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Pull the Stars from the Sky

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Grammy Nominee in Rehab

Musician Sherlock Holmes has entered a live-in rehabilitation facility for drug abuse.

Holmes, 23, voluntarily entered an undisclosed facility on Wednesday after a reported overdose in a hotel in London.

The musician, best known for combining classical sensibilities with industrial metal, was nominated in 1999 for a Grammy award for Best New Artist. Holmes had just completed several European tour dates and was scheduled to begin a tour of the US in October. There was no word on postponements or cancellations.

"Sherlock is a smart man who has decided that a fuller life awaits him without drugs. He has chosen to seek out professional assistance and is committed to travelling a healthier road with the support of his family, friends and fans," Holmes' manager Emma Hudson said. Holmes, who lost the Grammy to fellow newcomer Lauryn Hill, made headlines with his scathing comments on his Grammy fellow nominees, particularly the Backstreet Boys.

--ABC Entertainment News, August 3, 2000


Sherlock Holmes was in hell. So far as he could tell, hell was boring, exhausting, and filled with a never-ending string of irritants. Nurses following him every time he left a room. Other inmates staring at him, talking to themselves. Talking about him, he thought some of the time. He knew on some level that this was nothing but garden-variety paranoia, just another symptom of the chemicals leaving his body, of equilibrium trying to reassert itself. It didn't make him any less inclined to want to strangle everyone in the room.

In hiding, in Nebraska. Mycroft had wanted to send him somewhere posher, but Emma said no. She wanted Sherlock out of the public eye, and for that much, at least, he was grateful. This was possibly the most humiliating experience of his life.

Psychotherapy was the worst. No. That wasn't true. Group therapy was the worst.

"Sherlock, why don't you tell us why you're here?" The facilitator—Steve? Scott? irrelevant—asked. Pale dishwater blond with a messiah complex. Lost a sibling—sister most likely—to heroin, now wanted to save the world.

Sherlock sat back in the uncomfortable plastic chair, crossing his arms in front of his chest. He was well aware that it was a protective posture. "As opposed to somewhere in California?" Humour, also a protective gesture.

Steve/Scott smiled as if Sherlock had been original. "Yes, but specifically, why did you choose rehab?"

This was part of the process. He'd read enough about it. He was supposed to admit that he had a problem. He gritted his teeth. "Cocaine. Injected. I overdosed."

Steve/Scott nodded. "And that made you want to stop?"

Sherlock looked around the room before answering. It was a small group, four other people. Even after two days he could rattle off their histories: two alcoholics (one of them catatonic, honestly what did they think he was going to get out of therapy?), one heroin addict (who was going to relapse the day she was discharged), and one prescription addict (he thought perhaps Oxycodone, but couldn't tell for sure). And him. "No. I've OD'd before."

"What then?"

It was so... ordinary and tedious. "I was bored. I need input, or my brain rots. Cocaine... fixed that."


"It stopped working." That was part of it, but not all of it. By that last night in London, he wasn't consuming cocaine anymore. It was consuming him. Instead of focusing him, the lack of it made focus impossible. His mind didn't belong to him anymore. And that was unacceptable.

After that, he stayed silent in group.

Not that it mattered much. There was still individual psychotherapy. At first he tried staying silent for the entire fifty-minute hour, but the pressure of speech was too much for him to handle. He sneered at the therapist. He analysed her. He poked and prodded and tried to find every way imaginable to get her to react to him.

She was good. He'd give her that much. No matter how incisive he was, she never rose to the bait. She turned all of his questions back on him, and then waited while he refused to answer. Before long, the verbal sparring matches were the highlight of his days.

But the boredom, dear god, the boredom. Given that he'd been taking substances to escape tedium, this was, Sherlock felt, not the best setting for him. Everyone around him seemed to be waiting. Waiting for the next group, waiting to go home, waiting to score again. A few of them, waiting to die. He could read that in their faces, in their body language. He supposed he was waiting too. For whatever came next.

It got easier when they let Mycroft send him his violin. It had been his first instrument (of many), and was still the one he felt the most at home with. Not only did it give his mind something to do, but it provided an excellent annoyance to others. The alcoholic schizophrenic from group, a dark-haired man with slight build and darting eyes, would watch him intently every time he played. He wasn't bad-looking, and Sherlock was so bloody bored.

One day, he stopped in the middle of Bach's Partita No. 2 and smiled at him. It was the smile he reserved for anyone he especially wanted to charm. "Do you like Bach, then?"

No answer. The dark-haired man blinked.

"Or is it just the violin in general?"

A silent stare.

Sherlock smiled wickedly, "Or is me?"

"Sherlock." One of the orderlies came by. "Please don't bother Rich. Come on. Why don't you come to the lounge to play? I'm sure the others would love to hear it." Rich, that was his name. He let himself be led away to the lounge, but looked back at the silent man sitting on the bench.

It was a challenge, a puzzle to be solved. Sherlock tried to engage him in conversation. Nothing. For his part, Rich usually responded only by staring. Which would have been boring, except Sherlock found himself trying to think of ways to make him talk.


John Watson was in the wrong bed. It was too soft, the position was wrong. The ceiling was wrong. He was lying an at upward angle. Railings at either side. Confused, his thoughts weren't quite in reach. It wasn't until he struggled to sit up that it all came back. Agony flared in his left shoulder, making him gasp. Everything hurt, pain focusing with sharp brittle light in his shoulder and his right knee. Fast-roping out of the Chinook, boots hitting the early morning ground. Tin roofs flying off the shacks of the West Side Boys' camp in the chopper down-draft. Shouting. Confusion. Enemy was half-asleep and still drunk from the night before. Should be easy.

"Shh, just relax, Captain. You're in hospital."

John let himself be pushed back to the bed by his uninjured shoulder. He tried to focus on the voice. There was a man there in nurse's scrubs, wearing a name tag that said "Bill M." He opened his mouth to speak, but a croak came out. Bill M. handed him a glass of water with a bendy straw. He took a sip—tepid, slightly bitter—and tried again. "What happened? The hostages?" His voice was raspy and almost unrecognisable to his own ears.

Bill smiled. "Mission accomplished, sir. All seven made it out safe and sound. You're a bloody hero, Captain Watson."

John relaxed back against the bed. Operation "Certain Death" (as a nickname it left a lot to be desired) hadn't gone that badly after all. Except. "How bad?"

"You'll make a full recovery, sir."

John waved his hand vaguely. "Not me. D Squadron. How bad?"

The nurse's smile softened around the edges then faded. "One KIA."

"Who?" But he already knew, could see the blood pouring out from under his hands. It was the last thing he remembered.

"Cullen, sir."

John's lips tightened, drawing down at the corners. "Wounded?"

"Three wounded, including yourself. You took the worst of it, Captain. Shrapnel to the right knee, a round through your left shoulder. It just nicked the lung, but you were lucky. You should go home in a few weeks."

Home. That should have been good news, but it wasn't. "They're sending me back to England to recuperate?"

The nurse's face told him everything he needed to know. They were sending him back to England to rot.

John closed his eyes.


"Johnny, why are you even arguing about this? You're my brother, of course you're coming home with me."

John sighed and shifted in one of the god-awful visitor's chairs. He was glad to be out of his room, but at this point, would rather have been alone in the visitor atrium. England was being England, rain pouring down the glass walls, the world turning brown as it edged into autumn. His knee ached, signs of what he could expect going forward. He was already tired of walking with a cane. He planned to get rid of it as soon as possible. "Harry, it's really very kind of you to offer, but you and I both know we'd drive each other mad."

"I didn't mean forever, you berk." She looked smart, as ever: tailored suit and strawberry blond hair in a cut that John would bet would come close to costing a week's pay for him. "Just come stay with me, until you figure out what's next." She levelled a gaze at him through stylish wire-frames. "What else are you planning to do?"

He scrubbed his hands over his scalp, grimacing. "I'll have my pension to start. I've got a bit put aside. I can find something."

"John." Her voice was soft, and he didn't want to look at her. He knew he'd see pity in her eyes, and he'd already seen more than his fair share of that over the past few weeks. "It's all right, you know. I know this isn't what you planned, isn't what you wanted."

"No, shut up, shut up." John covered his face with his hands for a moment. "I didn't fucking die out there. I could have. I didn't."

"You don't have any idea, do you? What you did—"

John sat very still, just breathing. "Harry. Shut the fuck up and listen." John lowered his hands and turned to look at her. "I'm only saying this once. A man died because I couldn't keep my shit together long enough to keep him alive. I came back. He didn't. And don't fucking feel sorry for me, either. I'm here. I'm whole." He paused. "I need to do something with that. Something worthwhile. I... I just don't know what."

She took his hand and he successfully fought the urge to pull away. "So come home with me until you figure it out. I know you told the MOD you wanted some time. Take it. I've got the guest room. Please."

John sighed. "I'm a horrible houseguest."


"I'll leave stubble in your sink."

Harry grinned. "Clara already did that."

"Wait, she. What?"

"Shaving her legs. In the sink."

John swallowed, suddenly struck with the mental image of long legs arched over ceramic tile and this was really not the way he ought to be thinking about his sister's ex-partner. It only got worse when Harry laughed. "I knew it. I knew you fancied her."

"Shut up. I've been cooped up in here for four weeks. Have some fucking mercy, will you?" John shook his head once, sharply, to dislodge the image.

"So it's settled then. You're coming to stay with me."

"Yes, fine," he relented. "But only for a little while. Not long enough to make me want to kill you." Harry squeezed his hand, which was as demonstrative as she ever got.

"With your training? Don't think I won't take that threat seriously."

They grinned at each other, and for a few minutes, John thought he could see a glimpse of a future again.


His therapist called it a 'family meeting'. Sherlock called it a nightmare. Mycroft sat in the therapist's office across from him in all his three-piece suited, buttoned-up glory. Barely thirty and he dressed like someone's grandfather. The corners of his mouth were pulled sharply down, and Sherlock could read resentment in every angle of his face and shoulders.

"I really don't see why this is necessary," Sherlock said as soon as the doctor sat down.

Dr Schultz sat her file (Sherlock's file) on the table next to her and smiled. "We've been through this, Sherlock. One of the most important factors in your success after you leave us is the level of support you receive from your family and friends." She glanced at Mycroft, including him in her comments. "Your brother wants to be a part of your recovery. It's important that you try to let him."

"Oh please. He doesn't care about my 'recovery'. He just wants the problem to go away. The problem, of course, being me."

"Sherlock." God, that oily-silky voice. Sherlock hated it. So reasonable. So calm. "We worry about you. Mummy has been just sick since you've been here."

Sherlock was on the verge of saying something rude when Dr Schultz said, "Sherlock, why don't you tell Mycroft what you told me, about why you were using?"

Sherlock crossed his arms. "So much for doctor-patient confidentiality."

"Sherlock, you're behaving like a child." Aha, there was the Mycroft he'd been expecting. "For god's sake. We just want you to get better."

Sherlock rolled his eyes. "You just want this to stay out of the papers. What's the matter, Mycroft? Worried that your disreputable little brother will cost you a security clearance?"

Mycroft looked at Dr Schultz with an expression that clearly read 'You see what we're dealing with here.' Rather than joining him, Dr Schultz murmured, "Sherlock, why don't you tell your brother what you need from him?"

"Nothing. He can rule the world without my help." Sherlock gave Mycroft a flash of teeth more than a smile. "And I can fuck my way through it without his."

"Honestly, Sherlock. This, again? None of us care whom you take to your bed. We just want you to be a little discreet about it—"

"Closeted, you mean."

Mycroft had his prim face back on. "That's an ugly little word, but—"

Dr Schultz interrupted. "Mycroft. Let Sherlock finish. Sherlock, you feel that your family disapproves of your sexual orientation?"

Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Of course they do. And my career choice."

"And was that why you started using drugs?"

He glared at her. "You know it wasn't. Cocaine helped me think, it helped me create." Mycroft tched and Sherlock turned the glare on him. They bored holes into one another for a silent moment, then Sherlock continued, "And then it didn't anymore. So I decided to stop."

"And you don't think your family can do anything to help you once you leave here?" Dr Schultz asked.

Keeping his eyes on Mycroft, Sherlock said, "They can stay the hell out of my way."

"Well," Mycroft said, rising to his feet. "Dr Schultz, thank you for inviting me. I'm sorry if this meeting wasn't as helpful as you'd hoped." Dr Schultz stood as well. Sherlock stayed where he was.

"I'm sure Sherlock will be in touch, Mr Holmes."

"Yes." The look he gave Sherlock clearly said 'I doubt it.' "Sherlock, please take care of yourself. Mummy does worry so." Sherlock gave him a thin smile as he watched Mycroft leave.


Smell of cordite and chlorophyll and copper-blood. Crimson sunrise/olive jungle. Radio-gunfire-crackle. Man down, man down. Christ, it's Cullen. Crouch. Stay with me, stay with me. Face pale and still already. Goddamn it. Strip armour. Find pressure point. Stop bleeding.

Rounds whining off trees, flecks of bark cutting into his face. Have to move. Stagger-carry. Out of the line of fire. Stumble. Leg numb. What?

Blood everywhere. Bleeding too much, bleeding out. John struggles to a crouching position, rewarded by a scream in his right knee. Leans on his left knee, puts all his weight on the chest wound in front of him.

Nothing else. Explosion of pain. Black.

Swim up from blackness. "Captain? Stay with me. Come on, you bastard. Look at me."

More distant, urgent. "Where's the fucking chopper?"

Pain everywhere.


John jerked awake out of broken sleep, the motion making him set his teeth against the pain in his knee. It was better than it had been, and with another week or two of PT he expected the pain would go completely. It didn't matter, of course. A simple piece of shrapnel had already cost him everything he'd been working for, ten years of his life now rendered useless. He swung his legs around the edge of his narrow bed, looking at the time. Not like that mattered either. Not like he had anywhere he had to be.

He scrubbed at his face, feeling three days' worth of stubble. 4:30 am. Too soon to get up. If he showered now, he'd wake up Harry. He lay back down on his sister's guest room bed with one arm across his forehead.

Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the tattoo on his upper arm, Excalibur wreathed in flames, with the words "Who Dares Wins" inked underneath. He turned his face away.

He couldn't stay with Harry for long. He needed to get his feet under him, find a job, go to school, something. Twenty-eight years old and the one career he'd wanted more than anything was over.

But he was alive. If he had just been a little faster, if the sniper had just been a little slower to pull the trigger, Cullen might still be alive. Cullen, who had a wife and two kids out there somewhere, a reason to leave the service, a reason to come home.

Fuck. John pushed himself up off the bed with more force than strictly necessary. He pulled the nearest pair of trousers and t-shirt on. It was still dark outside, but he couldn't bear to lie there anymore. It would do his knee good to go for a walk anyway.

And if he was really lucky, someone might try to mug him. Punching something sounded like just what the doctor ordered.


As soon as he got the chance, Sherlock finagled his way into a phone call to the one person he thought could help. "Greg. You have no idea how incredibly dull it is here."

"Hello to you too, sunshine. How're you feeling?"

"Bored. I am so tired of talking about drugs I never want to look at a gram of anything ever again."

Greg laughed. "Well, I suppose that's one way to get you to quit."

"I'm serious, Greg. Please tell me things are looking good for the tour." Sherlock settled into one of the awful plastic chairs and leaned against the wall.

"About that..." Greg paused for a little too long. "Sherlock, management wants me out."

"What? Why?" He sat up. His voice carried a little too far, earning him a glance from the nurses' station. "Absolutely unacceptable. You're managing, or I'm not going."

"Well, look at it from their perspective, eh? You overdosed on my watch, Sherlock."

"But that wasn't your fault, you're not my bloody babysitter."

Greg laughed, the way people laugh at things that aren't funny. "That's exactly what I was and you know it."

Sherlock stood and paced a few steps, running his hand through his hair. "I need you. You're the best engineer I've ever had."

"And the shittiest tour manager," Greg said.

"Call management. I'm cancelling the tour if you're not on it."

"Oh for Christ's sake, Sherlock. Do you really think you have much leverage right about now? They're threatening to pull the plug anyway. Did you forget where you are?"

"Yes, yes, I'm in rehab. But not for much longer." Sherlock stopped pacing, trying to think. Thinking was so much more difficult in this place, like pushing through muck. His eyes went wide as he thought of a solution. "Tell them to hold back my pay. All of it. Surety for me staying clean while we're in the States. I won't fight them, if you're on the tour."

Greg sighed. Sherlock could almost hear him shaking his head. "You're mad. Absolutely bloody mad."

Sherlock took a deep breath. "They'll do it, you know they will. They're probably already talking about it."

"I'll see what I can do. There's no way in hell they'll let me manage the tour though."

"I don't give a damn about that," Sherlock said. "Let them send along whatever stooge they can come up with. I can work with it."

"Sherlock, if this works, you gotta hold up your end of the bargain. One more screw up and yours isn't the only career that could go bust."

He half-listened, realising that he had an audience in Rich. He smiled, as much to the audience as to the man on the other end of the phone. "I can do this, Greg. If nothing else, I'll do it to take the piss out of Mycroft." His smile widened, and to his surprise, Rich smiled back.


Two days later, Harry came home with a smile on her face and a bag of Chinese takeaway. John looked up from the job listings. "What happened to you?"

Harry set the food down on the kitchen counter and started pulling out cartons and plastic bowls."Come lay the table," she said. "We'll eat first. Then we'll talk."

Suspicions raised, John went into the kitchen to do as he was asked. He pulled down plates from the cabinet and brought them to the table. "That sounds... like trouble."

"It's not," Harry said, taking a plate and dishing out a pile of noodles and vegetables. "It's brilliant. I can't believe I didn't think of it before."

"Oh Christ," John said, snagging a bottle of mineral water out of the fridge—no booze in the house, not anymore. "You're not trying to set me up again, are you?"

For some reason, that made Harry's grin twitch. "No. Not like you're thinking, anyway." She didn't say anything at first, paying attention to dumplings and rice for a few minutes. Finally she took a deep breath and said, "I may have a job for you. And you're perfect for it."

John raised his eyebrows around a mouthful of noodles. "You work at a music management company. I don't know a damn thing about music. What are you going to have me do, haul boxes around? File paperwork?"

"Better. Eat first." Then she refused to say another word about it until they'd finished dinner and done the washing up. She steered him back into the living room and sat him down on the couch.

He eyed her warily. The look in her eye was startlingly close to the time when he was twelve and she was ten, and she suggested they fill their water guns with holy water from the church so they could go vampire hunting. "Harry... what are you plotting?"

Harry settled cross-legged on the large divan and it did nothing to dispel the image of her as a mischievous ten year-old. "How much do you know about Sherlock Holmes?"

John frowned. The name was familiar, vaguely. With a name like that, of course he'd remember it. "Musician, yeah? One of yours?" Harry nodded. He thought again for a moment. "In trouble of some sort? That's all I've got, really."

"Not bad for someone who's been out of the country for the past year," Harry said. "He is, all of those things. Rising star, could be huge if he could get his shit together. He's about to go on a tour of America and he's missing a tour manager."

"You're joking, right?"

"John, you're perfect for it. All you have to do is keep things organized. Keep people on schedule and in line, make arrangements. It's a lot of logistics, but you could do it."

"Harry..." He shook his head.

She drew a deep breath. "John. I need you to do this for me. Not just because we need somebody we can trust—because god knows we do—but because I need you to do it. You need to get out of the country for a while. Get away from England." He started to protest, and she cut him off with a hand-wave. "I mean it. You need out of here. It's just for a few months, and when you come back, you'll have an even bigger nest egg and some interesting stories to tell."

"Ten years in the army, I have my fill of interesting stories," he muttered.

"Oh, but not like this." She grinned, and the devil-girl was back. "This is rock and roll, John. Come on. You know you want a chance to boss people around again."

He snorted. "I'm not saying yes. But tell me about it."

"Right." She swung her legs down and leaned forward, all but rubbing her hands together. "Travel around the United States. Hang out with a group of close-knit but dysfunctional individuals and get to know them far too well. Deal with the money, keep everyone on schedule. Just keep things going."

John pulled a face. "It sounds like our last family holiday as kids."

"But better," she said.

"All right, what's the catch?"

"You're right about Sherlock being in trouble. He's just out of rehab. We—well, we hope it took, for lack of a better word, but we're not sure."

John rubbed his forehead. "You want me to babysit a junkie."

"Maybe a little."


"It's not like you haven't done it before." Her voice was soft enough that he looked up at her.

"That was different."

"Yeah, I know," she said with a faint grin. "Then you had to waste your entire leave getting me sober. This time it'll be your job. John... he can be difficult. I won't lie." He gestured for her to continue. "The Holmes family, they're pretty posh. Sherlock can be very public school at times, although he pretends not to be. And he's a bit spoilt."

"This just sounds better and better." John leaned back against the couch cushions. "Anything else you need to spring on me?"

"Well... he's gay."

John's brow creased. "So? So's half your office."

Harry found the edges of the couch cushions very interesting all of a sudden. "And... he's rather aggressive about it. We've lost some good people from this tour because they couldn't cope."

"Right, so you're saying he'll hit on me."

"Likely. And John, I'm sure I don't need to tell you..."

"Harry." He nudged her with his foot. "Are you seriously about to tell me that sleeping with a spoilt junkie in my charge is a bad idea? Because I had rather tumbled to that already."

"He can be very... charismatic."

"And I'm guessing petulant and arrogant and rude," John said. "Not in my top ten list of traits I look for in a shag."

"No," Harry said with a twist of her mouth, "but drop-dead gorgeous and needy are. Just be careful, okay?"

"I'm a big boy, Harry. I can keep my hormones in check."


They met in Mike Stamford's office. John would have rather have met in Harry's, but apparently more neutral ground was required. So they met in the office of Harry's boss. For a wonder, Sherlock was seated the office when John arrived. He stood, and seemed to be going up, up, up, Jesus he was tall. Then he turned around. John had seen photographs of Sherlock Holmes before, and had read some interviews in hopes of getting to know his new responsibility. It didn't prepare him for this. He felt like someone had given him a good slam to the solar plexus. Pictures showed the pretty-boy cheekbones, glossy black hair and fair skin. They didn't show the shifting grey-green-blue of his eyes, or the expressiveness of his mouth—currently drawn into what could only be called a pout.

Oh fuck, Harry. I am in trouble.

"Sherlock," said Mike, "this is Captain John Watson, your new tour manager. John, Sherlock. Captain Watson's just come home from the service." They reached out, clasped hands, and John felt a prickle up his spine. Shit.

John expected his new charge to come in with a full entourage. But he didn't, just his former tour manager, Greg Lestrade. John took a liking to him immediately, which surprised him, since he was effectively taking the man's job.

"Greg is going to stay on as front-of-house engineer," explained Mike. "He pulled double-duty for a while, but that's really too much to expect of anyone, I think."

Greg grimaced, raising a question in John's mind. Some history there, then. Clearly it wasn't too bad, as he was still with the tour.

"A captain," Sherlock said. "Is military involvement really necessary? Are you expecting to lead a charge, Captain Watson?"

"Ahhh, no," John said. He tried on a smile and found that it almost fit.

"Have a lot of experience with the music business then?" Sherlock's eyes made him feel as if the man were crawling around inside his skull.

"Captain Watson comes highly recommended." Mike stepped in smoothly. "I think you'll find he's a man of many talents."

"Is he." John recognised appraisal in Sherlock's eyes, and mentally kicked himself for wondering how he was measuring up. "Yes, I'm sure he is."

Mike cleared his throat. "Gents, we've got some details to work out. Shall we?" He gestured at the chairs around the desk. The four men settled in and got to work.