Chapter 5- Nature Boy
John Watson- Mycroft's Apartment, Chelsea
Despite his earlier assurances to himself that Mycroft did not matter and perhaps Mycroft didn't quite deserve the swift and painful death that John now so wanted to bring to him, John found himself standing on the doorstep of Mycroft Holmes' white pillared Chelsea home, his finger hovering over the buzzer for Mycroft's apartment.
Trying to settle his grinding nerves, John fiercely jabbed the button and stepped back a little, restraining himself from his inner desire to pound at the doorbell until Mycroft came running to the door. Instead, as expected, a slim, pretty girl opened the door, recognised John and with the briefest of glances left and right down the street behind John, she ushered him into the house.
John loathed this place, with its antiques and heavy, Victorian furnishings. The wood panelling and thick patterned carpets were so very Mycroft and therefore, at this point, entirely detestable. The sound of low jazz music was drifting down from a door at the top of the stairs that had been left slightly ajar. The apartment was 2 storeys and so large that it surpassed many working class families' houses. The other apartment was a studio flat in the loft that Mycroft kindly leant out to young, good looking male students from Kings College, Imperial College and the other universities in London; something that no one ever spoke of.
Ignoring the girls whispered discouragement, John set off towards the stairs and the room from which the jazz was being emitted. Pushing the door further open, he strode in, back straight, military training kicking in and emotions buried, as they had been for the past 3 years, in an attempt to make his pain less evident.
"Mycroft." He almost barked the name, spat it out like a bad taste that was burning his tongue.
"Ah, John. So good to see you." Mycroft's air of companionship towards John made his skin crawl, the betrayal still fresh in his stomach, constricting his throat.
"Can't say the same for you, Holmes."
Mycroft sighed, pursing his lips as he rested his fingertips together in front of his face, one leg crossed over the other as he sat in his high backed arm chair, next to the juke box from which the jazz still floated through the room.
"Ah, so he was telling the truth. You have, indeed, been reunited with my dear brother Sherlock." He smiled sadly into his hands, his eyes on the floor. "You know, I'd started to stop believing his threats of telling you. He seemed so convincing every time and then, it would never come to be."
Ignoring that statement, John strode over to the window, eager to lay eyes on anything but Mycroft. After Sherlock had di- John shook himself; after Sherlock left, Mycroft had at first been a great source of comfort to John, whilst he was too grief ridden to really think things through. For the first 6 months, John had lived in a state of disbelief and shock, staying in the flat 24 hours a day, convinced that Sherlock would walk in the door at any point and refusing to speak to anyone but Mrs Hudson and Molly. Then, after 6 months, Mycroft had come to him, apologised for the part he had played in Sherlock's demise and promised to help John, for as long as he needed it. So, he had. Mycroft had provided John with money, with moral support and, every now and then, with companionship. Although not particularly similar to Sherlock, anyone with a similar level of unemotional intelligence was comforting to speak to, and so John and Mycroft often met for dinner or a walk, to discuss politics and current affairs. Looking back now, John felt so stupid; stupid for trusting someone so clearly without a shred of morals or remorse.
He turned back to Mycroft. "You knew. You knew, yet you watched me, at close quarters, suffer and grieve for 3 years." His voice wasn't loud, like he'd intended, it was quiet and accusing. He sounded broken, and he hated it. "How did you pull it off? Was it fun, a fun little distraction from the boredom of your job? Spending hours talking to me, all the while knowing that Sherlock was cosied up in his old apartment, courtesy of you?"
Mycroft met his eyes and shook his head slightly. "No, it wasn't fun, John. In fact, it was tiresome and frustrating, and I wanted to help you more, I really did. But then, last year you stopped speaking to me anyway. Your anger resurfaced. You ignored me at the bench, on the anniversary. I was going to tell you then, actually. But really, I could never find the words."
John growled, his eyes burning with anger, "That's bullshit." He stormed across the room to the door, "You can tell your conniving brother that I don't want to hear from him, or you, ever again." He banged the door with his fist, sending it slamming back against its hinges, into the wall, leaving a dent in the antique wallpaper. "You're both insane, absolutely fucking insane and I don't want to hear this crap anymore." He took a step forwards, "You wished you could tell me? You couldn't find the words? Bullshit, you did! The whole time, you just stood by, watching me break more and more every day, watching me try to live anything with a vague semblance of a life, completely alone and mourning for years and you just stood there, you-"
Mycroft stood up, wringing his hands in front of him, "John, I know. I know, I did all those things but I am sorry."
John laughed mirthlessly and shook his head vigorously, "Fuck off, you don't know the meaning of the word." With that, he turned tail and stormed from the room, thundering down the stairs and out of the front door.
The cold air hit him like a punch in the gut, but he embraced it, really, the cold, London weather one of the only constants in his life.
He wandered the streets for hours, trying to shake off the anger and resentment that hung like a dead weight around his neck. Mycroft was a bastard, Sherlock was a bastard; they were all bastards, mother fucking basta- He stopped still. He'd walked to Trafalgar Square- the beauty of London being that everything was so close together, with a spare couple of hours you could walk anywhere you wanted. And he was sure, sure as the day is long, that he'd just seen Sherlock, walking across the square, disappearing behind the foot of Nelson's Column. John tripped down the steps by the fourth plinth, the stairs he'd only just climbed before he'd glanced back and seen Sherlock. He ran to the base of the column, circled it and cursed quietly. He'd gone.
John steeled himself; it didn't matter he didn't want to see him again, anyway. As he'd said to Mycroft, he was done… But only yesterday, John had told himself that no matter what happened he couldn't bear to be left alone again. God, he was so up and down with emotions, he couldn't handle much more of this. He started as his phone rang. He glanced at the receiver and bit back another curse. Mrs Hudson.
As if he hadn't spoken to enough people he didn't want to speak to today. Flicking the receiver up, he answered the phone.
"John, dear? It's Mrs Hudson."
"Yes, I know who it is." His voice was laced with hostility, which he was sure even innocent and lovely Mrs Hudson would pick up on.
"Oh, I see… Well, I was wondering if you'd like to come round for tea, dear. This afternoon. I mean, I could get some scones in and we could have a nice little catch up and-"
"A catch up."
"Yes, dear, a good chat, to clear the air and sort this whole mess out, I mean-"
"It's a little more than a mess."
"Well… well, yes dear but I mean-"
John sighed; weary now with feeling so angry all the time. "You knew and you did nothing. You didn't help me and you didn't tell me. You, Sherlock, Mycroft, you all knew and you let me suffer. I can't forgive-"
"Well, really, John. It wasn't like we did all this as some sort of practical joke. We were protecting you, dear. Gosh, I'd have thought you'd be more appreciative, Sherlock's hardly been living a fun life the past few years, bored out of his mind, shouting 'very not good' at himself and shooting chunks out of my lovely house!"
John struggled to keep his voice level, aware that he was still in a public place, and that the tourists buzzing around him would be more than startled if he started screaming into his mobile phone.
"I'm sure life's been intensely difficult for you all. Sorry for the inconvenience."
"Oh John, he really wants to see you, you know. He doesn't know what to do with himself; he just wants to explain to you, much as he can. I mean he can't explain much, he's got to be careful, make sure that poor girl is kept out of it-"
With a jolt, John realised that he'd been right, in his musings the day before. When it came to working out exactly how Sherlock had managed to make it seem quite so realistic that he was dead and gone, his head smashed on the pavement, one factor seemed pretty damn obvious; Molly. It was her hospital, her territory. She must have helped. Tuning out Mrs Hudson's blathering, he shut his phone off and stalked off towards the taxi rank at Charing Cross station.