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sherlock

The Healer - (2/?)

Note the change in the author's note. I have decided when this story is taking place. It is almost exactly 100 years prior to Doyle's original stories, sometime after the American Revolution.

E-Mail: diandrahollman@gmail.com
Website: http://diandrahollman.neocities.org
Rating: R for now, NC-17 for later, hopefully
Keywords: AU, John/Sherlock, past John/Mary, John is a widower, Baby Watson, hurt/comfort, magic!John, healer!John, evil!Moriarty, hurt Sherlock, torture, mentions of rape, captivity, emotional blackmail, suggestions of period homophobia, switching POV (Sherlock and John)
Spoilers: What are those again?
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Arthur Conan Doyle, specific iterations of them belong to the BBC and the "Sherlock" team. The plot is based on my memory of a romance novel I read years ago but can't seem to find now. If anyone recognizes it, let me know so I can give proper credit.
Summary: Sherlock is being held captive by the sadistic Lord Moriarty. John, an Empath, is Lord Moriarty's personal physician (and, effectively, also a captive). When they meet, they might just find the courage to break each other out.
Dedication: To my friends and this lovely fandom for all of their encouragement and support.
Author's Notes: I have never written a historical story before, so forgive my clumsiness. This story takes place in the late 1700s in a sort of alternate universe where some people have magical powers, but still have to live in secret to avoid being accused of witchcraft.

Previous chapters here


The second time the healer was called for, I had a mere blindfold instead of a hood. The gag had likewise been removed. I knew at least part of the reason for this was the fact that the healer needed access to my face, which I could only imagine was swollen and bruised beyond all recognition. I was not granted reprieve from the shackles, however, even though my broken arm throbbed agonizingly. I didn't dare pull against the restraints this time.

The healer did not bother to ask the guard for any mercies. He did not even object to the presence of the guard - who had no doubt been instructed to remain in the cell in case I attempted to speak.

The healer knelt beside me and gently brushed a lock of blood-matted hair from my forehead with one hand, wordlessly cupping my jaw with the other. I gasped as the swelling immediately reduced, the pain in my jaw receding.

The healer made a noise like a hiss and the hand on my jaw disappeared. "Can you tell me where it hurts," he asked gently.

"No talking," the guard barked before I could answer.

The healer huffed in displeasure. "I can treat him more easily if I don't have to guess where he is injured," he argued.

The guard said nothing. From the long silence that preceded the healer's sigh of resignation I could assume it was clear he would not be deviating from his orders.

"Right. Simple yes or no then?"

The guard grunted before I could hazard a guess which of us he was speaking to.

The hands cradled my face again, feeling for damage. "Does your head pain you?"

"N...no," I answered hesitantly, not fully trusting the guard to allow me this.

"Dizziness?"

"No," I said a bit more confidently.

His fingers trailed down my neck. "Does it hurt to breathe?"

"Yes."

He laid his palms gently just beneath my collarbone and brushed downward. He didn't apply any pressure, but I couldn't suppress a whimper when he found the spot where my ribs were no doubt broken. The whimper turned to a cry as the pain flared red-hot and I thought I could feel my bones shift beneath the skin. I wasn't quite far gone enough to miss the healer's groan, nor the breathless quality of his voice as he encouraged me to breathe and relax while the pain receded. I welcomed the distraction and turned my focus on him as he laid his hands on my bruised abdomen. The pain there was minor by comparison, but I felt the sharp bite of it as it was banished by the healer's strange magic. In the same moment it lifted, I heard him hiss as one stifling a more overt acknowledgement of distress.

"I know your arm pains you, but do you have any other injuries?"

His hands remained on my abdomen as he spoke and I found I was loathe to answer and give him cause to remove them. I greedily indulged in the warmth of the gentle touch, marveling at the strange, faint spark of desire I could feel beneath the still-present discomfort. I knew it was irrational - my body simply craving a touch that brought pleasure instead of mere relief from torment - but I couldn't help *wanting* it.

The guard made an impatient noise, startling me with the reminder of his presence. "No," I answered.

I concentrated on the healer as he transferred his soothing touch to my damaged right arm, wrapping careful fingers around the limb on either side of the break. I felt a warmth emanate from the places he touched before the white hot, wrenching agony of my bones realigning commanded my attention. I shouted as it overwhelmed me.

This time, however, I was focused enough as my clarity returned to catch the healer's pained groan. I turned my focus toward him, noting how the grip of his right hand had become significantly weaker than his left - odd, as the opposite had been true before. He was taking deliberate breaths that trembled slightly on each exhale.

He wasn't just erasing the pain of my injuries, I realized. He was somehow taking it onto himself.

The discovery both horrified and humbled me. I felt guilty for craving his touch, knowing that my pleasure came only at the consequence of his suffering. But he chose to use this incredible gift this way...didn't he? Was he treating me for the same reason any healer cared for the wounded? A calling to ease the suffering of fellow human beings? Or did Lord Moriarty hold some sway over him? Was he just as much a prisoner as I was? Was this a particularly cruel way in which Lord Moriarty was torturing him?

His hands lingered again as he recovered, thumbs making small circles on the tender skin of my inner arm, sending tiny shivers through me.

I thought I felt his fingers brush my cheek before I heard him reach for his cane.

"Thank you," I whispered.

I knew by his hesitation as he stood that he'd heard me, even if he didn't respond.

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February 2017

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