diandrahollman: (sherlock)
[personal profile] diandrahollman
This chapter takes place after an unseen gang rape committed on a prisoner by a group of guards.

E-Mail: diandrahollman@gmail.com
Website: http://diandrahollman.neocities.org
Rating: R for now, NC-17 for later, hopefully
Keywords: AU, John/Sherlock, past John/Mary, John is a widower, Baby Watson, hurt/comfort, magic!John, healer!John, evil!Moriarty, hurt Sherlock, torture, mentions of rape, captivity, emotional blackmail, suggestions of period homophobia, switching POV (Sherlock and John)
Spoilers: What are those again?
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Arthur Conan Doyle, specific iterations of them belong to the BBC and the "Sherlock" team. The plot is based on my memory of a romance novel I read years ago but can't seem to find now. If anyone recognizes it, let me know so I can give proper credit.
Summary: Sherlock is being held captive by the sadistic Lord Moriarty. John, an Empath, is Lord Moriarty's personal physician (and, effectively, also a captive). When they meet, they might just find the courage to break each other out.
Dedication: To my friends and this lovely fandom for all of their encouragement and support.
Author's Notes: I have never written a historical story before, so forgive my clumsiness. This story takes place in the late 1700s in a sort of alternate universe where some people have magical powers, but still have to live in secret to avoid being accused of witchcraft.


Lord Moriarty had always been a sick, sadistic man. I had spent nearly five miserable years in his employ. No, that wasn't the right word. Five years of indentured servitude. I may have had the illusion of freedom, but in truth I was his slave.

I didn't realize any of this at first, of course. I had happily accepted the position of his personal physician, caring for him and the steady stream of visiting friends and family members (only one of which, I would later find out, was actually related to him). He paid me generously - especially when he discovered my natural healing abilities - more than enough to care for my growing family.

After my wife died in childbirth things began to change. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, he let the benevolent veneer he presented the world crumble away, revealing his true nature to me. He knew that by the time I fully comprehended the sort of monster he really was, I would be far too indebted to him to turn against him and risk his wrath. In exchange for my silence and obedience, he provided wet nurses and, later, nannies to help care for my daughter. He gave her a life I could not have provided alone.

I gradually came to welcome the pain I absorbed when I healed one of Moriarty's victims. I told myself I deserved to suffer for my cowardice.

I didn't know what the captive Moriarty called the bane of his existence had done to deserve his fate. I wasn't even told his name. But from the moment I first touched him I felt a spark of something I hadn't felt in years. I had long denied that I harbored desires for members of my own sex, but I could not deny that some part of me desired this particular man. I didn't see his face until the second time - and even then his eyes were hidden from me - but what I could see told me he was beautiful. Lord Moriarty and his men could not tarnish that no matter how badly they beat him or stripped away his dignity by keeping him naked and chained like an animal. I couldn't put into words what it was, exactly, that made me desire this poor wretched creature, but I was drawn to him like a moth to a torch.

The problem with that analogy is that, in the end, the moth always burns.

The next time Moriarty called on me to care for the man, he merely told me that his guards had gotten "a bit carried away." This not being much different from his usual explanation, I wasn't really sure what to expect.

The reappearance of the hood confirmed that its presence had more to do with keeping him in the dark than concealing his features from me. After all, why would he hide his captive from me if he knew I wouldn't tell anyone the details of his...business?

Only the man's right arm was shackled this time, as his left had been dislocated at the shoulder and was almost certainly useless to him for the time being. His entire body seemed to be marred by deep bruising, although I couldn't see much of his torso as he had curled into himself as tightly as his long limbs would allow. What he couldn't hide were the scratches on his back, the deep purple bruises on his hips and the blood streaking his thighs, all of which made the nature of his ill use quite clear.

"May we have some privacy," I asked the guard, not even bothering to try to hide the contempt I was sure reflected on my face. I didn't know he was one of the men who had participated in the prisoner's defiling, but I didn't know he wasn't.

The guard, undaunted, sneered and grunted "five minutes."

"It will take me that long just to set his shoulder. I will call you when I am finished."

For a moment I expected the guard to strike me and I flinched as he made a move toward me. But he hesitated, likely considering how valuable I was to his boss, and fell back. "You best remember your place around here," he snarled impotently before leaving the cell, closing the door behind him.

I do every day, I thought wretchedly.

The man whimpered as I knelt beside him. Assuming he was too lost in his suffering to understand my attentions, I offered some hasty reassurances while I folded my cloak and slipped it beneath his head.

"I have to reposition your arm before I can treat it," I warned him. "I'm sorry, but it will hurt. Can you bear it?"

He whined softly and made a garbled noise. Oh. He had been gagged again.

"Sorry." I reached for his good, shackled hand. "Squeeze if you understand."

I could feel the tremor in his fingers as they clutched at mine and a hollow ache settled in my chest. It didn't matter what he had done to offend Lord Moriarty, real or perceived. No human being deserved such treatment.

I positioned my hands and braced myself. "Take a deep breath," I instructed, waiting for him to exhale before rotating the arm back into its proper place.

He cried out and pulled so hard at his chain that I feared the other arm would dislocate. I held him steady until he calmed, shushing him. Then I braced myself again, this time for entirely different reasons.

'It had to be the left shoulder, didn't it,' I thought bitterly. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the damaged tissues in the shoulder, willing the swelling to go down. Pain exploded in my own shoulder, white hot, much as it had when that musket ball had torn into it. I bit back a shout and somehow managed not to collapse on him when it was over.

I massaged his arm as I recovered my strength, both to soothe him and stall a bit while I mentally prepared myself for the next part.

I sat back and reached for his hips. My fingers barely grazed his bare skin before he struck my hands away with his free - but still weakened - arm.

"Shh...it's all right. I won't hurt you." I lightened my touch, slowed my movements, but he continued to slap at my hands, making small, garbled noises of distress through the sack and gag.

'To hell with this,' I thought as I changed course and ripped the sack from his head.

He stilled in surprise and winced at the sudden change in light. I tugged the gag from his mouth and leaned close, looking into the most dazzling eyes I had ever seen. Not just because they had such an odd mixture of color that they barely matched each other, but because they held a depth and understanding beyond his apparent years.

"I know it hurts," I murmured. "But you need to trust me."

He looked at the door of the cell to reassure himself that we were alone before attempting to speak, his voice strained and hoarse. "Know...you...feel it."

My hand moved instinctively to his throat, intent on repairing the damage. He flung himself backward as best he could and slapped at my hand again.

"Don't," he spit.

I sighed. "Feel what?"

"Pain...when you...heal me, you...feel it," he struggled to say. He reached for my left shoulder, but was obviously too weak yet and had to settle for resting his hand near my elbow.

He knew of my abilities? "How do you..."

"Try to...hide it," he interrupted, already answering my question before I could finish it. "But...obvious."

I stared into those eyes and realized that it wasn't fear that made him stop me. It was shame and humiliation. He didn't want me to know of the violation he had suffered.

I caught his hand and trapped it between my own gently. "I know. It wasn't your fault. They forced themselves on you. You cannot blame yourself for what they did."

He sighed and - for a moment - seemed to forget his pain in favor of his annoyance. "Know...that."

"Then why won't you let me help you?"

"Not...lethal. Moriarty...testing you."

"Testing me?"

"Or using...me to hurt...you. 'f you...heal me he...wins."

There was a certain cold logic to that. But I was a healer. I couldn't just stand by and watch someone suffer when I could do something about it. "That might well be true, but you are wrong about it not being lethal. You are bleeding. And from the amount of blood I'd wager that you are torn badly. Your bowels could be ruptured. Infection could set in. Please, let me treat you."

He hesitated, his eyes searching my face like he was looking for verification of my words. Slowly, he released my hand.

"Thank you." Not knowing when the guard would choose to come back, I moved quickly, coaxing him to uncurl from his fetal position. I placed my hands very low on his abdomen, my palms pressing gently against his pubic bone, apologizing as he sucked in a sharp breath. "Deep breath."

I took a deep breath myself and focused the energy through my hands and into his body.

It felt like being torn open. Like being stabbed repeatedly by a dull instrument until the tender flesh gave way.

He sobbed and some part of me that was still aware of my surroundings realized he might be reliving the horror of his violation as each tear and bruise was mended. I forced myself to keep going. Better to have him feel the pain now than let it fester and worsen.

He was still making small noises as the pain eased and awareness returned to me. That's when I realized that it wasn't the physical pain that distressed him. It was the degradation. The hopelessness.

Unfortunately, this was something I could not cure. I could only gather him in my arms in a pitiful attempt at comfort while my own heart ached in sympathy. "There now," I murmured. "It's..." I bit my tongue before I could make any assurances we both knew to be false. He was still a prisoner. In all probability, this would happen to him again. My erasing his wounds ultimately did little to alleviate his suffering. I looked at the gorgeous, seemingly innocent creature in my arms and wished - as I had countless times before - that I had the courage to stand up to Lord Moriarty.

The man looked up at me in wonder, reaching to cup my cheek with his trembling, untethered hand. "Beautiful," he murmured.

I huffed out a surprised laugh and muttered "must've missed an infection somewhere. You're delirious."

The guard banged on the door impatiently, reminding me that I didn't have the luxury of time.

"I have to..."

I set him down carefully, retrieving my cloak and reaching for the gag. I hesitated before putting it back in as I realized I didn't know when he would ever have the opportunity to speak so freely again. "What is your name?" Hardly the most important question, but it was a start.

"Sherlock," he croaked.

I debated healing his throat despite his protests as listening to him speak was painful, but he was right. It wasn't fatal. And it was unlikely I would have even noticed had I not removed the gag. Would Moriarty know we had spoken if I treated it?

"Hoy," the guard shouted, startling me into action. "Almost finished," I called. I pressed the cloth into Sherlock's mouth and secured it, allowing myself a moment of indulgence to run my thumb over his lower lip.

"John," I answered, even though he never asked.

He smiled as much as he was able before I tugged the cloth sack back over his head.


August 2017

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