mary will make sure of that.
Continuation will come tomorrow.
Chapter 5: Day 5: Gunpoint
Mary and Sherlock meet for the beginning of the final confrontation.
Sequel to Day 4, Human Shield.
Warning: Unconsensual Drug Use
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Sherlock will curse himself for years after this hideous event that he was still surprised that Mary Morstan immediately pointed her small, black gun at him when he entered her hiding place, a cheap room with peeling wallpaper at a motel in the outskirts of London. Mary is sitting on an old bed, her handbag laying right next to her. There is only one window, but the curtains are drawn.
“Good to see you finally arriving.“ Mary purrs, her hand not wavering. “I take it you didn’t tell anyone where you were going?“
The detective slowly shakes his head, the panic in his stomach rising. Stupid, stupid, stupid. He assumed she needed help, and John obviously still loves her he is her husband and right now at probably at Baker Street, sleeping. The last two weeks have been emotionally and psychically exhausting, although John has taken the news of the not-existing baby rather well. After a glass of scotch, John admitted to feeling relieved. Sherlock had only nodded. He didn’t want to say it out loud, but he is glad that he won’t have to ban his experiments from his fridge and make the flat baby-proof (he would have done it of course, and gladly, but it is so much easier this way).
Mary meanwhile grabs her bag with her free hand and gestures for him to walk down the stairs again.
“Leave your belstaff and your scarf on the bed. You won’t need it any more.“ She commands him. He does as he is told and hopes their destination will have a fireplace. It is October, after all.
She follows him through a backdoor, which is unsupervised. She leads him right to an easily forgettable silver car.
“You don’t seriously think this simple trick will delay the search for me for more than five seconds?“ He asks her and opens the door of the car.
She shrugs: “In a few minutes, someone will enter the room and spread a ton of blood all over your clothes and the room. They will then burn an almost identical looking corpse on fire in the parking lot. I think that is going to occupy them for a while.“
Sherlock nods, more dread rising. The car is already occupied with a bulky man who definitely has more muscles than brain.
“Sebastian Moran, I presume?“ Sherlock asks. “I’ve heard about you in Tibet, but never found you.“
“Congratulations are in order, then.“ The man says and starts the car. Mary appears on the other side and slips down on the seat next to Sherlock.
“Let’s make you comfortable.“ She chirps and plunges a needle in his forearm. Sherlock grits his teeth in pain, but doesn’t move so the needle won’t break. His vision soon begins to waiver while the car is moving along the main road. Where to?
Mary presses him down to the ground between the seats of the car. He feels something cold on his wrists and realizes that she is handcuffing him. The motion of the car coupled with the drug they gave him is making him dizzy, and he closes his eyes, just for a second…
The next time he senses anything, he is shoved with a brutal trip to his back into a cold (damn it) closet. He gasps at the pain that is surging through his right wrist he landed on.
“What is your next plan then?“ He asks Mary, who is gloating behind him.
“Sooner or later, they will out that I did not burn you to a crisp on a parking lot, and then they will look for us. I want to go back home, and big brother will agree to letting me leave the country if I promise to return his baby brother in one piece as soon as I touch Serbian soil.“
She grins at his confessedly pathetic form. “Until then, we wait.“ She closes the door, and Sherlock can hear the door bolted shut.
Sherlock groans quietly and forces himself to sit upright. His hands are still shackled in front of him, so freeing himself from that will at least keep him occupied for the next hours. Other than that, the tiles in his cell are cold and blindingly white. The only furniture in the cell is a small toilet bolted to the wall. At least there is that comfort.
Sherlock sighs and presses his back to the cold wall. He can barely stretch out his legs into any direction, the space is just too small.
He knows John will be sick with worry, but he also knows that Mycroft never answers to blackmail. At the mere thought of how long he may be forced to stay a captive, the lasting sickness comes back, and he retches right into the toilet, his stomach rolling with fear. He hopes Mary won't come back to laugh some more at him.
An eternity later, he flushes and sits back down. Sherlock cannot hear anything through the bolted, heavy door. He is completely alone. The detective draws his knees to his chest to preserve warmth and shivers.
The conclusion will be posted on Day 7, Isolation.
Chapter 6: Day 6: Dragged Away
Sherlock meets his new husband.
Warnings: Arranged Marriage, unconsensual touching, description of assault
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Sherlock never expected to have the privilege to marry for love as the second-born son to the King Siger, but he didn’t think it would be that bad. The war between the House of Watson and the House of Holmes has been going on since Sherlock was born, and now that he is 16, he is being forced to marry the oldest son of King Harold, John Watson.
Well, it could have been worse. At least John is only two years older, and not say, fifty.
Their marriage is supposed to hold the piece between the two kingdoms and bring their families closer together. Sherlock knows that his family is nowhere near as strong as the Watson’s and that they would have lost the war sooner or later. The Watson’s know that too, and that’s why he was sent to their kingdom to live there, and not vice versa.
He has only been here for one day, and already hates it. It is too cold, their kingdom is far more in the north than the Holmes’s land, the earth here is frozen here and the Watson’s are not very talkative, but like to drink and fight. For the wedding they invited dozens of guests, and the only number had only doubled for the feast. Around two hundred people sit at three long tables and shove food into their mouths. Someone is thinking in a terrible tune.
Just as Sherlock is thinking this, a cousin (?) of his new husband is jumping up and throwing his huge glass against the wall, which only just misses the singer. The wedding guests celebrate in delight. Sherlock hides his shaking hands under the wooden table and holds his head down. He is glad for the small mercy that his facial expression is still hidden behind the veil they forced him to wear.
He knows that many people are not happy with him being here. Sherlock is the enemy, and cannot be trusted with anything. Sherlock shivers in horror as he remembers the humiliating procedure he had to endure only hours before, after he had just arrived from the long journey. An old man had ordered him to undress, lay down on the table and pull his legs up so that the doctor could test if his virginity was intact. The mere act had only taken a few minutes, but as soon as the doctor limped away happily, Sherlock had retched behind the door. The man’s touch was invasive and disgusting and the doctor had clearly enjoyed Sherlock’s apparent discomfort. Sherlock hopes his newly-wed husband would be more gentle.
They didn’t have a chance to talk yet. Their first meeting took place right at the altar, and the veil around his face was too thick to read John’s expression properly. He didn’t look thrilled, but then he had probably also harboured the delusion of marrying for love and was now being settled with the son of his biggest enemy.
The dinner for their wedding is already taking way too long. He had tried to eat something after the beginning, but the stress is making his stomach cramp. He doesn’t want to throw up on his new husband.
Sherlock fidgets in his seat. He has no one to talk to, every person of his delegation had to leave after the ceremony, and he doesn’t speak the language well enough (the language spoken in this kingdom had been forbidden by King Siger, which Sherlock realizes now was a stupid mistake made by his foolish father). His only chance of getting back home was his older and only brother Mycroft, the heir to the throne. Maybe he would not give Sherlock away so easily and try to bring him back. Of course for that, their father had to die.
Another commotion rips Sherlock out of his thoughts, and he notices with horror that this time, it’s aimed at him and his husband. Three or four bulky men (dear god, more cousins?) advance on him and drag him to his feet. Two hands start ripping at the hem around his shoulders, and Sherlock realizes with horror that apparently the drunk brutes want to have a piece of the price too before the prince gets it.
He panics, and pure survival instinct kicks in. He aims his knee to the place where it hurts the most, and his assaulter hauls in pain, much to the delights of the other guests. There is no time to triumph for Sherlock though, because the hurt man shoves him into the arms of his accomplice, and Sherlock can feel sweaty hands grabbing his hips. He closes his eyes to escape the horror and wishes himself back home, with his books and Mrs Hudson cooking and Mycroft writing some important paper.
There is a loud noise and suddenly Sherlock is free. He hears John’s authoritative voice and the annoyance of the guests. They must respect his wishes though, because the crowd around Sherlock disappears, and he can finally breathe again.
A warm arm settles around his shoulder. Sherlock doesn’t have to look to see that it’s John, he can recognize him from his smell, a bit of wool, tea and something that says purely John Watson.
The scent calms him, and he lets himself guided through the endless corridors of the castle until the noises from the celebration fade in the background. John opens a door and leads him in. There is a huge bed in the corner, two big windows, a burning fireplace, several impressive looking bookshelves where Sherlock spies several of his favourites, and to Sherlock’s surprise, his violin on a table. John must have insured that the priceless instrument is brought to his room.
“My room.“ John over pronounces and points at the furniture. “Your room.“ He says and looks sheepishly at Sherlock. He must be as nervous as Sherlock is.
“Thank you.“ Sherlock tries saying back, and John smiles.
Great, at least they are able to communicate.
With a shrinking feeling, Sherlock remembers his duty as husband. Better to get on with it, then, even though part of him wants to jump out of the window.
Sherlock sits on the bed and kicks his feet away. John advances and careful lifts the veil away, so they can look at each other properly.
The crown prince is indescribable handsome, with short blond hair and deep blue eyes, and Sherlock prays that John isn’t too disappointed with him. John carefully puts his hand on Sherlock’s left cheek, and they both breathe each other in for a moment.
John says a word, and Sherlock hopes it isn’t something negative (he will later learn that John described him as “beautiful“).
John sheds his long, dark blue coat and his shirt. He kicks his shoes away with the same impatience as Sherlock did, then helps Sherlock out of the hideous white wedding dress he was forced into.
“Alright?“ John whispers, and Sherlock nods. Now that they are nearly completely undressed, he is lost for words. He hopes the prince won’t take his hands, they are sweaty with nervousness.
John carefully pushes him on his back on the comfortable bed. He presses his lovely lips on Sherlock’s, their second kiss so far, but this one is so much better than their first kiss at the altar. It is deeper, warmer and no one stares at them. During their kiss, John’s hands wander down to Sherlock’s trousers, and Sherlock involuntarily stiffens. For a second, he is back on the table with the creepy doctor, and he cannot shake the image away.
To his credit, John pulls away and sits up again. He looks furious, and Sherlock heart beats faster at the thought that his anger is aimed at him, until John softly caresses his hair again (Sherlock loves it when he touches his curls). John is not angry at Sherlock. The blond prince will later tell him that he did figure out what happened to Sherlock in the procedure, and Sherlock will never see the doctor again.
John resolutely gets up, takes a small knife and slices his finger quickly open. He presses a few blood drops on the mattress. For the maids, who will undeniably have to check if their marriage was consummated. Sherlock has never been so relieved in his life.
John is starting to gather his clothes, but Sherlock grabs his arms, surprised at his own braveness, and gestures at the space on the bed next to him.
“Stay. Please.“ He croaks out, tongue stumbling on the foreign words. It works, because John is settling down next to him. The crown prince throws a blanket over both of them, and Sherlock scoops up a bit closer to his new husband, who carefully puts his arm around Sherlock’s shoulders.
Sherlock allows himself to relax for the first time since his father told him of the bethroal, and falls asleep. They have so many barriers to cross, him being the son’s enemy, and the language is certainly a problem, but for tonight, all is well.
I would love to explore this AU further in a full story, and there will definitely be another chapter about them a few months into their marriage later this month (not sure where yet).
Chapter 7: Day 7: Isolation
Sherlock contemplates loneliness.
Sequel and the conclusion to Day 5: Gunpoint.
Put Sherlock Holmes in an isolated corner with nothing to do, and he will slowly but surely go mad.
Sherlock doesn’t know who said that, or if it’s a product of his imagination, but this sentence has been flying through his head for hours, days, or even a week? He doesn’t know. The bright light is always looming over his head and infiltrating his eyelids when he tries to sleep. There is no noise coming through the bolted door. Food is delivered irregularly, and Sherlock assumes that Mary is sometimes giving him a new piece of toast two hours after the last one and then the next 30 hours after just to mess with his timetable even more. Due to the small space his body is constantly crimping and his back is killing him. There is no way to lay comfortably.
There is nothing to occupy him, and his mind is killing him.
He hears John shouting his name in his head when he jumped from the roof to fake his own suicide.
He is alone for two years, in Brazil, Italy, Tibet, sometimes hunting and more often being hunted.
Sherlock is chained up and freezing in a cell in Serbia, with a thug beating him bloody. At least Mycroft was there to rescue him. Sherlock isn’t sure if his older brother will be there for him this time.
John is angry and not happy when he returns. He punches him three times, and Sherlock deserves it.
Sherlock watches the love his life marrying someone else and has to congratulate them.
The wife later tries to shoot him and leaves him collapsed on the ground to flee from her running husband.
Sherlock shoots Magnussen to give John the illusion of a happy family he preferred over adventures at Baker Street.
Mary goes missing and Sherlock follows a text message (stupid stupid stupid).
And now he is here, and he is either starving or going mad. It feels like he is the only living person on this planet right now. Who knows, maybe something terrible happened in the outside world, humanity was wiped out, and he is the only survivor.
Wouldn’t that be horrifying. Sherlock tries to straighten out his back by drawing his knees shorter, but everything hurts too much and dear god he smells awfully.
Why is nothing happening? Surely Mary would have figured out by now that his dear brother does not answer to blackmailing. That would be accepting defeat, something neither of the Holmes brothers is capable of.
Except Sherlock feels himself slipping closer to the edge that separates his sanity with the looming insanity in the back of his mind palace.
The hunger is eating a hole in his stomach. Sherlock can feel it right under his skin, no matter how hard he curls his arms around his midst. He thought he knew hunger, but it was nothing like this. This is prolonged starvation in a closed environment. Mary has not offered him any water, so he has to drink from the toilet. Something he has to get used too, apparently.
There is no one to talk to, no one to deduce, no one who answers Sherlock or asks Sherlock or just chats with him about something entirely trivial, like the price of beer and the rugby game last Saturday.
Sherlock always thought he preferred being alone, but he has never been so wrong.
Somehow, time passes. Sherlock doesn’t know if it’s slow or fast. Of course, there has to be a sunrise and a sunset outside every day, but there is no way to be sure.
Somewhere between a sunset and a sunrise or maybe between a sunrise and a sunset, the heavy metal door flies open with a loud bang. At first, Sherlock is not sure if the person in front of him is a friend or the enemy, but the person wears a warm jumper under his kevlar vest, and they kiss his head despite the smell, so it cannot be that bad.
Finally, he is no longer alone.
Chapter 8: Day 8: Stabbed
John dreams of his significant other.
Some kid!lock this time. No warnings apply.
“Ouch! MUMMY, JOHN IS TRYING TO STAB ME!“ Ten year old Harry Watson screams while her little brother is gesticulating with a pencil in front of her.
“MOM, HARRY IS SAYING I WILL NEVER MARRY!“ John screams back to defend himself. The siblings are sure that whoever shouts the loudest will win the argument. Their mother appears at the door, still wearing her nurse shirt. A few grey hairs are sticking to her face, and Elizabeth Watson quietly thinks to herself that it’s all thanks to her lovely but loud children.
“Quiet, both of you.“ She admonishes them. “I want to take my shower in peace, and John, you should have been in bed half an hour ago.“
“Mom, Harry is saying mean things about me.“ John claims and screws his face up. He wonders if starting to cry will help him.
“Harry, don’t be mean to your brother. John, stop annoying your sister. Now, get ready for bed. I don’t want to hear another noise coming from your room, understood?“ She says in her best authoritative voice, and her two children nod quickly before slipping under their covers. Mrs. Watson shuts their door carefully and wonders if a glass of wine will be worth the headache tomorrow.
“I will find someone who wants to marry me.“ John grumbles under the covers.
Harry sighs: “Who would want to spend the rest of their life with you? All you can talk about is rugby.“
John takes his Paddington toy, his favourite and curls his arms around it: “If they don’t like rugby, I can find someone else to talk with them! And I can take care of them, when I am a doctor.“ He says enthusiastically.
“Hmmm.“ Harry presses her pillow on her head and tries to tune out her little brother. She loves him dearly, but he can be a bit stubborn sometimes, especially when she just wants to fall asleep.
“I can protect them.“ John whispers to his smiling Paddington. “From bullies, or evil people like the ones on telly! And I can make sandwiches and tea, although Mom doesn’t like it when I do it because of the hot water, but I can learn that. We can watch James Bond together and eat take-away every day, like pizza. I bet London sells great pizza“ For a moment, John wonders if his future partner will like pizza or not, but decides that they will love it.
“They will be kind and smart and funny, and we’ll have lots of stuff to laugh about.“ John is staring out of the window. He hopes that he or she (the caretaker at school said he has to marry a girl, but John will not allow himself being tied down by those funny standards) will like him to, because that’s the most important part, right?
Maybe John will meet them at school next week! They could play with Paddington together, or run through the garden. John can already imagine the fun adventures they are going to have, and he cannot wait for it.
Chapter 9: Day 9: Shackled
John contemplates marriage.
Warning: Short description of domestic violence.
John has not yet witnessed a happy marriage in his life.
The first marriage he witnessed up close was the relationship between his parents. His dad had only sporadic jobs, and his mother soon became to ill to work. The money was never enough for new shoes for Harry or for school books for John, and a holiday, a car or a pet was out of the question.
When his father came home drunk, he turned violent. John and Harry would listen to their fighting, huddled together in their beds, clinging to each other under the bed cover. Their father would scream and sometimes throw plates, and their mother would cry. Every evening, rinse and repeat.
A few years, when John visited his parents during a long weekend in his first term, his mother had shown him her golden wedding ring.
“I’m shackled to him.“ She whispered, clutching a mug of cold tea. “We promised each other to stay together, to go through the hard times, through illness and death, but I never expected anything like this.“ She spread her arms and indicated their whole kitchen. Their was next to no decorations, and their fridge was always empty.
“Divorce him.“ John begged with her. “I can help you. Harry would be happy to help.“ He takes her bruised arm. “Please, mom. This is no life.“
His mother had stared at him with empty eyes, and John realized with a dark dread that she had accepted this life a long time ago. The ring and her promises to Mr. Watson shackled her to this house and to her husband, and so, John made the decision to leave.
His mother would die two months later, and the police would rule it as a suicide. John himself was not so sure. Their father disappeared with a small pension and John hopes he drank himself to death.
Now, John knows that he should have done more to help his mother. He should have called the police, tricked her into a cab and brought her to hospital.
Then, he was just a young university student who felt utterly helpless to his father’s anger and to his mother’s tears.
Over the next decade, he witnessed a few of his friends married, but they never stayed John’s friends for long. John strayed from one place to the next, drifted from people to people. The army was a short refuge for him, a place where he truly belonged, but this life did not stick around for long either. After he was shot, he considered suicide. Every night, he clutched his smuggled gun in sweaty hands and considered just ending it all.
Later, like a damn miracle, he met Sherlock Holmes. The one person he wanted to be shackled to for the rest of his life. For eighteen months, he finally felt at home and often even at peace. More so when they were chasing violent criminals through muddy streets and John could listen to Sherlock’s deductions after every solved case. He abandoned the dream of finding the perfect wife and starting a family (and Lestrade’s example of a failed marriage did help with that), because life with Sherlock was certainly nothing expected and yet never felt anything so right.
Of course, this could not last. Sherlock jumped from a roof, and John was left alone, drifting through London again.
A year later, he met Mary, a fellow nurse, funny and smart and kind, and John figured that this was his best and possibly last chance to find happiness. If he could not have Sherlock and crime-solving and Baker Street, then Mary and a job at a local clinic and house in the suburbs had to be enough.
Then, two years later after he fell in a puddle of his own blood, Sherlock returned, and with him, the light came back into John’s life. Still, as utterly tempting as a return to life at 221b was, John learned from his past trauma and allowed Mary to talk him into marriage, even after his botched proposal.
Maybe it was because of his parent’s marriage, but already at the beginning of the wedding planning, John could hardly pretend to care about any of it, while Sherlock and Mary did everything enthusiastically.
When, on a sunny day in spring, John slipped the ring on Mary’s finger, he felt nothing, only burned regret and a deep sense of shame when he noticed the agony on Sherlock’s face. He drowns his regrets in alcohol and dances with the partner he did not want.
John was shackled to Mary, through their rings, his promises to her and now through that damn pregnancy. His dream of a quiet life turned out to be a nightmare he could not shake himself out of. Mary shot Sherlock. Sherlock nearly died. Sherlock shot Magnussen. Sherlock nearly died because of an overdose on that plane that was supposed to deliver him to his drawn-out execution.
John was trapped, and the constant fighting between him and Mary made him want to hide under the cover until hopefully an adult would come and save him from whatever hell this is.
Mary turned out to be not pregnant (and John stills feels an immense sense of relief when he thinks about it). Mary ran away, and Sherlock and John persuaded her, finally a team again. Mary kidnaps Sherlock, burns a fake corpse, drugs him and forces him into a small closet. Sherlock nearly starves to death, and John blows a hole through the bolted door and a hole through his wife’s forehead.
Sherlock’s recovery to a somewhat normal (or normal to a Holmes at least) sleeping and eating routine is slow and painful and takes time, but John is back in his red chair and Sherlock is back in his dark chair and their fireplace is burning again. John kisses Sherlock Holmes and the man does not run away screaming but instead decides to kiss him back.
Today, on a rainy day in October, John slips a silver ring on Sherlock’s finger.
John does not feel shackled.
He is free, and the answering smile on Sherlock’s face anchors him like nothing else ever could.
John is home.
Chapter 10: Day 10: Unconscious
John has to stay a night at the hospital.
Running through London to catch criminals certainly has a few perks:
1) Most often, they catch the criminals and a dangerous individual is off the street
2) They can achieve some justice for the victim
3) They visit streets they would not have seen otherwise and may meet their new favourite sushi place
Of course, there are also a number of downsides, and today that is:
1) One of them may get hurt
Which is what happened. They were chasing a petty thief through Soho (Sherlock has already deleted what exactly the women stole) when John slipped on a wet plastic bag, fell down and cracked his head a bit. John was only unconscious for a few seconds, but Sherlock was still close to a heart attack. He ripped his black trousers when he crashed next to his fallen boyfriend, but Sherlock could not have cared less. All that mattered was that John woke up again and complained about people leaving their rubbish on the street.
The thief was caught by Scotland Yard, and Sherlock would have never survived the shame of that if he did not have to concentrate on getting John’s head checked out.
John adamantly refused an ambulance, and so Lestrade drove them both to the hospital. The nurses checked John’s head, gave him a quick scan and pronounced him healthy, but they advised John to stay for one night for observation. This naturally meant that Sherlock would stay at the hospital too.
