Three is a Crowd

By, Sfumatosoup

Pairings: Primarily John/Mycroft. Also, JW/SH, JW/JM.

Genre: Action, Angst/Romance, Drama

Rating: 17+

Warnings: Explicit homosexual sex: Anal, Rimming, Oral, Guns, Violence, Cars, and liberal usage of terse language.

Disclaimer: All characters and situations other than my own belong to Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, BBC and their affiliates as well as to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Summary: SLASH, M/M love. Three Genius Madmen all desire one thing: John. A love story in which John is kind of a slut, Mycroft is somehow like Oscar Wilde, Sherlock is constantly irate, and Jim is… well, Jim.

….

"You must make your choice, my dear." The first man spoke, the muzzle of the Glock 22.40 pressed forcefully against the second man's skull in line with his temple.

"He's right," the second man agreed.

The third man stood behind, pointing a SIG P226 at the first man, but his eyes were only on me.

I had taken to walking home after work. The clinic in Paddington was just over one mile away, and it provided an excellent opportunity to exercise my leg.

After consulting hours, I would sit, cramped at my desk, finishing paper work and aching with stagnation. Lingering psychosomatic limp or not, the walking was a good chance to not only stretch, but to relieve the tension headaches. The pressure of handling an over-abundance of patients and coming home to nightly run about the city with Sherlock, or these days, even simply dealing with Sherlock, was becoming tedious. Not in the sense that it was boring, no, it was never that.

Not even remotely.

Ever since the incident with Moriarty at the pool, Sherlock had become even more restless and manic. Even watching the man, was exhausting.

Sherlock barely slept or ate or did anything even remotely human as it was, but now, his obsession with nabbing the psychopath was all-encompassing.

Frankly, though I found that being dragged about and ordered around by the world's only consulting detective to be peculiarly exhilarating, I was in fact, human.

And I know my limitations.

Sherlock did nothing in halves, and that was all just fine. But I required a meditative calm to replenish my shaken nerves every now and again, and thus, the walking was a panacea.

I knew I had to take precautions- hell, after being kidnapped, strapped with semtex, and kept as captive audience to the verbal sparring between two madmen, unsure if I was a bullet away from a catastrophic explosion, I took no shortcuts. I avoided unpopulated streets, and kept a leery eye out, as I navigated my way through the crowds of my fellow pedestrians. I also never varied my routine, walking the same path, daily.

It was obvious I was being watched. I wasn't completely oblivious. The black Bentley often trailed me home, and at first, this was alarming. My suspicions were confirmed when later I broached the subject with Sherlock.

"Do you not suppose that my brother, perhaps, extends his surveillance to you as well as myself, every now and again?" Sherlock mused, humored by my concern.

"I presume the Government takes heed to protect its citizens, as it ought to," I replied, with careful consideration.

"It disturbs you?" Sherlock inquired thoughtfully, looking up from his dissection.

"I suppose it does not. It's just unusual, is all. I feel like I'm a character in one of those Intrigue novels." I shrugged, "Takes a bit of getting used to."

Sherlock seemed to pause, pondering his reply, a flash of inspiration crossing his expression- as if something had suddenly occurred to him.

As sudden as whatever revelation had transpired- his face quickly transformed back into a mask of disinterest.

"The price of my association," he mused.

...

The next day, to my annoyance, I was unable to locate my cell. Turning over cushions and interrogating my imperturbable flat-mate, I decided it was a cause better postponed until after I returned home from the office.

Otherwise, the day was fairly monotonous. Same influx of patients with the typical complaints, prescription refills, and chatty nurses to contend with.

And as usual, on the way home, my decompression attempts were thwarted by my Government-Issued Stalker.

I was hardly surprised when the Bentley began to slowly roll down the street along beside me. Drawing on my military bearing, I held my head defiantly upright, looking nowhere, but straight ahead, in an attempt to resist acknowledgement.

Evidently, this was futile, as my guard-dog pursuant had grown weary of my stubbornness. A tinted-window lowered, and a familiar face came to into view.

"Doctor, if you have a minute, I'd like to have a word?"

The Auto pulled around a parked MG, and the door swung open.

"I'm busy." I replied testily, squarely turning to face the vexing old meddler.

"Be this an inopportune time, I must insist."

With an inward huff, I glanced around self-consciously and complied, settling into the proffered seat- noting once again, to my utter shame, the absurdly luxurious leather interior, with a bit of keening envy.

I'm not usually the type of bloke that notices these things.

My flawlessly clad companion, plucked casually at his cuff, and smiled at me, conveying a well-rehearsed aptitude for empathic dissimilation.

"I regret your reticence to join me. I'd hoped we could become better acquainted," Mycroft supplicated.

"To once again try to bribe me into spying on your brother, or to see if Moriarty will try his hand at further attempts on my life?"

"Neither." Mycroft cleared his throat, and leveled me with an evaluating gaze, "Okay, I admit to the latter. You and Sherlock are similarly a high security risk. Though I must confess, the surveillance is in a small bit due to my own fascination."

I crossed my arms defensively across my chest with mixed consternation and disbelief.

"You," I choked out, "think I'm fascinating!"

The Government-personified, an intellectual superior to all men, whom practically ruled the western world- (and parts of other worldly bits) from the palm of his hand, had personally descended, like Jupiter from its orbit, to tell me I was interesting. It beggared belief.

"What I mean to express, is that you are a bit of an enigma." Mycroft quirked a brow at my expression, "Staunch your cynicism and heed me, for just a moment."

"Fine." I muttered.

"In essence, to summarize my interest, I have observed that you're intrinsically moralistic, beneficially linear and methodical, adaptively liberal, and irrefutably stalwart and courageous..." He paused, gauging my reaction, "…Yet you possess a rather atypical underlying streak of dysfunctionality. As I've said, I find you fascinating."

"Yes, I recall you regaling me of that particular observation the first time you abducted me." I replied acerbically.

"You don't dispute that my brother finds you so?" Mycroft continued, "He enjoys your company despite your intellectual deficiency," Mycroft smirked, taking in my affronted look, "Not to disparage your intelligence- but merely to reiterate that he prefers you to the general populace at large. And therefore," he continued, fluidly, "I've taken notice."

"Is this your version of a flattering attempt to recruit my services, Mr. Holmes?"

Mycroft rolled his head back, and genuinely laughed. It was a bit jarring to hear from the typically reserved government official. True, the man had a dandified bent, but this was typically trumped by an air of intimidating authority.

"Would we be so fortunate as to employ you," he smiled at me warmly, "You are an ace-shot, and an impressive force to be reckoned with in the face of rather daunting odds, but we both know you'd be rather disinclined to accept such an appointment."

His typical mask of stoicism reasserted, I gazed at the mercurial man with reluctant admiration. Mycroft was wholly different in demeanor from Sherlock, yet similarly astute. His features were unremarkable, yet subtly reminiscent of his brother in a familial sense.

Though the most notable variance was Mycroft's humanizing propensity toward charismatic warmth. This was obviously a trait which diametrically opposed Sherlock's automatonical comportment.

For some impractical reason, a part of me found this comparison to sit Mycroft rather favourably in my mind's eye.

"My dear John, I don't intend to make light of our situation. I wish to get to the point. Your safety is of paramount concern to me."

"For what conceivable reason? I don't have the clearance to breech any volatile information that Moriarty may seek, nor am I particularly 'clever', or even particularly useful to Sherlock." I pointed out, "Why tunnel your time and funds into maintaining my security?"

I scrutinized the distinguished man before me with a feeling of blossoming anxiety.

"You are not a man to be casually dismissed. Moriarty has been tracking you with a degree of dogged persistence. My dear, you are in incalculable danger due to your value to my brother…and thus, myself."

I paused, soaking this in.

"Then, is this a warning to take better care, or are you offering protective re-location services?"

Regarding me with a fond look, my gut fluttered with uneasy anticipation.

"Neither, unless you decide to seek such services. It was my assumption that you'd be more inclined to remain where the action seems most prevalent, despite personal risk. My only intention today is to make you aware that from here on, I intend to remain involved," Mycroft grinned, and handed me my phone. I'm sure my mouth dropped open rather unattractively.

"I thought you might like this back."

"You-" I sputtered indignantly, "You took my phone!"

Rolling his eyes at the obvious, the man smirked devilishly, and flipped it open, keying in a few numbers before handing it to me.

"I've had it 'adjusted' with a few rather unique devices: programmed with coordinates and a radar locator, back-up solar charge, and the lines are protected- singularly traceable to only my phone."

"Ah. Right," I looked at the other man warily, "thanks. I…er,think."

As we rolled in front of 221B, Mycroft leaned over me and opened the door, gazing at me with a fleeting candid expression of regret, "I will be in touch, John, until then… please do take care."

I stood outside the Bentley, hand resting on the edge of the door and leaned in, "Sherlock knows about this." I phrased as more of a statement than inquiry.

"He does now," Sherlock flatly exclaimed, leaning against the entrance, door ajar.

"Good day to you, brother," Mycroft bade. Sherlock responded with a tight nod.

As the black car drove away, I matched gazes with my friend, and was leveled with a suspicious look.

"Mycroft always seems to insert himself where he doesn't belong."

I followed my tall, and rather angular friend up into our shared flat.

"Make us some tea, will you, John, I'm working on something rather delicate at the moment, and can't be arsed."

There was something petulant in his tone, and I raised a brow at his casual use of slang. Of course, due to a nettling feeling that I had somehow betrayed him, I acquiesced without argument, and turned on the kettle.

I settled in to the chair I had appropriated as my own, tossing the rather patriotic pillow to the sofa. Sherlock seemed immersed in whatever he was doing and I comforted myself with the familiar domesticity of it all.

The conversation from earlier thrummed through my skull, and I considered my supposed 'value' to the Holmes brothers.

It wasn't that I was forever wrestling the question of my worth to my brilliant friend- I witnessed first-hand my considerable influence on Sherlock. The man had gone from a self-isolating eccentric, to shyly relying on my approval and continued companionship. In the most subtle of ways- I saw Sherlock reveal his heart on a daily basis- in spite of his self-limiting and rather stunted emotional palette.

The label of 'High-functioning Sociopath' was worn as armour, but was barely an accurate assessment.

Sure, he was often inconsiderate and utterly irresponsible when it came to his safety. His disregard for human life was a touch unsettling, and he was insistent as to the fact that his 'work' was merely a tool to occupy his mind, but the truth was- he was committed to solving crimes- and not to committing them. And… he never negotiated when my safety was in question.

The complexities of the man were vast, but I knew Sherlock cared for me as much as he was able.

How often I wished that were enough.

Biting down the cloying sense of anguish at the turn of my thoughts, I sat with my laptop before me, hands numb on the keyboard.

I stared blankly at my empty blog.

I heard Sherlock moving around in the kitchen behind me and could almost sense a tension envelop between the two of us.

The silence was not altogether comforting.

The following evening I was just wrapping up the rest of my notes, typing them quickly into the system. I yawned and stretched, massaging the cramping muscle around the site of my old wound, when my phone vibrated in the pocket of my trousers.

He's was never good at sharing. –MH

I studied the text and contemplated my response, yet before I was able to formulate one, my cell bleeped again, notifying me of another incoming message.

He'll come around. I'll meet you around front in 5. -MH

Surely enough, the Bentley awaited, and Mycroft stood legs crossed, leaning elegantly on his umbrella- looking every bit the quintessence of a dapper Englishman.

"I would like it very much, if you were to accompany me to supper," the man casually propositioned.

Warmth suffused me as I took in that effervescent smile.

"Erm…" I swallowed, waveringly considering Sherlock. The man hardly ate unless I slapped a meal right in front of his face.

"I assure you, my dear brother will not miss you this evening, as he is out on a case." Mycroft informed.

At this point, I was really very much accustomed to alarming pronouncements revealing the train of my thoughts. Both men had an uncanny knack for deduction, and I assumed I was a bit of an open book.

"Right. That's fine, did you have some place in mind?" I asked, attempting to appear nonchalant.

"I do, if you are not adverse to Italian…?"

"No, Italians'… good!" I awkwardly returned his smile.

Mycroft beckoned me into the passenger seat, and slid in after me.

"I trust you find the improvements made on your phone to your liking?"

I faltered and gazed back quizzically.

"Ah. So you hadn't yet noticed the apps I added." Taking my cell with a self-pleased grin, Mycroft revealed a hi-lighted list, "We've got The Merck Manual and Medscape- top rated applications for the practical physician, Eliminate Pro2010- the ultimate shooter, Cookmate, RecipeFinder, Wordpress for blogging on the go, among others."

Our conversation was easy and free-flowing after that, and I found I was genuinely enjoying Mycroft's company. At Montpeliano, the din was bustling with clinking glasses and the flow of our fellow-patron's conversing and laughter. I tucked into my linguini with enthusiasm as the waiter brought over another round of the house red.

Mycroft was proving to be excellent entertainment. We debated sports and politics, and the rubbish that was British News casting. He was both a polished, debonair gentleman, and a witty, down-to-earth bloke.

I barely thought of his lanky, dour brother with his petulant frown and glittering, gray alien eyes. Instead, I remained focused on the warm blue ones, watching me with growing fondness.

"Disastrous!" I responded to Mycroft's offensive outlook on Man-U's tactics, "It's all gone to shite. The fans are worse. I reckon I found three of them this morning at my office. Dare say, you probably run them over with the Bentley… well you tell your driver to anyway," I amended, laughing.

"I do believe, Doctor, that I grievously misjudged you. You'd inevitably level them all single-handedly if we put you on the field."

"Oi! I was fit when I was a lad! Though, I was more partial to rugby. I was a terror Scrum-Half! You should've seen it!" I defended.

"Mm. I might have appreciated the sight." He cocked a grin at me.

"…Though I suppose you were among the fancy set, playing Croquet and Polo, or better yet! You were the President of the Chess-club circuit!"

"I had little time for such plebian pursuits. I was simply much too busy taking over the world." Mycroft drawled, sardonically.

"You're funny." I marveled, "I thought you Government types were supposed to have a rule against that or something."

Mycroft sipped his wine and leaned back in his chair, studying me with a heavy-lidded look. Something else too, was evident, though I could not accurately assess what it was.

"You had imagined me to be inexorably tiresome, and I have managed to disabuse you of the notion?"

"Really I'd thought you a bit of a poncy old tosser," I declared daringly, just a bit wobbly around the edges after my fifth glass of Chablis, "No offense, of course."

Mycroft chuckled, amusement easing his features,
"None taken, my dear, though 'old' is rather cutting, and relatively speaking- inaccurate. Though I admit, I've said worse to you."

"That's the truth!" I agreed, seizing vehemently onto this point, "You and Sherlock have this tendency to knock my intelligence. I'm a Doctor, you know. I graduated Summa Cum Laude from London U, I'm not just some slouch," I grinned toothily at my companion, "granted, comparatively it looks a bit that way…after all, I'm neither a celebrated savant, nor some sort of, er… mastermind…"

Mycroft downed the last of his glass, eyeing my warmly over the rim, "You utterly charm me, my dear."

"Do I." I stated, reflexively.

"Apparently I will have to remind you of my assessment from yesterday," he spoke in lowered volume, voice deepening, "I find you utterly fascinating."

There was a suggestive lilt to his tone, which prickled at the back of my mildly inebriated brain. I laughed dismissively, "I aim to please."

"I should think, that you already do."

I flushed warmly at my companion's praise, feeling ebbingly self-conscious. Mycroft's banter had a flirtatious edge, and I was beginning to wonder at my responses to his subtle flattery.

At any rate, we parted companionably that evening, with designs to meet for lunch the following day.

I hurriedly finished my last appointment before noon, and texted Mycroft. We agreed to meet at La Taaza.

Mycroft had appeared, looking as refined as usual, and sauntered over to the table I was seated at. I espied the Bentley parked just outside, and watched as a sprinkling of rain began to fall from the sky, pattering down lightly upon the pavement.

"Finally an appropriate day for the umbrella." I remarked.

"Never a day in London not to have it." My companion responded, sitting down across from me.

"Hm, I suppose you've transformed it from a mere utilitarian accessory to some sort of complex piece of weaponry."

"Oh, undoubtedly." Mycroft smiled.

Lunch was pleasant.

Instead of taking the Bentley back to my office, we strolled together in the rain, umbrella sheltering us. Our shoulders were pressed together as we huddled under, chatting amiably as we walked.

"Dear fellow, your jumper is becoming positively soaked through! Really, have you nothing proper to wear?" Mycroft joked, tugging on my damp sleeve.

We passed a window to a boutique and I noticed a handsome raincoat. I pointed it out.

"Like that? I'd be a right dapper bloke walked fresh out of the page of Esquire."

"It's Armani."

"Yes, how swimmingly it'd look, and just in my budget.

"It's a very nice cut for you." He looked over at me and smirked at my sarcastic eye roll, "You're mocking me."

"Only a little," I replied with good humour.

I've decided I'm right about the coat. –MH

? –JW

The doorbell rang. I opened it to find a medium sized brown-papered parcel resting on the stoop. I looked around for whoever had rung the bell, to find not a soul in sight.

How does it look? –MH

This was really unnecessary. –JW

Consider it payment for putting up with Sherlock. –MH

In that case, I accept. –JW

Does it fit well? –MH

It's smashing. –JW

Very good. –MH

That evening Sherlock came in late, and sat down across from me, as I lay back, laptop resting on a pillow in my lap, browsing the web.

"Anything interesting?" I asked.

"I should say," Sherlock quipped.

"Case?"

"Something else."

That piqued my interest. I looked up to find him leveling me with scrutiny, eyes piercing and lips pressed together in a tight frown.

"You and Mycroft are chummy."

"Since when is 'chummy' in your vernacular?"

"Since when do you accept supper, and expensive gifts from my brother?"

"Jealous are we?" I bated, failing to censor myself.

"Absurd." Color dotted the pale man's high cheekbones.

"It's really not what you think." I countered, ire percolating under the surface of my calm.

"What would you know of what I think?" Sherlock whispered between his teeth, dangerously, "Alright, let us theoretically say that you're wrong, that it is indeed what I think. Do you intend to respond favourably to further advances? What plans do you have, dear John," Sherlock emphasized nastily, "when my brother invites you to his bed?"

I flushed hotly, "On what grounds do you base any of this?"

"How can you play so naïve? He's obviously courting you, you utter simpleton! And what grounds do I base this on? Other than knowing him my entire life from infancy, you mean? Perhaps you were unaware that I've made a profession from my ability to observe?"

"We're only friends. You've misread this." I protested, feeling utterly humiliated.

Sherlock's gaped at me, "Mycroft doesn't have any friends!"

I slammed down my laptop and stood up. All vestiges of control vanishing.

"Neither do you!" I countered furiously.

Tamping down the fire raging in my chest, I noticed something grow hard in Sherlock's eyes- and bitterly regretted my last words.

"Fine. You're right. I clearly misjudged the situation," Sherlock conceded through gritted teeth, "and you're also right that I don't have any friends."

A cold look of impassivity once again resurfaced, and he turned around, grabbed his coat, and stalked out the door.

I heard his footsteps pound down the staircase, and the entryway to the street banged shut.

I felt like a miserable bastard, and more so, wondered if I'd irreparably damaged our friendship.

For days we were barely civil, and it was a relief to escape to my office. And as for those past few nights, Sherlock had left our flat, and come back in the early hours of the morning. I had no idea as to if he was on a case or not, and I was too reticent to ask.

It wasn't as if there was outright animosity, it was worse. He acted as though we were strangers, as if the row had never occurred.

You must forgive Sherlock. –MH

He hasn't apologized. –JW

Perhaps you could do the honours? –MH

… -JW

You know he's incapable of maturity. This could perpetuate indefinitely. –MH

Right. –JW

I utterly loathe seeing either of you this way. –MH

All was forgiven, (though Sherlock had maintained that we hadn't actually fought). We decided to speak no further of it, though things were notably different. We conversed casually enough, yet there was a strain between us that had not been there before. Sherlock had ceased to invite me upon his cases, and I remained abandoned at our flat, listless and despairing with stagnation. Had it not been for Mycroft's playful and often witty banter via text, I believe I would have fallen back into that post-war melancholy of before.

I couldn't help but replay what Sherlock had said to me. It reconfirmed my suspicions. After all, I was not naïve, I'd picked up on the elder Holmes' overtures. They weren't all that subtle.

Yet, he was the only thing in my life at the present which kept me pleasantly preoccupied and entertained. I enjoyed his company. And if I was honest with myself, the attention wasn't completely unwelcome. I wasn't wholly un-attracted to the svelte and charismatic man. Though, I also wasn't positive I wanted to actuate anything between us- the innocent flirting was flattering none the less.

It was interesting. I'd formed this notion in my head that the Holmes brothers were too genius, too inhuman and infallible to fall prey to any emotions that would trump reason and rationality. Yet here was proof that at least the elder of the two could succumb to feeling.

He wanted me.

And if I wanted, I could take.

….

The following evening, Mycroft and I met for supper and drinks in Pall Mall, at a private bar connected to the Diogenes Club, which Mycroft was apparently a member of.

The atmosphere was dark, and a bit bleak, but somehow imbued with a romantic quality. Small candles flickered among secluded half-circle booths, and there were a select few patrons scattered at tables among the high vaulted room, all engaged in intimate conversation.

"This place is… interesting." I remarked peering around at my surroundings.

"Yes, the Diogenes Club was originally established to contain the most unsociable folks in town, no member is allowed to speak, save for here, in the Stranger's Room."

"What bloody minded berk came up with an idea like that?" I mused, swirling the black label Johnny around in my snifter.

"This bloody minded berk."

I glanced up to find Mycroft grinning at me.

