cypress_fic: (Wheat Field with Cypresses - Van Gogh)
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Title: This Thing All Things Devours (11/15)
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Rating: Explicit
Word Count: 3,900 for this part
Genre: AU/fusion, science fiction, action, romance

Summary:

(In Time AU) In 2169, time is money—literally. Humans are genetically engineered to stop aging at 25, when the numbers on their arm start counting down from one year. When that time is up, they die. The only way to get more time is to earn it, borrow it, or steal it.

John Watson lives day-to-day in the crowded slums of Zone 13. He never imagined living any differently—until he meets the practically-immortal Sherlock, and helps him on a case to track a local time-thief...




Later that night, John gathered everyone around a table in the hotel suite. They strategized—went over what they had done wrong, and what they could do better to make the next job run smoothly. They started making plans for the next couple of weeks.

As they spoke, Sherlock rested one hand on John’s knee under the table. He stroked gently with his thumb, and drew lazy circles with his fingertips.

When they went to bed, Sherlock wordlessly stripped them both of their clothes and pushed John onto the mattress. John tried to look him in the eye, but Sherlock avoided his gaze. He lay on top of John, pinning their hands above his head and grinding slowly against him until John begged for more friction. John came without a hand touching him. He bit Sherlock’s shoulder to stifle a cry.


---


"I liked sharing time with you," John said.

They lay quietly, Sherlock’s chin digging into John’s chest, John’s hand in Sherlock’s hair. "I liked having you in my mind. You felt...close."

Sherlock rested his cheek against John’s collarbone and took his wrist.

"Pass me five minutes," he said. "Slowly."

John closed his eyes.

There were moments in his life when the exchange of time had been nothing more than a brief flicker of activity in the back of his brain; when he had passed time over so quickly that he hadn’t even sensed the other person’s mind at all. Not with Sherlock. With Sherlock, John wanted to linger.

He pressed into Sherlock’s consciousness and was welcomed. He felt instantly warmed and invigorated. Sherlock’s mind felt like the humming of bees—constant activity, even in the peace and silence of this moment. There was a hidden thread of affection that John wasn’t sure Sherlock wanted him to see. Being together like this felt so natural and so perfect that John was sorry to stop.

“Now me,” Sherlock murmured. He sent the five minutes back to John, just as slowly. John slid back into his own mind, then felt Sherlock pushing forward to enter.

They lay in the quiet of the hotel room, moving time back and forth between them, coming and going from each others’ minds until John felt dizzy from the intimacy. When John felt Sherlock fading away, he opened his eyes. He saw the numbers on his arm slow to real-time. Sherlock had fallen asleep.


---


Mid-summer


---

They headed to Zone 6—a wealthy seaside town with a bank that sat right on the coast. The hotel they planned to stay in didn’t have any available suites, so they chose two rooms right next to each other, with large forcefield-protected windows that looked out over the water. When the windows were set to maximum transparency, the ocean breeze drifted through the room and ruffled the bedsheets.

They started planning their next job later that night. They sat in a circle and studied blueprints that Sally had obtained from a contact in town.

Sherlock swiped an image to the side of the synthpaper and zoomed in on the layout of the safe.

“We should detonate the door,” he said. “This design is vulnerable to explosive force, and the soundproof room would ensure that no one would hear.”

Lestrade leaned forward in his chair, peering at the image that Sherlock had expanded.

“Yeah, that sounds good, but where are we going to get explosives?”

“Get me the materials and I can make them. I’ve done it before, though not for a few years.”

“You’ve made explosives before?”

“They were experiments.”

Sally raised an eyebrow.

“Anyway, it won’t be all that difficult to gather the materials. I know a few distributors for the more obscure ones.”

Lestrade looked up at John, who nodded.

“Detonation it is,” John said. “Now how are we getting in?”


---



The morning of the job, Sherlock got another text from Mycroft. He tilted the screen towards John.


Mycroft Holmes
9 July 2170
8:05

I advise against this, but if you must, it may interest you to know that security is lax on the southwest staff exit.



John looked up at Sherlock with a frown.

“Is he helping us?”

Sherlock sighed. “‘Helping’ is too generous of a verb. Ensuring maybe.”

He didn’t explain further.


---


Thanks to Mycroft’s advice, they got into the bank without being seen.

Sherlock’s explosives were effective.


---

Later that night, Sherlock’s skin smelled of ammonium nitrate. John pressed him against the door as soon as they stumbled into their hotel room. He felt bits of debris and dust in Sherlock’s hair.

“Can’t believe you—” he gasped, biting kisses against Sherlock’s mouth, “you know how to make a fucking bomb.” Sherlock grinned, and John felt his teeth.

“I know quite a lot of things,” Sherlock said. He slid both hands down to John’s belt and pulled it open, roughly. John gasped. “You want me to show you?”


---

Late Summer

---


They skipped Zone 7 and moved on to Zone 8. John had been hoping to lose Mycroft’s spies, but Mycroft sent a text later that night that proved they had not outwitted him. John chose to ignore it.

---


Zone 8’s largest bank, Hound & Knight, was located across the street from a fancy French cafe with outdoor seating. John, Sherlock, and Lestrade sat at the edge of the patio, spying on three bank employees who laughed loudly at each others’ stories as they shared a basket of chips.

“You see a weak link?” asked Lestrade, watching.

Sherlock leaned back in his chair and nodded. “The one on the left.”

“Why?” asked John.

“He spent most of his life in a poor zone. Probably Thirteen or Twelve. He’ll sympathize with your cause.”

Our cause.”

“Right.” Sherlock stole a carrot from John’s plate.

“I’m going to regret asking this,” said Lestrade. “But how can you tell?”

“The way he moves. He’s not used to having as much time as he has now. He moves like John does.”

“What does that mean?” John asked.

“You do everything a little too fast.”

John raised an eyebrow. “Not everything.”

Sherlock looked at him, a slow smile tugging at his lips.

“Okay could we flirt some other time?” asked Lestrade.


---

Sherlock received a text while he was in the shower. John picked up the phone when he heard the notification chime. The screen was locked. The phone chimed again in his hand.

“It’s his brother, isn’t it?” asked Molly, watching John from across the table.

John nodded.

“He rang earlier, but Sherlock didn’t pick up.”

“They don’t really get along.”

“Hmm.” Molly closed her laptop and leaned back in her chair, pulling her legs up in front of her. She toyed with the end of her ponytail.

“John, we’re safe, right?” she asked.

“Yeah,” said John, sounding more confident than he felt. “We’re safe.”


---

The Hound & Knight job did not go as planned.

Security locked the iron gate surrounding the premises before they were able to reach the street. Sherlock ducked into the small alcove that housed the gate’s controls, typing fast to hack it open. John, Sally, and Lestrade stood a few feet away, guns raised as they waited for the guards who would inevitably come running after them.

John heard Sherlock swear loudly. As he turned to look, he heard a shot, and a bullet grazed his side. He grunted with pain and clutched at the shallow wound.

“John!” Sherlock yelled.

John ducked behind a nearby tree and looked up to see Sherlock running after him. Sally and Lestrade were taking cover farther away. Sally stared at Sherlock, dumbfounded and angry.

“Sherlock, go back!” John said. “You’re supposed to be getting us out!”

Sherlock lifted John’s shirt, visibly sighing with relief when he saw that John had barely been nicked.

“You’re being shot at,” he muttered, angrily.

“We’re all being shot at, just do your job!”

Sherlock scowled, but went back to the security controls. The gate finally opened with a start, and they made it to the waiting car just as five guards filed out the gate after them.


---


Sally seethed. She sat in the passenger seat of the car and stared straight ahead, her shoulders tense, her hand tightened into a fist on the armrest. When they were in the safety of the hotel room, she gave Sherlock hell.

“You could have got us killed! You risked all our lives!”

“We’re all still here, aren’t we?”

“You’ve got to concentrate—”

“I was!”

“What did you even expect to do? If John had been shot, there’s nothing you could have done about it! The best thing to do would be to get him out of there, and to do that, you’d need to unlock the gate!”

Sherlock practically growled in frustration. He turned on his heel and stormed towards the bedroom, pushing a chair to the floor when it got in his way. He slammed the door shut behind him. John started to follow.

“John—”

John turned around to find Sally looking at him, concern laced with anger.

“It's not that I don't care about you, it's just—we’ve got to follow the plan if we want to get out alive. It was his job to get us out alive, and he put that at risk.”

John nodded. “I know.” He sighed and looked back at the closed bedroom door. “I’ll talk to him.”


---


The bedside lamp was motion-activated. It lit the room with a dull yellow glow, but Sherlock hadn't turned on any other lights. He was cast in shadow, standing by the window and looking up at the night sky. His arms were crossed. He didn't turn around when John entered.

“I should have known,” he said, his voice quiet, but firm. “I could see your reaction. I should have known that it wasn’t a serious injury.”

John crossed the room to stand next to Sherlock, and they stared out at the city lights—bright windows and glowing neon signs on every building.

“It’s okay to worry,” John said.

Sherlock chewed on his bottom lip, his eyes unseeing.

“But you did have a job to do,” John continued. “You have to stick to the plan—work for the greater good of the team, not just me.”

The air between them was thick. Sherlock didn’t respond.

“That being said...I think I'd do the same if it were you.”

Sherlock looked down at him, but John didn't meet his eyes.

"You wouldn't," Sherlock said. "You're too practical."

John leaned towards Sherlock until their shoulders brushed. "I hope I never have to find out."


---


Early Autumn


---


They took Culverton Smith while the bank was open. Sherlock faked a medical emergency to distract security while John, Sally, and Lestrade snuck into the back hallway. They came away with 500 years in under an hour’s time.

At Milverton, Sherlock and John went into the bank disguised as maintenance workers. They helped Sally and Lestrade get in through a loo window, and together, they all snuck to the basement. Forty-five minutes later, Sally and Lestrade were out the back exit, and Sherlock and John left through the front door with cartridges in their toolboxes.


---


Their next job did not go so smoothly.

---


John saw it happen in slow-motion. They were on the roof. Footsteps were pounding up the stairs towards them. Sally was plugging Molly’s chipdrive into the lock that released the fire escape. The first guard to burst through the door raised his gun and shot.


---


Sherlock started moving before anyone could think. He pushed Sally out of the way, and the bullet struck his arm. John yelled out Sherlock’s name.


---


Everything faded into silence. John turned around, standing with his spine straight and jaw clenched. He shot the offending guard in both legs.

He was only distantly aware of the ladder falling into place behind him.


---

Sherlock curled into himself in the backseat of the car. John crowded in next to him. Sherlock’s face was white, his hands shaking. John wondered how many times in his life Sherlock had been injured.

The bullet had taken a chunk out of Sherlock’s arm, but it certainly wasn’t fatal. John tore off a piece of his own sleeve and pressed it to the wound to staunch the bleeding. The blood was a red bloom against the pale cotton of his shirt.

“It’s alright,” John murmured. “It’s alright.” He took one of Sherlock’s hands and held it tightly in an attempt to still his tremors. “You’re alive,” he said.

Sherlock didn’t speak. He stared down at his own blood on John’s fingertips.

“Sherlock, look at me.”

Sherlock looked up. His eyes slowly came to focus on John’s face.

“Have you ever bled before?”

Sherlock didn’t give an answer. He struggled to take a deep breath.

“You’re going to be fine.” John rubbed his thumb over Sherlock’s fingers. He leaned in and whispered soothing words into Sherlock’s ear until his breathing began to even out. When John pulled away, Sally was watching them both from the passenger seat, her eyes wide.


---

It was the most they had ever stolen. They got away with over 1500 years.


---

The next morning, Sherlock received a text from Mycroft.


Mycroft Holmes
7 September 2170
7:46

That’s enough.



He turned off the phone and handed it to John, who placed it back on the bedside table. Sherlock shifted down under the blankets until John could no longer see his face.


---


Late Autumn


---


“We should learn all we can about the employees,” said Sherlock. “We want to be able to predict their decisions, know what moves they will make. If we get caught, we may be able to talk ourselves out of trouble, but to do that, we need to know who we’re convincing.” He pointed to a list of names on his tablet. “Look for anyone who may have come from a poor zone. They’ll move differently—faster, sharper. They’ll jog when they don’t need to, they’ll check their time more often out of habit. These people could be sympathizers to our cause.”

John looked up, but Sherlock didn’t seem to realize what he had just said.

“Any questions?”

---

It rained that night. John stared up at the ceiling as Sherlock knelt by his feet, kissing a trail over his legs. When John spoke, his voice could barely be heard over the drizzle on the roof.

“You said ‘our.’”

Sherlock didn’t bother lifting his head. “Mmm?”

“When you were telling the others your plan, you said ‘our cause.’ Instead of ‘your.’”

Sherlock looked up. He shrugged, nonchalantly, and leaned back down, mouthing his way up John’s inner thigh. He nosed at golden-brown hair.

“You’re one of us, now.”

Sherlock sighed. “Do you care at all for the fact that my mouth is just centimetres from your cock?”

John laughed. “I’m sorry. It’s just—” Sherlock crawled up to lie on top of him, pulling the blankets along as he went. “I like knowing that you’re working for our cause and not just for me.”

Sherlock closed his eyes. “Sentiment.” His voice was chiding, but warm. John squeezed him closer with one arm.


---


Despite Sherlock’s lack of patience, and the fact that he expected a bit too much from everyone’s observation skills, his plan worked nearly perfectly. They were able to make it to the safe and out the back exit without being seen.

The downside to the back exit was that it opened out into a tightly-secured employees-only car park. A woman had just pulled in, and was fixing her makeup in her compact mirror as she let the car’s AI find her a parking spot. It pulled in so close that there was no way she would miss them once she got out of the car.

John thought quickly about what Sherlock had said. He saw the woman check her time before pulling her sleeve down. When she shut the car door, she glanced at her time again and swore, then opened the door to grab a glove from the passenger seat. When she turned around, John noticed a glowing blue tattoo on her ankle.

“She’s from Thirteen,” he whispered.

Lestrade frowned. “How do you—”

John stood up from behind the skip just as the woman approached. She stopped in her tracks, her eyes wide. She opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out.

“Hour Hand?” asked John.

“What?”

“Your tattoo. That’s the logo for Hour Hand Housing.”

The woman narrowed her eyes at him, hesitatingly. John saw Sally stand out of the corner of his eye. Lestrade and Sherlock followed.

“Are you—”

“Robbing the bank? Yes.”

“Did you stay at Hour Hand?” asked Sally. “My mum works there.”

The woman’s eyes darted from Sally, to John, to the entrance of the bank. “I volunteered there for ten years. Being at the shelter is what made me want to work with life loans.” She moved closer to the skip, out of the line of sight of anyone inside the bank. “What’s your mother’s name?” she asked.

“Helena Donovan.” Sally smirked. “‘Hell,’ if you get on her bad side. Here, I have a picture.” She took her phone out of her back pocket. The woman came closer to see.

“I recognize her! Not the name, but—” She looked up at Sally, then back down at the picture. “That’s your mum?”

Sally smiled and swiped to another picture: her and her mother, side-by-side, their arms around each other’s shoulders.

“Oh, I see it. You inherited her freckles.”

Sally put her phone back into her pocket. “You hear about the ‘anonymous donation’ they received last spring?” she asked. “Enough to keep them from going under?”

The woman nodded, briskly. “That was you?”

Sally grinned.

---

The woman gave them her keycard and instructed them to leave it in a potted plant on the other side of the gate. They followed her instructions, then split up--heading to their two different parking spots.

Sherlock and John were passing by a bus stop on a deserted street when Sherlock abruptly stopped walking.

“John—”

John turned around and Sherlock motioned him into the steel-walled bus shelter. The inside was lined with brightly lit ads. Up against the far wall was a wanted poster--John’s face, framed by his name and bolded, capitalized words. CRIME: ROBBERY. REWARD: 150 YEARS.

“Only 150?” John asked with amusement. He chuckled to himself and looked up at Sherlock, who was staring at the poster. "You thinking of turning me in?"

“I have to go back,” Sherlock said.

John blanched. “What?”

“He’ll project your face on every adscreen. You’ll be on telly, all over the internet. You’ll be stopped immediately the next time you go within one mile of a bank.”

John looked back at the poster and didn’t answer.

“If I go back, he’ll stop. I have to—”

“Wait, when you say go back—are you leaving me?”

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Sherlock rolled his eyes. “We need to take Sigerson. For everything. We need to empty the safe.”

“You think that’s going to stop Mycroft from wanting you to come home?”

“No, I think that’s going to show him that I’m no longer playing by his rules. Convince him that he has no power over me.”

John nodded, only partially convinced. “Okay...”

“You’re coming with me.”

“Well that wasn’t in question.”

Sherlock smirked.

“We were planning on robbing Sigerson anyway,” continued John. “The others will come with us.”

Sherlock pursed his lips and nodded. “Good.”

They stared at the poster for a moment longer, then John slid two fingers through one of Sherlock’s belt loops and pulled him backwards.

“Can we go home now?” he asked. “You just led us through a very successful job, and you know how very successful jobs make me feel.”

Sherlock grinned. “Wouldn’t want to leave you waiting.”

John was about to head out of the bus shelter when Sherlock grabbed him by the waist and pushed him right up against the wanted poster.

“What are you—”

“Shh.”

Sherlock glanced at the poster, then back at John. He leaned in for a kiss.

“I really do like that picture of you,” he murmured.

Something about his voice made John’s heart race a little faster. Sherlock looked back at the poster. He licked his lips, then ducked his head to kiss John’s neck.

“What are you doing?” John asked, getting breathless. “We’re in public. Again.”

“No one can see.”

“You don't know—ah!”

Sherlock tugged John’s hips forward so that John could feel Sherlock’s half-hard erection.

“You can’t possibly be that turned on just from one picture,” John said, with a short moan.

Sherlock sucked a mark into his neck.

“Watch me,” he growled.

---

“Where were you?” asked Molly. She got up from her chair and walked over to them, looking them over for injuries. John abruptly tried to hide his giddy smile. “I was starting to get worried.”

“We’re fine,” said John. He stilled Molly’s hands and squeezed her shoulder. “We just uh--we took the long way back.”

Sally snorted. “Looks like they went to church, going by the state of Sherlock’s knees.”

Molly’s eyes widened, and John turned three shades of red. Sherlock glared and tried to brush the wrinkles out of his trousers.


---


They gathered the others the next morning.

There were only the slightest of hesitations. Despite the risks, everyone agreed to go back and try Sigerson again. They hoped that after this, they could move on to the inner circle of Zones 2 and 1. If they could pull off Sigerson, they might be ready.

When the group had made their decision, Sherlock looked slightly stunned. John put a hand on his arm.

“I told you they’d help you out,” he said.


---


It happened later that night.

John was watching an admittedly terrible reality programme, and Sherlock was pretending not to pay attention. He held his phone in one hand and scrolled through the menu, but his eyes were glued to the television screen. When a contestant on the programme gave a very stupid answer to a very simple question, Sherlock pursed his lips to hide a smirk.

John caught his breath. He felt as though his blood were infused with warmth and light. He stared unseeingly at Sherlock, then blinked several times. When he could see again, he found himself gazing at a tangle in Sherlock’s hair and a fingernail that had been bitten too short. The angle of Sherlock’s elbow seemed beautiful to him.

Sherlock chuckled at the telly, and John looked away. He took a slow inhale and calmly considered the weight of four-letter words.


---


A/N: can't take credit for the "you do everything a little too fast," "not everything" joke.  that was a direct quote from the movie, but I loved it so much I had to use it.

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