Sherlock BBC Prompting Meme

"we get all sorts around here."

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prompting: part iii
Giggles at the Palace
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Sherlock suffers from recurrant depressive episodes - really bad ones. (He uses cases as a focus to stave them off, or something.) Can someone please write him in one, with John hugging him and just generally being there for him, in whatever way Sherlock needs him?

Gen or ship are both fine, but please no sexual stuff.

I'll fill this, but a question first

I could write this. Sadly. More from John's perspective; let's just say he's not the only one with a madcap awesome amazing friend in a badass longcoat who quite enjoys being eccentric and doesn't always love themselves as much as they should.

I'm nervous though, as I'm conscious this may be a very personal prompt and my miserific has a tendency to be...uncompromising. I don't want to write something almost unremittingly horrible (because let's face it, that's what depression *is*) if you're not sure that's what you want!

What do you mean by 'really bad ones'? Because I could write attempted suicide or limit it to 'Please just hold me', and I'm okay writing either, but I basically need to know how miserable I can go. Because as far as I'm concerned, 'Well, he's not killed himself *yet*' is practically a happy ending.

I could write attempted suicide or limit it to 'Please just hold me'

And I don't mean to imply that the latter isn't still pretty damn awful.

Re: I'll fill this, but a question first

Hi! Thanks for asking this, it's very nice of you :)

Seriously, go as dark as you like. I like uncompromisingly dark. It's very cathartic. I didn't say that on the prompt because I didn't think anyone would want to fill that :P

It's awesome of you to offer to write this fill! :D

Things Rank and Gross in Nature (1/8)

Suicide. Heroin, drug use including intravenous. Self-harm. PTSD, army doctoring. Guns, knives. Sectioning.

[About two days after the last comment, I realised I was scared to write this, and not just because I'd committed to writing it non-anon. And about two hours ago, I realised that if I was that scared, I probably needed to.]

There's nothing quite like a night shift in A&E. The harsh lighting makes even the most attractive look haggard, and every sound is an assault - the background hum of electricity, monitors beeping in a synthetic dawn chorus, the occasional, painful attack of a ringing phone. Quiet cries from the standard admissions; sudden bowel problems, suspected broken hips. A peripheral stab wound who won't tell the police who did it, a few drunks with glass in their foreheads, and in Bay 16, Gary, who shows up in a police car every other weekend, morose and smelling of vomit.

John's phone buzzes against the table. He gropes for it and blears as the message slips in and out of focus. Bleep? No. Sherlock. Fuck off. One hour sleep. Need sleep. He rolls over to grab a pillow and put it over his face.

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair; warm smell of colitas rising up through the air. Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light-

The phone rings off abruptly. Missed call, it says, which is odd, because Sherlock never changes his mind without new information.

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my-

John frowns, then sighs.




Sherlock Holmes 01:18

Can you come over? Just for a bit. I need you here. Please.

That's...needy. Troubling.


'Oh, good, you picked up at last. I'd really like to-'

'What and how much did you take?'

'Really, I don't know what you're-'

'Stop fucking around. WHAT AND HOW MUCH.'

'John. I was bored and just wanted a chat. Since when does that constitute-'

'Not cocaine, you'd know that's an unpleasant way to go. You hate alcohol. Aspirin and paracetamol are messy and painful. Opioids?'


'You can either get in a cab right now, or I can come pick you up in an ambulance. Which would you prefer? We're going to meet in UCH A&E in 20 minutes, and I want you alive so I can kick the hell out of you. Do I need to send an ambulance?'

'I'm hailing a cab.'

'Are you? Or are you just holding the phone out the window so it sounds like you're outside? Because I swear, if you're not at a hospital in half an hour I'll let Mycroft invite foreign dignitaries to the funeral.'

'Fine, I'm hailing a cab.'

'Good. Don't hang up; keep talking. Anything you like; chemistry, forensics, how stupid and interfering I am...Just, please. Let me know you're still conscious.' God, I should have seen - how did I not see you'd got this bad?

'Two times two is...four. Two times three is...six.' An audible eye roll.

The night shift is coiled springs and waiting and adrenaline at the ready. Normally it's for multiple stab wounds, GSWs, RTAs and football violence; tonight it's for a genius idiot. John's mind is skidding, skating like a car over black ice. One breath, and he jerks the handbrake. Stop.

Everything suddenly becomes very clear.

Coat, clothes, keys, phone. Go.

Things Rank and Gross in Nature (2/8)

oh god maybe he stopped breathing in the cab maybe he can't get a cab maybe he's already dead maybe he lied about the cab oh god oh god I shouldn't have left I should have picked up when he texted me he's never texted me for no reason at all maybe he's already dead maybe he's already dead oh god oh god oh god oh god

John nearly goes out of his mind with worry when he reaches A&E and Sherlock's still absent. Instead, he pushes the small, babbling voice down into the back of his brain, in the place where he normally keeps things like What if I never feel anything ever again and Who'd want me for a flatmate. He makes a nuisance of himself, introduces himself, convinces the nurses to let him in and let him prep a test dose of naloxone, then paces from reception to the ambulance bay with the syringe in his back pocket in contravention of every law of sharps handling.

'Hello? Hello?' A man's just walked in through the ambulance bay doors with confused eyes and lost hands. 'Bloke in the back of my cab just threw up and passed out. He was on his way here. Anyone know-'

'Tall, skinny, black hair, on the phone?' John is out the door without waiting for a reply, watches as thank god the EMTs pull Sherlock onto the trolley. His head lolls to one side; as pale as he is and not breathing, he looks like he's already dead.

Stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it

He grasps a cold metal bar of the trolley. Stop. Now go. They start to move.

'Twenty-six-year-old male with suspected opiate poisoning, dosage and route unknown - no known allergies or other medical problems - past history of wide-ranging drug abuse, mostly cocaine - vomited once, unconscious, respiratory depression - pushing 0.4 mig naloxone-'

Dropping back, he searches for a sharps bin as the emergency team wheel Sherlock into a bay, exchange the bag for an oxygen mask, cannulate, attach bags and leads and clips and wires, check heart and lungs and resp rate and O2 sat.

He grabs the wall and gasps as his knees buckle under him.


Twenty minutes later, the last nurse leaves and John is allowed back in. She gives him an apologetic smile.

'He'll live; O2 96%, resp rate 13, still on oxygen, IV naloxone and fluids. And we've bleeped psych.'

He won't like that, John thinks. 'Thanks.'

The curtain opens.

Now Sherlock is stable, John stops panicking and starts to look past the not breathing and too late and passed out in the cab.

The overdose isn't a diagnosis. It's a symptom; a symptom that Sherlock doesn't care if he never wakes up again, never solves a case again, never insults some hapless DI again, never plays violin until two a.m. again or goes to a concert or sits and snarks and has dinner again. Or maybe it's not that he doesn't care - it's that he wants to not exist.

John's heart aches. How can this world be so crazy? So stupid? How the fuck did something go so wrong in his head that my acid, irritating, fascinating, amazing, brilliant friend can't stand to stay conscious?

The monitor bleeps. There is nothing to do but wait for Sherlock to wake up. John straddles a chair, leans forward against the back and tries to sleep.

Things Rank and Gross in Nature (3/8)

It almost works. John is in the uneasy world just before dreams, where time moves forwards in jumps and starts, when Sherlock's hand twitches.

'Hey.' John reaches to squeeze Sherlock's hand, avoiding the cannula. 'Hey.'

'I don't remember...I remember the taxi. Did I lose consciousness?'

John laughs shakily. 'Just for a bit, yeah. Think your brain's okay. Except for the part that got you...doing all this.'

'I didn't do "all this", you did. I told you I just wanted a chat.' He stares at the ceiling venomously.

'Did my coat get brought in?'

'I think so, but it might have some sick on it.'

Sherlock frowns.

'It's your sick. Let's just say we owe that cabbie a very large tip.'

He grunts, turning away from John and twisting into the fetal position. Leads snarl under his arm and his head.

'You want to move those.' Please, want to move them.

