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Title: Security Check
Characters: John Watson, Mycroft Holmes
Rating: PG
Length: 1150
Spoilers/Warnings: Spoilers for 1x01, 'A Study in Pink'
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the BBC, Moffat, and possibly ACD.
Thanks to: Steven for the beta, and for allowing me to fictionalize a certain notorious evening at the pub.
Summary: Sherlock frequently worked with highly classified material in his home; any potential flat-mate would need to be vetted.

The Watson file was 1.5 centimetres thicker than it had been eighteen hours ago, when Sherlock Holmes invited him for a flatshare. The speed with which this information had been collected was a testament to the efficiency of the modern intelligence services. Sherlock frequently worked with highly classified material in his home; any potential flat-mate would need to be vetted. However, given Sherlock’s nature, any candidate for the position would require an unusual set of qualifications. Mycroft opened the file and read through it, concentrating on the interview passages that his assistant had highlighted as pertinent.

[Mary Emerson, teacher, age 12]
Johnny was very bright. Then again, they all were, it was a KE Grammar School. He never fit in with the other students. Too much of the wrong sort of imagination, and rather tender-hearted. He was teased quite a bit at first, and the temper on him! I thought he would be sent down for fighting. He was always scrapping with the older boys. Eventually the worst of the lot learned to keep their distance, and he settled down nicely once he joined the rugby team.

[Richard Jones, rugby team captain, age 14]
… everybody’s mate, no one’s friend. He really liked being a part of the team, though, and I think he looked up to me. Johnny wasn’t the fastest or most skillful player on the team, but he always showed willing. And he was fearless. He once took a brutally hard tackle from a lad who must’ve weighed 15 stone. I was sure we’d be carrying Johnny off the field, but he got right up and staggered into place for the conversion. Wasn’t until after the match we realized he’d a concussion and two broken fingers.

[Michael Stamford, classmate at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College, age 19]
I wouldn’t say we were close, but John was always ready to lend a hand, or a fiver, or notes for a lecture I’d missed. He was an odd duck. One time, after this grueling four hour lab where we’d been dissecting human cadavers, a group of us went round the pub to relax. John was scarfing down a ploughman’s lunch; none of the rest of us were up to eating yet. I saw John pick at something between his teeth, and then he got the most peculiar look on his face.

I asked him what was wrong, and he answered calmly, ‘I think I’ve just found a bit of Ms. Johnson’s lung tissue in my mouth.’ Well, you can imagine everyone’s reaction. Emily ran to the loo, hand over her mouth. John followed her a moment later. I went after them, to make sure they were both all right. I could hear Emily retching in the Ladies’. And John? Under the rush of water from the sink, I could hear John giggling away.

[Sergeant Anne Richards, QARANC, Bastion Field Hospital, Afghanistan]
… Army doctors, they treat us nurses like dirt, but not Captain Watson. He was an excellent surgeon, too. Very, mmm, conscientious. Perhaps a little too much? In medicine, you’re always going to lose patients, and in a field hospital, between the severity of the wounds soldiers come in with and our limited treatment capabilities, the casualty rate is higher than anyone would like. Captain Watson never came to terms with it.

There was this one private who’d been trapped in a burning ATV during a firefight. He had multiple bullet wounds, third-degree burns covering most of his legs, and his chest cavity was riddled with shrapnel. I don’t know how he was conscious when they brought him in, but he was. Captain Watson chatted up a storm with him before the surgery, asking about his family back home, did he have a girl waiting for him. All the things you say to keep patients focused and remind them of why they should hold on.

The Captain operated on that soldier for eight hours. It was obvious after two that the boy wouldn’t make it, but the Captain wouldn’t stop. After five hours Major Thompson came by and ordered Captain Watson to call it; the Captain told him to sod off. (Must you write that down? Oh. Well, the Captain wasn’t insubordinate. Not usually. It was special circumstances.) By the end it was just me and him left in the operating theatre, standing over that poor boy’s body in the middle of the night. Captain Watson shook my hand, thanked me for my help, and ordered me to get a hot meal and a full eight hours sleep before I came back on duty.

Major Thompson started sending him out on patrols with the SAS squad after that. The Major called it something like, ‘Provisional far forward placement of assets to improve Golden Hour treatment options’, which was complete rubbish. RAMC trauma surgeons don’t get assigned combat medic duty. It was a punishment. We all knew it. The Major expected Captain Watson to come crawling back and request permission to resume his duties in the field hospital. But the Captain never did.

[Major Alan Bryant, commander of D Squadron, 23 SAS, Afghanistan]
Is Thompson behind this review? Because the only worth-while thing that idiot’s done in this theatre of operations was to assign Captain Watson to support my squadron.

Watson was one hell of a doctor, and one hell of a soldier. He didn’t have half the training he ought to, to be out with us, but he kept up. Volunteered for extra training and drills so he wouldn’t be a liability in the field. He’s the kind of soldier we need in Special Forces. Not the arseholes that name their weapons and tally their kills. No, we need the quiet men who are at their best when things are worst.

Look - he killed an enemy combatant and dragged Sergeant Mackenzie to cover, after he’d been shot, as I wrote in my report. What else do you need to know? That man deserves the Military Cross, and I’m damned if I’ll let some desk monkey keep him from getting it.

[Doctor Ella Thompson, post-discharge therapist]
… trust issues …

Mycroft paused and skimmed the rest of that section, wondering why his assistant had deemed it unworthy of his attention. Watson’s discharge papers indicated a psychosomatic limp in addition to the intermittent hand tremor. Surely his therapy notes would be informative. Mycroft soon realized he was indeed wasting his time with her observations. Haunted by the war? Preposterous. The woman hadn’t the slightest idea what sort of man she was dealing with.

Overall, the interviews were very promising. Watson might well be inclined to tolerate Sherlock's eccentricities, and could provide a steadying influence. His financials, however, displayed a potentially exploitable weakness. Mycroft would need to meet this Doctor Watson for himself to judge if he could be trusted to share a flat with Sherlock.



( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
May. 9th, 2012 05:46 am (UTC)
Thank you, yamikinoko! I'm sure Mycroft justifies his use of government resources to look after Sherlock to himself like this on a regular basis. I had a lot of fun with the structure.

If you're in the mood for some post-Reichenbach narratives, I'm pleased with John in Post Mortem and my Sherlock-POV vid Children's Work.
May. 8th, 2012 03:43 am (UTC)
I rather liked Mycroft's POV on Sherlock's new flatmate.
May. 9th, 2012 05:46 am (UTC)
Thank you, bugeyedmonster!
May. 8th, 2012 03:47 am (UTC)
Oh, how I ADORE knowing more about what sort of man Watson is. The backstory, as said above, is wonderful.
May. 9th, 2012 05:48 am (UTC)
Thank you, soberlocki! John is a strange and wonderful fellow.
May. 8th, 2012 03:54 am (UTC)
Oh, NICE. Love the nurse, and the SAS commander bitching about 'where the fuck is his medal?' (Is the financials a reference to ACD's Watson having a gambling streak? or just the problem of pension and part-time job in London?)
May. 9th, 2012 06:11 am (UTC)
I wrote one you could read, Rhi! \o/ Can't you see John getting himself into trouble for something like that? I'm glad the SAS commander's attitude came across; I could hear him so clearly in my head.

BBC Watson doesn't seem to show any signs of a gambling problem. I was just thinking of that fact that he's living in London on an army pension and has pretty much burned through his savings at this point. (By the Blind Banker, he didn't have enough money in his account to cover groceries and had to ask Sherlock to loan him some cash.) When someone is short on money, it's much easier to bribe them. I figure that was at least part of Mycroft's reason for offering him money in their initial meeting/kidnapping.

