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[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 and the special
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


I smell bacon before I reach the kitchen. Henry barely looks up from the pan of eggs he's scrambling and asks "did you eat anything last night?"

I hesitate a moment, wondering if I should make an excuse, before deciding that he must be used to my habits. "No. I wasn't hungry."

He spoons a generous helping of egg onto a plate with a wedge of toast and a couple slices of bacon before handing it to me. "Then eat that and don't argue with me."

I take the plate to the table, where he has already placed a full glass of juice and the morning tablet. I pick up the tablet and, still feeling Henry watching from the corner of his eye, perform a simple sleight of hand, feigning swallowing it, then drink the juice. When I am certain he isn't looking, I slip the tablet into my pocket. It was far too easy. And if he retrieved this pill from the container, he must have noticed last night's dose is missing. This presents two possible solutions. Either he thinks I'm taking the pills and they are or aren't working depending on their intended purpose, or he knows I'm not taking them but isn't confronting me about it. But why?

This will all make more sense when I know what the pills do. In the meantime, I'm afraid all this doubt and second guessing will drive me insane.

I reach for the honey automatically and spread some on my toast before offering the jar to Henry as he joins me at the table.

"Ah, no." He holds up a similar jar filled with jam. "Never much cared for honey. Is that the label Lillian was working on?"

I tilt the jar so he can see it better. "Yes. Do you like it?"

He smiles a little. "She's very talented. Do you really think you'll have enough to sell?"

"Not sure yet. Maybe later. I just wanted to be ready."

"Mmm."

We lapse into silence as we begin eating. The food seems to calm my stomach a bit.

"So what were you doing yesterday when I called that prompted you to answer in French?"

For an alarming moment I can't remember. Then I realize that's because I filed his language skills away with other details that I deemed irrelevant and not because I have actually forgotten. "Your volunteer work for Médecin Sans Frontières were mostly in French speaking countries. I was testing a theory."

I think I feel him relax a little at that. Interesting.

"Je t'aime de tout mon coeur, mon chéri," he says suddenly. "Je ne peux pas vivre sans toi. Je ne veux pas vivre sans toi. J'ai le sens qu'un lien invisible entre ton couer et le mien. Et si quel que chose à briser ce lien, mon coeur cesserait de battre et je mourrais. Je suis a toi, pour toujours."

He lifts my hand to his lips and presses a kiss to my fingers. I have a sudden, wild urge to tell him everything. To compel him somehow to give me the answers I want.

I bite my tongue. Not yet.

He must see something in my face because he huffs in amusement. "Yes, I know. Sentiment. I am wearing you down, though. Six months ago, you would have mocked me for that."

"Six months ago, I wouldn't have remembered you coming home practically in tears because you lost a patient that reminded you of me."

The fork he had picked up again freezes halfway to his mouth and he sets it back down. "He didn't look anything like you. I just..."

"I know. You had to tell his wife."

"Not yet. She hasn't woken up. She doesn't know." He picks at the remainders of his breakfast, decides he isn't hungry and turns his attention on his tea.

This could partly explain his lack of interest this morning. He is anticipating having to deliver the news to the grieving widow today.

"Will...I'm sure you recorded in those notes you keep what happened to you the last two times you made a miraculous recovery like this. I want to believe that won't happen again, but it would be foolish to ignore the pattern. If you experience anything like the symptoms you described in your notes, I want you to ring me immediately.

He doesn't know why it's happening? Or he wants me to think he doesn't? If he thinks the pills are treating a real condition, he might believe they are simply working. But why would I be getting sick then? On the other hand, if they are causing it, wouldn't he realize I wasn't taking them? Why would he allow for a possibility that it won't happen?

His love for me may be clear, but his behaviors are still confounding.

"Will?"

"Yes. Yes, I'll call you if I am ill."

He nods and falls silent for a while. I finish my breakfast. He continues to push his around his plate distractedly while he drinks his tea. He seems to be avoiding what he really wants to say just as much as I am.

"You kept asking for him," he says, breaking the silence abruptly. "Demanding to speak to him. You didn't believe he was dead. You were convinced I was lying to you. Keeping him from you. When I first showed you the autopsy report and you saw the picture of his body..." He closes his eyes as if he is reliving the memory.

I wait a moment for him to continue. He doesn't. "What happened to the picture?"

He looks dazed for a moment. As if he was so lost in his memories he forgot where he was. "Ah...after a few weeks you made me promise never to show it to you again."

"How many times?"

He understands the question without needing clarification. "Three. I couldn't stand watching you go through that anymore so I destroyed it after that."

He sighs and sets his fork down again. "Look...I know I can never live up to John Watson, but I would move heaven and Earth if it would prove to you the depth of my loyalty and love."*

"You don't have to," I say quietly. "It's obvious."

He blinks, makes a couple aborted attempts at speech, then gets up to clear his breakfast dishes, turning his back to me.

Emboldened by this confirmation of how much leverage I have in this relationship, I follow and wrap my arms around him. I kiss his neck, taking full advantage of the fact that I actually remember just how sensitive he is there.

His breath catches and the tension eases from his shoulders. The dishes he was rinsing clatter unceremoniously to the sink. He turns the faucet off and leans into me, tilting his head to give me better access.

It would be so easy to take control, to convince him that he can trust me, I think as I trail kisses up to the hinge of his jaw. All I have to do is play the role he wants me to play. "Je t'aime, mon mari," I whisper in his ear.

He goes still. His breathing stops for a moment. Then he turns in my arms. I go to kiss his lips, but his hands on my chest hold me at bay. He searches my face, tiny frown lines appearing between his eyebrows.

I give him my best sheepish smile. "Sorry. I guess it's easier to say it in French."

He relaxes a bit and this time when I go to kiss him, he lets me.

"I have to go to work," he mumbles after a few lazy kisses.

I hum and nip at his chin before starting down the other side of his throat.

He makes a choked whimpering sort of noise and tangles his hand in my hair, guiding me back to his lips. "Later," he whispers into my mouth. He kisses me one more time before reluctantly prying himself away, wobbling for a moment or two and straightening his clothes somewhat dazedly.

"The keys are in the..." he begins before faltering. "You know that. Right."

I watch in amusement as he fishes his car keys from the bowl. He comes back for one last kiss - this time a chaste one on my cheek. "Call me," he says again.

I finish loading the dishes into the washer, listening as he retrieves his coat. Once I am sure he is gone, I retrieve my mobile from the counter, locate Lillian's number in the contacts and press "call".

*************

I don't tell Lillian what the pills are for. I say they are part of an experiment and that Henry must not know about it. As I suspected, her distrust of Henry is strong enough that she agrees easily, although she warns me that it may take a while to convince someone in the lab to run an analysis.

It isn't until after I leave the tablets with her that I think to collect a DNA sample from the rim of the glass Henry left in my study/lab. I'm not sure I will need it, really, but the opportunity to collect information seemed to good to pass up. I save the sample in a drawer and note it in the journal on the memory stick, along with more details about last night and this morning.

'The purpose of the tablets aside, it is clear to me that whatever is going on here is more complicated than I originally assumed. If he is doing something to insure I stay here with him, it is far more subtle and less physical than simply drugging me into compliance. I feel a connection to him. Maybe it's his obvious intelligence or maybe it's because he reminds me of John, but I find myself craving his company and finding pleasure in his affections. Much as I hate to admit it, Mycroft may have been right. Henry's devotion to me compels him to provide for my every need, both of the body and the mind.'

I stop typing as the mild nausea I'd been experiencing suddenly becomes a lot less mild and I have to expel the entirety of my breakfast into the toilet. Vomiting increases my headache. As I sit on the floor of the master bath waiting for it to subside, I nip into my mind palace for a bit and find Mary has taken John's place in the flat.

"You know he's lying to you," she says as she tries to settle Rosie on her hip. Rosie was still too young to be able to hold her head up when I last saw her, but I can easily imagine what she would look like now, months later. A perfect combination of John and Mary's features.

"Obviously. I just don't see what purpose it serves."

"Of course you do. That's why you're talking to me right now."

Rosie fills the silence with happy squealing noises as I contemplate the former assassin holding her, lightly bouncing her in an unconscious soothing motion. For all of her faults, she loved John. It was the one thing she never lied about. Their meeting may have been the result of a manipulation, but she genuinely cared about him.

"He's terrified of losing you," she says. "He will do whatever it takes to protect this life he's created for himself. This identity."

These last words trigger a realization. Mary Morstan was an assumed name. A fresh start. An orphan with few ties to others.

"His name isn't Henry."

"His *name* isn't important. Our names don't define who we are. You should understand that, William."

"No, but it might tell me who he *was*." I take off my wedding ring and squint at the inscription inside again. It's still mostly unintelligible, but I can almost make out a "T" and an "A" and something that is either a "J" or an "I".

A phone rings, startling me back to the real world. I pull my mobile from my pocket and bite back a groan as I read Henry's name on the screen.

"I'm fine," I answer.

"Then why didn't you answer the first time I called?"

First time? "I forgot my mobile when I went to check the hive."

It's a terrible lie and I can tell he doesn't believe it. "I'm going to try to get someone to cover the last few hours of my shift so I can come home early."

"I'm *fine*," I repeat stubbornly.

"You probably can't hear it, love, but your breathing is slightly erratic and you are slurring your words."

"I'm. Fine. Just a bit peaky."

"You are a brilliant man, but you are shite at judging your health. Do you have a headache?"

"A bit," I mumble.

"Take some paracetamol if you think you can hold it down. Drink some tea if you can't. I'll come home quick as I can manage."

"It's hardly an emergency."

He sighs. "I know sweetheart. But after yesterday, I don't think anyone would object to me getting off early to take care of my poorly husband."

I bite my tongue. Arguing any further would be pointless. And what would I gain? A few more hours of time to research and write in my secret journal? I still don't have any solid leads to follow yet.

"I love you."

I make a non committal noise.

He hangs up. I take a deep breath and heave myself up from the floor. I will have to work faster.

------
The French translates as "I love you with all my heart, my darling. I can not live without you. I will not live without you. I feel as if there is a link between your heart and mine. And if anything were to break that link, my heart would cease to beat and I would die. I am yours, always." If the middle part of that sounds familiar, it's because I modified a quote from "Crimson Peak".

*This is an altered line from "The Three Garidebs", since Mofftiss weren't using it.

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