missp2010 (missp2010) wrote,

Sherlock fanfic: A Poor Man's Cocaine

Title: A Poor Man's Cocaine.
Author: missp2010
Rating: R
Characters: Sherlock, Mycroft, Lestrade, John.
Warnings: Drug use, mildly distressing situations.
Summary: Sherlock spends most nights on the roof of 221b. This story is basically going through all the events that led up to Sherlock sharing a flat with John. Includes his cocaine use, how he got into working with the police and even where his coat came from. It switches between the past (his flashbacks) and the present (him lying on the roof) It will be quite clear. Enjoy!


There was something peaceful in that moon. A quietness his mind had never known for the buzz buzz buzz of thoughts was ceaseless.
He stretched out on the ground and looked up so he could pretend the whole world was sky. Nothing but.

His breath came in smoky plumes and he heard the ticking of his watch, usually silent in the busy streets of London, but not now. Now it was all he could hear.

He spent most nights up there, on the roof of their building, when the living room floor could take no more of his pacing. He could imagine it catching light under the friction of his feet some nights, engulfing the whole flat in flames.
Silly thought. Really. But John might sleep better without Sherlock's footsteps tapping in his ears. It was enough that he had to fight the ever present soldier in him just for a good night's sleep without Sherlock adding to the problem.

No. The roof was better.
It was too cold to pace. The low temperature slowed the whirr of his thoughts until his whole head felt like it was full of treacle.
It was the poor man's cocaine.

A weak substitute for the real thing.
Yes, he'd left it behind years ago, but it didn't mean he didn't still need it. Craved it until his skin itched from the inside.
An ordinary man would have given in after only a few weeks at best. Willingly dragged themselves back to the gutter to lie with fellow lost causes and watch the stars go wild.

But Sherlock. As disgustingly human as it was, couldn't escape his pride. He was fully independent as far as the world knew. And ever would know.
That solitude suited him like a pig in shit. And no person, object or substance was necessary for his existence. Mind was all that mattered. Everything else was transport.

So when Mycroft had found him with the needle still jammed in his vein passed out in an ice cold bath he had to prove to him that he didn't need it.
That he'd just tried it for a change. That being alive so utterly bored him he would try anything once to make it that little bit more interesting. Even if it involved death.

Of course his brother hadn't fallen for it. Hadn't believed him when he said it was only that once and that there was no point in doing it again because guess what? He was still bored.

What a terrible liar he had been. And the cocaine had only lowered his inhibitions so he sounded no better than the babbling idiots he scoffed at in the present day.

In truth he had been on it for years on and off. Started out as an experiment. His own body the subject. Paid attention to his heart rate, the dilation of his pupils, how the room span around accompanied by that eternal sensation of falling.

A few months later he tried it again. Because he'd forgotten. Because after the first time the world seemed a little greyer without it. He knew what he was missing.
He upped the dosage and flew.

A year or so and a few more 'experiments' down the line he decided that powder was too messy. The bridge of his nose might collapse. His nostrils permanently flared. It was too obvious.

So he started new experiments. Various amounts of the substance dissolved in water to give different concentrations. Injected straight into his veins.
2% had no effect at all
20% had made him sick on the bathroom floor.
He carried on this way for days (or was it weeks?) until he reached an optimum concentration.
Enough to make his world dance but keep his brain quiet on long winter nights.
A 7% solution.

He made it in copious amounts, filling vial after vial and storing it in his fridge. Hidden in an opaque white plastic bottle that once contained milk. Shoved right at the back.

He in fact had started grocery shopping for the first time in his life just so it fit in more.
This single carton of 'milk'. Hidden among eggs and bread. Each of which eventually went rotten and moldy as they sat untouched. Bought with no intention of consumption.

This was all in case of any eventualities and that fridge was opened by someone other than himself.

Maybe it was the cocaine that had made him so paranoid. For the vials looked no more harmless than water. But he couldn't risk anyone finding out.
Finding that Sherlock Holmes was reliant on something other than himself.

The night that Mycroft found him, he had been late to meet him.
What a stupid bastard he had been. Mycroft was concerned. He had called him from Switzerland, where he had been staying at the time. Asked him to join him for dinner, catch up as soon as he got back to London. He'd wanted to see what his little brother had going on in his life since graduating from university two years earlier than most.

Of course Sherlock had grudgingly agreed. He didn't want his brother of all people to discover how he really spent his days.
Told himself weeks in advance that no needle would touch his vein prior to the dinner. He needed to be himself. Himself as his brother knew and expected him to be.

A week before the dinner he told himself no.
Was stilling telling himself no as he wiped the blood from his arm where the needle had punctured his skin.

Told himself the same 3 days later as he felt a shiver collect at the base of his skull and heard the needle clatter to the ground.

Back then Mycroft did not occupy a 'minor position in the British Government', so did not watch Sherlock's every move. He hadn't the means to.
But that was all Sherlock could say. For, thanks to the cocaine, he had had no idea what time of day it was, let alone what exactly his brother did for a living back then. It was irrelevant to him.
All he knew, or cared to know, was that it was something that afforded Mycroft a lot of suits. And cars with darkly tinted windows.

Much the same as in the present day. Except the cars (and the suits) were now a little bigger.

An icy wind whipped across Sherlock's face as he lay on the roof of 221B Baker St. and he bristled as he pictured the events of that night.
And although Mycroft had had to fill in most of the blanks, it was all vivid in his mind as if he'd actually been conscious to bear witness to it.


On the morning of the dinner, Mycroft had informed Sherlock he'd send a car for him and, despite Sherlock's protests, Mycroft had gotten his way. He told Sherlock to expect it at 6pm.

But at 6:37pm there was no sign of him and a frustrated chauffeur had returned to Mycroft much the same as he had left.

At 7:30pm Mycroft himself had arrived at Montague St. Suited up, with a black glove on each hand, and rapped on the door when he found the doorbell to be broken.

By 7:35pm he had picked the lock (the same way he had taught Sherlock to when they were children) and started making his way through the rooms of the ground floor flat in search of his brother.

At 7:37pm he had searched every room of the tiny, unkempt flat, and had no inkling of his brother's dangerous addiction when he reached the bathroom door.

At 7:38pm the handle had been turned and the door swung open and a chill ran through Mycroft's body as he presumed this man in the bath to be dead. A shadow of the brilliant mind that he had known his brother to be.

At 7:40pm Mycroft found a pulse and heaved Sherlock out of the bath, soaking his Savile Row suit in stagnant water as the syringe fell from his little brother's arm and onto the bathroom floor.

The ambulance arrived by 7:53pm and Sherlock still had not regained consciousness. Mycroft placed the syringe on the lid of the toilet for the paramedics to take with them and, as he joined his brother in the ambulance, disregarding his private car, he felt, for the first time in his life, defeated by the actions of his younger sibling.


Later on. Recovering at the hospital, needles in his veins for entirely different reasons. That was when Sherlock tried to convince a skeptical Mycroft that it had been a one off. An experiment gone wrong. One pitying look from his brother was all it took for his pride to finally take hold and he went cold turkey, eventually coming home to find the bottle of milk empty of all vials.
Mycroft knew him too well. It had taken him only 20 minutes of searching before he found it all. Draining them of their contents into the kitchen sink.
The sachets of powder were also gone, removed from the slots in the unused toaster. Washed away with the contents of the vials.
Sherlock was at a loss.

That night he started to pace.

Sherlock heard a siren in the distance and was dragged out of his stupor. He turned his head to the left and lay like that, staring at the 2 foot wall that surrounded him on that roof. He saw flashes of red and blue bouncing off buildings in the distance as the noise receded to nothing and his world was silent again.

He breathed in sharply and coughed when the icy air felt like swallowing razorblades. He was wearing nothing but a shirt and the trousers he had put on that morning. His coat and scarf still hung on the back of the door to his flat.

His and John's flat.

Their flat. Both of theirs.

He gently sighed and remembered the first time he'd seen those red and blue lights up close. When he stumbled into the life he knew now.


Three months. Three months he had gone without so much as paracetamol in his system let alone cocaine.
Three months he had spent night after night awake. Pacing the floor of his tiny living room.

He had entered new realms of boredom he had never dreamed of. Even breathing became mundane.

Soon the living room was too small, too tight a space to pace, and he became claustrophobic. Walking from wall to wall took a matter of seconds and he was sure he'd lose his mind.

So, one ordinary night, at two in the morning, he grabbed his coat from behind the door (the Belstaff coat that Mycroft had given him when he came out of the hospital. Apparently it was an occasion worthy of a present) and walked out of the door of number 20 Montague Street and kept on going.

He didn't know where he was going. He just needed to walk. To know there was a world bigger than the four walls of his flat.
A place where he could pace to his hearts content.

He walked for an hour, past the drunk and the homeless. Past the darkened buildings, triggering security lights as he went, causing curtains to twitch as little old ladies imagined a masked thief was shuffling up their drainpipes. Coming to steal their fine china.

He walked for two hours, past graffiti and little boys on bikes, masquerading as men with their cigarettes and their beer and raucous laughter.

He walked until he found the lights. The flashing lights in that near deserted car park. They called to him, pulled him in, red and blue, red and blue.

He walked past the tape, into the bustle of fluorescent coats and funny hats. He walked until he just saw.

He saw what they couldn't see. He saw more than just blood spatter on the lamppost and a broken bottle by the drain.

He joined the dots until he created a picture so intricate and flawless it put Da Vinci himself to shame. Spoke his mind to whoever would listen.
Showed them up. Watched their faces contort as their silly little brains tried to handle the information he was doling out.

A man they called Lestrade, he was the first to confront him. To ask him how he knew all this.
He wouldn't say.
So they cuffed him and he spent the night in a cell. Long enough for them to realise that he wasn't the murderer. And that he might be more help than hindrance.

So they let him go. Sat him in the evidence room to see what he could see.

They caught the culprit that next night. Just a 19 year old boy who couldn't handle being dumped. So he slit his girlfriend's throat ear to ear in that desolate car park with his eighth bottle of beer.

They applauded Sherlock, marvelled at his brilliance, while he sat, bewildered by the experience.

That night he didn't pace. He slept.

Sherlock couldn't help but let his mouth twitch into a brief smile at this memory. The first time he felt what others would describe as elation.

Not because he had done good in the world.
But because he had had an audience. An audience to his genius.

That was what those lights represented to him. The first time he felt 'not bored'.

It came in waves after that first night. They called him in as much as they could, working on smaller cases at first to make sure it wasn't a fluke, then bringing him bigger and bigger cases as they sat by and watched the show.

He remembered how his scalp tingled and for the first time he let the thoughts in his head race.
Because, for the first time, he could.
No need to slow them down. They were being put to good use, not just running round and round in his mind and driving him crazy.

For nearly a year afterwards he barely thought of the drug that had held him like a vice for so long. He surprised even himself with this revelation.

He was just working working working. Always on the go. And when he paced he paced with purpose. Not helplessness.

He was flying.

Sherlock turned his head to face the sky again and felt the gravel scrape the back of his skull as he did so. He'd been lying on that roof for nearly an hour. His body was numb from the cold. But his mind was spewing out the memories and he wasn't prepared to stop them.

Not yet. It was still dark. John wouldn't know he was gone. No rush.

He squinted as yet another wind blew, freezing cold and straight into his face, like acid in his eyes. A few tears escaped from the irritation and left cool tracks down his cheeks as they dried.

More memories entered his head and he closed his eyes as he let himself drown in his thoughts.

