Authors Note: Okay, this may seem rambly, but it is quite important that you read this. It'll explain a lot; Right. Ever since watching Sherlock – And screaming at the T.V because of that damn cliffhanger – I've been unable to move on. Literally. So, I had to immediately start typing. This is the result. It is, ashamedly, a re-write of The Great Game. Because I will never be able to come up with anything that could follow on from that cliffhanger, I had to go back and write another Moriarty plot line. This is not me claiming that I'm better than the amazing writers of Sherlock, this is me attempting to find some closure in my mind by feeding the Obsessive Sherlock Fan in my brain. So, some of it is close to what happened in the series. And it starts fairly similar, but it changes monumentally after a while.
Also, it is eventual JohnSherlock slash – if you don't like it then don't read it.
Hope you enjoy.
Dysfunctional Domestic Bliss.
"I do wish you'd order something," Doctor John Watson spoke over a steaming mug of coffee and a half-eaten muffin to his silent companion. "I probably look strange, drinking all alone,"
"Don't worry," Sherlock Holmes replied, a slight note of quiet humour lurking beneath the derision of his tone. "No-one's watching you,"
"You'd know," John said through a wry smile as he took a bite of his muffin.
A minuscule quirk of the lips into a small smirk was his roommate's immediate response. "Oh, don't say that," Sherlock responded, the contagious smirk steadily growing across his pale cheeks. "You make me sound perverted,"
Whatever cuttingly sarcastic wit that John had ready, died on his lips as he truly looked over his companion for the first time since they'd left Baker Street that afternoon. "Is...is that my coat?"
Sherlock stopped and looked down at the deep blue jacket buttoned across his chest that, while warm, was decidedly not his. "Yes, you don't mind do you?" Although judging by the wide smirk still ready on his face, the answer wouldn't bother the man either way.
"Why exactly are you wearing it?"
"Mine's still at the dry-cleaners," Sherlock told him with all of the devastation of a small child denied his favourite toy.
"Don't you have a spare?" John asked, dabbing at the moustache of foam his coffee had created.
Sherlock looked at him with a look in his eyes that was now so familiar to John that he just took it in stride; a look that said 'Look at you, so vacant. Do you not understand?'. Sighing, Sherlock answered; "John, if I had a spare, would I be wearing your coat?" The consulting detective rolled his eyes at the ex-soldier, seeming to John to be reveling in his constant superiority.
"It's hard to know with you," John retorted quietly, breaking off some of his muffin and popping it into his mouth, silently adding 'Theft' to the growing list of his roommates eccentricities.
Treating John's comment with all the dignity he felt it deserved, Sherlock retreated into silence as John finished his coffee and the pair left the hustle and bustle of the loud, come-one-come-all London coffee shop, heading into the crowded streets outside.
Maybe it was the fact that he had been in the line of war and his instincts were so finely tuned that everything seemed out to get him, or maybe it was just that, after a few weeks with Sherlock and his thrilling cases, he could see London for the battlefield it was, but John felt the flesh on the back of his neck prickle uncomfortably. The terrifying feeling of eyes watching his every movement, but when he turned he could see no-one standing out.
Briefly, he considered asking Sherlock if his suspicions were correct, but he adamantly refused to feed the man's already extensive ego. So, he kept his thoughts to himself and simply walked in silence, occasionally checking over his shoulder as they moved through the crowds.
"You see him too?" Sherlock asked suddenly, a note of undisguised surprise present in his calculated voice.
"...Sorry?" John asked, frowning in confusion and trying to follow Sherlock's sudden train of thought.
"Oh, apparently not," A look of mild disappointment crossed the detective's face, before he continued. "A few metres behind us, to the left, man in a dark brown suit, purple tie, briefcase. He's been following us for the past few blocks,"
"Are you sure?" John immediately twisted his neck around to look for their alleged pursuer.
"Don't look," Sherlock hissed, yanking John's forearm with a vice-like grip. "I don't want my brother to know that I know,"
"Wait, your brother? Mycroft's doing this, how do you know?"
