Disclaimer: Do not own...
Author's Note: Sorry for the looong wait... Lets just say life sucks and leave it at that. To make up for it, this the final chapter and it's a long one. Enjoy!
Sherlock was quite used to sprinting for someone's life. Generally it was his own life; occasionally it was a potential victim or police officer. But never had he felt like this. His heart thumping with fear and what felt like ice running through his veins.
Never had the life he was running to save mattered as much as John's did.
He could hear the footsteps thumping behind him as he wrenched open the door to the café. His frantic arrival attracted every customer's attention. Sherlock swept the room over and froze.
"Sherlock what's wrong?" John was two people from the counter and had looked around when Sherlock had barged into the café. He took a few steps forward as he spoke.
Sherlock unfroze and closed the distance between them. He stepped right into John's personal space and ran his eyes and hands over his friend. Finding no injuries, Sherlock gave him a quick squeeze stepped back and turned his attention to the baristas as the door to the café opened again. John just stared at Sherlock, a little shell shocked and completely confused.
Tony and Gibbs dashed through the door, breathing heavily. They both spotted John at the same time and identical looks of confusion spread across their faces.
"You're alright?" Tony wheezed as he caught his breath.
John was so far beyond confused now he wasn't sure he was on the same planet as Sherlock and the NCIS agents, yet alone the same page.
"Umm… could someone explain what's happening?" he asked, but he still hadn't taken his eyes off Sherlock.
"All the victims were chosen using this café. And-" Sherlock began.
John interrupted, having caught on quickly. "I fit the profile." He gave Sherlock a searching look. "If you were going to have me play bait, couldn't you just text me?"
"Wait, what?" Tony demands. "Why would we have you play bait? You're a civilian. We just thought he'd got you."
"We might want to take this outside." Gibbs commented quietly.
Sherlock shook his head and suddenly stepped up to the counter. "Who just quit?" he asked the confused man behind the counter. When he didn't reply Sherlock repeated the question. "Who just quit?"
"Um…Mitchell Thomas. He came in this morning, went for a break a few hours ago and came back to quit." He frowned, "Sorry, how did you know?"
"Your appearance is dishevelled; you were in a rush to get here and haven't had time to fix it. You weren't expecting to work, so either someone called in sick or quit. Given that Mitchell is a murderer, it's not hard to tell."
"Sorry, what?" the man exclaimed but Sherlock ignored him, instead turning to the NCIS agents.
"Come on then. Let's see if you're any better at your job than the fools at Scotland Yard." He swept out of the café, a sighing John following him.
They were after him! He hadn't done anything that wrong and the damn police were going to lock him up for it.
And he was so close. James had escaped him once, but now…now he knew his new name, and even what he was pretending to be.
Mitchell observed the pathologist assisting the police, an elderly man with a Scottish accent. He didn't look like James had, but it didn't matter- they could do miracles with plastic surgery and make-up. Plus, the colonel who worked for Mo-the shadows had said the man he was looking for was pretending to be a doctor, and worked for the police and this was the only doctor around.
Mallard didn't begin with a 'W' but that could have just been a bad bit of information.
Ducky didn't have a chance.
He had finished his examination of the body but Gibbs hadn't returned yet so McGee and Ziva stayed to help Scotland Yard with the scene. He enlisted the help of one of the other police on the scene to move the body down to the van. They had just closed the door, when a man approached them staying just behind the tape.
"Excuse me, but what happened here? I live in the building, and I want to get in…"
The police sighed. "Sorry, but it's a crime scene. We should be finished here in an hour and then you can get in."
"But, please! I need to get into my apartment, can't I just go up for a second?" The man fished his wallet out, and held it up clearly to show ID and prove he lived there. The police officer looked unsure, but then sighed and walked over.
"I suppose if I stay with you it sho-" the man suddenly pulled a needle out of his coat and jammed into the officer's neck. Taking advantage of the officer's shock, he reached around and grabbed the man's baton which he then slammed into the man's skull.
Ducky, who was two steps behind the downed officer, turned back towards the building, but stopped when a knife appeared before his neck.
"Get into the van and drive where I tell you." When Ducky stayed still he pressed the knife in closer. "Now James!"
This terrified Ducky more, as it proved the man wasn't mentally stable. Slowly he walked towards the van and got in, waiting until the man was in before taking off.
When asked later how this whole event was missed, Lestrade's men hid behind the excuse it happened behind the van and out of their view. Sherlock would just call them idiots who didn't observe.
Gibbs would agree.
They had a name. Now all they had to do was find him.
The NCIS agents had returned to their room at Scotland Yard, where to their surprise Lestrade had given them complete access to any files on Mitchell Thomas they could find and left them to it. He had said that he would help them capture him, but this bit they could handle.
It wasn't the pissing match Gibbs was used to, but he didn't complain. Right up until Sherlock and John showed up and joined in their search.
"Imbeciles!" he cried upon spotting their whiteboard covered with the victim's photos (Tim missed the technology of NCIS fiercely and was trying to mimic it here…and failing) and other information. Sherlock ripped down half the photos they had up that matched the pattern. "These weren't victims, just boring suicides." He said to the shock of the NCIS agents.
"Sherlock…" John warned.
Sherlock waved a careless hand at John, but did turn his attention to the files on the table. Carefully, he grabbed the one on Mitchell and began to read it, frowning in seconds.
"This isn't the full file. There's pieces missing, there has to be more to this file." He turned on Tim, who had last had it. "Is this all you got?"
"Yes! That's everything Scotland Yard has on him!"
John's phone rang, distracting him from the argument between Sherlock and Tim. "John Watson."
"John? Hi, it's Molly…Isn't this Sherlock's phone?"
"No, this is mine."
"Oh…this is the number he gave me for his phone…anyway, are you working the NCIS case? Because I don't have any of their numbers and Lestrade isn't answering his…"
"I think he's in a meeting. Is there something you wanted me to tell the NCIS agents?" At the sound of their agency, everyone but Tim turned to look at John.
"Oh…so you aren't still at the crime scene? It's just, their pathologist went to assist them and he's not back with the body…"
"Molly, we left the crime scene two hours ago." Something close to worry started to run through John's veins.
"Molly, I'll call you back." John hung the phone before she replied and turned to Gibbs. "Call your pathologist."
"What?" Gibbs demanded, taken aback.
"Call him. Now!" John barked, in his military commander's voice. Slightly mad, Gibbs fished out his phone and called Ducky. John grabbed it and put the phone on speaker.
It went through to voice mail. Sherlock had stood up by now, and had a disbelieving yet pleased smile on his face.
"He's breaking pattern…" Sherlock breathed in awe. Then his eyes widened. "Or he made a mistake."
"What do you mean?" Ziva asked looking between the two men.
It was Tony who answered. "Ducky's missing…he took Ducky! But why…he doesn't fit the pattern-"
"What does it matter? The bastard has Ducky!" He suddenly stepped right into Sherlock face. "You keep saying you're the best. Now prove it. Find Ducky."
Sherlock turned his head to the side, a faintly pleased smile on his face.
"Are you sure it's this building? Looks a little…run down." Tony asked Sherlock as they hid in an alleyway. Across the road was the building Sherlock had deduced to be where Ducky had been taken. It had boarded up windows, a broken front door, extremely high grass and vines all over the building. In short, a very run down old house on the outskirts of London.
"Positive. Mitchell spent a large part of his childhood here, and he's running scared. He knows we're after him, and he also knows this house still belongs to his sister who lives in Australia at the moment. It's the safest place to hide in his mind."
"Hopefully you're right Sherlock." Lestrade said, as he walked softly up behind them. "We're all ready, how about you guys?"
Gibbs nodded and pulled out the baton they had been given with disgust on his face.
"Right then. Sherlock, go back to the cars and we'll call you when we have him." Lestrade ordered. Sherlock went to protest, but suddenly closed his mouth and nodded. With a swirl of his coat, he walked back down the alleyway.
Lestrade was surprised at the lack of argument, but decided to ignore it and be happy with his lucky stroke. "Ready?" he asked.
The team nodded, and slowly the police began to advance forward.
"Where is it?" Ducky's captor waved the knife in his face once again. "Where did you hide it James?"
"I don't know what you're talking about! My name is Donald, not James." Ducky shouted back. He was tied to a chair in the living room, the rope far too tight. Mitchell was standing before him, his back to the hallway doorway. Other than them, there was nothing in the room but rotting floor boards and a hole in the roof.
"You're lying!" Mitchell slammed his hand into the wall, causing a louder than normal bang. Both men stared at the wall in shock, until a second bang echoed through the room and the sound of voices rang through the house.
"Police!" Came the cry, as a tall darked haired man followed by a short blonde one entered the room. It took Ducky a second to realise the men weren't wearing police gear, and were in fact familiar. However Mitchell didn't notice and simply swore as he tried to escape.
He turned and ran through the second door to the room which lead to the kitchen, causing the two men, Sherlock and John if Ducky's memory was correct, to follow just as Gibbs entered behind them.
He spotted the fleeing men, and after a quick glance at Ducky who nodded, followed.
"Ducky!" Ziva called as she entered, and after a quick scan of the room, she knelt to cut him free.
John wasn't thinking, he was just chasing. Mitchell was just before him, and all he had to do was-
Mitchell suddenly turned, and dashed up the set of stairs on his right. John swore under his breath and followed, not hearing Sherlock's sudden breath as he deduced something.
"John!" he called, but John was too close-
Mitchell stepped out into the empty room on his left and John followed. He barely had a moment to think, before he realised the floor of the room had collapsed and only a thin floor remained around the edge of the room. He wasn't going to end up on it.
Shocked, he half turned, hoping to be able to grab something before he fell. A firm hand suddenly grabbed his outreached left hand causing him to stop falling with a jerk that made his shoulder scream with pain.
Sherlock grunted with the effort of holding John up. He quickly calculated the results of letting go now, and if the drop would be survivable when a voice spoke up close by his ear.
"Drop him." Mitchell said, slowly moving the knife to Sherlock's throat. Sherlock glanced to his left and saw Mitchell right beside him. But over his head, he could see Gibbs, baton raised having come from the adjoining room. He could also see that John had gotten his right hand up and had a shaky grip on the remaining floor.
"No thanks. I like John, and I don't particularly want to drop him." He said. At that, Gibbs' baton smashed into Mitchell's side. It caused him to gasp in pain and twist away. Sherlock took that opportunity to let go of John, knowing he was safe and roll backwards out of reach of the knife. A second hit from Gibbs caught the knife hand and Mitchell dropped it.
In an instance Sherlock was nudging it into the room below, out of reach.
"Police, you're under arrest." Gibbs growled. As he said it, other police entered the room from behind him. John could also feel people grabbing his legs, taking his weight so he could let go. He did so with a relieved smile.
Sherlock looked at Gibbs the entire time Mitchell was being restrained and removed from the building. Finally he snapped.
Sherlock gave him a half smile. "I suppose you have your uses." And with that, he stalked away.
"Why did you do it?" Gibbs growled as he stormed into the Scotland Yard interrogation room. Mitchell was sitting at the table and he knew his team and Lestrade were watching. Sherlock and John were in Lestrade's office, waiting to be chewed out for their actions at the crime scene. And for them to break Mitchell which Sherlock had declared he already knew.
Gibbs slammed his hands into the table. "Kill all those people! Why?"
Mitchell smiles. "I had to. James is out there, hiding from me and I had to find him. He thought he could escape, take a new name and leave me all alone but I found out his name and I'm going to catch him."
"John." Gibbs supplied.
"Yes, John. The man who saw him didn't catch his last name but remember it started with a 'w' so I've been looking through all the men with names like that." He frowned. "But he must have been wrong about the last name."
"Dr Mallard?" Gibbs deduced.
"Yes. The colonel of the shadows said the doctor who worked for the police was the man I wanted and the shadows is always right. So he must have been mistaken."
"And why did you want to find James?" Gibbs asked.
"Because he left! Everyone leaves me, but not James! I have to find him! He's the only one who knows where it is."
"Where what is?"
"My watch. He took my watch…it belongs to me! I have to have him and it back. They're mine."
"And killing all those men…it helps get them back, how?" Gibbs sounded very mad by now.
Mitchell looked confused. "It doesn't help, but it makes sure he doesn't know I'm coming. It stops them telling him I'm after him. It was the only way to keep them quiet."
Gibbs had had enough. Without saying anything, he rose from his seat and left the room, slamming the door behind him.
"He's insane." Tony said as they met Gibbs outside Lestrade's office. "He is completely insane."
"And a brilliant killer." Lestrade said as he opened the door. "How is that?"
"He has help." Sherlock cut in. "You're looking for another man. He supplies Mitchell with his poison, and helped him find victims. Possibly put the idea of killing the rejects into Mitchell's mind in the first place."
"I have to feel a little sorry for Mitchell-" Tim started to say.
Gibbs turned on him. "Feel sorry for him McGee? Feel sorry for the monster who killed at least ten people?"
