cypress_fic: (Wheat Field with Cypresses - Van Gogh)
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Title: This Thing All Things Devours (9/15)
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Rating: Explicit
Word Count: 4,800 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...




The sun was just beginning to go down when they left the hotel.  Rays of amber light shone between the shiny chrome buildings of the city, and the sky above darkened into a deep Oxford blue.  John drove Sherlock’s motorbike, and together they followed Lestrade’s nondescript black car through the empty streets.

Zone 4 was beautiful—populated and busy, but not suffocating like Zone 13.  The main road was lined with shops and boutiques, where immaculately-dressed shoppers spent weeks on clothing and home furnishings.  The pavements were wide to accommodate the crowds.  People carried shopping bags and chatted, followed everywhere by imposing bodyguards dressed in pressed black suits.  John felt their eyes as he drove past.

The streets slowly emptied until they were the only two vehicles in sight.  John squinted into the distance and saw a concrete wall ahead of them—the border between zones.

They slowed down as they approached the toll gate.

John reached out to place his wrist over the collection capsule, but Sherlock batted his hand out of the way.

“I’ll do it,” he said.  He deposited the required 10 months, and the gate opened.  John turned to look at Sherlock over his shoulder.

“I have the time,” he said.

Sherlock didn’t respond.  John turned back around and drove through the gate.


---


Zone 5 was a smaller city, though obviously still wealthy.  They settled in a vintage-themed hotel with old-fashioned rotating doors and oriental rugs in each room.  Grandfather clocks took the place of digital ones, and there was hardly any neon in sight.

By the time they got settled in their suite, they were exhausted.  John changed into his pyjamas almost immediately and shuffled into the bedroom that he and Sherlock would be sharing.  Sherlock was already in bed, the sheets pulled up close around his neck.  He was lying on his side, staring at the empty space next to him as if he could make John spontaneously appear.  John shut the door quietly, smiling when Sherlock met his eyes.

“Tired?” he asked.

Sherlock didn’t answer.  John slid into bed next to him, and turned out the light.  He laid on his back, staring up at the ceiling, and felt Sherlock’s eyes roving over his face.

“What?” he asked.

Sherlock shuffled closer.  He pressed his mouth against John’s shoulder, and spoke in a low muffle.

“Do you always come back with scraped knees and bruises on your sides?”

John frowned up at the ceiling.  “Wouldn’t have happened if—”

“You had me under the impression that you were professionals.”

“We are professionals.  I told you, we’ve been doing this for months.”

“You were unprepared and easily caught.  You didn’t have a backup plan.”

John didn’t argue, and Sherlock moved closer.  His fingers traced circles over John’s arm.  John turned onto his side.  His eyes had adjusted to the dark, and he could just make out Sherlock’s face in the residual light from the alarm clock on the bedside table.  He reached out a hand and touched Sherlock’s cheek.

“Do you want to come with us?” he asked.

Sherlock’s fingers stilled.
“I know that’s what you’re getting at, and honestly, I’d be stupid not to see how you could help.  If it weren’t for you, we’d have left empty-handed today.  You see things no one else notices.  We could accomplish a lot more with you than we could without.”

Sherlock’s fingers started moving again as his mouth stretched into a grin.

“Even if you hadn’t asked,” he said.  “I’d have found a way to follow somehow.”

John laughed.  He picked up Sherlock’s hand and brought it to his lips.

“Promise me you won’t do anything stupid,” he said.  “I would never forgive myself if—”

“Yes, yes, I know.”

“I’m in charge, so you’ve got to listen to what I say.  If I say abort, you abort.  Whether or not we’ve got the time.”

“I know, John.”

John licked his lips and pressed a chaste kiss to Sherlock’s mouth.

“Welcome to the team, then.”

There was a chill to the air outside the covers.  John shifted further down and closer to Sherlock, drawn in by his body heat.  Sherlock‘s eyes were closed, his breaths becoming slow and even, yet his hands wouldn’t stay still.  He rubbed over John’s back with one, then tugged at the hem of John’s shirt with the other.

"Up," he whispered.

John kept his arms in place.

"I'm really kind of tired," he said, sheepishly.

Sherlock opened his eyes so he could roll them, dramatically. "I don't want sex.  Just let me see."

