Rated M: for swearing and adult themes.
Please note- this fic is AU and the characters are OOC (but you probably already noticed that)
None of these characters are real. Nor are they meant to reflect real people (whether actors, celebrities or actual government officials of any nationality.) In other words, this is all make-believe
Reminder, please read this fanfic responsibly. Do not consume beverages and read fanfic at the same time.
Second Note: I posted Chapter 57 earlier today so if you haven't read it, you might want to read it before this chapter. BTW, Chapter 58 is officially the final chapter. I promise. So, on to Chapter 58.
The tunnel was almost as dark as he'd imagined. There were regularly spaced lights, which provided just enough illumination to confirm that there were wet spots. John was certain that these were signs of seepage, soon to be followed by generalized flooding and generalized drowning.
Because John was a soldier, he took a deep calming breath so that he could die with dignity. He breathed in...and then out, calmly.
Relaxing in his tense, artificial calm, John wondered if he should mention the wet spots (Leaks! They were bloody leaks!) to anyone. He didn't want to start a panic, but surely people had a right to know if they were about to drown in a damn tunnel. John ran a finger under his collar and tried to breathe the increasingly stuffy air. Right. Breathe in... and out. Stay Calm and Breathe. The calm former soldier sat back, breathing and reminding himself to keep a stiff-upper lip...so that he could die with dignity.
Sherlock noticed that John's lips had gone stiff and flat. His cobalt-blue eyes stared fixedly out of the window. Clearly, he'd lost John's attention, which was irritating. He did not like being ignored while talking. He especially didn't like it when John ignored him. Sherlock Holmes craved John's attention like he used to crave cocaine.
However, Sherlock's irritation was rapidly replaced with puzzlement, followed in close order by concern. John's lips were rigid and his breathing was deep and forced. Pale faced and wide-eyed, John wasn't so much ignoring Sherlock, as...as preparing himself to die, probably with a misplaced sense of dignity. In addition, the blond was about to spill his deplorable excuse for tea.
"You seem a bit nervous, Jack," said Sherlock, plucking the paper cup out of John's trembling grasp before it could spill. "I have no idea-yet-what has set you off this time. Nevertheless, I believe that I should distract you, although I suppose I should not try to seduce you, just now…No. You'd probably say that would be a bit not good."
Sherlock considered his companion expectantly. In spite of Sherlock's foray into lewd levity, John was neither amused nor aroused.
"I have it!" said the detective. "Since we've entered the tunnel, I'll tell you about all about it. You always appreciate mindless trivia. I shall inundate you with mindless trivia. Did you know that the first proposals for an underwater tunnel from England to France were bandied about in the nineteenth century, but actual construction of the cross-Channel tunnel did not begin until 1988 after prolonged negotiations between the…"
Sherlock's voice droned on, discussing politics and economics. He even discussed the geology of the chalk marl, which was evidently conducive to tunneling. John had calmed enough to wonder why Sherlock would memorize tunnel trivia yet delete the entire solar system.
To the soldier's own surprise, he seemed to have asked that question out loud.
"Jack," said Sherlock, sounding disappointed. "Do you seriously imagine that I would bring you on a train under the English Channel, without first researching it, paying particular attention to any risks and the concomitant safety features designed to mitigate said risks? You'll be glad to note that flooding is not considered a realistic threat, despite your obvious concern."
The former soldier raised his brows questioningly.
Good, thought Sherlock, I have now captured his interest.
"You wish to know how I deduced your irrational fear of drowning in the tunnel? As always, it is a matter of simple observation and empiric deduction. You are staring into the tunnel and gasping at passing shadows," he continued, revealing his deductive process. "You do not do so when riding the tubes. You are comfortable in the tubes, yet not in the Channel Tunnel? This is not claustrophobia; this is an irrational fear of flooding. No doubt related to your inability to swim. Though I have insufficient data to determine if you fear water and thus refuse to learn to swim or whether you are unable to swim and thus fear the water…although your foray into the pool the other night undermines both arguments, unless we attribute that incident to a temporary insanity on your part. Never mind. It's not important right now, no, the point is that you are unreasonably fearful that the tunnel will catastrophically fail, filling the tunnel with millions of gallons of seawater…"
John pursed his lips, reluctant to hear anymore about the tunnel catastrophically failing and filling with millions of gallons of seawater.
Sherlock was shite at distraction, decided the doctor. John would have to distract both his detective and himself. Luckily, John had received lots of recent practice in creating diversions. Of course, sex was out of the question-for now. No, now it was time to Change the Subject.
