John has been living with Sherlock two and a half years before Sherlock starts falling apart at the seams.
He was proud of his flatmate—sort of; he was more intrigued by the fact that he was living with not just the world’s only Consulting Detective, but the world’s only winged human as well. (That is, until he met Jim Moriarty.)
Sherlock slowly allowed John to touch the wings, and John was proud of that: Sherlock curled his wings in, away from everyone else, when they got close.
But now? Now it was obvious that Sherlock wasn’t supposed to be alive. He was falling apart, piece by piece, bit by bit, if Mycroft’s more frequent visits and worried expressions were anything to go by.
The first thing to go was his restless energy.
John noticed when they came back from a case filled with barely suppressed yawns and tired articulations of the evidence Anderson had so “tampered” with—Sherlock didn’t throw himself into another experiment: He threw himself onto the couch.
“Sherlock,” he started, “are you—”
“Shut up, John, I’m tired.” Sherlock pulled a wing over his face. John just stared a moment.
“You? I-Don’t-Need-Sleep-I’m-Sherlock-Holmes? Tired? What is happening to this planet?” John joked, cracking a half smile, but sobered completely when Sherlock lowered the wing just enough to uncover a glare that looked utterly exhausted.
"John, I may have wings but I am still human. It’s extremely likely for me to get tired, just like you. Now, if you'll please..." He moved his wing over his face again to try and—a bit obviously for Sherlock’s pride—hide exactly how tired he was. John’s brows raised.
“All right, all right.” He raised his hands defensively, palms out, then moved forward to pull the afghan (Mrs. Hudson’s crocheting, a birthday gift for Sherlock from the year before.) from the back of the couch and drape it over his flatmate’s back. “There, now you’ll not freeze to death.”
The huff that came from Sherlock instead of a snide comment was thanks enough for him.
John sighed as he headed for the kitchen, concerned about Sherlock’s sudden apparently overwhelming exhaustion. He was a doctor, yes, but Sherlock was an entirely different matter. He relaxed a bit when Sherlock finally fell asleep and headed for the kitchen to make them both a cup of tea, though Sherlock’s would be stone cold by the time he woke up. John needed to find out what was going on.
From the pocket of the coat John had neglected to take off, his phone beeped. Confused, as nobody other than Sherlock texted him, he pulled it from his pocket as he set the kettle to boil and checked it.
NEW MESSAGE, the screen read, FROM NUMBER WITHHELD.
John opened the message.
All signs of exhaustion present, including incapability of staying alert. Does Sherlock have a fever or chills, Dr. Watson? MH
Of course it was him. John rolled his eyes and set his phone on the counter with a clatter.
Just as Mycroft asked, Sherlock started to shiver just slightly as he slept. His wings adjusted instinctively, pulling closer to his body for warmth and tangling in the afghan in a way that John knew would be uncomfortable to wake up to, once he saw it. Mycroft was a pain in both he and Sherlock’s sides with his constant nosing, but he was right about some things when it came to his brother’s well being. As much as John hated to admit it.
Before Mycroft could text him again, John decided that he would go check on his flatmate, doctor’s instinct winning out over his knowledge of Sherlock’s desire to be left alone to sleep. He snagged his phone from the counter and unlocked the screen so he could reply to Mycroft.
D’you think he’s sick? JW
The response was almost immediate.
Highly unlikely. MH
John blinked and stopped still between the kitchen doorway and the couch. If Mycroft was going to be all cryptic again, John was going to give the man a what-for the next time they met.
On the couch, Sherlock shifted and let out a sigh that had a hint of a whine underneath it. Though it wasn’t uncommon when Sherlock fell asleep with the weight of his wings weighing him down, that sound never failed to make John worry for the state of Sherlock’s ribcage.
John watched Sherlock a moment, then turned back to his phone.
Listen here, Mycroft. I haven’t got time for games, so if you could just tell me what might be wrong with Sherlock, I would definitely appreciate it. JW
This time, the reply from the unknown number took a few minutes. While John waited, he walked to the couch and disentangled Sherlock’s wings from the afghan. Sherlock began to stir when John plucked a fold of the blanket from under the bottom edge of his wing, but stilled when John smoothed the blanket down.
“You great sod,” John muttered under his breath. “Worrying us like this.”
When the reply text from Mycroft finally came, it made the breath catch in John’s chest.
This is something better discussed in person, Doctor Watson. MH
Sherlock peeled his eyes open a sliver to peer at John after yawning wide enough for John to feel it in his own jaw. "You don’t need to worry about me. I can take care of myself; I am only tired, after all." He inclined his head at John’s phone from where he was reclined. "Unpleasant text?"
“You could say that,” John replied, sitting heavily in his armchair. “I didn’t wake you up, did I?”
“It always wakes me up when someone bothers with my wings.” Sherlock stretched in what could only be called a feline manner and pushed himself to sit properly. Right. John had forgotten how sensitive Sherlock’s wings actually were. Another reason the consulting detective wouldn’t let anyone touch them.
“Sorry ‘bout that. Your wings tangled in the afghan.” John set his phone on the arm of the chair and watched as Sherlock rubbed the heel of his hand against his face. “You didn’t sleep very long,” he pointed out. Sherlock shrugged.
“It’s probably for the better. The couch isn’t very comfortable for sleeping.” John’s phone chimed as Sherlock tugged the afghan tighter around his shoulders and shifted his wings to fit better underneath it.
“Then you should go to bed,” John suggested, lifting his phone. Sherlock rolled his neck as John unlocked the screen.
I’ve sent a car. It should be there by the time you actually check this message, if Sherlock’s woken. MH
Sherlock rubbed his eye again and ruffled his dark curls as he stood up, knowing very well John was being called away and playing along. "I think I shall. The bed is more comfortable... Goodnight, John." He went straight to his room, shutting the door behind him with a kick, and watched out the window for John to leave so he could follow from a distance.
John sighed and rubbed a hand over his hair. Sherlock had gone without an argument. This didn’t sit well in the back of John’s mind. John didn’t know how Mycroft would take it if he stalled more to make sure Sherlock was asleep again, so he hoisted himself out of his chair, pocketed his phone, and headed out.
True to Mycroft’s text, there was a sleek, black car idling on the curb outside the flat.
Sherlock watched from the window as John got into the car, then raced down the stairs as soon as the car pulled away, tugging on his coat and not bothering to do the buttons that kept it snug around his wings to keep track of where the car was going. But with him already winded and tired from earlier, it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep up like he normally would. He kept up just farther behind than the other times Mycroft took John, but as he felt like he was too tired to even run straight, he lagged and almost lost the car several times.
