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Of Friends and Foes

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It was probably a weird thought under the circumstances, mused Mycroft, but when John Watson climbed into the car with the carrycot that contained his thankfully sleeping daughter in his arms – he and the driver had put his other stuff into the trunk – Mycroft wondered whether the doctor had looked similarly shaken after kicking and hitting his brother, back then in that morgue with the killer and his daughter. A thought Mycroft did not want to dwell on, especially not now...

Usually, the doctor was rather calm and controlled. Now his thin lips were pressed together, his look was unsteady, and his face looked grey and gaunt. It didn't happen every day that one killed a friend, so it was of course understandable.

Sherlock didn't look much better, and the hand that was almost desperately clinging to Mycroft’s was clammy and applied too much pressure. Not out of grief about Molly Hooper’s violent death but because Sherlock knew how close they had come to being exposed. And his fear of Mycroft overthinking their risky relationship had been palpable.

Despite having just been rudely ripped out of post-coital (or rather: fellatio-) bliss, Mycroft had, his brain spinning with processing the devastating data, pulled his horrified-looking brother, still sticky from their spectacular love-making, against his chest and he had reminded him of what he had told him before: that he would never leave him, that he was prepared for the worst-case-scenario, that they would be safe, and together. Because Sherlock had clearly been catastrophizing after a malevolent person had figured out the truth about their relationship thanks to something he had said, that they had been tried like that so early on.

And then he had kicked into Iceman gear. There was a problem – Molly Hooper’s corpse in John Watson’s living room – and it had to be solved. And he had quickly worked out a solution and had shared it with Sherlock, not just to have the detective’s brilliant mind on this, too, but also to ground Sherlock, whose profession it was to solve cases after all.

And thankfully, it had ripped him out of his shock-frozen state more effectively than any words of reassurance could have done. A problem – a solution. Sherlock had agreed that Mycroft's plan would most definitely work, and he had embraced Mycroft feverishly before Mycroft had told him to let John know to pack some clothes and grab his daughter and sneak out of his home, meeting them a few streets away where Mycroft knew there was no CCTV camera. Then he had sent Sherlock into the bathroom for a quick shower, had called Anthea and given his orders, and then he had refreshed himself, gotten dressed, too, and then they had headed out to the car Anthea had sent.

He watched Sherlock hugging the doctor carefully as the car took off, deduced more than he heard the mumbled words of thanks and apology for what John had found himself forced to do to their benefit.

John had really saved the day. His army captain instincts kicking in, his wish to protect Sherlock from all harm returning with full force, he had removed the threat Molly Hooper had been representing.

“What’s going to happen now?” John asked, looking from Sherlock to Mycroft. He didn’t sound nearly as cheeky as he usually did. He was clearly disturbed by his own actions – he had liked that woman after all, had made her one of the godmothers of his daughter. And during the time he had resented Sherlock for having involuntarily caused his wife’s death, Molly had taken his side and had supported him, serving as a babysitter countless times, Mycroft assumed. And now John had seen no other way than to strangle all life out of her, with his bare hands no less. Of course he was not left unaffected, quite in contrast to the second day of his and Sherlock’s acquaintance when he had shot that cab driver to save Sherlock from his own recklessness and the burning wish to prove that he had been right about the deadly pill… That had not given him any sleepless nights, Mycroft was sure. It could very well be different this time...

Little brother had not told the doctor much when they had been talking on the phone; Mycroft had asked him to stay vague and just assure his (their?) friend that everything was going to be taken care of.

“You will leave it all to Sherlock and me,” Mycroft said in the tone he also used for the PM if the man was wired and riled up, aiming for calming John down. Panicking would not help in any way; in fact, it was of utmost importance that they were all on the same page and stuck to the same story.

A rather short and simple story, actually. “You and your daughter are going to a safe house. We use it for harbouring agents in all kinds of situations,” he explained, holding Sherlock’s hand once more. Little brother had returned to his side and was now hanging at his lips, trusting him to sort it all out. “You will find it comfortable and stacked with everything you and the baby will need for a day or two. And right now, Anthea and another trustworthy agent are going into your flat to remove every trace of Miss Hooper.” Particularly the dead body that this crazy woman now was… And he wanted to give John time to get down from the adrenaline high that came with killing somebody, give the man a bit of rest after the immeasurable favour he had done them. And frankly, he wanted him out of the way for at least a day to get everything wrapped up.

“What will we tell Lestrade?” John interrupted him, his eyes suddenly wide. “That she rode into the sunset with a toy boy?”

Mycroft suppressed a smile, and he wasn’t in the least surprised to hear Sherlock actually giggle at that sarcastic joke. “I did think about a story similar to this at first,” he admitted. “It would have been an easy way out. But I doubt that your fierce detective inspector would buy that explanation.” In fact, Lestrade would definitely try to find Molly to talk to her and offer his support. He just was that kind of (decent) man.

“He wouldn’t,” agreed Sherlock, stroking Mycroft's hand with his thumb, and it felt really nice.

What a wonderful time they had been spending right before this – still manageable – disaster had befallen them… Mycroft was very chagrined that their first time had ended like that. But needs must, shit happens, it is what it is, and so on…

“So DI Lestrade will be informed by Sherlock that Molly had been killed in an incident at your house, John, as we cannot rule out that someone might stick his nose into this affair and find out that she had visited you.”

John paled. “So you will just tell him the truth?”

“Not at all,” Mycroft hurried to explain. “In fact, Sherlock will let him know that at that point, he and you had been working for the government. A hush-hush MI5 case that needed your assistance. Under the pledge of secrecy, I will, if he asks, let him know about our Sherrinford adventure and what our sister did to Miss Hooper with that phone call. The poor woman heard Sherlock tell her that he loved her, and she chose to believe it, in fact, got crazy about it.”

“Sounds about right…” mumbled John.

“Indeed. Instead of enjoying a love-filled evening with my brother,” – at that point, Mycroft shot a side glance at Sherlock, who, to his pleasure, rolled his eyes, grimaced and grinned wryly– “she caught him spending time with an alleged rival at your house.” It was important to have had John there, too, as it would explain why he might behave in a rather weird way if Lestrade approached him. “A female agent, with whom Sherlock had pretended to be involved, in fact, practising holding hands with her.”

How stupid – Mycroft caught himself being jealous of that non-existent woman that he had only invented to fool the Met… When Sherlock squeezed his hand, he knew little brother had deduced his embarrassing thoughts, and he returned the squeeze just to shake off the distracting musings. They needed to get on. “She was fuming with rage and jealousy, and she attacked both Sherlock and that agent. You, John, had been busy doing… stuff with your daughter, I mean, changing her nappy or such, and were not in the room when that happened. Agent Carter, I’m making her up as I speak, saw no other way than responding to the attack, and unfortunately, Miss Hooper lost her life in the process. And that is all we can tell Mr Lestrade as it is concerning a top secret operation.”

“Damn… That’s bloody clever!”

Mycroft gave John a small smile. “It’s what we are notorious for,” he quipped. “I want you to say as little about it as possible if, or rather: when your policeman friend will talk to you about it.” John eagerly nodded at that, and Mycroft thought that the captain had taken to this rather neat solution pleasantly quickly.

He wasn’t a hundred percent sure that Greg Lestrade would buy that story. The man had not seen Molly acting so absolutely shamelessly, had not heard her tell Sherlock about their imagined engagement. In short, he had not witnessed her snap (even though Mycroft couldn’t rule out that he had met her in the meantime), and it all depended on whether he would believe their tale, which was true to some extent. John had killed her in somewhat self-defence on Sherlock's (and his) behalf after all. Only that the threat she had posed had not been a physical one.

“We are very grateful for your support,” Mycroft said a bit stiffly. “It was certainly most inconvenient but it means a lot to us that you…saved our arses.”

Two men were gaping at him at the (calculated) profanity, and John grinned and Sherlock giggled, which broke the tension.

“I told Sherlock I would do anything he needed for him, and I guess what I did was what you both needed,” John stressed, sounding less anxious now.

Mycroft nodded, seriously. “We are in your debt, John.”

The doctor huffed. “Nah, you’re most certainly not. I mean it. I was… awful to Sherlock, more than once, and I was most definitely awful to you, too, but that‘s over. I’m your friend, if you’ll have me, and I would do anything to make sure nobody harms you. I haven’t even started to make it up to Sherlock…”

Mycroft could only agree, but he realised that this John Watson was someone he could eventually like and respect. It was good to know he was on their side…

The car stopped a few minutes later, which they had spent talking about some details of their planned actions and the (cringe-worthy) scene Molly had made, Sherlock all but wrapped around him.

They rushed to the house, helping John get in and carry the baby and his stuff, and then they bade him goodbye. The stocky man looked rather exhausted, very humble and sombre but also hopeful, and Sherlock hugged him again, Mycroft shook hands with him, and then they left him alone.

Mycroft, back in the car, called Anthea to hear if everything was going according to plan – naturally, it was – and then he nodded at Sherlock. “The body is gone. You want to get it over with Lestrade?” Best not to dawdle. It would only cause more suspicion.

Sherlock looked as if he wanted to say he wished them to spend their evening with more pleasant activities, but then he nodded. “Yeah. Damn… If anyone had told me tonight would end like this…”

That was true for all the developments of the past days, but this latest surprise had not been a nice one… But they had to deal with it, and Sherlock knew it. Sighing grimly, he pulled out his phone.

*****

Sherlock had been expecting a sleepy Greg to answer the phone, but it was a wide awake, though a weary sounding one that answered instead.  When Sherlock told him that something serious had occurred that was classified but he and Mycroft thought that he should know about it anyway, Greg immediately told him to come to the Met, where he was still at work.  Glancing at Mycroft, who paused, then nodded, Sherlock agreed and soon he and Mycroft were being ushered into Greg’s office.

The man who was clearly not a goldfish watched Sherlock and Mycroft enter, with a MUCH closer eye then Sherlock was strictly comfortable with.  He had a look that was indiscernible, when he asked, “So what is this classified matter that is so serious you call me practically in the middle of the night?”  Sherlock glanced at Mycroft, deferring to him, and he went into the whole affair of Eurus, and Sherrinford, and the “I love you”, and Molly accosting  Sherlock earlier at Mycroft’s house, where he was currently staying since Baker Street was blown up.  

He explained the imagined engagement, the nakedness and practically sexual assault, and the anger as she left when Mycroft walked in on it.  He left out Sherlock’s panic, of course, which Sherlock had expected, but told everything else one hundred percent accurately.  So far, so good, and Greg was clearly listening very attentively to everything that was said. 

Then came the tricky bit.  Mycroft explained that there was a classified mission that John and Sherlock had been tasked with, that required Sherlock to pretend to be in a relationship with a female agent.  He and John had been in John’s flat, as there was no one to watch Rosie, and while John was caring for his child, Sherlock was doing intimacy lessons with the agent.  They were holding hands and had gone in to kiss when suddenly the door, that they had forgotten to lock apparently, swung open.  Molly had followed Sherlock there, hoping to press her suit and then saw him enter with the agent.  In her jealousy she went and got a knife and came back, and as soon as she got inside and saw Sherlock and the agent together she attacked.  The agent went into protection mode and ended up killing Molly out of self defence.  Then Mycroft stopped talking and he and Sherlock looked at a VERY shocked Greg.

Greg took several deep breaths as he clearly processed all that he had been told.  It was a lot, and Sherlock was surprised he was still so calm as he did so.  “A few days ago,” Greg began, “I dropped by the morgue for a case.  Molly seemed… Off, strange, nearly manic.  She was dressed up, as if she was going to a party.  She kept talking about Sherlock and how she was so happy it was finally happening.  She seemed to hardly hear me, to be honest.  She babbled, as there is no other word for how giddy she was, about Sherlock, about being engaged, about children… None of it was logical, as I have always known that if Sherlock was anything, he was gay, but she was adamant.  I meant to talk to you about it, Sherlock, but I had a case come in that was boring and tedious and I hadn’t had the chance.  I… While I am saddened by what happened, if she was anything like what I saw I can’t say I’m surprised… She had REALLY seemed to lose her grip on reality last I saw.”

He then paused and furrowed his brow as if concerned about something.  “How is John?  Rosie?  It happened in his flat, you said?  Is there anything I can do?”

Sherlock spoke up.  “Since his flat is now part of a high security clearance operation, he is currently staying in a safe house, until it is all fixed, with Rosie.”

“Oh!  Do you think I could go and see them?  Greg spoke quickly, then instantly blushed.  “I mean, I should check in on my mate, right?”

Watching Greg closely, Sherlock noticed the signs of attraction, and was moderately surprised as he had thought the DI was straight.  “Mycie… I mean Mycroft,” He blushed, lightly, “Is that possible?”

Before Mycroft could even answer, Sherlock saw Greg as he put two and two together and came up with their relationship.  Fuck…   He felt Mycroft tense next to him, ready for action.  Greg’s eyes widened briefly, then he said, “You know, Sherlock, all I have ever wanted is you being happy.  Are you happy with… with how you are living right now?”

Sherlock nodded, emphatically.  “Yes.”

“Then that is all that matters, I am sure that if Molly had realised that, in the state she was in, it would have been bad.  Just… No need for relocation to Siberia, as John said, it is all fine.”  Greg was looking at them openly, so that they could read his completely open and honest feelings about it.  

Sherlock could tell (and could see that Mycroft also saw) how genuine Greg was being.  Mycroft finally answered Greg’s earlier inquiry.  “I think you could check in on them tomorrow, if you wish.  I can pick you up whenever you are free and take you there myself, if that is amenable to you?”

“Ta, thanks Mycroft.  And honestly, it is all good.  I have known for a long time that you cared deeply.  It is all good.”  He held his hands up, in fake surrender, clearly worried that Mycroft would not believe him.  Then he paused and looked thoughtful.  “Does John know?  I don’t want to fuck it up and give away what I assume is not common knowledge.”

“It is not…”  Sherlock began.  “However, he does know.  He was there when it… started.”

Greg nodded.  “Alright.  I will message you tomorrow with a good time to go visit, Mycroft?  Is that alright?”

Mycroft nodded and answered, “Thank you, Detective Inspector, for… everything.”  Then he led Sherlock out and back into his car, where Sherlock heard him let out a breath he had probably been holding since he had called him ‘Mycie’. 

Once the privacy screen was pulled and they sat back, Sherlock immediately started with, “I am so sorry…”  He felt awful and he wanted Mycroft to know just how much.

Mycroft held up a hand.  “Brother Mine, it is okay.  I get it, you aren’t used to this and you let it slip… I think the easiest way to combat this is to begin to spread that we are getting along better, that you had to stay with me due to your flat being damaged, and in the process we have worked on our relationship.  Then it won’t seem weird if you call me Mycie, or if we are seen together, or whatever.  That also means we will not have to pretend to fight in front of people, which would just be tedious in the extreme.”

Looking back at the Met for a minute, Sherlock slowly muttered, “If he was able to figure that out about us… He might be able to figure out the truth of the death…”

“I… had thought of that.  He clearly is enamoured with John, though I do not know if John is aware of that yet.  I know it took him a long time to forgive him over his treatment of you.  It seems, though, he finally has.  I appreciate that he wanted to make sure John knew so that he didn’t accidentally oust us to him.  That actually made me the rest of the way about him not telling anyone…  Anyway, I do realise that as he is already suspicious of the threat that Molly had posed to us… Possibly he could come to the conclusion one of us did it, as we had perfect cause to… I think, though, that after he allowed us to read him like that, he would understand the necessity of John’s actions and not turn him in… If he figures it out it would be because John lets it slip at this point.  Anything between the two of them if the secret becomes known would have to be figured out between each other, but I think he will see reason.  He was not lying when he said all that mattered to him was your happiness.”  Mycroft held Sherlock’s hand, lovingly.  “That is all that matters to me as well, Darling Mine.”

“I am.  This is… perfect YOU are perfect.  I just want you .”  Sherlock kissed the back of Mycroft’s hand reverently.

“I want you, too.  Soon.  Soon you will have me.  We just… We have to be sure , Sherlock, absolutely, completely sure.   You understand?”  He leaned over and kissed Sherlock’s lips, softly, lovingly.  “Soon, if you are sure, I will make love to you.  Let’s just give it a little longer, okay?  Up until that point, nothing is technically illegal.  That is where it crosses the threshold.  That is the point of no return.”

Pouting, Sherlock muttered, “Fine, but I am sure.  I don’t know how much more I can do to prove it to you.”

“Brother Mine, I have loved you far longer than I am willing to admit.  Just… Just a little longer, I promise.  If you are good about this, I promise I will wake you up extra special in the morning?  Hmmm?  How does that sound?”  Mycroft kissed him again, though this time pretty dirty and Sherlock had shivers zoom down his spine.  

Pretty soon they got home, quickly undressed, showered, and did their nighttime routine.  Sherlock was amazed how quickly he had gotten used to this kind of easy domesticity with his brother, given the at least a quarter of a century of being at odds.  Mycroft held out his arms and Sherlock instantly sank into them, and calmed by his brother’s scent and presence, quickly fell asleep.

*****