"I think you were right about Oscar," said John, a bit desperately. "I think he was trying to get into my pants, after all."
Right. That caught Sherlock's attention.
"Yeah, so I haven't told you how Oscar tried to trick me into going with him to America, did I?"
His effort at distraction was working, almost too well. Sherlock went from annoyingly talkative to dead silent, frozen with a glacial anger. He also painfully tightened his grip around John's shoulders, his large hand was probably going to leave bruises. The ex-soldier bore it stoically because being the focus of Sherlock passion was both scary and a little hot. Make that very hot.
"I knew it," Sherlock was saying, his voice sounding like an echo from a sepulcher. "I knew he'd try to steal you away from me…I will kill him."
John did not, however, like that voice coming out of his detective. It wasn't hot, it was just scary. And the very thought of a sepulcher was unfortunate, considering that John was trapped in the Chunnel for at least another ten to fifteen minutes.
John missed the advice of his Bluetoothed minions…um, friends, but soldiered on in his quest for diversion.
"Look, don't get all crazy on me, Sher…, um Siggy," said John in a hoarse whisper. He looked into the steely blue eyes, which promised death for Oscar Morrison. "Y'now, I can take care of myself; for instance, I blacked Oscar's eye for him." said the blond placatingly. He held up his abraded knuckles as evidence.
Sherlock remained frozen in ire. The former doctor thought for a moment and belatedly recognized that showing Sherlock an injury, even if it was indirectly caused by Oscar, was a tactical error. And Oscar hadn't planned on hurting John's knuckles, because John's large admirer had certainly not planned on his face suddenly encountering John's fist.
"And speaking of escapes…" said John, trying to move the conversation along.
"Were we?" asked the World's Only Consulting Detective Constructed of Ice.
"Well, if we weren't, we were going to," John assured the frigid detective. "You'll like this part, I jumped from a moving airplane to escape…um, him… them and…"
"You actually jumped out of the C-130?" asked Sherlock, curious in spite of himself.
"While it was on the ground," added John helpfully.
"You could have been killed."
"Nooo, not really…"
"More reason to kill the ox."
"Do you want to hear the story or not? It's kinda funny and…"
"I seriously doubt that I will find it amusing," said Sherlock, pulling his John almost into his lap to ensure that no one else tried to poach him or push him out of dangerous moving vehicles, like air planes or high-speed trains. The scandalized old man glared at the two lovers, but the matrons giggled, one of them even winked at Sherlock-as-Siggy.
"Sher…I mean Siggy, people will talk."
"People do little else," said Sherlock, slightly relaxing his grip on the blond and allowing a small smile to grace his full lips. "Do entertain me with the amusing description of your near kidnapping and life-threatening escape," he dead-panned.
"Wow. It doesn't sound nearly as funny, when you put it that way," said John. Then he continued, "Um. Right, so I may have been a little confused when we left the enemy stronghold…um pool…thingy."
Sherlock rolled his eyes.
"Alright, between the head wound and near drowning and watching Jim stab you and everything, some slight confusion sort of got triggered, and I was a little…um…confused." John tugged at his lips hard enough to make his partner wince. John took a deep breath and said as fast as possible, "And I suppose that I should consider seeinganewtherapist, sometime, maybe. So anyway, maybe I was…I guess I thought that I was heading out of a battle. I remember gunfire and explosions…Were there explosions?"
Sherlock shook his head, no.
"Right. So I imagined that there were explosions while I pulled back from the front line…of the, um… of the stronghold-uh pool building, I sorta half-carried Oscar, because I thought he was seriously wounded, which I told you before…right? And so, I half-carried him to a small ambulance which was waiting near-by…"
"Car, it was a car," said Sherlock.
"Car," echoed John. "And Oscar seemed like he was really out of it, although as I told you earlier, he was faking it, for the most part, although he did have a real flesh wound on his upper arm…"
"He's a large, heavy man. Even on your best days, you have a bad shoulder, but last night you also had the new injuries to your ribs and head; it had to hurt to carry him."
"I had no choice. He was a wounded comrade…or so I thought."
"He caused you pain and suffering, just to achieve his selfish goals. It's another reason to kill him."
John really needed to distract Sherlock from his revenge filled obsession …
"So in the ambulance…"
"Car. I ripped Oscar's shirt off." The false redhead's eyes goggled. John hastily added, "To visualize his wound! That was when I realized he had a shallow gash on his upper arm, probably from small arms fire. Naturally, I field dressed it. Then I said something like, 'it didn't look too bad at all, and he'd be fine until he got to the hospital."
John's face already wore furrows of concentration and confusion. Now he frowned with anger. "I distinctly remember, trying to get out of the ambulance…um, car, and Oscar grabbed my wrists. And that's when I blacked his left eye for him. I was angry. I said that I had to get back to Captain Hol…um, back to you. Then Chris appeared out of nowhere…actually I suppose that she'd been driving the, um car. And she said you'd already been evac'd to the field hospital, and that I could just meet you there. Of course, we were really headed to the airport...You know, I just now realized that Chris lied to me too, didn't she?" said John, feeling betrayed on all sides. THIS was why he had trust issues.
"When does this become amusing?"
"I don't know, okay?" snapped John, who didn't find any of this amusing either. "So I thought we were on our way to hospital, and I relaxed. I must have zoned out a little. 'Cause suddenly Oscar was being weird and inappropriate." Sherlock got that stony look on his face again. "Um, just a bit inappropriate… he was only holding me in his lap and petting my head, and I offered to black his other eye. He let me go, and I crawled into the corner where I could keep my eye on him. See, that was sort of amusing, yeah?"
"Well, we finally got to the base camp."
"Yeah, the airport. And we walked forever. Oscar was leaning on me again, and he was really heavy, and I asked about a wheelchair. I sort of wondered why we didn't just drive up to the field hospital, and then we were at the plane. I think he tried to kiss me, and I pulled away…
"At the top of the steps! You did lean away from him. I knew it!"
John was awarded a kiss, for trying to evade the ox, which further upset the scandalized man but thrilled the three women who all carried floral totes similar to Mrs. Hudson's. John decided it was probably an unfortunate fashion statement thing, like Mrs. Hudson's purple outfits.
"Um, right. And by that point, I was less confused, and I realized that this wasn't an evac at all. I turned around to get off the plane and this guy, Daley, who pretends to be a diplomat but who is really CIA…I know 'cause I met with him dressed as Christine…Me, I was dressed as Chris, not him…" Sherlock rolled his eyes yet again. "Right so this American, Daley, shut the hatch, right after the last airman, named Picard, boarded with some first aid supplies. She was a medic."
Sherlock only nodded, so John continued. "Oscar tried to hold me down, 'for my own good,' he said. And I think he believed it too, for what that's worth. Chris lectured me about how it was too dangerous for me to stay in London, because I was going to be the official scapegoat of the Disaster at Moriarty's Natatorium.'
John digressed, "D'you realize the acronym for that is 'DAMN?' You have to admit that it's kinda funny, Sherlock," said John confidentially. "D.A.M.N…Disaster at Moriarty's Natatorium. Well, everyone on the plane laughed at me when I came up with it as a diversionary tactic; even Daley thought it was funny."
"They laughed at you?" snarled the detective.
"Yeah, they probably thought I was still confused, or maybe they just thought I was an idiot or something…"
"Stop that. You don't have to kill anyone!" hissed John. "I don't know why that would bother you; you call me idiot all the time."
"And anyway, I was trying to make them think I was an idiot."
"That shouldn't have been to hard."
"Shut it. I was trying to lull them into a false sense of security, so that I could implement plan B which means…"
"Exactly," whispered John, who looked around suspiciously. Luckily, no one was listening. The scandalized man had walked off in a huff, to find a less offensive seat, and the three women were arguing over some movie star magazine.
"It almost worked, if you must know. I nearly had the hatch open before Oscar grabbed me. Before you say anything about killing anyone, I head-butted him. Then I tried explaining reasonably and logically that I had to get off the plane to check on you and also that I had a contingency plan and so wouldn't be captured by Mycroft. But Chris kept on about how I had to stay for my own good. Oscar was being an interfering git, and Daley said I'd be better off working as one of his agents instead of spilling my blood in the desert sands as a hired gun, which was annoying really. And I don't even know how the hell he knew about plan-END. Hell, everyone seemed to know the details of my secret contingency plan." John's forehead wore deep furrows as he frowned. "Anyway there was lots of yelling. And Clancy took my side, which was a bit unexpected, because he never really liked you …um…I didn't mean…um…"
"Oh, for God's sake, Jack, stop dithering," snapped Sherlock. "Nobody likes me, Jack. And I don't like them, which gives it all a nice symmetry."
"Well, that's just not true. Lots of people like you," said John, offended on Sherlock's behalf. "Mrs. Hudson likes you and so does Greg. Paula and BJ like you…"
"If PJ ever did like me, which I doubt, he doesn't after last night," said Sherlock. "Oh, don't give me that look; PJ deserved it. Now can you please just finish your interminable story?"
"I like you," John whispered into his taller partner's ear, which was easy to reach since he was practically sitting in Sherlock's lap. "I like you a lot."
"Which is sufficient for me," admitted Sherlock relaxing a little more. "Now, does your story have an end or does it just keep going on ad infinitum?"
"Oh…right…um, I…Well, now I can't remember where I was!" said John rubbing his face.
Sherlock rolled his eyes, although he was secretly pleased to see that John had forgotten to worry about the long, underwater tunnel. Sherlock congratulated himself on successfully distracting his soldier and getting him onto his lap in public. A double win for the World's Only Consulting Detective.
"I believe that you were engaged in a tiresome scuffle," the consulting detective prompted.
"Oh yeah, well most of the Yanks joined in too, and most of them sided with me. Probably 'cause I was the underdog, which they love," said John. "And of course right was on my side, which always helps."
"That's not actually true. The wrong side frequently wins, in fact, a review of recent history…" Sherlock saw his partner's face setting in that stubborn look. "Never mind, just tell me how it all ended…please."
John's eyes narrowed further, ready to fight for right, but he was disarmed by the unexpected 'please.'
Moreover, John really didn't want to argue any more. He picked up his horrid tea, which was now only lukewarm. Disappointing.
He took an unsatisfying sip and said, "Fine. So, Chris and Oscar were both on the verge of tears. I will say this for them. They sincerely thought they were doing the right thing by kidnapping me. The two of them were practically grizzling and saying that I was crazy and needed counseling. I'm a bit tired of everyone harping on me needing counseling, when they could sure as hell use some themselves." grumbled John. "So then, the engines roared and the plane started moving, and then I began to get upset, and that's also when 'the shit got real', according to Sergeant Fillmore. He was one of the airmen, a big guy-looked like The Rock? Duane the Rock Johnson? He's a wrestler and actor. Really fit...and…and you've never have heard of him…Have you? Doesn't matter. Fillmore was on my side. And, it was getting pretty warm in there, if you know what I mean. Oscar nearly twisted my arm off, I had to punch Oscar in right in his face. That one didn't even bruise him, but he finally started to get the message that I wasn't interested in him or in staying on the plane. So, I got away from Oscar, but then Chris grabbed me around my chest, which was surprisingly painful. 'Course she didn't know about the bruises…"
"I'll kill her too."
"No, no you won't, she's still my friend," said John a bit louder.
"I suppose Oscar is your friend too?"
"Um, I haven't decided yet about Oscar. I'm kinda mad that he tricked me and tried to almost kidnap me. I don't like people trying to make my decisions for me."
Sherlock assumed a wide-eyed innocent pose. John wasn't fooled at all, but continued talking.
"Anyway, I couldn't hit Chris, because she's a woman, although I was beginning to think about it, when Daley slugged me, supposedly cause I was hysterical, or so he said while he was doing it. And I thought, 'Sod this' and 'Sod him' because I was pretty angry by then. And that's when I kicked Daley and then kneed his chin, and he buckled like a wet noodle. He was only out for a couple of minutes, so hopefully it won't be an international incident."
"If it is, Mycroft might enjoy it. Give him something to do, continue," said Sherlock waving his hand imperiously.
John rolled his eyes and said, "Meanwhile, Fillmore and Clancy were trying to drag my sorry arse to the back of the plane by …."
"I'll kill them."
"Oh shut it! They were on my side! They were trying to help get me away from team Oscar, so I could implement plan-B."
"And that's when the Captain came in. And she ordered everyone to stand down and shut up. I liked that turn of phrase…"
"Another Captain, John? You call everyone a Captain when you're confused."
"No, I just call you a captain when I'm confused. Lestrade's a Sergeant Major and Mycroft is a corrupt Admiral unless he's the evil emperor. See, that's amusing, you even smiled."
"But I wasn't confused at that point, just really pissed off and sort-of panicky, 'cause I thought the plane was ready to take off, which it almost was. Anyway, Lieutenant Colonel Emma Boston was the pilot , and of course she's considered the Captain of the vessel or airplane in this case," the ex-soldier explained. "Let me tell you," said John, his eyebrows raised for emphasis, "Whether she's a Captain or a Lieutenant Colonel, she's very scary. I myself was not scared, but I did follow her orders out of respect for a fellow officer, who was also in command of the vessel. Well, she had Fillmore explain what the fuck was going on; her words. And then she gave us each exactly one minute to give our sides of the story. Daley, who'd woken up, interrupted her and ordered her to take off."
