[identity profile] tartancravat.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] tartanfics
Title: Fascination
Fandom: Sherlock BBC
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock, John, Irene Adler, Molly. Sherlock’s confusing relationships with all of them.
Rating: PG
Word count: 1,588
Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters or make money off them.
Warnings: Spoilers for A Scandal in Belgravia
Notes: This was kind of an experiment in a post ASiB world with my evolving headcanon, and as such it didn’t go at all the way I meant it to, and I’m not sure where exactly it ended up. Beta by [livejournal.com profile] miss_sabre.
Summary: There are several reasons Sherlock finally agrees to have dinner with the Woman. His third reason is frustratingly indefinable, but it springs from a desire to follow fascination through to its close.



-

“Going out?” John asks, watching Sherlock adjust his collar in the mirror above the mantel.

“John...” Sherlock begins, pausing with his fingers still at his throat. He looks carefully at John’s reflection in the mirror, just visible over his own shoulder.

“Stop worrying. Just because you’re a jealous git, doesn’t mean I am.”

“No. When I get back--I might possibly have omitted certain details from a certain affair. I believe you are due the full story.”

“You might have done?”

“Well, yes, all right. Did.” He finishes his collar, and turns. Takes a good look at John. Clearly, John has no idea what he’s referring to, but that’s just as well. “I’m going to dinner.”

-

from: The Woman
I’m in London. Let’s have dinner.

Years later--such a long time--he finally agrees.

It isn’t easy. She makes him agree to stand outside 221B at 8:05 PM on the 17th of September, and to get into the car that arrives to fetch him.

There are several reasons he agrees. (1) pure and dangerous curiosity. There’s a saying John would pull out in this situation, and despite being utterly inane it is reasonably apt. (2) love of that inherent danger. The Woman is not to be trusted, and Sherlock loves to play with things he cannot trust. (3) something that is not sentiment. Not sentiment, not regret, and not any kind of need to see what might have been. His third reason is frustratingly indefinable, but it springs from a desire to follow fascination through to its close. To find out why she was able to manipulate him into killing to save her life--what he once did, in some way, to John. To find out whether she could still do that. He’s not sure, after all this time, that he still could.

It looks like one of Mycroft’s cars. He opens the back door himself and slides in; there’s no one else there, and the partition separating him from the driver is dark.

Where am I going?

from: The Woman
Work it out.

He does, of course.

-

He half expects her to be naked. Had prepared himself for it. He should have known, of course, that the Woman is not so simple as to repeat herself. She won’t make the same move twice.

She is dressed, frighteningly and somewhat amusingly, as Sherlock is. Dark, fitted shirt, jacket, trousers. The only difference, really, is her heels. Sherlock pauses, staring at her framed in the doorway of the hotel room, and smirks. “Should you be in London?” he asks.

She doesn’t answer, just steps aside to let him in, and looks back out into the hallway, as though expecting there to be someone behind him. “You didn’t want to bring John?”

That is, all right, that is unexpected. How does she do that? John sometimes flouts Sherlock’s expectations, but he doesn’t do anything completely out of the blue; he simply fails to do what Sherlock expects. The Woman is... constantly surprising. Sherlock had forgotten how electrifying that is. “John?” He watches her shut the door and turn to face him. “I was taught not to bring my friends to parties uninvited.”

She laughs. “Oh, Sherlock. You don’t care about manners.”

True. He turns away to take in the rest of the room. Bed--enormous bed, armchair, chandelier, wardrobe, table. Places for dinner set at the table, but no food. “At least you admit these days that you do have friends,” she says.

She walks toward the table, trailing her hand across Sherlock’s lower back as she passes. She leans back against the table and seems to examine Sherlock. “But you could have brought John, if you wanted.”

Sherlock considers it. This may be one area in which John is in fact quite jealous. And he doesn’t know, of course. Better to tell him about this after, rather than before. But it might have been... nice.

“Are you going to provide an actual dinner, or is that still a euphemism?” Sherlock asks.

Ms. Adler smiles. “Which option did you come here for?” she asks in return.

-

Sherlock stops off at the morgue on the way home. He’s familiar with Molly’s schedule by now, and knows that she sometimes works quite late on Thursdays, in order to get things out of the way so that she can leave early Friday and have a long weekend.

“Sherlock,” Molly says when she sees him, breathy, with a smile.

“Are the dead treating you well?” Sherlock asks, sitting down on a cold metal stool and surveying the dead man on the table. Late ‘40s, married, owned a cat. Boring.

Molly laughs. “Yes, fine. Mr. Humphreys here is quite a nice man.” She leaves off examining his left ear and strips off her gloves. “Have you got a case, or...?”

He doesn’t, of course. He’s here because Molly is here, and because she can be something to him that Irene Adler cannot. Sherlock buries his hands in his pockets and draws his knees up. “You’re an ordinary woman, Molly Hooper.”

Her face immediately falls. Oops. But really, she should have learned to expect him to hurt her accidentally by now. She should have learned not to be hurt. “Molly. I believe I meant that as a compliment.”

Now she just looks confused. “I don’t--. You don’t like ordinary things. You like all the weirdest crimes best.”

“Don’t be stupid. You’re not a crime scene.”

