Sherlock BBC Prompting Meme

"we get all sorts around here."


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Prompting Part XXXIII
Giggles at the Palace
sherlockbbc_fic

  • Anon posting is not required, but most definitely allowed. If you think you recognise an anon, keep it to yourself and don’t out them. IP tracking is off, and will remain that way.

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Please consider warning for prompts that may trigger people (and also for fills, because some people read in flat view) and phrasing prompts in a manner that strives to be respectful.

Things which you might want to consider warning for include: Rape/Non-Con, Death, Suicidal Thoughts, Self-Harm, Underage Relationships, among others.

That being said, this is a kink meme. As such, there will be prompts that could offend you in a number of different ways. Not every prompt will have a trigger warning, and not every prompt will rub you the right way. If you have an issue with a specific prompt, feel free to bring it up in a discussion that takes place off the meme. However, flaming will not be tolerated regardless of origin.

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PROMPT FREEZES
Depending on the rate of activity, there may or may not be a prompt freeze when a part reaches 2000 and 4500 comments. However, there will be one when it reaches 7000. After the 7000 comments freeze, a new part will be posted, and all prompting should happen on the new part.

CONTACTING MODS
Your mods for this meme are ellie_hell, charname, anonspock and anonbach. If you have any questions, concerns, comments about anything at all on the meme feel free to send a PM or contact us via the Page-A-Mod post.

MEME LINKS
Pinboard Archive - Delicious Archive - Guide to the Archive
Filled Prompts Posts: Parts 1-23 - Parts 24+ - Spoiler Free
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Links to previous prompting parts

OTHER LINKS AND AFFILIATES
sherlock_rant: A place to rant about or discuss anything with few to no restrictions.
sherlock_rpf: This is a kinkmeme for RPF about the show.
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sherlockbbc: A community dedicated to the BBC adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.
Useful resources for Sherlock and LiveJournal.
Sherlock screencaps.

  • 1

Older!Sherlock/John

(Anonymous)
John is the nerdy, quiet, bullied gay boy at his school. He is always alone. Teacher/Teacher's assistant Sherlock/Jim find him adooooooooooooooooooooooooooooorible. He wants some of that innocent, lovely boy.

Any warnings are okay.

John can be bullied at home, too.

Someone to Notice 1/?

(Anonymous)
"And the students will turn their essays in here," Mr. Miller finished, pointing to the box for completed work. "You can go through the lot of them first, and we'll go over your notes together before deciding on their marks."

"Good," Jim noted absently, his eyes on the lone student in the room who had remained when the others in the last class had rushed off for lunch. The boy had been there the past few days as well; this was just the first time Jim had a chance to remain in the room instead of rushing off for yet another orientation meeting with the other teaching assistants.

Mr. Miller sighed. "Don't mind John; I told him long ago he's welcome to study in here when the library is closed for lunch and the other students are gone."

"John Watson, is it?" Jim made a show of peering down at his list of students.

"That's the one. Very kind boy, very sweet, and always does his work on time. He's got a great deal of potential, really; I'm encouraging him to think about science or medicine."

"Studious sort, is he?" Jim regarded the boy sitting at the back of the classroom paging through a large textbook. When the boy looked up, Jim smiled slowly. John flinched, seemingly taken aback, and looked down at his volume once more. Jim felt his smile widen. "Strange he doesn't want to eat with his mates, though."

Miller shrugged. "Troubles at home, you know. You'll see how much it can affect their social lives as you continue on with your training. In his case, his family moved here mid-year, and he hasn't made many friends."

"Too shy, I suppose?"

The other man hesitated. "That, yes." His gaze darted to John. "There are...other issues as well. Teenagers can be so cruel when they sense the slightest difference."

Jim nodded, making sure to fill his gaze full of sympathy as he affected a moue of regret.

"Right, well. I'm off to stop by the headmaster's office. Remember the period after lunch is free as well, so if you'd like to catch up on an errand or get your own work done, I don't mind so long as you've returned for sixth-form Literature."

Nodding eagerly, Jim raised a hand as the teacher left.

He glanced back at the boy seated at the rear of the room. When he again caught John's eye, he smiled and sauntered over, his valise in hand.

"Mr. Miller said it's all right," John began, blinking behind his glasses as he saw Jim approach.

"Oh, yes, that's all sorted, don't you worry. I just wondered if you might help me with a problem I have."

"Oh?" John swallowed nervously, eyes darting to the door that Mr. Miller had closed behind him.

Jim slipped into the desk attached to John's, opening his valise. "I actually packed two sandwiches today; don't know what I was thinking, except that I probably should have had my tea before making them! I have meetings after classes end, and I don't want the other to spoil. Would you?" He held out one of the wrapped sandwiches to John, smiling mildly.

"Yeah. Okay." John reached out, taking the offering with a slight flush in his cheeks.

"Thanks, you're a pal," Jim sing-songed, opening his lunch and grinning at John when he hesitantly investigated his own.

Re: Someone to Notice 1/?

(Anonymous)
Not OP, but I'm really loving this and can't wait to see where it goes!

Re: Someone to Notice 1/? (Anonymous) Expand

Re: Someone to Notice 2a/?

(Anonymous)
Only a week later -- three more shared lunches, three more sessions of John looking wary but increasingly pleased with the loveliest little hint of vulnerability whenever Jim offered him half of whatever he's brought to eat, claiming it was as easy to make for two as it was one -- Jim turned a corner a few blocks from the school and heard the dull thud of a fist connecting with someone's gut.

Hidden behind the skip at the start of the alley, he shifted his valise on its strap to rest behind his back and edged closer to view the scene undetected.

"Fucking ponce," one of four boys grunted as he pulled his arm back to land another blow to John Watson's torso. One of his mates laughed, harsh and high, as the third got John in a headlock, keeping him in place.

If Jim blinked, he could see himself in the scene -- the bullied boy, held back by cowards, beaten by his inferiors, brimming with bile and hate and seized with a need for revenge. Though small as a lad and quick on his feet, he'd never had the strength or knowledge then to fight back in the normal way. So instead he'd plotted and planned his way to settling scores -- a beloved dog found with its throat slashed at the foot of one boy's bed, another's father caught in a petty business scheme and bound for prison.

They had all gotten the message eventually.

Though hateful and tedious, he'd always reflected those horrifying moments of fear, being cornered and crushed, had been good for him in the end. They'd set Jim on the path to the man he'd become.

So as he watched John double over, he couldn't help but feel a frisson of anticipation, a spark of keenness to find exactly how John Watson reacted under such pressure.

He still slipped his mobile out of his pocket and sent the text, of course.

"Trying to go down on your fucking knees already?" the fourth boy taunted, fingers threading in John's fine light brown hair and yanking hard, pulling him back upright. "Everyone knows how much you love to suck cock. But too bad for you we're not ready for that part of the entertainment, eh?"

"Fuck you," John spat back, blood mixing with the saliva from his mouth to spray the face of the boy menacing him.

"Oh, good," Jim murmured even as John's aggressor swore and retaliated with a backhand. His phone, back in his pocket, vibrated to let him know his request had been viewed and would soon be answered (no point in looking at the screen; everyone knew he didn't tolerate excuses or regrets).

Taking a breath, Jim slouched forward, ready to call off the dogs as the teacher's assistant they knew him as. Except he hadn't counted on John Watson, smaller than all the boys surrounding and jeering at him, obviously outnumbered as he was, actually fighting back.

Re: Someone to Notice 2b/?

(Anonymous)
A sickening crack sounded as John flung his head back hard, connecting with the skull of the boy behind him who howled in pain and let John loose of his chokehold. The indignant cries of the other boys went unheeded; John drew his shirtsleeve across his nose and mouth even as he stomped hard on the right foot of the one who had smacked him.

He would lose eventually, Jim already knew, with that number of opponents. But now Jim also understood, with a surge of giddy excitement, how very much John would make his attackers regret taking on their lonely classmate even if the fight could never end in his favor.

There was a familiar crunch of footsteps against gravel, slowing and pausing on the pavement behind Jim; he didn't turn to acknowledge the new arrival, just forged ahead into the alley calling out, "All right, all right, stop that at once."

They recognized him at once, all of them scowling and taking several steps back, leaving John the center of their panting, bruised ring.

"Mr. Moriarty," one began, sullen. "We were only standing here, and all of a sudden, Watson comes up, acting mental --"

John spun on his feet, lurching forward before the other boy could finish the lie.

"I said, that's enough," Jim said sharply. John stilled, his head dipping slightly, hands curling and uncurling into fists at his sides.

"Dixon, Anderson, Smith, Platt -- all of you, report to Mr. Miller's classroom after school tomorrow for detention." He waved away the four groans and jerked a thumb over his shoulder as he nodded at John. "Watson, come with me immediately."

One of the boys let out an ugly hiss as they left.

"I wasn't," John stammered, the choke of a sob breaking his voice as the two of them rounded the corner, leaving his four assailants behind in the alley.

"Shh, I know," Jim said soothingly, gesturing to the path that would take them back to the school. Snuffling, John hung his head, seeming to come apart after the adrenaline-high of his fight. His posture let Jim nod at the man nearby taking a drag of a cigarette and leaning back with one foot braced against the brick wall.

Make it count, Jim mouthed as John hurriedly wiped at his eyes and huddled closer to him. Though he gave no visible sign of understanding, Sebastian flicked his cigarette away before turning and making his way into the alley.

"It's all right, you're all right now," Jim crooned when John stumbled and he got to clasp an arm around his shoulders in a gentle hold, supporting him as they walked toward the school buildings together. Distantly, behind them, there was a surprised shout, and then yells of pain mixed with panic. "I'll fix you right up, okay?"

Fill: Someone to Notice 3a/?

(Anonymous)
"Feel free to leave anytime you like, Mr. Moriarty," the nurse said in a brusque voice as she dabbed at the bruise on John's cheek. "I can see to Watson on my own, obviously."

He smiled, leaning against the wall and keeping his eyes on John. "I don't mind staying for a bit. I thought Watson and I might have a little chat after you've finished patching him up."

She sent Jim a sharp look, shifting slightly so that her body blocked his view of John's lovely anxious blue eyes and the purpling marks on his bared chest. She'd taken a dislike to Jim long before this encounter, despite him working at the school only a few weeks and generally managing to charm every other staff member he met.

Clever bird.

"We'll have to call your parents, of course," she muttered as she prodded John's abdomen and then his back. His unbuttoned shirt hung loosely about his slim torso, streaks of grime from the alley altercation marring it.

"Don't!"

Both Jim and the nurse paused to look at him.

"I only meant...you don't have to," John added hastily. "I'll tell them myself." He glanced at Jim as if in mute appeal.

"School policy, I'm afraid." She clucked over the bump on his head once more before fetching a small cup of water and a tiny container with paracetamol. "Someone will have to inform them you've been fighting."

"Couldn't Mr. Moriarty do it?" John asked. He swallowed the pills without a fuss.

"Unfortunately your Mr. Moriarty hasn't the authority," the nurse commented, turning a simpering smile Jim's way. When he returned it with a leer of his own, she frowned and directed her attention back to John.

John sat hunched over, looking more defeated now than he had done during the worst of the fight.

"You'll head to the A & E at once if you have any of those symptoms we talked about." She leaned down to tap at a keyboard, finishing filling in what seemed a standard form on the computer screen. "One of the senior instructors will call your parents, so they'll be well aware of the situation soon. Off you go."

John slid off the examination table, turning in a fruitless bid for modesty to button and tuck in his dirtied school shirt once more.

Before the nurse could leave the room, however, Jim closed his hand around her upper arm. "I just wanted to ensure," he said, his voice lowered decorously though certainly at a level John could still hear, "that Watson's parents are given to understand he only acted in self-defense. I feel quite certain he would never have been caught out fighting had those other boys not started trouble for him."

She stiffened in his hold. "Your remarks will be included in the report, of course. I included those notes earlier when I began the write-up."

"Thank you," he said, widening his eyes in pretense of gratefulness. "Might Watson and I use your room to have a word?" He let out a self-conscious laugh. "I wouldn't normally ask it of you, only I don't have my own office, obviously. I do think it would help the boy to have a sympathetic ear before he has to go back home and face his parents about this little dust-up."

Had John not been nearby, he had no doubt she would have refused summarily. As it was, she seemed reluctant to object outright in front of a student, saying only, "Ten minutes," before clicking the computer mouse to shift away from her report to a password-protected entry screen.

{ continued in 3b }

Fill: Someone to Notice 3b/?

(Anonymous)
Jim waited until the door clicked shut after her departure.

"You okay?" he said softly, taking a step toward John.

John shrugged, grimacing a moment later as his sensitive contusions no doubt reminded him of the pain.

"Quite a lump you got there," Jim murmured. One more step. Another. He stood quite close to John now. When he lifted a hand to trace his fingertips over the protrusion on John's head, John let out a shaky breath.

"I'll be all right once the paracetamol starts to work." John held absolutely still while Jim stroked, feather-light touches in his hair, gliding gently over his scalp around the swelling.

Jim leaned in, and John's eyes fluttered, half-closing.

"Where'd you learn to fight like that?" Jim whispered, smoothing his hand along the nape of John's neck.

John's eyes flew open as he jerked back slightly. "I didn't start it --" He'd said as much over and over while the nurse had asked her initial questions, recording his answers in her report.

"No, of course not." Jim moved back with care so it seemed a casual change instead of a rejection. "But you would have made them sorry they thought they could treat you that way, hmm? I only thought, well, if someone had a hand helping you learn to defend yourself, I'd like to tip my hat to them."

John licked his lips, looking at Jim with a wary and appraising eye. "My uncle," he said finally. "The last time I visited -- we go there, summers, my sister and me -- he noticed there were some boys who..." A flush rose to his cheeks. "Anyway, he said I should have some tricks up my sleeve."

"So you should," Jim agreed, delighted. When John smiled slightly, bashful, Jim went on, "Look into the self-defense courses they've got at the community centre -- you have good instincts, and you obviously learn quickly. Why not keep it up?" He waited a beat before adding, "Unfortunate, but some of us in particular have to make sure we can hold our own in those sorts of situations."

The boy's eyes widened; Jim had no doubt he'd drawn the conclusion Jim had led him to. Obviously determined not to seem flustered by this clue, John pressed his lips together and gave a resolute nod. "I reckon I could."

"Good lad." Jim still stood close enough to muss John's hair, so he did so, lingering in the touch for a moment before pulling away. "Off you pop," he advised, turning to take a seat in front of the nurse's computer.

John paused at the door. "Should you -- is it okay if you just use that?"

Jim spun round in his chair, giving him a wide smile. John had reacted just as Jim had thought he would; best to start small with these little transgressions. "Oh, of course. They're all networked; I'm just checking my email to see if Mr. Miller had any instructions for me."

"Okay, good." John's relief shone in his expression hefted his backpack onto his shoulder. "Still, I don't think Mrs. De Quincy would be too keen to share it with you."

"Right you are," Jim agreed. "Still, she's gone out for a cigarette and won't be back for at least five more minutes. So what she doesn't know..." He smiled mischievously, wriggling his fingers above the keyboard, and John swallowed before smiling back.

"Thanks again, Mr. Moriarty," he said softly as he slipped out the doorway. "For helping me, I mean."

"Anytime, John," Jim told him kindly.

As soon as the door snicked shut, Jim cracked his knuckles. After easily picking out the password, he clicked through a few folders before retrieving the memory stick from his pocket. Running the code and retrieving the files he wanted took mere moments.

{ end of part 3 }

Author Admin - fixing the gaps created by LJ-server-issues - reposting

(Anonymous)
Apologies in advance to anyone following this story thread for the confusion.

Because the second parts of this story (2a & 2b) disappeared during LJ's server troubles, I'm re-posting them now. Then, though 3a and 3b survived, I'm going to post them *after* 2a and 2b, just to try to keep the narrative in order before I add to it, and so anyone coming upon the story at some later date will be able to follow it.

A new installment (Part 4) will be up in a few days. Thanks so much for your patience, and let's hope this doesn't go wonky again. *crosses fingers*

Fill REPOST: Someone to Notice 2a/?

(Anonymous)
Only a week later -- three more shared lunches, three more sessions of John looking wary but increasingly pleased with the loveliest little hint of vulnerability whenever Jim offered him half of whatever he's brought to eat, claiming it was as easy to make for two as it was one -- Jim turned a corner a few blocks from the school and heard the dull thud of a fist connecting with someone's gut.

Hidden behind the skip at the opening of the alley, he shifted his valise on its strap to rest behind his back and edged closer to view the scene undetected.

"Fucking ponce," one of four boys grunted as he pulled his arm back to land another blow to John Watson's torso. One of his mates laughed, harsh and high, as the third got John in a headlock, keeping him in place.

If Jim blinked, he could see himself in the scene -- the bullied boy, held back by cowards, beaten by his inferiors, brimming with bile and hate and seized with a need for revenge. Though small as a lad and quick on his feet, he'd never had the strength or knowledge then to fight back in the normal way. So instead he'd plotted and planned his way to settling scores -- a beloved dog found with its throat slashed at the foot of one boy's bed, another's father caught in a petty business scheme and bound for prison.

They had all gotten the message eventually.

Though hateful and tedious, he'd always reflected those horrifying moments of fear, being cornered and crushed, had been good for him in the end. They'd set Jim on the path to the man he'd become.

So as he watched John double over in pain, he couldn't help but feel a frisson of anticipation, a spark of keenness to find exactly how John Watson reacted under such pressure.

He still slipped his mobile out of his pocket and sent the text, of course.

"Trying to go down on your fucking knees already?" the fourth boy taunted, fingers threading in John's fine light brown hair and yanking hard, pulling him back upright. "Everyone knows how much you love to suck cock. But too bad for you we're not ready for that part of the entertainment, eh?"

"Fuck you," John spat back, blood mixing with the saliva from his mouth to spray the face of the boy menacing him.

"Oh, good," Jim murmured even as John's aggressor swore and retaliated with a backhand.

His phone, back in his pocket, vibrated to let him know his request had been viewed and would soon be answered. No point in looking at the screen; everyone knew he didn't tolerate excuses or regrets.

Taking a breath, Jim slouched forward, ready to call off the dogs in his role as the teacher's assistant they knew him as. Except he hadn't counted on John Watson, smaller than all the boys surrounding and jeering at him, obviously outnumbered as he was, actually fighting back.

Fill REPOST: Someone to Notice 2b/?

(Anonymous)
A sickening crack sounded as John flung his head back hard, connecting with the skull of the boy behind him who howled in pain and let John loose of his chokehold. The indignant cries of the other boys went unheeded; John drew his shirtsleeve across his nose and mouth even as he stomped hard on the right foot of the one who had smacked him.

He would lose eventually, Jim already knew, with that number of opponents. But Jim could tell, with a surge of giddy excitement, how very much John would make his attackers regret taking on their lonely classmate even if the fight could never end in his favor.

There was a familiar crunch of footsteps against gravel, slowing and pausing on the pavement behind Jim. He didn't turn to acknowledge the new arrival, just forged ahead into the alley calling out, "All right, all right, stop that at once."

They recognized him at once, all of them scowling and taking several steps back, leaving John the bruised and bleeding center of their panting ring.

"Mr. Moriarty," one began, sullen. "We were only standing here, and all of a sudden, Watson comes round, acting mental --"

John spun on his feet, lurching forward before the other boy could finish the lie.

"I said, that's enough," Jim said sharply. John stilled, his head dipping slightly, hands curling and uncurling into fists at his sides.

"Dixon, Anderson, Smith, Platt -- all of you, report to Mr. Miller's classroom after school tomorrow for detention." He waved away the four groans and jerked a thumb over his shoulder as he nodded at John. "Watson, come with me immediately."

One of the boys let out an ugly hiss as they left.

"I wasn't," John stammered, the choke of a sob breaking his voice as the two of them rounded the corner, leaving his four assailants behind in the alley.

"Shh, I know," Jim said soothingly, gesturing to the path that would take them back to the school.

Snuffling, John hung his head, seeming to come apart after the adrenaline-high of his fight. His posture let Jim nod undetected to the nearby man taking a drag of a cigarette as he leaned back with one foot braced against the brick wall.

Make it count, Jim mouthed as John hurriedly wiped at his eyes and huddled closer to him. Though he gave no visible sign of understanding, Sebastian flicked his cigarette away before turning and making his way into the alley.

"It's all right, you're all right now," Jim crooned when John stumbled and he got to clasp an arm around those shaking shoulders in a gentle hold, supporting him as they walked toward the school buildings together. Distantly, behind them, there was a surprised shout, and then yells of pain mixed with panic. "I'll fix you right up, okay?"

{ end of part 2 }

Fill REPOST: Someone to Notice 3a/?

(Anonymous)
"Feel free to leave anytime you like, Mr. Moriarty," the nurse said in a brusque voice as she dabbed at the bruise on John's cheek. "I can see to Watson on my own, obviously."

He smiled, leaning against the wall and keeping his eyes on John. "I don't mind staying for a bit. I thought Watson and I might have a little chat after you've finished patching him up."

She sent Jim a sharp look, shifting slightly so that her body blocked his view of John's lovely anxious blue eyes and the purpling marks on his bared chest. She'd taken a dislike to Jim long before this encounter, despite him working at the school only a few weeks and generally managing to charm every other staff member he met.

Clever bird.

"We'll have to call your parents, of course," she muttered as she prodded John's abdomen and then his back. His unbuttoned shirt hung loosely about his slim torso, streaks of grime from the alley altercation marring it.

"Don't!"

Both Jim and the nurse paused to look at him.

"I only meant...you don't have to," John added hastily. "I'll tell them myself." He glanced at Jim as if in mute appeal.

"School policy, I'm afraid." She clucked over the bump on his head once more before fetching a small cup of water and a tiny container with paracetamol. "Someone will have to inform them you've been fighting."

"Couldn't Mr. Moriarty do it?" John asked. He swallowed the pills without a fuss.

"Unfortunately your Mr. Moriarty hasn't the authority," the nurse commented, turning a simpering smile Jim's way. When he returned it with a leer of his own, she frowned and directed her attention back to John.

John sat hunched over, looking more defeated now than he had done during the worst of the fight.

"You'll head to the A & E at once if you have any of those symptoms we talked about." She leaned down to tap at a keyboard, finishing filling in what seemed a standard form on the computer screen. "One of the senior instructors will call your parents, so they'll be well aware of the situation soon. Off you go."

John slid off the examination table, turning in a fruitless bid for modesty to button and tuck in his dirtied school shirt once more.

Before the nurse could leave the room, however, Jim closed his hand around her upper arm. "I just wanted to ensure," he said, his voice lowered decorously though certainly at a level John could still hear, "that Watson's parents are given to understand he only acted in self-defense. I feel quite certain he would never have been caught out fighting had those other boys not started trouble for him."

She stiffened in his hold. "Your remarks will be included in the report, of course. I included those notes earlier when I began the write-up."

"Thank you," he said, widening his eyes in pretense of gratefulness. "Might Watson and I use your room to have a word?" He let out a self-conscious laugh. "I wouldn't normally ask it of you, only I don't have my own office, obviously. I do think it would help the boy to have a sympathetic ear before he has to go back home and face his parents about this little dust-up."

Had John not been nearby, he had no doubt she would have refused summarily. As it was, she seemed reluctant to object outright in front of a student, saying only, "Ten minutes," before clicking the computer mouse to shift away from her report to a password-protected entry screen.

{ continued in 3b }

Fill REPOST: Someone to Notice 3b/?

(Anonymous)
Jim waited until the door clicked shut after her departure.

"You okay?" he said softly, taking a step toward John.

John shrugged, grimacing a moment later as his sensitive contusions no doubt reminded him of the pain.

"Quite a lump you got there," Jim murmured. One more step. Another. He stood quite close to John now. When he lifted a hand to trace his fingertips over the protrusion on John's head, John let out a shaky breath.

"I'll be all right once the paracetamol starts to work." John held absolutely still while Jim stroked, feather-light touches in his hair, gliding gently over his scalp around the swelling.

Jim leaned in, and John's eyes fluttered, half-closing.

"Where'd you learn to fight like that?" Jim whispered, smoothing his hand along the nape of John's neck.

John's eyes flew open as he jerked back slightly. "I didn't start it --" He'd said as much over and over while the nurse had asked her initial questions, recording his answers in her report.

"No, of course not." Jim moved back with care so it seemed a casual change instead of a rejection. "But you would have made them sorry they thought they could treat you that way, hmm? I only thought, well, if someone had a hand helping you learn to defend yourself, I'd like to tip my hat to them."

John licked his lips, looking at Jim with a wary and appraising eye. "My uncle," he said finally. "The last time I visited -- we go there, summers, my sister and me -- he noticed there were some boys who..." A flush rose to his cheeks. "Anyway, he said I should have some tricks up my sleeve."

"So you should," Jim agreed, delighted. When John smiled slightly, bashful, Jim went on, "Look into the self-defense courses they've got at the community centre -- you have good instincts, and you obviously learn quickly. Why not keep it up?" He waited a beat before adding, "Unfortunate, but some of us in particular have to make sure we can hold our own in those sorts of situations."

The boy's eyes widened; Jim had no doubt he'd drawn the conclusion Jim had led him to. Obviously determined not to seem flustered by this clue, John pressed his lips together and gave a resolute nod. "I reckon I could."

"Good lad." Jim still stood close enough to muss John's hair, so he did so, lingering in the touch for a moment before pulling away. "Off you pop," he advised, turning to take a seat in front of the nurse's computer.

John paused at the door. "Should you -- is it okay if you just use that?"

Jim spun round in his chair, giving him a wide smile. John had reacted just as Jim had thought he would; best to start small with these little transgressions. "Oh, of course. They're all networked; I'm just checking my email to see if Mr. Miller had any instructions for me."

"Okay, good." John's relief shone in his expression hefted his backpack onto his shoulder. "Still, I don't think Mrs. De Quincy would be too keen to share it with you."

"Right you are," Jim agreed. "Still, she's gone out for a cigarette and won't be back for at least five more minutes. So what she doesn't know..." He smiled mischievously, wriggling his fingers above the keyboard, and John swallowed before smiling back.

"Thanks again, Mr. Moriarty," he said softly as he slipped out the doorway. "For helping me, I mean."

"Anytime, John," Jim told him kindly.

As soon as the door snicked shut, Jim cracked his knuckles. After easily picking out the password, he clicked through a few folders before retrieving the memory stick from his pocket. Running the code and retrieving the files he wanted took mere moments.

{ end of part 3 }

Fill: Someone to Notice 4a/?

(Anonymous)
The next morning, Jim spotted three of John's attackers shuffling between classes. The lot of them were bruised and swollen all over. One glared out of two black eyes, another winced with a gasp when his mate nudged at his ribs, and the last kept touching the hard cast encasing his lower right arm. Whenever Jim caught sight of them throughout the day, he saw they kept their eyes downcast, muttering sullenly when their peers prodded them for details.

The fourth stayed away from school two days before Miller handed Jim a note as an afterthought to explain the absences. The boy had withdrawn, a vague medical excuse serving as the rationale on the official form.

Jim would have felt utterly delighted by the results had not John Watson also turned up that first morning with bruises around his wrists that hadn't been there the afternoon before. As John reached up to his locker in the corridor, the sleeve of his shirt slipped down to expose finger-shaped discolorations. Even as Jim passed by quickly he could see a few of the dark blotches were capped by half-moon scabs of fingernail markings.

Later, when Jim slipped into John's chemistry class to deliver a memo (he found the bureaucratic disorganization of the school such a boon; passing meaningless messages between instructors, many he'd fabricated completely, provided him with ample excuses to go wherever he pleased), he saw John holding himself gingerly, and biting his lip in pain when his back touched the chair where he sat. Belt marks as well, most likely.

"All right?" Jim asked in a low voice during John's afternoon class with Mr. Miller.

