BBC Sherlock: Hold On To What You Believe 1/2
Characters/Pairing: John/Sherlock epic friendship, brief appearances by Mycroft, Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson
Rating: PG 13 (to be safe)
Warnings: Angst/Reichenbach feels. But there's also fluff, a reunion, and the enjoyment of music. And a bit of supernatural goodness.
Summary: Ever since he was young there has always been one piece of music Sherlock has never been able to play. It is the melody he hears in his dreams; when he dreamed of London, warm blue eyes and a kind smile.
He never thought he would find the answer in a seemingly ordinary army doctor by the name of John Watson.
Authors Notes: This was written for calamitybreak for the Sherlockmas 2012 fic exchange. Reveals were posted today so I'm finally able to post this here! There were also a lot of wonderful stories you should be sure to check out! Thanks to calamitybreak for the wonderful prompts, and the mods at Sherlockmas for their hard work!
I hope you enjoy this!
In the story of London there has always been a Sherlock Holmes and a Doctor John Watson. Only sometimes, it doesn’t happen on its own. Sometimes London must intervene to make sure their story continues as it should.
Because London will always need her consulting detective and his loyal doctor; and she will always protect them.
~~~~ **** ~~~~
When he was young Sherlock Holmes was given a violin for his birthday. Not just any violin, a Stradivarius.
The violin sang under his touch. When he played it his fingers danced over the strings and his mind was able to wander away as he played through the melodies he’d memorized. For once his racing thoughts were silent and he could lose himself in the music.
He searched for all the music in the house, not a very difficult task when Mycroft’s old piano music was still easily accessible, and gathered it together in his room. The piano music was a relatively easy challenge to learn- he only had
to simplify a few of the chords and change some of the notes (because really, what had the composer been thinking?). The other music took him a little longer to learn, but once he learned the art of transposing he was able to conquer it much easier.
Once he learned all of the music the house had to offer and could play them from memory, Sherlock played as often as he could to escape from the restricting world. He’d lock himself in his room, pick a song that suited his mood, and play it as loudly as possible to drown out the noise.
But no matter how many songs he learned to play, there was one he was never able to play or find.
It was the melody he heard in his dreams; when he dreamed of London, warm blue eyes and a kind smile.
For years he searched for a way to replicate the song, but somehow what he played on his violin never matched or came close to what he heard in his dreams. It always sounded wrong.
He finally grew so frustrated with his inability to play the melody that he instead tried to find some way to drown it out or get rid of it completely. But while he could drown it out, it never went away. It always returned to haunt his dreams.
After he’d finally resigned himself to always hearing the melody but never being able to play it, Sherlock was introduced to
Doctor John Watson.
Their introduction wasn’t unusual; except that John didn’t seem offended by his deductions and when their eyes met the
first time he was almost certain he saw a golden light flash in John’s eyes just as the melody suddenly roared to life in his head.
All he could think was ‘oh,’ and hurried out of the room and away as quickly as was possible to think over this new development.
In a little more than twenty four hours later Sherlock discovered that John Watson was much more extraordinary than he had any right to. Not only was John apparently not offended by his deductions- had actually called them brilliant- but John had also killed a man for him. No human being in their right mind, a human being with their petty pride, jealousy, and lust, would kill someone for a person they’d only just met.
But John Watson would, and had. And he didn’t seem to feel much guilt over it.
After they went for Chinese and laughed over the ridiculous fortunes in the fortune cookies; once they were both settled in at Baker Street for the night and John had gone to bed, Sherlock searched through John’s belongings.
There were surprisingly few things for a man John’s age, even for one just recently returned to London. And what John had
brought with him to Baker Street was all boringly practical (a laptop, mobile, clothes, mugs). But no gun. There was no sign of the weapon John must have used to shoot the cabbie.
Despite the eventful first twenty-four hours of their acquaintance, Sherlock still gave John a likely chance of becoming fed up with him and leaving. John may be better at putting up with him than the rest of the population, but just like with everyone else Sherlock knew that eventually he would push John too far. It was inevitable.
Yet after the first seven days John was still at Baker Street, and joining him at the latest crime scene Lestrade couldn’t solve for himself.
That was enough of a surprise, but then John stayed longer than two weeks; then for three; and finally before Sherlock realized more than a month had passed and John was still with him at Baker Street.
John still slept in the room upstairs, still helped him solve crimes, and still laughed with him over things most people would find questionable. He still told Sherlock off for experiments, and putting body parts in the fridge next to the food- even while fighting off amusement.
One of the oddities about John was that he seemed to thoroughly enjoy whenever Sherlock played his violin (although not as much when he did so in the middle of the night). When John was home- and awake- while Sherlock played John would come into the living room and sit down in his chair, give Sherlock his full attention and listen.
Sherlock appreciated the audience, especially since John seemed content to sit and listen without saying a word. John didn’t try to stop him from playing, and he knew better than to try and distract Sherlock while he played.
Since John enjoyed listening to him so much Sherlock started giving impromptu concerts just for John, concerts where he
played songs he thought John would like. And when he couldn’t think of any more such songs, Sherlock asked John for requests- confident in John’s musical preferences.
Only John seemed confused by the question, shaking his head. “I-I don’t know any songs, Sherlock. I mean, I played clarinet at school but that was years ago.” He smiled ruefully. “And I don’t remember any of it.”
“Well, I’ll just have to experiment then,” Sherlock declared, resettling the violin on his shoulder. He thought for a moment then put the bow to the strings and started playing a new song.
While playing in Baker Street Sherlock’s favorite place to stand was at the window looking out onto the street and their view of London. He also usually played with his eyes closed, shutting out the outside world and distractions so he could focus on the music.
As he drew out the last note, his long fingers stretched across the fingerboard to reach all the notes in the final chord, Sherlock slowly opened his eyes. He inhaled slowly, lowering the violin to hold it loosely by the neck while the bow dangled
from a finger.
“Well John?” Sherlock asked, slowly turning around. “I hope I didn’t assault your ears-“
Sherlock snapped his mouth closed mid-word when he saw John. John who was lying out on the sofa, one hand draped across his chest while the other tapped fingers lazily on the fabric of the sofa cushion. His eyes were closed, his chest moving slowly up and down, and… although it defied scientific logic… a warm golden light shone under John’s skin.
It was amazing, and extraordinary, and… John.
John suddenly exhaled sharply, the way people did after waking from a deep, relaxing sleep. His eyes fluttered open just as his fingers stilled their tapping on the cushion and the glow faded away.
Sherlock blinked a few times, adjusting his eyes in the small possibility that he’d been seeing things. When he opened them again John had turned his head towards Sherlock to give him a puzzled, slightly concerned look.
“Sherlock?” John asked, shifting to raise himself up on one arm.
Sherlock glanced at the bare skin of John’s arm revealed by the sleeve of John’s jumper riding up. But it was a perfectly normal color for someone who had spent prolonged time under the desert sun, and had no hint at all of the golden light Sherlock thought he’d seen.
When he realized John was still looking worriedly at him Sherlock coughed. “Nothing. Did you, did you enjoy the song?”
The worry faded into a bright smile. “Yeah.” John shuffled into a sitting position. “I didn’t know you could play like that.”
Sherlock walked over to where his case was sitting on the chair. He undid the clasp and lifted up the lid. “I’ve been playing since I was a child, John. Of course the classics are part of my musical knowledge.”
John laughed. “Well, since you’ve clearly mastered the classics do you know anything from this era?”
Sherlock stopped in the midst of placing his violin in the padded bottom of the case. His hand tightened around the smooth wood of the neck. “I suppose I can try to play one of the drivel that is modern music,” Sherlock acquiesced, lifting out his violin. “The least insulting on the ears.”
He heard the rustling noise from behind him that was John settling back down onto the sofa. Sherlock raised his violin to his shoulder and mentally leafed through the few modern songs he knew. He chose one that would be acceptable and began to play.
After that quiet comfortable afternoon Sherlock began to play for John more frequently, especially during the boring lulls between cases. It helped that John obviously enjoyed listening, and Sherlock had always found playing his violin to be relaxing.
He rarely refused to play when John asked, even if he was in the middle of an important experiment. Sherlock expanded the number of songs he knew, searching out ones he expected John to like. He’d practice when John was being boring and insisted on spending the majority of the day at work; and then, once Sherlock had memorized it and could play the song to his complete satisfaction, he would make John a cup of tea, sit him down on the sofa, and play the song.
Of course Sherlock always played to the best of his ability, and perfectly; yet John always seemed impressed and full of other words for brilliant to describe his playing each time. John seemed to never tire of listening to him play. As soon as Sherlock finished and lowered the violin from his shoulder, John would beam at him and say how brilliant it had been. And John was always honest with his praise, meaning every word he said.
In return for John’s compliments, not that playing for someone who actually appreciated his skills wasn’t enough of a reward, Sherlock tried to keep his experiments contained and not do things that would annoy John. He wasn’t always successful despite his efforts, but John was- mostly-understanding. And even when John was so upset that he snatched up his jacket and slammed out of Baker Street, he still always came back. The time between John stepping outside and when he walked back through the door varied depending on how upset John was with him. But he still always returned.
After Sherlock had played most of the songs he knew, which was quite an impressive number, he found himself in a position where he need to expand his knowledge. John didn’t know, or didn’t suspect, but Sherlock enjoyed composing his own music; the rare times he had the opportunity and was able to get the melodies and notes in his head down onto
paper correctly without having to do much rewriting or crossing out.
He’d always had melodies, tunes, in his head, but they didn’t always plague him- unlike his constantly racing thoughts. And in quiet moments he enjoyed putting them down on paper to be played and kept safe in written form. No matter how many times he had to experiment and play the same several lines or notes over again until he finally got them right.
One week when John was busy working nearly every day, only coming home for food and to sleep, Sherlock started to work on a piece of his own. He hadn’t touched it in years, not since he’d grown so frustrated with his inability to write out the melody in his dreams that he’d fallen to doing anything to quiet it. But now he found himself going back to the piece, actually motivated work on and finish it. It took work of course, and led to many crumpled pieces of scribbled on composition paper being tossed across the living room to lie there rejected.
When he became overly frustrated his tuneless frantic scratchings made Mrs. Hudson thump disapprovingly on the floor. She was usually quite patient with him, especially with the destruction 221B suffered during his tenancy, but she said she didn’t understand how he could be so rough with his violin when he could play so beautifully most of the time.
The trouble was that he could play well, but often there seemed to be a frayed connection between the beautiful music in his head and his ability to give it a voice on his violin. In the process before he succeeded he tended to waste more sheet music than he used, which was unfortunate but not anything to worry over. He did always in the end get the music down onto the sheet music to his satisfaction, but it often took time.
Yet the one song he wanted to get out of his head so maybe it would stop plaguing him refused to let him. Even now, with John a constant presence in his life- John, who somehow made his mind work even better and more smoothly- that melody haunted his dreams nearly every night. It was the one thing he couldn’t succeed at.
But that wasn’t the only piece of music he had written. There were many other ones he had finished or was in the process of working on, ones he was more inclined to let John hear. He wouldn’t play them for John until they were absolutely perfect, with every note in the right place, because Sherlock knew John would enjoy them the most.
The first time he played one of his own original pieces he didn’t tell John what it was. He waited for John to wake and come downstairs, shuffling through to the kitchen. Once he could hear John getting down mugs while the kettle heated Sherlock gathered up his violin and bow and started to play.
He kept his eyes closed the entire time he was playing, not only to focus but also so he couldn’t see John’s face as he played. Usually he enjoyed watching John, especially categorizing all his different expressions. But this time he didn’t want to see. He knew John would probably like it, but there was always a very slight, small chance he wouldn’t.
Sherlock played through the song, enjoying once again how it always sounded better on his violin than in his head-once he finally managed to get it written down correctly. This was one of the better ones; he was actually satisfied with how it sounded. It was also the first one he’d wanted to share with John.
He finished the piece, playing the last several notes with extra flair before finishing with the bow poised just above the still vibrating strings. Sherlock then opened his eyes, pausing to let them refocus on the view outside the window. He let out a slow breath, settling his emotions and regaining his focus. When he was finally calm again and the music wasn’t so close Sherlock lowered his violin.
He heard the sofa behind him creak as John moved, sitting up again. He’d heard John set his mug down on the table although he’d probably been sipping from it while Sherlock played. John did love tea, to a point Sherlock didn’t
Sherlock waited for a brief moment then slowly turned around to face the sofa. John was sitting up as he’d expected, leaning against the arm of the sofa. But there was an odd, soft smile John was giving him. He’d seen most of John’s smiles, and liked almost all of them, but this one was different. It was part John’s dazzled, happy smile when John thought he’d done something amazing or he’d surprised John, but it was also.. something else that was still John.
Sherlock smiled a little in return and asked, “Did you enjoy it?”
John’s smile blossomed. “Of course I did, it was amazing.”
Sherlock let himself feel a little warmth of pride at that. But he calmly walked over to put his violin away. “I see I’ll have to buy you a thesaurus for the next gift-giving holiday. While I don’t mind your constant repetitions of ‘amazing,’ I think you would benefit from a little more variation in your vocabulary.”
“Give it up Sherlock,” John admonished. “I know you like it when I call you amazing. And that really was amazing.”
