Disclaimer: Sherlock Holmes belong to Sir ACD and in this reincarnation Moffat, Gatiss and the BBC. We own nothing and are only writing this for fun.

Warning: Vamp!Lock, supernatural themes, some violence, supernatural themes and love between two men. This chapter; Our boys cuddling, Sherlock's mind working in its usual ways and Anthea has visited the oracles.

Love isn't brains children, it's blood.

Part Twelve.

Sherlock frowned and poked at the light scarring on his side irritably. It didn't hurt anymore, and the scars would disappear completely given time, he was just massively displeased over having been injured in the first place.

"Don't poke; you'll only slow the healing down." John didn't look up from the book he was reading. He'd threatened Sherlock if he was to reveal the ending; this was the first book John had enjoyed just for fun for a long time.

"What healing? They're only scars now." He could admit to being a bit petulant over John's mother-henning as, aside from 'cuddling' they'd not done much of anything since having been locked in the closet. It was frustrating to have put himself out there, vulnerable, only to have the reason for it put on hold.

"Yes fine, don't poke at the scars then, it doesn't help them going away." And it was distracting, so very distracting to see all that expanse of skin when he couldn't do anything. John wanted Sherlock so much and holding himself back was nearly killing him. He wanted to let Sherlock set the pace though and to be fully healed before they did anything.

Sherlock made a disgusted sound and threw himself on the sofa, "Dull. No movement from Moriarty's people and Lestrade won't even let me look at the file of the body found in the East End." There was a fascinating case, a current human John Doe skinned, strung upside down to resemble The Hanged Man from tarot cards. The skin nowhere to be found from what he'd managed to bully out of Lestrade.

"I can ask Greg about the file if you want." John was a bit worried about the silence from Moriarty's corner, there was no chance he wouldn't have seen John visit Murray and even if Moriarty was dead, though John didn't think so, the surveillance on James Murray was still strong. He couldn't help to wonder what the other was planning.

What Sherlock wanted was to step out of this strange limbo they were hovering in. He didn't understand why John wasn't at least trying to kiss him. Had he changed his mind? Decided that Sherlock wouldn't be enough or would be too demanding? He was afraid to ask or look deeper and deduce. He needed a distraction if John wouldn't make a move so, "Yes. Do."

John nodded and noted the page he was on in the book before closing it and looking at Sherlock. He was going crazy with this standstill, had to do something. "Look, I understand if you've changed your mind. Promise I won't hold anything said in a closet against you but we're still friends right? This...this thing between us now is just weird."

"Changed my mind?" Sherlock levered up onto his elbows to glare at John, "You won't even kiss me, who's the one changing their mind?"

Blue eyes widened and John dropped the book to the floor. "I wanted to make sure that you were healed, that you wanted it. You said you didn't want to do anything because you were injured so I've been waiting...quite impatiently in fact. I always want you, all the time."

"I didn't want to make the bite or anything else because of my injuries, none of which precluded kissing. As I understand it, kissing is a fairly non-strenuous activity. And what, do you think I curl up, put my head on everyone's lap and let them pet my hair when I'm injured?" He was more likely to bite someone's hand off but John wasn't just someone, he was special. Even as much as he liked and even trusted Hettie and Thomas, the few times he'd been in a bad way around them he'd been quite vehement about them staying away from him while he was vulnerable.

Huffing out a breath that was half exasperation and half amusement, John got up from the chair he was sitting in and worked his way to the couch, crawling on top of Sherlock until he was sprawled out on top of him. "You know that the kissing thing goes both ways right? My lips were right here, yours for the taking." He smiled down at Sherlock and brushed his lips over Sherlock's chin, cheeks, brow and then lips.

He didn't need a second invitation, one long fingered hand curling around the back of John's neck, holding him in place as he pressed his lips more firmly against the hunter's. It was soft, lazy, and exploratory, learning the texture and shape of John's lips against his and how to angle his head the right way. The kiss from the closet had been fueled on instinct and desperate emotion, Sherlock still wasn't certain how it hadn't been an unmitigated disaster, but this, here with the time and comfort, was different. He could think and was determined to learn how to kiss through experimentation.

It was nice, well it was better than nice it was wonderful kissing Sherlock but it was nice in the way that it was just kissing. There were no expectations of it leading further; in fact John didn't want it to lead further, not yet. He cupped Sherlock's face with one hand, rubbing his thumb over a sharp cheekbone as he kept on kissing him, running his tongue over the roof of Sherlock's mouth, tracing every tooth and let his tongue flick against Sherlock's.

Sherlock sucked lightly on the invading tongue, mimicked the flick with his, and followed John's example with more thoroughness when he got his chance to explore his lover's mouth. His hand wasn't particularly idle either, though in keeping with the simple nature of the kiss it didn't wander. Instead his fingers sifted through John's short, straight hair, played over the back of his neck, and traced his jaw. It was all new to him, even though he could have described John right down to the tiniest spot or wrinkle; it was a new way of learning him, of memorizing him, of burning him permanently into his hard drive.

John hummed softly into Sherlock's mouth before pulling back to nibble at Sherlock's plump bottom lip before following his jawline to his earlobe, biting down on it lightly and then pulling it into his mouth and sucking on it. There wasn't just one way of kissing and John wanted to show Sherlock every way there was. Besides he couldn't get enough of the other, wanted to kiss every inch of him though he'd settle for this for now.

Sherlock gasped and shivered a bit, John's mouth and teeth working some sort of heated magic that made his entire body suddenly feel incredibly, intensely alive in a way it never had before. He'd had sex before, many times, but kissing, taking time with someone, this tenderness was something he'd never experienced before and it made his heart beat a little harder in his chest. He tilted his head to give John whatever access he wanted. He explored the breadth of the doctor's shoulders with his hands, the material of John's jumper a delight in texture, knobbly but soft.

Oh God, Sherlock tilting his head like that gave him a chance to kiss his way up and down that long throat before reclaiming Sherlock's lips. "I love you."

He hummed against John's lips then nuzzled his nose; he clung, in a wholly innocent way to John. He couldn't return the words, no matter how much he felt them, not yet.

Once his lips were nearly numb from all the kissing, John smiled against Sherlock's lips. He wrapped his arms around Sherlock's slim torso and buried his face in Sherlock's neck, just holding him.

Sherlock made a soft sigh, returning the hold just as strongly, perhaps more strongly, as his mind eased, calmed. The frustration faded away, reassurance slipping in, and he could settle with a little quiet for a while. John did that for him. Somehow immersing himself into everything John could give him a peace he'd searched for far too long.

Usually John would worry about being too heavy but since Sherlock was who he was, John knew he could take it. He felt Sherlock relax underneath him and held him a little tighter. He was still concerned about Moriarty's silence but for now everything was right in his world. As long as he could hold Sherlock nothing was very bad.

The vampire's fingers began to trail in lazy patterns over John's jumper covered back, never able to be completely still. Delicate trills of music played in his head, nothing desperate to be written down and all of it would be remembered, and his mind was making connections, piecing things together once more with perfect efficiency. "Too slow...the wrong leader."

"What?" John lifted his head from the crook of Sherlock's neck so he could look down at him curiously. "What leader? What's too slow?" He knew that nothing Sherlock said was nonsense but he wondered what that amazing mind had come up with now.

"There's been no response from your visit to Murray, working too slow for Moriarty. The wrong leader is at the head of the organization now." Sherlock's fingers continued fiddling over John's sweater. "Moriarty's human, he won't heal like a member of the Underground. He wouldn't even heal like you John and he did shoot himself in the head. It's not him calling the shots right now, two months since the rooftop; he's still in a hospital bed if he's still alive."

The more John thought about it the more it made sense. Of course. Even if Moriarty had known exactly how to angle the shot to keep it from being lethal or give him brain damage it would still take time for him to heal. "And Moran's like me, a soldier, we follow orders, we're not good at giving them. Moriarty's network must be in limbo, especially if he is still allowed, no one is the proper leader then, everyone will just be waiting...Brilliant, you are absolutely brilliant."

"I'm slow. It should have occurred to me sooner." He was a bit disgusted with himself. "By the way, you are good at giving orders; you are a Captain after all, very honorably discharged. Moran is likely good at giving orders but not at planning out actions and I doubt he thinks much on the collateral damage."

"No I doubt he cares much about collateral at all, and you can only be good at giving orders as long as you have people willing to follow them. Moran is as you say not a strategist, he doesn't have the foresight." John raked his fingers through Sherlock's hair, a silent demand that he shouldn't be too hard on himself, he still figured it out quicker than anyone else and John was still impressed with him.

