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I Shall Not Be Thy Refuge Once More, chapter 3/12

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Thursday, November 8th, 2012 | 6:42 am
music: "Prithee" -- the Monkees
posted by: rose_of_pollux in 30_losses

Title: I Shall Not Be Thy Refuge Once More, chapter 3: But I Shan't Heed Thee as Before
Author/Artist: Crystal Rose of Pollux (rose_of_pollux)
Rating: PG13
Fandom: Sherlock
Claim: Sherlock Holmes and John Watson (friendship)
Theme: 38A; A life of lies
Genre/s: Drama/Friendship
Warnings: Some violence
Words: ~2000
Summary: Hurt and distrust heavily mar what should have been a heartwarming reunion.
Disclaimer/Claimer: The characters are not mine (except for the OCs) and the story is
A/N: crossposted to FFN


John wasn’t sure how to classify the mix of emotions he was feeling. This was the moment he had been hoping—praying—for, but the joy that was trying to swell in his heart was being suppressed by an equally fierce sensation of hurt and anger. All this time… all this time, Sherlock had been alive, letting John think that he was dead… It was clear now that John’s life since Sherlock’s fall had been lies upon lies—the lies starting when Sherlock had pleaded him to believe he was a fake, and escalating into this—countless months of mourning a man who wasn’t even dead.

So upset was John that he didn’t even read the frightened look in Sherlock’s eyes as the detective stared back at him. The ex-solider opened his mouth, but no words could escape his tightened throat.

It was only when he took a step towards Sherlock that the silence broke. The detective recoiled as the doctor approached.

“Stay back!” he ordered.

“Sherlock!” Molly exclaimed.

John blinked, stunned by the rebuff, but then scowled, the anger and hurt in his heart now eclipsing the relief.

“No. No, no, no. You have no right—absolutely no right to tell me to do a single thing!” he retorted. “After everything you put me through—after seeing you…” He trailed off, sputtering for words and silently gestured upwards to an invisible St. Bart’s roof. “Can you even begin to comprehend what I’ve been through?!” He clenched a fist. “You owe me an explanation, Sherlock, and it had better be good!”

“I’ll give you your precious explanation if you can give me an explanation as to why you tried to kill me last night!” Sherlock roared.

What?!” John exclaimed, disbelief causing his voice to nearly crack. “Is this a joke?! Are you seriously trying to stand there and make some sort of sick joke about this!? This is not funny, Sherlock!”

“Neither is narrowly surviving repeated murder attempts by your former flatmate!” the detective retorted.

Are you mad!?”

“I should ask you that same question, Doctor!”

“I wasn’t even sure that you were alive until sixty seconds ago!” John exclaimed, unable to grasp the fact that they were even having this conversation.

He took another step towards him, and stopped as Sherlock raised his fists to defend himself.

“I said for you to stay back!”

It was then that John realized that this was no joke—the fear in the detective’s eyes was raw and very, very real.

“…You’re serious…” the army doctor said, in disbelief. “You really believe that I tried to—”

“I don’t believe. You know I never believe—I know!” Sherlock snapped back. “And before I give you any explanations about anything, I demand an explanation from you regarding your actions, Doctor!”

“Explanation!?” John exclaimed. “I never laid a hand on you—you know I’d never lay a hand on you!”

“No, not a hand—just a knife!”

“Sherlock, I didn’t! You have to be mistaken!”

“Denying it is futile; I will not fall prey to mind games—not even from you! I demand the truth!”

Mind games?!” John repeated. The conversation they were having was more unbelievable than the fact that Sherlock was alive have a conversation at all. “You were the one to fake your death and make me watch it, and now you’re saying that I’m the one playing mind games!?”

Sherlock opened his mouth to retort again, but Molly’s shrill voice cut him off before he could say another word.

“Stop it—both of you!” she ordered, looking from the detective to the doctor. “You’re both making these horrible assumptions about each other without even knowing if they’re true—yes, you, too, Sherlock! You should’ve kept in mind that you were the last person on earth that John would’ve expected to sneak into his flat in the middle of the night; you could’ve easily been mistaken for an intruder!”

“I told you, I identified myself!” Sherlock snapped back, and he glared at John. “I identified myself—both by voice and by standing in the light so that you could see me. It was only after you saw me that you attempted to stab me—with an expression that I’d seen on the faces of murderers and assassins.”

“And I’m telling you, I didn’t—and would never—even think of doing such a thing to you!” John retorted.

“John!” Molly said, with the same amount of sternness that she had just addressed Sherlock with. “John, don’t you think it’s slightly possible that you weren’t fully awake—that you may have been having a waking dream, or something like that? You might’ve attacked Sherlock without realizing it because you were trying to protect yourself from something in your dream.”

Both Sherlock and John blinked as they glanced at Molly, and then at each other once again.

“I, for one, can’t believe that John would intentionally hurt you in any way,” she went on. “Surely the great Sherlock Holmes can deduce that?”

Any replies that either of the two men had were interrupted by Molly’s landline ringing. She cringed.

“That’ll be the landlord,” she groaned. “No doubt responding to the complaints of the neighbors after hearing you two and your row…”

“Sorry…” John offered. “If there’s anything I can—”

“I can handle it,” Molly promised. “If there’s anything you can do, it’s to resolve this like the friends that you are.”

She crossed to the next room to answer the phone, casting one last look at the both of them.

Sherlock and John continued to glance at each other, their anger ebbing, though not absent.

“Perhaps it wasn’t the most prudent statement for me to make,” Sherlock said, after a moment.

“No… really?” the doctor asked, sardonically. The accusations had hurt, and he wasn’t quite sure what was hurting more—the deception of being forced to believe that Sherlock had been dead all this time when he head really been alive, or being accused by him of trying to harm him. Even if Sherlock hadn’t voice the accusation, John had to admit that it hurt that Sherlock even considered it.

Sherlock bit his lip.

“You might even call it more than a bit Not Good,” he added, trying to make amends, it seemed, by bring back some of the old words of their shared vocabulary.

“More than a bit, yes,” John said. For a moment, he looked the detective in the eyes and shook his head. This… this was more than he could take right now, and he needed to get away from it. “Well, goodbye.”

He headed for the door.

“John!”

“Ah, so it’s finally ‘John’ again, instead of ‘Doctor.’ Yeah, I guess that’s an improvement.”

“John, don’t…”

“I’m only doing what you told me to do,” the doctor said. “You want me to stay away in case I try to stab you again. And the fact that it’s even an issue makes me wonder if we have anything to discuss…”

He trailed off as Sherlock crossed the room and placed his hand on the doctor’s shoulder to stop him from walking further away. John shut his eyes, willing himself to contain his emotions.

How long had he begged and pleaded for a chance to feel that hand upon his shoulder? Forget that—how long had he begged and pleaded just to hear his friend’s voice again? Time had progressed with the healing processes, but it hadn’t stopped John from wishing that his friend wasn’t dead. And now, here he was, able to see that face, feel that hand upon his shoulder, and hear that voice again, just as he had wanted…

…But it was all wrong. Everything about it was just all wrong. The voice he had wished to hear again had accused John of terrible things, and there wasn’t even the solace that Sherlock might’ve spoken words he hadn’t meant due to his emotions—because the Sherlock Holmes he remembered never said anything that was emotionally charged, especially during his deductions, where he mercilessly said exactly what he was thinking. And that meant that he truly did believe that John might have intentionally wished to bring him to harm.

He removed Sherlock’s hand from his shoulder, and Sherlock, clearly, realized how badly he had messed up

“John… I’m sorry.”

John now turned to face him.

“Sorry for what?” he asked, incredulously. Sherlock Holmes didn’t apologize freely; with all the deception that seemed to have defined their friendship—assuming one could even call it that anymore—since the days surrounding the fall.

“For this,” Sherlock said, awkwardly. “For… everything that I’ve put you though all this time.”

“See, it’s interesting that you’re saying that,” John said, sardonically. “Because I really don’t think you quite understand exactly ‘everything that you’ve put me through all this time.’ I really don’t.”

“I can imagine—”

No,” John said, sternly. “No, you can’t! You cannot possibly understand what it’s like—watching your best friend try to make you believe that everything you ever thought about him was a lie! Watching your best friend ignore your pleas like they mean nothing! Watching your best friend die right in front your eyes while you’re absolutely powerless to do a thing about it! Seeing his blood everywhere without being able to stop it from flowing! Searching for his pulse and feeling absolutely nothing! Looking into his eyes and seeing only emptiness staring back at you!”

Sherlock stared back at John, tight-lipped, but he didn’t say a word, instead allowing John to continue.

“Standing by a gravestone and pleading for him to come back! Accepting that he won’t come back and attempting to move on! And finally having moved on, only to have him come back and accuse you of wanting him dead!”

Sherlock looked away, unable to continue meeting John’s gaze.

“Why did you come back, Sherlock?” the doctor asked. “Why now? Was this just a convenient moment for you? Or was this all some sort of game for you—fooling the entire world—and you just got bored of it?” He clenched a fist again. “Why did you do this!? Why all of this deception!?”

Sherlock frowned, but he knew he deserved that.

“Trust me when I say, John, that I had a very good reason for doing what I did,” he said, his voice a calm contrast to John’s furious quips.

“Well, you’ll have to excuse me for not believing you right away,” John said. “With all the lies you’ve been feeding me, I’m not so sure I can trust you to speak the truth after all this time.”

Sherlock flinched ever so slightly, and this didn’t escape John.

“Alright, alright,” the doctor said. “I’ll hear you out. But your explanation had better be good. And I’m giving you five minutes; I have places I need to be, so that’s all the time I can afford right now.”

“I only need five seconds.”

“Fine. Enlighten me.”

“I did it to save your life.”

Whatever reply John had been preparing for what he had assumed was going to be a lame excuse died in his throat.

“…What…?” he asked, just shaking his head.

“That was the five-second version,” Sherlock said, unable to figure out how he had managed to keep his expression neutral this entire time. “If you can spare me more than five minutes, I could give you the full version.”

Molly, who had since gotten off of the phone with her landlord and made some toast for the two, now stood just outside the room, waiting and watching for a sign that things would be on the road to being repaired.

“Can you spare me the time to explain?” Sherlock asked.

John looked to the floor, the mixture of emotions within him growing more and more muddled, but soon giving him the answer.

This was his best friend—the best friend he had thought he had lost. And even though he was righteously angry at having been deceived for so long and accused, he knew that he should, at least, give his friend a chance.

He sighed and nodded, sitting down on Molly’s sofa, prompting her to give a slight sigh of relief.

A flicker of a smile now crossed Sherlock’s face; if John had refused to hear him out, he wouldn’t have blamed him.

But he had stayed. And no matter what doubts remained in the detective’s mind due to the attack last night, he would, at least, give him the explanation he deserved.

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