wellingtongoose (wellingtongoose) wrote,

Land of Hope and Glory - Chapter 8


Sherlock knew he couldn’t stop the explosion any more than he could turn back time and make sure none of this could ever happen. He needed to make the most of what time he had left with John. They would be together in these final moments and that was what truly mattered.

AU – Mycroft Holmes leads the grim war on terror and Sherlock is his best secret agent: cold, calculating and ruthless. He is obsessed with destroying the militant terrorists hiding deep in the disused London Underground – until one momentous day when he meets a child soldier named John.

Rating PG-13

Genre Adventure/Action, Kidfic, Espionage, Romance, Dark,

Characters Sherlock/Irene, Sherlock&John, Mycroft/Anthea, Lestrade, Sally Donovan, Anderson, Moriarty

Length 40,000+ 16 Chapters

Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3.1 - Chapter 3.2 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7

The first shot shattered the glass wall directly behind Irene. She ducked, rolled sideways to the cabinet where she kept her back-up weapon, and pulled it out swiftly. When she looked up at the carnage outside, she could see that one of the three men had been shot: a dark pool of blood was seeping out from underneath his prone body. The other two had taken cover behind the desks of the junior case officers.

Before Irene could line up her weapon to fire, the alarms started blaring. She knew immediately that within five seconds the power to the entire floor would be cut, and within ten seconds the reinforced steel shutters would descend on the office, cutting off any chance of their escape from Mycroft's agents. The lock-down protocols were in place to restrict the movement of any hostiles that had successfully entered the building. Unfortunately that came at a cost to the agents who ended up getting trapped as well. They had a tiny window of opportunity to get out of the main office before it was entirely locked down. Irene had no desire for either of them to be interrogated in the basement of MI6 headquarters on the suspicion of passing information about Mycroft's pacemaker to the LRA, but if they were to have any chance of escape, they would have to work together.

Years of operating as partners in the field had led Sherlock and Irene to develop their own sign language. Quick, silent and almost impossible to interpret by outsiders, it was the key to many of their joint successes. Right now it was about to save their lives one more time.

Sherlock caught Irene's signal immediately and scrambled out from under her desk. The two men still left alive had not started firing at them, though they had weapons. They must have been ordered not to harm Sherlock.

"I'm going first," he indicated with his hands, and Irene nodded. They sprang out one after the other, running for the door as the lights suddenly died, leaving the entire floor to be illuminated by the dazzling rays of the rising sun. Under the glow of dawn the office had become a confused, shifting mass of dark shadows and sharp, blinding light.

Sherlock was almost at the door when one of the men leapt out from behind a computer terminal and grabbed him by the collar. A stab of fear shot through Irene's heart, but before she could react, a pair of strong hands closed themselves around her neck.

Survival instinct took over; a swift kick to the assailant's left knee was rewarded with an agonised cry as his kneecap fractured. The hands around her neck loosened but did not let go. Throwing all her weight forward, Irene plunged head-first towards the ground, taking her opponent with her as she tumbled. At the last moment before her knees hit the ground, she ducked her head, pulled at the hands around her neck, and used the man's own momentum to throw him over her shoulder in one smooth movement.

There was a resounding thud as one hundred fifty pounds of solid muscle and bone collided with the floor. Wasting no time to check whether the fall had done any damage, Irene dashed for the glass double doors separating Section D's main office from the rest of the floor. The grinding of cogs could be heard clearly above the grunts of Sherlock's ongoing melee with his opponent. With one push, both doors swung open just as the metal shutter started to descend.

In a matter of seconds, Sherlock quickly dispatched the second man with a well-aimed kick to his private parts and a heavy laptop to the head. He had the audacity to grin at her as they sped through the doors, past the empty reception area, and down the fire escape.

"Just like old times," he said breathlessly and flashed another toothy smile, his grey eyes dancing with exhilaration. Sherlock looked truly alive, a rare occurrence since his dishonourable discharge from the Service.

Going back to 221B Baker Street wasn't exactly the most imaginative or sensible of plans. Mycroft's men should have staked out the place well in advance, but it appeared that Sherlock had once again accurately predicted his older brother's reasoning. There were no discreetly-parked black cars or suspicious-looking people in smart suits lurking on the street. In fact, the entire road was completely deserted, except for the bright gathering of birds on top of the street lamps.

"Mycroft doesn't believe either of us would be so stupid as to come back here immediately," said Sherlock has he opened the front door. "He thinks security protocol is so ingrained in our behaviour that we'll go to ground and assume new identities."

"How long do you think we can evade your brother?" asked Irene as they stepped into Sherlock's cold, dark flat.

All thoughts of Mycroft's sudden urge to put her behind bars were chased away by the sight of Sherlock's kitchen. The table was littered with his private biology lab, and its surface was stained a multitude of colours by the chemicals that had been spilled over the years. The washing-up had piled up in the sink, giving off an unholy stench that could not possibly have come from mere rotting food. A row of dirty knives were hanging by wires above the sink, and empty plastic containers that still held remnants of dissected animals sat nonchalantly on the worktops. The only thing that actually appeared to be clean in the small kitchenette was Sherlock's scientific equipment.

The living room was not much better. The sofa and walls were riddled with bullet holes, which on closer study appeared to form several distorted smiley faces – why Mrs Hudson allowed Sherlock to get away with such behaviour was beyond comprehension. In comparison, the jackknife sticking out of the mantelpiece, skewering a stack of correspondence (consisting mainly of letters from her), seemed positively mundane. The bookshelves were dust-dimmed in some patches but polished in others, where they had been inadvertently cleaned by frequent use. In the upper left corner of the room above the books, a large black spider sat in the middle of a giant cobweb, looking disturbingly well-fed.

Irene wrinkled her nose and settled herself on the sofa, but had to immediately get up again when she realised she had sat down on a jar of tiny pickled hearts.

"I forgot how crazy your flat was," she said wearily. "You must have made a great effort to tidy up when I came to see you last time. You knew I was coming, didn't you?"

"Of course, Mrs Hudson helped me tidy up," confirmed Sherlock. "Tea?" He held up a kettle that appeared to be caked with spots of blood.

"Your brother is trying to arrest me and you're offering me tea?" grimaced Irene, wondering – not for the first time – if it wouldn't be a good idea to get Sherlock some professional help once this debacle was over.

When the man had been firmly entrenched in the intelligence service, a shining example of the dedicated agent, Sherlock's life had been well-ordered and precise. His old flat on Montague Street had been tastefully but minimalistically decorated, while his personal possessions were organised with an obsession bordering on OCD. She still remembered the first time she'd stumbled upon his "sock index" and laughed so hard he'd thought that she had found his baby photos, which Sherlock kept in a hidden compartment under the sock drawer.

Since his summary discharge, Irene had watched Sherlock's life disintegrate piece by piece. First the constant refusal to eat, then setting up his own private experiments with anything he could get his hands on, and finally this disconcerting lack of concern for hygiene in his home.

"Mycroft's not trying to arrest you…I have some food here somewhere," continued Sherlock, sounding somewhat put out by her refusal of tea. When he opened the fridge, Irene was assaulted with a wave of nausea – dismembered human limbs were crammed inside the tight space, their pale fingers grasping like claws.

"Sherlock! Where did you get those things?" she hissed.

He blinked guiltily and shut the door, blocking the limbs from view. "The morgue; there's a pathologist who lets me experiment on unclaimed cadavers."

Irene knew this was not the time to challenge Sherlock about his personal life, given they were both fugitives from the law. Speaking of which…

"Mycroft thinks I told the LRA about his pacemaker, doesn't he?" said Irene incredulously. "Your brother really is a piece of work!"

"I have often said we couldn't possibly be related, but apparently DNA tests don't lie," said Sherlock with a wry smile, "…and he doesn't think that you told the LRA."

"There are only four people in the world that know about his pacemaker: you, me, Anthea, and his cardiologist, but he's only focused on me. So much for all the lip service he paid tobeing family."

Sherlock looked at her expectantly, and when she apparently didn't come to the conclusion he was hoping for, he sighed. "Those men weren't just there for you, Irene. If they were, you would have been knocked out before you even saw their faces; they had to wait around for me to appear as well."

"Don't you think it's wrong that your brother can just grab people on a whim?" asked Irene. It was the thought which had plagued her ever since she had met the man a decade ago. Except then he hadn't been so powerful – or at least wasn't yet using his power in such a blatant manner.

Sherlock's expression hardened into an ice-cold mask. "We're not here to discuss that," he said with quiet menace.

"Ours not to reason why, ours but to do and die. Is that it?"

"We should get some sleep," said Sherlock abruptly, opening the door to his bedroom. "We need to be in the Underground by early tonight."

"Sleep? The government is out looking for us; we've already stayed here too long. Get your gear together, we need to leave!"

Sherlock scoffed at her panic. "Don't worry. We have plenty of time," he said, sounding completely calm about the whole situation.

"He has CCTV footage of us coming here!"

"No, he doesn't. I know where the blind spots are – that's why I chose this flat in the first place. The two cameras that cover this entire street have been modified. Mycroft is currently tied up looking for potential fake identities we have assumed. His best lead at the moment is on the BA0456 flight to Manila."

"You knew all of this was going to happen ages ago," breathed Irene, her emotions a strange mixture of shock and admiration.

"Weeks, really, but it was only confirmed after I met with the LRA, saw their detailed blueprints for the Houses of Parliament, and found out the exact date of the attack. I knew they couldn't have uranium; my sources are reliable. Given the way they wanted me to wire that box, it could only be an electromagnetic pulser, but as a terror tool that's ridiculously ineffective. Therefore it wasn't going to be a terror attack, but an assassination – an assassination of a man that they would never be able to kill any other way: Mycroft. They had to pick a day when he would have to be in Parliament –"

"– The reopening of Parliament after the summer –"

"Exactly. Mycroft wouldn't have figured it out until the JIC report came back; he trusts his own sources far too much. Having been forced to conclude that his sources are wrong, he would waste no time in springing into action…but it won't be as well-planned as his usual diabolical schemes. I assure you, he won't be here for a while yet; he's still off chasing ghosts on the street. My contact in MI6 has been laying down a nice, neat trail of breadcrumbs away from our door."

Irene stared at the man who had been her closest confidant, ally, and friend for the last ten years, and marvelled at how little she really knew Sherlock. At moments like this his brilliance almost took her breath away.

"Please, don't feel the need to tell me that was remarkable or amazing," said Sherlock impassively. "John's already expressed that sentiment in every variant known to man."

Before Irene had time to realise that Sherlock had mentioned John, the front door started to swing open slowly of its own accord, the sinister creaking noise sending a spike of fear racing up Irene's spine.

She turned to look just as the wooden tip of a long, black umbrella pushed its way into the flat.

"Well, allow me to tell you how brilliant that was, little brother. It's just a pity you forgot one thing – I know you better than you know me."

Production Notes:

Mycroft and absolute power.

As readers have probably realised, Mycroft is the British Government – and effectively a dictator. Although there are nominal checks in place to limit his power, there is no doubt who really runs the country. You will see that even though on the surface Sherlock is petulant and abrasive to his brother, he is definitely not delusional about Mycroft's power. "He is the most dangerous man you will ever meet."

Mycroft is cunning enough to "abuse" his power only when necessary, giving the impression of a benign, good-natured and – most importantly – distant autocrat to those that understand the extent of his power. Of course, the question of whether anyone should have so much power in a democracy does sit uncomfortably, and the problem is alluded to by Lestrade, Irene and Sherlock. However, none of them wants to risk actually challenging the status quo, and this is how Mycroft keeps his power. He ensures that everyone who knows about his power has a stake in making sure he stays in power.

AN: Please take the time to leave kudos or write a comment- I really appreciate any feedback. It does not have to be complicated, insightful or sophisticated. Just a quick note to say you like it is enough!

Tags: character: anthea, character: irene adler, character: jim moriarty, character: john watson, character: lestrade, character: mycroft holmes, character: sherlock holmes, series: land of hope and glory

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