Sherlock stared at the wall in front of him, finding himself smiling. He knew John really meant the compliment, John really did find his playing amazing; unlike the people around him when he was young and just discovering his talent on the violin who had only encouraged him for their own selfish reasons. But John was honest with his praise, if not very varying in his word choice.
Sherlock set his violin down in the padded bottom and slid the bow into the holders. “Well, thank you John.”
“I haven’t heard you play that before,” John mused, and Sherlock turned in time to see John lean forward to set his mug down on the table on top of a coaster. “Who wrote it, it’s beautiful.”
“It was one of my earlier pieces. Nothing compared to my more recent compositions, but I thought you may enjoy it.”
He looked John in the eyes to see the man was now gaping at him. “You, you wrote that?”
“Yes,” Sherlock answered simply.
John gaped at him for a second more then laughed again. “Well I knew you were a genius and a madman, but I didn’t know you were a musical genius. You really wrote that?”
“Yes, John. I really wrote that,” Sherlock replied a little tensely since John was being a bit slow.
John appeared to not notice his impatience. “Do you have any more you’ve written yourself?” He asked expectantly, and that smile of John’s- proud, pleased, and something John- was back.
Sherlock returned it fully. “Yes, several.”
John leaned back on the sofa, as if settling in for a time. “Well,” he said, clasping his hands in his lap, “let’s hear them then.”
Sherlock considered this for a moment before he turned back to his case. “Only if you share your prowess on the clarinet.”
John laughed, and then shook his head. “You don’t want to hear me play. It’s been so many years I must be awful.”
“Practice makes perfect John,” Sherlock reminded him. “Perhaps you only need to practice.”
“Yes, and I’ll ruin your ears if I do,” John replied lightly. “No, I’ll leave the musical serenades to you, Sherlock. Now come on, you’re stalling. Play another one.”
Sherlock did as he was told, taking out his violin. He put more rosin on the bow then raised the violin to his shoulder. This time he played a more energetic, joyful piece for John and closed his eyes just before playing the first note.
As time passed Sherlock continued to play both the music of his favorite composers and his own compositions for John. And, as he came to the slow realization that John wasn’t going anywhere and he would be staying, Sherlock started writing even more music for the sole purpose of sharing it with John.
Before John he’d mostly only written to capture the music in his head and to fend off boredom. But now he was writing more
than he ever had before. He did still get bored sometimes, especially between cases, but now he was able to fill it with music.
John insisted on going to work when they didn’t have a case on, instead of staying home at Baker Street and finding a way to entertain themselves. When Sherlock tried to protest that John should stay John reminded him they needed money for bills and groceries and basically everything they needed to survive, and then rushed out of the room and down the stairs
because he was often late by then.
One day Sherlock decided to follow him. Of course first he had to get dressed because dressing gowns were really only for laying about in. But then he was able to catch up to John and follow him into the clinic.
And a quarter of an hour later- or actually a little less- he was forcefully escorted back outside.
Sarah had never liked him, in the brief time she and John were dating she’d said Sherlock monopolized John’s time- which he absolutely did not. And now, while she and John were no longer dating, they still worked together which Sarah somehow thought still gave her leave to not like him. And he may have been bothering the nurses, it was true, but he really did
need to see John.
No one was willing to listen to his logic, and so Sherlock found himself on the pavement outside the clinic. He stared stubbornly at the door, as if he could make it open again by sheer force of will. When it didn’t, Sherlock paced around in a circle a few times before stalking off towards Baker Street.
For the rest of the day he alternated between playing tuneless runs on his violin, lying boneless across the sofa with his head on the arm and feet curled against the top of the cushions, and making multiple cups of tea that he mostly ended up not drinking. All in preparation for being able to say something when John stormed up the stairs and into the room, slamming the door open. John stopped a few paces away from the sofa, still wearing his jacket and his shoes that were caked with mud from the street.
“I heard you visited the clinic today,” was John’s opening comment.
Sherlock didn’t respond; he just picked at a loose string on his pajama bottoms.
“You made quite the impression, I hear,” John continued levelly. “The nurses couldn’t stop chattering about it, and Sarah’s put up a warning for if you ever try and pop by again. So I’d think twice about coming back.”
Sherlock huffed and crossed his arms across his chest. “Why would I ever try and visit that dismal place again. I don’t understand how you can go back there day after day; it’s so dull.”
“It’s work, Sherlock,” John replied with a sigh. “It’s not supposed to exactly be the height of entertainment. We can’t all do what we want for a living.”
“Obviously. But I won’t come visit if I’m not welcome and you don’t want me there,” Sherlock told John without looking over at him. He wasn’t giving in to John or to Sarah’s ridiculous decree. He just didn’t want to make things difficult for John so he would be unhappy. “I know when I’m not welcome.”
John sighed loudly, tiredly, and Sherlock could hear him run a hand over his face. “It’s not that you’re not welcome, Sherlock. It’s that I don’t want you disturbing my work and the other people there. I’m glad you came to visit but you can’t just come when you’re bored and then expect me to entertain you.”
“I can entertain myself,” Sherlock snapped.
John chuckled but didn’t sound angry. “I know you try to entertain yourself, Sherlock. And I’m glad most of the time you manage to do it without hurting yourself or destroying anything. But just, not at my job all right?”
Sherlock didn’t move for a while, or respond. He stared at the cushion centimeters away from the end of his nose and pulled his gown further across his chest. He hadn’t meant to annoy John, although the same couldn’t be said for John’s coworkers. So he was sorry for any trouble he had caused John but couldn’t promise he wouldn’t ever bother him again at the clinic. Sometimes he just got too bored.
“I’ll try,” Sherlock promised reluctant but willing; for John, to keep him happy and to make him stay.
“That’s all I can ask,” John commented not unkindly, and Sherlock heard him adjust his stance. “Tea?” John asked completely naturally, and changing the conversation.
“Of course,” Sherlock said, turning over onto his back. Then he shifted so he could look over to where John had
disappeared into the kitchen. After a slightly hesitation he called, “Shall I play for you after?”
He could hear John’s smile as he replied, “Well I wouldn’t say no.”
Sherlock did play for John after they had tea, and then they watched several hours of horrible programming before going off to bed. And in the morning John got up on time and was able to eat before hurrying off to work, this time without Sherlock following him.
Sherlock instead remained at Baker Street and practiced another piece he had been working on, one he’d started just after that eventful first night with John. He also texted Lestrade at frequent variables just to make absolutely certain that the DI wasn’t leaving him out on any interesting cases. (According to Lestrade, and the increasingly annoyed texts he received, he wasn’t).
Sherlock managed to entertain himself for several days, which he could tell was a relief to John, until he finally arrived at a point where the music refused to cooperate and the floor was nearly covered with crumpled pieces of sheet music.
In a fit of frustration he leapt off the sofa, rushed into his room to get dressed, and then paused only to pick up his case before speeding outside.
After his short journey to John’s clinic Sherlock established himself on the pavement across the street from the building. (He had been banned from entering the clinic, but the street and pavement were public domain). He stood leaning against the brick of the shop behind him, regarding the front face of the clinic. When he’d been inside he hadn’t gotten far enough to know exactly where John’s office was; but based on what he knew of the layout of the building and his own deductions, John’s office was near the front and facing the street.
So if he were to stand here and play, there was a high likelihood that John would be able to hear him. And while it wasn’t exactly the same as spending time with John, it was more entertaining than staying at Baker Street and staring at the ceiling.
Sherlock set his case on the ground and opened it. He took out his violin, carefully tuned each string, and then tightened his bow. Once he was satisfied he stood again, raised his violin, and began to play.
A few minutes into playing Sherlock felt his mobile vibrate twice in his pocket, meaning he’d received a new text message. Sherlock ignored it and continued on.
His mobile vibrated three more times while he played, but Sherlock ignored it each time until he came to the last note
which he held onto for longer than necessary. Then he slid the violin under his arm, hooked the bow onto his finger, and finally pulled his mobile from his pocket.
Sherlock easily unlocked the device- he had practice doing it one-handed, and opened his text messages. The most recent four were all from while he’d been playing and all of them were from John.
Smiling a little, Sherlock read through the texts.
Sherlock is that you playing out there?
Really Sherlock, you know I like hearing you play but what did I say about following me to work?
I’d pack up if I were you; Sarah’s not looking too pleased.
The nurses and patients seem to like it though.
Then the last message, sent barely a minute after the one previous:
Obviously it doesn’t matter either way.
Sherlock smiled and typed out ‘obviously’ which he sent as a reply.
He looked up from his phone and across the street in time to see a curtain move in the window of one of the offices. A hand curled around the edge of the fabric and the curtain was pulled back to reveal John standing in the window.
When John caught sight of him John shook his head and laughed, then pulled the curtain closed again. Several seconds later Sherlock’s mobile vibrated again in his hand.
Go on then. Just don’t play anything too awful on the ears.
Sherlock locked his mobile and put it away in his pocket. He glanced at the once again closed curtain of John’s office then started playing a new piece.
