"Where are you going?" He knows he sounds petulant, probably because he is. But John is leaving and that's stupid. John is stupid. John's blog is stupid and so is the solar system. Sod all of them.
"Out! I need some air!" Oh, his voice is all raspy and harsh. He's really angry. Bad move, Sherlock. Crossed a line. Which one? Can the incident be replicated? Would John participate willingly in a re-enactment? Maybe he should just ask...
Oh! Mrs. Hudson is home. He can hear her talking to John. She's laughing. He loves that sound. He gets away with so much when she's laughing. Maybe she won't notice the bullet-pocked smiley. Oh, hell, she's coming in. Shopping, too, by the sound of it. She's going to expect him to talk. And he has such a lovely sulk going, too. Well, he won't do it. So there, Mrs. Hudson.
"Hoo hoo!" She sings. Oh, hell. He stretches out, cat-like, keeping his back to her. I'm not here, I'm not paying any attention to you, I'm in a bad mood!
"You two had a little domestic?" Oh, for the love of- that woman just will not be put off! Snarling inwardly (for the most part) he throws himself off the sofa and stomps over the coffee table to reach the window. He knows he'll be in time to catch John leaving, even at the clip he's set. Stupid John. Why did he have to leave like that? Sherlock had been having fun, sniping back and forth. A really good row is so deliciously distracting, and now John had to go and foul it all up by storming off in a childish huff.
"Ooh. It's a bit nippy out there. He should've wrapped himself up a bit more."
Well, John doesn't seem to mind the cold. Not from where Sherlock is standing. The doctor is marching away with stiff shoulders and neck, clearly he's making his self-righteous face. Even from behind, Sherlock can tell. It's all in the angle of his head and the speed of his gait. Well, fine. He can run off and be noble all he likes. Him and his stupid solar system. Ugh. How long is that going to take to delete again? Thanks ever so, John.
Sherlock holds a tiny hope that John might be attacked or mugged before he reaches the end of Baker Street. It would be fun to watch the ex-soldier hand any potential aggressors their own arses. It would probably help to vent some of John's anger, too, and then he'd come home and they could snipe at each other some more and Sherlock could be distracted again...
No such luck. The London streets are quiet, and John reaches his taxi unmolested. Bugger.
"Look at that, Mrs. Hudson. Quiet. Calm. Peaceful." He feels bile rising in the back of his throat. "Isn't it hateful?" This must be what death is like. Endless nothing. Pointless. Agony.
"Oh, I'm sure something'll turn up, Sherlock. A nice murder. That'll cheer you up."
Doubtful, but I live in hope. "Mm. Can't come too soon."
"Hey!" Ooh! She's seen it! "What've you done to my bloody wall?" He swivels round to look at his handiwork. It really is impressive, isn't it? He hadn't even been looking for some of the shots. And the yellow paint is so stark against the Victorian wallpaper. It's eye-catching, no doubt about it.
"I'm putting this on your rent, young man!" He knows he should feel chastised but he doesn't. Instead he grins at the bullet-holes and spray paint. Hey, he made something. That's constructive, isn't it?
All too soon his feeling of accomplishment evaporates, and he deflates with a weary sigh. Time to face another day in this endless, churning ocean of bored-
The floor. He's on the floor. Why is he on the floor? Loud, very loud, too loud and hot. Oh, God, oh God it hurts! No, no, pain is irrelevant. His back is on fire! Ignore it, look around, see, notice, understand. His chest aches, his chin throbs. His hands...oh God his hands...ow...ow...shut up! No pain. Ignore it. What do you see? What do you hear?
Ringing. Ringing and it's loud and it won't stop. Hurts. Shut up, no time! Something important...something vital...what is he forgetting? Shut up, stop ringing!
More pain, fresh and sharp. Glass. There's glass all over the floor. It's in his hands. It's in his arms. He stands, and it jabs his feet. Shit. Shit, why had he gone barefoot? Something else, something he's missing. Important...important...
Too much ringing. Too loud and he can't think! He needs to think. Think. Something so important... Look around the flat. Home. Ruined. Violated. No, shut up, not important, what do you see? Windows destroyed, curtains ripped, rest of room relatively unscathed. Walls unscorched, ceiling pristine, bullet-holes...
Bullet-holes...Bullet-holes! Mrs. Hudson! She was so close! She'd just left! She wouldn't have even made it to the stairs yet!
And he's running, the pain in his feet screaming at him but he ignores it. Mrs. Hudson. She's so small...so small...please no.
Still ringing. Is it getting softer? No. Yes. Maybe, can't tell. Mrs. Hudson!
There! On the landing. No...no wait...just above. And she's...she's lying down. On the steps. Why on the...oh God. Oh God, please, please no!
"MAGGIE!" He barely hears his own voice above the ringing, but his throat burns. He must've shouted it. She's looking up. Oh thank you. Thank you, thank you! She's awake. She's aware. She's...smiling? Wincing? She looks apologetic. She's talking, but he can't hear the words. He thunders down the stairs, barely registering the angry sting in his feet.
She's in his arms. He can feel hot tears against his cheeks but he doesn't care, he's got her. She's alive. She's okay. No, no she's hurt. She's hurt but it's not bad. But she's hurt.
"Maggie. Maggie. Maggie." He's whimpering, he knows, but she's hurt and he didn't stop it! Stupid! Stupid! Worthless! He promised. He promised. Never again. Shit. Shit! Maggie...
"-alright, dear. Just my hip. Caught me off guard, that. Took a bit of a tumble down the stairs."
