Author: Ariane DeVere
Word count: 2962
Characters: Sherlock, Mycroft, Anderson
Warnings: Major character death (already happened), discussion of suicide (attempted) by major character, discussion of suicide (successful) by unknown character. Altogether unbelievably angsty and miserable. Have a nice day.
Spoilers: A Study in Pink
Disclaimer: Sherlock belongs to way more powerful and wealthy people than me.
Traumatic events affecting the inhabitants of 221B result in Anderson finding himself at the local hospital offering to try and help.
I seem to have only two settings: silly bonkers crack, and all-out angst. This is probably the angsty-est angst I have written so far. Tourniquet
He had been arguing with the tall man with the umbrella for the last fifteen minutes and didn’t seem to be getting any closer to gaining admission into the hospital room. Anderson was becoming increasingly convinced that the man didn’t even work at the hospital, and certainly neither he nor the attractive woman beside him with her eyes permanently locked onto her BlackBerry looked like the usual type of administrative staff to be found at this hospital.
“Do you even have the right to stop me going in there?” he demanded of the man. “Who the hell are you, anyway?”
“Mycroft Holmes,” the man told him. “I am Sherlock’s brother.”
Anderson’s eyes widened in surprise as the taller man continued.
“So maybe now you understand why I am reluctant to allow in anyone who is likely to make my brother’s state of mind any worse. I know about you, Doctor Anderson – I know about you and all your colleagues at Scotland Yard – and I know that you and my brother do not see eye to eye.”
“That’s why you should let me talk to him,” Anderson told him. “I don’t want to see him just so that I can have an argument with him, but I do have something to say to him: it’s relevant and important, and don’t you think he might be more likely to listen to someone who doesn’t like him but who’s made the effort to come along anyway?”
Mycroft looked at him thoughtfully for a long moment, then tilted his head slightly.
“He did very major damage to both of his arms, Doctor Anderson,” he told him. “This wasn’t a cry for help; it was a determined intention to kill himself. The fact that he was found in time is nothing short of a miracle, and he is not pleased at having been saved. Do you really believe that you can help him to feel better about himself?”
Anderson shrugged. “D.S. Donovan heard the news from D.I. Lestrade and then rang me and told me,” he said. “I wasn’t entirely surprised to learn that he’d tried to kill himself, and if I know your brother he’ll try again as soon as he’s well enough, only next time he’ll make absolutely sure that he isn’t found in time. I’m not claiming that I can go in there and stop him, but I’m here so that Sally – Sergeant Donovan – doesn’t have to do this instead, because it’ll hurt her a lot more than me.”
He looked intently into the other man’s eyes. “One of us needs to talk to him, and I do believe that what I have to say is relevant. I can’t promise to help him, but I might make him think.”
Mycroft assessed him for a long moment, then nodded. “Very well,” he said, nodding towards the closed door. Anderson turned towards it but Mycroft stepped into his way and leaned closer to him. “If you make his condition worse in any way, Doctor Anderson,” he told him softly, “you’ll have me to answer to.” He smiled unpleasantly. “And you really don’t want to have to answer to me.”
Anderson glowered at him and continued to the door, opening it and going inside before closing it softly and turning towards the bed. He was far more comfortable with dead bodies than he was with live patients, and he fought hard not to flinch at the sight of both of Sherlock’s arms bandaged from his hands all the way up to his elbows. Sherlock was awake but didn’t react in any way to his arrival. Anderson wasn’t even sure if he knew who had come into the room – his gaze was fixed on the ceiling and the lack of expression in his eyes was painful to see. Sherlock Holmes – annoying as he was – was always such a blaze of frenetic energy whenever he was around and it was frightening to see him so still and quiet and pale and ... lost.
He walked towards the armchair on the other side of the bed, Sherlock deliberately turning his head away as he progressed around the bed. Undeterred, Anderson sat in the chair and grimaced at the large bag of blood hanging at the bedside. “I don’t want to be here,” he told the young man lying in the bed. “You know what I think of you, but I had to come here to protect someone I care about. Because friendship matters, Holmes, and even if you don’t care about that, I do, and I won’t let someone else get hurt trying to help you.”
Sherlock didn’t respond to him in any way. If his eyes hadn’t been open and flickering occasionally, Anderson would have wondered if he was comatose. He carried on anyway, wondering whether anything he had to say was ever going to get through.
“You think you’re always right, don’t you, and even when you’re proved wrong you think it was just a momentary glitch and that you’re still incapable of making a bad decision.”
He laughed bitterly. “I remember the first time you showed up at a crime scene with Doctor Watson. It’s really ironic, because things happened that day that are so relevant to what you just did, and when I realised that, I ...” He paused for a long moment, looking down at his hands. “I had to come.”
