The phone call came when she was back at the house they shared.
She was undressing, removing the black cap and clothes, and let it ring out.
She listened to the voicemail as soon as she was ready, wearing her own clothes again, back to being Mary Watson, not... the other person. The one who'd been erased except for four letters. AGRA.
She pressed play.
"Mary," he choked out.
Oh god this was going to kill her.
"I'm at the hospital, um..."
He takes a shaky inhale, trying to steady his nerves.
"Sherlock was shot... I... I'm not sure what happened. Oh god Mary," his voice broke, and it hurt Mary to listen to. She didn't like John breaking. Not her John, who was strong and brave and loyal and was hers.
But she'd been the one to do it, so she finished listening to the message.
"He's in surgery... they're... they're not sure if he's going to make it."
He was actually crying now, Mary could hear it, and she could picture how he looked, because that one time he came home drunk on the anniversary, and if he was sober he never would have started talking, she knew that much, and she could still remember the way his face broke just at the second when the tears started rolling, and she knew that he had just been making that face as he said those words.
"God Mary, I don't think I can lose him again."
Her heart broke at the same time his did.
"Please come," he finished, choking back another sob before hanging up.
She put a hand to her mouth, sinking to the floor, her phone still in her other hand.
Mary had known it would hurt him, known that John and Sherlock were close, so close, but didn't think... she didn't think it would break him all over again.
She knew it broke him the first time, but he'd been alone then, and this time...
Well this time he had her.
Apparently it wasn't enough.
She didn't go until morning. She usually kept her phone turned off overnight, which he knew, so to break pattern would be suspicious.
She called him in the morning, but he didn't answer. She sent him a text, but he didn't respond.
So the question was, which hospital?
Of course, she knew where Sherlock had been shot, so she knew which hospital was closest, and therefore, where Sherlock was most likely to be taken. (If his brother didn't interfere, which wasn't likely, given the nature of Sherlock's injury.) But would John realize that she couldn't have known, and start to ask questions?
She could call Lestrade, the DI who was at the wedding. Was he still a DI? She couldn't remember if he'd been promoted or not since... Sherlock.
He'd probably know.
She was debating the best way to go about doing it when John texted her back.
Sorry. Can't use mobiles in the hospital. And sorry about the message.
Underneath was the name of the hospital.
She sighed, and set out.
When she arrived, she was surprised to find John rushing to greet her.
She'd sent him a text telling him she was almost there, but didn't expect anything, considering the state he'd been in when he phoned.
"He's only bloody woken up! He's pulled through."
That was fantastic news for John, and yet terrible news for her.
"Oh, you, Mrs Watson... you're in big trouble."
She tried to swallow the panic that threatened to burst out of her throat.
"Really? Why?" She hoped she sounded relieved and slightly amused, and not terrified.
"His first word when he woke up? 'Mary'!" John couldn't seem to believe it either. Or maybe he didn't want to. After all, he was Sherlock's best friend, and yet, here he was whispering his best friend's wife's name as soon as he woke up from surgery. If Sherlock was anyone else, John would be jumping to certain conclusions... But that wasn't important now. Now she had to be the supportive wife, just as perplexed as John was. And as soon as she could, she would have to talk to Sherlock.
"Ah!" she said.
She made John leave, told him to take a shower, change his clothes, just be anywhere but there for a while.
He complied, reluctantly, and she was left alone with Sherlock.
"You don't tell him. Sherlock? You don't tell John. Look at me – and tell me you're not gonna tell him."
He blinked at her, but there was something in his eyes that told her he'd heard. That he'd listened. That he'd keep his silence, at least for now.
And she was grateful for that.
Because they both know what went unspoken after those words.
Don't tell him...
Or I'll have to kill you.
And we can't have that. Because John would cry buckets and buckets.
And I can't stand to see that.