Sherlock doesn't move or reply, so John leans over, gently untangling and rearranging - and cataloguing. Doesn't try to stop me making him more comfortable - good sign. Non-verbal responses to questions - bad sign. He stands back.

'Right. Well. I'll just go get your coat.'


Sherlock hasn't moved when John returns, except to draw his knees up further. When the proffered coat is ignored, John slings it over him, tugs it down to cover his feet and turns the collar up over his neck, flicks the sleeves out of the way. Sherlock rolls over to allow the coat to be tucked under him, a good sign which is almost a response and almost a thank you.

John sits back down and rests his forehead on the chair back. There doesn't seem much point in talking, any more than there would be if Sherlock was thinking about other people's attempted murders; he's gone off somewhere else, wandering around his own mind in twisty creaky narrow labyrinths that are terrifyingly remote and alien to John, thank god.

'When you walk with Sherlock Holmes, you see the battlefield.'

John always sees the battlefield. Everything is overlays and angles and remembrances, everyone, everytime. Geoff Wenham and Sammy Rimmer laughing at an army meetup; John blinks, and behind his eyes there is a femoral artery gushing, his hands slippery-sticky as he struggles to press down while the man below him is writhing, screaming. He blinks again, and it's choked gurgles as bright blood bubbles up through the nose and mouth, eyes wide as John works shrapnel out of a blood-filled lung. Sarah, sobbing in the chair as the sand falls. Harry, swearing and screaming at him in the dark street as she slips and falls into a hedge to be sick.

This is Sherlock, now. John knows every odd silence, every meal, every laugh, will flicker back to tonight; Sherlock curled grim and mute on a hospital bed, seething with fury and pain.

He puts a hand on Sherlock's shoulder. There's a flinch, but he squeezes gently and is not pushed away. Good sign.

'You don't have the slightest idea,' he says quietly, 'just how much I'd miss you.'

Things Rank and Gross in Nature (4/8)

'You shouldn't.'

'Well, I would. And should.'

'You're not going to fix my self-esteem issues by attempting to bolster my ego. I'm a depressed genius; I can reason my way out of a compliment by the time you've finished giving it. And you think no-one is worthless, which frankly makes the whole concept meaningless. Obviously some people are worth less.'

'I will never understand why you think you're one of them.'

Sherlock rolls onto his back, his favourite thinking position. But instead of the whirrwhirrclick of rational thought, he's burning incandescent cold like a star, black smokescreens of pain isolating him, paralysed raging screams locked in his eyes.


Silence. 'Why what,' he snarls.

'Why did you-'

'Oh, shut up. Enough. I'm bored of "Do you regret it" and "Have you ever tried to do this before" and "Is there anyone else we could call" and worst of all, "Do you have a plan", as if dithering between knives or Tube trains means I don't want to die.'

Oh. Right. You've done this a lot, then.

'I'm not playing doctor now. This is just me.'

'Everyone thinks about it. You've thought about it more than most. It's not important.'

'Yeah, I THOUGHT about it. I didn't end up in A&E.'

It would be so easy. Just a few long strokes...He slides the blade down his arm, just hard enough to raise welts, to feel something.

Lean back. Now forward. Back again. A little further forward. Toes on the yellow line. Clatter and roar and gusts of stale air as the reflective gloss of the train throws his face back at him.

All you have to do is move your little finger. Gun in the mouth, tilted to hit the brainstem instead of the cortex (instant death, people always do it wrong and end up with brain damage), calm breaths with the safety off.

'I think I wanted to because I was so, so desperate. To feel something. For something to happen to me.'

'Sounds relaxing.'

That stings. But I'm not the one in the bed. 'What happens with you?'

Sherlock shrugs, an awkward gesture while supine. They snap back into silence through the drip being changed and another apology for psych (although Sherlock does roll his eyes - good sign? Bad sign?).

'It's so noisy. Inside my head, all the time. Shouting. Roaring.' The words are spat out like machine-gun fire, like the last ten minutes of silence have been spent loading, gauging, aiming with marksman precision.

He reloads. John waits.

'I need a target, a focus. A current to get all the thoughts flowing out. Without it - I drift. I can't stop thinking. There's no case, so I move on to the existential questions that keep you despairing and awake all night. There's no distraction and no outlet. They just bang around my head. And it hurts.'

