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"NO!" Sherlock's voice rings out in Baker Street. John looks at Sherlock in shock. He had not expected that response to his wish to move back to Baker Street.
"Why not!" He had expected Sherlock to be gladly accepting his wish to return home.

After Sherlock had woken up from his coma three weeks ago they had been together almost all daytime. John has just returned home to sleep and return early in the morning to Baker Street to be with Sherlock. He was scared to leave Sherlock alone for longer time after his overdose.

Sherlock had been in coma for little over eight months. John can still remember how cold he felt when Sherlock didn't wake after he given him Naloxon in the car on their way from the plane. It's was good that they were in a goverment car so Mycroft could get the streetlights to turn green in every crossing. Thank god, that Sherlock had woken up without any brain damage.

Sherlock is looking at him with a sorrowful expression in his face. "I don't think it's good for neither you or me to live together just know"
"You are working through your loss of Mary and the baby" John flinch when he hears what Sherlock is saying. "I´m on the other hand has so many feelings and thoughts to handle about what happened when I was in coma." He take a gasping breath and say "So much I thought happened only happened in my mind. Other things happened in real life and blended into my coma dream."

John startled and looks like he will start to cry. He thinks how he after the killing of his daughter and wife threatened Sherlock in his hospital bed. He was so angry and frustrated over what had happened and that Sherlock hadn't been there to protect his daughter. He had accused Sherlock over that and said he would not return before he had woke up. John left and had not seen Sherlock for nearly three months. Much of the time he had been drunk out of his mind.

Greg had tried to intervene and make him sober. He had only stopped drinking when Mycroft called and said that Sherlock had woken up. Then he hade stood up and pored all alcohol he had home in the sink. After that he took a shower,shaved and change clothes. He was nearly sober when he arrived at hospital to visit Sherlock.

Sherlock had at first not looked at John. He had nearly treated him like he was invisible. First when Greg arrived and talked with John had Sherlock started to look at them and answered their questions. It were hard the first day for both of them to speak with one another. They didn't speak about Sherlock's overdose or Mary's and Little Watson's deaths. They walked on eggshells with each other. First when all test and blood samples come back okey did they talk briefly about what happened to Mary. Sherlock didn't say a word about that John hadn't visit him in nearly three months. John didn't say anything about that either. He had talked himself into thinking that Sherlock didn't know that and it wasn't important now. Sherlock was back in the land of the living and John was only to happy with that.
The only thing that he had to talk about was that Sherlock was never allowed to take anymore drugs in his life!

Sherlock responded on that with "yes, I know. Sorry, about the trouble I made for you. But I didn't think you would find out. I was already a dying man, Six month later or now was not my problem"

John stood still and stared at the man in the hospital bed. " It were a suicide mission!? What were Mycroft thinking of sending you alone on that mission?!"

"He only thought about my mind and that I would go crazy in the prison and that he bought time to save me. He did what I would have done if the same position."

John wanted to smash something and scream! After that they hade never talked about any of it before now. John hade been so sure that Sherlock would welcome him home. What would he do now? Were they still best friends? What hade he heard when he was in coma? What had he registered in his mind of all the things that hade been said in the hospital room of Sherlock? What happened now? Would he lose him again because of how he reacted and what he said in that room? John felt nauseous and so afraid.

"I think you should leave now." said Sherlock" "I'm must go to my mind place, all is in a jumble there."
"Do you want to talk later?" John asked nervously
"I call you. But you must give me some time." He smiles a little but his eyes are so sad.
"Okey, John says. Take care of yourself and call me or Greg if you need anything."
John had to wait for some time before Sherlock did contact him again.

Chapter Text

Two days later Sherlock calls John to invite him over to the evening next day at 7 o'clock. He also tells John that he has invited Greg and Mycroft to be there at the meeting. John is very confused over why Sherlock is so formal and why are the other two men are invited too?

A very nervous John is the next evening standing at the door of 221 Baker Street. He looks at the windows of the flat and wonders if he will survive this meeting.
Greg calls for him from the other end of the street. "Why do you just stand there?" He asks.
"Sherlock said that you and Mycroft would be here to for this meeting, I was just wondering if you had come yet." He answered Greg.
"Sorry, you just looked so afraid, I thought you may not want to go up to the flat?"
"No, it’s not that. Last time I were here Sherlock was so different than I seen him before."

Mycroft and Sherlock are waiting on them in the flat. Mycroft are sitting on the couch. Greg sits down at the couch with him. Sherlock is sitting in his armchair so John sits down in his old armchair.

Sherlock starts to explain why they are here.
"There are things I must tell you all and take responsibility for."

He looks at the three men, one at the time. He takes some big gulps of air and starts speaking.
"I'm gay and I have had one relationship whit a boy when I was 19 years old. You don't know anything about this Mycroft because that was the year you spend in USA. Victor and I were together for 7 months. I was the one who destroyed our relationship. I found out something not too good about Victors father. It was after that the relationship ended that I started doing drugs. I realized that I probably never would find anyone else to love and that would want to love me"

John is moving around in his armchair and opening and closing his left hand. He is looking so sad.
"The reason I thought like that is because I'm demi sexual, which means I most know and really like a man before I can think about him sexually and be attracted to him. I can feel interested and wanting to know a person but not be sexually attracted to him or her. That what happened when I met both of you." He tilts his head against John and Greg.

John is rising from where he is sitting and goes to the kitchen and pours a glass of water. He returns to his armchair.

Sherlock waits to his back in the chair before he remains telling his story.
"You, John have also seen this in my response to Miss Adler." This get a response from John that fast drinks the water.
"No, I was not sexually attracted to here or in love with here. I was only fascinated with her mind. Greg, you I learned to respect and we work well together."

Sherlock silenced and looked with a scared look on John.
"Now I must tell you John something I'm scared to tell you. That's why Mycroft and Greg are here today. I wonder if you and Mycroft could changes places to sit."

Mycroft lifts an eyebrow and looks at John. He and John stand and move. Greg slipped near Sherlock so John is in a longer distance from Sherlock. The air in the room vibrates with emotions. John has a hard time to sit still.

"I first realized that I fallen in love with you when I was on my (journey). It was 1 week after the fall and I was missing you desperately. I worked so hard to come back to you. When all felt black and I was sure I would never see you again I tried to think that you were safe in London."

He pauses and takes a breath. Mycroft gives him a reassuring look and gives him a, go on hand movement. John leans forward on the couch.
" I respect you; John, I would never want you to feel uncomfortable in my presence. I know that you are straight and that you are not a homophobe. But it's different when someone close to you tells you that they has fallen in love with you. I'm didn't realize before I come back."
John rises up from the couch and looks shocked.
"I love you and fell sexually attracted to you, I'm so sorry."
Now the words are tumbling out of Sherlock in fast speed.
"Therefore I don't want us to meet alone at any time. Greg, Mycroft, Mrs. Hudson or anyone else will always be with us. I don't want you too not feel safe,,,,,,,,"

John keeps trying to interrupt Sherlock's flow of words.
"Please, I'm not AFRAID TO BE ALONE WITH YOU, he bellows when Sherlock don't want to listen. Sherlock take a big breathe and continue to speak.

"That's why I didn't want you to move back in here. It would make our friendship hard, and I value our friendship very much. It's better that we see each other as friends and in company."
Now John looks really angry. Mycroft has a surprised look on his face. Greg is looking first on John after that on Mycroft, then he blinks too Mycroft that seems to not know what he should think about that.

Greg says in a very soft voice. "Have you never thought about asking me out on a date?"

Mycroft and John's head spins around to look on him.
Anger and astonishment are on their faces.
"YOU ARE NOT GAY” screams John!
Mycroft only looks angry.

"No, I'm bisexual. I have had a more than two years long relationship whit a man before I married my wife. When I'm with someone, I'm faithful partner whether it's a man or women."

Greg looks at Sherlock; he holds his eye contact for a while. Then he asks "You maybe think I'm too old or not interesting enough? It’s okay, I only thought I should ask. I would regret it otherwise after that I now know you thought me interesting when we first meet so long time ago"

Sherlock is silent for a while, the whole room holds their breath.
With a loud breathe Sherlock says "Yes,I will go on a date with you!"
He has no more then said the words before Greg answer him.
"A visit to the crime Museum and dinner after at the Greek restaurant we eat at the first time we met?" He smiles a very beautiful smile and looks Sherlock deep in the eyes. Sherlock smiles back a node.

John hands is working, he sniffs and looks angrily at Greg. Mycroft looks angrily at Sherlock and stabs his umbrella in the floor.

Greg asks Sherlock if he remembers the restaurant because he was quite high on drugs at the time. Sherlock says the address to the restaurant that is near the museum.

Abruptly John says he must go. Mycroft mumbles something about obligation he has. Both men leave very fast the flat.

Chapter Text

"You did that in front of Mycroft because you wanted to make him jealous!" is the first thing Sherlock says after Mycroft and John leave the flat and they hear the front door slam.
"Yes and no, I wanted Mycroft AND JOHN jealously thinking that we are starting a relationship!" Greg looks at Sherlock like he is expecting him to throw a tantrum.
"John isn't jealous, he just doesn't like that I am sexual."
"Why do you think that?
"You weren't there when he threatened me after Mary was killed. He said that I always destroy his relationships and asked whether I would ever understand that he wasn't GAY!"
Greg only shakes his head. "That doesn't mean he doesn't love you! He is only so afraid to be bi because people would think he is gay."
"No, you are wrong there, he is straight. He also told me at the same time that he was glad that I was asexual." Sherlock turns around, so Greg can't see his face. "Because of that he could love me to the fullest and not be afraid that I would make him do anything he would regret afterwards," he whispers.
"He is really a fool!” Greg says with amazed voice. "He has the love from a fantastic man who’s as sexy and intelligent as you?! And he throws that away because he is afraid." Sherlock is trying to interrupt Greg when he speaks, but Greg only talks louder. "Both you and I have seen him checking out guys before. Hell, the first time we met he checked out me too."
"I thought that's was what I wanted to see, and it was only in my mind." Sherlock voice is so amazed over what Greg just said.
"Sherlock, please don't think I only invited you on a date because of them. I’ve thought that you were an interesting and sexy man since we first met. But I was married and I'm faithful to a fault. The only thing I am begging you is that you say something before you start another relationship, even if it is with John."
"Thank you for your kind words. As I said, I accepted your invitation for a date. I like you and feel safe in your company. And John will never come between us. That I'm sure of." Sherlock goes to Greg and sits down on the couch. "I have thought before that you are a good-looking man. I especially like your eyes – they are so kind and when you joke or laugh they are a joy to see."
"Thank you! So, we will give this a chance? Not only for Mycroft and John's benefits? I have thought of being in a relationship for some time now. When I asked Mycroft out he rejected me with his thing that ‘love is never an advantage.’ He also said he had no use for a goldfish."
Sherlock hears a sigh from the man beside him and takes Greg's right hand in both of his.
"I must warn you about Moriarty. Please be careful and think about your safety, he is a real danger to everyone around me. Look what happened to Mary and little Watson. I will never forgive myself for little Watson's sake. Mary, I can't bring myself to feel sorry for without thinking about how that hurt John. But that is more because of his feelings than Mary died, sorry."
"What I understand from Mycroft, you're all right to not feel bad about her. She shot you in the chest and you died on the operations table!"
"Mycroft said that to you?”
a "Yes, when you had been in a coma for more than 5 months and Mary and little Watson were dead. No one could say if you would ever wake up from the coma and if you would be badly brain damaged. We discovered that it was Mary that had seen to it that you got your hands on drugs in the prison. Mycroft broke down and he stated to cry but he tried not so show it to me. I think he thought he would distract me by telling me what she’d done."
"Then you realize how dangerous it is for you to start a relationship with me?
"Yes, but you are worth it. Never think otherwise. I really respect you. You are so strong and protective of your family and friends."
Sherlock looks in shock at Greg. That was words he never thought anyone would say about him in a million years!
In a park near Baker Street, John is angrily walking. People who meet him on the walkway choose a different path rather than passing him.

Chapter Text

John’s thoughts and feelings after the meeting are a jumble of emotions. He is so angry, frustrated and confused about his feelings. He keeps walking and nearly trips over his own feet. His body starts to shake and suddenly he feels cold too. He looks at his wristwatch, and sees that it's little over 8 in the evening. He doesn't want to go home.
A pub! Warmth, whisky, and something to take his mind off bloody Sherlock Holmes and his new sidekick Greg Lestrade!

He goes to the nearest pub. It's a posh one that he never goes to because he thinks he can't blend in there. Everything is very calm, and a piano is playing in the background. He sits down at the bar and asks for a beer and a whisky. The bartender asks what kind of beer and whiskey he wants. John thinks "what the hell I take a good one!" He orders what Sherlock would have chosen if he had been there with him. Posh git, he thinks.
After he has swallowed half the beer he settles down and starts to think about what happened.
"Sherlock is afraid of me! He doesn't trust me not to hurt him." John's eyes are tearing up. "What did I do when I treated him and hurt him in that hospital room? I gave him black eyes and…"
He had come directly from the aquarium there Vivian Norbury had shot Mary and Rosie.
"Why on earth had she taken Rosie with her to the meeting with an agent?" He shakes his head and swallows the whiskey.

They had come home from Morocco that afternoon and John had been sleeping on the couch. He’d heard the beeping noise from her phone but kept sleeping. When he woke up Mary and Rosie were gone. Her phone was left on the table. He read the last message and after he phoned Mycroft and Greg. They all came in at the last minute when Norbury had Mary at gun point. Rosie was already dead. John's heart stopped. He couldn't take it all in. Then Mary was shot, and all hell broke loose. In the commotion Rosie disappeared from where she was lying on the floor.

Now, John starts crying and all the people around him look but no one seems to know what to do. The bartender comes and asks if he want some private space for some time. John’s really trying to stop crying but he can't. The bartender guides him to a back room and goes for some coffee.

"Sorry to ask you when you are so upset, but what happened?"
"I have lost my wife, child and best friend," John tells the man.
"Oh, then I understand. My name is Peter. Stay here until you feel calmer."
Peter goes to the door of the room and stops. "I will tell Adam, my partner, to take over in the bar. I will come back soon. I don't think that you should be alone right now."

Peter goes, and John can't seem to stop crying. He thinks: Where is Rosie? Why did Mary take her with her to the meeting? Why did she not say anything to me before she left? Why have Mycroft and Greg not found anything out under the time that has passed?

Peter returns with more coffee and a sandwich for them both.
"I'm taking my break and eating something. If you want to talk, just talk. Bartenders are used to being confidential with patrons. Can I ask what your name is?"

"My name is John. My wife and child were killed for nearly 4 months ago. Some hours ago, my best friend told me that he didn't want me to move back to the place we lived in as flat mates before I married my wife. Sherlock told me he was in love with me and he doesn't want to see me unless other people are with us! And as the icing on the cake he had invited his brother and a friend of ours to be there when he told me this."

John starts to silently cry again. Peter gets up and fetches handkerchiefs for John.
"You must understand he's scared of me, and he has every right to be. When my wife and child died he was in a coma. I went up to the hospital room where he was lying in a bed."
John is quiet for a good minute or two before he says "I yelled at him! I accused him for not protecting my child and her mother. He had promised to do that, protect us three on my wedding day. Security guards had to pick me up and take me from there. I gave him black eyes and…”

Peter looks shocked at John. He is quite and after some time he tries to say something.
Then John says "I didn't see him for over three months. Not before he had woken up and asked for me. His brother was not happy when he contacted me to say that my friend, my best friend in the world, wanted to see me."

"Sorry John but I understand why your friend doesn't want to see you alone after that. Especially if he is gay and in love with you and you are straight? I mean, relationship violence should never be addressed easily."

John hunched down like he had been hit by someone.
"Yeah, you are right. But now he has a knight in shining armour."
He takes a hard breath and says, "The last thing that happened in the flat was that Greg asked him out and Sherlock accepted."
"Good for Sherlock! Sorry John, but that is the best for him. Better than he is hanging around you, a straight man!"

Now John starts crying again, and he can't stop.
After a good while Peter leads him to a couch and gets him a pillow and a blanket. "Sleep, that's the only thing you need to do right now.”

Chapter Text

One minute later, Mycroft´s car pulls up.
Mycroft gets in the car and sits down with Anthea beside him. She is typing on her iPhone. She looks up at Mycroft, and then does a double-take and looks again.
"Everything alright, sir?" she asks. "Anything I can do?”

"No, thank you. Continue with the surveillance and protection of my brother. Oh, and do please make sure a surveillance team for my brother’s new boyfriend DI Greg Lestrade is in place as soon as possible.”

Anthea looks like she wants to ask him about that, but Mycroft's face puts her off. Instead, she says, "Yes, sir! I will do that immediately.”
When they arrive at Mycroft’s home, he goes to the kitchen and make himself a sandwich and cup of tea. He takes the food and goes to his study. He eats and tries not to think or feel anything, but has very little luck. He’s hurt that Greg asked Sherlock out. “It's not been long since he invited me on a date,” he thinks.

"Yes, I didn't accept his invite, but…" For nearly the first time in his life, his mind is blank.
"Why did Sherlock say yes? And how did I miss that Sherlock had had a relationship?" Mycroft isn’t surprised that Sherlock’s gay. Not with all the military papers containing all the photos of young, military men! A little smile comes on his face with that thought.

The phone rings and it's Anthea. "Sir, the surveillance team on John Watson has informed me that he has gone into a pub and ordered beer and whiskey. He became very upset and began to cry. The bartender, who is also one of the owners, suggested that John join him in another room to calm down."
"Are the owners known security risks?” Mycroft asked.
"No, one of them is a former police CID from Oxford, Sir. The other is a long-time pub owner with no problems registered."
"Good. Let him stay there until he has settled down, and possibly help him home later in the evening."
"I will do as you say, "Anthea answers him.
"Keep me updated. I'm going to bed now." He hangs up and goes to his bedroom.

He gets ready to shower. The ensuite bathroom is dark and usually makes him relaxed. But tonight, there is no relaxing shower. His thoughts go on and on in his mind. "The only good thing about this situation is that John Watson has been removed from Sherlock's personal life a bit," he thinks when he starts to dry himself after the shower.

At bed he tries to read some documents that he’s having a meeting about next morning. But his thoughts keep disrupting his reading. John, Sherlock, and Greg are all hard to keep from his mind. He really doesn’t know what to feel.

He starts to analyse his feelings with a disdainful look on his face.
He’s angry and thoughtful about Sherlock; angry and hurt by Greg's actions; and angry and tired regarding John. "I'm really angry, hurt, and tired over all this,” he thinks. “And so much of it is my own fault"

After many hours he falls asleep, but is woken up when the phone rings. It's Anthea, who tells him that John hasn’t been seen since he left the bar with Peter. Peter had come into the bar after an hour and worked with his partner to closing time. She wants to know whether the team should go in and search for John at the pub and the staff residence or wait to see if he comes out.

"Do nothing. I call Sherlock, it's better he calls John and asks where he is. John knows he has a security team on him all the time after everything that’s happened."
"Yes, sir,” Is all Anthea says.

Mycroft calls a sleeping Sherlock, but when he hears what happened, he’s immediately alert. "I call him. What time is it?"
Mycroft answers that the clock says 6:14.
"Well, he’s usually awake."

The phone rings many times before John answers. His voice tells Sherlock he was asleep.
"John, there has been an alarm from your security team that you're not at home. Is everything alright with you? You're not kidnapped?"
"No, everything is okay. I'm not kidnapped. I went to a pub last night and the bartender let me stay. I didn't leave at closing time."
"Oh! You pulled! Sorry to disturb you! Well, good to know that everything is okay. I’ll tell the security team."
Sherlock quickly ends the call. He feels so sad. John has moved on and got himself a companion.
"Time for me to move on too," he thinks, "it will never be easy to see John with somebody else."

John, on the other end of the phone, realises what’s just happened.
"He thought I was with a woman!" He doesn't know how to feel about that. Angry or happy that he could hurt Sherlock too, like he hurt him last night.

"Wait, what? What did I mean by that?" his mind whispers
"He is going on a date with Greg, your Sherlock is going on a date with another man!”

Chapter Text

John goes out of the room he has slept in all night. He feels pain in his left shoulder because the couch he slept on was quite narrow. His bladder is full and all he wants to do is find a toilet. He comes out in a corridor and goes straight to a door, which is open. When he reaches the door, he sees that behind it is a kitchen. By the stove are two men standing. A long, slender, blonde man is hugging a short, chubby, dark-haired man from behind and John realises that the dark-haired man is Peter the bartender, who let him sleep over last night.
The blonde man turns around when he hears John’s “Good morning.”
“Good morning, slept well? I’m Adam Hathaway, Peter’s fiancé.” He looks at John with interested eyes. John feels like he does when Sherlock scans him with his eyes.
Oh, good! Another genius! Lucky me! He thinks to himself.
“Sorry. I was looking for the toilet?”
Peter answers him, “Go back the corridor, it’s the 2nd door to the left. I reckon we have the same size in clothes, so I’ve left a shirt, new boxers, and a jumper on the shelf. There are also towels on the shelf. Take a shower then come and get some breakfast before you go.”
Adam is looking at Peter with admiration in his eyes.
“Thank you, that was very kind of you. I’m sorry you guys had to go to all this trouble.”
“You have never been a pub owner!” Peter laughed, and Adam snorted at that.
“Trouble is a guest who’s had too much to drink and is being disorderly!”
“Not a guest that crashed on the couch and slept all night,” he smiles, and gives John a gesture to go.

John showers and gets dressed. When he comes back to the kitchen, Peter and Adam are sitting at the tables in a cut corners way with not much space between them. It’s very clear that they love each other.
Adam rises and fetches a plate from the oven containing a full English breakfast. John sits down beside Peter and thanks Adam for the breakfast plate.
“I must ask because otherwise it would be silly,” Adam starts, “I’m a former police officer from Oxford. Are you Sherlock Holmes’s companion of many years, John Watson?”
“Yes,” John answers, surprised.
“And he came out to you last night and then accepted a date with my friend Greg Lestrade?!”
“Stop it! This is not an interrogation! You are not at work now, Adam.” Peter is done with his partner’s conversation.
John starts to laugh. It’s like being in a parallel universe, looking at himself and Sherlock interact.
“You’re friends with Greg Lestrade?” John asks.
“We met when I worked on a case that had connections with a case Greg worked on in London. This was around the time when Sherlock was ‘dead’. He kept telling me about him and that he was sorry he wasn’t there to help us. He really admired Sherlock and was missing him. So, it’s good that he got his head out of his arse and asked him out on a date at last.”
John was stricken by what Adam said and his thoughts were all over his face for the other two men to read. Adam read more than Peter, but Peter saw the real sorrow and hurt in his eyes. Adam saw the jealously but a determination to not get involved. They were both surprised at how expressive his face was for a short second. When John realises how much his face must have shown, he schools his face into a neutral expression.
“I’m not gay,” he says.
“Yes, you said that last night. Then it’s good that Sherlock "takes his Mats out of school,” so to speak, and moves on.“
Adam groans "You and your granny’s Swedish proverbs!”
“Yes, my granny was from Sweden and she loved proverbs,” he says to John before continuing, “If I had been clever, I would have done the same thing when I met you some years ago and you were ‘not gay’ either!”
“Thank god you never did that! I would have died of jealousy if you had dated Greg.”
The two men smile and look deep into each other’s eyes.
John feels like he is in the way of a very intimate moment. On the other hand, he feels like he wants to ask Adam how he went from being straight to gay. Is he bi maybe? How old was he? 40? 50? How did he know? How did his family react to him coming out? Friends, colleagues, or people in general? How did he feel about religion? So many questions that he can’t ask because it’s impolite.
“You have questions,” Adam said. “I’ll gladly answer them, but I can’t at the moment. I have work to do. But you can come over for dinner tonight. Peter will be working, and I hate to eat alone.”
"Yeah, he really does. He usually eats at the bar even though he is free for one evening”
“You can’t talk – you do the same thing!” Adam interrupts.
"Okay, how about ‘we’re both bad at it’?”
"So, a free evening with a new friend is good with us, what do you say?”
"Yes, but only if I can bring the food with me,” John answers.
“Okay, what do you have in mind?”
“What do you like?”
“Italian!” Peter interrupts "I don’t particularly like spaghetti or gnocchi”
“Yes, gnocchi,” says Adam with a dreaming voice.
"Okey, gnocchi it is then. Some tiramisu as dessert?” John asks Adam.
“Yes please!”
"Oh, you don’t need to ask him that. He has a sweet tooth, although you don’t often see it…”
"Okay, what time should I get here?” John asks.
“How about 7:00 or 7:30? What time is best for you?” Adam asks John.
"7:00, then I can come directly from work. I can collect the food on the way over.”

After saying goodbye, John leaves the couple. He goes home and changes, then washes the borrowed clothes. After he puts them in a bag, he calls Angelo’s and orders the food for the evening. He is nervous about what he will say to Adam, but he feels like it’s something he must do.
Just before lunch time, Sherlock phones him and asks if he can come over and eat dinner. Mrs Hudson will be dining with them. Sherlock had told her what had happened the previous night and what they agreed on.
"She is rather upset, but I don’t understand why. She keeps banging on about how I have abandoned you or something. That it’s not okay for me to move on by going out with Greg,” Sherlock says in a surprised tone.
"She has always thought that we’re together,” John reminds him.
“But she knows you’re straight and for God’s sake you were married to a woman only a few months ago.”
“3 months 3 weeks and 3 days,” John says sharply
He doesn’t like it that Sherlock’s talking about his marriage. He was unfaithful to his wife, not bodily, but mentally. He doesn’t want to think about that, because was it really only a woman he thought of, or…
“Will you come for dinner?” Sherlock interrupted his thoughts.
“Sorry, I can’t tonight I already have plans.”
Sherlock don’t say anything. The only thing John hears is his breathing.
“Sherlock? Are you there?” John asks.
"Sorry. Yes, I’m here. Well, it will have to be sometime later then. Tomorrow Greg and I will go on our date. How fun tonight and I’ll see you some other time. Goodbye!” Sherlock ends the call.

Well, good then, Sherlock thinks. They are both moving on with their lives. He really must give Greg a chance. Now he knows that he doesn’t want to be alone anymore. Greg isn’t a completely dull person. He has his moments when he can be interesting and funny. He’s no John Watson, but then who is? It is what it is, like in his coma dream. Not even in his dream was John his. "Face it, he’s straight! Stop dreaming!” he growls angrily to himself.
John, on the other end of the phone, wonders whether he should phone him up again and explain where he’s going tonight.
“Would that change anything? Maybe it’s better for both him and Sherlock if he thinks John has moved on.”
“If I don’t phone him, I don’t have to decide what to do,” he thinks.

Chapter Text

When John comes to the pub Peter waves him through into the door for the private section of the house. Adam is in a room beside the kitchen, which seems to be a combined living and dining room. The dinner table is set and laid out with beautiful flowers and decorative plates and glasses. For a minute John thinks, "Oh, he doesn't think it's a date, does he?"

"Don't worry, I don't think of this as a romantic date. I'm engaged you know,” Adam says, giving John a wink. "Peter loves arranging things, such as pretty dinner tables."

"Right, it is really beautiful. Here's the food as promised – Gnocchi and Tiramisu, still hot. Angelo always packages the food so it stays warm during transport."
"Alright, then we should begin eating." Adam takes the food and goes to the table. He sits down and starts opening the food bag.

"Can I put this bag with your clothes in it somewhere?" John asks.
"You can put it on the couch if you want, but don’t worry. Come and eat. Would you like wine or beer with the food? We thought this wine would go well with the food, or rather Peter thought that. I’m a beer man myself.”
"Yeah I'm also a beer man, but Peter is right – wine would be good with this." We’re both nervous, John thinks.
Adam looks at John when he sits down across from him. "I have a hard time talking about my feelings and being bi," he says
"Here we go," John thinks, and he doesn't know if he’ll manage eating because of the butterflies in his stomach.

"Your problem, if I understand it correctly, is a bit different to how mine was at that time in my life. You were told yesterday that your best friend is gay and in love with you. You, on the other hand, are straight but love him as a friend. That must be difficult to deal with. But you did get help yesterday. I mean, sort of!"
"What do you mean I got help yesterday?” John doesn't understand what Adam means. "Help from who, exactly?”
"Greg. I mean, he helped Sherlock feel sought after and admired. That could solve the issue of him being in love with you, you know." Adam keeps talking but John feels like he's been hit by someone.
"Greg is good looking, intelligent, and they both work with crimes. They will always have something to talk about and, if you’ll pardon me being indiscreet for a moment, a very good lover. He’s passionate and caring in his love making."

John has totally stopped pretending to eat. He feels sick to the stomach and the only thing he wants is to be as far away from here he can get. "I don't want to think about my friend shagging!" he sniffs, and nearly stands up from the table.
"Sorry, that was a silly thing for me to say. I only mean that Sherlock will soon have forgotten that he was in love with you. That’ll make it easier for the three of you to stay friends." Adam smiles at him like he said the greatest thing in the world.

John sits down. He takes some gasps of air and a big gulp of the wine, then says, "What if I don't want them to be together? What if I want Sherlock for myself?"
"But I thought you weren’t gay?”
"I want him to be as he has always has been, asexual and my best friend." He looks down at the table because he can't meet Adam’s eyes.

Adam is silent for a moment and sits absolutely still. "How do you think Sherlock felt when you married Mary?" he asks eventually.
That was the last question John had expected from Adam. He had expected him to say that that boat had sailed or something like that. John thinks for a long time. Adam starts to eat, and says that the food is really good. He talks about the wine and how much Peter loves to cook and eat good food. He keeps talking but John isn't listening.

After some time John starts to eat too. It's better than crying again. "I haven't cried so much since Rosie died and I hurt Sherlock, but at that time I dimmed the feeling by drinking. I'm a big fucking egotistical man. The only thing I think of is myself, and the only thing Sherlock thinks of is what’s best for me."
"Yes, it's easy to get tunnel vision. But if you can't love him the way he deserves, you must let him go," Adam says very quietly. "It would be different if you were bi or gay. But you aren’t. You are what you are. It was hard for me when I met Peter. I had worked as a police officer for 10 years, and before that I studied to be a priest. I was close to being ordained. One month before that, my dearest friend committed suicide because he realized that he was gay and, since nothing could change that, he couldn’t be a priest."
"So you quit and become a policeman? What did your family say about that?" John asks.

"They were surprised but accepted it. My father said it was my life and I must stand by my choices in life."
"Sorry for the personal question, but what did they say when you told them you were going to marry a man?” John’s body is rigid when he asks this question. He understands that's Adam's family is religious.
"I was 42 when I met Peter. I rebelled and had some flings to try to prove to myself that I didn't like men. I was lucky that I met good men at around that time in my life. I'm lucky as hell that Peter stayed despite everything. He will never forget but he understands why I did the things that I did. He loves me." He looks down thoughtfully. Like he really understood that Peter had forgiven him.

"So, Greg was one of those men?”
"Yes, the best of them! He helped both me and Peter to start talking and try to understand one another. I must say I'm rather impressed with how Sherlock handled all of this, loving a straight man, but not giving you any demands or stopping seeing you. It would be so easy for him to just say ‘fuck this friendship’." John finds it hard to hear but realises that Adam is alongside his own thoughts.

"What do you say about some coffee with the tiramisu?” Adam asks.
"Just one thing, what did your family say about you and Peter?”
"My mother had died 10 years previously, and my father had Alzheimer's so didn't understand anything. My sister and I didn’t talk to each other for many years after I chose not to become a priest, and the rest of my family I haven't talked to in over 15 years. Why should it bother me what they thought? They aren’t in my life. Peter and his mum, dad, and siblings are my family now, and they love Peter and me.” He stops abruptly, before saying, “I’ll go and make some coffee."

John goes to the toilet and after splashes water on his face. He thinks, "I have loved two men in my life, but I’ve never dared to be with them. And I’ve pulled other men for a fumble in the dark. God help me, but never a man I loved."

When he comes back to the living room, Peter’s in there for his break. Like the night before, he eats a sandwich. But tonight, he has also a bit of tiramisu. “Italian dessert is delicious," he says.
They don't speak about what Adam and John talked about before Peter came in. They talk about the upcoming wedding in the spring and the honeymoon. Adam wants to go to some beach and relax but Peter wants to see some museums or other cultural things. John thinks about Sherlock and Greg's date to the police museum next day.
When John goes home, he is content with the evening but not happy with what Adam said about Greg as a lover. He really doesn't want to think about them together like that. "Maybe it will take some time before that happens," he thinks hopefully.

Chapter Text

How Greg got entry to Scotland Yard’s crime museum at such short notice was a mystery. The museum is only supposed to be open by prior appointment, and not without difficulty due to its popularity. But, to Greg's luck, he knew the police officer in charge of the appointments. And it helped that Sherlock could go on a date at 3:00 on a Friday afternoon at the end of September. Greg had lots of time owed that he could take off and no new case to work on. "Life is good," thinks Greg as he drives over to pick Sherlock up at Baker Street.

When he parks the car outside 221B, his stomach swoops. "It's not every day you pick up a beautiful man for a date, and certainly not one you have admired for a long time. Come to think of it, a man who died for you," he thinks to himself as he goes to ring the bell.

Mrs Hudson opens the door with a frown on her face when she looks at him. "So, you are here to pick Sherlock up for your date?” she asks. “Don't think I don't have a thing or two to say about that- “

"YES, MRS HUDSON, thank you for opening the door for Lestrade, my date. Don't wait up for me. We have wonderful plans for this evening!”
Mrs Hudson pulls open the door and stands beside it, holding it open for Sherlock. While doing this, she glares angrily at Greg.

When Greg guides Sherlock to the car by a hand on the middle of his back he says to Sherlock, "I didn't think she disliked me."
"She doesn't dislike you, she's upset for John and Mycroft’s sake. She thinks that I'm involved with John and that you ‘hold a candle’ for Mycroft! She can't understand your feelings 'for that snake of a man' but thinks that you would think of your friend John. I don't know what planet she lives on!"
"Ah, that explains things. Well, we all must come to accept how things are and move on. Or do you have any regrets about accepting my proposal for a date?"
"Of course not, I have been looking forward to seeing the "black museum" with all the interesting cases, and seeing how our relationship can grow."
"Good, but don't let Randal, who’s letting us in, hear what you just called the museum."

When they come to the headquarters, he guides Sherlock again with a hand on his back to the museum. PC Randal welcomes them and explains that there's no other visitors for the next hour. After that, two policemen from Edinburgh are coming to see the museum, and it closes at six o'clock. They are welcome to stay until that time. He looks at Greg's hand on Sherlock's back and smiles a little to himself, but says nothing. What Greg does is his business, but he wonders what John Watson will say about it.

Greg asks Sherlock what he knows about the museum. Sherlock rambles about how the museum stated because of the interest of the founder, an Inspector Neame with help of a PC Randal, possibly an ancestor of the man they just talked to, in late 1860. They started the museum in September 1874, but the first registered visitors weren’t until October 1877.
"Okay, I get it! You know much more than me, and much more than I’ll ever want to know!” Greg says, laughing. "If I’m not mistaken, you know the names of the visitors that day in 1877."
Sherlock takes a breath to start rattling off some more facts, but Greg stops him by saying, "Look at that! It's a knife that you can hide in a walking stick!” With that, they start to walk around the museum.

About an hour later they are in the next section of the museum, which has more recent cases on display. Sherlock pulls Greg down on a visitor sofa, and wraps his arms around him. Sherlock then starts to whisper in Greg’s ear. He’s doing it in such a way that it looks like they are just cuddling to an outsider.

"You already know my home has bugs planted by M." He kisses Greg's ear and a bit of his neck. “I have only known M’s identity for six days." He places a kiss to the left of Greg's ear. "Mycroft confirmed it on Sunday when he invited me to his house for dinner." He hugs tighter and lays his head on Greg's neck. "M is Molly Hooper. She knew me in childhood, but under a different name, but disguised herself well. She even had some plastic surgery on her nose and ears." Greg takes the chance to steal a kiss because what he hears from Sherlock startles him.

After Greg kisses Sherlock, they look at each other under the pretence that they are both overwhelmed with emotion. Greg takes Sherlock into his arms and starts kissing his left ear. "You’re really sure about this, it isn’t a mistake?"
Sherlock lays his head on Greg's chest and whispers to him. "She went to the same secondary school as me but was a year younger, from the ages of 11-15. Her name was James Hooper, although she was called Jamie. Her father was professor James Moriarty, officially a mathematician, but he was the real M from the start.”
Greg takes hold of Sherlock's jaw and tilts it up. Their eyes meet, and Greg sees all of the hurt and sorrow in Sherlock’s eyes. He has just lost a dear friend.

"What do you say, shall we look around some more or go on a walk before dinner?"
"I will gladly come back some other time and take notes, but I think a walk in the park would be lovely." He beams at Greg.
"Okay, let’s go on a walk." He takes Sherlock's right hand in his and they leave the museum. They don't see anyone, but they’re both paying attention to their surroundings, just in case.

While they are in the park, Greg phones the restaurant and asks if they can switch tables. A table more discreet and private. He explains that they are on a first date after many years of trouble getting together.
His friend at the restaurant says that their private room is available, but it will cost more. Before Sherlock has started to say anything, Greg books the privet room.
"I think we’ll need some private time my lovely," he says to Sherlock, looking into his eyes.
Sherlock immediately understands that Greg is playing a role for people around them in the park who might be listening. "He is rather good at it, unlike John," Sherlock thinks. His heart suddenly hurts, and he misses him. "No, I'm not going there. He was on a date, two nights in a row. The first night he stayed over, and I have promised to give Greg a chance. I didn't mind him hugging and kissing me at the museum, which was very surprising now that I think about it.” Sherlock frowns at his thoughts. He doesn't normally like people touching him.

"Sherlock!” Greg takes his arm and holds him lightly. "You disappeared into that big mind of yours and started blinking. That’s what you do when you are overwhelmed. Is it not okay to eat in a private room? I can change it if you want me to."
"No, it's all right. It was just that you called me love. The only one who’s ever done that before is Victor, and that was nearly 20 years ago." Shyly, he looks at Greg.
"Oh sweetheart, that is something that must change immediately! You deserve to hear that, and how loved you are!"
"Thank you," He answers quietly. Even if Greg is playing a role, it warms Sherlock's heart. "I do know he at least likes and respects me," he thinks.

They walk slowly hand in hand to the restaurant. It's a lovely evening with only a little chill in the air.

Chapter Text

At the restaurant, their private room is ready. It’s a beautiful room with a Greek theme. A beautiful, masculine statue stands in one corner. The colour scheme is blue and white. Even the flowers and napkins on the table follow the pattern.
“What a beautiful room,” Sherlock says, looking around in awe. “What did that come from?” he thinks. “I never say things like that, even if I think them.”
Greg helps him out of his coat, and has already removed his own.
They sit down at the table, rather close, and the waiter asks if they want something to drink before they order their food. Greg and Sherlock discuss what wine they should order. Sherlock ends up deciding because he knows wines better. He asks Greg what he wants to eat and if they will take an aperitif before dinner, to which Greg responds that an aperitif would be good.
Sherlock orders the wine, and then they look at the menu and order the food. They both decide to get tzatziki as a starter, so there’s less issue with the garlic in the food.
Greg chooses souvlaki as his main course, and Sherlock opts for keftedes.
As they wait, they talk about their visit to the museum and some of the more interesting objects there.
The waiter comes back with the wine then leaves them alone. Greg leans forward and whispers. “It’ll be better if we talk about our visit to the museum and maybe some of the cases for a while, in case somebody is listening in on us.”
"Come here and give me a kiss,” Sherlock says loudly.
Greg laughs and does as he says.
They both stand up to kiss and hold each other. Neither of them pay attention to time passing. So, when the waiter arrives with the food, they look a bit embarrassed and sit down.
The waiter looks unconcerned over what he seen. He serves the food and the fresh wine they ordered. “Is there anything else you need, gentlemen?”
“No, thank you,” says Greg.
“Alright, When you’re ready for the main course, press that button near the door,” he says before making his exit.
The food is very fresh and good, so they eat and talk, but not about anything important. Greg talks about a case he had when Sherlock was in the coma.
After the first course Greg pulls the button.
Swiftly, the waiter is there with the main course.
After the waiter leaves and they have taken some bites, Sherlock murmurs, “You have questions about M.”
“Why did M do it?”
“Revenge, I think. I interfered in the first M’s business and he lost much of his provision. Money always talks, you know. But the second M had different motivations. Being rejected and not understanding why. I didn’t see the second M the first time we knew each other. M two tried so hard for me to see and respect M’s intelligence. I didn’t see or understand why this person was always there beside me – at every possible opportunity. The older we got, the more persistent M became, the harder I tried to avoid M. I think it went beyond stalking. One of the last times we met, M said to me, ‘YOU will never leave me, YOU will miss me!’
"I made a big mistake and said, ‘NO, I will not miss you.’ M answered me that I would be paying the price of my choice and the people I choose to love will do so also.” He falls silent. After he thinks for a minute, he says, “Stupidly, I forgot – or didn’t want to remember – after I left school. Do you understand now that I can’t risk John’s life?” He takes a good breath and says, “Please be careful with what you say and who you meet. This is dangerous.” He has tears in his eyes as he speaks.
Greg nods his head. “You’re sure it’s the right person?”
“Yes, even Mycroft suspected it before I woke up from the coma. Last Sunday he confirmed it by leaving me a full report. Come home with me and read it. I invite you on coffee,” he smiles at that, “It’s in my bedside drawer.”
“You mean a little acting is required?”
“Yes, and a cuddle on the sofa first.”
“Okay, you’re the boss, but first I need a cup of coffee and a whisky. Do you want any dessert?”
“No thanks, I’m full.”
Greg presses the button again and gives their order to the waiter.
They drink and talk for nearly an hour before Sherlock goes to the toilet. Greg pays the bill and follows him. He also needs it after all they had to drink. After that, they leave the restaurant.
They walk and talk, and Sherlock is feeling surprisingly relieved.
He also feels so safe in Greg’s company. Maybe this isn’t as wrong as he first thought. If only he could be sure that Greg isn’t in any danger. He stops and look at the man beside him.
“Why is it so hard to care about someone?” He asks.
“He is a stubborn man to care about,” Greg answers honestly.
“I was talking about you! I don’t like putting you in danger!” Sherlock explodes.
“Oh, well I’m always at risk. I have been all my life. Thank you, for caring about me, though.”
“I still don’t like it. But I don’t want to be alone anymore.”
“You aren’t alone.” Greg hugs him. “Come on, it’s cold and you promised me a cuddle and coffee, remember!”
When they arrive at Baker Street, Sherlock makes coffee. After the coffee is drunk, they cuddle on the sofa and make out. Eventually, Greg starts to yawn. Soon after, Sherlock also yawns.
He blinks at Greg and says, “Do you want to sleep with me tonight?”
“A gorgeous man asks me to sleep with him? Yes! You don’t even need to ask!”
“Oh, well as a policeman you should know that consent is always important.”
“Yes, yes and yes, can we go to bed now?”
They go to the bedroom. Sherlock shows Greg where a spare toothbrush and towel is. While Greg is in the bathroom, Sherlock gets the report and puts it on his pillow. He chooses a pajamas to take with him into the bathroom.
When Greg comes out he points at the report and says, “I will be back soon!”
“Hurry!” Greg calls after him.
After a while Sherlock hears snoring from the bedroom. When he goes in, he sees Greg sitting up in the bed reading and pretends to snore. If anyone listens through a bug, they will think he’s has fallen asleep.
“What a passionate lover,” Sherlock sarcastically mutters.
Greg looks up at him with a smile.

Chapter Text

Early the next morning, Mycroft hurries up the stairs in Baker Street. He doesn’t see anyone in the flat, but observes the closed door to the bedroom. He knocks once on the door and enters. He comes to a halt inside the doorway. Sherlock is lying on top of Greg, with his head on his chest.
“Ahhh, I beg your pardon! Sherlock, I must immediately talk to you! I’ll go and make some coffee in the meantime! Please do hurry!”
He feels flushed when he goes to the kitchen.
"Oh, god what’s happening here? Will I ever unsee that?”He thinks when he goes to the kitchen.
"Do you think he thought we had sex last night?” Greg whispers in Sherlock’s ear.
"Yes, he did! And he is so jealous!” Sherlock bites his lips so he doesn’t laugh.
“Stop it! It’s not easy for him,” Greg whispers, but he can’t stop smiling from ear to ear.
After both of them visit the toilet and Greg is clothed in one of Sherlock’s bathrobes.

They go into the kitchen. Mycroft says the coffee is ready, glaring.
“I phoned John on my way here…” he starts to say. They all hear someone come in the front door. The person walks up the stairs and enters the kitchen door.
"Hi!” John says and stops.
He looks at Greg, noticing his outfit. He looks at Sherlock and sees him also clad in a bathrobe.
“Hm, so you are all here?” he says. "A good date last night, was it?” He sniffs and goes to Mycroft taking the coffee cup he’s handed.
“Yes, it was a very good afternoon and evening. The museum was so interesting, loads to talk about,” Sherlock answers him.
"I liked the dinner in the private room.” Greg breaks into his speech.
They look at each other and both laugh a little.
“Yes, but the walk in the park, holding hands. That I will always remember. That was something I’ve only ever done with Victor."
“Oh, sweetheart. That something we will do again soon." Greg says looking Sherlock deep in the eyes.

Both John and Mycroft look with disdain on their faces.
"Never thought of you as a romantic, Sherlock,” Mycroft says with irritation in his voice.
“Yeah, what about ‘sentiment is on the losing side’?” John snaps.
“Hey, guys! We are only happy. Neither of you were interested in either of us before. Why are you so unhappy now that we like each other?” Greg says and looks at them in surprise.

"Well, we aren’t here to discuss your love life,” Mycroft interrupts.
“Last night, Agent Porlock was killed at his home, Birlstone Manor House in Birlstone, Sussex. He was one of the men that let you off after Moriarty’s last appearance,” he says to Sherlock.
"Let me off?! I WAS IN A COMA!” Sherlock yells.
"Yes, but you needed a pardon so you wouldn’t be sent away on a new suicide mission if you woke up!”
“What are you saying? A new suicide mission? The first time, was he going on a…”
“Yes John! I know you’re slow but for heaven’s sake had you not worked that out?” Mycroft looks at him in amazement.
“Stop this now! That’s ancient history,” Sherlock interrupts.
“So we’re all going to Sussex?” Greg asks.
"No, you and I most get back to my department and investigate to check that nothing of importance has been taken. He had some very sensitive material,” he says to Greg.
“Your group is already on their way. Sherlock and John are going to investigate the murder in Sussex.”
“But John…” Sherlock starts to say.
"We are going, Sherlock, and you aren’t going alone! Even if I must handcuff you to me the whole way there!”
“Kinky, what are you doing with my man?!” Greg quips.
Mycroft glares, but says nothing.
"What are you doing?” Sherlock asks John, “Don’t you feel uneasy about this trip?”
“You’re my friend. I love you and have always felt safe with you. The times I’m not with you are the times I’m in trouble,” John says almost silently.
He would have liked to say that when they were alone, but maybe then he would never have said anything.
“Okay, can you order train tickets and book overnight rooms? It’s a small village, so it’s better to book them now. If we don’t need the rooms we can cancel them. I just need a minute to dress,” Sherlock says.
"Yes, I’ll do that,” John says.
“Well, I’ve got to get dressed too,” Greg says, and follows Sherlock into the bedroom.

John and Mycroft look at each other. There’s a heavy tension in the air. Both men are thinking about what happened last night and what could happen now.
“If I can make a suggestion, Doctor Watson. If you love my brother and have accepted your bisexuality, book only one room!” John looks Mycroft steadily in the eyes and says,
“Have I really been so obvious?” Mycroft only smiles. John goes to his old armchair and starts making phone calls. Mycroft smirks when he hears John book only one bedroom with a double bed.

Chapter Text

Mycroft comes and sits down in Sherlock’s armchair. The shower starts, and they hear laughter and small, breathy noises coming from the bathroom.

“Are they showering together?!” John asks in amazement. He can’t believe that they are doing it with him and Mycroft in the next room. His stomach clenches.
“Isn’t that what you do when you sleep with someone and both of you know it isn’t the last time?” Mycroft says with very tight lips.
“They were still in bed when I came over this morning. Greg was on his back with Sherlock all over him! Never in my life did I think I would see something like that!” he finishes as he gets out of the armchair and walks to the window.
“It’s not something I want to remember, my little brother…” John has never seen him so upset before.
But I get what he means, ‘something he never wanted to see’,” John thinks.
It’s more than enough, what he’s been told by Mycroft and what he hears from the bathroom.

After some time Sherlock and Greg come into the living room. Greg is laughing at something Sherlock has just said. They both look happy and relaxed, and Sherlock holds an overnight bag in his left hand. The other men in the flat are anything but relaxed. John doesn’t know where to look, so he stares at the ceiling. Mycroft’s holding tightly onto his umbrella and stabbing the floor with it.
“Well good, you are ready to go. Gregory, will you come with me, please!”
Greg gives Sherlock a quick peck on his mouth.
“Hear from you soon, sweetheart. And please don’t take any risks with your life, think of me…”

After they have left Sherlock turns to John and says in business like voice, “Have you booked the tickets and overnight rooms?”
“Yes, we just about have time to go to my place and get my overnight bag and laptop.”
"Good!” Sherlock takes his coat and scarf and starts going down the stairs, and John follows him.
When they board the train, they find it’s very bust. After some time, they find two adjacent seats at the end of the train car. Sherlock sits down near the window and John sits beside him. Sherlock looks out of the window and starts thinking about the case, Mycroft having texted him all the details.
After some time Sherlock notices that John is looking at him with a thoughtful expression.

“You have more questions about Greg and the date,” Sherlock says. It isn’t a question.
“It’s was only your first date and you slept together? What about being demi-sexual, is that all forgotten now because of Greg?!”
“Shhhh, John I don’t think the other passengers are interested in my sex life!” Sherlock hisses to him. With a low voice he starts to talk in John’s ear.
“You’re forgetting that I’ve known him for nearly 12 years. Only one thing stopped me in the beginning – when I realised that he was interested in Mycroft. I saw Mycroft’s interest in Greg too. I asked Mycroft about it when I returned from the fall. Specifically, if he had found a goldfish, which is his way of expressing that he has a partner. He was very adamant that he wasn’t interested in finding anyone. So why shouldn’t I take a chance with Greg when he asked me out? Greg said it himself, neither you nor Mycroft were interested in either of us, and I came to realize after your marriage that I didn’t want to be alone anymore.
Isn’t that what people say, that a relationship is supposed to complete you?”
“Did he demand sex during the first date?!” John asks, rather upset. His left hand twitches and he looks very angry.
"No, I proposed him!”
“And he said yes!” John sniffs
"Yes, to my delight he said yes three times – if you must know. I’m not a virgin or a delicate flower. I know what I want, and I go after it when both parties are interested. Consent is everything for me with relationship and sex. It’s important to me. I will never go after a straight man, no matter how interested I may be. Therefore, it’s important to me that you feel safe in my presence.”
“You’ve had people near you who haven’t treated you well because they were afraid you would jump on them and make a pass?”
Sherlock shrugs and says with a very calm voice, “You’ve met Sebastian Wilkes.”
“I’m not him! And I will never be afraid of you. If you hugged me or we share a bed…”
Sherlock interrupts him "That’s easy to say now, sitting in daylight in a crowded train car. John, this isn’t my first rodeo, as an American would say. Don’t talk, show me instead the coming weeks, months maybe years if we are lucky and still be friends. I would very much like that.”
"Sorry, I must use the toilet,” John says, and hurries away.

He drops down onto the closed toilet seat.
His heart is beating very fast and he is so afraid. He could totally lose him in every way possible! Not only as a partner and friend, but totally out of his life.
“I won’t survive!”
“How do I make him understand how much I love him in every way?”
After a long time and many emotions he returns to his seat. Sherlock is gone, but a note is in his place. It says: “I’m going to get us coffee and a sandwich.”
John hopes he will return soon and not be too upset with him.

Chapter Text

Sherlock comes back after a little while. He brings with him two cups of coffee and two not so exciting cheese sandwiches.
"All right?" He asks John. He only nods a yes answer.
John rises out of his seat so Sherlock can sit down on his old site.
They drink and eat but don't talk. Sherlock start going through the information he gotten from Mycroft and Greg's team so far in the investigation.

"Oh, that's interesting!" He says aloud.
"What is?"
"I think Porlock has been sending me information under pseudonym for some time. I didn't understand who it was that hade so correct information that I could get it verified. He has helped me very much the last time on a case"
"But the last case you had was the Magnussen case? Has this something to do with Mary?" Sherlock is surprised that John has nearly done the right conclusion.
He always surprises me he thinks. In this case it's troubling because what will he say to him without hurting him or put him at risk?
"Yes, I'm sorry"
"That's not your fault, what have she done?" His face is bitter but his voice is calm.
"I don't want to say at a place like this. You don't know who is listening to us talk." Sherlock answer as calmly as he can too.
"Okay, but as soon as we are alone you're going to tell me everything!"
"So have this something to do with Magnussen? Extortion, maybe? Was Mary in on it?"
"John, please. Think were we are." Sherlock's voice is very subdued.
He really doesn’t want to talk about it here. It's too much risk. Why did he say anything at all? He is angry with himself.
John holds up his hands and says. "Okey, but as soon as possible I want to know.

A pre-ordered taxi awaits them when they arrive at the train station.
The cab driver says he will take the bags to the B&B after he driven them to Birlstone Manor House. He also says that Inspector MacDonald and Sergeant Wilson are waiting on them there.

"Mr Holmes and Dr Watson? Inspector MacDonald says when they exit the car. "Your brother has informed me that Mr John Douglas was a British agent!? I thought he worked with banks or something like that? Well, he had the money and class in conduct we all thought in the village."
"British security is always important, don't you think? "Sherlock answers him.
MacDonald only nods and says.
"Shall we take a look at the crime scene?"

John Douglas is lying in the center of the room nearest the front door of the house. A sawed-off shotgun lay across the man's chest. He had been shot at close range. The face of the man was not there anymore. Not a view you want to see, John thinks before he takes a deep breath and fallows Sherlock in the room.
Inspector MacDonald starts to speak.
"Mr Cecil Baker, his friend heard the report of the gun. He runs down from his room at the second floor and found him there. He called the police. When he was waiting at the police he looked around if anyone was in the room. He immediately showed us the window that was open. There's a smudge of blood on the on the window sill"

Sherlock and John goes on and look at the window sill. There is a mark of a boot-sole in the blood.
"The drawbridge over the moat had been raised at 6:00 pm, his wife told us, said Sergeant Wilson
"I also found a card beside the corpse with the initials V.V and the number 341 beneath them"

John who is standing at the window looks down on the floor. He sees muddy footprints.
"Sherlock, come and look hear."
He comes and stands by John's side and sees the muddy footprint. He open the window and leans out to look.
"How deep is the moat?"
"It´s only a few feet deep, Sir." Answer Wilson. "The person that did this can easily have taken that way to escape."
"Hm, maybe. But have far would he go. He would be wet and cold in minutes it is November after all?"
"Have anyone seen a wet and cold man in the village?
Sherlock goes to the victims and sits down in front of his feet. He takes of the victim’s shoes and socks. On the left feet he sees the same mark that Soo Yin had on her feet in the case that John called the Blind Banker. A black tattooed circle with a lotus in it.
"Moriarty!" says John
"Yes, looks like it is." Sherlock says very quietly.
"Sorry, what did you say?" Says MacDonald and Wilson looks pensively at them.
"Does that tattoo mean anything to you guys?" He asks.
"Yes, from an old case" John hastily answers them.
"Now, can we meet the wife of the victim and the friend?" Sherlock says loudly.
"Yes, they are in the morning room.” MacDonald answers him.

When they come in to the room Mr Cecil Baker is a handsome man in the 50's and Mrs Douglas a nice looking women in her 40's.
Inspector MacDonald presents everyone in the room for each other.
Sherlock starts the interrogation with saying his regret to the widow and the friend to the victim.
"How did you know Mr Douglas?" He asks Mr Baker.
"I know you and Dr Watson has security clearance. Can I ask for to only speak to you two?" Mr Baker asks.
Inspector MacDonald isn't happy about this but he and Wilson leaves the room after some protests.

Mr Cecil Baker starts to talk as soon as they leave.
"I met Mr Douglas when he and I were on a mission for MI6. We were stationed in Silicon Valley in America. Our missions were to learn how assassin and weapon were smuggled into England. We would also try to find out who might be future victims in England."
"And did you succeed with the mission?"
"Nearly, I had already returned to England. But John discovered a smaller branch of the organization that survived the decommissioning of the organization. He pay the price by losing his first wife. Mycroft helped with the liberation of him and another agent."
"When was this?" Sherlock ask
"For about 8 years ago?"
"Mrs Douglas when did you meet your husband?"
"Mycroft introduced us for about 6 years ago?" Mrs Douglas answers nervously.
"How long have you been married?
"It will be 5 years the first of December. It would have been." She stats to cry.
"Mr Baker have you or Mr Douglas seen any of the persons you meet in the US?"
"Yes, Four weeks ago John spotted that someone was following him in London."
"What did he do?"
"He contacted me and asked if I seen anyone following me. At that time I said no, but two days later I noticed that someone was following me too.
We decided to go here and to try to decide what we would do about it."
"Did you know about this?" Sherlock ask Mrs Douglas.
She blows her nose and looks up on him with big eyes.
"I didn't even know he and John had been agents!"
“I told her just before you came" Mr Baker interrupts
"This last four weeks how has your husband been?"
"Short tempered and nervous? I asked him many times what's happening."
"And he didn't give you an answer?
"No, he only said it wasn't something I needed to worry about."
"Did you believe him"
"No, not after Cecil arrived? One look on them and I realized that something was wrong."
“But you didn't say anything?!" Mr Baker is rather upset.
"Why should I. You both should only lie for me."
Sherlock really looks at Mrs Douglas and reads her as a rather intelligent woman. She was maybe a former agent to?
"You know Mycroft from school or work? He asks her.
"Both." Is her easy answer. Sherlock understand that she will not speak more about it. He will try to ask Mycroft about her.
"The person that followed you. Have you seen him after you come here? He asks Mr Baker instead.
"Yesterday when John was in to the village he spotted an assassin he knew in the US." Cecil answers.
"We both thought that this house were safe with the drawbridge and the moat." He answers Sherlock and shakes his head.
"How do you think the murderer come in to manor?" John asks a question for the first time.
"They most have sneaked in when the drawbridge was down and hide somewhere in the house?"
"Maybe." Is Sherlock's only remark.

Chapter Text

"Can we speak with the servants that were working yesterday" Sherlock asks.
"Oh, we only have a housekeeper, Mr Right. Should I call for him?"
"Yes please. I would like to speak with him alone. No, you stay John!" John hade start to stand with the other two in the room"

After a moment a young attractive men around 25 years old entered the room. He is as tall as Sherlock and has beautiful green eyes. John looks him over but he sees no reaction in the young man.
He looks at John but goes to Sherlock with an outstretched hand. His eyes go over Sherlock's body with an appreciated look.
"Mr Holmes, good to meet you. I have read your blog the science of Deduction. It's very interesting, I will start my education in forensic at next semester."
John scoffs where he sits but neither of the two men seams to hear him.
Sherlock takes his extended hand and shakes it.
"Your name is?"
"Oscar Right, housekeeper at the manor the last 9 months. I have a sabbath year from school."
"Why do you have a sabbath year and why here?"
"My mother lives in the village and she got diagnosed with breast cancer about 10 months ago. She is my only near relative and we are close to each other. Thank god it's seems like she are going to beat the cancer now."
"Good!" Sherlock says. "Is it hard to get work in this village?"
"Yes, you take what you can get. It isn't a bad work. Mrs Douglas is good to be working for."
"And Mr Douglas?"
"I haven't seen him much before this last 3 weeks. He was mostly in his room where you found him dead. To say the truth, I don't think I registered on his mind at all. I was only the servant for him."
Oscar Right doesn’t seem to care about him at all.
"Did you hear anything yesterday that you think can have anything to do with what's happened?"
He bites his lips before he answers. "I heard a hard banging about a half hour before the shotgun bang. I thought there was the front door banging, but it was a higher noise than usual. I was in the kitchen that is at the other end of the corridor."
"Anything else you, heard or felt yesterday."
"All three of them were on the edge. Mrs Douglas tried to hide it but-" he falls silent, not finding the words.
"Anything else?
"No, nothing I can think of now. I left about 20 minutes before the shooting. I went home to my mom for dinner. She can tell you when I arrived home.”
"Well, here is my card if you come to think about anything that will help solve this murder."
"Thank you, it was really great to meet you!" As a second thought he looks at John and says. "You to, Dr Watson."
John Watson only grumpily nods his head. He wants this man to leave and stop ogling Sherlock.
After Oscar leaves Sherlock starts to smile and locks on his wristwatch.
"Half past 12. Time for some lunch and a chat with our new friends at the police. What do you think?"
John looks on Sherlock with surprise on his face.
"You want to eat? You are on a case?"
"Yes I know. In order for me to leave the hospital, I had to agree on certain conditions. To eat three times a day and try to sleep at night." He shakes his head and says "Ridiculous!"
"No, it's good! You are trying for the first time in your life to take care of yourself." John smiles a happy smile.

"Well, Gentlemen, I think it's time we go to the police station. Can we find a safe room that can't be intercepted there and get some food in and go through this morning’s activities? Sherlock ask MacDonald when they meet him at the door.
"Yes, I can see to it. What would you want to eat?"
"I have recently left the hospital and should eat as useful, a salad maybe?"
"Fish and chips for me, thanks." John says behind them.
"Your boyfriend doesn't want to eat useful, I agree with him on this" MacDonald laugh.
"Oh, John isn't my boyfriend. My boyfriend is working with my brother today." Sherlock calmly says.
"Sorry, I thought because you only ordered one room at the B&B that you were a couple, sorry little village!"
Sherlock sidestepped and looks at John that's gets red in his face.
"No, John is only practical. He knows that I don't sleep when I'm on a case. Maybe 1-2 hours napping. That I can do on the bed or in an armchair. Why bother with two rooms? John only lost his wife and child 4 months ago."

John is rapidly passing them and going to the car that Wilson is standing by.
"Oh, I didn't know that. And your boyfriend hasn’t anything against you to sharing a room?"
"Why would he? He's John's friend to and know that John isn´t gay and a former military man. He has sheared a room with 20 men in a barrack, why can't he share a room with me?"
"You are right, sorry! I am being too personal."
He frowns and goes after John to the car.
Wilson is in the driving seat and John is sitting beside him. MacDonald and Sherlock sit down in the back.
MacDonald says to John. "Sorry for your loss. Wilson and I didn't know about your family. I was thoughtless."
"I understand, little village and this must be the most exciting thing that happened for a long time?” John smiles that way he does when he is really angry.
"Yeah, you are right. Two celebrities visiting at the same time AND a murder upon that. The owner of the B&B is my sister in laws."
"As I already said, a little village." John says with an angry voice.
"Oh, you mustn't think she has anything against gay people. Her son is gay. You have already met him"
"Oscar" John says.
"Yes, how did you know that? Wilson asks.
"He really likes Sherlock!"John says with a angry smile.
"Why are we still talking about this? Yes, I'm gay. No, John isn't! Now can we move on, please? Or are we going to discuss what you two are, gay or straight?" He wiggles his eyebrow and John snorts.
Both MacDonald and Wilson are becoming red in their faces.

When they arrives at the police station MacDonald gets them a secure room and orders food for the four of them.
Sherlock inspects the room very carefully. John stands by the door and looks at what's he doing.
"You are worried that this room has bugs?" John asks.
"Better safe than sorry." Is Sherlock's answer.

Wilson comes in the room with a paper.
"A person named Greg Lestrade wants you to phone him as soon as you can on a secure line." He gives the paper to Sherlock.
"Do you have a secure line?" he asks
"I have a burner mobile phone? I bought it yesterday to give to my niece at her birthday on, Thursday. Would that do?"
"Yes, go and get it"

After some time both the food and the mobile phone have come with both of the policemen. The phone is in the pack it's sold in as well as a new ship to the phone. Sherlock phones Greg immediately.

"Hi love." He says when Greg answers. "What has happened"
John turns so he has his back against Sherlock. He sits down at the table and picks up food and drink.
He is trying to not listen to Sherlock on the phone.
How can I eat? He thinks. He has a lump in the throat and he feels like he wants to punch someone. But he looks on the food and tries to act normal.

Sherlock is listening very hard on what Greg says. His lips are hard pressed together and he stands totally still and locks on John's neck.
After some time he says to Greg.
"I will tell him and we decide together what we will do. When I know I phone you on this phone, okey? Take care of yourself and my brother, love you!" He ends the call and goes and sits beside John.

"Something happened?" MacDonald asks.
"Yes, but it's not only has to do with this case." Sherlock responds.
"First we will discuss our case here, and then I will ask you two to leave and do something that must be done before tonight. John and I will stay here and discuss what Greg and Mycroft found out about another case that we are working with."
"So Greg Lestrade is your boyfriend?" Wilson interrupts. He had written down the number and the man's name when he got the message and remembered the name.
Sherlock sigh loudly.
"Not again!"
John can only feel the same way.
"Sorry!" Wilson looks sheepish out.
"Can we begin with the case now?"
The other three men only nods.

Sherlock starts with asking if anyone else in the village had seen something that could help them catch the murderer?
Wilson tells them that they have gotten in a report from a villager that has rented out a cottage for a 14 night has not seen his guest for 24 hours. He was worried that something had happened to the man. His car was parked with the cottage.
"What's the man's name? John asks.
Wilson answer. "Ted Baldwin he's an American visiting England for some time"
"Ah, then we must search the moat next day!" Sherlock is now very excited.

John can't stop looking and smiling at him. He is so beautiful when he looks like that, he thinks. He looks around the table and sees the same look that he think he has on his face on Wilson's face. MacDonald only nods and eats the food with a thoughtful look on his face.
"MacDonald, you must go to the manor house and inform Mrs Douglas, Mr Baker and Mr Right what will happen tomorrow morning. Say we will be there at 8 o'clock tomorrow morning." Sherlock instruction is very clear.
"You suspects one of them? What about the American guy? You don't think Oscar has anything to do with this? MacDonald seams very upset. That he is worried for his nephew is clear.

"I don't think he is, but the other two? Didn't you see the mud on Mr Baker's shoes? The print on the window looks like they could be from his shoe.
"Mrs Douglas, why would she kill her husband?” MacDonald shakes his head.
"Well, tomorrow we will know" was Sherlock's responds.

Chapter Text

"We must organize tonight's work." Sherlock says and look at the other three men.
"What do you mean with tonight's work?" John look surprised.
"You just said we would start digging in the moat at 8 o'clock tomorrow morning?"
"Yes, but tonight the shooter and the people that helped him will try to dispose of the evidence that they have thrown in the moat."
MacDonald stands and says.
"I have to arrange a babysitter for my daughter, I see you later."
"I go with him and talk with the people at the Manor House. See you guys later" Wilson says and goes after his Inspector.

"John, I have somethings to tell you that I really don't want to tell you because it will hurt you to here this. Let me finish talking before you say anything, please."
Sherlock rise from the table and starts to wander around in the room. John see that he is nervous and anxious over what he has to tell him.

"Greg and Mycroft have confirmed my suspicions. The day I returned to Baker Street after my coma a letter was delivered to me. The message was written in a code. It took me some time to solve the code. I did that when you all thought I was sleeping." He smiles a sad smile.
"It were a warnings in the letter. The letter had also information that I needed to get confirmation to. It took me some time but with Mycroft's help and by checking my yearbooks from school, I could get the warnings confirmed."
He stops and seeks John eyes.
"I were horrified when I realized the truth. When I were at school at the age of 12-16 I met a girl. She was a year younger then me but she started following me around on the breaks at school. She wanted to talk about chemistry, biology or the things she thought I liked. When she heard from other children that I like mystery and crimes solving she started to talk about that. She could take a newspaper with her that hade a crime case in it and try too make me solve it together with her. I always tried to escape her. I looked for places where she couldn't find me but 8 times out of 10 she did find me. At our last discussion I said I never wanted to see her. She was very upset and threatened me.
She said: "YOU will never leave me, YOU will miss me."
Sherlock goes silent and looks down on the floor to compose himself.
When he looks at John again he has tears in the eyes, he looks so hurt.
"She then said I would be paying the consequences to my choice and that people I love would also pay the price."
Again he goes silent.
"You know that you have payed the price many times now, I'm so sorry!"
"That's not your fault!" John rises from the chair and hug Sherlock.
At first Sherlock don't return the hug he only stands there in John's arms.
But suddenly he takes a big gasp of air and hugs John hard back.
"I'm so sorry!" He says.
"Not your fault that a person is a stalker! You haven't done anything wrong! But who is she?! Do I know here?"
"Her name was James or she was called Jamie. You know her as Molly Hopper."
John take a step from Sherlock and call out:
"Sorry, not so sweet. She is the real Moriarty's daughter. His name was Professor James Moriarty. Her mothers name was Dr Elisabeth Hopper.
When her father died she took over the organization. That were eight years ago. I had interfered in her father's work and cost his organization money. Now I started to interfere in hers inherited organization work. She went through some cosmetics operation to change her looks. Not any dramatic operations but she was now in the 30th and I haven't seen her since I was 16 years old and she was 15. I thought she had stopped stalking me after I got a restraining order on her when I left school.
"Why did she help you "die" then?"

Sherlock turns his back to John and puts his hands in his trouser pockets.
"To hurt you. To let you pay for being my only friend and that she knew at that time that I loved you."
He turned back and looks in John's eyes.
"One time before the fall when we all three of us were working together at the mortuary she said something to me. She said, "that I look sad when I look at you" He is silent for a moment and says.
"She was so right, I was so sad because I did know I probably had to leave you."
John goes back to Sherlock and hugs him. He puts his head on his chest.
"You have payed an hard price because of a stalker you never asked for" he whispers.

"Not as high as you! I am sorry John. But I have more to tell you."
He try's to get out of John's arms but John only holds him harder.
"Tell me" he whisper.
"You heard today about Douglas and Bakers mission in America?
"Yes, what about it!" John body is stiffening up but he holds on to Sherlock.
"Douglas or agent Porlock was the person that sent me the information in the first case about Molly. He had suspected that he could be killed any day now as you know after our interview with Mr Baker. At his office he had left a package signed: 'To Mycroft confidential'."
He stops talking and only breathes. John feels how hard it is for him to tell what it is that most be said.
"Go on!"
"One of there tasks under the mission as you would remember were to locate who the assassin that got to England was. Who they were and who they should kill."
"Yes, tell me now! This is like pulling teeth!"
"One of them was the women we know as Mary Morstan. She came to London 8 years ago to work for Moriarty, aka James Moriarty and Molly's father."
"Yes, I though so when you said it was bad."
"Her name was Gabriella Ashwood. She had gone rogue some time before as you know because of Ajay and Vivian Norbury."

John takes a step back so he can look Sherlock in the eyes.
"Sherlock I'm not specially surprised over that information. After she died I thought she could have been one of his people. Why would she otherwise been so afraid that he wasn't dead?"
"She didn't know at that time that Molly was the new Moriarty. She only new her as one of his agents. Not his daughter and the new leader of the organization."
"So she was afraid that he would punish her for shooting you?"
"Yes, but I have something else to tell you."
Sherlock gets a grimly look on his face he looks so angry. John pull back so he can see Sherlock's face and gives him a node to go on.
"Mary and the baby are alive. Porlock hade everything documented how they did it. Jamie and Gabriella worked together to make her 'die'!"

Chapter Text

"How? He takes a breath of air and asks again. “How do you know they are alive?”
"John, just now that's not important. What's important is that we stay alive and safe. I know we have eyes on us and when we return to London we are even more at danger. Because then we aren't on a case"
"Mary, no Gabriella will try to murder us?"
"No, her mission is to murder you and make me break so I kill myself. That will burn the heart out of me as Moriarty promised to do. They both know that I love you. Baker Street is bugged."

John only looks at Sherlock like he doesn't know how to feel or think.
"We must get to a safe place to meet Greg and Mycroft without them knowing that we are in London. I must go to my mind place to think how we can do that. We can't use Mycroft people or my homeless people because they are all infiltrated by Moriarty's people. They really now us, John!"
"I have a solution. What do you think about a pub that Greg and maybe even Mycroft visit sometime? The owners of the pub are a bartender and a former police officer. They live in a flat behind the pub. I slept there the night after your relive that you are gay. I went there to get a drink and think about what just happened. I meet the bartender,,,,,
"So Greg knows this place? And the owners?
"Yes, he worked with the policeman that's now are one of the owners of the bar. His name is Adam Hathaway. The only thing you must know is that he and Greg have had a fling for some years ago."
"Can you phone Adam and ask him if he will help us?"
"Yes, if I can have the phone?”
Sherlock gives him the phone Wilson had given him.

John goes and sits down with the table and Google the pub's number.
He dialed the number and after some signals Adam answer.
He tells him what happen and ask if the four men can meet there? Adam says that's okay and that Sherlock and John could sleep there.
John ask if he understand how dangerous this could be for them.
"Of course I understand that!"
"Good then we will be there as soon as we can after finishing this case. There are things we must get a solution to first"
"Ok, be careful."
After saying there good bays John turn to Sherlock and ask how to contact Greg. Sherlock gives him the number that Wilson have given him some hour earlier.

Sherlock are standing leaning against the wall behind him. John thinks he is listening to him talking to Greg. But Instead Sherlock is thinking about that he soon will meet that woman John slept with for only a few days ago. Maybe she is a relative to this policeman that Greg had a "fling" with! Have all people that he has feelings for slept with someone he now must learn to know? He knows he should be feeling more jealous about Adam but if he's true to himself it's the woman that John slept with he doesn't want to meet.

John keeps talking to Greg. Greg confirms that Mycroft and he have visit this pub several times. They agree that John would phone from a new phone when they are ready to leave Birlstone.
"That will do it less suspicion why they are going to this pub" Sherlock says when John stops talking to Greg.
"How long times will this matter take, do you think?"
"Early tomorrow morning I hope. Maybe we can borrow a car from someone here in Birlstone?"
"How can we be safe tonight?"
"MacDonald and Wilson will inform as many people as possible that we will start working on the moat at eight o'clock tomorrow morning. After we have had a meeting here with them we go and eat something. Probably at the B&B, MacDonald can ask his sister- in -law if we can get out from the B&B by the back door? After dinner we make it very obvious that I want to go to my mind place and you want to sleep. At half past ten we met Wilson and MacDonald some places near the B&B."

"Are you angry about that we only have one room?"
"No, it's safer now for both of us. Mycroft new what he was doing when he ordered you to only book one room."
He doesn't say it, but Sherlock thinks for himself why did you only book one bed? He both wants to ask John why he did that. But he also doesn't want to know why John did that. He huffs and pulls a hand through his hair.

"You are tired to; maybe you can try to sleep a bit too after dinner?" John bite his lip and lets the tongue wet his lips.
Sherlock follows the movement of the tongue with his eyes, Sherlock raises his slanted body and looks at the door.
"They will be back soon. I will go and ask for some coffee. Do you want something?"
"No, thank you." John's stomach is already in knots.
He is so tired, upset and worried over what will happen now. Will he meet his "wife" again? What will he feel when he meets her. His daughter, is she okey?
Molly? He can't understand it and on the other hand he has always felt that something wasn't as it should be with her. He hadn't wanted to leave Sherlock alone with her. He had thought it was because he didn't like that Sherlock sometimes used her to get what he wanted. That she was too interested in him, so obviously in love with him.
Will someone hurt Sherlock? Will Sherlock come to bed? What will happen when he meets Greg's former lover? Will he be jealous over Adam? So many feelings and thoughts flying through his head. Like bees buzzing in his head.
He shakes his head and feels miserable.

Sherlock come through the door with a cart full of coffee pot, mugs, sugar etc. After him comes MacDonald and Wilson. Again they all sits down with the table and Sherlock serve everyone a cup of coffee. John doesn’t think the biscuit looks to tempting out. He only drinks the strong hot coffee.
"So how did it go at the manor house?"
MacDonald hums and says "Mr Baker and Mrs Douglas were obviously startled. Mr Baker didn't understand why we wanted to search the moat."
Wilson nods.
"Yeah, they weren't too happy about it. Oscar only asked why you, Sherlock though there's something in the moat and what would that be?"
"What did you answer?"
"That you hadn't told us!"
"Good, that would do."

Sherlock looks at John and says. "We have to tell you that Mycroft have informed us that we have probably snipers following us"
"Are we all at risk?" MacDonald asks grimly.
"No, Mr Douglas, the enemy are after John and me. They know that we are also a threat to them"
MacDonald looks at Sherlock and ask. "What are we going to do now?"
Sherlock tells them the same thing he told John earlier.
"There is one back door down in the basement and a fire staircase at the balcony in your room." MacDonald looks very thoughtful. "Maybe the basement door is safer if someone has a look out on your room. It on the other side then your room is. If you take the back stairs down to the basement we can be in the car at the road besides the basement door."
"That's good. We met you there at half past ten"
"How do we get a new phone and whose car can we borrow." John interrupts.
"You can borrow a phone from my niece before you leave. I can ask her if you can borrow her car to?" MacDonald answers John.
"Good, let us know as soon as possible."
When all is said and done Sherlock and John goes with MacDonald to his car in the underground garage and drive to the B&B.

Safely at the B&B MacDonald introduces them to his sister- in-law Lizzie Right. She is a woman in her 50th, dark hair with grey in it and green eyes. Her son looks very much like her. She is market by her illness. Her voice is soft spoken and she looks at them with bright clever eyes.
Not much she miss when she meets people, Sherlock thinks for himself.
"I heard you interviewed my son Oscar today Mr Holmes?"
"Yes, he seems to like his work?" Sherlock answers her.
"I will be glad when he returns to his studies. Without me he only has John and his 7 years old cousin Emma. I want to see him with a good education and work before I leave him. Sorry, it's a bit morbid but you think about these things when you got cancer."
"Oscar told us about your illness, we are so sorry." Sherlock says, John only nods.

Just then Oscar comes through the door from the kitchen.
"Ah, do you want to see your room and maybe freshen up a bit before dinner?
Dinner starts six o'clock."
Sherlock looks at his clock and see that it's quarter to five.
"What do you say John?"
"Yes, I would like to take a shower. I had no time this morning."
"Lead the way, Oscar" Oscar smiles in response to Sherlock's words.

Chapter Text

When they enter the hallway of the room Sherlock see a coat stand and a shoe shelf at the left and at the right a door to the bathroom.
The room is big with a comfortable couch and two big armchairs. At the left side of the room is a big kingsize bed.
"See John, I can sleep on the couch if I need to sleep."
"You don't need to, that bed is so big enough that we both can get lost in it!" John answers him snappily.
"Don't fight guys; I think you can do whatever you want." Oscar says with humor in his voice.
"Is he always like that, snappy?" Oscar asks Sherlock with a smile.
"Do what you want, I'm taking a shower?" John glares at Oscar and passes him into the room. He puts his bag on the left side of the bed. He opens the bag and takes out clean clothes and a toilet bag.

Sherlock puts down his bag at the right side of the bed and sits down in one of the armchairs near the bed.
"Would you like to stay with me and chat a little while John showers?" He looks at Oscar and lifts one eyebrow.
"Yes, is it something about the case that's troubling you?
"No, I only want to relax and talk with another person that are gay. Sorry, it's new to me to be out of the closet as they say. How old were you when you come out?"
John moves quickly to the bathroom. His cheeks and ears are easily red.
Oscar goes and sits down in the other armchair.
"I was 17 and had fallen for a boy. I wasn't sure my mom would accept that but I couldn't keep it inside any longer."
"What happened?"
"She was more or less, I know." Oscar laughs a bit and shakes his head. I was so nervous that I nearly threw up!"
"You've a good relationship?"
"Yes, but I don't think my dad had accepted it that easily that she did."
"No, maybe not or he could have surprised you?"
They talk about their experience meanwhile John shower, shaves and put on fresh clothes. When he opens the bathroom door and come back into the room Sherlock looks up. His eyes go wide as he looks at him with admiration in his eyes. Oscar starts to coughs.
"Sorry, somethings in my throat." He says between the coughing.
"It's time to go get some dinner, I think? John says with a red face.
Am I blushing, he thinks. That look on Sherlock's face was really admiration! He feels butterflies in his stomach. Maybe I haven't ruined everything? He thinks.
"You're right, dinner. Thank you for our chat Oscar. Its feels so good to not be in the closet anymore. Maybe it won't be so funny when the public gets to know about it, but for now it's good.
"Anytime, you know where I am." Oscar says.

The dinner is good. Mrs Right has a good chef working for her. John and Sherlock are shearing a table near the window looking out on the landscape. Nobody is sitting at the nearby tables.
Sherlock thinks that John is looking so beautiful tonight. He has a blue shirt with button open over the collar of a darker blue jumper on top. The jumper has the same color as his eyes.
“Stop this now! He says to himself. “You have a boyfriend and it's not him. He isn't even gay; he has a new lady friend that you possibly will meet tomorrow!”

He hasn't registered that there dinner has been served by Mrs Right.
"Sherlock! Come back to the world now!" He hears John sayìng.
"Sorry, thinking about the case. I have very much to sort out in my head."
"Yeah, I understand that but can we please eat dinner first and talk a little?"
"What do you want to talk about? Sherlock takes a bite of the food and looks at John with questions in his eyes.
"Why haven't you been out of the closet before now?"
Sherlock thinks a little bit before he answers.
"It's a big difference now and 20 years ago. I was out when I was with Victor. After him it wasn't important. I didn´t have any lover or all my time was put on using drugs, studying and later work. Why would I go around saying: Hi, I'm Sherlock Holmes and I'm gay?"
"Yes, that I can understand. But why didn't you tell me? Your supposed to be my best friend? Or Mrs Hudson? Hmm?"
"Mrs Hudson knows. She so me flirting with a man when we were in Miami. After that she never thought I was straight. She has said to me a couple of times that: you are such a twink!"
"What about me then?"
"What about you? You were my flatmate and after that a friend? A very straight friend! That was very upset if anyone suggested anything else!"
"So, you didn't think about telling me because you thought I would react negatively?"
"If I told you the truth, yes-”
"You thought I was a homophobe?!"
"Not a homophobe per say, but a man afraid to be perceived as gay too.That I was very sure of. You would be very afraid of that if you knew you was living with a gay man."
John looks totally shocked. He sits and looks at Sherlock as if he doesn't know what to do or say in reply.
"So you kept your mouth shut and me at a distance?"
"How long had you planned to do that?"
"I hadn't planned anything. My only thought was to have you as a friend as long as I could or to you found yourself a wife to settle down with."
"A wife to settle down with?!"
"Yes!" He looks down on his food and says in a very low voice. "I'm very sorry that at the beginning of our friendship I tried to scare any potentially Mrs Watson of. But I did realize that you would never choose me as your life partner. Specially after the incident with Irene at Battersea when you told her very loudly that you wasn´t gay. I decided then that you would never get to know that you lived with a gay man as long as we lived together. I liked living with you and spend time with you.”
"So, you left me because you really didn't think I would miss you? You thought I would buns back and find myself a nice little wife and a couple of children?"

"Yes, at the start of planning the fall with Mycroft. But only after a day or two after the fall I missed you. Oh, how I missed you! More times then I wanted to. I was on my (journey) and you longer the time went on, the more I missed you. Sorry to say but the more I started to talk to myself the more i started to believing that you would miss me the same way. That night at the restaurant when I came back showed me how that thought was wrong of me to think, sorry."
"That's why you tricked me in the train car with the bomb! You only wanted me back as a friend. You had given up on something's more?"
"Yes, you were happily in love with your fiancée and soon to be married. I only wanted us to be friends. You really shocked me when you said I was your best friend when you asked me to be your best man! I thought that was Stamford or Greg? You used to go to pub nights and things with them. And they had been there when I was gone."
"You really freaked out there for a moment when I told you I loved you as a best friend!"
"Well, the man I love told me he loved and respected me as a best friend. I hadn't even though you could feel so highly about me!"
"So when you left me at the roof top of Barts the only thing you thought was that you saved me from death and I would soon forget you?!"
"John, the things I did know on that roof top was: 1. You was my only friend that I loved. 2. You would never going to be my partner. 3. You would soon find a wife and leave me anyway. 4. They were going to kill you, AND Greg and Mrs Hudson if I didn't jump. That's the reason why I jumped!
"So all the times I said I'm not gay made you think I wouldn't miss you if you left me?"
"Maybe miss me like you miss a favorite memory or a favorite aunt or uncle that died?" He looks down on his plate.

John can only stare at Sherlock. They had both been so wrong about each other. Just for that they had both suffered dearly and payed a hard price.
"You thought I loved the drama and the cases but not you? You thought that as soon as I found a sensible woman that wanted children I would leave you and the flat?
"Of course you would!" Sherlock says very snappily. He goes on says.
"That was what happened in the end, didn't it? You fell in love and formed a family? We were friends all three of us, but dame it all! It hurts to see you and Mary together!"
"So you decided that you could sacrifice your life for me again. Leave me with my assassin to wife and a little girl? You knew on our last good bye at the tarmac that that´s were our last farewell?! John speaks very calmly before the last two words.
"Yes! What about now?
"Now? Sherlock pause and think for a moment and playing with his napkin.
"Now we must solve our case. Go back to London. Live as good as we can with the people we have chosen to have in our lives. I have had a good start with Greg and if I'm right you are coming out of your most badly grieving period over Mary. That's a good thing!"
"You mean I can feel safe from your unwanted love?"
Sherlock leans back in the chair and take a quick breathe before a cold mask falls over his face.
"Why would you even think I would feel unsafe with you?!"
"I have already told you why!"
"Yes, and I have told you that I haven't felt unsafe with you ever!"
"John, I'm really tired now. Please can we go up to our room for a moment and rest?"
"Okey, but this isn't the last time we speak about this!"
Sherlock only sighs.

They leave the dining room and goes to their room. Sherlock looks at his wristwatch. Its 5 minutes past 7 in the evening. “It´s time for me to go to my mind palace.” He thinks for himself. He drops down on to the couch. John is trying to tell him to come and lay down on the bed with him but Sherlock doesn't hear him or he doesn't let on that he does hear him.
John sighs and goes and lay on the left side of the bed.

Chapter Text

John is laying on the bed and thousand thoughts goes around in his brain.


Mary, Rosie, the case. But he's most worried and terrified over Molly or is it Jamie now? Why'd he not trusted me with the truth about himself? Was he right in his thought that I would have left him?

John’s mind is all thoughts and feelings. One feeling is stronger than any other though; he’s misses Sherlock. A thought he can't stop comes in his mind.


"Why am I lying here with him so near me, missing him?"

He sighs and stands up before he has time to change his mind. He goes over to the couch with Sherlock sitting there and drops down beside him. He doesn't say anything but he lays down and pushes Sherlock nearer the armrest besides him with his head and shoulders. John lays down with his head in Sherlock's lap. He sighs again when he done that but still says nothing.

Sherlock has moved when John pushed him to the side of the couch. After the move he sits paralyzed but keeps his eyes shut and his hands in thinking pose.

After some time John pulls up a hand and take the nearest of Sherlock's hands of his thinking poses. He puts the hand on his head.

Sherlock is at the beginning in full panic. He thinks "What is John doing?” “Why is he doing it?” What should I do?"
When John takes his hand he realizes that John needs someone to ground him by touch. Sherlock thinks about it "He's had a very bad and hard day. So many terrible things told to him in a short period of time. I am self also overwhelmed and I've had nearly a week to accept the information about Molly or Jamie or whatever she calls herself. John hade to take in that Mary and Rosie is alive and that Mary has tricked him again. Maybe our talk under dinner also was hard for him? That's the reason his doing this. Maybe if I pet his head he will feel more secure? Why would he in other place pulled my hand down on his head?"


When Sherlock starts to pet his hair and John presses his head against Sherlock's finger. None of them say a word. Sherlock caresses his hair and pulls John's hair between his fingers carefully. John starts to breathe peacefully and Sherlock is also calming down. He thinks more slowly and starts to make a plan.

"If I'm right about what we will discover today we maybe get to know more about Mary later tonight. I wonder if she knows that Molly is the new Moriarty now. Mary was so afraid on the tarmac. Mycroft told me that. Yes, she has reason to be that terrified because Jamie's obsession isn't something to play with. I wonder what would have happened if Jamie had got to known from the start that Mary had shoots me directly after it happened. What could she have done to Mary? If somebody will kill me it's going to be Jamie herself. But she is holding on to that thought that WE belong together." He silently shakes his head.


Molly! This is so hard. I thought she was becoming my friend. When I understood that she was Jamie-“ “-even in my thoughts I had problems accepting it. It's easier to think of her as Jamie now, he thinks.


“Jamie can't accept that I'm gay. She got all information about what I am and still she won't accept it. I haven't been discreet about my feelings for John after my return! For heaven's sake I gave her a file with all about John. With his face on the picture of the Vitruvian man by Da Vinci, for heaven sake! Because of that John is now in high risk to be killed by her, one way or another.”

He takes a shaky breath and slowly follows the form of John's ear with his ring finger.


They are both quiet and in their own thoughts. After some time John falls to sleep. Sherlock continue to sit with John's head in his lap, thinking.


In all this years I have thought I got out of Jamie's web!

I didn't remember her fully. It's no wonder my mind fabricated Eurus to try to warn me of a woman that I didn't really remembered. That was another can of worms, his coma dream. Sometimes he had been so near the surface to wake up out of the coma. Things happened in that hospital room, visits from different people. Things they told him or John's assault on him. He really didn't want to figure out what was a dream and what was fabrication. But he must do that, the worst thing was to think of what was real?


Mary and Molly were they visiting him?

Mary talking about her and John didn't need Sherlock in their life.

After John's assault Molly had visit him and she told him how much John was grieving his wife and child. That he didn't want anything to do with Sherlock. How John never wanted to see him again. But somehow his mind made up a forgotten, deadly sister instead! In his coma dream Eurus made him tell a woman he didn't love that he loved her! Molly couldn't accept no either? It was clear what Molly wanted from him.


When Sherlock hear a clock in the room beat nine and then after some time half past nine. He lays one hand on John's shoulder and shakes it gently.

He leans over and murmurs in John's ear. “It's time to wake up now if you need something to drink and eat before we go to meet MacDonald and Wilson?"


"Mm Mm, I'm awake." John sits up and stretches after laying in the same position to long time. "I would like some tea. But I need the toilet first.”


"I go after some tea while you're at the toilet." Sherlock leaves the room and find a table in the entrance hall that service tea, coffee and biscuits for the guests to take whenever they want. He turns on the kettle and lay some of the shortbreads and gingerbreads on a plate.


John is standing in front of the toilet mirror locking into his own eyes. For the first time for a long time he sees hope in the eyes. He thinks for himself, Sherlock didn't stop me or got up and left me on the couch. Maybe I can convince him that I'm not afraid of him? I want him to be near me.
He washes his hands and thinks, I'm calm? Yes, I needed this closeness to him.

He returns to the hall way and hear footsteps outside the door.


When he comes back to the room John has heard him on the steps opens the door to help him.
"Ah, good they have biscuits!"
"I thought they looked good." Sherlock takes gingerbread cookie and eats it. "Oh, they are homemade!"
John only smiles at him and drinks his tea.
"I think its best we pulled on some warm clothes before we live." John says.
"Yes, and dark clothes too"
"Do you think MacDonald and Wilson thinks about that to?"
"If they're not idiots! Sherlock snaps. They're after all police officers and now we're supposed to catch a murderer tonight."
John just laughs over what Sherlock is saying.

Chapter Text

Half past 10 that night they stand at the door in the basement. MacDonald stops with a car at the door.

As silent as they can they get into the car. John is first in the back seat and Sherlock fallows after him. Before Sherlock can pull the car door close MacDonald pulls away out on the road.


"You didn't see or hear anyone on your way down to the basement?" Wilson asks.
"No, We didn't see or hear anything,” John answer him.
He murmurs to Sherlock in a low voice. "Dark clothes."
Sherlock's only response is a smile. MacDonald reaches back with a piece of paper in his hand.


"This is my niece's car. You can leave it at this address in London."

He gives John the paper. "Her brother lives there, so you can park the car on the driveway."
"Thanks," says John.
The car they are traveling in is a black Opel.


They park a good way from the Manor House. It's very dark but they try to go with as little light as they can.

Wilson goes first with a small flush light that he holds pointed to the ground. The other three men are following him closely, so they don’t need any more light.


When they come close enough to see the moat Sherlock whispers, "It's best if we spread out around the moat."


He takes his mobile phone out and turns on the torch. With the help of the light, he and John go to the left-hand side of the bridge. Wilson and MacDonald go to the right. After walking for some time, he puts a hand on John's shoulder and stops him.
"Stay here," he whispers to him. "I’ll walk a bit further." John only nods.


A little over an hour later, they hear shouting coming from Wilson and MacDonald. Sherlock and John run to where the other men are.

Wilson is holding Mr Baker and MacDonald is sitting on the back of a man lying on his stomach on the grass.


"John Douglas, I presume?" Sherlock says when they reach MacDonald and the man on the grass.
"WHAT?!” MacDonald can't believe what he hears.
The man glares at Sherlock. "The game is up, John," Mr Baker says to his friend.


They take the two men into the Manor House, to the living room near where the man was killed.


"The man you killed in the next room was one of the assassins from the US?” Sherlock starts the questions.
Mr Douglas looks at the two police officers in the room.


"Yes, they're cleared by Mycroft." Sherlock bring out his phone and opens Mycroft's messages. He gives Mr Douglas the phone.


"You are never to repeat anything you hear in this room. Do you understand?" He looks at the two police men.
The both say, "Yes, Mr Holmes."


"The man's name was Ted Baldwin, an assassin from the US. We both knew him when we worked there. By chance, he saw me in a London restaurant. He followed me, and my security guards saw him. He escaped from them, but they had security photos of him, so I knew who he was. I contacted Mr Baker and he too saw him following him some days later.”


“I wrote in code to you with the information I had when I heard that you were awake and on your way to Baker Street. The driver who drove you home owed me a favour. He put the information in your bag when he helped you. I was rather relieved that Dr Watson couldn't be with you that day and at that car ride home."
Sherlock nods and goes to sit down in an armchair.

John goes after him and sits down in another armchair close by.
"What was your message?" John stares at Mr Douglas. "Had it something to do with Mary?”


"You haven't told him?” Mr Douglas asks Sherlock.


"Some of it, but not about Mary's part in it. Today, I told him that Mary and Rosie aren't dead. Mycroft had found your documents."

"I am sorry Dr Watson, but she is really a b****!"
John looks down on the floor and only nods quietly. He takes a breath and asks, "Rosie, is she safe?"


"Last I heard, she was with David and Mary. David thinks she's his daughter, so he takes good care of her." John keeps on staring on the man and asks with a very controlled voice. "Why'd you not tell Mycroft or me this when the problem with A.G.R.A happened?"


"Sherlock's safety!" He holds John's eyes like he wants him to understand how serious he is. "Moriarty had her agent everywhere even at my department. If I had done anything it would've been Sherlock's death sentence!"


"I couldn't defend myself," Sherlock nods.


"Okay, fine. Good." It's very difficult for John to compose himself.
"John!" Sherlock says and looks at him, worried.


"What were you searching after in the moat?” MacDonald asks, baffled.


"Ted Baldwin's clothes and the bike that he’d borrowed," Sherlock answers calmly.


Suddenly, there are loud noises from the front door. Three men hurry through the door with drawn weapons.


"Cliff, what are you doing here!?" Sherlock take two steps towards a very muscular man.
"Hi Sherl! I'm here to save you and your man's life. We have already taken care of two of Miss M’s agents. Time to go back to London. I heard from Mycroft that your safe house is ready for you."


The other men in the room shift awkwardly, not knowing what to say or do.


When the men entered, John had drawn his weapon ready to shoot.
"He’s good!" Cliff says, looking at John.
"Yes," Sherlock answers abruptly. "Before we go anywhere I must get as much information I can from Mr Douglas and Mr Baker."
"We will be waiting at the door. After this, we’ll take Mr and Mrs Douglas and Mr Baker to a safe house," says Cliff before he and the men leave the room.
"So, what do we need to know?"
"It's best if we sit down," Mr Douglas says.
"Most things you need to know, Mycroft already has in the document I left him. But there is something we needed to tell you too personally."


Mr Douglas and Mr Baker sit down on the sofa. Sherlock and John sit back in the armchairs.


"The first and most important thing is, David Hanson is a double agent. He has been working like that back and forth for over 10 years. He was one of our agents at the start in US, but much deeper. He and Gabriella met and started a relationship. David is a magician with computers. He worked for a computer company but ended up embezzling a lot of money. That was his way in to get a cover for his work. Gabriella discovered it and contacted him. At first, she tried to blackmail him to do things for her but, soon realised that he would do anything for her. Through her we discovered the Moriarty network and the contact with England. Cecil had at that time already gone back to London. That's why we don’t think we can't trust David, A.K.A Mason White. He was the only one who had knowledge of Cecil being an agent."


"And your name as an agent was?” Sherlock looks at Mr Baker.


"Birdy Edwards."


"Cecil Baker is your real name?"


"You didn't meet Gabriella or someone of her people when you were in the US?” Sherlock looks very surprised.


"We can't be sure that Mason hasn't betrayed us. Because of Rosie, and the fact that he clearly loves Gabriella/Mary. We aren't really sure what Gabriella's birth name is,” Mr Douglas interrupts.


"Yes, the only way we could have been sure of her name would have been the flash drives that the A.G.R.A group had. But they are all destroyed," Sherlock says very calmly, not looking at John.


"The flash drive she gave me is in a safe place," John answers him.
"WHAT?" Sherlock and the other two men shout.


"Do you really think I would ruin such important evidence? After all this time as your friend and blogger?"
"John, is it really safe?" Sherlock asks with a trembling voice.


"Yes, absolutely!" He smiles at Sherlock. "When we come to London I will collect it, or Greg can do it."
"Greg?" Sherlock asks with a worried voice.
"Yes." With only a look John has told Sherlock were the flash drive is.


The door of the room flings open and Mrs Douglas rushes in.
"Mary!" Mr Douglas exclaims.
"John, this charade has to end! You don't love me the way you love Cecil. I know you love me to some degree and respect me,” she says as he tries to interject, “but Cecil?! You and he would go to hell and back for each other. Take this chance for both of our sakes. You are already dead in the eyes of the society. The police can guarantee that Cecil and you have your own identities. We can't continue, John. We are both unhappy in this marriage. It’s no crime to love him but I won’t have you dragging me into a relationship that would never work because you really love another person!"


Mary Douglas breathes very hard and looks very determined.
Mr Baker and Mr Douglas looks at each other.
"What do you say?" Mr Baker mumbles.
"Yes, you are right, Mary. I'm dead. I never wanted to hurt you. I thought that I could live with you as my wife and Cecil as only a dear friend." He shakes his head. "Stupid!"


"Yes, you were so jealous when Cecil and I were laughing and playing music together. At the beginning, I didn't understand why you would send him away and only a couple of days later be pining after him."


"Sorry, I really mean it. You were a good wife."


"That's over now. Now I'm a widow and you are 'dead to the world'. We can all three of us start again with our lives. What do you in the police force have to say to that?" She only looks at the two police officers.


MacDonald and Wilson have been standing in the corner. MacDonald steps forward and says, "This isn't a police business any longer but a problem for MI6. The agents are waiting for you to take you to a safe house. If Mrs Douglas is staying here and takes on the role of a widow it will be easier."


John Douglas, Mary Douglas, and Cecil Baker all look at each other in agreement.


"Call for Cliff, Wilson." Sherlock gives the order.
He takes Mrs Douglas’s hand and shakes it.
"I hope you will be happier now."


She smiles a sad smile at him and nods.


Cliff comes and takes Mr Douglas and Mr Baker with him, the other 4 men following them out the Manor.


"Your things are in the trunk of the car." Cliff nods to the black Opel.
"Thank you, Cliff. It's good to see you again." John is taken aback over the smile he gives Cliff. How many men are there in Sherlock's life?
"Yes, next time we must have time to talk too!" He laughs.
"Be careful!"
"You too. Miss M and Gabriella aren't people you can afford to underestimate!" Cliff shakes his head.
"We know," John says calmly, standing on Sherlock's right side.

"Yes, you are right, Dr Watson, you have each other." He looks John deep in his eyes like there's something he wants to say but can't.
"Yes, we have! Come along, John. Time to go!"


He goes to the driver’s seat and John hurries to get in the passenger’s side.
"What do you say we drive to an inn or B&B? Yes, I know! I don't sleep on a case, but the sickness has really done a number on me." Sherlock grumble.
"I'm not surprised. I am a doctor, you know!"
"Hmmm, ok."
"It would be so much quicker and easier to take the train than to drive 65 miles.” John shakes his head. "So” sleep is absolutely the best first before the drive.
"It's little over 69 miles to drive to London." Sherlock frowns.


He starts the car and moves onto the road.
"If you don't want me to drive I can do it.”
"You can sort out where we’ll sleep on the phone." He nods to the new phone laying besides them.
"Oh, a new phone. Then I can call Adam too."
"Maybe call Greg when we know where we sleep. By then we may know roughly what time we’ll be in London tomorrow. What time is it?”
"Ten past one."
"What do you say, John? Would you be afraid to sleep in the same room with a lunatic, a man with a softening of the brain? An idiot whose mind has lost its grip?”
"Not in the least.”
"Ah, that's lucky!”
They don't say anything more. John searches for a room and Sherlock drives the car.

Chapter Text

John starts looking for a place to sleep, but it's hard find a place open in the middle of the night. He thinks that the best thing would be to sleep somewhere, or with someone, they know. He follows the road they are driving along on the map. He reads the names of different villages on the map. Then it hits him – Bill!
Bill Murray lives in one of the small villages named on the map. It's not far from the main road.
He quickly texts him and, to his surprise, he answers!
Bill is on his way home from his work as a bouncer and will be home about an hour later. John calculates that it is going to take them a little over an hour to get to Bill's house.
John gives the code for danger. Bill's only response is, -Get here now-.
John tells Sherlock that they will sleep at Bill’s and the name of the village. He also tells him that Bill knows they’re in danger.
"Good to have friends to call on in this situation. No need to explain why we are coming in the middle of the night."

They have no problem finding Bill's farm house. It's rather secluded and there’s no real light other than the light at the house. Bill stands at the door when they drive up.
"John! It's good to see you!"
"Bill! Sorry that we’re arriving in the middle of the night!"
"No problem, I’ve just got home myself. I'm only letting the dog out."
A very big flat-coated retriever walks up to Sherlock, wagging its tail.
"Who are you then?” Sherlock says, sitting down to give the dog a pet on his back and ears.
"That's Benedict, or Ben when his not in trouble. But sadly, he often is!” says Bill, laughing.
"He’s lovely, is he a puppy? Sherlock asks.
"Yeah, only a lad. A little over 11 months."
"Good boy, go to Daddy!" Sherlock says to Ben.
Sherlock stands and offers Bill his hand to shake.
"Sherlock Holmes, friend of John. Nice to meet you."
"Bill, nice to meet you too. I've been following John and you on your blogs. You’ve both been very quiet this last year."
"Sherlock has been in a coma for over 8 months.," John breaks in on their conversation. "He has only been awake for four weeks so the sooner I get him into bed the better."
"Yes, we can talk tomorrow. Maybe I can help one way or another."
"Thank you, is there any other person that we may disturb by entering the house?” Sherlock asks Bill.
"No, I’ve lived alone since Arthur left."
"Well we have time to talk tomorrow." John interrupts very hastily.
"This way, then." He leads them to a door and says good night, going along to the next door with Ben following him.

John only smiles and opens the door to their room for the night.
The room is clean, but not to the point of being exacting. John opens a door he passes on the way to the bed. He looks in and says, "A toilet with a shower." Sherlock only nods at what he is saying and looks at the double bed although he says nothing.

"Is it okay if I take this side?” John sits down on the left-hand side of the bed. He begins to take out his things for the night.
Sherlock moves to the right-hand side. He takes out his toiletries and goes to the toilet to prepare himself for sleep.
When he leaves the toilet, John replaces him there. John has his sleeping clothes with him. Sherlock swiftly switches his day clothes for pyjamas and lies down.
John comes out and sits down on his side of the bed and says, "Should I set an alarm for 7?”
"Hm, we’re not in a hurry because we can't arrive London before dark. It will take us about one and a half hours to drive there. Should we leave from here at about four in the afternoon? Have you called Adam?”
"I’ll text him tomorrow morning.”
"Yes, that's good. Send the same to Greg."
"No, I have to talk to him tomorrow anyway. Tell him where the flash drive is."
"Did you put it somewhere in his home or workplace? “
"The little green box on the shelf in the corner of his office."
"Oh, you mean the little green box his mother gave him when he got his promotion to sergeant to keep his shield in? That's a good place to put it. He’ll never look in there, but he’ll never throw it away."
“You told me that once on a case, remember? You said it was a safe place for a little object!"
"You mean the emerald stone in the sister’s bookshelf? I figured that out when I asked Greg why he had that horribly green box on his shelf."
"Yes, she didn't know her sister had put it there."
"A good case to say it was only a theft."
"What about 7:30 as wake up time?”
"Yes, that's good."
"Good night, John"
"Good night.
John is lying down on his back, as he usually sleeps, and Sherlock turns his back to John. John doesn't think he knows that he’s sighing in relief when he lies down. He smiles to himself in the dark and thinks, ‘He is really tired, and no wonder after 8 months in a coma and the stress of the last few days. But we’re both safe for now’
They both fall quickly to sleep.

Sherlock wakes before the alarm in the morning. He lays with his head on John's chest and one leg over the nearest of John's legs. His arm is flung across John’s middle. "Oh, this isn't good,” he thinks, “but luckily he’s still asleep."
His heart is hammering hard as he very carefully removes his head and leg and moves out of the bed. John rolls onto his side after him in his sleep and curls up where Sherlock has slept. John sighs in his sleep. Sherlock takes his clothes from the chair he left them in and goes quickly to the toilet.

When Sherlock is done in the toilet, he sees that John is still sleeping. He goes out into the hallway and is met by Ben.
"Where's Daddy?” he asks the dog.
Ben quickly moves down the hallway and into a room. Sherlock goes after him and finds himself in a large, rustic kitchen. The autumn sun is shining through the windows. Bill is sitting at the table, drinking coffee, and reading a newspaper. Sherlock looks him over for the first time and observes that he’s some years younger than John. Brown hair and eyes, a little taller than John. Muscular, used to working with his body. He looks at the man's hands and sees that he may have done some carpentry the days before. Strong hands. A shiver goes through his body. What's that?! His sex drive has gone totally overboard recently! Stop this! He’s John's friend!

Bill looks up when he senses Sherlock’s eyes on him.
"Good morning. Do you want some coffee?”
"Yes please."
Bill pours him a cup of coffee and gives it to him. Sherlock sits down opposite Bill at the table.
"Did you sleep well?” Bill asks.
"Yes, I was rather tired."
"I can understand that. It takes time to recover from what you’ve been through. I’ve often wondered what happened with John over the past year. I have sent texts, emails, and been on his blog but got no response.”
"He has had a very bad year. I think it's best if he tells you everything himself. Please, don't be too hard on him."
"Yes, I saw the obituary for Mary and Rosie."
"There’s more to it than that. It's better to wait until John is awake." He quickly changes what they are talking about and asks, "Who's Arthur?”
"My ex."
"But I thought, well John told me, that you were married to a woman."
"I was, for two years. We married in January 2011 and divorced in February 2013. A year later, I met Arthur. I thought that maybe it was because of that that John didn't answer me all year.”
"I don't think that's the problem. He has accepted that I'm gay. The last year has just been very hard on him."
"You mean with your sickness and the accident with Mary and Rosie? I know he took your fall very hard, mate."
"Yes, I know. So, you are bi or gay?
"Bi, I think."
Sherlock nods and pets Ben's head.
They hear footsteps approaching the kitchen.
"Morning! Why didn't you wake me?!” John says with annoyed voice as he enters, slapping Sherlock's left arm as he goes.
"Oh boy, someone got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning!” Bill laughs.
John glares at him and sits down beside Sherlock, pouring himself a cup of coffee.
"What do you guys want for breakfast?" Bill asks.
They discuss what's on offer and decide on eggs, bacon, and toast. Sherlock stands up and helps Bill with the cooking of the breakfast.
John keeps drinking his coffee but says nothing.

After breakfast and a walk with Ben, they are back in the cosy kitchen. Bill makes a pot with tea. After he sits down at the table. John and Sherlock are already in the chairs they were in that morning.
"You're in danger?"
"Yes, sorry to bring this to your doorstep," John says quietly.
"John, I think it's best you tell your friend the whole story. Both my and your history. We have time and I think Bill can really help us." Sherlock looks at John with worried eyes.
"You mean everything? Molly, Mary, Rosie, Greg-" he takes a deep breath and says with barely a whisper “-You!"
"Tell the whole story, John!” He holds John's gaze for a moment. Then John takes a deep breath and stars speaking.
"I was taking a walk in the park and met Mike Stamford…”

Chapter Text

Bill is reeling in shock over what he’s just been told. He stares straight ahead, trying to comprehend.


"Your wife was a double agent? Both for the government and a criminal network?”


"Yes," John nods. Bill looks at Sherlock like he can’t quite believe that this is real.


"And you’ve had a stalker since you were a child, who’s still stalking you now?”


"Yes." It's Sherlock's turn to nod his head.


"Then, you're gay but didn't tell John this until a week ago as you started a relationship with one of your friends, Greg?"


John grimaces at that but Sherlock answers calmly.


"Yesterday, you found out that two assassins were following you to Birlstone but agents from MI6 interrupted them and killed them.”
Both John and Sherlock say, "Yes".


"Okay, so what can I do to help?


"I thought about that while we were walking Ben. Most people are searching for 2 men. One tall and one short – don't look at me like that, John!”


John lifts his eyebrows and gives Sherlock a comical look.
Sherlock gives him a warning, ‘not this again!’ glance.


"What they aren't searching for are three men with a dog. I also think you could be helpful when we take down M and Gabriella. What do you think, John?”


"Absolutely, Bill is good. Ex-military, trained in combat, and a medic."
"Naturally, we will pay you for your time." Sherlock nods his head.


"No, you won't!” Bill hold ups his hands. "You are my friend, John. How many times did you save me in Afghanistan? Sherlock, this is something I must do as repayment for all things John has done for me."


Sherlock breathes a sigh of relief. Not for the money, that's not the important thing, but for John knowing Bill is a real friend. John beams.


"Thanks, but you saved my life! You have nothing to pay me back for, Bill."


"What if I was in your situation and asked you to help me? What would you say and do?”


"Of course, I would help you. Okay, I understand what you're saying. Let’s do this."


"Oh, I thought of something. What if we all dress in military clothes? John and I are the same size and I can ask Arthur if we can borrow his clothes. He’s the same size as you Sherlock."
Sherlock is speechless. John looks at him and smiles knowingly.


"Yes, call him. It would be nice to see him after such a long time. It must be at least 6 years since the last time we saw each other."


"I go and call him now," Bill says and goes into the next room, leaving Sherlock and John alone for some time.


"You and Bill served with Arthur?" Sherlock look intensively into John's eyes. John looks down at his hands where they’re playing with each other in his lap.


"He came in hurt to our camp. A bullet in his right leg. I patched him up and Bill nursed him back to health. He was an officer, a Captain." He is quite for some time still nervously pulling his finger. "He was friends with Major Sholto. After Arthur felt better, all four of us would play cards."
"But there was something between Arthur and Bill?"
"No, I don't think so at that time and in that place. They liked each other, but Captain Morstan was an officer!"
"Yes, what do you think of that? Coincidence?
"I don't know what to think."


About 30 minutes later, Bill comes back into the kitchen with a look of surprise on his face.


"Arthur will come as soon as he has packed the things he needs."
Sherlock looks at him calmly and says, "Something he said has made you upset.”


"Gabriella's new identity was Mary? She stole the identity of his sister, who died. She was 2 years younger than him."


"So, this'll be personal for him too. To take down the women that violated his family name.”

John is walking around in the kitchen, his left hand clenching and unclenching. Without thinking, Sherlock goes to him and hugs him. He holds John's head against his chest and rests his head on John's head.


"It's okay,” he says, “we’ll do this together. He knows it's not your fault. This is all on Gabriella."


"Do you really believe he won't think that I didn't know?”


"John, he's not blaming you!” Bill says with an upset voice. "How can you think he would do that?”


"When things go wrong it's always my fault!"

"No, John. That's your father's voice." Sherlock holds him closer against his body. "You know it's him in your head. He never took responsibility for his own actions but blamed a child."


"You yourself said that I did know that she was dangerous when I met her! That it’s what I like! Remember?”


"That's was for Gabriella’s sake! She had a weapon and she’s an assassin!"


"You mean you didn't mean that I did know that when I met her?”


"You didn't know." Sherlock looks John deep in the eyes, willing him to believe it.


"If I didn't see that when I first met her, how would you have seen it?” Sherlock shakes him a little.
"Okay," John murmurs.
"Okay, no more blaming yourself," Bill says as he lays one arm around John and one around Sherlock hugging them both.

Arthur Morstan comes over an hour later. Sherlock can't stop staring, he looks like the actor in the movie Alfie. He had been on a case and had to follow a suspect in to a cinema. The male lead had made him see the whole film and he’d nearly missed when the suspect left. After the case was closed, he had gone back and seen the film again.


He’s glad that the other three men haven't noticed his staring at Arthur.
John, Bill, and Arthur have been greeting each other. Arthur is rather stiff when he greets John.


"Where's Sherlock Holmes then?”
"Mr Morstan? Nice to meet you."
"Arthur, please. Can I call you Sherlock?”
"Of course, we are thankful for your help."
"Bill has told you that I have an interest in Gabriella getting caught?”


"Yes, I'm so sorry for that."

Arthur frowns but nods his head.
"I think it's best to get started. I’ve spoken with James and we have contacted our men from the military. 24 of them say they will meet us at the bar at 8:00 tonight. They will sleep at a hotel on the next street. Sorry for the cost for the rooms."


"No problem. Good thinking. We can easily melt into the group without drawing attention to ourselves. John, call Adam and tell him about the group coming. I will call Greg."


John goes to call Adam while the other men go through the clothes that Arthur has with him. Soon, Sherlock starts to try on clothes to see what suits him.

When John returns to the group he can only stare at Sherlock, slack-jawed. Before him stands a Captain! He looks so good.
"Your turn, John."

Chapter Text

John and Sherlock are sitting in the back seat of the car. Arthur is driving with Bill in the passenger seat. Sherlock is rapidly texting Mycroft and Greg, a plan to bring down M and Gabriella starting to form between them. Help from John's former military comrades is crucial. John knows that Sherlock wants him to be involved in the planning, but his thoughts are in another place. He can't stop thinking about what Arthur told him when the two of them packed the car, while Sherlock and Bill were walking Ben.

"So, is Sherlock having problems with PTSD after the torture he’s been through? And when did that happen? When he was taking down Moriarty's network?"
"What are you taking about?" Arthur shakes his head and looks at John disbelievingly.
"You haven't seen his back? You haven't seen him struggling with sleep, mood swings or depression? Where have you been? I’ve known the man for a couple of hours and I’ve seen and heard all three!”
"You say he’s been tortured, how do you know that?
"His back! Has he never shown you his back since he came home?”
"No, how do you know what his back looks like?”
"I went in to see how he was getting on with the clothes because it took some time. He was standing in front of the mirror with the shirt in his hands, just looking right through it. It took him some time for him to even register that I was in the room. He whirled around and looked at me, spooked. He backed nearly into the mirror before he started to speak at lightning speed. When I entered the room, I saw the scars all over his back. You are a doctor and is his friend, you tell me when you’ve seen it."
They are interrupted by the other two men’s return with Ben.
"Are we ready to go guys?" Bill shouts to them from a distance. Ben is dancing around his and Sherlock's legs.
"Yes, we are ready," Arthur answer them. Sherlock looks sharply at John but says nothing to him.

John can't sit still. His left leg is jumping up and down, he’s pulling on his fingers, and occasionally he’s shaking one hand in the air beside him. His mind is all over the place. Sherlock sees but doesn't say anything. He assumes that Arthur has told John about his back and how he had spaced out in front of the mirror. Something about the thought of him in military clothes pushed him to think about the men who abused him when he was away – stupid, he knows they don't have the luxury to talk about this now. John is good at letting things pass that he doesn't want to know. Best not to rock the boat, he thinks. He sighs and starts texting Mycroft instead.
John's thoughts are tormenting him and refuse to settle down.

"Why oh why hasn't he told me this! Why haven't I seen anything! I'm a doctor and his best friend, not some idiot off the street!
“So that's why he didn't want to go on a mission again. He wasn't afraid of being killed, he was afraid of being tortured. To not be able to defend himself. He choice was to kill himself on the plane rather than face his death mission. And the only thing I did when he came back after the fall was to hurt him several times in one night! He might not have even been healthy at that time, and he never protested or said anything about his back.”
He didn't tell him that the mission was a one-way ticket to the grave.
He left him because he thought John loved Mary and that he’d never choose him because he was so STRAIGHT!
He shakes his head and clenches left hand. He looks at Sherlock with tears in his eyes. One tear runs down his right cheek. He swiftly strokes it away.

"Can we stop?” Sherlock says. "I need to use the toilet, sorry guys."
"There's a petrol station 6 minutes away," Arthur says, looking in the back mirror of the car. He sees the panic on Sherlock's face and John's tearing eyes.
"We can get some coffee, Bill," he calmly says to his friend. Bill only nods.

The car hasn't stopped fully before Sherlock leaps out. John goes after him, but Arthur throw out a hand and stops him.
"Let him go. He’s terrified. He knows I told you about his back and that he spaced out." He says with a low voice to John.
"I know, but if I don't say anything now it will make what we are about to do with M and Gabriella much harder and possibly more dangerous. I know what I have to tell him, that I love him."
"You're sure on that?”
"There’s nothing in my life that I've been surer about."
"Okay, we're going to get coffee." Arthur nods to John and takes Bill's hand, going into the station.

John goes after Sherlock, through the doors into the men's toilet. He stands in the hallway, waiting. After some time, the door opens, and Sherlock appears.
"We should talk, and I won't take a no for an answer. Let go out through the back door." John is in his Captain mood. Sherlock realises that he can't resist and obeys the order.
The go out to find a green with tables and chairs.
John goes to one of the chairs and pulls it out, gesturing to Sherlock to sit down. Sherlock sits down slowly. John kneels before him and takes off his wedding ring. He looks Sherlock straight in the eye. He holds up the ring before him and starts to speak.
"This ring is now yours to do whatever you want with. Burn it, flush it down a river, sell it. The only thing I want you to know is that I will always choose you before Mary, Gabriella, or any other women. I have known for a long time now that I can't live without you, I love you." He takes Sherlock's left hand and lays the ring in the palm of his hand. He closes Sherlock's hand over the ring.
He takes a deep breath and holds up his right hand before Sherlock's mouth to stop him from speaking.
"I have something that I must get right in my mind before I can ask you for a chance to be your partner in life. That has nothing to do with you or my feelings for you but my own baggage. One thing you must know is that I have been with men before, but never with someone I love – I’ve been too scared for that. Yes, I was trying to pull you that first time when I asked you if you had a boyfriend so many years ago. You read me so right that I was frightened, but at the same time I found myself so turned on by you. You have, all this time, read me so right and done the right thing to not push me into doing something that would have broken us. Please, accept my apology!"

Sherlock is staring at him and after some time he starts to blink. He is trying to say something but can't. John is waiting on his knees in front of him.
After some time, Sherlock murmurs, "you can't stand on your knees any longer, please sit down, John"
John does as he says and pulls a chair up so he can sit in front of him.
"You know that you're bisexual and that you love me?”
"Your family, specially your father, made you scared to be open about it?”
"Not only my family. When Harry come out for about 30 years ago, the whole family were ridiculed by our neighbours and people in the church my family went to. My parents took it hard and Harry started to drink heavily as a teenager. My father told me to keep an eye on her and when he heard she had a girlfriend both she and I paid for it."
"I have deduced that you were beaten by your father. He also blamed you when your sister ‘did the wrong thing’.
"John, your parents are no longer alive. You're not in a church community any longer and at Baker Street some of your neighbours are gay or bisexual. Even some of your friends are gay or bisexual, nobody cares!”
"You're right, but it's hard to change your thought processes after a lifetime! Feelings are feelings Sherlock, sometimes you can't resist them, even if you want to!”
"Okay, but just so everything's clear: you love me, and I love you?”
"I must speak with Greg. He is my boyfriend, you know."
John looks down at his hands. They’re resting still in his lap for the first time.
"I'm not trying to break you up. I only trying to explain myself, very poorly I suppose. I'm also sad that you’ve been so hurt by me. I beg you to forgive me, please Sherlock."
"If you’ll forgive me for hurting you by leaving you?” Sherlock’s voice is small and hopeful.
"Yes, I forgive you for the fall and your overdose on the plane and the coma. I understand why now. Understanding is forgiving, don't you think?”

Chapter Text

The rest of the journey was rather uneventful. Arthur and Bill give Sherlock and John a look when they return but say nothing. Both men register that John's wedding ring isn’t on his finger anymore.

"Time to go!” Bill says and starts the motor of the car.


Sherlock and John are sitting in the back seat, each lost in their own mind. Sherlock can't really process what John just did. Did he really mean that he loves him? Romantically? Is it real or did he just misunderstand John? He knows that John has been interested in him physically since the start although he struggled against it. He understands how hard it can be to accept that you are gay or bisexual. Especially if you have a chance to try to be heterosexual and deny your feelings for people of your own sex. Everything about John's reactions when challenged about his relationship with Sherlock has told him that, repeatedly. Not only about his feelings on sex with a man but even more so his feelings about romance and love.

Sherlock puts his left hand in his trouser pocket and feels the ring in his hand. He wonders what he’ll do with it.


John is feeling calm for the first time in… decades. He loves me! He must have been so afraid that I would leave him for a woman when we lived together before the fall. No wonder he jumped from the roof. Especially if that jump would save me, Greg, and Mrs Hudson. I must ask Adam how to take the leap into a relationship with Sherlock.


John glances at Sherlock and wonders, will he choose me or Greg? Butterflies start to fly in his stomach and he nervously twitches his hands. Maybe Greg is more important to him now. John laments, wondering why he had waited so long to make the right decision. He takes a big gulp of air and shakes his head. No, this isn't something he could have done any other way. Sherlock and Greg's date pushed him into thinking about what he had to lose and the feelings he had for Sherlock. The discussion with Peter and Adam. His discussion with Adam and his thoughts about everything.


When they arrive at the address MacDonald gave them, they leave the car to see a bus full of military men in and on the road around it.

"Hey, there's Cliff! John says with astonished voice.

"Yes, and Major Sholto." Bill’s looking at the two men at the door to the bus.


Sherlock, John, and Arthur go to say hi to Cliff and James while Bill parks the car.

"Hi, so you and Ollie have joined us in this mission?” Sherlock offers his hand to Cliff in greeting. After that, he greets a tall, red-haired young man in his thirties and Major Sholto.

"Of course, wouldn't miss this chance to take down M. We have both paid the price because of her," Ollie answers with a very raspy voice. It's like he’s smoked 20 cigarettes in a row.

"I know Ollie, we need your expertise on this. Cliff and Ollie helped me on some of my missions when I was in Russia, John."


All the men greet each other.

"You were working together for some time then?” John asks Cliff. He doesn't know how he feels seeing the man so soon again. He has a feeling that Cliff doesn't like him that much. John also doesn't like the way he looks at Sherlock, a tender glint in his eyes.

Ollie hasn't registered the tension in the air, so he answers John's question.

"We worked together for about 8 weeks the first time then after that a week, here and there. The last mission was the hardest."

"Well, I think we’d better get going to the pub. A dinner with the platoon has been organised by Mycroft for when we arrive. After that, we can coordinate what must be done in the upcoming days," Sherlock hastily interrupts. Major Sholto tries to hide a smile.


Sherlock follows John onto the bus, Major Sholto just behind them. Sholto murmurs so only Sherlock can hear him "John really doesn’t like the other men looking at you. He has always been a jealous guy, but this is the most that I’ve seen him show openly before."

Sherlock turns around and say with a quiet voice. "Perhaps he's jealous about you.”

"No, I knew at his wedding that that boat had sailed a long time ago. You're his man."

"What are you two whispering about?” John asks with an irritated voice.

"Oh nothing, only that's it's lovely out tonight…” Sherlock smiles at John.

"Naturally, you two are talking about the weather!”

John plonks down onto a seat with Ollie beside him. Sholto and Sherlock sit down on the other two seats beside him, at the other end of the walkway.

Loudly, Sholto says to Sherlock, "I heard from Bill that congratulations are in order now that you and Detective Inspector Lestrade are a couple!”

Sherlock nods his head. "Yes, but we only went on one date before all this started."

"Oh, that's bad timing. Just at the start of the honeymoon period. Well, we're all going to do everything we can to get you guys back there again."

John glares at Sholto.


Because of what James Sholto is saying and the effect that’s having on John, Sherlock hasn't realised how soon they’ll be at the pub to meet John's new woman.


The bus stops at the door to the pub. Adam and Peter are standing and greeting all the new guests. Three long tables are ready for them in a nearby room.

"John good to see you! Oh, a dog. He will need to come into our apartment."

"Yes Peter, the dog’s name is Ben and his owner is my good friend Bill Murray. Bill, if you go around the corner there's a door to the apartment."

"I go and let them in, see you later John." Peter shakes John's hand before leaving to let Ben and Bill in.

"Good that the trip here went well," Adam says, shaking John's hand.

"You must be Sherlock, both Greg and John have talked so much about you. Greg really missed you while you were away.”

"Yes, John told me you had a fling with him.” Sherlock wiggles his right eyebrow and gives him a little smile.

"I won't lose sleep over that! He made me realise how much Peter means to me – and now I have a fiancé.”

"Glad to hear it. So, you and Peter are owners of this pub with your sister?”

"No? It's only me and Peter."

"Oh! What about the bartender that he pulled the first time he came? He said he slept here.”

"That was Peter. John slept on our couch in the living room."

"I must have misunderstood him, sorry."

"It's okay. It's easy to misunderstand each other."


John had gone in to the room where they would all eat the dinner. Mycroft and Greg are stood at the door greeting everybody one at a time.

"I never would have thought I’d see you speak to so many soldiers, Mycroft," John says when Mycroft turns to him.

"Under the circumstances, it has to be done!” Mycroft has very pink cheeks and John begins to suspect that it's not only Sherlock who has a military kink.

"Yes, I think they can really help. 27 soldiers, 2 agents, 2 policemen and you, me, and Sherlock!

"Never underestimate M, John. That has been many people’s downfall! She has gone under the radar for many years."

"Yes, I realized that. Sherlock is rather upset over that."

"Sentiment, he's always been under the influence of that."

"Mycroft, you will never get me to think that's a bad thing," says John, shaking his head.

"Yes, you two are into that, friends…"

"Friends are a good thing, Mycroft. Even you must feel lonely sometimes," Greg says in a low voice.

"Sweetheart! There you are. I missed you these past few days."

Greg hugs and kisses Sherlock.

"You okay in all this? Will we be sleeping at the hotel tonight?"

"No. Us, Mycroft, and John will be sleeping here. It's safer. We're many that can handle guns and have our weapons with us."

"Do you have a weapon for me?"

"Yes, Sherlock," Mycroft answers in a low voice.

"Good! Shall we eat?”

All three men look in surprise at Sherlock.

"What! I promised to eat three times a day!” He huffs and goes and sits down beside Cliff at the nearest table.

Greg goes after him and takes with him a chair that has been standing by the wall.

He sits down beside Sherlock, who smiles at him and lets a hand move onto his nearest knee under the table. As John sees the movement, jealousy rises inside him. Mycroft sits down beside Greg on the other side of the table with Ollie in the next chair.


Adam comes in to the room and starts to speak loudly.

"Welcome everyone! I hope you will have a good meal and reconnect with your former friends. My name is Adam Hathaway, and this is Peter King, the co-owner of this pub. Not forgetting he’s also my fiancé, so hands off him guys!”

Everyone in the room laughs and someone stages whispers, "you're not married jet!"

"Oi, I have my eyes on you, cheeky bastard!” He resumes his speech again. “We’ll be feeding you Shepherd’s pie, salad, and beer! Keep it in moderation with the beer because after the dinner I will leave de word to the Holmes brothers, Captain Watson, and DI Lestrade. The table with the food is there." He points at a long table at the entrance door.

Peter says, "We’ll start with the nearest table first. Take it easy – we have food for everyone, Bon appetite, gentlemen!”


Because Sherlock is at the first table, he is first on his feet and at the food table. John can't stop smiling and goes to the second table where Arthur, Bill, and James are sitting. He takes a chair with him like Greg did and sits on the end. There he has a good eye on Sherlock at the next table. He doesn't understand why that’s so important but does it anyway. James leans towards him and whispers, "he's not going anywhere."


Sherlock has filled his plate and is on his way to his place at the table.

He catches John's gaze and mimes to him, "Look, I'm eating!"

John smiles back and nods his head. For a very short moment, he feels a happiness and contentment he’s seldom felt in his life.

Chapter Text

After dinner, and after some of the men have gone out for a smoke, Sherlock asks John to start speaking to his friends.

"Sorry to interrupt the reunion, guys!” John calls. Immediately, everyone in the room quiets down and begins to listen.

"You’ve all heard of Moriarty and how Sherlock Holmes took down his criminal network. The current situation is that we have learned that a significant part of the network still exists under a new M. I think Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes should explain from here. Sherlock, would you start?”

"Thank you, John. Firstly, we want to thank you all for you helping us. When Bill told us how many of you wanted to help John and I were very happy and relieved. I also want to thank Cliff and Ollie, the agents who helped me take down Moriarty's net before, when I was 'dead,' and have now joined us to help take down the rest. Everything that's said in this room is confidential. Some of the things must never be repeated for the sake of national security."

He looks out at the room to see many of the occupants nod their heads.

"I will start by telling you how I met the person who’s now the head of the organization and today's Moriarty. After that, John will tell you how he met M's top agent. Finally, my brother and our good friend DI Greg Lestrade will go into how we intend to do this mission, which may be a bit mission: impossible.”


It takes a considerable amount of time for Sherlock and John to tell their stories. It's clear that the soldiers become more and more serious as they listen. After Sherlock stops speaking, Ollie raises his hand.

"Yes, Ollie?”

"I take the new M very seriously because my voice is what it is now thanks to her. She kidnapped me and tried to strangle me. I'm only here now because at the last second Cliff came, and she had to fly to avoid getting caught."

"She was in the military as Jamie Moriarty and is trained in combat. She met her second in command while she was stationed in Iraq. My brother knows more about that though. Mycroft?”

" Gabriella Ashwood is Sabrina Rosamund Moran, according to the DNA. I’ve known her from the start as former CIA operative Gabriella Ashwood, but we have now discovered that she had a former career in the Australian military. She has dual Australian and British citizenship –her mother, Mary Ash, was British and her father, Captain Arthur Moran, was in the Australian army. Sabrina Moran was recruited to the army in her late teens and was deployed at the invasion of Iraq in 2003. She was a good sniper and she quickly got promoted from Captain to Colonel. In 2005, just after her promotion, she got a dishonourable discharge from the Australian army. We don't know why because the Australian Army consider it highly classified. After that, she changed her name and went to the US, getting engaged in the CIA. Very quickly, she realised that there was nothing for her there – or possibly she was planted as an agent by Moriarty from the start and played both sides.”

John has been standing beside Sherlock and Mycroft while the latter talks. He’s stood with a lowered head in a classic military stance, hands behind his back. Sherlock is standing slightly behind him and notices that his hands have gone white. Sherlock lays a hand on John's clenched fists.

"You didn't know and neither did I," he murmurs gently and lets a finger massage over John's knuckle.

John looks up on him with sad eyes and shakes his head.

"Are you saying it doesn't matter now whether I’d known or not?”

"Of course, the only thing that matters now is what we do about it!"

"I think we need to take a break for everyone's sake,” Greg interrupts.

"We have coffee and tea ready.” Adam, who has been sitting with Peter at the first table, answers Greg through the uneasy silence.

"Thank you, Adam! We take a half hour break for some refreshments and maybe-not-so-fresh air for the smokers.”

Some of the men laugh at that and two men disappear suspiciously quickly out of the door.

"They really needed a smoke!” Greg says, looking after them longingly.

"No, neither of you will smoke.” John looks sternly at Sherlock and Greg.

"Yes, dad!” Mycroft butts in. After an uncomfortable pause, he starts to go through the coming days’ work. "Greg and I have gone through the information that agent Porlock left us. Agent David Hanson, or Manson White, had contacted him with DNA samples from Rosie. His DNA profile is already registered with his employer, but he sent a sample of his hair too. He wants to know for sure if Rosie is his or John's daughter.”


John stands and goes to beverage table and begins fiddling with a new cup of tea. Nobody goes after him because his back is saying, ‘LEAVE ME ALONE!’

Mycroft continues to talk as if nothing has happened.

"He has also told us that Baker Street is bugged, and it’s monitored 24/7 from the street door to the living room. Word is that Jamie Moriarty was very upset over what she’d heard and seen on her stakeout over the last few days. We know that she heard and seen Sherlock's coming out and the start of his relationship with DI Lestrade."


‘Why is he saying DI Lestrade and not Greg?’ John wonders, turning around. ‘Oh, he wants to distance himself from their relationship. He loves Greg!’ That must be hard, to see baby brother with the man you love. John feels sympathy for Mycroft. Wait, M saw something upsetting after Sherlock and Greg's date! What did they do in the living room? They did sleep together that night! John sharply turns around again and grips the table so he doesn't fall. He breathes hard and a can’t quite stop a quivering sound from emerging.


Sherlock half stands up, but Greg puts a hand on his arm and shakes his head. James Sholto stands up, goes quickly up to John, and murmurs in his ear, "Shall we take a breath of air? We can go out the back and take Ben with us if you keep your cap down.”

John only nods to him and goes swiftly out the door. Adam goes before him and locks up the door to the apartment. Ben bounds up to meet them from the kitchen. His becomes even more excited when Adam gives James his lead.


When the three of them come out in the alley, John just stands and breathes for a moment. Ben finds a wall that smells interesting and does his business against it. James only looks at Ben and says nothing.


"Have I lost him forever now?”

"I don't know. Do you want Sherlock to be your partner?”

"Yes," John sighs deeply. "I have been too scared for too long a time. Lying to myself and everyone else. It's only in the last few days that I have accepted that I love him and want to live a life with him."

"The only advice I can give you is, be honest!"

"On the way here, I told Sherlock I love him and that I'm bisexual. James, I’ve only loved two men in my entire life. You and Sherlock."

"Thank you," James says very quietly. "We weren't in a situation that we could let the feelings loose. But I did know that you loved me as much as I loved you. At your wedding, I understood that you loved someone else more, but it wasn't your wife!"

"Did both you and Sherlock realise that at your door when you wouldn't open it?”



They both look into each other’s eyes and know that everything is alright between them.

"Time to go back. They must wonder where we are.” John starts to move towards the door.

"Wait, one more thing.” John stops and turns. “What will you do if Rosie isn't your daughter?” James asks him. John meets his eyes, a haunted look appearing.

"I don't know."

Chapter Text

The rest of the evening is spent on working out a surveillance plan for the following day. They plan to concentrate their efforts on the roads near Baker Street and the house opposite the flat which Jamie had been in according to David.

John knows that Mike Stamford is now working at the Royal Free Hospital’s laboratory, famous for their research on Leukaemia and Diabetes. When John contacted him to ask if he and Sherlock could use his laboratory for a paternity test, Mike was really upset for his friend’s sake.

"I never trusted her. That was the reason my wife and I didn't come to your wedding"

"Yes, I remember that you refused to tell me why you couldn't come." It's something John’s thought a lot about. "You kept asking me about Sherlock instead," John says, and hears Mike exhale before he answers him.

"We’d have gladly come if it had been him you married."

"Mike, we were never together!"

"Sorry, but that's a load of bollocks!”

John ends the call quickly. He thinks about Mycroft’s reaction earlier and his discussion with James and Mike.

"Okay, it's time!” a voice calls.

He goes into the room where Sherlock, Mycroft and Greg are. He tells them that Mike is letting them borrow his laboratory from 7 am. John eyes Mycroft and he says in his most Captain voice, "Time to be honest, Mycroft."

He isn't speaking loudly but his voice carries a certain authority.

"What do you mean by that?" Mycroft asks, surprised.

"Before Sherlock and I went to Birlstone, you told me to tell Sherlock that I'm bisexual and in love with him, and I’ve done that. Now it's time for you to stop being a coward and tell Greg how you feel for him! As I said, time to be honest! Come on Sherlock, let’s let them talk.”

He leaves the room and Sherlock follows him quietly to the bar.

"What’s your poison?” the bartender, not one of the owners for once, asks.

"Sherlock, what do you want?"


John holds up two fingers and they get one each. He turns to Sherlock and says, "are you upset over what I said just now?

"No, you’re right. They must talk and determine what they feel for each other too."

John take a swig of his whiskey before saying, "I love you. Tonight, I’ve talked to James and Mike Stamford and I’ve realised that I don't want to be without you.” He looks Sherlock steadily in his eyes and asks, "Do you want to be my partner?”

Sherlock exhales and says, "I promised Greg that I would end our relationship before starting a new one and I will honour that promise."

"Okay." John looks into Sherlock's eyes and sees untold love and caring.


After some time, Greg and Mycroft join them at the bar.

"Can we all go into Adam and Peter's living room please?”

"I think Peter’s in the apartment with James," Sherlock answers Greg.

John wonders how he knows that, but then shakes his head. It’s Sherlock. When the four men come into the living room, James and Peter are sitting at each corner of the couch talking.

"Are you ready to see where you will sleep tonight?” Peter asks them.

"Sorry, I think we have something to say to each other first," Mycroft replies.

"Okay, that sounds serious. Would you prefer it if James and I left you then?”

"Thank you. That’s very kind of you." It's obvious that Mycroft wants them to leave. Sherlock snorts at that.

When James passes John, he grips his shoulder for a second.

Sherlock’s eyes zoom in on James’s hand. John looks up at Sherlock and smiles. 'For once it's not me that's being jealous,' he thinks.

They close the door after them.


"So, what have you two been talking about then?” Sherlock asks Greg and Mycroft. Mycroft pouts and answers him.

"I have realised that I want a special 'goldfish' in my life and that he’s maybe more intelligent than I thought. I have told him that I was scared and afraid to be hurt again."

"Albin really did a number on you. But Greg isn't Albin! They aren't anything like each other in character!” Sherlock assures his brother.

"And John isn't Sebastian in any way.”

"Sorry, guys but we're both here and can hear you!” Greg interrupts the brothers.

"I think they need this, Greg," John says quietly.

"Well, I'm more interested in this Albin guy. Who is he?”

"Mycroft's first lover when he was new in the government and here in London. He was a spy."

"Sherlock! Stop talking now!" Mycroft looks very angry and hurt.

"Sorry, Mycroft." Sherlock take some steps forward to his brother and says with a calmer voice. "It's better you tell him than if he hears it from others."

Mycroft looks down on his feet and sighs. "I don't want to talk about it. Every time I think about him it hurts."

"I'm so sorry, Mycroft. But if you want a chance with Greg it’s the only way. Greg is honest, and he can keep a secret or two!"

Mycroft barks out a laugh. He looks behind Sherlock and sees Greg standing there with a worried look on his face.

"It has always been John for you?" It’s part question and part affirmation.

Sherlock turns to Greg. "Nothing has happened between us. John has told me how he feels and given me 'Mary's' wedding ring as a promise to always be there for me."

Greg looks at John who squirms under his gaze.

"Oh!" Greg's eyes are boring into John. "I hope you will give him his own ring at some point.” I won't be in your way because I really love Mycroft and I think we are a better match together. But, if you ever hurt him again, heaven help you!”

"I know!”


After some more discussion between the two new couples, John starts to yawn.

"I think it's best to get the arrangements about tonight's bed situation in order," Mycroft says, rather bemused.

"I can go and get Peter," John volunteers.

When Peter and James come back into the living room, James is the first one to speak.

"Everyone else has gone to the hotel and they will be back at 8 o'clock tomorrow. Ben is sleeping in the kitchen and will stay here. Here is your promised weapon, Sherlock."

"Thank you. Where will the four of us sleep?” Sherlock asks, looking to Peter.

"Two of you will sleep in this room. That's a sofa bed. The next door is a spare bedroom."

"We can take this room, Myc." Greg goes to the couch and starts opening it up. Peter turns a look of surprise first on him and then on Mycroft.

"Oh! Yes, if you want that." Mycroft goes after Greg and starts helping.

Peter and James turn to John and Sherlock. James isn't especially surprised after the discussion he and John had earlier tonight.

"Have we missed something? Peter asks in bemusement.

"Yes, John and Mycroft have been very brave and honest tonight," says Sherlock, opening the door to the corridor.

"Okay, well it seems that has taken its toll on John! The way he is yawning!”

He goes after Sherlock into a very small but functional bedroom.

The room has a small double bed, a bedside table with a small lamp on it and a chair in the corner.

"Good night, boys!” Peter and James say, leaving them alone.

"I think it's best if we only sleep tonight. We can talk tomorrow," Sherlock says with an apprehensive voice.

"Yes, I'm too tired to do anything else. Do you want the toilet first?"

"You're more tired than me, you go first."


When John comes back, he quickly removes his clothes, leaving a t-shirt and boxers on. He lies down on the side nearest the wall and leaves the lamp on the bedside table on.

Sherlock comes back and swiftly undresses, leaving his T-shirt and pants on like John. He climbs into bed and turns to John. He takes John's nearest hand and laces their fingers together.

"Thank you for today. I will always remember your bravery. You’ve worked so hard to understand your own feelings.” He squeezes John's hand. "Good night, sweetheart."

"Thank you, it's feels good to hear that you understand me. I have always felt love for you and that wasn’t the problem. The problem was life experience and that I was so afraid."

"Next time you feel afraid or unsure, please tell me.

John squeezes Sherlock's hand back and whispers, "Good night, love."

Chapter Text

Jamie is sitting in a dark room across from 221 Baker Street, looking through a telescope to the living room. She sighs, nobody there. Not even Mrs Hudson is in the house. Sab has told her that she went for a visit to her niece on the same day that Sherlock and John went on the Birlstone case. Today they’d been informed that the agents that followed them to Birlstone had disappeared. She suspected that it was because of Sherlock or Mycroft. More annoyingly, with them both Sherlock and John had also disappeared. Jamie bites her lip so hard that it starts to bleed. Irritated, she stands up and goes to the table.

On the table is a roll of paper. She rips a piece from the roll and puts it on her lip.


She catches a glimpse of herself in the big mirror that's hanging on the wall to her left. Her hair is cut short in a bob cut and she has much more makeup on then Molly Hopper ever dreamed on putting on herself. With her own dark clothes and military boots on, she feels more relaxed than she has in years. She really hated Molly's colourful clothes. When she created Molly, she thought that Sherlock would fall in love with her more easily than gothic Jamie. He’d never given her a chance!


Angrily she starts to pace the room. The apartment’s former owner is now in a freezer at Bart's. He hadn’t had much furniture, making it easy to walk around the room. Jamie doesn’t think about that. Her thoughts are on Sherlock as usual. The first time she really saw him was in the playground at school after she heard Peter say that the idiot Sherlock Holmes had gone to the police about Carl Powers. He had told the police that Carl had been murdered, clever Sherlock.

Her heart had pumped hard in her chest when she’d looked at him on the other side of the playground. He was sat on the ground reading a book, not interested in what the other children were doing. She had seen and heard about him before, but he was a year older then her.

Carl had laughed at her when she was bad at swimming, so she stopped him from laughing!

She had been in the same class as Carl and they had learned how to swim the year before she killed him. He was like a dolphin in the water. She had more difficulty learning how to do it. After her father understood what happened and pulled her out of the school. She had only been a month in her new school when she really saw Sherlock.

She started to talk to him and get him interested in her, but nothing she did worked. Many times, she was so frustrated with him. Why didn't he see that they were meant for each other!?


So many years! She had done everything for him! She had created cases for him. Changed her appearance for his sake. Changed her name. Her behaviour. Nothing had worked!


She had been Molly for a little over 6 months when a man called Dr John Watson entered Sherlock's life. At first, she hadn't realised how important he was to Sherlock. Richard had teased her that he was probably gay and not interested in any girl. He thought he had proved it when Sherlock saw him as gay at the meeting in the lab. She had thought that if Sherlock saw her with another man he would realise that he loved her. Twice she tried that.

Loudly she says to nobody, "Oh god, Tom was really a disaster!"

"Well, now I know that he is gay… NO! I won't cry any more about that!

"He didn't get the man he wanted either!” She starts to laugh nearly hysterically.

"I will kill John Watson nevertheless. Even if he’s not with Sherlock, he's loved by him." With that thought, she starts to cry again.

"That's the price you will pay for not loving me, Sherlock Holmes! She rages.


The women called Sabrina, or Mary, comes through the door with food bags in her hand.

"For God’s sake, stop going on about Sherlock! Now I really wish I had killed him when I could!”

Very quickly, Jamie is on Sabrina with her hands on her throat and squeezing.

"Don't ever say that you will kill Sherlock!" she hisses in a threatening voice. "The only three people you have permission to kill are John, Greg and Mycroft and in that order. Do you UNDERSTAND!"

Sabrina tries to nod her head. Jamie releases her grip and regains some control. Sabrina starts coughing and tries to breathe again.

She thinks to herself, "She's really a psychopath!"

Sabrina doesn't like that her hands are shaking, and her heart is jumping in her chest. It's not the first time she’s been afraid of Jamie and she knows that she can go too far sometimes.


"He is mine! Never forget that, Sabrina. If he doesn't choose me, he hasn’t got any right to live and love someone else.

Sabrina silently takes the shopping bags into the kitchen and thinks it's probably best to leave Jamie alone for a while.

Chapter Text

Early the next morning before the alarm clock rings, John wakes up to Sherlock’s head on his chest. Sherlock's right arm is on his belly. Without thinking, John starts to caress Sherlock's hair with his left hand. When he realises what he's doing he smiles to himself and thinks, "I can do this now, I'm allowed to do this."

Sherlock begins to wake up slowly. He feels the hand in his hair and smiles. He takes a deep breath and smells John. He smells like home. He hugs John a little harder and looks up at him with a shy and happy look on his face. "Good morning, my soldier," he whispers.

"Good morning." With some hesitation in his voice he asks, "Can I get a good morning kiss?"

Sherlock rises onto his elbows, so he can reach John's lips. Just before his lips touch John's, he whispers, "Our first kiss, I love you." The kiss is a soft movement as they explore each other.

John cups Sherlock's face and pulls away so he can see him.

"I love you." He lets his hand fall into Sherlock’s hair again and pulls him down. This time, the kiss is more heated. He sucks on Sherlock’s lower lip. After some time, Sherlock answers, letting his tongue dip out and touch John's upper lip. John moans against his mouth.


After the kisses, Sherlock lies down next to John. They are both shy and quiet for a moment. Sherlock takes John's nearest hand and holds it. They are both thinking about what has happened.

"I would like to do so much more than kiss you," John eventually says. "But I want to be free from anything to do with "Mary" and I want to know if Rosie is my daughter, sorry. You must know that you're the most important person in my life."

"Don't be ridiculous, John! Of course I know that. I don't want either Jamie or "Mary" to be out there with us not knowing what they're doing. About Rosie, we will know in roughly 24 hours who the father is."

"You already had my DNA?"

Sherlock blushes and he tries to say, "Iwantedtoknowsomepartofyouwaswithme! Sorry!"

"You mean that you had my DNA when you were away?"

Still blushing, Sherlock only nods.

"I had a hiding place in my shoes. I lost them in Serbia, but Cliff found them and returned them to me after I was back at Baker Street."

"Cliff seems to have been important to you. Do I have reason to be jealous?"

John is now looking up at the ceiling.

"We flirted at the beginning of our acquaintanceship. He tried to kiss me once and the only thing I could think of was you. I stopped him. After that, I told him about you. How brave and caring you are."

"So that's the reason for what he said at Birlstone. ‘I'm here to save you and your man's life,’ and then when he looked at me and said, ‘he’s good!’"

"He liked how fast you reacted with your weapon to protect me."

"Of course he did! He's in love with you."

"I only love one man. Do you know who he is?"


"Idiot!" Sherlock looks at him with a flirtatious look.

"Sorry, but this is hard for me! First Greg – the morning after your date in your kitchen there were all those signs that he had slept over, then Oscar lustily looking at you and flirting, not forgetting the cherry on the cake, Cliff?"

"John, even if 20 men attempted to seduce me, I would only see one man. That man is you."

John lets all the air release from his lungs. He takes a big gulp of air and says, "You are the only person for me. I know that truly after losing you so many times."

Sherlock turns to John and kisses him.

"Never forget that!" he growls against John's mouth.

They kiss for some time before the alarm clock goes off.

"Time to get to Stamford and the Lab," John sighs.


Sabrina is rather angry at Jamie the next morning. Jamie realise that she is angry and responds in the same vein.

" You shouldn't have tried to kill Sherlock in the first place. It was Magnussen you were there to kill. Personally, I don't understand how you could let yourself get involved with him. He really was a nasty piece of shit!"

"You know I couldn't let him tell any of them about me! It was an easy way to pay him off."

"Easy way to get pregnant you mean?"

"I thought he would be so pleased that some woman would like to sleep with him that he would let it go." Sabrina is really angry now and isn't careful with what she’s saying.

Jamie snorts at that remark.

"Yes, because you're such a seductive woman? Jamie can't resist teasing her.

"I can if I want to! Besides his disgustingly sweaty hands…"

"You were really stupid to fall in love with John! Making a problem with David. David saw the difference in you, he's not stupid. He asked me after he had met Sherlock if we could end your mission with them."

"Okay, you're the clever one, what should I have done instead of sleeping with Magnussen?

"You should have killed him and not fucked him! And you shouldn't have tried to kill Sherlock! HE IS MINE! I’m the only one that gets to decide if he should be killed!”


Just out in the corridor is a man, who’s heard the whole conversation. Silently, he turns and goes out of the apartment. When he reaches the front of the building he pulls out his mobile phone and sends a message to Mycroft Holmes:


>When the paternity test is completed, take Magnussen's DNA to see if it matches Rosie's DNA. New information this morning from Rosie's mother.

I will send you three addresses where M’s people are preparing for the next attack. <


He puts the phone back in his pocket and goes back up to the apartment. On Mason White, or David's face is a smug smile.

"We can both play the game, my dear," he thinks.

Chapter Text

John yawns loudly and glances at Sherlock beside him.

"You haven't slept many hours these last few nights," Sherlock murmurs, working on getting Rosie's hair samples ready for the machine to start processing.

"No, but this is important, and I want to be here to see the process." John is quiet for a moment. "I know it's a small risk but if M gets our location I want to be able to protect us." He lets his hand travel to his back where he has his gun in the waistband of his trousers.

Sherlock turn to him and smiles. "My knight in shining armour, that will get you a kiss." He stands and takes John in his arms.

"Oh really? Stupid of me not to say that sooner," John whispers with his mouth hovering over Sherlock's mouth.

The kiss is full of passion and open mouthed. Both men moan. Sherlock lets his hands travel all over John's back, while John has one hand in his hair tugging slightly and the other holding his neck.

Just then Mike returns to the lab after fetching coffee for him and John. Sherlock had been too busy with his work to answer him when he asked if he wanted coffee.

"Sorry for disturbing you, but John was yawning so much before, I thought he needed this." He extends a mug to John.

With a dazed look on his face, John turns to Mike and takes the mug. "Thank you!"

Then he realises what Mike has just seen. "Thanks to you and Major Sholto we're now together. Your talk yesterday helped us a lot."

"Thank heaven for that! When I introduced you to each other all those years ago I never thought it would take this long to figure out that you belong together."

"What! You thought you were introducing us so that we would become a couple?"

"Yes." Mike looks a bit surprised that John hasn't understood that until now.

"Why did you think that?” John looks surprised and a bit shaken.

"Mike met me and Victor in Uni when all three of us were working in the lab."

"You two couldn't keep your hands off each other," Mike laughs, smiling at Sherlock.

John is staring at the floor, his left hand opening and closing and face like a storm. He doesn't like hearing about Sherlock with another man.

"What about me? You've only seen me with girls, haven’t you?”

"No, I saw you with Rick in our second year, at that party. You two snuck off into his bedroom. You were kissing, hands all over each other. Jasmine and I were looking for a place to do the same thing. I don't think you and Rick even realised that we opened the door. I tried to talk to you about it after, but you shot me down saying you were with Eva that night. After that, you and Rick treated each other like you were only friends. Then he started dating a girl, what was her name?” He looks at John with a sad smile. "I have often thought how foolish I was at that time, that I didn't insist on talking to you. I should have told you that it was ok to me if you liked guys."

"I didn't want anyone to know," John whispers. Sherlock lets his left hand move over John's back in a light caress, trying to relax him.

Mike sighs. "Yes, it was hard to come out in the beginning of the ‘90s. Maggie Thatcher era." He shakes his head. "It's still hard, but now, you know, I think you're with the right person!”

"‘Don't ask, don't tell’ was as prominent in my life as in any US military person’s. Thank you, Mike. Both for introducing me to Sherlock and for being a friend to both of us."

"I'm only relived that we can speak about it and be open with each other now." Mike holds out his hand to John who shakes.

After, Mike shakes Sherlock’s hand too.

"When this whole Mary mess is over, me and my wife want to invite you for a dinner. I promise Sherlock, there will be no small talk! Science and crime will be the only subjects to talk about over dinner!

"Your wife is a police officer?”

"Yes, Anna works with special crimes division. Manly she works with cases around trafficking and sex crimes."

Sherlock looks at John and nods his head.

"Thank you, Mike. We gladly accept your invitation."

"Now, times to set the ball rolling! Can I be of any assistance to you?” Mike asks Sherlock.


Meanwhile, in Adam's and Peter's kitchen, four men are eating breakfast and talking about the coming day’s work. Peter is watching Greg and Mycroft who are obviously flirting with each other. Peter thinks that he’s never seen Greg so in love and so flustered as he is now. Mycroft is letting his hand drop to Greg's thigh with some regularity. Every time that happens Greg blushes like a teenager. Peter is happy for him especially considering it means that Greg will never again make a pass on Adam.


Suddenly Mycroft’s mobile beeps with an incoming text. Mycroft pulls out his mobile from his pocket and reads the it.

"Greg, look at this!"

Greg reads the text and frowns at the message.

"It's best to let Sherlock know and probably tell John too so he can't mess things up with John. You know he always tries to protect him, but this is something John must know now."

“What if I tell them both over the phone?”

"Good plan but be clear with Sherlock that you’ll only talk with him if the speaker phone is on and John is listening."

"What's up?” Adam asks.

"New information from David."

"Something John won't like?”

"You can say that, poor sod! Hasn’t he been through enough already?” Greg fumes.

"Do you want to come with me to the living room to call them?” Mycroft asks Greg in a slightly hesitant voice.

"Okay, sure."


They go to the living room and Mycroft calls Sherlock's secret mobile.

"Yes, Mycroft what's new?”

"Can you please turn on speaker phone and call for John? You both need to hear this at the same time."

"I don't like the sound of this.”

"Please Sherlock," Greg says in a low voice but Sherlock hears him nonetheless.

"Ok Greg. John, can you come over here? Greg and Mycroft want to talk to us."


"John! Are you there?" Mycroft asks.

"I'm here. What's happened?”

"I just received a message from David. I will send it to you after we finish talking. It's seams that he's got new information about Mary's actions around the time Rosie was conceived. He wants you to test the DNA from Magnussen with the results from Rosie's DNA. He has also given up three addresses of M’s people. He must've been really blindsided about the new information this morning."

John is standing stock still beside Sherlock.

"Oh, my God!" Mike is whispering behind them.

Sherlock takes a breath to say something when John interrupts him.

"A new lie! Good to know now before we have any results. Then we don't have to start looking for the father if neither David nor I is a match."

"Will you and the men investigate the three addresses?"

"Yes!" Mycroft answers. He really doesn’t like hurting John and therefore hurting Sherlock.

He ends the conversation without any more words and Mycroft sends David's message to them.

Chapter Text

Sherlock is going through David's dossier, given to him by Mycroft that morning. He was rather fascinated with how good David’s disguise had been at their first meeting. He hadn't deduced anything out of the ordinary about him. A bit dull, but nothing that pointed to him living a double life. Especially not being an agent for Moriarty. The only thing that had bothered him about David was that he so obviously loved Mary. He was a bit afraid David would come between John and Mary. He had tried to scare him off, playing the sociopath, and David had played scared of him.


He looks over to John, who’s seated at the counter, slumped with his head on his hands. He smiles sadly when he thinks about all things John has gone through. His own fault in John's sorrows. Before the fall he really thought John would only miss him as a friend for a very short time. After that, he would start looking for a woman to marry and they would start a family. The problem was that he missed John like crazy. The more time that passed, the more he started thinking that John could be waiting for him to come home. He had deduced that John was bisexual but deep in the closet.

He realised now that that was his way of projecting his feelings and managing being tortured. So, when Mycroft told him that John had moved out of Baker Street and moved on with his life, he couldn't believe it. The night after meeting John and Mary at the Landmark he had broken down and cried for the first time in a very long time. That was the first rip in his protective armour. He loved John. It didn't matter whether he was straight or didn't want to accept his bisexuality. All Sherlock wanted was to be in his life. He would do anything to have John back as his friend again and only as a friend. A tear runs down his cheek, which he quickly wipes away.


A loud alarm rings out in the lab. Rosie’s DNA result is clear. John starts sitting up and widely yawns.

"Time for result then?" he says to Sherlock.

"Yes, Rosie’s DNA result. Our eight-hour work is done. At least we have your DNA already. Do you want to know now if she is yours or do you want to wait to we have David and Magnussen's too?"

John bites his lower lip and answer Sherlock.

"I’d rather know now. Maybe we won’t need to do the other two tests."


Sherlock takes Rosie's result and puts on the counter. Then he takes of his right shoe and lifts it up to remove a paper from the shoe's heel. Silently, he peels open a very fragile and worn piece of paper. When John steps forward he sees the paper and sees what appear to be teardrops on it. John gets a lump in his throat and can't speak. He coughs away the lump.

He reaches to hug Sherlock and says, "Whatever the result is, I already have the best life with you. I love you so much, sweetheart."

"I love you too, and for me Rosie is a part of you."

"Thank you."

"Okay, let's check this results out then.”


They look on the peppers and it's soon clear that there's no match.

"I'm so sorry, John."

"Yeah, I don't really know what to feel right now. My Rosie died nearly 4 months ago. Then for a few days she was alive and then I was told she maybe wasn't my daughter that another man could be her father! This morning, new information!” Now, John is screaming. "Rosie is MAYBE the daughter of the man that hurt both of us badly! The man you killed to save my cheating, lying, murdering wife! Oh, don't say she didn't kill you! I’m a doctor!" John is breathing hard, his hair standing in all directions after he pulls his fingers through it. He's red faced and furious.

"Sorry, I can't stay here anymore. Do the DNA test for Magnussen. David's is in the dossier. I will return when I’ve calmed down. I just need to walk. Sorry!"

"I understand, be safe!" Sherlock shouts after him.


When John has left the lab, Sherlock calls his brother and tells him what has just had happened.

"Can you please ask Adam to go after John and make sure he's safe? I think Adam is the only one he can talk to now about this."

"I agree with you. I will ask Adam."

Normally they would ask Greg to talk with John but after Sherlock and Greg's romantic relationship that's not an option.

When Mycroft tells Adam what's happened and shows him where John is according to the tracking device, Adam goes after him.


John has walked about 5 miles and isn't a long way from the pub. Adam thinks he’s going to the park nearby. When Adam comes in, he sees John sitting on a bench sipping from a coffee mug.

Silently Adam goes to the bench and nods to John before sitting down.

"Sherlock called Mycroft," John state with a matter of fact voice.

Adam nods again.

"He's afraid of what could happen to me if I'm not paying attention to my environment."

Adam grunts an affirmation.

"If it were the other way around I would have done the same."

Adam’s only response is to smile. John sighs and starts speaking again.

"He knows I always walk when I'm upset. He also knows that just now it's not safe for either of us to walk around anywhere. But he let me go because he knows this is the only way I can handle things without fighting and hurting someone."

"Do you want to punch a sandbag?" Adam asks, prompting a snort from John

"Do you have a sandbag hanging around?" John asks.

"Police gym?” John is quite for a moment before he answers Adam.

"Okay, I could really do with punching something right now and a safer place than New Scotland Yard will be hard to find."

Adam stands and waits for John to do the same. John looks at him and asks, "Clothes to do boxing in?”

"I’ll message Mycroft, he can sort it out.”

John nods and starts walking out of the park. Adam texts Mycroft to tell him where they are going and what they need.


When Mycroft gets Adam’s message he asks Peter if he can help. Peter gets Adam's training clothes and takes joggers out of his dresser, since his clothes have fitted John before. He also puts some clothes on himself, thinking that he can also work out some stress after the last few days. He hears Mycroft talk to James and ask of him if he can go to Sherlock if he needs to defend himself. James agrees immediately.

"Good," thinks Peter, then I can tell John that Sherlock is as safe he can be under this time of threat. He takes a cab to NSY.

Chapter Text

When Adam, John and Peter meet up at NSY’s gym, John is very quiet but smiles a little at Peter.

"Here are the clothes I brought you." Peter gives John a bag.


"Will you be training with us or do you have to go back?” Adam looks at his partner pleadingly. John's sorrow is hard to take and all the time in the taxi John hadn't said a word, only staring out the car window.

"No, I can stay. Carl's taking care of the pub."

"Okay, good."

All three of them go into the changing room.

"Oh, I forgot to tell you that James has gone to protect Sherlock in case M makes a move."

John frowns at that but only responds with, "Good, James is good shooter."

"Isn't Sherlock good with a gun?" Adam asks with a smile, finding it hard to believe that Sherlock wouldn't be good at everything after he dismantled Moriarty's network.

"James is the better shooter of the two of them but Sherlock is better at hand to hand combat. He trained in Bartitsu and is very good at it.”

"Well, they're a good match then.”

John nods his head but doesn't look happy. He’s still frowning.

"Yeah, I'm not in the right frame of mind to protect Sherlock right now."

Both other men see how unhappy John is thinking about it.

"Time for some warming up!” Adam goes to the door into the gym.

They warm up, then John goes up to a big sandbag and starts hitting it. Both Adam and Peter realise that's it's better to leave John alone for some time.


When John starts hitting the sandbag, he sees Mary and Rosie in his mind and in different situations. Mary’s smug smile when she said she liked Sherlock in the Taxi. Mary sitting on their bed and reading aloud from his blog the next morning, teasing him about shaving for Sherlock. Their wedding day! Oh, God! David had been one of the guests. He hadn't thought anything of it. He had been so occupied with how pleasant Sherlock had been to all the guests. Especially the little boy Archie who had hugged Sherlock so hard. It was the cutest thing John had ever seen.

Sherlock on the floor in Magnussen’s office, bleeding. In the ambulance on the way to hospital.

Rosie's birth when he had been so happy for his little girl and so sad and angry at Sherlock for lying in another hospital bed, not knowing that she had been born.

John feels his mouth watering and he spits onto the floor, aiming hard at the sandbag.

The battle against the sandbag becomes more intensive until he can't breathe. He stands swaying before the sandbag, breathing hard, with furious tears coming down his face.


Adam comes and gives him a bottle of water. He doesn't say anything, he just stands there beside him. John takes the bottle when he can breathe again and swallows half the water in one go.

"Would you like to sit down for a minute? After that maybe we can have a sparring match?”

"No, Adam. I'm too angry and I definitely don't want to hurt you or Peter."

He looks at Adam with a sad smile.

"I will sit down for a minute but then that sandbag will get a rematch!”

Adam lays a hand on his shoulder and squeezes.

"Ok, Peter and I will be boxing."

John sits down on the bench and nods. He doesn't care that Adam and Peter have seen his tears. They know why he’s crying.


James phones Sherlock while he's standing in the corridor outside the lab where Sherlock’s working. His hand is shaking because he's so nervous. James hasn't talked much with Sherlock besides the time on the bus yesterday on the way to the pub. Sherlock seams very surprised to hear that James is at the lab door.

"Hi, is everything ok with John?" he asks worriedly, looking behind James to see if there’s anyone else with him.

"John, Adam and Peter are the NSY gym. Peter just phoned me and told me that John wanted to hit something but not hurt anyone. Adam suggested sandbags and mentioned that he had the keys to the gym at NSY."

"That sounds like something John would do."

A machine starts to bleep, and Sherlock goes to it.

"Sorry, I must change to another machine."

"Do what you need to. The faster John gets a result the better," James says with a sigh.


When the sample is in the new machine, Sherlock turns to James.

"I'm sorry if the last few days’ development between me and John has been difficult for you," he says hesitantly.

"Difficult, it was at John's and Mary's wedding I realised that he loved another man.” He shakes his head before continuing.” There I was, seeing the man I’d dreamt of for so many years. I thought I would hate his wife, but the only person John really couldn't take his eyes off was you!"

"When? We were all occupied of the wedding and a murder to take care of!"

"You didn't see him during your speech. Or when the wedding photos were being taken. You and the girl, Janine, were speaking and laughing together. John looked like he wanted too go and separate the two of you. At first, I didn't understand if it was her or you he was looking at but after that speech…”

"How did you deal with that after the wedding?"

"By thinking about how much you loved John. Standing beside him when he married another person? Yes, you are a braver and stronger man than I."

"And now?"

"I'm happy for you both. Happy that John isn't with Mary and you are still alive to take care of John. He's always the caretaker but what he really needs is someone who can be strong for him and cuddle him!"

"Do you think he will allow me to do that?"

"Sherlock, what's your heart telling you to do?"

"Save John and keep him safe." Sherlock's voice is heartfelt and soft.

"How are you going to do that?"

"Showering him in love. Making him feel that he is a good man who doesn’t always need to be brave and strong."

A big sigh leaves James and he smiles at Sherlock.

"Then you have my blessing. How can I help?"

Chapter Text

In the shower John feels tired but he still isn't relaxed even after the workout and shower. He is itching to know who Rosie’s father is. Suddenly, his stomach starts protesting loudly. He realises that he hasn't eaten for a long time and that he burned a lot of energy while boxing. In fact, the last thing he ate was a sandwich at lunch before Rosie's DNA results. He rinses his body and hair hastily. When he comes out in the changing room, Adam and Peter are there.