"Obvious," The tone of muted arrogance in Sherlock's voice made John feel as though he'd just drooled onto his shirt. Then again, Sherlock made everyone feel like that, so he felt slightly better. "They've recently upped my watch status,"
"Must you continue to repeat everything I say? Yes, watch status. Mycroft is the government, secret service and British surveillance rolled into one man. I wouldn't be surprised is every CCTV camera within two blocks is pointed at us right now," As if to illustrate his point, Sherlock flicked his keen eyes to the top of a nearby department store. John followed his gaze and, indeed, saw the surveillance camera on the roof swiveling to their direction.
"You don't seem all that concerned," John noted.
Sherlock shrugged, hailing a cab with a leather-gloved hand. "It's nothing to worry about. More irritating than any cause for concern," He opened the door of the taxi that pulled up at their side and jumped in.
"Right, nothing to worry about," John muttered to himself as he climbed in after his roommate. "Your brother's using spies and CCTV to have you tailed, but nothing to worry about!" The sarcastically drenched words whirled through the air as he closed the taxi door.
"Glad you agree," Sherlock's lips twitched in amusement as he chose to ignore the sarcasm. John huffed at the response, but let the subject be.
This was the way it was with Sherlock Holmes; there was never a sense of normalcy, and he left no room for the ordinary in his life. Ever since he'd met Sherlock, John felt as though his whole world had fallen apart and then stitched back together by some mad seamstress. He'd been held at gunpoint, kidnapped, held hostage, been involved in crimes scenes, had his laptop hacked into, been followed, accused of being someone he wasn't, broken into apartments, and had had his own apartment torn apart in a drugs bust.
Suffice to say, it wasn't the life John had ever planned for himself. It was mad, chaotic, dangerous and sometimes just downright terrifying. But he loved every senseless second of it!
He blinked once, making his eyes refocus, as the sound of Sherlock directing the taxi-driver to 221 Baker Street yanked himself out of his contemplative thoughts. Following the train of thought he'd been chasing, he turned to study his companion who was also lost in silent thought.
The wind that blustered through a gap in the window tugged at his mop of curly hair, so dark against his pale skin that John sometimes felt like he were looking at a black and white photo of the man. Tresses of hair brushed across eyes that were always so alive – cool, collected and utterly powerful.
John could almost see the cogs in his mind turning furiously, thousands of ideas and observations firing through his brain at once, collecting, sorting and re-firing at incredible speeds. This was what most frightened him about the man he considered to be the closest thing he had to a friend; that zealous intelligence and razor-sharp calculation. Sherlock saw everything, saw him, without anyone's knowledge until it was too late to stop him.
"Either you have more questions, or my hair just looks fascinating today," Sherlock's deep voice, coupled with a wry smile, was laced with a thinly veiled humour. "Which is it?"
Choosing to take the suddenly open opportunity, a rare opportunity at that, John replied, "Why does your brother have you watched?"
Arching an eyebrow, Sherlock turned to him. "Why does anyone watch anything? He's curious,"
"Curious about you, or curious about what you're doing?"
"Does it have to be one or the other?"
"Do you have to always answer my question with a question?"
One of Sherlock's cheeks creased as he gave John a crooked smile. "Yes,"
John smothered a grin, and continued his questioning. "He told me he was concerned about you. Does he have any reason to be concerned?"
With Sherlock it was sometimes difficult to read emotions in his face. Anger was a flash in the eyes and the barest tightening of the lips. Worry was the slightest gathering of the eyebrows, and happiness was the faintest ghost of a lopsided smile. But Sherlock's quiet, barely-there chuckle showed John that something he had said had amused the detective.
Sherlock nodded once, the smile growing infinitesimally on his lips. "I know for a fact that if you asked anyone else who knows me, they'd be able to tell you at least seven reasons to be 'concerned' about me,"
"My apologies, I'll try to be more judgmental next time," The remark was barbed, clipped at the end.
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Come on, John, I've been alienating people since I was three years old. My brother, not surprisingly, was one of those people. As soon as he tasted power, he put it to use by watching me. Giving him some control over my life,"
"You're sure it's not just, friendly sibling concern?" John asked, but didn't hold out much hope. By the one case of interaction he had seen between the two brothers, it didn't appear like there was much love lost on either end.
Sherlock just looked at him, face impassive, knowing that John already knew how stupid a question it had been. "No. But, the curious thing is, why has he increased my status? I've done nothing out of the ordinary, brought no more attention to myself than usual, why-" He cut off his monologue of thoughts mid-word, and cocked his head slightly. "Oh,"
"Oh? What's 'Oh'?" John frowned uncomfortably as Sherlock's gaze landed on him. The unwavering stare made him feel as though his skin were transparent and Sherlock could see everything about him; heart thumping, lungs moving, spine tingling as he saw the gears ticking in Sherlock's eyes.
"It's you," Sherlock told him, his eyes still transfixed on John like a cobra keeping a mouse in it's hypnotic gaze. Then he blinked, and the spell broke. "It's you, John, you're the different thing."
"Me? But why would he be interested in me. I thought he just wanted a spy," John felt like he was back in primary school, trying to play with the older kids – he just couldn't quite keep up.
Sherlock shook his head. "Well, he did. Until he kidnapped you, that is. When you refused – Still stupid of you, by the way – he must have gotten suspicious,"
"Suspicious? Why would he be suspicious?"
"I don't have friends," Sherlock shrugged, as though the answer were obvious. Which, it actually was.
John often found it quite tragic how little Sherlock seemed to care about his own reclusive lifestyle. Sherlock was a genius and, to him, that made everyone else an idiot and therefore not worth precious his time nor interesting enough to quench his almost eternal boredom.
For some reason unknown to the two, this seemed to signal the end of their conversation and the two men remained in comfortable silence as they finished their journey, paid, and bounded up the steps into their apartment.
As soon as they entered the main room, Sherlock's demeanor shifted. The quietly playful exterior from the outside world faded away into a more businesslike and professional countenance, as he crossed the room to the sofa. In front of the sofa, lay the coffee table, and upon the table sat numerous files, sheets, maps, books, photographs. They littered the false wood, the space taken upon but for one lonely mug of cold tea that sat within grabbing distance of Sherlock's arm. The air around the detective, as he picked up the piece of paper he'd been studying before they'd left, appeared to hum with silence, interrupted only by the quiet tsking noise that Sherlock seemed quite unaware he was even making.
John, recognizing the unwritten routine, moved through to the kitchen and flicked the kettle on, settling himself against the small and only section of the work-surface that was actually clean.
The kettle soon clicked, and he mixed up two teas, careful not to splash any on himself. He grabbed himself a chocolate biscuit - Sherlock despised the things - and carried the two mugs through to the living room setting one down for Sherlock and one for himself on the arms of the chair across the room. Sherlock managed a quiet noise that John assumed was a thanks, but kept his gaze on his work, his violin in his hands.
It was at moments like these, that John seriously considered investing in an Mp3 Player of some description. Depending on his mood, Sherlock's musical tastes changed. In times such as these, he merely plucked on the strings in, admittedly, nice and simple tunes and scales. In times when he was aggravated, he picked up his bow and repeated the same musical phrase again, and again, and again, until John had to take it upon himself to throw hard objects in Sherlock's direction.
Sherlock had talent, considerable talent, though he'd never told John how he'd learned the instrument. But John doubted that he'd ever be patient enough to listen to a teacher. Despite Sherlock's origin of his talent, he'd awoken John at 2a.m too many times to look forward to the sounds of bow on string. Not always – sometimes he'd been awoken by the sound, and fought against his drooping eyelids so that he could listen to the haunting sounds that made him feel like a sailor's wife staring at a storm. However, Sherlock occasionally took it upon himself to echo his frustration in screeching noises reminiscent of a strangled cat.
Consequently, John had grown wary of the violin very quickly.
However, Sherlock had, for reasons unknown to John, not begun to play yet. He simply held the instrument, like a child clutching a teddy bear or a security blanket, as he stared at the sheets adorned with notations and underlines with a pensive scowl on his young face.
Sherlock let his eyes rove across every typed letter, every blue map line, every highlighted section, every serial number or code, his mind cataloging everyone in order of importance, relevance and helpfulness. And every fact or piece of data, became a part of a jigsaw within his mind, the jigsaw spelling out one word; Moriarty.
The illusive, unknown and obviously powerful Moriarty. The man who'd sponsored a dying cabbie to murder his customers. The man whose name, upon re-checking, had been found dotted surreptitiously across many of the police's files.
The need for knowledge, for explanation, for answers, swelled up inside his chest like an unbreakable balloon whenever his mind wandered back to the the taxi driver's dying word. Who was this man, this Moriarty? It was maddening, driving him crazy with every second that went by without knowing the identity of the man. He had an obsession, he knew, but he thrived off of it. The pursuit of knowledge, especially one so challenging, was what he lived for.
"This really bothers you, doesn't it?" The one man who managed to inject reality and humanity into his life spoke, making Sherlock raise his head to stare questioningly at the doctor across the room from him. "That you don't know who he is?"
"It doesn't bother me," He lied swiftly, taking his first gulp from the cooling cup of tea.
"Yeah it does," John contradicted, as a smug smile worked it's way onto his lips. "It bothers you that he managed to pull it off, control that man and possibly others, without anyone knowing who his is," The words, though correct, irritated Sherlock slightly. But he hid his grimace behind his mug. "And I think I've worked it out,"
"Worked out what?" He raised his eyebrows slightly, looking the exact epitome of boredom.
"Why it annoys you,"
"Do tell," The sarcasm almost dripped from his pink tongue as he waited.
"I think it's a condition – a complex," John started, looking more and more pleased with himself with each word. "You know how some doctors get the Messiah Complex – they have to save the world? Well, I think you've got the Rubik's Complex; you have to solve the puzzle,"
"Fascinating deduction," Sherlock drawled, setting the violin under his chin and picking up his bow. "Completely wrong on all counts, but fascinating,"
"I'm not wrong," John said stubbornly, confident in his words. A raised eyebrow was Sherlock's only response.
They fell into relative silence, Sherlock returning to his work with all the dignity of a bird with it's feathers ruffled, while John absentmindedly sipped his tea, not thinking about anything in particular just content to let his thoughts wander.
The gentle twanging of the violin strings resounded through the room as Sherlock slumped back into the leather sofa and stared at the window. As John watched, Sherlock abruptly ceased all movement and slowly set the instrument to one side, holding it loosely by it's neck, keeping his gaze on the window. "There's someone outside, someone watching us,"
"Yes, Mycroft's man. I thought we'd...you'd established that," John lifted his eyebrows and looked over the top of his tea in confusion at the detective.
"Someone else. Mycroft's man has left. No, this is someone new."
John glanced out the window. He had no idea how Sherlock knew this seeing as how, from the other man's position, there was no way to see into the street. But, John had long since given up trying to deduce how Sherlock deduced things, he just accepted Sherlock's word as fact – it was easier that way.
"Someone new?" He asked quietly, as though his words could carry out through Baker Street walls and through the London night air.
"Yes," They were silent for a very long moment as they both stared in the direction of the window; John because he felt no inclination to move his sight, Sherlock as if he were listening to something no-one else could hear. Then, he shook himself, as though waking from a deep sleep and raised his violin.
The haunting melody floated through the air as Sherlock sat, cocooned in thoughts shooting at speeds too fast for John to ever comprehend, and played without consciously recognising any of the notes he played.
Even though he knew that the thought of an unknown man watching their house should unsettle him into a night of unrest, the sound of Sherlock's playing soon had John falling back into the comforting presence of unconsciousness.