"He likely has orders to sit and wait and only take action if there's an immediate need for response. Limbo, the entire organization is in limbo so long as Moriarty is down. That's an advantage for us," he turned unconsciously into the stroke, "If we're careful we could bring the entire organization down within a month. Too many moving parts in stasis make for a vulnerable structure. But first we need to locate Moriarty; I need to find out if Anthousa spoke to the oracles."

"Anthousa?" John's brow furrowed in confusion as he got up on his knees to get off Sherlock, this wasn't the time for cuddles, not when Sherlock was in his thinking mode. John already felt the loss of contact but there would be time to touch Sherlock later, they had time.

"Anthea, her real name is Anthousa, she loathes it," Sherlock sat up, ghosting his fingers over John's neck in a final touch before getting up. He went into the bedroom and began dressing, leaving the door open, "She's a nymph, a dryad to be specific, with familial ties to Delphi."

"Huh." John had to admit he was surprised. Anthea's shields must be excellent; he had sensed that she was Underground but not that she was a dryad. "I bet you call her Anthousa every chance you get if she loathes it. Have you ever gotten her to look up from her phone? Is that how she contacts the oracles as well? Via Blackberry?"

"No, oracles must be contacted in person, some old rule I never saw a need for looking into. I've gotten her to look up from it twice and of course I call her by her proper name as often as I can," he finished buttoning his shirt and bent to wiggle his shoes on, "She's been Mycroft's assistant for the last five centuries since she coshed a lucky hunter with delusions of grandeur over the head during some drunken revel in Athens."

John chuckled, imagining how that would have played out. "I'm not even going to ask what Mycroft was up to in Athens five hundred years ago...I've given up on understanding any of his reasoning. Having a hotline to the oracles must be useful though."

"Only when she's willing to go speak to them. They have issues with her being in a vampire's employ," he shrugged into a suit jacket, "Imagine every insufferable Nona in the world all bundled into one being, given the sensibilities of the Dark Ages, and then cloned seventeen times and you have a rough approximation of Anthousa's family."

"Damn and I thought mine was bad. I can see why she has doubts contacting them but I hope she has this time, it could really be of help." John was still on the couch since he was already fully dressed, jumper and all.

"She generally does when Mycroft asks but there is always the possibility of refusal. Let's go annoy my brother and find out."

"Annoying your brother is always a highlight of the day." Besides, John hadn't completely forgiven him for the tranq and grab yet though he was pleased with the outcome of it. Some things you just didn't do but Mycroft seemed to lack all sort of boundaries. He got off the couch and stepped into his shoes, ready to follow Sherlock as he always did.

"It should be a highlight of anyone's day," Sherlock's eyes gleamed a bright, excited blue as he pulled open the door, eager to start working again.

John couldn't help the smile that spread over his features as he followed Sherlock down the hallways of the manor, he loved Sherlock like this, bursting with energy, it nearly crackled around him.

Sherlock knocked once perfunctorily on Mycroft's office door then opened it to the sight of his brother rolling his eyes as he hung up the phone. "Busy day Mycroft?"

"Always little brother." Mycroft leaned back in his chair, steepling his fingers beneath his chin. "So what gives me the honor of seeing you two in my office?"

"What else, Moriarty." He draped himself into a chair, "It occurred to me this morning, that he's still likely to be in a hospital bed, or the equivalent of it in whatever safehouse he's holed up in. We need to take him out, completely, because without him it will only take one or two little taps for his entire organization to fold in on itself. Especially right now with his little pet sniper running the business."

Mycroft's eyes lit with interest and he nearly leaned forward in his chair...nearly. He liked watching organizations fall like dominoes, it was always entertaining and it would only be better if Moriarty woke up to find his empire in shambles. "Any suggestions where to place those taps?"

"Oh perhaps a few," he crossed his legs, "Did Anthousa consult Delphi or are we to pick safehouses and sneak through each one to locate Moriarty until we find him?"

John leaned against the wall, watching two genius brother interact was amusing and just watching both their body language said so much more than what they actually vocalized, it was intriguing.

"She went to Delphi which was a terrible inconvenience since she wasn't here but I don't know what she was told. She's been grumpy since her return so I implore you to be civil to her if you are to speak with her. Don't call her Anthousa."