"Lord, you really do run everything."

Mycroft smiled modestly, and lowered his head.

"Lord is really a bit of an overstatement."

"Alright, so let me get this straight- in Diogenes rules- speak three times and you're expelled. So in order to attract any profit the club opened the Stranger's Room. What would we do in a bar if we weren't allowed to talk?" I pointed out.

"Hm. I could maybe think of one or two things we could do without talking."

"Seriously, though. Doesn't carrying on some kind of rapport with your mates the point of drinking socially? You drink, and you socialize. There's no middle ground here for argument."

"I beg to differ."

The heated gaze I was now being leveled with could be neither written off nor misunderstood.

To hell with it, why not flirt back shamelessly and ride my waning inhibitions for all they were worth?

"Care to expound upon this, if you're so sure you're right?"

Without compunction, Mycroft closed the distance between us and pressed his lips against my ear, "I could give you a detailed list."

Breathing in the scent of his spiced aftershave, I shivered as hot breath washed across my ear. I just nearly turned to lean into his kiss, when the waiter came to our table with a decanter. I pulled away abruptly, self-conscious.

Mycroft elicited a frustrated groan, and turned away from me, resting his head in his hands.

The truth was, I'd spent nearly the first 15 years of my sexuality pretty much sublimating an entire half of it. In the past few years, only right before Afghanistan I had explored that part of me which occasionally desired male intimacy. Yet, other than a few releasing one night stands, I'd never seriously entertained the idea of romance with anyone other than women. At least, publically.

One quick glance at Mycroft revealed his pained expression.

"I had assumed that your row with my brother had revealed my predilections… perhaps made my intentions clear. You, continuing to see me as such, led me to conclude that perhaps my advances would not be unwelcome."

I stiffened, gritting my teeth with discomfort.

"Mycroft…"

"I see. You don't have to explain. Of course, in my position it is crucial to always remain discreet, but I had eventually hoped for a partner, not a mediocre dalliance with a closeted and shame-faced self-hating homosexual."

"I'm not a homosexual!" I defended, "And I'm not- wait"

I snagged Mycroft's sleeve as he began to slide away and get out of the booth, pulling him back down.

He raised an eyebrow, and leveled me with a challenging look.

"It's just that," I swallowed thickly. This was such an awkward conversation, "I never intended to lead you on- I really am fond of… er… you. I'm just, new at all of this. And honestly, I've never imagined being with a man for anything more than just…" I sighed and looked down, defeated by my inability to provide a proper explanation to this man I most certainly owed one to.

"It's alright. I shouldn't have pushed for more. I'd rather you be a friend than no one at all."

"You have an unique way of phrasing that," I remarked, "most people would say 'I'd rather have you be my friend than to not have you at all'…"

"Perhaps that is because in my line of work, we can make people be nothing at all, as if they never existed."

"That's disturbing."

"Be that as it may...it goes along with the job." Mycroft pointed out.

Then he dropped the charade and grinned.

"You're an absolute wanker, I was almost scared of you for a minute."

"You would not have been to the first to be."

"I bet not." I replied, musingly.

Our banter continued into the long hours of the night, and many drinks later, we were as comfortable as if we had never even broached the subject.

My afternoon appointment called to cancel, and I left early for my lunch.

I dipped around the corner to Lena's and sat comfortably tucking away my sandwich and crisps. About the time my second cuppa was due, a lithe and rather refined man approached me in my periphery. I knew at once the figure was too short, and hair too dark to be Mycroft, but my heart stopped beating as the figure came into view.

"Is this seat taken?" Requested a honey-laced voice.

I froze, sandwich mid-path to my mouth.

"Fabulous." Jim Moriarty took a seat across from me, and steepled his fingers on the table before us.

"You can't imagine how difficult it has been trying to get some alone time with you, my dear," a malevolent glint sparkled in the man's dark eyes, "between your stilted lover and your little boyfriend…which by the way, who knew you were such a catch?"

I continued to bite into my sandwich and chewed very, very slowly, not revealing a hint of response to the dangerous man across from me.

"Anyway, I have a short time here, before your hero comes to rescue you, in fact," Moriarty glanced down at his cell, "less than one minute. So I'll make this brief."

A broad grin stretched across his face as he regarded me.

I wondered if any of the other oblivious patrons of this establishment had any idea what kind of danger we were all in.

"I've decided that since Holmesy-poo caught Sebastian in a bit of trouble, it's only fair if I get to have you. We both know you're qualified, and-" Jim's eyes flashed me up and down appraisingly, "you could be just my type."

I swallowed thickly, and felt all color blanche from my face.

"You're not really mine."

"Then more is the pity for you, my dear."

"So your whole game plan is to essentially use psychological warfare against Sherlock by abducting me once again? Isn't that a bit… I don't know, presumptuous? …Repetitive?" I bit out.

"Not specifically, you see, you'll come to me because you want to, John, darling. Not because I make you. So I'll leave you with this," From across the short table between us, Jim brushed a hand gently along my jaw line drawing me to him.

I resisted. So he leaned toward me, and softly kissed the corner of my mouth. I withdrew forcefully, toppling over my tea cup. A couple from a nearby table looked over to see what the fuss was about, and Jim stood up, smoothed down his suit, winked at me, turned heel, and darted out through the kitchen. At the same moment, a man burst in, the glass front door bouncing off the wall, with the entry bells rattling from impact.

Now the entire café had stopped to watch, as the uniformed official darted past me, in hot pursuit, also running back through the kitchens. I glanced outside, as did several of the other diners, and we gasped as we saw a squad of black suited men run past- all carrying Colt m16a2's.

It was then I saw the Bentley come careening toward the café, slamming on its breaks right in front of the entrance.

I tossed some change onto the table, and ran outside to the car.

Instead of Mycroft, Anthea sat just to my left.

The auto made a U-turn across traffic, and with horns blaring at us, we sped back in the opposite direction.

Adrenaline coursed through me, as we took a sharp turn through a narrow alleyway, and came out on the other side of a building, pulling right behind a silver Lotus Evora speeding down St. Michaels'. Anthea gave direction into her cell, and we were quickly bypassed by a black Aston Martin V12 Vantage.

Either the government was having way too much fun with taxpayer money, or a new brand of playboy vigilante had come about.

I could barely peal myself away from the window. My heart was in my throat, as the woman beside me calmly dictated orders through her phone at presumably, the hero in the V12.

I cleared my throat and marveled at my refined and absolutely gorgeous traveling companion as she busily typed away.

"So, afterward, do you have any plans?" I prodded, casting her with my most award-winning look of slickness.

She looked sideways at me and raised a finely manicured brow.

"Alright then," I huffed, and fixed my gaze ahead at the back end of the V12 speeding before us.

Somehow, we were now racing down the M4, with patrol cars speeding close behind, the V12 just in front of the Bentley, and the Lotus just in front of the V12.

I had never been involved in a high speed chase before… it was quite exhilarating.

It was now that I realized there were two people in the V12 ahead. One driving, and the other, intending to shoot out the tires of the Lotus. The gunslinger hung out the window to the left, aiming his L129A1 Sharpshooter at the auto ahead.

The Lotus swerved to dodge the bullets, and a man in the back, leaned out his window with what looked to be a revamped Luger P08. Bullets whistled past, and Anthea barely took notice, typing rapidly away into her Blackberry.

A bullet must have passed through the window of the V12 and hit the driver, for it suddenly swerved violently, and the Bentley dodged out of the way in the knick of time, just barely avoiding ramming into the back end. A patrol vehicle behind careened past and clipped the corner of the V12 spinning out of control. The V12 then stomped the gas, squealed in reverse, burning rubber as it did a 180 and sped off again after the Lotus.

One more shot, and the Lotus spun out of control careening into the cement barrier with a deafening crash. Metal, plastic, oil, and brake fluid flew through the air, and smacked into my window. The V12 sped a bit past the crash before peeling to a stop, the Bentley following suit. Patrol cars, sirens blaring surrounded the smoking wreckage of the Lotus.

"Well?" Anthea looked at me, and gestured outside, "You're a doctor right?"

"What?" I asked, still frozen in my seat, staring out wide eyed at the chaos.

"Well get out and help him, you imbecile, he's shot."

I had literally no idea what she meant until a man holding the L129A1 bolted out of the left side of the V12, and rushed to the aide of the man falling out of the right side of the vehicle.

And suddenly it was obvious who the 'vigilante in the V12' was- Mycroft stumbled out clasping his hand to his chest, as blood poured from the gunshot wound.

Immediately, I was out of my seat and right there beside the steaming hot V12, laying the injured man to the ground, and propping his head against my knee.

"Ah, just the…doctor…I needed," Mycroft coughed, smirking at me through his pained expression. I quickly loosened the man's tie, pushed it aside and tore open the Oxford. I could tell immediately the wound was not fatal. The bullet had not penetrated too deep past the surface due to the reduced velocity as it broke through the nearly bullet proof glass of the V12. It was lodged just above the man's collar bone, a blessed inch away from the carotid artery. There was still, a lot of blood, I noted, as I pressed down to staunch the wound. Mycroft pressed his eyes closed and groaned in agony, tipping his head back into my arms.

"He's not here!"

"It was a false lead!"

Anthea seemed to be yelling over her cell at someone, and the sirens continued to wail in the background.

"John I…" Mycroft caught my gaze with his own, appearing as if he desperately had wanted to say something, and then had thought better of it.

"What? Mycroft-" I whispered, my lips nearly brushing his hair.

"I.. I care for you."

Practically a declaration of everlasting love in Holmes-Speak, I cringed with discomfort, unsure of how to answer despite my frantic concern for the man's welfare.

Before I could say anything, I noticed Mycroft's pupil's suddenly dilate despite the bright sun blaring down on us, and quickly felt for his pulse.

His eyes rolled back into his head, and he passed out.

Still cradling his head in my arms to prevent possible asphyxiation, and to stopper the blood flow, I pressed down on the wound as it continued to gush deep and red over my hand, through my fingers.

Somehow, I drowned all of the chaos out, and as the paramedics sped away with Mycroft, I, covered in his blood, watched the ambulance fade into a dot down the distant highway.

It was several nights later before I had heard anything from Mycroft. Work went on as usual, and Sherlock seemed to tiptoe around me, as if I were a bomb set to go off at the slightest provocation.

Ever since the chase, and watching Mycroft bleed into my hands, I'd been on edge. Sherlock and I were at odds to know even what to say to each other these days, let alone be in the same room together.

I felt the vibration of my cell through my pocket and flipped it out, rife with anxiety.

Be outside in 10- the Bentley will bring you to me. –MH

Biting my cheek to repress the sigh of relief threatening to make itself audible, I turned and rushed upstairs, bypassing Sherlock.

As I was throwing on a jumper, I saw though the window the black vehicle pull down Baker Street, and I rushed downstairs. Before I could make it out the door, a strong hand grasped my hand pulling me back.

Sherlock leveled me with a troubled, nearly vulnerable expression.

"John…" he pleaded.

Anguished, I gazed out longingly at the auto as it pulled up in front of 221.

"What!" I bit out harshly, tearing my hand from his grasp.

"Don't go, John. It's a game changer if you do."

"I don't know what you're on about, Sherlock, but I need to go. In case its sailed by your notice, your brother was shot a few days ago. I'm his friend, and I care if he's alright. So I'm going, Sherlock. As you should've the other day to the hospital."

"John you don't-"

"No, Sherlock, I don't. You're right. I don't get this petty feud between the two of you. But right now, I don't care. Alright? I'm going."

I didn't dare spare a glance behind me as I fled into the Bentley.

We pulled up a while later in front of a decently sized red-bricked manor. Perfectly normal, and modestly upper class. I assumed since we'd traveled N A41 that we were somewhere just north of Barnet, at a government safe house of sorts within the residential suburb.

Anthea led me up a walkway lined elegantly by ornamental shrubs, and keyed in her code into an alarm system which also required a retinal scan. The tastefully decorative, yet impenetrable steel door opened allowing us access.

Anthea nodded and notified me that she had business to attend but another auto would be sent out when I required a ride back to London.

A tall man, in a flowing, navy satin robe came to greet me, bandages visible at the open neck. We stood in the entry hall with but a foot between us.

"Ah, John, a sight you are for sore eyes."

"It's er… I'm glad you called me here. I was worried when I hadn't heard from you."

Mycroft nodded and lowered his head.

"I was… unprepared to see you after…"

"You're saying that you hopped into a souped up V12 with a L129A1 Sharpshooter-slinging sniper, drove like a stuntman in an action film, just barely missed getting fatally shot, and you were 'unprepared' to see me?"

"It does sound absurd when you phrase it like that."

I tentatively moved toward the taller man before me, and encircled him within my arms, leaning my head against his chest just under his chin, my lips nearly brushing the hollow of his throat.

I wasn't exactly sure what I was doing, but I felt compelled to follow my instincts.

Mycroft, as I'd expected, was alarmed by my gesture. It took several moments before he responded in kind, wrapping his arms around me, pulling me tight to him with a level of desperation, as if our separation might prove fatal.

He trembled as I wrapped my arm around his neck, pulling his head down level with my own. His hot breath coursed across my lips, and with a second's consideration, our mouths met, just a hairs breath from touching.

Again, I wasn't sure what I was doing, and I wasn't sure that this was what I wanted to do, but I went with it, and we leaned into each other.

His kissed me with passion. It wasn't perfectly graceful, as our teeth knocked and lips and tongues tangled together, but it was heartfelt, none the less.

And in that moment, the V12 Vigilante wanted me desperately, and that was the greatest turn on I'd felt in a long time.

We didn't really make it to the bedroom right away. Instead we fell in the landing at the top of the stairs as Mycroft attacked my neck with his mouth, barely taking mind of his stitches or my bad shoulder, we rolled over until I lay on top.

Mycroft pushed my Jumper over my head and made short work of my Oxford underneath. Pressing his lips to my chest, his hands dragged down my abdomen, snagging at the waste-band of my trousers.

"Belt." I whispered hoarsely, as the flat tongue wetly swept down to my navel, pushing in just slightly.

At this point I had managed to discard of Mycroft's Navy wrappings, and explored the newly exposed flesh with my hands. To my pleasant surprise he was completely naked. His arousal pressed into mine through the layers of fabric.

Pulled back into a kiss, my companion moaned into my mouth, while unbuckling my belt.

I assisted him, by arching as he pulled both my trousers and my boxers down with one swift tug. My erection popping free, slapped against my abdomen.

A languid tongue dragged down my cock, and I nearly shouted as he engulfed me completely.

"Huuuh!" I cried out, as he swirled the flat of his tongue up along my shaft, flicking right below the frenulum, before encircling his lips around the head, sucking with a pressure that made my buck upward into his mouth.

Swiftly, Mycroft was standing before me, and pulled me up, all but dragging me down the hall into a bedroom.

Placing me with my feet crossed behind his head, he leaned over me and kissed me deeply. He twisted the cap off from a bottle of lube, and massaged it onto his cock, before I suddenly felt his glorious, dexterous fingers rub along my perineum, encircling my entrance.

He moved them slowly in and out, as we kissed, our cocks rubbing deliciously together.

Then he was once again positioned himself above me, and I moaned loudly as the blunt head of his cock pressed into me.

Even though he penetrated me ever so carefully and slowly, it still hurt as I was stretched. It'd been a long time, and I was not accustomed to being on the receiving end.

Just as, the pain was beginning to abate, he pushed his cock deep into me and I think I wept as he hit my prostate, stars flashing behind my eyes.

"Oh god, John!" Mycroft cried out his pace quickening. The rocking of our bodies together suddenly became frantic. I felt him deep inside of me, and was nearly blinded with the feeling pulsing through my cock, and the tingling that coursed through me to my finger tips, every time he pushed in deeper.

Suddenly, it was all too much, I bucked wildly as I came, shooting my stream between us. In response, Mycroft groaned deeply in his throat, and gasped against my chest as he released himself into me, a look of sheer ecstasy crossing his features.

As we lay in bed beside each other, I idly wondered what this now meant, how this would change everything.

As if answering my thoughts, my companion stirred beside me, grasped my hand and pulled it to his mouth, pressing a gentle kiss into the palm of my hand. I looked up and met his eyes.

"No pressure, John. I'll follow your lead. If it's too much, we'll back off, if you want more," Mycroft whispered into my shoulder, kissing it gently, "I'm willing."

Inwardly I was tense, but physically I felt boneless in the afterglow. It pained me that there was something keeping me from giving my all to this brilliant man that lay beside me. Worse yet, he read my every thought as if it were written on my face. Yet, patiently, he remained.

I decided to change the subject.

"You look as though something has just crossed your mind." Mycroft chuckled softly.

"Well actually, now that you mention it, I was a bit curious as to why you were driving the V12. I thought you were this tempered, omnipotent personality: The string puller, the mastermind directing from behind the scenes, too high-up to do the leg-work."

"Hm. You can't imagine why I might take it personally that you were in peril, my dear?" Mycroft stretched languidly, rubbing near his bandaged chest.

"Ah, did you know it was a false lead?"

"Of course, or I would never have allowed for you to follow us."

"And you chased them down anyway."

"Of course. One of the men- the driver of the Lotus was a higher up whom directly had worked under Col. Sebastian Moran. He makes a valuable informant. Better even so, I pinned the site of the false lead, tracked it back, and discovered an agent being paid off by Moriarty. It's best to first shake the web, to knock out the spider."

I cringed at the mental image.

"You saw then."

"Yes," Mycroft hissed, "And I swear to you he won't lay another finger on you."

As I lay beside the other man, there was a part of me that was resistant to the idea that I was now some god- damned damsel in distress that had to be protected from the big, bad wolf. It wasn't as if I were ungrateful; it just made me feel impotent. Really, I felt like dealing with Jim was something personal, that couldn't be passed off into another's hands.

Not to mention the end game here was to get at Sherlock and Mycroft. Stupid and foolhardy though I knew it was, I desperately wished to intercede.

I was beginning to understand this side of the obsession.

"So its official now."

I looked up from my book to see Sherlock enter through the sitting room door, looking at me with withering contempt.

"What." I demanded.

"Oh, please, John." Sherlock drawled, rolling up his sleeves and sitting down across from the window. His lithe frame draped across the chair was almost feline in its grace and simple elegance. He looked at me challengingly, "From the marks just above your collar line I would presume you had a pleasant reunion?"

"Does it matter?"

"It doesn't. It's all fine." Sherlock parodied, tersely crossing his arms.

His keen, razor silver eyes darted to the figures strolling down the street outside.

Something about my friend seemed broken, and though he trampled over me daily with heedless inconsideration, I wanted to reach out and cross that distance between us. To comfort him… to run my hands through those gleaming ebony locks, twist those curls between my fingers…

I quickly stamped out the thought, and focused hard on the book before me.

I was still on the same page an hour later.

I carried on, and maintained my daily routine. I saw Mycroft for lunch, and then I went back to the office for five more hours before heading home. As usual, some sort of officious Government car trailed me, and as usual, I ignored it. Once home, I either spent the evening being pointedly avoided by my flatmate, or being stolen away into the Bentley to be delivered to my lover.

Mycroft was simply, an amazing, attractive and impressive man. Not to mention a dedicated lover, and apparently… a devoted provider. Much to my chagrin, I noticed my bank account being influxed with money.

When I argued with him over it, he denied it, and distracted me to the point where I either forgot to be mad, or decided it didn't matter.

Mycroft, impeccable as usual, dined across from me that day at the ultra swanky Raffles on Craven.

"You seem troubled." Mycroft gazed at me with tight-lipped concern as he cut into his entrée.

"Not particularly," I replied, maintaining an apathetic façade.

"You're not particularly skilled at dissimulating. But I won't push."

"If you're so highly perceptive, it astounds me that we even need to ever open our mouths at all."

Mycroft regarded me coolly, "Your procacious assertment is irrelevant to me, John. If your irritation lies with Sherlock, then see to it that he receives your castigation."

For some unaccountable reason, I grew intensely irritated at the man before me.

"I understand why he loathes you. You treat him like a child."

"He acts like one."

"Well I do not! So stop paying for everything, condescending down to me, and following me around!" I whispered fiercely across the table.

Mycroft laughed calmly, leaning back in his seat and crossing his legs, "I can see this is one of those days where nothing I say will pacify you."

I bit back my retort and studied the man before me.

"You've heard nothing I've said."

"On the contrary, my dear, but I hardly needed you to vocalize your redundantly tedious complaints," Mycroft leaned forward and crossed his hands on the table in front of him, "You must think me oblivious."

He leveled me with his magnanimous gaze, "As my partner, you may consider what's mine as yours- to a relative degree of course, and as for my supposed condescension- inaccurate of me, and unworthy of you to accuse me of. Following you around? Dear, even if you meant nothing to me personally, officially you are my responsibility to protect."

I exhaled, and looked up miserably at my companion.

"Fine. You're right."

Mycroft signed and folded the receipt tucking it into the folder at the end of the table.

"I'd like to see you tonight, if you care to."

"I'll text you later, I have some… research." I explained wearily.

"Very well," Mycroft spoke as we rose to leave, leaning over to brush a kiss just to the side of my mouth, "You must get back to your appointments, I shall not keep you any longer."

After closing the office that evening, I decided suddenly, then and there- to take a new route home.

A black Gov-sedan followed.

I took a back alleyway, then another. I crossed through a parking lot, and under an overpass, down three blocks in the tube, then up again. I hopped a fence and cut through a parking garage. I knew the cameras could be anywhere, trained on my haphazard journey, but for a short while I thought I'd perhaps lost the shiny black auto- as it wasn't anywhere in sight. I sighed with relief.

My cell vibrated in my coat:

This is fun of you. –MH

I didn't respond, and I maintained my aimless path. I crossed through Hyde park aiming toward Mayfair, when I felt the buzzing again:

A change of scenery is what you're after. Point taken. –MH

Suddenly, from nowhere a shimmering vision rolled before me.

It's not that I'm a car man. I don't really know too much about them, or even care to. But this was an elusive Spyker C8 Double 12, and it was, undoubtedly, the sexiest car I'd ever seen. A door opened, and I knew it was a bad idea. A very, very bad idea.

But there was that sudden rush, after playing hide-and-seek with Mycroft- and now here was absolution on wheels. Well, maybe not absolution- more possibly, damnation.

As I slid into the dark cool seat, the combination of new leather and a sweet masculine fragrance wafted around me.

I breathed it in deeply, the scent of freedom.

Right, maybe not freedom, but for some reason, for the first time in ages, I felt unburdened, lighter, care-free.

The man beside me was flawlessly clad in a new Vivienne Westwood, with a gorgeous white cashmere scarf draped elegantly about his neck. He beamed at me with glittering eyes.

"Knew you'd come."

Oh god. What was I doing?

I felt, once again the vibrating tone of a new message:

This is rather unbecoming of you, John. –MH

Followed quickly by another:

SRSLY? –SH

Jim leaned over and flipped off my phone before handing it back to me.

"Once we eighty-six the tossers, we'll have some fun."

A dangerous thrill passed through me as we tore down A302. We passed across Westminster Bridge, swerving through traffic, losing several of the black vehicles and patrols far behind.

"So you're growing tired of your sugar daddy already, Johnny, darling?" Jim asked, playfully stretching an arm across my shoulders. I shivered into the man's touch and inhaled the traces of Burberry that ensconced me, "No need to be shy, love, I'm not planning to strap you with explosives tonight. Unless you're into that kind of thing…"

"Right."

"You know, you could thank me for relieving you of your irritating little posse. I don't swing out of the way to collect any old chap. You're quite the exception to my rule, Johnny."

"God," I mumbled.

"Close enough."

We pulled into a parking lot behind a Texaco, and got out of the Spyker for a stretch.

"Fag?" Jim asked, holding out an expensive looking silver cigarette case.

"I don't smoke."

"Smart of you."

The driver, a tall, bald, muscular man with dark glasses got out and fiddled with a cell on the other side of the parking lot.

Jim leaned against the car beside me, taking deep drags and watching casually as the smoke snaked out before us.

"What I'm offering is simple. You work for me, and you will be wealthy beyond all your wildest, my dear. There will rarely be a dull moment, and if you do want- there will be plenty of opportunity for luxurious vacations. I provide a great benefits package."

"What makes you think I'd be interested?"

"Other than your exhaustive tendency toward moralism, I think you seek the same thing I do."

"What's that," I humoured.

"Freedom."

I sighed.

"And I won't make you do anything that overly troubles your delicate sensibilities."

"Then what use would I be? I'm no criminal."

"You could be my personal doctor…Doctor." He smirked flirtatiously at me with sparkling, dark eyes.

"That would be an amenable solution, but you know I won't accept."

"Oh? Well I'll give you time to consider, Johnny," he held his phone to his ear, "now, I hope you don't mind, but I will have to deliver you back home via public transport. I know a very reputable limo service," he eyed the phone in his hand with malice, "I would've loved to follow through with my promise that we'd have some fun tonight, love, after all, I'm not all business, but we'll have time for that later. You're fan-club is positively out for my blood tonight!

As soon as I approached 221, I noticed a covert patrol vehicle, and a figure standing on the front stoop with arms folded across his chest.

"Ah, Dr. Watson, you've returned," Lestrade bit out, "And in style."

Terrified, I wondered if I was about to be arrested.

"It was one of my own, Detective." A voice reassured from behind me. Though startled by the sudden presence, I kept myself resolutely still.

"Where is Mr. Holmes? 221B has been silent all night, as well as both your damned phones. We had a lead."

"We are aware, he is on it." Mycroft informed, flatly, settling the palm of his hand discreetly on my back.

"The Yard lost them. Any luck on your end?"

"That is yet to be determined."

"Oh, very well. You tell him to call me when he gets back, will you?" Lestrade stormed away.

I watched as the man left.

"That was foolish, today, John, terribly reckless."

I turned around to face him, steeling my nerves.

"I don't know what to say."

He paused, and his sternness ebbed.

"We'll put it behind us. I won't speak of it again."

"I, however, won't be so kind," exclaimed a figure, stepping out from the shadow beyond the street lamp.

"Sherlock!" I shouted, flipping around.

"Don't. Talk. John." The tall, wild-haired man barked, "Go home, Mycroft."

Mycroft nodded in assent, leveling Sherlock with a peculiar warning glance, and abandoned me to face my doom.

As the Bentley pulled away, we squarely stood across from each other, I, cowering ever-so-slightly, and Sherlock… seething.

He dragged me inside, forcefully swung the door shut, and grabbed the front of my jumper slamming me against the wall.

"WHY MORIARTY? WHAT DID HE OFFER YOU!" He snarled at me, a crazed look crossing his face.

Turmoil roiled through me as I regarded my wrathful companion.

"Nothing I'm considering, I swear."

"Do you even realize what I would have done if he'd have touched you?" Sherlock rasped, clasping me tightly, still pressing me against the wall.

"Sherlock, calm down. It's all fine. I swear, I'm fine."

My friend eyed me suspiciously, and released me, exhaling.

"Tell me everything."

So I did. We sat side by side on the sofa, and I divulged my tale… only the parts with Moriarty, of course, censoring out the irrelevant bits featuring Jim's derision of my relationship with Mycroft.

"Interesting." Sherlock remarked cryptically, "Yet, more so, is what you did, earlier this evening by getting into the Spyker."

"Please don't ask me what compelled me to, I honestly don't even understand it, myself."

"No, I understand it perfectly, John. I said it was interesting, not that it doesn't make any sense."

My brain, wracked with confusion, throbbed with an imminent migraine.

"Alright, then care to share your explanation?"

"Certainly," Sherlock smiled maliciously, "Moriarty was right, you're sick of my dear brother."

"Wait!" I sputtered, "I didn't tell you that!"

"AHA!" Sherlock cried, gleefully, "So, he did imply that!"

"…What?" I asked, uselessly flustered.

"Come, you know my methods, John. Don't look so incredulous, it offends me."

"Couldn't I have just wanted to take a spin around the block in a nice car?" I tried, ironically.

Sherlock smiled at me, for the first time in weeks, "Tell me I'm wrong."

"You're wrong. I care for Mycroft, Sherlock."

My friend pierced me with a singular look that bespoke of sarcastic disbelief. I wavered.

And then he kissed me.

It was… incredible.

To my shame, Mycroft vanished from my conscience and I responded with zeal, quickly taking command, and pressing the lithe man, beneath me.

Ravishing his mouth, I tore frantically at his shirt, discarding it carelessly over the side of the sofa. It hit Sherlock's teacup, spilling the contents to the floor.

Sherlock tossed the pillow he'd been leaning against out of the way as our mouths clashed together passionately and without regard for caution. I pulled my fingers desperately through his satiny curling locks, forcing us closer.

Somehow, we managed to get up from the sofa, and we kissed in a hazy blur of excitement and arousal, as we made our way to my room at the top of the stairs.

Sherlock was like putty in my hands, utterly compliant, as I forced him down on my bed. Receptively, he curled his long limbs around me, bracing us together as our bodies rhythmically moved with instinctual need.

I kissed down his long neck nipping exploratorily, and tasted his slender torso with my tongue, devouring him. There was something exotic about his flavour that made me ache with desire.

He arched upward groaning as I delved into his navel, and bit the flesh at his prominent hip bone, suckling it into my mouth, branding him with my teeth.

"Ah, John!" He murmured as I yanked his trousers down to gain access to his beautiful lean legs. I lifted one above me, and kissed his inner thigh, holding his hip down with my other hand.

I teased at his straining cock, kissing and licking through his briefs, before tugging them past his hips.

I worshipped him with my mouth, enveloping it wholly, and he wantonly bucked up into me. He was so smooth and absolutely perfect, and enormous, and I nearly wept, with arousal as I suckled him.

He fisted the sheets, and his mouth dropped open as he watched me, with those impassioned gray eyes.

Languidly, I ran my tongue around his shaft, while it lay deeply immersed within my mouth. Coming up for air, I kissed the tip, and Sherlock shut his eyes, his head rolling limply back.

I nudged his heavy scrotum with my nose, lustfully inhaling his spicy, masculine scent, before tasting his puckered entrance.

I penetrated him with my tongue, and he nearly flew off the bed.

"John!" He cried out, "Please!"

I smiled inwardly. Sherlock was rarely so courteous.

I pushed both legs over my head, and they crossed behind my neck. Gently, I pushed two fingers inside of him, stretching him, and he moaned beneath me. I thrust in a third.

"FUCK!" He cried, "John, wait!"

I pulled out, and hesitantly gazed at his wilting erection.

"I've er… never." He looked at me with uncertainty, appearing almost vulnerable.

"Got it," I said, comfortingly, "You have lubrication?"

He flushed and awkwardly pointed to the nightstand drawer.

I applied some to my finger tips, and worked myself back inside, gripping his cock with my other hand.

I leaned over to kiss him, but he dodged his face away, smirking.

"Unsanitary, John. Kiss later. Fuck first."

I pulled at his cock, while I stretched him, getting him back up to speed.

Suddenly he arched off the bed violently, and shouted, as I hit that spot inside of him. Feeling my control over him was staggeringly hot, and I watched him greedily, soaking him in.

Slathering myself with lube, I pressed my cock into his impossibly tight entrance. Slowly I eased myself inward, letting him get used to the sensation, and relaxing, allowing for further penetration.

He gazed up at me with a dazed and slightly hesitant expression.

"Tell me you want this Sherlock."

"God, you know I do, you imbecile! Don't stop!"

I thrust into him vigorously, still pulling at his straining, leaking member, and tears streamed down his face in a mixture of pain and pleasure. I watched his face turn blissful as I hit his prostate, again and again.

And suddenly, the hot tightness encompassing me was too much, and I exploded within him, barely cognizant of the shouts- whether they were his or my own.

I collapsed on top of him, his semen sticking us together. I rolled over beside him panting, both of basking in the afterglow, trying to regain our breath.

As we lay there, Sherlock rolled over, and leaned over me, propping his head up on his hand.

Wonderingly, he brushed his exquisitely slender fingers softly along my jaw line, and tenderly explored the old mottled scar on my shoulder.

I looked up at him and he quirked a smile. I'm sure my gaze was utterly adoring.

"That was… exceptionally surprising," He stated, smiling down at me.

I wondered if I'd been the first to take him.

As usual he replied to my thoughts, "I've very few partners in my book, but yes, John, you were the first, in that sense."

"I thought you were married to your work."

"It's not an exclusive relationship," he grinned, "and apparently neither is yours."

I groaned inwardly. Did he have to bring that up now?

"John, it doesn't bother me if you want to stay with my brother. I'll understand."

I grimaced. I wanted him to want me for just himself, as I wanted him all to myself.

"Is that so?" I said, guardedly.

"It's mutually beneficial, after all," Sherlock replied, "there are things he can offer you, that I cannot- such as relatively normal companionship- I'm not very romantic. And you are rather, John."

I bit my tongue, and looked away.

"You're mad at me."

"I know who you are Sherlock. I'm not asking anything of you you can't readily give."

"But you'd come to regret it. You'd always seek more. You always do," he said sitting up.

I pulled the sheets over my flaccid penis protectively, and glared at my friend, still naked and unashamed as he clearly rejected me.

"Then perhaps this was a mistake." I bit out.

A hurt look crossed his features.

"You misunderstand! I want you, John, that's evident! I don't understand how you can be so thick-headed about this! I'm offering a compromise."

I felt betrayed, "If you're so willing to share me then why were you so fiercely jealous whenever Mycroft would take me out?"

"Seriously, John, I assumed you were content with him. Didn't leave much left over for me!" He exclaimed, growing red with frustration.

I hopped out of bed, and clumsily tugged up my trousers.

"This was a bad idea." I shook my head, bitterly, "You've no idea how much I regret this."

"John-" Sherlock cried, helplessly, tumbling out of bed after me.

I hastily pulled on my jumper and fled out of the room.

JOHN!" He shouted again, as I sped down the stairs, and slammed the door behind me, heading out into the night.

I hailed a cab and booked a room at the Falcon.

As soon as I got in the room, I collapsed back onto the bed and opened my cell to check my missed messages.

I wonder, are you alright? –MH

I blame myself for you running away. –MH

I care a great deal for you, John. I'll do whatever it takes to make you happy. Even if that means letting you take your walks alone sometimes. –MH

Just try not to get yourself abducted again, but never the less, I'll always be there to get you back. –MH

If you want me to, that is. –MH

John, come home. –SH

Talk? –SH

Or not. –SH

John? –SH

So angry I was at Sherlock and myself, I think I may have cried myself to sleep.

The next day was even worse. It was Sunday, and I had no appointments, so I hailed a cab back to Baker Street.

I didn't want to have to face him, but it was inevitable, as we shared the same address. As I plodded up the stairs and entered the sitting room, Sherlock looked up at me expectantly, with a hesitant smile.

I aimed a look of disgust in his general direction avoiding his eyes. Sitting down as far across the room as I could possibly get, I opened my laptop, and began to idly browse the web hoping to distract myself. Plucking at his Strad rather unenthusiastically, I saw from the corner of my eye that he was watching me.

"John I-"

"If you don't mind, Sherlock, I'd like to pretend this never happened, and for just the time being- that you don't exist? Alright?" I huffed.

He acquiesced, and we settled down into our familiar routine.

A sharp wrap alerted us to Mrs. Hudson standing in the doorway, smiling cheerfully.

"Good morning, lads, you have a visitor. Shall I let him up?"

Sherlock nodded. I assumed it was a client, and I resumed my lazy web browsing.

A throat cleared.

"Ah!" Said Holmes looking up, and I reflexively did as well, to find Mycroft standing before us uncomfortably.

"Mycroft! I-"

"Did not respond to my texts last night," he finished, "So I thought I'd check to see if you were still alive. Unfortunately it seems I've intruded upon your comfortable domesticity," a look of hurt betrayal crossed his features, "Clearly, this was unnecessary. I'll show myself out."

"Melodramatic much, Mycroft?" Sherlock bit out, sitting up in his seat.

"Wait!" I cried, setting my laptop beside the chair, and jumping to my feet. My heart was in my throat, and as he leveled me with an irate glare. I swallowed back a nagging suspicion that he knew. That was it! He knew!

I cringed.

"I was concerned, John. We haven't truly spoken since our row at lunchtime yesterday. But now, I see why."

Sherlock and I shared a glance, and he shrugged casually, crossing his arms behind his head.

Mycroft scoffed bitterly.

"You want a run-down, Brother? Since that's the only language you comprehend? Fresh stain on the rug under the lamp: tipped tea-service. Anger? You're never clumsy even when provoked. Rug by the base of the stairway leading up to John's room: rumpled- left unfixed. Carelessness? Unlikely. There's plentiful evidence all around," he waved his arm, gesturing about, "but the most damning are the marks below your jawline, the scratch evident just above the collar of John's oxford, your swollen bottom lip, John's-redder than usual- even on a good day, no one's circulation is that ideal into their mid-thirties- as well as his utter inability to dissemble, your blithe lack of remorse or attempt to refute me."

I swallowed thickly, and guiltily sank back into my seat, as Mycroft approached me.

"Why, John? Why cry, 'wait'? What should I wait for? Should I be forced to torture myself by remaining here to witness your passionate attempt to make amends with my brother? Oh, yes. I can read that you obviously fought, but it's over some trifling matter- a misunderstanding, and I'm sure," he sneered, "the two of you will find a way to make it up to each other."

"I'd offered him the option of staying with you," Sherlock drawled, picking at the nicotine patch on his arm.

Mycroft turned to look at him incredulously, "I would never share him, if he were mine."

He stormed out, without a parting glance.

My heart ached as I stared emptily at my phone, looking at the list of applications. Mycroft had a knack for adding new ones every time we met.

I recalled our easy conversations, and his gentle affection. I even reflected upon our consistently brilliant love-making with despair. It was nothing like what had happened in that frenzied, abandoned moment between Sherlock and I- but that was a matter that I could barely even think about.

Mycroft was sensual, empathetic and considerate. Tempered and mellow, yet passionate and intense.

And he was dangerous. And even a bit reckless at times like Sherlock.

I ached as well, for the friend that I'd lost: the exquisitely eccentric man whom had single-handedly brought me out of my wasting-boredom, and soul-quashing depression. I walked ably and without a cane due to his intervention. I raced about the city with him, finding new purpose, and a new calling with writing up his cases.

Despite his many, many faults…

I'd come to love him, dearly, though he had confirmed he was truly unable to feel the same for me.

And now, Mycroft loathed me, and I could not overcome my disappointment in Sherlock.

I walked down the street, self-pityingly reflecting upon my pathetic situation, when I noticed a golden Mercedes-Benz rolling in pace with me.

Well, at least it was less ostentacious than the last vehicle.

"Hi, Johnny, why so glum?"

Jim hung out the window looking for all the world like an eager child waving 'hi' to his mates.

"Want a ride?"

I ignored him and continued walking.

"Oh, please. That old saying about 'not taking rides from strangers' does not apply. We're old chums, eh?"

I looked around searching for Mycroft's security team- not a G-mobile in sight.

A Kia behind the Benz honked.

"Come now, darling, we're holding up traffic," he frowned, "We don't want to be rude!"

I acceded, and climbed in. It's not like I had much to lose anymore, anyway.

In my despondency, ignored by the Elder Holmes, and ignoring the Younger, my lifestyle had taken a dangerous turn. I began to regularly associate with Jim. He'd gifted me a cell that I kept quite successfully hidden, even from the prying eyes of my clever flat-mate. Like the one sent to Sherlock months before, it had a bright pink cover. I'm sure it was a token of ironic amusement on Jim's behalf.

At any rate, I made sure it was carefully out of sight whenever my flat-mate was around.

I wasn't exactly sure what I was doing, but I knew it wasn't healthy.

Though… Jim was admittedly, a companionable sort, and an endless fount of entertainment.

I may as well have been shooting up heroin with rusty needles in back alleyways, for all I cared.

Neither Holmes brother seemed to notice my obvious decline, as I maintained my schedule as usual, and avoided them like the plague.

I was sent coordinates from Jim, that led me nearly 10 miles east into Newham; the location where he would be out of surveillance to pick me up.

I climbed out of the bus at Forest Gate, near Barking, and set off on foot two blocks up Haig, passing an endless line of bleak, red-brick row-houses.

My usual cell, for the first time in nearly two weeks vibrated.

I quickly checked my inbox:

What if I told you I want you for myself? –SH

I paused, considering my response.

I wouldn't buy it. –JW

Well, I do. –SH

Why the sudden change of heart? You suddenly have one? –JW

you're worth it. ? –SH

Sounds contrived. –JW

This isn't fair. You said you knew my limitations and wanted me anyway, and then you backtracked when I reminded you of just what that entailed. –SH

That's duplicitous. –SH

No, Sherlock, it's a bit not good that you'd be willing to share me in the first place. And BTW: your limitations are self-imposed. –JW

For someone so intelligent, you're being incredibly dense. –JW

I'm tired of this John. I miss you. –SH

I paused and collapsed inwardly. Then I meaningfully typed out my reply.

In all honesty, I miss you too, Sherlock. We could forget all of this ever happened? –JW

I don't think I could do that, it'd be deceitful. I want more than to be just 'friends'. –SH

I saw in the distance the Benz pull around Haig and Upperton.

I don't know if I can do that, anymore, Sherlock. –JW

The door opened, and I hopped in.

"Where to, Johnny, dear? I was thinking we get you into something a little less two-o-clock and a little more ten-o-clock and hit Canal street."

"I like what I'm wearing, thank you."

Jim tugged at my jumper with a sneer.

For a minute, I recalled Mycroft having once done similarly when criticizing me for lacking a raincoat.

"Cute." Jim sarcastically drawled.

"Right, fine." I tugged it off over my head and tossed it onto the seat between us.

"Nice strip show. Will there be more?" Jim cocked a flirtatious grin at me.

I snorted, as Jim practically flourished a box from thin air.

I pulled out a burgundy Roberto Cavalli.

"It's rather smart," I admired.

"Put it on?"

I did so.

"Rakish. I could fancy you," Jim crooned, "or marry you."

We pulled up in front of VIA, a rather swanky establishment, and Jim dragged me from the Benz.

"Ah, gay Manchester: the best part of all of London," Jim sighed, dramatically.

"That whole 'playing gay' schtick… wasn't a stretch for you was it?" I muttered sardonically.

"It's so funny that he doesn't even realize- the great Sherlock Holmes- that his trusty side-kick is palling around with his Arch-Nemesis." Jim jeered.

"I've rather pushed him away recently," I muttered depressingly, staring down into my tumbler, "and he's rather let me."

"Hah!" he laughed, "Yes, ever since you fucked him and his brother- you caused quite the family rift, my dear!"

"I was angry with him." I explained, fairly drunk at this point, and rather free-flowing with my thoughts, "He wanted to share me."

"Ooh, naughty!"

"Please. Not in that way! I meant like in shifts, like shared custody."

Jim seemed to ponder this, as he downed another shot of bourbon.

"I wouldn't be so generous, myself."

"Funny, Mycroft said something similar."

"Wow! I appreciate the irony!" Jim emphatically remarked, swinging an arm around my neck.

