Do you know what? The hardest thing about this fic is the first paragraph. I can't for the life of me write the first paragraph without getting stuck for an hour or two! Which is in itself entirely confounding, not to mention infuriating, since I too want to know how this ends.
But that of course makes me sound like an awful writer if I don't even know how my fics are going to turn out doesn't it? Well it does to me... I think plot bunnies (or Sherlock) are responsible for this fact. Annoying but true and it's so so very annoying.
Anyhow, now that I've ranted a little you can continued on with this fic; that's if you haven't already since you've most probably skipped this section and- I'll shut up now.
The Final Game – Part Three
"Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you..." – Fix You, Coldplay
His leg bounced conveying his impatience as he waited for the lift to open and discharge them on the floor John was on; John was on another floor, higher up and Sherlock was sure that meant something important but his mind was either still addled by whatever sedative or such they'd given to him or the gash on his forehead was the only external sign of a mild concussion, and Sherlock guessed it was a mixture really.
The silence in the lift is annoying, but Sherlock's head feels like it's about to explode; moreso than usual at least, and he needs to do something, to say something to stop them thinking because thinking hurt. However his mind actually floundered for something to speak about with either the nurse or Mycroft; oh John would probably laugh at the situation! Him, Sherlock Holmes, wanting to make small talk with his brother, of all people!
Sighing audibly he drew a questioning gaze from Mycroft but he choose to ignore it as he tapped his thigh with his long, slender fingers and looked at the drab decor of a hospital lift; the word boring didn't do the lift justice, it was beyond boring and Sherlock was relatively certain that he brother might one day use lift-torture as a means of getting a confession from people. Heaven knows Sherlock would confess to anything if he was stuck in the lift for any longer than was absolutely necessary.
"Doctor," he muttered quietly as he continued to drum his fingertips on his thigh; his voice was loud enough to be carried around the small, enclosed space but was also quiet enough for it to not echo as most voices would in such a confined space. He felt the gaze of Mycroft settle upon him and he knew that his brother was thinking about what he'd just said before the confusion would be left behind as realisation dawned on the older Holmes sibling; Sherlock still thought of his brother as intelligent but not as brilliant as Mycroft thought he was.
"I'm sorry Mr Holmes," the nurse frowned, apparently the lack of intelligence was still a running constant in the general populace and Sherlock begrudgingly cursed his genes as well as thanked them; he could never be that stupid, at least he thought he couldn't.
Mycroft tapped his umbrella, seriously Sherlock thought the thing was surgically-attached to his brother's arm, and looked at Sherlock in partial warning; he knew him too well did old Mycroft. Sherlock suppressed the urge to snort and laugh at his brother's attempts to temper him as well as the urge to call the nurse every name he could think of in such a manner as to have the result of her looking and feeling even stupider than she already was.
Tempering his automatic dismissal and insults Sherlock sighed and waved an ivory pale hand as he explained, "It's Doctor Watson, not Mister," he craned his neck slightly so as to better see the nurse who was looking down at him wearing that damned expression she'd been sporting back on the ward, "he should be addressed by his correct title," he said firmly, and that did not sound defensive at all, nope not one bit.
The nurse nodded and Sherlock looked away purposefully, so he wouldn't be able to figure her out, as she answered in a disturbingly patronisingly kind voice, "of course Mr Holmes; I'll make the correction on his charts myself."
Then there was silence again and Sherlock could just feel Mycroft's mirth at the entire situation; stupid Mycroft, stupid nurse, stupid Moriarty, stupid bomb, stupid him, heck even stupid John for getting hurt in the first place! He wouldn't even be behaving like this if he wasn't concerned with the matter of having to find a new flatmate; that was why he was concerned about John, oh and the fact that he had a very good aim and could save Sherlock's life but that was it! No other reason. At all. End of discussion. Sort of...
A typically boring 'bing' sound echoes around the lift and Sherlock silently thanks the doors as they open to reveal an empty corridor that seems depressing and lethargic; which is in direct contrast to Sherlock's eccentricity and anxiousness. The nurse pushed him out of the lift, with Mycroft following closely behind keeping an eye on Sherlock, but Sherlock didn't care about Mycroft or the nurse or the fact that he was being pushed around whilst he was perfectly capable of walking because his mind had just revealed to him that it can have a single-minded focus on something other than a case; and that something was John Watson, the limping soldier of Sherlock's dreams.
As they came closer and closer to the area where John was Sherlock took in the signs and code-locks on the doors; why was John in such a secured place? Was he in danger? Was he a danger? No, Sherlock dismissed that thought the moment it breezed into his head; John wouldn't, couldn't, be a danger to others since the man had a major-thing about feelings and guilt. If Sherlock didn't know any better, which he did of course since he was the great Sherlock Holmes, then he would have guessed the John felt guilty for everything that happened in the world; luckily though, it seemed that the army-doctor only felt guilty for things that affected either himself or Sherlock directly. Thank the heavens really because Sherlock truly had no clue as to how he would handle a guilt-ridden man if he blamed himself for the day succumbing to the night.
When the nurse finally keyed in her code, which Sherlock and Mycroft both noticed but didn't draw attention too, Sherlock was giddy with excitement; though he would never admit it, and was now fidgeting with his clasped hands. Mycroft strolled behind the nurse and his younger sibling as they made a bee-line for a private room which looked more like an interrogation room with a bed in it rather than a table that Mycroft briefly considered the notion of insisting that his brother and his colleague go private in regards to their healthcare. The oldest of the two Holmes brothers watched as the nurse opened the door to the private room and Sherlock almost dived out of the wheelchair; and Mycroft rather suspected that he would have indeed succeeded had it not been for the nurse who, had some rather impressive reflexes, gripped his shoulder and kept him firmly in the wheelchair.
Mycroft could see that Sherlock was gearing himself up to insult the nurse using his rather expansive vocabulary and was about to step forward and distract his brother when Sherlock's attention shifted entirely and he merely stared into the room he was currently on the threshold of. Mycroft blinked, his mind confused slightly as to why Sherlock wasn't doing his usual anti-social habit when he realised what the reason behind Sherlock's shifted attention and disregard for the nurse.
He stepped closer towards the threshold, just to be certain, and felt himself quietly gasp in shock even though he had already seen this before but... no wonder Sherlock was so silent. John Watson, Sherlock's John, was lying in a bed; his chest bare except for the thick bandage that was wrapped around his middle, attached to almost every medical machine that Mycroft had even heard of. Mycroft suddenly felt bad for his brother; if this was what Mycroft's reaction was he could just imagine what Sherlock must be feeling.
Though he and Sherlock would often beg to differ on their feelings for their respective siblings there was little that Mycroft wouldn't do to help Sherlock; and by that admission, anyone who was with Sherlock. Mycroft moved silently over towards his younger brother, who looked oh so young and vulnerable right now that it hurt Mycroft to see him so raw, and gently rested a hand on his shoulder; a hand that Sherlock made no attempt to shrug off or even acknowledge. It was almost as though Sherlock had shut down.
"It's not as bad as it looks Mr Holmes," the nurse said quietly as she moved gently past Mycroft and pushed Sherlock's wheelchair into the room, "he's had a few problems with his blood pressure but for the most part he's healing perfectly well," the nurse smiled as she stopped the wheelchair just at the edge of the bed; close enough for Sherlock to easily reach out and grasp one of John's limp and lifeless-looking hands.
"Doesn't mean I feel like it," John slurred out slowly, his voice low and quiet as he painfully opened his eyes and looked away from the ceiling, which he had such a fantastic view of from the five-star hotel Ritz he was in; and that wasn't sarcasm at all was it? His eyes caught sight of Sherlock looking, for all the world, like a lost and uncertain child and John felt something inside of him twist and shout at him because he was the one who'd caused this look on Sherlock's face; he'd caused Sherlock pain and he'd never wanted that.
"John?" Sherlock almost whispered, as though he was afraid that John was merely a dream and that he was hallucinating this entire thing. If John hadn't felt so very lousy then he was sure he would have laughed; but laughing hurt and he'd really had enough of pain for the last few decades, nevermind days. Sherlock looked at the face of his friend, his colleague, his flatmate, his-something else, and tried to decipher what he saw flitting across the tired, worn but still handsome features; he could see hurt, pain, guilt, sadness, happiness, elation and so many other things but the ones that Sherlock saw the most were hurt, pain, guilt and sadness. In his mind John shouldn't be feeling any of those things; this was Sherlock's fault, what with his stupid need for sporting games and stuff, and here John was trying to blame himself. No. Sherlock wasn't goin to have that; it was stupid, illogical and so totally John-like of John that Sherlock really wished for a moment that he was a different person, but he knew that he wouldn't care as much as he did about John if he were to be another person. John was John and Sherlock liked him like that. A lot.
"It wasn't your fault you know?" Sherlock said softly, not taking his eyes off of John's face but he lightly grasped one of John's outstretched hands, "It wasn't your fault you had a bomb strapped to you by an absolute raving lunatic. And before you even bother to be so mundane as to mention the fact that we nearly died and such you need to remember one important thing," Sherlock's hand tightened slightly around John's own and they both looked at each other intently; ignoring the existence of Mycroft and the nurse, "You were willing to die to save me and then, when I truly thought everything was over, you saved us both. You. Not me. Not the great Sherlock Holmes. I was saved by a very normal, very average, very brilliant ex-army doctor with a psychosomatic pain in his right leg which does and doesn't always exist," Sherlock smiled at John and continued, "I was saved by a man who had only moments ago faced death in a way I've never before experienced and you bounced back in time to save us both. And..." Sherlock trailed off as he tried to control the emotions that were threatening to over-take his reason; and as he swallowed thickly he was sure that he heard the sound of the door clicking shut as Mycroft and the nurse finally gave them the privacy they deserved. Oh God he wanted to consult his skull on what to do next! Blinking back the tears that Sherlock shouldn't have been creating the detective ploughed on in his speech to a still partially-dumbstruck doctor, "And when we were in the pool and you were trapped under that bloody piece of metal," he snarled as though the metal was at fault for all of this, "and I couldn't get you out; I was powerless to help you and I hated myself for it and I so wanted to drag you to the surface and save you but I couldn't because I'm one man against a world and I couldn't save you until Mycroft and his men came. They saved you; I was just there for the ride," Sherlock finally looked away and to his surprise he felt a tear roll down his high cheekbone and down the length of his face.
He felt awful, worse than awful, he would have preferred to have been in a meat locker for a week in sub-zero temperatures before going to battle against an entire gang of half-crazed ritualistic murderers than to continue to feel like this; he did not feel so hollow and guilty and bad. He did not! But he did. He was now. And he didn't know if he should hate it or be grateful for it. He cared about John Watson and it seemed that his emotions, his mind, his body was all agreeing on this mutual interest.
"If you hadn't of given my air, excluding the manner in which you did, then I wouldn't have been alive long enough for Mycroft's men to go heroic on me would I?" John muttered quietly as he gripped Sherlock's hand tight enough to get the man to raise his head and look at him, "Of course you saved my life Sherlock! No-one else can save my life, it isn't allowed; part of the 'being-your-friend/colleague/flatmate-clause'."
Sherlock looked at John in absolute surprise and, for once, he let it show on his face. John had just forgiven him and tried to alleviate Sherlock's guilt and now he was joking with him! Only John Watson, Sherlock decided, would do such a thing, and Sherlock smiled as he chuckled and John smirked at him.
"You are extraordinary do you realise that John?" Sherlock smiled as he leant forward in the wheelchair until he was about an inch or two from John's face. Sherlock's face was bright but not in the usual way it was whenever he had a case or a new plan, puzzle or down-right deadly experiment. No, his face was bright in a way that John had never really seen before and it took him a moment to recognise the look on Sherlock's face; it wasn't as if he knew what some emotions looked like on Sherlock, the man was a walking-contradiction in more than one meaning of the word.
As John breathed out, his chest heaving slightly as he tried to order his body to behave because it really wouldn't do for anything to happen now, he smiled feeling almost light-headed as he breathed out a quiet, low response, "I'm sorry to say that I didn't Sherlock."
Sherlock's smile grew wider as he leaned in even closer to John's face and John felt Sherlock's breath on his face; hot, warm, desirable. Oh Gods and Goddess! "Well, I suppose I'm going to have to tell you that over and over and over," Sherlock's free hand traced a pattern across John's chest and John fought the urge to groan, "until you can figure it out for yourself."
John panted his chest and side hurting but he didn't care about that because Sherlock was his main focus, "it might take me a while to figure... it out Sherlock; afterall... I'm not exactly the sharpest... knife in the box..." John's head lolled back against the pillow slightly as Sherlock's hand continued to play along his chest.
"Mm... maybe not but you're definitely one of the most extraordinary..." Sherlock whispered as he grinned and stopped running his hands along John's chest, much to John's dismay, "and if you want me to show it to you anytime soon you're going to have to get better; fast."
John would have glared at Sherlock but he found that he was breathing too heavily and his mind was already being overrun by sinful little soldiers, so all he did was growl quietly at Sherlock who laughed loudly enough for Mycroft and the nurse to hear.
Mycroft tentatively opened the door slightly, almost as if he was afraid of what he might see, and noticed that Sherlock was laughing and John... well John looked to be torn between groaning and shouting at the eccentric man who was evidently finding John's distress amusing. Mycroft resisted the urge to shake his head and cleared this throat before asking, in a purposefully grating and annoying tone that Sherlock had never been able to resist responding to, "so Sherlock. Have you quite finished traumatising the poor man? God knows how he's managed to put up with you for so long."
Sherlock stopped laughing and looked over his shoulder, Mycroft's presence had pulled him from his joy and it seemed that it was pulling John away from his mixed and confused state. The pair of them looked at Mycroft and Sherlock glared pointedly at Mycroft before saying, "at least someone can put up with me; where's your colleague I wonder?"
Though Mycroft knew that Sherlock was being defensive because of a mixture of earlier worry for Watson as well as fear over his own sudden vulnerability, the barb still hurt; only he was far better than Sherlock gave him credit for when it came to hiding from his feelings. He smirked at Sherlock and was about to respond when John cut across him.
"Your brother needs rest Mycroft, not a sparring match. Get the nurse who brought him; the one who's recently been divorced, to take him back to his bed and give him a sedative," Sherlock looked at John but John was focused on Mycroft who was staring at the hospitalised doctor with mixed feelings; he was being ordered about by a doctor and worse still, he was listening and already planning to do exactly what the man said!
"He's going to be a nightmare otherwise; also have them start an IV because if I know Sherlock, and I do, then he hasn't eaten properly or slept properly; he barely ate anything during our last case," John sighed as he leaned his head back and was about to continue when Sherlock cut across him, sounding rather like a petulant child.
"I'm right here you realise?" he muttered loudly enough for both John and Mycroft to hear, but whilst Mycroft raised an eyebrow John ignored him and continued to speak as though Sherlock hadn't said a thing.
"I'd recommend soups and possibly light-meals for the next few days. From what I can tell from my current position; he's got a mild concussion, slight bruising across his chest; if the wheelchair and the lack of spontaneous movement is anything to go by, and he obviously can't stand on his own two feet for long otherwise he wouldn't be in the chair. Simple," John finished as he closed his eyes and waited for the sounds of a response from Mycroft; partially surprised when he didn't hear anything. He opened his eyes and looked at Mycroft and Sherlock; who were both staring at him with rather surprised and intrigued gazes, "what?"
"Extraordinary," Mycroft said softly as he stared at John with an incredibly intrigued gaze, "it's almost as if he has his own form of deductive skills Sherlock."
Sherlock didn't respond as he looked at John with shock and instead asked quietly, "how did you get all of that in five minutes?" John was sure that he could hear genuine curiosity in Sherlock's voice but there was something else, something that made John pause in answering; it was almost as though Sherlock was scared of his response because he might reveal something...
"Um..." John shrugged his unbruised shoulder, "I just saw; I'm a trained doctor afterall. We're taught to notice signs of injury," he dodged answering with a full truth and instead settled on a half-truth since he too wondered how he'd managed to get all of that in five minutes; less actually since Sherlock had kept him distracted for a good two or three minutes. Oh God! He was the Sherlock of medicine! God help him...
Mycroft could see that John was telling a partial truth and felt curious as to why the man hadn't answered completely, but he didn't want to continue to question the man about something when Sherlock was feeling particularly protective of the injured man. Sighing Mycroft swung his umbrella around and opened the door, signalling for the nurse to come in as he said, "well come on Sherlock! We'd best leave the doctor to his rest; heaven knows he needs it from the way he looks."
"I'm flattered," John muttered dryly as he gave Mycroft a half-glare which was returned by a smirk of amusement, "buggar off and let me sleep," he said as he closed his eyes and almost molded himself into the mattress. John was sure that Sherlock was going to protest at the dismissal but it seemed that the detective was just as tired as John was and wasn't making a sound.
Of course, the reason why Sherlock wasn't making a sound was because he was using sign language to tell the nurse to be quiet and to give him one moment; and when the nurse begrudgingly gave him his moment Sherlock leant forward almost silently in the wheelchair but John's seasoned hearing caught the sound, and leaned in close to John's ear where he whispered something that the nurse and Mycroft couldn't hear; but they could both see the heart monitor suddenly spike before returning to normal.
John's eyes opened and he looked at Sherlock who sat back in his wheelchair and motioned that he was ready to leave. John's eyes never left Sherlock's form as the man was wheeled out of the room and just before the door closed after Mycroft, who was last to leave, John thought he heard the sound of Sherlock shouting, "Quicker you heal the quicker we can prove you're extraordinary John!"
Damn you Sherlock... now he wasn't going to get any relaxing rest until they gave him the next sedative; two hours ago, "I'm going to kill him..." he muttered as he ran a heavy hand down his face, "and the violin's going to get it as well."
Well... I think it's the end... sort of... :S
If you order me to do another one; a sequel of sorts then I might consider. If you're all willing to bribe me with reviews of course :P
I do hope you've enjoyed and this is actually the longest chapter – Word says it's something like 3'970 words long. :D