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Ariane DeVere
Sherlock fic: Road to Freedom 
21st-Oct-2014 01:48 pm
Sherlock - eyes closed
Title: Road to Freedom
Author
: Ariane DeVere
Lite-beta and general pom-pom waving (that says POM-POM, you filthy-minded reader, you): Mirith Griffin and Squire. My love and thanks to you both.
Word count: 4832
Rating: R for language and potentially disturbing content
Warning: Torture (actual and implied), whump, angst, loneliness, hurt/comfort. Eventual positive ending.

Summary: The only thing that might have helped to keep Sherlock going while he attempted to destroy Moriarty’s network was the sound of John’s voice. Sherlock was used to talking to him out loud even if he wasn’t actually there, and he was also used to John answering him, at least inside his head.

So why wouldn’t John answer him now, when he needed him so much?



Road to Freedom

Your mind is working overtime; your body’s not too strong.
Hold on.
You have gambled with your own life
And you face the night alone.
They do not see your road to freedom
That you build with flesh and bone.
(Peter Gabriel, “Wallflower”)

“You always feel it, Sherlock. But you don’t have to fear it. Pain; Heartbreak; Loss; Death – it’s all good.”
(Jim Moriarty in “His Last Vow”)


Pain ( ♪ It’s raining, it’s pouring ♪ )

Sherlock didn’t dare speak to his inner John for many weeks after the Fall. His last memories of John were the anguish on his face outside Bart’s, and the pain – so much pain – shaking his entire body while he wept at Sherlock’s fake grave. Much as Sherlock found it hard to bear the silence, neither could he risk the possibility of seeing John’s horrified, grief-stricken face in his own mind if he tried to speak to an imaginary version of his friend. It would be easier simply not to talk.

It was impossible not to talk. He was so used to talking to John that he couldn’t help himself. As his campaign to destroy Moriarty’s network continued, he repeatedly found himself pacing frenetically around a variety of hotel rooms, bedsits and safe houses, relating aloud his progress in tracking down the latest of Moriarty’s eight lieutenants, destroying each segment of the consulting criminal’s web and ensuring that John would never be in danger again. He was desperate to hear his friend’s inner voice telling him that he was doing a great job, or worrying about his safety, or warning him not to get too confident. Even a simple ‘amazing’ would help to push back the loneliness for a while.

But John never replied.

Even in Tibet, when Sherlock talked aloud about how he had brilliantly tracked down Moriarty’s only female lieutenant and found her hiding – of all places – in a monastery high in the Himalayas, there was no response from the inner voice of his only true friend. Sherlock had never felt this alone even when he had lived on his own.

And would it ever stop raining? It seemed to have rained every day since the morning he had faked his death. If Sherlock believed in such things, he would think that the gods themselves were punishing him.

Of course, Sherlock didn’t believe in such things. Of course he didn’t.


Heartbreak ( ♪ Sherlock is boring ♪ )

“Will you not take any of the credit?” Inspector Prakesh asked him in the corridor outside the room where he had held his press conference. “This was all down to you.”

Aware that the inspector couldn’t see his face clearly because of the bright sunlight behind him, Sherlock smirked with pride but kept his voice steady as he replied.

“I don’t need publicity right now,” he said. “You’re welcome to the fame.”

Prakesh smiled with delight. “Thank you, my friend,” he told him. “I have to admit, it will be nice to be perceived as more clever than my colleagues for once.”

“You remind me of another police officer I know,” Sherlock remarked.

‘Show off,’ John commented inside Sherlock’s mind.

Sherlock struggled to prevent his face from breaking into a delighted grin. It had been so long since he had heard his friend’s voice that he wanted to laugh out loud.

‘I’m not showing off,’ he answered John silently.

‘I was talking to the inspector,’ John’s voice said in a clipped tone.

‘He’s not so bad,’ Sherlock thought to his friend. ‘Dull and predictable like most police officers, and the case was boring, but it was a distraction for a while.’

There was no reply.

‘John?’

As the silence continued and Prakesh looked at him quizzically, Sherlock realised that the sun had gone in and he could hear rain lashing down onto the roof.


Loss ( ♪ I’m laughing, I’m crying ♪ )

With six of Moriarty’s lieutenants taken out, Lars Trepoff was the penultimate leader remaining at large. In a moment of luck for Sherlock and Mycroft, Trepoff’s wife – no saint herself, actively involved as she was with her husband’s wrongdoings – died in a fluke accident while she was alone in her house and MI6 immediately pounced after her body had been brought to the morgue, planting false evidence to make it look as if she had been murdered. Knowing that a single judge could easily be corrupted, Mycroft pulled in many favours amongst his German counterparts to have Trepoff tried by a jury, setting in place stringent protection of each of the jurors so that none of them could be blackmailed before or during the trial. He then included his brother as a member of the jury under a false identity so that Sherlock could persuade the rest of the jurors that Trepoff was indeed guilty of his wife’s murder.

