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Fanfiction: Sherlock, BBC
Title: Fire Storm
Summary: "Do you regret it?" - A simple fall can change everything, but some things are always the same – and some are not quite what they seem. After all, no one said this would be easy. Sequel to my one shot 'Black Ice'.
Chapter Word Count: Approx 4,100
Rating: Teen
Notes: I do not own Sherlock. This was a very difficult chapter to write and I'm quite uncertain as to how it turned is appreciated!

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine

Silence reigns for what feels like a very long time as they stand in the aftermath of the collapse. John's throat is burning as his coughs subside; his eyes are stinging from the dust. He blinks rapidly and stares at the wreckage, Sherlock and Lestrade beside him. Belatedly, he realises he is still holding onto Sherlock's wrist, and relinquishes his grasp. Sherlock does not react, his eyes fixed on the building with an expression of deep foreboding on his face.

Lestrade is the first to speak.

'You okay?' he directs at the pair of them, turning away from the house; John nods distractedly. Sherlock doesn't reply; the only change in his countenance is that his frown deepens even further.

'Anderson?' shouts Lestrade, looking around, 'Donovan?'

'Over here, Sir!' John and Lestrade both glance towards the voice. It's Donovan who spoke, and both she and Anderson are standing a good ten feet away with expressions on their faces that mirror John's own shock, otherwise relatively unscathed.

'Clark? Hopkins?' Two more shouts respond. Clark is sporting a gash across his left arm and Hopkins is still coughing violently, but both have managed to avoid the worst of the falling rubble. Lestrade moves away, calling more names as he goes and checking everyone made it out okay. John turns to Sherlock,

'I take it there's no point asking if that was coincidence?' he asks, only a touch of hope in his voice because he already knows what the answer will be. Sherlock shakes his head and, finally, looks at John.

'Are you alright?' he ignores John's question, eyes raking over the doctor closely.

'I'm fine,' John assures him with a tight smile, which quickly vanishes. 'Are you?'

'Of course I am...' Sherlock mutters distractedly, suddenly turning on the spot and surveying the street. Previously deserted save for the police, a number of curious residents are now poking their heads out of various doors and windows to see what's going on.

'This was a trap, wasn't it?' John tries again, his voice grim. Sherlock nods and hums quietly in agreement, eyes narrowed. 'Have you got any more idea who might be behind it?' He tries and fails to keep the impatience from his voice as he waits for Sherlock to respond. 'Sherlock? Are you going to answer any time soon, or shall I come back later?'

'Yes,' Sherlock replies eventually, his gaze returning to John, 'it was a trap. Whoever this is, they're getting desperate; there must have been at least a dozen people in that building, and they obviously had no problem with anyone getting caught in the crossfire.' And yet were clearly not squeamish about outright murder – and more than capable of cleaning up any evidence...

John doesn't have time to respond before Lestrade is back with them, looking harried.

'Did everyone get out?' John asks, concerned, while Sherlock continues to survey the street.

'Everyone except Bradstreet and Forbes,' Lestrade replies, 'I got radio contact with Bradstreet, he's still inside but he's conscious and apparently not badly injured, just stuck. Can't get through to Forbes – the fire crew are on their way.'

'Excellent,' mutters Sherlock distractedly. A small crowd of onlookers have started to gather, milling curiously a short distance away. Some are pulling out mobile phones tentatively, some shaking their heads and tutting about dangerous buildings being left without renovation. Still others seem to be taking photographs; Sherlock narrows his eyes at one man in particular.

'Are you even listening?' Lestrade asks irritably, scowling at Sherlock.

'I'll be no help here,' Sherlock replies, half turning towards Lestrade, still watching the crowd. 'Coming, John?'

'You're just leaving?' Lestrade interjects, a note of disbelief in his voice.

'Yes – John?' Sherlock replies impatiently.

'I –' John hesitates, glancing between Sherlock and the ruined house behind them.

'My staying here won't serve any purpose. Any useful evidence is buried in there, and there are more than enough people for a search party – I need to follow a lead,' Sherlock says quickly, evidently itching to get moving. John nods grimly in understanding, but makes no move to follow Sherlock.

'I might be able to help; I should stay,'

'Fine. I'll see you back at the flat, then.'

'Sherlock – for God's sake, be careful,'

'Yes, John,' Sherlock says; he doesn't roll his eyes, but he might as well have. With a last quick nod and another visual sweep of the street, he turns on his heel and starts towards the crowd. For a split second, his eyes meet those of his target – a tall, broad black man glaring sullenly at the scene before him. Then the man turns and begins pushing his way roughly through the crowd.

Sherlock quickens his pace, dodging with cat-like agility through the growing throng. Tall though he is he still has to jump and crane his neck to see far enough to keep his eyes on his target. It's pointless to be cautious now; the man knows he is being followed. Even without pausing to apologize to those he shoves unceremoniously out of his path, Sherlock's progress is slow – too slow. He's falling too far behind –

'Out of my way!' he shouts in frustration. Some people scatter; others become more obstinate still, deliberately holding him up now with stupid, pointless, boring lectures about what on Earth he thinks he's doing. He resorts to calling 'police!' and holding Lestrade's badge out in front of him. He moves too quickly for it to be read, but they seem to get the message, and as he moves out onto the open street, far fewer objections are raised.

But now he's lost sight of the man. The road is almost deserted; Sherlock passes few cars and even fewer pedestrians, which should make the culprit much easier to spot, but still Sherlock cannot see him. He slows to a walk, catching his breath, ready to spring into action at the slightest notice of something suspicious. His eyes dart left and right ceaselessly, searching...

He turns a corner – there! He doesn't run this time, keeping a reasonable distance between himself and his prey, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible so that the man isn't alarmed into another flight.

So focused is he on the chase that Sherlock barely notices the increasingly sparse population of the streets. The few people already out on Christmas day gradually peter into the distance, and soon Sherlock and his target are the only two in sight. Sherlock drops back, deliberately slowing his pace and looking at the ground, hands thrust deep into his pockets with every appearance of the tired, solitary walker. He chances a look upwards every few steps to keep track of his quarry, and listens hard for any change in the pace or direction the man might make.

If not the actual culprit for the murder, Sherlock is almost certain that this man is responsible for at least ensuring the ruin of the building. Possibly he set a minor explosive – the first thud that Sherlock heard – to trigger the collapse. It does not particularly matter to Sherlock at the moment how the collapse was rigged – only that it was. How it happened is of no importance unless it can lead him to the perpetrator, which he very much doubts. This man is probably in the employ of another, anyway...possibly he had very little idea who or what he was actually targeting...

Lost in his train of thought, Sherlock almost forgets to look up; he has been following by ear alone for several minutes. When he lifts his eyes from the pavement he finds himself – how unoriginal – in a small, dark side street. The walls of the buildings either side are tall and sheer save for a single cracked, plastic drainpipe on one and a battered blue door on the other. The dirty red brick is splattered with graffiti, the new slightly brighter and more discernible than the old it has painted over. Sherlock thinks he recognises Raz's work.

The suspect has stopped, only three or four metres away, and is facing Sherlock.

'Masser Holmes,' he says, 'you ain't followin' me, are you?'

'Would I be likely to find anything, if I was?' Sherlock asks in reply. The man's expression twitches irritably at this nonchalant response, and he – unconsciously, it seems – balls a fist at his side.

'Now see here, Masser Holmes –'

'Are you about to threaten me off the case?' Sherlock interrupts, with a somewhat bored sigh, 'you really ought to save your breath; I assure you it won't work.'

'You don't know who you're dealin' with,' says the aggressor in the same low growl.

'Not yet, no,' Sherlock admits amicably enough, 'care to save some time and tell me?'

'You ain't –'

'Oh leave it,' Sherlock snaps. 'If I don't back off something terrible will happen to me – have a little originality.'

'Might not happen to you – might be that doctor friend of yours.'

Sherlock advances without thinking, his eyes flashing dangerously, 'leave him alone.'

'Touched a nerve?' the man jeers. Sherlock takes a breath and schools expression to impassivity once more. It takes more effort than it should.

'Who hired you?' he asks simply, 'who's behind this?'

'I ain't hardly gonna tell you, am I?'

'Trust me; it will save you as much trouble as me if you do. I will find out, either way.'

'Well then why'd you need me tellin' you? Ain't gonna do me no good going bleatin' to the likes of you.'



Sherlock sighs. 'Any,' he repeats, 'it isn't going to do you any good.'

