Hello! This is set three years after TGG, with the Italics being John's flashbacks to different memories. Enjoy!
"Buy you a drink?"
John's hand immediately went to his right hand pocket, feeling for the gun that was tucked safely in the secret pocket in his jacket. He traced his thumb over the trigger as he turned his head to the right, his eyes finding the man's face. He looked the man up and down, trying to discover everything about him in a few glances.
Tall, blonde hair, blue eyes, not too good looking but definitely not unattractive, his left hand was clutching a beer, no wedding ring, his shoes had been made quite locally whereas the trousers were designer, calm face, steady eyes, no sign of a thick heavy jacket to cover a bomb, no sign of a briefcase to cover a bomb.
John sighed, he could pick out the information he just never knew what to do with it after that, and he certainly was not going to ask Sherlock for any tips.
"Yeah alright," John answered, walking with the man over to the bar, where he turned around again so he could see the whole of the pub, with the exception of the barmaid behind him.
"Sad isn't it? About the pub," the blonde man said quietly handing John a beer and John nodded in agreement, watching as all the regulars had turned out for one last drink before it was going to be closed under new management.
"Me and my friend Bill were talking and we've never even heard of the management M before, but he seems to have taken over pretty much everything in London, M clothes, M music, M restaurants, and we've had a good look on the internet and we can't find a single thing about him on there either," he continued, frowning as he looked around the now bare walls of the pub. "Did this pub mean a lot to you? I've seen you in here quite a few times,"
John started to regret saying to the drink, the man didn't seem to shut up and John had just wanted to watch in sadness as yet another of his favourite places got taken over by Moriarty.
"Yeah it meant a lot to me," John replied quietly, taking a sip of beer.
"That'll explain it then," the blonde murmured and John looked at him curiously.
"Explain what?" he asked.
"Why you looked so sad,"
John laughed at the simplicity of that statement, he had spent three years living with Sherlock and Sherlock had never once used just John's facial expression to deduct what was wrong. He had always then gone to John's clothing or his hair or the fact that his limp had returned, sometimes you need a little bit of simplicity.
"Yeah it's the pub," John agreed and the man frowned a little bit.
"And girlfriend troubles?" the blonde prodded and John looked at him knowing that if Sherlock were here to see him he would get in a lot of trouble for doing what he was about to do.
"No, boyfriend troubles," John replied, leaning against the bar.
The man nodded, he didn't seem awkward or troubled with the fact that John was gay, he just waited for him to continue.
"He's um, he's part of the police force," John winced inside knowing that would have probably got him a slap "And he doesn't seem to get how dangerous his job actually is, so he goes running around the streets of London whilst I'm stuck at home, and I worry. I really really worry for him," John finished, biting his lip anxiously.
John took one last gulp of his beer before setting it back down on the bar and pulling his jacket further around his body, without doing the zip up.
"By the way, how much of that are you going to tell him?" John asked the blonde man and his eyebrows raised in surprise before a happy smile came to the man's face.
"All of it,"
"Yeah I thought so, bloody hell," John muttered, before limping through the crowd and out onto the darkened streets.
A few seconds after he had left the pub, Sherlock appeared from out behind one of the vending machines, he straightened his coat and walked towards the blonde haired man, pulling the beer out of his hand and raising it to his lips.
"He's more intelligent than you gave him credit for Sherlock," the man said, his eyes scanning the crowd in the pub, frowning as the music got turned up.
"I didn't expect him to figure it out, he surprises me when I least it expect it," Sherlock replied, putting the beer back on the bar, his lips barely moving as he spoke.
"Yeah, that's why it's called a surprise," the man murmured back, his face hard.
"Thanks for doing that Sean," Sherlock said suddenly and Sean smiled knowing how rare a thank you was from Sherlock Holmes.
"No problem, I wanted to meet the man who seemed to be the topic of all your conversations anyway," Sean answered, running a hand through his blonde hair and Sherlock noticed how tired the man looked. He looked away hoping desperately that Sean had missed the pink tinge that he had felt come to his cheeks.
"You might want to lie low for a bit, they'll come after you," Sherlock suggested confidently, knowing that underplaying how dangerous the situation was to Sean was a bad idea. "Get out the country for a bit, go sightseeing-
Suddenly, Sherlock's head pricked up like a deer who smells the difference in the air and Sean saw for a moment, just a moment a small flicker of fear across his face.
"Speaking of which, I have to go, the Thames if they ask,"
And with that he was gone, lost in the crowd of people, blending in perfectly as the music got louder and the people began to sing along. Sean scanned his eyes across the crowd, looking for the reason of Sherlock's disappearance. Two very tall and very muscular men walked out of the crowd and stood next to Sean, watching him suspiciously.
"You seen a man? Tall, black curly hair?" one of them asked, his voice was croaky and very deep and Sean shook his head after waiting for the right amount of time to look like he was thinking it over.
"Actually no wait, yeah there was a man here a minute ago, he only stayed for a second though, muttered something about the Thames," Sean replied perfectly, trying desperately to ignore his thudding heart as the men swore, they would never think that a friend of Sherlock would tell them where he went.
They were too thick to think anything different.
"Trying to catch him is like smoke through a fucking net," The first man grumbled and his smaller and slightly fatter companion nodded in agreement, looking around as if worried about who would see them.
"The boss won't be happy," the second man murmured and rubbed his hand over his stubbly chin.
"We better try the Thames, hopefully the sucker will show up," The first man replied, moving away from the bar, "Cheers mate,"
"No problem," Sean answered, raising John's beer to his lips a small smile dancing across his features as the two burly looking men left the pub.
The air was cold and his leg was hurting like hell but John continued to work through the line of shops and restaurants, all with the sign of a M hanging directly above them. He stopped in front of what used to Angelo's restaurant, and a small sad sigh escaped his lips as he watched the waiters and waitress' rush around to serve people, their bright red uniforms blaring into the cold outside.
John turned away from the window and looked around the bare streets, his memories of that day creeping into his mind like a virus that he couldn't flush out.
"Sherlock." John said quietly and in that instance Sherlock knew something was wrong, he put the head back in the microwave and walked over to where John was stood in front of the television, the remote control held loosely in his hand the other over his mouth.
Sherlock turned his eyes to the screen and watched as Angelo was dragged from his home, his wife kicking and screaming behind him. He looked directly into the camera and both Sherlock and John froze as he mouthed two words.
"He's here, M,"
John shuddered as he remembered how the next day they had read in the newspaper that Angelo and his wife had been shot in the head with their hearts, quite literally, burnt out of them.
He felt the sting of tears but like every time, he pushed them away. He had survived Afghanistan, he could survive this.
Except this danger wasn't like Afghanistan anymore, or even like their first three cases together, this was the type of danger where John didn't know if the next breath he took would be his last. At least when he was in Afghanistan he knew that his family would be alright, he wasn't so sure anymore.
When Harry had sought him out to tell him she was being followed he had felt his heart almost stop.
"He told me one thing, after weeks of following me and standing outside my front door he told me only one thing," Harry cried and John held her in his arms, his eyes watching Sherlock, whose fingertips were pressed together as his mind whirred with information. She had burst into their home, her eyes bloodshot and wild, her arms reaching blindly for John.
"What did he tell you Harry?" John asked softly and Harry pulled away from the embrace and looked at John sadly, her face confused and tearstained.
"He said they would burn, he said they will all burn,"
John pulled his sister back into the hug quickly and rested his chin on the top of her head as Sherlock eye's bore into his, with such an intense gaze that John felt that if it had not been for Harry's tight hold on him, he would have collapsed.
It had taken four weeks for Sherlock and John to convince John's family to move out of the country. Four long weeks of repetitive arguments and questions. Four weeks of explanations about danger and Moriarty. Explanations of how a few weeks after the bombing at the pool, Sherlock and John had realised how quickly and how deeply they had fallen in love. John having to explain that is was because he loved them he wanted them to go to Italy, not because he wanted them gone. John had been so close to screaming at the end of those weeks and when his mother finally agreed, he had not only collapsed into Sherlock's arms full of deep relief but he had felt his heart relax.
He knew that it was mostly due to Mycroft's charm and promise of protection in Italy that had sealed the deal with his parents but it didn't matter.
He'll never forget how sad the goodbye was, it wasn't filled with tears and promises of seeing everyone again soon, because it was well known by all the Watson family that there was no guarantee of return.
Instead it was filled with hugs and smiles, lot's of waving and family love. He had fixed things with Harry and had introduced Sherlock to his family, as well as Mycroft and so as he stood at the airport with Sherlock's hand rubbing soothing circles on his thumb, he knew that he could offer them no better protection than Mycroft and just being out of the country.
Don't go to the Thames. SH
John sighed and put the phone back in his pocket, not bothering to ask Sherlock where he was or if he was alright, he wouldn't get anywhere. He hadn't seen Sherlock in five days, and this was the first communication he had had with him since then.
He walked in the opposite direction to the Thames, heading for a park, remembering the last time he had done the opposite of something Sherlock had asked.
Don't go to Scotland's Yard. SH
So, letting his curiosity get the better of him, John headed for Scotland's Yard. He didn't think anything could have prepared him for what he found.
Scotland's Yard was burning.
The building was in flames and he felt sick as he watched people come screaming out of the building. The noise of humans screaming for friends and for help was a sickening sight, but here it seemed to consume him.
The smell of smoke was thick in the air, and it was the normal civilians who were having to control the masses of sobbing police. The sight almost made John smile, it was always in the worst situations that humans came together as brothers and as allies.
He rushed towards the ambulances, climbing aboard and helping out in whatever way he could. The paramedics knew him from his adventures with Sherlock and so did not question his qualifications; instead they took instructions from him, letting them guide him.
John felt the rush of being a doctor again, he realised how much he had missed it. The danger was everywhere and John had not wanted to drag Sarah into his issues, so he broken up with her and quite his job at the surgery.
"John! I told you not to come," Sherlock yelled over the cries and John turned his head and looked into the smoke, seeing Sherlock covered in soot but so alive. John grabbed Craig by the arm and instructed him on what to do with the policeman he had been attending before he hopped out of the ambulance, safe in the knowledge that his patient would be okay in Craig's care.
He ran out into the mob of people and cars and ambulances and felt as his feet moved faster and faster trying desperately to get to Sherlock.
He wrapped his arms around Sherlock's neck and their bodies collided together. Sherlock held onto him tightly and John grabbed the back of his coat, breathing in the scent of smoke and medicine and just Sherlock.
"Lestrade?" John asked as he pulled away and Sherlock took his hand and led him silently to another ambulance where Lestrade was sat, his head in his hands.
He looked up as they approached and heard John's unasked question.
"No one died,"
John sat down on the bench and let the cold dampness seep into his trousers and coat. He looked across the park and froze. He silently moved his coat away from the right hand side and pulled out the gun.
There was someone behind him. Now that he thought about it, there had been someone behind him for quite a while now but he'd just chosen to ignore it. The feeling in his gut had been there since he had left Angelo's cafe but his daydreams had pushed them away.
"I love you Sherlock," John whispered, clicking the safety off and turning around, the gun outstretched.
The gun dropped to the bench and John felt his heart stutter as Sherlock smoothly made his way around to him. He leant down and picked the gun back up, placing it back inside his jacket. He felt as all his energy left and with a sigh of defeat he fell down onto the bench.
Sherlock sat next to him silently, and they both looked out across the deserted path as an evening mist began to fall.
"Thank you for not going to the Thames,"
"What would have happened if I had?"
"You would have died,"
John fell silent again, unaware of what to say. He hated that it was awkward but he found there was nothing to say.
"You're angry with me,"
"No, I'm not,"
"You are. You used to reply to my texts within seconds a few days ago, you didn't even bother today,"
"Because what would be the fucking point Sherlock?" John yelled suddenly, standing up from the bench and watching Sherlock angrily.
"See, you're angry,"
"Fine, yes, yes I am angry. I'm so bloody angry with you Sherlock. I know you need to have cases to stop you being bored and I also know that this is the biggest one you've ever had, so yes I get that it's exciting. But you left me for five days without knowing where the hell you were!"
"I told you I would be away for a long period of time John, you knew that things like this would happen," Sherlock protested.
"Yes I know, I know that and I agreed to it. But you're my partner Sherlock, I worry about you. For someone so clever you're awareness of health and personal safety is, quite frankly, shocking."
"This relationship stuff is new to me John you know that,"
"It's been three years Sherlock," John screamed into the silent park and Sherlock eyed him worriedly.
"Look, I'm sorry. I am, I'm sorry. But you should know that when people are together for three years it makes them worry, to the point where they get sick. I know stuff like telling me where you are is boring for you but Sherlock it takes you what? 15 seconds to tell me where you are and that you're alright. I understand if you don't understand that, but please just do it for me," John begged and Sherlock shook his head.
"I can't do that," he whispered, his voice cracking and John stared at him incredulously.
"You couldn't, you couldn't, what? You couldn't…." he stammered breathlessly, feeling as his heart began to hurt.
"I'm done, Sherlock. I am done," John murmured and began to walk away praying for the tears not to fall.
John was half way across the park when suddenly it hit him. And it hit him hard.
He ran back across to the now stood up Sherlock and pressed his mouth against his in complete desperation.
When they finally drew apart for need of air, John twisted his hands into the collar of Sherlock's jacket and his face became angry.
"You idiot, you stupid stupid idiot," John muttered through clenched jaws.
"How could you try to push me away from you like that?"
Sherlock looked stunned and very devastated, like his biggest secret had been revealed.
"No, no John-"
"Yes you were. You were pushing me away because you didn't want me to get hurt. The long days away, no texts, becoming more distant. Everything. You want me safe, and so you thought that I would only leave if I knew you didn't love me," John deduced and Sherlock hung his head sadly.
John hooked his fingers underneath Sherlock's chin and made Sherlock look him in the eye.
"Please, please don't ask me to leave you. Please," he whispered desperately.
"I can't, I can't lose you," Sherlock breathed back.
"You won't, I promise you,"
The clung to each other for a few minutes before Sherlock broke away stiffly as though he hadn't really wanted to.
"He's taken over pretty much everything," John sighed and Sherlock shook his head.
"No, he's hasn't. He's taken over all your favourite places John, everywhere you like to go or have recently been. He's proving a point to me," Sherlock explained.
"And the point is what?"
"That he could kill you, he could burn you at any minute," Sherlock said angrily, his eyes darting around the park constantly, always looking, always watching.
"Because he doesn't understand why I have more interest in you then I could ever have in him. He doesn't understand and it kills him. He doesn't understand why you are so special. In some ways I think he wants to kidnap you and have him for his own, see what makes you have that thing, that special thing," Sherlock murmured, his curls blowing in the ice cold breeze.
"The thing?" John asked.
"That makes me love you. He either wants it for himself or he wants to destroy it, he hasn't decided yet," Sherlock replied.
"How exactly do you know this?" John asked again, baffled by his new found knowledge.
"He told me." Sherlock said simply and John gaped at him for a minute.
"He told you?" John repeated nervously.
"Yes, he told me," Sherlock said impatiently "He keeps me updated on his feelings, his 'findings' as he calls them. It's quite useful actually, I can deduce a lot from them,"
"When will he give up?" John asked after a few minutes of silence, his voice was quiet and lost, like a child who didn't know what to do with himself.
"He won't, not until he's dead," Sherlock replied bluntly, his eyes speaking louder than his voice.
"We have to kill him," John stated, sitting back down on the bench.
"How? He's already got control of everything that was ever important to us. Lestrade's in Scotland, Sally flew over to America, Mrs Hudson is living with Mycroft, and my family have gone," John said his tone defeated and his shoulders slumped.
"John, he already knows where those people are, what they're doing every minute of everyday but he's not going to go after them," Sherlock said firmly, bending down and looking John square in the eye.
"They don't mean anything to him, he wants things that are relevant to both himself and you. By thinking that he's already won, he has."
John stood up and pressed a firm kiss to Sherlock's lips, feeling the beautiful twinge in stomach and the fire on his lips.
Together they set off across the park in companionable silence, the gate leading out to Baker Street arrived quickly and just before he opened it, John glanced back at the bench he had been sat on.
He was unsurprised to see it burning, the flames lighting up the grey and dreary setting. He watched them for a second longer, feeling Sherlock place his hand in his own, their gloved fingers intertwining together. And John's lips smiled as he said one word, knowing full well that Moriarty could hear.