Original Story Title: Love Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry
Original Story Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/243272
Original Story Pairings: Sherlock/John
Original Story Rating: Teen and up
Original Story Warnings: none
Remix Story Title: All Hearts are Broken
Remix Author: f_m_r_l
Remix Beta: thisprettywren
Remix Britpicker: flying_android
Remix Story Pairings: Sherlock/John
Remix Story Rating: PG-13 for violence
Remix Story Warnings: violence, blood, psychological abuse, blackmail, betrayal of trust
"All Hearts are Broken"
Sherlock's first attempted case involved Carl Powers. His first solved case involved a classmate's (he had thought 'friend's') family.
But the first time he was found standing over a body at a crime scene was when he was six. It was no mystery at all, really. Mummy was lying across the body, sobbing "I didn't mean it. I didn't mean it. I love you." over and over again. Blood was smeared across her neatly tailored suit, across her formerly perfectly-made-up face, into her now-scraggly French Twist. Blood was dripping from the knife she still clutched in her hand.
Sherlock could tell by her clothes that she hadn't planned to stab Father. Mummy always wore an apron when she planned to do anything messy. It was extra scary that someone could stab someone else when they weren't planning to.
After his father's funeral, Sherlock went to live with his aunt until he was old enough to be sent off to school. His aunt's residence was never home, just somewhere he needed to visit whenever the school absolutely wouldn't keep him. During weekends or holidays Mycroft and Sherlock were sometimes allowed to visit Mummy for carefully monitored sixty minute sessions, occasionally as often as every four weeks, but for the most part not. Aunt Jessica did not like prisons, nor train journeys, nor Mummy. Visits were as cherished as they were rare. And the visits were extremely careful; they would end at the earliest sign of distress on Mummy's part. She was especially volatile right before the holidays, and who could blame her?
Sherlock felt abandoned. Mycroft felt powerless. And Aunt Jessica seemed to resent every word she spared them. They were reunited only under duress, trapped in a tradition of Christmas dinners.
Meg wasn't anyone particularly noticeable. Sherlock thought the girl cultivated that, an invisibility that took her right past the interest and possible teasing of her peers. More obvious targets, more engaging targets were readily available. For example, Sherlock. Sherlock disdained such methods of disguise for himself. Or at least he told himself that he disdained such methods.
He'd not entirely gained the knack of blending in, though he'd been working on some theories in that direction. His reactions were always a beat off as he figured out how he was supposed to react. And it was incredibly hard to gauge what he should know to fit in without coming across as entirely too clever or, well, stupid. Apparently his attempts at minimising the more obtrusive aspects of his intelligence always came across as overdone. On the other hand, it wasn't always knowing too much; in some areas he knew too little, though he had tried reading up on popular culture and common topics of conversation. They were just so boring.
Sherlock had noticed Meg despite her social invisibility. He noticed everyone, if only to assess how annoying they were going to be and in what way they might prove to be useful, dangerous, or an impediment. Once dismissed as a model for social blending (too female), Meg was at most a tripping hazard. She managed to be underfoot a remarkable percentage of the time when Sherlock ventured forth from one of his hideouts, one of the places he went to think unbothered. It was almost as though she'd been clever enough to figure out where they were. If so, it was curious that she never intruded further. But not odd enough to investigate.
Although reading people's faces was not Sherlock's strong point, he would evaluate the glances Meg gave him as "perpetually hopeful". She probably thought she loved him. Boring.
Which was just as well. Because if someone interesting had been a witness to the constant petty tortures Sebastian, Fred, and Monica had dished out to him, that might have been embarrassing. Instead, her eyes went sad when the trio were cruel and glowed when Sherlock made a particularly clever cutting remark in return. He rather liked that last part. Though he would never, ever admit it, approval to the point of awe was a heady and addicting experience. He was still trying to figure out whether it was worth the first part. After all, his intellect should carry him above such things. He neither wanted nor needed anyone's pity.
Just before end of year exams, copies of test answers were found among the possessions of Monica and the two boys. Unfortunately, Meg was also found among Monica's possessions, planting the last copy of the answers. Though there were a variety of clever things she could have said to try to at least confuse the situation, Meg's only defence was that the other students were bullies and prats.
Meg was sent off to a special school for troubled students, right as Sherlock had begun to find her interesting. Why test answers and not drugs, when drugs were easier to obtain and at least as believable? The test answers had been left in open view in the boys' rooms; how had Meg got into those rooms without keys or being seen? How had she obtained the answer sheets? How had she arranged things so that the test answer sheets were found by someone other than the targets? And did she really do it because she hated their bullying and was fond of Sherlock? His investigations were not fruitful. It was most irksome. Sherlock pouted for months.
Sherlock had spent more time than he would usually allow making sure that every hair was in place, his shave perfect, his breath as fresh as humanly possible. He had made his decision. It was going to be tonight. He had a highly recommended brand of condoms in one pocket of his jacket, a small bottle of lube in his breast pocket, and a case of the nerves. He was hiding his nerves as best as he could. He didn't want Charles to suspect that he was still a virgin at twenty.
The last thing he expected was for Mycroft's car to intercept him on the way. Two of Mycroft's goons accompanied the car. Fifteen minutes later, Sherlock was sitting in an anonymous beige office in a nondescript office block, staring across a desk at his brother.
"I hate to interrupt your busy evening," Mycroft slid some videocassettes across the desk, "but I thought you should be made aware of the existence and nature of these videos before going any further in your relationship with Charles."
Each home cassette was labelled with Charles's familiar scrawl. The labels were all nearly identical, a message reading "Co-operate with my demands or the originals go public".
"It seems your Charles has been a very ambitious and busy young man. He also possesses considerable technical aptitude. His network of hidden cameras and microphones in his bedroom is superior to even what I planted."
Sherlock felt a little sick, thinking of two sets of cameras recording their kisses as Charles and he explored each other's embraces. And he had planned... well, those plans were over.
He had thought Charles loved him. He had loved Charles. Or maybe people had been right when they told him that he didn't know the meaning of the word. He had carefully memorised every indicator commonly known as symptomatic of love and analysed Charles' behaviour against all of the metrics. He had studied his own feelings in the same manner. Obviously something had gone amiss in his estimation of the situation. He'd got it wrong again. And if his analysis was wrong regarding Charles' feelings, obviously it must be wrong regarding his own. He would just have to rely on his intellect to carry on until this strange, painful sensation passed.
Sherlock sneered, got up, and stalked out of the office. If the door slam was somewhat petulant, nobody was going to comment.
"Your boyfriend 'Dave' told you that he's a programmer, but his fingers are the wrong shape for someone who spends much time on the keyboard, and he can't follow a joke on the subject. Based on his left shoe, he spends a good amount of time down on one knee. Extrapolating from that, his manual dexterity, and the callous patterns on his hands, I'd say he's a locksmith. But a consistently legitimate locksmith wouldn't have lied about what he does for a living, not when you've already been known to date men of a similar status." Sherlock only paused briefly to breathe. "Your boyfriend first started dating you when your department started investigating the Crawford case, the burglary-gone-wrong turned murder. He's a locksmith who shows up every evening to take you for coffee and listen to you talk about how your day went, and he relaxes more when he hears that some other murder is diverting the resources of the department, including your own attention, from the Crawford case. He even maintains that good mood when he hears that the other case is going to keep you busy late into the night. Do you see the connections I'm drawing, Sally? You really aren't quite so entirely stupid as you can appear."
It wasn't the sort of crime Sherlock would even have bothered with had the culprit not been right in front of him. But, once given the suggestion, Sally had to investigate; she didn't have the luxury of restricting herself to taking on only those cases that appealed. It turned out that 'Dave' was really the burglar 'Max Green', the same Max Green who had panicked when Will Crawford showed up during a burglary and hit said homeowner over the head with a spanner, killing him.
There was an internal investigation regardless of the fact that Sally had been the one to arrest Max. Sally was cleared of any intentional wrongdoing, at least on paper. But she knew that the situation had caused doubts among her co-workers regardless of what the report said. She strongly suspected those unofficial doubts about her judgement were responsible when she was passed over for a promotion she had wanted. She never quite believed that Sherlock hadn't mentioned Sally's involvement with Dave to someone higher up or, worse, framed Dave. And she loathed Sherlock with all of her heart.
The memories had been deleted, so Sherlock didn't remember rushing off in a panic to rescue his older brother. He didn't remember tracking the kidnappers to a warehouse, disabling them one by one, finding Mycroft stowed behind a flat of boxes, or gingerly and as gently as possible removing the strip of duct tape that had been plastered across Mycroft's mouth before quickly slashing loose the tape that had bound Mycroft's arms and legs.
He also didn't remember how Mycroft had pushed him away and cursed him thoroughly for his interference. Apparently the kidnapping had been part of a grander scheme to obtain information regarding enemy agents, and Sherlock had ruined it all. Not only would the suspects and their network get a chance to flee, but they would now have more information to take along with them.
Those memories had been deleted, but not with Sherlock's permission or cooperation. Mycroft's men had poured into the room almost as soon as Mycroft had been freed to call them. At Mycroft's order, Sherlock was bundled along and shoved into a white van heading to parts unknown--once they had left London, Sherlock could only make estimates on kilometres and direction travelled.
It turned out that their destination was a lab disguised as an office complex on the outskirts of somewhere Sherlock had neither heard of nor cared about. An emotionally unstable drug addict couldn't be allowed to retain the information Sherlock had obtained. And some of Mycroft's people were just one or two steps ahead of the public research on memory. They wiped the incident from Sherlock's brain along with a couple of other bothersome encumbrances, such as any tendency to want to meddle in his brother's business and a few aspects of the associations that helped maintain his addiction.
Mycroft had stopped by once to check on the treatment and give a couple of suggestions for convenient adjustments. He had stood impassively as Sherlock hurled invective at him, asked an assortment of questions that seemed deliberately designed to invite abuse, and made a few notes on a clipboard before passing the clipboard to an underling and swanning off.
The scientists were slightly sloppy with the fact that emotions are stored differently from "factual" memory and can be disassociated. Emotions, after all, weren't their problem.
Sherlock was later found unconscious in a squat, his wallet, watch, and a large chunk of time missing. He emerged with memories gone, with a better chance of getting clean, and with a resentment of Mycroft that, even if he couldn't point to the reason, he might very well keep for the rest of his days.
Finding John alive had sent Sherlock spiralling into a profound confusion of relief and, for some reason, dread. After incapacitating John's kidnapper, Sherlock had untied John and very carefully helped him over to sit on a crate. John was fine, if 'fine' included extensive bruising, assorted abrasions, and a cut that would take less than five stitches. Sherlock handed John his phone and instructed him to call for backup. John's calling for backup would lead him free to take care of other matters.
Sherlock could vaguely hear John behind him, talking to the police on his mobile as Sherlock picked up one of the men who had tried to take John away from him. It seemed of the utmost necessity to introduce the man to the brick wall. Forcefully and repeatedly.
The noise in the background changed somehow, but Sherlock didn't pay much attention to that until he felt the hand at the small of his back.
Sherlock was finally able to hear his name over the pounding of the blood in his ears and the pounding of his opponent against the wall. He turned slightly to see John right behind him, slightly unsteady but wearing an expression of good humour.
"Sherlock, put the man down. The police are coming. Your brother is coming."
Why was John telling him this?
"If you let him go now we'll get home faster. Fewer questions. Less paperwork."
Sherlock dropped his opponent into a heap and turned to look at John fully.
"We'd still be able to make our dinner reservations," John reminded him.
When the police burst into the room, the kidnapper was neatly tied and still conscious enough to answer questions. John and Sherlock were sitting on the other side of the room comparing notes about the kidnapping. If Mycroft's men caused said kidnapper to vanish somewhere between the crime scene and the cell that awaited him, it was neither John nor Sherlock's concern. They were on record as having handed the man over.
After all, they had reservations for their anniversary dinner, and Angelo had laid on extra candles.
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