'Well then what's the point in me riskin' my neck for it?' he demands roughly; Sherlock rolls his eyes with impatience.

'Very well; I'm sure I can find out myself, and the police will certainly be interested to hear about the Perkins assault.' With this, Sherlock turns and starts to walk away, but the man grabs his arm and tugs him around –

'What d'you think you know about that?' he growls, 'you don't know nothing!'

'Anything,' Sherlock corrects irritably, 'but if you expect to keep your activities private, Steve Dixie, bare-knuckle boxing is not the one I would chose to participate in.' He glances loftily at the grazes across the back of the man's hands, and the old bruise covering most of the left side of his face.

'How'd you know my name?'

'Process of elimination,' Sherlock replies evasively, pulling his arm away from Dixie's grip with a look of distain.

'Ain't worth my skin to tell you noth – anything,' Dixie hisses, 'you ain't got no proof on Perkins. I wasn't nowhere near when that went down!'

'We'll see,' Sherlock steps away again, but Dixie grabs for him a second time. Sherlock swats his hand away and Dixie throws a punch wildly, catching Sherlock lightly as he dodges, but it hurts nevertheless. Sherlock kicks out, hard – Dixie reels back, and Sherlock turns on his heel, his coat swirling around his legs as he strides back out of the alley. Dixie is left spluttering angrily and glaring, but doesn't try to follow.

By the time Sherlock arrives back at Baker Street, John is already there, sat jiggling his leg restlessly in the red armchair. When the door opens, he jumps up and starts towards Sherlock instantly, his expression radiating concern.

'What the hell happened?' he demands, gesturing at Sherlock's bruised face, relief surging through him despite the injury.

'What? Nothing,' Sherlock replies, waving a hand dismissively, 'he spotted me following him, wasn't too pleased.'

'For God's sake...remind me never to confiscate your phone again.'

'I was going to suggest the same thing,' Sherlock replies, not really paying attention. He paces the room agitatedly. He runs a hand through his hair, frowning in concentration and muttering under his breath; a constant stream of words more to himself than to John. '...probably doesn't even know who his employer is, probably the bottom of the chain – prevent anything leading back to whoever's behind it all...clever – is it clever? But they've got to make a mistake; they always do...and why commit one murder to bait another? Why not just come after me in the first place?'

'Right,' John says suddenly, not sure whether his irritation comes from Sherlock's disregard of his own safety, or that of others. 'Forbes and Bradstreet are fine, by the way,' he continues tightly, for want of anything else to justify his interruption.

'Hmm?' Sherlock stops pacing for a moment, glancing round,

'The two men who were trapped in that building; the ones who could have died, just like you could have. In case you cared, they're both out.'

'Right, yeah, good...' Sherlock mutters distractedly. John sighs and shakes his head, gritting his teeth in irritation but deciding against pressing the point while Sherlock continues to talk, still seemingly to himself. 'Even if we could find out who his employer is...there are probably almost as many criminals working independently as there are under Moriarty's thumb – how are we supposed to work out which ones are which?'

'Check for the Dark Mark?' John suggests carelessly as he shrugs and sits down, folding his arms.

'What?' Sherlock snaps at the interruption to his thoughts, stopping and giving John an irritably nonplussed look. John shakes his head,

'Nothing. Never mind.'

Sherlock paces in silence and John tries to interest himself in yesterday's newspaper, but more often than not simply finds himself following his flatmate's restless movements up and down the room.

'Phone,' Sherlock announces, stopping suddenly almost half an hour later. John, who has finally been able to spend a full twenty seconds staring at the words of the news article without distraction (though without taking them in, either), looks up and frowns. 'Phone,' Sherlock repeats, 'I need my phone – MRS HUDSON!' he roars suddenly. There's a thud from downstairs as though their landlady has dropped something in surprise, and moments later they hear her hurrying up the steps. Sherlock strides across the room and rips the door open as she reaches it.

'Sherlock –' she starts,

'I need my phone. Now.' He swings the door closed in her face again and lets several seconds pass before he shouts again impatiently – 'PHONE!'

'Give her a chance, Sherlock,' John warns, folding the newspaper and putting it aside slowly, 'what's going on? Have you worked something out?'

'Shinwell Johnson,' Sherlock replies, going to open the door again – John, sensing another outburst about to come, lays a placating hand on Sherlock's arm,

'She'll be as fast as she can,' he says, 'who's Shinwell Johnson?'

'Contact,' Sherlock replies shortly, 'ex-con, useful to have around occasionally. Inside pair of eyes.' His words are spoken quickly, his tone clipped, as though lamenting the wasted energy put into explaining.

'So have you any idea of who's actually behind –?'

'No. Not yet. That's why I need Johnson.' At the sound of Mrs Hudson's footsteps outside the door again he pulls it open sharply and seizes his mobile from her hand, immediately turning and focusing all his attention on the little screen, thumbs working so fast across it that they are almost blurs.

'Thanks,' John says quietly to Mrs Hudson, half an eye on Sherlock's back. Mrs Hudson shakes her head,

'Don't you worry about it. Just make sure you find whoever this is, and make sure he gets some rest while you're at it! It's not good, all this running around, he'll do himself a mischief one of these days, one he won't be able to get himself out of.' Her kindly face is crinkled in concern as she, too, watches Sherlock, and John gives her shoulder a reassuring squeeze.

'I'll do my best,' he replies.

'Oh, I know you will, doctor,' she smiles at him, 'don't know how he managed before you came along – but mind you take care of yourself while you're at it, it wouldn't do to have either of you collapsing. I'll go get his laptop, too, shall I?' She adds; John nods.

'Probably best,' he tells her, turning back to Sherlock as she leaves.

'I need information,' says Sherlock, sweeping his arms across the coffee table. Stacks of paper and abandoned mail are sent fluttering to the floor. A single mug clatters and rolls across the carpet, cold tea spilling across John's day old newspaper. John forces himself to bite his tongue, hoping that none of the now tea-soaked envelopes contain anything important. Sherlock snatches a map from the bookshelf and spreads it across the table. He digs into a draw, pushing aside broken pens and other detritus until he comes to a pack of small, round, coloured stickers, which he throws on top of the map.

'Locations,' Sherlock tells John, now rifling through the other draws hurriedly. 'Any of these –' he starts to toss files over, somehow managing to aim perfectly at John without once looking up.

'What are you looking for?'

'Anything,' Sherlock replies, 'everything. Lay all the information out – then we'll decide which bits are important. We can't afford to overlook anything.'

John opens his mouth, discovers he has nothing to say, and closes it again. Sherlock is rushing about the room with boundless energy, his eyes bright, intense, almost – wild. The game is on. John tries to stop himself thinking it, but can't – this is life for him as much as for Sherlock. He opens the little pack of stickers, and places a single white circle over the location of the crash.

'Labels?' he asks suddenly, hand halfway towards a pen.

'Hmm – what?'

'Labels; am I labelling these?'

Sherlock glances up. 'You might as well – laptop!' He jumps clear over a chair on his way to wrench the door open one more and snatches the computer from Mrs Hudson's hands, not bothering with a thank you. He leaves the door wide open as he strides away again, already opening it and tutting impatiently while it loads. John looks up to thank Mrs Hudson in Sherlock's stead, but she shakes her head with a somewhat indulgent smile, and pulls the door closed quietly behind her as she leaves.

Okay. John looks back at the map. White for the crash. He pulls another sheet from the box – red this time – scoops up the topmost file from the stack on the floor, and continues with his task in silence. He is deliberately very careful not to interrupt Sherlock, who is now typing frantically on his laptop. Every so often Sherlock lets out an exclamation of surprise, delight or disappointment – John can't tell which.

Some fifteen minutes later, John stands back with a frown on his face. There are far too many stickers on the map for his comfort, in various clusters, with particular colours grouping together to denote their respective criminal's preferred hunting ground. The single white dot stands out vividly from the rest, and there are more blue marks than there is any other colour – blue signifies Moriarty. Red is Epps. Green – appropriately enough – John has chosen for the emerald theft in which Sherlock suspects James Ryder. Many of the smaller crimes are overlapped with blue stickers, where a connection with Moriarty is suspected but not – technically – proven.

'Are you finished?' For some reason, Sherlock's voice startles John and he jumps, whipping his head around so fast he cricks his neck. Sherlock raises an eyebrow.

'Almost,' he replies, rubbing his neck and wincing; Sherlock strides over quickly and takes the pack of stickers from him. 'I wasn't sure –'

'This is where I followed Dixie to,' Sherlock cuts him off, pressing another white sticker onto the street that was the scene of his most recent confrontation with a criminal. 'That's the latest murder victim. We can assume both are connected to the crash until we have evidence that tells us otherwise; it seems highly likely.'

John nods and labels them appropriately in handwriting as small as he can make it while still being readable. The map is definitely looking rather overcrowded; Sherlock stands back with his hands resting on his hips, studying the layout of the markers thoughtfully. John watches Sherlock for any sign of him working something out, and sees none – his heart seems to beat faster even in the (relative) safety of the flat at the mere prospect of just how many enemies Sherlock and he have probably managed to make over the months. The idea of the danger doesn't deter him in the slightest – quite the opposite – but he wishes Sherlock would show a little more concern for himself.

'Our attention should be focused on Moriarty and Epps,' Sherlock mutters eventually. John isn't sure if he is talking to himself or not, and doesn't reply. 'Ryder is a thief, and a ruthless one – assault would be nothing new to him, but he's no murderer...unless Moriarty is involved with him, of course, but still it would be more productive to focus on the Queen of the hive than the workers...'

John snorts with laughter, 'did you just refer to Moriarty as a "Queen"?' he asks incredulously; Sherlock turns his most disparaging look on him and replies in a tone dripping with contempt,

'Yes, John, it's a perfectly sound analogy. I fail to see why you find it so amusing. The hierarchical structure of bees is more than similar enough for –'

'Yeah, I get it,' John interrupts, stifling his smile, 'sorry.' Sherlock sniffs with disapproval – though John is sure his lips quirk into what might almost be a smile – and turns back to the map.

'Of course, any one of these crimes could have Moriarty at the head of them – then again perhaps to follow the trail up might prove more successful than to go straight to him...'

Certain Sherlock is merely thinking aloud and that no input is actually required, John makes to pick up on the thicker files from where they have been abandoned on the floor, and make a more in depth study of it, when Sherlock's phone chirps in a new text. John barely has a chance to glance up at Sherlock questioningly before the detective has waved a hand towards the offending object and John, resisting the urge to roll his eyes, opens the text.

'From Shinwell Johnson,' he says, 'he wants to know where to concentrate his search.'

Sherlock doesn't answer straight away, and John is on the verge of repeating the question, when he finally looks up as though only just hearing, 'tell him I need as much information as possible. Anything he thinks might be relevant – no matter how distantly. If he needs a starting point, try concentrating on underground boxing organisations – that sort of thing – see if he can sniff Dixie out.'

John nods as he types and sends the text, too used to acting as Sherlock's personal messenger to voice any complaint, or even particularly notice what he's nodding to. He returns to Sherlock's side when he's finished.

'Sherlock?' he begins quietly; Sherlock jerks his head slightly to the side, not so much looking at John before concentrating back on the map, but at least acknowledging that he has spoken. There is a familiar brightness in his eyes and a tightness in his frame that John knows to associate with the thrill of the chase. He knows it is, to some extent, mirrored in his own image – but he swallows the thought. Sherlock's safety is more important.

'Sherlock,' he tries again, more firmly this time, slipping his hand into the detective's.


'Just...' he stops. It sounds ridiculous to say – this is their life, but...he can't help it. He doesn't have Sherlock's ability to detach from these situations.

'Just what?' Sherlock prompts, his voice caught between impatience and a gentleness that unnerves John more than the careless disregard it usually holds.

'Just...don't forget how dangerous this is.'

'It's always dangerous,' Sherlock replies, 'you've never been bothered before.'

'It's not usually personal,' John counters levelly, 'we're normally just caught in the crossfire – someone else is usually the actual target, and –'

'I've already told you, John – knowing about the threat makes us safer, not more at risk. What do you expect me to do, abandon the case?' Sherlock demands roughly,

'No, of course not. All I mean is...never mind. Forget it. I'm allowed to worry about you, though,' he manages a small smile, weak and forced though it is, 'you've already almost died once.'

'I've almost died considerably more than once,' Sherlock replies casually. John opens his mouth irritably to argue the point, but Sherlock gets there first, 'I know perfectly well what you meant.'

'Reverse the positions, then,' John says, 'what if it was me they were targeting?'

...might not happen to you – might be that doctor friend of yours...

Sherlock squeezes John's hand lightly.

'We've never been beaten yet,' he replies firmly.


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