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Of Dubious and Questionable Memory - 4/?

I have decided that, for the sake of my sanity, I cannot acknowledge that much of season 4 happened. So with this story, let's assume it diverged from cannon sometime at the very beginning of "Six Thatchers", probably in the gap between Sherlock's return from "exile" and the baby being born (or maybe just after she's born).

E-Mail: diandrahollman@gmail.com
Website: http://diandrahollman.neocities.org
LJ: http://diandrahollman.livejournal.com
Rating: NC-17 for this chapter
Keywords: Sherlock/OMC, Tom Hiddleston fancast, unrequited John/Sherlock, drugs, slash, Sherlock POV
Spoilers: nothing past "His Last Vow"
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 takes place sometime after season 3.

All previous chapters here or on AO3



Henry insists on making me toast even though I'm not hungry. He also talks me into taking a pill he claims is a nootropic drug that he's hopeful will improve my memory. I doubt that's possible if my amnesia is as severe as it seems, but I take the pill anyway.

"I have a bee colony," I ask, looking up from my handwritten note as he sets a plate in front of me.

He nods at the jar on the table. "That's where you got the honey from."

I pick up the unmarked jar. Like Henry, it looks simultaneously familiar and wrong. I open it and scoop a little onto my finger to taste. It is real, fresh honey from a hive. But that would mean the hive is at least a year old. "How long have we lived here?"

"About two months. We moved in directly after our honeymoon on the continent." He pours two mugs of tea and settles at the table beside me with his own identical plate. "Why?"

I shrug. There's no use questioning him about it. He probably knows nothing about beekeeping. It's likely the hive came with the house. I can look into it later. I turn to the next page in the folder and my breath catches. It's a printout of an obituary.

Henry reaches for my hand, gripping tightly. Obviously he's done something like this before. Many times, no doubt.

"How," I ask, forcing my voice to stay level.

"He was in the car when you had your accident. He didn't make it to hospital."

He was driving. I remember that. Something hit us and then...nothing. I strain to recall more details about that night, but it's just blackness.

"I'm sorry," Henry says, pulling my focus back to our kitchen and his pained gaze.

"Was I at the funeral?"

Henry winces. "No. You were still very sick. I took you to visit his grave later."

I nod and slide my hand from his grasp, reaching for the folder again. I know I should be more affected by John's death, but it just doesn't seem real. None of this does.

I glance at the copy of the marriage certificate for Henry and William Peters - dated three months ago - and turn past it to find two articles written by Henry from a medical journal. I skim through the discussions on forms of amnesia and traditional treatments and read about the subject of his case study: me. He describes the trauma I suffered in the accident and how I came to him confused and paranoid - incapable of holding on to memories for more than an hour. He talks about various exercises, therapies and medications he tried, the ethics of working with a patient who cannot remember consenting to experimental treatments (necessitating recorded statements and the presence of a social worker) and all the progress and setbacks. The knowledge that I have made improvements since the onset of my condition is encouraging.

The last page is a note from Henry that ends with a ridiculously florid declaration of love.

"A bit dramatic, isn't it?"

He smiles and it strikes me how devastatingly charming he could be. "I know you think me a foolish schoolboy who will eventually get over this 'ridiculous infatuation' - as you once described it - but I do love you. More than I knew it was even possible to love anyone." He sets his fork on his mostly empty plate and reaches for my hand again. "You asked me yesterday why I married you, knowing your memory might never fully recover. I told you I couldn't bear the thought of not being with you. I don't care that I have to remind you of who I am every day. I love you. Truly and madly. I cannot imagine living without you by my side and I don't care to try."

Ridiculous and sentimental though it may be, he obviously genuinely believes the words he's saying. "Even if I am incapable of loving you even half as much as that?"

I half expect him to get angry, though I don't know why. He has shown nothing but remarkable tenderness and patience with me so far.

He smiles and kisses me. "I have to get to surgery," he says as he gathers his dishes and stands, finishing the last of his tea hurriedly and setting everything in the sink. "Your mobile is here, along with your laptop." He points to the counter where they are charging. "My number is in the contacts if you need to ring me." He fishes keys from the bowl. "I should be home around six."

