Title: We Believe
Warnings: Spoilers for all of Sherlock, up to and including RBF. Some language, 'supposed' character death, mentions of depression, angst… Oh the angst.
Characters: John Watson, Sherlock Holmes, Molly Hooper, Greg Lestrade, Raz, Kitty Reilly, mentions of Jim Moriarty, Mentions of Sebastian Moran, various OC's
Pairings: Mild John/Sherlock, but it's mostly implied/pre-slash/YMMV, until the end at least. Throw on your goggles.
Notes: My first Sherlock fic. Will be posted in three parts. Hoping I did all right. Please R&R!
Disclaimer: Sherlock, John, all of their friends and the many places the visit do not belong to me. If they did, I wouldn't have to write fanfiction, now would I?
Summary: Post-RBF. He writes one sentence, and while it's not enough, it starts something. A movement.
Part One—The Comment
John disables the comment section on his very last blog post because he doesn't think he can stand to read a single negative thing about Sher-… Him. At first he thinks he needs to write something huge and exhaustive to explain how he feels, that emptiness inside, that hurt he feels every time he steps into the flat and sees all of the things that were His. All the things He left behind.
That bloody harpoon is stuck in the floor next to the couch. There's a full package of nicotine patches stuck beneath the violin that will never play another note. Hell, it might never leave the windowsill if John Watson gets his way. He is fairly sure there's a toe in the fridge still that he should throw out and for some reason there are sunflower seeds in a pile on the mantel. Why sunflower seeds? What on earth were they there for?
The skull (which he keeps almost talking to) is watching him while he stares at the screen.
All the little things that he refuses to change because if he can brush the tips of his shaking fingers over them ('you have an intermittent tremor in your left hand. Your Therapist—'), if he can look and feel and pretend that he is coming back, bouncing in the room with that wild, manic energy… Then John can breathe. John can make it through the next day as long as he keeps on pretending.
He wants to write something heartfelt. Something that will show everyone just how strong and unwavering his loyalty to his fallen friend is.
In the end he writes one sentence and embeds a video of the news footage, because he can't put into words how he felt about the brilliant man who left body parts in the fridge and shot the walls when he was bored. Sherlock Holmes: Chronic insomniac, self-proclaimed sociopath, classical music lover and most of all, brilliantly sarcastic.
He writes one sentence, and while it's not enough ('Everything is exactly what it must be, John. Nothing is ever more then it is, and the sooner you realize that the sooner you can clear your mind of the clutter'), it starts something. A movement.
'He was my best friend and I'll always believe in him.'
One sentence that isn't enough, and it starts a revolution.
And all John Watson can think about is how he is never again going to come to find a severed head in the fridge.
Lestrade can't sleep. The couch is lumpy and uncomfortable, and the wife isn't letting him stay in the bed until the question of his continuing employment is settled. He doesn't really blame her, but not being able to sleep has left him bored and awake at three in the morning. Which was why he is one of the first people to see the update as he sits clicking the refresh button, sipping his coffee.
John. Poor John, who had retreated after the funeral and refused to see anyone, save Missus Hudson. John. Who had never lost faith in Holmes, not matter what anyone else said. He has posted a new entry. It is one sentence, but Greg Lestrade thinks it is the perfect sentence. It is all it needs to be.
He was my best friend and I'll always believe in him.
He suddenly wants to reply to the entry, to write 'I believe in him too, even if it's too late'. But the comments have been disabled. Probably for the best, truth be told, but he feels a familiar spike of guilt in his chest. Sitting in the dark, brooding over this 'event', which is probably the last straw in his marriage and career, staring at the dated wallpaper… It's too much.
He pulls out his phone and writes it as a text, hits 'send' and then nervously places the small contraption on the coffee table, eyeing it warily.
About a minute later it buzzes and the screen lights up blue, John Watson's name in bold white letters. He picks up the call to hear soft breathing on the other end of the line.
"John." Bringing himself to say it out loud is harder then he thought it would be, but he manages it all the same. "I'm sorry. I am." Not enough, but it's all he can say.
More quiet breathing meets his ear, and he wonders if John didn't accidentally pocket-dial him or something. It's a little longer before the doctor speaks, and when he does Lestrade feels strangely sad. He doesn't sound like John Watson. He sounds old.
"What're you doing up so late, Greg?" Lestrade can't bring himself to answer right away. John's voice is terrible. The words are rough and he sounds ill.
"Guess I'm just…Thinking. Can't sleep." He sets his coffee down. John's page is still open on his computer screen. John doesn't need to know that the wife has a suitcase packed and stashed away in the closet where she thinks Greg won't look. The doctor would undoubtedly care (that is what John Watson does, after all), but he has enough to think about right now.
"…Feel like a cuppa?" It's tentative, and Greg sees it for what it is. An offer of forgiveness. A chance to try. He doesn't hesitate in his answer.
"Would love one. I'll be 'round in a few minutes."
"See you then." John replies and hangs up with an abrupt click. Greg picks up his cold coffee again and downs it in a few quick gulps before shutting down the computer. He erases the browsing history first, though. Any mention of John Watson and Sherlock Holmes sends the missus into a mood, and while he knows she's been sleeping around on him (he knew before Sherlock pointed it out at Christmas, thanks. He's not actually stupid), he still doesn't want to lose her. Or cause her too much stress. He loves her, in spite of everything.
He pulls on his coat and slips on his trainers. He's just going to John's for a cuppa; he doesn't need to look overly fancy. He wouldn't be surprised if John answered the door in his housecoat. Wouldn't blame him, either.
Men like Sherlock Holmes deserved to be mourned. Even if he was a massive dick sometimes.
Raz sees the post on his brother's Iphone, because he nicked it from him earlier in the day when the twat wasn't paying attention. He knew about Sherlock's swan dive, of course. Most everyone did. What he didn't know was how the short bloke with the weird hair was taking it all. Raz doesn't know what they two of them had had going on—Maybe they were queer. But what he did know was the Holmes never showed up with friends.
So he's curious. He steals his idiot brothers' phone and puts an alert on it, to let him know if John Watson (They bloke who got an ASBO because of him, and that always makes him smile) updates his blog at any point.
Raz's in the middle of tagging an old motel when the phone pips, and he stops long enough to fish the damn thing out of his pocket. A few flicks of his thumb bring up the post, and he reads the one sentence with a wary, critical eye.
It starts something up in his head. An idea. Maybe not a great idea, or even a good one, but it's there and he can't for the life of him get rid of it. He spends the rest of his night trying to erase it and failing.
Finally, his wandering feet take him to Scotland Yard. The Yard is surprisingly empty but it is late at night, and the shadows hide him nicely as he slides past the CCTV. Every electronic eye has a blind spot, and this one just happens to be smack under a window.
It's a risk. He knows that. He gets caught and there'll be no mercy for him, he has already been told that once or twice and really, is this risk worth it?
Raz thinks back on Sherlock Holmes. He can remember the night they met, how fuckin' weird it had been, when the man in the long, dark coat slid up beside him and started asking all sorts of weird questions about paint types that Raz had been reluctant to answer. Who just walks up to a kid on the street and starts ramblin' on about that sorta shit?
He remembers the shot ringing out and Sherlock's hand pushing him out of the way. He'd lost his balance and gone tumbling over a nearby railing into a river. The tagger had never been one for swimming, and his clothes had dragged him beneath the surface. That water had been bloody cold.
He'd thought that this was finally it, his last night roaming London, when a thin, wiry arm had wrapped around his waist and hauled him to the surface. Sherlock Holmes, though he hadn't known the mans' name at the time, pulled him out of the river, slipped his bag of pot from one pocket with a nifty bit of pick pocketing and tosses him to a medic. Saves his life, and saves him from jail time. That's when Raz starts liking Sherlock Holmes.
He starts believing him when, two nights later, the bloke walks up next to him and starts asking more questions like their conversation had never been interrupted. Raz answers more readily (he might be a thug, but he ain't a prat) and the detective seems more then pleased, handing over fifty quid and the bag of weed he'd pulled from Raz's pocket.
So he decides yeah, the risk is worth it. Raz Ryanhall has always considered himself loyal.
He pulls his hood over his face and sinks low into his hoodie. He decides on yellow because it'll be nice and bright on the brick and goes about his work quickly. It's sloppy and amateur. The yellow runs down the mortar gaps and he wishes it was bigger, but staying any longer changes this from risky to stupid and he didn't survive this long as a tagger by being stupid.
Raz admires his work long enough to snap a picture on Jake's phone, then pockets his paint and walks briskly away. He sends the shot in a mass text to some of his fellow artists and puts 'Doc Watson Believes, and so do I' in the subject line. In the body of the message he writes 'Ne1 who don't can GDIAF.'
He decides to do a more elaborate and less public 'work' tomorrow. Something that'll really turn the soddin' police on their heads.
Something that would make Holmes grin.
Molly Hooper sees it on the news while nursing her first coffee of the day. Sometimes when she gets up it's already made, a little token of appreciation from her usually silent houseguest. He always makes it perfect too. Today, however, he is sitting on her sofa with his legs crossed and his fingers tented, staring at the telly. Molly watches him for a moment, then turns her attention to the screen.
"What's that?" She can see what it is, obviously. It's graffiti on the brick building that houses the Yard. It's yellow, brilliant, and it says 'I BELIEVE IN SHERLOCK HOLMES!'
He isn't looking at her, and his face is completely blank. But there's an odd gleam in his silver eyes. She squints at the caption underneath the video. It reads 'Vandals deface the Yard in defence of fraudulent P.I'. The reporter is rattling off the crimes Sherlock has been accused of with a sombre expression.
She sits down next to him, and they silently watch the rest of the story. When it's finished he turns the telly off. "That was the second news story of the day," He says softly. "Right after the successful rescue of a kidnapped boy in Sussex." He's never soft. Or at least, he never was before. He's been quiet for days now and every time Molly tries to ask him what he's going to do next he shushes her and just says 'I'm thinking.'
He stands and wanders to her kitchen, and she can hear the sounds of her kettle being taken out of the cupboard and filled from the tap. "Must be a slow news day." The detective turns the oven on. Molly can't help feel a spark of internal disagreement.
Molly brushes a stray hair from her face and grabs the remote from where he tossed it onto the table. She turns the television back on, flicks it to a different news channel, and the graffiti is there screaming its message to the masses. She can't help but smile. Just like she smiled when he asked her to cut his hair and dye it ginger, which she thinks looks rather good on him, even if he fidgeted the entire time. She nearly scissored his bloody ear off.
"This is going to go somewhere." Molly Hooper is whispering, but he seems to hear her all the same.
"What do you mean by that?" Genuine curiosity isn't something she is used to hearing in his deep voice, and that makes her look up. He's staring at her, and she feels herself blush. Being trapped in that gaze has always made her fluttery.
"I mean… This won't go away," She gestures with her mug to the screen. "People are going to rally behind this."
"Why would they do that? I'm a disgrace, remember?" A wary smirk steals over his face but it isn't amused, it's grim. Molly shakes her head.
"Not everyone believes the press. The people who saw you in action… People are going to speak up." A strange, knowing tingle is tickling the base of her spine. Her mother had always said that their family were sensitive to things to come, that hunches and feelings were important. She would never tell Sherlock that but… She can feel it.
He laughs, low in his throat. It's the first time he's laughed since his fall and she finds herself smiling nervously at him. "Silly Molly. Who would believe in me?"
Working furiously all day leaves him little time to make the phone calls he needs to, so he only calls the people he knows will come. His arms are stained with ink right up to his elbows but Raz thinks the finished template is more than worth it.
He waits in a back alley for them, and they trickle in one by one. They're all mates of his, and each owes something to Sherlock. Davey and Nye had been part of the homeless network, until Nye had pulled his head out of his ass and gone to school and Davey had gotten a job welding car parts. James, Archie and Kyle all seemed to think the consulting detective had posted their bail at one point or another and Melanie…Ah. Feisty Melanie. She was a total chav but a decent girl, and Holmes had proven her innocent in a nasty bit of carjacking. He had introduced Raz to Mel one day, and they'd dated for about a year.
Raz is surprised to see her there, considering the history they share, but she just looks at him with cold eyes and says, "I ain't here for you, you got that? I'm 'ere for 'im." Raz nods.
The group of them bend over the piece of paper Raz has been working on all day, and there are murmurs of appreciation.
"Who's gonna do the letters?" Davey asks. He's never been one for writing. Melanie rolls her eyes.
"The one of us who's best at 'em. Would be me, wouldn't it?" She crosses her arms.
"Well go on then! We need 'em first." Davey's a prat, but he's right. Mel scoffs and picks a can from the duffel she brought with her and goes to work while the rest of them pick and choose who will do what.
They work in almost-silence for three hours when Melanie suddenly stops. "Wha' you think you're doing, mate?" She whisper-shouts at Nye, who's working on one of the eyes. Nye looks at her with a raised eyebrow.
"What're you on about now?"
"His eyes ain't that colour, mate. They're grey." She crosses her arms. Nye scowls at her.
"Sorry I don' spend hours staring lovin'ly at 'im. You think you know better, then you do it." Mel obligingly picks up a can and takes Nye's place. Nye doesn't seem all that pissed off about it, just takes a different can and goes to help with some of the filler.
Raz stands next to Mel, trying to focus on the work, but she smells just like he remembers and he can't help glancing over at her a few times.
"You wanna take a picture mate?" She says, and he grins.
"Bloody right." Her hair is pulled back from her face and stuffed into a tight bun, but it's mostly hidden by her hood. He can see her nose ring glittering in the little light they've been afforded. She snorts laughter a little shyly.
It has been a good night, so far.
The shrill ringing of his phone wakes him at four in the morning, when the darkness of night is just starting to turn blue and the streets are still mostly empty. He slaps at the phone with one hand. This is the first sleep he's gotten in a long while and having it interrupted so shrilly is not what he wants. Or what he expects.
The doctor peers through blurry eyes at the unlisted number, debates picking it up for a moment and then finally does, hitting the green button.
"It's four in the morning, this better be good." He growls in his best 'military captain' voice.
"I think you'll like it, mate." The accent is far more rough then anyone he knows, which makes him frown.
"Is that so?"
"Oh yea'. Go left from your fron' door two blocks, then look 'cross the street. I'd 'ave waited longer, but I wanted you to see it first." 'I' is pronounced 'Ah', and the number of dropped letters amazes John to no end.
"This is silly."
"You should bring a camera, too." The voice on the other end says. "And Doc?"
"Thanks for taking the ASBO fo' me. Couldn't really get another hit."
John almost says something, but just smiles instead. The phone hangs up.
Limping down the two blocks takes less effort then walking has for the last few weeks. It's almost like he doesn't notice his leg as much. The air is cold and invigorating, the pre-dawn light is perfect. John feels for the first time in a long time. A touch of excitement for whatever he was going to see, a bit of curiosity. This excites him, so he hobbles faster.
He reaches the end of the second block and turns to look across the street, and a broad smile stretches John Watson's face. They come few and far in between these days, the big grins, but this time it's in full force.
The building across the street has a full-length mural across its' length. 'WE BELIEVE IN SHERLOCK HOLMES' is in sharp, white letters that overlap one another and are outlined in simple black. They're very street, very…. Alive. Behind them is Sherlock's silhouette; complete with that damn deerstalker he hated so much. It isn't black though, it's orange. Close to the ground, and only slightly smaller then the letters proclaiming support of Sherlock, are more words. 'WE BELIEVE IN JOHN WATSON.'
The most impressive part, though, is the profiles. One on either end of the mural, like bookends. The far right is Johns' own face, his short hair and all, skin pale, smiling much as he was looking at it. The most miraculous part was the eye though, fantastically done in light blue. John thinks the colour might be nicer then his own eyes.
On the other end, closest to him, is Sherlock. His high cheekbones, black curls, white skin, all of it is perfectly rendered (as perfectly as they can be in spray paint, anyway). Again though, the eye was the selling point. It's silver-blue and seems to be looking into Johns' soul, trapping him.
John smiles a bit wider. Then he starts to giggle. He stands in the grey light of early morning, giggling like a madman for a good ten minutes. When he's done his cheeks are wet and his eyes are tired, but he feels somehow lighter.
There are seven tags, six names he doesn't recognize and one he does. Raz.
Of course Raz.
John makes a mental note to give the kid some money next time he sees him. He takes some pictures because who knows how long that is going to be left up.
He hobbles home with his mind buzzing in a way it hasn't for weeks. And he's still smiling.
The first group of them show up around eight that morning, when he's in the middle of making a breakfast he won't eat. John goes through the motions for Missus Hudson's sake, she doesn't need to worry any more then she already does. Though the shrewd old woman probably sees more then he's entirely comfortable with.
He uses the end of his silver tongs (the ones he stashed in his room so they would never, ever touch feet used in experiments, thanks) to pull aside the curtain and peer at the front door, where two men and a red-haired woman that might be Kitty Reilly are standing.
Reporters. The thought is venomous, and venom has never been something John's been able to properly cope with. Lovely.
Like it or not, his paper is on the front stoop and he wants to read it. Which means opening the goddamn door. John doesn't bother getting dressed (Pyjamas and a housecoat are all he's throwing on, thank you very much) and he walks down the stairs reluctantly.
He opens the door, and it's almost like the sight of him startles them to inaction. No one moves for a minute, and much to John's distain, Kitty regains herself first.
"Doctor Watson! What's your reaction to the graffiti defacing Baker Street?" She asks sharply, and John plasters a pleasant smile on his face. Pretending.
"No comment." He steps out and shuffles past them to his paper, which he grips tightly in one hand.
"Do you know the parties involved?" One of the men, a short guy with a pointy nose, has a Dictaphone shoved in John's face. The urge to snap meddling reporter fingers rises in him.
The other bloke is back a bit, closer to the front door, but he's kept out of John's way and looks rather polite for a journalist. "I'm sorry about your loss, Doctor Watson." The young man says, and John takes a quick look at him. Young, very young. His eyes are pale green and his hair is slightly longer then one would expect from a journalist. The locks are bright red, and there's a spattering of freckles on the kid's pale face. He probably still naively believes that journalism can be a force for good. John gives him a curt nod of thanks. "Care to give us your side of the story?"
"John, how does it feel to know you lived with the most proficient criminal mind of our age for eighteen months?"
John stops in the doorway. It would be so easy to just walk the rest of the way inside and slam the door, but he can't bring himself to do it. That bitch.
He turns, and he knows something has changed in his face because they reporters are all decidedly paler then they were before. He tries to slap that pleasant smile back on his face but it twists on his lips and becomes something different, something distinctly not John.
"Actually," He sounds chipper but that just makes them go paler. "I do have a comment for you, Kitty. And you two can use it as well if you like." He tries to sound affable, and thinks he pulls it off. Kitty gives the slightest of smiles when he leans close to her proffered Dictaphone.
"You. Repel. Me." He hisses. The smile drops of her face in a flash.
He turns and disappears back into the flat, leaning against the door while trying to catch his breath. That might have been a mistake.
John Watson finally makes a comment- And what a comment it is!
Article by Rhys Sheppard
John Watson may be outwardly ordinary, but there is something to be said about a man who can start a media frenzy with a single sentence, and leave a group of investigative journalists speechless.
I went to the now-infamous 221B Baker Street early Saturday morning, to see if I could wring a quote or two out of one Doctor John Watson, best (and possibly only) friend of the late Sherlock Holmes. Holmes, who threw himself off the roof of Saint Bartholomew's hospital early July amidst a media scandal proclaiming him to be a fraud, swore by the 'science of deduction' and making reasonable assumptions based on the facts.
At first glance, Watson is not what you would picture for the only friend of an eccentric private investigator. Where Holmes was surrounded by rumours and intrigue, John Watson is short and unassuming. Pleasant enough from the very first 'No comment', while Holmes was known for flashy speeches and a bit of arrogance, which he showed during the notorious Jim Moriarty trial.
He answered no questions thrown at him while retrieving the morning paper until one Kitty Reilly—The woman many Holmes supporters singularly blame for the detective's death—Managed to be heard.
"John, how does it feel to know you lived with the most proficient criminal mind of our age for eighteen months?" She sniped.
This was where John Watson shows what may have endeared him to Sherlock Holmes in the first place; his spine. He squared his shoulders and smiled a little at us.
"Actually, I do have a comment for you, Kitty. And you two can use it as well if you like."
All three of us clicked on our dictaphones, but when Doctor Watson spoke he had eyes only for only Reilly. "You. Repel. Me."
I cannot properly describe the chill that came over me, dear readers, when he spat those three simple words at the woman who may have forced his friend off a roof. He turned and slammed the door to 221B without another word.
I more than anyone can attest to the power of words (They do pay my bills and put food on my table, after all), but very few men can use them in the same manner that Sherlock once could. However, one must wonder which is more impressive: rattling off your entire life story like a laundry list, or starting an Internet revolution with a single sentence?