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Post-S2 Series Continued: Called Out in the Dark, Part 2 [Jan. 22nd, 2012|10:41 pm]
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Title: Called Out in the Dark (Part 2 / TBA; Part 1 is here.)
Pairing & Characters: John/Sherlock, Molly; Ensemble Cast
Rating: Overall R or NC-17; this part is PG-13 or R-ish at best.
Word Count: 3,300 for this part.
Warning: Spoilers for Sherlock S2
Notes: This story broken into parts is the launching-off point for an interstitial series, but of how many parts it'll consist, or how many follow-up stories there will be, I'm not sure. I wasn't devastated by The Reichenbach Fall; if anything, I saw it as an outstanding opportunity for speculation. So, here I go again; in the absence of knowing what happens, I always prefer to decide for myself. Anyone who wants to come along for the ride, you're quite welcome. Yes, the title is yanked from Snow Patrol; cue blatant song influence, etc. Lastly, I apologize to St. Bartholomew's/London NHS Trust and the Metropolitan Police for using their actual email extensions (whereas none of the email prefixes in this story are real, or at least I hope they're not, as they're the names of fictional characters; my time in UK healthcare admin, which also entailed police correspondence, has taught me well).
Summary: ...[W]e just can't help ourselves / 'cause we don't know how to back down



John had been in the computer lab almost all afternoon.

His eyes had begun to swim with blurred text whenever he looked away from the screen; if only the walls were a darker shade, he wouldn't have to endure such nonsense. That week's Bulletin was overloaded with tripe and nonsense, particularly the Classifieds. It would take a lot of doing to keep from writing smart replies.

It would have taken a lot of doing to prevent Sherlock

“Knock knock?” said a soft, familiar voice from the entrance.

“Ah, Molly,” John said, rubbing his eyes. “Come in. It's been a while.”

“I brought you some tea,” she said, setting the Bart's standard-issue mug down beside him. “On the stronger side, no sugar. No milk, either. The bite will keep you alert.”

John glanced up at her in surprise. “How did you—”

Molly glanced quickly aside.

“Sherlock told me once,” she said. “How you take your tea and coffee, I mean.”

John shut his eyes again. “Sherlock knows—knows, no, knew—how I take my tea?”

“Must come of living with somebody for that long,” Molly said, her voice fading fast. “Oh, God, I'm sorry. Forget it. I won't talk about him anymore. I'm sorry, I won't—”

John wiped the tears from his cheeks and looked at her again, forcing a smile.

“No, it's just...he didn't even know how I took my coffee until recently, much less...”

"I can't stand seeing you like this,” Molly said, putting her hands on his shoulders.

“No,” John said, resolutely wiping away the fresh onslaught. “No, you needn't apologize. Certainly not to me. This loss, we share. You knew and loved him, too.”

John heard Molly's breath catch, and her fingers dug involuntarily into his scar.

“I'm not sure many people loved him. Liked him, maybe, or grudgingly admired him.”

John covered Molly's hands with his own.

“Don't try to hide it. Not now. You didn't, even then. Not very well, at least.”

Behind him, Molly laughed, but the sound was halfway between a hiccup and a sob.

“I'm going to forget you said that.”

“Why?” John asked, turning to look at her. Awkward angle, he thought.

Molly's expression was one he'd never seen; he'd been sure he'd learned them all.

“I'll say things I shouldn't,” she replied hastily. “I had better go; they're bringing me a few bodies after lunchtime, but...” She trailed off. “If you need anything, you know where to find me. It's an offer I once made him, so I at least owe it to you.”

John patted her hand and released it. “That's...kind of you, Molly. Cheers.”

Molly's lips came to rest on top of his head as she squeezed his good shoulder.

“I'm sorry for your loss,” she whispered. “I can't even begin to tell you.”

And before John could remind her that they shared it, she was gone.



* * *




Hello, Sherlock. How are you keeping?

M



*



I cannot possibly tell you how devoid
of entertainment this flat is. Send help.

S



*



Some board games for you and the lady
to play when she's off shift, perhaps?

M



*



Sod off. I meant more along the lines
of unsolved case files from Lestrade's
personal stock, seeing as the two of you
are so tight these days. You can even
take the credit for solving them, if you
like. My sanity is at stake; you've already
assisted in my untimely demise, so be a
dear, would you, and get me some WORK.

S



*



You and the Inspector share a fondness
for the vilest phrases. I'll do what I can.

M



*



Oh? So he's been telling you where you
can stick it, too? I'd have paid to hear that

no, wait, something's wrong here

You've been meeting with him? Why?

S



*



For your protection, little brother.

Why else?

M



*



Damn it, Mycroft.

Does he know?



*



Delete your last sent message. Now.

M



*



Right, sorry, no names. My bad.

Does he?

S



*



DOES HE?

S



*



He does now.

And, no, I will not tell you why.

M



*



You are a bastard and a half. You are
quite possibly the most prodigious wanker
in the history of wanking. I hate you.

S



*



Ah, memory lane! You were ever so charming at 15.

M



*



Shut up.

S



*



Gladly. In the meantime, you're to sit tight,
and I'll see what I can provide by way of
distraction, as I know you haven't the sense
to solicit any from your kind hostess.

M



*



Very low, Mycroft.

Very low indeed.

S



*



Delete it, or I will be sorely tempted
to make true the lie. Don't tempt me.

M



* * *




It wasn't until early the next week, until after Mycroft's inevitable shipment of distractions arrived in far too many boxes, that Molly returned from work one evening to notice half her kitchen work-top space had been colonized by the dodgiest assortment of makeshift lab equipment she'd ever seen.

And there were unwashed mugs all over the flat. Even one on the bottom stair.

“You could wash them as you use them,” she said casually, thumping half a dozen of them down beside Sherlock as he worked. He jumped, rounding on her with a glare.

“I'll have to redo the entire set of slides,” he snapped. “Thank you for that.”

“My, aren't you gracious these days,” Molly said, busy opening the take-away bag. “I've picked up tofu fried rice and chicken lo mein. What's your poison?”

“Not hungry,” Sherlock muttered, wiping several slides clear with a paper towel.

“Fine, in the fridge it goes,” Molly said. “Don't come fussing to me when Bacillus cereus gives you a nice tummy bug.”

“I doubt you see much of that in the mortuary,” Sherlock scoffed. “Hardly lethal in times like ours, and rarely found if rice is kept for fewer than seventy-two hours.”

His tone set Molly's teeth on edge. Then again, maybe it was that he'd been in her house for nearly three bloody weeks, and he hadn't done the dishes more than once. Twice if you counted the spill he'd just cleaned up. She decided she wouldn't.

“Speaking of the mortuary, I was wondering...” Molly paused; there was really no graceful way to broach it, but at least they'd entered conversational space that was beyond propriety, and she was out for low-grade revenge. “How did you identify that Adler woman? I mean, it's part of my business to reconstruct features, at least in my own mind, and I've seen some pretty sad cases, but she was...beyond recognition.”

Sherlock sighed, steepling his fingers, which meant she was in for an explanation he considered tedious and unnecessary. “First of all, you've clearly not been filled in: it wasn't her. Irene Adler faked her own death. Months later, she almost got herself killed somewhere else, but that's another story. I daresay that, wherever she is, she's annoyed that I've stolen her trick—if she's paying close enough attention, that is; if not, she'll think I'm dead like everybody else does, more's the pity. Second of all, given I made a positive identification on a body that wasn't hers, that's...a mistake. Yes, I've been known to make them; don't stand there with your jaw on the floor. Miss Adler was clever in her presentation, let us say, at our first meeting. She removed any and all markers that would have given me anything substantial to go on.”

“Such as?” Molly prompted.

“Her clothing. She walked in stark naked, and she'd also recently bathed—thoroughly, too, which meant that any evidence of the day's activities thus far had been removed. There was the fact of her expensive earrings, but what of that? I already knew her profession, which pays well. She must be very good at what she does indeed, as she'd been careful not to let any of her clients or lovers leave so much as the slightest mark on her skin. The body in the mortuary matched her measurements and similarly bore no marks, aside from severe trauma to the head. Obviously.”

Molly swallowed, felt her cheeks begin to burn. How easily he'd turned the tables!

“Were you one of her clients?” she asked, finally. “Or one of her lovers?”

“Clearly not,” Sherlock said, not bothering to stifle his laughter. “If I had been, I'd hardly have made such a glaring error. To put it simply, she's not my type. Not John's, either, if you can believe it; although he seemed uncomfortable in her unclothed presence, it wasn't on account of arousal.”

Molly cleared her throat. “Then what is your type?”

Sherlock narrowed his eyes, as he usually did, but didn't back down.

“Molly, if you fit such requirements, we would have been involved long since.”

Molly opened her mouth, shut it, and then took a deep breath. Truth will out.

“If you don't mind my asking, what is it about me...?”

“You're not...” Sherlock cut himself off, eyes widening. “Never mind. Not important.”

And he closed up again, quick as a wink, just like he had always done.

“I'm sorry,” Molly said, covering her eyes with her free hand. “I shouldn't pry.”

“No,” said Sherlock. "It's fine. Flatmates should know the worst about each other.”

Molly uncovered her face slowly, peering out between her fingers.

Sherlock was grinning at her, grinning like she'd never seen, and it was genuine.

If she never got anything else out of Sherlock Holmes for the rest of her life, she hoped she'd continue to get such amazed, delighted laughter. And she knew why.

Being treated to a bit of John Watson's private reserve was glorious.

Even if he was a bad flatmate. And an enormous git.



* * *




From: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 20:52
Subject: Right...

I feel like a fool for sending this, using an email account borrowed from your brother, no less, but here goes nothing. I half hope you don't respond, but if you do...

Is this who I think it is?

- G



*



From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 21:09
Subject: Re: Right...

Who do you think it is?

Many individuals have more than one brother.



*



From: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 21:15
Subject: Re: Re: Right...

Yeah, but not the bastard I borrowed this from.

- G



*



From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 21:18
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Right...

WRONG. Bastard and a half.

No other quantity could suffice (unless he's been hitting the Tunnock's).



*



From: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 21:23
Subject: RIGHT.

Bloody hell, it is you. If I so much as see your face, I'll smash it.

- G



*



From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 21:27
Subject: WRONG.

You'd only be doing me a favour, given the circumstances.

I've missed you, too, if you can believe it.



*



From: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 21:30
Subject: Re: WRONG.

Christ, don't tell me all this death-and-resurrection stuff has gone and given you a change of heart. I mean, I've heard about where you're staying. Really? Really?

- G



*



From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 21:32
Subject: Re: Re: WRONG.

Bit jealous, are we? But, then, there was Christmas...

I thought as much. Ha!



*



From: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 21:35
Subject: We'd better nix that.

You don't gloat as well on paper. Er, screen. You know what I mean.

- G



*



From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 21:39
Subject: Why?

Why are you even contacting me, given the risk, if not to gloat and to be the object of gloating in return? That's been the nature of our relationship from the beginning.



*



From: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 21:42
Subject: Re: Why?

Warms the cockles of my heart, seeing you all earnest and sentimental.

I'm writing to see how you are, you cock, and to see if there's anything I can do.

- G



*



From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 21:46
Subject: Re: Re: Why?

Beyond what you've already been assigned to do?

No thanks.



*



From: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 21:51
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Why?

Does the jealousy go both ways, or am I imagining things?

- G



*



From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 21:56
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Why?

Go away. You're a waste of my cousin's precious, limited bandwidth.



*



From: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 22:01
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Why?

Seriously, though. Do you miss your brother?

- G



*



From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 22:07
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Why?

I'm done with kiss-and-tell interviews.

(But if you'd be so kind as to keep the files coming, I might deign to answer.)



*



From: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 22:10
Subject: Deal.

Done and done. Do you?

- G



*



From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 22:12
Subject: Re: Deal.

No. I've seen his stupid smirk one too many times since this farce was set in motion.



*



From: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 22:12
Subject: Re: Re: Deal.

He's right, though. You must've been precious as a teenager.

- G



*



From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 22:14
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Deal.

I don't know; was I? You read the article, I assume.



*



From: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 22:17
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Deal.

No, actually. I didn't. Just skimmed it.

- G



*



From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 22:20
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Deal.

...thanks. I think.



*



From: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 22:23
Subject: Knew it.

Yep. Precious.

- G



*



From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 22:28
Subject: Re: Knew it.

I'll thank you to contact me only when it's absolutely necessary.



*



From: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 22:30
Subject: Re: Re: Knew it.

Fair enough. Speak to you soon, I'm sure.

Precious.

- G



*



From: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
To: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 22:33
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Knew it.

Scratch Christmas; I must've been mistaken.

You two were meant for each other, as far as I'm concerned.

Enjoy the scenery as viewed from over the expanding waistline, etc.



*



From: neverrainsbutitpours@yahoo.co.uk
To: andnowitrains@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 14 July 2011 22:36
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knew it.

Touché.

- G



* * *




John sat hunched on the sofa, scrolling through old texts.

He couldn't bring himself to delete them. Not yet, anyway.

(Or perhaps never, he thought.)

The door opened behind him: Mrs. Hudson, back from shopping. Someone else was with her; John could feel the weight of a second set of eyes, hear the other party's breathing in counterpoint to hers (swift and anxious, almost familiar). Mrs. Turner, perhaps? John didn't look up, scrolling on to the second-to-last message.


If inconvenient, come anyway.

SH



“John, dear, I do hate to bother you, but this young lady...”

John turned, knowing in that instant why the visitor's breathing sounded familiar.

“You didn't even invite me to the wake,” said Harry, with a solemn half-smile.

“Friend of yours, was he?” John asked, standing up straight, hands clenching at his sides in helpless indignation. “You and everybody else who read the bloody article?”

“Now, calm yourself down,” said Mrs. Hudson, bustling past him. “I'll make some tea.”

“Fine,” John said, standing his ground as Harry approached. “Tea. Just what we need.”

“John, you're a mess,” she said softly, reaching for his hands.

“Mrs. Hudson didn't call to invite you over,” John said, flinching away.

“And how would you know that? Deduction?”

John wanted to punch her; God, he wanted to send her flying.

He clasped his hands tightly behind his back.

“No, actually,” he said coolly. “It was because I told her not to.”

“Well, she's good at following your instructions. I called her.”

John nodded, feeling his jaw clench and unclench. Uncontrollable. Unbelievable.

“If you think you can go on like this, you're mistaken,” Harry said, taking a seat on the sofa. “Nobody knows that better than I do.”

“Yes,” John agreed, sitting down beside her. “I wish you'd save your breath.”

She didn't look at him, but kept her eyes fixed straight ahead.

“Well, Mum and Dad aren't around anymore to knock sense into you. That leaves me.”

John stared at Harry's profile. She was the handsome one, no doubt of it. Curse her.

“Oh, yeah. You've got sense by the bucketful, haven't you?”

“Far more than you have. Run around with that nutter? Nearly get yourself killed, and how many times? Character assassination by association? You're so far gone—”

“And I'd prefer to stay there, thank you!” John shouted.

Harry turned her head. She wasn't in tears; she rarely resorted to that.

But, ah, that look. She could still do it, and she'd use it without mercy.

“If you loved him, John, then maybe I'd get it. I'd just about understand.”

John let his head drop in defeat, staring at the neatly hoovered carpet.

“Harry, would you like to stay for dinner?”

“Of course. Your landlady's already invited me.”

“Tea's on, loves,” said Mrs. Hudson, bustling into the room.

John's eyes followed Harry's, and he understood how they must look.

Two peas in a pod.

And then: “Oh, dear. I'll just leave the tray, shall I?”

“Thank you, Mrs. Hudson,” they said almost in unison.



On to Part 3
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: jabber_moose
2012-01-23 04:16 am (UTC)

(Link)

Oh, god. I love the dynamic between all the character you have, here. How obvious it was that Molly wanted to just tell John the truth. The emails. The Molly-Sherlock dynamic. Molly and Sherlock's conversation about 'involvement' and how they stop themselves from finishing that conversation.

John is not going to be a happy man when he finds out everyone knew Sherlock was alive.

He's going to be an army doctor with a Very Bad Day
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-26 02:23 am (UTC)

(Link)

He has Mrs. Hudson for the time being, though. Or, rather, they have each other.

Thank you, and I hope to get the next part up at the weekend :)