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Fic: Human Intelligence [BBC Sherlock]

Title: Human Intelligence
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Rating PG-13
Characters: John Watson, Mycroft Holmes, Sebastian Moran
Length: 1,366
Alternate Link: AO3
Author's Notes: Written for the watsons_woes JWP Prompt #14: All For One And One For All. Have any three characters cooperate to overcome some obstacle. Bonus points if they are characters that don't normally interact and/or work well with each other. Includes mild spoilers for the Season 3 finale. Follows Piano Lessons from the Jungle, but can be read as a stand-alone. Unbeta'd.
Summary: Your presence is urgently requested on a matter of national security. - MH

John was leaving the surgery when a black car pulled up in front of him. The door opened. John tensed up. It was probably just Mycroft being Mycroft, but ever since Moriarty's image had appeared on every screen in the nation last week, they'd all been on high alert.

His phone chimed a text alert.

Your presence is urgently requested on a matter of national security. If you are unable to comply immediately, I will need to make other arrangements, with a significantly lower chance of success. - MH

John sighed. Holmses. At least Sherlock was concise when he demanded John drop everything and run to help him. He settled inside the car and greeted Anthea, who ignored him as usual.

His phone chimed again.

Please notify them both that you won't be home tonight. You're about to enter radio silence. – MH

John texted Mary and Sherlock to let them know. He barely had time to read Sherlock's outraged response before the car windows quite literally went black, so he couldn't see out. When he tried his phone, there was no signal.

"Much more pleasant than a black bag over my head," John nervously joked to Anthea.

"Mmmhmmm," she agreed, eyes on her Blackberry.

A little over an hour later, Anthea escorted John through an underground parking garage into a steel lift. The doors snapped shut behind them. She typed a code into the unlabeled keypad, waited a few seconds, and then typed in another. John found himself morbidly wondering exactly what would happen if she'd typed in the wrong one.

The lift slid downwards, fast enough for his ears to pop, before letting them out on a dimly-lit floor.

"Doctor Watson," Mycroft greeted him as soon as they emerged from the lift. "Thank you for coming." Although the man was perfectly turned-out, John could see the circles under his eyes.

"Is this about Moriarty?" John asked.

Mycroft nodded. "Indeed. Sebastian Moran, Moriarty's former right-hand man, has been held in this facility since his capture eighteen months ago. After exhausting other sources of information, I showed him the Moriarty broadcast. He immediately demanded an opportunity to speak to you."

"To me?"

Sherlock would have rolled his eyes and exclaimed something about people with tiny brains. Mycroft's blandly attentive smile barely flickered at John's repetition.

"Yes, that's correct." Mycroft turned and began rapidly walking down the hallway, past dozens of blank doors. John caught up and walked next to him. "Although Moran originally appeared willing to cooperate, he has been … less than forthcoming over the past year. As you may recall, Moran was a Colonel in the British military before his dishonourable discharge. Use that connection to get him talking. About Moriarty, if possible, although I may be able to glean useful intelligence from any and all interactions."

He stopped at one of the doors and gestured for John to go inside. "I'll be watching," he said, stepping into the next door.

John took a breath, settled his shoulders straight, and walked in.

The room was white and fluorescent –lit, empty except for two chairs, a steel table, and the man shackled to it. He was over six foot tall with dark brown hair in a crew-cut, wearing some kind of off-white pyjamas.

Moran straightened up, giving him the 'bet I could take you' once-over that John remembered from the SAS boys in Afghanistan. "Captain Watson," he said.

'No you couldn't,' John let his stance reply. Moran had an impressive amount of muscle, but eighteen months in captivity was bound to slow anyone down. "Moran," he acknowledged crisply. "You asked to speak to me?"

"Yeah," Moran agreed. "Have a seat. Mi casa es su casa."

John moved into the room and pulled out the chair facing Moran. That put the large one-way mirror behind him. The back of John's neck prickled with the knowledge that Mycroft Holmes was observing them from behind it. Moran stared at him. There was something in his eyes, a peculiar sort of desperation.

John calmly stared back, letting the moment stretch, waiting for Moran to break it.

Finally Moran nodded abruptly to the wall near the door, where a flat screen showed a freeze-frame of the Moriarty broadcast. "That's not Jim," he said.

John swallowed. "What makes you think so?"

"Because Jim Moriarty is dead," Moran pronounced. "He died on the roof of St. Bart's, three years ago."

John felt the sudden, hysterical urge to laugh. "There seems to be a sudden rash of people faking their deaths," John managed. "What makes you think he wasn't one of them?"

"No, look," Moran said, leaning forwards until the shackles caught him short. "Jim didn't care about much, but the few things he gave a fuck about, he was obsessed with them, right? He had this tree –"

"A tree?" John said sceptically.

"Yeah, a little, what do you call it, a little Japanese tree. The thing was over fifty years old, and he worked on it a little bit every day, pruning it, watering it, hanging weights from it, whatever. I went by his place, three weeks after Bart's, and the thing had gone all brown. It was dying from lack of water."

"Are you seriously trying to tell me that Moriarty must be dead because he wouldn't have gone into hiding without his pet tree?"

"No. Well, maybe. He might have brought it with him. Might have, oh, chopped it to pieces, or burnt it up. But he never, never would have left it to die when he couldn't even enjoy killing it, right?"

That was … believably twisted.

There was a sharp rap at the mirror.

"Wait," Moran said urgently. "You tell that posh twat I've got a proposition. Whoever that is pretending to be Jim, they'll need me to pull it off, to gather up the pieces of his network. I'll serve them up on a platter, if he'll give me a chance."

"Why would we possibly trust you to do that? Three years ago you were trying to kill me," John pushed his chair back and stood up.

"There was nothing personal about that, right? I've got nothing against you or Holmes. Jim played, he lost. You hunt the most dangerous game, sometimes you get the tiger, sometimes the tiger gets you. That's the whole point. But these fucks that think they can take Jim's name, steal his legacy? They need to die, and I need to help put them in the ground."

John looked down at Moran, who looked about two seconds from begging. "Yeah, alright. I'll pass on your offer," he said.

John opened the door and walked out. A few seconds later, Mycroft met him in the hallway. His eyes danced over John's face and body in a thorough assessment.

"That was - well done," Mycroft said, his air of surprise making it more of an insult than a compliment. "Would you consider a short-term assignment as Moran's handler, should I accept his offer?"

It was tempting. Under the threat of Moriarty's return, Sherlock's Work at the moment mainly involved him staring at the Moriarty-web on his wall for twenty hours at a stretch. Things with Mary were still tense, and John had found himself starting to go for runs in the wrong part of town, at night, just for the potential thrill of a mugging. Then again, one or both of them might actually shoot him, to prevent him from going into the field with Moran. John shrugged. "Can I get back to you?"

"Naturally," Mycroft answered. "You'll need to consult with my brother, and I'm certain your wife will be able to offer valuable insights into Moran's situation." He smiled.

John found himself wondering if that was some type of threat.

"Time is of the essence, however. I'll expect your call by, shall we say, eight tomorrow morning?"

John nodded.

"Excellent. Until then, Doctor Watson." Mycroft disappeared back into the room he'd come from. John turned to find Anthea waiting for him down the hall. He had a little over an hour to figure out how to explain this to Mary and Sherlock, and he'd better make good use of it.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 15th, 2014 01:18 pm (UTC)
A most interesting proposal! I wonder what John will do?!?
Jul. 16th, 2014 04:17 am (UTC)
Say yes, of course. John gets bored too, you know! Thank you, tardisjournal!
Jul. 25th, 2014 11:43 am (UTC)
You have to continue this.
Jul. 25th, 2014 09:17 pm (UTC)
I'm working on it! Thanks for reading through and commenting on all of these, captain, its very encouraging!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )