cypress_fic: (Wheat Field with Cypresses - Van Gogh)
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Title: This Thing All Things Devours (6/15)
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Rating: Explicit
Word Count: 4,400 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...




“Molly, are you in yet?”

“Still working on it.  Two minutes.”

John adjusted the comm unit in his ear and glanced down an empty hallway for what felt like the hundredth time.

“You know, I’m not sure we have that long,” he muttered.

“I can’t go any quicker, John, I’ve—”

“Okay, okay, just do it.”

They had spent the past week preparing for this job, and John suspected that they might be in over their heads.  Sigerson Bank had security systems that Molly had never seen before, so instead of hacking in remotely, she needed John to plug her directly into the system.  Everything was going smoothly so far, but something was making John nervous, and he wasn't sure what.  He glanced around the empty office that he had hidden in and wiped dust off the security camera to his side.  It didn’t usually take Molly quite this long.  He touched the gun hidden at the small of his back.

“John, someone’s coming!”  Sally’s voice sounded urgent.  “Two guards—I tried to distract them, but they weren't having it.  They're headed your way.”

“Shit.  Molly, are you in?”

“Two seconds, John.”

“Molly!”

John stood stock-still as he heard footsteps coming down the hall towards him.  He arranged his jacket to hide his gun.
“Got it!”  Molly said.

John pulled the datastick from the camera and shoved it into his pocket just as the footsteps approached the open doorway.  A short, burly security guard did a double-take when he saw John and stopped in his tracks.  He raised an eyebrow and quickly glanced around the small, dark room.  Another guard—a blonde, blue-eyed woman who towered over both of them, came up next to him, looking at John with a frown.

“Um...loo?”  John asked.

“What the hell are you doing back here?” the woman asked.

“Looking for the loo, I thought—”

“You thought we’d stick the loo behind the door that says “employees only?”

John gave a guilty cringe and shuffled his feet to appear non-threatening.

“Well, the public one’s always...nasty.  And I figured the employees would maybe have something a bit nicer.”

“You expect us to believe that?”

“I—”

The male guard grabbed John by the elbow and pulled him roughly from the room.  When John stumbled out the doorway, the guard grabbed his wrists and locked them in handcuffs.  John's arms hung uselessly in front of him, where he couldn't reach his gun.  He silently prayed they didn't search him.

The blonde woman gave him a curious look, then pulled out her phone, her eyes flickering back and forth between the screen and John.

"Hey, that's him," she said.  She turned the screen to her partner, and his eyes widened.

"Is Mr. —"

"He's by the loan offices with his brother."

"Oh Christ, I hate that little shit."

"Don't we all."

The guard holding John gave a resigned sigh, and they started marching down the hall.  John thought through his escape options.

“What’s going on?” Molly asked through the comm unit.  “John, are you alright?  Question for yes, statement for no.”

John cleared his throat and looked up at the guard leading him down the hall.

"So how do you know me exactly?" he asked.  "Because I'm pretty sure I don't have a criminal record."  It was true, and it was unnerving that the guards had recognized him.  John laughed, trying to project ‘awkward and innocuous.’  "Well, there was that one time I got a penalty notice, does that count?  I don't think that counts, it was just disorderly—"

"Shut up," the guard snarled.

“Shutting up, alright."

They came out of the hallway and re-entered the nearly-empty main room of the bank.  John could see Sally standing by the exit, checking her phone casually and glancing up as John came through.  He gave her a quick smile, then scanned the rest of the room as the guards led him towards the offices on the opposite side.

"John give us something," Lestrade said.  "What do you need us to do?"

"Absolutely nothing happening this time of day, huh?" John asked.  Neither guard gave a response.

"You can't expect us to sit here and watch," Lestrade muttered.  John didn't answer.

The guards stopped short when the door to the loan offices opened.  A tall man in an expensive suit walked out, arguing calmly with someone following behind him.  He turned to look over his shoulder, and John followed his line of sight.  His breath caught in his throat.

It was Sherlock—scowling and raising his voice with his rebuttal.  The man he was arguing with could only be his brother.  John was so astonished by Sherlock's presence that he didn't even hear what they were saying.  His steps faltered, and he felt someone push him forward.

The female guard raised a hand to get their attention.  "Mr. Holmes!" she called.

Both Sherlock and Mycroft looked over at them.  When Sherlock's eyes met his, John felt his skin go cold.  His emotions were warring between happiness, relief, anger, and fear.  Sherlock opened his mouth as if he wanted to speak, but he didn't say a word.  Mycroft’s face just barely hinted at surprise.  The guards brought John closer.

"Found him in the back hallways, sir," said the male guard, shoving John in front of him.

Mycroft frowned, clearly irritated.  "The orders were to bring him to me, and to me alone," he said, his voice restrained.

Sherlock turned to glare at him.  “What?  How—”

“You really should have chosen a more secure password for your phone, little brother.”

Sherlock seethed.  The security guard looked over to his partner, not sure how to respond.

Sherlock looked almost the same as John had remembered—his hair was still unruly, his eyes still blue-grey and piercing.  The only thing different was his clothing.  He still wore his blue scarf, but instead of his suit and long wool coat, he was dressed in a dark leather jacket, slim black jeans, and heavy boots that came up to mid-calf.

John narrowed his eyes.  "What the hell are you wearing?" he asked.  Sherlock gave him half a grin, and John’s heart pounded faster.

The guards and Mycroft all looked from John to Sherlock, then back again.  Mycroft's face had gone from surprised to curious.  He watched his brother closely, completely ignoring the confused guards standing behind John.

Sherlock took a few steps forward and reached out to where John's hands were cuffed in front of him.  He brushed his fingertips over John's palm, then tapped a few buttons on the control panel of the cuffs.  They snapped open and fell to the ground with a thud.

"Learned how to get out of those a long time ago," he said, softly.

John came back to reality with the sound of Sherlock's voice.  He elbowed one guard in the stomach, then kicked the other in the side of the knees.  He whipped his gun out of his waistband and pointed it at Sherlock.  Mycroft stilled.  Sherlock just looked confused.

"I’m walking out of this building,” John said.  “And no one’s going to stop me.”

Mycroft glanced at the gun and looked at John with a sort of distant curiosity.  There were two more security guards approaching from opposite directions.  John lunged forward and grabbed Sherlock by the arm, his palms starting to sweat.

"Keep them back," he shouted at Mycroft.  He pulled Sherlock down until Sherlock's head was level with his own.  Sherlock's body was twisted in an awkward position, and he stumbled into John, putting one hand to John's back to keep from falling.  John could smell Sherlock's hair, and resisted the urge to close his eyes and breathe it in.  He held the gun closer.  Mycroft looked at the two other guards, and raised a hand.  They stood still.

John started taking small steps backwards, pulling Sherlock with him.  Mycroft narrowed his eyes and glanced at the gun, pointedly.

"You wouldn't," he said, sounding very certain.

“You willing to risk it?”  John gripped Sherlock's arm a little tighter, though they both knew that he could break free at any moment.  Sherlock glanced at John, his frown growing deeper.

John stopped walking when he sensed the exit doors behind him.  He saw Sally out of the corner of his eye and motioned to the doors with a jerk of his head.  She pulled a gun from her jacket and shot twice at the bulletproof glass protecting the main desk, then ran outside while everyone in the bank panicked.  John gave one final glance to Mycroft, but Mycroft was looking at Sherlock, and didn't meet John’s eyes.  John burst out the door, pulling Sherlock with him.

They flew down the stairs of the bank.  The four guards behind them started shouting, but John pointed the gun at Sherlock again, and they fell quiet, standing at the doors, unwilling to go any closer lest John shoot.

"Not going to do much damage with the safety on," Sherlock said.

"Shut up."  John turned down the volume of his comm unit, cringing as Molly and Lestrade started shouting.

"What's going on?"

"Are you alright?"

John saw Lestrade's car at the bottom of the stairs.  Sally jumped into the passenger seat, waving through the window for John to hurry.  John ran towards her and pulled the datastick from his pocket, pressing it into her palm.

"I'm going my own way, you guys go ahead."

Lestrade turned to look at him.  "And how are you doing that?  You bring your own car?"

"Just drive!" John shouted.  He ran across the pavement, looking over his shoulder to find that the guards had begun to follow them.  "Go!" he shouted again.  He gave a sigh of relief when Lestrade began to drive away.  He turned off his comm unit.

"Is that your bike?" John asked, pointing towards a sleek black motorbike that had created its own parking spot under the shade of a flowering tree.  Sherlock nodded, dumbfounded.  "Get on.  Do you have an extra helmet?"

"No, I never ride with anyo—"

John took the helmet from where it rested on one handlebar, and shoved it at Sherlock's chest.  When he let go of Sherlock's arm, Sherlock didn't flinch.  He put on the helmet obediently.  They made eye contact, and it was immediately obvious that Sherlock wasn't going to run.  John swallowed.

"I said get on," he muttered, gruffly.  He sat down on the bike and shifted forward.  Sherlock sat pillion.

Sirens began to blare in the car park behind the bank.  John turned to look at Sherlock over his shoulder.

"Your hand," he said.  He took Sherlock's hand and pulled him forward to press his palm to the printlock.  The bike started up immediately.  When he let go, Sherlock twisted his wrist and grasped at John's fingers, but John pulled away.

"Hold on," John said.  He directed Sherlock’s hand to his waist instead, and kicked off from the pavement.  They drove away from the bank, catching up just behind Lestrade and Sally.  Two solid black cars turned the corner towards them, sirens blaring.

John put a hand to his ear and turned his comm unit back on.

"Lestrade, lose the Timekeepers and go back to base.  I'll meet you there."

"What about you?"

"We need to split up."

John could see Lestrade up ahead, blowing through a red light to take a left turn onto the main street.  John kept straight, and was surprised to find that both black cars swerved to go after Lestrade.  Sherlock's fists tightened in John's jacket.

"Okay, wasn't expecting that," John muttered.  "Lestrade, you think you can lose them?"

A loud squeal came through the comm unit, followed by a shot.

Lestrade barked out a laugh.  "Nice shot, Sally!"

"Lestrade?" John repeated.

"Yeah, I can do it.  Shut up John, I'm driving here."

"Okay, see you at base; I'm turning off my comm.  Watson out."

John flicked off his comm unit, focusing again on driving.  Sherlock had shifted forward a bit with the movement of the bike.  The warmth of his body was nostalgic.  When John felt Sherlock squirming and shifting, he turned his head to the side.

"What are you doing?" he yelled over the engine.

Sherlock immediately stopped.  After John swerved sharply to avoid a pothole, Sherlock shifted a little closer and wrapped his arms around John’s waist.  He knocked John's belt buckle with the heel of one palm, and John pulled back with a sharp intake of breath.  He couldn’t tell if Sherlock had done it on purpose or not.

The streets were nearly empty, since not many people drove in Zone 4.  They passed the occasional cab or towncar, but for the most part, the road was theirs.  John was driving fast, heading towards the base, when he noticed a car creeping up behind them in the distance.  He glanced into the rear-view mirror and took a random turn.  The car followed.

"Shit," John muttered. He quickly tried to think of how to lose the car without the driver realizing that John was onto them.  He took another turn and sped up a bit.

"Where are you going?" Sherlock asked, speaking loudly to be heard over the roar of the bike.  "Are you trying to throw me off?"

"We're being followed."

"What?"  Sherlock leaned forward a bit, turning his head to hear better.

"I said we're being followed!  It's probably your brother."  John looked at Sherlock's face in the rear-view mirror.  He looked surprised.  "You thought he wasn't going to come after you?"

Sherlock didn't answer.  John took another random turn, then sped up to get through a light just before it turned red.  The car behind them swerved around a crossing limousine in order to follow.  John glanced in the mirror and caught a glimpse of the driver.

"She's onto us!" he shouted.

"What?" Sherlock leaned forward again.

"I said she's onto us!  Driver's a white woman, long brown hair—"

"Anthea.  Take this next left."

John followed Sherlock's instructions, speeding up as Anthea began to follow closer.  Sherlock clung on tighter, and John felt his heartbeat in his throat.  He glanced behind them.  Anthea was catching up.

"Take Driscoll Street up here on your right," Sherlock said.

"I can't—" John sped past the turn he was supposed to take, not seeing it quickly enough.  "You have to give me more notice than that!"

"I can't hear you!"

John groaned and took the next right, hoping it would be almost the same.  Sherlock took off his helmet in a fit of frustration.

“You’re heading towards a dead end!” he yelled.  “Take this next turn.”

John followed Sherlock’s instructions.  They were led to a main street with several narrow streets branching off on either side.

“Good,” said Sherlock.  His arm tightened around John’s waist, and he slid forward so that they were pressed back-to-front.  “Now stay on this road until the traffic lights up ahead.”

“Put your helmet back on before you get yourself killed,” John yelled.

"I can't hear you with that thing on!  Take a right at the lights."

John had no idea where Sherlock was leading them, but Sherlock clearly knew what he was doing, so John followed directions.  He glanced into the mirror again.  Anthea was surging ahead behind them.

"This is it!" Sherlock shouted, excitedly.  "Take this next right, then an immediate left. Careful—it'll be a tight squeeze."

John swerved quickly to the right, then saw the left that Sherlock expected him to take.  For half a second, he panicked—the street was incredibly narrow, with barely enough space for the bike.  He slowed down just enough to take the turn safely, and sped through.  He glanced back to see Anthea squeal to a stop in front of the street.  Her car wouldn't fit.

John burst out laughing with triumph, and Sherlock chuckled.  He was still holding his helmet in one hand.  It hung uselessly at his side as he clutched onto John with his opposite arm.

"Now follow this all the way through," he said.  "Cross the bridge when you get to it."  Sherlock had no qualms anymore about speaking directly into John's ear.  John could feel Sherlock’s breath on his skin with each word.  With the adrenaline wearing off, he started to feel irritated.

"Wait—where are you taking me?" he asked.

“Just trust me.  Since you clearly don’t have a clue as to where you’re going.”

John rolled his eyes.  He sped over the bridge and was just about to tell Sherlock off when Sherlock began nuzzling at his nape.

“Oh, for god’s sake,” John muttered, conflicted.  “Take me somewhere I know.  I have to meet up with my—”

He stopped when Sherlock’s arm tightened around him.

“I missed you,” Sherlock said, his lips brushing against the shell of John's ear.

John closed his eyes briefly before remembering that he was still driving.  He sped up, then took an abrupt turn, then another, then another, until they were in the middle of a quiet maze of empty roads.  He found an alley with enough room for the bike and slowly drove in.  Sherlock’s arm loosened around him.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

John pulled away and jumped off the bike, running one hand through his hair in an effort to tame it.  He started pacing through the alley, unable to wipe the frown from his face.  He felt cold without Sherlock pressed against his back.

“John?”  Sherlock stood the bike on its kickstand and propped his helmet on top.  He took a few steps as if to approach John, but stopped when John began to speak.

“You never showed up!” John yelled.  “I waited a whole year for you, and you never showed up.  Why would you even make that promise if you—”

“John, I—”

"Shut up."  John felt like a kettle just starting to boil.  "I waited for the entire day," he said.  He tightened his fists at his side.  Sherlock took a step forward and opened his mouth to speak, but John held up a hand to stop him.

