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fic: Minefield

Title: Minefield
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Rating: R for themes
Warnings: implied incest, implied past sexual abuse, traumatic memory
Wordcount: ~1730
Disclaimer: They're still not mine.
Summary: He's never been easy to live with, but this is different.  It scares him.
A/N: seventh in the Invasion series (Invasion; Reconnaissance; Reveille; Ambush; Intelligence; Mosaic) - please note the warnings for the series as a whole.
Thanks to blooms84 , ginbitch and kalypso_v for their continued beta brilliance and support; thanks also to shefa for her encouragement and marysutherland for her advice on the overall shape of the narrative.



“Are you OK?” Lestrade asks.



Sherlock straightens up and wipes his mouth with his handkerchief. He can't speak yet. His throat feels raw, and his eyes are swimming.



“Sorry,” Lestrade says. “Stupid question.”



Sherlock can feel Donovan's stare between his shoulder-blades, waits for her to say something gloating and contemptuous about the Freak throwing up at a crime scene.



But nothing comes. Maybe Lestrade's made some sort of sign to warn her off. He hopes it's that.



Wouldn't want Sally Donovan feeling sorry for him. He'd rather have her snarking about how he must be using again.



“Come on,” Lestrade says. “We're done here. I can take you back to Baker Street. Unless you'd rather walk, get some fresh air.”



Sherlock almost snaps that he doesn't need a lift. Doesn't need air. He's sure John must have said something to Lestrade, and he hates that. But he's too tired to deal with any of it. It's easier to let Lestrade be kind to him, if that's what he wants.



“What the fuck was that about?” he hears Smith say to Tyler, as the car pulls away.



Lestrade doesn't ask what made him sick, which is good. He's unexpectedly glad of the lift, glad not to have to think about anything. His head's aching as if it's going to burst, and everything's feeling heavy again. He closes his eyes and tries to let his mind go blank.



... A big untidy room in one of those Victorian semis, full of junk. Junk, and the dead man who'd owned it all. Piles of books on the floor, mostly Second World War interest, a mixture of coffee-table books and more specialist histories. A shelf of videos: 633 Squadron, The Dambusters, A Matter Of Life And Death, Went The Day Well, A Canterbury Tale. Fliers for events at Duxford and Brooklands. A half-completed Airfix model and a faint smell of glue –



He feels another wave of nausea but there's nothing left to throw up. Puts his handkerchief to his mouth again.



“Should I pull over?” Lestrade asks.



He shakes his head.



Thought that had stopped happening. Last time was three weeks ago, after a therapy session.



No good asking Lestrade not to tell John. He's bound to find out sooner or later. Anyway, Mycroft probably has the whole thing on CCTV. Even if nobody else told John, he would.



Sherlock has no idea what convinced John that Mycroft wasn't the one, but something must have done. Otherwise he's pretty sure Mycroft wouldn't still be walking around.



He doesn't like the feeling that Mycroft and John are discussing him behind his back, but there's not much he can do about it. Yet another thing he seems to have lost without quite knowing how.



Can't even insist John doesn't talk to Clara, because he knows John has to talk to someone. Otherwise he might decide he can't cope and go away.



Anyone else would probably have bailed out already, but John's stubborn like that. He tries not to let himself think about what would happen if John were less stubborn. Or less brave.



He's never been easy to live with, but this is different. It scares him. Scares John, too, and he can't see the end of it.



Progress comes in the form of nightmares, sudden flashes of memory, conversations dredged up from a quarter of a century ago. Some days, unknowing feels like a paradise he can only long for and mourn. But that's an illusion: the garden was already a minefield.



They move across the territory cautiously, detectors at the ready, expecting at any moment to be blown to kingdom come.



The woman is his ally. He knows that, even though he hates her, hates himself for needing her. Won't name her, even in his own mind. Won't speak of what happens in that room, not to John, not to anyone. Some things are private, and this – this raw self struggling at once for concealment and revelation – is almost the only private thing he has left.



Being with Lestrade and the Yarders on a case – his first for over a month – had felt like an escape from all that. He'd thought it would be safe – a case of poisoning, just difficult enough to be interesting; no obvious suspect but a possible link to two or three similar cases. Nothing that should have sent him retching into the alley between the gardens.



“We're here,” Lestrade says. “I'll come in, shall I?”



Sherlock doesn't protest. He slumps on the sofa while Lestrade makes tea. Just about manages to respond to Lestrade's questions from the kitchen about whether that white stuff is actually sugar and which mugs are safe to use.



Lestrade brings him tea and watches him while he drinks. Tactfully, or what passes for tactfully with Lestrade. He stops watching Sherlock when his phone goes off – Donovan, from the sound of it. Sherlock's only half listening to Lestrade's side of the conversation, but he hears something about Brooklands and working on the Lancaster, and his head starts to swim.



Lancaster, Sopwith Camel, Spitfire, Tiger Moth...



 



Another room, another set of model aeroplane parts spread out on a table. Everything looks bigger, but maybe that's because he's smaller.



Mummy says You're spoiling him, and Daddy says It's just a model plane, for God's sake, don't be so mean.



Daddy shouldn't really talk to Mummy like that, should he? Somebody's got to be in charge. Sherlock feels guilty when he hears them arguing, though he loves the finished models, loves the moment when the paint's dry and the transfers are on.



You can't expect Mummy to understand, Daddy says. She's just not interested. Anyway it's nice to have something that's just for the two of them, isn't it? Their special thing.



 



The flashes of memory he can't control make his head feel as if it's going to explode, make his skin tighten and crawl.



 



Coming into the room and seeing the blood. Seeing the gun lying by his father's motionless hand. The angle's all wrong, he knows that. If you're going to be a detective you have to know these things. He wants to know everything, understand everything. But he hasn't yet learned what to do with the knowledge. Not when it's like this.



He does the only thing he can think of. He locks the door, puts the key in his pocket, and runs out into the garden.



Mummy's pruning the lavender bushes, cutting them back hard. Thompson could do it, but sometimes she likes to do these things herself. She stops when she sees him. Closes the pruning shears, puts the catch on and lays them down carefully on the garden table. She doesn't ask him what's happened. He puts the key into her outstretched hand.



He doesn't remember the next part too clearly. There's a lot of coming and going, a lot of noise.



He's in bed when she comes in from telephoning to the school.



“Is Mycroft coming?” Sherlock asks.



“He'll be home tomorrow,” Mummy says. She looks tired. “Probably better not to talk about it too much when he comes.”



Sherlock hadn't been going to talk to Mycroft about it anyway.



“What did the doctor say?” he asks.



“That it was an accident, of course,” Mummy says. “Now try to go to sleep. Do you want me to leave the night-light?”



He shakes his head. The corners of her mouth tighten briefly in an approving smile.



 



Her voice echoes in his mind: You've been a good brave boy but it's all over now. Don't think about it any more. No need to tell anyone. Just forget about it.



Was that the day of the funeral? Maybe.



Not the inquest, anyway. He wasn't at the inquest. Why wasn't he? He should have been a key witness. He's sure he was never even asked for a statement. Did they think he was too young to do that?



He's shaking, doesn't seem to be able to stop. His teeth are chattering and he feels clammy, cold and sweating. Lestrade's holding a mug of tea to his lips, trying to get him to drink it. Too sweet, but he tries to choke it down, till the dizziness gets too much for him.



“Easy now,” Lestrade says, and then “Oh, thank Christ you're here.”



John.



John's arms around him. John's voice saying his name, over and over.



He puts his arms around John's neck and clings to him. John's kissing his hair, holding him tight, and the comfortable warm familiar smell of him makes Sherlock feel safe, as close to safe as he can feel right now. Never used to care about feeling safe, but that was before. In the days when he didn't expect to be living half his life as a child again.



 



The light in the room has changed; he must have fallen asleep for a bit. His head's on John's shoulder and his right arm's gone numb where it's pressed up against John's side.



“Is Lestrade still here?” he asks croakily.



“He went home,” John says. “Sounds as if the case is pretty much wrapped up. He said you were right about the Brooklands connection.”



“I want to see the coroner's report,” Sherlock says. “On my father.”



John's silent for a while, and then he says “Right.”



He doesn't sound surprised at all. Mycroft must have told him. Told him what, though?



How does it feel to be the last to know for a change? a voice in his head jeers. Let's see you deduce your way out of this one.



“Might be a bit late to ring about that tonight,” John says. “Could you eat something, do you think?”



He's not sure but he says “Maybe. What have we got?”



“It's looking like beans on toast, unless you want to get takeaway,” John says.



“Beans would be fine,” Sherlock says. He's actually really hungry all of a sudden, and he's not sure he can wait for takeaway.



“Right then,” John says, getting up to put the grill on. He comes back into the sitting-room holding the tin-opener and gives Sherlock a diagnostic sort of look.



“OK, genius,” he says, “come and make yourself useful. You get the beans on and do the toast, I'll make a pot of tea. Can't have beans on toast without tea.”



Sherlock stands up, rather unsteadily, and follows him into the kitchen.

***

Links to all parts of this now complete series are here:

Invasion;
Reconnaissance
;
Reveille
Ambush
;
Intelligence
;
Mosaic
;
Minefield
;
Incendiary;
Ceasefire



This entry was originally posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/41237.html where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
ginbitch
Apr. 21st, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC)
Arrrrrgggghhh!

Perfectly done! And the final cut is a triumph!

Bravo!

<3
fengirl88
Apr. 21st, 2011 11:07 pm (UTC)
my goodness you're fast! thank you very much - for this and for the beta, especially the wonderful suggestion about smell as a trigger here.
ginbitch
Apr. 21st, 2011 11:13 pm (UTC)
My goodness you're _good_ - superb writing every time! I am in awe!

<3
fengirl88
Apr. 21st, 2011 11:23 pm (UTC)
thank you so much - your response means a lot to me, and that's truer than ever in relation to this series. *hugs*


[edit because I got the wrong icon the first time]

Edited at 2011-04-21 11:24 pm (UTC)
shefa
Apr. 22nd, 2011 12:15 am (UTC)
*breathes out

Pitch perfect, my dear. You've layered in so much here. Sherlock's confusion and gradual journey to knowing what he has tucked away and not allowed himself (or been allowed) to know for so many years... The sacred therapy space (indeed, it is)... Lestrade's respectful watchfulness, and John's loving care.

*shivers at the thought of what it might mean to upset Mummy

He's ready to know now and he'll need all the support that is assembling around him. Beautifully, sensitively done. Brava.
fengirl88
Apr. 22nd, 2011 12:33 am (UTC)
thank you so much - this continues to be a tough series to write, and your encouragement has meant more than I can say. I'm really pleased that you think this works.
darthhellokitty
Apr. 22nd, 2011 05:08 am (UTC)
I have to admit, my ears sort of prick up when I see that you've written another part to this series - I like it so much, I like to see what happens next and what happened before.

It really can be a minefield, with triggers in the least expected places.

So good that Lestrade got Sherlock home, and didn't ask any awkward questions; and good that John was there soon.

Her voice echoes in his mind: You've been a good brave boy but it's all over now. Don't think about it any more. No need to tell anyone. Just forget about it.

And now I have an inkling as to why she would have said that.

I can see where it would be helpful for Sherlock to see the coroner's report - actual having something tangible, proving that things really did happen, even if it may not be entirely accurate.
fengirl88
Apr. 22nd, 2011 09:43 am (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm very glad that you liked it, and that it worked for you. yes, the coroner's report may be unsatisfactory in some ways, but I think it will help, and that even wanting to see it is a sign that something is shifting for him.
2ndskin
Apr. 22nd, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
echoing everyone--this does seem pitch perfect, and to me, feels like it might have been the most tricky episode to write because there are so many things coming together in Sherlock's head and you have to write it in Sherlock's voice. Really am in awe of this series, and especially this part. The small sense of what has gone on in the therapist's office, his intense feelings of vulnerability at not understanding and not even being able to get away from it on a simple case with the Yarders, his being the one who who's the last to know, (my heart squeezed on that line)--and the little sense of yes, maybe we can get our lives together back, at the end. God, so much happening here. Breathtaking.

Edited at 2011-04-22 08:39 pm (UTC)
fengirl88
Apr. 22nd, 2011 09:08 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - this was quite a hard episode to write, so the relief of reaching the posting stage has been considerable. there is a lot going on in this part, and I think there will be in the next part as well. sidling up to that one at the moment...

thank you so much again for all your help and encouragement with this series.
(Deleted comment)
fengirl88
Apr. 22nd, 2011 10:13 pm (UTC)
thank you so much - that's a lovely comment to get. I am very glad that's how you feel about it. *hugs*
rusty_armour
Apr. 22nd, 2011 10:12 pm (UTC)
And, once again, this series takes a complicated turn! *g* So...it looks like Sherlock's father was murdered by someone else, unless Sherlock was having a false memory, which I highly doubt. Ooooh! I just love the way you keep leading us to one conclusion, only to yank the proverbial rug out from under our feet! Well, I find it very interesting that Sherlock's mother was so insistent that Sherlock forget. Was it because she thought Sherlock killed his father or because she was trying to protect Sherlock from such a horrible memory? Of course, there's a third possibility: she might be trying to shield someone else...

I like the way Lestrade has been drawn into all of this. It's sweet that he takes care of Sherlock and, yet, keeps some distance, as if he knows that any questions might make Sherlock fall apart. They say that smell is the most powerful stimulant when it comes to memories, so I'm not surprised that the faint scent of glue, combined with those model airplanes, sets Sherlock off. As usual, you've handled the flashback and Sherlock's physical symptoms in a realistic and compelling fashion.
fengirl88
Apr. 22nd, 2011 10:20 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm very glad you like those things in particular. having the smell of glue as the trigger here was ginbitch's brilliant suggestion.

Sherlock's memory here is patchy, but you're right that it's not false. things should become clearer in the next part.
being_here
Apr. 23rd, 2011 04:38 pm (UTC)
This is such a difficult series to read. You deal with it so well, and so respectfully. I am in awe.
fengirl88
Apr. 23rd, 2011 04:50 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - I really appreciate your comments on it. it's been a tough one to write, which is why progress has been so slow (I wrote the first two parts in December!). I hope I'm getting close to the end with it now.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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