When John thought about it, he was pretty sure that Dean’s whole point of flirting with Mary the way he did was to try and actually get her into the relationship. It both confused and, secretly, turned John on. He wasn’t sure how many of threesomes Dean had participated or even started, but he did know that Dean was, in a way, happier when he was around Mary, or Sherlock’s Network, or even Johnson, the owner of the mechanics place that Dean worked at and who, according to Raz, also worked part-time as a bouncer and had known Sherlock.
It was something that John suspected Sherlock’s former allies liked about Dean – he was as atypical as Sherlock, even if he didn’t seem as bright. John supposed it helped that Dean also had a record, though his was far longer and peppered then any of the ones that had started to follow John and Dean around or ask them for advice, John for what was needed to change or get into the Army, and Dean for all the ‘other’ advice.
“Seriously, that’s what the Murray guy said,” Dean was telling Mary, a bright smile on his face, “Three Continents. And lemme tell you about--.”
“Dean,” John said with a sigh, “please don’t.”
“Don’t what? Don’t explain amazing sex we had? ‘Cause it was amazing. There’s this place--.”
Mary let out an aborted snort-giggle and shook her head, obviously happy with how they were acting. Dean visited a few times, normally around lunch or near closing, and was sitting near the front desk, still dressed in long sleeves and jeans and those combat boots of his. John was beginning to suspect that Dean had no other shoes, and also was thinking of getting him a new wardrobe when they could afford it.
“Dean, Dean!” The two turned as Victor Smith raced in, holding a newspaper in his hand. Of the group, Victor had taken most to Dean, and John though Dean had also taken to the kid because of his resemblance to Sam – same shaggy hair, same eyes that demanded you cared for him and would go from ‘righteous anger’ to ‘sowwy’ in a fifth of a second flat.
“Whoa, hold up,” Dean said, catching Victor and turning him around. The child was perhaps eight or nine, but thin and small for his age. Dean had all but adopted him and started teaching him how to eat right, or at least get food. “What’s the rush?”
Victor quickly handed the paper over, saying, “It’s about Sherlock. The kids got better and they said it wasn’t Sherlock, they said it was that Storyteller guy and more people are coming forward about it and that Reily lady is in trouble!”
John felt himself freeze, Dean glancing at him before taking the paper and standing, putting a hand on Victor’s head to ruffle his hair before he read through, then looked over at John. “John…you need to read this.”
No, I don’t, don’t make me read this, don’t… John reached over and took the paper anyway.
There is are ways that some things end up being taken in by the media, and the Sherlock story had been all the talk of the internet right before all the information found was taken back up by the news, mostly because of a few things.
Firstly, most of the stuff in America got it because it was two kidnapped children and their father, a diplomat, who came out and finally spoke about what happened. The young girl had been sad and obviously unhappy in her role of what had happened to the man that found them, and the full story, or as much of it as could be put out, was one that demanded John’s viewpoint.
Which meant John had to open up his e-mail and the blog, something he hadn’t done since his last post of how much he missed Sherlock. Dean and Mary had been there for him, as had the others in the area that enjoyed Doctor Watson and his way of caring for them, along with poor young Doctor Agar, who’d joined them despite having come from a good family and able to set up his own practice if he wanted, even if he was very young…so young that Raz and Higgins often questioned if his degree was real.
Then other reporters began to really pester the reporter, Kitty Reily, about her sources. Yes, a few of Sherlock’s old classmates came to speak about the events reported, but also about what they knew or what had happened. Having the other side, with a few obviously very sad about their part in picking on Sherlock in their own way, had knocked down much of the reports, and not having Richard Brook around anywhere, as well as no actual information about his supposed show, really helped.
It didn’t help John, though, and Dean could see that. For various reasons, John tried to go to 221 Baker Street more often, mostly to make sure Mrs. Hudson was alright as the media once more came to the area. While Dean did try to go with him when he could, he also couldn’t always be there, his boss couldn’t give him the time off to take care of John like Dean wanted. He was getting closer to mutinous, or at least thinking finding a way to take time-off for the various things that were coming up.
Dean understood he needed a family or something similar in order to function. He’d known that since the first time Dad handed Sam over to him and told him to get him out of the house safely. His dad had raised him to only trust that family, and to a degree only other Hunters. Gordon and a few others had broken that trust, making it so he had to just fall back on those he always trusted.
And then the last five years had happened. Dean didn’t think his Dad ever realized how much it hurt, to find himself alone, or how worried he’d been over what it was Dad had gone off to look into without Dean there. Granted, Sam and Dad had always fought and never seemed to take into account the toll it took on Dean, and how much he tried to stop it.
Then Dad had told him that secret, and it had just started the shit rolling downhill from there. There were too few victories and too many losses – Dad, Sam, Ellen, Jo…in the brief moments before Cas had returned, him and Bobby…Adam…
It was one of Dean’s biggest regrets, that he’d never learned more about Adam, never managed to talk to him or anything. That Dad had known and kept a family from them, had allowed one son to grow up sane and supposedly safe…that said son had only gotten to know their Dad when Sam left.
Dean had been glad to surround himself with new friends, to try and get John to laugh or blush or react in ways that meant he wasn’t thinking about Sherlock, or the depression that was over him because of his death and the general feeling of uselessness that the poor man had. Dean was working on his own revelations, ones that unluckily came from one of the older books he’d dug up shortly before this trial.
John wasn’t getting better, though. If anything, the media attention was worse, and was wearing him down more and more. It was nice that Lestrade got to keep his job and not worry about his rank, and it was also nice to see a few others taking the fall for something that, even on TV, looked staged and pretty much a way to just railroad someone. Having been on the receiving end of one…Dean stopped the thought, not wanting to remember the people he’d failed to save, or how quickly Lilith had found them. If all the demons had gone in, would that have made a difference? Dean doubted it. That attack was meant to make him feel hopeless, to push Sam more towards Ruby and her way of doing things, and he could see that now, but it still hurt like a knife to the chest.
It also helped that Lestrade apparently got a new guy under him, some kid who looked wide-eyed and far too young for the job. It really helped that a few people were suing Reily for misrepresentation and one, probably Mycroft after he’d worked his way to being the ‘grieving brother’, suing for slander.
It just didn’t help John. Each one reminded him of Sherlock as quickly as that reminded Dean of Cas, and he had to close himself to that, afraid that, if he thought too hard, if one of them said it, then the Angel would return, would give up Heaven again for him…and Dean couldn’t put him through that. He couldn’t watch him slowly losing power, or see him with only the smallest bit left.
Dean made a fist, tightly, riding himself of the memory. He wasn’t going to deal with that. He had to help John, had to get Mrs. Hudson and John through this storm. It was all he was good at – helping people – and he’d be damned again if he didn’t make sure John was safe.
It all came to a head when someone ruined Sherlock’s headstone.
Lestrade never wanted a day like this again.
It wasn’t that he was still angry at the reassignment, and still hurting from Sally’s betrayal and her sudden promotion. He’d managed to get Anderson on his side, which was good, and Stan Hopkins was a good sort. Dimmock described him as one of those wide-eyed cops you see on TV so often, and it fit. He made Lestrade feel old.
The report of someone having…well, the best word for it was ‘ruin’…Sherlock’s headstone was not something you want to hear about, especially not from Donovan after she and a few others had been sniping Sherlock (still, the man was dead, and now proven right in all ways, and yet you still sit there and…) with the few colleagues that felt the same way. Too many others disliked speaking ill of the dead, and even fewer liked the facts behind it.
What really got Lestrade, though, was a text from Mycroft, who had ordered him around more than once during his association with Sherlock, asking him to come to 221b.
Lestrade came in just as Dean got to the top of the stairs, yelling, “SCREW YOU” before storming out of the flat, Mrs. Hudson quickly whispering to Lestrade, “John’s missing. He’s been missing since after we finished…Mycroft said it’s handled, but Dean…” she shook her head. “He’s a nice boy. I don’t know why Mr. Holmes doesn’t like him.”
He nodded, waving her off as he walked up the stairs. He had a guess, after that incident with the Baskerville ghost, and he did wish he knew what happened to Sam and that angel-friend of Dean’s. The man had been angry at the…thing…demon, and Lestrade took the hint that something had come between Dean and his friend, to make him react the way he did.
“Ah, Inspector,” Mycroft said, looking unruffled enough for Lestrade to know he’d probably been terrified earlier and wants to reassure himself that he had some power, “I had a few questions for you.”
It had been surprisingly easy to find what he needed, and even more surprising considering it had been on one of the few days he’d gone with Dean to look for books and information about Hell. That had stopped a day before the newspapers reported on the change in public feelings about Sherlock.
John wasn’t sure what Dean had found, but he knew what he found might help today.
The week had been hard, one that ground him down worse than Afghanistan. He’d expected to be on-edge there, to worry about roadside bombs and death and injuries. His only thought for most of it had been to get through the week and not have to worry about it.
Of course, that was before someone trashed…
That wasn’t the right word. John wasn’t sure there was a word for it. Even Dean, who’d accompanied them and had dug up GRAVES for a living before moving in with John, and even he looked disgusted.
John couldn’t handle it. He’d walked out when he saw Mycroft there, Dean trying to stop him but unable to.
His leg hurt. His hand was shaking, the worse sort of tremors he’d had since he got back. And all he could remember were the instructions, were the hints of what could happen, of what they could do, and about the dream he’d had, about the visitation from weeks ago…
It was hard to find a crossroads, especially one that he could dig into and put the box in, and he managed to find one under a few overpasses. He hadn’t taken much to find what he needed, but despite this, despite having the knowledge that he’d be giving up his soul…his limp was still there. His hand still shook, and he took in a breath before walking up and bending over, ready to dig.
The small hand shovel was grabbed and tossed away violently, the box knocked out of John’s hand with a hard swat right before Dean landed the first blow.
“You stupid son-of-a-bitch!” Dean roared, coming after him. John was trying to clear his head, having not tussled with anyone really except Sherlock, and found himself disoriented as he was pulled up by Dean, eyes wide with anger and something deeper. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? What the fuck possessed you to do something that stupid?”
John hit back, low and hard, trying to get Dean off of him. Both knew how to fight, and John, as a medical man, knew where all the pressure points were, where the cluster of nerves settled and where it would hurt the most when hit. Dean, coincidentally, knew how to fight dirty, and did with John, still demanding to know what he was thinking, what he was doing, how he could be that stupid.
The week had hurt, that day had hurt even worse, and John finally shouted, managing to get the upper hand on Dean, straddling him and holding him down, feeling the blood run down from a split lip and knowing he’d be all bruises in the morning, “I wanted him back. I wanted Sherlock back, to fix this all! To tell all the jury what they’d had for breakfast, to help Lestrade and anyone else who asks. I want him to deal with this, to work on all those cases, to complain about being bored. If it means I get that for ten years, five…anything, just so long as he’s alive. I can’t handle this, Dean. I need a miracle. I need him to not be dead. Let me have this miracle…please, Dean.”
Dean turned the tables on him so quickly that John didn’t have time to blink, the American’s fist going into the ground next to John’s head.
“It’s not a miracle. It’s a curse. They use you once, they don’t stop. They’ll demand more, and more, and cut it out of you in so many ways until you’re not sure what part of you is left.” He was shaking, looking so angry at everything it nearly scared John. “For everything I learned, for everything I gave up to try and keep my life, my family, to just have things taken away again. To have every person who ever gave a damn about me die, or leave...” His hand moved, and John saw he’d hit the ground with enough force that his knuckles were bleeding and had dirt in the wound. Still, it didn’t stop Dean from using it to grab John’s shirt and pull him up with it. “I know it hurts, John. I know the world could go to Hell around us and we wouldn’t care, not really. But I’m begging you, don’t make the same mistake I did.”
John tried to think back, tried to remember what this was. He recalled that Dean told him about scars he no longer had, that he should have over the ones that he currently carried…
“you…made a deal?”
Dean slowly let him go, sitting back and looking haunted, worse than John ever was. The man was a soldier as well, and both had no orders, nothing. They were pushed to the side and told to just stay there.
“Sam…he got killed. I didn’t make it in time, the guy…he just…he pushed a blade through my brother, so hard it came out the other side.” John had an idea of what Sam meant to Dean, that the younger man wasn’t just his brother, but a sort of son, the one person he could care for, he had to be proud of. Dean had sacrificed a great deal to ensure Sam was happy, to ensure Sam was in school, that he managed to get a full-ride to college despite what would happen. Dean cared for Sam, loved him in a way that John supposed Sherlock loved Lestrade – he would argue and pick on him and do all sorts of things, but in the end, if Lestrade was in trouble, Sherlock would have dropped everything to make sure his friend was alright, to care for him. “I lost it. I had no reason to live, and I could only think of one thing to do…I didn’t believe in Heaven, back then. I didn’t believe in God or Angels or anything, because they were supposed to watch over my family and didn’t. I’d just lost Dad, I had this…hole…in my gut, from when I’d nearly accepted peace, accepted death.”
Please, God, let me live…
“So I made the deal. I gave my soul away, and took what they gave me. I had a year…a year to try and fix what happened, a year to get Sam ready for it.” He swallowed. “It didn’t work. He spent too much time trying to save me, then he spent time trying to get me back…then he just focused on revenge. He didn’t even try to find another way, to stop what was going on. He just drove himself straight into doing the stupidest thing of his life, and I did what could to try and help, but…” he let go of John, a hand moving to the scar on his arm. “I was Saved, and had to do what Heaven told me…that included letting my brother fall, letting him become Lucifer’s meatsuit while I got worn by Michael and they had their fight to end the world. That’s what they demanded of me. Hell…demanded I be tortured, and torture, and turn into a demon.” His hand fell and John realized suddenly how broken they both were, how impossible it might be to fix them. “They aren’t miracles, John. They’re all deals, and all the ever want from you is your soul.”
John slowly sat up, finally saying, “Let me up.” Dean did so, helping him stand as the pains from their fight started to make themselves known. He’d hurt Dean, and had been hurt by Dean. They probably looked very much like they’d been in a fight, and John didn’t mind somehow.
“We…we need to go back to Baker Street. I need to talk to Mycroft.”
Dean looked at him, confused, but slowly nodded, picking up the box that John had used to hold the items for summoning a Crossroads Demon. He opened up the box, pulling out John’s photo, one he hated from the newspaper and with only a piece of Sherlock, wearing the deerstalker he’d so hated, before tossing the items away and throwing the box in the trash as they headed out.
John winced a bit, cursing that his limp was back as a car pulled up, Anthea stepping out and blinking when she looked up, seeing them looking hurt and beaten. “Sir?”
“It’s alright,” John told her, knowing she didn’t think so, “we…give us a lift to Baker Street?”
She glanced at Dean, obviously disapproving, but John glared at her and saying, “I’m not going without him.”
She sighed, then let them in, going back to typing. Dean didn’t flirt with her, a sure sign he either didn’t trust her or was still thinking of what he’d admitted to John. John wasn’t sure if this was another part of the reason Dean didn’t talk about his friend, why he didn’t call up any of those from his old life and instead buried himself in working on cars and helping John. It was odd, seeing him so serious instead of trying to relax, as he had been with Mary or Agar, or with Raz and Higgins and Victor.
But John noticed a few other things too. Anthea was worried, was obviously thinking on the information that the government had about Dean. John had gotten an e-mail from Mycroft about it, along with a small note of ‘knowing who you’re living with’. John had only bothered to read it because Dean had seen it and asked to read it as well, making off-color jokes about the person who’d written up the psych evaluation on him and Sam, then went off on a tale about how he’d once done a job in a mental hospital.
John didn’t like the information provided there, almost as much as he liked Dean’s ignoring it until now. The record was, sadly, long and it had things on it that John knew Dean hadn’t stayed to read, like a few reports from his school days about being a ‘talent’ that had slowly disappeared as he grew older…a sign of his father pulling him more and more into Hunting and forcing him to care less and less about school. There had been a few older reports about a fire, and the one casualty, and a picture of a sad boy, holding a small baby in his arms as his father, haunted as well, sat on top of a Chevy Impala. Even at four, John recognized the boy Dean had been, the moment his life had been changed.
The drive was silent and any move by Dean was watched, making John suddenly aware of what the young man had to deal with concerning nearly all law enforcement. It was a wonder he let Lestrade get so close, really.
When they reached home, Mrs. Hudson was obviously disturbed, John managing to calm her a bit by saying Dean needed to get himself looked over while John went up to talk to Mycroft. Dean had sent him a look but nodded and let Mrs. Hudson take him away, trying to make light of the bruises now forming as she complained. John wondered if Dean let her do that because it was just something he’d always needed, or because he’d never really had a mother figure in his life. John waited a bit before heading up, looking over to see that Lestrade was there, seated and looking uncomfortable, while Mycroft sat in the usual chair, attempting to look calm. It was odd that after living with Sherlock, John could start to understand Mycroft a bit.
“Oh crap, John, what happened?” Lestrade asked, standing as Mycroft frowned at how John looked, John waving off Lestrade’s attention with a simple, “I’m fine, Greg, I just…”
“Dean did that,” Mycroft said, frowning and not making it at all a question.
“I was going to do something stupid,” John countered, moving fully into the living room before adding, “Dean and I need to get out of London.”
Mycroft’s frown deepened at that, concern showing as he shifted in the seat. “Excuse me?”
“I told you,” John said, “We need to get out of London, and I wanted you to get us somewhere nice, quiet, and out of the way.”
Mycroft looked annoyed as Lestrade helped John sit, getting him an ice pack as Mycroft said, “I don’t think you--.”
“I know about Dean,” John said as he accepted the ice pack from Lestrade, “I knew before you sent me the e-mail. Thank you, by the way,” he added with all sarcasm, “I need to know he was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic with a narcissistic personality disorder and an unhealthy relationship with his brother and never actually stayed anywhere for longer than a week or so.” He put the pack against the cheek that Dean had hit the hardest, wincing at the cold. “I know you don’t like him, Mycroft. I don’t care. We need to get out of town, to somewhere quiet. If we don’t…if I stay here, after what happened today, I’m not going to survive.” John finally moved the ice pack and leaned forward, glaring at Mycroft. “This is your fault. You don’t get to judge me or Dean. This is all I’m going to ask of you, for what you did. After that, I don’t want to hear from you again.”
Mycroft joins John and Dean on their holiday. An old friend comes to visit Dean and talk sense into the lot of them. Mycroft is asked to investigate a strange incident in the town and learns a bit more about the supernatural then is normally healthy.
It was not the most ideal situation, but Mycroft trusted his assistant to take care of everything. She’d done a wonderful job in caring for everything, and it had only taken this long to fix things because of Mycroft’s own distress, mostly at the fact that the body in the morgue was not his brother.
But Sherlock was hidden, wherever he was, and apparently didn’t need his help. John, however, did, and Mycroft did not want to leave John alone for a week or more with a reputed serial killer.
It was how Mycroft came to be in a house nearby, having rented two and asking only to speak to Dean about his past. Dean had, not surprisingly, been busy caring for John, and both refused most of Mycroft’s attempts to speak to him. At the same time, Mycroft had to admit, it was a nice place they’d found. The two houses were old and secluded, with only the larger house of a local family, who’d gained some money from mining in the 19th century and turned it around in the 20th, meaning they were in high standing and had a great deal of money.
Mycroft avoided them. He hated gossip but it was an essential part of politics, and knew the family was having problems among the four children, but could not remember what it was about. He instead put his concentration into going out at the same time Dean and John did, which could be anytime from horribly early to late, and walking with them. It took a few days, nearly a week, before he managed to catch up to them.
He hated the lack of a schedule. That was the one thing his brother and he disagreed on. Mycroft’s mind formed around schedules, around times and figures and only allowed in the chaos of politics, which wasn’t really chaos anyway, or international events, which were only chaotic if you didn’t understand everything. So he was a bit surprised, nearing a week of their vacation, when he arrived at the house to find Dean sitting at the table, coffee in front of him as he read through some book he’d recently gotten in the library, an old book discussing Hell of all things. Mycroft recalled that Dean’s father, a survivalist with religious and superstitious zeal for those he hunted and killed, and had shared that with his eldest. Dean looked up when he came in, motioning to the chair beside him. “We met up with the pastor here, Roundhay. John went to visit him for breakfast…had a bad night, so he needed to be alone. Figured we should talk.”
Mycroft managed a small smile before sitting down opposite Dean. He wasn’t sure he liked the idea of being alone with him, so far from most others. “Of course. I take it John explained how we came here?”
“Yeah, well, you deserved some of that,” Dean said before taking a sip of coffee, looking back at the book then setting it down again. “I wanted to apologize, for what I said when we first met. I’m not saying that you didn’t deserve some of it, but I know what it’s like to be between a rock and a hard place.” He considered for a long moment, reading a bit before saying, “So…whole FBI file on me?”
“As much as I could find. A few school reports…a report about the fire.” He saw Dean look up at him, his face oddly neutral. “My condolences on…what happened, and afterward.”
“Thanks,” Dean muttered, drinking more of the coffee before saying, “Do you want to talk about what happened?” Mycroft frowned before Dean clarified, “With Sherlock.”
He felt himself sigh, looking back at the book that Dean was looking at as he said, “I don’t know why I should.”
Dean let out a sort of snort. “Trust me, I don’t either. I wasn’t exactly raised to be Mr. Tender Loving Care or anything.” He sat back, looking at Mycroft for a moment before adding, “I did raise my brother, though. I’m guessing you had a fair hand in raising yours?”
“I’ll play mother…” “I did. Not quite as much as you had in raising your brother, if what I got from the reports are true.”
Dean let out his own sigh. “You know, we could just stop playing this game or whatever and talk. Our brothers are…” he stopped, as if saying it was too painful, and reached to close the book. “My dad had another family.”
Mycroft had not found that. “I…am sorry.”
“Nothing to be sorry for. They got to be normal,” Dean said, a small tinge of bitterness in his tone. “It got them killed, by something that wanted revenge for what Dad did. I found the body.”
Mycroft didn’t bother saying he was sorry, remembering something he didn’t want to, and instead he said, “Your brother, Sam…he’s dead?”
“Yeah,” Dean said, looking down, “He…jumped, too. We were fighting out own battles. I explained it to Sherlock, once.”
“What did you say?”
Dean looked at him before saying, his green eyes serious, “I said that it will take a lot, that you’ll lose people you love and care about, that you’ll deal with the worse and best of yourself to finish it.” Pain flared up behind his serious expression. “I lost a lot of friends, and family, in this job. My brother got out of it, and he lost those he cared for too. In the end, it was down to him to make a choice, to fight something, and he did it.” Dean looked down, then over and closed the book. “I would give up a lot to save him from that. I would do whatever it took, if it meant my brother was alive and happy.”
Mycroft remembered how happy Sherlock had been, those few times, and how he’d felt betrayed at others. He recalled all that had happened, and finally remembered the fake body in the morgue, and the knowledge that he couldn’t find him, anywhere, and what that might mean with the web that Moriarty had woven still up, even without the spider at its center, or at least with the spider having disappeared for now.
“I tried to make him happy,” Mycroft finally admitted, “I was aware of what a younger brother meant. I was fine with it. I was happy, and for a long while, he seemed to worship me for all I knew. Then…it changed, when he started going to school, when there were…problems, with the family, because of Sherlock. We were so alike, and so different. It became difficult for some, and trying for most. I did what I could, and then Sherlock found drugs…” Mycroft also tried to not think about that either. “I was glad for Lestrade, and now for John. As much as I want to, I couldn’t always watch over him. When Moriarty appeared, and showed an interest, I tried to shift it. Instead, I only harmed more people.”
Dean was silent for a bit before saying, “I’m not gonna hurt John. I know what they saay about me. I know my own faults. I drink too much, sleep less then I should, and had an unhealthy codependent relationship with my family. I probably have untreated PTSD to a point that every shrink would want the credit for helping me out, and none would want to deal with me. I evade the question if it hits too close to home, and tend to get myself in trouble and dangerous situations. I’m a man-whore who’ll sleep with anything willing but am chivalrous enough to not look at a girl’s ass if she asks me not to, and beat up anyone who gives her problems, and not so I can get into her pants.” He took a breath. “I’m going to try and help him, Mycroft. He needs it, I need it…but we need space. We’re in limbo right now, just…waiting for a change, for someone to get us out of neutral and drive off somewhere.”
Mycroft nodded slowly, understanding. He didn’t think he could give them what they needed, beyond this rest, and he found that at times he needed it as well.
“John doesn’t wish to deal with me anymore,” Mycroft admitted, “so long as you can protect him, I’ll be fine.”
The two quieted as the front door opened, John walking in and frowning at Mycroft. “Morning. You should be glad you didn’t go to breakfast with Father Roundhay, Dean.”
“That bad, huh?” Dean asked, a small smile on his lips as John nodded, taking a seat with an exhausted sigh. “What happen, the padre too hyper for breakfast?”
“A bit,” John admitted, “but it was more about the company then the Reverend. He is lending out a room, so I got to meet the guy who lives there. He wasn’t very friendly.”
Mycroft frowned at the information before asking, “You wouldn’t happen to have a name, would you?”
John glanced at him, annoyed, but said, “I think it was Mortimer something. I didn’t really catch it.” He looked unhappy at the mention of the guy, shifting before saying, “He knew about what was going on in London. Offered me a paper and everything, which got the Reverend to notice and talk as well. It wasn’t very relaxing.”
Dean looked over at him and motioned to the book, then Mycroft. “Neither was mine. Wanna go on a walk?”
“No…I think I’ll just sit in, today.” He glanced at Mycroft, “You got what you needed. Please leave.”
Mycroft let out a breath. “I suppose I did. I’ll try not to bother you, then.” He stood, nodding to Dean before heading out, hoping that John would, one day, forgive him.
Mycroft met with the Reverend a day later, the man obviously a bit happy and part of the group that ‘read John’s blog’, and commented that he was sad it had been left alone for so long. Mycroft managed a smile and a nod, not really wanting to talk about it, and the Reverend had apparently picked up on that, instead turning to talking about some of the village. It was a welcome distraction from what had happened yesterday. He didn’t know how it was he kept messing things up in Watson’s life, how it was that his brother’s last text to him, and therefore last request (take care of John) couldn’t really be fulfilled.
Mycroft woke early two days later, walking towards town when a car quickly drove by him, heading towards the large mansion in the area. It was owned by a family, the Tregennis, and consisted of a sister and her two brothers…
He felt his mind catch up, the lull it had gone into while trying to figure out Dean Winchester snapping it back to the information he knew.
No, there were THREE brothers, one in disgrace after an affair and an attempt at stealing family funds. His name was Mortimer.
Mycroft managed to make it to the cottage that Dean and John were staying at before the Reverend, who appeared and was begging for help in the investigation.
It was a good thing, too, considering Dean answered the door naked and looked not at all impressed or embarrassed at Mycroft’s presence, despite probably knowing about the fact that John had loved Mycroft’s brother.
What hadn’t caught Mycroft’s eye was the nakedness, though that was part of it (Mycroft could ignore such things, but that didn’t mean he didn’t appreciate beauty when he saw it). No, it was all of the rest.
Dean Winchester was covered in scars that could only be received if attacked or hurt by humans with superior strength or large animals. Over his heart was a pentagram-like symbol of some sort, and on his shoulder was a burn mark, red and angry, that could only have been put there by a hand that was burning at the same temperature as hot iron.
“Dude, I am seeing someone,” Dean pointed out as he headed into the bedroom, putting on a pair of pants, “I thought John told you to screw off and go home.”
“I am on holiday as well,” Mycroft pointed out, “and sadly do not need the attention anymore then he does. I came to tell you that I believe something happened at the Tregennis house today.”
“The who and why do I care?”
Mycroft sighed as the Reverend arrived, looking like he’d run all the way here. “Mr. Holmes, please, you must help! It’s the Devil’s work, I know it!”
John had not wanted to go, saying he wouldn’t investigate unless the police asked, and since he was ‘just a doctor’, he couldn’t really do much but examine the body.
Dean sat with him, a shirt on and covering the mark as he glared at Mycroft, who had agreed to ‘look’ but not ‘consult’. He shouldn’t have been so eager to try and get a rise out of Mycroft, now the bastard had questions.
The Reverend left just as a calm, familiar voice said, “No, it’s alright, I just got in and was lookin’ for a friend.” That got Dean to stand, John frowning at him as he looked around Mycroft and the Reverend to find Missouri Mosley on the doorstep, smiling at him and with a bag of things. “Dean! It’s so good to see you.”
“Missouri.” He hugged her, finding himself shaking and damnit, he shouldn’t be, he’d gone to see her a few times after what happened at their old house, had called her on a few things, had even called to say ‘goodbye’ a few days before he’d died. She knew what was going on, and what he needed it, and honestly, he was so glad she’d survived when so many others hadn’t….
Dean didn’t want to think about Pamela, or Ellen, or Jo, or Sam or…
“Oh, sweetie…” she said, pulling back and touching his cheek, “Come on, let me inside so I can meet this friend of yours.”
John frowned but welcome Missouri in, Dean having taken her bag and put it into the main room while she gave John a small smile before saying to Dean, “You have Bobby worried, Dean. You should give him a call.”
Dean paused in the doorway before saying, “Nothin’ to talk to him about,” and disappearing into the bedroom before she could argue. Crap, he forgot how scarily perceptive Missouri could get. He was glad he’d never spoken to her about—
Stop it. Last time he’d thought anything about…about the past, John had gotten something in his head, trying to make a Deal. Dean didn’t know how he knew, only that he did, and it scared the crap out of him.
Nothing good came from Deals. Even if Heaven didn’t think they were in the same business as Demons, they really were. They only wanted your soul, to tear at it until—
He looked up at John as he walked into the bedroom, concern evident on his face. Dean shook his head, trying to stop the thoughts that were going through him. He hated this.
“Missouri’s worried, but she…” John let out a small huff of a laugh. “I’d forgotten…what it felt like to have someone who knows you so well, without you ever saying anything to them.” He walked over to slowly grip Dean’s arm. “We won’t talk about it. Missouri promised we won’t. It’s up to you to speak to your friends, not me, and not her. She can only guide you so much, Dean.”
Dean finally swallowed, looking at John. “I hate this. I hate…I hate what’s happening, I hate hiding like this. But what the hell else am I supposed to do? I can’t have a normal life, John. I…it’s just…”
John managed a small smile before shifting himself and Dean so he could wrap his arms around him. “I keep telling you, Dean, I never had normal either. Not in the way you remember it. Not in the way some others have it. That’s why I could stay with Sherlock, why I took all of what he said and tried to argue it back.” He paused, “Moriarty promised…promised he’d burn the heart out of Sherlock. They didn’t have to look at me, for the meaning to be known. It’s…difficult, having that distinction, having to carry and be the heart and emotion for Sherlock, and then having him--.” He stopped. John, like Dean, had the points that, if pushed, would cause them to quiet and not speak. “It’ll be alright, Dean. We’ll work to make it alright.”
Walking into the dining room, where the body and two brothers had been found, Mycroft had to admit he saw what his brother had so loved about his cases. The interactions and nuances of people who were thrown into the spotlight because of tragedy were indeed almost as stimulating as politics, but Mycroft found that he only really had a knack for listening as the police questioned the few staff that had seen what happened. It appeared the main housekeeper, who’d found the bodies, and the elderly doctor who’d arrived later, were both feeling ill after they’d entered, and some of the more superstitious staff members didn’t want to go in.
The Reverend had brought him here because his tenant was the brother to the deceased and the two brothers, Mortimer Tregennis. He explained to the police that he’d come over to speak to his family for a bit and, after a family game night that they’d revived to try and mend old wounds, he’d left. He did mention his brother having seen something outside, but not anything else. A tipped flower pot, which Mycroft apologized for due to his inexperience at a crime scene, told him another, odder story.
After asking for permission, Mycroft entered the room where the trio had last been seen alive. The two brothers had been taken to hospital, both muttering, laughing and screaming with a look in their eyes that said they’d taken leave of all sense and would probably be committed for life. Alice Tregennis, the sister, had died, and from the look of sheer horror and the wounds on her arms, all confirmed as self-inflicted, attempting to fight something off.
Mycroft sighed as he walked towards the head of the table, where Alice had sat, the board and pieces scattered across the room by whatever had happened here, and slowly made out what had happened.
Near the fireplace, he slowly bent, looking at something caught in the grate before tentatively reaching out, taking it out of it’s place. It was a small leather bag, with a strange mark on it done in marker and partly burned away. The leather was scorched and Mycroft remembered that it had been a cold night last night, odd for this time of year, and that a fire had been started.
Mycroft looked over the bag again before noticing another, with a similar mark and also partly burned. He frowned and picked it up as well before slowly standing, looking at the ashes. There was enough to indicate someone had thrown these two into the fire, and while they only partly burned, a third had burned enough for him to not retrieve it.
Three bags…three people, and only one burned fully, taking a life, while two others…well, it was close enough.
He put them away, frowning at himself for it as he walked out and directed the constable to the fireplace before bidding the group that he had to leave. He wasn’t a consulting detective, and he doubted he could really work out everything, but he knew that the Tregennis family had its ghosts and problems. He knew that Mortimer was estranged and living in the village, and had left the mansion in a hurry after he’d passed the gate. He also knew that, if anything had been outside, it would have to be at least seven foot tall.
Missouri had suggested a walk after John and Dean had talked and changed, encouraging John to talk about the area and what he knew. Dean said little, standing sullenly to one side or the other, or going off to look at the older stone items and returning a bit later, which caused John to frown a bit.
“I’m doing better,” he admitted to her as Dean once more headed off to look at something nearby, “I mean…I guess I am.”
She patted his arm, the feeling from her all of warmth and something motherly and knowing. “You are, but you’ve had so much happen to you, first with one war, and then after what happened with your friend…” John looked down as Missouri continued. “I don’t mean to pry, dear, but it seems that both of you have your problems, and working through the ones you have helps Dean work through his. I told his father long ago to try and get that poor boy help, or at least let him settle for a bit and work through everything, but his daddy couldn’t face it either. Dean buried himself in keeping the family alive and together, and without that…well, he’s like you at times, without purpose. You can’t help your sister, and you can only handle so much for that landlady who acted like a mother to you. I’m not saying you should move back in. But you have to work out things for yourself, John.”
“Dean needs to as well. I’ve said it far too many times. Dean will do what he can to protect his brother and father, or those he sees as family. But they pushed him away, and without that, he can’t do much more then try to get another one.”
John nodded, looking down. “I…I can’t talk to anyone about Sherlock. Not really.”
“I didn’t know the man, though I can tell he was a handful.” She paused before saying, “You and Dean love someone, but are holding each other together right now, because of what happened.”
