“Mr Holmes, sir? I hope you don’t mind me stopping by… Only you said if we knew anything about Captain -erm- Doctor Watson’s disappearance…”
Sherlock ripped the small envelope from the young, former-military man’s calloused hand. He had no time, now. No time for small talk. He needed data, leads, anything as quickly as possible.
Why had he assumed John would wait patiently for nearly three years? Why had he trusted Mycroft to keep track of the one thing more important than Sherlock’s life? And how in the hell did Mycroft and the entire British Government manage to lose him?
Inside the envelope was a photograph of John in military garb, his hair shaven quite close, his eyes determined but somehow… haunted.
“How long ago?” Sherlock barked, never taking his eyes off the photo.
“Ah, three months now, I think. Mate of mine got some top-secret assignment, took a photo on his phone ‘cos he knew I’d been in the Sand with Captain Watson. Thought I’d like it for old time’s sake. For…”
Sherlock’s eyes left the photo for three seconds, scanned the young man, and then returned to the picture. ”Sentiment. You had a very strong romantic crush on John Watson, probably a combination of hero-worship and father-figure issues related to your early life. One night, spurred on by lust and drink, you made the incredibly unwise decision to bare your soul -and your muscular torso, I imagine- to the good Captain, but instead of accepting your offer or reporting you for misconduct -propositioning a superior officer- he was kind to you. He never made you feel uncomfortable about it. Said he was flattered, then moved on as though nothing had happened.”
The young man swallowed hard. “Did Capt— did he tell you that?”
“Of course not. It’s obvious. Now. You said secret. This is obviously not the desert. Where, then? Where was this taken?”
“I’m not allowed, Mr. Holmes, it’s classified, y’know, and I shouldn’t have come here—”
Sherlock took the young man by his shirt and pulled him up an inch off of the ground before slamming him into the nearest wall.
“TELL. ME. NOW!”
“B-Baskerville, s-sir,” he stammered, wide-eyed.
Sherlock let go, and the young man’s body fell abruptly to the floor.
“Get out. Leave the photo.”
He didn’t pay attention to the scuffling sound of boots as his guest scrambled to stand, hurry out the door and rush down the stairs. Long, shaky fingers were already sending a text.
-You will discharge him immediately. I’ll arrive Baskerville by nightfall. Have him waiting near the front gate. -SH
-He was ready to die. I merely convinced him to make his death mean something. He volunteered for every experiment dangerous enough to have possibly fatal outcomes. -MH
-Front gate before nightfall. -SH
-Sorry, Brother. It’s too late for that. -M
Sherlock felt a wave of pain and nausea sweep through his body. He slumped against the wall.
Somehow, he was able to keep a tight grip on his phone.
He was even able to send one more text.
-You need to sit down. Please. -M
[INCOMING CALL - NUMBER UNKNOWN]
-Answer your phone, Sherlock. -M
[MISSED CALL - NUMBER UNKNOWN]
-Answer it. -M
[INCOMING CALL - NUMBER UNKNOWN]
-Answer it now. You may not get a second chance -M
Sherlock pressed the accept call key and lifted the phone to his ear.
“Tell me. I need to know what happened. All of it,” he whispered.
“I could say the same to you,” the voice on the other end of the line answered.
It wasn’t Mycroft’s voice.
It wasn’t any voice he might have expected in that moment.
“John…” Sherlock breathed.
-Turn around, Sherlock. -M
Sherlock turned around to face the door.
This time, he DID drop his phone.
For Samanta (watsonsdick) on her birthday. Photo reposted with her permission.
omg omg omg, I was getting myself ready for a tearful afternoon and then BAM! Happy ending :)
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