"As I need what information she was riddled I shall refrain for today," he quirked up a brow, "So if you would please request her presence."

Mycroft raised a matching brow but pressed the intercom button all the same. "Anthea, could you please come in here please." He knew better than to treat her with anything other than respect, she was a formidable woman and Mycroft couldn't do without her, her wit and skills was a large part of what kept his shadow empire afloat.

It didn't take long before the dryad came in, attention still on her phone, "Yes sir?"

"I was wondering what you learned in Delphi, if it is something you can tell us of course." Some information from the oracles was not to be shared; Mycroft hoped that this wasn't one of those times.

John tilted his head and looked at the beautiful woman, what was she doing on that phone all day? He briefly entertained the fantasy of ripping it from her just to see what would happen but he valued his life too much, he had just gotten Sherlock after all, he wanted time to love him.

She stilled, fingers tightening on the phone. She'd gotten information, some she could share, the rest she couldn't. It bothered her more deeply than she liked because it affected Mycroft as well. There were moments she really hated the oracles, even the ones who were her sisters. She lowered the phone, slipping it inside her pocket. Relaying a riddle from Delphi required some respect be observed. "They gave a riddle, of course, beyond simply the location of Moriarty."

Sherlock sat up, attentive and ready to memorize whatever she'd say, "What did they say Anthea?"

She gave him a look that spoke volumes about knowing that he was placating her but took a deep breath before relating the riddle, "The Wounded Spider and his Watchful Tiger lie in the shadow of the oldest stones.

Clever Searcher
Walls so high
Tumble down and break the sky
Seek your shelter, trust your heart
Fear it not or forever part.

Healer Hunter
Stand your ground
Beaten, battered, tied and bound
Hold it hard, your precious gift
Take your soul and mend the rift

Leader Lover
Mask of cold
Let your Fox be brave and bold
Hold your tongue, the serpent's there
Nestled deep inside your lair

Patient Fox
Leave behind
The twisted den of the Blind
Guard, defend, and shield the night
Your strength is needed for this fight

The Battle's hard
Much to lose
Should you not ignore the ruse

Love gives strength though the price be high
Trust in it, the End is nigh."

John was no genius but even he could recognize elements of the riddle and it did not sound as easy as they might have hoped to bring down Moriarty.

Mycroft's jaw twitched, the information was not quite what he'd hoped for but forewarned were forearmed and all that rot. "Thank you Anthea, both for traveling to Delphi and for relaying the information to us, it's greatly appreciated."

"Hmm, yes," Sherlock's eyes were narrowed and his hands steepled in their thinking pose. "Thank you. It's an ogre by the way; use that to keep her off your roots."

Anthea managed to school her expression into neutrality though inside she was almost gagging at the thought of her mother dating an ogre. She pulled her phone back out, "I will keep that in mind. Is there anything else you need sir?" The last was addressed to Mycroft.

"No, not right now, thank you." Mycroft would have suggested that she'd take the rest of the day off but he knew she would take that as a deep insult so he kept his mouth shut.

She nodded once and left the office to the three men. Sherlock just scowled into space, "We've an adder in the nest Mycroft."

Mycroft nodded, grim-faced. He hated the thought of one of his men being a spy. He didn't surround himself with anyone he didn't trusted and as old as he was the thought of someone breaking that trust hurt. More than that it pissed him off.

Sherlock couldn't say he felt particularly enjoyed hearing the bit about himself, Clever Searcher, no one else it could be but him. Trust his heart, what else was he doing slipping into a relationship with John? Wasn't that trusting his heart? But he liked John's part of the riddle even less. Beaten and bound? He met John's gaze, "Kidnapping?"

"Could be yes." John wasn't sure, wasn't sure what it all meant but he knew he could handle it. Bring it on, if it made Moran show his hand then he could take it.

"Let's take it piece by piece, the wounded spider and the tiger are obviously Moriarty and Moran. They're in one of the henge safehouses."

"Mmm but which one? Stonehenge or Avebury?" John ran his tongue over his teeth. "If we trust Adler's information I would say Stonehenge. During the end...She had no reason to lie."

Mycroft hummed. "That could be just what Moriarty wanted her to believe though. I don't think we can take anything at face value."

"Oldest stones...ones that have been standing longer or the ones that are from the oldest deposit, that's the question," Sherlock rubbed his lips with his index fingers, "Healer Hunter is very obviously John." His foot jiggled, "You, Mycroft, would be the Leader and it sounds as though you'll have to let Lestrade do...something."

"I don't let Greg do anything, he would be very upset if he heard you say that." Mycroft smiled but it was a tense smile, he wanted to keep Greg safe but from the sounds of the riddle it sounded as if that wouldn't be possible.

"Get off it Mycroft. if you were to express concern and ask him not to...whatever, he'd stand down, because he loves you and would sooner shoot himself in the foot than do something to worry you enough to have you asking him not to do it." Sherlock stared into space, "And this serpent...we'll have to limit discussion of plans to us, Lestrade, and Anthousa for safety's sake won't we."

Mycroft tapped his fingers against the gleaming wood of his desk. Sherlock was right but that didn't mean he had to like it, in fact he rarely liked Sherlock being right when it regarded him. "I'll do what the riddle says and hold my tongue when it comes to Greg." It would nearly kill him but he would do it. "You are right though, all battle plans should stay between the five of us." Mycroft also didn't like limitations but in this there was no other choice.

Sherlock nodded, "Considering that, there's the bit about Lestrade, or perhaps the better term is for Lestrade."

"What's for me?" Greg had just opened the office door, having been nodded past by Anthea who was standing a sort of guard at the door. He was damp from and emergency shower after getting home from finally semi-solving the case.

"We've had some interesting news. I think you should sit down, I sort of wish I had." John was still leaning against the wall, arms crossed over his chest, soldier face on.

Mycroft told him the riddle and what they had spoken of so far, his face stony even in front of his lover.

Lestrade's expression went from curious to furious before settling into what Sherlock privately thought of as his Guardian expression. That was what Lestrade was by nature, a guardian, someone built to look after the people, to protect in the most upstanding way possible even though he could, if necessary for the greatest good, delve into the shadows. And right now all of Lestrade's 'protect' instinct was humming and growling at the warnings in the riddle.

"Some lousy bastard is betraying you," he sat on the corner of Mycroft's desk, his hand going automatically to cover his lover's. How dare someone try and knife Mycroft in the back?

"Yes apparently so." Mycroft turned his hand so that his and Greg's were palm to palm. "We don't have any idea of how much information that has already been passed on but I think it is safe to say that at least Moran knows all about Sherlock being alive and kicking. About who we are as well...what we are. All of us." He gave a pointed nod in John's direction. "The moment we found out you were a hunter, so did they presumably."

Greg ignored the dangerous sounding growl Sherlock made, knowing that if he was capable of growling like a rabid wolf at the thought of someone out to hurt Mycroft knowing about his deepest secrets he would. "Well doesn't this just make my day even more fun-filled?" It was sarcasm at its finest, "Can't say I'm insulted at the title of Fox though. What's this 'night' I'm supposed to be defending?"

Sherlock shrugged, "There are several possibilities. Protecting something for one night, protecting during every night, the old phrase for members of the Underground."

"We are all stumbling around half blind here, Gods I hate riddles, what's wrong with just saying what you mean and be done with it?" John walked forward and leaned against the back of the chair Sherlock was sitting in, stroking the back of the vampire's neck lightly. "My guess is the night refers to you two, you and Mycroft, creatures of the night though you're anything but."

"I don't know about that," Greg pursed his lips, "Riddles are funny things."

"And what do you know about riddles Lestrade?" Sherlock looked at the DI curiously.

"I happen to be very blessed with Welsh blood you berk. The number of Welsh tales with riddles in them would blow even your mind. That bit of the riddle was for me, and these oracles have a knowing of when the one the riddle's meant for is going to hear it right?"

Mycroft nodded. "That's supposed to be the case yes and since the oracles are much, much older than I am and quite a bit more testy as well, who am I to doubt them?" Mycroft didn't particularly like the oracles, just as they weren't overly fond of him of his kind for that matter but they could be useful...In their irritably confusing way.

"Well then maybe I should tell you how my night and early morning went," Greg was hyper aware of having the unwavering attention of all three men.

"You think the case you were called to have something to do with it?" John leaned forward, nearly leaning his chin on top of Sherlock's curly head.

"Please tell us if you will. Anything is helpful at this point." Mycroft trusted Greg and he knew the man was intelligent, we would very much like to hear what his mate, or at least he hoped Greg would become his mate, had to say.

Sherlock's eyes were picking apart everything he could about Greg but, having just had a shower, there wasn't much there to deduce. "You were in a mess."

"Got absolutely covered in snotty green goo spewed from what I'm actually hoping was the nose of some sort of very ugly giant sort of mix between a caterpillar and a slug."

Mycroft exchanged a look with his brother. "A Hiruko monster in London? There are very strict rules about dealing with those, very rare, very expensive for those in the trade."

"And your hope is in vain Lestrade. It sounds as though you were vomited on, take heart in that you'll find yourself very fortunate for several days."

"Yeah that's what the troll said." Greg wrinkled his nose at the vomit comment, "The fortunate bit I mean. To start from the beginning, I followed a lead into the old sewer tunnels, our tarot killer was your run of the mill human who'd had a psychotic break. He'd found this, Hiruko you called it?" He got a nod from Mycroft, "Right well he found this Hiruko when it was a lot smaller and thought it would make a decent pet. I don't know the entire progression but he wound up feeding it the skin of people who'd pissed him off, skinned them and usually dumped them but then he found some fortune teller who supposedly told him to follow the path of the Major Arcana. So what does he do? He strings his next victim up like the Hanged Man." He looked irritated about that bit, royally so.

"So he finds a monster, even a small version and keeps it as a pet...How does one even think of feeding such a thing the skin of people one kills? I just wonder, really honestly wonder." John's eyes were wide. The human mind still baffled him, much more than any non-human considered a monster could.

"You walked into the sewers without back-up?" That was Mycroft's primary concern. "Where were your so called colleagues?"

"I had back up. I went in with DS Gregson, we got separated, the rest of the unit was out following less pungent leads Donovan had dug up," personally he was doing an internal dance over Sally screwing up further because all of those leads had been shit. "Plus it was supposed to be a lead on where this guy was buying peyote of all things, not where he was living. Long story short, I found him, high out of his mind and giggling, cuffed him, then went to investigate a noise like a bloody dying whale from the room he'd stumbled out of in case he had another victim."

"Indigestion," Sherlock provided, "Likely fed the Hiruko the wrong kind of skin."

Greg snorted, "Right. Well I'm not exactly used to seeing giant slug-caterpillars in a cage so when I saw the bloody thing I just froze, long enough for it to spew all over me. Then the troll came in, looked mighty amused too."

"Troll?" John was seriously beginning to question what was living beneath his feet. He knew there were much more walking the earth than mere humans but really? Trolls and slug monsters in the sewers of London, that was just stretching it wasn't it?

"Well I'm guessing he was a troll since he looks like the ones my Nan used to talk about when she went all gushy about this Scandinavian adventure she went on once. Big, furry pointy ears, great big round nose, tail, nubby little horns, little hairier than your average bloke, though he was in a uniform. Black with a moon and stars patch on the arm. Carried a badge, Lieutenant Edricsen of the Underground Guardians, Department for Violations of Creature Regulation. Polite once he noticed my smell under the goo," he gave Mycroft a pointed, amused look.

"Well you can hardly expect me to let you walk around unmarked now can you? Besides, it's sort of an effect of the biting." Mycroft met Greg's gaze steadily. "Did Lietentant Edricsen handle the Hiruko then? Arrange with transport and that sort of thing?" He hoped the troll had things under control, getting a giant creature out unnoticed was always a pain in the arse frankly.

"Yeah and that was an interesting trip, never knew there was a tunnel guarded by Revenants leading to a secret sort of police force in the sewers." He wasn't angry about the scent marking, he'd just have liked for Mycroft to have told him before now, "Because the killer had been raising the Hiruko for a solid three years and dealing with a skinwalker drug dealer, apparently that made him the UG's jurisdiction. Got to say they're a fair lot though, felt I had the right to see the bastard processed, plus they needed my statement and a sample of the goo."

"As intriguing as this all is and don't get me wrong, it really, really is, I don't get what it has to do with the riddle or anything else we have to deal with except that you were apparently sicked up on by a good fortune monster." John didn't mean to be rude but he didn't get it.

