Disclaimer: Sherlock does not belong to me.
A/N: Behold my new obsession... I wrote this in response to a prompt on the Sherlock Kink Meme. Basically: "Sherlock is dosed with some kind of drug that decreases his ability to lie. Everyone thinks it is going to be hilarious until Sherlock starts to reveal his deep seated insecurities or some horrible secret." I'm still not entirely happy with how it came out. It's my first real Sherlock story aside from answering prompts anon. Crits and Brit picking welcome!
Cross posted to AO3.
In retrospect, had it not been for the case, they all would have seen it coming. After all, when was the last time that Anderson had lowered himself to getting Sherlock, or any of them for that matter, a cup of tea? But they were all distracted by the distressing case of a serial rapist that had been targeting small children, and in the end Sherlock accepted the cup rather absently, his eyes focused on the pictures of the newest victim, mind occupied with trying to slot together pieces that didn't want to fit. He took a few sips of the tea, taking no notice as Anderson sidled away, smirking, and stood in the corner to watch his plan come together.
"There's got to be something," John said, more to himself than the others. He reached out and turned one of the photos to get a better look, though he had seen it so often that he was pretty sure he would be able to picture it even in his dreams.
"We're missing something," Sherlock muttered, distinctly aggrieved. It had been two long weeks and although evidence had been gathered, the consulting detective appeared to be well and truly stumped. Normally he would have been pleased at the thought of a case that was posing this much difficulty, but it was evident to John that the age of and damage done to the victims was starting to affect him a little. He shot Sherlock a concerned look when the detective wobbled a little.
"Fine," Sherlock said dismissively. "Lestrade, the newest victim. What did - " He trailed off suddenly and a strange look passed over his face before he shook his head. "What did Molly find on her clothing again?"
Lestrade opened up the file, but before he could say anything, there was a loud thud and he jumped in alarm, nearly dropping the file. Sherlock had fallen back against the table, and when it skittered back he'd landed on the floor, tea splattering beside him in a growing pool. The detective looked dazed, his normally sharp gaze far away, and his hands were shaking. John looked down at him, puzzled, wondering if Sherlock's lack of sleep had finally caught up to him, but then he spotted Anderson's broad smirk and understanding hit hard.
"What did you give him?" he demanded, kneeling next to Sherlock and tilting the man's head up. Lestrade was there at his side, but John paid him no mind as he looked into Sherlock's eyes. Pupils were dilated, breathing shallow, a flush on the generally pale cheekbones. Sherlock was trembling all over. But his temperature had remained steady, thank god, and he was still conscious.
"Anderson?" There was a dangerous note in Lestrade's voice.
"Nothing overly dangerous, sir," Anderson said, smirk only growing. "I just thought that he should know what it's like to have everything be out in the open for a change."
Lestrade's eyes went wide. "You gave him…?"
"What?" John stood up, his anger growing now that his initial suspicion had been confirmed. He wanted to know what Sherlock had been given so he could decide whether breaking Anderson's nose would suffice.
"It's a special compound from one of our more recent cases. We didn't bring Sherlock in because it was relatively straightforward. The drug drops the body's inhibitions, makes whoever takes it tell the truth about anything and everything." Lestrade was clearly furious.
"John?" The sound of Sherlock's voice, ironically enough, was the only thing that saved Anderson from a world of pain. His voice was small and shrill, filled with utter terror. John had never heard Sherlock sound like that, not even during the Hound of Baskerville case. This was a Sherlock who had lost all control, and he didn't like it. Immediately, he dropped down beside Sherlock and put a hand on his friend's shoulder.
"I'm here, Sherlock. I'm right beside you."
"No," Sherlock moaned, shaking his head slowly. His eyes open and shut slowly, like it was taking a lot of effort to remain conscious. "You… you're going to be just like the rest of them. You'll leave me. You'll find a wife, someone you love more than me, and leave. I don't want you to leave me."
"Shh, Sherlock, I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to stay with you, alright?" John could barely speak through his rage and he started, nearly pulling away out of instinct, when long, thin arms wound around his waist and Sherlock's face pressed into his stomach. He let out a slow breath, anger dissipating in the wake of fear mingled with concern, and gently dropped his hand onto Sherlock's curls to stroke them in a way that he hoped was a soothing to the distraught man. Sherlock generally disliked being touched, but it seemed that the normal rules no longer applied.
