Part 2.

The first part of John Watson's plan to restore Sherlock's name and reputation was relatively easy. It consisted of a new post in a blog, because it was only right for things to be like that. He was, after all, Sherlock Holmes's blogger.

Hundreds (possibly thousands) of alerts began pinging across London (and possibly even elsewhere) to announce John Watson was back, his latest post: From James Moriarty to Richard Brook, and Back. The post included scans of every single piece of 'evidence' that Kitty Riley had once used to prove Brook's story, only to then tear them apart, one by one. Fake birth certificates, altered school records, and the most important part: a backstage video-clip of the actual tv-show Brook claimed to have been a part of. As it turned out, there had been a Richard Brook, and he was an actor, little known; he'd jumped off the London bridge and into the Thames a year after the cancelation of the tv-show, broken and beyond depressed. John added a little theory of his own at the end: Had Richard Brook truly committed suicide, or had that just been one more of Moriarty's crimes in his way to building himself the perfect façade? Practically a dead-ringer for Brook, the differences were only obvious when the deceased actor was without make-up. Also, what kind of man lived a year with little to no money and no prospects before suddenly deciding to off-himself?

The post had readers, and all kinds of questions began popping up. To all John gave the same answer: Wait. I'm not done yet. And he wasn't, the revelation of that lie was but the tip of the iceberg. Even Molly helped, she didn't say anything to John, but she'd posted copies of two separate autopsies: a John Doe that was believed to be the real Richard Brook… and James Moriarty's…

The blogger gave three days for all who could be expected to read to do so, and then he delivered the coup-de-grace, so to speak: The post was titled Reichenbach Falls. In honor of the painting that had marked Sherlock's jump to fame, and which had started the whole mess during those three months. He narrated, in great detail, the three 'daylight robberies', the message on the glass, everything every single person involved had done. Ending with what had happened early that morning at St. Bart's… John had an audio file with the whole conversation…

He hadn't actually known that part, until much later. One of the homeless, Sue, was a marvel with electronics. She'd offered to fix John's mobile when he dropped it accidentally, in return for his helping her with a bad burn to her leg (he'd recognized the burn as caused by a very hot metal object, possibly had happened during a fight; but still he didn't ask, he never did, the homeless liked that about him). She'd been the one to point out the 'homemade app' that recorded the contents of every single call made, as well as the messages. Sherlock had given his authorization for the file to be used when John asked (he hadn't truly explained what he wanted it for, but the blonde was sure the other man knew).

A barrage of messages followed, people who had never believed Sherlock to be more than a genius and sociopath, others who'd always been convinced there was something between them, and of course, there were some skeptics… and it wasn't even just messages, John's mobile began ringing less than five minutes after the post went up. He received calls from Harry (demanding to know why the hell he was rocking the boat again after two years), Sarah (worried about him and reassuring him she was there if he needed someone to talk to), Mrs. Hudson (who could do little more than cry, especially at the revelation of why exactly Sherlock had jumped, at knowing how much the consulting detective cared for her). Mycroft didn't call, though he received a message from Anthea's number warning him about the huge bulls-eye he was painting on himself, he snorted, if she only knew… And then came the call he'd been expecting, almost from the start:

"John…" It was Greg, and judging by the background voices, his phone was on speaker.

"Greg." John greeted him politely, though barely.

John would never fully forgive Lestrade for his part in Sherlock's 'fall'. While the doctor hadn't been at all surprised by Sally's attitude, she'd never made it a secret how much she did not like Sherlock. The fact that Greg had backed her up, had expressed doubts about Sherlock's genius and his innocence… that was too much. Greg was supposed to be different. He'd been there from the start, when Sherlock had, half-high on cocaine, tripped into a crime scene and began ranting all kinds of facts and figures, half-solving the case before the NSY team even realized the actual cause of death… It'd only gotten better when Sherlock was sober. For Greg to have been there, to have seen Sherlock's genius for years, and then be willing to believe it was all fake… John would never forgive him that.

"John…" Greg repeated, seemingly not sure what to say, or how to say it. "What you just posted… three days ago, but especially today…"

"It's true." John cut him off. "Every single word. Which I'm sure you must know already if you decided to call. The proof is right there on the web."

"John, some of the information you posted, you shouldn't even know those things…" Greg began, as if trying to coax some information from John, he'd no idea.

"He must have stolen it!" Sally Donovan spat in the background. "Is that what you are now Watson? A thief?"

"My confidential sources are exactly that, confidential." John answered simply. "And I would appreciate if you watched your tongue Donovan. Or what, you think that if you yell insults loud enough you'll get rid of me too, like you did Sherlock?"

He was being overly-vicious, and he knew it. The sharp intake of breath, followed by the loud echo of a door slamming closed told him how hard that verbal blow had hit the woman.

"That's was below the belt John." Greg chastised him.

"Perhaps." John couldn't help but shrug to himself. "But maybe if someone had thought of curving her own viciousness in time, we wouldn't be where we are. Sherlock would have been able to count on you, instead of you all allowing your insecurities and the envy and petty jealousy of a few people to destroy the life of a man who never did anything but help others. Granted, he might not have been the best at social cues, but it's not like you called him so the two of you could chat about your families or for a pint. You needed him to solve your cases, and he did, he never asked to have people verbally abusing him simply because they weren't as clever and couldn't handle being second best."

Even Greg did not seem to know what to say to that. John thought that maybe, deep down, he knew John was right. Maybe he too blamed himself, especially with the knowledge that he was one of the people Sherlock had sacrificed himself for. John knew that things might go pear shaped when Sherlock returned, when they all realized the guilt was unnecessary because the consulting detective wasn't dead and never had been, the doctor didn't care. If Sherlock hadn't been the absolute genius he was, he would have still ended on that rooftop, and with no magic tricks under his sleeves. People needed to understand the consequences of their actions or they would never learn.

"You do realize that, due to the way you presented that information, none of it will be admitted in a court of law, right?" Lestrade half-asked, half reminded him.

"I know." John shrugged again, though he knew no one could see him. "The courts have done all they could. It was proven that Sherlock never committed any of those crimes, all he did was solve them. I'm more concerned for the court of public opinion. They were the ones who destroyed Sherlock's name and reputation, people like Kitty Riley and everyone who chose to believe what they read in that rag that called itself a newspaper rather than what was right in front of them." Which included NSY. "I might have been too busy worrying about Moriarty and what he might do, to truly stand up for Sherlock back then, but not anymore."

"For the record I am sorry for the part I played in everything." The inspector admitted.

"I know." John nodded quietly.

He knew, of course he did. Greg had visited John to apologize, more than once, back when the blonde was still in Baker Street. But in that first month John had been far too livid to even think about forgiving anyone, even himself. And afterwards… after finding the letter all he could do was focus on keeping Sherlock and himself alive, which meant keeping going down the same road he'd already started. Also, a part of him just couldn't think about forgiving Greg; Sherlock had cared enough for the other man to be willing to jump to save him, even when Greg hadn't trusted him in return.

"Why did you really call Greg?" John asked, almost tiredly, after what seemed like forever.

"Are you alright John?" The inspector asked after an extended silence.

"I will be." The doctor replied simply, before hanging up.

It was the truth. Once Sherlock returned he would be alright, everything would be just fine.

xXx

Two weeks passed, and John woke one morning knowing, instinctively, that something was very wrong. Sherlock had warned him. He'd explained how he'd have to go undercover in Serbia, join the terrorist organization that was the last piece of Moriarty's web. Most of it would be taken down by MI6, once he'd given them enough information to plan a strike; though the boss was for Sherlock to take down. Sebastian Moran… John had called in some favors to research him and it was eventually his own ex-superior who gave him the information. The man was, indeed, former military, and not only that, one of the best snipers in the UK, had been trained by the same man who'd trained John… it was also believed he might have been the one to shoot John in the shoulder that day in Afghanistan, when it all went to hell.

John would never forget that day, the mess it'd been. He and his squad had been on patrol. Even back then he was enough of a thrill seeker to have signed up for patrols, rather than staying on base, like most of the medics did. He was good enough with guns that it was allowed. They'd received an emergency call from an American squad who were trapped, an ambush they'd been setting for a terrorist cell having been turned on them; they needed help to allow for an extraction before they were completely overrun. The best American sniper was in that team.

It was an absolute mess and John would never stop believing that nothing short of a bloody miracle had gotten them out of there (even though most days he wasn't convinced if he actually believed in God). Thankfully they'd all made it alive, though John and two of the Americans had injuries serious enough to get them honorably discharged. John had spent the six months of his recovery (during which he'd been subjected to several surgeries and long, trying sessions of PT) believing that his life was over. More than once he'd contemplated his service gun while wondering what it'd be like to just put an end to everything. So long he'd believed that his death would come during a mission, in a hail of bullets, or an explosion, or whatever else that he might do in service of his country… only to find himself discharged, with no family, no friends, no life… and then he'd met Sherlock. Sherlock Holmes had changed John Watson's life, saved him in every way a man could be saved…

John was so lost in his thoughts of all the ways things could have gone wrong with Sherlock, and how he could possibly find out, when he got a call from Mary Campbell, asking if he would be visiting his goddaughter that day. It was until he was already getting out of the tube, just a couple of blocks from the suburban house where Mary lived with her husband David and their baby girl: Debby, that John realized there had been no plans for him to visit his goddaughter any time soon. In fact, he'd specifically planned to stay away at least until it'd all blown over. People just kept calling him about the information he'd posted on the blog. It'd only gotten worse when the Chief Superintendent had made a public declaration backing John's revelations. The doctor knew the man had only done it to appear like he'd been part of it all, to try and salvage his own image (after all, he'd been the one after Sherlock two years prior…), but John didn't really care, as long as Sherlock's name and reputation had been restored by the time he came back… because he would be coming back, no matter what might have happened, John would make sure of that.

David had yet to leave for work when John arrived, the two men greeted each other with simple handshakes. John had been to a handful of dates with Mary the year before, during one of the off phases of the on-again off-again relationship she and David had. Apparently seeing the two of them together twice had been enough for the other man to get his head on straight and decide to propose to the blonde before someone else got ahead of him. Not like John would have ever done that, the only reason he'd gone out with Mary at all was because a few of his friends, like Sarah and Mike had been on his case for way too long and he'd decide it was too risky for them to keep too close an eye on him.

There was also another, more complicated reason: John knew Mary, from a time before she was ever Mary Elizabeth Morstan. Back then she'd been a redhead, a seducer and assassin in service of the Russians, had tried to kill him and blow up the car of the Greek Ambassador in Turkey… Mary did not know she was that man: Ivan Boiko, an Ukrainian Aid, that had been his cover, and even when the mission went pretty much pear-shaped, he'd never broken it. It'd been part of what made him one of the best during his time in Intelligence, he never broke cover.

In any case, Mary (her name had been Alisa at the time) didn't know it was him, and he didn't plan on telling her. On the other hand, she did know he'd been military, and that he could see she was more than just a nurse. She'd told him once, in private, that she'd worked for the CIA, until a mission were innocents died, children, then she couldn't do it anymore and chose to defect, knowing they would never let her go. John had no idea how true or not that story might be (maybe she was American intelligence before she was a Russian assassin…). Still, he never gave her up to any authorities. And when Mary asked him to be Debby's godfather…

The visit went well for the most part. John played with Debby for hours, then had lunch with Mary after they'd put the baby down for her nap. He was about to leave, when Mary stop him. Red flags went up in the ex-agent's head when he noticed how stiff she seemed all of a sudden; she'd been tense since his arrival, but it'd abruptly gotten way worse…

"There are things I've never told you." She began, looking extremely nervous, even as she forced herself to keep talking. "We both know that. Just like I'm sure there are things about you that you haven't told me, and most likely never will. And that's alright, that's just fine. But right now there's one thing I need to tell you, and I really cannot explain how I know."

John just knew that whatever was coming was going to be bad, very, very bad.

"Your friend, Sherlock Holmes… he's been captured."

xXx

Mary didn't tell John where she'd gotten that information from, how she even knew that Sherlock Holmes was alive, and John chose not to ask, he'd other priorities in that moment. So lost was he trying to think of a plan, of what his options might be, that it took him a while to notice the dark car that began following the moment he stepped out of the tube, several blocks from his flat. When he did he thought it must be Mycroft, he probably knew what was going on and (hopefully) had decided it was time to stop the games and tell John the truth (which he already knew, but still). It was until he was on the vehicle and it began driving away that he noticed the woman sitting beside him wasn't Anthea, in her usual dark skirt-suit and trusty blackberry in hand. No, the woman beside him had skin that was much darker, hair also darker, shorter and in tight curls and was dressed in a simple but formal light-gray sleeveless dress. It took John only a second to realize who it was.

"Miss Moneypenny." He acknowledged her.

"Agent Watson." She greeted him respectfully.

"I should point out the correct use of my title is former-agent Watson." He reminded her with a half-shrug. "Though right now the more important question is, what do you want with me?"

"M would like to see you." Moneypenny told him. "He said it was very important and that I was to bring you to him as soon as I found you."

"I have never met the current M and I've no idea what business he could possibly have with me." John muttered dismissively. "Though I have to say I'm quite busy at the moment…"

"He told me to tell you it's concerning the asset in Serbia."

That was more than enough to shut John up, he didn't say a word more as they drove straight to MI6's HQs and M's office.

John could still remember Eve Moneypenny, she'd been so young, a probationary agent in MI6 the same year John had been discharged for insubordination (for choosing to stay back and treat a badly injured 00 instead of continuing the mission, which James and Alec had finished just fine, earning the rank of 00, both of them). John knew that she probably didn't remember him, from all 00 candidates in history he was probably the least memorable. Even if he'd been her first trainer for shooting and especially sniping.

"Agent Watson." M greeted him once they were all inside his office.

John was about to point out, just like he'd to Moneypenny, that he was no longer an Agent, and hadn't been for more than half a decade (around 7 years, actually); however, he was completely distracted when he noticed who else was in the office.

"James?!" He blurted out before he realized it.

And then he became aware of something else, the pile of files on M's desk, they were all the originals of the very files James had been sending him over the last two years. John's reaction was instinctive as he straightened up abruptly, expression going completely blank.

"Your old partners warned me you would do that." M commented, seemingly at ease.

John's old partners, he was talking of course of both James and Alec, who'd been five and three years younger than John respectively and teamed with him regularly during their years in MI6. All three of them had been declared 00 candidates at the same time, and it was well known how that had ended…

"First of all, I know exactly what James has been doing over the last two years and I'm not about to reprimand either of you." M announced, waiting for John to relax just enough to take a seat before continuing. "It is the belief of most of the higher ups that our asset in Serbia is lost already and we should proceed with the second part of the mission."

"Destruction." James finished for him, and his distaste was obvious.

"Indeed." M nodded. "I have a team getting ready for that. However, it was Bond's belief that you would be better able to discern the possibilities of our asset still being alive. After all, we don't want to take him down along with the rest of the terrorist organization."

"I once told Sherlock that he would probably survive the end of the world, if only to make sure he had the last word." John didn't see the point beating around the bush, they all were probably on the same page, and things would go much better and faster if they were as honest as could be. "I still believe that."

"Send us, M." James added for good measure. "We'll get Holmes out of there."

"James!" John certainly wasn't expecting that.

"I told you I would pay back my debt." James reminded him. "If it weren't for you I would have died that day, in Istanbul…"

"Istanbul?!" Moneypenny gasped in absolute shock.

"So, you're the one who saved Bond when he fell of that train and he was reported KIA?" M guessed from what he was hearing.

"It was completely coincidental that I was there, and especially in that particular area at that time, but yes, it was me." John nodded. "However, all I did was treating his wound and make sure he survived the night. He left the following morning and I knew nothing of him for months, not until after I was shot and honorably discharged a little over half a year later."

"All your records have been erased." M commented.

"It's part of the protocol concerning all 00 candidates." John nodded. "I suppose no one expected I would end up discharged for insubordination instead."

"Alec and I still say we'd rather have him on our backs than anyone else." James pointed out.

"Very well." M nodded. "We shall do things your way, this time. But know this, you have exactly 24 hours from the moment you touch land on Budapest, then Alec will be leading a team in to take everything down for good."

"Understood sir." James nodded. "We shall not fail."

No, they wouldn't. John would make sure of that.

xXx

It wasn't easy, but at the same time it wasn't as hard as it could have been. John had contacts, more than the army or MI6 ever knew about. He and James traveled in a private flight to Budapest, Hungary. It was as close as they could get them without alerting the terrorists of the coming strike. But John was ready. An old friend from his military days agreed to taking them from Budapest and all the way to Bosnia (Sarajevo, to be precise) in his plane, writing them in as part of a mercy mission. There John and James slipped away before entering a brothel.

"I don't really think this is the time to flirt, 3 Continents." James drawled.

"We're not here to flirt, James." John retorted with a roll of his eyes, before turning to the man behind the bar. "We're here to see the Woman."

James's brows went straight into his hairline. He'd heard of the Woman, of course, especially how she'd been involved with an MI6 mission years earlier, which had to be canceled in the end, for security reasons. He'd heard the rumors that Sherlock Holmes had been involved… and somehow he'd missed what that must mean regarding John…

"Do you have an appointment, sirs?" The man asked politely.

"No, we don't." John admitted, using his most persuasive tone. "But she will want to see us. Tell her Hamish would like to chat with her."

"Of course sir." The man nodded before turning to pick up a phone.

"Hamish?" James asked in a low tone, confused.

"It's a name she'll know, and she'll understand." John explained.

"And what makes you think she won't run?" The 00 was truly intrigued about the whole thing. "She could just choose to run."

"She won't, because she owes Sherlock too much." John was confident about that at least.

John was right, of course. With some help from the two British men, the Woman had a plan in no time. Irene gathered a group of about a dozen girls, the best from the brothel, made them look their best and after adding two more men (hired thugs), they were on their way.

After a trip of five hours in a couple of vehicles, they were in Belgrade. The plan to get in was simple and it went by without a hitch. Everyone knew who the Woman was and, as it happened, most of the men in that place were in great need of women to spend a few hours with. It was easy enough to have them allow Irene, her girls and their four 'guards' inside. James and John had made sure to disguise themselves so they looked like locals (as much as they could). Only Irene knew the truth.

The part that James did not like was having to wait for hours while the girls entertained the men in the base, Irene taking care of the leaders personally. However, it was a good thing in the end. As the group was preparing to leave the three met one last time.

"Here." Irene offered them several sheets of paper.

"What's this?" James asked, though his eyes began widening even as he looked at it. "Is this really a map of this place?"

"My girls are very good, and not just because of how sexy they can look in the right clothes." Irene announced proudly.

"No." John agreed. "You've always been one to focus on brains over looks, haven't you Irene?"

"Of course, and our mutual friend is a prime example of it." Irene smiled, her first real smile since their meeting earlier. "You get him out of here John. Get both of you out of here."

"I will." John nodded, still in his eyes.

"So, this makes us even then." Irene declared strongly. "I owe you nothing anymore."

"Of course." John nodded once again. "Thank you for everything Irene."

"It would seem like you might be the one naming a boy Hamish in the end." The Woman offered, right as she was going to exit the door. Or maybe, if it's a girl, you'll call her Lillie…"

No more was said, John didn't even get the chance to reply, Irene was gone before he could think of anything to say.

"What the hell is any of that supposed to mean?" James demanded hotly.

John knew, of course he did, a rehash of that old conversation, back when Irene had been trying so hard to seduce Sherlock and, for a little while, it seemed like she might succeed. A lot had changed since then, and even without talking about it, John was sure Irene could see it. She was a genius in many ways, after all. And he did like the name Lillie…

"Forget about that." John stated. "We need to get moving. Sherlock is prisoner somewhere in this base and we need to get him out before Alec and his team arrive."

"We have less than six hours left." James pointed out. "At least the maps will save us some time."

And with that, they were on the move.

xXx

Finding Sherlock was relatively easy. The hard part came when they were found. In the end the whole thing was, more or less, John's fault. He saw a man about to whip Sherlock and reacted in an instant, dashing across the room and taking the man down as fast as possible. It was effective, though there was a very loud racket.

"We need to get out of here." James stated, entirely unnecessarily. "Now."

It was a mess. Hard as they tried, an hour later they found themselves taking cover in a small room that looked like it might be the armory. Which would have been perfect, except the men did not know most of the guns stacked there enough to be able to assemble them properly (they were all in pieces); and there were enough explosives in the room that a lucky shot (either from them or those outside) might blow them all to kingdom come.

"This reminds me so much of Budapest!" James exclaimed at one point as he crouched beside Sherlock's unconscious body.

"That's preposterous." John snorted. "Whenever a mission doesn't go your way you say they remind you of Budapest. Which, is absolutely ridiculous because this is no motel and there are no waitresses around for you to seduce!"

"And no assassins for you to go all slap and tickle with." James retorted with a smirk.

"That was Istanbul, not Budapest, and it's so not the point!"

"Anyway." 007 insisted. "A lot of missions have not gone my way in the last few years, and none of them have reminded me of Budapest… then again, you weren't there to watch my back in any of them." He turned abruptly sober. "I could really have used you a few of those times John. Especially 3 ½ years ago, in Skyfall…"

John didn't reply to that; truth was, he wouldn't have known what to say. He knew about Skyfall, though only in very general terms. Like how the old M (his boss) had died there, the same as the former 00 who'd threatened dozens of MI6 Agents and operations around the world… John had still been recovering from his last surgery to the shoulder at the time, nowhere near London… a part of him wondered if he'd have been called in, had he been there. Then again, back then he'd had a near constant tremor in his dominant hand, as well as a serious limp in one leg, and no way of knowing neither were as permanent as all the doctors seemed to believe; back then he'd yet to meet Sherlock Holmes.

James was still half lost in his own memories of what had happened back then, when John identified some of the pieces before him and a plan began forming.

"I have an idea." He announced.

It was an insane plan. Then again, James knew that at least 75% of his plans went from the insane to the downright suicidal, so who was he to question John? It so happened that John had managed to identify the pieces of a Tabuk Sniper Rifle, Iraqi, it'd been one such weapon that had made the hole in his shoulder that got him discharged from the army for good. John knew that weapon inside and out, almost better than most of the ones he'd been taught to use by his superiors. It'd been part of his therapy, a part implemented by himself; in a sort-of 'know thy enemy' way.

In the end it was a good thing, it meant there was at least one weapon in there that he could use. The part of the plan that could actually be considered insane came next: after placing the pieces of the rifle in a bag, John slipped out of the small room through a window, before scaling the wall. As it happened they were in a complex formed by a number of buildings, all in a more-or-less circular formation, surrounding a wide expanse, where most training seemed to take place. The armory was in the inner circle of buildings and the terrorists were taken advantage of nearby rooms as well as a number of things in the 'training area' to slowly approach the armory, where they knew the 'spies' to be. John, taking the advantage of the fact that all their attention was focused on the door of that room, went out through a small back-window, and then up, to the rooftop about two floors up. It wasn't easy, the buildings were old and too smooth in some areas to allow good enough purchase. Still, John Watson wasn't the kind of man to give up, especially not when the lives of two of the best friends he'd had his whole life were on the line.

Once on the root at least things got a bit easier. It was simply a matter of picking out the terrorists one by one. At least a dozen of them fell before anyone realized what was going on exactly. And then the chief of all their troubles appeared… Sebastian Moran.

"Shooter!" He called loudly, from behind a thick column. "I've had enough."

"You're welcome to surrender." John quipped, before turning dead serious. "You're finished, Moran, either you surrender or you die."

"Are you so sure of that?" The other man sounded almost gleeful as he said that, and reminded John way too much of Moriarty. "I have a counter proposal to that. Either you come down and surrender now, or your friends go up."

John needed only to take a quick glance down to realize what was going on. Half a dozen men stationed in different points, all with their guns pointing straight at the armory. They were no longer interested in taking prisoners, and were quite willing to blow up their own ammo in order to kill the men hiding there. Also, with so many of them, and so strategically positioned, by the time John managed to shoot the third, possibly fourth if he risked his aim a bit in order to move faster, the others would be shooting already. There was no way to win that one…

"And here is my counter proposal, you lower your gun in the next two seconds and I don't blow your brains out." A new voice announced coldly.

"Alec…" John breathed, almost giddy with relief, thankfully low enough no one actually heard him say the younger (but taller)'s blonde's name.

It was him, the last member of the old trio of candidates: Alec Trevelyan, 006.

"You cannot possibly shoot me and all of my men fast enough." Moran hissed.

"Are you sure about that?" Alec challenged.

The place was filled by the sound of guns being cocked, as nearly a dozen agents in tactical gear joined 006 in the training center.

"How about now?" The green-eyed finished, almost wolfishly.

What followed happened so fast most people probably weren't able to follow everything. Moran knew he was defeated, but he was either too proud, too brave, or simply too crazy to simply give up. A sharp motion and his elbow hit Alec square under his ribs, hard enough to knock the breath out of him and make him stagger, just for a moment. It was enough, Moran spun around at the same time he raised his own handgun, ready to put a bullet in the British agent's head; however, before he could fully line a shot, the discharge of another weapon was heard, a fraction of a second before Moran fell, a bullet having gone straight through his brain. Alec didn't even need to look to know where and who it'd come from.

"Thanks John!" He called, saluting at the rooftop.

The special ops. team, along with the terrorists who'd just surrendered were then treated to the sight of a short blonde, brown-blue eyed man scaling down the building with great agility using nothing more than window ledges, broken corners of stones and pipes. All but Alec himself were much too young to remember John from his days as an agent, though they could all see in his every move that even if he was over forty already, he was still quite talented (one only needed to see the shot with which he'd taken down Moran).

"You saved my life man." Alec stated, clapping John on the shoulder.

"You saved all of ours arriving when you did." John said in return.

"You came in early!" James half-exclaimed half-whined as he stepped out of the armory.

"Sherlock?" John's whole attention was instantly on his best friend (hopefully soon to be more).

"Inside." James waved him on. "I think he's waking up. He might feel a lot better about it if you're there John."

John nodded, seemingly forgetting all about Alec and his team as he went into the armory and straight to where Sherlock was beginning to wake, blinking rapidly and looking around, as if deducing where he was and how he'd gotten there. He only vaguely heard Alec talking to James:

"So it's true then?" The taller blonde was asking. "The consulting detective and his blogger…"

"Sounds like a bloody soap-opera!" James snorted, though it was not a denial.

Sherlock stopped looking around abruptly, eyes widening and a hand extending seemingly instinctively in the doctor's direction.

"I'm here Sherlock." John began murmuring as he dropped beside his best-friend. "I'm here, and I'm not going anywhere."

"You promise?" The detective asked, voice small.

"I promise." The (not-so) former agent stated, holding the other man's hands tightly. "I'm never leaving you again."

xXx

Mycroft was angry, in fact, he was the closest he'd been to full-on rage since the time Sherlock had ODed and, upon waking up in the hospital, all he could do was complain about Mycroft keeping tabs on him. Perhaps it wasn't too surprising that, yet again, Sherlock was at the core of Mycroft's bad mood. Except it wasn't his fault, not really. Time and again Mycroft had told his little brother: "Caring is not an advantage." It never stopped being true, what the eldest Holmes hadn't counted on was that a day might come when his brother would choose to care, regardless of the consequences.

The politician remembered quite clearly the explanation Sherlock had given to him, regarding his decision. Citing all the reasons why it was the 'logical choice', how three lives would always weight far more than one, no matter who that 'one' was; how he wasn't really going to die, only fake it, so there was no reason not to do it… Mycroft knew, deep down, that Sherlock's reasons had been grounded in sentiment rather than logic, on the very reasons why Moriarty had chosen those three specific people to use against him; just as he knew that even if there had been no 'magic trick' in place, the detective would have jumped anyway. It was just the kind of man his brother was, had always been.

Mycroft could remember it with almost painful clarity: the child Sherlock had been with his head full of springy ink-dark curls and bright shifting eyes, the delight he took in all things: like books, new knowledge, animals, dirt… and of course, pirates, and Redbeard… he could remember how hysterical that same child had been upon losing that dog… it was the last time Sherlock had expressed sentiment in any way, until He arrived.

He, John Watson. Much as it might cost him to admit it, Mycroft knew he'd never understand that man. A man who'd served in the army for twelve years, seven of those in active duty, separated by a lapse of five he'd spent as military surgeon in specialized top-secret facilities… Mycroft was convinced he'd been involved in at least two SAS missions. Then he'd been shot in the shoulder (closer to the chest, actually, but the point remained), developed a tremor in his dominant hand and a psychosomatic limp. It'd been the last two that were the cause of him being honorably discharged, his superiors deciding that he could no longer serve… they'd all failed to see what Sherlock had on their very first meeting, how the real John Watson (the soldier, the warrior) was still right there, buried beneath injuries that could be pushed aside, if only the blonde was given a reason to try hard enough… And Sherlock had given him that reason.

Perhaps, considering all that, the result shouldn't have been that surprising. John Watson had given Sherlock his all; it stood only to reason that the detective would respond in kind. Except… except Mycroft hadn't thought his brother capable of such a thing anymore.

In any case, John Watson wasn't the reason for Mycroft's anger, not really. If anything he might even feel pity for the man that, after two years, was still mourning his brother like one would a spouse, and there had never even been anything between them. There might never be, even if… when the consulting detective returned. Sherlock might be inordinately confident on how things would go, but Mycroft knew, better than most, that John was a proud man, and such a man might not forget a lie like that.

In any case, what had Mycroft upset in that moment was his brother's status. Sherlock had been captured in Serbia several days prior. Knowing how delicate the situation was likely to be, the elder Holmes had begun making plans to intervene himself (he deeply despised legwork, yet there was little he wouldn't do to keep his little brother safe). However, he never got the chance to implement said plan, as he was blocked every time he tried. In the end it was his PA, Anna, who informed him that MI6 were preparing a strike on the facility, to be lead by none other than Agent Alec Trevelyan, 006. It was also said that another elite, 007, would be standing close for whatever the reason.

Mycroft couldn't understand, since when did MI6 act so fast? Usually they would take days, if not weeks to evaluate all possibilities, all possible plans of action before committing to one. He'd been counting on that time to get in, collect Sherlock, and get out. Except he was never given the chance. The only saving grace had come in the form of another report from Anna, informing him that the 00's had recovered the 'asset', which meant Sherlock, he was alive, if injured, and they were expected to return soon… that very day in fact, the plane would be landing any minute. Which was exactly why he was standing right there in that moment.

Not long after Mycroft had gotten to the private airstrip in the outskirts of London, another dark car arrived. It carried M (not even Mycroft knew what the man's real name was, only that he was the highest authority of MI6 and not the first M… and that the previous one had been a woman), as well as his own assistant: Miss Moneypenny.

Only the most basic pleasantries were exchanged between those present, and then the aircraft was landing. The first to disembark were the dozen or so MI6 agents, who were leading a small number of terrorists, the highest ranked, as the rest had been sent to Serbian prisons (those that hadn't been killed).

Then came the two 00s who'd been part of the mission, James Bond and Alec Trevelyan; closely followed by two other figures walking closely together, one of them limping.

Mycroft was about to approach them, he was convinced that one of the two men walking behind the agents must be his brother, but M was ahead of him.

"Tell me, 006, 007," The man called. "Have you decided which of you will be taking credit for the death of Sebastian Moran? We have records to fill and a reward to grant…"

It seemed to be a game they played, whenever they killed someone in the international wanted list. It never mattered who'd actually taken the shot, if the two had been working together they took turns claiming the deed.

"No can do!" The two elite agents chimed in synch, sounding a bit too much like children for Mycroft's tastes, especially when they proceeded to giggle like crazy.

"I'm afraid the big kill this time goes to our old pall John." James began the explanation.

"Very true, still as sharp a shooter as ever." Alec agreed. "He put a bullet in the bastard's head."

"Not like either of us wouldn't have done the same given half a chance, but he was the one with the high ground and all that." James added for good measure.

"I suppose it's a good thing I filed papers for your reinstatement then, isn't it, Agent Watson?" M asked in turn.

For what was probably the first (and hopefully only) time in his life, Mycroft froze in shock. His mind couldn't fully believe what he'd just heard and yet, as the two 00s moved aside they could all see the two behind them. The taller was, in effect, Sherlock Holmes, his hair shaggy and a shade or two off his natural color, skin pale but for the shadows underneath his eyes and the bruises littering most of the skin that could be seen (and there was no doubt that there were more such marks, and possibly worse, beneath his clothes), he looked way too thin and yet there was the smallest of smiles in his face as he kept looking at the man helping him walk. John Watson might have always been at least a few inches smaller than Sherlock, almost forgettable in his comfortable jumpers and old jeans… in that moment he painted quite a different image: wearing tactical clothes and thick soled boots, his expression completely serious but for the hint of the smile in the corner of his eyes as he kept looking at the consulting detective.

Something in what M had just said made both of them react in an instant.

"You're not sending John on insane missions!" Sherlock practically snarled.

"Easy Sherlock…" John murmured quietly, tightening his hold on the detective's shoulders briefly, before turning to M. "He's right though. I made a promise and I'm keeping it. In any case, doesn't it say somewhere that you cannot have insubordinate people working for MI6?"

James and Alec snorted instantly and even Moneypenny giggled; M just smirked.

"Yes, but since all your records were burned…" He drawled.

John could only gape. It wasn't fair! His records had been burnt before he left MI6, meaning there should have been records of that particular mission… then again, his cover when he went back to the army had been completely solid. Most had looked at him odd after hearing that he'd spent five years working in top secret hospitals, but no one had ever doubted it. So maybe M had erased him from that last mission, or simply not included him?

"Dr. Watson?" Mycroft asked after what seemed like forever. "Since when have you been MI6?"

"Didn't you hear Mycroft? Since a few days ago." Sherlock snarked defensively.

"Just for the record, I have no plans on sending you anywhere Watson, so you may rest easy on that account." M pointed out before the conversation went on a tangent. "However, you will agree that it would be… convenient, shall we say? For you to have the backing of the government in case you ever needed to act in the future and deal with any criminals in a 'permanent' manner…"

Meaning, in case he ever had to kill someone while solving cases with Sherlock, and considering what had happened on their very first case it wasn't a wild assumption to make. So John just nodded in thanks at M before turning back to the others.

"You really don't know about John?" Alec was asking Mycroft. "All the things he's done…?"

"That's enough Alec." John cut him off. "Mycroft doesn't know about those years because he doesn't need to know. In fact, until this mess Moriarty got us all into Sherlock had had no need to know either. That part of my life was over and done with, even before I got shot."

"I still say I'd rather you have my back than anyone else… well, you and Alec of course." James stated with the usual vehemence.

"You say that every time we talk about my leaving MI6." John shook his head with a small smile.

"I don't regret it." Sherlock stated in a very serious tone.

No one was expecting that.

"If John had never been dismissed from MI6 he'd have never returned to the army, wouldn't have gone to Afghanistan, wouldn't have been shot that day and I most certainly wouldn't have met him…" The consulting detective explained.

And wasn't that a sobering thought? So much of John's life revolved around Sherlock he had never stopped to consider what it might be like if he'd never met the consulting detective. It just didn't seem possible. Like the world couldn't possible continue turning if the two of them hadn't met. Like they were supposed to meet, to be together, all along, like…

"Destiny…" He exhaled.

"I really think we need to get going now." James stated abruptly. "By the look of things John is about to begin spouting poetry and I could do without that."

The comment, made in the most deadpan voice, though with James smirking through every word, was enough to make most of those present crack in laughter. Except Mycroft, who was still trying to understand how he could have been so wrong about John Watson.

"We have a car waiting for you, Watson, Holmes." Moneypenny informed them right then. "It'll take you both home."

Neither men knew it right then, but when she talked about home, she truly meant it. The car would take them to 221B, where John's things had all been sent already, moved by Eve herself from the other flat, the lease settled. The PA had also talked to Mrs. Hudson, giving her the official story of the consulting detective's absence and return: he'd been sent into hiding while a specialized team took care of Moriarty's threat (no one would ever know that both him and John had been part of that team).

In any case, such things didn't matter anymore. The Hunt was over, they were going Home.

xXx

Sherlock Holmes woke to find himself laying on his old bed, in his old room, home… though the most marvelous part wasn't that, but the fact that John Watson was laying right in front of him, on the same bed, sleeping peacefully. The moment reminded the detective of all the nights he'd slipped into his best friend's bed (supposedly in secret) and just watched him sleep, using those hours to remind himself of why he was doing everything. How he might have given up his old life, and even John, but it wasn't forever, one day he'd be back… and that day had finally come.

Sherlock just couldn't hold himself back, as he moved to do what he'd been dreaming of for so long… he placed a single, chaste kiss on John's lips.

The doctor's own lips were moving, returning the kiss before any such thought could cross either of their minds. It wasn't necessary really, it was instinct. Brown-blue eyes opened slowly, meeting blue-green-honey ones and the two men just stared at each other for what seemed like forever and no time at all.