Interesting enough, though, an interview with the person being vetted - to ensure there is no evidence of i) bribes received or paid and ii) an opportunity for being bribed or blackmailed due to debt or embarrassing expenditure is apparently an established part of the vetting process for high level security clearance in the UK. Yes, I did over five hours of research for an 1100 word story. *face-palms*
May. 13th, 2012 09:02 pm (UTC)
Yes, I did over five hours of research for an 1100 word story. *face-palms*

Been here, done this! (due South in particular is bad for that...) And yes, I can completely see John doing that *and* telling the major that and then going for the extra training to keep up with his field unit rather than not be there when they needed him.

Loved this!
May. 8th, 2012 06:42 am (UTC)
Oh, interesting! You give great backstory as always.
May. 9th, 2012 06:12 am (UTC)
Thanks, luzula! It's fun, filling in the canonical blanks.
May. 8th, 2012 06:57 am (UTC)
Ok this is wonderful. I loved your explanation for John being in combat. Brilliant job.
May. 9th, 2012 06:14 am (UTC)
Thank you, mildly_neurotic! The cuircumstances under which John was wounded doesn't really make sense, in canon. But that's what makes writing fan-fic so much fun!
May. 9th, 2012 08:38 am (UTC)
It really doesn't. Which is why I love clever authors fixing that. :-)
May. 8th, 2012 09:33 am (UTC)
This was fabulous. I loved it.
May. 9th, 2012 06:14 am (UTC)
Thanks so mcuh, I appreciate the comment!
May. 8th, 2012 09:47 am (UTC)
Oh, lovely. I bet when Mycroft saw the bit about the lung tissue, he probably realized that this flat share thing might actually work out. Also, I love your explanation for why John was on the front lines. It makes so much sense.
May. 9th, 2012 06:17 am (UTC)
Oh, absolutely! (They do giggle at crime scenes, after all.) I've always wondered just why Mike Stamford thought John would make a good flatmate for Sherlock. AND about John's unconventional RAMC service. Making sense out of canonical mysteries is fentertaining!
May. 8th, 2012 07:58 pm (UTC)
Loved it! Loved the insights into John's character, Mycroft's reasons for getting the info and the way this led to Mycroft offerening John the bribe for spying on Sherlock.
May. 9th, 2012 06:20 am (UTC)
Thank you, pinigir! I'd say that Mycroft has both official and unofficial reasons for wanting to investigate Sherlock's potential flatmate. But he may not admit all of them, even to himself. Establishing if someone is bribeable or black-mailable is a part of any serious security clearance, but the fact that John is dead broke must have made him look especially vulnerable to a bribe.
May. 11th, 2012 11:27 pm (UTC)
That's what I like about Mycroft's position here. He does have some really legitimate reasons to investigate any potential flatmate or other type of associate of Sherlock's, because of the security risks involved. But Mycroft also actually cares about his little brother and what happens to him. All the more reason to do this.

It would probably have been bad for John if he did decide to spy on Sherlock, though I guess Mycroft would have found some use for him then as well. Getting more information about Sherlock wouldn't have been unhelpful to Mycroft's cause. :-)
May. 8th, 2012 09:11 pm (UTC)
I like this a lot - interesting take on John's backstory!
May. 9th, 2012 06:20 am (UTC)
Thank you, alocin42! I think John is far less ordinary than he tends to appear when standing next to Sherlock Holmes.
May. 8th, 2012 10:31 pm (UTC)
Fascinating take on John!
May. 9th, 2012 06:21 am (UTC)
Thanks, innie_darling! And wehat a perfect icon for the occasion!
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 4th, 2012 02:47 pm (UTC)
It is interesting, how Mike immediately concludes that Sherlock and John would make good flat-mates. Excellent point about John moving away from Sherlock when he's annoyed with him - I hadn't quite realized it, until you mentioned it! THanks for reading, linabean!
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 15th, 2013 10:44 pm (UTC)
Welcome to Sherlock, Jesse! Thanks so much - I do try!
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )