Notes: No warnings. Also found on LJ.
Irene has traveled the world, but Bangor, Maine, is new to her. She is no stranger to America—she was born there, and lived in New Jersey until her family moved across the pond when she was three—but it’s a large country, infinitely larger, it seems, than the United Kingdom, and there are pockets she never planned on visiting. Maine, which juts up awkwardly and ungracefully into Canada, is one such pocket.
Of course, she isn’t Irene Adler at present. Her name is Adam Westin, and Adam is nineteen years old, male, and returning from his first tour of duty in Afghanistan. Not a man, but not properly a boy anymore after war, Adam is now seeing America for the first time in a very long time as he shuffles along in the midst of his fellow soldiers. Both Irene and Adam are thinking that the ordeal isn’t quite over yet, though. This tiny airport doesn’t seem like home, and the army uniform is heavy on their shoulders. Irene’s injured ankle is tightly wrapped and still hurts a bit to walk on. By now, she hardly notices it.
The flight from Afghanistan was long and exhausting despite the fact that she slept through most of it, but overall the entire process of escaping to America went much more smoothly than she ever imagined it would. Her Russian friend Krasnov (whom Sherlock knows as “Yuriev”) sent down his right-hand woman, (the disappointingly straight) Inka, to escort her across the Pakistani border to an American military base. Before leaving Karachi, Inka made a list of everything Irene said she needed; be it money or clothing or papers, it only took a few phone calls to acquire. She was then informed that the Russian had contacted a few friends and that her alias had been added to the roster of returning soldiers.
Honestly, she’s more than happy to play a man. Even if anyone suspects she might be alive, and no one does, they’ll never think to look for a young man. With her lack of hair and breasts, all she needs is a dab of neutral makeup in the right places to be completely convincing. There’s also a somber air about her now that suits a soldier well. She’s seen things.
Notes: Warnings include allusions to torture and allusions to sexual assault. Can also be found on LJ.
Waking up is like pushing aside a curtain of spider webs. Sleep clings to Irene, weighing her eyelids down—fatigue has turned her muscles to stone. There’s pain, too: not as much as before, but a slow, dull, distant ache that pulses everywhere. Morphine must be wearing off. That would explain the drowsiness, the resurgent headache, and the churning in her stomach. She opens her mouth to call for Sherlock, then decides she shouldn’t have any more, doesn’t want it. What does she want, then? Something… Sherlock is here, but there’s something she’s overlooking, forgetting—
Irene’s eyes fly open. She doesn’t have time for this, to sit here and sleep. She needs to correct—this. She needs to hurry—but it takes too long for her to ease herself out of bed. It takes too long to do everything. That only creates a wall of anxiety pushing against the calming effect of the drug. She can hear voices from another room.
Stop. Think. Massage your temples. Think. Better not waste that brain, it’s the only weapon you’ve got. What do you have? Look around you.
Notes: Warnings include reference to torture, discussion of sexual assault, and brief sexual content. Can also be found on LJ.
”Is this all of it?” Sherlock asks.
Victor nods, wiping away sweat with a bandana. (31°C and falling, mostly cloudy. 62% humidity. 10% chance of precipitation. Wind at 37.1 kph WSW.) Between the two of them, Victor has done all the heavy lifting. Sherlock thinks, Victor kills and cleans up. It works: it’s efficient. Sherlock doesn’t want any more blood on his hands if he can help it. Hence the utility of Victor’s incredible long-range accuracy with a gun.
Not for the first time, he wonders if John could shoot Victor first.
“What are we doing?” Victor peers into one of the cardboard boxes.
Sherlock elbows him out of the way. “I’m going to study the evidence,” he replies, sorting through the contents. A stack of laptops, USB flash drives, DVDs, stained folders, and other tidbits. Should contain plenty of information about Moriarty’s latest outfit. Insight into how he functions. Might be nothing—or it might be everything.
Notes: Warnings include brief sexual content and allusions to BDSM. Also on LJ.
Honestly, he didn’t expect Jeanette to take his call, not after how they ended. But she did, and here they are, having dinner like civilized people who didn’t break up in a sort of ugly way at all.
John hasn’t sat completely idle while Sherlock’s been away. The previous night he went to the pub with Stamford and a couple of other friends, and starting tomorrow he’ll spend a couple of days working at his old clinic because one of their doctors is on holiday. Popular time of year for holidays, apparently. He’s relieved that Sarah had something for him to do; seeing patients again will be much better than sitting alone in the flat, watching telly.
He’s also relieved that he and Sarah are still on good terms. In that respect, John Watson is a lucky man. He could have a worse set of exes. None of them have ever sought revenge or anything—they’re either decent to him or want nothing to do with him, and he’s fine with that.
Notes: Warnings include drug use, blood, discussion of sexual assault, and morbid imagery (castration). Can also be found on LJ.
Sherlock Holmes washes his hands for the fifth time. Just can’t get this layer of grease to come off. Why? Does he need an astringent lotion? Perhaps a pumice stone? He’ll scrape himself raw if he must. He doesn’t understand. He’s so filthy, he doesn’t understand. Feels like he’s about to slide out of his own skin. Greasy, oily skin. Grease is dripping off of him (a hallucination). He looks at the bathroom mirror, at his own reflection: filthy, filthy, filthy. Weak. Liar. Hypocrite. (The words won’t stop. Gumming up the works.) A hypocrite in need of another hit of morphine, he thinks.
Thank god for morphine, oh, yes. Not too much: fewer than twenty drops. The intravenous kind, taken orally; mixed with chocolate syrup. To hide the bitter flavor. John would be very upset with him. But John’s not here to make him clean.
He washes his hands for the sixth time.
Notes: Warnings for violence and references to sexual assault. Can also be found on LJ.
She is surprised to awaken at all.
Granted, her body is one continuous bruise. Save for her face. It’s the only part of her that doesn’t throb with every beat of her heart. She reaches up to touch it, to verify that it’s intact. A little swelling on her cheek where he slapped her, but other than that, nothing. Certainly nothing when compared with what’s happened to rest of her.
She’s tempted to lift her shapeless, scratching garment to see the marks on her skin. Bruises, cuts, bites, they all mean that her blood is still pumping through her veins, and that she’s still living, breathing, going on. At the same time, she’s afraid she might retch if she looks, and, besides, where it hurts the most where she won’t be able to inspect without a hand mirror. She curls her knees to her chest, wincing, and falls once again into a restless, dreamless sleep.
Notes: Warnings for this include allusions to torture, starvation, and discussion of sexual assault. Also available here on LJ for easier reading.
She knows she is alive because of the pain. It’s her constant companion. An ache in her empty stomach, soreness in her scalp from having her hair pulled, rawness from the bruises that bloom overnight on her arms and legs and torso. Torture leaves her skin fresh and tingling; it’s only when she awakens that she notices the marks on her body. She had scars, a couple; she’ll have a few more after she gets out.
Irene prefers to think of her escape in terms of “when” and not “if.” She’s tried to run three times already, only to be thrown back into her cell. Of course, no one’s making it easy for her. She’s come to realize that she’ll need outside help, someone with a keen mind and an impeccable sense of timing…
Maybe not an impeccable sense of timing. By her calendar, he’s already late.
Anyway, she’s lost the physical strength she needs to force a breakout, and her jailers have proven immune to seduction, so all Irene Adler can do now is wait, and wait she does. She waits, and she dreams impossible things, and she rots.
SH: I told you not to phone me.
VT: I had to. [Pause.] Look, what happened before… that was probably out of line. I’m sorry.
SH: You did exactly as I asked.
VT: I know. I’m sorry anyway. How did John take it?
SH: Poorly, just as planned. He won’t ask any unnecessary questions about what we’re doing. Neither will Mycroft, given today’s prurient performance for his cameras. We should have a greater degree of freedom.
VT: Good. Good?
SH: Yes, that’s good. Now for the rest of it: have you confirmed her location? Time is ticking, Victor. There’s no need to wait and fabricate a reason for our leaving the country together—not with imaginations going into overdrive.
VT: She’s somewhere near Karachi, Sherlock. I told you as much three hours ago. I haven’t heard anything else, but my contact should get in touch tomorrow with the specifics.
SH: All right, fine. That’s fine, and I’m fine. Do stay focused. Our faux relationship is secondary to all else.
VT: I will. I’ll leave you alone now. How should we do the sign off? I think you should call me something cute in case John is listening in.
SH: You’re revolting, love.
VT: You know it. Sleep well, pet.