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Sherlock Fanfic: Ambuscade - CaffieneKittySpace
('i' before 'e' if you're looking for me)
Sherlock Fanfic: Ambuscade
Title: Ambuscade
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Rating/Content: PG-13. Post-TRF. Contains ACD character reference. Depiction of depression. Possibly OOC. Present-tense Sherlock POV.
Word Count: 730
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or their world.
Summary: It's chased him ever since he was a boy, this thing.
A/N: Because it's been far too long and I need to get my gears meshing again. And just because.

by Caffienekitty

It's chased him ever since he was a boy, this thing. Sherlock has enough rationality not to name it or capitalize it, but it remains a thing. It steals in, heralded by the end of something good (a case, a worthy adversary) or the beginning of something bad (221B empty but for himself, long days of cold silence and absence yawning onwards, losing the regard of one of the few people in this world who actually matters) or nothing at all (nothing nothing brain turning to rot, useless, purposeless unremarkable nothing).

It takes him, grips him, lays him low, as effective as a bullet. It stops him speaking, stops him thinking about anything but how worthless he is, this thing.

Sherlock is motionless in a darkening room, too transfixed by his own loathsomeness to do anything of value or interest in over a week, other than respire and digest the occasional desultory piece of toast.

The door downstairs opens. Footsteps.

Sherlock does nothing. No one is looking for me anymore. No one that matters.

The sitting room door opens. Light from the landing slashes through, illuminating his shoulder. Breathing. Breathing, and then a voice.

"I've had enough of you playing at being dead to last a hundred lifetimes, Sherlock." John's mild-tense voice doesn't quite shake. He strides through the room, shoes thudding past where Sherlock lay on the sofa.

The thing won't let Sherlock speak. For the best; the last time he'd spoken to John after the immediate mayhem of his own return had passed, he'd gathered a black eye and a large dose of furious disdain. Well-deserved, in retrospect.

"Doesn't half reek in here." John throws the curtains open, slides the window up, and turns the lamp on.

Sherlock clenches his eyes shut and turns into the back of the sofa, curling like a pill-bug. Words creak out of him; "Go home."

"Mrs. Hudson called me. Mary agreed I should come by, practically shoved me out the house." John's voice is still firmly mild, with a hint of amusement now, water washing away stone. "You take an army of keepers, you do."

"Don't need a keeper," Sherlock mutters to the sofa cushions.

"I'm only surprised Mycroft hasn't been around after you."

"He has, told him to piss off."

"And that worked did it?"

"Mycroft knows me, to some extent. This has always-" He waves his hand once at the room behind his back, then lets it fall back down. "It passes."

The sofa cushions behind Sherlock's knees dip. Sherlock tenses, not daring to hope.

"Look. I'm not going to say that what you did was in any way right or excusable, but..." John trailed off.

"You've made it quite clear. You'll never forgive me." Sherlock finishes, throat tight with regret more than anything else. "You never want me to darken your doorstep again. You-"

"I was angry, you berk!" John snaps, then softens. "I still am, and you bloody well know why." A breath. "And I know why you thought putting all of us through that, making me watch you- I know now why you think it was justified."

"It could've only been you, John. If it was anyone else, you wouldn't let it rest, you wouldn't believe it was true."

"I still didn't."

"Didn't you?"

John's weight on the sofa shifts, agitation. Mirrored regret? "Well, I never wanted to. You gave a very convincing performance."

Sherlock tilts his head, acknowledges the implicit compliment without risking adding any further pain by seeming arrogant in accepting it.

"I will tell you though, I never once believed that load of tripe you said about being a fake."

Sherlock snorts. "I am though."

"Don't start."

"I fake my way through life. I have since I was a child." The thing curls at the base of his mind, familiar embracing foulness. "I craft my reactions and words to gain information or a situational advantage, I spend every waking moment being that which I have deduced will get me what I want from those around me. Never genuine."

Now John snorts. "You aren't that bad. When you're working you're like that, a bit, but you do switch off now and then."

"Only around people I-" Sherlock hunches his shoulders. "Only around certain people. Sometimes. Not often."

The weight on the sofa shifts and John's hand pats his shoulder, once, twice. "Well. I guess I'm honored to be on that 'certain people' list then."

Against his volition, Sherlock's lips twitch into a smile, one he shares only with the back of the sofa.

One more shoulder pat and John stands. "Still keeping the tea in the same place, or is the box full of hair clippings or murderer's toenails already?"

The smile continues. "The tea is tea."

"As it should be."

As John runs water in the kitchen, Sherlock feels the thing beginning its retreat back down. He rolls over and puts his feet firmly on the floor.

- - -
(that's all)

Tags: ,
Current Mood: melancholy melancholy

10 comments or Leave a comment
embroiderama From: embroiderama Date: January 22nd, 2013 05:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love this, both Sherlock's experience of the thing and John's pragmatic way of dealing with it.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: January 23rd, 2013 02:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. :-)
ciaranbochna From: ciaranbochna Date: January 22nd, 2013 06:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
The "thing" indeed:) Wonderful.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: January 23rd, 2013 02:48 am (UTC) (Link)
So glad you like it. *hugs*
shadowfireflame From: shadowfireflame Date: January 22nd, 2013 09:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh my God, how I love your diction here. “Loathsomeness,” “the occasional desultory piece of toast,” “words creak out of him.” And how Sherlock's basking in this thing, the black depression that overtakes him, and John comes in like a breath of fresh air to drag him from his misery.

Lovely story. I'm so glad John's there for him during this period.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: January 23rd, 2013 02:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think anyone's complimented my diction before. Sherlock's POV seems to need extra vocab of one kind or another. :-)
absinthechilde From: absinthechilde Date: January 22nd, 2013 09:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
This was beautiful! Well done! :)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: January 23rd, 2013 02:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
aelfgyfu_mead From: aelfgyfu_mead Date: January 23rd, 2013 02:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure why you worried it might be out of character; they both seem quite in character to me. What we've seen of Sherlock's moods and his mention of not speaking for days resemble depression, and I can well imagine him succumbing to it when everything is over.

I love how John doesn't coddle him but supports him while still being willing to yell at him and mock him ("an army of keepers").
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: January 23rd, 2013 02:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm having a long bad bout of non-confidence in my writing ability, and wanted to be cautious and note the characterization might not be everyone's thing rather than disappoint.
10 comments or Leave a comment