Sherlock wasn’t sure where he was, or how he arrived there. His vision swam, losing focus so quickly he felt nauseous. He squinted in an attempt to see more clearly before giving up and shutting his eyes entirely with a soft groan.
The voice, laced with concern, trickled in through the haze making him jerk in surprise. He hadn’t realized someone else was in his presence.
“Sherlock, can you hear me?”
There it was again! Sherlock’s eyes snapped open as he tried once more to focus.
A gentle pressure laid itself over his shoulder, warm and soft. With a start, Sherlock reached for it, wanting to know what it was. His trembling fingers felt something soft but firm, keeping him in place but also offering comfort.
“Sherlock, come on, wake up for me.”
The consulting detective attempted to roll his eyes. He was awake! Wasn’t that obvious?
Before he could say anything, the touch on his shoulder started to pull away and Sherlock frantically tried to hold on but his fingers simply lacked the strength to. He opened his mouth, ready to voice his discontent, but all that resulted was a soft whine which took him several seconds before realizing it came from him.
The touch returned, this time cradling his cheek, swiping under his eye gently.
“Shh…it’s all right, you’re going to be OK. Just wake up for me, Sherlock.”
With a huff Sherlock finally forced his eyes to focus, the blurry shapes transforming into sharp edges with effort. In front of him John’s worried face appeared, eyes scanning over the detective with professional expertise. The doctor’s pinched expression relaxed slightly as he noticed Sherlock finally opening his eyes, the corners of his mouth tilting upwards just a fraction.
Peering over John’s shoulder Sherlock blinked as he realized he was back in the familiar setting of his bedroom. The air smelled dusty, having been empty since his arrest after shooting Magnussen, but now he was on his own bed once more with John sitting by his side. The older man brushed back the curls from his forehead, placing his palm there for a few seconds to check his temperature before letting out a soft sigh.
Sherlock’s attempt at a question was interrupted as his throat itched horribly, causing him to cough. His mouth felt dry and it was with great appreciate that he realized someone had placed a glass of water by his bedside. John grabbed the drink and held it steady as Sherlock took several large gulps, the cool liquid trickling down his throat and sitting like ice in his stomach, but at least it gave him something to concentrate on.
“You’re at Baker Street, we’re back at the flat,” John tried explaining as Sherlock drank.
The detective glanced up over the rim of the glass and gave the doctor the best ‘you’re an idiot’ look he could manage at the moment.
“Yes, I’ve realized that, thank you, John,” Sherlock huffed, “I was trying to ask where Mycroft and Mary are.”
John placed the glass back onto the bedside table, eyes slipping towards the door before looking back at Sherlock.
“Not your concern. You’re on bed rest until the drugs are all flushed out of your system, doctor’s orders.”
Sherlock groaned with exaggeration, attempting to sit up and drag himself out of the bed.
“Oh for chrissakes, they’re out in the sitting room aren’t they? I need to talk to Mycroft, we need to coordinate our next line of action to handle Moriarty’s return, or whoever’s orchestrating the lie of his return anyway.”
John planted himself in front of the wobbling man, arms crossed and face set.
“No, Sherlock, you’re not leaving this room.”
The curly haired man was all set to ignore John but his legs simply wouldn’t cooperate. Every time he attempted to stand the bones turned to jelly, forcing him back onto the bed. He growled in frustration and ran a hand through his hair, tugging at the curls.
Sherlock’s raspy voice bellowed through the room, startling John who looked sharply between the door and the younger man. Sure enough, the sound of footsteps filtered through the door. They paused but slowly the door opened to reveal the elder Holmes, expression grim and without a hint of the smugness he usually greeted Sherlock with.
“No. Mycroft, leave. Sherlock, you’re not well enough for work. This is ridiculous. You’re lucky you’re not dead, and if you think I’m going to permit you to go traipsing around London in that state then you are an idiot worse than Anderson. You will lie there until every last drop of the drugs you took is out of your body, and by god, Sherlock, if you so much as even TRY to leave that bed I will tie you down to it,” John glared as he fought to control himself, anger, frustration, and fear flowing through him.
He had almost lost Sherlock AGAIN. This was the THIRD goddamn time, and his patience was running thin. Sherlock’s self-destructive streak was evident to him fairly early on in their acquaintance, but he never thought it would take such a drastic turn. Sure, the detective liked to sneak a cigarette now and then, and on danger nights Mycroft had warned him to be on the lookout for needles, but none of those had place Sherlock in immediate danger of death. Throughout their time together Sherlock seemed attracted to danger, much like himself, running after the risk, walking the line, piecing together puzzles, but he never seemed explicitly suicidal.
But jumping from roof tops? Getting shot? Purposely over-dosing? Sherlock has, up until now, rationalized those actions as necessary or accidental but John was starting to wonder if the man wasn’t simply seeking to kill himself.
Both of the Holmes siblings stared at the short doctor, hesitant to say anything in case that would set him off again. Mycroft raised an eyebrow, glancing towards Sherlock, who stared back feverishly.
“J-John…you’re letting your emotions cloud your judgement,” Sherlock finally attempted.
The doctor rounded on him with such force Sherlock instinctively scrambled onto the bed, shuffling towards the centre and out of reach. He knew John’s tempter was a force to be reckoned with and apparently that had been the wrong thing to say.
“I. Swear. To. GOD. Sherlock. Give me an excuse, just give me an excuse. I will break your legs and tie you down if you won’t stay the FUCK in that bed.”
Mycroft hurried forward to intervene, heels clicking sharply against the floor.
“Dr. Watson has a point, Sherlock. Any deductions you make at this point would be unreliable at best and completely wrong at worst. Stay in bed, and once your head clears you may join the investigations. Until then I will have my people look into the video of Moriarty and attempt to locate the source of the broadcasts.”
Sherlock looked ready to protest but one snarl from John and he quieted, shrinking back against the headboard. He eyed his best friend with apprehension and finally seemed to accept that the doctor wasn’t joking around this time.
“Oh, fine. Not that I expect much out of you or your team of nitwits,” he grumbled before burying himself under the covers to sulk. The drugs were making him shaking and it took him all he had to keep his voice steady. His head spun if he moved too quickly and all his limbs seemed to be losing communication with his brain. Grudgingly, he admitted to himself that perhaps staying in bed, or at least within the flat, would be the wisest course of action.
Mycroft ignored the sulking and nodded at John before heading for the door. To his surprise, the man followed him out of the bedroom, closing the door quietly. Mary was sitting at the kitchen table, tea cup in front of her as she rubbed her swollen belly slowly. Upon hearing the door open and close she stood up and headed to her husband’s side.
“Mary, you go on home first, I’m going to stay here with Sherlock, at least until the drugs are flushed.”
The woman’s eyes narrowed then flickered towards the closed bedroom door.
“I thought he said he wanted to work, sure seemed eager in the plane,” she questioned.
“He can’t work, you saw his condition, he needs rest.”
Mary barked out a laugh, rolling her eyes, “It’s not his first time over-dosing, and he said it was controlled so obviously he knew how much to take without inhibiting his abilities. Come on, John, stop coddling him, he’s not a child and you’re not his keeper.”
John frowned and glared at his wife, “No, no I’m not his keeper. I’m his friend, his best friend. He shot and killed someone to protect you, Mary, the least you can do is show some sympathy for his current state.”
With a gasp, the pregnant woman took a stuttering step back, eyes wide with offense. John had never so blatantly accused her of being the cause of Sherlock’s actions against Magnussen and she had almost convinced herself that John believed the detective committed murder because he refused to admit defeat to the master blackmailer.
“I…I…I never asked him to murder someone for me! I never needed his protection! You can’t blame me for that, HE made the decision to pull the trigger! That’s hardly MY fault!”
Silence fell as the Watsons faced off in the kitchen. Two pairs of steely eyes narrowed in anger, shooting invisible daggers at each other.
Mycroft cleared his throat and tapped his brolly against the floor. In his line of work he had met many vile and unsavory people, but Mary Morstan certainly has a solid place near the top of the list. She seemed to relish her ability to shame and embarrass Sherlock constantly, subtly putting him down with snide remarks against his intelligence and parading herself as superior to both the detective and her own husband. Aside from her past, which John still does not know, her current actions clearly proved her lack of remorse or repentance. The lives she had taken in exchange for money, if John only knew, Mycroft had no doubt the honorable doctor with his strong sense of justice would not only leave her but personally escort her into a maximum security penitentiary. However, that wasn’t his place to tell, and Sherlock had warned him against ever speaking to John about his wife. If the doctor chose to live in blind ignorance of who he was sharing a bed with, then that was his choice and one that Sherlock was willing to allow him.
But that didn’t mean Mycroft was keen to witness a blow-up of the Watson marriage right in front of him. He had more urgent matters to attend to, and England was waiting.
“Dr. Watson, I believe that is my cue to see myself out. I leave Sherlock in your capable hands…,” Mycroft paused, head tilting down slightly in a subtle plea, “Don’t let him down.”
Before anyone could say another word the elder Holmes turned and left the flat.
Shaken out of his glaring match with his wife, John watched Mycroft leave then headed back for the bedroom.
“Leave, Mary. Go home. I’ll call you later.”
“John, wait! I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean…of course I appreciate what Sherlock did, absolutely. But we’re expecting a baby, John, you can’t just go running off with him now, especially considering how dangerous this situation is becoming.”
John whirled back to face his wife, jaw tight and hands shaking.
“So what? I’m supposed to just abandon my best friend for you? Once you have the baby, I’m supposed to just sit in front of the telly every night drinking tea and changing nappies? What I have with Sherlock is important to me, HE’s important to me, and I’ll be damned if I just leave him when he needs me.”
“What you have with Sherlock will drag you down and kill you! He’s not only a drug addict, he’s a danger addict, and yes, you are too so you two are a perfect little fit, aren’t you? But it’s not the same now, you have a family, you can’t just go chasing danger whenever you please! You CHOSE to marry me and start a family with me! Are you now choosing to leave me for him?!”
John’s rage boiled and his vision went red. Mary’s question was valid, it was something he had asked himself before, but her accusing tone and utter lack of sympathy for Sherlock’s plight sent wave after wave of hot fury through his blood.
“I only CHOSE to marry you because I thought he was DEAD!”
The temperature in the room dropped so drastically John almost felt dizzy. Everything froze. Mary’s face was one of shock and he was fairly certain his own face mirrored the expression. He hadn’t planned to blurt that out, his mouth didn’t seem to listen. For several long seconds neither person moved and although the flat was still both people felt an earthquake shattering their world.
While John might have expected some tears or more yelling, he instead found Mary’s eyes overflowing with hateful fury. She took a shaky breath, tossed her head back, and without a second look stormed out, slamming the door behind her. The loyal part of John urged him to chase after her and apologize, tell her he hadn’t meant that and it was only in the heat of the moment, but another part of him whispered the nagging truth. He HAD meant it, and ever since Sherlock’s return it had been something he constantly obsessed over.
If Sherlock hadn’t left, hadn’t ‘died’ for two years, what would his life be like now? Would there be Mary? Would he have a wife? Without Mary, Sherlock wouldn’t have been shot, he wouldn’t have had to kill Magnussen, he wouldn’t have been sent into exile, and he wouldn’t have taken that overdose.
But what good is it to play the blame game? Sherlock had supported his decision to marry Mary, had helped him plan the wedding, had reconciled him with her after the shooting, and as Mary said, he had chosen himself to pull the trigger which killed Magnussen. To blame it entirely on her was also unfair but John couldn’t shake the simmering irritation at the lack of gratitude Mary had shown for all that Sherlock had willingly put himself through. He couldn’t force her to feel grateful, but surely a decent person would.
With a heavy sigh, John gave up trying to untangle that mess of thought and straightened himself to go check on Sherlock. He pushed open the bedroom door quietly, wondering if the man might have fallen asleep, but instead found his eyes locked with the detective’s red-rimmed gaze. Never had John seen Sherlock look so defeated, even when he was up on the rooftop at Bart’s. His shoulders were slumped, eyes watery, and even though he attempted to smile upon seeing John his lips trembled.
“S-so…bit of a domestic?”
John chuckled humorlessly as he closed the door behind him and walked to the bed. Sitting down on the side, he rubbed the back of his neck and shook his head.
“A bit. I told Mary…”
“I heard,” Sherlock interrupted, his gaze shifting to look down at his own hands, “you made such a racket, impossible not to hear.”
John didn’t know how to answer so he kept quiet. He wondered if the redness around Sherlock’s eyes were because of the drugs or if the detective had actually been crying. For some reason, that image was like an ice cold hand grasping his heart and squeezing, painful and cold.
“You’re really an idiot, John,” Sherlock continued, “After all my troubles, you go and mess it all up in under five minutes. I even planned a wedding for you, a wedding, John. Do you have any idea how tedious that was? How much ribbing from Mycroft I had to endure for that? Napkin folding, cake taste testing, flower arranging, it took me weeks after to delete all that useless information,” He graced the doctor with a small, lopsided grin, trying to lighten the mood but John only sighed and rubbed his eyes.
This had been an incredibly long day.
“Yeah, well, next time you’ll be well prepared.”
Sherlock inhaled sharply, his grin turning into a grimace, “Next time?”
John gave him a look and rolled his eyes, “You were the one who commented on my blog about my next wedding, remember?”
Sherlock leveled a pouting glare at the doctor, crossing his arms with a sniff.
“Spare me, John, I’m not going through that again. How many violin compositions are you trying to wring out of me? Next time you can elope.”
John chuckled, slightly relieved to see the petulant Sherlock back, he had missed their easy bantering so much. Ever since the wedding it had been one tidal wave after another, each threatening to drown them or tear them apart. He felt so tired, and knowing he now had to contend with a pregnant, angry wife at home made the weight on his shoulders feel almost unbearable. How was he supposed to be a good father and husband when he’s finding it more and more difficult to even look at his wife? He didn’t want to fight with Mary anymore, yet now that he reflected back, she almost seemed to purposely provoke him into arguments. How did he not notice this side of her back when they were dating?
He looked down at his wedding ring, turning the band on his finger. It felt heavy, and without thinking he pulled it off, slipping it carelessly into his pocket.
Sherlock frowned as he caught the move and reached over to put his hand gently on John’s arm.
“John, no. It was just a domestic, think of your daughter.”
The older man looked to his best friend with frustration.
“I can’t bank my entire marriage on my daughter. Plenty of kids grow up fine in households with divorced parents, and I would imagine I have a better reason than most to seek a divorce.”
Brunet curls bounced as Sherlock shook his head, “You forgave her, John, you told her you forgave her. You’re a man of your word, I know you are.”
John snatched his arm out of Sherlock’s grasp, slamming his fist down on a pillow, “I forgave her for shooting you and for lying to me, and I’ve tried to move on, but she’s not exactly making it easy, Sherlock! You heard what she said out there, she’s placing the blame of what happened to you all on you!”
The detective shrugged, “Well…of course. Usually that’s how it works, my decisions, my actions, my consequences.”
“No,” John’s voice was quiet but firm, “No, it’s never that simple. Your decisions were made based on wanting to help her. Your actions were driven by your attempts to help her. Yet she doesn’t share ANY of the consequences, only you? That’s…that’s not OK. That’s not just a bit not good, Sherlock, that’s simply not OK, period.”
Sherlock sighed and leveled his gaze towards the ceiling.
“Be that as it may…legally, she doesn’t shoulder any blame.”
“Fuck legally. Good people do the right thing regardless of legality.”
“Like…shooting a cabbie?”
John started and he looked at Sherlock in surprise. That now seemed like such a long time ago, another lifetime, but he remembered it so clearly. Seeing Sherlock through that window, thinking the man was absolutely mad, pulling out his gun without any hesitation and taking aim with practiced ease. Something made him want to save this lunatic of a man even though he barely knew him, something pushed him to take a chance and place his trust in the crazy detective with the wild curls and nicotine patches.
“W…Would you do it again? Now, knowing everything? Would you still have shot that cabbie for me?” Sherlock’s voice was so small, his eyes carefully avoiding looking at John, almost like he’s simply wondering out loud.
John reached over and placed his hand on Sherlock’s shoulder. He waited, letting the silence hang, until finally the younger man looked over and met his gaze.
“Absolutely. Where would I be without my detective?”
Thank you for reading. Any comments, rants, raves, admiration for awesome Mycroft, commiseration against shitty Mary are always welcome!