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Bedside Vigil

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His fingers are cold, the blood drawn away to supply all of his organs. Violet rubs those delicate fingers between her hands, trying to warm them up. Sherlock doesn't even stir, that machine helping him breathe. For the first time in two years the pain has gone out of his face. Even in one of his drug-induced hazes it tended to linger around his eyes, finally gone now after he's come so close to being lost too.

Violet kisses his fingers and holds the limp hand to her lips, needing to maintain contact with her little boy no matter how far out of his head he might be. (He hasn't been little in a long time, but that doesn't mean that he isn't her son.) Mycroft is outside somewhere, smoking (though he doesn't know that she knows that that's what he meant when he said he was going out for some air.) She understands his needing to leave this room, but she can't bring herself to do the same, needs to assure herself that Sherlock is still alive, that his heart is still beating, though he is unconscious. (The chance remains that he may never wake up, because who knows how long he wasn't breathing for before Mycroft found him? He has to wake up. He can't just go like this, so quiet, without even whimper.)

It's heroin that's left him like this, heroin that's poisoning him, heroin that would have killed him if Mycroft hadn't found him. Who knows if it was intentional, or an accidental miscalculation? (Unlikely that he would have miscalculated the dose, but Violet would prefer not to think like that.) He's so thin, gaunt, the bandages on his arms hiding the tracklines. Her boy has been so desperately unhappy for so long. (Perhaps it would have been kinder to let him go, so he won't have to suffer anymore, but it's against Violet's nature to just let him die.)

The knuckles on his other hand are scabbed over, and his chest is bruised under the hospital sheets, though thankfully nothing is broken. Too proud to ask his mother for the money to pay his debts, he took the beating instead. (What pain must he have been in before he dosed himself?) His face is pale, waxy, cheeks hollow, lips parted only for the tube down his throat forcing air into his lungs. Though she knows she could lose him yet – possibly already has – Violet leans in close and murmurs to him, quietly pleading with him to pull through and wake up, to come back. And though the night closes in and the shadows lengthen, she refuses to leave his side, gripping those fingers tenderly, trying to remain hopeful though he isn’t giving her too much cause to.

(It seems like a miracle a day later when those eyes slowly flicker open, but Violet will pretend that she always knew he’d pull through.)