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I Shall Not Be Thy Refuge Once More, chapter 8/12

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Monday, January 28th, 2013 | 12:09 am
mood: accomplishedaccomplished
music: "Prithee" -- the Monkees
posted by: rose_of_pollux in 30_losses

Title: I Shall Not Be Thy Refuge Once More, chapter 8: Soon They Shall Be Covered
Author/Artist: Crystal Rose of Pollux (rose_of_pollux)
Rating: PG13
Fandom: Sherlock
Claim: Sherlock Holmes and John Watson (friendship)
Theme: 22B; Holding on
Genre/s: Drama/Friendship
Warnings: Some violence
Words: ~2000
Summary: Mycroft now begins to take matters into his own hands as John is forced to come to a difficult decision
Disclaimer/Claimer: The characters are not mine (except for the OCs) and the story is
A/N: crossposted to FFN

“Terrible” didn’t even begin to describe how badly John felt. Not only had he attacked Sherlock—more than once, apparently—he had outright refused to believe the detective when he had told him about it.

It had all been true… but it still left one all-important question: Why?!

Why would he attack Sherlock? Yes, John was angry about the deception—who wouldn’t be? But his joy and relief eclipsed that anger… didn’t it?

The doctor groaned, rubbing his forehead with his knuckles. Something was going on in his head, and until he knew exactly what it was, Sherlock was in danger just by being near him, and that was something John couldn’t allow.

John nearly jumped a foot in the air as, suddenly, a car pulled up beside him. He recognized it immediately, even before the window rolled down to reveal Anthea, her expression serious as she beckoned him to sit.

The doctor exhaled. Yes, he had been avoiding any and all contact with Mycroft since the fall; he would never forgive him for giving Moriarty the information he had needed to discredit Sherlock. But John was certain that Mycroft had found out about the attack just now, and he knew he would have to answer for that.

He gave a nod, and Anthea opened the door. He sat down, not even looking at her as they traveled to the Diogenes Club. Somehow, John managed to keep his expression neutral as he entered Mycroft’s office.

“I suppose you are aware of why I had you brought here, aren’t you, John?” the elder Holmes said. “My brother was here himself, as well—a few hours ago.”

“How much did he tell you?” John asked.

“Not a lot—not that he needed to, of course. He gave hints that your behavior was not as it usually is…”

“I attacked him,” John confessed. “Twice. I didn’t even realize it until the second time—I snapped out of it and saw what I was doing…” His voice cracked at the very thought. “When I thought he was dead, I would’ve given anything to have him back. I don’t understand why I would attack him so violently…”

“My initial suspicions were that it was some sort of a psychotic break on your part brought about by the sudden shock of Sherlock’s return,” Mycroft said, calmly. “Your relief upon his return was dissonant with the anger you felt realizing that you were deceived and abandoned.”

“How do I make it stop?” John pleaded. “How do I fix it? I don’t want to be a danger to Sherlock—not when I’ve finally gotten him back…!”

“You have too little faith in yourself, John,” Mycroft said. “Even Sherlock refused to entertain the idea that this was, indeed, the case.” He paused, selecting his words carefully. “While there still is every possibility that my initial assumptions are correct, some recent evidence suggests that my brother might be more correct than I am.”

“Wh-What?” the doctor asked. “What do you mean?”

Mycroft didn’t answer; he merely looked to the door as a familiar woman in a white lab coat entered his office.

“Hello, Doctor Watson,” she said, with a sad smile. “I wish we didn’t have to meet again under these circumstances, but, as it is…”

“Doctor Stapleton?” John asked. “I’m afraid I don’t understand. What do you have to do with all of this?”

“She was there in Baskerville when you and Sherlock uncovered the truth about the H.O.U.N.D. project,” Mycroft reminded him. “You remember what that project was about… don’t you, John?”

“Of course. It’s a drug that rendered people susceptible to suggestion, but it ended up making them crazy and violent…” John trailed off, his eyes widening as he covered his mouth with his hand, simultaneously horrified and relieved at the realization. “I’ve been drugged!? How!? By who!? And why!? …Actually, never mind the why; I can figure that out by myself…”

“There was a security breach in Baskerville a few months ago,” Dr. Stapleton said. “And we found that someone had hacked into the information concerning the H.O.U.N.D. project. The elder Mr. Holmes and I both think that you’ve been slipped a modified, milder version of the drug. Some unknown stimulus has been given to you as a suggestion; whenever you are exposed to this stimulus, you’re compelled to attack the younger Mr. Holmes.”

John exhaled again. On the one hand, it wasn’t his fault. He was not deliberately trying to inflict any harm upon his friend. That was something to be thankful for, but his problem was not solved by any means.

“What happens now?”

“Now, you will permit Doctor Stapleton to take a sample of your blood,” Mycroft said. “We know that the drug is being slipped to you at regular intervals, and not necessarily by aerosol this time around. As you recently had an… episode, we can assume that the drug is still in your system right now, if this theory of ours is true. And if we can determine the modifications made to the drug, then we may be able to take some sort of action to keep you from hurting Sherlock any further.”

“You can make an antidote?” John asked, rolling his sleeve back to allow Stapleton to take the sample. “Yeah… Yeah, that would be good. Very good.”

“Assuming we can make an antidote,” Stapleton said, withdrawing the needle when she had finished. “If it’s modified and milder as we think, it may be possible, but it will take time to develop the antidote. Until then, you need to isolate the source of the stimulus that triggers the suggestion that’s been given to you.”

“Right,” John said, as he pulled his sleeve back down. “I’ll try to figure that out now that I know what’s going on—”

“Do keep in mind that this is still only just a theory, John,” Mycroft reminded him. “Just like the theory I had earlier. It could turn out that this one is wrong, and my earlier one is correct. As it is, for your sake, as well as my brother’s, I will hope that this current theory is the one that holds true—for I fear that neither you nor he could deal with the consequences of it being any other way.”

John didn’t say anything.

“Which brings me to another question,” the elder Holmes continued. “What will you tell my brother when you next see him?”

John blinked.

“The truth?” he offered.

“And if you tell Sherlock that there is a likely possibility that you have been drugged, you know what will happen, don’t you?”

“I imagine he would be absolutely furious and vow to track down the perpetrator himself…” John began, and then he cringed. “…And he’d put himself right in Moran’s sights again.”

“And we can’t have that, can we?” Mycroft asked.

John turned to look at him, the two of them trying to read each other as the minutes passed by.

“I know what I have to do,” John said.

“And that would be…?” Mycroft prompted.

“I have to tell him that it was a psychotic break that caused me to attack him—at least until we find out more about what’s going on.” John sighed. “Now I’m beginning to understand why he had to lie to me for so long.”

“I am glad you are beginning to understand,” Mycroft said. “I am sure Doctor Stapleton will see that her colleagues work as quickly as possible so that your deception will not have to last as long as Sherlock’s did.”

John nodded, shutting his eyes. He wanted Sherlock’s company so very badly after being separated for as long as they had been—despite all the hurt and accusations, which had turned out to be true, anyway. But, for the moment, he was a danger to his closest friend, and John knew that more time apart now would be a much better alternative than being the reason for Sherlock’s real death.

And then, of course, was the question of whether or not Sherlock would forgive him for this deception he was about to commit. On the other hand… who would know better about something like that than Sherlock himself? John ran a hand through his sandy hair as he realized that the thoughts he was having now must’ve been very similar to those Sherlock must’ve had before the fall.

Doctor Stapleton cleared her throat.

“I need to take the sample back to the lab so they can have it analyzed,” she said. “By your leave, Mr. Holmes…”

Mycroft waved his hand in dismissal—in a manner not too different from his younger brother—and Doctor Stapleton left.

“And where is Sherlock now?” he asked, after she had gone.

“I left him back at my flat,” John said. “He wanted to talk to me after I had snapped out of it, but I didn’t trust myself to be in the same room as him, so I ran for it. and then Anthea found me.”

“When are you going to tell him?”

“As soon as I get back. I expect you’ll be able to find him at Molly’s after the shock wears off.”

“He still might not leave, even after you tell him,” Mycroft warned. “I know how stubborn my brother can be.”

“Oh, I know it, too,” John said, fervently. “I’ll find a way to get him out of my flat—even if I have to physically throw him out.”

Mycroft snickered.

“What was that for?”

“Take if from someone who has had thrown Sherlock out of his room countless times during our youth,” Mycroft said. “That will be absolutely useless. Now is not the time for reminiscing, but I could tell you stories of how he continuously broke into my room through the window.”

“That explains a lot. But what do you suggest, then?”

“Oh, I think you know, John. You know that my brother was a loner before he met you. You’ve changed him. You’ve given him strength. However…”

John’s eyebrows arched.

“You’ve also given him a weakness, John,” Mycroft went on. “It’s a very dangerous weakness—one that Moriarty has already exploited more than once.”

Unbidden came the mental images of the poolside confrontation with Moriarty, when Sherlock had been more horrified than John could’ve ever believed—horror at first thinking that John was Moriarty, and then after realizing that John was Moriarty’s hostage…

And then there was the fall. Hadn’t Sherlock explained only this past morning that Moriarty had threatened John, as well as Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade?

John shut his eyes and sighed.

“I’m going to have to do a lot more lying than I first thought…”

“That is exactly what Sherlock said to me after revealing to me that he was alive,” Mycroft said. “I know you will regret it as much as he did… and still does.”

“I’m sure you’ll help convince him of my lies as you did for his?” John asked.

“Indeed; I’ll be certain to rub in how he forgot to heed the sage piece of advice I once gave him.”

“What was that?”

“That ‘caring isn’t an advantage.’”

John bit his lip.

“You disagree?” Mycroft asked.

“Yeah. Yeah, I do, actually. But for the sake of this charade, I’m going to let you tell him that.”

The doctor stood up, heading for the door, but stopped as Mycroft spoke again.

“You do realize, of course, that it was your concern for each other that forced him to take a fall and go into exile? It is also what forced you to go through all the grief you went through, to say nothing of the torment you are about to inflict upon him. Can you really take all that into consideration and still tell me that I’m wrong?”

“Yes,” John said. “It makes him human.”

The doctor left without another word, closing the door behind him.

And, despite himself, Mycroft acknowledged the doctor’s bravery and selflessness. If Sherlock absolutely had to allow himself the weakness of caring for someone, then he couldn’t have picked anyone better.

Perhaps that was why, then, that Mycroft hoped that this upcoming deception from John would only create another temporary hiatus for their friendship, as opposed to ending it completely—one way or another.

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