The Things You Ignore by Amaya Ramiel
Disclaimer: Recognizable characters belong to Sir ACD, the BBC, Moffat and Gatiss. The story draws inspiration from 'You'll Have To Do Better Than That' by Gategirl79, and as such mimics the beginning of that story. It's a very good fic, and you should read it ^_^.
A/N: While that fic is set within Hound of the Baskervilles, this one should be taken as AU, because although the beginning is on par with the episode, the rest would not really fit at all, so I didn't try to stick to cannon.
Warnings: This story is quite dark and graphic and deals with mature subjects like rape, so read at your own discretion. It's the first dark mature fic I've written, so please be kind in your reviews, which are, as always, very welcome.
Sherlock was on edge. He jittered his way from one end of the flat to the other, at first with his new harpoon toy, and later simply rummaging through papers and books, and throwing anything he could get his hands on off of tables and at walls. John merely watched him patiently from his place on his comfortable chair, reading the paper whilst keeping an eye out to make sure his crazy flatmate didn't break anything valuable.
"John, I need some. - Get me some!" Sherlock practically yelled at John.
"No, cold turkey, we agreed. - No matter what. Anyways, you've paid everyone off. No one in a two-mile radius will sell you any." John made certain to keep his tone of voice steady and firm, but also soft and appeasing; the best way of getting to the detective was to calm him down. They went through this every week after a case, but the doctor had to admit the past few days had been the most annoying. Not only was Sherlock without a case, he had decided to quit smoking again after his moron (so John called him in his mind, when he was sure Mycroft couldn't hear) of a brother let him have a smoke after Christmas.
Sherlock continued searching frantically around the small sitting room.
"I'll let you know next week's lottery numbers."
John gave him a pointed look.
"Worth a try."
Sherlock was getting desperate. He was so bored and the only thing that would calm him down was a cigarette. Where could John have hidden them, and why couldn't he deduce it for himself? John had been getting cleverer, and it was all his own fault. If bribes and threats didn't work, maybe…
Sherlock hit upon an idea. It was so devious that it was bound to work; John would be thrown so out of balance that he would be forced to concede defeat.
"Where are they, John." He warned one last time, slowly approaching his quarry until he was standing right in front of John's chair.
"No, Sherlock. You've been doing great. Don't give up now."
Sherlock leaned into John, closing the distance between them slowly. "You will tell me."
John's eyes began to widen as he eyed his flatmate with actual worry. "What are you-
Suddenly Sherlock's lips crashed upon John's, taking the doctor's breath away. John hands shot upwards immediately, pushing against the taller man as he struggled to place some distance between the two. However, Sherlock proved to be stronger than anticipated, and the doctor was unable to prevent the detective from closing the distance between their bodies until they were pressed tightly together.
Stop, was all John could think of, please stop.
Sherlock, on his part, concluded that the doctor's struggling was nothing more than the normal shock at suddenly being snogged by your flatmate. John's His theory was that, eventually, given enough 'attention', John would actually start responding to his advances, and then he would have the doctor right where he wanted him, willing to give him any information he asked. People can be so malleable, he thought.
However, John's hands continued their frantic pushing as he shrank as far back against the chair as he could. Sherlock's mouth remained firmly set against his own, and he decided to up the shock factor by having his hands roam John's body with anything but gentleness. But if anything, John seemed to become even more frantic, which almost made Sherlock smile as he tried deducing John's thoughts. By now the good doctor would probably be faced with an interesting conundrum, Sherlock imagined; either he would have to punch Sherlock in order to get him off, which the detective seriously doubted, or he would actually give in, at which point Sherlock would pull back and make his demands.
Yet, maybe he was underestimating the doctor's breaking point. With this in mind he pressed himself even closer to John, resolving to push his body into a reaction that would arouse his prey. Panic settled in John's mind as the detective pushed one knee in between his legs, pressing against on his groin, and a muffled complain sounded in his throat, as his breathing hitched and his heart hammered violently in his chest. Sherlock grabbed John's right wrist from where it was firmly lodged pushing against his chest and held it firmly to the left of the doctor's face, effectively reducing the smaller man's struggles.
A chocked whimper escaped John, which Sherlock confused for a moan, prompting him to open his mouth against John's and push his tongue in to battle with the doctor's. John was finally beginning to stop struggling, but Sherlock needed to bring him to the point where he would actually start responding. He then slid his right hand down from where it had been pressed against John's chest, and brought it to his waist, tugging lightly at his trousers, while pressing more firmly with his knee against John's groin, rubbing the soft flesh there.
