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“Sherlock?” John hisses.
Toodoo toodoooooo tododo
“Did you change my bloody ringtone to the James Bond theme?”
John turns the phone off hastily.
“In my defense,” Sherlock says. “I did assume you’d put your phone on silent during a hide-out.”
Shots start whizzing past their heads. Shit. Shit shit shit , Sherlock thinks. This is so not the way it was supposed to be.
One week earlier
“It’s John’s birthday. Next Sunday.”
Sherlock sips his tea and stares at the chess board in front of him.
“I deduced it,” Sherlock adds.
“You stole his birth certificate,” Mycroft says. “Knight. H4 to G6.”
Sherlock moves the piece for him. They’re sitting in 221B, and Mycroft has agreed to play chess with him, blindfolded. “To level the playing field,” he’d said. Smug bastard. Having to actually look at his brother - that’s the true player’s handicap.
“Make the move, Sherlock.”
“Bishop. D7 to C6.”
“I meant the game you’re playing with me,” Mycroft says.
“I’d like to organise a case for him,” Sherlock says. “As a gift.”
Mycroft raises his eyebrows underneath the blindfold. Probably to secretly glance at the board while the cloth moves. Sherlock smiles.
“John absolutely adores James Bond, as you are likely aware.”
“The answer is no. Pawn. G4 to G5.”
“He’s made me watch all the films during those tedious Bond nights,” he continues. “Even Die Another Day . And that octopus one.”
“You’re lucky. It could have been much worse. I read on Molly Hooper’s blog that she made Moriarty watch Glee .”
Sherlock falls silent. Moriarty is precisely the reason why he wants to organise an epic birthday gift - John’s very own Bond case, his dream come true. Because at the pool, he’d been… stunning. John had jumped on Moriarty’s back, while wearing that semtex vest.
“Queen. D8 to D5.”
John had jumped on Moriarty, been ready to die to protect him, and at that exact moment, Sherlock knew.
Mycroft frowns. “Are you sure?”
He is utterly and madly in love with John Watson.
“Of course,” Sherlock says.
And if John Watson loves James Bond, Sherlock will get him what he loves.
“Just find me an easy case. A two at most. We’ll make it more elaborate than it has to be. A real puzzle for him, an action-adventure. Make him think he’s tackling a case for MI6. You know you owe me after Irene Adler, Mycroft. You and the Queen.”
“Rook to D5. I slay your queen, Sherlock.”
“No you don’t,” Sherlock says. “There’s a pawn in the rook’s way.”
Mycroft’s mouth twitches in anger, and he lifts his blindfold. He motions to the chess board. “The way is not blocked, it’s right there.”
“I knew you’d peek under your blindfold, Mycroft,” Sherlock says. “You’re really the worst at playing blindfolded. So I’ve slightly altered some of the moves you’ve made this entire game. The pawns are not where you think they are. And now you’ve touched your rook. Where will you take it? It’s not even in that line. Go back in your mind, Mycroft. Where’s your rook? Do you see how you’ve lost this game? Do you see my next move? There’s nothing you can do. Check. Bloody. Mate.”
Mycroft leans back. Sherlock smiles broadly, and takes another sip of tea. It’s not even cold yet. The game was on, and off, quite fast.
“A two,” Mycroft mumbles, getting up to leave. “The government is not your birthday party planner, Sherlock.”
“And I’m not asking for cake and clowns, brother,” Sherlock says as Mycroft walks out the door. “Though chocolate is fine, thank you.”
A few hours later, while John is on the sofa watching television and Sherlock is staring down his microscope, his phone pings.
I have located a two.
An insignificant arms dealer. We’ve had our eye on him for a while. I suppose you and Doctor Watson could wrap this one up. If you must.
Is he abroad? 007 always travels.
The government is not your personal travel agency.
Sherlock waits patiently, and stares at John. He can see him perfectly from the kitchen, wrapped up under a blanket, laughing at an idiotic comedy. He almost regrets that their Bond nights are over, now. He doesn’t get invited to watch films with John anymore.
His phone pings again.
He’s in Amsterdam. I’ll send you the details.
Not nearly exotic enough, Sherlock thinks. But he has likely pushed his luck already with Mycroft.
And I’ll send YOU the details.
The reply is swift.
What on earth are you talking about?
I have a list. We need to make this case as Bond as possible.
Don’t make me regret this.
The following Saturday, Sherlock and John arrive outside Mycroft’s office. It’s the sixth of July, one day before John’s birthday. Sherlock smiles happily to himself. John doesn’t suspect a thing - he probably assumes Sherlock doesn’t do celebrations. Rightfully so. Except, this is John. And he deserves the best.
“What can I do you for today?” asks a gorgeous, blonde secretary with a white, deep-cut blouse.
Sherlock sniffs indignantly. She must be new here.
“We’re here to see Mycroft Holmes,” John says. “He… summoned us.”
Right: he’d sent a black car with tinted windows, and Adele’s Skyfall playing on the radio. Very subtle.
“And your name is…” the model-like woman asks with a breathy voice.
John clears his throat. “Watson. John Watson,” he says. “And this is Sherlock Holmes. You know. Holmes . Ring a bell?”
“Only alarm bells,” Sherlock scoffs.
“John Watson, right,” she smiles, ignoring Sherlock. “I’ve read your blog.”
John bites his bottom lip. “You have?”
Is he blushing ?
“Yes,” she says. “You’ve got a real writing skill. In your… fingers.”
When she puffs her chest like she’s Scarlett Johansson or something, Sherlock stiffens.
Hopefully, John doesn’t.
Sherlock texts Mycroft.
This was not part of the deal.
Ping , he hears from inside the office close-by. Then, a scuffle. Someone hastily putting his phone on vibrate.
You asked for Bond.
Yes, Bond. Not Blonde.
I’m just giving you a run for your Moneypenny.
Don’t appall me with puns, Mycroft.
Full. Bond. Experience. Exactly what you asked for.
“Mr Holmes is ready for you now,” the secretary says. She pushes a button and with a buzz, the door to his office opens.
When the door closes behind them, and the secretary is out of earshot, John wastes no time.
“What’s all this about, Mycroft?”
Mycroft is seated in his large leather chair with his back to them, and slowly whirls it around, hands folded. Sherlock tries not to roll his eyes. Mycroft needs to stop channeling Bond villains, and perhaps focus on Judi Dench. Much more up his street.
Mycroft has obscured his nameplate so that now, it only reads M.
“The Commonwealth needs your help,” Mycroft says.
John lifts his eyebrows in surprise, and looks briefly at Sherlock.
“There’s a dangerous arms dealer on the loose, and only you can catch him, John Watson. And Sherlock Holmes.”
“Why us?” John asks incredulously.
“It’s July, most of my agents are on vacation with their families. You know how it is. School holidays. Dreadfully boring.”
Sherlock coughs briefly.
“And this requires your specific skillset. Ex-military. Doctor. You’d be fine getting shot at, as well as tending to bullet wounds,” Mycroft says.
Another cough - more like a choke, now.
“Thanks... I suppose,” John says, shifting on his feet. He has taken a more military stance, Sherlock notices with some pride.
“Could be dangerous,” Sherlock says. A bit embarrassing, flirting in front of his brother. This is flirting, isn’t it? Sherlock frowns to himself.
Mycroft stands up, grabs a file from his desk and moves to the left wall. There, he opens the large cupboard and pushes a hidden button. The back of it starts shifting, revealing a hidden doorway.
“Follow me,” Mycroft says, as he steps into the cupboard.
John sucks in a breath, and exchanges a stunned look with Sherlock.
“Narnia,” Sherlock mouths.
Sherlock and John tread behind Mycroft as he descends a staircase, crosses a large hallway, and reaches a lift. The sensor scans his face and retina before taking them even deeper down into the government facility.
“If it doesn’t recognise you, it self-destructs,” Mycroft says. “With you inside.”
When the lift door opens, they enter a large room full of people. They’re dressed as scientists, straight out of old time films, and are working on different projects. Next to them, a man disappears inside a sofa. A little further, someone shoots some sort of rocket from a leg cast.
John is staring in awe.
Sherlock looks at Mycroft, eyes bulging. This is impressive. He must have pulled a lot of strings to get them down here.
“This is normally the canteen,” Mycroft whispers in Sherlock’s ear.
An elderly gentleman with round glasses joins them and shakes Mycroft’s hand.
“This is Q,” Mycroft says.
“The… Quartermaster?” John says. “What, like in a James Bond film?”
“James Bond is practically a documentary,” Sherlock says.
Mycroft scoffs. “More like an illegal download.”
“You must be John Watson and Sherlock Holmes,” the actor playing Q says. “I’m here to give you a technical briefing on your mission.”
John shakes his head open-mouthed. It makes Sherlock melt a little.
Q glances at Mycroft. “Have they been assigned their codenames yet?”
“No, they haven’t.”
“Is it…” John starts. He’s clearly suppressing his excitement with military strength. “I mean. It’s not 007 or something, right?”
Mycroft rolls his eyes. “Oh, please. Everybody wants that codename. I’m afraid we reserve that number for our employee of the month.”
“John, you are 009. Sherlock, you’re 0028. Sorry, it was the next available one.”
Sherlock glares at him, but Mycroft pays him no mind and turns to Q. “What have you got for us, old boy?”
Q reaches into his breast pocket and hands John a pen, adorned with the British flag.
“Oh! I know exactly what that is,” John says, eyes gleaming like a little boy’s. Sherlock feels a pang of regret. He wishes John looked at his pen like that.
Well, pen .
“Stationery? Nice deduction, John,” Sherlock says.
“No, no, you unscrew the top, put it on the end, turn, and bang!” John holds the pen very carefully.
“Let’s leave the top alone for now,” Sherlock mumbles.
Next to them, a scientist pours water on an umbrella, which immediately closes quite violently. The ends have sharp pins on them, entrapping whoever would be underneath it. They all stare at it.
“I think I prefer Mycroft’s sword gun umbrella,” Sherlock says.
“That’s a level 6 secret, Sherlock,” Mycroft says.
“It’s your party trick!”
“That was one Christmas!”
Mycroft begrudgingly leads them a little further, to a small table with a suitcase on it. Q opens it.
“I’ve prepared this for your travels, it’s full of handy gadgets,” Q says. “There’s a pair of glasses that can make its own case explode from a distance. There’s explosive toothpaste. There’s a towel that absorbs bloodstains to hide evidence. Well. You’ll see. I’ve included a handy instruction manual to go with the items.”
John touches the edges of the suitcase with shaking hands, then quickly hides them in his pockets. He breathes out unsteadily.
Sherlock beams at him. John’s clearly so happy. This will be the best birthday ever: guns, explosions, chases, only minor life endangerment. Perfect.
Mycroft hands John a gun. “This, Doctor Watson, is a Walther P99 semi-automatic pistol.”
John caresses it, mouth slightly open.
“You’ve got a licence to kill, now,” Mycroft says, looking him in the eye intensely.
“John is always killing it,” Sherlock says.
John chuckles, and turns to Mycroft. “Oh by the way, what’s our target’s name?”
Sherlock winks at Mycroft. He’s already been sent the target’s file. It should be easy enough. A small fish, some criminal loser tucked away in Amsterdam, smoking joints, wearing clogs, dealing out guns every now and then. He can do this in his sleep. On the way there, Mycroft will organise a scuffle with some actors, and in Amsterdam they’ll quickly wrap the case and then stay for another week to cruise. The canals.
“His name?” Mycroft asks. He glances at the file in his hand. “Sebastian Moran.”