diandrahollman: (sherlock)
[personal profile] diandrahollman
E-Mail: diandrahollman@gmail.com
Website: http://diandrahollman.neocities.org
LJ: http://diandrahollman.livejournal.com
Rating: R for this chapter
Keywords: Sherlock/OMC, Tom Hiddleston fancast, unrequited John/Sherlock, drugs, slash, Sherlock POV
Spoilers: nothing past season 3
Disclaimer: This started out as a sort of "50 First Dates" Johnlock story and morphed into this psychological "Girl on the Train"/"Before I Go To Sleep" fusion-ish thing. The characters are all from BBC Sherlock, except Henry.
Summary: Every day I wake up not remembering how I got here or who this man is who claims he's my husband. I cannot trust my own memory. There is only one thing of which I am reasonably certain: John Watson is dead. Isn't he?
Dedication: Thank you to Kate, Emilio and gin200168 for their invaluable help and support with this story.
Author's Notes: Henry is an amalgam of several characters from ACD cannon, with an original modern spin. In my little headcannon he is played by Tom Hiddleston. The title is from the story "A Scandal in Bohemia", where it refers to Irene Adler.

This diverges from cannon immediately after the beginning of season 4 and doesn't take into account anything after "Abominable Bride".

All previous chapters here or on AO3

Possible new cover art here



The memory stick is password protected, naturally. I stare at the blinking cursor in the password prompt as I try to determine what sort of password I could possibly have set. Obviously it had to be something I would be sure to remember, despite my condition. And if all this secrecy is meant to hide the information on the drive from Henry - as must surely be the case - then it must be something he couldn't possibly know or find out using his privilege as my husband.

I try "Redbeard", but it doesn't work. Not surprising, really. If Magnusson knew about it, Henry could probably find it.

I similarly rule out 1058, clever as it may be for the house security code. Wasn't that the number The Woman fooled me into trying on her camera phone?

Her measurements aren't the password either.

I groan and grind my palms into my forehead in frustration. "Think," I mutter under my breath. "What would nobody know?" Or perhaps something only a very small number of people would know. John would know, probably.

John.

The note had said "John H. Watson."

I type "Hamish" and tap return. The prompt disappears, replaced by a window displaying the contents of the drive.

As always, John had the answer, even if he wasn't aware he did.

The drive contains what appears to be a copy of my journal. But it has to be more than it appears or I wouldn't have gone to such trouble to hide it.

The first few entries are identical to the ones I already read this morning. Except they begin with our honeymoon. After the familiar pornographic images there is an entry I haven't seen before.

'I know Henry is lying to me, but I don't know the extent of his deception. Which is why I have duplicated my journal entries from this date forward here. I suspect he is editing the original file. The contents of this drive should prove it.'

I open my original journal so that I can view both versions on the screen simultaneously.

The first few entries are unchanged and simply document our move into the new house and my first inspections of the hive. This seems to have been when I got the idea to buy a data stick from a local shop and hide it in the one place I could be certain was mine alone. Each subsequent unique entry in this alternate journal is accompanied by observations about the hive itself in the original, my recovery of the memory stick disguised as simple curiosity about the colony. This might explain why I seem to be opening the hive more often than strictly necessary, though my amnesia provides a convenient excuse.

Some of the changes are so minor that I can't imagine why the alterations were deemed necessary. Things like mundane conversations with Bob and flashes of memory from the honeymoon of Henry buying a package from a man on the street in France and speaking to one of the staff at a hotel in Italy. These locations seem to have been determined by what language he was speaking, noting his apparent fluency.

Then I find the pictures of myself sporting a bruise over my left eye. The notes for that day in each version of the journal are drastically different. In the "official" version I went about my usual data collection after a vague note about arguing with the neighbor. Henry treated my injury and fussed over me protectively. 'I know he's lying,' I write in the alternate journal. 'I suspect he was actually the one who hit me, but I can't prove it. I don't even know why he would have done it. I have no memory of anything that happened after I put the memory stick back in the hive. All I know for certain is that I didn't fight with Bob yesterday as Henry claims I did and Henry is being particularly affectionate and gentle with me today, as if he feels guilty or even remorseful.'

As I continue to read this new version of the events of the past month, I am reminded of the way Henry described me in his study. Confused. Paranoid. If these notes had been written by anyone else, I would draw the same conclusion about their author. But even though I have reason to doubt my memories of anything prior to or during the honeymoon, my account of the events of the past two months doesn't sound confused or paranoid. Merely incomplete. Entire days seem to have been omitted with no explanation given. Yesterday, for example, which is only covered by the journal Henry has access to.

Twice I announced my intention to escape, only to wake up the next morning with no memory of how I got back to the house. One of these correlates with the day I woke with bruises on my wrists that I deduced had happened when he tied me to the bed with his belt and impaled himself on my cock.

I come to the day Henry came home on his lunch break. In the possibly edited version, my daily activities were interrupted by a bout of spontaneous amorousness from my husband. The unaltered version notes this too, but in far more graphic detail.

'Henry came home at lunch and dragged me to the bedroom, nearly tearing my clothes in his impatience to undress me. He prepared me roughly while performing fellatio in a manner I can only describe as aggressive. His goal seemed to be to make me reach orgasm as quickly as possible. I asked him to slow down once, which prompted him to growl and jab at my prostate. I barely finished ejaculating down his throat before he flipped me over and thrust himself inside me. I felt my hips bruise under his fingers. He demanded I say his name and then my own name. I said "Will" almost instinctively to this last prompt, which made him growl and reach between my legs. He brought me to a second orgasm while saying my own name, then pulled out and ejaculated across my back.'

The unaltered journal notes this as a potential strange kink. The original version - obviously written after I returned the stick to the hive - describes Henry acting as the gentle, doting husband again that night (as opposed to the fierce, hungry lover I had seen mid-day), cooking dinner for me and giving me a full-body massage that erased any traces of the headache I'd had earlier in the day.

Why had these details been removed from the official notes? There isn't anything particularly disconcerting about the unaltered version other than, possibly, the name issue. It merely describes a different part of Henry's personality - his impatience and possible lack of control. What does this imply about our activities last night, for which I only have the one account accompanied by a suggestive email, data about anal orgasms and some pornographic pictures.

One month ago, I woke up with memory of the day before, news which Henry greeted with a mixture of happiness and wariness. In both accounts, I conclude that this is because it had happened before and he knew what would come next. The next few hours of notes before I returned the stick to its hiding spot give two differing accounts of my growing illness and its possible cause. I seem to have deliberately written them that way, knowing the "official" one would be - if not altered - at least read by Henry. In that one, I describe my symptoms as a combination of a side-effect of my medication and possible food sickness as I go about my work, which included Lillian's skull. 'I suspect Henry is drugging me, though I don't know why or what sort of drug he is using,' I write in my secret journal. 'I was so caught up in Lillian's case last night that I can't remember whether I took the evening dose of "medicine". I deliberately concealed this morning's dose and hid it in the box containing my microscope slides. I can't test it myself, but Lillian might have access to a lab that can. I will try to hide one of the evening tablets as well. I would do so now, but I've no idea where he hides them. I have searched all likely spots and several unlikely ones. I will have to try to trick him into revealing their location tonight.'

The next day is entirely missing from the alternate journal and the original only contains data regarding Lillian's case. I find the box of microscope slides in the small study where I've collected some basic lab equipment. There is only one tablet inside, so obviously my plans hadn't gone as I'd hoped. But I've no idea what happened.

In the next entry of the secret journal, I note the need for more reliable clues leading me to the data stick as I can't rely on simple curiosity to compel me to possibly disturb the hive. I invent the conversation with John and, when that still doesn't prove entirely reliable, I purchase a small jar of honey from a local market, transfer it to a cleaned out jam jar and toss the original in a bin down the street while on a "walk". I ask Lillian to help me design a label, a rejected prototype of which I hide in the smoker, and tell Henry that I gleaned the honey from my hive. He believes me, proving that he thankfully doesn't know anything about bees.

The last few weeks of entries in the secret journal are focused primarily on Henry, the nature of our relationship, and questions about my mental condition.

'Obviously, I am not being held prisoner. At least not in any physical sense. My failed attempts to leave Henry are disconcerting, but I seem to have returned of my own free will. Though it is still possible he is coercing me in some way of which I am unaware.'

'I read the book Lillian loaned me today,' another entry reads. 'Apparently it is popular with the masses right now. It was a predictable, insipid melodrama masquerading as mystery fiction, yet I found myself sympathizing with the one of the characters (ironically named Watson). When she realizes she can no longer trust whether her own memories are real, she says "I have lost control over everything, even the places in my head." I fear I may be going mad.'

In the final entry - the one from Tuesday - I note my failure to obtain the second evening pill a month ago and outline a plan to distract Henry and hide that evening's tablet in the bathroom while I'm "washing up". Specifically, I identify the linen cupboard as my ideal hiding spot.

I pause to search for this second tablet, though I don't expect to find it. If my plan had succeeded, surely I would have another journal entry from Wednesday. At the very least, the notes I have wouldn't indicate that I suffered a relapse of my amnesia.

Improbably, I find a small white tablet, nearly identical to the one in the microscope slide box, tucked beneath a stack of linens. I stare at it, struggling to make sense of the conflicting data. I have no way of knowing whether I took the evening pill or not one month ago before I woke up with my memories mostly intact. But now it seems I deliberately tried to recreate the conditions of the experiment two days ago to completely unexpected results. I didn't take the pill and I lost my memory anyway.

I return to the laptop in defeat, setting the offending tablet beside me on the table where I can glare at it as I note this failed experiment in my notes. 'There are several possible explanations, but I can't be certain of any of them without more data,' I write.

Of course, the simplest explanation could be that my condition is real and the drug really is working. But the data I have doesn't prove that yet. In any case, repeating the experiment would clear up any uncertainties.

I begin new entries for today in both journals. In the one Henry can access, I note my encounter with Moriarty in my mind palace (including the moment where he became Henry), a careful account of my meeting with Lillian (omitting her concerns for my safety) and observations about the hive.

In the alternate journal, I copy the interlude with Moriarty, give the full account of my meeting with Lillian along with my newfound doubts about the alteration with Bob, and then set about collecting data on Henry. If something is truly off about my current situation, then he is at the heart of it.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much to dig up on him. He is an only child and both of his parents are long since deceased. He has a medical degree from the University of London and volunteered for several years with Médecins Sans Frontières in Algeria, Mali, Libya and Egypt. I note this in my journal as possible corroboration of his fluency in French.

I hesitate as I realize this is one of the memories he deleted - assuming, of course, that he is the one who has tampered with my notes. Why would he try to conceal this detail from me? It can't be because he doesn't want me to know he speaks French. That's hardly an uncommon skill for an Englishman. If, indeed, he was the one who deleted that memory, he must have done it for another reason.

I re-read the entry with the memories from our honeymoon, but I seem to have been too far away to hear more than a few scattered French words and phrases. Things like "husband" and "honeymoon" and "twelve days". Nothing useful. I was closer when the situation repeated itself in Italy, but my Italian is much more rudimentary than my French. I understood just enough to know that he was arguing with the stranger about money.

My mobile rings as I'm still pondering this information. I glance at the screen to see Henry's name and, with only a half-formed plan to prove my theory, answer with "oui, mon mari."

My words hang in the silence for a moment before he answers. "Tant que j'adore quand tu me parle en français, je suis vachement fatigue maintenant. Peut-on parle anglais?"

The near-native fluidity of his words is colored by a distinct weariness. "What's wrong?"

"It's fine. Look...I probably won't be home for dinner, love. There are some leftovers in the fridge if you get hungry or you can order in. Your medicine is in the cupboard above the stove."

It takes me a moment to register the gift I have just been given. Hiding the tablet will be easier than I thought. But there is still something about his tone that bothers me. I rephrase my question. "What's happened?"

He sighs. "Accident out on the A59. I'll tell you more when I get home. I just...I needed to hear your voice."

I cast about for something to say and come up empty.

"How are you feeling? You had a headache yesterday."

"Oh. Er...I'm fine."

"Good. There's paracetamol in the bath and herbal tea in the cupboard by the kitchen sink if it comes back. That always seems to take the edge off." He takes a deep, slightly trembling breath. "I have to get back to my patient. Don't wait up."

"Okay."

"I love you."

I open my mouth to respond and hesitate, not sure what I'm supposed to respond *with*. It doesn't matter. He's already disconnected.


TBC

Notes: Redbeard is an actual dog as far as I'm concerned and Mofftis can pry that from my cold dead hands. The book Will/Sherlock is quoting is, of course, "Girl on the Train". The French dialogue translates as "yes, my husband" and "much as I love it when you speak to me in French, I am REALLY tired right now. Can we speak English?" At least I hope that's what it says because my French is far from fluent.

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