Author's note: Sorry it's been so long. I know I've been negligent, but I've been busy with work and trying to get things ready for school and stuff like that. Not only that, but I'm going on vacation and will be at the beach all week, so you won't get any updates until sometime next week at the earliest. Sorry for the inconvenience, but I have left you with a few things before I go.
Sherlock Holmes stirred, opened his eyes, and immediately set to wondering where he was and what he was doing there.
He did not try to sit up; his head was groggy and pounding and his entire body seemed to be aching as well, but his side, the one that he was not lying on, was throbbing.
He was lying on a bench, he decided, somewhere. Someone had placed their jacket over him, it seemed, in an effort to keep him warm. At least, he guessed that was the purpose of the jacket; he was still cold, but not quiet shivering.
His head, he suddenly realized, was resting in someone's lap, but he didn't have the strength to be embarrassed by the fact, or to look up to see who it was he was imposing upon. He had a feeling that he should know who it was anyway, that the answer should be obvious, but nonetheless he could not tell who was there with him.
He realized then that they were moving, and that the bench and the floor and the walls were all swaying slightly as they all traveled along together.
It took him far longer than it should have to come to the conclusion that he and his unknown companion were on a train, but where they were going and from whence they had come he could not remember, and that bothered him.
They were not alone. A man sat across the compartment, watching them, self satisfaction and more than just a little smugness written across his features. He was pleased with himself, for whatever reason, and Holmes had a feeling he should have known why.
If only he could think clearly!
If only his brain didn't insist on plodding along at a speed that would have made the slowest Yarder look positively brilliant by comparison, and would certainly have prompted more than a few scathing comments concerning the fact, he was sure, had any of them been here.
The man across the way shifted, and so did Holmes' companion. A low voice floated overhead. Holmes' companion was dangerous, not someone to cross, judging by the warning in the man's voice, not to mention the click of a revolver hammer being pulled back.
"Easy there. One wrong move and they'll be cleaning your blood off the train as well."
The other man sneered at the threat. "You won't kill me." He told Holmes' companion, but he was still all the same. "I'll escape, when we reach London." He continued. That was where they were going, then. "You'd have to leave him to get me, and you won't do that. He's in bad shape."
"I'll get you." My companion promised. "London isn't big enough to hide you. I'll have every man at the Yard on your trail. You won't be able to hide for long."
The other man laughed. "I'll avoid your precious Scotland Yard." He declared. "And I'll be sure to finish what I started, and then I'll be coming after you."
The train was slowing down, coming to a stop. Holmes felt two fingers press lightly against his throat; his companion was checking for a pulse. Something told Holmes this was not the first time the man had done so on this trip.
The train lurched to a stop, and the man across the way broke for the door. Holmes' companion stirred, and a loud noise did its best to shatter Holmes' skull. He jerked, and his eyes closed for a second against the pain. They opened again as the man who had been trying to escape staggered through the doorway and fell.
Holmes wondered if the man were dead, and wondered if he should care. He also wondered why everything seemed to be going out of focus.
He started to fall; an arm caught him and pulled him back, held him close. "Easy there, Mr. Holmes." His companion admonished him. "That shot'll have attracted attention; somebody'll come, and then it won't be much longer."
Holmes wondered what it wouldn't be much longer until. He also wondered, just before everything went black, why he could not identify either the voice or what little he could see of his companion.
When he awoke again he recognized his room, and his bed, and the man sitting in the chair beside his bed, worrying.
He also remembered why his head pounded, and his body ached, and his side throbbed.
"What a fool I've been!" He groaned, albeit rather weakly. All the same, it was enough to startle Watson, who was instantly standing over him, fussing and fretting and immensely relieved.
"How do you feel?" Watson asked. "Don't try to get up." He added unnecessarily.
"I wasn't planning on it." Holmes admitted. He wasn't sure he could have sat up even if he had wanted to.
"So you walked into a trap." Watson said severely. "You're lucky to be alive, you know."
Holmes wasn't exactly sure why he was alive. There were still a few pieces of the puzzle that was the time between him being attacked and him waking up here that he hadn't manage to figure out.
"We were afraid it was too late." Watson continued. "That we'd lost you. You'd certainly lost a lot of blood."
We. Watson, of course. Who else? His rescuer? His companion during that still blurry train ride back to London; he was still missing a lot of details, and what few he could recall were rather hazy.
"I feel rather the fool." Holmes confessed. "They would have quite a day down at the Yard, if they ever heard of it."
He was not altogether certain why he was suddenly thinking of Scotland Yard, or why Watson was giving him such an odd look.
But he wasn't up to asking just now, and Watson didn't explain. "Yes, well." Was all he said. "You should get some rest."
Holmes agreed, and Watson left him alone in his room with an admonition to call for him if he needed anything. Holmes closed his eyes, wearily, and had not quite mustered up the energy to start wondering who had been with him on the train when he again drifted off to sleep.
He heard the voices as he began his return to awareness, and kept still, listening, eyes closed.
"You've ruined your coat." Holmes recognized the whisper Watson commonly employed when trying not to disturb a patient's rest.
The second voice was low, also familiar. Inspector Lestrade was here, probably seeking assistance with another case. "It's not the first time, Doctor," he was saying, "and it certainly won't be the last."
"What will Elisabeth say?" Watson asked, and Holmes wondered, if the doctor did not wish to disturb him, he had brought the Inspector into his room.
"She'll say I needed a new coat anyway." Lestrade replied, then all was silent for a moment.
"He doesn't remember what happened, at least not all of it." Watson finally murmured.
"He was unconscious for most of the train ride." Came the reply. "He insisted on you, refused to see anyone else, I feared-I thought it might have taken too long."
Another long silence. "Are you going to tell him?" Watson asked. "Would you like me to?"
A low chuckle escaped Lestrade. "No. Don't tell him." He said softly.
Don't tell him.
Holmes' breath caught as a few missing pieces of the puzzle resurfaced in his memory in brief, disjointed waves.
"Look out, Holmes!" A few seconds too late, the little man turned the corner, bellowing out a warning. He was not, however, too late to catch the amateur detective as he fell, or to draw his revolver and drag him out of the trap he had so foolishly walked into.
"You need to see a doctor, Mr. Holmes." Lestrade insisted as he tied up the man's side as well as he could.
"Watson." Holmes gasped as the world around him twisted and twirled and spun and faded in and out of existence.
"Doctor Watson is in London. You need a doctor now." Lestrade told him.
"No." Holmes couldn't have said, later, why it mattered so much that he see Watson and no one else, but Lestrade quickly gave up on arguing with him.
"Come on, then. Let's go." Holmes blacked out as Lestrade dragged him to his feet.
"Come to finish what you started?" Lestrade sneered as Holmes' attacker took a seat across from them. "You've made a serious mistake, there."
The other man laughed. "I just came to watch the show." He replied. "I'll finish him off back in London, if he survives the trip."
"It'll be bad luck for you, whether he does or not." Lestrade informed the other man quite seriously.
Someone draped a jacket over his shivering form as he huddled miserably on the seat.
"Stay with me, Mr. Holmes." Lestrade murmured gently, checking his pulse. "Stay with me."
Lestrade had followed Holmes out of London to warn him, and while he had been too late to prevent the attack, he had been there to drag the injured amateur detective back to Baker Street where hopefully Watson would be able to patch him up once again.
He had saved Holmes' life.
Again, the Inspector's low voice cut through the silence. "He'll be alright, then?"
"If I can get him to stay in bed long enough to heal." Watson replied wearily. "Thanks for stopping by. Should I tell him you stopped by to see how he was doing?"
A moment's hesitation, then, "You can tell him I stopped by, if you like."
Footsteps, fading; they were leaving the room. Holmes opened his eyes as they paused out in the hall and the Inspector insisted that Watson get some rest himself and that he could see himself out.
Holmes waited until he was certain the Inspector was gone to allow himself to stir, and made sure that enough time had passed that Watson would not know he had been listening as well.
"Feeling any better?" Watson asked as he returned. "You just missed Inspector Lestrade, you know. I think he was worried about you."
Disclaimer: Sherlock and the boys do not belong to me.