A/N: Finally this is up! The canon version of this was giving me some trouble, and I didn't want to post one without the other. Anyway, read on!
SH SH SH SH SH SH SH SH SH SH SH SH
John woke slowly, blinking upwards at the unfamiliar ceiling. The sight confused him. Where was he? What happened? Slowly sounds and smells filtered into his awareness. Beeps, quick footsteps, and the antiseptic. He was in a hospital.
He thought back to what he could remember, but could come up with no reason for him to be laying here. He'd been…writing?
The bright lights of the room sharpened a lingering headache, and he closed them, while assessing his condition. He could feel no injuries, or unexplained pain, save a strong headache. He was wearing an oxygen canola, for what reason, he couldn't tell. His head felt cloudy, thoughts swirling in a random pattern. Had he been drugged?
With his head slowly clearing, the mystery of his surroundings became more pressing. John dragged his eyes open again, with the intent to find out what had happened. He turned his head, and saw only a hanging privacy curtain. Turning his head the other direction, John felt the corners of his mouth lift in a fond smile.
Sherlock was slumped in a chair, in one of those oddly graceful, yet contorted positions that John is always sure will leave him unable to move the morning after. He was slumped forwards, with his legs drawn up in the chair, and had one of his hands draped on the corner of John's bed. He was in a hospital robe and his dressing gown, and had a tag on wrist, the date of admission matching his own. It would be nice to know how many days past that had been, but without knowing today's date, that was impossible. He could call the nurse but he was loath to wake Sherlock, for his pale, shadowed face showed that he obviously needed the sleep.
John yawned, and stretched a bit, trying to see how stiff he'd become. It would give him a clue as to how long he'd been here. Not too stiff then, he thought as he flexed his feet. What had happened to them?
Sherlock stirred then. John stilled. He really should sleep some more, though he couldn't deny that the need for answers was becoming more pressing.
Sherlock's brow furrowed, he shifted uneasily. John reached out a hand, intending to wake him, when he jerked awake, startling them both.
"Jeez Sherlock, you scared the hell out of me!" John said in a rough voice.
Sherlock leaned forwards, ignoring his outburst.
"Are you all right?" He asked John urgently. John frowned.
"I'm in hospital bed, aren't I? I was sort of hoping you could answer that."
Sherlock looked terrible, John realized. His face was pale, drawn, and he had pain lines around his eyes. Looks like he had a headache as well. There was some emotion in his eyes that he was trying hard to cover. Worry, yes, he'd seen that before. But was that…guilt?
"Sherlock, what happened?" Sherlock looked at the ground, and his diagnosis of guilt was strengthened. "What's the matter?"
"What do you remember?"
John thought back through the fuzzy jumble of his memory.
"Nothing really, I was…writing. That's all I can remember. Just writing in the flat." Sherlock ran his hands along his face, then up into his hair, and John felt a surge of fear at his quiet.
He tried to sit up, but then the room spun. Ah, dizzy spells as well, to be added to the symptom list. Wonderful.
Sherlock jumped forwards when he swayed, and caught him before he toppled over the edge of the bed.
"Careful!" Sherlock lowered him back against his pillows, and then sat back down—on none too steady legs of his own, John noticed.
"Sherlock, tell me what happened." John demanded quietly. Sherlock sighed, and clasped his hands together.
"I went to see Lestrade this morning, you remember?" John nodded. "When I got back, I noticed immediately that the flat was much too quiet. You had been writing, sitting in your chair, and nearly unresponsive. I got you, and Mrs. Hudson out, then collapsed myself. You're both fine. Mrs. Hudson is in the next room over, still sleeping." Sherlock's voice was clinical, and cool, but John grew more and more worried as the story went on.
"What was it?"
Sherlock went very still.
"I left the burner on under those chemicals in the kitchen. I was distracted, and my finger…slipped. I could have killed you both with my… stupid mistake." The last of this was said in a choked whisper, and Sherlock pressed his hand against his mouth.
John's eyebrows rose, and then lowered. Sherlock had been all alone then, to remember it all over and over, guilt getting worse and worse. John put a hand out.
"Sherlock, It was an—"
"Don't say it was an accident!" Sherlock burst out, jerking his hand away from John's. John watched with concern as he overbalanced, and had to catch himself against the edge of the bed. He stayed there with his head hanging for a moment.
John sat up again, slowly this time, and laid a hand on Sherlock's shoulder. He flinched, but didn't pull away, and so John left his hand there. He knew he had to make Sherlock realize that this wasn't his fault, or the guilt would get packed away with all the other buried feelings and past issues that haunted Sherlock.
"Sherlock, look. We're all fine. We'll all be okay." Sherlock was shaking his head.
"You couldn't remember, and Mrs. Hudson hasn't woken up yet..."
John shook his own head in turn.
"I did remember, Sherlock. All I was doing was writing. It would have felt like falling asleep, and no one remembers that." John looked at the top of Sherlock's head; he had yet to look up. "And Mrs. Hudson will wake up, she's older than us, it's bound to take her longer to shake off the effects. You know all this Sherlock." John was appealing to Sherlock's logical brain, not to the emotions that were currently making his hands tremble on the bedclothes.
John could tell the moment his words penetrated, for Sherlock's tense shoulders slumped, and he sighed. Looking up at John, he gave him an unreadable look.
"It is my fault." He stated again, but there was none of the anguish of earlier. John twisted his mouth to the side.
"Well, just promise to not do it again, and we'll call it even." John's tone of voice was considerably lighter, but it seemed it was what Sherlock needed. He quirked his mouth, and lowered his eyes again, but his shoulders were relaxed.
SH SH SH
They were released from the hospital that evening, for there were almost no lasting effects, though they all retained a headache. Baker Street had been aired out in their absence, and the air quality was probably now better than it ever had been. Mrs. Hudson immediately went to the kitchen to make them all a pot of tea, while John and Sherlock went upstairs to collapse in their arm chairs.
John was watching Sherlock still, though he was trying to be sneaky about it. Sherlock could see the surreptitious glances every now and then as they drank their tea. In truth, all Sherlock wanted to do was go to bed. The whole thing had been an unexpected ordeal. He rubbed his face, then ran his hands up into his hair.
John yawned, and stood.
"Well, this has been a day." John commented, and Sherlock grunted, not looking up from where he was staring into the fire, his hands still tangled in his curls. John watched him for a moment longer. His face was calm, blank. "I'm going to head up."
Sherlock gave him a perfunctory good night, and listened to him climb the stairs to his room. The room was silent then.
He sat there for a long while, unmoving, barely breathing. The only sign of internal distress was how his hands, still gripping his hair, shook and the knuckles grew white.
Maybe an hour later, maybe longer, he jerked to his feet, scrambling backwards like something was crawling out of the fireplace to attack him. Sherlock, wide-eyed and breathing heavily, turned and rushed up the stairs with panicked steps.
He stopped at the top of the stair, and leaned on John's door frame, clutching his chest.
What was that, you stupid coward? There's nothing down there. Here you go running to John, like you're crying to your mummy. He thought viciously to himself. He told himself to go back to the sitting room, or better yet, go to bed, and forget about this day. Yet a moment later he hadn't moved a muscle. He breathed in deeply, and—
The door jerked open, and Sherlock gasped in alarm, and stepped backwards, nearly going off the edge of the stair well, if it weren't for John's steady arms grabbing his. They both staggered, and then sat heavily as an alternative to falling. John ended up sitting on the top step with his arms still around Sherlock, and was he shaking?
"Sherlock?" John blinked the last of the sleep from his eyes. He'd been dozing when he heard Sherlock flying up the stairs. He'd thought there was something attacking or something. It was lucky for Sherlock that he'd left his gun downstairs. He looked at the trembling detective. "Sherlock, what's the matter?" John tightened his hold on him awkwardly. Normally he'd let go, but Sherlock was gripping his arm across his chest like a lifeline. Sherlock gulped a breath then, and really looked at John for the first time since John opened the door. He released John's arm, slid back until he hit the wall, drawing his knees up.
"Sherlock, talk to me." John scootched over, and knelt in front of Sherlock. "What's going on?"
"I can't stop it." Sherlock's hands crept up to his head again. "I can't turn it off, it just keeps repeating, over and over…" He was muttering, not really looking at anything. John inched closer, touched his knee.
"What does Sherlock? " He asked in the type of voice you talk to a wounded animal with.
Sherlock looked at him then.
"You're dead when I get to you, and Mrs. Hudson. I try and try to come fast enough, and I can't…can't—" He put the back of his hand to his mouth, cutting of his choked words. John, kneeling a mere foot from Sherlock, felt his heart twist at his words. Sherlock's guilt ran much deeper than John had thought. That small resolution at the hospital wasn't enough to stave this off.
John clenched his fists awkwardly, not knowing how best to comfort Sherlock. He was clearly in need of something, but John didn't know what to do. Anyone else he'd pull into a hug, but Sherlock had never been one for physical contact. He settled for putting a hand on Sherlock's thin shoulder, and squeezing.
The contact seemed to ground Sherlock, and he took a few harsh breaths, calming himself. He looked at John again, and he saw that mask come down, the one that said 'Sociopath, stay away' in big red letters. Bull.
John put his other hand on Sherlock's right shoulder, and leaned in, right into his face. He wanted to tell him these words, wanted to pound it into his thick head while the mask was still thin.
"Sherlock, this was. Not. Your. Fault." His words were firm, and full of conviction. Sherlock, looking into those eyes so full of trust in him, couldn't help but believe it, a bit.
SH SH SH SH SH SH SH SH SH
A/N: Well, I hope you enjoyed reading that as much as I did writing it :) I'm issuing a challenge to anyone interested, write two versions of the same story, modern and canon. It's harder than you think! My biggest thing was not calling Holmes, Sherlock and visa versa.
Anyway, thanks for reading! Tell me what you thought!