Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Rating/Content: PG-13. Post-TRF. Some violent imagery. Sherlock POV
Word Count: 740-ish
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or their world.
Summary: Some things can't be washed away by rain.
A/N: Just a quick experimental thing. Title from a Madonna song. *facepalm*
When the Storm is Done
It's one of the days when Sherlock wishes, truly wishes he could make his head literally explode and scatter brain matter around the room, just to give his thoughts the space they need, and then pack it all back in again after things have settled.
He knows how ridiculous that idea is of course.
Rain is pelting against the windows of 221B, unseasonably hard for London. There's an enormous fire set in the grate, so hot the metal is pinging. Sweat trickles along Sherlock's hairline at the temple.
A small insect flies past his nose and he flaps his hands at it, snarling.
"What the-!" John, who has at some point in the last several hours come home, made tea, and sat in his chair by the grate with a newspaper, jumps.
"There was an insect," Sherlock states.
"Ah." John straightens his newspaper. "I'd forgotten you were there, actually."
A cup of tea sits on the low table within Sherlock's reach, but he doesn't reach for it. "Did you really forget me, John?"
"Never," John says.
Sherlock smiles, but then blinks, slowly, forcing away the fabricated memory and opening his eyes to his reality.
No tea sits on the table. There is no table. He is not laying in thoughtful and comfortable repose on the well worn-in Baker Street sofa. He is sitting under a back-alley staircase, spine pressed to wall, knees tucked to chin, watching a drop point - a flash drive Sherlock swapped for the actual flash drive left behind (by a man who is now being quietly and thoroughly interrogated somewhere very official) nearly six hours ago - waiting for one of Moriarty's operatives to pick it up, so he can trace whoever it is back to the next sub-cell.
Rain beats down on the rusting metal staircase above him, making a noise like a waterfall of ball bearings. Sheets of rainwater haze the view between himself and the drop point. The rain is warm, very warm; it's like being inside a kettle about to boil.
Sherlock knows he is overheated, hungry, tired, soaked to the skin, uncomfortable and desperately needs tea and a nicotine patch, but he can't let himself be distracted by any of it. His slip into reverie of Baker Street does indicate undeniably that he needs to sleep for at least two hours, very soon, or he will have no choice but to be distracted by his body as it starts failing him despite his iron will to keep going and get this finished.
The partial web of Moriarty's organization glows in his mind; a tangle of lines and knots, names, and damnable gaps. Mixed in the tangles are how John takes his tea, where he hides his gun, and the last words he said to Sherlock. Both sets, the words over the mobile on that horror of a rooftop, and the words John had said to the stone over Sherlock's empty grave.
The combination is making his head too full. He can feel the pressure behind his eyes, at the back of his neck, his temples as he tries to push away the distraction and the fantasy of London, John and tea. Home. If he had a minute, an hour, just to unpack his mind, spread it out, sort the bits he needs now from the bits he'll need later when this is done, box up the distractions, hide them in his mind palace somewhere very safe so he can retrieve them when this is over. But he can't.
It's all too big to shove into any size box, and when he tries, things keep escaping. The smell of damp wool, John's voice rising in exasperation, the taste of beans on toast with a cup of fresh tea. Popping up like a jack-in-the-box and tangling with Moriarty's web. Sherlock's mind has never been such a mess.
Time. When this is done, there'll be time. Sherlock rubs warm rainwater from his face only to have more trickle down inexorably. There will be time.
Movement. Across the Bangalore back street, his quarry scurries up through the deluge, lifts the lid on the third bin and removes the flash drive. The sight of the woman's face in profile sets a new section of his mental web faintly glowing. She tucks the drive away and continues along the street without a sideways glance.
When this is done...
Sherlock pushes all thoughts of London away, lurches to his feet, hunched, and scuttles after her into the obliterating rain.
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