by elfin

Front of house it's beautiful.  All quiet dignity now, blood still mixing with last night's rain, turning orange as it follows the cracks in the pavement towards the drain; a work of art.  For the first time in our lives I think my brother looked truly beautiful, lying there, dead, scarlet streaks across his pale face, grey green eyes staring blankly at the morning sky, black hair matted, soaked in blood. 

It's very different now.  Behind the scenes.  It's mayhem.

Two fake orderlies failing to manhandle him into the back of a van, very much alive and frankly being a pain in the backside.  Their hands are red and sticky from the blood in his coat (that will be hell to wash out).  He's fighting them and, of course, winning.  He's shouting about John and I'd known, hadn't I, that this would happen which is why I'm standing in front of him, hands out, fingers spread, palms down, trying to bring calm to chaos. 

"It all went to plan," my voice a hiss, angry because he's putting everything at risk. 

It did.  The pieces fell into place perfectly; the phone call, the fall, John Watson in exactly the right place at the right time to witness it.  He acted as predictably as I knew he would and the cyclist colliding with him gave us those extra moments so that what he saw when he made it to his knees beside Sherlock's body was a broken man, a dead man.  He even reached for Sherlock's wrist, the one we offered him, found no pulse and dropped like a puppet with its strings cut.  But it was the final moment, when they had Sherlock on the trolley and pulled the sheet over his face - for dramatic effect, the final proof for the assassin in the building opposite - when John did something neither of us had predicted.  He screamed; or a scream of sorts, an inhuman sound of agony.  Had I known... oh, but I had, so why didn't I just render my frustratingly changeable little brother unconscious there and then and bundle him out of here myself?

"Please.  Just get in the damn van."

"Bring him back!"  Shouting, voice resonating around the loading bay. 


Reasoning with my brother has never been easy and seldom works but I have to try.  "You're risking everything."

"Mycroft, bring him here or I'll step outside myself."

"And let Moriarty win?"

"He has won!  Don't you see?  John's my heart."

The sigh feels like it's being dragged out of me.  Sentiment, that's what this is, pointless and dangerous and, like myself, something I hadn't believed my brother capable of until Dr John Watson stumbled into his life.  Must remember to slap Michael Stamford for that one of these days. 

"Sherlock, please!  See reason!  It's not forever, just... please get in the van."  But I'm not going to win this one, I can see it in his eyes, in the way he's planted his scuffed shoes on the ground and set his bruised body so he can't be shifted.  There was an airbag in place of course, to stop his fall, but it was still a long way down and I know from the various intakes of breath and the way he's been keeping parts of himself protected that he's bruised, possibly even cracked a few bones.  A doctor would be a benefit... see, now I'm doing it!

"Fine."  Half-hiss, half-shout.  I can't believe I'm acquiescing, but it doesn't look as if I have a choice.  A phone call accomplishes it.  Luckily I have the forethought to stand back because Sherlock's temper tantrum was bad enough.  I know as soon as John sees him this scene is going to turn into a Victorian melodrama.

"Sherlock!  Jesus, Sherlock...."

I'm right.  John practically takes a running jump at my brother, not bad for a man who was limping when I first met him.

The reunion is strangely touching though; Sherlock's arms lock around John, John's arms wind up around my brother's neck, face pressing into his throat not caring apparently about the drying blood now he understands it isn't Sherlock's.  And while Sherlock's slight grimace gives away the pain he's being caused, he doesn't push or ease John away.  It's only been a matter of minutes, not enough time for grief to turn to anger.  All John is feeling is relief, absolute and soul-deep.  I envy them actually, an unfamiliar feeling.

"Explain in the van," a snap, harsher than I mean it to be, "please."

Sherlock nods - abject relief.  John slips his arm around my brother's waist, under his coat, such an intimate thing, and Sherlock holds him close to his side by wrapping his coat around his friend, his partner.  It's a revelation to me - this isn't sentiment, this is Sherlock in love.  I know they're together, in the biblical, no-longer-a-virgin sense of the word, a tiny smile from my brother over John's head aimed at a CCTV camera at a crime scene a few months ago had confirmed it.  But love... I never thought my brother capable.

In the back of the van they huddle together, talking quietly.  Sherlock doesn't afford me a second glance but he doesn't have to.  He's being smuggled away from the scene of his faked death, he isn't being taken away for good.  I'll see him again very soon.  The comfort in the thought is unsettling.  The fake orderly - one of Sherlock's network of the homeless - slams the door on them.  It's going to be a bumpy ride and it's a fair way out to the family estate in the country - I'm glad John's with him. 

Time to make another phone call.  Time to bring in the last of Moriarty's legacy, three international assassins.  Did I say in?  I mean, down.