Title: Paying the rent
Author: fanficwriter101
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Fandoms: Sherlock
Disclaimer: The characters from the show aren't mine, they belong to others. No copyright infringement intended. Any characters you don't recognize are mine. Feedback would be nice, positive feedback would be nicer. Enjoy!
Category: Sherlock (BBC 2010/12 version) Victorian/Edwardian era AU slash fic
Rating: R/Adults only
Characters: Ensemble
Series: No
Spoilers: None intended but anything from Seasons One and Two (including the unaired pilot) might get a mention.
Summary: Dr John Hamish Watson is in financial difficulty. He needs money. Sherlock and his older brother need company. Greg just drives them around.
Archive: Just tell me where it's going
Additional 'stuff': The place in Cleveland Street existed. The fic is set between 1890 and 1910. It's not meant to be a history of the time, just a fic set in that era.
I've dropped the 'new' characters in a *nearly* canon timeline. If you've seen the film 'Wilde' you may see some similarities to the plot and themes of this fic. If not, I don't think it will matter.
I haven't written any more chapters, much less the ending. Feedback rather than kudos is welcomed to influence the (as yet unwritten) future chapters.
**WARNING** Explicit scenes of slash and drug taking in this fic!! WiP


John had never imagined he would be avoiding his landlady but he found himself creeping out of the house where he lodged at six o'clock in the morning so he wouldn't have yet another awkward discussion about his rent.

Arriving at his consulting room, he looked around and decided, if things continued as badly as they were going, that he could live and work in the same place.


"Mycroft, let's stop..."

Mycroft sighed. His brother was so easily bored. Where he could lose himself in his work or a book, sitting still for hours, Sherlock was constantly moving, talking - even to himself - apparently thriving on sound where Mycroft enjoyed silence.

"A renter...oh, Sherlock, not tonight...we can go out..." Mycroft protested.

"I went with you to that...stuffy old building." Sherlock whinged.

"It's going to be wonderful when it's had a coat of paint. Harry and I are going to make the Diogenes *the* place for politicians and diplomats to come after a hard day sorting out the problems of the world. Such a pity he is not in good enough health to attend the opening night."

Sherlock huffed and the carriage continued on for a few more minutes in silence.

Eventually, Sherlock broke the uncomfortable silence. "Please...I really need to..." Sherlock didn't finish his sentence. He didn't have to. Mycroft understood him perfectly. And he knew he wouldn't get any peace until his brother's 'need' was satisfied.

John stood nervously at the edge of the group of younger men, most of whom evidently knew each other well, laughing and joking as they waited.

He still hadn't exactly decided what he was going to do if someone actually stopped and began rehearsing in his head a 'oh, no, I was just waiting to cross the road' speech if he changed his mind at the last minute. Looking down the group of *very much* younger men, he knew his chances of being mistaken for one of them were almost non-existent.

Sherlock grabbed Mycroft's umbrella and banged on the roof of the cab. "Stop here please!"

The cab lurched to a halt, the horse snorting crossly at being reined in so suddenly.

Sherlock's eyes scanned the group of familiar faces until it paused on a definitely unfamiliar one.

Mycroft followed his brother's gaze and sighed wearily. "No Sherlock...surely not that one."

Whether out of genuine interest or simply to spite his elder brother Sherlock opened the cab door. "May we offer you a lift home?"

John stared in surprise at the curly-haired man. It was obvious he wasn't alone in the cab. Although he couldn't see into the interior, he could see an umbrella and a pair of very shiny shoes. He had only a moment to make a decision. "Um...I live in Cheapside."

The young man smiled. "We don't."

John took a deep breath and climbed into the cab, aware of the muttering and crude comments which followed him. He was finally able to get a good look at the other occupant of the cab.

"I'm Sherlock. This is my brother Mycroft."

"Okay, um...I'm John...sorry, I suppose I should have a made-up name too but I can't think..."

The older of the two men sitting opposite him frowned. "Are you under the impression our names are fictitious?"

John felt his cheeks heating. "Um...no...of course not...sorry." The older man sat back and  John lapsed into an embarrassed silence.


