Disclaimer: Sherlock Holmes belong to Sir ACD and in this reincarnation Moffat, Gatiss and the BBC. We own nothing and are only writing this for fun.
Tell Me This Night Is Over.
John sat in his usual armchair at 221B Baker Street, looking around the living room. It felt large empty and unlived in. It was like John didn’t make an impression at all, the other man who’d lived there had been so brilliant in every sense of the word that now that he was no longer there the whole flat seemed plunged into darkness. Hell the whole world had turned dark.
He had tried to move away, thought that it would make things easier but the truth was it had been even worse, being surrounded by strange things and old ghosts. If he was to be haunted then he’d rather be so in familiar surroundings, a place where certain things still smelled like Sherlock.
John was not doing fine, he was not well. It felt as he was slowly dying, withering from the inside out. He’d lost about ten kilograms in the two months since Sherlock had stepped off the roof at Barts and not even his fluffy jumpers were enough to hide it now. Nothing mattered, it really didn’t.
Mrs. Hudson tried, she kept bringing up tea, biscuits and thick stews and it all just made John’s stomach turn. Mycroft kept calling but John didn’t reply, he could see the CCTV cameras following him the few times he stepped outside but thankfully the man had refrained from kidnapping him. John didn’t know what he would do to Mycroft Holmes if he would push things but it wouldn’t be something good. Not for either of them.
He’d been avoiding Greg too, still felt utterly betrayed by the yard. Logically John knew that Greg had tried to help, he’d called to warn Sherlock but it didn’t matter, the Yard had still turned their backs to Sherlock in the blink of an eye, pushed him to the edge of that fucking roof.
John was a soldier, he’d been strong his whole bloody life but now he didn’t have any strength left. His life had been over when he’d met Sherlock, by some utter miracle he’d been gifted the person who was his match in every way and now he was lost. There was no way back, nothing to do and no place to move forward too. He wouldn’t give in to the temptation of using his Browning, Sherlock would strangle him if he’d sink that low but it really didn’t matter. It was only a matter of time because John Watson died when Sherlock Holmes did, now he just waited for his body to catch up.
He winced as his stomach cramped again. It acted up all the time these days and when he finally managed to get some food into it, it only seemed to get worse. John rose from his chair with a sigh and cursed when the room spun around him. This was getting absolutely ridiculous. He didn’t want to go outside but he had to, if he didn’t keep his appointments with his therapist she had threatened to pull his medical license. Being a doctor was all he was now, even if he wasn’t working at the moment, John couldn’t lose that part of himself as well, he just couldn’t.
Pulling on his jacket he grabbed his keys, glanced at his phone before leaving it at the flat and heading out.
Sarah Sawyer was walking out of a small cosmetics shop when she spotted the clinic’s locum, her ex-boyfriend, and now good friend hunching in a determined walk down the sidewalk. Every time she saw John it was like he looked worse than before and she hated it. She missed the cheeky friend he’d been before he’d lost Sherlock and she would just about give anything for five minutes alone with that incredible tit who’d forced Sherlock up onto the roof with her blind, jealous, completely insane theory that she probably seduced the Superintendent into buying.
“John,” She walked over to him and lightly touched his arm, “hey.”
Blinking up at her, John managed to tear himself away from the thoughts in his own head long enough to plaster a stiff grin on his face.
“Oh Sarah, hello, I’m sorry I didn’t see you there.” He wrapped his jacket tighter around himself, attempting to hide his body, not wanting a lecture.
“Oh John,” she just couldn’t help it, she gave him a hug, if there was one thing she was good at noticing it was health at a glance. “You look almost strung out. I wish you’d let me give you a full physical. I worry about you,” she pat his gaunt cheek.
“Not using any drugs, not drinking. I’ve seen what addiction does and I’m not going there.” He patted her on her back awkwardly before stepping away. “Just a little trouble sleeping and a very stubborn stomach flu. Don’t worry.”
“I know you’re not on anything idiot,” it was a gentle scold, “and I’m going to worry until you start looking better.” She pinched his chin and got him looking closer at her, “I want you to promise me that if that ‘stomach flu’ doesn’t go away in a week you’ll let me give you a full physical, including blood work.” There wasn’t anything to be done about the trouble sleeping she knew and she also knew that John probably wasn’t going to start looking better but he was her friend and she wasn’t letting him just slip away without a fight.
John smothered his irritation, he had no right feeling angry at Sarah, she was a friend and friends cared. He wished he was allowed to just fade away in peace but even he knew that was not going to happen. He gave deep sigh. “Fine, if the stomach bug hasn’t let up in a week I’ll come to the clinic and you can give me physical.” It was easier to agree than to get into an argument and he would have a whole week finding a way to wheedle out of the appointment.
She nodded, “Alright then,” she fussed and straightened his coat collar, “I will hold you to that.” She pat his shoulder, “Do you have time for lunch if I promise not to nag you or were you heading somewhere important?”
“Therapist.” John made a face and scratched at his hair. “Sorry have to take a rain-check for lunch as well.” He really was sorry too, he would much rather spend time with Sarah, avoiding her questions than being poked and poked and poked by his therapist. “See you next week unless I’ve conquered the bug.”
“Hmm not important but necessary evil. Okay, you can call me any time you know and we can have that lunch.” She stepped to the side to let him move on, “Or you know if you just want to rant and rave without someone picking it apart.”
