A/N: So I'm changing this up from the canon setting SLIGHTLY. Canon: After they leave the reporter's house, Sherlock goes to St. Bart's to visit Molly and John goes to see Mycroft before going to St. Bart's with Sherlock, where they stay for the remainder of the night. So. Yeah. That didn't work with my idea. Changes will likely be obvious.
Title stolen from We The Kings song, "All Again For You."
Pic that inspired this fic: tinypic [dotcom] / r / 28wdqub / 5 (by the lovely artist, Voodooling)
You Know I'd Do It All Again For You
"I think I'm going to die," he'd said to her. No tremor in his voice, despite the havoc raging in his head.
"What do you need?" she'd asked, clearly nervous, but fighting showing it.
"You," he'd answered.
Sherlock left Molly in the morgue with a very rough plan formulated. He knew that Moriarty planned for him to die. That was obvious. That was the only thing left to Jim's plan since he was well on his way to "proving" Sherlock was a fraud. Everything he'd done, everything he'd worked for, everything he was would seem a fabrication because of that lie.
But that wasn't important.
What was important was how he was going to not die, but make it look like he had. Oh, the plan was set, but it had so many variables. So many unknown factors. Time and place and the position of all of its players. Sherlock would have to fix that. He had to be in control of this charade or it could all fall to pieces.
How to plan his suicide. Because of course it was to be a suicide. Jim would want it to look as if Sherlock had taken his own life in shame for having been revealed as a sham. It wouldn't do to have him appear to be murdered. That would be boring.
He returned to the lab and texted John to come to him. He needed him close until he could figure out what all he was doing.
While it was obvious Moriarty planned for him to die, it was also obvious that Sherlock would not do so willingly. So Jim would have to have some leverage, some incentive to ensure Sherlock's compliance.
The only answer, save Mrs. Hudson and possibly Lestrade. Jim would have had to be blind to miss the measures Sherlock went through to protect John. And he wasn't that. And he'd surely heard the treatment Sherlock had subjected that American to when he'd so much as put a bruise on Mrs. Hudson. Yes. She was definitely a target, as well. Lestrade was likely a target, too, being one of the people Sherlock was closest to in the distant way he had. He'd be targeted for extra insurance. Molly was liable to be safe. Sherlock knew in his effort to ward off her advances, he'd all but stated repulsion for the girl. Jim wouldn't think her enough reason to take his own life. Sherlock was counting on this fact.
John arrived while Sherlock was musing on the one problem that still eluded him- the code. Jim must have told everyone the code was with Sherlock in 221B. But Jim hadn't been anywhere to have hidden it in the flat, hadn't touched anything to have slipped it within save an apple. So where-?
John's fingers tapped. The tapping. Jim had tapped his fingers. Ones for every tap, zeroes for every break. Binary code. Solved. And that was the code that could unlock any door? A problem for later.
The plan. Sherlock had to take it in hand. He had to control as many facets of it as he could. He didn't know where Jim was nor what exactly his plan entailed beyond the basics, so he needed to control everything else.
He texted Jim.
Come and play. St. Bart's, rooftop. –SH
The trap was set. He'd decided the where. Jim would decide the when when he had all his pieces in play. Sherlock just had to keep John, Mrs. Hudson, and Lestrade safe until then.
John worried to himself but complained about wanting to go home and check on Mrs. Hudson. Sherlock didn't argue. He could protect them both that much easier that way.
They returned home and verified Mrs. Hudson's health before retiring for the night.
Sherlock couldn't sleep. There was still too much to plan. Too many things to think about to allow his mind to rest. He sat on the edge of his bed and let his brain digest.
Somehow the doubts set in. What if he couldn't pull this off? What if he fucked it up? What if Moriarty outsmarted him somehow? What if he lost everyone? What if he lost John?
He wouldn't think about that. Couldn't even consider that a possibility. He would not lose John. Nor would he let him fall prey to Moriarty's manipulations again. The bomb jacket was enough of a scare for one lifetime.
But this surety didn't stop the thoughts. The images. Lestrade dead. Mrs. Hudson dead. John dead.