"John." Anderson was gone, fumbling from the room in the wake of a blistering lecture, and Lestrade was beside them again. "Let me help you take him home, alright?"
"Shouldn't he go to the A&E?"
"They won't be able to do anything for him. It has to leave the system naturally. He'll spend the trip in the waiting room." Lestrade crouched down and took Sherlock's arm. The detective whined as he was pulled to his feet, still trying to cling to John. "I don't think he had much so it shouldn't last longer than a few hours."
John nodded. A Sherlock with no inhibitions probably shouldn't be around many people, anyway. "Alright, come on, Sherlock." He wrapped Sherlock's arm around his shoulders, not protesting when Sherlock whimpered and clung to him. It was awkward because Sherlock was so much taller then him, but the detective's weight wasn't impossible to bear.
"I'll be right behind you," Lestrade said.
"I want to go home, John," Sherlock mumbled. "Wanna go home with you."
"We're going, Sherlock. Come on." Every step was slow. Sherlock was like a child who was just learning to walk. His legs didn't seem to want to work properly, and every two or three steps he stumbled, nearly sending them both down once or twice. Pain began burning in John's shoulder but he gritted his teeth and ignored it, wanting to get Sherlock out of the building as quickly as possible. There were too many people who would be willing to take advantage of his current state.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't Freak."
Like that. John closed his eyes and exhaled.
"Not now, Sergeant Donovan," he said without turning around.
"What's the matter, Freak? Not got some smart comment for me today?" Sally asked, a hint of sarcasm playing through her voice. She completely ignored John.
Sherlock abruptly stopped moving, dragging John to a stop as well, and looked at her over his shoulder. "You're right."
Sally nearly dropped the folders she was carrying. "Excuse me?"
"You're right," Sherlock repeated, a smile spreading across his face. "I am a freak. I'm strange to look at and my mind doesn't work the way a normal person's does. That makes me a freak." He spread his arms wide and almost toppled over. "You're telling the truth, just like I am when I say that you're being foolish by wasting your life away waiting for someone like Anderson. He's never going to leave his wife for you and in the end it will only make you even more bitter than you already are. You're smarter than that, Sally." He spoke the words calmly, with an air of pleasantry that was completely foreign.
It was rather interesting to see a speechless Sally Donovan. John decided that he liked her that way. "Come on, Sherlock," he said, propelling the man forward before Sally snapped out of her stupor. Sherlock staggered, knees becoming weaker with every step. Fortunately, Lestrade caught up to them before they'd gone much further and helped carry Sherlock the rest of the way to his patrol car. They put Sherlock in the back, laying him down across the seat, and then both of them got into the front.
"You're certain he'll be alright? This won't have any lasting effects?" John asked.
"None of the victims have shown any," Lestrade answered, starting the car. "I double-checked. He only consumed a couple mouthfuls, and Sherlock's more used to drugs than most. The trip might not even last that long." He sounded hopeful. "We need him back on his feet as soon as possible. Judging by how the case has been going so far, we're due to find another victim by late tomorrow evening."
John sighed. "I'll let you know when he's back to normal. In the state he's in, I hesitate to ask any questions. God knows what he'll come out with." He grimaced at the thought of Sherlock admitting that he was a freak. He'd never known that the detective saw himself that way. It hurt.
"It's best for him to be at home, but I could bring some files over. He could look at them when he's feeling more normal. Maybe this will lead to a break."
"Why won't you let me talk to the victims?"
Lestrade glanced into the mirror, surprised to hear the unusually small voice coming from the back. "Because, Sherlock, they're already traumatized and we don't want to make it worse."
"I wouldn't make it worse." Sherlock pouted. "I've been there. I know what it's like."
The car screeched to a stop as Lestrade hit the brakes. He and John turned at the same time, staring into the back seat.
"You what?" John demanded.
Sherlock looked back at him with heavily lidded eyes and didn't say anything. It seemed that several nights without any sleep were combining with the drug to send him into a half-asleep daze. John and Lestrade looked at each other and then Lestrade swore under his breath as car horns began to sound behind him. He stepped on the accelerator and the car lurched forward. None of them spoke again on the way back to Baker Street.
"If you're lucky, he'll sleep through the rest of it," Lestrade muttered. Between the two of them, they had managed to cart Sherlock up the stairs and into the flat. Sherlock was light - lighter than he should have been - but his long limbs posed a bit of a problem for both shorter men. Finally, he was on the couch, sprawled in a position that couldn't have been comfortable. "I hate to leave you alone with him, but I have to get back."
"It's not a problem. Thanks for your help," John said wearily, rubbing his shoulder.
"And don't worry about Anderson. He'll get what's coming to him." Lestrade looked at Sherlock and shook his head, anger flashing over his face.
"You're leaving?" Sherlock's pale eyes opened and regarded him sleepily.
"Yes, Sherlock, I have to go back to work."
"Talk to her mother and…" Sherlock began through a yawn. "Kid had dog hair on her clothes. That might be…" His eyelids fluttered. "And make sure you… the child… she was at the playground before she died. Molly found… sand'n her clothes… I was… going to check every one… f'the right composition of… of sand."
"Every one?" Lestrade's eyebrows rose. "Bloody hell, Sherlock. There're a lot of playgrounds in London."
"Worth it… t'solve th'case…"
Lestrade looked at him for a long moment, head tilted like Sherlock was something new that he'd never seen before, and then shook his head again before he left.
"Tea," John muttered, hearing the door close. He walked into the kitchen and put the kettle on, then took a moment to lean against the counter and put a hand over his eyes. Sherlock had already revealed so much, more, he was sure, than the detective would have ever wanted anyone to know. He could only hope that Lestrade was right and the drug passed out of his system quickly.
"I'm right here, Sherlock." He stepped out of the kitchen, body responding to the terrified voice before it had fully registered. Sherlock was sitting up on the couch, wide awake and staring at him with wild, frightened eyes. John sighed. "I didn't go anywhere."
"But you're going to."
"No, I'm not."
"Yes, you will. You're always looking for dates." Sherlock's lip curled and his voice, though retaining its distant quality, was now dripping with derision. "Someday you'll find the one and you'll get married and leave. I know it's coming."
"Sherlock…" John pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. "The only way I'm ever going to leave you is if you ask me to. I can promise you that. Now please, lie down and go to sleep. You'll feel much better when you wake up." It was tempting, more than it should have been, to ask Sherlock certain questions. There were a lot of things that John had always wanted to know, after all. Things that he knew Sherlock would never tell him unless it was absolutely necessary, and probably not even then. But he didn't feel right in asking them when Sherlock's defenses were down.
"I don't want to sleep. You might leave." He was frowning, verging on a pout. "I don't want you to leave. I love you."
Jesus. John swallowed hard and stared at him. "Sherlock…"
"But you don't love me." Sherlock's long fingers tangled into his hair and he began to mutter to himself, words too low for anyone else to hear. John shook his head in bewilderment as the kettle began to whistle. He returned to the kitchen and prepared a cup of tea as fast as he could before going back to Sherlock, returning just in time to stave off another frightened summons. Keenly aware of the big eyes watching his every move, he lifted Sherlock's feet and sat down before placing the feet in his lap.
"There," he said. "You'll know if I try to leave. Now will you please to go to sleep?"
Sherlock watched him for a long time, brow furrowed in a way that meant he was trying to figure something out. John sipped his tea and turned the telly on, trying to ignore the penetrating stare burning into the side of his face. His mind was racing too hard to really watch what was going on, but it was a good way to avoid speaking. Eventually, he realized that the force of the stare had stopped, and when he turned to look he saw that Sherlock had finally drifted off to sleep.
A headache was what eventually woke Sherlock up. It thrummed through his temples and down his neck, stiffening his muscles until he was one solid ache. He could hear the quiet sound of the telly and there was a hand resting on his feet, absently massaging the arches. Why would John…? And then it hit him. Anderson. The drug. Feeling so distant, so uncontrolled, and completely unable to stop whatever spilled out of his mouth. Sherlock wasn't usually the kind of person who swore, but at that moment he wanted to use a few of the particularly interesting curses he'd learned from John. Fucking Anderson.
"John?" he croaked without opening his eyes.
"Sherlock." John sounded relieved. The hand on his feet stopped. "You're awake. Are you alright?"
