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 Burning Hearts

Chapter Text

Moriarty was the sort of organisation who didn’t need to offer a lot of money to get a job done. It could offer a thousand pounds for a job that would cost others ten times that and have a line of people looking to do it. If you got asked to do a job for Moriarty, you did it; no regard to the small amount of money you got paid. Especially if the job was a dangerous or deadly one.

So for Moriarty to offering half a million quid for this job it had to be a near impossible job. But that had never bothered Billy; he had always had more ambition than sense. It’s how he ended up here, leader of a bunch of idiots who had no real idea of what they were doing.

Got ‘em Billy.” A voice spoke into his ear piece. Billy hissed at the use of his name, and he heard the flinch on the other end. “Boss, sorry, Boss. Found his escort, just where you said. Disposed of the bodies in a hangar.”

Corey is good at his job, if nothing else, Billy thought as he made his way towards the last location they had sighted their target. “How many?” he asked.

“Two. One man in a suit, security I think. And a woman with a blackberry- most likely his assistant.”

“Both dead?” Billy asked as he slipped into another hangar. He could hear indistinct voices arguing inside and he moved quietly towards them.

“Both…both neutralised.” Before Billy can ask what he meant, he drew close enough to the voices to make them out. He ducked behind a parked plane and noted the tall, dark haired man with an umbrella. He could not see the other man.

“I don’t care why you’re here Mycroft. Just leave.” Gotcha! Billy thought. Confirmation of their target’s position is what he had been waiting for. A quick press of a button and a mass text is sent- the signal for the next stage of their plan.

Billy kept half an ear on the conversation even as he ordered his five men into position.

“I do not understand why you are here. Martin doesn’t-“

“Don’t finish that sentence, Mycroft. Not if you know what’s good for you.” The man snapped.

There was a pause, as Mycroft waited for the man to calm down. “No offence meant. Now, I believe you are the only one with the abilities to aid me. I appear to be...unable to understand his mindset.”

“An understatement. Mycroft I’m-“ It is at this moment Billy pulled his gun and stepped into sight, halting the conversation. Mycroft blinks once, and then his face was blank. The other man, who Billy could see for the first time, had a look of complete surprise before he too blinks it away, but not as well as Mycroft.

 

He was familiar, in a way Billy could not place. “Hello, Mycroft Holmes.” He says, pointing the gun at Mycroft. Mycroft gave the gun a disdainful glance before he looked Billy up and down.

 

“Oh, how dull. Moriarty, I presume? I did realise I would have to deal with him in the end, but really?” Billy grimaced but tightened his hold on the gun. The other man flinched and dropped his hand to his pocket.

“Don’t move! I will shoot you. I only need him.”

The man blinked; his expression identical to that of Mycroft’s for a moment and it was then his identity clicked in Billy’s head. Even as Billy made the connection, the man spoke, confirming his thoughts. “But, that’s not a gun. Not a real gun anyway. I do know a gun when I see one.”

Billy smiled. The face behind Moriarty is unknown, but they all know his adversary. He is the safest man in London, on pain of death- it pays to know his face. “Sherlock Holmes I presume? Pleasure. I wonder how much you’re worth?” Sherlock looks at Billy like he has lost his mind for a second before his expression changed.

“Yes… I am Sherlock…” He ignored Mycroft’s glare, which confused Billy but he shook it off. His mind was racing, filled with ways to turn this to his advantage. Mycroft Holmes is worth half a million; surely Sherlock is worth twice that. And they did have two cars; Corey’s old man’s car and the van- some old thing they stole from a removalist with a funny name yesterday.

Billy’s smile widened. Mycroft narrowed his eyes, and then raising his umbrella he thumps the man coming up behind him over the head with it. Poor Fred, he’s never going to live that down, thinks Billy as Sherlock half turns in time to see the other man with the very real knife behind him. He only just ducks in time to avoid being stabbed. He looks up with wide eyes at Corey, who is holding the bloodstained knife just above him.

“No! Take them both; he’s worth twice as much as the target.” Corey hesitates for a moment, and Mycroft uses that second to slice at his legs with the sword that has appeared out of nowhere. The umbrella is a sword. A fucking umbrella sword. Billy curses as he waves in Brad and Todd to help. Corey drops to the ground, cursing.

“Run!” Mycroft yells at Sherlock. Bewildered, Sherlock stares at his brother while mouthing the word. “Run!” Mycroft screams again, shoving at his brother to get him moving while moving to stand between him and Billy’s other two men.

Billy frowns and drops the lighter in his hand, while drawing his own knife. He grabs Sherlock as he tries to get past, twisting one hand behind his back and placing his knife at the shorter man’s throat.

“Unless you wish for your younger brother to die, I advise you to put the sword down Mycroft Holmes.” Mycroft freezes, his sword at Brad’s heart. He meets Billy’s eyes and then Sherlock’s. To Billy’s surprise, Sherlock is shaking his head slightly, telling him not to do it. Billy tightens his grip on Sherlock’s throat and the shaking stops. A drop of blood runs down Billy’s hand.

Mycroft considers it for a moment, before dropping the sword and stepping back. Brad stays frozen for a second before Billy’s nod has him moving to secure Mycroft. Todd comes up behind with the chloroform soaked handkerchief and without a struggle Mycroft is knocked out. Sherlock’s eyes are wide with fear as Todd does the same to him.

“Call Jack. Get him to bring the van around. We’re out of here in three minutes.” Corey is still bleeding on the hanger floor. Billy thinks for a second about leaving him, but that would be much evidence. The blood is mostly under a plane, they won’t notice it until the plane, GERTI or something, is moved. “Grab Corey too.”

Between the four of them they manage to get the two men, a dopey Fred and bleeding Corey into the van and car.

No one notices the mobile, half hidden under GERTI, still valiantly trying to send a text.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“Douglas! What are you doing here?”

Douglas looked up from his desk. He had only sat down not two minutes ago, after being greeted by Arthur’s usual enthusiastic hug. Carolyn was standing in the doorway, looking at him in surprise.

“I was under the impression I worked here. That being here is what you pay me to do.” He drawled.

Carolyn waved her hand at him. “Yes, yes but why are you here now? You’re never early.”

“Carolyn, I am my usual forty-five minutes late. Which means I am on time. Why on Earth would you think I was early?”

“Because Martin isn’t here. He always beats you here; usually beats Arthur and me actually.” Halfway through speaking, Carolyn’s tone became concerned. So did Douglas, to be fair, his mind running through the worst case scenarios that Martin’s luck would attract with ease.

“You don’t think-“ Douglas started. He wasn’t sure how to finish his statement so he was glad when Carolyn interrupted him.

“I don’t know. He would call, I’m sure of it. But Martin is a grown man and I shouldn’t worry. At all.”

Douglas decided to lighten the mood. “It’s Martin, Carolyn. Think of the most embarrassing thing you can and something worse than that has happened to him. We’re on standby anyway; he can be late an hour or so.”

Carolyn nodded in agreement, but Douglas could see the doubt in her eyes. “If it makes you feel better, I can go by his place. Check he’s not slept through his alarm for you.” Douglas fished out his keys and stood as he spoke, coming to stand beside Carolyn in the doorway. He gave her a look, communicating his need for Martin’s address.

“It would be a relief, yes Douglas. Gods know when it happened, but somehow Martin became my other son- if you tell him that, I will kill you.” She said, glaring at Douglas while realising what he was waiting for. She turned to the filing cabinet.

“Never. It wouldn’t do for Martin to know that. Can you imagine the shade of red he would go? It would clash horribly with his red hair. Well, his old hair.” Douglas quickly fell back on humour as standby in emotional situations while trying to distract Carolyn from the thoughts that were running through his head.

“Yes, why did he dye his hair black? I missed that.” Carolyn asked while she searched for Martin’s personnel record to get his address.  

“Apparently he was aiming for brown and misjudged the darkness of the dye he bought. Or the colour of his hair, I didn’t quite catch which through my laughter.” Douglas said.

Carolyn smiled affectionately while holding out the file to Douglas. “Idiot. How long will it last?”

“Hopefully a while. I always like having something to fall back if I ever run out of things to tease him about. Right, I should only be a little while. Bye.” Douglas walked out, leaving Carolyn clutching the file and hoping that her fears for Martin were just her being silly.

*******

“Well Martin, this is a surprise.” Douglas muttered as he pulled up to Martin’s address. It was one of the most run down of the student housing, a good deal further from the airport than Douglas thought Martin would be. He was careful to lock his Lexus before going in, though hopefully he wouldn’t be here long.

There was no doorbell. It took five minutes for someone to answer his knocking, by which point he was surprised the dead weren’t accompanying the man who opened the door.

“Hello?” the man said, sleepily blinking at Douglas.

“Ah, yes. I’m here for Martin Crieff.” The student blinked in confusion. “Hmm… let’s see. I’m here for the thirty odd year old pilot?”

“Oh! The guy in the attic. Sure, come in. Is he expecting you?” The door was opened fully, and Douglas could see that the run down state of the outside continued inside.

“Most likely. Would you mind showing me to his room?”

The man blinked again, before leading the way through the halls. Douglas took note on the way up of the lack of any other people. “Late night?” he commented.

“Yeah… I’m the only one likely to be awake before midday and that’s because I’ve work in a few hours. We don’t normally see the pilot, he’s ghost like. Gone before we wake up, and back while we’re out.”

Douglas hummed in agreement while pursing his lips. If I had known Martin had it this bad-

“Here we are. He’s up those stairs.” Douglas wasn’t sure if what was being pointed out counted as stairs but he didn’t comment. They were much steeper than usual, having clearly been added in as little space as possible and as cheaply as possible.

“Thank you.” He said curtly, as the student walked off. Douglas took a second to collect himself, before calling “Martin? You up there?” and climbing into Martin’s room.

As soon as he entered the room, he felt a blunt pain in his head as he hit it on the low beams. Swearing, he ducked down and moved further into the room. Looking round, he was a little surprised at what he saw.

Yes, the walls were covered in pictures of planes and there were a few model planes here and there. Douglas wasn’t surprised to see how little furniture there was: just the bed, a bookshelf and a small set of drawers. No, what surprised him were all the pictures in frames around the room. The drawers were covered in them, mostly ones of Martin and Sherlock or quite oddly, the MJN crew; though there were some of a family that included Martin (most likely his family other than Sherlock) and one of Sherlock and Martin as children with another older child who was clearly related to them. The bookshelf had flight manuals, and also had many other titles but Douglas was distracted by the bed before he could investigate them.

That was because the bed had a skull on it. Not a fake skull or an animal skull but a real human skull. Douglas found himself staring at it as it stared back, completely thrown by this new side of his captain.

However, it was quite clear this room was missing one important thing- a Martin. Clearly the man had left for work today, judging by the lack of uniform or Captain’s hat in the room.

Douglas turned to leave when he noticed the set of keys sitting amongst the pictures on the drawers. Curious, he picked them up recognising the car key for Martin’s van among them. He left his van key behind when he went to work…why?

Confused, Douglas jumped when his phone began to play Highway to Hell. Wondering why Carolyn was calling him, he set the keys down and answered.

“Hello?”

 

 

Chapter Text

Ten minutes earlier

“Mum, where’s Douglas? I went and got him tea but he’s not in the cabin. And I know he’s here because I saw him. Right?” Arthur gave her his usual bemused look and Carolyn felt herself sighing.

“Yes, dear. He’s gone to Martin’s place to see if he is alright and to find out why he’s late to work.”

To her surprise, Arthur’s look became even more confused. “But why would he need to go to Martin’s to do that? Skip’s here, isn’t he?”

Carolyn felt her son’s confusion spreading to her. “No, he’s not. Remember how we didn’t see his van in the car park this morning?”

“Yeah, I know. But I talked to Terry from the fire crew while I was getting tea and he said he talked to Martin. Apparently someone pinched Martin’s van last night and he happened to meet Terry while on the way to the bus stop so Terry gave him a lift.” Arthur didn’t notice the look on his mother’s face as he continued. “And I think I saw him too.”

“Where?!” Carolyn demanded. She couldn’t shake the bad feeling she had.

“Oh, on the way to GERTI’s hangar. I figured he had some super-secret pilot business to do with the man with the umbrella and that’s why he ignored me when I called out to him.” Arthur looked hurt for a second at the thought of his Skipper ignoring him, before he broke out into his usual smile.

“Right. Come with me, and we’ll go get Martin.” She grabbed her son’s arm on the way out and fished out her mobile with the other hand. Dialling Douglas, she headed for GERTI.

“Hello?”

“Douglas? Found anything?”

“Other than a human skull and more pictures than I thought possible in one space; no. Oh, and Martin’s van keys-“

“Yes, well someone apparently stole Martin’s van last night. Arthur said he last saw him going to GERTI’s hangar so I’ll check that out now.”

Oh, so he is there.”

“It seems like it. Come back here then.”

Should I bring Yorick? I always thought GERTI would look better with a sku-“

“Douglas.” Carolyn snapped as she hung up, expressing her thoughts on his teasing in a single word. He would bring the skull, if only to get the story behind it.

********

Carolyn grabbed Arthur and headed for GERTI’s hangar. On the way out she had Arthur grab GERTI’s key so he could check the plane for their missing pilot.

“Where did you think you saw Martin, again?”

“Mum!” Arthur called, his “You’re being silly” look on his face. “I didn’t think I saw him, I know I did. He went in through that door.” He pointed to the main door to GERTI’s hangar.

Just then, there was a squeal of tires. Both Shappeys turned to see a van racing away from the airport car park, a man in his Bentley yelling after it. Carolyn narrowed her eyes at the van. It was too far away to make out what it said on the side, but the only person who drove a van around here was Martin… but he was a cautious driver, almost to the point of being dangerously slow.

“Mum, is that-“

“Can’t be. Come on let’s go check the hangar.”

As soon as she walked into the hangar it became clear it was deserted. Arthur skipped past her with the keys to GERTI, whistling a tune. She pulled out her phone, ready to call Douglas when they didn’t find him.

“Mum?” Arthur poked his head out of the door of the plane. “Martin’s not here.”

“Yes, I thought so. Come on dear, we’ll go look elsewhere.”

“Alright. Hey Mum?”

Carolyn sighed, thinking she was going to have to explain something like why Martin was missing. “Yes, dear?”

“Do you remember that time I dropped red cordial on the floor? And how I said it looked like blood?”

“Yes.” Of course she did, poor Arthur had been panicking that he had killed the cordial and the floor. It had taken an hour to calm him down.

“Well, someone has done it here.”

“What, dropped red cordial?” Carolyn found herself walking towards her son, curious as to what he had seen.

“Well, yes. Unless its blood on the floor under GERTI… it’s not blood is it Mum?”

“No, dear,” she said even as she approached where Arthur was standing. He was pointing to a spot on the hangar floor and she could instantly see it wasn’t red cordial. It wasn’t a huge patch of blood, big enough to see without effort from the right direction, but small enough that GERTI’s wing was able to hide it from view of those just entering the hangar for a second.

Then she found her eye caught by the glint of plastic that was sitting further under GERTI. She could only just see it but she could make out that it was a phone.

“Arthur, dearest could you grab those gloves from the kitchen for me?”

“Right. Sure. Umm… where are they?”

Carolyn rolled her eyes. They’re by the microwave. Go fetch two pairs please.”

Arthur scrambled off returning a few minutes later with two pairs of abused looking gloves. Carolyn pulled a pair on and then made Arthur pull the other pair on.

“Now, could you go down under GERTI and grab the phone I can see just there? Don’t touch the wet patch!”

“Righto.” Arthur agreed, obviously thinking this was some kind of game they were playing. He ducked and seconds later returned with what Carolyn recognised as Martin’s phone.

“Hey Mum, isn’t this Skip’s?” She nodded even as she grabbed it gently. Pulling up the menu, she noticed it had just sent a text. The sent folder showed her the last text Martin had sent had been a blank one to Sherlock, ten minutes ago.

“Mum, what is it?”

“I’m not sure. Arthur, can you go fetch the airport security please?”

“Do I have to? Those guys are so mean…”

“Arthur, I’m sorry but this is very important. Go get them and bring them here and show them these. I’m going to go see if I can find Martin.”

“Alright…” Arthur sadly walked off. Carolyn watched him go before moving onto the next hangar. It was the empty hangar that often served as the location of the Airport bar when it was in operation- also known as the times Martin didn’t know about it.

Pulling open the door she gave the hangar a quick glance and not spotting any red or anything, went to move on. Martin’s hair really was his most recognisable feature- but no. He’s got black hair now. And how was that a long enough search? Sighing, she walked directly into the hangar and gave the room a long searching look. Finding nothing, she turned to go.

And froze. Right beside the door was a woman, bound and gagged. Carolyn didn’t recognise her. She had dark hair, was well dressed even if it was completely messed up and had what looked to be a smashed blackberry near her. Checking she still had her gloves on, Carolyn approached the woman who had not moved the entire time she was in the hangar. Placing her hand before her mouth Carolyn could feel the woman’s breath. Sighing in relief she fished for her phone.

As she pulled it towards her head something reflected in the dark screen. Curious, Carolyn followed the reflection.

And started to scream at the body hanging from the ceiling. For two moments she couldn’t think, and then the sound of running feet and Arthur screaming for her broke through. Blindly thinking she couldn’t let Arthur see this, she turned and ran for the door. As she left the hangar, she ran into Arthur, nearly knocking him over. He grabbed at her, steadying her and holding her shoulders as the security he had been sent for tried to catch up.

“Mum! What is it?” Arthur sounded panicked and Carolyn pulled herself together for his sake.

“Nothing, dear. Nothing, I’m fine. Go back to GERTI.” Her voice was shaking which meant her words didn’t seem to reassure Arthur like she had intended.

“But, Mum… you screamed. You never scream.” He sounded exactly like the six year old child she had held through nightmares and Carolyn knew she had to get her act together.

“I just had a shock, Dear Heart. I need you to go back to GERTI while I talk to security. Okay?”

Still anxious, Arthur nodded. Casting one last glance at the hangar he returned to the safety of GERTI. Relieved for a reason she didn’t understand, she turned to the security men. “There’s been a murder; I need you to call the police.”

“A murder?!” One of them gasped. The other went pale, and stared at the door in shock.

“Yes, you need to call the police. Oh and we have a missing pilot last seen in that hangar, where there is a patch of blood and my son remembers seeing a strange man. Oh! And in there with the body is a woman who isn’t dead but-“

“Mum!” Arthur’s voice suddenly broke into Carolyn’s speech. She turned to tell him off, but noticed he had something in his hand.

“Arthur, what is it?” she said as he reached her.

“It’s Skip, Mum. He’s just called his phone!”

Chapter Text

One week ago

“Sherlock, what is it?” Sherlock was stalking around the flat, looking agitated, when John   returned home after work. He barely glanced at John, before continuing his route around the flat. John watched him for a moment, before flopping down in his chair. He went to flick the telly on, but Sherlock turned it off straight away so John sat and watched him in silence for a moment.

“New case?” he asked after the third round of the living room.

“Old one. I should have been called in two weeks ago.”

When he didn’t continue, John prompted “And? What’s the case?”

“Hmm?” Sherlock looked up, distracted by his thoughts. “Two bodies found dead, both of them with remarkable similarities to myself. Doppelgangers, if you wish. Both were shot through the head, and dressed in a coat and scarf similar to mine.”

John sat up, interested and slightly worried for his friend. “Are you in danger? Is this a threat against you?”

Sherlock was shaking his head before John had finished. “No, if it is anything, it’s an attempt to frame me. All the scenes had an odd message and my initials on them. Dull. But it caused Lestrade to overreact and restrict my access to the crime scenes.”

“Sherlock-“ John rose out of his chair and stood before his friend, stopping his progress around the flat.

“Don’t worry John; I have airtight alibis for both murders. I was with Lestrade both times- which means these were planned to be obvious frames. But why? What point does it serve?” John recognised that Sherlock was thinking aloud and sat back down to allow him to continue his pacing. “You have my attention, but why these messages? They make no sense-“

John’s curiosity got the better of him. “What messages?”

The Lion King and Saving Private Ryan. What point do those serve? Who is this 'Private Ryan' and what does a film about a lion have to do with it?”

John blinked. “You know The Lion King, but not Saving Private Ryan?”

Sherlock looked up. “Oh, so they’re both films. Interesting.” He suddenly sat down and grabbed John’s laptop; clearly researching the films.

“Didn’t Lestrade tell you that?”

“No, all he gave me were pictures of the scenes, sent by his private email. Sally clearly still suspects me, along with the majority of his team. How boring.”

John was still bemused. “You didn’t answer my question. How do you know The Lion King?”

Sherlock flicked his gaze to John for a moment before replying. “Martin. We weren’t children when it came out, but he felt like being childish. It was…a fun afternoon.”  He dropped his gaze back to the laptop and stiffened.  The colour in his face began to drain.

“Sherlock?” John asked, confused at his friend’s sudden fear. “What is it?”

Sherlock ignored him and stood stiffly, returning the laptop to its place on the table before dashing past John into his bedroom. John looked after him in confusion.

A minute later he emerged, carrying a bag. “John, I have something important to do. I need you to stay here, and make it seem as if I’m still here. Can you do that?”

John was taken aback. “Sherlock-“

“John!” Sherlock interrupted. “Lives depend on this. Can you do it?”

“Of course.” Sherlock searched his face for a moment, and then nodded. Without another word he turned and, grabbing his coat on the way, left the flat and his bewildered flatmate behind him.

*******

Now
John Watson was worried about his flatmate.

Admittedly, it was a feeling he was quite used to feeling having been sharing with Sherlock for as long as he had, but this was a slightly different worry to his usual worry. Usually he was only worried about his flatmate's disregard for his own safety or how he continuously forgot to eat. But this… this was different.

Sherlock had been acting completely out of character for, oh, about a week now. Ever since he had returned from his sudden and mysterious trip. To Fitton. A fact which John had only learned by checking Sherlock’s pockets for a receipt and finding one for the local store there, though why Sherlock would want black hair dye was beyond John.

But, Sherlock did many things that confused John. He could handle them. What he couldn’t handle was how…normal  Sherlock was acting at the moment. He was eating regularly, well regularly for him, and sleeping in his bed- during a case! He was being somewhat polite to strangers and had even fumblingly apologised after a cruel comment when Sally had showed up with a few of Lestrade’s notes.

If it wasn’t for the fact he was still completely brilliant, John would have thought he was dealing with a different person. A very similar but different-

“John!” Sherlock’s call suddenly broke through John’s thoughts. He had stuck the crime scene photos on one of the walls and was currently standing before them as if staring would make them give up their secrets.

“Yes Sherlock?”

“I need you to send a text. My phone is in your pocket.”

John checked his pocket and found to his shock that it was. “How did that- never mind.” He shook his head, used to the oddities of living with Sherlock. He went to send a text when he noticed Sherlock had just received one.

“You’ve got a text. From….Martin.” Sherlock looked over with a “go on” expression so John opened it to read it. “Oh. It’s blank. Martin must have accidentally texted you.”

Sherlock took in a deep breath, which caused John to look up. He was surprised to see the look of honest fear on his friend’s face before it disappeared to be replaced by his usual mask. However, he stalked across the room and held his hand out for his phone.

John handed it over and watched as Sherlock dialled Martin, and with a glance at John, placed it on speaker.

“Hello?” A childish, confused and familiar voice answered.

“Arthur!” Sherlock called as John tried to place the voice. Arthur…Oh! Martin’s friend, Arthur. How did Sherlock remember that?

“Skipper! You’re missing! Well, obviously you’re not missing, because you’re talking to me now and you can’t be missing if you can talk on a phone because then you know where you are. Unless you’re lost, but then you’re not missing, you’re lost which is completely different. Somehow. Mum didn’t explain it very well when I asked. She just-“

“Arthur!” Sherlock interrupted. “I’m not Martin.”

“Of course you are. You sound like Martin, Skip so you have to be who you are. You can’t not be yourself, it’s really hard and then you’re not you and that’s really sad.” Sherlock sighed with the hint of a fond smile on his face.

“Arthur, is your mother there?”

“Oh yeah. But she told me to stay by GERTI after she screamed, so I’m thinking it might be a good idea to stay here.”

“This is more important. Take the phone to your mother.” Arthur went to protest. “Now, Arthur! Please.”

John looked at Sherlock in shock as the sounds of Arthur running came over the phone. His voice calling Carolyn could be heard, before a rushing and then Carolyn’s voice came over the phone.

“Who is this, and what does it have to do with Martin?”

“Carolyn? It’s Sherlock Holmes. I…I believe I am needed at Fitton airport. Martin’s life may depend upon it.”

“His life?” Her voice came back, sounding worried and confused.

“Yes. Meet me at the Portakabin in an hour.”  

Chapter Text

“Um, Sherlock. How are we going to get to Fitton in an hour?”

As soon as he had hung up on Carolyn, Sherlock had sent a flurry of texts while indicating to John to go pack a bag. Two minutes later he had barged into John’s room and groaned at the speed at which he was packing. Pushing John aside, Sherlock had taken over the task.

Sherlock looked up from where he was packing John’s underwear. John was trying hard not to blush and by the heat on his cheeks, was failing.

“I’ve access to a car of Mycroft’s. It’ll be parked around out the front in five minutes. We’ll be able to make it if I drive fast enough.”

“You can drive?” John couldn’t keep the shock out of his voice.

Sherlock gave his “People are stupid, why do I bother?” sigh as he threw the closed bag at John. “Of course I can drive, it’s not like it is a hard skill to master.”

John just pursed his lips. “Right. Do you have a licence?” he asked as he followed Sherlock down the stairs to the street, only pausing when Sherlock grabbed his own packed bag.

“John, I just said I can drive, of course-“

John cut him off. “Sherlock being able to drive is not the same as having a licence. Do you have a licence?”

Standing on their doorstep waiting for the car, Sherlock fished his wallet out and found his licence. “There…Oh.”

“What?”

Sherlock gave the licence a confused look. “It expired last year.” He kept looking at it as if trying to make the date change without any effort on his behalf.

John suppressed a laugh. “I’ll drive then.”

********

Douglas was surprised to see flashing lights when he pulled into the airport car park. It took him a few second to spot the ambulance and police cars the lights were coming from, but once he did, his blood ran cold.

They were near GERTI’s hanger. And Martin had been last seen there…

He parked his Lexus carelessly, barely stopping to lock it before sprinting across the car park to the airport gate. He slowed down and flashed his ID at the security guard, who is too busy trying to make out what is happening to pay attention to Douglas. Douglas didn’t start running again, but kept up a fast walk as he made his way over to the hangar.

He stopped when he hit the police line which was surrounded by nearly every person who worked at the airport. He quickly scanned the crowd of uniformed officers, looking for one of his fellow crew members.

“Douglas!” he looked up at Carolyn’s voice. For a moment he couldn’t see her, then the crowd before him cleared and Carolyn was standing in front of him. She had a bright orange blanket wrapped around her and a cup of what looked to be coffee in her hands. Douglas’ mostly forgotten medical knowledge noted them as the treatment for shock.

“Carolyn. Are you alright? Are Arthur…and Martin?”

A flash of pain passed across Carolyn’s face at the mention of Martin, but she nodded. “Arthur and I are fine.” She motioned at Douglas to hop under the police line.

“I’m sorry Sir, but you have to stay behind the line-“ One officer spoke up as Douglas goes to hop under the line.

Carolyn turned on him. “This man is involved in this crime. He has information regarding the location of my missing employee which you all seem to be ignoring and he’s the only one likely to be able to help me handle my son.” The officer flinched at the mention of Arthur, which made Douglas curious.

“…Alright Miss. Just go over by that hangar, and I’ll see if I can get a detective over to interview him.” He motioned towards a hangar nowhere near GERTI’s but still within the police line. Carolyn paused for a second but then moved towards the hangar, Douglas on her heels.

********

An hour later they were still sitting in the shade of the hangar watching the proceedings of the scene. Arthur joined them within minutes of them being directed over; his cheeriness having annoyed the lead detective soon after his arrival.

Douglas carefully filled his co-workers in on the details of his trip to Martin’s and then listened intently as Carolyn described the events at the airport. When it comes to the body, she falters and sends Arthur to see how long it will be so he can’t hear that part of her story.

Douglas is about to offer his opinion on the events when he hears Arthur’s voice, causing the two to look up.

“Skipper! SKIPPER!” Arthur breaks away from the detective he is walking beside, and heads straight for the police line. It takes Douglas a moment, but he spots who Arthur was calling- a dark haired man, wearing a vaguely familiar coat arguing with a police officer. A note of hope flares in his chest. However, both he and Carolyn realise what is going to happen before Arthur reaches the man and begin to run towards them.

The man looks up just in time to be crash tackled by Arthur as Douglas refuses to call Arthur’s run-up-hugs hugs. He was only kept from falling over by the quick actions of the blonde man beside him, who managed to support his and Arthur’s weight until he was released.

Douglas jogged up in time to hear the man ask “…What on Earth was that?!”

“A run-up-hug Skip. Don’t you remember? Oh! Did you lose your memory when you were kidnapped?”

“Kidnapped?!” the police officer Mar-No, Martin’s brother Sherlock- was arguing with said. Judging by the fact he was wearing plain clothes but for his hat and badge; Douglas would guess this was one of the detectives investigating the scene.

Sherlock gave the man a withering glance. “I believe Arthur here is confusing me with my very similar looking, but completely different brother Martin.”

“Who has been kidnapped?” the blonde man- John, was it? - said, managing to make it both a statement and a question.

Sherlock frowned. “Not sure yet John. I don’t have enough data. One cannot theorise before one has all the facts, because one may eventually twist facts to suit theories rather than theories to suit facts. Martin is merely… in an unknown location.”

John gave his friend a sympathetic look as he took a step closer to stand by Sherlock’s side. The police looked from one to the other completely baffled.

“Um…”

Sherlock cut over him. “I need to see the crime scene. A man’s life depends on it. And before you start arguing with me again I would like to know how your wife is.”

The police detective was taken aback. “My wife?”

“Your wife. Your pregnant wife. Due soon, is she?”

Everyone except John began to blink in confusion while the detective in question's eyes began to widen. “How did you-?”

“Easy, you have a wedding ring on, any idiot can see that. Pregnant was a bit harder but-“

“Is there a point to this?” Douglas cut in, gaining a glare from Sherlock at his interruption of his genius.

“Of course. Two minutes in your crime scene and I will be able to tell you who was there, and exactly what happened.” Sherlock stared directly at the detective. The man began to sweat under the intense stare. “I can save you countless hours of work, and even a life if you let me in for two minutes.”

It was odd to hear Martin’s voice, or something close to it, being so persuasive and smooth. Yet Douglas could see Sherlock’s argument taking effect on the detective.

