|Words Have Weight and Power
Author: Lastew PM
A dead boy at a crime scene makes Sherlock feel a bit harsh towards himself. How will John help? They are already in a an established relationship.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Romance - Sherlock H. & John W. - Words: 3,490 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 73 - Follows: 1 - Published: 12-05-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7612039
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Words Have Weight and Power
Author's Name: Laura Sichrovsky
Word Count: 3028
Pairing: Sherlock/John (Already established relationship)
Warnings: Drug use and Sherlock/John relationshippy cuteness
Spoilers: None really.
Summary: A dead boy at a crime scene makes Sherlock feel a bit harsh towards himself. How will John help? (They are already in a relationship.)
Disclaimer: This is where I put the statement saying that I do not own John or Sherlock, (Heh! I wish!), or anything relating to the show or books. No one is paying me to do this and if you feel the sudden urge to send me gifts, you might want to talk to someone about that. Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat own all things Sherlock and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle owns Holmes and Watson. None of them have given me permission to use these characters as I have so if you have problems with the story, please send the pretzel bombs to me, not them.
Author's Notes: This one came to me as I was working on a much longer story and pushed to the front of the line. I liked it though, so I let it stay. Thanks need to be given, and here is where they go. Thanks to Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat for giving me a Sherlock I can get behind. Thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman for making this Sherlock and John so amazing. I tried to fight it, but they were just too remarkable not to fall for. Big thank yous to Emma de los Nardos and Gemma for the super-fast beta jobs and the hand holding. Your input was invaluable and I owe you both so much! Thank you to Elin for reading this over for me. And my biggest thank yous to my guiding influence and my best friend, Ann. She's the best beta ever and the Sherlock to my John. Without her, I am nothing. (Couldn't do it without you, love. Wouldn't want to try.)
Words Have Weight and Power
The building is abandoned, the only light coming from the room where the police have set up portable lamps. Sherlock and John follow Lestrade down the dusty hall and around the corner. Flashes of light illuminate the room as a photographer circles the body and a policeman is measuring shoe prints in the dust on the floor. There is a strange dichotomy between the manic activity of the crime scene and the absolute echoing silence of the rest of the house, but Sherlock pushes all that aside as he sees the victim curled up on the floor.
"An Estate Agent found him this evening," Lestrade says quietly. "The building was put on the market a couple of days ago and she was here on behest of the owner."
Sherlock looks at the boy, who couldn't have been dead more than a few hours, his mind making notes. He's young, likely still a teenager, thin with fair skin and very short dark hair. He's wearing nothing but a pair of jeans and his eyes are wide and glassy. But the most startling features are the words written all over his arms and torso with black marker. Loser, stupid, unlovable, disappointment, addict. There are several more, but Sherlock looks away, turning his attention to the room around them.
"Do you have a suspect?" John asks. "Or a motive?"
"We're still angling for a cause of death," Lestrade sighs. "A suspect and a motive aren't even on the radar yet."
"Nothing unusual there," Sherlock says, knowing it's uncalled for, but needing to lash out in some way to keep his frustration at bay.
"God, do you have to be so rude?" Sally Donavan asks, glaring at him.
He doesn't answer her, turning to John.
"Could you please examine him and give me a cause of death?" Sherlock knows people are looking at him oddly for saying 'please,' but since he and John started dating, he can't bring himself to be rude to John.
"I can try," John says, looking at Lestrade with a questioning tip of his head.
Lestrade nods and John crosses over to the body. Anderson is already there, studying the boy and John kneels across from him.
"Do you have any theories?" John asks, his voice gentle and friendly.
Sherlock knows that people like John and he's pretty sure his polite manner is one of the reasons. Anderson looks up at John and nods at him.
"I'm thinking poison."
"The dried foam at the edges of his lips and the rigidity of his muscles."
John nods, leaning in to look.
"Do you know how the poison would have been administered?"
"It was injected. Look at the marks on his arm."
Sherlock leaves them to their conversation and looks around, walking the edges of the room, committing the details to memory and adding them to his mental case file. As he gets closer to the center of the room, a peculiar odor catches his attention. He walks over to where an empty bowl is sitting on a box. Sherlock picks it up and inhales, nodding as his brain provides him with a catalog of what he's smelling. He walks back over to the body.
"John, do you have any information?" Sherlock asks, ignoring Anderson.
John looks apologetically at Anderson who shakes his head and looks away. John leans over the body, pointing things out as he goes.
"Well, he was injected in the arm. You can see the fresh puncture wound. But it's a clean mark, so he wasn't fighting whoever did it. Maybe he was already unconscious. His muscles are rigid and locked, which is partly from rigor, but some of it must be related to what was used on him. It wasn't a full blown seizure or anything, but he must have been in some pain. There is dried foam on his lips, but I can't say that it's from poison. I think we'll have to wait for the tests to come back."
"He wasn't poisoned," Sherlock says, kneeling down next to John to look at the boy.
"And you know this how?" Anderson asks, looking at him and frowning.
Sherlock holds out the bowl that's still in his hand.
"There's a residue in this. It's a mix of cocaine, heroin, and a couple of other drugs. A cocktail like this…he must have died pretty quickly."
"How do you know what's in the bowl?" Sally asks, walking over.
"I can smell it," Sherlock answers, not looking up at her.
"How do you know what…" Sally breaks off, rolling her eyes. "Oh, right, I forgot, addict."
Sherlock stifles a shudder, taking a deep breath. He will not let this woman get to him. Lestrade walks over, looking down at the body.
"So, someone killed him with drugs? Why?"
Sherlock looks up at him.
"This boy isn't new to drugs. Look at all the track marks on his arm, his complexion, how thin he is. He's been heavily using for a while."
Anderson leans forward, hissing under his breath, just for Sherlock to hear.
"You would know."
Sherlock swallows and keeps going, doing his best to ignore the jab.
"It looks like this is where he lived."
"What, in this empty building?" Lestrade asks, frowning.
"Look around you," Sherlock says. "There are blankets in the corner where he used them for a bed and a few personal items."
"I thought the blankets were packing from the previous tenants," Lestrade says, shaking his head. "How are you so sure they aren't?"
"They've been slept on. Really look at them. They are indented from where he was lying on them and there isn't any dust or mold on them. I'd say he was living here because it was rent free and he could spend his money on drugs."
"Poor kid," Lestrade says, shaking his head. Sherlock sighs.
"Don't get sentimental on me."
"He was a kid," Anderson says. "How can you be so cold? Oh, right, sociopath. Seeing it again."
Sherlock glares at him and pulls his coat tighter around himself, knowing it's a stupid unconscious habit, but doing it anyway.
"Okay, so we have a homeless kid who was using and someone killed him with, what, his own drugs?"
"No," Sherlock says, shaking his head. "This wasn't a murder."
"Of course it was," Anderson says, glaring at him.
"Shut up unless you know what you are talking about," Sherlock says, not even bothering to look at Anderson. "This was self inflicted."
"Oh, and then someone came along afterwards and wrote on him?" Anderson says. "That's stupid."
"Yes, that would be stupid," Sherlock says, shaking his head. "Do us all a favor and think before you talk. Look at the hole in his arm, the angle the needle went in. Unless the person was standing behind him and reaching around, it had to be self administered."
John leans forward and looks, frowning. Sherlock brings out his magnifying glass and hands it to John, who smiles at him. After a minute, John shakes his head.
"He's right. I don't know how we missed it. That needle went into the vein from the direction of the body, which is almost impossible if someone else did it."
Sherlock smiles at John gratefully and goes on.
"Look at the words, the way they are written. Look at the angle the writer used. The victim wrote the words himself."
"Why would he do that?" Lestrade asks.
"He's telling us why he killed himself," Sherlock says quietly.
There's silence in the room as everyone reads the words on the body. Loser, stupid, unlovable, disappointment, addict, not good enough, idiot, horrible.
"God," John says, his voice trembling. "That's…"
He trails off, shaking his head and looking at the boy.
"So," Sherlock says, getting to his feet. "You won't be needing us. This isn't a murder and my abilities are wasted here."
"You really are cold and sick," Sally says, glaring at him. "This kid just killed himself and all you're worried about is yourself."
"No, I'm busy, which is a very different adjective. Is my being here going to help him?" Sherlock asks. When she doesn't answer, he nods. "So, there is no reason to keep us here any longer, is there?"
"Don't know why I expected anything else from a freak," she says, shaking her head.
"Enough," Lestrade breaks in. "He's right. We don't need him or John for a suicide. Thank you both for coming."
As they walk out, Sherlock looks back at the boy. Up to this point, he's not really allowed himself to see him as anything more than evidence. Now he's rather wishing he hadn't changed that. His mind doesn't have much trouble seeing the similarities between himself and the dead boy, something he's been fighting since he walked in the door. Not that long ago that could have been Sherlock. He tries to shake it off as he hails a cab, but it won't leave him. As he and John settle into the taxi his brain starts listing off all the words he would write on his own skin. Rude, sociopath, lazy, cold, sick, self centered, addict, freak. He always pretends to ignore people when they say these things, but a mind like his records everything. He knows how people see him and some days, it's hard not to believe them.
Sherlock looks up. He's forgotten that John is even there.
"Are you okay?" John asks, reaching over to touch Sherlock's hand. Sherlock nods.
"Hey, this is me you're talking to," John says, giving his hand a squeeze. "We share a bed and I look into your eyes at least ten times every day. I know you and this isn't your 'okay' face."
"It's just…" Sherlock looks at John, not really sure he wants an answer, but needing to ask. "Why do you…I mean, I'm not…never mind."
Sherlock looks away, sighing and John rubs his thumb across the back of Sherlock's hand.
"That kid really got to you, didn't he?"
"A bit, yeah."
"Sherlock, that wasn't you."
"No, I was more arrogant and stupid and I had more money for a place to live and nicer drugs. Doesn't mean I see myself any differently."
"Differently than what?" John asks, frowning. "Than an addict or than the words he wrote?"
Sherlock shrugs and he can feel John's worry from across the cab. But before John can say anything, the cab pulls up to the flat. Sherlock pays the driver and gets out. They don't say anything until they get into the sitting room.
"Can we not talk about this right now?" Sherlock asks, not able to look at John. "I'm tired and I'm in a bad mood. I will get over this."
When John doesn't say anything, Sherlock sighs and turns to face him. John looks worried, but he nods and goes off to make dinner.
Sherlock is curled up on the sofa reading an article in his science magazine on the structure of quasicrystals. He can hear John in the kitchen and part of his mind wonders what John is doing. Dinner has been over for a while and Sherlock even helped to do the dishes, so he knows that John must be doing something else. Maybe he's making tea, but the sounds aren't right for that.
After a minute, Sherlock hears the microwave beep and smells the faint hint of chocolate and he looks up from his article, curious. John walks out carrying a small jar and he smiles at Sherlock.
"Come on," John says.
"Where?" Sherlock arches an eyebrow wondering where John is taking the chocolate.
"To bed." John turns and walks away, not waiting to see if Sherlock is following him.
Sherlock looks at his article, then at John's retreating back, and tosses the magazine onto the coffee table and jumps to his feet.
John is sitting on the bed, lighting two candles that are on the bedside table. He's put the jar down and after setting the lighter next to it, John moves back onto the pillows. Sherlock comes to sit next to him on the bed. John looks very serious in the dim light and Sherlock starts to worry.
John looks at the floor and after a minute he looks up at Sherlock, his eyes intense.
"You aren't, you know." His voice is just above a whisper.
"I'm not what?" Sherlock asks, honestly perplexed.
"Not any of those words on that boy's skin. Or any of the other terrible words you have running around in your head."
"John, I know what people think about me. And they're largely right."
"They are not," John says angrily.
"John, be honest. I'm brusque and rude. I don't fit into any convention or social norms and I don't give a rat's arse about it."
"Okay, you don't really care what most people think, but really, neither do I. And you can be focused and distracted when you're on cases, but that's only because you're too busy with the data in your head to play nice."
