Blind Man's Bluff
Summary: "We are gods among mortals. But even gods must be tested." Sherlock loses his sight temporarily and must rely on his other senses and John in order to solve the case at hand. But as the killer draws closer, could the pair be in more danger than they first thought?
Disclaimer: I do not own Sherlock or any of the characters. I wish I did but I'm just not that lucky. I am, however, lucky enough to be able to write about them.
Story notes/warnings: Timeline wise I'd say this could be set either just before episode 1.03 (The Great Game) or after it so basically – spoilers for season 1.
A/N: After such an evil cliffie, it's a relief for me to be posting this... the final chapter. Thank you to everyone for reading and for the reviews, they've meant a lot and have been really encouraging. I have enjoyed writing this so much because the characters are just so incredible to play with - so I hope you enjoy reading the rest!
Several things appeared to happen at once.
Sherlock's finger squeezed the trigger. A shot rang out. And John was sent jerking backwards. His chair clattered to the ground, John with it – landing with a soft thump.
Then there was silence. Everything fell still. A momentary calm in the eye of a turbulent storm. The air hummed, restless energy vibrating through it – playing it tentatively like a finely tuned violin or bass. And had anyone been listening carefully enough, they may have recognised the sound for what it was. A foreboding sign of what was to come, a minor dip before the next thrill inducing peak – the silence before a sudden, deafening crescendo.
The next allegro leading to the final cadence.
Jenkins was the first to move – actions rapid, hasty, hurried…
His hands, warm and clammy, dropped away from Sherlock's, tugging the gun from the detective's now loose grip in one swift move. And he was already moving forward, rounding the table to check on the doctor's still form, his foot clashing against the table leg in his eagerness to get there.
That was when Sherlock chose to act.
The detective sprung from his seat and across the table. Nimble fingers dragged at the man, wrestling him and pulling the gun from his grasp. But the man fought back.
The pair danced, a crude makeshift orchestra of noise, of falling chairs and heavy thumps, the music to their awkward waltz. Locked with one another, each vying for control of the gun until finally, it fell and skittered across the floor. Skittered back toward the table, back toward the fallen chair…
Sherlock raised a fist, aiming to strike the man as best he couldto give himself the upper hand. But cold metal pressed against his skin – forcefully causing him to lock his jaw as the muzzle rested firm against his cheek.
Three guns… The one on the table was harmless but the one on the floor and the one in Jenkins' hands were far from so.
"I could pull this trigger right now, Mr. Holmes," Jenkins informed him, pushing it further into Sherlock's jaw to prove his point. "You did lose the game after all."
"I didn't lose," Sherlock drawled.
"Of course." And the man let go of a sick laugh, twisted, almost metallic. "You're alive – I guess that counts as a win."
He lowered the gun but kept it trained on Sherlock, rounding the detective, crooked smile set firm upon his lips. "But I do doubt that Dr. Watson feels the same."
The gun cocked and Sherlock shook his head, lips thinned. "You never did intend to allow either of us to leave here alive, did you?"
"You're supposed to be a genius and you're only just figuring that out?"
The corner of Sherlock's mouth twitched, quirking upward. "I'm merely confirming it for the sake of Dr. Watson's conscience."
And really, the man should have known. Even from where he had been standing, there should have been blood. There should have been something more than just a clatter and a thump.
He spun to face the doctor, gun swinging around with him, ready to aim, ready to shoot. But John was faster. John already had him in his sights and Jenkins, he was dead before he hit the ground.
And the music stopped. The strings silenced. The final quiver of a note fading away into a nothingness that seemed to hang in the air for several, long drawn out minutes. Though in truth, it was merely seconds, time still attempting to catch its breath after the sudden flurry of activity.
"I was beginning to think you wouldn't shoot," Sherlock said finally, once time had finally caught up and his heart had stopped hammering inside his throat.
John fell back and stared up to the ceiling, gun still firmly in his grip. "You were in my way."