"If I could make one wish and one wish only, do you know what I would ask?" The agent asked in a husky tone.

"Tell me." Sherlock replied in the same tone.

"To wake every single day for the rest of my life to this same sight and, quite possibly, to your lips on mine." John answered honestly, even as he moved in for another kiss.

"I think that could be arranged." Sherlock murmured breathily.

It looked like he might have said more, but before he could even think the words, John moved, half flipping them so Sherlock was on his back, John straddling him, knees pressed on the detective's bony hips.

"I think I promised you something…" John murmured provocatively, lips but a hair's breadth from the other man's.

"You did…" Sherlock replied, words failing him as he began to get lost in feelings.

"Remember what I promised you?" The blonde asked, forgoing the darker haired's lips to kiss his nose, his brow, his ear, and so on…

"You promised…" Sherlock could hardly think with all the feelings and sensations bombarding his oh-so-scientific mind. "You promised to never let me go."

"And I won't." John assured. "From this day on, I'm never letting you go."

Finally, finally John deigned to kiss his mouth. And yet the kiss wasn't the quick, chaste thing Sherlock had first offered, not even the languorous, tender one the shorter man had replied with. This kiss was harder, more intense, full of passion and promise and many other things Sherlock couldn't find the words for… John didn't even try, he didn't quite care if there were words for every single part of his feelings. All he knew, all he cared about, was his love for Sherlock, and how it meant he was never letting go. Never. They were forever and that was that.

Soon enough they would have to leave the bed, face Mrs. Hudson, Molly, Detective Inspector Lestrade (and with him the rest of New Scotland Yard), and eventually the media and the rest of London. Sherlock's name and reputation had been restored already, but that did not mean some people wouldn't give them a hard time for having kept the consulting detective's survival a secret for two years. They would probably have a hard time with those who realized John had known the truth all along (or almost all along).

It didn't matter, those that cared for them would accept things were what they were, and those that didn't… well, they were unimportant.

Yes, John and Sherlock would have to face them all eventually… but until then they were quite happy to remain on that bed, sharing kisses (and more, so much more…).


Regresa a Mi (Come Back to Me)

Il Divo

No me abandones asi (Do not leave me like this)

Hablando solo de ti (Lonely talking about you)

Ven y devuelveme al fin (Come and give back tome)

La sonrisa que se fue (The smile that was gone)

Una vez mas (One more time)

Tocar tu piel (Touch your skin)

Y hondo suspirar (And deeply sigh)

Recuperemos lo que se ha perdido (Lets recover what has been lost)

Regresa a mi (Come back to me)

Quiereme otra vez (Love me again)

Borra el dolor (Erase the pain)

Que al irte me dio (That came when you left)

Cuando te separaste de mi (When you left my side)

Dime que si (Tell me yes)

Yo no quiero llorar (I don't wanna cry)

Regresa a mi (Come back to me)

Extraño el amor que se fue (I miss the love that went away)

Extraño la dicha tambien (I miss the joy as well)

Quiero que vengas a mi (I want you to come to me)

Y me vuelvas a querer (And love me again)

No puedo mas (Can't go on anymore)

Si tu no estas (If you're not here)

Tienes que llegar (You have to come)

Mi vida se apaga sin ti a mi lado (My life darkens without you by my side)

Regresa a mi (Come back to me)

Quiereme otra vez (Love me again)

Borra el dolor (Erase the pain)

Que al irte me dio (That came when you left)

Cuando te separaste de mi (When you left my side)

Dime que si (Tell me yes)

Yo no quiero llorar (I don't wanna cry)

Regresa a mi (Come back to me)

No me abandones asi (Don't leave me like this)

Hablando solo de ti (Lonely talking about you)

Devuelveme la pasion de tus brazos (Give me back the passion of your arms)

Regresa a mi (Come back to me)

Quiereme otra vez (Love me again)

Borra el dolor (Erase the pain)

Que al irte me dio (That came when you left)

Cuando te separaste de mi (When you left my side)

Dime que si (Tell me yes)

Yo no quiero llorar (I don't wanna cry)

Borra el dolor (Erase the pain)

Que al irte me dio (That came when you left)

Cuando te separaste de mi (When you left my side)

Dime que si (Tell me yes)

Dime que si (Tell me yes)

Regresa a mi (Come back to me)

Regresa a mi (Come back to me)


And, that's it!

Did you like it? I really hope you did. This fic just kept getting longer and longer on me, and I enjoyed so much writing it. All my Reichenbach and Johnlock feels went into this.

So Mary wasn't evil here (that's rare for me), and Greg is still not forgiven (it just didn't seem plausible, not yet... I honestly believe Sherlock forgave everyone who didn't believe in him too easily).

The original plan was actually to have John help Sherlock return and then go back to the last scenes in the original Unbreak my Heart... but then I got it into my head for this whole rescue operation to take place and the old plan just wasn't viable anymore. I think it went better that way. Also, someone mentioned in one of the John's Vow fic the idea of Sherlock being rescued by John and 007 so... here you have it!

Also, for those interested, the name Lillie (which I insinuate might be either first, middle, or true name of Irene Adler) comes from Lillie Langtry one of three women presumed to have served as inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle in the creation of The Woman.

I've taken great joy writing this, I hope you've enjoyed reading them. Next week will have the final part of my Avengers/Sherlock crossover Ties that Bind. There are plans for other Sherlock fics in the future, but it will be a while, as I've other projects in the works right now.

See ya!