John missed having his rants and reasoning picked apart, it was just done by the wrong person these days. He nodded at Sarah, and said his goodbyes. Having only managed a few steps when everything grew wobbly around him and then the world went black.
“John!” Sarah was kneeling beside him in an instant, her phone already out calling the emergency services as she catalogued his pulse, breathing, and what she could measure of his temperature. He was paler and a bit cold, pulse was fast, breathing was steady though. It looked like a blood-sugar faint at this point but they’d have to make sure. She’d ride in the ambulance as his doctor since she wanted to know what was wrong and also that John hated having strange impersonal doctors poking at him.
He woke up in the ambulance, at first flailing and struggling before he realized where he was and was soothed by Sarah’s voice. Fuck! Had he actually fainted in the street, that was just pathetic. John blinked a few times and turned toward Sarah. “When we get to the emergency there will either be a posh git with an umbrella or a girl who looks like a model with a phone glued to her hands. They are demons and I don’t want to see either of them.” There was no point deluding himself that Mycroft didn’t know, his cameras and spies had probably caught everything before he even hit the sidewalk.
Sarah smiled and nodded, “You’ve got me as your doctor of record and unless they give names and IDs that match your emergency contacts or next of kin they can go piss into the wind, I promise.” As far as she was concerned John was now her patient and the Queen herself could not move her when it came to Sarah Sawyer and patient rights.
It didn’t take long before they were at the hospital and Sarah was showing her credentials and taken back to an A&E room where she could start looking over John. As the measurements taken in the ambulance didn’t put him in any danger zones, no special equipment was needed as of yet and so no specialists.
“This really isn’t necessary.” John looked at Sarah as she got ready to examine him. “There’s nothing wrong with me except for the fact that everything is wrong...You know what I mean.” His jacket had been removed in the ambulance and John did not look forward to having to take off the jumper as well. As long as he could hide no one would have to see how bad it had gotten.
She gave him a stern, no-nonsense look, “Suck it up John. You know I’m not letting you just walk out of here now, not after you fainted in the middle of the street. Now we can do this the easy way and I’ll be the one doing all of the exam and testing personally or we can do it the hard way and I get help in here. Your call.”
“Oh you know just how to sweet talk me don’t you?” John knew when he was beaten though, he really, really didn’t want any others in there with them. “I’ll behave like a good little patient. What should we begin with?”
“Sweet talk doesn’t work on you. And to begin with, strip down to your pants. We’ll do the physical exam first then take fluids.”
Clenching his jaw, John pulled the jumper and his under shirt off and took off his trousers as well after having kicked his shoes off. He resisted the urge to wrap his arms around himself in an attempt to cover up and sat down on the cot instead, his feet not brushing the floor as he settled properly.
She didn’t make the distressed sound she wanted to when she saw how much weight he’d lost in such a short amount of time. Instead she just got on with the exam, asking him the basic medical questions about how often he had a bowel movement, how often he urinated, had he had any unexplained pain recently, how much he’d been eating, while she checked his heart rate, blood pressure, reflexes, eyes, ears, nose, and throat. She pressed at his lymph nodes, palpated his spine, checked his breathing. She nodded at the responses, everything in normal parameters for someone who wasn’t eating, “Okay lay down for the next bit.”
John did as she said, looking up at the ceiling as she felt and squeezed and prodded. His stomach was a little tender but between the not eating and the throwing up that was to be expected. It wasn’t as if he’d set out to starve himself, it really wasn’t. Just the stress and the loss and every day just dragging on and on without end...It made him sick.
She worked her way down his body, pressing to check for swellings or uneven lumps that just shouldn’t be there, noted that when she performed the breast exam his nipples drew up and his pectorals were a little swollen but nothing excessive, probably water retention. When she reached his abdomen she frowned, his ribs were downright bony but his abdomen was swollen more than she liked. She pressed a little deeper and made the puzzled doctor hum, “I don’t like that. Your abdomen is too swollen. I think I may have to get an ultrasound in here to check for gallstones, appendicitis, pancreatitis, splenomegaly, cholecystitis, or abscesses.” She finished the supine examination and pat his leg, “Up on the feet to be weighed before I draw the blood and hand you the piss cup.”
“Is it bad that this is still better than those horrible dates we tried to go on before just admitting that there really wasn’t anything except friendship there?” John tried to keep the mood up, it wasn’t Sarah’s fault that John’s world had crumbled and she shouldn’t have to deal with his depression and bad mood when she was trying to help him. His stomach cramped a little as he got on his feet and walked to get weighed.
She slid the weights along the arm of the scale, “No, it’s not bad. You’d already had your heart claimed though you didn’t know it,” she marked the weight down, sad to see that he’d nearly lost two stone. “I definitely don’t regret it, despite nearly getting skewered on the first date though. Okay time for the jabs.”
“Bring ‘em on and then hand me the piss cup. Really though, piss cup? Do you use that charming sort of language with all your patients Dr. Sawyer?” John smiled tightly. “I don’t regret it either and you have to admit that you will always compare every first date you go on to that one.” Gods he wanted this to be over so that he could get dressed again, he felt terribly exposed.
“Oh yes, absolutely memorable no one else will ever hold a candle,” she got the two blood vials and the needle and began prepping John’s arm, “And only the patients I like get the charm.” She slipped the needle in and popped on the first vial, watching it fill with blood, checking the color and consistency as it squirted in. The first vial was followed by the second in short order then she was sliding the needle out, dropping it in the sharps box, and pressing tight on his arm, having him hold it over his head as she wrapped it so he wouldn’t leak. “Okay, now I’m going to take these to the lab.” She stepped back and passed him a specimen jar, “and while I’m doing that you can piss in the cup and put your clothes back on. Since I’m running the test personally it’ll be about fifteen minutes on your own then I’ll come back with the ultrasound machine to double check your innards.”
“That sound so wrong you know and I’ll be fine for fifteen minutes alone, promise that I won’t make a run for it.” No matter how much he might want to, it was better to get it over and done with. It would be a relief to get to put his clothes back on though, he felt much more comfortable behind his woolen armor.
“Good because I’d chase you down and I know where you live,” she picked up his file, closed it against anyone who might want to peek, and headed for the curtain, “Drink some water as you’re a little dehydrated. I’ll be back soon.”
John gave a hum in response and waited until she had gone before going about the never pleasant task of urinating in a plastic cup. He found a lid to place on said cup before he got dressed quickly, pulling his jumper on like a comfort blanket. Finally he did move to get some water before settling back down on the cot. It would be easier to show Sarah he had indeed drunk some than to having to be told again.
He wondered what Sherlock would have said about being stuck behind some drapes in the A&E waiting for the doctor. John could practically hear his lover’s voice deducing and complaining and it brought a small smile to his lips before the emptiness hit him again, even stronger than before.
Sarah had to intimidate a few lab techs before they let her at the machines but it was fine, it meant she was given space which meant more privacy for John in the end. As she waited for the machines to analyze John’s blood, she filled out an ultrasound requisition form and handed it to one of the residents who was being kind enough to let her do this, understanding about patient confidentiality and doctor protectiveness. Once the machines were done with the run and she had the results in her hand, a deep frown was creasing over her face. She started a secondary and tertiary run, one to double check the results she was looking at now and the other to check for specific medical condition.
According to the first read outs John had a high level of HCG in his bloodstream, too high to be normal. The only times she ever saw these levels on a man were usually when he had cancer. Because of the other tests it took her an extra fifteen to get back to John, an orderly pushing the ultrasound machine behind her as she clipped back to the section where John was waiting.
“I was afraid you had done the running.” John still studied the ceiling as he heard the curtain slide open and closed. “That or that the umbrella carrying tit had gotten to you.” He turned his head to look at her. “There are fifty-seven stains on this part of the ceiling alone and for some reason a condom lodged inside a crack. I don’t want to know how it’s gotten there.” John took in her expression. “Oh, you’ve got your doctor face on. What’s wrong then?”
She shooed the orderly out and went about setting up the ultrasound before handing John his file, “You have elevated levels of HCG in your bloodstream. Combined with the swelling of your abdomen I don’t like the possibilities.” She didn’t spell it out for him, he was a doctor too and spelling it out would be patronizing.
“I see.” Yes John knew exactly what that meant. Wouldn’t that be a lark, surviving Afghanistan, killers and genius madmen only to be taken out by cancer? He eyed the ultrasound machine. “Why don’t we check and see what’s growing inside me then? Not much we can do before that.”
She nodded, not really knowing what was worse. John dying from a broken heart or from cancer, both were too awful to really contemplate. She switched the machine on, “Alright, lie back, shirt up, trouser zip undone and pants pulled down a bit,” she helped him expose his abdomen then squirted the gelly onto his belly, rolling her eyes at his short yelp. “Oh really John,” she took the probe and set it in the gel swirling around to make sure that the picture was as clear as ultrasounds ever get.
“Okay now let’s see what we’ve got going on here. Stomach looks alright, no apparent ulcers or lesions, spleen appears normal,” she moved the probe around, watching as John’s organs came into view one by one and looking over each one thoroughly to make sure nothing was abnormal.
John kept one eye on the screen and one eye on Sarah. He was grateful she had angled the screen of the ultrasound so that he could watch it too. Colon looked normal as well. Maybe his stomach didn’t have anything to do with the high HCG levels; it could be swollen just from the stomach bug. If he did have cancer it could hide anywhere inside him. John heard Sarah suck in a breath between her teeth and turned his full attention on her, it looked as if she had found something after all.
“What in the hell is that?” Sarah angled the probe for a better picture of the...structure, for lack of a better word, hidden a little bit behind John’s small intestines. Mostly empty space within what appeared to be an oval muscle tissue wall except for the little bean shaped mass inside the empty space. It didn’t look like any tumor or abscess she’d ever seen in her life. If she didn’t know better then she’d say it was a uterus but John was absolutely male.
“Again, lovely language and charming bedside manner.” John turned to look at the thing inside him, squinting to see if he could make something out of it. “I must agree though, what the bloody fuck is that? Some sort of cell cluster? In a sack of sorts? An alien? Just wait soon it will chew its way out of my belly.” It was crude and inappropriate but for the first time since Sherlock had stepped off the roof, John felt like laughing. Something was growing inside him and he would probably die but oh what a mystery. Sherlock would have loved it.
“Not funny John. I’ve never seen anything like this before, well not inside a man that is. If you were a woman I’d be offering congratulations.” She moved the probe up a bit, mostly out of curiosity, and proceeded to choke on air. There was no way, no possible way for that to be an ovary. And yet...it had to be, it was a unique structure inside a human body.
“Okay now it’s you who’s not being funny. Breathe before you turn blue.” He looked between her and the monitor. “I am as you know, not a woman so we can probably go back to painful horrible death before offering congratulations.” John was a doctor, he had performed ultrasounds on pregnant women but he refused, absolutely refused to even take something like that into consideration when it came to his own body. It wasn’t possible.
“I know but...John the tertiary test I ran on your white blood cell count came back normal but your HCG is,” she waved her free hand expressively, “and this...John you’re a doctor, really, truly, objectively tell me what that is?” She pointed at the image on the ultrasound.
“Objectively speaking as a doctor from just watching the sonogram I would say that it’s an ovary, a textbook picture of one even.” He sighed and rubbed at his eyes with the ball of his hand. “Since it’s inside me I’m finding it slightly difficult to stay objective though and I’m on a quick path of freaking out here, just to give you fair warning.”
“Hmm,” Sarah printed out the picture of the suspected ovary, then slid the probe back down and printed out a picture of...what might just be an occupied uterus before she turned the ultrasound off. She tucked the printouts into John’s file. “I think that we should move this to a more private location, both because of the impending freak out and...well I think you should call your sister, see if she knows about any...unusual medical history that no one’s put in your file.”
“Great, that will be the most fun filled non awkward conversation since I had the pleasure of listening to Sherlock’s suicide talk. Fun, fun, fun.” John’s voice was laced with bitterness. “Do we need to be in a hospital for this or can we go home? If the answer is hospital, then go out there, find umbrella man and tell him we accept the offer of a private room. If the answer is home, then go out there and tell him to fuck the hell off.”
She draped her arm over his shoulders, “Home. I’ll go deliver the message then go with you back to Baker Street,” she squeezed his shoulders gently then slipped out of the curtain to find the ‘umbrella man’. She spotted him, and the woman with the mobile in her hand, and walked over, “You know you are not supposed to be operating that inside the hospital.”
“It is fine Dr. Sawyer, it is a special mobile, it doesn’t interfere with any of the hospital’s machines or electronics.” The man looked absolutely bored as he explained himself regarding his assistant’s phone. “How is Dr. Watson doing? We were quite alarmed to find out he had collapsed and been taken to the hospital, weren’t we Anthea?”
The woman, hummed with a short nod and continued sending out texts.
Sarah crossed her arms over her chest, “He’s fine.” She ran though people in her head as the suited man seemed to strike a bell with her, an odd memory shunted into the unimportant section of her head.
“That is good news. Will he be going home then? He has a ride with me if he needs one.” It was hidden but there was definitely relief upon hearing that John was fine. “Dr. Watson is so stubborn about his own health; I do hope you can get through to him Dr. Sawyer.” His gaze turned piercing. “Also know that whatever you are hiding from me now I will know it in about...oh an hour when I will have complete access to your files and Dr. Watson’s medical journal. Don’t play with me Dr. Sawyer. John is very important to me, no matter the slight disagreement we’re having at the moment.”
It was the piercing look that jogged her memory and rather than being intimidated she drew herself up, eyes flashing and stepped right into his personal space, “The bloody buggering hell you’ll know in an hour Mycroft ‘Almighty Arrogant Pain in the Arse’ Holmes,” it was a hiss of deep hostility. “Access my files all you want, you can’t find what isn’t there and don’t you dare try telling me you care about John when you didn’t even protect your own brother from a madman obsessed with him. I don’t care who you are, what strings you can pull, who you know, or what you can do, John is my friend and officially I am his doctor and I will see you strapped to a Catherine Wheel before I let you poke your nose into his life and screw it up any further.” She actually poked him in the chest, “Do. Not. Mess. With. Me on this. Because if you have ever, ever seen a documentary of a mother bear protecting her cub you can take this to the bank, I’m the bear, John’s my cub, and you are an annoying little jackal that I will happily send flying into a tree.”
Instead of anger, shock or even surprise a rather pleased smile spread over Mycroft’s features. “You’ll do, you’ll do very nicely indeed. John needs someone like you to watch his back. If you hadn’t been fitting you would have been removed, no matter what delusions you may be under.” He dipped his head to her and twirled his umbrella. “A good day to you Dr. Sawyer and when you do need me which you will...I’m only a wave away.” Mycroft waved to the security camera in the corner and walked away, Anthea following on his heels.
She glared at his back then turned on her heel, muttering, “Removed my arse you pompous, needle nosed twat.” She poked her head into the curtained off room, “Okay Lord King Tit is gone with his handmaiden texting away in his wake.”
John snorted. “Lord King Tit indeed, I can see from your expression that he was his usual charming self too.” He got up from the cot and looked around for his jacket, shrugging it on once he found it. “I’ll call Harry when we get back to Baker Street; I left my phone at home.” He stopped to look at her. “Thank you for dealing with Mycroft. I can’t face him right now...I just can’t, it would end badly for everyone.”
“No need to thank me. Oh someone needs to kick his pointy nose in, they really do.” She walked with him out of the hospital, heading for the street to catch a cab.
