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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Sherlock fic: Dangerous Things (1/1)

December 11th, 2014 (08:56 pm)

feeling: okay

Title: Dangerous Things

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything related to Sherlock.

A/N: This fits the bill for my rejection square on hc_bingo. My card is here. I’m not sure I pulled off writing these characters, but I’ve got to post this at some point. Thanks to sockie1000 for the prompt and for the beta.

Summary: Sherlock can know everything, but he still doesn’t know people, and John doesn’t know everything but he knows people, and it’s just a little knowledge. And a very dangerous thing.


“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

That’s what Sherlock says as he breezes out of 221B Baker Street that morning. John makes a pained face and smiles politely at the client, who is still sitting in the chair.

The woman gapes. “Is he talking about me?”

John winces. “He’s like that with everyone.”

“But I said I’d pay you,” she objects.

“It’s not about the money,” John assures her.

“He thinks I wanted to come here, then?” she asks. “He thinks that it didn’t take all my courage to come over and see if he could help? He thinks that this is what I wanted?”

John sighs, because Sherlock thinks about a lot of things, but he doesn’t think about things like that. He can tell you everything about someone but still never recognize why any of it matters. “He is going to help you,” John offers instead.

The woman huffs, grabbing her purse as she gets to her feet. “Tell him not to bother,” she says. “I don’t want the help of the likes of him.”

John gets up after her. “He is the best--”

She lifts her chin. “Then I’ll take second best,” she says on her way out. “And keep my dignity, thank you very much.”


Sherlock laughs when John tells him later.

“Her dignity won’t solve her problem,” he says.

“You have to respect where she’s coming from,” John says patiently.

Sherlock shrugs coolly. “No,” he says. “I don’t.”


It’s a case about a missing heirloom, lost in a recent move. It’s valuable, both monetarily and sentimentally. Sherlock doesn’t care about the history, but he does care about the circumstances.

“The timing,” Sherlock says. “It’s actually impressive. Nothing I’d expect from an amateur.”

“Maybe,” John says. “But she doesn’t want our help.”

Sherlock laughs humorlessly. “As if her opinion counts.”

John looks at her. “She won’t pay you.”

Sherlock raises his eyebrows. “As if that matters.”

John sighs, fidgeting in his seat. “You can’t just ignore her wishes like that.”

Sherlock smirks. “Can’t I?”


It takes Sherlock a day to solve the case. When he recovers the heirloom, he determines that he’s going to deliver it personally.

“That’s a bad idea,” John warns.

Sherlock smiles. “All the more reason to try it.”


When they knock on the door, she’s not pleased. “I told you I didn’t want your help.”

“And since you have proven yourself incapable of prolonged intelligent thought, I ignored you,” Sherlock says.

Her face darkens. “Look--”

“I don’t care about your pride,” Sherlock says. “I don’t even care about your payment.” He holds out the heirloom. “Here it is, accounted for. You could try to press charges against the moving company, but since your sister was the one who paid off one of the workers, you may want to take it up with her instead. Apparently, your family does not deal with dispute well, nor do they show much finesse when striving to get what they want. The only reason this was at all difficult was that the man she hired had some previous skill as a thief, or this case would have been entirely too rote to even bother with.” He puffs up with pride. “As it is, you’re welcome.”

The woman is holding the heirloom. She looks incredulously from Sherlock to John. “Is he serious?”

“I’m afraid so,” John says apologetically. “It is a lovely heirloom, though.”

She looks at John. She looks at Sherlock.

Sherlock is right about her. She’s not the brightest one in the world, though they’ve worked for worse. She knows just enough to make her indignant.

A little knowledge.

A dangerous thing.

That’s when John realizes that not everyone rolls over and takes Sherlock’s insults. That’s when he realizes that not everyone has such a high capacity to be insulted and still walk away. That’s when he realizes that the heirloom is a fully functional antique gun.

That’s when he realizes he’d never checked to see if it were loaded.

Sherlock is still waiting for a thank-you, and the woman is still processing her anger. John is going to walk away, to make Sherlock walk away, because this has to end, this has to end.

“Well?” Sherlock asks. “Could you at least humor me with an apology for your utter foolishness, and we’ll be on our way--”

She lifts the gun and pulls the trigger.

John sees it a second before Sherlock does, because Sherlock can know everything, but he still doesn’t know people, and John doesn’t know everything but he knows people, and it’s just a little knowledge.

And a very dangerous thing.

Then as the gunshot echoes in his ears, it finally ends.


John hits the ground hard, and his breath is caught painfully in his chest. When he manages to breathe in, he can taste blood in his throat and his eyes burn from the total shock of it.

Sherlock stands above him, blinking down in shock. “But you--”

He looks at the woman in horror.


She turns on her heel as she starts back inside. “Who had too little knowledge this time?”

Sherlock goes to his knees, face drawn in disbelief. “She shot you,” he says, as stupid as he’s ever sounded.

