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The Cancelled Hearse

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It had been six months since Sherlock jumped and John was still drowning so when Mycroft called about a piece of Moriarty's network that was sniffing around he was only too happy to return to the war. The mission was not what he expected though, "Mary" was under orders to befriend him as well as monitor him for signs of Sherlock being alive and John had laughed bitterly at Mycroft's explanation but agreed that Sherlock would find it amusing to be bluffing their enemy's agent.

So John took the mission and it was surprisingly easy as Mary was pretty, and kind in her cover story. She was always eager to listen to stories of Sherlock, probably trying to gain information but it helped his own grieving to talk and as months turned into a year he moved in with her as an expected progression to the relationship. There was still movement in Moriarty's web but when cells rapidly started going dark Mycroft asked John to step closer to the target. It had been two years since the fall when Mycroft had suggested that John propose as a final test of Mary's orders... But he’d then buggered off for a few weeks afterwards so John had had to make his own plans which is how he ended up at The Landmark with an overpriced ring and sweaty palms when a thinner but otherwise normal looking Sherlock Holmes appeared on the scene, and it had been a scene. John was furious at Sherlock for not telling him and at Mycroft for not warning him so they knocked about the streets for a while and John knocked Sherlock about a bit too. He was so hurt and just so done with the bloody Holmes brothers as he went home with his assassin almost fiancé… and how fucked up was his life that he breathed a sigh of relief when their front door swung closed on the world. 

~~~

He was not shaving for Sherlock Holmes and he was not going to see Sherlock after work, he was going to see Mycroft and tear him a new one before they rearranged their whole plan because Sherlock was alive and that changed everything, the network had been quiet for ages but that meant nothing while he shared a bed with Mary. Would she make a move for Sherlock or one of the sniper targets, would she kill John in his sleep... He had no idea so he just went to work.

~~~

Mycroft had prepped in short order as contrary to his brother’s opinion he was in fact in condition and up to date on the tactics and protocols for field work agents. He had started the process with the commencement of Lazarus and it had been the only part of the plan that made his brother smile but now he had to go undercover, learn Serbian, find his brother and get them out alive. He had not informed Sherlock of Mary as there were more important things for his brother to be doing and John had his mission well in hand. The plane would land soon so he checked his uniform, firearms, grenades and marched off the plane to collect his sibling.

~~~

It took almost a day to gain fluency in the language which was more guttural than lyrical, it would seem that the last few years in the office were starting to show. Getting in had been easy as authority moved and stood in the same way in every country and watching that simpleton beat his brother had been necessary to endure, getting out however was becoming another story. He had his injured baby brother in tow and these idiots just did not understand that Mycroft Holmes CBE was leaving the premises! He pulled the second uniform shirt he had been wearing over Sherlock's wounds before settling him in a safe corner and pressing a light hand gun into his shaking grasp. The brothers shared a nod and Mycroft left to Unleash Hell. He could still hear the echo of his brother’s pained cries as he walked away from the crumpled form of his sibling so there was no reason for these people to keep breathing.

The pin slid out of the grenade like it had been oiled and a second one followed it through the double doors before Mycroft brought his gun to bear on the screams in the mess room, it was a mercy really the food was terrible in this place. He had already set a small storage room alight intending the blaze to draw emergency responders before the main event and on cue a while later there was a resounding percussion through the compound as they lost a good portion of their firefighters and medics, the burning bodies had already been dead though.

He put two bullets into the head of the last man who was choking too slowly on a throat full of shrapnel and slammed in a fresh magazine while turning to go, but then he spotted Sherlock, never one to stay put, standing in the door way long haired like his Uni days and it was only the bruising and pained stance that stopped Mycroft from smiling. Sherlock was staring disbelieving at the bodies and Mycroft bit down on reminding him that he had passed MI5 training with the higher scores and just got a gentle arm around Sherlock instead. The car was where he left it and Sherlock had slumped into the passenger seat at once, Mycroft found getting himself into the car was easier now that he was no longer wearing large amounts of ordinance, the grenades were spent and he had dropped the first two guns when they ran out of ammo, the magazines had become annoyingly bulky after a while too.

He pulled away from the compound and barked a seat belt reminder to Sherlock before locking the belt himself and shoving his cap at Sherlock to hide those telltale curls. Belgrade airport had enough bustle that two extra uniforms would hardly stand out and the military struck enough fear in the general population that they would not be questioned. He bullied the ground staff through a barely efficient flight check and the chartered plane took off in short order so Mycroft began first aid as soon as they were in the air. They were due in Slovakia but if money could not turn the plane to Italy the gun would, he would fly the damn thing himself if he needed to. Italy would see proper medical care for Sherlock before they drove home via France to avoid detection, the emergency supplies they’d collected from the boot of the car would ensure that they fit in and Mycroft was looking forward to returning to a first world country after the weeks spent hunting for his precious cargo. 

~~~

The Italian government was only to happy to assist Sir Mycroft Holmes, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, in aiding the injured nameless MI5 agent in his care and smiling eyes met as the brothers remembered Mycroft accepting the knighthood and Sherlock's endless teasing, they shrugged in unison. It came in handy now though as they settled into a hotel room, knowing her Majesty would pick up the tab and that a few nights billed in a hotel would hardly be noticed in the administration hub. Mycroft had a long hot soak before he made calls for clothes and simple foods, Sherlock had been starved and would need to take things slowly. He had never been good at that and Mycroft wondered if bringing John along would have helped, he was the only one who ever got Sherlock to simply slow down.

~~~

Sherlock stared at the tomato and pasta his big brother had brought to his bedside, Safe, Food, Clean. It didn’t feel real, he was going to wake up at some stage but for now he ate like his brother told him and lay down as instructed. He had learned that following instructions helped so he closed his eyes and waited for it all to start again…

So much for Safe, and Food, and Clean. Sherlock shook in his brother’s arms, they were in his dreams waiting for him. The simple pasta marinara had been ejected but he couldn’t figure out if it was because it was too rich or because of the night terrors. The sweat was the worst of it, it clung to him as a tangible reminder of that horrible place in his own skin. He had scratched frantically trying to get it off but Mycroft had climbed onto his bed and restrained him like he was a child again, having the old nightmare of fire and digging. He leaned against Mycroft hoping that those nightmares did not return as well and he missed John; unfamiliar medics had attended him with cold professionalism where John would have had something to say, or mostly likely would have scolded his annoyance affectionately at the state Sherlock was in, John would understand the nightmares too but he was dead to John Watson and the comfort of his friend.

Mycroft didn’t think Sherlock knew he was crying but he wept and mumbled about the Italian doctors not being John Watson. Mycroft had checked in on John's mission with Anthea who confirmed that everything was on track and that John had forwarded an impressive invoice for the ring.

~~~

Mycroft had been informed of last night’s events and had not been surprised. His mobile had been accessible at all times for his brother to call John and when he had stated that he had not done so Mycroft had felt his gut twist. Docile had been the word since they got out, Sherlock had been docile and not even used his brother’s phone to call John, so now he stood in Mycroft’s office sporting fresh bruises while they waited for John to storm in. He stormed impressively for a shorter man but the military will do that and after Sherlock quietly confirmed that he had received medical attention Dr John Watson set a large kit bag down before he put the ring on the table. When Mycroft shook his head a bristling soldier swept it up again before demanding their updated plan.

John did not look impressed, not at Sherlock’s miraculous return and not with Mycroft's insistence that the plan go ahead as scheduled. Sherlock observed John’s pointedly ignoring the box digging into his leg as they arranged everything and so he offered to be involved with the wedding as John was clearly not interested, he was even refusing to acknowledge the engagement ring. John had briefly held Sherlock in a fierce embrace before leaving to finish proposing to the woman who might kill him in his bed. Sherlock was furious that Mycroft had involved John but after Mycroft's explanation that he had only done as Sherlock himself had done and given John Watson a new war, he could only slowly nod agreement and collect his folder on “Mary Morstan" on his way out. He could pretend ignorance about who and what she was but the danger she posed, most importantly to John, would be a constant thought. He did not die for John Watson just to loose John now that he was alive again.

~~~

“Charles Augustus Magnessen represents an unacceptable risk to our plan" Mycroft intoned over an eye roll from Sherlock. “His bringing her out of hiding may trigger her to act or she may disappear rather than risk exposure, congratulations on your nuptials by the way John. My plan..” “Is irrelevant as Magnessen no doubt has you over a barrel in some way BrotherDear and I already have a plan. John, we need to reconcile you and Mary. Christmas at our parent’s place should do it, bring the flash drive I fabricated for you and your gun.” Sherlock left with a knot in his chest, his own plan was a risk for himself and for John but they had to solve the Mary problem, John’s wife was the last thread of Moriarty's web and he desperately wanted it snapped.

“Dr Watson" John turned back as Mycroft spoke hesitantly. “John, by any means necessary. He will fixate on Mary as a means to control Sherlock.” “How would…?” “You, he will use Mary to control Sherlock through you John" Mycroft’s resigned sigh surprised John more than his words did. “You are my brother’s weak point and I believe his greatest source of strength. Any Means.” Commander and Captain traded a nod before John hurried out, now how the hell did he get Sherlock to agree?!