Suddenly John stilled. Finally thought Sherlock, this was getting tedious. Now he just had to get him to react. He knew John couldn't be that disgusted at making out with him, so maybe it was just the shock from it that had made John struggle for so long. Releasing John's right wrist and letting it fall limply to his side, Sherlock moved his left hand to his flatmate's face so he could angle it for better reach. And then he stopped.
His lips were still pressed against the doctor's, but the rest of his body had stilled its ministrations entirely. Sherlock's left hand was wet as it rested on John's cheek. Sherlock opened his eyes and slowly pulled back so that he could stare the smaller man in the face, without removing his left hand. John's eyes were scrunched up tightly, and his lips remained partly opened as his breath came in quick sharp gasps. But what shocked Sherlock the most were the tear tracks down both sides of John's face.
Pulling back more so that he was barely touching the doctor, Sherlock brought his other hand to cup John's left cheek.
The doctor's breath hitched, the gasps becoming shorter and sharper, and Sherlock noticed for the first time that John's body was trembling slightly.
"John?" he whispered again, his rapidly growing concern coloring his voice.
Sherlock almost doubted having heard John's softly whispered plea, but he couldn't deny how it was blatantly written all over the doctor's face. The tears kept falling, and Sherlock had to stop himself from trying to wipe them off.
He quickly reevaluated the situation. Surprising amount of struggling, failure to reciprocate, sudden stillness at increased forced intimacy, crying, trembling, elevated heart rate, CRYING. John didn't cry. John never cried, except on those nights when nightmares from the war plagued him, but even then they were suppressed and controlled, never like this.
"Oh my God, John. I am so sorry. I did not know."
How could he have known? John, strong, brave, brilliant, John? There had never been any indication. Nothing that would hint at it? Had he activated a suppressed memory? No, the reaction had been instantaneous, he now recognized. So it's something John had kept hidden. But he went out with women, many women his mind added, so that's not the problem. It doesn't inhibit him in that way.
So a man. And it would have been a chance occurrence that wasn't repeated, but was still quite traumatizing.
"John, please look at me. Open your eyes John." Sherlock whispered softly.
John's eyes remained tightly shut, and his mouth was pressed into thin line.
"Hmmm." The negative response along with a slight shake of the head was all Sherlock got. His breathing was still sharp, although more controlled than before, but the tears didn't show any signs of stopping, which worried the detective.
"Please John, I am sorry, please look at me." Sherlock's thumbs stroked John's wet cheeks gently, and prompted him to open his eyes, although he kept them downcast, refusing to look the younger man in the face.
"I didn't.. I didn't mean.. I didn't know…
"No, you didn't." John's voice sounded eerily hollow.
Sherlock removed his hands from John's face as though they had been burned, and without tearing his eyes from the doctor, he sat backwards into his own chair across from John.
The resulting silence could have been cut with a knife; it was almost a presence itself.
Finally Sherlock broke it, even though he kept his voice soft and low, almost subconsciously.
"Who was it?"
John's eyes closed once more momentarily before they went back to staring at some point above the floor. But instead of gazing at their dull rug, they seemed to be seeing into a place far away.
"It doesn't matter, it was a long time ago." He snapped suddenly.
It was Sherlock's turn to shut his eyes in denial. He'd deduced what must have happened for John to have such a violent reaction to his sudden and unwanted advances, but to think it might have happened when John was-
"I wasn't a child." Sherlock's eyes snapped back and locked with John's. The doctor was looking at him for the first time and Sherlock realized his apprehension at John's implication must have shown on his face.
"Just so you don't… worry that much." was the toneless explanation.
Although relieved, Sherlock realized that didn't make the other possible scenarios any better. It is a vile thing to do to a child, but it is just as vile to do it to a grown person. Sherlock tried to ignore the voice in his head that said that that was exactly what he had almost done himself. No, it wouldn't have gone that far. It was just- what?, his mind provided, a joke?, blackmail?, an experiment? He realized he didn't want to answer those questions.
The detective also realized that while John had said he hadn't been a child, it did not mean he hadn't been young. How young then? A teenager? A med student? A young soldier in the army?
"That doesn't make it any less… horrible."
John scoffed silently to himself; his breathing had stabilized, and his involuntary trembling had stopped, but those tears kept on falling. Sherlock wondered whether John was even aware that he was crying.
"John, I am truly sorry. So very sorry. What I did… I was just.. I didn't-
"Didn't what? Think things through?" John's voice was hard and bitter, even in its whispered tone.