He played for most of the rest of John’s workday, stopping every so often to check his mobile for texts or missed calls and to observe the people walking past him on the street. Some who went by while he played tossed coins into the open case by his feet. Sherlock glared at them- as if he was playing for them and their money- but didn’t stop playing.
When he saw the light in John’s office go out Sherlock quickly finished the song he was playing and then packed away his violin and bow. He slid the coins into the pocket of his coat and crossed the street, just in time to meet John coming out the front door.
John stopped just short of running into him and looked up, greeting him with a smile. “Did you have a good day serenading the office?”
Sherlock didn’t correct John that he’d really been playing for him. Instead he replied, “It was more entertaining than spending the day on my own.”
John turned in the direction of Baker Street as he commented, “Well I’m glad you found a way to entertain yourself.” He started to walk down the street but then stopped when Sherlock didn’t follow. “Sherlock?” John called, turning back.
“There’s an Indian restaurant nearby if you fancy a curry,” Sherlock offered, clutching his hand around the loose coins in
John smiled brightly at him. “Another restaurant owner who owes you a favor?” He teased. “All right, curry sounds wonderful.”
Playing outside John’s office as he worked and then afterwards taking him out for dinner with Sherlock’s earnings became a tradition for them. It was just as much of a tradition as Sherlock playing for John on days he didn’t have work and they didn’t have a case. They were traditions both of them enjoyed and gained their own pleasure from. It was different from the
excitement and adrenaline of cases but still another way to spend time together.
Before John Sherlock could never have imagined or even contemplated spending so much time with one person. He’d thought that having someone with him on cases would only be a distraction, and that it was tiresome working with and around another person. Sherlock had also disliked sharing his playing with another person because it was a private, personal exercise and his own way of relaxing. He didn’t want anyone else to hear. Sherlock also knew he would be an awful roommate because he hated sharing or listening to someone’s complaints or them pestering him about boring things.
Yet somehow he and John had found each other. (Sherlock still didn’t know just how Mike had thought to introduce them). John was the one person, probably in the entire world, who he could stand and didn’t mind spending time with. Somehow
John was ordinary looking on the outside but unique and special underneath.
Of course Sherlock came to realize this just in time to have John nearly taken away by a criminal genius with a passion for
bombs. He and John had several disagreements as the bomber sent him puzzles, but Sherlock had never thought John would be taken as the last pip. John was supposed to help him solve the puzzles not be one of them.
They thankfully made it out of the pool hall alive, if only because someone had distracted Moriarty, and Sherlock decided not to take advantage of John’s time with him. He didn’t want to put John in any more danger than he already was or was absolutely necessary. Yet he knew it was impossible to stop John from joining him on cases. The adrenaline and excitement cases offered, at least the higher numbered ones, were what he and John really enjoyed. John would be miserable if Sherlock kept him away.
So he had to find another way for them to experience the adrenaline high in a safer way.
The answer came to him in the middle of another quiet day-in with John as he stood near the window playing one of his favorite pieces. He stopped playing and hurried over to where he’d left his case on the chair.
“Sherlock?” John called, voice thick with drowsiness. “What’s going on?”
“Get up John!” Sherlock instructed, picking up his case. “Wait for five minutes then come after me.”
The sofa creaked as John moved. “Come after- Sherlock, are you going somewhere?” He asked, sounding slightly more awake.
“Yes,” Sherlock said pulling on his coat. “And you have to find me.”
John had turned to stare at him. “Find you? How am I supposed to find you?”
By then Sherlock was at the door and pulling it open. “I’ll text you with a clue. But you have to listen!” As he thundered down the stairs Sherlock called over his shoulder, “Remember, five minutes John!”
He didn’t hear if John replied since he came to bottom of the stairs and crossed to the door to hurry outside. He turned to the right, went to the intersection, and then started at a brisk pace away from Baker Street on a path that took several different directions.
Once the five minute start he’d given himself was up Sherlock stopped on the fairly busy road he was on. He took out his mobile, opened a new message, and sent John a clue as to what to listen and to look for. Then he took out his violin, raised it to his shoulder, and started to play.
He’d made John wait five minutes before he could follow, and knowing John the man would actually wait for the whole five minutes. The only question was how long it would take John to find him after his head start. By this time John knew him well, better than he allowed most people, so Sherlock expected it wouldn’t take John much time to locate him. Even considering the time it took John to figure out his clue.
And in the meantime, Sherlock played.
