Series: Sherlock BBC
Rating: PG (Though M for explicit smut in later chapters and some language I think...)
Word Count: 5193 (for this chapter only - full story is probably 100,000 +)
Summary Plot: After the incident at the pool, John Watson begins to feel uncomfortable of how he currently stands with Sherlock Holmes. No longer wanting to remain the 'loyal pet', he takes a stand and confronts the sociopath. Meanwhile, Moriarty's plans are back in motion and Sherlock has to take him down quick, but he's finding progress to be proven difficult as he begins to unwillingly succumb to his connection with John.
Comments: Hey guys. This is a combined fic between (LJ) eyesofsociopath as Sherlock, and (LJ) idkhowtodothis as John. I'm not sure if this will be any good as the format might be confusing. It lacks the transition since I'm too lazy to edit haha.
But either way, there is a very long plot to this and we spent several months on it already. So if you would spare the time, please enjoy : )
*P.S: Please excuse the mistakes!
Chapter 1 - At the Flat
It had been seven days since the pool blew up, six days since he was discharged from the hospital, and five days since he started to formulate words in his mind and the opportune moment to present them to the infamous Sherlock Holmes.
However, for anyone who ever knew the man, they learned quickly that there was no 'opportune moment'. It was either say it or don't at all times and for a passive man like John Watson, it was easy for many of his thoughts to get pushed aside just because he wanted to be polite and respectful... which was quite the contrary to what his flatmate was- Sherlock Holmes: the man who took pride in pointing out anything wrong in a person and revealing more about him than he knew, himself.
The cuts and bruises had healed up for the most part. John was smart enough to tug the both of them into the nearest door frame as the building came crashing down around them. It was a miracle that neither of them broke anything- so a few cuts and swollen joints were hardly anything to complain about. However, ever since, his neck hadn't quite felt just right. John figured he just needed to go to a masseuse or a chiropractor and everything would sort itself out. However, finding the time to do so was another story. Whatever free time he had that Sherlock didn't eat up, he spent it with Sara... who surprisingly stayed with him after the first date from hell.
However, John had a couple things on his mind that were a bit more important to him than a stiff neck. Sherlock was related to each one of those things. Granted, Sherlock was intertwined with a lot of things in his life nowadays. He didn't mind it, though- honest. What did bother him was how disposable he seemed to be in Sherlock's life.
On the seventh evening after their little incident in the pool, John came home after a particularly trying day at work, hands full with groceries that Sherlock neglected to buy after finishing off the last of their milk, peas, and shortbread cookies. He set the groceries down on the table and put away anything that would expire if left out and then made his way back into the living room and flopped down on the chair. He rubbed at his eyes to compose himself. Right. Now or never. He looked over to Sherlock, features as passive as ever. "Do you have a minute?"
Victory had never tasted so sweet, even if the said taste was of hot billowing ash and freshly spilt blood. Sherlock had won this round. Perhaps not in the way he wished, but regardless, it was clearly evident that his stunt had even surprised the psychopath.
How he could've let Moriarty get so close to outsmarting him, and now knowing that the criminal had been set loose once again, no doubt twisted and bent on revenge for the shame of his downfall. Unethical were his thoughts. The very idea that he had a worthy challenger, it excited him. His name echoed in his head, Moriarty. Moriarty.
He knew he was masochist, he knew he was an 'idiot', as John would helpfully put it. But in all seriousness, he did indeed thrive on life-threatening situations. Thrill-seeking tendencies weren't news to him. It was barely five years ago had he been the subject of a misfortunate incident of an overdose.
Ah, yes. Five years ago. That was when it all started. Consulting Detective; a fancy name, it suited him. He liked it. Who wouldn't? Mycroft had been the first suspect to inspire this ridiculous new idea, though Sherlock wouldn't admit it now, if anything, he'd preferred it better if he had no brother at all. Not when it was he, Mycroft, who walked into him as he collapsed and taking the needle from his trembling hands. Not when it was he, Mycroft, who carried his limp body to hospital bridal style for all of London to see. Not when it was he, Mycroft, who told his mother about what had happened. He didn't have to do it. She didn't need to know. It wasn't me who upset her.
Sherlock knew he was lacking something. He stopped in his tracks; his eyes had been glazed over by intensive thought for the past few hours and now only to find his attention return and focusing on the blank wall of his living room in 221b Baker Street. He hadn't realized it straight away, but he adapted to a new habit of pacing. Was it because of an irreversible effect of an adrenaline rush? So close to an explosion- so close to death. It would've traumatized anyone, even thick skinned Sherlock Holmes. Not that he quite liked the idea of him having some kind of post-traumatic stress disorder and that his way of relieving it was to walk.
He heard a clatter downstairs as the front door closed. Distant noises of rustling informed him of shopping. A lot of shopping. The way they rustled as they scraped along both walls; It had to be at least five bags. And the heavy footsteps could only tell him that it belonged to a man. Nonetheless, as Sherlock looked up expectantly, a rather disgruntled looking John stepped through and heaving the groceries onto the table.
Sherlock hadn't said much, he merely glanced over the bags and could pick out several items already from the shape. Oh, so he did get the coffee this time, that's great.
"Yes." The detective replied curtly, he had managed to grab a book by the time John came back in so it wouldn't seem like he was aimlessly maundering the room for hours. For the last he checked, he was sure that wasn't considered a healthy sign. "I have the whole night, in fact. The lack of cases is starting to bore me."
Lack of cases, of course. That seemed to be the only shining star in the life of Sherlock Holmes. He didn't need the cinema or the football matches. Just give him a dead body and a mystery and he'd be as giddy as a kid in a candy shop. John already knew that of Sherlock- he never really was alive unless he was on some sort of emotional high... and even though Sherlock hadn't mentioned anything of it, he had a sneaking suspicion that he did a lot more than just smoking whenever he got too bored. But even so, that sort of thing didn't bother John.
However, he couldn't help but feel a bit betrayed at the way Sherlock was dealing with this post-Moriarty mess. First of all, Sherlock wasn't as well-equipped to deal with physical stress as John was. John was already tested and tried in war and he was well beyond his psychosomatic limp. Second of all, John was a doctor... and even though he was no psychiatrist, he could have at least helped out Sherlock if he needed somebody to talk to. He didn't just study anatomy during his training. However, John knew that Sherlock was an expert at fact, but a child with emotion. It was probably for that reason that he was so lenient with situations like these.
"I was thinking back to Moriarty," he said slowly, testing the waters- because right now, the name 'Moriarty' was probably as welcome as saying 'Voldemort' in the Longbottom household. That, and he was still trying to put his thoughts into words... to create an airtight sentence that even Sherlock had to pause before he went about picking things apart as usual.
"Before Moriarty. You said you'd get the groceries," now he was just rambling. But it was all going somewhere, honest. "But you just used that as a diversion to go to the pool." He could already feel the burn of emotion in the pit of his stomach, but he fought to keep that down... because Sherlock didn't understand emotion so that wouldn't go anywhere.
"Because you went to the pool, you put me in danger and I wasn't prepared to be put in the situation I was in." Right. It was almost like talking to a child- because he knew that Sherlock didn't mean any harm by it, but it was still wrong, nonetheless. "You should have told me what you were doing, Sherlock. I could have at least armed myself or went with you. But instead you were focused on your mind games. You threw me to the wolves there. And I don't mind being in danger, but I need you to let me know what's going on so we can avoid another situation like that."
The mention of the name had struck Sherlock like a light slap. At once, it seemed like the drawling exterior of boredom had vanished, instead replaced with complete assertiveness. Like a switch, the mental clarity of his mind had sparked on, picking up anything, anything that could be a clue to his new obsession. He watched him, the weight in his cool calculating eyes was enough to pin someone down and paralyze their tracks. Countless of times he favoured the look, as it was likely the lasting image his victims would see as he proceeds to strip them down to bare bone, revealing pitiful lies, evidence and habits they had never wished to admit.
And now, he was doing it to John. Oh ho, he was doing it all right.
It was as if John was teasingly patting a landmine to see how hard he could tap without it exploding. Sherlock narrowed his eyes slowly, the book in his hands closed as he sat down on the chair opposite. There, he leaned forwards, hands clasped together and pressing them to his lips. Watching.
So it wasn't about Moriarty himself. More so, it was John's personal feelings. How strange, but he'll listen.
"It was your own fault. You were the one who let your guard down first. You are an easy target." Ha, he was blaming him for his stupidity. It was true. John was just too naïve sometimes. Be it that he already had been captured once before- dragged all the way across London with his girlfriend to be killed. One would think the person would learn a little more discretion, perhaps? "I obviously didn't expect you to be there. I didn't deliberately put you in danger. And I didn't want you there for a reason."
There it goes. That look. John was all too used to it. Sherlock was always able to pick out what he had a dream about the night before or whether Sara had snogged him or just gave him a single kiss good-night. It was like the man prided himself in pointing out actions that everyone else did, but he was too 'perfect' to do. Sherlock was like an alien sometimes.
John was patient, but he wasn't going to back down. It was incredibly frustrating to live and deal with Sherlock sometimes, but there was a price to everything. In exchange for no more nightmares and an action-filled life, he had to pay by dealing with an arrogant man who was too smart for his own good. However, he didn't like the way that Sherlock was trying to turn the tables and blame him for getting a bomb strapped to his chest.
"It's a bit hypocritical of you to make me tag along whenever you need help on a case despite the dangers, but whenever you don't need me, suddenly everything's over my head," he said calmly, eyes trained on his flatmate. He certainly didn't know how to make men freeze and second guess themselves like Sherlock did, but he was able to hold his ground.
"You didn't deliberately put me in danger, but I was brought there anyway. I wouldn't have strayed from the main roads while walking to Sara if I knew you were toying with Moriarty." John leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. "I want to help you, Sherlock. And I'm not a child. So I think it's more than reasonable for me to ask you to let me know when you're about to pull a stunt."
Sherlock merely tilted his head as John patiently protested. Though only a quick glance to his hands which were- obviously- tightened into a fist and flexing out had told him enough that John was honestly agitated. He straightened a bit in his seat, taking in a deep steady breath as he continued to focus his eyes into the other. He had a feeling this might just take a while. Or not. Knowing how easily he can win over arguments, John will be backing off soon.
"I honestly thought you were smarter than that. I do need you on the minor cases. Medical assistant. Someone I can think aloud to. Those cases were nothing compared to what happened at the pool." And all the real danger John had been in before was with the Chinese assassins, which, if he recalled, wasn't his intention. And okay, fine, they had chased the Golem together. But that was because it was fun. A headlong meeting with a deranged psychopath who blew people up for leisure was not something even Sherlock took lightly.
And this. Was unbelievable. "Oh goodness, John, where were you the whole time those five victims had been targeted with the bombs? That was Jim playing with me. You already knew, but you don't think. Do you see?" He let out a huff, feeling his own chest jitter as it had earlier that made him pace, and now he felt the urge to get up and do it again. "And if I let you know about anything I'm doing, you'll always insist on coming. I don't tell you because I don't want you coming." It was simple. So simple. Why make such a fuss out of it?
This wasn't getting anywhere. John ran his fingers through his hair once, trying to think of a way to portray all this successfully to Sherlock without losing his temper. He should get an award for putting up with the man. John made a face and gave Sherlock a stern glare, but then he recomposed himself and continued with his side of the argument.
"I was helping you with those five victims, Sherlock. You wouldn't have gotten to the third victim so quickly if I wasn't the one doing your legwork and noticed the bloody cat," he said tersely, "and if I hadn't been doing your work for your brother- because you were too self-absorbed to do so until it proved useful to you- you wouldn't have had those missile plans that lured out Moriarty." He pointed a finger at himself. "I'm useful, Sherlock. I'm not some pet you can drag along with you when you want a bit of company."
He didn't like that feeling. Being called a loyal pet. When Mycroft first said it, he brushed it off. But when he was ready to lay down his life for Sherlock and his captor had mentioned it as well, John was starting to believe that there was a sort of problem. John did look a bit hurt that Sherlock specifically didn't want him coming. But now he'd have to take an approach that even Sherlock had to try and understand.
"Fine. You don't want me coming," he said, looking away for a moment. "But if you leave me on my own, you put both of us at more risk. Because I put my life on the line, people will assume I'm friends with you. Because you didn't run when I told you to, people will assume that you're friends with me." He gave Sherlock a stern look. "So if you don't let me know what's going on, I can easily make a mistake that could have been avoided and end up being captured and used as bait for you."
Admittedly, Sherlock hadn't met anyone who dared talk back at him so much, in some sense this was why John stood out so much from the crowd. It surprised him sometimes how stubborn John can be when he wanted something, and how he'd be willing to throw his life away and kill another to save him. The bravery of a soldier- something Sherlock hadn't come across so much these days. He had respected that on so many levels, to the point where he truly considered this man to have become the closest he's ever known, even his own family.
He had a point. He was useful. Perhaps too useful. Even he said it himself that he'd be lost without him. If it hadn't been for John, Sherlock might've been dead long ago.
That was why he couldn't afford lose him.
He knew it was a selfish thing to do, yet what in his life had he done wasn't selfish? He was simply protecting him in his own way knowing that Moriarty would somehow take advantage of his connection, and it angered him to know that the psychopath had already noticed his relationship to the doctor. Had it been that obvious? Sherlock grimaced, his prying eyes finally tearing away as he stood from his chair.
He remained relatively calm despite being clearly irritated at this point. If only there was one clear solution… anything he could do. His paces brought him round the room again for the third time, mulling over possible ways to deal with such situation- it was simply like a case. All he had to do was think. Think!
And it was then something struck. He slowed his paces to a halt, his clasped hands pressed against his lips as he reconsidered it. It was only because of their connection that made it as difficult as it was now.
"How about it if we break ties?" Sherlock spoke softly, as if he had been wary on coming to that conclusion, yet every syllable was clear and precise and even a shadow of a threat hanging in his tone.
Somehow, John had been expecting that conclusion. He watched Sherlock as he paced about, muttering to himself and spouting nonsense. In a way, he never seemed to outgrow the infantile stage of private speech. But if that was the way Sherlock thought things through, then so be it. He had learned to take the man's antics with a pinch of salt.
And as much as he didn't like to hear that conclusion, it was surprisingly a step in the right direction. Up until now, all of Sherlock's accusations were critical to John and didn't involve himself. John could see where this was coming from- he didn't want to grow too dependent on John or form a friendship. For once, Sherlock wasn't being selfish in the sense that he was choosing to let John go entirely rather than keeping him on a shelf and using him when it was a convenience. Unfortunately, John wouldn't have any of that. He wasn't about to let go of the best thing in his life just because Sherlock was too much of a child to make a friend. His nightmares had disappeared, his limp was gone, and John never had more fun in his life.
For a moment, John was worried that he was being the selfish one.
But then John reminded himself of his real reason for staying- Sherlock was in deep with Moriarty now and one day, he may end up being in over his head. And John didn't want him to have to deal with that on his own.
"No," he said. His tone was gentle but had a firmness that showed he wasn't backing down from this one. He knew it was a slippery slope when it came to openly disobeying Sherlock. Usually, he didn't mind going along with what the other wanted, but this was not going to fly with John. However, he knew better than to be a complete, stubborn prat. "God forbid, you'll have to start buying your own groceries," he said, somehow managing a good-natured smile. "You're stuck with me, Sherlock. Now, why don't you put that brain of yours to work and come up with another solution?"
At the moment John had rejected his suggestion, Sherlock's usually calloused eyes flicked up to meet his. Though this time, it hadn't been all of a cool glare, rather, there had been relief that John hadn't taken the offer. Most people would've left long before now; it was a miracle that they even stayed for a good two weeks before zipping their luggage and slamming the front door for the last time. But this man, even after two months being with Sherlock, knowing his habits and even putting up with them- hadn't even shown an inkling of desire to relocate. Even as the opportunity was presented to him freely, he still insisted on staying. And Sherlock wanted to throw this away?
He would never admit to it. Never. But it was clear by now how much he needed him. For heaven's sake, John had reduced him to a gibbering idiot after he'd thrown himself out to sacrifice himself at the pool. But it was because of that that they had a problem. The reason Sherlock's life had been so easy was because he had no one to look out for. He was cold blooded detective, untouchable, and yet…
Sherlock couldn't help but to feel the warmth in his chest as the smallest hint of a smile crossed on his lips. Oh yes, John was after all such a brilliant grocery shopper, and how could he deny the daily coffee he'd gladly brew for him?
And now, for once, Sherlock Holmes had been lost for an answer. How such a simple thing as emotions could bring down the juggernaut of brainpower. It was a dilemma, no straight solution, no victim, no murderer. He shook his head slowly, the crease in his brows were an evident sign that he was distressed.
"I don't know." The detective finally said, feeling shame in his words and almost wincing to how he sounded. "Stay. I suppose…"
John had been prepared for the worst. He knew that Sherlock would do damn near anything to get what he wanted. Hell, the idiot threw his life down on the line just to prove how brilliant he was. John was half-expecting for Sherlock to get in a huff about his stubbornness and tell him that he was cramping his thinking space or something ridiculous like that. It almost shocked him to see what he thought was something positive in his eyes and- was that almost a smile? He wasn't sure, but he knew that he wasn't in trouble with the man.
He relaxed visibly at the word 'stay'. Funny how he was happy to obey basic commands when his biggest problem was being accused of acting like a pet for Sherlock. However, the crease in his brow and shame in his tone immediately worried John. Was Sherlock upset having him around? John wasn't quite sure if he had done something wrong there, but he was going to let it drop. He'd take one little victory at a time and if it was a big enough problem, he was sure that Sherlock would come back at him in a half hour, pointing out all the flaws in the situation.
But for now, John quietly rose out of his chair to go back into the kitchen and start brewing the coffee he had bought. He figured Sherlock needed a good cuppa. After a few minutes, he returned with a mug for Sherlock (black with two sugars) and one for himself (milk and sugar). He passed Sherlock's mug over before he took his seat in the usual chair and looked up at his flatmate. Maybe a change in topic was what they needed. "So the lack of bullet holes in the walls tells me that you've had some sort of thing occupying you today."
It was difficult discerning how he was feeling right now. And even as he continued to press himself on finding the answer, he found himself going around a frustrating loop. This was a first, deducing his own emotions. Normally it wouldn't concern him, it wouldn't even be a problem. He knew love was a prime motivator to most people, but only that much he understood. But for as much as he could tell for himself, any relationship with anyone had been a major hindrance.
Part of his shame had unleashed as agitation, somehow now he wanted John gone, accusing him for bringing him to a mindless idiot. And at the same time he wanted him here. He didn't sit back down as John returned with the cup, taking it mutely and thumbing the handle agitatedly.
The change of topic was sudden, but taken gratefully. Sherlock glanced up as he sipped his coffee, mildly passing a glance at the wall that had been well intact. "So, you're starting to pick up some deducing skills yourself." He placed the cup down, pocketing his hands as he thought his answer over.
He didn't really wish to bring up Moriarty with John again, for some reason, he felt that the issue with the criminal mastermind had been his own personal problem. But then, John had the rights to know, after being a victim himself. And after that long talk of having to tell him everything- this was the first step.
