Sherlock stood in the entrance hall of his Mind Palace. This was his fear landscape, his greatest test. Prove he was not afraid of anything, and the simulated landscape would release him. Sherlock was confident that he, of all people, would have little to worry about.
“Sherlock!” shouted a voice from a room far away. The voice was panicked, but that didn’t usually worry Sherlock. Nevertheless, Sherlock began to sweat and immediately broke out into a run in the direction of the sound. He could only focus on one thing.
He had to get to John.
“Sherlock!” John shouted again. Sherlock raced to the noise, but every time he thought he was getting close, the sound would take another turn and he’d run down another hallway. It was likely he wouldn’t get there in time at this rate. But no. No, failure wasn’t an option. He had to get to John. That was that.
At long last, the sound came closer and Sherlock slowed. All of the doors were closed. And there was no way to tell which was the right one.
Sherlock turned his head to quickly inspect each door. Obviously not the six closest to him. Walking down the hallway, Sherlock deduced away every option until he came to the last one. Of course it had to be the last one. As if he had time for that.
He opened the door. A sharp bang. John fell to the ground.
Sherlock attacked his murderer and killed him. In one leap Sherlock was next to John and begging him to be alive. “Wake up, John, wake up!”
“Sh-Sherlock?” John whispered shakily.
Sherlock’s heart lept into his throat. “Yes! John, it’s me.”
“Always remember, Sherlock. You did this.” John lay limp in Sherlock’s arms. Dead.
No. It couldn’t be. He couldn’t be dead. Sherlock tried to stop the bleeding and every other form of revival he could think of, but nothing helped. It wasn’t that he couldn’t be dead, Sherlock realized. It was that he couldn’t not be dead. He took a bullet to the chest at point blank range. Of course he was dead. And it was all Sherlock’s fault.
Even John had said so. Sherlock crouched still as a stone over John’s body, listening to the sound of his heart and wondering why it was so fast. Oh, right. This was an emotion. Sherlock sighed. So he did hsve emotions. He’d thought the landscape would be easy for him. Instead, Sherlock stood and walked out of the room. Out in the hallway, he calmly waited for his heart rate to go down. When it finally did, Sherlock was brought to the next fear.
He was at the hospital. Getting some kind of bad news. Sherlock payed attention. As the doctor said the words Sherlock’s brain started to spin and only a few of the words entered. Inoperable. Deep. Intracranial pressure. Terribly sorry. Options. Arrangements.
He was dying.
He had a brain tumor.
He was going to die of a brain tumor.
“How long do I have?” he asked. Dying. He was dying, this minute. He’d known he wouldn’t live to an old age, doing what he did, but he’d always figured it would be a bullet or poison or something. Not this. Not his own mind turning on him.
“A month. At the outside,” the doctor said.
Sherlock stood and began to stride out of the room. “Thank you, doctor. Come, John,” he said. But then he looked over. John was not there. Right. John was dead. John couldn’t be with him now.
As soon as Sherlock was out of the room, he leaned his back against the hospital wall and pressed his palms to the wall. His head he tilted up, and his eyes he closed. He was dying. True, everyone was always dying. But his death was more imminent now. And he would have to face it alone.
Sherlock cupped his hands and held them to his face in an attempt to stop the emotions. It didn’t work. He knew that the only way to get past this was to stop letting emotions take hold, but the funny thing about emotions is they don’t do as they’re told. They aimlessly scamper all over the body, affecting everything in their path.
There wasn’t really any way to take control of the situation, so Sherlock chose to focuse on his heart rate again. For minutes and minutes he stood there, breathing in, breathing out. He didn’t really have a brain tumor. This was a simulation. Breathing in, breathing out.
The hospital disappeared and a very familiar room in his Mind Palace took its place. “Why are you here,” Sherlock snapped. He could already feel his skin heating up and his muscles tensing all over his body.
“Oh, Sherlock, don’t be so obvious,” Moriarty said from the other side of the small, padded room.
“I’m not afraid of you. You’re dead.”
“That’s not why I’m here,” Morarty sang tauntingly back. “I think you know, don’t you, deep in your heart, Sherlock Holmes. I tried to tell you back on that roof.”
“Told me what?” Sherlock shouted. He didn’t want to believe anything Moriarty told him, but he already had an idea of what Moriarty would say. And that… And that Sherlock knew already.
“You’re me,” Moriarty whispered. “You’re me.” Moriarty broke out in laughter and wouldn’t stop. Sherlock tried to regulate breath and calm his heart, but he seemingly had no control over his own body.
He wasn’t Moriarty. He wasn’t. He couldn’t be. But, maybe he was. He’d been denying it for so long, but really, what was the difference between them? Sherlock had fixed on an answer to that long ago, but that answer gave him no comfort now.
The difference was John. John had made him better. John had made him human. And because of John, Sherlock was no longer Moriarty.
But now John was dead. And already Sherlock could feel his hold on the Moriarty inside of him slipping. Without John, he’d become Moriarty.
He was not about to let that happen.
“No,” Sherlock said simply.
“You can’t fight it, Sherlock. I am you. And you are me,” Moriarty whispered.
“No. I am not you. I will never be you,” Sherlock repeated.
“Why ever not? You can’t fight instinct, Sherlock Holmes, you can’t fight who you really are.”
“No. This is not me,” Sherlock held.
“Then what do you think it is?” asked Moriarty.
“A choice,” Sherlock said. The world around him turned a pristine white and he was dropped in the next part of the landscape. The morgue. And everyone was there. Even John.
“John? Molly? Gary?”
“It’s Greg,” Molly corrected.
“Greg. Mrs. Hudson, what are you doing here?” Sherlock asked incredulously.
Molly spoke before Mrs. Hudson could answer. “You’ve been keeping things from us.”
“Well, yes. I’ve always kept things, from all of you.” It was never a good idea to give any one person too much information. Didn’t they all know that.
“You were supposed to tell me everything,” stated John.
Was he? Should he have told John more? “That’s beside the point. Why are you all here? What’s going on?” Sherlock tried and failed to keep the subtle feeling of panic out of his voice.
“You’ve been keeping secrets,” Mrs. Hudson said.
“You threw yourself off a bloody roof!” John shouted.
“I did that to protect you!” Sherlock yelled at them. “I did it for all of you. I had to keep it a secret!”
“I think you should go, Sherlock,” Molly said, pointing to the door. Sherlock stood in shock for only a moment before turning around, and, holding his breath, walking out the door.
He was back in the real world. Alone, far, far away from London, the morgue, John, or 221b. Sherlock closed his eyes. It may have only been a simulation. But how many of his fears could become truth?
Category Archives: *Le Sherlock
Sherlock stood in the entrance hall of his Mind Palace. This was his fear landscape, his greatest test. Prove he was not afraid of anything, and the simulated landscape would release him. Sherlock was confident that he, of all people, would have little to worry about.
“Why did you take me here?” Sherlock growled at John. The buzzing crowds around them encroached too much on his comfort zone and consequently Sherlock was brusque… Well, more brusque than usual.
“It’s called a holiday, Sherlock. It’s what normal people do when they want to get away.” John managed to answer calmly, even though his patience was wearing thin.
“Half way across the world? With these… Americans!” spat Sherlock. The happiest place on earth didn’t seem so happy to him.
“We haven’t had a case in over a month now. You got so bad that you had Mycroft worried about you! He practically ordered both of us here, curtesy of the British government. You didn’t have a choice and neither did I, but at least let’s make the most of it.”
“Mycroft is a twit,” grumbled Sherlock to himself. Of course John, having heard all, rolled his eyes and chose to leave it at that. He and Sherlock both grudgingly got on the stupid ride they’d accidentally queued for and it started off. Suddenly-
It’s a small world after all! It’s a small world after all! It’s a small world after all! It’s a small, small world!
John shut his eyes slowly and breathed in from his diaphragm. He didn’t look over at Sherlock, but he knew enough to guess at what he would see. At least one of them needed to stay calm. As soon as John deemed himself calm enough to deal with Sherlock, he opened one eye and risked a glance that way.
For at least the hundredth time that day, John sighed. “Sherlock,” he whispered. “It’s not that bad.” Sherlock had curled himself into what almost looked like a ball and wore a scowl that put all his previous ones to shame. “At least look like a decently adjusted human being, and not a mental patient!”
After a couple seconds Sherlock began to uncurl. “Fine.” He sat straight up and folded his arms. The scowl didn’t change. With one last exasperated sigh John rested his face in his hand. Neither person moved till the ride was completely over.
As soon as John successfully got Sherlock to a more secluded bench area he shut down completely. “Sherlock. Sherlock. Sherlock? Sherlock!” shouted John. Thoroughly irritated, he practically fell on the bench and waited. Nothing else to do when Sherlock went to his Mind Palace.
Sherlock opened his eyes and hopped off the bench. “What was that about?” asked John.
“That song. It dirtied the Palace, so I had to clean.”
John simply blinked a few times and shook it off. As they continued to walk, that song continued to play though John’s mind without skipping a beat. What he would give to be able to just clean it out! Unconsciously he started humming it, much to Sherlock’s chagrin.
“John! That song! You put it back in my Palace!”
And thus began one of Sherlock’s daily chores… emptying the Mind Palace of It’s a Small World.
A/N – This is completely ridiculous. Seriously. I mean, usually I try to make my fics plausible headcanon, but this really is just silliness and nothing more. So yeah. Like that.
Murder. Again. Molly had seen a lot of murders of course, working in the morgue. After a while it didn’t affect you anymore, and you sort of just learned to ignore it and carry on with life. And these days Molly almost looked forward to murders.
Not because she was an evil person. No, Molly was the kind of girl who used Comic Sans and kept pictures of kittens on her desktop. She didn’t look forward to it because of the event itself. It’s just, it was murder that brought Sherlock back again. When murders came around, especially mysterious murders, Sherlock would come striding through the doors to investigate. And that’s what Molly really looked forward to.
And one had happened. The body was brought in at 10:00, and it only took till 10:45 for Sherlock to follow. As per the norm, he and John had immediately gone to check the body and then almost immediately after that had left again.
So then the morgue had been quiet again and Molly returned to work. That’s what always happened: He comes, he observes, he leaves. Occasionally he’d come back for another look or to use a lab, but mostly that was that and Molly would go back to work wishing she and John could switch jobs.
So she didn’t expect the running from the hall at 13:00, right after lunch. She jolted at the sound and turned to the door just as it swung open. “I need a microscope, a gram of sodium chloride, and a pair of tweezers,” Sherlock announced. John slipped in behind him and caught the door before it could slam shut.
It took Molly a second to register what just happened and to formulate the correct response. “Um, ok. Ok, sure, yes, um, you know where the microscope is, and the tweezers, and I’ll just go get the… sodium chloride.” Salt? What on earth…? But is was Sherlock; best not to question it. As Sherlock wordlessly sat down to the nearest microscope Molly slid past him and out the door to fetch that salt.
When she returned Sherlock was impatient and John was annoyed. All was as normal. “Um, here, Sherlock. The salt. I got you two grams, you know, in case you wanted to do- whatever it is, twice.” She set the vials down on the desk space next to him and walked away.
After a second, Sherlock seemed startled and glanced up at her for a moment before lowering his gaze again. “Thank you,” he muttered. It was only a mutter, and barely polite, but Molly’s heart still skipped a beat like it did every single time Sherlock spoke to her.
“You’re- You’re welcome,” she squeaked.
“He won’t be needing us for a while,” said John. Molly nodded.
“Actually, about that. I’ll need Molly to look through the deceased’ records and find the blood analysis.”
John intervened. “Sherlock, I could-”
“No, Molly needs to do it.” John looked at her and shrugged and Molly left to find the records. Would they even have a finished analysis yet? Molly tended to doubt it, but nonetheless she searched for it.
And searched for it. And searched for it. Sure enough, there was simply no record of blood analysis to be found. It usually took at least twenty-four hours for one to be completed, and this one was no different. She made her way back to Sherlock as quickly as she could.
“There aren’t any records yet, um, Sherlock. Not till tomorrow.” John was still leaning against the wall to the left of the door and Sherlock was still right where she’d left him.
He rose and started to her. Or, you know, the door. Or maybe John. He started to one of the above. But it hardly mattered what he’d started for, because he tripped.
One second, he was striding across the room, next second, his arms were around her waist. Molly’s skin tingled and her mind went blank. She vaguely registered John slyly pulling his foot out of Sherlock’s path. Sherlock’s skin was warm and soft, and Molly found herself enjoying the experience. Of course, it didn’t last long.
Sherlock’s eyes widened considerably and his face went as white as one of the bodies in the next room. He immediately pulled away and took two steps back just to be sure. The wall on the right side suddenly became very interesting to him, and he took a few long moments to awkwardly readjust his already-too-tight purple shirt before facing her again.
What to say, what to say? What could one possibly say after something like that? “Um, Sherlock, will you be needing-” she stopped at the same time Sherlock did. They’d both begun talking at exactly the same moment and cut each other off at exactly the same time. They both tried their best to ignore the John’s suppressed chuckles.
Molly waited for him to continue, and eventually Sherlock caught on. “John and I need to go out and collect some supplies. We should be back before 19:00, but if we’re not, stay here. The blood needs to be analyzed tonight.
Molly stepped away from the door. “Um, ok. Sure. I’ll be here. Yeah.” And he was gone. John lingered behind a second, and just before he shut the door behind him, he winked at her. Molly didn’t know how to respond, so she didn’t, and John shut the door.
The rest of the day flashed by before Molly could say “sugar and spice and all things nice.” Sherlock’s impromptu visit, and the events that had ensued, left her feeling fluttery all through the day. And he’d be coming back later. Well, maybe. He was Sherlock, after all.
19:00 came and went, and still there was no sign of Sherlock. Most of her coworkers went home and soon it was just Molly and a room of cold bodies. 19:00… 20:00… Molly yawned. The chemical high given her by Sherlock was wearing off. Hopefully he’d come soon. If he didn’t come by 21:00, she should give up and go home.
Molly watched the hands of the clock tick. 20:30… 20:45… 20:50… Come on, Sherlock… 20:55…
The doors of the morgue burst open. For the second time that day, Molly swung her head around to see Sherlock striding in with John behind him. As John again shut the door quietly, he nodded to her. “Sorry we were late. Murderers, you know how it is.” His tone was conversational.
Molly smiled. “It’s alright. Murderers can be that way, sometimes.”
“Terrible manners, murderers.” John grinned. Molly was about to reply when Sherlock cut her off.
“If you’re quite finished, the absence of your voices would be lovely.” Abruptly both Molly and John stopped smiling and glanced at opposite side of the room awkwardly. “As we’ve now got the necessary equipment, we can now commence blood analysis.”
Nodding, Molly quickly grabbed the supplies Sherlock had aquired and headed to work. Even with all the lengths Sherlock had gone to, making the analysis would take a while. Molly could expect at least another hour in the morgue, and she was already starting to fade.
An hour later, the analysis was almost completed, Sherlock was still mysteriously working with the mycroscope, and John was passed out in a chair in the waiting room a few halls down. Molly silently did paperwork and tried her best not to look like a fool in front of Sherlock. After that afternoon, anything would be awkward.
But, after fifteen minutes Molly felt that a little dialogue was necessary. “So, um, Sherlock, do you have any plans? For Christmas, I mean.” Sherlock made no response for several seconds and Molly nervously returned to work.
“Hm?” Suddenly Sherlock looked up and twisted his body so that he faced her. “Did you say something?”
“Um, I did actually. I asked if you had any plans for this Christmas. It’s December now, you know.” Did he know? He was Sherlock. Maybe he didn’t know. Maybe he’d erased Christmas from his Mind Palace or whatever.
“Oh.” Sherlock looked back down at his work. “Well, I might, if John weren’t going to Harry’s for Christmas.” Molly nodded and made an understanding ‘ah’ with her throat, but Sherlock kept on. “Honestly, Molly, he blurts these things out at the most inopportune times imaginable. Today, for instance, while on this very case he goes and mentions this! Can he not see? Does he not understand the importance of my work?”
“I’m sure he does, Sherlock,” Molly answered. What was Sherlock doing? Complaining about a flat mate, to her? Like a friend?
“I’m not so sure at times. Why don’t people just think? Why don’t they see? It’s all so obvious I simply will never understand how they seem to always miss the point.”
“Hm,” returned Molly. “Well, maybe we could have a Christmas party, before John leaves.”
“What’s the point? Christmas was always a ridiculous affair anyway.”
Even though Sherlock’s back was to her, Molly still turned away to hide the smile that was growing on her face. First Sherlock complains about John to her, like a normal human being, and then he goes on to pretend that he doesn’t care at all, just like a little kid. Ridiculous affair, indeed. Why, he said it himself, he might have had plans if John hadn’t made other arrangements. Maybe she should talk to Mrs. Hudson about that party idea…
Oh! But no matter! Molly picked up the right document from the pile she’d been going through. Sherlock needed this. “Sherlock! I found the papers you needed. Here,” Molly half-walked half-ran to give them to him.