“Two minutes?”

“Two minutes.” Sherlock confirmed. The detective sighed, then nodded.

“I’ll allow it for two minutes. You had better help.”

Sherlock smiled a cold, emotionless, but proud smile. “Of course I will, I’m Sherlock Holmes.”

Chapter Text

“Do you trust me, Martin?” Sherlock stands in the middle of Martin’s room, his eyes boring into Martin.

“Always.” Martin says from his position on his bed. He ignores the headache he can feel coming on, focusing on the warmth he always feels in his brother’s presence.

“With your life?” Sherlock presses, moving closer.

“Yes.”

“Why?” Sherlock suddenly turns his back on Martin and steps through the wall.

“What? Sherlock!” Martin tries to stand, to chase his brother but his limbs are made of lead and his hands are behind his back and why can he hear Mycroft?

The room begins to disappear as darkness streams across it. Martin reaches out a hand, calling his brother’s name but all he hears is an echo of his voice, his words running together.

********

“Martin, you are conscious and hearing this. I would like for you to pay attention.” Mycroft’s voice is grating at the best of times and Martin doesn’t appreciate it chasing away the pleasant darkness now. Especially as his head seems to be throbbing; his stomach is twisting and twirling in unusual, horrible ways and his mouth tastes like something Arthur cooked. It’s a hangover even worse than when his father die-

Hang on. Mycroft?  Martin opens one eye, expecting to flinch at the shady lights of his attic. He blinks in confusion when there is no noticeable difference, trying to check if he actually did open his eyes.

Oh God. What if-

“Martin, I can hear your panic attack coming on from over here. We’re captives, not blind.” Captives? Martin tries to sit up, even as his brain scrambles to assessable the events leading up to this. However as he tries something yanks on his hands, pulling him back towards the wall. It takes him a moment to recognise the feel of handcuffs on his arms and hear the sound of the chain dragging along the floor.

“Yes, I am Sherlock.”  His own voice flashes into his head bringing with it the events of the last week. Mycroft gives a small huff of annoyance at…well him in general.

“Finally remembered, have you?” Another huff. “How does my brother deal with this?” He mutters but in the darkness all sounds are emphasised.

Martin’s hurt reply was lost, as at that moment a scream sounded from directly above them. 

“What was that?!” Martin cried.

“I believe you are familiar with the sound of a scream Martin.” Mycroft stated his tone slightly angry. “However,” he continued, cutting off Martin’s spluttering “that is our kidnapper.”

“Our k-kidnapper?” Martin said as he tried to retreat into the wall behind him. “What, how, what?”

“Eloquent as always. What does my brother see in you?”

Irritated at the attack on Sherlock, Martin snapped a reply. “A hell of a lot more than he sees in you.”

Another scream hid the sounds of Mycroft’s flinch.

********

 The door smashed into the wall of the cell as it was thrown open, the light streaming in blinding both men.  Mycroft closed his eyes instinctively then kept them closed as he tried to catalogue the sounds coming from the open doorHeavy breathing-two distinct sources which could be covering the sounds of a third person; hitching breathing similar to that of someone trying not to laugh standing much closer and light footsteps moving towards him. The air coming in was not fresh nor could he feel heat from the light now blinding him. The floor was smooth and cold; with the walls feeling like exactly the same material.

Conclusion- We’re underground in a concrete bunker of some sort, our kidnappers were working for a light male who now finds our situation funny and has two henchmen at least.

“Moriarty, I presume.” Mycroft slowly opened his eyes, unwilling to lose his greatest sense to a little bit of light sensitivity.

But Moriarty wasn’t even looking in Mycroft’s direction. His laughter had faded away; replaced by a slightly confused look. He was staring at Martin, taking in every detail and coming to the oblivious conclusion.

“You are not Sherlock Holmes.” Martin’s eyes snapped open at the statement and suddenly seemed unable to glance away or even blink; caught as they were in Moriarty’s glance. One heartbeat, two breaths; and then Moriarty’s smirk seemed to signal the end of the staring and Martin broke away, taking deep breaths. Mycroft could hear the shuddering in his breathing that showed he was close to tears.

“A look alike, Mycroft.” Moriarty turned and crouched down before the restrained man. “How…unimaginative. I expected better of you.”

“A perfectly sound analysis but I was hoping you would go deeper.” Sherlock’s voice echoed in the concrete room, startling Moriarty enough for him to nearly fall over. Both he and Mycroft stared at Martin, who for a mere second seemed to almost be… Sherlock.

The weight of both glances was enough to break Martin’s concentration as the fear he had hidden for a moment to copy his brother came flooding back. He whimpered as Moriarty approached him, flinching at the palm placed on his cheek. He lowered his eyes, glancing all over the room in an attempt to avoid eye contact.

“You’re not just a look alike.” Moriarty breathed. “Recently dyed hair; home job but not done by yourself. Too neat. You were able to fool my little friends, not a hard job I’ll admit, but beyond someone with acting skills as poor as yours.” Moriarty grabbed Martin’s chin and forced the man to meet his eyes. “I will find out about you, Martin Crieff. Every detail of your sad, boring life. And I will destroy it, if you don’t tell me what I want to know.”

Moriarty was blocking Mycroft’s view of his brother’s eyes but he knew what they would contain. Fear for himself and his friends along with hope he could help them. He hid his sigh under his usual mask. Sherlock always relied on others in order for his plans to work perfectly and now this one was doomed.

Martin muttered something that had Moriarty blinking in surprise. When he didn’t react, Martin repeated it so Mycroft could hear.

“I said, go to hell.” Mycroft then winced at the sound Moriarty’s palm made as it slammed into Martin’s face.

“That’s not very nice language. We can’t have bad language. It’s not very fitting for a man of your rank Captain.” Moriarty released Martin and stood to leave. Pausing in the doorway, he looked back over his shoulder. “Be careful Mr Crieff. There are some very bad men out there.”

With a wink he was gone, the door slamming behind him returning the room to darkness.

Martin’s gasping breaths broke the silence. “Did I just do that?”

“Anger a criminal mastermind? Yes, I believe you did.” Mycroft eyed his younger brother, his surprise and slight amount of awe at Martin’s actions staying out of his voice.

“Oh God. Oh God, oh God, oh God.” Martin sniffed, the whimpers sounding between each word.

Mycroft ignored the tiny part of him that wanted to move closer to his brother and turned his mind to finding a way out. But when Martin began to sob loudly he felt one of his legs extend and brush against Martin’s. He couldn’t see his brother’s face but he heard the break in the sobbing before the leg he was touching moved in an attempt to get closer.

A small smile twitched on Mycroft’s face as he closed his eyes to help himself think.

Chapter Text

Carolyn wasn’t sure what she expected of Sherlock Holmes, but it wasn’t for him to duck under the crime scene tape and rush off while completely ignoring her and her crew. His companion gave them a slight shrug before following his…flatmate? It was months since Martin had introduced them, and really she couldn’t be expected to remember everything about a man she had only met once. But it wouldn’t have taken him a second to fill her in on what was going on wou-

“May I suggest, Detective, that my co-workers and I return to MJN’s office to wait?” Douglas’ smooth voice cut through her thoughts. “We’ll take Arthur with us and get out of the way.” He added over the top of the Detective’s objections.

The man began to nod empathically as he waved at them to go. “Take him away!”

With a smirk Douglas turned and began to lead the way to MJN’s office, the sound of Carolyn pulling Arthur along following him. Once there he hesitated a moment before sitting in his usual spot in Martin’s favourite chair.

“Well Douglas. I assume you have a reason for us coming here.” Carolyn snapped, pushing Arthur down into a chair while remaining standing herself.

“I do. It is quite obvious to me that there are a lot of things going on that we don’t know anything about. Perhaps if we organise our thoughts and what we know, we can figure out what is happening. And at the very least, now we are vaguely out of the elements.”

********

It wasn’t more than ten minutes later that the door to the office flew open as Sherlock stormed in. He was grimacing as he rubbed at his jaw, and his companion was flexing his left hand while trying to get Sherlock to slow down.

“Sherlock, stop. Sherlock, come on.” He looked up and met Carolyn’s eyes. “Do you have ice in here? Sherlock took a punch to the jaw-“

“How on Earth did you manage that here?” Carolyn asked Sherlock, ignoring John’s request. “Everyone around here has been insulted accidently by Martin in some way and he’s never been punched for it!”

“Yes, well, I doubt Martin has accused anyone here of being a murderer.” John snapped. “Let alone a security guard with a nasty right hook!”

“I did not accuse. I stated facts.”

“Wait,” Arthur said, looking from John to Sherlock, “one of our security guards is a murderer? You mean Tommy has killed someone?”

“Harry I believe his name was.” Ignoring Arthur’s “Not Harry!” Sherlock continued, “And not directly. Harry merely took a bribe to allow a few men to “view the planes” today. Considering Gerti is the only aeroplane permanently at this airport, that was a very poor excuse but then Harry is a complete idiot.”

“So that’s how they got Martin? Harry was bribed and then they just…drove off with him?”

Sherlock grimaced as he sat behind Douglas’ desk. “Yes.” He closed his eyes and leaned back.

“What about the dead man? Who was he?” Douglas asked.

“Dead man?!” Arthur exclaimed. Carolyn turned to explain it gently to him but to her surprise John was there.

“Arthur is it? Could you go get me some ice? My hand is killing me.” Arthur nodded and wondered off.

“He’s irrelevant. Probably one of the kidnappers; most likely the one that bled all over Gerti’s hanger.”

“And the woman? Was she a kidnapper too?” To Carolyn’s surprise, Sherlock’s eyes flew open at this and he gave her his full attention.

“What woman?”

“The one who I found sitting on the floor of the hanger where that man was. She was alive… they took her away in an ambulance hours ago. Aren’t you supposed to be a great detective? Shouldn’t you have known that?” Carolyn muttered.

“I need all the facts. No one mentioned a woman.”

“You didn’t give anyone the chance!” Carolyn rebutted moving to stand before him.

Sherlock stood, using his height to tower over her. “I am giving you the chance now. Describe her.”

Carolyn didn’t give an inch, staring straight into the detective’s eyes. “Dark hair, dark complexion. Some young wealthy thing, judging by her clothes and she had a smashed Blackberry by her.”

“A Blackberry?” John asked, distracting both Sherlock and Carolyn from their stare down. “Did she happen to look like this?” He pulled out his phone and after a moment showed Carolyn a photo of the woman.

“Yes. Why do you have her photo on your phone?”

“Good question.” Sherlock snapped. “That’s Mycroft’s assistant.”

“I was trying to figure out my phone after you destroyed it that last time. Mycroft helped and he snapped that photo to test it. I couldn’t remember how to delete it.” Sherlock made a face at the mention of his brother.

“Who is this Mycroft you keep mentioning? I’m guessing he had something to do with Martin’s disappearing act.” Douglas drawled.

“A logical conclusion.” Sherlock said with a tone of surprise. “But wrong. Mycroft has no reason to come here, but then why was his little pocket pet here?” Sherlock began to pace, nearly running into Arthur as he returned with ice.

“Hi chaps! I found the ice. Who are we talking about?”

“Mycroft apparently.”

“Right. Ah..who’s that?” Arthur said as John took the ice off him. John opened his mouth to speak but Douglas was faster.

“No idea. Someone Martin knows.”

“Oh! Is he the chap with the umbrella then?”

Everyone froze; the MJN crew in confusion, Sherlock and John in shock. Carolyn recovered quickest, used to her son’s random and odd insights.

“Arthur, what “chap with an umbrella” do you mean?”

“The one I told you about. Martin was following him into Gerti’s hanger this morning. Weren’t you listening?”

“Mycroft.” Sherlock breathed.

“What was your brother doing here?” John asked the air in confusion.

“I believe he was here to fly a plane.” Douglas answered. “Though that could be debated.”

Sherlock gave Douglas a look that clearly wondered how anyone could be as stupid as he was. “Not Martin, Mycroft. That fat lump never goes anywhere or does anything that could be considered legwork without the greatest of reasons. And he does not like Martin. There is no reason for him to be here.”

“He doesn’t like Martin? He must not be very brilliant then…” Arthur said. “Is that why Skipper looked so unhappy?”

To everyone’s surprise, Sherlock crossed the room to stand in front of Arthur. He placed his hands on Arthur’s shoulders and stood in such a way that the rest of the room was blocked out.

“Look at me Arthur. I need you to tell me everything you know about this morning. Only this morning.”

Arthur’s face gained a look of intense concentration and he attempted to bring his fingers into his view to use them as a guide. “Well, I woke up this morning when the aeroplane-“

“No, everything from after you arrived here. Nothing before then matters.”

“Not even Snoopadoop’s escape attempts?” Arthur cried.

“Not when it comes to finding Martin. Now, did anything happen that does not happen on a normal day at this airport?”

“Umm…well Terry on the fire crew made me a cup of coffee. He doesn’t do that… And Carl didn’t call me stupid, he had a better name for me-“

Sherlock sighed and released Arthur, who continued to list things that happened that day. “Oh and there was a racing van, which was very loud. Oh and then there was the red cordial-“

“Van? What van?” Sherlock’s attention was back on Arthur.

“A van pulled out of the carpark very quickly this morning.” Carolyn added over her son. “Unusual, as Martin’s van is the only one around here but I don’t think it-“

“That’s the problem, you don’t think.” Ignoring John’s cry of “Sherlock!”, the detective moved to the only window. “This is bigger than I thought. We need to get to London.”

“London?” John asked. “You think they’ve taken him there?”

“I know they have.”

“Well then.” Carolyn said, “We’ll leave in an hour.” 

Chapter Text

Moments after Carolyn’s dramatic statement Sherlock had raised one eyebrow and opened his mouth to dispute her point. To everyone's surprise, Carolyn had managed to cut him off simply by raising a finger at him.

“We’re coming with you.” She had said, “And that’s final. We are going to help you.”

Sherlock had narrowed his eyes at her, but had not argued. When she gestured at her crew to leave, however, his eyes had followed her out the door.

“What’s so curious?” John had asked, recognising the look on his friend’s face.

“Martin.” Sherlock had answered before walking out of the room, leaving behind a confused flatmate.

 ********

Sherlock was sulking. And John was going to admire Carolyn Knapp-Shappey for it.

For now however, he was stuck between an excited Arthur and sulking Sherlock and somehow couldn’t find it in himself. Carolyn was driving and Douglas was in the seat beside her after some fast negotiating that even John had lost track of. Silence reigned in the car, with Arthur’s attempts to break it constantly shot down by his mother.

Sherlock pulled out his phone about the halfway point. He sent off a series of texts then returned to his sulking.

John sighed, and then tried to use Sherlock as a pillow to get some sleep.

********

“Left here.” Sherlock broke the silence as they reached the outskirts of London. The movement of his hand also jolted John out of his nap, and Sherlock gladly rotated the shoulder once John’s head was removed from it.

“Here? We’re not going back to Baker Street?” John asked as Carolyn made the turn.

“We are. Just need to see a man about a van.” Sherlock replied. The car was silent for a moment as this sunk in.

“What do you mean by that? You need to find out about Martin’s van?” Douglas’ voice, collected but nowhere near calm.

“Is the man with a van going to tell you where Skip is?”

“Why on Earth are you focusing on Martin’s van? I thought we were trying to find the man, not his van.” Carolyn was splitting her attention between driving and Sherlock; spending too much on the later in John’s opinion.

Only he had no questions for his friend, trusting that in moments Sherlock would reveal the information required. Not that it mattered; Sherlock refused to answer any of the MJN crew’s questions. He merely smiled mysteriously and gave a direction to turn every so often.

********

Eventually Sherlock had them stop in a part of town that would have made John nervous before he lived with Sherlock. Now it was a familiar sight to him, having spent a good amount of time chasing people through it. However the MJN crew were not as familiar and it showed. Carolyn kept twitching while driving slowly and double checking that Sherlock was still smiling and Douglas seemed to be trying to examine everything that passed. Only Arthur was unaffected.
Sherlock didn’t say a word once the car stopped but threw open the door and stalked off. Knowing his friend, John followed waiting for the tell-tale sounds of running when the others moved to catch up.

They didn’t have far to go because Sherlock had stopped on the next street along ignoring the parked police car beside him. He stood talking to a strange man in front of a familiar looking van, with fresh paint marks. As they approached the man, whom John recognised as being part of Sherlock’s homeless network, pocketed something and walked off.

“Douglas, is that what I think it is?” Carolyn asked.

“I believe so.”

John looked between them and Sherlock. ”Sorry, what is it?”

“Martin’s van.” Sherlock answered. “Abandoned but not burnt. Means either they do not believe we can get any evidence from it or...” he trailed off and bent down to examine the tires.

“Or what?” Arthur asked, head tilted to one side.

“Or...it doesn’t matter?” Guessed John when Sherlock ignored Carolyn’s question. He received a curt nod and small smile from Sherlock; both signs he had guessed correctly.

“Doesn’t matter? How could evidence about Martin’s kidnappers not matter?” Carolyn growled.
Sherlock glared at her. “Do I have to spell it out for you? Martin-”

“Oi! You lot! Move on!” A voice broke into the argument and the group turned towards the man coming from the house across the house. “This is a crime scene, we don’t need people loitering.”

John was the only one positioned to see Sherlock’s grimace and he soon found himself hiding one as he recognised D.I Gregson as the man coming towards them.

“Oh it’s you.” Gregson said as he reached their side of the road and met Sherlock’s eyes. “Thought I told you to steer clear of my crime scenes.”

“You did make it quite clear the last time we met, Tobias. And I’m sure the families of the two people who died before Lestrade called me in were quite happy to hear you did.” Gregson began to speak but Sherlock cut him off. “However this time I am merely in the area. You can bungle your crime scene in peace.”

Gregson suddenly had a feral grin on his face. “Well, since you’re here you could tell me how your name got all over my crime scene?”

Sherlock rolled his eyes as the MJN crew gasped. “Oh it’s one of those. Give it to Lestrade; he’s already working two murders like this. Oh and I didn’t do it, for the record. I will have an alibi for the murder.”

He turned to walk off as Gregson spluttered. In an attempt to keep the peace and distract Gregson, John asked “What was the victim’s name?”

“Wallet identifies him as Martin Crieff.” Gregson growled.

Chapter Text

Sherlock’s face broke. There was no other way for John to describe it. It was like something within him disappeared and a small part of that horror was reflected in his face. The look only lasted a moment before Sherlock was in a full sprint, John two steps behind him. The crew of MJN didn’t appear to be breathing, although Arthur was making some sort of whining noise.

“Hey! That’s my crime scene, you can’t go in there!” Gregson yelled as Sherlock brushed past. Sherlock’s response wasn’t that audible due to his running but John was fairly sure he told Gregson to do something physically impossible.

Of course he could be projecting  his own thoughts onto what he heard of Sherlock’s words.

The forensic personnel startled as the pair skidded into the room and none of them moved to make them leave. Sherlock glanced around the empty room and finally looked down at the body.

And burst out in relieved laughter. John didn’t join in, but he found himself smiling and patting Sherlock on the back.

Even from the quickest glances, it was obvious this wasn’t Martin. The man on the ground had the same black hair as Sherlock and shared Sherlock’s height but little else, unlike the previous two bodies. But it was clear he was meant to be Sherlock’s double not Martin’s.

“Or?” Sherlock questioned, breaking into John’s thoughts.

John looked at his friend in confusion. “Or what?”

Sherlock sighed as an outraged Gregson finally entered the room. “You were thinking that this man is my double, not Martin’s. That is an option, the other one being that it was assumed Martin was supposed to be a double for me while alive so this...is a double for a double. Able to fool at a distance but not much else.” He frowned and bent down beside the body. “In fact, this was a much more rushed dumping than the other two were. See how the clothes don’t fit as well; the shirt is at least two sizes too big. The dye job was rushed, jus-”

“I don’t give a damn what you think, Mr Holmes, you are trespassing on a crime scene and if you don’t leave right now I will arrest you.” Gregson said, moving to stand beside Sherlock in an attempt to get right into his face.

Sherlock gave Gregson a bored glare before turning with a swirl of his coat. But he didn’t walk out, instead marching over to one of the still staring forensic personnel who was holding a plastic evidence bag. With a clearly fake smile he covered the man’s hands with his own, then stepped away. The man stared at him bewildered, turning his hands over as if to see what Sherlock was after.

It took John a second to realise that by continuing to look at the man and his hands, he was looking at the wrong thing. It was only when Sherlock had to shove the evidence bag between his knees as he pulled out a pair of rubber gloves from his pockets that the trick Sherlock had just pulled became obvious.

Sherlock had the wallet out of the evidence bag, and was examining it from all angles before anyone else in the room made the connection.

“That is evidence! You can’t touch that.” Gregson all but screamed. He raised a threatening hand as he moved towards Sherlock, causing John to step between them. John pulled himself to his full height, adopted a military stance and was pleased to see Gregson falter.

“This isn’t Martin Crieff’s wallet. They are his bank card and license but the wallet is new. Brand new, actually and the license-” Sherlock stopped as he began to pull out the cards inside the wallet.

Gregson blinked. “How on Earth do you know that?”

Sherlock ignored him, instead choosing to wave the driver’s license in the air. John recognised it as one of the newer ones with a photo which surprised him. Martin seemed a lot older than that...

“This is your identification for this body?” Sherlock bellowed. He got right up into Gregson’s face, his grey eyes cold and angry. “This obviously fake driver’s license?”

“W-ha-t?”

Sherlock growled and threw his hands up in the air. “This license is fake! No, not fake.” He paused for a second then reached into his pocket and pulled out a knife. He ran the knife gently along the edge of the license and smiled as his knife slipped under the lamination. Still moving gently, he peeled it off, taking the photo with it. Triumphant he shoved the original license under Gregson’s nose.

John caught a glimpse of it and wasn’t surprised to see Martin’s photo there. Gregson, however seemed  surprised to see the photo. He looked between Martin’s photo and Sherlock causing Sherlock to roll his eyes.

“No, it’s not me.”

“Then...what?” Gregson stuttered. Sherlock ignored him. Instead he moved back to beside the body and ran his eyes over it again.

“So, Moriarty-”

“Moriarty?” Gregson asked.

“Yes. Shut up now.” Sherlock said, waving a hand at the police detective. “Moriarty kidnaps Martin...No, he’s been killing look-a-likes and goes after Martin as another. But for some reason Mycroft is there which makes him curious. Martin doesn’t appear to be that important, not on paper so he changes his plans. Quickly finds a man of similar build to me, goes to give him Martin’s wallet. But Martin’s license has a photo, because the last one was lost recently. So he has to get it out in order to change the photo. I brought Martin that wallet ten years ago, so it’s old, falling apart. It falls apart beyond use when Moriarty uses it. So he replaces it not thinking it matters.”

“What do you mean, you brought the victim the wallet? What are you talking about Mr Holmes?” Gregson finally overcame his bemusement to start asking questions.

“Shut up! The man wasn’t killed here and by the state of his hands he’s homeless. You’re looking for an alleyway close to here, isolated but easily accessed. Most likely the murder weapon is still there or in a nearby alleyway. However the hair was dyed here- the floor over in that corner is far too clean for the rest of the room. The photo of the body was taken there; see how that bit of wall matches the background in the photo. Also the van across the road was used in a kidnapping. I’ll report it later or get one of Martin’s crew members to do so. Talk to the police in Fitton and Lestrade; between the lot of you, you might be able to come up with a few useful leads. Send Lestrade to me if you find anything, I don’t want to see you. In fact, remove yourself from this case. I refuse to have my brother’s life depending on you.”
Sherlock swirled his coat again and stormed out of the room. John went to follow but was stopped when Gregson grabbed his arm.

“His...brother? For real?” Gregson asked softly. John just nodded, his eyes hard.

“That freak has a family?” A voice from the other side of the room asked. John spun around fast enough to break Gregson’s hold on him. His glare caused all people in the room to sink back, trying to become a part of the wall. John didn’t say a word but the look in his eyes was all it took for forensics to decide they needed to do something else.

In another room.

“He is being serious?” Gregson asked, not having gotten the hint. John turned his glare on the police detective who flinched but didn’t back down.

“Yes.” John finally answered. “Martin is his younger brother.”

Gregson sighed. “I’ll do what I can to help then.” At John’s suddenly confused look he gave a small, sad smile. “I had a younger brother who went missing. Don’t get me wrong, I still do not like Sherlock Holmes or his methods but I wish... I wish I could have done what he is doing right now. Could have done more...”

He blinked and looked away, his eyes falling on the body. John took that as his cue to follow Sherlock, though a soft statement had him pause at the doorway.

“Make sure you find Martin Crieff, Doctor. Or it will break him inside. Trust me, your friend’s life is in as much danger as his brother’s is.”

Chapter Text

Arthur wasn’t crying.

That was the one thing Carolyn could process at the moment. He was holding her tightly, his head buried in her shoulder but he wasn’t crying. Neither was Douglas but that was to be expected.

Okay, two things she could process. No more because then she might have to acknowledge that Mart-

Nope. Arthur wasn’t crying and Sherlock Holmes was pushing past her a smile on his face.

It really wasn’t a decision to raise her hand and slap him.

********

Not Martin. Moriarty is playing games, what game? Where is Mycroft, should have called. Not Martin. Why was Mycroft at Fitton? Too many questions, think! Not Martin. Brother in danger but do-

A hand caught his left cheek and Sherlock found his thoughts scattering as Carolyn slapped him. She was breathing heavily, her eyes wet and red while her son clung to her. Douglas stood a step behind her, his hand clearly raised to do something similar to what Carolyn had done. Sherlock blinked in confusion at them while slowly raising his hand to his cheek. How had these people snuck up on him?

“You monster.” Carolyn breathed. “Are you... happy your brother is dead?” Arthur made a choked sound at her words.

Sherlock blinked. He noted the sounds of John’s approach and categorised it as safe. “Why would I be pleased if my brother was dead? Well. Might be pleased if Mycroft was seriously mai-”

“Bit not good Sherlock.” John said, causing the MJN crew members to jump. One glance at them and John was closing his eyes and sighing. “And you didn’t tell them.”

“I believe she slapped me before I had the chance.” Sherlock turned to Carolyn. “Although with the force behind that, it was almost a punch.”

“Tell us what?” Douglas demanded, stepping into Sherlock’s personal space. They were almost the same height, so Douglas was able to stare Sherlock right in the eyes.

So he was able to see the almost hidden relief there as Sherlock spoke. “The body wasn’t Martin. It was a double. Martin is-”

Sherlock broke off as Arthur once again tackle hugged him. Utterly bewildered, it was only John’s quick reactions that kept the pair on their feet.

“You saved Skipper! Well, sort of. Because he’s still not here. But you made him be not dead! And that’s brilliant.” Arthur showed no signs of letting go soon and Sherlock’s pleading looks were getting no help from Carolyn and Douglas who had begun to smile themselves.

How does Martin stand this? Sherlock thought, even as he felt himself relax into the hug.

********

A short while later, once Sherlock had managed to get Arthur to let go of him, the group were on the doorstep of 221B Baker Street. Sherlock rushed up the stairs, leaving John to lead the rest up at a more sedate pace.

“You live...here?” Douglas drawled as he ran his eyes over what could be seen of the living room beneath the piles of papers and files. Sherlock was frantically throwing piles around creating more mess, which caused John to sigh.

“What are you looking for Sherlock?” He asked, ignoring Douglas.

“Nothing.” He said, throwing files across the room. John caught them easily and flicked one open to a random page. He grimaced at the crime scene photo there, the body eerily similar to Sherlock.

Hiya Barbie! Hi Ken”

Everyone jumped as two voices broke into the tense room. Sherlock narrowed his eyes in confusion as music began to play.

I’m a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world.” 

“Is that...someone’s phone?” Carolyn asked. Sherlock’s hand twitched towards his pocket and he pulled out the ringing phone. He stared at it in disbelief as John began to laugh. Arthur was moving his hips in a way that suggested dancing was imminent.

“This is music?” Sherlock asked, his tone dripping contempt.

“I would have thought you would know, considering it’s your phone.” Douglas said, smiling.

The corner of Sherlock’s mouth twitched. “I believe this is Martin’s idea of a practical joke.” He turned the phone so John, and by extension the MJN crew, could see the screen. “This is Mycroft’s ringtone.” The music stopped as the phone rang out. A second later it restarted as Mycroft tried again.

“Oh the umbrella man?” Arthur said, still swinging his hips to the music not caring that he was now out of time.

“Yes, what did happen to him?” Carolyn asked.

Sherlock frowned and his eyes met John’s. Slowly he put the phone on the table then answered the call, switching it to speaker.

“Fitton is a bit out of your way, isn’t it?”

Oh so it is out of his way?” John took a deep breath at the voice. “I had wondered... I had plans you know, to get him. But then he went and made it so easy.” Jim Moriarty’s voice became sing-song as he spoke making his last words high pitched.

“Moriarty. Got your message.”

No you didn’t.” Sherlock grimaced, while Carolyn and Douglas exchanged confused looks.

“Hmm. Interesting. A miscommunication then. Perhaps you need to be clearer in future, Jimmy.”

And perhaps your brother needs broken legs. I’ll see to it if you’re not careful, Sherly.” Moriarty's voice had turned hard and Sherlock grinned at the point he had scored. However at the mention of broken legs, Arthur gave a small whine.

Is that your pet? Getting sensitive in his old age?”

Sherlock glared at Arthur as he answered. “Client of mine, actually. You have something that belongs to him. He’s a bit worried about the state he might get it back in.” There was almost an audible sound as the jaws of Douglas and Carolyn dropped.

You mean this double of yours? Very entertaining. I just might keep it.”

Liar.” Sherlock pointed out gleefully. “There’s nothing interesting about him. He’s an airline captain for a minor company who barely has the intelligence to fly. He’s boring.” Carolyn opened her mouth to start yelling at Sherlock but John was there, covering her mouth before she spoke. He alone was observing how his friend’s shoulders were slumped and his eyes were worried. Sherlock was putting on the performance of his life.

“I know! So terribly dull. Don’t mind if I have a little fun before I return it?”

Panic flashed across Sherlock’s face but he kept it from his voice as he replied. “Oh you’re in one of those moods. Suicide bombers again? I expected more.”

“Now, now Sherlock. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. That’s only if you’re very very bad. Right now, I want to know how you know this Martin Crieff.”

“You can’t deduce it? He was kidnapped today along with Mycroft. His employer has hired me to find him and I’m-”

“WRONG! Don’t lie Sherlock. Don’t even try. I’ll know and he will suffer for it.”

Sherlock paused for a second. “He’s a friend. Of mine.”

“See! That wasn’t hard.” There was a brief pause then a loud crack.

And Martin Crieff screamed.

