The sensation of the other man’s long-fingered, nimble hands surrounding his had become so familiar over the past hour he hardly noticed when their grip tightened and became so close. It was as though Victor’s very hands wondered how they could have ever existed without this other pair, so similar and yet entirely different - warm where his were chilled, pale where his were tanned, and yet both scarred and calloused, both long and thin.
His hands twitched slightly under that pressure of holding someone else’s, and more, being held - allowing the connection again after so long without any at all. Being alone was much easier than people thought. There was less responsibility, less responsibility, less room for accidents like love.
Victor listened to Sherlock’s voice fade into memory, recreating what he must have endured years past to gain that flawless coordination and dexterity back. The reminded of the incident and its tie to him made the bottom of his stomach drop out again, and made him wonder why Sherlock was here after all this time of silence, when the businessman had truly believed he’d lost his closest friend to the gray London air.
It slipped out without his acquiescence - blame medication, blame comfort, blame tiredness, blame all that he wanted, he couldn’t explain why he didn’t contain these words as he softly squeezed Sherlock’s hand and looked back and up at him once more. He could see the shadow of a nurse nervously lingering by the door, not wanted to interrupt what she thought was an intimate moment, but he paid her little mind.
“Why are you here, Sherlock?” he asked quietly. Even Victor’s lowered voice couldn’t smooth out the roughness to the words, so he cleared his throat and tried again, tried to mold quickly at the question to make it fit into the gap between them.
“What I mean to ask is…what have you chosen to do about the past? Is this - forgiveness, or a temporary reprieve…” He shook his head and straightened, running his free hand through his hair while the one in Sherlock’s grip lay limp. “It’s only that the world has been moving awfully fast and things have gone quite topside and upside-down around us, so we best decide where we stand among all this human havoc.” Victor cracked a little smile, licked his lips and looked down for a moment and then back up. His free hand found his father’s ring on his bedstand, which he almost obsessively started to fiddle with.
While he’d not expected to find the question put to him by Victor, Sherlock didn’t have to think long for an answer.
“I am done being afraid.” He stated quite simply, a thin and humourless smile turning up the edges of his lips. It was true enough; he was done hiding. Nearly two years, there had been a monster in every shadow and a demon in his dreams. The Wolf wasn’t a hunter any more, he’d seen that when the old dog and he crossed paths. There was no longer a fear that the mercenary would chase any price on his head, and there was no fear to those who mattered.
“And what you’ve done is none of my business.” He said firmly, a voice that commanded police to step aside, a voice that followed behind the cleverest of criminals, a voice that offered no alternative. This was Sherlock Holmes, the man who ruled London and knew the streets better than most. An echo of his old self was cracking through the walls of defences he had created, the man from university who’d threatened to shoot Gloria after her ‘attack’ trying to break through the breach. The tamed and quiet individual who had been so reserved and cautious was retreating, already becoming a part of Sherlock’s past.
"There is nothing for me to forgive, Victor." And then, his authority slipped; softened back into a companion’s tone. "We both met the same man at completely opposite ends of the spectrum." He paused for just a moment, before his right shoulder lifted in his now typical lopsided shrug. "You became a drug user, I had my own demons, and then you got shot." Stating the facts were easy; this is what Sherlock did. But, he knew those weren’t the answers that Victor sought. As always, the older business man needed to know things Sherlock would rather remain unvoiced. However, he could see this time that such an escape was not possible this time, and so he was forced to turn that perceptive eye inwards and gaze upon himself.
For a moment, he sat in quiet contemplation. Pale fingers tapped against dark trousers, a soft rhythm which would be alien to anybody who had not chanced upon his compositions, filed so neatly away in contrast to other papers that adorned his flat.
When his fingers stilled, he blinked and sat with a certainty about him. “The past is the past, and it is behind us.” He murmured, turning to regard his companion. “Our lives are not intertwined, marginally. However you are not the one who hurt me, nor am I the one you slept with. You have not wronged me, Victor.” He smiled faintly. “And I am no longer hiding from what happened. I believe the phrase is ‘let bygones be bygones’.” His smile faltered. “Unless you do not wish for that. I would understand.”
Act drunk? John could do that, he certainly felt like he’d had about six too many. He leaned into Sherlock, stumbling now and then, managing to giggle like a lush when people looked their way, but he didn’t attempt to make a scene of course. That wouldn’t do. He was relieved when the cab pulled up and Sherlock deposited him into a seat. His legs felt like they were sacks of jello beneath him. He had met death and then come back, of course there were going to be side effects.
“Sh…Shhhh,” John put a finger to his lips, shushing Sherlock as he had a true fumble with his belt. He couldn’t quite get his fingers around it at first but he managed. Once he finally heard it click into place he slouched and let out a low, heavy sigh. He wanted to close his eyes, they felt so heavy, but at the same time, the idea of doing so terrified him. He didn’t want to see that blackness again. It was dark out now, John realized. He’d been out for a while, but he was awake now. Not-dead.
“My head…” John tried to articulately, lolling it toward Sherlock, a knit of confusion in his brow. It felt full of rocks and water. The short drag from Barts to a cab had taken way too much out of him.