He remembered when Head Office found out about him. Eventually. Took them a year and a half to cotton on. They weren't happy. Even with all the miracles Sherlock had performed for the metropolitan police he was still a civilian and wasn't allowed on crime scenes.
Sherlock knew they were just afraid of being shown up.
That there would be a public outcry. That Sherlock's very existence proved just how useless the police force were. So the flow of cases dried up.

If Lestrade contacted him he risked suspension, so he stayed away.
For months afterwards, Sherlock watched the news, read the papers, put together his own little case files, conducted unofficial interviews with suspects, called Scotland Yard and tried to tell them what he knew.
At first they humoured him, listening for 5, maybe 10 minutes.
Eventually they just hung up when they heard his voice.

No one wanted to risk getting in trouble, even if it meant catching murderers and rapists and all kinds of terrible people.
At the end of the day it was just a job they had to keep to make the money they needed to survive. They didn't care enough.

As the curtain fell and his audience slowly dispersed, Sherlock felt himself slipping. He started thinking about that thing he really shouldn't have been thinking about. The only thing that would make him feel fine.
He had let the thoughts flow freely for the cases, but now his mind was working at warp speed noticing every little thing, and for what? The thoughts went nowhere. Just around in his head. Faster than ever. Boring a hole in his skull.

He knew it wouldn't be long before his fridge was full of little vials again.
And Mycroft's intervention just wouldn't be enough the second time around. Sherlock would know how to get around him now.
He tried hard not to fall back into old ways. He had some sense of morality. At least he told himself he did. That it wasn't just leftover pride from the last time.

It wasn't a conscious decision to make more solution. It just. Happened.
One minute he was sitting, staring at the blank screen on the t.v.
The next minute he was filling beakers and test tubes, getting that 7% solution he knew so well.
What happened in between was a blank. He had deleted it from his mind. It was irrelevant. All that mattered was the job at hand.
He just wanted to fly.

Sherlock could still remember the knock on the door. 3 sharp taps.
Nothing ever shocked him, yet this had made him jump so hard he'd tipped a beaker over the kitchen table.
He must have stood there a while, not answering, for a voice floated through the letterbox, tentatively calling his name.

It was Lestrade. Knocking on his door at 9 o'clock at night. Sherlock calmly cleared away all evidence of what he had been doing into the far reaches of kitchen cupboards and drawers, before opening the door and walking away, back into his flat, before Lestrade even had the chance to say 'Good evening'.

Sherlock sat on an armchair, one that had clearly seen better days, perched, with his backside on the backrest and feet on the cushion, fingers tented under his chin, ready to pounce.

He knew Lestrade had given in. Finally found a case that no amount of overtime or fine toothed combs could produce new leads for. Sherlock could barely stifle his smug smile as he sat, waiting for the plea.

Sherlock could still remember every word exactly, for his mind had been racing, absorbing every detail all over again, just at the whiff of a case. A real case.
Like Pavlov's dogs drooled at the sound of that bell, Sherlock's mind switched into overdrive at the sight of Lestrade.

'Sherlock' he had said
'I'm breaking every rule just by being here..you've got to understand that.'
Sherlock had said nothing. But the silence that passed between them was enough to let Lestrade know that he understood.

Lestrade had then proceeded to lay down every last bit of evidence he could remove from the office without it going amiss.
Within seconds Sherlock was on it, rifling through papers and scribbling notes, all the while muttering like a madman, ideas and possibilities flooding into his head so quickly it made him spin. Like standing up too fast.
A rush of blood to the head.

They'd spent hours that night, working, talking. Sherlock never lost momentum.
Lestrade had finally left at 4 in the morning with new leads.
Leads that meant yet another criminal was caught and the case was closed. Thanks to Sherlock.

The new vials Sherlock had made before Lestrade came knocking went untouched, forgotten in the back of a cupboard what with the thrill of a new case after all those months.
Sherlock could feel his audience gathering once again. Yes. It consisted of only one man. But that was better than no one.