“I did punch him in the mouth but you’re right, a foot to the face sounds brilliant.” John followed her, amazed when she just like Sherlock got a cab right away. He always had to wait and flail for a long time before a cab stopped for him. They got in the cab, John still feeling slightly dizzy and a lot upset. What did he have inside him? If it was what it looked like then what would that mean? What would happen then? Christ, he wasn’t sure he could deal with this.
She let him stew and think on the way to Baker Street, the file tucked securely to her side. She’d be keeping everything in hardcopy for a while, no electronic records, and keeping them with her. Part of that was the confidentiality of a doctor and a patient, part of it was her friendship with John, but the largest part was just wanting to thwart the tit.
The cab rolled to a stop and she paid it and walked with John up to 221b, “You should probably call your therapist and let her know you had a medical emergency that kept you from making the appointment.”
“Yeah, you’re right.” John grimaced. “I wouldn’t step foot in there if she didn’t threaten to pull my license. Can I refer her to you if she doesn’t believe me? She’ll probably just say it’s my trust issues ruling my brain again.” He reached for his phone and scrolled through his contacts until he found his therapist’s number. “Make yourself at home, I don’t think there’s much edible in the kitchen but there should be tea...I think.”
She shook her head, “If not I’ll call for some take away, something light and of course you can refer her to me.” She pat him on the shoulder and listened as he spoke to his therapist while she rummaged for the makings for tea and came up with nothing. She pulled out her own phone and made an order for simple sandwiched from the shop below then came back out into the living room to sit on the couch as John ended the call. “I called down to Speedy’s, just simple chicken sandwiches and some ginger tea.” She set the file down on the table, opening it to the ultrasound pictures, “So...”
“Yes, so...” John looked at the pictures, trying to see something else in them but he couldn’t come up with anything. He reached for his laptop, only hesitating slightly before opening it, he hadn’t used it since he’d posted the last post on his blog, about always believing in Sherlock. Opening his browser he searched for ultrasound images of ovaries and foetuses at about eight weeks. “Fuck, fuckity fuck....”
“Mmmhmm,” Sarah nodded, “I’d say that about sums it up. Speaking of, was it Sherlock?”
“What?” John looked up from where he had stuffed his head between his knees so he wouldn’t pass out again. “Of course it was Sherlock? Who else would it be? I don’t really go on the prowl offering up my bum to random men.”
“No I didn’t think you did but it pays to make sure,” she reached over and pat his knee, “So, eight weeks?” She nodded at the search term for the ultrasounds.
“Eight weeks, rather precisely eight weeks in fact.” John nodded. “We always used protection, even though we were both safe...That night, it was crazy, we were on the run from the police, the whole Richard Brook affair. It happened and it was...I can’t explain how it was and the next day he stepped off the roof.” John looked absolutely wrecked.
She moved the file and the laptop out of the way and pulled him into a hug, “Saying I’m sorry doesn’t do anything, but I am so so sorry John and I could honestly slap the people responsible for driving him up there and not just because of what this is putting you through. He didn’t deserve any of that.”
“No he didn’t. Sherlock never pretended to be anyone except for he he was. He didn’t look for fame or recognition. I knew the press would turn on him eventually...I knew it and I told him but I never thought it would become that bad. I hate them; I hate them for what they wrote. I hate motherfucking Moriarty for existing and I hate, hate, hate Sally Donovan for pushing and pushing those lies just because Sherlock didn’t fit her norm of what a person should be like. It hurts, it hurts all the time and I can’t breathe.”
“I could slap her,” Sarah hugged him tighter, “I could honestly slap her for you and for Sherlock, I might very well do that if I wind up seeing her.”
“Get in line; I’d like to do worse things than slap her.” John was disappointed in Greg and pissed at Mycroft but he truly, honestly hated Donovan. He was afraid of what would happen if he saw her. John leaned his head on Sarah’s shoulder. “I need to call Harry don’t I?”
She nodded, “We need to know how this is possible, how it happened, if it is what we suspect it is. Once we know that, we can go from there.”
John heaved a deep sigh and reached for his phone. “Well it’s only early afternoon, with any luck she won’t be completely drunk off her arse yet.” He pressed her number and waited for Harry to pick up.
“Mm ‘Lo?” Harry’s voice was a bit muffled but clear, no slurring or obvious signs of being intoxicated. More like she’d just been woken up.
“Harry? It’s John. I really need to talk to you about something important. Can we do it now or is it a bad time?” John hated how nervous he sounded.
“Johnny? Yeah sure, ‘m not goin anywhere. Head hurts too much to move.” She was suffering from a hangover, not completely clear headed but not stupid with drink. “Whatcha need to talk about?”
Great, well at least a hangover wasn’t as bad as roaring drunk. “Um...This might sound really strange but did Mum and Dad ever talk about me when I was little or before I was born? I mean that there was something strange, medically? Something that you noticed?”
Harry made a thoughtful sound, “I don’t think so. Just the old joke Aunt Nelly used to make, about how you weren’t twins. I mean i remember early on how Mum was all worried cause the doctor told her he saw two but then just you were born so he was wrong wasn’ he?”
“Twins?” John swallowed and looked over at Sarah, having the speaker function on so she could hear as well. Twins, that could explain it, if his twin had been female and he’d absorbed her, at least her cells into him that they’d merged to one being. “Yeah, wrong...Only me.” His voice sounded choked even to himself.
“John?” Harry sounded much more awake now, “Is something wrong? Do you need me to come down? Up...whatever direction London is in?”
