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fic: Ambush

Title: Ambush
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Rating: R for themes
Warnings: Implied Sexual Abuse; Implied Incest; Traumatic Memory (especially in this part)
Wordcount: ~850
Disclaimer: They're still not mine.
Summary: “I don't believe in buried memories.” His own voice, furious, panicked, last night.  
Doesn't matter what he believes, does it? He doesn't have a choice. He's stuck with this, stuck in this, and he can't get out of it.
Fourth in the series that begins with Invasion, Reconnaissance and Reveille: please note the warnings for traumatic memory in this part especially.
A/N: Thanks again to blooms84 , ginbitch and kalypso_v for beta and cheerleading; to shefa for the encouraging comments on the previous three in the series; and to marysutherland for many useful discussions about where this is all heading.


Sherlock ends the call and looks at the appointment details he's just scribbled down. He thinks about texting John to say he's done it, but the headache is back again and it feels like too much effort right now.

Maybe John will ring at lunchtime. He does that sometimes.

He wants John's approval, needs it, look, I've been good, I did what you said, can we be all right again now?

There's a part of him that feels angry with John for insisting he had to do something about it, even for telling him, though he knows that's not fair. That John couldn't just have pretended it didn't happen.

He takes a couple of painkillers, notes the time on the kitchen slate. Which is pointless, isn't it? Because if he decides not to stick to the dosage he'll just wipe the slate clean. Write something new on it.

Lie to John about it. He'd have to do that as well.

It's not as if he's never done that before.

If it weren't for John he might never have known. It might never have happened –

Remembering, that is. The other thing would always have been there. If it's true.

He hadn't wanted to believe John. But he knows John doesn't lie. Wouldn't lie, especially about something like this.

This morning when he woke up, he didn't know where he was for a moment. Or who this other person was in bed with him.

He doesn't think that's ever happened before. But if his memory has been playing tricks on him, how would he know? What else might he have forgotten?

“I don't believe in buried memories.” His own voice, furious, panicked, last night.

Doesn't matter what he believes, does it? He doesn't have a choice. He's stuck with this, stuck in this, and he can't get out of it.

It's hot and sticky in the flat. Too warm for June. Stifling indoors, but he doesn't feel like going out. He'd like a shower but he's already had one. And he's not going to start developing what John and that person he's got to see now would obviously seize on as symptoms.

Fighting off the impulse to shower again is tiring, though, and he lies down on the sofa, feeling sluggish, heavy-limbed. So heavy it's almost like something pinning him down, something pressing on him.

His face feels as if there's a sort of spider-web all over it, making his skin crawl and itch. Blurring his vision. He wants to put up a hand and brush away the webs from his eyes but he can't lift his hand because of the heaviness, the stickiness keeping him trapped.

He can hear the blood in his veins, the noise of it almost deafening. It's dirty and wrong and he wants to let it all out. Get a complete transfusion so there's none of it left.

He's never felt like that before (how would you know, his mind jeers), not even when his blood was obviously contaminated, full of junk, full of drugs. He's been clean since shortly after John moved in. But he doesn't feel clean.

He doesn't feel as if he'll ever be clean again.

He wants John here, now, to make it better, wants to hear his voice, wants it so badly that he's ready to break their rule and ring John at the practice, insist on being put through, say it's an emergency. But he can't pick up the phone. Nothing about his body seems to belong to him any more. And there is nothing and no-one to put between him and this feeling that's overwhelming him.

He hears himself whimper, knows it's him but the noise seems to come from a long way off, from someone he used to be. It's as if the thread binding all his past selves together has been pulled tight, bunching them close like the gathers in a piece of fabric.

Not sure where that image comes from. Makes him think of Nanny stitching his costume for the play he was going to do for Mummy when she got out of hospital. He must have been – what? – six, maybe seven. Nanny said not to worry, Mummy would be fine, just a little clear-out, but Sherlock must be a good boy and not expect her to pick him up for a hug, he was too big for that now and anyway Mummy mustn't lift anything for quite a long time.

Another voice, not Nanny's: Mummy's awfully bossy, isn't she, it's more fun without her.

He'd agreed, but felt guilty. Because it was Mummy's job to be bossy.

The same voice again, teasing: While the cat's away, the mice will play.

I'm not a mouse!

Yes, you are, the voice said, mock-threatening. I can tell by your squeaking.

He'd tried to squirm away, giggling, from the kisses that tickled and scratched, the mouth blowing a raspberry against his stomach.

The voice echoes in his head, saying It'll be our little secret. Silly old Mummy wouldn't understand.

He tries to say something but he can't open his mouth.

The room goes dark.


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



( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 26th, 2011 04:08 am (UTC)
Mar. 26th, 2011 07:05 am (UTC)
Re: visceral
SECONDED OMGwhoisititcan'tbemycrofthewouldn'thavefacialhairAAAAAAAAGH
Mar. 26th, 2011 12:22 pm (UTC)
Re: visceral
thank you - and that's a good point about Mycroft. the next part is now up and some things become clearer in that.

Edited at 2011-03-26 09:30 pm (UTC)
Mar. 26th, 2011 10:12 pm (UTC)
Re: visceral
YAY. I've been trying to figure it out, but since there's so little cannon about their childhoods it could really be whoever you want. It's kind of nice to be kept on my toes. This fic is really intriguing! :D
Mar. 26th, 2011 10:21 pm (UTC)
Re: visceral
thank you - I'm glad you are enjoying the mystery.
Mar. 26th, 2011 12:21 pm (UTC)
Re: visceral
thank you - this is the toughest part so far, which is why it's taken so long to post it.
Mar. 26th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
Re: visceral
Sorry for my less-than-rigorous review of the fic, but that was pretty much the only coherent thing in my head. You don't believe in repressed memories Sherlock? Thy believe in you! The manner in which he recalls that memory increases dramatic tension (since we don't know who it is) and is also incredibly realistic. Well done.
Mar. 26th, 2011 07:08 pm (UTC)
Re: visceral
thank you very much - it was quite difficult to work out how to deal with the memories so I'm very glad you thought it worked.
Mar. 26th, 2011 08:42 am (UTC)
This is very, very well done, because it's such quiet pain. It somehow makes sense that Sherlock wouldn't emote at a time like this. And the detail is so good as well - the ambivalence towards John, the idea of stickiness (I can imagine Sherlock hating the physicality of that, reminding him he's not just transport). And the image of the fabric that leads into more quiet, intimate horror.

I also think the short sections of this series work very well formally - that they fit with the flashes of memory, and the fragmentation of Sherlock's past. You pack an awful lot very effectively into these relatively brief pieces.
Mar. 26th, 2011 12:29 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - it's taken me ages to post this part because I didn't want a long gap between it and the next one. that's quite a bit longer than this because it has more conscious memory in it (and more plot). kalypso_v suggested the possibility of Sherlock's ambivalence towards John in this situation, and I thought she was absolutely right about that.

Edited at 2011-03-26 09:31 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 26th, 2011 10:06 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm working on the part following the next one now.

Mar. 27th, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC)
I've been meaning to read this story ever since you posted it, but I'm kind of glad I waited because now I have the next part of the series to read as well! :-) Anywaaaaay, this series keeps getting darker and a lot more complicated - but in an absolutely fascinating way. You write this Sherlock so wonderfully. You really bring out his vulnerabilities. And the flashback is handled exceptionally well. I can't wait to read the next part...except I have to because I need to do some more typing first. However, I'll be there right after that. *g*
Mar. 27th, 2011 08:36 pm (UTC)
thank you so much - this pleases me a lot. the next unposted part is going through the beta stage at the moment and I've started drafting the one after that, so I think it has now reached critical mass. it's been the hardest thing to write, but very satisfying when it feels as if it's going right.

Mar. 28th, 2011 04:09 am (UTC)
Oh, no! Horrible, horrible...
Mar. 28th, 2011 09:55 am (UTC)
thank you - I felt I had to do something to show what happened and what that memory would be like for Sherlock but I nearly ran away from this altogether.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )


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