The applause of one person was enough to stop him falling into the abyss.

After that the flow of cases increased to a steady drip. Not as much as there had been right at the beginning, but better than in recent months.
There wasn't enough work to take his mind off cocaine completely, but enough to stop him crossing the line and drawing that solution into syringes.

Lestrade was taking a risk by bringing him back on cases, hence it was only the really difficult cases that were brought to his attention, when he was desperately needed.

Still. The papers piled up. Evidence box after evidence box. And the small flat only grew smaller. Every wall covered with notes and pictures.
Even Sherlock had trouble making sense of anything in that mess.
An ordinary man would have cleared it out.
Sherlock decided to move.

The only problem was, he couldn't afford a bigger flat. Not by himself. Even with the favour he'd called in with Mrs Hudson, (a woman he'd helped on a case during his rogue months), on a flat in London, the money was still too much.

It was Mike Stamford, a 'sort of' colleague, who'd suggested that Sherlock should get a flatmate to split the cost. (a 'sort of' colleague due to the fact that Sherlock really didn't have the authorisation to use the facilities at Bart's. Of course this didn't stop him.)

He'd told Sherlock to see if any of his friends were also looking for a place so he could share with them.

Sherlock tried not to let the fact that he didn't have any 'friends' to ask bother him too much, and politely thanked Mike for the advice.

4 hours and 21 minutes later Mike came in with a man.
He was short in stature, had hair the colour of dishwater and limped in a way that let Sherlock know he'd been in the wars.
Sherlock saw an opportunity and immediately set to work on this man before he'd even learned his name.

Tanned face. No tan above the wrists. Limp.... pretty bad when walking but doesn't ask for a chair when he stands. Psychosomatic.
Psychosomatic limp. Must have a therapist.

He had him figured out in a matter of seconds and made sure he knew about it. .
For Sherlock had decided, from the moment he walked into the room, that John Watson would be another person in his audience.
Someone to stun with his genius. His brilliant powers of deduction.
All this and more crossed Sherlock's mind as he rattled off his name and walked out of that lab, without so much as a glance behind him,
never even realising,

that John Watson would be all the audience he'd ever need.

Sherlock's eyes flew open and he jumped to his feet, throwing off the alley cat that had just pounced on his chest, sending it reeling across the rooftop and down the fire escape, yowling as it went.

His tired eyes blinked slowly as he surveyed his surroundings and smoothed down his shirt, his heartbeat still racing from the fright of the cat.

It was light. The sun had peeped over the horizon at some point during the night and the sunlight was now hurting his eyes.

He realised he'd fallen asleep and the last thing he could remember was slipping into a sort of dream. A dream about the time he met John.

He stifled a yawn and stretched his arms. His head still felt full of treacle and his muscles ached with the cold. This one night had felt like a lifetime.

The cogs in his mind were still turning slowly for this time of day. Whatever time of day it was. 

He checked his watch and was mildly relieved to see that it was 5am. John would still be asleep. 

He could get back in and John would be none the wiser.

After a quick survey of his surroundings, he went the way the cat had gone and headed down the fire escape, muscles complaining with every motion he made.

After unlocking the door, he quietly made his way up the stairs to 221b and back through the door of the flat he had left through so silently at 11pm the night before.

Everything was just as he had left it.

He dropped down onto the sofa. His body as exhausted as his mind from the events of the night.
Too many memories all at once. Far too many. Ones that couldn't be deleted as much as he tried.
Ones he didn't want deleted.
He closed his eyes once again, appreciating the softness of the cushions after a night spent on the concrete of the rooftop and relaxed as much as a high functioning sociopath could at 5 in the morning.
'Where the bloody hell have you been?!'
Sherlock knew this voice too well to jump at the sound of it. Instead he smiled a small smile to himself and said nothing, keeping his eyes closed.
He heard footsteps make their way from the kitchen towards him until he felt the form of a person standing over him.
He opened his eyes, his expression neutral.
'Sorry?' Sherlock looked at the ceiling, pretending to have not heard the question, avoiding John's gaze.
John sighed and sat down on the table, on top of the layers upon layers of coffee stained notes and various pieces of paper.
'Never mind'. John's shoulders sagged as he sat staring at the back of the sofa as if in a trance.
He looked tired.
Sherlock felt a pang of something in his stomach as he looked at John's face and managed to stop himself asking the question that immediately popped into his mind. The simple question that he had never had the urge to ask anyone before. At least not with sincerity. Three simple words. .'Are you alright?'....
Instead he went back to staring at the ceiling, barely aware of the fact he was biting his tongue, he'd done it so many times.

no person, object or substance is necessary. Mind is all that matters. 

He suddenly heard those three words said out loud and jumped thinking he'd spoken without meaning to.
But it was John asking him

'Are you alright?' 

Sherlock met John's eyes and found that there was a look of genuine concern on his face.
Sherlock softened.

'I'm fine'. He replied quietly, looking away from John.

A minute of silence passed between them before John managed a



'Cup of tea?'

Suddenly Sherlock couldn't help but smile as the tension melted away with those three, even simpler, words.

'Please.' he replied with a laugh, as John, confused by Sherlock's sudden change in mood, padded off to the kitchen, a nervous smile playing on his lips.

Sherlock sat up. He watched John's back as he filled the kettle from the sink. Making tea.
As natural as breathing to John Watson, Sherlock thought. And again he couldn't help but smile.

Sherlock got up and went over to stand by the sink as John switched the kettle on.

John tensed as he felt eyes on his back, and slowly turned to look at Sherlock

'What?' He asked, eyebrows furrowed. Mildly confused at his friend's odder than usual behaviour.

Sherlock just stared

John stared back.

'What! What is it?' John tried again.

Sherlock thought for a minute

'Any milk left?'

'Yeah. Loads. You bought some just yest...what IS the matter with you today?'

John shook his head, exasperated, then suddenly burst out laughing at the strangeness of the situation.

'You're mad.'  John continued.

'I know.'

'That wasn't a compliment.'

'I know.'

John laughed again.
Sherlock failed to suppress yet another smile.

John shook his head once again and turned to get the tea bags out of the cupboard.
Sherlock watched him for a few moments, before heading to the fridge to get the milk out.

He opened the door and part of him was startled to see fresh eggs, and bread that was actually being used.

He picked up the milk and cautiously took the lid off, breathing a silent sigh of relief when he found no vials. Just milk.


Sherlock turned around suddenly, sloshing milk all over the kitchen floor.

John was standing behind him, forehead creased as a smile appeared at the corners of his mouth

'What have you done to the milk?' John asked, amused.


'Right...' John replied, skeptically

'Nothing my arse...' He continued, still smiling.
'I'll just pop to the shop and pick up some more. Lucky they're open 24 hours. Tea's brewing in the pot' 
With that, he grabbed his coat and shoes and headed out the door.
Sherlock's face was blank. Then mild confusion crossed his features as he realised he was still standing in the middle of the kitchen holding a half empty carton of milk, and wondered what on earth had happened.

Sherlock set the milk down and made his way over to the front room windows just in time to see John's back receding into the distance, walking with a determined little strut, so different from the gait of the man he met only a few months before, reliant on a cane just to make it up a flight of stairs.

As he stood and watched his friend, Sherlock felt a strange shiver in the base of his skull and closed his eyes against the sensation, breathing in as he did so.


John Watson was all the audience he'd ever need.


RIGHT. That was the longest fic I've ever written. All of my fics are usually very abstract and are basically glorified poems. I really gave it my all to make a story kind of story.
So please leave comments. Don't be too mean! Haha thank you for reading!

Tags: sherlock: fanfictions
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