Title: The Case Of The Perfect Stitch-Up: PART ONE - The End

Author: starjenni

Disclaimer: Not mine!

Characters, Pairings: Sherlock/John gen. (although could be seen as slash if you lie on the floor, tilt the computer sideways and squint). In this chapter, cameos by Mycroft, Mrs Hudson and Lestrade.

Warnings: Arguments, swearing, thoughts of violence. It's quite angsty, so a warning for that too.

Rating: T

Spoilers: For all episodes.

Summary: John's finally had enough of trying to change Sherlock's heartless nature and decides to move out. However, a case pops up just before he can, leading the pair on a wild, complicated and above all difficult adventure. How is this going to help their already existing problems? The s**t, as the old proverb goes, has hit the fan…

John is going to leave. He knows it as soon as the case is over and they are in the taxi on the way back to Baker Street, tired, exhausted, silent. It is not a decision that he is taking lightly or suddenly, because he has been thinking about it for months now, maybe even a year. He thinks about it every time they have a case and Sherlock does what he has just done now; every time it happens, or it looms up in their conversation, or in Sherlock's actions, he thinks about it and thinks about it and now he knows for sure that he is actually going to do it. He is fizzing with anger from head to toe, and he doesn't have to be a deductive genius like Sherlock to see his left hand start to shake and to know what it means.

When they get back to Baker Street and are safely inside 221b, Sherlock says without preamble, "You're angry with me."

It is said flatly and easily, not nervously, not worriedly, and it just confirms what John has been thinking all along. He doesn't want to do this now though, he's tired and he's broken and he is not running away when he replies, "Tea?"

Sherlock goes to the window, looks out of it, doesn't look at John. "I know why you're angry," he says, still as calm as anything.

"Really," John drawls. He didn't want to do this, doesn't want to, but Sherlock is pushing it, and now he's reverting to sarcasm. "I wonder what gave it away. Maybe it was the way you cornered that obviously already panicky suspect - "

"He was a murderer, John - "

" - and in a public place no doubt, or maybe it was the way that you started to show off with your deductions, leading to him become even more panicky and then subsequently take that woman hostage. Or perhaps it was that you put catching him before helping the woman, and she got hurt as a result. Do you think that could be the reason why I'm angry, Sherlock? Do you?"

Sherlock goes very still. "We've been through this before. I know everything you are going to say and you know everything I am going to say, so let's just - "

"No." John shakes his head, feels his hands ball into fists. "No, not this time. I'm not dropping it this time, Sherlock, usually I let it go because you are as brilliant as you are a complete bastard, but this time someone got hurt and that is not acceptable. That is not acceptable. Your uncaring and downright heartless nature, your addiction to the case and nothing but the case, it's not on. It's so not on and you know it."

Sherlock is completely unmoved by this, and though John is half expecting this, he feels his rage double in size anyway. "I have told you before," Sherlock says, still calm but John can hear the faint angry tremor in the back of his throat, at the end of his syllables. "That is who I am. I can't change it and I don't want to. It's better this way, I'm more equipped to solve the case before me, without emotional baggage I am - "

"It is not better," John nigh-on shouts. "As today proved! You let an innocent person get hurt because you were busy trying to show off, you were busy trying to catch the criminal and win the game, don't you see? Don't you see how this is wrong?"

"No." And now Sherlock sounds bored. "I don't."

He says this every time, because it's simpler to accept something then to change it, John thinks furiously. He pushes on regardless. "I have tried," he says as levelly as possible, "To make you realise. To make you see, but you won't. You could do it if you wanted to, but you won't. There is nothing I can do to take you away from this stubbornness." He pauses and then says it, the fated words that he has thought on and thought on and not said until now. "I can't do this anymore."

Sherlock blinks just for a moment, then turns from the window, a haughty half smile on his face. "Don't try and threaten me with that. We both know you won't leave."

John sets his jaw. "And how's that?"

Sherlock sighs, as if John is being deliberately obstinate and immature. His patronising nature is driving John up the wall. "Because you're addicted to the game, as you so eloquently put it, just as much as I am. Because you love the danger just as much as I do, and because without it and without me you would die of boredom, so don't say you are going to walk out ever, John, because it's never going to happen, you are always going to stay no matter what I do or how 'heartless' I am and that's it."

For the first time in his life, despite the arguments they've had in the past, John actually wants to hit him. He laughs instead, a harsh laugh, because Sherlock just doesn't get it. "Yeah, all right, I like the danger," he says. "Why not admit it? I know this. But what I don't like, what I hate, is watching you upset and hurt and destroy people with your callous and selfish ways, and yeah, maybe the danger is good, but it's not so good that I can put up with you anymore." He takes in a deep breath. "I have tried to help you, I've stayed this long because I thought that maybe I could, maybe I could reach you, but there is nothing to reach, is there? You won't let me change this."

