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I Shall Not Be Thy Refuge Once More, chapter 12/12

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Sunday, July 7th, 2013 | 2:49 pm
posted by: rose_of_pollux in 30_losses

Title: I Shall Not Be Thy Refuge Once More, chapter 12: Thou Makest Me Free
Author/Artist: Crystal Rose of Pollux (rose_of_pollux)
Rating: PG13
Fandom: Sherlock
Claim: Sherlock Holmes and John Watson (friendship)
Theme: 12A; Leap of Faith
Genre/s: Drama/Friendship
Warnings: Some violence
Words: ~1790
Summary: There are times when logic just isn't enough....
Disclaimer/Claimer: The characters are not mine (except for the OCs) and the story is
A/N: crossposted to FFN

It wasn’t the prospect of death that Sherlock Holmes feared; he had stared down the barrels of guns more times than he could’ve counted. No; it was the prospect of his life ending by the hands of the one person he had trusted most in the world. With the world already presuming that he was dead, he knew that John would not be held accountable for this—even Mycroft would understand.

But John would never be able to live with himself after this.

And that was what Sherlock Holmes feared the most. He had to stay alive—not for himself, but for John.

“John,” he said, raising his arms in a defensive position. “John, listen to me. Focus on my voice. Just wait and listen to me before you make another move.”

John had his finger on the trigger, that horrible look still in his eyes. Yet, he did pause as Sherlock spoke to him. The detective took this as a hopeful sign.

“Once I’ve had my say, you’re free to do whatever you want,” he continued. “John… I’m sorry. I am so sorry you went through everything after the fall. You were right; I shouldn’t have kept you in the dark—not for as long as I did. If I hadn’t, we probably wouldn’t be in this situation right now.”

“Are you quite finished?” Aranea asked.

“Shut up,” Sherlock said to her, and he turned back to John. “More than that, John, I am sorry that I ever doubted you.”

John’s gaze, which had been focused on Sherlock’s forehead, now met the detective’s.

“You know the way I think, John. I think using logic—I interpret what my senses tell me, and everything my senses were telling me indicated that you had an intent to harm me. And that’s exactly what Moriarty was counting on. But you… You think with your heart. Had our positions been reversed, you would not have doubted me…” Sherlock trailed off, remembering the heartfelt words John would say at the empty gravesite, the carefully-maintained casefiles—post-it notes and all—and the one-sentence blog post that was John’s declaration to the world that he would always believe in him… “You never doubted me, even when I did everything in my power to try to get you to do so.”

There was no change in John’s expression; nor did he move. The gun remained aimed at Sherlock’s forehead.

“And yet, I doubted you—after everything,” Sherlock said. “I was wrong, John. And this time, it nearly cost me what mattered the most to me. But I will not make that same mistake again—”

He cringed as the recorded Moriarty spoke again.

“In case the two of you are still playing cat-and-mouse, I thought I’d let you know that an associate of mine is watching from across the street,” Moriarty droned. “You’ve probably figured out who it is, haven’t you, Sherlock? So if Johnny-boy doesn’t get you, he will. Still, I’d rather my original plan work out—I put so much trouble into it, and, you have to admit… it’s much more delicious.”

Sherlock’s gaze flickered to the mirror, reflecting the window behind him. A red point of light was visible from the window across the street, and Sherlock knew it was aimed at the back of his head, courtesy of Sebastian Moran. But as he looked back at the doctor, Sherlock saw his friend’s eyes widen in customary concern, despite his current state.

That was more than enough to prove Sherlock’s words. Forgetting about Moriarty, Moran, and Aranea for the moment, he focused his attentions back on John.

“And once again, you prove me right,” the detective said, a hint of pride in his voice. “You believed in me, John; now, I will believe in you.”

He lowered his arms, which had still been raised in a defensive position, leaving himself completely vulnerable.

“Moran is probably going to finish me,” he said. “But I’ve taken precautions for the case to be brought against him and Moriarty’s ring, regardless of what happens to me. My only concern now, John, is that you do not blame yourself for whatever transpires.”

His gaze flickered to the mirror, and John looked out the window again, too.

“I don’t know how long Moran will wait for you to attack,” Sherlock confessed. “But it’ll either end with him getting fed up and finishing me, or him finishing me the moment you lower your aim. I know now that the option of you killing me will not happen—”

“Speak for yourself,” Aranea scoffed.

Sherlock ignored her and continued.

“—So remember that you outsmarted Moriarty this time. And you’ll do it again, once I’m gone.”

John suddenly took three steps forward, the metal of the gun now making contact with Sherlock’s forehead. The detective did not flinch.

“What was that you were saying, Mr. Holmes?” Aranea asked.

Sherlock remained silent, still looking directly into John’s eyes. The doctor returned the gaze, and neither of them moved. The clock ticked, each tick sounding as though it was magnified by the tangible tension.

At last, John’s lips parted, and Sherlock read them to see him mouth two familiar words.

Vatican cameos.

There was no time for Sherlock to allow himself to feel the rush of joy upon the knowledge that John—the true John Watson—was the one standing in front of him. John had a plan, and Sherlock knew exactly what it was.

The detective arched his body backwards to remove himself from John’s line of fire and allowed gravity to take him to the floor.

But his heart skipped a beat as his ears registered one gunshot from within the room being followed almost a split-second later by another gunshot emanating from across the street.

A pained roar from outside was drowned out by the sound of something massive hitting the floor, and Sherlock’s eyes widened in horror to see John fall into his line of vision.

John!”

He kept as low to the ground as he could. He was momentarily distracted by Aranea dropping the tablet PC and fleeing; he grabbed the gun from John’s hand and fired it at her—missing.

He then threw the weapon aside, reaching for his friend. The doctor remained unresponsive, but awake.

“John… John, where are you hit?”

The glassy look placed there by Moriarty’s treatment was still in John’s eyes, and Sherlock quickly brought him around by jingling the keys in his pocket. The moment the look in his eyes vanished, John cringed, letting out a yelp of pain.

“John!”

“Arm…” he gasped. “Right arm… Grazed…” He looked at the detective’s face, giving a wan smile to see the relief blossoming across it once again. “Just a scratch…”

“I’ll be the judge of that,” Sherlock said, removing John’s jacket.

One of us… has the medical degree. And it’s not you.”

The quip settled the matter before Sherlock’s inspection of the wound did—John was going to be fine, and it was, indeed, a superficial wound. That didn’t stop Sherlock from using a handkerchief to arrest the bleeding in one hand while texting a plea for help to Mycroft.

“Mycroft is sending help,” he announced, after a moment. “You’ll be fine.”

“I know…” John said. He winced again, prompting Sherlock to grip his other shoulder. “Just my luck… to get shot in the other arm this time…”

“Grazed,” Sherlock corrected him. He sent a brief thought of thanks for whatever providence had made that happen.

John gave another wan smile—one that faded as all of the details began to return to his recovering mind.

“Aranea—”

“She’s left—most likely with a wounded Moran,” Sherlock said, bitterly. “It was between going after them or looking after you.” He looked to John, silently adding, And I chose you.

There was the sound of a vehicle pulling up outside; it was Mycroft’s men, Sherlock knew.

This wouldn’t be over for a long time—not as long as Aranea, Moran, and the rest of the network were free. But, for now, it was. John would be okay.

And that was the most important thing.

Epilogue


Sherlock was still keeping a low profile, and, now, John was, as well. Mycroft’s contacts provided them with a variety of places to hide, and though both Sherlock and John found it vexing to have to hide—a lot of the time in separate places—they both agreed that it was better than the alternative of anything happening to either of them. And at least, this time, they were able to keep in touch through texts and infrequent meetings.

John was still highly upset by Aranea’s betrayal—as well as the fact that he had not been able to recognize her ulterior motives. Worst of all, though, was the knowledge of what he had almost done to his best friend. Sherlock continued to insist that John was blameless, having been both drugged and hypnotized.

More than that, though, was John’s nagging fear that he was still under the power of suggestion; Sherlock was convinced that Aranea’s need to repeatedly give him doses of the drug proved otherwise. It was therefore why, on one occasion when they had found a chance to get together, Sherlock had arrived with a small bell in his hand—a bell that John regarded with absolute horror.

“What are you doing with that!?” the doctor asked, staring at it as though it was toxic. “Keep that away!”

“I’m using this to prove a point,” the detective answered.

John clamped his hands over his ears.

“I really don’t think that’s a good idea, Sherlock—”

“On the contrary, I think it is,” he replied. “We need to establish the fact that you are no longer under anyone’s power. Then you can stop living the rest of your life in fear of keys and silverware.”

“Sherlock—!”

John cringed as the bell rung, but then blinked as nothing happened. He looked to the detective to see a smug look on his face.

“I think I’ve proven my point,” he said.

John exhaled, but then glared at Sherlock.

“You took a very foolish risk, you know. What if the suggestion hadn’t worn off? What would you have done then?”

“Nothing,” the detective answered, idly.

“…Sorry?”

“Well, you’d already proven that you were able to overcome the power of suggestion,” Sherlock said. “I wasn’t worried. Not this time.”

And as the doctor glanced at the detective, he realized that, this time, it wasn’t just him saying what John wanted to hear.

And for the first time in a long time, John Watson finally began to believe that things would, eventually, return to the way they had been before the fall.

And, together, they would see it through.

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