"…and what could you possibly want from a PE teacher? What could they do or have that could benefit you?"
John heard the mutterings of voices around him. He was waking up, where was he? It was about then when his headache struck and he moans softly, rubbing at his hair as he pulls the bedding up around his head.
"Ah, that took long enough. I don't think either of us win that round, brother mine. I wonder when the situation will hit him? I should have had some photographs taken"
"The hidden cameras in the flat should have enough blackmail material even for your tastes. For once in your life don't be greedy"
What were these muffled idiots talking about? John thought. The bed was so comfy but it didn't feel like his. He reaches down and scratches at his chest and notices it is bare, but he does sometimes just sleep with his pajama pants on especially when it's been warm. But hang on, he's not dating anyone at the moment, why is he in a strange bed? Wait- why are there male voices?
John pulls the covers back a bit and looks up to see Mycroft Holmes resting against a sideboard opposite the bed, directly in front of him. "Jesus!" he calls out and pulls the bedding up to his chin. They don't come as easily as they should and turning to his right he sees why. There is his flat mate sitting up under the covers next to him bare chested, resting against the bed head. John's mouth opens and his jaw shakes a little but no words come out. A thought hits him and he raises the sheet up, a panicked noise escapes him as he sees that his trousers are undone, they're still pulled up though. "Sher-Sherlock?" he questions in a high pitched whine. He racks his brain trying to remember what happened last night, he last remembers lying down to rest his eyes for a minute. He wasn't that drunk, he doesn't feel like he had any blank outs. Usually if he does he'd be throwing up but his mouth doesn't taste like vomit and he doesn't have that urge. At least he didn't until he noticed that his pants were undone.
"Relax, John" his flatmate uttered with a sigh, apparently he was being incredibly dense. "You fell asleep then at some point woke up and adjusted your clothes as they were constricting you. Although I am a little offended, am I really that hideous that being close to me would be that much of a disturbance?"
"Wha-oh thank Christ". John was flooded with relief, nothing had happened, but going by the smirk on Mycroft's face this was a situation which is going to be brought up time and time again. "No, you're not hidious but why didn't you wake me? I would have gone to my room"
"Unnecessary" the detective dismissed with a wave of his hand. "There is plenty of room for the two of us here. I've only been in the bed for the last two hours if that helps ease your mind".
The elder Holmes in his grey three piece suit, looking far too put together this early, couldn't help himself. "Still keeping minimal hours aside for rest I see, Sherlock?"
Cold eyes narrowed "You're one to talk, Mycroft. Stimulents, really. John, don't write any prescriptions for my brother".
"Sherlock" the British Government bit out, ears becoming tipped with red.
This seemed to all be happening too fast for John this early in the morning. "What are you talking about?" he honestly hadn't heard properly.
The detective addressed the man in front of him. "I'm sure there are whole department's set aside to keeping you satisfied, managed or perhaps constantly firing on all cylinders? I don't know what the best description is. Maybe it's a mix of all of the above"
John vocalises his sudden thought, ignoring this exchange. "I hope you have some pants on?"
A raised brow. "Make a deduction?" he dared.
Mycroft was speaking, it seemed to be about what Sherlock had said to him a moment ago about his job but neither man listened.
"I try not to think about your pants. Especially when we're sharing a bed". John smiles openly. "What would your work say about this?"
A twitch of a grin flashes on the detectives face, it disappears just as quickly. "Well she is a tough mistriss"
Mycroft sighs and comments loudly over them now "As much as I hate to break up this little 'love-in' I am here for a reason, and that reason is not to watch you two cuddle"
"-hurry up and get out, Mycroft. I'm surprised you're here this early, I would have expected you to be down at breakfast for a while longer. Three pancakes, two croissants and three helpings of the fruit salad and cream, no?"
Mycroft's mouth drooped with indignation, his nose becoming more prominent. "Not two croissants, thank you"
"Oh! Yes you're right, my mistake. Three pancakes and syrup, the fruit salad and cream, a croissant and a large muffin. It must be nice to be back around your favourite cook, you celebrated".
The elder man's face stayed the same, just as he opened his mouth to retort the doctor got in first.
"Boys" John admonished. "Too early for this".
The senior Holmes adjusted his waistcoat to buy himself time to come down from his high state of indignation. "Anyway you've both missed the breakfast-"
"-they must have run out-"
"- quite the interesting morning actually" he continued more loudly which signalled danger to the blond. "Apparently you were both quite loud returning here last night which lead to drawing a number of people out of their rooms to see you both enter here together holding the mostly empty bottle. You were quite the talk of the party this morning. My congratulations".
His smug look made a sickening feeling rise in the pit of John's stomach. "We're not, you know. Use that thing of yours, you'll see that nothing happened, that nothing has happened at all". He paused. "You're enjoying this" he added.
"I'm allowed to seeing as what I have to put up with on a day to day basis. Now, as I was saying, it is after 9am. My ride will be here in an hour, I just thought I'd drop by and see how you were both doing. Sherlock and I have already had a little chat. Although, Doctor Watson I must bring this up, I thought you were going to see that you both attended the dinner?"
John yawned and rubbed at his face. "We were distracted, I'm sorry. I lost track of time. We couldn't have missed all that much"
"Hrm, indeed" he looked sceptical. "But I did want you both there. Not to worry, I see you're both properly admonished".
"Not that it's your job to do so" Sherlock said making sure he looked everywhere around the room except in the direction of the sideboard.
The Government official stood with a pleased narrowing of his eyes. "How could I resist? Apparently this isn't the decade where you decide to grow up either. Oh well, we'll eventually get there, won't we?"
The curly haired man scoffed. "Then what would you do with yourself? There are enough wars going on at the moment, imagine what would happen if you had some more free time?"
"Yes, what could I possibly get up to if I didn't have to waste half my life doing the equivalent of pushing your knife wielding hand away from the proverbial toaster?"
Sherlock pouted, recrossing his arms. "Dramatic git"
"Boys" John warned again. He was going to take the high road even though he was convinced this man was here to spy on and humiliate them. "Thank you, Mycroft, as you can see we're alive and well and ready to get moving for the day. See you back in London"
"Speaking of London" Sherlock mentioned in a higher pitched voice "why can't we get the helicopter back with you? It would save us hours. Hours in which I can get to Lestrade earlier"
Mycroft eyes flicked up from his pocket watch which he had been inspecting. "Because I'm not going back to London but instead to an airfield. Straight to Argentina to…well, again you don't need to know about that, do you?"
"Show off" the younger man admonished as he huffed in distain.
"The car ride will do you good". The timepiece was clicked shut and placed back in the waistcoat pocket. He then seemed to possess a smugness John had only seen once before, with eyes only for his brother. "And anyway, I'm sure the Inspector will thank me for the extra hours of peace it will give him, he'll be quite appreciative in fact"
Sherlock sat up as straight as he could manage. He even seemed to bounce a little on the spot. "Don't you dare talk to him, he's my police officer not yours!"
The blond couldn't believe his ears. "Are you serious? Lestrade isn't a thing to be owned, possessed!"
Sherlock got out of the bed wearing only navy blue briefs and bent over a little to pick up his phone and watch from his nightstand. As he bent over a little Mycroft internally grimaced taking in the sharply protruding ribs and vertebrae. The skin was so very pale. He ran his eyes up and down the body as he make notes in his mind, 4 pounds lost since his last case, he needed another and soon.
"Why not?" the detective questioned as he wrapped the watch around his wrist. "You're my John" he said as if it was obvious.
Mycroft moved towards the door as the ex-army captain's face twisted into outrage. "On that note I'll take my leave" he murmured but didn't think anyone took notice of him.
"What the hell is that meant to mean?" he heard called out loudly as he clicked the door shut. That was going to be an interesting conversation.
After a half hour argument in which the detective and his blogger discussed the matter of John being Sherlock's friend and associate, which is fine, but also the fact that it is a bit 'not good' to talk about him as a possession, they packed up and got ready for their trip home. Sherlock went out the front to get the car ready while John went for a final walk in the manor, making his way up to the top floor. From what he could hear most people had left already including Alfred Holmes who took his leave straight after breakfast. As he was eyeing the cream walls and maroon carpet, for the second time that day Mycroft Holmes appeared unannounced. He was wearing the same clothing as earlier, his hair done to perfection as always. But now the umbrella was back and for some reason it really seemed to complete him. He gave John an uncomfortable pull of his lips and the doctor realised for a moment that it was the closest thing to a real smile the man had even given him.
"I spoke to my brother this morning about our father. He explained what happened last night. To be honest with you I'd already heard it from the man himself but it's often prudent to get both sides of a story. He is far easier to talk with without an audience".
John nodded with understanding, accepting of the fact that when the man wanted to talk Mycroft could always find him. Back to the task at hand, he'd often thought his flatmate and his brother would get on better when other people weren't around. "Sherlock said the two of you don't talk, you and your Dad I mean"
"Which is true for the most part. However, I am always interested in the interactions between them both"
"Your Dad doesn't seem to think of Sherlock too highly"
"No he doesn't seem to, does he?" he pleasantly agreed while inspecting the tip of his umbrella. "Not a new development I'm afraid".
John had at some point in time come to the realisation that Mycroft respects him for not only being a man who fought for Queen and country but as the man who seems to get through to his brother. He's the one that stands by him not dispute his quirks, interests and lifestyle but because of them. The elder Holmes was a tough person to get through to, he possessed an icy exterior which was masked but also emphasised by his cold, over the top politeness and his overbearing sense of control. In his own way he had accepted John as part of his brother's life and a person who seemed to bring out the best in the great Sherlock Holmes. Mycroft may not be the type to sit down and have a friendly, relaxed chat with someone, but the way he did treat John compared to his usual interactions with others showed how much respect he actually does hold for the man. It would have been so easy to dispose of him otherwise. Now that John truly understands this he knows the ways in which he can speak with Mycroft and that deep down they just want the best for their consulting detective. Even if The British Government's ways often led to large bouts of exasperation on John's behalf.
"You know, you go on about your brother needing to grow up. Well he's not going to if you've got the safety net set up at all times. He needs to learn for himself. And this childish feud is ridiculous, can't you both just drop it for the sake of everyone else?"
Mycroft seemed lost in thought, then uses his umbrella to indicate to a spot on the balustrade. "I pulled him down from there just as he was slipping. He would later go on to say that I would have gotten there earlier if it hadn't have been up three flights of stairs, did I not want to risk breaking a sweat? That night however he didn't have the presence of mind to even suggest that. So we took off down the hallway together and ended up in the library where we sat in silence for four and a half hours as he clung to me on one of the chesterfields. I laid my jacket over him, every time I made to move to retrieve something more appropriate he'd pull me closer so I couldn't move. I didn't see him for ten months after that. He slipped out before dawn and hitch hiked to London. After months of searching and using a network to keep an eye on him, his new 'friends' left him for dead, he overdosed in a old building they were squatting in. If I hadn't have been tipped off one of the greatest minds of our generation would have choked on his own vomit and slipped away in a building with a crumbling roof and a moderate rodent infestation, the world never understanding what they had lost. He may have even rotted there before he was ever found. That was not the end of that chapter of his life but something worth mentioning. He resented the fact that he needed me that night in the library, he still does, but that is not the basis nor the extent of our rivaly. Just another moment". He let all of what he had just said settle between them before continuing. "So as you can see, Dr. Watson, our rivalry is more than about me hiding his pirate books, and no it's not something either of us are likely to put aside to make others feel more comfortable. It is more than that, I hope you are beginning to understand this".
John didn't know what to say. "Okay. Yep". Mycroft displayed thinly disguised disappointment at this comment, as though he was expecting more from the man who had so engaged his sibling. John thought hard about how much he wanted to say but decided on one thing. "Look, Mycroft. I'm not saying I fully understand everything between you two but my sister hasn't-"
"-I'm aware of Harriet Watson's particularities"
"Right, of course you are. The first time we met your pocket book was filled with notes from my therapist, silly me. You understand then that I know being the sibling trying to help them isn't easy. Someone needs to be the bad guy, I get that. And this one must have been a handful, still is-"
Mycroft tensed. "-I don't need your pity, Doctor"
"Pity? What? I'm not- has anyone every sympathised with you? Ok, no, don't answer that. Listen, I don't pretend to know everything that's gone on between the two of you, just know that at his friend I think a lot of the guy and want him to be happy and healthy". As he finished he gave himself a short nod, a little roll on the balls of his feet and he flexed his left hand, double checking that all he wanted to say was out in the open. All of this was taken in by the other man but John couldn't take the silence, he felt he'd said too much. "I'm sorry about last night".
"You needn't be. If it was imperative that you were there I would have made sure of it. No, you were exactly what you needed to be last night, you were exactly where you needed to be. You provided someone to talk to and a distraction".
"I always do that for him" he replied simply with no other meaning.
"Yes you do, don't you?" he gave John the most penetrative stare yet. As though he was reading every last inch of his soul. "All joking aside, you're very good for my brother. I respect that, it pleases me"
"And I expect you're a hard man to please" John guessed at with a warm smile.
The taller man gives a quick, amused huff. "Yes". Overhead they hear a chopper approaching. "And that is my cue to leave. I would appreciate that this stays between you and me. Until next time, Doctor Watson".
As Mycroft walked away and turned a corner, his umbrella swinging, John stepped forward and examined the balustrade. As the elder Holmes had stated there was a mark there. Not possessed with the powers of deduction of the two others he couldn't tell if it was made the way that the British Government had described but he had feeling that it had.
"John!" John stepped forward and bent over the railing as he saw Sherlock standing near the front door with both of their overnight bags. He seemed to be in a mad rush to get out of here.
"Coming, Sherlock. You got everything?"
"Yes, of course I do. Well come on!". He paused and the added a little more softly "And make sure to use the stairs".
John, knowing the man, could hear the humour in the last sentence. He must have known he was inspecting the spot where he had almost fallen but didn't mention it. Once he was down at the front they got the door open and stepped out to see a large black car waiting for them.
Sherlock strode over with purpose and wrenched the handle. "Once we're out of here I'm calling Lestrade to see what he's got for us"
"Sure. I think I'm going to have a bit of a nap" John let the other man know as he stifled a yawn behind his hand.
"Suit yourself" Sherlock sighed, as though napping was boring and huge waste of time when there is so much going on.
Once they were seated the blond commented straight from his own line of thought "Your brother's alright you know. Bit of an idiot with control and spying issues but I think he's just trying to do the right thing".
The detective rolled his eyes. "And the biggest trick he over pulled was to convince the world he was trying to care".
The doctor frowned, face crinkling. "That's not the quote and I'm fairly certain your brother isn't the devil"
"No, but it's fairly apt, wouldn't you agree?" Sherlock replied loftily, playing with his collar. He would usually readjust his scarf but he wasn't wearing one.
As they were pulling out of the long drive, John heard a noise to his right and looked out over the house just in time to see the silver helicopter pass by overhead. He gave himself a small smile.
"What?" the brunet demanded, reading John intently. He looked as though he missed something and nothing infuriated him more.
"I was just wondering how many more cases until we get the chopper treatment? Lucky bastard, my leg isn't going to enjoy this long trip in the car"
"I'll let my brother know you prefer helicopters"
John snorted. "Like he's going to send a chopper next time"
Sherlock was back to typing on his phone. "You'd be surprised"
"Right well I'll believe it when I see it" the ex-army captain said, not accepting it for a second. After a few minutes he watched his friend, trying to read him. "Listen, you ok? It's been a big couple of days"
"I'm obviously fine, John. What's the matter with you?" he replied automatically.
"Silly me, of course you are" John responded, comment dripping with sarcasm.
Sherlock ignored this. "However, I will be even better once Lestrade calls me. If I'm correct, and I always am, he would have just received the ok to make contact. It must be the changing of the guards for my handling, you excluded. I need to do something about this, it won't do. I-" his phone begins to buzz, he punches the air in triumph and his face lights up. He presses the call button and places it next to his ear. "Sherlock Holmes. Yes. Yes. Oh, that does sound gruesome tell me more. Yes. Fascinating. And you think the nose was removed after death? Hrm, yes. Plausible but I'll need to see the body". He pulls the phone away from his ear for a moment and turns his attention to John. His face was shinning with a level of positivity and brightness that John hadn't seen from the man since their last case weeks ago, although him showing off the library came a close second. "Good news, John. A woman's turned up in a library with her nose hacked off and a book on Ancient Egyptian ruins littered around her body! Oddly her hair has been cut and her makeup drawn to resemble Cleopatra. Not in the news yet, the forensics team is there now. I'll need your medical expertise on this one, we need to place when the tissue was removed. Oh, this is a ten at least!" he exclaimed brightly, returning the phone to his ear.
John nodded, he should feel worried about how much this man lit up around homicide but he had to admit seeing his friend so happy outweighed most of his concerns. God, what has this detective done to him?. "Sounds good, Sherlock". The brunet waved a hand for him to be quiet while he spoke to the DI. "Right". As John looked out the window he felt pleased that he was able to be there for his friend this trip. He was interested in what they'd both found out about Sherlock's family, the things he himself had discovered but also the aspects Sherlock had found out for himself. The younger Holmes now knew that his uncle was well loved by his close family dispute his addictions and quirks, he had faced his father and proved to him that he had an ally and the way he had been treated in the past wasn't good enough and that he himself had the power to walk away if that what he has to do, he had been able to go around with his head held high amongst relatives and family friends for the first time in years. The blogger could already see that the man seemed a little changed, a little more sure of himself. He smiled warmly out the window, his friend probably wouldn't consciously take note of a lot of these things as it was too close to 'sentiment', but John felt a little lighter knowing that this time things had changed for the better.