Title: Cheerful Songs for the Broken-Hearted
Author: Amal Nahurriyeh ([personal profile] amalnahurriyeh/[livejournal.com profile] amalnahurriyeh)
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Pairing: Sherlock/John UST
Rating: R (Drugs, violence, depression)
Warnings: Some suicidal ideation and mental illness, canon-typical implied violence to bad guys
Angst Level: turn that fucker up to eleven
Timeline: post-Reichenbach

Author's Notes: thanks to [livejournal.com profile] memories_child for a speedy beta and help with some of the technical stuff.

This is what happens when you don't have enough songs for a fan mix or enough plot for a whole fic. So you get both: five songs, five flash-fics (not drabbles, they're too long), arranged chronologically and alternating POV. I'm embedding a YouTube video of each song in the fic, so you can listen to them as you read, if you want. The title of each section is a song lyric as well.

I saw you buried in the sand
(Monty Got A Raw Deal - REM)

Everything seemed strange in London when your hair was ginger and your jeans were ripped and your name was most assuredly not Sherlock Holmes.  Molly startled to find his new self in her living room, but she gave him half her stirfry and tried to keep the cat off him.  It had been six weeks since he died under her pen.  "I owe you for this, too," he said, keeping half an eye on his laptop as he ate.

"You don't owe me anything," she said.  She didn't blush.  He missed her, which was ridiculous.

He walked the streets, half hunting his quarry, half hunting himself.  He ended up on Baker Street, willing his feet not to slow as he passed their flat.  Maybe John wasn't even here anymore.  Maybe he'd left.  It was possible.  John could leave now.  When he heard the door open behind him, he didn't let himself turn around.

But he did buy a coffee at the Pret across from John's office.  He watched him arrive late, in a cab, watched the tremor of his hand on the bills he paid the driver with.  He texted the only other dead person he knows.  I want to talk to him.

Hold your tongue, his phone replied, and he knew she was right.

John had friends.  John had a family.  Sherlock could buy a train ticket out of town tomorrow and know that John would be fine, that someone would look out for him.  He saw the faded exhaustion on John's face, and knew someone else would catch it.

He stayed three days longer than he meant, and none of the restaurants within sight of the surgery produced a cup of tea half as good as John did.  On the path John would take to the tube, someone had written I BELIEVE IN SHERLOCK HOLMES on a brick wall.  He got a silver marker.  YOU SHOULD, he added below it, and hoped he would see.

Leave it to memory, me
(Try Not to Breathe, REM)

He sits on the bed in the early morning, hands trembling, and breathes slow and steady.  It is his choice to stay in the apartment.  It is his choice to sleep downstairs, the periodic table watching over him like a square godless angel.  He wants to hold on to this, to what he had, so you take the bad with the good, and he shudders and remembers blood on sand and blood on operating tables and blood on pavement and blood on his hands, until all the shivers subside and he can go make himself a cup of tea.

He sits at his dining room table and tells Mrs. Hudson he doesn't want to be a burden.  But she puts casseroles in his fridge and does the dishes while he's at work, and she wants to carry his groceries up for him, watching his leg like she's worried it'll collapse from under him.  He times his shopping so she's never home when he returns.

He sits at the grave and wills his fingers not to dig.  (They hadn't let him see the body.  Molly had cried, and he had yelled, and Molly had cried more, and now there are only ashes.  He wanted them, and that was wrong, but he wanted them.)  He tries not to apologize, but never succeeds.  When he leaves, his nailbeds are caked with dirt.

I had to burn your kingdom down
(Seven Devils, Florence and the Machine)

In a bucket of acid set in the sink in his dirty hotel room in Rotterdam, he dissolves the bloody hoodie.  His hands are red from the powder inside the latex gloves, and the hot air rushes in the window and scalds his skin.  The marks on his forearms tell the story, as do the chips in his left large toenail, but no one here will know where to look.  The body will be too decayed by the time it is found for the bruises to speak clearly, and, besides, no one knows how widely spaced a dead man's fingers are.

John once told him Sally thought he was one wrong coffee order away from a body count.  She was wrong.  Three bullets, six floors down.  Not that much, all told.

He adds the base, and lights a cigarette before he washes what's left down the drain.

And you told me I should concentrate
(Only If For a Night, Florence and the Machine

Sitting on a park bench, watching people passing by, the voice whispered in his ear: "The way she's holding her handbag says it all, doesn't it?  Incidentally, put your gloves on."  He did, trying not to look at the ripped trousers he could see out of the corner of his eye.

Getting up to the checkout at Tesco, a blue scarf, stained, and the voice again.  "She'd say yes if you asked, but you so hate taking antibiotics.  You've forgotten the coffee again."

Sitting at his dining room table, a stack of bills waiting to be paid, a long, white hand, with a dried trail of blood running between the thumb and forefinger.  "Of course, there could be another explanation, but I'm fairly sure the state of your cuticles signifies grief."

John closed his eyes.  "If I'm going to hallucinate you, is it possible my subconscious could delete the fatal skull fracture?"

"I don't know," the hallucination replied.  "Try it out.  It would make an interesting experiment."

"You were never this bloody practical when you were alive," John said, and opened his eyes.

His subconscious kept the fracture.  But he was smiling, at least.  He'd seen worse.  

History keeps pulling me down
(Leave my body, Florence and the Machine)

The needle sinks inside the vein.  The moments that are clear now, when the static evaporates, are the ones where he is killing himself or killing someone else.  Slowly, always slowly.  Wrapped up in this so deeply, so far into it that he has stopped mattering, has started being merely a vehicle. He used to think about before; he used to think about after, when he could go home again.  But that's not true anymore.  Just the limitless present, bloodstained and singing.  

The rush streaks through him like a whistle call across a desert.  He still knows why he's doing this, most days.  He rearranges the fingers of a broken-necked bombmaker to form the BSL letter L.  In the damp pocket of a man pulled from a canal in Venice is the letter A, torn from a newspaper advertisment, though he never called her Amelia, never would.  And when there is blood, and there often is blood, he traces his fingers through it, writing J, J, J on stilled skin, on still-warm tissue.  It's beautiful.

azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)

From: [personal profile] azurelunatic

It's perfectly explicable that some of our song choices for this line up so well. It still unnerves me ever so slightly.


amalnahurriyeh: XF: Plastic Flamingo from Acadia, with text "bring it on." (Default)
Amal Nahurriyeh

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