So, sorry this chapter is so late. My muse wasn't exactly happy with how the relationship between John and Sherlock was turning out... I'm still not too happy with it, but if I have to look at it any longer, then it's never going to get written.
Thank you for everyone who has read, reviewed, favorited, and alerted this story. I'm glad you've enjoyed it!
Kudos to all of you Whovians who can point out my random Doctor Who reference. I kind of had a fangirl moment while I was writing this... while I was watching an episode of Merlin. Did I mention the fact that I'm an American?
A Good Man
Out of all of the reactions Sherlock had expected from John on the revelation he was alive, being punched in the face hadn't been one of them.
Sherlock blinked, his ears ringing and his cheek stinging as he stared at John in astonishment. The shorter man was breathing heavily, his brown eyes wide with both surprise and disbelief.
"John," Sherlock began, but came up short.
John shook his head. "It's really you, then, yeah? Not some doppelganger or Tesselector?"
Sherlock was puzzled, but John wasn't really paying attention.
"I don't believe this," he muttered. "You're—you're alive. You jumped off a building and you're still alive."
Sherlock waited, sensing this was just the beginning of what would, most likely, be a lot of yelling and disbelieving noises. For such a mild person, John did a lot of yelling, especially when he was upset.
"Of course you're still alive," John was saying, as he turned on his heel and started pacing. "Death is too simple for Sherlock Holmes. Too easy."
The words struck a chord—the conversation with Moriarty still all too present in Sherlock's mind.
"Don't be absurd, John."
The doctor snorted. "I don't think it's absurd," he said. "Not at all. I watched you die, Sherlock! I watched you jump off that bloody building and die. For nearly a month I've had to live with the fact that you were dead and now you're not!"
"In my defense, I was never really dead," Sherlock pointed out.
John glared. "That's not the point, Sherlock!"
The detective sighed and folded his arms over his chest, flinching ever so slightly as the still mending bones in his left arm protested.
John caught the wince and immediately, his entire demeanor changed.
"Are you all right?"
"Taking a jump off Saint Bart's morgue isn't exactly beneficial to my health," Sherlock pointed out. "It had some… unforeseen consequences."
There was a brief moment of silence.
"So, go on then," John said, shifting uncomfortably. "You must be dying to tell me how you survived."
"A well placed garbage truck and Molly Hooper," Sherlock replied.
"Molly… Molly Hooper?" John asked, clearly shocked. "She knew you were alive?"
Sherlock raised an eyebrow. "Don't be an idiot, John, of course she did. I needed someone in the morgue to know what was going on."
"Who else?" John demanded, his temper flaring again. "Who else knew you were alive?"
"I don't see why this matters."
"Just answer the question," John all but yelled.
John's eyes went wide. "Lestrade knew? You told Lestrade that you were still alive and you didn't-?"
He trailed off, but it was easy for Sherlock to deduce what the doctor was going to say next.
"It was necessary that Lestrade knew the truth," Sherlock said simply.
John visibly swallowed. "But not me."
"You had to believe that I was a fraud, John."
"Yeah, because that was going to happen," the doctor snapped.
Sherlock opened his mouth to say something, but John cut across him.
"You know, I Googled myself, after your swan dive. None of the stuff you found out about was on there. The fact that Harry is short for Harriet, is, but none of the rest of it."
In all honesty, the consulting detective should have considered that fact. But he had been a little busy attempting to get John believe he was a fraud at that point.
"I needed you to believe that I was a fraud," Sherlock repeated.
"Why?" John demanded. "Why did I have to believe that, over everyone else?"
"Because Moriarty would have you killed otherwise."
The words came out of Sherlock's mouth without his consent, leaving John wide-eyed and open mouthed. Clearly, he hadn't considered that.
Sherlock shifted uncomfortably, never having been one for emotional confrontations.
John closed his mouth, only to open it again as he attempted to think of something to say.
"You… you jumped off a building because if you didn't, Moriarty would have killed me?"
A snort of derision wasn't exactly what Sherlock had been expecting, but then again, he never really had gotten the hang of reading the multitude of facial expressions, especially John's.
"I don't bloody believe it. You come in here, after being dead for a month, and then you expect me to believe the only reason why you didn't flaunt how clever you are was because Moriarty was going to kill me?"
"Is that impossible to believe, John?"
"Yes! Because Moriarty is dead, damn it. He's been dead for as long as you have—oho. He's not dead, is he?"
Sherlock was saved from having to answer that question by the sudden arrival of Mrs. Hudson.
"John, dear, you really need to stop leaving your mail on the front step. I'm going to fall over it one of these days," she scolded as she dropped a package off on the kitchen table. She glanced around, her eyes landing on Sherlock.
A shocked exclamation escaped her lips, before she placed her hands on her hips.
"Sherlock! It's about time you showed up."
Good old Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock thought with a smile.
John looked from Sherlock to their land lady and back again, shock on his face.
"The whole world's gone bloody insane," he muttered.
Mrs. Hudson smiled. "I'll go put on a pot of tea, then. You two have a lot of catching up to do."
She left quickly, leaving John and Sherlock on their own once more.
It seemed as though their land lady had had a calming effect on John, for the ex army doctor stopped his incessant pacing to crash into his chair.
Sherlock glanced around.
"Mycroft has been here, I take it."
John grimaced and looked at the remains of his shattered phone on the ground.
"Yeah. You could say that."
"Don't, Sherlock. Don't do that. Just, don't be you for a minute, okay?"
Sherlock wanted to point out how utterly ridiculous that sounded, but stopped before the words came out of his mouth.
"Okay," he said instead.
If John was surprised by the rather quick acquiescence, he didn't comment on it. He stared at Sherlock, clearly bemused, and at least slightly irritated.
The sound of a phone buzzing interrupted John's silent study of Sherlock. The ex army doctor grimaced.
"You should get that."
Sherlock shrugged one shoulder.
"It can wait."
"Answer the phone, Sherlock. God forbid Lestrade goes another minute without his great consulting detective."
There was an overwhelming sarcasm in John's voice that Sherlock decided not to comment on as he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket.
It was indeed a text from Lestrade, requesting Sherlock's presence at Scotland Yard immediately. Apparently, there was a murdered woman and no suspects.
John was scowling.
"It's Lestrade, then, yes?"
Sherlock nodded. "He is in need of my assistance."
"So you're leaving again."
John glared. "Don't you think it's the wrong time for that?"
"Murder never waits, John. Surely, you know that."
The ex army doctor crossed his arms over his chest. Sherlock stared impassively back.
"Would you like to come along?" the consulting detective asked.
"Good God, yes."