morganstuart: (Everything)
[personal profile] morganstuart
Title: Everything You Know I Haven't Got, Part 3
Author: Morgan Stuart
Fandom: Sherlock
Disclaimer: This universe does not belong to me; I'm just an appreciative visitor. I make no profit from this fan work.
Description: When the media declares open season on Greg Lestrade, the hunt begins.
Historian's Note: This takes place during the Great Hiatus.
Warnings (Highlight to Read): Assumed character death and, in later segments, depictions of violence, torture, attempted murder, and injuries
Read Part 1
Read Part 2



John lost track of time and distance as they put London behind them. The sedan turned from one less-travelled road to another. Rolling fields replaced city blocks.

The late night died, and early morning was born.

"You trust that source of yours?" John's question sounded overly loud in the dense silence that had grown between the two of them, and he flinched at it. "Because if we're mucking about in the arse-end of nowhere and Greg's back in London–"

"I trust my source," Mycroft confirmed, intent on his phone.

John pressed the heels of his hands to his eyes. "And we have some hope that 'disposed of' doesn't mean 'buried in a shallow grave' or 'dismembered and scattered' because…?"

"Because one of the signatures of a Carlson syndicate hit, when the situation has allowed for it, is brutality." After a beat, Mycroft clarified, "That is, of the 'an-autopsy-will-confirm-it-took-quite-a-very-long-time-to-die' variety."

And that was the good news. "Right."

Worry was pointless, and John knew it. There was nothing he could do to be of help at this moment. But try as he might, he couldn't pull his old soldier's trick of having a quick kip before the action, the better to possess ready energy when it was most needed. He could find no calm. Every time he closed his eyes, the footage of Lestrade's torment replayed in full.

And then his imagination extrapolated from there…

They stopped beside what was more of an overgrown trail than a proper rural lane. Within minutes the woman John knew as Anthea joined them. It was a testament to the primal instincts of the human species that, despite John's bone-deep concern for Lestrade, his brain recorded a picture of the woman – black-clad and aglow in their headlights, the very image of Emma Peel reborn – for his future (and very private) reference.

While John inhaled the energy bar and bottled water Anthea provided, she made her report to Mycroft. The elder Holmes nodded, consulting both his BlackBerry and hers, standing in passive acceptance as she wound a heavy scarf about his neck and tucked a silver flask into the breast pocket of his suit jacket.

The conference between the two was brief. Upon its conclusion, both vehicles made their way – maddeningly slowly, without lights – onto what appeared to be a private family farm, finally ending their journey far from any buildings, beneath a low huddle of trees.

The two teams that met them there were small in number but obviously elite, outfitted not only with state-of-the-art weapons but also the finest night-vision and heat-seeking gear. After swift consultation with Mycroft, paired sweepers in all-terrain vehicles deployed in a search pattern designed to cover the many acres as efficiently as possible.

John fretted.

He appreciated that it was a wise tactical decision for him to wait for the scouting parties to do their work, to be centrally located when (not if) the call came for medical assistance. But he needed to be doing something, anything, in the interim, or he'd go mad.

With his medical kit strapped to his body and his pistol tucked into his jeans, he played the torch he'd been given over the uneven terrain and paced back and forth. Each pass took him farther from the elegant vehicles incongruously parked in the early-winter tangle of neglected pastureland, farther from the hushed sounds of the makeshift operations base of those dedicated to the hope that they might rescue a living person rather than discover a cooling corpse.

That was how he heard it.

Ragged and pitifully faint. Exactly what one would expect from a desperately wounded man.

John rushed back to Mycroft.

"A distress signal," he panted. "Weak. Something striking metal. A dull sound."

Mycroft considered him. "John, the countryside is littered with metal in various states of disrepair, and sounds carry. A rusting piece of farm equip–"

"No, no, you don't understand. It wasn't random; it was Morse code. And I'm going."

