Title: Human Error
Author: Ariane DeVere
Word count: 862
Summary: Nobody has yet broken it to Janine that Sherlock doesn’t really want to marry her. A missing scene from His Last Vow.
My heart sank when I walked into the hospital canteen and saw the familiar figure sitting alone at a table. Oh my God. Janine. After the shooting last night I had ensured that the paramedics knew about her and the unconscious security man downstairs, but since then my concentration had been totally focussed on Sherlock and I had forgotten all about her.
She looked up as I approached the table. “Hi,” she said, sounding worried. “How is Sherl?”
“He’s doing a bit better,” I said, sitting down opposite her. “There’s still a danger of infection but he’s through the worst, and he’s conscious and complaining, which is a good sign.”
“They won’t let me in to see him,” Janine said in frustration. “I told them I’m his fiancée, but they’re only allowing family in ... and you, of course.” She sounded bitter.
Oh God. She didn’t know.
I unsuccessfully tried to hide my grimace. I didn’t need this right now. I had only come to the canteen to grab a quick cup of coffee and a roll and I wanted to get back to Sherlock’s bedside as soon as possible. He still hadn’t said anything about who had shot him, and I wanted to be there if he did.
“Janine,” I said carefully. “Look, I don’t really know how to tell you, but the thing is, Sherlock needed someone who worked at CAM Global News so that he could get more information about Magnussen. When he realised that you were his personal assistant ...”
I trailed off, closely watching her face. She didn’t look upset yet, but I wasn’t sure whether it simply hadn’t sunk in. “Magnussen’s not a good man,” I continued. “You must know that – you’ve worked for him for long enough. He’s got a lot of gossip and secrets about a lot of people; and someone hired Sherlock to get back the information that he’s holding on her. It was going to cause a lot of unnecessary harm and Sherlock was really angry about it. He needed to get into Magnussen’s office and ... I’m sorry, but Sherlock’s been using you.”
She nodded, still not looking as upset as I had imagined. “Typical,” she said. “But I suppose I should have expected it. It was always too good to be true.”
She sighed. “He really is gorgeous,” she said, “and I was flattered when he got in touch a couple of days after your wedding. It seemed a bit weird when he started chatting me up, but he was so friendly and interested in me. I knew all the rumours about him, of course – especially the gossip about ...”
She stopped and looked pointedly at me. I shrugged. Of course I knew all the press speculation about Sherlock. I was used to it by now, and even though almost every newspaper article about him since his return from the dead had speculated about his sexuality, I had stopped taking any notice.
“He said he hadn’t dated anyone for ages and wanted to take it slow,” Janine continued. She grimaced. “It got a bit frustrating after a while, especially when he started wandering around half-dressed, and then we started sleeping together – just sleeping – but I figured we’d get there in the end.” She smiled. “He’d have been worth the wait.”
Her smile faded and she shook her head as she looked down. “Ooh, that lying bastard,” she said quietly. She stood up. “It’s a shame I didn’t get the ring off him. Actually, right now it’s a good job he’s so unwell, or I’d probably kill him myself.”
She gave me a reassuring smile when she saw my startled look. “I’m just kidding. I don’t wish him any harm. But he shouldn’t have used me like that. That was unkind. I really liked him, and I thought we were friends.”
She looked up resolutely. “I have some people I need to talk to. I think the press might be interested in my story.”
“Janine ...” I began, but she interrupted.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “I’m not gonna do him any lasting harm, and I’m not going to say anything about what happened last night or anything about Global News or Mr Magnussen.” She quirked a small smile. “Actually, with what I’m thinking of saying, it might even do Sherl’s reputation a bit of good. But if a girl can’t get some sort of payback after she’s been used, what can she do?”
She looked down at me. “By the way,” she added. “I know who knocked me out last night.”
“Really?” I asked, surprised. “Have you told the police?”
“No,” she said. “I saw a reflection in the window just before I fell, but I kind of want to stay alive a bit longer, so I reckon I should keep my mouth firmly shut. So no, I’m not saying a word to the police or the press.”
She grinned at me. “Plus, you’ll owe me, big time. Like I said, a girl deserves payback when she’s been used.”
I smiled up at her. “Janine,” I told her, “I knew there was a reason I picked you as my chief bridesmaid.”
I saw someone wondering when and how Janine found out that Sherlock had been faking wanting to marry her, and this is the result.
I tried to make this into an almost-obligatory 221B story but it wouldn’t fit, so I ended up padding it out instead. Hopefully it’s not too rambly. Still, at least I managed to keep the also-almost-obligatory ‘b’ word at the end!