First, I'd like to say that I do not intend to insult or degrade any religion in this story. Lestrade, John, Sherlock and Mycroft belong to BBC, Steven Moffat, and Sir Doyle.
Timeline: 201-203 before the fall. I hope you enjoy this little snippet, inspired by Jane Eyre and her conflict with Mr. Brocklehurst. Thanks for reading. Comments are very welcome.
Sherlock flung himself onto the sofa and closed his eyes. Stupid, ordinary people with mundane cases. John's blog invited too many of these unwelcome guests. Creaking of the stairs, labored breathing-John was stomping up the stairs, seemingly upset. What was he annoyed about? The detective decided to feign sleep as his fuming flatmate entered the room.
John shouted angrily.
"Sherlock Holmes, open your eyes right now! I know you're not sleeping!"
John's patience seemed to run very low today. Sherlock grudgingly opened his eyes and looked at his flatmate.
"People don't go to heaven when they die? Taken to a special room and burned?"
John raged at the consulting detective.
"Sherlock, they were children. Bloody children! You can't just tell them-"
Sherlock cut him off.
"Someday, they will grow up and learn. I'm just saving their time for them. "
"Save their time for what?"
The ex-army doctor grasped the bottle of paracetamol and slumped down on his armchair. Wiping perspiration off his face, he took a couple of tablets with water to dampen his growing migraine. Thirty minutes ago, an old lady had had an argument with Sherlock, and John had to pick up the pieces. The elderly woman vented the rest of her anger out on John.
"What kind of man says those… vile, disgusting things to children?"
"Mrs. Brown, please calm down."
"I lost my husband. They lost their grandfather. And then this psychotic man turns up and tells them that, that there is no such place as heaven! Young man, do you think I can calm down?"
Snapping back to the present, John growled,
"They were children, Sherlock. Children that just lost their beloved grandfather!"
"Why does it matter? They will learn sooner or later that there's nothing after death."
Sherlock said nonchalantly.
"Well, you didn't put it that way. You told them that their grandfather was burned. You implied that he was burning in hell!"
"My mistake. Incorrect wording. I should have told them that heaven and hell don't exist."
John felt his migraine building up again.
Sherlock's eyes narrowed as he spoke.
"You're disappointed again."
"Wasn't it obvious?"
The detective smirked.
"John, I am so very sorry."
Sometimes, when people are very angry, they can't find the strength inside to shout anymore. Today, John Watson learned what it was like.
"Listen, Sherlock…Forget religion. Children, well, they sometimes need to believe in fairy tales, even if it isn't real.'
"Then what? They grow up resentful because of the lies that they've been told?
"They're children! Is it bad if they believe in fantasies while they can?"
"Wrong beliefs are wrong. They betray you in the end. By the way, why do children deserve special treatment?"
Why is it so hard to teach his friend about these matters?
John shouted in frustration.
"Because they are children!"
Sherlock rose from the sofa, shouting back.
"Well, certainly, I didn't get it!"
He grabbed his jacket and ran downstairs. John stared at the sofa, dumbfounded.
"Tell Sherlock that the IDs of mine that are still in his possession won't work anymore; we changed the code system completely after his breach at Baskervillle."
Mycroft murmured matter-of-factly while sipping his tea. John didn't know what to say as he stammered,
"He, well, I'm sure he won't do it again."
The older Holmes chuckled at John's words.
"He'll filch my ID or that poor DI's anytime whenever he deems it necessary. I expect as much from my brother. By the way, it seems you and Sherlock have gained a name for yourselves recently. Turner's drawing? Peter Ricoletti? It's not like him to take on "famous" cases."
"Oh, the Turner case was me. I consented to take it even before he said so."
"It's rather unexpected to see my brother being tolerant to another human being... Interesting, John. You must be special to him."
"We're not a couple. You know that, Mycroft."
Mycroft just smiled.
John stood up, feeling uncomfortable.
"I'll take my leave."
Then a question hit his mind.
"Mycroft, before I go, there's a question that I'd like to ask if it's okay."
"I have twenty minutes before the next schedule. Feel free to ask."
The doctor sat down and gave him a briefing about Sherlock's fit momths ago: the children and religion. John added,
"I was just chiding him for his scaring the children, but he didn't come home until past midnight."
"He still remembers it."
"He was four. My father's close friend, Mr. Brunk, was the preacher of the town. He taught us Bible every Sunday. They were on very good terms from childhood."
"My brother was young, and children are blatantly honest. Sometimes, truth is ugly."
"But the truth is better than a lie."
"Sherlock, he observed something, shall we say, the evidence of an extramarital affair between Mr. Brunk and one Miss Downey, who played piano for the choir. He babbled in front of everybody one Sunday. To come to think of it, Mr. Brunk saved his neck thanks to my father, but Miss Downey wasn't as lucky. She had to quit."
"But wasn't Sherlock only four years old? He wouldn't have understood the impact of what he observed."
"Yes. Most parents would've brushed it off, hoping their children would learn the social norms someday. However, my father wasn't a tolerant person, and Sherlock's age didn't matter to the preacher. Sherlock was exempt from punishment, thanks to mother's intervention."
Mycroft sighed, and continued.
"Two weeks later, there was a competition in Sunday school, regarding the Bible. Mr. Brunk taught the children about heaven and hell. He described hell as a big pit burning with fire, where sinners would burn for eternity. Then he asked my brother how he would behave."
"And Sherlock's answer was..."
"Sherlock answered that he wouldn't die; he would eat a lot, exercise a lot, and make himself healthy enough."
"Ha, that's cute."
"Yes, but Mr. Brunk didn't think so. To make it worse, Miss. Downey's mother complained loudly about the quality of the Sunday school program during the first intermission."
"Yes. Mr. Brunk obviously had grudges against my brother. After the competition, he made Sherlock repeat that only good people go to heaven and that naughty children burn in hell."
John was horrified. Glancing at the doctor's face, the older Holmes quietly added,
"My father hit the ceiling when Mr. Brunk called. Mother was away, recovering from a bout of flu, so it made everything worse. Sherlock was severely punished for three weeks until she came back. Every day, he was forced to write, "Babblers with a bad mouth burn in hell forever." He was just learning to write at that time. His fingers became blistered; he had to finish writing it ten times in thirty minutes. What made it worse was that Sherlock didn't understand why he was being punished."
"So Sherlock detached himself from any kind of religion ever since."
"No, I taught him so to protect him. My mother, after she returned from recuperation, had a severe row with my father. Soon after, she noticed Sherlock sporadically crying at night, talking about a burning pit and that he didn't want to burn. Then, mother stopped sending us to Sunday school."
Mycroft fell silent.
"John, I told him that people created religions because of their fear; and the universe has a set of scientific principles, which some people call God."
"And that there's no such thing as heaven or hell."
"Exactly. But he still remembers the "burning" part."
John stared at his shoes blankly as he stood up and walked out.
When he entered the sitting room, Sherlock was in a foul mood.
"Three newspapers, John. Why do they all have the photo with that hat?"
Since the Yarders had presented him with the deerstalker, there had been no case to amuse the detective. For two days, John enjoyed the peace of "ordinary life" while Sherlock sulked.
"No. Nothing. Not even one!"
Sherlock said, clearly agitated.
"There's nothing, John. Boring, bored, bored! How do you live like this?"
Sherlock ranted on.
"I need a case. Where's a lost glow in the dark rabbit when I need it?"
John chuckled, preparing tea. Glancing at his flatmate stretched out on the sofa, the doctor asked tentatively,
"How about a game of cluedo?"
Sherlock jumped up and eagerly looked at the doctor.
"As long as the victim isn't the culprit-"
"But it WAS the victim!"
John reentered the room, looking at his attentive flatmate. He smiled at his friend and poured two cups of tea.
After three games, John pressed his fingers against his temple. He reached out for the paracetamol, only to find the bottle empty. But he could swear there had been a couple tablets when they started.
Sherlock clapped his hands together, shouting something along the lines of message, Lestrade, and cold case. He put on his jacket and rushed out. When he came back, he had an old book called, "Bow Street Runners and their cases."
The detective smiled and sat down, flipping the pages of the dusty book.
The next day, James Moriarty broke into the Tower of London.
I can't send a PM message to guest reviewers so thank you so much for your review, everybody:)
I tried to focus on two parts:
one is how Sherlock has got that perspective.
The other is the moment of "normal" life for John with Sherlock at 221B was about to end soon with Moriarty's break-in:(
(I tried to sneak in words like "burning", "lies", "truth", and "fairy tale". If I could've slipped in "fall", it must've been better.)
Thank you for reading and please let me know what you think!