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Be forewarned: I didn't tag this fic with a "graphic depictions of violence" warning because, while Sherlock does suffer a lot of violence, I only show the aftermath. This chapter will deal with the before and after of a gruesome encounter with a sadistic guard. If you are especially squeamish, you might want to avert your eyes.

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.

The next time I saw Sherlock all four of his limbs had been broken. I had been right to question whether he would be able to speak as the guard never left the cell, affording me no chance to remove the ever present hood, which was loosely held in place by a collar. He had been chained to the wall by his neck like an animal.

I spoke to him while I treated him even though he couldn't reply. I told him what I was doing before I did it and apologized and offered reassurances and reminders to breathe when he screamed and made garbled, indistinct noises around the gag. I rubbed his chest and arms under the guise of stimulating the blood, but really I just wanted to give him a touch that didn't bring pain.

I realized the folly in this when I finished healing the final break in his left leg and accidentally brushed his cock with my wrist while massaging his thigh. It twitched and he inhaled sharply.

The guard, who had been watching with vague disinterest, laughed and said something in a language that sounded Slavic while making a crude gesture in front of his groin.

I decided to pretend it hadn't happened. I laid Sherlock's leg back on the floor and reached for my cane.

The guard said something else and Sherlock's hands fumbled for me, still weak from their recent injury. The guard marched over and grabbed Sherlock's nearest hand, wrenching it back so viciously that he yelped.

"Hoy," I protested.

The guard wrapped his other hand around Sherlock's exposed manhood and tugged cruelly. I didn't understand his next words, but the gestures combined with his suggestive leer and tone made his meaning clear.

I shook my head. "No."

The guard said something else I guessed what some sort of challenge.

"No," I repeated firmly, reaching for my cane again, desperate to flee before this went any further.

Sherlock reached for the hood with his other hand, muffled voice seemingly pleading for something. The guard grabbed the hand and I heard a sickening crunch. Sherlock cried out.

"Stop," I protested.

The guard ignored me, directing his next words at Sherlock. Sherlock nodded slowly and the guard dropped his hands so he could reach for the hood. He stopped for a moment, his meaty fingers twisted in the material, and growled what was unmistakably a warning. Sherlock nodded and the hood and gag were removed none too gently. His eyes, though uncovered, remained tightly shut.

Sherlock cleared his throat and licked at his chapped lips before attempting to speak. "He...he wants you to prove that you are a real man."

"What, by raping you," I spit.

The guard spoke again, ignoring me.

"He says I'm nothing more than a whore." Sherlock swallowed, obviously struggling to translate the vile words. "He is inviting you to share in their spoils. To use me as they do."

I didn't know how I had stumbled into this ridiculous play, but everything in my being was screaming for me to flee. I may have been drawn to the man, but I did not want this. "Tell him I'm not a sodomite."

Sherlock translated in the guard's language. The guard laughed and pinched Sherlock's chin between his fingers as he replied.

"He says you can..."

"Use your mouth instead," I interrupted despairingly. "Yes, I got the idea."

"You have considered it. I've seen it in your eyes. I have felt it in your touch. You say you are not a sodomite, but you desire me." He tried to keep his voice level, as if he were still explaining the guard's terms to me, but I could hear the fear in his voice. He didn't want to be left alone with the brute.

I reached for his hand, ostensibly so I could heal his wrist, but also in a futile effort to offer him comfort. I hissed as I felt the echo of the delicate bones realigning.

The guard sneered and snatched Sherlock's hand from mine almost before I could finish healing it, securing both of his wrists with the ever present chains bolted to the wall. They argued briefly and then the guard took a handful of Sherlock's curly hair and yanked viciously. He yelped and babbled some words that sounded like a plea for mercy as he was dragged up onto his knees.

I wanted to protest what was happening, but I feared anything I said would only make the situation worse.

"You can leave," Sherlock said with a forced calm as the guard shortened the chains, stretching his arms behind his back. "He won't hurt you."

The guard finished securing him and stepped back, gesturing at Sherlock and grabbing at his own crotch. I swallowed my revulsion before I did something I regretted.

"No, but he will hurt you."

Sherlock said nothing, which was itself a confirmation. I could not in good conscience leave him knowing the sadist was unlikely to even wait until I was far enough away to be spared the screams. Would they even call me back to treat the damage or would he be just careful enough to make that unnecessary?

I approached Sherlock slowly and cupped his cheek in the hand not holding my cane. I brushed my thumb delicately over one tightly closed eyelid, remembering the mesmerizing color I had seen in their depths before. "What did he threaten to do if you opened your eyes," I asked quietly.

He winced. "Cut them out."

I wondered if the guard was sadistic enough to be waiting eagerly for Sherlock to slip so he could follow through on that threat. I suspected he was. I didn't want to risk it. I retrieved the cloth gag from the cell floor and tied it around his head, covering his eyes. I felt him relax a little, then startle as the guard spoke again.

"He wants you to get on with it."

I huffed out a breath. "Tell him I will do it if he promises not to touch you after."

"He won't make that promise. You have no leverage."

I clenched my jaw. He was right. "So, what? I'm supposed to violate you for his entertainment and then leave so he can rape you straight after?"

