[personal profile] nickelsandcoats
Title: I'll Give You Everything You Need (You've Given Me Everything I Want) 18/? || at Ao3
Author: Sarah/[livejournal.com profile] nickelsandcoats
Rating: PG13 for this part
Spoilers: Spoilers (eventually) for all of season 2!
Word Count: ~3,100 for this part
Pairings: Sherlock/John, Mycroft/Lestrade
Warnings: AU.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Mycroft's never given his feathers to anyone before, but one person wins him over without even trying.
Notes: For [livejournal.com profile] flying_dreamz's prompt here at my shuffle meme post. She asked for #103, which were "The Resurrection Stone" from the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II soundtrack and "Amy in the Tardis" from the Doctor Who: Season 5 soundtrack.

This is a sequel to Here Is What My Heart Will Give You (and Here Are the Things I Will Give Up for You). You really should read that one first before you read this story or this story will not make any sense. One last note: this story is set pre-Here Is What My Heart Will Give You (and Here Are the Things I Will Give Up for You) and will eventually end up post-Reichenbach. Expect lots of angst.

part i || part ii || part iii || part iv || part v || part vi || part vii || part viii || part ix || part x || part xi || part xii || part xiii || part xiv || part xv || part xvi || part xvii


John was getting better at flying.

They spent their quiet evenings in the flat, telly on the news, and John flew. At first, months ago, Sherlock would change too and fly around the flat, John watching his every movement. Then, they would fly together, Sherlock gently nudging John’s wings or feet with his own to correct his form.
John delighted in the lessons at first, chuckling when he faltered or forgot to flap his wings. But after Moriarty returned, he practiced every night, getting faster and more secure in his other form.

Sherlock knew, without John having to say it, why his practice was so diligent.

If there came a time when John needed to fly, he had to be able to soar.

He wandered through London, his city, holding John’s hand and laughing.

He ran through London, chasing after the criminals who did her wrong, with John only a step behind.

He stood in London, letting it flow around him, watching John interact with this city they had known and loved for lifetimes.

They walked hand-in-hand, ducking down side streets and into little alleys, chuckling as they reminisced on crimes they solved last year, fifty years, a hundred years ago. Sherlock didn’t comment on the similarities that bridged those seemingly disparate cases that were separated by years, decades even, and if John noticed those same similarities, he said nothing.

Winter came, and they huddled in front of the fire in their home, John’s arm snug around Sherlock’s waist as they watched bad telly and flicked popcorn at each other.

One particularly cold night, Sherlock was quieter than normal, keeping John’s head firmly tucked under his chin so that he would not see the thoughts that were spinning nearly out of control in Sherlock’s brain.

Moriarty had been too quiet. It had been months since his reappearance, and yet they had heard nothing since Mother found one of her children dead. Sherlock was worried⎯not that he would admit that aloud⎯that he had missed something, that Moriarty was playing a long game and Sherlock had not yet figured out the rules. He feared for John and Lestrade (Mother and Mycroft could take care of themselves), and so he spent every moment he could get away with (meaning that John would not catch him and ask him what he was thinking about⎯Sherlock had lost his ability to lie to his husband) planning, thinking, searching for exit strategies that ended up with the least amount of damage done to his family.

John’s breath was damp and warm against his chest. Sherlock rubbed his thumb over John’s denim-clad hipbone and let himself think. The quiet unspooled around them until it was broken by John’s soft entreaty. “Tell me a story.”


John shifted a bit in his arms, drawing up the blanket he’d thrown over his lap. “Tell me a story Mum told you when you were a kid.”

“I don’t⎯”

“Don’t say you don’t remember any,” John said, poking him playfully in the ribs. “Your mind is a steel trap. I know there’s at least one rattling around in that mind palace of yours.”

Sherlock harrumphed, hiding a smile, and John resettled himself, moving so that he was leaning into Sherlock’s side, resting his head on his shoulder rather than his chest. Sherlock drummed his fingers on his thigh as he gathered his thoughts.

“Have you ever heard of the selkies?”

John shook his head, reaching down to capture Sherlock’s fingers in his own.

Sherlock smiled briefly. “I remember that Mycroft said Father used to tell Mother that he should have been a selkie⎯or she should have. Apparently, this was a joke between them, but I don’t remember what Mycroft said Mother’s response was.” Sherlock held his breath for a moment, waiting to see if John would pick up on the lie (he was getting far too good at that), but he didn’t say anything. Sherlock let out his breath in a barely audible sigh. Mother’s response was something he didn’t want to think about, not now, not with John curled into his side on a night that was shaping up to be quite nice, as long as he didn’t say too much.

“Tell me,” John said after a few long moments.

“A selkie is also known as a seal-woman. They can also be men, but that is more rare. Their origins are in the Orkneys or in other remote areas in Scotland.”

“Sherlock,” John interrupted gently. “Give me a story, not just the facts. Please.”

“I don’t know how to tell stories.”

“Of course you do,” John retorted gently, tracing his thumb along Sherlock’s palm. “Just don’t overthink what you’re going to say, and let the words come out.”

Sherlock snorted. “That sounds like something you got off a blog on how to write.”

John poked him in the side, making him jump. “It’s still good advice, no matter where it came from,” he said, resettling himself to get more comfortable.

They sat in silence for a few minutes as Sherlock cast his mind back, seeking the words Mother had used when she told him this story. Finally, he cleared his throat and began reciting.

“There was a man, a fisherman, who lived alone out in the Orkneys. His name was Angus. This was a long, long, long time ago, when there was no electricity or cars or telegrams. His nearest neighbour was several kilometres away, and Angus was too busy to visit. His life was hard and lonely, but he did well for himself.

“One day, Angus saw a young woman alone on the beach near his cottage. He called out to her, but by the time he got near, she had disappeared. There was no trace of her left⎯not a footprint or a thread of clothing caught in the rocks. It was as if she’d never been there at all. Angus walked up and down the beach, scouring for clues, but he found nothing. After several hours, he gave up and went back to his dark little cottage. He dreamed of the young woman that night, but when awoke the next morning, he could not remember anything of his dream except that the woman had fair skin and dark hair.

“Angus waited at the beach every morning for weeks to see if the young woman would come again. He waited in vain, and finally, after neglecting his fishing for too long, Angus went back on his boat.

“Months later, Angus had nearly forgotten about the young woman. After all, he’d only seen her for a moment, and only the once. But on a fair late spring day, he was walking the beach after his breakfast when he saw her again. She turned at his call, and his breath was stolen from him at the intensity of her blue eyes. She looked away, and when he did not move, struck dumb at her beauty, she slipped away. But this time, when the spell was broken, he ran forward and saw her footsteps leading into the ocean. Angus waited for hours at the shore, but she never emerged.

“He went back the next morning and saw her again. This time, he kept quiet until he was within two arms’ length of her. Distracted by the sea, she did not hear him until he bid her good morning.

“‘Are you in trouble, miss?’

“‘No, no trouble.’ She replied, nearly edging away from the man.

“He stayed put, keeping his hands in her sight. He introduced himself, and when he got no reply, asked after her name, her folks, her home. ‘Do you need assistance in getting home, lass?’ he asked.

“‘No,’ she said, smiling kindly. ‘But thank you all the same.’

“And then she turned away and disappeared into the craggy rocks a few metres up the beach. Angus searched for her, but found no sign of where she’d gone.

“A few weeks later, Angus found a sealskin on the beach near to where the young woman, whose name was Ceana, had been fond of sitting. Unable to resist a prize such as that skin, which was of a far better quality than any he had ever seen before, he picked it up and took it home. Without quite knowing why, he locked the skin away in a trunk hidden under the boards under his bed and tucked the key into his pocket.

“That night, he heard a soft knocking on his door and opened it to find Ceana on the other side, shivering in the hard wind blowing off of the sea.

“‘May I come in?’ she asked through her chattering teeth.

“‘Of course!’ Angus cried, hardly believing his luck. Here, he’d been trying to find this woman and now she’d come to him. ‘Let me get you some tea and a bit of food.’ He bustled around the small kitchen, setting cup and saucer and a bit of bread in front of her.

“Her eyes were wandering around the small, tidy space, taking everything in. She startled at the clink of the cup and saucer, and waited until he had drunk from his own cup before she followed suit, licking her lips at the taste. Angus made up his bed for his guest and slept on the floor in front of his fireplace.

