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Sherlock/Inception Fic: I Deduce In My Sleep 
10th-Jan-2011 04:01 pm
Sherlock: John will end you
Title: I Deduce In My Sleep
Fandoms: Sherlock (BBC) and Inception
Characters/Pairing: Sherlock/John (implied), plus Ariadne, Arthur, and Cobb
Rating: PG-13
Notes: Written for fandom_stocking for enigel. Thanks to redandglenda for the quick beta.
Summary: John Watson doesn't quite recognize the agitated man in his dream screaming about idiots, but he knows that he's important somehow.



“It’s really quite beautiful,” John tells her. “I never took the time to notice.” The rocky, sandy dunes roll away toward dramatic cliffs and then morph into larger hills that almost glow in the golden light of the late afternoon.

“Sure, beautiful,” Ariadne says. “If you don’t mind all the guys with guns.”

John glances over his shoulder to see a column of soldiers walking behind them two abreast down the dusty road, scanning the horizon vigilantly.

“They’re guarding something precious,” John explains, a bit sheepishly. “I’m sorry I had to bring them.”

“It’s alright.” Ariadne shrugs. “I’m kind of used to guys with guns, anyway. Are they always around?”

“No. No, usually I’m defense enough.” John pats his jacket pocket, where the Browning is a warm, comforting weight.

“Defense against what?” Ariadne asks.

Ahead of them, shouting echoes across the open space: a distinctly agitated voice that promises danger.

The soldiers behind them tense, and the nearest ones start to move forward, double time. John holds up his hand. “No, let me.”

Beside him, Ariadne eyes the soldiers warily. John gives her what he hopes is a re-assuring smile, and takes off up the road

A brick apartment building rises up out of the desert right at the end of the path. The address reads 221 Baker Street, though the rest of Baker Street is nowhere to be seen. John notes this, as he notes that the shouting is almost certainly drifting down from the second-floor flat, and that the awning above the shuttered shop at street level reads “Speedy’s Sandwich Bar and Café,” and that the dirt under his feet is a rich, red color, mixed with dusty gravel. He wonders where this penchant for noticing insignificant details has come from.

The door is unlocked, and John charges through. He follows the shouts--louder now he’s inside--up a set of stairs and through another door into a homey-looking living room, where he’s stopped by a thick set of iron bars.

A cage occupies nearly the entire room, abutting the wall on three sides and allowing barely enough clearance to open the door John’s come through. The barred room looks well-lived in, with a comfortable couch, a few chairs, and high bookshelves. The wallpaper is ghastly. The room’s sole occupant is a tall, pale man with dark, curly hair, wearing a long coat and a blue muffler . It’s he who’s shouting.

“Wong wrong wrong. Idiots. Amateurs!” The man snatches up a teapot--made of some ancient-looking brown ceramic--from a shelf and hurls it toward the archway that leads to the kitchen. It shatters against the bars with a satisfying smash.

The man makes a sound like he’s in pain, and then collapses bonelessly to the floor next to the window. “He ran, you stopped me following.” He turns on John, shoulders slumped, eyes pleading. “Why won’t you let me go after him?”

“Sorry...” John’s eyes dart around the room, looking for some clue as to the man’s identity. His gaze settles on a violin, which is perched on the armchair like a pet. It reminds him of something lovely and horrid all at once. “I’m not meant to let you go alone.” John feels certain of that, at least, though he’s beginning to weary of being one step behind, always.

“No, that won’t do.” The man springs to his feet and stalks across the length of the room without removing his eyes from John’s. When he reaches the limit of the cage, he turns and retraces his steps precisely, pacing like a tiger.

Light footfalls pound up the stairs. John throws a look over his shoulder to see Ariadne has followed him. “You alright?” he asks.

“Yes.” She steps cautiously into the room, taking in the cage and its occupant. “What is this place?”

“This is what we’re defending.”

