cypress_fic: (Wheat Field with Cypresses - Van Gogh)
[personal profile] cypress_fic

Title: This Thing All Things Devours (5/15)
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Rating: Explicit
Word Count: 1,600 for this part
Genre: AU/fusion, science fiction, action, romance


(In Time AU) In 2169, time is money—literally. Humans are genetically engineered to stop aging at 25, when the numbers on their arm start counting down from one year. When that time is up, they die. The only way to get more time is to earn it, borrow it, or steal it.

John Watson lives day-to-day in the crowded slums of Zone 13. He never imagined living any differently—until he meets the practically-immortal Sherlock, and helps him on a case to track a local time-thief...

Spring: 2169


When John returned to the flat, everything was back in order.  His computers were where they belonged—their histories wiped, all notes that Sherlock had made, gone.

Despite having just woken up, John was exhausted.  He peeked past the door of his bedroom, but found that he couldn’t look at his bed without thinking of Sherlock.  He remembered the feeling of Sherlock’s hand running over his skin.

Later that night, when he opened his dresser, he realised that the pyjamas Sherlock had borrowed were missing.


One week later, John had lunch with Molly, and told her everything.  They sat at a table in the break room, surrounded by people on all sides.  John spoke so softly that Molly had to lean forward in order to hear him.

John couldn’t meet her eyes while he told his story.  When he mentioned wanting to show Sherlock the ocean, he paused, and found it hard to continue.  Molly put her right hand over his left, and squeezed.


After one month, John decided to stop moping.  He went to the pub and chatted up lonely-looking people in front of the bar, but he never took anyone home.

When the bartender teased him about having a thing for blue eyes, John’s smile faded.  He looked across the room at the woman he had just been speaking to, suddenly becoming aware of her pale skin and the dark curls that tumbled past her shoulders.  He pulled on his jacket and left his glass on the bar, still half-full.


Due to an approaching deadline at the factory, John was sent to pick up a much-needed supply of magnetometers from a distributor near the coast.

He took a route that avoided the ocean.  When he saw a glimmer of water in the distance, he turned his face in the other direction.


After two months, John quit poker.  Jerry bugged him about it for a few weeks, but eventually gave up.  Ellie went on to surpass John's old record.  She offered to buy him a drink as a peace offering, but he didn't accept.


It took longer for him to give up Suicide.

Summer: 2169


It hurt, but it wasn’t the end of the world.  John was distracted from his troubles when a damaged hoverplane came into the factory where he worked.  It was a newer model, and his colleagues were excited about having the privilege to do the repairs.  Their enthusiasm was contagious.

When John solved a problem that had stumped three other people--fixing the wiring that connected the AI unit to the directional controls--his supervisor gave him a bonus, and he was lavished with praise by his colleagues.  For a moment, the world was a little less grey.

John wished he could see Sherlock react to his accomplishment.  He couldn’t imagine Sherlock caring about hoverplane repair, but he still longed for that quiet look of admiration.


Life continued as usual, and John soldiered on.  He still thought about Sherlock on grey mornings and lonely nights, but there were more pressing matters.

There was trouble in the United States concerning the daughter of a wealthy New Grennich businessman being kidnapped by a factory worker.  The news spread quickly--especially when it was rumoured that the girl, Sylvia, was not quite the powerless hostage that the news stations described.

It wasn’t long before the truth was revealed, and the story exploded.  Sylvia and her “kidnapper,” Will, were working together--breaking into banks, stealing time from the rich, and distributing it among the poor.  The news stations warned about the possibility of “copycat Robin Hoods.”

John thought that it was a noble concept, but he didn't imagine it would take off.


Fall 2169


John was wrong about the Americans.  Vigilante groups started to spring up in time-currency nations all over the world.  The news stations reported on new robberies nearly every day.  The wealthy zones were panicking.

Someone tried to break into the bank down the street from John's flat, but didn't succeed.  The criminal was caught by the Timekeepers, and timed out while waiting for his court case.  His lawyer called it negligence-- tried to get the jail shut down and the supervisors fired.  Nothing ever came of it.


