“Goodnight, Mr. Sherlock Holmes.”
John frowns as he heads up the stairs. What a peculiar thing for Miss Adler to say, unless…
“Jesus! What are you doing?” The familiar feeling of panic sinks into the doctor’s gut as he notices a groaning Sherlock on the floor.
Miss Adler is already standing in the doorway. “He’ll sleep for a few hours. Make sure he doesn’t choke on his own vomit, it makes for a very unattractive corpse.”
“What’s this? What have you given him?” John is more puzzled than anything; he’s sure Sherlock will be fine, but he can’t figure out what it is that he’s picked up from the floor. A sedative of some kind. “Sherlock?” he asks quietly, walking to kneel beside him.
“He’ll be fine,” she purrs, “I’ve used it on loads of my friends.”
John gets closer, panic still twisting his insides as he notices Sherlock’s glassy eyes. “Sherlock, can you hear me?” he asks urgently. The detective lets out a soft groan in response.
Miss Adler says something else; about how Sherlock knew exactly where to look. He’s confused, and she says something about the key code - it’s her measurements.
And then she falls out of the window.
John blinks and quickly runs to the window, but she’s already nowhere to be seen.
“Blimey,” he mutters to himself, glancing down at the needle in his hand for a moment before glancing back. Sherlock’s eyes are closed now. “Sherlock!” he calls again, kneeling beside him. There’s no response.
He quickly takes his pulse, finding it slower than normal. Definitely a strong sedative of some kind, though he’s not sure if Sherlock is actually unconscious.
“Hello, sorry to bother you, Inspector.” It takes only a couple rings on Sherlock’s phone for Lestrade to pick up. “Sherlock’s been injected with some kind of sedative. I was hoping you’d help us get back to our flat.”
Lestrade assures him they’ll be there in a few minutes. John carefully slips the phone into his pocket, and looks down, sighing.
He slowly removes his coat and folds it, slipping it under Sherlock’s head. A couple of stray curls have fallen into his face. John, without thinking, brushes his hand gently across the man’s forehead, taking the curls out of the way.
Sherlock’s eyes flutter open and John almost has a heart attack, feeling heat rush to his cheeks. “John,” he mumbles, “b...b…” it sounds like he’s trying to say something, but the doctor can’t figure it out just from one letter.
“It’s alright, Sherlock,” he says gently, “it can wait. Rest now.”
Although, he knows he should know better than to think that Sherlock would ever rest willingly, even if every inch of his body is screaming at him to do so.
“John.” It’s a whisper, and it seems it’s the only thing that Sherlock can muster coherently. His heart skips a beat, though he can’t imagine why his name on Sherlock’s lips could do that to him.
He stares up at him, arching his back, but John knows he can’t see him very well.
“I’m right here,” he promises, “you’re safe. She can’t hurt you any longer.”
He knows he sounds stupid; it sounds like he’s talking to a child rather than one of the smartest people in London. Despite that, he almost misses half a smile from Sherlock, who seems comforted by the words, even though John is convinced he can’t really hear him.
Sherlock arches his back again, frowning heavily. His eyes are closed now and he looks uncomfortable.
John’s heart twists. He wishes he could do more.
Hesitantly, he reaches down and brushes his hand once gently through the detective’s hair again. Sherlock goes limp at the touch, face slowly relaxing more.
John can’t believe it worked, and he feels rather silly doing so, but he continues to run his hand through the curls.
There’s a knock and John quickly retracts his hand, clearing his throat and looking up as Lestrade and a couple of his officers walk in.
“Doctor Watson,” he greets, reaching for John’s hand as he gets to his feet. “I have to say, I’ve never dealt with anything like this. Usually, we have to force him to get off his feet.”
They both chuckle a little, and John rubs the back of his neck. “He’s slipping in and out of consciousness, but I doubt he can hear us.” He clears his throat again. “The woman said he should be fine after a couple of hours. She seemed genuine, but I’m not sure what she injected him with.”
“B-Boom!” Sherlock exclaims rather suddenly, lifting his head with half-lidded eyes, before abruptly hitting the folded jacket again.
Lestrade stares for a couple moments, a hint of an amused grin on his face. “I’m sure it can’t be too bad,” he assures him, though when he looks up, his expression alters slightly. “You’re worried, aren’t you? Do you think the woman was lying?”
John is still watching Sherlock, watching as the two men help him up, seeing if he can walk with help. He snaps his attention back to Lestrade at the question, swallowing, trying to play it cool. “I’m not sure,” he admits, “it’s just bothering me that I don’t know what the sedative was.”
And that’s the truth, but there’s something else. John’s not sure what it is, but his gut is still in knots way past the panic.
Lestrade seems to buy it, though. He nods, clapping John on the shoulder. “We could take him to the hospital, if it would make you feel any better.”
He shakes his head. “No, no. If he’s any worse in the morning, I’ll take him over.” He’s not sure why, but the idea of taking Sherlock to a hospital, where John can’t be there, is less than ideal.
“Alright.” Lestrade nods, and suppresses a snort. John follows his gaze and notices that Sherlock can barely even stand with the help of the two policemen. His head is lolling against his chest, and he’s muttering. “Doctor, you wouldn’t mind helping my men get Sleeping Beauty into the car, would you?”
“Not at all,” he sighs, shaking his head. Together, the three men carry him down the stairs. He’s rather quiet, besides a couple groans and incoherent mutters every now and then.
By the time they get him into the car, John is sweating. His leg injury might have been psychosomatic, but it had been awhile since he’d properly exercised, and Sherlock, although rather skinny, was very tall.
As soon as the three men sit him in the back of the car, John buckles him in and leans back. The moment he’s out of the car, Sherlock gasps. “John!” he exclaims, glassy, confused eyes opening slowly to squint in their direction.
Lestrade snickers. John sighs.
On the outside he’s rather annoyed, but on the inside, secretly, he’s oddly...happy. Even when Sherlock is in this strange state, he still calls for him. “I guess I’ll sit in the middle, then,” he says, and slides in next. Lestrade sits beside him, and the car peels off onto the street.
John begins to explain the encounter with Irene Adler to Lestrade, who, for the most part, remains professional. Though he bursts into laughter at any word from Sherlock, who says something abrupt and nothing to do with conversation. He says boom a couple times, and once followed up with er. He seems too exhausted now to move much more; his head rests against the back of the seat, eyes closed even when he speaks.
Lestrade begins filming, hoping for some kind of outburst to keep forever. John can’t blame him. Usually he’d find this funny - and a part of him does - but his stomach still feels wrong, and he can’t place why.
It’s silent for a few moments. John is sure Lestrade will give up soon, but he holds out.
“Car!” Sherlock exclaims suddenly, this time lifting his head quickly, eyelids fluttering, “r-r-river, rang.” It seems he has trouble holding his head up, because he tips sideways, leaning heavily onto John’s shoulder. The doctor’s cheeks redden considerably, but Lestrade is too busy laughing to notice.
Sherlock stays like that, silent, for the rest of the ride back.
When they reach 221B Baker Street, Lestrade is back to his usual self. Collected, perhaps a bit agitated. Surely he has work to do and he must be feeling restless. John feels terrible, but there was no way he could have done this alone.
He hopes Sherlock never sees the video taken, and when he thinks about it a pang hits his chest.
“Alright, in you go.” The car doors open and the two men begin to gently drag Sherlock out of the car, who mumbles something about an engine.
John goes to the door to unlock it and hold it open, and the men seem to think they’ll be able to get him up the stairs on their own.
“Boys? Is that you?” Mrs. Hudson appears at the top of the stairs, letting out a small gasp as a hand flies over her heart. “Dear me! What’s happened to him?”
John goes up the stairs first, placing an arm around her comfortably. “A sedative, Mrs. Hudson,” he answers, figuring it’s about the eighth time he’s said so today. “He will be alright, he just needs rest.”
Mrs. Hudson tuts, shaking her head as wide innocent eyes meet his. “Oh, well, he always needs rest, perhaps this will be good for him.”
Exactly what he had thought. He smiles at her, and she grins back. The men and Sherlock have reached the top of the stairs, so John clears his throat and leads the way to his flatmate’s room.
The men, panting, lay Sherlock down on the bed carefully but quickly. They take a step back, nodding their goodbyes. Lestrade has stayed outside, so they must be going.
John shakes their hands, and off they go. He hears Mrs. Hudson thank them on their way out.
“John,” Sherlock whispers again, making him look back down. His eyes are closed, his face is squished against the pillow, and he’s most certainly struggling to stay awake.
The doctor smiles very slightly, moving to draw the covers over the detective. Immediately Sherlock relaxes a bit more, and John takes a step back.
“Rang. R-River. Hi...Hike...”
John blinks. It makes sense now. Sherlock’s thinking - or dreaming - about the dead hiker. He shakes his head, stepping close again. “Sherlock,” he says softly, “you don’t need to solve that right now. Please rest.” He wonders if he should stay with him.
Perhaps for just a bit.
He draws a chair over and sits, leaning forward on his elbows. Sherlock hasn’t spoken in awhile, and his breathing seems to have evened out. Good.
He doesn’t want to leave. He can attribute it to the fact that, as a doctor, he should be by his side in case he needs him.
Still, he’s aware that he’s staring for no reason. Sherlock can call for him if he really needs anything. Sighing, he slowly gets up, moves the chair back to the corner of the room, and slips out the door, closing it gently behind him.
Mrs. Hudson is tidying the kitchen, so John takes a seat in the living room, sighing heavily. He leans his head on his hand and lets his eyes close for a moment or two, but all he can see are Sherlock’s eyes staring back at him.
“I’m still not your housekeeper, but I figured you could use this.”
John opens his eyes and see Mrs. Hudson standing over him with a cup of tea, which he takes from her gratefully. “Thank you, Mrs. Hudson.”
She smiles, and he sees her hesitate for a moment before her smile grows. “I’ve never had anyone else care so much for Sherlock. I do appreciate everything you do for him, John. I know he never says it, but he certainly appreciates it, too.”
He opens his mouth to respond, but nothing comes. He’s taken aback and has no idea what to say. He settles on a smile and a nod. “Thank you. I know he appreciates your help, as well.”
Mrs. Hudson nods and pinches his cheek, still smiling. “I’m off. If you need anything at all, let me know.”
She heads down the stairs, and John is alone.
He leans back for a moment, then glances over his shoulder at the closed door. He’s not used to the flat being so quiet.
Reaching forward, he grabs one of the books from the Lukis and Van Coon cases - the first one that looks interesting, and one that was left behind - and begins to read as he sips.
Although he reads the words on the pages, he doesn’t remember what he’s read once he reaches the end. He finishes his tea before he can figure out what has happened on the first page.
He blinks hard and leans back into the seat, trying to focus. It doesn’t work very well.
Without knowing it, he drifts off, book falling open on his lap.
John doesn’t dream, but he hears whispers and creaks. Wind blows through an open window. He doesn’t know if he hears a soft, woman’s groan or if it’s just background noise outside.
He frowns, feeling something is wrong, but he can’t move. A gentle voice hushes him, and something soft is drawn around him. He relaxes. And then things are quiet.
He isn’t sure how much time has passed, but when he blinks awake, he can’t remember ever falling asleep. Sitting up, a blanket falls lightly in his lap. He stares at it, frowning, for a long while, before figuring Mrs. Hudson must have been here.
Getting up, John stretches quietly and heads to the kitchen. He notices the window has been left open, and, a shiver running down his spine, he moves to close it.
He looks around for anything he may be able to eat, considering it’s now getting dark out and he hasn’t had any supper.
Figuring he’ll have to order something, he begins pouring himself some water. The moment he puts the water down, he hears his name.
“John?” It’s barely there, and slightly slurred, but he hears it nonetheless. “John!” It’s louder now.
As he heads towards the bedroom, there’s a groan on the other side of the door. He opens the door in time for him to watch Sherlock fall on the floor.
“You okay?” he asks.
Sherlock looks back at him with confusion and almost fear. He doesn’t remember anything and wants to know how he got back.
“Well, I don’t suppose you remember much, you weren’t making a lot of sense. Oh, I should warn you, I think Lestrade filmed you on his phone.” A weak play to try and give humor. When he thinks about what the video must look like, his cheeks grow warmer. Hopefully, Lestrade never shows him.
Sherlock doesn’t seem too bothered, but he’s certainly still rather drugged. He gets to his feet, but his normal pacing is dragged, and he keeps asking about the woman. He moves to the window as John explains that she got away, no one saw her.
He turns rather quickly and falls on his face, but tries to army crawl towards the bed, no doubt trying to look for her. John frowns deeply. “What are you...What? No, no, no. No, back to bed.” With some difficulty, he helps Sherlock up and onto the bed, where he doesn’t resist anymore. “You’ll be fine in the morning. Just sleep.” Carefully, John draws the covers back over him and heads for the door again.
He tells him he’ll be next door if he needs him.
“Why would I need you?” Sherlock mumbles in response, already half-asleep.
“No reason at all.”
John shuts the door, and for a moment, he leans against it, closing his eyes. What’s so special about this Adler woman, anyway?
He shakes his head as he goes back to the kitchen. He’s being silly. There’s no reason to be jealous about this . She’s a criminal. Besides, he’s not even sure what to be jealous of. She beat him, for God’s sake. Surely Sherlock is just confused about the intelligence of this woman.
John has the rest of the night to himself. Honestly, it’s quiet and he enjoys it for awhile, but he understands how Sherlock can be bored.
He tries his best to get his mind off of his flatmate, and begins watching the television to do so. It works for a little while, until he gets a text.
It’s from Lestrade, and it’s a single word with an attachment. Enjoy!
Frowning, John clicks on it and watches himself awkwardly sit in between the two, and Sherlock rather abruptly sitting up to exclaim nonsense. When he falls onto John’s shoulder, he notices himself in the video turn pink as well as smile a little. Lestrade is laughing, and the video ends.
It’s nice for John to have, despite how he’s uncertain about how it makes him feel. All he knows is that he’ll probably never let Sherlock see it. For their own good.
He smiles, and looks back at the television.