Getting up for work the next morning, Kate found Sherlock already sitting at the kitchen table, scrolling through police reports on his laptop.
‘You’re up early,’ she said.
‘Couldn’t sleep,’ he said distractedly.
‘I thought that you weren’t working today.’
‘I’m not. My brains not back up to speed yet. I just thought I’d see what was out there.’
‘Not yet,’ he said, still scrolling through. Then finally looking up at her, registering her work clothes. ‘Are you going to work?’
‘No, I’m always up at seven on my days off. Of course I’m going to work.’
‘Shame,’ he said, distracted again.
Smiling she kissed him goodbye and left for work. Normal service, she suspected, was soon to be resumed.
At lunchtime she got a phone call from John. ‘Kate, what on earth have you done to Sherlock?’
‘What do you mean? Whats happened?’
‘I mean that I got a phone call from him just before nine, asking, no demanding that I go and investigate a break-in in Brixton, which he thought was suspicious. Apparently he can’t possibly leave the flat yet, but is more than capable of coordinating while he reclines on the sofa in his dressing gown, catching up on some quality daytime television.’
‘Ah.’ Kate said. Then, ‘sorry?’
John chuckled, ‘You don’t have to apologise Kate, I’ve just never seen him get back to normal so quickly. So are you going to tell me the secret?’
‘If I knew I’d tell you. John, did it ever occur to you that these episodes are more than just exhaustion?’
‘Yes, and he admitted as much himself, remember? That day in the flat when Mycroft was trying to split you up. But he won’t talk about it, Kate, at least not to me, and he does seem to have a way of coping with them. I’ve learnt not to interfere. Why?’
‘Just curious,’ she said.
‘Did he talk to you about it?’
‘A bit. I asked if he’d ever thought about taking anything for them. He said no.’
‘Mycroft used to call them danger nights. I think there was a time, years ago when he tried all kinds of things to get himself over them. Now I suspect that he takes diazepam, but I’ve never found it, and I’ve deliberately never asked.’
‘I’d rather not know,’ Kate said. ‘But it made me realise, John. How fragile it is, he is. How easily it could all come crashing down.’
‘If it does then we’ll be there.’ John said calmly. ‘But this has been going on for years Kate, decades even. There’s no reason to think that things won’t continue as they always have. He’s used to coping with it. Its you that its going to be tough on.’
Apart from that things have changed. Kate thought, as she said goodbye to John and hung up. Sherlock’s box was open now, demons and all. And what they would bring with them only time would tell.