"No, I didn't. I just thought-
"I know what you thought- came John's sharp response, "let's have some fun at the expense of the poor stupid doctor. That'll teach him a lesson for watching out for my own damned health!"
The words cut through Sherlock's mind and settled heavily somewhere in his chest, and he hung his head down in shame.
"I'm sorry- was the only thing Sherlock could think of saying. There was no justifying his actions. If things had gone 'according to plan', Sherlock would have laughed at John's expected arousal, and mocked him relentlessly. John was right, he had been merely having fun at his expense, all for a pack of cigarettes. No matter how he looked at it, it was cold and heartless.
"I sorry John, I didn't think-
"What? Didn't think that I might have been!- that I was!-
John's words were cut off as his breath threatened to hitch in his chest once more, and Sherlock's own chest felt as though a heavy weight had settled camp uncomfortably above his heart. He didn't know what to say. How did you comfort a person about something that happened years ago, long before you ever met? It was evident the memories were still just as fresh, and that Sherlock's action had brought them to the surface, but he was still at a loss of how to deal with them.
Sudden hollow laughter brought Sherlock back from his conflicted thoughts, making his head snap back up to look at John. There was a rueful smile on his lips, yet the bitterness and frustration at his situation was still reflected in his eyes. The doctor tried to get his breathing under control before he spoke again.
"It wasn't even that serious."
Sherlock's eyes narrowed in anger. It was just like John to dismiss the situation and his own feelings on the matter as irrelevant or overdramatic.
"What? How can you say it's not serious?"
Deep breath- "Because it's a matter of perspective."
"Perspective? John is blatantly obvious that you were-
"No. No that's the problem. I wasn't.. not technically."
Confusion must have shown all over Sherlock's face because John drew in another shaky breath and ran a hand across his hair as though preparing himself before explaining. He also pulled his knees up to his chest in a protective manner, wrapping his arms around them, and Sherlock wondered whether, like the tears, this was a subconscious instinctual move of self-preservation.
John then rested his head on his knees, looking very much like a child.
"I've never told anyone." he whispered, and Sherlock had to strain his ears to hear him.
"John, you don't owe me an explanation." In fact, he thought, I don't think I want to know. But John didn't seem to have heard him, for he continued as though something had unleashed in him that he couldn't reign back.
"It was during my first year in the army, good but inexperienced doctor. I was a captain, of course, but there were guys of lower ranks who were both older and more experienced than me, so I was apprehensive at first to pull rank and give orders. I imagine you're familiar with triage, and how important it is to make sure the patients who are treated first are those in most need of attention? – John paused momentarily and Sherlock made a noise in affirmation, "About five months after being deployed we were suddenly swamped with a large amount of casualties. I had been in the field with other combat soldiers when we were attacked, so I knew which wounded required priority attention. There were many wounded, Sherlock. I knew it was impossible to treat them all, but I also knew we'd do all we could to save as many as possible. I was in charge of triage and I sent the ones in most critical conditions to get aid first, while we tried to do the best for the rest while they waited to be taken to surgery.
"There were two soldiers with very similar serious wounds, but the other doctors in surgery were incredibly swamped. I had to decide which to treat, so I treated the one with the most serious wound. He would have died if he didn't get immediate attention. The other had a 20% chance of surviving the wait. I saved one, but that other one didn't make it. I know I couldn't have saved them both; I had to follow procedure.
"His mates weren't so understanding. Apparently he had been a popular guy among the troops, and when word got out to his group of close friends that I had passed him over for someone else, they decided to take personal offence against me."
John went silent for a few moments as though gathering his thoughts as well as strength for the rest. Meanwhile Sherlock's esteem of the doctor couldn't help but grow. He knew that war wasn't a walk in the park, and he knew, from John's own mouth, that he had seen many terrible things, yet he hadn't realized how the very act of deciding who to save could be such a tough decision. Sherlock seldom had to make such decisions in his line of work because he was either pursuing a crook or finding the key evidence that will prove someone wasn't a crook. He didn't have the power of decision of whether a person lived or died, in fact most of his clients were dead already. Not for the first time, Sherlock wondered how many demons John Watson carried with him every day.
"Well, uhm.. one day- John began, slightly less steadily than before, "I had gone into the supply closet of the medical unit we were stationed at before we returned to combat. I needed to get some supplies to replenish my own when three of the deceased soldier's friends cornered me as I came out. They make some rude comment about that, and I suppose they must have found it very funny. – Sherlock noted that this time John didn't even pretend to smile; he was simply lost in his memories of that day
"The three shoved me back into the closet and got in with me. Uhm.. I should explain that medical supply closets are quite large, -Stalling for time, Sherlock realized. "I was surprised, to say the least.- John swallowed thickly, feeling as though his throat was full of cotton. "I demanded to know what was wrong, and well, to make a long story short, they explained what I just said about their comrade. I, er, told them I was very sorry about their loss, and then they… well, they made it clear that they would make sure I was sorry."