“Dean could at least call his, but…”
“Dean has never been one to ask the right questions. When he learns something, it changes his perspective. He knew long ago that his angel was wearing someone else, but never asked for permission from either. Dean…” she sighed. “I met the boys once, and was a bit amazed at them. Dean is called the Righteous Man by a lot of beings, because he’ll always do the right thing. Doesn’t matter if it’s the quickest, or the one that will work, but if it’s right, he’ll do it. He has his faults, but he’ll do what’s right. Sam always did what he thought was right, and never took another person’s opinion into consideration at times. It got him into trouble, I can tell, with Dean and with how their relationship worked.” She looked over at John, who seemed to be considering this, “Those two were to be Lucifer and Michael, though I think Michael got lost in what was supposed to be ‘right’. You, though…you’re the Heart of someone, holding all that he should – his emotion and love, his hopes and dreams. You saw straight through that poor boy and he didn’t know what to do about it, because he saw straight through you as well, and realized what he had.”
John let out a low snort. “What did he have?”
“The one thing that would keep him from extreme boredom, from the dangerous things that hurt him before. He had someone who could hold his Heart, and his Mind. For all that he tried to understand you, for all that he might hit every point, he’d always get that one thing wrong, wouldn’t he? And the minute he figured it out, it made sense.”
“Harry is short for Harriet” “He thought so.”
Missouri chuckled and patted John on the arm as Dean came back. “It’s always the ones that think of themselves as normal who have the most to worry about, when the time comes for great battles. It’s them who show how extraordinary the world can be. Dean, don’t you think about wandering away. Come and sit with us for a bit.”
The trio moved to a nearby broken wall, Dean taking a seat to the other side of John, looking down the coast and seemingly lost in thought. He’d been avoiding Missouri and silent since the latest mention of his angel, and John wished he could just call down someone and demand answers, but he also knew that it wasn’t a good idea. The protective items that Dean had given him had worked on his own dreams and anything trying to find their way into his mind, but the one interaction had, at least, made him wonder. Why had something tried to get him to resurrect Sherlock? If Missouri was right, then it could be because Sherlock was supposed to do something important. He could see that, but…
“Excuse me,” the trio turned at the voice, coming face-to-face with a man who wore a wild head of hair and a thick beard, reminding John briefly of a lion of some sort, “I heard from the Reverend that you’re John Watson?”
John sighed, standing, “Yes?”
“The Reverend said you were looking into the murder at the Treggenis’ home.”
John frowned at that, looking to Dean and then Missouri before shaking his head. “No. I mean, the Reverend came by earlier, but I didn’t go up to the house. I’m here on holiday, with my friends,” he motioned to Missouri and Dean.
“Then you know nothing of what occurred?”
“Again, sir…I don’t solve cases. I helped…someone who did, but he’s been dead for nearly four months now. I’m just a doctor.”
The man looked annoyed, Dean frowning at him before turning and stalking away, John letting out a sigh before sitting down, a bit confused. “What was that about?”
“Jerk just—“ Dean started, stopping and looking over at the psychic that had come to visit them. “Missouri?”
“We should head home,” she finally managed, standing and looking shaken. “Come on.”
The two stood and walked back, moving so Missouri was between them, the woman not complaining before Dean seemed to understand and whispered, “Witch?”
“An old one, and a dangerous one,” Missouri said, “the Reverend and Mr. Holmes are in danger.”
Dean let out a hissing curse, John swallowing and nodding. He’d only heard about witches from Dean, and learned that there were a variety of categories to them. Ones that attached themselves to pagan gods, or those that were hedgewitches and similar, often were not problematic, as many gods didn’t demand a lot besides worship when they could, and others only gave them power with understanding on the dangers of it.
The ones to be careful of, though, were those that had aligned themselves with demons, or with power from something similar, like grimores or games of chance. Dean had explained his few meetings with those types, of what he’d learned before the end of the Deal (John assumed he told him this because of what had happened, because of what John had nearly done…) and of the various curses that Dean had, sadly, been put under in one way or another.
John didn’t want to think about it, but if this was something like that, then it meant he and Dean would have to deal with it.
He glanced over at Dean, who appeared stone-faced but determined. John knew that, just as his old life was coming back to him, so was Dean’s.
Mycroft did not like what he’d found at the Tregennis’, nor did he like the few pieces of information he could get. While he did want to bring in Doctor Watson on this, he was loathed to because of the events from yesterday and the days before, as well as the fact that, in doing so, he was sure he’d only hurt him again.
Mycroft sighed as he pulled out his mobile, opening up the last message he’d received, an hour after his brother was supposed to have died. That he couldn’t find Sherlock at all, that he’d had to keep up the charade of being a grieving brother when all he wanted was to find Sherlock and ask him what was going on, what he needed, to just offer him help, was painful. That he’d had to do so while watching it tear Doctor Watson and others apart was nearing torture.
Take care of John – S
Considering what had happened with Moriarty, and all the mess that had left, made it hard. The revelation from the two children had helped clear that, but also hurt John. Whoever had done…that…to Sherlock’s grave was not someone who, in Mycroft’s opinion, needed to be left on the streets any longer. The new rising star of the newspapers, a woman named Ashley Frank, had also been rather cutting to anything that tried to smear Sherlock’s name, instead looking through what she could of public records, John’s blog, and others before writing and exposing ‘the hurtful truth’, as she called it.
Mycroft would have to take care with her. The woman hated secrecy, and people around her said she seemed to have a way of getting others to suddenly tell the truth, no matter what it was. That could get dangerous, if she was trying to make a name for herself and took things too far.
Mycroft looked back down at the partly-burned bags he’d found at the Tregennis’ home. The outside was made of leather, a cheap sort that could easily been bought anywhere, with a marker symbol that he could only partly make out. Inside of the one that was least charring was a piece of something that looked like a game piece of some sort, a few burned pieces of some sort of herb, and a somewhat charred bone of something, looking like a chicken bone or something from a bird of some sort. The other, more destroyed bag held something similar, as far as he could tell, and both had what appeared to be some sort of ash on the side, not from the leather but instead from something else that had burned, a sort of crystal or plant that had burned entirely.
It caused Mycroft to frown in annoyance as he pulled the laptop to him, looking into the few items he did have and could identify. He hated legwork, had ever since he was young. It had never been that hard to get someone else to look for the information, and it had also never really been his strong suit. Even when he’d worked his way up, even when he’d been in MI-5 and 6, he’d been able to tell from images, or information gathered, what was needed. He’d never been good at legwork, at being out in the field. He had, oddly enough, been one of the few who could find his brother when he was disguising himself, but that came from familiarity more than ability. Others he could find if he’d seen enough photos or video of them, but he himself was horrible with most social relationships. It was one of the reasons he’d been so happy to find the Diogenes Club, and why he was one of many who backed it as much as he could.
He briefly considered speaking to Dean Winchester instead, but he dismissed it. Whatever this was, he could figure it out on his own, he was sure of it.
It also might give him some clue as to what it was Mortimer Tregennis really put in the fire that ended up killing his sister and causing his brother’s to lose their sanity.
He had not expected Mortimer Tregennis to be dead, and not in the same fashion as his sister. Mycroft frowned, trying to get over the sudden headache that he knew he shouldn’t have. The atmosphere of the room was odd, far too stuffy and he frowned as he briefly recalled that the two who’d first discovered the bodies were taken ill, that the doctor had felt uneasy hours later…
Mycroft headed forward despite the pain building, looking at the old-fashioned lamp that was very out-of-place. It was a gas lamp, one common at the turn of the century or before, and had a strange guard on the top, with odd ash on the top, the same from the leather bags, but some of the crystals untouched by fire.
Thankful for a small envelope he had, Mycroft slowly took some of them, blinking against his headache that was swiftly turning into a migraine. He left half for the investigating officers and walked out, telling Reverend Roundhay that he’d investigate further before finally leaving, taking a long time to walk, trying to stay in the open air as much as he could. The air seemed to clear some of his headache, but not as much as he wanted…
“Mycroft,” the soft, accented voice caused him to blink, looking over to see the black woman who’d come to visit Dean, named Missouri if Mycroft wasn’t mistaken, standing nearby with a bag full of shopping from the town. He briefly wondered how she knew his name.
“John and Dean talk enough about you, even if some of it isn’t flattering,” she answered, causing Mycroft to frown right before she linked an arm through his and they started to head back to the houses that they’d rented out. “To be fair, John doesn’t really think that badly about you, and Dean forgives easily. Too easily, sometimes, the way his Daddy and brother kept acting around him. They got too used to it, I think, they were never ready for someone to tell them straight that they were bein’ foolish.” She patted his arm. “Don’t try to think too much. I gotta talk to you for a bit, about that stuff you found and what you’re getting’ into.”
“Just Missouri,” she said, “no need to be formal. It’s a nice little shield, and suits you well, but you can lower it for a bit. John wouldn’t mind any, and neither would Dean. He understands the problems you’re facin’, trust me, he’s seen both sides.”