"Well, Daley just made the Captain angry. She said she had her orders and knew how to follow them, without anyone else's help, aside from her co-pilot who was preparing to take-off, and would Daley please fuck-off. I liked that turn of phrase too. So then we all noticed that the plane was in fact taxiing to the end of the runway. Daley grinned, and team Oscar grinned, and I might have said some offensive words. Because we all thought that I was trapped on the plane now. The Captain seemed less than pleased with my turn of phrase, and she ordered Fillmore to bring the troublemaker to the rear…meaning me, which I thought was really unfair, since I was the one who was being kidnapped.
"Fillmore dragged me to the back of the plane," said John forgetting to whisper, but since no one was paying attention, Sherlock chose not to interrupt. "and the Captain ordered the other airmen to 'keep the damn Brits out of her hair,' meaning Chris and Oscar who tried to follow us. Clancy stayed out of it, probably he knew what was going to happen cause he was smiling a lot, but the other two were all teary-eyed again. I mean they really seemed to be worried about me."
"Oh, God," said Sherlock in disgust. "They kidnapped you. You can't possibly feel sorry for them."
John tugged on his lip, feeling sorry for his friends, even Oscar.
Sherlock, not surprisingly, rolled his eyes but gave John an encouraging hug. The detective was getting better at this relationship business.
"Well," said John, lowering his voice, "the Captain shoved a long-ish rope into my hands, and gave the near end to Johnson and another Yank, whose name I didn't catch. That's when the engines throttled down, the plane slowed and it began to turn. Boston asked me if I was sure I wanted off of her plane, and I said yes. She said she wasn't in the habit of kidnapping foreign nationals, and that she also loved happy endings. So then she opened the rear hatch, which set off a bunch of alarms. Of course since she was the Captain, she could do pretty much whatever she wanted, even set off the alarms."
"My God, the woman pushed you out of the plane? I'll kill her, too."
"Nooo. She was helping me. And she didn't push me; I jumped, right after she told me to jump. This was the same time that the engines really started to roar heading for take-off, and the plane was picking up speed. I slid down the rope, but when I got to the bottom...uh…well, I…"
"You got tangled in the rope," said Sherlock, whose imagination could picture his lover dangling from a plane speeding down the runway and then getting dragged and killed and…
"Yeah. I got tangled in the rope. It got twisted around my ankle for a few seconds, and the plane was racing down the tarmac. So I got dragged for a bit, which is how I got the road rash on my back, or I guess you could call it runway rash or tarmac rash. Luckily, the Yanks let go of the rope, although I almost had my foot untangled on my own. I would have had it free in a couple of minutes for sure. I took a few minutes to catch my breath and figure out what the hell had just happened, and I watched the plane disappear down the runway. And then I figured I better get off the runway in case another plane was in the queue. I mean, I didn't want to escape one plane, just to get run over by another one."
"Well, that was one of your better decisions," said Sherlock. "Of course, you found that all very exciting." He nuzzled his little adrenaline-addicted soldier affectionately, and privately vowed to keep him within arms length for the rest of both of their natural lives.
"No. Of course I didn't think it was exciting," denied the blond. "It was a bit scary and nobody in their right mind would…Okay, maybe it was just a little exciting. Mostly though, I was just glad to get off of the bloody plane," said John, with a half-hearted shrug. He leaned into his lover's broad chest, while he finished his story. "Then Madison, an off-duty airman drove up and offered me a ride back to the terminal."
"And you trusted her. As usual, you just got into the car. Why do you do that? She could have been working for Daley or my fat brother or even Moriarty."
"Um, he. His last name was Madison, like one of the early American presidents…I suppose you deleted the American presidents," said the ex-soldier shaking his head and trying to slide off Sherlock's lap, because he just remembered that really, they were in a public space. And he'd been letting the Sherlock pet him-in public and nuzzle him-in public, while sitting in Sherlock's lap-in public. John blushed and concentrated on escaping Sherlock's lap-in public.
"How could you not know Madison? He was the president the last time we fought a war against the U.S." said John, wriggling toward his seat.
"Don't know. Don't care. Not important."
