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Sherlock BBC Prompting Meme

"we get all sorts around here."

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Prompting: Part V
Giggles at the Palace
Please check the Sticky Post to find the newest active part and post your prompts there.

Prompts from this post can be filled on the Overflow Post

+Anon posting is most definitely allowed, but not required.
+All kinds of fills are accepted! Fic, art, vids, cosplay, interpretive dance--whatever. Go wild! :D
+Keep things neat! Read prompts before you post to see if something similar has already been done, and while you are encouraged to prompt as much as you like, try to fill as well.
+Please do not re-post prompts unless the last time they were prompted was on an older part. Simply put: ONE posting of each prompt per part.
+Until further notice, RPF (real person fic, i.e. fic involving the actors themselves) is not supported at this meme.
+Depending on the rate of activity, there may or may not be a prompt freeze when a part reaches 2500 and 4500 comments.
+However, there will be one when it reaches 7000. Also at 7000, a new part will be posted, and all prompting should happen on the new part.
+Multiple fills are encouraged! (: Just because a prompt has already been claimed by someone, do not be afraid to offer up a second fill.

The new Filled Prompts Post is officially up and running! I’d like to ask that you all are patient as we work out the bugs in the system, but other than that, please make sure you post your fills there according to the guidelines. DO NOT skip out on doing this because it seems like too much effort-- While a mod will do an archiving sweep every now and then, we don’t want to be putting every single fill in the post.
Do not be afraid to ask questions about how it works if you are confused! Either of the mods would be happy to explain.

There are two mods for this meme. Your main mod is jjgd , and any questions, concerns, comments about anything at all on the meme should be directed to her via either PM or the page-a-mod post.
There is also an archivist: snowishness . If you have questions or concerns regarding the Filled Prompts Post (general questions, broken links, etc.) she can be reached on the page-a-mod post as well.

Guys, I will only put in one reminder about this.
Think before you prompt about the way you are asking. It isn’t difficult, and it will only take a minute or so of your time.

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

Remember, guys; Be civil, be friendly, but don’t be shy!

Delicious Archive - Filled Prompts Post - Page-A-Mod
Check the Sticky Post to find a list of all the prompting posts. - Flat View of This Page
Love Post - Rant Post
Sherlock RPF Request Post - Overflow Post

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Fill: The Fine Art of Misdirection 1/?

Because of Naget's wonderful, WONDERFUL fill above, I was inspired to write something for this prompt as well. (Naget is now a magical creature in my canon)

This world isn't necessarily magical, though it is fantastical in that there are all manner of different kinds of gifted people about. But it's also rather dystopian. Why? I have no idea, it just came to me that way. So the fantasy part is a bit offset by the urban situation. Mea Culpa.

Oh, and no BETA readers were harmed in the making of this fic. (So all mistakes are mine and I beg forgiveness ahead of time)

I don't know how many parts this will take. I'm pants at estimating that.


John wasn't prone to letting out that he could do what he could do. The world had its mage gifted people, its lycanthropes and its doppelgangers, its phasics, psychics of varying degrees and TK's (who frankly scared the piss out of him)--all manner of odd and sundry "gifted" denizens. John wanted to be known as "just John", and that meant being very careful about how and when he used his abilities.

It wasn't the easiest thing, roping in the urge to lay his hands on someone when he saw them in pain. In fact, it was down right wrenching sometimes to resist letting the energy flow as he communed with injured bones and torn flesh to knit them, or cleansed and mended diseased organs. He had to be subtle, even when he did.

He was a soldier and a doctor, a war hero and partner to a barmy genius bent on pissing off every psycho (gifted or not) in the greater Metropolitan London vicinity. So most wouldn't call John H. Watson a coward. But he was.

Whatever justification he used, it came down to being afraid. John wanted to be normal, just like everyone else. He didn't want to be one of the people that was whispered distrustfully about just out of earshot. He didn't want the funny looks or the children pulled behind worried parents as he walked down the street. He didn't want to be called "freak" or have to hear the "we don't want your kind here" sentiments at his favorite pub... all things that came along with being a registered, acknowledged "gifted person".

They called it gifted, but the registration process was more like a brand of judgment. A giant scarlet letter. The registers "gifters" couldn't have been more labeled for public condemnation if they'd been on a convicted sex offender's notification listing.

The wristbands were always there, color coded to indicate to every member of the public just what kind of freak you were. John was a psionic healer and the stuff of his worst nightmares was being forced to don that bright blue bracelet indicating his ability and strength levels. He feared it so much there had been occasions before when he'd let people suffer rather than show his hand. At least he could say he hadn't ever let anyone die before revealing himself. But then he hadn't been forced to yet. In Afghanistan it had been easier to hide the use of his gifts. Amid the noise and heat and blood of a war zone, distraction was a readily available commodity.

Even so, it had been close a few times and now that John was living back in London, running amuck with Sherlock, he was dead terrified of the day when he'd have to choose between prison and someone's life. It was illegal to hide your ability from the government. He'd been lucky no one in the military had questioned the speed or completeness of his recovery from the bullet that shattered his scapula as it passed through his shoulder. Apparently the very real PTSD had been smokescreen enough.

Fill: The Fine Art of Misdirection 2/?

John hauled up the steps inside 221b to the their sitting room, pausing at the door as he heard tense, low voices in rapid fire exchange.

Mycroft then.

A polite rap of knuckles on the distressed wood of the door halted the private argument and then John let himself into the room. His eyes skipped Mycroft's perennially bland pleasantness to search out Sherlock.

Long, pale fingers worried at the black and purple bracelet on Sherlock's left wrist, and John's stomach knotted. Sherlock being tensely wound from dealing with his brother was one thing. That particular absentminded tell though, wasn't one John saw very often and only when his flatmate was especially wound up. He was forced to wonder what they really had been arguing about. But like most times, the soldier in John was more than half sure it was better if he didn't know.

Mycroft in all his infuriating, urbane glory was hard enough for John to deal with and he wasn't even an empath. For Sherlock, it was doubtlessly worse. In fact, given the way Sherlock sometimes shunned dealing with the world at large and his brother in particular, John suspected most things were harder for his friend at varying times. London proper had almost nine million people. Nine million minds, as Sherlock once railed, 'All emoting and buzzing like crap tele turned up on high'. The purple stripe indicated class five strength--which in John's mind perfectly excused Sherlock's generally irascible, antisocial personality.

Of course, there was also the fact that Sherlock was just an utter prat too.

Said prat stopped meddling with his wrist band and smiled up at John in genuine mirth. John rolled his eyes and headed for the kitchen to make tea. It only took a moment and he only made two cups. It was as close to "go away Mycroft" as John was willing to get with the elder Holmes, considering that he too was a powerful empath working for the government, and John had things to hide. Big, illegal, gifty things.

Sherlock took the steaming tea without contest for once, and John didn't miss the stunted smirk hidden behind the lip of the cup.

Neither did Mycroft, apparently. For an flash of an instant, John caught a slip of a frown crease the senior Holmes brother's features and then everything was as usual--plastic smile right in place. "Well, good day to you, doctor," Mycroft nodded to John, dark eyes locking with his for one long, terrible moment that left John's stomach somewhere in the vicinity of his toes. Then with a final falsely congenial smile at his brother, Mycroft Holmes reached for the door. "Remember what I said, Sherlock. Let me know when you make a choice."

"Sod off, you twat," was the mumbled reply from behind the cup of tea. The door closed and then John was alone with Sherlock.

Several seconds flew by while he tried to sort through which part of that visit was most terrifying. He wanted to ask. He did. Instinct was screaming in John's ear that Mycroft's parting emphasis on his title meant more than due respect. The question was crawling at the back of his throat, waiting to pierce the lengthening silence between them. But thankfully, the words stayed lodged where they were. John had long suspected that Sherlock knew he was hiding something big. Sometimes he was even sure that Sherlock had worked out that it was some kind of gift. But that didn't mean John was ready to admit it--to say it out loud like it didn't matter. Like Sherlock didn't hate the bracelet he wore as much as John feared it.

Fill: The Fine Art of Misdirection 3/?

So they sat there, and John ignored the mountain of words he could feel building between them.

Finally Sherlock unfurled from the chair like a designer label spider, setting his cold, untouched cup of tea down. "Fancy a curry, John?" he asked like he couldn't sense the distress just rolling off John.

John stared at Sherlock like he'd grown a spare head. And then a short, sharp huff of a laugh escaped. "If you eat too," he offered, latching onto this familiar territory like a drowning man.


"Sherlock," he rose, grabbing his coat and eyeing the tall, spare form of his flatmate. "By my count it was Sunday the last time." he offered, concerned and yet playfully reproachful, just like always.

Sherlock's small, lopsided twist of a smile emerged again. "Monday evening. You worked a late night and I had a digestive biscuit and apple juice."

"Oh. Well then...You're stuffed already, obviously." John scoffed. He needed this, the anchoring normalcy of their banter. Sherlock could doubtless sense that. John was just grateful Sherlock was being generous enough to allow this bit of therapeutic theater.

They were out the door and walking before John even took note of which direction they were headed.

John kept silent, working out where they were going to eat. Sherlock had a system and he'd said curry. It was Thursday night and they were walking. Not going far then. So John assumed that meant Ishbilia and their curry special of the night. He didn't mind. The walk was good and the evening air was just chill enough to validate Sherlock's great coat, which nicely covered the glint of his band.

"He's always been an arse," Sherlock offered at length, breaking the comfortable silence.

"So you've said," John offered noncommittally. But does he always have to be so ruddy intimidating?

They walked for a few minutes longer when Sherlock suddenly stopped and faced him, fingers firmly grasping the edge of John's sleeve. "I wouldn't let him ever do you any harm, John."

John wasn't sure quite what to think of that. Sherlock played things close at the best of times. This was tantamount to a passionate declaration--from a bloody Holmes no less. His pride was beginning to rally in a vague refute though. John wasn't some damsel in distress, he was simply a coward with a lot to lose.

Right about then shadows shifted off to the side and Sherlock suddenly swung about, a surprised look on his face.

John hated it when Sherlock looked surprised. It never boded well.

Sherlock immediately dropped into a defensive stance, feet spread wide as four men emerged from the darkened maw of a narrow alley. John didn't need to be told twice. "Oi! You might want to rethink this, mates."

Obviously they disagreed. Yet despite their purposeful advance, John didn't miss the questioning eye Sherlock cast back at the alley entrance. He only had a moment to wonder if Sherlock was sensing another one on the way when suddenly his flatmate's attention snapped back to the men spreading out around them. "Watch the one on the left," Sherlock commented loudly. "He's sporting something. A pipe I suspect."

"Yeah, go on Freak. Read our minds," one of them spat as they circled. An instant later Sherlock was back to back with John. Normally four against two wasn't worrisome. But even without Sherlock's empathy, John could feel the hate rolling off these berks. Great. Why are they always nine foot tall and trunk thick black Irish?

Threats and slurs, all aimed at Sherlock's status as a "gifter" bounced off the concrete and brick around them, hollow and menacing. This... THIS was why John hid who he was. On paper, Sherlock was possessed of the same rights as anyone else. Reality was a lot different though. Even MET officers like Donovan threw the word "freak" around like it was perfectly acceptable.

Fill: The Fine Art of Misdirection 4/?

Then some invisible timer must have gone off because they weren't just circling anymore.

It was just like any fight John had ever been involved in, unfolding almost faster than thought and yet seeming to last forever. Suddenly there were crowding shoulders, too tall and too dense. Fists flew, guards went up. John's left knuckles split almost immediately making every punch slippery. He took a glancing blow along his arm from something harder than bone and the shockwave reverberated all the way up through his shoulder. Apparently the one on the right did have a pipe.

Cool air at his back signaled Sherlock breaking off and John had only a spare instant to hope that his friend hadn't become overwhelmed by the surges of violent emotion doubtlessly flailing against them. John knew only too well that to a strong empath, they might as well be physical blows.

There was a stumble, the sound of a crack and a voice that definitely wasn't Sherlock's resonant baritone cried out. Then Sherlock was at his side again. "Miss me?" came the jaunty, if breathless quip.

John was too busy to do more than snort derisively. He finally had the last man down ready to warn him to stay that way. But before the words were out, Sherlock abruptly shoved him, hard. There was a barely perceived blur of movement where his head had only just been and then Sherlock was on the move.

