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Skullduggery (Chapter 8)
atlinmerrick
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"You sit back down right now."

Without so much as shifting an inch in her chair, Elizabeth Ariadne Westminster Hudson managed to do three things at once: sort-of-kind-of-damn-well-growl, scare the crap out of Sherlock, and cause the man to sink instantly back to the floor at her feet.

"Now then," she continued, voice once more a warm contralto, "it's time to stop reading and thinking and flailing about Sherlock. Now it's time to talk."

You could hear problem child's thoughts they were so freaking loud, contrary, and insistent, but those deep-set eyes of hers held his, and held his, and somehow snapped and glared and even leaned forward and dared Sherlock every damned dare he cared to name, but mostly they asked him—Are you brave enough to open that silly little mouth and argue with me, boy? No? No? Good.

"So my dear, I know that your very first thought is to go gadding about and looking for Dr. Watson—" One extremely bad-ass mother fucker in a frilly little frock paused for dramatic effect, then continued, "—but that's not what you're going to do. What you're going to do is tell me a little bit about what we just read."

That brown-eyed gaze lanced through Sherlock like silver needles, pinning him in place. Only once she blinked was he able to actually open his mouth. Nothing came out of it mind you, but it opened.

Ella sighed and maybe I'm the only one who realized that all of this? Their stupid, messy relationshippy stuff? It had affected her far more than Sherlock knew. Sherlock? He really has no idea how much she cares about him, about them.

"Just a few words, Sherlock. Tell me what John wanted you to know. What are those few words he asked for?"

Sherlock's mouth opened a little more. Then even more than that. At this rate I was going to be able to fit inside that yap no problem. But words? Still nada. Nothing. Zip. Sherlock Holmes, struck mute. Quick, buy me a lottery ticket, hell has frozen over, and I think I just saw a unicorn prance past the window.

"Come on now dear, you can do it."

Not possible. Not even possible for that pretty puss to open wider and yet it did, as if in a moment he was going to just damn well reach in there and drag some words out in his fist. At this point I think I was about to start jabbering out answers for him when finally, finally something happened. Boy genius grunted.

"Uh."

Lizzie and I looked at him so hard with encouragement I think we both strained something.

"Guh."

Good, there was a whole additional letter with that one. Keep going, 'Lock, keep going.

"Gah, I—"

No one was breathing, not even Sherlock, as we all waited for the words to form. "I—wh—to—wai—uh."

I have no clue what the hell he was trying to say, and as an ex-(and most excellent)-therapist that embarrasses me. But Lizzie knew right away. Of course she did. I told you about her, that she gets it, that she just knows. "You're scared that if you don't go flying out the door right this minute Dr. Watson's going to slip away into the ether, disappear as if he'd never been."

Sherlock looked like someone had poked him in the arse with a jack knife he was so surprised. Then he frantically bobbed his head up and down, back and forth, until I got nauseous watching him. Finally he realized he probably looked like a man with the DTs and stilled, whispering, "Yes. Yes. Yes."

Ella took a deep breath, let it out quickly. She glanced at me, held my gaze, then looked back at Sherlock. "He won't, I can promise you that—" Her hand flew up in a staying motion. "No, he hasn't talked to me, emailed me, texted me, called me, written me, or in any other way contacted me with his plans." Lizzie frowned, as if disappointed she had to state the obvious. "But Sherlock, a man like Dr. Watson does not say find me, and then make the finding all that hard. Think about it. He's given you a little something to focus you, settle you, a little gift. He's given you a mystery, Sherlock."

Oh my dearest dear Elizabeth. Do you see why everyone loves her? Do you?

Ella leaned over her knees, and though I know her hip twinged, she kept the pain out of her face. "Go look for him Sherlock, but while you look, think about how you'll give John the only gift he asked for. What will you say to him when you find him? Don't find him—do not find him—before you know. That would be so selfish, so small. You're better than that."

With that Ella withdrew that staying gaze of steel by turning her head, looking out her window. So help me Sherlock groaned and slumped in relief. And then didn't move.

One, two, three, four—by the time I counted to six Lizzie turned back and said, "Well go already you silly git. Go."

It took another three seconds before he stood, turned, and flew out the door like a lanky bat in a battered dressing gown.

*

Sherlock's not an idiot, but he does an excellent imitation. Did he really think John would be casually sitting on the sofa at 221B? When he burst through the door was he expecting a cup of tea and a "Sorry, love"?

All right, to be fair you have to eliminate the obvious, I guess, and there was nowhere more obvious than their flat. But even though it took thirty seconds for him to learn John wasn't there Sherlock didn't actually leave.

Right, I didn't learn all of these details until later, but even without the particulars I could have told you what would happen when he walked through that door.

He did something he hardly ever does outside a case: he used his imagination. Used it to imagine what tomorrow and the day after and the day after that would be like.

He sat down on the coffee table and he took a deep breath—tea, honestly, the flat smelled of tea, how can an entire flat smell of a tannic little beverage—and in that breath was John and in the exhale was the thought when will it go away? How long can I make the smell of him stay?

And then he saw it. Draped over the arm of the red chair there was, of course, a jumper. There's always a jumper somewhere. John seems to shed them like little cocoons.

Sherlock smiled.

The grey-and-burgundy one on the chair was a favorite (honestly, he says that about all of them; except the oatmeal cable-knit, never the oatmeal cable-knit) because of that time just before Christmas when John was helping with that experiment and then the explosion happened and because John had been the one holding the detonator cap ("I've disabled it John." "Oh my. I guess it was the other one.") he was the one with the splitting headache after.

Anyway, the migraine pills took care of John's pain but the only thing that could take care of Sherlock's guilt was waiting on John hand and foot. How that turned into John seeing how far Sherlock would go to show his contrition neither of them could say, but eventually it had involved the detective, over the course of several hours, bringing the doctor five cups of tea, four pieces of toast, a third pillow, several shots of whisky, and then providing a floor show that consisted first of Sherlock waltzing with the grey-and-burgundy jumper as if John were in it and then, in a fit of inspiration, well, kind of having sex with it at the foot of the bed to John's wide-eyed and progressively randy amusement.

Oh yes, the grey-and-burgundy jumper was definitely his favorite.

Sherlock stood and went towards that jumper now and would have touched it, was this close to doing so—but he stopped just before his fingers grazed the wool.

Picking up that jumper, holding it to his face, smelling the heartbeat of his life in its neck, well that would clearly be the behavior of a man who'd given up.

But Sherlock had a little mystery to solve, didn't he? And everyone knows the great Sherlock Holmes never gives up on those.

As if.

      Next chapter

 


So there was humor! And the barest whispery hint of sexy times! Next chapter there will be biting. Certain riveting behaviors in public. And Sherlock's gonna find something. Could it be John?


(Deleted comment)
He damn well better, wouldn't you say?

Of course there was a fricken unicorn passing by the window! Oh god, I've spent to long looking out over the grounds at SFM. XD

Thank you for this! I really can't wait for the next chapter.
Are you doing it?
Have you done it?
much love, I shall forever have the image of Sherlock dancing with the jumper in my head now XD

Unicorns! SFM! Dancing Sherlock! Then Sherlock rutting with jumper! Woot! And also yes, doing it! Have not quite done it yet though!

Sherlock's not an idiot, but he does an excellent imitation.

Sing it, sister!

Another great installment. Thanks!

Noooo, thank you! Still get such a smile from that icon because his expression is priceless...

(Deleted comment)
You big ol' tease! *grin*
This is fun, and woots for Mrs. Hudson!
Go, Sherlock, git yer little bum in gear and figure it out!

:D

The humour is back! I laughed tears at
"and I think I just saw a unicorn prance past the window."
and
"Lizzie and I looked at him so hard with encouragement I think we both strained something."

Great chapter! :)

I adore how well your icon goes with your comment! (Parenthetically: MF looks so damn fine there.) And also, thank you for quoting some ofo my own lines back at me, I love it when people do that...!

Gotta love Mrs. Hudson! She's probably the only person who could kick Sherlock's butt other than John.

And why do the sweaters getting some action make me so giddy? My stupid sweatersex kink at work again e.e

Sweaters + action = giddy....well it's a natural law of the universe, isn't it? ISN'T IT?

Love it when true and brilliant intersect! can't wait for their next collision :)

Whee! Thank you for the groovy compliment and hopefully next collision—er, next chapter's arrival will be in a day or two.

Tuesday, 12th April, 2011

User _stolendreams_ referenced to your post from Tuesday, 12th April, 2011 saying: [...] by (Mycroft, Holmes | PG-13 | BBC) Skullduggery - Chapter 8 [...]

OH MY GOD. You had me laughing through this whole chapter. You are the Queen of Hilarious, woman. And yay for sexy!! I am satisfied :) Wonderful as always!

Yay! Woot! Yippee! I am glad there were laughy times for you, even if there weren't (really) any sexy times. There should be (you'd think I would know, wouldn't you?) more of both in the next chapter, so hold on to yer hat!

Oh, oh, oh! Sherlock struck dumb! What a moment!!!

I *know* he's going to find John... but I'm dying to see how! And I'm dying to see what he does, when he does!!!!

You and me both, sister!

Oh. Wait. I'm not supposed to say that, am I? I'm the, um, writer. *delicatecough*

(Thanks for the comment!)

And there was a new chapter without me even expecting one so fast! (Not that I'm complaining)

I did laugh at quite a few instances. I also liked the little touch with the unicorn. I am not sure I have ever seen a unicorn prancing through a J/S fic :D

lovely as always <3

and I want to know where John is hiding! Need more clues! and don't say he's hanging out on a bench in Russell Square!

John's not hiding hard, I will say that much. He wants to be found. Of course he does....

Also, there really was a unicorn going past the window. Didn't you see it?

See? This is me being busy writing transcripts. Of course. Ahem.

So, I've just read the last three chapters in one go, and have tears in my eyes, a smile on my face, and a lisp. Oh, hang on, that last one is because of the recent dental treatment, not because of your fic.

Anyway, they've all been gorgeous and lovely and fantastic and I need more RIGHT NOW, dammit!

Your icon! Frankenstein! God I would love to see it again...

On another note, more Skullduggery prolly by the weekend if not sooner, but prolly not sooner. But in the meantime, teeny tiny lisp!fic over in my drabbles section, just for you!

P.S. Glad you enjoyed!

I freaking love your Mrs. Hudson. She's so real, if you know what I mean. And I love her relationship with Sherlock. You've fleshed it out here in a way that is now going to be my head canon.

And this line "smelling the heartbeat of his life in its neck," is pure poetry. It's one of the loveliest things I've read. Whether it'a jumper or something else, most everyone relates to wanting to be reminded of the scent of someone they love, and that line is such a beautiful explanation for that instinct.

The sacred, lovely words, "this is going in my head canon" -- there's probably nothing nicer you could possibly, possibly say, so thank you my dearest.

And thank you for the rest of your so very-kind and sweet comment; I think I'm sort of covered in warm fuzzies now.

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