Chapter Text

Five minutes ago

Martin hadn’t realised he had fallen asleep. Thus it was a shock when a pair of hands clapped before his face. His eyes shot open and Moriarty was standing right there, a manic grin on his face.

Martin recoiled, banging his head on the wall behind him in his haste.

Moriarty didn’t seem to care. He ran a gentle hand down Martin’s cheekbone and lifted his chin to force their eyes to meet.

“You’re boring.” He whispered. “You’re ordinary. What, then, are you hiding?”
Martin was shaking and didn’t reply. Moriarty placed his free hand beneath Martin’s right eye and bent down to whisper in Martin’s ear.

“You have the same eyes as your brother. I wonder, how would he react if I had them sent to him?”

Martin whimpered.

********  

“Now for business. Hush boys, Daddy’s working.” Moriarty stood and faced Mycroft, who had watched the scene before him impassively. He pulled a phone out of his pocket and showed it to Mycroft, whose eyes flickered as he recognised his phone.

“I must thank you for the gift, Mycroft. Your PIN code was such a puzzle! Hours of fun.” He pressed a speed dialled number and held the phone to his ear. There was a pause, as the person on the other end spoke.

“Oh so it is out of his way? I had wondered... I had plans you know, to get him. But then he went and made it so easy.” Moriarty’s voice was sing-song and Mycroft quickly deduced to whom he was speaking. While Sherlock had been sparring with the details of his encounter with Moriarty, John had not. It hadn’t been hard to convince Lestrade to tell him how John had described the criminal mastermind.

“No you didn’t.” Mycroft closed his eyes, in the hopes of catching what his brother was saying. He detested hearing only one side of a conversation, something Moriarty was obviously utilising.
Suddenly Moriarty’s voice turned hard. “And perhaps your brother needs broken legs. I’ll see to it if you’re not careful, Sherly.”

Mycroft’s eyes opened quickly, expecting to see Moriarty looking at him. However he was examining Martin’s legs. Mycroft felt something shift inside him and the temperature of the room must have dropped a few degrees. Suddenly, he could clearly see Martin’s broken body lying before him, a devastated Sherlock and-

“WRONG! Don’t lie Sherlock. Don’t even try. I’ll know and he will suffer for it.” Mycroft almost couldn’t hide the jump at Moriarty’s suddenly raised voice or his displeasure at having missed parts of the conversation.

“He’s a friend. Of mine.” Sherlock’s voice rang out in the quiet room and Moriarty must have hit speaker, but why?

“See! That wasn’t hard.” With a smile Moriarty nodded at a man suddenly standing in the doorway with a piece of wood.

The man crossed the room swiftly and brought the wood down on Martin’s left arm with a loud crack. Martin screamed.

The man, whom Mycroft recognised as being Moriarty’s second, Sebastian Moran, raised the piece of wood again.

“Stop!” It took Mycroft a second to realise it was not Sherlock who had said that but himself. Moriarty turned to look at him. His face was half curious, half delighted.

Mycroft?” Sherlock’s voice was confused and Mycroft found his eyes closing because what have I done?

“Oh dear Sherlock. All your work for nothing. Big Brother has just confirmed everything. Was it your Mummy? Or your Daddy? Were you mad when they told you about the itty bitty secret screaming in their closet?” Mycroft’s eyes were forced open when Moriarty grabbed his chin and stared at him while he spoke.

“Ciao, Sherlock. I’ll be in touch.”

********

Sherlock threw his phone across the room as Moriarty hung up. Only luck had it landing somewhat safely on the sofa and not smashing against the wall.

“Damn it!” Sherlock yelled, following it with a string of swear words that John was sure Sherlock had picked up from him.

“What just happened?” Carolyn said, the first to get their voice back after Sherlock’s outburst.
“Mycroft happened, that’s what. He interfered and stuffed everything up.” Sherlock deflated as the anger suddenly left him and he sank into his chair.

“Are you saying there’s no way to find Skipper now?” Arthur asked in a small voice.
Before Sherlock had even opened his mouth, Carolyn answered her son. “No he’s not. Because I refuse to let that be the case. If he can’t help, that’s fine. We’ll leave him here to grieve or celebrate and find Martin even if I have to search every building in the country!”

She was breathing heavily by the end of her speech and for a moment the room was silent. Then Sherlock slowly rose and moved to stand before Carolyn.

“Every building in the country is a tall order. Would you permit me to eliminate some?” He asked softly.

“Perhaps.” She said, meeting his eyes.

“Excellent.” Sherlock grinned, a smile John recognised from countless cases if a bit dimmer than the usual one. He jumped when Sherlock addressed him.

“John! Contact my homeless network; give them orders to start searching for sightings of Martin or Mycroft. And for sightings of any of the men on the list in the breadbox. Their photos are by the toaster. Give the same information to Lestrade and Dimmock. See what they make of it.”

John nodded, and then paused as a thought occurred to him. “I’ll give it to Gregson as well.” Sherlock went to protest but John, for once, cut him off. “Trust me, Sherlock.”

There was a brief pause then Sherlock gave a slight tilt of his head in agreement. John gave his friend a small smile then left the room. Sherlock turned to the MJN crew.

“Douglas, how are your contacts in London?”

Douglas’ eyes narrowed. “Reasonable. None criminal.”

“There’s a map on the shelf, under the knife. See what your “friends” know about those locations and any businesses marked in red.” Sherlock started to pace. “Arthur, make coffee. Black, two sugars.”

“Oh wow. Just like Skip’s! Just not as sugar filled.” Sherlock hid his smile as Arthur bounced into the kitchen.

Carolyn suddenly moved into his path. “What about me? I’m not staying here or doing nothing while Martin is in danger.”

Sherlock eyed her critically, then gave her a conspiring smile. “How good are you at intimidating government officials?”

Chapter Text

Carolyn Knapp-Shappey could walk into a room and have it under her control in a matter of moments. She could make anyone listen to her, even if half the time she angered them within seconds of talking.

It was this trait of hers that had first interested Gordon, and had kept him interested throughout the years of fighting.

Of course she had been given what Sherlock assured her were fool proof materials in order to get into the building so her talent would be there as a backup. Carolyn wasn’t sure who Sherlock was calling the fool though- her or Mycroft’s coworkers. For his sake, she hoped it was the coworkers.

But he had been right, damn him. Mycroft’s office was a bleak thing, one of a dozen similar buildings in the street. She had strolled into the office like she owned it and no one had looked twice. Sherlock had given her Mycroft’s ID and it had quickly got her up the locked elevator and into his personal office.

Definitely Mycroft’s coworkers who were the fools.

She began to rummage round his desk, opening files and searching for his address book. It wouldn’t take to long to notice her and then she could have some answers.

********

Twenty-five minutes later, Carolyn had an answer regarding the importance of Mycroft Holmes to this office but nothing further.

“Ma’am!” Finally a young security guard appeared in the doorway. “You’re not supposed to be here!”

“I think you’ll find I am. And now I want to speak to your boss.”

The man blinked. “My boss?”

“Yes, your boss. I’ll wait here, as I have been for the last twenty-five minutes and you’ll go fetch your boss and bring them here.”

The man spluttered. Carolyn pointed a finger through the door. “Go on! Your boss! Now.” She said dangerously.

He left. It was not more than two minutes later that a man in a suit marched into the office.

“Ma’am-” He began.

“You’re in charge? Excellent. I’ve a few questions. One, how long has your security team been out of contact with Mycroft Holmes?”

“Ma’am, I assure you we are not out of contact with anyone within our network.”

Carolyn smirked. “You aren’t? Excellent. Two, where is he?”

“That is classified information. You’ll have to make an appointment if you wish to see him.” The man stated in a hard voice.

“Alright then. Where is James Moriarty then?” Carolyn asked.

“I beg your pardon?”

“I know for a fact that Mycroft Holmes is with James Moriarty. Whose location is not classified. So, where is he?” Carolyn said.

“Mr Holmes is not-”

Carolyn had had enough. She held up the phone Sherlock had lent her and pressed play.

“Hmm. Interesting. A miscommunication then. Perhaps you need to be clearer in future, Jimmy.”

“And perhaps your brother needs broken legs. I’ll see to it if you’re not careful, Sherly.”

The suited man’s eyes widened. “That’s James Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes talking about...Mr Holmes?”

“And the penny drops!” Carolyn said. “Now, I’m working with Sherlock to find his brothers and I will have your cooperation.”

“Brothers?”

Carolyn decided this was taking too long. “Brothers! Both of whom will die if you do not answer my questions. Now, clearly you lot are useless without Mycroft but can you at least tell me when he left?”

“He never came in for work. We...figured, well we weren’t sure, we just-”

Carolyn cut off the rambling. “Open that drawer.” She pointed at a locked draw.

“Ma’am, I’m afraid I can’t grant you access to sensitive information-”

“I’m not asking for it. I just want that drawer open.” Carolyn retorted.

“I can’t! Mr Holmes is the only one with a key.” He shouted.

Carolyn nodded. “I know.”

“What?” Said the shell shocked man.

“The drawer has been forced open.”

As the man continued to gape in shock, Carolyn began to walk out of the building while calling Sherlock.

“Well?”

“I’m surprised Sherlock Holmes. You were right on every account.”

“Excellent.”

********

“You’re a patient person, Doctor.” A young woman said.

John opened his eyes to see Billie Wiggins, standing before him. The fierce sixteen year old had made herself Sherlock’s main contact among the homeless and had an instinct for knowing who to ask and where to do. She also was the only one able to encourage those injured to take up John’s offer of professional aid.

He pushed off the wall he had been leaning against for a half hour, keeping one arm behind him. “I knew you’d come eventually.” He said mildy.

“Well, when Doc Watson starts asking the homeless for directions to me I know I’m needed. What’s up Doc?”

John smirked. “How long have you been saving that?”

“A while.”

“Do it around Sherlock sometime.” John said, bringing out his hand. “Here, take these photos. Show them around. I need to know if any of them are sighted. There’s a list of names too.”

Billie didn’t take the list. “Don’t need it. Chances are, no one will know them by name and the ones that do won’t help.”

John nodded. “I also need you to keep an eye out for Mycroft Holmes.”

“He interfering again?” She said. “I know a few people who work in or near his office. We can make his life miserable.”

“He’s missing. As is Sherlock’s younger brother Martin Crieff- bottom photo.”

Billie pulled the photo out. “My God. He’s the spitting image... We’ll not need this.”

She turned to leave, when an idea occurred to John. “Billie? Can you arrange for those people who work in Mycroft’s office to come to see us at Baker Street? I think they might be able to help.”

Chapter Text

“Coffee!” Arthur’s cheery voice rang out through the flat.

Sherlock barely glanced up. “On the table.” He placed another pin on his map of London as per Douglas’ text. Between the two of them they were investigating businesses using Douglas’ contacts, who were far different to those of Sherlock’s.

Well. Sherlock was investigating really. Douglas was just being pointed in correct directions and told what he needed to charm out of people. Sherlock then co-ordinated the information.

“That’s your fifth cup. You’re even better at this than Skip is!” Arthur said.

Sherlock frowned. “How many cups of coffee does Martin drink, to an exact figure?”

“Two cups every morning, three if there’s a flight.” Arthur rattled off. Sherlock had been questioning the man carefully and found the more precise he was the closer the answer matched the question.

“Well, I’ll be needing a cup in a half hour. Can you make it?”

“Sure! We’re out of coffee though.”

“Take my card.” Sherlock gestured at his wallet. “The one with Mycroft on it.”

“Righto.”

Sherlock listened to Arthur’s steps down the stairs and out the door. Then he carefully poured the cup of coffee out the back window with the other four. Sherlock disliked having coffee when on cases.

His phone dinged with a text from John. Had idea- Billie mentioned friends in Mycroft’s office. Want me to ask them to check up on his co-workers? JW

Sherlock smiled. He knew mentioning his suspicions of a mole in Mycroft’s network to John had been clever.

Tell them to ask after new hires and those over-qualified for their job. SH

Sherlock then buried his mind in the papers covering the desk and walls.

********

Footsteps up the stairs broke into Sherlock’s mind place. He identified them as those of Douglas, and pushed the man and his steps out of his head. He ignored the man’s attempts to engage him in conversation while investigating a connection Douglas had happened to highlight.

The bang of a book against the table forced him out of his thoughts.

“Better.” Douglas drawled as Sherlock glared. “I’m not much of a fan of being ignored.”

“I was considering a link between your friend’s meat company and Moriarty.” Sherlock said. He rose from his seat and ran a hand over the map held in the wall by a knife. “There’s too many variables to be sure. I need more data!”

“Could I help with that?” Carolyn said from the doorway. “Your brother left for Fitton at nine thirty this morning, a movement that wasn’t reported by his head of security. It seems that the man is very much out of touch with his staff who had a level of independence far beyond what any employer should give their workers.” Douglas huffed a laugh at this. “We don’t count, Douglas.”

“Yes of course, your company is far too unusual to be anything but an outlier.” Sherlock waved at Carolyn to continue.

“Anyway, they’re looking into who failed to pass on the message.”

“They’ll not find them. John’s working on it so it doesn’t matter.”

“I’m what?” John asked as he walked in the door. The flat was beginning to feel crowded so Sherlock moved to stand by a window.

“Working on finding a mole in Mycroft’s network.” Douglas clarified from where he was trying to make sense of Sherlock’s map.

“Oh yes. I’ve got the homeless network on it. Billie has my phone, she’ll text you if there’s any details.” John said.

“Billie?” Carolyn asked.

“Friend of ours. Well, mostly mine. Sherlock just-” Sherlock tuned out the meaningless conversation behind him, making a mental note to provide Billie with a pre-paid phone. He examined the street below him mindlessly, running through the connections in his head. There had to be something, one tiny mistake.

His attention was drawn to Arthur, walking happily towards the flat with his bag of shopping. People on the street were giving him a wide berth, eying his skipping gait in distaste. Sherlock found a small smile on his face that he quickly suppressed.

“Oh there’s Arthur.” Carolyn said, suddenly beside him. Sherlock didn’t flinch but simply glanced at her. “I had wondered where he went.”

“We ran out of coffee.” Sherlock offered, his eyes now following a butcher’s van that had turned onto the street. Reichenbach Butchers...

“Oh!” Sherlock cried, sprinting for the street before the van had even reached Arthur. Confused, the other occupants followed. They reached the footpath as the van stopped beside Arthur. Two men emerged and behind Sherlock, Carolyn began to scream her son’s name.

“Arthur! Arthur, run!”

Arthur’s eyes widened in fear at the two men now either side of him. He swung his plastic bag at one catching him on the side of the head with what Sherlock calculated was enough force to leave a bruise. But then the second man grabbed his arms and Arthur cried out as he dropped his bag. He began to scream and kick as they dragged him into the van.

Sherlock growled in anger as he sprinted up the street. People were just standing there, watching it happen!

A third man slammed the van into reverse just as Sherlock reached it. A quick handbrake turn and the van was off.

“Arthur!” Carolyn cried from some distance behind him. Sherlock glanced at her and saw the symptoms of shock beginning to appear.

“Look after her John!” He yelled, before closing his eyes to calculate the van’s likely route. “This way!” He called at Douglas, before dashing down a nearby alleyway.

Up the stairs, across the roof and see the van. Down another set, across a road, up an alley and onto another road. Along this road and take the next left, hear Douglas’ heavily breathing behind and take the next right. Van should come down this road right about...

Now!

The van turned onto the road, headed straight for Sherlock. He smiled, standing his ground in the middle of the street and waiting. The van kept coming but this was a simple matter of wills, Sherlock was going to win.

The van kept coming. Sherlock was able to see the eyes of the man driving it. It was then he realised he had miscalculated. This man would not hesitate to run him down.

Sherlock stared into the eyes of his killer and took a deep breath.

“Sherlock!” His eyes closed automatically as he was hit with great force. His head bashed into the concrete and all went dark.

Chapter Text

It took Sherlock a moment to realise he was still alive. His heart was pounding with the adrenaline and he could feel that his breath was short. His mind was still replaying the van’s approach and the realisation that Martin might have died because of his own arrogance.

So it took him another moment to realise that the reason why he is still alive was lying on top of him and was heavy. He grunted and tried to wriggle out of Douglas’ grasp, but the man was holding onto him tightly.

“Douglas...” He muttered, which made the man hold on tighter.

“I’ve got you Martin.” Douglas replied and Sherlock groaned even as a part of him froze. Instead of trying to get free, he rolled over and forced Douglas to meet his eyes.

“I am not Martin, Douglas. I am Sherlock and I am fine.” Douglas’ eyes started to gain a focus they had been missing and suddenly there was a slight redness to the man’s cheeks.

“Of course.” He said as he let go. Sherlock instantly jumped to his feet and cursed silently when he realised there was no sign of the van. “Even Martin isn’t that much of a fool. He knows to get out of the way of moving vans.” Douglas said, still kneeing on the ground.

Sherlock offered Douglas a hand to pull him up, and he accepted with a small smile.

“Well, moving vans yes. Moving aeroplanes, not so much.” Sherlock said as he noted the blood on the back of Douglas’ arm and pulled it towards himself to examine it.

“I sense a story there.” Douglas said as Sherlock determined that while Douglas had gotten him out of the way of the van, he had been clipped by it. An obvious deduction but he found it helped with the calming of his still racing heart.

“Martin and I went to London airport as teenagers. He is the only person I know to have nearly been hit by a slow moving Boeing 737.” Sherlock grinned. He nodded at Douglas’ arm. “Get John to have a look at that.”

“Yes, of course. How were you even in danger of bei-” Douglas started to say.

Sherlock cut him off. “Official Secrets Act. Well, at least it was needed by the time we were done there. Martin can tell you all about it.” At the mention of Martin Sherlock’s heart sank and he released Douglas while turning to go back to Baker Street.

“Wouldn’t Martin also not be able to say anything?” Douglas asked, moving to walk beside Sherlock.

“He never signed the act.” Sherlock smirked. “The fools were too stupid to realise I signed twice.” He picked up his pace then, moving at an almost run that was better to hide his shaking legs in.

“Oh, right.” Douglas with a wheeze as he hurried up as well.

********

Martin was asleep when the door banged open. The light cut into his dream and jerked him into the land of the living. He could see Mycroft, also blinking in the sudden light.

Then whoever was in the doorway threw a body into the room and slammed the door shut bringing back the darkness.

Martin looked in the direction he knew the body was and whimpered. Is this an example? Proof of what is going to happen to us? Oh God, it’s not enough we can hear the screaming, now we have to share with our future and what if they’re not dead?

The body whimpered, bringing Martin out of his thoughts with a cry of fear. Mycroft’s leg moved across again, in what Martin hoped was a supportive gesture.

“Skip?” A scared, confused and above all too familiar voice whispered.

“Arthur!” Martin cried and there was a flurry of movement as Arthur headed toward the friendly voice. A moment later there was a huff of surprise as Arthur latched onto what he thought was Martin.

“Arthur?” Mycroft said softly. “You missed. My brother is beside us.”

“Oh. Well. You can have a hug too.” Arthur said with the ghost of his usual cheer.

Mycroft made an almost silent noise of surprise, then Martin heard the jingle of his chain as he moved. Arthur made a happy noise and Martin realised his brother had hugged Arthur.

Then there was more jiggling and Arthur’s arms were around Martin and he was sobbing into Martin’s shoulder. Martin pulled him into his body as much as he could and awkwardly patted him on the back.

“Shh, Arthur. It’s okay. Sherlock will be here soon, it’ll all be over soon.” Martin whispered.

“He’s not restrained.” Mycroft commented after Arthur’s tears had begun to dry up.

“What?” Martin asked as he pulled Arthur into a complete hug. Arthur made a small noise, like he usually did when asleep. Martin confirmed he was sleeping with a gentle nudge.

“He’s not restrained.” Mycroft repeated, causing Martin to snort.

“Stating the obvious Mycroft? Are you alright?”

“Perfectly fine. Just making a point. He’s not restrained and the door was not locked. He could escape with no effort.”

Martin narrowed his eyes, though he knew Mycroft couldn’t see it. “Is there a point to that statement? Arthur’s not...he wouldn’t make it if he tried to escape...”

“I’ve no doubt of that.” Mycroft replied. “He’s not necessary for Moriarty’s plans which suggests another reason for his presence. He’s here as a body...something to torment us with without physically paining us.”

Martin bit back a cry at that. “They...want him to try to escape?”

“Yes.” Mycroft confirmed. “Though if he doesn’t try, I’m sure they’ll punish him anyway.”

Martin pulled his friend closer. Please come soon Sherlock. We need you..I need you. Come save me.

Suddenly Martin heard footsteps outside the door. “No!” he cried, pulling Arthur behind him as much as possible, causing him to give a small cry. Beside him Mycroft shifted, moving closer. Arthur ended up behind the pair of them.

“Mycroft?” Martin questioned as the footsteps approached the door.

“The logical choice is to delay.” Mycroft whispered. “Sherlock will deduce our location shortly. No point in anyone of us being injured before then.”

“Thank you.” Martin whispered as the door opened.

Chapter Text

“Sherlock!” John cried as Douglas and Sherlock walked up the stairs of 221B. John was kneeling in front of Carolyn, who was sitting on the sofa with an orange blanket wrapped around her and looked to be two seconds from pouring her cup of tea all over John.

“Finally! Where’s Arthur?” Carolyn demanded, making an attempt to get the blanket off. John was there in a moment, grabbing the edges of the blanket and pulling it back onto her.

Sherlock shook his head. “Van with him got away, but now we have a confirmation.” He moved to his maps, reaching for a folder.

“You failed to mention the van got away after nearly running you down.” Douglas said, as John noticed his injury. Silently John forced him into the spot beside Carolyn and began to clean the cut. When Carolyn tried to use this distraction to get up, John grabbed at her blanket without looking and forced her back onto the seat.

“Don’t bother.” Sherlock said, his eyes still on the folder’s information. “John has an annoying habit of hunting down his escaped patients.”

“You had just been knocked out, there was no reason for you to be at Big Ben. Annoying Mycroft is not a reason.” He added as Sherlock went to speak.

“What do we now know?” Douglas asked. “You’ve been extremely tight lipped.”

Sherlock looked up and grinned. “Everything. More or less. Now Douglas, tell us about Colonel Moran.”

John made a small noise of shock as Douglas frowned. “I barely know him. He’s...a friend of a friend. When I was at Air England, a couple of the other pilots used to sneak things in for him- nothing illegal but at the time he was serving in a dry country and had a fondness for whiskey. Paid well enough for it, but I preferred to drink what they wanted me to smuggle him.”

Carolyn made a disgusted noise. “And here I thought you had morals.”

Douglas glared. “There was also the fact that I prefer a more... mutual exchange. Gifts between friends, far easier to explain to customs officers. And Moran just...well Martin reminded me of him at first but-”

Sherlock makes an outraged noise at Douglas’ statement. “Martin and Moran are nothing alike!”

“They’re both obsessive.” Douglas shot back. “Moran, the one time I met him, was obsessed with well, hunting. I got the impression he didn’t care what he was hunting as long as it moved.” He frowned. “I have no idea why he brought a meat factory, and no one would talk to me about it.”

Sherlock grinned. “Exactly as I thought. Moran is Moriarty’s right hand man. He’s got friends in high places from his time in the army, useful to Moriarty and for keeping Moran’s reputation clean.”

“Friends in high places. Like a member of  security of your brother’s?” Carolyn asked and Sherlock jerked in surprise.

“Exactly. Yes.” He eyed her in a way that made her feel both pleased and annoyed. “I believe he also has a contact in the Human Resources department, with the pull to make sure he gets the right man hired.”

“It’s all so obvious though.” Douglas said.

“Once it’s pointed out, yes.” Sherlock acknowledged.

“Why though? Why isn’t he working in the shadows? We know his name and we know where his factory is. It won’t take much to have it searched-” Douglas started.

Sherlock cut him off. “Moriarty isn’t stupid. Moran has the influence to squash all police warrants with even the smallest bit of doubt in them and it all connects to him. And only him.”

“He’s the fall guy?” John asked, finishing his work on Douglas’ wound.

“If he manages to get himself caught, yes.” Sherlock confirmed. “Extra incentive to not be caught.”

“Well then. Our next move?” Carolyn asked.

“The meat factory is a trap, I’m sure of it.” Sherlock said, throwing a few photos at John who showed them to the others. “Those show rooms I can’t find on the plans and the factory’s figures show it shouldn’t still be open. It’s clearly a front, and the use of the van shows that here is where Moriarty wants us to go.”

John smirked. “Well then. Let’s go spring the trap.”

“How very Jedi of you.” Douglas drawled and John laughed while Sherlock frowned.

“Pop culture Sherlock.” John explained and both he and Carolyn groaned.

“Right,” John said. “Star Wars marathon once we’ve got Arthur and Martin back. Hell, Mycroft can come too and we can all laugh at his bemusement.”

Sherlock gave his friend a considering look, then a small smile.

Douglas checked his watch. “Nearly five o’clock. Should we wait for the cover of dark or will we take advantage of the last rays of sunlight.”

Sherlock rolled his eyes. “If you’re going to be dramatic about it, we- Wait, no. John and I are going.”

“If you think we’re staying here, you’ve got another thing coming.” Carolyn snapped.

“You’ll be risking Arthur’s life.” Sherlock threatened.

“You’re already doing that.” Carolyn returned.

“How about, we call the police and they can act as our back up?” Douglas said.

John nodded, even as Sherlock went to protest. “When we get there so they don’t try and beat us there.”

Sherlock glared at them all. “John and I don’t need help.”

“Pick your battles Sherlock.” John said gently, placing a hand on his friend’s back.  Sherlock sighed, then nodded.

“Grab your gun John.” He gave Carolyn and Douglas one last, searching look. “Come if you must.”

Douglas smirked. “I’m sure we’ll be far more useful than you think.”

“Probably.” Sherlock admitted unwillingly, before storming out of the flat. With a shared smile, the others followed him.

Chapter Text

“This is a ridiculous idea.”

“Have you a better one?”

“Perhaps.”

“Liar.”

“Oh you got me. God I hate this smell.”

“You should be used to it.”

“That’s why I hate it. I do not want to smell like alcohol ever again. Oh you do smile. I was beginning to wonder.”

“No you weren’t.”

“Course I was. You know you look like your brother when you give me that look.”

“Shut up now and act drunk.”

“With pleasure your highness. Oh look, another smile.”

********

John watched through a pair of binoculars as the pair walking along the street went from being his familiar flatmate and the collected pilot to a pair of stumbling drunks. Douglas threw his arm over Sherlock’s shoulders and began to sing. Sherlock joined in a moment later. They were slowly approaching the warehouse for Reichenbach Meats.

“Well?” Carolyn demanded from behind him. The pair of them were already in position, in the doorway of the warehouse across the road.

“They’re walking past now. Sherlock should fall about...now.” And indeed, at his words, Sherlock stumbled and ended up on the ground outside the warehouse. Without Sherlock to hold him up, Douglas followed him down.

John laughed slightly at the sight and passed the binoculars to Carolyn so she could laugh as well. John drew his gun while she looked, carefully lining up his shot. If anyone appeared at the warehouse door with a gun, he would be in position to shoot them before either of his friends were in danger.

And Martin’s friends were his now. That was an odd thought. But then, Martin was a Holmes... odd by definition.

********

Sherlock smirked as a man emerged from the warehouse without a gun. It wasn’t Moran but from the way Douglas stiffened, it was someone he knew. This should be fun.

“Oi, you two! Get moving before I call the cops.”

Douglas tried to stand up and Sherlock saw how he managed to trip himself so he fell at the man’s feet. Sherlock allowed himself to admire the skill there for a moment before he stood himself.

“But mate... we’re just standing here.” He slurred. “What wrong with standing mate? It’s just standing mate.”

“I’m nit standing.” Douglas said.

“Lazy bugger he is.” Sherlock said, moving into the personal space of the man. “Always laying when he should be standing.” The man gave him a look of deep disgust but didn’t move back. Perfect.

“Not lazy. You lazy. Lazy lazy stander.”

Sherlock aimed a kick at Douglas which he used as cover for his stumble. He placed his hands on the man’s chest, followed by the rest of his weight.

They went down ending up a pile of tangled limbs, Sherlock made sure of it.

“Now you’re the liar. Or layer?” Douglas commented. “Lying? Laying? Truth, no that’s a different word.” As he listed words, he reached for the man under Sherlock.

“Get off me you drunk!” Sherlock jerked out of the way of an errant knee and grabbed at his flailing hands.

“Gladly. Douglas, the ties?” He said, his voice now perfectly normal.

“Are in your left pocket. I’m not your slave.” Douglas crawled up and grabbed just under where Sherlock was holding. “Give him the needle while you’re at it.”

The door beside them opened with a sudden bang. Both men looked up and saw another man standing there with a gun. Pointed directly at Douglas’ head.

Then he dropped as John’s shot ripped through his shoulder, the gun falling with a clatter.

“Huh. Remind me never to upset your doctor.” Douglas commented and released the man’s hands as Sherlock inserted the needle full of sodium thiopental into the man’s vein.

“You didn’t realise that already? You’re more intelligent than that.” Sherlock said as John and Carolyn slipped across the road to join them.

“Oh I did, I’ve just never quite seen it in practice.” Douglas grasped the man’s ankles as Sherlock grabbed his hands. Between them, they got him into the alleyway beside the building.

“There goes the element of surprise.” John said when they returned. He was standing over the body and by the looks of the blood on his hands had checked for a pulse.

“We never really had it though, did we?” Douglas said. He eyed the body and stayed close to Sherlock.

“You know these two.” Sherlock declared.

“By sight. They were with my dear friend today, when I met him. ‘Escorted’ me out after.”

John retrieved the other gun and handed it to Sherlock. “Ready for trap springing then?”

Sherlock nodded. “I noticed a side window is open. We go in there. They’ll find the body in a moment.”

********

He was alone.

No, Sherlock was coming.

But Sherlock wasn’t here, was he?

Neither is Mycroft.

Because they took him.

He’s safe. No one can hurt Mycroft.

And Arthur?

Arthur...Arthur. Oh God Arthur. Why did they take Arthur? ARTHUR.

Was he yelling? Did it matter?

Sherlock is coming.

No he’s not.

No he’s not.

Chapter Text

Martin can’t hear the cries. Arthur was clearly trying to be brave, only making tiny whimpering noises. It almost sounded like he was sobbing instead of screaming. Either way, it is quiet.

So only I can hear this, it’s only going to affect me.

I am the Iceman. I am the Iceman. It’s not Sherlock, I do not care. I cannot care.

I’m glad Martin can’t hear this.

********

Carolyn eyed the window. John had jumped up and pulled himself through it only moments ago and even now they could hear him moving around inside.

