Title: What comes after, part 4/6
Summary: A look at what happens after the fall – spoiler for all of series 1 and 2
Betas: Thank so much to the wonderful justbeaqueen10 for her help and comments
Rating: PG-13 for the angst
Wordcount: Just under 12,000 in total
Disclaimer: I make no profit from this and the characters and settings belong to BBC/ACD
Notes: This story is complete, but I’m going to post a chapter each day or so, so as not to spam you all.
John was looking at Sherlock’s books. He picked one up and ran his hand gently down the spine. He half-smiled at the memory of Sherlock smiling at him, half hidden behind its pages. It closed with a snap and he put it on top of another book and another and another until all of them were in a pile on the kitchen table. Then, before he let himself think about it, he scoped them up. He walked quickly into Sherlock’s room and threw them onto the bed and closed the door.
Back in the living room, he felt suddenly panicky; the room looked too bare. His hands were shaking, which was crazy. He took out his phone and considered texting Mycroft. He wasn’t sure why the idea had popped into his head. He stared down at the blank screen for a full minute before carefully putting it back in his pocket. He didn’t want to text Mycroft. He felt that his visits were somehow a very private, delicate thing and he found he didn’t want to break the spell.
Instead he made dinner. His hands didn’t stop shaking all night.
“You’ve moved some of his books.” Mycroft said as he sat down. John tried to work out if there was any sort of emotion behind the words. He couldn’t detect it if there was.
“They were in the way.” His voice sounded hollow.
“Yes,” Mycroft agreed.
John sat down on the sofa. He didn’t have the energy to put the kettle on.
Mycroft sat perfectly still for a few minutes. “Perhaps I will make the tea tonight.”
John watched him moving around the kitchen. So very different to his brother, but there was a likeness too. That self assured posture; every movement was measured and precise. Mycroft handed him a cup and took his usual seat on the other side of the room.
“I feel like a complete idiot.” John didn’t look at the other man as he spoke. “I just moved some books and suddenly I’m a nervous wreck.”
Mycroft didn’t speak for a long moment. “I believe there is going to be a coup in South America that could rock the whole balance of power in the region.”
John looked up at him.
“We could stop it.” Mycroft gently stirred his tea. “We have operatives in position awaiting orders.”
“What are you going to do?” John blinked, completely taken aback, both by the change in topic and that Mycroft was talking about his work.
“Nothing.” Mycroft took a sip of his tea. “We won’t do anything. I often find that doing nothing is the best course of action until you can see all ends.”
“Or who’s going to win,” John said.
Mycroft smiled. It was one of his rare, genuine smiles. “Precisely.” He paused again. “People do like to imagine that things happen in a predictable order. A coup takes place, the victor takes power and everything changes.”
John huffed a mirthless laugh.
“But, that is not the case. Just because things are moving in one direction that does not mean that they won’t suddenly revert backwards. Even if just for a short time. Intervening too soon or taking for granted a particular sequence of events is bound only to disappoint.”
John couldn’t help the little smile that tugged at the corners of his mouth. “And lose quite a lot of trade partners, I imagine.”
Mycroft raised his eye brows and drank his tea. “Well, quite.”
Lestrade was working late. Well, he was in the office and it was late. He’d given up working hours ago. He just didn’t want to leave yet. His probation was coming to an end.
Sherlock might have been cleared of all charges, but that didn’t mean the investigation into his letting a member of the public be involved in his cases had stopped. It had been six months since Sherlock’s death. Nearly enough time for the others to stop looking at him like he was a traitor or an idiot. Nearly enough.
Given the circumstances, his truly amazing track record, and Sherlock being cleared (thank you Holmes the elder) they hadn’t sacked him outright. He wasn’t sure if that might not have been better. He sighed and rubbed his eyes. That was a stupid and melodramatic thing to think. He didn’t have anything left but this job. He loved this job.
True, it was just that little bit worse now Sherlock was gone. He missed the excitement of getting a text and knowing something extraordinary was about to happen. He missed John too, even Mrs Hudson. But, it had at least been busy. Since the death of Moriarty or Richard Brook, or whoever he was, the criminal underworld seemed to be in disarray. Gangs of smugglers, thieves, and murderers were all floating to the surface. It was all they could do to keep up.
At least Molly had been true to her word. She’d turned up at his flat the week after her first visit and had continued to come after that. Only once every week or so, but it was nice. She always seemed worried and skittish. But, she’d always seemed to be like that. He thought it was just Sherlock that brought it out in her. Apparently not. He was thinking about kissing her. Just thinking about it. One day. He thought it might be nice.
But for now, there was a pile of unsolved cases on his desk and no genius to turn up and solve it by looking at the suspects’ left index fingers. Good old fashioned police work, he told himself.
He sighed and began to tidy his desk, piling the files and placing them in a tray. He reached out and clicked the lamp off. He sat in the darkened office, lit from the orange glow of the streetlights outside. He sat there for a few moments before gathering the will to stand up and making his way home.
He cast an eye over Donovan’s empty desk on his way out. She had been looking for an excuse to move departments even before it became apparent she was wrong about Sherlock. Or, at least, partially wrong. She maintained to the end that he was a fraud even as all the criminal evidence fell apart. He was going to get around to replacing her. He really was. He just needed to finish a couple of the cases on his desk. Then he might have the time to look at some potential replacements.
For now, he liked working alone. He had the usual support when he asked for it, but he liked the quiet. He liked being able to think without anyone second guessing him.
He started when a car pulled up next to him and a woman got out. She was beautiful and her attention was entirely focused on the phone in her hand. “Get in, Detective.”
Lestrade did as she asked. “It’s been awhile since he sent for me. I thought it was John he sends for now.”
The woman didn’t answer him until they had set off down the street. “It’s you now.”
Lestrade sighed and didn’t bother making conversation for the rest of the journey. Mycroft was waiting in a disused warehouse.
“Bit over the top, all this, isn’t it?” Lestrade asked, gesturing at the expansive space.
Mycroft smiled at him. “Detective, thank you for coming.”
Lestrade didn’t point out how little choice he’d had. “Sherlock’s gone, Mycroft, I don’t see it matters much if you talk to me at my flat.”
“There are others I would rather avoid knowing that we have spoken, Detective.” He took out a file from his briefcase. “I wouldn’t usually bother you with something so minor, but in the circumstances...”
Lestrade raised his eyebrows and took the brown file. He felt an odd sensation creep over him as he began to read.
“I’m sure you’ll understand my concern,” Mycroft said when he was nearly finished.
“There’s been a body found in Baker Street.” Lestrade flicked through the pictures. “No identification and...” he looked up in surprise.
Mycroft nodded his head once.
“No finger prints. The guy had no finger prints.”
“You may not recognise it, but it is the marker of Joseph Hollander’s associates.” Mycroft looked at his nails.
“An assassin?” Lestrade felt his heart begin to race. “In Baker Street.”
“A dead assassin, in fact.”
They were silent while Lestrade finished reading. “I’ll take a look into it.”
Mycroft nodded as though he knew this was going to be the outcome all along. Which he probably did.
“Do you think that Joseph Hollander is back in the country?” he asked.
Mycroft gave the slightest lift of his shoulder. “Perhaps.”
“And you think this is something to do with Sherlock?”
Mycroft looked almost uncomfortable. “I cannot see how it could be. But, there are others, those that are still with us, that have plenty of enemies in the criminal community.”
Lestrade blinked. Good god, Mycroft was worried about John. He didn’t broach the topic, knowing that it wouldn’t get him anywhere. “Like I say, I’ll look into it.” He half turned to leave and then turned back. “But why come to me? Don’t you have the whole of the Government at your service?”
“Perhaps,” Mycroft said, “but this is a matter I would like to be kept private. If he is back in the country I do not want anything to alert him that we know about it.”
Lestrade nodded. “I’ll let you know if I find anything.”
“Thank you, Detective.” Lestrade was nearly out of the door when Mycroft said softly, “Ah, I would appreciate it if you did not mention this to anyone inside or outside of the force for the time being.”
Lestrade smiled. Worried about John Watson and not wanting him to know about it. The world was a crazy place sometimes.
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