John gave him a jerky nod and tried a smile even though his eyes shone with unshed tears. Brave little thing. Jim let his hand rest lightly on John's right shoulder for a moment, allowing a worried look to pass over his face before he moved away.

* * *

"Will Watson's parents come in for a meeting?"

A high-pitched giggle sounded from the corridor outside, muffled by the closed classroom door.

At Jim's question, Miller looked up from the stack of essays he was sorting before heaving a sigh. "No, the phone call alone should suffice this time. At any rate, they haven't requested a meeting with anyone from the school." His gaze flickered over Jim. "While we're on the subject, thanks again for your help with the incident. I don't like to think how far it might have gone had you not chanced upon that little scene."

"Sorry to make more work for you, by the way," Jim told him, shifting from foot to foot in a nervous fashion.

"The detentions, you mean?" Miller took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Oh, don't concern yourself there. That lot are in for detentions often enough as it is. And it was certainly the appropriate response to what they'd done."

"They won't be suspended, then?"

Miller frowned. "Not this time. I have extended their detentions to last all next week, though."

"That's something, I suppose."

Miller gave him a shrewd look. "I spoke to Watson about what happened during his lunch, to hear his side of the story."


{ continued in 4b }

Fill: Someone to Notice 4b/?

(Anonymous)
Jim nodded, his eyes wide. "Wasn't that in the report?"

The teacher huffed. "You'd be surprised at what does and doesn't make it into those little write-ups. You've gained yourself an admirer, incidentally; it seems Watson feels he has quite the champion in you."

"Oh. Well." Jim shrugged, conveying a shade of pleased embarrassment.

Miller hesitated before speaking again. "Only -- and this is something I hate to bring up, particularly when you've obviously been kind to the boy -- but do have a care."

Jim bit the inside of his mouth to hide his smile, instead looking up sharply with an air of confusion. "But shouldn't I step in when I come upon a situation like Watson's?"

"No, no, you were absolutely right in that case." Miller swallowed, apparently choosing his words with care. "Believe me, I have all the confidence in the world in you based on your training and our interactions. I trust you've behaved appropriately at every step. And to be fair, a boy like Watson could use a champion or two." He flashed a smile before growing somber. "But there are reactions, sometimes, to instructors behaving familiarly with students. Now, I've noticed the two of you have shared lunch a time or two --"

Jim parted his lips slightly as if in surprise. "Oh, that?"

"Harmless, I'm certain. But please understand, you are at the start of your career, and haven't yet seen how sometimes even the smallest of friendly gestures can be misinterpreted, either by the student or by observers. Either sort of misunderstanding might bring complications that can throw your authority into question. Though I commend your thoughtfulness, I wouldn't want for anyone to cast suspicion on you."

"I hadn't thought of it that way," Jim admitted, casting his eyes down for a moment.

Miller's smile was full of sympathy. "You shouldn't have to, really. But the world being what it is, I do hope you'll keep what I've said in mind."

"Yes, of course. Thank you. For telling me."

"Do encourage students like Watson, obviously. I appreciate how the lines can seem confusing sometimes."

"No, I understand." Jim gave him a sheepish grin. "I wouldn't want anyone to perceive anything inappropriate. Besides, if people might talk about something so minor, I wouldn't want my girlfriend to have to hear about it."

"Oh." Miller's entire expression changed. "You -- I didn't realize, not that it's any of my business."

"One of the other assistants," Jim said. "We hadn't wanted to tell anyone, only because we've just begun --"

"I see."

"You may have met her," Jim said, giving a grin that he knew looked both bashful and proud. "The chemistry teaching assistant, Molly Hooper?"


{ end of part 4 }

OP!!! (Anonymous) Expand
Re: OP!!! (Anonymous) Expand

Fill: Someone to Notice 5a/?

(Anonymous)
"Hi," Jim sang out as he slipped into the seat beside Molly Hooper in the teacher's lounge. She sat alone, as she usually did.

"Oh, hello, Jim." She flushed as she bit her lips, her eyes flickering to his chest, his mouth, his eyes, and then to the floor. "Did you get everything you wanted from Mrs. Flanders?"

"The chemistry teacher, you mean? Oh, that's right! I forget sometimes which senior instructor you assist." He sighed. "She's a stubborn old bird, isn't she? Wouldn't let me glance at those attendance sheets Mr. Miller wanted without getting everything signed in triplicate!"

"Oh, yes, that's who I work with. I thought maybe you saw me when I watched you come in to the classroom earlier." She gave a stilted laugh. "I would notice anyone who came in, of course. I didn't mean I was keeping an eye out for you or anything. Not that that would be --"

"Take a breath once in a while, love," Jim advised. He grinned at her and she smiled back nervously.

He pulled out his marked up copy of Daniel Deronda and a pen, squinting in concentration at the open page. After a pause, she went back to the exams she'd been marking.

Finally she broke the silence. "Plans for the weekend?" The last word ended on a squeak and she flinched.

"Hmm." He underlined a passage and closed the book. "I thought I might take my girlfriend out for dinner."

"Oh!" Her face fell. "Of course you -- I -- that sounds lovely." She forced a bright smile. "I hope you have a wonderful time!"

He leaned close and nudged her. "So. Are you free for dinner Friday? Because I'd really love to take you out."

It took a moment for the penny to drop, but when she blushed this time, she smiled as well. "Really?"

"Aren't I presumptuous?" Jim tutted at himself. "But I'm never any good at going slow at these things. Still, I suppose I ought to ask you if you're seeing anyone else before I barrel ahead!"

"Well, I am free, as it happens. Friday, I mean. And just generally. I mean --" She pressed her fingers to her mouth.

"Wonderful!" He reached into her shoulder bag and took her phone from her without permission. Of course she hadn't any security lock on the screen.

While he tapped in his number and information and did the same with his own mobile, he could see her smiling awkwardly to herself. Poor thing probably could hardly believe her luck. "I'll phone you," he promised before he backed away.

When he sauntered out, he could still feel her big eyes trained on him. At the door, he gave her a smile so he could watch her eyelashes flutter. There was just something so marvelous about a really easy mark.


{ continued in 5b }

Fill: Someone to NOtice 5b/?

(Anonymous)
Jim stood at his regular bus stop for a few moments before he made an exclamation and patted down his pockets.

It took five minutes to walk to a nearby chip-and-pin machine, and from there another minute to arrive at a different bus stop.

Once aboard the next bus, he worked his way through the crowded interior, stopping at last near the rear.

"Oi, watch it," the man with close-cropped blond hair beside him said when a wide turn sent Jim swaying against him.

"Whoops, sorry!" Jim gave a brief smile before pulling his book out of his coat.

Three more stops went by. The passengers around them changed, forcing Jim and the man next to him to shuffle along together to accommodate those departing and arriving.

"You'll have the leads checked out by Friday," Jim murmured.

Sebastian ran a hand over his military haircut absently. As he drew his hand away, he touched his jacket's breast pocket where Jim had slipped in the memory stick earlier in subtle acknowledgement.

A group of girls boarded at the next stop, chattering and drawing everyone's attention. One winked at Jim, and he ducked his head with the most flustered smile he could muster.

