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Fic: Implicated

Title: Implicated
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Rating PG-13
Characters: John Watson, Sebastian Moran
Length: 750 words
Alternate Link: AO3
Author's Notes: Written for the watsons_woes JWP Prompt #29: Fraught With Possibilities. Use at least one of these as the inspiration for today's entry: brothers, cleaning house, tools of the trade, nightmares, friends in high places. Post season 3. Set after Human Intelligence, No Way Out but Through, and The Milk of Human Kindness. Unbeta'd.
Summary: It was just a little errand for John and Moran to prove themselves to the Moriarty group - one that involved weapons of mass destruction and murder.

The Botanical Gardens were thronged with people on this lovely spring afternoon. John walked past the entrance to the Palm House, alert for people who moved wrong, dressed wrong, any sensation of being watched.

On the westernmost bench sat a man tanned brown, huddled in his heavy coat as if it were freezing, a Boots bag by his side. To the casual observer it would look like his lunch, but the bag should contain a vial of a very precious and very dangerous liquid. John wasn't certain if it was a biological or chemical agent, but the suitcase swinging from John's right hand held 250 thousand pounds he was meant to trade for the sample.

If all went well, he and Moran would have just enough time to duck into the van parked next to their car in the underground parking garage, where Mycroft's people waited in a mobile containment lab, ready to take a tiny sample of the liquid for analysis. Then they would turn the rest over to the Moriarty group. An errand to prove their loyalty. He only hoped they could take the bastards out before they got a chance to use whatever terrible weapon he was fetching for them.

John settled on the opposite side of the bench, sliding his suitcase under the bench. "Been feeding the pigeons?" he asked the man. The set-up was all very James Bond, with public meetings, signs and counter-signs. Even to John it had seemed vaguely ridiculous; Moran said it proved whoever they were buying from was an amateur.

"No, they don't like rye bread," replied John's contact, correctly.

With an internal sigh, John picked up the Boots bag. Something about the weight of it felt wrong, and John quickly checked inside, removing a Mars bar wrapped in paper.

The man's hand disappeared under his coat. "Don't be an idiot," John hissed. "I have friends in high places."

On that phrase a red laser dot appeared on the man's hand and leisurely travelled up to rest over his heart before blinking out. Moran was in position on the roof of a nearby building, covering him.

"You wouldn't dare," whispered the man in what John thought might be a South African accent. "You won't be able to produce more on your own. You need me." He seemed to be working himself into a state.

"It's only a precaution," John reassured him. "Now, if you have it with you, take it out and hand it over. I'll leave you the suitcase, and everyone goes home, no harm done. If you didn't bring it with you today, I'll take the suitcase with me and we can reschedule."

The man tried to pull the gun out from under his coat. John lunged across the bench, hand out-stretched to stop him, as the sound of a rifle shot echoed across the square.

For a moment John was back in Kandahar, pinned down under sniper fire. He reached out to check the pulse of the soldier sprawled on the ground next to him. Nothing. He was dead.

Around John, people were screaming, running away, calling for the police. He gave himself ten seconds to check the man's pockets for the vials, coming up empty, before picking up his suitcase and jogging away, moving with the crowds.

"That was unnecessary," he whispered into his mike.

"Looked very bloody necessary to me," he heard Moran reply from the headphone tucked into his ear. "No offense, Watson, but amateurs are dangerous. And now they'll know we mean business."

It suddenly hit John - he wasn't a soldier anymore. He wasn't in Afghanistan, or Iraq, or anywhere where these sorts of things were expected, allowed. He was on British soil, and he'd been implicated in a man's murder. Christ, there'd been dozens of people there. Witnesses. John was still something of a minor celebrity, he might well have been recognized. Someone might have even snapped a picture of him with their phone, as he searched through the dead man's pockets. John tossed his hat into a skip in a nearby alleyway.

John headed for Queen's University. He paused in an entryway, wiped his brow, took off his jacket and folded it, inside out, over his arm. Then he ambled away slowly, as if admiring the view. Mycroft had told him that the British government could not be associated with Moriarty, Moran, or terrorists. If he were caught, brought in for questioning, even suspected of terrorist ties, he'd be on his own. He could be held for 28 days before they even had to lay charges.

He would have to be more careful. For the first time, John truly understood that, even if he made it through this, he might never be able to go home.