Hip. Her bad hip. The explosion startled her and she'd lost balance. Fell down the...down the...
Stairs. Stairs and a man and time, a long time ago. Stairs and a man and anger and fear and she's younger and so scared and he sees it. Sees it in his head as though he were there. He wasn't. He hadn't even known her then. He'd been sprawled somewhere on a London back street with a needle in his arm. Useless and stupid and she'd been so scared. And her hip...
Fury, old and familiar and white hot, burning inside him. Fury for a man more heartless than him. Fury for a man now dead. A man he killed. Too late, not enough. Should've been him, not some anonymous man with a needle. He should've done it himself.
As though in a trance, he puts his hand on her hip. Feels her wince. His vision goes red but he pushes it away. No time. No time.
He pulls her close, but he can't lift her. No room. So he crouches down and pulls her arm over his shoulders. The ringing is quiet now, but he can still hear it. He helps her down the stairs. Hears the sirens. Car alarms, mostly, but he can just barely make out the distand wail of emergency vehicles on the way. Yes. Ambulance. Please, quickly. She needs you...
She gasps, a tiny cry escaping her throat and he could break, he could shatter right there. She's hurt and he swore. He promised never, never again. But he holds together. Get her downstairs. Get her out! I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
Lights, noise, people, uniforms. Take her. Help her! Arms, strong and gentle and reassuring. Yes, good people, nice people, help her.
Hands. On him. What, no? No, not me, help her! But she's gone now, away and looked after and there are hands pulling him away from the noise but toward the lights and theres something stinging his hands and arms and feet and he's not dressed, why is he outside if he's not dressed?
And it all goes quiet...
Superficial, at the most. His feet are cut up but the cuts are shallow for the most part. His hands are barely touched, despite the sting. They hit the floor before the glass, apparently. His arms are a bit worse off, but he always wears sleeves anyway. John won't know. He's fine. He knows he's fine. More important, Mrs. Hudson is fine. It's...it's all fine. Ha. John.
He wants John. He wishes John were here to fuss over his shallow cuts and congratulate him for being so brave and noble for Mrs. Hudson. But then John would know about Mrs. Hudson and he's not ready for that, yet. John still sees him as some sort of otherworldly creature, and Mrs. Hudson makes him so human. Someday. Someday but not yet. Soon, maybe.
As soon as he's released from his EMT's he rushes off to find her. She's in the back of an ambulance. She's got an orange blanket. Does she need it? No, no she's smiling and wiping away tears. He runs to her, and she wraps him in a hug. They see, but he doesn't care. They don't matter. They don't know him, who he is, what he does. They're no threat to her. He hopes.
"I'm okay, Sherlock. Just a bit bruised is all. And my damn hip..."
White-hot rage flashes behind his eyes for a second, but he pushes it away. He forces a smile.
"Do you need to go with them?" He asks.
She shakes her head. "No, they say I'm fine. We should get the flat cleaned up. My windows are blown in, too. Bloody gas leak. They're just lucky no one was in there, the careless sods."
It's the closest she can come to venom, and he loves her for it. She'll never be scathing and sharp, like him. Even when she's shouting at him there's something gentle and warm about her. She's so much better. She's so much better than all of them. So, so much better than him.
The night passes in a whirl and he's blissfully occupied for hours before the tedium sets in. He's sweeping up the last of the glass when he feels a wave of boredom crash over him, and it's almost enough to knock him off his feet. So dull. So endlessly dull.
He manages to finish-mostly-and goes to bed. He misses John. John could at least talk about stupid, pointless things while they cleaned. Then Sherlock could insult him for being ordinary, and they could argue and it would be fun for a while. Or John could say something unexpected and amusing and they could laugh until it hurt and Sherlock was struggling for air and it could be wonderful. But John isn't here. Sherlock chased him away by being too Sherlock, and who knows when he'll be back?
Well, Sherlock knows. John doesn't have many places to spend the night in London and he's so desperate to patch things up with Sarah after the whole Tong incident. Even though she's obviously forgiven him for it and wants to get him into bed already. But John is foolishly noble and he's bound to spend the night on some innocuous piece of furniture. A lilo, probably. Sarah's bound to have one. He'll wake up early as usual and find out about the explosion opposite and rush over to make sure everything is still intact, flatmate included.
He sleeps fitfully, waking far earlier than he'd like, shivering from the cold wind rushing unimpeded through his shattered bedroom window. Irritably, he rises and showers, cleans his teeth and combs his hair, then gets dressed if only to help keep out the bloody persistant cold.
Mycroft is waiting downstairs. Oh bloody fucking hell! Of all times...
"Ah, Sherlock. Glad to see you're...unscathed. Gas leak, I'm told. Ghastly, isn't it?"
"You don't have a key."
"Nor do I need one."
Sherlock crosses the sitting room and collapses heavily onto his chair. Then, thinking better of it, he gets up again and snatches his violin. All that dust...best to tend to it right away. The bow needs rosin...
"Don't be childish, Sherlock. I'm not going to go away if you ignore me."
"Always worth a try."
"Do you know the definition of insanity? A man of your proclivities should be well versed in it."
Mycroft false-chuckled. "How is Mrs. Hudson faring after last night's misadventure?" Oh, his voice is so innocent. Bastard. He feels colour rushing to his face.
"Good. That's good to hear. Then you'll have no reason to turn down the small favour I require of you."
A slamming door, frantic footsteps.
"Sherlock! Sherlock!" Ah! Right on time. Thank God.
He plucks a string, letting the sharp, rich note fill the air.