“I don’t need defending!” The man charges forward, and for one awful moment John thinks he’ll shatter like the teapot. Instead he catches the bars in his hands and pulls. When the bars don’t give, he backs up a few steps and charges at them again. This time he slams his shoulder into the unforgiving iron. “Let me out!”

“Gently now.” John’s a doctor and a soldier; he knows how much force it takes to break bone, and this chap hasn’t done it yet. Looks like he might do, though, given half a chance. “You’re going to hurt yourself.”

The man pushes away from the bars and sighs dramatically. “I’ll be good.” He turns his back on John and dives onto the couch in a monumental sprawl.

“Wow,” Ariadne breathes. She looks... impressed. Though with John or with the caged man, he couldn’t say.

“Do you know him?” John asks.

“Do you?” Ariadne shoots back with an expectant look.

John glances around the flat, noting the stacks of books, the laboratory equipment, the old take-away containers. Something tugs at his memory but can’t catch hold. “He’s special. He needs to be protected.”

“From what?” Ariadne asks.

The man turns over on the couch, glares at John, and jumps up again. He speeds over to the bars, right in front of where they’re standing. “At least give me my phone,” he says. “I can fix all of this if I just have my phone.”

John looks down at the phone that’s now in his hand. He shakes his head. “You’ll find some way to get yourself in trouble.”

“Please, John. I can solve this.”

“Sherlock.” That’s the name that goes with solving mysteries, and suddenly John knows that’s who this man is. This impossibly valuable, entirely puzzling man who cannot, under any circumstances, be released on his own recognizance. “I know you can. But I’m not letting you go after him. He’s dangerous.”

“You like danger.”

“Dangerous to you.”

“You do know him,” Ariadne whispers.

Sherlock’s pale eyes jump, quick as darts, to Ariadne. “You’re not supposed to be here,” he says.

“Sherlock.” John reaches through the bars to put a hand on Sherlock’s shoulder. “Steady on.”

“No.” Sherlock catches John’s wrist in his hand and tugs him flush against the bars. “Think for a moment. This flat has always stood in the heart of Westminster, but today you’ve come upon it in a part of Kandahar Province you haven’t seen in two years. For one thing, I seriously doubt Mrs. Hudson would have agreed to a relocation of the building to this locale, even if you and I had asked.”

“No, I suppose not.”

“Furthermore, you’re wearing your gray and orange jumper, although today is Thursday, and therefore laundry day, during which you would usually be wearing the heather-colored jumper. Why you’re wearing a jumper at all in this heat is beyond me, although since I’m the one in a jacket and muffler, let’s leave that point be for now, shall we?”

“Let’s.”

“Very well then. And who is she?” Sherlock turns to scrutinize Ariadne. “College student, art, or perhaps architecture, by the residue under her fingernails. Molding clay. Hardly more than a teenager.”

“Hey--,” Ariadne says, but Sherlock doesn’t even slow down.

“American, so no relative of yours. Simple clothes, fashionable, but not revealing. Shoes are practical for an office or a walk around the shops, but not for the desert, so she’s not from around here, nor is she military personnel.”

John’s eyes stray to Ariadne. “I don’t remember meeting you,” he says slowly.

“She seemed to recognize me,” Sherlock went on. “And although I like to think of myself as a celebrity, I doubt the average American college student knows me by sight. No, she knew me before she walked in, perhaps even expected to find me here.”

John turns to her. “Is that true?”

“I knew you two were friends,” Ariadne says slowly.

“So, then. You show up at this flat, which seems quite out of place, under dubious circumstances that you can’t quite remember,” Sherlock says. He steeples his hands under his chin, purses his lips for a moment, then says, “It seems to me, John, that all this might not be quite real.”

“You think we’re dreaming?”

“I think you’re dreaming. I don’t sleep enough to dream.” Sherlock turns his attention to Ariadne again. He leans closer to the bars, and runs his hands down them like he’s stroking a cat. “So. You there. Is he dreaming?”

“I should go,” Ariadne says. She looks convinced that Sherlock might reach through the bars and strangle her. In fact, the glimmer in his eyes does promise madness.

“Sherlock,” John says warningly, and the mad glimmer dims.

Sherlock slides across the bars and slouches more than a bit to bring himself to Ariadne’s level. “Don’t leave, please. I want to talk to you. I want to know how you came to be here, and what you hope to accomplish. Now tell me, am I right about the dreaming?”

Ariadne looks between them, mouth parted slightly as if to begin an explanation as soon as she formulates one.

In the momentary silence, John notices something. “Have you got the radio on?” he asks.

Sherlock frowns. “No.”

“It’s Edith Piaf,” Ariadne says, and she looks much relieved. “Thank God.”

--

Ariadne opens her eyes to the drab gray of a train compartment, and Arthur’s worried face.

“Hey,” Arthur says. “Welcome back. Breathe. Your heart rate is way up.”

She glances over at John Watson, slumped in a drug-induced slumber against the window of the train compartment. Before Arthur’s even finished packing up the PASIV device, Ariadne is out of her seat and wrenching open the compartment door. She speeds down the aisle past bored London commuters until she makes it to the last car. She doesn’t bother knocking before pulling open the door of compartment 528.

Cobb’s tensed, with a hand inside his jacket, but he relaxes when he sees who it is. “Arthur?” he asks.

“He’ll be along,” she says, and throws herself down on the seat next to Cobb. “This super-genius target? Holmes? I think his whatever-it-is power of reasoning has rubbed off on his buddy.”

“Are you hurt?” Arthur asks as he slips inside with his innocuous-looking briefcase.

“I’m fine.”

Arthur sits across from Cobb and shoves the briefcase under his chair. “Her vitals were way up,” he tells him.

“I said I’m fine.”

“Trained defenses?” Cobb asks her.

“I don’t think so. This was something else. The whole thing was fairly normal, actually, until he showed up.”

“Who? The target?”

“In the flesh. Or not, I guess. His projection,” Ariadne says.

Cobb and Arthur share a glance Ariadne doesn’t like.

“That’s what we wanted, right?” Ariadne asks. “To get a perspective on this guy?”

Arthur frowns. “The client said he’s dangerous. I don’t like the idea of you facing off against a self-proclaimed sociopath.”

“It’s just a projection. Besides, how do you know if someone’s a sociopath?”

Arthur taps a foot against his briefcase. “Psychiatric files, trial testimony, quotes from the guy’s own website. Should I go on?”

“No,” she grumbles “He just didn’t seem that bad, is all. And for the record, if John’s projection of this Sherlock guy is clever enough to reason his way out of a dream, I do not ever want to be inside the actual guy’s mind. No way. Count me out.”

“What do you mean reason his way out of a dream?” Cobb leans forward.

“There was no Mister Charles action going on on my part, I swear,” Ariadne says quickly. “But the projection—Sherlock—figured out it was a dream by pointing out the holes in the logic.”

“That should be impossible,” Arthur says.

“Please tell me we’re not taking this job. Whatever this Moriarty guy is paying us isn’t enough, I promise.”

“Tell me something,” Cobb says. “Did he seem dangerous? The things Moriarty says he’s capable of...” Cobb shakes his head. “If we have to take a side, I want it to be the right one.”

Ariadne thinks of the wild-eyed Sherlock Holmes throwing himself against the bars of his cage, then being instantly soothed by John’s words. “Well, even when the projections got a little riled up, none of them laid a hand on me. And most of them had guns, so that was a concern of mine for a while there.”

“That says more about Watson’s mental discipline than it does about Holmes,” Cobb says.

“No one knows him better than Watson, by all accounts,” says Arthur. “Besides, isn’t a projection more likely to become violent than its human counterpart?”

“Generally yes.” Cobb looks back to Ariadne. “Tell us the whole thing. From the beginning.”

“Okay.” Ariadne settles back in her seat. “But trust me. As long as this Sherlock guy has John in his life, he won’t be on the wrong side.”





(This story is also archived at AO3)
Comments 
10th-Jan-2011 10:24 pm (UTC)
“No,” she grumbles “He just didn’t seem that bad, is all. And for the record, if John’s projection of this Sherlock guy is clever enough to reason his way out of a dream, I do not ever want to be inside the actual guy’s mind. No way. Count me out."

Ahahah, smart girl! And how clever of Moriarty to think of taking this route to get at them. Projection!Sherlock would be just about as terrifying as Projection!Mal, only in his own inimitable way. This is a very well-done crossover :)

11th-Jan-2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
Projection!Sherlock would be just about as terrifying as Projection!Mal, only in his own inimitable way.

Yes! That was exactly what I had in mind while writing the scene with Sherlock in the cage, so I'm glad that came through. Thanks for reading!
10th-Jan-2011 11:39 pm (UTC)
Loved this! So clever. Loved the great dream imagery, and fabulous usage of the Inception cast and concept in a crossover. :D
11th-Jan-2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I always have fun playing with dreams. And the Inception concept opens up so man possibilities that are great to explore. Glad you liked!
11th-Jan-2011 12:10 am (UTC)
Amazing, I love Inception as much as I love Sherlock. For you to do this crossover...I could just kiss you!
11th-Jan-2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks! So glad you enjoyed!
11th-Jan-2011 12:26 am (UTC)
I really love this. It's a great idea for a crossover, and it seems very believable for both universes.
11th-Jan-2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much. I hadn't written the Inception crew before, so I'm glad it rang true for you.
11th-Jan-2011 12:57 am (UTC)
Fantastic crossover!
11th-Jan-2011 01:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
11th-Jan-2011 02:41 am (UTC)
I would like to submit my absolute love for this fic in words. I love that Moriarty hired and lied to our favorite dream team, I love this idea of dream extraction being brought into the epic battle of wits between Sherlock and Moriarty, and I absolutely love how BAMF you made John's mind. Because as a projection of Sherlock, it obvious wasn't the real Sherlock, which means that John's subconscious was deducing the fuck out of Ariadne. Also, I love how all those lines of soldiers were just back-up for the awesomeness that is John's badassery. All around, this was awesome, and if you ever found a reason to do a sequel, I would read it in a heartbeat!
11th-Jan-2011 01:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment! You know Moriarty's devious enough to figure out that methods like this exist, and crazy enough to try to use them against Sherlock. But John is a total BAMF, even asleep. He's been hanging around Sherlock enough that his subconscious can get its deduction on. Don't know if there'll be a sequel, but I never say never. So glad you enjoyed!
11th-Jan-2011 03:01 am (UTC)
This was fantastic. I happened to be listening to the Inception soundtrack when I stumbled across this story and, after I squeed, I read it eagerly. And I loved it. As someone mentioned earlier, this is John being completely bad-ass, able to deduce himself out of a dream. I also loved the description of the violin as a pet, and the scenery of the desert and the soldiers.

I want a sequel. Or prequel. Because Moriarty would want to plant an idea in Sherlock's head, like to join him or something. And Sherlock would just make it hell for our favorite team. :D
12th-Jan-2011 02:59 am (UTC)
Oh man, the Inception soundtrack is so great. I use it to write to all the time. Also, for all your online dramatic needs, I highly recommend The Inception Button.

I love me some bad-ass John, and I think a man that's had as many nightmares as John has would have developed some great subconscious discipline over time, probably enough to deduce himself out of most anything.

And Sherlock would just make it hell for our favorite team. Yeah, woe to him who tries to get inside Sherlock's head. Can you imagine Eames trying to forge Mycroft or someone? Would not go well, I imagine.