Mycroft’s assistant was in the car typing away on her phone when John slid in. “Hello, John,” she greeted him without looking up. John sighed.
“Honestly, can’t Mycroft get over his power complex to meet me in person in the car for once? Anyways, hello. How are you? Anthea, wasn’t it?” He couldn’t help rubbing his forehead when she didn’t answer. “I’m just…fine.” John looked out the window, worried about Sherlock and his doctor instincts telling him he should have stayed back at the flat.
Finally, Anthea looked up from her phone at him. “You’re not going to an abandoned warehouse, if it makes you feel better.” John’s eyebrows lifted. Mycroft? Not taking him to an abandoned warehouse?
“So, he actually took my advice, did he?” John asked incredulously.
Anthea chuckled quietly and returned her attention to her phone. “Yes, he actually did, for once. Quite surprising if you ask me.” John sat back against the leather seat, definitely a bit shocked; if he wasn’t going to an abandoned warehouse then this must be serious. Was something deathly wrong with Sherlock?
“Do you know what this is about?” He paused. “I doubt you’ll answer me.”
She shook her head. “I will answer you, but I can’t say.” She gave him a bit of a sly grin. John sighed for what felt like the millionth time that afternoon.
Sherlock was doing his best to keep up but his energy was fading faster than ever as he ran after the car. He was stubborn, but he knew if he kept this up he may pass out soon and be rendered unable to return to the flat. He glanced up at the street sign on the corner, taking note of where the car was turning. “Oh, he’s not bringing John there...”
He braced a hand against the building he was standing next to and tried to catch his breath. The direction the car was headed wasn’t towards Mycroft’s office building, which Sherlock could honestly say he expected, but the car had turned the wrong way—John was being taken straight to Mycroft’s flat in Kensington. “I’ll never make it there on foot.”
Sherlock let out an irritated puff of air, still too tired to even think properly, and hailed a taxi. He told the cabbie Mycroft’s address and, resolving to tell the cabbie to stop a block or so away, started the awkward climb into the backseat. He hated getting in cabs sometimes because of his wings but this time he had no choice; even if he could manage to fly he wouldn’t be able to stay airborne due to his lack of energy.
As the cab took off, following the same route as Mycroft’s car, Sherlock leaned his head back against the seat, partly to collect his thoughts and rest for what was to come at Mycroft’s flat and partly to ignore the cabbie’s frequent, if brief, glances at his wings. They were certainly a pain when it came to normal people. “What are you doing with John now, Mycroft?” he muttered tiredly, letting his eyes slip closed.
John could hardly believe his eyes. The car was stopping outside a building in Kensington—the most expensive place to live in London. Was he going to be allowed inside Mycroft’s flat? This was incredibly personal and, suddenly, John felt himself overwhelmed and shaky with a bit of panic. What was so wrong with Sherlock that he had to be taken to Mycroft’s flat? Where he lived? No tricks or empty warehouses. Not even the cafe he could never remember the name of even though it was right outside his own flat.
“This is it,” Anthea told him. “You’re looking for flat 131-E. Go on.” She inclined her head towards the building. “Mr. Holmes is waiting for you inside.”
As John stepped out of the car, he was dimly aware of a sort of roaring in his ears. Like white noise or static or something when the telly was turned way down on a station that didn’t work. Still, he kept walking, one foot in front of the other. At the door to the building, there were the usual buzzers to each flat. John searched out the right one and pressed the button.
The very normal buzz sounded, and Mycroft's voice crackled through. "I'm buzzing you in, John. Come on up." The door unlocked, and John walked in on feet that didn’t feel like his own. He strode straight into Mycroft’s flat, where the older man was waiting by the buzzer with a cup of tea in his hand. “You’ll want tea for this.” He gestured to the tea set on the end table in a homely but not-very-lived-in living room.
"Will I?" John croaked, then paused and cleared his throat. It was far too obvious that something he hadn't even heard was affecting him this much. He was met with a sympathetic look.
"If you're already behaving in this sort of manner, yes, you will." Mycroft touched his shoulder and moved past him to crack the window leading to the fire escape, then sit in a cushy-looking armchair. Carefully, as if the entire illusion would break apart if he tread too roughly across Mycroft’s hardwood floor, John moved towards the couch the end table with the tea was closest to.
Sherlock's eyes cracked open when the cab slowed a building away from Mycroft’s. “Here is fine,” he instructed, tapping the window with a finger. He was still tired as ever, but he paid the cabbie when he stopped, made the just-as-awkward shuffle out of the cab, pulled up the collar of his coat, and started the walk towards the right building.
He circled the building to the fire escape and climbed it as quietly as he could to Mycroft’s floor, situating himself outside the cracked-open window that peeked in on the living room. Mycroft probably already knew he was there—or that he was at least on his way—but he didn't care if he was being sloppy. He wanted to know what he was telling John and why he had kidnapped him even after he demanded Mycroft didn’t. He shifted so he could hear what was being said, cringing at the old metal creaking, pulled his wings in tightly against him for warmth and tried his best to stay still and awake to listen.
John glanced towards the window when he heard the metal creak, curious as to why Mycroft cracked it open. It was still somewhat warm outside, and Mycroft’s flat was perfectly air conditioned. When nothing showed in the window, he looked back to the elder Holmes.
“Please, John,” Mycroft urged, nodding again towards the tea set on the end table. “Help yourself to some tea.” John seemed to be coming back to himself the more he sat in Mycroft’s flat, even though Sherlock’s health and safety still loomed over his head. So, instead of defying Mycroft’s suggestion that he have some tea, he leaned over and fixed himself a cup, all too aware of Mycroft’s eyes locked on him.
“Alright,” John said, gripping his daintily-patterned cup of tea. “Now that I’ve got my tea, what am I here to be told?” He took a scalding gulp of the milked-and-sugared liquid, brows knitting together at the heat that was almost too much, but also reveling in it because it brought him completely back to focus.
“Allow me to tell you a story, Doctor.” It wasn’t often that Mycroft called him by his title, but it was also out of place for Mycroft to want to tell him a story. John pressed his lips together, tightening his grip on his cup.
“A—A story?” John’s voice broke. To hide it, even though he knew Mycroft knew, John took another scalding gulp of tea. “What kind of story?” he asked, after clearing his throat.
Outside, Sherlock shifted. His left foot was falling asleep, and so was he. The fire escape creaked again, and he cringed before stilling involuntarily. If he didn’t want Mycroft to tell him to come inside, have some tea, sit in this chair in full view of John while Mycroft told him what Sherlock was sure he was going to tell so John could look at him with fear and pity and maybe something else lodged in his eyes.
Mycroft shifted, set his own mug of tea—untouched, John noticed—aside, and folded his hands against his middle. “I’m going to tell you the story of a boy who wanted to fly,” he said quietly.
Sherlock’s stomach dropped. He listened for John to say he didn’t have time for fairy tales—though this obviously wasn’t one—or for John to get up and move around like he did at the flat when he didn’t want to listen to Sherlock. But he didn’t. Sherlock peeked around the window, careful to stay hidden by Mycroft’s (horrifically ugly) drapes, and watched John take a sip from his mug of tea: a sign he was waiting for Mycroft to continue.
“This boy,” Mycroft started again, no less quiet, “Had a father, as most little boys do. His father knew how much he wanted to fly, and told the boy he had a friend—a scientist—that could make it happen.” John leaned forward a bit, rolling his cup between his hands.
“The boy’s older brother, already eleven, knew their father’s friend was a scientist, a geneticist, in fact, like the ones employed at Baskerville, and was wary of their father’s offer to take the young boy to his friend.” Sherlock kept his face neutral, even though neither of the men inside could see him. Mycroft was giving away information on their past kept highly classified, and making it obvious it was about them. He peeked around the drapes again. John looked enraptured. Damn.
“But,” Mycroft continued, refolding his hands, “the boy, only four, did not know what his father’s friend would do to him—or did not quite suspect, anyhow—and eagerly agreed to go. Any way to get to fly was a good way, right?” His volume never increased. John could feel the hair standing up on the back of his neck. He didn’t like where this was going.
“The little boy was taken to a lab, bouncing the whole way. The boy’s older brother reluctantly stayed home, unwilling to let his brother go. Their father thought it was jealousy, but it was not. The older brother cared for the boy and did not want to see him hurt.” Mycroft paused, picked up his mug of tea, then set it back down. John assumed it’d gone cold and glanced at the pot of tea next to him. Mycroft gave a brief shake of his head.
“The boy came back after a while, and the older brother didn’t know what happened to him, exactly, but he did know it was something big, judging by—”
“The wings on his back,” John finished at a whisper. Mycroft nodded.
“The wings on his back.” Mycroft confirmed, then stayed silent a few moments, letting the story sink into John’s mind.
Sherlock clenched his fists. He didn’t like that Mycroft was telling John his history without his permission and wanted to check to see how John was taking it all, but he was getting more and more tired. He needed to stay awake, he thought, fighting heavy eyelids. Mycroft might have information as to what was wrong with him that was worrying John so much.
“Oh my God,” he heard John murmur. Sherlock leaned his head against the rough brick of Mycroft’s building and let his eyes close. He could listen even like this, couldn’t he?
“Yes, it’s... rather a lot to take in,” Mycroft agreed. Sherlock heard the shift of fabric on fabric and imagined Mycroft shifting his weight in his chair yet again. Perhaps he was recrossing his legs.
“So, um, Mycroft.” John cleared his throat and wet his lips. “What, exactly, is wrong with Sherlock if he’s not sick?” He sounded tentative, like Mycroft could rescind his offer, take away his tea, and kick him out on his arse if he spoke the wrong word. Mycroft’s face turned perplexed, and John was immediately on edge.
“To put it quite simply, John, Sherlock was not supposed to...” he started slowly, though louder than he’d told the story, then paused as though the words physically pained him. “Sherlock’s genes are unraveling themselves.”
“Sherlock,” John stated flatly, watching as Sherlock nearly jumped out of his skin and turned around. “What the ruddy hell is going on?” Sherlock had what looked like a piece of buttered-and-jammed bread dangling from his mouth.
Eeeeh, like I said last chapter! This is largely unbeta'd and completely unbritpicked, so if you see anything that needs fixing, please let me know! :)
When Sherlock woke up, the first thing he was aware of was the sound of tires on pavement. The second thing he was aware of was an arm around his shoulders, lodged snugly above the bases of his wings. The third thing he was aware of was the texture of a well-worn, well-loved coat against his cheek. He shifted a bit, careful not to budge the arm too much, and lifted his head.
“Awake, are we?” John’s voice came from his right—which would explain the arm around his shoulders and the softness of his coat instead of the brick of Mycroft’s building. Sherlock stretched his arms out in front of him, reveling in the feeling of stiff muscles being exercised once more.
“Somewhat,” he admitted, his voice thick from sleep. “What happened?” Without looking at him, Sherlock could practically feel John run a hand over his face.
“Mycroft told me you were—well,” John was reluctant to say it straight. “We found you sleeping like a rock—and not any less heavy than one—on Mycroft’s fire escape.” There was something to John’s voice that made Sherlock uneasy.
“What was it Mycroft told you?” Sherlock had to make sure it was what he thought it was. There was no other reason that John would be so tender footed with his words around him otherwise. John’s fingers tightened on his shoulder, but not enough to be painful. “John, tell me. I’m not so fragile I’ll fall apart at a simple statement of facts.” He was looking at John’s face now; John looked very shaken up and very scared.
“He said you were dying, Sherlock.”
Sherlock himself tensed just slightly at the news, but tried not to let it show through. "He said I’m dying. How, exactly, am I dying?" He looked ahead, watching through the front windshield as the Mycroft’s driver navigated through the streets of London.
John was quiet a few long moments. “Your DNA is unraveling itself.” He was quiet a few moments longer, and Sherlock knew that, with all of these long pauses, he was trying his hardest to keep his voice from shaking.
Sherlock swallowed heavily. “Oh,” he said quietly. “Yes, that would do it.” John’s free hand tightened into a fist against his thigh.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” he demanded, a hint of a quiver sneaking its way into his voice. Sherlock looked back at John from the front window in time to see John look away, no doubt cursing himself for his lack of emotional solidity.
As the car pulled up to the flat, Sherlock stayed quiet, even as he awkwardly staggered out of the car, all of his weight on John’s shoulder—the bad one, the injured shoulder, you could be hurting him, a nagging voice in his head told him. John helped him up to the flat, but it seemed as though it was only out of a sense of duty, as he was irritated and no doubt upset.
“Well? Why didn’t you tell me?” John dumped him onto the couch and started working at divesting Sherlock of his coat. Weakly, Sherlock tried to bat him away. He could take off his coat himself; he wasn’t a child. “Did you want to wait until you were damn near gone?”
John was angry for sure, and something about it made Sherlock’s chest tighten. “No, I...” Sherlock started, then trailed off when John left to hang both his and Sherlock’s coats up. He let his eyes close.
“You what?” John growled. Sherlock could have sworn he heard his flatmate choke back an angry sob. “Planned for this as thoroughly as you do everything else and conveniently left me out of it?” His eyes snapped open.
“I would never,” he returned sharply. He stared John down from his place on the couch as John swiped at his eyes with the back of his hand. There was color high on his cheekbones that Sherlock knew came with tears, and John was frowning in a way that twisted his face in a way Sherlock never wanted to see again.
“Then why didn’t you tell me about this?” John stood taller, squaring his shoulders and glaring down at Sherlock with damp eyes. Suddenly—it all clicked for Sherlock. John thought Sherlock had known the whole time about his unavoidable end.
“Because,” he started, pushing himself to sit up and patting the couch cushion next to him. John shook his head slowly. “Because,” he tried again. “I didn’t know this was happening.” Sherlock watched carefully as his words seemed to hit John like a train.
John took an involuntary step back, then stepped forward enough to collapse onto the couch in the space Sherlock offered him. “You didn’t know,” he repeated hoarsely.
“Yes, John, I didn’t know. As much as I loathe to repeat myself, I—Sherlock Holmes—did not know that I was going to die.” Sherlock paused and let himself slump over onto John’s shoulder. John let out a large breath through his nose and set his cheek against the top of Sherlock’s head. “I suspected that this would happen, of course.” He was certainly babbling now, but the words wouldn’t stop coming. “Thirty years is far too long for a genetic anomaly to survive.”
John laughed, and it sounded hollow. Sherlock felt it vibrate through him, though he leaned on his friend’s shoulder. “If you think about it too hard, thirty years is too long for anything to survive the way our world is going,” he told Sherlock, and shifted them around so his arm rested against Sherlock’s shoulder at an angle that would let him run his fingers through dark curls.
Sherlock muffled a yawn against the shoulder of John’s jumper. “What will you do when I’m gone?” he asked sleepily. John’s fingers stilled in his hair.
“Sher—” John’s voice cracked. “Sherlock, why ask that?” He resumed pulling pulling his fingers through Sherlock’s hair. Sherlock’s wings fluttered against the back of the couch, a sleepy movement that John normally found really endearing.
Sherlock lifted his head enough to be able to look at John, but not enough to dislodge his fingers. “I have to make sure that you’ll be able to move on,” he said. “When it happens.” John’s fingers stilled again, and he cleared his throat.
“I’d... like not to think about that until I absolutely have to, yeah?” he admitted, abandoning running his fingers through Sherlock’s hair for pressing his fingers against the younger man’s scalp. It was calming, for once, to have Sherlock at his side being the affectionate and admittedly cuddly person that he normally wasn’t, to see a side to Sherlock that wasn’t sharp or angular or all corners.
“You’ve got to make—” Sherlock was interrupted by yet another yawn. “The proper preparations.” He pressed himself further into John’s side, no doubt seeking the warmth of a stockier body. “This can’t be avoided or outwitted.”
John sighed and patted Sherlock’s knee with his free hand. “You need to get to bed, Sherlock. You’re falling asleep.” He couldn’t help a fond eyeroll when Sherlock’s answer was a soft, huff of a laugh.
“I can fall asleep anywhere I like.” And as if to prove his point, Sherlock shifted enough to curl his wings around the both of them—a perfect impromptu blanket for a kip on the couch. John pulled his fingers out of Sherlock’s hair and patted his shoulder.
“No, sir. Not tonight. If you fall asleep that leaves me to carry you to your proper bed. And I’ve already said you’re heavy as a rock.” John rubbed at his shoulder. “Come on. Up you get.”
“If I’m heavy as a rock, it shouldn’t be a problem. Rocks aren’t that heavy,” Sherlock protested, words blurred by pure exhaustion. John laughed softly.
“I don’t mean a small rock, Sherlock. I mean a larger than average one, or maybe a small boulder,” he amended. “If you don’t put your wing down and get moving, I’ll move your wing myself.” Sherlock’s wing didn’t move. John feared for a moment he’d already drifted to sleep, but the soft huff of a laugh happened again.
“I dare you,” Sherlock mumbled. His wing still didn’t move. John shook his head and lifted a hand.
“You asked for it,” he said warningly, then set his hand on the top ridge of Sherlock’s wing. As he folded the wing in, he marveled at the softness of the feathers under his hand and that Sherlock didn’t leap up and stalk off when he lifted his hand, nor did he flick his wing away from the weight of John’s hand. Then, before he could let himself pull his hand down from the ridge and over the feathers—a move John was sure would be far too intimate for the two of them to handle—he pulled his hand off of Sherlock’s wing entirely and prodded his side instead.
“Get up, you,” he demanded, following Sherlock as he squirmed away. “Come on, you’ve got to go to bed.” With the energy John was sure Sherlock had been steadily gaining while he was reclined against John, Sherlock pushed himself up off of the couch.
And only when Sherlock moved did John realize that he’d been sitting against one of Sherlock’s wings the entire time. He watched Sherlock try to fold it in and poorly hide a wince. “Pins and needles?” he asked. Sherlock nodded and gave up on trying to fold in his wing.
John watched Sherlock shuffle to his bedroom and kick the door shut behind him, then decided he needed to sleep himself. He wasn’t going anywhere, therefore Sherlock wasn’t either, especially if there was nowhere to follow John. He got up and trudged upstairs, all too aware of his limp starting to return and making a mental note to find his cane, and was barely in his pyjamas before he collapsed on his bed and fell asleep.
John was awake and heading downstairs for coffee and toast bright and early. Sherlock slept sixteen long hours.
The second thing John noticed to go was Sherlock’s disregard for his own need for food.
He came downstairs one morning a few days out from Mycroft’s storytelling adventure to find Sherlock pawing through the fridge. All of the cupboards had been thrown open, and there were food packets littering the table where experiments usually sat.
“Sherlock,” John stated flatly, watching as Sherlock nearly jumped out of his skin and turned around. “What the ruddy hell is going on?” Sherlock had what looked like a piece of buttered-and-jammed bread dangling from his mouth.
Almost as if he was ashamed—and he probably was, being caught like that—Sherlock shut the fridge and took the bread from his mouth. “I got hungry.”
“You? Hungry?” John raised an eyebrow. “Well, this is good for something, I suppose, innit?” Sherlock’s face darkened. John’s shoulders drooped and he lifted his hands in surrender. “All right, all right, not the time for joking. I get it.”
Satisfied that John was finished poking fun at him, Sherlock resumed eating the bread he held. “We’ll need groceries soon,” he stated. John sighed and took another look around the all-but-devoid-of-food kitchen.
“I can tell,” he said. “This means I’ll have to go back to work, though, Sherlock.” John moved from the doorway of the kitchen and started picking up the empty food packets. Brushing his hands against his pyjama pants to rid them of the bread crumbs, Sherlock frowned.
“Work? Where?” he asked, watching John bin the packets.
John moved from the bin to the counter, took the electric kettle off the stand, and filled it at the tap. “The surgery,” he reminded his flatmate. “With Sarah?” he clarified, setting the kettle back and turning it on. When Sherlock’s expression didn’t change from the confused look it’d taken when he mentioned the work in the first place, John flapped a hand and told him, “Never mind.”
"Sarah was that woman that was nearly killed by the spear on the blind banker case, correct?" Sherlock focused on the wall behind John, brows furrowing, but the information required was slightly escaping his memory. John waved a hand again and pulled his phone out of his dressing gown pocket.
“I said ‘never mind,’ Sherlock,” he said, checking the time before he punched in Sarah’s work number. “It isn’t too early to call, is it?” Sherlock’s wings fluttered.
“It shouldn’t be, not by the working society’s standards.” He was slightly alarmed by the lack of knowledge, but hid it behind a mask like always, not wanting to alarm John with this sudden loss. "What time is it then?" He looked for his phone among the mess.
John didn’t pause in his number dialing. “It’s about half eight.” Sherlock secured his phone and lit the screen, only to check if he’d missed anything in his feeding frenzy. One text message. He unlocked the screen and tapped the text open. He read the text over once, then a few times more.
“So, I’ll just nip down to Tesco now, then, and call Sarah after?” John motioned over his shoulder. Sherlock glanced up, then back at the text.
“Don’t bother right now, you’re still in your pyjamas.” Sherlock shook his head. John sighed.
“So who texted you?” he asked instead. Sherlock waved a hand at him. “It obviously wasn’t Greg, you’d be running out of here before you could even get your shoes on. It wasn’t Mycroft, or you would’ve been huffier about it.”
“Unimportant,” Sherlock replied, sticking his phone in the waistband of his trousers. He glanced at John, who was giving him a look that was very nearly asking why he wasn’t using his pockets like a normal human being. He swept into the living room with as much flair as he could while not wearing his coat or dressing gown, and sat in his armchair to give his wings a good going-over. He could feel bent feathers where his arms brushed when they were open, and he wanted to make sure he was merely imagining them.
Steadily ignoring John’s looks, he pulled his phone from his waistband and set it on the nearest end table, then carefully extended a glossy, dove-grey wing and ran his fingers over the inside as far back as he could reach.
When John sighed and trudged back upstairs, Sherlock stopped messing with his wing and picked up his phone. He thumbed out a reply to the text he received, set his phone down again, and resumed searching for bent feathers.
Sherlock was still trying to run his fingers over the smaller feathers close to the base of his wings when John came back downstairs, straightening the sleeves on his jumper. “What are you doing?” John asked, stopping just barely in the sitting room. Sherlock paused and looked to him, eyebrow raised.
“Grooming myself,” he said. “Or at least attempting to. I feel bent feathers, but I’m afraid I can’t reach them.” As John watched, Sherlock stretched one arm around himself to try to feel along the outside of his wing, now, as if to prove his point.
“Do you want help?” John motioned towards him. “I could probably get where you can’t reach,” he offered. Sherlock raised his other eyebrow to join the first.
“You would willingly touch a genetic anomaly?” he asked incredulously. John dropped his hand and pressed his lips into a thin line.
“Don’t call yourself a ‘genetic anomaly,’ Sherlock,” John scolded. “You’re not an anomaly of any sort. You’re just Sherlock. And yes, I would willingly touch you to help get rid of bent feathers. I know they irritate you.” Sherlock’s expression opened out of mild shock, but his mask slid into place all over again when he saw John mutter what could only be ‘just like everything else does,’ under his breath.
Sherlock twisted in his chair, angling his back towards John. “Fine, if you think you can help,” he snapped.
He expected to startle when John touched his wings; the last time he allowed someone to touch them—and he wouldn’t get into that—they were very nearly rough with him. They pulled feathers, whether by accident or on purpose Sherlock would probably never figure out, as he had not been in his right state of mind. He didn’t, however.
John’s hands were gentle on his wings, barely touching except for where he needed to fix a feather here or there. He held a feather over Sherlock’s shoulder. The soft weight of the side of John’s hand was warm through his shirt. “This one came out when I touched it. I’m not sure if you want me to bin it or let you keep it, or...” John trailed.
Sherlock was quiet a moment. “You keep it,” he said finally. It wasn’t a big feather, not by far, as it’d been closer to the base of his wings, but it was bigger than any feather that John would ever find on a plain bird. He looked over the same shoulder John had set his hand against to offer the feather over and watched as John reverently tucked it into his trouser pocket. “It’ll get crushed there,” Sherlock offered quietly.
“I know,” John replied, choosing then to slide his fingers through the hair at the back of Sherlock’s head.
“You should get to Tesco’s if you’re going to go.” John’s fingers disappeared. “Take my card,” Sherlock instructed. John took a few steps back, then headed to the section of the countertop where Sherlock tossed his wallet at the end of the day.
“Right.” John cleared his throat. “Well. I’ll be back in a bit, then.”
Once he’d pulled on his shoes and coat and was out the door did Sherlock move. He stood from his chair and headed to his room to get dressed.
Someone would be visiting him very soon, and he had to look his best.
He left his room wearing the purple shirt that had gotten positive responses from everyone he’d ever worn it around—the color sat nicely with his wings and with his skin tone, Mrs. Hudson told him once—and black trousers.
In the kitchen he made toast with two of the last five slices of bread in the flat and, while waiting for it to come out of the toaster, he looked at the kettle. It was still filled with water. Odd. Sherlock recalled John filling it and starting it to heat, but leaving to dress and take the trip out to Tesco. He turned the kettle on. No use letting good water go to waste.
While he waited for the tea to steep, Sherlock covered the toast with butter and jam and ate both slices.
The tea he made was too milky—Sherlock used the last of the milk, and reminded himself to text John to get more when he sat back down—and too sweet at the bottom. He couldn’t do it like John could, he realized. Being too sweet at the bottom was acceptable for coffee, black-two-sugars, but not for tea. He drank it anyways.
As he was finishing up with the mug, he heard two sets of footsteps on the stairs—neither were John’s. His guest was here. “Yoo-hoo,” Mrs. Hudson called, rapping on the doorframe as she pushed the door open. “Sherlock, dear, you’ve got a visitor!” she said, then, “Go on in, love, he’s probably waiting for you.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Hudson. You’re a real helper,” Sherlock’s guest’s voice came soft and sweet before the owner filled the doorway. Sherlock grinned.
He dreamed of Sherlock stepping over the edge of St. Bart’s roof with no wings to catch him and woke up with the thick, sour taste of “He’s my friend, let me through,” dying on his tongue and the feel of a wrist with no fluttering pulse on his fingers.
As always, unbeta'd and unbritpicked. Ehe.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Tesco at this time of morning wasn’t so bad, John realized. He wandered up and down the aisles of the quiet store, not having to worry about bumping into anyone. He didn’t plan on taking very long, either, something else that being in the store this early in the morning would help with.
He stood in one aisle, basket clutched in his right hand, and examined microwave suppers. Would Sherlock eat these? John was contemplating the cheese ravioli versus the beef stroganoff, and considered getting out his phone to text Sherlock and ask which he would prefer. He had his phone halfway out of his pocket before he began to doubt Sherlock would even answer him, and slipped it back into his jacket with a shake of his head.
His shoulder gave a particularly vicious throb as he lifted his arm to pull a few of each off the shelf, and John blew a long breath out through his nose as he dropped his arm. So it was going to be one of those days, wasn’t it. Brilliant. He was about to settle for grabbing several of the lower-shelved meals, when someone carefully tapped his right shoulder.
Standing just behind him was a woman who couldn’t have hardly been older than twenty-five, but looked years older in the lines of her face and the slope of her shoulders. John guessed she was widowed, by her posture and the rings on her left hand, and inwardly cursed Sherlock for rubbing off on him.
“Oh, sorry, I’ll—” John moved to step out of her way, and she shook her head.
“No, no, you don’t have to move,” she insisted. “I just wanted to know if you—well—needed help.” She twisted her hands together. John was about to answer, when she cut him off with a slight stutter. “It was just—” In a move John knew was to compose herself, she pushed her hair away from her forehead. “My husband had trouble getting things from higher shelves when...” She trailed off and wound her fingers into a thin chain around her neck.
John couldn’t help a slight, understanding smile as he nodded. “Was he army?” he asked gently. She nodded. “How many tours?”
“One and a half,” she told him, detangling her fingers from her necklace—dog tags, it hit John like a brick to the head.—and dropping her arms to her sides. “He hurt his shoulder on the first one...” John nodded again.
“I understand that.” John paused. “Doctor John Watson.” He offered his hand for a shake, and she grasped his hand firmly.
“Elaine Whitmore,” she responded, giving him a watery smile. “Sorry—” Elaine stepped back suddenly, wiping at her eyes. “The wound is still fresh,” she explained, pushing her hair back from her forehead again.
“There’s nothing to apologize for over that,” John assured her. “Er, I was shopping for my flatmate,” he said. “He’s—sick, really badly, and can’t do the shopping himself.” Elaine nodded.
“Which dinners did you want?” She stepped towards the shelves. John pointed out the ones he’d been reaching for, and Elaine pulled them down for him.
“Sherlock?” John called, struggling up the stairs, Tesco carrier bags in tow. “Sherlock, don’t worry about helping me with the groceries, it’s not as though it’s mostly your food that I’m carrying,” he groused. He stalked into the kitchen and dumped the bags onto the table
From the sitting room, John heard the murmur of Sherlock’s voice carrying. Figuring Mycroft was over—and still a bit mad at the man for springing the surprised news on the both of them—John dutifully ignored him and began storing away the groceries, mindful of the few china teacups on the counter.
Sherlock had decided on those, had he? John thought, shaking his head. Sherlock was dramatic towards his brother, but more likely to use cheap petrol station-bought mugs for entertaining Mycroft—Sherlock was more likely to use the cheap mugs, not these. John felt metaphorical red flags going off in his head.
He moved to the sitting room and froze in the doorway.
Jim Moriarty, black wings protruding from his shoulder blades no longer glossy or smooth, sat in John’s chair. A feather dropped from the ridge of his wing, and John felt as though his chair had suddenly been tainted. Sherlock sat opposite him in his own chair, slid halfway down, legs stretched straight and fingers steepled against his chin.
“Sherlock—what the hell is he doing in our flat?” John ground out, motioning towards the black-winged man. Sherlock’s wings shifted. A second and then a third feather fell from Jim’s wings. Sherlock looked up, his stare at Jim successfully interrupted.
“I can answer that, Doctor,” Jim said in Sherlock’s place. “I thought Sherlock would be able to help me—I’m at a loss, you see, I take the utmost care of my babies...” He pulled the tip of a wing towards him and ran his fingers over the inky down peeking through the gaps in the feathers. “But I’m losing feathers left and right, and I wondered if Sherlock dear and I were kindred spirits after all.”
Sherlock dropped his hands. “What he means is that he’s wondering if he’s going out like I am.”
“I know what he meant,” John snapped. “And you just look like you’re molting. Can you leave now, please.” Jim dropped his eyes demurely.
“I was hoping I could perhaps have a bit of a kip here, as well. My darling landlady doesn’t care for my feathers all over the flat and gives me icky looks when she thinks I can’t see. Besides, I did my molting last week.” John pinched the bridge of his nose.
“No. I’ve already got one giant bird ‘round here. I don’t need another. Especially when this ‘another’ has tried to blow me up by strapping me to Sem-Tex.” He turned to head back into the kitchen.
“John.” Sherlock pushed himself out of his chair, teetering a bit as John looked over his shoulder. “It would seem as though I’m not... by myself.” As he teetered again, Jim jumped up and set his hands at Sherlock’s elbows to steady him.
“Can one of you tell me what the bloody hell is going on?” he demanded.
“John, John, John, dear, ‘birds of a feather,’ you know.” Jim smiled pleasantly, smoothing a hand over Sherlock’s forearm. John’s mouth went sour at the slight display of affection.
“Sherlock, come on to the kitchen, your blood sugar’s probably low again,” John forced out, pushing for a pleasant tone he knew both other men would see through in a moment. He was right; Jim’s eyes glinted. Still, Sherlock obeyed peacefully and quietly padded to the kitchen.
“What did you buy?” he asked. John headed further onto the hardwood and pulled open cabinets.
“A lot of microwave things, sweets, snacks...” he listed. Jim hovered at the door frame. “I also got stuff for sandwiches if you want a cheese sandwich,” John pointed out, motioning to the packaged bread on the counter.
“Actually, that sounds quite lovely. You’ll make it, won’t you?” Sherlock seated himself at the kitchen table, pushing a mound of loose papers into a somewhat-sloppy stack to get them properly out of the way. Jim took another step into the kitchen.
“Do you need a hand?” he asked sweetly, reaching for the cupboard John knew Jim knew housed the frypans.
“No, I’ll do it,” John retorted, getting out a plate and pulling the twist-tie off of a new loaf of bread almost defiantly. Jim got down the skillet anyways and plunked it almost clumsily onto the stove. John pulled his shoulders in a bit, ignoring the slight twinge in the bad joint. He could feel Sherlock’s eyes on him and turned his back further, eliciting a soft, syrupy giggle from behind Jim’s hand where he’d covered his mouth. “I know exactly how Sherlock likes his cheese sandwiches.”
John knew he was being a bit of a prat, but ice still slipped down his spine when Jim piped in a, “So do I, silly doctor! He’s a bit of an odd one—he likes a bit of hummus and cucumber on his sandwiches!” Jim was exactly right; Sherlock always claimed the sandwiches never tasted the same prepared otherwise. He turned the stove on and his attention away from Jim when Sherlock let his head bang against the table.
“You alright?” he asked, taking the barely a step across the kitchen to touch at Sherlock’s shoulder.
“Tired. Peckish.” Sherlock pillowed his head in his arms. “My body is attempting to correct the ‘sickness’ it’s discovered, though everyone in this kitchen knows that’s a fruitless effort.” John smoothed a palm over the hard edge of Sherlock’s upper arm and shoulder blade and hazarded a glance over his own shoulder. Jim was watching them with badly-hidden glee.
“Don’t talk like that,” John reprimanded softly. “Your body is doing what it’s supposed to, if it’s trying to fix you.” He could hear Jim moving around the kitchen behind him, and felt the other man’s wings brush his back as he squeezed past to get to the refrigerator. Sherlock peeked out from the crook of his elbow. “I promise.” John smiled softly. Though he couldn’t see Sherlock’s entire face, he could see the hint of disbelief in Sherlock’s eye. Jim shuffled past him again. A few feathers littered the floor.
When John took the chance to look over his shoulder again, Jim had already gotten out the chilled ingredients for Sherlock’s sandwich and was preparing them while the pan heated, softly whistling a cheery tune.
“If you’ve got anything other than what I know is in my fridge to put on that cheese sandwich, Jim Moriarty, I won’t be pleased with you,” he warned. Jim twisted his upper body and gave John a hurt look.
“I wouldn’t dare! Not now, anyways. Oh, Johnny-boy, you trust me so little!” Jim cooed. John narrowed his eyes.
“Why should I?” he challenged. Jim’s expression went sharp for a moment before softening out. Sherlock lifted his head from the pillow of his arms. The expression he wore as he looked between his flatmate and his guest was one John couldn’t quite categorize.
The kitchen was silent aside from the stove creaking softly as it heated. All three men were still. Jim’s wings twitched, and a handful of feathers fluttered to the floor. John kept his eyes between the two winged men and watched Sherlock’s eyes track the feathers now marring the smooth pattern of the hardwood.
Jim turned away first. “Oh, dear,” he tutted, fitting the halves of the sandwich together. “I don’t want to let this get too hot...” John ignored the sizzle of greased bread hitting a hot pan in favor of rubbing at Sherlock’s shoulder some more. There was nothing more John could do but watch as the man he refused to trust stood cheerfully in front of the stove in his flat, making his best friend a cheese sandwich exactly the way he liked it.
It wasn’t until the sandwich had been eaten—even then not without John stealing a bite to make sure it wasn’t poisoned and earning both a hurt look and a hungry glare from the other occupants of the kitchen—that Jim decided to take his reluctant leave.
“I’ll be in touch, darling,” he cooed, patting Sherlock’s cheek. Sherlock had not reacted to the touch, save to turn his face away. Jim seemed neither insulted nor angered, and instead just saw himself out, leaving a trail of once-glossy feathers in his wake.
When the door downstairs snapped shut, John turned to Sherlock. “What,” he said, “the hell was that.”
That night, as John slept, he dreamed.
He dreamed of a wingless Sherlock, fending off compliments and figuring out gifts of appreciation with the merest of shakes. He dreamed of two children, screaming when Sherlock came into their sight, his collar turned down. He dreamed of a run for his life, a hop in front of a bus, a hired killer running out of the night to push him and Sherlock to the safety of the sidewalk.
He dreamed of Sherlock stepping over the edge of St. Bart’s roof with no wings to catch him and woke up with the thick, sour taste of “He’s my friend, let me through,” dying on his tongue and the feel of a wrist with no fluttering pulse on his fingers.
John stared at the ceiling, willed himself further out of the dream, and pushed himself out of bed, grabbing for a cane that wasn’t there.
He supported himself on the wall as he limped out of his bedroom as quietly as he could; Sherlock was probably still asleep in his own room downstairs. His leg was throbbing badly enough that he knew it wouldn’t support him if he left it on his own, but he still took a pit stop in the hallway to check the bathroom and the closets, just in case. For what, he wouldn’t be able to tell.
When John reached the sitting room, he found himself hoarsely whispering, “Don’t be dead, for me,” like a prayer and pressed his lips into a thin line to quiet himself. The kitchen light was on. John’s heart leapt into his throat and before he could stop, he was limping to the kitchen, bracing his hands on anything within reach.
Sherlock sat at the kitchen table, facing the living room doorway, a mug in front of him and a mug across from him, both still steaming. His wings were tucked tightly against his back—a gesture so Sherlock that John couldn’t help but relax his shoulders—but he watched John with just the slightest bit of concern showing through his expression.
“I didn’t know you were awake,” John rasped. He cleared his throat. “You made tea,” he pointed out instead. Sherlock nodded, then turned his eyes away almost pointedly. John followed his gaze and nearly sagged with relief when he saw his cane propped against the doorframe. He stepped forward and grabbed it, and the feel of the grip on the handle was like an anchor.
“I heard you shouting through the vent,” Sherlock said, curling his fingers around his mug. “You were shouting for me. It sounded like a nightmare.” He lowered his eyes to his mug as John sank into the empty chair.
Flashes of his dream sparked across his eyes; John saw the dark tails of Sherlock’s coat snapping out, slicing through the grey of the London sky as he fell, arms outstretched like the wings he bore on his back outside of the realm of John’s nightmares.
“It was,” John confirmed tiredly. “It was some nightmare.” He laughed, and the sound was hollow enough to make even Sherlock’s shoulders tighten. He dropped his forehead to his hands a moment, then scrubbed his fingers through his hair. John knew Sherlock would sit quietly until he decided to talk about it—if he wanted to talk about it—so he made no move to say anything. He pulled the mug Sherlock set out for him down the table and held it tight between both hands.
“Are you going to be able to get back to sleep?” Sherlock asked some time later, having given John enough time to swallow down half of the tea in his mug. The tea in his own mug had long since been finished, and Sherlock categorized John’s slowness with his tea as an aftereffect of his nightmare. John shook his head.
“I don’t know,” he said honestly. “What time is it?” He cast his eyes around the kitchen, looking for a wall clock they didn’t have hung up. The microwave answered his question instead, blaring out 5:23 in green numbers.
“The sitting room might be more comfortable.” Sherlock lifted himself from his chair and stretched across the kitchen to set his empty mug in the sink. John stood, leaning on his cane, and mimicked Sherlock’s movements. The rubber end of his cane slipped on the hardwood. John thought for a brief, heart stopping moment that he was going to hit the floor, but breathed a long breath of relief out when he caught himself on the edge of the counter. He straightened, and out of the corner of his eye he caught Sherlock’s feathers smoothing down from fluffing themselves out.
He’d scared Sherlock.
John’s heart stuck in his throat. “I’m alright,” he croaked, and offered Sherlock the barest hint of a smile. The corner of Sherlock’s mouth twitched, once, and John took that as a return in kind of the gesture he’d just given. “I promise.” His voice was more steady this time around, and though it wasn’t visibly obvious, John could tell that the reassurance did calm his flatmate.
“You should take the day off,” Sherlock suggested, once they were settled onto the couch and had BBC News droning quietly in the background. “Call, er...”
“Sarah,” John supplied. “You forget, I only work when she needs me.” Sherlock nodded, and shifted to stretch a wing behind John’s shoulders and cradling his head. The warmth and smoky grey combined with the silkiness of the feathers and the weight of the wing curled around him made John content enough to lean against Sherlock’s side and let his eyes close. Sherlock’s arm joined his wing around John’s shoulders.
Sherlock was like a furnace in the cool air of the sitting room, and John’s mind sleepily supplied that he was being more affectionate than the prickly detective he’d met at first.
When he fell asleep again, he dreamed of hot sand and dry grass, but he was soaring above it all on two smoke-grey wings, carrying a frail, dark-haired child against his chest as though dropping the child would mean the end of him as much as it would mean the end of the child.
John jerked awake again, pulling in deep breaths of hot, thick air that tasted of sleep and feathers. The grey that surrounded him and filled his vision set him on edge until his eyes focused enough for him to see the details of down in front of his face. There was an arm wound around his middle and the weight of a head tucked against his shoulder and John knew that if he turned his gaze he would find a riot of messy curls ready to tickle at his nose.
Judging by the fact that John could easily tell what colour Sherlock’s wings were, he knew the sun had risen, or at least was in the process of rising. As much as his neck and shoulders told him that falling asleep sitting up hadn’t been a good idea, and as much as he longed to stand and stretch sore muscles, John couldn’t bear to move Sherlock from where he was curled like a winged cat around him. Instead, he let his thoughts drift for a few solid minutes.
“Go back to sleep, your thinking is too loud.” Sherlock’s voice was almost too loud in the cocoon of wings, and the yawn he let out was like fire against John’s shoulder. Not wanting to argue with Sherlock and wake the both of them up from what was to be a lazy day, John closed his eyes and acquiesced to Sherlock’s demand.
When John opened his eyes, it was to the ceiling in his room. He couldn’t remember getting there, but he supposed it hardly mattered. He swung himself out of bed, registering a sort of all-encompassing ache that started somewhere between his lungs—as if something had been torn out of his very heart and soul—but that was nothing new lately.
He pulled his cane from its place against his bedside table and shuffled his way downstairs to an empty kitchen. There were no explosions from the impromptu lab piled haphazardly in the corner, and there was no lithe body propped on the couch, fingers pressed together under a sharp chin, and there had not been for some time.
John cast his eyes about the messy kitchen as he waited for the kettle to boil and had to remind himself to only pull down one mug from the cabinet. The thought set a rattling pang of loneliness radiating out from somewhere near his solar plexus. He closed his eyes a moment and leaned back against the counter, pinching his fingers at the bridge of his nose to stop the stinging of tears.
Sherlock had fallen months ago; there wasn’t any denying that or changing it with wishful thinking. He had no wings to catch him, he couldn’t have spread what didn’t exist like a parachute of spun silk against a clouded sky.
The kettle shrieked out its readiness and switched off, and John fixed his first cup of tea for the day.
He sat at the kitchen table to drink it, and kept his eyes fixed on the numbers of the microwave clock. It was in this fashion that he worked his way through a second cup.
On the third cup, he allowed himself to fall to habit and pulled down a second mug, which he filled and prepared just like his own. This extra cup he left with its handle turned outward just so on the countertop near the kettle, as if it could be picked up by a still-sleepy hand on its owner’s way through the kitchen from his bedroom. John took his third mug of tea into the sitting room, where he sat in his chair and switched the television on so he could half-watch the news while he checked over his usual websites on his laptop.
There was nothing new in his email, and nothing new on the blog that he hasn’t bothered to update since The Fall.
After that, there wasn’t really anything else for John to do. He set his laptop aside, rested his temple against his knuckles, and hoped nobody would drop by. John was tired of the looks he got when his visitors were sure he wasn’t watching; the looks that implied he was helpless with grief, crushed beyond recognition, unable to function properly without the lanky detective by his side.
His eyes popped open moments later, and John was almost relieved to feel the weight of Sherlock curled against him and the heat of Sherlock’s wings stretched over the both of them like foggy blankets.
Gosh, I feel like this chapter is mostly filler. I'm sorry!;; But it does contain important stuff if you know where to look...