Mycroft frowned at her as she sighed. “I’ll consider the fact that you have a headache the reason you’re being so stubborn. I meant the problem with being a big brother, and the problem of tryin’ to act normal-like. He’s seen both, but only really pushed one.” Mycroft let out a breath as they continued to walk, finally offering a hand for one of the bags, which Missouri slapped away.
“You’ve got a headache, you just walk and try to get rid of it.”
“If you say so,” he finally said, “I don’t quite follow how you know about me, how you managed that line of logic.”
“You and that brother of yours followed logic. I just have a gift,” Missouri told him simply, “call it what you want, but it’s mine and I have to do what I can with it. I can see all three of you hurtin’ for all different reasons, and it just annoys me that you’re not trying to help each other, or that you haven’t told John what you know.”
He paused, looking at her as she said, “He dreams, of what happened. Of jumpin’ after your brother, and his subconscious has an idea of what happened, but to acknowledge that is harmful. He and Dean are similar, in that they’ve both have had their family leave them, and with such scars, it’s hard to trust again.” This caused Mycroft to pause again, remembering the text, remembering how Sherlock acted around John, how even when he’d been angry at Mycroft, when he’d even wanted to leave, it had been John who calmed them, John who ultimately got Sherlock to change into his clothing, to take jobs that Mycroft wanted…
Take care of John
“I hadn’t been able to help,” Mycroft admitted, the two pausing as he took a chance to breath and try to get rid of his headache. “My brother’s…death…left a great deal of problems in it’s wake, due to who he went after and his way of trying to destroy my brother and his reputation.” Mycroft tried hard not to think of Moriarty, of his grave mistake that had cost Sherlock his life and was close to dragging down John with it. “I cannot do all that I wanted to, because of pressures of my own. Had I been able to, I would have spared John many things.”
Missouri listened before patting his arm. “I know that. I’m psychic, remember? I have all sorts coming in, asking for help. Sometimes, a lie will help ease their mind, and other times, the truth. If you tell the truth all the time, then suddenly you get attention you don’t want. If you lie, even if it’s a small one, they don’t notice you that often.” She smiled at him. “I think you and Sherlock never did learn that lesson.”
Mycroft managed to shake his head. “No, we didn’t.” He let out another sigh, wondering if it was the woman’s gift or her honesty that made him so open. “I miss him.”
“I know. John does too.” She considered. “You have to tell him the truth.”
Mycroft blinked at her, confused. “What? But…but that would--.”
“Your brother did that in order to make sure John was safe,” Missouri pointed out, “he did it, all of it, to save those he loves. John knows that. John knows only one of the assassins you told him about was killed…he knows there were four. His subconscious has already connected what his conscious can’t, or won’t, accept.”
Mycroft stared at her as she continued, brutally honest, “Your brother only trusted you with one fact – that he was alive. You must trust John with that fact.” She looked down. “I’m sorry, but it’s the only way. Your brother and his friend are tangled up together, and the only way to get them back to the same area, the only way to call your brother back here, is to make one of those men that works for Moriarty slip up. If John starts writing, starts using past tense and is shown to have given up fully on your brother, as he will, then that man will slip up. Your brother will return, and go to John for help. He’ll give it, and force your brother to earn his trust back. It’s the only way, just as the only way, for a long while, was for Dean to finally give up his brother.”
Mycroft remembered his first conversation with Dean, remembered the admission that his brother had also jumped. Briefly, Mycroft wondered if Sam had not done the same thing Sherlock had, had not simply disappeared and left a broken shell, hoping that would be enough to convince the world he was truly dead.
The two started to walk back before Mycroft finally said, “I will, but…first, I must figure out this puzzle.”
Missouri looked worried, Mycroft saying, “You are right, I am civil and I dislike footwork, and work of any sort, similar to my brother’s. But when I do get invested in something…I will look into it. In that, my brother and I are similar.”
“Whatever you have in your pocket, Mycroft Holmes, it’s dangerous. You do what you’re thinking, and it’ll only end in pain for you.”
Mycroft slowly nodded. “I’ll keep that in mind.” He started to walk off when Missouri caught his arm, glaring at him and making him feel like a child again, caught doing something naughty or letting Sherlock do his experiments.
“You let one of those boys help, if not both. You’re a proud man, and that’s gonna be the end of you.”
Mycroft paused to think for a moment before nodding. “Very well, I…suppose I need help, figuring out what it is I have.” She let him go as they got to the two houses that Mycroft had taken out for the holiday, Missouri nodding before heading into the one that Dean and John were currently living in. Mycroft waited outside, all of his scientific instincts screaming that he should just go inside, should test whatever it was on his own. He was not quite the same scientific mind as Sherlock, but he did enjoy a few things similar to what his brother did, mostly with chemicals. However, his bent was mostly towards politics and people on a grand scale, on math only in terms of such things, and on variables.
He’d never really considered John, Sherlock, or even Moriarty to be a variable, and now with what Missouri had said…
He let out a sigh as he pulled out the envelope with the small crystals within. After all this. After we figure this out, I’ll tell John. He’ll hate me, even more then he does now, but I can tell him, and—
There was a sudden cry that had Mycroft turning, looking at a man with a large beard and wild hair, looking more like a mane on a lion then hair, before he was sent sailing through the air and against a wall, the force of it knocking him unconscious.
Dean and John work to get themselves out. Mycroft starts learning more about the supernatural after his encounter. A few odd things are offered up and little is explained, or some is.
Dean groaned as he woke, aware that he was stuck in some sort of hot box or something, as the air around him was stale and the feeling was similar to a case he’d had in Arizona once, during the summer months before their monsoon season. He blinked, looking over to see that John and Mycroft were both in the same place, Mycroft looking a bit too pale in the small amount of light they had and John starting to wake as well, the other man wincing as he sat up a bit, looking at Dean then over to Mycroft before his apparent doctor-mode set in, shifting to examine Mycroft despite the fact that they had been handcuffed, Dean wincing as he sat up and rested a bit against a wall before saying, “You ok, John?”
“I was thrown against our house by a man who looked like he should be in some horror movie about the areas no one goes to because they get killed and eaten, and Mycroft was apparently abused a bit more then we were. Besides that? Fine. Perfect really. I’d have thought us saying we retired from dangerous situations would mean less of them, but honestly, I invaded Afghanistan and moved in with a lunatic consulting detective, why should I think our lives would be normal?”
“Oh, well, so long as you’re fine…” Dean muttered, shifting to try and get out of the handcuffs and wincing as they bit into his wrists. “How’s Mycroft?”
“awake,” came the weak reply from the older man, who shifted a bit as John tried to get him to stay down, “confused.”
“We got attacked,” Dean supplied, worried at the fact that Missouri wasn’t anywhere nearby, or that he hadn’t seen her after the initial attack, “the guy…he’s an old witch. Not sure what the hell he’s in with, or which gods he’s with, but I don’t like it.”
He heard Mycroft groan, though Dean wasn’t sure if it was because ‘male’ and ‘witch’ just never quite worked well together, or because it was a bit too much to take in at the moment.
“does that matter?” Mycroft asked softly.
“Sorta does, if you want to stop him,” Dean told them, looking for a way to get out or something like a door. The whole thing was made of what felt like the same wood as a sauna or similar, and while Dean had enjoyed that steam-shower the one time he and Sam had gotten into a McMansion, he also didn’t really want to sweat up a storm while trapped here. “It means that either he has an altar, or some sort of book, or that if he does something wrong he’ll get himself killed.”
John sounded annoyed before he hissed a bit in pain, looking around before saying, “Dean…”
The worry in his voice conveyed a great deal of questions, all of which Dean was grateful he didn’t ask right now. It was odd, how in sync they had gotten over the past few months, but Dean supposed that had to do with their mutual adrenaline junkie attitudes and the losses that had spurred them into that deep depression.
At the same time, Dean was glad they had something to do, even if it meant him shifting a bit and kicking at one side of the hot box, listening to the too-solid sound that came from it. “Fuck.”
“language,” Mycroft managed, Dean glancing over to see the elder Holmes had been made to sit up and against one of the other walls.
“It’s warranted,” Dean told him as he shifted back a bit, getting ready for another attempt, “the damned walls are reinforced. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to get out of here before we’re boiled or steamed or whatever the hell the guy wants to do.” He didn’t want to think about what any hex-bags might do to them if they waited too long. He kicked again, putting more force into it as he could and silently cursing when it gave the same solid sound. He saw John shifting to try and hit one as well, apparently figuring if they both tried they could get the hinges off. Dean hoped that the fact Missouri wasn’t here meant she’d gotten away, and quickly banished those thoughts, moving instead to just trying to keep them alive.
Focus on that, you can deal with everything else later
The two kicked at their walls again just as a loud voice let out some sort of dark sound, like that of a lion ready to roar, and got them to stop, Mycroft looking worried and a bit afraid as Dean and John moved away and sat up, looking at the wall as a voice, the familiar one from that man that had asked them about the thing at the house, said, “Had I known you were a Hunter, I would’ve killed you then and there.”
“I’m the Hunter!” Dean yelled, “They don’t know anything, let them go!”
“No,” the word was said, carrying a dangerous finality to it that made Dean’s skin crawl, “No, I won’t. I let men go before, with the blood of family on their hands, and I won’t again. I wouldn’t let Mortimer, I won’t let you.”
Dean growled. “I mean it, you let them go. Send them away, do whatever the hell you want to me, but you let them go.”
He could feel John’s glare at him, but couldn’t bring himself to care. He’d spent most of his life giving up his safety and sanity to protect someone else, and wasn’t about to stop, not when John could do more than Dean ever could (the guy was a damned doctor, he could save lives…)
There came no answer for a moment, Dean not moving as he could tell the man was still outside of the wall, before saying, “I know who you are, Dean Winchester. I know where your brother resides now, just as I know Mycroft Holmes, and what he did to his.”
The words froze Dean, and he was sure they did the same to Mycroft. John had told him a bit about what happened, and Dean had told him his own story about what happened to Sam. Considering many of his nightmares were about what Sam might be going through, or what had happened, it was something Dean had to talk about, and that John had insisted on.
But to hear it from this witch, to hear someone—
“You don’t know anything,” Dean growled out, “about me or about Mycroft.”
“I do,” came the angry reply, “and I will give them vengeance. I will…” there was a pause before the sound of something sizzled on a sort of basin. “The Devil’s Foot Root will take care of you.”
Dean felt his insides freeze as he kicked again at the wall, trying to stop himself from becoming too frantic. “Let John out, you bastard! He didn’t do anything, let him--.”
“He’s as guilty as you both are! Be grateful I’m better with this then Mortimer was!”
He heard John curse, the two starting to kick at the walls again while Mycroft groaned, trying to shift right before John warned him against doing too much, the two beginning to kick in unison as Mycroft muttered, “not physical…set out signal for…my men to retrieve…us.”
Dean let out a huff of a laugh as he and John once more attacked the walls, managing to breath out, “So John wasn’t bullshitting me when he said you were the government.”
John managed a brief laugh as well, the two managing a few more kicks before something sounded like it cracked, only making them go all the quicker.
Mycroft knew he had a concussion, possibly a bad one, and did as the doctor told him while John and Dean went for the wall, trying hard to not let his mind wander to the fact that they were closer to the floor and, thus, getting exposed to more of the smoke from that root then he was. His worry increased at that, recalling how changed Sherlock had become after the introduction of John Watson into his life, how changed John had become with the arrival of Dean Winchester.
He’d made too many bad choices over the course of this year, first with concern to Irene Adler and then about Dean Winchester. He wasn’t sure how it was that the supernatural and this world had been kept from him, but he fully intended to find out more, to discover what it was and what danger might be out there, so he could at least try to work with people like Dean.
Dean was coughing more than John, and muttering to someone called ‘Alastair’ while John was flinching at every kick, as if hearing something else. It worried Mycroft, as did the fact that the signal hadn’t been received yet, as far as he could tell. He hoped it wasn’t because of something jamming it, or due to how far he was from the group assigned to protect him on his vacation.
I don’t want to hear from you again…
Mycroft shook off the thought as the wall cracked again, showing off some light and a bit of metal before a final kick broke open one side, Dean shifting to help John up and out before making Mycroft get out as well, the sound of something metallic clattering and heat underneath his feet showing an old-fashioned brazier underneath the box, the coals scattered over concrete of a sort of back room with other plants, raised and in beds, nearby and under various lights.
“Dean!” John managed, the younger man slowly sitting up and shaking, his skin pale and sweating while his eyes had taken on a feverish and far-away look. Dean swallowed once before managing to get out, shivering again before shaking his head.
Dean took in a brief breath before nodding, the atmosphere of the area stifling and making Mycroft hold in a cough, not wanting to worry John or Dean. They were all still handcuffed, all useless if they ran into the man again, but Mycroft even more so because of his head injury. It didn’t stop him from being worried about what would happen, that he’d fail this as he’d failed so much recently…
Take care of John
I don’t want to hear from you again
If you’re going to have such a blind spot—
“Sir?” the voice of one of his newest men, Casper, made Mycroft stop as they got to the door, John and Dean instantly freezing as Mycroft managed a weak, “here.”
The door opened to allow in the man, his partner coming with him and frowning as they quickly ushered the trio out, John and Dean fighting only a bit but going with Mycroft as they managed to get outside, an ambulance and doctor in the area while Casper quickly said, “Sorry it took so long, sir, the man’s had set some odd booby-traps. We’re working on figuring out what triggered them.” Mycroft managed a small nod, passing by one body as Dean began to react a bit more, yelling and twisting away. The men had to subdue him, an oxygen mask going over his face as John, a bit calmer, received similar while the private doctor checked him over, Casper quickly getting someone to free him from the handcuffs. Dean, after a few minutes of oxygen and John moving, despite doctor’s orders, to calm him down, also was released and looked around, holding tightly onto John and shivering as the drug began to work itself out of their system.
The Reverend was there, looking frightened and worried and apologizing for getting them into such danger, Dean finally waving them all away and letting out a pained question about Missouri. Casper watched, his dark eyes seeming to focus squarely on John and Dean, John having given him an odd look (probably wondering where Anthea was) as the Reverend went to speak to him. Casper let out a sigh and glanced back as the doctor gave his prognosis, stating that Mycroft would have to have a medical personnel (the undertone of ‘not John Watson’ was evident, and it made Mycroft frown at how annoyed the man had sounded).
Mycroft looked at Casper, who managed a small smile at him before shaking his head. “Mr. Winchester needs Doctor Watson right now.”
That made him glance over, seeing Dean sitting stock-still, in obvious shock and despair as John tried to speak to him, to comfort him.
“Casper…I would rather have you stay with me, at least tonight.”
For some reason, Casper smiled a bit more at that and seemed a bit pleased. “Of course, sir.”
John barely managed to keep Dean from drinking, and despite only having known Missouri Mosely for a short time, he’d enjoyed the woman and felt a sharp pain at her loss. The man who’d done this was powerful, and had disappeared somewhere as far as John could tell.
What really worried him was how badly Dean was taking it. It hadn’t taken much for John to realize that others had died while helping Dean, and that each one had hurt badly, ripping into Dean without pity. John knew what that was like, and in a sense, he was grateful that Mycroft had, somehow, managed to get Dean something to take his mind off things, or at least some sort of focus.
Kidnapping by a witch apparently meant Mycroft was going to ‘pull strings’ to ensure Dean wouldn’t be extradited or looked for, and in return, Dean would work to help Mycroft understand what was out there. It hadn’t been a surprise at all that Dean had, at first, given Mycroft an annoyed look, but he managed to give him something while dealing with the Reverend and others. John was also grateful to Roundhay for that, managing to give Dean some comfort and also for telling John when the news reported that the whole thing about Sherlock was over and done with.
John sighed as he finished writing up the last of the stories. He’d wanted to write, and near-death apparently worked to get him to work. He’d written up a few cases he’d never quite finished, or that he’d been keeping back because they were mundane or odd, but after a few e-mails from old clients and similar, giving him permission, John had caved and found he needed to write.
Dean walked in, frowning and looking at the title over his shoulder. “’The Reichenbach Fall’. Not the most creative title, but I guess it works.” He shifted, sitting down near John and considering. “I need a favor. I already asked Mycroft, and he seemed a bit…well, I guess he’s a bit confused as to why, but I told him it would help. That Casper guy might come too.”
John frowned. He didn’t know why, but that man reminded him of the odd person from his dream, the one right before Dean had panicked and gotten him to get the charms. It had also spurred him into getting a cheap anti-possession tattoo, similar to what Dean had, from a tattoo artist that was also a Hunter and who’d owed someone a favor that went back to giving John one for free. It was on his back, next to his scar, and it had hurt for a bit but was also something that Dean had insisted on, especially considering what had happened months ago.
“Fine, I have to ask, what is it?”
Dean shifted before saying, “I…Missouri needs a Hunter’s Burial.”
That got John to really frown. Dean hadn’t explained what that was, save for the fact that he’d been surprised when he was resurrected in a coffin, and he assumed it was something special done to the body to make it so things didn’t use the body against their family or friends.
“It’s a pyre,” Dean explained, “You…um…salt the body and burn it, in a pyre. I needed permits and stuff but…well, I found a good place for it and Mycroft…um…”
John closed the laptop before nodding. “Yes. I will.”
Dean managed a small smile. He’d not quite rebounded from what had happened, especially what had been said and what they’d seen under the influence of the Devil’s Foot Root. John wished he’d had more information about it, in case he ran into the effects again, but was right not just grateful that they’d all gotten out of the experience with only some nightmares and trouble sleeping. Of course, Dean’s nightmares were more pronounced, and John was getting to the point of demanding a psychologist who would take everything as real and help Dean deal with everything he’d gone through. That Dean was prepared to sacrifice himself for anyone, and his friends and family foremost, was something John understood but also knew they both needed help with. John needed someone to talk to, someone who’d understand him, while Dean…Dean just needed someone who would take everything seriously and actually try to address the issues he had. Whatever had happened to Dean was affecting him, and John knew he could only give him so much.
It was night when the group gathered. The Reverend, it turned out, knew enough about Hunting that he understood the ritual, and was there to say a prayer while Dean, John, and Casper got together wood and such for the pyre. It made sense, John thought, that people who angered beings that could change shape, or take over bodies, or resurrect the dead for bad purposes would burn anyone or anything that could hurt them.
Mycroft stood a bit away, watching as the flames went up before he spoke, quietly, to John. “I…” he paused. “You were writing again.”
“I thought it was time,” John muttered, letting out a sigh before looking at him. “What?”
“Missouri asked me to tell you something, but…” he paused again. “it is news that even I have a problem with.”
Mycroft pulled out his phone, showing John a text from Sherlock’s, asking him to take care of John. What made him frown was the time. That couldn’t be right. There must have been a delay, or something—
“I haven’t heard anything else,” Mycroft told him, “I wish I had, so I could give you more news.”
“You…you can’t be serious. It must be a hoax, or something.”
“If it is, I have yet to find any reason. Sherlock’s phone was with him and while I did speak to the staff on-hand, I can’t figure out what happened either. It feels…odd, that all we have is this to hint that he…” Mycroft stopped short of whatever he was going to say, looking back at the fire and the rigid back of Dean Winchester. “I am sorry for earlier. He seems the best to care for you.”
“I…” John handed back the mobile. “I need a favor. A good psychiatrist, someone who won’t ask questions.”
Mycroft nodded, his eyes still on the fire and Dean. “What little I can put up, if I put together what little I know or that Dean will tell me about the supernatural…I should be able to find someone who will be discrete.”
Mycroft managed a small smile. “No. He saved my life…I think helping keep his sanity is a small price for that.” The two were silent for a long while, watching, before Mycroft said, “I will look into it, John, and if I find anything, I’ll tell you.”
Mycroft completely blamed the case in Cornwall for his sudden desire to actually try to search for things, as well as his decision to work on rebuilding the lost trust. Much of it was, he managed to find, unfounded and thoroughly misplaced. The CIA was one that wasn’t too happy with him, but after pointing out the long list of things that went wrong, as well as the fact that his brother had been brought in on an unrelated matter, with Mycroft only learning of the photos after he’d heard about the ‘delicate matter’ that he’d called Sherlock in for at first. Had he known that Adler had those others, he wouldn’t have involved Sherlock at all, nor would he have allowed the CIA to attempt anything like what they had.
It was unprofessional, and they knew that. Mycroft had been too angry about Moriarty and his network to deal with it, but with the network starting to mysteriously disappear or get caught, he managed to fix it and his reputation with the Americans. It warmed him a bit, to learn a few had understood and that most of the men on top had ‘dealt with’ the unprofessional nature that had resulted in the loss of their long plan.
The next was turning to the disappearing network. Moriarty’s web was still there, but wavering, disappearing faster than Mycroft or anyone else could keep up with. Internationally, it was both a boon and a mystery, one that he tried to figure out himself but couldn’t, not really.
The last bit was to find the one contact that Dean Winchester had not used, mostly to inform him of Missouri Mosley’s death, but also to speak to him. Robert “Bobby” Singer owned a salvage yard in South Dakota, and appeared to be one of the many Americans distrustful of the government (any government) or men dressed in three-piece suits with umbrellas who seemed to know about his father’s ‘disappearance’ or about his relationship with the Winchesters.
Mycroft was honestly amazed he didn’t get a shotgun pointed at him, but suspected it was because the man didn’t have one on him right now.
“So what the hell do you want?”
“Dean Winchester,” Mycroft said, “he suggested I speak to you about…hunting. I was recently introduced to it. I also wanted to speak to you about the late Missouri Mosely.”
“Late--.” Mr. Singer stopped, letting out a breath and finally nodding. “Fine, come in. I got beer or whiskey, which will it be?”
Mycroft doubted the whiskey, and said instead, “I suppose beer, thank you.” He frowned at the sight of a duffle bag and some other things, as well as the general state of the room. “I take it Mr. Winchester hasn’t spoken to you?”
“Not since he left the country,” Mr. Singer said, handing over a beer that tasted off, causing Mycroft to frown at it. “How do you know him?”
“He saved my life,” Mycroft said, feeling that he had no reason to lie. “We had a run-in with a witch. Miss Mosely had come to visit and speak to him about…the events that transpired earlier, and unluckily died from injuries sustained.” He disliked that part, that the woman had managed to go find Roundhay and his men when she’d been impaled, and died due to the effort. Mostly, he disliked it because he was starting to wonder about his doctor, and some of the men that had been hired.
“The witch tried to kill us with Devil’s Foot Root.” That got a string of curses, Mycroft waiting before saying, “I’m in a position where I may be able to help you and others. While Dean has gotten out of Hunting, I would like to see about either introducing some of my men to it, so they can be aware of the danger, or to getting information down for you community.”
Mr. Singer glared at him, considering. “Why should I trust you?”
“You shouldn’t. I hold a minor government position, but am employed by most governments despite that. You may have heard of my brother, though…Sherlock?”
That got Mr. Singer to let out a breath. “Balls. He was your brother or something?”
“My younger brother, yes,” Mycroft said, a bit amused by the curse, “it also might help me answer…some questions, regarding his death.”
Mr. Singer considered again for a bit before nodding. “I’ll see what I can do.” He stopped again, as if debating his next question. “Is Dean doin’ alright?”
Mycroft nodded, having expected the question. “He…is still having nightmares, but appears to be doing better. The recent loss, however, is not good for his mental health.”
The older man looked down and away, considering before saying, “Alright. I’ll go see about getting something for you.” He left, Mycroft taking one more drink of the beer, out of courtesy, before setting it down and looking around the room, taking in the few areas that showed signs of attack and repair, another having some intricate and obscure symbols on it with what Mycroft vaguely recognized as Latin. He looked back after there was a bit of a curse and saw Mr. Singer walking up, holding out a book for him. “Here, take this. I dunno how long you’re gonna be here, but if you need anything else, or if Dean is giving you problems and need help with something. I might not pick up the first time, but that’s just how it goes.”
Mycroft nodded in understanding, frowning as he looked at the book, an old journal of some sort. “Might I ask what this is?”
“John Winchester’s journal.”
Casper put out the cigarette, smirking as he lost the tail that had tried to follow him. He wondered if the Hunter that Mycroft had employed knew what he was, or just thought he was some sort of odd supernatural creature that could stand Holy Water, silver, and Latin. He was getting to the point that he really was going to have to talk to Mr. Holmes about it, if only because he was sure the man could handle it, better than the Hunters could, at least.
He paused, having lost the tail and in a blind spot for CCTV before disappearing, appearing at his normal home and sipping some of the sweet wine that was out, chilling and in front of a large group of fruit, chocolate, and other decadent items.
“Well?” the voice asked, shifting to move over to with him, “What happened?”
“I met them in real life,” Casper said, sipping it, “and I’m apparently being followed a bit by one of the little bitch’s minions. She’s a Campbell, by the way, or at least part of the main branch that didn’t immigrate.” He glanced over at the man, who was reclined and looked like he was recovering well. “The Winchester here hasn’t called him yet, by the way. I’m not sure why.”
That got a bit of a smirk from the reclining man, letting out a sigh. He was still recovering, having been dead, or at least as near to Death as he could be, It wasn’t going to be easy, and it hadn’t been, convincing the world and most of your brethren that would come to check, that you were dead in the sense of being completely dead, so he was quite sure the man would rather be resting up with Melchior and Balthazar then talking to him.
“So you think you can scare our lovely Dean or John into calling for heavenly help?”
“Oh, I think I can manage a bit more than that,” Casper said with a smile, looking over to where Balthazar was walking in, “but it might require more than just me to work them, if we’re going to do this.”
Balthazar let out a bit of a laugh. “Oh, should I go and try some dreamwalking for those two? They’re a bit annoying, and our brother taught Deano too much for hiding.”
Casper shrugged. Of the three of them, Balthazar was the closest to the Trickster they were nursing, as far as what he enjoyed. “If you want, but realize, dear Deano will notice you.”
Balthazar raised his eyes and smiled at that. “A challenge? Who would I be to turn that down?”