Mrs Hudson was used to 'her boys' as she referred to Sherlock and Mycroft bringing home young men. After all, she hadn't made a fuss when, years earlier, they had bought Greg home. He alone had stayed more than one night. She cooked for, and tidied up after, whoever they invited to stay as 'visitors' as they were always described.

John looked around the impressive entrance hall. It was, as he had expected, very different from his rooms in the lodging house.


If John had been expecting to sleep with either of the brothers, he was to be disappointed. Mycroft sat in a well-worn wing chair and unfolded a blanket, spreading it out over his lap.


John turned round just enough to realize Greg hadn't been talking to him.

"Mmm." Mycroft nodded and smiled, leaning back. 


"No Sherlock!" Mycroft's angry voice echoed through the glasshouse as he attended to his needy orchids. Hours of each day they demanded his attention and they rewarded his devotion with a display which was the envy of all his friends.

"You're being unreasonable. Just because I've found someone..."

"You haven't FOUND anyone Sherlock! You get through renters like I get through handkerchiefs." Mycroft said, forcing himself to relax so as not to damage the delicate blooms under his fingers.

"John's different." Sherlock muttered stubbornly.

"He's certainly older." Mycroft said cruelly.

"And Greg's sooo young!" Sherlock shot back, pulling face. "Well, I don't care what you think. If I can't bring him here I'll go and see him in his rooms."

"You will not!" Mycroft said, dropping the scissors he had been holding and striding across to stand nose-to-nose with his brother. He didn't need reminding that Greg was older than even he was by some measure.

"Oh won't I?" Sherlock challenged.

Mycroft sighed, took a deep breath and calmed himself. "Sherlock, I want you to promise me you won't go to Cheapside in search of that man."

Sherlock smiled. "I promise. I won't go anywhere near John's lodgings brother dear."

"I have to go into work. Why don't you try and solve that equation you were working on over breakfast, hmm?" Mycroft encouraged gently.

Sherlock left the glass-walled room with a swirl of royal blue silk dressing gown.


Half an hour later Sherlock stood at his bedroom window while Mycroft left for London in a large black carriage.


Greg walked through the half-open door into Sherlock's room. "Yes Sherlock?"

"I'm feeling unwell. I think should consult a doctor."

Greg frowned and put his hand to Sherlock's forehead. "I'll send word to Doctor..."

Sherlock interrupted quickly. "No need to bother Mycroft's physician Gregory. I have an appointment with a doctor in Cheapside."

Greg sighed. "Sherlock, you promised Mycroft you wouldn't go anywhere near..."

"I believe I gave my word not to visit John's lodgings." Sherlock smiled innocently.

"Cheeky git. He's still gonna be cross with you, you do know that."

Sherlock untied his dressing gown. "I think I should bathe before seeing the doctor, don't you?"

Shaking his head in anticipation of Mycroft's reaction when he discovered Sherlock's duplicity, Greg walked into the bathroom and began to fill Sherlock's bath.


Cheapside...the same time

"Molly, I didn't think I had anyone else this morning. I can't read the name in the appointment book." John got up from his desk and wandered into the examination room where his assistant was washing out some glass beakers.

"Oh, I couldn't really read the handwriting but I had to write something."

"Mallness?" John tried to decipher his assistant's spidery handwriting.

"It looked like it might be." Molly said defensively.

Sighing John realised his morning tea and biscuits would have to wait. "Did you at least determine whether our next patient was male or female?" John asked wearily.

Molly felt her cheeks heating. "Definitely male."

John frowned and sighed inwardly as he observed the woman's reaction. "We are getting very low on clean sheets Molly. Would you take some to Mrs Collins and ask her if she has any of ours ready to be returned please." John ignored Molly's scowl as she left the room.


A short time later...Cheapside

John looked at the clock and sighed. A new patient was always welcome - he wasn't wealthy enough to turn away any patient - but he preferred those who at least owned a watch or could read the hands of a clock and arrived on time. Twenty minutes past ten and no sign of Mr Malness.

He headed into the small kitchen behind the examination room and put the kettle on to boil.
Being at the farthest point from the front door and assembling his tea and biscuits John didn't realize he wasn't alone until the knock on the door behind him startled him, spilling tea onto the floor as his hand jerked.

"I'm sorry, I didn't realize, Mr Mal..."

By the time John realised who had interrupted him, he was reduced to silence as he dabbed tea leaves and hot water off his shirt. "Mr Holmes...I'm afraid I have a patient..." Abandoning his tea, John ushered Sherlock into the examination room.

Sherlock nodded. "Yes. Me."

John frowned. "My assistant told me your name was..."

"My poor handwriting I'm afraid." Sherlock apologised. "My brother has always said even he has difficulty interpreting my scribblings."

"Are you unwell?"

Sherlock nodded, sighing theatrically, as he climbed onto the examination table. "I fear I may be."


The following morning...

John had only moments earlier turned the sign from 'Closed' to 'Open' on his consulting room front door when the door opened and Mycroft Holmes strode up to the young woman behind the desk in the hallway. "I wish to see Doctor Watson. Please tell him I'm here."

Molly stood up but before she could walk to the consulting room's closed door, John emerged. "Thank you Molly. I believe there are some instruments which require boiling. Would you see to them please?"

Huffing but not arguing, Molly walked away.

"Mr Holmes...are you unwell?"

Mycroft held his temper with difficulty, following John into his consulting room, standing while John closed the door and stood behind his large wooden desk. "My brother was here yesterday."

John nodded. "Yes."

"After I specifically forbade him from coming here."

"Forbade him?" John frowned.

"My brother is...of a...suggestible nature Doctor Watson. Whilst I was indulgent last week, I fail to see why he should continue to...visit you."

"Mr Holmes, I'm a qualified doctor who has served Queen and country and I have neither the..."

Mycroft put up a hand, silencing John. "Should my brother decide to visit you...here or elsewhere...I want your word you will send him away. Immediately. Is that understood?"

John stared at the elder Holmes. "I'm afraid I can't give you that assurance Mr Holmes. Your brother..."

Mycroft's face darkened. "I think you might find your occupation difficult to continue with no patients to pay your expenses Doctor."

"I assume you would find yours equally difficult if your true...nature were to be made public." John said calmly.

At that moment, the door flew open and Sherlock stood framed in it.

Both men already in the room turned in unison. "Sherlock?" "Mr Holmes?"

Sherlock scowled and strode into the room. "Has my brother threatened you John?"

"Yes." "No!" Again the two men's contradictory statements echoed around the room at the same moment.


A few days later - John's lodgings

John heard the commotion outside his room as he dressed ready for work. Moments later, someone banged hard on the door. "Dr Watson! Open up!"

John opened the door, tie in hand. "Yes?"

"I'm Billy. Mr Lestrade sent me. Come quickly!"

John tied his tie quickly. "Mr Lestrade?"

"He lives with Mr Holmes!" Billy tugged at John's sleeve impatiently.

"Greg?" John followed the young man out at a fast pace, flagging down a cab. "Oh...I don't know the address of..."

Billy pushed John into the cab and shouted the address to the driver above him.


A short time later - Holmes Mansion

John assessed the two brothers in moments. Sherlock was moving, trying to sit up, groaning and cursing softly. Mycroft, in contrast, was silent and still.

"Greg...help Sherlock." John commanded, pausing only long enough to ensure the grey-haired man was doing as he had been instructed.

John moved quickly to Mycroft's side, reaching for his wrist, feeling for a pulse. He held his breath as his fingers pressed more firmly on the flesh, finally feeling light-headed until his fingertips felt the faintest fluttering. Moments later, Mycroft's body shuddered and he let out a soft moan. "Lay still." John said firmly. "You're not to move until I've examined you."

He had no idea of Mycroft heard him or not as the man was very clearly barely semi-conscious as he ignored the slick blood splattered over Mycroft's face and neck. He gently palpated the facial bones, arms, torso and finally legs of the prone older Holmes, relieved to feel no obvious breaks, forcing himself to ignore Mycroft's pained moans as his hands pressed the shaking flesh. "It's all right. Don't try to talk. Can you stand?"

Mycroft swallowed, coughed a little then nodded. "Sherlock?"

"He's okay. Greg took him upstairs." John hooked his hand under Mycroft's elbow and helped him over to the chaise. "What the hell happened?"

Mycroft struggled against the blackness which threatened to overwhelm him and managed: "Three men...broke in...my orchids..."

John huffed as he heard the housekeeper's panicked voice. "Mrs Hudson!"

