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I Shall Not Be Thy Refuge Once More, chapter 6/12

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Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 | 7:42 pm
mood: busybusy
music: "Prithee" -- the Monkees
posted by: rose_of_pollux in 30_losses

Title: I Shall Not Be Thy Refuge Once More, chapter 6: If Thy Path Be High, Then Be Mine Low
Author/Artist: Crystal Rose of Pollux (rose_of_pollux)
Rating: PG13
Fandom: Sherlock
Claim: Sherlock Holmes and John Watson (friendship)
Theme: 4B; Alone in a crowd
Genre/s: Drama/Friendship
Warnings: Some violence
Words: ~1600
Summary: Sherlock jumps to some conclusions--and makes a terrible mistake.
Disclaimer/Claimer: The characters are not mine (except for the OCs) and the story is
A/N: crossposted to FFN

Notes: apologies for the lateness of this chapter; things have been hectic and crazy and are promising to be that way for some time, but I shall do my best to keep up with this fic; we’re at the halfway point!

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John did not like the accusatory look on Sherlock’s face as the detective stood up, his eyes piercing right into him as he followed Sherlock into the nearest alley to avoid the crowd around them.

“What?” he asked. “Are you blaming me for losing Parker? I did exactly as you told me!”

“You had that look on your face,” Sherlock said, flatly. “The same one that you had last night.”

John’s mouth thinned.

“What are you trying to say?” he asked, knowing exactly what he meant.

“I mean that, this time, you weren’t asleep. You were fully conscious. Explain that if you can.”

“I can’t explain what didn’t happen!” John retorted. “You were the one who suddenly spaced out like you’d seen a ghost—!”

“Only because you had that look on your face in the first place!” Sherlock hissed. “I was anticipating an attack from you, just like last night!”

“And that is the last thing I would do consciously—you know that!” John quietly fumed. He then paused, his scowl deepening. “You do know that, right?”

Sherlock glared at him, unblinking, and John realized what the answer was.

“I don’t believe this…” the doctor muttered. “After everything we’ve been through… You don’t trust me?”

“If you would just put yourself in my place and seen what I had seen, you wouldn’t be asking me—”

“Put myself in your place?” John repeated. “No, Sherlock. No. How about you put yourself in my place? Because one of us has a history lying about things to the other, and it isn’t me. I wasn’t the one who left you to take the blame for that graffiti. I wasn’t the one who lied about the memory stick. I wasn’t the one who pretended to be dead all this time!”

“Why would I lie about something like this, John?”

“Because it might suit whatever plan you have,” the doctor replied. “Just like it suited you to keep me in the dark about how you weren’t really dead!”

Sherlock’s mouth thinned. Either something really was the matter with John’s mind, or he was trying to act as crafty as he possibly could to stop Sherlock from suspecting him. And the detective didn’t like either possibility.

As for the possibility that Sherlock had been seeing things again, well… That just couldn’t have been possible—not a second time.

And yet… the hurt on John’s face… That hurt look was the one he had seen so many times before. It wasn’t false. John was truly upset at the second accusation when, in his rational mind, he had done nothing wrong.

So many cases closed… so many problems solved… And he could not do a thing to figure out what was happening to John now.

“I am sorry,” he said. “I must have been seeing things again, like last night.”

“Don’t,” John said, shaking his head.

“Don’t what?”

“Lie. Don’t think that saying what I want to hear is going to make everything okay. You’re not even good at that.”

“I know,” the detective said. “That’s why I had you around. You were always better at that; I’d let you talk for me.”

“Well, it looks as though things have changed.”

“John, no—”

“What? You expect me to keep following you and take these accusations again and again? Give me one good reason why I should.”

“Because this is what you love,” Sherlock reminded him.

“Maybe it was,” John said. “But it is very difficult to enjoy it now.”

Sherlock leaned against the wall of the building, seriously considering whether or not he should’ve listened to his brother when he had said that returning was a bad idea. Mycroft knew something, but he still hadn’t returned Sherlock’s text from last night when he had asked about John; Mycroft was keeping Sherlock in the dark, as well.

The detective was about to speak when, suddenly, he saw Parker walk past the alley, oblivious to their presence.

“And there he goes…” he murmured, and he hastened to the edge of the alley, turning the corner to see the direction in which Parker had gone.

The sound of hurrying feet behind him told him that John was right behind him as he turned the corner and resumed following Parker again.

“He’s got a bag of books with him,” John observed, quietly. “He must’ve picked up some information while he was there.”

“Then we should try to get that from him,” Sherlock said. “How are you at bag-snatching?”

What…?”

“Never mind,” Sherlock said. “I’ll do it.”

He broke into a run, ducking into another alley to take a shortcut so that he could get ahead of Parker, aiming to tackle him as their paths crossed. John shook his head as he followed, trying to keep up.

It was then that the doctor noticed, for a split-second, the flash of a red laser dot flickered on the collar of Sherlock’s coat.

And for that split-second, the blood froze in John’s veins. Of course, that had to be one of the snipers Sherlock had mentioned during his explanation—perhaps that was even Sebastian Moran himself!

Sherlock’s disguise had not been enough—and it was more than likely John’s presence that had betrayed the detective’s identity. And the doctor certainly was not about to let himself be the reason for Sherlock’s death—not when he had come so close to death once before because of him!

John’s soldier instinct kicked in that point; he saw another alley entrance out of the corner of his eye, and he darted forward, seizing Sherlock by the arm and quickly dragging him into the alley.

But Sherlock, who had already been on edge because of what had happened outside the bookshop, misunderstood John’s actions completely.

The brilliant mind made its deductions, as per usual—going by what he had seen earlier and assuming it was John attacking him. A snarl escaped the detective’s lips as John dragged him into the alley, and he quickly seized the doctor’s arm and, out of sheer reflex, judo-flipped his poor blogger.

It was as John hit the ground—hard—that Sherlock noticed the small plume of dust rising from a brick a few feet away, by the alley entrance, and saw the red laser light beneath it for an instant before it vanished.

The detective’s eyes widened in horrified realization of what had just happened and what he had just done.

“John…!” he exclaimed, kneeling beside him.

The doctor groaned, barely holding on to consciousness, and Sherlock gently lifted him up after making sure he was uninjured, moving further down the alley and out of the line of fire.

“John?”

Gently, he slapped the side of the doctor’s face; John winced, but kept his eyes shut.

“I need you to wake up, John. Please.”

John opened his eyes, trying to focus. Slowly, he blinked a few times, and as he began to recall what had happened, his face fell as he looked up at Sherlock.

“John, I am so, so sorry,” the detective said. “I have made a grave mistake by misjudging your intentions. You may very well have saved my life, and I mistook your courageous actions as an attack upon me.”

John stared at him with an unreadable expression for a moment, and then began to look in all directions, even up at the sky.

“John…?” Sherlock asked, growing concerned. He moved a finger back and forth in front of John’s eyes, hoping that his gaze would follow him.

“My eyes are fine, and I don’t have a concussion,” John assured him. “No thanks to you. I was just looking for the flying pigs.”

“…What?”

“You. The great Sherlock Holmes, admitting that he was wrong about something. That has never happened before. The foundations of the earth are quaking even as we speak!”

“Sarcasm does not suit you, John.”

“And do you want to know what else doesn’t suit me? This,” John said. “This doesn’t suit me anymore. It’s not fun anymore, Sherlock. I gave you many, many chances, but you cannot let go of the idea that I consciously tried to attack you, or was about to outside that shop. I am useless as an assistant to you.”

“It won’t happen again,” Sherlock promised. “I know it won’t happen again.”

“You’re right. It won’t,” the doctor said, quietly. “Because I won’t be here. I won’t be here for you to keep looking over your shoulder, just to make sure that I’m not pulling a knife on you. I won’t be here for you to be suspicious about, so you can focus on the hunt.”

“I wanted to do this with you,” the detective said.

“Well, it’s not working, is it? You don’t trust me, and I am in an incredible amount of pain right now, thanks to your knee-jerk reaction and jumping to conclusions. More than that, my presence is proving to be a danger to you. We’re finished here, Sherlock. I’m finished. You take care of yourself like you’ve been doing, because, clearly, I can’t do it anymore.”

John had pulled away from him as he spoke, clinging to the wall in order sit up, and the two exchanged pained glances with each other.

The detective did open his mouth to speak again, but he stopped himself. Even he, socially awkward as he was, knew darn well that he had gone too far this time. He wanted to trust John unconditionally just like before—when he knew that the doctor had his back, rather than being forced to watch his own back against him.

But more and more, it was looking as though that it would be impossible to go back to the way things were before. And more and more, Sherlock was beginning to believe that it was his fault. He had managed to prevent losing John one way… only to apparently lose him in another.

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