“I can’t reach that.” She said, turning on Sherlock. “Give me a hand up.”

Sherlock blinked. “Me?”

“Well Douglas surely isn’t going to do it!”

Sherlock opened his mouth to argue. John beat him to it.

“What’s taking so long?”

With a groan, Sherlock knelt down and created a step for Carolyn with his hands.

As Carolyn stepped up and reached for the window sill, Douglas found himself trying not to laugh. He was a grown man, this was a serious moment. The sight of Carolyn being pushed up a wall to climb through a rather small window should not be enough to damage his control.

It was close though.

“One laugh Douglas-”

“I know Carolyn. Knives.”

“Got her, Sherlock.” John called from inside the building.

Sherlock dropped his hands, stepping back and turning to Douglas. “Your turn. Do you need a boost too?” He said with disdain.

Douglas was about to reply when a scream came from the front of the building.

“Move!” Sherlock cried. “The body has been found.”

Faster than he thought possible, Douglas pulled himself up and through the window. He half fell, half jumped through the window and landed on his knees.

Moments later, Sherlock crashed into him, forcing him flat against the ground.

“There’s an office or something over here.” John said, grabbing at the two men on the floor and tugging Sherlock up and to the right.

“How can you tell?” Douglas said. He couldn’t see anything, his eyes still adjusting to the dark inside the warehouse. The only light came from the windows at the front of the building but as they moved Douglas noted the lack of things to run into.

“Bit empty, isn’t it?” He said as they entered the office John had mentioned. Not a moment too soon as Douglas heard footsteps.

John held a finger up to warn them to be quiet, which made Sherlock roll his eyes. John just put his finger on Sherlock’s nose, which made the man go cross eyed.

“They’re gone.” Sherlock said softly, after a minute of extremely loud breathing. “Came up stairs by the sound of their footsteps. John, can you go lock the door behind them?”

John nodded and slipped out of the office.

“You were right about this being a front.” Carolyn commented. Either that, or their equipment is invisible.”

“And intangible.” Sherlock offered, startling a laugh from Carolyn. “Quiet!” He snapped.

The door to the office opened then and Sherlock raised his gun quickly, aiming it directly at John’s forehead.

“Was wondering if you would remember you had that. Room out there is clear. No one and no thing is there. Well, there’s a set of stairs.”

“They lead to the walkways, so nothing to worry about.” At their blank looks, Sherlock continued. “The set of walkways, good God, do none of you observe?”

“In a darkened warehouse? We try but you know old age. Not the best thing for being able to see things clearly.” Douglas snapped.

“Right, Martin?” John asked. “Arthur?”

They all blinked at him. “Yes. Come on Holmes.” Carolyn said.

********

Arthur had started screaming an hour ago.

He had stopped half an hour ago.

Or so Mycroft estimated. They had blindfolded him when they dragged Arthur and him from their cell, Martin’s frantic cries in their ears. And he was sure his sense of time had been thrown somewhere along the line, to his great displeasure.

However Mycroft’s hearing was still functioning correctly. Meaning he clearly heard the two sets of footsteps that passed by his cell, grumbling about drunks. Then, approximately ten minutes later, he was able to hear another pair of footsteps running past.

“Sherlock.” He whispered.

The door to his cell opened.

“Mycroft!” John called and Mycroft smiled.

“John. Might I recommend your presence in the cell next door?”

A pair of hands pulled the blindfold off and Mycroft instinctively closed his eyes against the slight increase in light. John began to untie his hands when one of Martin’s co-workers appeared in the doorway.

Mycroft blinked in surprise at the man’s (Douglas was it?) presence. Why had Sherlock agreed to him coming?

“John, we need you. It’s Arthur.”

Chapter Text

John looked between Douglas and Mycroft, clearly torn between his current patient and the possible future one.

“Go on.” Mycroft said, surprising himself though he didn’t show it.

“What?” John asked, his eyes running up and down Mycroft’s body.

“I am mostly uninjured. It is logical you go to Mr Shappey’s aid.” Mycroft tried to stand but John put a hand on his chest to halt the movement.

“John, Arthur-” Douglas said, his tone scared and angry.

“Yes, John, do go tend to Arthur.” Mycroft snapped. John stared at him with wide eyes. “He lost consciousness approximately half an hour ago, his need for medical care is far beyond my few bruises. Now go!” Mycroft put every bit of his most commanding tone behind his last statement and John was halfway out the door before he seemed to realise.

“Thank you.” Douglas said before following.

Mycroft pulled himself to his feet and eyed the distance to the door. His leg throbbed at the  thought of moving that far but he took a deep breath and stepped onto the slightly injured leg.

It was only a small gash, no one needed to know it was there.

********

Sherlock felt John push past him but he didn’t see. His gaze was frozen on Arthur’s body, the rise of his chest the only indication he was still alive. Blood covered his forehead and the beginnings of bruises were visible on nearly all his uncovered skin.

There was a lot of uncovered skin, they had ripped his now bloody shirt and Sherlock could see the cuts on his body that matched some of the rips. Two of his fingers were bent in awkward directions and now Sherlock listened he could hear how Arthur’s breathing was shallow. Broken ribs, he thought and the way John carefully ran his hands over Arthur confirmed the thought.

Sherlock glanced at Arthur’s face again and for a moment he could see ginger curls instead of matted brown hair and high sharp cheekbones instead of Arthur’s open face. For a moment it was Martin lying close to death there and Sherlock couldn’t handle it.

He had to find his brother.

Raising his gun, he slipped out of the room while ignoring Douglas calls to come back.

********

John barely registered Sherlock leaving, his focus completely on his patient. Arthur was...not in a good way, to put it gently.

Breathing, bleeding then broken. Okay he’s breathing. Not responsive though, so possible concussion which is supported by that head wound. Cuts all over his chest and by the state of his pants, all over those as well. All shallow but there’s a lot of them. Broken ribs, 6th and 7th by the feel of it. Possible internal bleeding...

I’ve seen kids in Afghanistan in better condition. John grimaced at the errant thought and pushed it aside to see what help he could provide for Arthur. Carefully, he rolled him into the recovery position

“Will be he okay?” Carolyn asked and John could hear the tears in her voice.

“He needs a hospital now.”

“Right. You gr-”

John’s head snapped up to look at Douglas. He noted that Mycroft shuffled his way at that moment but his focus was mostly on the pilot.

“He can’t be moved! We have to keep him stable, there’s a risk of internal bleeding or of us causing it if we move him.”

“Look around you doctor.” Carolyn snapped. “This is not a place to keep anyone stable. We have to get him out of here.”

John was torn and turned to Sherlock to get his opinion only to remember he had raced out of the room. Swearing as only a soldier can, he stood.

“Okay. Carolyn, keep an eye on Arthur. Any changes and you call for an ambulance- In fact, here’s my phone. Call Lestrade, let him know where we are and get him to bring an ambulance.” John drew his gun.

“Where are you going?” Carolyn demanded as she dropped to her knees beside her son.

“Sherlock hunting. I’ll be right back.”

********

Mycroft and Arthur had had adjoining rooms as their cells. Sherlock quickly noted the other three doors on the hallway.

One was directly across from Mycroft’s cell, with it’s door slightly ajar and even before he entered it Sherlock knew what he was going to find. The room was deserted and judging by the layer of dust had been like that for an extended period of time.

The next door was ten metres down the hall and also slightly ajar. Sherlock could hear the voices in there as he approached.

Three people, at least. None of them are Martin. He eyed his gun. All probably armed. A gun fight now would not be a good idea.

Carefully, Sherlock slipped the gun into his pocket and pulled the door shut. When the note of voices inside didn’t change, he quickly searched his pockets for a way to jam the door.  He frowned as he found the wedge of wood left over from last month's experiment with splinters but he wasn’t that surprised.  His coat pockets were far larger than they seemed and he often put things in them and then for-deleted it. John had once witnessed him pull out a pair of shoes, five slides and a hairbrush from them while searching for his phone. John had declared the pockets to be “TARDIS” sized and refused to search for anything in them anymore, lest he get lost in them.

Shaking his head to remove his mind from the pleasant memory of John’s pretended outrage, he wedged the wood under the door to temporarily jam it.

He turned his attention to the only remaining door at the end of the hall.

********

The door opened and someone took a deep breath.

Martin ignored it. He went back to counting each breath and wondering which was going to be his last. Then there were a pair of hands on his and he flinched, eyes opening before he could stop them.

His eyes met Sherlock’s for a moment before he forced them away.

“Not real. You’re not real.”

A hand brushed his cheek. “Martin.”

Martin whimpered. “You can’t be real.” He whispered.

The hands started to pull at his ties and he only just suppressed the scream when it pulled on his broken arm. They stopped moving.

“Martin-”

“Stop it. You’re not here! You’re not coming!”

A hand grabbed at Martin’s chin and forced him to meet Sherlock’s eyes. “I am here. I am real. Martin, it’s me. The brother who stole chocolate from Mycroft with you, who held you through the nights after your failed tests and who you held in return through the worst of my withdrawals.” He took a deep breath and Martin noticed something running down his cheek.

Sherlock was crying.

“Why are you crying?” He whispered, stopping the real tear with his newly untied hand.

“I thought I had lost you.” Then Sherlock was hugging him, taking care to mind his arm and Martin could feel the heartbeat.

He was real.

Sherlock had come.

Chapter Text

“You came, you came, oh God you came.” Martin began to cry over and over into Sherlock’s shoulder as he lifted his unbroken arm to grab at his brother. His actual brother who was real and had come for him.

“I will always come for you. Though next time you can leave Mycroft behind.” Sherlock said, surprising a laugh out of Martin. It felt weird. He had almost forgotten how to laugh.

“I didn’t exactly pla-” Sherlock let go and moved to rise and Martin cut his sentence off with a cry. He lunged for his brother and clung to him, not caring if it hurt.

“Martin?”

“Don’t leave me alone.” Martin said softly. “Please don’t leave me alone.”

Sherlock nodded at the corner of the room. “I was just fetching your hat and jacket.”

Martin blinked. “I...forgot those were there.” Sherlock smiled and slowly Martin managed to release him. Sherlock moved quickly to grab the uniform items and was back by Martin’s side in moments.

Martin gratefully latched onto his brother. “My hat?”

“Your hat.” Sherlock confirmed and moved to place it on Martin’s head. But Martin hissed when the hat touched his head, and Sherlock quickly ran his hands through Martin’s hair. Martin hissed as Sherlock touched the small injury he had gotten when he had protested Mycroft and Arthur being taken away.

“Martin-”

“It’s nothing, barely hurts.” Sherlock frowned, then placed the hat on his own head.

“I want John to have a look at that before I put this on it.” Carefully, he helped Martin into his jacket leaving it off the left arm. It was made harder when Martin refused to let go of his coat but Sherlock managed.

Once he was in his jacket, Martin shifted his arm so it was over Sherlock’s shoulders and Sherlock immediately placed his hand on Martin’s lower back. Martin could feel how Sherlock was half carrying him but couldn’t bring himself to care.

*********

As John left Arthur’s cell he noted movement at the end of the hall. He raised his gun and only a flash of blue stopped him firing.

“John!” Sherlock called and John’s heart jumped for joy when he saw Martin draped over his brother with a faint smile. But then Sherlock’s eyes widened and he tried to move faster, his glance on the door to his left.

Something started banging on the door. John moved so his gun was now pointed at the door.

“How many?” He asked.

“Three. At least.” Sherlock answered as he and Martin drew level with the door, no more than five metres from John.

“Martin!” A voice cried from behind John.

“Douglas?” Martin answered, his jaw dropping.  “What...Douglas?”

“Elegant as always Sir.” Douglas said, taking a step towards his Captain. John caught the movement in the corner of his eye and stepped into Douglas’ path.

“No, Douglas.” The door banged again, this time opening a touch. Sherlock was now all but dragging Martin. “You need to get out. Now. Grab Arthur and go.”

“You said-”

“Situation has changed. Get out!” John reached for Martin as the brothers drew near and Martin hissed as he touched his left arm. “Sorry Martin. In there. Sherlock, what have I said about running off?”

Douglas moved forward and grabbed at Martin, who reluctantly released Sherlock. Douglas pulled him into a careful hug as they entered Arthur’s cell. Sherlock heard Martin’s cry of “Arthur” and decided to give his brother a moment.

“To not to.” Sherlock said in his driest tone. “Start shooting the moment they break the door, it’ll confuse them.”

“I plan to.”

Sherlock paused and eyed the gun he still held in his hand. “Need help?” He asked hesitantly.

“With your shooting? I’m fine thanks. Get Martin out- Oh here we go.”

The door flew open and instinctively Sherlock raised his gun and shot in time with John. The head that had followed the door out quickly ducked back in. Sherlock fired a few more shots before moving into John’s personal space and putting his gun into John’s jeans’ waistband.

“Go on Sherlock. I’ll be right behind.”

“I know you will.” For a moment Sherlock felt the mad urge to kiss John, to peck him on the cheek or lips or something. But even his limited grasp of social interactions told him this was beyond a bit not good so he turned and followed his brother.

*********

Martin was on his knees by Arthur with his jacket on the floor behind him when Sherlock walked in. Carolyn was staring at her pilot in disbelief even as Martin ran his unbroken arm over his friend.

“Martin?” She asked softly.

“Carolyn. I’m so-oof.” The breath was forced out of him as Carolyn pulled him into a tight hug.

“Watch the arm!” Sherlock cried, bending down to grab Martin’s jacket. Out of the corner of his eye he noted Mycroft shivering in a corner. Mycroft spotted his glance and nodded, the only acknowledgement of his rescue Sherlock was likely to get.

Sherlock looked between his two shivering brothers, calculated the amount of coats in the room and shrugged his off. He threw one at Mycroft, who caught it with a raised eyebrow and small look at Martin. Sherlock just glared back.

“Carolyn, we need to leave. Now.”

“But Arthur-” At his name, Arthur groaned.

“Arthur?” Martin and Carolyn asked together.  Arthur didn’t reply but his eyelids flickered.

“Right. Help him up Carolyn, I’ll carry him out.” Douglas ordered and with a small glare Carolyn got Arthur to a sitting up position. Douglas kneeled, so Arthur would end up over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry.

“Come on Arthur, I need you to hold onto Douglas. Now!” To her surprise, Arthur’s hands took a tight hold on Douglas as he shifted him over his shoulders.

“Let’s go.” Sherlock said, grabbing Martin by the shoulder to pull him up. Douglas glanced at the pair, saw Sherlock had Martin and left, Carolyn one step behind with her hand in Arthur’s hair.

“Put this on before you freeze.” Sherlock growled. Martin opened his mouth to protest but Sherlock just shoved his unbroken arm into a sleeve.

“If you two might hurry up?” Mycroft said.

The gunfire suddenly sounded right outside their door. “Sherlock! Move it!” John called.

Grabbing his brother’s arm, Sherlock half pulled, half carried Martin out of the room. He didn’t bother to see if Mycroft was following but heard his brother’s wheezing breaths as they raced up the hallway, John guarding their escape.

Chapter Text

Carolyn walked into Douglas as he stopped suddenly at the top of the stairs.

"Douglas?" She asked in a frantic whisper.

"Shh. Listen!" It took her a moment but then Carolyn heard the footsteps rapidly approaching them.

"Into the office!" She said, pushing at Douglas' back until he began to move towards the office they had hidden in before. Carolyn didn't move, but stood her ground and waited.