John bit back a grin and let Sherlock pull the t-shirt over his head, then roll him over onto his stomach.  John slid his arms under the pillow, crossing them beneath his head.  He felt Sherlock's hand on his spine, tracing it up, and briefly cupping the back of his neck.  John closed his eyes.

"Feels nice," he murmured.

Sherlock flattened his palm against John's back.  He stroked one finger at the edge of the puncture scar on John's shoulder.  John could hear the question in his silence, but Sherlock didn’t give voice to it immediately.  He ran his fingers gently over John’s skin, sliding them up to scratch through the hair at the base of John’s skull.

“It was close,” he said.  “Obviously, you were turned away when it exploded.”

John frowned.

“You told me that it was an accident—the wrong place at the wrong time.  But that’s not true.  You saw it coming, and—”

“You can’t possibly tell that just from my scars.”

Sherlock shook his head.  “No, I can tell because I know when you’re lying, and when you told me about your scars a year ago, you lied.”

John tensed, and Sherlock’s hand stilled.

“Your left eyelid twitches when you lie,” Sherlock said.  “And you blink more frequently.”

John turned his head to face in the other direction.  “Just drop it.”

“I want to know—”

“You really don’t pick up on social cues, do you?”  John rolled onto his side, his back to Sherlock.  “Forget about it.”

Sherlock didn’t move, and didn’t speak.  John stared across the room, wishing that the mirror against the wall was just a bit lower, so he could see Sherlock without having to meet his eyes.  After a few moments of silence, Sherlock pulled away.

It took longer than usual for John to relax.  He could tell that Sherlock wasn’t sleeping, either, but neither of them spoke.  John sighed deeply in an effort to calm himself.  He closed his eyes and tried not to think.


---


When John woke the next morning, he was alone and half-cold.  Sherlock had left his side of the sheets pulled down, leaving John’s body exposed to the chilly morning air.

John grumbled and pulled them back up, shifting further down in bed.  Memories of the night before came flooding back to him, and he felt a vague pang of guilt.  He pulled his shirt back on and walked out into the other room.

Lestrade and Molly were chatting on the balcony, having breakfast.  The balcony door had been left open to allow the breeze to drift through.  Sunlight lit the room, combating the chill of the wind.  Sherlock was lying on the sofa, staring blankly at the telly, though it was turned off.

John poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down by Sherlock’s feet.  He took a sip from his mug.

“This your favourite programme?” he asked, looking up at the blank television screen.  “I find it a bit dull, but to each their own.”

Sherlock scowled at him and curled his legs up, away from John.

John took another sip of coffee and reached down to pat Sherlock’s ankle.  “You’re rather childish, anyone ever tell you that?  Stubborn, rude, a complete prat when you want to be—”

Sherlock looked up.  “I thought you were trying to make amends?  This isn’t—”

“Narcissistic, sometimes just plain irritating, and you really have no concept of social niceties.”  John looked down at Sherlock, who was staring at him with a blank expression.  “God, you’re brilliant, though.  Gorgeous, too.  You have a great sense of humour, you’re braver than you realize, and really, you’re a better person than you think you are.”

Sherlock blinked, opened his mouth, closed it, and looked back at the telly.  He stretched his legs out so that his calves rested over John’s lap.

“Thank you,” he muttered.

John nodded and squeezed Sherlock’s knee.  He looked up when he heard a chair scraping across the balcony floor.  Molly walked into the room, typing on her phone with one hand.

“Morning,” she said, cheerfully.  She slipped her phone into her back pocket and looked up with a smile.

Lestrade followed behind, closing the balcony door as he entered.

“We’re going out,” he said.

“You too?” John asked.  “Where’s Sally?”

“She went back to Thirteen to give away what we got last night.  You didn’t need any, did you?”

John knew the answer, but checked his arm anyway, out of habit.

“No,” he said.  “I haven’t bought anything.”

Lestrade nodded.  “Alright.  Well Molly wants to go see the library.  We’ll probably do some research, be back later tonight.”

Molly pulled on her jacket and fixed her hair in the mirror as Lestrade went into the other room for his coat.

“Don’t get into too much trouble while we’re gone,” she said, catching John’s eyes in the reflection.

John waved a hand at her, dismissively.

When Lestrade came back, he nodded goodbye to Sherlock and John and asked Molly a few questions about where the library was located before walking out the door.  It slid closed behind them, and locked into place.

