My first foray into Sherlock fanfic!
SPOILERS FOR THE ENDING OF THE UNAIRED PILOT (which differed slightly from the ending of the aired episode "A Study in Pink"). This fic may be a bit confusing actually if you've not seen the unaired pilot.
Been a long time since I've written fic and this one was a bit of a struggle but the idea wouldn't leave me alone! Hope it's not too OOC. All feedback/concrit welcomed. Naturally, it's whumpy. :D
"You'll be weak as a kitten for at least an hour."
Adrenaline jolts through him as glass smashes and the cabbie slumps forward with a choked cry. He jumps up, staggers backwards, barely aware of the warm wetness of blood spatter on his neck. He stumbles to the window, peering out into the dark, scanning the windows across the street. Down below, lights strobe and flash and Lestrade is shouting angrily. Across the street he sees only empty windows, some dark, one lit. He looks back at the cabbie – he's still, unmoving; dead before he hit the table – and back at the single lit window.
And then the surge of adrenalin fades and he becomes aware of the pounding of his heart and the trembling of his muscles. The cabbie's drug still courses in his veins and his head swims, sending him staggering on legs that suddenly wobble under him. He grabs for the armchair, misses and stumbles awkwardly, landing on his knees. He blinks heavily, screwing his eyes shut for a long moment, trying to clear his head. It doesn't help. The room wobbles and sways disconcertingly and nausea rises. He swallows thickly.
Moving slowly, carefully, he reaches out for the reassuringly solid arm of the padded leather armchair and clings to it as he lowers himself to sit on the floor. He's ridiculously weak and shaky, his arm muscles trembling as they struggle to support his weight, and it ends up being more of a controlled fall than anything else. He lets out a huff of relief as he leans back against the chair, his legs splayed out in front of him. His vision is still spinning a little so he closes his eyes and leans his head back against the arm of the chair, trying to breathe through the dizziness.
That's where Lestrade finds him when the police burst into the apartment. He doesn't bother to open his eyes as the door slams open; he'd heard them coming up the stairs and, even with his mind still foggy with narcotics, deduced their number and purpose just from tracking their footfalls.
He blinks his eyes open to find Lestrade leaning over him, his brow furrowed with concern.
"Are you okay?" Lestrade's gaze flicks over him, searching for injuries. "Are you hurt?"
He flaps a hand dismissively. It takes a ridiculous amount of energy just to lift it. "I'm fine," he mutters.
Lestrade's eyes narrow. "Uh... you don't look fine," he says, doubtfully.
He swallows, his mouth feeling dry. "I'm not hurt," he insists. "Just... drugs." He sees Lestrade's expression of concern twist into disapproval and scowls his indignation.
"He drugs them," he explains shortly. "His victims. That's how he... gets them to go with him. Gets them... where he wants them."
Lestrade grimaces, glances over at the slumped body at the table, uniformed police milling about, securing the scene. "Shit. D'you know what he gave you?"
He shakes his head, regretting it as dizziness wells again. He screws his eyes shut, blinks a couple of times.
Lestrade straightens up, starts issuing orders. Calling for forensics ("Not Anderson" he adds and Sherlock allows himself a shaky sigh of relief; he'd hate to give bloody Anderson the satisfaction of seeing him like this), the coroner and an ambulance.
He stiffens at that. "I'm fine," he insists again. "I don't need an ambulance." He tries to get up but his limbs feel too heavy and lack coordination. He only gets as far as his hands and knees before Lestrade is there, firm hands guiding him back to his seat on the floor.
Infuriatingly, he can't fight even Lestrade's gentle coercion and the cabbie's chilling words come back to him; "Right now, there's nothing you could do to stop me." He leans his head back heavily against the chair, grimacing at his body's betrayal.
"Sherlock," Lestrade's face wears a familiar expression of mild exasperation. "You've been dosed with something, we don't even know what it is or what its effects might be. We need to get you checked over."
He closes his eyes, shutting out Lestrade's fussing. "Just give me an hour," he demurs. "It'll have worn off by then."
"Says who?" Lestrade's tone is disbelieving.
He opens his eyes and casts a significant glance at the body still oozing blood onto his table.
Lestrade follows his gaze and gives an incredulous snort. "And you're going to take his word on that?"
He waves a dismissive hand. "He had no reason to lie."
"It's going to take your lot well over an hour to sort through everything here," he interrupts shortly. "So in the extremely unlikely case that the effects haven't worn off in an hour, you can call your ambulance then."
"You're right," Lestrade nods after a moment. "We're not going to be going anywhere any time soon."
He's leaning his head back, letting his eyes droop closed again, when Lestrade adds, "And, in the state you're in, neither are you."
He opens his eyes to glare at Lestrade who gives him an unconcerned smile in return. "So the paramedics can check you over when they get here, just to be on the safe side," he continues, "and if the drug has worn off in an hour or so, I'm sure they'll be happy to discharge you.
And in the meantime... how about you tell me exactly what happened here?"
He sighs heavily. Annoying as it may be, Lestrade's logic can't be faulted. He isn't going anywhere until the drug wears off. With a grunt of effort, he pulls his legs up and leans forward to rest his elbows on his knees. He lets his head droop forward, resting for a moment with the heels of his hands pressed against his eyes. Then, with a huff of annoyance, he lifts his head, scrubs a hand roughly over the hair at the back of his head, a not so subtle attempt to wake himself up a little, and says, "Fine. Can we at least not do this on the floor?"
He still feels ridiculously weak and dizzy but, with a helping hand – or two – from Lestrade, he manages to get upright and wobble the couple of steps around to the front of the armchair, whereupon Lestrade pretty much pours him into the comfortable, padded seat. He leans back bonelessly, blinks, and pinches the bridge of his nose, trying to clear the fog from his thoughts.
Lestrade gives him a minute and then the questions begin: "How did you find him?"
By the time the paramedics arrive, he's given Lestrade the bare basics of the evening's events and, in return, been treated to an angry lecture on withholding evidence and pursuing dangerous criminals on his own. It says a lot for how wiped out he's still feeling that he forbears from pointing out that he wasn't actually alone and that he is fairly compliant in letting the paramedics check him over. They fuss and faff with thermometers and blood pressure cuffs and pulse-ox meters and shining lights in his eyes, which he bats away in irritation.
They pronounce him not likely to expire any time soon but, hedging their bets, want to take him to hospital for "observation". He shakes his head immediately, "No. I'm fine."
"I'm not going."
Lestrade rubbed his eyes in frustration. "How long has it been?" he asked.
"Mmm. Maybe 30, 40 minutes?"
He lifts an experimental hand; movement is still an effort and he watches with clinical detachment as his hand tremors slightly. "Getting there," he concludes.
He ignores the disbelief evident in Lestrade's voice and, with a bit of effort, sits up straighter in the armchair. He stills feels weaker than he should but his head is clearer, the dizziness is less. He sees no reason to doubt the cabbie's statement of the expected timeframe for the drug's effects to dissipate.
"Give me my hour," he insists. "I'll be fine."
Lestrade stands up with a sigh. "Okay. You can have your hour – but if you're not on your feet by then, you're going to the hospital," he warns. He shakes his head in exasperation and stalks off to confer with the coroner – early 50s, recently divorced, heavy smoker, suffering from the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis - who's fussing around the rapidly cooling body of the cabbie. The paramedics hover uncertainly for a moment and he casts them a glare. They shrug and pack up their kit, giving him a reproving look as they head for the stairs.
He lifts his hand again, trying to hold it steady, assessing the amount of effort needed to hold it out in front of him. His arm starts to shake and he lets it drop with a grimace.
Patience is not, he is well aware, one of his strong points and it doesn't take long before the enforced inactivity begins to grate. His fingers start to tap restlessly on the arms of the chair, his mind whirring, needing distraction, something to focus on. The case is closed, all the relevant facts exposed, nothing left to interest or challenge him. Except a name. Moriarty. He shakes his head in irritation. He has no data, only a name. He cannot begin to form a hypothesis without data.
He leans back in the armchair, his head tipped back, closing his eyes to block out the yawning expanse of bland, empty ceiling. His feet start to tap on the floor, matching the drumming of his fingers. He sighs heavily, opens his eyes and sits up abruptly. A little too abruptly, for his head swims for a moment and his fingers stop tapping as he clutches the arms of the chair and waits for his balance to settle. He looks at his watch. It's been perhaps 50 minutes. Not quite an hour. But close enough.
Looking around for Lestrade – engrossed in conversation with one of the forensic team (an unfamiliar face – female, 34-38, Lebanese heritage, only child, unhappily married) – he pushes carefully to his feet, keeping a steadying hand on the arm of the chair as the expected rush of dizziness make him wobble. He waits for it to pass and then straightens. He takes a careful step and then another. He's still a little shaky but it's manageable. He quickens his pace, trailing one hand along the wall to help steady himself, and slips out the door without Lestrade noticing.
He reaches the stairs and begins to question whether this was such a good idea when looking down the long, narrow flight brings on another rush of vertigo, making him sway alarmingly. But he's come this far and the thought of spending another moment just sitting around waiting, his mind spinning fruitlessly, is abhorrent. And no matter what Lestrade may think, he is not going to hospital.
The narrowness of the staircase works in his favour; he braces himself with one hand on the wall and the other gripping the banister tightly. Nevertheless, it's slow going. He takes the stairs one step at a time and his legs tremble with each careful step he takes. By the time he gets half way down, his arms are starting to shake too, and he's breathing heavily. Vertigo disrupts his fragile balance and he clings to the banister as the stairs seem to shift and sway under him. He feels like he's falling slowly forwards, even though logic tells him he's not moving, and for a brief moment he fears that he actually is going to fall.
And then hands are grabbing him by the arm and prising loose his death grip on the banister.
"You bloody stubborn bastard. Here, sit down before you fall down." Lestrade lowers him, less than gently, to sit on the stairs. He leans forward, elbows resting on his knees, head hanging down as he waits for the dizziness to pass and the shaking in his limbs to ease.
When he looks up Lestrade is leaning against the banister, regarding him steadily. "It's been an hour," he states bluntly. "Ambulance is waiting outside."
Lestrade rolls his eyes. "'Course you are."
"I don't need to go to hospital," he insists.
Lestrade gives him a long, considering look and he can read the man's thought process in every nuance of facial expression. Eventually he sighs.
"Fine," he says. "But you just nearly passed out on the stairs so how about you at least come sit in the ambulance for five minutes and have a cup of tea or something while you get your breath back?"
His mouth twitches with the barest hint of a smile. "Consider it a favour to me, okay? If you die, it'll cause me massive amounts of paperwork."
He gives Lestrade a long look. Much as he hates to admit it, he's not steady enough yet to manage the stairs on his own. And a cup of tea does sound appealing... and even as he thinks of it a gnawing ache in his stomach reminds him that it's been a couple of days since he's eaten anything...
"Five minutes," Lestrade agrees, holding out his hand.
He takes the proffered hand and lets Lestrade pull him carefully to his feet. He braces himself for the expected rush of vertigo and is smugly pleased, when it doesn't come. He wasn't wrong about the cabbie's timescale after all. He's still shaky though and has to lean on Lestrade as they clumsily navigate the narrow stairs, one unsteady step at a time.
He shakes off the supporting hands as they reach the bottom but Lestrade still hovers anxiously as he makes his way, mostly steadily, to the door.
Outside is noise and chaos, lights strobing and flashing from a multitude of police cars, uniformed and CID officers searching surrounding buildings, directing traffic, keeping back crowds of onlookers. The ambulance is one more garishly marked, brightly strobing vehicle in amongst the chaos. The paramedics receive him with "I told you so" smirks, which he blithely ignores, a repeat of the entire thermometer, blood pressure cuff, pulse-ox meter and shining lights in the eyes scenario, which he endures with barely concealed impatience, and a red blanket draped around his shoulders. He shrugs it off irritably.
A uniformed officer brings him a cup of tea – in one of Mrs Hudson's mug, he notes – and he sips it quietly, relishing the warmth as it hits his stomach. The hive of activity in the street reminds him that one aspect of the case remains unsolved – the identity, and whereabouts, of the gunman who's perfectly timed shot ended the cabbie's life. He can see from the set of Lestrade's shoulders as he confers with Donovan that the person responsible has not yet been found. He broods on the puzzle, tuning out the distraction of noise and light as he turns his attention to the question of the gunman's identity. Crack shot. Most likely military trained...
The paramedic interrupts his musings, once again tucking the blanket around him. He gives the man a sharp look; he doesn't understand the insistence on his wearing a blanket. What purpose does it serve? He's feeling stronger by the minute. The drug's effects are wearing off and he doesn't need medical attention. And certainly not when such medical attention takes the form of a pointless blanket.
"Why have I got this blanket?" He asks sharply. "They keep putting this blanket on me," he complains as Lestrade reappears.
"It's for shock."
Ridiculous. He's fine. "I'm not in shock."