A/N- Hello my dears! My exams are over! Yay, oh god, those exams just killed me. I was revising three hours a day, I simply had no time to do anything. Also, I have my laptop back, which means it's far easier to write my stories than on my phone. I just want to thank you all for your patience, kind reviews and your favorites and alerts. I was so overwhelmed the magnitude of them all, just... Thank you, really. And as I have no homework or proper work to do now and, I actually know what to do for the next chapter, it won't take half as long as it did. I'm unsure about the second half of this chapter, so do tell me what you think. I hope you enjoy ^^
Disclaimers- It's all Gattis and Moffat's
SH- Thank you for your review ^^ And yes, I've sorted that out now.
Anon- I will, thank you :3
Warnings- Torture and disturbed thinking.
Positives- Snuggling :3
John couldn't quite understand why they couldn't just share his bed. It would certainly make things easier, well, easier than having to clamber out of bed of his bed in the middle of the night and lumber over to Sherlock's'. Maybe it was an attempt at independence (after all, two years of captivity must make you yearn for some kind of control over your life, especially if you're Sherlock Holmes) or perhaps his friends' last shred of pride blockading the easy path to comfort.
Whatever the reason, the doctor supposed grudgingly, tossing the covers aside, it was a half victory. This, set aside from the no pain killers rule in the hospital, was one of Sherlock's' first real conscious decision. Well, one that wasn't followed by nervous hand wringing, inner cheek chewing and about a dozen other new nervous habits Sherlock had picked up. Really, John should be pleased, proud even, that Sherlock had come so far so quickly. Two years truly can be a long time to be held captive, to see no one but your captor and know nothing but pain and fear, and quite frankly, John saw it as a miracle that Sherlock hadn't been reduced to nothing but a terrified and fractured mess, broken beyond repair.
But the wails from the other side of the door were painful reminder of just how far Sherlock had to go. The annoyance that usually came with such regular nightly interruptions, were, in a reality, a barrier, a flimsy defence against the waves of turmoil that were to come crashing down if he really let himself listen to those cries. And as he grew nearer, his insides began to constrict, the familiar pain that always came with the the nightmares seeping inside him.
John ran, as he always did, hurrying to Sherlock's' room and bursting in, making, what he always felt on recollection, a dramatic entrance. No matter. It still wasn't enough to break the feverish dreams that wracked Sherlock's' mind. Climbing onto the bed, John pulled his friends' convulsing body into his arms. It was though he was violently ill, his body shaking, brow shining with a cold sweat. He pulled him onto his lap, his chin resting atop the mop of damp curls.
Sherlock was still half entangled in the bed covers, his head on Johns' chest, the rest of his body crumpled on his lap. One arm covered his face, the other loosely hanging around Johns' waist. Johns' fingers curled around his body, shifting them both to a more comfortable position leaning against the head board. He may as well get comfortable; after all, he probably wasn't going to do much moving once the nightmare had passed. Which, by the sound of it, wasn't going to be any time soon.
"S-sir... N-not again please... No, please Sir, don't, don't do it, Sir, don't- AAH!"
A grin leered out of the dark, the large fingers pinching the small dial, so tight his fingers were turning white. "But Sherlock," he purred, "Don't you like it?"
Sherlock looked up at him through the blinding haze of tears. His back was still arched in pain, despite the wires taped to him had lost their electricity. Every rib was countable against the white taught skin, blemished by burns and scars. "N-no, Sir," he whimpered, tears rolling down the side of his face, "I-it hurts."
Sir smiled, cupping a hand round his ear in mock deafness, "What was that, Sherlock? You want me to turn up the voltage?"
"No!" Sherlock all but screamed, lurching forward, bucking against his restraints, "No, Sir, d-don't, please!
