Title: The Unbearable Lightness
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the characters in the following story. The bad grammar, the hideous plot holes and the lack of continuity or reason is completely 100% owned by me.
Summary: Sherlock's keeping a secret, but he doesn't fully understand why....
Trigger Warnings: Drug use and imprisonment.
“Anyone whose goal is 'something higher' must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.”
-- Milan Kundera
The Unbearable Lightness
Sherlock tore his eyes away from his best friend and the panic that even from here he could see plainly on his face. He wouldn’t be able to do this if he kept looking at him. Sherlock’s eyes briefly flit to the ground below, the pavement hard and grey, and no, it was no use to look there either. He raises his eyes instead to the sky before him, the clouds that were dropping like tears.
He drops his phone on the rooftop.
“On the count of three, you will wake up, and you will feel calm.”
He spreads his arms out.
He closes his eyes.
He leans forward and lets go.
Sherlock gasps awake, the feel of the rushing of the wind in his face off-putting as he finds himself lying on his back instead of plunging face first towards the pavement outside St Barts. The feeling quickly recedes, replaced by a sense of calm.
“Mr. Holmes? Back with us, then?” the voice of his therapist is smooth and low, meant to instill a sense of safety within the walls of the room, keeping secrets well and truly hidden.
“Yes. I feel fine,” he replies, his voice a bit hoarse from overuse. Apparently, it had been a talkative hypnosis session. Vivid dream this time then. “Well?” he asks, sitting up fully and stretching his somewhat stiff limbs.
The woman flipped through pages of notes, her red manicured nails flashing at every movement. A distraction.
“More about the consulting detective this time,” she says neutrally. She rattles off details of what he’d said, his gaze never wavering from her face. “Things came to a head with Moriarty, it would seem. This time the game seemed more complicated, seeming to take all the people you love from you unless you threw yourself off the roof, unless you killed yourself.”
She stops then, looking at him carefully. It really did astound him who she was able to maintain such perfect neutrality, a blank canvas on her face, betraying nothing of what her own thoughts on the matter might be. It was one of the reasons that Sherlock had ever even agreed to have her as his regular therapist. Well, at least she only featured in his dreams that one time. It had been interesting to see her mask slightly slip.
She was waiting for something from him, a question at the tip of her tongue.
“I know what you’re going to ask,” Sherlock tells her. “Whether or not I realize that the last confrontation with Moriarty was the final struggle with my drug addiction, the thing that staved off the boredom, but hurt so many along the way. How much it cost me, how much was lost. Because of the them. Yes, I know all that, it’s my brain’s way of coming to terms about what that really was. And no, before you say anything else, I’m not sorry at all he--it was defeated.”
She taps her pen for a moment against her notebook, letting a heavy silence settle between them. Apparently, that hadn’t been what she was thinking at all.
“Mr Holmes,” she says carefully. “Every one of the people in your dreams are either someone whom you actually knew or know in real life or something that had a pivotal role in it.” She flips back to the beginning of her notebook, scrolling through a list written there. “John Watson was your childhood friend; you lost touch and he was killed in Afghanistan in May of 2007. Mrs Martha Hudson was your childhood nanny. Gregory Lestrade is the head of security of your firm.” She flips to the next page, ticking off the people and the parallels between his life and his dreams.
Sherlock feels himself become impatient. “Just ask what you want to ask,” he snaps.
She puts her pen down and removes her spectacles. “You yourself said that Jim Moriarty represented your struggle against the drugs. And yet, in your dream, Moriarty kills himself only to leave you with no choice but to also die in order to protect your friends. You jump off that roof after he’s dead. And you spoke of a plan, as if you knew that your death was coming and somehow found a way out of it.”
Sherlock does his best not to shift uncomfortably. The woman in front of him continues. “But more importantly, who is Molly Hooper?”
He blinks in surprise at the question, sure that his mouth is hanging a bit open. Carefully, he shuts it before taking in a shaky breath. “I don’t know.”
Dr. Alder looks disappointed.
He turns up the collar of his coat against the London air and flags down a cab immediately upon exiting the building. The movement of the vehicle allows him to retreat into his own thoughts, cataloging the events of his last session and to ignore for the present the bottle of five little pills that were handed to him by his therapist as his dosage until their next meeting.
He wonders how long he can keep Molly Hooper a secret.
It’s not entirely clear to him just why it’s so critical that she is a secret. Molly Hooper wasn’t even her real name and why would it matter to his therapist who the woman was?
he had probably overdosed at that point. Some part of his mind that was still struggling to function must have recognized that much, at least. It’s probably the same part that made him laugh at the fact that he had somehow ended up at a cemetery, an old headstone bearing most of his weight when his legs no longer could.
That had been when she’d appeared, her face looking concerned but wary as she inspected him. “Um...s-sorry,” she stammered a bit as she hesitated about coming closer to a stranger who no doubt looked worse for wear. “Are you okay?”
“You shouldn’t feel like you need to make conversation,” he replied, waving her off against his better judgment.
Thankfully, she didn’t seem to take it that way and came closer instead, carefully laying down the bouquet of lavender she was carrying. “Listen, I’m a medical student and...you don’t look okay, can I help you?” She looked closer at his face, tentatively reaching to brush some of his hair away from his face to get a look at his pupils. She obviously didn’t like what she saw.
“Oh God,” she whispered, mostly to herself before squaring her shoulders and gave him a serious look. “I’m going to check your pulse, okay? Just hold still for a moment.” At his small nod, she pushed back the filthy sleeve of his jacket, pressing cool fingers to his wrist. Her lips moved slightly as she counted the beats.
His instinct was to push her away: she was too close, knew too much already, cared so bloody much already, run away, run away, run away. But he couldn’t very well run, he was having a hard time holding his head up and he knew that if he didn’t get help soon he was probably going to die.
“I’m not who you think I am,” he told her quietly, and her eyes snapped up to meet his again. So warm and brown, and he’ll always carry that with him. “I’m probably not even who I think I am, but you’re right.” He knew he’d started to shake now. “I’m not okay.”
He’d thrown up and she had her arms around him, holding him so he could get it out not end up choking on the bile that’d been expelled from his body in an effort to rid himself of the drugs that coursed through his veins. He knew his brain functions were shutting down slowly. Vaguely, he can hear her speaking frantically on the phone to emergency services.
“What’s your name?” she asked, smoothing down his greasy hair after he’s thrown up again.
“Sherlock,” he murmured, still able to form words somehow. He was shaking still, but not as violently as perhaps he should have been and he’s lucid enough to recognize that.
“It’s nice to meet you, Sherlock,” she said, her voice sweet. “I’m--”
“Molly Hooper,” he interrupted her. He manages to glance up at her, easier now that the afternoon sun is slipping towards the horizon. “Do you mind if I call you Molly Hooper?” Sherlock gestured vaguely to the headstone he’d been laying on earlier. “Barely in her thirties in 1895, but she managed to break my fall anyway.”
He chuckled mirthlessly but it made his stomach lurch again.
“It’s fine, yes, you can me Molly,” she said, all traces of her earlier stutter completely gone, but he can tell she’s terrified. Not of him, he realized later, but of the fact that she couldn’t do much of anything to help him. “Just hang on for me, Sherlock. You can do this. You can do this. You can get through...”
He registered that quite soon there was a flashlight flashing in his face and ‘Molly’s’ voice talking rapidly about his stats to the emergency responders. Sherlock’s been loaded onto a stretcher but he reaches frantically out to grip her arm before they take him away.
“What do you need?” she asks, not hesitating in taking his hand in both of hers. Her fingers are cold and her eyes are wet, all for a stranger.
“You,” he said hoarsely and she nodded quickly, never letting go of his hand even as he lets go of consciousness.
By the time he’d fully recovered and was himself again, his brother had placed in a rehabilitation center and no one had seen ‘Molly’ at all.
Sherlock truly didn’t know who she was, on darker days having gone back to that cemetery in hopes of catching her there again. All he ever managed to see what the headstone of Molly Hooper, born 1863, died 1895.
But sometimes, late at night, just as he was about to sleep, he thought he could still hear her voice.
A stone faced man watched the monitors as the man locked in the room just beyond fell into a fitful sleep again. Sherlock Holmes was kept under a constant state of sedation, the chemicals coursing through his veins alternated and changed even as they tried various forms of stimulations to render the drugs effective. His massive genius of a brain was slowly being broken down, cracking it open piece by piece and reaping whatever information was needed before moving on to the next.
But Sherlock Holmes was still resistant, managing even in this state to keep too many secrets and it was grating on Sebastian Moran’s nerves. If it had been up to him, of course, he would have ended all this long ago, not much caring about what state or powerful secrets have in that massive brain. It would all end with a bullet lodged through it, done and done, home for tea thanks very much.
He had his orders though, and if there’s one thing Moran knew well was chain of command, so he carried on watching Holmes squirm.
Moran’s eyes flickered to the edge of the monitor towards the door of the small room. He knew what was about to happen.
Right on cue, the door opened and two large men shoved a much smaller person into the room, roughly removing the black bag from their hand, but not bothering with the ties that bound the wrists together. The small woman blinked, disoriented for a moment in the brightness of the room. Moran observed that she was looking more frail than the last time he’d seen her, wondering if she’d gone back to her insufferable habit of starving herself in order to gain a bit of leverage to get what she wanted again. Evidently it was working because she was right where she wanted to be. Why she was being indulged in his manner was beyond him, frankly.
He continued to watch as she rushed over to Holmes, bringing her bound hands to his face, her eyes flickering over the monitors all around him, not hiding for a moment just what she thought she could do to all the devices he was plugged into if she wasn’t sure that it wouldn’t kill him. She decided to speak to the unconscious ex-detective instead, smoothing his hair back.
“Sherlock, it’s me, it’s Molly,” her voice was shaky and hoarse. Moran vaguely wondering if she still smelt of lavender as most of her home did when she’d been taken. “Oh Sherlock, what are they doing to you?”
She sobbed over him, placing kisses to his forehead lightly, her fingers in his hair and over his skin and she looked absolutely wretched. She was mumbling something to him when the door banged open again, the two men from before reaching to take her away and in a panic she clung to Holmes’ hand.
“Hang on for me, Sherlock. You can do this. You can get through. I believe in you.” She managed to kiss his forehead once before managed to drag her away, her frail body struggling as it had each and every time, even though she knew it was in vain.
And then...Holmes’ head seemed to turn in the direction of her voice. “Molly...” He was still unconscious and soon as the door shut, all was quiet again.
She wasn’t giving up and because of her, Sherlock Holmes wasn’t either.
Sebastian Moran frowned at the feed. They were going to have to change their approach.
A/N: Well, there it is. Yes, that’s the end. No, there won’t be more. Sorry. This is the thing that attacked me this afternoon and the monster I needed to expel.
Thanks for reading!