YAAAY. LOOK WHAT I WROTE. A SHERLOCK FIC. *beams with pride*
I always presumed that Sherlock would come out of the explosion incident worse than John, based on the idea of Watson thinking he'd died (i.e. like in The Final Problem). But obviously, Sherlock would pull through.
Add to that some ideas of how Mycroft would react to his brother nearly dying, and how John would react to Mycroft actually having emotions, and you get this. xD
This wasn't written as slash, just friendship - John and Sherlock each only have one proper friend in the entire world, and that's each other. That relationship has always seemed fantastic to me, and if it doesn't credit putting your hand over his whilst he's unconscious, then what does? So what if people talk. People do little else :')
But, saying that, you're more than welcome to read this as slash if you like. I do ship it, I just don't write it :)
Finally, a massive thankyou to my Beta reader, Google Eleanor. Now, this stupid thing won't let me link you to her, but I think you should go pay her a visit anyway. She's got these great fics, see, Untitled and Unknowing... they're really fantastic. :')
Anyway, without further ado, on with the fic! :) Part Two will be up by tomorrow :D
Nobody liked him. It was a fact of life.
Of course, there were people who could put up with him; Lestrade, Mycroft, even Molly and her strange affinity to him - but they didn't like him. He didn't consider them as friends.
Sherlock Holmes had resigned to the fact long ago that he wouldn't ever get friends. Even as a young boy, sitting in the playground, reading, he knew he couldn't associate with the other children. No, because he was a boy in need of some actual, decent, stimulating conversation. And the other children - no matter how hard they tried or how much he pretended - just didn't fit the bill.
So, that was that. Sherlock Holmes - the lonely wanderer, ever searching for something to cure the boredom. Ever running from the overbearing brother who insisted on keeping tabs on him and tried to indoctrinate him almost daily into signing up for some tedious, office-job in the government.
Pfft. As if that was ever going to happen.
But anyway, he was alone. He cared for nobody.
So why the hell was there a man sitting next to his bed, obviously in a great deal of pain of his own from the sounds of it, sounding positively tear-choked as he tried to reassure Sherlock that 'everything was going to be alright'?
He'd never believed that people in a state of unconsciousness to the world could actually hear their surroundings - the workings of the inner brain just didn't seem to agree with it. But, apparently, they could - proved by the sound of the regulated beeping of the heart monitor in the room and John Watson's voice as he kept talking and talking. Sherlock had never heard him talk so much. He definitely didn't feel the need to fill the silences so thoroughly when Sherlock was awake.
"... obviously, Mrs. Hudson's worried sick - I think she'll go mental if you don't wake up soon, Sherlock. She's even took the skull out of the airing cupboard as a reminder of you! I know, I told you - mental. She misses you though - we all do..."
That was odd. A sort of distant feeling - almost as if it were happening to someone else. As if John's hand was closing over someone else's.
He laughed. That weathered, husky laugh that brightened up most situations. "Imagine if I did this when you were awake, hey?" Sherlock could hear the lopsided smile on his face, as John's voice deepened into mock sincerity, "People might talk."
Oh, how much he wanted to be able to control his own body again at that moment! What he wouldn't have given for the simple ability to just reply "People do little else." The situation didn't seem complete without it - and Sherlock observed he wasn't the only one who thought so. John didn't speak again for a good ten minutes, the only sound that of the beeping of the heart monitor - the first time Sherlock had a chance to listen to it in a while, now.
And God, that heartbeat sounded uncomfortably slow. He hated having to listen to it - the reminder that no matter how alert and alive his mind was, his body just wasn't keeping up.
John sighed, taking his hand from Sherlock's. Sherlock vaguely registered the newfound coldness on his hand - the desire to have the other man's hand over it once more in comfort. But, as was so frustrating about being unconscious, he couldn't do anything about it.
The new voice was a woman's, one that Sherlock wouldn't have recognized a week ago, but had heard a number of times in his comatose state. John's sister, Harry Watson. He heard the muffled click of her shoes on the floor as she headed closer, towards John.
"You should get some sleep," she said to her brother. John didn't reply. Harry sighed. "You've been here for hours, John. You're not well, either. You were in that explosion too-"
"Yes, but I'm not unconscious, am I?"
Harry tutted. "You soon will be if you don't get any sleep," she said darkly. Again, John said nothing for a while.
"I can't just leave him on his own."
Sherlock's heart ached at that - an unfamiliar feeling. He wanted John to get some sleep too; he'd heard the slight slur in the older man's voice, the constant yawning. It was true he'd pass out if he didn't go to sleep soon.
But at the same time, he wanted him to stay - yet another unfamiliar emotion. He'd survived for so long alone just fine, and yet the thought of John Watson beside him made everything that little bit better.
Harry's voice broke Sherlock's uncomfortably sentimental train of thought. "The nurses are looking for you."
John scoffed. "They're not trying very hard then, are they? Where else would I be?"
"I don't think they'd guess you could make it up to intensive care on your own."
"I've been shot, Harry. I haven't had a stroke."
Harry gave an incredulous laugh. "You were in an explosion, in which you happened to get shot! John, you're lucky to be alive!"
John made a noise which sounded a lot like "pfft." If he could, Sherlock would have smiled.
Harry sighed, and Sherlock heard her sit down - probably on the arm of the chair that John was sitting on from the disgruntled shuffling sound that followed.
"Please, John," she said, and she really was pleading, "Go to bed. Get some sleep. For me. My nerves are gone - I thought all this worrying about whether you're going to survive the day or not had finished now."
There was another massive pause, before another sigh and some more shuffling. John let out a little groan as he pushed himself to his feet."Fine," he said huskily, "just... fine."
And after a short pause, Sherlock listened to the dull click of his crutch as John headed out of the room, leaving Sherlock with nothing but a very silent Harry Watson and his own monotonous and still dangerously slow heartbeat.
So, his limp was back. Sherlock felt sad at that thought - the limp which John had been so keen to get rid of, so happy to have cured, had returned, probably with a medical reason to back it up this time. Sherlock would find away to fix it. He always did.
That is, if his body decided to ever work again.
After a brief sigh from Harry Watson, presumably following an intensive look at the man in the bed, she spoke. Her voice was low and sincere.
"I don't know what he sees in you, you know," she began, still standing, sounding detached. "I mean, it's you who got him into this, isn't it? Without you," she said the word as an accusation, "he'd be fine."
Sherlock scoffed inside his own mind. He had a million clever retorts spinning around his head, unable to voice any of them. It was so damn infuriating.
But it was blatantly obvious to anyone with more than three brain cells that if John had never met Sherlock, he'd be anything but fine. The man had been miserable when Sherlock had first met him - and since, he'd brightened up a lot. A flame had begun burning in his eyes that lit up at the thought of danger - a fire that Sherlock thought made John twice the man of any other he'd ever met.
A brilliant man with an idiot for a sister, obviously. A sister who continued to speak.
"But, saying that - I wish you'd wake up."
"He's moping around the hospital, trying to escape to intensive care whenever he can. I don't know why, and I wish he wouldn't, but for some godforsaken reason my brother actually cares for you, you anti-social headcase. And he's the only one, from what I've heard. So the least you could do is wake up."
Her words were cold, no doubt about that, but they were tainted with a pleading note - it was definite that Harriet Watson cared for her brother. A lot.
Not that Sherlock didn't. The idea of John being miserable again made him hurt, for reasons he couldn't comprehend. Not only was that dangerously annoying, having something he couldn't understand, but it made him aware of his human emotions - something which Sherlock Holmes had never expressed any wish to experience. So, Harry's words hit home for Sherlock - he wanted to wake up just as much as she wanted him to, for the same reasons. For John.
But his body wouldn't respond!
With another sigh, Harry left, the click of her heels getting fainter and fainter as she left the ward, leaving Sherlock alone with his uncomfortably emotional thoughts and his own, unresponsive heartbeat.
Inevitably, John returned.
"Those nurses are far too easy to slip past. Either that, or you're rubbing off on me."
Again, Sherlock could hear the smile on John's face. It made him feel better, happier - more hopeful.
Even as John sat in silence, the beeping of his heartbeat didn't seem as foreboding any more. Just the doctor's presence made the coma easier to bear. Soon enough, the one-sided chatter returned, Sherlock replying in his own mind, his own unconscious monologue.
Sherlock didn't even count how long it was before more footsteps entered the room - he wouldn't have noticed if John hadn't stopped speaking. He didn't greet the newcomer, however - perhaps he didn't know them? Perhaps ... perhaps he didn't know what to say?
If the latter were true, there was only one person it could be...
"How is he?"
The voice confirmed Sherlock's suspicions. He didn't know whether to groan or gasp - not that he could physically do either. For standing, presumably at the foot of his bed, probably with an umbrella swung over his arm and a PA in tow, was Sherlock's elder brother Mycroft, a sincere note of worry in his voice that Sherlock rarely heard. That anyone rarely heard.
