Find me, find me, find me. The message comes over the wire like…. but no, it’s not a real message; it’s a dream. He doesn’t want to be found.
The first cervical vertebra, the last lumbar, the anterior superior iliac spine, the anterior inferior iliac spine. Adductor brevis, Adductor longis, adductor magnus. These parts that stand us, move us, hold us up. Nothing stands him up anymore. Or nothing moves him.
All stone and bone.
“The last thing I wanted was to find you like this,” Mycroft’s saying. His suit smacks of the Diogenes; the hand gripping Sherlock’s forefinger and thumb (compass and straightedge) is far too soft.
He’s in a bed, god knows where, too soft. “You nearly bled out, you know,” says his brother. Three days since he clipped his nails. Three hours since he last ate (tea, a sliced apple, two raisin biscuits). Two months, maybe, since they saw each other last. Vermillion eukaryotes of pain.
“I’ve got some painkillers coming,” Mycroft says. “All right?”
“Just tell me something that’ll take the edge off,” he says. It surprises him, that he says it.
Mycroft hesitates, runs his free fingers over his hair.
“Dr. Watson smiled when he passed one of the cameras today,” he says, “Briefly.”
Just (find me.)
Later, much later, in a different life again, he tells John (voice full of hesitation marks) about the wound (crowbar, prisebar, hexagonal, oxidized), how he lifted some dihydrocodeine from the handbag of a doctor ( East Slavic, wry, bleached hair, tiny hands), dry-swallowed three, threw them up again in patch of wayside toadflax, half-crawled to the unheated safehouse, lay on the granites listening to water drip in the sink, counting his breaths, feeling his own pulse , reciting the Latin names of all the scarlet (arteries) and blue (veins) flora he could think of. Later that night, somehow, staggered up (horse gone on Echium plantagineum, Paterson’s Curse, toxic and blue), drank straight from the rusty taps, covered his head, killed a man, collapsed shaking under an flyover, woke up in the back of a Range Rover with a blanket over his face (am I dead?) and one of Mycroft’s minions emergency–suturing his adductors back together (No).
John,( at hearing “toadflax,” for some reason)puts the tips of his fingers to his eyes, sobs once, stops, puts Sherlock’s forearm, his hand, his once-stitched thigh, in a death grip,says,go on.