John collapsed into the armchair and wondered how they'd gotten there. Not physically, since he remembered that, but... oh god, he wasn't even sure anymore.

Facts. Something was wrong with Sherlock.

They'd been out for dinner. Somewhere new, but it had been highly recommended.

They were headed home in a cab when it started.

First his speech had slurred.

(It was from the numbness of his lips and tongue, but at first John wondered if Sherlock had somehow gotten accidentally drunk.)

But then there was more.

Then he was nauseous, and then he threw up (not in the cab thankfully, they'd gotten home by then) all over himself and John, because that was just typical.

When Sherlock couldn't stand up anymore, John called an ambulance.

He had to watch as Sherlock lost all muscle tone, and couldn't sit up any longer. He had to watch as it became increasingly difficult for him to breathe, muscles not responding to nerve impulses.

By the time the ambulance got there, Sherlock had stopped breathing.

The paramedics intubated Sherlock and whisked him off, John barely managing to keep up.

He got left behind once they arrived at A&E, trapped in paperwork, weighed down by forms to fill out when Sherlock was just through those doors and needed him.

He was pretty sure the writing wasn't legible, but they still didn't allow him to see Sherlock.

He fumed quietly, and wondered if it was worth calling Mycroft. It wasn't necessary, as he showed up just as the doctor came out to speak to John.

Sherlock had been moved to the ICU, and was suffering the effects of what was mostly likely a potent neurotoxin. (Oh, and by the way, any clue how he got that?)

Mycroft's face settled into thin lines, lips pulled tight and eyes narrowed. He excused himself to make phone calls.

John followed the doctor to see Sherlock, who looked... well, like he'd been poisoned. (Only somewhat worse than usual.)

And he'd collapsed in the chair.


Sherlock was conscious. The doctors had been cautious with the sedatives, not wanting to cause a reaction with whatever toxin was currently flooding his body. He knew it was a neurotoxin, just based on the symptoms, but there were so many to choose from. Still, he knew that he could survive this.

Still, that didn't help John, who was sitting in the chair at his bedside, emanating worry like a fire did heat.

There were so many things he wanted to say.

If you survive the first 24 hours you have a good chance of recovery.

There's no cure, but there are treatments.

Of course I'll be fine, don't be an idiot.

Of course, he couldn't say any of them.

Couldn't even let them know that he was still conscious, inside his stupid transport that wasn't responding.

He hated it.

Normally, even when he had strange reactions to the anaesthetics, John would be there, and would somehow know that Sherlock was in there. He'd order more drugs, or less drugs, and hold his hand and whisper reassuring things to him. Sometimes he'd read to him, usually medical texts, or whatever was on hand, and sometimes rubbish novels that he had to pretend not to like, even if he didn't complain as John continued. But today something was wrong about the whole thing, and whether it was himself or John, Sherlock couldn't tell.

He couldn't do much of anything to be honest.

Time was funny.

No, it wasn't, it was stupid.

Time was stupid.

That was more accurate.

It kept changing and playing tricks and just generally not being linear. Which was rubbish.

He decided it was nigh on impossible to tell how much time had passed without being able to open his eyes. Not even to look at a clock, but at least to see the sun, or shadows.

Even the nurses all sounded the same, the same hospital issue shoes. Not to mention his hearing was somewhat muffled by the ventilator and the heartbeats he swore were rushing through his ears.

Time was stupid.


Time passed, in its stupid way, slowly, and then quickly.

Never the way he wanted it to.

It must have been at least 24 hours, because he was still alive, and even recovering. He was able to twitch his fingers.

John noticed and looked thrilled.

When he was able to breathe on his own (more or less) they took the tube out. He still couldn't sit up without support, but at least he could open his eyes.

The simplest things.

Blood tests came back. It showed he had ingested tetrodotoxin.

Like from puffer fish.

(Sherlock realized how much he despised fish again at that moment.)

The doctor was explaining it to John, and asking what they'd been eating. Sherlock only rolled his eyes. Wasn't it obvious he was poisoned? They were at a Mexican restaurant for heaven's sake. Of course, he'd just let John figure that one out for himself.

He listened irritatedly from behind the BiPAP mask that was bothering him that he insisted he didn't need anymore. ("Extra help," John had said. "Your muscles are still weak. God forbid you fall asleep and forget to breathe, you'd just be irritated that all the alarms woke you up, not the fact that your marvellous brain was losing oxygen.")

Fish. Rubbish.

So he sighed as loudly as he could (not that it was very loudly, considering the stupid whooshing, he was noticing a pattern, lots of things seemed to be stupid that day) and made sure they knew he wasn't pleased about it.