"Ah, Harry's woken up. I hate to cut this short, but I really have to go. Just one quick thing though- is there anything you'd like to say to her before she dies?"
Sherlock was silent, and before he could speak-
"NOT MY SISTER, YOU BASTARD!"
-there was a gunshot. Two. And the line went dead.
John had wasted no time after finding the photo- he didn't even bother changing out of his pyjamas before running out to hail a cab. The journey to Trent Park couldn't have been slower to him, traffic at roundabouts and junctions potentially killing his sister, if she was still-
No. He wasn't thinking that. He couldn't.
He arrived at the park to be greeted by stares, which he ignored in favour of running in the direction of the trees beyond the open space. He knew where the photo had been taken (it had been their favourite spot as children) the only question now was whether he could get there in time.
There was a figure in the clearing when he arrived. If he'd had any doubt it was Foyet, it vanished the moment he saw the gun pointed at Harry. John leapt forwards.
"NOT MY SISTER, YOU BASTARD!"
Foyet was surprised- he fired twice, the shots went wide and he dropped the gun- but John quickly realised he was at a disadvantage. Foyet's injuries had had a little time to heal, while every one of John's punches sent pain shooting through his arms, to say nothing of the punches Foyet got in. He found himself on his back, breathless from the pain as the murderer ruthlessly used his injuries against him. Blackness crept in around the edges and he gasped.
Then the weight was gone and the punches stopped. He blinked, gasping for air, and realised after a moment that Harry was laying into Foyet, shrieking in anger in between punches.
"You dare... lay a hand... on my little brother again... I swear to God-"
Foyet pulled out his knife. The gun was next to John- he grabbed it, fired.
Sherlock was still staring at the phone, trying to work out where the hell that call had come from, when it rang again. He paused a moment before picking up- if it was Foyet calling to gloat, he didn't want to hear it- but he gave in.
"Hello?" The voice was shaky, female. Harry Watson.
"Is John alright?"
"I don't... he's not... he's all bandaged and there's blood coming through and I've called an ambulance but I don't know if it'll get here in time-"
"It will," Sherlock told her, realising she needed to be calmed if he was going to get any kind of information from her. "Of course it will. Where are you? What's happened to John?"
"Trent Park, in the woods. This madman- he was going to kill me, but John stopped him." Her voice was steadier now. Sherlock motioned to Lestrade and began to head for the door. "They fought, but I think... it looked like John had some kind of injury already and the fight opened it, I don't know-"
"It'll be fine, Harry. Just stay where you are. We will be there soon."
And they were, except by that point there was little for the police to do except hold back the public. The ambulance had left minutes before- John's wounds had indeed reopened, but an officer who'd helped the paramedics assured Sherlock that he was likely to recover. Harry had gone with him, keen to keep an eye on her brother, and to leave behind the sight of Foyet's body.
Sherlock stood over the corpse, glancing over his injuries. He was impressed with both Watsons- for John to get even a few punches in had been an achievement, and Harry had clearly shown little compunction in protecting her brother. Considering John's previous behaviour, though, he supposed it was to be expected.
He felt... cheated, somehow, but at the same time grimly happy. He was glad Foyet was dead, but he wanted to have been the one to do it. The reaction- revenge and relief at the safety of someone close- but alien to him. It was oddly fascinating.
But enough. There was no mystery here, just a bullet hole in the forehead. Sherlock turned and nodded to the forensics team.
It was over.
"You know, when I read your blog..." Harry ran a hand through her hair. "God, John, I thought you were making that shit up for your therapist. For yourself. Delusions of grandeur or something. I never thought for a second that it was real."
"Such a low opinion of me? Harry, 'm disappointed." John's grin was weak, his words slurred, but the humour in his voice had its desired effect; his sister smiled, ever so slightly. Still wasn't happy though.
"I thought I was going to die back there. I thought you were going to die. They told me what happened, but I don't understand- why you? What the hell are you doing that makes a serial killer want to target you?"
"I believe I would be the attraction, in this case," Sherlock drawled from the doorway. Harry's head whipped round and he waved slightly. "Sherlock Holmes."
"Yeah, I figured," she said, looking him over. After a moment, she broke into a grin and began to giggle, which made Sherlock look decidedly confused. "Oh God..."
"Are you alright?" The detective asked carefully. Harry made an obvious effort to control her laughter
"Yeah, fine. It's just that I said 'what are you doing', and-"
John groaned as she collapsed into giggles again. "Harry."
"I'm not- he's not..."
"Keep telling yourself that," she retorted, and winked at him. Sherlock still looked confused and John was amused despite himself. "Anyway, I'm going to leave you two alone for a bit- apparently this," she gestured to the cut on her head where Foyet had knocked her out, "means I was meant to see a nurse or something when you woke up."
"You will see one, won't you?" John said sternly, remembering her dislike of hospital staff, and of the places in general.
"I'll make sure she does." That was Sally, appearing in the doorway behind Sherlock. Harry suddenly looked a good deal happier at the idea of seeing a doctor, and it was John's turn to feel smug.
"You were saying?"
Harry gave him a Look. "Jealous, are we?"
"No, no," he waved her away. "You go. I'll be fine."
"'Course you are." She leant in to place a quick kiss on his forehead before rounding on Sherlock. "You take care of him, alright?"
"I intend to."
Harry looked him in the eye for a moment, then nodded like she'd found what she wanted. "Good. If you don't, you'll be answering to me." She pointed a finger to emphasise the threat, waved to John and left.
There was silence for a moment before Sherlock cleared his throat. "Your sister seems... interesting."
John grinned. "Yeah, she is at that."
"I'd noticed," he said, shifting slightly. "She had a fit when I was sent to Afghanistan."
"And that, coupled with her divorce, led to the breakdown of your relationship."
"Actually, it started way before that. But yeah, that was the final straw."
Sherlock settled himself in the bedside chair. "Not quite so final, it would seem."
"Well, no." John smiled. "Hopefully. Apparently she started seeing a therapist just before this mess started too. Who knows? This," he gestured towards the door, "might just be permanent."
He looked over to Sherlock, whose face bore an only slightly smaller version of his own smile.
It took almost three weeks for the doctors to declare him fit to go home this time. Sherlock... hovered as he left, there was no other word for it; he was never more than a metre from John's side all the way to Baker Street. Mrs Hudson greeted him with a gentle hug and an offer of tea- "Just this once, mind!"- and there was fresh wallpaper and carpeting in the upstairs hallway.
John sank into his armchair, glancing over the living room. Someone had cleaned it- there wasn't a single piece of paper loose. Sherlock took his scarf off at the doorway and stood there awkwardly passing it from hand to hand until Mrs Hudson brought the tea up.
"Sit down, Sherlock," she told him, patting the sofa as she took the other armchair. He obeyed wordlessly, and John giggled at the sight. How many policemen would give their right arm to be able to do that?
The tea was exactly as he liked it, his armchair was comfortable and as Mrs Hudson began to nag Sherlock about his eating habits, his sleeping pattern and his violin playing (recommending various pieces as a substitute for the strangled cat noise), a smiling John allowed himself to settle down and drift off to sleep.