Title: And I Shall Fear No Evil
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Summary: John's been taken by an unknown enemy who will stop at nothing to find out more about one Mr. Sherlock Holmes. Companion to 'For Thou Art With Me', but can stand alone.
AN – I adore this show more than I adore Chris Pine's jaw line. And there are very few things I adore more than Chris Pine's jaw line. Also – NERDFIGHTERS! A pretend cookie to whoever finds the reference.
John Watson was not a superstitious man. He was not frightened of black cats and he had no qualms about walking beneath ladders. He had been known to pop open umbrellas indoors and, heaven have mercy, to have broken a mirror while looking in it. However – he was perfectly prepared to accept that there were things that were beyond human perceptions.
Exhibit A: Thursdays.
John banged his knee on a cupboard door, and swore.
"If you make any more of a fuss," Sherlock called from the sitting room. There was annoyance dripping from the consulting detective's voice, and it did little to improve John's stormy state of mind. "I shall have to assume that someone is attempting to murder you."
John kicked the cupboard shut, and succeeded only in stubbing his toe. He swore once more beneath his breath, taking the time to make several colourful suggestions as to where Sherlock could shove his attitude problems. "Sorry," John said then, "it's just –"
"Yes, John, it's Thursday, and you could never get the hang of Thursdays, as you say almost every Thursday," Sherlock said, and there was a loud thud from the other room. John idly hoped that it hadn't been anything very expensive. "And is stupid, even by your standards. I know you have a plethora of psychological idiosyncrasies, but do try to at least be logical about them."
"Its not illogical. Bad things happen on Thursdays," John answered, and then, because he could already tell that it was going to be one of 'those days', he decided to take his chances and continued to argue his point. "Clara left Harry on a Thursday. I was shot on a Thursday. I got kidnapped by circus performers on a Thursday. Moriarty cropped up on a Thursday."
"We were introduced on a Thursday," Sherlock said, a thoughtful note in his voice. "Which makes your point in –"
John snorted, and, as he was feeling especially obtuse that particular morning, said, "Yes, because clearly your acquaintance has made my life an effortless wave of joy."
There was a miffed pause from the other room. "You are insinuating that I am a part of your irrational insistence that a day is out to get you, but I refuse to have any part of it," Sherlock said.
John laughed to himself, and continued making his breakfast. Eggs, he thought, would be lovely. With a bit of toast. There is another thud from Sherlock's general direction, and John sends up a prayer, once again, that it wasn't anything valuable. He routed about in the kitchen, searching for bread. While searching, he found three sets of eyes, a jar of teeth, and what appeared to be a dusty, stuffed ferret. Finally, he found a piece of bread. John examined it, and sniffed it, and finding nothing obviously wrong with it, popped it into the toaster.
Where it burnt to a crisp.
It was a moot point, at any rate, for they had no eggs either. John swore once again, and gave up. He sat at the table, a mug of lukewarm tea in front of him, and read the paper. But his stomach rumbled, and so it was with a heavy heart that nearly an hour later he pulled on his coat and gloves.
"I'm off to the store," John said, already pulling the door open. "Do you need anything?"
He looked back into the flat, and could only see the curly top of Sherlock's head. Sherlock didn't answer; but, John hadn't expected him to. John walked out the door, and tripped over the last stair. He swore for what was probably the millionth time that morning, and walked off in the direction of the grocery.
John strolled, feeling more and more optimistic about the day.
Of course, that was when the black car pulled up alongside of him. That was when the three men came flying at him from the right. That was when, before John could really do anything about in retaliation, a needle was shoved into the side of his neck and he was shoved to the floor of the car.
I, he thought before he passed out, fucking hate Thursdays.
And John Watson was driven forcibly off the face of the earth.
John woke up. He could feel the toes of shoes pressing into his back, and the sound of wheels on pavement. Car, he thought fuzzily. They bounced. Train tracks, maybe? He stayed still, every instinct screaming to not move. None of the others in the car – John assumed there were four, based on the fact that there were two sets of feet jostling his back after every bump in the road. That would mean there was most likely someone riding in the passenger seat, and then the driver. Four people.
