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CHAPTER 1. SPEECHLESS

 

John drifted in the warm sea of his own blood, he was sure of it. The bullet had ripped through him, before he could react; right through him into the younger man he was trying to save. That bullet, the tearing and the burning. Then the sounds of yelling, it was alright then, John thought. He was going to die, he didn’t want to just yet.

 

 “Please God let me live.” He thought to himself at first, only as a knee jerk reaction. Because who really wants to die? Then what did he really have to live for? It was easier like this, he felt people circling around him, sensing their disappointment towards him. Someone was trying to rouse him. They should move on, others who deserved their ministrations, their frantic efforts. It was ok, he could go now.

 

The hot desert air sharp against his skin, the sun and the sand drinking the blood that poured out of him in a steady stream with every beat of his heart. His eyes felt so heavy, too heavy to open. Despite the sun John thought the day must be night, he was so cold. The desert always turned cold in the night time.

 

 He was a decent doctor he tried to be a good man, a good brother,  a good friend, he’d even tried being a good boyfriend. He failed at most like kicking over a domino, one after the other. It was alright, this is a fitting end. Cut down by a snipers bullet.

 

He thought he could see Harry, her head shaking in disapproval, they never got on. It was alright, ten years was a big age gap. He would never understand her and she likewise. He wanted to tell her sorry, he couldn’t remember for what but he should say it.

 

Then there was Mike, looking worried. John wanted to move towards his friend, but the soldier's legs would not carry him from the dark and shadow he was sinking blissfully into. This same darkness surrounded his friend, but did not touch him.  John thought to himself sadly, he  should have left a note for Mike, a friend would have left a note. Mike was good, he was safe at home in London, far from bombs and bullets. Goodbye Mike.  John wanted to wave to him, he could see Mike wearing his lab coat, pushing his spectacles up over his nose. He looked amused, the place he stood in was shaded by dark, but the white in Mike’s lab coat was almost luminescent. Mike was a good person. John should have told him that.

 

Then the figure of Mike slipped away to reveal a tall handsome man leaning on an umbrella, a look of boredom, a striking figure in his expensive gray suit with the blue silk tie.  John knew this was a dream, Mycroft Holmes looked just as John would always remember him. More regrets, Mycroft had been a good friend and John failed him too. It was too bad they couldn’t stay friends, Mycroft was always good for a laugh even if he didn’t know he was being teased. Goodbye Mycroft. John wanted to say, the dieing soldier wanted to shake the tall man’s hand.

 

Finally he could see Sherlock, impressively tall like his brother and equally as mysterious. Mycroft had an air of a monarch in power, and Sherlock only projected entitlement and prestige. Befitting a brother of a monarch, naturally. His graceful neck, John remembered how his lips would whisper kisses into the warm flesh, so flawless. Sherlock carried a bored expression, John wanted to throw his arms around the beautiful man, to pull him close to be encased in those languid arms, the smell of tobacco and coffee. The feel, to allow his hands to roam over the expensive black suit, leisurely touching the equally spendy blue silk shirt underneath.

 

John’s dream remained here with the dark haired man with beautiful silver eyes. He wished to press one more kiss to those supple cupid’s bow lips, to run hands through the mess of curls. I love you. John wanted to say, but then like all the other dreams Sherlock turned his back and sank into the surrounding darkness. I love you.

 

 This was nice, this feeling of drifting, the soundless calm, except that was his breathing, his staggered breaths. Someone was trying to pull him up from the waters threatening to submerge the whole of his body. It’s ok, he wanted to tell the hands that grabbed at his shoulders. It’s ok. I’m fine here. Leave me here.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 2. FOUND

Mike Stanford had agreed to step in for his fellow colleague and friend, Dr. Harper who was going on vacation and needed a replacement for the short term. Queen Elizabeth wasn't any  different from St. Barts. Well except instead of car crash victims and the usual assembly of alcohol poisoned drunks, Drug addicts that were ODing, children with high fevers and elderly who had fallen, it was soldiers wounded soldiers stabilized in Kandahar and transported for serious medical care. That’s when he came across a familiar name on his rounds. All by accident.

 

“It’s too bad, they think he wont make it to the end of the week. The chart says he’s a Doctor.” Mike overheard a nurse speaking to an orderly. Sadly, Dr. Stamford,  had come across several intensive care cases such as this, it made him appreciate his family even more. This is what drew him towards this patient's bed, under the pretense of making his rounds. Mike thought since it was the end of his shift the least he could do was sit with the unconscious soldier who gave his life  for his country.

 

The nurse had adjusted the dieing patient’s pillows gently. She gave Mike a tight smile as he reached for the chart, the poor soldier had just come in.They had to operate, shattered clavicle, high powered rifle did awful things to a man’s shoulder, loss of blood, a bag of blood hung from an IV,  and the name-

“Oh god.” Mike dropped the chart moving around the bed, for the first time in since graduating medical school, he felt helpless.

 

Shaking hands collected the chart once more, as a medical doctor, trained and skilled Mike would have looked at the machines with a clinical eye, the vitals would register on an impartial level. As if reading a text book, but this was different, so very different.

 

The Doctor saw the ventilator, the tubes supplying IV fluids and pain medicine, Jesus the blood soaked bandages would need to be redressed. Mike’s heart pounded in his chest, he tried to find words, to catch his breath. He knew this face, he’d spent the last part of a summer three years back waking the lazy git up for his hospital shift.

 

This unconscious person this soldier had slept on Mike’s couch more than once. How many times had Mike Stamford walked past the couch getting ready for his morning jog, quietly moving past the same sleeping form.

 

Now his friend had a ventilator held to his mouth running a tube directly into him, forcing air into weak lungs. His eyes were bruised, sunken in, from the loss of blood, and the strain of trauma. God, he was so thin. John looked smaller more fragile under all the wiring and tubes.

 

And unlike the other critical care patients sharing the room, there was no one sitting at his side holding vigil, six beds in this room to be exact, three to one side and three neatly in a row the opposite. The ventilators seemed to sing in tune with each other in a morbid chorus all in rhythm while the heart monitors kept the beat.

Doctor Stamford tore from the room, knowing exactly where to find someone, someone who might care. At least sit and wait for the end, so John wasn’t alone. Mike would take on the task but he couldn’t shirk his duties as a Doctor. God of all places.

Sherlock stood behind Molly Hooper causing her to drop her scalpel nervously she stammered. “S-ssorry.”

“Molly could you make this any faster, I do have to be back at the Yard sometime before next week.” He snapped, causing her drop the scalpel once more.

 

“Sherlock I don’t even know why you’ve come all the way here to the Queen, Henry is filling in for me at St. Barts beautifully, I left instructions for him to help you with whatever-“

 

“He’s an idiot. And he wont let me take any of the specimens home.” Sherlock replied irritably, he glanced down on the cadaver of a woman, smoker late fourty’s died of heart attack, no family. Molly promised him a stomach and he wasn’t going to leave without one. He was about to point out she was cutting to shallow when the doors to the morgue burst open.

 

Molly jumped dropping the scalpel once more, “Oh for God’s sake.” Sherlock hissed.

 

Mike knew he would be down here, he knew that Sherlock no longer cared for John, but maybe he knew how to reach Harry. Mike caught his breath, he was definitely out of shape, when did that happen?

 

“Molly is Sherlock-“ Mike scanned the room finding the man he was looking for glaring at him darkly.

 

“Mike?” Molly could see her friend was a bit pale, and he had been running, his cheeks were flushed, but he looked like he was going to be sick. “What’s wrong?”

 

“I’m fine, just ran from the elevator.” He exhaled “Sherlock. I know you don’t care and you’ve asked me to never say his name in your presence but-“

“Just stop right there Mike.” Sherlock snapped holding up a hand he turned to Molly. “I’ll come back later.” He made to leave but  Mike grabbed his arm firmly before he could walk past.

“Dammit!” He growled, causing Sherlock to pause, this was completely out of character for the usually easy going Doctor. “Just answer this and you can get the hell out. Do you know how to get a hold of John’s sister Harry?” Sherlock’s lip turned up in a snarl at the sound of his ex-boyfriend? Lover? Friend? Ex whatever’s name. But upon closer inspection, Mike looked frantic, desperate something was wrong. Why would he want to know about Harry?

“I thankfully haven’t been in the harpy’s presence since three years ago. She’s probably drank herself to an early grave good riddance.” He snapped. Mike’s hand tightened and he looked ready to keel over.

“Why would you be looking to get in contact with her?” Sherlock pulled his arm free. The once fit now rounder Doctor was running a hand through his brown hair.

“Mike, what’s wrong? Maybe you should sit down.” Molly was removing her netrile gloves.

“No, I can’t I have to get back, he’ll be alone if I don’t.”

“Who?” Sherlock tried to read the man’s expression but a heavy stone seemed to have decided to form in Sherlock’s stomach, for reasons beyond him he was holding his breath.

“John.Sherlock. It’s John.” Mike managed. Turning away from the two and heading back through the large metal doors of the hospital morgue.

That didn’t make sense Sherlock reflected, why would John be- he started after the man, something was wrong. It didn’t make sense, therefore he needed more data.

 

“What are you talking about Stamford?” Sherlock demanded.

“Fifth floor, room 516 second bed on the left.” Mike entered the elevator in a daze with a very confused Sherlock Holmes behind him. 

 

That had to be wrong why would Mike want him to go to the fifth floor? That was were they brought the soldiers in need of critical care, after stabilizing them in the desert they were shipped here. John was a Doctor not a soldier. Was he up in that room now? The thought struck Sherlock he almost hit the stop button on the elevator to escape to another floor. 

 

It wasn’t until Mike lead him past the first couple of hospital beds, the scent of bleach and antiseptic trying to cover up the more unpleasant odors of death and dieing. Scanning the room he saw no other Doctors only mourning family members, some talking, crying or reading or a combination of all, to the coma patient. He noted one woman sitting quietly just holding her son’s? Brother’s? Yes, her brother’s hand.

 

“He’s been here since yesterday. No next of kin.” Mike ran another hand through his thinning hair.

 

“John?” Sherlock could read the hospital band on the bandaged wrist. Bruises and scrapes lined the other arm where an IV had been inserted. He forced himself to inspect the unconscious soldiers face. As if his hand had a mind of it’s own, Sherlock found himself combing his fingers through the soft blond hair. Observing, the blond had been bleached by a desert’s sun. John had been to the desert he had the tan to show for it, but nothing below his sleeve line or collar so obviously not vacation.

 

“Captain John Watson.” Sherlock read the words on the chart. His John was in critical care, no not his John anymore. Just John. Once again as if a mind of their own his hands pulled his phone out and sent a text to the only other person he could think of. Despite their differences, Sherlock needed the cool and calm anchor that was the definition of his heartless brother.  He couldn’t speak.

 

John. Hospital. Room 516. Queen Elizabeth.-SH   the reply was almost instantaneous.

On my way.-MH

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 3. The Tapering Light

 

Mycroft had demanded any file that his PA could pull up on John H. Watson. And before he slid into the back seat of the government vehicle she had a file marked confidential in his hand. From Sherlock’s text the older Holmes easily deduced John was hurt, he was in an army hospital, obvious. That last piece, that was the unsettling part. The confusing piece of the puzzle.( John) A puzzle Mycroft had refused to think about these last three years.

 

Opening the file the older Holmes brother,  scanned the pages with a sinking heart. Finally he found the Army's report, and without hesitation he made several very quick phone calls.

 

Sherlock hadn’t left John’s side, how could he? Mike told him what the chart notes read, informed him it wasn’t an if, only a when. When John dies. Mike had said when. They were waiting, and Sherlock petted the top of John’s soft head. His fingers combing through the cropped hair, with each stroke the dark haired ex addict could remember every time he had done this in the past. Remembered how his John would smile, rousing from a dream. Those blue eyes, sky blue, would open. Always making Sherlock feel as if he would drown in the honesty of them.

John’s eyes reminded the cynical man of a clear spring day, a promise of hope and warmth after a cold winter.

 

He wanted to say something but the words jumbled in his throat and died before reaching his heavy tongue. John was going die and there was nothing Sherlock could do about it. Fact. It caused the younger Holmes to place a hand over his own chest, god it hurt. Hurt to his bones, emotions threatened to drown him in waves of guilt, remorse and hopelessness.

 

Then a whirlwind of movement broke out, and at the front of the very determined storm was a cool and regal minor position holding government employee.

 

Mike stepped back as John’s Doctor who looked as if he’d been pulled from lunch, judging by the napkin still tucked into his shirt.  John's Doctor realized to his embarrassment and snatched it away,  self-consciously tossing it into the nearest bin. 

Doctor Stall had been enjoying his lunch, only to be interrupted by his supervisor demanding he meet with a medical team concerning a patient.

Now Doctor Stall was being cornered by a very tight lipped,  five foot two french woman . She looked particularly stern with her brown hair swept into a bun. This Doctor dressed in green scrubs and spoke with a heavy French accent, her questions were quick and clipped.

As for the other three Doctors, each spoke in varying accents Mike didn't recognize any of them, not surprising since he only worked as a local doctor. By the look of these physicians, they were in a whole different league.

The fourth Doctor however, Mike recognized right away, Doctor Lawrence Hall. Doctor Hall was just recently on the news, after a member of the royal family came down with a nasty flu. He was also known to be employed as the personal physician to prime ministers and other high ranking government officials. Why was he here?

 

Mike took a step back as several unfamiliar nurses and an orderly entered. Doctor Hall in a commanding tone instructed them on transport protocols. With military precision the team had John ready to move within seconds. But where?

 

“Mycroft?” Sherlock flinched as he was asked gently to step away from the cot. Away from John.

“I am having John moved to a private room.” Sherlock nodded mechanically. He locked eyes with Mycroft, and read his silent words, the statement of resolve. When is not an option. Neither is IF. John WILL live.”

 

This was true because Mycroft said so, and only a fool attempted to prove Mycroft Holmes wrong. Well except Sherlock it was his job as a younger brother to test him. Constantly. However this time, this instance Sherlock refused to doubt, and as childish as hope could be he clung to it for dear life.

 

Mycroft clutched his umbrella firmly, he resisted the urge to reach out and a run the back of his hand gently over John’s flushed cheeks. To allow his hand to cradle John’s, John’s hands were a surgeon's, a surgeon's and a soldier’s. Gentle and firm, commanding and soothing.

 

“It should have been you.” Sherlock held John’s left hand in his own, fingers intertwined, he fought past the urge to sob. “You should have met him first. You would have taken care of him.”

 

 Mycroft didn’t meet his brother’s gaze instead he recalled a night where a very young man, had drunkenly leaned into the Government official. Strong arms folding around the older Holmes's neck, pulling him down into a chaste kiss turned passionate. Because anything John Watson did, he did passionately.

 

Mycroft could still remember John’s scent invading his own sanity, the scent of generic soap and shampoo, of lightly applied cologne a spice that remained on Mycroft’s clothes long after the kiss ended.

 

Soft lips, supple, demanding at first, when Mycroft instinctively parted his own in protest, the younger man had taken the opportunity to push his tongue forward to run over the bottom lip slowly, before plunging deeper.

Stirring the older Holmes to accept the challenge, to embrace this invasion.

 

Tongues dueling for entrance, a willing body pressing against an unyielding frame. Mycroft could have gone further, but he knew John had mistaken him for Sherlock, and when the blond man whispered;

 

“I love you.” It brought the government official crashing back to reality. His heart had skidded to a halt, no longer pounding rapidly. Instead it fell into his stomach. Like a bird shot down with a cruel arrow.

 

The older Holmes pulled away from this bitter sweet memory.

 

“It was you he loved.”

 

Mycroft took a step back from the hospital cot, avoiding his brother’s narrowed eyes. That kiss was Mycroft’s secret. He held it to him protectively, like a greedy desperate man. He would shield the last delicate flame, dancing unsteadily at the tip of a candle. The only light in a vast darkness.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 4.  MELTING ICE

Sherlock watched one of the private nurses Mycroft had hired entered the room. She checked the vitals and replaced another bag of O-negative blood hanging on the IV pole. The doctor had urged Sherlock, Mycroft, and Mike to donate blood for John. Unfortunately, due to Sherlock's past drug history, he was ineligible. And neither blood group of Mike’s and Mycroft’s fitted John’s. Sherlock wondered if his brother was overacting when he asked his staff to donate. But he pushed that aside. Worrying was making him, too, look rather ridiculous. Mike had left hours ago. Sherlock glanced through the room to find Mycroft on the other side, purposely keeping his distance.  The whole room smelled of antiseptic and detergent. The light was dim and the monitors sang their own steady solo.

Sherlock was lost, distracted by the figure in the bed. The sounds of forced breathing and of nurse's shoes, squeaking against the buffed tile of the room. These distractions were enough to fail him from noticing his surrounding.Things like armed agents stationed outside as well as at each nurses' station and the elevator on this very private floor.

John's chest steadily rose and fell, his eyes faintly closed. The younger Holmes wondered what John was dreaming, assuming one could dream in such a state of forced rest. The nurse assured him that John wasn't in pain while she came to apply eye drops for John.

Wasn't he? If only his eyes would open that Sherlock could be sure that John wasn’t. Those eyes were like the warmest sky in the coldest day. Sherlock squeezed John's hand in response to the unnamed emotion rising in his chest, whatever it was. The very same emotion was pushing through the locked doors of his mind palace, reminding him of another dimly lit room, a lifetime ago.

 

4 YEARS AGO

Sherlock was irritably trying to move past the frantic throng of drugged up and drunk party-goers. His phone buzzed in his hand. Scowling, he ignored the text.

"Really, James, you're becoming a bit obsessive, and desperate." He muttered as he shoved his mobile back into his jeans pocket. He wouldn't answer, not when he could still find his usual fix here.

James always had the top shelf coke while Sherlock would rather took his chances with the street grade. James constantly needed attention and verbal validation while Sherlock preferred less attachments and expectations. Whatsoever, James was boring. 

Making his way towards the back of the crowded old house, he stepped aside a couple groping in the small hall way. Pathetic. The tall dark-haired figure in a simple fitted black buttoned up shirt thought and ducked into a small bathroom. A Move to avoid a crowd of testosterone-driven university, or maybe undergraduated males. Who cares. Everything was so dull. 

Entering the bathroom, to his surprise, it was empty despite its usual state, crowded or occupied by half conscious addicts. Bored, he peered out from the door way he stood in, and decided to deduce people to keep himself entertained.

The drunk men are looking for someone. Oh. Interesting. He seems to be driven to find that someone. The leader of the little band of idiots is taller than the others, wearing a black hoodie and jeans.

 Ah, a jilted lover? Dumped. Yes. Better. He was dumped and thought he would see the object of his affection here? Sentiment. Dull.

"Hiding too?" a slurred voice suddenly asked from behind in a heavy whisper.

"Hardly." Sherlock felt his phone vibrated once more. The battery was almost dead. The dealer was on his way. He shut the door and the small room descended into darkness. The faint smell of vomit and piss emitted from a small corner of the room. Some idiots no doubt missed the toilet. Again, his phone light up. The fool had sent the same message twice. Sherlock momentarily forgot the stranger's presence once he started reading the third text.

“On my way. Be there in 5.”-S

Could mean anything. So annoyingly flaky and unreliable. In the middle of the thoughts light brightened up the small dingy room. Sherlock blinked. He wasn't expecting that.

Gray eyes now turned to observe the other occupant, irritably.

Checkered brown and red button up shirt. Ordinary. Blond hair. Faded jeans and well-cared-for black converse. Conclusion: poor and on budget. A student? No. Faint smell of antiseptic and hand sanitizer. Ah. Doctor. Aged 22-24? Looks younger then he is, but a resident no less. Still boring.

Sherlock scans the man’s body, noting the blonde’s height.  Short.  Five foot seven. Toned arms. So exercises regularly. Thin, well, not as thin as me.

This stranger moved around Sherlock, opening the thin wood door, peeked out only to shut and lock it quickly.

Swaying. A sheen of sweat. Ah, avoidance. Also a light weight. Definitely not an experienced drinker. Still boring.

Then the blonde was turning, his back to the door. The chips of white paint flakes fell onto his shoulders and hair. Their eyes met.

Blue like a clear sky. Spring clear sky. Robbins’ egg blue. Dark circles. Ah. Sleepless nights. Must be the rotations. Older sibling, parents both dead. Staring back, meeting my critical inspection, doesn’t blink only smiles slightly. Conclusion: drunken idiot.

"Do you mind if I just keep this locked? For a bit longer?" Smiles again. Perfect teeth, straight white. The voice is light and open. And friendly. Sounds like dawn pushing through closed window blinds.

He's grinning. Have I said something amusing? No. But he's grinning. Eyes open. Open, so easy to read. Doesn't he know he should gaurd his eyes? Should use them like shields because someone may break in, move past defenses and steal things. Things they have no right to.

"Whatever." Comes out harsher than intended. But my mouth is dry. Don’t care anyway. 

"Thanks."  Interesting. He doesn't take notice of the tone, just leans against the door. Relief? Not my business. I don’t care. It stinks here. The plumbing surely isn't working. That explains the smell. A dingy sink, broken mirror and a stained toilet in the corner.

"How long do you plan on occupying this room?" It's a simple question. Just answer it quickly. Blue sky moves to the gray. My own gray, metallic cold like steel. Attempting to close out the spring. To ward off the warmth. A shiver runs up my spine. I must be in need for a fix to feel this kind of strong attraction to this commonplace blond. In converse no less.

"Ten minutes before I make a break for it and you're free to go." He grins again. He smiles too much. Smiling is boring. Ah, those eyes, they are on my lips. I feel the urge to lick them. Slowly. Definitely bi, more interested in women perhaps? A challenge. An experiment then. Why not? I’m bored.

"And if I don't want to be?" Did I sound too cliché’? I actually said that out loud? Wait, he does it again. The blond with the perfect teeth, and the eyes that promise spring. He’s concentrating on my lips, his own turn up, amused. He traveled up, my nose twitches in response, then my cheeks feel warm. Finally, once more spring meets winter.

Winter gray. Cuts like duel swords. Pushing  past the defenseless.  Mold and bend easily with my own intensity. Like a burglar a thief I break in. Easy. 

"That's fine too." his voice comes as a whisper. My ears tingle, asking for more. Still staring at me curious. So close. I could feel his warm breathing and taste his scent. Honey and spice. The foul smell behind me all forgotten. Barely noticeable at the least. 

He's attracted to me. What a fool. His hands clinch at his sides. I wonder what they would feel like when grabbing, pulling, my dark curls. His skin contrasts my natural pale. He has a slight tan. Holiday? The beach. Briefly a weekend.

 Eyes move over my tall figure. He’s curious but cautious. I could imagine his strong hands pulling the strained material of my shirt. Yanking the delicate fabric, until the buttons pop off one by one.

All of this is a part of my disguise. This is my mask: seductive when a situation calls for manipulation. Equally to being cold when circumstances demand. This is me. I claim the prize of drugs, sex, and just as quickly move on to the next target. My armor keeps me unbound, he senses that. Still the intoxication makes the most levelheaded loses his inhibition. Maybe a little more temptation is needed? A push?

I feel the need to kiss him as he has stepped closer in response to my open invitation. My shield is still up, my cool demeanor apparent, but my body relaxes. He isn’t an idiot after all. He can read the clues. He gives in to this  urge to close this small distance between us. Licking his lips nervously. Ah.  Enough. I’ll make a move then.

And like a thief, I descend to steal a kiss. This medical resident, this ordinary boy in a checkered shirt, gasps. He’s been caught off guard. I expect he’ll pull back. Confused, or angry. Or both.

But no. What’s this? He’s returning my kiss with equal vigor and hunger. Interesting development. His fingers clutched at my shirt front. Is he being cautious of his actions, or the sounds he's making?

Such a warm sensation. Tastes like beer. And honey. Smells of generic soap, and equally generic shampoo, faint scent of cologne. Clean. So clean. And new.

The body is firmer than anticipated. Warm, soft and hard. Is that even possible? He’s pushing against me. My hands, on their own accord move over his pectorals, ah, firm. He does work out.

And to Sherlock’s surprise, it was the blonde who firstly pulled away, breaking the kiss. Another unreadable smile was gifted to him. The stranger was panting. They both were.

"I’d better go. It was nice to meet you." It was said breathlessly.

Sherlock leaned towards him, blocking any movement. Not ready to allow the experiment to end, just yet.

Blue eyes panicked, pupils dilated. 

Panic why? He does want more. It's easy to take more. He’s clearly attracted to me. I can feel just how much against my thigh. Leaning in closer, my body still hard against his. He’s anxious now. Too strong? Confused? Did I misread the situation? No. His lips part and eyes close when I run my hands over his chest, down lower, stopping at his hips.

Blue eyes wide now. Like a coming storm. The warm sky is clouding. He’s trying to press back into the door, to put distance between us. His hands gently flat against my chest, burning holes through the material. He proves to be an interesting little distraction.

Why in swift has his body language changed? Disapproving? Having issues with physical contact with another male?  No. He no longer has parents to judge his sexual orientation.

Sherlock’s sharp eyes fell on his prey's Adam's apple.

Swallowing hard. Out of breath. Shifts uncomfortably. Definitely turned on.

The dark haired man was intrigued now, wondered if he could continue, or if the blond would verbally protest. So he ground his own hips forward, directly to a strong thigh. Both men groaned from the contact. The friction.

"What if I don't want you to go? Would that be fine as well?" Sherlock couldn’t control how husky his voice sounded. It was heavy with the flood of need, of want.

"You don't even know anything about me." hands protested gently. Sherlock's mind triggered a question in response: what would it feel like to have them slip under his shirt to massage his nipples, to pull and twist.

"Oh I wouldn't say that." It must be the flood of chemicals, the urge to take, and claim, to intrude to be closer. No matter the reason Sherlock's  mouth released a stream of deductions, verbally unraveling this man’s life story.

Stripped of any pretenses and defenses, the blond silently listened. His mouth was slightly open. Sherlock didn’t hold back a single thing. And at the end, the part where Sherlock pointed out that the medical resident’s father had been beating him causing him to leave his house at sixteen. The dark haired man realized he could expect only rejections after this. He cursed his lack of control.

"That was brilliant." Startled, Sherlock actually took a step back. It was not the usual reply. “Absolutely brilliant.” Another startling smile sent.

Just then, the addict found he didn’t mind those smiles so much. Usually someone smiles as a way to get what they want, to manipulate, to find a way in, to control. But there wasn't anything behind this gleam, nothing but warmth.

"Did I get it right?" Sherlock couldn’t control his hands as they moved up to cup the blonde’s face. Thumbs absentmindedly rubbed the medical residents temples while gray eyes piercing the blues.

"Nearly. I have one sibling. Yes. But harry is a girl. Still, she is very much an alcoholic as you said. I am in my residency. I did graduate a bit ahead, only because unlike everyone else, I didn't take a break. I went straight to the university and med school. I have a few years ahead of me -- training, before I'm a surgeon. And you knew all that by how I dress and talk. Brilliant."

Continued to beam, it was starting to confuse Sherlock. This puzzling man relaxed into Sherlock, causing the dark haired man to gasp. Then the blonde’s hands were on Sherlock’s arms, using them to support he came to stand on the tips of his toes. Soft lips pressed a chaste kiss against Sherlock’s surprised mouth. The medical student breathed deeply, and spoke while his supple lips still against Sherlock’s. 

"By the way, my name is John. John Watson. I really should be going."

Sherlock was too confused to protest. His own mind was spinning from the surge of emotions. Ones he couldn’t just identify. It was not until the door clicked shut softly that the tall dark-haired man realized he was all alone.

Alone and stunned, standing in the bathroom, Sherlock felt the scent of antiseptic, of honey and spice was slowly dissipating, leaving a rush of emptiness and cold in it's place.

Sherlock, shrugging it off, pushed the recent moment into a room in his mind palace, the one he planned to revisit later. Taking his mobile out, he registered that it had finally gone dead. The tightness in his groin wasn’t helping his mood either. He would rather relieve stress roughly on a willing partner, after a line or two. Maybe Moriarty was going to be his next stop after all.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 5. COUNT ON IT

Sebastian wore a tight smile as he counted his sit ups. He heard the echo of feet just outside the door leading to the brig, but he couldn’t care less at this point. He kept his back to the cell door, his feet under his cot and continue his sit ups. There was no reason not to stay in shape; besides, it kept him from being bored.

 

He was definitely going to be found guilty. But as the words had reached him, Watson wouldn’t last the week either. So his mission was accomplished. It was too bad that the Captain made it out of the country. Embarrassing to be exact. That bastard should have gone home in a body bag. Not that it would have mattered anyone but Sebastian. Revenge was sweeter this way nevertheless. Perhaps the Captain would suffer a bit more before he succumb to his injuries at the end. Oh, and let’s not forget that poor Sherlock Holmes playing the mourning boyfriend.

 

“52-53-54-“ He grinned, recalling the image inside his scope, perfectly and accurately taking aim. How it was so wonderfully predictable.

 

Of course Watson would run out to help a downed man. That was the best part. Sebastian had had to shot three of his countrymen to get to Watson. No one in particular. Just anyone in his way. Hell, he couldn’t even recall the names. The time the MPs who arrested him had read off the victims, Moran couldn’t care more than a shrug.

“If you say so.” He replied smugly, of course earning a hard blow to his abdomen. Well it was worth it. No matter what they did to him, Moran still held the perfect picture of Captain Watson kneeling over an injured man, making futile attempt at saving life only to catch a bullet straight through the shoulder. And blood. Beautiful red that pooled around the two bodies.

 

Sebastian had shot three men from his position behind the shelled out building. A nearly destroyed city, lots of places to hide. Oh. And a persistent enemy-force firing from the north was an added benefit. 

Those three British soldiers were young. Sebastian caught them off guard. They weren’t aware of the attack from the left side where Sebastian set his ambush.

Once their injured bodies laid vulnerably, calling out for help, daring the other medical soldiers to run out into the fray, he smiled to himself. Not one of those cowards would dare make the suicidal move. Well except one. The sniper knew, knew a certain good Captain wouldn’t be able to stop himself.

 

Sebastian had been waiting for his chance and he had three opportunities after all. That quick little bastard Watson retrieved the first two, managing to dodge the sniper’s usually sharp shooting. He apparently had underestimated the Captain those two times. The shorter soldier had come a long way since the alley outside that club three years ago.

The army could do that: toughen up the weak, turn boys into men. Old saying, wasn’t it?

It was quiet a surprise when that young Captain ducked down and turned in the snipers direction. That cheeky little bastard had actually managed to aim and fire, catching Sebastian in the bicep with a single shot from a bloody Browning!

Nothing fatal of course. It was rather amusing yet it did sting like hell.

The unexpected incident had only made the sniper move back. Distance was his unforgivable mistake. He should have just perched higher and further away. He was too excited for ending his prey, too eager.

 

Patience had been long a sniper’s strongest ally. Sebastian had nearly missed his chance if he didn’t hold on this ally tight enough. The last one of the unluckies was some kid he’d clipped in the side, a body shot. The lung precisely. Oh. The pain.

Slowly drowning, the downed man struggled to breathe. His gargled call for help was clear over the bullets and grenades to no one. Well, no one willing to to take a chance at retrieving a dead man.

Cue Watson, always playing hero, dashed forward. The RAMC Captain predictably attempted to stop the bleeding. A fruitless attempt really. Because Sebastian had made sure it count. That kid was not going to leave here. What a great lure. It left the young Captain open and of course vulnerable. His hands chose to busy with the mess of trying to save a life instead of taking up his Browning and attempting to end one.

         

“62-63-64” Perhaps this was indeed the promised land. He hadn’t expected to meet up with that blond kid, even more surprising that he earned the title of Captain. Maybe Holmes and Jim were a lot more alike both obviously had a thing for army boys.

 

Sebastian sighed. His bicep was still sore. One of the RAMC kids had come in and dressed it with less than gentle care. Word travels fast, but not that the sniper gave a shit. He only grinned at the medic, openly smugly, and with no sign of remorse.

The expensive shoes were nearing. Yeah shoes neither of a soldier, nor an officer. These were the steady steps of someone higher. A politician? Interesting. A lawyer it could be? It was not like anyone could save him though. He was going to do life for this and it was all worth it. He could probably get an easy gig in the Looney bin. 

Oh, now the sound of boots echoed. Someone was escorting the politician or lawyer. MPs, two of them. Who else marches with such pretentious authority?

 

“Mr. Moran?” A politician then. The voice was cool and professional. Still not worth turning around for.

 

“75-76-77” The sniper continued to count. His arms crossed over his chest, dog tags sticking to his sweat soaked white t-shirt. The bastard was expecting him to answer. Well, he could just piss off. Sebastian worked hard for his rank, he was a Major and he deserved some fucking respect. Even if he killed his own men, he was still a soldier.

 

He was so intent on ignoring the politician and his expensive shoes that he almost didn’t catch the sound of keys against the cell’s lock. MPs. How sweet. Were they going to make him play nice?

 

“Get him up.” The politician growled. Moran paused his back still to the cell door. He tensed as the two MPs entered.

 

He must be losing his touch. These weren’t ordinary soldiers, not even MPs. The men in black khakis and black shirts yanked him to his feet. He didn’t struggle.

 

“Mr. Moran let’s go have a chat shall we?” Sebastian rolled his eyes. Like he had a choice. The politician in the gray suit was holding an umbrella, which was odd. It hadn’t been raining in the desert. Well, not enough for a damn umbrella anyway.

 

They escorted him into a room, forcing him down into a metal chair bolted to the floor. They didn’t utter a word. Instead, the heavy steel door of the small room was locked. The tall politician in his gray suit and sharp eyes leaned against it. Long legs crossed in front of him, his umbrella tapping his left shoe.

 

Nodding towards one of the black shirts, silent authorization to begin. No questions were asked over the course of an hour, just one of the two black shirts repeatedly pummeled the sniper. The Politician only watched with amusement. And they called Sebastian the sick one?

 

The officer who was doing the beating had the eyes of a killer. Sebastian would know since it just took one to know one. Piercing green eyes were full of hatred and rage. The sniper briefly wondered if he knew the guy. Noting a rather ugly scar from just under the stranger’s left eye running diagonally across the bridge of his crooked nose, only stopping short just above the right jaw line. No. Sebastian would recognize a scar like that anywhere.

By the way, Scarface was pretty talented at breaking ribs and knocking teeth loose. The sniper had tried to get some licks in but that was when the other black shirt stepped in with the baton.

“We have a very deep hole put aside just for you Mr. Moran.” The politician’s eyes narrowed to meet Sebastian’s one eyed glare. The sniper was on his knees. His own head felt heavy and his arms ached. One eye swollen shut. Still, Sebastian refused to look away. Supposed this had to be personal. This politician was probably related to one of those boys he shot.

 

“So which one was yours?” He spat blood onto the expensive black shoes. “You wouldn’t be paying me a special visit for any other reason. So which one of those boys I put a bullet in was yours? I can’t rightly recall their names. Just targets in the eye of my scope, you know.”  Sebastian smiled despite of his split lip, he could see his words hit home. Just a slight spasm at the corner of the left eye and a slight raise of color, sharp intake of breath were enough tell tale signs that he’d hit a nerve.  No one spoke so Sebastian continued to poke the bear.

“Oh. I’m quite sure your kid will get a nice medal and the usual standard document of thanks from a grateful country, insert name here was a hero. He'll be missed blah blah blah. Tell me was it the kid I got in the leg, or the one in the arm or was it the one lucky enough to catch a bullet to the lungs? I’ll tell you now it was pretty entertaining to watch the medical officers wrestled with their conscience before deciding it was too dangerous to pull them out. Smart if you ask me, but as for that idiot Watson-“ And there it was another twitch of the left eye. The chill in the air almost gave him pause.

“Oh? It’s the Captain?” Sebastian chuckled painfully. Definitely broken ribs. This was surprising as far as he knew, Watson didn’t have anyone, well other than Holmes. But who was that little addict anyway? He was nobody.

“Mr. Holmes?” Scarface stepped closer to Sebastian. And without looking the sniper knew the black shirt was asking for permission.

 

“Shit.” Those eyes, Sebastian swore to himself, he should have recognized them. Of course this was probably the addict’s big brother, the one Jim had complained about. So maybe not a politician but something a little more menacing. He caught how the icy gray eyes glanced over to Scarface with silent consent. Sebastian decided to make his next words count anyways.

“It’s fine. It’s all fine. I may be going to a dark hole and you’ll eventually kill me. But, I’ll go knowing that Watson died by my bullet.”  The man of ice only looked pointedly at Scarface who brought an already bloody fist hard against Sebastian’s jaw. The world started to go dark. Sebastian heard Scarface whisper angrily before giving into the darkness.

“I’ll kill you Moran. You will die. And it will be slow. A punctured lung can be very painful I hear.”

~0~

Mycroft scowled at the blood on his Italian shoes. He wiped them off on the unconscious sniper's shirt.

“He’ll be transported back to a private base. We still have some questions for him regarding Moriarty. Of course you can oversee the interrogation Major Hendricks.” The green eyed soldier nodded stiffly.

“Thank you Mr. Holmes. I appreciate you bringing me in on this.”

“How is your brother Major?” The soldier smiled thinly, his jaw clinched.

“He’ll live. The doctor said Watson’s quick thinking saved his life, gave Jeff the time needed.  He’ll be in the hospital for a while. Although he’s not completely happy with being discharged, he’s still alive. Alive and awake.”

“I wouldn’t worry about finding something to fit his skill set. I’m sure we can find him a position he's well suited for.”

“Thank you sir. And how is the Captain?”

“No word as of yet, I’ll be heading back to England. He’s still in critical condition.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. He is a good man. Please. Keep me updated Mr. Holmes. Jeff has asked about him, as soon as he’s discharged I’m sure we’ll be coming for a visit.” With that, Mycroft shook the Major’s hand.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 6.  Left Behind

“Someone should call Harry. Can’t your brother? He’s in the government after all. If not for the fact that she is John’s only family, then it’s that she has a higher chance of sharing his blood group. Highest of all people.” Mike’s voice was hopeful, almost a plea.

Sherlock turned in the larger man’s direction and snapped. “Mike, if John wanted Harry here, then why didn’t he have her listed as next of kin?”

Mike stiffened and bit his lip unconsciously. He knew exactly why. But she couldn’t still be angry. It had been three years. Maybe she even had finally forgiven her brother for whatever infraction she believed he committed.

The dark haired man in the black suit frowned. Too late. Mike realized. He’d allowed too much of his emotions to be seen.

“Stamford?” Sherlock demanded. “What happened? I thought-“ Sherlock paused, his voice threatening to break. “I thought John was with her this whole time. I had assumed he’d moved onto her couch until his residency ended.” Gray eyes moved back over the unconscious blonde “What the hell was he doing in the army?”

“To be honest, I didn’t even know he had joined. It was a huge a shock to me as it was you. Never would have imagined.” Mike removed his glasses, slumping down in the comfortable chair near Sherlock.

“I thought he was with her too. Thought maybe they made up. That she realized she was an idiot and so far off target. Maybe she sobered up finally. That she somehow apologized. After you two uh--ended, he stayed on my couch.”

“Apologized? What the hell are you talking about?”

“I don’t know what exactly happened. It’s just-“

“Just what?”


Mike shook his head recalling the day he had come back to his flat after a run. How he had paused just outside his door. He could hear Harry’s very distinct yelling. She always had a way of making her voice carry through the thickest of walls.

“John do you think maybe if you weren’t always acting better than everyone else maybe people would like you? This isn’t Sherlock’s fault. It’s yours. You on your moral high horse. You trying to change everyone! HIM! ME!  I’m fine. I was fine before you came along and I will be fine after. I’m sure he feels the same. Maybe, little brother, you should consider. It’s not us! It’s you!”

“Harry-“ John’s soft protest was cut short.

“Just get the hell out of my face. You always act like such a saint. No one can stand to be around you like that. NO ONE! You’re even worse than Clara! At least she was being honest with me. She didn’t pretend to be something she’s not. And look, she only left because of what you said!”

“I’m sorry Harry. I was only trying to help.”

“Oh! Were you? How about this? You were jealous of my happiness. You always have been! Just admit it! You always act like you’re better than everyone else. You aren’t! You are worse! You just get off on making me feel bad, making me feel like it’s my fault!”

“It was never my intention to make you feel-“

“It never is, is it? It’s just your personality. Well you don’t see me trying to change you, do you? So why are you trying to change me! Just get out of-“

“Harry I’m-“

And then followed the crack of an open hand striking an unguarded face. Mike had decided that he should step in. John wouldn’t fight back. He never did, not against his sister. That was the type of man he was. He would never raise a hand to a woman.

Harry was obviously drunk again, her eyes bloodshot, she hadn’t stopped with slapping. She had a pretty good left hook.  Mike pulled her away from her brother, putting some distance between the two.

Trying to gently but firmly restrain her, she’d managed to scratch John pretty good with her rings under the left eye. The younger Watson would have a nice bruise in the shape of a handprint on his left cheek in a few minutes.

“Harry. Calm down.” Mike wrapped his arms around her, her head resting just under his chin. He held his breath, she reeked of gin. Her breathing was labored and she continued to swear and struggle.

“Let go of me!” she growled.

“Not until you calm down. My neighbors are going to ring the police if this continues.”


“Sorry, Mike.” John put a shaky hand on his bloody lips.

“Oh, go ahead play the victim.” She growled. Finally relaxing. “You be careful Mike. He might just try to steal Sophie out from under you. He can’t stand to see anyone happy.”

“Harry maybe you should leave. I’ll call you a cab.” The exasperation in his voice apparent.  

“Don’t fucking bother Mikey. I can figure it out on my own. I’m a big girl.” She straightened her pink t-shirt, pushing her long blond hair over her thin shoulder. “As for you. Dearest brother. You’re dead to me. You hear me. Dead. To. Me. Don’t call me. Don’t write. Don’t show your face anywhere near my place. In fact if you see me crossing the street don’t say a damn word. Or even if you were in the fucking hospital needing-“

“Harry, that’s enough!” Mike cut her off. He could see John wasn’t even looking at her. He had his head turned to the side, wincing at her cold words.

“Yeah, I’m gone. Worthless.” She growled heading out of the flat slamming the door behind her, hard enough to cause a picture of Sophie and Mike to fall from the small bookcase near the telly.

The silence was heavy after she left. “Want to talk about it?” John shook his head.

“I’m going to go for a walk. Sorry again Mike.” John tried to force a smile. The taller man adjusted his glasses. He could see what the calm cost John. His shoulders slumped in defeat, his hands in his pockets.

“John.” Mike called before the blond reached the door. “She was drunk and didn’t mean it.”

The blonde only nodded. “I’ll be back later. Thanks again Mike.”

Two days later John finished his medical residency. He would be starting the surgeon training soon after.

Except it was like he just disappeared.


Mike and Sophie invited John out to a night out but he never showed up at the pub. He had been moping around lately even before the Harry fiasco. The young Doctor knew Sherlock and John had broken up but John wasn’t one to talk about these things.

Mike recalled feeling troubled by John’s absence in his small flat. He’d been trying to reach John’s mobile but the line was never picked up. The young doctor had waited up for his friend for hours. John never returned.

It occurred to him the next morning that John had put the blankets neatly in the closet. His friend’s duffel bag of clothes, favorite jumper and brown hoodie were gone. Finally he found John’s mobile on the side of the couch. He swore at himself for not noticing it earlier. Mike had lent his old mobile to John until he could get a new one. Here it was showing several missed calls from Mike. It hit him then, John was gone and he wasn’t going to be back.


Mike continued to look on John’s forced breaths and checked the chart on reflex. He was a doctor after all. Two days had already passed and John was still alive. Something sounded off in the patients breathing. Mike frowned; adjusting his stethoscope, he pulled the warm white blanket back.

“What? What is it?”  Sherlock stood up studying the Doctor’s white face. Mike heard it. A definite crackle. He hit the call button. The French Doctor entered quickly as if she had only been standing just outside.

“What’s wrong?” Sherlock asked again. He could barely hear the exchange between both doctors’ because his heart was pounding in his ears too loud. Then Mike took him by the arm and moved him back from the bed. Several more people entered, wheeling some kind of machine with them.

“We have to give them room. Let’s step outside.” Mike turned to Sherlock. “We have to get in contact with Harry. John would want-“

“Don’t-“

“It’s not your choice to make!” Mike removed his glasses, running a chubby hand over his exhausted face. “What if it was your brother?”

Sherlock turned away, his fists clenched. He knew what John would do. The hospital was nothing new for the Holmes brothers. John once called Mycroft after a particularly bad overdose.

“Please. She has just as much a right as any of us to be here. You have friends with the Met now? That gray haired fellow you help out sometimes. Or even your brother has resources. I’m surprised he hasn’t already-“

“My brother is a very busy man. I doubt he has even given that thought. We aren’t exactly the sentimental types. I don't have friends with the MET.” Sherlock took out his phone and sent out a text. Glancing briefly at John’s door, several more medical staff were pushing back into the room. His eyes flitted over the two armed agents at the door. Interesting, but not relevant. He would ask Mycroft later on the presence of these men, for now he had to focus.

Suspect? - GL

Address and phone number please. - SH

Fine. Fine. Give me a min. - GL

Within minutes of sending a text to DI Lestrade he received the information he needed. Another text sent to Mycroft that would no doubt be forwarded to his PA.


“She’ll be here within the hour. Now, tell me what’s wrong. What was that machine?” Sherlock demanded.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER  7.  STEP 12

“Hello my name is Harry and I’m an alcoholic.” The blonde in the short-sleeved pink jumper spoke casually from behind the tall podium.

“Hello Harry.” Came the monotonous reply from a subdued audience but Harry didn’t allow it to discourage her. Her shoulder-length hair fell over her thin shoulders as she began her story.

This was the part of the week when the new members came in, forced by court ordered probation or threat of jail. Sadly, the crowd seemed to be getting younger and younger. Sometimes she would scan their uninterested faces for some sign that she was reaching them.

“I was a stranger to myself. Everything I ever knew and ever saw was just a haze, something I used to deflect myself from reasons. An excuse. It wasn’t until the first horrible week of sobriety that I managed to truly stand in the sun. It was like I had spent my whole life in some endless fever, wishing I was something more then the empty ghost. I kept pushing the people who cared about me away. When I had finally found my bearings, I was totally alone. My friends and family had long gone.”  She cleared her throat; yesterdays demons still haunted her. She could hear the vicious words slurred by her own drunk speech, could see the blurry crimes she committed against her family her friends. The stealing and the lying, and this would be her retribution, perhaps she could reach out to one of these kids before they found out the hard way. So she continued her eyes meeting each of the blank faces in her audience.
“I nearly killed myself with changes, trying desperately to make myself something better. I ended up just becoming something I would have hated to be. I became my parents. My addiction was first before my family, my wife and even myself.” Harry thought of John again, as she went into detail her past sins. She cringed thinking that it had been three years and still her brother had yet to contact her.

Why did he finally listen to her? She could barely recall her words but it wasn’t hard to guess how their last meeting ended. Today’s group had a couple of familiar faces. So at least she was touching on these lives. The young man in the back with his sad blue eyes always reminded her of John. It was painful to see this kid. He had the same blond hair and baby face. This would have been her brother if he had given in to their family’s curse. She took her seat at the back as the first volunteer walked to the podium.

“Ms. Watson?” Harry frowned. Disruption was unacceptable in the room, especially when a vulnerable first timer was up there, trying to expel his demons.

“I’m sorry. You’ll have to wait for your turn.” Harry replied not turning around to address the interrupted voice.

“I am afraid not Ms. Watson. I need you to collect your things and come with me.” Harry did turn now, a scathing look directed on the offending party. To her further irritation, the woman who so rudely flouted the rules of these meetings wasn’t even looking at her. The brunette in the black skirt suit was busy texting.

“No mobile phones allowed here. And could you refrain from talking? It will distract-“

“Again Ma’am, I will ask you to come with me. If you don’t, I fear it will become very uncomfortable for you.”

“Are you threatening me? Who the hell do you think you are?”

“I understand you have responsibilities so I’ve taken the liberty to call in your replacement.”  Right on cue, the doors of the meeting room opened and the director of youth services entered looking rushed and pale. Two men in black suits and dark glasses were escorting him in. Thankfully no one was paying attention. These kids didn’t exactly trust authority figures.

“What the hell-“ She hissed, her voice still low.

“Come on Ms. Watson. You will find we took the liberty of collecting your wife as well. She should be waiting in the car.”

Harry didn’t argue this time. One of the men in the dark glasses had moved to pull her gently yet firmly to her feet by her forearm. The rebellious side of her was fighting to surface, but she had to hold herself in check, not wishing to make a scene. Besides, they had Clara in their car? Were they police? Was it about one of the kids?

Fred waved her off, mouthing, “Go.” Once she was outside in the cool London air she rounded on the man holding her arm.

“Get your hands off me. Now. I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what the hell is going on.” She ran her hands over the hips of her black slacks, grateful that her pink heels gave her some kind of height, at least she could meet the brunette woman’s glare. Well, she could, if the infuriating woman would look up from her damned mobile.

The man in the black suit and dark glasses only took Harry’s arm and the other opened the black car’s door. Sliding in clumsily, Harry realized Clara was sitting near the opposite end. She looked absolutely terrified. Harry’s temper flared, aiming the dark haired woman, but Clara reached out with a soft hand and shook her head. Harry took her wife’s small hand in her own and intensified her glare at the brunette who insisted on ignoring them.

“I’m all right Harry. Just nervous. They showed up at the school when I was leaving for home. They wouldn’t say anything about where we are going. I thought that--I thought maybe you were hurt.” Harry offered reassurance, squeezing her love’s hand.

“It’ll be alright Clarabear. They probably just want a chat. Can’t understand about what.” Harry shrugged, glancing out the tinted window as the shops were flying by. It seemed they were in some kind of rush. And the traffic lights were all magically in their favor. Wherever they were going, they’d be there very soon.

“This all seems so familiar.” Harry frowned. This reminded her of somewhere three maybe four years back in the part of her memory that remained hazy due to the state of constant intoxication she kept herself in. Somewhere through those muddied waters, she recalled this kind of ride. The car, the brunette and her damn mobile.

“What?” Clara nervously asked, “You know them? Do you owe-“ Harry shook her head. Worry was evident in her wife’s green eyes.

“No, nothing like that. It’s just...”

“Wait a minute. Were you the one that had me thrown out of a club?” Harry glared at the woman who refused to acknowledge anything but her blackberry. She continued not needing the confirmation. “You, this car. Oh my god. Something happened?” She hadn’t seen her brother in years and this woman knew Sherlock and his scary older brother. The one with the umbrella. This had to be about John, nothing else would fit.

“It’s Sherlock isn’t it? John sent you to collect us?” The brunette looked up now, her carefully sculpted eyebrow raised in surprise. The doors opened and men in black suits helped them out. Clara jumped a little, always nervous around men, especially ones in authority. Harry put an arm around her glaring at the black suits.

“Harry I thought this was a military hospital. Why would Sherlock or John be here?” Clara’s voice trembled softly.

“You should have worn more than just a cardigan Clarabear. It’s very cold out and you’re only in a dress.” Harry frowned inspecting Clara’s cute outfit. A blue cardigan over a midnight silk blouse that came to her slender knees. Her black leggings and blue flats. Clara and her dark colors, they always made her seem so much younger and her skin that much more porcelain-like.

“I’m fine. It’s not the chill it’s-Harry. You don’t think John would-“ She didn’t get to finish that question before the lift doors opened  and they were led down a long corridor and into a private room.

Upon entering, Harry scanned the area for her brother’s face. Three years felt like a lifetime but she imagined he wouldn’t have changed much. Someone had opened the blinds so any remaining light left in the day could stream in. This felt like a hotel room rather than a hospital room. A large flat screen telly was on the wall, with a comfortable leather couch in front. Of course. Sherlock came from money didn’t he? No expenses spared here.

Harry spotted several coffee mugs littered a small table near the window, as if someone had stood looking out into the city while sipping cup after cup of coffee or tea. Clara remained at her side She suddenly stiffened. And Harry hadn’t registered why just yet.

“Oh, thank god. Harry.” A chubby man in glasses and a white lab coat hurried to greet her, taking her cold hands. “I’m glad you came. It’s good to see you.”

“Mike?” Harry held back a laugh. “You must be married.” She looked pointedly at his midsection. The man had gotten fat. She smiled warmly; leave it to Mike to put the past behind them. She’d always thought he was a good friend to her brother, probably the only real one her brother had.

“Mike what’s going on?” She looked past him to a figure sitting in a chair, one with familiar dark curls and expensive black suit. She would recognize that profile from anywhere. Still just as arrogant and condescending as ever. He didn’t even turn to look in her direction.

Then it slowly dawned on her. The bed. The machines the sounds of a heart monitor. And the hiss of rhythmic breathing, and the smile she offered John’s friend melted away.

“I’m sorry Harry.” Mike put a consoling hand on her shoulder.

“Sorry? I don’t care about sorry. Why the hell is my brother-how did Johnny get here?” She paled once more, she pushed past Mike. Clara’s question in the elevator rolled through her, causing her knees to feel like jelly. “No.” she shook her head “No. John you idiot! You bloody fucking idiot.” It registered her then that he joined the army. John joined the army. That’s where he had been these three bloody years.

“You.” She turned to Sherlock and went around the bed quickly to face the now standing dark haired idiot in the suit.

“You!” She clenched her fists. “You let him join the bloody army! Don’t you know there is a war on? He’s a doctor for Christ’s sake! What the hell is he doing-“ She could see the dressing on her brother’s shoulder, “He’s been shot.” She couldn’t keep the anger out of her voice, the tremor of rage, she might be sober but she still had a temper.

“Very astute observation Harriet. Bravo.” Came the dry reply.

“Don’t.” She growled. “Don’t fucking tempt me mate. Not now. Answer my question.”

“Was there a question in there?”

“Sherlock.” Mike warned as he edged closer between the two volatile personalities.

“Harry, we both thought he was living with you. Finding him here like this-“

“Wait, what do you mean? How long has he been here? Mike?” Harry looked over her shoulder.

“Altogether, four days.”

“Four days?” Clara gasped. She inched around Mike and towards her wife.

“Four days? Why wasn’t I-“

“See for yourself Harriet.” Sherlock snapped thrusting the medical chart into her abdomen. She caught it up before it made contact. “First page. Under living relative.”

Harry didn’t have to listen to him. She was already there, scanning the document, pausing at the unfamiliar name. Captain Watson, John Hamish. No. Her brother was just a kid, a kid, just Johnny. There, she found it, NO KNOWN FAMILY.  None. Why would he?

“Harry.” Mike took the chart from her while she shook her head incredulously.

“Don’t feel so special Sherlock Holmes you aren’t listed either.” She took her wife’s arm. “Clarice let’s go.”

“Harry?” The dark haired girl remained rooted, her hand covering her wife’s. “We aren’t leaving. You have more right to be here than anyone else.” Clara’s voice now sounded uncharacteristically firm.

“Does she?” Sherlock huffed furiously. He wanted to lash out at anyone. The unfairness of it. It should be him there, or Harry, or anyone but John. He didn’t deserve this. “What did you say to him that he hates you now Harry? Oh, come on. You being the ever-dutiful sister. What was it? Look, Mike, she doesn’t remember. Why don’t you enlighten her? You were there. You won't tell me but you can tell her. It’s a family reunion after all.”

Sherlock refused to indulge the blonde. The blonde with the eyes that reminded him so much of John’s except it was darker, promising less hope and no warmth. Even the way she started to bite the inside of her cheek. The way she shifted uncomfortably. All were painful reminders. She was the reason John and Sherlock had met in the first place, although he had never been sure if that was a good or bad thing.

Chapter Text

 

CHAPTER 8. A PACK

John was drifting for how long he couldn’t say, whatever dream he was having he wanted to hold on to the warmth of it. Maybe it was a memory, but the sound of yelling was interfering with whatever warm musings he was holding to.

 Was that his sister, did she want him up? Off the couch?

Five more minutes, his mind pleaded but the words never left his mouth, and the dark came back up to pull him under the fluid waters of a memory.

 

~0~  

 

John stumbled from the house a stupid grin plastered to his drunken face. He hadn’t done something like that in a long time, maybe since secondary. At a birthday party, Hanna Parker. It had been him to initiate and they both had been clumsy in their inexperience. John glanced back at the abandoned domicile turned into a makeshift party house, the night hadn’t been too bad then.

 

Even if Harry had pinched his wallet, and ditched him here wherever here was. Not to mention Ty appearing as if he knew John would be there. That was a dumb thought. Considering John didn’t even know he would be there, so how would Ty know? Unless Harry had said something, she was a bad judge in character. Ty was able to fool a lot of people into thinking he was a good guy, but John knew better.

 Moving away from the steps someone called over to him “Oi! Got a light?”

“Uh, actually, yeah. Yeah I do.” John put a hand to his back pocket and pulled out his sisters cigarettes, he’d pinched them from her in hopes to toss them in the bin. Apparently she’d already pinched his wallet when he’d done this or she’d of noticed. Stupid him for not noticing his wallet had disappeared from his back pocket.  “Here, have the fags.”

“Really?” a ginger haired boy in a black beanie asked excitedly.

“Yeah. Keep em. I don’t smoke.”

“Nice of you mate, I wasn’t looking forward to taking a drag after these cock suckers.” One of the four young men wearing a black Misfits t-shirt motioned to his three friends.

John laughed easily as the others protested countering with crude words and hand gestures. Nothing malicious all very playful. Apparently they consider John a savior of sorts now they weren't going to share the one cigarette between them. They eagerly dipped into the donated pack and lit up.

John started to walk away “Have a safe night-“

“Wait, wait. Me and the mates are heading to Wesley’s for a private party you should come.” The one in the Mistfits shirt offered, the others nodded in agreement.

“No but thanks I think I better call it a night.”

“You arent from around here are you mate? You look a bit lost?” The one in the gray hoodie was looking John over.

“If you could maybe point me in the right direction to the nearest street?” John smiled sheepishly. "My ride must have forgotten about me."

“ That's a dick move mate, real dick move." The ginger shook his head taking another drag.

"Yeah, huh. Well since you helped us out tonight, be our pleasure to point you in the right direction. So what you do is just go straight up and then a left mate follow it down till you see the Tesco. “

“Thanks.” John started down the street, he tried texting Harry and calling her she of course didn’t reply.

“Johnny where you going?” he froze turning around Ty and his two friends Mike and Geoff were starting towards him. He broke out into a run, and of course they followed. John was in good shape after a block he thought he lost them. He was dizzy from the drinks that Harry had kept offering him. Now he understood it was a ploy to get his wallet, leaning against the brick of an abandoned building he tried to concentrate on his feet, and not the spinning around him.

 

“There you are Johnny boy.” He froze turning around to face Ty. Ty short for Tyler, his neatly cut black hair stood at five foot 11 still taller than John and a bad temper, that was Tyler. He wanted to be a business major, well he was a big enough bully and his dad had money, he thought this made him irresistible to men and women. Well it might be true for everyone else but it hadn't worked on John.

“Did you miss me?”

“I would have thought the fact I was ignoring you would have been a big enough hint.” John knew he should probably keep the smart ass comments to himself but he was drunk. Well, his father used to say he had a problem with authority. John was under the belief it wasn’t authority but rather the undeserving people who felt entitled to his respect.

 “Oh, how I’ve missed your cute sense of humor.”

“Well we can go have a chat tomorrow maybe over coffee.” John tried to side step him. Ty’s hand's were quick to hold him in place, his friends stood back smoking and ignoring the lover's quarrel. Well if you asked Ty that was what this was, as far as John was concerned it was quite the opposite.

“Not so fast Doctor.” John held his breath, hating how Ty thought it was alright to hold his upper arms so roughly.  “You haven’t answered any of my texts or calls Johnny. Makes me sad. I thought we had something.”

“Ty, we dated two weeks and I’ve already told you I’m not what you’re looking for.” John tried to move again but Ty pushed him forcefully back against the brick wall, squeezing his arms painfully. He reeked of whiskey and cigarettes.

“And I said you hadn’t even given me a chance. I thought we were having fun.”

“No. You tried to force me into sleeping with you.”

“Come on Johnny boy you wanted it.” That had been a rough night for John, one he didn’t want to repeat. If they hadn't been interrupted then it could have been worse than just a few bruises and a fat lip.

“Ty seriously. Get off me.” John tried to push back, panic starting to rise.

“You don’t mean that Johnny. Such ingratitude me and the boys came all the way down here to meet up with you after all.”

“What?”

“Oh, Harry didn’t tell you? I bumped into her a few days ago at the club. Asked about you, she was kind enough to say she was going to be coming here and she’d be sure to bring you. So here we are me and the boys.” John clasped his eyes shut and tightened his jaw. Dammit Harry.

“Ty. I’m sorry. You’ve been drinking. Let’s just talk about this in the morning. I would really like to just go home. It’s been a long-“ The taller boy leaned into John cutting off his protest with clumsy lips, his tongue ran over John’s lips sloppy wet and uninvited.

John broke it off by moving his head to the side quickly, he then pushed with what force he could muster being crushed against the wall. He managed to get free but then Mike and Geoff weren’t going to let him go anywhere that would defeat the purpose of this little power play.

~0~

Sherlock stepped out into the cold night air seeking refuge away from the constant stream of pick up lines. Straightening his black shirt he was relieved to be alone leaning against the brick of the old building In the distance he could hear sirens, not such a surprise on this side of town.  A grin creasing his lips, the faint aroma of honey and spice drifting up from his clothes to tease his senses.

 

He preferred places like this for purchasing drugs, far from traffic camera’s and cctv. Far from the all seeing eye of Mycroft Holmes, self-appointed brother’s keeper. Just a week out of rehab and Mycroft was still having him followed. Well no matter he’d lost those government idiots six miles ago. The mobile of course was a throw away, so Mycroft didn’t have the number therefore he couldn’t triangulate an exact location. Something else he had learned from the last two times.

 

Well the night hadn’t been too much of a waste. John Watson had served as an interesting distraction.  Sherlock actually appreciated the chilled night air; it served to calm his discomfort.

 “Leaving so soon Siggy?” The dark haired young man glanced briefly at the kid in the black Mistfits shirt. “Party is just starting.” The one wearing a Misfits shirt was blowing smoke rings in Sherlock’s direction. Sherlock’s dark eyes narrowed on the four drunk idiots smoking under the dim street light.

 

“Yeah, Siggs. Not like you to call it a night so early.” Another of the fools added, this one wore a gray hoodie. Sherlock had partied with the group before, maybe they had something to hold him over until he reached Jim’s.

 “Anyone holding?” the four shook their heads.

“Nah mate. It’s been a bit dry these days. Seems like everywhere we look old bill is cracking heads. It’s making for expensive prices.” The ginger with the blue zip up jacket offered Sherlock a cigarette and a light. He took it gratefully, remembering he was out.

 

“You off to find a party Siggs? We were going to Wesley’s here, he knows a dealer in the neighborhood.  You can tag along.” Wesley was the ginger, Sherlock had filed the names away of the other three and obviously he had deleted them just as quickly.

 Sherlock considered his options; if Wesley found a dealer then he wouldn’t have to deal with Jim. However if he went to Wesley’s and there was no dealer, or worse it was crap coke, he would be stuck listening to Jim’s excessive whining about being put off so long. He shrugged following the four, ignoring all attempts at being drawn into a conversation.

 “Looks like a bit of a domestic.” The brunette in the Mistfits shirt jerked his head over to the corner across the street.  The other three laughed, Sherlock didn’t spare a quick look over. He wanted to go already to find the drugs to fall into oblivion, and maybe forget those blue eyes that promised spring.

 

The sound of yelling interrupted his thoughts. From what he could hear, that one idiot and his little band of imbeciles from earlier had found their prey. The three were taunting some poor fool. Sounded like the break up wasn’t mutual. Boring.

 

“Oh, shit, hold on, my mobile.” Wesley fumbled with his phone. The other three started to tease him loudly. Obviously it was his girlfriend, he kept denying he was anywhere but home, shushing the others angrily. Wesley put his hand out and walked away from the rowdy group.

 

Idiots, dull idiots. Sherlock took another pull from the quickly dwindling unfiltered cigarette.

 

The dark haired addict continued to observe the group of three just across the street, another attempt to keep himself entertained.

 

He watched the young man in the black hoodie obviously had someone pinned against the brick building. Sherlock could barely hear the angry words over the jeers of his own companions.

 

~0~

 

For all of John’s effort he was shoved harder against the brick, and just to get his point across Ty sent a hard hit to John’s abdomen.

 “That’s your problem Johnny boy always thinking you’re better than everyone else. Laughable.” Mike and Geoff continued to grip John’s arms leaving him open for another unforgiving hit to the solar plexus. “Do you Johnny? Think you’re better than me? Because you’re wrong. I’m the one slumming with you.” John felt himself temporarily black out, his ears ringing after that second hit to his jaw. Combined with his low tolerance for whatever it was that Harry had him drink John lost all equilibrium. He was released and fell on his face, he was sure that would hurt except he wasn’t feeling much right now.

 “Piss off.” He managed to grunt, swallowing the raising bile, gasping for fresh air.

 "What was that Johnny boy? Didn’t quite here it. You want to suck me off, and then my two friends here?” John shook his head attempting to crawl away. It was futile sure, but he wasn’t exactly thinking straight. Just wanted to put distance between himself and his attacker.

“ Sounds like a plan. But me first boys, see how good a little cock sucker our doctor friend can be. Get him on his knees and hold him Mike.Geoff.” the other two laughed amused.

“No!” John was pulled into the alley a little more, away from the street.

“Oh, no worries love,  I’ll go slow.” Ty took a handful of John’s blond hair forcing his head back.

“Don’t do this Tyler.” John groaned, his head was pounding and he was pretty sure he was about to puke and pass out. Probably a good and a bad thing at this point.

~0~

Neanderthals traveled in packs for a reason. Sherlock glanced over at the four he happened to be traveling with, rolling his eyes. This was a fact of nature, a survival technique although alone protected him, alone was safe. He was smart enough to know that this wasn’t always the case.

Sherlock moved into the street, something drawing him closer to the three predators who had their prey cornered. Why was he so interested? Morbid curiosity maybe? 

 

The bastard in the black hoodie sent two hard kicks into a crumpled figure at his feet, he signaled for his friends to pull the weakened victim into the alley they were standing in front of.

That was it, the dim light of the street lamp fell upon a familiar checkered shirt as it disappeared into the alleyway.

“Hey wasn’t that the kid who gave us the fags?” Wesley pointed across the street, but Sherlock was already sprinting in the direction of the other group.

“Bastards probably jumping him. Been two days since we last had a good throw down!” the kid in the gray hoodie clapped then rubbed his hands together excitedly.

“Hey Siggy he a friend of yours?” Wesley called as the three others followed their dark haired friend towards the alley way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

CHAPTER 9. CHIVALRY

Seeing John being handled so indelicately made something in Sherlock snap. He blamed himself for not connecting this deduction, the blond had after all panicked when Sherlock had cornered him. Was this the reason why? A bad breakup indeed.

He wouldn’t allow these miscreants to continue manhandling his-well what was he to Sherlock exactly? They were barely introduced, he hadn’t even given John his name. Still something in him claimed John as his own, and nothing else mattered. How dare these low leveled undergrads spoiled by daddy and mummy’s money, how dare they treat John like this. Who the hell did they think they were? Sherlock had dropped out of UNI to get away from idiots like this.

 

“Oh, no worries love, I’ll go slow.”

“Don’t do this Tyler.” John’s voice came out weak, already a bruise was forming perfectly under his left eye.

“ Why don’t you say please Johnny. It’ll sound perfect with your lips on my dick.”

 Tyler was reaching for his belt but someone shoved him roughly back and he came up hard against the alley’s skip.

 

“What the fuck!” He growled he didn’t have a chance to continue before a heavy fist hit him in the abdomen doubling over a knee crashed into his side. “Fuck! Mate!” Tyler tried to climb to his feet, wondering where the hell his friends went off to. Blinking away the daze from the kicks he’d just received he could hear Geoff and Mike shouting, looking over Mike was on the ground while two blokes kicked him and Geoff was trading punches with some kid in a gray hoodie.

 

“Who the hell are you?” Ty demanded meeting an icy gray stare. He dodge the swing and tried to aim for his attackers ribs. He stumbled forward when his swing found nothing but empty air. A well aimed strike met his face bringing tears to his eyes, blood exploding out of his nose. “Fuck! You broke my nose.” Ty was on his knees a hand to his face. He made pathetic whimpering noises.

 

Sherlock crouched down, seizing a handful of the pricks over gelled hair in his shaking right hand. He tilted the whining idiots head back, watery eyes connecting with narrowed icy gray.  “If you don’t stay away from John I’ll break more than that!” Sherlock growled.

“Who the fuck are you? His boyfriend?” Ty tried to move his head out from the hard grasp. Sherlock never answered he only flung the fool from him in disgust.

 “Hey kid you alright?” Wesley kneeled down next to the blond who had graciously given them a pack of cigarettes. “Hey Siggs your mate here ain’t movin. Think they worked him over pretty good.”

 The other three stopped in mid punch or kick and ambled over to were Wesley was crouched.

 Sherlock pushed past the three, ignoring the moans from the now retreating rivals.

 “I’ll be fine. Thanks.” John groaned, attempting to open his eyes. He moved slowly wincing as his knees came up under his chest and his head against the cold pavement.

 

Sherlock cupped the blond’s chin in his hand tilting John’s bruised face up for inspection.  Blue eyes blinked in confusion, a bruise forming high on a pale cheek, a split lip. It was as if some vandal had come and spray painted vulgarity on such beautiful piece of art. This enraged him even more and if the coward hadn’t already fled he would have sent another string of kicks to their faces and ribs.

 

John must have seen the anger in his gray eyes because when Sherlock tried to help him stand John flinched. Sherlock ignored this and gently wrapped an arm around the toned waist.

 

“Anything broken Doctor?”  he asked gently as the blond hissed in pain swaying momentarily.

“Not a Doctor yet-but-oh. Hello again." another genuine smile formed on the bruised lips, recognition seemed to put the shorter man at ease. "Bit embarrassing this." Sherlock didn't reply instead he kept John steady.

Offering his handkerchief causing the younger man to laugh and accept it.    "Who said chivalry is dead?" He held it to his bleeding lip with shaking hands.

 " Hardly. I don't want you bleeding on me." A dry reply.

" And a romantic." John dabbed at his lip slowly, he was about to offer it back.

" Keep it I have more." 

 John is swaying again "Sorry guess I haven’t inherited the family's tolerance for alcohol. Or stealing." Sherlock caught the blond, before he fell to his knees.

" Your sister pinched your wallet and left you? I bet this was her idea you come? Probably said you don’t hang out enough?" It was an easy enough deduction.

 

“How did you? That’s absolutely brilliant.” There it was again, praise where others would usually offer rejection.

 

“Hey Siggs, you still coming over? You can bring your uh-new friend. Might suit him to get a little blow in him. Perk him right up.” Wesley was lighting another cigarette. Sherlock felt John stiffen he shot a glare at Wesley who made a face that easily read “My bad.” His hands up defensively.

 

“Uh, I’ll be fine. You obviously had plans. I just need to be pointed in the right direction-“ John leaned heavily into the taller body, feeling guilty for enjoying the warmth and safety it offered. He had no business feeling like this towards a complete stranger. How pathetic was he? Probably best to find a familiar street maybe he could call Stamford, it was a bit late though. Mike would be in bed, or maybe at Sophie’s. John would feel horrible for interrupting what little time he got to spend with Sophie away from the hospital.

 Damn his head was starting to pound and things seemed a bit fuzzy, he should just try calling Harry one more time.

He could feel those beautiful gray eyes were cutting into him again.  Pushing past his own defenses, as if examining his soul, for a moment John wondered what the intriguing man could see.

 “I’m no doctor, but I’m concerned you may have a concussion.”

“No. Don’t think so. Just too much to drink. At least I think so.” John tried to sound convincing. How did they get out into the street already? Oh no, was he blacking out?  “Where are your friends?” John winced looking around bewildered.

“They are only acquaintances-“

“Don’t say that, they did help you out. By the way thanks for that.” John hoped he sounded sincere but his voice was hoarse and he felt so tired. “Could have been bad.”

“It has been before?” Sherlock had deduced as much, most likely the reason John and that idiot Ty were not together.

“Nothing I couldn’t handle.” John tried to shrug it off, wincing again when the arm around him tightened, causing him to stumble forward. The same strong hold that caused him pain, kept him steady.

“Looked like you were handling yourself fine.” Sherlock’s voice came out harsher than he meant, and he hated himself for causing John more pain, his hold tightened on reflexs when he heard John’s retort. How could he explain the sudden urge to keep John safe, they hardly knew one another. John caught his breath hissing in pain.

 “Sssh, easy. Just breath. Are you sure nothing’s broken?” he worriedly started to run his free hand over John’s toned chest and lightly down the left side and right. Sherlock had checked to see that John’s pants were still done up, there didn’t look to be any other kind of damage.

“I’m sure, just bruised pretty good. I really should try and call my sister again.” John cringed

“Do you honestly think she’ll answer?”

“It’s worth a try.” John took in a sharp breath it was getting harder and harder to keep his eyes open.

"May I use your phone?"   John nodded.

" Back pocket, if it’s still there." The dark haired young man lazily cupped John’s right side and moved over to the left pocket, lingering longer than he should.

Sherlock swore at himself for acting like a teenager coping a feel, instead he focused on pulling John’s mobile out, leaning the shorter blond against the brick of another old building. He then took a deep breath and sent a text to the one person he hated most. The only thing over riding his hatred for Mycroft was the disgust he felt towards John’s harpy of a sister.  He would be sure she didn’t get to spend a pound of the young Doctor’s hard earned money. Shortly after he sent a text to Mycroft a cab seemed to appear out of nowhere, Sherlock scowled at John’s phone.

He climbed into the cab with a half conscious John Watson leaning into him. The reply text from Mycroft pinged just as the door had slammed shut.

A doctor? Mummy would be proud. Shall I tell father.-MH

 

Fuck off. He's an acquaintance.-SH

 

I 'll have it collected shall I bring it to you myself? Would be nice to meet this doctor of yours-MH

 

You always did want what I had.-SH

 

And you always did break your toys before I could take them from you.-MH 

 

The younger Holmes refused to be baited, and although he just met this John Watson he didn’t approve of him being referred to as a toy. Mycroft could go fuck himself.

 So a new distraction? What will Jim say?-MH

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 10. THE PERFECT DRUG

 

Sherlock ignored his brother's last text, instead he savored the pleasant feeling of his own arm draped over the unconscious blond. John’s head was resting on Sherlock’s knee, the warmth of his breath through the jean material shot a rather delicious tingle up Sherlock’s thigh. In response he found himself petting the soft blond hair, marveling at how right it all felt.

 

 They reached his flat all too soon, and he waved the government goon slash cabbie off. Opting on half carrying half walking the younger man up the stairs to the flat himself.  The pair teetered towards the couch in the middle of the large living room, a sharp knock on the door alerted Sherlock that Mycroft had located John’s wallet.

 

“Wait here.” Sherlock commanded easing John onto the leather couch.

“Sure. Why not.” John giggled. Sherlock could see that John’s eyes weren’t even open, John was close to passing out completely. An odd feeling of disappointment struck him at this thought. He pulled open the front door irritably expecting his brother to be on the other side.

 

 Thankfully it wasn't his brother just a government crony standing at the door.  

 

"There you go sir. Wasn't difficult to find. The account was frozen before it could be used."  Sherlock nodded taking the soft well loved leather wallet, "Will I be escorting Mr. Watson home?" Sherlock only slammed the door on the agent without a reply.

 

That wasn't nice. What would mummy say about your manners? I see your new friend is in the Last year of his residency. How sweet he wants to be a surgeon. Well mummy would be proud. "-MH

 

The younger Holmes pulled John easily to his feet, deciding the blond would feel more comfortable on the bed rather than wake up with stiff muscles on the couch.

That and some perverse part of Sherlock wanted to saturate the scent of honey and spice onto his blankets and pillows.

 

Why are you telling me this?-SH

 

The younger Holmes pondered if he should remove John’s trousers and checkered shirt. Both items of clothing were covered in blood and the filth from the alley floor. And of course it wouldn't be comfortable sleeping in trousers and a shirt. Another text from Mycroft interrupted his inner debate.

 

Because if he's going to be supplying you with narcotics dear brother I will have all hopes for a license and career pulled, and the only employment he’ll find will be janitorial. -MH

 Stay out of my business.-SH

 Sherlock deleted the correspondence, discarded the mobile on the bedside table and set to work carefully removing John’s converse.

“Thanks.” John sighed a small grin playing on his bruised lips. “You’re too sweet.” Sherlock snorted at this.

“I do believe you’re the first person well besides my mummy to say this to me.”

“You have a good heart.” John’s hands came to still the fingers working at unbuttoning his shirt, his blue eyes capturing the gray.

 Like spring settling over winter except wasn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

 “I have been reliably informed I do not have one.” Winter tried to ice over.

“Idiots.”  The spring offered warmth, before heavy lids slammed shut.

John released Sherlock’s cool hands his own body going lax, he allowed himself to be undressed. First the blood stained checkered shirt then the white t-shirt underneath, were discarded.

Sherlock had John laying back on the king-size bed with feet still dangling over the side. He started to undo John’s jeans with surprisingly unsteady hands. He swore irritably at himself for acting like a horny teenager. This wasn’t the first time he undressed a stranger, except those nameless faces weren’t worth remembering. But John is?

 It was true, for some mystifying reason, John was quickly building his own space in Sherlock’s mind palace.

The dark haired addict swallowed trying to keep himself from allowing his willowy fingers to trace the blond trail of hair running from the center of a broad chest disappearing under the waistband of John's jeans. The addict's long fingers wished to dip just beneath the waistline of those infuriating jeans. A barrier between him and his prize.

Instead he busied himself with thoughts of other things. Like if he had any coke hidden away, a stash Mycroft hadn’t found yet, somewhere in the flat.

Except his gray eyes fell back onto the figure in his bed. He did have to  admire John’s flat torso, deducing silently that John commits himself to several sets of sit ups every morning.

The addict tried to concentrate once more on possible hiding places, instead his mind was overridden by the itch to outline the hard flesh that was John’s, the strong craving to move his palms over the flat surface past the young Doctor’s belly button further down. Imagining the feel of John’s hot flesh coming alive, hardening under his teasing ministrations.

 “Woah, you haven’t even bought me dinner.” John giggled snapping Sherlock from his perverse musings. Glassy spring blue eyes watched a red blush burn the dark haired man‘s cheeks.

And to Sherlock’s surprise John sat up rather quickly his hands holding firmly to Sherlock’s narrow waist.  “Your turn.” The young Doctor started to run his hands over the soft material of Sherlock’s dark shirt. Clumsy fingers attempted to unbutton the barrier between him and his champion.

“I do believe you are trying to seduce me.” Sherlock murmured pushing the hands away he climbed onto the bed straddling John’s waist his own capable fingers hastily removing his shirt, pushing John back onto the soft bed.

 “Am I? I was just trying to even up the playing field.” Sherlock allowed his fingers to deftly move over John’s broad chest. Enjoying the encouraging intake of breath from the man beneath him.

He gave into the compulsion to trace cruel circles around two very erect pink nipples. He continued to run his slender digits through the soft down of chest hair.  Only to move on at a brutally slow pace, trailing lightly over bruised ribs. The addict then cataloged the fingerprints and other painful discolorations on the young Doctor’s well toned arms.

John rolled his hips upwards grinding against the man straddling him, causing both of them to groan in pleasure.

“I don’t think you’re in the right frame of mind to be encouraging me Doctor.” Sherlock whispered huskily bringing his lips down to nip at John’s ear, an action earning him a small whimper.

“You’re so beautiful.” John murmured his blue eyes blinking back sleep.

“And you are my heroine.” Sherlock whispered into John’s ear, running the tip of his tongue expertly over the lobe.

“Oh, god.” John hissed his hips rolling upwards against Sherlock in response. The dark haired young man felt a tightness growing in his own trousers, not to mention John’s stiff muscle starting to become more and more noticeable.

“You’re drunk it wouldn’t be fair to continue.” Sherlock started to climb off, he needed to stop before this went too far.

 Not that he cared, but something in him warned John would. His drumming heart and the rush of blood to his crouch protested, crying out that it was already far too late for that.

 “Says who? And I feel perfectly sober.” John moved to pull off his own jeans. Sherlock watched torn between wanting to take what John was offering or just walking away.

Instead he managed to find some form of self control, despite the drumming of blood to his cock fogging all rational thought. He held his breath and concentrated on the task at hand. Hooking his own arm under the back of John’s knees he swiveled the shorter man’s legs onto the bed easily.

He smiled at John’s choice of briefs. Red, really? Oh,  the delicious implications of it all.

John’s breathing was starting to even out, but his semi hard dick remained. It took another deep breath, to continue, and the scent of honey and spice bombarding his senses wasn’t helping him keep a clear head.

 Feeling a bit guilty he snatched up a pair of blue silk pajama bottoms he’d discarded earlier in the day and changed out of his constrictive trousers. He felt less like a reprobate with pajama bottoms on. Trying to choose between a cold shower, or maybe having a good wank to release some of his frustration, his eyes fell back on the cause of all this discomfort.

The young Doctor looked so much younger asleep. Sherlock wished to run his hands through the blond hair, to east the lines of pain that creased John’s forehead, to kiss the skin around the deep purple staining his slightly swollen lips. Taking note of the violet hue over a rounded cheekbone, concluding that even this damaged tissue called for close attention. For lips, and hands for words that mean nothing but promise and seduce, the gray eyes wished to lock onto the blue to feel the warmth of spring once more then be done with it.

 The addict worked to force the erotic visions of John lying underneath him as he kissed and licked every injury, moving onto biting and sucking everything else. He could picture John's face twisted in pleasure, his throaty grunts and groans, his breathless cry for more.

 Sherlock’s musings were interrupted by the sudden vibrating of John’s phone from the bedside table, the screen flashing the name Harry.

 Oh this is going to be interesting.

 Sherlock answered the call, a woman yelled drunkenly without waiting for a greeting. "Johnny you twat!  How am I supposed to get home? I was only borrowing it. S'not like you were needing it. You tight ass! And who the hell was that bitch anyway?"

" I' m sorry John Watson is unavailable at this time. I can have him call you back at a more convenient time.” Which would be never if I had my way.

“Fuck off! Put that coward on the phone!”

"I would but after being pummeled by some Neanderthal he's a bit unconscious." At that point it was impossible to keep the snarl from his voice.

"Whatever!” She nearly shrieked and then hung up, and without asking about her brother's condition or questioning the fact that a stranger answered his phone. Sherlock disliked her immediately. 

“You’re so beautiful.” John whispered, surprising the irritated young man . The bedside lamp cast the near empty room in soft shadows, creating an intimate ambiance.

“That would almost mean something if you weren’t so drunk.” Sherlock whispered. To his surprise the intoxicated blond caught hold of his hips and pulled him down onto the bed.

“I want to keep you close.” John breathed heavily turning into the hypersensitive skin of Sherlock’s neck.

“This is probably a bad idea you aren’t exactly sober.” Sherlock’s voice came out grating. God you're going to make this hard.

“This is cuddling.” John whispered into Sherlock.

“I don’t cuddle.” Sherlock growled in frustration, he tried to roll out from under the surprisingly solid Doctor, his own body betraying him by not putting too much  effort into it.

“It’s fun.” John sighed heavily pinning the thinner man down tangling his shorter leg with Sherlock’s longer limbs.

“I don’t think so-“ why did he sound so breathless.

“You just haven’t been shown how.” The young Doctor only snuggled closer.

Sherlock could feel the soft hair that covered John’s legs, through his own silk pajama bottoms. The feel of John’s naked skin against his own embraced and confused the dark haired addict, causing unnamed emotions to flood his mind palace. A word came to him, it seemed to organize the chaos of his emotions, to calm the flutter of papers and files being tossed about by the violent winds of sentiment. Mine.

John sighed happily. Sherlock didn’t trust himself to reply, the assault of John’s scent on his senses, the warmth beside him, around him all of it only stirred him to hold tighter.

He brought a possessive arm over John’s shoulder, turning himself slightly on his side surprisingly finding this a comfortable position. Mine. John agreed by tightening his hold , his lips murmuring something incoherent into Sherlock’s chest.

Another warm flush shot upward to the addict's already racing thoughts, not to mention the knot growing in his stomach.  Somehow he managed to pull the duvet over them both, and the soft humm of John’s breathing rocked the usually restless addict into a peaceful slumber.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 11. THE MORNING AFTER

 

John felt a heaviness pushing on his chest, he tried to concentrate once more on the concerned voice. He thought he heard a chirping? No. It was a beeping, a steady beeping, he was almost certain of it.

Everything felt so out of reach, the voices were familiar but muffled. As if speaking through a door, he tried to pull himself awake.  His mind threatened pain if he continued to investigate the source of the voice. Voices? Other stronger yet faint noises distracted and pushed him away. And the dark place he drifted in seemed that much more colder. Dreams were more tangible here, and John desperately wanted to escape from the menace of nightmares.

The echo of bullets and thunder of grenades threatened to drown him. These sounds lingering just beyond the haze of a looming dream. Nightmare? The soldier’s mind fought to dispel the nearing images, he clung to the steady beeping and behind that to the distant voice. Voices? The threat of nightmares persisted, until a soothing warmth fell over him. One that felt like warm honey. He could hear the words pushing past the fog, offering up comforting memories to latch onto. The steady beeping was twisted thankfully fading into a more recognizable sound, one of a mobile.

 

~0~

 

John’s eyes opened slowly, he could hear the annoying beeping of his mobile. He groaned instinctively reaching a hand out to hit the snooze button. Stretching with his eyes blinking sleep away, he attempted to ignore a nagging headache. Sighing heavily he burrowed deeper into the comfortable warmth currently encasing him.

 John wondered over the soft drumming coming from the lumpy couch cushion he inhabited. The soft scent of tobacco and coffee invaded the air around him, causing him to smile. The fleeting memory of a heated kiss in a dimly lit bathroom flashed behind his eyes. Another heavy sigh, and intake of the lovely scent. He hugged the cushion closer, except something felt off.

Harry’s couch cushions didn’t smell of tobacco and coffee, and her couch was never this comfortable.

Even with his nagging headache he had no urge to move from this deliciously warm spot. His arm pulled the cushion closer to confirm his stubborn wishes. It was then he realized it wasn’t a couch cushion at all, but a rather lean body.

Slowly John’s eyes opened taking in his surroundings, his phone was on an end table just to his right. He had reached over a body to turn it off, how did he not notice he was nearly on top of-oh god. Shifting his legs he become very conscious of a longer pair of legs entangled with his own.  It occurred to John he was in his underwear in a strangers bed, virtually smothering said stranger.

To be specific he was laying in the crook of this someone’s arm, the startling thing was how at ease he felt here.

Lifting his head slowly not wishing to wake the stranger, thinking maybe he could quietly collect his things and leave. Thus avoiding the awkward morning after. The walk of shame that sometimes accompanied a pub crawl.

 

“Good morning John. I take it you slept well?” the deep baritone caused him to flinch.  Amused gray eyes caught and held John’s alarmed blue ones.

Beautiful like a cool winters day, cloudless and clear.

This stranger possessed high cheekbones, flawless porcelain skin and soft dark curls shading such beautiful gray eyes. John wondered if he had stumbled into a dream of a dream. Well if it weren’t for this damn headache he could believe that.

The dark haired stranger bore into him with those eyes that reminded him of winter. He had to look away from the intensity of them, instead he examined the strangers mouth. John resisted the urge to trace those cupid bow lips with the tip of his fingers. Remember even in his drunken state last night, just how soft and enjoyable that mouth could be. Those gray eyes continued to study him causing his cheeks to burn self-consciously.  John hoped this beautiful stranger could not read his mind but something warned that those eyes missed nothing and caught everything.

“Um. Hello, again.” John knew it sounded ridiculous as soon as the words clumsily fell out of his mouth, but that was all he could say. Especially when he was becoming more and  more aware of his state of undress.

 “How are you feeling Doctor?” came an unreadable reply.

“Uh, not a doctor yet. And I’m sorry this is going to sound a bit dense but-where am I?" John could feel his naked legs against the stranger's silk pajama bottoms. " and where are my trousers?”

~0~

 

Sherlock awoke with a rather heavy yet not at all unwelcome weight draped over half his body. Wishing to prolong this contact of skin against skin, he fought the urge to open his eyes. Enjoying the sensation of his thin body against a solid sturdy one. Gray eyes moved over the ruffled blond hair, and to his surprise the blonde tilted back yawning groggily.

It was then that the dark haired man realized what roused him from a comfortable sleep in the first place. An annoying alarm belonging to a beeping mobile, he was about to grab the cursed object and hurl it across the room.

Just as he made to snatch up the offending object, a clumsy hand moved from Sherlock’s torso. Fingers dragging across his naked skin leaving a trail of heat in their wake.

The addict held his breath trying to keep his erection at bay, reciting the periodic table, multiplications by exponents and square roots.

This would have been successful if the blond hadn’t let out a heavy sigh, warm breath brushing over Sherlock’s left nipple.

All he could feel was the solid body of the shorter boy pressed into him, then the blond tensed up, John's breathing quickened.

Sherlock marveled at the rather distracting sensation of another’s drumming heart pulsing through his skin. Vibrating to his very bones, as if knocking persistently, asking to come in, wishing to make a home somewhere within the cold behind Sherlock’s ribs. That was an interesting thought indeed although morbid and too disgustingly sentimental.

The addict was well aware of the eyelids tickling his cool skin, the blonde’s head jerked back. Confusion met the chill of his gray stare, he thought it best to break the mounting silence first.

“Good morning John. I take it you slept well?” His voice was thankfully even. And he hoped his face wasn’t giving away the swirling chaos taking root somewhere in his mind palace.

Was it wrong that he wanted to kiss that bruised cheek, then take that mouth with his own, force his tongue in to taste and breathe John in. At this point all hope in keeping his erection in check forgotten.  Those spring blue eyes were examining his tight smile and he couldn’t help but run his tongue quickly over his lips in response. Those eyes snapped back up wide and perhaps just as turned on.

          “Um, hello again.” John’s voice was hoarse; his cheeks were burning red, had he guessed what Sherlock was thinking?

“How are you feeling Doctor?” Again surprisingly steady, when all Sherlock wanted to do was roll over on top of the shorter man and press himself into that delectable warmth. To grind against him and feel John’s equal need for friction. Instead he remained still soaking up the ceaseless heat. He was greedy for it, and to his delight John’s body remained tangled with his own.

Then the blond was talking again his voice unsteady and shy.

“Uh, not a doctor yet. And I’m sorry. This is going to sound a bit dense but-where am I?” A slight pause then a frown “ And where are my trousers?”  To Sherlock’s displeasure the blond rolled off of him, scrambling to sit at the edge of the bed. Dark bruises marred the perfection of John’s lower back. A hiss of  pain escaped the bruised man as he held his head in his hands.

 Sherlock didn’t understand the overwhelming urge to haul the blonde down against him. To pull the blankets over the both of them and just stay there until Sherlock was ready to let him go. Which could be never? An interesting prospect for one who never slept with the same partner twice. Jim didn’t count. Sherlock just didn’t do monogamy, relationships were not his area. However he was thinking of changing his rules a little, just so he could conduct a social experiment.

This could prove difficult, he wasn’t boyfriend material, and he preferred experienced and coolly detached partners. John had monogamist written all over him, although this never stopped Sherlock before. Anyway perhaps a quick fuck would get the Doctor out of his system.  He was about to proposition the man, once again he paused observing John silently.

 The Doctor’s movements were easy to read. John was aware of the bruises and no doubt soreness from that idiot Ty’s rough handling. The reminder of that spoiled, smug Trustfund bastard left a sour taste in Sherlock’s mouth. If he ran into the kid again Sherlock’s fist had more to say to Ty’s face.

Then it hit him, that John may not remember last night. If that was so then the bruises on his arms, ribs and face would be a bit frightening. He could perhaps assume that Sherlock inflicted them. This made the dark haired man’s stomach turn.

Chapter Text

 

CHAPTER 12. REASSURANCE

 

“Bad idea.” John placed a hand to his side, he could see the dark bruise, but didn’t feel anything broken. Investigating the damage to his mouth he gingerly ran a finger over his swollen lip.

God my head hurts why did I drink so much? John put his head in his hands trying to ease the pain behind his eyes.

          “I assure you John nothing-“ The dark haired man was suddenly standing in front of him, frowning, John winced at the all too familiar disappointment. Story of his life.

This man wore blue silk pajama bottoms, of course they hung loosely around his trim waist. The young Resident’s face flushed when he realized he was hoping the loosely fitting bottoms would slip further down the narrow hips.

 Trying to find words to explain himself maybe he should apologize for practically throwing himself at the man. If only last night wasn’t so cloudy. Those gray eyes were narrowing, racking over his face no doubt taking in the bruises. John stammered quickly trying to sound less like an idiot kid and more like a calm collected adult.

          “Oh, no. not. I wasn’t saying bad idea about that.” John cringed his head was pounding and talking wasn’t helping the situation. John was pretty sure that nausea was soon to follow. That could be embarrassing.  “I just meant maybe sitting up wasn’t the smartest thing to do just yet.” John didn’t look up again, he clasped his eyes closed hoping this dizziness wouldn’t result in more embarrassment. John concentrated on keeping the scraps of dignity he had left and not dry heave onto the very expensive white carpet. He hadn’t heard the stranger leave the room only to return offering a glass of water and paracetamol.

          “This might help.” That deep voice only caused his racing pulse to accelerate. God, that’s all I need is morning wood while I become sick all over this carpet that probably costs more than I made in a year.

          “Thanks.” John shakily accepted the pills, and greedily drained the cool glass of water. The man with the blue silk pajama bottoms took the glass from him placing it on a bedside table, he tilted John’s face upward inspecting the damage. John felt completely at a loss for words sitting in his underwear. And the capable hands with languid fingers sent a shiver down his spine. He groaned at the humiliation of it all, and his chin was released.  He was offered a pair of gray sweats he gratefully accepted; pulling them on slowly his whole body ached.

“Please don’t think I’m a complete twat but I don’t remember your name.” He slipped the gray sweats on over his hips, refusing to meet the strangers eyes.

“That’s because I haven’t given it to you yet. It didn’t see relevant at the time.”

“Relevant?” that caught his attention.

“Yes. Well anyway. My name is Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes. I already know yours. So let’s move on. I’m guessing you’re not feeling up to anything too solid. So I propose toast and tea.”

John put a hand to his grumbling stomach, toast might appease his hunger.

“Please.” John nodded slowly, praying the pills would kick in to at least silence the drumming in his head.

“I’ll be in the kitchen when you’re ready. I'm sure you know where the bathroom is.” The dark haired stranger swept out of the room, not waiting for a reply. Not that John would manage one, he was concentrating on ignoring his headache.

Drinking was never been the best idea. He fought the nausea that hung over him as he slowly made his way to the bathroom. He tried not to trip over the baggy sweats. They fit his waist but the legs were made for a taller man.  Switching on the light he took in the large bathroom, smelling of cleaning products and soap. Taking another breath he turned towards the mirror.

He grimaced taking in the bruise on his cheek and the fat lip. He’d have to come up with a good story . The hospital supervisor might deem him unfit or a threat to the clean appearance that their hospital’s doctors were supposed to project.

He poked at the tender flesh peppered with fingerprints around his upper arms. Memories of last night flooded back, remembering Ty’s hands his cruel words. This was the push his stomach needed to revolt. John fell to his knees in front of the toilet as the contents of his nearly empty stomach came up and then some.

          He tried to calm his racing heart, Ty had connections and money what if he came after Sherlock? Or retaliated with his little group of idiots? If the dark haired stranger was hurt it would be John’s fault. Another wave of nausea hit and he felt tears from the force of it burn the back of his eyelids.          John took a deep breath, counted to ten and collected himself quickly. He rinsed his mouth out with mouthwash, straightening his shoulders he wouldn’t play victim, he could sort this out. Better put distance between himself and his rescuer.

          The living room was lavishly furnished with leather couches and a love seat. A large flat screen telly hung on the wall, the carpet was soft plush and very white. No pictures of smiling family lined any of the walls only art, expensive no doubt but impersonal.

          “It’s a flat I sometimes stay at.” Sherlock interrupted John’s thoughts.

          “This place is nice.” And very posh. John took a seat at a high stool he avoiding the man’s cool expression.

How pathetic he must seem needing rescue in more ways then one. God, was Sherlock another University student, pre law or business living on a Trustfund? If so did he know he was slumming? John would be a Doctor soon but he was far from finished with school.

          “You think too loud.” Sherlock placed a plate of warm toast and a jar of jam in front of him. A black mug of steaming tea appeared next to the toast.

          “Huh?”

          “To answer your question. No I do not find you pathetic. In fact John Watson you are quite the opposite. I assure you that I do not place much value in a person based on their pocket book. I tend to not put much value in anyone at all, it’s easier that way.”

          John smiled sipping his tea, so his memory hadn’t been off, he didn’t imagine the bathroom conversation.

“Sherlock.” John put his mug down clearing his throat.

“John.” This earned the dark haired man another shy smile.

“I just want to say thank you. And I’m sorry. I don’t usually force a bloke into cuddling. Especially one who just saved me from the beating of my life and what not.” His cheeks flushed and he concentrated on his toast.

“No need to apologize John, I assure you I was completely in charge of my faculties.” Well that wasn’t exactly a lie, Sherlock hadn’t been intoxicated, just extremely horny. “At any moment last night I could have easily withdrawn into the living room. I chose to remain and uh-cuddle. As for stepping in I only apologize I didn’t cause the idiot more damage. Now please finish your toast and tea.”

           John nibbled on the bread nervously, his stomach was still a little unsure about food. The tea was decent, but beggars can’t be choosers. It was just nice being waited on for once. Harry never kept food in the fridge mostly beer and vodka. When John cooked he would be sure to make enough for Harry, sometimes she’d eat sometimes not. And sometimes she would rant and rave that he was bringing her down. She only fell into those dark moods when she was days into a bender. He remembered his wallet and groaned putting his head next to the plate of toast. Maybe he could get Sherlock to shoot him.

          “Oh, Doctor here you go.” Sherlock put John’s wallet next to his head blue eyes wide in shock, then relief.

            “ I must have been worse off than I thought last night. For some odd reason I thought Harry pinched it. Thank god she didn’t.” He checked his wallet seeing his bankcard and ID even the couple of quid he kept on him. There was a hard knock on the door causing John to jump, Sherlock only grumbled going to answer the door.

“There you are!” A gray haired man burst past Sherlock. This man wore a gray trench coat he standing in the living room, John turned his stool cautiously.

 “What do you want?” Sherlock demanded.

“Thought you’d be glad to see me. I have a case I need you to look at. And don’t give me that look I tried to call but it went to voicemail. I thought maybe-“

“Shut up.” Sherlock snapped. Then the gray haired man moved his suspicious eyes from Sherlock’s very sober face, then his state of undress and finally to John.

“Holy hell mate, what happened to you?” John flinched a the question the gray haired man was standing in front of him examining John’s face.

“You do this?” He didn’t wait for an answer instead looked back at John “Did he do this?”

“Uh-no.” John cleared his throat, was this Sherlock’s dad. “No.” he said more firmly.

“Lestrade if you would stop harassing my guest and kindly get the hell out.” John saw it then the badge he froze paling a little. The last time he’d gone to the yard about Tyler the officer had said he would look into it. Only to have it dismissed as if John had made it all up. The constable had nearly said as much, warning that another false complaint would land him in jail. Obviously the Stone family had a far reach, and Tyler was never arrested. John had felt so angry and hurt after that cop made him nervous.

The DI must have caught the panicked look on John’s face because he started to say something.

“Out Lestrade.” Sherlock cut him off quickly, the DI shook his head and turned back with a pleading tone.

“Sherlock, I’m serious on this one-“

“I better go.” John didn’t know what it was about, maybe Sherlock was an informant or something. But he knew in some way he was hindering. “Uh, thanks.” John hurried towards the door slipping on his converse without tying them.  Sherlock stopped him just outside the front door. He turned John around forgetting the cctv camera’s in the street. He pulled the shorter man to him and crushed his lips over John's.

At first John didn’t move just remained stock still but a flick of his tongue over the bruised bottom lip and the mouth opened, returning his kiss. Hands holding his naked waist. John pulled him closer standing on his toes pushing and licking. He was the one to break the kiss again.

“Uh, thanks. I better go. I’ll call you. Perhaps we can get coffee when you’ve finished your business.” Sherlock nodded, it wasn’t until he returned to a smug looking DI, that he remembered he neglected to give his number and he didn’t have the Doctor’s either. His heart fell, he could ask Mycroft but that wouldn’t end well. He refused to grovel at his brother’s feet.

“Hello.” Lestrade snapped his fingers. Sherlock snapped out of his musings. “What is it now?” Sherlock growled.

“I said get dressed this ones a sicko. Need your eyes.”

“What else is new. Give me a minute to shower and change.”

“You going to tell me who that was? And what happened to his face?”

“Not relevant to the case. Therefore not relevant to you.” Sherlock snapped coolly marching away. Instead Lestrade casually looked around for any signs of drug use in the flat. He sent a text to Mycroft.

Your brother had a visitor last night. Looked like a teenager but I'm sure he's in his twenties. He was beat up pretty good. Didn't look like a drug dealer or addict but you never know these days.-GL

The situation is being taken care of. Thank you for your concern.-MH

Lestrade could only shrug, well that was that.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 13. BLUE AND GRAY

 

 The security detail Mycroft had on his little brother had kept Mycroft updated. They had reported that the younger Holmes had brought a very intoxicated young man back to the flat. One John H. Watson a medical resident. This was concerning with Sherlock’s past history of drug use. It wasn’t unlike his brother to have sexual relations with a dealer in trade for drugs.

Sherlock had an interest that much was clear, the younger Holmes never asked a favor from the British Government. He was obviously trying to show off or gain some kind of favor with this young aspiring Doctor. Mycroft rolled his eyes, no, his brother was obviously seeking something. Perhaps this was just one more of Sherlock’s casual encounters.

 

However when viewing the cctv footage from the day after, it was quite the opposite. His brother was smiling and allowed himself to be embraced and in public. Zooming in on the grainy video feed Mycroft caught the other man’s relaxed body language.

The surveillance team further reported that the young man looked as if he’d been in a fight. Mycroft checked for any police reports matching the young man’s name.  No police reports were filed that night.

The DI's text only verified what the security team had observed, the young man looked roughed up. Perhaps Sherlock was falling in with another temperamental undesirable.

 From further observation, his own brother didn’t look injured. Then the kiss just outside the flat, a show of affection? Even more intriguing. It didn’t escape Mycroft’s notice that this John wasn’t wearing his own pants or the shy grin plastering his bruised face as he hailed a cab. This could definitely prove to be troublesome.

Mycroft frowned briefly at the substitute PA as she carried in several files. Another issue that caused disruption in an already busy schedule,  unfortunate and inconvenient. The new acting PA, she was young and more importantly she was not Connor.

 Sure it had been rather distressing to lose such a capable man like Connor, but these things happen. The distressing part wasn’t the actual loss of life, although it had caused Mycroft a second of pause before accepting the facts. Connor had nobly thrown himself in front of a bullet meant for Mycroft after all. 

But the truly upsetting part was the fact he would have to train a replacement and Connor had been his PA since Mycroft took the minor position.

This brunette in the black skirt suit and blackberry was promising, but not what he needed. So he made a mental note  to give her another week before dismissing her. She was too young, he needed someone a little more experienced in the field. He committed himself to finding her a suitable position among one of the other departments, that aside he could focus now on the problem at hand.

 The file, his acting PA had put together was rather impressive, considering the little time he had given her. Every detail of the younger man’s life as well as the compiled files on Watson’s  immediate family and known associates.

 He scanned them sighing heavily, one file in particular caught his eye. The brunette PA had found nothing of a criminal background; she did however find a report containing the young man’s name. It was an assault complaint but for some reason it hadn’t been logged into the computer. How his PA managed to dig the file up was beyond him. It was obvious someone had buried it in some file cabinet.

Having worked with manipulative politicians, slimy lawyers and other individuals who spouted lies like breathing oxygen. He had an eye for reading between the lines. It was obvious that someone had been paid off to keep this quiet. Before the older Holmes could ask for information on the accused party, he found it already neatly assembled. The young PA had included it among the other brown folders he currently held.

Somewhat impressed but too reserved to show it he buzzed the young PA in. She entered without looking up from her blackberry, he had given her the task of sorting intel. After all she was just an analyst. And here she was firing off text messages. This was a new way of communication no more self destructing messages or invisible ink. Just information sent on a secure line into the air in a jumble of half code that only the PA understood. She of course had given Mycroft the rundown and he could read them but he loathed texting. Still this way of communication was in fact faster then calling. Perhaps a job with the Ministry of defense would do her well.

“Yes sir?” her tone was always just that toneless almost unreadable.

“Will you have Doctor Watson brought in for a meeting.” he replied in a cool tone that she seemed to imatate.

“Yes sir.” She turned to go, not one for small talk, he could respect that, silence was a good friend. A relief from the long days of government coups and petty political bickering.

 He watched the cctv footage, within seconds of his office door closing a black car pulled up just outside the hospital were a young blond man had just stepped off a bus onto the street. Yes, this way of texting was very advantageous in the field.

 Mycroft continued to watch the encounter between his men and the shorter blond. There was a brief discussion, he could read their lips but didn’t have to.

One of his men opened the car door and firmly pushed the younger man inside. Good. Fear was always a great way to start off any interrogation. It made a target more open to suggestion and motivated them to agree quickly. Sometimes there were tears and pleading but Mycroft had a feeling this wasn’t going to be the case. John Watson  didn’t read as the type that would break down in tears. No he was much to proud for that, it would be more evident in his posture if anything. Nevertheless one could never be too sure until actually meeting face to face.

Leaning back in his comfortable leather chair Mycroft waited patiently. The Diogenes footage showed the car pulling in, the blond young man protested once more but the taller security agent only grabbed his arm steering him towards the back entrance. More discrete this way, his team was nothing less then efficient.

The doors to his office opened on cue and a very pale young man was lead in. The agent firmly placed the younger man in a chair directly in front of  Mycroft’s own throne like chair.

The British Government had decided it was much more suitable a place to hold a meeting with the younger man. The fire was warm in the fireplace, and the older Holmes had some tea brought in, just for the occasion.

 “Thank you Felix that will be all.”

“Very well sir.” The bulky agent in the black suit nodded leaving the two in silence. The first thing Mycroft noticed about the young man was panic sheer panic but he was keeping himself in check. His hands clinched, arms crossed over his messenger bag like a life vest.

The bruising on the blonde’s face was darkening. Just a few days old.  Mycroft could easily see that these abrasions were made with a fist. Odd, John Watson didn’t look like the type to look for a fight. Well by the looks of him he wasn’t much of a fighter. Even his knuckles were smooth, there were scrapes but all defensive no doubt. The lack of scarring was evidence of the younger mans lack of ill temper.

 Gray eyes shifted up to meet the young man’s own blue eyes. Mycroft held his breath for a moment, finding them unguarded. He pushed aside the sudden thoughts of spring walks in the countryside as a child. There was something else he picked up on at a glance, but he didn’t have the word for it. He maintained eye contact, fortifying his resolve. So what if those blue orbs were readable. Completely unjaded, hopeful and warm. Even now under the scrutiny of a winter’s storm the blue remained undaunted and temperate. It would be too easy to break the boy down, especially when he was so indiscreet with his emotions.

This will not take long. Mycroft thought to himself, this kid would easily break and it almost gave him pause. Almost.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 14. TABLES TURNED

 

Those sky blue orbs reminded him of summertime in the city. No. Not summer, these eyes were clear and cloudless.  Perhaps more like a spring day in the country. Oh how pathetic, naivety was so clearly behind those bright irises. Interesting indeed, how did one with such a background manage to make it this far without being jaded?

 

John met his icy stare straight on, Mycroft read the determination not to look away, oh the stubbornness of youth. The British Government wondered again what Sherlock wanted from this ordinary boy. He wasn’t very tall; he wore a white button up shirt with a cheap black tie and black slacks. He was average at best. Are those converse? Distasteful. Mycroft felt the urge to adjust the boy’s tie.

 

The British Government cleared his throat pulling away from these small distractions,

“Tea Doctor Watson?” Mycroft gestured to the tea tray next to him.

 

“Um, I’m not a Doctor yet. And no. I don’t want any tea. What I would like is to leave before I’m late.” The younger man replied with apparent exasperation.

This surprised Mycroft who assumed the younger man would sit quietly like a child being chastised by the headmaster.

“And another thing you could have contacted me since you obviously have control over the cctv cameras, finding a number should be easy peasy. Instead of kidnapping me-“

“Doctor Watson, I’m shocked you would think this was a kidnapping. Did my men in anyway threaten you in anyway?”

John frowned clearly not willing to play the game, but Mycroft’s lifted eyebrow pressed him non-verbally.

“No.” he sighed.

“And you have no obligation to stay here. No one is keeping you against your will.”

“Then I can go?” John was starting to stand.

Mycroft rolled his eyes so predictable. Oh brother surely you can find some one less average to be amused by?

“John. I am a very busy man and you obviously wish to be returned to your life. So I’ll cut the pleasantries. How long have you known Sherlock Holmes?”

“What? Sherlock Holmes?” Mycroft caught the sudden stiffening in body language, a sharp intake of breath. “I just barely met him two nights ago. I hardly know him.” John was sitting now in the chair, eyes narrowing over Mycroft.

The older Holmes read every question the boy fired off. His body language, his facial expression, all of it, so elementary really. How insulting to have to be here with such a person, when he had people of importance waiting on an audience.

Of course Mycroft could easily surmise the young man was not a drug dealer of any kind, just a unfortunate that happened to cross paths with the chaos of his brother.

“What’s this about?” The the blonde straightened his shoulders, licking his lips nervously. For reasons beyond him this action captured his attention. Look as if the bruising was healing slowly, there was still  bit of discoloration on curve of John's bottom lip.

Mycroft nearly physically shook these trailing thoughts away. He instead reigned in his immaculate control, choosing to ignore the distraction of John's pink tongue licking his blushed mouth. And of course the question. He held back the sudden urge to adjust John’s tie and smooth the slight wrinkles just below the younger man’s shoulders. Really the boy could do with a better wardrobe.

 Mycroft was still unclear  to what Sherlock found so interesting in this man. John wasn’t the usually type of man the younger Holmes “dated.” If casual encounters in closets or a stranger’s dorm room, counted as dating. Sherlock tended to go for the darker hair and eyes, thin starved looking male models just as manipulative and empty as himself.

Maybe Sherlock was hoping to use the Doctor’s connections to get prescription opiates? Sherlock could be a master manipulator if he wanted to, poor kid could be easily seduced. Just a trusting naïve kid like this was too easy a target. Mycroft almost felt bad for the younger man well if he possessed the ability to feel sentiment towards anything, he would.

This poor kid so obviously attracted to addictive personalities had no idea the trouble Sherlock Holmes could be.

“And yet you spent the night at my flat.” Mycroft leaned forward. Perching his left elbow crossed knees, resting a clean shaven chin on his knuckles, and as always his eyes were condescending.

 ~0~

John swallowed when he heard the older gentleman ask this question. Could this week get any worse? Harry was on another bender, and his ribs still ached and on top of it all he forgot to get Sherlock’s number. Not to mention the fact he was about to be very late for his hospital shift. The whole universe was working against him.

 All things considered probably the best thing he hadn’t texted the dark haired stranger. The older man was watching him with cool calculating eyes, familiar in away. But John was sure he’d never met the older man. Definitely a business man or some kind of government worker. Again with the icy gray stare, John would not surrender or  back down, even if he felt a winter chill prickle his skin. Then something dawned on him, his stomach dropped to his feet, and he felt instantly nauseous.

“You’re not an angry boyfriend are you? Because I assure you nothing happened. He was-oh god this is embarrassing.” John shook his head, his cheeks flushing. He didn’t even have Sherlock’s number and he couldn’t remember the address, of course all the flats on that block would look the same. He had to be the greatest idiot ever.

Sherlock no doubt had already forgotten about him, or worse felt affronted by John seemingly brushing him off and not texting. What a way to say thanks.

Now here was a very stern looking gentleman mid thirties perhaps.  The man’s handsome features reminded him an old black and white spy movie hero. The classic elegance screamed old money. Just the type to keep a boyfriend like one would a mistress.

 This guy said the flat was his Great, great. I probably misread something in Sherlock’s signals. Oh, I’m a home-wrecker. Wait why is this guy laughing what’s so funny?  To his surprise the other man laughed. Which didn’t help at all.

Was Sherlock some kind of secret boyfriend?  The thought made John angry and sad all at the same time.

People with money seemed to treat those without however they pleased and it pissed him off. The injustice of it all, so frustrating that these types got away with it too.

~0~ 

“I promise you I am not a boyfriend.” Mycroft studied this young man.

“Then who are you?A friend?”  Still suspicious.

“You’ve met the man he doesn’t have friends.” Mycroft didn’t say this with any cruelty it was just a known fact. A statement, however the other man still bristled.

“Yes. I have met him. So I say again who the hell are you?”

“Oh, if you asked him he’d say enemy, well arch enemy. He is always one for the dramatics.”

“So glad you are above all of that.” John snapped back. Mycroft realized then, this younger man was infatuated with Sherlock. The way he tensed, the panic forgotten. Blue eyes hardened and bore into him.

 Mycroft decided to test this theory.

 “Sherlock Holmes isn’t exactly the charitable type how is it you became entangled?”

“I really don’t think that’s any of your business.” John growled. “I don’t think you know him at all. Anyway what is this about? Because if you expect me to sit here while you talk about a man who isn’t even here to defend himself then I’ll be leaving.”

John made to stand up, Mycroft shook his head and commanded in a stern voice.

“Sit down Doctor Watson, I’m not through." John froze.  "This is the part where I tell you to end your association with Sherlock Holmes.”

“And if I tell you to piss off?” John was still on his feet, as was Mycroft. The shorter man refused to be intimidated by the taller man. The younger man challenged the British Government to a staring contest. Childish.

So Mycroft tried another tact, one that always worked.

~0~

“I’m prepared to offer you a considerable amount for your troubles.” Oh that was it, John swore under his breath. Some kind of recognition flashed in his face, he laughed rubbing his temples, blue eyes blinked rapidly. Then he met the gray unwavering and solid. How quickly the spring sky softened once more.

Amusement, John hoped he displayed the amusement perfectly because something told him this man didn’t take kindly to being laughed at. Well good. Then John could at least have that.

“No.”

“But I haven’t even named a figure-“

“I don’t care the answer is still no.” John growled.

~0~

Again to Mycroft’s displeasure he had to switch his strategy, this younger man was becoming a bit annoying.

“Addictive personalities. It says here. Co-dependent.” John’s jaw tightened as Mycroft continued mercilessly opening a brown file in his hands. Time to take the gloves off. “It seems your childhood therapist called it. She predicted you would later be attracted to addictive personalities. It looks as if you’ve had a string of failed relationships. No-it seems you have yet to truly commit yourself to a male or female. Tell me John, was this an experiment?” Mycroft snapped the folder in his hands shut. His PA was rather very thorough, he would have never considered asking for childhood medical records.

 “You must be a brother? Am I right? A big brother, fitting. Let me guess the family doesn’t want their youngest son associated with an undesirable. Looked into my background found me lacking in status. So your idea of solving this little problem of your brother slumming with us common folks is to bribe me. “ Well that was a turn of events, the British Government didn’t expect this reaction. So off guard the younger man took advantage of his stunned silence.

“To pay me off with money-how is it you rich assholes think that money can buy you compliance? Well it can’t. Keep your cash mate. I understand your concern. I’ll be going now. Just know that money might buy you nice cars and secure your power but it can’t buy me.” John’s anger apparent n his fisted hands held at his side. “ Just like Ty’s family, the nerve of these-these bastards. “ he muttered and had Mycroft not been standing so close he would have missed it.

“It’s best for you-“he tried, catching the faint scent of antiseptic and honey.

“Oh don’t give me that load of crap. We both know it’s for your own good, for appearances and such.”

 The younger man was resting a hand on his bruised cheek. Mycroft understood then he was thinking about the Stone family. Well that was insulting, he was merely trying to keep the doctor out of trouble. At the same time keeping his brother from relapsing by removing temptation. “I’ll show myself out.”

“I think you misunderstood me.”

“Don’t. I got it loud and clear. You don’t have to worry. It was just a chance encounter I don’t even have his number, and I was a little hung over so I cant remember where he lived. Laughable I know. So you see this was all a waste. Next time just ask him.” He pushed the doors open leaving Mycroft speechless. Speechless, and the faint scent of honey and spice lingered long after the young man had took his leave.

Being a man of honor Mycroft, directed his driver to give the young medical resident a ride back to the hospital.

Mycroft sank down in the chair at his desk, needing something stronger than tea. The words; I’ll be going now. Just know that money might buy you nice cars and secure your power but it can’t buy me.  Echoing in his head. It was true? He had just found someone he couldn’t buy. Sipping his scotch he watched intrigued as the Cctv footage outside the hospital caught the younger man run a hand through his hair before entering the hospital.

Just as Mycroft predicted John showed his emotion more in his posture by the squaring of his shoulders and the tilt of his chin. John was offended. Actually offended, shouldn’t it be the other way around? Mycroft had in fact been nothing but hospitable.

 It was rare for someone to stand up to the older Holmes, most cowered under his chilled glare. John had met his eyes and pushed back, he pushed back and it was somewhat confusing.

“Sir.” His PA entered later, finding him still staring off into his half empty scotch glass.

“Yes. What is it?” he sounded sharper than usual but she didn’t flinch or shy away instead she stated the reason for her disruption.

“It seems the hospital your guest was working at has let him go.” Mycroft frowned. He had called and spoke with an old friend Fred Jenkins the Hospital’s administrator. So it couldn’t be for tardiness.

 “It seems they have a strict conduct policy.” The PA added glancing down at her phone. "A Doctor Ridley had him dismissed."  Mycroft mulled this over, and without missing a beat the brunette continued "Doctor Ridley is married to a Laura Stone." Aah there it was the connection.

 “Have the car ready.” He growled.

 “Already have sir.”

 Mycroft glared at the file that read Stone, Tyler. He wasn’t in the best of moods. Being chastised by a younger man had left him feeling irritable and someone was going to serve as an outlet to vent on. Time to chat with Doctor Jenkins and then a little chat with Doctor Ridley about his nephew.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 15. ANOTHER CHANCE ENCOUNTER

John decided to make his way to the police station to file that report. Might as well try, especially if Tyler Stone’s family tried to go after Sherlock.

 Doctor Ridley had cornered him outside a patient’s room, making horrible accusations. He wanted the name of the boy who had beat up his nephew. Apparently Ty refused to leave the family home, out of fear of said assailant.

 John smiled and said “Good. I hope he never comes out.”

Doctor Ridley then snapped taking a step closer to John, keeping his voice low, “It’s either you give me that name or I report you for misconduct. You already received a warning, this will be the final straw. “

John didn’t care, he was already angry over the older Holmes brother reminding him of his social class. Now, Doctor Ridley was making threats of his own.

The young resident didn’t want to lose this spot but he didn’t have a choice. Why ruin two lives? Sherlock was only trying to help, and if he had kept walking, John would have been so much worse off. A shiver ran down his spine, the Doctor smiled crudely thinking John about to break.

 “Piss off.” John growled, turning back to his patient’s room. Shortly after Doctor Rue pulled him aside and let him go. Well that was that, he needed to figure it out now. If he didn’t have income Harry would throw him out in place for a working flat mate. He couldn’t blame her she needed the money.

So he switched his phone off seeing how Mike was calling over and over. John just couldn’t face anyone right now. He needed a plan, sighing heavily he started off towards the police station.

Things were looking up when he found a different officer at the front counter, this was a relief. Approaching the counter nervously John started to tell the officer his story. The man did write it down but when John identified his attacker the constable stopped,

“I need a new pen Mr. Watson. Give me a moment just wait right here.” John nodded relief was finally flooding him maybe something could happen, if Ty was out of the way then Sherlock would be safe. He could imagine the problems it would cause the dark haired man if his family found out he was in a fight with Tyler Stone. What if they kicked him out, or made him quit school? Was Sherlock even in school?

 “Awe Mr. Watson.” A familiar voice greeted him, he looked up from his dazed thoughts and a tall pudgy man with green menacing eyes started towards the counter. “What did I say about false reports-“ John didn’t have a chance to say anything before an officer he hadn’t seen before blocked his escape.

"Don't do that kid. Muller is only going to have a chat with you." the constable smiled kindly. John wanted to protest but constable Muller was already taking his bruised forearm leading him towards the back.

“Thanks Carl. I’ll take it from here. We have a history.” John tried to pull free.

“Now young man don’t make me cuff you.” He growled “Behave lets go have a chat.” His arm was taken none to gently by the pudgy man.

“But it’s not a lie maybe I’ll report you.” John tried to pull free, several other faces looked up from their desks. Officer Muller only took his handcuffs out smiling happily. “Ah I warned you.” John couldn’t believe this was happening.

 The whole fuckin world was against him today, did he commit some huge crime in another life? Was he working off bad Karma?

“You just had to go and resist arrest.”

“They have you on their payroll too don't they? I hope it's worth selling your soul.” John growled officer Muller only pulled John towards the back were the holding cells were. Obviously skipping some steps in processing. 

Muller gave John a discreet shove the young man fell forward unable to catch himself he landed on his already bruised face and ribs.

“Careful kid. What have you been drinking? Maybe some time in the tank to dry you out?” John tried to catch his breath he was still sore, the other constables ignored the scene, it wasn’t unusual to see a drunk disorderly stumbling around. Except John wasn’t drunk.

“I don’t care what you deduced! Running off after a criminal is not ok!” a gravely voice shouted.  John wondered why it sounded so familiar.

 “Please, Lestrade don’t act like you aren’t happy I got you your man.” John stiffened, he knew that bored tone. What was he doing here? It couldn’t be. John tried to pull free a bit to see if his ears were deceiving him. This earned him another harsh shove.

“Your pathetic attempts at struggling isn’t wise. You’ll just keep falling.”  Muller snapped but John only ignored him.

“Get in my office Sherlock! We aren’t through!” the raspy voice growled closer now.

John got to his feet his wrists sore, just as someone shoved past him, causing him to fall into the pudgy officer. 

“Ssorry.” John stammered and the tall dark haired man froze in his tracks the gray haired man John had assumed was Sherlock’s father was still yelling. Obviously Sherlock wasn’t listening to him anymore.

 “John?” John caught his breath from the intensity of those cool eyes. “What the hell is going on? Let him go.” Sherlock turned on the pudgy officer. John could read panic in the bigger man’s eyes.

“Can’t-“

“Can’t?” Sherlock was glaring down on the pudgy man, using his height as an advantage.

“Sherlock?” the older gray haired man looked to John and officer Muller. He was a DI, John recalled how Sherlock had been somewhat smart with him.

“Wait what’s this about?” The DI ran a quick glance in John’s direction, his brown eyes full of concern. John wasn’t used to concern from strangers, or anyone really, at all, so it was a bit unsettling.

“Well sir I’m arresting this trouble maker for placing a false report.” The DI caught the sudden flare of anger in Sherlock’s eyes and took a step between the officer and the consulting detective. 

John wondered now if Sherlock worked for the police. If so maybe he would be able to help him, but what if it caused him trouble with his job? His face ached and it was getting harder to breathe. The position of his arms were pulling on his bruised ribs.

“False report?” John could see the DI focus on him as if making a quick decision. He turned back on the constable. “Speak up!”

“He came in here claiming to have been assaulted-“ Sherlock hissed his face inches from the now sweating officer.

“I was just about to report the same. A Tyler Stone I believe his name was. He tried to assault my friend there. Had I not intervened. I would have called the police but my phone was dead. And my friend was in need of medical attention. The other man ran off with his little goon squad, I can identify them and where they attend school. Now tell me why you have the victim of said crime in cuffs? Idiot.” Sherlock growled. “Lestrade get this fool out of my sight, he’s obviously on the perpetrator’s payroll.” Muller’s eyes lit up and DI Lestrade grabbed the man by the arm.

“Lets talk.” He started leading the stammering fat man away, Sherlock was uncuffing John.

“How?” John wanted to ask how he got the keys, but his words fell away when those intense winter gray eyes filled with alarm. When John's hands were free the dark haired man continued to frown, and those intense gray eyes inspected John's new injuries.

Again John felt an odd feeling stir in him, this was a bit nerve racking, to be treated like he mattered. As if this stranger cared about John's well being. The blond resisted the urge to kiss those cupid's bow lips, instead he rubbed his wrists, examining the red circles. No abrasions, he'd survive, but he wondered if it was too late for his heart.

“You two in my office.” The DI threw over his shoulder making John flinch.  Sherlock started to protest but John met his cool gaze and he only took the shorter man by the wrist, gently rubbing a thumb over a rapid pulse, soothing the welted skin.

“Come on John. Best get you some coffee.” he grumbled.

“Are you a cop?” John felt sick over the thought, cops had never truly meant good news at the Watson residence. Even now with Harry's wild partying, it was never a good thing when an officer showed up at the small flat looking for her. To his relief Sherlock shook his head.

“Don’t insult me John I’m not one of these idiots. I’m a consulting detective.” The tall dark haired man directed John to sit in a comfortable chair in front of the DI's desk.
”A consulting detective?”

 

~0~

 

Sherlock explained his position to a wide-eyed John who listened in awed silence. Another constable entered holding an ice pack and a cup of coffee.  John gratefully accepted with a shy “Thank you.”

Sherlock shooed her away not caring for the way her eyes lingered on his Doctor. Couldn't she see, John was obviously not interested in her type anyway.  He inspected the blonde’s bruised face, pushing all thoughts of jealousy from him. This emotion was unsettling; he wasn’t familiar with the possessiveness he felt.

“We really need to stop meeting like this.” John smiled pulling his heated face from Sherlock’s cool touch.

“Makes for interesting days. Never a dull moment with you John Watson. That’s saying a lot considering everyone’s dull.”

DI Lestrade cleared his voice, his dark eyes inspecting the scene he just walked in on. Sherlock knew the man was going to blow a blood vessel trying to figure it all out. So he thought it best to just get it over with.

 So he did the explaining, of course John answered truthfully the parts he remembered when he was asked. John also told the DI about coming in the first time, he flinched hearing both men swear under their breath. For a moment he thought it was him but they were talking about the constable. This made him relax a little, after several more questions Sherlock took a look at John's pale face and announced they were leaving.

“But I’m not-“ Lestrade clinched his jaw tossing his pen down in defeat he knew that look on the dark haired man’s face. “Fine. Tomorrow first thing, I want your report on that homicide.”

“Of course DI. Of course.”

“Get the hell out of my office.” Sherlock flashed a mocking grin and bowed.

“As you wish.” John’s bewilderment was very entertaining to Sherlock who helped him up gesturing for the door.

“Uh, John. Here’s my card. If you need anything don’t hesitate to give me a call.”  The DI smiled politely. John accepted it shyly, resolving he would never use it, but he put it in his wallet anyway.

 He started out the door and the DI took Sherlock’s arm, keeping him back and out of earshot of the blond young man.

“I don’t know what you’re playing at Sherlock. But he doesn’t seem the type interested in your games. Or your type at all, best cut him loose it won’t end pleasantly. And I’m not dealing with another relapse like last time.”

“Lestrade, what I do in my personal-“

“He doesn’t look like an addict or a drug dealer. What’s the angle? Huh? Surely you get nothing out of a relationship.” The DI's eyes narrowed suspiciously on his consulting detective.

 “Oh, Detective Inspector I’m touched you’re worried I’ll get my heart broken.” Sherlock rolled his eyes irritably.

“No. Not yours Sherlock. I’ve figured it out years ago. You don’t have a heart. But hey, it works for you. That boy there wears his on his sleeve and you have no business-“

 “Goodbye Detective Inspector! Have fun training the new Sergeant.”

 John was already outside the police department, looking around for a bus stop.

 ~0~

“John!” Sherlock called out. “Let’s get a cab.”

“Hungry?” Sherlock was in the back seat of the cab his arm resting casually, just above John’s shoulders. John allowed himself to lean back into the strong arm. John didn’t notice until then that the dark haired man was wearing a black Bellstaff coat. The smell of cologne, tobacco and coffee made his heart skip a beat.

“Starved.” John replied.

“Good, I know a man with a small Italian Shop just starting out. Makes the best chicken risotto.”

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 16.  Flight

“Aren’t you going to eat?” John was half way through his plate of risotto when he noticed Sherlock hadn’t even touched his plate of pasta.

“I’m not very hungry.” Sherlock leaned back sipping his wine casually. His coat thrown over the back of his chair, he wore a rather snug fitting black button up shirt. John tried not think of how nice it felt to run his hands over the dark haired man's chest.

“Did you have a big lunch today?” he manged evenly.

“I don’t know what’s today?”

“What? What do you mean what’s today? When’s the last day you had something to eat?” John was taken back he ran a medical eye over the slim figure, noting the dark bags under Sherlock’s eyes, and his high cheekbones were a bit gaunt.

“Sunday.”

“Sherlock! It’s Tuesday!”

“Yes, yes it is Tuesday isn’t it.” Sherlock shrugged as if it weren’t important at all.

“Sherlock you can’t just go off without eating. A body needs nourishment.”

“Ah, digestion slows me down.”

“Oh?”

“Yes John all that matters is this.” He tapped his head. “I hardly had the time for anything else. The rest is just transport.” John stiffened why did that sting?

He had been thinking of the mysterious stranger these last few days.

His cheeks flushed recalling a rather pleasant dream he’d had as well. Instead of dwelling John pressed forward, the Doctor in him would not let this slide.

“We’ll like any other kind of transport you need to refuel. It’s like petrol in a car, you can’t just run on fumes.”

“Oh John you have a-“

“Point?” John slid his chair over so that it was beside the taller man’s. Sherlock didn’t know how to react to the sudden closeness or the fact that John had taken up his fork and was now holding a tangle of pasta up to his mouth. He could protest but something in him sensed that John could be stubborn when it came to these silly little things.

So, he surrendered, not recalling the last time someone had dared feed him like this. Well there was Nanny but after he spit it in her face she’d given up trying to force him.

He should feel insulted by this; instead a sudden warmth knotted his stomach. Could be hunger. Dull.

The candlelight danced gently against John’s face, the dim lighting in this small place was intimate. Angelo should really think about expanding into a bigger place, or purchasing the shop behind this one and extend the back of the restaurant a little more. The food was actually quite good, and the service wasn’t bad. A fresh basket of breadsticks arrived on their table,

“On the house for the lovely couple. Compliments of Angelo.” The server smiled brightly.

“On the house?” John asked after the waiter left.

“I helped the owner a year ago. He thinks he owes me.” Sherlock replied easily sipping his red wine.

John put Sherlock’s fork down and took a drink of his water, avoiding the wine. He wouldn’t be drinking for a long time.

“Is that what you do in your free time? You swoop in and help the less fortunate? Just like a modern day super hero.” John teased a grin tickling the edges of his lips.

“John, if heroes existed I certainly wouldn’t be one of them.”

It was John’s turn to roll his eyes and shrug.

“If you say so. But let’s look at the facts. You could have kept walking but you and your friends helped me out of a rather unpleasant situation. You then solved a homicide from what your DI friend was saying. And then there’s the matter of free dinner. Oh let’s not forget you intervened today for me, again. And what do you get in return?” John paused then continued. “You explained your role as a consulting detective. Tell me how much does the yard compensate you for your time and effort?” Sherlock didn’t reply, “And when you helped the owner of this establishment did he pay you?” John grinned and offered another fork full of food to the suddenly speechless consulting detective. “And when you helped me? You’ve yet to ask for anything in return.” Sherlock captured John’s wrist, his thumb ran over the quickened pulse.

          “Yet.” He smiled taking a slow bite of the offered fork, sure to keep his gray eyes full of lust directed on the blonde. Sherlock chewed slowly licking his lips, adding a devilish grin as he sat back.

John felt a stirring in his stomach, several rather erotic thoughts started to form.

Sherlock enjoyed the reaction he caused with his slow deliberate challenge. 

“What could you want-“ John sounded breathless.

“Oh, we’re both adults here John.” Sherlock pushed his plate aside frowning at the half eaten portion, not remembering eating that much. Interesting.

“Yes we are.” John cleared his throat nervously, taking another sip of water.

Thankfully they were interrupted by Sherlock’s phone pinging, the gray eyes didn’t glance down at the mobile sitting to his left, John however jumped at the opportunity.

“Uh, you have a message.”

“It’s not important.” Sherlock replied offhandedly.

“How do you know you haven’t even checked? Could be your DI friend or your brother. Could be important.“ This caused Sherlock’s eyebrow to raise.

“The DI is not my friend. He’s an acquaintance.” Sherlock replied dismissively, sitting back. “As for my brother-” John didn’t understand the sudden icy chill in the air, “So Mycroft paid you a visit?” Winter gray eyes unreadable.

“Is that his name? And more like he kidnapped me. I thought he was-“ John shook his head feeling dumb for even thinking that the older Holmes was Sherlock’s lover or worse before that he thought the man was a representative of Ty’s family.

“Was?” Sherlock pressed.

“It doesn’t matter.” John quickly replied, suddenly very interested in his water glass.

“And what did my dear brother want?”

“Oh, the usual,” John sighed not wishing to disclose the ugliness of their meeting. Mycroft was clearly doing the duty of an older sibling. Even if it wasn’t exactly the right way to go about things, John could maybe understand a bit if he looked at it from a different perspective. Didn’t mean he agreed with it, but he could see where Mycroft was coming from. Maybe.

“The usual?” Sherlock pressed irritably.

“Well I don’t know. He just was looking out for you. That’s what brothers do right?”

“What did he say?” Sherlock growled he was clutching his mobile.

 “Just that he was concerned.” John paraphrased the conversation, feeling the sudden tension. “Well, actually. I didn’t really give him a chance to talk. I was running late for my shift. So it wasn’t a long conversation. And he was rather fairly polite. He even offered me tea.” John wished he hadn’t mentioned it. Would this cause a fight? Oh, great going idiot. Never know when to keep your mouth shut!

“Oh yes that’s Mycroft for you, butting his big nose into my business. Tell me John did he offer you money?”

“Uh-well” John felt sick, this wasn’t exactly how he expected dinner to go.

“Of course he did. And did you accept?” Sherlock answered his own question no longer studying the blonde’s face. If he had he would have read the hurt that flashed across the bruised features.

 Even though they’d only known each other for a few hours, the young medical resident felt a sting from this question. John had morals; he had his own code and some shred of pride. He would never take money for anything questionable.

“No. Of course not. I would never accept money like that.” His voice came out hoarse, and defeated.

 “Ah, so he did offer you money. Pity John you could have taken it and we could have split it. Think about it next time.” John relaxed a bit.

 “He’s not a bad person Sherlock. I wouldn’t be too angry with him. He obviously cares-“

  “No John, he cares about what my father would think. He cares what those in their social circle would think. He doesn’t care. Sentiment John our family is incapable of sentiment.”

 “Are you?” Blue eyes held a question that Sherlock knew if he answered incorrectly it meant that John wouldn’t be going home with him tonight. However something in him refused to lie, he didn’t understand the confusion on this matter.  “Incapable of sentiment?” John clarified the question. Of course Sherlock understood the damn question, he just didn’t know how it was to be answered truthfully, without upsetting the blonde. So Sherlock tried logic, logic he understood cold fact, everyone should try using logic more often.

“John, sentiment clouds judgment. It’s fly in the ointment. A chemical defect found in the losing side.” Sherlock could hear his father’s words flow out of his mouth and this actually made him cringe.

 “You can’t believe that.” To Sherlock’s amazement the blue eyes truly assumed otherwise. Odd. They were holding on to his gray, attempting to see past the mask of cool demeanor Sherlock kept in place.

“No. John it is just how I’ve always-“

“That’s just a way to put up walls. To keep your heart from being broken.”

 “I’ve been reliably informed that I don’t have a heart.”

“Idiots.” John shook his head, “Who told you that? They obviously don’t know you.”

“John-you just met me.”

“Yeah. I know. And I still don’t believe it. You say your brother is just as incapable of sentiment. However he was prepared to offer to pay me off. Just to avoid your heartache. You may think it was for other reasons, but if he’s powerful enough to uncover my medical records from when I was in primary school then I’m certain those in his social circles wouldn’t dare cross him for fear of what he could drudge up on them. So obviously he’s worried about you.”

“You have a twisted naive way of looking at the world John Watson.” Sherlock replied harshly.

“No. I choose to believe that most people have the best intentions.”

“Your past relationship is enough proof that obviously it doesn’t always work out that way.” Sherlock regretted these words as soon as they left his mouth. Why was he on the defensive? This was Mycroft’s fault, and it didn’t help that John was defending the fat bastard.

 John gave a weak smile and nodded, turning back to his water glass, his eyes distant.

 “Yes, on occasion I’m wrong. But, I’d rather be wrong once or twice than-“ Sherlock knew this was going no where he opted to change the subject. He thought of something that had been tumbling around in his mind, something he could not sort out without more data.

“John what made you go to the police station today?” Was it Mycroft? Had Mycroft convinced him? Is that why John was defending the smug government prostitute? He studied John’ face for some indication he was correct, all he could sort was that he caught the blonde off guard.

“What?”

“Why suddenly a change of heart? You had no intention before. But something occurred today that-“

 “No-Nothing. It was the right thing to do.” John didn’t feel the need to reveal the rather embarrassing business from earlier.

“Was it?” Gray eyes narrowed.

 “You were threatened again?” John paled, How does he do that? “It’s not very difficult when you have such an expressive face John.” John stiffened, avoiding the gray eyes. “Who?”

 “What?”

Sherlock tried to remain calm he hated repeating himself, and he didn’t understand why he was taking this particular route, perhaps it was the fact that John refused to believe the worst about him. Expectations were dangerous, they caused sticky attachments and Sherlock didn’t want attachments. He just wanted John. It was a bit exasperating this wanting to know who would dare threaten the young doctor. Why did he care? It wasn't relevant.

Why he would be angry that John thought Mycroft was noble or god forbid concerned. was maddening. He wanted to walk up to his older brother and punch him in his pompous face. Or kiss John possessively in his brother’s presence, to say mine. Get your own, stay away. It was all so confusing and grating.

“You heard me. Who threatened you?” John flinched adding to Sherlock’s frustration.

 “No one threatened me.” John replied, truthfully it hadn’t been a lie, it was Sherlock they threatened. He hated how his hands started to sweat and he felt jumpy. Those gray eyes were intensifying as if pushing into him. Trying to sift through his jumble of thoughts and words, in attempt to get to the truth.

 “Oh, I see. Was it your sister they threatened? Obviously someone you care enough about to risk a false arrest by a dirty cop.” John felt the need to escape right away or a subject change something quick. Fight or flight was kicking in, before he said too much.

The old fears and Tyler’s angry words, the way he pointed out John’s inadequacies.  Tyler said it was the fact that socially they were unequal. Tyler had wanted to have a “secret relationship”. He reassured John after John became a doctor Ty’s parents might be more accepting. John reluctantly agreed despite the red flags. Tyler had been charismatic, a bit controlling but John’s busy schedule had kept them from being closer. Well besides snogging, or heavily groping in the back of a cab.  Then the illusion of Tyler had come crashing down at Geoff’s party.  Sherlock was no Tyler but obviously didn’t think John was worthy of more than a casual fling.

It could never work, especially with so much against them from the start. John was nothing short of a mess. Oh god, but Sherlock was so beautiful a beautiful temptation he could be the devil himself.

“It’s getting late. I have to go. Thanks for dinner, and everything else.” Sherlock didn’t try to stop the younger man. “Goodbye Sherlock Holmes.” 

 John hurried out of the restaurant maintaining a smile, he held his hands in his pockets attempting to hold back the urge to smack himself over the head, he watched a bus near and followed it without a care as to what direction it was headed.

Dating wasn’t as easy as everyone made it seem. Just like Sherlock’s brother had said he couldn’t sustain one for long. The other person always got bored or just wasn’t looking for a long-term thing.

John wasn’t in for casual affairs and the ones who seemed ready to stick around, once they met Harry it was all out the window. She had a way of scaring off potential partners. Not to mention that one girlfriend Ruth. Ruth with beautiful red head, she was a nursing student. Then one day after a month of dating he walked in on Ruth and Harry. The two were making out intensely in the kitchen. That had nearly killed him and he avoided Harry for a week. Knowing Harry’s relationships were always shorter than his.

Why did he feel so attached this time? How pathetic. Stupid John.

Sherlock sat in the restaurant watching John hurrying across the street without hesitation, without so much as a glance behind him. Goodbye John Watson. The dark haired man knew he wouldn’t be seeing the blonde again.

 His phone beeped with another incoming text he irritably punched the read button, ignoring the one from Jim earlier. This second text was from Mycroft.

 Well that went well. And I rather liked the idea of a Doctor in the family.-MH

 Piss off.-SH

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 17. I’ll Take

 

John came home and crashed heavily on the couch, he was sure to hide his wallet where Harry wouldn’t find it. Whenever she was on these benders she would black out and not remember spending the rent money or stealing. It was best to just hide the rent money and any of his cash. He hoped is mobile was safe, deciding to keep the alarm set and the phone under his pillow. He frowned remembering the watch she’d given him on his seventeenth birthday only to take it off his wrist a year later when he was sleeping on her couch, and pawn it.

 He decided to wait on telling her about the matter of being kicked out of residency. Just as he finished picking up the flat, emptying out the ashtrays and getting rid of the beer cans littering the countertops, a heavy knock came to the door. Followed by the door bell “Harry did you forget your key?” John sighed opening the door.

 Except it wasn’t a drunk Harry it was Mike. “Mike?” John was instantly confused. Was Mike lost? The stipend from the hospital and Mike's parent's money enabled Mike Stamford to afford a nice flat near the hospital. John had been invited over a few times to study over the past couple years. It was a lot easier to concentrate there than at Harry’s.

“John! Thank god! I was worried mate.”

“Why? What’s happened? Aren’t you supposed to be working today?” John quickly invited the taller man in, offering him some water or tea.

“No. I’m fine. It’s just I tried calling you and it went straight to voicemail.” Mike removed his glasses and started to clean them on the edge of his untucked white shirt.

 “Oh, it must be dead.” John felt awful for lying.

“Well I heard what happened.” John didn’t meet Mike’s concerned expression; he ran a hand through his hair and shrugged.

“It’s nothing-I mean I’ll-“

“Nothing! John. Why didn’t you call me?”

“You were working. And I can-“

“When John? You know I had this weekend off. You can call me whenever whatever time of day. I’d of left Sophie’s and come to pick you up.”

“Huh?” What was Mike going on about?

“Really mate, we’ve been friends how long?” John hadn’t realized they were friends. He thought Mike just needed a study partner, sure he asked him over for dinner with Sophie and her single friends. John always assumed it was Mike trying to set him up with one of Sophie’s friends, as a favor to Sophie.

“I’m sorry Mike I-“

“Well that’s besides the point. It was your sister wasn’t it? She probably invited you out to a party and ditched you. John-Listen I know you don’t need to hear I told you so. So I wont go on. It’s just, it kind of surprised me to hear my best mate was mugged.”

“Mugged?” Mike reached out without warning and cupped John’s chin, turning the bruised face to the side examining the damage of his friend’s cheek.

“Looks aggravated, good thing the cheek bone isn’t shattered, but I hope you had that scanned for any fractures. Just to be sure.” John grimaced, he was uncomfortable with being touched.

“Uh Mike who told you I was mugged?” John pulled away slowly, so not to offend his friend.

“Doctor Jenkins of all people.”

“Doctor Jenkins?”

“Right that’s why I’m here.”

“Mike no offense but you’re not making any sense.”

“Right, sorry. After that twat Ridley made Doctor Rue let you go. And by the way you should of heard the argument those two had in the staff room. I was outside and I could hear it. I thought old Rue was going to punch that wanker in the face. Still he was out numbered by the other three members of the board so he let you go. Well I guess no one passed this with Dr. Jenkins the hospital administrator. I happened to be suturing a rather nasty gash some drunk idiot had managed to fall on his face cut open his forehead. Anyway after Doctor Jenkins was walking around with a rather stern looking fellow. This man wanted to see where his family’s money was going and how the teaching Hospital was fairing with capable students blah blah blah. Well Doctor Jenkins who never leaves his office introduced the residents on my floor and me. He did it all personally. So this guy must have been something important. Then the man asks about you.”

“Me?” John swollwed. Feeling sick, was it Tyler’s dad or something.

“Yeah. I know I was surprised. Not to mention a bit heated about how Rue had to let you go. I had already put in my complaint with Jenkins. And filed another complaint against Ridley with the board.”

“You did?” John was surprised.

“Of course I did. They can’t let go one of the best Doctor and soon to be surgeon go. Not like that.” John was speechless, Mike was authentically angry for him. It was foolish to draw attention on himself, Ridley wasn’t exactly kind to residents let alone ones who challenged his authority. John was about to point this out but Mike was still going on. Did the man ever breathe?

“ Turns out he was one of the Hospital's main contributors. Donations to the advancement in medical training what not. He inquired into how you were fairing. Said he had looked over each of our grades and dossiers. He was happy to know such a turn out of fine doctor’s would be flooding the medical field. Then he said, and I quote.” John held back a laugh as Mike straightened his untucked shirt and tie, he stood shoulders straight and though he wasn’t much taller than John he managed to look down at him with a very familiar inpersonation of bored arrogance.

“Where is this John Watson? I’ve read such great things about him. I was under the impression he worked today. After having a brief lunch with the young man.”

“Yes, you did call to let me know he would be a little tardy. He was here-“ Doctor Jenkins looked around, so I spoke up.

“Oh, sir. Doctor Rue let him go shortly after starting his shift.”

“Who?"

“John, sir. Doctor Rue sacked him.”

“Sacked?” The wealthy bloke said as if it were a dirty word.

“That can’t be right Stamford.” Doctor Jenkins then turned back to this smug fellow who was looking rather severe. I don’t know what he does John but whatever it is I feel bad for his employees.” Mike continued on with his very descriptive narrative.

“So He tells Smith to bring Doctor Rue. The whole time he’s stammering that it’s obviously a mix up. Rue hurried over and Jenkins demanded to know where you were. He then told Jenkins that Ridley and three of the other board members had said you were to be released. Misconduct. That’s when the shit hit the fan. Excuse my language John.” Mike smiled “ This bloke he threatened to pull his family’s funding on account of the hospital’s unfair treatment of it’s resident doctors. Of course Jenkins had no idea what he was talking about. The man, what was his name. Something like-“

“Holmes?” John asked suddenly feeling dizzy.

“Yeah! You DO know him then? Well mate. He said he was inquiring because you had been mugged this weekend. And he was worried that you’d gone to work too soon. But being so dedicated to your training and the hospital you resolved to work your shift. When Rue stated that the reason he was told to let you go was that you were in a drunken fight. I knew Ridley was a damn liar and I said as much. I know you mate. And you aren’t like that. Fortunately this bloke knew it as well. He demanded to see Doctor Ridley. Of course they dismissed us, I stuck around stocking the rooms, finishing my paperwork. I could hear Ridley’s dressing down. Like I said that fellow might be younger than old beak face Ridley, but he sure knows how to drop a temperature in a room. Ridley said he had it on a reliable source. Then the Holmes fellow says he wants to know who. He demands it and the man gives his nephews name.

That lying piece of –you remember Ty you hung out with a couple times, he was a right idiot. Didn’t like how he was all pushy and the way his assholes friends were talking. Remember that one time.  He thought he could throw his fists around. Well he got off lucky that night. Sophie’s two brother’s wanted to take him out back and kick the shite out of him. Should have let them. You were so drunk though and pretty bad off you just wanted to go. Decided we better just leave it at that.”

John paled he had to sit down. Yeah, Mike had thought John was drunk and Tyler was playing a prank on him. And things got physical, if Mike hadnt walked in and interrupted, and Mike had no idea what he walked in on. He probobly thought they were wrestling around on the floor. He felt sick now. That was a close one.

“Yeah, I remember.” He said dryly. Mike didn’t seem to notice the change in his friend.

“Oh, I always get off track. Listen mate. So Mr. Holmes says ‘Well that’s funny because that’s not what the police report will read. In fact your nephew should be expecting a call from the police real soon. And I do business with Mr. Stone or rather his company is one of those we hire contractor’s out of. I wonder if he knows what his son is getting up to?’ This shut him up real quick. Oh it was priceless. So he tells Jenkins that if you aren’t given a full apology and reinstated, he would be sure you were placed with one of the other competing hospitals. Oh it get's better, and with you would go the rather large donations his family make annually. He demanded that Ridley be let go and the other two idiot board members put on notice.

So Jenkins tried calling you. When he couldn't reach you he said since you and me are such good mates that I need to call. When you didn’t answer he told me to go to your house, and tell you to take the next two days off. It wont affect your hours you can make them up. Also if you could call him at your convience. Bloody hell mate! Who do you know? How do you know this Holmes?”

“Oh, I just met him. Like you said he called and asked about my grades and how I was liking the hospital. Stuff like that. Lasted ten minutes. Guess he just chose me out of the batch of names. Random and stuff.” John hated lying to Mike but how could he explain all the embarrassing details.

“Well it’s your lucky day mate! We should celebrate I know it’s a weekday. How bout I buy you dinner? Or-“

“Oh. Thanks Mike I already ate though. If you don’t mind I’m feeling kind of worn out.”

“I understand.” Mike put a hand on John’s shoulder.  “Like I said Mate, you’re like a little brother to me. If you need something just give me a call.”

“Uh. Thanks Mike.” John tried not to be stiff, Mike either didn’t notice or didn’t care because he pulled John into a quick hug. Uncomfortable for John but it came easy for Mike.

“Alright that was from Sophie.” He laughed. “She was pretty upset. She’ll probably have me bring you some soup and biscuits. Listen. Just milk it as much as possible we can split the takings. Alright. Get your rest. Get that phone charged mate. See you in two days.” Mike left like a whirlwind and John was speechless. He quickly switched his phone on. Several text messages and voicemails. He listened to the voicemails all from a very upset and nervous Doctor Jenkins. Then Doctor Rue, and finally Mike’s frantic calls. After the first handful John decided he was done listening. There was an angry text message from Tyler but John refused to give it any thought. He skipped past the handful from Tyler. He’d have to delete those or show them to the DI. That would further incriminate the bastard. Then his phone lit up with a new text from a number he didn’t recognize, he read the text anticipating it to be from Tyler, using someone else’s phone.

You were correct. Money can buy compliance. Fortunately for you Doctor Watson, not everyone shares your stiff moral code.-MH

John had to smile, he didn’t know Sherlock’s brother but the older Holmes had at least for some reason done him a favor. So John didn’t hesitate to text back.

Not a Doctor yet.-JW

 

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 18. CARE OF YOU

Around midnight John’s phone started to ring, pulling him from a peacefull sleep.

“ello.” He managed.

“John?” It was a female’s voice.

“Yeah?” He looked at the number it was Harry, well it should be.

“John it’s Clara, uh Harry’s uh friend. She’s managed to get herself quite pissed. I don’t have the money for a cab and she’s seemed to mis-“

“What’s the address? I’ll come get you.”

“Oh thank god.”

John sat up memorizing the address and yanking clothes on quickly. Whoever Clara was she sounded sober and terrified. Leave it to Harry herself into trouble and probably pulled some girl into the thick of it.

~0~


Not a doctor yet.-JW

Mycroft remembered that first text he received, remembered not expecting the cheeky reply. He had merely shaken his head and said out loud to no one in particular; “Sherlock you idiot.”

Now years later, a Mycroft three years older, was looking down at John’s flushed face and unconscious form.

“He’s an idiot John. I’m an idiot. Forgive us.” He soothed John’s forehead. Having separated Sherlock and Harry. He’d sent Harry out of the room and threatened Sherlock with worse if he didn’t take advantage of the amenities the hospital room offered like a shower and perhaps some food. He promised to call him if there was a change.

Mycroft had been reminiscing on the first encounters he’d had with the young Doctor. “Rest John.” He hoped that whatever the blonde was dreaming it was far from the nightmare of his ordeal. Again he allowed himself to run his hands through the soft down that was John’s hair. He would never do this if the younger man was awake, or if there was an audience. So just this once he would allow himself this show of affection.

He spoke softly to the unconscious young man, his apologies, his plans for Moran. His reassurance that this would not go unpunished, and finally a plea to hurry back. In his own time, preferably more sooner than later. Anymore time and Harry and Sherlock would kill each other. Mycroft thought that the tension around John's eyes and mouth eased. Or at least he hoped.

 ~0~

Clara offered her wife a hot cup of coffee, “Here. This might calm your nerves.” She soothed.

“Fuck them! Who the hell do they think they are?” Harry stood up ignoring the cup.  Clara knew this would be a danger night, she would have to keep a watchful eye on Harry, but when Harry was determined…

“Harriette.” Clara straightened her shoulders, trying to stand her full five foot two. “You will sit down and listen.” Harry turned doing just as her wife, ordered? Suggested?

“Clara?”

“I know you are upset. I know this whole situation is upsetting. But Harry. Think about it. How do you think Sherlock feels? Did you ever ask John what happened between the two? Obviously Sherlock was just as dumb struck as you, to find John like this.” Clara, put an arm around Harry’s shoulders, pulling her gently to her chest. “He never got to make his amends. Look at us. What if I’d never forgiven you? What then? How would you feel if that was me, and I never had a chance to hear your side? You forget, Sherlock isn’t perfect. Just as I know you aren’t. He has the same demons. Did you ever wonder how John had the patience to put up with him? It was because you had been unknowingly training him for the last ten to fifteen years. How many times did he go searching for you, and find you passed out in some bar? Or called a cab for you at some strangers house? Since he was what thirteen? Twelve?  The childhood you both had, it's hard for you to show affection. I get it.

But John's different.  John loved that man we could all see it. He loved him so much that he couldn’t face him, when he couldn’t help him. Do you understand that?  That’s how I felt with you. So of course Sherlock’s going to be overprotective. He hurt John. I also know that John would forgive you in a heartbeat. Just as he would forgive Sherlock.” Harry’s eyes were watery, she blinked her blond lashes her mascara running. She turned her face up towards her beautiful wife, smiling sadly.

“The idiot probably stopped being angry the minute he left. He probably forgave me long before I forgave him. That’s just it though Clara. Don’t you see. He did nothing wrong. He just wanted me to realize the mistakes I was making. He even told me I would regret not trying to keep you. I’m just no good with ultimatums.”

“Well apparently neither is Sherlock. Don’t let him push you out Harry. You have more right to be in there. But you don’t forget that you did John wrong just as he did.  Be thankful Sherlock’s brother was rather effective putting a medical team together. He put John in a private room, he is paying for all of that. Have you ever known anyone willing to do this for John and for you?”

“Me?” Harry frowned.

“Yes you. Idiot. If John died what would that do to you? They are taking care of him and by extension you. We couldn’t afford this. This is beyond generous. They obviously love your brother. They came to find us, they didn’t have too. But they did. They want your brother to live. Mike said they didn’t expect John to make it this far. So drink that coffee, wash your face and take your damn place in that room, and wait your turn to say sorry.”

Harry had to laugh, it was difficult to see Clara put her foot down and not giggle. Not that she didn’t respect it, but Clara wasn’t usually so forward.

“I love you Clarabear. I don’t know how it is I was blessed with you in my fucked up life.” She sighed heavily taking a large pull from the horrid hospital coffee.

“Oh, I think it was your smile. Possibly I was working off some bad karma.”

“Hey!” Harry nudge the dark haired woman with her shoulder almost spilling her coffee. Clara smiled sadly glancing down the hall were John’s room was. Remembering the first time she’d met him, of course Harry wouldn’t remember much of that introduction. Neither would Sherlock for that matter, oh how funny the world could be.

 ~0~

 Clara clutched Harry’s phone. The older woman was passed out on the floor of a rather dirty bathroom.

The taller blonde had asked Clara out to dinner she’d accepted on impulse. Usually she thinks these things out but Harry had such a charming smile, and she was wearing a Tesco apron with a mini skirt. How could she say no.

 However, Clara didn’t expect to be talked rather easily into going to a party. Clara hated crowds, yes she’d agreed, but now that they were here she regretted it rather miserably.

Clara had no money on her, someone had pinched her purse. Stupid of her to leave it lying around. This bathroom was horrid, and just as she managed to pull Harry to her feet a dark haired man stumbled into the bathroom.

 “Excuse me.” Clara murmured nervously. “We were just-“

“Then go!” the man growled. Clara jumped back causing Harry to sway.

“Oh hello Clara.” Harry murmured.

“I called your brother.” The dark haired girl whispered soothingly, her eyes nervously on the tall dark haired stranger.

“Why? So he could yell at me? Boring. Call him back and tell him to piss off!”

Thankfully the stranger ignored them as they made their way past him, Clara looked over her shoulder to see him pull his sleeve up and hold a needle in his other hand. He slammed the door shortly after.

“Listen I’ll get us some cab fair. It’s easy. Just gotta pinch a wallet. I do it to John all the time.”

“Harry!” Clara was shocked, hoping it was just inebriated talk.

“No you don’t get to be self righteous. You aren’t my brother. You can fuck off too.” Clara tried to take deep breaths, she would wait for Harry’s brother hopefully he would call back. Because she’d never met him before. This was only their sixth date. This was the first time Clara had seen Harry like this. The timid primary school teacher felt sick with anxiety. What a horrible night.

“Why does this always happen to me? Am I working off bad karma?” Clara murmured to herself the two managed to plop down onto a couch unnoticed by the crowds of drunken bodies hell bent on pushing up against each other.

 Clara ignored the persistent drunk that kept leaning over the couch to ask if they knew each other. Then to her horror someone kept looking down Harry’s pink blouse. Clara had removed her own cardigan and placed it over her girlfriend? Well were they dating? Harry hadn’t been exactly clear. Sometimes Clara put more thought into things then she should. Harry seemed to like her but this was a whole different side.

“Oh thank god.” Clara nearly dropped Harry’s phone. It was ringing she answered barely able to hear past the loud music in the crowded room. It was surprising that someone hadn’t called the police. She couldn't hear John over the loud awful noise, that some idiot considered music, to her horror he'd hung up.

“You alright there?” A blond around her age asked, Clara flinched away from him, he was kneeling down near Harry and she put a protective arm around her.

“We’re just fine.” She said hopefully in a dismissive enough voice.

“Doesn’t look like it.” The young man gave a sad half smile, and Clara realized then, seeing those eyes they were almost the same blue as Harry’s but less shielded. They had the same hair color a soft blond, well Harry’s was a tint darker but it was probably just as soft. She blushed that she’d thought like that about Harry’s brother.

He wasn’t as tall almost Harry’s height, but definitely tall. Well everyone was taller than Clara.  He gave her another reassuring smile, “Come on then I have a cab waiting let’s get her home.”

“I’m so sorry to call you John. I just-“

“It’s alright. Clara was it?” she nodded nervously as they pulled Harry to her feet. John frowned as Clara placed her cardigan on the nearly unconscious Harry. He took note that she wasn’t wearing much herself removing his own black jacket, it wasn’t much but it would offer some warmth against the chilly night air.

“Thanks.” Clara accepted realizing she was just wearing a sleeveless purple dress and the cardigan had kept her cleavage modestly covered. She hated unwanted attention.

“I’m going to be sick.” Harry coughed.

John knew the sound, he took his sister by the waist and hoped the direction he was moving in was the bathroom, it was closer than the front door and he wasn’t wanting to wear gin scented sick all night.

Clara followed nervously, the blond pushed open the bathroom door and managed to get Harry over the disgusting toilet. He held her hair back and held her up as she emptied the colorful array of the nights consumed drinks into the toilet.

“Alright now?” John grabbed a handkerchief from his pocket, one he’d been given by a dark haired stranger.

“Fine.” Harry murmured. “Johnny?”

“Yeah, it’s me.”

“I wanna go home Johnny.” her voice scratchy from puking.

“I know Harry lets go.” He said gently. He started to lead her towards the door, she was a little more awake, so she walked on her own. John was in such a hurry that he hadn’t noticed the man sitting on the dirty counter near the sink, in his haste to get Harry to the toilet.

Now, he froze, recognizing that dark head of soft curls, and those glassy gray eyes. “Leave him John-he’s not very nice. And he’s a junkie.” Clara whispered. John followed her eyes to his horror there was  a belt around the man’s bicep and a needle still in his arm.

“Shit. Clara, can you help Harry? She’s better now. Get her in the cab, I’ll be right out."

“Is he a friend?” Clara pulled Harry's arm around her shoulders.

“Yeah. Go on. I’ll be right behind you. Don’t let the cab leave without me.”

“Alright. You sure?” Clara nervously looked from the stranger to Harry’s  baby faced brother.

“Yeah. I’ll be right behind you.” He looked like he’d seen a ghost, she hesitated but Harry started shuffle uncomfortably.

“What’s the hold up. Onward!” Harry growled impatiently.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 19. A Cab Ride

 John felt sick, flashbacks of childhood threatened to overcome him, but the Doctor's training in him pushed it aside. He took the blue handkerchief poking out from Sherlock’s jean pocket. Carefully removing the belt then delicately handling the syringe he removed it. Having nothing sterile the handkerchief would have to work. To his horror, there were other marks, some fairly recent as in today, others older and scarred.

 

He looked around for somewhere safe to discard the syringe, he found the answer in an empty of glass bottle of beer. He took it up quickly and placed the horrid thing in needle first, then picked up a twist top cap that had been discarded sealing the thing in.

 “Sherlock?” He had already checked the slow pulse and from experience he knew if this wasn’t a first time, and judging by the arm it wasn’t, then the drug would just need to run it’s course. Had it been a first time, he cringed, Sherlock would be worse off.  “Come on then. Can’t leave you here.”

 He pulled his friend off the counter and they swayed the height difference would be a problem, but John was strong. He tried to quiet his heart, thudding, or possibly breaking. Why did he feel disappointment? Sherlock was a stranger in every sense of the word. What he did shouldn't bother John, it wasn't his business.

It's not your business John if this brilliant man is an idiot. Not your problem he'll eventually kill himself if he stays on this path. John repeated this to himself over and over again but it wasn't sticking.

 “Piss off.” The addict grumbled, trying to push John away. The shorter man just held tighter resolved to see this through.  He had learned early on as a child to ignore whatever was said in this state of self-medication.  His mom’s words; You know I didn’t mean it Johnny. There’s my good boy. Come give mummy a hug. I'm done. I wont do it again. We will stop. Huh. I love you.  Johnny don’t be afraid. You remember what I said, you need to stay in your room until we say you can come out. This happens when you don't listen. Come here now my brave boy.

John shuddered, he hated those memories the most. The ones where his mother would apologize, and she meant it she always did. It was the pull the lure and temptation of the drugs his parents indulged in. It was stronger than love. Or at least it was stronger than their love for him if they ever had really loved him. It was true, what Mycroft had said; addictive personalities.

 He clutched onto the glass bottle with the dirty syringe, and at the same time kept a steadying arm around Sherlock’s thin waist. Thankfully it took little effort to push through the crowd of people shrouded in a haze of cigarette smoke.  “Almost there.” He could see Clara was arguing with the cabbie.

“See there he is.” She gestured towards him in relief.  John knew this was going to put a dent in his wallet but he could see the cabbie’s patience was running thin.

 “I’m sorry for the wait sir. If you could just take us back to where you picked me up I’ll make it worth your while.”

“You better have cash kid.” The cabbie growled.

John let Clara climb in first, it was going to be very cramped. She helped him with Sherlock despite her very visible anxiety. And within minutes the four were on their way back to the flat. Harry's blond head resting on Clara's thin shoulder, the girl was practically sitting in Harry's lap.

“I’m sorry about this but I couldn’t leave him there. He’s just a-” John tried to explain but Clara’s reply cut him short.

“ Just a friend. I understand.” her voice small and shaky.

“Probably not going to see you again. It was good to meet you Clara.” John offered a hand across a slumped over Sherlock and to his relief Clara took it in her own small cold one.

She gave a small laugh, “Nice to meet you John. Although I wish it were under better circumstances.”

 “Leave it to the Watson’s to keep things interesting.” John teased rewarding him with a small laugh. He held her hand a bit longer, poor Clara was trembling or maybe she was cold. The dark haired girl seemed so fragile, what was Harry doing with her? She wasn’t Harry’s type, Clara wasn’t a party girl. He could see that right off, and she squeezed his hand he tried to offer more comfort, then Sherlock started to stir. John released the smaller hand first, moving to steady the grumpy addict.

Thankfully they pulled up to the flat, John emptied out the contents of his wallet, that was the last of his on hand pocket money. He unhappily handed it over to the aggravated cabbie.

 Clara was able to maneuver Harry up the stairs; she was at least somewhat compliant and easy to move around.  “I’ve got her John. I’ll make sure she’s settled.” Clara stated looking worriedly from John to Harry.

“Johnny! Have you met Clara?” she hugged the smaller girl roughly, then her smile faltered.

“Yes. Harry. I have-“

“Fuck off little brother. Don’t talk to her.” She took a step toward him. “He’s always been jealous-“

“Shush Harry. Let’s get back to the flat. Maybe some tea and toast.” Clara gently offered, turning the taller woman back towards the door.

“Clara! Dear you are the cutest thing ever.” Harry’s rant forgotten. John was used to her mood swings. Volatile to docile and back again, it was like roulette you just didn’t know where the ball would drop. Clara obviously knew how to play this game, he wondered briefly if this wasn't her first time dealing with Harry or maybe she just knew how to handle drunks. She was a teacher after all, drunks and small children had the same mentality.

 “Where the hell?” Sherlock growled from the back seat snapping John back to the matter at hand.

“Come on Sherlock I had to bring you to my flat, it’s not much-“

“Fuck off. Take me home. I’m not staying here.” The dark haired man slide to the otherside of the now empty back seat.  John looked nervously at the cabbie.

“Get him out or I’ll do it for you.” The old driver demanded.

“Alright, just hold on. He’s had a bit-“

“I could give a shit. Not my problem. Damn kids!”

 John ignored him. He watched Clara shut the door to the flat, at least they made it inside. “Sherlock.” John said gently reaching into the cab to take his forearm ready to pull him out by force. “We have to go now. We are-“

“I’m not going in. I m not an idiot. You’ve tried this before.” John didn’t understand. “I’ll go home cabbie. I have money. I’ll make it worth your while. Get me the hell out of here.” The addict pulled his arm out of John's reach.

“Well that’s said.” The cabbie replied, catching the fact that the taller man was a little more well dressed than John in his disheveled clothing. “Where to son?”

To John’s amazement Sherlock spouted off an address, he jumped into the cab before it sped off. Texting Clara an apology and a quick explanation sending it to Harry’s phone.

 It’s fine. I can handle it from here. Thank you. Be careful. :) Clara.

 John could sense the relief she must feel not having to deal with the awkwardness of a belligerent addict. That and it was best to stay out of Harry's sight when she was in black out mode.

 “Why are you still here? Tell your boss he can go to hell. I’m not going back.” Sherlock snapped, attempting to fix a cold glare in John’s direction. His head bobbing back and forth and his words heavily slurred.

“Boss? And back where?” John checked the handkerchief it had dried blood on it. He really should get that cleaned up, the addict only jerked his arm away.

“Rehab-. Really it worked so beautifully.” The dark head hit the window with a thud it made John jump. The medical resident went to pull the taller man into a more comfortable position. “Stop touching me.” He mumbled.

John ignored it, “Stop being so damn stubborn. Just let me help you.”

John paid the cabbie with Sherlock’s money, wincing at the fare he was sure it was double so he didn’t tip the old grumpy man.

 “Idiot.” Sherlock grumbled as he had already started to enter his flat while John was paying. Afraid of being locked out John quickly followed, and he pushed his way in before Sherlock managed to slam the door in his face.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 20. STRUGGLES

“Oh no. You aren’t getting rid of me that fast.” John was still holding the glass bottle, as he pushed past the closing door.  He would need to dispose of that properly; there was a sharps container at one of the clinic’s just for this kind of situation. He had volunteered a summer there it was near the hospital, the small clinic encouraged junkies to bring in their used needles.

 Sherlock didn’t pay him any attention; instead he pulled something out of his pocket. To the shorter man’s revulsion, he could guess just what it was right away.

 “Oh no. I think you’ve had quite enough tonight.” John knew the dangers of getting between an addict and his drugs. As a child John had caught several backhands and it never stopped there.  A reward for his troubles, compliments of a drugged out father.

 So he wasn’t surprised when he had to dodge another almost accurate hit. It caught him on his shoulder instead of his chin, John still managed to snatch the baggie of drugs from the addict.

“Not a good idea. Let’s not add to an already bad situation.” He yelled out, making a run for the kitchen sink.

Starting the tap immediately, dumping the powder just before the taller man reached him seizing his wrist, twisting it angrily. John almost fell to his knees, he held out the empty bag dripping with water, sans drugs. Triumphant he smiled despite the discomfort “Sorry. Was that important?”

 The anger in those cold gray eyes burned to the core of him, but he refused to be intimidated. This was the drugs. Drugs made you a stranger to everyone, clouded judgment.

“What the hell did you do?” the vice like grip tightened on John’s wrist.

“A favor.” John just barely pulled free, he paid no attention to the finger marks left behind. “Now go sit down. I need to clean your arm before it gets infected if it hasn’t already.” He replied rubbing the pain from his right wrist.

 “You’re not my minder! Tell your boss-“

“Yeah, yeah to piss off.” John caught Sherlock as he swayed dangerously. “I’ll be sure to do that.” John led him to his bed. “Now tell me what you took?”

“Go to hell.”

“I’ve been there. I’m probably destined to return.” John replied sadly.

 “What do you want? Money? Will that make you go away? Or maybe something else-“ John froze at how the addicts voice suddenly dropped taking on an all too familiar honeyed baritone. Fingers whispered just over his lips. This made John's heart to thud almost painfully in his chest. Not to mention the quick rush of warmth to his cheeks and groin, but once he saw the amused look on the addicts face his treacherous heart plummeted to his stomach.

Is this what Sherlock did to get what he wanted from everyone?

It doesn’t matter John. It doesn’t matter. He’s not yours. Stop it. Just help him and leave. He’s not your problem. He tried to convince himself of it. I couldn’t  leave him in some bathroom vulnerable, to overdose, to predators or thieves. It wasn’t a dignified way to die. He’s not like them. It’s not the same. He’s not going to die. Still to die like that. It was degrading to be left for days in your own vomit and piss. Alone.

Childhood memories threatened to surface once more and the young medical resident fought to keep them away.

“Not going to work. But nice try.” John replied sternly pushing Sherlock onto his bed, moving pillows beneath the taller man, sure keep him somewhat propped up. There didn’t seem to be a threat of the addict being sick, but you couldn’t be sure about these things.

Then the taller man grabbed the collar of John’s t-shirt with surprising speed. “Get out! Tell my brother to come himself the coward! Instead of sending his little drones.” A hard shove had him hit the floor with a thud, he tried to catch his breath, cursing his sore ribs.

Dammit John, stay on your toes. Wasn’t expecting that. You should have. Pay attention. He reprimanded himself while slowly getting back on his feet.

“I don’t need to be tucked in.” the addict continued to vent.

“Just a service I offer.” John volunteered through gritted teeth. “Now sit still-“

“Or what you’ll handcuff me?” Sherlock started to laugh, and John flinched from the rough sarcastic sound. “Oh, that would be interesting.”

“I suppose.” John murmured hunting for the first aid kit finding it in the bathroom under the sink. Sherlock was still cursing and talking nonsense when he returned.

The medical training in him took over and he ignored his own rising panic and instead went to work on the patient.

 First pulling the handkerchief off, it wasn’t too bad but the area was red. He found nitrile gloves in the first aid kid. Obviously someone was prepared for any situation.

Sherlock pulled his arm away childishly; John wasn’t going to play this game. He straddled Sherlock, anchoring himself refusing to be pushed away again.

“Well this can be fun.”  Sherlock went still, glassy eyes narrowing on the source of his problems.

John disregarded him and started to place a small bandage over the deep puncture that was already forming a bruise. His hands faltered when hips rotated up and both arms snapped in to trap him, to hold him there.

Panic always panic, “Stop. It’s not funny.” John replied breathlessly, attempting to climb off.

“Isnt it?”  Caught off guard once again by a quick movement and John found himself pinned beneath a taller body. A paralyzing jolt of pain reminding him of every bruise and sore muscle around his torso and abdomen. He groaned in pain and the addict took it as encouragement.

“Come on let’s play.” He leaned down whispering into John’s ear, causing another unwanted reaction. Fortunately the taller man was distracted enough for John to pull a wrist free. Another struggle ensued, somehow he managed to elbow Sherlock just below his sharp cheekbone, a reply elbow caught John under the chin. Somehow his face was being pushed into the carpet, and just when he thought he’d managed to throw the taller man off balance he was slammed onto his back.

“Like it rough. Good. I do too.” Sherlock’s deep voice almost sinister while he pinned John’s arms under his knees, straddling the shorter man’s torso.

 

How the hell is he so damn strong? Shit.

John fought the rise of bile, the dark pinpricks threatening to multiply due to the pain in his ribs.

The addict having the advantage now held a hand to the blonde’s throat squeezing slowly then smiling as it stilled any struggle from his opponent.

 “This isn’t funny. Get off.” A weak demand that had no affect on the angry adversary. “Please. I can’t-my ribs they-“ The dark haired man had a look of amusement on his face, that and triumph.

“Looks like the cat has caught the mouse. " Another half laugh half sneer. "That's all you have? Not so impressive for one of my brother’s goons. Or did he order you not to harm me? Huh? The last one had me cuffed faster than this. Then we had fun. Of course Mycroft fired that one. Shame. I ended up liking him. Or rather I knew what he liked.”

John tried to even his breathing, tried to stay calm this wasn’t going to happen he was alright. Sherlock was just expecting him to fight, he thought he was an agent. It was alright just a power play. He wasn’t like Ty, he wasn’t himself.

“It’s me John. John Watson. You bastard, now get off me.” The pinned man choked out. The sturdy hand squeezed none to gently in reply. He hadn’t heard John, John could see he wasn’t getting through to him.  And he was  becoming very much aware he would black out soon from lack of oxygen He knew this was a game, there was no threat of it going further. At least he had to believe that, he wouldn’t believe anything else.

“Please.” John managed. This made the beautiful mouth turn into a harsh grin.

“Oh, what’s wrong agent done playing Doctor?” then realization must of hit.

“Doctor?” he said slowly “ Doctor?” eyes wide, pulling his hand back as if it were burned. “John?”

And the weight was off of the blonde, John rolled over coughing, grateful for the air returning to his lungs. He held a hand to his throbbing ribs, or was it his pounding heart. He tried to climb to his feet, deep breaths hurt, short breaths hurt, everything hurt.

“Oh god John! I’m sorry-“ John managed to calmly pull himself to his unsteady feet. Realizing both of them were still on the floor. “John? You- I thought you- When. You’re bleeding. Your face-I’m”

John put a hand to his nose that must of happened during the struggle, dammit his cheek was sore he might as well just tell everyone the permanent bruise on his cheek was a birthmark at this point.

He pushed it aside, it didn’t matter he wasn’t that bad off, just some carpet burns and angry ribs. God if his ribs didn’t stop hurting he wasn’t going to be able to move at all. Lucky he had a couple days off, he would definitely be using them to lay around.

Then a pale face was inches from his, a dazed concern, hands were cupping his face, John flinched stepping back. He needed air, maybe some ice on his side. Left, maybe right, ok both. Speaking of ice, he winced when he noticed were he’d caught Sherlock with an elbow.

“You need ice.” He replied shakily. “Just sit.” To his surprise the dark haired addict nodded and sat down head in hands.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” The misery very apparent made John’s heart break, but he couldn’t  reassure Sherlock just yet. He needed to get ice and if he kneeled down to pat that dark head of hair he wasn’t going to make it back up. His body was ready to just curl up and pass out, to much excitement for one day.

“It’s fine.” John called out over his shoulder as he moved slowly for the door.

What had he expected, it’s not Sherlock’s fault really. Sure he was the one who was all doped up on whatever but John should have been more observant. Dealings with Harry and his parents should have been enough experience for him to know better.

 

Sherlock was just as he’d left him sulking, his hands clutching at his dark hair. John forgot his own pain, immediately responding to this all too familiar scenario.

“Hey, here, let me look.” He tilted Sherlock’s head up. Meeting no resistance, the dim light wasn’t so great. He wished to better examine the damage but didn’t want to make the trip across the room to switch on the light. Instead he would just settle with what he had and that was the dim light of the lamp. “There you are, just lay back.”

“I’m sorry-“ a pitiful sob.

“Sssh. I know. It’s all fine. Just lay back. Do you have anything else on you?” Sherlock nodded a cold hand tried to caress John’s face but again he flinched away. Giving a weary smile, “Let’s get you comfortable alright.” He used this as an excuse to remove Sherlock’s shoes checking for any bags of powder or pills, then moving to pull off the designer Jeans he made sure to check the pockets. He found another baggie of pills as well as some other powder and a near empty pack of cigarettes. There wasn’t a struggle in fact Sherlock just stared at him in a sad daze, like a child told his favorite toy was lost. John found a pair of pajama bottoms, it wasn’t easy but he pulled them on over Sherlock’s narrow hips. His own hands shaking and his breathing more labored, at this point the young aspiring doctor was running on fumes.

“Keep the ice to that. You’re going to have one hell of a bruise in the morning. I’m sorry.” John checked the status of the damaged area under the makeshift ice pack.  “I’ll probably have to repeat that apology tomorrow. Don’t think you’ll remember too much of this. It’s a good thing too. It’ll be easier to avoid the awkward apologies and what not. Maybe for us both.” Sherlock didn’t reply he only fixed his red-rimmed eyes on John’s bruised face.

“Stop. You didn’t do that. It was already there.” John moved his face away from another attempt from the addict at caressing the sensitive skin.

“Stay with me. I’ll keep you close.” John tried not to falter with the buttons of the black shirt. He’ pulled the material from the thin shoulders resisting the urge to kiss them to hush the clumsy regretful words with his own mouth.

“Shush, go to sleep. I’m not going anywhere. Lie back.” John directed and thankfully he met no objections. He needed to get rid of the pills and powder he flushed them without regret. Then looking around he quickly identified any potential hiding places. He knew all of them unusual would be more Sherlock’s style. After years of disposing of his parent’s hidden stashes, it wasn’t hard to find what he knew to be there. The dark haired man had fallen into a heavy sleep, John made sure to keep him propped up in case he was sick. He then took the ice pack back to the kitchen, checking the living area and all the other places for anything recreational. 

 He leaned his head against the island, the same one he had been served toast and tea at. How that had been so different, he held to that memory wishing to swap today for that moment. Moving back to check on Sherlock he found him where he’d left him, finding the duvet in a heap on the far side of the bed he pulled it over the sleeping figure careful to not wake him. He sat with his back to the small bedside table holding the lamp; he had no intention of falling asleep. Just in case Sherlock was sick, he wanted to be sure he didn’t choke or god forbid stop breathing.

“Don’t stop breathing.” John whispered. "Please don't stop breathing." and he started to nod off.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 21.  A Brief Interlude

 

John heard someone talking; he wanted to turn his head in the direction of the soft words. Words can be like pillows sometimes, or soft and surrounding like a blanket.

I’ll keep you close. I’ll never let you go.

Mummy loves you.

I’m always here if you need anything mate.

You are not pathetic.

My brother is selfish and unworthy of someone like you.

 

Then there were the days when words cut deeper than any knife, tore into you faster and with more devastating results than any bullet.

 

Maybe, little brother, you should consider. It’s not us! It’s you!

 

Come here son! You worthless little bastard! I said come here!

 

You can’t save me! Who do you think you are to give me an ultimatum? You aren’t anyone! If you think I’ll plead with you to stay you are wrong John Watson and you can leave.

 

John you’ve disappointed me. I thought you were stronger than this. I see my first notion about you was in fact very accurate. I don’t expect to be seeing you again. Have a wonderful life.

 

Those voices started to mix and jumble together, threatening to drown and smother. Then the deeper voice cut through, the chaos of conversations never forgotten. Some are fresh open wounds or warm soothing offerings of hope.

The baritone voice was different more closer than far, less of an echo and the words. John tried to catch them but he felt so slow and groggy.

 

These words were insistent, pleading and resolute. John forced heavy eyelids to open. A deep breath caught him off guard and a heavy weight held him in place. He needed it off, something was choking him, drowning, uncomfortable, his mouth and throat fought against the intrusion.

Panic sheer panic, eyes wide, nothing, it was blurred and dark.

  Where did the light go? Soft hands, lots of hands more than one set, touching, reassuring him, instructing him to calm down. Easy for them, they weren’t drowning in sand, deep breaths the voice said. Didn’t they know it hurt? He hurt everywhere? So much pain, this was hell wasn’t it?

Hell, his skin was hot, or was he sunburned; oh the desert sands could rub skin raw.

More words, and finally he could breathe, the pain in his throat the pressure in his chest somewhat relieved.

Blinking, lots of blinking, the sand must have gotten into his eyes.

Oh, hello. John tried to focus on the figure hovering over him. The one with the deep voice, pulling him from the dreams that were both pleasant and unpleasant. A life he no longer could go back to, except like this, in dreams. Hands again, touching, petting his head, that was nice. The pounding in his ears and chest lessened and he could almost hear more. He wanted to hear more.

Another voice a little higher was tugging at his consciousness to focus, to focus and come back. Where was he? In the desert? He had a job to do he couldn’t just abandon his men. He wanted to tell her. He wanted to tell that voice he would be back after his tour. Another touch on his cheek, cool against his fevered skin.

Desperately he tried to make out a face, but everything was so dim, where was the light? His body threatened against coming out of this half awake half sleeping state.

Pain, great pain lingered around the edges of his vision if that was possible. Blinking slower, and the camera lens focused a little sharper more voices.

This one was deep, calm and collected, the hot sun could be blocked out by such an umbrella. Why did he just think that? This voice silenced the others but a hand the welcomed soft pressure and contact so very welcomed.

 Oh, the deep baritone is back, one that smells of coffee and mint gum. Why did the gum seem out of place?

He’s speaking and John can do nothing but turn into the hand caressing his cheek.

“John I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”  But John's heard this before, back when he believed words easily. Took them, as they were, face value, back when he belonged to someone. I’m not yours anymore. Stop haunting me. John wanted to move away from this dream. It was cruel, even his eyes decided to join in on this mean game.

He made out the dark curls, soft despite the desert heat. Was he still in the desert? Fair skin like that would burn so easily and it would be painful. Tears, gray eyes, gray like winter like cold and ice and frozen dead things. Like heart ache and pushing. Like I don’t love you. Feels. No, these eyes are different, because it’s the dream, it’s always a dream when those eyes could mean anything different.

John turns away, he can barely move his head and when he does it feels like the world shifts with him. Someone is sitting quietly watching him in a chair, long legs elegantly crossed. John could make out the gray expensive business suit and familiar blue tie.

The desert sun can be hot and burning, but the winter in this man’s gray eyes was freezing and cruel. A different kind of winter, freezing rain that chilled you through to the bone and with just a single word a nudge you would fall and shatter into a million little pieces of ice. Ice and flesh and chunks of heart. Melting in the desert sun, melting back into a mess of a man, less willing to welcome the winter, ice or snow.

There is more talk nervous quick talk, clumsy drunken slurs would not be able to keep up. This is clear, clean, sober. What a nice teasing dream, the brink of a nightmare. This is not his sister, she doesn’t know how to say; I’m sorry.

Doesn’t know how to mean it, to feel it. Blood does not make you a priority, it does not make you easier to be loved or love. No entitlement. No disappointment. She’s confessing, she’s pleading her hands are holding one of his. He can feel her chilly fingers curling around his own. Maybe looking for a watch or a wallet. Go ahead take it.

He doesn’t want to look at her, this version of his sister would never exist. Just as the image of Sherlock could never be. He wouldn’t say words like that, heavy with regret laced with concern, concern that bordered on love. He wanted to push this away this whatever it could be.

A deep breath, it hurt, and his body cried out when he tried to move. Trying to turn away and not have to face these walls, made of things that would not be, and these shadows closing in on him. The pain, his chest, something heavy he needed it to go but his hands wouldn’t lift, he had arms, he could see them.

Make them leave. Make it stop. This teasing and taunting. These things that will never be mine. Never be mine. Stop it. Stop all of it.

Another voice interrupts the others and even his own inner voice. The chaos doesn't notice this new voice. They are arguing louder and louder their words aimed to hit and take, too much.  A gentle touch smoothing the throbbing in his forehead. Sleep it says, sleep and it will be better in the morning. Isn’t it always be better in the morning? And a curtain falls over everything. How nice, gentle fingers comb through his hair, and a deep baritone eased him back into a sleep. The rush of liquid through an IV straight to the source of pain and lights out for the host.

 

 

                  

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 22. APOLOGIES

Sherlock awoke sometime before the sun, the event's of last night he hoped had been part of a nightmare. Instead gray eyes peeked over the edge of the bed. Finding a figure resting uncomfortably with knees pulled to his chest and a blonde head resting on folded arms.  The dark haired man moved to pick John up meeting with little resistance.

John only winced, and Sherlock held back a curse.  The young aspiring Doctor wasn't heavy, the taller man hooked an arm under John's knees and lifted him onto the bed. John's face tensed, and the dark haired addict combed long fingers through the soft down of John's hair. The tension around John's forehead and around his mouth eased. John sighed curling in towards the comfort of the gentle hand. Sherlock gently took John's hand in his own. Tracing the bruises on the aspiring Doctor’s wrist. He did that, his vision had been blurred and his logic flawed.