Recovering himself, John delivered a subduing kick to the man at his feet, turning just in time to hear a sickening crack and see Sherlock crumple to his knees, unnaturally slow, before teetering forward to collapse face down on the sidewalk.

Time froze, his eyes meeting a cold, hard gaze, taking in a thick arm, uplifted. A long, black Billy stick... There's blood on the club. Sherlock's blood. Then seconds rushed by blankly and when John came back to himself his heart raced sickly and the man with the club was on the ground, as unmoving as Sherlock.

The original four were rousing themselves, struggling upright and a crowd of onlookers was forming. John didn't care. His world had narrowed to three things; Sherlock horribly, terribly still on the ground, the pool around his head spreading like a grotesque, crimson halo. An insistent itch in the back of his mind, echoed in his palms, urging him to give in and heal before it was too late, and the horrible knowledge that it had finally happened. He was going to have to let someone die or be outed as a gifted.

It wasn't even a question. Freedom and anonymity for Sherlock's life? Never.

People pressing in too close, gawking and staring and gossiping in panicked or excited tones...Their attackers, all but the last, staggered away into the night. John blocked it all out until it was just him and Sherlock, and what he had to do to save his friend. His fingers shook as they slipped passed the wool collar searching against the long column of throat. There! Fluttering and oh so weak, but there. "Don't you go anywhere, Sherlock. I need a little time."

Fill: The Fine Art of Misdirection 5/?

John leaned in, kneeling over the dark head, ignoring the sticky wetness. Carefully he inspecting the gory mess that was the side of Sherlock's head, trying to stamp back the fear and premature grief dragging at his concentration. Finally he let tendrils of warm inquiry flow into flesh and bone. Sensations sharp intimately informative painted the beginnings of a grim picture. What he saw, what he sensed, was nothing less than he'd expected and yet far worse than he'd hoped. "Shite," John whispered. "You know, you're utter rubbish at this evening out business. Next time we're taking a cab and going to the Asian Moon." There was a small but obvious depression amid dark curls, welling blood and split flesh. John nudged deeper with his awareness and the fullness of the injury formed in his mind. Depressive skull fracture. Subarachnoid and subdural hemorrhaging... Escalating intracranial pressure... Localized grade four contusion. Death imminent. Sherlock didn't have time to wait for the ambulance John had heard at least three people calling for. He could already feel the neurological clusterfuck of a seizure building and Sherlock's autonomic function wouldn't hold on through it. "Sherlock, there's nothing for it, mate. Looks like Mycroft won't have to spill the beans."

Thick fingers threaded gently through the damp curls at Sherlock's forehead. One hand aft and one hand over the injury, gently as possible. He wasn't going to be able to fix everything. The depressed area of skull bone would need retracting first. But he could mend enough for Sherlock to survive getting to a surgeon.

Warmth spread out, reaching passed scalp and skull into injured artery and membrane--mending tears, coaxing away blood and interstitial fluid confined against delicate tissue, easing the dangerous bruising of that remarkable brain. Sherlock trembled jerkily and John immediately pulled his energy back, rerouting it in gradual stages. It was slow going and terribly delicate work. Like nothing else John had ever attempted. The intimacy was breathtaking.

And slowly, somewhere deep inside, John felt liberated. The hiding was finally over. He'd go to jail, he'd be outed as a criminal for having hid all his life. He'd be banded like other gifteds. He should have been terrified, but this...this was what he was meant to do! It was exhilarating. His awareness knit to the forms he reached out to repair in a symphonic rhythm of pulsing blood and electrical neuron discharge. John absently wondered if this was what Sherlock felt like when he played the violin.

Then he was withdrawing, fighting the insistent urge not to abandon flesh and bone that wasn't whole yet. He'd done as much as he could do. More healing would just solidify a malformation. Sherlock needed a surgeon now.

The sounds of sirens reached him the press of the crowd was almost claustrophobic and for an instant John knew just how Sherlock felt sometimes, revealed and pressed by all that pressence. He fell back on his haunches, dazed and exhausted, and hollow feeling.

Fill: The Fine Art of Misdirection 6/?

"Easy there, John." There was a warm, firm hand on his shoulder and it was only then that John realized he was shaking, hard. He looked up to find Lestrade over him, staring down with concern and something darker and unreadable. Oh yeah, I broke the law.

"He needs a neurosurgeon, fast." John offered a bit punch drunk. It was the worst injury he'd ever taken on and apparently he was paying for it. "I did all I dared, under the circumstances."

"That's enough of that," Lestrade said firmly in a low tone, waving a pair of paramedics in. John followed the pull of strong arms until he was well out of the way, feeling oddly disconnected as he watched them work on Sherlock.

John gestured after the paramedics loading his friend into the back of the ambulance as its sirens started. "I need to..."

"You need to get your story straight," Lestrade offered severely, though not unkindly.

John blinked owlishly at the D.I. He was officially lost.

And apparently it showed. "I was notified when it became apparent to the first responders who precisely was involved," Lestrade supplied. "The ambulance beat me here, but you were..." he gave John an uncomfortable look. "...handling things."

John wanted to sit down. Needed to sit down. But he fought against it knowing this was the part where the handcuffs came out. If he was lucky it would only be handcuffs and not the myriad other indignities that could be visited on an unclassified gifted in the course of due process.

"Sit down, there on the curb, before you fall down," Lestrade growled apparently able to read John's exhaustion. He gratefully slouched onto the cold concrete, and a great sigh heaved from above him. "What a fucking mess. Why didn't you tell me?" Lestrade demanded quietly.

John was searching for an answer that didn't include 'Are you bloody mad! when the detective inspector cut in. "Nevermind, stupid question. Wait here. Don't move."

Lestrade stalked off for a several minutes directing his officers. Donovan chose then to saunter over, a sneer on her face. "So...You're a freak too. You just hide it better."

John rubbed fingers caked in Sherlock's dried blood against his temples and prayed for the next part to just come already. Anything was better than listening to this silly cow prove just how bigoted she really was. As if hanging out with Sherlock had left any question of that. "Don't you have any married coworkers to go shag?" he asked tiredly. God he wanted to sleep. He could sleep for a week.

Donovan was sputtering indignantly as Lestrade reappeared, just in time to save John from any more of her unique brand of public relations skills. "Donovan, that'll be enough of that. Go help Anderson collect DNA from the sidewalk." She was obviously dying to protest but a meaningful scowl from Lestrade and she huffed off, grumbling.

Lestrade sighed and squatted down next to John. "God, I could really use a smoke right now."

John wasn't sure why they were stalling, they both knew what came next. He supposed he should be grateful Lestrade had let him finish working with Sherlock. "Lestrade..."

"I repeat, you need to get your story straight." Lestrade didn't look at him, just stared out at the crowd.

"Story?" John asked stupidly, ignoring the niggling spark of hope blooming in his chest. "Look, it's simple. I'm a..."

"Oh Shut it, will you? If I don't know for sure, then I can't do anything about it. Got it?"

"But you saw..." John couldn't help but squint at the D.I. in confusion.

"What I saw when I arrived," Lestrade said carefully. "...was a frightened man, in shock, praying over his friend who was just seriously injured in a brutal and unprovoked attack."

Edited at 2010-11-05 07:49 pm (UTC)

Fill: The Fine Art of Misdirection 7/?

It couldn't be that easy. John thought. I couldn't be that lucky. "The paramedics, the crowd..."

"Despite what witnesses reported, the paramedics will assert that they rendered treatment as soon as they arrived. It just took several moments to disentangle you from Sherlock," Lestrade snorted a laugh, rubbing at the nicotine patch John knew was right under his sleeve. "You'd lost it a bit."

John frowned. "How did you arrange all this?" Why was the better question. But he was too wrung out to guess and none of this made sense.. John didn't know whether to be grateful that he was being given an out or disappointed that he was ostensibly being encouraged to go back to hiding...fearing. But then at the moment John suspected his head wasn't quite on straight so he decided not to check the gift horse's dentition too closely.

Lestrade nodded his head left and John's gaze followed to an unmarked black sedan across the street. "I didn't manage it. He did."

"Shit," John blurted.