Sherlock's face goes very dark; finally, finally he is showing a bit of emotion on his face, finally he is dropping that cool, unaffected mask, and John celebrates at it because this shows he is getting somewhere. "I don't want to change this," Sherlock snarls. "I like this, I want this, and I never asked for you to change it, so if that's the only reason you've been staying around, maybe you should go, John, because otherwise you're just wasting your time."

"Fine," John retorts hotly. "Then I will. You're right - teaching you, the great Sherlock Holmes, a bit of humanity is a waste of time. I don't know what I was thinking."

"Well that makes two of us then," Sherlock smoothly finishes.

They both fall silent, staring at each other from across the room, and now, even now, while John is watching him and knowing that this is a complete disaster, he does not like the idea of just giving up. John is a doctor for a reason, John was created to help people, to heal them, to sort out their problems. John is a deeply caring, caring man, John is a loyal man, and he hates having to even think about letting go, but this…this is hopeless.

Sherlock is not - and will never be - the hero John hoped he might become. John has been living in some sort of dream.

"I'll give Mrs Hudson my notice tomorrow," he says flatly.

"Fine," Sherlock says, and sits down on the sofa, engrossing himself in a sheaf of papers.

John goes upstairs to his room.

This is an unwise move, says Mycroft's text at half ten the same evening. John stares at his phone and wonders how he could possibly know (did Sherlock tell him? has he bugged the flat? John's computer? Has he seen the flat share websites John has been on?)

I am doing nothing here, he sends back, and he realises just how helpless this makes him feel. John likes to feel that he is making a difference, that's why he loved being a surgeon and that's why he loves going on the cases, because along with the risk and the danger comes the satisfaction of doing something good, and with Sherlock he is not doing that. He even gave up the idea of going back into surgical work to help Sherlock with his cases instead, and look where that's got him.

Mycroft texts back, you are doing everything. John deletes it.

Mrs Hudson's heartbroken look when John announces his decision is just about the icing on this horrible cake.

"But you were getting on so well," she protests. "Don't leave love, I'm sure it'll work out in the end."

"Not this time," John says, and squeezes her hand sadly.

He finds a flat a bit further away and more expensive, despite the fact that he will still be sharing it, but his tenant is a nice normal businessman and the flat itself is lovely. The Sherlock in John's head snidely adds and dull onto this list, but John ignores it.

He is packing in his room three days before his move when Sherlock turns up and hovers in the doorway. They haven't spoken since the argument, and it's been beyond awkward, like John is living in a silent film where there is only actions and no speech. They sit and avoid each other's eyes every evening, until one of them cracks and then leaves. It's unbearable.

John ignores Sherlock and carries on packing. Sherlock watches for a while and then finally says, in a very low voice, "Please don't do this."

Sherlock never says please. John wonders if Mycroft has been on his case. Or maybe this is pure unadulterated Sherlock, trying one last trick just to see if it will work, maybe this is an experiment for him.

And it almost works as well, because despite the raging arguments and the supreme lack of communication skills they seem to share when it comes to each other, they are goddamn wonderful together, and in a very deep part of him John knows that they met for a reason, that they are here for a reason, and that throwing this away - this awesomeness, this friendship - will be one of the most stupid things he has ever done.

But Sherlock won't change. It's not that he can't, it's that he won't, and while he refuses to then John can't stay here. He's had enough.

He carries on packing, silently. After a bit, Sherlock goes back downstairs.

It's the morning on the day before John is going to leave that Lestrade turns up while they are silently breakfasting, his harried and worried expression telling both that once more the game is on.

"What is it?" Sherlock asks.

"A murder," says Lestrade. "A weird one. Will you take a look?"

Sherlock plays with his cereal for a bit. "Where?" he says.

"Near Hampstead Heath," says Lestrade.

Sherlock hesitates a bit longer, probably just to annoy him, and then says, "All right."

Lestrade nods in relief, but instead of turning around and rushing back out like he usually does, he turns to John as well. "John, will you come as well? Looks like we might need your advice on this one."

John frowns, taken a bit aback. "What, my medical advice?"

Lestrade nods.

John glances at Sherlock, who is suddenly engrossed in his morning paper and won't look up at him. This is not a good idea. There is nothing about this that is a good idea; he and Sherlock aren't even talking, how are they going to be able to solve a murder together, plus what if going back onto a case pulls apart his already rather unsteady resolve?

But he can feel it again, in his bones, the thrill of the game, and he thinks, maybe one last time, just one.

"All right, I will," he says to Lestrade, who has been giving the pair a rather narrow, confused look. Sherlock says nothing, which at least means he's not completely against it, so this is…hopeful. Sort of.

"We'll be right behind," he says to Lestrade, who rushes out gratefully, and Sherlock and John are left looking nervously at each other.

"Right," starts John.

Sherlock stands up abruptly. "Let's go," he says, and wrestles on his coat, and they get a taxi together, in complete and utter silence.

This, John thinks, is a spectacularly awful idea.

I hoped you liked, please review if you did! Chapter Two up soon, where s**t gets serious...