'Did you want to die this time?'

Sherlock sighs. 'I wanted to sleep. Just to rest. I wasn't particularly careful about whether I woke up again. Does that count?'

Silence creeps back in. John waits for the end of the night. Sherlock waits for the end of the world.

Re: Things Rank and Gross in Nature (4/8)

All you have to do is move your little finger... move your little finger and you can change the world!

Sorry, I just got sucked into the musical Assassins. Carry on being brilliant!

Re: Things Rank and Gross in Nature (4/8)

I'm a depressed genius; I can reason my way out of a compliment by the time you've finished giving it. And you think no-one is worthless, which frankly makes the whole concept meaningless.

Are you inside my head? This is spooky.

(Although I'm not sure if I'm a genius, except in the highly specialized area of working out how "You're lovely!" somehow translates to me being a worthless human being.)

Things Rank and Gross in Nature (5a/8)

[A/N: I feel unbelievably bad about this chapter. I think psych is incredibly important. I like psych. But man, it doesn't half feel patronising to anyone with a modicum of intelligence and an insight into their own condition...]

John wakes with a start. 3 am, and a woman from psych has just opened the curtain. 'Mr. Holmes?'

Sherlock's eyes flick over with the disdain and dislike he normally reserves for insects in the sugar bowl, domestic strife in public, or particularly dull murders. 'Yes?'

'It's Dr. Hannay. I'd just like to have a little chat with you about what's happened tonight, if that's all right. Are you comfortable at the moment?'

Oh god, thinks John. This is going to end unspeakably badly.

'Physically, yes, quite comfortable. What happened tonight was either a failed suicide attempt or a parasuicide, so mentally I'm not in the best shape of my life. I'm twenty-six, no other medical problems, I'm fully oriented as to time and place. No, I don't regret doing it. Are we done?'

It's like watching a car crash in slow motion - entertaining and horrifying in equal measure. John jumps in - 'Should I go? I'll just go wait outside for a bit -'

'No, John, stay. This won't take long.'

Liz Hannay had expected to be the one in charge of the conversation. She hasn't yet noticed how wrong she is. 'And you are?'

'Oh, I'm - a friend. Flatmate too. Dr. Watson.' He stresses the Dr. just slightly as irritation pre-emptively seeps from his pores.

'Okay, John, if Sherlock wants you to stay that's absolutely fine. This won't take long.'

Second mistake: trying to get on a first-name-basis. John almost starts to feel sorry for her.

'How long have you been depressed, Sherlock?'

Third mistake: transparent attempt to build rapport by repeating the patient's name. Here we go.

'Since I was 13, Liz. First suicide attempt at age 16, at which point I was sectioned for a month. Self harm and drug abuse through sixth form, then another suicide attempt at 19. Sectioned again for 3 months. Drug abuse worsened until age 22, at which point I got and stayed mostly clean in order to work more effectively. The level of depression has remained static since age 16, despite the usual therapies and medications. But this is all in my file. Files. I think that covers the depression, self harm and drug abuse questions?'

She stammers. 'A few more questions - and these may seem a bit silly - '

Oh god.

'Do you ever hear or see things that other people don't? And they don't believe you if you tell them?'

Sherlock smirks. 'I observe things that others don't - all the time. I do quite well from it, being a consulting detective.'

'Right, okay. Do you find it difficult to explain things to other people?'

'Well, yes, Liz, when they're idiots.'

'Do you feel you have any...unusual abilities? Things other people might be jealous of?'

'Two, actually; the ability to not end phrases with prepositions, and the ability to notice things. Most people aren't particularly jealous of those.'

'Do you feel anyone might be trying to hurt you in some way?'

He laughs darkly. 'It would probably be quicker to list the people who aren't trying to hurt me. There were three attempts on my life from European crime syndicates in the last three months alone.'

Dr. Hannay clips her pen to her lanyard. 'Okay, Sherlock, thanks. John, can I speak to you privately for a minute?'

If I tell her the truth and we both get sectioned for this, I'm going to kill him myself.

Things Rank and Gross in Nature (5b/8)

'John, these things he says - special powers of observation, delusions of persecution - you do know he's not well?'

'He's-' to say normal would be a lie - 'He's not delusional. He really is a consulting detective. An extraordinarily good one. And I was there for two of the attempts on his life, and the other one left some nasty burns on the rug. He's depressed, a genius, and screwing with you, Dr. Hannay. Not delusional. Phone the Met if you don't believe me; he's worked with them and they'll be happy to set you straight.'

'Fine,' she tuts, trying to figure out exactly how she's been hustled. 'Fine. Do you think he's a danger to himself or others?'

Usually is. 'Not at this immediate moment.'

'Me neither. I'll send the notes to the GP, get him an appointment as soon as possible.'

John snorts. 'Seriously? You think he'll go?'

She shrugs. 'I can't make him. I think that's your problem, Dr. Watson.' She adjusts her lanyard and walks away, heels clicking on the linoleum.

Things Rank and Gross in Nature (6/8)

'You are actually bloody mental, you know that? If I hadn't been here offering to phone the Met so they could vouch for you, you'd have been sectioned.'

'And Mycroft would know, and I'd be out within 24 hours with another blacked-out page in my medical notes. Fine.'

John huffs amusedly. 'Her face! I think it was "European crime syndicate" that did it.'

'Don't be ridiculous. I had her at "consulting detective"...'

The fresh silence is easier now, companionable.

John sighs. 'So you still don't regret it?'

'No. Don't expect a thank-you card for "saving" me, either.'

'You'll forgive me eventually. I hope.'

'Don't count on it.'

'If you stick around to bear your grudge, I can live with that.'

'Why do you think I don't speak to Mycroft?'

'He-' Wait. OH. 'Mycroft. you sectioned?'

'Didn't want to be, didn't need to be. Do you know how boring those places are? Hardly helpful.'

John nods slowly. 'Makes sense.'

Things Rank and Gross in Nature (7/8)

They're moved to Acute Admissions in the next hour. A definite step up as it has windows, dark and a chair with a cushion; a definite step down in that it's dark and the only things to distract Sherlock from himself are steady bleeps going in and out of sync with each other, and the sound of elderly people breathing, crackling, wheezing. It sounds like limbo.

Sherlock is tense, staring at his own monitor as if he could stop his heart if he could only stare hard enough. John reaches for his shoulder again, and this time Sherlock grips his hand tightly and doesn't let go.

'I'm scared.' It's barely a whisper. 'I know I do this and then it gets better before it comes back, but I can't make myself believe it. I'm scared I'm stuck like this forever. Doesn't it make sense, then, to just kill myself and get it over with?'

'I thought I was stuck forever, that nothing would ever happen. Then I met you.'

'Thank you.'

'S'true. Look, I know I don't have the right to ask you to do this, I don't know how horrible this must be for you, but please, please - stay.'

His voice breaks on the second 'please', and he rests his head on the mattress.

Breathe. Bleep. Breathe. Bleep bleep. Breathe.

'Can you move to the other side?'

'Of what?'

'Of the bed. I'd rather not sleep in the chair.'

Sherlock narrows his eyes in mock-suspicion. 'Will you kick me and steal all the blankets and keep moving over to my side?'


'Oh, fine.' Sherlock shuffles across and turns his back.

John grins. He's just tricked Sherlock into taking something he didn't think he needed. Unless he knows and he's tricking me...oh, it's too early in the morning for this. He slides under the blanket and takes hold of Sherlock's hand again. When there's no protest, he edges closer to wrap himself around his friend, his nose pressed into Sherlock's shoulders. Sherlock doesn't move, but he tightens his grip just a little, and John knows the hug is not unwelcome.

Despite everything, they are both asleep before dawn.

Things Rank and Gross in Nature (8/8)



John always reads his texts immediately now. So far, it's just been annoying.


Well, that one deserves a reply. He texts back:





John toys with the idea of putting the phone back in his pocket, when -


Fuck. NOW?





No reply. His phone doesn't buzz again for forty minutes:


He smiles. Today might just be okay.

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