Sherlock looked them over and made an annoyed face at the content. “We need an entirely new sample to analyze.” After a couple more seconds of scanning the page he added, “I’m going to need to stay here until morning. Give me the keys.” Sherlock put down the papers, kept his gaze on the microscope, and held out his left hand.
Molly scrunched her eyebrows and cocked her head slightly to one side. “I’m sorry?”
“Give me the keys. You are going to your place of residence since none of you lot can ever seem to go more then eighteen hours without sleep. It’s been nineteen already. I will stay here to conduct this other blood analysis and you will return tomorrow morning.”
Nineteen hours, he’d said, which would put Molly at waking up at 5:45. That was exactly accurate. She hadn’t gotten to work until 8:00, and Sherlock hadn’t come in until 10:45. So how could he have known that exact time? Of course, he was Sherlock. He’d probably deduced it by looking at the bags under her eyes or something. He couldn’t possibly have remembered that time last week when she’d mentioned it. No, he’d probably erased the memory or something like that.
“It’s ok. I don’t matter,” Molly said quickly as she passed Sherlock another blood sample. They were hot on this murderer’s trail now; she could stay up a bit past her bedtime.
Sherlock didn’t look up and placed the sample under the microscope. Molly started to turn away again, but Sherlock spoke before she could take a step. He sounded exasperated. “Don’t be an idiot. Of course you do. Go. Leave the keys on the desk.”
Molly stopped. Just, completely, stopped. What had he just said? No doubt he hadn’t meant it that way, no, certainly not. He just meant she mattered because she had to help him tomorrow. Regardless, Molly began to notice a kind of warm, feathery feeling in her chest, like Toby had curled up in there.
“Um…” Molly was torn. She could do as Sherlock told her and return tomorrow, or she could insist on staying all night. One the one hand, she was extraordinarily tired and it would soon start to show. On the other, staying up with Sherlock didn’t seem too bad.
And that’s when Molly got an idea. The idea that made her decision for her. “No, Sherlock, I’ll stay here. I’m fine, really. And you might need somebody. You know… to stay with you.”
“I’m not scared of the dark, if that’s you’re implication.”
“N-no! No, I know, it’s just… I want to stay.”
Sherlock shrugged and returned to work. “If you insist.”
Six hours later, at 5:30, John was still out cold and Molly and Sherlock had successfully completed the case. The rest of the work was DI Lestrade’s division. Which left Sherlock and Molly in the same hallway, alone together, neither with anything to do. Molly had that Friday off.
This was the moment Molly had stayed for. “So, um, Sherlock, I was just thinking that, since John isn’t awake yet and neither of us have anything better to do and we both stayed up rather late, we could maybe go get coffee. There’s a shop just down the street. And of course by the time we get back John would be awake again, so maybe we could get an extra and bring him one, and-”
“Yes, yes, why not, as long as John intends staying unconscious in the abandoned waiting room of a hospital. I’ve nothing better to do with my time. My only case has just been solved.” Sherlock’s answer, while less than romantic, was good enough for Molly. Finally, she’d done it! She’d asked Sherlock out for coffee, and they were going to go! Of course, it wasn’t really a date if they were just going to go and come back, but still, it was progress.
“Excellent! Good, yes, ok,” Molly turned slightly away to hopefully hide her cheeks, which were now quite hot.
Sherlock motioned to the door. “Shall we?” Molly nodded and the two started off. It was all Molly could handle trying not to turn radish red when Sherlock actually remembered to hold the door open for her. Lucky for her the December morning was crisp and rosy cheeks were not uncommon.
“Thank you,” said Molly as nonchalantly as she could. What to say next? Knowing Sherlock, it was up to her to start any kind of conversation. And, also knowing Sherlock, if he wasn’t immediately interested in the conversation he’d just drop it. So, what would immediately spark his interest? Obvious. His work. “So, this was your only case then?”
“Yes, it was. There hasn’t been a good case in days! What am I supposed to do if I can’t get a case? Lie around, watch Telly? Boring. I only took this one because I had no other options. Painfully obvious, this one.”
Obvious, was it? Is that why it took you all night to finish? The corners of Molly’s mouth twitched. Painfully obvious, indeed. “Well, at least the murderer is caught now and justice has been served. But, really, there isn’t anything else? I thought John’s blog was getting new offers all the time.”
“John’s blog, John’s blog, yes, it’s getting offers. But not recently, and not any good ones! Only a couple of robberies and one missing pet yellow-bellied sapsucker. Nothing new, nothing exciting, nothing good at all!”
As Sherlock became more and more emphatic in his speech he subconsciously sped up his pace significantly, forcing Molly to trot every couple of steps. “Sher- Sher- Sherlock, hold up, please, I-” Molly faltered.
Sherlock unexpectedly stopped moving forward and waited for Molly to catch up. “I am sorry, Molly, I’ve been leaving you behind. My walking pace is one meter with each step, while your legs can only sustain a walking pace of two thirds a meter. I will have to slow myself to adjust to your capabilities.” It took Molly a few seconds to comprehend Sherlock’s speech, but in the end she guessed it was Sherlock’s way of saying “sorry, I’ll go slower.” From then on she had no trouble keeping up.
As they rounded the corner the coffee shop became visible. It was still very early in the morning, so Sherlock and Molly were the first customers of the day. Suddenly, as they both walked to the register, Molly realized something she’d overlooked. Who was going to pay? She could pay for all three, of course, she’d brought up the idea of going in the first place. Or would Sherlock buy his own? Or-
“Hello, I’ll take one small black coffee, one medium-sized black coffee with milk, and one skinny vanilla latte with whipped cream… please,” said Sherlock to the man at the register.
Molly tried very hard not to let her cheeks turn red. He’d actually thought to do it himself! And he knew what she’d have ordered herself! Of course, he also knew that she wanted the one with fewer calories… but there was whipped cream! Whipped cream wasn’t low calorie! He didn’t think she was overweight. Did he?
“I hope I ordered correctly,” asked Sherlock as they waited for their beverages.
“Oh, um, yes! Yes, you did. Thank you.” And he’d even started his own conversation!
“I’m glad. It is now 6:00 and by the time we return it will be nearing 6:25. John should be awake by then.”
“Oh, yes, quite. I’m sure he will be. I’m sure.”
“Do you work later today?” he asked. What did he mean by that? Was it just an idle question, or did he want something out of her?
“No, I have today off. Will you be finding another case to work on?”
“I don’t know; John hasn’t checked his blog since last night. There was nothing then.”
“Except for the missing pet yellow-bellied sapsucker,” giggled Molly. Giggled? Was giggling ok? She shouldn’t have giggled! Oh, why did she always mess things up?
Sherlock smiled warmly—or, as close as Sherlock could come to warmly. “Except for the yellow-bellied sapsucker.” After a second he continued. “Actually, the yellow-bellied sapsucker could be interesting. Not overly difficult of course, but a decent way to pass the time. If you aren’t- oh, never mind.” Wait, what? Had he smiled at her? Had he almost invited her to go on a case with him? Molly couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Keep cool, keep cool…
“Never mind what?” she prompted.
“Oh, look, coffee,” Sherlock motioned to the three steaming cups that were being placed on the counter. Hastily he picked up all three in one sweep and carried them over. “Here,” he said as he handed the latte to her.
“Thanks,” replied Molly. As they were leaving, Molly was still fixed on getting him to repeat his question. “Now, where were we? You were saying something, right?”
“Right,” Sherlock responded. “I was going to ask if you wanted to accompany John and myself on the case of the missing pet yellow-bellied sapsucker.” Despite his coffee no doubt being much too hot, Sherlock took a rather large gulp with the last few words. Was he… nervous? Him?
“Oh,” started Molly, as if she’d had no idea that that’s what he was about to say. “Well, like I said I’m off work today, so I suppose I could go with you if you wanted.”
“Good,” was all Sherlock said to that. Was it? Was it good? Molly was elated. A case with Sherlock! And she’d actually got him to ask her! As Molly slowly sipped at her latte, she hid a small smile.
When they got back to the morgue, John was awake, and Sherlock handed him his coffee while speaking at his normal, Sherlock speeds. “You’ve been asleep for roughly seven hours, during which Molly and I solved the case and brought you that coffee. As soon as you’re ready all three of us will embark on the case of the missing pet yellow-bellied sapsucker.”
“The missing pet what? Yellow-bellied sapsucker? But you said that was boring!”