"…No? It's just; Boss…his son is dead." It took a second for this to sink in for everyone but Sherlock who huffed what sounded like "Obvious" at Tim's statement.
"What?" Tony asked.
"It's in his file. His son James killed himself eleven years ago, by hanging himself off the ceiling fan. Mitchell didn't take it well…obviously."
"And the watch?" Ziva asked.
"Buried with him." Sherlock cut in. At the confused looks from the rest of the room, he elaborated. "I researched the son's death as it was so similar. When James Thomas was buried, his father made such a fuss about his son not receiving his grandfather's watch it was decided to bury him with it."
"Huh…" Lestrade said as he processed this. He shook his head to clear it and changed the subject. "So Sherlock, any ideas on our accomplice?"
"A few. Did Mitchell mention anyone?"
Lestrade just shook his head. "No one except the colonel of the shadows." Both John and Sherlock sat up at this, John's hand subconsciously jerking towards his right leg. "What?" Lestrade asked, noticing their reactions.
Sherlock just ignored him and rose from his seat, John a step behind.
"Hey, where are you going? Sherlock!" Lestrade called after them, but they ignored him, heading for the interrogation room. Sighing, he followed accompanied by the NCIS team.
When they reached it, they were shocked to see John by Mitchell's side on the floor, the later clearly dead.
"How?" breathed Lestrade.
"Moriarty." Sherlock said grimly. "Examine the body and you'll find he was poisoned, most likely by one of Moriarty's men among the police."
He grabbed John's arm and pulled him away from the body. "Come on, John. We have another lead to investigate."
"Sherlock!" Lestrade called uselessly after their retreating backs. Sighing he added "Statements tomorrow please!"
"It's not fair you know." Tony complained as the team waited to go pass airport security the next day. He, Tim and Ziva were sitting on a bench just inside the airport while Ducky and Gibbs had gone in search of a decent cup of tea and coffee respectfully. Lestrade had recommended a decent café nearby, and the team were waiting for them to return.
"It never is." Ziva sighed. "But what exactly isn't fair this time?"
"We solved the case and they can't even give us one day for sightseeing in London! We spent all of eight hours at our hotel…I didn't even get to unpack!"
"You want to sight see DiNozzo, come on your own time." Gibbs said as he came up behind them, his coffee in one hand, and tray of coffees for the team in the other.
"And technically, we didn't solve the case. Sherlock Holmes did." Tim cut in.
"Well that's the first time I've heard any policeman admit that." The whole team jumped as Sherlock's smooth voice interrupted them. They looked up to see the man, and his friend almost upon them.
"What are you two doing here?" Gibbs snapped out.
"We're on another case." John answered. "A client of ours has had a little problem in the airport and we're here to check it out. I thought I would come up and say goodbye when I spotted you." He spotted the bag by Tony's feet and frowned. "Whose bag is that?"
"Mine," Ducky said. "Why?"
"You were in the RAMC? Where did you serve?"
"Many places my boy. How did you- ah of course, the badge. But why the interest...?"
"I served in Afghanistan, though I would assume many years after you." John smiled.
Ducky looked delighted. "My dear boy! A doctor, I presume? Where did you-"
As Ducky and John began to discuss their medical and army careers in detail, Sherlock discreetly pulled Gibbs aside.
"Here." He presented Gibbs with a set of boarding passes. Gibbs looked at them in confusion, then disbelief as he realised they were first class. For their flight.
Sherlock just shook his head and stepped away. Gibbs grabbed his coat as he did.
"You know why." He glanced at John and Ducky (who now were discussing a man they had both met while in Afghanistan, though he had been much younger went Ducky met him) a look of such fondness on his face for a millisecond.
Gibbs just nodded and Sherlock gave him a tiny smile in return.
"Come on John, this isn't going to solve itself!" he called.
John sighed, and pulled out a notebook and pen. He scribbled down his details and passed them to Ducky. "Keep in contact?"
"Of course, my dear boy."
Fed up, Sherlock grabbed John's coat and began to drag him away.
"It's a boat."
Sherlock turned in confusion. "What?"
"That I build in my basement. It's a boat." Gibbs explained.
The team and John burst out laughing at the grimace on Sherlock's face.
"There's always something..." Sherlock muttered as he walked away.
Still laughing, the NCIS team watched the pair walk off, John turning around to give them a happily returned wave. They then gathered their bags and headed for their plane home.