FINALLY I managed to do the last chapter, and I am terrible sorry it took so long, but it turned out harder than expected, and I am still not really happy with the outcome, but I somehow can't concentrate better on it at the moment. I'm really sorry.
Oh, I couldn't help but use a line from the books here, so for those who haven't read them, Holmes was once calling Watson his Boswell in 'A scandal in Bohemia', saying "I am lost without my Boswell." he was referring then to James Boswell who was an 18th century Scottish biographer of Samuel Johnson an English man of letters.
Thank you again for the review, the favourites and alerts, I hope I don't disappoint to much with this.
Watson wanted nothing more than to go into the room and finally see Holmes. Without the distracting curtain of shock and anger, just see his friend, his brother.
But it was barely half past three.
If Holmes needed to rest so badly that he went to bed freely after he came home, than he probably should let him sleep.
He really should…as a doctor.
But as a friend he couldn't wait one moment longer to see the long missed man.
Watson sighed and ran a hand over his mouth. His now empty glass went back to the cabinet, well away from the clean ones.
Blue eyes went to the clock on the wall. 3.36.
He really needs to listen to the doctor side in him. A few more hours won't make a difference. He could just settle down on the couch, wait for the other man to wake up and catch a few hours of sleep himself in the process.
Yes, that would be the most logical thing to do.
Having made up his mind he took the first few steps over to the settee, but somehow his feet had different ideas, carrying him involuntarily to the wooden barrier, separating him and Holmes.
Looks like the doctor part in him wasn't very convincing tonight.
Maybe he could just take a little peek?
Just a quick glance to assure himself that the detective was there. Sleeping. Breathing.
Sure, that shouldn't be a problem. It's not like John wants to disturb him, he knows from experience that Holmes is not a terrible light sleeper.
He should be able to look in on him without waking him.
His hand went slowly to the doorknob, shaking a little in anticipation.
Then he pulled back again and on second thought removed his shoes and shrugged out of his jacket. That would allow him to move more quiet.
John took a deep breath and finally, silently pushed open the door leading to Sherlock Holmes bedroom.
Light spilled from behind him into the night darkened room, but it wasn't much since his tall form was blocking the way. His eyes needed a moment to adjust and he looked around the room. He was used to it looking like a mess, clothes, papers, books, all lying around the place, but for once, this room looked as tidy as the day they moved in. Mrs Hudson must have cleaned up, and Holmes didn't have the time to…spread his charm yet.
Finally, his eyes came to rest on the bed.
Watson couldn't help the smile that lifted his mouth and reformed his moustache when he saw his friend sprawled on his back, snoring softly.
Sherlock was on top of the covers and not wearing those ridiculous clothes from yesterday anymore, but his loose, striped pants and the well-worn white shirt he often wears at home. Watson had always suspected it was one of his shirts, but whenever he had tried to confront the genius detective, the man had expertly changed the topic.
After only a second o hesitation, John silently slips into the room, closing the door softly behind him.
His socks softened noises his shoes wouldn't have been able to hide as he slowly steps up to the bed, watching.
It was truly nothing short of a miracle. He had been certain that Holmes was dead, sure that no one could survive such a fall. And the loss had hit him hard, after all he had spent many years with the detective and they had grown close, as close as brothers. And suddenly he had been alone.
But here they were. His lost brother had been returned to him.
Watson knows he shouldn't, but his traitorous hand moved on it's own, slowly descending to the sleeping mans chest. He wanted to feel the heartbeat again.
For a doctor, nothing proofs better that a person is alive than the rhythmic thump thump of a beating heart.
And this time, he will cherish the feeling, using it to fuel his gratefulness and happiness, not his anger.
Only inches away now.
But before his hand touched the solid body, Watson's wrist was caught in a bruising grip and he looked up to see brown eyes shooting open.
Frozen, the doctor observed as Sherlock's pupils focused on his face and the eyebrows drew together in a frown.
The hold on his arm loosened, but remained there.
Holmes blinked, frown still in place, "Watson?" he still sounded tired to the doctor, even though he'd just slept many hours. "Are you feeling me up in my sleep? You are a married man. What would Mary say?" he said while trying to rub the sleep from his eyes.
John couldn't help but laugh. Seems like Holmes wasn't angry with him. "Hate to break it to you, old boy, but whatever happens, Mary will always think that you made me do it." He said, and now that Holmes was awake, he could turn on the light at the bedside.
"One entirely false conclusion," Holmes huffed and propped himself up on his left elbow. "I never made you do anything."
"No, you only play your cards until I am left with very few satisfying options." Now that Holmes is in a more upright position, Watson's palm was finally resting over his heart and the blissful beating distracted him from their banter, until his wrist, still in the light grasp of the detective, was jostled slightly, making him look up into the other mans face.
"Do you really still need a thumping organ to proof to you that I'm here?" he asked completely serious.
And for the first time, Watson was freed from the positive haze that formed with the knowledge that his dead friend was back, alive, and he saw Holmes like he really was.
He looked thinner and exhausted, bags under his eyes quite evident. The paleness of his skin could be compared to the colour of Mary's wedding dress and the hand holding on to him was shaking slightly.
Watson didn't see any obvious injury anymore, but that didn't mean that his friend was in good health.
And then there was the dark bruise that had formed on the other mans cheek. Something he really didn't want to dwell on yet.
"You look terrible." He gave as his only answer and Holmes bestowed him a quick smile.
"I see you still got the skilled eyes of a medical man." Which only made the doctor sigh.
"I'm afraid no action I took in the last twenty four hours, were deeds a medical man should have done." He said and took his hand from Sherlock's chest, to run his fingers gently over the dark patch on the lying man's face.
"Well," Holmes huffed and proceeded to bring himself into a sitting position, leaning against the headboard of his bed. "that is quite alright, dear man. You've always been first and foremost my friend. And as thus," he sniffed "I presume your reaction was…comprehensible."
Watson nodded, understood that he was forgiven, but he still felt guilty. "Still, I shouldn't have…"
A patting hand on his arm stopped him. "John, it is alright."
Again, he nodded. No use in discussing this further, they had other things to talk about. "Okay."
Holmes gave a nod of his own and then scooted over to the right side, giving John an unspoken invitation to join him on the bed. Which he did without hesitation, mimicking the detectives position against the head of the bed, their legs stretched out, shoulders touching.
They'd always been like that and Watson took no little pride in it.
To others the consulting detective was polite, well at least if the situation requires it, but he never seeks out physical contact.
He is not as bad as Mycroft, who doesn't even like to shake hands, but Sherlock came very near to that mindset.
Yet, with Watson he was, almost right from the beginning, very open. Patting on the back, shaking hands, leaning against him and occasional hugs. They'd even shared a bed a number of times. On some of their journeys for example, some hotels only had one bed left, or if a case got to dangerous and they brought themselves in the line of fire, it was just easier to watch each others back by sleeping in close proximity.
Their close friendship had often been frowned upon, but they couldn't care less. They took comfort from each other, it had always been that way for both of them, and it was damn good to feel Holmes at his side again. His familiar breathing, his scent of soap and tobacco and the warmth he was radiating.
Watson hoped the other one was as glad to see him as he was, but at the moment it was hard to tell.
The detective looked a bit nervous, also a trait only few got to see, and was picking at a lose strand on his trousers.
Holmes didn't start and Watson wasn't sure what to ask first, so they sat in silence for a moment.
Both smiled, then John took the lead, he was sure Holmes wanted to apologize, but that wasn't what he wanted to hear right now. First he needed to know what had occurred.
"Holmes, tell me what happened, please. Everything. From the beginning"
The detective sighed and continued to pick on the thread, but straightened his posture. He didn't look at Watson, but stared straight ahead.
"Well, during my and the professor's fall down from the balcony I remembered the breathing device I had borrowed from Mycroft earlier for further inspection, and it became very beneficial for my current situation, so I dislodged Moriarty from myself and used it.
The impact with the water proofed to be quite painful, both for the severity and the low temperature, but because of the oxygen I managed to stay coherent enough to make it to the shore after a while."
Watson had already a question to the beginning of the story but Holmes seemed to be so concentrated on the past event, that he didn't dare to interrupt.
He winced as he thought about how it must feel to fall down such a great distance down into freezing, unforgiving water.
"Then there is an amount of time I can not recall, I became only aware of my surroundings about a week after the incident. Mycroft was there and told me that he had me searched after he noticed the missing oxygen device and they'd brought me to the nearest hospital. I had to stay there for the main time of these last two month due to numerous damage on my corpus."
He made a pause in his telling to breath, and John contemplated if he should state a question then, but decided he would let the other man finish first. But he couldn't help but put his hand over the left one of his friend, lending silent support. Holmes still didn't look at him, but acknowledged him by giving the hand a slight squeeze.
"I have to admin that the first few weeks are very hazy in my memory, but later I assure you I couldn't leave soon enough. And if it hadn't been for that blasted brother of mine one of my escape attempts would have succeeded. Most likely the first."
Now he even turned his head to the doctor, and it sure broke a lot of tension.
"I hate the hospital."
"I know Holmes" he said calmly.
"I don't know how you could stand to work there!"
"People are different"
"I mean how is one supposed to get healthy again if he is lying around sick, contagious people?"
It was as if Holmes didn't even hear Watson in his speech against hospitals so he just let him, smiling indulgently.
He was well aware of the fact that Sherlock loathed the houses for the sick and injured. He always came to Watson, even if the situation was dire and the doctor wasn't sure if he could help the detective, Holmes refused to go to someone else.
"Diseases of all kinds, flying trough the house, infecting everyone on their merry way…"
It felt good to hear Holmes just talk again, even if it was about an annoying topic they had been over numerous times.
They weren't done with the serious talk, Watson was well aware of that, but this was unwinding for both of them.
"…was away for a day, I had obtained one of the doctor's gown, which would have assured my safe escape, no one gave me a second glance, but who could anticipate that Mycroft came back much sooner than expected because, imagine this, he didn't trust me to be alone. Damn him."
"Bless that man." John countered, and, as expected, that earned him a glare from the ranting detective.
"On whose side are you, friend?"
"On the side of the man who cares more for you well-being than yourself, friend. I know you Holmes. You are worse than a child when you are sick or injured. You can't sit still for a minute, let alone your needed recovery time."
"I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself, I know when I am able to move around again, sitting around is mind numbing, Watson. I need stimulation. And I had other, more pressing matters I had to attend to, than sitting around, waiting for bones to mend." He huffed.
And here was the opening back to the sober subject.
"What matters did you have to attend? Why did you tell your brother he mustn't inform me? I could have helped you."
"How did you…" he frowned, then sighed, "Mycroft had stayed even though I told him to leave, didn't he?"
"Yes, he departed shortly before I entered your room."
"Damn mother hen." He said, but his tone wasn't sharp, Watson was no fool, he could hear the hidden affection seeping through the words. Then Holmes spoke again.
"My dear friend, I knew you would have come in a hurry if I had called for you, but I thought it for the best to keep my survival in the dark for the time being.
You must understand that Moriarty, murdering master mind that he was, still had many minions, followers who could try to take revenge for his demise. Especial Colonel Moran, for he was as loyal to the Professor as you are to me, old boy. If he were to know that I had outlived Moriarty, he could have planned something. Not only on me, but to get to me he could have gone after you as well again, Watson. Even if you all say I am insufferable when incapable, I do know my limits. And I was in no condition to prevent whatever could have taken place."
Watson wasn't sure what to think about that revelation. He was of course touched that Holmes cared what happened to him, but he was no damsel in distress. He was a soldier, if Moran wanted to hurt Holmes trough him he would have found himself in quite a fight.
"Still, if I had known I could have helped, we would have been prepared…"
"I would have send Mary away for some time to protect her, maybe Mycroft would have taken her in again. Holmes you should have told me."
Johns words did carry a little sting in it. After all this years, he has the right to know if his dearest friend was alive or not.
Holmes sniffed, looked away again and went on.
"Well, after I deemed myself ready to leave the ruddy hospital…"
Watson couldn't help but cut in, "Against doctors orders, right?"
"After I deemed myself ready to leave the ruddy hospital, and strong enough to withstand my nagging brother, I set out immediately to the trail the Colonel had left behind and I finally, two days ago, managed to confront him in Germany, where he is now a guest in prison. Then, I turned back to London. Mycroft had kept paying my rent." He finished and Watson noticed he tried to stifle a yawn. Still tired, he mused, or again, now that he had finished his tale. But John couldn't let him rest yet, they needed to finish this to finally move on.
Watson thought over what he had been told, a few questions raising in his mind that he needed to address.
He may not approve of Holmes decision to not inform him that he wasn't dead, but he did appreciate the fact that he wanted to keep him and his wife save. Considering this, Watson deemed his anger from there earlier meeting rightful, but the punch was really a bit much.
"Holmes, I may not validate your methods…but I understand you had the right intentions, so again, I am sorry for…"
"Watson," the detective interrupted him and then hesitated, Watson looked over, but the other still wouldn't look at him, now he seemed reluctant to say something, the doctor was curious what could come next. "I don't want you to forgive me under false pretences."
The moustached man frowned "What do you mean?"
"Watson…I did not plan on telling you I had survived. Period." Sherlock admitted, and rendered the doctor speechless for a moment.
Watson could feel some of the ire rising again, what the hell was wrong with this man, John clenched a fist and tried not to lose it like before, "Why the hell not?" he managed to ground out, giving him at least this time the chance to explain himself.
Holmes threw him a quick glance, and sniffed again before looking away again.
"Doctor, my life won't change here. I'd take new cases, a new Moriarty could come along and you could again land in the crossfire. You told me quite clearly that you don't want to be engaged in my cases anymore, but I fear as long as I am here, you could always be pulled into them again." He explained in a matter of fact. "If I wouldn't be around anymore that wouldn't have happened and you could have indulged in the peaceful, married life that you expressed more than once you wanted so much."
"Damn it Holmes!" he couldn't understand this man. Did their friendship mean nothing to him? Did he mean nothing to him?
"Now Watson, I beg you, don't get angry again. As you can see I am here." The detective protested, and for the first time he sounded as tired as he looked, which did calm the doctor more than his assurance that he had revealed himself to Watson despite his plan not to.
When Holmes saw Watson relax more he explained.
"My actual plan was to come back to Backer Street to collect some things and than leave London for good. But…well," the detective looked decidedly uncomfortable, John observed, "Somehow…I landed in front of your home. After some thought, I came to the conclusion that it wouldn't hurt to look in on you, inconspicuous of course, to explain my brilliant camouflage. And then I wanted to leave. Really. But…" Holmes rubbed his hands together, a nervous gesture for sure. He sniffed once more and looked anywhere but to Watson.
And just like that, Johns anger vanished completely. He could have laughed. Sherlock Holmes was able to look danger straight in the eye without missing a beat, has always an answer for everything, yet, when it comes to his feelings, his was as lost as a man in a maze.
"But then you couldn't leave anymore?" John helped him out. Holmes nodded.
"Because you…missed me, perhaps?" The doctor couldn't suppress a light grin when the detective finally gained some colour, a slight blush graced his cheeks and he stared wilfully ahead, not even a blink in Johns direction. Never, in all their years together, had Watson seen his friend blush, and the man had done a lot of things that would have rendered Watson as red as a tomato in seconds.
"Oh Holmes, for a genius, you can be really dense sometimes. That was a foolish plan to begin with, and you had no right to even consider this."
Now he did look at Watson, blush away again and a offended look on his face.
"It wasn't foolish. Everything was completely logical thought through! You have made me soft over the years, doctor." He said accusingly but without a sting, he just wanted to defend himself. Which wasn't necessary in Watson's eyes. "Before you came along I was perfectly capable of changing my milieu without batting an eye. Not even Mycroft could keep me, not that he tried, I'm just saying."
"So our friendship is a bad thing?" Watson asked with a raised eyebrow.
"What?" Holmes asked baffled, "No! Watson you are missing the point!" the master mind was talking himself into quite a fit, almost shouting at the other man.
"Then what is the point?" if Holmes could get louder, John wouldn't be left behind.
"The point, man, is that I need you!" this time he did shout, and it seemed like that was the last energy he could muster for that. Sherlock pulled up his legs and rested his head in his hands for am moment, sighing tiredly. "It was horrible these last two month, old boy, I am truly lost without my Boswell."
Watson relished these words from his friend, knowing that he would probably never hear him saying something like this again. It was a good feeling to hear that Sherlock needed him as much as he needed Sherlock.
"That is not a bad thing, you know." He nudged the tired man a little with his leg. If Holmes could admin his feelings, it's only fair that he reciprocated. "I was miserable, too. I missed you horribly. I wasn't joking when I said that you had no right to make the decision to leave for my own good, Holmes. I need you as much as you need me. Thinking you were dead, was terrible, but I had to life with it, because obviously you wouldn't have been able come back to me then." He took a deep breath and forced Holmes to look him in the eyes, to understand him.
"But don't you dare to stay away, to keep me in the dark, suffering because I lost my brother, while you are there the whole time. I can live with the danger, have lived with it for years now. I know you won't change, but you don't have to. We will work it out. Like we always did. Clear?"
"Clear." Holmes even managed a quick smile.
"Good," the medical man nodded. "then I have two more questions, and maybe we can finally finish this matter. No wait, come to think of it, now there are three questions. You still feel up to talking?" he asked a little concerned, the other man looked a bit like he could fall asleep any second.
"Of course I do, don't be ridiculous." The following yawn didn't really support the statement, but Watson really wanted to get trough with this, so he continued on, not commenting it when Holmes head came to rest on his shoulder.
"Right, so the question I just thought of. If you didn't plan on telling me, why send me the oxygen device? That doesn't make sense."
He felt the man huffing at his side and maybe there was soft a laugh in between.
"Believe me, dear man, I was as surprised as you were when you opened the package. I should have expected something like that though. I told my traitorous brother not to tell or write you of my survival, obviously he found a loophole to nudge you into the right direction without breaking his word to me." His left hand began to pick on the earlier discarded strand on his trousers again absentmindedly.
Watson snorted, "I would have tracked you down, then." And Holmes knew it to be true.
"I know, old friend. Now, get on, second question."
"Holmes," the doctor hesitated slightly and looked down at the other man resting against him, "how badly exactly were you hurt?" he watched as Holmes eyes turned up to meet his for a moment, then down again.
"Watson, I don't think you…"
"I need to know, Holmes. Even now, you still look like…well you look terrible exhausted."
John commented with a tone of worry, which was immediately waved away by the detective.
"You worry too much, mother hen. I am fine, recovered nicely, just my stamina is still suffering a bit."
"How bad, Holmes?" he repeated, and when Sherlock sighed and sagged a little more against him he knew he would get a full answer now.
"Nothing one can not handle. I broke two ribs and my left leg somewhere along the way, a, considering the circumstances, little head trauma, and hypothermia at the beginning, later a cold, then a slight case of pneumonia. And before you asked, I had two month to heal, despite the fact that I tire way to quick for my liking and a bit lingering soreness, I am alright. Well, the doctor did say my right shoulder could be causing me a little trouble for indefinite time, but I haven't tested my limit there. Yet." He conceded.
Watson was at a loss for words for a moment, images of his ailing friend run trough his mind and he closed his eyes for a moment. Only opening them when he felt a hand give his right one a slight squeeze.
"I am sorry I wasn't there." He whispered sincerely.
Holmes lifted his head to frown at the doctor. "You are being unreasonable, Watson. How could you have been there if you didn't even know I was there?"
"I was the one who refused to inform you. I knew you would have come if I had called. So the fault is mine. Drop that. Go on with your last question, for I have to confess my eyes seem to close on their own accord, even though I have already slept many an hour. This is very frustrating." Another yawn confirmed his words.
"Ok, last one. Why did you do it?"
"Do what?" Holmes head flopped back on his shoulder.
"Jump in the first place, of course. I swear my heart stopped for a moment when you looked at me and then just threw the two of you over the railing. It was," his throat gave a little protest as he remembered that horrible moment, and he had to swallow before he could continue. "I can honestly say it was the worst moment of my live." John whispered. Again, he felt a light squeeze to his hand.
"There was no other option, my friend. I have considered every outcome my fight with Moriarty could have brought, but due to my already damaged shoulder, every one of them was unacceptable."
"But Holmes, I came, if you would have let him go then we could have fought together."
Watson insisted, but Holmes shook his head.
"No. I had taken you appearance in account, and in the end, the Professor would have used my weakness to end us both. An outcome I couldn't let happen."
What was he to say against this logic? Nothing. How could he? He knew he would lay down his life for Holmes as well. So he had no right to complain. But that didn't mean he had to like it.
So he didn't say anything. But he felt like for the time in two month, two month and nine days, but who has been counting, he could finally relax. He felt so much lighter now that he knew everything that had happened, now that Holmes was here with him, leaning against his side, and probably on the brink of falling asleep.
Suddenly everything seemed right again. Everything was as it should be. And now he felt tired. But tired in a good way, like he can sleep for the first time in two month and nine days and really expect to feel rested after that.
His blue eyes found the clock on the wall and he was surprised it was already a quarter to five. Time has sure flown by.
"Holmes?" hopefully the man hadn't fallen asleep yet.
"Come on old boy, lay down to sleep, it will be much more comfortable." When the detective didn't move, he shook his shoulder a bit to ruse him some more. "Come on."
Finally Sherlock groan in annoyance and skidded down back into a lying position prepared to just go to sleep, Watson rolled his eyes and wrestled the blanked out from under the other man and spread them over the already half asleep Holmes. Then got under them himself.
"Watson? Are you staying?" came a mumbled but confused question.
"Well it's almost 5, way too early to go back home. Don't think Mary is expecting me anytime soon anyway. And I'm tired. You got a problem with that?" Problem or not, Watson was already making himself more comfortable. Of course he could get up and sleep on the settee, or see if his old bed was still there, but neither sounded very appealing at the moment. He felt good exactly where he was. And as expected, there was no problem.
"No, course not." Holmes yawned and turned on his side, his forehead came to rest against Watson's upper arm. "Good Night." He mumbled.
Yeah, Watson thought, it was indeed a good night. "Sleep well, old boy."
The doctor closed his eyes and for the first time in a long time felt really at peace, now he could…
He thought Holmes was already sleeping.
"Are you happy?"
John groaned and rolled his eyes. "Just go to sleep."
Again, Watson closed his eyes, willing himself to sleep, which shouldn't be hard.
This time he couldn't help but chuckle, "Yes, Holmes, I am happy. Now sleep."
Holmes gave a content sigh and Watson was sure the detective was grinning.
So here he was again, with his annoying brother. But he wouldn't have it any other way.
I may redo this sometime, because I'm really not happy with the way it turnes ou. But at the moment that is impossible.
But thanks for reading anyway :)