"I'm getting to that," Greg stretched his neck, "After I had goo sampled and scraped off me, the...well I'm guessing she's the UG equivalent to the NYS Commissioner, sat me down and offered me a job. Handed me a card for future contact, the UG's motto seems to be Noctis Defensores."

Mycroft hummed. "Night's defenders, sounds like you should quit the NSY and take the job offer then." He couldn't say he was exactly pleased, Greg would only switch one set of bad guys for another but Greg was a guardian, a defender and Mycroft wouldn't and couldn't take that away from him.

"Yeah, maybe. Can't say the job doesn't sound appealing because damn things are a fuck load more clear cut in your world ba-" he cut himself off before the endearment could slip out, "Mycroft." He gave Sherlock the warning look of death if he dared make a comment on the slip.

Mycroft's look was scathing too as it landed on his brother, Sherlock looked much too gleeful for his own good. "Once the curtain is pulled so to speak what you see is mostly what you get, though what you see might seem unbelievable."

"Well said." John's tone was dry. "I say, if working at the Yard is making you miserable, quit...I quit the clinic...after some advice."

Sherlock was looking unbearably smug so Greg picked up a sheet of paper, balled it up, and launched it at Sherlock's head, "I want to, no bones about that. I've been wanting to for a while now."

Sherlock had caught the paper and was now folding it into a complicated shape, "You're staying because you don't want Donovan to lead the unit."

"Be the worst thing to ever happen to my division," Greg nodded, "I may not like my job anymore but by God those are my men in that unit and I'll be fucked over sideways in a collar and spreader bars before I let Donovan take over and lead them all into dangerous situations on little to no information."

Spreader bars were not really his thing, if bondage was involved then Mycroft preferred silk ropes but a collar, not the point but you couldn't blame his mind from going in that direction when Greg directed it there. "So if Sally Donovan was taken out of the equation, you wouldn't mind leaving your current position?" Removing Donovan wouldn't be much trouble; she had already so kindly applied the rope to hang herself with.

"Pretty much, yeah. With her transferred out of my division or even just quitting than Gregson is the one who'll get the promotion to DI."

"Hm, he's marginally clever." Coming from Sherlock that was practically gushing approval.

"Well then." In Mycroft's mind it was already a done deal, Donovan would be out so Greg could move on to what would make him happier professionally. It was time for the folder he had on Donovan and her many mistakes to find its way to the top of the Yard.

Greg just gave him an amused look before looking back at Sherlock, "So Moriarty's convalescing in a safehouse near Stonehenge or the Avebury stones?"

"Yes. It's a sound plan for hiding from us or several other Underground species. Both sites and their surrounding areas are in a vortex of metaphysical energy, interferes with our senses." Sherlock jiggled his foot, "It's an irritation."

Oh, John could imagine that it was an irritation, anything that muddled Sherlock's senses was worse than horrible. "I just wonder what safehouse to go after, any gut-feeling since you are our lucky boy then?" John looked over at Greg.

"Probably Avebury. The stones there have been standing longer than Stonehenge, it's further away from London, less obvious of a choice if you're after some vortex woo-woo, not as many people spout off about it as they do Stonehenge so it's probably not as strong a thing."

"You're in sparkling form today Lestrade. Quite correct, the Avebury vortex is weaker than Stonehenge's, you will not find a single Underground member who's senses are negatively affected by a vortex near living Stonehenge but there are a few in the Avebury vortex's range. Not that they're considered functioning members of society, the vortex makes them drunk after long term exposure."

"Mmm, after a while they don't want to leave, it's both dangerous and addictive to some." Mycroft nodded, he couldn't understand why some would knowingly and willingly melt their brains on a vortex but to each their own as long as he didn't have to clean up the mess. "Avebury, we can't simply rush in. I would send a scout but since I don't know who to trust among my own staff that is slightly complicated."

"I can go." John was still leaning on the back of Sherlock's chair. "My senses will not be muddled there and I'm used to scouting missions, you have no idea how often those ends in need of a medic in the army."

Sherlock's hands tensed, a muscle ticked in his jaw, and his eyes turned a steely gray but he didn't protest. He saw the logic in John being the one to go. That didn't mean he had to like it. "Absolutely no radio silence and only after we've planned out several approaches should one fail."

"Agreed, we need a solid working plan and several back up ones before anyone goes. No charging ahead." Mycroft nodded.

"I'm never going to live that down am I?" It wasn't really a question, John was aware that he had messed up.

