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It's A Wonderful Christmas Carol - 6/7

fandom: Sherlock
word count: 10,148
pairing: gen/friendship
warnings: domestic abuse, suicide attempt
summary: Sherlock meets A Christmas Carol meets It's A Wonderful Life.

part 5


They weren't on Baker Street anymore. The world had changed around them again. Sherlock resisted the urge to wipe the ghost's smug ugly smirk off his face and released him with a shove, having a look about to get his bearings: they were in a tired part of town, somewhere near the waterfront.

"Recognise it?"

"Vaguely. Some of the homeless network sleep here. Never at this time of year, though." Sherlock wrapped his coat more tightly around him - it didn't seem fair that people who didn't actually exist in this reality could still feel the cold - then noticed a group of people sipping coffee in a park across the road: Lestrade and his team. He and Sergeant Donovan chatted while a junior officer unrolled yellow crime scene tape around a cracked, dirty fountain.

"Poor bastard," Lestrade was saying. "Hypothermia, must be. Frostbite makes 'em think they're burning up, so they head for snow or ice water. Seen it a few times."

"Or he could have fallen in; cracked his head," Donovan pointed out.

"Yeah, well. Have to wait for the autopsy, I guess."

"Dull." Sherlock complained as Moriarty caught him up. "Common demise for the homeless; happens every winter. Is this a new tactic - you couldn't drive me mad, so now you're trying to bore me to death?"

The ghost shrugged. "Is it working?"

"Most efficiently."

Behind them, Lestrade rubbed his hands for warmth...though what he hoped to accomplish by it was beyond Sherlock, as he was already wearing gloves.

"Family been notified yet?"

"Working on it. Apparently there's a brother, but he's proving a bit tricky to track down."

Lestrade huffed. "Poor bugger. Dies on Christmas Eve, and there's not even someone to miss him."

"Mmm," Donovan snuggled further down into her coat. "Just us."

"Oh, wait a moment!" Something Donovan had said - apparently there's a brother - triggered something in Sherlock's memory. "I do know this story…this is the big climax, right? The final horror? You show me a vision of myself, dead, alone and unloved, and it scares the true meaning of Christmas into me, and then we all sing Christmas carols and Tiny Tim says 'God bless us, every one!' That's it, isn't it? Of all the maudlin sentimental rubbish!"

The ghost shrugged again. "Go and look in the fountain then, if you're so not-scared of what's inside."

"Oh, please!" Sherlock spat. "I told you, I am not playing your little game!" He turned his back on the ghost and stormed away. "Goodbye, Jim. Go and rattle your chains at someone who cares."

Up the road an ambulance approached, its lights and siren stilled: no need to rush for the dead.

"Ah! Meat wagon's here." Lestrade crumpled his coffee cup and tossed it in a nearby bin.

Donovan's voice got fainter as Sherlock put space between himself and their crime scene. "You want to do the hand-off?"

"Yeah, why not? You get back to the Yard; see if you can track the brother down." Sherlock could barely hear them now, but he just caught the end of Lestrade's sentence: "After all, how many Harry Watsons can there be in the whole of England?"

Sherlock's blood froze.

Harry Watson.

The ambulance pulled up to the fountain. Sherlock turned and covered the distance in roughly five seconds no no no no NO…

"Oi. What d'you think you're doing?" Lestrade could see him now. Sherlock didn't care. That was not John in there no that was NOT John it only looked like him lying underwater with his blank staring eyes no not John not John PLEASE not John...

"Someone call for backup; we've got a nutter here!"

Sherlock grabbed John's arm and pulled. Nothing happened. He yanked harder, and heard a sickening crack! beneath him. He looked down.

Thin white tendrils obscured John's face: web cracks. Ice. John wasn't just lying underwater…he was frozen there.

Sherlock screamed.

Hands gripped his shoulders NO FUCK OFF he had to save John; there was a blanket a shock blanket Lestrade must have dropped it and he thrust it over John's body, trying to rub some warmth back into the cold frozen limbs.

"Sherlock..."

"No! We have to save him!"

"Sherlock, wait..."

"HELP ME WARM HIM UP!!!"

"Okay, okay! He's warm, look!"

Sherlock opened his eyes. His fingers gripped an orange blanket, and someone's wrist beneath it. Then he heard a voice.

"I'm warm; I'm warm! See? Nice and toasty, snug as a bug. Now can I have my arm back please?"

He looked up.

Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson stood by his hospital bed, flanking a comically worried-looking John Watson. There was an orange shock blanket covering his head and shoulders: he looked like Watson of Arabia.

Sherlock stared into their three frightened faces, and released John's arm.

And burst out laughing.

A nurse rushed into the room. "What is it? What's happening?"

"He just woke up and grabbed John; glomped onto him like a barnacle. Seemed to think he was freezing to death."

"Probably just felt the cold himself; kicking all his blankets off." The nurse replaced them. Sherlock let her. He was laughing too hard to do anything else.

"...Care to share the joke there, mate?" Mahatma Watson asked from beneath his orange headwrap, and that only made Sherlock laugh harder.

"Oh Auntie Em," he squeaked, pointing at each of his friends in turn, "I was having the strangest dream. And you, and you, and you were there..."

"I think he's still a bit loopy from the meds," the nurse confided. "Maybe best let him rest for a bit."

"Oh Sherlock, you did give us a fright," Mrs. Hudson reached down and patted his arm, and for some reason that was hilarious, too. "You rest up and look after yourself."

"Yeah," Lestrade added. "Bloody idiot. I'll be in touch."

"See you, mate," John nodded. "I'm just down the hall if you need me."

And with that, The Three Wise Men - or rather, The Wise Man, The Wise Woman, and The Virgin Watson in his bright orange veil - departed the room, looking over their shoulders at the still-giggling Sherlock as if he'd lost his mind.

Which he probably had. Didn't matter. Whether it was drugs or relief that was making him so giddy, he didn't care: John was alive.

John was alive.

Nothing in the world mattered more than that.


part 7

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
tardisjournal
Dec. 26th, 2014 01:29 am (UTC)
Oooh, nice twist on the traditional story! It makes sense that Sherlock wouldn't fear his own death very much, not even a lonely one. Come to think of it, he probably expected to have one, and has resigned himself to it a long time ago (or at that's what he expected least before John came on the scene.) But John's death--that's another matter altogether!

Great job! I've really been enjoying these updates and am looking forward to the resolution.

Merry Christmas!
qthebadwolf
Dec. 26th, 2014 03:57 am (UTC)
Thanks! The last chapter should be up and running now.

Sherlock's a paradox, alright: for all his arrogance, he doesn't actually seem to care about himself very much. Let harm befall John Watson, though (or Mrs. Hudson), and his whole world would go careening off its axis and plummet through space.

Merry Christmas to you, too (what's left of it, anyway)!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )