I honestly don't know where this came from. One minute I was reblogging something, the next I'm writing angst, more angst, fluff, snark, more fluff. And then a little more snark, to make it even. I honestly have no idea where it came from, but enjoy!
Sherlock stood alone looking down at the casket. All lives end. All hearts are broken. How right Mycroft had been. How foolish he had been to believe that just because Sherlock loved-had loved-John Hamish Watson that this fact would change. Sherlock had seen it so many times and yet, it had never occurred to him that the one thing that remained constant would meet up with him. Well, actually, it had, except it was John standing over his grave that he had predicted. After all, John had watched him go over the falls, entangled with Moriarty in their last and greatest battle. In the three years that had followed, Sherlock had often wondered what John's face had looked like at his funeral. (Given the look of unmitigated grief and the cane-both suggesting trauma of an emotional nature, enough to impact the psychosomatic limp that had all but disappeared, enough impact to bring it back into existence-he very quickly decided that he never wanted to know the actual answer to that question.)
But this? No, his mind could never have foretold this. That it would be him watching John enter the building to roust Moran out of his position, while Sherlock circled the building to cut him off at the door he knew Moran would come out of-only to watch fire and smoke burst out of the building in a deafening blast of heat and sound. No, even in his most bored wonderings he could never have imagined the horror of watching the fire consume the building and knowing that John was inside. That he had sent John to his pyre.
At first the shock had protected him, separated him from what was happening. Logically, he had known he was dead, and logically, he knew that he should be upset-was upset-but he couldn't feel it. The blissful shock had lasted up until the moment they had lowered the casket, at which point his mind had absurdly dredged forth out of the abyss below, "Does this mean no more tea?"Which had been the thought that had broken the dam.
No more John. No more tea, no more a bit not good, no more fantastic, extraordinary, all other variants of such in the English language. No more John meant no more late night watching of Doctor Who, Sherlock dismantling the plot and disproving the science of it piece by piece while John just smiled-Sherlock could always tell when he was smiling because the ear that was pressed to his chest would always shift, the cheek would move against him to press more firmly and there was always this little huffing sound that said John was trying not to laugh while attempting to continue paying attention to the show. No more late nights running around London, solving crimes as Hat-Man and Robin, followed by particularly vigorous sex against doors and hallways, usually followed by a second round the morning after on the dining table next to the tea brought on by the sight of John in his robe, shirt, occasionally a jumper if it hadn't been thrown across the room (or hallway, wherever) the night before. No more of John's tongue poking out of his mouth to tease Sherlock at the absolute most inconvenient times (meaning all the time). No more John, period.
Sherlock didn't understand how he could have missed the emotion suddenly overflowing from him. Worse yet, how could he not have told John that he-
"Go away, Mycroft." He didn't have the resources to come back with something sharper at the moment.
"Sherlock, he's dead. Standing at his grave won't bring him back to life, as you know." The tone was flat, devoid of sympathy or caring, and so very, very Mycroft.
"Yes, thank you. Now will you go?"
"Yes. And you are as well."
"Oh? And what could possibly be more important than this?"
"The man who murdered John Watson."
There were retreating steps now, accompanied with the slight tap of a small point as it made contact with the ground-the umbrella, obvious-but Sherlock wasn't hearing those. Moran. Mycroft had located Moran. Sherlock crouched down so he could look level with the name on the stone in front of him. "I'll be back soon, John."
-SH -JW -SH -JW
"Soon" turned out to be three months. Well, the night before three months. So nearly-three months. Nearly three months of following the bastard as he moved around the world, constantly avoiding Mycroft (and therefore Sherlock) by the skin of his teeth. But tonight they had him pinned. Sherlock had already been to the site, had been almost within reach of Moran. However, Moran was always planning for battle, and had kept to a crowded street where he could hide in plain sight. Which meant nothing to Sherlock Holmes, except for the fact that the very cover he would have used to poison the Moran had covered him as well, as Moran had intended. One second in a crowd, one careless bump from a young woman who wasn't paying attention to where she was going, and the entire plan to ruins.
Or would have been, if it had been anyone other than Sherlock Holmes. He'd salvaged the operation by remembering the turn of Moran's shoulders, the pace of his walk, the way he'd stayed just inside the stream of people on the right, and Sherlock had mapped his next turn. He'd taken a shortcut from there and watched from under the shadow of a fire escape as Moran entered the building. One brief view at a window at a level, a call to Mycroft and a thermal scanner later, and the Holmes brothers had unearthed the location of Moran.
Which was why Sherlock was now crouched down, one arm propped on his knee and the other hand resting on the headstone. "I realize it's probably been a bit longer than 'soon.'" He cleared his throat. "I fully realize the irony of this. You told me you used to talk to my plaque, and I told you it was a pointless thing to do. It's not like the object you're talking at can talk back, nor can the person you want to contact. And now here we are, our positions reversed, and I... and you..." He stopped, blinking quickly. "I found him, you know. Moran. We're going to go after him. I just wanted to let you know, in case I don't come back again. He's dangerous-obviously, he's the one that blew up the building, remember?-and I'm not absolutely positive that I'll get out of this one. Actually, I'm not absolutely positive that I want to make it out of this one." He looked down, staring intensely at the ground before turning the look back to the stone in front of him. "I wonder, sometimes, if this is similar to what you must have felt. When I was gone. Was this what you felt when you slept the whole night through, no violin playing? When you woke up and made two mugs of tea instead of one-did you even bother making tea? I don't. I can't make it right, it's never right. What went through your funny little head, when you thought you would never see me again? How did you-" he cut himself off, pressing the heels of his hands against the stinging in his eyes. "For three years. It's been three months. I suppose that's proportionate," he huffed a laugh, "since you were always so short." He pressed hard once more before lowering his hands to get a better look. A last look, if he were being honest. This would be the last he would see of John Hamish Watson. He didn't intend on making it through this night in anything other than a body bag, closely followed by a burial. Mycroft would plant his casket next to John's, because that's what Sherlock had requested in his will, the only request, and Mycroft would see it done. Mostly because he had cleaned the apartment of any experiments so that Mycroft wouldn't have to deal with it-this alone would motivate his brother to acquiesce his last request.
"That's not what I came here for, and I don't have a lot of time, now. What I wanted to say was that I love you. I should have told you that earlier. Before. I should have, and I didn't. But if you were right-after all, it's impossible that you were always wrong, isn't it?-and there is something, somewhere, after this life, then I will find you. I will find you, John Watson, and I will tell you that." He lay his brow against the coolness of the marble and closed his eyes. I love you.
-SH -JW -SH -JW
Sherlock crept silently along the hallway. There were men-Mycroft's, obviously-outside the building, surrounding it, waiting for anyone exiting the building. At this time of late night/early morning there would be no one awake and therefore no one to leave the premise other than Sebastian Moran, should he try to escape. Not that Sherlock planned on giving him time to escape. No, Moran would die quickly, a flash of light burning out, exactly as John had. It seemed fitting to Sherlock. Poetic, Mycroft called it. Justice, a leveling of the universe. Moran couldn't be allowed to live when John was dead. It was as simple as that.
And so Sherlock crept along the hallway, with its security cameras hacked by Mycroft's people, safely hiding Sherlock on his journey through it. Sherlock heard a small noise, not even worth noticing to someone else, but to Sherlock, possibilities spun through his mind before it selected the most logical cause: a body dropping to its knees, knees impacting with the floor creating a slight thump. Back being held upright, more than one person in the room, attacker keeping body from falling to the floor but not strong enough to pick it up. Victim either unconscious or dead, more likely the second due to it being Moran's flat. Excellent! The perfect distraction—Moran's hands would be occupied with the body, allowing Sherlock to shoot him before he could draw his weapon.
Sherlock heard the ever so slight crackle of the mic in his ear, Mycroft was about to say something, but he ignored whatever it would have been in favor of throwing it to the ground. He pointed his gun and aimed a powerful kick to the weakest part of the door, sending it bursting inward. Moran was turned away from him, which was very good. He was struggling still to keep the body from thumping onto the floor—a very large victim indeed, even better. Before he could turn with his gun drawn, Sherlock had his aimed at his head. But no, he wanted to see the life drain from Moran's eyes like he hadn't with John's.
"Move for the gun and this bullet will go through the back of your head. That doesn't make for a nice exit wound out the frontal bone, believe me. Drop the body." The body dropped, the victim's face obscured by the angle of the coffee table. "Hands behind your head." A hesitation—Moran was going to say something. More possibilities, obvious answer a taunt of John's death, maybe even something about burning the heart of you and finishing Jim's work, but Sherlock didn't have the patience for it. He wanted Moran dead in less than the time it would take to listen to him. "Don't say anything, or I will shoot sooner. Now stand up." Moran went from a crouch to standing slowly and putting his hands behind his head. Sherlock waited for him to stand at his full height. He must have been wrong—it did happen, it was impossible for him to be right all the time—about the height, or perhaps the horrid cap he was wearing produced the illusion of seeming smaller. Sherlock tossed the ideas away. So close. "Now turn around," he grit through his teeth. The gun never wavered, though he was practically shaking with the need to kill the man already. Moran started to turn and Sherlock saw him tilt to the side—gun, obviously. "If you move so much as another centimeter out of line, I will-" the face was revealed.
But it wasn't Moran's. Horrid cap covering his hair, hands behind his head, eyes and mouth set grim, was John Hamish Watson. Sherlock felt a number of things go through him—a hitch in his breath (not unlike a punch to the solar plexus) followed by hyperventilation, blood draining from his face, loss of equilibrium—as he mouthed, "John," promptly toppling to the floor.
-SH -JW -SH -JW
In what seemed like the next breath, he heard a strange ringing noise, then a voice—John's voice—saying something.
"—ot eating? I thought you were watching him? The only reason I agreed to any of this was because you said you'd take care of him!"
"What did you expect? That I would hover over him and force him to eat?"
"I expected you to notice if something was wrong! Mycroft, if there has been more going on than you've been telling me, I will—"
Sherlock managed to make his mouth work. It was meant to be skin him, but it didn't work properly, by any means. It wasn't even a word, just a muffled groaning sound.
"Sherlock? Sherlock, can you hear me?"
Sherlock produced a noise close enough to yes for John to understand.
"Thank god. Are you alright? Can you tell me if anything hurts?"
Working on prying his eyelids open—surely they hadn't always been that heavy—Sherlock waited for his vision to focus. It took a few moments, but when it did, he was able to make out the very clear image of John Hamish Watson.
"Sherlock? Listen, can you blink if something is wrong?"
"Of course something is wrong," he managed at last. "I'm seeing you. Obviously something is wrong. I've been slipped a hallucinogenic, but from where? Why can't I think?" He scowled, and the John-not-John above him laughed.
"You can't think because you hit your head when you crash landed. Which, might I add, was very dramatic and not at all how I imagined seeing you again. You've got a lovely lump and bruise on your frontal bone—oh, and thank you for not shooting me. I prefer my own intact, if it's all the same."
The John-not-John was smiling now and stroking his hair, which was exactly what John-real-John had done when Sherlock was suffering from migraines.
Which was when Sherlock burst into tears. Humiliating, as he was in front of his brother, but unavoidable, really. He hadn't allowed himself to cry since he'd planned on being with John sooner rather than later, but it appeared that since that plan was no longer in action, all the tears he'd stored up in the past three months would flood onto John at risk of killing him for good.
John's reaction was priceless, as he went from smiling, to shocked, to teary. "Oh shit. Oh god. Sherlock—don't cry. I'm okay, I'm alive. I've been alive and okay and very much not dead so you don't need to—please, oh god—don't cry." After the first oh god John had wrapped Sherlock tightly in his arms and was currently squeezing and rocking and pressing his lips into Sherlock's hair as Sherlock shook with sobs. When he started hiccuping John had went from panicked to furious, pressing his cheek to Sherlock's hair and most likely glaring at Mycroft, giving the direction of his face and the angle of his head against Sherlock's. "You and I will talk later. And British government or not, if I don't like what I hear, I will—"
"Skin him, please," Sherlock said, a little hysterical as he laughed and cried and hiccuped all over John's jumper.
John made the huffing sound—god, how Sherlock had missed that sound—as he stroked Sherlock's hair away from his face where it was buried in John's neck. "Alright, love. I'll skin him, I'll make him shoes, I promise." John proceeded to coo—nonsense, how were pointless sounds supposed to calm someone down, no, wait, scratch that, research effects of soothing tones later—until Sherlock's sobs became sniffles and he wiped his nose with his coat sleeve. When he moved to sit up, however, John held him tighter. "I'm sorry, Sherlock. I'm so, so sorry. I never meant to—"
"I know, John." He felt a long breath sighed out of the man above him and he pushed—burrowed is never a way to describe the action of a fully grown man—his way farther into John's coat to settle closer to John's warm jumper.
"I guess this makes us even, doesn't it?"
"You, gone and presumed dead. Me, gone and presumed dead. We're the undead couple, apparently."
"Like the Modena remains."
"Like the Mantua bones."
Sherlock smiled and unclenched his hand from its grip on the wool and smoothed the fabric out. "You have a lot of explaining to do, John Watson."
"No, I don't actually think I do."
"And how could that possibly be?"
"One word, Sherlock: Mycroft."
At this, Sherlock remembered the presence of his brother and jerked upright, catching his head rather smartly on John's chin and making them both curse. Sherlock's was more vicious, however, as he got up and stalked over to the man standing across the room. Mycroft put his hands up and arched his brows, obviously going to say something placating, but Sherlock ignored him for the second time that night as he punched the most prominent of Mycroft's features. The downward pointed, perfect for the you-are-beneath-me look, almost beak-like nose. Mycroft swore—satisfying. John sighed—slightly amusing and more than gratifying to hear again. Sherlock scowled and stalked forward to grip his brother's suit jacket and shove him against the wall.
"You bastard. That's twice now you've interfered with my life, twice now that I've been separat—"
"Sherlock!" John lumbered to his feet—one was obviously asleep—and stumbled over to where Sherlock was shaking the taller man. "Sherlock, enough. If he hadn't—would you—he was the one that—quit that—oh for the love of god!" Finally coming to the correct conclusion that Sherlock wasn't going to listen or be placated, he wrapped his arms around Sherlock from behind and hauled the skinnier man backwards, clear off his feet. This nearly overtook the both of them and sent them toppling over ass over tea kettle, but it did the trick.
Mycroft straightened his hair as he looked at the pair, Sherlock still glaring daggers at him and John's arms tight around Sherlock's torso, although now one hand was raised to chest level. Sherlock looked down at the hand and felt himself calm. The rigidity went out of him and he raised his hands to cover John's.
"Well, I suppose I do deserve that in part," Mycroft relented, still smoothing his clothes. "I don't believe that warrants whiplash or removal of skin, but I see it would be pointless to argue with that at the moment. Yes, Sherlock, I orchestrated the same plan with John as I did you. However, I contacted John to ask for his help, not the other way around. An informant had just delivered me Moran's plan when I phoned Dr. Watson. He was... not exactly agreeable to plan, but the alternative was that you would enter the building and the odds were against you following orders."
"You told him there would be a bomb?"
"Yes. Moran had planned for you both to be killed in it. He had left a clue that he knew would be irresistible to you."
"How would I know?" came the slightly mocking reply.
Sherlock grit his teeth. "You've known enough to this point. How?"
"A spy. You planted a spy on Moran."
"And how did he not observe what was planted?"
"He did. He was shot before he could finish telling me. Moran found out there was someone watching him."
"Precisely so. Which is why I required Dr. Watson's assistance."
Sherlock's gaze dropped to the hands underneath his and felt John's breath alter against his back. "You needed him to find who was giving Moran information at crucial times. This was why he avoided me for so long. I found him, I told brother dearest, brother dearest let it slip to someone—"
"Even I have superiors, Sherlock."
"—and someone told someone who told a certain someone who told Moran. I see. You needed John to figure out who. So while I am at the Moran end of the case, John was at your end."
Mycroft had the grace to wince, bu the didn't deny it. "I believe you may have learned something from it, however."
"And what could that be?"
"What your dear Watson went through during the three years you were out hunting down the rest of Moriarty's ring. Really, it's quite similar. James Moriarty sends you a text informing you he will kill Dr. Watson, Dr. Watson finds out through me that Sebastian Moran intends to kill you. It's quite touching, really. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have papers to sign and you have a reunion to commence, most definitely without my presence. I will instruct Brian to take you back to your flat." He walked past them, only stopping when he reached the door. "Before I leave, however, I would like to ask one last time—"
"No, Mycroft. The answer is and will always be no." John sighed heavily against Sherlock's back.
"Well, I tried. If you're sure, Brian is waiting outside." And with that he left.
"What did he want?"
"The usual. Me to spy on you, minus the details of the sex. Oh, and he wanted me to work for him full-time."
Sherlock turned in John's arms and looked down at the small man in front of him. "You must have been quite extraordinary, then. Mycroft only hires the best. Although, most of them are still idiots."
"Most of the world would be, the way you look at it."
Sherlock's gaze grew serious now. "Not you."
"I'm not the rest of the world," John said with a small smile.
"Well, thank the queen for that." Sherlock's gaze caught on his true arch nemesis—the tongue that appeared, only to disappear just as quickly—and stayed.
"I don't think the quee—" John's words were swallowed by Sherlock's mouth on his, and every other word vanished from his thoughts. Every pent up emotion was put into the kiss, from both of them. Every night alone, every lonely day, every morning tea that didn't happen, every withering comment not heard. It was an exact mirror to the kiss that John had shocked Sherlock with upon his return. It was the kiss that had started their relationship on a romantic level, that had opened their eyes to something so much more.
So it was only fitting that when Sherlock broke off, both of them panting, and rested his forehead against John's, that he say with his lips still against brushing John's, "I love you."
And John, ever surprising, reliable John, laughed. "I know, you idiot. I love you, too."
The grin that stretched Sherlock's mouth lit his eyes to a grey-green sparkle. He pulled John close once more before John rubbed his nose against Sherlock's. "Dinner?" the consulting detective asked.
"Starving," the army doctor replied.
"Excellent. I have a great Chinese place in mind..."
-MH -A -MH -A
"I take it that went well?"
"Should I arrange for a wedding?"
"Yes, make it summer. Sherlock would never agree to a chapel wedding. Outside will work much better."
"Tent. It's my brother, Annika. There likely won't be enough people to fill the plural of tent. Also, let's keep it open, no walls to them, so that there will be more room..."
A/N: Thank you for reading! I also put it up on my tumblr, if any of you are like-minded Sherlockians. You can find me at a-high-functioning-hufflepuff at tumblr. Hope you enjoyed!