The Man with the License

Sherlock and John wander into one of Mycroft's cases, and when danger ensues, the elder Holmes has to come to the rescue. A few thoughts about the secrets that are really held inside Mycroft's head. Its a bit rough, but I kinda like the idea, so i thought I'd share it with you. Please let me know what you think.

It was a fairly average industrial unit and John had no idea why they had ended up standing in the middle of the empty concrete floor except that the gang of counterfeiters had led them here. Sherlock was pacing about muttering, and Lestrade was standing there with his hands on his hips looking decidedly dischuffed.

'And the point of this is?'

'They're somewhere here,' Sherlock growled. 'Something…' He tapped his front teeth with a fingernail, racking his brains. 'Damn, damn, damn, what are you up to, you devious bastards?'

John and Greg exchanged looks.

That was when Mycroft walked in. John heard the tap of the tip of his umbrella before he saw him.

'I really think,' he called out as he walked in through the rolled up warehouse door, 'that you should contact me before you go swanning into things like this.'

'What the hell are you doing here?' Sherlock growled.

'I might say the same to you, since you've just blown a particularly delicate operation,' the elder Holmes said. 'Good evening, Inspector.' Mycroft was always very polite to Greg, John had noticed.

And that was when the bomb went off. And the thing that struck John about that was that even though the warehouse was suddenly full of shards of glass and a billow of flame, and even though everyone else immediately threw themselves onto the floor, Mycroft merely bent over, like a reed bending in the wind. He did, at least, drop his umbrella.

'Are you armed, John?' He heard Mycroft's voice cut through the blackness. The lights flickered back on. The blast had taken out the upstairs offices. Everyone was coughing.

And then bullets were flying.

They all fell behind a heap of random cardboard boxes, not much use for protection, but at least a bit of cover. John grabbed the pistol from its hiding place, nestled against the small of his back under his belt, and popped his head up, trying to see where the fire was coming from. Sherlock, of course, raised his head too high, and John had to grab a handful of curly hair and yank him back down again. There were filing cabinets and a fork lift truck in the corner. It looked like someone was hunched behind that, keeping their little group pinned down. John craned up and tried to aim.

'Cover me, John.' It was Mycroft's voice, calm and cool, with an edge of dangerous velvet about it. John gripped his firearm and opened up, keeping the shooter safely behind the truck until Mycroft could get close enough. John was aware that Greg was behind him, head up, watching as closely as he and Sherlock.

'What the fuck's he-'

Mycroft was blindingly fast and completely silent. He had slipped behind their assailant before the man knew what was going on. A brief blow knocked the gun from his hand, and sent him reeling. John saw Mycroft reach out and grip both sides of the man's head. And twist. There was the familiar sickening crackle of cartilage and bone, and the man fell lifeless on the concrete. Mycroft scooped up the pistol and checked the clip, then rifled through the dead man's pockets for a refill.

'Jesus, he just-' Greg gasped, horrified.

There was a clatter from the back door, and more shots. The rest of the gang had obviously decided to make their break.

Mycroft glanced at John. Their eyes met, and in that brief moment, John knew. Knew things about the elder Holmes that he never could have explained, even to Sherlock. Mycroft nodded and signalled with his hand from his crouch beside the fork lift. John nodded back that he had understood.

'Right, when I say go, we run like hell for that side door there, and get out, understood?'

'We can't leave him!' Sherlock cried over the noise of ricochets.

'Mycroft knows what he's doing. I have to get you both out of here. Now, go!'

He was amazed they didn't argue. They just ran. And he followed them, shooting as he went, with Mycroft providing covering fire.

Outside, they scrambled behind Greg's unmarked car, and Sherlock fumbled with his phone.

'Shit! Anthea. Got to-'

There was more gunfire: the crackle of automatic fire, and then the clear, decisive shots of a pistol rang out.

Two black vans came screaming up. Men poured out, men dressed in black. Mycroft's goons.

John was covering the door by which he, Sherlock and Greg had left, in case any of the suspects came out that way. The men in black went in through the back. Out of the darkness, Anthea materialised, dressed too in black, her eyes wild.

'Where is he,' she breathed.

'Inside.' John was close enough to smell her perfume. He looked round for Sherlock. His lover was sitting on the ground, back to the wheel, head back, his eyes closed, waiting for dreadful news.

There was no more shooting.

Then there was a rattle and the side door banged open. John reared up, training his sights on it. But the figure that emerged was not one of the villains.

It was Mycroft.

Cheek spattered with blood. Suit ruined. Walking slowly, soberly, as if stunned.

'Jesus, look at him,' Greg breathed.

Anthea ran forward to him, but John grabbed Sherlock just in time, and pulled him back.

'Not yet. Give him a minute. His blood's still up.' Sherlock looked down into his eyes, frowning, forming a question that died on his lips. No need to ask John how he knew.

Anthea left her boss and went inside, and Mycroft sat down on the step, his hands dangling in front of him, knuckles still white around the butt of the pistol. John carefully stowed his own gun.

'Is he okay?' Sherlock whispered, laying a hand on his arm. 'Can you?'

'Yes,' John said, and went.

Mycroft did not bother to look up when John sat down next to him.

'Want me to take that?' He asked, and Mycroft gave him the gun.

They sat there.

'How many?'


'You okay?'

'You of all people, John, should know the answer to that.'

John's continued presence formed another question for him.

'Curious, still, Dr Watson?'

'One soldier to another,' John said.

'Not a soldier. Nothing so noble. There is another word for men like me.' Mycroft sighed, world-weary. 'Her Majesty's Government is of the opinion that a job like mine should be learnt, as it were, from the ground up.'

'Never send a man to do anything you wouldn't or couldn't do yourself.' John nodded.

'I clean up messes. Little messes that arise. . These days I do with an entire department what I used to do on my own in the field. And sometimes messes have to be cleaned up in a decidedly permanent manner.'


'I have retained my licence, for just such occasions as this.'


'Don't be a dunce, John. We may not use the 'double zero' delineation anymore, but the principle is the same.'

'Oh.' John thought about the consequences of this. 'How many little messes have you cleared up?'

'Let's just say I'm well into double figures.'

John nodded.

'But you know how it is. It doesn't matter how many. They are always somebody's brother, somebody's son.'

'Or daughter.'

'Yes, even that, these days, although the Service always used to have a rule about it. But with the spread of radicalisation, it's just impossible to follow now. But not children. Never children. I have at least that to comfort me.'

'Which is not something the Joint Chiefs of Staff can say,' John added bitterly. He'd seen too many airstrikes on civilian targets to be neutral about that particular issue.

'No, I suppose not.' Mycroft shook his head. From the look of him, he was starting to come back down again from the adrenaline high of combat.

'Oh dear,' he said suddenly, looking down at his left arm. Blood was streaming from under his cuff and between his fingers. 'I rather seem to have hurt myself.' He sounded surprised, even amused.

Shock, John thought. 'Do you want me to take a look?'

'I think that would be nice.'

John eased Mycroft's jacket over his shoulder and examined the wound. Nothing too serious, but a bullet had grazed through the muscle of his upper arm.

'Need to stop the bleeding,' he said, dropping into doctor mode.

'I'd rather you didn't tell Greg about me,' Mycroft said. 'I don't want him to think of me like that.'

Never mind the fact that you broke that bastard's neck right in front of him, John thought. And then the penny dropped. Oh. Mycroft and Greg. Didn't see that one coming.

'Don't worry,' he said.

They watched Mycroft being loaded into the ambulance.

'He'll be okay, right?' Sherlock, brows furrowed.

'Just a knock. A few stitches and a couple of paracetamol and he'll be right as rain,' John lied. He knew it would take a bit more than that, but he didn't want Sherlock to worry unduly, and Mycroft was in excellent hands.

'Which hospital are they taking him to?' Now, Greg did look worried. Maybe even upset.

'Don't,' John told him, clapping him on the shoulder. 'He'll be fine.'

'I want to thank him.'

'No need.'

'He saved my life!'

'I have a feeling he does that every day for all of us,' John told him. 'I just don't think we noticed until now.'

The ambulance pulled away, leaving a sense of calm behind it.

'What he did-'

'Greg, just let it go.'

'He broke that guy's neck. Just like that.'


'I mean, I'd have done the same in his place, but-'

'No, you wouldn't.'

'Yes, I would.'

'No, Greg, you wouldn't. There are two kinds of men. Those who are trained to disarm, like you, and those who are trained to neutralise, like me. You're there to protect the people, even if it's from themselves. You might have beaten the living shit out of him if you'd got close enough, just to stop him attacking, but that would have never occurred to me. Or someone like me. You need to understand that.'

John's suggestion was evident. He could tell from the sudden expression on Greg's face that he understood what the doctor was definitely not saying.

'My God. You really think so?'

'It's better not to ask these things. You don't want to know,' John told him. 'I suspect there are a lot of things about Mycroft that we are all happier not knowing.'