John could hear Moriarty moving on the other side of the thin wooden wall. It was cold in the back bedroom, heat from the wood stove in the main room of the shack only partially filtering through. John shivered.
He moved restlessly on the bed, trying to find a more comfortable position. The mattress was hard and lumpy; it smelled musty, unused. He stretched his legs as best he could, trying to find a position to ease the cramps.
His head hurt, throbbing dully at the back. There was blood crusted there, long since dried. He was definitely concussed, but who knew how long he'd been out? He remembered their hotel in Montreal, Sherlock on the phone to Lestrade back in London, arguing about the case which was no case, Lestrade's sister baffled as to why they'd come, denying all knowledge of the series of texts and emails she'd supposedly sent about being blackmailed.
John had left Sherlock gesticulating irritably as he paced, phone clamped to his ear, and had slipped out to a pharmacie for some painkillers. The cold and the plane trip had turned his shoulder into an aching lump and they'd left so quickly he hadn't remembered to pack any nurofen. He'd headed for a place called Le Drugstore, but that turned out to be a gay bar, huh. He'd grinned, thinking he could coax Sherlock in there that evening so their Montreal excursion wouldn't be a complete waste of time, not realizing that later on he'd be trussed up and gagged, tangled in a heap of rope webbing in the cargo compartment of a small plane, winging his way to the far north.
He had no idea how he'd been smuggled onto the noisily vibrating plane. Somehow, Moriarty and his accomplices had snatched him in the two blocks between the bright, gleaming pharmacie and the hotel room where he'd left Sherlock. John was sure there would be no witnesses to his abduction. He was also sure that Moriarty would be emailing Sherlock, even way up here. He'd have some sort of phone that worked even in a frozen wasteland. Some sort of trap.
There'd been a certain amount of gloating already, as Moriarty manhandled him into the back room and dumped him on the narrow bed. No way for Sherlock to get back-up out here, no Lestrade, although John guessed the inspector would have links to the Mounties via Interpol. But no: Moriarty would have set things up so that Sherlock had to come alone, into an unfamiliar wilderness with John as bait. He strained again against the ropes binding his wrists and ankles, but it only worsened the abrasions he'd already rubbed raw, and made the dim room swirl nauseatingly around him.
Night was falling, the small crusted window almost black now, the room shadowed. Was it even the same day? John thought not, but he had no way of telling. He felt hollow, but too sick and shocked to feel hunger.
Outside in the icy dark a dog barked, then another. John lifted his head, then winced, letting it fall back as his neck protested. Moriarty hadn't used dogs; he'd pushed John into a snowmobile at the landing strip, paying off the pilot then roaring away between snow-laden trees. For a second, John felt a spark of hope – was it Sherlock with a dog-team, come to rescue him? The dog howled, others joining it in an eerie ululation. Not dogs, wolves.
In the other room, he could hear Moriarty humming "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". John turned his face into the pillow, tears of helplessness dampening the mildewed cotton. Sherlock would come, he believed that. If he could just hang on.