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Title: Everything You Know I Haven't Got, Part 2
Author: Morgan Stuart
Fandom: Sherlock
Disclaimer: This universe does not belong to me; I'm just an appreciative visitor. I make no profit from this fan work.
Description: When the media declares open season on Greg Lestrade, the hunt begins.
Historian's Note: This takes place during the Great Hiatus.
Warnings (Highlight to Read): Assumed character death, depictions of violence, torture, attempted murder, injuries, and, in later segments, mention of PTSD-related disorientation and nightmares
Read Part 1




John Watson opened the door of his new flat and immediately shut it again.

He took a deep breath. Then another. He counted to ten.

He reopened the door. Mycroft Holmes continued to loom there like a particularly grim example of civic sculpture.

After a short, sharp shake of his head, John thrust out his chin. "Right. This? This is not going to happen. This isn't my life anymore, Mycroft."

He pointed at the chest of the elder Holmes as he bit his tirade into brittle, staccato phrases: "I'm not going to find you. Standing on my doorstep. Or following me. In your big, black car. If you're running low on minions, pop off to the shop. Buy more. Whatever this is, my answer's no."

Because whatever this was, it couldn't bring Sherlock back.

John lowered his hand, clenched it into a fist, and, after a heartbeat, buried it in his jeans pocket before any tremor could betray him. His frailties might not be secrets, John thought, but that didn't mean he had to advertise them.

Mycroft failed to acknowledge John's volley in any way. He didn't even blink.

"Are you quite through, John? Because I'm here on a matter that's most urgent indeed."

"Um, there's more," John admitted, "but I think I hit the high points."

Narrowing his eyes, John realised he was unsure how to read the man who stood before him so preternaturally still, sans umbrella, gloved hands clasped like a supplicant. Mycroft was undeniably present, as formidable as any force of nature, but those cool blue eyes were looking through John, fixed on another point. More than preoccupied, John reckoned. More than anxious.

It occurred to John that this might be Mycroft afraid.

And what could the man possibly have left to fear, when the worst already had happened on the pavement below St Bart's?

The fight seeped out of John like blood from a wound. He retreated a step, and Mycroft angled his way through the door.

At once John became aware of how pathetic the sterile sitting room with its stacks of unpacked boxes must appear, and he mumbled, "I'm not exactly… settled." It was an understatement. A blanket description of his life.

Mycroft, however, displayed no Holmesian inclination to scrutinise his surroundings. He made no move to remove his coat or seek a chair. He simply turned on John and asked, "When did you last see or speak to Greg Lestrade?"

Frowning, John closed the door behind them and rested his weight against it. "Why? What's wrong?"

"When?"

"Not recently." Squeezing his eyes shut, John rubbed at the furrows between his brows. "If you haven't noticed, we've both contracted a kind of social disease; neither of us can buy a tin of beans without inciting some kind of media orgy. It’s far worse for him now than for me. I thought contact between us would only fan the flames."

Not that there was anything much left to say.

John's memories marched unbidden to a half-shy conversation after Sherlock's graveside service.

"If you want to punch me in the face," Lestrade had offered, "I'll hold still."

To John's shame, there'd been a moment when he'd wished to do just that. Of course, John had also wanted to beat his own skull into the pavement next to Sherlock's shattered body. Grief knows little reason.

A brief and awkward exercise in anguish had followed Lestrade's invitation, as each man attempted to absolve the other of guilt too weighty to shoulder. Lestrade was sorry Sherlock had ever been put in handcuffs. John was sorry they'd ever removed them.

Now John shrugged at Mycroft. "We haven't talked since… maybe a fortnight after the funeral." That seemed tragic, somehow, now that he was forced to face it. "Why?"

"The media orgies, as you put it, effectively declared open season on him," Mycroft explained, kneading his hands together. "He's now missing and, I have good reason to believe, in immediate danger."

"Oh, God."

Mycroft took a step forward, leaning his weight into his words, filling John's vision. "I need your decision now: will you help me save his life, if it can be saved?"

John was already reaching for his jacket. "Anything I can do. What do you need?"

"I assume you keep medical supplies on hand?"

"I've got a small first aid kit for minor injuries, cuts and bruises and the like" – he passed Mycroft and waded into the sea of boxes, certain of his destination – "and a larger field kit prepped for… well, much worse."

"Bring the field kit," Mycroft instructed. "And your service weapon."

***

John schooled himself to silence as the black sedan sped into the night.

His experience with medical and military hierarchies had taught him the discipline of the need-to-know scenario, and so he kept to his generous side of the spacious back seat and tried to calm himself with the press of his medical kit against his leg and the bite of his loaded pistol at his back. He knew he couldn't help Lestrade by distracting Mycroft as the man received reports and issued instructions.

John listened, though, when Mycroft was speaking rather than texting, and he gathered from repeated phrases such as "satellite images," "surveillance photos," and "intercepted footage" that the manhunt for Lestrade was yielding fruit.

After some while – John had lost track of the time, as he was quite literally as well as figuratively in the dark – Mycroft straightened and turned toward him, a motion John sensed rather than saw.

"It appears that the Carlson syndicate is to blame. The clan is known for its long memory and patience, and its patriarch publically swore vengeance after his third son was convicted for murder some years ago. It was one of Lestrade's first cases as DI." Anticipating John's question, he added, "Before he began consulting with Sherlock."

Mycroft held out his BlackBerry for John to view.

"Fortunately for us," Mycroft continued, "the youngest Carlson generation is composed of imbeciles."

A film clip began to play. The jerky, blurred image resolved into the blunt fingers of a square, masculine hand bound at the wrist with a zip tie. John noted the swelling and bruising of the knuckles, the lines of gore where the flesh had split with repeated impact.

Wherever this man was, he hadn't gone willingly.

"See 'ere?" came an adolescent whine from the phone's speaker. "'Ere's the line where a ring used to be. No one's waitin' at home for ya anymore, eh, Inspector? No one's keepin' yer bed warm?"

Chuckles sounded from at least two different sources. With nauseating fits and starts, the camera pulled back to show an angled view of the owner of the hand: Greg Lestrade.

His sound eye, the one that wasn't swollen shut, shifted slightly as his captors moved, tracking their positions without acknowledging them directly.

He'd been beaten bloody and secured to a metal chair. The tautness of his posture and the restraint of his breathing suggested that he was managing considerable pain, and John ticked the line "possible internal injuries" on his mental checklist of horrors.

"What'd she do, yer wife," a second voice chimed in, "find 'erself a real man?"

Lestrade gave no indication that the taunt had struck home, but in the dimness of Mycroft's car, John grimaced and dug his knuckles into the meat of his thigh.

On the BlackBerry's screen, a hand in a simple latex glove – no fingerprints, John realised – shot out and closed around Lestrade's naked ring finger, wrenching it backward. A sickening crack followed, and Lestrade thrashed once in his bonds, hissing through clenched teeth.

Off-screen, someone giggled.

"Give us that, yeah?" It was the first voice, squeaking with mirth. "The inspector needs more decoratin'."

The gloved hand reappeared, parting Lestrade's shirt and the torn remains of his vest to reveal his bare torso. John noted the spongy bruising along the man's side and added "possible rib fractures" to his inventory.

Then his attention turned to the scattered pattern of circular marks that wound their way down Lestrade's throat and into the dark hair dusted along his sternum.

A cigarette materialised between latex-covered fingers.

Lestrade's single-eyed gaze fixed on a spot in the middle distance and remained there. His lips became a thin white line.

"If they ever find yer body, it'll be by mistake." The young man's words carried a sneer. "Sure as fuck no one's lookin'."

John ground his teeth as the glowing end of the cigarette descended on an exposed nipple. The muscles corded in Lestrade's neck. His measured breaths grew harsher. At last John heard a distant, swallowed grunt of a noise, then answering laughter.

"Oi!" The bellow came from a far older man, a different direction. "Thattaphone? Whatthefuckyathinkyerdo—"

The frame span wildly, and the clip ended.

John blinked in the sudden darkness.

"Today's youth and social media," Mycroft murmured. "It's possible that the future of crime detection lies not in investigating, but simply in waiting for the perpetrators to record, tweet, text, or post their transgressions."

John turned his face toward the night. "And that's what you took away from that scene, is it?" He couldn't help himself. "Here's what I got: Greg's doing his best because he's a stubborn, bloody-minded, brave bastard, not from any sense of hope. He doesn't think anyone's coming."

An impatient sigh. "I saw the footage, John." A hesitation, and then, more subdued, "We believe it was filmed approximately twelve hours ago."

"Twelve hours?!?" John choked. "But—"

"I'm using unofficial channels of information where I can, and that takes time. Even in the best of moments, I don't have unlimited resources, contrary to popular belief. And this is decidedly not the best of moments. Handling this… situation… requires unprecedented circumspection until we can be certain who has contributed to it."

As John caught his breath, he digested that. "You think there's some greater conspiracy behind this."

"Sins of omission may be just as potent as sins of commission. It would serve the self-interest of many parties for Lestrade to disappear, taking the scandal he represents with him." Mycroft shifted his weight on the seat. "My people and I are following this trail at the same time we're covering our own. For his safety as well as ours."

"But, God, Mycroft, in twelve hours…" The words died on John's lips.

"We may yet have time." Mycroft's voice was utterly devoid of expression. "They were in no hurry. They wanted their fun."

Once again John scrubbed his fist along the denim plane of his leg, back and forth in a precise line, heating it with friction. A coiling spring.

***

John's helplessness gnawed at him, and his simmering anger – so close to the surface these days – finally bubbled over, seeking an outlet.

"Why are you doing this? I didn't think daring rescues fell under your job description. I thought you were more about" – he flapped his hand vaguely – "kidnappings and interrogations. You know, making inconvenient people disappear."

Pushing, almost hoping Mycroft would push back.

Dear God, but he missed Sherlock.

"The night is still young, Doctor." Silk and steel combined in that answer, and despite his better nature John felt a blossom of heat uncurl low in his belly as he imagined what might be in store for certain cowards who tormented good men. "And if I don't, who will? I hardly think ringing up the police is the strategy indicated here. Considering."

But that wasn't enough. "If you wanted to help Greg, why wait 'til now, when he's lost everything? Why not help him keep his warrant card in the first place?"

It felt more than a bit surreal, this adrenaline-bathed dialogue in the dark, sheltered from the black night by tinted windows, shadow upon shadow upon shadow.

It felt like truths might be spoken that otherwise wouldn't find voice.

Mycroft appeared to give John's question genuine consideration. "We are all constrained by our positions," he said. "To overstep one's boundaries is to jeopardise the very power one has to be of service."

Then the lecturing cadence fell away from his speech, and his voice went quiet. "Lestrade understands this. That's why he didn't defy his DCI when he was ordered to arrest Sherlock; he knew that if he'd been disciplined or removed, he wouldn't have been able to serve as Sherlock's inside advocate and assist my brother in clearing his name. Of course, events took a different course."

After a lengthy pause, Mycroft added, "There was nothing I could do."

Whether he was referring now to Lestrade or Sherlock or both, John couldn't be certain.

This begged the question, of course, of why Mycroft cared, why he'd expend his energy on a disgraced and powerless man who could no longer be of use to him and his Machiavellian machinations.

Mycroft seemed to read John's mind. "I can count the number of individuals who passed what I've dubbed my 'warehouse test' on one hand. I can count the number of men to whom I owed my brother's life on two fingers. You are one of those. The fact Sherlock isn't here now doesn't negate the importance of what you both accomplished for him."

John held his tongue and listened.

"Surely you didn't think I was the reason Sherlock became the world's first and only consulting detective, rather than another dead junkie found overdosed in a gutter?"

John had no answer, but he doubted Mycroft expected one. It seemed as though Mycroft needed to talk about Sherlock every bit as much as John desired to know more about him. That made a pitiable kind of sense to John. He only hoped he wasn't hearing Greg Lestrade's eulogy in the process.

"I walked my brother through the doors of a dozen of the most exclusive rehabilitation facilities in Europe, and he walked or crawled or ran or climbed back out again – in some cases, before I'd left the carpark. But he went willingly to Lestrade's office. And spare sofa. And, once he was clean, crime scenes."

Clues began to fall together in John's mind, puzzle pieces at last reuniting with their missing mates.

He recalled Lestrade's unexpected appearance in Dartmoor, and his token protest at being considered nothing more than the elder Holmes's errand boy. He'd never denied close association with the man or long familiarity.

Sherlock had suggested that Mycroft thought of Lestrade as his "handler"; the level of trust this implied from a man who worried so about his brother was extraordinary, John realised. How long had Mycroft tested the man, observed him, to discover his true worth?

Then John thought of that most fateful night, that ridiculous and amazing night, when he'd entered the circle of panda cars and ambulances, half-expecting to be led away in handcuffs for the shooting of the cabbie. Mycroft's black sedan had parked alongside the police tape, and Lestrade's team hadn't looked twice. If anything, the Yarders had treated the presence of the "minor government official" as commonplace. Expected.

John had left the scene with Sherlock, giggling and flying high on the wings of adrenaline and wonder and rediscovered strength, but Mycroft had shown no intention of departing. Had he stayed to compare notes? To conspire?

To chat?

Mycroft's distress when he'd knocked on John's door less half an hour ago took on new significance.

"You… you're friends."

Not that he couldn't picture Lestrade as the friendly sort. Far from it. John had enjoyed more than one evening of pints and darts and football at the pub with him.

But Mycroft...

"A man in my position has no friends, John," Mycroft said at last, with a sharp edge to his voice that John couldn't identify. "But if he's fortunate, he may have allies. And if he's intelligent, he will protect those allies whenever he's able to do so. As a long-term investment, if you will."

Just then Mycroft's phone vibrated with a plaintive buzzing sound. Its antiseptic blue-white glow bathed his chin and nose and brow as he studied an incoming text.

His expression remained shuttered, but he inhaled sharply.

"What?" John said. "What is it?"

Instead of replying, Mycroft thumbed the intercom to speak to the driver. "We have new information. I'm sending you the details."

He typed rapidly for several seconds, and then he made a call. "Change of plan, my dear. I'm sending you new directions. Coordinate with the other team and report back. Time is of the essence."

"Mycroft," John said, "what the hell is it?"

"According to my source, Lestrade's been removed."

"Removed. Removed? Why can no Holmes bloody say what he bloody means? Removed from that room in the video?"

"From that room. From that building. From London itself."

Mycroft's eyes never left his BlackBerry. "I mean taken to the countryside. Disposed of."


END OF PART 2

Read Part 3

Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
brighteyed_jill
Dec. 31st, 2012 05:19 am (UTC)
Why are you so evil?! So, so evil? I mean, brilliant, yes, but a wee bit evil. For the cliffhanger, I mean.

I love seeing Mycroft's distress through John's eyes, especially with the knowledge we have from the previous part that informs how much, exactly, Lestrade means to him. John's slow realization of the same is highly satisfying. And oh my heart, the description of Mycroft when he came to find John. John was perfectly himself--brave and speaking his mind--but Mycroft was in a rare state, which you expertly showed by showing so little.

I really enjoyed the way Mycroft's confession here mirrored Lestrade's previous confession to Mycroft. We all know that in every headcanon, Lestrade got Sherlock clean, but the fact that Mycroft tells the story to John now (and that John even thought the word "eulogy") made me shiver.

Oh god, torturing Lestrade! Nobody does it like you, m'dear!

"Here's what I got: Greg's doing his best because he's a stubborn, bloody-minded, brave bastard, not from any sense of hope. He doesn't think anyone's coming."

So true in this circumstance, but oh my, how painful. You have to hold on Greg! The cavalry's coming!

morganstuart
Jan. 3rd, 2013 01:19 am (UTC)
Your perfect icon is perfect. :D

Oh, thank you so much for this feedback, my friend. I'll be honest: I felt ridiculously self-indulgent while writing this, so I've wondered (and worried a bit) about how it translated. It means a lot to hear that it's working for you. I'm especially pleased that seeing Mycroft's distress through John's eyes made sense, and John's reaction to Mycroft felt IC.

I was also thrilled that the parallel between Mycroft's "confession" moment and Lestrade's came through. The "eulogy" idea broke my heart a bit.

The cavalry is coming, indeed! The third part's up now here, and the (longer) fourth part is on its way very, very soon.

Thanks a million for this, truly.
zauzat
Dec. 31st, 2012 09:23 am (UTC)
Odd sense of deja vu at the beginning :) but just as good the second time round and even better in the rest of the scene. I love John's astonishment that Mycroft might be friends with Lestrade (and the way you picked out tiny pieces of canon to build that picture). The image of shadows on shadows in the car providing a space for truth is gorgeous. And I still love this line loom there like a particularly grim example of civic sculpture.
morganstuart
Jan. 3rd, 2013 01:25 am (UTC)
LOL, I bet there was some deja vu! Thanks so much for taking the time to read this yet again! I'm so tickled John's astonishment at the Mycroft-Lestrade friendship (and the canon details supporting it) worked, and it's lovely to hear that the "shadows on shadows" bit of atmosphere struck the right note.

And I still love this line loom there like a particularly grim example of civic sculpture.

Oh, thank you! *makes happy clappy hands* YAY!

I appreciate your kind encouragement so much. Thanks again!
zauzat
Jan. 3rd, 2013 08:32 am (UTC)
I meant to add that I loved the dig at dumb crooks and social media.
morganstuart
Jan. 5th, 2013 01:49 pm (UTC)
I meant to add that I loved the dig at dumb crooks and social media.

Ha! Thank you. I'm tickled that you liked that. I couldn't resist. ;)
mazaher
Dec. 31st, 2012 02:12 pm (UTC)
So, I should have expected you'd leave everybody on a cliffhanger on new year's night!
I'll hold on to those unforgettable details, like Mycroft, afraid; John and Lestrade trying (with uncertain success) to absolve each other; and the truths that can only be voiced in the dark, in the in-between time inside a car at night.
Thank you, and a great new year
morganstuart
Jan. 3rd, 2013 01:27 am (UTC)
LOL! So sorry for the cliffhanger! I'm so thrilled that you found some of these details to be worthy of remembrance; thank you so much for letting me know which ones worked for you. That's amazingly helpful to me!

I'm most grateful to you. I hope your new year is off to a fantastic start!
kitmerlot1213
Dec. 31st, 2012 08:33 pm (UTC)
This is a fabulous story!

I like the idea of Mycroft and John working together to help their mutual friend and I love that Mycroft's been trying his best to look out for Greg and John.

Now I just hope they find Greg in time.
morganstuart
Jan. 3rd, 2013 01:28 am (UTC)
Oh, thanks so much for this! I'm delighted that you're enjoying it, and that the idea of Mycroft and John working together to help Greg strikes the right note. I really appreciate your encouraging words!
ascendant_angel
Dec. 31st, 2012 09:36 pm (UTC)
I literally screamed out loud, when I read to be continued. I am not good at waiting. I need more. I assure you you do not need a cliffhanger to lure us readers back to the next part we will follow wherever you go.
morganstuart
Jan. 3rd, 2013 01:30 am (UTC)
Ack! I am sorry! For some reason, that's how this story "came out." It is great to hear that you care what happens next, though, and I really appreciate your taking the time to read and comment and be so encouraging about my writing. You've put a big grin on my face. The third part's up now here, and the (longer) fourth/final part is on its way very, very soon.

Thanks again!

Edited at 2013-01-03 01:31 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
morganstuart
Jan. 3rd, 2013 01:32 am (UTC)
Awwww! I am truly sorry for the wait. The third part's up now here, and the (longer) fourth/final part is on its way very, very soon.

Thanks a million for reading, commenting, and being interested in what happens next. I appreciate it so much! Happy new year to you, too! :D
mundungus42
Jan. 4th, 2013 07:38 pm (UTC)
Oh no, poor Greg! I'm glad Mycroft and John are on the case, but the contrast between working with Sherlock and working with Mycroft couldn't be more pronounced. And now we know Mycroft can be afraid without being dosed with experimental drugs :D Bless Mycroft for getting John involved- I suspect it's one of those decisions that has many many reasons for it. The criminals and their motives are terrifyingly, realistically mundane. Here's hoping some unofficial awful things happen to them and that Mycroft and John reach Greg in time!
morganstuart
Jan. 5th, 2013 02:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you for this! I'm so glad that the contrast from John's point of view between working with Sherlock and working with Mycroft made sense. I find the thought of a frightened Mycroft to be singularly terrifying... if he's worried, you know it's bad! It's great to hear that the situation feels realistic (and mundane, as it is), and that you feel there are many layers to Mycroft's motivation for bringing John into the picture.

Your comments are such a delight and encouragement, and I'm most grateful for them. Many thanks!
cuddles_and_jam
Jan. 6th, 2013 11:34 pm (UTC)
AUGH.

I really like how you write Mycroft and John. They just seem very in character.
morganstuart
Jan. 8th, 2013 08:21 pm (UTC)
I really like how you write Mycroft and John. They just seem very in character.

Oh, thank you so much for this! I'm thrilled that these characterisations seem right.
fififolle
Jan. 11th, 2013 08:39 pm (UTC)
*runs about flailing*
This is EPIC.
morganstuart
Jan. 12th, 2013 01:47 pm (UTC)
Oh yay! I'm delighted that this is working for you! Thanks for this.
fredsmith518
Aug. 2nd, 2015 02:23 pm (UTC)
"Um, there's more," John admitted, "but I think I hit the high points." really like this line

serious cliffhanger!
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )