“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world,
which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime,
and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.”
― Edna St. Vincent Millay
Author note: Part 5 of the "No Heart For Me Like Yours" series. This story contains quite a few spoilers for the rest of the series, so it would probably make much more sense to read the series in order, as it tells how John and Sherlock got to this point.
Thanks to arianedevere and the detailed transcript of “The Reichenbach Fall” at her LJ site: http://arianedevere.livejournal.com/
Many thanks to my beta, Skyfullofstars. Sky, thank you for making me stop and think harder about this story. It’s better because of you.
Disclaimers: Sherlock belongs to Steven Moffatt and Mark Gatiss, Sherlock Holmes originally belonged to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I own nothing. This makes me very, very sad.
Warnings: Sherlock/John. Slash, slash, somewhat graphic slash. Major, major spoilers for Season 2.
Trigger warnings: Suicidal ideation; references to previous abusive relationship, non-con, sexual assault.Please read and review!
Chapter 11: In Confidence
“This hour I tell things in confidence,
I might not tell everybody, but I will tell you.”
― Walt Whitman
Eventually, I recover enough to climb to my feet. I am feeling every minute of the last couple of days in my bones, and a long drive hasn’t helped any. What I need is a good, hearty cup of tea, my go-to solution for everything that ails me.
“Tea?” I ask, as I fill the kettle, click it on, and stretch up into the cabinet for mugs. Sherlock is abruptly close behind me (when did he get up? Silent as a jungle cat). He reaches up to hand me two mugs, as though I’m several feet shorter than he is, instead of a lousy six inches. Git.
Then I freeze, unable to move at all, as his breath wafts softly over my neck, and I can feel the warmth of his body just behind mine. It is all I can do not to lean back to close the gap between us.
I stand rigid, hands clenching around the lip of the countertop, searching for my self-control. Head, not heart, head, not heart… Warm, soft lips nuzzle against my ear, and Sherlock’s hands gently grip my upper arms, then slide forward to splay long fingers across my chest. I finally manage to make a sound come from my perfectly dry throat.
“Sh–Sherlock…what are you…”
“Mmmmm…John,” he rumbles, in the deep, velvety baritone that has always caused my toes to curl. My breath is coming in short gasps.
“Sherlock, I told you, I’m not ready to – ”
Long, slim fingers press lightly over my lips to prevent me from speaking. That rich, honeyed voice murmurs ever so softly into my ear again.
“We’re under surveillance here, John.” A soft kiss is pressed just behind my ear, then he continues in a bare whisper, “I have things I need to tell you – plans – but, I can’t just say them out loud. This is merely subterfuge.”
I stand stock-still, absorbing this information. Sherlock’s body is now pressed firmly along my back, and the warmth and strength of his body is enough to take my brain offline. Another breathy whisper jolts some sense back into me.
“You’re too stiff – anyone watching would know something’s wrong. Work with me, John. Relax.”
I allow my head to drop backward against Sherlock’s shoulder, turn my head toward him as though to nibble on his neck and ear.
“Sherlock,” I whisper rather bitingly into his ear, “don’t you think that this is one of those bits of information that might have been useful to know…oh, I don’t know…hours ago? It didn’t occur to you to tell me when we were in the car together for five hours, or even while we were still in Dartmoor?”
“I didn’t know until just before Mrs. Hudson came upstairs,” Sherlock murmurs back, his furrowed brow forming a line above his nose. “At that juncture, I had a few other things on my mind, like a feather duster, a table, and a startlingly hard floor.”
The man has a point.
“The surveillance,” I whisper. “Is it Mycroft? I thought you disabled his equipment.”
Sherlock huffs irritably.
“Mycroft is the one who alerted me to the other surveillance equipment. His tendency to play Big Brother has finally had a useful result. He phoned while I was waiting for you to tell Mrs. Hudson. It seems there is more than one set of eyes and ears on us here.”
What? I pull back a bit, trying to meet his eyes. His laserlike gaze meets mine for a moment, and he gives me a miniscule nod of confirmation – then leans forward to capture my lips with his own.
Those warm, soft lips, the ones I longed for so much, slip softly against mine, and I’m turning toward him and we’re in each other’s arms and we’re…
Sherlock feels the change in my posture and breathing as I come back to earth with a jolt, remembering this unpleasant little fact, and breaks the kiss, pulling me close as if he’s kissing my ear.
“Mycroft is sending a car to pick us up in an hour.” The vibration of his voice in my ear raises a trail of goosebumps on my arms. “Mrs. Hudson, as well. We’ll go to a safehouse for the night, and we can make our plans in a relatively secure environment.”
“How does he know we’re under surveillance?” I whisper into his ear, pretending to nuzzle against it. It’s not entirely a charade – I can smell that elusive, tangy scent that is just Sherlock, and I can’t seem to resist taking deep breaths of it, filling my senses with the essence of the man I love.
“It seems this flat has been under constant observation for months, John,” Sherlock replies under his breath, as he kisses along my jawline. “Moriarty was watching us, and we have to assume the surveillance equipment is still being monitored by Moran.”
“Mor–?” I pull my head back, startled. Sherlock lunges forward, seizes my head in his hands, and kisses me fiercely, silencing me. I’m feeling deeply confused, between the whispered conversation and the kissing, and I struggle to pull away. Sherlock pulls me close again, and whispers harshly in my ear.
“Don’t be a fool. Keep your voice down, they are watching and listening right now!”
Chagrined, I realise that I could have blown everything. “Sorry,” I mumble into Sherlock’s curls.
“Just be careful,” he whispers, as he tightens his arms around me, a wordless apology for his harshness before. “I can fill you in a bit before we go, but we need a location that’s a touch more secure.” His lips against my neck are driving me mad.
Sherlock turns to me with a broad, false smile.
“I thought you’d never ask,” he says loudly, as he takes my hand, leading me to the bedroom.
“What –?” I stop dead in the doorway, confused.
“You’re right - it has been far too long,” he says, as he pulls me towards the neatly made bed.
“Sherlock, I’m really not ready to…” I trail off, as I meet his eyes, that blazing silver gaze telling me to shut up and go along with him, damn it. I sigh and allow him to push me down to sit on the edge of the bed.
It sure as hell didn’t take long for me to go back to letting my deranged boyfriend have his way in everything.
Sherlock kneels to remove my shoes and socks, then reaches up to unbutton my shirt and ease it back from my shoulders. He sits back on his heels, unbuttoning the two sad buttons remaining on his horrid thick shirt (we really must get him another one), and peeling it off, followed swiftly by his t-shirt.
Wincing at the prominence of his ribs, but dizzied by the expanse of bare skin so close to me, I lean back to watch as he stands, toes off his thick hiking shoes, and sheds his jeans. He sits beside me, bending to strip off his woolen socks, then reaches for my belt.
“Sherlock, really –” my protest is cut off by a firm push against my good shoulder, which topples me back onto the mattress. Sherlock swiftly divests me of my trousers, then he tugs me up to join him under the duvet, clad only in our pants. He pulls the duvet up to cover us completely, and I finally understand what he’s doing.
There’s almost certainly no surveillance equipment under here. As long as we whisper softly enough, we can’t be overheard, and since we can’t be seen by any hidden cameras, they won’t be able to read our lips, either.
Or at least, that’s what I assume he’s thinking – until he climbs to lie on top of me, pressing his chest to mine. The sensation of skin on skin is almost overwhelming.
“Sherlock!” I hiss, panicked. It feels too good – I’ll never be able to use my self-imposed “head, not heart” rule if he keeps this up. He leans down to murmur in my ear.
“Relax, John,” Sherlock whispers. “The cameras will tell Moran that there’s no need to bother listening in – not when we appear to be engaged in sexual intercourse. He doesn’t have voyeuristic tendencies.”
“Who the hell is Moran?”
“Moran is our last target.” Sherlock pushes up onto his knees a bit, straddling my hips, and begins to rock his hips forward. From outside the duvet, this ought to look pretty convincing.
The trouble is, it’s pretty convincing to my body, too. The stimulation of Sherlock’s silk-clad groin brushing rhythmically against mine is going to create serious difficulty, fast. I seize him by the hips, pressing him backward, trying to create some space between us. Sherlock simply continues the motion as he leans toward my ear again.
“Everyone else of consequence in Moriarty’s network has been neutralised,” he murmurs.
Damn, that’s hot.
I know I should be horrified – “neutralised” is almost certainly synonymous for “killed” or possibly “indefinitely imprisoned by a certain Machiavellian older brother.” Yet, there’s something about the idea of Sherlock hunting down crime lords like rabid dogs that goes straight to my libido.
I’m fairly certain that I have a danger kink.
“I have a trap planned,” Sherlock continues, sotto voce. “We just need to get out of here for a bit, so I can get things set up. Then we can close our nets on Moran. But I need your help for this, John.”
Sherlock’s breath has become heavier, more uneven. As he rocks his hips against me, I am all too aware of the evidence of his arousal brushing against my own. I seize him by the hips, roll him over, and pin him down, hands gripping his wrists on either side of his head. Sherlock’s eyes, already dilated in the dim light under the bedclothes, darken to look almost black. His breathing is harsh and ragged. Doggedly repeating my “head, not heart” mantra to myself, I whisper harshly in his ear.
“Stop trying to seduce me and answer my question, damn it. I said, who the hell is Moran?”
Sherlock blinks rapidly, then sighs, murmuring, “Colonel Sebastian Moran, freelance sniper, formerly of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment.”
Abruptly, I can feel hot, dry air, see the blazing sun, and smell the honeyed fragrance of poppies on the wind. I’m leaning back against the support post of my tent, enjoying a few quiet moments of downtime, when the klaxon sounds, signaling incoming wounded. I rush to the surgery ward, start getting gowned up and scrubbed in.
“6-year-old female, GSW to upper abdomen, heart rate 150, BP 80/50 labored breathing, resp rate 24, 02sat 95%, afebrile with cool, clammy skin, signs of hypovolemic shock,” calls out the medic, as my patient is wheeled into surgery.
Dear God. She’s so small.
As the anesthesiologist prepares to put a mask on her, the child is babbling, crying “Ummi! Ummi! Baba!” I grit my teeth at the pitiful voice calling for her parents.
The hardest part of working at the hospital has been the sheer number of Afghan children that I’ve had to treat for gunshot wounds, for burns, for horrible, unspeakable injuries and trauma. Soldiers understand the risk, and have accepted that their lives are on the line. These innocent civilian children have no say in what is happening to them.
Now is not the time to do this. I square my shoulders and put my horror away for later, as I always do.
While we work desperately on the little girl, trying to salvage a lobe of her liver, the medic that brought her in returns to check on his patient. The charge nurse, Sadie, asks him the circumstances of the shooting.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. It was at a really posh house, y’know? An estate, I guess. Had its own grounds and all. Whole family gunned down; father, mother and three kids. She’s the oldest, and the only survivor.”
“God, I hate AK-47s,” bites out Sadie, bitterly. “These bastards find it all too easy to mow down everyone in sight.”
I frown, sparing a quick glance up from my patient’s abdomen. “This injury isn’t from an AK-47. It’s much bigger.”
“Nah, this was a sniper hit.”
“A sniper?” Sadie gasps. “I thought you said the whole family was shot!”
“I did,” the medic sighs. “Whoever shot her, shot her whole family, cool as you please. They were outside, no cover, and he just picked them off, one by one.”
Stomach churning, I turn my focus back to my patient, trying to block out the horrific mental images of a happy family enjoying the sunshine, then methodically cut down in cold blood. Now is not the time for this – I need to focus on the surgery.
One hour and forty-five feverish minutes later, after multiple transfusions, after doing everything we possibly could, I call it: “Time of death, 1721 hours.” I strip off my gloves, rip off the gown, and step to the sink, exhausted, furious, spent. As I’m scrubbing out, I lean against the sink, staring down into the drain.
I can’t do this anymore. I need to be where I can work on the front lines, as it’s happening. I simply cannot bear to wait at the hospital for patients to arrive anymore. I want to make an immediate difference.
The next morning, I speak to my superior officer about the procedure to transfer to being an embedded medic. She tries to dissuade me, but I’m determined. Sighing, she agrees to help me begin the application to transfer.
About a month later, just before I join the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers as their embedded medic, a news story breaks about an SRR officer, Colonel Sebastian Moran, who is being dishonorably discharged for murdering a civilian family. As a sniper, he was sent after a military target. Despite having a clear kill shot of his target, he deliberately massacred the entire family of the target first – his wife and three children, the oldest of whom survived a few hours before dying at a British military hospital.
I remember a little voice crying, “Ummi! Baba!” and I know who murdered the patient who was the impetus for my transfer to the front lines.
“John!” Sherlock is writhing under me, trying to break my brutally tight grip on his wrists. I gasp as I come back to the here and now, and release him. I fall back on my pillow, feeling trapped under the duvet. I throw the covers away, gasping for fresh air.
“John, what is it?” He reaches over to turn my face toward him. I look into his beautiful silver eyes, filled with concern and love, and something in me shifts, locks into place.
Maybe I’ve been thinking about this all wrong. Head, not heart is how Sebastian Moran might approach things. He is the sort of soldier who values calculated ruthlessness above all else. But…I’m a different sort of soldier. The kind of soldier who chooses to take a more dangerous position in order to make a difference – one who fights to protect the things that matter.
Sherlock has always said that he values my heart. Maybe it’s time I listened to it.
Right, then. Here we go. Showtime.
I lean over and whisper in his ear. “How long before Mycroft’s car will be here?”
“Maybe fifteen minutes…seriously, John – what is it?” he hisses back.
“I’ll tell you about it at the safehouse,” I whisper. Then more loudly, I say, “Come on – we’re going out. Let’s invite Mrs. Hudson. A peace offering.”
I jump up, pull on my jeans and shirt, and sit down to put on my boots and socks. I briskly step to the wardrobe and fling it open, surveying Sherlock’s clothes, still so carefully stored away. I pull out my favorite aubergine shirt and a pair of dark jeans, and throw them to him.
“Put these on. Those clothes you were wearing in Dartmoor are going in the bin – they looked absolutely ridiculous on you.” I can hear the tone of command in my voice, but I don’t care – if we’re up against Moran, this is war.
“Hurry up, Sherlock – we need to get going.” I step over to him, grasp his chin in my hand, and kiss him hard. Then I step back.
“I’ll meet you downstairs. I need to go tell Mrs. Hudson.”
A brilliant smile breaks across Sherlock’s face, as he clutches the clothes to his chest. He’s watching me like a crime scene, and it feels absolutely amazing.