Midway through October, Molly's father timed out.  Molly missed three days of work, and when John went to her flat, she was sitting in a floral armchair, calmly petting her cat and watching a news story about another bank robbery.

"Something has to change, John," she said.  "We can't live like this."

John agreed, and they began making plans.


Molly was good with technology.  Very good.  She started reading up on bank surveillance and security systems, and it wasn't long at all before she was practicing her new skills on actual buildings.  John watched over her shoulder as she showed him the video feed from the CCTV camera down the street.  By the end of the week, she had hacked into the surveillance systems of three different banks.


The first bank they took was the one down the street from John.  They broke in while it was closed and managed to steal two years before John had to escape.

He was almost caught coming out of the building.  He came across a security guard that Molly hadn't seen, and ended up running out of the bank while the guard chased him down.  John knew the city well, and was able to disappear in the crowd, losing the guard with ease.  He took the long way back to Molly, just in case, and couldn't stop thinking of the night he had run through the streets with Sherlock as they held tightly onto each other's hands.

Molly was thrilled with the time John had managed to steal.  They took six months each for themselves and left the extra year in the mailbox of a local homeless shelter.


John flipped forward on his calendar to where he had marked the day he would meet up with Sherlock again.  He looked at his note--bright, bolded font standing out against the white screen.  Half a year seemed very far away.


Winter 2170


Molly said that they needed to go bigger, and that meant travelling to a different zone.

They had enough time by now that tolls weren't much of a concern.  They decided to try Zone 10--wealthier than 13, but not so wealthy that the security systems would be impenetrable.  They stayed in a hotel room across from D&T Bank as they made plans and studied the building.


It was almost a disaster.  There were parts of the security system that Molly couldn't access, and John hadn't even got to the safe before he was facing the barrel of a security guard's gun.  John froze.  He knew that it wasn't uncommon for security forces in the wealthier zones to be armed, but he hadn't expected it from Zone 10.  Molly was shouting into the comm unit in John's ear, but he didn't speak for fear of revealing her presence to the guard.

John saw someone approaching the guard from behind, and tried not to look, lest the guard get suspicious.  The woman snuck up quietly and smacked the guard on the back of the head with the capsule she was carrying.  John looked up at her, dumbfounded, as the guard fell to the ground.

"So are you robbing this place or what?" she asked.


Her name was Sally Donovan, and it turned out she was a friend of Molly's.  They had grown up together, but Sally had moved to Zone 10 when her mother got a job promotion.  She helped John take almost fifty years in capsules, and they snuck past Molly’s hacked security cameras before anyone saw them.

Sally insisted on joining the team, and after seeing how happy Molly was to see her again, John didn't have any argument against it.


After much discussion and deliberation, Sally introduced them to a former colleague.  She assured them that Lestrade would be useful to their team, and she wasn't wrong.  He proved himself on the first job he joined, and made himself indispensable by the third.

They were running out of a bank, panicking over the sound of sirens in the distance, when Lestrade broke into a nearby car and somehow managed to override the AI controls.  They piled in, heartbeats hammering in their ears, and Lestrade drove them at top speed through the winding streets of Zone 7.

Sally leaned out the window and shot at the car that was chasing them, carefully aiming at the empty passenger side.  The windscreen cracked, and the driver couldn’t see.  He hit the brakes, crashing into the car behind him.  Lestrade grinned and gave Sally a strong pat on the shoulder before driving them away to safety.


Spring 2170


They had just finished a job in Zone 5.  Usually it was Sally who travelled back to one of the poorer zones to distribute the capsules, but this time, John insisted on going instead.  He said that he had unfinished business in Zone 13.  Molly was the only one who knew what he meant, and when Sally and Lestrade started to question him, she shook her head behind John's back, and they stood down.


On a bright spring morning not unlike the one on which Sherlock left, John returned to the beach, one year to the day.

He waited until the sun went down.  He kicked at the sand and breathed lungfuls of saltwater air.

Sherlock never showed up.


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