- Action Adventure
Sherlock had left John with a final line about finding a way to better communicate with him before dropping the newest burner phone into some sort of incinerator. All John could do at this point, on that relationship front, was wait. And perhaps do some additional research.
It certainly seemed that they were on the same page–attracted, interested, and already half-way to romantic love. The platonic love certainly already existed. In a way, they’d already been partners for more than a year.
Just. Not fucking.
John rolled his eyes at himself as he set out for the clinic. He was on the afternoon shift, and as it was a fair-to-middling nice day in London, he decided to walk the rough mile to the surgery rather than taking the tube.
He continued to think about the implications of Sherlock’s texts as he absently dodged and wove through the London crowds, too distracted by his thoughts to notice that he was ducking under someone’s fist, aimed directly for his head.
He ducked, blocked the next blow, then returned with a straightforward punch to the chin that took his assailant to the pavement, where the unknown man hit his head rather hard on the pavement and passed out.
“Hm.” John pulled his phone to dial 999, then texted Lestrade one-handed as he checked the assailant’s pulse, which was weak and thready. “Really hit your head hard, there, didn’t you, mate?”
A small crowd had gathered around them while John checked pupil response and frowned. Really, really hard.
John looked up as an emergency worker and a police officer approached. “Definite head injury,” John told the worker as he stood up and backed off. “I’m a doctor. Pupil response is varied and pulse is thready. Possible skull fracture.”
The police officer, whose badge said “Lyons,” asked, “And you are?”
“John Watson,” John replied. “This man attempted to assault me. I hit him back and he fell. Presumably hitting his head on the sidewalk.”
An older professional-looking lady stepped up next to him. “That’s right, officer. I was right behind them. That man there—” she pointed to the assailant being moved to a gurney — “came out of nowhere, tried to punch this man here, who ducked and punched back.”
The officer’s face gave away nothing as he made a note. “Have you ever seen this person before?”
“Never,” John said, looking again specifically at the man’s face as he was put into the back of the ambulance.
“Quick reflexes, then,” Officer Lyons commented.
John shrugged. “Afghanistan. Some things stick with you.”
The officer nodded, slowly. “That they do.” He looked around, then narrowed in on the woman who’d spoken up. “May I have your name, please?”
John ignored the exchanges the officer made with others in the crowd who’d seen the whole thing, and wondered just why he’d been assaulted in broad daylight, and whether it had anything to do with why Sherlock wanted him to watch his back. Maybe he ought to let Mycroft complete the next kidnapping attempt?
He pondered this briefly as he texted the new receptionist at the surgery (Mary something?) to let them know he was running behind and why.
The officer worked his way back around to John by the time Lestrade walked up. Officer Lyons acknowledged Lestrade and said, “It looks as though it was a pretty clear case of self-defense. I’ll need your contact information, in case we need to take another look at the situation, especially given his injuries, but for now, you’re free to go.”
“Thank you,” John said. “Lestrade, I’ve got to get to the surgery. Walk with me?”
“Yeah,” Lestrade said, nodding to the officer and gesturing for John to walk in front of him. They made their way down the sidewalk in silence for a moment, clearing the crowd, before Lestrade asked, “What was that about?”
John shrugged. “No idea. Bit random, really. But no attempt to rob. Crowded sidewalk, clear day. Seems like a message to me.”
“What kind of message?” Lestrade asked, eyes narrowing.
“I can get to you, anywhere, anytime,” John said quietly. “Where’s Moriarty’s body?”
“Watched them cremate it myself,” Lestrade said. “What do you reckon?”
“He might be gone, but his minions aren’t,” John observed. “And some might be a bit put out that I’m still around, even if Sherlock’s gone.”
Lestrade went silent for a moment, thinking. “You and I know Sherlock was the real deal.”
“And Moriarty’s network does, too.”
“And Moriarty himself–or whomever was playing Moriarty, because I find it hard to believe a criminal mastermind would shoot himself for fun when he could work better without Sherlock around to give him grief–is gone, but that network…” Lestrade trailed off. “Sure you don’t want a bit of police protection?”
John gave him a half-grin as they approached the front step of his surgery. “Nah. Just. You know. Pay attention.”
“That I can do,” Lestrade said, and watched as his friend made his way into his workplace.
Work was uneventful. A handful of checkups, several bouts of flu and varied illnesses running around, and one fractured arm made up the total of his shift. He mostly covered the urgent cases, as a general practitioner with a surgical specialty. Not that he did surgeries anymore, given the givens, but he was asked to consult on occasion.
At close of shift, John only rolled his eyes at the appearance of the sleek black town car waiting for him before sliding in one side to face Mycroft on the other seat.
“And to what do I owe this visit?” John asked briskly.
Mycroft frowned. “I heard you were assaulted today.” He looked John over with a flick of the eyes. “But you seem unharmed.”
“I know how to duck,” John confirmed airily. “Anything else you wanted?”
Mycroft’s eyebrows drew together. “He told you.”
“Who told me what?” John asked, blank-faced.
“No, no, it’s written all over your body language. For God’s sake,” Mycroft said, pinching his nose between his eyes. “He was to maintain total silence, for his safety, yours, Mrs. Hudson’s, and Lestrade’s. And now someone’s figured out that he’s not dead and they’re targeting you as a warning. Lovely.”
John regarded Mycroft coldly. “You’re the one who put him up to that?”
“It made sense,” Mycroft said coolly. “He agreed.”
“Well, clearly, he disagreed in some way,” John said, acknowledging the truth. “Because he actually cares about my mental health as well as my physical safety, and knows I’m capable of protecting myself.”
“Well,” Mycroft said. “The cat’s among the pigeons, I suppose. You’ll be going into protective custody, of course.”
“Of course not,” John said. “How on earth can we round up what’s left of Moriarty’s network if we don’t leave me exactly where they expect me to be?”
Mycroft looked at him. “If something permanently damaging happened to you, my brother would have my head.”
“And you’re afraid of Sherlock?” John asked, incredulously.
“In this, absolutely. He believes you to be his only true friend, and I’m rather afraid of how much earth he’d scorch if you came to harm.” Mycroft cleared his throat. “My job is to prevent those kinds of catastrophes.”
A piece fell into place for John. “Sherlock’s a national security risk?”
Mycroft gave a little shrug. “He’s a genius who can think like a criminal mastermind, eminently capable in various fighting forms, enormously creative, with a memory to rival my own. He also can’t be controlled, turns to drugs to stem boredom, and seems incapable of artifice in social situations. Yes, John, he’s a national security risk.”
John sat back, thinking in light of this (in hindsight glaringly obvious) revelation. “You think I can control him.”
“No, not at all,” Mycroft said. “At one point, perhaps, I thought you might be an ally in keeping him on the right side of the law. But it’s become clear that you, too, cannot be controlled, and are more likely to aid him in his more questionable adventures.”
John thought about Baskerville and inwardly shuddered. Mycroft wasn’t actually wrong. But.
“Did you take this opportunity to separate us purposely, then?” John asked.
Mycroft said nothing, which was as good as an admittance.
“Right,” John said. “Let me out.”
“It’s still not safe,” Mycroft cautioned.
Mycroft tapped the screen between himself and the driver, and the car pulled to a stop. John opened the door, saw he was within a few blocks of the flat, and exited with haste, slamming the door behind him before heading home.
UN: All is well?
J: Your brother is an arse.
UN: Not news.