The few people who walked past- two teenage girls out on a shopping trip, a mother running to the shop before picking her children up from school- ignored him, barely giving him a second glance. Not that they were used to walking past someone playing on the street, they were too preoccupied with their own lives. He didn’t care; this was a game for him and John alone. And if this first trial was as exciting as Sherlock hoped, the game would continue.
The piece he had chosen was fairly long comparatively, with multiple sections open for repetition which made it
theoretically possible to play the song for as long as one wanted. Sherlock however didn’t always prefer to follow the instructions given to him, and he also liked to give the pieces he played his own touch of flair. So he repeated some sections and only played others once, but he did keep true to the notes and melody of the song. The composer was owed
that at least. This wasn’t one of his absolute favorites but it was one Sherlock thought John would easily recognize.
He stood on the pavement playing, eyes closed and shutting out the sounds of the city around him- what he could. Then finally he heard footsteps that were very distinctive and familiar to him coming around the corner. Sherlock smiled a little but kept his eyes closed, angling his body just slightly in the other direction.
The footsteps came slowly down the pavement towards him, the owner was in no hurry, and then stopped several paces away. Sherlock continued playing, playing through the rest of the song without repeating any sections this time. He finished off the piece with the fast run of notes that made his fingers dance over the strings as he pressed down briefly with the pads of his fingers and his arm moved up and down in time to the bowing. This was the most difficult part of the piece but he enjoyed the challenge.
He ended with the quick chord over three of the strings and then opened his eyes to look at John.
John was, as usual, smiling at him, eyes bright with adoration. But there was an edge to John’s smile, and Sherlock was almost sure he saw… sorrow? What did John have to be sad for?
He lowered his violin and started to ask John if he was all right- maybe this had been a bad idea after all- but then John blinked quickly and his smile was suddenly all joyful again.
“That was brilliant,” John complimented. “Though you could have left me an easier clue; I don’t have the
encyclopedic knowledge of music you do.”
Sherlock smiled and huffed, “You did figure it out. So you do have some knowledge of music.”
John gave an honest shrug. “Only a little.” Then he shifted and looked at Sherlock expectantly. “So, what do I get for solving your clue and finding you?”
Sherlock frowned; he hadn’t thought that far. “You got to hear me play,” he replied, trying to make it sound as if this was
the obvious reward.
“Nice try, Sherlock,” John admonished. “Really, what do I get?”
Sherlock let time pass- he was not stalling- by leaning down and putting away his violin. When he finally straightened again Sherlock looked sideways at John and asked, “Hungry?”
John replied, sounding a little skeptical, “Will you eat?”
He had last eaten… yesterday? So he wasn’t really very hungry at all, but Sherlock supposed it would be worth it for John to not pester him about eating the rest of the day. “I suppose.”
John’s smile made it obvious he had given the correct answer. “Sure then. Angelos?”
“If you want,” Sherlock said, picking up his case and curling his hand around the handle. Together the two of them set off back towards Baker Street, Sherlock’s case swinging slightly in the small space between them.
Since the first trial had been so successful Sherlock was eager to try the experiment again with a new song and location. He was eager to find out if John would have just as much luck a second time even if Sherlock made the song and location just the slightest more difficult.
But the next morning Lestrade called he and John in on a case so the second trial had to be postponed. For the next three days they inspected the store where the jewels had been taken from, went over every second of the CCTV trained on or near the building, and shared ideas for how someone could have snuck off with the jewels so quickly and easily without appearing on cameras or anyone seeing.
When they were finally to the point where each of their theories was more ridiculous than the last and he could tell John was forcing himself not to nod off, Sherlock announced there was no more to be done that night. John took a little convincing but eventually he shuffled off to bed.
Playing the violin had always been a successful way to put his thoughts in order and think over a case. So Sherlock picked up his violin and started a slower, quiet piece that would give him an opportunity to think but wouldn’t wake John.
It took him several hours of playing but finally, finally Sherlock found his breakthrough. He quickly woke up John, got him dressed, then hurried off to find Lestrade and catch their guilty man. After that they wrapped up the case rather effortlessly once Lestrade finally answered his mobile and met them at the jewelry store. He and John had a brief foot chase to catch the suspect- why did they always run? - before John finally tackled the man.
Once the suspect had been driven off in handcuffs Sherlock and John went out for their customary post-case meal. They arrived back at Baker Street rather late, late enough they had to be quiet to not wake up Mrs. Hudson. Instead of giving John a private concert they went their separate ways to their bedrooms and fell asleep.
