Chapter One: A Discovery
1 week, 4 days
"Sherlock? Sherlock?!" John yelled, crashing through yet another set of doors in the filthy building. "Oh god," the doctor gasped, stopping in his tracks as he entered the room. Lying on the ground, nearly ten yards away, Sherlock lay in a crumpled heap, completely naked, save for a thin sheet covering his modesty.
John froze, staring at his friend's battered and broken body, eyes immediately taking notice of the gashes and bruises littering the detective's alabaster skin.
"Sherlock," he sighed sadly, both relief and incredible sadness flooding his veins. "Greg! He's here, he's here! I've got him! We need the stretcher!" the doctor called, yelling over his shoulder towards the Inspector. Heart racing with the prospect that his friend could be dead, John quickly pulled off his coat and hurried towards the corner, unsure of what he would find.
"Sherlock?" he asked quietly once he reached the detective's body. The doctor sighed in relief as he noticed Sherlock's chest moving up and down, though the breathing seemed shallow, too quick.
"John? John, where is—" Lestrade stopped in the doorway, flashlight in his hand as he stared at the scene in front of him. "Back!" he barked over his shoulder. "Stay out! Only the stretcher. John, is he okay?"
"He's breathing, but he's got all sorts of lacerations and bruises..."
"God," Lestrade muttered sadly, gazing at his friend's broken body.
"Sherlock?" John whispered, quickly kneeling down and wrapping his coat around the detective's limp form. "Sherlock, we found him. Moran's dead. We've got you," he whispered, shaking the man's arm and attempting to lift him up.
Upon hearing John's voice, Sherlock groggily opened his eyes, gazing off into nowhere.
"Oh," John sighed sadly, staring into his friend's foggy eyes. It was quite clear the detective had been drugged, and heavily, at that. But John still held onto a small glimmer of hope as he stared into Sherlock's ever-changing grey eyes and saw, underneath layers of a drug-induced fog, that there was still that spark of cunning... John could still see his friend's brilliant mind working, despite the effects of the drug.
"Thank god," he whispered quietly, wrapping the coat further around Sherlock's freezing body. "Damn it! Where on earth is the stretcher?"
With a huff of angry annoyance, Lestrade marched off towards the door, face flushing a bright red as he prepared to yell down the hallway. Just as the Inspector took a deep breath, several men hurried into the room, a long stretcher in their hands.
"It's about bloody time," John all-but-growled as the men hurried over, and started to lift Sherlock's limp form onto the white sheets.
"Hmm... Joh... J..." Sherlock managed, brows pulling together as his chest heaved up and down with labored breaths.
"Sherlock? Shh... Shh, it's all right. I'm right here and Greg's just there," John said quietly, hurrying towards the detective.
"Mor... Uhm..." Sherlock's head tiredly lolled to the side as the stretcher started to move.
"Shh. Just rest now, Sherlock. I'll explain everything later. Just rest."
With an infinitesimal nod of his head, the detective's eyes slowly slid shut, his entire body going limp as he slipped away into a much-deserved sleep.
Sherlock awoke with a start, the memories of the past week and a half suddenly flooding back in a stinging rush of emotion. The detective gasped quietly at the realizations of what had happened, squeezing his eyes shut as he desperately tried to shove away the aching onslaught of recollections; desperately tried to shove away the memory of Moran on top of him... The pain and terror as he...
No. Sherlock silently scolded himself, tangling a fist in the sheets as he forced the memory, the feeling away. The detective frowned upon feeling the distinctive crispness of the papery fabric beneath his fingers. Hospital bed. Not home.
With a soft huff of a breath, Sherlock opened his eyes, the steel-grey orbs expertly scanning around the bright room. The detective paused as his gaze fell upon John. The doctor was sitting in a very uncomfortable-looking hospital chair, holding his head in his hands while he simultaneously massaged his forehead, muttering tiredly to himself.
Squinting slightly as he assessed his friend, Sherlock took note of the doctor's unwashed hair; noticed the light stubble on his face. Has not eaten in eight hours. Has not shaved in at least four days. Significant weight loss. At least five pounds. Has not slept for at least 27 hours... Clothes are three days old... Total number of days I have been in the hospital is three.
"Three days?" the detective asked quietly, his deep, baritone voice filling the otherwise-silent room.
John nearly fell out of the chair as he jumped at the sound of his friend's voice. "Sherlock?" he gasped in amazement, a small, almost hopeful smile gracing his lips. "You're awake!"
"Obviously," Sherlock almost chuckled, something of a smile forming on his lips. He flinched slightly, as the motion hurt him, sending a rush of pain and dizziness to his head. "How badly?" he asked, now serious, looking up at John with questioning eyes as the doctor quickly approached.
Running his fingers through his short, sandy hair, John's face suddenly became somber as he stared at his injured friend. "Pretty badly," he said quietly, hovering near Sherlock's bed. "Several broken ribs... Too many cuts and bruises to count..."
Sherlock nodded, trying to gain the courage to ask the question he knew John was waiting for. "John," he started quietly, averting his gaze and staring at the ground. The detective's fingers were already clutching the thin fabric of the hospital sheet between his fingers, his knuckles turning white from the grip. "Did he..."
"Yes," John whispered quietly, watching his friend with sad eyes. "He did. I—I'm sorry, Sherlock." The doctor waited silently, feeling a strange stab of pain course through his chest as the noticed the broken realization flash across his friend's eyes. "I'm sorry," he repeated softly, and without thinking, reached forward, taking Sherlock's hand in his own. "Really."
Trying to keep the rush of emotions he was feeling in check, the detective allowed John to grab his hand, not even shying away at the rare show of physical affection.
The two remained like that, the doctor holding his friend's hand, Sherlock holding back the tears threatening to spill over, and John pretending he didn't see any of it happening.
"Thank you, John," Sherlock managed eventually, voice raw with emotion and sounding strangely broken.
"Of course." With a weak attempt at a reassuring smile, John released the detective's hand.
Sherlock quickly cleared his throat and sat up in the bed, frowning slightly at the dizziness that washed over him.
"Mmm," he grumbled unhappily, kneading his slender fingers into his temple. "John?"
"When can I get out of this bloody hospital and into some real clothes?" he asked, glaring down at the thin hospital gown covering his frame.
There was a slight pause. John just stared at his friend, who gazed back, completely serious.
"Pfha!" John cried, suddenly bursting into laughter at his flat mate's request.
Sherlock managed a weak chuckle of his own, a small smile gracing his lips as he laughed with the doctor.
"Ohh," John sighed, wiping away at the corners of his eyes. "I'll go see what I can do, all right?" he chuckled, giving Sherlock a warm smile before hurrying out of the room.
Sherlock was discharged from the hospital the next day, after terrorizing all of the nurses and doctors, informing each and every one of them about the embarrassing secrets of their lives, whether it be about their cheating wife, heroine-addicted son or telling them that they were about to go on a date with a person who was already married. Needless to say, the staff was all the more eager to get the detective out.
Though it took a few days to get back into the swing of things, with much help from John, Sherlock was quickly back on his feet, and plunging full force into as many cases as Lestrade could hand him.
And, though the detective tried to make it seem as if it was merely because of lack of brain stimulation, John knew that the real reason Sherlock was so desperate to immerse himself in his work was so that he could try to forget the horror of what had happened while in Moran's presence. And the doctor was perfectly fine to leave it be like that...
When John returned home from surgery, takeaway in hand, he was welcomed by a completely silent flat.
Brows pulling together in confusion and mild worry, the doctor quickly hurried up the stairs, and entered the flat, tucking his keys into his pocket.
"Sherlock?" he called, quickly double-checking the kitchen to make sure he had not missed the detective on the way up. John frowned as he saw several papers resting on the top of small table, a few more scattered about the ground. Upon closer inspection, he noticed that, scribbled across several of the papers, was Sherlock's distinctive handwriting.
Fearing the worst, John hurried back into the sitting room. "Sherlock?" he called worriedly, already pulling out his phone. The doctor paused, however, upon hearing a soft, muffled shuffling sound coming from Sherlock's room.
Frowning slightly, John hurried into his flat mate's room, not even bothering to knock. "Sherlock?" he called again. "Oh," he sighed quietly upon turning towards his friend's bathroom and seeing the detective's thin frame dry heaving into the toilet, his pale skin somehow seeming almost translucent in the dim light as he grasped onto the side of the bowl.
"Sherlock, are you all right?" John asked worriedly, pausing in the doorway. He couldn't remember the last time he'd seen Sherlock sick—couldn't remember if the detective had ever even been sick!
"Yes, John. I'm fine," the detective sighed, quickly shoving himself away from the toilet. "Just a little bit of nausea, that's all."
"Okay... Well I brought takeaway, if you're interested. Chinese. But if you're—"
"I'm fine, John. Thank you. I'll uhh... Be out in a moment."
John stared at his friend, eyeing him with a skeptical gaze. "Right. Okay. See you in a few." With a few moment's hesitation, the doctor turned, and headed into the kitchen, deciding he'd make a smaller plate for his flat mate.
Sherlock watched as John left, managing a small, reassuring smile for the doctor. Once he knew his friend was out of earshot, the detective moved to the sink, bracing himself with his hands as he bowed his head, brow furrowing in discomfort.
Quirking his lips as he tried to ignore a new wave of nausea, Sherlock looked up, assessing himself in the mirror. He frowned slightly upon seeing how pale he seemed, how hollow his cheeks appeared. The detective, himself, couldn't even remember when he had last been ill, and the thought only made his frown deepen. After all, he was Sherlock Holmes. And Sherlock Holmes did not just... Get sick.
A strange feeling in the pit of his stomach, Sherlock started some cold water running in the sink, cupped a handful of the cool liquid in his hand and splashed it across the face, enjoying the refreshing feel of it over his warm cheeks.
"Mmm," he sighed, releasing the sink as he straightened, promptly tucking in some of his purple shirt that had become undone. Clearing his throat, Sherlock crouched down, grabbing his suit jacket (which he had discarded in his dash for the bathroom) and wrapped it around his thin frame, buttoning it as he stared at himself in the mirror. With a small nod of his head at his reflection, the detective smoothed down the front of his suit and left the bathroom, already feeling another wave of nausea burning in his stomach as he was assaulted by the smell of Chinese.
"Thank you," Sherlock thanked silently as he sat down at the table, ignoring how strangely potent the food was smelling.
"Sure," John replied hesitantly, taking notice of how uncomfortable his flat mate looked. "So did you get anywhere with the uhh... Oh, the diamond case?"
"Oh," the detective scoffed, giving John a massive eye roll. "It was too easy. Ridiculously easy, even! It was obviously in the gardener's wallet," he sighed dramatically, twirling a few noodles onto his fork. "I keep insisting that Lestrade should not trouble me with such trivial cases as that."
"Right," John chuckled sarcastically, shoving a few forkfuls of the food into his mouth. "Of course he shouldn't. Anyway... I noticed the papers in here... New case? Or just notes."
"Hmm? Oh, these? No, they're just—" Sherlock stopped mid-sentence as he moved the fork to his mouth, placing the greasy meal into his mouth. Covering his lips with his hand, the detective hurried out of the room, barely making it to the toilet as he threw up, this time emptying the few contents of his stomach into the bowl.
John quickly followed after, his worry only worsening as he saw Sherlock start to vomit into the toilet. "Seriously, Sherlock, are you sure you're all right?"
"Mmm," the detective managed in reply, a thin sheen of sweat slowly forming on his forehead as he coughed, trying to clear his mouth of the bitter taste. "Yes, John. I am still a grown man and am more than perfectly capable of taking care of my—"
John watched, frowning sadly at his flat mate's thin form as the detective once again vomited, clinging to the side of the bowl as his whole body convulsed.
"Okay, okay," he sighed, throwing his hands up in mock surrender. "Just... Concerned, that's all. In the years I've known you, I've never even seen you have so much as a cold. So this seems uncharacteristically out of character."
"Yes. Although, human biology requires me to become ill every once in a while. Though," Sherlock sighed, shoving away from the toilet and resting his head against the bathtub. "I must admit even I can't remember the last time I was ill."
"Hmm... Maybe you just caught a bug or something."
"Yes," the detective murmured, kneading his slender fingers into his forehead as he focused on taking deep breaths through his mouth.
"Right. Well, I'm probably going to head off to bed; I've had a long day. You're sure you'll be..." A glare. "Yes. Right. Sorry. Well, I'll uhh... See you tomorrow." With a reassuring smile, the doctor turned, quickly exiting the detective's room and making his way to his own.
Still rubbing at his forehead, Sherlock allowed his body to go limp against the tub now that John was gone. The detective groaned loudly as he could feel another surge of nausea, though he knew the contents of his stomach had been completely emptied. Pushing his worry aside, Sherlock leaned back forward, not noticing as a single hot tear slid out of the corner of his eyes as he started to retch again.
The next morning, after getting ready, John slowly meandered downstairs.
"Ah," he sighed, almsot in relief, upon seeing Sherlock, seated at his microscope, scribbling notes away onto a piece of paper. "Feeling better?"
"Mmm," the detective hummed in response, too immersed in his work to bother with a real response.
"Good," John chuckled, moving into the kitchen to make himself a cup of coffee. "Any luck?"
"No. Markings don't make any sense."
"Here. And here," Sherlock said tersely, showing John several pictures.
"Mmm," the doctor hummed, carefully examining the photos. "You're right; they don't make any sense."
"Right. Shoot! I've got to be off. I promised Sarah I'd be there early today. See you?"
"Mmm." Chuckling softly at his friend, John quickly tugged on his coat and hurried out the flat.
When the doctor returned home from surgery, he was worried to once again find Sherlock hunched over the toilet, heaving up the little food he'd had in his stomach.
And that's how it went for the next three days; John would get up in the morning to see his flat mate, looking completely fine and well, and the return from work to find the detective hunched over the toilet, heaving into the bowl.
"That's it!" he cried after the fourth day. "Come on. I'm taking you to the hospital."
Weak from the lack of food and fluid in his system, the detective gave a feeble nod of his head, clearing his throat as he pulled himself into a standing position. "Fine." Pressing his lips together in a crisp line, Sherlock followed John and exited the bathroom, pulling on his coat and fixing his scarf around his neck.
The doctor couldn't help but chuckle at how pristine Sherlock still looked, despite having been confined to a bathroom the past four days, all-but-puking his guts out.
"Ready?" he asked, hand hovering over the front doorknob.
"Yes," Sherlock murmured, giving a tiny nod of his head.
Knowing nobody would be in at such a late hour, John quickly ushered his flat mate into a room, flicking on the lights and washing the room with the bright light. Sherlock flinched slightly at the offending flash, but then turned his attention to John, linking his hands behind his back and waiting expectantly for instructions.
"Right. Now just uhh... Hop on the... Up there, I guess," the doctor said awkwardly. For some reason this was so much more difficult to do with Sherlock than with an actual patient, though he couldn't quite place why.
Smirking at his friend, Sherlock quickly shed his coat and moved onto the cot. He frowned slightly at the crinkly feeling of the paper sheet underneath.
"Good," John sighed, moving over towards his friend's thin form. "Now, I'm going to need to feel around your stomach, all right? Is that okay?"
"Fine," Sherlock chuckled, amused by John's obvious discomfort.
"Right. I'll need you to pull your shirt up."
Still smirking, the detective settled (as much as he could) into the paper sheets and undid his jacket before untucking and pulling out his shirt, exposing his flat stomach, which, when he was lying down, curved in ever so slightly, forming a subtle, concave dip.
Quickly switching into doctor mode, John rolled up his sleeves, shooting Sherlock a dithering look at his saw how thin the detective was. Turning his attention back to his friend's flat stomach, the doctor grabbed one of the tiny chairs with wheels and rolled over to Sherlock's right side. "Right," he murmured, placing his hands on either side of the detective's abdomen. "I'm just going to feel around here; see if anything seems out of place."
Sherlock quirked an eyebrow at John's professionalism, but remained silent as the doctor started to rub around his abdomen, moving his skilled fingers in careful circles up and down his middle.
"Well," he sighed a few moments late, still rubbing his fingertips into Sherlock's skin. "I don't fell anything out of place... So I think... Well..."
Sherlock watched as John's eyebrows slowly pulled together. It was clear to him that the doctor had felt something out of place. "What?" he asked anxiously, watching as John's fingers continued to rub circles around a particular spot on his stomach. "What have you felt?"
"I'm not... It feels like... Just a moment. I'm going to try an ultrasound," he murmured to himself, brows drawing even further together as he removed his fingers from Sherlock's middle. Ever the doctor, though, once he saw his friend's worried expression, John gave the detective a warm smile. "It's probably nothing; I just want to check and make sure," he said reassuringly, quickly sliding off the chair and moving towards one of the cabinets.
Sherlock flinched slightly as the rolling chair hit the wall with a soft clink, already feeling unwell and now even more on edge with John not telling him what he'd found.
"Ah. Here we are," the doctor sighed, pulling out the sonogram machine and getting it ready. "Now," he started, positioning himself back on the chair and moving over to Sherlock once again. "I'm going have to put some of this on your stomach, all right? It's going to be cold."
Eyeing the doctor suspiciously, Sherlock gave a small nod of his head, watching as John squirted the glossy liquid onto his stomach. The detective's lips twitched up in mild discomfort at the sudden cold, but he quickly relaxed as John pressed the wand to his stomach.
"Right. Okay... I'm just going to... Move this around here and see... What we've got—" Suddenly, the doctor stopped, eyes frozen on the screen positioned just above Sherlock's head. His entire body stopped, as well, and the wand remained frozen in its spot on the detective's stomach, making the ultrasound image even more clear and obvious. "Shit," John muttered, eyes suddenly becoming sad as he stared at the image.
"What?" Sherlock cried anxiously, body straining as he turned around in a desperate attempt to glimpse the image his flat mate was looking at. "What? John, please tell me!"
"Sherlock," John breathed, tearing his eyes away from the screen and managing a small smile for his friend. "You're pregnant."