He didn't wait for a reply. Scrambling down the slope and over the next rise, he doggedly struggled around twisted roots and over loose rocks, straining to locate the source of the summons.

Each time the signal faltered, he muttered, "C'mon, Greg. One more time," and he went still until the sound was repeated.

His trek ended in a shallow depression at the base of a small ridge. At first glance, the spot appeared to be a hollow where dried leaves, broken branches, and other debris blown by the wind and washed by the rain had gathered naturally over the course of the season. He waded into them with both arms swinging and abruptly struck the decaying hulk of an aged automobile.

Before John could send up an alert, one of Mycroft's men materialised at his side, fitting a prise bar to force open the boot of the vehicle.

"Please, God," John breathed. "Please."

***

Bless him, Greg already had provided the most crucial information John required. He was alive. He was conscious. He was lucid and obstinate enough to spend his remaining strength signalling for help that he believed wasn't coming.

And that strength was waning fast.

The boot lid groaned its complaint and then surrendered to the prise bar.

For the space of a heartbeat, what John saw made no sense to him. Then he understood in part what Mycroft had meant in describing the Carlsons' "it-took-quite-a-very-long-time-to-die" method of operation. The mineral-wool matting was excellent insulation; a body beneath it would not lose heat quickly.

As a blanket, it was comfortless to the point of cruelty.

"Sir, let me," said the team member, indicating his well-protected hands and forearms, and he peeled back the abrasive layer with deft grace.

John began a steady litany, knowing the words had their own job to do even as they bought him time to assess his patient: "Greg, it's John. John Watson. I'm here with Mycroft Holmes. Help's on the way. Hold on, mate. It's over."

As his torch light roamed over Lestrade's brutalised body, John ruthlessly forced down the anguished OhJesusGod clawing its way up his chest and locked it away for a later time.

Hoping to convey his identity through touch alone, he rested his fingers lightly on the crown of Lestrade's head.

"I'm going to cut this blindfold off now, all right?"

"John?" A dry husk of a croak. A shallow rasp of breath. "John. Yeah."

John manoeuvred his kit for easy access, thankful that its contents were so familiar that he could locate most by touch alone. He swiftly found the scissors and used them.

Gore pasted the blindfold's fabric to the lacerated face, and John worked it free with care. "I need more light," he called over his shoulder, before saying to Lestrade, steadily and evenly, "Quick thinking, using Morse code. Led us straight to you."

"Tryin'… stay'wake... stayfocuss'd…" Each syllable required considerable effort, John could tell, as Lestrade marshalled the shredded remains of his voice and forced them past uncooperative lips. "Carlsons, John. Mightbenear."

"Mycroft reckoned it was them. His teams are here, armed to the teeth."

And speaking of Mycroft's teams, a woman began making quick work of assembling a portable floodlight to illumine the interior of the boot.

John peeled the last of the blindfold from Lestrade's one properly visible eye and said, "Here's the torch, just for a half a mo'–"

"Knowthedrill…" Lestrade flinched and gasped at the sudden brightness of John's light. "'Mnotconcuss'd. Theywantedme. Aware."

And that lone, dark eye was indeed aware, almost disconcertingly so. John accepted the fierce sensibleness he found there, shining through clouds of suffering, like the gift that it was.

They would deal honestly together. They both knew this situation was dire.

"So, Mr I-Know-The-Drill, what's first? Let's start with where this fresh blood's coming from." There was so much of it, and Lestrade's vital signs told John nothing he particularly wanted to hear.

"Belly. Knife. Coupletimesdunno." That explained the coil of his foetal position, tighter even than the close confines of the boot required. "Shallow'nough… totaketime… butJesusithurts."

"Right. I want to keep you as still as possible until transport arrives, but we need to get pressure on those wounds." As John located bandages, he asked, "What else do I need to know? What's most urgent?"

Blistered burns rippled as Lestrade's throat worked, swallowing.

"Ribs'r'dodgy… leftside. Can'tbreathedeep."

