Title: What comes after, part 5/6
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.
Sherlock paced his room. Joseph Hollander. He knew of him, of course. But, why on earth was he back in the country and what did he want with John? He’d dispatched the assassin immediately. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to question him; he’d managed to take a capsule of poison before Sherlock got to it.
His heart was racing. His mind kept skitting around connections Hollander could have with Moriarty. The web was a very delicate thing. He could never be entirely sure what ripples he’d cause by putting pressure on any one point.
Had he somehow alerted Hollander to what he was doing? And would Hollander really care if he completely unravelled Moriarty’s vast empire? He’d long ago considered that Moriarty would have placed a series of traps in case Sherlock was somehow able to escape.
But, he thought he’d been making real progress. He was sure the empire was wobbling. Just a few more. Just a few more arrests and he’d be able to go back.
But he also simply couldn’t believe that it was a coincidence. That assassin had been following John. Obviously they hadn’t wanted him dead otherwise he would be. So they were watching him? Or protecting him. Or it was another threat. Or none of the above.
He checked into Hollander’s activities but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He seemed to be completely clean. He reached back further. Checked his assets.
Sherlock put his coat on. He needed to check that John was alright.
“Someone’s following him.”
Molly bit her lip. “Why?”
“I don’t know.” Sherlock sounded annoyed. She couldn’t be sure but there might also be a hint of worry. It made her insides squirm.
“What can I do?” She knew the answer. Sherlock was just using her as a sounding board, but she offered anyway.
“Nothing.” Sherlock hung up.
Molly tired to watch TV but turned it off after half an hour having not followed anything that happened. She got up and made some tea but then didn’t want to drink it.
An hour later she gave up and called John.
“Hello?” he sounded vaguely surprised.
“Hi, I just,” Molly started and stopped. She hadn’t thought this far ahead. She’d just wanted to check that he was alright.
“Are you okay?” John asked after a moment. And now she’d worried him.
She racked her brains to come up with something worthwhile to say. “I’m, yeah, you know, I’m fine.” She paused. “You?”
“I’m alright, Molly.”
She nodded before remembering that he couldn’t see her. “Good,” she said, just a little too loudly and winced at herself. “Well, okay then. Bye.”
John paused. “Are you sure you’re alright?”
“I’m fine. I just thought I’d check you were. Fine, I mean.”
“Okay, well, thanks.”
Molly sighed. “That’s okay. See you around.”
“Yeah, goodnight, Molly.”
Molly tried to convince herself that Sherlock was probably just worrying because he couldn’t be there to physically make sure John was alright. It didn’t work.
John was used to people staring. After the fall, when he left the house he noticed people eyeing him as they walked by, or staring at him as he did the shopping. He tried his best to ignore it. Only a very few of them came up to him. He had managed to hit only a couple of them.
It was more unusual now. People tended to stare at him as though unable to place him. Sometimes they even waved before realising that they didn’t actually know him. That was why he didn’t notice it at first. He’d grown used to not making eye contact as he walked down the street. But, he was becoming more and more sure that someone was following him.
Whoever it was, was very good. He was never able to catch them at it. He’d started taking sudden corners or doubling back on himself. It seemed to shake whoever it was for a short time but after a few minutes he’d start to feel it again.
He considered telling Mycroft, then dismissed it as a stupid thing to do. Mycroft would think he was cracking up. Which was quite possible.
Two weeks later when it was still happening he considered telling Lestrade. But, he chickened out before he finished writing the text. Lestrade would probably just think he was imagining it. Trying to pretend that things were still the same as when Sherlock was alive. Nothing happened to John Watson. They happened to Sherlock and he’d just been around for the ride.
All the same he took to locking the flat door at night. For all the good it would do.
“There have been stirrings in the less savoury sections of society.” Mycroft wasn’t sitting in his normal seat. He stood with his back to John looking out of the window. It was dark outside and the street lights did little to illuminate the street. John wondered what he was looking at. Or for.
John smiled. “Aren’t there always?”
“Not like this.” Mycroft pulled the curtain back again. “I think that something is coming.”
John shifted. “What sort of thing?”
Mycroft turned to look at him. “I don’t know.”
Neither of them mentioned Sherlock. John wondered if he would have been able to tell them then and there what it meant or if he’d have taken a couple of days before announcing the answer. It was funny how missing Sherlock came in such different waves. Mostly he just missed having him in the flat. Or the way he smiled or rolled his eyes at everyone’s stupidity.
Stupid that it hadn’t occurred to him that bad things could happen now he was gone. That no one would be there to stop them.
“But, you’re looking into it, aren’t you?” John said instead of all the things he wanted to.
Mycroft smiled without humour. “I am doing what I can.”
John noticed that he looked sad. He got up and made the tea.
As he left Mycroft stood in the doorway. He was half in shadow so John couldn’t make out his face. “John, you will... You are taking all necessary precautions, aren’t you?”
John frowned. “Why would I need to do that?”
Mycroft fiddled with his umbrella. “These are dangerous times. A few extra precautions cannot possibly hurt.”
He was gone before John had time to say anything more.
Lestrade sighed and put his phone away. Mycroft had taken to texting him for updates. Updates on what he wasn’t really sure. Hollander was certainly back in the country, but as far as anyone could tell he was being a model citizen. Not so much as a traffic offence.
He also wasn’t in contact with any of his previous associates. His home phone was being tapped but that was probably Mycroft.
Lestrade turned back to the mounting pile of files on his desk. He couldn’t remember the last time they’d had so many convictions to push through. Even when Sherlock was at the height of his powers they were making, at most, two big arrests a month. Now it seemed that the criminals were tripping over themselves to get caught.
He sighed. There was something nagging at the back of his mind. He pushed it away. It was just the part that was used to working with Sherlock. Not everything had to mean something. If there was an underlying cause it probably just Moriarty being dead. Things would calm down. They always did.
Sherlock looked at the dead body and smiled. He didn’t have long but he didn’t need it. Another former associate of Moriarty’s. One of the few left, he was sure. He ran a hand over the man’s jaw bone and frowned.
He moved aside the collar of his shirt. There, tiny and partially healed was a wound. He looked closer then pulled back suddenly.
Stupid. So, so stupid.
And then it all clicked terrifyingly into place.
John made his way around the kitchen slowly. His leg had started to hurt. Not much and nothing like as bad as when he came back from Afghanistan. But it had started to ache. He probably just needed to get some exercise.
The door opened and closed downstairs. Mrs Hudson back from the shops. He wondered if she’d remembered...
No, there were heavy footsteps on the stairs. More than one person.
He looked up just as the door was flung backwards. His heart stopped for a moment as five men with ski masks came through the door. He dropped the cup he was holding.
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