"I was alone all morning and afternoon.  And then, that evening, I saw a couple there, taking a walk.”  He snorted an angry breath.  “They jumped a mile when they saw me sitting in the sand.  Probably thought I was going to rob them or something.  I felt like a creep, but I kept thinking 'they'll see.  Sherlock will show up, and then they'll see that I was just waiting—’”  John stopped and swallowed.

“John,” Sherlock said.  “I couldn’t—I was on a case that day, and I tried going the next day, but Mycroft—”

“Shut up, Sherlock.”

“No, I want you to know!  I tried, I did, but then you moved, and—”

“I said shut up!”  John grabbed Sherlock by the collar and pushed him against a brick wall.  "Do you have any idea what it was like?  What I was thinking?  Where I'm from, when someone doesn't show up to a meeting like that, it means they've timed out."

Sherlock raised his eyebrows, his mouth dropping open a bit.

"I couldn't have timed out.  You know how much I—"

"There are other ways you could have died."

They were both quiet.  John was standing close enough to see the heartbeat in Sherlock's throat. He closed his eyes.  Sherlock's exhales stirred the hair at his forehead.

“I didn't consider that,” Sherlock said quietly.  "I'm sorry."

"You owe me a thousand apologies," John growled.

"I’m sorry.  I had no idea you would be so—"

John slid one hand around Sherlock's neck and pulled him down into a rough, biting kiss.

"Shut up," he muttered, pulling away again and taking quick, sharp breaths.  "God, I missed you.  For over a year, I missed you."

Sherlock's hands came up to frame John’s face, pulling him back for another kiss.  When they parted again, they were both breathing heavily.  John’s hair was still windswept, sticking up in strange places and refusing to lie flat.  Sherlock's eyes were wide.  They looked at each other in silence, then John cracked a smile and laughed.  After watching him for a moment, Sherlock gave a chuckle of his own.

“I didn’t know how to contact you,” John said, tracing the buttons of Sherlock’s shirt.  “And then I thought that maybe you just didn’t want to—”

Sherlock nearly growled with disapproval.  He tore off his jacket, dropping it to the ground with no regard for how much it cost.  He rolled up his sleeve and pulled off his glove, then shoved his wrist at John’s chest.

“Here,” he said, brusquely.

John wrapped his fingers around Sherlock's wrist, his fingertips coming to rest over a rapidly throbbing pulse.

“No one else,” Sherlock said.

They kissed again.  John fumbled to pull off Sherlock’s scarf, and Sherlock tilted his head back, his eyelids falling just a fraction.  When John mouthed over his throat, Sherlock’s eyes shut completely.

The alley was dead silent, but for the sound of lips against skin.  John sucked a mark onto Sherlock’s neck, high and visible.  He heard Sherlock let out a soft whimper, and he swallowed against a surge of arousal.  He leaned forward.

When Sherlock pulled him closer, John was startled to find that Sherlock was hard.  He closed his eyes and pressed his face to Sherlock’s shoulder.

“God,” he whispered.  His fingers stroked Sherlock’s wrist over and over.  He brought it to his mouth and let his breath ghost over the skin.  Sherlock licked his lips.

“Please,” he said.

John met his eyes and pressed a kiss to Sherlock’s pulse point.  Sherlock gave a soft moan, and John caught his breath, a heavy warmth blooming low in his stomach.  He pressed Sherlock into the wall with his whole body.

“Again,” Sherlock demanded, his voice wavering.

John swallowed, thickly.  He kissed Sherlock’s wrist a second time, this time pressing with the tip of his tongue.  Sherlock curled his fingers to touch John’s cheek, his tendons moving against John’s mouth.  John leaned into the touch, then licked, boldly, in a broad stripe.

Sherlock whimpered, his hips jerking reflexively.  He was panting now, eager and unravelling.  His face was flushed pink, and he clutched at John’s shirt.  John felt lightheaded.  Seeing Sherlock like this—touching him like this—was intoxicating.  He dipped one hand down to Sherlock’s waistband and glanced at Sherlock’s arm.

“Want to see,” he said, his voice deep and breathy.

Sherlock laid his arm flat on his chest.  John unbuttoned Sherlock’s trousers and watched as his numbers flickered wildly.  He kissed the corner of Sherlock’s mouth, feeling harsh breaths against his cheek, then looked down between them and slid his hand into Sherlock’s pants.

The head of Sherlock’s cock was wet, smearing against John’s palm.  John licked his lips.  He closed his hand in a tight circle, and Sherlock tensed, tossing his head back against the wall.  John only gave one brief tug before Sherlock choked out his name and came all over his fingers.

For an instant, Sherlock’s numbers flickered to zero.

“Oh my god,” John groaned, watching the digits with wide eyes.

Sherlock melted against the wall.  John shoved his face into the crook of Sherlock’s neck as he panted.

“You hit—fucking—zero—”  He opened his own trousers and wrapped a hand around himself.  “God.”

Sherlock could only lean limply against the wall.  John kissed and bit at Sherlock’s skin, and brought himself off in a few quick strokes.

Sherlock stared down at him with a stunned expression.  John laughed, still trying to catch his breath, and kissed him.

“That was um...quicker than I expected,” he said.

Sherlock’s face turned red, and John immediately felt guilty.

“No no,” he said.  “That’s not a bad thing, I just—”

“I’d never done that before.”

John smirked.  “I told you, it’s fine.”

“No, I mean—”  Sherlock looked away and sighed, frustrated.  “Any of it.”

John stared at him for a moment, then worked out what Sherlock meant, and gaped.

“Are you saying you’ve never—”

Sherlock nodded.

“Oh.”  John swallowed and looked down at the ground.  “Hell, I just took your virginity in a dirty public alleyway.’”

“It’s not that dirty,”  Sherlock argued, frowning.  “And I believe it was more give than take.”

John rolled his eyes and sighed.

Sherlock looked down at his numbers.  “Flatlining was slightly unnerving.”

John bit his lip to hold back a grin.

“Yes, well it’s more likely to happen, uh—with a partner,”  he said, perhaps more proud than was decent.  He pulled a crumpled tissue from his pocket and cleaned off his hand.  “Though it doesn’t often happen your first time.”

“Has it happened to you before?” Sherlock asked.

“Yes.  Only twice, though.  Two different people.”

“Hmm.  I’ll take that as a challenge.”

John laughed.

They straightened their clothes and cleaned up as best they could.  Just before Sherlock rolled down his sleeve, John noticed that the bruising was completely gone from the inside of his elbow.  He took Sherlock’s hand and squeezed it, fondly.

“So where are we going?” Sherlock asked.  He stalked towards the motorbike and looked at John, expectantly.

John blinked.  “Um.”

“I’m assuming you’re talking me back to your little hideout?”  Sherlock waved a hand in the air, motioning vaguely in the direction from which they’d come.

John cocked an eyebrow.  “What, are you my hostage now?”

“I think you decided that for yourself when you pulled me along by gunpoint.”

“No, I think you decided that when you saw that the safety was on, and followed me anyway.”

Sherlock gave a mischievous smile and sat on the bike, putting on his helmet and shifting back to make room.

“You’re driving,” he said.  “I rather like being behind you.”

John smirked and refrained from making an off-colour joke.  He sat down in front of Sherlock, who immediately slid forward and wrapped his arms around him.  John had to admit, he liked the feeling.  Sherlock stretched forward and pressed his palm to the printlock, and they drove out of the alley.

John wasn’t sure what the rest of his team would say when he brought Sherlock back to meet them.  Molly would understand—she always did—but Lestrade and Sally...  He pushed the thought from his mind and tried to focus on the speed of the bike, the wind in his hair, and the gentle squeeze of Sherlock’s arms around his waist.

---

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