Sceaduwe – Chapter 8

"Sherlock? Sherlock!"

The man in question woke with a start, panting. He could feel the sweat dripping around his body, gluing him to the silk sheets of his twin bed. His feet, poking out from the end of the mattress as usual, were freezing cold – what time was it? A quick glance at the window told him around 3 am.

"You were screaming," said a familiar voice, raspy with sleep but dulcet with concern. The light pouring from the opened door silhouetted the figure of John, wrapped in his shabby dressing gown with his feet jammed into ratty slippers. Looking at him forced Sherlock's stomach to squelch ominously, and he leaned over the side of his bed to vomit.

"Christ, Sherlock – are you alright?" The doctor rushed to his side, carefully avoiding the puddle of Sherlock's sick as he pressed his cool hand to his flatmate's forehead. "You don't have a fever, but –"

He staggered back as Sherlock roughly shoved him away. "Don't touch me," the detective hissed, sitting upright and wiping a hand across his mouth, grimacing.

"I. . . I just . . . what the hell is wrong?" Flustered, John looked about for paper towels, something to clean up the mess, while Sherlock threw his head back against the old, worn pillows, recalling the dream in vivid detail.

Having located a box of tissues and a plastic bag, Watson went to work wiping away the remnants of Sherlock's outburst, his face scrunched up in distaste.

"I had a nightmare," Sherlock mumbled, running his hand through his damp muddle of curls.

"Do you want to talk about it? It might help," John offered, dropping the used tissues into the plastic bag and tying it tight. Setting it aside to take to the trash on his way back upstairs, the weary doctor sat on the edge of his partner's bed – the partner who watched him suspiciously, shoulders stiff and brow furrowed.


"It might have been a premonition or something. That brain of yours, wouldn't put it past you," he replied, stretching and groaning as his sore muscles popped. Settling back down again, he stretched out his hand to pat Sherlock's knee, but remembering the violent reaction before, thought better of it and returned his hand to his lap.

"Don't be ridiculous, John. There is no scientific evidence that premonitions are a real phenomenon." Sherlock watched John's hands in the doctor's soft lap, willing them to offer him tangible comfort.

"Well, perhaps."

"No. Dreams are the brain's way of making sense of events that happened throughout the day; using the subconscious data the mind has gathered to create symbolism and logic. What I saw tonight was just –" Sherlock suddenly fixed John with a horrified gaze, the color draining from his face.

Instantly concerned, the doctor leaned in, putting a hand on Sherlock's shoulder. He was surprised when he was not immediately batted away, and so tightened his grip slightly and rested his temple against the other's cold damp forehead, willing Sherlock to focus. "What is it? Are you alright? Sherlock?"

"Yes . . . yes, fine." The detective leaned back and shook his head, forcing his expression back into a neutral mask. "It's nothing."

John smiled nervously, releasing Sherlock's shoulder. "Right. Well, you were worrying me for a bit there. I'll . . I'll go take this bag out, make us some tea? Chamomile; helps you sleep."

"That would be good, thank you."

"I've never seen you look so scared, you know," the shorter man said as he leaned down to pick up the plastic bags. "Not even when you nearly swallowed poison, or when we both almost got blown up." He squeezed Sherlock's shoulder again before turning to leave, rotating his own – the one shot in the war – to ward off its stiffness. "Thought you didn't bother with emotions."

"Sometimes they bother with-"

Sherlock cut himself off, his mouth clicking shut with a snap. As the good doctor stepped out into the hallway, flooded with warm light, his flatmate watched after him, a dark expression in his eyes.