These Characters in their current incarnation belong to the BBC and not to me.

I do not own these characters, but if I did, I'd make them dance !

DEBRIEFING

PROLOGUE

The early morning sun cascades through their kitchen window, finds John Watson's sandy brown hair and turns it to pure gold.

From where he is standing in the archway, Sherlock's breath catches. Lazy tendrils of desire spiral up and down his spine. His stomach muscles clench. He suddenly wants nothing more than to cross the few feet to John, take him by the hand, yank him back to their bed, and kiss him senseless.

He does none of these things. He knows his attentions would not be welcome to John at this particular moment. He must be patient. He has to wait.

Sherlock thinks it might just kill him.

JOHN'S POV

John stands at their kitchen sink, facing the backsplash - now wildly discolored from so many chemical burns and experiments gone spectacularly wrong – a fresh cup of tea in hand. He wills his heart to slow, his breathing to quiet. He closes his eyes.

Then John Watson simply walks into the silence.

He begins to slowly, achingly replay their latest case…the one that ended yesterday afternoon with an escaped lunatic holding a knife to Sherlock's throat.

John begins to relentlessly dissect the scene, to review his actions following the inevitable chase. He is mercilessly critical. Harshly judgmental.

After all, this is how he has survived living with a self-proclaimed sociopath - these post case debriefings – debriefings conducted for no one but himself. This is how he has managed – so far - to maintain his sanity while orbiting the maddening, spiraling galaxy known as Sherlock I'm burning brighter than anyone in the Universe Holmes.

He needs to focus. Needs to think.

But it's damned difficult knowing that Sherlock is standing a few feet away, looking utterly kissable in the morning light. John's gut tightens and he nearly groans aloud.

No, damnit. Not now. Think. Yesterday. Murderer. Knife. Sherlock. Could. He. Have. Done. Anything better? Been Faster?

Did any of his actions imperil them, imperil Sherlock?

What about his inactions?

John reviews, dissects, weighs, judges.

Gets his ducks in a row.

Yesterday was just a tad too close. And God, watching that utter bastard hold that knife to Sherlock's throat. At the distressing memory, John's breathing suddenly goes south.

He is fearfully aware that he nearly – nearly – lost Sherlock less than twelve hours ago.

The thought sickens him. Leaves him shaking.

'In and out" Johnny Boy," he tells himself, "Just keep breathing in and out."

He holds on to his rapidly cooling cup of tea as if it were a lifeline.

John puts his mental film on fast forward, let's the scene play out against his closed eyelids.

There had been a lot of running and shouting, (when was there not?) At one point, John fell heavily to his knees onto hard concrete, his damned leg giving out on him at the most inopportune moment, only to lift his head and freeze, every nerve ending he possessed on fire.

Because their target, that demented murdering lunatic, was standing a scant few feet in front of him, holding a very lethal, very sharp knife against Sherlock's throat.

Where had that fucking knife come from? And where – in God's name – were Lestrade and Donovan?

Sherlock is yanked backwards, nearly off his feet, being held in the murderer's grip. John sees the man's left arm around Sherlock's throat, his right hand holding the thin, deadly blade against that smooth expanse of skin that John was kissing less than eight hours earlier. Eight hours before the accused rapist and murderer slips Lestrade's net; eight hours before Lestrade's frantic call to Baker Street.

He watches as the knife presses inward, slowly, slowly…sees the single drop of brilliant red joined by another – and another. Sherlock doesn't move a muscle; doesn't make a sound. He watches John and remains utterly, completely still.

John again feels the near impotent rage and fear build inside him until it reaches a crescendo.

He sees himself stand slowly, holding his hands open and out to show he is not a threat. He wants to scream at this bastard who has had the utter gall to touch Sherlock, to put his filthy hands on him, pull him close against his body.

How dare he?

John thinks he might vomit with the frustration of having to stand there and watch.

The lunatic begins to rave, taunting John, threatening Sherlock. John ignores it.

In the cold light of morning, eyes tight shut, John again feels the beginning of the adrenaline rush as he slowly waits for an opportunity. A few seconds is all he needs. His army issue Browning L9A1 is a cold, comforting weight against his lower back.

But Sherlock is bleeding and he doesn't dare move a damned muscle until their prey makes a slip. So John does the next best thing. He goes still.

John never knows where this stillness comes from, this ability to suddenly go into the quiet. Has long ago stopped questioning it. It was tremendously handy in Afghanistan where more often than not, he found himself operating in a fire fight.

His superiors recognized it – hell, even before he did. This strange stillness rapidly became as necessary to him as his shooting skills, his skill as a surgeon.

But then his Army career, his career as a surgeon was blow to hell by a sniper's bullet tearing through bone, muscle, tissue. He underwent several operations, was shipped back to England, experienced months of unremitting pain, along with physical therapy sessions that left him shaking, bruised. There were myriad pointless mandatory sessions with a state-appointed psychiatrist that left him with more questions than answers. Nights of aching loneliness and self doubt, easily misinterpreted by John as self loathing, too many nights when he more than once opens the desk drawer to curiously, dispassionately stare at his gun lying there, finger the clip.

Then came Sherlock.

And this time around, John knows that what he has found with Sherlock – what they have together – is bigger and brighter than anything he could ever have imagined. Bigger than his military service, brighter than the countless stars that shone over the Afghan desert and that John came to love.

He CANNOT lose this. He will NOT lose this.

As he stands there, waiting to make his move, he mentally screams at Sherlock:

Sherlock, for Gods sakes, just this once, listen to me. Please !

Don't struggle. Be still. There's a good lad. Don't move!

In the grip of a madman, a knife at his throat, Sherlock remains utterly still, as if he can read John's frantic thoughts.

And then the lunatic turns his head to grin at Sherlock, as if the detective were his fuckin' prize.

The last mistake the sod will ever make, thinks John with satisfaction.

In one practiced motion, John steps forward, grabs the twisted fuck's hand, forces the wrist up, back, away and down, snapping it cleanly. He hears the bastard begin to scream in agony, as the knife falls, tumbling to concrete.

John's right hand goes back to unerringly find the Browning nestled against his lower back, he pulls it out and up in one smooth, fluid motion, the gun now sighting along his arm, a natural extension of his hand. His line of sight partially blocked by Sherlock's body.

He screams at Sherlock to fall, "Just fucking fall, Sherlock!"

He watches as Sherlock throws himself down and away, giving him a clear line of sight.

Watches as the sob begins to turn his head, as he realizes his prize is out of his grasp.

Time speeds up.

And John sees himself point the Browning directly at the bastards' head and pull the trigger, blasting skull and bone apart, splattering himself, Sherlock and the ground with blood and brain matter. He doesn't even feel the recoil through his arm, shoulder, neck and back muscles. His hand has never been steadier.

Ignoring the body, John looks down at Sherlock, extends a hand, pulls Sherlock to his feet, reaching out to gently wipe away Sherlock's blood, assessing how many stitches the wound will need, how extensive the bruising. John looks into the detective's eyes, those incredible grey-green eyes. And for those precious seconds, John hungrily drinks in the sight of a living, breathing Sherlock.

John shudders slightly as he feels the adrenaline rush begin to recede.

The moment passes.

Lestrade comes tearing around the corner, seconds too late. Comes to an abrupt halt, taking it all in. He ignores their clasped hands, at the same time welcoming that they are both alive and on their feet. He thumbs his cell phone and begins screaming at Donovan to get the fuck there and she had better be damned quick about it.

John quickly replaces his Browning against his back, the muzzle still hot, slightly searing his cool flesh. The "weapon of which they do not speak" now out of site and out of mind.

John knows that if Lestrade had come around the corner ten seconds earlier, he might have been in serious shit. After all, he had gotten Sherlock away from the bastard, could have taken him down. The monster could have stood trial, been sentenced.

Standing in their kitchen, his eyes still tightly closed, John shakes his head. No. NO.

And – Wrong.

That sick bastard had his fuckin' hands on Sherlock; he was going to cut Sherlock's' throat.

And no one puts their hands on Sherlock. No. One.

Mercy was not and never had been an option.

While Lestrade and Sherlock talk, John stands quietly to the side, at parade rest, waiting, waiting. Waiting for Lestrade to ask all of the inevitable questions. Waiting as Sherlock answers the DI's questions, gives his incredible insight. All delivered in that maddeningly deep, smoky voice that sends rivulets of pure, unadulterated lust up and down John's spine.

Donovan brings John a towel and he manages to wipe away most of the blood on his hands, wrists, arm. He hands it to Sherlock, who takes it absently, never breaks stride in his talk with Lestrade.

Dispassionate now, John tries to be patient. He is aware that reports have to be made, circumstances documented. Actions accounted for. After all, there is an extremely dead body at their feet.

But God, he just wants to take Sherlock and go home.

Can't Sherlock stop talking, just this once, so they can go home?

Finally satisfied, Lestrade cuts them loose. Tells them he will bring them into NSY in the morning. The two man turn toward each other. Strange gray eyes meet cool dark blue ones.

Sherlock raises an eyebrow. John nods.

As one, they turn to leave. Lestrade does not call after them. He knows better.

Back in the now, standing at their kitchen sink, John sighs.

Satisfied that he had performed to the best of his abilities, certain that he would change absolutely nothing about his response to the prior day's events, John Watson finally opens his eyes.

He stares at the impossibly stained and tortured backsplash, as his eyes focus.

He knows Sherlock is still standing over there, waiting.

He recognizes Sherlock's need to quantify every single fact, every bit of data that can be gleaned from this case, just as John recognizes his own need to put himself through this mental exercise.

But before he can take on Sherlock Man of 1,001 questions Holmes, first things first.

John Watson pours his cold morning tea straight down the sink and goes about making himself a fresh cuppa.

WHAT SHERLOCK SAW

In the doorway to the small kitchen, Sherlock Holmes leans against the archway, arms crossed, eyes narrowed. He is watching John Watson. Sunlight paints John's hair a brilliant, heartbreaking gold and he shifts position slightly, trying to lessen the ache in his groin that has now joined the too sweet heartache in his chest.

Sherlock watches as John put himself through this self-imposed review process, for want of a better word. He has seen this many times before; will doubtless see it many times again.

He knows that John needs to do this; he recognizes that Doctor John and Soldier John are not always one and the same person. That they are frequently at war with each other.

But even as he recognizes John's imperative, Sherlock just wants him to finish so he can have his John back.

Sherlock does not doubt that his Army doctor is being merciless with himself and the knowledge eats at Sherlock. But John would not appreciate anything he has to say in this matter. And he has long ceased to try.

John belongs to him. Hence anything John does for the two of them belongs to him too. So he leans against the wall and watches. And waits.

Sherlock muses that there were certain – moments – in yesterday's drama that he was sole witness to - moments that Sherlock experienced, documented…and which he would not relinquish for anything in the known universe.

While Sherlock waits forJohn to come back to him, he mentally replays the scene from the day before, from the case that had gone suddenly, irrationally pear shaped.

He sees the madman rush up and around him, grab at his shoulder, bring out the ridiculously long, slim blade he had doubtless had hidden in the folds of his coat. He again feels the coolness of the knife edge against his aching throat muscles, aching because Sherlock is holding in a scream, swallowing it down, trying to at least look calm when all he wanted to do was yank himself out of that bastard's hands.

He watches as John, who has had the wind knocked out of him, slowly gets to his feet, carefully holding his hands out and away from his body to show he is weaponless, that he poses no threat.

John stands, hands out and open and stares at Sherlock with an intensity he has seen before, other times.

And suddenly it's as if Sherlock can hear John in his head, actually hear him in his fuckin' head, screaming at him to remain still, to not move.

Sherlock feels the cold nick of the blade as it presses inward, slipping under his skin.

He smells the copper tang as drops of blood begin to slowly fall downward, soaking his scarf, his shirt collar. He is suddenly terrified but doesn't dare move. John has willed him NOT to move.

Sherlock watches, wide-eyed, as John Watson goes utterly still.

And then it happens. The knife-wielding bastard turns to grin at Sherlock, and the detective shudders at his breath, at the smirking face a scant few inches from his own.

But Sherlock's eyes never leave John's.

And in that one moment, when the bastard has turned his head, John acts.

No one sees, but Sherlock.

The murderer doesn't as his head is turned toward away.

Lestrade doesn't. He has yet to race around the corner, and will be exactly 18 seconds too late to be of assistance.

And Donovan certainly doesn't, because she is standing back at the patrol car, screaming for backup.

But Sherlock sees.

And he watches, as John goes – J-O-H-N – and in one beautifully fluid motion rushes the madman, grabs his wrist, yanks it back and up, away and down, breaking the bone in one satisfying snap, listens as the bastard screams, watches as the shining blade now speckled with Sherlock's blood, free falls onto the cement, and hears John shouting for Sherlock to fall, "Just fuckin' fall for Gods sake, Sherlock!"

And Sherlock instantly obeys, throws himself to the side, falling heavily, then struggles to raise himself just in time to see John raise the Browning in one beautiful smooth motion, the barrel scant inches from the bastard's temple.

And he watches as John Watson coolly pulls the trigger.

The explosion blows the back of the man's head off and he falls, what's left of his face frozen into that grinning – rictus – because of course, it has all happened so fast, he hasn't had the chance to change expression, show surprise.

In that instant, John Watson is the most deadly sight Sherlock has ever seen, deadly – and incredibly, lethally beautiful.

The body hits the concrete and the back of the man's skull hits the ground behind two seconds later. They are both splattered in the murderer's blood and brains but neither one of them cares. Their eyes catch, hold.

The memory will stay with him forever, part and parcel of his hard drive, to be added to the burgeoning file known as John Watson. Never to be deleted.

Lestrade comes racing around the corner, gun drawn, comes to a halt, assesses the situation. Pulls out his phone and starts hollering for Donovan.

John has already put the Browning away, tucked it into the waistband of his jeans at the small of his back. Sherlock is certain he will have a burn from the too hot metal, winces at the thought.

John looks cooly into Sherlock's eyes, as if he hasn't just blown a man's head off from less than six inches away. And Sherlock stares back.

Lestrade, who is shouting Sherlock's name, can't see John's eyes.

Donovan, who is still standing at the van, screaming into her phone, can't bare witness.

But Sherlock sees.

John Watson's eyes have gone cool and vastly dark – as if he is witnessing something so far off that Sherlock suddenly, irrationally fears, that John, his John, may never be able to return.

Watching his Army Doctors' eyes turn the color of a darkened bruise, Sherlock knows a deep aching sadness.

Then John's eyes refocus; they stop being black and fathomless and become their usual shade of deep, dark blue. His face, momentarily tightly drawn, slowly loosens and the habitual frown lines in his brow become more evident.

John gently thumbs away the drops of blood from Sherlock's throat and smiles tiredly into Sherlock's eyes – and he is JOHN again.

Sherlock, who doesn't even realize that he has been holding his breath, reminds himself that he can, actually, breathe and begins to do so.

The two of them look steadily at each other.

"All right, you?" says John, quietly, as if he were asking the younger man if he'd like a cup of tea.

Sherlock coughs once, trying to clear his throat, nods.

"Never better," he says in that impossible baritone voice.

"Good."

John extends his hand, Sherlock takes it, and John pulls him to his feet. John presses Sherlocks' scarf to the pinprick of blood on his neck. Sherlock tells him not to fuss.

A moment of understanding passes between the two men before they turn to face Lestrade and if the DI notices that their hands clasp just a little too tightly or their eyes meet a scant second longer than is necessary, he pretends to ignore it.

Sherlock straightens his coat, gets his bearings.

John takes a step back, and stands, hands clasped behind his back, as Lestrade begins to ask questions and Sherlock begins to give him answers.

While he is talking to Lestrade, John hands him a towel (where did that come from? Oh, of course Sally) and Sherlock absently wipes away blood and God knows what else from his hands, his clothes. Still talking, he tosses the rag onto the ground.

Suddenly impatient, Sherlock wants only to take John and go home.

Finally, finally, Lestrade seems satisfied. Cuts them loose. There will be a formal report in the morning at NSY.

Sherlock turns toward John, raises an eyebrow. John nods. They leave together,

EPILOGUE

Mentally consigning the case to his hard drive, Sherlock continues to lean against the wall, and waits for his John to come back to the present.

Come back, John, he thinks. Now would be a good time.

He gives a little sigh as John finally, finally opens his eyes.

John pours his cold tea down the sink, straightens. And plugs in the kettle.

Watching John Watson, Sherlock's heart suddenly swells with love for this man, this completely unpredictable, casually lethal man, who has so unexpectedly entered Sherlock's life, and has rapidly become as indispensable as the air the detective breathes.

Shaking slightly with emotion, Sherlock grins. It will take the kettle exactly three minutes and 22 seconds to boil. He knows. He's timed it. John will mess around with tea bag, sugar and possibly milk and that will take another three minutes.

But Sherlock can be patient while John make his damned cup of tea.

So he settles back against the wall and watches John Watson. And waits.

After all, some things are worth waiting for.