And that’s just it. Molly is not a crime scene, or the creator of crime scenes, or Sherlock’s means of access to crime scenes. She’s not a puzzle, or a fascination, or a surprise. She’s a person, pure and simple. “Thanks, I think.” Of course, she doesn’t understand that.

Sherlock gets off his stool and swoops in to kiss her on the cheek. “Good night,” he says. “Thank you.”

-

John is dozing in his chair, his laptop on the floor near his feet, the television muted in the background. Probably been updating that ridiculous blog. Rather than wake him up and send him to bed, Sherlock picks up the violin and sets it to his shoulder. He begins slowly, softly, playing through the morning and the tedium of anticipation and the... dinner. He gets stuck over the Woman, but he plays past her, lets that tune go, on through the comfortable melody of Molly, home to Baker Street. John.

Sherlock knows he’s woken John up, but that was his intention, and he leaves it a little longer before he lowers his bow and turns. John is looking at him, soft, sleepy, fond. “How was dinner?” John murmurs.

Sherlock draws a last long note out of the violin, and then sets it down on the table. “John. Irene Adler is not in a witness protection programme, nor is she dead--I know Mycroft told you she is.” He doesn’t look at John, but he hears the sharp intake of breath.

“And you... had dinner with her?” John asks, clearly struggling to keep his voice level.

“I intended to do so.” He hadn’t expected it to go the way it did. He had anticipated, of course, the possibility (probability) of Irene doing something unforeseen. What he hadn’t thought to consider was that he himself might not have the anticipated reaction.

The Woman had... bored him. Well, not bored, not exactly. She could never be boring. She had held exactly the same fascination as always. The difference lay not with her, but with Sherlock himself. In the years since Sherlock saw the Woman last, fascination has ceased to be enough.

“What happened?” John asks.

Sherlock sits down in his armchair and presses his palms together, thinking. What had happened? She asked him why he hadn’t brought John, and he’d begun to wish he had. Had begun to wonder if he might not prefer a comfortable dinner with John at one of their favourite restaurants to an unpredictable dinner with Irene Adler in an expensive hotel room. Even a euphemistic dinner with John sounds preferable to Irene. John wouldn’t... he would make it easy. He might even make it interesting.

“I left,” Sherlock says.

“And you...” John sniffs. “Were you in the lab?”

Sherlock smiles. “Good try, John. Morgue. I went to the morgue.”

“Did Lestrade phone, or something? Is that why you left the dinner?”

“No. I went to see Molly.”

“Oh.” John smiles, relieved. Molly is familiar territory; John likes it when Sherlock talks to Molly. “So you skipped a dinner with Irene Adler to go to the morgue and talk to Molly?”

Well, when you put it like that, it does sound a bit... out of character. Sherlock wrinkles his nose. “Molly’s company can be helpful,” he admits.

“No, Sherlock, that’s nice. I’m glad you’re fond of Molly.”

Oh, honestly. He isn’t fond of Molly. She’s a constant. Sherlock respects her professional opinion, likes the way she makes coffee, and wishes she wouldn’t continue to find the things he says insulting. She’s surprisingly good at choosing gifts for him. It’s taken a long time, but they have come to have a sort of understanding. And after the Woman, seeing Molly is... nice. Nothing more.

“I still don’t understand why you didn’t stay to dinner with Ms. Adler. Or how you knew she’s alive. That’s what you meant earlier, isn’t it? When you said you’d left out details about something?”

“Yes. It is.” Sherlock slides down in his chair and tilts his head back. “It’s been a long time since I saw her last. I believe we both found each other disappointing.”

“Are you sorry?”

Sherlock looks up, and smiles at John. “No,” he says. “I’m not.”

Date: 2012-01-12 04:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] weslyn.livejournal.com
This. Wow. *adores* All three, I'm really very intrigued. I like your Sherlock - and his view of Molly, especially her.

Date: 2012-01-12 03:31 pm (UTC)
syien_island: (River of Light)
From: [personal profile] syien_island
I concur with the reviewer above; I love Sherlock's view of Molly.

Date: 2012-01-12 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] i-luv-redheads.livejournal.com
Brill. As usual. ;o)

Date: 2012-01-23 10:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gebieterin.livejournal.com
(Sorry for not having a Sherlock-appropriate icon ^^)

Just wanted to say that I really like your take on Sherlock and his intrinsic motivation. I literally squeed upon the description of Molly as "a constant", which fits so very well into the headcannon of a deeply schizoid Sherlock.

Date: 2012-01-25 10:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lady-with-cats.livejournal.com
Ooh, I loved this. :)

Date: 2012-01-27 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miss-pryss.livejournal.com
This is lovely.

Date: 2012-03-02 12:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eanor.livejournal.com
Oh, what a fascinating what-if-story! I love the insight you give us into all the different relationships Sherlock has. You captured all the characters perfectly and I especially admire your Sherlock narrator voice - it seems very fitting and very much in-character. The end of the dinner date was pretty unexpected, but I can see how "fascination has ceased to be enough." What a very well thought through story! :-)

Also, for some reason I can't name properly, I'm completely in love with this line:
“Oh.” John smiles, relieved. Molly is familiar territory; John likes it when Sherlock talks to Molly.

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