"Who's the boy?" Sebastian asked after the bus had driven through four intersections.

"Never you mind that for now. I expect a report Saturday night. Usual place."

"Not Friday?"

"Ugh, would love to, but thing is, I've got this date with a lovely girl." Jim rolled his eyes. "But you better get the leads by Friday anyway, or Daddy will be very angry."

A quiet chuckle was his only reply. "Wonder what she's got that you need?" Sebastian muttered almost exactly as if he were speaking to himself.

"Another thing. There's an address there along with those files, home of a David Watson. Have someone at that house twenty-four hours until I say otherwise. Are we clear?"

Sebastian eyes flickered to the advertisement banner above them. He grunted.

When Jim disembarked from the bus, he didn't bother to look back.

{ continued in 5c }

Fill: Someone to Notice 5c/?

(Anonymous)
"Are we -- sorry, I just was thinking -- did you --" John Watson stopped, swallowing.

Jim put down the stack of books he held and took a moment to enjoy the bob of John's Adam's apple in his throat. "Sorry, what?" he asked at last.

"I just." John swallowed again. He squared his shoulders, obviously determined. "It's been a few days, and we usually have lunch. You're probably busy, I know, I -- only wondered."

"Oh, yes." Jim tapped his lower lip with his fingertip as if in thought.

Truthfully, he was impressed John had held out for this long. He'd noticed the small flashes of confusion and longing looks whenever Jim had rushed out the classroom instead of staying behind with his usual offerings for the two of them. It made Jim the teensiest bit disappointed that John hadn't broken earlier, but pleased to see John could hold himself back as well. "Just a second, okay?"

Jim made an elaborate show of looking all round the empty room before going to the door and shutting it quietly. When he turned and leaned against the wall, he found John watching him anxiously. "Why? Did you miss me?" he asked sotto voce. He gave John a slow sure smile.

John's lips parted. He seemed not to know how to respond.

Jim sighed as he made his way back to the desk where John sat. "I like having lunch with you whenever I can, John. It's just apparently not everyone thinks it's okay when an assistant teacher spends time with a student, if you catch my meaning. Have to think of my job and all." He lowered his gaze for a moment before he glanced at John again.

"Oh!" John's cheeks pinked, and his expression quickly turned miserable. "I didn't even think of that. I wouldn't want to get you in any sort of trouble."

"As if you could," Jim crooned. He sobered quickly, though, and added, "I spend my free period in the teacher's lounge these days. Dreadfully boring company. Puts me right off my lunch, to tell you the truth." As if producing the result of a magic trick, he reached into his valise and pulled out a sandwich, handing it to John. "I don't suppose you could help me out."

John laughed, shaking his head as he reached to unwrap the sandwich.

"Well, must be off," Jim said lightly as he got to his feet. "Just remember, John," he added, making sure he caught John's eye before he finished. "I'd always rather spend time with you if I could."

"Thanks," John said faintly.

Jim very nearly made it out the door before John cried out, "Wait!" He turned with a polite inquisitive look on his face.

"What this?" John asked hesitantly. He held out the flyer Jim had folded inside the wrapper.

"Oh, that? Just an advert for a coffee shop I like to go to on Sundays after lunch. Lovely little place to get some reading done. I never notice any other of our students or teachers there, though. Must be a bit off the beaten path!"

John nodded, staring down at the paper and the information. "Looks nice," he managed.

"Oh, it is; you'd love it. I often think of you when I'm there. Sundays," Jim repeated before he left the room.

{ end part 5 }

Fill: Someone to Notice 6a/?

(Anonymous)
John arrived ahead of Jim the first time they "accidentally" met for coffee.

He'd stationed himself in the corner with the smallest and no doubt cheapest coffee on the menu. His eyes were technically trained on his maths textbook but regularly darted up to watch customers pace over the shop's threshold.

After a staged double-take and a pleased wave from his place at the counter, Jim brought round a plate piled high with pastries. He laughed and pretended shock when John (after an initial polite refusal) easily ate his way through most of them. Following a bit of stammering and smiling, they each took up their work. Jim leafed through his pile of essays, twirling a red pen in between dashing off comments, while John seemingly returned his attention to his book.

Every so often Jim would look up to find John watching him. In the rest of their time there that day, Jim was quite sure John didn't turn more than one page.

When Jim stood to leave, he bent down and leaned in close to brush a bit of icing sugar from John's chin, very nearly sweeping the pad of his thumb against the underside of John's lower lip.

It was a picture he played in his head a number of times during the week that followed: John's head tilted up to look at him, faint stain of blood darkening his cheeks more and more as the seconds passed, pupils blown wide in those pretty blue eyes, his tongue darting to touch the corner of his soft mouth.

If Jim had only let himself aim a bit higher, if John had been only a little bolder, how easily Jim's thumb might have slipped further over those sharp little teeth, slid inside that pink wet.

The second time they met at the coffee shop, Jim stalled his entrance a full forty minutes after his previous week's arrival time.

From the charity shop across the road he sent a few pointed texts to key contacts while he watched the door opposite. He spotted John twice leaning partway out to peer at the passers-by. Then after half an hour John actually left to take up watch from the pavement, leaving his coat inside (he huffed on his bare hands to warm them in the cold air), pacing the short distance away from the entrance so he might glance around the corner.

At last Jim walked up, fiddling with his iPod until he reached the door. When he looked up and spotted John, all nervous anticipation and relief on his expressive face, Jim hurried forward with a delighted laugh.

That day John insisted on paying for Jim's espresso. He squared his shoulders in determination and thrust crumpled notes at the lad at the register to cover their order while Jim exclaimed he mustn't, really.

Jim left that day with a squeeze to John's shoulder. John blushed but met his eyes steadily, and so Jim let his fingers trail lightly over the warm bare skin above the collar of John's jumper before he drew his hand away.

Fill: Someone to Notice 6b/?

(Anonymous)
"We've located more of the suppliers," Sebastian began when Jim stalked into the room.

Jim whirled to face him, rage contorting his features. He rushed up to him and grabbed the lapels of Sebastian's fitted shooting jacket. "What the fuck do you think you're playing at? Two weeks ago you only had a handful from the leads. I wanted all of them done last week. And now you tell me you're still searching? You should have found every last one by now!"

Sebastian watched him coolly, making no move to shrug Jim off or shove him back. "We nearly are there. But a few have pulled up stakes. Others have gone to ground. If we pushed any harder and moved any faster, and we'd scare the rest off entirely. You know how this works."

With a put-upon sigh, Jim raised his eyes to the ceiling and took three measured steps backward. He smoothed the lapels of his fine designer suit as if to calm himself. "One day. One day I will have competent people around me who will perform the simplest of tasks I ask without such wretched failures."

"Here's all the information we've gathered so far." Sebastian carefully laid a thick folder to the right side of the glass table stood next to him. "And here are the latest reports on David Watson and family." At the last two words Sebastian quirked his eyebrows ever so slightly and tossed a much slimmer second folder to the left of the first.

Jim frowned at him. He moved closer and reached out for the folder on the right. Meeting Sebastian's steady stare, he wriggled his fingers over his intended goal in a show of indecision. As Sebastian remained impassive, Jim jerked his hand away and snatched at the left folder.

"Awww, would you look at that?" he cooed a moment after diving in to read about Pere Watson and his clan. "Ordinary people, so predictable! Of course the father's a drunk -- and the daughter well on her way, according to this. Ah, she's practically the town slag already, and her so recently arrived in the neighborhood! Quick work, that. Oh, has dad lost his job already? Awkward, given that's why the family moved." He flipped a few more pages, scanning the contents rapidly. "Illegal firearms in the downstairs cupboard, well! That can't be safe with so much drink in the house."

Sebastian leaned in, resting his weight on the knuckles of both hands against the glass. "We've been very thorough."

Fill: Someone to Notice 6c/?

(Anonymous)
"Mmm, looks it." Jim fished out a photograph of John's mum looking harried as she trudged past a group of chattering neighbors.

"But I don't see what any of this has to do with the current operation. Do you want to bring me up to speed?"

"No," Jim said sharply. He turned another page. "Aww, the mother works two jobs, taking all the extra nursing shifts she can. Too bad she returns home only to find her husband's guzzled her pay down at the pub -- oooh, or worse, at home alone. They always say the nastiest cases hide it away, don't they?" He clucked his tongue.

"John Watson is their son," Sebastian said after a moment. "The boy you walked away with that day at the alley."

"Never let it be said you're above stating the obvious." Jim smiled, watching Sebastian from hooded eyes.

Sebastian leaned against the wall, his hands slipped into his jean pockets, waiting for more. Had it been anyone else, Jim would have dismissed them at once.

"A good organization is always recruiting, Sebastian; you know that better than anyone."

"That kid? Seems like more time and effort than anyone would normally spend on a grunt."

"It would be," Jim murmured, drawing out a long-range lens photo of John leaning out his bedroom window. The detail wasn't the best by any stretch, but even if Jim couldn't see John's expression the pose alone spoke of loneliness. "If he were going to become anything so ordinary as that." He looked up and glared at Sebastian. "Don't even think about making assumptions about what I want, and don't you dare fucking question me."

Sebastian gave a single jerky nod in acknowledgement. He looked calm as ever, but Jim could see the small twitch in his little finger. Message received.

Jim rolled his eyes and grinned. "Oh, I can't stay angry at you, not with all of these lovely bits and bobs you've brought me! Well done." He let the smile slip from his face. "But work out the rest of the suppliers. You have three days."

"Meanwhile, you want to keep the surveillance going at full level at the David Watson house."

"Did I say otherwise?" Jim took a seat on the couch with his folder, waving his hand in an impatient gesture for Sebastian to leave.

"Oh, Sebastian," he called out when the other man had reached the door.

Sebastian paused, not turning.

"Make sure no one lays a hand on John Watson, or there'll be hell to pay." When Sebastian glanced back at him, Jim returned his look impassively. "That's all."

Fill: Someone to Notice 7a/?

(Anonymous)
"This is really nice." Molly smiled as Jim pulled out her chair at their table next to the window.

"It's actually not," Jim replied with a careful shade of cheer in his voice even as he grimaced at the dingy little Thai restaurant he'd taken them to. "But I'm so glad you like it."

"Well, it's not as though we get much in the way of a salary just yet while we're working as assistants, so I don't mind eating at little spots like this. Besides, I think it's lovely just being here with you." Her cheeks pinked.

Jim smiled bashfully at her before he hid his exasperated expression behind the open menu.

This was ostensibly their third date. It probably wouldn't have gone on quite this long had Sebastian been quicker about his work. Well, that and Molly Hooper was proving a tougher nut to crack than Jim had anticipated.

The first round had gone well, her equal parts thrilled and stunned that he'd asked her out for dinner in the first place. As she adjusted her posture and conversational topics in little ways to keep up in the directions he led her, he felt sure she'd prove useful in a short period of time.

The second time she'd invited him back to hers, true. "Just to talk," she'd offered hastily when he widened his eyes and wondered aloud if they weren't moving a bit fast for such an early stage in their relationship. He'd had high hopes for that night, but she'd kept at his side the entire time they were at her flat together, turning that adoring gaze on him and plying him with beer and snacks. He hadn't a moment to sniff through her things or lift her keys.

After that, he decided to try his luck with her at the school. Whenever he dropped by her classroom after course hours to make conversation and flirt, she certainly seemed excited. But she wasn't disarmed enough to leave him alone in the room even when he professed he was dying for a cup of tea and whinged for her to fetch him one (so he could have a go at the locked cabinets and encoded computer files with her gone). She'd giggle and stammer about Mrs. Flanders being so strict before leaving with him, locking the door behind them both before shyly slipping her hand into Jim's.

Oh, he could have drugged her easily to get a chance at the information he needed, or had someone break into her flat to turn it over for anything useful, or even ransack that bitch Flanders's classroom without much trouble. But those sorts of maneuvers were just terribly obvious -- fine if he wanted to cut and run, not so clever if he needed to stay in the picture.

As long as he wanted to keep his cover as a teacher's assistant, as long as he needed to wait for Sebastian's crew to turn up more suppliers and informants, he had to grit his teeth and do things the slow way.

Besides, having Molly eat lunch with him, giggling and blushing and leaning closer whenever possible, had gone quite a way in getting the others to treat Jim as one of the gang. Oh, he'd charmed most of them well before that, but now they relaxed around him, which he was finding infinitely more useful for his purposes.

Fill: Someone to Notice 7b/?

(Anonymous)
"What do you think you'll have?" he asked, lowering the list of specials to find her gazing at him. Christ, she was like a character from a Mills & Boon novel; he could practically see the stars in her eyes.

"It all looks so good," she said, ducking her head a little. "Actually, I was just thinking, I wouldn't mind if we got take away instead."

He tilted his head, weighing the options as he watched the flush on her pale cheeks creep down her throat to form an unflattering splatter of color along her collarbone. Perhaps it would be best to follow her home like a little puppy dog tonight if he could advance matters a little.

Oh, maybe he couldn't drug her until she was out cold for a day or get rid of her entirely just yet. But surely he could slip a little something in her tea to make her slightly woozy while they were watching a film and leave a note claiming he'd left quietly when she fell asleep. That way he'd gain at least an hour while she was in a state of confusion she wouldn't remember later, to go through papers that she no doubt left lying about, pop out to copy her classroom keys, and figure out what role (if any) she might play in the last stages of his plans.

And then he'd be gone, with no need to carry out the ruse of taking her to bed or find himself forced to come up with stammered excuses about waiting that would make her go round-eyed with even more sickly-looking adoration. Then he'd easily find a way to deflect her awkward suggestions for more private get-togethers while keeping her hopeful and at his side at the school to defuse any more questions.

If all went well, in a week or two they'd wrap matters up at the school and leave town. Poor Molly would just have to find some way to nurse her broken heart, no doubt with liberal applications of chocolate and cuddles with her nasty little cat.

"Take away? Why, Miss Hooper," Jim murmured, taking her hand and bringing it to his lips. "Are you trying to seduce me?"