It was another moment before Sherlock spoke again, his voice lower, soft almost – the edginess and arrogance faded. "Are you hurt?"
"Am I hurt? Oh, I'm just fine – minor concussion most likely but then I guess that's from being pushed back and hitting the ground." The sarcasm was wrapped thick around the words, but so was the relief. It could have been so much worse and he knew it. Just as he had known moments before Sherlock had pulled the trigger, when he had felt the detective's foot take up position on his chair, what Sherlock had planned. "You shot at me – you actually shot at me!"
"You were never in any danger – my timing was exact. I would not have done it had I believed it wouldn't work."
And John just couldn't help but laugh. He was almost sure there was a compliment buried beneath those overconfident and haughty words and he took it. A smile slipping onto his face as he turned away from the ceiling and looked to Sherlock instead. His eyes fell closed and he let the euphoria wash over him – knowing they had both survived, yet again, making him just ever so slightly giddy. Or maybe that was just the after effects of the chloroform combined with the new addition of a knock to the back of his head.
But they were alive.
One standing, one lying, hearts racing from the adrenaline come down. Alive. That was what mattered.
It was sometime later – after the sirens and the flashing red and blue lights, after the medics and shock blankets, after Lestrade had questioned them and had finally decided that yes, a formal statement could wait until the morning – that the pair were finally in a taxi on their way back to 221b Baker Street.
John's cane was laid over his lap and he stared down at it for the longest time, fingers wound loosely around each end. It brought back memories of before, a time when he could open the front door and not find himself being kidnapped left, right and bloody centre. A time when the most contact he had with his gun was when he was cleaning it. A time when he could have a nice normal night, watching a nice normal film without worrying about whether or not he would be alive for the next nice normal day.
A smile wound its way onto his lips, twisting up one corner just slightly more than the other. He didn't miss those times in the slightest.
But he swallowed and abandoned his thoughts, turning his attention toward something else that had been plaguing him since the back of the flower shop. His eyes found Sherlock, the detective's features lit by the passing streetlights, making them appear even more defined than normal.
"How did you know which gun to choose?" he asked eventually.
Sherlock shook his head, removing it from where it rested lightly against his hand so he could address John. "It was an educated guess."
"You don't guess."
A short pause followed in which neither of them spoke. John grew impatient, testy.
"Sherlock–" he started, but the detective interrupted him, saving John the trouble of complaining further.
"You are a soldier and a doctor," Sherlock explained, voice patient and light. "As such, you are accustomed to handling guns in extreme conditions and circumstances. Your hands are steady and dry – when in battle, you can't afford for them not to be. If the gun were to slip in your hand…"
He didn't need to say what would happen. The pair understood clearly the implications of such an action.
"What has that got to do with anything?" John shook his head ever so slightly, still not following his friend's line of thoughts.
"His hands were the opposite… sweaty, clammy…"
"The gun you handled reflected the state of your hands. Dry gun – blank bullets." And even John could make the unsaid connection. Clammy gun – real bullets.
"You mean to say, you chose the gun based on a hunch that I would have dry hands?" He let out a small laugh and glanced back out of the window, toward the London streets. Sherlock didn't feel the need to point out that it was no hunch and that he just simply knew John.
"Brilliant," the doctor added after a further moment, in that same tone that always brought a small smile to Sherlock's lips and a confused crease to his brow."Just brilliant."
Sherlock didn't say anything. His eyes sparkled from the praise and had he been the type to blush, his cheeks would have been tainted a gentle red. As it was, he just smiled and took the compliment in silence. It eased his mind just ever so slightly – though why his mind was so ill at rest in the first place was beyond him.
All he knew was that it had something to do with that uncomfortable feeling in his chest, the one that caused his voice to drop, low and uncertain as he spoke. "John," he started, pausing until he was sure he had the other man's attention. "You know that… you know I would never have-"
He swallowed. Sherlock, always so articulate, always so sure of himself in everything, struggled now. And though the thoughts were quite clear in his mind, how he was meant to word them out loud, that was the problem.
"I know," John answered before the detective had a chance to finish.
Because, really, it didn't need to be said. There was a silent understanding between the pair and neither needed to question it out loud because they both just knew. And that was enough.
"Good," Sherlock said, swallowing once more before the smile returned to his lips. "Good."
The next day had them falling into the now familiar routine of John guiding Sherlock, the cane abandoned once more. Though, Sherlock wasn't quite so demanding as he had been – guilty, or so John believed anyway. Sherlock denied all knowledge of such an emotion of course, a dismissive wave of his hand ending the conversation before it could even start.
It was in the late afternoon, when they were finished up at Scotland Yard, that John discovered another possible reason for this.
"Mycroft called whilst you were giving your statement," Sherlock informed the doctor, sounding bored at the very idea of having to relay the information.
They sat in a small café, Sherlock with his elbows rested on the table and chin rested on his interlocking fingers, and John with a plate of scrambled eggs and toast in front of him.
"Did he?" John asked, looking up from his food, fork stopping midway to his mouth.
"Yes," Sherlock continued. "He wanted me to thank you for your concern over his wellbeing."
John, unlike Sherlock, found he was often prone to blushing when embarrassed and as such, felt his cheeks burn along with the tips of his ears. His attention moved quickly back to his food. "Oh."
"He also believed it was important that I remind you that his offer is still open." Sherlock scoffed. "Apparently, my brother believes you should be compensated for 'putting up with' me."
And here, John found himself sulking just ever so slightly, like an indignant child. "I don't need his money."
Sherlock shook his head and let out a low sigh. To him, the whole thing barely warranted the attention it was receiving, anything concerning Mycroft rarely did. "Don't pull that face John," he reprimanded. "I'm sure my brother didn't intend to offend your honour or your pride. Any offence was meant purely for me."
That just caused John to sink further into his seat. Fork light in his grasp, he dug at the scrambled eggs. "I'm not pulling a face," he denied. But he wouldn't deny that he was offended that Mycroft still believed he could buy John as surveillance for his brother.
"Yes, you are. Really, John, it makes you look like a child that's just been told the tooth fairy isn't real."
The doctor raised his eyes, abandoning the fork on the table, and met Sherlock's gaze. "How could you possibly know that?"
That was when he noticed that Sherlock was looking back at him. Not just looking in his direction but actually looking at him, holding his gaze.
"You son of a… you mean to say, this whole time you've been able to see but you've still been making me lead you around – for nothing? How long? How long have you kept this quiet?"
But Sherlock was unfazed by the controlled anger hidden beneath John's words. "It has been improving gradually since this morning. I'm hopeful that I will have recovered completely in no time."
"And when were you planning on telling me this?"
Sherlock cocked his head to the side, bemused. "You're a doctor – I had expected you would notice sooner or later."
"Yes," John nodded in agreement, "I am a doctor. I'm not bloody psychic."
Thin lips quirked at the corner and mischief lit up behind those grey-blue eyes. "Then take it as a lesson in observation."
"A lesson in observation?" he repeated, incredulous. "You know, on second thoughts – compensation might actually be a good idea. I'm liking the sound of it more and more."
But all Sherlock had to say in reply, with that sly little smile, amusement lining his tone, was, "Your tea is getting cold."
Which just set John into a further sarcasm laced rant about how 'observant' it was for Sherlock to notice that and whether or not there was anything else Sherlock wanted to 'observe' whilst he was at it. And maybe antagonising the doctor further wasn't the best idea but it didn't matter to Sherlock because this… whatever this was… was not boring.
It was right and just how things were meant to be, however twisted that may have seemed. His sight, he could have lived without. But this…
"Well?" John demanded, evidently waiting for Sherlock's next observation.
"I never said anything."
"But you're thinking it."
And Sherlock just smiled and raised his cup to sip at his own tea.
This… he wasn't quite sure he could live without. Not now.
Thank you so much for reading! It's been a great thrill writing this so I hope you've enjoyed reading!