It took them 2 hours to get back to Baker Street. Sherlock had acted like nothing had happened. No, not that nothing had happened, John corrected himself, that what he had done wasn't strange and completely out of character. John was too exhausted to question his actions so he went straight to bed, planning on finding out what Sherlock was going on about in the morning. At about 6 am John heard footsteps going downstairs, it must be Sherlock he thought to himself as he rolled onto his side and dozed off again.
The unconscious John was right, Sherlock had gotten up. Sherlock's mind was as stubborn as Sherlock was; it refused to have more than a few hours sleep because it didn't want to be missing anything, much like a young child. Always preferring the sofa to his bed, Sherlock went downstairs, trying to be quiet but knowing that John would still hear him, and collapsed onto the brown leather sofa in their living room. Without looking he raised his hands above his head and felt around the desk next to the arm of the sofa until he found what he was searching for. Nicotine patches. He opened the new packet and contemplated. He decided on using two. He needed to think.
It took John 4 blinks to gain proper vision after waking up blurry eyed. He sat up, stretched, and glanced at the clock. He then did a double take. 10:30 am? How on earth had Sherlock allowed him to sleep that long? Of course he was grateful but this behaviour was getting worrying. Maybe I should contact Mycroft? No, Sherlock would kill me if I did that! I will just have to talk to him. Putting some clothes on and having a good wash after the chase scene last night, John skipped down the stairs and into the living room. Sherlock was sound asleep on the sofa. John smiled to himself as he draped the cream blanket over him. He truly looked like an angel when he slept. He went into the kitchen and made tea, one for him and one for Sherlock, and then went back into the living room. Sherlock hadn't moved. He looked so pale. In fact, he looked very pale. John lightly brushed his fingertips across Sherlock's forehead. It was far too warm to be normal. John shook him, he didn't respond.
"Sherlock?" he called. No response. Grabbing his phone, John called 999 and started to check him over. The first thing he did was take his pulse at the base of the neck. It was slow and weak, his own heart started to beat faster. He took his pulse again, this time from the wrist. As he picked up Sherlock's arm he noticed the nicotine patches he was wearing. "These bloody things," he muttered to himself. He really didn't understand how they helped him in any way. In an angry surge he ripped them off Sherlock's arm and threw them on the floor. Next he checked Sherlock's eyes. The pupils were dilated and weren't responding to the light John was shining into them.
Sherlock was soon in the back of an ambulance; even the sound of the siren wasn't enough to wake him. John never left his side as they twisted and turned through the corridors of the hospital, a place John never wanted to return to. He sat in the waiting room for hours, watching the endless doctors and nurses coming and going through the double doors at either end of the corridor. After what felt like an eternity, a young, bleach blonde man came out and walked up to John.
"Mr Holmes is stable. We will need to watch him; I don't know how long it will take for him to get better."
"Do you know what was wrong with him?" The doctor took a sharp intake of breath.
"We believe he has been poisoned." John almost choked on his words.
"Something called organophosphate poisoning. Tests show there is a high level of organophosphate in his blood. We are giving him the antidote now. Do you know how he got it into his system? It's absorbed through ingestion or the skin and it must have been in the past 24 hours." John shook his head.
"He hasn't eaten anything in who knows how long, and I can't think what else it could be. Could it be possible that this was deliberate?" The doctor seemed surprised at this suggestion.
"Well, yes, I suppose, I-"
"I'm going to call Inspector Lestrade. If someone is trying to kill Sherlock then we need to find him before they try again." And with that John left the building.
If living with Sherlock for so long had taught him one thing, it was that there was no point feeling sorry for yourself, or anyone else in that matter, when it came to a crisis. You had to focus, and put your whole energy into solving the problem, and so that is what he was going to do now. The first thing he did after he got into the taxi was call Lestrade. Lestrade said he would immediately get all round protection for Sherlock, and that he himself would be one of those people. Lestrade had shown surprise when John had said he was no longer at the hospital but John had told him that he must now do what he can to find out who was poisoning Sherlock, and he couldn't do that if he stayed at the hospital.
When John reached the flat he hesitated before entering. It seemed wrong to be there without Sherlock muttering a snide comment or getting in the way deliberately when John was doing something dull and domestic. How he wished for those infuriating moments right now, instead of knowing that Sherlock was still lying on that hospital bed.
"Right well… first things first…" John suddenly had the sensation of being a school boy walking into his exam. He was on his own, Sherlock was not there to help him, well to do the deducing for him, but he pushed that thought aside as he stood in the middle of the room concentrating. "So I found him here." He swallowed hard as he pushed that image to the back of his mind. "So he must have been poisoned before that. Obviously. Well…" He stared blankly at the sofa, this part of the enquiry wasn't getting him anywhere. So he tried a different angle. "The poison was consumed, but Sherlock hadn't eaten anything for at least a day, how did it get into his system? All day yesterday they had spent chasing that criminal through Greenwich, and John had been with him the whole time, and he definitely hadn't consumed anything then. So maybe when he got up this morning he had eaten something. But surely that would be too random? I mean, most people know I eat the food in this flat, not Sherlock. They'd be better off hiding infected needles in Sherlock's scarf, he wears that thing more than he eats. He laughed at himself but then slowly brushed his hand down the blue scarf that was hanging on the back of the door. "Just wanted to be sure," he reassured himself. How on earth does Sherlock manage it everyday? John ran through the last few hours in his mind and one moment triggered in his memory. When they had been walking through Greenwich Park, Sherlock had said something about laying on the ground and forgetting the world. It was the most un-Sherlock thing he had ever heard Sherlock say. "But of course, Sherlock must have been poisoned before that point and the poison had begun to take affect!" It made sense now. But then John scalded himself. "Why didn't I realise? If I had acted sooner maybe Sherlock… no. I cannot dwell on 'what if's'. My life in the army has taught me that I must face life as it comes. So that is what I will do now." Suddenly determined John walked out of the flat. He didn't know where he was going, just a walk around the block to get his head straight, and then he will call the hospital and check up on Lestrade to see if they had anything more.
The short walk ended up lasting a good hour and a half. John had got lost in this thoughts of all the memories he had with Sherlock, all the good times they had. If Sherlock didn't pull through, John honestly didn't know how he would be able to continue his life. He knew he would have to move out of 221b, cut out everyone he knows because they would all remind him of Sherlock. And then he could drown himself in drink like his sister, they could spend the rest of their days together feeling alone and sorry for themselves.
Fortunately for John he didn't need to worry about that. Because when he returned to his flat, laying exhausted and deflated on the sofa, was a very sick looking Sherlock Holmes.
"Sherlock?" John rushed to his side. "What are you doing here?"
"Do you honestly... expect me... to spend my time... feeling sorry for myself... in a hospital bed... when someone... is trying to kill me?... No... I got bored... so I decided to come home. Don't mind do you?" His speech was slow and breathless.
"How on earth did you manage to persuade the doctor to discharge you?" A wry smile grew on Sherlock's pale face. "He doesn't know you're here does he?" Sherlock's body convulsed as he had a coughing fit. John rushed to his side and immediately went all doctor on him, taking his pulse and checking his temperature. Sherlock wanted to pull away but he was too weak so he had no choice but to let John do what he had to do. "I'm taking you back. How on earth did you manage to get out without them noticing?"
"You underestimate me... my dear Watson," Sherlock chuckled. "Besides... it's not difficult... to pull the wool... over Lestrade's eyes... a simple distraction..."
"Lestrade doesn't even know you're here? Sherlock!" John frowned in a disapproving manner. Sherlock rolled onto his side so he was face to face with the young doctor and winced as a sharp pain exploded in his stomach.
"I had...to be sure."
"What are you talking about?"
"Could you... inject me... with this?" Sherlock produced a small syringe with a clear liquid in it from a bag in his pocket. John was mortified, his eyes wide, glaring at Sherlock. Sherlock made a 'tsk' noise, not impressed with the wrong conclusion John had come to. "Antidote you idiot. I took some... from the hospital... before I left." Again John frowned but he took the needle and pushed it into the inside of Sherlock's right arm. "Do you want me to die?" Sherlock asked.
"I want you to be at the hospital where you can be properly looked after by doctors."
"I've got you, what more do I need?" John grinned inwardly, it was as close as a compliment as Sherlock would get so John wanted to cherise the moment.
The medication seemed to strengthen Sherlock, as he sat upright and his speech was less breathless.
"Can you pass me my microscope, a glass slide, and the nitotine patch that has just slipped underneath this sofa." Sherlock waved his arms in the general direction of the items in question. Reluctantly John did as he was told and placed the microscope carefully on Sherlock's lap. He watched silently as Sherlock scratched the underneath of the nicotine patch so that a very small amount of the inside dropped onto the glass slide. He then placed the slide on the microscope and looked through the lens.
"Yes!" John jumped as Sherlock punched the arm of the sofa with his fist.
"What? What is it?"
"Organophosphate! Think! Absorbed through the skin, slowly poisons, ingenious!" John pulled a face.
"Oh don't talk to me about the poisoning. I was so stupid! How could I not have seen that you weren't yourself last night in the park?" Sherlock looked confused.
"Um... John? The poison is on the nicotine patches." John looked blankly at Sherlock, he didn't understand the point Sherlock was trying to make. ""I wasn't wearing the nicotine patches in the park. I put them on at 6 o'clock this morning." John could feel his face getting pinker and pinker. "That thing in the park, that was just... well... me!"
"So who do you think put the poison on the patches?" John asked, wiping Sherlock's revelation from his mind.
"This was incredibly clever, and skilled. It must have been Moriarty. Only he would have-" Sherlock took a moment to splutter a cough, John frowning as he helplessly watched his sick friend to finish so he could continue. "Only he would have the contacts to pull off a stunt like this. But I don't think he was really trying to kill me. I think he expected you to wake up a little earlier!" John turned his face away in shame, not liking Sherlock's attempt at a joke. "No, this was just a warning. 'Look out because I can even get you in your flat!'" Sherlock pulled a mocking creepy face to try and cheer John up. "Care to make some tea John? I would myself but I am terribly ill!" Sherlock raised his hand to his forehead and pretended to faint, laying back down on the sofa. John rolled his eyes but still got up from where he was knealing on the floor and made his way to the kitchen.
But a hand on his wrist stopped him. He looked down to see Sherlock's pale, thin hand holding on to the doctor's wrist. He liked the feeling of Sherlock's warm skin touching him. Their eyes locked.
"In the park..."
"Sherlock, you don't have to explain yourself," John interupted, embarressed.
"In the park, I made a very poor attempt at trying to tell you something. Something important. You know I am no good at words, but I attempted some poetry and all I got was a blank face." John's mind was everywhere. He muttered,
"Tea, tea, we want tea. I'll just go make some-" he tried to walk away but the grip on his wrist tightened. Sherlock was not letting him go anywhere until he had finished his well-rehearsed speech.
"John! I am a very blunt person. I tell it how it is, sometimes I shouldn't but I honestly cannot see another way of doing this. So, John Watson, I just want you to know, that I love you." He took a sharp intake of breath as he waited for John's response.
"Tea." Again John tried to walk away but Sherlock would not let him go.
"Tea is what we need," he repeated.
"JOHN!" Sherlock shouted. "Did you hear what I just said?"
"YES! Yes, alright, yes I did hear what you said. But you have been poisoned. It is the poison talking. Now, DO YOU WANT SOME TEA?"
Sherlock pulled forcefully on the wrist he was holding on to causing John to loose his balance and fall. He landed directly on top of Sherlock, just as Sherlock had intended. John pushed himself up by his hands, trying to get some space between him and Sherlock, but as he pulled away Sherlock moved closer so that the gap between them remained only a few centimetres. John tried to stop himself from looking at Sherlock's face but those eyes, like ice that were looking directly back at him, had hypnotised him and he was unable to move. Slowly Sherlock moved closer, John flinched at first but as Sherlock placed his hand on John's cheek, John, still lost in those eyes, started to move closer too. It was as if there was a gravity between them, pulling them towards each other. Sherlock gave John a light kiss on the lips which lasted a few seconds and then pulled away. He did not want to scare John off. But to his surprise as he pulled away he found John moving forward, his lips searching for more. Sherlock happily obliged, giving him a stronger, more passionate kiss.
Sherlock pulled away and looked up at John, who was still holding himself up by his arms. He smiled as he stroked John's cheek with his index finder and whispered,
"If I lie here, if I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world?" The soft kiss on the forehead from John was the only answer he needed.