"He's... stable." John replied quietly. Sherlock could have sworn he heard Mycroft sigh. Footsteps advanced and the eldest Holmes sat down next to his younger brother's head. He pushed a curl from Sherlock's face.
Well, that was odd.
There was a sort of tradition, in the Holmes family - especially between the brothers. Concern, brotherly love, affection - they simply weren't shown. And Sherlock was fine with that. Mycroft was fine with that. Sherlock didn't think he'd ever hugged his brother - because really, what was the point? He let himself care for Mycroft no more than an acknowledgement of their brotherhood; he didn't see him, so the bond they once shared - if it had ever been there at all - had all but fizzled out.
And yet here they were, Mycroft breathing heavily next to Sherlock, an undeniable amount of worry in his voice.
If he could, Sherlock would have laughed.
"I tried to get here earlier, days ago - but it seems the government can't run itself without me."
Oh, yes. There was the Mycroft Sherlock knew. Horribly immodest. So far up himself you couldn't tell where he begun and ended. Lazy as hell.
John stifled a laugh - not very well, seeing as Sherlock could hear him. Sherlock wanted to laugh too, so very badly. Nothing gave him greater amusement than his brother's humiliation.
Mycroft pretended - and Sherlock knew very well he was pretending - he didn't notice, just as John's laughter cut short abruptly. Sherlock could hear the confusion in John's voice.
"...Did you see that?"
Mycroft shifted in his chair, presumably to face John. "See what?"
John hesitated. "Sherlock..." he said, slowly, "I thought - I mean, I thought I saw... his mouth..." He trailed away. If he could, Sherlock would have scoffed.
No, John, I did not move. My body is being ridiculously unresponsive.
Silence fell once more between the men in the room, and Sherlock was sure John was still contemplating what he might or might not have seen. After a little while, however, Mycroft picked up on something obvious.
"You're surprised to see me here, Dr Watson." It wasn't a question.
"Yes." John didn't bother lying. Sherlock could imagine the smirk on his brother's face.
"Just because our relationship is... unorthodox, doesn't make Sherlock any less my brother."
John paused before answering. "No," he said, "no, i suppose it doesn't."
Then there was silence, an unasked question hanging in the air that undoubtedly everyone in the room knew John was itching to ask. Anybody in his situation would be - and, annoyingly, Sherlock couldn't do anything about it.
Eventually, it spilled out, if a little stuttered.
"What," John coughed, "What - erm, - Sherlock..."
"What was he like as a child?"
Mycroft chuckled in a way Sherlock hadn't heard since he was a child. "Awkward," was the answer. John laughed too. Sherlock felt humiliated, lying between them.
"He's seven years younger than me," Mycroft went on, "which is an awkward age gap for any children. But someone like Sherlock? Dr Watson, I can assure you, it was positively infuriating." Mycroft was grinning, Sherlock was sure of that, "When he was seven and I was fourteen, and he was at a curious age anyway, I wanted to move out."
John laughed again, and as nice as it was to hear, Sherlock would have gladly hit him.
"Really?" he asked, "Why? What did he do?"
"He was Sherlock," Mycroft stressed, "he experimented. He researched. He stalked me."
Mycroft laughed softly. "Me and my first girlfriend Freya. Needless to say, the relationship didn't last long once Sherlock told her about her parents impending divorce."
Oh, yes. Lovely Freya. Well, it wasn't Sherlock's fault the signs were so blaringly obvious. It was only her mum they ever saw, she changed the subject when Mycroft asked about her parents... the list went on. Really, Mycroft knew too, but he was too blinded by stupid things like feelings and having to care that he didn't see fit to inform her of it.
Pfft. It was only right to tell her. And how could Sherlock have predicted the slap across the face Mycroft was going to get, really? He was seven years old, for god's sake.
John's laughing was - thankfully - dying down. Sherlock had his comeback to the laughter all ready - he could even imagine himself saying it, how he'd express hims-
That was odd. If he wasn't in a coma... he could have sworn he felt his hand twitch...
Of course, his dearest older brother and friend were too busy laughing at various Sherlock stories to notice. How kind.
"... when he first got his violin! Oh, John, it was like a cat - being strangled."
Ha! How dare he. Sherlock was a fine violinist. Mycroft knew that.
And so did John! So why was he still laughing?
"I can imagine," he choked out, between laughs.
Really, thought Sherlock, scoffing internally, how do the nurses not hear them laughing? This is getting ridiculous.
"And yet," Mycroft continued, "he was still always their favourite."
Oh, the lies.
John's laughter died down, and Sherlock felt Mycroft's hand over his again. He wanted to pull it away. It wasn't true Sherlock had always been his parent's favourite. Sherlock had never been his parents favourite. He was antisocial, he was strange and eccentric - no, perfect little Mycroft had always stayed on their good side.
Sherlock felt the unnecessary anger build in his stomach as he completely overreacted, and made an actual effort to pull his hand from underneath Mycroft's. He liked it better when they didn't speak.
But, even if Sherlock had the ability to move his hand at that point, however, Mycroft clamped his hand down harder. The change in atmosphere was almost tangible as Sherlock heard Mycroft shift in his seat.
"Mycroft?" John asked, picking up on the change and sounding confused, "What's the matter?"
Mycroft took a moment to answer. "I thought that maybe... his hand..."
Sherlock felt a slight change in weight as John leaned forward on his bed. "It moved? Did he move?"
John's question hung in the air as Sherlock - and Mycroft - tried to figure out the answer. Sherlock hadn't felt himself move, and Mycroft could be mistaken-
"Mycroft! Did he move?"
In the silence, Sherlock listened to his own heartbeat, the regular beeping of the monitor - and he was sure his elder brother was, too. He hadn't listened to it in so long - since John came into the room. He didn't know whether there had been any change.
Apparently, neither did Mycroft.
"His heartbeat, John - has it changed?"
There was a shuffling noise as John turned to look at the monitor. "What do you mean?"
Mycroft was getting impatient, Sherlock could tell. His hand was still clamped over Sherlock's and his voice was clipped. "Has it changed? Has it sped up at all?"
Whether it had or hadn't, Sherlock could feel it thumping in his chest for the first time in days. He felt alive - whether from nerves or anticipation or something else entirely he didn't know. But he was there. He felt more like himself than he had since the explosion.
John's answer was delayed and stuttered. "I- I don't know, I haven't been-"
"For God's sake, John! You're the doctor here!" Mycroft's temper seemed to snap, and not for any of the usual reasons that Sherlock was aware of. It seemed impossible that Mycroft would actually care so much about his younger brother, enough to start shouting the odds in a hospital - and yet, here he was, yelling for a nurse or a doctor or a medical professional of some kind, whilst John sat in silence.
Mycroft had taken his hand away from Sherlock's when he had stood up and started calling out, but John's hand had quickly replaced it on his other side. He didn't seem as desperate as Mycroft had, he didn't hold on with force - his calloused hand lay gently across Sherlock's, his thumb softly stroking the younger man's porcelain skin.
"Come on, Sherlock," he whispered, in stark contrast to Mycroft's shouting, "I know you're in there."
"...why in God's name haven't the nurses arrived yet?"
Sherlock tried to focus on John and ignore his brother's tantrum at the other end of the room - yes, that was Mycroft, always shouting when he couldn't get his way... he was far too used to people just doing as he told them... Sherlock tried to think of nothing but the reality of the man on his left - his friend, and tried desperately to open his eyes.
"Sherlock, please," John seemed to beg, "come back to us. Wake up."
He heard the nurse come hurrying into the room, with Mycroft still shouting, his calm, collected persona that the public saw all but dissolved. Because he wasn't really like that - and Sherlock knew; Mycroft had just the same short fuse as his younger brother, he just knew how to mask it better.
"What the hell took you so long!"
The poor woman (or man) scurried to Sherlock's right, not saying a word against Mycroft. Either she'd been told who he was, or his great, hulking form had just intimidated her anyway. Mycroft inherited that from their father - strong frame, firmly built. Sherlock always said he needed to go on a diet, too - which always earned him some form of slap. Ha! Parent's favourite, indeed. Really. What eight year old had a chance with a loud, smug git like Mycroft about.
"Mr. Holmes?" The nurse was a woman, as expected, and her voice was timid underneath Mycroft. Sherlock tried to listen to what she was saying - that, and the softer, warmer voice...
"... back to Baker Street, back to Mrs. Hudson - imagine Anderson's face when he sees you've pulled through! Come on, Sherlock, please - I don't know what my life would be like without you."
John was welling up - Sherlock could hear it in his voice, and his own heart ached at that. He tried to listen, to hang on John Watson's every word, every promise of life back at Baker Street, with murders and serial killers and perfect, uncrackable codes...
But it was so god damn difficult with Mycroft still shouting, for no apparent reason!
"... time is of the essence! Couldn't you have got here any quicker?"
The nurse turned her attention to Mycroft. "Please, sir, stop shouting-"
Yes, for God's sake Mycroft, listen to her - stop shouting!
"Stop shouting! You don't understand! You weren't here! If something goes wrong now, I'm holding you personally responsible-"
He was closer now, next to John, drowning out the soothing words. He had a habit of doing that. Getting rid of things Sherlock cared about. He used to throw away the dead mice Sherlock used to keep in his room. He used to tell their Mother and Father when Sherlock had something he wasn't supposed to. He always made himself heard, got himself noticed, forcing Sherlock into the background.
Sherlock felt his eyelids flutter. John's grip tightened. The nurse left his side, trying in vain to calm Mycroft down.
"...my brother's delicate condition! Don't you know who I am?"
"I can have you fired like you never existed!"
There he was again! Throwing his position around, trying to get people to listen, bullying people with authority that people went to great extent to make such nobody knew he had - it was ridiculous, really, Mycroft's need for power. He'd always been like that - but of course, nobody but Sherlock ever noticed! He really didn't know why he'd ever looked up to his brother the way he had; he was really nothing but an arrogant, selfish pig!
And one who wouldn't stop shouting!
"Mumph shurr hellup."
All at once, the noise stopped.
Silence fell at the odd, mumbling noise, only broken by the beeping. The intake of breath from all occupants in the room was almost tangible, as Sherlock ignored the heart monitor, his own internal monologue still raving about his brother. Mycroft had now, indeed, shut up, for reasons Sherlock didn't know. The mumbling seemed inconspicuous enough from his perspective - a little strange even, perhaps a muffled shout from another ward? But no, the other people in the room had found it amazing enough to cease their yelling. Of course, it wasn't as if Sherlock wasn't grateful - if he was able, he would have told them to shut up without even thinking-
Sherlock interrupted his own thoughts and listened more carefully to the monitor's beeping.
Now that definitely sounded quicker than before.
He actually felt his own heart speed up as his mind began to pick up speed again and he heard the nurse being pushed (rather forcefully, or so it sounded) aside as Mycroft's hand found it's way back over Sherlock's.
Slowly, tentatively, as if he didn't really know what to do, Sherlock tried to open his eyes.
He felt his eyelids flutter - John's hand tightened over his.
"Sherlock? Sherlock, are you there?" That was Mycroft.
"Sherlock?" John's voice was still quiet and gentle, "What did you say?"
He swallowed - his throat was dry. He didn't know how long he'd been unconscious, but it was a very long time. To his surprise, he felt the familiar movements of his throat, the bobbing of his own adam's apple as he did so. Carefully, he tried to speak.
"I said," his voice was raspy, unused, tentative, "Mycroft..."
"Yes? Sherlock... Sherlock I'm here. What did you want to say?" The words came spilling out at speed.
Sherlock tried to open his eyes again; this time with success. After a brief flutter, they opened, and the light came pouring in. It burned the back of Sherlock's corneas, the bright light of the ward blinding him momentarily and making him squint.
It felt strange, having his sight back after so long with nothing but internal blackness. And it hurt. It took him a while to focus his eyes, but nobody spoke whilst he did. He couldn't move his head - his neck was stiff -, so all he could do to block out the light was blink and squint, trying to stop the pain whilst not wanting to be rendered blind for any longer. He felt his mouth move, apparently of it's own accord as his brain found it had regained the use of his face, and the nurse - who he had still yet to see - sounded worried when she spoke.
"Mr. Holmes, are you alright? The doctors are on their way, just hold on."
The first thing Sherlock saw when his eyes focussed was his older brother, looming over him, eyes wide in panic. His right hand was resting on Sherlock's chest, his left around Sherlock's hand so tightly the knuckles were white. His eyes flitted over Sherlock's face, the slightly dull grey meeting the piercing blue, looking for any sign of distress. He wasn't wearing a jacket or a tie - God knew how long it had been since he'd been home, but he hadn't shaved in at least two days, either. And as Sherlock looked properly into his brother's eyes for the first time, he was forced to admit that Mycroft might have actually been genuinely scared for Sherlock's life.
Maybe he wasn't so cold-hearted, after all. Not that Sherlock would ever admit so.
The expectant look on his brother's face reminded Sherlock that he had been speaking. He tried to smile, but only managed to drag one half of his mouth up one little bit.
"Shut the hell up," he accented, watching his brother's face fall quickly into a scowl as the doctors came rushing in, ushering everybody out, blocking out the nurse - and more importantly, blocking out John from view.
If he had the strength (which seemed to have dwindled very quickly), he would have pushed the doctors aside to get a view of the man he'd been waiting to see - the man whose kinds words had dragged him from unconsciousness.
Instead, he let his eyes close again as they examined him.