John stared out the car window, the rain chasing it's matching drop down the pane. Sliding in a never ending race, some colliding and becoming one, some stopping too early, and some traveling all alone. 'Just like people, they are.' He mused, breathing out and fogging over the doodle's the water created over a darkening London.
"He'll forgive you." Anthea-well no, her name was Vale now, and John really hated the hidden meaning- murmured from across the seat. She'd told John that she'd been watching Hamish at the hotel but had paid a maid to keep an eye on the boy so she could see John off. "They all will."
"They shouldn't…" John sighed, his throat aching from forcing his voice to stay even. Sherlock's face still haunted the gray outside; bright blue eyes pricking with tears, perfect lips pulled into a dark frown, pure betrayal etched over every inch of the man.
"Don't say that, John, you're a hero-"
"No." John cut in, his voice sharp as a blade, and the woman across from him jumped in her surprise. "I'm no hero, I'm just...a ghost."
"The Ghost." Vale-Anthea cut in, giving a sad half smile at her own pathetic attempt to lighten the mood. "You'll go back to Baker Street and everything will be fine."
"I'm not going back."
"I'm not going back to Baker street, I have no right after what I did. To Mrs. Hudson, to...Him."
John sighed, blinking his eyes more than necessary, and turning his gaze away from the gorgeous woman beside him and to the dark London sky.
'You were correct sir, he will not be returning-A' Anthea, no, Vale sent off the message quickly, and turned to look at John. He seemed utterly heartbroken, his eyes were ghostly with tears unshed. He was beaten and bruised, and a look of utter defeat was written in the lines on his face. He looked like a man who'd lost everything, and knew it was his fault. Despair seemed to slowly devour him in his silence, thoughts obviously ping-ponging across his brain.
"After this mission I'm done." John said, more to himself than to her. "I'm leaving London, maybe even England, and I'm not coming back."
This sentence sounded like an apology to the air outside the car, like he was saying sorry to London herself for leaving.
"Alright." Vale breathed, turning back to her phone and ignoring the tears in her eyes. She and John had become closer than she'd ever thought she would allow, she'd been the only one besides Mycroft he had to talk to. If he really was going to disappear, and she knew he could, he certainly had the practice, then she'd miss him. John grunted his agreement, and the ride continued in a painful silence.
As they pulled up towards the car John would be taking, the aching in the doctor's heart seemed to hold him in the darkness of the car, his blue eyes tracing over the vehicle that would take him away from Sherlock once again. 'All for the better, anyways, he hates you now. Did you expect any less?'
"You'll be accompanied by Agent Ronald Michael and Agent Sarah Loyal. They will take you to Surrey, where you will find five other specialists." Anthea-Vale said, pulling a file from her brief case. "Not much has changed in the last three days since you returned to London, but the underground criminal rings believe The Ghost to be dead, really dead. You should surprise them."
"Should?" John took the folder, and began reading, only half aware if her next statement.
"We might have a leak, but we aren't entirely sure." Vale-Anthea's voice went cold with a sense of betrayal, and John lifted his gaze from the folder. "Its unlikely."
"Oh?" He mumbled, a sudden wash of anxiety set aflame in his gut. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to go on assignment when they had a suspected mole. After a moment of deliberation with his sense of logic, he beat down his self preservation instincts and decided it was illogical to think Mycroft would allow a mole into his system.
Anthea watched as John fell silent, and knew he was arguing with himself. She also saw the exact moment he made his decision, and what it was. His shoulders squared, his back went straight, and his chin was lifted to level his gaze dead ahead. She could see the heart broken John Watson hide away as he let Captain Watson take control. Then the Captain spoke:
"Alright, let's get going."
Mycroft was pacing the length of an empty hallway, looking up at the wall clock every few minutes and glaring at anything that moved. The doctor should've been back from making his 'rounds' by now, he wasn't following the pattern Mycroft had predicted and the Holmes was getting very annoyed. He hated being wrong, he hated not realizing things first, he hated having his schedule changed.
In all honesty Mycroft was probably far more upset about his younger brothers recent attempts on his own life, but that was sentiment and emotions and the British Government didn't have time for them right now.
John had just left to begin the U.K mission, he was headed to a team in Surrey, and Mycroft had a strange twisting in his gut about the entire thing. This team was new, he'd barely even spoken with them, and he always liked to thoroughly interview the people John worked with. Every team before now had gone through months of interviews, training, psychological evaluations, and a two hour long meeting with Mycroft. He'd taken every precaution to ensure no trader could get in his ranks, and possibly kill the one thing in this world his brother held dear.
But this time was different.
The team had been thrown together almost instantly after John's decision, and all of them hadn't met with Mycroft yet. Something could happen, one of them could be the possible mole that had been weaving problems into Mycroft's system for months now.
Before the auburn haired man fell into complete panic the doctor came sauntering up, all cheery eyed and stupid. "Oh! Mr. Holmes, have you been waiting for me? I'm so sorry, I had a call-"
"With your wife. The babysitter's quit and you two had a date night planned. You aren't too broken up about the plans being canceled, why? Probably because you're having an affair with that black haired nurse who insists on wearing heels, even though it's unprofessional." Mycroft spat, crossing his arms. He knew he sounded like his younger brother, but scathing remarks that hit them where they hurt weren't below the elder Holmes either. The doctor's face paled, and he glanced around typically, as if he were worried someone could hear. "Don't be an idiot, no one's here."
"How could you possibly know-"
"Red lipstick faded on your lips and neck, black hair caught on your sleeve, not to mention the frankly adolescent glances you gave her when she was walking from Sherlock's hospital room." Mycroft waved a hand, effectively brushing aside the conversation. "I'm going to propose a deal, you're going to take it, or your darling wife is going to kick you out before sunrise." Mycroft chirped, layering his voice with false enthusiasm. The older man cocked his head to the left, raising both eyebrows in a taunting look he'd mastered over the years. This is how he got what he wanted, and held his 'minor position in the British government'. He knew what cards to play, what to hold back. If the doctor refused his proposition he'd simply have to make public the man's addiction to anxiety pills, most likely not legally obtained.
"What….deal?" The doctor spoke hesitantly, like a deer caught in headlights, he was already considering what the taller man had to say. Simple minded idiot, this would be to easy.
"My younger brother." Mycroft said, and rolled his eyes as the obvious 'you want to kill your brother?' look passed over the adulterer's face. "He needs to sleep, he won't. there's been….an incident, and he's too worked up to even consider his rest." Sherlock had tried to sneak out of the hospital room seven times already, and Mycroft wouldn't have it. The curly haired genius was to weak, and too hysterical to be let out on his own; and if he found out that Mycroft had allowed John to leave on another mission his reaction might be...a bit not good.
"You want me to give him sleeping medication?"
"Yes." Mycroft spoke slowly, hoping the pelican brained doctor might follow. "And soon, it's getting late and I think it's in both our best interests to do it now." Mycroft left the 'and if you don't I'll be making a phone call to your wife.' hanging in the air, and it seemed the insect in front of him even picked up on it. The pathetic doctor, who was apparently 'Dr. Wilder' as his name tag stated, scurried off to find the nurse.
Mycroft swung his umbrella happily, and turned to find his fiancee standing outside Sherlock's room, arms crossed, shoulders square, center of gravity lowered. In any other circumstances Mycroft may have pounced on the shorter man, but the look of imminent murder in Greg's eyes stopped him.
"What was that about?" Lestrade said, mockingly cheerful, as he cocked his head to far to the left and raised both eyebrows dramatically. Mycroft fluttered a dismissing hand, rolling his eyes.
"Business my arse." Lestrade growled, all mock happiness draining from him in seconds. Mycroft shook his head, trying to move forward from the subject, but it seemed his partner had other ideas. "Why are you blackmailing the doctor into drugging Sherlock?"
"Sherlock needs his rest."
"You did something." Lestrade's eyes narrowed, and he tore them over his fiancee, using the deducting technique he'd been taught by the man. "John. He didn't just leave….did he?"
