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John was late. Just how specific did he have to be? He considered texting John again but it's not as though he needs assistance with breaking and entering. He could use the fire escape on the north side instead…hall, storeroom, then office. Done. Sherlock takes off for the other side of the building, coat flapping behind.
John stared at his phone.
"Meet at barrister's. Moriarty's on the hunt. –SH"
For God's sake, John thought, which bloody office? They had inspected two so far and while Farrow Walters' seemed to be preoccupying Holmes' mind the most, it didn't guarantee anything. And if Moriarty was involved, he was sure to already know which office Holmes had gone to. With a scowl John punched in Lestrade's number and started looking for a cab.
Sherlock was contentedly shuffling through files and merrily making a mess of the barrister's office when he hears the faint click of the door opening.
"You're late, John."
"Yes, he is Mr. Holmes. Very late."
Sherlock paused before straightening fully and turning to the unknown man filling the open doorway. He was tall, at least as tall as Sherlock himself, and very thickset. He could see the outline of muscles under the dark shirt.
"Ah, another interested party I see. Come to join the search?"
"You were given a warning, Mr. Holmes. You clearly haven't taken it to heart."
"I find anything rarely needs to travel further than my brain, if it's all the same to you."
"Our mutual acquaintance will be displeased to hear that."
"Mmm. I gathered he might be involved. I hate to disappoint you both, but I believe I'll be heading out now. I've got what I came for."
With that, Sherlock launched himself headlong into the other man. It was something akin to having a fire door slam in one's face. Sherlock tried to maintain his forward moment despite being stunned, but the hulk in the doorway simply shifted his weight to the side causing Sherlock to crash face first on the ground where he received a swift kick to the back of his skull and promptly passed out.
Sherlock came around to the throbbing in his head. He had been moved down the hall to an empty conference room and trussed up to a chair, wrists and legs, with the man from before looming over him.
"Welcome back, Mr. Holmes."
"Mmm. I suppose there's something you want from me, else you'd have simply killed me outright."
"Astute as ever, Mr. Holmes. Good thing I didn't rattle your brain too much. You're going to need it." The man walked over to the long table filling the center of the room and picked up a small syringe that had been laid next to a dispensary bottle. "My employer has asked me to acquire some information from you."
"And your plan is to poison me? Not very productive, I must say."
The man held the syringe up, inspecting it. "No, you're going to be rather compliant I think. Do you know what's in this syringe, Mr. Holmes? This is a ten-percent solution of your favorite recreational substance."
Sherlock's face hardened imperceptibly. His mind, which had already been calculating probabilities for escape, lurched into over drive. If that syringe was indeed filled with cocaine, and he had no doubt it was, he needed to avoid it at all costs. Mycroft's reaction alone would be enough to cause Holmes endless annoyance.
"If I wanted a hit, I could get it easily enough myself."
"Ah, but that's just it, isn't it. You don't want it." The man leered as he strolled toward Sherlock. "It's really a win-win situation for me, Mr. Holmes. You either tell me what I want to know now, and you avoid the drugs, or you tell me after they've loosened your tongue for you. So, first question. You're…colleague, Dr. Watson, he seems a nice enough chap. But we're dying to know, why haven't you managed to convince him to stop his little blog yet? Surely, it must be child's play for someone like you to convince him, he doesn't want to write it anymore, or merely delete it. So my employer has been left to conclude that you don't want him to stop, and he was under the impression you had an agreement."
"I fail to see the question in that mess of an oratory." All the while, Sherlock had been quietly testing his bonds but so far had found his hands to be securely fastened to the metal arms of the chair. No luck there.
"Hmph. The question is, Mr. Holmes, would you prefer to stop him yourself or shall we?"
"That entreaty I shall take up with pleasure. I hate the damned thing myself."
"Fair enough. Now, you've been causing my employer quite a bit of trouble since you last met, in fact, he thinks your dear brother is helping out. So tell us, what precisely have you told Mycroft about the bombing case?"
The bindings at his ankles were looser and he was certain if he could just manage to rock the chair back far enough…
"Nothing at all."
"Oh I find that hard to believe, Mr. Holmes. We've traced back some correspondences to very high places. Places only your brother would have access to."
"My brother is not my concern. If he's snooping around, it's his business and none of mine."
"Wrong answer, Mr. Holmes."
As the man lunged forward with the syringe, Sherlock tipped backed the chair to slide the ropes free of the metal legs. He managed to catch the man in the solar plexus, stunning him temporarily. Legs free, but still unable to do anything about his hands, he shifted up to his feet and attempted to clothesline the thug as he staggered upright again. The man caught hold of the chair as it swung toward him and followed the momentum around until he was in front of Sherlock. Where he promptly slammed the syringe into the detective's thigh.
"I reckon that stings a bit, but you know all about that."
Sherlock staggered back from the impact, but didn't struggle for fear of breaking off the needle. It would be useless to bleed to death.
Having raided the first barrister's office to no avail Lestrade and John clung to the handles inside the police car as it barreled down Lexington to the south. When they finally reached the office, John flung himself from the car and, to hell with the legalities, drew his service revolver from the back of his waistband. Lestrade, not far behind, never said a word.
