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Sherlock Fanfic: Splinter of Doubt - CaffieneKittySpace
('i' before 'e' if you're looking for me)
Sherlock Fanfic: Splinter of Doubt
Title: Splinter of Doubt
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC 2010)
Disclaimer: I did not originate these characters or this world.
Word Count: 1800
Rating/Warnings: SQUINT. PG-13. DARK. Suicide, angst, maudlin sentiment, slightly graphic gore, violence, death, but it gets better, sort of. John POV, present tense. Also, Moriarty gets capslocky when annoyed.
A/N: Inspired by an unholy combination of this prompt on the meme and a prompt from tigriswolf (Happy Birthday! The crack wasn't working as anticipated, so have some angst and whumpage instead. Hope you don't mind?)
Summary: Deceit can be deadly.
Translation available: Korean, translated by barran ETA: Appears to have gone 404. Sorry. :-(

Splinter of Doubt
by CaffieneKitty

"I need on-site reports! NOW!" Moriarty shrieks out the door, then slams it shut with a noise like a handgun firing.

John doesn't flinch. John doesn't even flinch when Moriarty rips the monitor off the wall, sends it crashing to the floor. He can't flinch. He's having a nightmare. He must be.

"WHY?" Moriarty screams at the remains of the monitor, then turns on John. "Why? Why would he even do that?"

John sits, bound to a chair, blinking at the broken monitor on the floor as Moriarty's fevered breath washes across his face. Sherlock's not... He didn't just...

Moriarty strikes him, rocking John's head to the side.

"I asked you a question. Pay attention."

"I- I don't-" Words push up past the hard agony in his chest. It all happened in silence. Sherlock's hand moving, quickly, a glint at his temple. A burst of white then grainy black on the greyscale monitor. Sherlock falling, falling, darkness spreading out across the floor like his hair growing in time lapse.

John's head snaps back as Moriarty hits him again.

"Why?" Jim snarls. "What's so special about you that he kills himself when I've convinced him you're dead? He should have galvanized, come after me, all rage and blood, become what he was meant to be, it would have been brilliant but no. He chooses to die. How could you have made him so weak, how?"

"I didn't- I never would have-" John's breath heaves. "Sherlock. Oh god."

Moriarty's hands fist in the fabric of John's shirt, shifting both him and the elegant wooden chair he is bound to several inches as he stares back and forth between John's eyes, searching.

"You made him do this. You made him pathetic. He couldn't live without you. I'm going to find out why. " Moriarty's hand runs through John's short hair, grabs hold and pulls. "I'm going to take you apart. I'm going to take every organ you have, every nerve, every electrical impulse, every last molecule and flay it down to atoms and then flay the atoms down to nothing until I find out HOW YOU DID THIS TO ME!"

"Go ahead," John whispers when Moriarty's shriek is done echoing. He's not sure if he can barely hear himself speak because he's been deafened, or because he can't gather the breath to speak any louder.

"Pathetic. PATHETIC!" Jim shoves John's forehead, sending John and the chair over backwards. He and the chair impact the floor, the back of his head smacking against the cement. His vision whites out, like the flash of gunfire on a CCTV screen, like the end of his best friend's life. Suddenly it's harder to breathe past the ache in his chest; all he can see is ceiling and his eyes are prickling like they're full of hot sand.

"Snivelling will not fix this!" Jim shouts. His mobile rings, and he snaps it open. "Tell me it's a lie."

John's breath stalls entirely as his attention focuses on the faint indecipherable sounds from the mobile in Jim's hand. But then the moblie is out of Jim's hand, flying, smashing against the wall, electronic flinders showering to the cement floor.

"NO!" Moriarty screams and stomps on the phone's remains.

It's real. That was real. Sherlock's dead. Silent flare of gunshot, blood and that wonderful brain spraying out over the flat... done. Finished, gone, dead, done.

John feels a familiar numbing calm descend, one he's not often felt since leaving Afghanistan. The swooping back of the chair design had spared John's hands being crushed, but the spindles of the chair back have loosened and cracked. He can get free. He can get free and kill Moriarty, or die trying.

He is numb when Moriarty kicks him in the side. He is numb when he feels his ribs breaking -- adding a sharp pain to the ache already burning in his chest -- and feels the chair shattering completely under Moriarty's assault. He is numb when he wraps his hand around one of the sharp broken spindles, pulling it with him when Moriarty grabs John by the shoulders and slings him across the room, howling.

He curls into a ball when he lands, using the pain radiating from his broken ribs as an excuse to huddle into the corner of the wall, hiding his actions as Moriarty rages around the room. John pulls his legs up and through his arms to get his bound hands and the spindle in front of him. It's a long, sharp splinter of wood bigger around than his thumb. It will do.