"No…" Mycroft sighed, hanging the umbrella over his forearm. "He's gone to complete his original task." The man tried to keep his voice level, uncaring, but the note of worry must have slipped in unnoticed because Lestrade's face paled.
"Has something gone wrong?"
"No!" That sounded too defensive, desperate even, time to backtrack. "No, everything has gone as planned so far."
"So far?" Damn that man for picking up on the verbal cues! "You think something's going to go wrong?"
"We...suspect a traitor amongst the people who know about John's...mission, as he calls it." Mycroft tried so hard to sound nonchalant, like it was a minor problem and everything would be fine. To hard apparently, since Greg's face took on the slack jawed glaring look of rage, worry and astonishment that he seemed to sport frequently around the Holmes brothers. Before the DI had time to punch his fiancée, again, the doctor was shuffling toward them, annoying heels clicking behind him.
"Alright, it'll take up to an hour to take hold, but this should work." The man said, holding a bottle up to show the men. He looked like a toddler, seeking his father's approval on a drawing. Mycroft raised an eyebrow, quickly reading the bottle over. He sent the name and a few select details off to Anthea so she could verify it as acceptable.
After an uncomfortable two minutes Mycroft's phone chimed with Anthea's reply that it was safe, and wouldn't damage him any further. She gave him a few details to conclude her approval, and give Mycroft peace of mind. "Yes, doctor, I think that will do," Mycroft replied crisply, straightening his jacket and ignoring the venomous glares he was receiving from Greg.
As the group of four walked back to Sherlock's room Lestrade caught his soon to be husbands wrist and pulled him to the side. Waving the adulterers onward he pushed Mycroft ruffly, looking more murderous than ever.
"What're you thinking?" Greg demanded, waving his hands dramatically. "The man just tried to off himself by overdosing and you're just merrily giving him pills?" Mycroft responded by blinking a few times, and growing alarmingly confused. Greg realized, after a long moment of child like stares from Mycroft, that the all knowing government of Britain saw nothing wrong with this. "Its just strange, after...everything he's been through." Still the blank stares were directed at him until the DI groaned and turned on his heels. He had other questions, but he refused to look at Mycroft as he voiced them. Lestrade took a deep breath, crossing his arms and looking at the blank wall across from him, back to his partner.
"Where'd you send him?" Apparently Mycroft didn't need clarification, which was a relief to Greg, because he heard the man clear his throat awkwardly.
"I...sent him nowhere. chose to go." Dr. Watson why the hell did Mycroft insist on becoming distant now of all times? "He asked to continue his mission-"
"Yeah, but where?" A sudden, dreadful thought caught Lestrade by the throat. "You sent someone with him, right?"
"Sussex and yes, of course. He has a team of specially trained-"
"Robots." Greg said, looking at the Greg crossed his arms, trying to beat down the rising ball of anger that was consuming his thoughts. Mycroft stared at him for a minute, contemplating whether or not to be offended, and finally resigned with a sigh.
"You don't know that! He could get hurt, he has before! I saw him, Mycroft, he looked like he'd been through hell!" Greg was yelling now, but he didn't care, Mycroft had reserved an entire hallway for Sherlock. "You're sitting here, letting him run around risking his neck! For what?"
"For the better of the public." Mycroft stated, his words were calm but ice covered them like a sheet of betrayal. "John knows what's at stake, he knows what could happen."
"I. Don't. Care!" Greg fumed, his rage built up by the man's distant tone and careless demeanor. "He could barely move, his ribs were bruised! He had a limp and bruises everywhere, he was paler than Sherlock!"
"He knew what he was-"
"He's a soldier, for Gods sake! He wouldn't let injuries stop him. 'For Queen and Country' and all that!" Greg shouted, pushing Mycroft hard against the wall, face red with fury. "We could lose him, really lose him."
"I-I didn't t-take into account John's sense of m-morals!" Mycroft stuttered, surprised, and slightly frightened, by his fiancee's outburst. Greg blinked, coming back to the world in a rush, and quickly dropped his hands from the collar of the other man's shirt, already feeling guilty.
"Of course not…" Greg sighed, turning away again. He slowly counted backwards from ten, clenching and unclenching his fists with each number. "John and me, we're simple. We do what we love, and we do it no matter what. We chose it, and we'd never back down or abandon it, no matter the cost. We aren't clever, we wouldn't think around the problem in a labyrinth, we do what we know will work. No tricks, no games, no...mind palace's!" Deep breath, he couldn't get angry. Mycroft pretended to be so knowledgeable in human interaction, like he knew how any emotion would affect anyone, and he probably did. But Mycroft Holmes wouldn't be able to understand something as simple, brave, and stupid as self sacrifice. Not that he wouldn't give his life for Sherlock, maybe even for Greg, but he'd never be able to predict that level of loyalty in another human. He didn't trust anyone enough to believe they'd do that, and do it for people they didn't even know.
"John would jump into a waterfall with no hope of survival if he thought it would save someone, anyone." And both men knew that was true, John was that man. "Going into battle for Sherlock? Oh please, he's been doing that ever since he shot the cabby." Greg smiled, glancing behind him to see the trace of a grin on his future husband's features. Then something in Mycroft's face changed, distorted, and a darkness seemed to settle in his eyes.
"This mission, it's one of the most dangerous he's gone on yet. Not just because of the target, but because we might have a mole." Mycroft looked almost pained to admit the chink in his invisible armor, and when he did look at Greg there was a vulnerability on his face that the other man was startled to witness. Guilt, shame, regret and so much more obvious in the man's features.
"Myc...if he doesn't...if he…" Greg couldn't say it again, now that he knew it was more than possible, he just waved a hand, gesturing what he hoped would make his point clear. "Sherlock won't...stay…much longer."
"I know…" Mycroft sighed, his voice cracking slightly. Greg almost wanted to smile, knowing he was one of the very few people on this planet who'd been allowed to see the 'iceman' so open. "And John knows...and if I know anything about the good doctor I know that he'd never allow harm to come to my brother." Mycroft blinked, a smile flitting over his face that matched his fiancee's as they recalled the time John punched Sherlock in the mouth for leaving a dead owl in his bed. "No permanent damage."
Both men looked at each other, seeing the love they felt mirrored exactly in the eyes of their partner, and they let smiles pass over their faces. Not because anything in that moment was happy, or good, but because they knew that together they could get it there again.
Sherlock had heard aimless mumbling outside his room, but he didn't care. Currently he was on his back, fingers pressed to his lips as he stared at the ceiling. He'd formulated 8 possible routes out of the hospital, all of which ended in Mycroft discovering and collecting him before he could find John.
John was alive. That sentence was something Sherlock never thought he'd hear again, but was so happy it floated around his mind palace in that moment. He wanted to smile, but then the joined realization that he drove the man away again followed closely behind and a fresh avalanche of self hatred consumed him.
A simple dose of concealing his emotions wasn't working this time, and he had to do something he wasn't exactly looking forward to. After a deep breath, he closed his eyes and dove into the dreaded part of his palace that had ruled the recent months.
Sherlock stood in the area, not-so-cleverly named 'The Heart', and looked in bewilderment at the broken, cracked, totally wrecked carnage of his once so orderly emotional center. Photo's of his mother and father hang tipped to the side, and Mycroft's tiny little corner (Which had a trapdoor that led to a much more devoted, brotherly area) was in disarray. He stared at the mess of an area that held his love for his family, blinking and struck dumb.
It'd never been this completely collapsed, never so broken down and ugly. Whatever emotional toll John's return, then prompt departure, had caused Sherlock had ignored it, in favor of thinking of ways to charm the doctor back into Baker Street. Now he realized that it had hit him harder than he'd ever thought.
"You'd think that his commin' back woulda' made you happy." Lestrade's voice said, sounding rather amused. The DI seemed to materialize out of an area near his brothers corner, the small pair of handcuffs had been put on a pedestal right beside Mycroft's photo. Sherlock hadn't entirely meant to consider Lestrade family, but somehow his mind had. "Apparently it tore you up." Lestrade smirked at him, crossing his arms and lifting his eyebrow at the younger man.
"No, you aren't." Lestrade said, his tone still annoyingly light and friendly. "John, he meant-Uh means a lot to all of us; me and you and his sister and his sisters wife and a lotta other folks." Sherlock was about to tell the man to spare him the 'John is a good man, you screwed this up' speech, but the DI held up a hand. "But he meant the most you, I think, and maybe that's why when he came back outta the blue you got so worked up. I'm no psychologist-Don't say obviously- but, I know for a fact that you don't deal with emotions well." Lestrade lifted his eyebrows, motioning around the broken room to emphasize his point. "When John came back you had no idea how to cope. All those suicidal thoughts, the horrible dreams, and the depression was flyin' around your brain like seagulls. You didn't know what to do with all of it, and then suddenly you got too happy, and you didn't know how to mix those things together. Instead of talking about it, or even just dealing with it like a normal person you lost it and lost John in the process." There were footsteps to the left, and Sherlock knew immediately who was pitter-pattering toward them.
"He won't be gone forever, dear." Mrs. Hudson said, carrying the plate of tea she always had in Sherlock's mind. He'd known she was kept with the rest of his family, he'd specifically placed her there. "You know he'll come back, if you let him."
"Let him! I'm not doing anything to stop him!" Sherlock blew up, and Mrs. hudson tutted as Lestrade shook his head.
"No, but you're not doing anything to encourage him either," Mrs. Hudson said, smiling. "John's a good man, but he's feeling guilty. You saw it when you woke up, he was almost drowning….Dear, you're going to have to prove to him that you want him back."
"Show him some love!" Came a giggle from behind him, and Sherlock nearly smiled at the voice. "I know I am no love expert, but you're going to have to show him that you love him." Molly turned the corner, and smiled waving her hand at him. Mrs. Hudson put an arm around the pathologist's shoulders and hugged her once, nodding in agreement. Sherlock was bewildered by the strange appearance of all his 'friends', and disappointed that John had even left him in his own mind.
As if reading his thoughts, well they were his thoughts so they probably could, Molly smiled and pointed behind him. Sherlock turned, finding himself face to oak with a giant door. Sherlock furrowed his brow in confusion until he saw the inscription 'You saved me.' cut into the door, in John's handwriting. A mirror of those words in Sherlocks handwriting lay just below.
"John?" Sherlock asked the emptiness, all of his hallucinations had now vanished. John had a door, which meant a room, in his heart? Sherlock supposed he should expect no less from John Watson: the man who wasn't ordinary.
Sherlock pushed the doors open slowly, and a gust of air that smelled like tea and hospitals pushed his great coat dramatically back like a cape. The room was dark, until he took his first step, and suddenly a giant area lit up, bathed in golden yellow. A sense of acceptance was in the air, tinged with annoyance and amusement, just like his John. Sherlock fought down the ridiculous smile that was quickly taking hold of his face as he continued forward. He had to get John back, and this room may hold the key to doing just that.
The walls seemed to hold every memory Sherlock had of John, and every inch of the room was painted with thick sentiment. The floor, the walls, the ceiling, the air all oozed everything John Watson. Sherlock ignored the sudden urge to dance, and laugh, and be just happy as he stalked through the room. Dodging ugly jumpers folded on tables, leaping over the doctor's desk, and ducking under a strangely floating tray of tea. He turned left at the laptop, and doubled back around when he found a safe with the gun in it. The entire room was strange, in a wonderful way, and it took Sherlock a good five minutes to finally find what he'd come here for.
'Ways to apologize to John Watson; Volume 1' Sat on John's chair, at least the size of two complete dictionaries, and over used. Pages were bent, and the cover was faded from being handled often. Sherlock snatched up the well used book, flipping quickly through it. He certainly didn't expect a section on 'What to say when you accidentally kick him out, but are madly in love with him.' But he wanted more than what he found.
Sherlock slammed the book, tossing it to the floor and collapsing in John's chair. "What am I going to do?" He whined at the room.
