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It's A Wonderful Christmas Carol - 5/7

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 4

They materialised in front of a very familiar address. Before the gust of melodramatic Christmas snow had died down completely, though, Sherlock managed to grab the ghost's arm. He found it satisfyingly solid beneath his grip.

"Take me back." He panted, giving the ghost's arm a savage squeeze for empahsis. It really shouldn't be this hard to control his own breathing if he didn't really exist. "If you're right and this is the only world there is, then leave me alone and take me back to John."

The ghost offered a lazy half-smile. "Sorry, pumpkin, no can do." And he slipped easily out of Sherlock's grasp, hopping up the front steps of 221 Baker Street and ringing the bell.

Mrs Hudson answered the door. "Hello...can I help you?"

She could see Sherlock. But not Moriarty. And Sherlock could see much more than he wanted to: heavy makeup hiding blackened right eye left-handed assailant old bruises fading on her neck right arm held awkwardly still tender from being gripped just under the shoulder...

Sherlock forced a smile onto his face. "Hello, Mrs...Hudson, is it? Is your husband at home, please?"

A spark of fear flashed through her polite facade. "Oh, I don't know, dear...he'll be with the boys, you know, card night; he won't want disturbing..."

"Hello, Loretta. Something the matter here?" A man who should have been dead - the man Sherlock had seen executed; who should be mouldering away in a Florida cemetery - appeared in the doorway with surge of cigar smoke and put a possessive hand on Mrs Hudson's shoulder. Sherlock caught her flinch as the hand gripped her rather harder than necessary.

Sherlock's smile tightened. "Yes, I rather think there is. I'd like to speak to you about your previous wives, Mr Hudson...or should I say, Herbert Rachmann?"

The offensively-alive Mr Hudson's fake smile faded. "Who is this man?" he demanded of his still-flinching wife. "Who have you been talking to...?"

"Nobody," Sherlock said evenly. "But you should be more careful about the evidence you leave behind. Contrary to what you think, certain poisons do leave a trace. And furthermore, I suggest you take your filthy hand off your wife's shoulder if you wish to arrive at the police station in one piece."

Mr Hudson's face went white. "Listen, mate. I don't know who you think you are, but if you're not gone in two seconds I'm calling the cops."

"Oh, by all means, do let's call them. We can tell them about the tidy little embezzling scheme you've got going on the side as well."

Mrs Hudson yelped as her husband shoved her inside and pointed a finger at Sherlock. "Get out."

Normally, Sherlock would have had the revolting excuse for a man flat on the ground whimpering like a spanked baby in roughly four moves (barring some added punches for satisfaction's sake). Normally, that is. Not when he was a figment who didn't actually exist. His molecules seemed to evaporate as he lunged forward, and he was left holding empty air as the front door of 221 Baker Street slammed in his face.

Moriarty's ghost clucked. "Tsk, tsk. Now look what you've done." Sounds of raised voices - and eventually, a muffled thump and a cry of pain - came through the door. "You'll have made it worse on her now. Normally he doesn't start beating her again until Boxing Day at least. Ironically." He chuckled.

Sherlock had a handful of Moriarty's shirt before the chuckle could die on his lips. "What. Do. You. Want? The sad sadistic thrill of showing me things I can't prevent?" He turned all his thwarted rage on the ghost, forcing him backwards with the weight of his own impotent anger. "Just because I 'never existed in this world' doesn't mean I don't exist now and can't help them, so what. Is. The. Point?"

The ghost only looked mildly confused. "Who said there was a point?"

part 6