"Since you behaved in an utterly unintelligent way, no." Mycroft's tone was slightly smug.

Greg squeezed Mycroft's hand before telling John, "Not a chance in hell mate."

Sherlock's eyes were on John's face, "Never." If John ever 'lived it down' then he would forget and possibly do it again.

"Fine, I was a tit, I admit it. I do know what I'm doing though and I won't go anywhere until we know how to proceed." John sighed and ran his fingers through Sherlock's hair just to touch him some way, to ground himself. Going to see James Murray had been stupid, the fact that Mycroft could tranq him without him having a chance to react proved that.

Greg watched Sherlock move into the touch like a cat bumping its owner's hand for more attention and chuckled at the warning look the consulting detective gave him, "Mycroft and I will work on plans then."

Sherlock raised a brow.

"Don't give me that look. You're good at scaring out serial killers, thieves, and the like but you are absolute pants at planning out an op."

"It's true; all the running across London with John here proves that." Mycroft looked at his little brother. "You both rush straight in head first and that will not work here." He didn't say anything about the mess Sherlock was already in after his last dealings with Moriarty, Mycroft figured that the results of that spoke for themselves, without him adding salt to the wounds.

Sherlock didn't have the hear it to know what Mycroft was thinking and he ground his teeth. Oh he hated it. He positively loathed that his brother and Lestrade were right. And they were, not only were they skilled at planning out ops, they had experience. "Very well." It was clipped and begrudging acceptance but acceptance nonetheless.

"You and I can read up on the vortexes and their effects or you can tell me all about them if it is something you already know perfectly in that massive brain of yours." John continued his petting of Sherlock's hair without even thinking about it.

"Of course I know about them. I did extensive research some time ago." Sherlock felt himself relaxing with John's touch, a bit embarrassing, especially in front of his brother but he had ammunition in the form of the pet name Lestrade almost let slip.

"Yes of course you did but I haven't so you can teach me so I know what I will be walking into." John's voice was his normal, calm reasonable tones. He might not be affected but it would be helpful to know just what a vortex did because he had no idea. Except for his different deployments with the Her Majesty's Army he had always been a city boy.

Seeing the effect Dr. Watson had on Sherlock made Mycroft certain that he had made the right choice with the snatch and grab of John and the lock up that followed.

"Is that all for now?" Greg lazily stretched his neck, "Or are there other things that need to be hammered out immediately?"

"I do not believe that any further discussions would be of use at the moment." Mycroft replied. Right now they couldn't do much more, he still wanted to ponder the riddle a little bit more before making any major decisions and he believed that Sherlock probably wanted the same. Besides they all needed rest, especially Greg since he'd been out working all night. Mycroft didn't know how much rest he would get until this was sorted, he would obsess over the traitor in his midst.

"Alright then. John, Sherlock, bugger off." Greg had to keep from snickering at the startled looks he got, "Unless you want to watch me take shameless advantage of Mycroft right h-" he broke into laughing cackles at the other two were out of the office so fast they left a breeze.

"You know that they are going to find a way to make you pay for that right? Especially Sherlock, he does not like to be startled...And I believe he would like to see me amorous even less." Mycroft knew he would not like to view his brother in that light, never ever.

Greg leaned in to brush his lips briefly over Mycroft's, "I think we can manage to handle it." He pulled back, one hand smoothing down a bit of Mycroft's hair that had dared to fall out of place, "And it was the fastest way to get them out." He grew serious, "This riddle, something's going to happen to John and if Sherlock doesn't drop his guard..."

"I know." Mycroft clenched his hands before forcing them to relax. "Sherlock has built those walls around himself for longer than you can imagine. He did it to survive and I don't know if he will be able to lower them...even for John's sake." He was worried, very, very worried.

And if they lost John, they'd lose Sherlock and Greg didn't know if Mycroft could recover from that. He kissed his lover's brow, "We'll keep an eye on everything."

"Mm, I always do." Mycroft just hoped that it would be enough, that planning and watching would work, that he would be able to keep everyone safe, everyone that mattered to him. He leaned into his lover. "I love you."

"I love you too baby," He ran a hand up and down Mycroft's back soothingly. He sent a prayer to whoever might be listening that something would let Sherlock bring his walls down for John and that it wouldn't be too damaging.

To be continued…