Silence wasn't something she associated with Sherlock. Silence during his periods of intense concentration yes; when he was deducing, or engrossed in a book about beekeeping, but even during the early morning hours he was talkative, going off on tangents about how the woman on the subway was having an recently divorced since the skin where her ring should be was a few shades lighter than her skin tone. It had been a full two hours since she had found him outside, and if he was over the high, she couldn't tell. The second she brought him inside, sat him on the couch, he had muttered something about not phoning his father, and began gazing into space, saying nothing else. No explanation of what had happened. About how and why he had disappeared, and why there was blood on his shirt and handcuffs on his wrists. It didn't take a genius to work out the rough outline of what had happened, but the question that lingered in her mind as she watched him silently stare at air was why? Why had they done this to him? Sure, Adam wasn't very fond of Sherlock, but surely he had a larger agenda? This wasn't a simple-minded attack of revenge. No, this was too perfectly choreographed and executed.
As the clock hit the 5 o clock mark, exactly signalling it had now been 2 hours and 3 minutes since she found him, she decided to speak up. Unsure of how to approach him when he was like this, wondering if he was still experiencing the effects, she sat on the other end of the couch he was occupying, gazing at him. She half-hoped he would turn to face her at the actions, but he remained stolid, lips sealed. The only indication he gave of acknowledging her presence was the briefest flicker of a nod, but she could have been imagining it in the light. "We're going to have to talk eventually." She said quietly, keeping her voice neutral as to not provoke him. He had quite the temper when he wanted to act up, and she didn't want to stimulate him further into the wall he was building around himself. A fortress now, but there was still gaps where she could break through, reach to him. A direct interrogation could lead to that fortress becoming impenetrable.
He angled his head slightly, signalling he was listening, but still kept up his silent act. She didn't want to be the only source of conversation; this wasn't a talk that could be one-sided. And she didn't want him pretending to pay attention then leaving a few seconds later. So she too kept quiet, waiting for him to respond. It was interesting, watching him like this. Watching his eyes never waver from their staring into space, watching his fingers slowly intertwine and relax. He sat completely still, yet he was never immobile. If he wasn't playing with his hands, he was tracing his foot against the carpet, or playing with the edge of the handcuffs which still hung from each wrist, as she was too worried of injuring his wrist by prying them off.
"What is there to say?"
Her head shot up as he spoke, his voice unusually quiet, as if he was in deep thought. She knew him to well to believe that ruse however. He was pretending that he was off thinking about some case, about something entirely different, but they both knew that wasn't the case. He was attempting to block out the world, shield himself, not try and solve a case.
"Do you really think that needs answering?" She asked, bemused expression on her face, but she brightened considerably when she heard an involuntary chuckle pass his lips. Well, if he was laughing, at least a small chuckle counted for him, he was paying attention to what she was saying. She turned to face him, drawing her legs up onto the couch. "You go on a rant about socks, you disappear at the police station, one minute your phone's just ringing out, the next it goes straight to voice-mail, then you turn up..." She paused, swallowing for a second as she caught the darkening expression on his face, but ploughed onward, "High, handcuffed, not to mention the fact you could barely walk. Quite a few questions that need answering there."
There was a brief lull in the conversation, as one-sided as it was, where he didn't say anything, but his jaw continued to clench and unclench, before he finally turned his gaze towards her. His expression and eyes gave nothing away, besides the fact the green irises were still glazed, and she knew from experience with other clients that he was still slightly under the effects. It would take an hour or so at most for him to return to himself.
If he ever did.
"The socks needs addressed first, to prove my sanity is still in tact." He offered her a small, consoling smile, before delving into his explanation. "Adam's file said he was colour blind. The guard's socks didn't match."
"That could have been coincidence." She didn't realize she interrupted his tangent until he gave her a glare so resembling a puppy whose favorite toy had been taken away, the usual Sherlock, that she couldn't help a grin. "Sorry. Continue."
"As I was saying," He cleared his throat dramatically, something which was rewarded with a small foot shove from Joan, "It could have been coincidence, but in this field of work, you need to learn that coincidences rarely occur. Everything has a pattern, Watson. It's our job to connect the dots, so to speak."
She was stunned into silence by his words, something which rarely occurred. Our job. She had failed in her role as a sober companion, yet why did he continue to group them together? If, and when, Sherlock's father found out about the incident, she would surely be fired, moved onto her next client. He would probably be shipped off to another rehab, or sent out onto the streets for not abiding to his father's terms. She felt a sudden wave of hatred for the man, and didn't really blame Sherlock for hating him so much. She barely realized he was continuing on his explanation, too overwhelmed by the simplicity yet power of the word our.
"-They weren't working alone. They...Enlisted the aid of someone I knew from London. Professor Moriarty." The poison lacing the name was evident, he spat it as if it was some vulgar swear word contaminating his tongue. She repeated the name in her mind, committing it to memory, before asking, "And how did you know this Professor?"
He hesitated to answer, mouth remaining partially opened as his eyebrows furrowed. He was saved explanation when his phone suddenly rang, causing them both to jump a mile, their simultaneous yelps echoing the apartment. He pulled out his mobile, squinting at the caller I.D, before handing it to Joan. She took the still ringing thing as if it was a bomb, staring from him to the device.
"He'll get suspicious if he hears my..." He made a vague hand gesture that absolutely did not clarify what he was trying to express, but she rolled her eyes and clicked answer anyway.
"Miss Watson? Where's Sherlock? He owes me some damn explanations."
"He's...here. He's fine, all things considering."
"All what considering?"
Sherlock made some frantic gestures, an over-dramatic shake of the head and slicing of his fingers across his throat. She wasn't entirely sure if he was signalling no, cut it out, or he would kill her if she explained, looking at his deranged hair and glassy eyes, she couldn't be too sure it wasn't the former.
"Nothing. Look, I'll get him to explain everything later, okay?"
"Fine, but tell him we found Ryan and Adam half an hour ago. They said they have a message for him. A package too."
Unfortunately, Sherlock heard this, and he leaped forward, trying to grab the phone. A wrestling match ensued, with Sherlock attempting to pry the phone from Joan, but her stubbornness set in. She knew that he would want to go to the police station, find out everything from them, but she didn't want him leaving the house in this state. He seemed to have calmed considerably from his previous state of numbness, and she didn't want to jeopardize his recovery by a confrontation. The scuffle continued as she bit his hand, an immediate reflex, causing him to yelp and pull his hand away, looking shocked. She wasn't mistaken when she saw hints of amusement in his eyes however.
"Uh, everything okay?"
She was disrupted by the sight of a pillow being aimed her way, and managed to deflect it, but there was already another launched her way. In the effort it took to run aside, he sidled past her, slipping the phone from her grip and bounding onto the couch, holding the phone out of her reach.
"Captain Gregson? It's Sherlock. We'll be there in twenty, don't start till we're there."
Before he could reply, Sherlock had already hung up, returning his phone to his pocket. Joan was standing, hands on hips, formidable expression on her face, hair rumpled. "Hey, you bit me. And hello, traumatized victim here."
"That's not gonna be the only reason you're gonna be traumatized." She muttered as she retrieved her jacket, not before she threw the two pillows back at him. He dodged the first one, and there was something triumphant about the sound of impact as the second hit his arm.
So yeah, Sherlock may seem relatively normal/sane compared to usual standards, but withdrawal and re-meeting Ryan and Adam isn't gonna be too fuuuuuun! Roll on the angst!
Again, your reviews are so lovely and encouraging, and much appreciated!