AN: So I watched season two again, and I was struck by just how dickish Sherlock was for experimenting on John the way he did in 'The Hound of the Baskerville'. And then I remembered that John had PTSD as well as other trust issues, and it got me to thinking.
In the show John just sort of brushes the incident aside and moves on- he's angry but he's completely over it soon afterwards- and that just didn't strike me as a realistic reaction after such a big betrayal of trust from someone who should have known better, so I tried my hand at a scenario where John didn't get over it so quickly.
Of course, this being one of my stories, Jim is going to swoop in as the black angel of mercy that he is and help John with his problems. Hope you all enjoy!
Disclaimer: I obviously don't own anything you see here, even Anderson could tell you that.
John had to get out of the flat, he just couldn't take it anymore.
Ever since Baskerville, ever since he'd learned that he'd been drugged and used as an experiment by his best friend- Without his consent!- things had just been getting worse for the ex-soldier.
His limp was back for one- it didn't yet require him to use his cane, but it would only be a matter of time if things didn't improve soon- his nightmares had made a very pronounced return for another, but it was his PTSD that was the worst of it:
He couldn't relax unless he knew for certain all of entrances and exits where sealed, that his home was safe.
He had to do perimeter checks several times a night to assure himself that no-one had slipped in when he wasn't aware- considering his nightmares woke him several times a night he simply did his walk throughs then.
He began to panic anytime his gun was more than an arms reach away.
And, finally, he couldn't be in the same room with Sherlock for any extended period of time without getting the shakes.
He jumped anytime Sherlock said his name, and had to restrain himself from flinching whenever the man came too near.
If Sherlock made tea- a rare occurence but it did sometimes happen- he would become almost physically ill.
He had tried to ignore his reactions at first, and when that didn't work he tried to work through them; tell himself that Sherlock was his friend and hadn't meant any real harm.
But even though his rational mind knew all this, his irrational mind, his subconscious mind, refused to believe it.
And after five weeks of living in this personalized hell, John had finally had enough.
Packing his bags- even after living with Sherlock for so long all his possessions still barely filled two duffel bags, he probably only needed one but he liked having the space of two- John went to see Mrs. Hudson and tell her he was moving out.
"But why, dear? You and Sherlock didn't have a domestic, did you?" Holding back the urge to correct her once more- it never did any good, she would always believe that he and Sherlock were a couple- John tried to explain.
"Not a domestic, no, I just need to leave."
"But why?" How could he explain it and not make it sound like he was laying all the blame at Sherlock's feet? Even if it all really was the detective's fault John didn't want to sound petulant.
"The last case Sherlock and I went on... it, uh, it... went wrong. I need to go and clear my head, and since I don't know when or if I'll be back to London I decided to move out so that I don't short you on rent. I'm sorry, Mrs. Hudson, I really am. But I just can't stay here anymore." She let him go after that.
With a warm hug, a promise that he would always be welcome back if he ever needed a place to stay and an admonishment to write she let him go.
He just hoped she would still think well of him after she realized that he hadn't told Sherlock about his leaving. Said man had left on a case for Mycroft the day before, and so John had no idea when he'd be back or what his reaction to John's secretive departure would be.
As soon as he was able to free himself from his landlady- ex-landlady he reminded himself- he headed over to Harry's.
Of course she was drunk, but in this instance that was a boon for him.
"I need to borrow some money, Harry, and I need a place to crash tonight if you don't mind." A drunken slur of 'Sure. Whatever.' was the only response he got.
The next day he emptied his bank account- it held a pitiful amount, hence the need to borrow from Harry- gave his old phone to a homeless man that he thought might be part of Sherlock's network- he'd buy himself a cheap prepaid once he was out of London- and started planning his trek north.
It might be faster to reach Scotland- his Gran still lived up there, and he had some cousins as well that he got on with and would take him in for a time- by plane, but this journey was more about the journey itself rather than the destination.
He needed to clear his head, and that is just what he planed on doing.
One week later:
"What do you mean he's gone?! He can't be gone!"
"Now Sherlock, dear, there's no need to yell. I thought he'd told you before you left that he was leaving, he did say that it was one of your cases that made him want to do so." Sherlock turned his piercing gaze on his landlady at that.
"Tell me exactly what he said." The looming detective demanded in a tone that brooked no argument.
"What? He simply said that your last case together went wrong, and that he needed time to clear his head. He didn't know if he'd be returning to London anytime soon, so he moved out to avoid any awkwardness about rent." Sherlock let her go after that as she obviously didn't know anything more.
Pulling out his phone he began sending out requests for information on, or sightings of, John from his homeless network. They had standing orders to keep an eye on John anytime Sherlock wasn't with him and so someone should know where he was staying now.
He received several replies in only a few minutes, but two stuck out.
The first was a picture of John's phone, and a text telling where it had come from. Not worrisome in and of itself, but it would make finding the man just a bit harder.
The second was a picture of John and Lestrade entering a train station. Now he had a lead at least in finding out where his blogger had got off to.
As quickly as the cabs of London could take him Sherlock was strutting through the halls of NSY and into the silver-haired DI's office.
"I was wondering when you'd show up. I'm not going to help you find him, if that's why you're here. And you should be happy he talked me out of locking you up for what you did."
"And just what makes you think he left because of anything I did?" The tall brunette asked in perplexity. Greg just gaped at him.
"You really don't understand, do you." Scowling- he hated to admit to ignorance, but knew that he had to know quickly- Sherlock shook his head.
"Tell me then: what happened at Baskerville?" When all he got was a confused look the DI clarified his statement.
"What did you do, to John, in the laboratories of Baskerville?" Understanding, and fresh confusion, lit up the detectives face.
"But he was fine with it. He said so himself!" The DI held up a hand for silence, and was surprised when he got it.
"He may have forgiven you on a conscious level, but that isn't where the problem is coming from. Sherlock, you drugged and experimented on your best friend, a man that trusted you completely. Did you not think that doing so would affect that trust even a little?" When the younger man remained silent, Greg turned to the paperwork cluttering his desk.
He didn't even look up when Sherlock took off out of his office like someone had lit him on fire.
Mycroft knew exactly why his brother was standing in his office, he had been aware of Sherlock's search for his flatmate since it had begun, and he had no interest in helping him this time- at least not yet.
"He's done a wonderful job at disappearing, hasn't he brother? That trick of letting himself be photographed at the train station by one of your 'people' was truly inspired. If he decides to come back I'll have to see about offering him a job, anyone that can escape your net should be commended." If he had been a lesser man the glare Sherlock shot him would have been quite frightening.
"You know where he is, tell me." Sighing heavily, Mycroft leaned back in his seat to better look at his little brother.
"No. I will not be telling anything as I do not know anything. I lost visual on Dr. Watson when he left London proper, and- as I felt he deserved some measure of privacy after his ordeal- I ceased surveillance on him. He wants to be alone, Sherlock, and after what you put him through it would behoove us to grant his wish." One look at the stubborn set of his brother's jaw and he knew that his advice would not be heeded today.
"I did nothing wrong. Besides, he forgave me." Giving his best unimpressed look, Mycroft tried once more to get through to the young man.
"If you did nothing wrong, then why was it necessary for him to forgive you?" As Sherlock flounced out of his office without uttering a retort- a sign Mycroft took to mean that he'd won this round- the ginger turned back to his e-mails.
He had a new one from the surveillance team he had tracking John Watson's trek across the country side.
Mycroft wasn't stupid, John was far too important to Sherlock- and therefore highly important to national security- to let walk around unsupervised. Though he had felt charitable enough towards the man who had kept his brother safe and- dare he say it- happy to make the surveillance discreet.
It was Sherlock's own fault that he was in this situation now, he should have thought through the consequences more before taking action, and he would just have to live with it.
At least until Mycroft thought he'd been punished enough. Only then would John be brought back to London against his will.
But hopefully the good doctor would work things out for himself in a timely manner and such measures would not have to be taken.
It had been a month, a full month, since he'd left London and he was feeling great. Better than he thought he would outside of the city.
He was just coming into Cornhill-on-Tweed- the twin city of his destination, Cold Stream, which lay on the other side of the River Tweed- and was looking forward to a peaceful evening at a local inn he remembered- run by one of his more distant cousins so he hoped to get a good rate- and then make his way to his Grandmother's house the next day.
She had seemed very open to the idea of his coming for an extended stay when he'd spoken to her the week before on his new phone- he'd picked it up in Wheathampstead, a wonderful little town, when he'd still been close to London.
Deciding on an early lunch before heading over to negotiate for a room- he didn't want to deal with the pig-headed stubbornness of his extended family on an empty stomach- John was just looking over a menu at a newer cafe- or at least new to him, though it had been years since he'd been up this way- when someone sat across from him.
Looking at his new companion he immediately returned his gaze back to the menu.
"Mr. Moriarty." He greeted as calmly as he could. He had spotted the criminal when he'd first walked into the café several minutes earlier, and so it hadn't been too big of a surprise when the man decided to come over.
"Call me Jim, please." The psychopath said cheerfully.
"Jim." Just then the waitress arrived with several platters of food and proceeded to arrange them on the table.
"I hope you don't mind, but I went ahead and called in our order earlier. I just don't like waiting." Giving a huff, but not even trying to argue, John began looking over the selection before them, attempting to decide just what he would like to start with.
"Hmm. I don't think I like this change in you, Johnny. You had a lot more spunk the last time we met."
"Well I'm sorry I don't meet your expectations, Jim. If you want to leave then that's fine by me." He'd finally settled on a pasta dish and began to dig in while his unwanted table companion stared at him.
"He really did a number on you, didn't he?" John paused only a moment at that before continuing to shovel lightly sauced noodles in his mouth.
The next several minutes passed in silence while they ate.
"He's waiting for you at the Inn, you know." Jim said, breaking the- surprisingly companionable- silence that had wrapped itself around them.
"Damn." Was all John could think of to say, and then he finally broke and asked the question that had been plaguing his mind since Jim had walked through the door.
"Why are you here?" That earned him a playful smirk from the brunette.
"To have dinner with you. I thought it was obvious." Shaking his head, and resigning himself to not getting a straight answer, John turned with little enthusiasm to the lovely dessert being set before him.
"Actually, I was following Sherlock following you when I spotted you on accident. I only came over for a chat to see the damage he's caused with my own eyes. Poor Johnny. My poor, poor Johnny. Do you want Daddy to punish little Sherly for you? I'll do it. Just say the word." Unable to keep the smirk off his lips, John just shook his head.
"No. Thank you. But, no." Taking a bite of his chocolaty treat, John started thinking up other places he could go on short notice in order to avoid Sherlock. He still wasn't ready to face the brilliant idiot quite yet.
Just then an idea struck him.
He knew it would work, the problem simply lay in getting it done. But, as his Gran always says, nothing ventured nothing gained.
So, looking his tablemate dead in the eye, John asked:
"Dear Jim, please will you fix it for me?" Even if he was refused the comical look of surprise on Jim Moriarty's face would be well worth having asked.
"I need to escape my overbearing flatmate, and possibly his brother as well, until I can get my head back in rights. What do you say?" John started counting. Once he reached forty-seven seconds of stunned silence Jim burst out laughing.
"Johnny. Johnny. Johnny. You are a wonder, you know that? I mean, here we are: Sherlock Holmes' best friend and his arch-enemy, sitting, eating lunch and discussing business like old friends. Just what would little Sherly say if he saw us now?" John gave a half frown before flicking his eyes over the surveillance crews that had been dogging him since he'd left London.
They really needed to be trained better at going unnoticed.
"You can always ask Mycroft what it was once he tells him about it." This earned another laugh from the Consulting Criminal.
"I could. I could, indeed." Standing slowly so as not to startle John- the doctor suddenly realized that Jim had been trying to put him at ease in his own way ever since he had shown up- Jim tossed some money down to cover their bill and began to walk off.
"Coming, John?" Quickly picking up his duffel- he'd finally relented and took to carrying only the one, though the second was stuffed inside the first- John hurried after the man who had once threatened to blow him up with a surprisingly light heart.
Perhaps it was because, unlike Sherlock, Jim had never lied to him about what he was doing. He knew where he stood with the crazy brunette, and that was something he desperately needed at this time.
A car back-fired nearby and John jumped, taking an instinctively protective stance in front of his companion.
A warm hand came to wrap around his clenched fist and John looked over and up at Jim.
"It's fine John, relax." Giving a reassuring, yet amused, smile, Jim tugged the doctor further down the road.
As he walked, John turned over in his mind the expression Jim had worn when John had moved to protect him.
There had been surprise, curiosity and understanding; all of which John would expect from a genius of Jim's caliber. But what was hard to wrap his mind around was the flash of concern that he had briefly seen in those obsidian eyes.
As he climbed into a sleek black car with the madman, John brushed aside the idea of Jim caring about him in anyway as ridiculous.
There was just no way that the psychopath felt anything for him as anything other than as a piece to be manipulated in his game against Sherlock.
One year later:
"Damn it, Sherlock- what?!" The irate blonde yelled from the kitchen.
"My nose itches." John let out a mirthless laugh.
"Then you should have thought of that before breaking into my flat. Be thankful I only tied you up. If Jim hadn't warned me you would be showing up I would have shot you like any other intruder." For all his derisive words he still found himself facing the- securely immobilized- detective and scratching his nose for him.
"When are you coming home?" The man asked as soon as his itch was satisfied.
"Sherlock..." The doctor said exasperatedly.
"I'm serious, John. It's been over a year now, you need to came home!"
"And what if he already is home?" Came an Irish drawl from the doorway.
Jim stepped into the room, wrapped his arms around a happier looking John and proceeded to glare at the seated and secured man.
"He still screams at night because of you." He said darkly, but then turned happy the next instant.
"We're getting married! You know that, right?" At Sherlock's eye roll he continued.
"I don't mind him being friends with you, Sherly, but you need to understand that he isn't yours to do with as you please. He never was." He started to sound angry again, so John cut in.
"You are, of course, invited to the ceremony. It'll be-"
"Spain, three months from now. I will of course attend, John. Just for you." Jim leveled a stern glare at the detective for that last bit, and then looked Sherlock's bound form over carefully.
"John, love, he's almost out of the restraints. Why don't you go down to the car and I'll meet you there in a moment, alright." Nodding his assent- he'd known the moment that Jim had called him that they would have to leave for a new safe house, again- John went to grab his bag.
As he passed Sherlock he laid an uncertain hand on the man's shoulder- even now he was having a hard time reconciling what he knew was fact and what he knew was paranoia, but at least he was getting better.
"I've made you some tea and toast, it's in the kitchen, please eat it before you go. You don't look like you've been taking very good care of yourself." Leaving the two geniuses alone in the flat, and hoping that they would both come out alive, John went outside to the waiting car with a small smile on his face.
Things had gotten better for him since moving in with Jim, and that was even before they had started sleeping together; but he still wanted Sherlock in his life again at some point, they were best friends after all- or at least they had been.
Inside the flat, Jim and Sherlock where having a staring contest. It was only stopped once Sherlock finished with the last of the knots and stood up.
"You can't have him back, he's mine now." Jim began as Sherlock went to collect his waiting tea. No-one ever made it better than John did.
"That is entirely up to him, don't you think?" Sherlock said smugly while taking a bite of his toast.
"And you saw it for yourself: he initiated contact on his own. A remarkable improvement from three months ago when we saw each other and he couldn't bare to come within arms reach of me. Soon he'll be able to stand staying with me, alone, in the same room for longer than a few minutes at a time." As he spoke he sauntered over to the window and looked down at the car that held his blogger.
It was only a matter of time before he got him back.
"It may be an improvement, but nothing can erase just how deeply you hurt him. I picked those pieces up, Sherlock. I was the one to put him back together, I'm still putting him back together. So if you think that I'm going to give you the opportunity to hurt him again, you are sadly mistaken." His voice dropped suddenly to a menacing growl.
"The only reason I haven't killed you, slowly, for what you did to him is that it would hurt him more if I did. But remember this: if I think you are going to hurt him again- In any way!- I will not hesitate to defend him with a vengeance." With that Jim left, slamming the door behind him.
Finishing off his tea, Sherlock watched the car make its way down the street and out of sight. Now would come the part- the only part- of the meeting that he hated.
He would have to call and thank Mycroft for having set up this all up for him.
They had set up a system between them: Mycroft gets him a meeting with John, Sherlock does three cases for the Government without making a fuss.
It was a fair enough trade, really. Sherlock would do anything for his blogger, and if that meant doing his lazy brother's work for him then so be it.
John was worth it. And he most definitely would be worth the wait to have back, too.