“That was almost too easy,” Mycroft told Sherlock over the phone after the verdict had been announced. “But there is still no sign of the final lieutenant – he has gone into hiding and I doubt we’ll be able to find him any time soon. You might as well come home – we’ll put protection on you and your friends. I’m sure that Baron Maupertuis won’t be able to stay hidden forever, and then we’ll deal with him. Go to our offices in Amsterdam and we’ll smuggle you back to England from there. Come home, Sherlock.”

Sherlock waited until Mycroft had hung up before he leaned against the nearby wall and let out a delighted and relieved laugh.

If only the next few days had been as easy. Shortly after his arrival in Amsterdam, Sherlock was informed that word had finally been received of a possible location of Baron Maupertuis. Having spent the last fifteen years masquerading as the respectable business head of the Netherland-Sumatra Company, the Baron had made the mistake of keeping the company going after he went on the run. A new branch of the firm had suddenly opened in Romania, so it seemed likely that he was somewhere nearby. He wouldn’t be stupid enough to actually base himself near the offices but he must be somewhere in that part of Europe. There was only one person who might be persuaded to reveal the Baron’s current location, and later that day Sherlock was on a train to Brussels.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I’m not going to prison, Mr Holmes,” Verstraete told him.

Sherlock shook the rain out of his eyes and adjusted his grip on his pistol. John would love this, he told himself. It had taken six days to track down Lukas Verstraete, one of Maupertuis’ hit men, following several blind leads before finding him working under a false name in an innocuous mailing centre. The ensuing chase through the eastern outskirts of Brussels had lasted for several hours and – Sherlock readily admitted to himself – had been the most fun he’d had in months, spoiled only by not having John racing along behind him.

And finally here he was in an alley, he and Verstraete pointing guns at each other, and everything to play for. He wished that John were here to witness the showdown.

“I won’t tell you where the Baron is,” Verstraete insisted. “There isn’t a prison anywhere in the world where I would be safe from his anger. And even if I tell you nothing, he will assume that I did and he will take action against me. So you might as well go ahead and kill me.”

“Fine,” Sherlock replied, and pulled the trigger.

Verstraete’s previous determination left him when the pain of the bullet wound began to sink in, and for several minutes Sherlock’s insistent questions were answered only by agonised pleas for help. Reminding himself just how many people Verstraete had killed in all the years he had worked for Maupertuis, Sherlock knelt beside the sobbing man and applied deliberate and brutal pressure to the area around his wound. Suddenly he was glad that John wasn’t here with him. He had never told John how he had forced Moriarty’s name from the cabbie four years ago, and he hoped that he would never find out about him torturing yet another dying man.

“He’s in Serbia!” Verstraete finally wailed. “He has a stronghold in the middle of a forest somewhere near Tekija. I swear I don’t know the actual location. He hasn’t contacted me for months.” He struggled for breath and frantically grasped Sherlock’s arm. “Please, Mr Holmes, get me an ambulance.”

Sherlock stood and looked down at him. It was clear that the gunshot wound was fatal, but he had no inclination to be kind to the man in his final minutes.

“You know what Maupertuis will do to you if you survive,” he told him flatly. “I’m doing you a favour.”

Ignoring the man’s whimpered pleas, he began to walk away.

‘Don’t you think you should turn your collar up as you go?’ John asked in a cynical voice inside his head. ‘I’m sure it’ll make you look more heroic to the man you’re leaving dying in an alley in the middle of nowhere.’

‘Shut up, John,’ Sherlock told him sternly. ‘He doesn’t deserve your compassion.’

John was silent for the rest of the evening but just before Sherlock fell asleep he heard a disappointed sigh in his head.

The next morning he travelled to Zeebrugge to report his news at MI6’s office near the port, stopping only to collect a few essentials and to drop off his greatcoat to be sent to Mycroft for safekeeping. He would need to go deep undercover for the next several months and there was no place for his usual distinctive clothing. Walking outside afterwards, he pulled his jacket more tightly around him, shivering against the cold rain and already missing his much warmer coat. He paused and looked thoughtfully towards the nearby harbour.

‘You can still do it,’ John’s voice said in his mind. ‘You could get on a boat right now and come home.’

Sherlock hesitated for a long moment, tempted by the first encouraging words he had heard from his inner John since he had left London. Eventually, however, he turned away from the seafront, the fingers in his jacket pocket clenched savagely around the plane ticket to Belgrade International Airport.

He told himself it was the salt in the rain that was making his eyes water.


Death ( ♪ Sherlock is dying ♪ )

“No more.”

‘Don’t talk bollocks.’

“Enough. Leave me alone, John.”

‘I’m not the one making you imagine your friend’s voice.’

“I don’t have any friends. Not any more. You think I’m dead, and that’s probably for the best. And quite frankly, now is not the best time for you to start talking to me.”

‘Don’t you bloody well give up now.’

Sherlock sighed, slumping in his chains and then grimacing at the strain on his arms. The Baron’s men had ensured that there was no comfortable position into which he could settle, and there wasn’t a part of his body that didn’t ache; indeed, some of his muscles were about to start screaming. And even though he had been captured over four hours ago, his skin was still wet from the rain that had been pouring down while he raced through the forest trying to evade the soldiers. It was so cold in this building that the water had barely dried at all, which had made the beating he had received all the more painful, and it was only his complete exhaustion that was preventing him from trembling.

“Enough,” he said almost silently, barely moving his lips in deference to the pain. His jaw was swollen and his mouth bleeding, the drops of blood that fell from his lips onto his chest feeling momentarily warm against his chilled skin. He was so tired, and yet he knew he must gather what strength he could for tomorrow’s ordeal. He must not reveal anything to his captors. If he told them who he was, if they realised that he was the one who had brought about the demise of the rest of Moriarty’s lieutenants, effectively destroying every strand of his web except this one, there was no knowing how the Baron might take revenge. Even Mycroft could be in danger, and anybody who was a known friend of Sherlock might be killed. Sherlock wouldn’t be in a position to witness his actions because he would be long dead, but the Baron was notorious for murdering innocent family and friends of his enemies out of petty vengeance.

And tomorrow Sherlock would have to face Tomas. His captors had taken great delight in informing him of the impending arrival, making it clear to him that the beating they had already dealt out was only a warm-up for the real pain to come.

“Too tired,” he mumbled through his swollen lips. “It’s time to let go.”

‘Don’t you bloody dare. You’re not that much of a coward.’

“They’re bringing in Tomas, John.”

‘Yeah, yeah, the notorious torturer who never gives up until he gets answers or his victim dies. So what? You can outsmart him.’

“I can’t. I don’t have the strength.”

‘Yes you have. I know you can get out of this. You’re the world’s only consulting detective. So damned well detect.’

“Leave me alone.”

‘Come on, genius. Think.’

“I said leave me alone.”

‘Not gonna happen. You’re only letting me speak because you want me to talk to you. Now think. What do you know about Tomas?’

“Nothing helpful.”

‘That’s not true. You heard the guards talking outside the cell.’

“I wasn’t listening.”

‘But you heard. What did they say? Come on, concentrate.’

Sherlock sighed again and closed his eyes. It would be so easy just to let go, to remain silent tomorrow and let Tomas beat him until his body gave up. He was so exhausted, so weary of his life. More than two years of running, hiding, struggling to stay alive, fighting to bring down the network; the fear, the cold, the pain, the constant loneliness ... surely he was entitled to some peace after everything he’d been through? Why was his inner John being so stubborn? Didn’t he realise that Sherlock would actually welcome death?

‘You’re gonna love being dead, Sherlock.’

That wasn’t John’s voice.

‘No-one ever bothers you.’

The soft Irish voice filled him with horror. He had locked his memories of James Moriarty deep in his Mind Palace, at the bottom of that staircase which he hoped he would never have to descend again. The time that he himself had spent in that cell inside his mind before Mycroft’s intervention all those years ago had left him dreading that area of his brain. It was a place of madness, of despair and horror and self-loathing, and it had seemed the ideal place to store the memories of the psychopath who had nearly killed him.

‘Come and see me when you’re really dying,’ Jim’s voice told him in an amused tone. ‘I’ll talk you through it, easy-peasy.’

Sherlock cringed as Jim began to sing softly.

It’s raining, it’s pouring ...

Dear God, was his exhaustion making him lose his mind?

‘Sherlock. Wake up.’

John’s voice. That was better. Sherlock forced his eyes open and grimaced. Apparently the voices inside his head weren’t going to leave him alone, and he obstinately refused to admit to himself that the only person talking to him was him.

“For God’s sake, John, I don’t remember what they were saying.”

‘Yeah you do.’

“I really don’t ... Oh.”

His subconscious memory kicked in, pulling him back in time to the moments after the Baron’s men had chained him to the wall. Already in agony from the beating they had meted out, his concentration had been centred on the pain and the realisation that it would only get worse in the next hours. But now he recalled their laughter when they left the cell, having told him what he would face tomorrow from Tomas. They didn’t even know whether he spoke Serbian – he had refused to speak at all so far – but afterwards they had stood outside the door casually chatting with a new colleague who had only recently been transferred to the Baron’s fortress. At the time Sherlock hadn’t paid attention to what they were saying, but now their words – automatically filed in the Holding Room at the front of his memory for future consideration – came back to him.

“Tomas?” one of them said. “He’s a vicious bastard. Enjoys his job far too much. Try not to catch his eye, and definitely don’t try and outstare him or he’ll turn on you just for the hell of it.”

“He used to be in the Navy,” another said, obviously eager to share gossip with the newcomer, “but he left under suspicious circumstances. Rumour has it that he was screwing a colleague, and most people think it was another man. Anyway, they say that his fuck buddy revealed Tomas’ name under interrogation and Tomas was kicked out of the service. He never got a permanent job after that – he was always getting into fights and beating his opponents half to death. Eventually the Baron heard about him and took him on, and since then he’s found his real purpose in life – torturing other people!”

“He got married last year,” his colleague took up the tale again, “but it’s probably just for show. No-one thinks that he loves her – it’s for status only and he doesn’t trust her at all, always convinced that she’s having an affair.”

One of the other soldiers laughed. “It’s not surprising. Have you seen Milena? She’s beautiful! Far too good for Tomas.” He chuckled. “That coffin maker who lives next door to them must live in constant terror of her even smiling in his direction, for fear that the next coffin he’ll be making is his own!”

“And Tomas is in an even worse mood than usual,” his colleague added. “He was complaining yesterday about there being some electrical fault in his bathroom, so the lights don’t work in there. If it hasn’t been fixed yet, then our prisoner is in for a really bad time ...”

“Ohh,” Sherlock breathed quietly, lifting his head slightly.

‘Knew you’d get there. Are you coming home now?’

He had the means. If he could distract the man sufficiently, maybe he could pickpocket him for the keys to his chains, or perhaps he could make him so angry with his wife that Tomas would leave to go and deal with her ... Oh, but he would have to bide his time, waiting for the best moment to put his plan into action. It could be hours after Tomas’ arrival before that moment came, and in the meantime ...

“Come on, mate. Look at me.”

Could he do it? Could he bear the agony of relentless interrogation long enough to find an opportunity to escape? Could he muster the energy for one last struggle to survive?

“Sherlock. For the love of God wake up.”


‘You always feel it. But you don’t have to fear it.’

Sherlock opened his eyes with a gasp of remembered pain, then grimaced when the real pain of his healing bullet wound lanced through his chest. He stared around the bedroom, momentarily bewildered before his gaze settled on John who was leaning over him with a worried look on his face but who now straightened up beside the bed.

Finally,” John said quietly and smiled down at him reassuringly. “Sorry – I know they say it’s dangerous to wake people up when they’re having a nightmare but you seemed really distressed. Are you okay?”

Sherlock blinked at him, the memory of his dream/recollection still prominent in his mind. He raised himself onto his elbows, grunting at the twinge in his chest. The tops of his arms felt strained and he could almost still feel the chains around them. John took a step away from his bedside.

“You were making a lot of noise,” he said hesitantly. “I could hear you from upstairs and it went on for so long that I thought I should come down. I did knock but you didn’t answer, and then when I came in you were thrashing about and it sounded like you were talking in some foreign language. I was going to try and nudge you to make you turn over in the hope that it would shift your dream, but then you ...” He stopped, chewing the inside of his mouth as if considering how much more to say. Eventually he continued, “You sounded like you were in pain, and then you mumbled something about letting go and loving being dead and I just ... I just thought it’d be better to wake you up.”

“I was remembering Serbia,” Sherlock said. “I didn’t have a very good time there.” He stopped, not wanting to add anything more. Although he had told John everything that had happened leading up to his jump from the roof of Bart’s, he hadn’t said anything specific about what had happened to him during the two years he had been away. John had asked about the missing time on a couple of occasions but he hadn’t seemed very keen to know, his tone suggesting that he was only asking out of politeness. Sherlock had always declined to discuss it, saying that it wasn’t worth talking about, and even now he was reluctant to give any further details.

John waited for a moment, then nodded. “Well, if you feel like a cuppa, I’m putting the kettle on,” he said, then turned and left the bedroom.

Sherlock sat up and then swung his legs round to put his feet on the floor, grimacing again at the pull from his healing chest wound. He sat there for a couple of minutes, letting the nightmare fade a little from his mind, then slowly stood up and put on his dressing gown before heading for the kitchen.

John had left his own house and had moved back to Baker Street even before Sherlock was released from hospital. Sherlock was glad to have him there but their friendship was strained; John didn’t talk much, sitting quietly in his armchair in the living room and answering Sherlock’s awkward attempts at conversation with nothing more than a disinterested grunt. Frequently, without apparently realising what he was doing, he would reach into the pocket of his jeans or his dressing gown, take out Mary’s ‘A.G.R.A.’ pen drive and roll it round and round in his fingers while he continued to read or watch the television. The rattling of the key ring attached to one end of the metal casing would almost drive Sherlock to distraction but he never complained aloud. He knew that the decision whether to read the contents of the drive was John’s alone and despite his own burning desire to know what it said, he owed John the choice of reading the file or destroying it.

By the time Sherlock walked into the kitchen, John had switched the kettle on and was standing with his back to the room, his head bowed, his fingers gripping the edge of the work surface and his shoulders tight with tension. He shook his head.

“You bastard,” he said savagely.

Sherlock closed his eyes. After the trauma of the nightmare that was still lurking at the edge of his thoughts, he really didn’t want a fight. Truth be told, he would rather curl up in his armchair, wrap his arms around himself and try to rock the memories out of his head. But after everything John had been through recently, a large part of which had been caused by Sherlock himself, it was hardly surprising that John should now realise that once again he hadn’t been told all of the truth. His anger was probably justified, but Sherlock didn’t feel strong enough for a furious tirade right now.