Good, John, Sherlock's voice whispered, as clear as if in his ear, Very good. You're learning very quickly, by average standards.
John found himself wishing he'd been thrown in the back hatch of the car; but these four had left very little to chance. If he'd been placed in the back, he'd have been able to kick out a tail light. In his current position, he couldn't even sit up, let alone attempt an escape.
John tried to move his arms, and found himself bound.
"He's awake," a deep voice said.
It was another ten minutes – or, at least, John counted to sixty ten times – before the car ground to a stop. They pulled him out of the car. John caught a glimpse of a dirt driveway, a large barn, and a cow before they pulled him into the aforementioned barn.
They bound his hands behind his back, and started to beat him with feet and hands. John tried to fight back, at first, but he was outnumbered and still drowsy from whatever they'd dosed him with. It seemed to go on forever, and eventually they stopped. Black Eyes leaned down
"On the slim chance you survive, I am instructed to tell you this. You will tell Sherlock Holmes nothing," hissed the man with the black eyes harshly into John's ear, before throwing him down on the floor and walking to the door. John looked up as the man paused. A cold laugh came from beneath his ski mask. The other – with the burly arms – gave him a harsh kick in the side. "You're going to die here, Doctor Watson," Black Eyes said.
And then John was left alone to count the days.
He tried to escape - just the once. They were waiting outside. Burly Arms snapped one of his ankles to make sure he wouldn't try and run again.
The fifth day, the men returned, a glimmering knife held in Black Eyes' hand. "You will tell me, now, everything that you know about Sherlock Holmes," he said.
Its then that John spat in his face.
That was when the whip makes itself known. And, as it turned out, whips and knives were not the most pleasant combination in the world.
John lost track of time after that. It all blurred together, a tornado of pain and agony. It is broken only long enough for the men to whisper, to scream, to yell and rant and drill into his mind the idea that No one is coming for you, you are alone, you will tell Sherlock Holmes nothing, you will tell us everything. They would pause, then, and he would simply stare at them, his answer hanging in the air.
You are wrong.
They leave when the sun sets, leave John curled in on himself and trying desperately to think himself away from the situation. It had been five days, he thought, five fucking days. If Sherlock was coming, then surely he'd be here by –
"No," he said to the cold dark surrounding him. He was not going to go down that path. He would not give these men, whoever they might be any satisfaction. And with that thought, he swore to himself that he would not tell them anything – absolutely nothing. Until Sherlock came for him, he would not utter a single word.
Black Eyes and Burly Arms came back five days later, and this time they brought a friend with. John had crawled to a corner, unable to find an exit or muster any energy to stand. He had managed to find a few gulps of muddy water from a rain shower. He tucked away the information that wherever he was, that it had rained, to tell Sherlock later on.
But now, Black Eyes yanked his arms to tug John to his feet, and threw him into a chair, tying his hands in front of him. John gasped at the sudden contact. Burly Arms and Black Eyes stood behind John on either side of him. "Good morning, John," the new man said, "It's Monday, October fourteenth. You have been here for ten days. How are you holding up?"
This one scared John in a way that Black Eyes and Burly Arms never would. It was not because of his conversational tone, and it wasn't because he was quietly cleaning his glasses in a very normal way. It was simple: This man was not wearing a mask.
John, remembering his promise to not make any more sounds, simply stared back.
"My name's Sebastian, John," he said, "And I wanted to talk to you."
John just stared. His head was swimming with hunger and thirst and pain.
Sebastian sat down on a chair directly across from John, and set a box down on the floor. He began to rummage through it, and then came up with a bag containing sliced apples. "An apple a day keeps the doctor away, eh?"
John shuddered, his eyes fixed on the fruit. He was weak, shaking – he knew that his various injuries had surely become infected by now, and that meant fever, which could lead to, no not going there no – and Sebastian was smiling at him.
"What, are you hungry, John?" Sebastian pulled out a single slice, and ate it slowly. John wanted to cry with want. God was he hungry, starving...
"Here you are, John," Sebastian said, pulling a whole apple from the box. He placed it in John's hands, and then sat back with his legs crossed. Before John could even take the time to consider that maybe it was poison, or had a razor shoved inside of it, he had devoured it, seeds and all. Sebastian laughed, "Oh, yes. Feel better, don't you?"
Now, Sebastian pulled a bottle of water from his box. He offered it to John. It hurt John, it physically hurt to take the bottle and down it. But if it was survival over dignity, he would take survival every time.
"Now that we've taken care of the pressing issues at hand, down to business," Sebastian said. "John, I work for a man that I believe you've had the pleasure of meeting. Do you know to whom I'm inferring?"
John continued to stare steadily back at Sebastian. They may've reduced him to something below an animal, but that didn't mean he was going to jump through their damned hoops.
"I see you're not very talkative today, John. That's all right. I can do the talking for us both," Sebastian took off his glasses again and polished them again. "Now. My employer is not the most understanding of fellows. And he wants to know what you know about Sherlock Holmes. If you don't tell me, or my associates here, my employer is going to come here himself. And, trust me, John, you don't want that to happen. The question stands: are you going to tell me something?"
"So," John said, and his voice was a facsimile of what it was ten days before, "Your employer wants to know about Sherlock?"
Sebastian grinned. "Yes, John. Are you ready to cooperate?"
John grinned, positive that it was more grimace. "Your employer can...go fuck himself. And stop saying my name every...every other sentence...sounds ridiculous."
Sebastian sighed, and stood. "I had hoped you'd be more reasonable, John, being a military man."
Black Eyes stuck a needle in the side of John's neck. When he came to, he was alone again.
There was the sound of the door swinging open. Footsteps walked across the floor. John was jerked roughly upright, his stomach churning, his head throbbing, and his muscles screaming protests. A hand grabbed his chin roughly. "Wakey, wakey, Johnny Boy."
John felt his heart drop. Of course, he thought, I should've really seen this coming. He forced his eyes open.
"Hi," Jim Moriarty said, inches from John's face, "Are you enjoying the accommodations? I told Sebastian you'd like it, he seemed to think you'd rather a warehouse. But, really, John, your comfort is very important."
John knew he shouldn't. He knew it more than he'd ever known anything in his entire life. But Moriarty's face was right there, so close.
"I said," Moriarty sounded a little rougher than before, "Don't you agree, John?"
John smiled. Moriarty raised an eyebrow. Then John whipped his head forward to smack Moriarty square in the face with his forehead.
Moriarty reeled back with a snarl. He staggered off to the side, and Burly Arms laid a solid punch into John's stomach. The doctor gasped, attempting to curl in on himself. His vision was covered with black spots. When it cleared, it was to Moriarty some distance away, the bottom half of his face covered in blood. That was very stupid, John, Sherlock's voice whispered. John felt vindicated anyway.
When Moriarty turned to look at John, he looked like he was wearing a mask, all twisted anger and fucked up hate. "Untie him," Moriarty commanded, "and stretch out his arm on the table."
John's head was spinning, and he was too weak to attempt an escape as Black Eyes and Burly Arms did as their master ordered. John looked up at Moriarty, who now was the perfect model of calm. He was also holding a very heavy looking board, with several rusted nails sticking out from it. John didn't need Sherlock's intellect to know where this was going.
"No," Moriarty said, and gestured forward with the board, "The right arm. Not his left."
John felt a chill. He was going to screw with his good arm? Fine. But John was still going to say absolutely nothing.
And then Moriarty swung the board down, ruthless and swift. John felt rather than heard the crack of the bone breaking, felt the nails digging away at his flesh as Moriarty yanked the wood away. John clamped down his teeth, a scream welling up in his throat. And then Moriarty smashed his arm a second time, and the scream was dragged out.
