Chapter 1: Prologue – Stranger than fiction
The blade is bloody and he has no bullets left. He doesn't see Bill, but he knows the other man can't be far off.
”Get back!” someone shouts. ”Get back! NOW!”
He turns to run back to their base. Once, he looks over his shoulder, and the sight is horrifying. Hundreds of (slow) zombies moving towards them. Thank god their base hasn't been broken into.
But he knows it can't hold all of the zombies back if they don't start killing them again as soon as possible.
John Watson, an army doctor. John Watson, who had bad days. John Watson, who likes women and goes on dates but whose relationships are short. John Watson, whose sister is an alcoholic.
Sherlock can't stop deducing John. Sherlock can't stop being baffled by John.
Every time he thinks he's figured it all out, there's something new. Like now, John has been trying to find out Sherlock's opinion about zombies.
“You're always asking me about drugs. It's my turn. Are you high?”
John sighs and says: “Never mind.” He has a magazine he's reading.
“No, seriously. Why are you so interested in zombies?” Sherlock asks, curiously, staring at John, trying to read him. There's a hint of something but Sherlock can't put his finger on it.
John turns his head to look at Sherlock. “Max Brooks explains zombies quite well in his books, you know. It's surprising how your brother has let the book into book stores. Probably so that if there really is an outbreak here, at least some people will know what to do.”
Sherlock laughs. “John, you really can't believe in that stuff.”
John turns his head back. Sherlock can see that he's annoyed by him. “I won't save you when London is attacked by zombies.” He hums before adding: “Though knowing you, you'd just want to test them. And turn anyway.” He doesn't add that were there a zombie attack, he wouldn't leave Sherlock's side – not even if the infuriating man was turned.
Sherlock wonders how John can sound so serious about zombies.
Chapter 2: Chapter the first – The past is just as important
Ella had thought, for a long time, that the reason why John Watson didn't really talk about his time in the army, was what had happened or had something to do with his trust issues. But at some point she had realised that he couldn't talk about it. That it just wasn't allowed or even if it was, it was strongly advised that people didn't talk about it.
She wonders, even now, what John has seen. Wonders if it has been stranger than the things he nowadays sees with Sherlock Holmes – the man John seems infatuated with.
“Do you think imagination is over-rated?” John asks. His gaze shifts wildly about.
Ella looks at him, stares at him. “No. I don't. Why do you ask?”
“If I asked you to imagine zombies were real, would you?”
Ella wonders for a while before saying: “Yes. I would.”
“That's because you can. Living with Sherlock – you can't ask him a thing like that. Because 'it's impossible for zombies to exist'. Sometimes I wonder if he believes in anything that hasn't been proven to be real,” John tells her. He's looking at his hands and his hands are fists. Then he lifts his head and smiles at Ella. “I'm trying to tell Sherlock about my time in the army but it's quite hard. I'm not sure if I'll be able to make him believe me.”
Ella wonders what it has been like in the army when John leaves.
She wonders what zombies have to do with anything.
Sherlock goes around. He talks to Bill Murray and he finds out that Bill talks about army as little as John. And when he mentions zombies, it's not a laugh he gets as an answer – it's a surprised look, a smile that's so sad on the edges that it might make an emotional person break down. Sherlock can't understand.
He finds Mike Stamford and invites him for a coffee. He mentions zombies and Mike stares at him curiously and Sherlock can see that Mike has no idea what is going on with John. It's as obvious as the fact that Bill knows exactly what has happened.
Harry won't see him. It doesn't matter, Sherlock's quite sure John wouldn't have told her, anyway.
Molly tries to laugh when Sherlock starts talking about zombies. She really tries, but something in her face hardens and she locks some of the windows that usually let Sherlock see inside her, see everything she thinks. But he can see that Molly doesn't connect John to zombies. He wonders what would happen if the two would talk more.
He finds Sarah and she gives him a confused look at the word zombies. She says something about being amazed at Sherlock even suggesting such beings to be real; everyone knows they're just characters in books and movies and television.
Then he remembers John's words and wonders what his brother thinks about zombies. Naturally, he won't ask.
When Bill calls John, he isn't surprised.
“Is something going on?”
“I'm trying to tell him what went on back there.”
Bill huffs. “You know they don't like people knowing things like that.”
John smiles and wonders how long it's been since he's seen Bill. Too long. “His brother has given me permission. Now, what are you doing tomorrow?”
Sherlock goes over John's word again and again and again. John is out, with Stamford, he thinks, so he has time to mull it over.
He doesn't really want to believe in zombies, but John seems so determined and he seems to believe that Mycroft thinks zombies to be true, too.
There's a corner in his mind palace for everything supernatural. He has read the book John mentioned, for a case a year ago (there was a killer who thought he was getting rid of zombies, and John had mentioned that all the deaths were like zombie deaths and why hadn't Sherlock remembered this before?) and now it was important again.
When John gets back home, Sherlock is almost in a trance and John wonders for a while if he should interrupt Sherlock's thinking before Sherlock opens his eyes and stares at John.
“You were with Murray.”
John smiles. “Yeah. It was nice. Haven't had a good chat with him in a long time. Thanks, by the way, I don't think I'd have suggested it had you not gone to meet him.”
“Did you talk about zombies?” Sherlock is looking at John like he would an experiment. But it doesn't bother John, who knows why it is.
“Actually, yes. We haven't really spoken about them lately,” John answers. He wonders how long he'll sound like he was the maniac to Sherlock's ears and if he'll get any help from Mycroft.
Sherlock hums. “You should talk to Molly. She seems to know more about them than she wants to let on. Though I still don't see how zombies make any sense.” He blinks and gets up, walking towards John, staring into the doctor's eyes intensively. “Are you worried that I won't believe you?”
John shrugs. “As long as you're not trying to get me into an asylum, not really.”
“And you know I would never.” Sherlock frowns and places his hand on John's shoulder. “You are a strange man, John Watson. Extraordinary.”
John raises his brow. “Isn't that my line?” he asks before laughing and turning away. “I'm going to bed. Night, Sherlock.”
Chapter 3: 2. Today I spoke to someone who understands
John visits Molly.
Molly is looking at the new bodies. She's wondering where she'll start when someone walks in. She turns around and is surprised to see John. Alone.
“Hello,” she says and asks: “What are you doing here?”
John smiles. “Hey Molly. Sherlock told me you know about zombies. Even if he still thinks they can't be real.”
Molly stares at John. “What?”
“Would you like to have coffee?” John asks. Then he frowns. “Of course, somewhere where we won't be overheard, because talking about zombies usually makes people look at you weird.”
“What do you know about zombies?” Molly asks. She has taken a step towards John, trying to read something in his face.
“Well, I used to kill them.”
Molly closes his eyes for a moment. “My office. No one will bother us there.” She smiles a little. “I do have an office because some people think I shouldn't spend all my time in here. That I should have a place to eat and drink, even if I don't normally use it.”
She and John get themselves coffee and sandwiches and Molly guides John to her office.
“So, your days in the army were a bit different. Did you by any chance know one Amber Davies?” Molly asks, watching John intently, and she can tell the moment John enters his memories.
For a while it's quiet and Molly takes a bite of her sandwich. Then John opens his mouth. “Yes. She had been there for a few weeks before I was taken there. Amber was good at what she did. She died in an attack, I think. Why?”
Molly was nodding. “She was eaten by ten zombies.” She stares at her coffee when she continues: “She was my sister.”
John stares at Molly. Openly stares. “I'm sorry,” he says and reaches to touch her hand. “I really am.”
Molly smiles a sad smile. “It's been couple of years. She had told me what you were against, even if in the beginning I didn't really want to believe her.” She drinks her coffee and sets the mug on the table to look at John. “It's actually nice to finally have someone to talk to about this.”
John squeezes her hand. “Any time.”
Sherlock is making food when John comes home.
“Who are you and what have you done to Sherlock?” John asks, walking into the kitchen. He sits at the table and smells the air. “What are you making?”
“Haha. Old joke. You really should stop being so surprised every time I make food,” Sherlock says, turning to look at John. He's obviously reading John to know what happened with Molly, but John doesn't mind. “I'm making spaghetti and minced meat. Also, I made a cheesecake for dessert. So, how was your chat?”
John rolls his eyes. “You wouldn't believe me, anyway. Quite revealing. I didn't know Molly had a sister.”
Humming, Sherlock turns back to food and tests the spaghetti. “Actually, she has two, the other one being dead.”
“Oh. Well, I found out about the dead one. Used to serve with her, I did. I remember her death, too,” John says and closes his eyes for a while. “I'm starving, will it be ready any time soon?”
“Good. Bring me a plate, will you?” John asks, getting up and walking to the sofa. He turns the television on, knowing Sherlock will just tell him to get his own food. Which is why he stares at Sherlock, puts his plate down and tests his temperature when he actually does bring him food.
Sherlock huffs. “Really now.”
“Did you hit your head or something?”
“I'm merely trying to bribe you into telling me more about zombies,” Sherlock answers, sitting next to John.
John sighs, relieved. “Don't do that. It's scary. Just ask me if you want to know something, okay?”
Sherlock shrugs. “Tell me, then. How did Molly's sister die?”
“I'm not sure if I should. You should ask her.” John takes the plate and starts to eat his food. “Delicious,” he says and turns to watch the television.
“Okay then. Tell me how you first found out about zombies really existing.”
John sighs but puts his plate down. “I was patching a civilian when I got a letter. I thought it was a joke, at first. It was signed by MH, which I have later found out means your brother and--”
“...you were serious when you wondered how my brother had let that book into book stores?” Sherlock asks, staring at John.
“Well, yes, certainly. Though I wouldn't put it past him that he had told someone to write the book,” John answers, wonder evident in his voice. He smiles a little. “You know, you really should talk with him about this, too. He is the one who gave me the permission to tell you anything.”
“Yeah. Anyway, the letter told that I was asked to join the group leaving for Afghanistan to fight off zombies. I didn't believe it until I was just taken away and saw them for myself. It was like that for most of us,” John says. He turns to face Sherlock. “He was quite surprised when we met, you know. Not the first moment, but after he had checked my background.”
“I'm surprised he let me stay with you. Or you with me.”
“So am I.”
Chapter 4: 3. When it comes to it, I'll admit I never waited for this to happen
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Mycroft is, whatever Sherlock wants to say, very concerned about Sherlock. So when John Watson had appeared, he'd been careful with the men, collecting data. He'd been glad with what he'd seen. And surprised when he'd realised just who Dr. Watson was.
And when John had asked if he could tell Sherlock the truth, he'd thought only for a few seconds before saying yes.
Now he's talking to John, who's asking for help.
“I know you must have some kind of proof,” John says.
Mycroft sighs. “Of course I have. But I thought he believed you already.”
John licks his lips and stares at Mycroft. “You know how he is. He needs proof. Even if he does want to believe me, he can't, because it's only my word.” He looks thoughtful for a moment. “Though I'm surprised with him even wanting to believe me.”
“Well, he has shown much affection towards you, so I don't think it's that surprising,” Mycroft says wryly and types something on his computer. “Very well. I'll have a package sent at Baker Street. It should be enough to convince even Sherlock. If it doesn't convince him, the only thing that could would be to take him to see for himself.”
“But we don't want to do that, now, do we?”
“No. So do try to make him believe, will you, John?” Mycroft smiles and John shudders.
It's late and John hasn't come back. Sherlock is looking at the photographs and videos the package contained and he really wants to ask John about it all. It seems so real, and he really needs to know John's point of view. Needs to know if the John in the video is real.
So when John comes home, Sherlock looks at him and says: “I got a package and there was a video of you.”
John hangs his coat and walks to Sherlock. “I didn't know he had any material from there. But I shouldn't be surprised since it's Mycroft. Do you believe me, now?”
“Answer my questions.”
“Yeah, alright,” John says and sits next to Sherlock on the sofa so he'll see what Sherlock's looking at.
And Sherlock begins with deductions that soon change into questions like “What was the best way to kill a zombie?”, “Did you like it?”, “That's Molly's sister, isn't it?” (though the last one is more of a statement than a question).
John answers him. “A hit to the head. That's how I learned to shoot.” “No, not really. I didn't like the war, either, even if I do miss it.” “Yes, it is.”
With every answer, Sherlock finds more questions and John really shouldn't be surprised that when he looks at the time, it's already half past three. But he is.
“I need to go to bed. I have a morning shift tomorrow,” John says and gets up. “We'll continue tomorrow, okay?”
Sherlock nods, frowning at the pictures, then at John.
When John leaves, he thinks he hears Sherlock muttering to himself. “How does one solve a puzzle that has already been solved for them?” and he wonders what Sherlock means.
It's a boring day at the clinic. Sarah keeps giving John weird looks and he confronts her at lunch break.
“What is it?” he asks her and she laughs.
“Your boyfriend came by a couple of days ago, asking about zombies.”
Sarah stares at him. “Oh?”
“Well, what else am I supposed to say?”
Sarah huffs and turns to leave. She quips over her shoulder: “I see you didn't deny him being your boyfriend.”
“What good would it do? No one believes me anyway.”
(Their break-up hadn't been that clean, but they try, because he's a good doctor and she did [does] like him. He would appreciate her as a friend, but it's probably too much asked. Maybe some day, he thinks, maybe when she gets over it.)
“We have a case!” Sherlock says, running between the walls. John stares at him, then the walls and sighs. “Oh don't be like that.”
“You've ruined our walls.”
“I haven't! I've just covered them with pieces of paper, easily removed.”
John rolls his eyes before he walks into the kitchen to make some tea. “So what's the case then?”
Sherlock grins, John knows even if he doesn't see. “Triple homicide in a house locked from inside. The parents' skulls had been broken and someone had bitten the daughter.”
John nearly drops the teapot. “Bitten?”
“Yes. Pieces of her were missing.”
“I can't believe this is happening,” John says when he comes to living room. He looks at the pictures, hums, and then nods. “Make them check her parents. They've probably been dead longer than the daughter. Quite easy, this case. Not that anyone will believe.”
Sherlock frowns and starts taking the photos and papers of the walls.
“I need to call Mycroft,” John says, leaving Sherlock to it.
In which zombies. What did I do?