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             " out of the country right now, you may reach him through--"

             Slamming the phone down with a white-knuckled hand, Sherlock Holmes reeled as a fresh wave of nausea swept over him, sending cold sweat beading up on the surface of his skin.  A moment later, a flash of feverish heat rushed up his spine, buckling his knees and leaving him to curl to the ground in a crumpled heap, jagged nails digging into already scarred forearms as if it were the only thing keeping him alive.

             It was midnight before the phone rang.  Turning his head onto its side, Sherlock glared up at the phone for six rings before forcing himself to reach up and knock the phone off the the small side table in a single, jerky motion.


             Mycroft's voice.  Sherlock closed his eyes, the breath leaving his lungs in a ragged gasp.

             "Sherlock are you there?"

             The younger Holmes managed a croaking noise, and after several more failed attempts at speech, he gave up and pulling the receiver closer to him, began tapping in short, uneven bursts.

             W - H - E - R - E - - A - R - E - - Y - O - U

             There was a short pause, and then Mycroft's voice came through the receiver.

             "Paris.  Sherlock, what is going on?"

             S - Y - M - P - T - O - M - S - - H - A - V - E - - B - E - C - O - M - E - - U - N - M - A - N - A - G - E - A - B - L - E

             Another short pause.


             He could almost hear his brother rubbing his temples and smiled ruefully before tapping out another few words of code.

             J - U - S - T - - A - R - R - A - N - G - E - - M - E - - A - - S - E - D - A - T - I - V - E

             A third pause.

             "I'll take care of it."

             Sherlock closed his eyes as the phone clicked.  No matter what he said, Mycroft would be back in England within twenty-four hours, and he could last that long.