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Sherlock Fanfic: Marking Time (JWP 2014 #7) - CaffieneKittySpace
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Sherlock Fanfic: Marking Time (JWP 2014 #7)
Title: Marking Time
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Alternate Postings: At AO3
Rating/Content: PG13, ANGST, altered mental state, post-Reichenbach, probably ooc, POV John, denial, therapy
Warnings: mental health issues, oblique talk of self-harm and suicidal ideation, grief.
Word Count: 1065
Disclaimer: Not my world.
Notes: Written for watsons_woes July Writing Prompt #7: Wrong! Have a character discover that he or she remembers a pivotal life event incorrectly. I failed to have John discover what he's misremembering, though. My take on a Series 2 Hiatus trope, I suppose. This could be really sad, really obvious, or just really confusing. Not humour.

Summary: People avoided them in the street these days.

Marking Time

People avoided them in the street these days. Whenever there wasn't a case on, they walked around the neighbourhood, people-watching. Sherlock whispered salacious deductions and John giggled, sometimes assaying his own ludicrous theories just to see Sherlock laugh.

There weren't nearly as many cases now, but that was down to the media reposting the same damned slander about Sherlock over and over. It was no wonder people were keeping away. Sherlock told John he wouldn't have a case from any idiot who believed that rot anyway.

For a while, John tried to tell the newspapers and reporters to stop, that it wasn't true, they'd got it all wrong. That just seemed to encourage them to disseminate even more slander, adding in lies about John too. It was like trying to out-shout a football stadium filled with vuvuzelas.

Sherlock told him not to bother; the media didn't matter. So John decided to ignore them. Sherlock kept on ignoring everyone not interesting to him directly, as he always had.

But the media kept posting the same lies.


Even John's therapist fell for the lies about Sherlock. In the now-weekly appointment with her (honestly, he should report her to the veteran's medical board; she was insisting on too many bloody appointments for him. Other people needed them far more than he did. In fact John thought he likely didn't need any therapy at all any more), Ella kept gently suggesting he was spending too much time with Sherlock now.

"You just believe that rubbish the media keep spouting." John snapped. "It's not real."

Ella would usually smile then, and ask if he was taking his medication. Today her face remained the same blank-waiting-concerned mask he knew from the other side of it, when he was talking to patients of his own. When he'd had patients.

"John," she said. "Would you tell me if you were considering harming yourself?"

"What- Of course I'm not considering harming myself!"

"You just seem... very obsessed with Sherlock. Moreso lately."

"He's my friend." Something kicked in John's chest. His head swam, and he closed his eyes, hard, holding something in. "He's my friend."

He heard the shift of fabric as Ella leaned forward. "What was that, John? Right then?"

"Nothing. Nothing! I'm fine!" Wiping his face, John stood, breathed. "Look, I appreciate all you've done for me, but I really think we need to stop these visits."

"But we're finally-"

"You can't help me anymore."

Ella's head ticked to the side, a bird spying a fat worm in the grass. "What makes you say I can't help you now, John?"

"I mean, I don't need your help anymore. I'm fine. I have Sherlock. We're just fine. Thank you."

John turned and left, straight-arming the consult room door and storming through. The over-taxed hiss of the door-brake faded away behind him as he walked down the hall and out the building. No one followed him.

"Idiots," Sherlock said when they got outside. "The entirety of the profession."

John snorted, falling into step with his flatmate. "You don't need to tell me. Dinner?"


Mrs Hudson cried when John and Sherlock first came back after that rubbish business with Moriarty at the hospital. She still cried a lot now, nearly every time she came up to the flat with a tea tray and two cups; one for him, one for Sherlock. She sometimes forgot to bring two, right after the incident, but John didn't mind finding a cup for himself among their own assortment of mugs. Let his serene poshness have the proper cup and saucer, an ordinary mug was good enough for John Watson.

"Saves you having to wash a second cup!" he'd said to Mrs Hudson cheerily once, but she'd burst into tears again. He didn't know why. She never forgot to bring two cups after that.

John tried asking her once what was wrong, why she was so sad; was it something he and Sherlock could help with? But she just fled the flat, and then went away to her sister's for a week. John was glad. Something was obviously distressing her, and a visit with family would do her worlds of good. Plus, she could do with a rest.

It was hardly worth having two cups though; Sherlock drank far less tea than he used to, and didn't eat much at all. John nagged him about it, but there was always a dismissal or an excuse. As a doctor John noted Sherlock didn't seem to have weakened physically and didn't look like he was losing weight, even though John himself was. Nearly two stone. Sherlock always stayed the same though, unchanging.

Thinking too much about it all made John's head buzz and ache, so he put it out of his thoughts. It didn't matter.


Since the incident, Sherlock was more quiet, thoughtful. John talked a lot more and Sherlock listened, looking at John with a fond smile, saying nothing for long stretches. Sometimes he'd be silent for so long it felt to John like he'd forgotten Sherlock's voice. Which was ridiculous; all John had to do was pretend not to know something obvious, or turn on a crime drama or talk show (there was no point to watching the news anymore) and Sherlock would be off on a tear again, criticizing everything. That's when John would just sit back and smile, letting Sherlock's tirades wash through him like a balm.

Over time, the lies about Sherlock did drift out of the media's attention, as did Sherlock and John. The phone never rang any more (Greg had stopped phoning them only a few weeks after the incident, which was a mercy really, because arguing with Greg about Sherlock had hurt). John was relieved. Sherlock didn't seem to notice at all, but John could tell he was relieved too.

Every day there wasn't a case (literally every day now) they still walked. Around the neighbourhood, the park, London. Rain or shine, sleet or wind, just walking together. They chatted and laughed, ignoring the stares of passers-by.

They walked very close together these days; so close their shoulders should brush, though they never did. John thought that was more down to Sherlock's innate grace than any deftness of his own. Not that John would have minded their shoulders brushing, as they had so many times walking together before the incident. It seemed they walked even closer together now than they had before.

So close together that they only ever cast a single shadow.

(that's all)

Note: The title is from marching terminology. "Marking time is a military step in which soldiers march in place, moving their legs as in marching, but without stepping forward." (Source: Wikipedia)

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5 comments or Leave a comment
monkeybard From: monkeybard Date: August 1st, 2014 01:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh ouch! That one goes right to the feels. :-(
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 1st, 2014 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)
*puts a bandaid on your feels*
ciaranbochna From: ciaranbochna Date: August 1st, 2014 05:14 am (UTC) (Link)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 1st, 2014 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh crap. I intended to warn you about this one before you read it.
ciaranbochna From: ciaranbochna Date: August 1st, 2014 06:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, no I'm OK. I had a suspicion before I started reading. I always want to read your fic:)
5 comments or Leave a comment