|Fill: Trust Issues
||[Dec. 29th, 2013|12:06 am]
Title: Trust Issues|
Prompt: Sherlock deliberately tests John to see just how far he can go before John's trust in him shatters.
Original Post: http://sherlockbbc-fic.livejournal.com/21362.html?thread=129110130
Sherlock had stopped trusting people at a rather young age. Not entirely, but it took so long for him to really believe people that they often left in a huff, thereby proving (he felt) that he’d been correct to hold himself apart.
He wasn’t sure he trusted Mycroft. He was the government, yes, but he was first and foremost Sherlock’s brother. That meant stupid, nosy inquisitions and sporadic interventions. But Mycroft had made it plain he’d never leave.
Mrs. Hudson was probably a saint for putting up with him. She couldn’t really leave, since she owned the building, but she’d never once threatened to throw Sherlock out. Raise the rent, call Lestrade, confiscate his skull – regularly. But she didn’t leave, either.
Lestrade had been an interesting case in that Sherlock never really consented to trusting him, but he did. Lestrade was a cop, a good and loyal one, but he fought having to arrest Sherlock for anything - even when Sherlock probably deserved it. And he gave Sherlock cases even though it could cost Lestrade so much more than his job. And he’d never leave.
Now there was John. Hard-working, stubborn, deceptive in his simplicity, jovial, loyal. Sherlock had never met anyone exactly like John before, but there’d been a few who were close. And they’d gone.
So Sherlock had made the decision to test his flatmate. His friend.
The Experiment: how far did he have to push John to lose him.
Primary Flaw: this presupposed that John would leave.
He knew, from many lectures, that people did not appreciate having their stuff searched. They especially disliked being told about it, since it meant their stuff was not untouchable in its supposedly safe location.
John had a fairly predictable schedule, even when he was helping Sherlock with a case. Sherlock waited until the doctor had gone to the clinic before running up to John’s room. There wasn’t a real curiosity in Sherlock’s searching. He just needed something that he couldn’t (loathe as he was to admit it) deduce from John himself.
Shuffling through the desk draw that held John’s gun and a few other very personal items, he unearthed a photo, creased with years. It showed a much younger John and a girl that had to be Harry. There was no notation anywhere, and the picture itself had been taken in a field, rather nondescript, but early summer based on the plants.
Sherlock returned the photo to its hiding place and went back downstairs. He’d call Harry for the details. If that didn’t invade John’s personal space then the man didn’t have any.
John had been shooting him odd glances since the meal started. This was hardly surprising – Sherlock usually didn’t eat with John so much as he was present while John ate. But John was a decent cook and Sherlock wasn’t trying for subtle bonding between flatmates tonight.
“Not that I don’t appreciate your company, but…you don’t like eggplant.”
“No, I don’t.”
John shrugged via his utensils. “So why are you eating it?”
“I wanted to talk about a picture in you room.”
“The one in your gun drawer.”
“I told you to leave my gun alone, Sherlock.”
The detective frowned. “I wasn’t using your gun. I went through your stuff.”
“That would be how you found the picture, yes.” John took another bite. Sherlock laid his fork down.
“I called Harry about it. The photo.”
“How’d she take that?”
John grinned. “She would have been at work. She hates being interrupted more than you do, I think.”
Sherlock was glaring now. “John, I went through you things.”
“And called your sister.”
“I got that.”
“Aren’t you upset?”
John shrugged, this time with his shoulders. “I assumed you did that ages ago.” Another bite. “Why the questions this evening?”
Sherlock blinked. “Nothing. Just…trying to make small talk.”
“Well stop,” John chided gently. “I’ll worry you’re being blackmailed again.”
John was very particular about his tea. He’d made it clear more than once that Sherlock was to leave that part of the kitchen alone at all times, since he wasn’t usually awake enough in the morning to double check every container in the kitchen.
So, attempt two then.
Sherlock had started small, swapping out part of the loose leaf tea for various spices. Oregano, rosemary, thyme, nutmeg, cinnamon in the Earl Grey – he wasn’t sure how much attention John actually paid to what went in his cup at any time of day. So far the reactions had been minor, if any. And John had yet to confront him about it, choosing to blame a bad batch instead of his companion.
Next had come more unfortunate spices – mustard, turmeric, pepper of different kinds. John, after questioning Sherlock about various experiments the detective had been conducting, simply threw all the tea in the flat out. “Something must have gotten in the cupboard,” he’d explained irritably.
As it turned out, it wasn’t anything intentional that ticked John off. Sherlock had gotten distracted by a text from Lestrade and raced out of the house, leaving an arsenic mixture on the counter. John, tired from surgery, mistook it for sugar.
Sherlock returned to find the doctor retching violently, face very pale, eyes glaring.
“Sherlock.” The detective winced at the croak. “What did you leave on the counter this morning?”
“I was conducting an experiment using powdered bleach, salt, and arsenic.”
“None of which should be ingested via hot tea.”
Sherlock stepped forward as John retched again, resting his face on the side of the toilet. “I’m…sorry. I’ll go clean it up.”
“Label things next time.” John sighed. “You don’t want to come home to find me dead by accident.”
Sherlock winced again. He didn’t want to come home to John dead at all. He paused, trying to make his voice sound disinterested. “I suppose you should be more careful. You wouldn’t want that either.”
John waved him away. “I doubt you’ll let it happen again.”
Sherlock turned towards the kitchen. “Maybe it was intentional.” He turned back at the sound of John’s laugh.
“I’m not that annoying Sherlock. And who else would write about you so scientifically?”
The detective headed for the kitchen, trying to ignore the renewed vomiting. No more messing with John’s tea.
It hadn’t worked anyways.
Cars flew by, for once not stopping to gawk at the scene of London’s most recent crime. The amount of noise would have muffled the gunshot, as well as deafening any witnesses. Sight lines were blocked by traffic from one side of the street and the other would have steep angles, if anyone saw anything at all. The only reason the homeless man hadn’t been shot too was due to being pass-out drunk. Anderson suggested the man hand blended in with the other with other trash in the alley, but Anderson was an idiot. A prejudiced one, at that.
“Well Sherlock, if that’s everything?”
Lestrade was looking expectant. This case should was an easy one, truth be told. The moron had returned to the scene of the crime. Like he’d learned how to be a killer out of a textbook or a cliché American film. Sherlock made a mental note to complain about this later.
“I’m sure even Anderson knows the answer to that one, Inspector.” With a smirk, Sherlock turned back towards the traffic. It was whizzing by, the lights at either end of the street both bright green. John was discussing something with Sergeant Donovan on the curb. Now or never.
Striding confidently forward, Sherlock placed a hand on John’s shoulder and shoved.
Car horns split the air as John stumbled backwards into the traffic. Sherlock was suddenly, violently thankful that John had been a soldier. A civilian could not have reacted that quickly.
John waved apologetically at the driver as he got up. Limping back to the curb, he looked ready to get between Donovan and the driver, who’d popped out of the car already yelling. Somehow, Lestrade was there first, working the sort of diplomatic magic that Sherlock would never admit he respected.
Sherlock turned at a tug on his coat.
“Think we could head home? I’ll need ice for my leg.” John sported a pained smile.
“We should get you to hospital,” Sherlock muttered. John shook his head.
“Then there’ll be paperwork on how I got injured. Ice and pain killers – that’s all I’d get anyways.”
“And an x-ray.”
“Sherlock.” Doctors as patients. Right.
“What is wrong with you, freak?” Donovan was suddenly in his face, shouting as though she’d been the one tossed into traffic.
“Sergeant, it’s OK – ”
“It is not OK, doctor. He pushed you!”
“Don’t be stupid, why would Sherlock push me into traffic?” John looked so certain of himself it almost hurt. “He tripped.”
“No, he didn’t.”
“Donovan, let it go.” Lestrade was watching him carefully. They’d known each other long enough for the Inspector to undoubtedly have seen what really happened. But Lestrade also knew John, and specifically what he meant to Sherlock. “I’ll deal with him.”
Still looking outraged, Donovan stormed off, muttering more furiously than usual. Another officer helped John over to an upturned crate to sit down, dutifully ignoring John’s claims of “I’m fine, really”.
“Sherlock.” Sherlock gave Lestrade his best disinterested look. “If you’re trying to convince John you don’t care about him, you should try not to turn white as a sheet when he’s in danger.”
“Just be careful.”
The Inspector moved to restore order to the crime scene and hail them a cab. Sherlock watched him go, musing over the things Lestrade did notice. Wondering if John had noticed them, too.
Again a night crime scene, this one in a college quad and not technically the scene of a crime. Not yet. A scared looking man had John by the neck, shouting and waving John's gun around as he backed the two of them up. John was looking concerned and, proof that he'd spent too much time around Sherlock, distinctly not amused.
Behind him Sherlock could here Lestrade issuing quiet orders, running through his options that would get John out of there safely. Though he'd never say it in police hearing Lestrade was damn good at his job. If a detective could save John, Sherlock would trust Lestrade. Not that Sherlock would let anyone else save John unless he had to.
"Sherlock, I need you to give me that gun."
In the initial scuffle the suspect had been relieved of his own gun, prompting him to steal John's upon discovery. At least he didn't have both. Not that the idiot could wield both - injury to his off arm made aim impossible, gripping John difficult at best. But John, ever patient and concerned for others, was playing weak to keep the suspect from opening fire on the small crowd that had him cornered.
"I've got this."
It had been several weeks since the traffic incident and Sherlock was starting to think he was losing his nerve. But he wasn't in the habit of abandoning experiments. Sherlock had been a good aim before John and the doctor had taken him to the shooting range a few times to test said aim himself. At the time Sherlock had thought it amusing (Mycroft termed it "quaint") but he’d cooperated all the same. Now it meant that John knew, first hand, what Sherlock was capable of. Knew that Sherlock did not miss such obvious targets. The suspect hadn't even hidden behind John. It would be so simple to hit him.
Sherlock aimed, being anything but subtle. John's eyes widened.
Lestrade's voice rang out almost as the shot did. The suspect shouted and released John, bolting for one of the exits and straight into Donovan's icy anger. John had collapsed where he was, hand grabbing for the red spreading across the stripped jumper.
"Sherlock!" Lestrade grabbed the gun from the consulting detective's limp grasp. His eyes were hard. "Call an ambulance. Now!"
John had been home for nearly a week. The bullet hadn't hit anything major - that was the point - but John had still had to spend several days in hospital under "surveillance". Sherlock assumed this meant Mycroft was mad at him and meant to keep John out of harm's way until Sherlock got the message. Interfering twit. Lestrade had let him have it with both barrels and a reload anyways. Sherlock had never been more certain of everyone's opinions in his life. Not that he needed them - his experiment was almost over.
Cautiously sipping tea, since he no longer believed the cupboard could be entirely trusted, John had been watching Sherlock tinker in the kitchen for most of the morning. Sherlock had wondered before if John was aware of this habit. It seemed to be strongest when John was tired or sick. Almost as though there were something reassuring in watching his flatmate dissect fingers and set small, us identified compounds on fire.
Sherlock finished the mixture he'd been working with, securing a lid on the container and double-checking that he'd labelled it. Then he sat next to John.
"John." The doctor looked up. Pupils normal, hands steady, attention focused. "I need to tell you something."
"Unless it's an announcement that you're dating Anderson, you don't need to look so worried."
"No, it's - what? Never mind. No I'm not dating Anderson. John, we've discussed -" Sherlock stopped at John's grin. The man could be just awful somedays. "Why would you say such a thing? Anderson."
"So what's wrong then?"
"I..." This was harder then he'd thought it'd be. "I've been...testing you."
"Yes. Specifically your trust in me."
"I see." Clearly he didn't. Eyebrows neutral, lips relaxed, still drinking the tea.
"I went through your stuff and called your sister, without permission."
"Took your life into your hands with that one." John laughed. "That was step one, was it? Cause I told you I already assumed you go through my stuff, and it would have been far more surprising if you said you didn't."
"I was actually messing with your tea. I tried a variety of spices, trying to determine when you'd notice."
"I asked you not to do that." John eyed his tea again. "You owe me a good six months worth."
"I know." Sherlock exhaled, fighting back nerves he refused to admit having. "The day you fell into traffic. At the crime scene with -"
"I remember that day, Sherlock."
"Yes well," deep breath, "I didn't trip. Donovan was right."
John was quiet for a moment. Then he laughed softly. "Must be serious. You'd never admit Donovan was right about anything." He looked up at Sherlock. "I told her it was an accident. I told everyone, over and over, for weeks."
"I could have died."
Sherlock swallowed. "I didn't think that one through. It was a terrible option. But I needed to know." When John nodded, Sherlock swallowed again. "But uh...the last one. Two weeks ago. I did think that one through."
"When you shot me."
Sherlock nodded. "I expected you to move out by now, honestly."
"I had been wondering why." Angry, upset, disappointed - typical reactions. Why on Earth, then, did John only look thoughtful. "I mean, it felt like it was an easy shot, from how he'd grabbed me. And you weren't subtle about aiming for my chest."
"John...I shot you. Intentionally. When I didn't have to."
"And?" Sherlock knew he was staring. "And what?"
"Do you trust me yet?"
"Do I...trust you."
With a sigh John leant forward. "Sherlock, actions aside, simply confessing that you were testing my trust in you should have been enough to drive me away. Now you've poisoned, shot, shoved, and generally endangered me and I. Am. Still. Here. So it can't be my trust you're worried about. These are not the actions of a man who wants to know whom I trust. They are the actions of a man who wants to know whom HE trusts." John's smile was soft, undemanding. "So. Do you know?"
His mouth was open, he was sure of it. For all his genius, John was smarter than him some days. How did no one else see it?
"You don't have to tell me. But you do need to know." John's stood, moving to the sink to wash out his mug, presumably before heading back to the couch. As he passed towards the living room Sherlock's hand shoot out, grabbing John's wrist.
"I trust you. Completely." It was rare when Sherlock had to look up at anyone. "And that scares me."
Sherlock closed his eyes, trying to hide from the feelings inside. He felt John's hand on his head, brushing back curls, then what felt like a kiss at his temple.
"Good. It scares me, too."
The hand moved to pat his shoulder before John continued into the living room, Telly snapping to life mid-car chase. Sherlock sat still, listening to John's breathing change as the plot progressed, only moving when his phone chirped.
"Keep him. -MH"