The room they wheeled John in is crowded with seven other patients, all with only mild injuries, but the noise and the chaos grates on Sherlock’s raised nerves. He shuffles on his hard chair and tries to find a position which is a bit comfortable, while patient number 2 is phoning her sister, patient number 5 is watching a show about zombies way too loud and patient number 7 is hollering at number 4 to hurry up in the bathroom.
“You know you can go home.“ John tells him gently. The army soldier has a small white plaster on his forehead, but otherwise he looks fine. “Your back will be killing you tomorrow.“ John continues.
Sherlock shakes his head: “No, it is fine. I will stay.“
“They will try to throw you out sooner or later.“ John tells him, as if Sherlock is not aware of that.
“Then I will hide in the closet.“
John snorts, and Sherlock wonders what pop culture reference he missed this time.
“I don’t think the other patients will appreciate that.“
“I do not care. It is not like they are sympathetic to your headache.“ Just as Sherlock speaks, the zombie show reaches his apparent climax. From their corner, it sounds like an elephant is being torn apart. Patient number 7 is finally allowed to brush her teeth, and patient number 2 is telling her sister about her son's teething by emitting the cries he makes. Sherlock wishes they would all just go away.
“It is just for one night. I will survive, and tomorrow we can go straight home. Or you can just go home now, put Mrs Hudson’s mind at ease and sleep comfortable in our bed.“ John says, takes Sherlock’s hand brushes gently with his fingers over Sherlock’s hand to calm him down. Crowded rooms can be a challenge to Sherlock’s finely tuned senses, and this hospital room is especially annoying with all the extra noises.
“I won’t leave.“ Sherlock repeats, pouting.
John sighs: “Why not? God knows, I desperately want to leave this place.“
Sherlock lowers his head to hide his face as he answers quietly: “What if something happened to you while I am gone?“
John smiles amused: “My headache is nearly gone, and the nurses said there is nothing to worry. I am in hospital, not in a haunted house like the one in your parents village, and I am not helpless. Do not forget that.“
Sherlock breathes out. It all sounds perfectly logical when John explains it, but it does not let Sherlock forget his anxiety over the events of this evening.
“What if something happened to you in the alley, what if the thief had a knife or a gun or you fell down way worse?“ Sherlock asks.
John shrugs: “That is the risk we choose when we do our work. We can only promise to be careful and stay together.“
Sherlock nods. Neither of them want to give up the work, at least not at this time in their lives, and John is right: there is no point to worry about something that did not happen.
John gently helps him on the narrow hospital bed, and they both throw their arms around each other. Sherlock buries his head into John’s neck, and finally the surrounding noises subdue a little.
“How is your head?“ Sherlock mumbles.
Chapter 11: Day 11: Stitches
John and Sherlock enjoy an evening in the pub.
Warnings: Homophobic slurs, Attempted Hate Crime, Attempted Forced Blowjob
“What drink do you want, Sherlock?“ Lestrade holds the menu in front of Sherlock’s face and points at the different beverages. Sherlock can only stare at the long and detailed list. As a chemist, he is more than aware of the different clothes and taste liquids can produce. However, cocaine and morphine were always his drug of choice, and he seldom drinks alcohol.
Nevertheless, John persuaded him (with a nice smile, not that Sherlock can say no to him) to join him and a few members of Scotland Yard at a ‚nice‘ evening at the local pub. This kind of meetings are happening monthly, John joined them at the meeting last time and now Sherlock is here as well, together with Lestrade, a rehabilitated Anderson, a surprisingly nice Sally, a James from forensics and Stella Hopkins. The Greg John mentioned is apparently not coming. Maybe he has something more useful to do.
“John what are you ordering?“ Sherlock tries to ask nonchalantly. John answers with a word Sherlock does not remember ever having heard before, but he nonetheless nods.
“I will take that as well.“ He says and ignores the giggles coming from Scotland Yard’s finest.
“Are you sure, Sherlock?“ John asks and attempts to say something next, but Sherlock interrupts him: “Of course. I want two.“ He says and hopes that part of the conversation has now come to a sufficient end. Lestrade gets up to get their drinks, and Sally, James and Anderson discuss the newest royal scandal. Sherlock does know a bit more about the wanderings of a young prince, but decides not to spoil their talk. John would not approve.
Speaking of John, he has started chatting up Stella, who is wearing an admittedly gorgeous blue suit today. Sherlock wonders if John is just being friendly or if he seriously has not noticed yet that Stella is a lesbian and has a crush on Sally, who has not rejected Stella’s shy advances so maybe there is some hope there. It would be a big step up from Philip Anderson, after all.
Lestrade has returned and is distributing their ordered drinks. He places one beer in front of John and another two in front of Sherlock.
Beer. How terribly pedestrian. They all clunk their glasses together and congratulate each other on their newest solved case. Sherlock’s beer tastes terrible, and Sherlock hides his disgusted face behind his glass. John throws him an amused look and then throws an arm around Sherlock. John’s arm is warm and emits a reassuring feeling. Sherlock breathes it in with delight. John has touched him more often in the last weeks, now that the fiasco with Mary Moran is behind them, and Sherlock wishes wholeheartedly for something more, something deeper. He hopes that John shares his wish. Maybe when they are back home and both pleasantly drunk, Sherlock could take the first step into the new path of their relationship.
The next hour goes rather pleasantly. They are talking about the new kebab that opened in the vicinity of Scotland Yard, the curious murder of the dog-owner, Stella’s new guitar playing neighbour and Sherlock’s liver experiment. They quickly change the topic after that and Sherlock reaches the middle of his second beer. He has got used to the abdominal taste of his beer. The football game and the viewers who take up the majority of the room are drunk and increasingly angry as their team loses. Sherlock wonders if it is a form of masculinity to meet in dark pubs, drink overpriced beer and scream slurs at the referee. The others are able to blend them out, so Sherlock tries to. John slowly rubbing circles in his back is far more important anyway.
“And then James run up to that woman and…“ Lestrade can not finish his sentence due to uncontrolled laughter, and Sherlock excuses himself for a moment.
“Excuse me.“ He stammers out and walks out of their booth. Now that he is standing, the consumed alcohol is rising to his head, and he feels like he is walking on a rapidly moving platform.
“Are you okay?“ Sally asks him, but he winks her off. It is just a bit of alcohol. He had worse. Sherlock can feel John’s eyes on him as he navigates the difficult way to the toilets. The alcohol makes him braver than he is and Sherlock moves his hips in a seducing (?) way that shows off his arse. John can make out of that whatever he wants.
The toilet has only two stalls and the smell of cheap cleaner reminds Sherlock of a hospital. He starts throwing water into his face and rubs his eyes, hoping that it will make him feel more awake. If he wants to go through with his by seducing John into a kiss at home, he needs to be a bit more functioning. Functioning in this case means that he is able to climb the stairs on his own, an ability which Sherlock is not so sure of at the moment.
The door of the toilet opens and one of the football hooligans walks in with that overly confident feeling of a white, straight and abled man who has never felt like the room did not belong to him. Sherlock rubs his face dry and attempts to leave, but the door is nearly thrown closed into his face. A strong arm has thrown it closed and Sherlock can smell the terrible breath of the other man.
“Where are you going, faggot?“ The man grunts in his ear. Sherlock sighs. He wants to avoid bruises from any violent confrontations, so he decides not to provoke the clearly drunk, angry and now obviously homophobic football fan.
“To my friends. Now, step out of the way.“ Sherlock answers confidently, although his voice slurs far more than he would have liked. The cold water did not achieve much, he is still standing unsteadily.
“You are going to your boyfriend?“ The man wants to provoke him, and he is still not stepping out of Sherlock’s way.
“Nope.“ Sherlock says.
“Is he not keeping you satisfied?“ The man wonders aloud while his eyes wander over Sherlock’s body. Sherlock ignores the temptation to pull his shirt tighter around himself.
“Pretty boy like you, would be a waste.“ The man openly leers, and his huge hands are suddenly in Sherlock’s hair, pulling mockingly at one of the curls. Sherlock manages to punch the hand away.
“Let me through.“ Sherlock growls and pulls at the doorknob, but the fan just puts his hands on Sherlock’s shoulder and shoves him against the door of one of the stalls. The door is unlocked and Sherlock flies right through, hitting his head against the wall. His hands fly to his head to protect it, but the fan is already looming over him and punches Sherlock directly in the chin. Sherlock’s head is thrown back, and he gasps in pain. The punch further disorientates him, and so he suddenly finds himself wretched to his knees next to the hotel on the disgusting looking and smelling floor.
“Fucking poofter.“ The man swears and slaps Sherlock so hard in the face that he sees stars for a moment. “Always looking for a nice cock, hm? With your lips and your arse, I bet you are gagging for it.“
Sherlock would have loved to say something snarky about the man — the fact that his heavy homophobia will not have made his father love him more, that his wife is planing to take their son and flee from him, that he really should go to a dentist — but no word rolls over his tongue, because he is quickly becoming very scared.
The man unzips his trousers, and Sherlock manages to slur “Let me go.“ but it makes no difference. The fan grabs his shoulders and presses his back against the toilet stall while he fumbles with his trousers. Sherlock stares at the atrocious sight in front of him, his knees shaking and his hands wet with fear.
“No.“ He whimpers and is answered with another hard punch, this time against his eyebrow. He can feel blood slowly running down his cheek.
“I know you want it.“ The man growls and attempts to force Sherlock’s lips open with his grubby hands.
“NO!“ Sherlock screams and wrenches his hurting head away, when…
The door is thrown open with a loud BANG and Sherlock’s assaulter is dragged away.
“You fucking bastard I’ll kill you I will fucking kill you.“ Sherlock hears two quick punches being thrown, then the fan, who clearly does not quite get the dangerous situation he is in now hisses: “You must be the cocksuckers boyfriend.“
“You bet I am.“ John says with utter contempt, and with the third punch the tall football fan finally shuts up.
Sherlock notices for the first time that he shut his eyes in the chaos, and now slowly opens them. To his surprise he finds that the small bathroom is completely crowded. The nervous barkeeper is blocking the door, Lestrade is putting handcuffs on the fan with a face of complete hatred. Sally and Stella both give of the impression as if they wanted to join John in his revenge attack, Anderson is looking in his bag, presumably for his first-aid kit and James is talking to the police to get a car for the arrest.
“Christ, Sherlock. Are you alright?“ John is kneeling in front of him. The doctor presses his hands against Sherlock’s cheeks and carefully inspects his bleeding eyebrow. The sight of lovely John, so murderous towards Sherlock’s enemies and so soothing towards Sherlock is the last thing the rapidly sobering up detective can take, and to his horror he bursts out into tears.
“Your eyebrow is going to need stitches.“ John explains, then discovers Sherlock’s predicament and hurriedly presses his quivering head against his chest.
“It is okay, love, it is okay. Please don’t cry. I noticed you were taking far too long for a trip to the bathroom, so I went checking, and we heard you scream. He…“ John pauses and clutches the back of Sherlock’s head against him. “He did not get the chance to do anything to you, did he?“
Sherlock shakes his head between his sobs.
“Good. Otherwise, I swear I would have ripped him apart, and the others would have helped.“
Sherlock snorts into John’s chest, he can not help it. The vision of that happening helps Sherlock to get a clearer head. John takes the gauze from Anderson and presses it on Sherlock’s eyebrow to stop the bleeding.
“Is he alright?“ Sally asks in the background, and Sherlock is surprised by the genuine concern in er voice.
