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Title: Correlations
Author: verilyvexed
Recipient: humantales
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock, John
Rating: PG13ish
Warnings: Some violence, some angst
A/N: Thanks very large to [redacted] for a last-minute beta, undertaken with a headache and me more or less reading over her shoulder.
Summary: BBC. He's good at following orders. He's good at firing his gun. And he's good at protecting things that are valuable, he just hadn't realised it before.

Once upon a time, John Watson was a war hero. He couldn't understand what that even meant, other than he had been too slow or stupid or just unfortunate to get out of the way when a bullet came flying toward his leg. Consequently, he had a limp.

Had. Not so much, these days.

"This way!" Sherlock shouts as they race past pedestrians - Sherlock brushing brusquely past and John calling out apologies. The city is a dizzying blur this night, lights and noise flowing past in a stream of adrenalin and frenzy. "Hurry!"

Sherlock huffs with impatience; John huffs because he's breathless. John's feet hit the pavement hard, the chill air burning his lungs.

"They went that way." Sherlock points, running toward a lowered fire escape. John sprints to keep up, taking the metal stairs two at a time. The sound of their footfalls clanging into the night.

In less than a minute they're on the roof. John's heart feels ready to pound its way right out of his chest, but Sherlock strides the perimeter as if it were nothing, eyes scanning the tops of nearby buildings. Without a word of warning, he suddenly takes off toward the nearest building and leaps, easily crossing the gap.

But his legs are longer than John's, and he hadn't bothered looking down: a three-storey drop into an alley littered with overturned bins, broken glass, strewn rubbish, and not much else.

"You have got to be… Are you serious?" John mutters, but he follows anyway. Sherlock seems to know - or at least assume - that he will, and John doesn't resent that nearly as much as he thinks he should.

Sometimes it's just nice to have direction.

x x x

"Writing a blog about everything that happens to you will honestly help you."

"Nothing ever happens to me."

John leans against the brick exterior of the disused factory, trying to catch his breath, while Sherlock cautiously approaches the entrance.

"Damp footprints," says Sherlock, indicating to the single step leading to the door. "They've been this way. Come on, there's bound to be a back entrance."

They splash through shallow puddles as they make their way hastily to the rear of the building.

"Why have they chosen a factory?" Sherlock murmurs, eyes narrowed as he gazes up at the darkened windows.

"Well, the one bloke, you fancied he was a builder. Maybe he... ah, I don't know," says John, rather unhelpfully, he realises, as Sherlock grants him a withering look.

"I fancied nothing. He is a builder. Didn't you see his hands?"

Sherlock tries the door. Unlocked. It swings slowly forward with an almighty creak that causes John to cringe. So much for silence. Sherlock hesitates in the doorway, listening, then steps in.

John follows.

Immediately, the darkness is dispelled: someone has switched on the lights. And then the shooting begins. Sherlock may be a genius, but John has been designed for situations like this. He clamps a hand around Sherlock's wrist and tugs roughly, propelling them both behind a row of old barrels.

Bullets ricochet off rusty metal as John digs out his firearm. Sherlock finds the attempt on their lives little more than a nuisance; John sees it as a reminder that he's alive.

x x x

After the war, after the wounds and subsequent illness, John had felt broken and useless. In this return to a life of relative safety, of cinemas and shopping malls, takeaway and telly, what use was there for him? Cheques arrived and bills were paid. Outside his window passed an endless succession of days, bleeding one into another, with nothing of note to mark them.

"You're not haunted by the war, Dr Watson. You miss it."

The barrels aren't an ideal hiding place - especially as the other occupants of the room know where they are - but they'll suffice. Sherlock protests as John shoves him down and aside. Gun in hand, he scoots to the edge.

Steady, aim, fire. He takes down the builder and his ginger accomplice. They're wounded, but not fatally, not if they're treated soon. Sherlock needs them for questioning.

The third of their assailants, a burly man with his head shaved, manages to disappear behind tall shelves stacked with boxes. Seconds later they can hear his loud, echoing footfalls reverberating off metal stairs from not far off.

John takes the guns from the wounded. He then sends a quick text to Lestrade, awaiting word. Sherlock, despite John's warning shouts, has gone ahead without him.

"How you manage to stay alive…" John mutters, shaking his head as he deposits the guns in an empty box. But really, he knows at least part of the answer. He flies up the steps as quickly as he can without announcing his entrance.

He's good at following orders. He's good at firing his gun. And he's good at protecting things that are valuable, he just hadn't realised it before.

x x x

Once upon a time, a sea of apathy threatened to drown him, drag him down and swallow him whole. London was like breathing - just a habit he hadn't the heart to quit. And then, a chance meeting became a solid black line neatly partitioning his life between then and now. Just as the war left a crease in his chronology, the same sullen shade as his scars - all angry-pink and blister-white - this point in time struck him as significant and he couldn't even say why. But there it was: an irrefutable fact, clear as crystal, loud as bombs.

Sherlock Holmes was the first thing in ages that managed to properly annoy him. He figured it was a good sign.

John knows from the silence as he approaches the room that something is wrong. Though he minds the noise he's making, the cement, brick, and iron of the factory make for fantastic acoustics. He has no doubt his entrance was broadcast from the moment he took to the steps.

The lights are on in the room. It's small, judging by the proximity of the back wall. All he can see as he draws closer is the back of a chair in which someone sits, bound with rope.

John enters with his gun raised. With a glance he notes the female figure; undoubtedly the woman in the chair is the kidnapped socialite they've been enlisted to find. She cries silently, cheeks stained with tears and terror. Windows caked with years of grime line the far wall. Sherlock stands before the one farthest from the door, then stumbles forward as if pushed from behind, looking more exasperated than alarmed.

"He has a gun," says Sherlock, as if John didn't already know.

The bald man clamps a wide hand onto Sherlock's shoulder. The other holds a pistol to Sherlock's temple. John feels his jaw clench.

"The police will be here any minute," John tells the kidnapper. "It's pointless, really, your doing this. Just let him go."

"He knows that. He's just an idiot."

"Great." John sighs. "Can we please not insult the man who has a gun to your head?"

"He won't shoot," says Sherlock, and John can't imagine how a single person could be so smug under normal circumstances, never mind whilst being held hostage.

"Want to make a wager?" the man says, his voice all gravel and gutters, and the sound of the gun being cocked seems to echo.

John turns his gun on the socialite. "Let him go," he says, staring at the kidnapper. And he is so terribly sorry, and he hopes she knows she isn't in any danger from him, but they haven't a lot of options at the moment. "You can't collect the payment if she's dead."

She whimpers. He bites the inside of his lip to keep his face impassive.

"Pull the trigger then, go on," the man says, laughing. The sound of sirens outside effectively curtail his amusement.

Sherlock shouts, "John!" at the same time he lunges to the side, surprising the bald man enough with the outburst that he's able to wrench at least partially away.

John aims, fires, but a moment too late: the sound of their two gunshots unite and seem near deafening in the little room. He cannot for a moment register what has happened. Both the man and Sherlock lie sprawled on the floor, the former on his back, unmoving, and the latter facedown.

"Sherlock?" John asks, anxiety making his voice shrill. He is by him in an instant, scrabbling to turn him over.

Sherlock hisses. "Shoulder."

John gingerly lifts the lapels of the woollen coat. Over the left, just below the clavicle, a red stain spreads over his shirt and jacket. Painful, no doubt, but far from lethal. John laughs in relief.

"And what, doctor, is your assessment?" Sherlock asks dryly.

"You're an idiot," he replies, then grins.

x x x

He still has nightmares.

There's a pattern to it, he's noticed. The nightmares come when there are no cases, when Sherlock is at his most insufferable. It seemed a simple, obvious explanation. And then he realised that wasn't exactly it. A lack of cases means a lack of action.

He can't imagine how Sherlock must feel. Nightmares are one thing, but John can enjoy things that don't involve murder attempts or trips to the morgue. To his surprise, he finds he even enjoys his blog, now he has something interesting to say.

After the case of the missing socialite, there's a lull. Sherlock gets bored. Bullets find their way into the walls, and once again, John finds himself waking in the night, gasping for air.

The sleep deficit gets to him. One evening when Sherlock is out and when John has slumped progressively further on the sofa to the point he's horizontal, he nods off. He fights it halfheartedly but finally gives in. A welcoming darkness overtakes him.

Abruptly, John finds himself standing in harsh sunlight. It glints off the sand and both seem as grit in his eyes. He hears the frantic staccato cracks of gunfire, rapid and unrelenting. Bodies are strewn about. In front of him, behind him - they keep falling. Gunfire from all quarters, or maybe no quarters: where is it coming from? Would-be friends become corpses and his gun is jammed, he can't fire, can't do anything but--

The mellow strains of a violin interrupt the aural aspect of his dreamscape. Something soft and soothing, on the comforting side of haunting, but only just. The gunfire can't compete with this new input and has no choice but to fade away; the sand and sun and frenetic fighting slip off as well, inconsequential fragments dissipating into nothing behind his eyelids.

It's nearly seven the next morning when he wakes. The nightmare is half-remembered, but the melody sticks in his brain. Pale, early-morning sunlight and sounds of traffic drift in through the curtains. Perched upon the armchair sits Sherlock, fingers steepled beneath his chin, staring straight ahead.

John stretches, then sighs deeply.

"Judging by the volume of your snores, I trust you slept well," says Sherlock, glancing at him.

"Ah, yes. Brilliantly. Sorry." And then John catches sight of the violin by Sherlock's chair, the bow still spread across his lap. "Did you--" he starts to ask, but Sherlock's sharp look stops him.

Once upon a time, John Watson lived a half-life as a war hero. Then someone came along and told him heroes don't exist.

He isn't entirely convinced.

"Thanks," he says suddenly.

Sherlock raises a brow. "For what?"

John smiles, feels it go lopsided on his face as it threatens to break into a grin. "Just, you know. Everything."

Title:How Do You Solve A Problem Like Sherlock
Author: colebaltblue
Recipient: humantales
Characters/Pairings: John, Lestrade, Sherlcok
Rating: PG
Warnings: none
Summary: A Day In The Life of those who are around Sherlock Holmes.
Author’s Notes: Yes, those are Ritchie and ACD references you see in there, oh and an internet meme for good measure...

To: JW
From: GL
I thought you said he was out of town? What is he doing at my crime scene if he’s supposed to be in Sussex?

To: GL
From: JW
I’m not his keeper.

To: GL
From: JW
What’s he done now?

To: JW
From: GL
Something to warrant lockup if he doesn’t stop right now.

To: GL
From: JW
Help is on its way.

Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him that pissed. Who WAS that?

From: JW
If I told you, I’d have to kill you.

To: JW
From: SH
You really shouldn’t piss someone off who has the ability to murder you and get away with it.

To: SH
From: JW
Quit pissing off coppers and Big Brother won’t have to get involved. Besides, Harry’d know you did it and hell hath no fury...

To: JW
From: SH
I’m not afraid of her. Or you.

To: SH
From: JW
Oh, so you merely tremble in anticipation now when I mention her name?

To: JW
From: MH
Clever. But, you’re not helping.

from: “Det. Inspector G. Lestrade” (greglestrade@met.police.uk)
to: “John Watson” (john@johnwatsonblog.co.uk)
date: Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 11:11 AM
subject: Help!
mailed-by: met.police.uk

I don’t know who you called last time, where they came from, or how you know them, but I am begging, no pleading, that you do so again. I simply cannot deal with his and Anderson’s bickering. They have been at it for four hours.


p.s. What’s this about dinosaurs? Did I miss something?

from: “John Watson” (john@johnwatsonblog.co.uk)
to: “Det. Inspector G. Lestrade” (greglestrade@met.police.uk)
date: Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 11:17 AM
subject: RE: Help!
mailed-by: johnwatsonblog.co.uk

Pretty neat secret weapon isn’t it? Help is on its way.


p.s. long story, but funny. pints later? I’ll explain all...

from: “Det. Inspector G. Lestrade” (greglestrade@met.police.uk)
to: “John Watson” (john@johnwatsonblog.co.uk)
date: Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 11:20 AM
subject: Nevermind
mailed-by: met.police.uk

He just stormed in here, called me names, said he was going to kill you and is now gone. How he figured out … anyway, you can call off the cavalry.


p.s. pints sound good. 8pm? The Punch Bowl?

from: “John Watson” (john@johnwatsonblog.co.uk)
to: “Det. Inspector G. Lestrade” (greglestrade@met.police.uk)
date: Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 11:32 AM
subject: RE: Nevermind
mailed-by: johnwatsonblog.co.uk

If they’re anything like the names he’s currently calling me over text they are quite … creative. Some I’m pretty sure are anatomically impossible sexual feats too although I’m a little rusty on some of the more current slang.


p.s. see you there!


To: JW
From: MH
I assume that the mere threat of being forced to suffer my company was enough to redirect Sherlock’s energies elsewhere?

To: MH
From: JW
It worked. Thanks. Redirect energy? Is that what you call it in the Holmes family?

To: JW
From: MH

To: JW & GL
From: SH
I hope you two fully appreciate the consequences of your childish actions today. Lestrade - fire Anderson if you know what’s good for you.

To: SH
From: JW
Who are you calling childish? That trick with my shoe laces? Clever … real clever.

To: GL
From: JW
How did you put up with him for all those years?

To: JW
From: GL
You get used to it eventually.

To: SH
From: GL
What’s this about a vampire? In Sussex?

To: GL
From: SH
Figure it out yourself since you’re so clever.

To: SH
From: GL
Quit being so petulant, Sherlock. If you come in here and explain it, I’ll promise to give Anderson the rest of the day off.

From: GL
Do you mind if we push it back to 8:30? Sherlock found a vampire...



John dropped into the soft leather of a back booth in the dark main room of the Punch Bowl. He set Lestrade’s ale on the table and took a long sip of his draught. Keeping an eye on the door, he sent a quick text to Sherlock reminding him to pick up milk since he had used all of the last carton John had bought for an “experiment.”

Lestrade entered a few minutes later and John watched with an amused smile as he wearily lowered himself into the booth and let out an contented sigh, the day’s troubles melting away.

Lestrade held up a finger when Watson opened his mouth, “Let me just enjoy this first sip of ale, Watson, and then I’m all yours.”

“I bought the first round, Lestrade, so vampire story first.”

“Right,” Lestrade responded, taking another long drink of ale, “ok. That feels better. Vampires. Yes, but first, who in the world did you call to make Sherlock run like a scared little girl?”

Watson grinned. “Ah, that’d be the brother.”

“Oh god, there’s two of them?”

“At least.”

“Bloody hell,” Lestrade said under his breath.

They both stared at the table top trying to wrap their heads around yet another day spent in the wake of Sherlock.

After moment, they sighed in unison, shared a soft chuckle.

“Right. Sherlock Holmes Hunts Vampires,” Lestrade began.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 22nd, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC)
Loved the texting. ^^
Dec. 23rd, 2010 05:17 am (UTC)
These are both delightful, mystery author, and you hit some of my favorites right on. (John recovering from the war/returning from the war, texting, ACD, Ritchie, BAMF!John, to name a couple that you hit.)

It was especially nice to see this tonight (some bad news that I'm hoping doesn't get worse.)

Dec. 24th, 2010 12:47 am (UTC)
This is delightful! :-) I love stories in which John and Lestrade bond over their Sherlock suffering. These texts are too funny. I found Lestrade's confusion about Mycroft really amusing, and it was great when Mycroft himself got involved in the texting. Nice reference to "Sussex Vampire" too.
Dec. 24th, 2010 05:00 am (UTC)
You are brilliant. The first story was beautiful. It had such a poetic turn of phrase. It really caught their characterizations and then intensified them until it felt like the breathed in the same room with you. The interactions too. It's not all flowers and sunshine. It's darker than that and thus deeper. It's all about unspoken intention. Anyway. Brilliant.

And then the second piece! Hilarious. You go from this really deep, dark, serious piece and then you prove you can do light and funny just as well. Fantastic. I just adored them both.
Dec. 30th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
Correlations: I'd say that this was a neat character study, except it's so much more than that. I love how subtly you point out some of the fundamental differences between John and Sherlock, and how John sees his actions as protecting something valuable. That really struck a chord.

Problem Like Sherlock: Hee! Of course you solve that problem fastest if you sic Mycroft on it. Love that he's playing along to a point where he's fully aware that the mere threat of his presence is enough to get Sherlock in line. Ish. And the Sussex Vampire! \o/
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 1st, 2011 05:13 pm (UTC)
And now that I know I have TWO Mystery Authors:

Correlations: I enjoy seeing BAMF!John effectively recovering from the war, and this shows it nicely. Holding the gun (even though he wasn't planning on shooting it) at the hostage was a nice touch; he's not always a perfectly nice guy.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sherlock?: First, the title. :-D I love stories told through texting and emails (any kind of epistolary really) and this was nicely done. As was the shout-out to ACD with the vampire.

Thank you, verilyvexed and cobaltblue!
Jan. 17th, 2011 02:42 am (UTC)
Both of these fics are pure love. Awesome!
Jan. 31st, 2011 10:20 pm (UTC)

You've hit some of my favourite things, just so you know. Thank you both.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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