The kettle clicked off, making Sherlock jump slightly. Still facing away from him, John shook his head again, his voice low and hoarse as he spoke.

“You absolute bloody fucking bastard.”

Sherlock couldn’t help the small sound of pain that escaped his lips, and John immediately looked round and his eyes widened.

“Oh God, I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean you. I was talking to me.”

Sherlock tilted his head, confused. John sighed and turned around, leaning back against the work surface. He started to put his hands into the pockets of his dressing gown and Sherlock forced himself not to grimace. If John took out the pen drive now and started to roll it in his fingers, Sherlock wasn’t sure whether he would be able to stop himself from screaming. After a moment, however, John lifted his hands again and folded his arms tightly across his chest. He chewed his bottom lip for a few seconds, then stared at the table and drew in a sharp breath.

“Ever since you came back I’ve wanted to be angry with you,” he said. “I was so fucking furious that you left me behind, that you let me believe you were dead, and I hated the fact that it felt like it was my fault that you did what you did – that I was the reason you left me behind and that you thought you had to do it to protect me. I didn’t want to be protected. I wanted to be part of the adventure; I wanted to be involved with dealing with the problem.

“So I suppose I convinced myself that I was jealous. You’d been running round the world having all sorts of fun and games while you were dealing with Moriarty’s network, and you hadn’t trusted me enough to tell me the truth and take me with you. I was so hacked off that I’d missed everything you’d done while you were away. And when I asked you what happened and you shrugged it off and said it had been boring, I told myself that you’d had such a brilliant time that you didn’t dare tell me because you knew I’d be pissed off that I hadn’t had the chance to join in.”

He shuddered and ran a hand over his face. “Then I was sitting at your bedside in the hospital a couple of days after Mary ...” He broke off and grimaced. “... after you were shot. You were still pretty much out of it and a nurse came in to check you while you were asleep, and she started chatting to me. When I said you were my best friend she mentioned the scarring on your back. She said it didn’t look more than about six months old and asked how you’d got it.”

He raised his head and stared at Sherlock. “It was the first time that I let myself admit that it hadn’t all been shits and giggles out there – that you must have had some bad times. And then I was even more angry that I hadn’t been there to protect you, and I blamed you for not letting me be there.”

He sighed and the severity of his gaze softened a little and was replaced by a look of guilt. “God help me, Sherlock, I felt that you deserved it.”

Sherlock bowed his head. He had told himself much the same thing on several occasions, but hearing the confirmation from John’s mouth gave him a strange pain in his chest. Oddly, the pain was concentrated to the left of the actual entry wound.

“But you don’t deserve it!” John exclaimed, his frantic tone pulling Sherlock’s eyes up to meet his gaze. “Bloody hell, Sherlock, nobody deserves what you’ve been through. And you don’t deserve me pretending it never happened, just because I felt like the kid who wasn’t allowed to play with the big boys.”

He turned his head and stared out of the window for a moment, then looked back at Sherlock apologetically.

“I’ve been a total arsehole, and I am really really sorry,” he said more softly. “I don’t know what you went through out there on your own, and I’m so sorry that I never properly asked.”

He held his gaze for a few seconds, then turned and flipped the kettle’s switch to bring the water back to the boil. “If you want to tell me, I’m ready to listen,” he said over his shoulder. “I’ll understand if you don’t want to talk about it, but I think it might do you some good if you get it out. I think it might help both of us.”

The two of them fell silent while John prepared two mugs of tea. After stirring sugar into Sherlock’s drink, he put the teaspoon into the sink, then picked up the mugs and put them onto the table before sitting down. Clearing his throat, he lifted his own mug and drank from it, his eyes fixed on the table in front of him while he waited for Sherlock to make his decision.

Sherlock watched him for a while, then slowly walked across to the table and sat down. After a minute he wrapped his hands around his mug and gazed down into it.

After another minute, he took a sip of his tea and then began to talk.





Author’s Note:

I had some vague general ideas for this story long before I happened to be re-listening to Peter Gabriel’s beautiful and heart-wrenching song “Wallflower” (the linked video also shows the lyrics) and realised that some of those lyrics were really appropriate to the story, plus they gave me the title of the fic. I’d been thinking about relating various incidents during Sherlock’s time taking down Moriarty’s network, basing them around the locations where Anderson noted that he had been spotted (as shown in Many Happy Returns). Basically I wanted to explain why Sherlock seemed to be working his way across Europe towards Britain but then suddenly turned around at Brussels and ended up in Serbia. I also wanted to come up with a logical reason for how Sherlock knew so many specific facts about his torturer.

So I was thinking of doing it in short(ish) segments, but it was many weeks later while the idea was still rattling around in the back of my mind when suddenly I thought of Moriarty’s pain / heartbreak / loss / death mantra from “His Last Vow” and wondered if I could use those as a theme for each section. And it was many weeks after that when I had a rare ‘Oooh!’ moment while realising that the lines of Jim’s song could be subtitles for each section title, most particularly the fourth one; and I also came up with the idea that some of the things that Jim said to Sherlock after he was shot weren’t the first time that he had said them.

But good grief, this story was reluctant to be born! I don’t know what it is about my angsty fics but each one of them has been stubborn, sitting in my head for weeks or even months and refusing to transfer to the keyboard, yet constantly whining, “Write me, bitch!” and generally driving me bonkers with frustration. Still, I finally dragged this one kicking and screaming into the light. Whether you appreciate the birth pains or wish I hadn’t bothered is open to dispute!

I know that it’s unclear whether the name of the police inspector in New Delhi is Prakesh or Prakash. Opinions vary on different websites, and in online cast lists the character is named only as ‘Indian Inspector’ or ‘Indian Detective’. There were no subtitles on the version I saw on the BBC Red Button and, to be honest, even if there had been (and if there are any on the forthcoming DVD release), I know from experience that the subtitlers may well have guessed at the spelling rather than having looked at (or been provided with) an official cast list. What it comes down to is that when Lestrade said the name, it sounded like ‘Prakesh’ to me but until/unless there are end credits on the DVD to be released next month, the spelling remains a mystery.

Talking of the upcoming DVD ... yes, I’m limbering up my fingers and have taken three days off work after its release date when I hope at the very least to do partial transcripts/summaries of the episode commentaries. If any of the other new material is also transcribable, I’ll have a go at them too.

What with that, and having had three weeks off at the beginning of the year to do the Season 3 episode transcripts, and now booking two days off before Christmas to do the transcript of the double-length final episode of Cabin Pressure, one day it would be nice to take some time off work and actually have a holiday! I seem to have spent most of my annual leave this year hunched over the laptop and working harder than I do at work! I even spent this last week of annual leave grimacing over the keyboard while trying to get this bastard of a fic finished.

Hello. My name is Ariane DeVere and I am a Sherlockian. And, truth be told, I hope that my addiction never ends.

Comments 
21st-Oct-2014 01:55 pm (UTC) - re: Sherlock: Road to Freedom
I appreciated this a great deal. For someone who lives in his head as much as Sherlock does, having John to speak to and also, just as important, having John to speak to him is truly necessary. And thank you for the scene in which John persuades Sherlock to speak abt the 2 yrs away. I am still vastly disappointed that nowhere in S3 was this addressed. Thank goodness for fic!
22nd-Oct-2014 11:05 am (UTC) - Re: Sherlock: Road to Freedom
I'm really happy you liked it. I would hope that one day they'll show us that the boys have spoken to each other about their time apart, but somehow I doubt it.
22nd-Oct-2014 12:01 pm (UTC) - Re: Sherlock: Road to Freedom
It's one of those things that drove me crazy abt S3. Supposedly, American fans were upset by this lack, but not the British fans, or so I kept hearing/reading. Someone explained to me that Brits aren't into showing their feelings and hide them behind humor and the like. If this true, then I am grateful to be American, w/ Anglophile leanings. :)

Anyroad, all the post S2 reunion fic that I read whilst waiting for S3 almost always had Sherlock explain things to John. Hence my disappointment, and that of many others, in this lack in S3.

Thanks again for a great read!
22nd-Oct-2014 03:04 pm (UTC) - Re: Sherlock: Road to Freedom
I'm never happy when anyone lumps all Brits, or all Americans, into one group and gives them identical behaviours. I know that there are plenty of British fans (I'm one of them) who wanted more emotion from both of our boys, provided they stayed in character. For example, I didn't expect lavish declarations of love from either of them in their final scene together at the airfield - I thought that they behaved exactly as I would have anticipated. And I didn't even need to see them talking about their time apart - just an indication that they'd done it offscreen would have been enough.

Edited at 2014-10-22 03:18 pm (UTC)
22nd-Oct-2014 04:49 pm (UTC) - Re: Sherlock: Road to Freedom
I know that I was generalizing somewhat, but it did feel this way to me at the time, after "The Empty Hearse" aired. Anywhere I went on the interwebs, there seemed to be a division between some of the British fans and some of the American fans on how to react to TEH and what it revealed and what was left out, but that's MHO and others may feel differently, like yourself. But many fans in both the UK and the US and elsewhere were concerned that no real explanation was given for how Sherlock survived the Fall, for example. There were endless debates over those interweaved scenes of how perhaps Sherlock survived. Many others were concerned abt the lack of Sherlock explaining to John why he did what he did, re the Fall and afterwards. Of course, only the fans who posted are the ones whose opinions can be known; I'm very glad to hear that many British fans were also displeased w/ the lack of a talk between John & Sherlock. But some discussions on some of the Sherlock sites I read got so heated, that I had to distance myself from the fandom a little bit and didn't keep up w/ the meta, so I obviously didn't get that info. At this point, I would be happy w/, as you said, a reference to an off-screen talk between the two of them, but I suspect that you're right that we'll never get this. Maybe this isn't a cultural divide so much as it is just Mark Gatiss' writing; if Moffat had written the episode, perhaps the whole thing might have had a different spin? And made all fans happier? We'll never know.
21st-Oct-2014 03:12 pm (UTC)
I really hope we someday see Sherlock sharing his travails with John. It'd be nice to see him get that validation. Just the thought of Sherlock leaning on the John in his head so much, even after he got back, is so painful. I really enjoyed your exploration of that.
I don't know if Prakesh is an actual Indian word/name or not, but I know Prakash is. It means 'spark of light in the dark'. My nephew, who is part Nepali, was given that as a middle name to memorialize the fact that he'd been born in the middle of a huge blackout. Hee. So, if this Indian Detective is like Lestrade, he's a bright spark amongst dullards, so it would be appropriate. :D
22nd-Oct-2014 11:14 am (UTC)
I was pleased with myself when I came up with the idea of Sherlock's inner John using similar phrases to the ones he will use again in the Jack the Ripper room!

When Squire Danlef was looking through the draft of the story she thought I had been brilliant for naming Tomas' beautiful wife 'Milena' because the meaning of the name is ‘kind, pleasing, lovely’. I had to shuffle my feet and admit that I had googled Serbian girls' names and had chosen her name from the list at random! If his name does turn out to be 'Prakash', I would love it if the writers said that they chose the inspector's name deliberately, but somehow I doubt that they were that clever ... ;-)
22nd-Oct-2014 03:17 pm (UTC)
I would not be at all surprised. Many names in Sherlock have meanings. When we found out the Anderson's name was Phillip I laughed, as a filip is a small nudge in the right direction, and completely captured his obsession with the truth that no one else would believe.
Molly has a gay connotation, as a Molly House was a place of gay prostitution. Molly-coddling was thought to be bad for boys as it would make them weak and effeminate. It was interesting to see Molly doing the exact opposite of coddling while slapping Sherlock repeatedly in the face, in an ironic twist on her label. Hee.
The unusually passionate and Latin song 'Yolanda' that they chose as Sherlock's entrance and reveal music in the restaurant, was about a man's search for his lost love, and how he doesn't know what he'd do if he ever found her again. It was odd enough that I looked it up. Yes, the lyrics bear up John's emotional travails while Sherlock was dead, but I researched the name Yolanda that we heard dozens of times during the song. It's of French descent (like Sherlock himself), and means Violet. Violet, lavender, purple is the traditional color of gay men.
I don't think it is meant to have direct clues in the words and symbols they choose, not all the time, but Gatiss especially fills his scripts with loaded elements, connotations of homosexuality of days gone by (I love that they painted John with the old slang for gay man 'confirmed bachelor'), because he can, and that's where we are heading, I hope. :D
21st-Oct-2014 05:43 pm (UTC)
that says POM-POM, you filthy-minded reader, you
Oh, like Penguins Of Madagascar, right? (What do you mean, "Absolutely not"?)

And would it ever stop raining? It seemed to have rained every day since the morning he had faked his death. If Sherlock believed in such things, he would think that the gods themselves were punishing him.
In this case, you English people mush have done really terrible things during the last centuries.

He had locked his memories of James Moriarty deep in his Mind Palace, at the bottom of that staircase which he hoped he would never have to descend again.
If only that had been the last time he had to go there!

Sorry – I know they say it’s dangerous to wake people up when they’re having a nightmare
But it's not dangerous at all to interrupt a fic when it's getting really angsty, so thank yo, John. :D

“Oh God, I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean you. I was talking to me.”
Aaah, this line is perfect. I'd have liked John to be gentler to Sherlock in the show, and to show more compassion for everything he went through for these two years.

Talking of the upcoming DVD ... yes, I’m limbering up my fingers and have taken three days off work after its release date when I hope at the very least to do partial transcripts/summaries of the episode commentaries. If any of the other new material is also transcribable, I’ll have a go at them too.
YOU ARE A SAINT AND I LOVE YOU.

So, is this the angsty fic you talked about in the AN to It's this, or Cluedo? I hope so, because you angsted my heart out enough with this one, thank you very much! :D But I really enjoy it, it's a scene like this one I'd like to see in the show (hug him, don't punch him over and over!) and a lovely fix-it.

After another minute, he took a sip of his tea and then began to talk.
Damn, LiveJournal deleted the last sentence of your fic, "And then, later, they kissed and lived happily ever after." You said there was a eventual positive ending, after all. *pretends she's oblivious to the daggers Ariane looks at her*
22nd-Oct-2014 10:59 am (UTC)
Oh, like Penguins Of Madagascar, right?
Don't you mean Penglings of Madagascar?

you English people mush have done really terrible things during the last centuries.
You're as bad as another non-English friend of mine, who thought that we still had smog in London. Right now it's a lovely sunny day outside my office. *glowers at the approaching clouds in an attempt to shoo them away*

So, is this the angsty fic you talked about

Yes, it's safe to come out from hiding now - the danger has passed. And if I have anything to do with it, there shall not be another angsty fic for a very long time - they're just too much effort!

You said there was a eventual positive ending, after all
Indeed I did. And you'll note I didn't say 'happy ending'. If you'd like to write a sequel to this story, it would save me from even thinking about doing one myself (which I wasn't, but I've said that before), and you wouldn't like me to be distracted from concentrating on the DVD would you, so off you go ...
*waits patiently*
22nd-Oct-2014 09:09 pm (UTC)
Oh-ho, wait. Just because you can't see the smog nowadays doesn't mean you aren't breathing it.

And may I point out that your weather is entirely deserved. The list of English wrong-doings is long and bloody indeed. Just like any other nation's, I guess:)

But, at least, you had Winston Churchill. That makes up for quite a lot.
23rd-Oct-2014 02:42 pm (UTC)
Maybe I shouldn't let Quentin into my life, then. If he causes as much heavy breathing as I'd like him to do, apparently it won't be good for my lungs ...

*she said, taking another drag on her cigarette*
23rd-Oct-2014 02:52 pm (UTC)
True. You smokers don't have to complain about smog when you are actually adding to it on every exhale.

Brno is much smaller and less busy city than London but I still remember vividly the one winter spent under the inversion lid - it was foggy, cold and miserable in the lowlands and sunny and warm on the mountains. We left the suffocating air of the city heading for the winter holidays in the mountains and I remember having difficulty breathing the too thin air, devoid of the toxic stuff I was breathing since I was born!
22nd-Oct-2014 01:34 am (UTC)
I wonder if there's some way to bring this story to Mofftiss's attention because, seriously, this NEEDS to happen in series 4!! X-) This is so freaking good that it needs to be in the actual show. X-) Even at the end of series 3, we're still left with the impression that John has no idea what went on in those 2 years, and I agree with you here that he seems to believe Sherlock was just running around solving crimes like he did back home, only without him. Nothing on the show ever indicates that John knows what happened... there's not even any indication that he even knows exactly why Sherlock jumped off St. Bart's roof, hence his comment, "Who would he bother protecting?"... so I would love to see some time in series 4 dedicated to John finding out the truth.

Edited at 2014-10-22 01:34 am (UTC)
22nd-Oct-2014 11:03 am (UTC)
If I had any faith at all in Mofftiss, I wouldn't have felt the need to write the story that I doubt they'll ever do. We can always hope that they'll cover some of the backstory, even if only by saying that Sherlock has told John some of the backstory, but I fear we may never get that reassurance.
22nd-Oct-2014 12:00 pm (UTC)
I loved this. I've often thought about the moment when John must have found out about the scarring on Sherlock's back and how painful it must have been to see it and think about Sherlock's pain. In S3 we see the "voices" in Sherlock's head and how they influence him - a fantastic device and one of my favourite developments of the story arc. It's absolutely right that Sherlock's conversations with imaginary John were borne out his time alone and away, so this fic is the perfect missing puzzle piece to show how that evolved.
Thank you so much!
22nd-Oct-2014 02:57 pm (UTC)
It helped me to develop the story when I realised that I could perhaps jiggle the comments that inner-John will make in the Jack the Ripper room so that it wasn't the first time he said such things.

I'm really happy that you enjoyed the story.
22nd-Oct-2014 12:33 pm (UTC)
Yes, the most brilliant kind of addiction!

What a wonderful tale - I'm so glad it saw the light of day; it was quite an invention to include the voices - the contrast between John's support and Moriarty's taunting was amazing.

And finally Sherlock will be able to share what went on with John; they can deal with other's nightmares, then!

"Talking of the upcoming DVD ... yes, I’m limbering up my fingers and have taken three days off work after its release date when I hope at the very least to do partial transcripts/summaries of the episode commentaries. If any of the other new material is also transcribable, I’ll have a go at them too."

Bless you!!! This addict salutes you!
22nd-Oct-2014 03:00 pm (UTC)
There may have been some dancing round the room (or at least bouncing on my chair) when I had the idea that Jim could pitch in on the conversation. I'm glad you liked the story!
7th-Nov-2014 08:48 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
I love your story! It covered so much that needed to be said, and wasn't said by Moftiss. Those fanboys seem to have a bit of a problem fleshing out the most intense emotional context of their own scripts. Sigh. Men!!

Much appreciated the part when Sherlock comes out to the kitchen and hears John talking to *himself*....and John's immediate apology and explanation when he realizes that Sherlock thought he was reviling *him*. That was moving; a great piece of characterization and revealment.

I hope it won't be a long time before you take on another angsty theme--I'm an addict. It's how I deal with pain, my own and others' :-) And this pair of starcrossed soulmates are perfect subjects for angsty exploration.

Please..........I, too, hope your addiction never ends! I love you!

7th-Nov-2014 11:53 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it - though I personally hope that I won't be feeling the need to write angsty fic too soon in the future. It's just too much effort to get that kind of fic out of my head!
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