“He will be, I can stitch the wound up at home.“ John answers. He helps Sherlock up and both he and Lestrade wrap an arm around him to protect him from too many curious glances and get him safely out to the street. James and Anderson drag the still slurs screaming football fan into their police car, and Lestrade gets both Sherlock and John into the other car. For once, Sherlock does not object to this. This way, they will reach Baker Street faster.
John waves Sally and Stella goodbye, and they are off into the London night. Sherlock presses his side into John’s, still waiting for his quick heartbeat to calm down.
Lestrade is talking to John about what is going to happen next, but Sherlock can’t be bothered to listen.
John called him love.
John called him his boyfriend.
Surely this must mean…
John presses a shy kiss on Sherlock’s throbbing hand, and it is like a demon finally leaves Sherlock’s body. Sherlock clutches John’s hand with the bleeding knuckles. John will stitch him up at home, then they will go to bed — together — and tomorrow they will finally talk about it all. And then they will kiss, properly.
Chapter 12: Day 12: "Don't move"
John and Sherlock visit the parents on Halloween.
“Why exactly do we have to visit a fun house filled with mirrors?“ Sherlock asks annoyed. It is bad enough that John forced him to accompany the doctor for their visit to Sherlock’s parents, but did they have to attend the Halloween market with all its horrible attractions as well?
“Because it is fun, there won’t be any more children around it is way too late for that and I bet you will love kissing in front of all the mirrors.“ John explains way too cheerfully and drags him to the entrance.
“You do have a point.“ Sherlock concedes and watches John pay their entrance ticket. The older woman gives the impression of someone that desperately wants the whole Halloween business to be over. It is very cold today too, Sherlock can see their breath in front of them.
A security woman quickly checks John’s bag (thankfully John did not bring his gun or else they would have had a problem right now) and they are in.
“This is a labyrinth!“ Sherlock exclaims excitedly. Maybe this promises to be fun after all. They seem to be the only visitor so there’s nothing to stop their extensive snogging. Which starts about now, as John envelops him in his strong arms (he has started working out to keep himself fit for all the criminal chasing) and starts kissing his neck very thoroughly. Christ, Sherlock adores it when John does this, and it is even more fun to watch it in all of the surrounding mirrors. John is right, this was a brilliant idea.
After an extra sweet kiss on his mouth, John suddenly entangles himself and rushes off to the left way.
“Whoever reaches the exit first wins!“
“Hey, we were not finished!“ Sherlock shouts back, slightly blushing.
“No cheating!“ Is the only answer Sherlock receives before John disappears in the mirror labyrinth.
Well, Sherlock can berate him for distracting him after he wins. Sherlock dashes off to the right. He quickly remembers the layout of the house he saw outside and decides to head off further to the right, except… There is no way. In his haste, Sherlock runs directly into a mirror and is very happy that no one is there to witness it. He rubs his nose for a moment, then stretches his arms out and slowly navigates himself through the labyrinth. Twice more, he nearly collides again with a mirror.
Damn it, he thinks. John is probably halfway through, and he is here, walking like a pengwin!
He takes four more turns and runs into a dead end. Annoyed, he wants to walk back to his last turn, but… Wait.
What direction did he come from? The mirrors are too confusing. He decides to move to the left, but he can not go very far there either. Right, it is just a stupid game. Nobody ever gets seriously lost in this kind of labyrinths, at some point someone is going to help him. He will have lost their game and Mycroft will never let him forget this tragedy, but there is no way to panic.
Sherlock repeats his own little pep talk a few times while he runs through the corridors, now without a strategy, since the last one did not help much.
After about five minutes of this, he regrets the fact that he forgot to bring his smartphone. He has a map app on it and could also watch the time, but without it, he is lost right now. He is hungry, he is tired and John is nowhere to be seen.
“Years of dangerous detective work, but a few mirrors beat me.“ He mumbles to himself, then suddenly hears a noise. It sounds like someone is giggling.
“John?“ He tries and realizes at the same moment how pathetic he must sound. Still, desperate times call for desperate measures, etc.
Another giggle. Maybe it is another person trying to navigate themself through the labyrinth. At the very least, Sherlock would have a companion.
“Hello, someone there?“ He asks, and the giggle abruptly stops. Then, a series of quick steps follow.
“Hello?“ He tries again, and this time someone answers, but it does not put Sherlock’s mind at ease, on the contrary.
“Is little Sherly lost?“ A high voice mocks him, speaking like parents would talk to their newborn. It reminds Sherlock of Moriarty, and it sends immediately cold shivers down his back.
“Who are you?“ He says, trying to sound as confident as possible and not like he is scared shitless. “Why are you calling me like this?“ Sherlock demands.
The voice giggles again in this really disconcerting way.
“I just want to play with you. Don’t you want to play?“ The voice says again. Sherlock is now truly alarmed and begins to sprint away, hopefully away from the mysterious person.
“No, don’t move! I want to play.“ The voice screams, and it is now closer. Sherlock changes directions abruptly, thinks himself safe, when suddenly -
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH“ A man, no, a Clown! Is standing directly in front of Sherlock, his big mouth wide open, displaying several rows of sharp, long teeth. Not a man, a monster! Sherlock screams in terror and dodges the attacking teeth just barely. The Clown laughs again cruelly.
Sherlock kicks the Clown in his stomach, and this seems to surprise him so much that Sherlock can force himself around him and run down the hallway. He hears more laughter, more steps, but a light is growing at the end of the hall, and Sherlock just runs faster and faster…
And is through. Fresh air, lights, no mirrors, grass under his shoes! Sherlock gasps and presses his hands in front of his mouth to stop himself from throwing up.
“Woah, hey Sherlock, are you okay?“ John asks, deeply worried. John helps him sit down, and Sherlock can see the exit of the mirror labyrinth. Another couple just exits it, the male partner has white-ish hair and a red nose from the cold. The two are giggling and are in best spirits as they move to the next attraction. Sherlock is only able to stare at them.
John’s warm hand rests on his shoulder: “You okay, Sherlock?“
Sherlock takes a deep breath and forces the nausea down: “Yeah, I just thought I saw… something. A Clown. With very large teeth.“
“The mirrors freaked me out too.“ John laughs. “Maybe there was someone in there who wants to give their visitors a special fright. Though, I think I have enough for today. Do you want to head home?“
Sherlock is eternal thankful to make the proposal so that Sherlock won’t have to. He nods, and the couple start their short walk to the older Holmes.
“Maybe we can send Mycroft in there tomorrow.“ Sherlock says, and John’s laughter follows them home.
Only later, when they are laying in bed and John is asleep, does Sherlock wonder why the Clown knew his name.
Chapter 13: Day 13: Adrenaline
Molly, Irene and Sherlock watch a rugby game.
It is the 13th of October, first rugby game of the new school year, and Sherlock Holmes is already freezing on the cold benches. Half the school population is here, plus a few dozen fans of the opposite team, and the atmosphere is possibly cracking with anxiety. The Baker School desperately wants their team to win, and everyone is cheering and clapping for their boys.
“Are they beginning the game?“ Sherlock asks and nudges Irene to gain her attention.
“Yes, everyone is waiting for the referee to give the signal.“ Irene explains. There is another loud cheer all around them. “And… They’re off.“
“Great.“ Sherlock digs his hands deeper into John’s red jersey jacket. His boyfriend had gifted the jacket to Sherlock on the day they first kissed (23 days, 8 hours and 32 minutes) and from that day on, Sherlock is frequently seen wearing the red jacket which has the letters WATSON and the number 21 on the back of it. John had asked him to wear the jacket for their first game today, and Sherlock happily obliged. He does enjoy feeling the other girls (and some boys) jealous glances on his back when he walks by.
“Oh, John has the ball.“ Molly exclaims excitedly. Sherlock is sandwiched between Irene and Molly, and neither of them truly cares about rugby, but they want to support their boyfriends (Molly with Lestrade and Sherlock with John of course) or try catching a glimpse at Stella Hopkins in her dancer outfit (Irene, who is not very happy today because Stella has a cold and is at home).
The three friends watch and listen to the game in silence for a few minutes. The commentator’s voice disappears completely due to the cold wind, and Sherlock has to depend on Irene’s and Molly’s comments to gain an impression of the game.
Another loud groan ebbs through the audience.
“What happened?“ Sherlock asks.
“The blue team scored a goal.“ Molly says.
“Is it called goal in rugby?“ Sherlock asks. John has probably explained the game a thousand times already to Sherlock, and Sherlock swears to himself at this moment that the next time, he will listen.
If there is no Bunsen burner in their vicinity.
“How is it going with you and Greg?“ Irene wonders. Sherlock is confused for a second who this ‚Greg‘ is, but then realizes it must be one of Lestrade’s many nicknames.
“It is going well. I am knitting a scarf for him for Christmas. I hope it will resemble at least a bit the sign of Scotland Yard.“ Molly says. Sherlock can feel her body turn to his direction to address him better.
“Do you have any plans for Christmas with John?“
Right, Christmas. Sherlock feels a surge of panic. Molly is knitting a personal gift for her boyfriend, and what is Sherlock doing? Not concentrating on his boyfriend’s rugby game, that’s for sure.
“Um…“ He starts and nervously fiddles with his scarf. “Maybe a medicine book or something?“ He tries, but Irene only snorts disappointed.
“Please, he can buy that for himself. How about something he can’t — or I hope he can’t- buy?“ She says suggestively and Sherlock has a feeling he will not like Irene’s idea.
Of course, she will still tell him.
“Like your virginity!“ She whispers dramatically into Sherlock’s ear, and he recoils so fast that his shoulder bumps into Molly’s.
“Don’t say that!“ He snarls and hopes nobody listens to them. He can hear Molly’s soft giggles in the background. Traitors, the both of them.
“What? You can wrap yourself into a gift basket and knock on his door.“ Irene says between gasps of laughter.
“Irene, Sherlock will do that… step in their relationship when they’re both ready.“ Molly admonishes them, and Sherlock decides to continue being friends with her.
“Can we please change the topic?“ He says quickly. He can hear Irene preparing herself for a comeback, and he really wants to avoid that.
“We can talk about our costumes for the Halloween party!“ Molly suggests, and there is another wave of dread. Sherlock never expected that there would be so many events he and John were expected at.
Suddenly, there is the loudest cheer so far, and it does not stop. Sherlock can hear everyone standing up, but he decides to stay seated since it won’t make a difference anyway.
“What’s happening?“ He demands, shouting it above to Irene.
“John is running into one direction and everyone is very excited about it!“ Irene shouts back.
Ah, maybe this is the end of the game and Sherlock can warm himself up in John’s arms.
All the fuss turns out to be an early celebration, because abruptly the fans groan, then scream in anger.
“John got fouled by a blue player!“ Molly exclaims angrily. Sherlock’s heart stops beating for a second, then continues on even faster.
“Is he badly hurt?“ He croaks out while searching for his walking stick. The rest of the audience be damned, he needs to get to his boyfriend now!
“No, I think it is just a scratch. Sherlock wait, where are you going?“ Two different but familiar pairs of hands take his arm.
“I need to go on the field.“ He says and tries to move down, but everyone is concentrating on stupid rugby and no one lets him go through.
“You can not go down there, they are about to wrap it up. Then we can see how John is.“ Irene says, and it does sound reasonable, although Sherlock decidedly does not like it. He sits down with a humph.
Luckily, the game only takes a few more minutes now. Their team won, and Irene, Molly and Sherlock hug each other in celebration, while the commentators voice can finally be heard.
“There is Watson, guaranteeing the first win for the Baker School this season…“
Sherlock, Molly and Irene fight their path down the benches, stepping around jumping students with Irene first and Sherlock safely in the middle.
Sherlock can feel the grass under his feet and hurries up to reach the loud boys celebrating (he is assuming that they must be their rugby game), when strong arms all of a sudden lift him up.
“We won, Sherlock! WE WON!“ John shouts and lifts Sherlock even higher. Sherlock feels double elevated, both by the height and John’s fantastic mood. He wraps his arms around John’s shoulders.
“You cock! You had me seriously worried, I though you were injured.“ Sherlock says into John’s ear while his boyfriend is clearly adamant to carry Sherlock around for the rest of the evening.
“Nah, it is fine! I do not feel anything any more. Adrenaline is one hell of a drug.“ John laughs and does another full turn. Sherlock is starting to get dizzy, but he wants to enjoy this overwhelming feeling of gratitude and happiness as long as he can.
He can worry about costumes and gifts tomorrow.
Chapter 14: Day 14: Tear-stained
Sherlock waits at the airport for John.
Sherlock has watched Love Actually every year during Christmas Time since it premiered. He will never confess this to anyone, but the airport scenes are his favourite scenes in the whole film (sometimes, he really is a romantic at heart). Somehow, watching couples and families reunite and such a hectic and special place tears at his heart.
Of course, Love Actually is a Christmas movie, but surely it also works in October.
Which is why he is now waiting at the terminal for his boyfriend, the wonderful and handsome and brave Doctor John Watson, who is returning from his first tour in Afghanistan. Sherlock would have preferred it a thousand times that John stayed with him in London, but his boyfriend his nothing but stubborn, and after several loud rows John stepped into the train for his army training. Their frosty silence luckily only lasted a few days, and during the last months they frequently wrote to each other and shared skype calls, but it is definitely not the same. Not by a long shot. Sherlock Holmes wants to finally wrap his arms around John Watson, and he wants it now.
Unfortunately, the universe or at least the airline did not much care about that, because John’s flight is delayed. John told him before take-off that Sherlock could wait at home for him, but Sherlock did not accept that. They only had a precious time span of three weeks, and he would be damned if they wasted a single second of that because of a traffic jam.
This is the reason why he is waiting at the terminal, together with eight wives, three husbands, four proud looking parents, three giggling friends, one girlfriend and two boyfriends with a young child. Sherlock deduces that he is the only man waiting for a male soldier, and only the second person in a same-sex relationship here (the girlfriend is looking eagerly forward as well to reunite with her female soldier).
Sherlock lets out a groan when he sees the announcement on the monitor hanging above their heads that the plane will be delayed for another twenty minutes. How wonderful. His attention wanders back to his fellow impatient comrades, and he notices that all of them have either a poster with a heartfelt message, a bunch of flowers or a bear toy holding a heart with them. Or all of these things at once.
Of course, Sherlock is so stupid! He should have made a poster or at least a sign too, John would have loved that. The doctor adores romantic gestures almost as much as Sherlock.
Right, Sherlock needed to do damage control, now. Maybe the delayed plane is a gift from above after all, to save John from the humiliating experience of the other soldiers being greeted with flowers and him being gifted an old nicotine patch Sherlock can feel in his jacket.
Sherlock decides not to waste any more time and hurries off to the infamous gift and flower shop, that is in every airport. In the shop, Sherlock is immediately overwhelmed by all the balloons, teddy bears, unicorns (?) and roses. He does the only thing he can think of and fires off a text message to Molly:
John is arriving in a few minutes and I’m in a gift shop. What should I get him???
The answer follows promptly:
Buy him a simple flower, he will love it!
A simple flower, that should not be too hard. Molly did not specify what kind, so Sherlock searches around and settles on a nicely looking cactus. It will look perfect next to the skull on the fireplace. This cactus is going to blossom in a few months, and hopefully then John will be done with playing hero in the dessert when he could just as well be a hero in their bedroom at Baker Street. Much more comfortable anyway.
The salesman looks at him a bit strangely, but Sherlock ignores that. The customer is not always but sometimes right, and John will appreciate the cactus. Sherlock is sure of that.
He still has a couple of minutes left, so he sprints to the stationery next door and pays a large, lilac poster (not that John can tell the difference between lilac and purple) and a black pen. He scribbles down the word J O H N in capital letters, and after the suggestion of the woman behind the counter, also medically correct heart as quick as he can manage. The woman wishes him good luck and Sherlock returns to the terminal just in time.
The plane has finally landed and the passengers start to trickle out of the door. The first wives throw open their coat to press their husbands enthusiastically, while the girlfriend is engaging in a long shared kiss with her girlfriend. Two minutes later, and all the waiting people have found their person. Everyone is hugging and laughing, while Sherlock is still standing there alone, feeling stupid with his lilac poster and the cactus.
Maybe something happened and John had to get out of the plane last minute? Maybe Sherlock read the message wrong and John is taking a later flight? Maybe John does not want to be with Sherlock any more and does not know how to tell him this?
“Are you worried I forgot my name?“ A cheeky voice says behind Sherlock’s back, and the young detective jumps around. A beaming John Watson is standing finally directly in front of him, wearing a green uniform that makes him look unforgettably sexy.
“JOHN!“ Sherlock shouts, drops the poster and nearly the cactus, before John’s arms envelope (Jesus, his new muscles!) him and rip him right off his feet, like he has done since school. Christ, Sherlock loves this man so much.
“I’ve missed you.“ John muffles into Sherlock’s chest, and Sherlock feels like his heart is going to explode any minute. To his terror, he feels tears leaking from his treacherous eyes. He quickly closes them, but John has already noticed. John notices everything.
“Don’t cry, sweetheart. Don’t cry, I’m here now.“ John whispers over and over, while Sherlock tries to calm himself down.
“Yes, I am just… overwhelmed." Sherlock stops to gesticulate at the scene. " You are here, and I love you so much.“ Sherlock says back, his voice wavering a bit.
“Love you too, darling.“ Sherlock has missed John’s lovely nicknames for him.
“Is that the boyfriend you are always talking our ears off, Watson?“ One soldiers yells, and both Sherlock and John blush. "Sherlock Holmes, you are a lucky man!" Someone else shouts.
Sherlock notices a few tears appearing in John’s eyes and kisses him gently on the mouth. John kisses back enthusiastingly, but soon stops.
“Sherlock, I would love to carry you right into our bed, but this cactus is poking right into my stomach.“ John says and carefully sets Sherlock back down. Sherlock glares at the cactus. He should have picked a different flower.
John picks up his large bag and Sherlock takes the dropped poster. Their hands find each other, and Sherlock wants to cry again at the familiar feeling of it. John’s shirt is already tear-stained though, so he forces himself not to.
They make their way out of the airport, and Sherlock decides that their reunion was much more romantic than anything Love Actually could come up with.
Chapter 15: Day 15: Scars
Sherlock and John talk in the bathtub.
A bathtub is a wonderful place to be, whether it is on a quiet Sunday evening or after a long, hard day at work. It can be a place of relaxation, with soft music in the background, or a place of heavy kissing and petting.
Of course, Sherlock and John do all of that. For John, nothing is better than laying in the hot water for hours, maybe reading the latest crime novel. Sherlock loves to experiment with various shampoos and different scents. They kiss in the bathtub, cuddle together and on one memorable occasion had sex in the bathtub, which ended with a lot of bruising on Sherlock’s back.
Today though, they will do something different.
John has prepared the water and Sherlock has mixed the different shampoos (strawberry and peaches, their favourite). They had solved their latest serial killer case this afternoon, after a long chase through London’s back alleys. It was a week full of rain and grey clothes, and Sherlock could feel his shoulder hurt more than usual after a night spent at Lestrade’s office. Sherlock was not able to run as much as he usually does, because the bullet wound Mary gave him burns like iron today.
John starts carefully unbuttoning Sherlock’s blue shirt and Sherlock helps John out of his brown jumper. They undress each other with gentle movements and brushing hands. John slips into the bathtub first and leans against the wall. Sherlock climbs in and leans his back against John’s chest. He puts his head against John’s not injured shoulder. They have decided to skip the music today and just listening to each other.
Sherlock starts first. He sits up and shuffles into John’s lap. He puts some massages shampoo in his hands and starts massaging John’s shoulder and upper body. The two men look at each other, both grateful that they are sharing this moment, that they are alive, but also mindful of the circumstances that happened on this way and the impact the events had on them.
Sherlock is done and washes the shampoo away. He brushes a few kisses on the long, ugly scar on John’s shoulder. John closes his eyes, remembering how his other partners had mostly opted to ignore his scar altogether, while Sherlock is cherishing it. This scar brought John back to London, although very reluctantly at first, and then it brought him to St. Barts Hospital and Sherlock Holmes.
The rest is their shared history.
“Sit back down.“ John whispers, and Sherlock leans back. John shuffles himself a bit up, so he can reach Sherlock’s scarred back better. John lets his warm hands slowly wander over each one of them. He touches Sherlock like he is made out of priceless porcelain, and today, Sherlock allows himself to enjoy it.
Sherlock can not describe how much he loves this man. Under John’s touch, they stop itching, no matter how much it rains.
Then, the last one. The one scar they rarely mention. Sherlock has talked about his made inflicted through torture in a cold chamber in East Europe, with a therapist, John and once Mrs. Hudson. The nightmares and flashbacks will probably never truly disappear, but it is with his hard emotional work manageable now.
John’s fingers brush over the round scar and Sherlock’s whole body shutters in discomfort. The rain has not stopped falling yet.
“I will never forgive myself for this.“ John whispers. His head is pressed against Sherlock’s upper body.
“It was not your fault.“
“I married her.“
“Nobody knew. She even fooled Mycroft.“
John lets out a heavy, painful sign. He remembers the agonizing night at the hospital, when the doctors operated on Sherlock, while John had to slurp terrible coffee and wait.
“It is over, she is gone.“ Sherlock whispers. They spent another few minutes in the cooling bathtub, then get out and dry themselves.
“Do you fancy Thai for dinner?“ Sherlock asks, and John accepts gratefully. They spent a wonderful evening on the sofa together, the clouds wander away and the stars are shining.
Chapter 16: Day 16: Pinned Down
Sherlock and John confront Magnussen.
Trigger Warnings: Attempted Rape/Non-Con, Creepy Behavior, Cold Blooded Murder
John Watson was sitting on Charles Augustus Magnussen couch and waited. A guard was standing by the door with his back to John. The guard knows that John is no danger to anyone at the moment. Three empty glasses of scotch are standing in front of him on the glass table.
It was the morning of Christmas Day and at first it all went according to plan. Sherlock drugged all the Christmas party guests and stole Mycroft’s laptop, exactly as his brother expected. He and John had cooked up a plan months ago, while John lived at Baker Street to care for a slowly recovering Sherlock. John was to go along with Sherlock’s plan and get all the information Magnussen has on Mary, so that Mycroft could properly arrest her and try Mary for her numerous crimes.
After they arrived at Magnussen’s large villa, it soon went downhill. They learned that Magnussen had no actual files, it was all in his own, criminal mind palace. And Magnussen was not interested in information about Mycroft either. Magnussen was only interested in one thing, and that was Sherlock.
Magnussen had brushed his hands against Sherlock’s left cheek, and John wished to rip his entire arm out.
“It is not every day Mycroft Holmes’s virginal brother steps voluntarily over my doorstep.“ He had said with his disgustingly low voice.
Sherlock was lost for words and John was quietly seething.
“Let’s celebrate this evening. After all, it is Christmas.“ Magnussen had said and send the guard to get them a bottle of scotch and three glasses.
“I don’t drink.“ Sherlock had said while Magnussen filled their glasses.
“You will today. This is a business transaction, and it is only proper to celebrate a signed contract.“ Magnussen drawls.
“What contract?“ John asks, and Magnussen stares at him as if he forgot John is in the room too.
I will make sure you will remember me, John thinks now hatefully.
“Sherlock here has stolen top secret government information and brought it to me, who own the British press. Big brother will not be happy about that, correct? And poor pregnant Mary Morstan, waiting at home and hoping no relatives of her victims will go after her.“ Magnussen sighs dramatically. “I think, if I were Sherlock Holmes at the moment, I would be scared to death.“
John did not dare to look at Sherlock. At least Magnussen does not know that John knows that Mary is definitely not pregnant. Maybe that secret will help John.
“What do you want?“ Sherlock asks. His voice is defeated, his shoulders drawn. Game over for Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.
“You. For one night. Doctor Watson can stay downstairs.“ The hungry look in Magnussen face leaves no doubt about what his words mean. John wants to thrown up.
He watches helplessly as the two men clink their glasses together and drink the scotch. John notices Sherlock’s hand shaking.
Sacrificing himself for what he believes is a worthy cause.
“Drink your scotch too, Doctor Watson.“ Magnussen orders. John can not taste the no doubt expensive alcohol at all. His head is drumming with panic. He could grab Sherlock and end this right now, but then, what would happen to Mycroft and the whole British government? Can Magnussen topple whole empires?
There is a sound falling down the ceiling, right to John’s feet. The sound rips John’s heart out and stomps on his lungs. Sherlock Holmes is screaming above him and hearing that pain is so unnatural and wrong in John Watson’s world that he can no longer pretend to care about his and Mycroft’s and his plan, Mary or-whatever-her-name-is and the whole of the United Kingdom. He walks purposelessly up to the security man and knocks him out in three seconds with two well-placed punches. That’s that taken care off.
Next, John storms up the endless stairs, wrestling his gun out of his trousers while running. The first two doors are just a closet and a bathroom. The third door is closed, but after hearing another scream by Sherlock a fucking closed door is not going to stop John from entering. He just shots away the lock and goes in.
The sight awaiting him takes his breath away. Sherlock is spread out a gigantic bed, nearly completely naked, with his white shirt ripped open and his trousers are at his knees. Sherlock’s eyes shine like a deer in the flash light, and the approaching car is Magnussen, who is kneeling over him.
There are scratches on Sherlock’s chest, and his lip is bleeding. Magnussen has the audacity to react surprised.
“Something wrong, Doctor Watson?“ He drawls with his hateful voice and then touches Sherlock’s cheek. Sherlock flinches, whimpering, and John explodes. He jumps over the bed, rips Magnussen to the ground, ignores the suddenly scared shitless man and
shoots him right into head without a second of hesitation.
It is over.
Except, it is not, because John can hear Mycroft’s helicopter and Sherlock is gasping breathlessly on the bed. And Britain’s most powerful media mogul is dead at his feet.
Shit, John thinks. What has he done?
Chapter 17: Day 18: Muffled Scream
Sherlock is cursed by Moriarty.
I have been severely neglected these short stories this week and am now trying to write at least 2-3 more stories this month, so naturally I will skip a few prompts.
They had learned about the three Unforgivable Curses in Defence against the Dark Arts in their fifth year at Hogwarts. Gryffindors and Ravenclaws shared the class, so naturally Sherlock and John had huddled together in the last row, silently discussing the three curses.
“I think the Imperius Curse would be the worst. Someone else taking your will away and forcing you to do whatever they want…“ Sherlock shudders.
“What about the Cruciatus Curse?“ John asks. “Living through unimaginable pain, over and over. I do not even want to think about it.“
Oh, John. How naive they were.
“Crucio!“ Moriarty is standing above him, pointing his wand repeatedly at him. And Sherlock screams, every time. His voice is getting horse, his limbs lose their feelings, he has bitten through his tongue and everything hurts.
They are inside the seaside cave, where Jim Moriarty, his classmate from Slytherin, has decided to drag him (Moriarty had always been fascinated with the story around Lord Voldemort). They are going to miss their final exam in Divination, but Moriarty does not appear to care much about that.
“You really thought you could stop me, Sherlock? Look at you, crying on the ground. I do not think your brother would be very proud of you at the moment.“ Moriarty kneels down to the rapidly breathing Sherlock and grins down at him.
Sherlock can not find the strength in him to answer, so he just spits Moriarty right into his stupid, snake-like face. The other student draws back and rubs his face, irritated.
“What a fine act you have chosen as your last. Let us turn your brain into mush now, shall we?“ Moriarty smiles and points his wand again.
Sherlock remembers the first time he rode on a broom, with John calling out to him from the sky.
The first train ride to Hogwarts, where John Watson quite involuntarily entered Sherlock Holmes cabin, and then decided to never leave.
Sherlock can hear his own muffled screams echoing through the damp place. He forces his last bit of strength back to his mind-palace, reliving all the good memories he has collected over the years at Hogwarts. It is getting more difficult to remember.
And now his and Moriarty’s screams fit together in one loud crescendo, and Sherlock loses himself. He dives to deep, until it is only him and the imaginative John, together in their favourite vision of the Room of Requirement. Together, and at peace.
He screams, and the healing image evaporates, and it is only his quivering body and Moriarty’s grimace, as the other student is blown away by a different curse from a different wizard. Moriarty is thrown deep into the black water. A furious John Watson is marching towards his fallen boyfriend, wand still raised, ready to blow the whole place away.
“Sherlock, can you hear me?“
But Sherlock can not. Neither John nor Sherlock can know this at the moment, but it will take months until Sherlock is able to speak again. The Cruciatus-Curse has stolen his voice, and he will need time to get his health back. It will happen in a year, but at this moment in the cave this seems far away.
“The others are on their way, don’t worry.“ John holds his breathing but otherwise lifeless body of Sherlock in his arms and wishes for Moriarty to appear again, so he can drown him properly.
Chapter 18: Day 19: Asphyxiation
Sherlock and John break into Culverton Smith's house.
Who ever invited plastic bags should be in prisons. These stupid bags litter the ocean, the beaches and every pavement in the city, and right now it is fashioned into a dangerous weapon Culverton Smith gleefully applies.
“Take a deep breath, Mr. Holmes.“ The man purrs. Sherlock wonders if the serial killer is trying to be funny. Sherlock has not been able to take a breath in what feels like ages.
It should have been a simple case, really. John and Sherlock figured out that the prolific celebrity Culverton Smith had murdered patients in his own hospital. The only thing missing was written proof, which is the reason they broke into the man’s private flat in Kensington, a big penthouse with a great view of London. Not that the two had the chance to enjoy the view, given John’s head was bashed in and Sherlock had to surrender.
“Stop it, you are killing him.“ John begs. The doctor is tethered with ropes to one of the black, hard kitchen chairs. John is furiously fighting against the strain, kicking his legs. So far, without success.
“Ah, you see Doctor Watson, I actually want to murder Mr. Holmes. That is part of my plan, and it is going pretty well, don’t you think.“
John clenches his teeth: “Do it to me, please.“ He is begging in his frustration. Sherlock’s heart bleeds at the sight of it.
“Do not feel neglected. You will be next.“ Smith sneers, then puts the plastic bag over Sherlock’s head again. At the first two times, Sherlock was able to control his panic for a few seconds, but he is so tired now and immediately starts trashing around. There is no air, his chest is close to exploding, and he can not fucking breathe. He can’t breathe and Smith is fucking killing him, this time it is for real.
Smith releases the bag from him, and Sherlock pushes precious oxygen into his mouth. Through his desperate gasps, he hears John shouting at Smith. Watching Sherlock being slowly asphyxiated must be a gruesome sight, with Sherlock’s open mouth pressed against the plastic and his whole body convulsing. Smith had chained him right to the kitchen chair opposite to John’s, so there is no space to hide.
His gasps do not die down this time, and Sherlock would be absolutely scared shitless of brain damage right now if he could still think. There is no energy for that though any more.
“STOP IT, STOP IT YOU FUCKING MONSTER!“ John shouts.
“I have a fairly good relationship with my neighbours, and I would hate it if you destroyed that, Doctor Watson.“ Smith talks to John as if he is a child. A big mistake.
“Don’t worry about that, they will be far more worried about the ways I will make you scream.“ John bites back, his face purple with anger. Smith steps back a bit, although he tries to make it look natural.
“I don’t like threats. I prefer to keep my business clean.“ Smith wagers his finger in front of John’s face. “I’m afraid you have left me no other choice.“
With that, he turns around, ignores John’s repeated screams and presses the plastic bag over Sherlock’s curly head again. The panic cycle for Sherlock begins anew, but this time, Culverton Smith does not stop. Sherlock’s shoulders shake, his knees try to kick out, his arms are flailing against the restraints. Smith does not stop, and Sherlock is falling unconscious.
Which is why he is a bit confused when John is suddenly free from his rope and in front of Culverton Smith and wrestles the bag free from Sherlock. Through his shallow breaths and disappearing sight, Sherlock watches John kick Smith to the ground, pressing him down with his knee and putting the bag on Smith this time.
And John does not stop pressing until the serial killer is completely still.
Sherlock thinks this is all a pleasant dream while he falls into oblivion. Only two days later, when they are both back cuddling in their bed will John tell him what happened.
And Sherlock will be very thankful.
Chapter 19: Day 21: Laced Drink
Sherlock meets a new customer.
A bit more fluff this time!
There is a hot young man waiting in the queue for coffee, and Sherlock can not concentrate. He has worked at Mrs Hudson’s bakery shop for nearly a year. It is a popular meeting place for many students and also teenagers, due to the cosy tables and cushioned chairs, the bookshelves and of course the different hot and cold drinks. The absolute highlight are the cakes and muffins Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock’s employer, regularly pulls out of her oven.
In short, it is Sherlock’s favourite place. Molly Hooper, who studies at Barts, is also working next to him today. In the mornings, many students need a cup of coffee. They are either just starting their day or never went to bed, and everyone has to be awake for their next lecture immediately.
Now, he has a problem. The handsome medical student with the short hair is slowly moving along the line, and it looks like that Molly will make him his drink, and that is unacceptable.
“Molly, we need to switch.“ He whispers to Molly over the espresso machine.
“Is it Anderson again? Because I swear to god, I don’t think Mrs. Hudson will appreciate you trying to poison him again.“ She shushes back.
“Okay, so first, I did not poison him. He just choked up a bit. Second, there is the guy in your row and I really want to serve him.“
Molly turns half around and spies the blonde Sherlock is referring to. She is trying to look not suspicious, but in Sherlock’s mind, not unsuspicious enough.
“Do not stare at him!“
“You are staring at him.“
“We can’t both stare.“
“Fine, we will switch.“ Molly relents and shoves him into her place. The blonde is next in line, and Molly gifts him a reassuring smile, so Sherlock is sure he is forgiven.
“Good morning, what can I get for you?“ Sherlock asks. He puts on his best smile and hopes his face is not forming several double chins right now.
“Good morning.“ Gosh, the other boy has a wonderful smile. It lights up his whole face. „I will take a cup of Earl Grey, please.“
“For here or take-away?“
“I will drink it here.“ The man actually winks at him and Sherlock’s heart skips a beat. Is the medical student flirting?
Sherlock is so far away in his mind that he does not concentrate enough, and promptly spills the hot, steaming water all over his hand.
“Argh.“ He gasps and only just manages to not drop the kettle. The medical student is suddenly behind the counter and quickly leads Sherlock to the basin.
“We need to put cold water over it.“ The handsome (and now also caring!) man explains. He takes Sherlock’s red hand into his and opens the tab.
“Thank you.“ Sherlock stammers. Their hands are touching, and it feels very nice. If not for the spilled hot water, of course.
“You alright?“ The man asks him, concerned.
Sherlock nods: “Thank you, you already have quick reflexes for a medical student.“
The other man gapes: “Wait- how did you know what I study?“
Sherlock would love to explain it for him, but his shift has not ended yet, and he does not want to disappoint Mrs. Hudson (although, she would probably excuse it — she keeps telling him to start dating).
The other man seems to understand what Sherlock is thinking about.
“How about I stay there in the corner with my tea, and you come over to me in your break, and we will continue talking?“ He offers.
Sherlock nods frantically. This is going surprisingly well.
“I’m John.“ The man who now has a name says.
“Sherlock.“ Sherlock answers back, and the two students smile at each other (and Sherlock’s heart is fluttering like crazy again).
“You can sit down, I will bring you your drink.“ Sherlock says, and John goes to the free table, not without turning around and stealing a secret glance at him. Sherlock notices it, of course.
He hurries back to the counter and ignores Molly’s inquiries about his hand. Sherlock quickly finishes up John’s tea, and then pulls out the fresh chocolate cake as a present for John’s quick action.
He sprays a small message with cream on the cake and then carries the two items carefully over to John’s table. Sherlock does not dare look to see John’s reaction until he is back behind the corner. John is staring at the small numbers that Sherlock has written on it, then takes out his phone.
Seconds later, Sherlock’s phone vibrates. It is a message from a new number:
Chapter 20: Day 22: Hallucination
Sherlock is sold into slavery, but it is not all as it seems...
TW: slavery, selling of children
A reader requested a Slave!lock fic, so here it is. Don't worry, there is a very happy ending.
“Next up is a seventh year old boy from Sussex. He is moderately healthy, quick-thinking and will surely grow up to be a good-looking teenager!“
The audience of about fifty listen attentively to the auctioneer, who is reading aloud from his piece of paper. The small boy with the curly head and frightened blue eyes is standing next to him, his little hands bound behind his back.
It is a slave auction, and the small Sherlock Holmes, who has just lost his parents and his home in a terrible fire, is the slave.
“You can use him for simple housework, like cleaning or washing, or as a simple companion for your own children. We’ll start at 200 pounds.“
The auction drowns on, and Sherlock wishes he could hide his face in his hands, but they tied him up like a bad dog and told him they would light his fresh collar around his neck on fire if he tries to run away or talks. Sherlock is all alone, and no one cares in the whole world.
A few numbers are called, but the event quickly runs out of steam. Finally, the auctioneer knocks on wood and declares Sherlock as: “SOLD! For 450 pound. Congratulations to your purchase, Mr. Watson.“
The two assistants emerge and start dragging Sherlock from the stage. The little boy starts crying as the change the code on his collar and hand his documents over to his new owner. Sherlock had never seen a slave in his life, his parents had protected him and Mycroft from this medieval and brutal practice. A fire had destroyed all of that peace, and now Sherlock will never seen his parents nor Mycroft again.
Mister Watson does not talk to him during the car ride from the auction house to what Sherlock presumes is their family house. It is a nice mansion with a big garden, and Sherlock wonders what his task is going to be like. Dusting the bookshelves?
“I will tell you about your tasks tomorrow.“ Mister Watson grumbles as they walk through the ground floor of the mansion. He points to a relatively clean looking cupboard: “This will be your room for a while.“
The cupboard is dark, there are two drawers in it and Sherlock hopes he will get some clean clothes. All his toys and experiments vanished in the fire, and he misses all of it terribly, his gorgeous violin the most. A small mattress with a blanket and a cushion is lying on the ground.
Before Sherlock has the chance to gather his strength to ask something, Mister Watson closes the door and Sherlock is left alone in the dark. The little boy wraps the thick blanket around him and wishes with his whole heart he were back at home, with his family sleeping next door, with a bed frame, a full fridge and his bumblebee toy.
Fat teardrops run down his face, and Sherlock presses his face into the blanket to hide his cries. He does not want to make his new owners angry.
Time passes, and Sherlock has no idea how late it actually is. It was already dark outside when they arrived, and they did not meet any of the house occupants, so it must be bed time. Sherlock wishes Mister Watson had given him something to eat, his stomach is hurting from the hunger.
Suddenly, the door of the cupboard opens a bit to let some light in, and a small figure slips in. Sherlock automatically presses his back against the wall, terrified of the new stranger.
“Hello, I’m John.“ The figure whispered, and Sherlock realizes that this must be Mister Watson’s son. He looks not much older than Sherlock, maybe one or two years.
“What is your name?“ John asks curiously.
“I- I’m m-m Sherlock.“ Sherlock stutters.
“That is a cool name!“ John exclaims.
Sherlock does not know what to answer.
“Here, I brought some cookies with me, and the sandwich I saved from dinner.“ John tells him, and gives Sherlock the precious gifts. The stuff looks delicious in Sherlock’s starved mind, and he quickly wolfs it down before it can be taken away from him.
“Th-thank you.“ He whispers shyly and brushes the crumbs away from his mouth.
“You’re welcome. I thought I should introduce myself, because we are going to be best friends!“ John says.
“Friends?“ Sherlock asks.
“Yes, you see, Mom and Dad are not home often, and they can be not very nice, and I think we both need a friend.“ John explains. Sherlock is baffled by the other boy’s words. Can parents be not nice?
“Of course we can be friends.“ Sherlock says. He never had a friend, and he desperately wants one.
“Great! Listen, I need to go back to bed before Mom hears us, but I brought something else for you.“ With that, John presses a teddy bear into Sherlock’s small hands.
“He can protect you while I can’t be here.“ John whispers, then hurries out of the cupboard. Sherlock is left alone with a full stomach, a fluffy companion and the promise of a new friend.
“Sherlock, are you okay? Sherlock, wake up!“
Someone shakes his shoulder and Sherlock realizes that he has been crying.
“There you are, I was getting worried.“
“Humph…“ Sherlock mumbles and carefully sits up. They are lying cuddled together on the couch, the credits from their third Halloween that night still playing.
“I told you this film is scary. Did you have a bad dream?“ John asks worried and shuffles the blanket closer around Sherlock.
“Yeah… I.“ Sherlock has to gather his thoughts while John looks at him expectantly. “I dreamed my parents died, I was sold into slavery and your dad purchased me. You visited me on the first night in that cupboard your mother keeps her cleaning devices in, and brought me food and a teddy.“
“Wow, that is some serious fucked-up stuff. I’m sorry.“ John says and rubs his head.
“Yes…“ Sherlock sighs. „The only good part about it was you. You told me we should be friends, and I agreed.“
“Sounds like even in your dreams I’m a wonderful person.“ John smirks, and Sherlock knows he is trying to cheer him up.
“Shall we go to bed?“ John asks. “Your parents are still on their opera visit, so the bathroom is free for us. We could take a shower.“ John says and winks at him.
Sherlock gladly accepts the invitation, and the nice shower washes the last reminders of his bad dream away.
Chapter 21: Day 23: Bleeding Out
Gladstone is thrilled that his beloved owners are back home.
Gladstone did not really enjoy the last couple of days. Sure, it is always wonderful when Mrs Hudson gives him special treats, Molly cuddles with him on the sofa and Lestrade takes him to the park, but he has worried about his two favourite owners terribly.
Usually, Sherlock and John return from their adventures after a few hours. Not this time, and they did not pack their black bags either. Only John returned for a few minutes one evening, getting a new jumper and taking a quick shower. He mostly ignored Gladstone apart from a bit of scratching his ears. Gladstone could smell blood and worry on John‘s jumper, and he noticed his lips pressed tightly together.
Now, on the seventh day, they are both finally back. Gladstone heavens himself up from his preferred blanket at the fireside and waggles into their direction. Sherlock is leaning on a pair of crutches, while John is hanging up their warm coats.
“Careful with your feet, love.“ John says to Sherlock, who promptly ignores him to lower himself with a groan and hugging Gladstone to his chest. Gladstone barks happily, although his owner does not smell right. He smells sweaty, exhausted, and like the cleaning devices Mrs. Hudson uses to scrub the bathroom floor.
“Hello, Gladstone. Missed you.“ Sherlock whispers. His whole posture screams of exhaustion. Gladstone presses his bulky head against Sherlock’s chest, but recoils when the man gasps in pain.
John is immediately there and drags Gladstone away from Sherlock. Gladstone barks sadly. He did not intend to hurt Sherlock!
“We will go take a shower now and then you are immediately off to bed.“ John says, his voice sounding a bit cold. Sherlock does not dare to answer, and John partly carries him to the bathroom, with one arm slung around Sherlock's shoulder.
Gladstone knows he is not allowed in there, because he does not like being washed in the bathtub and always tries to scratch whoever holds him, so he runs of to their bedroom and jumps on the covers. Sherlock does not mind sharing their bed with Gladstone, and the dog hopes he can make up for his mistake earlier.
He can hear the water rushing through the pipes and John murmuring to Sherlock. Gladstone puts his head on his paws and waits patiently. He wishes everything could go back to normal!
The sky outside is already dark when the door joining the bathroom and the bedroom opens. John shuffled to the bed, holding Sherlock, who is wrapped in his favourite pyjama. John carefully puts him, then lies down next to his sleeping partner. He spreads the blanket over them both.
Gladstone snuggles himself between Sherlock’s neck and his shoulder.
“Shhhh, he is sleeping. We need to be very quiet.“ john tells him, and Gladstone wiggles his short tail in the air to show that he understands.
“He nearly bled out, right there in that dirty alley.“ John suddenly starts telling. “Just because that bastard shot him. A few millimetres down, and he would have never walked again.“ Gladstone feels his fur stand up. He does not fully understand what John is saying, but it sounds scary.
“Dear god, I can not even contemplate it. It would have killed him, never walking again. I pressed my hands on the wound to stop the bleeding, and he looked terrified.“
John takes a break. Gladstone licks Sherlock‘s cheek.
“I promised him I would stay with him no matter what, that I do not care about that, as long as he is with me, but I don‘t think he heard me. There was so much blood...“ John‘s voice breaks, and Gladstone carefully climbs around Sherlock to settle between Sherlock‘s sleeping body and John‘s. The dog scratches John‘s shirt until the man finally starts petting his back.
“Thank god, we are home, right Gladstone?“ John says, and Gladstone wholeheartedly agrees.
Chapter 22: Day 25: Humiliation
Sherlock is brought in front of the court.
The promised sequel to Day 6: Dragged Away.
TW: Public Humiliation, Use of Medieval Torture Device, Public Beating
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Sherlock Holmes has been John Watson‘s husband for nearly a year, and they have got quite good at being married. Sherlock is still surprised that he actually very much enjoys the sexual aspects of it. John is a very attentive and gentle lover, and Sherlock loves every minute thy spent together and every touch John grants him.
John may whisper love confessions in his ear, unfortunately, his many family members do not share the same sentiment. After all, their marriage is one of convenience, more of a political triumph and less of a romantic love affair in their eyes. Sherlock remains the pawn in the political game between the Watson’s and the Holmes. Sherlock is not popular with many of John‘s relatives, his quick mouth offending many, and they have been waiting for a chance of revenge eagerly.
Today, they will finally have it.
Knights from the Holmes have been accused of attaching a merchant on his way into the kingdom of the Watson‘s. John is on the way to the place of attack to hopefully solve this in a diplomatic matter, but his many cousins do not want to wait that long.
It does not surprise Sherlock when the five of them appear on his doorstep and drag him without any means to defend himself into their favourite place, the torture chamber. It is in the basement of the castle and terrifyingly cold in the winter.
“Take a good look at these toys, Holmes!“ The biggest cousin, Sir Walter, howls. “What do you want to try out today?“ The others laugh in the eager expectation of Sherlock‘s agony.
Sherlock lets his eyes wander over the Iron Maiden standing in the corner, the pillar and of course, the rack, right in the middle of the crowded room. There are no windows, and the air is chilling.
“May I remind you that my husband and your future king will arrive back home in most likely a few hours and will definitely notice when I‘m missing a limb or twice.“
“Maybe, but we shall not be bored until his arrival. There are other ways to show you your place.“ Sir Walter sneers. They shove him into a metallic chair. Sherlock squirms against their iron grips, but they buckle him down with leather straps fast.
“Let‘s give him a new haircut!“ The stupidest of the cousin (Sherlock never bothered to learn his name) yells and the others laugh in agreement. Someone gives Sir Walter a rusty knife that still has blood spots on it, and the knight pulls and cuts brutally at Sherlock‘s dark curls.
Sherlock presses his fingers into his palm to keep himself from visibly reacting. It is just hair, it will grow back in time, except John loves to play with it while cuddling and Sherlock will look hideous for weeks.
Don‘t think about it. This all will be over in no time and John will be furious and send his cousins to a long, difficult and dangerous journey they will hopefully not return from. It will be over soon.
“That should be enough.“ sir Walter declares in his nasal voice and throws the knife away. “Now lets stuff that filthy mouth of yours.“
Suddenly, something and very heavy settles around Sherlock’s head. An iron frame is set on his face, with two holes for him to look through. Then, another part is buckled around his mouth. Sir Walter pushes until Sherlock’s lips open with a gasp of pain, and something is slipped into his mouth, over his tongue, to hold it down and prevent him from speaking.
A Scolds Bridle. They have put a Scolds Bridle on him, to stop him from speaking and further humiliate him. It has been used on women who gossip, but has been abolished in the country for dozens of years. Apparently, the palace kept at least one of them. It is heavy, uncomfortable and is restricing his view. Sherlock has never hated anyone more. He can hear the others celebrating through the loud rushing in his ears.
“Time for the show to start.“ Someone announces and Sherlock is unbuckled. He immediately kicks in the direction of his captors, but they just jump aside and laugh at him. Sherlock’s face is burning with shame. What will John think of Sherlock when he catches sight of him, shamed and brutalized like this? It does not bear to think about.
Sir Walter pushes him off the metal chair and wraps an arm around Sherlock’s shoulder, like the mock embrace of a lover. Sherlock tries to protest, to get Walter’s touch away from, but of course no sound emerges from his closed-off mouth.
They reach the large throne room, with spectators standing everywhere. A loud gasp goes through the room as they spot Sherlock’s sorry state.
The King, John’s father, is sitting on his golden throne, appearing to be amused. Sherlock knows that no help will come from him.
Please, John, hurry up! He pleads in his silenced head as he is thrown in front of the throne.
“Your Majesty! Your trusted subjects believe that the Holmes have hurt our treaty. The hostage needs to be punished for the crimes of his family.”
“I can see that,” The King replies dryly. “What are you planning to do?“
“We will send Mycroft Holmes a message, writing it with his beloved baby brother’s blood.“ Sir Walter sneers.
The king signs. He seems bored. “Get on with it then, I don’t suppose this afternoon will get any more interesting.“
The men howl with laughter, and Sherlock is kicked in his side. He falls to the ground and before he has a chance to recover, someone else plants their boot in his stomach. All air leaves Sherlock’s lungs and he gasps. Large hands grab him and put him back on his feet. It is not a friendly gesture, because Sir Walter only uses his new position to rip at his clothes. Sherlock sinks back his feet. The chill of the room hits his bare shoulder, and he hugs himself. Another man kicks his buttom, and he nearly lands face first on the ground. The laughter feels unending in Sherlock’s mind.
“WHAT IS GOING ON HERE!“ An authoritative voice erupt, and it is suddenly eerily quiet. Sherlock can only hear his rapid breathing and John — he is back, finally — running towards his fallen figure.
“The men were keen to send the Holmes a message.“ The King drawls.
“And you let them?“ John is furious. Sherlock can hear the whispering of the servants. John is usually controlled and reserved in the public eye. Not today, of course.
John helps him up and throws his coat around Sherlock’s ruined body. Sherlock does not dare look at him through the Scotch Bridle. What must John think of him, completely falling apart without his husband by his side.
“You will pay for this.“ John snarls to his cousins, rubbing Sherlock’s back with his gloved hand. Sherlock imagines John sending them to the wilderness, so they may be ripped apart by bears. It helps to calm him down.
“Mycroft will pay for attacking our citizen.“ Sir Walter says back.
“The men weren’t sent by Holmes, they were dressing up as knights to make sure our kingdoms will be at war again. And since when do you care about the lower class?“ John says back. Sherlock can hear the King giggle. This must be amusing to him.
“Give me the fucking key for this monstrosity.“John says, his voice quivering with anger in every syllable.
Sherlock is unable to see it, but John must have caught the key. His husband leads him out of this hated room, but they do not disappear before John addresses the audience one last time.
“If any of you ever so much as look at Sherlock or even touch him- I will rip out your skulls. Do you understand?“
They do not receive a response, but Sherlock knows that his husbands means serious business. The couple walk through the hallway to their wing, with John still hugging Sherlock.
“We will get that thing off you, don’t worry.“ John says, and Sherlock presses his heavy head against John’s shoulder to thank him silently.
His husband has returned. Finally.
Tomorrow, we reach the end of October. The last chapter - Embrace - is going to be more fluffy and I hope it is a good end for this Whumptober collection!
Chapter 23: Day 31: Embrace
John contemplates his love for Sherlock.
The fluffy last chapter I promised! Enjoy reading.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Are you sitting comfortably?“ John addresses Sherlock worriedly. The detective is snuggled deep in his train seat, with the famous coat as his blanket.
“I am fine.“ Sherlock mumbles, then opens one eye to check on John. “How is your shoulder.“
“Everything is good.“
“Are you sure?“
“Yes, don’t worry.“
“I always worry about you.“ Sherlock says quietly. The sound of the train and the walking passengers nearly drown his words. He leans his curled head against John’s good shoulder and closes his eyes.
John listens to his slowing breathing. The train leaves London behind, and houses are replaced with trees and fields. John resists the urge to wave at the disappearing city. After all, they will be back soon.
The two are on their well-deserved holiday. October has been a difficult month for them. Or, better put, the whole year has been difficult. At first, John suggested a week in Spain or Greece, so they could catch the last warm and sunny days on a beach somewhere. Sherlock did not feel fit to fly for hours though, and in the end, they decided to stay somewhere comfortable and familiar: the little house in Sussex, which Janine has sold to them when she moved to France. Sherlock’s parents had stayed there the last week, to ensure the place is warm and clean. The weather had been good and the older Holmes enjoyed quiet walks at the beach. Margaret phoned John last night, when John was busy throwing all the books he plans to read into his and Sherlock’s shared luggage.
“The fresh air has awakened our spirits, and the smell of the sea is quite soothing for the soul.“ She explained to John. John agreed with her and expressed his and Sherlock’s wish for a relaxing week.
“Don’t worry, the neighbours won’t bother you, and the tourists are long gone. You will have the whole place for yourself. We left you two a full fridge and packed the kitchen cupboard full of your favourite treats.“ John thanked her profoundly and wished her a good night.
John is ripped out of his deep thoughts by a soft snore coming from Sherlock. He giggles and presses his arm around the detective, so they can huddle closer together.
The last weeks have been trying for them. With Mary returning out of the shadows, taking Sherlock as hostage, hurting him until he fell unconscious and then killing Mycroft with a shot in the head, well. They haven’t got much sleep. Mycroft’s funeral was two weeks ago, and Sherlock has just now started resting, trying to recover from years of neglect, drug abuse, torture, malnutrition and dangerous injuries. On top of that, John had to spent days laying in bed, resting his bad shoulder, which was strained pretty badly when he killed his wife.
He marvels a bit at how normal this sounds in his head, while pretty much everyone normal would run away screaming.
But then, they had never been normal. And John would not want it any other way.
The train is fortunately almost empty, with only a few seniors sitting in a corner, knitting. Seeing this reminds John of how Sherlock took up knitting himself last year. Sherlock claimed it was for a case of course, but John later found a purple scarf in his sock drawer. John wonders if the dog from the animal shelter he has his eyes on would appreciate the scarf.
The week resting in bed has given John much to contemplate. He drank tones of tea made by Mrs. Hudson and occasionally by Sherlock, they ate take-away and home-cooked lasagna and Sherlock brought freshly baked biscuits from the Café downstairs. Between the hours of eating and sleeping, John settled comfortably on his bed and let his mind wander wherever it wanted to go. Finally, John had time to think.
He settled on seven points.
First, he had loved Major James Sholto. He had several crushes on boys in his school and university time, but he loved Sholto. That is because John Hamish Watson is neither straight nor gay, but bisexual.
Second, he was in a deep depression after he was forced to leave the army. He was ready to shoot himself in his miserable flat. Meeting Sherlock was the best that could possibly have happened to him and still is. Sherlock gave him a home, a purpose, and a deep sense of friendship.
Third, watching Sherlock commit suicide was worse than any bullet ever could be. Mary was only a gauze for a bleeding wound, but of course, everything surrounding her was a big fat lie.
Fourth, John stopped loving her the second he found out she shot and nearly killed Sherlock.
Fifth, he does not regret shooting his wife. He regrets not doing it sooner, before she had the chance to hurt Sherlock even more.
Sixth, he loves Sherlock. He has at least since the first confrontation with James Moriarty at the pool. He has mourned him like a widower after his faked suicide. John came back to life when Sherlock returned to London. John is so deeply in love with Sherlock, he would without question throw himself into the path of every bullet. He wants to spend the rest of his life with the detective.
Seventh, John is going to tell him. Today, in the evening, when they are sitting in their holiday home and sipping tea by the fire. John will take Sherlock Holmes to bed tonight, and the train journey to their destination feels endless.
John wraps both his arms around the love of his life and embraces him. They survived a hard month, but they are still together and stronger than ever. Wherever Sherlock Holmes is, is John Watson’s home.
We have reached the end of this year's Whumptober. Many thanks to everyone who read, left kudos or commented, you always cheered me up and encouraged me to continue writing although my month has been exhausting.
I have something planned for NaNoWriMo (Sherlock and John working as teachers at Hogwarts!) and I will most likely write a Christmas themed Johnlock fanfic, so watch this space if you enjoy my work <3.