He could see traces of blood around the edges of John’s nose, and then the definite bruises marring the skin around John’s neck. He did all of this, he could have done worse. His stomach turned feeling sick from the crash from the drugs, and then the guilt. Cocaine didn’t affect him like ordinary people, it dulled everything, made everyone bearable. Mixed with the pills he’d taken, not the best idea. His head was throbbing and there was a heaviness in his chest. One he could not explain away, it was a different feeling altogether. Is this what guilt felt like?

 Then John’s beautiful blue eyes slowly opened, and Sherlock found his own analytical gray searching for answers to several questions. To his relief he didn’t read anger, disgust not even accusation, something else though. Concern?

He wanted to ask John why he wasn’t angry, how could he not be?

Before he could get any words out, he heard the front door to the flat open and the sound of heavy feet.  John started to sit up wincing again a hand holding his left side. Sherlock swore angrily jumping from the bed, “Stay here John, I’ll handle this. Rest.” He grabbed his blue silk robe and hurried to head his brother off. Or perhaps he was running from the spring blue eyes that followed him out of the room.

Mycroft glanced around the flat, everything seemed in place he nodded towards his men to get started.

“A drugs bust? Mycroft really?” Sherlock growled “Now?”

“You little brother know the rules. I warned you. And I wouldn’t be here if you wouldn’t have lost your surveillance team and disappeared for twelve hours only to return to the flat less than sober. If you would have left the camera’s in the flat I could have just used those to reassure myself you are sober. “

“Get out.” The younger Holmes glared pointing to the door.

“I will if my men don’t find anything.” Sherlock pulled his robe tighter around him, he knew there would be drugs. He also was very aware of the tell tale bandage on his forearm. Luckily he was wearing his robe, he crossed his arms over his chest, it was a self-conscious reaction but Mycroft read it as pouting.

Why had he stupidly hidden his stash here? Mycroft's men may be idiots  but they were like blood hounds. From past experience he knew they would eventually find something. He had hidden his stash in hasty anticipation for the first hit of cocaine, before heading out to the party.

“Just keep your men out of my bedroom. I have a guest who should not be disturbed.” Sherlock grumbled.

“Oh, how unfortunate you still have company.” Mycroft’s eyes scrutinized his brother’s pale face. He took in the bruise and several signs of defensive scratches. He gave the ok for his men to head into the bedroom, Sherlock swore under his breath. "What's the new dealers name? Are you sleeping with him already little brother? Really what would mummy say?" Mycroft spoke in his usual cool smug tone.

“I don't know Mycroft, what would she say if she knew just how deep your betrayal goes? And it's none of your business who I choose to sleep with. ” Sherlock snarled.

“Isn't it baby brother? Do you think I like this? That I want to be here? I would rather be having a meeting with prime minister but instead here I am babysitting you.”

“Fuck off no one asked you.” Sherlock growled. “You aren’t my father!”

“No Sherlock I’m not because if I was father you would be locked in a room until you decided to see a counselor. If I were father you would be drug tested randomly and forced to stay on the estate. And if you didn’t do what he asked, he would have you committed. So be glad I’m not father!”

“Don’t pretend you care! You’re just his another trained monkey, his favorite ever so obedient minion. Tell me brother is it a relief now that mummy is gone you don’t have to cover up his infidelities?”

~0~

John could hear arguing then the bedroom door burst open, he slowly sat up still sore. Several men in black suits and ties, they looked like secret agents. Well what John always thought secret agents would look like.

“Sorry sir, I have orders to search this room and anyone within.” A dark haired man in a black suit and tie pulled John from the bed.

 “I don’t know what you’re looking for but I assure you-“ John grimaced when his feet made contact with the carpeted floor, the jolt reminded him of his aching ribs. Definitely at the least cracked one or two.

“It’s a drugs bust sir.”

“John.” The younger blonde rubbed a hand over his face.

“Sir?” The brown eyed agent queried.

“My name is John.” John sighed with a slow shrug.

“John. I apologize.” The Agent faltered his hands running from John’s sore shoulders patting down his side causing a hiss in pain. John’s knees nearly buckled. The Agent steadied him, “Sorry John-“ brown eyes took in the state of the shorter man’s clothes the ripped shirt, the bruises around his neck, and his face.

“I’m fine. Just been a bit of a rough week.” The agent didn’t reply he only continued to check the blonde’s pockets finding nothing but an empty wallet and a dead mobile.

The brown-eyed agent frowned realizing the blonde, John, was holding on to his suit front those blue eyes closed tight. Attempting to stay balanced and on his feet. Agent Carter briefly wondered who the kid was and how he was there. He didn’t look like a drug addict.

“If you would have asked I would have told you there wasn’t anything in my pockets. But I guess that would take all the fun out of the process.” Brown eyes caught the grin on the younger man’s bruised lips. “The least you can do is introduce yourself before you get friendly mate.” This actually made the usually stoic man laugh he eased the younger man upright, blue eyes met his own.

Definitely not a drug addict, more like an angel. Agent Carter was dumb struck, he'd never seen another pair of beautifully clear eyes. These thoughts were unprofessional but the younger man was easygoing and despite the seriousness of the situation he wasn't at all shaken.

“Sorry, sir er-John. You know orders are orders.” John then took a step back smiling politely, releasing the agent.

“A job’s a job I guess. Agent?“ John winced again when he moved to quickly.  The brown eyed agent moved to steady the younger man once more.

 “Agent Carter if you are done here?” Mycroft snapped.

The younger Holmes had been on his way to put himself between John and the offending party when Mycroft’s sharp reproachful voice caused him to halt mid stride.

Sherlock shot a quick look at his older brother who stood clutching his umbrella at his left side. Mycroft’s eyes were narrowed on his employee, his posture stiff. Sherlock thought he caught a flash of emotion but just as he tried to analyze it, it was gone.

“Sorry Agent Carter. Guess duty calls. Thanks for the wake up call.” The brown-eyed agent managed a quick smile in response to John's playful words.

“Sorry Mr. Holmes, the area is clear.” Agent Carter turned to stand in front of his very tall boss.   The British Government wasn’t pleased, Agent Carter swallowed hard and hurried out of the room dismissed. He chanced a quick glance back at the angel with blue eyes. To his disappointment  John wasn’t looking in his direction instead he held a tense expression when the younger Holmes took a step closer. Agent Carter then caught the full brunt of a heated glare from the chilling gray eyes belonging to the younger Holmes.

It was a look that clearly stated; mine back off. It was a shame; the good ones always went for the bad boys.

 Mycroft noticed right away there was a tension between John and Sherlock. The young man only greeted him with a sudden smile. “Mr. Holmes fancy meeting you here.”

 “Doctor Watson, I didn’t realize you were-“ Mycroft was indeed surprised. He would definitely be reassigning several agents to security duty for her majesty's corgi's.

“Trying to sleep in?" John finished for the British Government. "Yeah, I guessed as much. I think I’ll go make some tea. Sherlock? Tea?” The dark haired man looked at the blonde as if he just grew antlers, John offered a friendly grin then turned to Mycroft “I’ll take your silence as a maybe. Mr. Holmes, can I get you some tea?”

“No thank you. And it’s Mycroft. Please call me Mycroft.”

“Well I guess I can do that. Mycroft. Sherlock.  I’ll be in the kitchen since you two obviously have business.”

Mycroft and Sherlock had duel looks of confusion.

 “I see you have already shown John your better side.” Mycroft stated sarcastically causing his brother to wince.

 ~0~

 John searched around for the tea, he frowned seeing it was in the cupboard, rather higher than he cared to try reaching for. He debated on asking Sherlock to get it down or hunt for a foot stool. Stretching was definitely not in the cards, he was way to sore for that.

 “Tea?” Agent Carter could see John’s dilemma, the other agents were still searching for drugs.

 “Yeah, thanks. If you could.”  John nervously glanced at the beer bottle still sitting on the counter unnoticed. He smiled brightly at the agent with the military cut hair reaching to pull down the tea.

John didn't dare make a grab for it. “Thanks, can I make you a cup-“

“Don’t bother John they’re leaving.” Sherlock glared at the agent who nodded handing John the tea.

“Don’t mind him, he’s not a morning person.” John smiled taking the tea canister.

“Mycroft if your idiot cronies haven’t found anything yet it should be an indication that either they need to be fired for being incompetent or there isn’t any drugs to be found. And you are being a suspicious overbearing fat-.”

John gave Sherlock a reproachful look before cutting him off.

“I hardly doubt you will find anything considered recreational here in this flat.

John felt the chill of the older Holmes's arctic gray eyes as they attempted to study him closer but at a distance. The younger man only continued to make the tea, well aware that the British Government was nearly within reach of the syringes in the glass bottle of beer. Thank god the bottle was dark.

“ Agent Carter. If you are quite finished harassing my house guest."  Sherlock snapped.

“Goodbye. Mycroft.” John waved to Mycroft without looking up from the mug he was stirring milk into.

 After the door was closed John heaved a sigh of relief, he watched as Sherlock started for the bookcase, John continued to stir his milk,jumping when he heard the thud of the book case hitting the floor. He knew what Sherlock was looking for and also knew the addict wasn’t going to find it.

“Tea?” John placed a hot mug on the island where he’d once sat that first morning he’d awoken here.

 Sherlock turned wide eyes on the shorter man, then they narrowed on the steaming mug.

John braced himself, he knew what came with throwing out an addicts drugs.

”I’m not sorry Sherlock. I know it’s not my business but I wont let you kill yourself. Or anymore of your blasted brilliant mad brain cells. Scotland yard would never forgive me.”

“You? How did you know where-“

“You should know. After all you deduced my family history the first night we met. My parents were addicts my sister is an alcoholic. I know all the clever hiding places.”

“Why?” Sherlock was in front of John, gray eyes questioning, and confused. "Why didn't you just leave me there? People always just leave me?" the honesty of these questions threatened to break John's heart.

“Because like I said I wont let you kill yourself and that’s exactly what you’re doing. I consider last night a relapse. You’ve been clean I take it since you left rehab.”

“John-I’m”

“Shut up. Drink your tea. And you owe me a new shirt. Where’s the Paracetamol?”

“You aren’t angry?”

“Of course I’m bloody angry. I also knew what I was doing when I dumped your stash. I wont apologize. But if you plan on being my friend and I figured you did, seeing how I can’t seem to go longer than a day without ending up in your bed. Than you can’t do that again. I can forgive last night if you can tell me you wont do this again. I know that wasn’t you, that was the drugs.” John sounded absolutely convinced what a fool.

 Sherlock could only stand speechless, this was John Watson. He just saved him another stint in rehab, and the wrath of Mycroft and father.

Despite his big talk, Sherlock had a very real fear of being locked away. He could make this promise to John, secretly swearing to himself that next time he would be more careful. This question hung between them,  l remember how Agent Carter, and Mycroft had instantly taken a liking to the young Doctor. Sherlock didn’t know why he felt a sudden possessiveness in regards to the shorter man but he  did and he wasn’t going to let him go. “Here drink your tea.” John urged pushing the cup in front of him.

“If you don’t mind I’m going back to sleep.” he shuffled slowly back towards the bedroom.

“John.” Sherlock objected.

“Shut up. Don’t apologize just tell me it wont happen again.”

“Alright. It wont happen again.” Sherlock swore to himself and John. "I promise John. I promise." the younger man nodded and disappeared through Sherlock's bedroom door.

~0~

Lt. Major  Mathew Carter stood beside Major Hendricks, the MPs were dragging an unconscious blonde sniper from the interrogation room.

"Sir. I don't know why he's allowed to live, Mycroft should just let me put a bullet through his head and end it now. " The officer's hands itched to execute the filth and be done with it.

"No worries" Major Hendricks put a hand on his colleague's tense shoulder. "I'm sure something can be arranged after the Iceman is done with him of course."

"Sir. Yes, Of course." Carter left that room, he wanted to see John again. It was stupid the fight they had, and now he might never get to make amends.

 

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 23. STAYING ALIVE

 

 Moran groaned, the bastards had laid him on a bed, after that bumpy ride in the back of a military transport van, and he was quite certain they’d put him on a plane. Someone must have drugged him again, he couldn’t keep his eyes open and damn if he wanted too. These twats were asking questions about his relationship to Jim.

 Hilarious. He kills a couple guys, and they had said those bastards all died, and all they want to know is where they can find his old boyfriend. Wow, they were behind, he and Jim broke up almost four years ago, he hadn’t talked to the skinny bastard. Not after he found out about his little bitch on the side.

 Moran should have known better back then. He was to blinded by great sex and the little genius college professor. Moran was making Jim money keeping him living in a comfortable life style. All the while handling the transport of drugs from the opiate capital of the world to England. Right into the hands of Jim Moriarty entrepreneur and local genius. He was some maths professor. A prodigy.

Moran didn’t care about the age difference when he’d met the twig.  The kid liked to fuck that much was true, and he loved it rough. Moran would smile if his lips weren’t so dry and his face didn’t ache. He hadn't thought of Jim's boyish face, his bright eyes dancing with menace and lust. His lips, red and so willing, Moran had fucked that mouth for hours. Jim would gag but he'd take ever inch and without a warning Sebastian would roll him forcefully onto his stomach a slam into the perfect ass. That was all until he discovered what Jim had been up to, while he was away.

If he knew where Jim was these days he wouldn’t of told anyone. Despite his little infidelities, he loved the damn bastard. Loved and hated him. 

That’s why he saw red when goldie locks happened into his camp. The RAMC boys looking a bit weary not used to being so close to the front lines. Except that Johnny boy, he had a hard look about him. Well good for him, not the wilting virgin, shame Sebastian still had a score to settle. Not so much with John, more with John’s little girlfriend Sherlock Holmes. The bastard who slept with Jim while Sebastian was deployed. Jim was his, no one else’s. Not only did he sleep with Sebastian’s boyfriend but the wanker actually turned Jim down, he thought himself too good to be with Jim. Moran wasn’t one to share, well unless he was involved, but he wasn’t going to take a slight against what was his. Even if it had been four years later. He was going to get his revenge.

 He held back a groan, it hurt to breath, the only thing keeping him from passing out was the distant ringing of a mobile. It was a bit annoying, kept playing Staying Alive. Ugh, he hated the damn Bee Gees. The club that Jim loved to hang out in would play that stupid fucking song at least four times a night. Jim liked the fucking song, all the more reason to hate the Bee Gees disco and anything that reminded him of the Irishman. He even punched some private because of his accent made Sebastian think of his Jim.

 He later made it up to that kid by fucking him unconscious, all the time he closed his eyes and thought of Jim, when rammed into the tight hole without warning or preparation. His body tensed with the memory of Jim's whimpers, his pleas to go harder and faster. Sebastian held in place the small waist with such fine hip bones. Pulling the rounded ass down to meet his thrusts, and when he was done he made the young dark haired man clean him up proper. God he was getting hard thinking about it. Except that damn song was ruining his fantasy, it only grew louder as if coming closer.

The song must be in his head, maybe they slipped him hallucinogens again, great. He’d have to ride it out, he tried to roll away from the direction of the nearing song. Someone finally thankfully answered the mobile.

“What is it now? Fine. Kill him. No, kill him too. Call me again and I’ll kill you and twitter the pictures to all my friends.”

Moran froze, he tried to open his eyes, one was too swollen the other wasn’t any better. What a horrible dream, just the man he had been trying four years to forget.  He moaned unable to swear or form any other words, frustration was the only reason even this made it out of his mouth.

 “Sssh. Oh, my dear. What a mess they’ve made of you. This will not do. I have a special plan for those who try and break my toys.” Cool hands, familiar probing fingers ran over his swollen face grabbing a handful of blonde hair. “Oh, my Sebby how I missed you. I missed this.” Sebastian took a painful inhale of breath when soft lips crushed his bruised ones. Warm, those lips were warm and tasted of mint chap stick and cigarettes.

 “Jim?” he whispered hoarsely, was it a plea, how pathetic he was begging a dream to be real, to touch his bruised body.

 “You’re safe now tiger. Safe here with Daddy. And when you’re all better we will pick up where we left off.” the sing song voice was so familiar, and it sent chills down his spine.

“Why?” Sebby tried to sit up, protesting when Jim released his painful grip, painful but somewhat reassuring.

 “Don’t be pathetic Sebby, it’s a turn off. To answer your question. I was a bit flattered when I heard what you did. I paid quite a bit to break you out. No one knows where you are, and no one can get to you, because no one gets to me. I can’t believe after four years you still care.” Jim clapped a hand to his chest his expression of an impressed lover.

 “No.-“ Sebastian growled still unable to do much more than blink his one good eye. Real or not, he wouldn't allow Jim in any form to know he still cared. That was a power he would never give anyone to hold over him, never again.

“Oh yes you do. It takes talent to do what you did. And I do need a sniper slash assassin. Someone I can trust. I can trust you can’t I tiger? “

“Jim.” Sebastian whispered before falling into a heavy sleep, the feeling of his clothes being pulled from him barely registered before the dark closed in.

 ~0~

“Make my sniper comfortable, and get him cleaned up.” Moriarty ordered coolly. He glanced down at the naked body he’d undressed, cataloging the damage to his property. Sebastian had once referred to Jim so possessively as Mine. Well now it was Jim’s turn. He had Sebastian and he was just as beautiful as he last remembered him. Even under the purple of his bruises, his shoulders were just as tight and chest broad with a soft mat of blond hair. His belly flat arms and legs corded, maybe it was true blondes did have all the fun.

Now that his Sebby had returned perhaps they could take care of a certain pain in the ass consulting detective and by extension his annoying pet army doctor.

He smiled happily leaving the large bedroom he had Sebastian put up in. Once his Sebby was well, then Jim would move the sniper into Jim's bed. For now he didn’t want to listen to crying or moaning. Oh, my side hurts, my head, blah blah blah. Boring. He put his hands in his trouser pockets whistling softly down the hall to his office. Plopping down in the large comfortable leather chair he swiveled it into place, ready to check his many emails. He was after all a giver, and there were so many who needed his advice. He couldn't keep them waiting, they needed him. And he was bored.

His mobile rang once more, he read the text gritting his teeth. He should really get a PA to deal with the pesky details. Really were launch codes that hard to obtain. He rolled his eyes. Then took his gun from his oak desk drawer, and shot the first person to walk into his study. It wasn’t a bother, just another minion, no one of consequence. Now he had a mess on his carpet. He turned to the dead idiots partner.

“Now, you have his job. And if you come in here without a good reason i.e. mission accomplished. That will be you. Now get the hell out of my office. I’m busy!”

“Yes Mr. Moriarty sir. I’m sorry-“

“Get! Someone one in here and clean this up!” Several others hurried in and started on the carpet rolling the man with the hole in his head onto a tarp. “Do it quietly. I’m trying to think. I can’t plot the downfall of the British Government when you are making all that fucking noise! And I want that stain out of this carpet! Really whoever had the genius idea to furnish the place in white carpet should be shot!" he complained to no one but himself.

 “Yes. Sir. Sorry sir.” Minion number 4 said. Jim was bored and he would need something to elevate this.

“How about a bombing, another embassy but which country?” Jim turned around his fingers tapping against his clean-shaven chin.

“You!” he pointed at minion number 3, maybe his name was Harold or something common, they all looked alike to him. Ordinary, boring common criminals but they got the job done and yes they were indeed replaceable.

“Me sir?”

“Yes idiot you. What nationality are you? Don’t say English I know that accent is a fake. You were born else where and migrated this god forsaken island.”

“Austria sir.”

“Good enough.” He turned his back on the clean up crew and sent an email. ”I’m going out boys!” Moriarty announced straightening his gray Westwood suit. Eyes dancing joyfully, those who had been around long enough to know the boss, knew that something horrible was about to happen.

A bombing, a fire, an assassination of a political figure or a war, anything was up for grabs. The man was so changeable he could decide to burn down a museum of fine art when he got into his car but by the time it turned down the first street he’d forget the art museum and instead have a member of parliament shot for not accepting a bribe. His successor would be far more satisfactory a puppet after all what man didn’t like money and wish to continue breathing.

 Quite pleased with himself Moriarty leaned back into the seat of his unmarked cab, the windows bullet proof and the seats made of comfortable leather. Hiding out in the open was fun, perhaps he’d actually allow a cctv camera to see his face just to give the Iceman a coronary. Now that he had a new player to introduce to the game, this was going to be so fun.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 24. PASSING TIME

 

Sherlock and Harry were arguing so loudly it brought the armed guards rushing in sure of an attack. Mycroft was right behind them, his face passive but Sherlock knew his brother well enough to see he was not happy.

“That is quite enough!” Mycroft snapped. “This is neither the time nor the place. I suggest you both calm yourselves or I shall have my men escort you both and out and ban you from the building.

The older Holmes received no protests from either party, good they understood this was not a threat it was a statement of fact.

 

 Sherlock cursed himself for not paying attention to John, instead he was wasting time on Mycroft. He wanted a cigarette so bad but settled on the blasted nicotine patch and gum, neither was helping his mood.

Now Mycroft took position just to the right of Harry, in a chair, apparently ready to monitor them like children.

 

Then it was so quick. Blue eyes glassy confused looked around trying to focus. How long had those eyes been open, did he hear them arguing?

 

Except one monitor started to announce distress. It was John’s heart beat and with every heavy blink of John’s eyes  the machine seemed to scream in alarm.

 A weak hand lifted to pull at the tube in his mouth. He started to gag, and his eyes augmented the patients sheer panic.

 The Doctor and several nurses had entered, Sherlock tried to step aside, Harry froze in her spot until one of the nurses asked her to step back.

 “He’s hurting.” She whined. “Make it stop.”

The French Doctor ignored the blonde and leaned over the railing of the bed, shining a bright light into John’s eyes, lifting an eyelid. He tried to move away gagging again.

“John can you hear me? I need you to calm down. Captain! Captain Watson.”  This caught the soldier’s attention almost immediately, “ I’m going to take the tube out I need you to breathe out.” Sherlock could see the tension the fear but the barely conscious confused soldier did as he was instructed. He made a horribly gagging noise, Sherlock looked away sure he would hear wrenching.

 John blinked slowly, and his face tensed. Sherlock thought John was looking at Mycroft. This was silly, John wasn’t able to focus, and even if he could Mycroft was sitting too far away.

 Harry was allowed to move closer. “He needs to calm down. He’s going to be confused. I don’t wish to further sedate him but if his heart doesn’t stabilize it could be a problem." Harry nodded, her face pale she took the Doctor’s spot near John's bedside.

 Sherlock turned his head from the emotion in the blasted woman’s voice. “Come on Johnny wake up. Wake up. So you can see I’ve changed. I’ve missed you. It will be better this time, you’ll see.” Her hand reaches for John’s. There is no response, perhaps John isn’t truly awake. Still she whispers over and over. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Sherlock hated her for it, and he refused to move away, his hand continued to smooth through John’s hair.

“That’s it Doctor. Relax now.”  The French Doctor was calm despite the protesting monitors. Sherlock wished they’d all just shut up, especially the insistent beeping. All these clear warnings’ testifying to the fact, that even though the soldier was laying back he was far from rest.“I need you to calm down John. You will put strain on your heart.” The French Doctor wasn’t even looking at John. Infuriating woman instead made quick notes on a chart.

Those blue eyes closed again, and Sherlock felt his heart drop, he understood it would be like this. The Doctor had said it was a slow process. John would be conscious for small bouts then sleep only to awaken again. Each time the soldier would become more and more aware of the situation. More responsive to questions and talking.

“Perhaps you two should move away so the Doctor can do her Job.” Mycroft’s order was very clear but Sherlock refused to listen.

The younger Holmes continued to caress the flushed cheek of the unconscious soldier. His face still warm from the slowly departing fever.

 Another shock of hope shot through Sherlock when the blue eyes blinked once more,  slowly the heavy lids tried to stay awake. Had he heard Mycroft, is that what called his attention?  Then the blonde’s face weakly turned into Sherlock’s hand.

The consulting detective felt his heart clench, fighting the old memories from a time that no longer existed. The younger Holmes had to say something before John drifted away for god knows how long.

Sherlock hoped his words were getting through, “John, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” Sherlock whispers not because he was self conscious that others would hear. No, he could care less who heard him. It was the fact his mouth had gone dry, even his loathed mint gum seemed to dissolve. His eyes became blurred with the tears that threatened. The blue eyes blinked again, face tense he turned away, and Sherlock felt a pang of hurt.

The confused blue eyes tried to focus on Harry, she spoke once more clumsy with her meaningless words.

“Hey there Johnny. You’re making a scene here, why not calm a bit.” She said gently. Those glassy eyes blinked and Sherlock wanted to throttle the woman. Leave it to her to try and not help the situation. “Then desperately she leaned closer and whispered “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

 He stared through her his forehead crinkled, he turned away slowly moaning from the pain the action cost him. Then he met those same eyes confused and weary, Sherlock wondered what was going on inside John’s head. He couldn’t read these eyes, couldn’t see past the pain. His pain and John’s.  He could only continue to sooth John’s tensed forehead. Sherlock’s stomach knotting when heavy eye lids started to pool with tears. The younger Holmes tried to convince himself that this was just a physical reaction to waking after a long deep sleep. The infernal beeping of the heart monitor continued to bleep loudly only adding to the stress of the already tense situation.

 “Doctor.” The nurse came in with a syringe, the doctor nodded, watching as Sherlock combed fingers through the blondes hair. She needed to be sure those present weren’t endangering her patient.

After the young soldier fell back into a sedated sleep the Doctor turned on both individuals and ordered them out. No one moved, she demanded them to leave for a few hours to cool off.  Mycroft shot both offending parties a hard look and neither had the courage to protest.

 Sherlock decided he wouldn’t go far perhaps to the end of the hall and back, over and over until the ban was up.

 Mycroft was glaring at him, before the British Government could make a snide remark his mobile rang. Sherlock could care less, he didn’t take notice of anyone he focused on the end of the corridor, and then he would walk back, back to John.

 By lap twenty-seven Sherlock passed two men in military dress, one was carrying flowers. He wondered why it was so noteworthy, and quickly pushed the urge to deduce away. John would be awake soon he needed to concentrate and figure out what he was going to say.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 25. CONFESSIONS

 Lt. Major Carter hadn’t seen Mycroft Holmes in a few years. He had briefly been employed by the man until he was transferred into another department, the young Agent decided irritably perhaps this government service wasn’t his thing and reenlisted in the special forces.

 Now it had been almost four years, four years and then he received news that Captain John Watson among others had been gunned down by one of their own men.

 He had been so lost when he heard John had died. He wanted to go AWOL and find the sniper coward, kill him slow. It was Hendricks that informed him unintentionally of John’s condition. Relief had brought him to his knees, relief then came revenge.

When he had heard Major Hendricks was going to interrogate the sniper he requested to be apart of it. Hendricks didn’t care as long as he got the majority of punches in. Carter reluctantly agreed wanting very much to have a go with John’s would be assassin.

 Mycroft obviously didn’t recognize him, the man hadn’t even given him a second glance. It didn’t bother Carter that Mycroft Holmes didn’t identify him as a former employee. The man probably went through dozens a week.

 It was better this way, seeing how this was all the younger Holmes’ fault. It wasn’t enough that he breaks John’s heart, changed him into something colder, and less open. Now the bastard’s old enemies were targeting the army captain.

 John didn’t even know Moran until that day, as far as Carter knew, but John would have said something to him. Not that John ever really spoke about his past.

How frustrating it all was, John had worked so hard to carve out a career for himself.  Now he may never become the surgeon he was working towards being. He certainly wasn’t going to be out in the field anytime soon and that’s if he didn’t get a medical discharge. Moran should suffer slowly for what he's done, Carter wanted to make him pay.

Sherlock Holmes wasn't innocent in any of this. This was just as much as his fault, the smug condescending bastard a useless drug addict. Carter had hoped the man had slipped off and died in some alley.

Lt. Major Carter managed to pull some strings so he could see the young Captain. He first had to tie up loose ends with Hendricks over Moran. Neutralizing the threat and hopefully soon,  he’d be back for Moran’s execution.  Lt. Major Carter knew he would have to flip a coin with Hendricks for the privilege of putting a bullet into the sniper.

In a way he owed Mycroft Holmes for reassigning him, all those years back.

That’s how he reunited with John, at first he thought his eyes were deceiving him. He was even surprised that the younger man recognized him. Appearing like the angel he remembered, except wearing a helmet and hands covered in blood. 

 ~0~

"Sir.” John read the rank of Carter’s stripes “Sir, stay with me.” His young face stern something different about him, he’d changed.

 The military had given the younger man something, and Lt. Major Carter had smiled seeing the Doctor in action.  Shouting orders behind him, then  he continued to speak to Carter as if there wasn’t chaos and war around them. As if neither of them were covered in blood and dirt, instead Carter felt as if he were being pulled from sleep. What a wonderful dream, he shivered despite the glaring sun, and heated sand.

 “Sir, just so you know, I’m not getting fresh.” The young man teased as he pulled away the bloody material around Carter’s wound. “Lt. Major. Stay awake sir.”

“I’m fine just a bit of a rough week.” Carter had replied and the young Doctor chuckled softly and went to work.

 "Sir, you'll be just fine. Just stay awake for me. Tell me something I don't know. Huh. Keep talking to me." The young army Doctor urged gently, his blue eyes concentrating on pulling hot shrapnel from the torn flesh on his left side. Removing his heavy vest, and showing no sign of distress over the continued flood of blood.

"You have beautiful eyes. Like spring." Carter's words sounded drunk, his tongue lazy.

"Alright, well thank you. I however think you have lost enough blood to make you loopy. However you can go on ahead, I'll listen." Carter held back a laugh, his own eyes trying to keep focus on the angel.

"After this, how about that cuppa you owe me."

"Alright, we have a deal. I'm not paying though. You are the one who asked me." John finished patching up the Lt. Major.  He probably thought Carter had been mumbling incoherently. It was worth surprise on the young Doctor's face when he returned to his tent a month later to two warm mugs of steaming tea.  Sitting right there on a small crate being used as a table, a rather smug looking dark haired man sitting on another crate.

"You said I was paying. Well I figured you were still on deployment I would bring the tea to you." John's face had lit up, and Carter knew he was lost.

~0~

Now Carter was headed down the corridor of this hospital, unaware of the two brothers’ who passed him and Sergeant Porter. Lt. Major Carter only held tight to the flowers he’d hastily picked up, hoping he didn’t crush them in his tense grip.

 Porter had wished to join him, Carter couldn’t say no. The man was one of John’s best mates. Not to mention he owed John his life, hell there were several other officers that would be trailing in sooner or later. As word finally got around the Captain wasn't dead after all.  John’s Unit had signed a collage that Porter had put together. He was holding the framed picture carefully tucked under his arm, a stiff smile on his young face. Oh the ignorance of youth, Carter thought sadly.

The armed men at the door saluted and allowed them entrance. Both soldiers ignored the chubby Doctor reading the medical chart in the corner.

 Sergeant Porter stopped midway into the room, he didn’t want to move forward, feeling like a coward he offered to take the flowers and arrange them for the Captain. Hastily placing the roses in an empty vase, before stepping back allowing the Lt. Major a bit of privacy. He kept the picture tucked under his arm; he’d forgotten to leave it behind.

After glancing over to see Carter at the Captain’s bedside, trailing a finger over the unconscious soldier’s scarred knuckles, he decided that he should wait outside.

It was difficult seeing the Captain like this, he didn’t look like the same man who had given him latrine duty his first week in. He could barely see the stern faced man who won countless poker games using a bluff. Or the man who ran straight into enemy fire with  nothing more than a Browning. The crazy bastard had taken out several insurgents while packing a rather nasty wound on an unconscious Private Taylors

 “Sir. I’ll just be outside and check the MP’s on stag. Might as well see what kind of blokes they have taking care of the good Captain.” Lt. Major just gave him a stiff nod.

“God you look like hell.” Carter sighed heavily, holding his cap in his hands nervously twisting it. He felt stiff in his dress uniform, but he had a briefing in a few hours, he almost missed a suit over the starched stiffness of this uniform, almost. John was sleeping his face so pail.  “ You said you didn’t want me to worry. Well this is one way to convince me. You great idiot. How many times have I told you. You’re a doctor, let someone else risk his neck. But then I wouldn’t love you if you were anyone else. Yeah, I said it. Even if you don’t want to hear it again. Brought you flowers, I know you hate the fuss but deal with it.”

 ~0~

Mike watched the soldiers curiously, the shorter of the two stood nervously in the middle of the room. The taller one approached the bed without hesitation. After the younger one made a quick exit as if the devil himself were on his heels the taller man holding his green cap in hand leaned over.

 He spoke gruffly to John, at first Mike thought the man some threat. Then he recognized the show of affection, the soft grin followed by the confession. Did he hear the stranger right? Yes, he definitely had said I love you.

 Somehow,he thought to himself, this isn’t going too good. Well Sherlock could go to hell, he let John go. This man a soldier with rank he could definitely see that, not to mention tall, well toned. Good on you mate. Thinking of his John. Was he happy? Did this man make him laugh? How long did they know each other?

 “Something wrong?” The soldier’s brown eyes hard, voice stern, Mike almost dropped the chart. He felt like he should be at attention and salute, he settled for adjusting his glasses. “Is there a problem here Doctor?” more impatient.

 “I was just-“ Mike could see the man wasn’t happy with being spied on. In Mike’s defense he hadn’t realized he was staring until just now. “I’m Doctor Stamford-“

“Mike.” The taller man’s face eased, he gave a warm smile and offered a hand. Mike shook it as firmly as he could, trying not to wince from the strength of the soldier.

“John has told me a lot about you. It’s good to finally meet you. Lt. Major Mathew Carter. You can call me Matt. I apologize I didn’t recognize you, he showed me a picture once-“

“I know I got fat.” Both men laughed uncomfortably.

“I see you’re married. John always wondered if you and Sophie had made it official.” Carter looked back at John with a sad expression.

“ He did?” Mike was surprised John even thought to mention him to anyone, especially someone of significance.

“Of course you were his best mate. I told him he should have written you. He started to a couple times. He just never sent them I guess. Don’t think him a coward-he just.” Carter’s tone lowered, Mike tried to read the soldier's withdrawn expression with no luck.

“Oh, I know. He’s just a great idiot.” To Mike’s relief the other man laughed deeply, this eased the awkward tension.

“Yes. He can be. I thought he was dead; hell word went around that the three he saved and the Captain were all dead. I guess it was to throw that bastard off.” Mike didn’t understand what the man was talking about he wanted to ask him. “How’s he doing doc?”

“Well I’m not his primary but Mr. Holmes has hired the best Doctor’s, the top of their fields, to oversee John’s care.” Mike noticed the visible tension at the mention of Mr. Holmes.”

“Of course. I should have known. Well good. I don’t know why I didn’t think-“ Mike flinched at the sudden coldness in the soldier’s voice.

“It’s nice to meet you, Lt. Major, uh Matt. “ Mike smiled brightly, he couldn’t wait to tell Sophie, John had landed himself a handsome Lt. Major. Not that Mike was partial to men, and he would see nothing wrong with those who were. But you didn’t have to be gay to see the taller man was a catch. He shook the soldier's hand again. “How long have you known John?”

“Oh, these last three years.” He smiled sadly. “I love this idiot.” Mike's smile grew wider hearing the easy confession. “I’m just going to sit here a bit, I have a meeting in a few hours and I’ve wanted-“

“No, sorry. Excuse me. You go ahead.” Mike hurried out of the room. Carter grinned shaking his head in amusement turning back to his Doctor.

 “Well look at you Doctor. I swear you are the flame that moths are drawn to. Even the ones you thought were gone. Doesn’t seem like he’s angry with you at all. Although it does help with all these sympathy points in your favor. It’s working on me. I can hardly remember what the hell I was so angry about. I’m sorry that I was smothering you. But this is exactly what I didn’t want. And when you wake up we are going to have a long talk about running out into open fire without a concern for yourself. For all the good that will do, you never listen.” He leaned down and pressed a kiss to the younger man’s forehead.

 “I have this briefing, I just wanted to see you. I’ll be back. I’m not going anywhere. Anyway you’re in no position to push me away again.”

 

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 26. words

 The armed MPs at the door laughed easily as the Sergeant continued to tell another story about the man they were guarding.

“And then, he stands up pissed as all hell.  He says I believe you owe the Private there an apology. Besides you should pick on someone your own size. Anyway he is what 5’7 and these navy men, oh did I mention they were American. Anyway so he moves away from our table. The first one actually laughed. He made the mistake of saying something about the Captain’s height. Next thing you know,  the bloke is passed out cold and his friend was so stunned. He's just standing there like a great big idiot before he lunged at Captain Watson who put him in a headlock. You don’t want to wrestle with the man he’s solid and slippery as all hell. And he has fists like bricks.

 Of course their friends start in but we were there for back up. When it was over. The sailors are all tore up, we’re all tore up. Bloody noses on both sides, cracked heads, broken tables. It was a mess. But Captain Watson, he walks back to the table. Pulls it upright  sits down and picks his still full bottle of beer off the floor, it had only spilled a bit. He then finishes it. Cheeky bastard even ordered another round. Of course by that time you lot are showing up, the American’s picked up their mates and were heading out the back door with the rest of us. The captain still had his beer in his hand. On his way out, he shouted to the American’s. Hey mate! No worries his hand will be fine put some ice on it. But I can’t say much for his face, looks like an improvement. Trust me I’m a Doctor.” They could only shout insult while they headed back to their ship. “ Sergeant Porter was laughing so hard he didn’t notice the tall dark haired bloke in a suit approach.

Sherlock paused he could see Mycroft’s men laughing with some soldier in a dress uniform. A sergeant by the stripes, other than that Sherlock didn’t have a clue as to who he was. And why he was distracting the two men. He could care less other than the fact that they were blocking his way in to see John, he stepped around them going in.

 “Wait is that the Captain’s Doc, he looks like a posh-“

“No that’s Mr. Holmes’ younger brother.” The ginger MP replied.

“Holmes?” The sergeant said the name, he wondered why it sounded familiar, he didn’t have time for anything else when the door to the room opened and the younger Holmes exited quickly, a very stern Lt. Major close on his heels.

The sergeant knew that look all too well,  and he bravely tried to step between the two men.

“Now, Lt. Major, calm down-“ Carter pushed Porter aside easily.

“Alright, now that we are both out in hall. Who the hell-“ Sherlock didn’t get to finish before a hard fist sent him reeling.

“Stay away from him.” A dark command.

“Lt. Major Carter! I would advice you to stand down.” Mycroft Holmes growled.

Carter ignored the older Holmes; he only crouched down next to the younger Holmes. “It’s your fault! But don’t worry like usual I’ll clean it up.” It was a cold sneer, one that Sergeant Porter had never heard from the Lt. Major, “ Sergeant don’t let me interrupt your visit. I’ll meet you at the briefing.”

 “Piss off!” Sherlock stood up glaring a hand to his face, ignoring all sanity. The young Sergeant  pushed his friend back nervously seeing the MP’s moving in.

“Woah there Lt. Major. Mr. Holmes. Captain wouldn’t like this kind of fuss. You know how he is. You make a scene and he’s likely to kill us both.” Lt. Major Carter pulled away, and Porter smiled nervously at the MP’s. “It’s alright guys. No worries here. You know us army boys. A bit roudy.”

“If you’re quite done Lt. Major Carter.” Mycroft snapped irritably.

Carter just tugged on the bottom of his uniform and left without another word.

Porter frowned turning back to the bloke in the dark suit, he really needed a haircut, ouch his cheek would bruise most certainly.

“You alright there sir? Yeah, he’s got a nasty right hook, think he might have held back a bit or you’d be unconscious.  Oh, names Sergeant Porter, Ryan Porter.” Sherlock was caught up in a whirlwind as the younger soldier just took his hand shook it quickly. “ If you don’t mind I was just stopping in to check on the Captain. Brought his lucky deck of cards, if he would have had them on him I suppose this wouldn’t have happened. Oh and this.”

The sergeant held up a a rectangular package wrapped in brown paper, obviously a picture. The man shrugged, excused himself and headed into the room. He unwrapped the picture, it was dumb but the guys back at base had signed it and Ryan promised to deliver it. He placed it next to the flowers, laying the deck of cards under it. It was just a picture collage made up with photographs from their times on base and out in the field.

 “It’s a good a spot as any I think.” Porter said turning to the man in the suit. He wasn’t one to pry. Lt. Major wasn’t temperamental if he punched this bloke, then he deserved it.  Speaking kindly in John’s direction, still unable to look directily at him. He stood straight. “Captain you get better. I’m sure I’ll be stopping in. If I’m not tangled up with some female, that is.” He smiled then gave a quick salute. Passing a cute blonde on his way out, looks like the captain had a bit of a fan club. No surprise there, he was always getting the cute birds. It wasn’t even fair, because the man was more into blokes, the least he could do was throw a few fit ladies to his single friends.

~0~

Harry didn’t recognize the John in these pictures; he was a stranger to her. His face was different from how she would always remember him. Those eyes were hard to see under the shade of his hat. He was smiling easily leaning against a tank. He was a Doctor what was he doing holding a weapon, and in some of the picture’s he had a serious look on his face. Someone captured the picture of a different version of her brother, one in fatigues; it was John but not John.

 He was pointing at a map, his eyes narrowed he looked unmoved. As if he was making a decision and he refused to be swayed. Another had him in the dirt, his arm around another man’s neck the two had been wrestling.

Her brother was not a fighter, but his knuckles said otherwise, didn’t they. There were signatures and words of well wishes and some language that would make Clara blush. Of course nothing Harry hadn’t heard before, let alone read. She had to smile at some of the choice names and comments. A warn deck of playing cards was sitting next to the picture. From what she could see of some of the photographs, John was a gambler. When did her brother learn to play poker?

 She chanced a look at the unusually silent Sherlock, and her heart almost broke for him. He was staring at the roses and a card that read; Still here. Love. Always. Matt.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 27. OUTSIDE LOOKING IN

 John opened his heavy eyelids, a pub crawl never felt this bad. In fact his tolerance was a lot better when he chose to imbibe. He thought he was seeing things, and blinked. Sitting in a chair looking directly at him was a rather tall gentleman in a gray suit, a brolly was leaning up against the chair he sat in. It was actually a comfortable looking chair, and those intense gray eyes made of ice and cold observed him right back. Hands folded under his chin, a very familiar quirk he shared with one other.

John refused to think of the name, he wondered why Mycroft was in his tent. Except it couldn’t be a tent, a heavy hand came to his face, hands touching the tube just under his nose. The sounds of beeping, all so familiar to a Doctor, just not like this. Not hooked up to a monitor and IV “Shit.” He groaned.

“It must be bad if you’re here.” His voice was horribly hoarse and his mouth felt so dry. Side affect from the oxygen, his throat ached and his head was starting to follow.

“Doctor Watson. I see you’re awake.” John frowned, turning his head, the movement made him hiss in pain. He would of cried out from the shock of it but his mouth was too dry and voice wasn’t working.

“Bloody hell.” He tried to take another deep breath, pin pricks danced before his already blurry vision. A hand to his chest, he felt the bandages, worried he looked down at his feet, and over at his hand. Well at least he had his limbs. So maybe it wasn’t a bomb, just shot, wonderful he’d be down for how long?

“You may want to take it easy Doctor. You’re injury was quite serious. For a while, the Doctors didn’t think you were going to pull through at all.” Mycroft didn’t get up, he only leaned forward.

“Why are you here? Where is here?” John panted, why was it so hard to push words out?

“You’re in England. Queen Elizabeth Hospital.”

“Shit. That bad?” John groaned. “How? What happened?”

“You were shot Doctor Watson. Don’t you remember any of it?” It was a petite woman with her hair in a bun. Her accent sounded French. She was making a note on a chart, John itched to take the chart and see the damage for himself.

“Shot. Guessed as much.” he cringed.

“Yes. Are you in pain? Perhaps another-“ the Doctor was motioning a nurse with a syringe forward.

“No!” John's voice came out louder than he intended, startling both the doctor and Mycroft, they seemed to flinch. “No drugs. I hate being in and out. It’s just best-just no.” he added quickly and softer putting his good hand to his head.

“How bad?” John asked again. “How long before I go back?” he squeezed his eyes closed. Missing the meaningful glance between the Doctor and Mycroft.

“You have visitors John. I wanted to be sure you were ready to see them?”

“Mycroft? Visitors?” John pressed his head back into the pillows, rubbing the back of his eyes.  “How did you know I was here? Never mind. Stupid question. I take it this was all you.” John gestured to the private room. It was in fact a nice room. His vision was sharpening, now that he wasn’t under heavy pain medication. “Thanks I guess.” John tried to focus on Mycroft’s face, pushing past the pain in his shoulder.

Mycroft didn’t reply, John’s eyes fell on the flowers. The British Government easily read the emotion that moved over the blond soldier’s face.  Perhaps not all hope was lost for his idiot little brother after all.

“John.” Mycroft started clearing his throat.

“Keep it Mycroft. I don’t want to hear it.” The British Government bristled. “I’m not wanting apologies because I’m not going to give one in return. Whatever obligation you feel towards me, just don’t.” John continued to stare at the red roses a sad smile on his face.

His lips felt so chapped, he didn’t hear what Mycroft had to say, he didn’t care. If he was here at the Queen something was definitely bad, if Matt was here, then the injury had to be severe. It didn’t escape him that the Doctor avoided his question.

 Without asking someone offered him a straw, the sigh he let out made him cringe again. He still drank greedily.

 “Slowly.” The voice cooed. John stiffened, and damn if that heart monitor wasn’t giving him away. He blinked, moving eyes from the roses to a figure now placing the cup with a straw on the bedside tray.

Dark hair just as unruly as he remembered it, John brought his eyes up to the gray. The anger he had for the past three years caused the gray to look away.

“Go away.” The injured Doctor croaked, swearing at himself for being unable to speak clearly to sound like himself.  He refused to look weak in front of this man or anyone. He wasn’t a child; he didn’t need pity or sympathy. Especially not from a drug addict ex boyfriend and his condescending older brother.

“John.” The husky baritone spoke.

“Go away.” He tried to control his voice, to sound less like a whimper more like a demand. He never thought he’d see Sherlock again, he certainly had no intention of seeking him out.

“I’m here for you John. If you need-“

“What would I need from you?” John hated the cold sweat breaking out across his forehead. Damn if he felt like the walls were closing in on him, why was it so hard to breathe? He refused to show anything, no emotion, he would not be read like a book, like a fool. He was such a fool than but now he knew better. He was so much wiser, and he would not allow his emotions to hold him hostage or be used as a weapon against him. Especially by this man or his brother.

“A friend.”

“I don’t need one. I have plenty thanks.” John refused to look at the man.

“John look at me.” Sherlock hated the plea in his voice but to his surprise the injured man did meet his eyes. He caught his breath, it was easy to read the anger, the hurt and something else, it was so cold that Sherlock broke away first once more. He concentrated on John’s feet, “I wanted to tell you I-“

“Keep it. I don’t need it. I don’t need anyone.” He tried to take a deep breath it hurt, this made him cringe, and he hated that he didn't have control over his body.

“Please let-“

“Sherlock. Don’t you get it? I’m not yours anymore. Not a puppet to be pushed around and played. Go away. Words mean nothing, besides it’s too late. I don’t even want to be friends. I don’t need you anymore.” Sherlock felt as if John had struck him in the gut, his whole body trembled. He started to form another plea when he caught how John was staring at the roses, a lost expression on his face.

“Goodbye John.” Sherlock murmured leaving the room. John found himself able to breath slowly, he clasped his eyes shut, reaching for the call button. Maybe not accepting pain medicine was a mistake, god he was in pain.

“Johnny?”

“Christ.” John groaned, he knew that voice and he wasn’t in the mood to deal with a drunk. “Go away.” His voice was stronger, perhaps the anger and frustration he was feeling was working in his favor.

“Johnny. It’s me. Your sister-“

“I’m not deaf, I know. What are you doing here?” Harry paused at her brother’s bed side, his eyes were narrowed, his face pale and she could feel the tension.

“I-“

“What? I don’t have any money. If you’ve come in hopes of scamming then you’re wasting your damn time.” He said this through clinched teeth.

“No, that’s not why I’m here.”

“John, we were worried.” Clara stepped out from behind Harry. John took a look at the two of them and wanted to cry. The unfairness of it-“Fuck off. The both of you. I hope you’re miserably happy.”

“John!” Harry put an arm around Clara. “It must be the meds talking-“

“No. I’m not on pain meds. Although I’m about to change my bloody mind. What is this? I left you alone to live your life get out of mine.”

“John. What the-“ Harry was dumbstruck, she didn't know this stranger with John's face.

“Look at the two of you. What do you want?” John’s hand curled up grasping at the blanket, he tried to catch his breath.

“To see you. See that you were alright to make-“ Harry was cut off once more.

“Amends?” John laughed now, as painful as it was.

“I’m dead to you remember?” John growled “You, dear sister. You’re dead to me.Dead. To. Me. Don’t call me. Don’t write. Don’t show your face anywhere near me. In fact if you see me crossing the street don’t say a damn word. Or even if you were in the fucking hospital needing-“ John tried to throw her own words at her. Why not she’d used these same ones against him, flung them so carelessly. He hoped they hit as hard as it hit him three years ago. He was panting heavily, his sister and  Clara stood eyes wide, good they didn’t expect that.

“John.” Lt. Major Carter was at John’s side, pushing past the blond woman and the small dark haired one.

When Carter arrived to see Sherlock pacing  just outside John’s room, he wanted to say something but John’s raised voice interrupted this. His own heart pounded in response, John was awake, then he realized John was upset. He pushed the door open, unaware it hadn’t even closed behind him.

He caught the end of John’s rant, the venom in John’s words were so not him. Still, he could clearly see his John was having a hard time, the doctor had said he must stay calm. Who was this?

“John.” Carter put a hand in John’s good one, the other through his hair. “Who the hell are you? You’re upsetting him, the Doctor said he wasn’t to be upset.”

“I just want them to go.” John turned his face into Matt’s dress uniform, taking a deep painful breath.

“Who the hell are you? I’m his sister.” Matt’s shoulders squared he felt John’s inner struggle and pressed the call button. “

Matt-what are you doing here?” John’s voice cracked.

“Sssh. You idiot of course I’d come. I love you. Now calm the bloody hell down.” Carter ran a hand through John’s hair, taking note of the sheen of sweat collecting on his brow. He dabbed at it with his handkerchief, offering him a cool sip of water from the cup on his bedside tray. John took a small sip, still breathless. “Sssh. Calm. You’re ok.” Carter continued to sooth, he hated seeing John like this.

A nurse entered she took one look at the screens and monitors, “Sir?” she stiffened seeing the Lt. Major. He waved off an attempt to salute “What’s going on?” The women in green scrubs frowned checking the monitors.

“He just got a little excited.” Matt glared at Harry, she met his brown eyes without flinching. It almost startled him how much she resembled John just then. Her hair was a tint darker than John’s, her eyes were nearly the same color, nearly. The set of her jaw the crossing of her arms, he knew that stubborn look.

“He needs something to relax. He’s in pain.” Carter barked at the nurse.

“No-no more drugs.” John clung to Matt’s hand, laying back, his eyes clasped shut.

“He doesn’t know what he’s saying.” Carter told the nurse, “Look at him.” The nurse nodded. She already had a syringe to the IV bag, John’s tension seemed to drain from his face, then shoulders, his eyes instantly glazed over.

“That’s it. Sssh. Just calm down.”

“No.” John moaned. “Go away.”

Clara gently pulled on Harry's arm, Harry wouldn’t budge. “He’s my brother I have every right-“

“You don’t. Blood doesn’t give you entitlement, does not make you a priority. Besides where were you this whole time? He’s never even mentioned you.” Carter tried to hold his temper.

“I could say the same.” Harry snarl, her own temper starting to rise.

“Come on Harry. We should let him rest. He needs some time.” Clara pulled on her wife’s arm.

“I am his sister.” She stepped towards the soldier, the nurse was frowning hands on her hips, clearly not happy.  “I haven’t seen him in three years. This is the first time I hear he’s joined the army.” Carter frowned and nodded knowingly.

“Don’t you get it then? Maybe he went all the way to Afghanistan to get away from the lot of you.” Carter didn’t mean to sound so cutting but John obviously was in distress he couldn’t do much but he could do this. “Make sense.” Carter said to himself.

“I’ll be back Johnny-“ Harry looked at her brother whose eyes barely registered her presence. “Count on it.”

“Ladies, I’ll have to ask you to leave.” The nurse said firmly. She didn’t hold back her obvious biased she was sending a hard glare in Harry and Clara’s direction.  “I have no problem escorting you out myself.”

“What about him?” Harry pointed at the other soldier. Her eyes reading the woman’s name badge. Oh great, no wonder these two are so buddy buddy guess soldiers stick together.

“He’s not causing John-I mean the Captain any distress.” Harry could read concern when the woman looked over at her brother. “If you really are his sister and you did care you would respect his wishes and please leave.” Harry glared at the two and allowed Clara to pull her away. She heard that tall man with the dark hair and the nurse’s conversation.

“Sir, He never said he had a sister to me. And I worked with him for a year and a half.”

“Yeah, don’t feel bad Lt. Rice. I dated him for a year and half and he hasn’t said anything to me. In fact I was under the impression he was an only child.”

This hurt, their conversation opened up a wound she couldn't stop from hemorrhaging. Harry felt the sting of John’s words all the way down the corridor and home. Was this how John felt when she’d carelessly flung those words at him? What happened to her forgiving patient little brother? That man in there was a stranger to her, even his eyes were cold and hard, so different from her John.

 Sherlock stood unnoticed in the corridor he’d observed the scene with a sinking heart. He could care less that John had yelled at Harry. Good, that was a long time coming. No, that soldier was standing where he should be, at John’s side offering comfort. Sherlock thought he was going to be sick, John was slipping into a deep sleep and that Lt. Major whomever was pulling a chair closer to John’s side holding his hand in his own.  Kissing John’s forehead before he sat down. Even now Sherlock could hear the man’s soft words. “I love you. I'm not leaving. You're safe.” Sherlock pulled himself away from this and followed the same path of defeat, away from what he’d lost. He stood in the elevator so lost trying to delete the feeling of pain, he didn’t notice his brother.

“ All is not lost.” The British Government kept his tone even and without inflection. He didn't want the younger Holmes on the defensive.

“It doesn’t matter Mycroft.” Sherlock sounded distant.

“Do you really believe John is in love with this man?” Mycroft was trying to get his brother to snap out of this, receiving no reply.

“Sherlock. You see but do not observe. If John was indeed in love or serious with this Lt. Major wouldn’t he have already married him? Or committed in some way? He wasn’t even wearing a ring. Think brother. The two do not even live together.” Mycroft felt like hitting his little brother over the head with his umbrella.

 

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 28. Truths and Half Truths

 

“What are you doing here Matt?” John rubbed a hand through his hair, he tried blinking off the drugs.

“You were shot John, for fucks sake. I came to see you. The least you can say is you missed me. And calm down. The Doct-“

I am a doctor! Sod the Doctor!” John growled, he hated this, they were treating him like he was fragile, he was a damned soldier.

“John. You are being ridiculously stubborn. You’re in pain you’re agitated. You need- ” Carter leaned over John, reaching for the call button; John put his hand over it.

“Touch it and I’ll ram it-“ The young army doctor challenged.

“Lt. Major Carter. I wasn’t aware you were still here. Don’t you have a meeting?” Mycroft interrupted, clearing his throat, his face completely passive, but John knew him well enough to see he didn’t miss a thing.

“Mr. Holmes.” Carter’s jaw clinched, he hated the dismissive tone the pompous ass took. He wasn’t an employee of Mycroft bloody Holmes'.

“It’s good to see you again.”

“Your meeting?” Mycroft pressed, his eyes moving from John’s pale face back to that of the Lt. Major's.

“It isn’t for another two hours. I thought I would-“ before he could continue his mobile started to ring. “Excuse me John.” He stepped over to the side of the bed. “Carter. Yes, sir. Yes. No. Yes. Right away sir.” Carter glared at the passive face of the British Government. Of course he would have the meeting time switched. Question was, why?  “I’m sorry John, we’ll have to talk later.” Carter leaned over to kiss John’s cheek.

“There’s nothing to talk about Carter. I’ve made it clear.” John whispered low enough that Mycroft couldn’t hear.

“Stop. John. You keep pushing me away. I'll take care of you. If you would just let me.”

John turned away irritably.“Pushy bastard.” He grumbled. Carter only smiled, then he gave Mycroft a stiff nod.

“Mycroft. My regards to your brother.” John almost made a face hearing the underhanded comment. The older Holmes didn’t reply he instead took the chair to John’s left. 

The older Holmes waited for the door to click shut before he spoke. “Congratulations Doctor Watson. Is there to be a happy announcement?”

“Piss off Mycroft.” John snapped. The older Holmes gave a tight smile, his gray eyes scanning John’s face.

“How long have you two been broken up?”

“I’m sorry. It’s none of your business.” John toyed with the call button, it was rectangular box that sat heavily within reach, the red button would bring pain medicine and oblivion. John didn’t care for either, what he wanted was straight answers. No one would tell him about the severity of his injury, nor would they let him see his own bloody chart. Mycroft leaned back in his chair crossing his legs; he tapped the umbrella against his leather shoes.

“John.”

“What is it Mycroft? Are you here to plead your brother’s case? Cause I don’t’ want to hear it.”

“Just the opposite in fact.”

“Oh?”

“No matter.” He sighed his gray eyes flicked over him in a flash. “How are you doing?”

“What? Why?” John’s eyes narrowed, he was sore all over, he tried moving his fingers and it hurt like hell. Something was wrong, and with every passing day he felt a rising panic. He was still working on becoming a surgeon if he couldn’t use his hands, he would be useless.

“Can’t a friend visit another friend?”

“I suppose.” John grimaced the throbbing was getting worse. There was a long silence between the two. “I’m not going back am I?” Mycroft didn’t hesitate in his reply.

“Not likely.”

“The damage to the tendons-it’s a career ender isn’t it?” Again Mycroft didn’t hold back.

“You’re still a Doctor John.”

“But I’ll never be a surgeon?” John held his breath.

“No.”

“So no army, no surgeon-“ He winced hating the blasted pain in his shoulder.

“John.”

“Save it.” John didn’t want to see the pity in Mycroft’s eyes. The walls were closing in, he pushed the panic down, the threatening despair. “There’s more isn’t there?”

“Yes.”

“Might as well not hold back.” John felt his stomach knot.

“John. Do you know the man, Major Sebastian Moran?” Mycroft kept his voice even, carefully searching John's face for an indication of recognition.

John shot Mycroft a confused look, “Yeah.” Mycroft held his breath, John replied in a somewhat weak voice. “Major Moran a sniper right? I think I patched the man up.” John scrunched up his face, swallowing the rising bile. “Why?”

“John. He shot three men and then you.” John's stomach turned.

“What? The Major? Why?” the army Doctor's voice nearly broke.

“We don’t know for certain just yet. We are still conducting the investigation.”

“We?”

“I’m working personally with the army on this one. Do you remember anything?”

“Who?” John’s mouth felt so dry. ”Who else?”

“John.” Mycroft kept his face passive, unreadable. “The details are-“

“Why Mycroft? Why would he do this?” John couldn’t keep the despair out of his throat. “God three others. Are-“

“John you have no memory of it?” Mycroft’s eyes were piercing now, the gray shined no longer like silver, more like the pond during winter, the ice sharp, thin and something else. John shook his head, he tightened his good hand into a fist, he could only shake his head again. Racking his brain for an image of the Major. Tall, blonde, eyes sharp, cold, and a booming voice. John had patched up a stab wound maybe on his leg and arm. Snipers didn’t normally get close enough for hand to hand. The story at the time wasn’t something the MP’s had believed. Nothing was proven of course. He tried to think of something he may have said while he stitched. The man didn’t say anything to John nothing at all. Did he?

 That was the last John had seen him, or even heard about him. Why would he target his own countrymen, wasn’t it enough that the enemy was shooting at them?

  He rubbed his eyes, something else was familiar about Moran, something else he couldn’t remember. Maybe he’d seen him before, did he say something when he was on leave? No, he was sure he’d never met him before stitching him up. Thinking made his head ache, he felt sick, sick to his stomach. Some of the worst nightmares were keeping him up at night, the drugs only made it worse.

“John. The unit you were with was under fire.” John tried to find the memory struggled to dig it out of whatever debris it was buried under. Mycroft continued on as if he were describing the weather.

“The first man he shot was a Private Henry Watkins,” John grimaced recalling the face of the young man, horrible poker player notorious among the ladies. Henry couldn’t hold his liquor, a good man. “- the second was staff Sergeant Martin Wilson.” John's heart started to pound in his ears, they’d played Rugby at camp same team, hell of a hooker. Had a wife and three kids back home. God. John thought he was going to lose what little he’d been able to get down. “ John? Are you-“

“Go on.” John replied, holding his breath, he tried to focus on something behind Mycroft’s left ear. 

“The third victim was Lieutenant Jeff Hendricks.” That was enough for John, Hendricks just married, John was at the wedding, it was a quick one the kind you do in a rush because his bride would be showing in nine months. The next day they were deployed. Jeff, was a great poker player, he didn’t like to drink and he was John’s friend they all were.

“John-“ Mycroft surprised John by holding out a small pouch made specifically for this purpose; John took it and didn’t hold back. The pain from heaving was to be expected, but he still felt the shock from the motion the sharp ache made it worse. When John finally caught his breath a nurse took the bag from him wiped his mouth with a moist towel. Then placed water in his hand, she started to take a syringe. “No!” John panted. “Not now.”

“John, perhaps we should-“

“I’m fine. Just finish Mycroft. Might as well.” John felt sick he needed to hear this. Did they die quickly, in much pain? Why was he allowed to live, he didn’t have a family, any kids.

“John.” Mycroft gave a meaningful look towards the nurse. John caught this between the deep breaths he tried to take. The nurse moved towards the IV once more.

“If you dare. I swear I’ll rip the damn IV out.” John growled and the nurse took a step back.

“A minute please.” Mycroft instructed the woman nodded and left the room.

“Please Mycroft just tell me. I have to know. Why he did this. Tell me there was a reason for the loss of life.”

“John they didn’t die.” Mycroft watched several emotions flicker behind John’s watery eyes. “You ran out and retrieved the first two, stabilized them and went for Hendricks. He’s fine. Still in the hospital recovering but you saved him. Witnesses say you got a shot off and hit Moran. So you must have seen him. You were the last one. We still don’t understand his motives, it all seemed very random. He’s emotional state of mind is unclear. This happens more than the army would like to admit.” John didn’t hear anything else, they were fine. Alive, wounded but alive. Thank god. “He’s in custody John. Are you sure you don’t know him?” John shook his head, ignoring the returning nausea.

“Like I said I don’t, I met him briefly and in passing.”  Mycroft seemed satisfied with this answer.

“You’ll get a medal for this John.”

“I don’t care for medals, I have a couple already.” Mycroft only stood up and nodded. John felt something now, a question that dawned on him.

“Who else knows this?” John asked slowly.

“A handful of military personal. Of course those in your unit.”

“Did-I mean does my sister know?”

“No John. No one from your old life. As far as they know you were shot trying to help a fellow soldier. And that is what happened. Nothing else is relevant. And if it makes you feel any better I did not inform my brother.”

“Does, does uh, Matt-I mean the Lt. Major-“

“Yes.”

“How long?” John clinched his teeth.
”Does it matter John-“

“Yes. To me.”

“Since it happened. He and a Major Hendricks helped interrogate the man.” John felt a flood of anger, why hadn’t Matt said anything?

“And my injuries does Matt know I’m going to be medically discharged?”

“No one told you John because you weren’t ready to know. You’re still weak from-“

“Piss off Mycroft.” John snapped. “I’m not as fragile as you may think. Don’t you think I deserve to know these little details? Who gives any of you the right to withhold information? I am an adult.”

“And that is why I am telling you now.” John didn’t say anything, his whole world had just come crashing down. This is why he and Matt would never work out. He kept trying to shield him from the world. John wasn’t frail, and ranks aside, Matt would never consider John an equal. Thankfully Mycroft left him without another word.

The young Doctor swore angrily throwing the near empty paper cup of water against the wall. Regretting the motion immediately when the white-hot pain, threatened to overcome him. He pressed the button, hating the fact he was unable to push through this hurt.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 29. CHANGE YOUR MIND

“John! Please.” Carter wasn’t above begging, this was his heart and it was breaking.

“I appreciate what you’ve done for me Matt. Being here couldn’t have been easy. But you had no right keeping this from me!” John managed to keep his voice low. “What else is there? What else do you know-“ Matt didn’t meet John’s eyes, Mycroft had a hand in this. Bastard.

The British Government made all things concerning Major Sebastian Moran confidential and he wasn’t allowed to discuss it. It made perfect sense now, looking at John’s blue eyes hurt and angry. Matt was tempted to disregard that order. Instead he tried to convince his John, convince him he loved him. That it was ok to trust him, he wouldn’t leave and he would keep his heart safe.

“John, I’m under orders I can’t discuss-“

“Of course! How convenient! I had to find out from Mycroft.” Matt’s jaw tightened, that scheming bastard. What was he up to?

“John. What must I do to show you I care, to show you I love you? I’ve asked you countless times to marry me. What else do you want from me?”

“Nothing. I don’t want anything from you Matt. And I’ve told you countless times no.” John clutched the IV stand, he was glad to be up and walking this week.

“John.” Carter was reminded of the first time they met. How disheveled John had looked, tired and bruised. Then he still managed to keep a bright smile on his face. Now, the light was gone and it terrified the Lt. Major. He wanted John to have something to live for. “You push me away. Just when we were getting close.”

“Matt.” John took a deep breath, “We broke up a year and a half ago. What we had was wonderful while it lasted. I’m sorry if I hurt you. But we would never work out especially now.”

“That’s not true.” Carter took a step forward. “You never gave me a chance. Not really. Now we have the opportunity to make this work. You were worried about the army and one of us having to make sacrifices for the other. This, John this can be a blessing in disguise.”

“A blessing? A blessing.” John gripped the IV stand his hand started to shake, his leg was hurting him he couldn’t put too much weight on it. “My career is over. I was looking at staying in the service. I wanted to become an army surgeon. I’ve always just wanted to be a surgeon. My hand is useless. What do you want Matt? Do you want me to move in with you, wait patiently for you to return from deployment worry about whether I’ll see you again, or if you’ll return in one piece? Physically or mentally? Play house wife?”

“I’ll quit, I’ll finish up my tour and I’ll get a government Job. Stay home-“

“And give up your dream? You’d never forgive me and would somehow blame me later on. I’ll just drag you down. I’m broken in more ways then one.”

“This is about him isn't it?” Matt felt his world tilting over an edge it teetered and he held his breath. “You’ve never gotten over him. Not really. He’s always been between us.”

Matt cupped John’s cheeks in his hands and tried to kiss him, John was unresponsive.

“It isn’t about him. I don’t care for him.” Matt stepped back straightening his uniform.

“You were always such a bad liar.”

“And you are one of the best.” John regretted that, it was a bit under the belt. “I’m sorry. That wasn’t fair.” John turned away to stand near the window.

Matt took a deep breath “I wont let you go so easily.”

“I was never yours to begin with.” John murmured jumping at the sound of his room door slamming.

 

~0~

 

Harry was on her way again to see her brother when she almost ran into John’s watchdog stepping off the elevator. “Going down?” She asked raising an eyebrow. “What’s wrong? Did John finally throw you out? It isn’t fun is it?”

Carter glared at the woman, “You think by showing up here everyday, you’ll win him back?”

“Oh, should I take advice from you? It seems whatever you’re doing is working just fine.” Harry snapped back not intimidated, she met the brown eyes with a hard glare. “John always did have bad taste in men.”

“Too bad he couldn’t choose his family.” Carter replied sweetly.

“I know Johnny. He’s forgiving and patient and he’ll come around.” Harry crossed her arms over her chest. “I’m his sister after all. You however are just somebody he used to fu-“

“Harriett Ann Watson!” Clara cut her wife off before she finished that vulgar sentence.

“You may think you’re his family Harriett, but you don’t know him, not like I do. He needs someone to take care of him. You obviously struggle to take care of yourself.” Carter ignored the dark haired woman.

“He’s a grow man. John’s been taking care of himself since he was twelve-“

“Exactly Harriet, because all those he should have been able to rely on were too busy fucking him over. “ Harry didn’t have anything to say and the man walked past her and Clara.

 

She suddenly wasn’t so sure about seeing her brother, that asshole’s words hit home. He was right, where had she been when their father was beating the youngest Watson? Where had she been when their mother died in the car wreck and then then father’s overdose?

Harriet swore she’d keep trying, she wasn’t a quitter, she couldn’t give up on him not this time. She got to his door knocking before entering his back was to her, he looked so small in his hospital robe.

 “Harry. I thought I was clear.” voice distant.

“And since when have I ever listened to you?” John shook his head still not turning around. “Go away.”

“John. I’m leaving you my old mobile, Clara bought me a new one for my three year sober mark. I know it’s not much but it’s a good phone. You can even download music.” He didn’t reply, so Harry just kept going “I’ll put it here next to your cards.” There was a long silence but at least he wasn’t telling her to go. That was a good sign right? “I put my number and Clara’s in there if you ever wanted to talk.”

“Doubtful.” John replied still staring out the window.

“John it’s not the end of the world. You’ll get better and you can always come stay with Clara and I-“ he made a scoffing sound.

“Really. Like old times. I think I’m a bit too old to be sleeping on your couch.”

“Not the couch John. Clara and I have our own place. You could have the guest room. It’s not bad; I bought it at a decent price. My boss gave me a deal.”

“Well good for you. You’re so deserving-“

“John Hamish Watson.” Harry snapped “The least you can do is be condescending to my face. I suppose I deserve whatever venom you have saved over the years, well go on get it out. Get it out so we can move past it.”

John shook his head, “Go away Harry.”

“No.” Harry set her jaw “I’m your sister John let me help you.” This made John snap, he turned around his face flushed with anger despite his pallor and recent weight loss.

“I don’t need your help. Or anyone’s. What did you expect hugs and forgiveness? Huh?”

“No, I at least expected you to be reasonable after all we used to be so close. I know I wasn’t the best sister but I gave you a place to sleep and study. Hell you spent almost all of med school on my couch. You owe me some kind of-”

“You delusional alcoholic-“ John took a deep breath and moved closer to his sister, her blue eyes were clear, and challenging. Same old Harry without the slurring or the swaying, even the cloud of smoke. She looked younger if that was possible. It was a trick how often had she gone clean, always saying; this time Johnny it’s for good. Only to hit the bottle harder than ever after a month. Did she really think he owed her?

“You-you really think I owe you? I don’t know Harry. I guess I do owe you. I owe you for all those times you stole my bank card or wallet, cleaning me out for the month. Just so you could buy a round for you and your mates. How about the many items you stole and pawned, the rent I had to pay half of, and all I had was an old uncomfortable couch that reeked of beer and cigarettes. Oh, the countless nights I stayed up to make sure you didn’t choke on your own vomit, not to mention the times I picked you up from the bar or drove you to the hospital because of alcohol poisoning. Sure. Oh let’s not forget that time that I broke up with Ty. You remember Ty don’t you?” Harry made a face, she vaguely remembered some rich kid with dark hair maybe.

“I broke up with him. But because he bought you and your friends a round at the club more than once you thought you’d get us back together.”

“He seemed nice enough. Besides he was going to business school-“

“ I broke up with him Harry for a reason. “

“What was that?” Harry didn’t want to know and at the same time she had to know. She only remembered John acting funny, she thought him heart broken.

“Oh, nothing too bad, the bastard just wanted to take things to the next level and wouldn’t take no for an answer. If Mike hadn’t interrupted I’d of been worse off. Then you-you go and talk me into going to a party.”

She paled now, her hands over her mouth eyes wide. “I pinched your wallet.” She confessed “I pinched your wallet and that bird that works for the older brother had me kicked out of the club and she took the wallet right off me.” John frowned he didn’t remember that.

“John-“

“You ditched me there, I was stupid and was a light weight, you ditched me there. You knew he was going to be there. Did you once ask where I got those bruises why I looked like hell?” she didn’t answer.

“Well Ty and his two friends thought it would be fun to finish what he started.”

Harry closed her eyes, her blond head coming forward. “John I never-“

“You didn’t want to know. You didn’t care. It took me a while to figure it out. Now I don’t know why you’re here. What you're really after but I wont play the game with you. This is my life. Now get out.”

“John-before I go.” She took a deep breath, he ignored her tears, manipulation, a tactic she’d used so many times in the past.”

“What happened? You never-“

“It’s a little late to ask now. Can’t pretend to care. “ Harry continued to stare at him tearfully, without a sound. He shook his head rolling his eyes, “Oh, don’t worry big sister. He didn’t get very far. Don’t get me wrong he tried. After beating the crap out of me they pulled me into an alley.” John’s jaw clinched, the feeling of helplessness. He’d never be that weak again, that wasn’t him anymore.

“What happened John-“ Harry swallowed

“I met Sherlock Holmes. A night in shining armor and cocaine.” John clenched his jaw. The first person to show him some kind of concern, and he had to be an addict.

“I-“ Harry wanted to find her words but John only cut her off. His eyes cold and so distant. He was there in that room less than an arms length away but he might as well have been a million miles away for all the distance between them.

“Yeah you were drunk what’s new? That excuse only goes so far. ”

“John I love you.”

“Harry I’m too old to buy into that. Go away.”

“I’m still your sister. Clara and I care about you.” John’s head was pounding he refused to let her see his weariness. He would rather be miserable alone.

“You’re a little too late Harry. Some things are just too broken to fix. You can’t save me.” John’s leg was screaming out, he was going to fall soon, but he remained standing, his face giving nothing away.

“Maybe not. But I can listen. So call me or text anytime Johnny.” Harry wiped her eyes and turned her back finally on her brother. The cold of his eyes chilled her, this stranger was wearing John’s face and used John’s voice but it wasn’t John.

“It’s too late.” John murmured. “You don’t get to change your mind.” She didn’t reply he only collapsed gratefully into a chair, the tremor in his hand even more noticeable.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 30. Going through the motions

 Lt. Major Carter burst into Mycroft’s office; the British Government gave a polite smile. “Good afternoon Carter. Can I offer you a beverage?” Carter glared at the man, his chest heaving, the security at the door were waved off by Mycroft. To bad he didn’t mind busting noses or skulls, maybe a good fight would help take the edge off.

“That’s Lt. Major Carter. I don’t know what little game you’re playing at Mycroft Holmes, but it’s not going to work.”

 

“I take it your visit with John didn’t go well?” Carter twisted his cap in his hands he needed to get through this, say his peace and not throw a punch at the pompous bastard sitting so smugly in his throne like black leather chair.

 

“You should know. How dare you. How. Dare. You.” Carter managed to get this out through clenched teeth. “You told him-you made it look like I was withholding information. Now he wont see me.”

 

“Oh, it’s better now than later Carter don’t you think.” Mycroft cocked an eyebrow as he took another pull from his tumbler, he careful swirled the amber liquid. “Please take a seat.”

“I’ll stand thanks.” Carter growled.

“Very well.” Mycroft paused his cool gray eyes bright with a smug aristocratic flare, “You Carter I will say are a clever one. You managed to slip past my notice. After all you’re not very significant. A standard military man, nothing too impressive. I am rarely ever surprised but when I discovered you were once in my employ, and deduced your involvement with the Doctor, well I was a bit taken back. Digging deeper it wasn’t to hard to discover you two had a brief fling nothing more.”

 “He wasn’t certain what he wanted.” Carter tried to take deep breaths. “It’s none of your concern.”

“Of course it is.”

“Why because your drug addict brother has a broken heart? He made his choice, he chose the drugs.” A cold flash of emotion flared in Mycroft’s eyes. Carter smirked, good he got one. “Oh yes John told me all about it, messy details and all. I was rather disappointed he hadn’t overdosed in some alley. John wouldn’t be so damn hard to reach if that bastards hadn’t-“ Carter couldn’t go on. It wasn’t Mycroft’s business. “I love him and I know he loves me. Which is more than I can say for your brother. It’s no secret he’s a machine, John will see this, John’s just confused.”

“Are you trying to convince me or yourself?” Mycroft didn’t wait for an answer before continuing on. “You have a very promising career ahead of you Lt. Major Carter what a pity if you were denied that promotion.”

“Threats Mycroft? Not your usual hand to play.”

“I do not make threats.” Mycroft replied taking another pull of scotch from his crystal tumbler.

“What will people say Mycroft, when word gets out that you do have a heart after all?”

“Have a nice trip Carter. A shame your shore leave was cut short.” Carter didn’t reply he only turned without a word. It was no surprise receiving a call from his superior shortly after. He was needed back ASAP.

 ~0~

  Two months later

 John sat irritably in the seat across from his therapist he tried to concentrate on her words.

 

“John, you are a soldier. It’s going take some time to adjust. Have you started on your blog?”

 

“Why would I like to write about my boring pathetic life nothing ever happens to me. Is that the best you can do?” John was annoyed he didn’t want to take it out on the therapist but she was just an easy target besides she was being paid so he could vent if he wanted to. His bloody hand still trembled and there was nothing wrong with his leg but he had the limp. He was a damn doctor he knew it wasn’t real but he couldn’t shake it.

“I’ve been coming here for over a month and this is what you give me. Eat more John try to find the positive. Wow is the best Mycroft’s money can buy? Oh don’t look at me like that. I’m not stupid. I doubt the army could afford such a high priced therapist as yourself. Tell me are your notes handed straight to him or do you give them to the brunette PA whatever her name is this week? Lovely that more than one person will see them. Why not let everyone have a look.”

 “John. I can’t help you if you’re unwilling to open up.” Ella kept her face devoid of emotion and her voice even. She was experienced enough to not take it personally.

“You wrote still has trust issues.”

“And you read my handwriting upside down.”

“Toss this.” John got up and stormed out without another word, he would not be back. She was obviously employed by Mycroft Holmes the man was so infuriating. Why wouldn’t he just leave John alone? Why wouldn’t any of them? Even Harry was pressing the issue, he’d slammed the door to his room in her face several times and now decided not to answer at all.  This was it staring at the wall, waking from nightmares and staring at the wall some more. No one wanted to hire him. Who in their right mind would hire a GP with PTSD and a tremor in his dominant hand?

 John avoided looking at himself, he knew he was thin his complexion wane, he’d refused to meet up with Mike, he did keep the mobile Harry had given him.  He’d given Mike the phone number but told him to give it to no one. He didn’t want to hear from Harry from anyone. He contemplated drinking himself into oblivion but he couldn’t bring himself to drown in a bottle, instead he stared at the blank wall and the days were counting down. He would need to find somewhere else to live, but he couldn’t see himself leaving London. Occasionally his eyes fell on his service pistol, and lately more and more.

He’d fought so hard to prove to himself and everyone else he wasn’t weak. Look at him, he’d failed just another Watson to join the line of many.  It could be easier, he didn’t have the army and he didn’t have family.

Sure Harry wanted to talk to him, but how often had she said she’d stay sober? It never lasted her sobriety was probably just as new, he rolled his eyes and scoffed, a month at most.

He thought of Clara and Harry having a place together, actually owning property. Three years wasn't exactly an eternity, but so many things seemed to change. Three years ago Clara cried on his shoulder, told him she loved Harry but could never be with her. They weren’t going to ever be happy, Harry loved the bottle too much and was past the point of caring what it did. John had only told her that Harry could change. She just needed a push. He meant for Clara to put her foot down. Not leave. Clara had looked at him sadly his own heart breaking mirroring hers.

“They wont change for us John. It’s not our fairy tale, we don’t get the happy ending. John had believed it with certainty every last word had hit home. He kept this in mind as he packed his duffel bag after sighing up for the army,  and all through boot camp. Now Clara was proving herself wrong and John couldn't help but feel jealous. 

Then there had been Mike the only true casualty, John had missed his friend. Then he reasoned with himself that Mike would be a little sick if John decided to go through the motions, to end this all. To pick up his service pistol and end it all.

The man was kind enough he would blame himself.  John considered the idea of leaving a note. That’s what suicides did, they left a note, right?

The young Doctor rubbed his face trying to control the dark that threatened to envelope him completely. The suffocating of it, it hurt so much. Worthless, his father had said, useless was his mother’s words, and finally Harry had just echoed their truths.

 

John stared at the blank wall, his hand wouldn’t stop trembling, he swore angrily. And they couldn’t figure out his limp, psychosomatic they said, he was a doctor he understood but it didn’t mean it wasn’t real. The invalid home of all places summed up just how he felt, cold and empty.

Harry had tried to stop in the Hospital several times but he’d refused her. Didn’t they get it? The only one who seemed to understand was Sherlock of all people the man hadn’t come to see John once after that first meeting. John didn’t understand why this bothered him and even more so angered him.

 Mike had come to visit over the last couple of weeks of John’s hospital stay.  The chubby Doctor  brought pictures of his wife and child and acted as if no time had passed. John stopped receiving visitors shortly after, he couldn’t bare it. His life was over and the rest of the world kept spinning.

Breaking it off with Matt wasn't as difficult the second time as it had been the first. He'd broken up with the Lt. Major a while ago due to the fact the man was smothering him. John didn’t want to be babied and treated like he was a child needing to be protected. Matt didn’t understand all he saw was a wide eyed young Doctor just pulled out of an addicts bed.

That wasn’t John, he wasn’t that naïve kid anymore and he wouldn’t be treated as such. Matt would always see him this way and John selfishly enjoyed the warmth of being wanted but he couldn't play the role Matt needed him too. How did life become so messy, John's life was organized up until three months ago he knew where he was eating and sleeping, when work would begin. Now, now it was so chaotic, too many variables, too much time and his hands were idle. Causing the tremor even more evident.

He was glad Harry gave up trying to see him, he couldn't take her pity.  Soon he would have to reemerge into the real world as a civilian and this was a terrifying thought. The walls always felt as if they would close in on him, and he found himself struggling to breath. Since when did he have panic attacks? He hated not being in control of his body and his mind.

Then his thoughts were interrupted by a very familiar voice.

“Well isn’t this place charming?” John didn’t move, but his treacherous heart started to race, that distinctive baritone always had the same affect.

 “What the hell are you doing here?” John didn’t turn around, he couldn't trust the emotions that may show on his face. Even his voice sounded breathless, he cringed at the idea of showing any weakness.

“Just wanted to see it for myself.” Sherlock walked over to lean against the wall of John’s small dreary room, his eyes sweeping the area. John felt the urge to shut the desk drawer where his browning was kept.

“What? The beautiful view?” John grumbled, deciding he didn't care if Sherlock saw the service pistol. “Well there you’ve seen it you can now happily see yourself out.” Or just stay right there. The taller man was wearing his black form fitting suit with a dark purple shirt just under the suit jacket.

“As charming and alluring as this place is that wasn’t what I meant.” Sherlock crossed his arms over his chest, John wondered when the hell he started wearing suits. What did he have a nine to five or was he working for Mycroft? Not that it mattered; John could care not less if the man looked healthy, and drug free. The  man’s cheekbones still sharp and hair a mess of curls, and of course those beautifully deceptive eyes.  The same that were narrowing on him, his slender but toned arms crossing over an equally toned chest. John remembered all too well how the cool skin beneath that jacket and shirt felt.

God how stunning and breathtaking it was to look up into the gray and lose himself, but he refused the temptation.  John wanted to slap himself out of it,  he wasn’t going to be weak. And damn the way his heart started to pound hard against his chest, so hard it was almost painful.

“Then what did you mean?” John glared at the taller man; John tried to control the close proximity’s affect on his body.

“I meant I had to come here and see for myself just how low you’ve fallen. Didn’t think this hardened version of John Watson was such a defeatist. So easily he gave up and gave in to whatever pity party you’re throwing yourself these days.”

 These sharp words caught John off guard. As a knee jerk reaction and military reflexs John was on his feet and inches from Sherlock’s face. “What the hell did you say?” God you smell so good. Still can't let that remark slide.

 “I said you were a coward John Watson and you’re a quitter.  It’s almost embarrassing that I made the track all the way from Baker Street to here.” That’s all it took Sherlock had suspected this might happen and he’d forgotten just how hard John could hit. Stunned he landed on his side, hand to his bloody lip.

“You get the hell out. You don’t know me.” John was trying to keep the edge from his voice, he glared down furiously at the taller man.

“Fair enough. I deserved that. I had other reasons for coming here. If you would hear me out?” John sat back on his bed unaware he had been standing without his cane. “I need a Doctor.” Sherlock touched his bloody lip gingerly, climbing to his feet.

“Go to the clinic like everyone else.” John flung out, Sherlock only returned to his place against the wall. The cool bastard had the nerve to look bored, bored and unimpressed. It was maddening and wrecking havoc on John's resolve.

“I’m not sick.” He rolled his eyes.

“Are you sure about that?” John had to fight a sudden smile itching at the edges of his mouth.

“John. I came here because I need an expert eye. I’m involved in an investigation and I could use your help.” John thought he was hearing things, his eyebrow raised.

“My help?”

“Yes. It’s hard to find an assistant not very many have my work ethics.”

“Still an annoying prick I see.” John frowned grabbing a tissue from the box near the bed. He sighed moving to stand in front of the pale man. Gently cupping Sherlock’s chin in his own hand, the Doctor investigated the damage. He placed the tissue to Sherlock’s bloody lip, when his finger tip accidentally grazed over the soft flesh of Sherlock’s mouth he felt himself  stir, and the way Sherlock was watching him spoke volumes.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 31. OPTIONS

 

Sherlock sat in his mind place trying desperately to organize and delete all things John Watson. This proved to be more difficult than he had anticipated. John’s scent, the sound of his laughter the feeling of his arms embrace, the whispers and all the promises offered.

The times Sherlock could remember ever truly laughing. The endearments, concern the disappointment the begging and pleading to see reason. And now there was one more thing to add to this small room within a room.

He entered the space that belonged to John, this space he thought he’d locked away three years ago. The room looked the same as Mycroft’s flat, the one Sherlock had stayed in under orders and threats from Mycroft. The one he’d first brought John back to.

Sherlock avoided making eye contact with the figure he knew to be standing there. The ex addict didn’t have to sneak a  glimpse to know what emotion the sky blue eyes would hold. He couldn’t understand it then not really. He could read and identify John’s facial expressions, a toddler could read him. The eyes would be lost and heart broken. At the time Sherlock thought he understood heart ache, but now he truly knew what John must have felt. Since seeing John with Carter, Sherlock felt the wound now more than ever. Regret, was not an emotion he cared to carry around, he had no choice he needed to delete all of this. Either that or he would find himself searching for other methods to aid him in numbing the pain.


His hands balled in a fist, he was sober, and he refused to allow sentiment to break him.   So winter gray eyes met the spring sky blue once more, Sherlock allowed himself to take in the image of John. More disgusting sentiment, soon he would be free of it, soon he would be letting this all go.

 John was wearing that damned checkered brown and red button up shirt. Sherlock noted the way John kept his hands in the pockets of his jeans almost shy. How had he forgotten how shy John would be?  And of course those awful converse peeking out from under the baggy pant legs.

He was there just how Sherlock would forever remember him, with a pleading wordless expression. The ex addict didn’t want to be here, he just wanted to yell and rant, and push John away. He needed to tear this place down, erase it and especially John, everything he represented.

Instead those sky blue eyes unguarded, bore right into him.

The wave of emotions just here with that memory of his John, threatened to overwhelm Sherlock, he felt as if he were going to drown in it. He needed to make John understand, why couldn’t he understand. He had been so patient and forgiving before, what was different now? Why wouldn’t he listen now? Why did Sherlock care? There was no use for these kinds of feelings, John wanted to be alone. Sherlock could respect that, alone was safer. Wasn't it?

“John?” Sherlock took a step closer but this John took a nervous step back. Was that fear, did John fear him?  Sherlock could taste his own regret, the bitterness of it soured him shook his resolve. Several memories swirled around and like air through a vent they filled the room. Releasing emotions, too many to defend against and Sherlock felt sick, he had to get away.

Shame, regret, temptation, and anger all thickening the air with acidic misery. It was all so suffocating, Sherlock fled.

 Like a coward he escaped into the bedroom. This was where more pleasant memories lined the walls like erotic pictures in a magazine. There on the large king size bed, two figures tangled in sheets and the dark blue duvet. He paused hearing the grunts and groans, the whispered endearments and giggles. The light of the lamp gave a soft glow, the shadows it cast on the wall weren’t threatening, this room held so many blissful sensations. The sweet smell of sweat and sex coated the air and Sherlock wanted more, like a voyeur he approached the bed.

 “I love you.” John’s voice husky and clear.

Sherlock froze in the middle of the bedroom, searching for another exit, he moved towards the bathroom. He couldn’t stand to see the disappointment in John’s face. He didn’t want to remember the pathetic explanation that would tumbled clumsily from his own mouth. Another regret, the ex-addict swore at himself, he had been so stupid.

 The bathroom was dark he’d shut the door behind him closing off the sounds of conversation, holding his breath. Then the light was switched on, and there he was again.

“Hiding too?” John’s question shy and slurred. Sherlock turned away from this memory finding another door leading to another bathroom. Cleaner, the white tile and marble counter top familiar enough, this was the bathroom of the flat.

 He heard sobbing, “You’re an idiot.” It was John pulling a nearly unconscious Sherlock into a sitting position, “What did you take!? What!? Oh god, oh god.” The voice frantic, his eyes wide, Sherlock couldn’t watch this he didn’t want to remember that either. “Mycroft, it’s John-he’s. Yes I’ve called the ambulance. I don’t-“ Sherlock backed out of the room, slamming the door against the desperation and the frantic pleading.

These memories were so heavy and there were others that could be better but these ones always seemed to surface. He would have to look deep within the locked away places to find the other memories, less buoyant, and sometimes tainted with acrimony.

So it wasn’t a surprise to be back in the bedroom, the soft glow of the lamp long gone. The lighting more dim, and the shadows stretched over everything making it feel colder.

 “It’s alright. You don’t have to say you love me back.” John was sitting on the edge of the bed, his strong shoulders slightly slumped forward, hands sitting on his naked knees, and his head bowed in defeat. Sherlock wanted to walk over to him to hold him to tell him he did in fact love him.

“You don’t have to say it. I’ll still love you.” John mumbled.

Once again the younger Holmes ran from these words from this John, vulnerable and so open. How many times had the young Doctor offer up his heart for Sherlock to see, to hold to keep close and safe?

Back in the living room John was still there waiting. The younger Holmes decided  he would allow this to play out, and then be done with this place.  Sherlock took a step forward but the hurt in John’s eyes tore through his resolve.

 “I can’t.” Sherlock choked out, “I cant do this. I don’t want to remember.”

 A quick glance to the kitchen he could see a man in a dark suit holding out a canister of tea to a rather disheveled looking John. Sherlock wanted to move forward and pull the man away, wanted to punch him in the face and kick him while he was down. Anything to get him away from what was his.

How long before John left, how long did John wait before he and Carter-No that wasn’t fair, it wasn’t fair at all. Sherlock had seen the attraction but it was only on Carter’s behalf, John hadn’t shown any interest. Had he? It wasn't his business now, he couldn't blame the young Doctor.

I'm not yours anymore. That's what John had said and those words hurt more than any physical pain.

Behind him he could feel John watching him. In the living room, silent, and waiting for an answer. An answer to the question that hung between them, three years ago, that damn ultimatum.

The drugs or me.

The ex addict refused to stick around and hear his answer. Too many memories locked into this one place, no wonder things often spilled out, reminding him, haunting him. Time to put this all behind him, lock it away and hit the delete button as many times as it took for it to finally work.

Head high, avoiding eye contact, Sherlock side stepped John. Moving around him to open the front door of the flat. Unexpectedly emerging into a hospital room. 

“Not not here! Not here!” he growled in frustration. No doors to escape through in this room. If he went back he would have to face the darkest memory he had in that livingroom. He’d have to replay that scene, the one where he took John’s heart and threw it back at him. Pushed him out of his life forever. The other option was to stay here and let his own heart be ripped from his chest and left to hemorrhage painfully.

The hospital monitors were beeping steadily, the flowers near a bedside.

Roses so cliché. Then that bastard Carter, leaning over John.“I love you.”  John didn’t reply. John would have said something, even with the rush of pain medication. John had told Carter, to go. He told Carter and Harry to go. Sherlock had thought it was directed at Harry but it wasn’t. Carter was saying I love you, and John didn’t say it back! A cool warmth rushed to Sherlock’s heart, John didn’t say it back! If he were in love with Carter he would have said it without hesitation.

Mycroft had said as much hadn't he, he had said it in the elevator, John wasn't in love, he was the type to never hold back. At least he used to be that way, still this could be something.

Sherlock pulled out of his mind palace, feeling hope start to warm his chest, hope pushing desperately to the surface from the cold waters of despair.

He had to see John, had to talk to John, show him that things were different, that he was different.

He first needed more data, John was a stranger in every sense of the word. Sherlock started first with Mike, he needed to find out what he could about John's state of mind. What the consulting detective uncovered started to make him feel uneasy.

Opportunity presented itself in the form of a case. Luckily it was shortly after John had stopped seeing the therapist, the one that Mycroft so generously hired. Worthless, she was an idiot and even Mycroft didn’t seem to happy with her lack of results.

Sherlock nervously thought about what he would say, pacing outside the building where John was living. The Consulting Detective was going over possible scenarios, even one’s that ended up with the two naked and pressing against each other, frantic with a need and heated lust. These kinds of situations were very unlikely. However this didn’t stop Sherlock from dwelling on them.

The invalid home was easy to enough to get into, no one even stopped to ask him who he was and where he was going. To Sherlock’s discomfort, most of the soldiers here were like zombies just going through the motions. He felt as if a dark cloud blocked out the sun that was shining just outside.

 Something in the air was cold and mournful; this place was were the hopeless gathered, only to be shooed out the door after thirty days. He so desperately wished to drag his John from this hell and back to Baker Street.

Baker Street was far from institutional like this place. The sweet smell of fresh biscuits and scones would dominate the smell of Sherlock's chemicals and other mishaps ending in flames.

Kind Mrs. Hudson, with her warm tea and soft hands. She would love John, Sherlock laughed at the thought. She would feed him up and he wouldn't ever be able to tell her to go away because he was too kind for that. Not that Mrs. Hudson would listen even if John did. The elderly- Housekeeper? Landlady? Whatever her title she would always just pat Sherlock on the shoulder and bring him tea when he told her to get out. Yes. He would somehow get John to come back to Baker Street, there was an extra room. Of course John would have the extra room, not like he would want to share a bed with-well at least not while he was seeing that bastard Carter. And if John wanted to continue with Carter the ex addict would  attempt to be civil for John. Besides he knew it wouldn't be lasting, John was obviously not interested in the idiot. Sherlock wasn't aware of what John was looking for, but he knew/hoped that it wasn't Carter.

Sherlock couldn't continue on the same thought pattern, he was getting ahead of himself. He needed to first get John to Baker Street. Taking a deep breath Sherlock moved forward. He had meant to knock but didn't trust his courage, didn't trust that John would just simply refuse to open the door. Standing in the door way unnoticed the consulting detective took in the depressing domicile.

A skeleton of a man sat on the small bed, a haunted and distant look in those once vibrant eyes. The younger Holmes waited taking in the sight, storing this image away, praying this wasn’t there last meeting. He wondered briefly where John had gone, the one that laughed and teased. The John Watson with thoughtful expressions and warm words. Would he ever be back?

 John  was indeed like the others in this place, an empty shell, barely an echo of his former self. Drowning, John was drowning and Sherlock had to do something, had to find a way to pull John out of this darkness. He looked so thin, and fragile sitting staring at the wall, no-Sherlock observed, not the wall, his eyes were fixed on the open drawer of the small desk. The younger Holmes felt sick, his fears confirmed. Oh, how he hated being correct sometimes. Without further thought he swept into the small room, wishing to put himself between John and the browning.

This soldier  needed a push, everyone was trying to help, John was stubborn and his military training only helped to nurture this side of him. Of course he would be insulted by help. And he would turn it down no matter the circumstances. So instead Sherlock would approach the situation from a completely different direction. A trick he learned from his older brother, not that he would ever admit it.

Goading John was dangerous but Sherlock refused to back down, the hit to the face was fair. John owed him a lot more than a punch to the face.

Then to Sherlock’s surprise John was touching him, inspecting his bleeding lip. Johns hands, heated the cool skin beneath, and the scenarios that seemed so unlikely earlier started to flash through Sherlock’s unguarded mind. The dark haired man fought off the strong urge to pull John to him and kiss the frown from his mouth, and ease the deep crease from John’s forehead. Nearly coming undone when John’s fingers brushed against his bottom lip.

Brief and quick, but the sensation threatened to bring him to his knees. He wanted to pull John close to never let him go. Something in him warned if his next words were wrong then John would be forever lost to him. Sherlock took a chance by stepping back covering his want with a bored expression.

Was that disappointment in John’s face? John’s hands fell away from Sherlock's injured mouth. It took everything in the dark haired detective to keep from kissing the disappointment away, from catching the bottom lip with his teeth and running an eager tongue over the soft flesh.

  “A case?” John tossed the tissue away, snapping the consulting detective out of his fantasy. “That’s why you’re here?” He was suspicious but curious as well, Sherlock continued on treading lightly.

 “Yes John a man’s life depends on it.” This was true but Sherlock didn’t mean the innocent man facing murder charges,(idiot) he meant John. There was indecision in the shorter man’s posture, in the way he bit his cheek.

“I guess I could ask Mike. I just assumed that you had nothing better to do. Thinking about it I guess it might prove to strenuous for you. That and it may not be your area after all. Seeing how you were just an army Doctor.” Sherlock straightened himself as if he were about to say goodbye.

 “What the hell are you talking about? There isn’t anything fragile about me. I’m not old yet. And yes I was an army doctor but I’ve treated wounds you could never imagine, and I did go to medical school just like everyone else. I am highly capable-"

"Good it's settled then." Sherlock kept his voice even although he was beaming smugly on the inside, all John would see was the usual bored expression.

 And just like that John Watson found himself running towards the sound of gun fire. Moving quickly through the twisted alleyway of London, his cane long forgotten.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 32. TROUBLE IS A FRIEND

 

 Detective Lestrade watched the tall dark haired figure lean over the body on the autopsy table. Then the man turned to ask a question, but it wasn’t to Lestrade or the pretty pathologist Doctor Hooper. No, he was talking to a blonde man, a stranger that Lestrade had never met.

He eyed the young man, he was thin, pale and had dark bags under his eyes. Like he was just getting over an illness or perhaps an addiction. Sherlock addressed him as Doctor, alright fine maybe he was a doctor but Lestrade didn’t trust him. The silver haired DI had scared off several drug dealers and users alike. Sherlock somehow managed to befriend these people just as quickly as Mycroft or the DI could get rid of them. It had been two or three years since he’d run into any new degenerates that Sherlock kept company with.

Now, this Doctor was making an appearance.

 “Who’s this now?” Lestrade stood in Sherlock’s path, the consulting detective ducked around him.

“He’s with me! No time now. I have to talk to a man about a ladder!”

“Sherlock!” Lestrade frowned he stepped into John’s way, the younger man with the cane held a pinched expression. Lestrade wondered if he was in pain, maybe his leg was injured bad enough. It could be an illness that made the younger man look older and a bit run down, but Lestrade wouldn’t take the chance.


John tensed, he didn’t like to be touched and this silver haired man was in his bubble. The ex soldier took a step back and Lestrade ran a distrustful eye over him.  

“Hold on a minute mate. Not so fast. I don’t know who the hell you are, but I’ll tell you now I have my eye on you. If you don’t check out uh-“ Lestrade made a show of checking the small note pad in his hand, “Doctor Watson, you’ll see me again.”

 John was a little taken back,  “I’m sure I have your number Detective Inspector.” he replied suddenly feeling the urge to laugh. John couldn't blame the man for not recognizing him, story of his life.

“Lestrade! Stop harassing the Doctor!” Sherlock shouted from the doorway, he had made it halfway down the corridor when he realized John hadn’t followed. Now the DI was hassling John, Sherlock rolled his eyes, they didn’t have time for this.

 After the two left Lestrade took out his mobile and shot a text to the older Holmes, as usual the man probably knew about this ‘Doctor‘ before he had. All the same better safe then sorry.

 Your brother brought a friend to the morgue. The guy looks a bit dried out. Called him Doctor. Says he’s an associate or something. Might be another dealer, I don’t know. You can never be sure these days. –GL

 

The situation is being taken care of. Thank you for your concern.-MH

 

Mycroft’s reply was quick and to the point, something about this situation made the DI feel as if he had done this before. Déjà vu or something like that. He would definitely be looking into this Doctor fellow, even if Mycroft had already done so.

 

Lestrade shot Molly a quick glance, she was already putting the body in the drawer, humming to herself. Well so much for asking her to get a coffee, he had a mad man in a dark coat to follow. Not to mention some bloke with a cane to keep an eye on, and today started out so quiet.

~0~

 

John hadn’t expected this one minute he’s standing outside a rather run down looking house. Sherlock had practically ordered the DI and constable to go around the back,  John guessed they would be checking for a green ladder. The situation made the soldier feel on edge, he didn’t like the quiet. Quiet was bad, quiet was the preparation before an attack, quiet meant the bombers were waiting for the opportune moment.

 Captain Watson had been with a squad that made their rounds in the local villages. He of course had been asked to go along in case the locals needed medical assistance. This didn’t bother him, they were after all trying to cultivate trust between the troops and the villagers. He’d been in situations were things seemed so calm and routine, it never ended as such.

 He waited behind the taller man unnoticed, by the woman who looked as if she were coming down from something. John cringed he’d seen those symptoms not so long ago. She was looking around avoiding Sherlock’s eyes, then unexpectedly invited them inside to search the place if they wanted.  John caught her quick glances, towards the small fence leading into the alley.

 The Doctor heard Sherlock’s decline of the offer, “She’s hiding something.” He growled scowling at his mobile, pounding out a text.

 Then they heard it, the distinctive sound of gunfire, two shots.

 The ex army doctor started for the fence on instinct, forgetting momentarily where he was. The soldier was alert, and almost expected to turn around and find two of his men following him just as cautiously.

 He could hear yelling in the alley, not loud enough to bring attention. These muffled noises announced trouble and a possible struggle. The Detective and the Doctor moved quickly down the alley coming up short at a rather unexpected scene.

The constable was holding a hand to his leg, and Lestrade was under the heavy boot of the assailant the gun pointed at the DI's head. Sherlock flinched but John only rushed forward. He tackled the bull of a man bringing him to his knees as well as disarming him. It wasn’t much of a struggle, John had fought bigger and more experienced men. However he used to be in prime condition and at least twenty pounds heavier than he was now.

So the assailant took a little longer to put down, “Go to sleep already!” John ground out, tightening his grip around his own arm, locking in the choke hold. The big bastard thrashed and flung himself back against the alley skip, John grunted from the white hot pain that shot up his spine, he nearly let go. Fortunately the thug was now unconscious and snoring. The ex soldier let the giant fall forward unconscious not even attempting to ease him to the pavement.

“John that was-“ Sherlock wanted to say amazing, his eyes were wide in shock. He thought he was hallucinating, did that just happen?

“Stupid I know. But couldn’t take the chance he’d go for the gun again.” The young Doctor, tried to ease his breathing, ignoring the pain in his shoulder he made his way to the two injured men.

The constable was holding a hand to his thigh “Fucker shot me.” The constable muttered, the color was draining from his face, and he held up shaking staring at the blood.

“Shock.” Sherlock heard John mutter, “Sherlock do you have a handkerchief?” Of course he did, he always carried one around with him, he handed it to the Doctor and watched in fascination. Forgetting about the injured DI completely.

 

“What’s your name?” John asked the constable, the younger man was still staring at his own hands. “Hey.” John’s voice took on a hard edge. “Officer, I asked you a question.” This caught the younger man’s attention. “What’s your name?”

“ Marcus Wright.”

“Good, Marcus, I’m a Doctor. I’m going to put this around the wound, you’re bleeding but it’s not fatal. The paramedics are on the way and they’ll fix you up right quick. I need you to put some pressure on this.” John tightened the silk material around the wound, then pressed the cold hands of the constable over it. “Keep your hands there. Alright?”

“Yes, yes sir.” The younger man nodded quickly.

“Good. Good man.”

John climbed to his feet, his shoulder pain started to snowball from an ache to a throbbing. He needed to see the DI, he may be standing but injuries could be internal as well external.

The DI had a nasty gash on his forehead, nothing worse than that but John needed to be certain. “Double vision? Nausea? Do you have a headache?” Lestrade took a step back, blue eyes were staring into his brown intensely, searching for something, and it was unsettling.

“No, well a headache, the bastard got the drop on me, didn’t expect that.”

There were sirens in the distance nearing, John returned to the injured constable, he was shivering.

“And here comes the calvary.” John was speaking in a calm soothing tone, Sherlock caught how he slowly slipped his black Jacket from himself, wincing, something was wrong.

“John?” Sherlock ignored the DI who was yelling into his phone. “John are you alright?” The blonde was draping his coat over the shivering constable, a sticky pool of blood gathered around his left leg.

“Wasn’t exactly the day I had planned either.” John ignored Sherlock’s question.

“Yeah? Where did you learn to fight like that?” Officer Wright asked.

“Are you kidding me?” John looked affronted. “That’s part of the curriculum these days. Med school is hell you know. They teach you to suture then they teach you to throw a punch or two.” The young man laughed despite his discomfort. “Anyway this isn’t bad at all. I say a night in the hospital which is fine, you know nurses love uniforms. Can’t resist them.”

“Yeah?” the younger man wasn’t paying attention to his leg anymore.

“Trust me I’m a doctor. I know these things.” Then the paramedics were there, putting the younger man on a stretcher.

“John, what’s wrong?”  Sherlock could see there was something in the Doctor’s pinched expression.

“I’m fine. Is the DI-“

“Please Lestrade doesn’t use his brain as it is, so a hit to the head is no great tragedy.” 

John nodded, now that the adrenaline was leaving him his shoulder pain became more pronounced. Despite his aching muscles, and the stomach turning hurt in his shoulder, John felt great. That chase was just the jump start he needed, god he missed this feeling.

“John you’re holding your shoulder at an angle. Maybe you should let the paramedics have-“

“I don’t need to have the paramedics to tell me I’ve dislocated my shoulder.” John frowned, trying to roll his shoulder the shock of pain made the bile rise in his throat. Yup, definitely dislocated.

“What’s wrong?” Lestrade neared the two sensing the tension.

“John’s managed to dislocate his shoulder, and the stubborn man refuses to have the paramedics take a look-“

“I’m not getting into a damn ambulance.”

“Fine, then I’ll drive you two to the hospital.” Lestrade pushed his coat back, hands on his hips, daring either one of the men to argue. “Now, you’ll tell me again why we thought this man was the murderer, which by the way I have no doubt in my mind he isn’t. But for the sake of writing out a report.” Sherlock rolled his eyes, and the DI led both men out of the alley, he could see the each step was costing the Doctor. Yes, Lestrade finally believed the shorter man was indeed a Doctor.

Sherlock was feeling a bit guilty about the situation, John insisted he wait outside the exam room and he had. Lestrade kept asking tedious questions about the suspect, and then about John. Questions Sherlock ignored, he hadn’t meant to have John end up back at the hospital. The younger Holmes only wanted to breathe life into the suffocating man.

 “Alright, all done, I gave him something to numb the pain, but the stubborn-“ The young A&E Doctor took a deep breath, “He refuses the prescription. He’ll be a little loopy for the rest of the night. Really shouldn’t be putting stress on that shoulder so soon. The bones are still fragile, he’s lucky they hadn’t shattered. Whoever preformed the original surgery was quite the expert.” The younger man heard his name over the intercom, “Excuse me I have to go. The nurse will give you some paperwork on home care instructions.”

 Sherlock and the DI entered the room, John was sitting on the table attempting to pull his blue and gray checkered button up shirt closed. He had an amused grin on his face, as his good hand tried to maneuver the buttons into the proper place. His other arm was in a sling, one that the obviously high Doctor was trying to remove.

“What the hell happened to you mate?” Lestrade hadn’t meant to say that out loud but he could plainly see the very red angry scar that discolored the Doctor’s shoulder. Sherlock threw him a scathing glare, before he adjusted John’s shirt.

"Keep that sling in place John, I don't think it's for decoration. Your shoulder needs to rest." Sherlock tried to adjust the strap of the sling.

“Oh hello.” John smiled. And Lestrade took a step back, his eyes narrowing on the young man. He caught a flash of another blonde, a bruise high on his cheek. The shy glance, and an easy smile, but the eyes were different; this couldn’t be the same boy. Could it be? The gray haired DI tried to think back to the day he had taken the report from the uncomfortable young man.

That John was timid and nervous, this John was cool, collected and lethal, how the hell did that happen? The dark look he was receiving from his consulting detective was one of impatience, and the DI knew his questions would have to wait.

Poor kid, obviously had been through hell and back, definitely a story the DI would be interested in hearing. He wondered if Sherlock had something to do with it. Recalling a time when he overheard the consulting detective's phone conversations while the two were investigating a crime scene a few years back. The consulting detective would occasionally glance down at a received text message and a real authentic smile spread over the usually stoic man’s face. And then one day after a rather nasty drug binge, no more text messages or smiles.

“That settles it. I’ll have to keep an eye on him. John will be coming home to me. I mean with me.” Sherlock was surprised at how steady his voice sounded. Well this was one way to get John to Baker Street, not exactly what he had planned but might as well seize the opportunity.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 33. REMINDERS

Sherlock glared at his mobile once more, refusing to reply to yet another text from Mycroft.

“Someone wants to get a hold of you.” John murmured, leaning his head back against the seat.

“No one important.” Sherlock squeezed his mobile.

“Same old Mycroft.” John smiled sadly. “Nice guy your brother. Lucky for you.”

“John, how am I lucky? Mycroft is an overbearing pompous fat-“ Sherlock looked up from the now dimming screen of his smart phone.

“He cares.” John’s head bobbed back and forth as he struggled to stay awake.

“He cares about his reputation-“

“No. He cares about you.” John sighed, “What the hell did they give me I cant keep my eyes open?”

“It’s a pain reliever John.” Sherlock tried to keep the shorter man sitting upright.

“Bastard-I said muscle relaxer. I hate-I hate-“ He tried to open his eyes wider, his brow creased as if trying to remember what he was about to say. “I hate being called Johnny.” He nodded firmly, as if deciding that was exactly what he wanted to say.

“Yes, I know.” Sherlock adjusted John’s seat-belt.

“Where we going? This isn’t the base?” John’s eyes were having a hard time staying open.

“He alright?” Lestrade frowned looking at the two using the rear view mirror.

“Who?” John wondered glancing around. “I think those last drinks were a bad idea.” John laid his head back on the seat, eyes closed.

“Should we call someone for him?” Lestrade kept watching the Doctor he wasn’t looking so great. “Family? A wife or-“

“Oh, my sister’s probably pissed as all hell.” John provided, snapping back awake. “ A wife-“ John snorted “No. nothing like that. Why’s it so hot in here.” John tried to move his injured arm wincing.

“John, keep it still. The A&E Doctor instructed it stay in that sling and you not move it to much.”

“Sherlock?” John squinted like a man who forgot to wear his glasses, “What are you doing on base?”

“John we aren’t on base. We’re in London.”

“Oh? London. Right? How are we in London?” John tried to glance out the window, but the streets flashed by in a distressing swirl of colors reminding him of desert fires and burning villages.

“You alright there mate?” Lestrade asked still watching John from the rear view mirror.

“Should probably be.” John murmured. “Oh s’right. The Invalid home. Sorry I haven’t been this pissed since before boot camp.” John mumbled trying to sit up in the back seat, his head kept bobbing back and forth.

 

“Boot camp?” Lestrade watched Sherlock and the Doctor through the review mirror.

 

“Booooot cammmp.” John repeated scrunching up his face as if the word was foreign to him. “Maybe I should call my sister-“ He sighed leaning back into the seat, his head resting on the window. He clumsily produced a mobile from his coat pocket.

“John, I don’t think that’s the best idea.” Sherlock took the mobile from him gently. John only sighed heavily, nodding with his eyes closed.

 

“She’s probably at the club-“ his slurred words had an edge of sadness.

“Maybe we should let his sister know where he’ll be she might worry.” Lestrade suggested, Sherlock only gave him an icy glare.

 

“The drugged state in which John currently is in, has obviously made him forget that the two aren’t on speaking terms. Not through any fault of his own.” Sherlock growled.

 

“We aren’t?” John squinted at Sherlock and smiled “Oh, s’right. That would be awkward. Not like she h’snt done worssst to me. In fact it would serve her right. Yeah? Here give me my mobile-“ John held his hand out.

 

“John, why don’t we wait till we get back to my flat.” Sherlock glanced down at his own mobile once more.

 

“Good call. Good call.” John smiled reaching over he patted Sherlock’s shoulder. “Oi cabbie drop me off at home-“

 “Cabbie?” Lestrade shook his head. “What did they give him?”

“Pain medicine and a muscle relaxer. John’s never had much of a tolerance for these things.” John slumped over and the dark haired detective tried to right him in the seat.  Lestrade had to hold in a laugh when the young man just ended up leaning into the normally stoic consulting detective.

 “You sure he’s going to be alright. Maybe-“ Lestrade cleared his throat.

“He’s fine. Just needs to sleep it off. It’ll be more convenient to watch him at my place.”

 “Have I been shot again?” John asked his head resting on Sherlock’s thigh.

“No John you displaced your shoulder.” The dark haired man kept his voice soft and low.

“He’s been shot before?” Lestrade was feeling extremely lost, that would make some sense. If John was in the army and had been shot, it would explain the cane an of course his run down appearance. Where did that cane go?

“Yes, Lestrade, that is why he’s not in the army. And he doesn't need the damn cane.” Sherlock rolled his eyes, he was glaring at his own mobile. Mycroft’s texts were becoming more and more annoying. He decided to shut his phone off and stuffed it into his pocket.

“Invalid home.” John murmured.

“No, John we aren’t taking you back there.” Sherlock couldn’t help but comb his fingers through John’s soft hair.

“He was aiming for me.” The young Doctor stated sadly.

“Who?” Sherlock couldn’t take his eyes from the man, the curve of his ears, the wrinkles around his eyes and edges of his mouth. This face he’d held in his hands and thought he’d never see again. This face was thinner, and dark circles bruised the hallows beneath the Doctor’s eyes. Another sigh, caused Sherlock to shift uncomfortably. His body’s response to John was surprising, as well as inconvenient.

“Moran-don’t know why. Did Mycroft ever say?” Sherlock stiffened, how did John know Sebastian? He never mentioned that name, in fact he hadn’t even met the man himself. Only Jim, that was Jim’s boyfriend. Sherlock only knew from the conversations Jim would have, trying to goad Sherlock into a jealous rage. James was pathetic in his attempts to make Sherlock jealous. How would John know the name? And Mycroft?

“John-?” Sherlock started to ask these questions.

“Major Moran-I know a Lt. Major, he’s got the brownest eyes. Like chocolate, and caramel just as sweet.” Sherlock’s hand halted all movements through John’s hair. “Sebastian has eyes like the desert-like the dunes and the sand. Just as dry and hot tempered. Never spoke to him once. Patched his leg. Pays me back with a bullet.”

“John, what are you talking about? You were shot in the line of duty.” Sherlock tried to push the comment aside, the one that stabbed at his heart. He needed to focus on the other thing, on Moran.

“Yeah. Don’t remember. Story of my life.” John nuzzled into Sherlock’s thigh; his warm breath heated the skin through the thin fabric.

“Poor kid. No wonder he looks a bit worse for wear. I didn’t know he was in the army. I always figured he-“

“Doesn’t matter Lestrade.” Sherlock continued to pet John’s hair. “It doesn’t matter anymore.” Lestrade didn’t say anything else until they pulled up to 221B.

“Matt?” John whispered low enough that only Sherlock heard. The dark haired consulting detective again pushed the cold emotions away. That name stirred up something in him, a mix of regret and anger; he unconsciously tightened his hold around John’s waist.

“No. John. Sherlock. That idiot is off doing his duty for his country.” Lestrade ignored the grumbling moving to unlock the door to the flat.

“He left.” John sighed eyes closed he allowed himself to lean into the taller man.

“So I deduced.” Sherlock could feel the thin bones that protruded from John’s hips. He was too thin, he’d lost too much weight. The ex soldier’s belt had nearly wrapped around John’s waist twice.

“I told him to.” John shook his head. “Too clingy-“ Sherlock didn’t get to respond, the front door was suddenly pulled open and Mrs.Hudson stood in the doorway.

“Sherlock. What have you done now?” Her eyes went from the DI to the dark haired detective and finally resting on a pale young man wearing a sling and a drunken grin.

“Mrs. Hudson-“ Sherlock tried to explain, but the older woman cut him off.

“Oh, poor dear. I’ll get the kettle on.” She stood aside as the men entered and hurried up the stairs leaving the door to the flat open for the three men making slow progress behind her.

 “Thank you Mrs. Hudson, no tea for me.” DI Lestrade smiled “I should get back home.” He turned to Sherlock “I expect to see you tomorrow to sign the paperwork and your statement.” He looked then at the shorter young man now seated carefully in the chair with the union jack pillow. “Doctor Watson hope you are feeling better by tomorrow.” John only half waved with his good hand, his glassy blue eyes trying to focus.

“Poor dear.” Mrs. Hudson tilted John’s face up, placing a soft hand to the cool forehead. “He looks so flushed but no fever.”

“No. Mrs. Hudson he was given a rather strong pain killer and muscle relaxant. This is Doctor John Watson. He is a uh-friend.” Sherlock cleared his throat removing his coat. “He was injured while helping subdue a criminal today. I thought it best to bring him here instead of taking him back to the invalid home.”

“Invalid home?” Mrs. Hudson’s reaction was exactly what Sherlock had predicted. The woman had very strong mothering instincts, Sherlock knew this first hand. Once she got her hooks in, she didn’t let go, yes. John would be unable to say no to her, few could.

“Yes. John just returned from Afghanistan, he was a Captain in the army. Just recovering from a shoulder wound-“

“And you took him out on a case?” Mrs. Hudson’s eyes narrowed and her hands were on her hips. Oh, dear, sometimes the best laid plans had potential to backfire. “Sherlock Holmes. I am disappointed in you young man. He hardly looks well and I’m sure his new injury will only stress the old one.” She shook a finger at him, “Well I hope you aren’t going to make him sleep on the uncomfortable couch.  You get this young man in your bed, I’ll bring some extra pillows.” Sherlock watched as she hurried down the steps, her voice still just as sharp.  “Honestly, I don’t know where your head is. For such a bloody genius-“

“Your mum is mad.” John whispered a slight smile on his chapped lips, his eyes closed.

“Come on John. Let’s get you in bed.”

“You haven’t even bought me dinner yet.” John murmured his body light and easily manipulated into standing.  Once the dark haired detective had John laying back on his bed, his heart sped up reminding him of another time he had to undress the younger man. His cheeks flushed and his hands had a slight tremor, he took a deep breath demanding his body to control itself.

Sherlock pulled the doctor’s boots off, almost disappointed over the absence of converse. He had left John’s coat in the back of Lestrade’s car.  Making a note to have the coat dry cleaned, he started to work John’s buttons loose. He cleared his mind in an attempt to keep his hands from shaking or his body giving in to temptation.

“Here this should fit him. It’s best not to leave him in his clothes. I’ll have them washed.” Mrs. Hudson thankfully entered with two large pillows with matching purple pillow cases.  She handed Sherlock a pair of  blue flannel pajama bottoms and a white t-shirt. Sherlock frowned, having never seen these items before.

“Oh, they used to be my husband’s. I cleaned the cupboard out last week and found some of his things, I was going to donate them, just haven’t gotten around to it. Anyway I did launder them they’re clean.”

John was already unconscious his body limp, Mrs. Hudson wasn’t shy. Sherlock had been injured a year ago, and Mrs. Hudson had kept him in clean clothes while he recovered. It had been insulting but she was hard headed and insisted he change his night clothes daily. She gently eased the young man’s arm from the sling to assist Sherlock in pulling the boys shirt off.

Sherlock was correct, John was too thin, he could count John’s ribs through the thin skin. The angry red wound just under John’s shoulder although healed was a mess of scar tissue, the puckered skin seemed to glare at him.

“Poor dear.” Mrs. Hudson winced “Don’t suppose he has any family?”

“Nobody close.” Sherlock replied. Hoping Mrs. Hudson didn't see the blush or his sharp intake of breath, when he pulled John's pajama bottoms on over red boxer briefs.

“We’ll you are a good friend to take care of him.” She patted Sherlock’s dark curls. “I’ll be downstairs if you need me.” Sherlock had positioned pillows under John so he wasn’t completely flat. He switched the beside lamp on, and moved off the bed slowly not wishing to disturb the exhausted Doctor.

“I love you.” John murmured in his sleep. Sherlock froze his heart falling into his stomach, eyes stinging. Was John thinking of Carter? Most likely he was, maybe Sherlock had been wrong, wrong about everything. Too late to turn back now, he couldn’t let him go so easily. Not again.

“Well that didn’t take long.” Mycroft’s voice snapped Sherlock out of his despairing thoughts. “I would have given it a month before you got him into your bed, but this-“

“Oh, brother. Jealousy doesn’t suit you. What would mummy say?” Sherlock pushed past his brother in the doorway switching off the bedroom light. Mycroft tensed as his brother moved into the kitchen, the British Government glanced briefly at the sleeping figure.

“We need to talk.” Sherlock growled. Mycroft nodded, pulling the door closed, sealing the soft lamp light within. Pushing back the teasing memories that sparked to life. This situation was all too similar to another, and Mycroft Holmes fought to keep the emotion from his expression and out of his eyes. He would keep that to himself. Just this once, just this one thing his brother wouldn’t know or deduce. But for how long?

Chapter Text

Chapter 34.  Something Forgotten

John felt like an ass, a judgmental ass. The argument with Sherlock playing over and over in his head. Did he push too hard? Was he demanding things he had no right to? He all but gave Sherlock an ultimatum, and they weren’t even really dating. Were they? What was this thing between them? John hated himself for acting like a lovesick schoolgirl.  By the end of his shift he tried texting once more receiving no reply he made a rash decision.

He knew this, hated this feeling, but it was a danger night. He thought of texting Mycroft, but that was a bit rash. He didn’t know for sure that’s what Sherlock would be up to. Still the cold look in the dark haired man’s eyes, the one that stubbornly projected independence. John couldn’t help but feel hurt that Sherlock also pointed out how he didn’t need John, or his meddling.

          John tried the flat, he had an extra key and of course no Sherlock. Where else would he go? Remembering Wesley John gave the red haired kid a call. Wesley’s phone was disconnected, probably hadn’t paid for more minutes. John headed to rough side of town and knocked on Wesley’s door. The hall of the building smelled of sick and urine, there was an older gentleman passed out at the end of the hall with a bottle of cheap whiskey cradled in his arms.

“I work tomorrow. Can’t a bloke get some sleep?” A tall man in a black hoodie answered angrily.

“Sorry.” John took a nervous step back, wondering if he was knocking on the wrong door. “I was just-is Wesley here?“

“Nah. Moved out! You come to buy-“ the man was at least John’s age but seemed older in years. His brown eyes scrutinized the blonde, John knew how suspicious some of Sherlock’s friends were.

“Oh, uh. Alright. I was looking for Sher-I mean Siggy.”

“Well he ain’t there left hours ago headed to the club.”

“Club?” John frowned, there were several clubs that he could be at. Maybe Harry would know which one he should start with.

“You aren’t his usual catch. Anyway it’s Club Fiasco. Happy hunting. Now go the hell away!”

And so here John was, with no idea where to look he’d texted Sherlock twice and the man refused to answer, calling sent John straight to voicemail. God what if he over doses? He was so close to staying clean almost two months, unless he was lying about it. Why would he have to lie?

 John smiled thinly, was this really the place Sherlock would come, it seemed too crowded for someone so anti social, anti big groups, anti touching anti anything. The young medical resident shook his head he had never really gone to any clubs, he preferred the more laid back casual atmosphere of a pub. This was a collision of sweaty bodies, molding themselves against others in a mad frantic dance.

 He felt out of place in the casual clothes he was wearing, the bouncer had stopped him at the door because he wasn’t dressed up enough. He had looked at his Jeans and blue polo. Of course he wasn’t, he had just got off shift at the A&E, he was bloody exhausted and he needed to find his boyfriend? Friend? Bloody hell what was he even doing?

 “Listen mate I really don’t want to be here, but I’m here looking for Sherlock-“ the bouncer took a step back his posture changing from an annoyed mountain of a man, whose arms where thicker than John’s legs. And at 5’7 the young blonde was well aware that most were taller than him. This was ridiculous was the man on steroids? He attempted to look somewhat unmovable, he had to find Sherlock before he did something stupid.  Now the great giant was looking at John with an anxious expression.

 “Sorry. I didn’t know you were-you don’t look like his usual companion. I haven’t seen him but I just got here. So you can go inside, free of charge, if you don’t mention I held you up at the door.”

 “Sure?” John replied slowly. The word companion rolled over in his head. Had Sherlock been here with someone else? Who? It didn’t matter, sure he shared a few intimate kisses with the bloke and they had almost- well it didn’t matter. What mattered was John wasn’t going to let him do this to himself.

 John nervously watched the bouncer the man had black slicked back hair and a black sleeveless shirt. Obviously the shirt was to advertise his corded arms, colorfully aligned with tattoos, a warning to any who challenged his authority. However to John's relief the man then unlatched the rope and allowed John through. The night was winding down but it didn’t look like anyone had told the occupants of the club, Club FIASCO. What an interesting name.

 He sorted through the crowd, sighing heavily, maybe Sherlock wasn’t here. After making a full turn of the room John didn’t see any signs of him in that impossibly expensive black button up shirt and designer jeans. Although he had mistaken three men and one woman for Sherlock, he tried to laugh at the awkwardness. He finally made his way to the bar.

 “What do you want?” The bartender a blond woman in a silver sequin top, a top with a swooping neck, by swooping it came down to a lazy v  exposing her navel, the sleeveless top barely covered her ample breast.  “Hello, hey! Kid don’t have all day. Buy something or sit somewhere else.” She glared at him.

Kid? John wasn’t much older than her, they could be the same age. How the hell did she get those Jeans on, where they painted on every morning? She continued to glare impatiently, when a thought came to him.

 “Uh, I’m looking for someone.” John yelled over the loud dance music.

“Yeah aren’t they all.” She scoffed.

“He’s tall, pale” Flawless skin, cheekbones that could cut glass, and gray eyes that looked right to your soul, digging out your secrets and reading the like one would a book. John snapped out of his little day dream and continued quickly “About six foot tall, dark hair, gray-blue eyes, Sherlock is his name.” This caused her to frown, she looked at John skeptically.

“Siggs? What do you-“

“I’m a friend. Just trying to find him.”

“Good luck.” She snapped, still eying him suspiciously.

 “Did you say you’re a friend of Siggys?” A deep male voice close to his ear asked, he jumped feeling the warm breath run over his skin, if he leaned over he knew he would feel the owners lips.

“Uh, yeah. I was looking for him. Do you know him?” John was standing facing the stranger curiously.

“Yeah, he should be around. I’m supposed to meet up with him, why don’t you come sit at my table.” John glanced over the man, he was dressed in a pair of black cargo pants, a black t-shirt, his blond hair was cut short and the gold eyes were looking at him as if John were a lamb that just walked into a tigers den.

Did tigers have dens?

“Hey Britt another one of these for my friend.” John started to protest but the man was pulling him over to one of the tables in the corner.

“This will give us a good view of the dance floor, should be able to spot him when he comes in.” John nodded awkwardly sliding into the booth. Ignoring the colorful drink placed in front of him. “Relax kid.”

Why was everyone calling him a kid? John was 24 going on 25 for god’s sake and finishing his residency. Doctor Watson had a nice ring to it. He’d excelled in his field, pushed him through medical school on scholarships and all that hard work here he was. Besides he’d been on his own since he was 16, he didn’t need to be treated like a child by everyone. 

“No thanks. Listen it was nice to meet you but maybe I should go. If you see him maybe you can tell him I was looking for him.”

“Awe, kid, I didn’t mean any offense. You just look younger than me. What are you 23? You’ll have to excuse an old soldier like myself but when you’re 30 everyone under 29 is a kid.” He gave such a sincere smile John sat back down. “Come on loosen up, here drink. Peace offering.” The blonde man pushed the drink closer to John.

“I’m not much of a drinker, I’m just trying to find my friend.” John yelled over the loud music.

“Ah but I bought it for you, your obligated.” He gave a mocking expression of hurt. Frowning sadly. The tall blond pushed the tumbler so close to John the younger man had to grab it before it toppled into his lap.  He took a sip to pacify the man. “So, kid do you have a name or do I just keep insulting you by calling you kid?” The blond man leaned back his muscular arms spread behind him on the top of the booth they sat at. John felt a warm rush if he leaned back it would look as if this stranger had an arm around him. He was starting to feel real uncomfortable, not wishing another Tyler like incident he thought it better to go.

“John, sorry. John Watson.” He offered his hand the taller man smiled happily taking the younger man’s hand in his own large work warn grasp.

“Sebastian but you can call me Seb everyone does. Now how do you know Siggy? You don’t look like his usual type.”

“So I’ve heard.” John took another drink trying not to look offended or jealous. He wasn’t some 13-year-old girl crushing on some upperclassman. "I better go-"

 "Awe. Don't go yet. He usually shows up around this time. " John glanced around, well five more minutes wouldn't hurt. Seb had a warm smile and deep voice, John relaxed a little. And the older man drew John into more neutral talk, before John realized he’d managed to finish just the drink, but things seemed to become blurry and the music muffled.

“Woah there light weight.” Seb smiled trying to keep John from falling out of the booth.

 “Oh, sorry. I guess I still don’t have much of a tolerance.” John murmured, this was odd, why did his body feel so heavy?

 “How about we make a little trip somewhere more comfortable?” John shook his head weakly.

“No I think I better go. I-“ he nearly stumbled out of the booth but strong hands steadied him, taking hold of his waist firmly.

 “Come on kid, party is just starting.”

“No, I’m-“ John tried to keep his eyes open, why was everything so hazy. Maybe a nap would be good; someone was offering him a strong shoulder to lean into. The sound of music became more and more distant, and the voice and face of the stranger was slipping in and out of focus and range. Oddly enough Ty’s face kept replacing Seb’s.  Alarm bells were ringing in John’s head but he couldn’t figure out just why.

Chapter Text

Chapter 35. something remembered 

“Come on now.” Sebastian grinned, this was all too easy. He almost felt bad about it, but feeling the kids ass against his crotch as he caught him from stumbling out of the booth, pushed any other thoughts away.

Oh, yes. This was going to be fun. He would get back at Holmes and have a good time, he leaned into the nearly unconscious twenty something year old, the innocence just rolled off of him.

This kid smelled so clean and Seb hadn’t had a virgin ass in a long time. That Holmes was idiot to not have already gone that far.

“No, I’m going.” John tried to pull away the cool night air of the alley was somewhat sobering. He was feeling sick, Seb could see it, but it was a losing battle. Seb always got what he wanted, and right now he would take from Sherlock, just like the bastard had taken from him.

 “Come on kid, don’t you want to party?” Seb urged gently.

 “I was looking-“ John took a deep breath.

 “Yeah, well how about this. You’re boyfriend fucked mine so I’m going to fuck his.” Sebastian could see his words didn’t reach the drugged kids mind, roofies the oldest trick in the book. This was a special brand a little stronger; Jim was always a genius with chemistry. Too bad, he almost wanted to kid to be awake for what he was going to do. He would like to hear him scream or even put up more than this pathetic struggle.

 John didn’t feel a thing, he barely registered the rough hands gripping his arms. “Stop Ty.” John’s voice was barely a whisper.  He’d tried to push, but his arms were so heavy, it wasn’t much of a fight. The younger man fought to stay awake, there was something he was supposed to do and this was keeping him from it. He had to find someone.

 “Stop fighting it.” Sebastian growled pushing the younger kid against the brick of the alley, contemplating on taking him right here. The blue eyes of his victim were glazed over trying to focus on him.

Sebastian grinned excitedly, god he could just squeeze and easily break the kids neck. Just to prove the point he did just that, causing the kids mouth to open and he gasped. Once more the blonde leaned into him in a sad attempt at pushing Seb away. Sebastian pressed his taller body into the drugged younger man.

“God you smell so good. You’re going to love what I’m going to do. Maybe I can teach you something you can pass on to that pretty boy of yours.”  He started to bring his lips down when someone pulled him back, his grip on the blond slacked and then he let go completely as he was jerked backward.

Sebastian swore angrily slamming the thinner stranger up against the alley wall, another was approaching. They looked like secret service, or maybe government. Great that’s all he needed, to be busted. He had just unloaded a whole shipment of heroine, he swore under his breath. How had he not seen these assholes coming. They must be watching him. Better get out of town for a bit. He ducked a punch and swung, knocking another man in a black suit and dark glasses down.

“This ain't over Watson.” The man growled and fled down the darkened alley.

Mycroft’s jaw clinched, he’d left the security of the car allowing his men to rush forward. Not usually one for leg work the tall government employee found himself running behind his men.

He let his security handle the stranger, and leaned down next to the crumpled body.

“John?” He held his breath pressing an unusually shaky hand to the boys bruised neck.

“Get him to the car.” Shaking his head he gently combed his fingers over the soft strands of blond hair.

“Sorry boss he got away.” Mycroft climbed into the black car with the tinted windows, he ordered his security team to search the alley. 

 “Doctor Watson?” Mycroft buckled the young man into the comfortable leather seat, bruises lined his neck but it seemed bruises were the worst of it.

“Not a Doctor yet.” The younger man whispered eyes still closed.

“ John? Hasn’t anyone ever warned you against taking a drink from a stranger?” Mycroft scolded, trying to keep the younger man upright. The British Government could only watch as John tried to focus his eyes. Those beautiful blue eyes were glassy and pupils dilated.

“Not much of a drinker.” John sighed. “I’m so tired.” His words seemed slurred. Mycroft didn’t reply he was too busy firing off angry texts to his worthless little brother.

He felt a sudden pressure against his shoulder the young Doctor had somehow managed to lean into him despite the damn seatbelt.  Mycroft sighed heavily, he didn’t bother move the boy, he looked quite content. The older Holmes just hoped the younger man didn’t become sick all over his expensive Armani suit.

Mycroft decided for security purposes and no other reason that he would bring John to his home, that and he would be sure there were no other side affects from the synthetic drug the younger man had so obviously been slipped.

“I’ll take it from here.” Mycroft waved his driver off, easily pulling the younger boy up from the back seat and into a standing position.

 Mycroft standing at an impressive 6’1 had the advantage of height, and he maneuvered the pliable body easily. “Come on Doctor that’s it. Walk.”

 “Oh, are we going for a walk?” John murmured breathlessly. “Sherlock?”

John thought he must be dreaming, Sherlock was holding him up, his warmth seeping through John’s clothes, into his very bones.

 “Come on John. Just a few more steps.” Sherlock urged. John felt like a prat obviously he had too much to drink, but it felt a little blurry. He tried to concentrate on the voice, the scent of spice and bourbon. When did Sherlock start drinking bourbon? It didn’t matter, none of it.

 Mycroft started to open the door of the guest bedroom, the young Doctor had somehow managed to maneuver himself in front of the taller Holmes, his arms went up around Mycroft’s neck.

Before the British Government could gently pushing the Doctor away and into a less intrusive position, the younger man caught him off guard.

 John stood on his tip toes and pulled Mycroft into a kiss. Warm lips, soft, supple pressed against his own thin tightly drawn mouth. The surprise had caused his lips to part in protest.

The younger man took advantage to deepen the kiss and Mycroft knew it was wrong, knew he should just break it off, pull away. But this, this was new, and not wholly unwelcome.

 After all hadn’t he fantasized about this since meeting his brother’s new fling. He would accept this, and neither one of them would mention it in the morning, partly because John wouldn’t remember it and Mycroft would never tell.

The younger man was pressing himself into the older Holmes, his breath warm, with a taste of mint and some of the fruity drink he’d had earlier.

Mycroft wasn’t aware how entwined they’d become until John pulled away leaning into the door breathlessly, nearly stumbling back. The warmth of John pressed into his thigh was gone, the shorter legs had been straddling Mycroft’s longer one.

Wide gray eyes met heavily lidded blue, “I love you.” The young man smiled sadly, when Mycroft didn’t reply right away. “It’s okay you don’t have to love me back.” He whispered breathlessly, his head coming to rest on Mycroft’s chest. "It's ok."

Mycroft felt as if he’d been stabbed through the heart. He brought a hand to cup John’s chin. Tilting the younger man’s head back, searching the flushed face. His thumb stroking John’s cheek gently, enjoying the feel of clean shaven skin.

“My brother’s an idiot John.” The younger man only sagged against Mycroft and he had no choice but to practically carry the other towards the bed, marveling at how light the boy was.

Yes, John was a boy. He was ten years younger then Mycroft, something the older Holmes kept reminding himself. It didn’t make letting the young Doctor go any easier. The British Government loathed to release his hold around the younger man’s waist. John sighed heavily, he allowed himself to be laid onto the soft bed.  His shirt had climbed up, Mycroft could see the bruises. He wondered how the hell John managed to get himself into these situations.

 “He said he knew where you were. You were going to be there. He knew you.” The younger man answered the unasked question, causing Mycroft’s jaw to clinch.

 “Stupid, trusting John. How do you make it to work without incident?”  Mycroft whispered allowing himself to push the blonde strands from John’s brow.

 Wincing at the bruising around the Doctors waist. He knew that John deserved better than any of this. Sherlock had a way of causing trouble, destroying everything in his path. John wouldn’t be any different than all the others.

 John had no real family to speak of, he had a sister she was a drunkard, and both his parents had died when the boy was young. Mycroft had read the younger man’s file. The older Holmes had wanted to know what made the younger man tick, and found it almost impossible to solve the puzzle that was John Watson.

 It intrigued Mycroft that John managed to maintain a bit of naiveté, despite his rough upbringing. The boy had this impossible belief that everyone could be saved. Sadly, Mycroft knew very well that the Holmes family was cursed; sentiment was not their strong point or even a possibility.

 Something’s were broken forever. It was best his brother ended this quickly, and before the Doctor became another casualty. Mycroft had relocated several of Sherlock’s partners, if they could be called that. However for some reason he couldn’t bring himself to have a hand in removing John. Even more disconcerting, he had started to look forward to John’s visits, or his kidnappings. The two would discus Sherlock and somehow John managed to always prolong the visit and Mycroft found himself listening to John’s day.

 “Sleep Doctor.” Mycroft removed the boy’s converse, pulling the blanket over the sleeping figure.

 “Sherlock you are an idiot.” He whispered to himself. The Doctor was easy going he was so hopelessly young with his whole life ahead of him. Mycroft  found himself wishing he had been the one to meet the younger man before Sherlock. Maybe a chance meeting on the street. Mycroft fantasized over the idea, he imagined himself in such a situation. Uncharted waters as it were. He would have still felt drawn to the warmth in John’s blue eyes. Maybe asked him to dinner, then the theater. Mycroft would have kept him from the world, held him close so nothing could tarnish what was still so gold.

 Sadly, Mycroft acknowledged he couldn’t love like John would want, and neither could Sherlock. They were made of ice, cold arctic winter ice, and John was warmth with the promise of spring. What was Sherlock doing with this young man?

 He touched his lips, still swollen from the press of their heated mouths, it had been a hungry response on his part. The smell of John was still clinging to him, and Mycroft swore to keep this memory close and tucked away.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 36. NEED TO KNOW

Mycroft took a seat in the chair across from the one John had occupied earlier. Sherlock paced near the window, the older Holmes patiently waited for what he knew was the beginning of a tantrum.

“ Seeing how I don’t have all night, I’ll start.” Mycroft broke the silence after five minutes of Sherlock just glaring.  “Why would you have John accompany you to a crime-“

“No!” Sherlock snapped, “No! You don’t get to reprimand me! Not this time. I don’t have to explain my actions. John getting injured wasn’t anything I planned on.”

 “Of course you didn’t plan on it. What did you think would happen when you took a man still in recovery from a serious wound onto a crime-“

 “How did John get that injury?” Sherlock cut his brother off again, his eyes cold and calculating.

 “Sherlock. You already know. He was injured in the line of duty-“ Mycroft rolled his eyes as if dealing with a petulant child.

“Mycroft!” Sherlock growled. “Tell me the truth!  I want to hear you say it.”

“Say what? That he was targeted by a sniper? That the fool ran out to save three men, three times he put his life on the line. Is that what you want to hear. Or would you like me to tell you that it wasn’t the enemy who shot at him? Do you want me to assuage your guilt? To tell you it wasn’t your fault? That Sebastian Moran was just conveniently out for blood and John just happened to stray into his path?”

“I want the truth Mycroft. Why wouldn’t you just tell me-“ Sherlock’s voice wavered, he sank down into the chair across from his brother. “Was this my fault?”

“Sebastian Moran was a sniper, did you know that?” Mycroft lowered his voice, shaking his head.

“I knew he was in the army and he had been deployed. At least that’s what Jim would always say.” Sherlock rubbed his temples not meeting his brother’s annoyed expression.

“Sherlock he targeted John. He targeted him because he held a grudge against you. A grudge over James Moriarty. He shot three men. Three good soldiers, he purposely made them bait to lure John out into the open. John doesn’t remember the incident. I had Moran questioned and he was far from remorseful. He made it clear John was his primary target, he was under the impression you and the Doctor were still romantically involved.”

Sherlock grimaced, “Where is he?”

“That’s classified.” Mycroft clutched his umbrella’s handle.

“There’s something else?” Sherlock narrowed his eyes, his brother tried to change the subject.

“What else is there brother? You should be glad, Moran did you a favor he gave you a second chance.”

“You have him in custody still?” Sherlock leaned forward in his chair his brother didn’t immediately reply.

“Sherlock let it go. I am handling the situation.” Mycroft snapped irritably.

“You don’t have him?” Sherlock held his breath. “How did he-“

“Moriarty broke him out. Yes Sherlock, Moriarty. You remember the man. He went from drug dealing to international criminal. He’s wanted in several countries for a number of crimes. Moran doesn’t have the connections, we know it was Moriarty who broke him out of a high security prison.”

“Idiots.” Sherlock growled.

“I have the best men on the trail. They have much invested in finding Moran, and when we find the sniper we’ll find Moriarty.” Sherlock scoffed at his brother’s statement. Then his eyes narrowed once more, nodding in sudden understanding. “Carter and someone else? A family member of one of the victims. Interesting.”

“Highly motivated and just as capable. Both men are in the Special Forces and will not give up until the man is found.”

“Is John safe?” Sherlock pushed this statement aside, selfishly not wanting to hear about John’s boyfriend or ex boyfriend whatever he was.

“Moran and Moriarty are far from England as far as we can tell they have no intention of returning.”

“There is still a threat.” Sherlock stated angrily.

“We have been monitoring all possible-“

“Does John know?” The younger Holmes felt sick.

“He knows Sebastian targeted him and the others but no he doesn’t know why. He doesn’t even remember meeting him.”

“He’s met him before?” Sherlock held his breath. “When?”

“When do you think?” Mycroft laid his umbrella across his lap, this was exactly the conversation he hoped to avoid.

“I don’t-“ Sherlock tried to think, to think of a time when Sebastian would have met John. As far as he knew they’d never crossed paths.

“I don’t blame you. I didn’t know the connection, until we questioned the bastard. He ran into John at a club, three years ago. That’s how he knows what he looks like.”

“The club-“ Sherlock thought he was going to be sick. This was his fault and when John found out he would hate him even more.

“Leave it Sherlock. Let me handle this. He doesn’t need to know anymore.” Mycroft made a dismissive gesture, standing to leave.

“He’ll remember. He-“ the younger Holmes felt like a drowning man.

“He won’t and he doesn’t. I already asked him several times if he knew Sebastian Moran. He doesn’t. Let me handle this. Just, just try to keep him close.”  Sherlock watched the flash of emotion cross his brother’s usually impassive face.

“Tell me.” Sherlock swallowed forcing his gray eyes to meet that of his brother’s. “Tell me what happened. How-how did John meet him?”

“I’ve already told you brother. Why are we revisiting this? You know as much as me, except we didn’t know the identity of the man then. John had no recollection; his drink had been drugged so it was expected. It was Sebastian who took John out to the alley with every intention of causing him some kind of bodily harm. It’s simple as that. My assistant had noticed him entering the club on the cctv, she made the call and my men brought him back to my home. You of course were high and sleeping it off in some dealers house.” Mycroft sighed heavily.

Sherlock could read something else in his brother’s face, something he was guarding. Had something else happened?

“You only told me John had been nearly mugged you-you never said anything else.” Sherlock’s mouth was dry, this was the bitterness of regret, he knew it so well.

“It’s in the past brother. All that matters is that a few bruises aside John was fine. And none the wiser. He doesn’t need to know anymore.”

“Mycroft. Is that all that happened? He wasn’t-“

“I assure you, my men showed up in time to prevent anything else. I told you he had been mugged because that was the assumed intention.” Mycroft lied. “I brought him home put him to bed. He slept it off. No harm-“

“You were there?” Sherlock frowned, and Mycroft looked startled. “I thought you said your men? Were you there? Why were you there?”

“Sherlock does it matter?” The younger Holmes watched his brother, that question that hung between them for years was demanding to be asked out loud.

“Do you-“Sherlock started to ask.

“It doesn’t matter Sherlock. No matter what you think my feelings are, the fact remains that it was you he loved.” Mycroft frowned. “As undeserving as you are. It was always you.”

“That’s why you had Carter reassigned. Not because he was negligent in his duties. It was because you saw the affection he had for John, that first time at the flat.”

“If you already know the answers why ask?” Mycroft leaned on his umbrella.  The British Government shook his head, reading the remorseful look in his brother's facial expression, and felt something in him snap. “How many chances must you be given little brother? “ The older Holmes reined his feelings in just as quickly as he released them. He took a deep breath, “Goodnight Sherlock.”

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 37.  Prospective

Mycroft had left and Sherlock remained seated, his head in his hands. This was his fault and when John found out there would be no forgiving. Not now, not ever. Any chance he had with John would be lost, he couldn’t keep this from the younger man. It was just a matter of time before he found out, although Mycroft would have taken steps to keep John from knowing the truth.

 More waves of guilt and self-hatred, the younger Holmes leaned back in the comfortable chair, it still smelled of John, his clean generic soap and deodorant.  Closing his eyes he remembered more things he had tried to delete.

 

Sherlock thought back to that night, those days were a bit of a blur but he did remember that morning after. Remembered how he feared the disappointment John would have. Recalled his own anger and self loathing, feelings he would never have directed inward. It was John’s fault the addict felt like this, and about a habit he’d had long before ever meeting that blond in the dingy bathroom.

 

~0~

Sherlock awoke from his drugged state, the sun pushing through the black curtains covering the stained windows. Where was he, looking around several other partygoers were passed out on the floor of the small flat in various stages of undress. Sherlock observed he’d at least managed to avoid the orgy. He checked the time on his mobile, noticing several missed calls and unread texts.

The first text was from John asking where he was. Were they supposed to meet? The ones from John showed his increasing concern. It was annoying to have to check in. John wasn’t his boyfriend, John wasn’t anything the weren’t dating. So why did he feel a pang of guilt over passing out on Spider’s floor, instead of sleeping at his own flat? If the addict had decided to stay home, the blonde would have come over after work and he would have wanted to sit and watch crap telly. Dull.

The text  said he was going to look for him at the club. Oh god that was at midnight? It was well past noon now. He meant to delete the messages from Mycroft only his head was pounding and his vision blurred. So instead he opened the message.

Where are you brother? John has been spotted at FIASCO.-MH

This got Sherlock’s blood flowing. Oh, god. That was Jim’s club-well he didn’t know who John was, or what he looked like. Right? He read on, his stomach turning.

Since you are too busy with destroying yourself, I have decided to intervene.-MH

 

John, he had to call John. He tried and no answer, just voicemail. John pick up you idiot.

 

Mycroft, he would call Mycroft.

“Hello brother mine.” Mycroft answered coolly. “I see you survived the night. Tell me was the high worth it?”

 “Where’s John?” Sherlock was already through the door and  half way down the stairs of the run down flat, onto the street he tried to get his bearings.

 “I’ll send a car. We will talk.” With that Mycroft ended the call.

 

~0~

 

Mycroft shook his head, sitting in the back seat of his government car he glared out the window. Damn his brother, damn him and his ability to get under his defenses. The little brat had known how to get a rise out Mycroft ever since he could talk.

 Why couldn’t he just accept that John was back in his life and he had a chance to mend the bridges he thought he burned? Sherlock could fix this, John obviously still had feelings for the younger Holmes. Bringing up the past would only cause problems and unearth things long since forgotten. The older Holmes decided he would call it a night and try and get some sleep. His mind kept bringing him back to that night and the day after.

~0~


Mycroft had come into the guest room to check on the younger man, when John started to stir Mycroft took a seat near the bed.

John's blonde lashes fluttered open, his forehead instantly creased, he obviously had a horrible headache. The  young man was pushing his face further into the soft pillow. Mycroft could tell almost immediately when John realized he wasn’t sleeping on his sister's couch.

“Good morning Doctor.” This caused the young medical resident to flinch.

“Too loud.” The blonde croaked, his voice dry and raspy.

He thought himself to have a hangover, Mycroft frowned the boy was easy to read. John was reassuring himself that he wasn’t a drinker, he tried to work through last night, his memory escaping him.

“John. Drink this it will help.” Mycroft  offered the confused young man some paracetamol and a cool glass of water. With shaky hands John accepted sitting up he drank the liquid down, his eyes clasped shut.

“Thanks. God. Worst hangover ever. Please tell me I wasn’t dancing on tables.” He groaned handing the glass back to Mycroft, laying back into the soft pillows.

“No, John there was no table dancing." Mycroft replied dryly.

"Crap where’s my shoes? How did I? Oh, do I even want to know?” The younger man squinted, and rolled onto his stomach and hugged the soft blanket and fluffy pillows.

“Mycroft?” he groaned.

“It would seem so.” The British Government cocked an eyebrow.

“Is Sherlock alright? I can’t really remember yesterday too well.” John looked around.

“It’s the side affects of the drug you were slipped. You know you’re a little old for me to have to ask you if your parents ever told you not to take candy from strangers.”

“Candy?” He rubbed his temples. “Oh, shit. I was drinking. Didn’t seem-“ he paled sitting up looking around. “How did I get here then?” Mycroft could see the stream of thoughts running through the young mans head; it took everything in him not to laugh at the comedy of it.

“Don’t worry Doctor your integrity is still in tact.” John looked ready to be sick, most likely he was feeling sore all over. Mycroft continued to watch John closely. “I advise you to be a bit more careful, next time. If there is one, that is. The situation could have been worse.” John was examining his forearm, he was bruised and scraped up his neck hurt.

“Bathroom-“ he managed Mycroft pointed to a door to the left, on steadier legs then he thought he would have John pushed into the bathroom to lose whatever contents he had in his stomach. When he shakily reemerged Mycroft had some warm tea ready for him. The young medical resident sank back down onto the soft bed. “I’ll spare you the details John. You are at the most unharmed. The man who tried to mug you unfortunately got away. Can you tell me anything about him? His name? Perhaps any facial abnormalities?”

“ Sorry. I really don’t remember much.” He rubbed his temples placing a pillow over his face. “Ugh. I swear it’s starting to become a bit ridiculous. The trouble I manage to attract!” John was mumbling into the pillow he held over his face. Mycroft sighed at such theatrics, pulling the pillow out of John’s hands.

“Doctor really. Such dramatics. I think my brother is rubbing off on you.” John threw an arm over his eyes, exhaling heavily. “Sorry, my head is killing me and I feel like an ass.” John groaned.

“Perhaps some tea then? Toast if you could manage?” The British Government was sitting in an antique wing backed chair. John squinted at the older Holmes, trying a smile.

“Thank you Mycroft. I don’t know what happened but I’m guessing you rode in like a night in shining Armani.” He laughed to himself.  “I was looking for Sherlock-“

“John what is it with you and my brother. You have the markings of successful man; you will excel at whatever you decide to do. My brother is a spoiled child with a twisted sense of entitlement. You think you can save him from this-“

“I have to try. He is a good man Mycroft and-“

“You love him?” Mycroft sighed sadly, John flinched his cheeks blushing.

“He is incapable of Love, John. We Holmes all are incapable. He will never reciprocate.” The older Holmes kept his voice eerily steady.

“It’s not like I can shut it off like a switch. I’m not built that way.” John replied softly, laying his forearm over his eyes.

“Unfortunately John we are. I’m not trying to be unkind or cruel. I’m only trying to save you hardship in the end.” John could read the sincerity in the the older Holmes’ voice, Mycroft hoped John believe him. The younger man didn’t look over at him.

“Thanks Mycroft I’ll try to convince myself of that. I better get going. If you see him will you tell him I was looking for him.” John’s stomach clinched, he laid back down. Getting up was going to be difficult.

“John he was passed out at the flat of his dealer.” John recoiled. “You can’t save him John. Something’s are broken beyond repair.”

“Not always.” John smiled easily, he rolled onto his side, studying the British Governments cool expression.

“You are sickly optimistic.” Mycroft rolled his eyes, standing to straighten his expensive gray suit.

“And you are depressingly pessimistic.” John countered with a smile.

”I am a realist.” Mycroft was glad John's eyes were clasped shut once more, because he couldn't remove his eyes from the younger man's half parted lips.

“And I am an idealist. So I say we agree to disagree. I better get going while I still have some dignity left."  John winced trying to sit up again, his equilibrium still affected.  Mycroft wondered if John had seen the bruises on his hips and neck when he'd run into the bathroom.

The boy's cheeks burned red, was he embarrassed? “Uh Mycroft. Thank you. You’re a good friend.” John surprised the older man by turning onto his side once more and  offering his hand. Blue eyes squinting against the pain in his aching head.

“Just for the sake of staying out of trouble John Watson I suggest you rest some more. As a medical man, you know quite well your system will need a bit longer to expel the drug.” Mycroft lightly accepted the offered hand. However trying to ignore the heat that ran up his arm causing the British Government to hold his breath, proved to be a bit more difficult to disregard.

 

Chapter Text

 CHAPTER 38. NO OBJECTIONS

 John pulled out the deep sleep, like a drowning man coming up for air. The remnants of his dream seemed just out of reach. Leaving him with the customary confusion he had grown used to upon awaking.

 This one, at least hadn’t left him trembling and bathed in his own sweat. Taking another deep breath he came to a sitting position. For a minute he thought he was back in his tent. Except the pillows weren’t regulation, as in flat and without any fluff to them. Taking another deep breath made him very much aware of the smell of coffee and spice. This very familiar scent surrounded John, bringing back memories, some not all together bad.

 He winced at the sharp pain that shot through his shoulder and down his body, taking a deep breath he waited for the ache to pass. To his surprise someone had propped him up onto several soft pillows. His arm was in a blue sling and he was definitely not wearing his own clothes. The ex soldier moved off the bed, glancing around the sparsely furnished room.

 A tall oak dresser, a closet and a poster of the periodic table. John could hear the soft one sided chatter through the door. He wondered if it were the telly or radio, he moved across the soft carpet. His cheeks burned red when he glanced down at the pajama bottoms and unfamiliar shirt. Despite the slight ache and stiffness of his shoulder he felt relatively rested. The light chatter grew closer as if just outside the door. The ex soldier hesitated before opening the door with his good hand.  Peeking out he could see a kitchen, the table was cluttered with what looked like a mad scientist’s chemistry set.

 “Really the mess you made!” The woman who had been speaking earlier breezed by a confused John Watson.  “Sherlock I am not your housekeeper-“ the fragile looking elderly woman shook her head. The purple dress she wore seemed like something a gran would wear. She went to the sink and started the water.

 “You young man, are an absolute-“ she paused and turned over to see John standing and watching her with the bluest eyes. Mrs. Hudson was reminded of a day lying in the grass as a child staring up at a cloudless sky in her mother’s garden. The sky had seemed so clear and blue, much like those eyes watching her now.  “Oh-Doctor Watson you’re awake.”

“Uh-excuse me. I don’t mean to sound –uh who are you?”

Mrs. Hudson smiled brightly ignoring the question. “Oh! And with manners. Finally, he’s brought home a good one. And a Doctor.” She took John’s good arm. “Now you come along take a seat dear, unfortunately the table in here is completely useless what with god knows what kind of dangerous chemicals! You just sit here, at the small card table and I’ll bring you some breakfast.”

“Breakfast-I-“ John tried to get his brain to work, but the kindly looking woman had him sitting at a small table in the corner of the kitchen confused as all hell.

“Omelet I think. A nice vegetable omelet.” She placed a warm cup of tea in front of him. “There you go dear you start on that. Here is some paracemtamol for the ache.” John gratefully accepted.

Sherlock watched unseen from the window, John was preoccupied with a chattering Mrs. Hudson. She could be rather bothersome with her pestering, insisting that one eats. John’s hair was a bit disheveled he still looked pale, he’d slept somewhat decently.

“Uh-thank you ma’am but-“ John tried to make his voice sound less unsure and more firm, but the older woman easily pushed any protest aside.

“Don’t you dare try and tell me you aren’t hungry. Now eat up dear.” Mrs. Hudson placed a plate in front of John.

“Thank you-“

“Mrs. Hudson dear. I am the landlady,” She looked over her shoulder in Sherlock’s direction “Not the housekeeper.” Then she was gone taking up a basket of dirty laundry.

 

“Slept well Doctor Watson?” Sherlock could have kicked himself for such an obvious question. Why did he say Doctor Watson so formal, he could call him John couldn’t he? That wasn’t so hard, even with John looking at him with those wide unreadable blue eyes.

 

“Uh-yes. Where are my clothes?”

“Mrs. Hudson took them to be cleaned. She said not to leave you in your street clothes. She’s the one who produced those abominable pants and shirt you have the misfortune of wearing. I apologize but it seemed it would fit your stature better.”

“Oh-did. Uh did you-” John cleared his throat putting his fork down, his face flushing. “Did you dress me?” John didn’t look over in Sherlock’s direction, in fact he found something very interesting to stare at on the wall in front of him.

“Don’t be so shy dear. You’re a doctor. We got you into those pajamas without a struggle.” John winced his face burning bright red. Well he could at least find some comfort that it wasn’t just Sherlock to see him in his boxers.  “You eat up.” She poured John another cup of tea, “I’m washing clothes, when I finish yours, I’ll get them back up here to you.”

 

“Thank you Mrs. Hudson. That was very kind of you. But I can wear them as they are-” The older woman smiled cheerfully ignoring John’s protests.

“Such good manners. Maybe you can get this one to follow suit.” She only shook her head, patting John’s good arm softly and taking her leave.

 

“I would eat if I were you. Mrs. Hudson can be very adamant about these kinds of things.”  Sherlock glared down at the half piece of eaten toast in his hand holding it up for John to see.

 

It was then that the tension lifted, and Sherlock heard something he thought he wouldn’t ever hear again. Starting at a low rumble then a quick intake of air, John threw his head back and started laughing. His shoulders trembled despite his injury, and he put a hand to his stomach, eyes watering. Sherlock frowned as if John had gone mad, perhaps he’d hit his head or the painkiller had yet to leave his system.

 

“I’m sorry.” He sniffed wiping his eyes, trying to catch his breath. “I’m sorry. I was-it’s just.” He shook his head, attempting to breathe steadily.

 

“What?” Sherlock frowned again.

“It’s just I never thought I’d see the day that you Sherlock Holmes would be taking orders from your housekeeper or uh landlady.”

“She has a way of making my life difficult if I do not comply. It’s for the sake of peace in the flat.”  Sherlock’s left eyebrow raised incredulously, John stifled another fit of giggles. He hadn’t had a laugh in a long time and it felt good, despite the pain in his shoulder. His stomach growled in protest, reminding him that there was a hot plate of food on the table. Best not bring on the wrath of the housekeeper/landlady Mrs. Hudson. If Sherlock Holmes was afraid of her, then it was wise for John Watson to just comply, for the sake of peace.

 

“John-“

“Sherlock-“

Sherlock tried to break the silence again, except both men spoke at the same time.

“You go on.” Once more dual voices.

“Go ahead. Sorry.” John gestured to Sherlock who was moving to sit at the small table in the corner. He took the chair opposite of John, his plate of toast placed to his left in disgust. Sherlock’s phone rang he recognized the number to be the morgues, Molly must have left her mobile at home again.

“Excuse me John-“

“Go ahead take it.” John replied sipping his tea, he watched the dark haired man through blond lashes.

The man was still beautiful, even more so in a tight fitting black suit and a blue silk shirt. The sound of Sherlock’s voice was like warm honey and his cupid’s bow lips formed an irritated grin. John felt the urge to run his hands through those messy dark curls. No, John Watson. You will not fantasize about your ex boyfriend. You are not going to be a swooning schoolgirl. He doesn’t look like an addict, he’s put on a little bit of weight. Well good for him. It’s not my business. We aren’t ever going to be anything. Still something, different about him. What is it? John pushed these thoughts away.

“Alright. I’ll be right there.”  Sherlock turned to John with a pleading look. “I have an arm to pick up. If I don’t get it by noon then it’s forfeit. Mrs. Hudson will have your clothes to you. Just eat, make yourself at home. I’ll be back in an hour. If you’re gone before I return. Thank you for your assistance John.”

“Uh-yeah. And thanks for, well for the adrenaline rush then letting me pass out in the car, it couldn’t have been easy dragging me around. Hope I didn’t-“ Sherlock frowned, John was pushing a piece of omelet around on his plate.

“John, you walked a bit drunkenly but nothing Lestrade and I couldn’t handle. Besides it’s Lestrade’s fault you’re injured at all.”

“Right. I have a low tolerance for pain medication.”

Sherlock nodded in reply ”I remember.” Another awkward silence and Sherlock was pulling his scarf on and coat.  The consulting detective dashed out the door. On his way out he yelled to Mrs. Hudson that he’d be back.

 

Martha Hudson smiled mischievously, that boy wasn’t going to ruin this. The Doctor was a definite catch, and a Doctor. What mother wouldn’t want their child to marry a Doctor. She wasn’t Sherlock’s mother but he was the closest she’d come to a son. So she straightened her dress, taking the tray of fresh biscuits and scones heading for the stairs.

That young man looked absolutely worn down. Who was taking care of him? Young men these days so careless with their health, well she’d see to him today. And of course he wasn’t going to go anywhere until his clothes were washed but she had so much to do around the house it might slip her mind.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 39. pink

 

Sherlock had returned several hours later, he’d lost track of time. The arm was in a cooler on ice, the cabbie had given him a suspicious look when Sherlock loaded it into the back seat.

 

Molly had a fresh body in, and Sherlock wanted to experiment with bruising. The experiment took longer than he thought. He hurried out the door with cooler after several hours of beating a corpse with a riding crop.

Sherlock’s heart pounded in his chest the whole agonizingly slow ride home. He knew it was foolish to hope John was going to be waiting for him when he returned. Then there was the matter of Moriarty and Moran, he had to tell John. This caused his stomach to curl and knot just thinking about it. John had every right to hate him, every right to lash out. Sherlock welcomed it, yes John should punch and kick him, anything.

This was his fault, John’s injury, John’s joining the army and nearly dieing. The sunshine had gone from John’s eyes, instead a cold cloudy sky moved in. Sherlock was so lost in thought he almost forgot to pay the idiot cabbie, he climbed the steps to his flat the cooler swinging at his side. Just as he pushed the door to the flat open, he heard two voices within. Right away he identified Mrs. Hudson’s then the second was warm and deep. John, it was five hours later and John was still there? John was still here?

Sherlock entered the flat, needing proof that he wasn’t just hearing things. There in the comfortable old chairs sat John still in his borrowed pajamas, hot cup of tea in his good hand. He was laughing with Mrs. Hudson, the two were watching some ridiculous woman on the telly giving beauty advice.

“That Connie knows what she’s talking about John. I wouldn’t mock her. She once suggested a-“ Mrs. Hudson turned hearing the door open. “Oh, Sherlock your back. Oh, young man if that’s another body part-“

 

“Mrs. Hudson don’t you have laundry to do?”  Sherlock cut her off, and the older woman made a show of putting a hand to her cheek.

“Oh, dear. John I’m so sorry I’ve forgotten all about your clothes. Don’t you worry it’ll take just a moment to get them washed and dried.”

“It’s fine Mrs. Hudson I hadn’t noticed how late it is. I can really wear the clothes-“

“Nonsense. I couldn’t let you go out with dirty trousers and blood on your shirt. Now you sit tight, I’ll be right back. Finish your lunch dear.” The older woman gave him a warm but stern look. Sherlock watched amused, that woman was quite the adversary.

 “Yes, ma’am.” John replied eyeing the second half of the turkey sandwich the older woman had made him. He hadn’t eaten this much in a long time and his stomach threatened it couldn’t accept anymore.

The landlady shook her head at the tall detective, neither man caught the  smile on her face as she left the room. Quite pleased with herself, very much so.

“Sorry. I did mean to leave-“ John started, standing up.

“No. I rather hoped I would be able to uh-say goodbye.” There was the awkward silence again. Sherlock shifted from left to right foot, the ice in the cooler swishing.

“Wait did you say arm?” John’s face was scrunched up in confusion.

“Oh, yes. Molly works at the Morgue and she leaves all the interesting body parts for me. I’m currently running an experiment on the muscles and tendons in the hand and wrist.” John listened as Sherlock made his way into the kitchen removing his scarf and coat.

 

John was able to follow the conversation because he was a doctor, to Sherlock’s great pleasure he didn’t have to dumb down any of the terms. The two spent the span of two more hours discussing different topics all case related. Sherlock was explaining to John the most recent case he had involving a man and his brother. The bruising on a corpse and how he was able to deduce the killer’s identity from the placement of the bruises alone.

 

“That’s brilliant. ” John remarked, his eyes wide in awe. For an instant the two fell into an easy exchange, completely oblivious to the passing time.

“Quite extraordinary.” John realized he was staring at Sherlock and he turned away blushing. Mrs. Hudson returned with John’s clothes, breaking the tension with her easy nature.

 

Sherlock hated the fact John would be leaving, he watched the Doctor leave to change in the bedroom. His heart sinking, it felt so good to be around John, to hear his voice and see him smile. The way he had said extraordinary, without hesitation or malice. Standing at the window Sherlock gloomily watched as a police car pulled up, a familiar looking gray haired DI jumping out.

“Oh Sherlock did you read about those suicides in the paper. Three. How sad.” Mrs. Hudson was collecting the dishes from the coffee table, taking them to the kitchen.

“Four.” Sherlock stated.

The tall detective leaned back on the balls of his feet turning just as the DI entered the flat breathlessly, he held John’s newly cleaned jacket.

Handing it to Sherlock he explained this fourth victim and the note.

“Will you come?” The man’s gravelly voice came across almost as  a plea.  This sent a bolt of excitement through Sherlock, he remained calm not wishing to express an over eagerness, knowing how touchy the DI was about these things.

John emerged fully dressed sometime during the exchange between the DI and the consulting detective. After Lestrade left Sherlock smiled brightly, “John, how would you like to see another body? I need your assistance again. Oh another murder, it’s Christmas. Mrs. Hudson we wont be back till late.” John didn’t have a chance to answer Sherlock was already pushing him into a cab.

After a quick exchange with a particularly nasty woman, a Sergeant Donovan they were making their way up a spiral staircase in an abandoned house.

Lestrade watched John lean over the body, then the exchange between Sherlock and the Doctor. The DI felt like an intruder, the two were smiling. The divorced and jaded DI couldn’t help but hope whatever this was it would become something more. Perhaps there was hope for the rest of the single cynics. After all if Sherlock Holmes self diagnosed sociopath, and ex addict could find love, why couldn’t the rest of them? 

He snapped out of these thoughts just as Sherlock started shouting about a suit case, nearly dancing out of the room leaving the DI and John more than few steps behind.

“Pink!” Sherlock yelled as he disappeared, leaving the DI to look at John and shrug.

The Doctor shook his head, “Same old mad genius.” John continued on his way down the steps. He knew not to take it to heart being forgotten, Sherlock was like a greyhound chasing a rabbit. He couldn’t help but laugh, despite the cool weather and his aching shoulder John Watson was in a good mood.

 Out on the street he came face to face with the rude Sergeant from earlier. The woman with the caramel skin and frizzy hair, she didn’t even attempt to be cordial. She went straight for the kill, blocking John’s path.

“Who are you? You’re not his friend. Sherlock doesn’t have any friends. He’s a freak.” The crude woman ran a quick disproving eye over the thin Doctor. “Are you even a Doctor?” John’s eyes narrowed but before he could say anything one of the constables passing by walked between the two. The tall constable miss stepped and dropped a heavy forensics kit on the already irritable woman’s foot.

 She started to curse and berate the young constable. John was about to offer his assistance but she was limping over to where that awful rat faced Anderson was standing. The annoying man was arguing with one of his own men, probably over something petty or just out of frustration.

The constable continued to apologize, wincing sympathetically as the woman cursed him and hobbled away. He then turned around with a far from remorseful grin. “Uh, Doctor Watson.” The younger man offered his hand. “I am glad to meet you. The name’s Jason, Jason Clarke. You helped my partner yesterday. Marcus Wright. The one day I call in sick he goes and gets himself stabbed. He told me what you did.” The dark haired young man shook John’s good hand. “Thanks for taking care of him, he’s like a little brother to me.” John was a little uncomfortable with praise, he accepted it quietly. “Sorry about your arm.”

“Oh, I only aggravated an old injury nothing to worry about. Please send my regards to your constable Wright. Tell him he better be staying off that leg.”

“Will do sir.”

“Oi! Clarke!” one of the other constables came jogging up, “What are you doing with the kit? Henry’s been looking for it. You know how those forensic guys get if we touch their equipment.”

“Excuse me Doctor Watson. Duty calls.” Constable Clarke smiled sheepishly, John couldn’t hold back a laugh. The Constable hurried off, and John asked another officer where the main street was. The man pointed him to the street and John decided he’d call a cab and get back to the Invalid home. As much as he loathed returning, all good things must come to an end.

However someone had other plans, he didn’t have a chance to hail a cab, when a black car with tinted windows pulled up next to the sidewalk he stood on.

The door opened and John knew from past experience it was better not to argue, he climbed in not surprised to be sitting next to a brunette with a blackberry.

“I don’t suppose you’ll tell me where we are headed?” she didn’t reply.

“Of course not, where would the fun be in that?” John buckled his seat belt and thought he caught a brief smile from the brunette.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 40. PUSHES

 

Mycroft watched as John was lead into his office at the Diogenes club.

 

“Touch me and I’ll put you on your back again.” John growled side stepping the man escorting him in. The bulky agent was holding a tissue to his bleeding nose, he scowled at the young blonde. Even with an injured shoulder the younger man had possibly broken the larger man’s nose. Impressive. Mycroft thought to himself.

 

“Thank you Felix. That will be all. Please have Hector take a look at that for you.”

 

“Yes sir.” The agent glared at the younger man who gave a innocent shrug. Felix had only meant to lead the shorter man into the room. He remembered the little runt, he was the younger Holmes’s little boyfriend. Felix could really care less, his job was to get the kid in the boss’ office.

 

 This John Watson wasn’t moving fast enough. In the past Felix would have just lead him in the right direction with a strong hand on his shoulder, then forcing him to sit in the assigned chair.

However as soon as he made a move to touch the runt’s shoulder, the younger man had him on his back and blood was gushing from his nose. Felix made the mistake of thinking this blonde young man was the same that had been brought in a few years back clutching a messenger bag. No. How wrong he was. This kid had cold eyes and looked anything but vulnerable.  And the man had one good arm! How embarrassing.

 “John was that necessary?” Mycroft frowned.

“Sorry Mycroft it was reflex.” John replied easily.

“Tea?” the British Government offered.

“No, thanks. Let’s get to it Mycroft what’s this about?” John leaned back in the comfortable chair. He hadn’t run into the British Government since the hospital.

“I see the army has made you impatient.”

“No, age has.” John snapped back, Mycroft raised an eyebrow leaning back in his own chair, hands steepled under his chin. A familiar Holmes trait, so much a like those brother’s yet so different.

“Hardly doctor, four years doesn’t make you any wiser. It’s no matter. I wished to speak to you about Sherlock.” John rolled his eyes, sighing heavily.

“I believe just as before it’s none of your business.” What was it with Mycroft he felt the uncontrollable urge to play overbearing big brother.

“John. I’m only looking out for my brother’s interests. He’s been clean for several years now and I don’t wish to cause him a relapse anytime soon.”

John frowned, so Sherlock had managed to kick that habit, what else was different about him?

 

“We’re both adults here John. So I’ll get to the point.” Mycroft’s cool piercing artic gaze attempted to breakdown the younger man. The Doctor met his eyes with his own chilly unreadable stare. This was a bit unsettling, an open challenge. 

 

“Soon I hope.” John made gave a quick wave of his hand.

“John. I understand my brother has taken it upon himself to become reacquainted with you. I never understood your friendship with the insufferable little-“ Mycroft gave a quick cough and cleared his throat. “Excuse me. What I mean is. John what is the nature of your relationship with my brother?”

“Mycroft you know the answer I’m going to give. It never changes. It’s none of your business. But for the record I am only helping him with the medical aspect of his cases.” John’s cheeks seemed to color, Mycroft caught how John’s breath caught and he broke eye contact. There was the sign he had been looking for.

 

 “John. My brother has come a long way. I only ask that you be straight with him. He still has a hard time expressing emotion and identifying them. That said, I must ask you. If you are still involved with Lt. Major Carter then please drop your acquaintance with my brother. I will not have him become a slave to his emotions like a puppy seeking affection.”


”Alright that’s enough.” John was on his feet. “Mycroft once again you forget about boundaries. I’m not surprised. Since I consider you a friend I’m going to not punch you in the face. Any relationship I have with Lt. Major Carter or Sherlock past, present, or future is none of your concern. Jesus Mycroft, really you would think after three years you would get it. Your brother is far from a puppy. How dare you refer to him that way, he’s actually matured these last three years, looks like he did some growing up. You however-“

“Forgive me John. I am just concerned for my brother. I meant no disrespect.” Mycroft stated pulling an almost believable apologetic look. Had John been the same young man he was on their first meeting, then he would have fallen for it.

“Cut the crap Mycroft. We both know you don’t mean it. When it comes to your brother your ruthless. It’s fine. I understand. However that doesn’t mean you get to snoop around my life.”

“John you never seemed too scared of me.” Mycroft sighed in exasperation.

“You aren’t very scary. No offense.” John rolled his eyes.

“Ah, the bravery of a soldier. Bravery is just another word for stupidity.”

“So I’ve been told.” John replied with a grin, refusing to take the bait. His phone pinged on reflex he checked his text, it was from Sherlock, he couldn’t help but smile.

“Sorry John, am I holding you up?” The Doctor slowly stood up.

“Yes actually. Mycroft as always it was good to see you.” John started to leave then he paused and turned around. “Really Mycroft thanks for what you did for me in the hospital. I will repay you someday. I know you have the best of intentions but as a friend-“ John’s phone pinged again almost impatiently.

Mycroft observed the change in John’s expression, a smile, a genuine smile.

“Well then Doctor, I’ll let you go. Anthea will be sure to escort you where you need to be. John it’s good to see you are feeling better. If you ever need anything don’t hesitate to call.” John nodded rewarding Mycroft with another genuine smile. The British Government cursed the sharp intake of breath, the pounding of his heart, all so betraying.

 

“I have a feeling whether I need help or not you’ll still show up. A knight in shining Armani.” John shook his head not catching the sudden loss of color to the British Governments face. “Goodnight Mycroft. Take care. You really should eat more, you’re looking a bit thin, you could use a stone or two.

Trust me I’m a Doctor, I know these things.” John left Mycroft standing a sad grin held in his expression. He allowed this, no one was around to witness his brief moments of sentiment.

It was good this reaction from John. He had referred to Carter as the Lt. Major, but he had said Sherlock’s name. Said it and when Mycroft insulted his own brother the Doctor predictably challenged his opinion.

“Well little brother, don’t mess this up.” Mycroft poured himself another scotch and sat back in his chair.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 41.Comfort

 John tried calling Scotland Yard the operator was refusing to transfer him directly to the DI. The Doctor nearly chucked his phone out the window of the cab, in frustration.

“Can you please tell him John Watson called? It’s an emergency!” he growled hanging up the phone. “Can’t you go any faster!” He shouted at the cabbie. The man didn’t reply, John clung to the laptop resting on his knees, the battery was nearly dead. Sherlock wasn’t answering his phone, and John’s instincts were screaming that something was horribly wrong. Well the obvious reason that Sherlock had gone off with the damn murdering cabbie! It had to be the cabbie, it fit. Sherlock had asked; Who hunts out in the open? There you go, unnoticed, Sherlock would probably be congratulating the maniac on his cleverness.  John wished he had the DI’s personal number, someway to get a hold of him.

Then it hit him, “Please be there, please be there.” John dug in his back pocket pulling his wallet out. There wasn’t much in the worn leather wallet, but a few quid and his bank card, then some old recipes, there it was, ignored over the three years. A card, with a number on it, “Please be the same.” John dialed and the familiar grainy voice answered. Just as the cab came to a stop.

 ~0~

Hearing the cabbie say Moriarty’s name made Sherlock feel suddenly sick. The serial killer died on the floor of that school, and the police rushed in, as usual, late. Idiots. Lestrade forced him to sit in the back of the ambulance with a hated orange shock blanket. His mind was realing, Moriarty was here in London. How did Mycroft not know? Or did he know? Who would shoot the cabbie? Lestrade of course asked that same question, Sherlock felt himself looking around and across the street his eyes met John’s. The shorter blonde still had an arm in a sling, he was standing off to the side appearing so innocent. Of course he would be unnoticed, he was wearing jeans and his checkered shirt, his black jacket over it.

 “Sherlock?” Lestrade growled “I’m not done with you-“

“Oh, what? I’m in shock I have the blanket.” Sherlock snapped over his shoulder.

“Alright fine. Come in tomorrow.” Sherlock continued on, removing his orange shock blanket tossing it aside. Lestrade was thinking of the description Sherlock had given him, a man acclimated to violence, a crack shot, military back ground.  He watched the blonde smile slightly and shake his head, Sherlock’s shoulders were tense. Then Sherlock smiled and laughed, really laughed. Several heads turned doing a double take, wanting to be sure they were really hearing this. Then the two men started to walk down the street together, almost close enough to be holding hands. Lestrade grinned, forgetting about the shooter. “Maybe there is hope for us yet.”

~0~

John dug into the Chinese take away, he hadn’t felt this hungry in a long time. He leaned back in the comfortable chair. The two hadn’t said a word since they returned to the flat. John felt a slight pang in his shoulder but that aside he felt so alive.

 

“John?” Sherlock was first to talk.

“Sherlock?”

“Are you alright?” he tried to deduce John’s expression. “I mean you just killed a man.”

“Yes, but he wasn’t a very good man.”

“No he wasn’t.”

“And a bloody awful cabbie.” Both men laughed at John’s remark.

“If you don’t want to return to the invalid home there is an extra room upstairs with a bed and pillows. You are welcome to stay another night.” Sherlock tried to keep his voice even.

“Well I have no urge to get into the back of a cab for  while. If it’s not imposing.” John didn’t want to sound desperate, but he really didn’t want to return to the depressing bedset.

“I’m sure Mrs. Hudson will be thrilled. The woman is obsessed with feeding everyone she comes into contact with. Perhaps having you here tomorrow morning will keep her from focusing on me.”

“Really? So I’m the sacrificial lamb.”

“I believe the colloquial saying is ‘take one for the team.’”

John had at this moment started to drink the last of his tea when Sherlock said this.The dark haired man's face scrunching up when he spoke as if he were trying to figure out a puzzle, and John started to laugh, unfourtunely he still had tea in his mouth, he coughed nearly choked on it. Sherlock gave him an oddly intense stare.

“Sorry. I forgot how humorous you can be.” Sherlock continued to look at him confused. “Oh, forget it. I’m going to uh head up to bed. Do you think Mrs. Hudson will very much mind if I wear those bed clothes once more?”

“I believe, you will find she washed and folded them. They will be on the bed upstairs.” John was going to ask how she knew he would stay the night but gave up on it. As he started to leave the room Sherlock was on his feet.

“John.” He stammered.

“Yeah?” The Doctor stretched with his good arm, yawning.

“Thanks for today.”

“No, Sherlock. Thank you.” He was across the room in a matter of seconds, Sherlock hadn’t expected that. Nor did he expect John to step on his tip toes and press his warm lips against his own. A Strong hand pulled at his shirt front, forcing him to lean into the sweet assault.

 

He didn’t know how to react, the consulting detective was frozen in his place. Then John was stepping back. “Goodnight Sherlock.” The stunned consulting detective could only watch the retreating doctor. He put a hand to his lips, he could still smell John, could still feel him. Dazed Sherlock mechanically checked his phone when he heard the familiar ping that followed a text.

 

Happy announcement?-MH

 

Piss off!-SH

 

Don’t be so crude little brother. I’m just expressing approval in your choice. I did always like the idea of having a Doctor in the family. Father would be thrilled.-MH


Moriarty is in London.-SH

Say goodnight for me to our Doctor.-MH

 Sherlock refused to respond, he sank down into the comfortable chair. Not even Mycroft’s meddling, his avoidance on the topic of Moriarty, and irritating comments would detour him from the kiss. He decided to store this in the room marked John inside his mind palace. He ran the moment over and over again in his head.Mycroft's words were stored there as well, our Doctor. Sherlock rolled his eyes, "Really brother you need to get your own life." he murmured to no one but the skull on the mantel piece and maybe to himself.

Some time around midnight he heard a muffled sound from John’s room. Thinking that John was being attacked he climbed the steps three at a time, pushing into the Doctor’s room. Or the extra room that the Doctor occupied, Sherlock tried to amend this thought. Instead of an intruder it was only John, he was having a nightmare. If he continued it was going to make his shoulder worse before morning.

 

“John?” Sherlock gently nudged the younger man, no response he placed a hand on John’s good shoulder and added pressure repeating John’s name in a louder voice. “JOHN!” this got him, he sucked in a breath and sat straight up.

 “Ssssh.” Sherlock helped John lay back.

“Sherlock?” John said in a hoarse voice.

“Yes. I’m here. Just try to sleep.” Sherlock recalled the therapist notes stating frequent nightmares. John’s hand was griping Sherlock's wrist. The Doctor's body was trembling, his skin cold an clammy.

“It’s hard to sleep-“ John murmured. “sorry if I woke you.”

“You know I rarely sleep, it was no bother.” He couldn’t help himself,cool fingers pushed John’s hair away from the sweaty forehead, the tension in his Doctor’s shoulders lessened. John was still trembling, his breathing barely evening out, but he still held to Sherlock’s wrist as if he needed a lifesaver. Something to keep him from drowning in the cold sea of his despair.

 Sherlock removed his suit Jacket, and his shoes, he eased into the queen size bed behind John. The shorter man didn’t protest, instead he turned into the consulting detective. Welcoming the pressure of an arm resting on his hips, a hand rubbing the small of his back. The two just laid there, in the dark, gray eyes holding the blue.

“Sleep John. You can sleep.”

“Don’t want to.” John murmured his eyes growing heavy. Sherlock almost laughed, John’s lids blinked slower and slower until the tension in the shorter man’s body disappeared completely. John curled closer to the tall dark haired consulting detective in his sleep. The two men laid there fully clothed, Sherlock worked the duvet crumpled at their feet up over the two. Then resumed his original position, rubbing circles into John’s lower back. Enjoying the feeling of just being this close, taking in the sweet smell of warm tea and honey. His body was responding, and he tried to ignore it the best he could.

 “I love you John.” Sherlock whispered, their was no response, John was already deep asleep. So Sherlock leaned into the shorter man and placed a soft kiss on John’s forehead. John released a small sigh and moved closer, which Sherlock couldn’t believe was possible, seeing how the shorter man was practically on top of him. Despite the pressure of the blonde's head cutting off circulation in Sherlock's arm, the dark haired detective felt himself start to drift into a restful sleep.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 42. OUT

Upon waking, John felt a sudden surge of déjà vu. He had burrowed deeper into the warmth and comfort that encased him. Only to realize the comfortable pillow he was practically laying on top of was in fact his ex boyfriend.Definitely not a pillow, but just as comfortable. John froze feeling the color rise in his cheeks he took

in the sight before him. The welcomed weight of Sherlock's arm resting on his waist.  John realized his head had been using the sleeping man’s bicep as a pillow.

 That’s going to be numb when you wake up. He took a deep breath allowing the sweet scent of coffee and mint to invade his senses. Closing his eyes and taking another deep breath, trying to will his thumping heart to slow it’s rate before it pounded out of his chest.

Opening his eyes once more he followed a path from the soft material of Sherlock’s blue silk shirt,  up past  his shoulder to the perfect porcelain of his smooth chin, finally resting on his cupid’s bow lips. Was this a dream? What a beautiful dream, John studied the relaxed face of the younger Holmes.

The taller man didn’t look at all comfortable, but he was sleeping nonetheless. When John moved slightly with an intention to get up, the arm on his waist instinctively tightened and drew him closer. John knew the exact moment when Sherlock woke, his whole body went stiff and then there was a quick intake of breath. John tilted his head back to see the man’s face better, gray eyes met blue.

“Uh, hello again.” Sherlock’s deep voice was a warm whisper, the Doctor could feel the vibrations of the baritone, and though it was uncomfortable with his sore arm, John had no plan on moving.

“It wasn’t my intention to fall asleep here. I was going to go after you-“ Sherlock looked nervous, like a kid caught with a hand in the cookie jar.

 John felt something in him snap, the damn he though he’d constructed was overcome and flooding his senses with delightful warmth and familiar tingling.

Without further warning John scooted up so his eyes were parallel with Sherlock’s. Then with blue eyes still open the blonde moved in, pressing his lips over the soft curve of Sherlock’s mouth. Running his eager tongue over the swell of Sherlock's bottom lip, then capturing it in his teeth briefly.

Sherlock kept his eyes open, studying John’s face, observing the man that was kissing him without holding back. Teasing him with a solid body, pressing against him, rubbing causing a friction that was addicting as all hell. Sherlock held back, not wishing to rush this, whatever this was. John sensed a change in the man next to him and pulled away, eyes guarded.

Sherlock felt John withdrawing, panic shot through him. He couldn't let John go. He wouldn't. So without further hesitation he rolled over onto the smaller man pining him down with his hips. John’s eyes were wide, and Sherlock held himself up, hands on either side of the smaller man's shoulders, careful of the arm, out of the sling. When did that happen?

Gray eyes bore into the bluest sky, the pupils of John’s eyes were dilated, a beautiful sight. Sherlock rotated his hips against the body beneath him, rewarded with  another sharp intake of breath, which was all the encouragement Sherlock needed. The dark haired detective descended on his captured prey.

It was quick and hungry, Sherlock wanted to taste John, to devour and hold him so close that they would melt into each other.  He balanced himself on one hand and the other trailed down Johns shirt, he needed to feel to touch and savor John. Like a blind man, he would memorize every part of the body with the tips of his fingers and the palms of his hands, then his starved mouth. The idea caused Sherlock  to moan hungrily, John’s eyes had closed and his hands were grabbing, clinging to the silk shirt, arching his own hips against Sherlock's leg. 

"God. Sherlock-" John moaned.

"You feel so good." Sherlock moved his hips forward, John's eyes went wide and he groaned, he lifted his head to kiss Sherlock's clean shaven chin, down the delicate slope of his neck, catching the sensitive skin with his teeth then sucking. Sherlock couldn't take it, he needed to move down John's body his free hand palming John's rapidly growing erection through the thin material of his pajama bottoms. John's body twitched and pressed into the practiced hand. In the heat of this want and need, John had put his arms around Sherlock's neck. With surprising strength the ex army Doctor pulled his detective down, mouth ready for another assault. Sherlock lost his balance and his hand came down on John's sore shoulder. John's sudden cry and hiss of pain sobered the detective, like a spray of ice cold water to drunk man's face.

Sherlock pulled back as if burned, instantly snapping out of his daze. “I’m sorry-I didn’t mean-oh god. Are you alright?" Sherlock was sitting up turning on his knees, studying John's face for any sign of pain.

“Hey, it’s fine. It’s alright. Just sore, I’m fine.” John sat up rubbing his shoulder testing it.  “It’s fine.” John had one hand to his shoulder, his face slightly pinched. Blue eyes caught gray. "Hey, hey." He turned towards his Sherlock who looked as if someone kicked his puppy. John's warm hands cupped  Sherlock’s pale face, blue eyes pushing into the gray. "It's all fine." The blue searching, for what neither one could say out loud. Not yet, but it hovered just on the tip of the Doctor's tongue. John smiled his heart speeding up once more, was this really happening? Was he really here?

Before either one of them could say anything else Mrs. Hudson’s voice rang through the flat. “Woohoo boys! You have a visitor.”

Both men ducked there heads, trying not to look guilty. Turning to the open door of the bedroom, hearing Mrs. Hudson's voice call out again this time closer to the stairs. John scrambled from the bed, Sherlock behind him, not knowing why but he felt like he was some how breaking some rule if Mrs. Hudson found them like this. It might offend the old woman's sensibilities. A thud made him jump, he turned to see Sherlock had fallen off the bed his legs wrapped up in the duvet. The young Doctor was trying not to laugh, he put a hand over his own mouth, his face red and and eyes watering. The situation was made worse when Sherlock shot him an unamused glare.

John offered his uninjured arm, Sherlock accepted it pulling himself up, only to stumble again but this time John tried to steady him. The fact that Sherlock out weighed John as well as towered over the shorter man, resulted in both of them landing on the floor. John grunted, his shoulder hitting the carpeting. He thought he saw stars briefly, then strong hands were helping him stand.

"I'm alright, just a bit of a jolt, I must be in bad shape if you are heavier than me." John frowned trying to catch his breath.

"Are you sure nothing's broken?" Sherlock took John's injured arm in his hand, the younger man slowly rotated his sore shoulder once more.

"I'm fine. I'm not made of glass." He pulled away testily. Sherlock opened his mouth to say something but Mrs. Hudson was becoming insistent. "We need to go down. Maybe she wont notice we were both in the same room." John whispered once more, glancing nervously towards the stairs just outside the door.

"I don't know if she'll care at all. I'm sure she'll understand we are grown men, capable of making our own decisions." Sherlock frowned.

"Sherlock she butters your toast and does your laundry. I hardly think she sees you as an adult. She's a kind woman but I don't know how she would feel if I were shagging her son in her guest room." Sherlock gave it some thought, Mrs. Hudson was from an older generation, she would love the fact that he was meeting people or having relations, but John may have a point. He didn't care to have a dressing down, especially if they had company downstairs. Perhaps a client.

John signaled for Sherlock to go through the door first, Sherlock shook his head motioning that John should.

"Oh, no. You aren't going to make me face the firing squad first." John whispered firmly.

"Well it wont look so suspicious if you go down first then I slip down past you when she has her back turned. She'll think I came up from outside. It's the best option we have."

After studying the taller man's expression John started to giggle "Sssh. John. This wont work if she hears us." John nodded then he reached out to adjust Sherlock’s shirt. Attempting to  smoothing the wrinkles out, his hands lingering just over Sherlock’s already hardened nipples. The other man gasped, taking a step forward pulling John into him possessively, holding the back of John's head offering no escape, his mouth clamped down over the young Doctor's waiting lips. The two mouths dueled and finally it was John to retreat, allowing Sherlock’s thick tongue entrance. The shorter man made soft little moans, encouraging this exploration.

 “Boys?” Mrs. Hudson frowned. Peeking around the kitchen corner, she heard a thump upstairs like someone was falling. “What can they be getting up to?” She could see Sherlock’s bed hadn't been slept in. Another thump upstairs, “Oh." She grinned happily "Well good for him. Took him long enough. Young people these days. Youth is wasted on them.” She muttered to herself, turning to their guest. The man was taking a seat on the couch. “I’m sorry Mr. Carter was it? Well the boys seem to have gone.” The poor man looked absolutely ill, the color had drained from his face, she was suddenly relieved that he was sitting and not standing.

“Boys?” He managed with an amazing amount of ease.

“Oh, dear. Would you like some tea? You aren’t looking so well.” Mrs. Hudson clamped her hands together anxiously.

“Oh, I’m fine. It’s just I thought Sherlock Holmes-you said boys. Does Mr. Holmes have a flatemate?“ Major Carter held tight to his knees. He was in his plain clothes not wishing to draw attention to himself. He felt sick, Mycroft had told him to debrief the consulting detective. Carter wasn't given a chance to protest, as much as he loathed to let the other man in on the situation an order was an order. He wanted to make this quick so he could perhaps stop by the invalid home to see John

Mycroft assured the Major his younger brother would  be home at this time of day, even the housekeeper or landlady had said he was in. Well, where the hell was he? And was that John's jacket on the chair with the union jack pillow? Had she said boys? Yes she said boys. John.

“Oh. Did I?” She shook her head. “Well I think we’ll have a new one moving in. And I for one am glad for it, that Sherlock can be such a pain when he’s bored. Now dear do you want a cup of tea before you-“

Sherlock descended the steps with a grin on his face his hair a mess and clothes askew, he tried to straighten them then he saw the Major and managed not to register shock. Mrs. Hudson gave him a knowing look and showed her self out. A spring in her step and a song in her heart, “I do hope they settle down. It would be lovely to have grandchildren someday.” She muttered to no one but herself.

Sherlock didn’t get a chance to speak he stepped into the living room, the Major was standing and glaring. “I came to debrief you on Moriarty and Moran. Your brother sent-“ he froze as a movement behind the taller man registered as John. His John, whose hair was just as disheveled as Sherlock's. His John in unfamiliar bed clothes.

 “Matt?” John stepped around the consulting detective, the smile vanishing instantly. Sherlock almost winced at the expression of pain and hurt that flashed across the Major’s face.

 Sherlock knew it well, the tearing pain, the twisting of a knife straight into the heart you'd forgotten you had. He had felt that ache and would never wish it on another.

“John.” Carter had to drag his eyes away, he sent a cold glare in Sherlock’s direction. For a moment Sherlock was sure the other man was going to tackle him, he readied for it, but John had other ideas.

“What are you talking about? Moriarty as in Jim, that lunatic James Moriarty?” John felt sick, “Why would Moran-“ Sherlock watched it click into place.

“John-“ The dark haired man tried to keep himself from sounding desperate. "I-"

“You knew!” the shorter man ran a hand through his disheveled hair, “And you did too? Mycroft? Of course you did! Of course.” He glared at them both shaking his head, taking a step back.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 43. STEP 5

 

“That was it. So those men were shot because of me? Sebastian Moran-“ John had to think, he had a flash of something a dream he kept having, a nightmare, in an alley. Moran’s face sometimes Ty’s, John’s head started to throb.

Then another thought struck him, his mouth went dry and bile burned the back of his throat. The young men, those soldiers that nearly lost their lives. It was his fault, he was the intended target, Moran must have wanted to draw him out. God. It’s my fault.

“John. I was under orders by this man’s brother. I couldn’t disclose it. I would never intentionally hurt you. John. You know that.” The dark haired agent with the chocolate eyes took a step forward reaching out for John’s hand. The shorter man took another step back, anger flashing in his eyes.

 “I am not some weak damsel in distress that needs protecting! I am a damn soldier. No one has a right to hold this information from me. No one!” he looked between both men, trying to keep his voice calm and low. 

 “It never fails. Trust just isn’t a strong suit for either of you. Is it!” John growled making both men flinch. “How do I do this? I must attract liars and manipulators. Hell I was born to them, I grew up around them, I should be able to single them out. But I don’t instead there must be some big fucking sign on my head that says IDIOT!”

“John I was going to tell you.” Sherlock started to explain, “Please listen.”

“No! No! I’m done listening.” He turned to go back up the stairs he needed his shoes, he needed to get out of here; the air was thick with tension. He felt ready to explode and he didn’t want to have to apologize later.

“Wait John!” Sherlock went to follow but Major Carter caught his arm, the dark haired detectives eyes narrowed, he pulled out of the man’s grip.

Minutes later a fully dressed John Watson left the flat, ignoring the two men who argued loudly in the living room “Let them have each other, they should be very happy together.” John growled realizing after several blocks he’d forgotten his coat. The chill in the air was starting to get at him, and his shoulder complained in protest.

 He reached for his wallet hoping to he had enough for a cab, realizing too late he must have left it in his damn coat!

“Idiot.” He sighed heavily, hesitating. Should he go back? Stubbornness won out over common sense, he couldn’t go back. Those two-how is it that everyone thought he needed protecting? He wasn’t weak, what else would he have to do to prove it? After a few more blocks, his teeth chattered and his hands in his pockets were tingling and almost numb.

 Pushing this aside he thought of those men, those three, he knew them. Laughed with them, played poker. They would hate him, why not. He would. After all it was his fault they were like him, put out of commission, too soon. Moran? Was somehow involved with Jim? He remembered faintly Sherlock saying that it wasn’t serious between the drug dealer and himself. That Jim was in some so called committed relationship with someone else. Someone deployed.

“Jesus!” he hissed.  The man held a grudge that long! The bastard! The sick twisted bastard, shot those three men-his own. John felt the urge to be sick, his stomach revolted and he took a deep breath. Was he still out there? What was Matt and Sherlock doing together? Mycroft, that bastard of course he would know. These Holmes’ couldn’t stay out of his life! “God it’s cold.” He murmured. Feeling suddenly exhausted, he’d like the warmth of 221B, Mrs. Hudson’s cooking. He’d never had a real mother, but he’d always wished for one like Mrs. Hudson. Now, now everything was ruined. Every time he thought about forgiving, or trusting something like this happened.

 

The pain in his shoulder started to burn, John hated to admit the cold wasn’t the best thing right now. I’ll kill Moran! If I see him he’s a dead man! How dare he do this. Stole my life away. He better still be in prison, because if he were free, I would find him. And it would be slow. Him and his precious Jim.

Taking slow breaths trying not to be sick, old emotions of betrayal bubbling up, he turned into an alley resting a hand against the wall. He stopped fighting the urge to vomit. He thought of calling Mike, cursing himself for not thinking of that earlier. His stomach trembled threatening to turn over one more time. John took a deep breath, trying to calm himself enough to reach for his mobile. Resting his aching head against the brick wall of the alley, he squeezed his eyes shut. Calm down Watson, stop being a baby. Pull yourself together.

“Oi! You alright mate?” A young blond kid had paused by the alley entrance, he approached John. “A bit cold to be without your coat.” John only spit, refusing to look over.

“Here.” He handed John a napkin.

“Thanks.”

“Have too much to drink?” John had to laugh at this thought, but his teeth were chattering. “Rough day huh. Been there. Come on then. I know where they have free coffee and something to eat. Although I don’t think you’ll be in the mood for it. But coffee is good. Besides the place is warm and maybe you can call a ride, and wait.” John liked the idea it was appealing, he turned to examine the young man talking to him, they were the same height, nothing threatening about him.

This kid had to be late teens early twenties; his blue eyes examined John’s pale face with concern.

“Come on then. It’s just a block away.”

“Thanks.” John stood up clutching the napkin in his hand. Spitting once more, the taste of last night’s takeaway burning his throat.

“S’nothing mate. My names Sam, I hate being called Sammy.” He smiled, his hands pushed into his gray zip up, this hoodie didn’t look so warm either. John could see the younger man was wearing a pair of clean but well worn jeans, and his converse had seen better days. This made John shake his head despite the situation he wanted to laugh.

“Thanks. My names John. And I hate being called Johnny.” The young man looked over his shoulder and smiled nodding. “The meeting should be starting. The lady who runs the meetings isn’t so bad. And like I said free coffee and biscuits. She doesn’t appreciate interruptions though, so if we come in we have to quietly.”

“Meeting?” the younger blond, nodded again.

“Yeah, oh. Don’t worry it’s not a churchy thing or nothing like that. She’s not preachy. In fact she says what’s on her mind. Even if it’s profanity.”

“Maybe I should just-“ John hesitated.

“No. Here we are. Too late to change your mind.” The younger man held open a heavy door, John entered the building without anymore hesitation, the warmth was so inviting.

The young Doctor winced at the sudden change in temperature, his body tingling all over almost painfully.  The two walked quickly down the empty corridor past what looked like some school rooms. Then finally stopping in front of heavy metal doors, the small windows of the doors had been covered with paper. There was a sign on one of the doors “MEETING IN PROGRESS” Sam pushed the doors open slowly to avoid making any noise, John followed curious at this point.

The room had several rows of chairs, and there were several teenagers. All seated and facing forward, some looked bored others lost.

The blonde kid tapped his forearm, signaling for him to be quiet and pointed to a table just to their left. John felt like an intruder, was this some kind of church meeting or was he imposing on something else? He started towards the coffee wanting desperately to warm up, the anger in him still fresh.

“We can sit at the back, no one bothers you. You don’t have to participate. It’s just good to listen sometimes and drink coffee.” The younger kid whispered reassuringly. John felt confused but then he heard a very familiar voice.

 “Hello my name is Harry and I’m an Alcoholic.” John froze, the room greeted the speaker in unison. Looking around John could see mostly young kids, all in their early teens to late teens, almost children, but with a hard look about them.

“It’s been three years since my last drink-” John held his breath, his sister was hardly recognizable. Her hair was shoulder length, and she wore a blue cardigan and a pair of black dress trousers. He couldn’t move, she was speaking, addressing the crowd. Instructing the newcomers to be sure to sign in so their probation officers will know they attended. She assured them sternly that she wouldn’t sign their slips, until after the meeting and the new comers each had to speak even if it were for just a minute.

 “Don’t worry mate that doesn’t mean you. I know you’re not one of us. But it’s always good to come in from the cold. Yeah?” The younger man smiled brightly and John nodded turning back to watch this stranger that was his sister. How long had she been doing this?

John forgot about his aching shoulder and his stiff limbs, he could only listen to a confession, hear his sisters darkest secrets and crimes. He had been there for most of them, and at least been the victim of half.

John listened, this was Harry, a sober Harry and she had no reason to lie.  He watched her move away from the podium, taking a seat in the back of the room, he was still unnoticed. The kid went to take a seat and motioned for John to follow.  The two sat in the last row of chairs just behind his sister, he didn’t know why he stayed, but he did. After about an hour that flew by quickly the meeting ended with the serenity prayer the younger kids started leaving happily, Sam approached Harry. To John’s surprise she rubbed his head, messing up the young boys hair. He only ducked down self-consciously and she laughed. John found himself moving towards the two.

“Sammy. You keeping clean twerp?”

“Yeah, Harry I am. I just got a job doing janitorial at one of the big buildings down town.” The younger blonde ducked away from another attempt to rub his head.

“Good! Good for you. How’s everything else? You staying with the Wilson’s? Not giving them any trouble are you young man? Still doing the night classes?”

“Yes. I’ve been trying to keep up with the bookwork. Maths has never been a strong point.”

“Yeah, well Clara is an excellent tutor and she makes the best Lemon Chicken. So you stop by and she’ll be more than happy to help you out, and feed you up.”

“ Alright. Maybe. I hate to impose. And the Wilson’s are good people. They gave me my own room. Hey, I wanted to say thanks. I know you had a hand in getting me the job.”

“Well the hiring manager did owe me a favor. I just told him to interview you, and you of course did the rest. “ she smiled brightly.

“Well all the same thanks.” John felt a pang of jealousy, the way his sister was showing open affection to this stranger, this kid with blue eyes and blond now disheveled hair. He didn’t see how similar the two were, or the sad look in her eyes when she gave the younger boy a hug.

“You need to eat more runt. And where is your coat?”

“Oh, I just got off of work. Didn’t want to get it dirty. So I left it at home. I brought a friend today. Found him outside thought I’d treat him to the best free coffee. I think he might need a ride home. Looks a bit lost.” The younger kid smiled brightly turning to John who stood speechless. His mouth suddenly dry, he hated feeling like a damn kid again. Then her blue eyes glanced over at him, and she froze.

“Johnny?”

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 44. BURN YOU

Sherlock found himself pulling on the ropes binding his arms rather uncomfortably behind his back. A pain radiating from just behind his left ear down to his shoulders, made him very much aware of a head wound. He had no memory of how he was in such an odd position. Looking around the dimly lit room, he could see a bed in the corner, a king size bed with four wood posts and white sheets. Other than that the room wasn’t furnished, it was more like a prison cell. This theory proven by the metal door just to the left of him. His stomach turned when he realized he wasn’t alone.

“Sherly. Look at you. Finally awake. I see you’ve managed to keep your lean figure despite your aversion to our favorite kind of candy. Daddy’s missed you.” The sing song voice made the throbbing in Sherlock’s head worse ten fold. James Moriarty dressed in one of his expensive black suits stepped out, he straighten his silk red tie. His manic grin oh so very familiar, almost too familiar.

“Awe, come now is that any way to greet an old friend.” James cupped Sherlock’s chin in his hand, forcing an aching head to tilt up. Sherlock glared at the Irishman.  “That’s better. So I heard about you and your little pet. To bad that. I thought it was ‘true love’” Jim rolled his eyes, snatching his hand away, he sighed dramatically shoving his hands into the expensive suit pockets. “I have to thank him for bringing my Sebby back to me. Funny that he would join the army. You know boys in uniform just do it for me. I was willing to make an exception for you. No matter. I guess you are just going to have to die. I promised Sebby he could kill you. As long as I got to kill your pet first. He should be here to join the party soon.”

“I’ll kill you James.” The ice in Sherlock’s voice having no affect on his captor. In fact it seemed to bring a bigger smile to his ex drug dealer’s face.

“Please, Sherly we used to be so close. Call me Jim. You always liked to call me Jim while we fucked. Maybe we could have a quick shag before Sebby kills you.” The crime lord practically purred as his hand caressed Sherlock’s bruised cheek. The ex addict pulled away from the cold touch, a flash of anger flared in the already temperamental mad man’s twisted expression.

“You’re pathetic. Still pining I see. Well James what we had was business and I’m done doing business with you. My brother on the other hand seems very interested in the ‘business you do’.” Sherlock sneered pulling on his bound hands.

“Oh, the Iceman is harmless. He’s an idiot. Just as big a fool as you are. It’s sad. I wonder how it feels to be in love with your brother’s favorite pet. I’ll have to ask him sometime.” Sherlock made a face despite the determination not to. It was there a brief second but Moriarty grinned happily, placing his hands behind his back tilted forward. His eyes intent and his manic grin tight, his eyes inspecting his prey’s every reaction. “Tell me do you share him? Maybe at the same time? Or just pass him back and forth?”

Sherlock refused to speak, he wouldn’t allow these remarks to get to him. How absurd Mycroft didn’t love John.  Did he? It was this nagging suspicion. He hadn’t received an answer yet after Sherlock had hinted at it. Mycroft had always avoided the question and side stepped the answer. It made sense, the way he looked at John occasionally.

Sherlock had often wondered how it would have turned out if Mycroft had been the one to meet John first. The answer was simple enough, the British Government would have perhaps provided for John, kept him safe. But his brother had a coolness an edge of indifference to him that would have killed John’s kind nature.

Sherlock always assumed Mycroft was more fascinated by this odd creature, this puzzle with the bright blue eyes. Yes, perhaps attracted to. But Love? Mycroft was incapable of love. The younger Holmes had of course accused John once of cheating, of having feelings for Mycroft.

”You didn’t know did you?” Jim’s face lit up once more. “I guess you both like dull ordinary things. Boring.” Receiving no answer he demanded. “ Why him Sherlock? He’s a simpleton? Why him? Hmm. At first I thought it was just to make me jealous, then I thought maybe he was a distraction a fun new toy, but I’m not so sure.” The dark haired Irishman glared angrily  “You’re supposed to break your toys not be broken by them!”

Sherlock only continued to glare, his non response caused the shorter man in the expensive Westwood suit to snap. “You’ve no business having a heart! You and I don’t have a need for such things! We are genius! We could be gods! If you only would have sided with me. I kept trying to get you in on my business. We would have been beautiful together, cold and cruel. Then that pathetic little child came along, like a kicked dog, starved for attention. Oldest trick in the book, and you fell for it. Well, when there is nothing left to burn, I’ll set what’s left of you on fire. Then I’ll take care of your brother. Sentiment-disgusting.”

 James ran a hand through Sherlock’s curls, almost lovingly. This made Sherlock’s stomach turn, and the consulting detective tried to move away. Cruel fingers tangled, clutching and twisting until James had enough leverage to force the ex addict’s head back, roughly. He then, to Sherlock’s disgust, straddled him, the smell of high end cologne and mint gum made his stomach turn.  “Even now you’re so beautiful. After all these years. Can’t you tell me you missed me just a bit? Missed this?” James started to rotate his hips, grinding his ass over Sherlock’s non responsive crotch. “God, I could just drug you and have my way, you would be weak as a kitten. It could be fun. Just like old times. What do you say? Hmm, one last wild ride?”

“You repeal me.” Sherlock growled pulling on his bound hands he managed to buck the smaller man off of him.

 “Have it your way! No. I wont drug you. I think instead I’ll have you wide awake for what I have planned. I think I’ll have to find out for myself, just what it is about this little army boy everyone finds so appealing. He must have a tight ass, I do love those. I think I’ll fuck him right in front of you, make him scream for what I can give him. Then if you’re lucky after I’m done, I kill him. I don’t know yet, depends on how I feel at that moment. Sebby might want his turn.” James was on his feet, he tapped Sherlock’s nose playfully with his finger. “You just sit tight baby, I’ll be back.”

 “I’ll kill you! If you touch him I’ll kill you! I will hunt you down to the ends of the earth and then we shall see who burns!” Sherlock’s chair rocked back and forth as he tried to pull himself free.

 “Sit tight my dear.” Moriarty blew a kiss disappearing through a heavy cell door, the younger Holmes heard the tell tale click of a lock. He tried again to pull at his wrists, but the rope only tightened in response nearly cutting off his circulation. He was alone, in a dimly lit room, with his racing heart and frantic thoughts.

 He had kept his distance from John, Mycroft reported that the ex army Doctor had moved in with his sister. He also learned through his annoyingly nosy brother, that John was working locum at a clinic near his sister’s flat.

 “John, I’m sorry.” Sherlock whispered, closing his eyes against the desperation of this situation. His mind drifting back to the heated argument and resulting breakup three years ago.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 45. UNREQUITED

“Hello brother. Now kindly piss off!” Sherlock opened the door stepping into the flat, not caring the door swung to hit his brother. Mycroft and all his bulk wasn’t affected in anyway, he just pushed right through, shutting the door behind him.

 Sherlock could feel his brother’s calculative sweeping glance over the tidy surroundings.

“So little brother when are you going to make it official, and have the young man move in properly. Instead of commuting back and forth.” The British Government took his seat in a white high back chair. His umbrella resting at his side.

“Does it offend your archaic sensibilities? Knowing I’m shaking up so casually. What will the neighbors say?” Sherlock snapped pulling his blue scarf from his neck.

Mycroft disregarded the comment. “ Really Sherlock you should take better care of your things. Mummy did say you were always so distracted, but this is just neglect.”  The dramatic sighed caused the younger Holmes to turn a cold glare on his older brother. Crossing to the white chair opposite his brother a glass table between them.

“He is one of the cleanest ones you've brought home yet, I can see he keeps things orderly. And he’s sober. Yes. When should you ask for his hand?” Mycroft murmured to himself hands under his chin. It was true he could see evidence of John’s frequent over nite stays. “I do hope you are being safe.”

“Mycroft if you’ve come here to give me a lesson on the birds and the bees-“

“Of course not. Don’t be silly. Just voicing my concern.” Mycroft sniffed.

“Well what is it that you’re here for? You made it very clear during our last-ugh conversation your expectations.”

 “And I know you haven’t been adhering. I cant prove it, but as soon as I do, it’s rehab Sherlock, inpatient therapy and pills. That means no cases, mobile, internet and no John.” That caught his brother’s attention, Mycroft studied Sherlock’s face.

“If you’re done with your threats-“

“Yes. Well, like I said this wasn’t the only reason I popped in.” Sherlock sat at the end of the couch glaring across at his brother.

“On with it, so we can cut this short.”  Mycroft stood up, pulling something from his pocket, shaking his head.

 “You really should get him a wallet chain, or teach him the technique yourself so he can detect it when it’s happening to him.” Sherlock frowned. “Don’t worry I had the card’s assets as meager as they are, frozen. I wondered why he was so thin, his student’s salary is just enough to pay rent and buy him lunch. I would have thought you being his ugh boyfriend, would be seeing to his nutritional needs. It’s not like you keep any food in the flat. You rarely eat when on a case. I somehow don’t think he’s much of a machine.” Mycroft tossed the wallet over to his brother “Have a good day brother.”

Just as he was leaving the door opened and a flustered John entered. “You will never believed it but it seems I lost my wallet again-“ He frowned blushing shyly. “Hello Mycroft. I didn’t know you were here. If this is important then I can just come back later.” Sherlock looked his John over, the dark circles under his eyes, the hollow of his cheeks. His pants were fitting rather loosely of late. Oh, John you idiot. Because of that harpy of a sister he skipped lunch to proud to borrow from Mike, and then walked from the hospital here. How many times this week had she taken his money, and he hadn't said a word?

“John we’re going to dinner at Angelo’s. Mycroft’s not invited. He’s on a new diet. I hope it works this time around. “ John had an exasperated look on his face.

“Nice seeing you again Mycroft have a good day.” John offered a smile crossing the room to the sofa.

“Doctor Watson.” Mycroft nodded “Likewise. Don’t let my brother’s foul mood ruin your day.”

 “Goodbye Mycroft.” Sherlock snapped.  When the door closed Sherlock held out John’s wallet. “Seems you left this here the last time you made use of my couch.” John’s eyes widened, flooding with release he embraced Sherlock.

“Oh god! I’m such an idiot! I thought Harry had pinched it again. I was so worried! You’ve just made my day!” Sherlock didn’t get a chance to say anything else before soft lips were on his. Strong arms wrapping around his neck pulling him down. Then the two were on the couch panting like teenagers moving against each other fully clothed.

 Sherlock took over quickly, pulling John’s hated gray jumper up and then the blasted button up checkered shirt beneath. His hands needed to be on John. They hadn’t gone further than snogging and a brief palming through the jeans in the months they had been ‘dating’. There was something different about this time, and it was exciting.

John clumsily fumbled with Sherlock’s belt. This sent a jolt of instant heat through the dark haired man. Sherlock’s mouth trailed down the sensitive skin of John’s throat. He was so warm, he smelled so clean and fresh like a sunny day after the rain. His shoulders were strong and torso toned, just beautiful.

How could he not even see it? How could no one else have already taken this man and put a stamp of ownership over him? Blue eyes open wide and staring, panting heavy, catching Sherlock in his observation.

“Sorry-too much? I don’t know what came over me. I just was thinking of you all day and finding my wallet just made it that much better.-“ Sherlock grinned slightly oh, stupid silly John, he thought this was Sherlock pulling away.

 “Bedroom now.” Sherlock replied and a smile spread over John’s clean shaven face. Sherlock almost laughed when comparing his state of dress (near fully) to John’s (down to boxers and socks.)

 “Too many clothes.” John licked his lips standing with a nervous grin near the bed.

“We can remedy that. I hope Doctor.” The silky baritone said with purpose and it was a challenge. “How about you give me a hand Doctor Watson.”

John’s eyes lit up, and Sherlock could see the proof of John’s arousal straining against his shorts. He wanted to tackle John to push him onto to his stomach and burry himself deep. Instead he held back and  waited for the shorter man to approach. John finished unclipping Sherlock’s belt.  Giving into impatience the breathless blonde just ripped Sherlock’s shirt open, buttons flying everywhere.

 “Oops.” John murmured his small teeth latching to Sherlock’s collar bone, his hands moving to touch the solid erection of his partner. His own begging for release.

Sherlock could feel John’s hardness against his thigh. The enthusiastic blonde was pushing Sherlock on his back, John’s shorter but stockier body pressing against the porcalin that was the consulting detectives.

 John may have been a novice but what he did know threatened to drive Sherlock over the edge. Lips, soft warm heated breath,  kissing near his navel just teasing the tip of Sherlock's erection peeking up over the band of his shorts. “God!” he groaned when John shyly placed the tip into his mouth, encouraged by the sudden outburst the blonde moved his mouth further over it, pulling the boxers completely off.

John bobbed his head, until the thick rod slammed into the back of his throat triggering his gag reflex, this didn’t dissuade him, he tried a few more shallow pumps then a slower deeper pull. Sherlock’s hips came up to meet the eager mouth, his coarse black pubic hair grinding into John’s nose.

Sherlock felt the threat of release, the spring in his stomach wishing to uncurl.

”No, wait.” The words tore from Sherlock, gasping. His body objected pulsing in against the welcoming insides of John's oral cavity.

John, sweet obedient John complied, but first he  came up for air, licking his own spit from the base to the swollen tip. His other hand cradling Sherlock’s balls gently, rubbing a thumb over the soft velvety sack. 

“Oh, God John, I’m about to come in your throat.” Sherlock panted pulling John up so their lips could meet.

“Then do it.” John panted, moaning when Sherlock started to suck on his shoulder.

 “Later, but now it’s your turn.” The deep baritone whispered, it was easy handling John, pushing him to his back. The blond was dazed, unaware of anything but Sherlock.

“Suck” two fingers placed to his mouth, without a thought John took them in, his warm tongue washing over them a pillow placed under his hips. “God, John you are so beautiful.” Sherlock kept talking pulling his fingers free from John’s heated mouth.

 Sherlock eagerly took in John's thick cock.  John thrust upward instinctively his legs falling wider, he wanted Sherlock to take all of him down to the base.

Gray eye were smiling up lustfully almost causing John to lose it. Then there was a small pressure just at the smaller man’s hole.  He didn’t understand at first, until the slick intruder pushed forward.

He would have protested had the mouth working his shaft not taken this time to distract him with a masterful tongue rolling around the tip of his cock, already dripping with pre cum. Then the warmth mouth took him in deeper, moving faster, and the intrusion behind him was forgotten until with a shock a second finger joined and in moments found his prostate.

Sherlock watched the flash of emotion crossing his lovers face as John’s hips shot up, “Ugh! Oh god.” He sucked in. “ug-“

“You’ll like this John, come for me John. Come in my mouth let me swallow you. Let me make you come, I want to taste you. Can you feel that-“ Sherlock flicked the small organ that sent currents of pleasure through the already on edge novice. 

 “That’s your prostate John. I’m going to make you come now.” John couldn’t think anymore his whole body tightened up and almost as if on command, like flipping a switch. Sherlock’s fingers worked in a masterful motion, while his mouth slammed down hard on John’s tense rod, a free hand grabbing, holding pinching John’s sensitive nipples and that was all the young Doctor needed, before he was over the edge, hot cum spurting into his boyfriends wanting mouth. Greedily not wasting a drop Sherlock licked the sides of the now spent flesh.

Panting hard, “I’ve never-“

Sherlock smiled triumphantly “I know. There’s so much more. I could show you. Later.” He tweaked John’s nipple.

“No, it’s your turn.” John was breathless but he could see the flushed color of Sherlock cock, he deserved release and it excited John that he could be the one to give it.  Blue eyes staring up at the gray,

“John-“

“Fuck me.” John arched up nipping at Sherlock’s ear. “Fuck me hard, I want you to come inside me.” His teeth bit playfully at Sherlock’s already marked neck. He groaned there would be no return. Sherlock laid John on his stomach and kissed down his back, licking he placed a pillow under John’s hips. “Just relax,” Reaching over for the lube just on the side table he slicked his two fingers up, John tenses up, Sherlock was whispering into his ear, sucking on his neck, then another finger went in, he was preparing the Doctor who was pushing back and moaning.

 Sherlock took that as his moment, sure to heavily lubricate his own dick he moved the head against the puckered entrance, John tensed, “sssh, oh God John, I’ve wanted this. You. This will feel so good. It’s uncomfortable at first but just give it a chance. Will you do that for me?” Sherlock’s heart was pounding his restraint about to break, on the verge of just plowing in without more hesitation. But he needed this consent.

 “I love you. And I trust you.” John whispered pushing his ass back as proof.

“You really shouldn’t.” Sherlock whispered biting hard on John’s left Shoulder he pushed in the head first was the general plan but he hadn’t expected John to be so perfect so warm.

 “John, John. Oh god, you’re so tight. You feel so good.” He could feel John trying to wiggle away from the pain, Sherlock held him firmly in place lost completely he pushed deeper, babbling as his whole dick disappeared deep inside John's tight ass. Pausing briefly when the novice had taken him fully.

John was moaning now, maintaining their connection Sherlock pulled John to his knees. Supporting his lover with a strong arm, he took John's hard erection into his hand. Giving him the friction the responsive flesh yearned for, all the while nearing the edge of his own orgasm.

Sherlock felt John catch his breath, then a John’s yell of release, filling Sherlock’s masterful hand with warm seed.

Sherlock came soon after, no longer able to hold back, he took John’s hips with a few more hard thrusts, allowing the tight warmth pull and wrap around him he felt a deep cry of complete euphoric release, waves of pleasure washed over him and he slowly pulled his own sensitive flesh from the abused hole.

 John’s eyes were wide, Sherlock thought right away he’d been too rough, there were marks all over John’s skin, his back and his hips especially. But the younger blond only smiled softly in exhaustion he rolled into Sherlock’s shoulder kissing him. “Is it like that every time?” Sherlock couldn’t reply instead he pulled a sheet over John and himself, not carrying about the after sex clean up just yet.

 “No. It never is.” Sherlock managed to croak, John only sighed eyes closed. “Just with you.” Sherlock whispered.

 “I love you.” John replied easily. A grin on his swollen lips, he fell into a sex-induced sleep. Leaving Sherlock to stare at the top of John’s head now resting on his  chest. He ran a hand through John’s sweat matted hair.

 John had said love, could he mean it? Love was dangerous, limiting, love manipulated. But John didn’t have it in him to be any of these things.

 I do. Sherlock thought to himself, he did have the ability to use love to his advantage. It worked on Jim and drugs. Sentiment wasn’t an emotion it was an illness, an illness that he may not be able to cure himself of. And to his surprise he wasn’t sure he wanted a cure.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 46. THE START OF THE END

 John was still fighting sleep, he was exhausted and the nightmares came no matter what time of day. Harry had understood, but he hated how she would come to wake him, and bringing him water. How she would hold his head on her lap and smooth his hair back, until his body relaxed into a dreamless sleep. He hated this and at the same time found comfort in it. She never mentioned it the next morning. Although she did plant little pamphlets for VETS with PTSD, apparently there was a meeting for everything.

Tonight he focused on anything that would not bring him back to war, his head resting on a soft pillow his thoughts drifted and turned up a time when he had been stupidly naïve. Having a long night ahead of him, John turned to look up at the ceiling. Harry hadn’t lied she owned a nice flat, with an extra room. As a joke she had the bed moved out and a futon in it’s place, folding it down like a couch. She meant to move the bed back in but John rather liked the futon, it reminded him of his army cot. Back on my sisters couch. This has got to be karma. I know for certain I’ve pissed someone off in a past life. John tried to map out how exactly he’d made it here, back at square one.

 

~0~

The young medical resident stretched his sore muscles, standing just outside the A&E, the late shift was exhausting especially tonight’s.  Looking out at the empty street he was tempted to escape the chill from a short walk home and call a cab. No, money was money, he didn’t have to much to spare on unnecessary expenses.

Living with Sherlock did save him on a few expenses, with his wallet not being pinched every other week he’d actually managed to save money. And Sherlock knew of the best places for free dinner, Sherlock had so many grateful clients.

John was starting to pack on a few pounds around his middle, perhaps walking was a good idea after all. After a year of living together, everything seemed so right.

Well Sherlock tended to ignore him when he was involved in a case and John knew better to ask to help. They’d found a few rough spots, like a close call three months back when John found his boyfriend had relapsed in the bathroom of the flat a needle still in his arm and not breathing.

That had been terrifying, even more so had been the fight with Mycroft, but John stood his ground. Sherlock promised that was the last time and for the best part it had been no more mistakes. On danger nights, John would call Mycroft and vice versa, between the two they would keep Sherlock clean.

“Hey Johnny.” Ty stepped out from the corner of the building John had been passing. He froze a hand hard on his forearm, he checked the empty street.

 “Fuck off Ty.” John tried to pull free.

“I see the new boyfriend hasn’t taught you any manners. S’okay you’re his problem now. Naw, I just came to warn you. Seeings how we used to be so close.” Ty cupped John’s cheeks his thumbs biting into the soft flesh.

 “I said let go, or I’ll-“

“Or you’ll what have your addict boyfriend beat me up? Or how bout having Big Brother Mycroft Holmes threaten to shut my father’s business down?”

 “What?” John paled What the hell was Ty on about. “I never-“

 “Yeah I know. You don’t have it in you Johnny. It’s the addict you’re with. Listen, I’m sorry I was rough with you. And I’m not stupid enough to know you and I will ever meet again after this. But, your boy is a dangerous one. Not because who his family is but who his dealer is. Word on the street is that Siggerson’s knew boytoy is keeping him off the nose candy. This doesn’t bother Spider so much he’s a man of many clients. But the other one, James or Jim Moriarty, he aint too happy. That little club incident a few months back, you remember in the alley-“

”How did you hear-“ John was mortified.

“Fuck, my dealer happened to be there when Moriarty was ranting about you getting away. He wants to hurt you John. Hurt you bad. He and Sherlock have some kind of deal, drugs for sex and you are getting in the way of their arrangement. Just be careful yeah. Watch your back, you idiot.” Ty looked the blonde Doctor up and down, shoving his hands in his pockets he hurried across the street leaving John trembling and in a daze.

The man that tried to mug him in the alley was really trying to do more, maybe send a message? Was Sherlock still doing the drugs? Still with Jim? No, or Ty would have been more than happy to say.

“Need a ride.” A familiar voice called from inside the black government car. How long had Mycroft been there with the door open? “Not long.”

 John shook his head, damn mind readers. Mycroft slide over so John could have his spot.

“It’s a cold night for walking.” Mycroft kept his focus on the passing buildings.

 John tried to rein in his emotions; Mycroft respectfully kept his attentions to the tinted window.

“Long way from Downing. Business or pleasure Mycroft?” John broke the awkward silence, he didn’t catch the confusion on Mycroft’s face. “I mean are you going for a bite with a special someone or is it a business deal. You know you really should eat more. You are a young man Mr. Holmes, you shouldn’t have the tired eyes of a much older one. “

 “I’ll be sure to take your advice into consideration.” John then remembered something Ty had said about Mycroft, and he also knew Mycroft had helped him get his residency back after being sacked a few months back. Something in the fact he was suddenly ready to give him a lift home after meeting Ty. Sherlock really didn’t know what kind of brother he had, overbearing yes, but at least he was sober and not stealing Sherlock’s wallet at any chance.

 So feeling grateful John took a shot in the dark, “Have you eaten Mycroft?”

This defiantly caught the man off guard. “Pardon?”

“You know, food. Please tell me you aren’t like your brother and can’t be bothered with human nourishment when in the middle of business.”

“No-I was-“ Mycroft didn’t have time to answer or take control of the situation.

“Good I know a nice tai restaurant just around the corner from the flat, my treat.” Mycroft had every intention of saying no, but those blue eyes were so wide and hopeful. He found himself agreeing almost immediately.

The two sat at a rather humble table near the window, John drew him into a conversation of medicine and his plans at becoming a surgeon. Then he asked Mycroft about Sherlock’s childhood not surprised that his boyfriend once wanted to be a pirate.

 John felt less shaken about his meeting with Ty  after an hour in Mycroft’s company. He wondered why the older Holmes handnt found anyone yet. Sure he was busy but there was someone out there for everyone. John hoped that Mycroft found that individual.

“Well I better release you Mycroft. Sherlock probably isnt home yet from his latest case or he’d be texting me like crazy. “

 “Yes impatient that one. Mummy did spoil him.” Mycroft walked in silence towards the car. It was a short ride to the flat.

”Don’t be so hard on yourself Mycroft you are a good brother. No matter what he says I know he knows it as well.” John leaned over before Mycroft could make any kind of response, John kissed the older Holmes chastely on his cheek. “Don’t even try to think otherwise. Get some sleep Mycroft. The Government cant run on less than six hours.” Mycroft kept his face straight, he cleared his throat and nodded.

 John caught the scent of bourbon and spice maybe cigars? It was an oddly familiar scent. He tried to place just where he'd come into contact with it before. Unlocking the flat, greeted by silence. Just as he thought, Sherlock wasn’t there.

His phone buzzed with an incoming message from an unknown number. He hit the picture file and nearly dropped his phone. It was Sherlock, he had his mouth on-he was smiling as he held someone’s dick in his mouth.

 

Another picture and another flooded through his inbox. Then the video mail inbox started to fill. John knew these were old, from a time before John, he could tell by the frail almost skeletal version of Sherlock. The video file he refused to play reading the final text.

Daddy’s had enough now. You’re not equipped as you can plainly see, to play with the big boys. I suggest you crawl back into the hovel he plucked you from.-Jim

John wasn’t a school girl he refused to show Sherlock it would only cause a fight. He would just be more observant, if Sherlock was using again it would be coming from this psychopath. And I thought I had crazy ex-boyfriends.

Sherlock’s behavior did start to change slowly, reverting back to excuses of not coming home due to a case. This worried John the most, because Sherlock thought the cocaine kept him alert helped him focus. He called John a distraction in one of their arguments. It didn’t help that Moriarty had an endless parade of snap shots starring Sherlock. Like a knife twisting in John’s heart.

 Then it happened the world John had constructed so naively around himself. The love he had thought was shared, the family he thought no matter how unusual would be there for him, all of it came crumbling down.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 47. THERE’S NO PERFECT ENDINGS

 

John had been working the late shifts for the last month in a half, leaving Sherlock feeling bored, bored and bored. He couldn’t visit, or pester John at work the other Doctor’s frowned on it. Lestrade had shit for cases, really couldn’t someone hurry up and die. His phone buzzed, he had been ignoring this all week. Finally he took the call.

“Awe, hello sexy finally.”

“Where?”

“Our usual meeting spot if you haven’t forgotten.”

 ~0~

 “So how would you like it?” the dark haired Irishman approached from his desk, wearing nothing but a silk green robe and bottoms. His eyes focused on Sherlock as if being offered a meal.

“The usual. And don’t be pathetic James I’m not here for you.”

“But you came-“

“Well seeing how you’ve threatened every dealer within the greater London area-“

“Oh the things we do for love.” Moriarty giggled holding out a vile of liquid cocaine.

 “Do you want to check the potency? We can do it right here.” His voice raising excitedly with innuendo.

“No. I’ll take your word for it. I have to get back.”

“ugh. To that ordinary little angel of yours. What’s his name something plane. Jane? Is it? Or-“

“John.”

“Yes John that’s it. He looks absolutely boring, tell me darling have you taught him all my best tricks?” Moriarty was behind Sherlock his body pressing into the taller man.

 Sherlock shrugged off,  the delicate hands that tried to massage his shoulders.

 “Does he know you will always be an addict?” Sherlock was to busy shacking the vile into the light. “No matter. Big Brother Loves to keep him company. He’ll play night in shining armor. He’ll offer his shoulder to cry on. Oh John you are far better than what my brother deserves.” Moriarty’s bad imitation of Mycroft. He clapped his hands together and  made a mock damsel in distress gesture. “Oh, but I love him. I’ll never find me another." Sherlock scowled at the display of dramatics but this only encouraged the idiot "If you ever need to talk. Mycroft I never realized just how beautiful your eyes are. How stable your job is and how fat your pocket grows. Can I maybe stay the night?”

You see easy as that.” Moriarty took a bow, Sherlock rolled his eyes but not before Moriarty caught a hint of something flashing by, something he drew on.

“Jim you really shouldn’t partake in your own product so much. I believe-“

 “You know I did see Mycroft in an odd place. Where had it been. Oh, yes. A Thai restaurant a hole in the wall really. I would never step foot in it, that red carpet and low hanging vines. Really it’s the city, come on. Anyway, he was sitting and smiling. I almost didn’t recognize him. Smiling with a uninteresting boy. Blond hair gray jumper and he wore converse.” Jim made a face.  “I thought why would Mycroft Holmes wish to be in a place like that? Oh, here do a line on me, you’re looking a bit pale.” Jim spread a powdered vile from his now naked forearm into a line towards his wrist.

He knew the addict wouldn’t turn it down and he was right, the drug was powerful.

~0~

 John got off of work early feeling particularly exhausted he didn’t think he was going to make it to the couch. Maybe a nap before Sherlock returned, maybe they could actually have a conversation and cuddle instead of intense sex and then the coma that comes after, not that John minded. He did however miss his boyfriend.

 His phone buzzed thinking it was Sherlock it was Mycroft calling. John answered just as the front door swung open and Sherlock stumbled in looking dead on his feet.

 “Sorry Mycroft. Let me give you a call back I just got in and Sherlock doesn’t look well.” He didn’t wait for Mycroft’s reply. Instead he went to Sherlock, “Are you drunk?” John half laughed moving to help his swaying boyfriend towards the couch, “Lestrade and the boys take you to the pub to celebrate?” John didn’t smell liquor he did however get a breath full of cigarette smoke.

“G’off me.” Sherlock pulled free, tossing his coat down, he took cigarette from his shirt pocket and light it.

 “Are you insane?” John snatched the lit cig and moved to the sink. “Not in Mycroft’s flat. Even if it’s a rental. He’ll have kittens. Besides when did you start?”

 “Why do you care so much about my brother?” John frowned Sherlock was looming over him, “You and my brother spend entirely too much time together.”

“What the hell are you on about? You know we are discussing you.” John couldn’t believe what he was hearing Sherlock had never come off jealous not so verbally.

 “Have you two kissed?” Sherlock growled halting John’s retreat.

John sighed “Oh, for god's sake, if you’re talking about the peck I gave him on the cheek then yeah. That wasn’t anything more than a thanks for the thai and giving me a lift.” Sherlock felt sick, Jim had said as much hadnt he? Sherlock couldn’t focus the damn coke was a high grade and it burned through him. He could feel the descent, he needed to shoot up and quick but John-deceptive, manipulative John was here.

John watched Sherlock sway towards the bathroom, the fear, real fear, slammed into him. He knew what this was. His heart just sank, things were so good. Why would he need this, why? What was it about John? “No.” John snapped moving quickly, he knew he had one chance. Damn the consequences he wasn’t going through another cpr session. Not on his boyfriend, not again.

Sherlock was so high he didn’t expect the shorter man to be reaching into his front pocket pulling out the vile and then some powder.

 “Who the hell do you think you are?!” Sherlock growled and John ducked under his arm going for the sink he emptied the powder and smashed the vial before his sluggish boyfriend could catch up.

 “I’m your boyfriend! AND DAMMIT! I LOVE YOU!” Sherlock ran a shaky hand through his hair. He had more somewhere around, John had given up looking a month back. There were places he couldn’t have found just yet.

“Don’t think I’ll stand around and let you kill yourself slowly or after some miscalculation. Don’t try looking I’ve found most spots, it doesn’t take long. For being such a genius-“ John cut himself off, this wasn’t helping. Sherlock needed help, something triggered this. “Dammit!” Why didn't he think to check Sherlock’s bloody coat! Both men must have had the same idea because they dove for the couch at the same time, the table pushed over. John heard glass breaking but he didn’t care he had his shoulder to Sherlock who tried to reach around, too late John found the bag of pills and another powdered substance.

He didn’t make it to the sink before Sherlock slammed the shorter man into the wall next to their bedroom door, hard enough to crack the plaster in a the shape of a the head that hit it. He wasn’t worried about this, all he could feel was the red hot anger.

 “Sherlock!” John tried to push him off, refusing to let go of the bags. He was dizzy and breathless from hitting the wall. The other man took advantage of his assailants temporary daze. He tore the bags from John’s clasp, snapping the blonde out of whatever haze that threatened, he wasn’t very big but he’d played rugby in primary. So with every ounce of power his five foot seven frame could offer he wrapped his arms around Sherlock’s thin waist and shoved. He managed to get the pills, but the powder was all over the rug causing his eyes to sting.

 “Give them to me John.” Sherlock growled. “This has nothing to do with you!”

“Nothing to do with me?” John panted. “I love you. But when you do these things, put this poison in you-if only you could see the stranger you become everytime. You’ve promised so many times that you're done. But I can’t tell if it’s really you or the drugs trying to convince me. This will kill you! How can you not see that.” John had inched towards the sink. His eyes watering, this was it. The end. He dumped the pills and turned on the tap. 

 “Goodbye Sherlock Holmes.” John went to pack what little items he had, it never took long for him to pack. He just hoped Harry hadn’t rented out the couch yet.

 “That was over 700 quid!” Sherlock pulled Johns duffel from him.

 “I’m leaving Sherlock. I warned you this time it’s for real. I don’t know you. Not like this. And you’re so intent on become whomever this is.”

 “So you are giving up? You knew how I was when we met. I didn’t hold back at all. It’s you who puts rules in place tries to control.”

 “Sherlock! It’s the drugs or me!” John went to grab his bag Sherlock caught his wrist once more pulling John around to face him. He pushed the shorter man against the front door.

“You are a hypocrite John Watson. A worthless hypocrite. You look down on all of us. Like there's something wonderful to you. Those big blue eyes looking for a hand up or out. Pathetic. You were a good fuck. And don’t think ever, not ever you have some kind of control over me. No one does! Not you! Not my brother! Not my family! What did you expect out of this little experiment?” John took a deep breath trying to force his tears back, god pathetic he was crying.

 "That's a lie and we both know it. The drugs have control over you. And I didn’t want you to fall into this hole you’ve been digging since childhood. I was even willing to go with you. I was trying to save you, to help you. But, not anymore. You have to save yourself. I’m just getting in the way apparently. There isn’t anything special about me. I don’t lord myself over others. I never-“ John whipped his eyes with his free hand.  “I wanted you to keep me close. I wanted you to love me. Like I love you.”

 Sherlock sneered down, tears were affecting him, pushing at him, forcing the feelings of guilt and something else. He hated it, John always brought this out in him. He couldn’t avoid the man’s blue eyes, a bruise forming just under his left eye. His lips bleeding, smears of white powder  mixing with the blood.  “One would need a heart to do such. I have a mind palace John. I don’t have the space for your fragile little heart, I don't have a place where the drugs aren't. You say the drugs or me? I choose the drugs! Get it through your head!” Sherlock snapped releasing John’s wrist. And John didn’t turn back he left and Sherlock couldn’t care at the time just where. Then Mycroft and his people bumbbled in, with little effort.

“You spoiled little-“ The older Holmes pulled his brother off the couch by the back of his shirt collar. Taking one look around he knew what happened, two agents seized the younger Holmes' arms, he wasn’t struggling. “When you sober up, you will see just how low you’ve fallen. It will be too late by then. You’re going a years worth of rehab. You’ve messed up little brother and I wont fix it this time.”

“Why because you’re in love with him too?” An addicts defeated voice.

“No idiot because he’s better off not knowing you. We don’t get to be happy Sherlock. Our minds supersede the heart, that’s how we are built. Sentiment is the fly in the ointment. We don’t get to hold onto something like John, a ray of sunshine in the dark. You were lucky to have had him for so long. I actually thought you would find what the rest of us Holmes’ have been denied. But no, you are just like the rest of us, you found a way to snuff it out selfishly. Life rarely gives a second chance, but there are never second chances for people like us, only regrets.” Mycroft knew his brother had stopped listening by his body posture and eye roll.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 48. LET IT GO

John sat up twisted in the comforter that Harry had just bought, cool hands were cupping his face. He was sobbing, he couldn’t hold it in, it was everything.

“Ssssh. Just let it go John.” Harry cooed sitting next to him on the futon, John had his head on her shoulder, she was petting the back of his hair. When his breathing slowed he finally broke the silence, she always let him talk first, funny how they’d fallen into these odd routines.

“Sorry.” He croaked.

“It’s alright. Funny how I could sleep through our parents drunken fights, through wild parties downstairs while we were locked upstairs. I slept through it all. Except when you would wake up crying, even then you had nightmares. I can only imagine what they are now.” John didn’t reply so she went on. “John. What is it? What’s there tearing at you, I can see it and it kills me to see you so miserable. You were the spot of sunshine in the dark hell of my life, even when I didn’t know it. What’s holding you down, tapering that light. Let me help, or at least listen. I’ve been told by several young people I am an excellent listener.”

 

“Why?” John sniffed pathetically. Harry thought he meant why let go, but John continued his head still on her shoulder, he sniffed. “Why did they give in? Mum and Dad. They were so different when they weren’t on it. But once payday came around, they became strangers, and finally it was the them before the drugs that was the stranger. Replaced it totally replaced them. Even you Harry. You had a flat, a job.”

 

“It was a dump and the job was just a partime thing to pay for my beer and clubbing. John. I don’t know why. I do know the allure of it, losing yourself completely letting go. Allowing the buzz to take over and all your worries gone. Everything was fine. The hazier the world the more clear it felt.”

“I don’t understand.” John sighed.

“You wouldn’t Johnny. You weren’t built that way. It's a cowards way out. Mum had a sister like you John. Aunt D, is all I remember her by. She was mum’s older sister. And everyone says you looked like dad but if I had a picture of her you would see yourself in the way her eyes sparkled. She tried to get mum to leave dad, sometimes I would stay with her but you came along and Aunt D wanted you so bad. She could see what I’d already become. I was just getting started. That auto accident, it was mum and Aunt D, she was going to check mum into rehab, and then take you home. Mum knew even then that you were special, you weren’t like us. This life wasn’t going to be yours. Everyone automatically loved you when they met you. You and your blond hair and blue eyes. I hated it. The police said that mum had tried to get out of the car for some reason, probably she changed her mind. It was raining and Aunt D tried to pull over but someone slammed into her and mum and D died instantly.”

 

John frowned , he’d never known that. Could barely remember a short blond lady who had treats in her pockets. “John she wasn’t going to take me. She was going to take you. I resented that. Like I wasn’t worth it. So I told myself I was glad they died. Then I realized, as you were getting older, you would know what she did. You were already starting to see it, every time you came to find me passed out on some couch. You were barely a teenager. I knew you were going to leave me behind. I think Dad did too. So I left first.”

 

John tried to remember a confused Harry, young lost and unwanted.

“I’d have always taken care of you Harry.”

“Well I know that now dummy. But then I was an idiot high on drugs and half way down in a bottle of cheap whiskey. When you started school and got that scholarship then those special classes. I felt the pull, you were going away and I was being left behind. I hate the things I did John. I should have protected you, kept you safe. Been a better big sister. When I saw you in that hospital bed. I thought I’d lost my chance to show you. To show you I wasn’t a fuck up. That I could be good. That I was good enough to be your sister and not be left behind.”

 

John pulled his sister into a tight hug she was sobbing now into his shoulder. “John I’m so sorry. I’ve made such a mess of things. And now I’ve made this about myself.” John sniffed, his cheek on his sisters head, he squeezed her.

 

“Tea?” she brought her head up wiping her eyes.

“Yeah, actually. If you make it. You know I don’t know where you learned to make such good tea. I mean I never kept any around the flat.”

John started the kettle and smiled. “Major Jorgenson. Had a particular way he liked it. And every morning he chose some poor fool to make it. Let’s just say we all became expert tea makers. Apparently making a fine pot of tea was the markings of a great British soldier. And if it wasn’t up to snuff, it was pushups and distant runs for everyone.” Harry laughed trying to visualize her brother fumbling around trying to figure out the process.

“John what happened between you and Sherlock? You don’t have to say it but-“ Harry hesitated hoping she hadn’t gone too far.

“I don’t know. I dumped out his drugs. We had an intense argument-“ The way John’s voice dropped made Harry’s head snap up.

“He hit you?” she knew what kind of a rage an addict could get into over a stash.

“Nothing like that, just some shoving back and forth, a brief wrestling match. I dumped them out and said; The drugs or me. “ Harry swore under her breath.

“Idiot. He chose the drugs. Obviously. Mother-“

“It’s fine. It’s all fine. I was on Stamford’s couch. He gave me an extra phone and on my way to graduation I saw this poster, it was for the RAMC. I joined right up they were in need of Doctor’s. I was done with my residency. It was an interesting couple of years.” John sighed wistfully.

 

“I’ll say, Captain Watson.” Harry nudged her brother. “I am so proud of you. I will have someone to show my kid’s “Hey this is your uncle John the none fuck up of the family.”  This caused John to laugh now, he was thinking of Harry and Clara with a family, he really needed to get out of their guest room.

“Harry. I’m glad I ran into you a few weeks ago.”

“Yeah, me too. It was actually the oddest thing. I always thought Sammy looked like you. He’s not so much younger than you. Kid had our hard life. He’s been climbing out for the last couple years slowly but surely. It was perfect him being the one to bring you to me.”

“Well it just goes to show sis, good work never goes unanswered.” He looked smugly over his cup and she just rolled her eyes.

“There’s the mister know it all I used to know. You working at the clinic today?”

“Nope day off. I think I’ll go have lunch with Mike do some catching up. He gets nervous when I’m out of touch longer than a few days. It’s my fault really for not leaving a note after I left. I was so lost in my own heartache I forgot there would be others worried over my disappearance. So I owe him a few lunches.”

Clara found the two there laughing in the kitchen as the sun was coming up, an empty kettle between the two of them. She didn’t dare interrupt; instead she quietly took in the scene.

~0~

Major Carter signaled for the agent on the left to stand ready, unfortunately they weren’t the only ones interested in the black van.

Sam smiled brightly it wasn’t too cool a night, and well it didn’t look like Doctor Watson had too many good coats. So in all fairness it was time to give the one he borrowed back. Anyway, his first paycheck had bought him one of similar coloring, it was just as warm. He’d only decided to wear the Doctor’s one more time, it was a light black jacket but it was comfortable. The Doctor had said he’d been given it when he joined the army as a gift from one of the nurses. Sam had thought about the army but with his back ground it wouldn’t be easy getting in. The sound of shattering glass had him instinctively dropping to his knees. He’d lived in bad neighborhoods, he knew a gunshot when heard one.

 

Covering his head he looked around. “Gotcha Doctor Watson. The boss is gonna be real happy with the two fish we caught tonight.”

 

Sam kicked out, this thug was pulling him towards a black van. “Hey! I don’t know what your looking for-“ They tossed him in not bothering to tie his hands or gag him. He figured out why, after the door locked, he noticed there was no inside latch, and several steel bars and hard plastic separated the cargo from the driver.

 

“John?” a figure groaned from the corner.

“Nah. Sorry. It’s Sam.” Sam moved over slowly wishing he had a light or something, why’d he quit smoking. No mobile, bastard must have made him drop it, it’s not like those grow on trees.

“Who?” The man grunted trying to sit up, in the dim light offered by the passing street lights through tinted back windows, Sam could see a dark patch growing on the man’s side.

 

“Woah there mister, stay still you’ve been shot.” Sam took a deep breath. “Hey! You wanker! This man’s been shot!”

“Quiet down back there! You can patch him up Doctor when we get to the warehouse. Now shut it or I’ll give you something else to work on when we get there.” Sam rolled his eyes.

 

“Just put some pressure on it.” Sam pulled John’s jacket off and pulled his black pierce the veil T-shirt off, having a white shirt underneath. “Now you can’t die mister because this is my favorite shirt. Got it at a concert two years ago. Harry took me. Marked my year of sobriety. That and the lead singer-well anyway. You are gonna wash this and return it to me when this is over. Deal?” Carter couldn’t help but laugh, even through the pain he managed to say "Deal."

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 49. ANGEL FACE

 Sherlock tried to work the ropes, getting nowhere; his best bet was to ask for a bathroom break then make a move. Or some kind of distraction similar to this, it was a weak start but he needed something. Thinking of John at the mercy of Moran and that psychopath Moriarty froze the blood in his veins.

The door to his soon to be torture chamber burst open and to Sherlock’s horror is was all too late. One of Moriarty’s lackey’s shoved  John at Sherlock’s feet nearly tipping the chair over.

“Uh, problem. Where’s the boss?” Thug number two asked thug one.

“John? Oh, god I’m so sorry-“ Sherlock’s words trailed off a pair of the bluest and puzzled eyes gave him a strange look, dried blood, not his, stained his white t-shirt. He had the same blond neatly cut hair, wore the same style of jeans, were those converse? This wasn’t John but it was a close second, a chillingly close second.

 “What’s all this?” Not John was on his feet glancing around worriedly. “Alright listen, I’ll do just about anything. I told Rat that one time, but this is a bit not my thing. I thought I was buying a bag-“ Not John didn’t get to continue, he was examining the room, itching his arm, shrugging his shoulders.

 “What’s he going on about?” Thug one growled, pointing his gun at Not John. Sherlock could read something in the younger man’s eyes, something mischievous.

“That’s what I need to see the boss about. He needs to ID the kid. “

“Or you idiots can check my ID? It’s in my pocket, or maybe not. Since you made me drop my mobile. By the way someone owes me a bloody mobile! Pinching those things are nearly impossible.” Not John ignored the gunmen, he was pulling some gum from his pocket.

“Why is there a miscreant in my play room?” Sherlock felt a chill run up his spine, he watched the Not John’s face. The kid had street smarts written all over him. Sherlock knew all the big dealers, and Rat was the bigger dog on the block, so the kid was at least an ex addict.

“Sorry boss.” Thug two stammered. “We went to the place you said, there were even agents, killed one shot the other. Brought him back to see what you want done with him. Then we snatched the Doctor right outside the clinic. Fit the description you gave except-“

“Except you idiot! This IS CLEARLY NOT JOHN WATSON! DOES HE EVEN LOOK LIKE A FUCKING DOCTOR?”

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell them.” Sam smiled sheepishly shrugging.

“Then why were you outside loitering?” Thug Two demanded.

“I was waiting for Rat.” Sam twitched, discreetly itching his left arm. “He’s the only one willing to trade favors and such. I was going to try and see if I could get a break on a nice jacket I pinched off some gimp in the park across the street.”

Smart indeed. Sherlock kept his face complacent, this boy kept to half-truths, half-truths were always hard to distinguish and sort. Moriarty wasn’t paying him any attention anyway; he wouldn’t consider the younger kid to be acting. The consulting detective could see the gears moving in this kids head, he was looking for a way out.

“Uh-so. You said Doctor right. And he kind of looks like me?” Moriarty turned his cool predatory eyes on the younger boy. The kid gulped remembering to twitch, and scratch his arms. It wasn’t hard for an ex addict to act strung out.

“Yes. Doctor Watson works at the medical clinic this idiot said you were in front of.”

“Right. Right. I know exactly who you’re talking about. Kind of a limp. Yeah, that’s the bloke I pinched the jacket from. I know where he likes to go after work. I could easily bring him here.” Sam smiled brightly.

“How?” Moriarty narrowed his eyes. Not John shrugged putting his hands in his pockets and pulling out a stick of gum offering it to Moriarty. Who to Sherlock’s surprise, accepted.

 “Easy.” Sam continued as if talking about the weather “His sister is some do gooder. Hands out AA pamphlets and shite. My probation officer makes me go every week I see the Doctor at these. He told me once if I needed something he’d help. I could get him here with a story easy.”

“Yes. Yes.You could.” Moriarty turned to look at the two idiots in his employ.

“I see it, less chance of injury if you want him alive.” Sam was wiping his hands on his jeans. “Blood will be convincing.”

Sherlock couldn’t believe how fast the kid was thinking, now for Moriarty to fall for it.

”John wont come. He’ll see right through it.” Sherlock protested in a bored voice, one Moriarty would take for desperation. “He’d probably call the police.”

“He won’t.” Sam snapped. “His sister’s got a strict code, no cops. I hate cops. Fucking HATE cops.” Sam glared at the dark haired man “Is he a cop?” Moriarty rubbed his hands together.

 “No, but he’s been a naughty boy. So Mr.-“

“Just call me Sam sir.” Sam started to fidget, suddenly looking young and vulnerable, Sherlock for a minute caught a flash of his John. He wondered if Moriarty was falling for the innocent act.

 “Sam. If you do this for me I’ll make you rich, but if you fuck it up. I’ll skin you and turn you into boots.”

 Sam nodded, snaping his fingers.“Got it.” Moriarty then shot Thug two without a glance, Sam didn’t even jump he kept his face passive.

 “Idiot, get him out of my sight.” He growled to thug One.

 “Sir what about the agent he brought back.” Thug one swallowed holding still waiting and expecting to be shot next.

 “Can I kill him?” Sam asked. “Seeing how he ruined the only good pair of jeans I have. And look what he’s done to my converse.” Moriarty’s eyes lit up he brought his hands still holding the gun to cup Sam’s face.

“Bless the youth of today! Yes. Off you go. Make me happy. Bring Daddy back a doctor and I’ll give you a prize.” Sam nodded, he glanced at Sherlock, who gave a quick shake of his head. The younger boy started for the door stepping over the dead body.

“I’ll help you.” Sam reached down to take thug two’s legs.

 Too many guns in the room, he wouldn’t stand a chance, if he shot the boss then thug one would definitely shoot him and then the stranger in the chair and Carter would die.

 Once they were outside Sam helped toss the body in a dumpster and Thug one offered him a cigarette. “Just unlock the door so I can shoot the cop.” Sam snapped.

“You’ve got no soul kid almost scares me.” Thug one shook his head.

Sam let the man open the door and step in first. “Wakie wakie sunshine.” Thug one taunted, unaware of the kid behind him taking aim, closing his eyes. Squeezing the trigger was a lot harder than Sam thought it would be, but lives were at stake, these men were going to hurt his friends. So he squeezed, one shot to the back of the head, blood splattered the wall, not so much on him thankfully. Unfortunately Sam’s stomach decided now was the time to bring up the Thai noodles he’d had earlier. He took a deep breath trying to get a handle on himself.

“Carter?” he called weakly into the darken room wiping his mouth on the back of his blood stained hand, this caused one more heaving episode.

“Kid?” almost a whisper.

“Don’t call me kid. Anyway there some sick shit about to go down. We have to get out of here and quick. Find Doctor Watson and your buddies before Mr. Moriarty or whatever decides to kill whoever it is he’s about to kill.” Carter was trying to keep up, Sam pulled the van keys from the dead thugs pocket and handed the gun to the agent. Avoiding even a glance back at the dead man. “Alright I’m driving. Lean on me. And don’t lose my favorite shirt. And for the record I had bad Thai earlier, that’s why I got sick.” Carter tried not to laugh, his side ached as did his head.

 

~0~

John ran his hands over his face, “Oh god!” he gripped the edge of Mycroft’s dark oak desk.

 “Indeed. This was pulled off of CCTV thirty minutes ago.” The brunette with the blackberry didn’t look up. Agent Hendricks was swearing under his breath.

“So they not only shot Carter, kidnapped Sherlock but they have Sam. Can it get any worse?” John fell back into one of highly uncomfortable chairs near the desk.

“John, melodramatics don’t suit you.” Mycroft stated easily.

“Fine, what’s the game plan?” John demanded, looking away from the footage of Sam being tossed into the back of a black van, just outside John's clinic. Hendricks shook his head.

“Captain Watson all due respect but-“

“Oh, no. You have kept me in the dark and this is what’s happened. I refuse to be sidelined!” John was on his feet. Mycroft only sat back in his throne like chair behind his desk, hands steepled. The fire of his Diogenes club office was giving no warmth.

 “Fine. You all sit around, with no idea where this maniac has decided to take-I’m not sitting around.” John wanted to throw something, or kick something. He settled for pacing.

 “John, go home. I have agents protecting your sister and her home. It’s safer if you just-“ John shook his head.

 “Fine, just keep me posted.” He stormed out with no intention of going anywhere close to home.

 Moriarty wanted to play, okay, he would play. He had a score to settle with Moran, and wherever the sniper was, so would be Moriarty. He was aware of Mycroft’s men tailing him, and he wasn’t all too ignorant of some man in rugby jersey just a few feet behind him. He ducked into a pub, acting as if he needed a drink. He needed to slip past these two, figure out his next plan.

 “Oh, hey hun. Let me get the table cleaned for you. I’ll be right back.” A waitress with black tank top and pink skirt bustled over immediately.

 John hadn’t even noticed the table he’d taken in the back was in fact dirty, empty bottles and glasses littered the top. He only pushed it aside, the bad lighting wasn’t doing his headache any favors. Someone had switched on Freddie Mercury, and the busty waitress was back “Before I get to that,” she pointed a pink nailed finger at the empty glasses, “ there was a nice looking man at the bar said to bring this over to you.” John couldn’t see through the crowd. “Busy night. He’ll probably be right over. I can tell him for you if you aren’t interested.” She placed the beer down with a hopeful smile, leaning over the table.

John smiled brightly,  “Oh no. Ugh, tell him don’t be shy.” He took the open bottle and made a look as if he were taking a drink. She frowned walking away hiking up her already short hot pink miniskirt. Did everyone think he was an idiot? Like he hadn’t learned from lesson last time?

 Well let’s see just how stupid they are. John grabbed one of the empty bottles turning his back as if he were getting out of the booth, sure to push the full bottle to the far corner of the table where the lighting was the worst. He then tried not to gag on the thought that he was finishing someone’s last drops of beer. Predictably he started for the bathroom and someone right behind him. He was sure to sway and stumble the whole way there.

 “Hey there kid had a bit too much?” John turned Mr. Jersey was grinning like he’d found the winning lottery ticket. Idiot.

John swayed and the man went to correct him, “Let me find you a place to lay down.” John didn’t object.

“S’nice of ya. I guess I’m just not a drinker.” John murmured keeping his eyes half closed, allowing the man to hand him off to a pair of rougher hands.

 “Some people never change.” Seb’s voice caused John to nearly blow his ruse. Instead he offered a drunken smile, attempting to stand only to fall into Sebastian’s shoulder, the smell of tobacco and gunpowder reminding John of Afghanistan. Then by connection of those men the sniper betrayed.

 Sebastian smiled down at the sleeping Doctor, he was thinner a bit pale but it was definitely him, and he was so vulnerable and sweet looking as he nuzzled closer.

“You were right Seb, he fell right for it. Too easy.” The crony in the green Jersey happily accepted his cash and turned his back.  While cradling John to him the sniper pulled a silencer from the waistband of his pants shooting the unsuspecting lackey.

“Yeah, I know how that goes.” The sniper chuckled.

 Sebastian lifted the drugged doctor with ease, searching his pockets. Finding John’s Browning. “Ah, what do we have here? Johnny you naughty boy.” He gently laid John in the trunk of a car.

John tried his best not to flinch from the hands that caressed his face. The hardest part was keeping himself from being sick after Moran leaned over to whisper softly “We have unfinished business kid. I’m going to fuck you, then I’m going to fuck him. After I might just kill you quick. Don’t know, I think Jim has a plan for your sweet tight ass.”

John only continued to breathe easily, recalling his training with gas masks. Steady the breathing always keep the breathing steady.

The car started up, John felt around for something anything, to his disappointment nothing, and they’d of course got his mobile. Well no matter, one way or another Moran wasn’t going to walk again. Not after the crimes he committed against his fellow soldiers and the threats he made against Sherlock.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 50. THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

Sebastian was whistling happily when he pulled up to the warehouse, he had been on the phone with Moriarty. Sherlock was getting restless, it was almost time for the big show. He walked around to the trunk not a noise the whole ride. There he was, still sleeping, Sebastian couldn’t wait to rip the clothes from the smaller man. He wanted to mark him, and he wanted to dig his fingers into the mark he’d already given him. He didn’t bother to tie the man up, he wasn’t going to be moving for another hour, that would be a problem. Jim hated to wait, but he also was sadistic enough he’d want John awake for everything.

 Checking another incoming text “Speak of the devil.” He sighed heavily not hearing the supposedly unconscious man in the trunk carefully sit up and move into a crouched position. Without hesitation John was pulling the bigger man back hard against the trunk of the car, the sniper grunted dazed. John already had his own browning as well as Moran’s silencer. Jumping from the trunk, he shot Moran in his left leg right above the knee, ”Private Watkins.” then the sniper’s right arm, ”Staff Sergeant Wilson.” and finally the lungs left side.” Lieutenant Hendricks.” Sebastian couldn’t speak he was trying to breathe, and trying to work it out.

“Did you really believe I’d fall for that damn trick? Besides idiot, I spotted your man three blocks down.” John left Sebastian in his blood, his lungs would fill with the sticky liquid quickly, the more he struggled to breathe the worse it would be. A befitting death for the sniper. John just hoped he wasn’t too late to get to Sherlock. He checked the bullets in his weapon, three in the silencer, and a full clip for his browning.

 ~0~

“He texted me ten minutes ago!” Moriarty growled. He turned to one of his men “Wait with him. Don’t touch him. He belongs to me. I’ll go see what that idiots up too. He better not have started the party without me. It would be just like the selfish bastard.” Moriarty’s voice trailed down the corridor, Sherlock glared at the thug standing over him.

“Can I get some water? I need to use the lou-“

“Shut it. You aren’t getting up, even if you were on fire.”  Sherlock wondered why Mycroft hadn’t found him yet, he usually came in guns blazing, but then again Moriarty had slipped through his fingers several times. Knowing Mycroft he fell for some sadly predictable false intel leading him across the damn country or globe. Maybe as far as Canada. Great! Mycroft was in Canada and John would be raped and murdered. Bloody Canada! Sherlock pulled on his restraints.

 While he was cursing Mycroft and all that had to do with Canada he hadn't heard the sound of the silencer or the fall of his guard. “Bloody Mounties-“

 “What the hell are you talking about? Have they drugged you?” John was untying Sherlock.

 “John?” Sherlock stood up, the blood being massaged into his tortured wrists by the Doctor’s thumbs. “John?” Sherlock looked at the unconscious, no strike that, dead gunman, then to the silencer in John’s hand.

 “Let me see. No doesn’t look like they’ve beaten you, anything broken?” He checked Sherlock’s chest and sides. “Alright then, where’s Carter and Sam?” Sherlock was still staring in disbelief.

 “How did you get here?”

“Sherlock, we don’t have the time. Where is Carter and Sam? Focus.” John held Sherlock’s face pulling him down to his level.

 “Right. Right. Sam? Sam? The blond. Not John! That was him. You know him?”

 “Yeah, he attends my sisters meetings.”

“She really does AA meetings?” Sherlock was in Shock, John was pulling him by the hand stepping over the dead idiot he peeked out into the corridor.

“Yeah. That’s not important. Use that magnificent brain of yours and tell me where they would be held or are being held. Do it quick before these guys find out I killed Sebastian in the parking lot.”

Sherlock caught his breath again, his head swimming. “You? Killed?”

“Yes, dead. Three shots with a gun. One for each of those men he shot and betrayed over some idiotic obsession with Moriarty. Who by the look of this room hasn’t changed a bit.”

Sherlock could only study John’s face, wondering who this stranger was, this stranger who held a gun with proficiency. Who navigated the dim corridors like a well trained soldier not a tired young aspiring Doctor. There wasn’t anything vulnerable about John.

 “Look, the smaller prints. With the star.” Sherlock pointed down, John recognized the converse logo in the dirt. “Follow it. Sam was with Carter. He was going to shoot him for Moriarty.”

“What?” John froze.

“Well not for real. He just said he would. Intelligent for an ex addict.”

“Well I’m sure they can’t all be geniuses.” John rolled his eyes. An awkward silence settled between the two.

“John. I wanted-“

“Oh, shut it. I forgave you a week ago. I was actually going to stop by Baker Street ask you to dinner. Harry has been trying to get me to make the first move, she said you were too idiot to try again and idiot enough to give up.”

“The vote of confidence really is endearing.” Sherlock rolled his eyes. Then he realized something “You forgave me?”

“Yes.”

“For before. For keeping information from you? For the drugs-“

“Yes, now can we not have this conversation here. I forgave you. Some of it I left behind me years ago. To be honest, I wasn’t perfect.”

“Wait John what about your shoulder?” Sherlock paused tugging on the warm hand that held his.

“What do you mean?” John’s brow wrinkled.

“Sebastian shot those men-and you because of-“ John had to laugh, he shook his head.

“Well aren’t you just so self important. No idiot Sebastian Moran is a psychopath in love with a sociopath maniac. That’s why he shot those men and me. He was a bad dog that needed to be put down. Now come on lets find Carter and poor Sam. He’s got to be scared out of his wits. I hope this doesn’t cause a relapse.” Sherlock noticed the unsteady marks from the shoes leaving the closed cell.

“John they aren’t in there, they’ve gotten out. Look at the pattern it changes and there’s blood.”

“Who’s-“

“It was Carter. Sam had it on his hands and was wearing a white shirt which tells me he used his over shirt to try and put pressure on the wound. Whatever profession he chooses he shall excel in.”

“Yeah, ok. Yes. We’ve established he’s got a brain. Now can we get the hell out of here. I’d rather have you safe and sound with Mycroft before I go after Moriarty.”

 “John-You can’t be serious.” Sherlock was being tugged along the corridor. There was gunfire ahead, both men ducked behind row of boxes and crates stacked too high.

“Find him! I know he’s here! I want him!” the high pitched shrill was too distinctive to miss.

“But sir. The government men are already breaching our defenses. We have to get out.” John tried for a line of sight on the Irishman. Moriarty's suit and white shirt and tie was blood stained, so he found his rabid dog. Good. John's aim was blocked as a flash grenade went off, he ducked down with Sherlock. Taking the mans scarf putting over the consulting detectives mouth and nose, coughing himself.

“Stay down. Don’t want to be caught in crossfire.” John coughed. He squinted he could see Moriarty disappearing through the smoke his expensive suit stained red. His shrieks loud, one of his men must have been dragging him. John stood to follow Sherlock caught his wrist.

“John you can’t.” The taller man stood up knocking over the boxes that had concealed them.

 More gunfire, John swore pulling Sherlock back down. “Don’t be an idiot. He gave a fleeting glance in the direction Moriarty had disappeared, before making a move for the nearest exit. Outside was just as intense, John hadnt seen anyone when he’d snuck in less then ten or twenty minutes ago. It was  battlefield, he fired taking down two of Moriarty’s hired guns.

 John could see Hendricks motioning his men forward, unaware of the gunman to his left, John fired and the man fell just at Hendricks feet. The agent gave a quick wave and a grin.

 When it was all over, John was moving around to help the wounded, sirens already nearing in the distance.

Sherlock could only watch the beauty of it, this dance his John, his competent, intelligent, skilled John. This wasn’t a timid or shy young man, starved for affection. He wasn’t a ray of sunshine, more like the burning sun. And Sherlock felt warmth stir him, a warmth he thought he’d never feel again.

“Doctor Watson.” Mycroft stepped out from behind the car Sherlock was leaning against. The consulting detective wondered how long his brother had stood observing just as he had. The blond doctor gave a tired smile.

“Mycroft. Come to lecture me?”

“John, don’t give my brother a hard time he worries constantly. However it will be easier on him if we were both at the same location. He wouldn’t have to spread his resources.” Sherlock thought to interrupt, not particularly liking the easy banter between the older Holmes and his Doctor.

“Oh?” John frowned.

“Yes. That’s why John you have no choice but to move in to Baker Street. Do it for your country John. Even the British Government does have to tighten its or his belt in these rough economic times.” Mycroft made a face at his younger brother.

“For my country. Why not.” John laughed, his arms coming around Sherlock’s waist. “That and someone’s got to keep a closer eye on you.”

“Agreed. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to debrief a few interested parties. And there is the matter of Moriarty.” Mycroft shook his head his umbrella digging into the gravel at his feet.

“Yes, but I don’t suppose we’ve seen the last of him?” John frowned solemnly.

“If only.” He sighed leaving the two men to continue their discussion. Sherlock smiled at something John said, and he turned his head catching his brother turning away. The younger Holmes instinctively put an arm around his John.

“John. Do you know any single Doctors?” He steered John away from the chaos.

“Why? You on the look out?”

“No, I was thinking my brother would be less of a pain if he had his own Doctor. One to tell him to stick to the diet as well as force him to watch James Bond movies and hold hands. All the normality’s of relationships.”

“Awe Sherlock. You do care about your brother.”

“Hardly. He’d be out of my hair. It’s purely selfish reasoning. If a partner distracted him he’d have less time to meddle in my affairs. It’s either that or a war, and I don’t see you too keen on starting a war just to get my brother out of my face for a week or two.”

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 51. YOU

 

Sherlock woke first, the light from the morning sun pushed through the veil of his dark curtains. The soft beams intruded, casting shadows over the walls and a still sleeping John Watson. Sherlock would never admit it but this was his favorite start to the morning, and he would never get bored of it. Every detail of John’s face at rest he stored in his mind palace. The dust of blonde eyelashes, the slope of his brow, a deep line, a deep kissable line forming every time the man frowned. Every time he gave that face in response to some missed social cue the “A bit not good.” Or “You’ve said something you shouldn’t” face.

Sherlock loved him, a month had already passed and no sign of Moriarty or Moran. Sherlock knew he would never lose John to either of the psychopaths even if it cost him his own life. He would never give John up, his lover sighed in his sleep a smile creasing his soft lips.

“You know I find it hard to sleep when someone is watching me.”

 “Really, I would find it erotic.” Sherlock’s honeyed baritone washed over the smaller man causing the Doctor’s pulse to quicken.

 “You voyeur!” John laughed kissing the right nipple of his boyfriend’s smooth chest.  John kept his eyes closed and snuggled closer, his ear resting just over Sherlock’s heart. His heart, John loved this part of the morning, the soft drum and the warmth of bare skin to bare skin.

“It’s true John. I could watch you forever.”

“Oh, I’m sure you would eventually grow tired of me and move on to some tighter, younger blonde.” John sighed. “I then will have your brother find said blonde and disappear the problem.” Sherlock rolled his eyes grinning his hand coming through the blond down of John’s hair.

“There will never be a replacement John Watson. There is only you. I know now I’m lost without you, lost and utterly in the dark.” John lifted his head blue eyes catching gray.

“You are such a poet.” He moved to kiss the cupid’s bow lips. Shifting until he was straddling the dark haired love of his life. Balancing his weight on his good arm using the opposite hand to cup his Sherlock’s face. “And I love you too.”

“Marry me.” Sherlock sat up causing the surprised doctor to fall back, and it was the taller man taking advantage his body laying over the stocky soldier’s.

“Are you- Did you just?”

“I did.” Sherlock started to kiss down John’s body neck, to the scar on his shoulder then lower.

“Wait-wait-“ John forgot what he was going to say when a warm wet mouth enveloped his already semi hard cock. “God, yes.” John gasped. Sherlock’s mouth moved off of John’s cock with a popping noise. The soldier whimpered in protest, rolling his hips upwards.

“Then it’s settled. Doctor John Hamish Holmes. Has a good sound to it.”

 “What-wait that’s not fair.” John was breathless; it surprised him how he could never get over this part of their relationship. Every time he was just putty in his lovers hands.

“Fine you can hyphenate.” Sherlock was becoming distracted by a very capable work warn hand that found his own solid erection. 

“I think I’ll keep Watson and you can be Sherlock Watson.” Sherlock pushed his hips into John’s skilled hand. “What do you think?” John made a quick flick of his wrist.

“I think we aren’t going to make it out of the room till well past noon, and you are going to hyphenate.” Sherlock sealed any protest when his hungry mouth closed over John’s.

 

~0~

WELL PAST THREE

“Wohoo boys? I see you’re already up.” Mrs. Hudson had knocked on the already opened door, she smiled knowingly.  John coughed nearly chocking on his tea, Sherlock only continued to scowl at his mobile.

“I’ve brought you some groceries. Seeing how you two have been so busy.” She headed into the kitchen with a bright smile, trying not to laugh at a clearly embarrassed Doctor. Really how is the boy a Doctor with such shyness? 

She understood love, she was a young girl once, she was still a woman after all. Oh youth, what a waste. Speaking of waste, she sized up the young Doctor who was wearing a pair of Jeans and a blue and gray checkered shirt. He hadn’t put his gray jumper on over it just yet. It was good, hard to see how much weight the boy had put on with that over sized Jumper. Really, Sherlock ought to take him shopping.


She could see he wasn’t wearing his belt at all, in fact a frown on his face. When he disappeared into the bedroom and returned with it. “Damn. I need a new belt. The last one doesn’t fit.” Mrs. Hudson shut the fridge, careful not to knock the foot from the top shelf, and over her casserole. It wasn’t hygienic.

 The Doctor had a healthy color to him; Mrs Hudson couldn’t help but direct him to the table. “Just sit there dear. I’ll make you some lunch.” He wasn’t able to protest, he never did. “That’s a good boy. If you ask me that belt was getting old anyway. You could do with a few more pounds. It’s good to be a solid man when dealing with the miscreants that one attracts.”

 “Oh, Mrs. Hudson my laundry needs to be done.” Sherlock called over the news paper.

“Sherlock!” John snapped accepting a sandwich from Mrs. Hudson.

“Not your housekeeper!” She yelled back, all the same taking the basket.

“Mrs. Hudson I’ll do that. You-“ John protested.

Then she saw the smiley face on her wall. “Young man! My wall! What have you done to my wall? This is coming out of your rent!” she stared at giant grinning face, taking deep breaths, a sure sign of a very long and sharp telling off. John winced waiting for the scathing remarks to fly. He did warn Sherlock in all fairness. The smug, confident beautiful bastard just continued to sit reading the paper.

“Oh and by the way Mrs. Hudson I asked John to marry me and he agreed. He will be the new Doctor John Hamish Holmes.” This was said so casually that the older woman took a minute to process the new information.

“Now wait we didn’t agree on Holmes.” John huffed. He turned back to Mrs. Hudson who had dropped the basket of clothes. Her tantrum forgotten. “We haven’t agreed on Holmes. Sherlock will be a Watson.”

The old woman let out a cheerful shrill, clapping her hands she embraced the young Doctor first. “Good gracious finally! Mrs. Turner next door was always on and on about you two living out of wed lock. I think it’s nonsense we are in the new age after all. Not the same when their were chaperones and dances. Now with mobiles and computers that can talk! People are a bit more open minded. But all the same.” She wasn’t making sense, she didn’t care, she kissed the top of John’s head and then Sherlock’s. Hurrying out the door at the speed of a woman with two good hips.

 Sherlock had been reading his brother’s text since he’d showered and bothered to look.

Father is absolutely excited about having a Doctor in the family and a decorated war hero. Mummy would be proud.-MH

Piss off.-SH

Don’t mess it up little brother. Such opportunities are normally beyond our reach. Second chances are virtually unheard of. I congratulate you on your good fortune.-MH

I do love him Mycroft.-SH

Of that I have no doubt. You were always the odd one. Father wasn’t surprised at all that you are capable of such sentiment.-MH

You will find someone just the same and we shall see who is the odd one.-SH

As you’ve said before dear brother, there is no other man like your dear Doctor.-MH

Sherlock had stared at the message long enough, he wondered how he missed the fact that his brother had been love with John. It probably happened on their first meeting, it would have been instantaneous. Mycroft would have been knocked back by it, and confused. This was how Sherlock had been affected.

He also knew his brother’s honor kept him from pursing his feelings, even after the breakup. Maybe that was the reason behind Mycroft pulling all surveillance from John. It would be torture to watch John live out a life, from afar. Now, now Mycroft would have no choice.

 He looked over at his husband to be, he was smiling and cleaning dishes, and completely unaware of the affect he had on those around him.

 “I’ll have to break it to my sister of course. I’ll wait a few days she’s had enough stress.” John broke Sherlock’s train of thought.

“Oh? What does the harpy have to worry about? She’s got the perfect little set up, a house a wife a successful job in real estate. Which isn’t surprising she could always spin-“

“Sherlock.” John placed a cup of tea at his partner’s side, making sure the dark haired man didn’t continue that remark. Ever since he’d moved in Harry and Sherlock tried to be civil to each other when in each others company. However it was free game when it was just John there to hear the insults. Every time he put his foot down, the two people he loved most in the world would not be so childish. “Anyway. She’s having a bit of trouble getting her adoption papers pushed through. Clara was cleared naturally but because of Harry’s background-“ John shook his head.

 

“That doesn’t seem very fair, John. She is running all those youth meetings and spends enough time at the crisis center. Clara as well.” Sherlock thought about his own background. Would John want children? Of course someday he would. How could he not, it was in his nature to be loving and nurturing. A child would never feel anything but this. The idea that Sherlock’s own past history would deny John his chance at fatherhood, made the detective’s stomach tighten. John was giving him a concerned look so Sherlock only continued on with his usual expression of boredom “ It’s like you Watsons can’t help working towards Sainthood. It’s actually perplexing.”

“Oh, you find my altruism one of my most attractive qualities.” John yanked the paper from Sherlock’s hands, kneeling between the detectives long legs, “Say it.” John arched his neck, lifting up slightly on Sherlock’s thighs to meet his love with a kiss. “Go on.” John pulled away nipping at Sherlock’s bottom lip. “Tell me you find my altruism and sense of duty to my fellow man a turn on.”

Sherlock rolled his eyes in exasperation; “I in fact find your faults just as appealing as your qualities. Altruism being one of them. It’s a defect of character I’m willing to over look.” Sherlock tried to keep a straight face, but John’s mock expression of hurt, and then his quick grin was so infectious he couldn’t help but smile as well.

 The consulting detective was sure to file this moment away in his mind palace.  He had in fact changed his mind palace around. The rooms redecorated, the flat was their flat at 221B, and the sun was always coming in through the windows. The walls plastered with pictures of John, his John laughing. Embracing his sister. Shaking hands with a colleague. Holding his browning with expert skill. Subduing an assailant. Everything about John was in this room within a room. The scent of warm tea and honey. A brown jumper carelessly flung onto the couch as if by a hasty pair of hands. This was were he kept John, close so close that nothing could slip between the two.

 There was no question now, only one answer would ever be given from here on out. I chose you. Always you. I love only you.

Chapter Text

 

Carter took a deep breath; he was older than this kid by six years. God he looked so young no matter his age, and what if he doesn’t want anything to do with a committed military man?

His career had definitely ended enough relationships, and there were the long tours or missions. Times he wouldn’t be able to contact his partner. Well that was getting ahead. He hadn’t even managed to ask the kid on a first date. But what if he was appalled by the age difference oh god or worse thought he was trying to replace John. Well he’d moved on. Anyway they’d been broken off a year and a half, and after John was shot, well it’s been six months.

 He paced the empty corridor, when the doors he was standing near slowly opened and the object Carter’s indecision was wheeling out two large laundry carts. He had some awful music blaring in his headphones, and the top of his blue janitorial coveralls were tied around his slim waist, he was wearing a white tank top. Carter could see several scars lining the boy’s toned arms, interesting he hadn’t noticed before. Then again, the last time they’d spoken was in the hospital and Carter had been higher than a kite.

Some of the scars looked like burns maybe from a cigarette. The military man frowned, his hold on the gift bag he’d been fiddling with for the last half and hour, tightened. Sam was so skinny and small, the taller man could easily break him in half. He held his breath as Sam was moving further and further away, his back unknowingly to the Lt. Major. Two other kids of similar age burst through the same heavy doors Sam had come through, approaching the young blond. Carter shook his head, they all had to be the same age, wearing similar coveralls. This was just a crazy idea.

“Hey like the ear muffs.” A ginger haired boy pointed to Sam’s headphones.

“Oh, yeah. I bought em a week ago.” Sammy didn’t look to interested, he turned right back to the laundry trolly’s.

“Yeah. Hey. So we were going to Lisa’s for a party you should come.” The brunette stopped the trolly.

“Naw. But thanks.” Sammy gave a half smile.

“Come on Sammy boy. You used to be so fun.” The brunette pressed. The blond didn’t take the bait he only shook his head.

“That’s not me guys. Sorry. Hey I just want to get this done I have an early morning tomorrow.”

“Yeah okay whatever.” The brunette shot the ginger a harsh look making a quick nod toward the doors with his head.

“Well I’m off. See you losers.” The ginger rolled his eyes, heading out the doors he’d come through.

Carter was on instant alert not liking how this brunette kid was eyeing Sam. Or was he wrong, could they be involved? Great he was a voyeur now. The brunette leaned over whispering something to the blond. Carter shook his head. What was wrong with him? I’m such an idiot. Carter left the corridor before he was noticed outside halfway to his car he realized he still had the kid’s shirt. He had made a deal, and hey maybe Sam could use the extra shirts Carter had picked up. That would come off as a friendly gesture, and not creepy at all. Right?

 ~o~

“No. Corey. I already said I’m not interested.” Sam firmly stated trying to step around the tall brunette.

“You think you’re just better then us?” The brunette pushed Sam through another doorway.

Sam’s heart was pounding in his chest, how the hell did this come about? He had made it clear he wasn’t interested in anyone he worked with. Corey was coming on too strong now he had him pushed up against the wall in a dimly lit utility closet. Sam thought over his options, he could push back take the chance he’d actually knock Corey off him. Corey was bigger than him, and it wasn’t like Sam hadn’t been hit before. He waited for an opening, praying this didn’t go any further. His adrenaline pounding through him, his heart threatening to push through his chest.

So when Corey tried to kiss him he pushed then tried to swing. The other boy must have anticipated this, his feet planted firmly and he caught Sam’s wrist easily. He laughed sending a hard hit to Sam’s abdomen.

“Oh Sammy my boy. You make things fun.” Sam was pulled roughly to his feet, Corey had his forearm crushing his neck and gripping Sam’s shoulder.

“What can’t breath awe how bout something more comfortable.” Corey released Sam just to turn him and slam the smaller boy against the wall, making some of the cans of cleaner fall off the shelves.

Sam was trying to squirm away, but Corey used the advantage of his weight to keep Sam pressed completely against the wall and a hand on his waste. Shit why didn’t I just wear my coveralls normal. This wouldn’t be so easy, he’d have to open it from the front.

 “Stop! Corey!” Sam felt the fear, this was happening, and he wouldn’t be able to stop it.

 “Just relax.” Corey continued to work the knot Sam had made with his coveralls sleeves as a make shift belt.

“Fuck off. I mean it! I’m not playing.” Sam tried to push off the wall, only to have his face grinding into it so bad it hurt, and hard punch to the kidney made him see stars, he hoped to black out. That could be a blessing, blacking out, he prayed for it. Hating the feel of the biting fingers, he had jeans on under the coveralls. His coveralls were ripped from him and in tangled around his feet. Now Corey was working on Sam’s jeans, he had gotten the first button. Making Sam try to fight harder out of a frantic need for escape, then without notice the pressure of the Corey’s weight was gone,  leaving him to fall to his knees gasping for air. He tried to stand, tripping over his coveralls.

Carter had heard Sam’s protests. And the military man had gone into action, droping the gift bag, he’d bolted down the corridor, damning himself for not knowing where the blond was being threatened. The sound of a struggle in the utility closet had him pulling the door open, and pure instinct took over. Reaching in he grabbed the brunette by the back of his collar, flinging the little punk through the doors and against the wall of the corridor.

 “Hey! What the fuck!” Corey tried to stand dazed he looked up their was a rather tall man in a black suit his face cold and brown eyes just as dead. “ I was playing just playing no harm done.” Corey’s self preservation mode kicked in. The man wasn’t convinced.

”I don’t think he took it as fun.” Carter growled picking the kid up by his arm crushing the bully’s face against the wall, yanking up on the arm he still held control of.

“You’re gonna break it!” Corey squealed.

 “Yeah? Oh well.” Carter sneered. “Now you little shit,” He rolled the kid around holding his forearm under the boy’s chin, pushing against the boys’s adam’s apple. “does this feel like fun?”

“No-no.” He whined trying to wiggle free.

“Carter?” Sam held a hand to his stomach, not wanting to remop the floors just because he was sick all over, and now he thought he was seeing things. He sank down sitting he needed to sit his legs weren’t working for him just yet. And his back ached, not to mention his head was swimming.

 “Shit! Sammy tell him it was a joke! I was just playing!” Corey was breathing hard, pleading.

“I didn’t like it. Not much of a joke.” Sam rubbed his neck coughing, his voice unusually casual. His hands shaking, this wasn’t a dream he hadn’t blacked out. That was really Carter. Had he always been so tall?

 “Sorry man. Really!” Corey’s face was turning red.

“Oh, let em loose he isnt worth the dirt on your shoes.” Sam groaned putting his head on the top of his knees.

“Fine. But remember Corey is it? This isn’t over.” Carter released the boy watching with a frown as he ran down the corridor and bursting through the exit. He made a note to have him charged, or sited.

Sam was running a hand over his hair. He frowned at his broken headphones, cursing his still shaking hands. Pulling his knees to his chest he allowed his spinning head to rest on the top of his knees.

 “Hey, hey. Just breathe. Deep breaths.” Carter was holding Sammy’s head down. The kid was hyperventilating, he looked up confused.

“Thanks.” Sam managed.

“No need to be embarrassed.” Carter took a seat on the floor next to Sam.

“Just another pathetic day in the life.” Sam sniffed, sounding defeated. He pulled his headphones off his neck tossing them into the bin and missing. “Uh no offense. I mean I’m really grateful to bump into you again. Glad to see you’re up and well. But what are you doing here?” Sam pulled his knees up closer to his chest feeling like a stupid vulnerable kid. Was it ridiculous that he wanted to climb into Carter’s lap and just cry?

“Oh that’s right.” Carter snapped his fingers; he stood up looking around. Sam didn’t move, he hadn’t heard Carter hurrying down the hall in search of a rectangular gift bag. “Here you go.” He tapped Sam’s head with it.

 “Whats this? It’s not my birthday.” Sam glanced curiously into the bag with the blue tissue and the bag was his favorite color green.

 “Just open it. I didn’t wrap it or anything. I’m shit at wrapping so I just tossed it into this, and then I couldn’t figure out which one you would want and the kid at the store said these were the most popular. If you don’t like them you can always take them back and get the money for them. And of course your original t-shirt is in there. I just thought I’d buy you a few more.” Carter was aware he was babbling, but Sam wasn’t speaking he was just looking into the bag. Carter couldn’t see the younger man’s face from where he stood. The Lt. Major hated the fact he could storm a heavily secured terrorist base with nothing more than five men and a few assault riffles without hesitation. But when it came to this sort of thing he felt like a drowning man.

“Why?” Sam’s voice was barely a whisper, still looking into the bag.

“Like I said. You saved my life and I promised to bring you your shirt back we did have a deal. And I kind of wanted to ask you out to dinner. Not Thai of course.”

Carter could see the blue tissue the kid at the store insisted on packing into the gift bag of t-shirts, some of the top layers were turning different color as if water was staining them, tears, tears were falling onto the paper.

“Hey. If you hate it that much.” Carter was leaning over tilting Sam’s face up. Trying to make light of the situation, cursing the little twerp he let go. He’d find him later and deal with it.

 “No, it’s just been a rough a week and-“ Sam smiled accepting a white handkerchief from the man in the black suit. Wiping his nose self consciously, feeling like a baby he added quickly “Dinner sounds good.”

“But not Thai.” Carter teased, offering a hand up. Sam laughed, wiping his eyes again.

He giggled repeating. “Not. Thai.”

 Making their way down the hall Sam studied Carter’s handsome face. Was this really happening? Was a prince charming really coming to his rescue, really here asking him to dinner? Just bought him nine of his favorite band’s t-shirts. He didn’t think he’d see the Military man again not after they parted in the hospital. Sam had felt in the way, with all the older men gathering around on official business and such.

This only happened in the movies or the silly books Mrs. Wilson kept on her end table. Sam tested his theory, pausing in front of the taller man, who by the way looked absolutely delicious in a black suit. His very own James Bond.  Carter wasn’t expecting this an nearly ran into the younger man.

Sam didn’t pay attention, he didn’t want to lose his nerve, he stood on the tips of his toes, pulling on Carter’s black tie for leverage. There was hesitation on Carter’s part when Sam’s lips met the soldier’s. However Sam initiating this kiss was all the encouragement it took for Carter, once he registered what was happening. Then he had the younger man pulled closer to him, backing him gently into the wall of the empty building, his body pressing into the smaller one.  Their mouths sealed, tongues battling for control. Sam gave in and felt himself arch up wantonly, was this what it was to be really kissed?

 It took all the self control of his military training for Carter to pull away first, but he did so slowly. Sam’s wide eyes unreadable, staring up at him, the strong arm around his waist releasing him so his feet were back on the ground. “Sorry-“ Carter started clearing his throat.

“No. Thank you.” Sam grinned, touching his own swollen lips gently, tracing the edges where Carter’s warm mouth had been. He was smiling now, his cheeks red. “I guess I kind of needed that.” Sam hated how his voice shook, he nervously looked around for the gift bag. Carter picked it up and handed it to him.

“You know this is a date if you’re buying.” Sam pointed out easily.

“Then I’m definitely buying.” Carter placed an arm around the younger man’s waist. Sam couldn’t help but lean into him more. He hated himself for being so needy, for wanting to be reassured and told everything was fine. Just this once, even if he never saw Carter beyond tonight he'd have this.

Carter felt the younger man lean into his arm, his body had a slight tremble. He swore again that he hadn't beat the holy hell out of the little bastard that had made Sam feel this way. Sam was so small, he was young and life didn't look as if it had been easy. Instinctively Carter put a protective arm around the young man. Even if he never saw Sam beyond tonight he'd always have this closeness to remember. Not to mention the unexpected kiss in the corridor. Carter felt Sam sigh softly his body relaxing, and it felt right. The two making their way to his car.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 51. JAM

 

Harry shook her head, she’d taken the time to bring one of the teenagers back to Sunny Hills, children’s home. The girl was on the same track that her mother had taken, and Harry was trying desperately to keep the her straight.

On her way out the ex alcoholic was refilling the young adult AA and substance abuse pamphlets in the hall of the home, when a younger boy with a cast on his arm nearly ran her over.

“Woah there.” She caught him before he fell back, he was looking over his shoulder then moved quickly to hide behind her.

Three older boys were rushing in, “Where did he go?” one of the older ones started for the back play area where the arcade games were kept.

“Trouble?” the young boy stepped out, he had to be four or five, she thought he was too thin for any age. His jeans were ripped at the knee. His shoes were untied, and the striped blue and white shirt he wore was two sizes too big. It was those startling blue eyes that caused her pause, he nervously shrugged.

“Story of my life.” He itched his nose.

“How old are you kid?”

“Five.” He tried to show her with his cast hand.

“What happened there?” he sniffed and shifted his feet, looking away.

“I fell. Why?” he replied in a barely an audible mumble.

“No reason. Want me to tie those shoes before you fall again?”

“Do what you want.” She sighed kneeling down to tie the dirty and frayed laces of the old trainers. When she reached for the second shoe, he teetered, his hand on her shoulder “You have pretty hair.” He whispered. “We almost match.” Harry looked up in time to see his cheeks burning red, as if this was a secret.

“Yes. We almost do.” Harry whispered back “ My names Harry.”

“That’s a boys name. And why are we whispering?” the boy asked.

“It’s short for Harriette. And I don’t know you started it.”

“Oh, Harry’s good then.” The boy giggled, and Harry couldn’t help but join in.

“Hey!” she nudged him with her shoulder, still kneeling down.

“I don’t like my name.”

“Why? It can’t be as bad as Harry.”

“No, it’s worse.”

“Worse. Now I’m curious?”

“George.” He sighed, making a face, not meeting her eyes. The two made their way to the play area where George started to stack blocks. Watching her from the corner of his eye, as Harry sat crossed legged next to him, handing him a block every now and then.

“Well I like that name. It’s noble enough. I can see where Georgie would be a pain. But-“ the younger boy shook his head.

“It was his name. And I hate it. Like I hate him.” He huffed glaring at his blocks, a hand rubbing his cast.

 “Ah, Ms. Watson. Is there anything else?” The home director smiled gently interrupting the two.

“Oh, I’m sorry Brenda, I was on my way out when I met blondie here.” Harry started to stand up, running her hands self-consciously over the sides of her trousers.

“Her name’s Harry.” George stood up and kicked his stacked blocks then walked away.

“Don’t mind him. He’s having a bit of a rough time. I hear you and Clara are looking to adopt. How's the paperwork going? And Have you thought of an age?”

“Oh. Don't get me started.” Harry pinched her nose. 

"Hang in there. It's a process. Have you considered looking over our list eligible children?" Brenda asked glancing over to where Georgie was sitting.

Harry thought that’s all they would need a troubled kid. She looked over her shoulder at George, he was thumbing through a book, his feet dangling over the edge of the couch. Clara wanted a baby, Harry pushed this from her mind. Besides they had a long wait before they would eve be considered.

~0~

Harry thought of phoning her brother, wanting to vent her frustration once more over the unfairness of it all. Deciding not to, she would just go up to the adoption office and drop out her newly filled out application. She'd been given additional paperwork due to her minor police record. Damn youth and lack of foresight.

She stepped off the lift moving to the small window where a government employee looked less than enthused about being there. Harry handed in the stack of papers. The red head with the annoyed look slowly glanced over it, Harry waited patiently. Unaware that just to her left a young brunette was stepping through the employee only door, her eyes never leaving her blackberry. "I will be sure my employer is informed of the proficiency in which you've run this office. Good day Mr. Goodall." The tall man looked absolutely relieved that the short woman was finally gone. Good lord, an audit from the home office, he would hear from them in a few days. This meant pay cuts, lost jobs or if he was lucky funding increases, raises and more staff.  Now the matter of that case file. 

"Well Mrs. Watson I'll be sure this is processed. You'll hear from us six months to a year-" Harry felt like crying but she nodded.

"Excuse me Ms. Sweet did you say Watson?" Mr. Goodall grabbed the application quickly.

"Yes sir. This is Mrs. Harriette Watson she is reapplying-"

"Oh good gracious did you say reapplying?" Mr. Goodall felt sick, flashes of pay cuts and terminations running through his head.

Later Harriette left the office in a daze, she wondered how her luck had changed so quickly. Her application had been resubmitted, reevaluated and approved all in a day. Clara would be thrilled, she couldn't wait to call her brother and tell him the great news, he would soon be an uncle.

~0~

 Harriette and Clara had settled on a baby girl, and they had decided they would wait before adding more children to their household. However three weeks later she was returning home with  a five year old son. She’d had the contractor add an extra room it was tight but there were no complaints. Clara of course was excited and as always understanding of Harry's want to take in another.

“It’s the name he picked.” Harry sighed. She could only shrug.

“Why?” Clara giggled. “I mean, it’s a good enough name but has he even met your brother?”

“No, not yet. I think it’s when I was showing him pictures of his soon to be Uncles John and Sherlock. He thought we looked alike. Poor John he’s going to have a shadow when he comes over I just know it.”

“When’s that?” Clara bounced baby Emma on her shoulder, trying to get a burp.

The door bell rang, “Sounds like now. Sorry.” Harriet had barely mentioned it five minutes ago, today’s events had slipped her mind. She had a busy day at the realtors, and picked up two AA meetings for the youth association, not to mention making a name change for her new five year old son.

 John straightened Sherlock’s scarf, “Be nice.”

“John I disprove of children.”

“But you want your own?”

“Yes, well someday. And then they would be ours and I wouldn’t be allowed to hate them.  Although I don’t think anyone told my father this-“ Before John could reply the door opened and a pair of bright blue eyes were inspecting the two suspiciously.

“Can I help you?” he asked.

“Well that’s polite.” Sherlock glared, but the young boy only met his glare evenly.

“Oh, hello there. Don’t mind him, that’s just how Sherlock is. He’s never in a good mood. And I’m-“ The younger boy smiled brightly now and before John could say anything a pair of small arms were around his waist.

“Uncle John. I know. I know. Mummy says you are a doctor and you fought in a war. And you live with a pig. Do you actually live with a pig?” John was trying to make his way into the flat.

“Johnny! I didn’t say pig. No, you must have misheard me.” Harry was hurrying forward to greet her brother.

“Doubtful.” Sherlock growled under his breath.

“Oh, lovely, Clara look it’s Sherlock.” Harry forced a smile announcing this over her shoulder. Then under her breath as she made to kiss both his cheeks barely making contact. “Pig.”

Sherlock was glad to take a step back, “Yes, I’ve arrived. With John. Who by the way has suddenly grown a smallish person out of his hip.” Then under his breath passing Harry. “Witch.”

“My name is John too.” The younger boy handed John a red marker, and held out his cast. Someone had already made several designs. “I got to pick it out. My name. Mummy said it was ok. It will be confusing so she can call me Johnny. I don’t mind.” The two sat on the larger of the two couches.

 “Well good. John smiled. I bloody hate being called Johnny.” The younger boy just beamed up at him. “Can I ask why John? There are so many wonderful names out there.” John started to draw a smiling face.

“She said you liked jam. I love jam and toast.” Harry frowned that was it, simple and perfect.

Before anyone could get comfortable a heavy knock came to the door, John felt Johnny tense. Two uniforms and a gray haired man stood in the door way. “Don’t you answer your mobile!” Harry and Clara stood with an annoyed grin “Oh, sorry ladies. I hope I’m not-“

Sherlock jumped to his feet making Johnny and John jump. “Not! Not at all! Lestrade. Yes. A case. My phone must be dead.” He rolled his eyes, he could have avoided this hell if John had bothered to charge his mobile. After all he was always telling him to do it himself. “Come along Doctor! The Yard calls!” Lestrade looked absolutely confused.

“What’s got into him?” he murmured.

“Sorry Harry. Another time. Johnny. Nice to meet you.” John was apologetic, hoping Harry wouldn't be to cross.

“You and uncle Lock work for the cops?” the young boy asked in surprise.

“Yes. Sometimes they need help on big cases and Uncle Lock is very good at putting puzzles together.”  Johnny had followed John to the door staring up in awe at the tall men there.

“Please gentleman take some biscuits for the road.” Clara had placed Emma in a bassinet, and quickly scooped up a ziplock baggie filling it with biscuits and a few other treats. Lestrade smiled brightly. Officer Clarke accepted enthusiastically. They’d all skipped lunch.

“And who is this strapping young man?” Lestrade greeted Johnny, the DI had nephews and nieces he was always good with children. He knew they always were more excited by the uniforms that the constables wore than by a DI in plain clothes. Sure enough the younger man was looking up at officer Clarke and then Officer Wright.

 After they left John climbed onto mummy’s lap while mum finished the dishes. Baby Emma was sitting in mummy’s lap. Her chubby fingers kept tangling in mummy’s long blonde strands.

“She likes your hair too.” Johnny giggled making a face at his new sister who giggled in return.

“Well it’s almost time to feed your sister, how about you run over and ask mum for a bottle.” He nodded excitedly happy to help.

“I didn’t know Uncle Lock and Uncle John are policemen.” Clara frowned shaking the formula mix.

“Well, in a way. They are. They help the police a lot. And have a lot of policemen friends. Does that scare you?” Clara asked gently pretending to concentrate on the warm bottle in her hand.

“No. It means we are safe.”  Clara handed her son Emma’s bottle a bit of her heart breaking, she knew from whom Johnny was so fearful. The courts did assure them that the man didn’t know where his son had been placed and was still in jail. Behind bars.” She smiled sadly. Things that are broken can be fixed. Slowly they were starting to grow a family. With John and Sherlock the family was expanding.

“Johnny sweets, how about some Jam and toast.” Clara called out.

“Yeaaaay!”

“You spoil him Clara!” Harry rolled her eyes but Johnny only stuck out his tongue and hurried to the table.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 54. RED

 “It was just another false lead.” John growled frustrated he plopped down into the closest chair near Mycroft’s desk. Sherlock stood glaring out the window, his lips pursed, and eyes a million miles away.

“Indeed John it’s frustrating but, until he’s found-“

“We aren’t going into hiding. No. I just got my life back. I wont run and hide. If he’s coming let him. Up or security level do what you have to, but I wont be coddled. And I better not find any of those damn hidden camera's anywhere near the bedroom!” John was on his feet again.

“John we still don’t know if Moran is alive or dead.” Mycroft kept his voice casual, his eyes clear he watched John’s reaction, ignoring the camera comment. That wasnt his idea, someone on his team had no doubt considered it a joke.

“He’s dead. I shot him three times.” John held up his fingers.

“Yes, but the body John. Moriarty could have had him put together again.” Sherlock interjected turning on his heels.

“Or worshiping him as some mummified ugh-or a ice Popsicle.” John shivered. Sherlock only nodded in agreement, with Moriarty no one knew what he was doing with the body of Sebastian Moran.

 

John’s phone beeped another text from Harry, he’d ignored them because he was busy yelling at Mycroft, but now she was calling.  “Sorry, it’s my sister I have to take this.” He took a step back to the furthest corner.

Sherlock heard John’s quick intake of breath “Have you called the school-alright calm down Harry just calm down. He might have just got lost walking home-Why didn’t you say anything? I’m on my way. With Sherlock.” Sherlock could hear sobbing.

John looked sick “Johnny never made it home. Harry’s beside herself.”

“I’m sure he’s just gone off on his home to the park or-“

“His father broke out of the rehabilitation center he was staying in. The police warned Harry he may know where Johnny resides. She thinks he’s-“

“Who’s leading the search for the boy. I assume she rang the police.” John nodded.

“Reynolds.” Sherlock made a face.

“I”ll call Lestrade.”

“It’s not his division.” John shook his head but Sherlock was already on his mobile a few clipped words. “He’ll meet us at your sister’s.” Mycroft watched the two men shaking his head he sent a text and the brunette passed Sherlock and John in the corridor.

“Sir, the cctv are being scanned for a likeness of one George Smith. And the boy fitting the description the mother gave the police.”

“Very good. Keep me updated.”

 

~0~

Johnny didn’t try to run away, his father was taking him away but it was better than going home. If his father had gone there he would hurt mummy and mum and baby Emma.

 “Good. I see you finally learned to listen. You know if you try to fight me I’m going to go to your new house and cut those two whores up like Christmas turkey.” Johnny felt sick he didn’t know why his father wanted him back so badly. It wasn’t love, Johnny knew love from Harry and Clara. They were in the park now Johnny had a bad feeling and his father wasnt making sense. They passed a man sitting on a bench, Johnny could have sworn the man in the suit smiled and winked at him. Then the Lady who passed walking a tiny little dog did the same.

 

Was he going crazy, “Hey boy I need you to be real quiet. This guy I’m buying from is jumpy. He sounded twitchy on the phone. I need this score and then we’re going home. And you’re back to work as my own little delivery service. Except this time you aren’t gonna flush the product. Yeah cost me you little shit” Johnny wasn’t paying attention, because he could see the park was empty except a lady looking directly at him a grin on her face she had a baby carriage, and the man kicking a ball around, maybe even the bum they passed by the dumpster had given him a wave.

 They arrived at the shady end of the park, out of view of anything, covered by trees, there was a man standing with his red cap low, Johnny stiffened. His father pulled him closer tugging on his arm just above the cast causing the boy to cry out. “I said keep it quiet! You’re just determined to fuck this up for me.” Johnny’s father brought his hand up.

“Mister Smith. If you are through bullying the kid. Do you think we can get this done with.” The man in the hat growled. Johnny hadn't even heard him come so close, he was almost between them. His father dropped his hand, and Johnny escaped a beating. Then the oddest thing, Johnny thought he recognized the very tall man. He was wearing a cap over his curls, and different clothes, a mustache. But mustaches could be fake. The gray eyes avoided his and Johnny figured he was just hoping like a baby.

“Oh, right. Right. Let’s get on with it.” They moved to a van were two more men stepped out.

 “He came alone. He’s not armed.” The man in the cap sighed removing his red cap.

“Of course I did that was the deal.” Johnny’s father had released his arm he kept his eyes on the man in the cap. He was grinning now. “What’s so funny?” Father growled.

“You, you predictable idiot.” Johnny’s mouth fell open it was uncle Sherlock pulling his mustache off, scrunching his nose. Johnny’s father took a step back but there was Uncle John.

“Oh god please put up a fight. I’d love to break your arm. I’m a Doctor I would know just where to snap the bone.” and then George Smith was thrown to the ground, someone had lifted Johnny up taking him away from what looked like his father being arrested.

 Was this a dream? A policeman smiled at him and offered him sweets. He accepted the lolly and the spicy cinnamon sitting on the back of an ambulance, the whole place had cars with lights and sirens and men with guns. A lady was checking him over like a doctor would. “Lots of excitement huh?” a gray haired man was standing and talking Johnny didn’t know what to say so he shrugged. For some reason his hand wouldn’t stop shaking, the DI was kneeling now. Johnny just clutched his lolly not wanting to talk, because it felt like he was going to cry. And only baby’s cried.

“You know you sure are someone very important if they send out secret agents, police and God knows what.”

“What?” Johnny looked around again. There were quite a bit of people and all those people that smiled at him, they must have been agents. “Why?”

“DI Lestrade-“ One of the men called him away before he could answer. Johnny tried not to fidget but the orange blanket was scratchy and he wasn’t cold. Besides they’d think he was a baby if trying to hide and he wasn’t. He wasn’t.

“My brother never cared for them either.” A tall man with an umbrella stated easily. Johnny shrugged it off his shoulders, then a question came to him.

“Are you a secret agent?”

“No. But close enough, he’s the British Government.” Uncle Sherlock and John were nearing, Uncle John’s jeans were dirty and he was kneeling down and doing what the other lady had. “I’m fine.” Johnny sighed. “They keep putting the scratchy blanket on me. Why is it orange?”

“Dreadful color I agree.” Sherlock lifted an eyebrow quickly inspecting his nephew. “I take it you have it from here Mycroft. John has to get the boy home before his mum bursts into flames. Although that would be a sight to see.” Sherlock grinned.

“Hey!” both John and Johnny objected.

“Not so fast you two!” The DI called them over.

“Oh what now! The kid-“ Sherlock made a feeble motion.

“Johnny you sit tight, I’ll be right back, Uncle John has to keep Uncle Sherlock from being punched in the face.”

“You think he’s joking but he’s not.” The man with the umbrella sighed just watching. Then the young boy offered the cinnamon candy to the man. He hesitated then nodded. “Thank you don’t mind if I do.” Soon after Mycroft was nudged and the young boy was holding out a red marker.

“You Watson’s will be my end.” He sighed heavily.

 

~o~

 

In the back seat of the cab Johnny couldn’t stop trembling and to his surprise uncle Sherlock put a warm arm around him allowing him to nuzzle into the dark coat. Johnny smiled at the trick Uncle Lock pulled, it was a clever thing.

He couldn’t wait to tell Levi at school, no way he would believe it.

Johnny returned home with a lolli in his mouth, a policeman had put his hat on Johnny’s head. Another let him pet his dog, and then Uncle Lock made someone cry and Uncle John had to step between him and another man. The gray haired cop had yelled at all of them like the playground monitor at recess.

 “He looks comfortable.” He heard Uncle John say when the cab stopped and someone was lifting him up he wrapped his arms around the man’s neck in response. The scent of coffee and mint, made him feel safe and the curls were tickling his nose.

Mummy was standing at the door her face red and blochy, mum was whipping her eyes, baby Emma was in bed. Johnny didn’t understand the big deal. Mummy took him from Uncle Sherlock as if he were a baby, he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. Wondering where his policeman’s hat went. “Harry he’s fine.” John was trying to calm his sister down. “He’s absolutely fine.”

“Are you sure did you look him over.” Clara was embracing Sherlock and John, while Harry examined her son's face.

 “I’ll make tea.” Clara sniffed. She kissed Johnny’s head and squeezed him tight. He gave Uncle John a helpless look.

 “Harry-he’s fine.”

“No! How do you know. Look,” She pulled up Johnny’s sleeve revealing the darkening hand mark. Someone had grabbed her baby hard enough to bruise him. He was so little and defenseless. Bastard she’d kill him herself if he’d had the balls to show up at the house. “He should have a scan what if it did damage?”

“Mummy I’m fine. I got to pet a police dog. They have dogs for everything, bombs, lost people, cad-cudovers” Johnny scrunched up his face.

“Cadavers.” Sherlock corrected. Johnny nodded and both Watson’s winced.

“Then I got a lolly but I didn’t open it before dinner. And there were secret agents dressed like regular people one winked at me. And then uncle, um uncle Lock was amazing. He um had a disguise like in the spy movies and then he called George an idiot. And then Uncle John was BAM! Just out of no where and George was on the ground then then there was sirens. I told you about the dog. I got to wear a hat. I should give it back.” Harry was just staring at the younger boy, who lowered his voice, sighing heavily he wrapped his arms around her neck. “I’m alright.” He patted her back.

“Well of course you are. Us Watson’s are made of hard stuff.” John stood and ruffled the blond hair.

“Come now Johnny let’s get you washed up.” Clara took the boys hand. She picked him up and held him tight telling him how she loved him and how brave he was. And they were lucky to have a brave boy.

 Harry whipped her face. “Thank you. Really. He’s so tiny. And the world is so big.” Harry knew all the bad things in it and she didn’t want her son to know it. John hugged her, he agreed

 “Family. Harry, family sticks together.” Harry even went to embrace a very uncomfortable consulting detective. “That goes for you too.” And then she lowered her voice “You’re still a pig.”

“And you a witch.”  The two stepped away and Harry shut the door behind them.

Later that night Clara pulled the blankets over Johnny’s body. Harry stood in the doorway, she noticed he’d collected quite a few more pictures on his cast, Sherlock had done a pirate ship, John a smiley face and then there was a Union Jack right at Johnny’s elbow. She wondered who had put that there.

 "He certainly likes the color red." Clara whispered joining her wife in the doorway.

`THE END!`