"I think maybe we can ease that a bit by shifting your arm, once the tie's off. And we'll need to be very careful when we move you." After a few seconds more, "Okay, I want you to hold your position, and I'll fit these bandages in tight. Hang on, Greg."

As John wedged the compress between Lestrade's thighs and abdomen, the wounded man groaned.

John needed another hand, possibly two.

"Allow me, Doctor," came a somewhat breathless voice. "A medical helicopter is en route. Fifteen minutes." Long fingers joined John's on the bandages and pressed firmly.

Lestrade groaned again, but this time around a name: "Mycroft." Then, badly slurred, "Getyourrrhandsssdirty."

"I'm glad you appreciate my sacrifice," Mycroft said, bending low. "Do put some effort into making it worthwhile."

John spared Mycroft a glance – the elder Holmes looked just as dishevelled and human as any middle-aged man of inaction should've done who'd fought his way over unfamiliar terrain in the middle of the night in a bespoke suit and Italian shoes – and then he returned to his labours, both grateful and bemused.

The zip tie around Lestrade's ankles parted under John's knife with a snap. Severing its mate, which bound Lestrade's wrists behind his back, was a more delicate operation, as most of the man's fingers were broken and several had been stripped of their nails. John eased the useless hands into the least awkward positions possible, one at Lestrade's back, one at his chest.

Leaving Lestrade naked, a grotesque patchwork of blood and bruises, was the Carlsons' parting insult. John unpacked a small shock blanket and folded it around his patient's torso. As John made to unstrap his kit, he found that Mycroft was a step ahead of him.

"Really, John, that jacket is all but useless. Assist me here." Mycroft shrugged an arm out of his long wool coat, and John helped him with the rest.

"Ta," John said. He arranged the added layer over Lestrade, who gave a hoarse moan of appreciation for the warmth.

As they waited, John did what he could do, exposing one section of Lestrade's body at a time. And as he worked over the man, he saw, and he observed.

He deduced.

Lestrade had inflicted the ugly gash along his bearded jaw himself, sawing his face against the jagged innards of the boot in order to slice through the cloth that gagged him. He'd obviously been violently sick – one cheek now rested in the congealing, blood-streaked puddle – but not before he'd managed to cut the gag free. He'd saved himself from asphyxiating on his own vomit by his quick thinking.

He'd achieved the dull thumping sound John heard by striking his heels against the hollow interior of the boot where it met the back column of the passenger seat. Lestrade's heels were one of the only points on his body that could've withstood such repeated use; not even the soles of his feet had escaped the Carlsons' brutality. How long he had shifted and struggled to find the angle and motion necessary to produce a noise that carried, John couldn't imagine.

John felt a fellow soldier's admiration – after all, Lestrade was also a veteran, albeit of a different battlefield – for how the man had kept his wits and training about him, fighting a solitary campaign against despair and agony there in the darkness. All with no expectation that a living soul would ever learn of his valour.

As if on cue, Lestrade ground out, "Thought… I'ddieherean'… No one. Wouldknow."

His admission was as steady as his broken voice could make it. It wasn't meant only for John.

"Indeed," Mycroft said in a low and confidential tone. "But as I believe we've already established, Greg, you're something of an idiot."

A ripple ran through Lestrade, joined by a wet-ugly-frothing hiss of air between his teeth. A whine of pain, also a genuine laugh.

A wave of affection washed over John. In its wake came a scalding sense of yearning for something he'd known and treasured. And lost.

Then there was gunfire and shouting and no time at all for memories.


END OF PART 3
TO BE CONCLUDED IN PART 4

Date: 2013-01-02 08:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sc010f.livejournal.com
You have, once again, left me breathless. Oh, these men, these brave, wounded men.

Date: 2013-01-05 03:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
*flails* Thank you so much for this. I can never get enough of these brave, wounded men.

Date: 2013-01-02 09:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thesmallhobbit.livejournal.com
This is excellent. Greg's strength of character, John's care and ability and Mycroft's humour. So good.

Date: 2013-01-05 03:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
I'm so thrilled this is working for you! Thanks a million for reading and commenting. I appreciate it so much.

Date: 2013-01-02 09:37 pm (UTC)
ext_58380: (Harry is gonna cry)
From: [identity profile] bk7brokemybrain.livejournal.com
Only you could keep me reading about horribly tortured bodies. *gulp* Yet, I love these stories, love the strength and courage (especially the courage) and the camaraderie among these men.
Yay for Greg's perseverance, for Mycroft bringing all his power to bear to find his friend, for BAMFy Dr WAtson keeping it together and professional while he looked at all that horror (and missed his dear Sherlock). Great chapter! I couldn't wait for the AO3 post, lol.

Date: 2013-01-05 03:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, bless you! Um, sorry for the torture. *blushes* I'm so grateful to you for reading this anyway! And I'm thrilled that the strength and courage of these wonderful men comes across and works for you.

Yay for Greg's perseverance, for Mycroft bringing all his power to bear to find his friend, for BAMFy Dr WAtson keeping it together and professional while he looked at all that horror (and missed his dear Sherlock).

Oh, YAY! You have no idea how happy this makes me. I'm especially glad that John as keeping-it-together BAMFy!Dr struck the right note. I appreciate this so much!

Date: 2013-01-02 10:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] archea2.livejournal.com
Oh, I remember reading this one on the meme! (And making a sober guess as to who had alerted Mycroft in the first place...) I should have known who the author was - Stoic Lestrade, red badge of courage, BAMFy John, level-headed Mycroft... and your special touch!

Love the first dialogue in particular, but also the manly camaraderie between all three men.

Date: 2013-01-05 04:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Aw, thank you so much! :D My "little revision" of this from the meme version turned into a massive rewrite on the order of thousands of words. ::headdesk:: So it goes, LOL. Thank you so much for reading it both there and here - and for your oh-so-accurate guess about who Mycroft's trusted "source" actually was! ;)

I'm especially delighted that the first dialogue here struck the right note. I really appreciate your kind words, as always. Thank you!

Date: 2013-01-03 02:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erynn999.livejournal.com
Oh, hell. Where's the rest, damn it! *wibble*

Poor Greg. I'm glad Mycroft and his people have it together here.

Date: 2013-01-05 02:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
I'm sorry for the wait! The conclusion is now up here.

Mycroft and his people do have it together, thank goodness. Poor Greg! Thank you so much for reading and being interested in what happens next. I really appreciate it.

Date: 2013-01-05 07:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erynn999.livejournal.com
Thanks, I saw it yesterday over on AO3, as I recall. It was a great ending for the story. And it was great to see Mycroft taking care of his (and Sherlock's) people that way.

Date: 2013-01-05 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you! I'm so glad the ending worked for you. I do love the idea of protective!Mycroft taking care of his people and Sherlock's. :) Thanks again for reading!

Date: 2013-01-05 07:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erynn999.livejournal.com
It's always a delight to get a good story out of somebody, what can I say?

I'm always curious about how stuff like this changes people's relationships, particularly when it's post-TRF, and when all three of these people have been so distant with one another until this brought them together. I certainly wouldn't object to a sequel if you wanted to write one. ;)

Date: 2013-01-03 02:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brighteyed-jill.livejournal.com
Oh man, the tension here is so thick. I was glued to my screen. My heart is just aching at the idea that Greg went to so much pain and trouble to keep fighting even when he sincerely believe no one was coming to find him. My stars and garters, that man is amazing.

I felt like I was clinging to John's tenacity as this little liferaft in this terrible situation: knowing that as long as he didn't give up hope, things still might be okay, somehow. Morse code! Of course.

The comfortable almost-banter John and Lestrade manage to throw back and forth is amazing. It seems to be their way of comforting each other. Speaking of which--one of Lestrade's first attempts at speech is to warn John danger might be near by? He never stops being a copper, ever, does he?

The assessment and treatment of all Lestrade's injuries was hard to read, but every new hurt John noticed just made me ache all the more for what Lestrade had endured, and still come through fighting--in fact, inflicting further hurt to save his own life. The fact that they were careful to keep him awake and aware is horrifying. I made a very sad incoherent sound at this:

"Thought… I'ddieherean'… No one. Wouldknow."

Break my heart, why doncha?

And Mycroft, oh:

Lestrade groaned again, but this time around a name: "Mycroft." Then, badly slurred, "Getyourrrhandsssdirty."

"I'm glad you appreciate my sacrifice," Mycroft said, bending low. "Do put some effort into making it worthwhile."


Yes, John, they're friends. This exchange showed it so well, and I love John's observation about Mycroft looking just like a regular person. An experience like this breaks even Mycroft down to his essentials.

This is a riveting story, and perfectly characterized as always, m'dear. I look forward to the conclusion!

Date: 2013-01-05 04:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for this. I appreciate it so much.

My heart is just aching at the idea that Greg went to so much pain and trouble to keep fighting even when he sincerely believe no one was coming to find him.

Stubborn, stubborn, wonderful man. I see him as the kind who keeps on going, no matter what, and his only way to be defiant here is to refuse to curl up and die like they wanted. But augh, I hurt for him there in the dark, so much.

I felt like I was clinging to John's tenacity as this little liferaft in this terrible situation: knowing that as long as he didn't give up hope, things still might be okay, somehow.

I love this so much - I gave a little squeal when I read it. I really admire how John holds it together in the face of all of this.

It seems to be their way of comforting each other.

YES! I'm so relieved this came through. That's how I imagined it, exactly.

Speaking of which--one of Lestrade's first attempts at speech is to warn John danger might be near by? He never stops being a copper, ever, does he?

:D :D :D Thank you for picking this out. No, he doesn't. Like John, he's a protector.

Yes, John, they're friends. This exchange showed it so well, and I love John's observation about Mycroft looking just like a regular person. An experience like this breaks even Mycroft down to his essentials.

Thanks a million for this. You have no idea how happy this makes me. *happydance*

Your feedback is always so perceptive and insightful, not to mention kind; just knowing you might read what I write "ups my game" every time. Thank you, my friend.

Date: 2013-01-03 04:11 am (UTC)
monkeybard: (venustransit)
From: [personal profile] monkeybard
I just mainlined all three parts and am kicking myself for not waiting until I could mainline all four. Really love your characterisations. Your Mycroft, especially, is always spot on. Looking forward to the final installment (and hoping it's not long in coming).

Date: 2013-01-05 04:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, bless your heart! I apologise for the wait. Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm thrilled that the characterisations, especially Mycroft's (I find him a challenge to write), are striking the right note.

Your encouragement really means a lot to me. Thanks again.

Date: 2013-01-03 08:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zauzat.livejournal.com
Gorgeous, yet again. All the small details build it up so beautifully. I love the Lestrade's steady competence, the dialogue from Mycroft, the description of Mycroft, everyone's understated reactions which serve to highlight the drama of it all. I'm just sorry there is only one more part.

Date: 2013-01-05 04:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
I love the Lestrade's steady competence, the dialogue from Mycroft, the description of Mycroft, everyone's understated reactions which serve to highlight the drama of it all.

Oh, this delights me so much! I'm most grateful to know what's working here (and I'm especially thrilled that the description of Mycroft struck the right note - he's a challenge for me to write). Thank you for taking the time to read and leave such encouraging feedback.

Date: 2013-01-03 09:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mazaher.livejournal.com
I'm not sure I can find words to comment on *this*, as though it is an expressionist painting in a gallery. My words would look so poor in the face of...
But I want to mention two things.
One: John doesn't run straight for the Morse signal; he turns back and informs the team, which is rational and fits with military training, but is also totally counterintuitive. I appreciate the effort it must have taken.
Two: Praise for both John and Mycroft. Looking at a mangled body can be next to impossible, whoever thay may be; all the more so if it's a friend's.
Thank you. Waiting for the last chapter, and hopefully a measure of c after the h.

Date: 2013-01-05 04:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, what a lovely thing to say! Thank you so much.

I'm so glad to hear John's reaction to hearing the Morse code felt right, considering his military training. I can't imagine the discipline it took not to plunge off immediately after the sound.

I'm also grateful to hear that John's and Mycroft's strength in trying to give Lestrade what he needed, while forcing down their own horror at what he'd endured, came through.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and leave such insightful feedback. It's most appreciated!

Date: 2013-01-03 07:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kestrel337.livejournal.com
The tension, John doing all the right things, using the words as well as the hands of healing. DE LISH US.

And then that second to last line about killed me. Owie.

Date: 2013-01-05 04:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
The tension, John doing all the right things, using the words as well as the hands of healing. DE LISH US.

Oh, thank you so much for this. It's thrilling to know what's working and to hear the story's striking the right note.

And then that second to last line about killed me. Owie.

Augh! I'm glad it packed the proper punch. I broke my own heart a bit, imagining how witnessing the chemistry between Greg and Mycroft would make John miss what he had with Sherlock.

Thank you so much for your encouraging words. They're most appreciated!

Date: 2013-01-04 05:50 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-01-05 04:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Thank you so much!

Date: 2013-01-04 08:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mundungus42.livejournal.com
My fingernails can't take many more cliffhangers like this. Your characterization is exquisite, and the care and thought you've taken in crafting his rather horrific spectacle is beautifully balanced by John's growing admiration for Lestrade's ability to stay alive. I smiled at Mycroft getting his hands dirty, and I love the way these characters are tied together by their own traumas and not just Sherlock Holmes.

Date: 2013-01-05 05:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
My fingernails can't take many more cliffhangers like this.

Augh! I am sorry. The conclusion is now up here. Thanks for "hanging in there" with me!

Your characterization is exquisite, and the care and thought you've taken in crafting his rather horrific spectacle is beautifully balanced by John's growing admiration for Lestrade's ability to stay alive.

This means so much to me. It does my heart good to hear that the characterisations are striking the right note, and I'm so glad that John's growing admiration for Lestrade balances the descriptions of the injuries properly. Thank you so much for such helpful and encouraging feedback.

I'm tickled that the "hands dirty" exchange with Mycroft worked for you, too.

I love the way these characters are tied together by their own traumas and not just Sherlock Holmes

Oh, YES! Thank you for this. It's one of my goals in my writing to try to show these remarkable characters in their own lights and with their own relationships, and not just as incidental satellites in Sherlock's orbit. I really appreciate this.

Many thanks indeed!

Date: 2013-01-05 11:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kamelionwriter.livejournal.com
"I'm glad you appreciate my sacrifice," Mycroft said, bending low. "Do put some effort into making it worthwhile."

LOVE. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Date: 2013-01-06 02:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, I am so delighted that you liked this line in particular! Thank you for this. I now have a huge grin on my face. :D

Date: 2013-01-07 12:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cuddles-and-jam.livejournal.com
"Getyourrrhandsssdirty." Lestrade is so cool. ♥

Date: 2013-01-08 08:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
HA! I'm so glad this line struck the right note. :) I do love me some Lestrade.

Date: 2013-01-11 08:46 pm (UTC)
fififolle: (Sherlock - Lestrade)
From: [personal profile] fififolle
WOAH. ♥

Date: 2013-01-12 01:48 pm (UTC)

Date: 2015-08-02 02:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fredsmith518.livejournal.com
most relieved they found him, super handle on each voice

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morganstuart
"To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty."
- H.P. Lovecraft, 1921

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