Moriarty pulls him to his feet to scream in his face again.


"More than you ever will," John says, and drives the jagged wooden spindle up under Moriaty's ribs with all his strength, piercing Moriarty's diaphragm and impaling his right lung.

Sherlock would have enjoyed the look of surprise.

Moriarty clings to John's shirt and draws a rattling breath to shout for his guards. John yanks the spindle out of Moriarty's chest, brings his bound hands up over his shoulder, then pivots with a two-handed punch, embedding the sharp stick in Moriarty's throat like an emergency tracheotomy gone very wrong.

Moriarty claws at John in desperation, breathless and silent, blood filling his lungs from above and below. John sinks to the floor with him, staring directly into his eyes, watching all the long minutes until Moriarity's last breath gurgles out.

Afterward, nothing has changed; John is numb and alone.

He barely even hears the gunfire coming for him...

...except this is Moriarty's base. Who would Moriarty's people be shooting at if they were just coming to avenge their boss's death?

John blinks slowly, the only motion he makes, sitting in the floor next to Moriarty's cooling, oozing corpse. John's arms are wrapped around his knees, hands still bound, and his pained breathing could only be shallower if it stopped. It no longer matters. A rescue at this point is far too late for everyone. Moriarty is dead. Sherlock is dead. John might as well be dead. He will be when the gunfire reaches him. He blinks and breathes, waiting to stop.

The door bursts open, and a lot of motion and shouting fills the room. John stays still.

Someone whose voice he should recognise says John's name, followed by, "Christ. Sally, take Armed Response through the rest of the building and make sure it's cleared. Keep everyone out of this room for a bit."

The motion ebbs from the room. Knee joints pop as someone squats beside John; out of arm's reach, and in view. A hand reaches over to check Moriarty's absent pulse, and the voice repeats itself. "Christ." John looks up. Deep brown eyes watch him -- worried, caring eyes -- from under grey hair. Lestrade.

"John? If I try to help you up, will you gut me?"

John finally makes a motion other than blinking, and shakes his head no.

"There's an ambulance coming. You okay?" Lestrade puts a hand on John's shoulder.

John shakes his head again, the shaking carrying down into his shoulders and back, his shallow breath catching. "No," he croaks, burying his face in his knees.

It's dark with his face down, all he can do is focus on breathing, one shallow breath at a time. The hand leaves his shoulder and the shouting and movement inside and outside the room fades away. Pain has begun eating through his numb state, pain from his ribs and deep inside his chest. If the world has ended, how can he still be breathing? Maybe he should just stop. It hurts too much not to just stop.

"You don't do anything by halves, do you John?" asks an impossible voice.

John dares not look up. Maybe he's died, sitting there next to the madman he's murdered. Maybe his cracked ribs have shattered, pierced his lungs, his heart, he's sat there and died, and now he's hearing an impossible voice. A dead voice. If he looks up, it might go away. He doesn't want it to ever go away.

A hand touches his arm. "John," the voice says, in defiance of its impossibility, "look up. Please?"

John keeps his eyes closed as he raises his head, hiding his hope in darkness for just a while longer.

He opens his eyes to see a hallucination crouching in front of him.

"Sherlock. You're... not dead?"

"Yes John. Very good." The corners of Sherlock's eyes crinkle as he pulls out a clasp knife and cuts the bindings from John's hands.

"But, I saw you-"

"We found his micro-camera, cut into the video and fed it a lie. Someone on the UK Film Council owed me a favour." The corner of Sherlock's mouth twitches. "Then we found Moriarty's observer on Baker Street and fed him a lie too. After that he was quite helpful in locating this building."

"You-" Breathing is suddenly much more important as John Watson develops a pressing need to shout. "You bastard!"

"What?" Sherlock frowns and blinks, tilting his head to the side.

Despite the pain, John surges forward, grabbing the lapels of Sherlock's enormous coat. "I watched you put a bullet in your brain!"

"I didn't think that he'd have you watching the feed too. I wanted to- to give Moriarty a result he would never expect, to put him off guard, make him show his hand, so we could find you alive." Sherlock nods towards Moriarty's corpse, eyes widening a little. "Though that was an entirely unanticipated result. Um. Well done, John."

"Well done!? I thought you'd killed yourself, you mad bastard!" John's ribs scream in protest of the continued shouting. The world goes grey for a moment as dizziness sweeps over him. He clutches Sherlock's coat; Sherlock kneels on the floor and wraps his arms around John, holding him steady.

John's breath is short and pained as he meets Sherlock's eyes. "I watched you die. Horribly."

"All a trick. I didn't think for one moment he'd actually killed you. You're too valuable as a bargaining chip to be killed. I knew you weren't dead." But Sherlock's eyes, darting away and down, say otherwise.

