As Close as Hands and Feet:
Disclaimer: I don't mean to infringe of anything. This was written purely for entertainment, and alas I do not own any of the characters and most of the words. Tis a shame….
He sits and watches the screen, fingers steepled together on the table, eyes moving back and forward restlessly. The images on the screen flicker continuously, from one street to another, but while the background changes, there is one thing, one person that remains a constant.
Mycroft watches as the man, John Watson, passes by the park bench, as another man jumps up from the bench and re-introduces himself from Watson's past.
Stanford. Mike Stanford. He is perfect for this job. Seemingly innocuous. It's why Mycroft hired him.
The picture on the screen flickers and changes again as Stanford leads him away, to where Mycroft knows his brother will be.
The plan, so far, is going perfectly.
Mycroft has his brother's ability to last a seemingly ridiculous amount of time without sleep. But he also has something his brother does not. Patience. Mycroft sits in front of that screen all night, barely moving as he watches Watson get sucked in to Sherlock's world of insanity and endless running.
Mycroft sighs to himself. His brother does love running. He thinks he gets that from watching too much Doctor Who as a child.
Mycroft taps a button on the keyboard, and the screen flickers again. Another street, blue flashing lights, and his brother jumping in to a car. A moment later, Watson limps out of the house then pauses and Mycroft sees the exact moment he realises he's been left behind.
He watches him limp down the streets, occasionally tapping a button to change to another camera. Then it's time, and another button is pressed. Mycroft watches the man come to a sudden stop, as his head turns towards the noise Mycroft knows he's hearing.
Then he's moving again. Another button, then another, and Watson stops. He looks from side to side, then hesitantly opens the door to the phone booth and picks up the phone.
'Hello?' His voice is inquisitive, but not scared, and Mycroft smiles slightly.
'There is a security camera on the building to your left. Do you see it?'
Mycroft watches as Watson freezes, then shuffles slightly.
'Who's this?' Mycroft sees and hears him question. 'Who's speaking?'
'Do you see the camera, Doctor Watson?'
Watson looks straight at him.
'Yeah, I see it.' He speaks, voice guarded now, and Mycroft smiles slightly in approval. He taps a button.
'There is another camera on the building opposite you.' Another button. 'And finally, at the top of the building on your right.'
Mycroft sees Watson's hand tighten around the phone.
'How are you doing this?' Mycroft lowers his voice, turning his concern for his brother in to a threatening growl.
'Get in to the car, Doctor Watson. I would make some kind of threat, but I'm sure your situation is quite clear to you.' Another button, and the phone is cut off. Mycroft watches the screen for a minute longer, making sure the good doctor gets in to the waiting car. Then, finally he stands. The only sign that he's been sitting in the same chair for hours is the slight stretching of his back, then he walks out of the office.
He takes his time, walking to the warehouse. The cool air outside helps him breathe. He is pleased with how the situation is panning out. It is working well, even for a man as used to success as Mycroft is.
It has taken a long time for him to find a man who may have the ability to remain at his brother's side. A long long time. Mycroft has put so much effort in to this that he has fallen in other, work-related areas, but as much as Mycroft would never admit it, making sure Sherlock doesn't come to a sticky end is a job he doesn't mind as much as he tries to imply.
But that is the whole point of this. Watson has the right temperament. He has the background, and the patience, and he has shown a remarkable affinity with Sherlock already. Most people have told him to piss off within 2 minutes. Watson hasn't even insulted him. This is progress.
Mycroft nods a greeting to the guard at the warehouse door, and situates himself in the middle of the huge cold space. He glances at another guard, and the man brings a chair forward. May as well try and be polite. That's what family do, isn't it?
The car pulls in, and Mycroft leans on his umbrella.
'Have a seat, John,' he says, as the ex-soldier limps towards him. Watson's face is guarded.
'You know, I've got a phone.' He points out needlessly. 'I mean, very clever and all that, but you could just phone me. On my phone.'
Mycroft smiles inwardly, but keeps his face expressionless.
'When one is avoiding the attentions of Sherlock Holmes, one learns to be discreet, hence this place.' He gestures to the warehouse with the closed umbrella. 'The leg must be hurting you. Sit down.'
Mycroft sees the tension in Watson, and he knows the answer before he even issues the order.
'I don't want to sit down'.
'You don't seem very afraid,' Mycroft observes, and he's telling the truth. Watson seems more resigned, but not scared. Impressive. Bravery is another unfortunate requirement when in close contact with Sherlock, and Mycroft sighs inwardly as he remembers his brother's ability for running after trouble. Always running towards it. Never away.
But Mycroft must be sure of this man.
'You don't seem very frightening.' Mycroft can't hold in the laugh.
'Ah yes.' He smiles. 'The bravery of the soldier. Bravery is by far the kindest word for stupidity, don't you think?' Watson doesn't even flinch. 'what is your connection to Sherlock Holmes?'
That prompts a reaction, and Watson's brow furrows slightly.
'I don't have one. I barely know him. I met him…' Watson pauses and thinks, 'yesterday.'
Mycroft sees that although Watson believes this to be true, there is already a connection, already a defensive stance to Watson's reply.
'Hmm. And since yesterday you've moved in with him and now you're solving crimes together.' Mycroft can't resist. 'Might we expect a happy announcement by the end of the week?'
Watson's expression hardens.
'Who are you?' He questions, tilting his head slightly.
'An interested party.' Mycroft replies. He has no plan of revealing his intentions this early in.
'Interested in Sherlock. Why? I'm guessing you're not friends.'
Mycroft is increasingly impressed with this ex-soldier. This kind of meeting would have sent many men running, but Watson remains, turning the tables and asking questions himself. If Mycroft had any doubts, this man is steadily brushing them away.
'You've met him'. Mycroft answers. 'How many friends do you think he has?'
Why do you think I have to go to this trouble?
'I am the closest thing to a friend that Sherlock Holmes is capable of having.'
'And what is that?'
'An enemy.' Of sorts, that is what he is. Mycroft doesn't lie, he has never understood his wayward, brilliant brother, and that exasperation has certainly not encouraged a brotherly relationship.
'An enemy?' Watson questions.
'In his mind, certainly. If you were to ask him, he's probably say his archenemy.' Because Sherlock has always been one for hyperbole. 'He does love to be dramatic.' He continues, a little ruefully.
Watson glances around.
'Well thank God you're above all of that,' he says, tone sarcastic. Mycroft just looks at him. The shrill sound of an incoming text message breaks the silence, and Watson's hand moves to his pocket. Mycroft raises an eyebrow, already knowing who it will be.
'I hope I'm not distracting you.' He says, his tone slightly mocking, but Watson ignores it.
'You're not distracting me at all,' he replies politely.
'Do you plan to continue your association with Sherlock Holmes?' Watson looks up.
'I could be wrong' he states, 'but I think that's none of your business.'
'It could be.'
'It really couldn't.' Watson stresses the middle word, and Mycroft can feel the irritation building from the ex-soldier.
Mycroft watches for a second, then reaches in to his jacket pocket.
'If you do move in to…' he glances at the page in his notebook, '221B Baker Street, I'd be happy to pay you a meaningful sum of money on a regular basis to ease your way.' Mycroft's final test. The most important one. And He feels slightly apprehensive; a feeling Mycroft really isn't used to.
'Why?' Watson questions flatly. Mycroft tucks his notebook back in to his jacket, and looks at the Doctor.
'Because you're not a wealthy man.' He states.
'In exchange for what?'
'Information. Nothing indiscreet, nothing you'd feel uncomfortable with. Just tell me what he's up to.'
This is one point Mycroft is unsure of. He wants Watson to say no, he wants his brother to have someone he can trust, but there is this part of Mycroft which he presses down, a part that wants information about Sherlock, because he ishis brother.
'I worry about him. Constantly' The statement is true, but Mycroft's tone is practised, and bored and unfairly insincere.
'That's nice of you.' Watson focuses on the insincerity. It's something Mycroft has perfected when it comes to Sherlock, although the man himself would see straight through him.
'But I would prefer for various reasons that my concern go unmentioned, we have what you might call a….difficult relationship.' To put it lightly. And very very simply. Another text, and Watson glances at his phone again.
'No.' Watson states, flatly.
'But I haven't mentioned a figure.' Mycroft presses.
And Mycroft laughs slightly, as the pieces of his plan finally all fall in to place. This man is brilliant.
'You're very loyal, very quickly.'
'I'm not.' Watson denies, although Mycroft detects some hesitation in his words. 'I'm just….not interested.'
Mycroft reaches for his notebook again. He finds the right page, and glances at the words.
'Trust issues, it says here.'
Watson's looks at the book, frowning.
'What's that?' The cautious tone is back in full force.
'Could it be that you decided to trust Sherlock Holmes of all people?'
'Who says I trust him?' Watson asks quickly. Too quickly, really, Mycroft thinks. This man should be better at denying and hiding the truth, but he supposes it's one thing he'll get better at around Sherlock.
'You don't seem the kind to make friends easily.'
And then Watson is at the end of his patience.
'Are we done?' And Mycroft looks up at him, studying him.
'You tell me.'
Watson tilts his head and the air thickens with tension as the two men just stand, and watch. Then Watson turns, and begins to limp away, but Mycroft can't resist this one last problem.
'I imagine people have already warned you to stay away from him, but I can see from your left hand that's not going to happen.' Watson stops, and Mycroft thinks that he should already be used to this sort of observation now. The Doctor shakes his head, at what, Mycroft isn't sure, but he turns.
Mycroft's expression is polite as he nods at Watson.
Watson watches for a moment, then unwillingly holds up his hand. Mycroft walks forward, swinging his umbrella casually, and reaches for the hand, but Watson pulls back slightly.
'Don't.' He warns, but Mycroft just raises his eyebrows, and he can feel the dislike pouring off the Doctor as he holds out his hand again. Mycroft just looks.
'Remarkable.' He states.
'What is?' Watson asks quickly. Mycroft chooses his words carefully.
'Most people blunder round this city and all they see is streets and shops and cars. When you walk with Sherlock Holmes, you see the battlefield. You've seen it already, haven't you?'
'What's wrong with my hand?' Watson asks, ignoring the statement.
'You have an intermittent tremor in your left hand.' Watson nods jerkily. 'Your therapist thinks it's Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She thinks you're haunted by memories of your military service.'
Watson is trembling now, but Mycroft notes that this is more from repressed anger.
'Who the hell are you?' He snarls, then swallows. 'And how do you know that?' Mycroft presses a bit more.
'Fire her. She's got it the wrong way round. You're under stress right now and your hand is perfectly steady. You're not haunted by the war, Doctor Watson. You miss it.' Watson clenches his jaw as Mycroft leans in slightly. 'Welcome back.'
Then he turns, and begins to walk away, swinging his umbrella.
'Time to chose a side, Doctor Watson.' He calls over his shoulder.
Mycroft hears the car door slam and the rev of the engine as the car pulls away, and he finally allows a smile to cross his lips. This man, this Doctor Watson. He is the perfect partner for Sherlock. The trust, the beginnings of a relationship is already there, and if Mycroft knows his brother - which he does, uncommonly well - he knows that Sherlock will not allow them to remain simply as trusting acquaintances.
And as Mycroft settles in to his chair, as he watches the whole eventful drama of Sherlock's life unfold in one night, and as he watches Watson barely falter as he keeps up and ultimately saves Sherlock's life, maybe finally he can relax a little.
Because this is going to be interesting.