But they persisted. His logical arguments of his not-quite-foolproof-but-still-decent plan did not sway the fears. Did not cease the wracking of his mind. Did not keep him from seeing a dead John.
The fears did not obey his orders. Did not cease the torment of his thoughts. The endless slide show of his failure. Dead Lestrade. Dead Mrs. Hudson. Dead John. Dead Sherlock. Dead Lestrade. Dead Mrs. Hudson. Dead John. Dead Sherlock. Dead Lestrade. Dead Mrs. Hudson. Dead John. Dead Sherlock. Dead Lestrade. Dead Mrs. Hudson. Dead John. Dead Sherlock. Dead Lestrade. Dead Mrs. Hudson. Dead John. Dead John. Dead JOHN. DEAD JOHN.
Sherlock bent his head, and plunged his fingers into his hair. He gripped and pulled at the curls like he thought he could grip and pull at the thoughts. He yanked at his locks as if wishing he could forcibly remove the offending images from his mind.
He couldn't. And they were driving him crazy. He couldn't get past them, couldn't form another intelligent thought. It was just the images and his unsteady mantra of "No. Stop. Get out."
Almost nothing pierced his thoughts. The night sounds of London all around him were too familiar to be regarded. Some distant part of Sherlock's brain registered the bed dipping in. But that was an insignificant enough observation that it barely even registered with Sherlock. At least, not until Sherlock felt a touch of a hand on his back. Then his whole world went nearly blank.
It was late, but John couldn't sleep. He was too busy thinking about Moriarty. Or as he'd convinced that reporter woman, Richard Brooks. How he'd created this entire false identity to pretend Sherlock was a fraud. And how Mycroft had played right into it. He'd fed Moriarty the information on Sherlock. Gave the madman the very ammunition he needed to bring Sherlock's career to an immediate halt and the man to his knees.
And John couldn't believe people were going to buy it. Because of course they were. They had never liked Sherlock to begin with. Had never appreciated his talents the way John had because they came in such an unflattering package. John knew Sherlock wasn't everyone's cup of tea. Hell, some days, even John found him bitter. But that didn't make him any less extraordinary.
But that wasn't enough for everyone else. And now, they had the "proof" they needed that he was never extraordinary to begin with. They would believe this solitary lie because it was wrapped completely in truth. And they would hate Sherlock all the more for it.
John needed rest. He could not let these thoughts plague him all night. The issue couldn't be handled right now anyway. They'd deal with it tomorrow when the paper spewed its vile story. Then they would see where they stood.
John made his way to the kitchen to make a cuppa and noticed Sherlock's bedroom light was still on. He wasn't surprised. Sherlock rarely slept. It was a habit John was steadily trying to break him of.
He went to Sherlock's door to ask if he wanted tea, as well, but his knock yielded no response. He cracked it open to see if Sherlock had fallen asleep with the light on as he sometimes did. He would likely be in his chair in his thinking pose. His mind palace was a vast and mysterious place and John was not surprised that he often got lost there.
But he wasn't in his chair and he wasn't in his thinking pose. He was sitting on the edge of his bed, pulling sharply at his hair as if to yank it out. John entered the room quickly.
"Sherlock," John said, but went unanswered.
It was like the detective couldn't even hear him.
"Sherlock?" he tried again, less sure this time. Still, no answer.
John didn't know what to do. He'd never seen Sherlock like this and he didn't know how to react. He wasn't answering to his name and showed no signs of even having heard it.
John considered trying to shake Sherlock out of his head, but decided a gentler approach was necessary. He wasn't sure what exactly he was dealing with, after all.
He sat on the side of the bed next to Sherlock and lifted a hand. He hesitated for a moment, not sure how Sherlock would react to being touched in such a state. But he had to try. Something was obviously wrong.
He touched his back and Sherlock's head instantly popped up, his back straightening slightly. His head whipped around and he pierced John with a look that threw the doctor completely off balance.
"Sherlock?" John tried again. "Maybe you should go to sleep…?"
John could see the moment Sherlock came back to himself. His eyes focused and he leaned away from John's touch and stood.
"No. Can't sleep. Too much thinking to do," he replied.
And John could see that he was looking around his room for some new occupation. John wasn't sure what had prompted Sherlock's clearly unsettling thoughts and he doubted Sherlock would tell him that, let alone what the thoughts actually were. But he didn't think he needed to stay in this room where something possibly triggered them. And since he didn't want Sherlock out in the flat and possibly starting some experience that would inevitably explode and disturb Mrs. Hudson, he suggested they return to St. Bart's. John knew Sherlock had long since conned Molly out of a key and she was more than tolerant of his experiments.
They got there, but Sherlock did not engage in any experiments. He only went back to thinking. John watched him for awhile, but he seemed fine now. John decided Sherlock probably didn't need too much monitoring, and thought he could sleep for at least a few hours. He laid his head down and drifted.
John awoke to his phone going off in his pocket. He answered and a paramedic informed him that Mrs. Hudson had been shot!
"What is it?" Sherlock asked him when he got off the phone.
"Mrs. Hudson's been shot," he told him, half panicked and already thinking ahead to how he would try to soothe her when he was by her side.
"What? How?" Sherlock asked.
"Probably one of the killers you managed to attract. Jesus. Jesus. She's dying, Sherlock. Let's go." And he turned to stride out the door when he heard from behind him-
"You go. I'm busy."
He turned around and stalked back to Sherlock half gaping.
"Thinking. I need to think," Sherlock clarified.
"You need to-?" John was mystified. "Doesn't she mean anything to you? You once half killed a man because he laid a finger on her," John reminded him.
"She's my landlady," Sherlock said, as if that was all the woman was to him.
John could barely suppress his anger and disbelief.
"She's dying, you machine. Sod this. Sod this," he said after a moment. "You stay here, if you want, on your own." He stalked back to the door without a backward glance until Sherlock said-
"Alone is all I have. Alone protects me."
"Nope," John said, looking at him. "Friends protect people." And then he was gone.
Sherlock watched John leave the room, thinking he didn't care for Mrs. Hudson's condition. As if he'd still be here had Mrs. Hudson actually been shot. John should know better than that. After all, he himself had just pointed out that Sherlock had avenged Mrs. Hudson's mistreatment for a much less injury than a shot wound. But Sherlock would forgive John ignoring the logic processes of his higher brain when he was obviously so distressed about Mrs. Hudson.
This was his aim anyway. He had to get John away. Moriarty had had plenty of time to amass his army. No doubt he'd be summoning Sherlock to him soon.
No sooner had Sherlock had the thought than his cell phone buzzed with a text from Jim. So he was already on the roof. Good. Show time.
Jim's plan was so simple. Jump, or his men would kill Sherlock's friends. Obvious. Predictable. And luckily, everything Sherlock had seen coming.
But oh. Jim slipped. Apparently there was a call-off code. Or number. Or word. Or signal. Or something. Sherlock just had to get Jim to spill it.
"Oh. You think you can make me stop the order? You think you can make me do that?" Jim asked.
"Yes, and so do you," Sherlock assured him.
"Sherlock, your big brother and all the King's horses couldn't make me do a thing I didn't want to," Jim noted.
"Yes, but I'm not my brother, remember?" Sherlock queried. "I am you, prepared to do anything. Prepared to burn. Prepared to do what ordinary people won't do. You want me to shake hands with you in hell, I shall not disappoint you."
Jim looked at him. Into him. Through him.
"Nah," he said. "You talk big. Nah. You're ordinary. You're ordinary. You're on the side of the angels."
"Oh, I may be on the side of the angels," Sherlock agreed, "but don't for one second think that I am one of them," he finished with a warning.
And again Jim looked. At. Into. Through. And it dawned on him.
"No. You're not." He closed his eyes to absorb this revelation and Sherlock let a smile touch his lips in triumph before Jim's eyes flicked back open and he continued.
"I see. You're not ordinary. No. You're me." He smiled. Something in his brain finally clicking together as the rest of it surely finished its decent into utter madness.
"Thank you, Sherlock Holmes." He held his hand out for Sherlock to take, which he did after a moment's hesitation.
"Thank you. Bless you." And he looked off to the side as in private contemplation.
"As long as I'm alive, you can save your friends. You've got a way out. Well, good luck with that." And then the maliciously intelligent smile was back before he opened his mouth and stuck a gun inside it.
And then he shot himself.
Sherlock could confess to himself that he was shocked. He hadn't seen that coming. Hadn't planned on that occurring. He'd thought Moriarty too in love with himself to have killed himself so easily. But it should have occurred to him that Moriarty would rather die than risk his plan not coming to at least part of the conclusion he'd set.
But it didn't alter Sherlock's plan. He still had to "die." And so he moved back to the edge and looked out over the street.
When he saw a taxi stop in front of the hospital ferrying John, who apparently found out Mrs. Hudson had not been shot after all and correctly concluded that Sherlock had arranged that plot to get him out of the way and so returned, he got out his phone and called him.
John needed to bear witness to this. Needed to see Sherlock "die" and believe it so Moriarty's people believed it, too. And he needed to stay a safe distance away so Sherlock's people could arrange things below.
And Sherlock talked to John, convinced him to stay across the street where he could see him.
Sherlock only paid about half attention to the things he was saying to John.
"I'm a fake."
"I created Moriarty to serve my own purposes."
"Tell anyone who will listen to you."
But John was so frantic. Sherlock could hear it in his voice. See it in the way his muscles tensed with the effort to obey Sherlock's command to stay and not run across the street to his rescue. He was worried. Which of course was the point and thus should not be affecting Sherlock as much as it was.
And John was trying to justify why Sherlock couldn't have been a fraud. He'd been able to deduce everything about John's life from no more than his appearance, the way he stood and walked, and his second-hand cell phone, after all. (All except that Harry was John's sister rather than brother. This fact still ate at Sherlock's nerves sometimes.) And Sherlock had to lie again and say that he'd researched John.
Another illogical acceptance Sherlock could forgive John due to his emotional turmoil. What internet search would uncover that John had a drunk for a sibling in a relationship with a woman named Clara who happened to give John their phone because of a fight with said woman? None.
"Nobody could be that clever," Sherlock lied through his teeth.
"You could," John assured.
And Sherlock had to laugh, even through the emotion swelling his throat. Because John was still complimenting him, even at the point of his "death." Still had an unshakable faith in him. It was both everything he needed and exactly the kind of attitude that would make this plan backfire.
Sherlock told John this would be his note. Because of course all the interesting suicide committers left notes. Those that wanted infamy, notoriety, even in death. That thought the life that they were living was so important that people would want to know why they ended it.
And all Sherlock could see was John. The main person he was doing this for. Because he would not be the cause of John being hurt again. Since Moriarty had taken care of himself, Sherlock's job was to go after his lackeys. He would search as far and as wide and for as long as it took to deal with Moriarty's minions. No one would get by with threatening the few people Sherlock called friends.
And Sherlock saw John's anxiety. His need to come to Sherlock's aid. And Sherlock felt genuine remorse for what he was undoubtedly about to put John through. Because for this to be convincing, John had to believe him dead. For his own safety, Sherlock could not tell him otherwise.
And he would take the goal of see John smile again with him on his mission. Would take the knowledge that John would move on eventually and be happy again with him. Because he didn't know when or if he would be back. Though he hoped he could get this taken care of quickly, he knew Moriarty would only hire the best of his men to deal with him. So Sherlock knew he had his work cut out for him. But he would either take these men out or die trying. He would definitely die before he brought more hurt and pain upon John or his friends.
He looked down at John and spoke to him for the last time in what was sure to be awhile.
And he discarded his phone, and fell.
A/N: Here I am again. Queen of the picfic. This was the first Sherlock pic to make me want to write a Sherlock fic. (There are many others now. Fics for another time.) I've been sitting on this beauty for months. But someone posted the picture again earlier today and I FINALLY got an idea for it! You see I had to tweak canon a slight bit to make it fit the picture (for those that can't remember, I made the boys go home for a few hours before returning to St. Bart's), and had to tweak the picture a bit to fit canon (John's not sitting quite so intimately on Sherlock's bed), but I think it all worked out. I hope they're not too OOC. I think I'm quite in love with this fic. And here I thought myself incapable of writing a Sherlock fic. Live and learn. (Deductions are likely still beyond me, though. *sigh*)