Betrayal Close To Home.

Summary: When Sherlock arrived at the pool with John strapped to a bomb, the man who emerged wasn't a little fellow wearing a Westwood suit... It was a man wearing a three piece suit and holding an umbrella.

Disclaimer: not mine.

Originally posted at LiveJournal: 13 January, 2011


The pool lights illuminated everything at twisted angles. Shadows fell where moonlight should have touched. It was all very eerie. Sherlock's eyes drank up the scene, capturing every detail before he turned on his heel and raised the memory stick in the air.

"Brought you a little 'getting-to-know-you' present," he called out, hoping to lure Moriarty out of the cloak of mirrors and shadows he had created. The curiosity to see the man that was as clever as he was simply eating up Sherlock; he needed to know.

"Oh, that's what it's all been for, isn't it?" he continued, grinning slightly, as if he was perfectly relaxed and his muscles weren't tense in anticipation. "All your little puzzles, making me dance; all to distract me from this."

He held the stick higher, wondering why Moriarty didn't just show his damned face already.

And then a door opened and John stepped out, huddled in a bulky cloak, eyes impassive. Something cold wrapped around Sherlock's chest, like a tight noose squeezing the air out of him. Wrong. It was wrong.

"I don't—I don't understand," Sherlock choked out, as if the words didn't feel right in his mouth. He made an aborted attempt to step forward, but stopped himself, disbelief clear on his face.

"I'm glad to see you've picked up the Bruce-Partington plans," John's lips quirked up in a neutral smile. "Here I thought you were too busy on the little side game to give it your full attention."

Sherlock tried to find the words, but John continued; his voice oddly dull and unfeeling. Was John Watson all a lie, too?

"How does it feel to be betrayed? How does it feel to realise your one attachment wasn't an attachment at all?"

"Shut up," Sherlock said in a thick voice, his hand a tight fist around the memory stick. None of this made sense, it didn't make sense, John was there, right there when he got them. Why all these dramatics?

Why did this hurt so much?

John smiled another fake twist of his lips, and said dully, "Emotions are so bland, aren't they? Wouldn't it be easier if I just... disappeared from your life?"

Then Sherlock saw the wires coming out from under the coat. No. It couldn't be. John was wearing an earpiece, too.

"Of course," John said, the slow and abrupt quality of his voice making more sense as he pulled the coat away from his front to better see at the bomb strapped to his torso. "I should have known I can't hide anything from you."

"Who are you?" Sherlock called out, anger touching his tone and he spun, trying to see where Moriarty was watching them, making John talk like a puppet.

"Can't you guess?" John's voice broke a little near the end, and he coughed to clear his throat. "Can't the brilliant Holmes boy figure it out? The older son? No, no; it's the younger Holmes boy, clearly. The other child is average."

A figure stepped out of the shadows, an umbrella hanging from the crook of his elbow as he whistled a desolate, reedy tune. John's face hardened and Sherlock's paled.

"Quite a turn up, eh, Sherlock? Didn't quite predict this, now did you?"

"Mycroft?" Sherlock finally said, interrupting the whistling. "What are you—?"

"You're not the only one who gets bored, Sherlock." A pause. "I'm getting tired of running after you."

The sounds of his footsteps on the tiles as he approached them were loud in the following silence. They had an ominous quality to them, like they counted down every step to the firing line.

"I thought—"

"You thought wrong. Not for the first time, either." Mycroft smiled and pulled the umbrella from his elbow and it clacked on the floor in step with his shoes. "Not that anyone sees that. You're the prodigy child; mummy always did think that."

"But you work for the government. You work to prevent bombings."

"Brother dearest," Mycroft smiled and Sherlock flinched like he didn't want another reminder that they were related. "You know that I'm not really the government; or the secret service; or the bloody CIA."

"Why have you pulled John into this?" Sherlock asked, gritting his teeth and trying to shake off the feeling of wrongness that hung over him. "Why him?"

"You told me not to start a war," Mycroft said, a mocking edge to his voice. "This is an alternative to pass the time."

"You're lying." Sherlock's eyes were like chips of ice. "Tell me the truth!"

"I didn't know John would become so important to you. Otherwise I would have stopped this before you could have gotten so... overly attached."

"And what, anyone important to me suddenly has to be endangered?"

"No, no, no. Not at all." Mycroft spun his umbrella around and looked at it absentmindedly. He continued with, "This is all for you, Sherlock. The games for your amusement and John strapped up in explosives. All for you, little brother."

"Why would I want John like this?" Sherlock waved his hand at the bombs helplessly. "I don't understand. He's my friend."

Mycroft lifted a small microphone to his lips—the ones you are meant to clip onto clothes in a discreet manner—and his words were coming out of John's mouth.

"And friends hurt, don't they, Sherlock? Remember when you saw me first and thought I was the bad guy." John paused and swallowed heavily before continuing. "Your face looked like I had torn out your insides for you to bleed out."

Sherlock flinched at that, only a bit, but his brother noticed and smiled. Mycroft pocketed the microphone and continued talking in his own voice.

"Now you must see what I see: John is a terrible influence on you. He can hurt you. I don't want my baby brother being hurt."

"Leave him alone!" Sherlock bit out, breathing harshly as he tried to stare his brother down. "You're the one hurting me!"

"Oh?" Mycroft said what could be taken as a delighted tone. "I'm only trying to help you. Keeping you entertained with games, giving you money for playing the games—and as an extra prize, for winning this little puzzle, I'll even get rid of John Watson for you."

"I don't want to play the games."

"Sorry, Sherlock," Mycroft shook his head. "This isn't something you can just escape from."

"Well, I quit," Sherlock threw the memory stick into the pool. He could barely hear the splash over the harshness of his breathing. "I quit all of this."

"Whether you quit or not, John's going to have to die."

"John isn't doing anything wrong! Let him go!"

"The thing is, he is hurting you. You've grown accustomed to him. His death would wound you terribly," Mycroft smiled, the movement stretching his face in an odd manner like he wasn't quite happy, but he wasn't quite faking it either. "The longer I allow this, the more it will hurt when it eventually ends."

"His death does not need to be by your hand."

Sherlock stepped forward and Mycroft tutted in disappointment—and in warning. "Of course it does. I'm your big brother. I have to look after you."

Bright red dots targeted John; his forehead, his chest, his arms and legs. Judging from the angle of the points, it looked as though they were surrounded with all exits covered.

"What was this ruse about Moriarty then?"

"Hmm? That? Small fry, really. He's the head of a small section of London's criminal underground."

"You're pinning all the bombings on him. On this Moriarty fellow."

"Right on the money." Mycroft's umbrella paused mid-swing. "Well, he does deserve the charges, so you can consolidate yourself with that."

For a split second, Sherlock's gaze snapped onto John, who was still looking remarkable sturdy under the circumstances. He wondered whether it was just in his mind the faint whirring and ticking he could hear. Tick tock, tick tock; the bomb goes BOOM!

"Conspiracy theorists would love this," Sherlock said after a pause. "I'm pretty sure they're waiting to hear about how those in power abuse their position."

He was angry, so burningly angry it was like an ache in his mind. Mycroft was a bastard, a right pain in the ass, but he was family. Someone to trust, listen to and someone to go to when he needed help. Sherlock felt something more than betrayed. Hollow didn't quite describe it. It just hurt.

Mycroft sighed heavily, as if tiredly suddenly. "You distance yourself from the public, from society as a whole, but you are quite like them."

"No, I'm not."

"Of course you are. You don't understand that sometimes evils must be committed for the greater good."

"How the hell is this the 'greater good'?" Sherlock snarled. "How?"

Before he could react, strong arms wrapped around Sherlock's upper arms, restricting his movements. Sherlock thrashed, but it was no use. He was ensnared.

"Let me go!"

"A minute ago you wanted me to let John go. Make up your mind."

"Let John go then!" Sherlock yelled without hesitation.

"See? This utter lack of self-preservation is bad." Mycroft pulled out the microphone and mumbled into it for a bit. John shot him a defiant glance before looking at Sherlock. His mouth was a thin line, showing he was clearly refusing to repeat whatever Mycroft was saying.

Sherlock saw the exact second John's resolve broke at whatever Mycroft was saying and he started to talk.

"Go, Sherlock," John said quietly. "I'm going to die and you're going to forget me. It's okay. I don't blame you for any of this."

"Shut up, shut up!" Sherlock screamed at John and Mycroft both, struggling harder against the arms of the man holding him. "Stop using John!"

Sherlock knew what was going to happen a split second before it. The way Mycroft glanced to Sherlock's side and nodded minutely was followed by a sharp spike of pain in the back of Sherlock's head. He thought, perhaps, it was John who cried out.

There was no darkness, there was no light. It was just pain and then waking up. He knew time had passed but there was no intake of information during the time in-between. It was like as if he had slept—he never dreamed even when he wasn't knocked out by getting hit on a pressure point.

When he woke, Sherlock was warm and comfortable enough, though his head throbbed with a pounding headache. Beside him was a newspaper, its front page describing a horrific bombing with a victim being killed in the resulting blast. His eyes caught the name John Watson

His eyes focussed enough to survey the rest of the room. No windows; white walls, a burning starch white that hurt his sensitive eyes. They were padded and Sherlock suddenly had the urge to move his arms, only to feel them locked around his body.

Sitting up, Sherlock looked at the newspaper and willed himself to look. Lestrade was mentioned in the front page article, but something heavy was pressing down on Sherlock. Not literally, but his breathing got rougher and he had to close his eyes tightly and wait for the feeling to pass. With his toes, he flipped the page.

A small Post-It note was on the second page, on top of a story about the grand opening of the Archive Asylum.

Don't worry, Sherlock. I'll keep you safe. -MH


A/N: Holy crap, I've written the pool scene three times now. There's this one, where Mycroft is Moriarty, then there's the one where Moriarty is imaginary, and then there's the death!fic version. *Face palm*.

Also, Mycroft just did not want to work with me here. _ I think he resents being turned evil. I prefer thinking him here as... misunderstood. XD