"Mmm." I reach for the honey again, realizing I am, in fact, a bit hungry, and spoon some onto my toast.

He smiles as I take a bite and comes back to kiss the top of my head. The gesture is obviously habitual, but something about the careful precision of it makes me reach up to feel a spot near it, my fingers encountering scar tissue beneath the hair.

"I'm sorry, did I hurt you?"

I look up into his worried eyes. "No, I just...didn't notice that before."

He smiles and pulls my hand away gently, kissing my knuckles. Then he continues on his path out the door, calling "I love you" back to me one last time.

"Mmm-hmm," I mumble around a mouthful of toast.

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

221b looks just as it did when I last saw it. Only now, Moriarty is crouched beside the fireplace, poking at the still-smoking ashes that were clearly only recently a burning log.

"Thought I'd finally got rid of you," I grumble.

He chuckles. "Oh, Sherlock..." My stomach clenches uncomfortably. He stands and reaches for an ornate crown perched on the mantle. "Or is it William?" I catch his exaggerated frown in the mirror before he turns toward me. "Scott? What are you calling yourself these days?"

I clench my jaw.

"No matter," he continues, shrugging and placing the crown on his head, turning back to the mirror to adjust it. "You always say you want to be rid of me, but we both know that people like you *need* people like me."

"There are plenty of people like you in the world. You are not special."

He tsks and helps himself to my chair. "Come now, we both know that's not true or you wouldn't have given it all up to live in the country with Pretty Boy."

I struggle to hold back a sneer, though I'm not sure if it's his words or just his general presence that bother me.

"What is he again? Another GP?"

"Shut up."

"Tell me...when he's sucking your cock, do you sometimes look down and imagine it's really John's head bobbing between your legs?"

I am across the room before I am aware I'm moving, my fist connecting with his face so forcefully that the crown topples from his head, clattering noisily to the floorboards.

He lunges upright, tackling me to the floor, hands wrapping tightly around my wrists and pinning my arms above my head. I curse myself for not anticipating his attack, allowing him to get the upper hand.

"Oh, I missed this," he chortles as I struggle.

I grapple with him, half blind by rage, until I manage to reverse our positions. I look down into the face of the man I have trapped beneath me and freeze. The man isn't Moriarty anymore, even if he does have a similar mischievous grin on his face.

"If you wanted to be on top, you could have just asked, darling," Henry laughs.

I open my eyes and take a moment to reorientate myself. I am sitting on the floor of the sitting room, the laptop open in front of me.

"Well, that was interesting," I mutter to myself as I begin typing in my journal.

I had been hoping to find John in 221b so I could try to make sense of the baffling encounter I had previously recorded in my notes. It seems even in death, Moriarty is determined to thwart my plans.

I keep reading my notes, eagerly absorbing everything I've forgotten of the past months. It seems much of yesterday was spent fretting over how I wound up married to Henry and living - seemingly happily - in the suburbs of Liverpool. This seems to have stemmed mostly from an odd conversation with Molly in my mind palace wherein she insisted that this just wasn't like me. 'She's right,' I conclude. 'It isn't like Sherlock Holmes to move clear across England and change my entire identity to escape a past too painful to think about. But what I told her is also true: I am not Sherlock Holmes anymore. I am William Peters. I may not always recognize my husband, but I have plenty of data to suggest that he takes care of me with the patience of someone deeply and irrationally in love. Maybe one day I will be able to reciprocate.'

I am interrupted by my mobile ringing. I answer it without thinking to check the ID.

"Hullo, Will. It's Lillian," a woman's voice announces, awkwardly adding "your neighbor" when I don't respond.

"Oh...yes. Lillian Taylor, right?" This was the neighbor Henry claimed actually liked me. The one who *hadn't* punched me in the face over some mysterious disagreement.

"I'm sorry. I always forget about your condition."

"Mmm."

"You asked me to design a label for your honey. I finished the mock up. I can pop over for a bit to show you if you're not busy."

The prospect of engaging in idle chat with a suburban housewife is less than appealing, but the fact that I have spoken to her before - even asked her for favors - is intriguing. She could prove a valuable source of information.

"I'll put the kettle on."

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