John nods, but it hurts. His face contorts, and he tries to keep breathing.

“How does she even have a loaded gun?” Sherlock asks.

“Antique,” John says between struggling breaths.

“But the laws--”

“She never told them she had it,” John says, feeling his heart start to flutter in his chest. His blood rushes in his ears, and his vision is tunneling. “People lie.”

“Of course,” Sherlock says. “But she shot you.”

John laughs, licking his lips. “She was aiming for you.”

“But that doesn’t even make sense!” Sherlock objects, and he’s using his reason while his voice increases in pitch. “Of all the responses, this has absolutely no positive outcome--”

John shakes his head as his limbs go heavy and things start to dim. “You need a little knowledge--” he says, half choking on the words. “--when you hurt someone -- they do stupid things.”

Sherlock looks pale as he holds John’s gaze. “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” he murmurs.

“Enough to take a life,” John says as his eyes start to close.

Sherlock presses down on his chest. “Enough to save a life.”

John wants to argue; he wants to assure Sherlock it’s okay. He wants to tell him it’s worth it, that he doesn’t blame him for anything. He wants to tell Sherlock that this isn’t the worst thing that’s happened to him, not by a long shot, and he wants to see Mary and the baby again, but it’s okay.

It’s going to be okay.


John sleeps.

He knows it’s sleep, because he dreams.

He dreams of the things that matter, of Mary and the baby, safe at home. He dreams of his wedding day and his daughter’s wedding day decades in the future.

He dreams of the things that keep him sane, of Sherlock and his cases. He dreams of traipsing around London, solving crimes and righting wrongs.

He dreams of the things that haunt him, of all the days of war when John was never good enough. He dreams of blood and amputated limbs, wishing all the while that he could do more.

That’s what it’s about, of course. John believes in making the world a better place, but the world is broken and tarnished. He believes in seeing the good in things, even when there’s not much good left to cling to. He believes in second chances, third chances, fourth chances, because after all these years, John’s still trying to get it right.

Because John was the good son and the steady brother. He trained to be a doctor and served his country. He holds a good paying job, and helps stop bad people from doing worse things. It’s not just about adrenaline for John -- no, it’s never been just about that. It’s about the pressing expectations, the constant need to accomplish something in the vain hope that he can make all the rest worthwhile.

John’s been fighting that all his life, losing more than he won. Until Sherlock showed him.

Until Sherlock.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

So John dreams of knowledge.

And every dangerous thing that comes with it.


Then, John wakes up.

He looks for Mary and the baby, but instead it’s Sherlock.

The taller man seems to smile, but it looks more like a grimace. “They’re at home, getting changed,” he says. “I told them you probably wouldn’t wake up until this afternoon.”

John frowns.

“Your vitals were peaking, though,” he says. “I knew you’d be awake before they got back.”

John wets his lips, trying to swallow and regretting it. “But--”

Sherlock sighs. “I only wanted a moment,” he says. “Before they came back.”

John’s head feels fuzzy, and it’s like there’s an elephant on his chest. “A moment?” he asks.

Sherlock is thoughtful for a second, a short, rare second. “You saw that she was going to shoot me,” he says.

John works to clear his throat. “You were being mean.”

“I’m always mean,” Sherlock says. “Most people don’t shoot me.”

“You literally gave her the gun,” John says, his voice cracking.

“But you knew,” Sherlock says. “How?”

John sighs, accepting that he’s not getting out of this conversation until Sherlock has his answer. “Because I’ve often thought of shooting you.”

“But you’re my friend,” Sherlock says.

“And she wasn’t,” John countered.

Sherlock is surprisingly speechless. Then he leans forward. “And you stepped in front of me?”

John gives him a withering look. “Surely you know the answer.”

“Because you’re my friend,” Sherlock concludes.

John sniffles, trying to find a comfortable position. “I knew you’d get there,” he murmurs.

“Well, there’s no logic--”

John shakes his head. “Shut up, Sherlock.”


“It’s like you say,” John says. “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

Sherlock smiles. “So you’re saying I’m right.”

John groans. “Would you accept any other answer?”

Sherlock smirks. “Any other answer would be incorrect.”

John hums a little, letting his eyes drift closed again. “There you go, then.”


Mary is there the next time he wakes up. Lestrade shows up and takes his statement. He gets to see the baby, and the doctor explains that he was lucky.

John’s survived a gunshot wound before, though.

He’s also survived being Sherlock’s friend all these years.

Luck, John thinks, has nothing to do with any of it.


Posted by: sendintheclowns (sendintheklowns)
Posted at: December 12th, 2014 12:50 pm (UTC)

I really like what you did with the prompt. I didn't see that coming.

Surviving Sherlock...that's quite a skill John has.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: January 23rd, 2015 02:57 am (UTC)
happy john

I'm still not sure I'm very good at writing Sherlock, but hurting John is so tempting.

Thank you!

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