Sir fingered the dial lovingly, a smirk curling on his lips as he watch Sherlock twist and writhe. He paused for a moment, watching the scene in glee, before shrugging with false nonchalance and saying, "Alright, Sherlock, "If that's what you want." Sir sighed, the smirk morphing into a disgusting smile. He slowly twisted the dial, the clicks formidably loud, loud enough that even Sherlock, who was edging nearer and nearer towards hysteria, could hear ever notch the volts were going up. He watch, body trembling as his fingers meandered downwards towards the button, large pads running over its surface, as they began to press down-
Sherlock jolted back into reality with a start. He froze, a second of confusion striking him, as it always did after a dream. One second, where the contents of his nightmares remained blank, suspended, before it all came crashing down again. Sobs shook his body, a hand clamped over his mouth in horror as tears came cascading down his face. Sherlock became aware of the arms wrapped around him and instantly began to fight him, half of his mind still dregged in his own dark terrors.
The arms tightened and he was pulled against something solid, fingers gripping him tightly, as if scared to let him go.
A ragged gasp ripped through Sherlock's' throat and slowly, he looked and saw John, wearing that same, sad smile, the one he always wore when Sherlock was like this. But the pain on his friends face wasn't enough for Sherlock to hold it together. He tried, he wanted to, but he wasn't strong enough. He couldn't hold it together, not for John, not for anyone, not even for himself. His body fell once again against Johns', curling up in his lap as choked sobs shook his body.
The strong arms pulled him in tighter, his cheek pressed against Johns' chest and the dull sound of the doctors' heart thudding steadily against his ear, accompanied by the soft reassurances from John, the strong and gentle voice anchoring him in reality, a constant reminder forever letting him know where he was, that that cellar was miles away and he was safe, tucked away in the heart of London in the arms of his friend. He hoped John would never stop talking, wondering how it was possible to still hear his murmurs whilst sobbing so loudly. A hand gripped the front Johns' pyjama shirt, the other wrapped tightly around his back. He wished it were just a nightmare. He wished bitterly that he had that consolation, but he knew better than that and John did too, far too knowledgeable in the happenings of that cellar to give such a weak form of comfort. It had been real. All of it had been, every shock in his nightmares had assaulted his skin and it was enough to make his stomach churn with terror.
He wrapped an arm around his chest, hand stuffed in his armpit, as if to try and protect the tender flesh there. he could still feel the cold hard metal, hear his cries as Sir clamped his nipples, the fat wires trailing down his stomach. And the smell- oh god the smell. That stench burning flesh that attacked his senses, obliterating everything else, even the screams, until all that was left was his own blistering skin. His stomach rolled in protest and Sherlock hunched forward, his arm now winding itself around his midsection. John did likewise, his own body curling around Sherlock's, palms placed on sweaty, shaking hands.
"I-I was burning, John," Sherlock whimpered between heaves, "I-I could smell... me b-burning."
John stiffened for a second, his own belly protesting at the thought of his friend burning alive. But he soon gazed composure, a steady hand placed between Sherlock's' pointy shoulder blades, rubbing small circles there. This wasn't a typical nightmare. By now Sherlock would be asleep, shaken, yes, but exhausted enough that he could spend the rest of the night in peace. It must have been a real horror for Sherlock to be in the state he was now. John tried to think of something to say, wracked his brain for any kind of spoken comfort he could give his friend. But nothing came forth. What could he say to in light of such sickening knowledge? For now, he opted to say nothing, still clinging to Sherlock in a grim-faced silence.
Slowly, Sherlock uncoiled, his back straightening as both he and John leant back into their former positions. The younger leant against his friend, body trembling with exhaustion and god knows what else. John drew the wrought sheets around them both, frowning at the slight dampness that met his skin. He reclined into the pillows, nearly horizontal, but not so much so that Sherlock couldn't lean on him still.
The soothing thud of Johns' heart returned to the detective once more and as he carded his fingers through the black curls, Sherlock's' cries were reduced hiccupping whimpers and, after a time, even they were silenced. All that was left were the soft sighs from John and the sound of London rushing by their window. John could feel his eyelids begin to droop, his head nodding before something startled him awake.
He closed his eyes again, groaning internally at what he had to do. After a few minutes, he looked down at Sherlock, sighing as he instinctively pulled him closer, his hands finding themselves once again in his unruly curls. He really did need to visit a barber, though the thought of taking his friend to a place where both sharp objects and social conduct were required wasn't particularly appealing. He'd probably just ask Mrs Hudson to do it, if Sherlock had a flashback, then at least he and Mrs Hudson could deal with it.
