A/N – I'm posting this on the one year anniversary of my first Sherlock fan fiction so I insist that you be nice. ;) This is the first straight up AU that I've ever done so be patient with me please. Thanks Scopes for the idea and the pep talks.
Warnings – This is an AU; if that isn't your thing move on. This will eventually have a romantic relationship between two men; if that isn't your thing move on. Please do not send me reviews or PMs that this is an AU or that you are offended by slash or cuss words. Consider yourself warned.
Summary – John Watson a genius and world renowned doctor meets Sherlock Holmes an average, but ambitious, police officer. Based loosely on A Study in Pink.
Disclaimer – I own very little, and these characters are not on the list.
"You do know that this is insane, right? I can't believe that you're going through with it!" Mike Stamford complained from the doorway as John put the contents of his desk into one of the boxes. "You're the best - the best - thoracic surgeon in the country. You're one of the best in the world!" John started shaking his head putting a collection of awards into the box. "You are," Stamford emphasized, sighing before he continued. "You've helped alter the treatment regimen for thousands of returning soldiers. You've improved the same number of lives, easily. And now you're just going to walk away from that to play G.I. Joe?"
John rolled his eyes and dropped his certificate from Bart's into the box. For the first time in his life it wouldn't mean anything. It wouldn't mean a single thing in the deserts of Afghanistan.
He found the idea thrilling.
"What's the ultimate goal in what we do, Mike? Why are we here?" Stamford shook his head and John stopped packing to stare at him. "My goal is to make life easier for those men and women - hell kids, Mike, some of them are kids. They're being sent across the world and coming home in pieces. If we can heal them physically, maybe we can make the rest of it easier for them, too."
Stamford nodded and looked at the collection of the 'thank you' cards and pictures lining one side of John's office. John followed his eyes and smiled at them.
"You're going into a war, John. A war. Do you really understand that?"
"I do," John said. "I've seen the pictures; I've heard the stories. My grandfather was in the Navy. I've seen what it does to people, Mike. I've removed shrapnel and repaired lungs. It isn't going to be pretty. I know that. I also know that the sooner they get good medical care, the better. It'll be easier for them in the long run. Not that the RAMC isn't competent, but their objective is different than mine. I might not learn anything useful and I might not teach them a single thing, but if I save one leg, or arm, or especially a life, then it's worth it. Everyone here can do what I do, so it's time for me to do something new."
Stamford sighed again and ran his finger over a few of the pictures before he picked one up. John smiled as he continued to clear his desk. "This is absolute insanity, John. Absolute insanity." He paused. "But let me help you pack so we can get to the club for your going away party."
John chuckled. "It's supposed to be a surprise, Mike?" Stamford turned around and dumped the pictures and cards in the box.
"Surprising John Watson is like trying to outrun death: there's absolutely no point." He turned back around and started picking up the second group.
John watched him for a moment, smiling, before glancing out of the window. In the distance, the Eye was already glowing blue in the evening light. The sun was setting over London and the sky was lit with a collection of pinks and purples. It was beautiful and he knew he was going to miss it. Hell, he missed London when he was working in Birmingham. He missed London when he got dragged to family functions at his sister's country estate - Clara's country estate to be more precise. His soul was in this city and a part of him felt like he was abandoning it.
He'd be back though. And if all went according to plan, the lives for a lot of returning men and women would be a hell of a lot better. That would mean more research money in a field that was getting more and more competitive. Britain was – shamefully – behind countries like the US, China, Japan, and Canada in this regard. Too many committees, he always said. Other countries got out there and did it. His country held a committee first. He hated committees and meetings. Medicine was doing, acting, decision making, not voting and discussing.
He wanted to make a difference. And he felt like he could in Afghanistan.
John took a deep breath, admiring his view one last time, even if he returned to the private sector when he returned he'd never work in this office again. He'd never again drink his coffee sitting in this chair and watching the early morning boats move along the Thames. It saddened him but life was about moving forward not looking backwards. He'd done all he could here.
He watched for just another second before turning back to his desk and opening the next drawer.
"What on earth are you wearing?" Mycroft asked as he climbed out of his car. Sherlock was learning against a bin in front of the club, waiting for him.
Sherlock looked down at the suit he'd picked up at the Marks and Spencer just yesterday and shook his head. "A suit," he said and he felt more than saw his brother's eye roll. It was a little short in the limbs, but it was cheap and chances are it would get ruined like the last one. He'd spent good money on his previous suit – it had been hand sewn and made of silk. And then the second time he wore it red paint was thrown all over it by a forger trying to push fake Picassos onto the market.
"I need a favor," Sherlock said, falling into step next to Mycroft. They were headed into the exclusive Pemberton Club – to which Sherlock wasn't a member. He started digging in his pocket for his badge; surely being with the Yard would at least get him in the front door.
"You're with me," Mycroft sighed. "They'll let you in, even if you're dressed like the homeless." Sherlock looked down at his suit again. It wasn't that bad. They walked up the stone steps and the giant oak doors opened before they reached the top landing. A man dressed in white tie, with tails and white gloves, answered the door and did not speak. Mycroft breezed past him and the man tipped his head slightly as Sherlock followed his brother. Sherlock had never actually been inside before.
"What's the favor?" Mycroft asked as they descended a set of dark wood stairs and entered a dressing room. Sherlock frowned; none of the individual cabinets had locks. It seemed odd to him that all these men allowed their belongings to just sit behind these unsecured doors.
"It's the Pemberton, Sherlock, no one is going to steal anything." Sherlock looked back up at Mycroft as he pulled his coat off and hung it behind a door that said Holmes. His umbrella was also set inside before he closed it and turned back to Sherlock. "The favor?" he prompted again, pulling his cuffs out from underneath his jacket.
He wasn't wearing a tuxedo which surprised Sherlock, but the suit was one of his nicer ones. The slightly brown tint in the grey hue made Mycroft's coloring appear yellow in this lighting and Sherlock found the sight amusing. He didn't comment though – he wouldn't get what he needed from Mycroft if he pointed that out.
"What is this event?" Sherlock asked, looking around the small changing room as if would provide some clue.
"One of the club's members is leaving his lucrative medical research career to go and serve with the RAMC in Afghanistan. We're throwing him a farewell party."
"Interesting career move," Sherlock said.
"Some would call it admirable. He's spent years trying to improve the lives of injured veterans and feels that he's done all that he can here. He wants to spend time in the field hospital at Bastion and learn even more."
"I'm sure he will increase his research funding as a result–"
"Do you always have to be such a cynic?" Mycroft snapped and Sherlock could tell he was growing impatient. "He's a genuinely good man, doing genuinely good work. If the end result is more research funding, I'm certain that he will use it to accomplish more. His level of integrity is almost alarming at times, if I'm being honest."
Sherlock nodded, letting his eyes dart around the room again. He recognized several of the names on the doors. There were a handful of peers and a few of the more prestigious celebrities. The whole place turned his stomach slightly. So much money going to so much waste.
"The favor?" Mycroft repeated and Sherlock nodded.
"Lestrade is working on a case. A woman found burned to death in her garage, but nothing around her was burned." Mycroft nodded, Sherlock would know he was familiar with the case. It had been all over the news. "I need the woman's file, all the information you have on her."
Mycroft was shaking his head before Sherlock finished. "You're not on D.I. Lestrade's team – you're not even on the Murder Investigation Team. They haven't requested any information from us, so why would I give it to you? I have tried repeatedly to explain to you that you're on the right path at the Yard. If you want to move–"
"I have a theory about how she might have died," Sherlock interrupted and Mycroft shrugged his shoulders.
"It's not your concern and interfering with someone else's investigation will not win you any friends. You wanted out of Art and Antiques because you felt it was boring, which I fail to understand, but I pulled strings and–"
"Had me moved to Financial Investigation? Were you under the impression that it would be more stimulating? I spend my days looking over page after page of stock transactions and talking to forensic accountants. I want to investigate murders, Mycroft, actual crimes, and you are in my way."
Mycroft sighed and rubbed a hand over his face. "You're supposed to be investigating Shad Sanderson. Exposing their irregularities will get you noticed by the correct–"
"I don't care about advancement! I didn't become a police officer to sit in an office!"
Mycroft eyed him for a moment and Sherlock could see the judgment there, the condescension. Their discussion was over. "You know nothing of politics, little brother. Come and I'll walk you out. I'll consider your request and get back with you tomorrow." Sherlock stood still for a moment, not appreciating being dismissed. But Mycroft had not outright refused him, so he might still be able to get the file.
Sherlock turned and exited the changing room. Laughter greeted him as he climbed the wood stairs, and he entered the main hall to seem a small group of men standing in the corner. Each of them was impeccable dressed and seemed comfortable in the hallowed walls. He didn't recognize any of them but had an immediate dislike for them as a whole.
"Ah," Mycroft said, walking passed him and up to the men. "The man of the hour." A thin man with dark blonde hair and warm blue eyes turned and smiled at Mycroft.
"Mycroft," he said, shaking his hand. Sherlock moved to stand next to his brother, pointedly waiting to be introduced. He could feel the eyes of the other men in the group roving over him. They were judging him and his cheap suit. He felt suddenly self-conscious and wondered if he should just leave, but Mycroft spoke, stopping Sherlock's escape.
"Doctor John Watson, may I introduce my brother, Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock, meet renowned surgeon and medical researcher, Doctor John Watson. He's leaving us for Afghanistan in a few days so we're giving him a proper send off."
Sherlock met the doctor's eyes and was surprised that they did not wander over him. There was no judgment or distaste at Sherlock's presence. The doctor maintained his easy smile, appearing genuinely pleased to meet Sherlock. They shook hands and the doctor's grip was sure, but not tight. Sherlock smiled back and felt a sense of admiration for the smaller man.
"Pleasure to meet you," John said. "You work at Scotland Yard, don't you? I remember hearing something about Mycroft's brother at the Yard."
"Yes," Sherlock replied. John nodded and Sherlock didn't feel any of the distaste at his career choice that Mycroft's friends usually seemed to have. It surprised him.
"Will you be joining us for dinner?" John asked.
"No," Mycroft answered on Sherlock's behalf. "He's working on a case and I'm providing him with some information. I was just verifying exactly what he needed." Sherlock felt momentarily triumphant – perhaps he would invade Mycroft's social circles more often. It seemed to get him what he wanted.
Mycroft turned to face him. "If you head to my office, Sherlock, you'll find that Anthea has compiled everything that you need." Sherlock nodded to his brother and then looked back at the group of strangers and Doctor John Watson.
"Do have a safe tour in Afghanistan, Doctor. My brother says you're doing admirable work. I hope you find success."
"Thank you," Watson and Sherlock could see that he was genuinely pleased at the well wishes.
"Have a lovely evening, gentleman," Sherlock said to the rest of the group before heading towards the door.