Moriarty threw the board down to the floor. John could only stare at the bone that was protruding from his arm.
"Kill him," said Moriarty. Black Eyes picked up his knife. As he advanced on John, John thought in a daze of pain that it was really anticlimactic, to have survived a war and Sherlock and getting strapped with explosives to be killed in barn, bled out like a pig.
"I'm going to enjoy this," Black eyes said, grabbing John's hair and bringing the knife to his throat.
But then Moriarty held up a hand, "No. Wait."
Black Eyes froze. John's blood hammered in his ears. Then –
"Don't kill him. It's going to be freezing in the city tonight," Moriarty said, and got right in John's face again. "Bring him to the river bank. Let him die alone. Let him die knowing that in a few days, when he's blue, and swollen, and bugs and birds have been eating at his corpse that dear Sherlock will be the one to find him. I told our Mr. Holmes I'd burn the heart out of him. Let's freeze you instead, Doctor. For I say that for destruction ice is also great, and will suffice."
Moriarty shoved John's head to the floor. "Good bye, Doctor Watson," he said, and then kicked him viciously in the head.
Everything got foggy after that. Darkness, bumping. He thought maybe he was in a trunk. Every time he bounced, lightening ran through his arm to his spine, making him want to sob like a child. Then he was being dragged, then dropped. The next time he became aware, it was to the most intense cold he had ever felt. He shivered, and forced an eye open. Piercing yells echoed around him, and then he faded away again.
Sometime later, John slammed back into reality.
Everything was pain, pins and needles and whirling colors threatening to overwhelm him. His ears roared. He gasped, air refusing to fill his lungs. Someone was holding him down. Burly Arms, probably. John struggled as best he could, limbs heavy and refusing to fight as he wanted them to. It was only a matter of time before Black Eyes came back with the knife. He tried to yell, to revolt, to try and stop the pain before it came. He sucked in a gasp of air to scream in their faces Before God I will tell you nothing! But it came out as a strangled rush of whimpered words.
And then he was floating, light and heavy all at once.
Shuddering, he surrendered to the shadows.
The next time John resurfaced, it was much slower. A gradual returning of sensation to different parts of him, one at a time. A dull ache that radiated from his left arm. A soft pillow beneath his head. Warm blankets tucked securely around his torso, but not his arms. He shifted slightly, and the pain growled like a slumbering animal. Right then, he thinks, no more moving.
John opened his eyes, and the room spun in lazy, sickening circles. Someone was leaning over him, someone made of dark colours and pale skin. They were silent, looming. John stared up, swallowing down nausea and feeling his throat burn. Silver eyes looked back down at him. He focused in on the eyes, then the face, and gradually the room stilled.
Sherlock stared back down at him. The taller man had several days' worth of stubble on his cheeks, black circles beneath his haunted eyes, and his mouth open slightly. He looked utterly shattered. "John," Sherlock said, and then stopped, shivering slightly and pulling his coat closed tighter. "I – John, I –"
"There was a barn," John said. Every ounce of the pitiful amount of energy in him was pushed into his words. "And a cow. Could hear a motorway not too...too far off. I was unconscious for the…beginning of the drive, but we crossed at least one set of train tr…tracks. They were wearing –"
"Shush, John," Sherlock's hand landed on top of his head. It was shaking. John wondered vaguely if he was actually only dreaming. "Later. You can tell me later. Rest, now. Just rest."
John frowned – that was certainly not the reaction he had expected. He wanted to argue, but as he always seemed to be, Sherlock was light years ahead of him.
"I will find them, I swear it," Sherlock said. "But you must rest. Please. For me?"
