Author's Note: And here it is! The second part that I promised. It's quite a bit shorter. I hope you like it!

Mycroft seated himself in the plush armchair behind his desk, motioning John and Molly to pull up their own.

"Please, have a seat, John, Miss Hooper."

I hope this ruins your bloody rug, you miserable git, John thought bitterly, dragging the chair across the carpeted floor.

During the short helicopter ride, John's emotions had had time to simmer and come to a boil. Upon first hearing that Sherlock was—possibly—alive, John had forced himself to remain calm, to restrain his yearning to believe, to hear all the facts before reacting. But in the past ten minutes or so, John's restraints had begun to fade away. Now he was becoming bitter and angry. Whatever was or was not true, it was clear that something was going on behind his back and clearly Mycroft was in the thick of it. Molly too, for that matter, and some of his anger was certainly directed her way, but nothing like the fury he felt in regards to Sherlock's cold older brother.

Mycroft pressed a button on his desk and a woman's voice could be heard over the intercom asking, "What do you need, Mr. Holmes?" John recognized the voice of 'Anthea', Mycroft's assistant. She did not sound impertinent with her question, it simply sounded as if this were so routine that she could just get straight to the point.

"Nothing at the moment. Just be sure not to enter this room, or to let anyone else enter, under any circumstances, until I ring for you again. No matter what happens. This is of the severest importance. Is that understood?"

"Perfectly, Mr. Holmes." The line buzzed out. Mycroft turned his attention to the room's other two occupants, steepling his hands under his chin the way that Sherlock used to. John clenched his jaw tight.

"Now we may proceed to speak freely. I am entirely certain that this room is neither bugged nor watched, and my assistant will guard that door with-"

"I don't give a damn about any of that," snapped John. "I just want answers. Explanations. From the both of you. Now." Molly squirmed uncomfortably in her chair. A flicker of something crossed over Mycroft's face, but it was gone too quickly for John to identify the emotion.

"What is it specifically that you wish to know?" asked Mycroft slowly.

"Damn it Mycroft!" shouted John, slamming his hand down on the wooden desk. Molly jumped at the loud bang. "Stop acting like such a bloody politician and be straight with me. Where is Sherlock? What happened that day? If he didn't… do what I saw him do, then what did happen? I want to know exactly what's going on and exactly how the two of you got involved in it while I was left tortured in the dark."

Mycroft observed John in silence for a moment, receiving a dangerous glare in response. Mycroft sighed, rubbing his forehead with his hand.

"You must understand the complexities of the situation, John. There are many reasons why the truth has been kept a secret from you, namely that your very safety depended on it."

"Explain it to me."

Mycroft paused.

"Very well…"

And with that, Mycroft launched into an explanation of the truth behind Sherlock's faked suicide. Moriarty's predictable threats, Sherlock's plan to take down Moriarty's web in secret. How he was unable to return until that task was fully completed because otherwise he would be putting the lives of his friends in jeopardy.

Molly interrupted once or twice to add details to the parts of the story for which she was present. Mycroft talked about how Sherlock had come to Mycroft and Molly in his time of need simply because he needed their services and knew also that they would not be in as much danger as John, Lestrade, or Mrs. Hudson.

John could see the sad wince on Molly's face when Mycroft said this, and even Mycroft seemed very solemn, like a shadow had passed over his face. If he hadn't been containing his rightful fury at the pair for their deceit, John would have felt pity for them. They so clearly wished to be more important to Sherlock than they actually were. John tried not to feel at all smug about his own importance, but his bitterness only fueled this emotion.

More than once during the tale, John had to restrain himself from letting loose and throwing a fit. He wanted to scream and throw things. It simply wasn't fair, what had been done to him! He'd been living in agony while these two people could have spared him all along.

Yes, it was noble to want to protect John's life, but it was his life after all. He ought to be given the choice how to live it! A small rush of anger was aimed at Sherlock, but the mere fact of Sherlock still being alive made it impossible for John to be too mad. He was more relieved than anything. He could almost cry with joy.

Mycroft wrapped up by describing how, after his faked suicide, Sherlock had practically begged Mycroft to look after John, to make sure he came to no harm. And of course, as Molly pointed out, she was enlisted to aid in this endeavor as well.

Absorbing this information, John kept his face impassive. After a minute of silence, Mycroft simply watching and waiting for the reply that John was clearly formulating, John spoke slowly.

"So… you've been aware every time I've gotten dangerously drunk by trying to drown the memories of Sherlock with alcohol, I assume?"

"I keep… aware of these occasions, yes."

"And every time I didn't show up for work because I couldn't make myself get out of bed in the morning, you were monitoring me?"


"And obviously you were watching me the time that Mrs. Hudson and I had to evacuate 221b because I became dazed and confused while cooking and nearly burnt the building down?"

"You were never in any significant danger, John; I can assure you of that. Had I ever felt that your safety was seriously compromised I would have, of course, intervened, as I did today."

"Never in any significant danger…?" repeated John, dumbstruck. "I think our definitions of significant danger must differ quite a lot, Mycroft."

"Perhaps they do. And yet, if you will notice, you are still alive and well enough to be sitting here today. Whatever I have or have not done has been effective, wouldn't you agree?"

"And what does Sherlock have to say about all this?" asked John instead, fighting the urge to scream at the Ice Man for his callous behavior in regards to the preservation of John's life.

John was surprised to see the genius squirm a bit at this question. Mycroft cleared his throat uncomfortably and met John's eyes with a look of regret and apology.

"I'm afraid that… I no longer keep tabs on Sherlock's whereabouts." John stood stock still, processing this new information and feeling the anger spread through his veins.

"Translation… you lost him. You lost track of your own brother. He managed to give you the slip and now even you—you, Mycroft! The bloody British government!—are unable to find him. That about sum it up?" Mycroft gave John his characteristic wry smile.

"In short, yes." John impressively lunged over the desk and landed his fist on Mycroft's nose before Mycroft or Molly had processed what was going on.

Mycroft let out a cry of pain as his nose snapped under John's knuckles and he tumbled out of the chair. Lying momentarily on the floor, John heaving livid breaths above him, Mycroft pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and pressed it to his nose.

John brushed off the front of his sweater, clearing his throat calmly. Molly watched everything go down with wide eyes, at a complete loss for what to do.

"John!" she exclaimed frantically, "Wha- Whatever did you do that for? Um, no, that's um… That's a bad question, I suppose I… Well I do understand how you feel-"

"You do not understand how I feel, Molly," disputed John fiercely. Molly's cheeks reddened but she rose out of her chair.

"I may not understand exactly how you feel, but I'm sure Mycroft knows what he was doing. If you'd ever been in- in serious trouble, I'm absolutely sure he would have-"

Molly cut off as John let out a loud laugh. Mycroft was taking the opportunity to rest on the floor and watch the other two in an attempt to decipher the situation and regain control.

"You think that's what this is about?" he cried incredulously. "Mycroft's suck-ass protection of my life? Since when have I cared two bits about my own life?"

Molly flinched and stuttered nonsense in confusion, but Mycroft understood.

"Miss Hooper, contain yourself. John is not upset because I have failed to devote myself to his protection; he is upset that I let Sherlock slip under the radar. His only concern at the moment is Sherlock's safety."

Molly's head snapped from Mycroft to John, who was gritting his teeth at being deduced—he'd hated it enough when Sherlock did it, but Mycroft was nearly unbearable—but remaining quiet.

"O-Oh I… I see," she said.

"Well," said Mycroft, struggling to his feet while holding the reddened handkerchief to his bloody nose. "What is it that you plan to do now, Dr. Watson?"

With a slight shake of the head to clear his thoughts, John straightened up and stood in a composed manner.

"There's only one thing to do," John replied seriously. He met Mycroft's dark eyes with a determined stare. "I'm going to go find my best friend before he gets himself killed. It's a wonder he's lasted this long without me already."

"That would be highly insensible to attempt, John," warned Mycroft.

"I don't care," interrupted John, shaking his head with a smile. "I'm not going to wait any longer. I'm not going to let Sherlock be the one that determines when I get to start living again. This is my life, and I'll do what I want with it."

"And what you want is to embark on a mission that risks the life of not only yourself, but Sherlock as well?" John shrugged.

"As I figure it, he's already out there risking his life. I won't just sit at home and wait for him to come back safe and sound. That's not me. That's not us. If he's out there risking his life, then that's where I should be. Out there risking my life right beside him.

"So, if you don't mind—and even if you do mind, actually!—… I'm leaving now. I've got to go see a homeless network about a man."

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