a late night sherlock ficlet, jim/seb and john/sherlock by turns, as dark as you’d probably expect, given that first pairing. for postcard, who encourages my madness even when asleep, as it turns out. well done, that.
Seb drives, because when Jim does he winds up chasing himself around the city, wide circles and sharp curves, a man he doesn’t run down because it’s more interesting to see how close he can get, a lorry he doesn’t collide with because he’s many things but he’s never been a cheater, per se, just a dog after his tail.
“Lunatic,” Seb says, and Jim knows he doesn’t mean it, or, to put it another way, means it absolutely, wholesale, means it as fact rather than accusation—
Sherlock drives, because John knows better than to tell him not to, because John’s far from brilliant but he is, always, keen, and anyway it’s more fun for both of them like this, the anticipation, the way Sherlock minds their speed, their distance, so carefully that it can’t be anything but subterfuge and it is, every time, the third turn past a shop John’s been in a hundred times but can’t, just now, recall the name of, because Sherlock’s grinning maniacally and someone’s going to get killed if they’re not careful, which is why John’s laughing, which is why John shouldn’t be laughing.
There are lines that Jim never crosses, not because he minds the lines—not much for lines, in general, Jim—but because he can’t, because stealing the crown jewels is all well and good, because dangling out a window by one finger for sport is Wednesday but silence, silence is another matter, the kind of silence where nothing’s silent at all, and that’s what Seb’s hunting, really, if Jim’s going to be honest about it, which he isn’t, is he, so he sends him out for takeaway, for that nasty business in Norwood because cutting off fingers is all well and good but the travel involved is frankly appalling, sends him out for blood and snarls when he comes back covered in it, proud of himself, because Jim would kill, has been killing, for that satisfaction on Seb’s face, for that sense of having done something even approaching fucking engaging, and he bites one, twice, draws fresh blood from Seb’s lips and tries to drag it out of him…wholesale, again, isn’t that a surprise.
“Plays the violin, doesn’t he,” Moriarty says, casual, while he’s strapping John with Semtex, talking like it’s the bloody weather, “your Sherlock, I mean. Must get so dreadful inside his head, can you imagine—what am I saying, of course you can’t,” and oh, well, that’s just the end of enough, isn’t it, because there are things John will take from Sherlock but he’ll be damned if he’ll take them from anyone else, and he snaps, furious, at Moriarty’s hand, desperate to leave damage somewhere—
—and Sherlock says, “That again,” breathless, starving, the web of skin spanning his thumb and his index finger caught between John’s teeth, and oh, that’s right, isn’t it, John’s learned this somewhere before, hasn’t he, so he bites down, down, leaves an impression, lets one thing or another really sink in.
The bit about kid’s television is true enough, same as the IT business is true enough, same as the two weeks playing at a diplomat’s son is true enough, same as a hundred things, perhaps even a thousand now, are true enough—which is to say: true enough to be getting on with; which is to say: convincing.
Afterwards—when Sherlock isn’t dead after all, when John isn’t even fucking surprised, because that’s the worst part, somehow, the not-being-surprised, the as-it-turns-out-your-insanity-wasn’t-unfounded, being right has never been so hateful—afterwards, it changes. Afterwards Sherlock stops minding speed when he drives and John stops pretending he isn’t laughing; afterwards Mycroft stops coming round because he’s frightened, not of Sherlock, never of Sherlock, but of John; afterwards Sherlock smiles at him and it’s unguarded entirely, like in the three years of god-knows-what he’s made himself a snake, sloughed off his extra skin; afterwards John smiles back, because he didn’t so much slough a skin as crawl out of one, starved, starving, isn’t that right.
Jim’s not a spider; he just lives in a web and sucks the blood out of flies for the fun of it, really, because it’s easy, because it’s right there, because every time he moves a strand shudders, and it’s not unlike an orchestra that way, percussion and repercussions, a thousand strains of sound because just one would be staggeringly boring and Sebastian an allegro hovering at the edge of the page—
“Shut up thinking and fire already,” Seb growls, and Jim grins, grins, grins, pulls the trigger.