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John and Greg watched as Sherlock pranced around a body that had been found lying in an alley surrounded dead goldfish. They had barely walked onto the scene before Sherlock was dancing around like a kid on Christmas morning. 

 

“Told you he would like this one.” Greg chuckled, watching the detective lay down on the ground next to the body to get a better look at the dead man’s ears. 

 

“He was so excited to come that he left the flat without bothering to put on shoes. I had to wrestle them onto him in the cab. You’re lucky he was already dressed, there was a definite chance of him showing up in a sheet.” The two men laughed, earning them a look from Donovan. They both straightened and cleared their throats to cover the last of their laughter and pretended to be engrossed in examining the scene. 

 

“You look good, Greg. Happy, I mean, these last couple of weeks. Things going well for you?” John smiled warmly at his friend, and Greg ran a hand through his graying hair and grinned. 

 

“Things are going very well, John. Very, very well.” The two smiled, even more so as Sherlock bounded over with a silly grin on his face. 

 

“This is a fun one, Lestrade! I mean, the spectacle of it alone is…” his phone beeped in his pocket, causing him to pause, then reboot, “the fish are obviously connected to…” his phone beeped again, knocking him off his rhythm for another moment, but he continued, “the victim is clearly married, about 10 years…” his phone beeped a third time, and with an exasperated sigh, Sherlock jammed his hand in his pocket and pulled out his phone. As he looked at the screen his expression shifted, and all the blood drained from his face, and he barely managed to stammer out a quick “I have to go!” before making his way at a run toward the crime scene tape. 

 

“Sherlock!” John snapped, grabbing a hold of his flatmate’s coat. “What are you talking about, why do you have to go?” Sherlock tried to wriggle free, but the soldier wasn’t letting up. 

 

“I need to go, John, he needs me.” John stared at him for a moment, then released his arm and nodded. 

 

“Yeah, go go. Do you need me to come with?” Sherlock shook his head. 

 

“No, no, he’s okay, he’s just...not okay. I don’t know, I have to go.” He started to rush off again, then turned back around quickly and blurted out, “Lestrade, it was the wife. He blew all their savings on fish, she drowned him in the tank.” Lestrade blinked, watching the man go, then rubbed the back of his neck and started barking orders to the team. 

 

John sighed and started looking around to figure out where he could get a cab back to Baker Street from here, when Greg paused his directions to the officers. 

 

“John,” he said, sounding almost a bit nervous, “you have any interest in getting a pint?” John nodded, leaning against the boot of Greg’s car to wait for him. 

 

About a half hour later the two were seated in their favorite pub, pints in front of them, as John relayed a story about how Sherlock and Rosie had more or less exploded the kitchen at Baker Street when Sherlock tried to teach her how to make a baking soda and vinegar volcano, which he had ‘slightly modified’ in order to make it ‘cooler’. 

 

“Remind me never to babysit for you.” Greg laughed, and the two men settled into a comfortable silence for a minute or so. 

 

“So...you invited me out because you want to know what made Sherlock run off like that, huh?” John asked gently. 

 

“Not because I’m being nosy. I, well, I’ve been…” he sighed and decided to just get on with it. “It was Mycroft, right? Something happened and Sherlock needed to go help Mycroft.” John grimaced. 

 

“I don’t know if it’s really my place to talk about this, Greg.” 

 

“Listen, John, I’m dating him. We’ve been dating for the last six weeks.” John’s eyes widened in shock, and he couldn’t stop himself from laughing. 

 

“I’m sorry,” John gasped between laughs, “I just..you’re dating Mycroft? Mycroft Holmes? The posh one, with the umbrella and the suits? That Mycroft Holmes?” Greg was glaring now, and John cleared his throat and composed himself. “Sorry, sorry, that was rude, it’s just, wow. Six weeks, huh? How’s that going?” 

 

“I adore him, John. I’m in love with him.” Greg’s cheeks flushed and John smiled down at his pint. “But he’s...you know what happened to him, don’t you?”

 

“Yeah mate, I do.” 

 

“Don’t tell me, okay? I don’t want to know unless he’s the one to tell me.” Greg sighed, scrubbing his hand over his face. “What I need to know though, John, is that he’s okay. Is there something that I need to be worried about? I really care about him, I just need to know that I’m not going to lose him.” John wasn’t sure how to answer, and Greg sensed his discomfort.