“When he woke the next morning, Ceana was poking tentatively at the kettle. Angus laughed and teased her gently for not knowing what a kettle was. She smiled back, and Angus felt himself falling in love.

“Ceana never left, and after a few months, Angus took her to the small village church, where they were married. The two of them were blissfully happy, and after a little while, had one child, and then another.

“Angus still went out on his boat, and came back in the evenings smelling of salt and wind. If he wondered why Ceana always clung to him longer than she was normally wont on those nights, he never said.

“The pair had been married for eight years before the rumours started at the pub Angus frequented once a week. The men were talking of the selkies, the seal-women who came to steal away the men and drag them down under the water. More and more men had not been coming back from fishing⎯their boats returned empty, and the villagers were growing uneasy.

“‘Them selkies leave their skins behind when they come ashore or on the boat. They can jump straight out of the water, change, glamour you, and drag you under the water all before you can shout.’ Malcolm the publican stated. ‘And if you ever run across a skin lying around, beware⎯you’ll be their next victim!’ The crowd roared with laughter as he pretended to swoon behind the bar.

“All through this, Angus had grown quieter and quieter.

“‘Selkies are dangerous folk, they are,’ William the Oldest said. ‘They’re of the old magics, and they won’t hesitate to steal you away. The only way to keep yourself safe is to steal their skin. If you capture a selkie’s sealskin, she will never leave your side, but she’ll never stop searching for her lost skin. Once she finds it, she’ll leave and return to her home under the water, and she’ll never come back on land for as long as she lives. He man will be doomed to wander the shore in search of her until the day he dies.’

“The room went quiet, and then slowly, conversation about other selkie myths started to pick back up as the men told more stories about the beautiful, deadly creatures. Angus slipped out, unnoticed, into the dark and wandered along the beach, taking his time in thinking before he went home.”

Sherlock coughed and stretched. John sat up, blinking slowly as he came out of the near-trance Sherlock’s voice had caused him to slip into.

“I’ll make some tea,” John said, padding into the kitchen. He returned with a large glass of water, which Sherlock drank in three hearty swallows, before he went back into the kitchen to fill the kettle. They drank their tea in silence, neither one of them willing to break the spell that Sherlock’s story had woven in the air. John set their empty cups on the coffee table before he sat back on the sofa, pulling Sherlock down and letting him squirm about until he was comfortably settled with his head on John’s good shoulder. John pressed a kiss into his curls as Sherlock settled back into storytelling.

“When Angus returned home that night, Ceana and the children were already in bed. Angus slipped in next to his wife and laid awake much of the night, devising a plan. The next morning, he pretended to go out to the boat, but doubled back and hid in the scrubby bushes near their home. He waited there all the day until he finally saw what he had been waiting for. Ceana walked out of the front door, heading straight for the beach, where she stood and stared out at the waves for over an hour, unmoving, until one of the children ran out to fetch her.

“Angus had seen enough, heard enough to make his suspicions all but a certainty. The next morning, he sent the children off to the village for some food, and went upstairs and unlocked his little trunk, pulling out the sealskin he’d found so many years ago.

“Ceana was feeding the cows and chickens, so Angus set the skin on their kitchen table and waited for her. When she came in, her eyes immediately locked on to the skin, her skin, spread out on their table. The air went still around them as Angus looked at her with sad, sad eyes.

“‘Will you leave?’ he asked.

“Ceana didn’t answer, not at first. She reached out one pale hand and held it centimetres over her skin, but didn’t touch it. ‘Do you want me to?’ she finally responded, eyes never leaving her skin.

“‘No! No, I don’t want you to leave. But I want you to know that I didn’t know. I didn’t know what you were until just a few nights ago, and even then, I only suspected. If I had known what taking this skin meant, I never would have taken it. I never meant to trap you or hold you against your will, and I am sorry for doing so. I don’t want you to leave, but I will not force you to stay.’

“She met his eyes then, withdrawing her hand from where it had so nearly touched her skin. ‘If I had not wanted to risk it being found, I would have hid it as well as I had every other time.’ She smiled at him. ‘It was my choice to leave it out, just as it was my choice not to seek it out after you took it.’

“Angus pushed the skin a little closer to her. ‘I won’t hide it from you again. If you want to take it and leave, I understand.’

“‘You know that if I take this skin, I can never return here, and you and the children would not be able to follow me?’

“Angus nodded. ‘I just want you to be happy. I know that you may not have been happy here and I want you to be able to choose where you weren’t able to before,’ he whispered.

“Ceana smiled at him and then kissed him sweetly. ‘Thank you,’ she said in between kisses. ‘Take it away and put it somewhere. I promise you that I will not touch this skin, not while you are alive and our children are too young to care for themselves.’ She pushed his chin up with a finger. ‘I’ve been so happy here, and I will keep these memories with me for the rest of my life.’

“He frowned in confusion, and Ceana added, ‘My kind live much longer than yours. I will not age in this body, and will age very slowly in my true form.’

“Angus thought this over, and as the implication of her statement washed over him, his throat closed up and he could barely speak. ‘But it is said that if you are forced into becoming human, you will die much more quickly. Please, take your skin and go! I cannot bear to think that I killed you because I was selfish.’

“Ceana held him close and whispered, ‘I was not forced. I chose this. I chose to leave my skin where it would be found by you. I made my choice⎯I was not coerced. So, I will live as long as I normally would.’

“‘But won’t you be lonely after…after I’m gone?’

“‘Yes, of course. But you have given me a precious gift of love and happiness that will keep through the rest of my days. I am grateful for that. I am the first of my kind in many, many years to have been granted that gift.’

“Ceana and Angus lived together for forty more years. And when Angus slipped away in his sleep one night, Ceana wrapped him in her skin and took him to the sea they both loved. She slipped into her skin and pulled his body down with her to be buried with her people. The stories that she told her people changed the way selkies viewed humans, and from then on, the relationship between them was much improved.”

“What happened to Ceana?” John murmured.

“She lived a long life and when she died fifty years after Angus, she was buried next to him. It is said that the selkie-folk still sing songs about their love.”

“Thank you,” John said, leaning down and kissing Sherlock properly. “That was a lovely story.”

Later, as they were tangled in their sheets, Sherlock nestled in closely to John’s bare back, John said, “Your story reminded me of us.”

“Mmm. It does have some similarities.”

“I think Mycroft should tell it to Greg. Might help.”

Sherlock pressed his forehead to the back of John’s head. “It might.” What he didn’t say was that his Mother hated that story now, as it reminded her too much of what happened to her once Father died. Except for her, there were no stories told about her love, and there had been no bittersweet ending. For Mother, it had been a sudden death and descent into despair⎯and she had only held herself together because she had to raise him and Mycroft.

“I wish you’d told me it before,” John murmured sleepily. “It would’ve made me less scared.”

“What do you mean?” Sherlock managed to ask after several minutes as shock had paralysed his vocal cords.

But John was already asleep, and didn’t answer.

part xix


I won't say that the story of Angus and Ceana is important, but it is important, I promise. :)

Date: 2012-08-15 05:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sabrinaphynn.livejournal.com
Oh.... Selkies. I have known stories about them since I was lttle (I had a teacher who left and went off to become a storyteller after a tour of Ireland, she would tell us stories Ike this) but I really love this version.
John is extremely insightful and Mycroft would be wise to heed his advice and tell this to Lestrade.

Date: 2012-08-16 03:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nickelsandcoats.livejournal.com
I've always loved tales of the selkies, too. I wanted to include them somehow in this story, and I'm glad it worked!

Date: 2012-08-15 05:26 am (UTC)
ext_157015: Girl Genius (Afraid)
From: [identity profile] noirrosaleen.livejournal.com
I LOVE the selkie-story! I'm afraid of what it might mean, though...and do we ever find out what happened to their father?

Date: 2012-08-16 03:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nickelsandcoats.livejournal.com
Thank you!

And yes, eventually we will find out who murdered their father. It's coming at some point....

Date: 2012-08-15 09:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rox712.livejournal.com
Beautiful story. Hope Mycroft and Greg will get the message.

Date: 2012-08-16 03:50 am (UTC)



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