Fic: BBC Sherlock, Schism, R

May 24, 2012 08:40


BBC Sherlock. Do not adjust your set.

Disclaimer : Gatiss, Moffatt, Molly's yours. John and Sherlock? Well, sort of.

John/Molly, John/Sherlock, Molly/Sherlock

Summary: You think you have a truth and then the next person has a better one, a more exclusive one. That's how wars start.

Rated R for adult themes of sundry sorts: consenting adults, war imagery and people being messed up in the head.

Word count: ~2,300

Post-TRF, because it seems to be somewhat compulsory.

Notes: beta par excellence mad_with_july - thank you. At least you didn't have to travel to the 19th century this time. Also thanks to stardust_made for encouragement and patience. First and in all probability last venture into the vast and deep seas of BBC Sherlock ficcage. Please call me a hansom cab when you're done.

It was a holy war.

No, not that one; not the George and Tony Show. We were there to do a job - stay alive, keep our mates alive Christ, what a joke: as if we had much say, make sure we thoroughly, comprehensively did unto others before they got the chance to do unto us. The Mission Statements were just there to give them a Teflon-coated reason to round up all the kids with no jobs and no hope, all the slightly mad ones whose eyes you didn't want to look into for too long, all the chronic enablers and the broken, compulsive fixers of other people's messes (yes, thank you, no prizes for guessing). Then they wind us up and point us in the right direction: safely away from civilisation.

Not the war against King Jim, either. Sherlock would never admit to having principles, let alone a 'cause'. Principles were for the hard of thinking: karaoke backing tracks for people too lazy - or too frightened - to sing alone. If he had a cause, it was being right, not being on the side of right. Me? I had a cause, yep, if you like. Sherlock being right, and trying to keep him just the right side of a line - the one that was always a stone's throw out of reach.

It was the war between Molly and me - between Margaret Mary Morstan Hooper and John Hamish Watson, neither of them winning any awards for sainthood. That was the one that started out as a pilgrimage and turned into a bloody massacre.

First sight of the enemy was on the pavement on Baker Street. She'd just stepped out of a taxi, hesitant in black, with a bright pink bow in her hair that took all the colour out of her face. Or, I dunno, maybe it was only storing it for future use. There's nothing like a woman in distress, looking washed out and washed up, who finds that for all her longing, her treasure chest is empty after all, for making a man like me think he's in with a chance.

I know, I know. John Watson thinking with the contents of his trousers. Again. Then again, why not? Isn't that what they told us we were fighting for - the freedom of women to do what they liked - and if that was what we wanted as well, then isn't everyone happy?


You want happiness, too? Come off it, that's just greedy.

We hadn't arranged to meet there. I was just finishing up clearing out. I'd collected most of my stuff the week after the...service, taken it round to the new place - a 'deceptively spacious studio' in Kensington, according to the estate agent. Someone's redundant linen cupboard in Paddington, more like. Mrs Hudson didn't even try to talk me out of it, which is odd, looking back. Trouble is, looking back, everything looks suspicious now. Everything except the one thing you ought to have been looking out for, if only you'd kept your wits about you and your eyes peeled.

Funny, that's what they said after Flinty Stoner stepped on an APM and they scraped his left eye and bits of his brain off the walls of the only working latrine in the village. Sorry, I just...just have to...excuse me a minute.

Fine. I'm fine, really; touch of stomach bug. You know what they say about hospitals: dangerous places, full of sick people.

Where was I? Molly, yeah. She followed me up the stairs and into the main room. She kept touching things, peering at them - Sherlock's chair, the wallpaper, the biscuit tin (not where we kept the actual biscuits) as if he'd left some code, some clue to the truth, why he took the fall.

It was clever of her, that.

Just as I picked up the last box in the kitchen - it smelled 'off', all bleach and tidiness - she came up behind me and put her arms around mine, pinning them, head on my good shoulder, taking care.

“God, John, I'm sorry; I'm sorry.” And she kissed my jumper and then my ear and then I dropped the box and swore like a squaddie. That last night, he'd come up behind me as I sat in my chair, a hand on my shoulder - well, you've seen us, he'd break his back getting his head down there - then he knelt, suddenly, put his lips to my ear and whispered “I'm sorry, John. Sorry to drag you into this.” and I'd laughed and told him not to be such a soft sod, that I wasn't so easy to kill, and he'd vanished to his room before I could get a proper look at his face.

Bugger. Sorry, sorry. Fat lot of good sorry does, as my gran used to say.

I spent quite a bit of time with Gran when I was little: we used to go for holidays there; Isle of Coll, up in the Hebrides. More sheep than people. Miles of empty sand, endless howling winds and the Kirk on Sunday. They had the real hell-fire and brimstone preachers, frightened the life out of me. Everyone was going to the lake of eternal damnation except a few. You could never be sure you were one of the elect, “predestined before the foundation of the worrrrld”. If you were faithful unto death, that proved you were chosen. By which time, of course, it would be a bit too late if you weren't. Catch-22. They were big on condemnation: Sabbath-breakers; Satanists; shove-ha'penny;the other Free Churches. Schism as a guarantee of purity.

You think you have a truth and then the next person has a better one, a more exclusive one. That's how wars start.

I let the box lie and I picked her up instead. We twisted round, kissing and groping like it was the sixth form disco. She hopped up onto the kitchen table, a fantasy girl in a film, encircling me, calves behind my knees, much more practised than you'd guess from the breathy convent-school voice and the pink bow. I ripped that off and the pony tail gave way at the same time as my legs because she put her hand down and squeezed just there and Jesus, it had been so bloody long.

Sherlock's bedroom door leads off the kitchen. Yeah, you can see where I'm going with this, can see where we were going from day one. I wish I had, wish I'd paid attention, observed as you might say. We fucked bareback on the bare mattress with the pillow under her, but not before she breathed in, deeply, sucking at the Sherlock-scented, Sherlock-tainted air in the room; not before she threw one of her shoes at the place where the mugshot of Moriarty hung by one brass drawing pin askew on the wall, sending it fluttering, falling, falling, to the floor. Not before I closed my eyes and conjured him, the Great Detective, mocking us, lips pursed in a twisted kiss as he deduced his way into our heads. We searched each other for clues, feeling for bruises, burns, brands, tattoos of him, breaks in the skin where the cannula goes in, wounding as it heals: delivering life, dulling pain, prolonging the inevitable.

As anaesthetics go, it was pretty effective. But I'm fairly certain you're supposed to feel something more than just a bit less tearing pain when a beautiful woman - and Molly Hooper is beautiful, if you only let her - takes you in so deep and gives it to you so strong that you're torn up by the roots when you come. But it was all inside, all of it, all the time, and I never saw it even when she looked me straight in the eye and said my name as it was the one she was thinking of. You can't fuck someone's mind.

Except the part where you can.

We disengaged, regrouped, retreated, said we were sorry. 'Sorry' again, that damn word. Promised each other solemnly that it was a one-off, a mistake. Heat of the moment, some half-baked psycho babble even Ella would have been embarrassed to spout. Transference, that's what she'd call it. I think that was even what we called it, giggling, taking the sting out of it, as if naming it gave us power. We're barely out of the cave, as a species.

Second skirmish: fresh start, my place. Wine and music and having it out in the open. Having it off in the dark, earnestly with a condom and proper foreplay - a march past, dress uniforms, not the real thing. I had to wait a bit for that - for the guerilla tactics, the booby traps, the loss of limbs, the dumb humiliation of surviving. The betrayal: for in the end all soldiers are betrayed, as are all doctors; there is, ultimately, no victory, only a temporary truce.

There are two ways to come off best in battle - be the best, or have your enemy make a mistake.

“If he'd asked me, ever, I would have. However he'd asked me. Still would. How pathetic am I?”

Wrong person to be asking.

“I did, once.”

She made the noise of a question in her throat. Curious, not scandalised. Resigned.

With the hand that wasn't tangled in her hair, I mimed a wank in the empty air - just about in the same space it had been, that one time - and shrugged. Why? Because he asked me. She doesn't have to be told that. We gave him whatever he needed, both of us.

We were back at Baker Street. No-one decided, we just were, and it was too far from the kitchen to go upstairs to my old room.



“Ah. Just the once?”

“Mm. Because, y'know, still not actually gay.”

“Right. Want to go again?”

“All right.”

She trapped that hand, the one that had served him, between her thighs, and had me bring her off with it first.

It wasn't until later, making black tea for us both before the early shift, that it hit me.

Still would. Wait. What? Either there were places in her mental landscape I didn't even want to think about existing, where she waited for him in some fantasy of reincarnation and second chances, or something about that didn't fit.

Then Mike Stamford opened his great trap, a stupid, off-the-cuff joke in that way he has, as if he wouldn't want to bother you with his clumsy chumminess, but isn't it just the tonic you need?

We were in the canteen at Barts, pretending not to notice the looks. The ones I still get: the “don't I know you from somewhere, doctor?” double-take; the shared head-nods in my direction “you know, Bob: the one in the paper, got taken for a ride. War hero? Got shot in the common sense, if you ask me”; the med students speculating on what exactly Sherlock did to make me his bitch. You'd be surprised how many doctors would rather read The Sun than the BMJ.

“That Molly, she's a dark horse, John, and I don't just mean the teeth. Know what I found on the floor of the lab last night? His card, that mandarin brother of his. Principal Private Secretary, no less. I don't know, maybe she's working her way up the family tree, still looking for a Holmes of her own.” He chuckled at his own wit, trying to get me to smile, take me out of myself.

As if it was myself I needed taking out of.

I wanted to punch him, but then I remembered what we'd done, Molly and me, and where we'd done it, and who was there, always, in the shadows on the wall. How she could get close to Sherlock now only through me, with me. How he'd trusted me: never Mycroft; hardly Molly, except to get him things. Mike never did understand, and it was just my luck he was one of the few people around here who wanted to be seen in my company any more.


I roll up at the Diogenes Club that evening, even so. He's there, of course, Big Brother - a Boris bike forever travelling between fixed stops. What I don't expect, Mike you bastard, is to see her. Dr. Margaret Mary Morstan Hooper and Mycroft Peregrine Holmes LVO, in confidential conference in the Strangers' Room.

I can practically see the hairs go up on the back of his neck long before he turns, casually, tight smile flicking on and off like a fluorescent light on the blink as he walks towards me. Meanwhile, Molly stares at me, at the oncoming train, with dull, horrified defeat in her face.

I've seen men look like that: after the diagnosis, before the mortar hits. If I looked into that dirty great gilded mirror over the fireplace, I'd see it there, too.

We talk, the three of us. Dire warnings of essential secrecy are issued. 'Explanations' are forthcoming. Saving me? That was it, was it? That was supposed to make it all right? Sorry. Not interested. It isn't enough, after all, to be faithful; you have to be chosen.

Apparently, I have to accept that Sherlock still knows best. I don't have to like it. I don't have to be here. Not now: not then, whenever he saunters back up those seventeen stairs again in glory to judge the living and the dead. He'll find a lot of things dead. He'll find a few things gone.

Molly? Sometimes I want to kill her. Then I remember he got to her first, as well as last, long before I came on the scene. We were both dying already, before, and knowing Sherlock didn't make enough difference; only prolonged the inevitable. Only made us dying believers, looking for salvation.

Everyone dies. Fact.

But not everyone in this church will be saved.


sherlock holmes, fic

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