Authors Note: I had this idea, based on the conversation between John and Mycroft in "A Scandal in Belgravia". John asks Mycroft if he thinks it's a danger night. When Mycroft says he's unsure, John replies "Shit." This lead me to the idea that John has, in fact, experienced a "danger night" with Sherlock. This has probably been done before. So, please note that Sherlock may be OOC, because—lets face it—no one has properly seen him in this state as of yet, or probably ever will. Artistic license has been used.
This has been re-uploaded. I received a comment via my tumblr account that pointed out some medical inaccuracies, ones which I felt compelled to edit. If I've missed anything else, if reactions don't seem right, please feel free to send me a message (preferably a private message). I'd like my stories to be as accurate as possible, despite their blatantly fictitious nature.
And as always, thank you for reading.
His phone was vibrating, vibrating, vibrating, but he couldn't answer. Not then. His patient, the one before him, needed him more. He knew it'd be an onslaught of text messages, ones from Sherlock more than likely, with silly requests. "Pick up milk." they'd say. Or "Start the kettle." Or, his personal favorite, "I need your phone."
So he ignored the messages. He'd get to them in his own time.
He didn't get a moment to even glance at his phone (which had ensued vibrating on and off throughout the entire day) until his relief came in. Even then, he waited until he'd successfully hailed a cab and was on his way to 221B to finally look upon his phones screen. Twenty text messages, three missed calls, and a single voice message awaited him. Eyebrows furrowed, he checked the text messages. They started similar to what he'd imagined:
Start kettle. Need tea. -SH
Need your phone. -SH
But then they became stranger:
Have you gone? Your phone. I need it. -SH
You're gone. -SH
Come back. -SH
Please come back. -SH
I need you. -SH
They continued on like that, up until 11:30 A.M. Then Sherlock stopped. A text from Mycroft came next, just one, that contained a simple request:
John, please answer your phone.
Lo and behold, Mycroft's name appeared beside all three missed calls. It almost made him nervous to begin the voice mail awaiting him. He knew it'd be Mycroft—that was the easy bit to figure out—but Mycroft never called him for leisure. They never just "had a chat", as it were. When Mycroft phoned, and with such frequency, it meant something was wrong.
John pressed the phone to his ear, covering the other and listening carefully. Mycroft's voice was crisp. It didn't have the same lofty quality it normally held, though he tried. Mycroft had been attempting to keep himself in check:
"John, upon receiving this message, I'd advise you to hastily make your way back to 221B." John's jaw clenched. He had little idea of when Mycroft had left said message, but night had fallen. He hoped upon hope that there was a flat to return to. Mycroft always made him fear the worst. "I'm unsure of the state in which my brother is currently in, though after a rather—" Mycroft's voice paused, as though considering the best words, "—Unpleasant conversation, he seemed as though he may have been distraught. I fear he may be a hazard to himself. Please see to it that he be kept out of harm's way."
The message ended. The cab pulled to a stop just then, the cabbie declaring they'd arrived at their destination. John peered out the window, up to the windows of the flat. They were completely dark. Not even the small glow of a burning fire could be seen from behind the flimsy curtains. John swallowed quietly. He wasn't sure what Mycroft had meant exactly, but it caused his heart to race uncomfortably. Sherlock was always a hazard to himself. What could've made him more so than usual?
He shoved a few different notes at the driver, knowing somewhere in his head he was over-paying but uncaring as he stepped from the car. His eyes couldn't seem to leave the windows. They were ominous in the dark. His mind seemed to jump from conclusion to conclusion, each seemingly worse until it stopped on a vision of Sherlock's limp body in the middle of the room. His jaw clenched as he tore his eyes away finally. They made for the door instead, where he quickly jammed his key into the lock and shoved the door open.
"Sherlock?" he called cautiously. He took the stairs two at a time, though he paced himself, pausing with each step he reached. His ears were on high alert, listening for even the quietest rustle of movement in his flat. None seemed to come. He paused on the middle landing between the two flights of stairs, looking up to the closed doors before him. Closed. Sherlock never closed the doors. It caused a tremor of absolute terror to make its way through John's body.
He continued up the stairs slowly, swallowing hard against the fear that engulfed his lungs. Mycroft's words rang in his head, Sherlock's text's flooded his vision. I need you. He wrapped his fingers around the doorknob, staring at the door before him. "Sherlock?" he called again. Guilt was beginning to settle into his stomach, joining fear and dread in the battle for which would make him vomit first. He shut his eyes, taking a deep, rattling breath before swinging the door open.
It was dark.
It took his eyes a moment to adjust to the darkness as he shut the door behind him. Lights from the street managed to cause a faint glow in the room. An acrid smell, one he'd never before smelled in the flat, made its way through his nostrils. It was mixed with one he was familiar with, one that would haunt him until he died: shots had been fired. He stepped in further, taking slow, quiet steps.
The crunching of glass beneath his feet caused him to pause. He shut his eyes, swallowing down a fresh batch of agony that sifted through his blood.
He continued moving slow, his shoes stepping over a minefield of glass shards. He examined the darkened room as best he could. The fireplace was cold—it hadn't been used at all that day. There wasn't a body in the middle of the floor, he thanked whichever deity had made that happen, but as he turned back to the couch, he noticed the splatter of something dark against the wall. His heart stopped. His stomach lurched. He was sure he'd be sick at any moment as he made his way back toward it. "No." he whispered.
It couldn't have been blood. No, not here. Sherlock wasn't that deranged. Logic would've snapped him to well before he'd… John swallowed. Besides, if he had, which he couldn't have, where would the body of gone? Unless it was someone else. He crept toward the couch as though it may attack, eyeing the substance closer.
His eyes narrowed suspiciously at it. He brought his face in close, inhaling cautiously. Sulfur struck him first, though it seemed to be wafting through the flat, so his assumptions of its presence in the wall could be noted as confusion. But the substance… he felt a tiny shock of relief drift through him. Not blood. "Syrup." he mumbled. He looked back to the glass. It was a jar. A jar of syrup. A jar of syrup that had, in all likelihood, been shot through. Splattered against the wall.
John sighed as he stepped back off the couch. So there was no blood. The glass was nothing. The chances that Sherlock had become bored and had begun conducting experiments was looking to be more fit. That accounted for the gun fire smell.
Then why the darkness? And what was the second scent, the unrecognizable one?
John crept into the kitchen, the usual mix of Bunsen burners and microscopes and test-tubes scattered about quite unorganized on the table. He glanced at the floor, noting the scatter of blasted cans. There was something else, though. Something much more important than the mess Sherlock had caused.
There was a light. Just a sliver of light, barely noticeable. It was coming from the end of the hallway.
"Sherlock." John whispered.
Keeping his steps as light as possible, he began down the hallway. He could hear his heart in his ears, the sound almost similar to a drum-roll. His lungs were fighting him over it. His body was beginning to tremor once again, now visible in the instability of his hands. The smell was purely chemical as he approached the door. It caught on his tongue and made his gag reflex react. He swallowed, the taste following down into his throat. He grabbed hold of the doorknob.
He gave himself a countdown.
Three, two, one…
He flung the door open wordlessly, stepping with flat, sturdy steps just inside the room.
His stomach lurched helplessly. His heart beat, a cadence before, seemed to have been working so hard it was a single buzzing in his ear. His eyes roved around the room, attempting to take in what he saw before him. A candle, just one, burning close to the ground. A glass, less than a quarter way full of water. Spoon, alcohol swabs, broken rubber band, syringe.
Sherlock laying on the floor, spread eagle, comatose.
"No." John mumbled. He raced into the room, quickly kneeling beside Sherlock. "No, no. No, you tit. No." he was muttering. Sherlock wasn't responsive. His eyes were shut, John could see no physical signs of breathing. John growled as he straddled the comatose mans body, leaning over him. He listened to his breathing, slow and barely visible. "Sherlock, can you hear me?" he asked loudly. Sherlock made no motion of acknowledgment.
"Sherlock? Sherlock, if you can hear me, open your eyes." John said quickly. Sherlock still made no movement. With quaking hands, he pressed two fingers gingerly to Sherlock's neck, just beneath his jaw. A pulse. A pulse, Thank God. "I swear to God, Sherlock, if you…" he muttered. "Sherlock. Sherlock!" he yelled. Terror was still dancing in his stomach, guilt for not being present when needed having embedded itself in his blood. Anger was beginning to rise up, looking down upon the all-too relaxed face of Sherlock Holmes. His hand reared back, straight and stiff, and found its way across Sherlock's cheek. Then it went for the other side.
Sherlock took a giant gasping breath after the second slap. His eyes snapped open, staring around the room quickly before settling on John. He was breathing hard. The two men stared at one another in silence—John was waiting for Sherlock's breathing to regulate before he attacked. "John." Sherlock croaked finally.
John said nothing. He only nodded.
Sherlock nodded too, faintly, before shutting his eyes once again. "John." he said again.
John still said nothing. His body was stiff as he stood from his position over Sherlock. He snuffed out the candle and grabbed up the paraphernalia scattered around Sherlock. Wordlessly, he switched on Sherlock's lamp and walked out of the room. He wrapped all the pieces in three plastic bags and settled the package in his pocket. He flipped on every light in the flat as he did so.
Then he left. He would dispose of it in a skip blocks away. He would crush the pieces in the bag, including the remnants of the drug currently sifting its way through Sherlock's system, and he would scatter them in back-alley bins.
When he returned, Sherlock was seated in front of the fireplace, now blazing with a freshly lit wood. His hands were steepled at his lips and his legs were crossed. John knew that the drug was still there, present, calming him, but it'd be gone soon.
"Don't." Sherlock cut John's sentence before it'd even begun.
John was used to him doing such things. Often, when Sherlock was attempting to make difficult leaps and bounds, he'd silence John with a quick, agitated demand. That night, John wouldn't have it. "No, Sherlock—"
"John." Sherlock replied through gritted teeth.
"I will not have this conversation." Sherlock hissed.
"Then it's a damn good thing this isn't a conversation!" John yelled fiercely. His blood was boiling. Sherlock turned in his seat, finally facing John. "Don't thinkfor one second that I'd come in to find this without a single word. I will not sit quietly, not this time. Not over this. You will sit there, and you will listen, Sherlock. Do you understand?" John was irate. He would lunge toward him and beat him to a pulp had he not the decency to know better. He was quivering.
Sherlock said nothing. He didn't move. His eyes stayed on John.
John took two steadying breaths before making his way closer to Sherlock. "This… this? Never happens again. Never. If I come back here to find… that… again." he pointed in the direction of Sherlock's room. John was fighting himself, fighting urges to scream, fighting urges to hurt Sherlock, fighting the guilt that still held him personally responsible for Sherlock's relapse. John's jaw clenched. He looked down to the floor, needing a few more deep, deep breaths before looking back to Sherlock's expressionless face.
"What, John." Sherlock said quietly. "What will happen."
John swallowed. "I will make you very, very sorry." he growled. "So sorry, in fact, that the police will need to intervene to keep you living."
Sherlock was silent once again.
"And then, Sherlock Holmes, I will leave." John said with certainty. "I will leave. And I will not return." He wasn't certain it was a particularly harsh threat. The words had just come tumbling out of him. The certainty in his voice was directed to himself, he realized. He would not hold that kind of fear in his chest again, not because of Sherlock's need to self-destruct. If it happened again, he would do everything in his power to save him, then he'd hurt him, and then he would never subject himself to it again.
He nodded to himself.
Sherlock didn't reply. Instead, he looked back to the flames of the fireplace. He swallowed quietly. A tense, cluttered silence had taken over, filling the room like heinous furniture. Finally Sherlock stood, making his way into the kitchen. He filled the kettle with water, flipping it on to start it boiling. He brought out two mugs and placed them onto the counter top. He was making tea. He was making tea?
"John, I'd like to… apologize." Sherlock cut him off quickly, his voice clipped. "I've been clean for a long while. It is unfortunate that you had to be present on the day of my… relapse." He spoke evenly, though it was obvious to John how painful it was to make such confessions. "I know you're currently pondering the reason for my relapse, but I refuse to elaborate." He slid a spoon from the drawer beside his hip and scooped sugar into the mugs. "I'll need to allow it time to leave the body. For the next 48 hours, I'm to be kept in my room. Door locked. I won't require food, though water will be necessary." He spoke informatively, as though reading instructions. He poured the boiling water into both mugs, stirring quietly. "The only assistance I'll need is monitoring."
John made his way to the refrigerator, pulling the quart of milk (which was, as usual, running low) and handing it cautiously to Sherlock. The men exchanged a terse glance before Sherlock refocused on the mugs before him. After pouring the milk into each mug, he handed one off to John. "Ta." John said quietly.
Sherlock took a small sip before setting the mug upon the counter. "I should be clean within the first twenty-four hours, but I'd rather not risk it." he said curtly.
"Is there anymore?" John asked. "Anymore in your room, anything in your room?"
Sherlock's jaw stiffened. He didn't reply immediately, but soon enough, he nodded. John nodded as well, sipping at the tea in his mug. "Whereabouts?" John asked quietly. Sherlock was still, his hands shoved into his pockets. He swallowed, then recanted each location quickly: "A small bag beneath the nightstand, one buried in my dresser drawer, shoved in a pair of socks, one tucked in the center book upon the shelf, and one between the mattress and the boxspring."
John's eyes widened momentarily, another gulp of tea sliding down his throat. "Mm. Anywhere else?" he asked, slightly sarcastic. Sherlock sighed, shutting his eyes. John was preparing to tell him he'd been joking when Sherlock replied, "One in my coat pocket."
John nodded slowly, taking a final sip of tea before setting the mug upon the table. "Well then. Nightstand, sock drawer, book, bed, coat?" John reaffirmed. Sherlock nodded stiffly, watching as John made his way from the kitchen into his room.
John was quick to apprehend each small bag from Sherlock's room. He did a quick search, in places Sherlock hadn't mentioned, for reassurance, before heading into the bathroom. He knew that Sherlock was listening, body tense and ears straining, as he dropped the contents of each baggie into the toilet bowl. And then he flushed them, watching as they made their way down and out of sight.
He helped Sherlock set up his room for his personal rehabilitation. They worked quietly, equipping the room with buckets, making sure the curtains were to stay drawn. John had noticed, as they worked, that Sherlock was becoming antsy. He'd scratched at his neck offhandedly, gritting his teeth quietly. John waited as he changed from his normal suit into his dressing gown.
"I'm calling off for the next two days." John announced as Sherlock crawled into bed. Sherlock shook his head, bringing the comforter up over his chest. "You can have Mrs. Hudson care for me while you're away." he retorted, watching John take a seat upon the bed. John shook his head slowly. "Nope. Mrs. Hudson bends too easy. She'd let you out the first time you yelled at her."
"I'm calling off." John interrupted. Sherlock took a deep breath, "It'll be hellish. For you as well, you know." he stated. John nodded, but said nothing more. Hesitantly, he slid his hand over the comforter, slipping it just over Sherlock's. He gave it a gentle squeeze. Sherlock's eyes traveled up to John's. He gave a single, subtle nod. "Thank you." he murmured quietly.
"I do this today with the faith that I'll never be doing it for you again." John replied, but he smiled. Sherlock took a deep breath as he sat upright. "Sherlock, you need to lay—" John had begun. He hadn't finished though. Very softly, very gently, Sherlock had wrapped his arms around him. John could feel the small tremor in Sherlock's body, in his arms. Something, somehow, had frightened Sherlock. An overwhelming flood of emotion came over John as wrapped his arms around Sherlock. On occasion, John forgot that Sherlock was human, an assumption that Sherlock was certain he'd have preferred John have. But in that moment, as they held one another in an embrace, John remembered that Sherlock—for all he was—was still just a man. A brilliant bag of bones and tissue and organs and, more than all of those, emotions.
Then Sherlock pulled himself away. He swallowed quietly. John watched his Adams apple jump as he did so. He replied with an easy smile.
Silently, Sherlock laid back down in his bed. John gave Sherlock's hand one last squeeze before finally sliding his hand back into his lap. He stood then, sticking his hands in his pocket. "Good luck." he murmured.
Sherlock nodded, taking a fleeting moment to allow his eyes to study John's disappearing frame. He listened quietly to the shuffling of something heavy being pressed before his door, at his request. For him. Sherlock's mind was quiet, except for the single thought. This agony, for him.