There was no such thing as retrospect in Sherlock's world. There was no hindsight, only insight and immediate thought. There was no need for him to have hindsight, for he was–perhaps the only one in the world, he thought—capable of thinking and coming to the exact correct conclusions the second he was presented with facts. His deductions were always correct, which led to the lack of necessity in having hindsight.
Suddenly though, Sherlock was struck with the baffling and world altering realization that maybe, just maybe, having hindsight would have benefitted him in this particular instance. No, no, not benefit him. Well, it would have benefitted him, but at the moment what benefitted him was not what was important. What was important was how hindsight might have protected one of the only people he had a scrap of care for.
John. Sherlock screwed his eyes shut, forcing the drug-induced nausea away by sheer force of will. There were other things he could concentrate on to forget the pains in his stomach. He could focus on the aching of his shoulder joints from his arms being suspended above his head for so long. He could focus on the burn of metal handcuffs cutting into his wrists, the skin gone raw, even bleeding at parts, from when he had frantically been trying to pull his slender wrists free. Or, if he wanted a trip down memory lane, back to his less gallant days, he could concentrate on the lightheaded and dizzying feel of the drugs that were slowly burning out of his system. Anything but looking across the way at the atrocity taking place there.
As a thinking habit, Sherlock ate as little as possible. Digestion interfered with the thinking process, he proclaimed loudly and often whenever John or Mrs. Hudson would shove a plate of food at him or suggest a bit of tea and a biscuit. That was his main reason for abstaining from food whenever he and John went out. John would eat and he would sit there, staring at the doctor, thinking aloud and allowing his musings to work themselves out. The idea of being poisoned had truthfully crossed his mind very few times, even if he himself had resorted to slipping things into John's food and drink several times. All for the sake of experiments though.
Finally, after a long battle revolving around social norms and bodily needs, John had coaxed him into going out to eat. Not just to sit and think, but to actually partake in a meal. Sherlock had initially scoffed at the idea of eating but his friend was pushy and there were no dire cases that needed his immediate attention. He supposed he could afford to digest. With an irate sigh, he had grabbed his coat from the rack, carefully arranged his scarf around his neck, and then the two of them were off for a simple, domestic meal out.
How easily their plans shattered, Sherlock thought with a grim smile. A sharp cry from the other side of the room brought him back to the moment and the grin faded. He lifted his head, ignoring the pounding ache in his temple, and blinked his eyes rapidly to clear them.
The lighting in the room was dim, the small square illuminated by a single lamp dangling from the ceiling by a metal cord. Sherlock tried to gather his bearings, tried to put his genius brain to work and deduce where they might be, but thoughts were failing him. The drugs were potent and his attention was being drawn back to John across the way.
When he had awoken, it had taken him very little time to figure out that he had been drugged. A bit of opium in his tea perhaps? It was difficult to be sure what he had ingested and, disregarding the fact that he was chained and kidnapped, Sherlock had the ridiculous longing to be in his lab so he might test his blood and urine and discover what he had been slipped. What they had been slipped, he realized, glancing about and seeing John similarly bound, just rousing and shaking off the dregs of drug-induced sleep. That had been before matters began going downhill.
Sherlock tugged again on the handcuffs, feeling froth dribble from the corner of his mouth as his lips spasmodically worked to form threats. The best he could produce though was a growl, low in his throat, angry and dangerous. It was enough though and one of the men surrounding John looked over to him.
"Problem?" He queried dryly, before laughing and returning his attention to the doctor.
He had several problems actually, Sherlock's brain supplied, but was unable to push past his numb lips. He craned himself this way and that, attempting to get a better look at John. The sounds dragged from his friend's lips were telling enough, but he needed to be sure, to see for himself. At last, a second man there shifted aside and he caught a glimpse of John's face. Immediately, Sherlock wished he had not. The doctor's eyes were half-lidded and glazed over. John clearly was not there. His mind had been reduced to mush by whatever drug they had been given and once again Sherlock had that absurd desire to be in his lab. He needed to know what they had been given, what side effects John was experiencing, what the possible long-term effects could be. That worried him more than Sherlock thought was possible for him to worry. When first he had woke, John was also stirring, the clouds slowly moving from their minds. Then John had been given a second dose via injection.
"A message," man number 1 had told him after the trio of kidnappers had entered the room, "from a fan."
Moriarty, Sherlock thought. He was confused though. Drugs and kidnapping were not Moriarty's modus operandi. Puzzles, games, tricks, bombs, collateral damage: that was Moriarty. This was too straightforward, to unoriginal and dull. What then was the point of it? Later, he could only come to the conclusion that this part of their dance was meant to burn the heart out of him, as the psychopath had promised to do that night at the pool.