They raced through the building, John at the forefront headed for the office of one Mr. James Caruthers. John swore if he found Sherlock sitting amidst a pile of documents, cursing about the absurdities of common legal practice, he'd shoot him himself. But Sherlock wasn't in the office.
It was clear he had been there but no longer, whirling around he spotted the drag marks in the ostentatious carpet of the barrister's office. He raced out the door and down the hallway bursting through the door at the end where the tracks stopped.
"Ah, the cavalry. Bit late I'm afraid, though." A man was standing over Sherlock waggling and empty syring. "You're friend here is going to have one hell of a hangover."
John glanced quickly at Sherlock then back, but kept his gun trained on the center of the man's forehead.
"What have you given him, then?"
"Oh don't worry. He'll enjoy it. But I doubt he'll recover from it."
Sherlock stirred but didn't raise his head.
Sherlock didn't respond.
"Look," Lestrade was easing further into the room, "You're completely surrounded. I've got half of Scotland Yard out here. Just tell us what you've given him and we'll see what we can do about getting some arrangements made for you."
"Sherlock, say something!"
"I'm afraid not. I have my orders. And, really, my job's done. He'll give you a bit more fun, before he follows me out." The man flashed a knife from somewhere on his person and in one swift motion slashed his throat, blood pulsing in great crimson waves into the carpet where he fell. John raced across the room, and stepping over the body, knelt next to Sherlock to start checking his vitals.
Through a very thick haze Sherlock could hear John shouting at him. His head was pounding fiercely but something seemed to be important. He was feeling impatient, like everything was taking far longer than it needed to. If he could just get his eyes to open… Focusing all his will power on raising his eyelids, Sherlock managed to wrench them open. Color. Everything was in vivid outline, colors perfect, almost textural, as if he could feel the furniture by sight. No that's wrong. Somehow…head wound. I have a head wound everything should be fuzzy. Fuzzy like the carpet, plush carpet, high pile, high traffic, foot prints in relief, like John's voice, John yelling, had to stop, no don't stop, when you stop you're dead, move…
John yelped when Sherlock tried to fling himself from the chair. The ropes were still holding him in place, however, and the lurching movement was nauseating. Nausea was a typical symptom of almost every possible condition, unlike jaundice now there's a symptom, something to track, blood diseases, lab work, the lab with the bodies, of course, no one keeps cameras in a morgue, hell that's why he used them, why they had used them…
Sherlock watched the room lurch as his eyes rolled around, tracking nothingness through the air. Oh god, he knew this feeling. Never this much at once though, never this much. He was high. So, high. This is what it felt like to be God. Everything at once. All of it.
John had managed to cut his hands free and was still talking at him. Sherlock saw his own hand come up and grip the front of John's jumper.
"John," his voice sounded foreign to his own ears, heavy, "John, too much."
"Too much what, Sherlock? Do you know what he gave you?"
"John. John, you have to get me away. Can't let them see."
John's voice dropped, husky and desperate, "See what, Sherlock? Com'on focus."
"I was clean. Clean, John. Oh god, god it's too much. The cocaine."
John stopped breathing. It lasted less than a second but to Sherlock's hyper-wired senses it was like the void of death. "John," he moaned.
And then John was moving, and he was moving with him, and then blessedly, he once again passed out.
When Sherlock woke again he could hear the rhythmic beep and hiss of medical monitors and feel the stiffness of over-bleached hospital linens scratching against his skin. Nausea was still rolling through him and his head felt at least two sizes too big to actually be attached to his body. He felt a fine tremor shuttering persistently up and down his left leg.
John was suddenly hovering over him, his careworn face haggard whit at least two days worth of stubble grown in around his jaw. Without a word, John quickly and methodically started checking his vitals and reflexes, ensuring that Sherlock won't have to suffer the attentions of whatever unfortunate nurse was currently on duty. As John does this, Sherlock's memory slowly strings together the events that placed him in a hospital bed at St. Bart's. And once he has calculated the precise amount of cocaine he must have had in his system to trigger that kind of reaction, the slight tremor in his leg spreads through his body like fire, singeing all his nerve endings then stopping just as quickly. Once it has passed, Sherlock becomes aware of John's hand resting lightly around his wrist.
"Sherlock - -"
"John - -"
They both paused until John said, "You first then."
"John. I was clean. I swear to you. I never would have used so much. 7% only, it's a rule I have. I was stupid not to plan for the posibility that someone other than you would get there first. John, the withdrawal is going to be horrendous, I'll be impossible to live with for at least two weeks. You should see if Sarah will keep you. I'm sorry."
John closed his eyes for a long few seconds before opening them to stare into Sherlock's.
"Sherlock, you didn't take those drugs yourself so blaming yourself for this is absurd. Moriarty wanted you dead. What better way to do it than prey on the weaknesses you hate the most? I won't leave you, not now," John straightened himself up a bit, attempting to look smug, "I'm a doctor, remember? You'll need supervision."
John reached out and placed a hand on Sherlock's far shoulder, pressing him firmly into the bed.
"Really, Sherlock, you must know by now, you'll have to kill me if you ever want the flat to yourself again."
Sherlock offered up a crooked smile. "Right, well, I suppose two skulls would be a bit excessive."
Satisfied, John settled back into the plastic chair he had pulled close to Sherlock's bed, ready to tend to his looking after.