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Title: In from the Cold
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Rating PG
Characters: Mary Morstan, John Watson
Length: 640
Alternate Link: AO3
Author's Notes: Written for the watsons_woes WAdvent Day 8. Beta'd by Stevie.

Summary: Why would an operative of her experience risk a life with John Watson?

Moriarty's long-term plans had included me infiltrating John Watson's life as a nurse, positioned to provide services ranging from intelligence to assassination on command. When things went to shit, that cover identity, Mary Morstan, was the most bullet-proof available, so I went with it.

I found myself following the plan, taking a job at the clinic where Watson worked. It was a mission with no objective, but at least it was a mission. I decided to treat it like a long-term recon gig, and settled in for the game.

Watson wasn't what I had expected, based on Moriarty's briefing. I'd predicted a bored operator who'd lost his assignment, and would likely make the jump to join the elder Holmes' forces or a private merc company ASAP.

Instead, I met a man destroyed by Holmes' death. Widower, said my instincts, finely honed from recruiting mules and suicide bombers across Eastern Europe, a danger to himself and others. He was grieving, barely making it through the day at first. But he showed up, pasted a smile on his face, and got the job done. I respected that.

There were two times I saw Watson come alive in those first few months. The first was when a father ran into the clinic carrying his three year-old son, gasping and gulping, unable to breathe. Watson snapped questions and orders, diagnosed the problem in less than 60 seconds, and treated the boy for anaphylactic shock.

The second was tonight, when a junkie pulled a knife on me in the deserted waiting room. Before I could find a way to kill him without breaking cover, Watson took him down, quick and professional. He told me to call to call 999. I came back to find that Watson had released him from the submission hold and was staring him down with a tight little smile.

"Try it," Watson mouthed at the junkie, who glanced at the knife that had been kicked away under a chair a few feet away before cowering back into the corner.

It was the first time I met the man I'd seen in Moriarty's files, the one who could fire a kill-shot with a hand-gun from 15 meters away, through two panes of glass. The real John Watson.

Or one side of the real John Watson, anyway. My hands were shaking with rage afterwards, at the junkie for endangering my cover and at Watson for thinking I needed saving.

Watson assumed it was fear. He made me tea and sat with an arm around me as we were interviewed by the police. His combat-high slowly drained away until it was a grey and quiet man who walked me to my door, making sure I made it home alright.

It's an article of faith, among operatives of a certain level – the only way out of the game is in a body bag. The clinic, Mary Morstan, it was all just a way to stay under the radar until the Iceman called off his dogs and business went back to normal. But maybe …

John Watson was fucked up, but if he could do it, if he could save lives as well as take them, be as good at comforting a victim of violence as he was at inflicting it … maybe I could do it, too. Stop running. Make a home for myself. Have a man, a good man, because John Watson was good. By civilian standards he might be put together wrong, but I liked him that way, sharp edges and all.

I could save him; give him something to live for. I could. And maybe in the process he'd save me right back.

That was the night I turned on my front steps and kissed a surprised John Watson on the lips. "Thank you," I said, soft and heart-felt, before opening the door and slipping inside.

I knew John assumed I was thanking him for saving me from a kid hopped-up on amphetamines. And I knew that I would do anything, absolutely anything, so he could keep right on thinking that.

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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
rojo3131
Dec. 8th, 2015 06:04 pm (UTC)
Very interesting story; you gave Mary a context and a reason to lie to John, while keeping both very much in character!
keerawa
Dec. 9th, 2015 06:29 am (UTC)
Thank you, rojo, I pleased you found them in character!
kitmerlot1213
Dec. 8th, 2015 08:29 pm (UTC)
I love this story a great deal! I love the idea of John and Mary saving each other from the bleakness of their lives--lovely work on this :):)
keerawa
Dec. 9th, 2015 06:30 am (UTC)
What a fantastic icon! That's it - your pic perfectly captures why Mary believes it's worth the risk. Thank you kitmerlot!
gardnerhill
Dec. 16th, 2015 07:50 am (UTC)
Y'know, I can totally get behind a Mr. & Mrs. Smith interpretation of the Watsons in Season 4 - where John and Mary grab their guns and go out and teach James Bond how to REALLY do this job. Like Nick and Nora Charles but with body-counts. Even more awesome because Mary kicks ass, takes names and saves John while pregnant!

Edited at 2015-12-16 07:52 am (UTC)
keerawa
Jan. 6th, 2016 07:22 am (UTC)
Agreed, I think that would be great fun. Thanks for the comment, gardnerhill!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )