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Original prompt here ( John/alien!Sherlock: The Holmeses are a part of a visiting or conquering alien race. Mycroft, as their leader or a high-ranking official, comes to ground first to investigate the planet and speak with its people. He brings Sherlock, who manages to wander away from him and bumps right into John Watson — or breaks into his flat.

Tentacles are optional.

Aliens and Army Doctors 1a/?


Chapter 1: Close Encounters of the Holmesian Kind


John startled and glanced over his shoulder, crouching down behind the bluff. The shockwave had actually shaken the ground beneath him, but it didn’t feel like the concussive force of an explosion. In the near distance, gunfire continued to ratchet through the pre-dawn darkness. No one else seemed to have noticed whatever it was that had made the sound; John’s own regiment had drifted almost a kilometre further on.

A weak groan from under John’s hands brought his attention back to the soldier lying wounded on the cool sands. “Easy,” John soothed, putting pressure on the gunshot wound with one hand as he reached for his kit with his other. “Stay with me; you’re going to be alright.” The wound was a bad one, and John cursed his moment’s distraction silently as he scrambled for plasters. The thin pulse around his fingers, buried in the soldier’s shoulder, told him that every moment counted in this battle. As the soldier convulsed and gasped out a curse, John knew that the seconds of distraction had cost the man his life.

Too much blood on the sand, John thought frantically, wrapping the plasters as quickly as he could. He’s not going to make it. “I need you to calm down,” he said aloud. “Focus on breathing; try to keep it steady. Stay with me.”

And he did. The soldier kept his eyes fixed on John’s face even as he bled out on sand stained pink by the Afghani morning sun.

With a deep sigh of regret, John recorded the coordinates of the soldier’s position and turned to head back to the point of conflict. As he stood up, an air trail leading to something in the sand less than half a kilometre in the opposite direction of the battle drew his attention; it hadn’t been there before John had fallen to his knees beside the now-dead soldier.

“Oh, God,” John whispered, realization dawning. “It must have been a helicopter.” It made sense: That shockwave must have been from the impact. A glance back towards the point of conflict showed him that running for reinforcements would take too long; John shouldered his kit and headed for the crash site.

Huffing, John crested the last dune and stopped dead in his tracks. There was no helicopter lying twisted at the bottom of the dune, as he had expected. Instead, the scattered wreckage of some capsuloid lay spread out before him, various parts half-buried in the loose sand. A blindingly white puddle spilled from the central piece, which had retained enough of its shape as to block John’s line of sight to its contents. John pulled his gun out as a precaution and edged down the shallow dune, glancing at each piece of wreckage as he passed it. They seemed to be made of some form of metal, and several pieces were still smoking. John glanced up at the sky incredulously. “UFOs? Really?” he half-grumbled to himself. “Unbelievable. And I thought the war was crazy enough as it was.”

John stopped at the edge of the puddle and dipped the toe of his boot into it. Must be some sort of mechanical fluid, he guessed. When his boot didn’t dissolve, he figured it was safe enough and walked through the pale liquid to the capsule. Gun held before him, he slipped around the side and glanced in. It was empty. When he held his hand up to the metal, palm in, he could feel the heat radiating from nearly a foot away.

The capsule was approximately a metre-and-a-half in diameter, John decided as he straightened, and the inside was almost perfectly spherical. Whatever had been in it was definitely not a human. UFO it is, he thought grimly and looked around the wreckage. “Hello?” he called. “Is anyone out there?” He was halfway to the edge of the puddle when the ground underneath him suddenly surged.

Re: Aliens and Army Doctors 1b/?

The impact against the suddenly solid puddle cut off John’s yelp of surprise as he found himself being dragged by his ankles. He frantically twisted around and leveled his gun at the attacker, only to have his jaw drop in shock as he realized that he was being held captive by what he’d assumed was mechanical fluid. It was no longer white, but had instead darkened to a pale shade of grey. “Christ,” John whimpered, and he fired his gun at the two tentacles holding his ankles.

The report hurt his ears, but the bullet seemed to have no effect on the whatever-it-was. John kicked his feet and slammed his hands against the thing, but it held him fast and simply moved with his struggles. After several seconds John collapsed back against it and gasped for air, trying to calm his racing pulse. Alright Watson, he thought hysterically, they may not have trained you for this, but you can figure something out. Just calm down and think!

That plan fled swiftly as the not-puddle surged over him and covered him completely. John, feeling it press against every inch of him – even inside my ears, oh God is it going to eat my brain?! – instinctively took a breath to calm the sudden claustrophobia, but the not-puddle only took advantage of the motion to dive down his throat. It split at the laryngopharynx and filled both lungs and stomach, but John barely had time to gag before it pulled back and out. John thrashed, eyes watering at the invasion, and to his surprise the thing actually released him. John scrambled away from it and aimed his gun despite knowing its futility.

The not-puddle drew itself together and morphed, right in front of John’s disbelieving eyes. It grew patches of color and structured itself until John found himself staring into his own face. “What. The. Fuck,” John whispered, distantly thankful that he was already sitting. The thing had mimicked John’s dress and had a gun in its own hand, a kit identical to John’s own strapped over its shoulder. As John watched, it arranged itself in an identical pose, gun pointed at John’s head.

Instinctively, John almost pulled the trigger on his own, but he remembered at the last moment the lack of effect. The alien’s gun, because at this point it could only be the alien that John had expected to find inside the capsule, might be much more effective if the alien fired it. Instead, John swallowed and lowered his gun. The alien mirrored his movements, but instead of placing the gun on the ground and lifting its hands again, it absorbed the gun back into its body.

John blinked at the move, wondering if the alien even needed the gun to shoot him, before cautiously stretching a hand out. He prayed that the alien wouldn’t take it as an offensive motion and decide that maybe a gun would be a better appendage than a hand.

Happily, it seemed to be content with mimicking John. It reached out as well, brushing their fingertips together. John startled slightly at the unexpected texture – something between plastic and oil – and carefully pressed his hand flat against the alien’s. A small, disbelieving smile slipped onto his face, and he glanced up at the alien’s face, amazed that he was actually touching an alien.

The alien once again copied his movements, but John saw the surface of the alien’s skin ripple and shudder. The smile slid from his lips as John withdrew his hand. The alien stopped smiling as well, but pressed forward to bring their hands together again. It rippled again, and John wondered if the alien was secreting some sort of chemical with which it would eat him. “You can’t eat me,” he informed it inanely, voice a bit higher than usual. “I’m a doctor.”

(Deleted comment)

Aliens and Army Doctors 2a/?

Saturday. Right. I should know better.

Chapter 2: To Boldly Go

John dove into the fray head-first, heading immediately to the closest wounded body he could see. It was an American soldier; he was curled on his side, clutching his right shoulder. He slid to a stop by the man’s head, fingers outstretched as he examined the soldier’s wounded shoulder. “Think I dislocated it,” the man ground out from behind gritted teeth.

“Good diagnosis,” John agreed, already grabbing a sling and cravat from his kit. “You’re going to be fine, but I’m still going to flag you for transport back to your base.” He arranged the sling over the soldier’s neck and carefully drew the man’s arm through the fabric. “Try not to tense your muscles.” John secured the last flap of fabric, ignoring the soldier’s pained grunt, and tagged him for medical transport. “Take care.” He made sure the man was comfortable and glanced around the battlefield for the next wounded man.

“Watson!” Murray called as John sprinted past. “Where’ve you been?” He was bent over a soldier with a bullet wound in the knee. John winced. That would be a very painful recovery.

“Had another man down back a kilometre or so,” he shouted back, ducking down behind some brush to tend to a soldier whose arm had been almost completely blown off from an IED. “Hey there,” John murmured to the man, grabbing a clamp from the kit. “Looks like you’re having a pretty bad day, then?”

The man was too busy screaming to respond, but he fixed his eyes on John’s face and seemed to calm somewhat. John threw a leg over the other man’s to stop the thrashing and set about stopping the bleeding, keeping up a litany of reassurance. Between John’s presence and the blood loss, the soldier stopped struggling so strongly and his screams dropped to high-pitched whines. John eventually returned to kneeling at the man’s side, pleased when he didn’t resume thrashing. “You’re doing great,” he praised. “I think you’re going to pull through just fine.”

It was a lie, of course; the man would lose his arm without a doubt. Even if he survived the blood loss, he would probably suffer some psychological trauma. He would be alive to heal, both physically and mentally, though; that was the important part.

The soldier’s eyes started to slip shut, and John tapped the side of his head just enough to get his attention. “No, no, don’t go to sleep on me. Stay awake; try to focus. Come on, you can make it.” The bleeding in the arm had been mostly staunched; still, the amount of blood on the sand made John nervous. “I’m flagging you for medical pick-up; just hang in there until they come.” With nothing else to do for the poor man – a sedative will only be harmful at this point – John rose to his feet again and searched for the next dying man to save.

Finally, finally, the Afghani guerrillas disengaged and the fallen soldiers were carted back to base. For the infantrymen, that meant a resting period before everything went to Hell again; for Watson, Murray, and the other medical personnel, that meant that the rush to save lives was just beginning to wind down. The medical tent was still a madhouse of pained screams, shouted orders, and frantic motion an hour after the end of the battle. John reveled in the chaos and sped through the beds, assisting where he could with what he had; stitches here, digging a bullet out there, binding a broken femur so that it wouldn’t be agitated before the airlift came.

When the chaos finally wore down, exhausted silence broken only by the occasional moan, John finally pulled off his gloves for the last time and washed the blood from his arms. He shucked his plastic coveralls and exited the tent. Outside, the cool desert air brushed his face and he breathed it in, almost surprised when it didn’t carry the tangy scent of blood. “Too much time in the tent,” he muttered to himself, shaking his head. It didn’t take the smile from his face, though.

Re: Aliens and Army Doctors 2a/?

John patted his side, brushing his Browning for reassurance, but only met he fabric of his hip. He froze, staring down at his side where his holster was accusingly empty. Abruptly, the blood drained from his face as he remembered the alien and putting his own gun down in the sand. “Oh, Hell,” he groaned, burying his face in his hands. Not only had he left an alien in the potentially hostile sands of Afghanistan, especially if it had remained in the body of a British soldier – and how had he managed to let the insanity of that morning slip from his mind in the first place?! – but he had left it with a gun that it could conceivably use on a human by accident, thus completely destroying any hope of human-alien diplomacy.