The woman's hands fluttered as she surveyed the ruins of dozens of flowers, finally seeing Mycroft's battered face. "Oh dear...what...oh dear."

"Hot water Mrs Hudson. And clean cloths. Several if you have them."

"Orchids...you got your face smacked in because you didn't want someone nicking your flowers?!" John shook his head in disbelief, regretting his incredulous tone when he saw Mycroft's sad expression. "Um...okay...right..." John was relieved Mrs Hudson returned at that moment, a steaming bowl of water in her hands, two linen cloths over her arm.

"Mrs Hudson...would you mind making some very sweet tea and taking it up to Sherlock please?" John said firmly, distracting the woman from doing nothing other than staring at Mycroft's bloodied and bruised face.

"Oh...no...of course not...the best thing for shock, hot, sweet tea." Mrs Hudson said distractedly, hurrying out.

John soaked the edge of one of the cloths in the water and began to wash the blood from Mycroft's temple and cheek. "It's not as bad as it looks." John said reassuringly.

"Thankfully my dear Doctor I am unable to observe my own appearance at this moment."

"Probably a good thing." John said with a smile. He palpated Mycroft's ribs and belly gently, pressing carefully. "I don't think anything's broken but that's going to hurt for a bit."

Mycroft huffed, recovering rapidly and both angry and embarrassed at his situation. He began to get up.

"Do NOT move." John said firmly. "You got a good bashing and you're staying put until Greg helps me get you into bed."

The two men stared at each other for a long moment before Mycroft gave in, looking sadly at the decimated ruins of his prized flower collection.

John followed Mycroft's gaze. "Hey, it's not as bad as it looks either. The pots are smashed but most of the plants are probably okay."

Mycroft felt tears pricking his eyes. "I couldn't protect him. I'm supposed to protect him."

"Sherlock?" John hazarded.

"I promised Mummy."

"Mycroft, you were set upon by a group of thieves! You're lucky you weren't killed. You can't possibly blame yourself for this. And Sherlock's fine." But even as he spoke John knew his words were wasted. Mycroft's face told him that without any words being needed. "Look, let's get you upstairs. You need to rest. Stay there while I go and get Greg to help."

John made his way upstairs and found Mrs Hudson hovering outside Sherlock's room. "Mrs Hudson, we could really all do with some nice hot tea if you wouldn't mind."

"Of course dear...you know best...so lucky you're a doctor." Mrs Hudson smiled, patting John's arm.

John headed into Sherlock's room. "Uh...Greg, I need some help getting Mycroft upstairs."

Greg turned from where he had been gathering up Sherlock's clothes. Sherlock was sitting up in bed, looking much better than his brother, wearing pyjamas, his face bruised and cut.
"I'll have a look at you when we've got your brother upstairs, all right?"

Sherlock leaned back. "They wanted a plant. Mycroft's been cross-breeding his orchids and those men were after his newest creation."

"Just lay quietly. Greg?" John jerked his head at the door and Greg left Sherlock's side, following the doctor down the staircase.

"This really was about some flower?" John shook his head. "Good thing their rooms are next door to each other. I don't think Sherlock would stay in bed long with Mycroft in the state he's in."

Greg paused at the bottom of the stairs. "You don't know them that well."

John laughed and followed Greg into the conservatory. "Right then Mr Holmes...upstairs to bed. For at least a week."

Mycroft scowled, wincing at the pain of the movement. "I'm afraid I can't possibly agree..."

"A week. Seven days. No leaving the house, no work, nothing. Just resting and getting well."

Greg stared at a tile on the floor between the two men, waiting for the expected explosion of the oft-demonstrated Mycroft Holmes temper.

"Doctor Watson..."

Walking over to Mycroft, John said calmly: "If I have to Mr Holmes, I will dose you with laudanum and keep you here by chemical means."

Mycroft scowled but didn't argue further.

Shocked at Mycroft's unexpected reaction, Greg didn't hear John until the doctor repeated his name several times, finally resorting to shouting. "Greg!!"


John stared at the grey-haired man, concerned he was more affected by the morning's events than he appeared. "Can you help me get My...Mr Holmes up to his room please."

Greg and John struggled to support Mycroft as he became increasingly reliant upon them as the three men ascended the stairs, observed by Mrs Hudson.

