Since John usually woke up early on his own, he was surprised to be woken by a shrill alarm. He opened his eyes and saw an equally surprised Sherlock staring back at him. "You should get up," he told John.
"Are you going back to sleep?" John asked as he got out of bed,
"Probably," Sherlock responded. If he'd really spent the night on the street, and high to boot, he most likely hadn't slept at all. With no drugs to fuel him now, he was going to be especially fatigued. Even now his eyes were starting to close. By the time John had showered and dressed, he'd fallen asleep again.
For once he didn't bother to make coffee before leaving, just headed out the door and hailed a cab. If he really was going to sit with Dominic and Martin all day they'd most likely be eating together. John really didn't know either of them well; the only thing he'd heard from them after the interview was at the support group, where Gloria had mentioned Martin now lived with them. All he could remember were their haunted looks and ragged appearances. Fortunately the cab driver didn't try to chat, so he could be along with his thoughts.
All four Spencers were standing outside the courthouse when he arrived. Gloria was also with them, holding Angus, a car seat at her feet. Dominic stood out the most; he still wore the same ragged items and his hair was still crudely cut. Martin's hair was still long, but it was now neat and clean. He didn't have the pile of layers he'd had before, either. Christine and Graham were both dressed in new-looking suits. "Good to see you," Gloria said when she noticed him.
"Hello," John said.
"He said he'll stay with us?" Martin asked. He sounded skeptical.
"I most certainly will. Aren't you going to be taking care of your nephew?"
His face lit up. "Yeah. He's going to be one soon. He's almost walking!" He seemed as proud as any parent.
"He's so squirmy that I thought it might be better for him to be able to wander a bit. Martin's very good with him," explained Gloria.
"Hello to everyone," John heard Lou say. "I've got breakfast and if everyone will go inside we can distribute it."
"Not hungry," said Dominic.
"Someone's bound to eat your share," Lou cheerfully responded as they all headed into the courthouse. "Susan's running a bit late, I'm sorry to say." He led them into the room that they usually used in the morning. "Coffee or cocoa?" he asked once everyone had sat down.
"Coffee," John said.
"Cocoa for all of us," Christine said, gesturing to her brothers and Gloria.
"Is he eating solid food?" Lou asked Gloria, pointing to Angus. He gave everyone a croissant sandwich and a doughnut. Dominic pushed the sandwich over to Martin, but kept the doughnut.
"Yes he is, but he got fed earlier this morning." The six of them then turned to the food, and within ten minutes there was nothing but the cocoa and coffee cups and some crumbs.
Lou paused to answer his mobile. "Hello? Good, I'll tell them that." He put the mobile away. "I think that you three should go," he said. "Susan's on her way."
"Will do," John said. Dominic fled for the door, but Martin picked up Angus, his car seat, and a tote bag before going. John followed him, and all three of them sat down on a bench outside the main court room.
"I'm glad I'm not in there now," Martin said with audible relief. Dominic looked away, like he didn't want to hear anything about why they were there.
A few minutes later, Susan walked in the door. When she saw John, she stopped and said: "Just so you know, we're coming to your flat tomorrow to talk to Victim Three."
"Does he know that?" John dared to ask.
"He's been contacted."
"I suppose I'll see you then," he said. Susan nodded and walked back towards the room Lou was in.
John and Martin chatted as people filed into the courtroom. Once the door was shut behind them, Martin let Angus out of the car seat and allowed him to crawl around on the floor. The two of them followed the baby down the hall and continued to talk. Dominic stayed in the same place, looking at the two of them but making no effort to join the conversation. In fact, the first time he spoke was when the court recessed for an hour. "I'll get lunch," he said briefly, heading for the doors.
"Do you think he'll come back?" John asked Martin, who had just put a sleeping Angus back in his car seat.
"He'll come back," Martin reassured him. "He's just a bit broken up about all this." He paused and added: "I think what I said to him earlier was hard."
"What do you mean?" John couldn't recall Martin saying anything directly to Dominic.
Martin looked down at the floor. "You don't want to know."
"If you want to tell me, I'll listen," John said.
"All right." He sighed. "Back when we were living with Her we didn't get to talk to our dad. They said he could ring us but She said that he never did. Well, once I felt bad because of something me and Dominic had done that day," he said, making a face that indicated just what that had been, "and I waited until everyone else was in bed and I took the phone and rang Dad. I don't know why. Just wanted to hear his voice, I guess. Well, he picked up and all I said was 'Dad,' and he goes 'Martin! I thought you didn't want to talk to me,' and that really set me off and I started crying and I said I wanted to go home. Because he did drink too much after Mum died, but he did love us a lot. He kept asking me what was wrong and I couldn't say anything. Then the phone goes dead and She's standing in front of me with Her hand on the switch. She told me to go to bed and I did. A week later we found out Dad had killed himself."
"You didn't cause that," was all John could say. "Does Dominic think you caused it?" he made himself ask.
"No. He thinks he should have done it." Any further conversation was ended when Dominic showed back up with takeaway boxes. All three ate in silence, and once that was done Martin fed Angus. By the time court was in session again, Martin and John went back to the chatter of before, not mentioning his confession at all.
When the courtroom emptied for the day, Dominic finally said something. "The others should be here soon." And once the crowds had cleared out, Lou and Susan returned with Gloria, Graham, and Christine. Graham and Christine both were white-faced and silent. Gloria took Angus from Martin, said "Thank you for sitting with them today," and turned to leave.
"Not a problem," John said. The siblings followed Gloria to the door and left. "When are you coming tomorrow?" he asked Lou and Susan.
"Noonish," Lou said. They headed for the door.
"Don't be surprised if he's not willing to talk."
"We can deal with it," reassured Susan. They had reached the street then and went their separate ways.
It wasn't until John was in a cab on his way back home that it occurred to him Sherlock might have fled again. Considering how unwilling to talk about K he always was, and how he'd do anything to avoid it, it seemed very possible. Fortunately, when he opened the door of their flat, Sherlock was stretched out on the sofa, still in his pajamas and dressing gown. "The prosecution's going to be here about noon tomorrow," John said with a sigh of relief.
"I see," Sherlock replied, not expressing any emotion at all.
John thought it was best to just change the subject. "Chinese or Indian? And don't say neither, you're eating something."
"Chinese," said Sherlock after a minute, though he didn't sound like he cared.
"I'll ring them up then." John ordered the food, they ate, watched crap telly that wasn't the news, and went to bed without any discussion of what would come the next day. He couldn't help but notice that Sherlock kept as far away from him as he could, and that he clutched Hamish to his chest in a death grip.
When he woke up the next morning, it was appropriately raining. Not just raining, but pouring, with bursts of thunder and lightning. "Figures," he said to himself before shaking Sherlock awake. "Come on, up. You should take a shower and dress before Lou and Susan get here."
"It's nine in the morning," Sherlock responded, looking over at the clock.
"Considering the way you shower I should have woken you up earlier."
"Do you think I should keep him out of sight?" He gestured towards the stuffed bee on the bed.
"Do you have to have him there?" John asked.
"Then sit on the sofa and lean against him. They won't see him then."
"Are you going to the trial on Monday?"
John hadn't expected to be asked that question. "No."
"You'll be staying home on Tuesday as well?"
"To babysit me."
"To make sure you don't run off instead of testifying," he clarified. Sherlock looked at him for a moment, then rolled out of bed. "I'm going to take a shower now," John added as he headed out of the room.
Once he'd showered and dressed, he headed into the kitchen, intending to make a large breakfast. If Sherlock was going to be his usual self with Lou and Susan, he'd need all the energy he could get. He put on coffee and made eggs, bacon, and toast. Sherlock wandered in once the coffee was done.
"Are you going to make me eat that?" he asked, looking at the frying pan with distaste.
"Some toast, yeah." This seemed to pacify him and he even ate a slice of toast and half a cup of coffee before heading out to get dressed. Just as he had promised, he was dressed and sitting on the sofa before Lou and Susan arrived. Hamish was hidden behind him.
At noon on the dot, there was a knock on the door. John got up to open it. Both Lou and Susan stood there, each holding dripping umbrellas. "Terrible day to be out. Rain's coming down so hard I think I should start building an ark," Lou said, stepping inside. "All right if I lean this against the wall?" He gestured to his umbrella.
"Go ahead," John told him. He put down the umbrella and Susan followed suit.
"We won't be here long," Susan said. "I don't want to take up too much of your weekend. Just wanted to go over a few things." She looked over at Sherlock, who looked warily back. "When you met the accused, you were..."
"Four," Sherlock icily replied.
"And you went away to school at..."
John wondered where they had learned all that; Sherlock certainly hadn't told them. "We've spoken to your brother already," Lou added.
"I see," Sherlock said in the same tight voice.
"He's not going to testify," said Lou.
"Did the accused ever tell you a nursery rhyme?" Susan asked, obviously remembering what Jennifer and Phillip had said.
"What was it?" she asked when Sherlock didn't elaborate.
"Round the garden like a teddy bear."
"His brother isn't testifying, is he?" John asked. He couldn't imagine he would; that would truly be a death knell to whatever relationship Sherlock and Mycroft had.
"No," Lou said. "He asked to be excused from it."
That was a relief, at least. "Is it still going to be Wednesday?"
"Yes," Susan said. She and Lou exchanged a look. "Anything else you'd like to mention to us?" she asked Sherlock, not looking like she was going to get an answer. Sherlock shook his head. "Then we won't intrude any more on your weekend." They walked back towards the door, grabbed their umbrellas, and left.
The rest of the day was almost like those lazy Saturdays where they didn't have a case that had occasionally happened before this one. John fiddled on his laptop, watched some bad telly with Sherlock occasionally making snide remarks, and made pasta with meat sauce that Sherlock ate about half a cup of. They both went to bed early; John wanted to go to the support group again the next day, but he didn't mention that to Sherlock.
John couldn't have been asleep for more than an hour when he heard what sounded like the doorbell. At first he thought he'd imagined it, but no, Sherlock was awake as well. "The door," he said.
"Who is up at this hour?" John muttered as he threw on a dressing gown and headed for the door. He thought it could be a homeless person, a crazy one, or a client, but when he opened the door it was none of those. It was Phillip Rodgers.