"I told you you could leave," he said quietly, resigned to his fate.

No. This was absurd. I cast about frantically for a solution that would spare us both. Finally, in desperation, I shifted my grip on my cane and spun toward the guard.

"No, John! Think of your daughter!"

I stopped, the cane half-raised. 'How does he know about my daughter,' I thought before the guard's fist smashed into the side of my head and I staggered sideways, my cane slipping from my fingers. I heard Sherlock scream "no" before the guard swung at me again and everything went dark.


I awoke to the sound of whimpering.

It took me some time to recall where I was and how I had come to be there with such an ache in my head. I struggled to open my eyes and lift my head, squinting at the blurred lump across the cell. It moved and made a wet, gagging sound.

"Sherlock?" I dragged myself onto my hands and knees and crawled toward him.

When everything stopped wobbling and I got a good look at him, I stopped crawling, leaned to one side and vomited.

"No," I moaned, rubbing my throbbing forehead, willing myself to wake from this nightmare. But the pathetic sounds of distress didn't stop. I was sure I would never forget the horrid noises he made - more like a wounded animal than a human.

His wrists were still shackled, though the chain was once more drawn out to its full length, affording him enough lead to curl his arms in front of his ruined face in a futile effort to hide it. Or perhaps to protect it from further damage.

Whether he had opened his eyes or not, the sadistic guard had made good on his threat and slashed Sherlock's eyes. But that apparently hadn't been enough. He had also cut out the poor man's tongue. This was made painfully clear by the blood issuing from his mouth with each wretched choking noise.

I approached him slowly, swallowing the screams of horror and rage that threatened. I reached out to him, then hesitated, my hand hovering over his arm.

"Sherlock," I called.

He whimpered.

"It's me, I..." my voice cracked and I swallowed thickly. I touched him gently and felt him shudder.

His hands, which had been wrapped one around the other, unfolded to reveal something he held in his palm. It was his own severed tongue.

I closed my eyes and fought a second wave of sickness. I had heard of such savagery being committed by our enemies during my time as a soldier, but had counted myself lucky to not have witnessed such barbarism with my own eyes.

A calm came over me then as I realized the gift the guard had unwittingly given me. Had he taken the tongue as a trophy I may not have been able to help. I had never attempted to re-grow appendages and I doubted my abilities extended so far. But by leaving it, the guard had ensured that I could fix it, even if the process would be exceedingly unpleasant for both of us.

I bent close to him, resting one hand on his arm. "I can reattach it. Will you let me?"

He whimpered in distress, but nodded shakily.

"I'm so sorry. I promise I'll be quick."

I plucked the severed muscle from his hand and took a moment, as I identified its original orientation, to decide how best to accomplish the task without him accidentally biting my fingers off. I coaxed him to open his mouth and apologized again as I set it back in place and he gagged.

"Don't swallow," I instructed before pressing my thumbs on either side of the intact root, cupping his jaw in my hands and channeling the healing energy into him, visualizing the torn halves of muscle stitching themselves back together.

He howled and clawed at me, his teeth clamping down on my thumbs, but the pain of that was drowned by the agony of feeling as if the entire lower half of my face had caught fire. I yelled with him and nearly collapsed on top of him when it was over. He coughed and gagged and spit blood on the floor.

"Joh..." he tried to say roughly between gasps.

"It's all right," I panted. "Don't talk."

The relief I felt at hearing him attempt to speak was coupled with dread of knowing I wasn't finished yet.

I let him catch his breath, gently nudging him onto his back when the danger of him choking passed. I pushed his hair back from his face and tried to determine the extent of the damage, murmuring apologies as he whimpered in pain. It didn't look like the eyes had been gouged entirely, just sliced clean across. I touched the cuts to the skin near the corners and hissed at the accompanying burn, snatching my hand back as he flinched for fear or hurting him further.

"I think I can fix the damage to your eyes, but I can't guarantee your sight will be restored."

"Mahke 'ou...blin..."

"No. I won't go blind." I had no way of knowing if that was really true, but I hadn't suffered any lasting effects from healing others yet.

He made a tiny, distressed noise and nodded.

I took a deep breath. "All right. Keep your eyes closed." I lay my hands carefully over his closed eyes.

This time, as the burn encompassed us both, he managed to keep his hands down, though I suspected this had more to do with exhaustion than a marked decrease in pain. He had endured more than could be expected of any man. It was a miracle his body hadn't simply given out already.

I blinked tentatively as the fire receded, my blurred vision slowly clearing. "Keep your eyes closed," I panted.

When he didn't respond, I realized he had lost consciousness. I made sure he was still breathing before sitting back and fully assessing the position I found myself in. The guard had left. I didn't have to try to the door to know I would find it locked. It would be a while before anyone realized I had been left there. And what would happen then? I didn't care what happened to me, but what of my daughter? Molly could take care of her, but would they be safe? And what of Sherlock? I hardly knew him, but if Lord Moriarty knew of the risk I had taken to defend him...

I sat leaning against the wall and pulled Sherlock's body into my arms. Worrying about the possibilities was a futile endeavor. There was nothing I could do for the time being but wait.
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