Author: Totally-Out-Of-It PM
AU John needs a new phone that doesn't bend time, risk his life, and have a man on the other end who claims to be the world's greatest detective, except that he can't figure out how he accidentally called Dr. Watson instead of his brother. Slash.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Suspense - John W. & Sherlock H. - Chapters: 23 - Words: 68,100 - Reviews: 489 - Favs: 502 - Follows: 561 - Updated: 01-31-13 - Published: 08-31-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7341489
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I'm so sorry about the delay. I did mean to update sooner. I had the chapter done. My life has just been busy lately with school and moving and work. But here it is. Chapter 15. Enjoy!
John treated the fourth disc he'd received like a movie. He brewed himself some fresh tea and grabbed a bag of barbecue crisps before settling down in front of his computer at his desk. The disc whirred to life as John popped the first crisp in his mouth. He took a second to really appreciate the flavor before he clicked for the disc to play. He was only mildly disappointed when it was audio and not video.
"Recording 2," Sherlock started and then paused. John frowned. Five, Six, Seven, and now Two? "There is always a plan to any murder or robbery or true crime. Well, at least any crime performed by someone with a steady mind. We won't include every mental disorder in this idea. But most people who organize crime or commit the crime plan their actions in advanced, even if only by an hour or a couple of minutes. I will record later a list of relationships, but there is one relationship even a good detective wouldn't find out in the beginning of a case involving me. This relationship is... different, and the woman involved was perhaps the best at planning the games she played."
John frowned and shoved a handful of crisps in his mouth to stop himself from frowning. Hearing Sherlock compliment Irene was annoying, and Sherlock hadn't even confirmed who he was talking about yet.
"I received a case when I was thirty-two... just about four years ago. Oh, right. I had a birthday since you asked me. I'm thirty-six now. If this disc was delivered properly, it should be about your fortieth birthday. Unfortunately, I don't trust this to be delivered on time, so I'm probably too early. Happy Birthday, if you like hearing that sort of thing... Right, back to the story. I was called in to deal with a case where the perpetrator was already known. It was a woman... THE Woman," Sherlock explained.
"The Woman?" John asked. He frowned deeply despite his best tries. Irene was sounding more and more important to Sherlock by the second.
"It was how she was known in her work, you see. She had her own website for her type of business. Her real name is Irene Adler. I caught her in possession of some highly classified information, something worthy of bringing her to the law for. She tricked me, a smooth talking devil, and I let her go. Of course, I kept the information she'd stolen, so it wasn't a complete failure."
"I kept an eye out for her in the following months. She'd gotten hold of my cell number and took to messaging me the way most people update their Twitter accounts. After two more cases involving her, she invited me out to drinks. I declined, but then she showed up at my flat with an old bottle of scotch, and she wouldn't let me decline. We talked while we drank. Well, she did most of the talking. After the bottle was drained, she showed me her self-entitled 'battle dress'... It was the first time," Sherlock said and trailed off into thoughtful silence.
"Oh God," John sighed out and covered his mouth. "I don't want to hear this." His crisps had slipped onto the floor, forgotten.
"Understand, it is about the only subject on which I am, and I hate the word, shy about. Mycroft tells me I'm scared of it. I dare say Miss Adler believes it as well. It isn't fear. I've only ever been afraid of one thing since my mother died, and it certainly isn't sex," Sherlock continued.
"Please, Sherlock. Please stop," John whined, wanting to stop the recording but driven on by a sick need to know. It was like watching a car crash. He couldn't stop watching to see what happened.
"She... took a piece of me with her when she left that night, a piece of me that I can never regain... and she stole my coat. She left me on the floor, drunken and dizzy." Sherlock paused, took a deep breath, and continued "I won't lie to you, John. I didn't enjoy it. I didn't want it. Every time she touched my face, or any part of me, honestly, I wanted to pull away, but she had me trapped in my own home. I suspect there was more than scotch in my cup as well. My senses were terrifyingly numbed. Before I leave you with some ambiguous ramble, I will make myself clear no matter how... uncomfortable the topic may make me. Irene Adler was my first and only sexual experience."
"Oh God, he said it," John exclaimed, covering his eyes as though the truth had been a photographed handed to him and he didn't want to see it anymore.
"And as much as it may be defined as rape, I never begrudged her it. I have never told anyone before this moment, and part of me hates that you won't even hear it for another year. I don't know if Irene will listen to this before she hands it over, but if she does, it is nothing I have not already told her. She is, as she put it, the woman who beat me. She was, and remains, a puzzle I can't solve except to the extent that I know she loves me. It is the only reason she has tried to sweet talk me and kept in contact since that evening. I think she's been spending her time trying to apologize. I suppose I should feel honored that she cares about such trivialities," Sherlock murmured.
"Tri-Trivialities?" John gasped. "You call that- Sherlock!"
"I have known her for four years, two of which have had very little contact. She doesn't even text me much anymore. She is a powerful, beautiful, dangerous woman. She is The Woman, the woman who bested me, who beat me and didn't tell a soul. She deserves respect for that notion. In her defense, she could have destroyed me, but she chose not to." Sherlock was silent for a moment and then cleared his throat.
"I hope you will not hold this information against Miss Adler or against myself. I decided this morning, when I came up with the idea of these recordings, that you needed to know this part of my life in order to have a complete understanding of me. What happened is in the past, but it made me secure about certain portions of myself. While I shall never trust Irene Adler with any substance I'm going to ingest anymore, I still count her as a valuable ally. Again, I hope this does not change your opinion of me. I admit, my conversations with you may be the only thing in my boring life that I look forward to these days." Again, Sherlock went silent. And then abruptly, he said, "End Recording Two."
The sound cut off, but John was already dialing Sherlock on his phone. It took only a two rings before Sherlock picked up. By then, John was pacing.
"Day off?" is how Sherlock answered the phone.
"Trivialities?" John snapped.
"It's not trivial, Sherlock!" and John couldn't help how his voice rose. "That woman, she-if I had known that before she left.. I would have-! She acted like she owned you! She treated me like some second-class citizen who didn't deserve to know you, and yet she's the one who assaulted you! I'll tell you one thing- If I had known what I know now, our conversation would have gone radically different!"
"John-," Sherlock tried, but John spoke right over him.
"Especially knowing about her 'battle dress'! I mean, it would be one thing if she used it on you alone, but to come into my house, in nothing but a coat - Your Coat - and use the same line of a 'battle dress', to use it because she knew it would catch me off-guard, because she used it on you- What kind of woman does that?" John asked.
"She met you with her battle dress?" Sherlock asked, and his voice was so stony and flat that it blindsided John and pulled him from his rant. "Did she-"
"No," John spoke quickly. "She didn't touch me."
"Well she did slap me," John corrected, voice a bit lighter. "But she'd covered up by that point."
"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" Sherlock asked.
"Thought it might," John answered. "But don't worry. She left me intact."
"Good to hear. I need my Doctor in one piece." Sherlock let out a long breath that John mimicked. "You're the only one I trust."
"But I haven't done anything as your physician." John pressed his lips together. He stepped on something that crunched and realized he'd crushed his crisps. Shit. He reached down to pull the bag off the floor.
"You have done more for me than any physician I've ever met in person, John. Don't belittle yourself," Sherlock said. "Without you, I'd still be smoking. That is more than most people can brag."
"Most people," John muttered and looked out his windows. "How dull." Next to Sherlock and the life John had now, he couldn't imagine going back to 'normal' life. He was beginning to understand Sherlock's view of the world.
Then Sherlock chuckled and broke all tension in John's spine. "Undoubtedly."
It was a brilliant idea. John had to say, it was just bloody brilliant. He'd been left to his own thoughts about The Woman for about a week, and he'd mulled over his issues about her during every spare moment of thought that he had. It was a natural deviation from his usual constant thoughts about Sherlock, but it was even more of a puzzle for him. The question John had about her was 'why does Sherlock find her so interesting?' and 'what makes me put up with her?' And the answer he found after the whole week was surprisingly simple.
Sherlock couldn't solve her. She was a riddle with an elusive answer.
So John had started thinking some more, this time about how he could compete with such a riddle. When Sherlock figured out the phone mystery, what else would John have to offer in the way of conundrums? He wanted to be mysterious for Sherlock, wanted to be a source of entertainment and interest. It may be childish, but he wanted more of Sherlock's thoughts and heart than That Woman. It was his main goal these days. He would need to break himself of the need, of the addiction someday... but not today.
And that's when he had the most brilliant of brilliant ideas - an idea that would keep Sherlock around for as long a time as they had remaining.
"I have a riddle for you," John said one day when Sherlock had stopped composing on his violin and had gone to at least make some tea to appease John's request that he not starve to death.
"Oh? Is it a good one? I used to read riddle books when I was a child. Perhaps I've already heard it," Sherlock suggested and something clattered off the counter and rolled along the floor. Sherlock's annoyed growling was the only suggestion John had that the act was not planned.
"I came up with this one on my own, so you wouldn't have read it anywhere," John said. "I figured if you're putting me on a scavenger hunt, I can give you a game as well."
"Alright," Sherlock grunted, lifting whatever heavy item had fallen and setting it somewhere it undoubtedly didn't belong. "What is your riddle?"
"What has two heads, two hearts, eight limbs, and is colored red and blue?" John asked. "Feel free to take your time guessing."
"Two heads...," Sherlock murmured, moving things around in his kitchen. He wasn't being very careful, and pots and pans continued to smash together. John nearly winced. He wished he could jump through the phone and clean Sherlock's apartment for him. "Is it some sort of science fiction monster?"
"Nope." John grabbed himself an apple from his fridge.
"Some demented form of Frankenstein's Monster?"
"I'll need to think on it," Sherlock said.
"Like I said, take all the time you need. I'm not going anywhere," John answered and took the first big bite out of his yellow fruits. He smile was devious and gleeful. This was such a brilliant idea. This riddle was the best riddle in the history of riddles, and even Sherlock Holmes wasn't going to figure it out with ease.
Preview, Chapter 16:
Angelo was also the first person Sherlock had known to not look at John with pity in their eyes upon their first meeting. He lead John to the nearby window seat. "There's a candle, nice and romantic. Sherlock said I didn't have to, but it's not often Sherlock has a date."
So they argued about food, and Sherlock mentioned his childhood; the way his mother used to take him and Mycroft to restaurants around whatever estate they were staying at that week while his father worked.
"Is that right? Sherlock Holmes just asked me out on a date?" John teased.
"Don't be silly, John," Sherlock scolded gently. "I asked you two weeks ago."
For all his pomp and circumstance, all his airs and graces, Sherlock was very much the same as anyone else. He noticed more things, retained more information, but under it all, he was still human.