"'I'm sorry' works wonders." Came a familiar tenor, with a hint of amusement in his voice. "'I love you' would go further." Sherlock's head snapped up and he was met with mind palace John, dressed in his favorite striped jumper and white washed jeans. John smiled, tilting his head just barely and managing to look innocently up at Sherlock, even though Sherlock was shorter then him while sitting.
"You're getting better at that." Sherlock commented coldly, trying to hide his obvious glee in finally seeing John. The doctor smiled, crossing his arms and raising both eyebrows knowingly. This caused the genius to toss his head back and scoff, only earning him a giggle from his mind's creation. "Fine, what is it you want?" Sherlock growled after three minutes of pure blue eyes boring into his turned head.
"Chase me...him, whatever!" John replied, taking on the commanding tone of a captain. Damn Sherlock's mind for creating such a John to inhabit his every thought. "Find me-him- and tell me-him what you feel."
"I don't feel," Sherlock spat the word as if it tasted like ash, and glared at the floating tea cup that passed. "Anything, least of all for John."
"Why would I?" Sherlock snapped, pushing to his feet in a graceful rage. "Because he bothered me with his pathetic existence for months, forcing me to eat and sleep! Because he followed me around on cases, rarely offering any more help than a hamster?"
Sherlock was raving now, and the John infront of him was giving him the John look. "Because he advertised my work on his ridiculous blog? Why would I care about that sentimental fool?" Sherlock growled, but the John before him believed none of it. Not even Sherlock believed it anymore, but he couldn't stop himself. He was so hurt, so angry, so...so…human!
"John was a hinderance! With his stupid jokes and perfect tea!" Wait, that really didn't sound like an insult. "Distracting me with his repetitive compliments, and perfect smile!" Sherlock screwed his eyes shut, and pushed his pale fingers into his curls, tugging and pulling until his scalp thrummed.
"Smiling at me and making me feel like I mattered like I was loved! Then he left me! He jumped off that building a-and..." His voice cracked there, a memory of blonde hair and a billowing jacket, blood and dead eyes filling every inch of the room. The floor beneath their feet turned red and wet, warm and smelled of iron as it filled slowly with blood. The walls replaying the moment like a never ending spiral, torturing Sherlock wherever he looked. The genius continued his rant in a quiet, dark voice, tears threatening to break every word.
"H-he was alive but he let me think he w-was dead." Sherlock took a shaky, deep breath. "He let me grieve, and he let me hurt, and he just left me! Why would I want to go get him after what he did?"
"You love him." John whispered, voice gentle like he was talking to an abused child. He stepped closer to Sherlock, his snappy, sarcastic act blown away with the taller man's words. "And he loves you."
"No, no he doesn't or he wouldn't have-"
"You know John Watson better than he knows himself." The man in front of him continued, standing at attention and looking concerned. "He wouldn't have done what he did if he'd had a choice." All Sherlock could manage was a nod, slow and solemn, as the other John slowly dissolved, along with the terrorizing images.
Sherlock heard timid steps slushing through the sea of wine colored liquid, and lifted silver eyes to see the one person who seemed to always saving him.
"Molly." He breathed, almost unable to hold back tears. The woman looked up from where her dark eyes were tied to her blood covered feet and gave him one of her special smiles, and he felt himself nodding in return. A true friend, if he ever were gifted with one.
"Sherlock." She smiled, walking quickly and cringing at the noise of her feet pulling through the liquid. "You know, he's right." Sherlock nodded, and that encouraged the mousy woman into taking his trembling hands in hers. "Go find him, tell him, come back to us, and make sure I get invited to the wedding." Sherlock looked up suddenly, startled and Molly grinned. "I have a cute yellow dress, I told you about it once, it'd be perfect for a wedding!" She said, tightening her hold on his hands and smiling her smile that made him feel, well, just feel.
"How do I-"
"You're Sherlock Holmes!" She shook both his hands in an excited, girly way and bit her lip as she smiled. "If you can identify a man by his thumb, you can definitely find the man you love!"
Sherlock gasped as his eyes flew open, a stupid, drunken grin still on his face. Molly was like a sister to him, and even in his mind she made him feel better. He nodded at the silence in the room, his mind made up.
He had to find John.