"Moriarty is unlikely to show himself for the next few weeks. He's sustained injuries, no doubt. But he'll want to get his revenge after that." And he already had suspicions to what his motives will be.
He'd have to start getting used to Sherlock standing up and pacing. He seemed to be doing that a bit more often lately, so John would have to start getting used to that; it was a lot easier dealing with a contemplating Sherlock when the man was laying down but pacing could get a bit annoying after a while. However, it was the lesser of two evils. He'd rather deal with a pacing Sherlock than an angry Sherlock. It was better than that bloody violin, too. It wasn't like Sherlock was bad at playing or that he didn't like the violin- it was just the sort of 'thinking music' Sherlock played. Couldn't he learn a nice sonatina? Or maybe Praeludium and Allegro. That was a nice piece.
John couldn't help but grin a bit when Sherlock mentioned his deduction skills. He knew he was miles behind his flatmate in that area, but the compliment was appreciated. It was loads better than being called stupid, as usual, and John learned that compliments from Sherlock were few and far between. After all, the best Sherlock was able to say after John risked his life for him was something along the lines of 'that- that thing you did before? that was nice'. It wasn't like he was expecting some sort of bouquet.
However, what came out of Sherlock's mouth next was everything he could ask for. Sherlock was keeping him in the loop. John felt a bit giddy at that, but he hid it with his calm demeanor and sipped at his coffee. "Well, at least you're getting more than twelve hours to outsmart him," he said, trying to be optimistic. He liked action and risks, but he wouldn't want a conflict with Moriarty too often.
"You ought to try and find who he's connected with- he has to be pretty high up to think that the missile plans are child's play. But in all honesty, you should rest. You've been on your feet a lot more than usual."
Oh, that was easier said than done. Sherlock knew full well of how intricate these organizations were. He wouldn't be able to manage just on his own; after all he was just one man against a possible multinational cooperation. Even he wasn't that naïve. This was Jim's playhouse, he probably had enough power to overrule the British Government if he so wanted.
It was a risk enough letting John in on this, could he be aware of the possible dangers? He had a good insight of the world Sherlock lived in, though being sceptical at first to how overly dramatized it can be. But this was reality. Forget the small games in the back streets, fighting mobs, chasing taxi cabs around London and poking about with a TV actress. This was surely no doubt going to become a mass scale war. Be it involving missiles that Moriarty handled so casually, and even the plans worried Mycroft, a person with great status within the ruling world.
But yes, John was right; Sherlock had been up for three days straight. He needed rest, no matter how much he resisted the temptation to press on with his speculations. He downed the last of his coffee and set it down on the table, a moment's pause as he looked over to John and watched him closely.
He couldn't stop the soldier now, even if he wanted to. John was part of his life, his 'career'. Sherlock knew it wouldn't be the same if John should go back to civilian life now, having been in war for the majority of his years. And in that sense, he supplied what the doctor was missing, a life of danger and threat.
"Well." Sherlock finally said as he straightened himself up resolutely, his hands pocketed and appearing unsure of what he was doing. He could not remember the last time he had bid anyone a proper close off to a conversation, "Good night then. John."
Yes, it was certainly easier said than done. John knew the danger he was getting himself in and by god, he was more than willing to throw himself down for the cause. As normal as he looked and as hard as he tried to have normal things in his life, he was far from it. He was more alive than ever during his service in the military and it took him until meeting Sherlock to realize that all those nightmares and syndromes of his were just his body and mind begging him to return to that life. Sherlock's statement proved everything. 'I said danger, and here you are'
The fact that he had Sherlock alongside him made it even easier to follow this style of life.
"Good night, Sherlock," he responded. He could see that his flatmate was akward with actual conversation, so John took his leave. Rather than going to bed, though, John began to straighten up the flat as much as possible without disturbing the numerous experiments Sherlock liked to conduct during his free time. At least the head was out of the fridge.
He put away the rest of the groceries and, after giving the kitchen a once-over, he finally went upstairs and went to sleep.
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