~~~

John stood twitching as a clammy finger impacted his face. His warning to Sherlock had been misinterpreted as an appeal, poor Sherlock was so upset that his plan had fallen apart, John was itching to fix the problem and comfort him. He just needed Mycroft to arrive.

“Sherlock Holmes and John Watson step away from that man!” John tried not to smile with half a dozen cameras pointed at him and calmly did as instructed. Stepping away as ordered his hand beat Sherlock’s to his pocket by a fraction of a second and he efficiently put two bullets through Magnessen’s smug face and into his rotten mind. “JOHN!” Sherlock moved between him and a dozen laser sights. “You idiot, John, what do we do? I was going to shoot him. Oh god! I have to get Mycroft to fix this.” Sherlock looked pale as the squaddies led John away but he followed them to the helicopter.

~~~

“It had to be me" John had explained but Sherlock still gave him a cold stare. He had worked himself up to Magnessen’s death, Anything, he had vowed and John had taken that away from him. “You went through so much, I wanted to do this so that you didn’t have to Murder a man!” “I’ve already done that for you John!” He bit out at John through gritted teeth. “or have you forgotten the months and years I spent away, did you think I was asking men nicely to simply die?” John had paled and Mycroft interrupted Sherlock’s scathing dressing down.

“It had to be John Sherlock, your resurrection has caused quite a stir and for you to suddenly murder a prominent public figure may have spelled disaster.” Mycroft shifted uncomfortably. He had not lied to John about protecting Sherlock but had withheld the political angle for obvious reasons, he was not in fact omnipotent in government circles and despite previous rescues would not have been able to save his brother. A decorated solder, a doctor who had saved lives on the country’s battle fields was less at risk and, in Mycroft’s most desperate moment, more expendable than his little brother. He saw the realisation bloom in Sherlock’s eyes though he still gave John the same sullen look. Poor Sherlock had always hated it when his plans got derailed. “John will remain as my guest for a few days. Mary will be informed that John's actions protected you and you will return to Mary, confirm her husband's bravery and I will be in contact soon having patched things up for the Watsons. Things seem to be moving things forward quite quickly within the marriage and I for one am curious to see how this will affect them.”

~~~

Mary sat in the lounge of 221B in shock he had killed Magnessen granted it was to protect Sherlock but The Doctor in the Jumpers had killed the current greatest threat to her freedom though with the network silent she had no idea what to do. So she had moved into John's old room at 221B until it was all sorted out, apparently Mycroft had been concerned about repercussions. These bastards had no idea what she was capable of but that suited her. Moriarty might be dead but Moran would be pleased that she had married John away from Sherlock before she killed the little man. She would take John away in every way possible before she left, their faces when Sherlock had fallen for her false pregnancy symptoms had been priceless.

~~~

Sally Donovan had shown up at 221B after Sherlock’s return broke to the public, pale faced she'd stared at Sherlock for a few minutes before blurting out apologies and awkwardly hugging him then promptly collapsing into John's chair in tears. Sherlock watched relieved as Mary had intervened on the emotional scene and was glad that she was around to act as a buffer like John used to... John did it with grace though, simply hissing a quiet order to Sherlock to make tea but Mary fluttered around inefficiently doing everything at once.

He eased her back to the shaken Sargent and prepared a tea tray. He also explained why he had jumped and she thanked him for Greg's life but had still given him an odd look after she had accepted Mary's invitation to the baby shower.

~~~

An evening of Mocktails was not Sally's idea of a good time but she might as well get to know John's wife. The stripper was a bit much though, Mary had given him a shocked look like recognition but it had faded into mild distaste quickly. Jeanine had arranged everything, she and Cath were drinking real booze and seemed to be enjoying the party. Mary had been quietly amused by the evening until a text came through from Greg that John and Sherlock were in the drunk tank, that had drawn a real laugh from Mary at last. Sally felt better knowing that Sherlock and John were being held for the night. She had seen too many boys nights out go bad and those two were safer locked up. She had been on a case with them last week, Sherlock wasn't quite himself, he was quiet which should have been a relief but was mostly just worrying. John had been the more enthusiastic one as they had arrived but his ebullient attitude seemed to slowly rouse Sherlock. John had even lead the charge after Sherlock had figured out where the perp was hiding. The case had been solved but it had not been the same old freak show so she had arranged a meeting with Greg the next morning.

~~~

The belly was a nightmare, she had been adding pounds to the apparatus in line with her progression and it was driving her crazy, fortunately she was expected to be cranky as the pregnancy advanced. Mary had never been more grateful to have married an unobservant doctor and to have his idiot genius BFF in tow on their marriage, those two were thick as thieves but she was glad that they were also just thick. She was on her way to see Molly who had invited her out for tea before the baby arrived and took over their lives but as soon as she got into the lab she felt the anxiety in the air. Molly hugged her and Mary froze as fingers locked into the belly's brace and gave a hard tug. "I don't understand why you are doing this Mary but you have to be honest with John. He loves you. John will understand." "Oh Molly" Mary moved as quickly as she could punching Molly to knock her out and dragging her into one of the bottom morgue drawers. They had had plans to go out so she would not be missed for an hour or two, resettling the belly she left St Bart's and hurried back to the flat. John Watson's pregnant wife was about to go missing so no doubt those two would search for whoever took her assuming that she had been snatched.

She sent up a few careful disturbances in the flat and had cringed as she stamped on her own phone, careful to wear one of John's shoes while doing so. She just had her burner phone now, She had hidden it in the baby crib as John never went there. She sent the emergency code to Moran, there had been no contact for too long to leave her with any confidence that he was near by. Jeanine's bloody stripper had looked so like him though that she could not help but hope that he was still alive. She hoped he was close but the contingency plan would hold her for a few weeks while John and Sherlock concentrated on their own enemies trying to find her kidnappers.

~~~

She had made it to the safe house quickly enough and was settling down for the night one evening when her phone rang. "Sebastian.. is that you? My cover is blown" She had been expecting Sebastian's normal string of curses so when Sherlock's smug voice replied she had nearly dropped the phone. "Molly missed you for tea Mary but I'm sure you'll send your apologies for missing it... And the blow to the jaw. The morgue draw I don't think she will be so forgiving over, our Molly is claustrophobic Mrs Watson. She was a bit shaken but she'll live." Mary was on her feet as soon as Sherlock began rambling. Molly would have told them about the belly but how the hell did Sherlock have this number unless he had been interfering with the baby stuff the way he had interfered with the wedding. Would he have traced the call by now... She hung up and quickly shut the phone down before opening the case to pull the battery. A microchip fell to the floor, a tracking device, the nosy smartarse bastard had put a tracking device in the phone. She crushed it viciously “That was my idea" Her husband's voice stated calmly from the doorway. He actually had a gun in his hand, she was almost impressed but was too busy looking out for Sherlock. "You were very slow darling." "I was too close to the target, didn't even notice a lack of swelling. I won't stand too close again Mary. Out the door please" He edged around the room clearing the door and Mary left, bolting from the doorway and vaulting the bannister, tumbling down a few stairs to the ground floor. John had pulled the trigger! This was actually going to be fun, let them chase her.

She gave a laugh as she raced the two of them to the door, nothing made her feel more alive than being shot at and missed. The last corridor was in sight when Sherlock come sprinting from the other direction. The bastards had split up! To find her... But John's rapidly approaching steps told her no, they had split up to hunt her. Taking fast aim at Sherlock’s centre of mass she pulled the trigger on the fly and leapt over his crumpled body. That would delay John and if the first year of their relationship was any guideline he would be down for months with Sherlock properly dead this time. Fire erupted in her back and she heard John swear as she went down. She rolled onto her side to keep one lung clear and watched John crash to his knees beside Sherlock, at least she would get to watch John die in some way before she faded. "Moran is dead" John's voice shook as he pressed a hand to Sherlock's chest "Sherlock killed him months ago, no one was coming for you except us!" and then she was staring down the barrel of a gun.

~~~

“Okay I conceded that the vests were a good idea and my brother is Not a pompous fussy motherhen, just don’t tell Mycroft!!” Sherlock winced as he sat up and John checked the impact site, these really were good vests. Mycroft had descended on the pair before they left with the vests and a pile of paraphernalia for their task. Sherlock had scorned most of it but agreed to the vest once John had pointed out that if Sherlock wore one, so would he. “I’ll have to tell them about your tailor too, the man’s face” John chuckled at the memory of Sherlock’s elderly Italian tailor’s bugged eyed expression as he fitted a fine silk shirt over the bullet proof ballistics vest. Sherlock would have joined John’s mirth but the impact had caused some major bruising so he lay down again and grinned until Mycroft’s team arrived to collect them, and clean up the mess John’s well placed bullet had made.

~~~

Mycroft got them settled into his spare room, Sherlock was bruised but alive and he knew that he had John to thank for getting Sherlock to agree to the vest, but for now they were curled up in the room's huge bed having chosen showers and sleep over eating. It had been a chaotic week of trying to find Mary but the homeless network had come through for them… apparently Mary had not paid them as much as Sherlock had or as regularly either.

Mycroft stood in his normally bare kitchen methodically chopping vegetables for his mother’s recipe Ratatouille. It had been a childhood favourite of the fussy Sherlock and Mycroft knew that Sherlock had prepared it for John on a few occasions. He had laid in supplies for all of Sherlock’s favourites hoping to tempt him into eating now that the worst of the latest drama was over. Sherlock was admittedly the better cook Mycroft mused as he set thick slices of courgette in the dish but his living alone had never been healthy and John was good for him. A few days to see to the legal nonsense and the two could go home, maybe Mycroft would keep them for a week or three. John had been authorised to kill Mary as a risk to National Security but they would need to do official statements perhaps Gregory Lestrade would suit he knew the situation best, next week though, give his little brother some time to rest.

~~~

They had been at Mycroft's place for a week and John was still waiting for Sherlock to start complaining he hadn't though, well not about the accommodation or the company. The food, shockingly Sherlock's only issue was his brother’s cooking and it was clearly a known fact as Mycroft looked relieved to get the boot from his own kitchen. They had had the run of the well-appointed townhouse for days now, library, the small gym which had been stocked with a few extra towels and the piano in the sitting room which had suffered John's plunking for a few days of scales and rounds of chopsticks.

They would be giving their statement to Greg tonight and Sherlock had insisted John assist with dinner, bouillabaisse, seafood was not John's favourite thing to cook as he always over did it and ended up with rubbery food but Sherlock would be in charge so maybe it would be ok. John hadn't been permitted outside yet so Sherlock had commandeered his brother’s car and driver to shop for tonight. Apparently Greg been the one who convinced him to stay off the drugs, offering cases only as long as he was clean! John had grinned as Sherlock gave him a quick hug and fussed out the door. Mycroft had caught a cab home and handed John a cup of tea as they settled down for the afternoon and Sherlock’s inevitable chaotic return.

Sherlock did not disappoint as a tornado of ocean smelling seafood made land in the unsuspecting kitchen. John was ordered into action as prep work started and Mycroft was banished for “wielding a kitchen knife like it's a chain saw” an apparent regular quote from Mummy. The pot went into the oven a few minutes before Greg arrived and John happily opened some wine to play host as Mycroft had vanished into his office even though they would only do the debrief after dinner.

~~~

“So the network found her and kept tabs while she paid them, all around one warehouse" Greg recapped slowly. Dinner had been excellent and when Sherlock revealed that he and John had cooked, Greg had hugged him fiercely. He was so proud of Sherlock’s growth. “So they staked out the warehouse while you two geared up and John snuck in while you made the call?” Heads nodded around the table. “John waited her to flee and you moved to intercept" He raised a slightly angry finger. “She Shot You luckily in the chest and not that precious head of yours. Then John shot her a few times... The baby was fake... You both knew all along" He ticked off pages of notes. “And it’s all okay because big brother here gave a thumbs up?” He glanced sceptically at the poised elder Holmes. “So what am I doing here?!”

