AN: I began writing this in a fit of insomnia and found myself unable to stop. This will be a fic in about 20 chapters. It is 90% finished, and each chapter will be posted as I am satisfied with it (after my beta reader and I have ripped it apart and built it back up again). Rated M for the following: 1 described instance of rape, 1 case involving reference to paedophilia, 2 descriptions of substance abuse, multiple references to brutal physical violence related to aforementioned case, 1 instance of violent electrocution, 1 stabbing, and a liberal smattering of swear words.

Constructive criticism is encouraged and welcome, key word being "constructive."

Thank you for reading.


It was quiet. It had been quiet for too long. He paced, dragging his feet on the gouged hardwood floor, his deft fingers jittery, aching for his violin. At least that would be something to do, even pizzicato, some noise. But he didn't have his violin. He didn't have anything that was his own except a few shirts and a toothbrush that Mycroft had brought him along with a half-hearted and uncomfortable apology. Father overreacted, Sherlock, if I'd known this would happen...

It didn't matter. He had dropped the toothbrush on the grimy floor just a few hours later and was afraid to use it now. He pined for that toothbrush as though his dog had died. He'd never had a dog, but that wasn't the point. It had been his only hard, tactile possession, and he had ruined it. Why couldn't Mycroft have brought his violin? Fuck shirts, he wanted the warm, dark wood and the firm strings on his fingers. He could have lived without the shirts, but then, that's how Mycroft was. Practical. He fought the wave of grief and anger that rose in his throat at the thought of his brother. This wasn't Mycroft's fault, not ultimately, not really, but it was so much easier to blame Mycroft, easier to hate anyone but himself.

He was maddeningly isolated, too much in his chest and not enough in his head to crowd it out. Bored and emotional: a very noxious combination. He could think of a few ways to suspend both problems for a while – his mouth twitched into a half-smile – but that was how he had gotten into this mess in the first place, wasn't it? He rejected the thought and resumed pacing.

He couldn't pace forever.

He knew where the syringes were. More importantly, he knew where the solution was. He took a deep breath.

No. Be sensible. No.

But he was long past sensibility. His fingers twitched. Tchaikovsky on thin air. He was here, wasn't he? Here in this strange, under-furnished flat and he didn't even have a fucking toothbrush. It couldn't get worse. It couldn't.

Just a little prick. It would hardly hurt at all.

The rush of liquid made his veins swell, showing belled and blue in the crook of his elbow as he pushed the plunger. His hands didn't shake; they had stopped shaking months ago, and he withdrew the emptied needle smoothly, freeing the slightly tented skin to flatten against his frost-white forearm. His head tipped back onto the arm of the sofa and he sighed deeply, letting the plastic syringe drop to the hardwood with a distant tap. He felt it burning its way up his arm already, and a mirthless smile pulled at the corners of his mouth. A little thrill tickled the base of his spine as he let his eyes sink closed.

He had already forgotten Mycroft and the toothbrush and his violin. He was giddy, anxious for stimulus, for the cavalcade of thoughts and ideas and sensations that were even now rushing through the narrow veins of his arm, high into his shoulder, nearly to his neck he supposed, any minute now. Almost.

He'd never had good veins. They were too small, always collapsing when the needle slid through. He'd needed practice, he'd tried often before he could shoot up, but he'd been determined. He had managed.

He rubbed slowly at the injection site, massaging away the burning, working the drug into his system, eager for an immediate reaction. He drew a long breath that expanded his narrow chest until it ached, then let it out slowly. Be patient. He had never been patient. Chemicals, do chemicals.

C21H22N2O2 Strychnine, easy, predictable.

C17H19NO3, Morphine.

C17H21NO4 Cocaine, come on now, do organics, something harder.

CA2952H4664N812O832S8Fe4, Haemoglobin. Basically. Almost, but not exactly, not perfectly exact.

It was taking effect already, he felt it. He had looped on haemoglobin, couldn't go on to another formula. His right hand, still clamped on his left arm, relaxed and drifted over to rest on his flat, firm belly. His fingers flexed, grasping a handful of shirt.

His heart sped.

The shirt button clamped firmly between his knuckles was as a world all its own; the smooth and the edges, the four tiny holes and the unending loops of thread that wound through them. He twisted his slender fingers around it, unnerved, exploring. It felt good, the plastic was warm from his body heat, and not too hard, just plastic. He had to remind himself to breathe, breathe slowly. The tickle of the smooth cotton on the tender underside of his wrist was enough to make him quiver. Over-stimulating, but then, that was the point.

His ice-blue eyes snapped open in a rush, and even the dim light was dazzling, sinking into the depths of his brain. The door had opened, he heard it creak. He hadn't heard the footsteps on the stairs, he'd been too busy with his button.

"Having a lie in again, Sherlock?"

He couldn't answer. Button. Button was too important. He wasn't sure why it meant he couldn't speak, but it did. He parted his lips slightly and arched his back against the rough fabric of the sofa. He didn't want to be bothered, the room was spinning. His chest hurt. Was he breathing too much, or not enough?

"Sherlock?" there was a gentle laugh. "Christ, you're pathetic. Why are you unbuttoning your shirt?"

Was he unbuttoning his shirt? He didn't even know. He had just become aware of the upholstery on the sofa, and he was running his fingers over it, counting something 8,9,10,11,12. What? The threads? His fingernail grazed the weave and this finger vibrated over the rough ribbing. He made a soft sound, barely more than a breath, and repeated the movement.

He froze. A cool, brusque hand was tugging at his shirt. The second-to-last button was undone after all, it had been unintentional. Was it being re-buttoned? Why was he tugging at it?

"You continuing with that, then?" The intruding fingers flicked his shirt aside, stroking boldly at his exposed abdomen through the gap that the loosened button had created. Dizzily, Sherlock tried to push him off, closing his fingers over his flatmate's wrist, but lacking the strength to tear his hand away.

His skin was cold from the November air, and it was almost painful against Sherlock's hot, hyper-sensitive flesh. He knew that his stomach muscles were trembling, but it seemed that only he understood that this was discomfort, not an invitation. The remaining buttons on his shirt were being plucked open at an alarming rate, and as the chill air rolled over his exposed skin, he gasped slightly. It was too much, his brain was overflowing. He felt each goose bump blossom on his skin like the prick of a needle, drawing blood from him, leaving him icy and empty.

He gripped the edge of the sofa and forced himself to focus on the texture of the fabric against his skin, forced details to melt away. This couldn't really be happening. His clear, empty eyes fixed on the water-spotted ceiling, as good as any starscape, drawing away his thoughts to follow the snaking yellowish lines. Nothing else, he thought of nothing else. He felt pressure astride his hips, and his heart rate shot up. Warm breath bathed his neck, and he was kissed, roughly, teeth on his soft lips. A pleading, insistent tongue filled his mouth, longing for his throat. He squeezed his eyes shut, unable to breathe properly. He nearly choked, but he hadn't the strength. Hands wandered over his chest and the pale skin of his stomach, and his insides twisted with revulsion. Every muscle tightened anxiously whenever they grazed his nipples.

A pain was rising in his head that made his whole spine ache. This touching had to stop, it hurt. It didn't hurt exactly, it wasn't hurting him, but it made him hurt. He moaned past the eager mouth controlling his own, and he felt an intensifying pressure against his lower abdomen.

"Fuck, Sherlock…Unh, Christ."

His head throbbed. No, no, no. In the brief moment that his mouth was unfettered, he tried to say stop. He wanted to, but his mouth felt numb. He wasn't sure if it was the drug or the hard kissing, but his throat was dry, his tongue buzzing and prickling as though it had lost circulation. The tugging at his waist caught his attention, the click and jingle of his belt buckle, and he knew it was his, somehow, he recognized the sound.

Protectively, he brought his forearms over his exposed stomach as he was wracked with violent shivers. He had resigned himself to the fact that he couldn't stop this, couldn't even try. His mind was long-absent, but his body felt every cold touch, every hair on end at the nape of his neck, and it was nauseating. The button at his waist was freed too easily, the zipper hissed loudly in his ears, and his assailant relented his body weight only long enough to slide Sherlock's trousers – and his shorts – down over his bare feet.

The collar of his unbuttoned shirt, his only remaining item of clothing, tickled his neck and his mind grasped distantly at the sensation. As comforts went, it was minimal, but it was better than nothing.

His head spun, and his throat burned with pent-up refusals that couldn't force past his traitorous tongue. His distant eyes glinted like wet crystal in the light as he stared fixedly at the grimy ceiling. It took him a few seconds to register the uncomfortable position that his hips had been forced into.

There was heavy breathing, loud in his ears, and he didn't know if it was his own or not. He was pushed, roughly, repeatedly, and felt the friction of jeans against the underside of his thighs. He was being spoken to, but everything was fragmented, faceted like glass, throwing words and shadows and fear bouncing around the inside of his skull until he was nearly blinded by it.

He was panting, he was sure of it now, and his skin was filmy with cold sweat. His slender hands gripped his own ribcage, as though he were trying to keep all his insides safe. There was scrabbling, shuffling, the sound of another zipper.

No, no, no…

And then there was pain, shooting up his spine to spill into his head, exploding like mortar fire. Every muscle in him clenched, his back arched, and he couldn't breathe beyond a ragged gasp. And that made it worse. His vision went black for a few rapid heartbeats and he felt tears streaming from the outer corners of his eyes, soaking into his hair. It was worse than being stabbed, and he'd been stabbed before, he knew. It felt like being pulled apart. He was shaking, ice-cold, bloodless, except for the few places that were burning with foreign body heat and friction and agony.

And god, it went on forever.

Blood trickled from his nose; he felt the dampness of it on his lips.

With an unapologetic grunt, it was over. He was in no less pain, but he felt a wave of relief nonetheless. Was that laughing or panting? He didn't care, just shut his eyes and lay still, deathly still.

"Oh shit, did I hit your nose?"

He didn't answer, didn't know.

"Sorry, mate."