A/N: This story is a behind-the-scenes of season 3, focusing on Sherlock, John, Mary, and the convoluted relationships between them. It also contains some backstory for Mary, which will feature mostly in the first few chapters. The story will later on develop its own plot that will carry it onward after the finale of season 3, examining the fallout of all that has happened. Please review and let me know if you would like to see this continued!
Also, the numbers before each section denote chronological order.
Hidden well out of sight, Mary stared through her lens down at the scene by the pool, her sniper-rifle trained precisely on the grainy-blond doctor.
She had to admit, she was becoming quite impressed with this man. Jim had made him sound like a dog's squeaky toy, nothing of significance compared to the real prize, Sherlock Holmes. Just a minor nuisance, like a mosquito flitting around your face—not special enough to be given any real attention except to squish it out of existence.
But Jim was wrong. She didn't know much about this Sherlock character, and frankly, she didn't care to. He didn't interest her. But this John Watson, this doctor who hadn't trembled once while being shoved into a vest of Semtex, this soldier who so bravely offered to sacrifice himself for his comrade…
Well. It would be a shame if she had to pull the trigger.
John stood like a brick wall in the waiting room. His soldierly instincts were in control of his body, paying no heed to the brain neurons firing back and forth with panic.
Sherlock wasn't doing well. He'd been slipping away in the back of the ambulance, dying right there in front of John, no tricks this time, and then they reached the hospital and he was shuffled away into emergency surgery, beyond John's reach. John was forced to stay behind, no idea what was happening behind closed doors.
"His chances of making it aren't very good," the uselessly sympathetic nurse had told him. "I'm afraid you should prepare yourself for the worst."
John wanted to override all the protocols, bust through those doors, and take charge of the operation himself. He was a bloody war doctor; he knew how to handle a bullet wound. Besides, he didn't trust anyone else with Sherlock's life. What if they weren't good enough? What if one man in that room was the difference between Sherlock living or dying?
The maybes and what ifs were acid burning in his chest. John sat heavily in an uncomfortable chair, his hands going to his forehead.
He leapt up from the seat, marching immediately to the man with the clipboard.
"We've extracted the bullet," the doctor said. "Mr. Holmes is alive, but very weak. Only time can tell if he'll pull through."
The acid drained from his chest into his stomach. John could breathe again, but every swallow of saliva threatened to make him spew up the contents of his last meal.
"It's quite miraculous," the man went on.
John stared sharply at him. "How do you mean?"
"His heart stopped. We'd given him up for dead."
John's hands curled into fists.
"And then the monitor just started beeping again. His finger was twitching and his eyes practically forced themselves open. Your partner must have a very strong will."
John didn't bother correcting him. Did it really matter anymore? After all, they were partners, of a kind.
"I believe he has a good chance of making it."
Jaw clenched tightly, John was unsure what to do with this new information. There was only one thing he cared about now.
"What room is he in?"
"Mr. Watson, when he wakes up, if he wakes up, it won't be for days," the doctor informed him. "His body needs time to recover. Perhaps you should go home, get some-"
"What. room. is he in?"
The monitor beeped a steady, pulsing rhythm.
"Don't you dare die now," was John's whispered demand. "You made a vow to always be there for Mary and me. Always."
He stared at the face of the unconscious man under the white sheets.
"You have to pull through, all right? You have to-"
John took a long breath in through his nose and sat a little straighter.
"They say that your heart stopped. That it's some sort of miracle, you still being alive."
I asked you for one more miracle. I asked you to stop being dead.
I heard you.
"I only asked you for one more miracle, Sherlock."
Skin pale as death, eyelids hiding those bright eyes from the cruel universe, chest bare, tubes winding in and out of his body. Hooked up to the machines, Sherlock might've looked like a machine himself, but instead he looked to John like the most fragile human being in the world.
He squeezed his eyes shut against the sight and rasped, "But please God make it two."
Mary wanted revenge for Jim's death. She craved it.
After her family was murdered in front of her when she was a child, Mary thought that becoming a killer of bad men would satisfy that thirst for blood inside. It hadn't. So finally she'd left the CIA and gone rogue, because she knew what she needed to do: track down the bastards that had made her this way.
That's when James Moriarty found her.
At first she didn't take him seriously. Then she did. He was charming and frightening and slippery. She didn't like him at all, but she needed him. He found the men responsible for the deed in no time. With a knowing smile he handed over the documents.
Mary snatched them from his fingers, her eyes lingering uneasily on his snake-like features. She scanned the file quickly, every detail of every profile. Even after all these years she still recognized their faces. These were the men.
A week later they were dead.
And a week later she was working full-time for Jim Moriarty—hi! That had been the deal. His assistance for her employment. He wanted her, wanted her badly, he'd made that clear enough. She supposed she felt… sort of flattered, actually. It was nice to be recognized as the best at what she did.
So he gave her a new name, Mary Morstan, and a new identity. Over time they developed a bond, one of trust and respect, something she never imagined she'd have with a criminal mastermind. She hated criminals. That's why she'd become a hired gun in the first place.
But there was something addictive about Jim, something likable beneath his unlikableness, and Mary fell prey to it. But she felt confident that the relationship was mutual. Jim had never expected to truly rely on her, much less like her. It turned out that she surprised him just as much as he surprised her. Soon they were inseparable.
So when he died, when he was suddenly taken from the world, from her, Mary felt that once-quenched need for bloodshed return. If she could have destroyed Jim's nemesis she would have, but Jim had done his work well. Sherlock also was dead. That left only one option.
The idea of pulling a trigger on John Watson no longer bothered her.
John spent the night in that chair. The next morning Mrs. Hudson arrived, patted his shoulder, and told him to go home and get some sleep.
John felt a pang when he realized that he hadn't thought to inform her about Sherlock's condition, which meant that Mary must've done it sometime after he called her from the hospital. Mary was always better about these things than John. John was much more self-absorbed.
Mrs. Hudson's arrival also reminded John that there were others who deserved to hear the news. He called Greg and then Molly. He almost didn't bother calling Mycroft but did anyways, only to hear exactly what he'd expected.
"Yes, I am aware, thank you."
He didn't bother asking if he could expect a visit.
Relieved from duty by Mrs. Hudson, John did as she suggested. He went home, washed up, and slept through the afternoon. In the evening he shared a quiet dinner with Mary. He spent more time poking the peas and pieces of chicken with his fork than eating them.
"Do you want me to come with you?" Mary asked, placing her hand gently on his. She knew without needing to be told that John planned to return immediately to Sherlock's side.
John shook his head. "It's fine. At least one of us should show up at surgery tomorrow. Give my excuses to Sarah, will you?"
Obviously concerned about her husband, Mary simply nodded.
John went straight to the hospital after eating and sent Mrs. Hudson home, thanking her for sitting with Sherlock during the day. Teary-eyed, she left John alone in Sherlock's room, where he spent his second night in the hospital.
Over the next few days each of Sherlock's friends stopped by. John used those opportunities when Lestrade, Mary, Molly, or Mrs. Hudson were present to take a break, go home, and get rest, but otherwise he stayed by Sherlock at all hours. Even Anderson stopped by with his girlfriend on the fourth day. When he arrived, he shrugged at John.
"I'm sure he wouldn't want me here," he said, a self-deprecating smile on his lips. "But I just wanted to, you know… check in on him myself."
"Yeah, no, it's fine," John assured. "Go right in."
And so the days passed. Each day the shadows under John's eyes got bigger and darker, but he continued spending most of his time at the hospital. He dreaded the thought of being absent when Sherlock finally woke up.
He would wake up.