Disclaimer: unfortunately these beautiful characters are not mine, but they are fun to play with.
Hope you enjoy reading this :)
The Two Tea Cups.
John was catching up on a few much-needed hours of sleep. He had decided to go to bed early, after the latest case had been solved. He ached from too many long nights racing around London with the Great Detective, and one particularly gruelling eight hour long stake out outside a chip shop in the murky drizzle on a cold January eve, which turned out to completely fruitless; Sherlock had finally deduced the murderer when they were back at Scotland yard looking through photographs, by realising his shirt had been buttoned up incorrectly.
In short, John was knackered, somewhat befuddled, and in dire need of a good kip.
He had murmured a goodbye to a very much still awake Sherlock Holmes, who was currently mixing god knows what in the kitchen, making odd puffs of smoke come out of the test tubes, and tutting at the reaction. John hadn't the time to wonder why on earth his flatmate wasn't going to bed, when he had even less sleep over the past week then John had. In fact, the detective probably hadn't slept at all, ignoring John's prodding that he get some shut-eye, instead drinking copious amounts of tea and sugary coffee until he was so wired that his hands began to shake.
John sighed. Whatever Sherlock was doing with that blasted chemistry set was obviously more important to him than rest was, and he'd leave the idiot to it for now; he was bound to wear himself out and John would find him, face pillowed on his long arms, snoring on the tabletop, in the morning.
At the moment John couldn't think of anything but his bed.
He had retreated upstairs, stumbled into some pyjama bottoms and an old t-shirt and collapsed into the duvet.
Then he had stuffed his head underneath his pillow for good measure, in case Sherlock decided to blow up the kitchen and wake him up - a precautionary measure he had adopted since living with the boisterous man - and drifted off within a matter of minutes.
It was a few hours later, and in his sleep he had pushed the pillow from his ears and snuggled up to it as if it were one of those girlfriends he could never seem to keep hold of. And as such, he managed to hear his phone buzz from its place on his bedside table. He had put it on silent, but the sound of it reverberating on the wood was actually pretty noisy in the quiet of his room.
It vibrated along the surface like a hovercraft along the plane of a body of water, and John cracked open an eye to glare at it.
The light from the phone illuminated the ceiling above his bedside table with an unnatural blue glow. It was much too bright. John groaned, hand flailing out to the side as he managed to knock the blasted thing onto the ground.
Oh, sod it. It probably wasn't important. He shoved his face into the pillow again, intent on going back to sleep.
He wondered when sleep had become such a luxury.
He knew exactly when, and the answer irritated him no end.
His phone buzzed again, insistently. And then for a third time. John speculated on who on earth would bother sending three messages in a row, in the middle of the night, when they could have just rung him if it was so bloody important. And then his sleepy mind realised that there was only one person who would do such a thing, and his texts were usually, if not always, quite important.
John sloped sideways over the bed, leaning over it and angling for the mobile, his hands brushing the carpet before finding the smooth edge of his phone. He checked the screen with bleary narrowed eyes. Three messages from Sherlock.
As if it would be anyone else.
John, you are needed. – SH
Wake up, John – SH
I need you. – SH
He managed to get his stiff fingers to cooperate and typed out a quick message in reply, closing one eye to better see the glowing screen.
What have you done now? I'm trying to sleep.
A few seconds passed, and his phone buzzed in his hand in reply.
Oh good, you're awake. Need assistance - SH
John sighed, drawing a hand over his face. He was in no mood to go gallivanting about with his deranged flatmate. He'd done his gallivanting for this week. They were supposed to have breaks between cases, he wasn't a bloody superhero, he needed life's little pleasures. Like sleep.
Where are you? He typed unenthusiastically, not wanting to leave the flat but feeling obliged to ask anyway, in case he needed to call Lestrade to go and collect the git. Knowing Sherlock, he could be anywhere. In the labyrinthine network of the London sewers, up a nearby lamppost, jumping between rooftops and sliding down the guttering like a fireman's pole, on a plane to Hawaii. The possibilities were endless. His phone buzzed.
Flat. Meet me in the kitchen - SH
Oh for Christ's sake.
"I'm just upstairs!" John called through the door, knowing that the detective had the ears of a bat and could definitely hear him in the rooms below. "You knew that already." He groused, beyond annoyed, flopping back into the pillows and drawing a heavy hand over his eyes. His phone buzzed, and he took a calming breath before glancing at the message.
Kitchen. – SH
John was amazed that he could even manage a reply with the way his fingers were jabbing irritably at the keypad. If you need me so much, why don't you come up here?
Can't. Kitchen, John. Please. – SH
John groaned. And after a minute of grumbling, he managed to heave himself out of bed, rubbing his face and trying to wake up properly. He hoped to God that the damn detective actually did need him, and didn't simply want John to retrieve his notebook, make him a cup of tea, or send an email. To Sherlock, waking John up from much needed sleep was infinitely more favourable than having to do anything so mundane for himself.
John somehow made it down the stairs without falling over, pyjama bottoms rumpled from sleep and usual tidy crew cut mussed.
He opened the door to the living room and blinked owlishly at the flat. No sign of any disturbance, everything in its rightful, albeit slightly messy, place. So the detective hadn't been attacked or anything. Not that John thought he had. He better not have woken him for a bloody cup of tea. Again.
"Sherlock?" John called. "If you woke me up for no reason, I swear, I'll give Mycroft your skull." He loped inside, slamming the door a little too loudly and wincing; he hoped Mrs. Hudson hadn't heard that. Who knew what bloody time it was? The living room was dark, and shrouded in gloomy shadows, and the only light came from the adjoining kitchen. The windows showed the drizzly grey of early morning. Very early morning.
Sherlock, you tit.
John's annoyance flared up again as he stepped into the kitchen barefoot, intent on making himself a cup of tea, his insomniac flatmate be damned.
The flatmate in question was sitting upright in one of the kitchen chairs, and he seemed to have finished whatever experiment he had been doing. He looked tired and wrung out, and John wondered why the damn man hadn't just gone to bed when it was so obvious that he needed to sleep.
Sherlock's pale eyes flicked up to John's slightly scowling face. "Ah," he said, voice deep and rumbling. "You came. Good."
John resisted the urge to roll his eyes, and went straight to the kettle. "Well, usually when someone wakes someone up in the middle of the night, it's for something deathly important. So what did you want?" he managed to ask, somewhat angrily. He was always grumpy when he hadn't had enough sleep, and to be honest he wanted nothing more than to just crawl back into his duvet and snore until the sun was high.
But Sherlock said he needed him. Even though it didn't appear that way.
John opened the teabags and turned to face his flatmate with raised eyebrows, holding the box so hard that the cardboard crinkled under his fingers. "Well?" he spouted. "What is it? I was sleeping, as I'm sure you are aware. Haven't had so much as a nap since Thursday night, thanks to you. Now what did you want?"
"John," the detective started calmly, lacing his slender fingers together on the tabletop. "I believe I may have inadvertently poisoned myself." And when John's face fell, he added, "It was an accident." As if that made everything fine.
John dropped the teabags with a small flop, coming forward in shock. Sherlock never did anything by accident. "Poison? Are you sure? What did you take?" he asked hurriedly, eyes scanning the kitchen for anything that looked particularly hazardous.
But, well, it was their kitchen. And most of it looked bloody hazardous. Those eyeballs in the biscuit tin for instance, they were well past rotten, and that odd purple gunk in the saucepan had been there for three weeks. Not to mention all the other miscellaneous decaying body parts strewn about the flat. And then there were the chemicals. John tried not to panic waiting for his oddly subdued flatmate to elaborate.
Sherlock looked down at two almost identical shabby mugs on the table top in front of him next to his slightly smoking chemistry set. "Yes. I'm sure," he croaked, a shaky hand going to his stomach, "there was a slight mix up; one of these contained that cup of tea you made me eight hours ago..."
"And the other?" John demanded.
"Well," Sherlock swallowed, beginning to look extremely pale, "I ran out of beakers."
John blanched. "I told you not to put dangerous chemicals in our tea mugs! What was in there?" he picked up the offending cup carefully sloshing the strange filmy liquid in the bottom of the cup. He hoped it hadn't been full before, because there was hardly any of the content left.
"Water," said Sherlock, "and Arsenic."
John nearly dropped the cup in alarm. "Arsenic?" He nearly shouted. "Sherlock – bloody arsenic?! What the hell were you doing playing with arsenic in the fucking kitchen? Jesus -" he would have tore his hair out, but his doctor's instincts kicked in and he grabbed his idiotic friend by the arm and practically dragged him into the living room, sat him on the sofa and rang for an ambulance.
"It was an experiment." He heard Sherlock say in the background, as the phone rang dully in his ear. "Besides, anything is a poison in certain quantities -"
"Shut up!" the phone line picked up on the other end, "Oh - Yes, I need an ambulance. 221b Baker Street. My flatmate's poisoned himself -"
Sherlock huffed indignantly from the sofa cushions. "You make it sound like it was my fault. You were the one who made me tea in a similar looking mug."
John hung up, his face ashen with worry, but his hands completely steady as they shoved the phone back into his pocket and his mind went a mile a minute trying to remember what the best course of action was when dealing with poisoning. "Don't try and blame this on me, Sherlock." He muttered tiredly. The ambulance was on its way. He had to make the detective comfortable, slow his breathing. The bloody man had nearly given him a heart attack. Arsenic of all the bloody stupid things.
"John," said Sherlock quietly. His forehead was creased and his breathing faster than usual, and it made John;s heart flip a little in his chest, because Sherlock rarely allowed himself to look so vulnerable. He was sitting forward on the sofa with his arms on his knees. "I don't feel too well." He said.
"Of course you bloody don't!" John found himself yelling, "You've just poisoned yourself!"
Sherlock blinked up at him in surprise. "You're angry." He noted.
"Yes. Yes, Sherlock, I'm angry."
"Oh." Said the detective, looking a little put out by this turn of events. As if he had just expected John to react calmly upon finding out his best friend had just poisoned himself via his own lack of common sense, and was now trying to deduce what on earth had made the other man so upset.
John ran a hand through his hair, and then pinched the bridge of his nose exasperatedly. "I'm worried." He bit out. "You idiot."
That was an understatement. He was more than worried. Acute arsenic poisoning led to coma and then death. He didn't even know how much his friend had even consumed. Sherlock was never very forthcoming on the topic of his own wellbeing, and to him, being poisoned was just a minor inconvenience to be dealt with the way he dealt with everything involving his 'transport'. Haphazardly, and when that didn't work, he would call John to figure it out.
"Sherlock how much did you drink? And how long ago?"
The detective was hunched over his stomach, the trembles visible now. His voice was deep though, and with an edge of irritation. "Stop making such a fuss, John. Arsenic poisoning is hardly fatal after only a few minutes. It could take days for my vital organs to shut down, despite the high dosage." He opened his mouth to say more, but it turned into a soft exhale that could have been a groan, his hands tightened over his stomach.
That was it. John heaved the detective upright. Which Sherlock protested at abominably, batting away John's hands as though he were merely a passing annoyance and would let go if Sherlock complained enough.
"Stop touching me." he groused.
"Sherlock, I'm a bloody doctor! Come on, you can try and throw up whatever you ingested - if it's only been a few minutes, we might be lucky and all of the poison won't have been absorbed into your bloodstream yet."
"You just moved me in here. It's hardly fair to keep flinging me about the place in my condition."
"I regret texting you. Go back to bed."
"I moved you in here, yes, but that was before I knew you'd taken a 'high dosage' – bathroom. Now."
"I don't want to."
"You should have thought about that before you downed a cup of sodding arsenic!"
They staggered their way to the bathroom like a pair of drunks and John shouldered open the door, attempting to steer Sherlock into the small tiled room without the detective falling over.
Sherlock dutifully sat in a huddle by the toilet, looking thoroughly miserable and feeling rather sorry for himself. He didn't throw up, but his mouth opened a couple of times in soft gasps that echoed around the tiles, an he lay his head on the porcelain rim as if enjoying the cool feel of it against his skin. "John," he said, a curious expression flitting across his pale features. "My mouth tastes of garlic."
John put his face in his hands.
Luckily the ambulance arrived not two minutes later - Mycroft's doing no doubt - and Sherlock was carted off with John in tow, who explained the ridiculous situation to the confused paramedics, clutching the arsenic-tainted cup in a clenched fist in case they needed samples. Sherlock complained loudly about their mode of transport and the incompetence of their care, arguing that a simple taxi would have been more efficient, and significantly less bumpy, and furthermore he abhorred being manhandled in such a way, and then he had promptly vomited all over one of the paramedics.
He had shut up soon after that.
They had put an oxygen mask over his face as a precaution and it steamed up with the fog of his uneven breaths. He closed his eyes, and sweat beaded on his pale forehead beneath the bedraggled dark curls. John had never felt more worried and infuriated in his whole life.
The stupid, stupid man.
It would be just like him to up and die because of a dim-witted mistake he'd made when he was too tired to be messing about with his chemistry set – not in the heat of combat, not in a furious battle of wits with a vicious psycho-killer, but because his own idiocy caused him to disregard what any normal person would have known. Don't put hazardous, poisonous things in nearby tea cups. It was bloody simple! And especially don't put them in tea cups next to other tea cups that were filled with bloody tea.
I may post a small fluffy ending to this, depending what people think :) Ta for reading - HCP