"Shut up!" He couldn't stop now; if he didn't tell someone now, he'd never do it, so it might as well be his jerk of a flatmate. John took another calming breath that didn't do much good, and focused on boring a tiny hole through the rug with his gaze.
"I tried to stop them. I pulled rank, I appealed to their sense of honor and duty, I even managed to land a couple of punches before two of them got me in a hold against the wall.
Sherlock noted John was dangerously close to hyperventilating.
"They, ah, they bound my legs together and gagged me… I suppose they came prepared for it.. and uh.. I couldn't… - John took several deep breaths, some which were close to becoming chocked sobs. As John continued his retelling his voice became dimmer and dimmer, and he was forced to stop frequently to prevent himself from breaking down.
"The ringleader of the bunch came toward me… and he, uhm.. he pressed against me.
The two other soldiers held his arms at awkward angles behind his back causing him to arch back slightly to avoid dislocating his shoulders. The lead soldier approached John with a strange gleam in his eyes. Up till then John had thought he would get beaten up. He had already received a punch under his right eye after he tried fighting the soldiers off, so now he prepared himself for a thorough thrashing. However, instead of hitting him, the lead soldier pressed his body flush against John's, and ran his hands over John's chest and down his back. The doctor bucked against the contact, but the soldiers held him firmly as their leader drew ever closer. His hands travelled lower grabbing John's bottom suddenly and tightly causing the doctor to gasp and still for a moment as he gazed in horror at his attacker. As realization dawned on his mind his struggling redoubled even though his captors only laughed and twisted his arms painfully behind his back. The lead thug put his lips against John's ear and whispered lustfully…
"And he… uh… he whispered that he would make me pay for what I'd done."
"You'll be sorry Watson, you're going to pay for letting that boy die. I'm going to make sure you never forget." The man thrust his hips against John's own making his obvious intent even more apparent. John's eyes widened in panic and he tried screaming around the gag that was firmly logged in his mouth. His struggling increased tenfold when the soldier's hands moved from his behind to the front of his trousers and proceeded to unbuckle John's belt followed by his own, but the pressure in his arms also intensified in a burst of white pain as his captives held him tighter. His assaulter finished undoing John's trousers, pulling them down to pool at his ankles before doing the same himself. "Turn him over." The other two followed the instruction, turning him around so that he faced the wall while simultaneously shoving him down to his knees. John fought to remain upright but the ringleader delivered an unexpected punch to his stomach which made John double up in pain and allowed his captors to push him to the floor.
"He.. pulled down my.. trousers, and… had his… colleagues… turn.., turn me around. I.. I tried, Sherlock, I tried to stop it… but I- John's words turned into a sob, which he attempted to stifle by breathing even faster than before.
Sherlock realized that he was trembling along with John. How could these bastards do that to John? He didn't want to hear the rest, he didn't want to know, yet knowing at the same time that John couldn't stop now. And he, Sherlock, was the only one who could listen.
"I was kneeling on the f-floor, and h-he came from behind a-and, uhm.. started… t-touching m-me." John's words were barely understandable in their low whisper and shakiness.
The soldier slowly ran a hand down John's smaller back sending waves of nausea into John's stomach. Suddenly and without warning he thrust one finger deep into John. John's back arched and spasmed at the violent intrusion, as he screamed and buckled in protest. His lower back muscles clenched tightly as pain ripped through his body, but his assaulter merely laughed at his reaction. "You're gonna get much worse Watson, much worse." John's entire world at that point was an explosion of pain, even though he knew what was coming. Just as sudden and violent as the insertion had been, the soldier pulled his finger out without warning or care, wrenching another scream from John.
'Please, please stop', was all John's mind could scream. He wanted to fade away, to simply have his mind leave his body so that he might not be conscious for the next part. John felt the soldier position himself behind him and tried to shut his mind against the coming intrusion, but it never came.
The air siren resounded across the compound. It signaled that fighting had broken out somewhere and they were being moved out to the battlefield. Whatever warped sense of duty John's assaulters had, they were still compelled to follow the call to arms. Swiftly the lead thug stood up, pulling up his clothes as he did, and motioned to the other two to follow him. As they released his arms John fell to the floor.
"We'll finish this later, doc. You can count on it." And then they were gone. John knew he couldn't stay there in the supply closet. Not only would he be found sooner or later, and he had no intention of letting anyone know about his humiliation, but he also had to join the rest of the army surgeons on the field. So John Watson did the only sensible thing he could think of and he pushed all of the events deep into a corner of his mind, gathered up his strength, and went to join his unit and save lives.
"And there… you have it. The thing is they were never able to… fulfill their promise; all three got killed that day."
Sherlock's eyes widened at that.
"No- John said with a sigh, "I didn't do it. Although, if I had had to treat them…. I.. I don't know what I would have done. So there, you see, it didn't happen, not… not all the way… you might say."
"John, that doesn't make it any better, and you know it. It was still a repulsive violation, and I am glad they are dead." And he was. Sherlock knew that if they weren't he would have left right then and there to hunt them down and kill them.
John sighed again, and Sherlock noted that while the shaking had minimized, those damned tears kept on falling regardless.
"They just wanted to avenge their comrade."
"John! They had no right, … nor did I. I am sorry, I shouldn't…" Sherlock was surprised to find a lump stuck in his throat, "I truly did not think of what I was doing, that I might.. hurt you."
"I was… just surprised.."
"Stop pretending it's nothing!" Sherlock jumped from his chair suddenly and closed the distance between them in two steps. John's eyes grew large and he instinctively shrunk back deep into his seat. Sherlock noted the flash of fear in John's eyes. Too fast, Sherlock, you're scaring him. Slower this time, the detective kneeled in front of his flatmate and gently lifted one hand to cup John's cheek, rubbing his thumb against the flowing tears. Pulling his hand back, he showed John his glistening palm,
"It's not 'nothing'" whispered Sherlock softly.
John noticed the tears for the first time, bringing a hand up to wipe his face.
"I hadn't realized… - John stopped in order to gather his thoughts, and get his breathing under control once more, "When you… I knew you wouldn't hurt me… but in that moment.. it was like I was … there all over again. I've never been so afraid, Sherlock. The war didn't scare me, the prospect of dying didn't scare me; it made me angry, and it sickened me, but it didn't scare me, not in the same way at least.
"That I could be so helplessly weak and pathetic… not to be able to stop it.." John closed his eyes and swallowed the sob that rose in his throat.
"I don't understand how that makes you weak or pathetic. They outnumbered you, there was nothing you, or anyone in your place, could have done. You are still the bravest person I know." Sherlock stated these, leaving no room for doubt, as though they were facts of the universe. And his words comforted John, not because they were kind, but because Sherlock said them with the certainty of truth.
Silence reigned again as the words sunk in, but unlike the previous silence, this one was cleansing and reflective. John remained sitting and Sherlock remained in a crouch next to John's chair, so similar to how they were before, yet having come so far from it as well. Both had a lot to reflect upon; John reflected on how what had happened to him wasn't his fault and how it wasn't a reflection of his character, and Sherlock reflected on his own actions, and how some lines should never be crossed for profit or gain. And they both reflected on friendship, and how strange and unusual their friendship was.
Suddenly Sherlock's cellphone rang, signaling the prospect of a case. The detective read the text message, the case seemed promising, but he didn't know whether this was the best timing. Looking up at John he raised an eyebrow in question. If the doctor didn't feel up to it, and really, Sherlock couldn't blame him, he would ignore Lestrade's text gladly. But John surprised him yet again by simply smiling tiredly and even chuckling softly. Taking in a deep breath as to dismiss the heavy atmosphere that had settled around them, he said:
"Well, it'll get you mind off the cigarettes."
Sherlock broke into a grin; the best course of action now would be, not to pretend it didn't happen, but to continue as normal.
"Wash your face, I'll make some tea, and then we're off." said the detective, standing up with a spring and heading for the kitchen.
Shaking his head lightly, John proceeded to unfold himself from his chair, joints popping and creaking in protest, and headed in the direction of the bathroom. He stopped half-way through, and turned toward Sherlock,
"You might want to look in the mirror as well." he said before exiting the room.
Sherlock frowned in confusion as the doctor left the sitting room still carrying that sad smile of his, but looking much more relieved. The detective then walked into his own room to look in the mirror and as he took in his appearance Sherlock realized with a start that his eyes were red and puffy, and that there were dried tear tracks down his cheeks.
A/N I feel the ending might have been a bit rushed, but I always have difficulties with the 'comfort' part of h/c. Tell me what you think, reviews feed the plot bunnies after all.