All three of Sherlock's companions had missed it, for the moment, the stair case leading down. It didn't really surprise Sherlock. With the crowds and the building design, unless the space was completely devoid of human traffic it was easy to miss the stairs going down a level. They had walked through a couple of staff only doors and Sherlock found himself in a room, a room occupied by five other men.
'So, you did have more of an army on the outside,' Sherlock observed.
'This is my legal team,' Larry gestured.
'You hire them from thugs-r-us?' Sherlock asked, but Larry ignored him.
'It's good to see you looking so well, so quickly, I shouldn't really be so surprised,' Larry observed casually.
'Wasn't part of your plan though, was it? You said so yourself, you wanted to destroy me,' he said with an air of arrogance.
'That is true, in part,' Larry agreed. 'But I'm a free man, and you lost, Sherlock, your genius plan failed, I'd even say your reputation is tarnished,' he grinned. 'You don't like it when you're beaten, I remember that.'
'So, you do have the capacity to learn.' Sherlock returned glibly. 'And this is the first time you've beaten me in that sense,' he added.
'OK, enough,' one of the supposed legal team spoke up, the eldest looking of the group. 'Mr Larson why have you brought this man to our chambers? This is highly unorthodox.'
'I was just curious to see how far I'd get with his people supposedly watching his back, and clearly failing to,' Larry laughed. 'You'd think they'd have better protection for him, considering.'
'Maybe you should consider the notion that I wanted you to lose them, so we could have this chat?' Sherlock offered, and that got Larry attention.
'Don't claim you orchestrated that.' Larry dismissed loudly.
'I knew your chambers were down here, I do my research,' Sherlock offered calmly. 'It's close to the exit for the jail where you really should be heading,' Sherlock added. 'I was also confident that if I asked if we could talk, you'd not pass that up.'
'So, you're saying you're in control here?' Larry approached Sherlock.
Sherlock fought his sudden anxiety that was growing inside, the childhood hangover that annoyingly still existed when he was in Larry company. 'I'm saying I wanted to talk.'
'About what?' Larry asked confused, stood just a couple of feet away from Sherlock now.
'My apology,' he paused. 'To you.'
'You? Apologise to me?' Larry showed his doubt.
'No, you're right, that would be crazy,' Sherlock returned with a smile. 'But I'm happy to wait for your apology to me.'
Larry laughed loudly at the suggestion, and his men joined in until the room was just one loud sound of laughter. It finally went quiet again, as Sherlock patiently waited to speak again. 'Don't you think I deserve one, you have almost killed me three times I think, possibly four?'
'That cast on your arm,' Larry observed. 'Did Anthony do that?'
'Yes,' Sherlock answered.
'Good,' Larry simply responded, before he quickened his pace and before Sherlock could respond Larry held a strong grip around his throat and he was pushed back into the wall behind him. 'Don't you even dare, Sherlock, don't even dare mock me.'
Sherlock could barely breath and the intense pain around his neck was growing, Larry was still the hulk, he concluded, as he tried to pull the hold away. He felt the sound of his heart beating inside his head as the pressure grew. He was still at half capacity at best, and with his injured arm it wasn't so easy to push him away.
'Boss, probably not a good idea to kill your accuser in the actual courthouse,' one of the thugs warned, probably the smart one Sherlock considered as he tried to desperately draw a breath of any kind but there was no air available to draw at.
Larry reluctantly let go, and Sherlock involuntarily fell to the floor in a heap, gasping for air and coughing as he tried to recover.
'You'll live to regret not killing me when you had the chance,' Sherlock croaked, as he breathed deeply to regain his composure. 'You have no idea what's coming,' he grinned as he got to his feet, staggering a bit, as he used the wall to support him. 'That's what I wanted to tell you,' he said calmly, and reached for the door. 'It's why I wanted this talk, it's been fun,' he concluded and exited.
'That's makes no sense, you can't do anything to me, Holmes!' Larry yelled, and made to follow Sherlock.
'Leave him be, haven't you lost enough because of that man, come on, boss,' the smart thug complained.
'You!' Larry yelled. 'Shut up, I'm going to sort this once and for all,' he declared and ignored what the guy said as he left, he'd deal with that later, for now he only had Sherlock on his mind.
Sherlock had just about regained his breath, rubbing his neck to ease the pain, as he casually began to walk up the steps leading back up to the main entrance hall of the court house. He saw Gregson, Watson and Bell stood at the top, clearly concerned about his whereabouts. He got their attention and waved, as if nothing was unusual, and noticed with a small smile that the crowds had once again started to gather within the public space. Sherlock figured this was down to the high-profile media case he had read about that was due to start that afternoon. The press were not there for Larry, he had just taken advantage of their presence to appease his own ego, which amused Sherlock.
He had made it two-thirds up the steps and could sense he was about to get some strong words from Watson, when he saw the change in her expression from hard to concerned, a fraction of a second later he felt the hand on his shoulder and before he knew it Larry had hold of the front of his shirt and was almost touching his nose with his own.
'What did you mean?' he growled.
'I was messing, mocking you,' Sherlock calmly pushed the bully's buttons with joy. 'I do realise you asked me not to, but it was too easy.'
'No, it meant something, tell me, Holmes!' he raised his voice but didn't seem to notice the crowd above fall silent, only Sherlock saw that they had their attention. He knew they were watching a crazy man yelling at a seemingly calm but confused, possibly terrified looking man, Sherlock wanted to put on his best performance for this.
Sherlock just raised his eyebrows and said nothing, Larry shook him roughly and then he sensed movement, seeing flashes of cops now descending the stairs to control the situation, it was now or never, Sherlock thought.
'I really just wanted to call you Pee-Boy one last time,' he said straight faced, and that seemed to trigger the moment Sherlock had hoped for. He felt the crack of the fist connecting with his jaw and cheek, the hard shove on his chest and then that sensation he'd felt as a boy as he fell, the rolling and bumping felt the same, the steps were harder with no carpet which was proving a little more painful but as quickly as it started it ended, as he slumped at the bottom. He looked up, pained, but happy to see Larry being arrested, happy to see more than a hundred witnesses, happy to not have been killed by the fall, he settled his head on the cold stone floor and closed his eyes, at least he hoped he wasn't dying, he thought as unconsciousness overcame him, he didn't want to miss seeing Larry being locked up once and for all.
Sherlock was on his back, which felt chilled, there were echoing noises all around him and he deduced he was still in the stone environment of the courthouse, as his hearing and senses slowly came back to him. He kept his eyes closed for a moment, self-evaluating his pains. He was sore, his jaw and cheek stung, he felt bumps and sensed blood was present around his face, which didn't surprise him. What did surprise him was that he could feel all his limbs and they didn't seem to be damaged bar his already fractured wrist. He probably would need a new cast on his wrist, it felt a bit looser than he remembered, but unlike last time, on the carpeted stairs, he seemed to have survived better. That was worthy of an investigation, he considered and decided it was time to open his eyes, blinking against the sudden light that engulfed him momentarily, as they adjusted to the surroundings.
'Sherlock,' Joan spoke calmly, which surprised him. 'It's ok, you're safe now, you're ok,' she assured him.
Ah yes, she had been convinced by the play, he realised. Now the dilemma of whether he would ever admit to Watson about how he set Larry up to purposely try to kill him, in order to get the thug arrested, with no doubts to his own motives. He decided it was best left to worry about at another time, or not at all, he'd think about it when his head was less painful.
'Watson, where is,' he stammered for effect.
'He's not here, he's been arrested, it's over, Sherlock,' Watson reassured him.
'Good,' Sherlock allowed the EMPs to lift him safely onto the trolly, he was now at a better height to look at Watson, and he momentarily felt guilty on seeing the concern and worry in her expression. 'I'm ok, Watson,' Sherlock croaked, and Joan move his shirt and saw the bruises around his neck from the earlier attempted strangulation.
'Marcus, the camera, get pictures of these bruises, look he obviously tried to strangle him as well, Sherlock can't talk clearly,' she stressed, and Sherlock simply lay still as pictures were taken with Joan fussing about making sure his shirt collar was out of the way.
'Shouldn't I be in a neck brace?' Sherlock then questioned.
'You've already got to your feet two times, your back and neck are ok, but you have a concussion which is why you woke up on your back again,' Watson explained in her doctor voice.
'I did?' Sherlock had no memory of getting up, which concerned him.
'It'll be ok, just keep talking, you can't lose consciousness again, understand? You must stay awake until they've determined the damage to your head,' Watson warned.
With those words Sherlock could think of nothing else but falling asleep and he battled until he couldn't hold on any longer, and as they put him in the ambulance the world descended into darkness once again.
It had been a couple of days since the courthouse drama and Sherlock was sat at the dining table tucking into some breakfast. Joan was on the phone as he quietly ate his food, but he was also listening in to her conversation with Captain Gregson. It seemed in a development that took Sherlock by surprise that Larson had in fact bribed or threatened the judge it seemed, so Larry was certainly facing the prospect of life behind bars.
Sherlock finished his breakfast and closed his eyes. Light was still irritating him after his head injury, but he was already feeling much more himself, as he contemplated his day. He needed to see Steven and Colin, and reassure them about their living arrangements, and begin the process of getting the building all fixed up. He felt he needed a distraction as he recovered from his recent ordeals, and the doctor had told him to try and avoid stressful situations for a few weeks, so that seemed an ideal way to pass the time. He smirked to himself, he'd last four hours maximum he figured but he'd give it a shot before passing it off onto someone more suitable to project manage the renovation.
Sherlock snapped his eyes open and glanced at Joan who had taken a seat at the table. 'Good news I hear?' he asked.
'Yeah, you heard most of it no doubt, but fact of the matter is our work has become a lot easier,' Joan smiled.
'Good,' Sherlock concurred. 'We got the result we were after, albeit via a different route to our original intentions.'
'We did,' Watson agreed, but paused before speaking again. 'If Larry hadn't gone crazy and thrown you down those steps he'd probably be a free man now, they wouldn't have dug deeper about his case.'
'I imagine that is true,' Sherlock agreed, but he had a sense of dread building inside of him and he naturally locked down his emotions to show no further reaction.
'What did you say to him?'
'Say to who?' Sherlock remained starring ahead.
'You goaded him to attack you, don't deny it,' Watson challenged. 'I saw you say something and next thing he punched you and threw you down the steps, leading to his arrest,' Joan recounted.
'I really shouldn't be thinking about the trauma, Joan, you heard what my doctor told me,' he warned.
Joan took a deep breath. 'Just don't ever do anything like that again, understand? He could have killed you, it was too much of a risk and don't tell me you'd calculated it to the nearest inch, he nearly did kill you, Sherlock,' Joan was clearly fuming, and it was clear she'd been holding that in since the incident.
'What?' Joan looked puzzled.
'That's what I said, I called him Pee-boy,' Sherlock calmly answered, figuring he had nothing to lose in admitting it to Joan, and meant he no longer had to watch what he said going forward.
'He nearly killed you, he lost all control because you said Pee-boy?' Joan questioned.
'It was the nickname we called him at school, he hated it, it was his trigger point,' Sherlock explained. 'There was this one time he got yelled at by the head teacher, he'd been playing up in assembly and he was stood there, in front of all of us, and he wet his pants,' Sherlock shrugged.
'And you're telling me a grown man reacted like he did because you reminded him of his old nick-name from school?' Joan sighed.
'He's very sensitive,' Sherlock still hadn't made eye contact with Joan as he confessed.
'Why, Sherlock?' Joan then questioned. 'Why did you let him hurt you?'
'Once the idea was in my head I couldn't shake it, and to involve stairs again in his literal downfall was too much for me to ignore,' Sherlock finally looked at Watson. 'In hindsight I'm sure we would have uncovered the bribes,' he accepted. 'How did you work it out, that I'd set him up?'
'Well I only suspected when I remembered seeing you saying something to him, but it was the bruises round your neck that convinced me more had happened,' Joan admitted. 'I told Marcus to delete the photos, it raised a contradiction to your plan, so I said I recalled you had those bruises after the thing with Anthony.'
'You lied,' Sherlock frowned. 'But you're right, it would have raised questions.'
'So, what happened, you came up those stairs without a care in the world, that was an act right?'
'I knew Larry wasn't far behind,' Sherlock admitted. 'And I knew a lot of press and potential witnesses would be at the top of those stairs, I'd looked at the cases being tried that day just in case and so when the case was dismissed, I had to think quickly.'
'You couldn't have known Larry would speak to the press,' Joan questioned.
'No, I was expecting a confrontation in the street, I would have improvised as I did when I realised he was still in the courthouse,' Sherlock shrugged. 'It didn't go completely to plan, I know he's crazy but even I didn't think he'd attempt to kill me in the actual courthouse.'
'It was a dangerous stunt to let him throw you down those stairs,' Joan stressed.
'No, I mean before that, the bruises around my neck,' Sherlock reminded her. 'He took me by surprise and I nearly paid for it with my life, but I knew the minute he released me that he would live to regret it, I even told him so,' he smiled proudly. 'There was no going back after that, I knew what I had to do.'
'Well, for the record, Sherlock, you are not allowed to get hurt, not even a paper cut for at least six months, preferably a year, your quota is full for the next twelve months, ok?' Watson ordered as she stood up. 'And you can do the dishes, as punishment.' She ordered.
Sherlock stared blankly at the dishes, knowing Watson would never understand his more impulsive side, and watched her leave the room. He contemplated his next move for a couple of minutes, and decided it was probably a good idea to do the dishes.
'You're kidding me?'
'I never kid,' Sherlock confirmed, and pulled out the documentation to hand to Colin. 'You can look after these, as far as I'm concerned this is your place now, I'll just oversee anything that needs my attention going forward, but you are the day to day person.'
'You just brought this entire building?' Colin checked again, even with the proof in his hands.
'I brought the entire plot, and I have funds available for you to make any changes and renovations you require,' he paused. 'Within reason,' he added. 'The building is still structurally sound, I had it surveyed a few days ago, those suits that came to nosey around.'
'Yeah I remember them, first I heard that we might have to move on,' Colin remembered.
'I would have given you some warning, but I had a few things going on lately, the courthouse,' Sherlock offered with a wave of his hand.
'I heard, I'm glad you're back on your feet but It's cool, I mean, wow,' Colin took a deep breath and Sherlock noticed his hands were shaking.
'I really do appreciate the help you gave me, both you and Steven, and I realised that I could give you something back,' Sherlock explained.
Colin patted Sherlock on the back in a show of gratefulness, knowing he wasn't into hugs. 'Sherlock, we are always taking the strays in, we just don't always get such a show of appreciate I mean you've set us up for life now, you do realise that?' he checked and saw Sherlock remain passive to his praise. 'I can make this a proper sanctuary now, a very real place for people to come to rather than just make the best of.'
'I'm an addict Colin, you know that, and that wasn't my first brush with drugs,' Sherlock began, and Colin gestured to him to sit down. 'But for the first time I lost control to the drugs, my own sense of control at least,' he added once he sat down. 'The time before when my father intervened, yes, I was in a very bad place and I have very little memory of it, but even then, I still felt in control, on that occasion I had my own good reasons to let go and lose myself to the addiction, I was encouraging it,' he stated and briefly saw an image of Irene in his memories, but he quickly shook her away. 'And the fact I was able to bounce back in the time I did, that demonstrated to me that I had some control over proceedings regardless of my behaviour,' He stressed and clenched his hands together. 'I just needed that jolt, someone to tell me I had to come back, but this time,' Sherlock paused, closing his eyes tight. 'This time was different.'
'We knew,' Colin simply replied quietly. 'We didn't know you from Adam, but it was Steven who realised it first, he'd seen your altercation with that other chap, so he knew something wasn't right, but we soon figured out that your need wasn't so much a need for the drug, but a need to not have it,' he explained. 'It's why we didn't enable, because we could have and maybe would have,' Colin stated. 'You were in pain, you were maybe too far gone for immediate cold turkey,' Colin shrugged. 'Normally we'd gradually reduce the intake, make it easier, or substitute it, but there was something different about you.'
'I was scared,' Sherlock simply said, with no emotion visible.
'I think maybe that was it,' Colin considered. 'It was certainly not a reaction I've ever seen in an addict before, and now I know the circumstances I can understand why, it wasn't your choice this time.'
'But that last hit, before Steven found me, I had asked, begged even,' Sherlock remembered and rubbed his face as if to rid himself of the memory. 'I think I may know what a breakdown is like now, I think,' he took a considered breath. 'I think that's why I was as bad as I was.'
'You should talk to someone,' Colin recommended.
'I'm talking to you,' Sherlock gestured.
'Someone more qualified, you have some fresh demons that need eliminating,' Colin warned.
Sherlock stood up and composed himself quickly. 'I'm good,' he stated. 'You and Steven helped me, you've already made me realise what was what.'
'Talking of Steven, he's upstairs, I'm sure he'd love to hear the news that we don't have to move,' Colin smiled, knowing to change the topic. Addicts rarely ever wanted to discuss the talking thing, and Sherlock was no different on that front.
'Yes, I should see him,' Sherlock seemed hesitant.
'He's the same guy you knew before,' Colin spoke up, sensing the hesitancy. 'I should have told you he still used, I'm guessing Joan told you, but his recovery is more long term, with his other conditions we can't use the same tactics we used on you. It's under control and he's got me keeping an eye on him.'
'That's good,' Sherlock said with a genuine air.
'He's been a little funny since his ordeal, and with the news about this building so I'm sure the funk he's been in will lighten once he knows who our guardian angel is,' Colin grinned and watched as Sherlock made his way up the stairs.
A few seconds after Sherlock left Watson walked into the room, she had been giving Sherlock some space as he'd requested by getting the measurements of the outdoor space to see what options they could have out there.
'Hey,' Watson greeted. 'Where's Sherlock?'
'He's just gone up to see Steven, he shouldn't be long.'
'Is that wise?' Watson checked. 'I thought you said he was a bit down due to the situation with this building.'
'So, Sherlock informing him that there's nothing to worry about should perk him up, right?' Colin smiled and then frowned. 'Yes, he is a user, but Sherlock has nothing to worry about, Steven is a good kid.'
'I know, I just naturally worry whenever you add Sherlock to the equation,' Joan returned.
'You're saying I should be worried about Steven?' Colin checked, with a mocking tone.
Joan just shook her head before answering her phone that just started to ring.
'Steven?' Sherlock quietly spoke as he entered the room where he figured Steven would be. There was no answer, so he stepped in and immediately saw the sight of a young man, not Steven, lying on the floor with a ridiculous grin across his face. The top of his arm had a tourniquet in situ, veins still bulging, and a needle placed close by, discarded with no care or attention.
Sherlock froze and felt his heart increase its beating speed. His eyes were transfixed on the prone form, he knew every detail of what the boy was experiencing, and he hated that he also felt jealousy. To experience just a small part of what the young man was going through, after everything he'd had to deal with in the past few weeks, was a huge temptation.
'That's David,' Steven's voice crashed through his thoughts and Sherlock spun round to see the young man he had actually been expecting to see.
'Steven, hi,' Sherlock flustered slightly.
'I didn't know you were coming today, if I'd have known,' Steven paused for a second, and that was all Sherlock needed to see to know that he too was under the influence, just further down the line than his friend David. Instead of finishing his sentence he simply laughed and fully embraced Sherlock in a hug.
Sherlock attempted to not appear too uncomfortable, allowing Steven to basically drape himself over him for a moment before Sherlock gently encouraged him to step back.
'Did you hear I'm going to be homeless, homeless!' he stressed. 'I can't deal with this, this is the only home I've known, it's my place, I need this place,' he continued, clearly not thinking too straight.
'It's going to be ok, Steven, I've brought the property, I'm not going to make you homeless, this is your home for as long as you want it to be,' Sherlock announced with care, willing the boy to understand his words in his current state.
'You?' Steven looked directly at Sherlock, processing the news but he only managed the one word, he then grabbed Sherlock's biceps and pushed him back against the wall, Sherlock let him, he wasn't surprised, he already knew Steven was strong. 'You bought this place?'
'Yes,' Sherlock stated. 'Colin's in charge of it now, we're going to do it up, renovate it,' he added, thinking going into too much detail right now was a waste of time considering Steven's lucid state.
Still holding Sherlock against the wall, Steven began to laugh, and Sherlock could see the boy was processing the information, and then became concerned that it was maybe a bit too much information in his current state.
'Come on, let's go and see Colin and he can confirm,' Sherlock encouraged Steven to back off, but Steven's wasn't taking the hint.
'We should celebrate!' Steven then declared loudly, and the more he saw the more Sherlock realised this was not Steven, this was the drugs talking. 'Let's celebrate!' Steven produced a couple of prepared syringes from his jacket. 'I was saving these for me and David but now you're here,' he slurred slightly as he held the two syringes up close to Sherlock.
Sherlock was frozen in place now, his eyes fixed on the syringes and his breathing increasing. 'No, Steven, please don't do this.'
'Come on, it'll be fun, me and you getting high together,' Steven wasn't in control, and Sherlock forcedly pushed him away. He put some distance between them, but the door was where Steven was now stood. 'Sherlock?' Steven looked hurt.
'I don't do that stuff remember?' Sherlock reminded him, speaking slowly so he was understood, and for a moment he saw a flash of doubt across Steven's expression. 'I'm going to go downstairs now, Steven, let you do whatever it is you want to do to celebrate.'
'You won't join me? We're friends,' Steven held out the drugs in his palm, as he walked closer to the detective.
He could easily leave the room, he could just as easily overpower Steven, but Sherlock was frozen in place. He couldn't move, despite his brain screaming at him to do so. This wasn't Steven's fault, he was too far gone to really understand the situation in that moment, and no doubt when he did eventually come down from this high he'd be horrified by his current actions, but fact remained, Sherlock was not making any attempt to get away.
Sherlock closed his eyes, he felt the sensation of his head spinning and reached out to steady himself. He could see Larson, he could hear Larson and he felt helpless, everything was out of his control, he felt hands on him, his coat was being removed. He couldn't move, he couldn't stop them, and he didn't understand why, he was struggling to breathe, and the panic was rapidly rising within him, he staggered, nearly losing his balance but he didn't fall down, he couldn't open his eyes through fear of what he would see. He started to try and force his brain to think of anything else, something good, something that would rid him of these nightmares.
He had to regain control of his senses, but he couldn't do it, something was wrong his heart was pounding, and he was that little kid again. He suddenly couldn't remember what was happening, and then with a gasp, everything went black.
'What was that?' Watson immediately reacted to the sound of a dull thud above them.
Colin didn't waste any time and darted up the stairs, Joan was quick on his heels. He reached the door just a few seconds later and flung it open.
'Steven!' he yelled on seeing Steven grappling with David, both young men were really fighting with pure anger, induced by the drugs. Colin threw himself between them both, making enough of a noise that both boys stopped and took note of their surroundings, calming down almost immediately.
'Not again!' Watson hurried in after Colin, seeing the detective sitting up against a wall, his positioning suggesting he had fallen, but had quickly recovered. Joan's concern rose on seeing he didn't look well. 'Sherlock, what happened?'
Sherlock just slowly shook his head, his eyes wide and his breaths were deep and shaky. Fear, Watson deduced, a shock, something had really frightened her friend.
'David get out of here,' Colin yelled, and the boy grabbed a jacket from the floor and quickly disappeared. 'Steven, what the hell happened?' Colin asked with despair, picking up the unused needles.
'I, I,' Steven stammered. 'I don't know. Sherlock,' he glanced at Sherlock, but Sherlock didn't respond to his name. 'I don't know what I did but it was bad, I think,' he was shaking.
Joan went into medical mode as she encouraged Sherlock to take slow deep breaths, assisting him by talking him through it. She checked his pulse and remained instructing him until his heart rate had settled, by which point Sherlock appeared to be growing much more aware of his surroundings to her relief. She tried asking him some simple questions, but he still couldn't manage a response, she was concerned by his current state of mind.
'Did he take anything, Steven?' Watson asked, Sherlock's jacket being removed had left his arms exposed, she couldn't see a new mark, but she couldn't be sure.
'No, he nearly did but no,' Steven remembered, having quickly sobered up.
'What the hell happened up here?' Colin asked. 'You know this man is in recovery, did David do this?'
'Not exactly,' Steven avoided eye contact with Colin as he spoke. 'I was high, Colin, I saw Sherlock and I was in my happy place, he makes me happy and he told me some happy news and-' Steven paused, he looked like was going to cry. 'I forgot, I just forgot.'
'So, what, David stopped you?' Colin was confused.
'No, David saw me removing Sherlock's jacket, he saw the drugs and he thought I was giving his fix away, he'd just come to and I was, what I was about to give Sherlock was David's fix, we always share,' Steven explained. 'But I wanted to be happy with Sherlock, I wanted to give him some good stuff,' he stressed, and the tears fell.
'Ok, look it was a misunderstanding, go get your head sorted, we will talk when that stuff has worn off, and try to avoid David for a while, until we've talked, ok?' Colin advised calmly, and with just a glance at Sherlock, Steven quietly left the room.
'I need to get Sherlock away from here,' Watson stated and with Colin's help they moved him to the front of the building. As they waited for a taxi, Sherlock became more responsive but remained quiet.
'Sherlock, I'm so sorry,' Colin offered, when he felt Sherlock was listening.
'It's fine,' Sherlock finally responded, and to Watson's relief. She could see he was still traumatised, but he seemed to know where he was now, which was progress. 'I think if you speak to Watson, going forward, about plans for this place, I'm sure you can understand,' he added quietly.
'Of course, of course, and about Steven,' Colin began but Sherlock was quick to cut him off.
'Don't be too hard on him, I've been there, this wasn't his fault, it was no-one's fault,' Sherlock stressed and moved forward as the taxi cab approached.
'I'll be in touch,' Watson offered Colin a quick hug.
'Take care of him, make sure he speaks to someone,' Colin whispered before Joan moved away.
'I will,' she smiled before getting into the cab next to Sherlock. She gave a little wave as the cab pulled away and then placed her hand on Sherlock's. 'What do you fancy eating tonight?'
'Not hungry,' Sherlock responded too quickly, his focus fixed on the window as the world passed by.
'Ok, well I'll order some Thai and I'll get a little extra in case you change your mind,' Joan informed him, and started the order on her phone.
Sherlock took out his own phone and dialled a number, after a few moments he spoke. 'Alfredo, can you come around this evening? Yes, I need to talk, we have a lot to catch up on.'
Joan couldn't hide her smile, glad that she wouldn't need to force Sherlock to make the call.
Alfredo looked exhausted as he entered the kitchen area, Watson immediately stood up and went to pour a fresh coffee for Sherlock's friend.
'That was a tough one,' Afredo spoke with a frown and took the coffee. 'What took him so long to contact me?'
'Lots has been going on, hopefully it's going to calm down for a bit now,' Watson answered.
'From what I can tell his head is on straight when it comes to the actual addiction, I'm fairly confident he won't be using voluntarily anytime soon,' Alfredo explained. 'But it might take a bit longer for the other stuff to clear his system.'
'Other stuff?' Watson asked, but felt she already knew what Alfredo was about to say.
'He's a mess, never seen him so-' Alfredo paused to think of the best description. 'So terrified, confused, everything Sherlock normally isn't.'
'He's been tested recently, a demon from his past,' Watson offered, knowing it was an understatement.
'I think I helped, at least he was more himself when I left him, and by that, I mean odd,' Alfredo smiled, and quickly finished his coffee. 'I gotta shoot, but call me, or get him to call me if he needs me.'
'Thanks,' Watson smiled and took the mug before Alfredo headed up towards the exit.
Watson washed the mug and heard someone coming down the stairs a few moments later, she purposely focused on washing the cup.
'So, am I cured, is there hope for me?' Sherlock asked when he walked into the kitchen.
'You called him, don't make out I forced you to speak to Alfredo,' Joan returned as she turned off the water. 'Did it help?'
'As a matter of fact, I think it did,' Sherlock said with an air of hope. 'Speaking it all out loud help me realise how ridiculous this all is,' he frowned, and took a seat. 'I don't understand why I reacted the way I did, why I froze with Steven when I could have just walked away.'
Joan took the seat opposite Sherlock, she could see how troubled he was. 'You're still recovering,' she said calmly. 'Both physically and mentally, that was your first interaction with drugs since your withdrawal, it was just too soon for you to have to deal with that, it was completely normal to react how you did when you were not prepared for it.'
'I don't do normal,' Sherlock returned.
'Well that's what normal feels like, and that's why its freaked you out,' Joan half smiled, she was pleased to see Sherlock return the smile.
'Whatever it was I never, ever,' he emphasised. 'Want to feel like that again. I should have just forced myself into that situation a lot earlier, it would have saved me a lot of hours at meetings and talking to strangers,' he frowned. 'But I'll be ok, Watson, now I'm aware of this, whatever this is I can manage it.'
'And I'll help you,' Watson offered.
'As you always do, Watson, as you always do,' Sherlock confirmed and stood up. 'Thank you.'
Sherlock took a moment before speaking. 'For understanding me, I'm realising more and more the lengths you go to in order to-' he paused again. 'The lengths you go to in accommodating me, my ways, and I know I can rely on you.'
'I just hope, in my own way, you feel I can offer the same.'
Watson smiled and stood up. 'The fact I'm even here, Sherlock, doing what I do is purely because you enabled me.'
Watson patted Sherlock reassuringly on the arm and left the kitchen area, Sherlock watched her walk up the stairs as he processed her words, and slowly he nodded his head to agree with her.
'We're a good team,' he concluded and let that thought sink in.
Thank you so much for reading, this was a fun story to write and my first time playing in the Elementary universe after a break from writing fanfic. As I sit here about to post the final chapter I'm already writing a new Elementary fic, and yes, I have ideas for a sequel to this one as well that takes place during season 6 - I just need to see all of season 6 before I commit to that, I just like the idea of season 6 Sherlock, with all his PCS issues being in this set up (yeah I know, like I didnt put him through enough already lol)
but thats it, hope you enjoyed it, thanks again for reading!