Helplessness was not a feeling Sherlock experienced often and as such it was not one he enjoyed feeling. But bound and with drugs still lingering in his system, mind unable to produce a solution, there was little he could do as the trio moved away from him and started to preen over John. His friend had shot him a confused look. And frightened. It was masked well, but in the brief glance, Sherlock had seen fear color his friend's expression. It was an understandable response, the logical part of him reasoned. Handcuffed, drugged, kidnapped, with no ways to extradite themselves and now suddenly at someone's mercy…really they would have been foolish not to have been concerned.
Sherlock gave John all the credit in the world; the doctor fought hard, bound as he was. He got smacked once for biting a man's hand as he tried to force John's head up. It took two of the men to subdue him while the third plunged a syringe into the doctor's leg. John hissed in pain and the men stood back, allowing the drug to make its way through their prey's body and snake into his mind, dulling his senses and obliterating his fighting spirit.
They teased Sherlock once with the prospect of being jabbed as well, but he could see through that farce. Whatever was happening, he was meant to see and to see he needed a clear head. There would be no drugs for him. As it turned out, what he was meant to see was the desecration of his friend.
Once the drugs had taken their toll and John's head lulled forward, heavy, his neck without strength to hold it up, they unshackled him. That was a good sign, Sherlock had initially thought with his substance-addled brain. Unshackled John meant freedom for John. There was, after all, little reason for Moriarty to include John in their game. So he had thought.
The fleeting hope he had for his friend's release died in a blaze as John was divested of his clothing until he was left shivering, naked on the floor. Sherlock blinked, trying to decipher the meaning of this. Meaning was easy to come by soon enough when one man crouched down, running a hand appreciatively over John's body, marveling aloud at how strong the doctor appeared.
Of course he's strong, Sherlock thought to himself. John was a soldier. Even if he had been a doctor, the man had hinted that he had seen more action than the wounded men that came into his tent.
He watched with sinking realization and mounting horror as the second man in the trio stood above John, straddling his body as he gazed at the doctor and rubbed his cock through his pants.
"What" Sherlock managed to get out of his mouth. It took exhausting effort just to say a single word though and the rest of his question was left unsaid.
He was understood regardless and man number 2 glanced over his shoulder and taunted, "You care too much."
That was possibly the most ridiculous statement Sherlock had heard in a good while and he had a mind to say so…if he could get his mouth to cooperate. When his lips failed, he could only watch mutely as the second man lowered himself to the floor, settling between John's legs, which the third man had spread wider to accommodate him. The second man had unzipped himself and pulled his cock free, rubbing it frantically as he gazed at John's dazed face and taut, muscled body.
It was easy then for Sherlock to deduce what he was about to witness. That did not make it any easier to see. His body had gone slack from shock, from resignation at his role as passive observer at his friend's debasement. He watched with growing sickness as the man, member engorged now, scooted himself closer to John, hefting the bound man's legs onto his shoulders. John's head listed to the side and he groaned.
The man didn't have the decency to prepare John in any way. He grabbed hold of one leg in a bruising grip and used the other to guide the head of his cock into the doctor's pliant body. Sherlock stiffened and struggled against the handcuffs at the sharp cry of pain that tore itself from John's lips. A chorus of laughter broke out at John's cry.
The cries of pain continued the entire time the man was inside of his friend, pounding away at the doctor's limp body. There was an unfamiliar clench in Sherlock's gut, in his chest, that perplexed him and he tried to distract himself by figuring out where his own pain came from. He cursed the slow speed at which his brain was functioning. Thoughts were not flowing nearly quick enough for his liking and connections were slow to form. Eventually though, he got to the crux of the matter.
A message. He cared too much. That was where hindsight came in. Moriarty was clever, observant, sneaky. Always had eyes on Sherlock. The detective had known this and yet he had done little about it. He had warned no one and stubbornly refused to altar his habits. He doubted though that he could have altered the particular habit Moriarty had cottoned onto. Anyone that had met him a handful of times would be able to see that John was significant to him. More than just a friend. John was free of the barrage of insults that others were subjected to. Sherlock had a soft spot for his flat mate. They were nearly inseparable. Where Sherlock went, he wanted John to follow. He trusted no one but John.
Idiot, Sherlock chided himself. Then he screamed it in his head. Idiot, idiot, idiot. Idiot not to have realized that John was in danger. Idiot not to care that Moriarty would play dirty to get to him. Idiot not to have hindsight, not to have realized how obvious his need for John was. What better way to burn him than by burning John first?
It was over, thankfully, when he next dared to look up. The first round at least. Sherlock watched the second man tuck himself back into his pants with a satisfied sigh. Then the third man moved to take his place.
Would they all take a turn? Sherlock wondered in alarm and looked at John. It disgusted him to see his friend covered in sweat and what looked like smears of semen that the man had rubbed onto his stomach. John was panting heavily, his brow creased in pain. Sherlock did not think his friend could stand a second or third round. If he had been capable, he would have tried pleading. That would have pleased Moriarty, to know that he had been reduced to begging.
A cry pulled him from his thoughts again. It was a different type of cry though and he felt his stomach sink even further. Sherlock hardly had the heart to lift his eyes and look over. The scene was the same: John, lying drugged underneath some man who was having his way with him. The look of pain on his friend's face was gone though, replaced by one of…pleasure. He swallowed thickly, his brain erupting into a million thoughts, functioning at last.
No, no, no, was the first thought he had. Then he attempted to will John not to moan. Then he wondered how much force he would need to put on a pair of handcuffs to break them, which naturally lead to an analysis of what his odds were against three men, possibly armed.
All of his thoughts and careful plans were drowned out by the moans John was making. They were growing loader and more frequent as the man now at him held onto his hips and slammed into him relentlessly, panting disgusting things into the air, as if John were a willing participant. To the three men, perhaps he was. Drugged and out of his mind, John had little sense of what was right or wrong, of what he wanted or did not want. The pain was gone, so why would his body not respond favorably to the pleasure?
Bodies, Sherlock scowled. Always betraying their masters with their need to digest or find pleasure. He would not admit defeat, he would not give up—those were not things a consulting detective of his caliber did—but Sherlock had to resign himself to hanging by his cuffs and watching the spectacle playing out before him. This was what Moriarty wanted him to do and if he did not want worse things to happen, he would have to do what the psychopath wanted.
The worst part of it for himself, Sherlock thought, was witnessing the end. It was possibly the hardest thing he had done in his life, watching an enemy violate his dear friend and to see said dear friend enjoy those touches and caresses. John's bound hands clenched and unclenched in their binds. He tossed his head back and moaned often, biting his lip now and then when the pleasure became too intense. As the man was climaxing, spilling deep inside him, John's eyes snapped open, nearly rolling into the back of his head, and he came as well, splashing his belly with seed. It was an image that would stay with the detective for the rest of his days. Sherlock had to look away then.
Thankfully, there would be no third round. The men had fulfilled the task they were contracted to perform. They cleaned themselves up, leaving John curled up on the floor, beginning to shiver once more.
The first man, the one who hadn't dared to touch his friend, approached Sherlock. He waved a small key in front of his eyes. Without the detective noticing, the first two men slipped from the room. The key was slipped into his hand and Sherlock blinked at the man, at a loss for words, even though he temporarily didn't have the ability to use words.
"Burn." The man said, mouth quirking into a dark, hateful smile.
Then the man disappeared. It would not take Sherlock long to un-cuff himself and when he was free, Sherlock surmised the man knew he would not want to be around. He undid the cuffs with haste and, rather than waste time looking up the steps to see which direction the men had gone, he went instantly to John's side.
The detective sank down slowly, taking in John's wounds. There were a few little bruises on the face from where he was manhandled before the second dose of drugs, but they were nothing compared to the damage done elsewhere. Sherlock's eyes drifted lower, stubbornly ignoring the mess of cum on his friend's stomach and nudging his legs open slightly.
There was more blood than he had thought. Obviously there were tears, but hopefully they were not grave enough to need intensive medical attention.
Medical attention, yes, Sherlock thought, rooting around in his pockets for his phone. He wavered for a moment, wondering if he ought to call Lestrade. Would John be embarrassed, once the drugs had worn off and he knew what had happened? The police force they worked alongside were not particularly kind; they gossiped and demeaned and spread secrets like fire. Lestrade was the only decent one among the batch, Sherlock thought, but he couldn't risk Anderson or Donovan finding out and having their tongues wag.
An ambulance then. But where were they? He paused again. If they were close to St. Bartholomew's, John would be brought there. And who knew who would see him. Molly wasn't prone to gossip but this was of such a delicate nature, John may want to keep it hidden from anyone they knew.
Sherlock shut the phone, having made up his mind. He used his scarf to clean John's belly then shoved the soiled thing into his coat pocket. He loved that scarf and loved it even more now for having come to great use for him.
Getting John clothed was the difficult part. The man's limbs were weak and limp and John had no notion of what was happening, so he couldn't be expected to help. Sherlock managed though and used all his strength to pull the other man to his feet. Together they stumbled to the door and out into fresh air. It was still night, but the streets were deserted. It was extremely late or extremely early, but Sherlock didn't waste time deducing which one it was. With John's arm slung over his shoulder, he started to drag his friend away from the scene (now carefully burned into his memory) and towards the nearest hospital that was not St. Bartholomew's
Hindsight had escaped him before, but, as he hauled his dear friend to safety, Sherlock swore it would not escape him again.