Author's Note: This story is a one-off or a tag to an existing episode that I couldn't get out of my mind. This is NOT SLASH. Friendship only between Sherlock and John in this one. Although if you squint or were goggles, you can read it anyway you like.

**An AU tag to the scene in "The Lying Detective", what if John went too far in his anger? And the injury to Sherlock was more than just the damage of the drugs? How would the doctor deal with learning what Sherlock had done to 'save him' and what he had to Sherlock? I was struck by John's reactions as he watched Mary explain her final request to Sherlock.** LOTS OF ANGST IN THIS ONE…

PLEASE REVIEW: This was supposed to only be a couple of chapters and yet the best laid plans and all. This story deals with the aftermath of the morgue beating. I think it was glossed over and I wonder what would have happened if John had gone too far and risked losing Sherlock as a result of his own actions. Cheers!

Disclaimer:Sherlock does not belong to me…such a shame…it is the brainchild of Arthur Conan Doyle and the current iteration belongs to Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss and PBS Masterpiece (although the genius behind the relationship between Sherlock and John is the character interpretation by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman). I am not making any money off this; it is purely for the story monkeys in my head and anyone else that wants to read.

Previous Chapter…

"You know it's true. Had you just let things go, Mary would be alive and she and John would have their perfect life with Rosie."

Every word sliced through Sherlock's heart, emotionally bleeding him out.

"Perhaps it would be kinder if you just let John Watson die?"

The warm puff of air on his neck sent shivers through the taller man. He hadn't realized that James had moved. He felt the tip of the blade slide suggestively along the back of his neck just above the collar of his suit.

"At least that way, John will be back with his beloved Mary and you can get on with killing yourself one needle at a time."

"That was a one time thing. I promised—" he nearly choked on her name. "—Mary."

James laughed cruelly, "Oh, alright then. Explain all the other times they found you off your tits on some concoction?"

Sherlock swallowed thickly. He didn't have an answer for that.

James dragged the knife down pressing it against the base of his neck hard enough that Sherlock winced. He leaned in, "You aren't the strong one, Sherlock." He whispered, "You never were." The tip of the knife slid along his neck coming to rest just above his collarbone. "Is it possible that you've been deceiving yourself about that?"

"I know what I am."

"Do you?"

Sherlock slowly turned so that he was face to face with his own personal demon. The sharp end of the blade was now resting just below his Adam's apple, pressing suggestively into the soft flesh there. "I am a man out of time. I don't fit. Not anywhere."

"Glad you—"

Leaning into the knife he interrupted the vicious words, "The only exception to that is John Watson." His voice hardened into steel and his pale eyes sparked with conviction, "He is my friend. He is my 'only' friend. And for whatever reason he chose to be that, I will not abandon him to a painful lonely death at the hands of some fucked up little man." Sherlock pressed harder into the point, ignoring the flash of pain as it broke the skin and the expected warm wetness soaked into his blue dress shirt.

"Here here!" John's voice interrupted the battle of wills.

Sherlock jerked his head sideways, his mouth falling open in surprise to find his doctor standing casually in the doorway, applauding.

Moriarty groaned in displeasure and faded into the background as the detective stepped toward his friend. John hadn't been present in his mind palace for some time now. Not since their last argument about the lack of care Sherlock showed toward the doctor's books.

"You're here." The inane comment had worked its' past his lips before he thought better of it.

John's ashy eyebrows rose in response, his eyes dancing with humor, "I should think that's quite obvious." He replied, easily stealing Sherlock's patented answer for anything he felt was ridiculous or boring.

A smile twitched at the edges of the taller man's pale lips, "Where have you been?"

John inhaled deeply, "You locked me away, Sherlock. I wasn't allowed to be here." He stepped closer to the gobsmacked detective, "Not until now."

"I don't understand. I didn't—"

"You did." The army doctor said quietly. "I know you don't understand Sherlock. But it doesn't really matter, now does it." It wasn't a question, but a statement and John's tone brooked no arguments.

The doctor's intelligent eyes flicked to the bookcase, "Weren't you looking for something?"

Sherlock gulped back his shock before nodding, suddenly reminded of his task. Turning back toward the bookcase he pulled down the volume he'd been looking for. It was a collection of tabloid articles about Smith.

John chortled when he saw what the book really was. "Trash mags? That's what you were looking for?"

With a huff of indignation Sherlock turned back toward his friend. "John, must I always relate to you the importance of being thorough when gathering facts about a case?"

"Facts? Truly?" Disbelief layered those two words and conveyed his unspoken thoughts on the subject quite clearly.

Narrowing his gray eyes in irritation Sherlock continued, "One must always avail one's self of every resource regardless of the socially acceptable nature of it."

John chuckled good-naturedly.

"Besides, I find that while there is generally very little factual information in the trash mags, there is usually a grain of truth buried within the salacious gossip."

"Can't you just say that you like to read them?"

It was Sherlock's turn to raise an eyebrow, "I do not 'enjoy' them."

"Yeah you do."

"And how would know what I enjoy?" he questioned slowly, rising to the bate John had lain out.

The shorter man stepped forward, placing his hand on Sherlock's arm. "Because I am your 'friend' and I know you better than anyone in this world." All humor had slipped from John's expression. All that remained was the earnest desire that Sherlock believe what he was saying.

A rush of emotions caused Sherlock to drop his eyes from the warmth he read in John's eyes. Before the uncomfortable silence could go on too long, John removed his hand and pointed at the collection, "So what are you hoping to find in there?"

Mentally collecting himself, Sherlock shrugged. "I don't know yet, I haven't read it."

"Then by all means, please continue searching for a way to save me." John replied before seating himself on one of the uncomfortable sofas.

221B 221B

Sherlock was abruptly thrown of out of his own mind when the car rolled to a stop. His head was bursting with both ridiculous observations and gossip that might actually help them take down Culverton once and for all.

He was surprised when his vision shifted from the prefect clarity of his mind palace to the hazy images of his reality. With great effort he buried the disappointment that he still wasn't back to normal.

Normal, if that term can be applied to me at all. He thought bitterly.

Lestrade was already climbing from the vehicle when Sherlock grabbed the handle and pushed. He was unpleasantly surprised to realize that his lock did not disengage. With a frown, he pulled again before turning incredulous eyes on both his rubbish older brother, from whom he expected this kind of betrayal, to his, now, ex-detective friend.

Leaning his head against the window, "Greg, don't do this." He whispered desperately.

To his credit, the detective inspector had the good sense to look conflicted about locking Sherlock in the back of the police cruiser.

"It's for your own good Sherlock." Mycroft said as he came to stand next to the DI. "You can't see and you will only be a liability at this point." He sighed audibly, "I am sorry, brother mine."

Anger raged inside Sherlock's stormy eyes as he glared out at the two men that were benching him. Not for the good of the game, but for his own protection. "Let. Me. Out. Of. Here." His low voice promised painful retribution if he was not obeyed.

Lestrade fidgeted, uncomfortable with Sherlock's threatening tone.

Mycroft shook his head, "No." he answered simply before turning away from the vehicle and striding toward the warehouse. It was a final decree that the younger Holmes knew he couldn't alter. His brother had always been like iron when he'd made his mind up about something and no amount of logic from him was going to change that.

Sherlock screamed in frustration when they disappeared inside a barely visible blurry building in the distance.

-End of Previous Chapter-

Chapter 17

Suicidal Tendencies

John lay in the complete darkness of his prison without twitching a single muscle. It wasn't that he didn't want to move; he did but the whims of his mind were no longer concerned with his traitorous muscles. The biting cold had managed to leech through his skin freezing the previously active electrical impulses; the ones that told his body to shiver. As a result, a strange paralysis had overtaken his body. He was the helpless victim of his traitorous muscles.

A sharp pain lancing thought his shoulder made him want to writhe, and yet the thought of moving was too much for his shocked and numbed mind. At this juncture, the mere act of breathing was excruciating.

John was unpleasantly reminded of Sherlock's unyielding stance that, "breathing is boring". Poncy bastard. The thought of his best friend caused a ripple of humor to run through him. His facial muscles refused to react so he gave up trying.

Regarding his current predicament, the doctor found that he couldn't quite agree with his brilliant friend on the subject of breathing. John was quite sure that breathing was quite necessary to ones continued survival. He would've been pleasantly surprised to have even a moment of respite from the constant burning pain erupting along every nerve each time he managed to breathe.

In an effort to derail his current line of thinking, he again took stock of his prison. The room was silent; so silent it created a noise of its own. It sounded very much like a rushing river. Considering that thought, he found that the rushing blood between his ears sounded like a raging waterfall.

John wanted nothing more than for it to all stop. He was desperately tired and tragically aware of the loneliness that would likely never ease off. With only his thoughts for a companion, he had never felt as truly alone as he did at this moment.

Harry had left him years ago. She'd removed herself from his life despite all that he'd done to keep her safe when they were younger. It still hurt in places he would vehemently deny exist. His own flesh and blood hadn't given a damn about what happened to him and he'd come to believe that he somehow deserved this loneliness.

Mary had left him too. And while she hadn't meant to, the choices that she made during the last year of her life had proven that he wasn't enough.

This abandonment had become an unrelenting pattern in his life. One that he didn't much care for; if he was being completely honest.

Hell, even Sherlock hadn't cared enough to enlighten the good doctor about his supposed suicide. The damn idiot had left John vulnerable to the demons of his past as he sought to secure their future. Bloody posh bastard!

With a bitterness that belied his usually amiable nature, John found himself lumping his best friend into the group of "abandoners". Sherlock hadn't come for him, perhaps John had been wrong to place so much faith in a man that would likely laugh at him for his misplaced belief.

The fact that John was lying alone in an abandoned warehouse because he'd decided to forgive Sherlock's many transgressions; was something of a Greek tragedy. A bubble of hysterical laughter worked through him causing a cascade of mind-numbing agony. When the pain subsided to a manageable level his thoughts returned to his friend.

The former army doctor wasn't sure if his current condition was the result of his own failings or those of the good detective. Truthfully, it didn't really matter.

Many things in his life were unclear, but one thing his years in the military and later his friendship with Sherlock had taught him, John would likely die alone and bloody.

Hell, God only knew if his sociopathic best friend was even capable of caring about that.

Yeah, my life really is a pile of shite…

The part of him that wasn't in distressed pain or mired in deep-seated doubt hoped that he was wrong. The problem was that that part of him was buried so deep under the doubt and self-recrimination that John was no longer aware of it.

He took a shuddering breath, causing the darkness to close in around him. There was nothing left for him to focus on inside the black prison, and John Watson was not a man that should be left with nothing but his memories for company.

The jagged edges of his past were shredding his desire to have a future and he simply didn't have the strength to stop them anymore.

"Hold on John! I am coming. I cannot lose you to the darkness. Please…who will save me when you're gone?" Sherlock's broken whisper penetrated the cycle of self-hated in a way that nothing else could have.

John managed to lift his head, turning it in the direction of his friend's desperate plea. "I'm trying." The harsh rasp that slipped between his chapped bleeding lips was ragged and broken. An unpleasant feeling worked up through his chest forcing him to do the one thing he desperately didn't want to, move.

John's head exploded in blistering pain as he heaved in the crisp cold air and then force his lungs to expel it in hacking coughs. No longer aware of anything but his own pain and the misery of his life, John slipped into blissful black of unconsciousness.

221B 221B

Sherlock pounded on the glass. He was shocked when he learned that not only was the glass bulletproof, but apparently it was also "angry, sociopathic, younger brother Holmes", proof. Fucking hell! He thought as a haze of red descended. Something more than anger consumed him as he stared at the unrelenting material. No matter how hard he drilled his fists into the cold unmovable barrier between himself and the outside world, it would not break.

It felt like a metaphor for his life. Since he'd been young he'd been doomed to watch the world, but never be truly in touch with it. John had changed that…

Raging emotions swirled inside him threatening to shatter what little sanity he'd managed to reclaim. He'd had a plan. He had devised a way to save John. At least he thought he'd done that; and now he'd never know, and all because his shoddy older brother didn't trust him to 'stay alive'?

Right bloody git! I had a plan Mycroft. Dammit!

And then there was Lestrade to consider. He and the Sherlock's so-called big brother had thrown his help away, like he offered nothing of value. A part of him wondered if this was what his life would be like now? Would he be sat in the corner like a petulant child when others were unable to cope with his new blurry reality?

If his eyesight never fully returned, would everyone around him sideline his attempts to help at every opportunity? In order to protect him, would they stick him in a 'padded room' for his own safety? A ribbon of cold fear wrapped around his heart and Sherlock knew what they didn't; he wouldn't survive something like that.

Hell, would I even want to? And what about John? Other than me, who is protecting him? And Rosie?! Some time ago, Sherlock wasn't even sure when, he'd been shocked to learn that he considered his friend's future irrevocably tied to his own. There would be no future for Sherlock Holmes without a John Watson; there couldn't be.

How could they ever think that he would simply accept any of this? How could they believe that he could or would be able to live with it?

Another scream of impotent rage ripped itself from his throat in a painfully audible display of his acute misery.

Without thinking he rammed his already bruised knuckles into the glass again, desperation had deleted all of his higher cognitive functions. Pain radiated outward as the skin split open and the unmistakable smell of blood filled the back seat of the car. The droplets ran along his knuckles landing with a distinct "plop" on the leather of Lestrade's back seat. Ignoring the pain he glanced up, there was now a distinctly blurry smudge of red marring his view of the outside world; he bloody well hated it.

"Calm down Sherlock. You can't help me if you can't use that overly active brain of yours." John's soft admonition cut through his madness giving the ground he needed to refocus his attention.

Spinning his dark head toward the empty space beside him Sherlock felt his anger drain away at the heart-stopping and very tangible lack of the one and only John Watson. The man that should always be sitting at Sherlock's side was conspicuously absent.

Shaking his head, Sherlock thrust his hands up; combing long fingers through unruly dark hair with a complete disregard to the fact that they were covered in blood.

Hauling in a desperate breath he attempted to get control of his errant emotions. The younger Holmes had always prided himself on his methodical and logical approach to any and all problems. The solution was always out there, one simply had to look.

Currently his ability to do that had been overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of these unwanted and uncontrollable emotions. The disturbing feelings and emotional responses had broken loose of their metaphorical prison and now the damn things refused every attempt to shove them back into the bottle.

John's soft words did what they always managed to do, they slowed down the speed of Sherlock's incredibly fast mind and allowed the consulting detective to focus. A sense of calm settled over him, it was totally incongruous with the situation he now found himself in, but it was there none-the-less.

Pulling in a slow breath Sherlock forced his brain to work for him instead of against him.

A slow smile worked across his generous lips as he realized something a toddler should have known. Reaching inside his Belstaff Sherlock pulled out a simple coin and placed the rough edge against the smooth glass of the window. With a self-satisfied smirk he pulled the coin toward himself scoring the pane with a long five-inch scratch.

Placing the coin back inside his pocket, he swallowed and steeled his nerves for the pain he was about to inflict upon himself. He ran his fingers over the scratch to ensure that he knew exactly where it was before drawing his fist back in preparation. He glanced at the roof of the police cruiser, nodded once, and sent his knuckles careening toward the etched glass.

The sudden sound of shattering material sent a thrill of success coursing through him even as the pain popped along his knuckles resulting in a "boxer's fracture". But to his delight his hand was suddenly outside the car. With a smile of success, one he always wore when he was right, Sherlock reached out with his left hand and lifted the handle from the outside, the door swung open easily.

Climbing out into the waning sunlight, Sherlock shivered at the brisk chill in the air. He was surprised when his brain threw an image of a shivering and slightly blue John at him. Stumbling under the weight of the unexpected emotions now racing through him, Sherlock steadied himself against the police cruiser.

He'd never realized just how important the doctor had become, not until John had removed himself from Sherlock's world. Even now the detective found that he was humbled by the fact that he could claim John Watson as "a friend". No, not just a 'friend', but my 'best friend'. Why the other man had seen fit to reach out and pull Sherlock back from his own madness defied comprehension. And yet, John had done exactly that.

Swallowing the gnawing shards of fear he glanced into the distance. The fact that he might be too late to save John, as he'd done for Sherlock, cut into the thin man as no knife could have. Thinning his lips, he 'popped' the collar of his Belstaff and shuffled toward the distant building, one that, he was certain imprisoned John.

221B 221B

Mycroft followed behind the Scotland Yard Inspector with jarring steps, his attention shifting with every unknown sound; a bit like a nervous deer. While he was fearless from the interior of his concrete offices, Mycroft was too smart not to understood just how vulnerable they were at the moment. His heart was hammering inside his chest and his thoughts were flitting to his, no doubt, enraged younger brother.

It would be a very long time before Sherlock forgave him for what he'd just done.

He tamped down the thought that his brother was notoriously unpredictable where John Watson was concerned and that there was no way to know if he and Lestrade would ever be forgiven for their actions at the car.

A moldy wet smell assaulted his senses causing him to wrinkle his nose in disgust just before they took another set of stairs; stone steps that were leading them further from the fresh outside air. Neither he nor the D.I. had said anything once they'd walked away from the enraged threats Sherlock had bellowed at them, in no less than four languages.

He really is a genius. Calling his drug sensitive little brother a genius was in no way a concession on Mycroft's part. Sherlock was a certifiable genius. He was also a certifiable idiot.

His little brother had told Mycroft that when John had first met him the doctor had called the consulting detective out on his little jaunt with the serial killing cabbie. When Sherlock had referred to himself as 'brilliant' for his game with the man, John had simply told Sherlock he was 'an idiot'. It was that exact moment that the tenuous friendship had solidified into something more tangible. And that had been the moment when Mycroft knew that John Watson's life would be forfeited at some point because of his friendship with Sherlock.

Shaking off the oppressive thoughts, the man that knew the inner workings of the entire British Government returned his attention to the task at hand. Rescue John Watson. Protect Sherlock from the psychopathic billionaire that is desperate to see him dead and buried, and finally take a long hot bath.

Lestrade stumbled to a stop causing Mycroft to slam into his back. He swore softly and glared down at the police officer in irritation. Glancing over his shoulder the detective inspector placed a gloved finger against his lips, jerking his head toward the left.

The taller Holmes leaned forward just enough to see what had caught the police officer's attention. Just ahead of them the bouncing light of a torch was steadily growing. The two men plastered themselves against the inner wall willing the darkness to hide their presence.

"Is he dead?" The accent was indeterminable, but the meaning was crystal clear.

Mycroft's eyes jerked over to meet the wide concerned gaze of the D.I. Lestrade shook his head. Both them were silently praying that these men hadn't managed to kill the compact little Army doctor.

"If not, he'll wish he were soon enough." This time they both recognized Culverton's tin-like tone. A snort of laughter worked along the hallway, landing on the would-be rescuers like a ton of bricks.

The light shifted as the men turned down an unseen corridor, their voices fading into the distance as the light finally disappeared.

Lestrade took a halting breath before slowly peeling himself away from the damp wall. Swiping a hand through his greying hair he turned a pointed look at the older Holmes. Still unsure whether or not they were alone he lifted his hands in a "what now" gesture.

Mycroft's eyes narrowed, his head swung in the direction the two men had come from and he pointed into the darkness. It was clear that he wanted to search that area for the doctor. The officer nodded once and began moving down the corridor, his left hand slid along the wall in order to keep his bearings. He moved silently and with a purpose, which the elder Holmes greater appreciated. He didn't want to spend any more time in the dilapidated warehouse than strictly necessary.

The arrival of Culverton and his man meant that they couldn't risk turning on their torches again; they'd have to proceed forward in relative darkness.

221B 221B

John curled in on himself as every nerve fired off when he was unable to control a cough, an agonizing cacophony of pain swirled through him leaving nothing untouched. He willed his body to move when he heard a door open, yet they did nothing. He begged his tired limbs to fight when hands he couldn't see held him down and injected a burning liquid into his system, again there was nothing left. And finally, he prayed he'd be lucky enough that whatever they'd just given him would simply kill him. He was so tired. Life had worn away at his will and he would have been happy to have it all end.

John Watson had never been a lucky man.

Every cell in his body was now alive and burning away at his nervous system in a coordinated attack. A pained moan slipped past his lips and he coughed violently when a spasm ran along the entire length of his body erupting in flashes white stabbing light inside his head. Slamming his eyelids shut he wished for death…

He didn't know how much more he could take. The human body wasn't meant to withstand this kind of abuse. During his time as a military doctor he'd seen the tattered emotional and physical remains of more than one soldier.

However, there was only one that stood out as truly horrifying, a young medic that had been taken by the enemy during a botched mission. The soldier had been kept prisoner for more than six weeks before his unit managed to locate and extricate him. They'd rushed the barely breathing man to John's emergency room before taking up residence in the tiny waiting area, for the next 48 hours they waited to see if their teammate would live.

He did, for a time.

John remembered the young soldier with vivid clarity because he'd never seen a human body so badly damaged. At least not one that still had a pulse.

Over the next two days John barely slept as he struggled to save the medic's life. The varying multitude of catastrophic injuries had forced the doctor to call upon every skillset that he had learned over his last seven years as a field surgeon. He'd even had to learn some new ones.

This young soldier was truly a mess. He'd been tortured using archaic means, ones that had no place in a world that claimed to be civilized. The skin had been filet off his left leg from his hip to just below the knee. A sharp object had then been inserted beneath the kneecap at several points damaging, and in some cases shredding, the tendons and ligaments. The soldier was so thin that he was barely more than a skeleton with skin stretched over it. Sores had developed all over his body and been left for so long that they were now severely infected; so sepsis had been a very real concern. To make matters worse, the bones of his face been broken and allowed to heal at odd angles, several times. All of this was tangible evidence of the horrors of his numerous torture sessions.

And yet peeking out between the swollen, discolored flesh had been the bright green eye of a terrified child barely out of his teens. It had torn at John's heart that he couldn't erase the awful memories of this young man's incarceration. While he could heal the body, the mind was a different animal all-together and not one he was skilled at dealing with.

In the end it hadn't been the terrible injuries that had stolen the young man's future; it had been his mind. Unable to escape either the pain or the mental trauma, the soldier had taken his own life.

John hadn't understood how someone that had survived something so horrific and then endured months of physical therapy and countless surgeries, could give up so completely.

He understood now. Pain could be tolerated, but trauma to the mind was different.

When Sherlock had died, he cringed internally at the memories this line of thinking pulled to the surface, John had barely held on. He'd been so completely alone until he'd met the self-proclaimed sociopath that he'd considered 'ending it all'. The tall irritating young man had given him something to hone in on, someone to save. Sherlock Holmes had given John a purpose and he'd clung to that knowledge with a desperation that still clouded his judgment.

But in the end he hadn't managed to save Sherlock Holmes. He'd fallen victim to his own games and been forced to leave the playing field before he'd been ready. Or at least that's what John had thought for close to three years. That failure had eaten away at him every single day, slowly eroding his desire to 'soldier on'.

Once again John had found himself staring at that damned pistol with a longing need to place the end in his mouth and see if there really was an afterlife. Perhaps if he were lucky, he and Sherlock would be relegated to the same fluffy cloud…or molten rock, whichever place they were sent to. He had his own opinions on which one he was likely to see.

But then Mary Morstan had happened. She'd been like feeling the sun after two years of desolate cold darkness and he'd clung to that with a desperate need that had surprised even him.

John wasn't a stranger to relationships with the fairer sex, he'd been in lust before, but he'd never been in love, not until Mary. She managed to fill the jagged cracks in his tattered soul. It hadn't been perfect; they hadn't been perfect.

Sherlock's absence had been blatantly obvious every single day, but it was so much better than eating a bullet. Because as a man of science he really didn't subscribe to the idea of heaven or hell, although he certainly hoped that he wouldn't spend eternity staring at the top of his very plain coffin.

His thoughts drifted back to the day he found the soldier. The day after he'd chosen to end his life. John would never be free of those images. Even now, more than ten years later, he was haunted by the bloody truth of that man's decision. It had been those images that stayed his own hand on more than one occasion before and after Sherlock's death.

From somewhere beyond the grave he could hear Sherlock's rick baritone, "Your life it not your own. Your death is something that happens to every one else." While he would never fully understand why his friend would say this, especially when he'd committed suicide, it had paused John's suicidal thoughts.

The doctor chose not to delve too deeply into the fact that he had not felt the same suicidal compunctions following Mary's death. Oh he'd been angry all right. More than angry, he'd been enraged that Sherlock's inability to leave a puzzle unsolved had cost his beloved wife her future, but John hadn't been ready to taste gunpowder over it. Maybe that was because of Rosie or maybe he'd simply grown up during the last five years, he didn't know for sure. What he did know was that as devastated as he was over his wife's death, he knew he would find a way to soldier on. He hadn't been able to do that after Sherlock.

Something flickered near him and he shifted his eyes toward it. Staring for several seconds, he began to wonder if he'd imagined it when nothing happened. As his eyelids started to fall closed again a shaft of light pierced the small void between the dirt floor and what had to be the door. Oh God. Go away, please go away. I can't take anymore. Panic seized his heart at the thought of what his captors might have in store for him now.

The pounding beat of his heart sent the blood racing though his system. The medical doctor in him considered the poison that had been injected into him, but the broken man inside didn't care about any of that. He was terrified and pain and drugs clouded his thinking.

A sudden burst of fire exploded inside his chest forcing a wail of pain that caused pulsing white lights to nearly blind him. He thought he heard something as he was thrust into the waiting darkness, but he couldn't be sure.

221B 221B

Sherlock reached out with his left hand, just before he touched the cold metal handle he paused. What if John was already dead? What if he was too late? Calling upon every meditation technique he'd ever studied, the detective placed trembling fingers on the handle. He'd been intent on carefully opening the door and slipping silently into the room when a tortured moan erased all thoughts of stealthy advance from him. Ignoring the object protruding just beneath his hand, he pressed down; nothing happened. His brain supplied a critical piece of information; beneath his hand was a key. Nearly roaring his frustration when the door didn't immediately open, he managed to use his broken fingers to twist the long cold key just beneath the handle.

A "click" alerted him of his success. The creaky door began to swing inward…

TBC…

Author's NoteOkay, so the actual rescue will happen in the next chapter. Culverton still has his 'comeuppance' looming and Sherlock's knowledge will bring down the tottering bastard. Mycroft and Lestrade? Where are they you might ask? Well, you'll have to read the next chapter to find out just what happened to them and why Sherlock managed to find John and they didn't.

Reviews?: If you have a moment, please let me know if anyone is still following this?