A/N Whee, finally onto the part that I'm actually happy with! XD Here we actually a couple of the SPN characters (guess who it could possibly be), so that's refreshing. And... yeah. There are actually an amazing amount of alerts on this story, so if each of you would possibly be kind enough to drop a review before you go just letting me know what you thought... I'd love it. Also, this is indeed the last chapter, so yes. Enjoy~
Thanks to... SuperSonicBeatrice, TheForsakenWolf86
Disclaimer I don't own Sherlock/Supernatural or any associated characters, events, etc.
I will not fall, won't let it go, we will be free when it ends
I, I've been waiting for someone like you
But now you are slipping away, why, why does fate make us suffer
There's a curse between us, between me and you
~ "What Have You Done," Within Temptation
"Don't let him in!" Lestrade shouts furiously, his arms straining as he backs himself up against the door. He pins it in place with his elbows, using his free hand to pull out a pistol previously concealed at his waist. Of course, I realize suddenly, of course he had a gun all this time. So we're not entirely unprepared, then. That's something. I ignore the nagging voice at the back of my mind reminding me insistently that bullets won't do anything to harm Sherlock—after all, it's easily enough drowned out by the desperate mental chaos consuming the rest of my thoughts. His eyes, even being on the other side of the door, seem to burn into my chest, and I stand frozen, staring blankly as Lestrade and Molly struggle to keep him back. He must be damn strong, I register numbly, to be able to pose such a significant challenge against their combined weight.
"John!" Molly cries, "help us!" Her expression is frantic, strands of hair caught between her lips and sticking to her flushed cheeks as she pushes against the double doors with all the strength of her slim body. I blink, then jolt slightly, stumbling backwards and looking around the warehouse. My anxiety spins my head and twists my stomach, but I force myself to revert to my soldier state, taking a deep breath, shoving thoughts of my flatmate—former flatmate—away from my focus, and dashing over to the nearest stack of cardboard boxes stacked in the corner of the warehouse. I secure my arms around one, lugging it over to the doors and pushing it up against the crack. I make sure to keep my eyes carefully averted from the doorway itself, in case by any chance Sherlock finds a way to get a look at me again. I can't stand to look at his eyes.
Because just their image, so dark and inhuman, sends a shiver down my spine—a shiver that I force myself to ignore as I dash over and grab another box. I've got no idea what the containers hold, but they're damn heavy, and the struggle involved in moving them from the wall to the door as fast as possible luckily distracts me.
"How's it holding up?" I shout in Lestrade's direction over the horrid banging as I go to take hold of my fourth box.
"Not very well?" he exclaims back, his voice heavy with disbelief at the casualness of my inquiry. I grit my teeth, acknowledging how unnecessary of a gesture it was in the first place, then drop the box on top of the other three, pausing for a moment with my hands braced on the top of the stack to let myself breathe. I allow myself ten seconds' worth of rest, too much time that seems to pass in an instant anyways, then dart back for my fifth round.
"This isn't going to work," Molly moans.
"Don't say that," I implore, but she just shakes her head, breathing heavily and squeezing her eyes shut. Her face is deadly pale, and she looks almost like she's going to pass out. I hesitate, on the verge of asking if she's alright, then decide that I can't afford to do so. She'll just have to manage, and she's stronger than I give her credit for—after all, she's gotten this far.
She's right, of course—this isn't going to work, and Lestrade and I both know perfectly well, a fact communicated in a brief, terse glance between us. But resisting gives us something to do, a way to try and believe that there's a chance of us surviving this. And even if we don't—well, at least we'll go down fighting.
It was always going to be like that for me, I suppose. A warrior's death. Ever since going to Afghanistan… I was sure, for a while, that I'd die there, as a soldier. A doctor, perhaps, but a soldier nonetheless. Go down fighting. That was my plan. And now it seems like that plan is alarmingly close to being realized, though being hunted down by a demon in a random warehouse wasn't exactly how I envisioned it.
I imagine that people will find our bodies, eventually—perhaps after several days, when they're truly starting to smell bad, or even once they're well into the decaying process in a matter of weeks. There'll be blood everywhere, I imagine, attracting flies. We'll probably be identified soon enough as the three missing from London. John Watson, Greg Lestrade, and Molly Hooper. All associated with Sherlock Holmes, murderer of his own landlady. There won't be any doubt at that point that he's gone mad, that he's loose and killing ruthlessly. My only futile hope is that perhaps he'll be satisfied after ending me, that he won't go after Mycroft or any of his other relatives that I've scarcely heard mention of.
Perhaps he'll track down Moriarty. That thought is puzzling, because I can't imagine who I'd want to win. Despite myself, I can't help but be inclined to think that I'd prefer a victory by Sherlock. Even in the end, he'd still be himself, to some degree. His own consciousness… his own mind? His own body, at the very least. Aspects of him, however small, would remain firmly Sherlock, and as long as there's anything Sherlock about him, I'd despise the thought of him being cut down by his single greatest enemy.
"John!" Molly screams.
"I'm doing it!" I yell in frustration, turning around from the box that I'd briefly hesitated over. Then I see—her cry wasn't prompting me to move faster at all. She's flying backwards, choking on terrified sobs as the door bursts open, knocking my pathetic pile of boxes off to the side, where they scatter like dice. Lestrade slams against the wall, fumbling with his gun. Everything seems frozen, and the air hums with electricity that, I realize a moment later, is quite material. A low, growling rumble, like the impatient stomach of some great beast, seems to creep from the barely-visible horizon, hissing through the dark clouds, and it suddenly explodes in a furious clap of thunder, matched by a sheet of pure white lightning illuminating the landscape. Sherlock is silhouetted there, his shirt torn and his hair wild. He doesn't look any different than he did outside St. Bart's—his coat and scarf are still absent, and somehow that makes it worse rather than better. He looks how he did at home, exposed, comfortable.
He looks just like I remember him.
The crackling thunder dies down—it's still not raining, though I can see what look like gusty clouds of water in the distance. Sherlock is completely still, and—oh, God—his eyes, they're normal, showing none of the black that I've half-grown used to. They look absolutely like him, like Sherlock, pale grey-green with a faintly blue light to them, and they pierce me to the core, pin me in place as he fluidly advances inside the warehouse. The light bulb begins to flicker wildly, and his face jumps in and out of darkness, long shadows dancing under his eyes, patterning his forehead and accentuating his cheekbones. He looks dark, frightening, but I still can't move, can't escape his eyes. Does it mean anything—the normal-colored irises, could it possibly indicate that he's free somehow, that he managed to escape the demon's influence…?
Then Lestrade's bullet rips through his shirt, tearing the flesh underneath, but not a single drop of blood escapes the wound. And I know that it's still in there, controlling him, rendering him inhuman. I know I should run, but I can't, I just can't. In what seems like a flash, he's suddenly right up next to me, and I have to tilt my head up to get a proper view of him. His eyes, normal though they may be, seem to practically glow with energy, gleaming every time the lights flicker menacingly.
"Sherlock," I whisper.
"John, you idiot!" Lestrade calls in horror, but neither he nor Molly dares to approach. I don't even process his words, just keep staring at Sherlock, as he seems to evaluate me.
Finally, his lips move, his jaw opens and he murmurs words, in that perfectly familiar, cello-toned voice that forcibly reminds me of a hundred warm nights inside Baker Street, the haunting chords of his rich violin music, the smirk on his face after a particularly brilliant deduction and the way he'd always hold the yellow tape up for me and crime scenes. My chest throbs painfully, and my mouth feels awfully dry.
"You think that it's not me," he says quietly, thoughtfully. More thunder snarls in the distance, but it's low, steaming rather than explosive. "I can see it, John, even now. I haven't changed… I can still tell things about you, read them in a frightfully clear manner."
I shake my head vaguely, but he goes on, seeming to hypnotize me with his voice.
"You haven't eaten since our little argument… you three fled the hospital almost immediately… it was Donovan, wasn't it? She came to tell you, of course she did… stopped at that motel overnight… the salt was clever, but you always have been a practical man, haven't you? Something I've admired about you… those two, on the other hand… idiots without advantage…"
"Don't listen to him!" Lestrade shouts out to me again, presumably provoked by Sherlock's casual degrading of him.
"Shut up!" Black flickers in the detective's eyes as he whirls around to face the policeman, his lips drawn back intimidatingly from his teeth. Lestrade stumbles backwards in response, raising his gun but not firing. Snorting in disgust, Sherlock turns back to me, his eyes normal once more. The light bulb gives a particularly intense twinge, casting us into darkness for nearly a full five seconds before dully illuminating the scene once again.
"It's always been me, John," Sherlock promises quietly. "I'm the one who agreed to live with you, I'm the one who would always… impress you with my deductions… we were at the pool together, and now you want to murder me? Use your mind, now… who's the real traitor in this situation?"
"You killed Mrs. Hudson," I rasp, trying not to think about how horribly my heart is aching, how desperately I want to be away from this all, for my life to be back, for our landlady to be back. "You killed Donovan. You're… insane, you're a monster."
"A monster," he repeats softly, tilting his head and stretching out the word as if considering its value. "I am many, many things, John, but a monster isn't one of them… I would have been happy. Content to stay with you until you died, then I'd be off on my way… possibly to get a new vessel… not all demons are evil, though, that's a bit… racist, one could say." The corner of his mouth twitches up in that smirk, that wonderful, torturously unfair smirk, and I'm paralyzed as he continues on his quiet monologue. "I'd gladly be Sherlock Holmes for you. You'd never be any the wiser… that was what we had, John. That's what we were going to have."
"Can we still have it?" I ask, ridiculously, stupidly. Because I want it, more than anything. Want to be able to forget this whole damn mess and go back to the life that we had before, however insane it might be.
His gaze is almost sad, for just the briefest moment, before it ices over and becomes coldly impenetrable. "It's too late now," he whispers in an almost apologetic tone. He's close enough for his breath to ghost over my lips, and, somehow, I'm not uncomfortable. Perhaps it's the fact that I'm still bound by his stare, still can't bring myself to move. He's close enough for me to see every miniscule detail of his luxuriously colored irises, his long, dark lashes, the paler hair of his eyebrows.
He's unarmed, but I'm absolutely sure that I'm about to die.
And yet somehow, I can't bring myself to care. Even Lestrade and Molly—who will surely go immediately after me—seem insignificant. Nothing matters, because Sherlock is here—demon or no demon, it's Sherlock, and we're together again, we'll be together as my life ends. Just like it was meant to be.
I can almost smile.
Then the shot rings out through the empty warehouse—for a second, I think that it's just a particularly violent bang of thunder, but then I see the shock in Sherlock's eyes, wide confusion shining bright for a long moment as he jerks slightly, lips parted, swaying on his feet. Then the light leaves his face all at once, and he folds to the ground, not so much as twitching as his slim figure crumples like a puppet with the strings cut. I'm left staring at the entrance to the warehouse, where two men stand outlined against the thundery backdrop. At first, the figures are blurry, but lightning darts across the sky, and I can see them clearly—one is average height, the other taller even than Sherlock, both lean-muscled and fierce-eyed. The shorter of the two is holding up a faintly smoking gun with a meticulously steady arm, his lips pressed together and his eyebrows drawn tight. His chin tilts back slightly as he lowers the weapon, and I can't help but gape at the duo, even more so when the gun-bearing one speaks, his voice low and accented American.
I nod shakily, my gaze drifting down to Sherlock for the first time. He's splayed on his back, arms and legs crookedly spread on the cement, his eyes wide and blank and a pool of deep crimson blood staining his white shirt.
"That's… yes… that's me," I manage to get out, my voice frighteningly faint.
"Leave the body," the American man instructs gruffly, "and come on out. We've got a lot to explain, and last I checked there was a twenty-four hour diner nearby. Everything sounds better over coffee." With that, he turns around and starts outside, swinging the pistol carelessly between his fingers. His companion indicates that I follow, as well as Lestrade and Molly, who have been looking on in terrified wonder this whole time. Numbness clawing at my insides, I force myself to step over Sherlock's corpse and follow them, not daring to look down at his horribly human eyes one more time.
"Sam Winchester," are the first words out of the taller man's mouth, ten minutes later at the grungy table of a tiny café a ways farther down the road. Steaming paper cups of grayish-looking coffee sit between the five of us—Lestrade, Molly, and I all bunched onto one side of the booth, the mortician shivering excessively, and the two Americans comfortably situated in the other seat. "This is Dean."
"Who are you?" Lestrade demands.
"The guys who just saved your asses," Dean replies grimly, taking a swig of his coffee and scowling at the taste. "Damn, these Brits really don't know how to make anything but tea, do they?"
Sam shoots him a meaningful glance, and he shuts his mouth with an impatient eye roll, letting the other continue. "We're hunters," he explains carefully, leaning forward and meeting my gaze earnestly. "This is the kind of thing we do on a regular basis—usually in the US, but you were a special case."
"This kind of—you're demon hunters?" Lestrade questions disbelievingly, his tone quavering.
"Quieter," Sam urges, glancing around nervously despite the café's empty state and keeping his own voice low. "Well, yes—not just demons, but… creatures, supernatural creatures."
I barely digest his words. It's hard enough trying to recover from Sherlock's death to try and process anything else. Every sound I hear is vaguely ringing, and I can't quite bring anything into full focus. Those last moments keep flashing before my eyes—his face overcome by surprise, his body slumping away, Sam and Dean framed in the doorway. Over and over… my stomach won't cease churning, and I don't even want to think about the coffee sitting in front of me, slowly losing its already sparse steam.
"Demons are actually remarkably common," Sam continues, folding his hands on the tabletop. "But rarely are they as powerful—and, well, unusual—as the Holmes brothers."
"Holmes brothers?" I repeat scratchily.
"Right. Mycroft and Sherlock—their vessels are so old, nobody knows whether they took the names from them, or if they're what the demons themselves were called—or the souls that they used to be, that is, before dying."
None of this makes sense of me, and I'm rather grateful when Molly questions as to one of the particularly puzzling points. "V-vessel?" she questions nervously, and I realize that I recognize the word—Sherlock used it himself, speaking to me.
I would have been happy. Content to stay with you until you died, then I'd be off on my way… possibly to get a new vessel…
"Human body," Dean explains boredly. "Demons' true forms—they're like smoke, really nasty black smoke. If they want to interact with people or really get anything done at all, they've got to possess humans."
"The man calling himself 'Sherlock Holmes' has been a demon for years," Sam continues. "Him and his brother both. They're strange, though—peaceful. They seem like they really do want nothing more than to lead normal lives… which is, well, unheard of. But for all intents and purposes… they really did seem to be on the good side."
"Side of the angels," Dean mutters with a small, dry laugh. Sam doesn't bother to shoot him another glare, and I'm too confused and miserable to be offended by his carelessness.
"He wasn't fine, though," I point out, trying to stay calm, rational. "Sherlock wasn't fine. He murdered our landlady… and a police sergeant."
"That he did," Sam agrees regretfully. "I'm assuming that you found out his identity somehow—black eyes, at a guess?"
"Well, he could hardly stay docile with you really knowing about him. Of course there was a chance of your dismissing the obvious sign, but he wasn't taking any chances. He had to get to you, Dr. Watson… he had to kill you, so that nobody else knew."
"Seems a bit counterproductive," I mumble.
Dean laughs, but Sam stays straight-faced. "Very. But they have bad tempers, demons."
"Hellish, you might say," his partner offers, and I can't help but wonder just how many demon possessions Dean's dealt with to be able to undertake them with such a lighthearted attitude. I envy him, really.
Sam ignores him. "They have bad tempers, and they can get out of control quite easily, if they're properly provoked—for example, scared. And Sherlock Holmes was obviously terrified when he knew that you realized who—what—he was. He blindly went with his instincts, and demons' instincts are pretty much invariable—kill anything considered a threat."
"Even Mrs. Hudson…"
"Even your landlady, yes. And he was going to take you, too, if Dean and I hadn't gotten there in time."
I take a few seconds to absorb this in silence, half-listening to the tinny pop music playing over speakers at the front of the empty café. A clock ticks in a corner, signaling close to five in the morning. I haven't been less tired all night, though. Molly and Lestrade remain quiet, and after about a minute, I speak again.
"You shot him with a gun. I thought that demons could only be exorcised, not… killed. And definitely not just with a bullet."
"I shot him, nothing happened," Lestrade pipes up.
"Yeah, well, this is a very special gun." This time, it's Dean who takes the speech reins, and to my surprise, he no longer sounds in any way joking. One of his hands slips under the table, and even though I can't see it, I can guess that it's fingering the weapon. "Kills anything—demon, werewolf, Wendigo, whatever."
"Werewolf," Molly repeats faintly, just as Lestrade chokes, "Wendigo?"
"Anything," Dean repeats affirmatively.
Including demons. I suddenly feel half-embarrassed for our pathetic setup with the ruined Devil's Trap and the salt bags—not to mention the garden cultivators. I can't bring myself to really care, though—can't bring myself to really care about anything, damn it. I shake myself physically—a small, jolting twitch, as though the action can drag me out of the darkness sucking at my mind. Nothing happens, though, and I take a deep breath, looking down at the table. Dean and Sam still seemed poised to answer any questions we have, but I need a moment to myself, and I stand up, muttering "toilet" under my breath before heading to just that place, through a small door in the back of the one-room café.
It's quieter here, and nobody's looking at me, which is nice. I lock the door quickly and slump down to the cold tile floor, leaning against the wall with a long sigh.
Sherlock is dead.
I feel bad. I feel so bad, and even worse for the fact that doing such seems wrong somehow. Sherlock was a demon, literally a creature of Hell, and yet here I am, grieving him. God, I am grieving him. I don't allow myself to think about him, not fully—not his voice, not his music, not his deductions or the precise look he pulled off when clothed in coat and scarf. Any fragment of him that manages to leak through my carefully constructed mental barriers is painful, horribly painful. It's not right, is it? Not right that I care this much about his being gone.
Nothing to mourn, when he was never here in the first place.
But he was, and that's the problem. Peaceful demons, as Sam Winchester had said. The Sherlock I knew was absolutely the Sherlock who died, regardless of his, well, species. The one who had saved me at the pool… the one I offered to die for.
I can still recall that—the pool—as clearly as if it happened yesterday. The pounding fear in my own chest, the teasing lilt of Moriarty's voice—but, more than anything else, the fear in Sherlock's face. Genuine fear… fear for me.
He really cared about me, and yet he was going to kill me.
Out of nowhere, I can't stand my isolation any longer. I stand up roughly, unlocking the door with shaky fingers and catching a brief glimpse of myself in the mirror over the dirty sink. My face is pale, my eyes wide and dark in my waxy face, and my lips are trembling. I look weak, so damn weak. Hating myself—hating everything—I look away angrily and step out, heading back to the booth where the other four sit in silence and resuming my spot on the seat. A sudden question flies to my tongue as Sam glances up at me, and I don't hesitate before asking it.
"Mycroft. You said he was a demon, too. What happened to him?"
"Dead," Sam informs me. "Found dead several days ago, under suspicious circumstances. That was what brought us here in the first place, matter of fact. The demon was exorcised from him, leaving behind a corpse. In some old parking ramp. The whole deal was there—Devil's Trap, salt, the works. Nobody knows who did it, but apparently a woman's gone missing—his secretary, of a type."
"Dark hair, nice body," Dean offers from over his coffee.
"Nobody seems to know her real name," Sam explains.
The image they're suggesting comes to mind immediately—Anthea, as she had called herself, the woman who'd sat in the backseat of the car that delivered me to Mycroft's location the night of the taxi driver case. So she had known that Mycroft was a demon? I can't help but wonder how she found out, but I suppose I'll never know now.
"In any case," the young man goes on, "we found out about that from some contacts, decided to do some research. We learned immediately about his brother Sherlock and got a bit suspicious. While later, two murders and three disappearances cropped up—well, we came here as soon as possible."
"All the way to England?"
"Got off the plane and drove right over," Dean confirms, looking vaguely sick at the memory. "Haven't slept for, what, thirty hours now?"
"Most people take advantage of the flight time," Sam points out lowly.
I watch their antics with a sort of detached fascination. "So you're just going to be going back to America, then, after all this."
"We can give you a ride back to London first, if you'd like," Sam offers. "That's where the nearest airport is, in any case, and we really should be getting back home."
"Gonna be broke after those tickets," Dean grumbles. "Powerful-ass demons cost a lot when they're also internationally located."
I don't really have any way to respond to that—I can't exactly apologize for Sherlock's location and its negative effect on their budget. Nobody asked them to come over here, after all. "I… guess a ride would be nice," I say instead, deciding to keep it simple, accept their offer. "I don't really know what any of us are going to do with ourselves once we get back, though."
"Life goes on," Sam offers with a shrug, looking sympathetic. "Trust me, I know it's hard, but there's nothing to do but try and fit back into your regular lifestyle. Do your best to forget, I suppose. Most people do, in one way or another… work out some sort of psychological thing, trick themselves into thinking that it was a perfectly human that caused whatever event tore them or their family apart."
Family. I have a family to go back to, more or less. Harry, at least. I'm admittedly not so reluctant to ask her for housing help at this point—her drinking and Clara problems seem suddenly insignificant next to the fact that Sherlock was, well, a demon. If there's one thing I know for sure about Harriet Watson, it's that she's absolutely human.
Besides, I have Molly and Lestrade. I can't help but think that we're all going to be bound a little tighter after this, however grudgingly—the doctor, the coroner, and the policeman. Who knows—as a team, and with the shared residue of Sherlock's brilliant mind, we might even be able to solve a few crimes on the level of the world's only consulting detective myself. We're not going to go our separate ways, in any case. That's impossible, and they surely know it as well as I do.
"Alright," I finally agree, and I mean it. Alright. Sherlock's loss is awful, of course it is. But I've been through death before—lots of death, much more than the average man. I'll recover, however long that takes. And, hopefully, I won't have any more demonic encounters throughout my life. There's no reason to cut myself entirely from the world of crime. After all, I've formed plenty of bonds within it, not just with Sherlock.
I can make it through this. We all can.
"Good?" Sam asks, and I nod, Lestrade and Molly doing the same. "Great. We should probably get out of here."
"Agreed, this crap is awful." Dean casts a disgusted look in the direction of his coffee cup, then reaches into a back pocket, pulls out a wad of crumpled currency, and makes to place them on the table before Sam's hand intercepts his.
"England, Dean, England."
"…Right." He whisks back the money, which I now recognize as dollar bills.
"I can pay," I offer quietly, taking out my wallet and removing a couple of pound coins, which I drop thoughtlessly on the tabletop, not bothering to count them out exactly.
"Thanks," Sam murmurs gratefully, and the two Winchesters rise in what seems to be a perfectly coordinated motion. I follow suit, as do Molly and Lestrade, and we all file down the room and out the door, into the cool night. The storm's faded away, leaving a faint drizzle behind, and my hair is dampened but not soaked by the time we reach their car, a sleek, black 1960s Chevrolet Impala.
"You alright?" Dean's the one to ask, glancing towards me. His eye is on my leg, the stiff one that I hoist purposefully into the air with every step. "Looks like you've got a bit of a limp there."
I consider the leg in an almost thoughtful way, marveling at its lack of maneuverability. "Nothing to worry about," I finally reply, shaking my head dismissively. "It's been there for ages… I'm used to it."