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Title: And Wake Up In Tears
Recipient: [personal profile] tripleransom
Author: [personal profile] monkiainen
Verse: ACD
Characters/Pairings: Holmes, Watson
Rating: PG
Warnings: Implications to PTSD
Summary: After returning from the dead from his fall to the Reichenbach Falls, Holmes is not quite feeling like himself.

Tears were for the weak. Only those who let their hearts rule their lives instead of their mind would weep uncontrollably, whether it was because of sadness or because of joy. So why did he woke up in tears? He, Sherlock Holmes, master of deduction, notoriously aloof – a man usually accused of being cold and distant. There had to be something wrong with him, for tears were not natural for him. Could it be, perhaps, that the foggy climate of London did not agree with him after all those years on the run? That was probably it. And the blasted sound of the countless carriages under his window didn't help, either. Why they had to be so noisy? It had been so much quieter in the countryside – no loud, unexpected sounds that made him twitch just a bit. They were just carriages, Holmes reminded himself, even if his heart was pounding like mad in his chest.

Soon the annoying tears were forgotten, and once again the great detective immersed himself in unsolved mysteries. There were cases to be solved, criminals to be caught, the Yard to be mocked upon. No need to think of tears and what they could mean. Or any other symptoms come to think of it. Surely Holmes wasn't the only person in London suffering from bouts of insomnia? Highly unlikely.

But when Holmes woke up in tears again, he started to suspect there might be something else going on than the change of climate. An inflammation of the eye? Come to think of it, the last time he and Watson had chased a suspect along the narrow street of London something small and annoying had hit his eye and it had itched considerably. Holmes congratulated himself for deducing the root of his problem so quickly and told himself he'd back in good health in no time. Better not ask for advice from Watson yet – the good doctor had been more protective than usual of his wellbeing ever since Holmes had returned from the world of dead. There was no need to worry his dear friend over nothing. It was, after all, very common to have inflammation in your eye. And headaches. And amnesia. And tremors. So really, there was no reason why Holmes should bother his closest friend over common illnesses. It was not worth either of their time.

Weeks went by, and no further tear incidents happened. Holmes decided that his theory had been valid, as he had suspected in the first place. He had made the right decision not to tell anything to Watson. It would have been pointless as there was nothing whatsoever wrong with him. Except the dizziness that sometimes happened, and more shockingly the loss of reasoning that had just happened to him during a case. It had lasted only a minute, and Holmes was certain Watson hadn't been fast enough to notice his hesitation. Of course he hadn't – Watson saw but he didn't observe.

A telegram arrived to the Baker Street a few days later, asking Holmes to assist in a case in the west of England. As there were no interesting cases in the London area where Holmes could use his expertise, he readily agreed. The good doctor was also available to join Holmes – a fact that made Holmes immensely happy. It was always better to have Watson by his side, as the local aid was always either worthless or else biased. Or in the worst cases, both. Holmes shuddered to think of one particular constable that had nearly destroyed a whole case because of his incompetency.

It sounded like a straight-forward case: a body, a suspect and a witness. Why they needed Holmes's expertise was a mystery, because a donkey could have solved the case if necessary. Still, a case was a still case, albeit an ordinary one. All the evidence pointed to the person they had under custody, although the said person had claimed to be innocent. That in itself was not unusual, as even the most guilty parties tried to claim innocence to avoid being hanged. Holmes abstained making any hasty conclusions before having all the facts. For some reason his mind seemed to be working slower than usual. It was probably because of the lack of sleep. Yes, that was it. Even Holmes was a human and so annoyingly tied to the restraints of his body over his mind.

At some point the slow swinging of the train carriage lulled Holmes to sleep. It was with dismay and confusion when Holmes woke in tears, not having a clue what had caused the sudden outburst of unwanted bodily functions. And to think Watson had now witnessed first-hand his lack of discipline! How mortifying!

Holmes counted silently to ten before raising his tear-filled eyes to meet those of Watson's. To his uttermost surprise it was not condescension nor loathing he saw in Watson's eyes – there was nothing but comprehension and compassion to be seen. But why? Had he not shown the dear doctor the most appalling side of him, by crying and showing weakness? If anything, a hardened soldier like Watson should be disgusted with such behaviour.

"Have you ever heard of shell shock, my dear Holmes?"

Holmes pondered Watson's words. There was certain familiarity with the term, but he couldn't say where or when he had heard it. Perhaps in the writings of Surgeon Major Alexander Francis Preston, who had written in detail about his experiences during the Second Anglo-Afghan War? No, that couldn't be it. Preston was an idiot who was only concerned about his reputation and how he would appear in the eyes of his superiors. It had to be something else.

"My dearest Holmen, listen to me before you lapse inside that brilliant mind of yours. I have seen this kind of behaviour before, back when I was in Afghanistan. There were soldiers, young and old, who were so deeply affected about what they had seen and heard that they turned to someone else entirely. There were unexplained bouts of tears, sensitivity to noises, insomnia, and inability to reason… I'm fairly sure all these symptoms sound familiar to you. There is no shame, my dear Holmes – you have gone through a great ordeal. First you plummeted to your death with Moriarty, and then you spent years hiding from his gang. Not even the strongest man can endure such burden alone. I have watched you, and I have observed you, my dearest Holmes, and it breaks my heart when I'm not able, when I'm not allowed to help. Just say 'please' and I'll be there for you."

The time seemed to stop. There was no one else in the universe at that moment except a consulting detective and his faithful companion. The silence seemed to stretch, and for the briefest moment Sherlock Holmes was clueless. Until:


Date: 2017-06-13 06:39 am (UTC)
gardnerhill: (Default)
From: [personal profile] gardnerhill
How terrible it would be to suffer PTSD at a time in history when that was labeled "cowardice" or worse. Fortunately he is the companion of the best and wisest man in London, who offers a hand instead of scorn - for who better than another survivor of horrors can aid the walking wounded?

Date: 2017-06-13 10:18 am (UTC)
smallhobbit: (JWP 2016)
From: [personal profile] smallhobbit
A lovely portrayal of Holmes, in the grips of something he doesn't comprehend, and refuses to admit to. And Watson observing and understanding and offering a hand.

Date: 2017-06-13 11:44 am (UTC)
tripleransom: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tripleransom
Thank you anon for this lovely fic! The Hiatus and its aftermath is my favorite period in Holmes's life. There had to have been a lot more to it than Watson told us about.

As Gardnerhill said, it must have been terrible to suffer like that when PTSD was so completely misunderstood. (Of course, people are still being told to 'suck it up and deal' even today.)

I love it that Watson, as always, is there for Holmes and that Holmes trusts him enough to accept his help.

Date: 2017-06-27 03:29 pm (UTC)
monkiainen: (206)
From: [personal profile] monkiainen
I'm glad that you enjoyed the story I wrote for you :)

Date: 2017-06-27 10:40 pm (UTC)
tripleransom: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tripleransom
I did indeed! It was truly lovely. Thank you.

Date: 2017-06-13 03:39 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] marta_bee
You know, I can't imagine anything worse for Holmes than to have his emotions and impulses not obey his will/reason. Speaking as one who also gets stuck in her head (though I make no pretenses to being a Great Mind!) and deals with this particular disorder. Particularly in a time when the psychology was so poorly understood! This isn't something I'd really considered for Holmes, but I'm so glad to see what you did with it here. He needs a bit of common-sense to anchor him, and having Watson pick up on the signs and be the one to provide him that is inspired.

Date: 2017-06-13 10:03 pm (UTC)
scfrankles: knight on horseback with lance lowered (Default)
From: [personal profile] scfrankles
A poignant but very positive ending. They are so lucky to have each other.

As a friend pointed out recently, a doctor is a detective too. It was inspired on your part to have Watson demonstrating this so well - as he observes and gathers evidence on Holmes' suffering, and then diagnoses him and plans on how to help him.

Date: 2017-06-14 04:50 pm (UTC)
starfishstar: (Default)
From: [personal profile] starfishstar
Oh, Holmes, expertly deducing all things except himself. Watson's compassion here is so lovely!

Date: 2017-06-15 07:32 pm (UTC)
capt_facepalm: (Default)
From: [personal profile] capt_facepalm
Holmes rationalising his increasing symptoms demonstrates so much: Holmes' refusal to acknowledge there is a problem and that he has it. His hesitation to let his closest friend know about it (still common amongst people dealing with mental health challenges), and the wisdom (mostly lack thereof) of the times. Well done!

Bonus points for Preston, btw!

Date: 2017-06-27 03:32 pm (UTC)
monkiainen: (218)
From: [personal profile] monkiainen
Well thank you :) I actually do research before putting things to my fics, because I want them to be as accurate as possible. Hence the Preston reference (and somehow it makes me happy someone even noticed it, because I wasn't sure anyone else would catch it!)

Date: 2017-06-16 06:14 pm (UTC)
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
From: [personal profile] sanguinity
Oh, what a lovely ending. I can so easily imagine Burke there, observing and deducing, offering but not pushing, ready for the moment that he's invited to help.

And Holmes is a very wise man to take him up on it.

Date: 2017-06-23 04:40 am (UTC)
pipmer1: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pipmer1
My heart hurt so much for Holmes, especially at that last heart-felt 'please'. And Watson is so loyal and understanding.

Date: 2017-06-26 04:15 am (UTC)
shinychimera: Shiny Chimera (Default)
From: [personal profile] shinychimera
Short, sweet, and gorgeous! So much that is clear to the modern reader, but murky to Holmes (through the ignorance of the times and through deliberate choice not to observe himself closely enough): "And the blasted sound of the countless carriages under his window didn't help, either. Why they had to be so noisy? It had been so much quieter in the countryside – no loud, unexpected sounds that made him twitch just a bit. They were just carriages, Holmes reminded himself, even if his heart was pounding like mad in his chest."

And that simple, perfect "Please" at the end just wrapped my heart up in a bow. Well done!

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