John gave Sherlock a mischievous grin.

“We have this whole suite to ourselves,” he said, tickling at Sherlock’s inseam.  “What should we do?”

Sherlock snorted.  “If you think I’m going to lie here and have sex with you all day, you’re gravely mistaken.”

“Well you wouldn’t be just lying there, you’d be an active participant.”

Sherlock’s lips quirked.  He sat up and gave John a proper good morning kiss, then flopped back down.

“I’ll order us some breakfast,” John said.  “I’m assuming you haven’t eaten, and have no plans to eat?”  He tried to catch Sherlock’s eyes, but Sherlock avoided him, looking around the room, aimlessly.  “Right.  Breakfast it is.  Get up.”


---


John ordered more food than they could finish—fluffy scrambled eggs, thick pieces of bacon, and browned sausage flavoured with herbs.  A handful of tiny mushrooms were served in a scalloped china bowl, and a plate of toast sat next to an assortment of unusual jams spiced with ginger and cardamom.  They ate in bed, just for the novelty of it, lounging on top of the white cotton duvet and being careful not to crush too many crumbs into the sheets.

John watched Sherlock nibble at a corner of toast while reading the news on his phone.  He glanced away from the screen to delicately lick a smear of russet jam off his thumb.

“What?” he asked, when he caught John staring.

John shook his head.  “Nothing.”  He took a sip of coffee, and imagined sharing many mornings just like this.


---


After breakfast, John insisted that they leave the hotel and tour the city.  He picked up a map on their way out of the building.

“We’ll get you some new clothes,” he said.  “And then we’re going to be proper tourists and see the sights on our day off.”

They found a high-end boutique specializing in men’s suits, and Sherlock spent over an hour getting fitted, choosing between fabrics, and arguing with John over whether or not there were actually shades of black.

After making delivery arrangements, they walked through the main shopping centre.  Neither of them had the patience for more shopping, but they pointed out interesting things in the windows as they passed.  When the shops became more spaced out, the street led them towards a public park, lush with greenery.  They bought overpriced sandwiches and two bags of crisps and found an empty bench, where they sat down for lunch.  A group of university students were playing rugby nearby.  John watched the game with nostalgia.

“The ginger is in love with the long-haired brunette,” said Sherlock.

John laughed around a mouthful of sandwich.  “Oh?  And how do you know that?”

“Body language.  He touches him when it’s unnecessary to do so, and he just tossed him the ball.”

“He didn’t toss him the ball!  They’re on opposing teams.  The ginger got tackled and had to let the ball go.”

“Right into the arms of the long-haired brunette?”

John frowned and watched the players more sharply.  It did seem like the ginger was paying quite a bit of attention to his opponent.  When he glanced at the brunette’s arse a bit too obviously, Sherlock snorted.

“Told you,” he said.  “Unfortunately, the brunette is straight.”

“There’s no way you can tell that without stereotyping.”

“Don’t insult me, John.”

John rolled his eyes.

“It doesn’t matter anyway.  He’s sleeping with the captain’s sister.

“Sister?”

“Possibly mother.”

“Mother?!”

Sherlock smirked.


---


There was a small cluster of stone buildings at the other end of the park, one of them an art museum.  John insisted on going in, as admission was free, and he wasn’t sure if they would ever get the chance to go again.

“This is amazing,” he said, gazing at an impressionist painting by an artist he didn’t recognize.  “Where I’m from, the museums don’t have real paintings like this.  Just projections on the walls.”

Sherlock frowned.  They were three-quarters of the way through the huge labyrinth of a room before John noticed that Sherlock was getting restless.

“I thought you’d like fine art,” John said, walking over to the next painting—a landscape of a grassy meadow overlooking a city.  “You seem to enjoy pretty things.”

Sherlock looked at him out of the corner of his eye, then glanced around the room quickly.  “I do,” he muttered.  He took John by the elbow.  “This way.”

John stumbled along, following Sherlock into the stairwell, down two floors, and under the hollow underbelly of the staircase.  He found himself pressed against the wall and snogged while the doors above them opened and closed, footsteps echoing over their heads.

After a moment, Sherlock pulled back and looked at John.  John’s cheeks felt heated.  His lips were swollen, and his eyelids were heavy and drooping.

“My favourite works of art are interactive,” Sherlock murmured, leaning in again.

John was just beginning to think that maybe they should stop if they wanted to go out in public looking halfway decent, when he heard a text alert coming from his back pocket.  He removed his mouth from Sherlock’s neck.  Sherlock’s hand slid briefly over John’s arse before retrieving the phone.  He unlocked it without asking for the password, glanced at the screen, and gave the phone to John.

“Ugh.  Must we?” he asked.

John read the text.


Molly Hooper
18:23
meet for dinner?  i’m with sally and greg



John chuckled.  “I think we should,” he said.  “I’m pretty sure they’re starting to believe that we don’t do anything but have sex all day.”

Sherlock groaned.  John cuffed him upside the head.


---


Molly sent them the address to a quaint cafe not too far from the museum.  The host led them to a cobblestoned courtyard with vines crawling over the walls.  Molly was sitting with Sally and Lestrade at a table in the corner, shaded by a yellow-and-green striped umbrella.

“How’d the drop go?” asked John, as he took a seat next to Sally.

She nodded.  “Good.  Normal.  They thanked us profusely, as usual.”

John smiled and glanced over at Sherlock, who was toying with his napkin, pretending not to listen.

A waiter came to take their orders and place cold glasses of water in front of them.  Everyone’s eyes skittered back and forth as they waited for him to leave.  Once he did, there was an unavoidably awkward silence.

Lestrade was the first to break it.  He cleared his throat.

“So,” he asked.  “How—did you two meet?”  Sally gave him a derisive look, and Lestrade shrugged.  “It’s a perfectly normal question.”

John snorted.  “Yeah, if you were my mum, maybe.”

Lestrade smacked him in the side, and John laughed.  He glanced at Sherlock, who looked bored out of his mind already.

“We met at the pub.  Sherlock’s a detective, and he was on a case when I—”

“Almost destroyed everything I had been working for.”

John narrowed his eyes at Sherlock, who returned the expression, softened with a gentle fondness.

“What kind of case?” Lestrade asked, leaning into the table with interest.

“Theft,” Sherlock answered.  “Unsurprisingly, the Timekeepers in my zone were having some trouble.  I solved the case for them.”

“They hire you to do that?”

“Not exactly.”

Sally raised an eyebrow.  “You went after thieves?  Bit ironic, isn’t it?”

“Just as ironic as your own history with the Timekeepers.”

Sally frowned and looked away.

“Besides,” Sherlock continued.  “I choose which cases I take.  The thieves I tracked down over the past year were no noble outlaws.  The case that sent me to John’s zone was different.”

Together, John and Sherlock explained the Walters case.  Sherlock went on at length about evidence and observations, then John took over, and started to explain how Sherlock had sacrificed his own time to save the lives of the Walters family.

He was enjoying telling the story, showing off Sherlock’s heroics, when Sherlock abruptly stood and excused himself to the toilet.  John started to follow him, but Sherlock pushed him back down with a gentle hand on his shoulder.

“I’ll be back,” he murmured.

After Sherlock had left, John looked around the table and steeled himself.

“I told Sherlock he could come with us on the next job,” he blurted.

Sally pursed her lips, and Lestrade raised an eyebrow, but no one spoke a word.  John continued.

“You all saw what he did with the password yesterday, you can’t tell me he wouldn’t be useful.”

“He has no stake in this,” Sally said.  “He’s from Four, he doesn’t care what goes on in the poor zones.”

John shook his head.  “How can you possibly say that after hearing what I just told you about the Walters case?”

Sally didn’t answer.

“He guessed the password, Sally.  And he was right.”

“Yeah, and I’m starting to wonder about that, too.  How do you know he didn’t—”

John tightened a fist on the table.  “Didn’t what?” he asked, his voice like steel.  “What are you saying?”

Molly put a hand on Sally’s arm and looked at John.

“Stop it,” she said.  “I thought we trusted each others’ judgement?”

Sally looked at her.  “I do, I just—”  She sighed and her shoulders loosened.  “John, you’re not infallible.  He could be using you.”

“I don’t know,” Lestrade mused, swirling ice cubes around the bottom of his glass.  “It would be a long con.  They first met over a year ago.”

Sally looked at John, who stared back at her with a fierceness in his eyes.

