John knew love could be different. He loved his biological parents, even after he was left on the orphanage. It wasn't mom's fault to die and take dad's happiness with her. He loved his brothers, even after they were apart from each other. It wasn't their fault that he could only see them from time to time. But he knew they would be with him when he was in need. Their physical presence wasn't the same as the sentimental one, the last one was almost magical. Don't get me wrong, sometimes they where shit at expressing their emotions but the presence of the other was enough. Everything was almost perfect.
John knew love was very complicated too. Sometimes people were together, other times couldn't and other times they didn't let themselves have a chance. Some people liked you back, some didn't. That was just life.
For years he tried to love himself. Oh, how he tried. But it was hard, even when the people around him didn't want to like him. His parents liked him, treated him good, but they went away. In the orphanage the nuns whispered about him and his brothers, but they were all right. The friends he made were taken away and he was taken from his brothers. The Watsons were fine at the beginning, but when the truth came out it wasn't nice anymore. He had to wait five years to find some peace in the army.
Even between soldiers, he wasn't liked very much. John was respectful, nice and a good soldier. Some commanders like Sholto and Bond liked him. Other soldiers thought he was warming their beds at night. Little they knew (but they couldn't find out him and James where family). When he made friends in the army, they were fine for years. Now, the only one who is left is Murray. When they went back to London they tend to talk from time to time, but Bill is busy with his new life. John is happy for him, happy that he found love.
John thinks he can love himself completely after he bumps into Mike Stamford one. He thinks he can love himself when he opens one of the doors at Bart's. When he sees the most beautiful man he has ever known. But life is cruel and days later he hears the man say in a beautiful baritone:
"I am married to my work."
He panics a little. He never felt more attracted to a person in his life like with Sherlock. Not even when he liked Sholto. He looks elsewhere for love. Women are easy to date, people would judge him less. There were some men too, in their homes, away from prying eyes. If they were tall, skinny and had dark hair, only he knew. He tries to find love but he doesn't find it, he already found it and was a bloody genius (but not interested in him).
John keeps going with Sherlock to every adventure he can and blogs about it. Now and then he sees a spark of something in his companion's eyes, but it doesn’t last long. There are times when he thinks he sees an opportunity, that his love could be returned. But then, The Women happens and everything goes down the loo.
Everything that follows is just heartbreak. He sees the love of his life jump and he dies in front of him. He can't do anything. He just can think over and over again: That's what dad felt? Would I go and never come back too? The answer for the first question was yes, for the later he need to go away first to find it.
John knew that love was something very complicated. He had loved his parents and they both died. He had loved Sholto but he lost his will to live. He loved Harry and she had drowned her life in alcohol. He loved the Watson´s but they wanted back Hamish and not him. He loves his brothers but hardly sees them. And is just only matter of time when he loses them too.
Love is complicated, amazing and at the same time hurtful. Living can be breathtaking, in an orgasmic or catastrophic way. He knew it. Life took his breath away when the love of his life touched the earth. When blood splattered in the sidewalk. When he didn’t find a heartbeat and his hands were covered in blood.
John goes to his funeral. He doesn’t say anything in front of the present people, Lestrade does. After that, he goes back to 221B and packs his things. In the bottom of the trunk he puts his gun. He says goodbye to Mrs. Hudson.
"Where are you going?"- she asks at the door.
"Away. I need time for myself."
"All right. Take care. Don’t forget to call."
He hugs her and kisses her cheek. Like he used to do when they were going out. John sends some texts. He says goodbye to some people, with the gut feeling that he wasn't coming back.
He takes a plane to Iceland, away from everyone and everything.
His vision is blurry. His head hurts a lot. His mouth is dry and is stomach is yelling at him. He doesn’t want to move but there was a motive why he woke up. He feels something nudging his shoulder. He blinks, trying to focus, but it is still dark. More nudging, more focusing, and he starts making apart a shadow.
He answers with a grunt, not wanting to talk. He can't form words, not with a gigantic effort, which he doesn't want to achieve. He recognizes the person who is shaking him, but he can't put a name to the face, not yet. He doesn’t try much and lets darkness consume him again.
The next time he wakes up, he really needs to go the loo. Something tugs at him arm when he moves. Looking to the side, he sees and IV connected to his left hand. He hears steps and turns to his right. James comes into the room, with a bowl and a glass.
"You are an idiot, did you know that?"-was the stern hello from his brother.
"What are you doing here?"-John asked instead.
"Saving you from an early grave."
John snorted at that. James went around the bed and put the food in the table near the bed. They both sit in silence, James giving bits of fruits for his brother to ear. After John comes back from the bathroom, James look at him with determination in his face.
"There's still people of Moriarty´s network in England."-John opened his mouth but James kept talking- "Help me get rid of them."
John stares at him, feels the food trying to come back again. He thinks of Sherlock, how his death still hurts him.
"Then he died for nothing?"- he asks softly.
“He just cut the head of the snake, we need to take care of the venom.”
“Yeah. The Quartermaster likes to be dramatic.”-he gets near his brother-”Now drink this.”
They stay quiet while John drinks the last bit of water. James can see how his brother has lost some pounds and reeks of alcohol. Just a week since the funeral.
James lets John mourn for three weeks. When they talk it helps James shake John out of his stupor. He is the one that takes two weeks after that to pull him up on his feet. He helps John and together they find him a purpose. They talk, tell each other about what they lost that year. James talks about Olivia, about the Skyfall and Spectre missions. They find out that Moriarty and Denbigh were brothers. Twins! Oh, how John wanted to tell Sherlock about it. That it was twins! The only downside was that they found out the connection when everything already happened. When the fog dissipated.
When James asks him again to join MI6, John accepts. He becomes a consultant for MI6. Ironies of life, he thinks. John gets to meet Q. He is nice, but a bit of a prick. He reminds him of Sherlock. He is good for James. He works hard to help every agent to come back home. Q helps him be invisible when Mycroft tries to look for him. He feed him lies about John working for Doctors Without Borders.
One day, a few months later since John started working for the MI6, the Quartermaster asks John and James to talk in private with him.
"He is alive."-is the first thing he says- "Mycroft wanted it to be a secret, so did Sherlock. But it was a dumb ass decision, so I decided to ignore it."
John looks at him, he wants to yell, demand proof and yell some more. He takes a deep breath, like his MI6 therapist taught him, and asks.
“How do you know?”
“I am their brother.”
The air is knocked out of John. He just starts laughing, he looks back up at Q and laughs some more. Q face is the same one Sherlock did when he was offended and didn't understood human responses.
“That… explains a lot.”-he says catching his breath.
"They thought that you can´t keep a secret, that's why he didn't tell you about the plan. To make it more believable.”-he keeps on talking before John can remember he should be mad -”Which is dum and I told them so. But they wouldn't listen.”
“Why are you telling us now? And the both of us?” -James enquiries.
"I need you both on this mission. He is going the get himself inside of one of the biggest nest of Moriarty´s men. I need you to keep him out of danger, but you can't let him see you."
“And?”- John prompts, he knows there is more to it.
“And because I want revenge. I found out my brother jumped from the roof of a hospital, cried my eyes out and then Mycroft had the audacity to tell me it was all fake.”
John understand the feeling. He wants revenge too. He smirks and tells Q so.
“Prove him that you can keep a secret. To him and Mycroft."
"I hope he comes back alive, so I can show him that."
"Of course he will be back, I will assure you. That way I can punch him in the face."- James tells him, cracking his knuckles.
John smiles at his brother. They both will have their revenge, but to do so they first need to save the only Consulting Detective from his own idiotic choices.
"Both of my brothers are idiots and trust me too much for their own good."- is the last thing Q tells them, before he gives them their mission.
Sherlock is very tired or distracted, so he doesn’t notice when a shooting goes awry or a warehouse catches fire in the middle of the night. In the corner of his eye he might catch a blonde man, but he never sees his face. He is too good to be caught. He just thinks about his brother and how he sent some agent to look after him. In the next two years the blonde man saves him more than once, and he reminds him of John.