Thank you for taking the time to comment!
11th-Jan-2011 04:20 am (UTC)
I absolutely love love love this crossover and have been wanting to see it for ages. And I adore the way you wrote it--Moriarty hiring the team makes so much sense! And the image of Sherlock in the cage is so evocative...just lovely storytelling all around.
12th-Jan-2011 03:01 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! You know Moriarty would have no qualms about using inception if that option were open to him! Oh, and Sherlock in a cage was one of the first things I envisioned for John's dream. He's kind of like Mal that way, I suppose. Just as scary, but a little less... dead. So glad you enjoyed!
11th-Jan-2011 07:23 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this idea that Moriarty is paying the Inception dream team to get into Sherlock's mind. It was well done, and John's projection of Sherlock was rather amazing. :)

Only sticking point was the lack of a gap between paragraphs.
12th-Jan-2011 03:03 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! Sherlock is amazing in any incarnation.

Re: paragraph spacing -- my journal format works in some browsers (like Firefox and Chrome) and tends to have trouble in others (like Explorer). You may try the "view in my style" option at the top of the page if it gives you any attitude. That tends to fix up most formatting issues.
11th-Jan-2011 10:49 am (UTC)
This was amazing! I love how believable is John's mind, because yeah, it toally does sound like him :D
12th-Jan-2011 03:04 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! I had a lot of fun playing around with ideas about John's mind.
11th-Jan-2011 01:36 pm (UTC)
This is awesome! I would still really like to see what Sherlock's head is like on the inside though :D
12th-Jan-2011 03:05 am (UTC)
Thank you! Yes, the inside of Sherlock's head would be pretty intense. I think Ariadne has the right idea that it would be bad for the Dream Team to try to deceive him, even in dreams!
11th-Jan-2011 04:59 pm (UTC)
Absolutely gorgeous. Every last word. And the imagery? Seriously haunting. (Sherlock in a cage, OMG...)

I love the last line so much.
12th-Jan-2011 03:06 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I had a lot of fun playing with dreams. (Cages are always a good idea. Always.) Glad you liked it, dear!
11th-Jan-2011 06:44 pm (UTC)
*applause*
This is great. Love it to pieces. ♥
12th-Jan-2011 03:06 am (UTC)
*bows* Well thanks so much!
11th-Jan-2011 09:54 pm (UTC)
As a fan of both Inception and Sherlock, I absolutely loved this. And the hint of darkness that if they were able to go into John's mind, that means Moriarty must've got to him, yes? It'd be very coincidental for John to be on a train, and a long enough ride for Team Cobb to try and do their job.
12th-Jan-2011 03:10 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you enjoyed! Yes, I agree Moriarty probably had a hand in arranging this little foray. There used to be a section about why John's on the train, but it was really too much unnecessary background for the story. It may have involved a false message from Harry during a case about having been arrested in France, causing John to have to take the chunnel without Sherlock. Backstories upon backstories! Point is, yes, this whole situation has Moriarty written all over it.
12th-Jan-2011 02:55 am (UTC)
Oh, this was very clever. And it would make sense for Moriarty to use Inception (and pretty scary too). Very good use of all the characters. Projection!Sherlock was so in-character. Just shows that John knows him very well :D Great work, thank you for sharing!
12th-Jan-2011 03:12 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! Yeah, if Cobb's team was a wee bit less moral, John could really have been in trouble. I'm glad you liked projection!Sherlock. I had a lot of fun playing around with John's mind. Er. You know what I mean.
12th-Jan-2011 03:47 pm (UTC)
Your version of John here is so badass that I want to do a GQMF tribute:

Look at this here badass army doctor!
Dreams about Afghanistan, he knows he's down with it.
Brings along a whole batallion, but it's all just for show.
'Cause he's got his own gun, bitches.

