Disclaimer: nothing mine.

A.N. For Let's write Sherlock challenge 10. Missing scene for His Last Vow. I figure this happens quite near Christmas.

Always your way

"Call her," Sherlock prompts. Again.

"I have nothing to say to her. Not anymore," John bits back.

"Don't be ridiculous. Of course you do," the detective objects. And for once he's wrong, John swears.

"Sherlock, stop. Actually, talk. Explain to me why we're doing this backwards." Because it makes no sense. Well, their life rarely made sense, but this time it's particularly grating.

"What do you mean, John?" Sherlock queries, pretending – surely pretending? – that he doesn't see how surreal this conversation and her past homologue are.

"She bloody shot you," the doctor explains anyway. "It should be me, the newlywed, faltering in holding onto the outrage. And you reminding me that. She. Shot. You. And can't be trusted. So why in hell are you his advocate out of all the people I know, uh?"

"I understand her," Sherlock admits.

"You would," John spits. They're going back to the first argument, with Sherlock insisting that John's type is dangerous, sociopathic people and John wondering if the two individuals he's loved most in his life deserve each other more than they ever fit with him. (They fit with him. Marvelously. Then betray him. In the worst possible way. There's a pattern there.)

"Yes, she shot me," the sleuth concedes. "Yes, she lied to you from the start. She'd lie and kill to have you at her side, and it's the first woman who shows that much common sense."

"What?" John splutters, because common sense? What is Sherlock's version of it?

"Common sense, John," the detective reiterates, for all his hate of repeating himself. "If she found... oh, I don't know... a treasure. Jewels. You wouldn't be stunned if she lied and killed to get that. Greed wouldn't surprise you. But she found you, and she's expected to be honest. So you can get disgusted and leave her. She lies, she kills – well, she shoots – and you're not just outraged. You're shocked. So tell me, John. Why do you underestimate your own worth so blatantly?"

"Why do you always try to make it my fault even when you're flattering about it?" the doctor protests. Sherlock is trying to manipulate him, has to be. His compliments always, always take him off guard though.

"Not your fault. Ours...hers," Sherlock hurries to assure. Goddamned slip of tongue! He's not meant to say it. He's not meant to say that he needs John to forgive Mary because they're too similar for Sherlock to comfortably accept the chance of John forsaking her. It would be a bad omen for their friendship. If John can abandon her, he could reasonably turn on Sherlock too, for (hopefully future) sins. While he's spent their cohabitation expecting John to get fed up and break all ties with him, Sherlock can't bear the thought now. Not after everything that's happened.

So he presses on with fake certainty, "But you will forgive her anyway, so you might as well save yourself all this angsting. I don't have her interest in mind when I suggest you call. Only yours." As always. Why doesn't John realize?

"I'm not going to forgive her. I can't. Not after what she's done," the doctor insists. 'To you' goes unsaid. There's no need to remind any of them, and Sherlock hates repetition anyway.

"You will," the detective declares. John has to.

"She lied to me from the start. I don't even know her name. She's a fake, Sherlock. Who am I supposed to forgive?" John has heard that slip of tongue, after all, and he's going to address it, if implicitly. Sherlock needs to stop putting himself in the same category as Mary. Yes, they're similar. But she's fake. Sherlock has never, ever been a complete fake. A liar and a manipulator, yes, but John knows him. He knows what his friend would do (or so he wants to believe.) The only 'fake' Sherlock has been is a fake dead. But he's already been punished for that. And frankly, John is too busy being grateful for it to hold a grudge over that. He's even considered offering one of these ex voto things but he ended not doing it. Because he suspects the right place for it would be no church but Mycroft's living room, and that would be just awkward.

"You don't really see it, do you John?" Sherlock wonders. "You turn people into something better than they are. Something better than they ever imagined to become. She changed herself for you. She became the person you could fall in love with, John. Of course she slipped. She's human after all. But if you forsake her, Mary Morstan dies. And I wouldn't trust AGRA with a child."

"That's low, Sherlock," John grits out. Very low. It's not like he forgot about his baby, of course not. But he thought that he could still divorce her and keep the baby, or something like that. There are a lot of single parents around, and surely he would be deemed more apt than one ex-assassin, right? That Mary could hurt the baby somehow didn't enter his brain until Sherlock mentioned it. Oh fuck.

"I won't call her," he stubbornly insists.

Sherlock just stares at him.

John sighs wearily. "I'll text her."