"John, I'm back!" Sherlock closed the door to the flat, dropping the bags of groceries onto the table. He awaited the reply, and looked around when one did not come. "John?" Sherlock began to take of his coat, and threw it lightly onto one of the chairs that sat at the table. The detective walked around the flat, looking to see if possibly his flatmate had fallen asleep on the couch or at his desk. The search showed nothing, until Sherlock walked into the bedroom. The lamp that usually sat on their bedside table was now in pieces on the floor. Sherlock walked around the broken glass and ceramic and saw that the window had been broken.
"John?!" Sherlock called again, his voice holding a tone that was reminiscent of panic. Crouching down, he saw that a few shards were covered in blood, and realized that the window had been broken by someone's hand. The blood led out back out of the room and Sherlock followed it, stepping on the broken lamp. He spotted a piece of paper lying on his violin case and snatched it up, reading the scrawl. "Mr. Holmes, due to your lack of cooperation, I have decided to take something that will surely light a fire in your step. Unless I get what I want by 6:00 tonight, your friend John Watson, will meet his end." An address followed and Sherlock crumpled the paper.
"No, not John..."
Sherlock grabbed his coat, putting his arms only halfway through the sleeves before running out and hailing a taxi. He spat out the address and hurled himself into the back seat, yelling at the driver to hurry. He sunk into the firm leather, drumming his fingers on the windowsill. Looking at the watch on his wrist, the time read 2:34. It would take at least two hours to reach the destination, if there had been no other cars on the road. The traffic was thick and slow, leaving Sherlock to sit there in agony, praying for his flatmate's safety.
"For the love of god, hold on John..."
Everything was hazy as John began to wake up and he went to hold his aching head, only to find something sticky cover his forehead. Squinting at his hand, John saw blood leaking from small cuts and cursed in pain when he made a fist. He yanked out a shard and winced.
"Bloody hell, why is there glass..." Suddenly, everything came flooding back to him. Sherlock had gone out to the store, saying there was things he needed for an experiment of sorts. He hadn't bothered to lock the door and as John sat in his chair, updating his blog, the door opened.
"That was awfully quick. Usually you're one to linger..." John's voice trailed off as no footsteps met his ears. "Sherlock?" John stood up, setting down his laptop and looking around. "Maybe the wind blew the door open? He does have a habit of leaving it open a bit..." he thought, closing it. Suddenly, John was yanked back and an arm pulled tightly at his neck. He gritted his teeth, wriggling in the grasp of the perpetrator. John elbowed the man in his side, then kicked him in the shin. The grasp faltered, and John was able to make his way out of the hold. He sent a quick punch to the man's face. hitting him square in the jaw. John bolted for the bedroom, closing and locking the door. He pushed the bedside table up under the knob and ran to the closet, finding and pulling out the pistol he kept hidden. There was a bashing against the door, and the table began to move. John gripped the gun and was prepared to shoot, when something grabbed his ankle, knocking onto the ground. Another person had hidden under the bed, and wrestled with John in an attempt to get the gun. He succeeded, but not before John kicked him in the face, skittering away and towards the wall. The table finally fell and the door was forced open, revealing a man who was certainly one of his henchman. As the man approached, John threw his fist into the window, shattering the glass and bloodying it. He grabbed a big shard, holding tightly as if it would surely overpower the two men, and now, two guns. The man in the doorway lifted the gun and pulled the trigger, and John cowered, waiting for the shot that would end his life. Instead, only a prick came to his neck and his eyes shot open. The colors of the room began to swirl and John felt himself swaying. Shaking, he brought a single hand up to his neck and probed a smal dart that had been covered in a strong sedative. John fell to his hands and knees, his breath catching in his throat. He looked up, eyes slowly closing as the man walked towards him. A swift kick to the head stunned him and he fell over, unable to fight against the sedative. His eyes drifted shut, not to open until several hours later.
John held his head to his knees, trying to comfort the pounding headache. He looked up as footsteps approached, his eyes widening.
"Ah, have you awakened? So nice to see you again..." A thin man with light brown hair that was slicked back and wore a well cut suit crouched down to the drowsy ex army doctor. John's eyes widened, and the man smiled. "Mr. John Hamish Watson."
"You bastard..." he said through gritted teeth. John tried to rise quickly, only to fall onto his knees, coughing. He clutched his stomach, trying to maintain the meager breakfast he ate this morning. "Wh...What did you do to me?" he choked out. Something dawned on him and John looked up at the man in fear. "Where is Sherlock? Oh god, what have you done to Sher-" Another fit of violent hacking cut off his sentence and captor let out an amused chuckle.
"Easy there, doctor. You wouldn't want to exert yourself..." he let loose a hearty laugh. "Why our fun has yet to begin!" He brought his face down close to the doctor's. "Look around you. After all, explaining isn't much fun..." John did just that, lifting his head slowly to survey the surroundings. He looked around in disbelief, seeing instruments that hadn't surfaced since his time in Afghanistan. He began to digest exactly what was going on, what was going to happen.
"What do you want? What is it that you want to know?" John spat, trying not to let any memories lose the thin layer of haziness they had grown and overrun his consciousness. The man stood up, and began pacing around leisurely. "Only what you wish to." He turned and faced John, smile playing on his lips. "Where is Sherlock, oh what have you done to my precious Sherlock?!" he impersonated John, doing an exaggerated coughing fit at the end. John sneered, rising shakily to his feet and trying to lunge at him. Two henchman, who's grips he immediately placed to the two in the flat, latched onto him, their hands tight and already hurting his arms. The perpetrator walked towards John, and grabbed his face. "Now, tell me. Where is Sherlock?" he whispered, his voice low and dangerous. John remained silent, wondering what to say. Sherlock had only gone out to the store; he would've surely returned to the flat by now. John knew that his sudden disappearance would've caused Sherlock to at least look around and upon finding the bedroom and the state of disarray it had been left in, his senses would've went into overdrive. John knew by now that when Sherlock was livid, the detective was not as coordinated as he thought he was. He would be at wits end with no clues as to John's whereabouts and anything that got in his way would be taken down. John swallowed the lump in his throat.
"I don't know." he finally replied, making eye contact with his overseer. The man looked at him in false surprise. "Oh really? I know that you do." He said, pulling something out of his pocket. John recognized it as a cigarette, and a lighter soon followed. He shook his head. "No, no I don't..." The man lit the cigarette, and blew a few puffs. Lifting up the front of John's jumper, he brought the butt precariously close to John's skin. "I'll ask one more time...Where is Sherlock Holmes?!"
"I don't know!" John bellowed, letting out a quick howl of pain as the cigarette touched the skin of his torso. He bit his lip, holding in his screams. The butt was pulled back and John let out sigh, only to tense up and grit his teeth as it was brought back. This continued for nearly 10 minutes, with the cigarette making it's way to different places on body. By the end, John's face was covered in sweat and the burning sensation lingered in every wound. The man pursed his lips.
"Poor, poor John. What is dear Sherlock going to think when he sees you in this state?" he whispered, his voice dripping with false concern. He pulled away, laughing.
"Ready to talk yet? Don't try and act tough just because you've seen these kinds of things before." he spat. John glared at him.
"I...I already told you I have no clue where he is..." he replied, still sticking with his lie. The man pulled back, looking at John in annoyance.
"Oh really? Well, should we move onto the next thing then?" He threw the butt onto the ground, crushing it beneath the expensive sole. Smiling, the man gestured over to a large bin that had been filled with water. The two men holding John dragged him over, then shoved him to his knees. "You look rather parched, Dr. Watson. Care for a little sip?" Suddenly, one of the men held the back of John's head, shoving it down into the tub. John held his breath immediately, closing his eyes tightly to focus on not letting go. He tried to lift his head up, but was shoved farther into the water. A dull ache began to form in his chest, and a few bubbles escaped from his tightly closed lips. Again, he tried to rise, but it was to no avail. The burning sensation in his throat grew to an extreme and he could no longer hold his breath. John's mouth and nasal passages opened, allowing water to flood in. He was then lifted by the back collar of his jumper, hacking and taking ragged breaths. He was out for only a few seconds before being shoved back down. The grip on his head was tight enough to give him a headache, and with the pounding he already had, it grew to be a migraine unbearable enough to take his attention from not breathing and letting water back in. This time however, they did not lift his head. John remained beneath the water's surface, making sounds that were silenced by the water's density. He saw flashes of white and began to panic, thrashing around. He ceased using his hands as a support and pushed the bin over, sending water pouring again the concrete floor. He fell back against the ground, his chest rising sharply and water trickling from his mouth and nose. The man stood over John, looking down in disappointment.
"You're not much fun, are you?" He inquired. John made an illegible reply, then was kicked hard in the head. His vision went out of focus, then slowly slid into unconsciousness.
He has to keep running, he just has too. Sherlock has to ignore the fire in his chest, the ache in his legs. He must get to the address before 6:00. Bloody hell, he must save John. The detective's shoes pounded against pavement, shoving people out of his way. They protested, some cursing like sailors at him. He paid no attention, even running straight into oncoming traffic. Sherlock rounded another corner, this time losing his balance on the sidewalks that were slick with rain. He crashed into a sign, but wasted no time getting up and pushing past worried civilians. Sherlock yanked back his coat sleeve. The time read 5:02 and he grimaced. Sure he was close, but if he didn't take a break soon, exhaustion would take over. The detective slowed his pace, going from a sprint, to a jog until he was walking slow enough to lean against a building. He felt like heaving, like lying down and never getting up again. Sherlock grabbed his calf as it began to cramp. Wincing, he hit his forehead against the brick building. And good god, he couldn't breathe! Sherlock's grabbed his throat, feeling how raw it had become from the air. He stumbled back, realizing that he was at a small corner store. He stumbled inside and by the loom of the cashier, his breathing was louder than he knew and was looking pretty disheveled at this point. Sherlock ran for refrigerated section, pulling open the door and grabbing a water. Even though he didn't take care of his body, Sherlock did know that nothing would help more than a water. He threw his payment at the cashier, realizing that it was a 5 pound note, and saying a quick "keep the change". Once outside, Sherlock chugged the water, feeling blissful from the relief it provided. He threw the bottle into a nearby trash bin, then began to run again. It was 5:05, and Sherlock needn't waste anymore time.
That aching in the back of John's head had returned, only this time he felt more disoriented. His eyes managed to open only halfway and and he looked around. He was in a building made from concrete and from the large patches on the floor, there had once been machines in this room. "An...an abandoned factory..." he thought, his mind still clouded over. John went to sit up, only to find that he was strapped down. He hands touched what he was tied to and felt cool metal. "A medical table..." he murmured drowsily. A clapping sounded off, but it was like gunshots to John. He tried to cover his ears, but found that they too, were strapped. The man looked down at John with a smile. "Amazing deduction, Doctor Watson. Why, you're on par with Sherlock Holmes!" he began to laugh and John curled his lip up at the taunting. Gathering the saliva in his mouth, the ex army doctor spat, hitting his captor in the cheek. His laughing ceased and he looked down at John in disgust.
"Do you know how much this suit costs?" he questioned, wiping his cheek with the sleeve."More than you will make in a year on your measly army pension!" His fist connected with John's face, slamming the side of his head onto cold metal. John moaned in pain and his captor straightened his suit. "Just let me tell you this, John Watson...you better watch that dirty mouth of your's. Things are about to get dirty, so I'm going to leave you at the hands of my men." He turned on heel, smirking. "One wrong move and you'll be dead before Sherlock gets here." He let loose a hearty laugh and grinned. "Oh, this is finally getting exciting!" As he departed, three other men entered, muttering things to each other. One set a box down on the stand next to John and opened it, revealing syringes and vials. He took out syringe and one vial, filling it up. John squinted and was able to read some of the letters. "Barbitu" was all John was able to read and he searched through the long years of medical schooling he gone through to try and find out what was going to be used. The syringe came closer to him and John tried to wriggle away, frenzy setting in. He was unable to move more than an inch as the needlepoint pierced through the knits of his jumper and into his skin. John let loose a small, pained noise as the needle was sharply pulled back. He winced, moving his arm around a slight bit to disperse the feeling of the needle. "Wha...what did you inject me with?" John glowered at the men, only earning amusement. "Nothing that isn't within common reach." one replied, chuckling. "Seeing as how that'll need time to sink in, we'll be on our way." Another called as they left the room. John sat in silence for a few minutes, still trying to deduce what drug had been used. It failed to come to him, so he decided that trying to get out of his restraints was the next thing to do. Pulling his head up, he saw thick leather straps binding his ankles, knees, hips, wrists and upper torso. He sighed out of exasperation, leaning back onto the table. "Oh god, how does Sherlock manage to escape situations like this...?" John muttered, only realizing what he had said a few moments after. John chuckled quietly. "I'm awfully stupid. After spending years out in Afghanistan, I don't know how to escape this?" He bit his lip, thinking. Finally, John moved one foot so that it lay on it's side. After close to a minute of moving it, his foot slipped out and he grinned. He followed with his next foot, sighing with relief when both were out. John tried move the rest of his legs, but realized that he wasn't going anywhere until his hands were out. The straps were tight around his wrists and even a little bit of movement caused a lot of friction. The straps were placed and tied right under the curvature of his thumb, making the fit much tighter than he had expected. John sighed, moving his hands and trying to form different positions that would allow it slip through. He found one that would allow for his thumb to slip through, but would be nearly impossible to pull the rest of his hand through. He began to pull, gritting his teeth at the painful friction. John tried to move twist his hand in an attempt to make it slide out faster, but only rubbed his skin raw. He groaned in annoyance, thrashing about on the table. He laid there for a moment, breathing heavily.
"I need to make my hands slick! Stupid, stupid, how could I forget that!" he thought, rolling his eyes at his own forgetfulness. John picked up his head, gathering saliva in his mouth again. He spat at his hand, nearly missing. John moved his hand about, ignoring the stinging on his raw skin and trying to get his hand covered. He began to work it around, twisting and pulling his hand beneath the leather strap. It took a few minutes, but eventually it popped out and John let out a pained sigh, the skin on his wrist pink and tender. It was easier the second time, but his wrist still became sore and when John got a good look at both of them, he realized he was bleeding. John knew that the rest was easy from here; just push himself up and off the table. He did just that, but estimated how high he was off the ground. John fell off with a loud thump, the dust particles floating into his open wounds and stinging. The friction from the leather had irritated his burns and his body felt like it was on fire despite the cold evening. His head was pounding again, and he fell when he attempted to stand. It took a few tries, but he eventually made it to his feet, staggering around. The dull, nightly colors were swirling around and the room shook with every step. Something was gasping, breathing heavily like one of the Hounds of Baskerville. Faintly, John knew it was his breathing, but it wouldn't set in his mind. His eyes kept closing and bloody hell, why was he feeling so tired? John fell to his knees and became sick, his stomach retching and his eyes watering. He heard small clicks; the expensive heel of a shoe? His captor entered again, the three men following like wolves in a pack.
"Amazing! You escaped within..." the man checked the glinting face of his watch. "30 minutes! Most people couldn't even get their feet out!" he began to laugh and John stared dully, his eyes unable to focus and slowly drifting shut. One of the men grabbed John by the back of his jumper, hurling him across the floor. He slid a few feet, rubbing the skin of his hands open. Blood dropped onto John's cheek as he attempted to shield his face. Emotionless expressions frozen on their faces, his captor's men surrounded him. "Make this part quick, we've only got 30 minutes before Sherlock gets here! We've got to get him all set up from presentation!" he called, his voice trying to copy one that would belong to nagging mother. John's eyes closed; he just wanted to sleep. A kick came to his ribs and his eyes snapped open as he yelped in pain. One of them sat on top of his chest, punching him over and over. The other two men continued to kick or stomp on him, bruising his body in a way he had never experienced. One of them struck his left shoulder, stomping near the collarbone end. John screamed in agony, tears beginning to well in his eyes. His face had gone numb, so the fleets of blows coming in contact with his cheeks and temples meant nothing. The man slammed John's head onto the concrete floor and the ex army doctor cried out in distress. He felt a warm, metallic smelling fluid trickle down his nose and mouth, and he let out a pitiful sound of anguish, coughing on his own blood. The room spun around him as the attackers released their grips and backed away. One grabbed John's arm, yanking him up onto his knees. John's head rolled forward, the pain nearly causing him to pass out. The man grabbed John's bruised face, making him look up at their leader. He pulled at the sleeve of his suit, checking the time. "15 minutes left. You're off pretty bad, Doctor Watson. Let's hope darling meets his deadlines."
Sherlock knew that voice. Cries of agony and distress reverberated within the stone walls and even from the outside he was able to hear them faintly. Sherlock burst out of the car, taking off for the abandoned textile factory. After he had taken off from the corner store, his phone began to ring. He had tried to ignore it, but after the 3rd call, Sherlock gave enough attention to the device to realize that it was Lestrade's call alert and something told him this had nothing to do with a case. He whipped out his mobile, connecting the call and waiting.
"Sherlock? It's Lestrade."
"What do you want?" Sherlock managed to say, his breathing heavy .
"I need to you stop running and listen to me." he replied. Sherlock continued to run, already knowing how Lestrade knew what he was doing.
"I can't! I'm busy, you idiot!"
"Mycroft knows what's happened and so do I! So stop running and wait a damn moment so that I can catch up with you!" Lestrade ended the call and Sherlock slowed his pace, watching as the silver BMW drove up onto the curb, making civilians stumble out of the way. Sherlock threw open the door, launched himself in and quickly reported the address. Lestrade peeled off the sidewalk, speeding down the road.
Now, Sherlock ran about, calling John's name. He estimated where the scream could've came from. It was not on ground level, but it was still relatively close to the front of the building. Above him, Sherlock heard a voice. He recognized it as John's, but it sounded much weaker and in pain. Lestrade had some of his men tag along and they dispersed around the building; a handful on watch outside. Sherlock located a dusty staircase, flying up them and nearly tripping on the top step. Checking his watch, he read the time as 5:57.
"John!" he screamed. "Where are you, John?" A muffled start of his name came to meet his ears, but was cut off by what sounded to be a blow. Sherlock pushed open two metal doors and stopped in his tracks. John sat on his knees, a rough burlap sack over his head and tied at the neck. Blood stained the front of his jumper and without the man holding onto him, he surely would've fallen over.
"Sherlock Holmes! Fancy seeing you here! What's the occasion?" Sherlock glared at the man, his pale eyes ablaze with fury.
"Moriarty!" Sherlock whipped out his pistol, aiming directly for the man's head. Moriarty smiled."You remembered my name! How wonderful to see known by the great detective, Sherlock Holmes!" Moriarty jumped up and down, acting like some giddy child. He looked at Sherlock with something that mirrored pity, but obviously it's false counterpart. Pulling out a revolver, Moriarty pointed it as John's head. He spun the cylinder and allowed for his finger to linger over the trigger.
"Now, choose your moves carefully, all wise Sherlock. Shoot me, and I'll shoot him. Then my men will finish the job and shoot you." he said, gesturing to them. John mumbled something, his voice sounding like it belonged to some scared child. Sherlock wanted to shake, to break down and give in and just have John back in his arms. But he had to keep the gun steady, his gaze steady. He couldn't afford any distractions.
"Now, I think we should play a little game. Maybe a round of Russian Roulette? Oh, but who will I ever play with?" Moriarty looked down at John, acting surprised that he was there. "Doctor Watson, you're so kind as to volunteer! Let's not hesitate, right?" he sounded genuinely excited, only making Sherlock's rage grow. His finger went back to the trigger, this time not hovering.
"Moriarty, what is it-"
"Tell me what-"
"3!" The trigger was pulled and the gun clicked, causing a weathered war veteran like John to jump and let out a noise that was heartbreaking to Sherlock. He listened closely; John was crying. His time in Afghanistan had taught him that if he wanted to cry, you have to do it silently. Sherlock let out a shaky, enraged breath. "What is it that you want, Moriarty? What could you possibly want?!" the detective roared. Moriarty looked surprised.
"You don't know? I guess we'll have keep playing until you remember then, hm?" He drew out the a in have, as if it would take all of his effort and time to continue playing. Spinning the cylinder a second time, the gun took it's place back at John's temple, this time closer than before. "Sure you don't know?" he asked. Sherlock opened his mouth to say something, but was cut off by the click and John's terrified breath. "Moriarty, listen to me for the love of god!" "I didn't know you believed in a higher power..." he teased with a sickening grin. "With the condition that your dearest John is in..." Moriarty ripped off the sack, and Sherlock felt his stomach churn when he looked at him. John's right eye was swollen shut, bruised and throbbing. Dried crimson blood covered his nostrils, and still trickled from his mouth. His skin had adopted a light hue of blue and purple, and it covered his temples, then spread across his cheeks and jawline. His pale complexion shined with tears of pain, accentuating the colors. The light grey- blond hair that Sherlock loved to ruffle stuck together in thin clusters, matted to his forehead by sweat, or dyed red by open wounds. His jumper was unraveling in a few places and Sherlock spotted cigarette burns across his neck. His dark blue green eyes that were normally full of life despite seeing too much bloodshed for two lifetimes, were dull, muted, and was a shocking contrast to the normally courageous, well put together man he had gotten to know over these years. He looked up, their eyes finally connecting.
"You might want to start believing..."
"Sh...Sherlock! Oh Sherlock, no, no, no..." his voice was small and distressed, and it trailed off as he tried to painfully breathe. Sherlock swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat and nodded at him. "Shush John, it's alright. Easy..." he said softly, using a voice that was only reserved for him when they were alone. Moriarty raised an eyebrow.
"Is it alright, Sherlock? Is it? Last that I checked, you're in a situation where there's no escape unless someone dies..." he chuckled. "Who is it going to be, huh? Who's going to leave here in a big, black body bag?" Sherlock opened his mouth to say something, but was cut off by rapid footsteps. Lestrade and his men burst in, shouting and drawing guns. Moriarty's helpers were shot, one being hit in the head. Sherlock pulled his trigger and Moriarty smiled.
As Sherlock's bullet connected, John's body was jerked back and the detective watched as 3 shots hit him in the chest, the bullets leaving promptly. John coughed as he fell, spraying crimson onto the surrounding concrete. Sherlock spun around, spotting the sniper and firing. He was shot in the head, falling from the level and hitting the ground with a disgustingly satisfying crack. Sherlock ran to John, laying him on the ground easily with his hand supporting his head.. "Oh god John, I'm so sorry. John, John please forgive me." Sherlock whispered to him, then turned to Lestrade. "Call a bloody ambulance! He's hurt!" the detective turned back to John. "You're hurt so terribly...Dear god, this is all my fault..." "Oh, for the love...of god, shut up..." John mumbled weakly. Sherlock looked down at him, wanting to relax at the small smile that played on John's lips. "John, listen to me, I'm so-" he was cut off by John's hand covering his mouth. "N-No...listen to me...Sherlock. I don't...blame you...s..so stop with all the bloody apologies!" His voice was becoming ragged and his breathing labored. "Promise me...that you'll...just stop with them..." Sherlock nodded and John laughed too quietly for comfort, then allowed his hand to drop. Sherlock felt his coat and pants becoming damn with John's blood and he had to bite his tongue to hold in each regret that John didn't need to hear, but wanted him to know. "You...You know Sherlock...I've had time...time to th..think about my life so far and-" "John, no, no please don't do this-" "I've realized that...that I've wasted...a lot of time..." "John, you're not going to die, so please, just please stop it!" Sherlock's voice threatened to melt into hysterics and his eyes begged John to be quiet. John shook his head
"Sherlock, I've wasted a...a lot of time on un...unimportant matters. I made myself do...do things that in reality...just didn't suit me." John's eyes began to drift shut and Sherlock tightened his grip. "John, please don't close your eyes! You need to stay with me, do you understand?!" the ex army doctor nodded and opened his eyes again. "Before I met you...oh Sherlock, I was so a...alone and you, you were just so...magical. I lost my limp, the tremor in my hand dis...disappeared. I owe you so...so much, Sherlock." John began to cough and blood splattered onto his hand when he covered his mouth. His chest began to rise with quick, shallow breaths, alarming Sherlock. John's pupils had become tiny and his skin was cold, holding a clammy feeling when Sherlock felt his hand.
"Barbituric Acid...Dear lord, John, you've been drugged with a bloody barbiturate!" Sherlock turned to Lestrade again. "Where is the ambulance?! For godsake, John is dying!" Sherlock shook his head, trying to deny what he had said. "No, no...John isn't dying. He's hurt, he's just hurt..." Lestrade touched his shoulder and he jerked back. "Don't touch me. Go, just go away!" he shrilled. "Bloody hell Sherlock, you need to calm down! You're not helping the situation!" he berated. "I will not calm down!" Sherlock's voice caught as the end and he stifled what wanted to be a sob. "I am not going to to calm down until John is safe!" A choking sound made Sherlock look down, and he saw that John was no longer breathing. Placing him down gently, Sherlock began to use CPR, breaking away to tell Lestrade to watch for the ambulance.
Everything looked cloudy to John, but not dark. It was as if he were in a dream and the world was covered in a soft light and people whispered to one another, saying kind things. Above him, someone was asking for his eyes to open, for his chest to rise. "Why?" John wondered. "Why does he have to open his eyes? It's safe here in this world, and it's clean, even comfy. Something brushes his hand and John looks down to see a cat. Its fur is a dark, dark brown; almost black. It's eyes are knowing and sly and they dart around, looking for anyone else before turning into ones of great love and care. The cat pushed against his arm, the its tail tightly tickling John's cheek. It stood on its hind paws and nuzzled his forehead. Suddenly, the cat was yanked away, meowing in anguish. John was being lifted, thrown down. "What's happening?" John thought. He could faintly hear the cat still meowing and wished that he could comfort it. The lights were suddenly bright, the words loud and harsh. John looked around in horror as the world crumpled and a pain in his chest grew. Everything hurt, even Sherlock's grip on his hand.
Something in his mind went off like a firework, exploding and engaging him in the outside world. John gasped, his body preparing to shoot up. Paramedics held him down, one placing the oxygen mask back on his mouth. A deep baritone voice echoed his name and John wanted to reach out, he wanted to hold him close and tell him that everything was okay. He tried to say his name, but couldn't make a sound. John realized that his lips must have formed the words as Sherlock's hand grabbed his, the detective taking note of the chafed, bleeding skin. He said something, but it was illegible to John's whirling head. Someone held a light above his eye, shining it around.
"Barbituric Acid...overdose...do something!" Sherlock's voice was in a frenzy, an unorganized panic. John was terrified by this; without Sherlock he was vulnerable. He was alone. The edges of his vision began to turn from sterile white to black and he choked out Sherlock's name. He held John's hand tighter, whispering of regrets and sorrow. At last, even his voice drowned out and everything blacked out. leaving Doctor John Watson to rot in silence.
"He's stopped breathing!"
"Victim had suffered burns and he's been shot!"
"An overdose of barbiturates!" The doctors and nurses were on the scene the moment they burst from the ambulance. Mycroft was the heart of the British Government, so clearing a quick path to the hospital and ensuring fast assessment and care was the easy part. Tearing Sherlock Holmes from the only person he ever gave his heart to, not so much.
"Let go of me, you bastards!" he howled at Lestrade and Mycroft. Their grips were steady, but keeping Sherlock from something he wanted was not easy. "You need to sit down. John under the care of doctors now!" Mycroft tried to reason with him, but to no avail. "Sherlock, you said you'd calm down once he was with a doctor!" Lestrade said through gritted teeth. "Well, I bloody lied!" Sherlock shouted, tearing his arm free and nearly dragging his older brother across the floor. Lestrade had no choice but to tackle him, pulling Sherlock's arms behind his back. "I swear to god, if you can't contain yourself, so help me, I will handcuff you!" he threatened. Sherlock thrashed in an attempt to throw him off, but was held down by Mycroft as the Detective Inspector shackled him. They sat Sherlock down in a chair between the two of them, each occasionally looking to make sure he wasn't going to pull anything. He began to tap his foot at a fast paced tempo, drumming his fingers on the chair back. This continued for close to 10 minutes, until Mycroft sighed loudly and Lestrade mumbled something about him having more energy than a child. Sherlock stood, pacing around and keeping his jaw tight to avoid spilling any unwanted emotions.
"I need to have my hands free!" the younger Holmes brother spoke in a low, dangerous tone."I need to be alone, not stuck with you bloody idiots..." Mycroft leaned forward, propping his elbows on his thighs and clasping his hands. "Sherlock, this isn't the time for you to be alone. You'll end up doing something stupid." he warned. Sherlock sent a look at both him and Lestrade; one that was begging but not showing it on the surface. He was about to blow and no one was permitted to see it happen. They exchanged looks, then sighing, Lestrade pulled the key from his pocket and rose from his seat. He looked at Sherlock warily, then unlocked the metal cuffs. Sherlock pulled his hands to his front, rubbing his wrists. Straightening his scarf, he nodded at them. "I'll be taking a walk. Call me if anything happens." Before they could reply, he took off, the long black coat swirling behind his ankles. Sherlock found the nearest toilet, closing the door and locking it. He leaned against the cool metal, trying to even out his breathing. Whipping off his coat and scarf, he slid down the door. Since he had been taken from John, the metallic smell of his blood had haunted his mind, making him imagine the worst thing that could happen. His coat and scarf had none of it on it, but the feeling of the heavy wool made him feel as if he were going to suffocate, the scarf tying the noose. He suddenly stood up, going over to the sink. Sherlock gripped the sides tightly, looking into the mirror. His hair was a mess, the curls sticking out at odd angles and clumped. His eyes were wet with tears he was unable to let fall. His cheekbones cast dull shadows on his pale skin and the bags beneath his eyes had never been so prominent. Turning on the water, he allowed it to run for a moment before splashing his face with the icy liquid. He could see the stains for blood on his trousers and suit jacket and Sherlock's stomach lurched. He bolted for the toilet and became sick, ridding his body of what little nutrients he had gathered the past week. His throat was burning again, and the tears were on the brink of falling. Sherlock allowed himself to be sick, but not yet to cry. Crying would not help this situation, so what was the point of it? On the other hand, vomiting allowed his body to regain its calm state and took even a little bit off his shoulders. He rose from his knees, flushing the toilet and sending a look of utter disgust at the bile. Stepping back to the sink, Sherlock splashed his face with water once more, rubbing it in an attempt to cool the feverish panic that was about to burst from his veins and ruin every image anyone ever had of him. He let out a shaky sigh, then straightened his posture and held his head high. He needed to remain, composed and calm, he couldn't break. John was a strong, and he would not give his life up. Still, the things he had tried to tell Sherlock lingered, and he almost broke from the stoic expression. He retrieved his coat and scarf, then dusted them off. Shaking his head in dismissal, he unlocked the door and walked back to wear Lestrade, Mycroft and now sat.
"Ah, Sherlock dear! I heard that something happened to John. Is he alright?" she asked. Sherlock had a feeling that she might know the whole story, but knew well enough not to bring it up. As he opened his mouth to reply, the doors opened and a doctor walked out.
Both Sherlock and Mycroft opened their mouths as he called their last name, but the older closed it with the knowing that it was not directed at him, but rather his younger brother. "Is he alright?" Sherlock took a step towards the doctor, his stature towering over the man. He hesitated, and Sherlock looked for any clues. The man's hand held each other, and he looked torn. "You must understand that we've done everything possible. Your friend has been beat up pretty bad, with broken ribs, burns and there's been the heavy use of sedatives and other drugs."
"Barbituric Acid." Sherlock clarified, not pleased with how things were being "simplified". The doctor looked surprised, then nodded. A part of him was probably suspicious, but realizing that he was the great Sherlock Holmes made this disappear. "Yes. His pupils were not reacting to light, and his breathing was labored and stopped several times." Mycroft took notice of how his brother became stiffer and bit the inside of his cheek. "Based on that, we are thinking that he tried to end his life with an overdose of this." Mycroft sent Sherlock a look, telling him to remain collected. "Unfortunately," Sherlock bit the end of the word off. "That is not the case. He was abducted and beaten, the forcibly drugged. If you looked closer, and did your bloody job correctly, you would see the obvious signs!" Sherlock's voice rose to the point where he yelling loud enough to be heard down the hall. He went to lunge at the doctor, but was grabbed by Mycroft and Lestrade. The doctor looked offended at the accusation that he was unable to do his job correctly and breathed, making sure he was collected. "Mr. Holmes, we are going off of the things we currently know-" "Do you have the bloody audacity to think he shot himself 3 times in the chest as well? John Watson is not a man who would turn to suicide!" he screamed, fighting against the grips of his brother and friend. Ms. Hudson had risen and was trying to talk to him, saying anything that might calm his bubbling temper. "I appreciate your efforts in making this simple, doctor, but my brother is not a fool. The man in there means the world to him, and I swear by god, if you underestimate his or my own knowledge of the situation once more, you will be laid off so fast your bloody head will spin!" Mycroft's own voice had risen and he too was becoming fed up. Lestrade was surprised to hear the normally well behaved man giving in slightly to his temper and using such a blatant threat. The doctor swallowed, knowing that one more wrong move would be the end of his career, and likely any after that. "He is alive, but for the moment, just hanging on. The bullets missed his heart by less than half an inch, thankfully. However, one did puncture his left lung, and the velocity nearly ruptured it. The final bullet had only nicked his left internal jugular, causing major blood loss, but not enough to necessarily be fatal." he finished, now nervous to be in the presence of the Holmes brothers. Ms. Hudson let out a quiet noise and she covered her mouth with her hand, squeezing her eyes closed tightly. Lestrade looked down, swallowing the lump in his throat. Sherlock's breathing lost its even pattern and he made a choked noise, blinking wildly and forcing his lips into a thin line. He nodded, trying to calm down every emotion that went into overdrive, his mind racing with every outcome that ended in one thing he could never accept.
"If you give us some time, we'll have your friend-"
"His name is John Watson." Sherlock said through gritted teeth, sick of hearing John being talked about like an object. The doctor nodded.
"We'll have Mr. Watson situated in a room and you'll be able to see him." he concluded. Mycroft waved his hand.
"Yes, yes that's fine. Please make sure he is comfortable and well monitored." he said, his tone becoming low and deadly at the end. The doctor nodded again, then hurried back into the room. Mycroft's grip suddenly tightened and he pulled Sherlock away from the door, trying to bring him down the hall. "What do you think you're doing?" he growled, yanking his arm away, Mycroft's grip remained steady and he pulled it back. "You're going back to your flat." Sherlock raised an eyebrow. "No, I'm not. I'm staying here until they bring John out, and then I'll stay with him." he replied, sending a look back to the door. Mycroft let out an exasperated laugh. "You reek of his blood. I thought I was going to sick when you sat down." he said, gesturing to the coat and scarf that laid on the chair and Sherlock's suit. "You're going to go back and put on fresh clothes, then come back. It's not as if I'll refuse you any admittance into his room." he scoffed. Sherlock narrowed his eyes, then pulled his arm back sharply. "Your driver will not be abiding by any speed limits." Sherlock stated, snatching up his coat and scarf. Mycroft nodded. "Just as I figured. The traffic had already been dispersed." he remarked, taking a small chance at easing his younger brother's high nerves, but to no avail. Sherlock was nearly running down the hall, having memorized the twists and turns of the hospital long ago and easily finding his way back to the waiting car. Mycroft was not far behind, saying a quick command to the driver and then sliding in. They sat in silence for close to 10 minutes before Sherlock spoke.
"Why didn't you alert me at first notice?" Sherlock clenched his hands into fists. "Why, why didn't you send someone in to help him?!" He turned sharply to his brother, who merely glanced past him. "We've arrived." Mycroft's voice was hard, and Sherlock knew that there was something he wished to say, but was most likely going to keep to himself. Sherlock threw open the door and pushed himself out, not bothering to close it. He heard Mycroft's footsteps behind him, closing the car door and then following him the stairs to his flat. Sherlock slammed the door behind him, hoping that it would've hit his brother. As it opened back up calmly, he knew that Mycroft had not been hit and was growing tired of what he might call "antics".
"Sherlock, you are overreacting." he called as his younger brother entered his bedroom, trying to find a new set of clothes. The harsh slamming of drawers and falling of hangers were the only response, and Mycroft sighed. Within 2 minutes, Sherlock walked back out, buttoning up a simple purple shirt. He strode past his brother, stopping at his desk and leaning on it. "Honestly, Sherlock..." Mycroft began. "You must stop acting like a child with his favorite toy bro-" A swift punch came to the side of his jaw, knocking Mycroft back a few step and almost making him lose his balance. He latched onto the back of the low chair that Sherlock usually resided in. Sherlock looked at him, his pale eyes wide with fury. "He is no toy! You have yet to answer any of my questions, and yet you think you can follow me back into our flat and say such things?" Sherlock pushed the books off his desk in one sweep. "Answer me now Mycroft, answer my bloody questions!" A silence fell between the brothers as Mycroft regained his composure and upright posture. "Sherlock-" "No games, Mycroft! I am sick of these games!" Sherlock's voice caught at the word sick and he clenched his jaw to keep his emotions in check. Mycroft sighed, at a loss for words. "I didn't alert you because the probability of you going off and doing something in the heat of the moment was very high." he said, turning to look at his younger brother. Sherlock looked at him incredulously. "Heat of the moment? I would've gone after him the same bloody way I did earlier!" he shouted, bringing his hand down on the desktop. Mycroft remained there with a blank expression for a moment and then continued. "I did not send anyone because Doctor Watson is not my main focus of concern. I merely keep an eye on him." Sherlock stood there, speechless and trying to process his brother's statement.
"Not your main focus of concern? What, and my welfare is?!" Sherlock exclaimed. As Mycroft began to nod, Sherlock lifted his one hand and held his head with the other. "Shut up. Just shut up, Mycroft!" He was shaking his head, not knowing how to continue. "Jesus Christ, must I say it aloud for you to understand!?" Sherlock entangled his fingers in his hair, turning away. He shot back around, whipping his hands down. "I love him! He is the only thing that is keeping me tethered to this Earth!" He made a wide gesture to everything around. "Without John..." Sherlock swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat. "Without him, you'd have nobody's welfare to be concerned about!" Mycroft raised an eyebrow at the proclamation. "And what makes you think that?" Mycroft questioned. Sherlock let out a humorless laugh. "I'd be dead on that couch from an overdose or on some pavement with my brains lying next to me." he spat, confirming what Mycroft had expected for a reply. Sherlock shook his head again, then walked away from the desk. He grabbed his coat and slipped it onto his thin shoulders, then tied the scarf around his neck. He trudged out of the flat, leaving Mycroft alone in the flat. Sherlock resumed his seat back in the car, waiting nearly a full minute for Mycroft to return to his. They sat in silence for nearly the entire ride back, until Mycroft asked one more question.
"What if he does not survive?"
"I'll never forgive you."
John wasn't fond of the color white. It showed every speck of dirt, every spatter of blood. That was not to say he wouldn't wear it, or own things that were that solid color. But being a doctor where he had been, white was a reminder of the things those soldiers will never be able to do again, how many of them lied there wrapped up in sheet made of that color. It made him think of lost limbs and bloody faces, of irreparable injuries and consequences. So waking up in an ambulance, then a hospital room wasn't going easy on his nerves. John wanted to sit up and look around, he wanted find a way out. But the moment he lifted his head, a pounding shot through it and left shoulder felt like it was going to split apart. He fell back onto the pillow and made a pained noise, then felt a hand lightly touch his arm. He looked over, his mouth forming the name "Sherlock" only to see Ms. Hudson. He wasn't sad to see her, but just not expecting it.
"You can't move, John. You need to stay lying down..." she said quietly, smiling at him gently. He nodded and felt the ends of his lips rise up into a tiny smile. His eyes surveyed the room, seeing that she was the only one in there. "Oh, Sherlock went home quickly. His clothes were a little bit dirty." she told him, letting out a small laugh. John wondered what could've gotten his clothes so dirty that he would've changed, then lost his train of thoughts as the door opened. "Speak...of the devil..." John remarked almost immediately, coaxing a smirk from Sherlock. The taller man strode to the bedside, sitting in the chair and grabbing John's hand. Ms. Hudson took note of the change in situation and politely excused herself from the room. Sherlock sat there with John, rubbing the tops of John's hand with his thumb. "Sherlock..." John began. Sherlock shushed him, shaking his head. "John, don't use that tone..." he whispered. "You needn't say anything. Everything is going to be alright." John took note of how meek his voice sounded, like a small child lost at a mall. John finally realized it; Sherlock Holmes, the high functioning sociopath and only consulting detective the world has ever known, was scared. If he was letting fear take over, then didn't that ensure that his demise was imminent?
"John, don't give me that look. I know what you're thinking and it's completely wrong." Sherlock's grip tightened. "You can't die."
"Sherlock...please let me...talk." John said, giving him a pleading look. Sherlock nodded, telling him to continue. John took a deep breath, ignoring the ache in his chest. "Sherlock, I'm really...grateful to have...met you. You're just so...fascinating and magical and..." John smiled up at him." I love you, Sherlock...believe me when I say it." Sherlock nodded. "I know John, I know." Sherlock brought the chair closer to the bed, bringing John's hand up to his face. "I love you too." Sherlock whispered into his hand, kissing the white gauze and tape lightly. They sat in silence, Sherlock listening to the even breathing of John.
"Yes?" the detective replied, kissing his hand again. John looked sad, but accepting.
"Will you move on?" he finally asked, staring into Sherlock's eyes. Sherlock was taken aback and remained silent, then shook his head.
"I couldn't, John. I wouldn't..." Sherlock held his hand tighter. "I'll give up without you." John let out a breathy chuckle. "Sherlock Holmes...giving up? I can't let that happen..." he replied, grinning. Sherlock smiled back, the deep baritone of his voice welling up in his throat as he tried to laugh. Sherlock leaned back in the chair, giving John's hand another squeeze. John returned the gesture as he settled back into the pillow, his eyelids closing slightly. Something inside Sherlock went off like an alarm, but he ignored it. John had said that he wouldn't leave, so why should his eyes closing be a cause for concern. The man had been through so much; maybe his was just tired. But as his grip began to waver, the breathing that made his chest rise began to decrease Sherlock rose forward in his seat. "John? John, answer me." The ex army doctor didn't open his eyes, he didn't mouth anything. Sherlock jumped up, taking hold of the man's face in his hands. He kissed John's lips and was bewildered to find them growing cold. Sherlock realized he had been loud enough to hear outside when Ms. Hudon and Lestrade entered, shock crossing their faces. "John, he's fine...Just tired..." his voice came out as a hoarse croak and his throat felt tight and swollen. Sherlock looked back down at John to see tears on his cheeks. "See, he's crying! He's fine!" Sherlock wasn't even able to convince himself of his claims and let out a pained breath. took hold of his arm as nurses and doctors rushed in, trying to pull him away. As John's fingers slipped from his, Sherlock let out a cry, baffled by how odd it sounded. "He's crying!" Sherlock said, pointing. Ms. Hudson shook her head and wiped his cheek with her thumb. Sherlock saw the tears on it and realized that John had never cried, those were his own tears falling and projecting emotions and a fake reality. " No, I have to see him! Let me back to John!" Sherlock pleaded, his voice becoming hoarse and weak as more tears fell. Sherlock dropped to his knees, overwhelmed by the sudden flood of emotion. He felt as if he was going to explode and why were are so many other people here and what are they doing with John, no please you can't take him, you have to let me stay with him! Ms. Hudson wrapped her arms around Sherlock as the cruel sociopath became human in front of everyone that was supposed to look up to and admire him. He was unraveling, just like John's favorite jumper had been earlier. He was breaking apart at the seams, falling apart and becoming the dirt that Moriarty walked, just as he had planned.
Sherlock hadn't planned on letting Moriarty win. He was smarter than that, faster and better. He was going to beat the man at his own game.
Then why was he sitting here in his landlady's arms, crying like a child with a skinned knee? He didn't feel connected to anything around him anymore, like he just float away and be nothing.
Then it set in.
Doctor John Hamish Watson, a former soldier, his flatmate and the only person who held his heart and kept him grounded was dead.
Sherlock then realized what Moriarty had wanted from him. He wanted to see him fall, to be reduced to nothing.
Jim Moriarty had won, and Sherlock Holmes was a ruined, broken man.