Puts his flat in the middle of the desert, because he wants to.
You gonna say no? I didn't think so.
He's got a fucking genius in a cage up in there!
Why? 'Cause Sherlock don't have any self-control.
But it's cool, John has it all locked up.
You don't like it? There's a hundred miles of desert, bitches, start walking!
Oh yeah, and I can totally reason with your crazy dream shit, so don't even try.

The way you described John's dream world was fantastic. I loved the desert landscape, and how John's soldier-protectors were there only for moral support. Ariadne's fascinated nervousness at seeing Sherlock was great. Because, Sherlock in a cage! I love that's where John keeps him in his head, protected and confined so he can't break out and get himself into trouble. It's a great way of showing both John's care for his friend, and acknowledging the danger Sherlock represents.

At the end, with Moriarty beind the attempt and the dream team trying to figure out if they should attempt this at all, wonderful! That John keeps Sherlock on the side of angels really made me smile. Wonderful, dearheart!
21st-Jan-2011 06:22 pm (UTC)
Your little ditty brings me such joy, darling!

It's a great way of showing both John's care for his friend, and acknowledging the danger Sherlock represents.
Thank you! You know there's a part of John that wants to keep his exotic bird caged, but another part that knows he just has to fly.

That John keeps Sherlock on the side of angels really made me smile.
High-functioning sociopath, right? In the commentary for A Study in Pink they reference the fact that Sherlock starts off in a more not good place, and that John's influence actually seems temper him a bit. I concur. So I'm glad that worked for you!

Thanks as always for your thoughtful comments!


16th-Jan-2011 03:12 am (UTC)
Awesome crossover!
21st-Jan-2011 06:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
16th-Jan-2011 10:31 am (UTC)
Aaah, this was perfectly done! I really enjoyed it. ♥
21st-Jan-2011 06:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I had a great time writing it.
17th-Jan-2011 09:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, interesting! And of course Sherlock would logic his way out of it, even as a projection. I particularly liked the fact that John's mind was so in check, and kind, a perfect reflection of himself :D
21st-Jan-2011 06:24 pm (UTC)
It was really fun to play around with how John might populate his dreams, so I'm glad that worked for you. Thank you for reading!
30th-Jan-2011 10:02 am (UTC)
this deserves something more clever than my absolute glee can conjure sadly so I'll just say I kind of adore this.
20th-Feb-2011 04:17 am (UTC)
Thank you! It was very fun playing in these worlds.
6th-Feb-2011 02:37 am (UTC)
Wow, even Projection!Holmes kick ass XD
20th-Feb-2011 04:18 am (UTC)
I think anyone's mental version of Holmes would be full of badassery. Thanks for reading!
15th-Feb-2011 05:31 pm (UTC)
This makes much more sense now that I've seen Sherlock.

Awesome!
23rd-Feb-2011 03:59 am (UTC)
Ah yes, I bet this would be nearly as much fun not having seen Sherlock. Glad you enjoyed!

Edited at 2011-02-23 04:00 am (UTC)
11th-May-2011 11:43 pm (UTC)
Well if this isn't the best damn crossover story I've read so far.

I love how it's plotted that you don't know the reasons for the inception at first.
19th-May-2011 08:55 pm (UTC)
Well thank you so much! What a lovely comment. I love all the possibilities in these two worlds for the mind as a battlefield. And this little plot bunny keeps nipping at my heels, so there may be a sequel someday.
20th-Jan-2012 09:15 pm (UTC)
Here's the podfic! This one was fun to do. :D
1st-Mar-2012 04:04 pm (UTC)
Oh yay, thank you! Sorry I am so tardy in replying about these, but still, yay! I listened to this one as a bedtime story, which, upon reflection, was possibly a bad idea...
25th-Jul-2012 04:08 am (UTC)
OMG Sherlock is terrifying as a projection. If he had more time, he would whittle out all of the Inception crew's secrets! I loved this crossover and it will be on one of my reread fics whenever I feel down~
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