"Mrs Hudson...I don't suppose there is any soup in your kitchen?"

"Well, there is some beef broth."

"Perhaps you could heat some up for Mr Holmes?"

"Oh...dear...yes...of course."

John and Greg continued upstairs, Mrs Hudson's worried exclamations echoing as she departed.


Mycroft looked up at John as he was helped to lay on the four-poster bed in his room. Pulling John's sleeve, he said quietly: "I would like to speak privately."

John frowned and it took him a moment to realize what Mycroft wasn't saying. Finally he understood.  "Thank you for your assistance Greg, but I'm afraid I need to examine Mycroft properly. Could you go and make sure Sherlock isn't moving around too much and is eating Mrs Hudson's beef soup please?"

Greg walked through the interconnecting door and John followed him, closed and locked it then walked to the bedroom door and closed and locked that. "Now...if you think you can convince me to allow you to leave this room before you are fully..."

"Doctor Watson...John...I'm embarrassed to say I may be a little more hurt than I may appear."

John frowned and locked eyes with the elder Holmes. "Would you be able to be a little more specific?"

Mycroft sighed. "One of the...intruders...stamped upon my...back."

John heard the embarrassed hesitancy in Mycroft's admission. "It's okay Mycroft. I'm a doctor, remember? Do you want me to help you..?"

Mycroft shook his head a little and turned onto his side, biting his lip as John folded the bedclothes down.

There was a perfect large boot print on Mycroft's lower back, extending downwards. John examined him gently, ignoring Mycroft's pained moans, knowing they were probably more embarrassment than discomfort. "I don't think any bones are broken. Now I have to ask. Is there more damage than I can see?"

Mycroft buried his face in the pillow. "No. They were disturbed before they could...continue."

"Okay...so just bruises? Mycroft...you have to be honest with me if I'm going to help you."

Mycroft rolled onto his back and looked up at John. "One of them said the Professor had told him I enjoyed...that kind of thing."

John sighed. "Professor?"

Mycroft shrugged a little. "I don't know..." He sighed tiredly.

"Hmm...well, rest, Mrs Hudson's soup and nothing more strenuous than a game of cards or chess for the next few days. Dr Watson's prescription for your recovery." John smiled.
"Thank you John." Mycroft said softly.

"What's special about your orchids then?" John asked as he pulled Mycroft's bedclothes back over him.

"I believe I am the first in the world to successfully create a hybrid plant from a European species crossed with one from the foothills of the Himalaya mountains."

"And that's what those blokes were after?" John turned and looked over his shoulder as he washed his hands and dried them.

"Apparently so."

"And there's only one so they won't be back."

"One can only hope that is the case."

"How many of those plants did you...grow?" John asked, frowning.

"Two...I gave one to the man who bought the Himalaya specimen back for me."

"Shouldn't we warn him?"

Mycroft looked suddenly panicked. "Harry! Oh John! You have to get a message to him!"

John put a hand on Mycroft's arm. "Calm down! Give me his address and I'll go there now."

"Take Greg with you. Please?" Mycroft's eyes betrayed his concern.

"All right." John bought over a silver tray with paper and pen laying on it. While Mycroft wrote, John unlocked and opened the room doors. "Greg...we have to go and see someone."

Greg came into the room and looked from Mycroft to John. "I don't think we should leave the house. Inspector Dimmock's not here yet."

Mycroft began to get out of bed.

"No Mycroft!" John snapped. "You're staying in bed. Now, Greg and I will go and see this...Harry but not until the police arrive."

For the second time in as many hours, Greg waited for the argument from the man in the bed. For the second time he was astounded when Mycroft simply lay back on the pillows, sighing softly.

John took the folded piece of paper and unfolded it, staring at the address. "And we just...knock on the door of the palace?"

Mycroft managed a tired smile. "Oh...my apologies...he will be at home. He was taken ill with exhaustion following the coronation." He reached out and re-wrote the address.

With no further comment, John left Mycroft's room and went downstairs.


Inspector Dimmock was everything John hated. Condescending, disinterested and disparaging of the seriousness of the break-in. John held his temper with difficulty. Greg simply disappeared into the kitchen with Mrs Hudson until the man and the other officers left the house. 