Oh, how John wanted to. He closed his eyes, and Sherlock's hand ghosted over his hair as if he was afraid that he may accidently break the doctor by applying too much pressure. John was drifting away again, but he couldn't shake the feeling that he was forgetting something, something so very important. Then he remembered, and forced his eyes open again. Sherlock had a strange look on his face, somewhere in the middle of exasperation, anxiety, and affection. It occurred to John that he still didn't know how long he had been missing. But that didn't matter now – right now, he had to tell Sherlock, had to make sure…God, he had never been this tired before, not even in Afghanistan…
"Didn't…didn't tell them anything," John said. Sherlock's eyes glinted, and had it been anyone else, John would think that he was trying not to cry. "Swear…not a thing."
"I know, John," Sherlock said. His voice had become rough around the edges. "I know. Now will you please go to sleep?"
The third time John woke up, the doctor was waiting.
"Good morning, Mr. Watson –"
"Doctor," said Sherlock from the corner before John's brain could even process the doctor's words. He could process, however, that Sherlock sounded cold enough to freeze an ocean. "His name is Doctor Watson."
The doctor sent a vague, piss off type smile towards Sherlock. "Doctor Watson, then. I just need to ask you a few questions to make sure you've no brain damage. Do you understand?"
John nodded. Coughed. Sherlock had a cup of water to his mouth quickly enough that John convinced himself that he had teleported to his side.
Then, the doctor began firing questions. Sherlock had returned to hovering in the corner. "Name?" asked the doctor.
John stared up at the doctor. "You…you haven't introduced…yourself." John felt just as drained and just as exhausted as the last time he woke up.
The doctor grinned slightly. "I'm Doctor Miller. But I was asking about your name, Doctor Watson."
John had a distinct feeling he should be embarrassed; all he wanted was to sleep. "John Watson."
"Do you know where you are right now?"
"Yes. Can you give me your home address?"
"Baker Street. There're…there're some twos. And…no eights?" John could see the address, but some of the numbers were a little fuzzy. Sherlock's eyes crinkled slightly around the edges, watching John closely. He was dizzy. How come Sherlock couldn't force him to sleep now as he had before? "Can I…can I sleep now?"
Miller made a note. "In a moment. Prime Minister?"
"Please, call me John," he muttered. Apparently, this was not the answer Miller was looking for, as he sighed and made another note. The lines around Sherlock's eyes lessened slightly though, and he visibly relaxed. Justified, John looked up at Miller. "I don't…I can't –"
"I think," Sherlock said, moving in closer, "That is quite enough for now, Doctor. You may continue tomorrow when John is…"
He didn't know if Sherlock continued after that. He was too busy being swept away into oblivion by a sea of morphine.
John floated in and out after that. He would blink awake, and Sherlock would instantly be at his side with a glass of water and a steadying hand to help him gulp it down. Sometimes a nurse would be there. Other times Doctor Miller. Once, even Harry. Miller would ask questions – and John progressively got better at coming up with the answers.
"How long?" he would say, looking up at Sherlock. Because Sherlock was always hovering somewhere in the room no matter who else was there.
And Sherlock would fill in the appropriate amount of time, "Six hours," "Twenty minutes," "I don't think you even had time to fall asleep, that time," "Two hours," "Really, John, you'll be unconscious again in a moment, so I don't see how the time you were sleeping is relevant," and then John would drift away again.
John, once again joining the world of the waking, looked around the room for his flatmate. Sherlock was leaning with his forehead against the window. "Sherlock," John said, "Water?"
The detective didn't turn, just continued to stare out the window. John called again. Then once more. Sherlock was clearly deep in thought, so John tried a new tact.
"Moriarty was there."
That got Sherlock's attention. He snapped his around quickly enough that John became concerned he'd get whiplash. He narrowed his eyes, and John wondered if he was surprised. "Of course he was," Sherlock muttered.
"I broke his nose," John said, closing his eyes again, "With my face."
And this time, when John began telling him about his captors, Sherlock didn't interrupt. He sat down, and leaned forward with a look of rapt attention. John had a vision flash through his thoughts of Black Eyes, Burly Arms, and Friendly Sebastian fleeing as Sherlock descended upon them, menacing and merciless as a plague.