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New Fic: Placebo

Placebo
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Rated: PG-13 (Mention of drug use, mild language.)
Category: Gen. Friendship/Family. Sherlock, John, and Mycroft.
Series: Any, but likely fairly early on.
Spoilers: None.
Summary: Sherlock needs help, and maybe - just this once - John Watson isn’t the best man for the job.
Word Count: 1066

xxx

Most days, I need John Watson for more than his half of the rent.

For contrary to popular belief, I do understand that the human body requires food and frankly I  like a cup of tea on occasion, and I’d really rather not be bothered to prepare such things myself.

John serves me wonderfully in this capacity.

His genuinely (and inexplicably) giving nature suits a caretaker’s role, and I have enjoyed it for some time.

But today is an exception.

Today, were I able, I would strangle John Watson where he sits.

I’m seriously contemplating just how to manage that with four fractured ribs and every muscle in my body hurting when the door to 221B slowly creaks open.

John stops expounding on how with the way I run around London it was only a matter of time before I lost a battle with a speeding car and how pain delays healing and how he is a doctor after all and how his opinion on this matter really should count for something and how he promises to be very careful with the dosage due to what he calls my “situation” and all manner of other boring nonsense to regard our visitor. When he sees who it is, he stands and gestures vaguely at me.

“Maybe you can talk some sense into him,” John says. Then he disappears to the kitchen, and my brother slowly walks over to me.

“Still your usual charming self, I see,” he says, and I want to sneer, but I can’t find the energy. Instead, I look at the bottle John left next to me on the couch, then look up at my brother.

“Mycroft,” I whisper, and I hate that my voice trembles.

Mycroft takes John’s place beside me and picks up the bottle. He sighs.

“I see,” he says.

“Mycroft,” I repeat, and I really hate that I’m pleading.

My hand trembles, and Mycroft feels it through the blanket covering me. He meets my eyes for a long moment, then slowly puts the bottle in his pocket.

I shoot him a confused look, then glance toward the kitchen, but I don’t say anything.

Mycroft smiles that condescending smile of his and takes an identical bottle out of his other pocket.

“He won’t know,” he says.

“Mycroft?” This seems to be the only word I can manage, and this time I despise the confusion in my voice.

Mycroft keeps smiling, and part of me wishes I could punch the expression off his face. Another part of me is genuinely curious as to what he’s up to, though, so wait for his explanation. It’s not long in coming.

“Placebo,” he whispers, and that one word explains everything. I close my eyes in understanding as Mycroft keeps talking. “I hope you don’t mind that I took the liberty of removing one before I came.”

My eyes open after a moment and flick back and forth between the bottle and the kitchen several times before finally meeting my brother’s gaze. I’m embarrassed that I have to blink away tears.

“Mycroft,” I once again mumble, and now I detest the gratitude I hear.

My brother has the grace (for once) not to mention my emotional slip. Instead, shockingly, he commits his own. He pats my shoulder twice, then squeezes it gently. It’s the most he’s touched me in years. He doesn’t let go until John returns, asking if we want tea.

Mycroft declines but says nothing more. He offers no words of sympathy or cheery well-wishes. He simply stands and bids good bye to John, coolly detached once more.

“I hope,” he says, giving me a meaningful glare, “that your patient will be more compliant now, Doctor Watson. My apologies for your troubles. I’m afraid he can be ever so stubborn about these things.”

John snorts. “Don’t I know it,” he complains.

“Yes, well,” says Mycroft, with his trademark sideways head nod, “I must be off. Good day.”

He leaves then, and John returns to my side.

“You’ve taken it, then?”

I nod dutifully.

“Mind if I check?”

I shrug.

John takes Mycroft’s bottle and carefully counts the tablets he believes to be oxycontin.

“Good man,” he says when he’s done, subconsciously patting me on the same shoulder that Mycroft had claimed a moment ago. “I promise it’s for your own good. Well, that and mine. I don’t want to hear you complaining all night.”

I feign drug-induced sleep shortly thereafter, and John finally goes to bed.

When I am certain he’s gone, I reach for my phone. I contemplate sending a text for a good fifteen minutes before setting it back down without doing so. As I let it go, the phone buzzes at me. I pick it up again and look at the display, where a surprising message waits for me.

Don’t say anything. Just get better. -MH

Just this once, I do as my brother asks.

I don’t bother to text back.

But I do get better.

My muscles are nearly normal in a week.

The ribs take considerably longer.

They hurt like hell, but I don’t let on. I force myself to breathe normally to prevent pneumonia. I take my real antibiotics and my pretend pain medications religiously.

It’s obvious that John wonders what Mycroft said or did to make me so compliant, but he has enough sense to never ask. He probably thinks Mycroft is blackmailing me or using some other melodramatic means of manipulation to force me into being a good little patient.

That’s just as well.

I’d rather he believe that than admit the truth. For whilst this little adventure has proven that I need John Watson around now more than ever, there are times when, God help me, only my brother will do.

Because there are some things John still doesn’t understand. Things I’d rather he never understand.

For John would never think to replace my opioids with fakes to allow me to fool my doctor into believing I was taking them whilst simultaneously removing them from my presence in case my resolve to not take them at all (careful dosing be damned) to prevent almost certain re-addiction faltered.

No, even knowing some of my past (and the key word is some), that wouldn’t occur to John.

That type of thing only occurs to people like me.

Me and my devious, manipulative, glorious bastard of a brother.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
sgteam14283
Mar. 6th, 2012 05:20 am (UTC)
Wonderfully done.
jackwabbit
Mar. 6th, 2012 05:36 am (UTC)
Thanks!
lemonpiefirefly
Mar. 8th, 2012 01:47 am (UTC)
You know how I feel about this story (quite likey).
However, seeing the word count, I propose a new story category, like drabble or 221B- the Battle of Hastings.
jackwabbit
Mar. 8th, 2012 04:23 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you like it. It is quite helpful to me that you do, as this felt OOC to me. Just a touch and I couldn't figure out why or where, but it did. I struggled with it.

I am apparently not alone in this regard. There have been a few reviews on ff.net that I actually appreciate because they are thoughtful and not just "OMGYAY!" and those have pointed out a few things that might be improved upon here, but I'm not sure I agree with them. I might, but they require more thought, which, let's face it, I'm not likely to have time to give them. Still, it's nice to have thoughtful reviews, because I do want to get Sherlock right. That said, any review is only one opinion, and as I always say when I beta, take it or leave it. Still, there is something nebulously wrong with this fic. I still can't figure it out, but it's there. I don't care, and that's why I posted it, but it's not quite right...somehow. But I had to move on. Life is too short to obsess over these things too long. Next!

Anyway, I'm rambling a bit and I must away, so I shall leave it at that. Oh, but one more thing? Took me forever to understand your word count thingy. I was very confused. I read it as 221BTheBattleOfHastings and I was, like, WTF? That doesn't make any sense. How can it be both? I don't understand. Is 1066 a multiple of 221? I don't understand. What? I get that The Battle of Hastings was in 1066 (though I never would have thought of it on my own), but what does that have to do with drabbles? I'm confused. Then I realized the two things are not linked and I understood, though I must say that one could name every fic out there, as something happened every year, eh? ;)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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