"Well, anyway, this Madison was wearing a uniform, and he seemed trustworthy enough…"
"Dammit! You can't just keep getting into strange cars…"
"It was a humvee, not a car," interrupted John.
"…with just anybody!"
"I remember it was a humvee, because I wasn't, um…"
"confused?" said Sherlock, finishing the blond's sentence.
"Right," agreed John a bit confused now by all the interruptions and because that wasn't what he was about to say. "On the plus side, it all worked out. Mads took me to a locker room, and before you interrupt me, Mads was his nickname. The Yanks were real friendly to me. Gave me coffee so damn strong, you could've cut it with a knife. And it was good and hot. Then, since my clothes were wet, they collected some dry clothes for me. So Preston gave me his pants which you binned and these jeans…"
"I already told you, don't make me repeat myself, it's dull," quipped the ex-army doctor smugly.
"Don't be ridiculous, you love repeating yourself, over and over and over ad nauseam," said the consulting detective, who held John close, if not still in his lap. "I meant, why were they so nice to a stranger? Especially a wet, beat-up, bleeding stranger, who was wandering around an airfield in the middle of the night?"
"Oh! Because Fillmore radioed back and told Mads to find me an' make sure I got home okay. And also because one of the airmen recognized my name from a few years back when I…when he heard about me."
"Mmmm," said the detective, deducing his partner. "Oh! Oh, you did something brave and foolhardy. You probably rescued some Americans and almost died again. You received a medal for bravery, and it was so outstanding everyone talked about it."
"It wasn't that outstanding."
"Obviously it was," declared the consulting detective.
John's honest, expressive face closed off.
"And it is just as obvious that you do not wish to discuss this with me at this time," said the former brunet. "Perhaps another time?"
John slowly relaxed and sighed at the reprieve. He found his horrid, cold tea and took a wretched sip. His expressive mouth twisted in displeasure.
"So the Yanks, as you call them, treated you well," prompted Sherlock.
"Oh yeah. They did. Brittonfield even gave me his hoodie with Buffalo's Bills on it or is it Bill's Buffalos or…never mind, it's a very famous American football team, famous in America at any rate. And then Pritchard offered…"
"Did you memorize everyone's name?"
"Well, I tried to get most of their names. It's only polite. I got some of their e-mails too. Obviously, I missed a few and I didn't get most of their first names; there just wasn't time."
Sherlock shook his head at the useless trivia that John stored in his head.
"Mads insisted on giving me a lift home, because he said he didn't feel right letting me wander about on my own, even though London is my home."
"Clearly, Madison is a better judge of character than I gave him credit for. And obviously, he now knows where you live," said Sherlock suspiciously.
"No, I was tricky," said John, raising his brows in an attempt to look crafty. "I had him drop me off at Tesco's. I told him I had to get some milk and bread, which was true. I knew there wouldn't be any at the flat, which there wasn't. So I then I walked home from Tesco's, with the bread and milk and a couple banana's which I ate along the way and…"
"You walked home? In the middle of the night? You could have been mugged. You could have been seen on CCTV," said Sherlock with asperity. "Well, you were fortunate. The criminals must have taken a holiday, and one of your minions must have been monitoring the CCTV, because they clearly didn't report you to Mycroft."
"I suppose," said John. "But they aren't my minions. They really aren't. The min…the agents are my friends, but they are very loyal to your brother. They only helped me because they wanted to help save Mycroft, and you too, in fact. See, they had to disobey Mycroft to save him, which was the greater good."
John pulled in his lip as he thought about it. Then he added, "It's kind of like the Laws of Robotics."
Naturally, Sherlock's face was blank. Of course, he'd never heard of the Laws of Robotics*, but that did not deter John Watson.
"Well, to paraphrase the first Law of Robotics, No agent may injure a Holmes or allow, through inaction a Holmes to come to harm. See, that trumps the bit about following orders, like Mycroft's orders which they normally have to follow, cause that would be like the second Law of Robotics…or in this case the second Law of Holmes. They had to disobey Mycroft and help me save you, because of the first law, which says let no harm come to a Holmes."
"I fear that my brain has been damaged," said Sherlock frowning.
"That actually almost made sense, aside from the fact that robots do not exist, so there are no laws concerning them. However, if your asinine robot example makes sense to me, then I must have suffered brain damage. Perhaps my brain suffered ischemia when…"
"If it soothes your pride, your explanation was slightly more cogent than Lestrade's."
"Oh, what did Lestrade know about it?" demanded the former army doctor.
"He spilled the beans, John. I know he was the Plotter-in-Chief."
"He said that?" asked John incredulously. "He actually said Plotter-in-Chief? He always fussed when I called him Plotter-in-Chief,' grumbled John. "What a hypocrite," added the blond a moment later.
"Well, after leaving the pool, you had quite the little adventure…"
"Don't belittle it, Sher…"
"Shh, watch what you say, Jack," ordered Sherlock in a whisper.
"All right," whispered John loudly. "But I was not off having a little adventure. In case you forgot, I fought off a CIA agent and jumped off a plane that was ready to take off, and I lost at least one good friend in the process!"
"Oh I haven't forgotten any of it. If anything, I am more resolved than ever to annihilate the ox. Aside from trying to steal my future boyfriend while my back was turned, he betrayed your trust and took advantage of you when you were obviously confused."
""Shhh!" said John, looking around.
"Don't shush me, John. I find that very annoying."
"You shushed me first."
"The point is, your ersatz friend is a backstabbing bastard who…
"Oh, let it go, Sherlock. Oscar's a troubled man, who probably needs some counseling."
Sherlock stopped and then he raised a dark brow, "Speaking of which, I haven't forgotten your promise to talk with a therapist, John."
"I didn't promise, so much as…"
"I have just the woman. Her name is Julienne, and her practice is in Paris. I scheduled you an appointment in three days time, because I knew you'd agree to go see her eventually, because I'm almost always right, and not because I was going to force you. No, it would never do to force you. I trusted you to trust me."
"Trust you? I hate you," said John scowling up at his partner and not caving in just yet.
"It's for your own good."
"That's what Oscar said."
Sherlock frowned, deeply. Then he said, "I'll go with you."
John twisted himself back into his chair and stared stubbornly out the window.
"Jack. My name's s'posed to be Jack, remember?" said John smugly. John got a bit sarcastic and smug when cold and tired.
Sherlock was appalled at his own slip-up. He conveniently decided that it was somehow John's fault, absolving himself of wrong.
"Jack," said Sherlock raising one eyebrow significantly. "Julienne is quite good for a non-genius. Actually, she very nearly is a genius. John, she assisted me in the past."
"Assisted you how?" asked John suspiciously.
"As a therapist!" the word 'idiot' went unspoken again. "I was convinced to try therapy on a few occasions."
"You mean you were forced."
"Yes, Jack. Mycroft is not above a bit of coercion when he deems it necessary," admitted the consulting detective. "In return, I forced most of the counselors which I met into therapy themselves. Oh, don't look so affronted, Jack. They were probably much better counselors after their experience with me…although one did leave the profession to retire to a sheep farm in New Zealand. Julienne was made of sterner stuff however. And she is much less idiotic than most people. We had six somewhat productive sessions, which were not a complete waste of time, and we have remained in contact since then."
"Oh my God, she sounds like a friend."
"Don't be absurd. She's a professional colleague. I've consulted her twice and she sends me Christmas cards, which I use for kindling, unless Mrs. Hudson finds them first."
"She sound's exactly like a friend."
"I don't have friends."
John's jaw set and his lips thinned.
"Ah, now I have offended you. Before you storm off in high dungeon, and get lost on a train, as only you could do, allow me to qualify. I don't have friends; I only have one."
John was slightly mollified, but decided to sulk anyway. He'd had a long and stressful day. He was still buried alive under the English Channel and most of his body hurt. Plus he had a boyfriend who wasn't very nice sometimes. And on top of everything else, John had next to no possessions and no real identity. Officially, John Watson was dead. It was worrisome.
John's pouting was annoying yet somehow also cute, which was annoying. And the younger man began to sulk as well. After all, his own brother wanted to hunt down Sherlock's lover; Oscar had not received the punishment he deserved, and Sherlock's arm almost hurt. Come to think of it, his arm hurt a lot, but he refused to let John see that it hurt. He tried to burn holes in the seats opposite him with his eyes.
John had shifted back into his seat, but kept his head on Sherlock's shoulder. Even if Sherlock wasn't always nice he was warm and he did buy John some horrid tea. And yes, he did save John's life more than once, especially by pulling John out of the cursed pool where poor little Carl Powers died, which was better than being nice. And, to John's surprise, Sherlock wasn't even angry about John coming in like bloody Spec Ops and killing Moran and Moriarty and messing up Sherlock's plans. Besides, they were almost out of the tunnel. John nestled his head under the younger man's chin.
Sherlock rested his chin on his partner's head; soothed by the fresh smell of John's hair (lavender and chamomile with an underlying tang of musky John). He felt his tension recede, taking some of the aches and pains with it. As he had told John, Mycroft really wouldn't be a problem for long. Once Mycroft had a couple of international crises to handle, he'd forget all about John. Oscar wasn't really a problem; after all, there was plenty of time to teach the ox a lesson. And when all was said and done, John was Sherlock's and not Oscar's. Which was almost enough punishment in and of itself. Almost. Any idiot could see that John belonged to Sherlock, which was a comfort. John was even wearing Sherlock's coat (Just like the girls in secondary school used to do…not that Sherlock had ever wanted anyone to wear his coat. Back then it had all seemed stupid, but in this case, it was rather endearing.)
John bit his lip. The being legally dead thing was a bit of a problem. But…he could put it on the back burner for a few weeks, couldn't he? Sherlock had suggested relaxation…like it was a vacation and not exile. John rather looked forward to a vacation with Sherlock Holmes. He was pretty certain that it would not involve seeing the sights…well, not the usual touristy sites. It would probably involve climbing into sewers or breaking into bijou art galleries or, if John was lucky, eating at some tiny café whose owner owed Sherlock a favor. Because vacation, to Sherlock Holmes, probably meant solving crimes and mysteries. So John would have to chase after his mad detective and protect him from the bad guys and, occasionally, from himself.
John smirked at how his life had changed. In just a couple of months he'd gone from dreading each empty sunrise to looking forward to the challenge of loving Sherlock Holmes. He kissed and nuzzled his partner's neck and jaw, ignoring the appreciative nods of the matrons. He just hoped that Sherlock's plans had included hotel reservations. He had to admit that he didn't mind Sherlock giving orders most of the time. Hell, the detective expected the whole world to follow his instructions, so who was John Watson to complain? John grinned into that long, lovely neck of the World's Sexiest Consulting Undercover Detective and fantasized about a French hotel room and leather thongs.
Sherlock smiled briefly, as John nibbled under his jaw and neck. The red-haired detective even winked at the nosiest matron, who watched unashamedly. Sherlock felt a swell of pride that despite the obvious dangers and despite Sherlock's propensity to step on emotional landmines, John had chosen Sherlock over everyone else. John was his, and the detective would damn well make sure that John was happy and safe, thus ensuring that he'd remain Sherlock's forever.
The younger man gave his little marksman a one-armed hug. Amazingly, Sherlock actually found himself feeling unusually optimistic. He actually looked forward to the future, especially tonight (because sex was definitely on the agenda, injuries be damned).
Actually, for the first time in his life, Sherlock looked forward to tomorrow and all the tomorrows after that and he didn't even have a case…the case of the cat burglar was not yet official after all. This saccharine optimism was sentimental tripe, but Sherlock was fine with that.
By the time the train sped out of the dark and into the faded-gold of the late afternoon sun, the two men were holding hands. Whatever future awaited them, they would not be facing their tomorrows alone.
THE END ;D
A/N *The Laws of Robotics originated in the science fiction works of Issac Asimov. The Laws were supposedly programmed into robots to protect people from the robots.
1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
And...YESSSSS! It is complete. The End, Finis etc. (aside from a probable epilogue and possible one shots based on this twisted AU).
A huge, enormous THANK YOU to everyone who followed my fic. More gigantic THANK YOU'S to those who favorited my story. I began writing because I had all this stuff I wanted to say, and I thought no one wanted to listen. I kept writing because all of you seemed to want to listen to my ramblings. Okay, okay you actually read my ramblings…but the point is, I wrote this for you. Thank you for reading The Marksman.
To anyone who reviewed any of this story, please know that your reviews meant the world to me. Your support kept me going on bad days, your suggestions and criticism helped me improve and will always influence my writing. I cannot give you a big enough THANK YOU for your support. But I send you all virtual cookies, muffins, tea (or any beverage of your choice) and of course virtual hugs. THANK YOU!
Disclaimers I still do not own the rights to Sherlock in this universe, (big surprise there, right).
I'm still dreaming about that parallel universe where Sendai actually does hold the rights to all things Sherlockian. Who knows, I may just make contact one of these days when I form one of those tears in space and time (I swear one was forming when I was stuck in a traffic jam on I 81. Sadly, I was unable to utilize it for inter-dimensional travel). When that happens watch out, because there will be Johnlock. Lots and lots of Johnlock. :D