"If I really was dead, would you have?" John asks, pointedly not elaborating his question.

Sherlock's face shutters, closing off. "Let's just see that the situation never arises."

John pulls in another deep painful breath. "Don't you ever do that to me again, Sherlock Holmes. Whether I'm dead or alive, don't you ever do that to me."

"No. No. It's not my intention."

"Good." John closes his eyes and rests his head against Sherlock's shoulder. He hears Sherlock's heartbeat and his nervous swallow, almost feels it through the skin of his own cheek.

The bustling begins to return to the small room with the broken monitor, the dead criminal mastermind and the two men huddled on the floor. Ambulance sirens echo down the hall.

"John, are you all right?" Sherlock says, quietly.

"I've had worse." John breathes, still not letting go of Sherlock's coat. "I'll live."

"I wouldn't have it any other way."

- - -
(that's all)

Tags: , ,
Current Mood: nervous nervous
Current Music: "What I've Done" ~ Linkin Park

43 comments or Leave a comment
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From: keiramarcos Date: March 15th, 2011 06:25 am (UTC) (Link)
That was righteous.


I felt like punching someone while I was reading that. LOL.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 15th, 2011 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can honestly say I don't think anything I've written has made someone want to punch people before. Thank you. :-)
ktbean From: ktbean Date: March 15th, 2011 07:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh. My. God.
This fic is E P I C.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 15th, 2011 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
blaidd_drwg From: blaidd_drwg Date: March 15th, 2011 10:37 am (UTC) (Link)
This story is *so* going in my favorites folder!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 15th, 2011 02:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aw, thank you! :-D
faroula From: faroula Date: March 15th, 2011 11:52 am (UTC) (Link)
This was so good. I always enjoy reading your fics.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 15th, 2011 02:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. :-)
tigriswolf From: tigriswolf Date: March 15th, 2011 12:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, dude. You had me going there. Thank you for not killing Sherlock.

Also, thanks for this!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 15th, 2011 02:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm really glad you liked it! The prompt over at the meme wanted Sherlock's suicide to be real, but I just couldn't do it, so I made it a bit of a mini-Reichenbach instead, I guess? :-)
jesse_kips From: jesse_kips Date: March 15th, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

I am beyond glad that you added the 'happy' ending, since the start was very, very painful. Very well done.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 15th, 2011 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I couldn't not have a happy(ish) ending for this. I couldn't leave them all like that.
ciaranbochna From: ciaranbochna Date: March 15th, 2011 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Having trouble breathing here. Of course you can't bloody kill Sherlock..lol Loved it of course, and John is such a badass:)

Oh btw I am planning some crack *facepalm*
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 16th, 2011 05:01 am (UTC) (Link)
*offers oxygen* John's badassness would not let Moriarty live after that for sure.
embroiderama From: embroiderama Date: March 15th, 2011 03:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh my god, this is just wrenching and scary and awesome.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 16th, 2011 05:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
lawless523 From: lawless523 Date: March 15th, 2011 04:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
This hurt in all the right ways. Thank you for the happier than expected ending.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 16th, 2011 05:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I just couldn't leave John like that.
(Deleted comment)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 16th, 2011 05:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
morganstuart From: morganstuart Date: March 15th, 2011 05:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, well done, you. I'm not sure I took a breath the whole time I read this. Intense! And such brutally insightful characterizations.

Favorite lines:

He blinks and breathes, waiting to stop.

"If I try to help you up, will you gut me?"

"Um. Well done, John."


caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 16th, 2011 05:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you very much! I hope your breathing has returned to normal!
pyjamapants From: pyjamapants Date: March 15th, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oooooh. That was nice. Brilliance from both of them!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 16th, 2011 05:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
shefa From: shefa Date: March 15th, 2011 06:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, very good. Powerfully done. John's despair and his desperation shine through sharply here (no pun intended ;)). Sherlock's bemusement at John's reaction is so typical for him. Such relief and hope here at the end. Lovely work.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 16th, 2011 05:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, thank you! This is rather more intense emotion than I typically write, so I'm glad it worked.
eightnoon From: eightnoon Date: March 15th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gah, that was so intense. I'm so glad for this ending. Wonderfully done!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 16th, 2011 05:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I couldn't leave John all alone and waiting to be killed, I just couldn't.
trillsabells From: trillsabells Date: March 15th, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I... I...

*makes small squeaking noises*

I'm not sure my heart was quite prepared for that roller-coaster ride.

I'm so happy it all ended so well!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 16th, 2011 05:08 am (UTC) (Link)
It's a bit of a roller-coaster, at that, isn't it.
43 comments or Leave a comment
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