She giggled. "Maybe just a bit." When he bit lightly at her knuckle, she gave him a shocked but pleased look before turning her head to the side to hide her wide smile.

Suddenly she gasped and snatched her hand back, apparently having caught sight of something out the window.

Jim turned to see John Watson, frozen where he stood on the payment outside and watching them with a devastated expression. As soon as Jim's eyes met his, John startled and ran.

"Oh no, do you think he'll say something to someone at the school?" Molly fretted. "I don't really know what the actual policy is on dating other assistants or instructors if he decides to tell one of the administrators. I mean, I'm sure it's fine! I've told Mrs. Flanders. And Wendy, who's the assistant for Maths. And my mum. Oh god. Not that I've told everyone! But we probably shouldn't let any of the students see us, don't you think? Anyway, I just wouldn't want to get you in trouble." She wrung her hands.

"I'd better go have a chat with him." Jim was already out of his seat pulling on his coat, but he paused for form's sake just a moment to show her he was torn. "I'm so sorry about our plans. But poor Watson's been such a target for the crueler boys at school lately, and I've tried to show him he can rely on me for support. I'd hate to let him run off all alone like that. What if --" He sighed, in part to cover the fact he'd already begun to back away. "All right if I ring you tomorrow?"

She nodded, reluctant but sympathetic. "Probably for the best. He looked really upset." Her eyes went soft as she watched; she seemed impressed that he'd taken such an interest in one of their students. "I'm glad you're going after him."

"I knew you'd understand." Already edging toward the room's exit, he blew her a quick kiss and dashed off.

Fill: Someone to Notice 8a/?

(Anonymous)
Jim raced outside and scanned the area, trying to determine the route John had taken when he bolted. He spotted John hurrying along as he turned a corner, and broke into a run to catch up to him.

"Hey!" he called when he got close enough. John walked on just as though he hadn't heard, his shoulders hunched and his collar flipped up against the evening drizzle. "John, wait."

"I have to get home," John muttered. "I'm not even supposed to be out right now." He quickened his steps, scowling when Jim matched his pace at his side. "Look, I'll see you at school or something."

"Just tell me what's wrong first, and then you can go," Jim reached out to grab John's upper arm, pulling him to the side against a shop front window. "John, please. You're upset. Let me help."

John shook off Jim's hold and turned to face him, blue eyes ablaze with anger and compact body vibrating with fury. "You really want to know why I'm upset? Fine. You let me think you knew what it was like when those gits surrounded me that day, that you'd faced the same sorts of things because you were like me. And I believed you -- I trusted you! But now I find out it's all a lie, isn't it? Here I've been thinking that you get it, that you're the only one in this fucking town --" He took a ragged breath. "And then I see you with Miss Hooper. She's your girlfriend, isn't she?"

"John, listen to me --"

"No!" John stopped, agitated, and ran a hand through his short hair. He looked even more overcome with emotion than he had when Jim had interrupted the bullies attacking him in the alley. "But what I still can't reckon is why you said those things to make me believe you were gay too."

It was the first time he'd used the word aloud about himself to Jim -- Jim imagined it might have been the first time John had said it aloud to anyone -- but he didn't pause or stumble over it, just rushed ahead obviously spurred on by everything else he felt he had to say.

"You know, I wouldn't have cared either way, because unlike most of the people here you seemed like you actually gave a shit about me," John went on. "That would have been enough. But Christ! Why pretend -- was it just for a laugh?" His voice broke on the last word.

Jim shook his head slowly. "You've got it all wrong."

John gave a bitter laugh. "Nope. Don't think I have. Anyone who saw the two of you together like I just did would say the same. I don't know what your game is, Mr. Moriarty, but stay the hell away from me from now on." He took a step back and stumbled slightly, looking gutted as he righted himself. Then he turned on his heel to go.

Fill: Someone to Notice 8b/?

(Anonymous)
"When I said listen to me earlier, it wasn't a request," Jim said sharply. "I'm not letting you go anywhere until you hear me out. So stop where you are."

"The fuck I will!" John spun around to glare at him, his face a tumult of emotions. Along with the hurt feelings still leaving him looking distressed, there was the barest trace of fear in his eyes at Jim's order to stay put. But the rest of his expression simply took Jim's breath away with its lovely mix of fury and obstinacy. There it was, John's utter resolve to stand his ground even as he found himself caught in a dangerous situation, the strength of mind to appear unassailable even when an emotional or physical blow made him weak. Every bit of it, from John's posture to his harsh breathing, was a gorgeous fulfillment of the promise Jim had glimpsed in John that day at the alley.

Jim stepped forward, crowding John back against the entrance to the closed shop. He could tell from the indignation on John's face that he had only a few minutes to talk before John tried to shove him aside or throw a punch. It made Jim's blood sing to see how even as John's gaze betrayed how his world was crashing down all around him, his sturdy frame looked coiled for a fight. Jim actually had to claw his fingernails into the soft skin of his palms hold himself back from slamming John up against the building and scraping his teeth down that lovely pale neck to mark it.

Instead he took a deep breath and leaned forward slightly, just enough to force John to slot himself further into the darkness cast against the niche of the shop door. He kept his voice low as he spoke.

"You should know better than anyone, John, what it means to have to hide away. You've had years of practice, after all. Now, wouldn't it be lovely if I could say that you'd never have to look over your shoulder again once you're done with school? Or that you'd never again feel forced to tell lies about who you really are?"

He paused, his eyes darting over John's face to watch as John swallowed nervously but kept his insolent glare.

"Well, as much as I'd like to tell you there are only happily-ever-afters ahead, too bad for us we can't live in fairy tales, Johnny." He gave John a grim smile. "Oh, obviously there are laws protecting people, making sure they can't take aim at each other because of differences. By rights it shouldn't matter to anyone that I'm gay. But tell me, what's to stop parents or administrators from sneaking and cheating, creeping after gay teachers to accuse them of breaking some silly rule just to be rid of them?"

At the first mention of the word gay, John's lips parted as he stared at Jim in confusion. His left fist curled and released at his side, as though he was still half caught up in his urge to push Jim aside and run away.

"Maybe I want to announce exactly who I am instead of keeping it locked up, a secret from my colleagues and students," Jim went on, letting his voice fill with emotion. "But would it be worth it if some bigoted father tries to get me dismissed on some trumped up excuse just because he refuses to let me in the same room as his son?" He ran his fingers through his hair in agitation. "If the senior instructors knew I was gay, do you know how likely they would be to give another assistant a better review, all because they don't like the fact that I sleep with men?"

OP <3 (Anonymous) Expand
Re: OP <3 (Anonymous) Expand

Re: Older!Sherlock/John

(Anonymous)
and I just realized -- did you want Sherlock as the teacher, Jim as the teacher's assistant? I took it as an either/or for Sherlock OR Jim and just went with Jim. Apologies if that's not what you wanted; I noticed your Sherlock/John when I tracked the post.

Re: Older!Sherlock/John (Anonymous) Expand
Re: Older!Sherlock/John (Anonymous) Expand
Re: Older!Sherlock/John (Anonymous) Expand
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