“I changed my mind,” said Sherlock.
“And Molly’s coming with us?”
“Yes, I am,” said Molly.
John looked from Molly to Sherlock and back again. “In that case,” he said. “let’s get going.”
I’m taking the tube. Get off my back. SH
Remember the last time. MH
Stepping on now. SH
I’ll have to come get you again. MH
No you won’t. Not like last time. Last time I wasn’t in control. I am now. SH
Sherlock, don’t. MH
Sherlock, please. MH
Sherlock switched off his mobile and set it to silent. He could take the tube if he wanted to take the tube. He didn’t have to listen to Mycroft anymore. Slipping his mobile into his coat pocket, Sherlock looked up.
The bench. Tweed, made in 1978. The last person to sit there was a mother, probably mid twenties, who held two infants on her lap. She-
Male, late forties. Low to middle class, probably a shop manager. Going home to a wife and two, correction: three, children. And one, correction: two, dogs. One Yorkshire terrier and one Ma-
Female, late teens, just got off shift at local hair salon. Bad at trigonometry, decent at grammar. Three younger siblings, all boys. Poor. Takes on much responsibility and therefore more mature than her peers. She-
Words flashed in front of Sherlock, describing every little detail of every little thing on the tube. Control it, control it. Stop it. Erase the words. Sherlock tried to imagine the world as a blackboard and he was wiping an eraser over it. Be normal for once. Be boring. Don’t give in.
Male, child, eight years old, enjoys football as a-
Don’t give in. Stop it. Erase it.
Male, child, seven years old, looks to other boy as role-model-
You’re stronger than this.
Female, child, eleven, on holiday with parents. Going to-
Don’t let Mycroft be right.
More words. Words, words, words, all words. Sherlock couldn’t see. The edges of his vision became red and cloudy. Red dots floated over his eyes. The shapes and colors that he could still see were brighter than they should have been and they glowed around the edges. A methodic pounding started on either temple and wouldn’t stop. Without warning, Sherlock’s legs buckled and he barely had enough time to clutch a metal beam to keep from falling.
Using the pole as a crutch Sherlock rose again. If he kept his eyes open and kept trying, if he didn’t give in, he could still beat this. Mycroft didn’t have to be right. Sherlock clung to the pole to keep from falling unconscious. Odd looks were starting to be passed his way.
Though his eyes were closing on him Sherlock forced them open. He had to hang on. If he closed them he’d pass out again, like the last time. He had to keep them open, but not look at anyth-
Female, mid thirties. The brown paper sack in her arms suggests having been out shopping. Quantity of food says that she’s alone. Not by choice-
No, no, no, no, no! Not now! Not again! Bile rose in Sherlock’s throat and he was powerless this time to keep his knees from giving up. Sherlock toppled to the ground and his eyes forced themselves shut. Even shut the lights were too bright. The banging in his head was too loud and he couldn’t hear anything else over the noise. First Sherlock tried covering his ears with his hands, but it didn’t help. He moved his hands to his eyes, but the light still found a way through. And then Sherlock knew no more.
Soft. Where was he? Wherever it was, it was soft. A bed. Sherlock slowly opened his eyes, expecting the light to force them shut again. But there was no light. No lights, no noise. He was free. The room was plain, but large, and the colors were all warm browns. Not too bright. He felt… home. Which was odd, considering he didn’t have a home. A house, yes, but not a home.
A door creaked open and Mycroft slipped through. “Welcome back. You were out cold for two days.”
Sherlock was still too tired to verbally spar with Mycroft, so he elected to ignore the comment. Had Mycroft been right? Yes. Did Sherlock have plans to admit it? Never.
“Oh, come now, don’t be a child. The least you can do is answer. I won’t even say ‘I told you so.'” Sherlock gave no response. Mycroft shook his head. “You always were a stubborn child. I’ve made arrangements with the cab services all around London. I will be billed for all your fares. There will be no more taking the tube for you, that is certain.” Since Sherlock again refused to respond, Mycroft simply shut the door behind himself and left Sherlock alone again.
So Mycroft had been right. Despite all that Sherlock had tried to take control of the deductions, they still always won out every time. Mycroft could control them. Why couldn’t he control them too? Why did Mycroft always have to be better?
It was all right though, Sherlock decided. Mycroft wasn’t always better. And even when he was, it didn’t mean that Sherlock would ever have to admit it.