"Carolyn!" Douglas called, fear in his normally unflappable voice.

“Hush! Get Arthur out of here when you can.” She eyed the floor around her and was surprised to see a piece of wood lying on the ground. It had a slight bend and small, dark stain but it was perfect.

Carolyn took a deep breath, positioned the wood in both hands behind her back and resumed her staring down of the approaching figure.

He paused for a moment, realised the figure before him was a little old lady and continued on his path. His gun was still in its holster.

“Hello.” He leered.

“Don’t hello me, mister. You took my sons.” Carolyn shifted her weight, ready to swing.

“Your sons? Oh the idiot? He was too stupid to screa-” Carolyn struck, swinging the wood and catching him on the side of the head with considerable force.

The man dropped, eyes rolling into the back of his head.

“You do not have the right to call Arthur stupid.” Carolyn snapped.

“Carolyn!” Douglas called again from the office and she raced to help him with her son as footsteps sounded on the stairs behind her.

*********

A flash of movement in the corner of his eyes caught Sherlock's attention as he helped Martin up the stairs. He froze when he processed who had been behind that flash of movement, the insane grin as the man turned and skipped away.

"Moriarty." He growled. He felt Martin's flinch. "Mycroft, help him." Sherlock said as he let go of his brother.

"No! Sherlock, where are you going?" Martin cried as he reached for his brother who was just out of his grasp. Mycroft stepped forward so he grabbed onto him instead.

"Where do you think I'm going?" Sherlock yelled over his shoulder. Moriarty was headed for the set of stairs Sherlock had noted earlier, the ones that led to the walkways above. As Sherlock reached the first step, he heard the sound of footsteps behind him. His blood froze as he recognised Martin's gait. But he kept moving, following Moriarty into the dark walkways.

Behind him, Mycroft found himself chasing his youngest brother and for the first time actually meaning to be chasing that brother.

********

John was running low on bullets.

That wasn’t as dire as it could be as he was also running low on targets to shoot. Sherlock’s poor shooting had discouraged any of the men from sticking a head around the door to look where they were firing so John was able to land a shot in a couple of hands without risk of being hit himself. Then one had had the bright idea to peer out.

John hadn’t missed. Hearing voices still in the room beside him, he'd yelled at Sherlock to get out as he took a step back.

Another head. Another shot.

Only one man remained, by Sherlock’s count. He seemed smarter than the others, a given as he was not as dead as they were.

Nothing is going to be accomplished by me continuing to fire blindly. I need a plan. John fired another shot, then turned and fled into Arthur’s now empty cell.

The remaining man fired two shots. Then he seemed to pause and John closed his eyes, waiting for the sound of footsteps.

One step. Two steps quickly followed. John lined his gun up with the doorway. The footsteps stopped outside the door and John tried to quiet his breathing. He forced himself not to tense.

A gun poked its way into the room. John didn’t shoot but adjusted his aim. Finally the remaining man committed himself to entering the room fully.

John’s shot was right between his eyes. He paused over the body, comparing it mentally to the one of Moran Sherlock had shown them earlier.

He thought about saying something witty but it...well there were better things to do than be witty right now. Like finding Sherlock.

********

John emerged from the stairs just as Carolyn helped Douglas get Arthur through the office door.

“What are you still doing here?” John asked, moving over to help.

“There was a minor...delay.” Carolyn said with a nod towards the body on the ground. “What about you? What took you so long?”

“Minor delay. One of Moriarty’s minions had brains. Where’s Sherlock?”

“Gone already, if he has any sense.” Douglas commented, groaning slightly under Arthur’s continued weight.

Suddenly a man started to laugh. John froze as he recognised the voice. “Moriarty.” He looked around frantically, until Douglas nodded towards the roof.
John could see two figures standing on a walkway in the middle of the warehouse, one he recognised as Moriarty and the other wearing a dirty pilot's jacket. He fished for his phone, to give him added light. It had little effect but someone moved on the most distant walkway and John was sure he saw the white from a captain’s hat.

It didn’t matter though. John could see Moriarty had a gun. And it was pointed at the figure beside him.

“Well Sherlock. Look what I’ve got here.” Moriarty nodded towards the others. “So sentimental”

“Moriarty-” Sherlock said but John couldn’t see who had spoken. But the person beside Moriarty moved slightly and he raised the gun.

“No, don’t speak or I’ll shoot.” Moriarty paused. “Or will I shoot him.” He said, moving the gun.

The figure beside him took that chance. He lunged for the gun and Moriarty tried to swing it back around. It fired but that didn’t matter because Moriarty had lost his balance and was falling backwards.

And so was the Holmes brother beside him.

“Sherlock!” John cried just as Carolyn and Douglas cried “Martin!” John could hear a pair of voices call a name together as the two fell in seeming slow motion to land with a thump.

Chapter Text

They were all frozen for a moment, voices ringing in their ears before John gathered his wits and raced to the bodies crumpled in the middle of the room. Behind him Carolyn was trying to make sure Douglas didn’t drop Arthur in shock while also trying to follow John to the bod-people on the ground.

Moriarty was the closer body. It was clear he took the brunt of the fall, a broken neck the most obvious cause of death though John was sure there’s a dozen other fatal injuries. But he didn’t matter. John kept moving, headed for what could be the body of his friend and found himself deaf to all other noise but the beating of his heart.

He knelt by the body’s side and carefully rolled it over. It wasn’t Sherlock and John found himself starting to breath again.

But it wasn’t Martin either. It was Mycroft.

“Mycroft! Mycroft! Mycroft-” Sound returned with a rush and John looked up and met the eyes of his silent but distressed friend who was standing beside a screaming Martin.

Then Martin took a step towards Mycroft and only Sherlock’s quick reflexes stopped Martin following his brother in a fall. The tug back cut off his cries and Sherlock pulled him into a tight hug.

John finally pulled his thoughts together enough to check for breathing. “He’s alive Sherlock. Get Martin down before he hurts himself.”

Sherlock nodded, and John now noted how pale his friend is. Nothing for it though, an ambulance would be here soon...should be here soon. He ran his eyes over Mycroft, before placing his hands either side of the man’s neck to immobilise the head.

Possible spinal injuries, definite broken rib or ribs. John glanced down and frowns at the blood on Mycroft’s leg. Crap.

“John?” Carolyn asked as she moved to stand beside them.

“Carolyn! I need you to find something-anything!- and hold it again Mycroft’s leg. He’s bleeding and it has to be stopped.” He noted her glance at his hands. “I can’t move, I have to hold his head still in case there’s a spinal injury.”

“I’ve got it.” Sherlock declared walking up to the group on the floor, Martin still clinging to him. John was sure he was the only one who noted how his voice was shaking.

Somehow, Sherlock convinced Martin to release him and latch onto Carolyn instead. She immediately started to run her fingers through Martin’s hair. Meanwhile, Sherlock pulled his shirt off, which earned him a double glance from Carolyn, and pushed it against the bloody spot on Mycroft’s leg. Even as he applied more pressure, Sherlock cocked his head.

“John, listen!”

“Wha-” Sirens sounded and lights began to flash outside. “Ambulance!”

“Police. Your call to Lestrade.” Sherlock countered, a claim backed up when the door burst open and armed police flooded into the warehouse.

“Don’t shoot us, we’re civilians.” Sherlock snapped as their lights fell on the group. “We need an ambulance now!”

When no one moved Sherlock raised one bloody hand. “Now!”

********

Arthur was carried directly to an ambulance by Douglas, who then refused to let go of his friend’s hand. The paramedics had tried to stop Carolyn riding with them as well but a well placed glare had shut them up.

Mycroft had gone to the hospital alone but only because once he was taken from John’s hands no one had had the chance to even speak to the paramedics let alone insist on being taken with him.

Which was a good thing as it was looking like it was going to take the combined efforts of Martin and John to get Sherlock to seek medical aid.

“Sherlock, you’re in shock. Get into the ambulance with your brother. Now.” John growled out as his friend tried to once again duck back into the warehouse. Inspector Gregson looked over from where he was directing the forensic team. He went to come over but John waved him away.

“No, I’m fine. Not in shock. I have to go...go look at the body and-”

Martin stood silently and tried to move away. “Where are you going?” A paramedic cried.

“I’m refusing medical attention.” Martin said softly but it was loud enough to attract Sherlock’s focus.

“What?” He said, moving to push Martin back into his seat.

“I’m refusing medical attention.” Martin repeated in a louder voice. “Until you get some of your own.”

Sherlock’s mouth and eyes widened in shock. “Oh. Mycroft.”

“You.” Martin corrected.

“I learnt it from Mycroft.” Sherlock shrugged and finally accepted the shock blanket.

“Now will you go to hospital?” A frustrated paramedic asked.

Martin nodded. Sherlock smiled and hopped into the seat beside him.

********

Somehow, someone with influence had managed to gain not only a hospital room with only three beds but had organised for all three patients to end up in that room. Martin only had to stay the night, to be sure that they hadn’t missed an injury.

Arthur was in for a longer stay, his head wound turning out to be far more serious than any of the other wounds. But the fact he was already responding to stimulus made the doctors very hopeful he would regain consciousness with no lasting damage.  Physical damage that was, psychological was waiting until he awoke.

Mycroft wasn’t actually in the room. He was still in surgery and those awake in the room were awaiting news on him.

Currently, the people in the room far exceeded what should have been there, considering visiting hours were over. But one well placed act from Sherlock had talked the nurses into not reporting them.

He was currently sitting on Martin’s bed, Martin’s sleeping head in his lap. John had the seat beside their bed while Douglas was perched on the empty bed beside them where Mycroft was to end up. Carolyn was sitting beside Arthur’s bed, just holding his hand.

“He’s going to be fine.” Sherlock said, breaking the silence.

“That’s easy for you to say. You have your happily ever after. Martin is fine.”

Sherlock huffed. “No I don’t.”

Carolyn gave him a confused look. “But-”

“Mycroft is too stubborn to die. But it’s not a happily ever after until everyone is conscious in a room together. We’ll need your son awake for that.” Sherlock tilted his head. “Tell him I’ll make the coffee.”

Beside him John laughed. “I’ll believe that when I see it.”

Sherlock shifted. “I might mean I’ll have John make the coffee.”

“Better.”

“Mr Holmes?” A nurse said as she poked her head into the room. Sherlock nodded at her to continue which she did after eyeing the amount of people in the room. “Your brother is out of surgery. He’s in post op now and will be moved here shortly. The doctor will be along to talk to you about his condition.”

“Is he going to be okay?” A soft tired voice asked and Martin lifted his head to look at the nurse.

“It’s looking very good for your brother, Mr Holmes.” With a smile, the nurse left.

“She called me Mr Holmes...” Martin muttered.

“Well that’s what you are.” Sherlock declared.

Smiling, Martin lowered his head to await the arrival of the last of his family. He was safe here, finally. Sherlock had come.

He would always come.

Chapter Text

Mycroft had glared at them the whole taxi trip home from the hospital. John had ignored it, well used to the glares of Holmes. Sherlock had matched it, stare for stare.

“I have people to care for me.”

“And a big empty house with many stairs to fall down.” Sherlock retorted. “You’ll break the other leg and then Mummy will yell at me.”

“And an empty home is worse than your full one? How exactly are you going to fit a seventh person into your flat?” Mycroft sneered.

“Easily.” John said. “Douglas has the sofa, Carolyn and Arthur my bed. I’m on Sherlock’s floor and you and Martin will have to share Sherlock’s bed.”

Mycroft raised an eyebrow, impressed despite himself at the organisational skills of Baker Street. “And Sherlock?”

“Ah, he’s not exactly been sleeping." At Mycroft's raised eyebrow John added, "Not at Baker Street at least."

"John." Sherlock said in a quiet but dangerous voice.

"Of course." Mycroft said with a frustrated sigh. "My mysterious nightly visitor."

"Your nurses really were awful at obeying the visiting hours. Who did you think was sitting at your bedside?" Sherlock asked.

"A nurse with a crush." Mycroft said in disgust.

Sherlock started laughing. After a moment Mycroft smiled at his brother.

********

Helping Mycroft up the stairs to 221B was a lesson in patience that left John swearing as they entered the flat.

"Doc, you can't say that!" Arthur cried from his seat on the sofa. Or Martin, both were applicable.

"Why not?" John asked, his tone dangerous as he all but threw Mycroft onto the sofa beside Arthur and Martin.

"Mum will wash your mouth out with soap."

John turned to look at Carolyn with a raised eye. She moved over to the sink and raised a bar of soap threateningly. John flinched and Carolyn lowered it slowly with an evil grin. Douglas laughed at the pair of them and headed over to the oven to check the quiches he was cooking.

“Everyone want tea?” John asked moving into the kitchen though still giving Carolyn a wide berth.

A chorus of “yes”s followed so John was forced to recruit Carolyn’s help. He had looked at Sherlock first but Sherlock flopped down in front of the sofa, his head near Martin’s hands.

“Fine Sherlock. If you’re not going to help here, put the movie on.”

Grumbling, Sherlock raised himself off the ground and put the movie on the coffee table in the DVD player. Then he checked the title.

“Star Wars?” He said in dismay.

“We did say Star Wars marathon, didn’t we?” John called from the kitchen. With a groan Sherlock collapsed back into his original position.

“Star Wars?” Mycroft asked.

“All the Stars Wars by the sound of it.” Martin replied. “Six movies.” Sherlock made a noise of disgust.

“Agreed.” Martin said as Mycroft said “An uncivilised way to put it but agreed.” As what was said registered, Mycroft stared at Martin in surprise.

“What? The only thing we apparently share is our taste in movies.” Martin said, fidgeting under the glaze.

“Ah. Tinker Tailer?”

“Course. Winnie the Pooh?”

Sherlock’s head snapped to look at Mycroft even as he narrowed his eyes. “Yes. How?”

Martin blushed. “When I was four, you called me a little-”

“Piglet.” Mycroft interrupted. “Yes I recall. You always were rather pink.” Martin’s blush deepened.

“Drinks are here!” John called out as he and Carolyn very carefully carried in three mugs each. “And I think the food is almost ready. You three need to eat with
your medication and popcorn doesn’t count.”

“Will there be popcorn?” Arthur asked, even as the sounds of popping corn came from the kitchen.

“I think it can be arranged.” John said, setting into one of the arm chairs.

********

“Why is he getting a medal? He nearly got them killed a dozen times and he’s an awful pilot!” Martin cried, waving his hand around in frustration. But he was careful to keep it away from his lap where Arthur’s head had fallen into halfway through the movie and was now gently snoring.

“What does it matter?” Sherlock drawled. “It’s an ineffective measure anyway.” He glanced at Mycroft. “But what more can be expected from government?”

“Subtle, Sherlock.” Mycroft snapped.

“I work with subtleties. Which is why I’m su-”

“Oh not this again. Sherlock they are not related. There’s no evidence for it!” Mycroft hand joined in with Martin’s waving.

“They clearly are! Father and son, it fits perfectly!”

“And he’s so reckless with his ship! No real pilot is that reckless with their ship! I bet he’s never even heard of regulations.”

Martin didn’t seem to realise no one was listening to him. Across from them, John slipped the next movie in and shared a peaceful smile with Carolyn and Douglas as the three brothers continued to bicker and rant.

“Oh for goodness sake. John!”

“Oh turning to John as always.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means-”

“He shot that poor man-fly-alien thing, why do people like him?”

With a sigh, John moved over to break up the madness before a stitch got torn or another bone was broken.

Just another day at Baker Street really.