 

“Last night,” Greg said, “I convinced him to come in with me when he dropped me off. It was the first time he agreed to that. Nothing happened, we just watched Bake Off, but I got to sit there, with him in my arms and I have never felt more content in my life. I was married for ten years, and I was never that comfortable with my wife. I love him, John. I just need to know, is he going to be able to love me back?” Greg’s voice broke and John grabbed the man’s shoulder tightly. 

 

“He already does, Greg. He wouldn’t have let you touch him at all if he didn’t.” John smiled sadly at his friend, “it’s going to take some time, Greg. He’s trying. You just have to give him some time.”  

Chapter Text

Sherlock was ecstatic as he practically danced around the crime scene. Lestrade was right, this was a fun one. Less so now that it was obvious that the wife was the perp, and the motive was money, but still, not everyday you find a corpse surrounded by goldfish. Confident in his solution, he bounded over to where Lestrade and John were chatting. 

 

 “This is a fun one, Lestrade! I mean, the spectacle of it alone is…” he began, only to be interrupted by his phone pinging in his pocket, he cleared his throat and continued, “the fish are obviously connected to…” his phone beeped again, and he pursed his lips slightly, but went on “the victim is clearly married, about 10 years…” when his phone beeped a third time, it finally occurred to him that there were only three people in the world for whom his text alerts were not silenced as soon as he arrived at the crime scene. SInce Irene Adler’s text alert was...distinctive, and John was standing right there, that left… 

 

“Fuck” he breathed as he tore the phone out of his pocket and stammered out a quick “I have to go!” before making his way at a run toward the crime scene tape. John grabbed hold of him and he panicked, he needed to go. 

 

“I need to go, John, he needs me.” John stared at him for a moment, then released his arm and nodded. One quick conversation, cryptic enough that he hoped Lestrade wouldn’t put together who they were talking about, and Sherlock was rushing down the street. A black sedan pulled up beside him and Sherlock leapt into the backseat, calling Anthea. 

 

“Sherlock?” The P.A.s usually calm voice was shaky.

 

“Is he okay?” 

 

“Not really, no.”

 

“What happened?”

 

“Rudy came here, and…” Sherlock nearly threw the phone down.

 

“You let him in? I swear to you, Anthea, if anything happens to him they will never find your body.” There was a scuffle on the other end of the line, and Mycroft’s voice came over the phone. 

 

“Sherlock, stop threatening her. It’s not her fault. I let him in. I sent her out of the room. This is my fault.” The car came to a stop in front of Whitehall, and Sherlock jumped out of the car, not stopping for even a moment until he had burst into Mycroft’s office, finding his brother sitting on the floor still, Anthea’s arms wrapped protectively around him. Sherlock ran over, joining his brother on the floor and pulling the older man tightly to his chest. 

 

“Sherlock,” Mycroft gasped, his voice quickly muffled by his face being pressed into the Belstaff. “Sherlock, I do still need to breathe.” Sherlock loosened his grip slightly, his hands balled into fists at his brother’s back. 

 

“What did he do?” Sherlock leaned back slightly to look into his brother’s eyes. “Please tell me.” Anthea took this opportunity to get up, whispering that she would be right outside, and leaving the brothers alone. 

 

“He told me he was dying.” Mycroft’s voice was small, but resolute. “He has cancer, apparently, nine months to live. He apparently believed that I would be more affected by the revelation than I was. He then, rather forcefully, attempted to imply that I had,” he laughed humorlessly, “ consented to our...encounters.” 

 

“Did he touch you?” Mycroft didn’t answer, but he looked down, shame flooding his features, desperately avoiding his brother’s eyes. Sherlock pivoted his body so that he was seated next to his brother.

 

“I’m going to kill him,” despite the fact that his voice hadn’t changed in timbre or pitch, Sherlock’s threat reverberated with such finality and hatred that it sent a shiver down Mycroft’s spine. The two men sat in silence for a moment, leaning up against the wall of Mycroft’s office.

 

“I’d rather you didn’t,” Mycroft said finally. “I don’t think we can count on another miracle if you commit murder again.” 

 

“You can’t just let him get away with it.” 

 

“Why not?” Mycroft sighed. “I let him get away with it for the last thirty years.”

 

“This time is different,” Sherlock responded, taking his brother’s hand. “You aren’t alone this time.”