“He gave me a year of his own time so I would live long enough to meet him again,” he said.  “This isn’t a con, and it’s not a fucking fling.”

Sally gave a slight nod.  Her eyes flickered past John, and John felt a presence behind him.  Sherlock slid back into his chair.  The table was quiet.

“I hear you’re coming with us on the next job,” Sally said.

Sherlock looked at John, then back at Sally, hesitantly.

“You think you can do that password trick again?”

Sherlock smirked.  “Undoubtedly.”


---


It wasn’t long before the food arrived, and the conversation slowed.  John noticed Sally glancing across the table at Sherlock a few times.  She seemed quieter than usual, but he was confident that she would come around.

Molly asked Sherlock some questions about growing up in Zone 4, but Sherlock wasn’t very forthcoming with information.  Conversation turned to travelling—to who had been to which zones, and what things were like there.  Lestrade revealed that it wasn’t his first time as a tourist in Zone 5—he had come when he was younger, in celebration of his birthday.

“Yeah, this is where I turned 25,” he said.  “My time started here.”  He glanced down at his gloved arm, as if remembering it.

“Where were you?” Molly asked.

“At the pub with some mates.  I didn’t know when it was going to start, but I knew it would be sometime at night.  Happened while I was on my second pint, and it felt like a kick in the chest.  Everyone wanted to see it, once it happened.”

"That's sad," said Molly.  "I wouldn't want it to start that way—surrounded by people, not able to have a moment to yourself."

Lestrade shrugged.  "I liked it.  It was cause for celebration.  Why?  How did yours start?"

Molly looked down at her arm, hidden under the sleeve of an embroidered turquoise cardigan.  “I was sleeping,” she said.  “It woke me up in the middle of the night.  I looked at the mirror on my bedside table to see what I would look like for the rest of my life.”

"Isn't that what all girls do?" Lestrade asked.

Sally smacked him.  "Sexist."

"You saying you didn't?"

"Couldn't if I wanted to.  I was in the middle of my T-23."

"Your time started while you were in the middle of your written exam?"

"I ignored it and kept working.  Aced the test."

"And officially became a Timekeeper."

Sally smiled, proudly.  "What about you, John?" she asked.  "What's your story?"

John looked away.  "Uh, it's not—"

"Oh, John's is good!" said Lestrade, grinning.  "Tell 'em!"  He leaned back in his chair and plucked a chip from his plate.

John rubbed the back of his neck, looking at the wall as if it were fascinating.  He felt Sherlock kick his leg with one foot.

“Yes John,” Sherlock said with a smirk.  “Tell us.”

“Mine’s embarrassing,” John muttered.

Lestrade snorted.  “Didn’t seem to think that when you told me."

"Yeah, well when I told you I may have been inebriated."  John sighed in defeat and avoided eye contact.  "I was in bed when mine started.  Uh—not alone."  Sherlock broke out in a grin, and John looked at him, pointedly.  “It was my first time with this particular girl, and it just happened at a really inopportune moment.”

Lestrade gave an amused chuckle.

"Really?" asked Sally, snickering.  "I've seen that happen in movies, but never in real life."

"Yeah, well it has to happen to someone.  And it's not the sort of thing that belongs in a teen comedy, believe me.  It was awful.  She gave me a moment when it happened.  Just to gather myself.  But I think my mind was elsewhere during the main event.  And we didn’t see each other again after that."

"Tragic," Lestrade deadpanned.  He suppressed laughter and looked over at Sherlock.  "What about you?" he asked.  "How did your time start?"

The humour disappeared from Sherlock's face.  He opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out.

"Was it like on telly?" Molly asked.  "With the lavish parties and gifts and things?"

John had been pleased that Sherlock was being included in the conversation, but when he looked at Sherlock's face, he saw a hint of strain.  Sherlock had one hand on the edge of his chair, and was gripping it tightly.

"Were you around other people?" Lestrade asked.

John interrupted.

“Um—are we done with dinner?  Because if so, we ought to give our table to someone else.”

Lestrade frowned over the abrupt change of subject, but Sally seemed to understand.  She glanced at Sherlock quickly.

“Yeah,” she said, trying to catch the attention of the waiter.  “I think I see a queue outside.”

They paid for the meal and gathered up their things.  On their way out of the restaurant, Sherlock put a hand on John’s arm and squeezed, gently.  John turned to look at him, but Sherlock didn’t meet his eyes.


---


That night, John entered the bedroom to find Sherlock standing by the window, gazing outside at the people on the street below.  He slid his arms around Sherlock's waist, and they stood together quietly, the faded light of the city illuminating the room.  John pressed a kiss to Sherlock’s shoulder.

"I don't remember when my time started," Sherlock said, quietly.  "I was working on a case for Mycroft, and I didn't realize until after it was over that I was missing two days."

John kissed him again.

"I get caught up in things.  And I forget—"

"I know."

"To eat and sleep and—"

"I know."

Sherlock took a deep breath and turned around in John's arms.  John felt Sherlock's hand brush over the scar on his shoulder.  Though Sherlock hadn't meant anything by it, John closed his eyes.

“I didn't completely lie," he said.

Sherlock's hand tensed.

"It was a clickbomb, and it did malfunction.  That was the truth."

Sherlock didn't respond, but his hand started moving.  It slipped under John’s t-shirt and stroked over the textures of his back.  He was careful to use his palm, and only the pads of his fingers.  He avoided even a hint of a scratch.

"I wasn't in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Sherlock stilled again, and John opened his eyes.  Sherlock was looking at him with a hint of curiosity and excitement.

"You were targeted?" he asked.  “No wait—you took someone’s place.  You saved them.”

John bit his lip.

"You're embarrassed, why are you embarrassed?  Don't they award medals for that sort of thing?"

John snorted.  "Not to mechanics.  They did that back when they still used human soldiers.  No one gets a medal for saving a bot.  Or a tinscrewer."

Sherlock frowned at the pejorative.  "I want to know," he said.

John met his eyes.

"I was in the repair bunker, fixing soldiers, and I heard a loud crash.  Some kind of explosion had gone off nearby, and it knocked over a pile of supply crates that hadn't been unloaded yet."

John dropped his eyes and cleared his throat.  Sherlock's hand started moving on his shoulder again.

"There was a clickbomb—a live one—lying on the ground.  People were scrambling to get away from it, but it was acting unusual.  The display screen was blank, so we had no idea when it might explode..."

John trailed off.  Sherlock pulled him a little closer.

"I turned around, and there was this bloke trapped under the rubble.  We made eye contact, and he started screaming for me to help—"

"And you went back," Sherlock finished.

John gave a strained smile.  "Not right away."  He pulled back just a bit.  "I wasn't going to help him.  I was going to turn around and run the fuck away, but—I'd gambled away a lot of time the night before, and when he waved at me, I noticed how much he had.  He should've been wearing a glove or something, because he had weeks.  Almost a month.   And I thought that if I saved him, and he were feeling particularly generous, maybe he'd give me a bit."

John couldn't face Sherlock.  They were silent for a moment, Sherlock's hand still stroking over John's back.  When John spoke again, his voice was much quieter.

"I was helping him to run when the bomb exploded behind us."

Sherlock squeezed John’s waist, gently.

"I would have let him die if it weren’t for—"

"No one is entirely self-sacrificing," Sherlock interrupted.  “Pure altruism doesn’t exist.”

John shrugged.

"You would have done it anyway.  You wouldn’t have left him there."

John wasn't so sure.  He closed his eyes and was faced with images of the man’s face, screaming and pleading for John’s help while John spent agonizing seconds in selfish consideration.  He thought of what had happened afterward—waking up in hospital, with an extra two weeks on his arm.  He had gambled them away before he was even off bedrest.

John’s brow furrowed when he felt Sherlock's fingers slide over his neck and into his hair.  He opened his eyes.

“Let’s get some sleep,” he muttered, trying to turn around.

Sherlock held fast.  “You’re not doing this again,” he said.  He pulled John closer.  “I don’t care what you were thinking when you did it, the point is you did.  You saved a man’s life.”

John swallowed and rested his forehead against Sherlock’s chest.

“You’re not the only one who’s done a good thing for the wrong reasons,” Sherlock said, softly.  “The work you’re doing now more than makes up for whatever was in your head nearly ten years ago.”

John huffed a laugh against Sherlock’s neck, and Sherlock held him tighter.

“Thank you,” John murmured.

They slid under the bedcovers side-by-side.  When John closed his eyes, he could feel Sherlock’s breath rustling his hair.


---


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