"I'm fine," Sherlock muttered, twitching his toes. He was pleased when the strong fingers began kneading his feet again. John was talented at more than one thing, it seemed.
"Good. That's… good. Here, sit up and let me have a look."
Sitting up made his headache worse, but he bore John's brief examination silently, allowing the doctor to peer into his eyes and check his reaction time. The drug hadn't completely metabolized out of his system yet. Sherlock knew that even before John was finished. He still felt a little sluggish and it was hard to think. But he felt more in control and that pleased him.
"Do you want some tea?" John asked, finally sitting back.
Tea would mean John moving. "No."
John gave him an amused look, like he knew what Sherlock was thinking, but he didn't make a move to get up. He looked back at the screen and kept rubbing Sherlock's feet. "Sherlock… about what you said…"
"Which part?" Sherlock threw an arm over his face, already devising methods to torture Anderson in the future. Clearly the man had been looking to get some sort of revenge because his wife had finally wised up and left him, even though Sherlock hadn't had anything to do with it.
"All of it?" John somehow made it sound like a question. Sherlock sighed.
"I wasn't abused as a child if that's what you're thinking," he muttered, already knowing that it was. Lestrade too, probably. In their line of work it was all too easy to jump to the obvious conclusion and neither John nor Lestrade had ever proven to be that great at paying attention to the details.
"But you said…"
"I know what I said!" he huffed. The words came surprisingly easily under the influence of the drug, words he'd never spoken to anyone. "When I was younger, my mother was in charge of hiring the servants who worked at the house. She didn't always make the best choices. One of the stable boys took an unhealthy interest in me. He used to watch me constantly and say certain things, but the one morning he tried to make things physical, Mycroft walked in on us." He paused for a moment. "The ironic thing is Mycroft was so preoccupied with leaving for university that he never even realized something was wrong. The stable boy told him we were having a lesson and Mycroft believed him. I was… concerned… that the situation would escalate after he left so I asked him to stay."
"And what did he say?"
Sherlock's voice dropped. "He said that the world did not revolve around me and that I would have to get used to the fact that sometimes things would happen to me that I didn't like."
Christ. John felt ill. "Did you… explain why you wanted him to stay?" He hoped not, because if Mycroft had said that after Sherlock had explained the situation, John was going to have to kill him.
"No. What difference would that have made?"
Quite a lot, John suspected, not sure whether he should be relieved or not. "What happened to this boy?"
"He got fired not long after that," Sherlock replied. "I could talk to the victims, John."
"I know you could." John rubbed his foot soothingly and was silent for a moment. There were a few things he wanted to address, but pushing too hard too fast would cause Sherlock to clam up. He'd have to pick his battles and at the moment he knew which was most important. "Sherlock?"
"I'm not going anywhere."
Sherlock stiffened. "John - "
"No, listen to me, you git. Apparently you seem to think that I'm going to find a woman to marry and that I'll move out and leave you here all by yourself. That's not true."
"Please, John. Sooner or later – "
"I said listen, damn it." The hand on his foot squeezed and Sherlock fell silent. "Even if I was still interested in finding a girlfriend, I would never just abandon you like that. I've known from the very beginning that any woman I seriously dated, much less married, would have to be someone who could accept you and how much you mean to me. You're a very important part of my life, Sherlock, and I couldn't leave you behind if I tried." John paused, wishing that he had a cup of tea. This was harder to say out loud than he had been expecting. "And for the record, I doubt there is anyone I could ever love more than I love you."
The arm slowly came down off of Sherlock's face and he stared at John with wide eyes. "Did you say if you were still interesting in finding a girlfriend?"
John rolled his eyes. "Is that the only thing out of what I just said that you heard?"
"Why would you say if?"
He sighed and twisted until he could look Sherlock in the eyes. "I'm never going to leave you," he said slowly. "Not unless you kick me out or do something extremely stupid, and knowing you, possibly not even then. I love you, Sherlock Holmes."
"I love you too?" In his shock, Sherlock made it sound more like a question than a statement, but John would take what he could get. "I… thought you weren't gay."
"And I thought you were married to your work," John replied. "Besides, I'm not gay. You're the only man I've ever felt anything for." Faint exasperation tempered with amusement colored his voice. If there was anyone who could turn a straight man away from women, it would be Sherlock Holmes.