Way to screw everything up, Watson, he thought bitterly to himself. He had to get permission from his coordinating officer to go back to the alien and retrieve his gun. He could only hope that the alien hadn’t decided to explore and get trigger-happy while he was gone; it had been hours! Even if it had, though, he would fix it. Somehow. Determined, he squared his shoulders, spun on his heel, and headed straight for the officer’s mess.

He made it one step before he stopped, staring down in shock at the Browning he’d just kicked. That’s impossible, he thought, dazed, as he bent down to examine it. It was his gun, though; even the serial number was identical. But I know that I left it at the crash site! How did it get here? He froze as the answer occurred to him and glanced at his surroundings from the corners of his eyes. The alien had to be in the base. John vividly remembered how it had changed colour and shape to mimic him; it could be anywhere! How would he possibly find it?

There was an alien in the base. John cursed and stood, searching his surroundings as frantically as he could without drawing attention to himself. He was an idiot. An alien lands in the desert, essentially assaults him, fails to communicate, and what does he do? He leads it back to one of the largest military bases in Afghanistan. Hell, there had to be enough explosive devices in the armoury to blow up all of London, and the alien could just turn into a puddle and slip under the door. Congratulations, Watson, he thought caustically. Ten hours and you’ve managed to doom the world. Well done, there.

There wasn’t any other option, though; he’d have to go to the General and tell him what had happened. If the alien was hostile, they needed to find it as soon as possible. John turned back to the officer’s mess, deciding to start his search there – someone was sure to know where the General was – when he felt a tug on his uniform trousers.

No. No way. He looked down, and there it was. The ground had swollen and risen around his right foot and had a firm grip on his trouser leg. John shook his leg a bit and the sand released him, dropping back to form a flat surface again. A glance around proved that discretion might be the better part of valour in this case, and John stepped away from the medical tent and headed towards his own barracks. A few steps away, he looked behind him to see if the alien was following and was relieved to find that a slightly darkened patch of sand had formed and seemed to be trailing him.

Aliens and Army Doctors 3a/?

Okay, this chapter is approximately four times as long as previous chapters, so if it starts getting too cramped I'll wrap it around back to here. PAY ATTENTION TO THE NUMBERINGS AND READ IN ORDER, PLEASE!

Chapter 3: Wrinkles in Time

The next few months went something like this:

“No,” John said, pressing gently against the alien. “You can’t follow me. No. I need you to stay here.” He accompanied the statement with appropriate hand motions, trying to dissuade the alien from latching onto his uniform.

The morning after the alien appeared, John had found himself ducking into a deserted tent when he should have been preparing for duty, desperately trying to explain himself to a creature that couldn’t understand him. The alien reached out again, trying to wrap around John’s sleeve, but he pulled his arm back.

“I’m not taking you out to the field with me. It’s dangerous, it’s bloody, and I don’t want to expose you to it. Stay here.” He glared for good measure.

Unfortunately, the alien was running on a completely different set of body language cues, and the glare had no effect. He was actually fairly certain that the alien was cataloguing it for future examination. “John. Doctor help.” It gestured to John’s uniform before turning its hands towards itself. “I help.”

John shook his head. “By doing what? All you’ll accomplish is terrifying yourself, terrifying someone else if you’re seen, and possibly getting yourself shot. Again. Sorry about that, by the way.” Seeing the alien start to smile, picking up on the change of tone in the last sentence, John shook his head again. “No. You can’t come with me.”

The alien shook its head in response. “Can’t stop me.” And it had the gall to smile.

John opened his mouth to retort that he certainly could stop it, but he paused and considered. Damn it, he realized. It’s right. I can’t lock it in a room; it’ll just slip under the door or through a window. Hell, it could probably even pick the lock. He sighed and dropped his head. “Please stay here,” he finally pled. “I don’t want you out there.”

The alien tilted its head and blinked at him, but the call of “Watson! Report!” from outside prevented any answer. John patted the alien on the shoulder as he passed by, praying that it would see sense and just stay on base until he returned.

He should have known it wouldn’t be so easy.

It was a bad battle; the guerrillas had managed to get their hands on some rocket launchers and they were wreaking havoc on the Army troops. John dropped to his knees beside a particularly brutal set of broken ribs, pulling his kit from his shoulder to search for the supplies he knew he’d need from just a cursory glance. The soldier was writhing on the ground from pain when John pressed a piece of leather into his mouth to prevent him from biting through his tongue. One of the ribs had pierced the man’s chest, and John was fairly certain that the other side had entered the man’s lung. Based on the way the man had started to cough up blood, he thought it was an accurate assumption.

John set to work on the man’s chest and narrowly avoided flinching when something brushed against his calf several minutes later. He spared a glance back, but there was no one and nothing there. Dismissing the sensation as nerves, he turned his attention back to the soldier and resumed murmuring platitudes. The second brush came against his outer thigh, and this time it didn’t move away. John was in the middle of an extremely delicate point in treatment, however, so he didn’t pay it any mind. That didn’t stop him from noting that the point of contact seemed to be spreading over the entirety of his lower body.

As soon as he had stabilized the soldier and tagged him for pick-up, he dropped his gaze to his legs. There was nothing on him, but he could feel a light pressure against his thighs, calves, and hips. A sudden suspicion struck him, and he pressed the bare skin of his wrist against his uniform trousers, unsurprised when he felt that strange mix of oil and plastic. “Damn it,” he hissed, unsure if the alien could hear him. “I told you to stay on base!”

Re: Aliens and Army Doctors 3b/?

There was no reply, and John had no other option than to continue working as if the alien wasn’t there. Like the day before, there was no resistance to his motions as he stood up, although the alien took the moment to surge over him and cover him from neck to toe. John hurried to the next downed soldier and went to work on him, gradually forgetting that he even had an extra passenger. By the time he had stabilized his fifth soldier, it was as if nothing had changed. It wasn’t until he was in the convoy returning to base and a tendril brushed comfortingly against his racing pulse that he remembered the alien’s presence.

There was nothing to say in the middle of a crowded vehicle, so John just ran a finger over his sleeve in response, hoping that the experience hadn’t terrified the alien and convinced it that humanity was a lost cause.

He needn’t have worried.

The next time a skirmish rolled around, John didn’t even bother with a token protest as the alien attached itself to his uniform. He jumped into the fray of battle and set to saving as many lives as possible, alien passenger all but forgotten. Then, as he was sprinting between bodies, head held low, he felt something impact his chest from the side. He instinctively dove to the ground and searched the area with steady fingers, certain that he had been shot and that he would be in agony once the adrenaline faded.

To his surprise, he felt only the oil-plastic texture of the alien over his ribs. The area was tender when he pressed against it through the alien’s skin, but it didn’t give like it would have had he been hit. With a mental shrug and promise to ask the alien about it later, he returned to searching out the wounded.

The eventual conversation went like this:

John pulled off his shirt and examined the dark bruise under his arm. The alien reached out and ran a finger over it, making John shiver. It immediately took its hand back and stepped away, staring at John with a blank expression. John pulled his shirt back on and took a seat on the chair. They had found an empty tent with only a table and chair as furnishings; there was almost no traffic outside the tent, so it was eerily quiet.

“So,” John started. “I got shot, didn’t I?”

The alien blinked and tilted its head. “Shot?”

John pulled his gun, making sure that the safety was on, and pointed it at his side directly over the bruise. The alien reached out and covered the muzzle of the gun, arm stretched across the room. John jumped in surprise, but allowed the alien to take the Browning from him. “Someone shot a bullet from a gun and hit me,” John stated, certain that he was right.

“Yes,” the alien admitted flatly. “I stopped it.” He examined the gun. “You save people who get shot. Why do you have a gun?”

“My job isn’t to shoot people; it’s to save people’s lives. Sometimes, though, I have to fight to keep myself and my patients safe. I don’t like to kill, but I will kill when I have to.”

The alien nodded but turned its mouth down into a frown. Still, it returned the gun without comment. Disapproval practically radiated from it, but it remained silent. John met its stare for several seconds before sighing. “Alright. What’s the problem?”

“No problem,” the alien denied; “different ideas. I don’t kill; death is bad. You kill; death is alright.” It shrugged. “I don’t agree, but you have your own choice.”

John ran a hand through his hair. “Yeah, that I do,” he acknowledged. There was silence for several moments before the alien reached a hand out, palm facing John. John matched it, and they sat that way for a few minutes, just accepting each other’s differences. Finally, John smiled and used his grip to pull the alien towards the door. “Come on,” he said. “I’m going to go take a nap. You’re welcome to hang out while I do, or to go do whatever it is you do when I’m sleeping at night; either way, let’s get out of here.”

They never used that tent as a discussion place again; it was coloured by their not-really-an-argument. John took the alien with him whenever he went out into the field after that. Eventually, he stopped worrying about enemy bullets and trusted the alien to keep him safe. It never let him down.

Aliens and Army Doctors 4a/?

Screw it; I'm already 9,000 words into chapter 5 and it's not even close to done. Any inconsistencies can work themselves out; I just want to post.

Sherlock Holmes is an alien. This is not as much of an AU as you might expect.

Chapter 4: The More Things Change . . .

Several months, a few therapy sessions, and an honorable discharge later, John found himself deep in depression and wondering how his life had gone so wrong. He’d left Harry’s after their third screaming match in as many days and returned to London, hoping to regain his youthful vivacity, but it turned out to only be a reminder of all that he had lost. His time in the war had isolated him from his previous friends, and his time with Sherrinford had alienated him from his comrades. He had been right, he realized one day in the middle of a park. The crushing weight of that understanding forced him to sit on the edge of a nearby fountain. He’d known that when Sherrinford left he would be left completely alone.

John’s shoulders shook as he cried in public for the first time in nearly three decades, and he hated himself for it.

It was in the midst of that dark depression that John ran into Mike Stamford, an old friend from Uni. He considered just walking on when he heard his name, aware that Stamford would only be yet another disappointing reminder of how so much had changed for him, but the man seemed determined to speak with him. John reluctantly let the man buy him a coffee and lead him to a park bench, where they engaged in stilted, awkward conversation.

