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Title: Dimensions
Author: [info]ciaranbochna 
Sherlock, Mycroft
Disclaimer: I own neither the characters nor the world.
Length: 1000 words 
Rating:  R
Warnings: This is dark, and has triggers for death of a family member, childhood trauma, and claustrophobia, as well as allusions to suicide. Please avoid if any of these things are triggers.
A/N: Not beta'd since I didn't feel comfortable with anyone else reading it, sorry.  Vaguely based on a comment someone made to me long ago. This one left me a little haunted, so I am grateful (and stunned) as always if you read.




He only wanted to make sure it was comfortable. Mycroft was distracted speaking to Aunt Felicity. He hadn’t noticed Sherlock duck beneath the side table. Sherlock waited until it was clear and rushed down the hall.

The viewing room was empty. He could hear everyone talking in low voices back in the library. Sherlock couldn’t stand it. The library was his, and they were invading. Father would let him read there if he stayed silent. He tried, but sometimes the fire in his skull overwhelmed him and then…there was the tunnel in the garden.


He had hollowed his cave himself under the rock wall behind the oak tree. He had even fashioned a door over the hole, and covered it with leaves to hide it. No one would miss the wood from the shed—perhaps the gardener, but it was hardly relevant.


Now Sherlock needed a stool. He was never tall enough for everything he needed. He asked Mycroft if he could have a rack to stretch himself once. He was told that he should keep that wish “just between us.” Everything was too slow for him, too high; he was always “too young.” It was tedious and irritating, and it was driving him mad.

Sherlock dragged the chair as quietly as he could over to the cherry wood casket and pulled himself up next to it. He glanced behind, to see if he had shut the pocket door when he came in. It was fine.


It was close in his cave. Sherlock could touch the walls with his hands. The smell of earth, decay, the insects and spiders above him in the oak tree’s hanging roots; he could smile and close his eyes in the perfect shadows. He brought his microscope, lantern, Petri dishes, and all the chemicals he found in the kitchen and the gardener’s shed. He realized after the first experiment that the lack of airflow in the space would be detrimental to the data if he was unconscious and unable to write it down. Sherlock spent the next two weeks of his summer break digging vents up through the roots, and covering the holes with tarps when he wasn’t using them. He was certain Mycroft had followed him once, but had left Sherlock alone after one long cautionary stare. 


Sherlock cannot smell earth now, nor formaldehyde, or embalming fluid. His father’s expression was entirely wrong. Pulled out of shape. Sherlock pushed at the skin of his cheek—cold, like the cushioned silk lining of the casket. The skin is unyielding, not soft at all. Sherlock remembered that his father could smile sometimes, when Sherlock said something clever. He looked too peaceful now, drained. Father needed the frown lines, and the exasperation around his mouth. Annoyance, like when Sherlock had dissolved part of father's 16th century Persian carpet in the sitting room to prove to Mycroft that he could . Sherlock stared at the long fingers folded over his father’s chest. They were too clean. The ink stains from father’s Montblanc fountain pen were gone.  Father always pressed his fingers over the drying words rather than use a blotter. Midnight blue was his favourite colour of ink. Sherlock remembered the bridge-shaped glass bottle on the desk.

Sherlock stared into the casket and pressed his fingers against the silk-cushioned sides. Too soft. His father would hate it. Sherlock carefully pulled himself over the edge and settled against his father’s chest. He brushed fingers over the navy cashmere fabric of the suit under him. Father hated navy. It was all wrong. All too soft, neat.

Sherlock pushed his arms against the sides and stretched his legs down as far as he could. It was tight, compact, and would be dark if he could just close the lid. Sherlock stared at the open top. Maybe—


 “Go away.”

Mycroft sighed, his breath stuttering slightly.

Sherlock knew. It would be a scream to anyone else. He turned away and murmured into the awful jacket’s lapels. “Wrong.”

“It is.” Mycroft agreed.

“The ink is gone. It’s…” It feels claustrophobic inside Sherlock’s skull. His head is filled with needles and his eyes ache—he wants to rip them out. He struggled briefly as Mycroft pulled him out of the casket, and then goes limp against his brother’s neck.

“Too many people. Irrelevant. Make them leave.” Sherlock’s fingers burrow into Mycroft’s collarbones. It probably hurt, but he doesn’t care.

“Should we go to the garden?” Mycroft whispers.

Sherlock turned his head and looked up. “Cave.”

Mycroft carried him out through the conservatory, into the garden. The chatter fell away. The words stopped clawing behind Sherlock’s eyes. Mycroft lifted the wooden door and they descended into the earth.


2100 x 555. Steel doors, heater element and a temperature gauge embedded in the front of the drawer. Chromium-plated latches, 100mm thick polystyrene core. Six-tier cabinet with 1° C stable environment. It is hard, icy. Colder than the 24” by 79” cushioned cherry box, and not as cushioned.

He welcomes the numbness. He turns off his body’s triggers using Tibetan meditation techniques, and the small oxygen tank and mask beside him gives him enough air for three hours devoid of outside disturbance. He has modified the latch to be opened from the inside, although it can be easily removed if needed. He has an arrangement with this mortuary. No need to involve Molly, or anyone else. He reaches out to the sides of the metal tray, pushes his bare toes against the steel edge at his feet. He has lost almost all sensation of the tray below him now, but he tastes the steel in the air, and the moisture collecting on his mask. Sherlock crosses his hands on his chest and vanishes.



( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 5th, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC)
This makes sense to me.

“The ink is gone. It’s…” It feels claustrophobic inside Sherlock’s skull. His head is filled with needles and his eyes ache—he wants to rip them out. He struggled briefly as Mycroft pulled him out of the casket, and then goes limp against his brother’s neck.

yeah. . .
Apr. 6th, 2011 12:27 am (UTC)
Thank you. To me, grief is the narrow focus on little details.

Edited at 2011-04-06 12:50 am (UTC)
Apr. 5th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
Excellent. Dark but somehow comforting. I really enjoyed this.
Apr. 6th, 2011 12:45 am (UTC)
I am thrilled that you enjoyed it! I hoped that some of the comfort would come through, thank you:)
Apr. 5th, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC)
This is absolutely brilliant. I love your characterization of Sherlock and the final paragraph had me nearly shaking, wondering how much Sherlock was actually enjoying himself. I will certainly add this to my memories.
Apr. 6th, 2011 12:47 am (UTC)
Oh my..I..trying to collect myself here. I am so happy that it affected you that much! Thank you.
Apr. 5th, 2011 08:14 pm (UTC)
humm, like the head probing. Ending describes a perfect desolate feeling, quite in character
Apr. 6th, 2011 12:49 am (UTC)
Thank you, that was the tone I was trying to achieve:)
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 6th, 2011 03:24 pm (UTC)
Oh you never know who might be lurking;) I had John in it originally, but it didn't feel right in the end. It would be a bit of a shock to find Sherlock, oh yes..lol
Apr. 6th, 2011 05:43 am (UTC)
I think I'm feeling kind of claustrophobic now....

nicely done :)
Apr. 6th, 2011 03:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I am glad you liked, even if it is creepy:) As I said in email, it was a bit difficult to write.
Apr. 9th, 2011 03:05 am (UTC)
Wowwww. Yeah. Oh Sherlock.
Apr. 9th, 2011 05:37 am (UTC)
I know. It needed to be out of my brain though. I hope you are ok after reading that?
Apr. 9th, 2011 04:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm okay. I'm very glad you didn't post it in August, though.

ETA: Also, I recced it.

Edited at 2011-04-10 05:35 am (UTC)
Apr. 10th, 2011 07:53 am (UTC)
I will just never know what to say when you do that, and I should accept it..lol Thank you:)
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )