John floated towards the hospital room, doing all he could to prevent a full blown sprint. Seven hours, he thought, cursing himself. Sherlock was knocked out seven hours ago by lower class criminals, and John was just now arriving. He'd never hear the end of it.
To be fair, he'd been across town running errands with his wife. Important errands. Grocery shopping, dental appointments, quick coffee stops with old acquaintances. Wow that sounded like a hideous defense. Sherlock likely wouldn't take domestic responsibilities as a valid excuse for his tardiness, but nothing could be done now. He simply hadn't noticed the twelve texts and nine calls from Greg.
Lestrade. The saint had finally caught him on the phone an hour ago, only briefly explaining that Sherlock had wandered off his crime scene in solo pursuit of robbers, only to be outdone.
"But he's fine?" John had asked, his coffee cup already in the trash can and Mary already following his heels. All the worry he would have experienced had he known earlier latched onto his shoulders and atop his chest.
Greg hesitated, but only for a moment. "Well, yeah. Physically."
"What on earth does that mean, physically?" John checked the panic in his voice. They were clear across town, at least forty minutes from Bart's. Panic wouldn't do any good.
"The doctors and I have been talking to him, you know, to test his memory and whatnot. Everything seems fine, but he's getting some facts confused." John could practically hear Greg biting his lip as the inspector debated what to say next. "John…I don't think he remembers you."
John had stopped running, then, leaning against his already hailed cab for support. He tried to swallow the bitterness in his mouth. Why did this have to happen now, only a day after the ex-flat-mates had the worst fight of their friendship? Only a day after John had walked in on a gruesome experiment and, strained from work and compressed from domesticity, had uttered the one thing he'd sworn never to say.
The look on Sherlock's face was one he never wished to see again, much less cause.
John snapped back as he heard talking on the other end of the phone. "…and his answers are just off, that's all, and he swears he doesn't know anyone named John. But when I ask him what his name is, he—"
"Alright, alright. We're on our way."
And now, finally, he was here, greeted by a clearly burned out inspector. Greg lit up when he saw the doctor but moved his body in front of the door and put a hand up. "John. Listen, before you see him, we need to talk about his condition."
"Greg, please. I know you've been here all night but I'll deal with the doctors later. Mary will be here in a bit; she can deal with the logistics. Just let me see him. Please."
The man shuffled his weight, opposed but too tired to fight. "Go on, but listen. He's already seen several psychologists, and they say it's best for now we just go along with his created reality. Go easy on him and try not to look too surprised when—"
John had nodded his agreement but was already halfway through the door, rubbing a worn hand through his dry, thinning hair. He took a deep breath behind the blocking wall, composing himself before Sherlock was able to see him. He'd dealt with loads of patients before, medical and psychological. Seeing Sherlock battered up would prove difficult, but it was far from rare.
So he stepped out, purposely putting a bit of spring in his step and holding his head just a tad higher than natural, but the façade soon faded.
A cast on his left arm, a bandage along his forehead, an IV coiled around his shoulder. If possible he looked thinner, maybe even shorter. His frowzy hair desperately needing a wash and, even though his eyes were momentarily glued to the television screen, John thought he noticed more than an ounce of pain hiding behind the dilated pupils. But he'd no time to dwell on the idea. Sherlock soon turned his attention to him and, unknowingly releasing thousands of loads of worry from John's shoulders, smiled. His eyes seemed to say, oh, good, now you're here so everything must be okay. Talking must have been painful, but no matter. He was too excited at John's presence, too relieved, and fervently forced the syllable out with no regret as the very person he'd been dying to see had finally arrived.
So this just sort of...happened. If you think it's worth continuing please shoot me a review, I'd be happy to expand!