John felt his heart sink; he remembered when he and Mike had stumbled back to the dormitories, giggling at their spectacularly failed attempts to pick up girls. How had he been reduced to this bumbling, awkward creature? The only upside was Mike’s suggestion and referral of a flatmate. John wondered if it would be easier to get along with a stranger who hadn’t known him before the war; would he still seem so ill at ease and maladjusted, or would he just appear shy?

Either way, he considered his life since returning from Afghanistan and decided that the only options were forcing himself back into life or putting a bullet through his own skull. He agreed to meet Mike Stamford’s friend.

With an almost insufferable cheer, Mike led John to the morgue at Bart’s, assuring John that if the potential flatmate wasn’t there, the worker on duty would know where he was. John warily followed him into the chilly, white-washed rooms and wondered if this wasn’t perhaps the worst idea he’d ever had in his life. He weighed it against joining the RAMC and decided that yes, it was.

In the morgue Mike left John at the door and cornered the girl who was working, and they carried on a whispered conversation with frequent glances thrown in his direction. To fight the paranoia that they were plotting against him – they almost certainly were – John forced his attention to the mousy girl with light brown hair. He decided that she seemed very shy. Eventually, she giggled and pointed out the door, clearly dismissing the two men.

And then they met the potential flatmate.

John walked into the lab and examined both the man bent over a Petri dish and the equipment in the room in equal measure. “A bit different from my day,” he decided. And so returns the awkward social fumbling. Wasn’t I a popular guy, back in the day? Why can’t I just be me again?

The man, tall and well-dressed with skin that was shockingly pale against his dark hair, glanced up as he entered but quickly returned his attention to the lab table, expression unchanged from the mild curiosity it had held upon the door opening. “Mike, can I borrow your phone?” he asked blandly. “There’s no signal on mine.”

Mike’s was unavailable, so John offered his own, hoping to make a good impression. “Oh,” the man said. “Thank you.” He made eye contact for the first time and smiled lightly. Mike introduced him, and John forced a small smile in return.

Re: Aliens and Army Doctors 4b/?

As he flipped the phone open and started to type, the man said, “I see Afghanistan wasn’t good to you.” John’s smile dropped away as his shoulders hunched defensively. The motion shot a spike of pain through the injured left, bringing back his focus from the panicked jumble his thoughts had become.

I can’t have heard that correctly. “I’m sorry?” John asked, looking from Mike’s smug expression to the other man’s bored one. There’s no way.

“I simply observed that Afghanistan must not have been good to you.” A tiny smirk slid on and off the man’s face in the space of a second as he glanced at John.

Extremely uncomfortable and anxious and wondering why he couldn’t have just one person with whom his relationship didn’t revolve around the war, John replied, “No, not really. Sorry, how did you –?”

The door opened behind him, admitting the mousy girl from the morgue and interrupting John’s query. He watched, bemused, as she offered a mug of coffee to the strange man who knew more than he should have. “Ah, Molly,” he greeted her, returning John’s phone and taking the mug. The genial expression fell from his face as he asked, “What happened to the lipstick?”

Molly was obviously embarrassed as she answered. “It wasn’t working for me,” she admitted, wringing her hands nervously. John felt guilty for feeling so incredibly glad that there was someone else in the world who felt as awkward as he did in that moment.

“Really?” The man turned and headed back to the lab table. “I thought it was a big improvement. Your mouth’s too small now.” He set the mug down as the poor girl made her escape.

John stared at the man, trying to find the best way to phrase, ‘How did you know I was in Afghanistan and who on Earth taught you manners?’ without being rude, but the man started talking before he could think of it.

“How do you feel about Italian?” the man asked.

Uncertain whether the question was directed towards him or Mike, John hesitated. The man didn’t look at either to signify the object of his curiosity, so John prompted, “Sorry?”

“I asked how you felt about Italian. Food, of course; I feel that potential flatmates should know the worst about each other, and I decided that lunch would be a great way to get to know each other’s faults.” He smiled for roughly two seconds before continuing. “I know most of yours already, of course, but you could find out about mine and make your decision. I already know that the violin won’t bother you: Based on the frequency with which you’ve asked me to repeat yourself, you must be hard of hearing.” He glanced up at John, who was feeling distinctly shell-shocked. A glint of teasing appeared in the creases of the man’s face as he smirked. “Or are you just slow? Might explain how you got caught in the line of fire.”

John forced off the immediate response -hurt-indignation-disbelief-how can you joke about that?!- and turned to Mike, who was definitely smirking at him, the bastard. “You told him about me?” he guessed. It made sense; there was no other way the man could possibly know about Afghanistan or flatmates. Hell, Italian was even his favorite kind of food, although why Mike would bother relating that was beyond John.

But no, “Not a word,” Mike said.

Distinctly bewildered, John turned back to the man. “Then who said anything about flatmates?” Because John was starting to entertain theories of mind-reading and time-travelers – after having an alien as his best friend for nearly a year, it wasn’t so far-fetched – and he’d really have liked to be proven wrong.

“I did,” the man replied lightly, “and I asked you to lunch. Are you interested?” The glance he got this time seemed much more weighted, and John felt himself agreeing before he really thought it through. “Excellent! I know a nice place not too far from here.” He put on his coat and scarf, taking off the latex gloves he’d been wearing and replacing them with a leather pair. “We can walk, if you’d like, or take a cab if that limp is acting up. First, though, I need to make a stop at the mortuary. I think I left my riding crop with one of the corpses.”

Aliens and Army Doctors 5a/?

This is going to be one of those wrap-around posts, so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pay attention to the numbering of parts. Good luck and Godspeed – I’ll see you at the end in about an hour.

The author asks that all pitchforks, torches, ICBMs, and other weapons be left at the door. Thank you.

This picks up immediately after the last chapter left off.

Chapter 5: A Stranger in Pink

The front page of the newspaper sported the headline, “Three Deaths: Serial Suicides?”

John grimaced and ran his fingers over Sherlock’s skin reassuringly. “Bloody depressing, isn’t it?” he asked. “Those poor people.” He remembered how close he’d come to turning his gun on himself and silently thanked Sherlock for showing up when he had. He took a bite of cold Chinese and settled in to read over the article.

John would admit to being startled when Sherlock surged up from the floor and reformed as a human without giving any indication of intention. “What happened?” he asked, eyes wide over the top of the newspaper.

“There’s been a fourth,” Sherlock said, already reaching for his coat. He’d formed the rest of his clothes from himself, John realized; the coat would prevent other people from accidentally brushing against him.

Then he registered what Sherlock had said. “A fourth? What, a fourth suicide?” He looked back down at the paper.

“Yes, of course a fourth suicide; what else? But there’s something different this time.” The alien glanced out the window as he mused before turning to face the door. John could hear footsteps rushing up the stairs and placed his paper and plate of food on the table to stand.

A man with graying hair stepped through the door, but he hadn’t even opened his mouth before Sherlock demanded, “Where?”

“Brixton, Lauriston Gardens,” the man replied somewhat breathlessly. His gaze slipped to the side as he panted, only to catch on John, who was still standing awkwardly by the chair in his sleepwear. Eyes widened incredulously, he snapped back to Sherlock. “Really, Sherlock?”

“What? Oh, that’s my new flatmate. Focus, please: What’s different with this one? You wouldn’t have come to get me if there wasn’t something different.”

The man obviously struggled to bite his tongue on several responses before finally settling with, “You know how they never leave notes? This one did. Will you come?”

“Who’s on forensics?”

“Anderson,” the man said with a grimace.

Sherlock exhaled explosively. “Anderson won’t work with me; I need an assistant.” He turned to face away, and John caught a hint of a wink where the grey-haired man wouldn’t see it.

“Look, will you come?”

“I need to put a stop to a few of my experiments; I’ll be right behind you,” the alien confirmed.

With a breathed, “Thank you,” the man disappeared the way he came with a last, confused glance tossed in John’s direction.

As soon as the front door closed, Sherlock spun and grinned. “Brilliant!” he exclaimed, startling John again. “Four suicides, and now a note. Hah! It’s Christmas.” He rushed through the flat, suspending the various things he’d been doing. Seeing John just standing still in the middle of the room, he rushed over and clasped him on the arms. “John, go get dressed; there’s no time to waste!”

Thoroughly bewildered by the turn of events, having expected a more-or-less quiet day in, John let the alien usher him up the stairs and got himself dressed as requested. The alien was practically bouncing when he returned, impatience written in every line of its body. “You’re rather terrifyingly good at acting out emotions,” John commented as they hurried down to street level.

“What? Oh, that. It comes naturally, after a while,” the alien explained, already hailing a cab. “If you associate a certain action with a certain emotion long enough, it becomes instinctive to perform the action when you feel the emotion. Pavlov’s dogs: Simple. Now hurry! I don’t want to give them any longer to destroy the scene than I have to.”

The cab ride was fairly long, and John spent most of it grilling Sherlock. “Who was that?” was the immediate question.

“Detective Inspector Lestrade. He’s in charge of the suicide cases. Next.”

“Where are we going?”

Re: Aliens and Army Doctors 5b/?

“Crime scene. You should have been able to pick that up from the conversation in the flat; don’t be dull. Next.”

“Okay, why are we going to the crime scene?”

At that, Sherlock paused and looked over at John. “I never told you what I’m doing now, did I?” he asked. “I’m a consulting detective; I help the police when they get in over their heads, which is always.”

“Consulting detective,” John repeated flatly. “There’s no such thing.”

“I did invent the job, so I can forgive your ignorance.”

“Right. How exactly did you get into the business of consulting detecting?” He remembered that Sherlock had mentioned his brother being a major part of nearly every world government. “Your brother helped you get an in with Scotland Yard?” he guessed.

Sherlock sniffed. “Hardly. I don’t need to rely on my brother’s influence; my ability speaks for itself.” He turned to face John. “Look, you remember how I made you uncomfortable by pointing out several facts of your life when we first met?”

Rather hard to forget. I almost had a heart attack. “Yes. You knew because you had known me before but didn’t deign to share that rather crucial information. I’m still rather irritated about that, by the way.”

“Wrong,” Sherlock said. “I knew some of it because I’d known you before. The rest of it I figured out the hard way: Observation.” He gestured to John’s cane. “Obviously I already knew that you’d been in Afghanistan, but you have a psychosomatic limp.”

“Wait. What makes you say that it’s psychosomatic?” Granted, John’s therapist kept telling him that it was, but she also said he had trust issues and PTSD. He considered the evening before. Okay, I might give her the trust issues, he privately admitted, but not the PTSD.

“When we met in the lab, you didn’t ask for a chair despite your heavy limp; you’d forgotten about it. That means it’s at least partly psychosomatic. So; psychosomatic limp means that the circumstances surrounding it were traumatic. In Afghanistan, that means wounded in action. You’d gotten used to me being your bullet-proof shield before I left, which leads me to the most probably course of injury: You were shot.

“I also surprised you by knowing that you were at the lab to meet a potential flatmate. That was fairly obvious; I had just mentioned to Mike that morning that I must be a difficult man to find a flatmate for, and you showed up later that day: An old friend of Mike’s invalided back from Afghanistan, looking for an affordable place to live. Simple.

“Then there was the part about living in the East End of London, near your therapist. You’ve got a distinct type of dust coating your jacket; it’s from heavy construction. Where is there always construction going on due to renovations? East End. You were looking for a flatmate, not just looking for a cheaper place in London to live. That tells me that the apartment where you were previously living is already inexpensive, but you still can’t afford it comfortably; not surprising with an Army pension. East End is looking good.

“Next: Your therapist. When you started looking for a therapist, you knew that you wouldn’t want to take public transit to and from – you used to hate traveling in the cramped convoys – and you wouldn’t have enough money to constantly pay for cab fare. That means it would have to be in walking distance. Taking your limp into consideration, psychosomatic though it is, you probably managed to find a therapist within two kilometres from a cheap apartment. That’s not too far to walk, especially if you get distracted and forget about your limp. Where can you find a competent therapist within two kilometres of a cheap apartment? East End.”

Sherlock turned to look out the window, but his grin was clearly visible. “You see: I don’t need to rely on my brother to get me in with Scotland Yard.”

John stared at him for several seconds, trying to take in the rapid-fire explanation. I’ve been underestimating him, he realized. “That was amazing,” he announced.

A few seconds of silence passed before Sherlock turned to look at him. “You think so?”

Re: Aliens and Army Doctors 5i/?


Mycroft had backed out of John’s space, so he couldn’t make out the reply. As the alien took a few more steps away, John let his head fall back against the chair and closed his eyes.

“Calm yourself; he’s fine. He texted you, didn’t he? … No, not at all. … It would be my pleasure. … One moment. John?” John looked up to see Mycroft holding the phone out to him. “He’d like to speak with you, if you don’t mind. For some reason, he seems to think that I’ve incapacitated you in some way.”

Chuckling slightly at that, John took the phone. “Hello?”

“John! Are you alright? Has he given you anything? Don’t take anything he offers you, and for the love of God don’t agree to anything.” Sherlock sounded positively frantic.

“Sherlock,” John interjected. Sherlock went silent on the other end of the line. “I’m fine. He kidnapped me, yes, but once I realized who he was it was fine.”

“He kidnapped you? Dammit, Mycroft. Let me talk to him; I’ll get him to bring you home.”

John sighed and handed the phone off. Mycroft watched his expression as he finished the conversation – “Of course, Sherlock. He’ll be there shortly.” – and frowned at what he saw. “John,” he said, flipping the phone closed and returning it to his pocket. “I worry about my brother. Constantly.”

After today, I see why. “Okay. And?”

“What with the argument he and I are having right now, if you leave Sherlock he will be alone. It is entirely your decision, of course, but please keep that in mind.”

I think we’ve determined that I can’t be friends with Sherlock by this point, John thought cynically, but maybe we can fix whatever’s gone wrong between you two. “You can come with me to Baker Street, right?” he asked suddenly.

Mycroft blinked. “I wasn’t planning to; Sherlock would without a doubt be extremely displeased to see me in your company.”

“It’s my flat, too; I can invite you over if I want,” John replied, levering himself out of the chair. “And I think the three of us have some things to discuss. Will you come?”

“Of course.”

They piled into the car, Anthea giving Mycroft a surprised look but saying nothing. “221B Baker Street,” Mycroft told the driver. The car backed out of the warehouse and started retracing its route, but the interior was silent and tense.

John flicked his eyes from Mycroft to Anthea, silently asking if she knew what Mycroft was. The tiny shake of his head could have been Mycroft telling him that she was unaware, or it could have been him trying to explain that he didn’t understand what John was asking. Either way, John decided to keep his mouth shut until they were in the relatively safer environment of the flat.

Sherlock was waiting at the curb when they pulled up. He jumped towards the car and yanked the back door open before it had even stopped. “Mycroft,” he snarled, dragging John out of the back seat and behind him defensively. John blinked at the treatment and stared at him incredulously.

“Sherlock, don’t make a scene,” Mycroft replied as he elegantly unfolded himself from the vehicle. “Wait here, please,” he told Anthea before shutting the door. He turned back to John and Sherlock and motioned to the front door. “After you, Dr. Watson.”

John pulled the door open and shoved Sherlock up the stairs, ignoring his shocked protests. Mycroft followed behind John with his umbrella twirling sedately. Although he scowled the whole way, Sherlock grudgingly opened the door and led the entourage into the living room. “Why are you here, Mycroft?” he spat.

“He’s here because I asked him to be, Sherlock,” John interrupted. If he let them get into a tiff, he’d never manage to get a word in edgewise. The statement stopped Sherlock cold, and he stared at John with an expression that slid into betrayal. Still, his response was directed to Mycroft.

“What did you do to him?” he demanded, stalking forward. Mycroft merely tilted his head and stripped off a glove as he raised his hand for Sherlock to take.

Re: Aliens and Army Doctors 5q/?


“That was the craziest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” John finally wheezed.

“And you invaded Afghanistan,” Sherlock agreed.

The laughter just seemed to burst out of them. “It wasn’t just me, then,” he denied. “What if the murderer showed up after we left?”

“Angelo will keep an eye on it. It was a long shot, anyway.”

“So what were we doing out there in the first place?”

“Oh, just passing the time,” Sherlock replied, face composed again. “And proving a point.” The grin on his face was anything but comforting.

“What point?” was John’s wary reply.

A knock sounded on the front door. Sherlock motioned for John to answer it. More than a little confused and nervous, John turned and opened the door.

Angelo was standing on the front step. “Sherlock texted me,” he explained. He held up John’s cane. “He said you forgot this!”

John took the cane from him, glancing down at his right leg in surprise. He hadn’t noticed any pain or discomfort after leaving Angelo’s; he hadn’t even realized that he was lacking the near-constant rubber grip in his hand. A glance back through the hallway showed Sherlock grinning happily at him, and a smile spread over his own face in response. “Thank you,” he told Angelo, shock beginning to fade. “Thank you.” He went back inside.

As he rejoined Sherlock, Mrs. Hudson paced out of her room. “Oh, Sherlock, what’ve you done?” she moaned, obviously distraught.

Looking distinctly less happy, Sherlock prompted, “Mrs. Hudson?”


Sherlock glanced at John before hurrying up the stairs, John practically walking on his heels. They burst into a center of activity, policemen and women moving through the flat in a flurry of motion. “What are you doing?” Sherlock demanded, going straight to Lestrade, who was sitting in one of their armchairs with his ankle crossed over his knee.

“Well I knew you’d find the case; I’m not stupid,” he said.

“You can’t just break into my flat,” Sherlock snarled. John was inclined to agree; he glanced around and wracked his memory for anything that could lead the police back to the fact that Sherlock wasn’t human. He didn’t think that there was anything obvious lying around, but there was the fact that there was no food in the kitchen.

“You can’t withhold evidence!” Lestrade retorted. “And I didn’t break into your flat.”

“Well what do you call this, then?” the alien demanded, arms thrown wide.

Lestrade shrugged. “It’s a drugs bust.”

Wait, what? “Seriously?” John asked from behind Sherlock, surprised out of his mild panic. “This guy: A junkie – Have you met him?” First there’s the fact that it would have no effect on him whatsoever….

Sherlock had circled around to face him. “John,” he said warningly.

Ignoring the reprimand, he continued, “I’m pretty sure you could search this flat all day, and you wouldn’t find anything you could call ‘recreation’.”

“John, you’ll probably want to shut up now,” Sherlock said sharply.

Surprised and more than a little disconcerted, John turned his head to face Sherlock, who was all but glaring at him. “Yeah, but come on.”

“You do recall that I mentioned making a study of the effects certain substances have on me?” Sherlock hissed at him.

John’s eyes widened in realization before he narrowed them to glare back. “We’re going to talk about this later,” he warned. For good measure, he clenched his muscles until he managed a short full-body tremor. I’ll say it in your body language, too.

The alien backed away immediately and turned to face Lestrade. “I’m not your sniffer dog,” he informed him.

“No,” the DI agreed; “Anderson’s my sniffer dog.” He nodded towards the kitchen, where Anderson gave them a short wave.

“Wh – Anderson, what are you doing here on a drugs bust?” Sherlock demanded.

“Oh, I volunteered,” Anderson informed him. “Are these human eyes?” he asked, holding up a plastic bag in his other hand.

“Put those back!”

“They were in the microwave.”

“It’s an experiment!” He was getting more and more frantic; John could see his skin start to vibrate, and he placed a hand against his neck soothingly.

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Aliens and Army Doctors 6a/?

Sorry for taking forever; this chapter did NOT want to be written. Getting a copy of Portal 2 probably didn’t help matters. But here we are! Finally. It’s fairly long, too – not quite as long as the last one, but still up there. I used to write short chapters; what happened?

Mild warning for discussion of off-screen drug use, both consensual and nonconsensual.

Chapter 6: All the Lonely People

The first night was the hardest.

John woke with a gasp, throat hoarse from screaming and fingers scrabbling desperately against the gritty sand of the desert. Sherrinford; Sherrinford, where are you? Sherrinford! The familiar slide of oil-plastic over his wrist calmed him marginally, and he stopped thrashing, air rasping in his throat. He curled on his side against Sherrinford and clutched at the alien’s form, shoulders shaking with silent sobs. Gradually, the grains of sand faded to the silky-soft sheets of Mycroft’s guest bed, and he realized that Mycroft was gripping his upper arms. Face flushed in mortification, he rolled away from the edge of the bed, releasing Mycroft’s waist in the process.

“Sorry if I bothered you,” he mumbled. I probably freaked him out pretty badly. “I’m fine now; it was just a nightmare.”

He was still shaking, so he tried taking deep breaths to calm himself. After the screaming nightmare, the last thing he wanted to do was accidentally convince Mycroft that he was furious with him. The alien hesitantly laid a hand across his shoulder, but with his nerves so tightly wound the unanticipated action made him instinctively flinch away. Mycroft immediately pulled his hand back.

Damn it, John, stop acting like a whiny brat. You know physical contact is important to their culture; he was just trying to comfort you. Calm down. With effort, he forced his shoulders still and rolled back to face the alien. Mycroft was watching him warily, hand still outstretched in his direction. John reached out and took the alien’s hand in his own; he smiled shakily and was pleased when it seemed to calm the alien somewhat.

“I’ve never seen anyone so scared,” Mycroft murmured, gently drawing John into his embrace. “Never on my planet, and never on yours. What frightened you?” The alien’s limbs devolved into a tangle of curling tendrils that shifted restlessly over John’s back and arms.

John felt his shoulders twitch and clamped down on the reaction before it could become a full-bodied shudder. “Are you familiar with nightmares?” he asked in response.

The alien hummed and pulled John deeper into his weaving limbs. “Not particularly, no. I don’t sleep, so I don’t dream.”

“Do you know how dreaming works, at least?”

“Explain it to me, just in case,” Mycroft requested. The tendrils slowed their mad dance over John’s back and began to settle against him.

“When humans are asleep, our brains continue to fire electrical impulses – we still think.” Do they have brains? Where would they go when they flatten themselves? “It helps us to compartmentalize the events of the day and to keep us sane. A human deprived of sleep – of dreams – will eventually go insane.” The clinical explanation was letting John draw his mind away from that horrifying feeling of abandonment, and his heart rate settled back to normal.

“Your dreams are similar to our touch, then.”

“In that it’s necessary for continued mental health, yes; but we can’t communicate through dreams.” He reconsidered. “Well. Some people claim that they can, but it hasn’t been proven. Anyway, dreams are usually nonsensical – random neurons fire and create fantastic scenarios or images. Most of the time, this is pretty harmless; even scenarios that should be horrifying can be funny or blasé in a dream. With only a few exceptions, however, we are completely incapable of controlling what happens in the dream.”

When John didn’t continue immediately, the alien pressed, “Is that what frightened you? The lack of control?”

Re: Aliens and Army Doctors 6b/?

He shook his head. “No. A nightmare is a different type of dream: Something terrifying happens or appears in the dream, and the dreamer is unable to wake himself up to escape.” His heart rate was starting to pick up again. “The dream feels real, and it’s impossible to tell whether it’s reality or not until you wake up.” In his case, it was both; he’d dreamt of the moment after being shot. Memory of his panic fresh in his mind, he burrowed further into Mycroft and hid his face.

The next words came slowly, as if Mycroft was unsure whether it was acceptable to ask. “What did you dream of?” he asked. John tensed and started to shiver lightly. “I’m sorry,” Mycroft said immediately, tightening his grasp. “I shouldn’t have asked.”

“It’s fine,” John denied. Get a grip! “I was dreaming about getting shot in Afghanistan. Sherrin – Sherlock wasn’t there.” He managed to keep his voice mostly steady, but his hands clenched in Mycroft’s torso. His shoulders started to shake again.

The alien was obviously uncomfortably confused by the seemingly contradictory actions – Shaking means you’re angry to them; stop it! – but he managed to keep a calm and soothing voice through his next question. “Would you prefer it if I left?”

The fear of being left alone like this overrode any embarrassment John held. “No,” he replied vehemently. He blushed immediately but didn’t relent in his grip.

Mycroft brushed one of his tendrils over John’s hair. “Then I’ll stay,” he promised. He didn’t move away as John slowly calmed, and he even tugged the human into a more relaxed position as his eyelids started to drift shut again. The last thing John remembered seeing that night was a pale tendril waving hypnotically before his face. It was also the first thing he saw in the morning after sleeping peacefully through the rest of the night.

After that, when John started making motions towards going to sleep Mycroft would pack up whatever he was doing and relocate to the side of John’s bed. He would stay there through the night with one hand devolved enough to wrap around John’s wrist and continue working silently until John woke up in the morning.

It was the best sleep of John’s life.

John was more than slightly surprised to find that Sherlock’s brother was a decent cook. When he stumbled down the stairs the next morning after getting dressed, the smell of bacon and eggs came as a complete shock. He rounded the corner to the kitchen and stared at Mycroft in disbelief: The alien was stationed in front of the stove, waging war against the eggs in the frying pan with only a spatula and an absurdly pink apron. “Er,” he managed as Mycroft turned to smile at him. “You cook?”

“Not before today, no; I assure you that I researched the matter thoroughly before you woke up, however.” He motioned to the laptop on the counter; John realized that it had a page opened on the mechanics of cooking on a stove.

“Oh.” John stood awkwardly in the doorway for a few more moments. “Is there anything I can help you with?”

“Grab something to drink, if you want anything,” Mycroft suggested, nodding towards the fridge. “I went shopping last night after you went to sleep the first time; there’s orange juice and milk in the fridge, and I put some teas in the cupboard on the end. Cups and mugs are in the cupboard to the right of the sink.” He flipped the eggs onto a plate and added several strips of bacon before grabbing the two pieces of toast that popped up as he walked by. The whole ensemble went onto the counter while John poured himself a glass of juice.

“You’re not eating?” John verified. Sherlock had never needed to eat, but maybe that was personal preference. Glass in one hand and plate of food in the other, he took a seat at the dining room table.

He got a short laugh in response. “No, I’m not eating. I don’t have taste buds, to start with, and carrying around a glob of food in my body until I can dispose of it is pointless.” Mycroft sat across from him and waved at John’s breakfast carelessly. “As I can’t taste it, please don’t worry about offending me if it’s horrible. It is my first attempt, after all.”

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Aliens and Army Doctors 7a/?

First: Huge thanks to everyone who offered concrit and brit-picking; it was extremely helpful! (And wow, am I awed by the response I got. You guys are amazing.) Please, keep up the good work. :)

Second: This story now has a beta! JBS_teeth has joined me on this epic quest; between the two of us, the storyline is looking pretty solid. And long. Am I ever going to finish this thing?

Third: Who needs continuity? John is now a forensic medical examiner. Just go with it for now; everything will be fixed in the final draft.

Fourth: We have a new winner for the longest chapter in this story! *dies* I’m gonna need a bigger boat labeling system.

Warnings: Short reference to a Dom/Sub relationship, discussion of stillbirth, and major spoilers for Season 1. Also, DI Dimmock.

Chapter 7: The Bereft Banker

As the weeks passed, John and Sherlock relaxed around each other and reestablished their pre-London status quo. John put some effort into decorating the flat in his style, and Sherlock tried not to cover every available space with experiments. “There are just so many substances on your planet, John; I have to learn to identify them at a moment’s notice!” he claimed as his excuse. John was sure that it had more to do with the fact that Sherlock was infinitely more curious than the iconic cat. At least he had a similarly inflated number of lives.

They went on investigations when John was home from work; at John’s urging Sherlock began to accept more private cases. “How is this helping humanity?” Sherlock wondered. “Why are these people coming to me to prove that their spouse is unfaithful? Just ask them!”

“Sherlock, we can’t always tell when other humans are lying, remember?”

“Why bother marrying someone whom you can’t trust to tell the truth?”

John hadn’t had an answer for that one.

Despite the occasional hiccup – like forgetting that humans could successfully lie – Sherlock quickly became much more fluent in human behaviour. The moments where his face and body language would blank with surprise came less and less frequently, and sometimes Sherlock would even express surprise like a human. John couldn’t help but wonder if those instances were an example of Sherlock internalizing human body language or an example of Sherlock displaying his excellent acting abilities. He was getting better at telling the two apart – as quickly as Sherlock was learning human body language, John was learning Sherlock’s body language.

They still hadn’t talked about the Argument – it had earned the capital letter – and the majority of their conflicts in those weeks arose because Sherlock would petulantly deny several well-paying private cases. “I can’t pay all of the bills myself, Sherlock; I need you to contribute a little bit more to our life than that.”

Because Sherlock almost never took a private case of his own volition, John hadn’t been expecting a case when Sherlock had dragged him to the Shad Sanderson bank in Tower 42. He definitely hadn’t expected to be brought directly to the manager. “Sherlock Holmes,” the man greeted him as he strode into the office. “How have you been? It’s been – what – ten months since you left us?” He gave them an obviously false smile and shook Sherlock’s gloved hand.

Sherlock returned the handshake. “Sebastian Wilkes. This is my friend, John Watson.”

“Hullo.” John shook the manager’s hand as well, wondering why he was spending his day off in a bank.

Sebastian stalled for further conversation before turning to his chair on the other side of the desk and offering them drinks. The alien declined for obvious reasons, and John followed suit as they sat across from the banker.

Sherlock examined Sebastian for a few seconds before declaring, “You cut off a business meeting to speak with me – one with Mr. Sanderson himself, so it must be important.”

Aliens and Army Doctors 8a/?

The ZSL London Zoo is a real place; it does not, however, allow re-entry. For the sake of this chapter, it does. The SeeLife Aquarium does not exist in London – the Sea Life Aquarium does. For various reasons (not the least of which being that I like SeeLife better) it has been changed for this story.

Warnings: Discussion of past drug use, death, snakes, gratuitous cephalopods, and fluff. All in one chapter! Only in Sherlock…I love this fandom.

Chapter 8: The Age of Aquariums

Life with Sherlock was never boring, but the next few weeks did pass more mundanely than usual. John went to work and came home; Sherlock dragged him out on cases and never failed to meet him for lunch, whether they went out or the alien brought him take-away. After John had allowed Sherlock to guide him through his uniform at Van Coon’s apartment, like they had in Afghanistan, they grew more comfortable with Sherlock handling John on occasion: He would lift John – and sometimes the chair he was sitting on, as well – when he was rearranging something in the sitting room and the human was in the way. It had startled John the first time, but he realized Sherlock felt more comfortable expressing his alien quirks in London than he had in Afghanistan and shrugged it off.

Their cases were almost obscenely peaceful, compared to the adventures of the cabby and the triad; but day by day, John felt his tension growing when nothing came more of the smuggling case. It was almost disappointing: Sherlock had exposed a triad and successfully recovered a nine-million-quid hairpin, but there was no retaliation in any form. The anticlimactic closure left John unconsciously searching for some sort of conflict, and he became more irritable with Sherlock. He found himself recalling the discussions with Anderson and Lestrade about Sherlock’s cocaine use, and resolved to confront the two aliens about it. Unfortunately, Mycroft was extremely busy – the American presidential elections were coming up quickly, and the world was reacting accordingly – so he had to put off the conversation for a few days.

John finally managed to corner both Mycroft and Sherlock almost a week later. “Right,” he said, glaring at them with belated agitation. “We’ve got something to discuss.” The two aliens shifted their bulks onto the couch; Mycroft formed as a human while Sherlock remained a blob. “Sherlock’s cocaine use.”

Sherlock reformed at that and immediately protested. “It was for an experiment: I was examining the effects of Earthly substances on our physiology. Smoke and alcohol didn’t affect me, so I was testing the effect of intravenous drugs.” He shrugged. “You never know if some lunatic’s going to kidnap Mycroft or me and try to drug us.”

“So you shot yourself up with cocaine,” John summarized. “Just so I know, did you think about the possible repercussions? At all? What if it had affected you?” He turned on Mycroft. “And you let him do it!”

Mycroft raised an eyebrow. “We tested everything before bringing it into direct contact with Sherlock to determine the level of risk; for the higher-risked substances, I would supervise and prepare to remove the afflicted body part if it became necessary.”

“The cocaine was so low-risk that I did the testing for it alone,” Sherlock added. “I was too focused on monitoring my reactions, however; I didn’t feel Lestrade come in.”

“Right.” I guess it’s a good thing that he was being careful, at least. John ran a hand through his hair before Mycroft’s words registered. “Wait a second – ‘remove the afflicted body part?’ You were going to amputate him?”

“If the substance reacted badly, of course.”

It was difficult to reign in his horror and really think about it, but John managed. Their physiology isn’t the same as yours, he reminded himself. Maybe it’s no big deal to them. But I know that Sherlock feels things with his skin! “Doesn’t that hurt you?”

Sherlock shifted and moved closer to his brother before abruptly moving away. “Yes,” he admitted, “but it’s not that bad. Most of our kind procreates at some point in life, after all.”

Aliens and Army Doctors 9 i/?

Warnings: Length, death, implied kidnappings (including children), violence, Moriarty. I’d warn for spoilers of TGG in this chapter, but there almost aren’t any. Let’s just say that this episode got a bit remixed. Oh, and potential warning for flailing at the end of the chapter. Don’t sit next to anything fragile.

I’ve researched the strangest things for this chapter….

Chapter 9: The Galactic Game

Over the next several days, John had to watch himself closely to make sure that his behaviour around Sherlock didn’t cross the fine line from tactile and friendly into romantic. He was usually fine with hugging, holding hands, and just curling up on the couch together, but occasionally he would catch himself dropping his head down as if to give Sherlock a kiss or opening his mouth to casually drop the word ‘love’ in conversation. It was frustrating, and he worried that Sherlock was compiling the series of instances in his photographic memory for examination.

But, maybe he didn’t have anything to worry about: Sherlock didn’t have a perfect memory, John found out two weeks later – or rather, he didn’t have a perfect memory all of the time. “What do you mean, ‘Who’s Connie Prince?’ We watched her television show a couple of days ago; you spent most of it mocking her ‘aesthetic sense of appeal,’ if I remember correctly.” John stared at the alien in the bathroom mirror as he finished shaving.

“Did we?” Sherlock asked mildly. “I must have deleted it. I’ve only got so much storage space; the show must have been worse than useless. Why bother keeping it?”

“Hold on,” John said, wiping his face clean of the remainder of cream. “You ‘deleted it?’ What does that mean? You’re not a computer.”

Sherlock held his hand out flat between them. “No, but it does make an apt analogy. My memory is my skin, right? So if I start to run out of places to store information, I have to overwrite other memories.”

“Your memory is in your skin?”

“Of course.” Pausing for a second, brow furrowed, Sherlock asked, “Isn’t yours?”

“I – No. It’s in our brains. For that matter, do you even have a brain?” John slid past Sherlock and grabbed two shirts from his room.

“Not as you would understand it; no. My entire body is my brain, essentially.” Sherlock formed a ball over his hand, holding it several centimeters above his palm by a thin stalk. “I store my memories in my form; this is my memory of the training I had to go through before leaving my planet for yours.” He reabsorbed the ball back into his hand. “I’ve got limited storage space – approximately equivalent to about three exabytes. On occasion, it becomes necessary to delete unimportant memories to open space for new ones.”

“Exabytes?” John asked. Hey, if I’m lucky, he’ll have been deleting my near-admissions of love.

“One exabyte is one thousand petabytes, which is equal to one thousand terabytes.” Sherlock trailed off at the blank expression on John’s face, and he sighed. “It’s a lot,” he summarized.

John shook his head, amazed, and wondered how Sherlock could still surprise him like this after knowing each other for so long. “Unbelievable. Well, as you can’t remember what Connie Prince said about colour-coordination, I’ll have to depend on my own faulty memory and your fashion sense,” he teased. “Should I wear the blue shirt or the beige?”

“The beige, of course,” Sherlock informed him, already devolving back into a puddle. “Though why you’re even bothering for a brunch with Anderson, I don’t know,” he added just before his torso dissolved.

“Sally’s going to be there, too, Sherlock; besides, didn’t we agree that you wouldn’t insult Alan anymore?” John asked, exasperated.

Sherlock folded over on himself in a gesture John had figured out equated to ‘Whatever.’ John pulled on the beige shirt, rolling his eyes at Sherlock. The alien wrapped around his lower body and deposited him in the sitting room, where he pulled John’s coat over his shoulders while John checked his phone to make sure that there had been no change in plans. “I’ll be back in a couple of hours,” John told Sherlock. “Try not to blow anything up while I’m gone, yeah?”

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Arc Notes 1/2


Arc 2 Notes

General Stuff:

-As always, JBS-Teeth is awesome. We all see the shift in quality between Chapter 6 and Chapter 7, yes?
-So, my soundtrack for the story so far has been The Imagined Village’s “Space Girl.” It’s been over a month of listening to this on repeat and very little else. Anyone want to suggest a similarly-themed song or soundtrack for the last arc? Instrumentals are awesome!
-Also, to those of you who were rooting for a J/S/M resolution….it’s not going to happen. ^_^ Plotted out the third arc, and I couldn’t get them to work together for it. Sorry? I’ll throw you a bone later!

Chapter 4: The More Things Change….

-Title from the sentence, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
-I tweaked Angelo’s character a bit, but I think I like him more this way. ^_^
-Not much more to say about this one, but there will be several changes made in the final draft.

Chapter 5: A Stranger in Pink

-A lot more changes than in Chapter 4, but still not a whole lot to say.

Chapter 6: All the Lonely People

-Title from the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby”: “All the lonely people;/Where do they all come from?/All the lonely people;/Where do they all belong?”
-The less said about this one, the better. Most of it won’t exist in the final draft, anyway. Again, thanks for the lovely con-crit! *huggles*

Chapter 7: The Bereft Banker

-I took some liberties with Sebastian Wilkes’ character, I admit; particularly in his relationship with Jeremy. It’s all in good fun, though!
-I did some research into the complaints fans had about this episode – my version was as much about “fix the storyline/details” as “insert Aliens here.” I think I got all of the errors people pointed out (the numbering system, the usage of the word ‘tong,’ John’s behavior, Sarah’s willingness to continue dating John, etc.). If you caught something that I missed, feel free to let me know!
-Head-canon Soo Lin is a BAMF. *nodnod*

Chapter 8: The Age of Aquariums

-Title is a pun off of The Fourth Dimension’s “Age of Aquarius.” My mom and I actually made up this parody song while driving to an aquarium when I was a kid.
-I spent quite a while researching different snakes’ venoms for this chapter. I didn’t bookmark the page, unfortunately, but I read somewhere that the king cobra’s venom is something like six times as fast-acting as the black mamba’s. Yikes.
-And, of course, cuttlefish are <3! New favorite animal; no lie.

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Aliens and Army Doctors 10 i/?

Oh, this chapter did not want to be written. JBS-Teeth, you are a story-saver.

Please hold all concrit/britpick until the end of the chapter: I know of at least one detail that I had to handwave for lack of a better option, and I’ll own up to it at the end. ;)

Warnings: Length (as always), a claustrophobic situation, bigotry, and lots of traveling.

Chapter 10: A Smile is Cheaper (Than a Bullet)


“– have identified the bodies: Sebastian Moran and James Flahave.”


“– obvious that the video’s faked; this whole thing is just an elaborate hoax, and –”


“Of course it’s real! Come on, man, this is a message. The aliens are here.”


“– lighting of the shifting hand is perfect. These are extraordinarily well-done special effects. In fact, I’d –”


“Due to the poor sound quality of the video, there are still no leads on the two unidentified persons of interest. We are in the process of isolating and removing the ambient noise to clarify the sound –”

Click. John turned the television off and ran his hands through his hair. “We need to come up with a story,” he announced. “Someone’s going to recognize us, probably sooner than later.”

“We claim that it was a hoax,” Sherlock suggested flatly, one hand scrolling through forums and blogs on John’s laptop and the other staying in contact with Mycroft, who was watching the proceedings without interacting. John had gotten up from their tangle several minutes before and made himself a cup of tea to try to calm down; the two aliens had relocated to one of the armchairs. “We were never there; someone got look-alikes and staged the whole thing.”

John shook his head. “That’s way too much of a coincidence: An alien hoax was staged in a pool at the same time that a real pool exploded and left two bodies?”

“A very elaborate hoax, then.”

“Wouldn’t work. Even if some people buy it, there’ll be the conspiracy theorists who don’t let it go. All it takes is one of them finding something suspicious about you or Mycroft, and it’s all over.” He shrugged uncomfortably. “Moriarty did it.”

Sherlock slammed the laptop closed, skin rippling dangerously, but his voice was still even. “What would you suggest we do?” Mycroft curled higher over Sherlock’s arm, and the ripples faded.

“I don’t know!” John groaned, falling back against the cushions of the sofa. “Maybe if we say it was a trap to lure Moriarty in, but it went wrong, and we ran off when the building exploded?”

“Ignoring the fact that he clearly lured us there, there’s no way a human would have survived that explosion without assistance. We can’t have been there when the building went up.”

Mycroft reformed for the first time since the night before and stared at the blank television screen. “I can talk to the government,” he said. “I might be able to convince them to remove the video clip and classify it. They’ll want to know why, of course, and covering the entire thing up will probably raise suspicions.”

“Someone’s coming,” Sherlock said abruptly, reopening John’s laptop. Mycroft slipped from Sherlock’s side and sat in the other armchair. The two aliens rearranged their features to look perfectly human, so when the knock came on the door John was the only one who looked disheveled.

“Come in,” John called, tugging his shirt straighter so that it didn’t look so rumpled.

Detective Inspector Lestrade stepped through the door and shut it behind him. He stared at them, bloodshot eyes flicking over Mycroft before returning to John and Sherlock. “Who is he?”

“Mycroft Holmes,” Mycroft introduced himself, nodding to the DI. “I’m Sherlock’s brother.”

“Really.” Lestrade examined him for a moment before shaking his head and turning back to Sherlock. “What the fuck happened last night?” he demanded. “Two people are dead!”

Luckily, Lestrade was watching John and Sherlock instead of Mycroft: John saw him flinch and blur from the corner of his eye; John winced. He doesn’t need to be reminded of that so soon. “We saw the news,” he said aloud. “Are there any leads on the explosion?”

Aliens and Army Doctors 11 i/?

*glances at the date for chapter 10*


Well, that didn’t go as I’d planned. Um. If anyone’s still out there…enjoy?

Warnings: Fluff, death, hysteria, and length. Nothing you weren’t expecting, I’m sure. Also, cameos!

Chapter 11: District 221B


“Things are heating up here on Baker Street, though it’s a far cry from the masses we had here this morning: Dozens of protestors left this address for home earlier today to watch the live broadcast of the prime minister’s address, due to begin in a few minutes. It's shaping up to be quite the event; resident Lottie Turner says that she's very interested in what he has to say. Mrs. Turner?"

"Well, yes; of course I'm interested. I can barely get to my bloody front door for all the people! I don't know what's convinced them that we've got aliens living here – aliens, of all things! – but I personally can't wait for them to get out of my hair." She shook her head, hair almost brushing the reporter's microphone. "Aliens, honestly. What kind of crockery is that? I think I would have noticed if I was living next door to a couple of little green men."

Were the situation lighter, John suspected that Sherlock would have obligingly shifted size and colour beside him. As it was, they both stared at the screen in tense anticipation while the reporter continued talking to their neighbour.

“Many of the protestors here seem to disagree with you on that, and you have to admit that the guards stationed at 221 Baker Street are a bit suspicious.” The camera panned over to the front door, where Anthea’s guards looked out over the crowd.

Mrs. Turner snorted. “Of course there are guards; have you notice the mob, by chance? I’d be more worried if Mrs. Hudson and her residents hadn’t gotten some form of protection until this whole thing gets cleared up.” She shifted her shopping higher on one arm and nodded in the general direction of Downing Street. “And, that can’t happen soon enough so that we get some peace again.”

“Thank you for your input, Mrs. Turner,” the reporter said, turning back to face the camera. “Back to you, Daryl.”

“Thank you, Katherine. As the hour nears, we’re bringing you live to Downing Street, where the prime minister is about to address the rumours of alien life on the planet. Joseph?”

“Well, Daryl, I’m here at Downing Street, where anticipation is high for the prime minister’s address. We can only assume that his personal attention to the matter means that there is more to the story than a simple prank.”

John snorted, trying to reduce the tension. “That’s pretty safe to say, yeah.” Sherlock leaned over a bit and pressed against his side, saying nothing; the comfort of the touch calmed John just a tiny bit, though.

A hush fell on the crowd of reporters, and John swallowed heavily as they watched the prime minister step out. The reporters remained quiet as the prime minister greeted them and introduced the topic with a reference to the explosion at the pool over a week before. There was silence as he confirmed that the events of the incident, as portrayed on the video clip, were untampered. When he released Sherlock’s and Mycroft’s names with the explanation that they were giving “full disclosure,” the media exploded into noise.

After a few minutes of questions ranging from the idiotic (“Where did they come from?”) to the pragmatic (“Could you describe the diplomatic plan you’ll be implementing?”) to the hopeful (“Have they come to bring us into a new, more advanced era?”) to the nearly offensive (“What is the containment policy for the aliens? They’re not roaming the streets, are they?”), Sherlock stretched a hand out and flipped the telly off. John stared at the blank screen, feeling a strange sense of release. It’s out, he thought. There’s nothing to be done but go forward, now; the decision is made and done. It was oddly liberating to no longer feel the need to worry about accidentally revealing Sherlock or Mycroft; now, the entire world would know about them. The worst is over. We just have to survive the aftermath.

(Deleted comment)

Aliens and Army Doctors 12 i/?

So...hey, everyone! Long time, no see. ^_^;

This chapter was shaping up to be INSANELY long, so I'm splitting it into two for readability. :D That means that we've got two chapters left after this until the end of the story.

Huge thanks to JBS-Teeth for helping me keep this story on-track!

Warnings: Bigotry, length, and potential flailing and/or homicidal rage in the readers.

Chapter 12: Mutual Weirdness

John glared balefully at the mobile where it lay on the table. As he watched, the screen briefly went dark before lighting up with another incoming call. He’d only made the mistake of answering the first two; after listening to raging abuse and raging adoration, respectively, he’d silenced the phone and watched the calls come in.

“Why haven’t you just turned it off?” Sherlock asked, leaning over John’s shoulder. John glanced back to see that Sherlock hadn’t completely abandoned his natural form: He’d formed a large tendril into a human torso and head, but the bottom part of his body was still stretched into his bedroom.

“Morbid curiosity, I suppose,” John replied. “I’m wondering how long it will take for the voicemail and text inbox to fill up.” Not very long at this rate. “Do you think it’ll last until lunchtime?”

Sherlock tilted his head and watched the ‘Missed Calls’ number rise on John’s phone. “No.” In the few seconds of silence, John’s phone lit up with another phone call and eight texts. “John, just turn off your phone,” Sherlock demanded. “It’s making you tense.”

I’ve just had my privacy violated by some arse who spread my phone number. I think I’ve got the right to be tense. John forced his shoulders down from their semi-hunched position and sighed, picking up the mobile. “Alright, are you happy?” he asked as he hit the power button.

Smiling in the face of John’s irritation, Sherlock said, “Very.” He brushed a newly-formed hand over John’s neck before it dissolved back into a tendril that draped over John’s shoulders.

“You make it hard to carry on a good snit,” John complained, feeling his frustrations fade under Sherlock’s reassuring touch. “I was gearing up for a really good one, too.” Sherlock twitched and tapped him on the cheek in response. “Fine; alright! I’ll be optimistic,” he promised. It was apparently good enough for Sherlock, who split off a tiny tendril and turned on a bit of music to drown out the protestors’ enthusiastic cries.

In the interests of expediency, Mycroft’s biweekly visits to reconnect with Sherlock always coincided with Anthea’s meetings with Mrs. Hudson. So, when Mycroft appeared alone behind John in the kitchen without traversing the entranceway downstairs, John half-wondered if Mycroft had broken out and snuck over. “Where’s Anthea?” John asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Busy,” Mycroft replied. “She didn’t have anything specific to talk to Mrs. Hudson about, and I had a question for you, so she agreed to drop me off under Mrs. Hudson’s care for the afternoon. It was easier for me to slip in through the window on the side of the building than brave the crowd out front.”

Ignoring the latter part, John focused on the bit that had stuck out. “A question for me?” Not Sherlock?

He walked past John, ignoring the increasingly confused look on John’s face, and turned toward the stairwell. “I’ll be back in a few minutes; I just need to check in with Mrs. Hudson downstairs.”

John took advantage of the interim to finish his tea and collect Sherlock from his bedroom. They were waiting in the sitting room when Mycroft reappeared: John fidgeted on the sofa while Sherlock paced behind him. Mycroft reached past John’s shoulder, bare arm resting briefly against the side of John’s neck, and clasped Sherlock’s hand.

John tried not to lean into the tiny point of contact and forced a smile for Mycroft. “So, what’s your question?”

(Deleted comment)

Aliens and Army Doctors Bonus Ficlet

Written originally as a present for JBS-Teeth and because I wanted to describe the aliens’ thought processes. I highly highly highly suggest opening up Chapter 8 (Age of Aquariums) in another window and rereading from part 8i to the end of the chapter. There aren’t a lot of action cues to help you out, and if you’ve not read it since I posted it this could get confusing.

Enjoy! ^_^

“Have you ever heard of a cuttlefish?”

– Confusion – Visual memory: Dictionary ‘Cuttlefish: any of various marine cephalopod mollusks (order Sepioidea, especially genus Sepia) having eight short arms and two usually longer tentacles and differing from the related squid in having a calcified internal shell’ – Visual memory: Octopus in a tank. – “No.”