"That sounds suspiciously like an excuse, John," Sherlock says quietly. "I'm sure if you asked someone like Sally Donavan, she'd say that you're just being nice and I'm a complete bastard."
"Yes, you can be a bit…offensive at times, especially with Sally and Anderson, but I know why you do it. I know that it's how you protect yourself from people who don't understand you." Sherlock arches an eyebrow and John continues. "You are not a sociopath or callous or a freak. They just never see the real you."
"All that is part of the real me," Sherlock insists.
John shakes his head.
"No. I see the real you every time we're alone together. The walls come down and the façade is put away and I get to see you without your defenses."
Sherlock looks at him curiously and John smiles, taking his hand.
"I see the man who laughs at my bad jokes and who does the dishes, even though he hates to, just because he loves me. I see the man who actually cries when he can't save everyone and who goes all fanboy over obscure scientists I've never heard of."
"They are Nobel Laureates, John," Sherlock asserts.
"Does it matter? You got a couple of them to autograph an old science magazine and you keep it in your bedside cabinet and take it out to admire it and I think it's damn adorable."
Sherlock blushes and smiles and John squeezes his hand.
"You help Mrs. Hudson carry in shopping and you fed our last can of tuna to that stray cat so it wouldn't starve. You record Dr. Who for me when I have to work so I don't miss it and you were doing that long before we became a couple. You buy me Penguin biscuits just to see me smile. That's the real you."
"I…I wish I could see what you do."
"Lie down," John says quietly. "Take off your shirt and lie down."
Sherlock arches an eyebrow, but he does it. He'll do anything John asks.
John lies Sherlock down on the bed and leans over him to retrieve the things from the bedside table. Now that he's closer, Sherlock can see the jar is chocolate body paint and he arches an eyebrow as John starts to stir it with one of Sherlock's old paint brushes.
John pulls the brush out, carefully scraping the excess paint off on the edge of the jar. He leans over Sherlock and gently starts to paint on his chest. The chocolate is warm and the brush is soft and while it tickles a bit, Sherlock finds it relaxing. He has no idea what John is painting on him. He tries to look, but John pushes him back down and Sherlock is just content to close his eyes and settle into the mattress.
He's not sure how long it takes. Occasionally, Sherlock will look up at John who smiles down at him. Finally, John leans back to admire his work, nodding in satisfaction. He gets up and extends his hand to Sherlock, pulling him up from the bed and leading him down the hall to the bathroom. John turns Sherlock to the mirror and Sherlock is startled to see words on his skin. He can easily read backwards and it's no task to read what John painted.
"This is what I see when I look at you," John whispers. "These are my words."
Sherlock bites his lower lip as he reads.
Brilliant, amazing, creative, selfless, funny, brave, adventurous, sexy, understanding, compassionate, gentle, hero. Sherlock's eyes go wide as he looks at the word John has written over Sherlock's heart. Mine.
John gently touches his back.
"Do you see what I see yet?"
Sherlock nods, not trusting his voice. How did he ever win the love of such an amazing man?
"So, do I get to lick it off now?" John asks, smiling.
"Only if I get to write on you when you're done," Sherlock says, thinking of all the adjectives that describe his wonderful perfect John.
"I think we can do that," John replies.
Sherlock stops when he walks into the bedroom and runs over to the dresser, getting his phone.
"I'll be right back," he says to John, going back to the bathroom.
He stands in front of the mirror, holding his phone up and taking a few pictures. He looks them over, satisfied that he's memorialized all of John's artwork and that he can read it. Just a little something to remind him when his thoughts get dark.
"Sherlock?" John sounds eager and maybe just a little bit worried.
Sherlock goes back to the bedroom and holds up the phone so John can see it. When John smiles, he puts it back on the dresser.
"Sorry to keep you waiting," Sherlock says, smiling at John. "I'll just have to make it up to you. Any suggestions?"
"I can think of a few. Get over here, you lunatic."
Sherlock crosses the room quickly to John's arms feeling completely happy and content.