Sherlock sighed out a breath. There was no sound behind it, but the bored incantation of “Dull” was clearly implied. Anderson glared at him.
“I had to come because otherwise Sally Donovan would have come and tried to talk to you about it, and it would have been much harder for her. It was bad for her, that night at the house in Brixton when you came over to me, all arrogant and cocky and showing off to your new colleague, and said some awful things about me and Sally and then flounced off into the house with that smug smile on your face. And you were wrong, Holmes. You were so wrong about everything.”
He looked down again, clenching his fists in his lap at the memory, then lifted his head and looked at the side of Sherlock’s face, so pale and drawn, and even though he couldn’t see directly into his eyes, the blank hopeless pointless expression was unbearably distressing to see.
“Sally and I have never had an affair. She came over to my house that day because she needed a friend, and because I and my wife have been friends with her ever since she and I first met at the Yard. Her sister Teresa had had psychological problems for years, and that morning the police in Croydon had phoned Sally and told her that Teresa had taken a deliberate swan dive off the top of a multi-storey car park.”
The pale eyes finally turned towards him and locked onto his own with a disturbing combination of blankness and intensity which made Anderson feel thoroughly uncomfortable, but he continued speaking, squirming slightly in his seat but refusing to look away.
“She came to my house that afternoon because we live near to her, and because she knew that my wife’s best friend had killed herself fifteen years previously. She wanted to be with someone who understood what she was going through. She came to see Angela, not me. When I told her that Angela was away on a field trip she started to cry, so I brought her into the house. I was taking her to the kitchen to make some tea, but we only got halfway up the hall and she just sort of collapsed.”
He gazed through Sherlock, not really seeing him as he remembered that day.
“She was crying so hard I couldn’t do anything but kneel down next to her and hold her. We were down there for ages while she cried herself out. I even remember trying to get her up because the hall carpet was really rough on my knees, let alone hers and she was wearing a short skirt, but she wouldn’t budge and I couldn’t even get her to shift over and sit rather than kneel. And then finally she felt a little bit better and I got her into the kitchen and made tea for us; and later on I got the call to go to Brixton. She wasn’t on duty that night but she asked to come along, to keep her mind busy.”
He refocused his gaze on the man in the bed and his voice became more harsh.
“I’m surprised you didn’t notice that she was wearing inappropriate clothing for a call-out, or that she’d been crying. Oh, she washed her face before we left the house, and presumably borrowed a spray of my deodorant, but even in the car I realised how dark the circles were under her eyes, and she didn’t have any make-up with her.”
He sighed, his breath shaking a little at the memory.
“When you said those things to me outside the house ... I wanted to punch you so hard for being so presumptuous and for implying that we were having an affair while all our colleagues were listening, but if I had spoken out and corrected you then everyone would have known Sally’s business and it was up to her to tell people if she wanted to. And I suppose that in a way you helped her a bit, because she was so furious at you that it kept her mind off Teresa for a while.”
Sherlock’s gaze had become a little more focussed and less intimidating, and Anderson pressed on determinedly.
“You don’t always get it right, Holmes. Obviously you are right a lot of the time, but all that does is makes you arrogant and over-confident, and you think you can do whatever you want because it’s always the right thing to do and you can’t possibly be wrong.” He gestured vaguely around the room. “But you’re wrong about this, you really are. You have to stop charging forward and assuming that you’re right, and you have to think about this, properly. Doctor Watson would never want you to do this. Can you even imagine the look on his face if he was sitting here instead of me?”
For the first time there was a flash of animation in Sherlock’s expression as he flinched slightly. Anderson pushed onwards.
“He would hate what you were doing, wouldn’t he? He would be so disappointed in you – so angry with you for not being stronger. Angela and Sally were both furious with their sister and their friend for not being brave enough to stay behind and fight; I think Doctor Watson would feel the same way about you.”
Sherlock was blinking more frequently now as the other man’s words began to sink in. Again Anderson pressed on, but his voice became gentler.
“You haven’t allowed yourself to think about what he would think of you, have you? You know what he would say if he were here, but you haven’t let yourself think about it. You’ve thought about nothing but finding and dealing with his killer, and once you had done that, you decided you had nothing more to do and it was all right to take your own life.”
He leaned forward a little in his chair, resisting the urge to reach out and put his hand on Sherlock’s arm.
“Who’s going to remember Doctor Watson best once you’re gone? From what I know of the two of you, you spent most of your time with each other, and he told us he didn’t have a very good relationship with his sister.”
He smiled briefly at Sherlock’s surprised blink.
“You didn’t even notice that he talked to the rest of us while you were swanning around at crime scenes, did you? Oh yes, he would often come over and chat with us while we were stuck leaning on walls waiting for you to stop being brilliant. He was interested in people – he asked questions about our work and our lives, and told us about his. There are a lot of people at the Yard who knew John Watson and thought of him as a good man.”
There was a burning behind his eyes and he wondered whether letting the tears come would be a good thing for Sherlock to see or not, but he blinked them back knowing that once he started to weep, he might not be able to stop.
“You’re not the only one who misses him,” he said simply.
A breath huffed out from between Sherlock’s lips.
“He was one of life’s nice people,” Anderson told him softly. “And for some godawful reason, it’s always the nice people who die early. I don’t know why that is, or whether it’s just that it seems that way because their death matters so much more.”
He drew in another shaky breath.
“But don’t think that your death wouldn’t matter just because you’re not as good a man as he was. You might think that we’d all be glad to see the back of you, but it’s not true. It would be a waste, Holmes – a bloody waste of your talent, and your brilliance, and your skill at bringing criminals to the justice that they deserve...” he stared intently into Sherlock’s eyes, “... and a bloody waste of the memory of John Watson.”
Sherlock flinched from him, starting to turn his head away but Anderson slapped his hand onto the sheet at the side of Sherlock’s legs and the detective’s eyes reluctantly swung back to his.
“We want to know more about him, Sherlock,” he said deliberately. “We want to sit in a pub, or at the Yard, or round at someone’s house, and we want to talk about him, compare notes on what we knew about him. Laugh about things he told us about you. Talk about the madder cases he told us about, find out if he was exaggerating at all. We want to remember him. And you can tell us so many more things about him that we couldn’t know any other way.”
He leaned forward again, bracing his other hand on the side of the bed.
“If you go, we lose Doctor Watson all over again. We lose the last of him. We’ll never know if he was making up some of the crazy things he said the two of you got up to. We’ll never know if the experiments you did in the kitchen of your flat were really as bad as he said they were. We’ll never hear your side of that story about the chase through the warehouse in Battersea where you ended up half buried in dry pasta shells.”
He smiled briefly at the memory of how much John had giggled as he told that story.
“We’ll never know if the way that you managed to get the two of you out of the swimming baths after your encounter with James Moriarty was really as brilliant as he said, or was just him over-egging it to show how clever he thought you were. We’ll never know ...”
His voice broke. He looked down, blinking hard, then swallowed and drew in another breath.
“We want to mourn him by celebrating him. And we can do that better if you’re there, celebrating with us, telling us about him, telling us about the things you got up to together ... telling us about both of you.”
He lifted his eyes to Sherlock’s again.
“If you go, Mr. Holmes, you’re taking Doctor Watson from us as well. Don’t do that. Please don’t do that.”
Abruptly he stood up and walked back around the bed, stopping at the foot and turning to face Sherlock again. He was a little reassured to note that Sherlock had turned his head to follow his progress. He looked into the pale face again.
“Come back with us and help us remember him,” he told him softly. “And we’ll help you remember him, and celebrate him, and keep remembering him.”
Nodding to the young man, he turned and walked to the door. As he took hold of the handle, Sherlock started to say something from the bed, but his voice cracked and failed. Anderson turned back to face him as Sherlock swallowed hard and tried again.
“Thank you, Doctor Anderson.” His voice was soft, almost inaudible, but Anderson picked up the words and nodded once more, then smiled slightly.
“Believe it or not, we might even miss you a bit if you went,” he said, quirking a brief grin at him, then turned and left the room.
Closing the door behind him, he paused and blew out a long silent breath, his eyes widening as he realised that that had been the first time that Sherlock had ever used his title when talking to him. He looked around and saw that Sherlock’s brother was walking towards him.
“I don’t know if that was any help at all,” he began quietly, but stopped as Mycroft put a hand onto his shoulder and tilted his head towards the door. Anderson turned his head and could just make out a choked sob coming from inside the room. Mycroft smiled a little and squeezed Anderson’s shoulder.
“Oh, I think you’ve helped more than you can imagine,” he told him gently, then lifted his hand and gestured towards the nearby seats.
“I think Sherlock needs to be left on his own for a little while,” he said. “In the meantime, why don’t we sit and talk? My assistant has gone to get us some coffee. Sit with me, Doctor Anderson, if you will, and tell me about John Watson.”
Author’s note: Cripes.
Sorry. No idea why. I even delayed watching the Monaco Grand Prix to write this. *Kicks the stupid plotbunny*
Again, no idea why.
Normal cracky service will be resumed shortly, I hope.
Anybody got a tissue?