Disclaimer: I do not own Sherlock or BtVS. Also, I fooled around a little with werewolf facts, so try to suspend your disbelief.How the Light Gets InRing the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There’s a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
~”Anthem”, Leonard Cohen
It’s been three months, two weeks, and one day since Sherlock jumped out of John’s life (out of life, full stop), and John walks the streets alone every night. He tells himself it’s exercise, that it helps him sleep, but only one of those is even slightly true.
Nothing lets him sleep.
What hurts too much to admit is the way that the walls of 221B close around him now, the way the silence burns. He keeps straining to hear a hint of the violin, even bought a CD of some violinist who plays everything correctly instead of drifting from tune to tune, but nothing sounds right. Nothing is
The semi-darkness of London at night, with its music of traffic and conversation, drown out the absent violin and let him feel like part of something, if only for a little while. He walks until his feet ache and his limp returns, and he makes it back to Baker Street in time to stare at the ceiling until morning.
Tonight, the sound of a scuffle breaks the pattern. Familiar adrenaline running through his veins, John runs into a nearby alley to see a small women fighting two men twice her size. Sparing a moment to wish for his firearm, locked away in his dresser, John rushes forward, only to pause when the woman slams something into one man’s chest… and he explodes into dust. The other man turns to run, giving John a glimpse of an oddly deformed face and fangs. Thinking quickly, John tackles the man, but instead of falling like he should
have, the man barely pauses. Still, it’s enough for the woman, impossibly, to catch up, and the next thing John knows he’s holding air while dust rains around him.
He and the woman stare at each other. “Might want to breathe sometime soon,” she comments, the assessing gaze turning to a leer. “Unlike some people, I like my men with a pulse.”
John breathes, and the world becomes a bit clearer. “You…” he tries. “They…”
“Got a way with words, don’t you,” she says, amused. More serious, she asks, “Any chance you’re drunk?”
John blinks. “Erm, no.”
“Confused about what you saw? Just a trick of the light, you know—“
“That was no trick of the light!” John explodes. He’s about to say more when the woman holds up a calming hand.
“Alright,” she sighs. “Never was good at the secret-keeping, anyway. Besides,” she adds, smiling oddly, “I think you just might be useful to have around.”
Her name is Faith, and away from the darkness of the alley John can see a brittle, broken glint in her eyes that is all too familiar.
He still goes out every night, but now he’s armed with his gun, as well as a stake in his pocket and Faith at his side.
It’s been six months, three weeks, and four days since Sherlock jumped when Faith gets knocked out fighting a werewolf, breaking their tranq gun in the process. It’s about to tear her throat out when John shoots it, a silver bullet through the heart.
The werewolf turns back into human as he dies, and perhaps John would spare a moment for guilt over the loss of life if he weren’t so worried about Faith, small and still against a rubbish bin. As it is, the only emotion he can manage for the werewolf is anger for Faith’s pain, for another useless kill, for the creature’s stupidity in letting himself wander the streets on a full moon in the first place.
He’s kneeling at her side, checking her pupils, when the police show up, and they’re taken to the hospital in handcuffs.
By the time Lestrade arrives, Faith is awake and aware. Her eyes light up when he passes the guard and enters their hospital room. “Hello, Silver Fox,” she purrs, sitting up straight. “Are you a good cop, or a bad cop?”
To his credit, Lestrade barely blinks at her, which makes his start upon seeing John that much more noticeable. “John Watson,” he says in surprise. “No one told me you were here.”
John shrugs, uncomfortably aware that this is the first time they’ve seen each other since Sherlock’s funeral, and that’s entirely his fault. Sensing his discomfort, Faith pulls Lestrade’s attention back to her. “He’s with me, Silver,” she says, sounding much more businesslike. “If your boys would just let us make a phone call, we would be out of your lovely hair by now.”
Lestrade glances back at John. With a sigh, John digs his newly minted Council ID from his pocket. “Let us make our call, Greg,” he says quietly. “This mess will be out of your hands by morning, either way.”
It takes a mere moment for Lestrade to examine the ID, eyebrows reaching his hairline. He looks at John like he’s never seen him before. “Right,” he murmurs. “One call.”
An hour later, after Giles himself has come to fetch them, John is almost out the door when Lestrade grabs his arm. “Give me a call, when you get a chance,” he says, doing a poor job of hiding his curiosity. “We’ll grab a pint.”
“Sure,” John agrees. He never does.
They’re broken, yes, but now they’re broken together, and somehow it’s easier to breathe. Neither of them is stupid, though they hide their cleverness in different ways, and when life rips open scabbing wounds they gain little pieces of their puzzles.
A beautiful woman comes to visit Faith, dark hair and big blue eyes. When she arrives Faith loses her grace, stumbling into John and leaning against him as if he’s all that is holding her up. The woman, Dawn, cries when Faith apologizes, as if that’s the last thing she expected to hear, and Faith’s grip on John’s arm grows tighter and tighter until he suggests that Dawn come back another time. “Give her time,” he says, holding Faith close.
Time. It doesn’t heal all wounds.
Once, when she’s been drinking, Faith leans against his shoulder and murmurs, “I never had to be the Chosen One
before.” She looks at him with big, glassy dark eyes, and whispers, “She was beautiful, and I had her back. Except when I didn’t.”
Because she won’t remember, he tells her, “He jumped because he couldn’t trust me to help him. He didn’t know that all he had to do was ask.”
When they kiss, it’s not fire and passion, but warmth and companionship. It’s not romantic love, but it’s close enough to dull the edges of their pain.
Seven months and six days after Sherlock jumped, Faith moves into 221B Baker Street, and the walls stop closing in.
Nine months to the day after Sherlock jumped, John enters the kitchen to find a demon with his best friend’s face sitting at the table, drinking tea as if he (it) belonged. Automatically, John pulls his gun, though he knows he could never fire. “Faith,” he calls without turning away. “We have a guest.”
Gun at the ready (for all the good that does), John advances. “And what are you, then?” he asks calmly, almost hearing the crash of his world shattering. “The First?”
The thing raises its eyebrows. “The first flatmate, certainly,” it responds, ignoring the gun so thoroughly John wonders if its even really there. It looks pointedly toward the stairs. “Evidently not the last.”
With barely a sound, Faith leaps down the stairs, crossbow in hand. John doesn’t spare her a glance, but he can imagine the look on her face when she breathes, “Oh, fuck
“Speaking of which,” the thing begins, “I hope I didn’t interrupt you.” He gives them both an appraising look, and John, unable to help himself, glances down at the T-shirt and boxers he’s wearing, knowing Faith is wearing one of his jumpers and panties.
Faith is never one to let an innuendo pass unnoticed, which is why John’s surprised when she simply moves closer, her gaze distant as if she is listening to something beyond his ken. “John,” she says softly, so gentle John shudders because it’s wrong
to hear that sort of comfort from her mouth, “He’s human.”
The word echoes in John’s head, and he very carefully sets the safety back on the gun, places it on the table. Sherlock, meanwhile, is already replying. “Interesting. Implies you expected something inhuman, but what? Robot? Of course not, who would hold a crossbow against metal? Something able to take human form, then. So—“
“Sherlock,” John says, unutterably weary. “You’re not dead.” With surprising diplomacy, Sherlock nods, remaining silent. “You never were,” John continues, and Sherlock nods again.
That’s when Faith tosses aside her crossbow and punches him square in the jaw.
Life continued while he was away, Sherlock is slow to understand. He can’t comprehend why his return hasn’t fixed everything. Slowly, he realizes that his presence may have glued together the largest shards of John’s heart but sharp edges remain, with weak spots where the pieces join together.
Faith and John sleep together, without sleeping together
, and their closeness stings like ice. What Sherlock doesn’t understand, Faith does, and his jealousy spills over in sharp words he later regrets. “You worked with a woman, almost a sister,” he blurts when he comes across Faith and John curled together on the sofa. “Together you fought humanoid creatures, until she died when you were supposed to be protecting her. You believe it to be your fault, and perhaps it is.”
Faith shrinks into John, and Sherlock can see a slight trembling in her frame. It’s John who speaks, interrupting Sherlock’s deductions. “That’s enough,” he snaps.
“No,” Faith says, pulling away from John and standing unsteadily. “You want to know? How we walked into a trap, how the bastards surrounded us and I was sure we would both die there? How we fought back to back, until three of them threw me into a wall? And when I stood up, I couldn’t see anything but them
, but I wanted to go down fighting. I wanted to show them what a fucking Slayer could do. When I ran out of stakes, I crushed skulls with a rock, ripped one head from its shoulders, became nothing but a goddamn animal, until four of them took me down and the next thing I remember is waking up in the hospital, alone, on the day of her funeral.”
Shudders shake her as she stands, her dry eyes lit with fury, and John slowly moves beside her. He wraps an arm around her shoulders as if she is the most precious thing he will ever touch and Sherlock takes a step back as he realizes he wants John to touch him
Without another word, the couple moves upstairs, and Sherlock collapses onto the sofa, wondering how people live with such relentless feelings
One week after Sherlock’s return, Faith comes home after her morning run to find flowers sitting on the kitchen counter, already wilting from the chemicals in the beaker beside the vase. There is no card, but Sherlock somehow manages to project an air of expectation even while he lays sprawled on the sofa.
Smiling faintly, Faith moves into the living room and shoves Sherlock’s feet to the floor to give her room to sit. They study each other for a while. Faith wonders what he sees, but she doesn’t ask. She doesn’t want to know.
“He loves you,” she says, blunt into the silence. “But you broke him. You don’t get to choose how he fixes himself.”
“He doesn’t need to fix himself,” Sherlock replies. Almost plaintive, he asks, “Can’t I do it for him?”
“You can’t,” John says gently from the stairs. Sherlock sits up straight as John moves closer, squatting beside him. “I know you think the rest of us are terribly slow, but just this once, can you wait for me?”
Even Faith’s Slayer hearing can’t make out Sherlock’s reply, but the look in his eyes is an awful lot like yes