“We need an official statement" “To completely disregard!” Greg burst in. “It will not be public or official knowledge beyond my office. You are here as you know Sherlock, John, and more about the situation than most others... and an official dinner will get you away from your estranged wife for an evening into company you clearly prefer. Greg didn’t even stare, he just rolled his eyes and laughed as he spotted John and Sherlock doing the same. Mycroft grew smugger as their laughter proved his point.

~~~

John breathed a sigh of relief as the black door closed behind him. They had been home for about a week and things were settling into something cozy but familiar. He looked at the flowers in his hand, it would be a blatantly romantic gesture if Foxglove wasn’t so toxic. The flowers were for Sherlock to experiment on though his offerings, like the Nightshade three weeks ago, did sometimes wind up in a vase on the dinner table while they ate. That always made him grin which made Sherlock grin, the romantic gesture turned on it’s head. It suited them.

Sherlock was pacing around the lounge when John came in. Mycroft was in John's chair and raised an eyebrow, rolling his eyes at the blooms. “We apparently have a case John and you need a suit.” “But I have...” “A proper suit John! We need to look fancy for my brother’s little spy.” Sherlock flicked a nasty smile at his brother but then sobered. “She's tried to kill Mycroft.”

John stared at the elder Holmes who stood to show a brace on his shoulder, identical to the one John had worn himself. “Just a flesh would Doctor.” Sherlock was staring stonily at the wall and it would appear John was getting a new suit of Holmesian quality. He was quite looking forward to this.

~~~

The fitting had taken forever and gotten very very personal. Standing in the tailor’s rooms under the gaze of both Holmes brothers John felt like cattle on sale and the approving looks they shared did not make him feel any better. Mycroft's sling had been replaced by a smooth black fabric that blended with his suit jacket. “It will do.” Had been the verdict then Mycroft had handed over the flash drive he'd pulled from the sling and promptly left.

~~~

Sherlock grinned as he carried John’s suit bag into his own cupboard. “Shouldn’t I keep that Sherlock?” “Of course not John, it’s in good company in my wardrobe. It might catch a case of Jumpers upstairs.” Sherlock teased. John left Sherlock to fuss and set the flashdrive into Sherlock’s laptop to see what they were up against.

Half an hour later an amazing smell drifted to John’s nose. Sherlock must have ordered take away as he put a very good curry next to John with a smirk. The accomplice had medical training and John had been pulled into his history. An orthopaedic relief aid surgeon was selling state secrets it would seem, a flash drive had been found in a shipment of medical relief implants and the recipient was a government official who had developed unfortunate political leanings in a country the British government was trying to help. The shipment had been halted and the device removed before the relief supplies continued but they need more proof, a direct link and Lady Elizabeth Smallwood had left very few traces before she had attempted to seduce, and then promptly shot, Mycroft Holmes.

“My brother has appalling taste.” “In women certainly.” “My brother has appalling taste.” Sherlock deadpanned back making John chuckle. “Lady Smallwood played him for a proper idiot I’ll give you that Sherlock but don’t forget you share genetics with him... and I quite like that suit!” John had absentmindly spilled curry on his sleeve but the information gathering was more important than one less grey jumper in the world. “So she was in the air force for four years before family connections got her into politics.” “She’s going down for shooting Mycroft but finding the connection to the official on the ground will keep her down.” “She needs to stay down John. She could have killed him had he not known precisely when she would pull the trigger.” “We'll find it Sherlock.” John had been surprised when Sherlock had finished his meal in record time and had started setting up the evidence wall as John scrapped his own container clean.

After the boring party thier lounge looked like something out of a fangirl's blog there were pictures everywhere and colour coded strings, linked theories, evidence, and some just wild ideas. “All these angles are giving me a headache.” John grouse at 1:30am. “Angles!” Sherlock burst out and grabbed John’s laptop. “Angles, of course John if we can’t find anything from the Lady Smallwood angle we can check the receiving official. He’s already under arrest but the Smallwood estate is doing absolutely nothing to cover him, hanging him out for the crows really.” Sherlock curled up with John’s laptop as the rapidly tiring physician went to make a round of tea. Sherlock's tea was better but something had to help and the genius was actually giggling so maybe he was over tired too.

“What’s so funny Giggles?” John set the mug down with a bit more force than he intended. “Easter lunch with Great-Aunty Lizzy.” A smug Sherlock waved John’s focus to the screen where a carefully tagged Facebook photo showed their receiving official with his “Great-Aunty Lizzy” also a friend of the family, one Lady Elizabeth Smallwood. Clearly enjoying the day with an old school chum and said school chum's idiot nephew who had decided to aid in treason whilst indulging in social media. The photo is less than three months old. John was set for bed as Sherlock made a rare phone call to his brother, presumably it made gloating easier.

EPILOGUE 

...three months later....

The trial had gone through in record time of course and while Mycroft was mostly healed he was still taking it easy so Greg had summoned everyone to his place for supper and even cooked in celebration. Toad in a Hole was not on Mycroft’s diet sheet but he was willing to enjoy it anyway. Greg had even set up a table top DnD style game as the brothers had discussed one memorable Easter where they had played for 17 hours, no one had won the round as Mummy had sent them to bed furious that they had not gone to bed.

“The Sherrinford Shenanigans.” Mycroft had looks incredulous. “Yes, to keep things simple each of you will play as the other person on your right hand side and I’ll be Euros, the East wind bring chaotic ideas... let’s see who survives!” Greg looked please with himself as he laid out the island, poured another round of whiskys, and sketched out a helicopter which he refused to explain. Greg smiled to his right where Mycroft sat and processed having to be Sherlock for the evening. Sherlock perked up at once “Do I get to shoot someone? As I’m to be John?” “I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that.” The suddenly very off the clock DI muttered. John smirked at Greg. “Me, as Mycroft, this should be fun.” Stats were handed out before Greg announced that they all just woke up in a glass prison with the warden who betrayed them and instructions to shoot him to save his wife. John gave Greg a side long glace and rolled to shoot, as Mycroft, but missed by a mile. Mycroft was not allowed to roll as “Sherlock" was only to observe this round. Sherlock rolled for “John" to shoot and missed by one point. “He shoots himself.” Greg announced. “Which fails the test, so the wife is dead and John, you’ve puked as resilience is Mycroft's lowest stat.” The stat card was promptly demanded for proof and a mildly affronted Mycroft had to concede that he’d worked a desk job for so long it made some kind of sense but then things just got weird...

“Wait, they’re hanging outside the window, how?” “on some ropes.” Was Greg’s maddeningly unhelpful answer. “John had the highest wisdom stats so he had to process the evidence as “Mycroft" before Mycroft took over as “Sherlock" And Sherlock grilled Greg about the gun because “John” knows things about guns." John conducted light but as “Mycroft" by reminding Mycroft that “Sherlock" would ask for details about their suspects. Sherlock played “John's” stoic silence a bit too well but also refilled the drinks because “John would want some whisky at this point." John agreed.

Mycroft and John found the guilty party but Mycroft rolled a maximum score so Greg dropped the other two suspects into the water before he dropped the murderer. “You’re a dark horse Greg.” John muttered as said sable stallion announced they were all in an empty room with just the gun. Mycroft had to roll for the other two but he missed both target scores and took a third before Greg could speak up. “My brother wouldn’t listen to your rules Gregory.” Mycroft grinned at his dice and announced he would shoot himself as “Sherlock” because it seemed like the idiot thing his brother would do.

“That’s cheating!” John and Sherlock burst out as Greg announced that Mycroft and Sherlock were out cold as “Sherlock" and “John" had been shot with tranquilizers and “Mycroft” had been lead away at gun point. “There’s always a contingency plan, I know you lot.” Greg put crisps on the table while he explained that Euros had moved them to a new location via the helicopter and that Sherlock wouldn’t be rolling anymore.

“You put John down a well!” There was a bit of a sulk but Sherlock confirmed each round that he was in fact still in the well and rolled each time for the amount of water to be added. John was not rolling either as “Mycroft” was absent but had been assured that he was alive. Mycroft made steady work through the puzzles occasionally checking in and asking Sherlock questions when his brother rolled high enough to skip the water and be helpful.

Greg was clearly having fun as he was now also a missing boy and a girl on an airplane that was about to crash. John, being absent and also down a well, grabbed more snacks. He stated that Greg had too much time on his hands, and a much darker sense of humour than John himself had ever imagined. As the puzzles came to a close...

“She’s our insane sister?!” Sherlock was released from the well to be “John" again and John was informed that “Mycroft" had been in the glass prison with the dead body this whole time.

Mycroft threatened Greg with a psychological evaluation as John and Sherlock laughed at the ridiculousness of it all. “Perhaps a more logical campaign next time?” was Mycroft’s only comment as he left. “Next time we'll host.” John offered, Sherlock was already scribbling in a moleskin as they left and, with a smile, Greg closed the door.