Sherlock blinked at him for a long moment and then looked around. "Wait, did Lestrade solve the case?"
"I wouldn't know." John didn't bother pointing out that he'd been trapped where he was for the past four hours, out of reach of either phone. "I doubt it, though. I haven't heard any texts come through." His hands tightened around Sherlock's ankles when the younger man tried to sit up. "Don't even think about it, Sherlock. You're not going anywhere until the drug is completely gone, unless you'd like to answer every question that someone asks you. You're lucky Lestrade didn't take advantage, or that Mycroft hasn't shown up."
At the mention of his brother, Sherlock wrinkled his nose and subsided. "I suppose it can wait until morning," he muttered, steepling his fingers together. His mind was buzzing. John loved him. John wanted to stay with him. He cast a narrowed gaze, scanning John's body intently, searching to see if there was any hint of a lie visible. Normally John couldn't lie to him worth a damn, and Sherlock was usually confident enough in his abilities to believe that he would know, but he wanted to be sure. "If we… John, I couldn't… I… I wouldn't be able to… You have to be sure." Apparently the drug was wearing off because that was impossibly difficult to force out.
"Sherlock." Something in John's blue eyes softened and he pushed Sherlock's feet aside so that he could finally stand up. Before Sherlock could protest, John held out a hand and waited patiently until Sherlock took it and allowed John to pull him to his feet. He staggered slightly, the world threatening to spin, but John caught him, arms wrapping securely around Sherlock's chest. "Listen to me, you daft bugger. I am sure. I've lived with you long enough to know what you're like. No one is more prepared for this than I am." John exhaled a shaky laugh. "Christ, I spent months trying to get over you because I thought you didn't feel the same way. I'm not going to let this slip through my fingers now." As if to underscore his point, he freed a hand and spread it across Sherlock's chest, directly over where his heart would be.
That one, small touch felt so good that Sherlock breathed in sharply and his heart began to race. "I know you said I couldn't go anywhere," he muttered, a faint smirk curling his lips. "Does that include the bedroom?"
John swallowed hard. "Oh God no." He reached up, tangling his fingers into Sherlock's wild curls, and pulled him down into a kiss.
The next morning Sherlock was striding into Lestrade's office before the sun has finished coming up. There was no sign of Lestrade, but that didn't bother Sherlock, who immediately went for the photographs, scanning over each one like it contained brand new information. Possibly, after the night he'd had combined with a few hours of actual sleep, they did. John trailed behind him, watching affectionately, thrilled to know that he was actually allowed to look at Sherlock that way, that he no longer had to try and hide it.
"See anything new?" he asked.
Sherlock waved a hand for silence and John, smiling, subsided.
A few minutes passed in relative quiet before the door opened. Sally walked in, carrying a folder in her hands. She stopped short when she saw them and something flickered over her face, there and gone before Sherlock even had the chance to turn around. "Holmes," she said briskly.
An eyebrow rose. "Sally," Sherlock returned.
"Here." Sally shoved the folder at him. "We had ten people out all night taking samples from every playground we could find." There was something odd in her voice, an infliction John hadn't heard before. "They're analyzing the samples right now and going over the previous victims to see if sand be found on their clothing as well."
"Excellent." He opened the folder, scanning the information inside and paying her no more attention. Normally Sally would have taken the chance to leave, but she lingered.
"You would've done it," she said.
"Done what?" It was only noticeable to John, who knew Sherlock well, that there was a slight wariness in Sherlock's eyes.
"Gone to every playground. All by yourself." The implied 'it would've taken forever' lingered in the air.
Sherlock shrugged, a gesture that seemed out of place. "Anything to solve the case," he said loftily, spinning away and promptly ignoring her.
Sally stared at his back for a long moment before shaking her head. She spun on her heel and walked out without acknowledging John. He didn't mind, though; he suspected that Sergeant Donovan was coming to a few unwelcome conclusions about Sherlock Holmes and what he was willing to do to solve cases. Not always in the best interests of the victims, maybe, but to get bad people off the streets where they belonged, and in the end perhaps that was all that really mattered.
"You're smiling," Sherlock noted suspiciously. His back was still to John.
"I'm happy," John said simply, grin only growing broader. He leaned back against the wall, content to watch Sherlock's amazing mind go to work, and waited for the danger to begin.