He ran a tired hand over his face. “No..Yes...I don’t know. Maybe you should come, there are some things you should know.”
“But you don’t know,” Harry’s voice was half confused, half resigned, “Why don’t you sleep on it and then call me when you wake up and let me know if you need me there...or want me there.”
“Okay.” John wasn’t sure he wanted her there and part of him was glad she’d declined coming over. “Things usually turned ugly very quickly when he and Harry was concerned. He did love her but he wasn’t sure he liked her and he’d had enough of cleaning up her messes. “Thank you for answering and for telling me what you know about my crazy questions. I’ll call you tomorrow...Take care.” He ended the call and leaned his head back against the wall. “If by some insane chance I am pregnant...some sort of he/she freak inside then I don’t want it to get out. I can’t handle becoming some sort of media circus. The pregnant man...You know how they jump on that sort of thing...Imagine how it will be when it’s me, if they were to find out that it was Sherlock’s child. I can’t do that...Oh God I can’t do this. He began to hyperventilate.
“John,” Sarah put her hand on his back and guided him into a different posture, one that would help ease his breathing, she kept her voice firm and calm, “Stop. Just breathe, in through the nose, out slowly through the mouth,” she dictated him through the calming breathing, rubbing his back softly, “That’s it, just breathe.” Once he wasn’t the color of milk any longer and was breathing easily, she met his eyes.
“Now you know you have options John but let’s take this one thing at a time. First I want to confirm whether or not you might have chimerism. Is there a black light anywhere in the flat?”
“Yes, Sherlock’s room.” It had been their room but John couldn’t sleep there now, not in the bed he had shared with Sherlock. “I think he nicked it from the Yard to be honest. Wait here, I’ll go get it.” He got up from the couch and walked to the bedroom, stopping in the middle of the floor and looked around. He reached for the bed and picked up a discarded shirt, bringing it to his face, trying to smell any trace of Sherlock on it. “Fuck you, you utter bastard. How could you leave me like this. I need you...I’m drowning here.” John dropped the shirt and pressed the balls of his hands against his eyes to stop the tears, he couldn’t cry now. Once he’d gotten a better hold of himself he got the black light and the orange tinted glasses and walked back to the living room.
She took the light and the glasses and made the universal gesture for ‘turn around’ before gently pulling his sweater up, exposing his back. She switched on the light and breathed out slowly at the mottled almost tiger like stripes that appeared under the black light’s glow. The Blaschko lines, tell tale proof visible only under black light, or if some sort of disease forced the skin to react badly. She gently settled his sweater back into place and nudged him back down onto the couch, setting the light and glasses down before nodding at him, “Blaschko lines. Call yourself a freak John and I’ll smack you on the head clear?” She leveled a serious look at him, taking his hand a squeezing it comfortingly.
“Alright, we know for sure that you’ve got chimerism now. We are...relatively safe in assuming that you might be pregnant so it’s best to operate on the assumption that you are until we can get you an MRI scan from someone who’d keep it secret. Breathe,” it was a warning when it looked as if he’d start panicking again, “Assuming that you are pregnant, you have a few options. Though there are really two main options at this point. You can abort, which medically speaking might be safest as we have no idea how your body would handle a pregnancy or even if it’s capable of carrying to full term. Or you could attempt to complete the pregnancy, during which I would be haunting you like an annoying spectre to make sure you ate, took vitamins, had weekly check-ups, and remained in the best health possible.”
John was silent, concentrating on his breathing as Sarah had told him too. He was in such a messed up place right now. Alone and hurting so much. Just this very morning he’d just quietly waited to die. The best thing would probably be to abort the foetus. He knew that, as a doctor that was the safest and perhaps even the right thing to do. Everything inside him rebelled against the thought though. No matter how it had happen, no matter what sort of genetic freak he indeed was, he might be carrying a child inside him. A child that was part him and part Sherlock...Sherlock was gone, dead. John would never get to hold him, kiss him or tell him that he loved him again but he could have a chance to love their child. Raise him or her and tell them all about what a brilliant and wonderful person their father had been.
“I can’t terminate it Sarah, that is not an option. It’s a part of Sherlock.” Still in a daze, shock even, John’s hand want to his slightly swollen stomach, cupping it. “I choose you haunting me, for the little cluster inside me I promise to take better care of myself. For this...I want to live. This child will need me just I need it. We can survive together.” John wasn’t aware that he was crying until he felt tears drip on the hand placed on his stomach.
She, being the prepared sort, pulled her handkerchief out of her purse and passed it to him, speaking softly, “Then I’ll help you try. See what favors I can pull to get a secret MRI because a regular ultrasound is not going to cut the mustard for complete confirmation and we need to know the structure to see how much surgery you’ll be needing for a birth.” She wrapped an arm around his shoulders in a hug he could choose to pull away from or turn into. This was absolutely going to be the highest risk pregnancy she’d ever watched over, if it really was a pregnancy. She was almost completely certain it was but until they could get the MRI, you never knew about the human body.
John wrapped his arms around her and hugged back, needing the comfort and contact of and another human being. He was overwhelmed and so very fractured, like a cracked glass sculpture, one single touch in the wrong place and he would shatter completely. “I think I know someone who could help us get an MRI on the downlow. Her name is Molly Hooper, she’s the pathologist at B-Barts.” John hadn’t stepped a foot near Barts since that day but aside from asking Mycroft, John couldn’t think of anyone else who could help him.
Sarah ran her hand over his cropped hair soothingly, “Okay, we’ll see if we can talk her into it but keep things as vague as we can. I don’t know if King Tit could bully her into sharing or not.” She looked up as a soft knock came on the door, quickly flipping John’s file shut as it opened and she saw Mrs. Hudson step in, carrying a tray.
“John dear, oh,” the older woman’s eyes went soft and sympathetic when she saw John’s tear wet face and she came over to set the tray, with the bag from Speedy’s and tea, on the coffee table. One hand gently fussed, smoothing down his hair, “Are you alright dear?”
“Not even in the slightest Mrs. Hudson.” John gave her a shaky tear streaked smile. “For the first time though, I think that I might, perhaps get there. One day at the time eh?” He turned so he could wrap the tiny woman in a hug too, Mrs. Hudson had been so good to him and he had treated her, well not bad but not nice either. Mostly he had just ignored her the same way he’d shut out the rest of the world.
“Oh you dear,” she pat him on the back, “Yes, one day at a time. You’ll get there and you’ll have people there to help. Like Ms. Sawyer here and me of course.”
Sarah exchanged a smile with the older woman and began to pull out and unwrap the sandwiches.
“Dr. Sawyer, Mrs. Hudson.” John corrected gently. “Let’s not forget the Dr.” He disliked it, probably beyond reason to be called Mr. Watson, Mr. Watson had been his father and he didn’t want anything in common with that man. He had worked his entire life to become Dr. Watson, Captain Watson, anything but mister. John took a step back and sat down on the couch, accepting one of the sandwiches gingerly, his stomach already twisting in discomfort. If he was going to take better care of himself, for the baby he was now almost sure was there, then he’d better start now.
“Oh of course, sorry dear.”
“It’s alright, thank you for bringing the sandwiches and tea up. How much do I owe-”
“Oh now don’t you worry about that dear,” she pat Sarah on the head, “Mr. Chattergee and I have an agreement, he makes sandwiches for me and John and I don’t tell his wives about each other. Now I’ll just be downstairs if you need help with anything.”
Sarah’s lips twitched as she watched Mrs. Hudson bustle off, “Wives...how many does he have?”
“Oh, three so far, according to Sherlock’s deductions. Mrs. Hudson was at risk to become the third one for a while there until she almost beat him to death with his own sandwich fillings. Now they have an understanding and Mr. Chattergee found some poor librarian in Cardiff to make Mrs. Chattergee number three.” John took a bite of his sandwich and followed it by a sip of tea.
She picked up her own sandwich, “Intrigue at Baker Street as usual.” She nibbled, “You’ve a shift at the clinic tomorrow. I’d tell you not to come in,” off his look she held up a finger, “Let me finish. But, not only do I know that simply won’t happen, it’s the easiest way to get you the prenatal vitamins as well as other subterfuge.” She took a drink of tea, “Speaking of, how much hope do we have of keeping this from King Tit for very long if I keep your file on me and only update via hard-copy?”
John made a considering hum. “Not much hope I’m afraid. If we’re being very sneaky and careful...Perhaps a month, two if we’re being absolutely paranoid. Mycroft has eyes and ears everywhere, not just electronic kinds.” John sighed. “He will find out sooner rather than later I’m afraid, it’s getting him to stay away and not take over that’s going to be a challenge.” Something flashed in John’s eyes. Mycroft was not going to get his hands on John’s baby, absolutely not.
“Oh I dare him to try,” Sarah’s voice was soft and irritable, “We’ll be sneaky and careful, avoid the paranoid since that’s too much stress, and that’s just because I really want to stick it to him in some way. He had the nerve to say he’d know what I was keeping from him in an hour. So I am all for keeping him and his needle-nose out of it as long as possible.” That flash in John’s eyes gave her hope, it was a battle light, one that had been missing for two months and it was so very, very welcome.
John scoffed. “Yeah that sounds like him, humble and charming as usual. We’ll do what we can and kick him in the bollocks if he doesn’t back off.” Despite the strangeness and arrogance of the older Holmes brother, John had trusted him. Trusted him to actually care about Sherlock and what happened to him. He felt so betrayed by Mycroft’s actions and even more because the older man couldn’t even admit that he had made a mistake, a mistake that had cost them Sherlock.
“Works very well for me. Is it incredibly petty for me to already loathe his little handmaiden? Typing away on that bloody mobile in the hospital and not even bothering to look the least bit sincere when humming her ‘concern’ for you,” the fact that the woman had been exceptionally well proportioned might have also been a factor but it was secondary to the lack of concern. “No, don’t answer that. Is is petty but I don’t mind being petty in this case.”
“Feel free to be as petty as you like. Anthea is Mycroft’s shadow, I have not seen her without that phone in her hands even once nor have I heard her express a single thought of her own. She probably has them but Mycroft has trained her well.” John forced himself to finish his sandwich, his stomach grumbling from the strange sensation of having food in it once again.
Sarah gave a soft laugh. “Petty it is then,” she pat his knee, “Alright Dr. Watson, time to make a grocery list and discuss when you want to get in touch with Dr. Hooper to sneaky out an MRI and then you and I are going to the Tesco to pick up food for you.”
“Very well Dr. Sawyer.” John nodded his head. “I would like to contact Molly as soon as possible actually; I want that MRI done so we can start planning accordingly.” He used the word we because he knew that he would be leaning rather heavily on Sarah the coming months. With him not talking to Greg, she was both his doctor and the closest friend he had. John felt anxious about contacting Molly; she had been Sherlock’s friend. Always friendly and nice but John had still never gotten very close with her. He knew that she really, truly had been in love with Sherlock and after the two of them got together; John had always felt the slightest bit uncomfortable in Molly’s company.
“Alright, in person or phone call?” Sarah whipped out a pad and pen and began writing down a few necessities; ginger tea, saltines, and bread were top of the list.
“Oh God...Phone call first. I really don’t want to go down to Barts before I have to.” John swallowed loudly. “Besides I think it might be easier, asking a favor over the phone. If she feels uncomfortable doing it then that will be it, no awkwardness face to face and we will look elsewhere.”
“Alright, you want to call now and see if she’s alright with it? Try to schedule it for the day after tomorrow?”
“Yeah, alright.” John licked his lips nervously and reached for his phone once more. God before this day was over he would have spoken to more people than in the last couple of months combined. He looked up Molly’s number and hoped that she would answer.
After a couple of rings, her cheerful voice answered, “Hello, Molly here. Who’s calling?”
“Hello Molly, it’s John...” He paused uncertainly, this was so difficult, what was he supposed to say really. “I hope you’re well...I’m calling because, because I could really, really need your help with something.”
Molly’s voice went from cheerful right to serious, “What do you need?” She’d been in love with Sherlock, still was a bit, she’d never deny that. But Sherlock had chosen John and she’d always wanted Sherlock to be happy more than she wanted him to be with her. She still felt guilty knowing he was alive while John was left floundering because she knew how she’d have felt in his shoes. If he needed her help, he’d get it, no questions asked just as Sherlock would have because helping John meant helping Sherlock even if John didn’t know that.
“I need access to an MRI machine, no one can know, that is very important. Not a soul can know. I know it is a lot to ask and I understand if you’re not comfortable with this.” John was babbling slightly, feeling bad that the first time he spoke to Molly after Sherlock’s funeral was to ask a favor from her, a huge favor at that. A favor that could get her into a lot of trouble if she was found out.
“When do you need access to it?” She’d risked her job dozens of times before, this time wasn’t any different. Not to mention she’d helped Sherlock get hold of an MRI room for a time once so it wasn’t as though she didn’t have experience.
“The day after tomorrow if possible.” John felt humbled by Molly’s easy agreement and the fact that she wasn’t asking any questions about why and what for.
“I’ll call you tomorrow to let you know what time I’ve cleared for you then.” Molly was already thinking over the shifting she’d need to do and the computer files she’d have to play with. Part of the reason she’d been such an idiot over ‘Jim from IT’ had been because he’d flattered her computer skills. God she’d been an idiot.
“Thank you Molly, I can’t tell you how much this will help. Thank you and I’ll hear for you tomorrow then. Take care.” John ended the call, looking down at his phone before placing it down on the table. “She’ll help; she’ll call tomorrow with the time....Looks like we’re going to Barts.” He rubbed his hand across his face again, mind whirring. If this was how Sherlock felt all the time than there was no wonder he was snappy at times. John would go crazy in less than a week.
Sarah reached over to squeeze his knee again, “Yes, we are. You won’t be alone John,” she knew facing Bart’s again might rip the heart out of him a second time.
John stayed silent, doing his very best to convince himself that he could do it. He could go to Barts, walk across the sidewalk where Sherlock had lain broken, bleeding and gone. He could walk inside, past the morgue and the labs that Sherlock had loved. He could do it, he could, he could. “I have to throw up.” He was up from the couch in a flash and rushing for the bathroom.
Sarah rushed after him and wet a cloth to drape over the back of his neck as he heaved. She rubbed his back soothingly. She just hoped some nutrition had been digested before his stomach had rebelled. She really didn’t want to force him into drinking nutrition shakes. This was going to be a battle all the way through, she knew it.
He slumped down on the bathroom floor next to the toilet bowl. “I’m sorry Sarah, for being such a mess and for burdening you with all of it. If you were smart you should run now as far and fast as you can.” John leaned his forehead against the cool porcelain of the toilet.
“I’m not running anywhere John,” she tilted his head up to wipe his face with the cool cloth, “You’re my friend, helping you through the mess is part of the position.”
“Sucky position then.” He stayed on the floor for now, felt safest that way. “Thank you Sarah, for everything. Someday I hope I can return the favor, to be there for you when you need it.”
She sat down next to him, “I’ll let you know when that day comes.” John speaking of the future was a good thing, a very good thing. “You want to order the groceries online and have them delivered instead of going out?”
“Oh God yes.” John let out a deep breath of relief. “Baby steps. I think I’ve reached my limit of excitement and social interaction for the day...Or week.” He stretched his legs out on the tiled floor in front of him.
“Okay then, I’ll go get the laptop and a blanket and we can argue about nutritional value and what your stomach is or is not ready for then.” She got up and headed for the living room. She half hoped that this was just all some odd ultrasound glitch that happened just to get John interested in life to a minor degree again but she knew in her gut that it wasn’t. The day after tomorrow would allow them to have incontrovertible proof.
To be continued…