John wandered into the kitchen and jerked his head towards the door. "Ready?"

"I'll bring the carriage round. "

"We'll get a cab Greg. Save you the effort."

Greg nodded his agreement and followed John out.


Henry's maid opened the door and let the two men in. "I'm afraid Mr Cavanaugh hasn't yet come down Sirs."

John smiled. "No matter. We'll go up."

The young woman stood aside and closed the door as the two men ascended the staircase.


Henry Cavanaugh was as tall - if not taller - than Mycroft and, yet again John was very conscious of his lack of height. The man was clearly exhausted, dark circles under his eyes, his cheekbones sharply outlined under his pale skin. John felt sorry for him but knew it was important to warn him after what had happened to Sherlock and Mycroft.

They spent as little time as they could disturbing the man and John tried to be as reassuring as he could be as they took the plant Mycroft had given Harry.

Greg waited outside the Diogenes Club building while John took the plant into the cream-painted building, handing it to a uniformed butler with strict instructions to place it in the room Mycroft had named the Strangers Room. It was to be the only room in which a conversation might take place.


Mrs Hudson opened the door, took the note that had been delivered, put it on a tray and took it upstairs. She knocked gently on Mycroft's door.

Mycroft took the note, read it and, hand shaking, took several deep breaths then forced a smile. "No reply Mrs Hudson, thank you."

The woman bustled out and Mycroft lay back against the pillows, the small sheet of heavy cream notepaper dropped onto the bed. It was ostensibly a 'thank you' for the orchid and confirmation that the writer intended to retrieve the second bloom as soon as practically possible. Angrily, he swung his legs out of the bed, began to stand, wobbled and panted softly, nauseous and in considerable pain. Unable to steady himself Mycroft dropped back onto the bed and re-covered himself with the bedclothes, angry at his own weakness. Suddenly he felt incredibly tired, yawned and closed his eyes.

He was still asleep when John checked on him an hour later. John walked over, picked up the piece of paper and frowned as he saw the embossed name at the top of the sheet. 'Professor James Moriarty'. He sighed crossly, folded the note without really reading it, leaving it on the table under Mycroft's bedroom window before leaving the room through the interconnecting door, opening and closing it quietly as he entered Sherlock's room.

Sherlock, in contrast to his brother, was sitting upright, a frown on his bruised face as he read the top one of the large pile of typewritten sheets. "Ah...John...there you are."

"How are you feeling Sherlock?"

"Is my brother sleeping?" Sherlock answered the question with one of his own, leaving John's unanswered.

"Er...yes...who is Professor Moriarty?"

Sherlock shrugged. "No idea. Why?"

John shook his head. "Nothing...now...your head."

Sherlock waved his hand impatiently. "Stop fussing. I assure you I'm perfectly..."

"One of us is a doctor Sherlock. Which of us is that? Please do remind me."

Sherlock sighed. "I was in the drawing room when they broke in. Mycroft was in the conservatory. Anyone watching the house for more than a day would know that, unless he was preparing to leave for London, Mycroft spends the first hour of the day fussing over his orchids. By the time I heard the commotion, they had already meted out a considerable beating. When they realized Mycroft had no intention of telling them which plant they had been sent to steal, one of them grabbed me, hit me and the other one produced a knife and held it to my throat..." Sherlock shuddered at the memory.

"Where was Greg? Mrs Hudson?" John lifted the bandage from around Sherlock's head and examined the shallow wound.

"At the market. Every Wednesday morning."

"So the thieves knew you'd be the only two people in the house." John sighed, shaking his head as he re-wound a bandage around Sherlock's head, struggling to flatten Sherlock's thick curls under the white cloth.

Sherlock sat up while John plumped his pillows then lay back looking up at the doctor's resigned expression. "Mycroft would never have given up the orchid if I hadn't been in danger."

John smiled as he tucked Sherlock's bedclothes in neatly. "He was certainly more concerned over your health than his own."

"Only because he promised Mummy."

John nodded. "Yes, he said that. How...how long ago...?" John stopped in mid-sentence when he saw Sherlock's sad expression.

"I was six. Mycroft was thirteen."

John nodded and began to back out of the room, embarrassed at reminding Sherlock of an obviously painful time in his past.

Well, this is as far as I've got dear reader...