A/N: And here we are at the conclusion of this (admittedly very short) story. This chapter was the hardest to write, because if you don't nail that relationship between Sherlock and John just right, it breaks the whole fic. So I'm anxious about the ending, but I figure it's the best I can make it.
Thanks to dana-san, DizzyDrea, and LadyDunla for reviewing on Chapter 2.
Disclaimer: Nope. Don't own Sherlock.
3. An Improbable Truth
Sherlock was sprawled out on the sofa, reading a book and casually ignoring the ringing of his mobile phone when Mrs. Hudson came up to check on the state of the kitchen.
"Sherlock, dear, aren't you going to get that?"
"What for?" Sherlock asked. "It's a number which isn't in my contacts, which is neither blocked nor unknown, and it doesn't start with any of the government digits – and as I am not currently on a case, it is not a serial killer or psychopath attempting to contact me. Therefore, it must only be someone who reads my website and wants me to solve some petty, simplistic, boring case for them – something I have no interest in doing – so rather than waste my breath trying to explain to them that I am not interested, I would rather simply not pick up my phone."
Mrs. Hudson sighed as she made her way to the kitchen, barely batting an eye at the mismatched pair of eyeballs sitting on a plate next to the microwave. When one was Sherlock Holmes' landlady, one learned to get accustomed to his eccentricities.
"I do wish you would stop bringing body parts into the house, Sherlock," she reproved. "It's extremely unhygienic." The genius sleuth did not answer, nor did Mrs. Hudson expect him to. She gingerly moved the plate of eyeballs to make space for the kettle. "Would you like some tea?"
"Yes, that would be appreciated." He turned a page of his book.
Someone cleared his throat; Sherlock looked up to see John standing next to the sofa. He quirked one eyebrow upwards, silently questioning the doctor.
"I…" John paused. "I think I've got it."
Still looking at him, Sherlock clapped his book shut and tossed it on the table with careless abandon in one fluid move.
Over in the kitchen, Mrs. Hudson had noticed John's entrance. "Oh, hello, John," she greeted. "I'm making tea. Would you like some?"
"Never mind the tea, Mrs. Hudson," said Sherlock. "Would you mind giving us a moment alone?"
A knowing smile graced his landlady's face. "Oh, of course." She walked back out to the door. "I'll leave you two to it, then."
John barely spared a thought for her (wrong) assumption that he and Sherlock wished to do 'couple's things' together. He sat down in the armchair and looked at Sherlock seriously.
"Well?" Sherlock asked.
"First off, I tried thinking of everything else and I couldn't find out why you would shoot Warrick. So that left me with another option, which I realise is highly improbable and is probably utterly wrong – but I can't think of anything else and it's the only one that's left. So whether I'm right or wrong this is my last idea and if it's wrong you're going to have to just tell me…"
"John," Sherlock interrupted. "Your conclusion?"
John inhaled. "You shot Warrick because you cared for my safety."
Sherlock observed him carefully. The rising tone towards the end of John's question indicated that the doctor truly wasn't sure about his theory at all.
"You're very doubtful," he noted.
"As I said, it's improbable," John said again.
"But true, nonetheless."
"Yes." It took a few seconds for Sherlock's understated comment to sink in. "What?" he inquired in disbelief.
"Your deduction is right," Sherlock told him. "There was no necessity whatsoever to shoot Warrick, and I knew that – but in the heat of the moment all logic escaped my thoughts and I was left desiring only that you were safe. I took the shot because crap shot or not, police or no police, I wasn't willing to risk your life."
"But…" John fumbled for his words. "But you'd profiled him yourself. You knew he couldn't possibly hit me."
"Yes," Sherlock agreed. "I was, however, not willing to take the chance, slight though it was, that I could be wrong."
John gaped at him. This was Sherlock Holmes, the man who would have voluntarily taken a possibly lethal pill just to prove if he was right. He never missed a chance to showcase his intelligence. For him to say this meant that John had arrived at the improbable truth. The thought had, of course, crossed John's mind before, but he'd never imagined it might be factual.
"You…you actually care."
Sherlock gave him a look and was silent.
"I thought you didn't care about anyone."
"Wrong," Sherlock refuted calmly. "I don't care about people. I care about persons."
John was confused. "What's the difference?"
"People are trivial and dull and not worth bothering about. Persons are those few – those extremely rare few – individuals who actually are worth my time and whom I do care about."
"Ah," said John. "So I'm a…person?"
"You are, John," Sherlock admitted.
"And you…care about me."
"Yes. I care because you're my only friend – and therefore by default that makes you my best friend – and I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have you. I'd be lost without my blogger." Here he actually smiled, and John found himself smiling in return.
"Well…thank you," said John. He hesitated. "For the record, you're a person too."
Sherlock inclined his head. "I know. Thank you."
"I do have a question, however."
John's head shot up. "A question?"
"Why did you take so long to arrive at the right conclusion?"
John looked at him incredulously. "The better question would be why did you think I would figure it out sooner?"
"John, John, John." Sherlock shook his head. "It was the only possible explanation. It was…" He paused slightly, searching for the right word. "…elementary. Elementary, my dear Watson."
"To Sherlock Holmes, perhaps," John returned. "Not to John Watson."
"Hm, yes, perhaps not," Sherlock conceded.
"In all honesty, I didn't know I meant that much to you," John confessed.
"You do," Sherlock said at once. "Dear John, you do. I just don't say it in so many words."
"No," John agreed. "No, that's not really your style. Making me stew for a week in my attempt to guess, on the other hand…"
"Deduce," Sherlock corrected. "Not guess. And yes, that was the purpose of this exercise." He smirked as he returned his gaze to his friend and flatmate. "I trust it is elementary now?"
John shook his head in resignation, but Sherlock caught the smile on his face.
"Yes, Holmes. Elementary."
A/N: Yep, that's the end. Hope you liked it. Thanks again to the three who reviewed, and thanks to those who subscribed and/or favorited (perhaps a review on this final chapter? ;)