"Yeah, that's what I say every time I see him too." Lestrade rocked back to his feet, dusting off the seat of his pants.

"So..." John ventured, knowing how stupid he sounded but needing something concrete to move forward with.

"So just go back to being careful, John. The law is rubbish in this case. You know it. I know it. But it's still the law. I overlook the gun, I can overlook this. Until the day I can't overlook it, got it?"

"Uhm, yeah. Yes. Fine. Thank you." John stood too and immediately regretted it as most of the street swam in a sickening fashion.

For the second time that evening Lestrade's hand steadied John. "Look, you're done in. I'll give you a ride to the hospital."

John didn't refuse but rather allowed himself to be led to the detective inspector's car. It was all a bit too much and he still didn't even know if Sherlock would survive. Neurology with regards to gifteds in general and empaths specifically was tricky at best sometimes. But he'd done what he could, and it felt good. It would have felt good even without the government issue miracle in the form of one Mycroft Holmes.



A/N The rest is coming tonight, chicas. I just couldn't quite finish it all in one go.

Talk to you all soon! Hugs!

Re: Fill: The Fine Art of Misdirection 7/?

I like this a lot so far! I'm always a fan of Sensible!Lestrade. Waiting patiently for more...

Re: Fill: The Fine Art of Misdirection 7/?

Thank you! I'm hoping to have the epilogue done soon. It's a somewhat longer end than I planned. BUt there you go.

And I DO love Lestrade. He's someone I haven't written before now. So it was fun, getting into his head.

Re: Fill: The Fine Art of Misdirection 7/?

Lestrade nodded his head left and John's gaze followed to an unmarked black sedan across the street. "I didn't manage it. He did."

"Shit," John blurted.

"Yeah, that's what I say every time I see him too." Lestrade rocked back to his feet, dusting off the seat of his pants.

I loled so hard at that. You have no idea. Best. Line. Ever. Can't wait for the rest!

Re: Fill: The Fine Art of Misdirection 7/?

Thank you! I had fun in this one making Mycroft even more one of "those people" who make you pee yourself when he comes around.

Re: Fill: The Fine Art of Misdirection 7/?

Wheeee! Oh, this story hits all kinds of buttons for me. (I find the idea of Sherlock as a strong empath strangely believable - it mirrors the way he can't help but know things about people when he notices everything, and I can see him developing a standoffish persona in an attempt to keep people and their messy emotions at a distance.) This is fun. :D

Re: Fill: The Fine Art of Misdirection 7/?

Hugs! That's how I imagined it would work. Sherlock as sort of periodically reclusive just because he needs to limit the rambling idiotic feelings spread everywhere.

And he really *would* want Anderson to stop thinking in his vicinity.

Fill: The Fine Art of Misdirection 8/?

John had been waiting a week now to see Sherlock. His trip to the hospital with Lestrade that night had ended in him being whisked away before the press got to him, without him even getting to make sure Sherlock was still alive. He'd had to lie low, avoid the inevitable media attention that came with hot button issues like hate crimes. There had been questions; about eye witness accounts of an unregistered healer and the slight discrepancy between report times and Sherlock's arrival at the hospital. But they'd quickly been swept under the rug, never to see the light, beyond the odd rant on conspiracy websites and racist anti-Gifted blogs. Mysteriously, those websites immediately started suffering unexplained server collapses.

Now things were more settled and John was finally getting to visit Sherlock. He'd received updates via Lestrade and to a lesser extent Mycroft, all along. So at least he knew Sherlock was doing well. According to Lestrade, the world's only consulting detective had made amazing steps toward recovery. His neurosurgeon finished where John had left off and after 48 hours of recuperative sedation and several sessions with a registered Gifted healer, one Dr Michaels, Sherlock was well ahead of the game. As usual. But it had been a long week for John.

John wondered at the sheer immensity of his debt to the elder Holmes brother--for his protection and intervention with the press, for his discretion as well. And just like summoning up the devil himself--umbrella on arm--there Mycroft was, leaving from Sherlock's private room. For once, his smile seemed sincere. Which, John assumed, probably meant Sherlock had been sleeping.

"Doctor," Mycroft offered in greeting. "It's good you're here. Sherlock has been asking after you." The way he said it made John suspect his friend had been characteristically dogged about it.

"Hello. Yes. Uhm... He's asleep?" John asked.

The smile increased incrementally and was again remarkable in it's uncommon earnestness. "No, no. He's awake. And will doubtless be sensing you near, so don't tarry."

"Wait. Sensing me near?" When it came to neurological injury, John knew it was common practice to chemically suppress Psi gifts of any kind during recovery, for everyone's safety. "They don't have his gift suppressed while he heals?"

"Oh, he's passed that point doctor. Nearly ready to be released back into the wild, as they say. Even so, it's a moot point. Brother started palming his drugs two days ago." Mycroft tsked.

John had no idea what to say about that.

"My suggestion is not to say anything at all. Not to me, at least." John might have been intimidated to find that Mycroft was empathic enough to pick up full thoughts, only he'd long suspected it anyway. "Stop tarrying and go inside already, John. He's starting to fret."

"I am NOT, you hulking water buffalo," came a muffled voice from within Sherlock's room.

Mycroft just smiled that odd, soft smile again and started off toward the elevators.

Fill: The Fine Art of Misdirection 9/?

John paused for a moment, not sure why he was suddenly nervous. Perhaps because "water buffalo" indicated Sherlock really was largely back to himself. Which meant it was time to face the music. There were things they needed to talk about now. Things John had spent his whole life avoiding.

Eventually though, he took a bracing breath and opened the door.

"Hey you," He offered shyly, taking in the scene. The first few seconds he just stood there, looking. Sherlock, as his brother had indicated, looked remarkably well for someone who a mere seven days ago had been bleeding his life away on a sidewalk. Sherlock was pale, to be sure, but hardly more so than usual. Gray eyes, which were trained on John like sniper sights, were clear and sharp in their evaluation of him. Sherlock was even sitting up in bed, in pajamas rather than a regular issue hospital gown. And aside from a few EEG leads, he wasn't being monitored at all.

Something tight inside of John loosened then.

A step forward and John took a deep breath--for what felt like the first time in a week. The utter relief must was likely rolling off him, because Sherlock quirked a strange not-smile and gestured to a clipboard on the wall by the door.

"My chart is there, if you need to have a peek. They managed not to damage me further. Though I'll grant it was probably a close thing. I'm not impressed with my neurologist." Sherlock's voice a hare weaker than normal, John noted, but rife with customary smugness. John realized then he'd been missing that so much it ached.

"Oh?" John asked, just wanting to drink in Sherlock's voice, no matter what he was saying.

"He's shagging two of the nurses on this wing," Sherlock informed him, and John barely contained an explosive laugh. He took the clipboard off the wall and halfheartedly perused it, claiming a chair nearest the bed.

When John looked up from the medical records he met a very intense gray-eyed stare. "John, It's really alright," Sherlock offered carefully.

John had to agree for the most part, though as he gave his friend a second, closer look over he couldn't help his gaze coming to rest on Sherlock's band--still on his wrist even in the hospital.

Sherlock casually slid his right hand to cover the bracelet, tilting his head thoughtfully. "I'm told I have you to thank for the fact that I'm not more than a couple of IQ points less brilliant than I was born to be."

And just like that, John laughed. "Yes, well, I still don't see myself keeping up with you in pub games."

Though, despite the levity, it was still there. The whole ugly package. John hated that people like Sherlock--like himself--had to live tagged like pets, no matter what Gifteds did for the world. John still hadn't discussed it, not even with Mycroft when he came around to get details on their attackers. Now it was time. "Sherlock, I need to explain why I never..."

"I did know, you realize. So this whole confession thing is rather unnecessary," Sherlock gestured between them. "I find baring one's soul to be highly over-rated. You don't really want to say it out loud and I don't need you to. I meant it when I said it's alright, John. As you're fond of pointing out, it's all fine."

John met Sherlock's eyes for a barest moment and in that instant he saw what he needed--all the bitterness and resentment he felt for the system, all the fear and weariness, everything he carried reflected and forgiven. John had to bear the burden of risk, but Sherlock bore the burden of registration. Flip sides, but neither of them were really free and last week had proved neither of them was safe either.

"I see," was all John could get out passed the lump in his throat.

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