"Hey guys, is there any food? I'm hungry!"

"Well, all the other guys are coming for dinner in about half an hour. We can eat dinner with them or you can eat in our kitchen if you want to be alone.”

Peter gives John a worried look.

"I don't want to be alone. They're my friends and I think I want to tell them that Rosie isn't my daughter." His voice is unsure, but his face tells them he really means it.

"Yes, they are! I have talked with everyone and one thing they say is that you’ve always been there for them. Ian, Joe, and Andy all said they wouldn't be here today if it wasn’t for you. You saved them in different ways, but they're all so happy that you and Sherlock are an item."

"You told them that?" Peter looks nervously at Adam.

"Ian and Andy saw Greg and Mycroft kissing this morning through the kitchen window. You know how hot-headed Ian is?" Adam asks John.

"Oh, god, he didn't hurt them, did he? But why's he so angry about that? I didn't know he even liked Sherlock that much.”

"No, he didn’t hurt them. We were all in the kitchen, but the back door was locked so they went through the pub. We heard them coming. Ian was shouting at the top of his lungs. He was so angry. Luckily, I got a good grip on him and sat him down while Greg stopped Andy." He gives Peter a look and continues telling this morning’s incident.

"We told them what happened yesterday evening. The more we told them, the more relaxed Ian became. It's seems that his last girlfriend was unfaithful with his friend. Seeing Greg and Mycroft come hit too close to home. He really loves you."

"Why would it matter to me if he thought I was straight?”

"They both knew that you were bi. If anything, they were surprised that it's taken you two such a long time to get together. Ian keeps telling us how you saved his life in two different situations.”

"Yes, I know what you mean. What did they say about me being with Sherlock?”


John's face shows many emotions while Adam tells him what Ian and Andy said this morning. He first can't believe they all knew about his escapes with men. Ian and Andy were the rowdiest men he knew, he’d thought. Sometimes they could say things that made them seem quite homophobic.

"Are they okay with me being with Sherlock?”

"The only thing they weren't okay with was the idea that Greg had taken Sherlock from you but was now cheating with Mycroft. Ian told us that yesterday he wanted to try to break up Greg and Sherlock, so you could have a chance with Sherlock," Adam says, laughing and shaking his head.

"They may have a hard time understanding you loving another man, but they really are your friends. They said that the best partner for you is Sherlock. Andy said that Sherlock can keep up with you and keep you on the right path. With him, you can be both brave and caring and really be you."

"Did they really say that?"

"Yes! And now they told everyone, and they only want to see you and Sherlock together, so they can tell you that!”

"I'll change clothes and after that I’ll phone Sherlock then we can go and eat dinner with the boys."

"Sounds like a plan!” Peter nods his head and starts to dress himself.


In the car back to the pub, John calls Sherlock.

"Hi, love. I'm calm now and on my way to the pub to eat dinner with the boys. How is it going for you and James?

"Good to hear that you’re calmer now. James and I are alright too. We are eating dinner with Mike. He’s talked with one of his colleagues and borrowed his lab equipment as well. He's doing David's DNA test, so we can know for sure who the father is. By the way, do you know about what happened this morning at the pub?”

"Yes, Adam and Peter told me. I think I really must talk with everyone, did you hear that some of them were plotting to break up you and Greg? So that we could be together?”

Sherlock laughs in relief, having been worried about John's reaction after James told him what had happened that morning.

"It will take us about 3 and half hours to get both David and Magnussen's test results. I will come to you as soon as I have the result."

"I’ll wait up. I'm too high strung to go to bed without you."

As soon as the words have left his mouth, John thinks, can I say that to him?

"I miss you too, sweetheart." Sherlock responds in a low voice. "Talk to your friends and remember that I love you so much."

Now it's Sherlock's turn to freak out. Can I say that to him over the phone?

"Love you too! Stay safe and take no risks. How will you and James go to the pub? By taxi or-?”

"No, Mike said he will take us to the pub in his car."

"We're at the pub now. See you soon."

"Okay, stay safe!”


When John enters the room where all the men are eating dinner Ian comes up to him and hugs him without a word. John becomes very perplexed and hugs him back with many back pats, trying to be as manly as possible. Ian only hugs him harder and say in a low voice, "I'm so sorry about Rosie but so happy that you got your man."

Ian releases him and takes a step back.

"I'm sorry and angry about Rosie but thank god Sherlock can get the answer with the DNA tests. What do the boys say about me and Sherlock?” He asks nervously.

"What I heard only relief. At last!” said Joe. “Okay, many of us can't understand the sex bit with a man but all we want is for you to be happy and safe. You have nothing to prove to us. Nate said if he became half the man and soldier that you are he would be a very happy man. They're all your friends, John"

John takes a breath of air that he’d forgotten to while Ian spoke.

"Time for some food I think.”

"It's beef with potatoes, onions and gravy. Very good."

"I’ll have plate of that."

"Come and site with me and Andy when you’re ready."


Nearly four hours later, John is sitting at a table talking with Greg, Mycroft, Andy, and Ian. A cup of coffee is standing before him. He is very tired because the of the late hour, his early morning and everything that happened this day. It's hard for him to believe that Rosie isn't his daughter. Another thing that's hard to believe is that he's out of the closet to all his friends and no one have stopped being his friend.” Even Ian and Andy, who he’d thought were a bit homophobic.

"John, times change!” Andy says very quietly.

"Three years ago, I married a wonderful woman and we are now expecting a child. When I married her, both friends and family gave me a hard time. She's a big girl, I always loved big girls with big arms to cuddle me. That's not what society sees." He looks away, looking for words.

Then John says, "I remember when we were on leave for four weeks in Kabul. There was a beautiful blonde girl after you all the time we were there, what was her name?”

"Martha, she was in another military branch also on leave. Yeah, I really tried not to hurt her, but she was a whippet. Every man's dream woman beside me. I know you tried to pick her up when you realised that I wasn't interested in her. What I'm trying to say is that you fall in love with the person that's right for you. Society’s norm can go to hell for all I care. I love my Amy she's the most beautiful woman in the world as far as I can see. I see how you look at Sherlock and I know that look, he is the right one for you."

"We have both grown up a bit these last few years.”

"See, here's your man! Sherlock, here's John!”


Sherlock comes over and let his arms fall onto John's shoulders.

"Hi, everyone! Sorry to be so late."

"You know now?”

"Yes, do you want to know here or when we’re alone?”

"Everybody has been waiting on the result, Sherlock. I don't know if I can speak about it after I know." John's eyes are begging for help.


"Sorry, can I interrupt you all for a moment,” Sherlock calls, “John has asked me to tell you all the result of the DNA test me and Mike Stamford have done today. John isn't the father, and neither is David, known to some as Mason White. Rosie's biological father is Charles Augustus Magnussen."

Chapter Text

The room is completely silent for a moment after Sherlock's words. Suddenly, Arthur Morstan rises from his chair, knocking it over with his speed.

"She betrayed you, while she was using my sisters name and my family’s name? No! I will kill her!”

"Arthur!” John says sharply before switching to a calm and determined voice. “She doesn't deserve the easy way out by dying quickly. She has to pay for what she has done to us all first." He takes a big gulp of air and continues, "She will pay by going to prison knowing that Rosie will be adopted by a new family and that she won't ever know anything about her biological mother. She will be erased from Rosie’s life.

“Sherlock and I will tell her that WE two–” he points at Sherlock and himself “–are happy together as a couple. She will know the name she took and that the family with that name have more honour than she will ever understand. Killing someone is easy. Living with what you done is much harder. When you are dead, you can't feel anything. Do you understand me?”

Arthur is silent for a long time, mulling over what John said. He hesitates before he answers John.

"As you please, John. On one condition. I will be there when she is arrested, and I will tell her what the name Mary Morstan and my family name stands for."

"Yes, but only if you promise you won't kill her. I know that will be hard for you."

Arthur Morstan holds up his hands in the air. He looks John right in his eyes and answers him.

"I won't kill her. I promise on my family's honour and my own name."

"Thank you. I know it isn't easy. I want to kill her myself!” John turns to Sherlock with a look of devastation on his face.

"Sherlock, can we please go to bed now? I'm much too tired to do anything else." He rubs his eyes.

"Gentleman, I think we all deserve a long rest. It's after 2 o'clock now. Can we all meet here again for lunch tomorrow and go over how we will take down M and the network tomorrow night."

Everyone in the room agrees to that. Mycroft gives Sherlock a look and they go to a corner to talk quietly for a moment.

"You have to be the grown up tonight and take care of your John."

"I know, thank you for supporting him earlier today. I think that Adam and Peter helped him.”

"Everyone was very supportive. Especially after they heard that you and John are together as a couple. Ian, Joe and Andy in particular have helped John tonight. Greg said to me that he was surprised over that because apparently, they were the most homophobic ones in the group. They have been only positive about you two being a couple."

"Sherlock! Are you coming?” John interrupts.

"Yes, John!” Sherlock nods to Mycroft and fallows John to their room for the night.

When they're in the room they slept in last night John senses that Sherlock wants to say something. He seems nervous and is fiddling with anything he can get his hands on. Like some keys and after that some coins he has in his pocket.

"What's the matter? Didn't you like what I said to Arthur?"

"No, it's isn't that I'm thinking about." He stops speaking and looks at John like he doesn't know what to say.

"Spit it out!” orders John. Looking terrified, Sherlock starts speaking very quickly and quietly.

"You know when I'm are at home I always sleep nude?” He blushes and hums but tries again. “It's hard for me to sleep with clothes on… would you… mind… if I… slept nude tonight? Obviously, Iwillremainclothedif yousayno!

"What! What did you say last?”

Sherlock huffs but says again but slowly, "I will remain clothed if you say no. Seriously John, did you think I would do that before asking you if that was okay with you?"


"Why! Why would you think I would strip and go to bed nude before asking you if that was okay?" Sherlock looks really hurt.

"No, I mean, I’d like for us to get naked and cuddle under the blanket! I'm too tired to do anything but I want to feel that we are together. I know you hate sleeping with your clothes on. You always have! I was a bit surprised that you kept the clothes on last night, to be honest.”

Sherlock stares at John, he blinks and blinks and try to say something.

"Oh no, I'm broke him again," John sighs, and starts to take off his own clothes.

When he only has his boxers on, Sherlock starts to speak.

"Sooooo, we will both be naked… in that bed… all night… I'm holding and spooning you?

"If you like? That's okay with me."

"I want that! Oh John, you don't know how much I want that."

After they brush their teeth and after the removal of Sherlock's clothes and John's boxers they lie down, Sherlock spooning John from behind, his nose in John's hair and arms around him.

"This was one of my dreams from when I was captured by Jamie's people. I never thought it would happen in real life. You and me, especially after I returned and met Mary, when you were so angry at me."

"Please, can we not talk about her just now? I only want to lie here feeling safe and loved by you."

"Ok, I love you so much John. You are the sun and moon in my universe. Without you, I'm totally lost."

John kisses the arm that's is nearest to his mouth. "Yeah, I know that feeling. I'm lost without you and so terrifyingly alone. Even when I have other people around me, I'm alone."

"You don't feel alone when I'm with you even if my brain is occupied with a case or experiment?”

"Not now I know that I can go to you and close my arms around you."

"Yes, do that when you feel like that. I'm not good at relationships. The only relationship I have had I messed up."
"That doesn't mean you will mess up our relationship," John mumbles sleepily.

"John, I have something I must tell you about my life. But not tonight and not when we are this tired. It's in my past, nearly 20 years ago, but it will give you an explanation as to why I didn't want to be in a relationship."

"Ok, talk about that later…” John abruptly snore.

Sherlock smiles and tries to get to sleep himself.

The next morning John wakes up again on his back with Sherlock lying all over him. Sherlock's head is on his chest and their legs are intertwined.

The problem is that both are very early risers in certain parts of their bodies. It's isn't so surprising, John thinks. We have been laying in each other's arms all night naked. Neither of us have had any sexual release for days.

He starts petting Sherlock's hair.

"Good morning sweetheart," John mumbles into Sherlock's hair.

"Mhhh, g'morning, my Captain.” Sherlock gives John's chest a kiss.

"Sorry, my body seems to have woken up before me." He tries to move away from John.

"No, don't move away from me. I'm having the same problem, if you can call it that,” John says, laughter in his voice.

"No, it's not a problem. What do you want to do about it?"

"Give me a kiss first."

Sherlock rises on his arms and lays his body between John's legs.

"That's a good position, now give me that kiss!

"Bossy!” Sherlock kisses him and stars to move against John's body. They both sigh and John deepens the kiss. Morning breath or not, this is a good way to start the morning.

“I’m so sorry, but I need the toilet. I don’t think a golden shower is the best way to start with on our first time?” Sherlock blushes deeply and hides his head in John’s shoulder.

John starts to laugh and holds his hands around Sherlock’s neck. “You’re so right! Come on, up you go!”

They’re lucky on the way to the bathroom that they don’t meet anyone. Sherlock hears some noise from the kitchen, but no one comes out. John brushes his teeth while Sherlock tries to pee. It’s isn’t easy in the state he is in.

“Do you need help? John says with laughter in his voice.

“It will soon be your turn to try doing it! From the looks of it you will also have a problem!”

When they shift position it’s Sherlock’s turn to tease John.

John is quick to go back to bed. He strips his clothes and lays down on the bed and reaches for Sherlock.

“I want you to lay down like before,” he says seriously. John suddenly realises that he normally doesn't allow anyone to lie above him. Especially in a sexual situation.

“Are you sure you want that?” Sherlock asks while he removes his black boxer briefs.

“Yes, I want to feel safe for a moment.”

“You beautiful man…”

“Here use your hands on us both.”

John gives him the lube that Adam had passed him last night without a word said between them on the way to their rooms.
Sherlock hums a positive response and lays the tube near him in the bed when he starts kissing John.
“I love his big hands,” John thinks.
After that John has no thoughts in his head for a long time. He only feels passion and love.


On Wed, Jul 18, 2018 at 2:28 PM, Tilda Holstius wrote:

Chapter Text

“It’s a good morning.” John thinks when they are sitting at the table eating breakfast together with Greg and Mycroft. He doesn’t even letting Mycroft’s obviously thoughts about their morning activity interrupt his good mood.

They had showered together after their first time. When they are standing in the shower Sherlock hugs John and caress his back and whispers in his ear.
“You always takes care of me. You make me eat and sleep, please. Can I be the one taking care of you?”
“What do you want to do?”
“I want to wash your hair and body.”
“Okey.” Was the only thing John could bring himself to say in that moment.

Sherlock had washed his hair and body very tenderly and loving.
He started with the hair. Whit laughter and bantering about how much John looks like Father Christmas with the shampoo in his hair.
“The only thing missing is a beard!”
“The time with a beard are over and done with! Both meataforical and whit a real beard!”
“You really mean that?” Sherlock had asked him quietly.
“You said before you like your Doctors clean shaved!”
“Yes, I do!”
Sherlock started to rinse his hair from the shampoo by leaning John’s head against his shoulder.
When he started washing John’s body by massaging his shoulder’s, a lightning feeling is flowing through his body.
“If I wasn’t so satisfied already and a bit younger we would have a bit of a problem right now,,,,,,,,”
“Okey, old man, we will take our time in the bathroom later,,,,,,,”
“Oh!” John is wondering what Sherlock is planning to do later?
After Sherlock has washed his body and remarked about how much he likes John’s arms, belly and-!”
John is feeling like he’s the most beautiful man in Sherlock’s mind.

When John said he would wash Sherlock’s hair he answers back.
“I would like that very much but I’m sorry to say that we are 6 people using this bathroom. Just now Mycroft is standing outside the bathroom door trying to figure out when we’re done!
John starts to giggle, thinking how Mycroft will look like. He’s not even a bit ashamed about being caught in the Shower with Sherlock.

“Then it’s best I live you to wash your hair and starts shaving instead!”

“Oh, for god sake!” They hear Mycroft grumbling when he leave from outside the door.
Both Sherlock and John laughing at that.

After breakfast they lay down on the bed because it’s over a hour before they will meet the boys at 12.00.

John on his back with Sherlock leaning against him on the left side. John’s fingers combing through Sherlock’s hair.

Sherlock think about the card laying besides the corpus of Ted Baldwin. What did V.V 341 mean? Was it important for them to catch Moriarty and Moran? The numbers, they were something he had seen when he was on his journey to take down Moriarty’s net of organization.

Numbers are plowing before his eyes and without knowing it he’s plucking cards from the air in front of himself.

John looks on and marbles over Sherlock’s technique to work out the problem he’s trying to solve.

Before they had gotten on the bed Sherlock had told him that he would try to solve what the card Baldwin had left meant. John is satisfied laying there and combing his fingers through Sherlock’s hair and feeling that they both are safe and loved. He was a bit surprised over how good Sherlock was at being a partner and meeting his needs for support and love.

John is thinking about last night and Sherlock emotion.
“No, you’re definitely not a sociopath, not even a high functioning sociopath. You really must’ve been hurt so many times in your childhood and teenage years. Victor? I’m wondering what the story is behind that name? Sebastian? Sherlock had obviously wanted to prove to him that he had a friend in John at the time when he introduced John too Sebastian.” John feels so sad for Sherlock when he think how he must have felt.

John gives Sherlock’s top head a kiss.

“Jamie! To be haunted like that for so many years and then realizing that Molly is really your old enemy, Jamie. It’s no wonder you tried to avoid feelings when you always get hurt when you did let somebody come near you.”

Suddenly, a thought breaks through John.

“You’re brave! You let me in. You let me be your flatmate, friend and now lover! You have come out of the closet to so many people in only a couple of days. Well, I have done that to?!

All feelings in his body after the last thought makes him not know if he will laugh, cry or rant about how hard everything is in life.

Sherlock turns and looks at him and asks.
“Are you okey?”
“Yes, i’m only have so many emotions about all that’s happened. You know, in a millions of years I never thought I would be out of the closet. In a relationship with a man I love and respect so much-“ he shakes his head. “Then there’s you! All the things you been through. All you done to protect me and still love me after all bad choices I made?!
It’s a bit overwhelming, you know?”
“Yes” Sherlock lays down again against him.

Just before 12 o’clock Greg knocks on the door.

“Time to go meet the guys.”

“Have you talked with Greg anymore about the break up?”

John can’t really make his voice not tell the story of jealously that’s he still feels against Greg.

“No, but I knows his happy with Mycroft. He only started something with me as a substitute for Mycroft. Oh, he likes me. Even maybe feel something like love for me but nothing like what he feels for Mycroft.”
“What do you feel for Greg?”
“Respect, even warmer feelings after our time together.”

John’s stomach crunches when he hears what Sherlock are saying.
“Fuck this jealousy! Do you want to be with him?”
Sherlock is only starring at John like he suddenly have to heads or something.
“John, I love you! Do you want to be with somebody else?”
“Good! Then we are all right. I want to be with you and you want to be with me and nobody else? No, other people in this relationship, okey?
“That’s all I want! No Greg, Mary or Dick and Tom!” John answers him angrily.
At that Sherlock starts to laugh, after a short glaring at him John starts laughing to.

“Come on now! Stop laughing and move! Greg orders through the door.

Just when they enters to the room where they are meeting the other men something clicks in Sherlock’s brain.

“Oh!!! Numbers! Moriarty’s net have a system of departments/sections!
In every country they have a code for the country, place number for region and what lodge they are in. Ted Baldwin was a member in USA, Cilicon Valley and in the lodge of Vermissa Valley!
So, all numbers that start with one is UK,two is Serbia, three is USA! Therefore they have organization’s in 9 country’s!”
His eyes meets Mycroft’s across the room and Mycroft nods to Sherlock’s solution to the problem.
Now they have the key to finding all the members in Moriarty’s net.

Chapter Text

That night at precisely 03.00. four groups of men gets in on their targets. Sherlock, John, Arthur and Greg get swiftly through the door into the apartment that had been confirmed by David that Jamie and Sabrina is in this night.

Clint are responsible for the group that will take care of Rosie when Sabrina, David and Jamie are neutralized.

Ollie And Mycroft is responsible for the two teams that will take down the group of specialists assassin in Jamie’s group in the suburb.

James are responsible for that’s group specializing in listening devices and data espionage.


David had also told them through a text that tomorrow morning all three of them would be going to Birlstone to search for Sherlock and John and their lost agents.

All hell went loose when everyone goes in at their appointed targets.
Alarms and chaos, attackers shouting and shocking Moriarty’s men who weren’t expecting any intruders.

Jamie is seated in a chair in the living room sleeping, in front of a telescope directed at 221B living room. If there was any activity there, Jamie wanted to now.


Sabrina and David are sleeping in the bedroom. The alarm didn’t go off because David had deactivated it earlier in the night when he went to the toilet. Both Sabrina and Jamie are so used to him going to the toilet in the night, that they didn’t react to him doing it. The box with the alarm is on the wall besides the toilet door. He smiled to himself when he deactivated the alarm.

“Time to pay the price, ladies.” He feels a grim satisfaction that Sabrina will pay for what she did to him and Rosie. He also realizes that it may be time for him to retire as a agent. The price is too high and he has become more morally gray than he had ever wanted o be.

Jamie was the first of them to react. She scream so much that Sabrina comes running out of the bedroom that has a door directly into the living room.

A weapon in her hand directed at the hallway door.
David stays in the bedroom trying to put clothes on.
Sherlock takes two steps into the living room with John behind him. Both of them have their weapons drawn.

“I heard that you two wanted to speak with me and John?”
Sherlock says in a very calm and collected voice.


John swiftly steps in front of Sherlock to protect him.
“Ah, see your pet is still trying to protect you?!” Jamie spits out.
“Why are you still trying to kill me, Jamie?” Sherlock asks.
“I’m not trying to kill you! I’m trying to make you see that you and I belong together!”
“We have never belonged together, Jamie! Never!”
“You don’t know what you’re saying! We have belonged together since we were children. You’re mine and I’m yours!”

“Is she completely batshit crazy?” John’s voice is full of amazement.
“I am not crazy! You’re the crazy one that thinks you’re intelligent enough for him or beautiful enough to keep him interested for any length of time!”

“I have been amazed by him from the first time I met him. One thing of many things you have missed to see in your obsession with me is that I’m homosexual.”

“NO!! You are not sick! You can’t be! You’re mine!
Jamie is babbling, nearly hysterical.

“Stop it! I’ll shoot them for you!” Sabrina screams.

David comes out from the bedroom at that very moment and pulls Sabrin tightly to him.
She screams and try to fights him off but he is stronger than her and make use of his combat skills. Skills that he never showed before and that surprises Sabrina so much that he get a advantage over her.

Arthur is coming through the door and passers Sherlock and John. Jamie that have been fighting with Sabrina to get her weapon is standing with her back against Arthur and in her exalted situation doesn’t realize there someone so close to her. Arthur is swiftly behind Jamie and gets a strong hold on her.

Both Sherlock and John are standing stunned by the scene in front of them.
“David stop this! Put me down! I will kill the idiot and his nibs! I’m all yours now! David!”

Arthur successfully takes the weapon from Jamie before she can shoots herself or anyone else. She have taken the weapon from Sabrina in the fight but ending up holding it the wrong end.
“Thank you, this weapon will I take care off!” Arthur says very calmly.

David makes a snorting laughing noise.
“You love me? And Rosie is my daughter?”
“Yes of course she is!”
“Sherlock, what do you have to say about that?”
“Yesterday I did DNA testing on samples from John and David, sorry agent Mason White. Neither one of you are Rosie’s father. I also tested a sample of DNA from Magnussen, He is a match.”

“NO! He is lying!”
“Mike Stamford was with him when he did the testing.” For the first time John and Sabrina lock eyes.
“Yes, because you can’t become a father!”
“Thank heaven for that!”

Throughout this Jamie have been struggling against Arthur’s grip on here.
Now Greg comes in the room and together the two men handcuffs her.
Directly after they get Sabrina handcuffed also.
Jamie is ranting and raving about what she will do with Sherlock and specially John when she gets away from the handcuffs.

“Hang on! Whose agent are you?”
By now, Sabrina has realized that’s the game is over and that Jamie has lost the control totally.
“British government and Mr Mycroft Holmes.” David or at this time Mason White sounds very tired and resigned.


Sabrina looks around for another victim for her poisoning words.
“Hey, Sherlock! Good luck making John your lover! He can’t get it up half of the time and hates when anyone thinks his gay!”
She laughs a wicked laugh.

Sherlock puts his hand in his right pocket and takes out *Mary’s* wedding ring.
“He gave me this after Birlstone and said he loved me.”
“You love him?!” Sabrina stare at John. “You said yourself that you’re not gay!” John looks at her and then turns to Sherlock and kisses him as if his life depended on it.

Jamie is screaming and trying to get lose from Arthur’s and Greg’s hold but with no luck.
Sabrina is staying quiet, only looking at them. After a few more kisses John turns and looks at the two women.

“I’m his and he’s mine. I’m bisexual by the way and after these last days out to all my friends. You two haven’t succeeded in splitting us up. I understand that you become my wife because you were on a mission, Sabrina or whatever your name is. Mrs Watson is dead and there will never be any new one. I have my man for life!”

For the first time Sabrina looks down at the floor and hunches over a bit.
Mason White holds her steady but, his face very neutral. It’s very clear that’s all his feelings for the woman in his arms are gone. Sabrina realizes that neither *David* or John loves her anymore or will help her escape.

“Sorry, but it’s best if we get this woman to a psychology assessments soon as possible and thereafter to prison.”

Greg says and whistles and the room fills with policemen who takes the women away.
Greg and Arthur go with them but not before Arthur says to John.


“Don’t forget what you promised me in regards of *Mary*!”
“I haven’t forgotten. As soon as they are safe in a prison cell.” John takes Arthur‘s hand and shakes it.

After all the people have left John hugs Sherlock. Sherlock puts his hands on John’s back and caresses him. A big sigh leaves him and he whispers in John’s ear.
“That went much better than I thought.”
“They’re not in a secure prison yet.”
“Best to see that it happens then?”
A quick kiss to John’s left cheek and Sherlock and John follows the others.

At the maximum security prison that houses people that will be a security risk for the nation they meet Mycroft and Clint and Rosie, now sleeping in Clint’s arms.

John is happy that she is sleeping so she won’t see him again. He stays silent and only looks at her. She has grown so much, she isn’t an infant any more. When Sherlock starts to ask questions in regards to his future plans for Rosie. John takes Sherlock’s arm and moves him away to another corridor further away from Rosie.

Sherlock ask again John if he doesn’t want her to be his daughter after all?
John looks at Sherlock with sad eyes but with a look on his face that says he is determined to do this.


"I loved my Rosie, but she died. I don't think I can love her now when I know who her real mother and father are. She isn't mine-“ he takes some deep breaths and trying again to tell Sherlock what he feels.
“I can easily start to recents her if she becomes fussy or doesn’t do what I want her to do. I can easily see both her biological parents in her-“

He breathes a moment and Sherlock sees how sad and and angry he is.

Again, he tries to clarify his feelings.
“It's isn't fair to her to take her and then not be able to love her to the fullest of my heart. If she gets new parents that don’t know anything about her, parents that can't see them in her, then maybe she has a chance to become a good and loving person.” John resting his head on Sherlock's shoulder and starts to cry. It's the hardest decision he has ever made in his life and probably will ever make. A part of him wants to hug Rosie hard against him and never let her go. Another part inside him is screaming!

”Look at her! she is a psychopath! Look at her parents! Therefore he knows he can't be her father.
He will give her all the chance he can give her for a life with loving and caring parents and that aren’t him and Sherlock.

“Sorry! I can't do it!"
"It's alright." Sherlock murmurs in his ear. His hands are moving up and down over John's back and hair, trying to calm him down.
"Do you need anything from her before they take her?"
John sniffles and look up on Sherlock.
"No, just hold me."
Sherlock nods to Mycroft and he gives the order to the officials that are there to collect Rosie.

"Mycroft! Tell me when she has a new family. A good one!”
"I shall see what I can do!"
"NO! A good family! A Stable family! She is the innocent one in this ugly story!”

John turns in Sherlock's arms and holds Mycroft eyes with his steady eyes contact, willing him to do his absolute best in this matter.
"I will make sure she is well placed. I promise you and Sherlock that." Mycroft is voice is sharp and full of determination.

“Can we please go home for some rest before Arthur talks to Sabrina and you do some interviews?” John in a very tired voice.
“They said it would take at least a day before anyone can do that. Mason White must be debriefed first and some of Moriarty’s other men have to be interrogated before we talk to them. So we don’t lose some important information.”
“Good, let's go home to Baker Street.”
John takes Sherlock hand without looking back on the other people standing there.

Chapter Text

Sherlock is laying in his bed fully awake, trying to hear if John is making any sounds. All he can hear is a quiet crying noise, so it’s obvious that John is trying not to be heard.
They had come home early in the morning and decided to sleep together in Sherlock’s bed, but after some time Sherlock had realized that John couldn’t sleep and was fighting with his feelings. Sherlock tried to pretend that he was sleeping, rolling over on his back with his head turned away from John, to make it easier for John to leave the bed and go to the living room.

Only a short time after he had gone, Sherlock heard the first noises of crying. His heart breaks a little for his John.

“He’s my boyfriend, I have a right to help him with his sorrow. How can I help him in any way?”

He looks at the time and sees that it’s nearly 30 minutes since John left the bed.
“What can I do? What would John or dad do in this situation? It isn’t good to leave him, god knows that it’s never good for him to be alone. Tea! John and dad would always make tea when they have something they want to talk about. He’s crying, he hates to show me that’s his upset... But what if I go to the toilet first and make noises so he hears me? Then I can make some tea and a sandwich for us both. He knows that I’m trying to do better at eating, and the truth is I’m hungry.”

The feeling surprises him, he is hungry?
He leaves the bed and goes to the toilet that is also necessary for him at that time, as he realizes with a smile. His body has really started to work in every way now.

When he leaves the toilet he sees that John is sitting in the red armchair.
At last, John is back in his armchair!
He makes tea and is humming happily when he looks into the fridge and sees that Mycroft’s minions have put in his favorite cheese when they refilled it.
“Funny it’s the little things that Mycroft does sometimes that make me understand he loves me even if it’s infuriating that he is always there!”

Tea and sandwiches made, he goes to the living room and puts a cup of tea and a sandwich next to John, on the table. He lets his left hand squeeze John’s nearest shoulder before he goes to his armchair.
Sherlock makes no attempt to make eye contact. He only sits down and eats his sandwich and drinks his tea. When he’s finished he leans back in the armchair and crosses his legs. Laying his hands in his thinking posse he tries to go to his Mind Palace.

They sit there for a long time and Sherlock is listening at London waking up. Deliveries at the coffee shop, people shouting at each other about how parking is prohibited outside their door.

Then John starts to yawn.
“Would you like to go back to bed and sleep for a hour or two?” with a deeper voice than ever, Sherlock startles John.
“Yeah, Maybe I can sleep now,” The answer is hesitant.

“John, I have one thing to say. You’re so brave. You’re not being selfish in regards to Rosie. You’re giving her the best chance you can for her to be loved and cherished. You have all the right in the world to be angry and sad. Please, don’t hide that from me. We are partners for life now and we do it together.”
Sherlock stands and reaches for him and John is up on his feet and in Sherlock’s arms in a heartbeat.

“I love you!” He whispers to Sherlock.

“Dearest, you have my heart now and forever.”

Surprise is all over John face. “You’re using pet names?”
“John, romance is important for you, therefore it’s important for me to. In every relationship you been in you have tried so hard to be romantic and feel romance. You didn’t want only sex even if that’s the reason you started going on dates with several woman. You tried hard to be romantic with every one of them.” Sherlock lets the words sink in before he continues. “What I’m trying to say, if badly is that you need in life is what I will try to give you as much as I can.”
“So, it’s alright for you if I call you Sweetheart or sugar nuts?”
“Sugar nuts? What on earth are that?”
“I think that’s something that I will tell you in a different situation and in the bedroom?”
“Oh! Have we shifted into the sex part of our relationship now?”
“Not right now, I’m too sleepy. But we will revisit the subject later. That’s a promise. Sherlock, thank you for coming after me and just being there. It helps to not be alone.”
“Bed, Dearest, you need sleep.”

They go to the bedroom where Sherlock is the big spoon for many hours before John needs to shift and turns to lie on his back. Sherlock happily snuggles in with his head on John’s chest.

When they wake up in the afternoon, they hear the voices of Mycroft and Greg outside in the kitchen.
“Good, a visit from my brother in law and his boyfriend the first thing after I open my eyes.” John grumbles with his lips in Sherlock’s hair.
“Well, they have made coffee at least.” there is a smile in Sherlock’s voice.
“Then you can go out to them and get me a cup, before I have to meet them!”
“Bossy Soldier!”
“You love it when I’m a bit bossy!”
“Oh, you have realized that now?”
“That you have a soldier kink? Yes, we will revisit that thought some other time when Mycroft and Greg aren’t in the next room.”
“No, we can’t make Mycroft too jealous,” laughing, he opens the door and walks to the kitchen.

“Sleeping beauty is awake!” Greg smiles back at Sherlock.
Mycroft grumbles about sleeping the day away and much work that needs to be done. He doesn’t like that his boyfriend is talking about his brother being beautiful. Especially when Sherlock was his previous boyfriend.
Greg turns his head and stretches so he can give Mycroft a kiss on the lips.
“You’re a beauty, too!”

Mycroft face flushes a vivid shade of red as he dips down his head and drinks a mouthful of coffee.
“Good morning or good afternoon, is the debriefing of Mason White done?” he wants to give Mycroft a chance to collect himself without making it too obvious that he is doing that.
“Yes, some of us have been working all day when you to have slept!” Mycroft retorts grumpily. He did understand what Sherlock was doing with his questions.
“Good. I will only give John a cup of coffee and after that we can go through the debriefing.”
“So John isn’t coming out to us?” Greg looks surprised.
“He needs some time for himself.” Sherlock answer in a low voice.
“Rosie,” is Mycroft’s response.
“Yes, he has lost his daughter again.”
The two men don’t know what to reply to that very brutal explanation.
“Do you want something to eat?” Greg decides it’s better to change the subject.
“Make some soup? There’s some in the fridge only to reheat.”
With obvious relief Greg starts preparing the food.

After John have drunk his coffee he showers. Sherlock knocks on the door and gives him some of his fresh clothes that the minions had also left when they filled the fridge with food.
John is a bit surprised over the shirt that isn’t his but it’s dark blue and very soft. He realizes that Sherlock must have bought it for him.
Looking into the mirror he feels a bit startled at the man looking back at him.
His hair is longer than usually and his clothes are more form fitting. Slowly he opens the two top buttons of the shirt.
He takes a second look in the mirror before he nods at his reflection, performs a military turnaround and opens the door.

When John walks into the living room, the three men look up from the paperwork they’re working on.
Greg whistles appreciatively, looking John up and down.
Mycroft lifts an eyebrow and smiles a smile John never seen him do, it’s so gentle.
Sherlock’s face is full of happiness
“That shirt is exactly the right color for you, Dearest. So happy that you accepted my gift.”
“Well, boyfriend have the right to give expensive gifts now and then.”
“But not everyday!” Greg interrupts as he looks at Mycroft with a determination all over his face. “I must also have the right to give gifts!”
“I’m with you on this matter Greg.” John smiles happily at him.
“The Holmes brothers must learn how to not take over the control in a relationship.” Nodding his head, Greg seams for a moment occupied by a thought.
“You mean I have been giving you too many presents?” Mycroft sounds very surprised as he asks Greg.
“Yes, but I have loved everything you’ve given me. Now it’s time to let me be the gift giver.”
“Mycroft, wasn’t it you that said we’d let too much time pass without doing anything about the case?”
Mycroft looks so bewildered. He can’t understand what he has done wrong or if he has done anything wrong?
“It’s okay.” Greg says to him.
“Fine! Back to work then.”

Mason White has given them much information and his life is now in danger. Mycroft has made the decision to relocate him to a safe house with Clint and Ollie as his bodyguards.

The most important piece of information were the sleeper cells in the government that were working for Moriarty or any organization that was willing to pay generously for their help. Five people in the British government were now under investigation and taken to prison so they couldn’t make more damage or escape.

Among Mycroft’s own minions three people had been named and Mason had his meetings recorded on tape on several occasions. Greg had collected the tapes all over London. Mason was a good spy!

Chapter Text

“What smells so good from the kitchen?” John interrupts Mycroft’s description of what has happened when he and Sherlock slept the day away.


“Chicken soup and I have made sandwiches,” Greg nods to the workbench next to the stove that had a plate with sandwiches on it.

“What are we waiting on? I’m hungry.” Smiling, Sherlock starts to walk out to the kitchen.


“You heard the man, time for food.” Grumbling about eating and sleeping when they have important things to do, Mycroft stands up and follows the other two men.


For a long time the only thing they talk about are how to set the table and what to drink with the meal. John and Greg decide to drink beer and Mycroft and Sherlock on sparkling water.


The soup is good and Greg’s sandwiches go down with no problem.


Under the table, Sherlock’s foot moves over John’s left foot where he sits opposite Sherlock. A coy smile comes over John’s face. Greg lifts an eyebrow, but says nothing.


After the meal Sherlock stands up and goes to put the tea kettle on.


Mycroft decides that it’s time to inform the two men about Jamie Moriarty’s mental health.

On the way to the security prison she had started to be non-responsive. After being evaluated by two psychologists about her mental stability and one clinical doctor to exclude any physical illnesses, she had been found needing extending psychological care.
She had no physical illness, but mentally she had started to become catatonic. She didn’t respond to any stimulation in any form.


Even when the doctor tried to rub a knuckle against her sternum to get a reaction via pain, it didn’t result in any reaction at all from her. She had retracted back to her own mind.


Sherlock can’t remain still when Mycroft starts telling them about her mental status. He goes into the living room and stands to look out the window.


John goes to him and takes his hand and talks softly to him.
“Mycroft isn’t talking about our friend Molly. This is Jamie Moriarty that is very mentally ill.” Sighing, Sherlock turns to John and takes his other hand in his.


“You’re right, Dearest. But she’s been a real friend to me for many years now. It’s hard to remember her as Jamie?” His last comment sounds like a question to John.


“I know, Sweetheart. You’re brave, because you can remember and cherish the memories of Molly. On the other hand, you’ve realized that Jamie Moriarty is a very ill person that has hurt you from childhood to now. Remember Molly if you must, but never forget who she really was. You can’t help her or save her in anyway.”


“I know, but it hurts anyway.” John silently hugs him.


Greg and Mycroft remain talking between themselves in the kitchen. Trying to give the two other men some privacy.
Greg is also having a hard time coming to grips with his feelings.
He’s been working with Molly Hooper for so many years and always liked her. She’s been a very competent working colleague and after his divorce he thought for a moment if he should ask her out on a date.


Three things stopped him doing that.
Her obvious obsession with Sherlock. When Sherlock was in the room, every other man ceased to exist for Molly.
Her engagement with Tom, and last but not least, his crush on Mycroft.


“Why didn’t I see that something was off with her?” Greg frustratedly combs his fingers through his hair messing it up even more.


“Gregory, nobody saw who she was. Nobody! Not Sherlock or I had a clue that she was dangerous. She was only a business partner of sorts to him. I on the other hand didn’t see anything other than a competent pathologist.” Greg looks up and into Mycroft’s eyes.


“Yes, I know but I did see how infatuated she was in Sherlock. Hell, even her fiancé looked like Sherlock!” He throws his hands in the air and smacks them back to his body’s sides with a thumping noise.


“Please, don’t hurt yourself. It’s not your fault and it’s not Sherlock’s either. She was good at hiding her identity and her agenda.”


“Yes, I feel so sorry for your brother.” Both men look over at the other two men at the window. Sherlock and John are now hugging, Sherlock absentmindedly stroking John’s hair and him responding by stroking Sherlock’s back.
They decided that all four of them would go to the security prison.
It’s late in the afternoon.

Mycroft calls for his driver and the car.


Sabrina Moran was the person they needed to talk to, now that Jamie Moriarty was catatonic.
Sitting together on one seat with Mycroft and Greg before them on the other, John is restless. Agitation in his voice when he starts to speak.
“I don’t see how we will get anything out of her?” John is frowning.
“The best thing would be to get her so upset she doesn’t know she’s revealing things?”
John laughs out loud at Greg’s words.


“I’ve lived with that woman for two years and she has never revealed anything even when we were arguing!” He gives Greg a hard look.


“I think that could work on some degree actually, John. She has lost everything. Rosie, her lover, and the control she thought she had over you.” Sounding very thoughtful and tossing his phone around in his right hand, Sherlock seems halfway into his mind palace.


“Control over me? Isn’t that rather obvious to her now that she doesn’t have that?” He’s so upset over Sherlock’s choices of words to describe Sabrina and his relationship, or is he describing Mary Watson and his relationship? He nearly can’t keep up with his own thoughts.


“She didn’t think we’re anything more than friends last night and when you told her that we’re together she got really upset.” The response is quietly and a thoughtful tone. John is thinking it over before he speaks.


“It must have made her very upset to get to know at the same time that David was an agent for the British crown and me being in a relationship with you?” Nodding his head, Sherlock continues this thought process.


“And then realizing that we all knew that Rosie wasn’t yours or David’s daughter, but Magnussen’s. That we had DNA proof of that, nothing she said could change that. What would happen to her daughter now?”
“Do you really believe Sabrina cares about Rosie? John’s voice breaks.


“Yes, why would she have taken her with her if she didn’t care about her in the first place?”
The two men look at each other for a moment.


“I can’t talk to her about Rosie, please don’t make me do that!” John’s voice is raspy and low. Only thinking about Rosie hurts.
“Magnussen. Did he know he was Rosie’s biological father?” John asks.
“I will talk about Magnussen, if you don’t mind?”
“Is it even important now?”


“I think that could be the key to solving the problem why she got involved with you? Her operation with trying to take down Magnussen was sloppy. She didn’t take her time and plan the operation and thinking about what could go wrong.”


Nodding his head, John says in a normal voice, “Alright, you speak and I’ll make her see that we’re a unit she can’t break. She doesn’t deserve me talking or explaining anything to her.”
“Do you accept me telling her that you have decided to let Rosie be adopted by a new family?”
“Yes, Rosie is the key, isn’t she?” Appearing on John’s face is the one he only smiles when he’s upset.
Sherlock takes his hand in his and squeezes gently.


“Talk as little or as much as you want. This will be the last time you meet her. The only thing important is that you get closure to your relationship with her.”
“Yes.” His answer comes like a whisper over his lips.
Mary looks up at them with a defiant look on her face. She sits securely chained to a chair that is cemented into the floor.


John guides Sherlock into the room with a hand on his back. He pulls out a chair for Sherlock then pulls out his own chair and sits down.

“Oh look! If it isn’t Laurel and Hardy or should I say ‘The Captain with his boyfriend Commander Detective’?” She smiles broad over her insults.


“Ms.Moran, we wanted to inform you about what will happen to your and Mr. Magnussen’s daughter.” Sabrina’s face clouds over with anger.
“You can’t keep her from my family!” Shouting out the words, she tries to stand up.
“It’s already done.” John’s calm words stops her and she sits down again.
“What do you mean? Have one of my family members-”


“I am her father on the birth certificate, the one you yourself was very eager that we would sign.” He smiles his devil smile and keeps on talking. “Mrs.Mary Watson is dead and I have a death certificate that I am a widower. It was my prerogative to decide to adopt *my daughter* away to a loving couple.” Silence so cold and clear descended in the room after he said the last word.


For the first time, Sabrina is gobsmacked. She can’t believe that John has the upper hand over her.


“You didn’t!” She screams when the realization over what has happened hits her.
“Why would I take care of a child that’s been declared dead for months and after getting to know isn’t biologically my daughter? Still she carries my family name? Daughter to the two people that disgust me most in the world?” Calmly he puts his hands together on his lap and relaxes back into the chair, looking at Sabrina still smiling the devil’s smile.


“She is my daughter! You have no right to take her from me!”
A hard voice talks over her. “Yes he can! And he already has given her up!”
Sabrina can’t stand it anymore.
“Keep quiet, Sherlock!
“No! You’ve no right speaking to him like that. Neither do you have the right to speak to me like that. It’s over Ms Moran. You signed your daughter away with that birth certificate and by betraying me.”

“You couldn’t father a child and I needed something as leverage when Sherlock returned. I could see it in your eyes and body language right after he returned. You were thinking of leaving me.”


“David I can understand, but why Magnussen?”
“Because he saw the video from the fire! He realized that we had worked together with old Moriarty and that I now worked on my own.”


“You’ve tried to establish yourself as the new Moriarty, working in the shadows and connecting with old members of his network. People that weren’t in prison or dead. You didn’t know that old Moriarty had a daughter that was the new Moriarty?”


“Jamie was only an agent that worked with older Moriarty. After James Moriarty died Richard took over as stipulated in his testament. I was there when “Molly” read her father’s testament for the closest agents to her dad. Yes, she fooled me all right.” A sigh escapes from Sabrina.


“You realised your mistake when Moriarty’s message came up and I returned from my exile. You were afraid from that moment on!”
“Mycroft told me how frightened you looked.”


“Yes, for good reason! When she contacted me that evening when John was at the hospital with you she was so angry at me because of your overdose. She had realized that I had smuggled in the things to you by threatening a prison guards family.”
“She frightens you! Even now you’re afraid of her?”
“Go to Hell, Sherlock!”

Chapter Text

Sherlock starts to laugh. He then stops and makes eye contact with Sabrina.
“I’ve already been to hell and back because of you. Now it’s time for you to pay for those visits into the dark world.”

“What do you mean? Some years in prison?” She smiles sweetly at him.
“That’s what everyone thinks will happen, but we both know that isn’t the truth in this case?” His eyes bore into her, making her feel like a subject under his microscope lens. How many times has she seen him look at something with that focus and determination in his eyes?

“Mycroft can’t make me disappear, how ever much you want that to happen!” She’s desperately trying to sound certain of what will happen now.

“Moriarty.” Laconically Sherlock answers her.

“You’re forgetting that she’s gone totally bananas!” Now it’s Sabrina’s turn to laugh.

“Who are you trying to fool, yourself or us? What has been the driving force from the beginning?”

A terrified look comes over Sabrina’s face. She tries to wet her lips and swallows. Her eyes goes to John sitting there looking relaxed, he turns his head to smile proudly at Sherlock.

“You, love and obsession!” The words are like an ax cutting the air from John’s mouth.

“Yes, John. Me and obsession. Love? A very peculiar and sick form of love. This game started a long time before either of you were on the chessboard. Neither of you were meant to be big players, only as pawns and knights.”

“Oh, and John is your shining knight in this game?” She’s desperately trying to get Sherlock rattled.

“To my big regret John become a pawn during the time that different people battled over me and power. Jamie wanted me, her father wanted money and power, and I interfered with that. Richard Brooks thought he would get fame and power.” He nods his head towards Sabrina and speaks softly to really hit home with his words. “You thought that love, money and power was an arm’s length away. You liked what you saw of John at the pool. Him not being afraid even in a semtex vest. Taking every chance at saving the world from Moriarty. Power and money have always been important for you and with the new Moriarty gone?” He leans forward and whispers. “How disappointing it must have been when Jamie Moriarty came into your life. Showing you how much power she had and how loyal the members of the remaining network were to only her!”

Sabrina starts to shake visibly and both Sherlock and John notice.

“Members of the network you had no idea ever existed were then coming out of the woodworks again.” He steeples his hands together before his mouth.

“Isn’t it time to start telling us as much as you know if you want to live? Even you must realize that as long as you’re in England it’s easier to kill you?” John sounds determined when he now has realized how afraid Sabrina is.

“Me telling you anything won’t stop them! Get me out of here now!”

Like a cobra, John’s voice strikes through the air in the room.“Check mate! Live and take a chance on continuing on living or choose to die!”

Again the smile Sabrina has started to hate is on John’s face. She can’t give up. After a moment of debating with herself she comes to a decision. She will try to borrow time and try to find a way to escape.

“Fine! Long live the Queen and his Knight!”

With a totally controlled face Sherlock asks the first question.

“Alright, how many people are still active in Jamie Moriarty’s network?
Three days later, early in the morning, John’s phone starts to ring at the table beside the bed.

Sherlock grumbles and turns his back to him and the horrible noise the phone gives up. John fumbles to get a hold on it and answers. “Yeah, speak!”

“John, can you please put the phone on speaker and wake up Sherlock. You both need to hear what I have to say.”

“Sherlock, Mycroft wants to speak with us.”

“It’s in the middle of the night what does he want now!” Irritation clear in his voice he turns back and looks at his boyfriend.

Mycroft’s voice speaks loud and clear out of the speaker phone.

“Sabrina Moran was found dead 03.01 by the special guard we had to check on her every 30 minutes. She was alive and well 02.33 when the two guards had looked at the camera in her cell.”

“The guards didn’t visit her in the cell?”

“No, we didn’t want the guards to be able to murder her if they had the chance to go into her cell.”

“The pictures from the camera must show who the murderer is?”

“Mason White. He strangled her.” The coldness in Mycroft’s voice is chilling.

“Oh, my God. She managed to crack him completely.” John’s voice is upset. Sherlock lays his arms around him and tries to comfort him when he sees the other man’s eyes. “It could have been me if I hadn’t had you.” He whispers into Sherlock’s neck.

“Agent White has left a letter addressed to you. I think we need to know what’s in the letter as soon as possible,” Mycroft’s voice comes from somewhere on the bed where John has dropped the phone.

After some seconds Sherlock finds the phone and answers him. “We’ll be there as soon as possible.” He rings off and turns to John. “Coffee before we leave?”

“Yes.” It’s all that John can get out just now.
When they arrive at the prison Mycroft, Greg, and Mason White are waiting in a prison cell.

Mason White only sits there looking right at the wall. He doesn’t move even a little bit when John and Sherlock are entering the cell.

“He hasn’t said anything since they found him beside Sabrina in the cell,” Greg tells them with a low voice.

When he hears what Greg is saying, White looks at John.

“I have nothing to say. She had to die. I was the only one left to do it. Old Moriarty’s younger brother couldn’t do it. He’s old, rheumatic, and has never been a criminal himself. What did he know about murdering someone?”

“James Moriarty’s younger brother?” Even Mycroft sounds surprised when he answers the man.

“Yes. Colonel James Moriarty is a younger brother to Professor James Moriarty in mathematics at London university. Little brother was first in the English army after that he has worked as a station master in Melbourne, Australia. Personally my thought is that he met Sabrina first of all family members when he was in the army. He didn’t realize that when he told his older brother about how good of a shot she was his brother would contact her and make use of her skills.”

“He had traveled to London to engage you to kill Sabrina and asked you to leave a letter to John?”

“Yes, he did that when his niece asked him to take care of Sabrina and give the letter she’d given him to John. He thought if he did it would get his brothers name cleaned. The stupid git did think that Jamie wasn’t the only criminal in the family! He thought she became a criminal because she was blinded by her love for you, Mr Holmes.”

“Why is the letter then written to John?” He doesn’t like it that again John is the target for Jamie’s games.

“I don’t know.” Mr White looks Sherlock straight in his eyes.

“Well, we know the letter doesn’t have any explosive component, but to be safe it’s best to use gloves when you open the letter.”

“John?” The name is a question from Sherlock’s lips.

“It’s addressed to me. I will open the letter.” He’s standing in parade stance, waiting for his next order like a soldier.
Sherlock makes a quick nod with his head, understanding that nothing will change John’s decision to open the letter.

Silently, Greg gives John the gloves and points at the letter laying on the table in the corner. With steady hands John puts on the gloves and moves to the table with Sherlock right behind him.

He takes the letter and turns around and looks the other man directly in his eyes. The dangerous smile appears on John’s face.
“I love you, whatever is written in this letter.”

“I love you, it’s best you read the letter now.”

John opens the letter and starts to read.
To Doctor John Hamish Watson,

I hope you will never read this letter because that would mean you have won the only man that matters in my life. You’ve won even when you can only return his love for you with friendship. Can you do that when you know he wants you to be his lover?

I promised Sherlock to burn his heart out of him. But if you are reading this then it’s my heart that has been burned out of me.

Sherlock has just woken up from more than eight months in a coma in the hospital. He hasn’t contacted me and I don’t think he knows that I know he’s awake.

But he immediately got in contact with you! You have visited him at the hospital!

Why! He’s my one true love!

Sherlock can’t be homosexual and in love with you, he can’t!


That have been running around with every dark haired woman you can find and even sometimes a blonde.

For god’s sake!

You married a woman, became a father, and he still chooses you!


He made nearly all the preparations for your wedding with a woman. A woman that belittled him at every chance she could find.

And you, John, only stood there listening to her doing it, didn’t you? Do you really think Sherlock deserved that? Really?

After your wife shot him you returned back to her?

That woman nearly killed my love.

I can wait. Have been waiting nearly all my life for his love.

Dr. Watson, You Will Never Read This Letter.

But if you do? Then I will be dead. Who will be responsible for that?


If you are reading this letter John? Then your wife is dead for real this time. I wonder who will kill her? My uncle will get a good murderer for her, don’t you worry!

Sabrina is dead because of what she did by shooting Sherlock and making it possible for Sherlock to return to you and not even thinking of Molly, or me!

If she hadn’t shot Sherlock, you wouldn’t have returned to him for many months. That was so frustrating for me. All that time in the autumn he didn’t speak to me. Only you!

Day out and day in Molly and I waited for him to ask for us. I thought he would love Molly. A scientist, kind, and helpful when he needed her support.

Then he shoots Magnussen only to try and save your marriage?

How did Sabrina thank him?

Giving him so much narcotics that My Love nearly died again!


But for now I may need her for getting Sherlock back to me. The stupid woman doesn’t think that she will be killed. She thinks David will save her every time and he’s the reason I helped her escape. To get a new identity again.

John? Are you reading this letter?
You poor man. You’re not Rosamund’s father, Magnussen is!

If you’re reading this letter, then Sherlock is gay and in love with you!
Why you?
So run little soldier boy! Run to the nearest pub and find a woman to marry!

So Sherlock?!

How does it feel to know that Doctor John Hamish Watson knows your big secret?
Go To Hell You Sick Person! If you can’t love me, even if it’s only the part of me that’s Molly, you do not deserve to live.

We are both dead!

Happy now, Sherlock?!

Not forever yours, boys!

Jamie Moriarty

For a moment after John stops reading only silence is heard in the room.

“Thank god I didn’t read this letter before now!” John is pressing the words through clenched lips. “If I read this letter before you had come out, me meeting Peter and Adam or our trip to Birlstone, we would have been on very shaky ground, Sherlock.” He leans into Sherlock’s body seeking reassurance and belonging.

“That’s the reason Jamie became catatonic. She heard you tell Sabrina that we’re together as a couple. She hadn’t succeeded in burning my heart out of me. She lost so many years of struggle and fight to get me as her own. She wanted to own me!” His voice is not stable as many feelings at the same time go crashing through his mind.

“For her, Molly was a part of her, but also her own person?” He holds John’s body as close as he can against himself.

“Maybe. I didn’t trust her, but she was a sort of working colleague to you and Greg,” John mumbled against his right shoulder. “And then she became friends with Mary. I let that fly because then Mary wouldn’t be insisting that we should do things together. Molly became my escape goat from Mary and even sometimes from Rosie.”

Sherlock takes a step back, but still holding on to John’s arms.“Somehow we succeed in surviving and finding each other as lovers?”

“Yes, our hearts are slowly mending, but Sherlock, no more leaving me out on anything. If someone or something is bothering you or hurting you, tell me!

“Yes, and the same must you do.” He takes John’s face in his hands and slowly lingers a kiss on his lips.

“Alright-,” Mason White is hushed by Mycroft with only a look that says. “Leave them alone!”