The table was littered with our empty glasses.

"You know… John, darling… I must know, have you considered my little proposal?"

His eyes lowered as he leaned in close, nearly touching my face with his own.

I breathed him in; the heady combination of Burberry, and the lingering cigarettes, like a drug, and I was hypnotized.

The man was ridiculously attractive.

Dangerously so, I reminded myself.

"I've considered it. Among other things." I whispered in so low a breath, I wondered if he'd even heard me.

He had.

Our lips were pressed together. He tangled one hand into my hair, and wrapped the other around the back of my neck.

I'm sure we blended in quite well with the rest of the establishment, since many couples were doing similarly.

The kiss was hot, and a bit feral. We both pressed for dominance.

I won.

We apparently managed to find ourselves out back in the dark alley behind the club. I pushed the smaller man into the brick wall behind me with a force of strength I hadn't realized I was endowed with and consumed his mouth with my own.

My head spun as our lips fought against one another. With his pants tugged around his narrow hips, he draped a leg around me and I held onto it supporting him up as he unzipped me. With force, I grabbed his hips and slammed into him, raw, taking him, possessing him. He trembled and moaned against me as I pushed into him further. Then we shuddered our release, and he bit down upon my neck. I pulled out and we stood, he leaning against me. There was blood, and there was cum, and he wiped it off himself with the white cashmere scarf, smiling toothily. He regarding me with a strange glint in his eye. Almost insane, and very fond.

The world spinning, I leaned against the cool wall behind me, seeking refuge in the dark behind my tightly closed eyes.

When I stumbled in near the crack of dawn, I was too inebriated to take full notice of the figure sitting silhouetted in the living room.

Somehow I navigated my way to the lav.

Shutting the door, I fell to the floor before the loo, and vomited.

I was still holding the scarf.

..

The following morning I was awoken by the buzzing of my cell.

Sunlight streamed in, momentarily blinding me, and my head pounded, punishingly. Still sick, I sat up, yet fully dressed.

Have a pleasant evening? –SH

Coffee downstairs. –SH

I undressed myself, tossing the soiled clothes into a pile in the back of my closet, and tossed on a ratty bathrobe.

Turning the shower, the water cascading down at a searing temperature, I brutally scrubbed myself, determined to wash away my sins, banishing away the flickering memories of the night before.

I sat myself across the table from Sherlock, avoiding his evaluating gaze.

"Are you properly disgusted with yourself?" He mused, smirking at me.

I groaned.

"What do you know about it?"

"I found this fascinating little phone you dropped in the vestibule last night. It's really quite high-tech. And it had this most fetching pink-cover… for some reason it reminds me of another- Oh, right. I have one just like it!"

"It's done, Sherlock. I'm done with it all. I swear!" I beseeched.

"Really, its of no concern to me who you fuck. What is it if you're found in the morgue tomorrow? As if it would mean anything at all to me." Sherlock pronounced, flatly.

"This, however," he brandished a zip-locked bag containing the scarf, "this here is evidence! Found it in our very own bathroom! I would say particularly well done, John, his DNA can now be put into the system. Several forms of it, too, apparently!"

I frowned.

"It was a chapter, and the chapter's closed, John. Mycroft's already tracking the phone as we speak."

"Oh…god. He knows?"

"How could he not? He came to visit early this morning to collect it after I texted him."

"You told him?" I cried, strangled with horror.

"Obviously."

"Sherlock!" I nearly shouted, standing up in panic.

"Relax, John, at least you'll never be implicated for anything with Scotland Yard. You can thank Mycroft for that."

"Oh god, this is all a horrible dream."

"John?" Sherlock whispered, almost tenderly, "It's fine, really. Or any rate, it all will be."

I looked up at him, despairingly, "Your text, you said you couldn't just be my friend."

"I can't be. How can I be?"

"Because I fucked Jim?"

"Moriarty has nothing to do with it," Sherlock spat out, "like I said, I don't care who you fuck. You can go ahead and do half of London, for all it matters to me."

"What kind of twisted logic do you draw from?" I queried.

"Hear me out!" He demanded, irately, "I can't be just your 'friend' or 'colleague' because I want you to be more than that."

I sighed.

"As always, Sherlock, you miss the point."

"You have a very narrow view of what's acceptable, John, highly irritating considering your recent exploits."

"Oh, that's typical, say one thing, and mean another. You don't give a fuck who I fuck, but the second I say that I want you to only want me to fuck you, then you turn around and hold issue with me actually fucking other people, after all."

"James Moriarty is hardly other people." Sherlock snarled, "You were already in a relationship with my brother prior to our fucking, John, I was making an exception. It is not alright to fuck the most dangerous criminal in London!"

"Get off your soap-box, you were perfectly fine with your Brother's lover fucking you."

"That's because you were mine first. And besides- he took you from me!"

"That's an awfully childish way to look at things. And besides, couldn't you have maybe pieced it together that I'd rather have been with you in the first place?"

"Hah! Then excellent reason for going off with my brother all the time."

"Oh that's rich, Sherlock. You didn't even look twice at me before I started up with Mycroft."

"Oh, fuck Mycroft!"

"He's twice the man you are," I bit out.

The fight suddenly dropped out of him, "You mean that?"

I blew out a breath, "Of course not. But, please don't diminish the fact that I care for him."

"I never meant to. It's why I thought to offer you the option of staying with him- he's good for you, yet you also desire me. And of course I want you, John- but not at the expense of what you deserve."

I withered.

"We've rather made an utter hash of it," I sighed.

"John- I can't keep fighting with you. It's wearing me down, and effecting my work. You have to figure out what you want."

The next day before work, I opened my laptop, and checked my e-mail. An Alert informed me that I had a message on my Blog.

Dear, John, won't you please fix it for me? I seem to have run into a dilemma. I wined and dined my date the other night and we made passionate love, now he's not returning my calls! What on earth shall I do?

Quickly, I pressed delete, and slammed my laptop shut.

That evening in Paddington, after taking my appointments, I browsed through my catalogue of recent prescriptions, and flipped on my computer intending to type them in. To my dismay, I noticed I had several messages in my inbox listed from an Anonymous.

Dear Doctor, forget about me so soon?

Followed by:

Darling, are you trying to avoid me?

I deleted both.

….

After I'd closed up, I saw the Bentley pull around front. It'd been weeks since I'd last seen it, and had nearly given up hope at ever seeing it again.

All concerns over Jim vanished when I was face to face with this more pressing dilemma.

How could I possibly speak to Mycroft after what I'd done?

The door opened, and I seated myself inside, steeling myself for what I knew would be a just as dreadful of a conversation as the one I'd held with Sherlock the prior evening.

"Well, John… I turned my head, and let you do as you wished. I stayed away. Was it everything you hoped it would be? This freedom from me? Was I truly so stifling… so wretchedly smothering, that you had to seek solace in the arms of my brother? Or worse yet, that psychopath?" The man asked, arms folded across his chest, as he studied me wearily.

"Mycroft," I appealed, "I know I've made grievous errors in judgment these past few weeks. Some of which I've regretted because I knew they hurt you. I know there is nothing I can do to right these wrongs. I can't even tell you how sick I am at myself, or how-"

"Stop. Please, John, I didn't bring you here to watch you fall apart. If you must- do so on your own time," he proclaimed flatly, with only a flickering edge to his tone, "In spite of myself, I can't help but think I am partially to blame for this all. So, you can take comfort knowing that I don't hold you entirely accountable for your actions. And…"

I held my breath waiting for the clincher.

"…I'm very much, unfortunately, still in love with you. I can't abide you running off and putting yourself in harm's way."

I was stunned.

"You mean to say, that Sherlock and…er…others haven't put you off of me?"

"Its not that easy, for me John. I can't just forget or simply forgive what you've done, but I also can't put aside what I've come to feel for you. If you were to be with me, there would be no second chances. I can't afford to not trust you. I am responsible for more than you can imagine, and I need a partner who will in many ways, be my equal." Mycroft sighed and looked at me with an open expression, "I can, however, understand if you'd rather be with my brother. I knew from the start you had a deep connection with him, and going into this, that I'd be your second choice."

"I have to admit, I'm a bit alarmed that you'd even consider taking me back. I wouldn't be so forgiving if roles were reversed." I stated honestly.

"You're a good man, John, to admit this, but I'm a fundamentally different person that you. I find very few that I can truly relate with, let alone, come to care for, and I seem to have found both with you."

I studied the man before me, feeling utterly wretched.

"I'm not asking you to decide anything. Not today, or tomorrow... though I loathe ambiguity, so just… take your time and try to evaluate what you actually want."

I looked away, utterly lost for an answer.

"In the meantime, there is nothing to say that we can't remain civil."

"Really." I stated, with mixed emotion.

"Really." Mycroft repeated.

I sat across from Sherlock, cringing, as he carefully peeled off the fingernails from a purplish hand with a pair of tweezers, depositing them on our kitchen table.

I felt a bit queasy.

"This bothers you? What did you do in Medical School, I wonder." Sherlock muttered, under his breath.

"We eat at this table, Sherlock."

He quirked a brow, though maintained his concentration on the task.

"Well, at least I do," I amended, "though maybe not, anymore."

"You talked with Mycroft."

"Mm," I confirmed.

"Alright?" He inquired, while peeling back the cuticle on the thumb.

I shrugged.

"I see," He said, tearing off a yellowed sliver of skin.

"You do."

"Mm." He responded, tugging off the final nail.

I checked my messages again when I got to the office, deleting the Anonymous ones without opening them.

On my home, I decided to take a cab to Hyde Park. I wandered down a scenic path along the Serpentine, gazing out at the rippling lake.

I knew he was there before he even spoke.

"It's a beautiful evening," Mycroft mused.

I nodded.

We stood there for some time, taking in the peace that surrounded us.

It was that same night, on my way home from picking up milk at the nearby Tesco, the Spyker made its reappearance and I was ushered into it at gun point.

I was always abducted on my way home from that particular store, I reflected. I'd have to start shopping at the M.F.C.

Jim had made good on his promise at least, this time no one tried to strap me with semtex.

And we were back to where it all had begun, the pool.

I was escorted inside roughly by the large, bald-headed man. He closed the doors behind me.

"John, so happy you could make it! It has rather bothered me that you fucked me and ran off, avoiding my calls," Jim pouted, "and here I thought I was special."

"I thought you might like to revisit this place, after all, it's really where we first met- other than Bart's, of course, but that doesn't really count. That was about Sherlock, back then. But this is all about you now, isn't it?"

He stalked over to me, and pushed me into the wall, "It is not alright to just fuck me and leave me hanging. You hurt my feelings!" He snarled, viciously, "And I don't take that very well!"

"I don't have the phone, Jim, I…er, dropped it."

He eyed me speculatively, and shrugged, backing off. I rubbed my shoulder reflexively.

"Say I believe you. Why would you be avoiding me, otherwise? I've tried to contact you in your office as well as on your little blog. I took great personal risk- in which, I could've been tracked, attempting to get a hold of you, you elusive son-of-a-bitch!"