The next morning Sherlock shuffled out into the living room to find that for once John wasn’t up before him. Sherlock made his own tea- it wasn’t as good as John’s- and settled on the sofa. An half hour later he’d finished his tea and John still wasn’t awake.
Spending the entire day in Baker Street trying to entertain himself didn’t sound appealing at all, even with John home. As he tried to think of another method of entertainment Sherlock remembered the game he’d played with John several days ago and had meant to repeat.
Sherlock scrambled up from the sofa and picked up his mobile from the table. He sent John a short text, pulled on his coat, went over to grab his case, and went down the stairs and out the door. This time he turned the other way away from Baker Street and went a further distance, making a maze of streets, alleys, and shortcuts he knew.
He stopped at a favorable spot, not quite busy but still with some foot traffic, and made himself comfortable. Sherlock took out and tuned his violin, prepped his bow, then started to play.
Sherlock wasn’t certain how long it would take John to find him since he didn’t know if John had gotten his message right away or if he had continued sleeping. Normally John was a light enough sleeper that his mobile buzzing would wake him right away, but they had just come off a case with nights of little sleep which meant John was still catching up.
Not that it mattered, they weren’t in any hurry. This was merely a game to entertain the both of them and to pass the time. So he settled in, starting with a piece he had learned long ago but was still one of his favorites. Once he was finished taking his time playing that song Sherlock moved onto one of his own.
He ignored his mobile when it buzzed in his pocket, expecting it to be John telling him he was on his way. When he was nearing the end of the piece Sherlock heard John’s distinctive footsteps on the pavement. The footsteps came closer, and Sherlock could be hearing things but it sounded in time to the music. He still waited to look up at John until he played the last note and opened his eyes.
And again, in the brief moment before John realized Sherlock was looking back at him, John’s eyes were bright with admiration but his smile was tinged with sadness. And Sherlock still didn’t know why John was looking at him that way.
Then John’s eyes met his and the smile grew pleased. “That was a nice way to start the morning,” John commented, sticking his hands in his pockets.
Sherlock smiled. “I try my best,” he replied, then added cautiously, “I could continue if you-“
“Of course,” John said quickly and he knelt down to sit next to Sherlock. “As long as you want.”
To hide the warmth growing in his chest Sherlock settled his violin back on his shoulder and resumed playing.
He and John continued their game in the next several weeks since they both found it enjoyable. To Sherlock’s surprise, but also delight, John was somehow able to find him every time no matter how difficult or far away a place Sherlock went to play. Even when Sherlock played his own songs, ones John was possibly not familiar with, John still managed to find him.
Sherlock tried to take as much delight in these times with John as he could, and tried to ignore the way John’s sad smiles and sideways glances unsettled him. He didn’t want John to look that way so he did what he could to make John smile in happiness and laugh.
Of course it was then that Moriarty made his return, creating chaos within the police and government with his threat to national security. And coming after Sherlock to destroy his public figure and somehow make everyone in the country believe he was a fake and had created all the crimes he’d worked on just to be able to solve them.
Battling with Moriarty was no longer intellectually challenging or exciting. It was now just a fight to stay alive and try to find any way to destroy Moriarty’s growing façade. He didn’t want to play the game anymore and he tried his best to ignore the increasingly worried looks John kept giving him.
Then Moriarty threatened the three people close to him and Sherlock was left no other option than to jump to save their lives. He didn’t miss the notion that before he’d met John, or years ago, he would likely not even have to make the choice. But Moriarty had seen what Sherlock had been trying to ignore and had taken advantage to lure him into a fatal trap.
So Sherlock had taken the one option left to him and jumped. On his last call with John, the last chance he had to talk to his friend, he didn’t have the chance to say what he wanted. He could only try to convince John all the lies about him were true and he really was a fake. It was obvious John didn’t believe him and was trying very hard to tell him something, but Sherlock didn’t have the time to listen because he needed to make John believe.
As he took the step up onto the ledge that persistent melody haunting him suddenly roared into life in his head to become so deafening he could barely hear anything else. He gasped from the pain and blinked fiercely until he could see again.
The first thing he saw was John’s face twisted in pain and heard John’s voice faintly calling his name over and over again sounding distressed. Sherlock was barely able to gasp out that he was sorry, and for John to forgive him, even if it wasn’t possible John could hear him. He still hoped John could.
Then he took a step forward off the ledge and into the air, closing his eyes.
As he fell, the wind whistling past him with the ground getting closer and closer, a bright golden light flared behind his eyes and he heard a female voice whisper, “Take care.”
Then everything went black.
~~~~~ * ~~~~~~part two