John points at something in the tank. Look closer: Tentacles in front; light tan in color – ‘Sepia’ – small fin-like appendage along sides; moving closer. Colours change. – Surprise, shock – “Oh.” – Visual memory: Octopus changing colours – ‘Similar’ – Place body/tentacle/hand up against glass; shift colours to match the cuttlefish – Excitement, fascination – Visual memory: First time seeing a dance; Emotive memory: Wonder, awe – ‘Incredible.’ –

Cuttlefish lays a tentacle against the glass over mine. Colours change; match. – Audio memory: ‘What if it communicates through telepathy like me?’; Emotive memory: Disappointment – Emotive imagination: Communicating with a cuttlefish – Hope, wariness – John is smiling at me – Love – ‘Beautiful’ – Satisfaction, serenity. –

Turn body/head/face to John. Change colours/texture/form. – Visual memory: John smiling – Smile – Happiness – Audio memory: ‘Frankenstein. … Thank you. God, thank you.’ – “Thank you.” – Longing – Touch John; Teresa is watching. Grab his hand with my body/tentacle/hand. Turn body/head/face to tank.

– Sense from John: Faint warmth – Project: Love, warmth, Audio imagination: ‘I love you, John.’ – No response – Sorrow, longing – Emotive memory: Trying to read John’s mind at the train tracks – Audio memory: ‘Did it work? Even a little bit?’ – Affirmative – ‘Soul-mate’ – The cuttlefish swims away.

Tighten grip on John – Tactile memory: Parent (‘mother’) wrapping me up; Emotive memory: Sense from Parent: Love, protectiveness, admiration, pride – Turn body/head/face to John; smile. – Tactile memory: John hugging me – Shift body/tentacles/arms to hug John – Love, pride, admiration, gratitude. – “Thank you so much. It was wonderful. You’re wonderful.”

John hugs back. – Wistfulness – Visual imagination: John wrapping me up like Parent used to – Disappointment, acceptance – Teresa moves and makes a sound. – Tactile sense: John is warmer; Visual sense: John is shifting colours to red – ‘Blush’ – Visual memory: John blushing; Audio memory: ‘It’s a penis. Please don’t touch it in front of me.’ – ‘Embarrassment.’

“I’m glad you liked it,” John says. His body is harder than usual – ‘Tension.’ – and he smiles like a threat. “Is there anything else you wanted to see, or should we get going?”

Teresa is smiling – Visual memory: Woman pinching the cheeks of a small child; Visual memory: woman cooing over picture of something – ‘Cute’ – John is uncomfortable – Visual imagination: Teresa pinching John’s cheeks – Indignation, protectiveness, possessiveness – “I think I’m ready to go back home.”

Leave the zoo; get into the cab. John is still holding my hand – Wariness, happiness, confusion – Visual memory: John pulling away after several seconds of contact – ‘Unusual’ – Talk about cuttlefish and octopus. John smiles. – Visual memory: Cuttlefish changing colours; Visual memory: Octopus twining tentacles like I can – Curiosity, happiness, love.

Arrive home. – Audio memory: ‘Home is where the heart is.’ – Shift body/chest/heart – Sense from John: Faint anxiety – No love – Disappointment, worry – Audio imagination: ‘I’m sorry, Sherlock; I can’t be that for you. We’re just friends.’ – DELETE – Project: Love, love, LOVE – No response.

Aliens and Army Doctors 13i/14

As ever, JBS-Teeth is unbelievably amazing and integral to the quality of this story. Praise her.

WARNINGS: Length, Lupin, and French.

Note: I speak about ten words and three phrases in French. I got as much help with it as I could, but please correct me if I screwed something up. Also, Google Earth is very, very useful.

Chapter 13: The Heist-Harbinger’s Guide to the Galaxy

Although John had gone to bed alone, the next morning he woke with the majority of Sherlock’s body mass wrapped around him. Before John could as much as shift, Sherlock stretched a tendril up to trace John’s lips. John twitched at the contact, unusually intimate even for Sherlock. What – oh! He froze, the events of the night before flooding into his awareness, and blinked. He said he loves me. And, I said I love him.

After a few seconds of John’s muddled thoughts, Sherlock withdrew and reformed beside him. “You’re not going to have another panic attack, are you?” he asked, eyes blurring.

John sucked in a couple of deep breaths and rubbed his eyes as he sat up, forcing himself into a more conscious state. “No,” he decided. “I don’t think so.”

“Good.” Without another word, Sherlock leaned forward and kissed him.

Once the shock had faded away, John found himself focusing on the sensations of the kiss. The night before, he’d been distracted by the novelty of the entire experience; this time, his still-drowsy mind took note of the unusual experience of kissing a non-human being. The oil-plastic texture was especially distracting, and no matter how they shifted, Sherlock’s lips seemed just a little too firm to pass for human. Curious, John laced his fingers through Sherlock’s hair and lapped at the seam of his lips.

Okay, not doing that again, he thought a few seconds later. Sherlock was staring at him with a blanked expression, and John couldn’t really blame him for his surprise: He’d practically launched himself across the bed, scrubbing furiously at his lips and scraping his tongue against his teeth to rid himself of the taste. To be fair, he tastes horrible. I was not expecting that.

“…John?” Sherlock asked, features shifting from blank to blurred.

“Sorry; sorry. I was just – surprised.” John shook his head and slid back to Sherlock’s side. “If it’s alright by you, though, I think I’d prefer to avoid tongue action in the future.”

Sherlock was still blurring horribly, so John smiled and took his hand. Immediately, the blurring faded. “You’re not angry with me,” Sherlock analysed. Right; his telepathy works on me now. “But, you’re feeling a strong aversion – to kissing me? No, to using your tongue specifically.” He tilted his head, and John felt his own cheeks get warmer. “If it’s because I taste bad, I promise that I won’t be offended.”

John huffed a laugh – because honestly, who was he kidding even thinking he could fool Sherlock? – and shook his head, leaning his forehead against Sherlock’s. “You taste bad,” he admitted.

“It must be revolting to make you react so strongly,” Sherlock mused. “I was afraid you’d fall off the bed.” When John glanced up to gauge his reaction, Sherlock was smiling. Teasing, then.

“Absolutely horrible,” John agreed lightly, watching to make sure that he didn’t actually offend Sherlock. “Possibly the worst thing I’ve ever tasted in my life – and I had some pretty nasty foods in the Army.”

“I remember.” Sherlock brought his other hand up and carded it through John’s hair, rising to press a kiss to John’s forehead. “We’ll have to warn Mycroft.”

“As much as I love your brother, please don’t bring him up in the bedroom again,” John groaned. “It reminds me too much of Sebastian right now.” Sherlock tensed against him, and he sighed. And, that rather effectively killed the mood, didn’t it? “I should get dressed.”

He started to pull away, but Sherlock wrapped an extra tentacle around him and held him close. “You are not leaving me with Sebastian as the last thought on your mind,” he growled. John had just enough time to blink before Sherlock twisted and dropped his mouth to John’s collarbones.

Aliens and Army Doctors 14 i/14

So…hi, everyone! I’m really, really sorry for the incredibly long wait, and I hope this makes up for it at least a little. :) There are a few instances of severe timeline!fail in this chapter, but they actually match the REAL timeline that will be used in the final draft, so just take it with a grain of salt, please!

Also, thanks to everyone who contributed with a question for the world-building post! I’ll finalise that while working on the revisions for this, but I may have slightly misled you when making the original request. I hope you enjoy the surprise! And, don’t worry: EVERY question will be addressed in the final world-building post. Promise.

WARNINGS: Length (even more than usual), violence, fairly explicit sex, more Anti-Aliens, and drama like whoa. Enjoy!

Chapter 14: Bluebird of Happiness

No one said that dating an alien would be easy, of course. Although they’d already covered the ‘culture shock’ phase while living together, the entanglements of a romantic relationship brought with it a whole new set of issues. John freely acknowledged that he was a fairly physical boyfriend, which meshed well with Sherlock’s needs, and that he placed a great deal of emphasis on kissing, which did not. Not that the kissing itself was so much antithetical to Sherlock’s needs, but John’s own reaction to it didn’t exactly do wonders for Sherlock’s emotional security: Occasionally, when they had a rare spare moment of privacy in the safe house, John got carried away and pressed his open mouth to Sherlock’s. It inevitably ended with him reeling away and trying not to gag. Eventually, he resigned himself to forgoing that aspect of a relationship with Sherlock; the rest of it more than balanced it out, really.

John wasn’t the only one who ran up against difficulties, though: Sherlock had his fair share of sacrifices to make. “I can’t be close to you like I would be with one of my own kind,” he admitted that night as John curled up in bed at the Brighton and Hove safe house. “You’re just not equipped to open your mind to me or to hear me when I open mine to you.” Sherlock smoothed a hand across the wrinkles of concern in John’s forehead, closing John’s mouth when he opened it to apologise for his inadequacies. “Shh; it’s fine. You’re worth it. And, you’ve been sensing me better lately. Maybe someday I’ll be able to teach you my language.”

Neither of them truly believed it, though.

In the days following the very publicised heist and the world-renowned thief’s ‘reformation,’ Lupin’s open letter to humanity was the top news story in every country, completely overshadowing Sebastian’s accusations over the next week. The resulting increase in Pro-Alien support was heartening, but even as the Anti-Aliens lost their influence, they hardened in their resolve. “The political field is getting more and more polarised,” Mycroft murmured one evening, skimming through the ridiculously complex web of predictions he and Mrs. Hudson had created, “and while the balance is tipping in our favour, our opponents will be driven to escalate the issue.” He traced a trail through the possible outcomes. “Here’s what we need to do.”

Between the call for transparency and the improved public perspective on the aliens, Mycroft and Mrs. Hudson convinced Anthea to return everyone to their homes with the same security measures as before. As much as he’d felt trapped in Baker Street before the shooting that had led them to France, John had to admit that it felt good to be back in familiar territory. He stopped just inside the door to their flat with a suitcase in each hand, listening to Mrs. Hudson bustle around downstairs as she unpacked, and he stared around at the familiar décor. I suppose, as far as temporary prisons go, this is comfortable enough.

“John?” Sherlock asked, coming up the stairs behind him with the remainder of John’s luggage in his arms. “Something wrong?”

“No,” John replied, moving on to his room and beginning the unpacking process. “I was just saying hello to our home again. We haven’t seen it in a while, after all.” At the telling silence behind him, John grinned. “Figure of speech, Sherlock. I know the flat’s not sentient.”

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