Notes: So I decided to undertake the 30-Day OTP Challenge. We'll see how this goes. :) I probably won't manage to post a chapter every day, because I do have a life (and Peril) but I'll try as best I can to post at least once a week.
Day one: Your Hand in Mine
In the weeks after Sherlock jumps—twelve of them, to be exact—John remembers poignantly the feel of Sherlock's hand in his own, of holding into him by the hand, of now people will definitely talk. He thinks that, if he had not undone those handcuffs, had kept Sherlock's hand in his, Moriarty would not have been able to get Sherlock alone, that he would never have been able to force him to jump off that building. He knows it's irrational, but after Sherlock dies, it feels as though all rationality has been taken from his life, and he doesn't care.
When Lestrade is making him listen to the recording they recovered from Sherlock's cracked phone (Closure, Lestrade had said, although when John was done listening to it all he felt was desolation) John can actually feel Sherlock's hand in his own. Its warmth, its weight. He wonders about all those times that he could have reached out and taken Sherlock's hand, and yet he did it only once.
So much time and opportunity wasted.
Their reunion, when Sherlock does return to Baker Street, to London, and to John, is explosive. Sherlock has his reasons for leaving, John knows this, but it doesn't stop his rage. It doesn't stop the relief from flooding into his body so quickly that it dislodges all of the anger and resentment that he'd kept hidden inside as well. It doesn't stop him from instinctively balling his hands into fists and giving Sherlock a couple of good punches.
It had not, in hindsight, been the best idea. Sherlock had been swaying on his feet as it was. But it had been the only thing he could think to do, and Sherlock hadn't held it against him. For too long, that is.
Things, obviously, do not go right back to normal. There is a madman named Sebastian Moran that has placed a target squarely on Sherlock's life—perhaps even John's—and is just manic enough to stop at nothing until he avenges Moriarty. There is a week of running around, dodging bullets and general cacophony that ends with Sherlock in a hospital bed and John beside him, staring at his friend and willing him to wake up.
Minor concussion, broken leg, exhaustion the doctors had said. Nothing life-threatening or incredibly dangerous, but debilitating. Best to let him sleep, they told John and they are not at Bart's so no one even knows he's a doctor, and he doesn't have the willpower to speak up and tell them he knows what the prognosis and treatment for Sherlock is, thank you, now will you leave me alone. I had him diagnosed before the ambulance even arrived you overconfident snobs.
They are at some private hospital and the private room and decreased wait time are almost not worth suffering through the inflated egos of the doctors and the short-temperedness of the nursing staff. John assures them on the second day that they needn't check in on him every hour; that Sherlock is in good hands with John, that if there's anything wrong he'll alert them. NHS regulations are no so applicable here as they are elsewhere, so the nurses listen to him.
Mycroft seems to be the only one aware of where exactly Sherlock is, aside from John, because he is the only one that visits the entire four days Sherlock is in hospital. On the second day, he brings John a change of clothes and watches over Sherlock as he showers in the en-suite bathroom. Mycroft leaves and, shortly thereafter, Sherlock wakes up.
He stirs, slowly and gently, and the first thing he does is roll over and gag bile onto the floor. John clucks his tongue and buzzes for a nurse, has her bring a ginger ale that Sherlock does not want to drink ("Vomiting is less painful than dry heaving, Sherlock, and it might settle your stomach.") and a bucket. Sherlock falls back asleep quickly, after drinking half the soda and being medicated for concussion-related nausea, and John settles in to read a book.
Sherlock wakes up again that night, around midnight, and it's less eventful. His eyes look clearer, and he does not have the need to immediately retch, so all is relatively well. He looks small on the hospital bed, small in a way that a grown, six-foot-two man never should. His hair has, for some unfathomable reason, been died red. His roots are showing, though. He looks like he hasn't showered in a month and, for all John knows, he hasn't.
John quietly says, "You owe me an extended explanation."
"I know," Sherlock mutters, voice rough from his own stomach acid. "I'll need more time to gather my thoughts. I didn't exactly write anything down."
"You can take your time," John says. "But I won't be left in the dark forever."
"I won't leave you in the dark," Sherlock mumbles. His long fingers pick a fuzz on his blanket and eventually he says, "What are you reading?"
To be honest, John picked up the book at random, from the bookshelf in the family waiting room, and didn't actually bother to glance at the title. Flipping it over, he says, "Er…the twentieth volume of Encyclopedia Britannica." It's not exactly stimulating reading, and he lost interest almost as soon as he picked up the book, but he needs something to do with his hands. Handling the monstrous book and turning its pages had proved satisfactory in that department.
What would be the odds, he wonders, of convincing Mycroft to bring him a decent book?
"Will you read it to me?" Sherlock mutters, quietly. His left eye is still swollen shut from Moran's monstrous fist, but the right one stares out at him earnestly. "I'm bored."
"Do you want me to bring you a book?" John inquires, already half-out of his chair. Maybe another glance at the bookshelf will bring to light something a little less dry than the Sahara desert to read, and if not he could hand off the encyclopedia to Sherlock. He likes that kind of mind-numbing text.
"I can't read," Sherlock says.
John's eyes widen. "What? You can't comprehend the text? Your concussion may have given you brain damage; I have to tell your doctor."
He's half out of his seat before, smiling slightly, Sherlock shakes his head and says, "No, nothing like that. Reading with only one eye makes my head hurt, and at this point I don't want my headache to get any worse." He gestures towards the book and says, "So?"
Nodding, John reopens the book and scoots closer, so he can read quietly and Sherlock can still hear him. Crosses his legs and rests the book in his lap. The weight of its own pages keeps it open, and he sets his hand on the mattress next to Sherlock's. He begins, "The Great Salt Lake—A massive saltwater lake located in Utah, United States. It is the biggest salt lake in the Western Hemisphere—" he stops, because Sherlock grabs his hand.
Sherlock says, "I…the last few months without you have been…" He sighs and chews on the inside of his own cheek. "I…"
"I missed you too," John murmurs. "More…more than I could ever possibly say."
"I'm sorry, John."
"I know," John replies. Squeezes Sherlock's hand and continues, "And I'll forgive you…just not today." To take any heat off the words, he leans forward and gently kisses Sherlock's bruised forehead, then sits back and retakes his hand. "Shall I continue?"
"Please," Sherlock says, and John settles in to read.
He holds Sherlock's hand, and continues to do so even after they both fall asleep.
So these stories will follow a vague plot, but they can probably stand on their own.
See you tomorrow!