He leveled a Glock 22.40 at my head, and I sorely missed my Browning.

The expression on his face was startlingly raw.

"What gives you the right to play games with me? You're nothing to them," he waved his hand around as if intimating the 'world', "insignificant in the grand scheme, even damaged goods. Maybe your little boyfriend's thought you pleasant company, but what can you offer them? I mean other than a decent fuck?"

That hit a nerve. I'd always felt a bit self-conscious next to Sherlock and Mycroft. I was mediocre when stood next to their brilliance.

"Not to me, darling. I would give you the sun and moon for your talents. Nothing can even come close to what I can offer you." He spat out, caustically.

"I appreciate-"

"Oh, rubbish! You don't appreciate anything I've done for you!" Jim paced in front of me, waving the Glock above his head with feeling, "I'm a King among Mortals, darling, and I gave you the time of day. I was a shoulder to cry on, and a bevy of entertainment for you when you were down in the dumps."

Turning once again to face me, he leaned close and gently stroked my cheek, "But then again, maybe I was just another bum to bugger."

That was a low blow.

"Jim," I persisted, "I never once failed to appreciate you."

In spite of my apprehension, I tried for a slight smile. After all, that Glock was within inches of my face. I would've loved to have wrestled it away from him, but I remembered last time the gunmen in the balconies above.

"I should've…er, responded, Jim. I'm…sorry?" I implied, attempting to look repentant.

He inhaled deeply, grimaced, and turned half away, trembling with fury. He lowered the Glock.

"You can say 'sorry' all day long, but what does it actually mean?" He snorted, "I actually thought you might accept my offer. Fucked of me to think so, wasn't it. Bet you had a laugh at that."

I bit my lip, "I didn't."

His expression wavered, as he considered my response.

"Fair enough. Then you maintain that you actually considered it?"He continued in a mediated tone, "Perhaps you ought to tell me what you've decided… you know, before I really lose my patience-"

He stalked back toward me, calm turning to vitriol, "-and blow your FUCKING brains out!"

Once again the Glock was aimed at me, when suddenly the door on the other side of us opened. Jim quickly darted backward, out of my reach, and pointed the pistol at Sherlock, who matched this, by pointing my Browning at him. It was almost nearly, an identical scenario.

Cocking a grin, he aimed the pistol back at me, and Sherlock dropped the Browning.

It clattered to the floor.

Sherlock strode forward with an air of confidence despite his lack of defense.

"You showed your hand, there, didn't you Jim. Pointing your gun at me first! Are you alone here? Where are your trained dogs? Where's the pretty laser-show?"

Jim looked almost demented as he glared wretchedly at my companion, "How did you trace me here?"

"He didn't, I did." Mycroft announced, stepping into sight, "I traced your calls, it was surprisingly careless of you, Moriarty."

"But alas, sometimes we become foolish when we fall in love." Sherlock smirked, glancing sharply between Mycroft and Jim.

"If it hadn't been for the phone, it would have been easy enough to deduce. You may be clever, but you lack in originality." Mycroft drawled.

"You said you dropped the phone," Jim spat at me.

"And I picked it up. Honestly. This sort of carelessness is unworthy of you. I'm really disappointed."

My impression was that Jim was now outnumbered, and would be easily taken down, between the three of us.

But then a malicious grin split across his face, and the look of vulnerability was quickly replaced with one of self-congratulating glee.

"You know, I think I'm the disappointed party here, did you truly underestimate me?"

Suddenly, from the balconies above, we were all covered in red laser points.

I groaned.

"I suppose you brought along back up and they're waiting outside to arrest me? Well, boys, I invited a few of my friends to our little tete-a-tete as well."

"Johnny here played his role exquisitely. He brought the two of you right to me, just as I had hoped for. Not to say," he said, sparing a glance at me, "that I meant nothing I've said- to the contrary, I've decided I'm rather keen to keep you, after all."

It had all been a trap!

Mycroft cleared his throat, and stepped past Sherlock,

"I think in the best interest of time, we ought to settle our dispute here, Moriarty. You must realize you are outnumbered."

"Oh, absolutely. Out there, I am. In here? I'm the boss. With a mere utterance, I can have you pierced through, riddled with dozens of little holes."

Sherlock scowled as Jim raised the Glock to his face.

"Thought you didn't like to get your hands dirty," Sherlock said, eyeing the gun.

"For you dear, I've decided to make an exception. This is personal."

Mycroft folded his arms across his chest, and leaned his weight back on one foot, smirking, "Really, you plan on getting out of here, without being apprehended?"

"Yes, in fact, Mycroft." Jim spat out, "In just under thirty seconds, my escape will be achievable. Johnny will have to make his choice. Whether he comes with me, or dies with the two of you."

Jim looked over at me with glint of affection,

"Well, Johnny? You must decide, my dear." Jim stated, the muzzle of the Glock 22.40 pressed forcefully against Sherlock's skull in line with his temple. The red dots blazed across the three of us, warningly.

I faltered, looking at Mycroft searchingly for a cue.

His face was turned away from me, calculatingly examining Jim.

There was a palpable silence.

Mycroft suddenly brandished his SIG P226, leveling it at Jim.

Lo and behold, the red dots vanished.

Jim looked up, confused.

"Well? SHOOT HIM!" He commanded, irately.

Not a shot was made.

In the balconies above there was a bit of scuffle. All of us gazed up now observing the stand-off taking place between the police force and Moriarty's agents. Orders were barked from both sides to remain still.

Jim looked back at me, with a sort of desperate intensity, drawing attention to the situation at hand.

"You need to decide, right now, Johnny-boy!"

Brutally, he shoved the muzzle further into the side of Sherlock's head.

"He's is sort of right," Sherlock agreed, reticently.

Mycroft maintained his aim, pointing his SIG at Jim, but his eyes were only on me.

I grinned at Mycroft, and he brought his hand down sharply, the butt of the SIG cracking into Jim's skull.

He toppled gracelessly down, his head smacking against the floor, unconscious.

Sherlock audibly exhaled, and cracked a broad smile at Mycroft, as he rubbed the side of his head.

"That was easy. Why didn't you do that sooner?"

"There was something relatively satisfying about watching you squirm."

He looked over at me.

"Alright, John?" Mycroft queried, as I finally walked over.

"Alright," I said, "thanks for coming to the rescue. Wasn't sure I was ready for a life of crime."

"Or to be Moriarty's Official Fanny-Fancier" Sherlock teased, under his breath.

"Why the vulgar and uncharacteristic verbiage, lately?" I demanded, crossly.

"Assimilation?" Sherlock suggested, shrugging.

"Changing the subject," I cleared my throat, "When did you get around to arranging this whole operation?"

"Oh, please," Sherlock looked at me boredly, "When does Mycroft ever take his cameras off you?"

Mycroft smiled warmly and just a little sadly in my direction.

I smiled back.

Sherlock knelt down to cuff the unconscious Jim as Lestrade burst into the room, "What is with you gents? Do you have to always be in the middle of my crime scenes?" He looked up at the balconies as the sharpshooters were escorted away. "This took longer than I expected! What were you all doing in here? I said TWO minutes, Sherlock."

"There were some minor complications," Mycroft explained.

He scratched his brow, and grimaced, turning half away and shaking his head in frustration.

"Job well done?" Sherlock suggested, playfully.

Lestrade eyed the tall man with consideration.

"A bit."

The truth was, I'd had a bit of a revelation as I'd stood witness to the three men squaring off.

It was one that had taken me a little by surprise.

The answer materialized before me in that moment right before Mycroft knocked out Jim, with Sherlock standing there with the Glock against his skull.

I made my choice.

Now, I just had to do something about it.

"I understand."

"You do."

He looked at me with one raised eyebrow, and smirked.

"Doesn't mean I have to like it."

"No, you don't. But I don't want you to hate me, either."

"As if I could ever hate you, John. I just think you should've been more open to the idea of sharing."

"I can't."

"He wouldn't have to know."

"He would know. And I would know, and it wouldn't be right, and it's not what I want."

"Very well, I give you my blessing. If that's what you need."

"And we're alright?"

Sherlock paused, sighing.

"We will be."

He smiled up at me, silver eyes glinting with fondness.

"It's the right decision, John. I'm alright as long as you're alright."

I arranged to meet up with Mycroft over in Whitehall at Albannach, a rather upscale lounge situated beneath Trafalgar square.

Mycroft took a seat across from me.

"Hi," I greeted.

We gave our drink orders and my companion sat back, folding his hands on the table.

"Well, I assume, since you invited me out with the preface that you'd be paying, that I should steel myself for the news that you've reacquainted yourself with my brother."

"More or less. But not quite in the way that you're implying. Besides, I did inform you once or twice that I was tired of you paying for everything."

Our waiter quickly was back, and set our drinks before us.

"I've come to apologize."

Mycroft visibly stiffened.

"Have you."

I was fairly sure by his tone that he was misreading my intent, so I quickly pressed on.

"There was never a second when I was with you that I should have wavered, yet I did, and for that I'm sorry. I knew I had this amazing thing, and it terrified me, not to mention there were all these unresolved feelings between myself and your brother. What made it worse was that you were so understanding about it all."

"I wouldn't say 'understanding' is the most accurate term, but I appreciate the sentiment," Mycroft mused.

I paused, looking down.

"I suppose I just needed to get that off my chest."

"And where do we stand?"

"I'd like to take that second chance, that is, if you haven't changed your mind."

"Why should I have?" Mycroft smiled warmly at me.

"Because that would have been the smart thing to do."

"I suppose I'm not very smart then, by your definition," he replied, eyes sparkling with humour, "but then what is all the 'smart' in the world really matter?"

"I want to be with you, Mycroft." I said quietly, with a serious edge to my tone.

"Then you shall be."

One morning, strolling through the Covent Gardens Market, arms linked with my partner, I noticed a boutique kiosk with a display of folded scarves.

I picked one out, and wrapped it around Mycroft's neck. I pecked him briefly on the cheek.

"That was pleasant," he smiled down at me, before lifting the end of the scarf, "what's the occasion?"

"I didn't think I needed one."

"I'll admit, it's very nice, but I'm a bit alarmed by your selection," he said, appraising the white cashmere scarf draped around him.

"I can't imagine what makes you say so," I teased.

"Isn't it a bit reminiscent of another?"

"A scarf is just a scarf, Mycroft, and besides," I said, gazing fondly at my lover, "I only see you, my dear."

I tugged on the ends, pulling him down into the kiss, in the middle of the crowd.

As people walked around us, we remained, wrapped within each other's embrace.

….

A/N: Does anybody else notice how in my Sherlock BBC-Verse, cell-phones seem to be liberally handed out like candy?

Also I just wanted to say my thanks to the brilliant author out there who first envisioned Jim with the white scarf and Burberry cologne. I could never find your fic again, which saddens me. But I dedicate this story to you, whoever you are, whatever your name may be!