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Where You Lead

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Wanting you the way I do
I only want to be with you,
I would go to the ends of the
earth. Where you lead I will
follow. If you need me to be
with you, I will follow where
you lead.
-Faith Hill

A Sequel To: I Just Had To Hear Your
Voice and Not Made of Steel

 

It was never a good day [not that he had good days anymore] to arrive home from a twelve-hour shift at the clinic during allergy season to find Mycroft Holmes waiting for him [And using the word ‘home’ to describe this place was a lie, but that was a whole other discussion.]

Worse, still, the British Government was sitting in his chair.

Well, he called it “his” chair.

Made of steel and leather, it was one of the few things brought here from his real home. Which made no sense, logically, because it was not nearly as comfortable as the one he’d actually used back when he lived in 221B. Back when he lived. But sometimes it helped to sit in it or just to look at it, remembering. One more little act of mourning, like when he would pause on the pavement outside Angelo’s, until Angelo himself noticed and made a sad face. Then he would just walk away.

At first, John simply ignored his unwanted visitor. He went into the tiny kitchenette and put the kettle on as usual. When it boiled, he made one cup of tea, a routine that he had officially labeled The Loneliest Thing in the World some time ago, but which at this moment felt more like an act of rebellion.

When he stepped back into the other room, he still did not speak, but did glare, until Mycroft got the message and got up from the chair. John sat. After a moment, Mycroft moved to the only other place in the room to sit, the bed, perching on the faded duvet with a grimace.

No one spoke. John was determined not to be the one who broke the silence, even if they sat here the rest of the night. He had no other plans.

Mycroft did not appear to be perturbed by the silence, of course. Finally, he took a quick glance at his watch and sighed. “John,” he said quietly, “You will need to pack a bag and be ready to leave within twenty minutes. A private jet is waiting.”

“Mycroft,” John said mildly, “You will need to fuck off in the next two minutes or I might have to throw you out the window.”

Mycroft seemed not to hear or even notice that he’d spoken, actually. “The clinic will be informed that you are taking an extended leave of absence. Your sister will be told that you need some time away. As will dear Mrs. Hudson.”

Now John leaned over slightly to set his cup on the window ledge. “Not that I really care about what you have to say, but why would any of that happen? I have no intention of going anywhere.”

At last there was a faint crack in Mycroft’s bland demeanor. Oddly, it almost seemed like amusement. “He said you would be stubborn.”

“Who said that?”

“Sherlock.”

John’s spine stiffened. “I will not talk about him with you.” Of course, that rule was not exclusive to Mycroft. He never talked about Sherlock with anyone, not even his therapist now that he had given her up as useless. He could no longer listen to her say “Time to move on” in any of the iterations she used.

Mycroft gazed at him for a long moment. “The question, John, is not whether you will talk about him, but whether or not you want to see him.”

The silence in the room was like being at the bottom of a very deep well, so far down that that no daylight was visible, no sounds heard.

At last, John pushed himself up and walked a careful circuit of the small room. Putting one foot in front of the other was all that kept him from doing something dangerous, like attacking the British Government when there was undoubtedly a security detail close by. Then he stopped, still not looking at Mycroft. Instead he stared at the most incongruous thing in the room, a cut crystal ashtray which had BP etched in the bottom. “Sherlock is alive?”
“Yes.”

He nodded, as if that made perfect sense. “A magic trick.”

“He did say.”

“He did, yes. And I suppose there was a very good reason why he lied. Why he did this to me.”

Mycroft was carefully tapping the end of his brolly against the dirty lino floor. “Yes.”

John thought back to that last conversation [or maybe not the last?] and then about the months since. Abruptly, something occurred to him. “Oh, my god” he said suddenly. “The phone calls.”

Phone calls with only silence on the other end. Once, only one time, had he allowed himself to wonder if maybe Sherlock was the caller. But he’d ruthlessly dismissed that thought, because he’d seen the arrogant git jump off a building. Dead men did not make telephone calls. Although John had wondered. At the time, it felt sad and desperate. Now he wasn’t sure what to think. Or to feel.

Mycroft only looked puzzled.

“Christ, I should have known. The bastard. That bloody bastard.” His words were at distinct odds with the tears that were rolling down his face. Neither of them mentioned the crying. “Why are you telling me this now?”

“Well, my motives are mixed, if you want the truth.”

John could not help the snort. “When are they not?” He decided not to get into the matter of Mycroft’s relationship to the truth at the moment.

“Sherlock is worried about you. I have told him you…are struggling.” Mycroft paused. “He believes that I am here on your behalf. And I am. But at the same time, I am worried about my brother. He is alone and tired and…I rather fear what old habits he might fall into if left on his own much longer.” Mycroft was watching the tip of his brolly trace a pattern on the floor. “Let us be honest, John. Neither one of you is coping very well with the present circumstances.”

John nodded. There was no arguing with the fact that he, at least, was not doing well. He didn’t know if he quite believed what Mycroft was saying about Sherlock, though. After all, this whole thing had been his idea. Whatever this thing was.
And, of course, Mycroft saw the doubt. He took out his phone to type and send a text. It was only a moment before a reply arrived. Someone had obviously been waiting for a message. Mycroft held up the phone so John could read the screen.

//I’M LOST WITHOUT MY BLOGGER. SH//

And just like that, John Watson accepted the truth. Pretty much accepted everything, actually.

“He is waiting in Vienna,” Mycroft said.

John took a deep breath and wiped his face. “Tell him---”

Mycroft handed him the phone. “Tell him yourself.”

Slowly John typed a message.

//THANK YOU FOR ONE MORE MIRACLE. JW//

He hit send and tossed the phone back to Mycroft, who caught it deftly. “I want explanations. For everything.”

Mycroft nodded. “You shall have them. The file awaits you on the plane. Some reading for your journey. It has information on everything that happened on the day…well, that day. As well as on the sometimes horrific things he has done since then to keep people safe.”

“People?”

Mycroft was still not looking at him. “Lestrade. Mrs. Hudson. And you, of course. Always you.”

John was already throwing things into a battered knapsack. He paused for a moment and when he spoke his voice was soft. “The bastard really is a bloody hero, isn’t he?”

Mycroft flicked some invisible lint from his lapel. “By the standard definition, I believe he is. A flawed hero, undoubtedly, but his actions were on the side of good. The way he went about it was perhaps not optimal, but under the circumstances he did what he thought was best.”

Not optimal was one way of putting it. John would have put it quite differently had he been inclined to get into the subject at the moment. Which he was not. “How is he, really?” John took one step into the tiny loo and grabbed his shaving things and toothbrush.
Mycroft frowned. “Depressed. Lonely. Guilty.”

“I just might punch him, you know.”

“Oh, no doubt he is expecting you to do so.”

John paused again and then decided that at this point he didn’t give a flying fuck what anybody thought. “And then I might kiss him.”

Mycroft blinked. “Well, he probably isn’t expecting that.”

John shrugged. “He’ll just have to deal.” Although John wasn’t sure that it would come as a complete surprise, not after those late night phone calls and some of the things he had said.

After adding his gun to the knapsack, John turned around and looked squarely at Mycroft. “Take me to Sherlock,” he said.

fini