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15 April 2012 @ 12:51 am
Do No Harm (2/3)  
Title: Do No Harm (2/3)
Author: joonscribble
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Summary: John runs into someone from his army days while out on a case with Sherlock.
Timeline: Set in between "The Blind Banker" and "The Great Game."
Rating: R for swearing later
Spoilers: Nothing in particular.
Disclaimer: All familiar characters originated from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and were then tweaked by Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss.
Author's Notes: Christ, it grew.

2010, London


It seemed Murray’s body recognized the voice before his brain had time to truly catch up. Before he could stop himself, Murray felt his right arm rise toward the start of a salute as his already straight posture went ramrod at attention. But even as his hand rose, he saw the recognizable figure of John Watson, now wearing unrecognizable civilian clothes approach with startling familiarity, almost waving down the official gesture.

“My god,” the older man exclaimed as he pushed his way past the line of constables. “It really is you.”

“Captain Watson. Sir.”

John nearly laughed at the succinct reply because brevity was exactly what he remembered best about Murray. Other than that this was the man who was responsible for him still being alive, of course. Despite the short greeting, there was a pleasantly surprised look on Murray’s face that was only tinged with some incredulity. Incredulity that John was pretty sure was on his face as well. After spending so many days seeing Murray in uniform, the sight of him in civilian clothes was like seeing a doppelganger.

“Look at you,” John greeted as he shook his hand warmly.

“And you, sir,” replied Murray. “I’d heard that you were back in London but…” he trailed off, looking mildly embarrassed.

“Last you heard I was contemplating life forever in a dull gray 8 by 10 standard issue veteran’s room?” supplied John with a wry look.

Murray smiled distractedly at that. “That was the rumor. All false, though, I see,” he stated as John pulled him a few steps away from the still gathered crowd.

“Are you here on leave?” he asked. Instead of answering, Murray only continued to stare at him with something akin to wonder. “Murray?”

“Sorry, sir,” Murray shook himself out of it. “I was remembering the last I saw you and…I’m so pleased to see you more than recovered. You look healthier than you ever did in Afghanistan.”

“In so small part thanks to you,” John replied fondly. “I never did get a chance to thank-“


The older man could see Murray’s eyes shift to something above and just past his right shoulder. John inwardly sighed but refused to let any anxieties creep in. Not right now when the day had been going so well.

“We’re wasting time!” Sherlock’s impatient voice stated, now much closer to John’s ear.

“Murray, this is Sherlock Holmes,” John introduced while half turning toward the now somewhat irate detective. “My flat mate.”

Murray looked vaguely confused by politely extended a hand. “Pleased to meet you, Mr. Holmes.”

“We are not meeting, we are not chatting,” Sherlock snapped, completely ignoring the offered hand which Murray retracted with as much grace as possible. “What we are doing is leaving to go two streets down to the winery to look at the antique lead-lined barrels they have on display.”

“Uhm…” It was clear they’d lost Murray around ‘chatting.’

“Hang on one second,” John pressed. “This is Robert Murray. He was my orderly back in Afghanistan. He saved my life.”

“Oh, well,” Murray reddened slightly as Sherlock consulted his watch.

“Wonderful. How lovely,” Sherlock stated with little enthusiasm and a disturbingly forced smile. “Enjoying your third day on leave, Corporal? Basking in the stimulating cold weathers of London in sharp contrast to the conditions in Kandahar?” he fired off. “I do hope you won’t take the lateness of your train from Milton Keynes as a sign of this great country you fought so hard for being in shabby conditions. An off incident, I assure you. Have I spent the average expected time chatting politely with a stranger?” He consulted his watch again. “Oh, look, yes I have now can we go?”

As expected, Murray gaped slightly at the torrent of information. John sighed audibly this time. “Still need to work on the polite bit,” he advised.

“If…if you’re in a hurry,” the younger man began.

“We are,” said Sherlock at the same time John asked “How long are you staying in town?”

“Back out tomorrow,” the detective answered, beating Murray to it.

John gave him a warning look before turning back to Murray. “Are you at the-“

“He’s staying at the Carriage Hotel,” Sherlock announced.

Murray now looked slightly frightened. “Sorry,” John apologized. “It’s this thing he can…never mind.” Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his ever present notepad and pencil. “Here’s my mobile number,” he said as he scribbled on and tore off a sheet. “If you have time later today, it’ll be nice to chat. Properly.” He threw Sherlock a glance at that to which the detective only rolled his eyes. “We can do coffee. That I know you drink. I’m guessing a pint is still out of the question for you.”

Murray grinned, taking the scrap of paper with a nod. “Still off drinks and cigarettes, I’m afraid, sir.”

“Tedious habits learned in prison, I’m sure,” Sherlock muttered, darkly. John frowned and turned to the detective fully since he’d come over. “Some dull garden variety offense. Whichever lands you five years,” Sherlock continued, blithely. “Assault, robbery, accidental manslaughter, 2nd degree murder with a-“

“Shut up, Sherlock!” John snapped, angrily.

The color had all but drained from Murray’s face, the piece of paper falling forgotten from his fingers as he processed what Sherlock had just deduced. “I…” His voice caught, nearly choking him.

“Murray,” John faltered at what to suddenly say in the face of his former orderly, the man who’d never once flinched at the sight of the most gruesome wounds now looking close to vomiting right there on the public street. “It’s not-“

“I should go,” Murray interrupted, his voice now uncomfortably loud, as if he could speak over his mortification. “I need to be getting back.”

“Murray, wait-“

“It was good to see you again, sir. Especially looking so well. Goodbye.” There was a painfully awkward beat where Murray looked again as if he was going to salute that turned into the start of a handshake before he abandoned the entire idea all together and turned to all but flee. Staring after him in shocked silence, John rapidly lost the hunched figure in the crowded street.

Shezanshezan on April 15th, 2012 05:47 am (UTC)
AAAAARGGGHHHH! That's too short!!!!
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on April 15th, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
Sorry about the length! If I waited longer to post at least this part it would have been in danger of becoming another unfinished story.
aelfgyfu_mead: Watson plotaelfgyfu_mead on April 15th, 2012 06:31 pm (UTC)
SHERLOCK! If there were other witnesses to this conversation, I think John could now beat Sherlock to death and call it justifiable homicide, and anyone there would back him up. What a terrible thing to do! Is Sherlock really that insensitive, or is he jealous of sharing John, especially when he has a case?

I feel so bad for Murray here!

I'm trusting that the next part is coming soon!
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on April 15th, 2012 09:08 pm (UTC)
I think being impatient about a case makes Sherlock (at least pre-series 2 Sherlock) just that much more obtuse about general decency.
The Writer They Call Tay: SHERLOCK: Sherlock shockawanderingbard on April 15th, 2012 09:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, Sherlock. It is so wrong that the ruder you are, the more I want to pat your cheeks and cuddle you. Seriously though, your Sherlock voice is great!

And Murray's salute is a really nice touch. I like the more affable, no longer in the army John's interaction with him, as opposed to what we saw in the first chapter and Murray's inability to handle the informality. And of course I want to know what Murray's story is. :D

One tiny error:

“In so small part thanks to you,”

I think it should be 'no small part'.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on April 15th, 2012 10:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Sherlock is fun to write even though I sort of cringe while doing so.
Astoundingly fond of avocados and rainy weather.: SPN_Gamechangerguardian_chaos on April 18th, 2012 05:22 am (UTC)
"Have I spent the average expected time chatting politely with a stranger?”

GSKLHKGLSHGLDKL. Eeeeee!! Can I express how incredibly fond of this phrase I am?? This should be on T-Shirts and bumper stickers. It's so perfect. gslkdhglkhsdl. *flails everywhere*

“He’s staying at the Carriage Hotel,” Sherlock announced.

Murray now looked slightly frightened.

The humor in this. Add Sherlock to this lovely reunion scene, and suddenly everything is funny. I feel quite badly for Murray! Ha! He's so prim and proper, and Sherlock's throwing him for such a loop.

My entire face winced when Sherlock blurted out Murray's prison history, which Murray clearly hadn't wanted revealed. I like how John takes it in stride, even though he is quick to snap at Sherlock for being rude. That's one of John's neater traits--that he judges people as he knows them now, not as their history seems to infer he should view them.

Oh gosh, this chapter ends so sadly. I wanted John and Murray to be able to have their coffee, and Sherlock ruined it! That man needs to be taught some manners. Delightfully in character all the way. I look forward to the next chapter. :)
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on April 18th, 2012 06:05 am (UTC)
That's one of John's neater traits--that he judges people as he knows them now, not as their history seems to infer he should view them.

This is true and I think largely of what makes John very forgiving in many ways.

Sadly, Murray is less of this philosophy, hence what you'll read about in the last section.

I wanted John and Murray to be able to have their coffee, and Sherlock ruined it!

John and Murray will have their coffee. Sort of. Well, they'll meet up again. Hopefully John will know to leave Sherlock at home.