Carefully, slowly, John managed to extract himself from Sherlock's' gangly limbs, creeping out of the bed and out of the room, leaving the door open and going into the living room. He sat down at the desk, switching on a lamp and glancing back at the sight of Sherlock's body sprawled in his bed, in good view for John from where he was standing. And, god forbid Sherlock should ever wake up, he would always be able to see John, dispelling the panic that would surely ensue if he felt the ever present presence of John disappearing from his side.
He pulled on the drawer, pulling out his laptop and lose sheets. He dumped them unceremoniously on the desk, glancing once more at Sherlock, relieved to see his face was still locked peaceful expression. Good. That gave him roughly half an hour before he had to return to bed. Sherlock's' nightmares weren't kept at bay for long.
Sighing, John flipped open his laptop, absentmindedly switching it on before turning his attentions to the papers clutched in his hand, the contents of which were filled with credentials, recommendations and psychological jargon, most of which went over his head. Therapy. Sherlock Holmes was going to need therapy. The very thought of Sherlock going to therapy was laughable, well; at least it would have been two years ago. But now, John was actually contacting therapists and psychologists, trying to gather as much research as he could to try and help the consulting detective.
The thing was though, despite all that had happened, Sherlock still didn't like people. He just didn't get along with them. It wasn't his fault, he just didn't understand them, at least, not in a way that was considered 'normal'. And when they couldn't see things the way he did, it irritated him. Everyone must seem so frustratingly slow to him. So John couldn't help but wonder whether therapy would actually help him. There weren't many in the world who could understand Sherlock and the doctor couldn't help but think that whoever his therapist was, they would have to understand Sherlock to help him. And that was not an easy thing to do.
Sherlock didn't show his irritation with such openness as he once did, but in the hospital, John couldn't help but notice that some of the nurses annoyed Sherlock. It wasn't obvious, but just by looking at the constant clenching and unclenching of his hands, the slight knitting of his brow was enough to indicate to John that the chatty nurses we're grating on Sherlock's' nerves.
Therapists were really like everyone else and just like everyone else, they had flaws. There were good ones and bad ones and John simply couldn't afford to let Sherlock have one of the bad ones.
And then there was the issue of work. John had taken some time off, but he couldn't very well take leave forever. This wasn't maternity leave; they weren't going to grant him unlimited time off with Sherlock. He would probably have to quit his job, the thought of it nearly creating an audible groan. He knew Mrs Hudson would never kick them out, but it was an unpleasant thought of having no stable income.
He would have to talk to Mycroft, though keeping him in the loop was hard, especially since time alone was difficult to find. He knew he couldn't talk to Mycroft tonight, something about elections coming up, though on pointing out that the British elections were years away, the government official merely smiled and John didn't bother trying to figure out what election Sherlock's brother was getting involved in this time. It was Mycroft who had managed to get him the credentials of all of these therapists, nearly all of which were the best in the country. Still, John couldn't stamp out that last spark of doubt, despite knowing that Sherlock needed therapy. Physically, John could manage, it wasn't as though he was dealing with a neuromuscular injury, simply a case of malnutrition (though the thought of it still made his head swirl) and extreme lack of exercise. Plus, he was now in the middle of contacting a dietician Doctor Tennant had put him up with to help his friend gain weight. But still, John was no replacement for a therapist. He could only fix Sherlock physically and help where he could. Sherlock needed somebody impartial to help him, someone who wasn't emotionally involved. He probably would too, after all of those nightmares and flashbacks.
John stared down at his shaking hands, before combing them through his hair once again. It felt as though everything was crashing down on him at once. It was just so much to take in. He stared at Sherlock, the screams rushing round his head. He spent so much time trying not to think about what actually happened, about the lost two years and the fact that Sherlock's' captor was still out there, that was when in the wee hours of the morning, the only time he could get work done, the thoughts rose up in his head like a terrible swarm. It was odd how the evidence of what had happened was continually staring him in the face, yet he still managed to not actually think about what happened to his friend in that cellar. He thought that if he did, he would surely go mad. Because the thought of him, that Sir made his blood burn like nothing else could. He loathed him for the ruination of Sherlock. John had never hated before. Not true hate that made it feels as though poison was coursing through you when you thought of that person. But he thought he did now. He took a deep, shuddering breath, trying to stave the tears and stomach lurches that always came with thought of that man destroying his friend. This wasn't how it should be. It wasn't. Sherlock should be running around London and he should be doing the same or they should be arguing over heads in the fridge or how the sleuth never got the shopping. He should be writing up their fantastic adventures and Sherlock should be making them. Sherlock should be flinching from comfort, but instead, John was rocking him to sleep every night. Mycroft and Sherlock should be bickering like squabbling children, but Mycroft showed no facade on seeing his younger brother and held onto him whenever he could, terrified to let him go. John prayed that the consulting detective didn't know that they were all clinging to him as much as he was clinging to them.
A small whimper interrupted his train of thoughts and after quickly emailing the dietician, he closed his laptop, put away the papers, flicked off the light and, as fast as he could, brought his weary, aching body back to bed. He slid under the covers, bringing the skinny thing next to him back to his chest in an embrace. The muffled cries ceased almost instantly and soon, Sherlock's' warm breath tickling the cook of Johns' neck. The doctor closed his eyes, fingers twisting and twirling Sherlock's' curls again.
"You'll be alright, Sherlock," John whispered, squeezing his eyes tighter the tears burning behind his lids, "You will be. You're stronger than you know," he let out a shuddering sigh and allowed himself to cling to Sherlock's' sleeping form, "You'll make it, I promise."
Sir wasn't sure he was able to remember his real name. That is, the one given to him, not the one he made for himself. Indeed, it had been so long since anybody had called him by it that it seemed to have retreated from his memory through lack of use. It wasn't that it mattered; he couldn't see any chance of him or anyone else using it again. Though he couldn't deny, the way Moriarty rolled the word of his tongue, his name filled to the brim with contempt, almost made him reconsider keeping it, for that man could twist and deform words to such an extent that he made him feel foolish for choosing such a soubriquet. But there was always another that made him feel as though his name held worth, some trepidation, and that was Sherlock Holmes.
Of course, he hadn't at first. The detective spat out the name with such amount of contempt that Sir hadn't thought possible. But that was in the early days, a time when Sherlock kept a cold mask clamped firmly on his face and even in times of greatest pain, it was rare to see it slip. But Sir had taken care of that. He ripped it off and feasted on the soft flesh behind it. A smirk curled his lips. He had been so very different from the others, so incredibly versatile. It had taken him the good part of a year to finally make him snap.
But when he did... God, what a beautiful moment that was, when that man finally broke. And how long it took. Never had they taken so long to break, nor had they been so impertinent beforehand. Sir had never forgotten the shock and fury the first time he had stumbled across one of his deductions. The first time Sherlock had ever laid eyes on him was all he had needed to spin his web of inferences. He acted as though abduction was, for him, a daily occurrence, though Moriarty had pointed out that Sherlock Holmes was not one to shy away from danger.
Indeed, the young man seemed to show no fear at all, though he knew perfectly well what he was. Sir was an entirely different kind of beast compared to the type of scum Sherlock was used to, yet even with the knowledge of future torture and pain, the man didn't back down. Sir wasn't sure whether to be annoyed or impressed. Moriarty's extensive file had warned him of such effect.
At times, seldom as they were, he wondered whether there was something more, something past the cellar and Sherlock. When watching John and Sherlock from afar (for he always did his own research), conversing and sharing smiles with one another, the rare thought had struck him suddenly. Could there be something else? Something other than watching the pain unfurl in their faces, the terror as he took their lives and observing with interest the same old strategies used to try to make him stop. And the answer was always no. There was nothing, nothing other than the pleasure of seeing others pain and the eternal blackness of his own being. It was all he could have, the pain and the pleasure, and nothing else. And, as Sherlock had spat at him after one very trying day, it was all that he would.