“Sherlock, I don’t,” he mumbled, his eyes fluttering slightly as he fought against unconscious, “don’t let me fall ‘sleep.”
His lip twisted in distaste at the addled man’s head lulled closer to his shoulder. A quick and sharp strike directly into John’s thigh knocked the other man upright, prompting the taxi driver to complain about their manner. Sherlock apologised to their driver who levelled a warning of making them walk the rest of the way. After that, the backseat was subdued. AS requested, Sherlock kept John awake without striking him; resorting to nipping the soft flesh between them and forefinger, pinching a nerve to keep his mind alert.
They pulled up to Baker Street after what seemed an age. Sherlock got out first and hauled John out of the cab after paying their grumpy driver. With one of John’s arms slung over his shoulders, the taller detective all but dragged John into Baker Street, hauling him up the stairs to deposit him in his own bed. He couldn’t haul dead weight up another flight of stairs; already his shoulders were crying protest against an uncooperative lift.
Carefully, he unfastened John’s shoes and unfastened his coat. It was difficult to undress a man who could barely remember what an arm was, let alone how to use it, but Sherlock persevered and eventually left John fully clothes on the bedding.
"Go to sleep, Watson. You’ll feel better when you wake up." He promised in a low tone. Retreating from his own little sanctuary - already regretting putting the ex mercenary in his bed - Sherlock set up camp on the sofa. It wasn’t uncommon for him to sleep there as opposed to his own bed, however he refused to let his mind slow and shut down, instead forcing himself to keep a state of consciousness. Given what was working its way through John’s system, Sherlock wanted to monitor the older man, keep him well and make sure he was alright.
“You could make this so much easier, Sherlock, if you’d just behave half your age.”
"Spare me. What do you want?"
"Door is just behind you. Off you pop, Mycroft."
Sherlock’s touch drew him, once more, back to reality, which was rather curious, being that it usually did just the opposite; the very brush of his hand launched him into the skies where he got carried away by upwards drifts and jetties. He turned his head slightly and his forehead pressed against the side of Sherlock’s sharp jaw where it jutted out under his skin, and he breathed in a little too shakily for his liking.
Victor listened to Sherlock without listening, some strange part of him clenching at the thought of someone taking his safety stash, his life raft in a too-vast sea where he could no longer see in any direction. Can’t they just take his word that he won’t use and let him have it there just in case this goes wrong - doesn’t he know what’s best for himself, more than the cold clinical doctors and the meddlesome therapists?
Surprised at his own thoughts he clutched his forehead and then tried to pass it off by brushing his hair back from his temples. Astute as ever, Sherlock brought up accurate points. Why did he inject where people would notice when he had a job that would bring him into contact with people the most? The answer rose immediately. He began to want someone to notice. Maybe he always had. Victor’s hand darted down and gripped at Sherlock’s hand where it rested against his side because he knew that Sherlock really did understand, know what was behind Victor, and what lay ahead. At the same time, some stubborn, fiercely independent part of him wanted to assure Sherlock it was fine.
This was just a tickle compared to what he’d been through so far, after all, and what he’d caused.
“Fine,” he murmured with a little nod. “We can talk about this when I get out. It won’t be too long now, just some paperwork and therapy I have to clear prior to…” Victor chuckled breathily and coughed consequently, patting the back of Sherlock’s hand. Outside, the halls had grown quiet. Sherlock truly was the last visitor present, now. Realizing their door was open Victor wondered if people had been glancing in at him the whole time, this apparent ragtag couple.
“Goodness, when did you become responsible, hm?” he half-teased, half-truly wondered. This man behind him, his voice deep and assuring and his shoulder strong to lean on despite its own scarred damage, wasn’t the lanky, irresponsible, selfish university student Victor once knew, who left him to fend for himself in times of need.
From within his throat came the muted sound of a chuckle, head tipping back once more towards the ceiling as his eyes closed along with it. There was a chill in Victor’s hand that was only too alien to him, a strange reversal really. He found his own hand moving to surround Victor’s, trying to trap those long and thing fingers beneath his own as if he could pass what meagre heat his skin retained into his friend’s.
“Responsibility grows on a man when he needs it, it would seem.” His voice was quiet, a low thrumming murmur that was out of place in the quiet serenity of the hospital. “Although when you have experience, prior knowledge can seem the same.” Sherlock lifted his free hand to rub his exposed throat, almost like he was trying to rid himself of an itch or sooth an internal irritation.
"But recovery is your primary concern now. You’ll enjoy physio therapy. They treat you like a child." He chuckled again towards the ceiling, feeling a gentle lethargy settling over his frame as gently as a blanket forming around every limb. "Put your arm out like this, yes very good. And now can you flex your fingers? Oh you’re doing so well." He spoke an echo of his own therapy, though he adopted a noticeably higher, female tone.
“And the exercises…” Sherlock’s head fell forward again, eyes open; bright and alert. “The leaflet they give you to do at home. An elastic bungee for muscle toning which makes a terrific cord for projectiles… oh the list is endless.” He shook his head, half turning to regard his friend.
“I can imagine it will be interesting climbing all those stairs on crutches.”
“Civilian.” The tone of James’ voice made it clear that he didn’t believe that in the slightest. Especially not when he knew the involvement the man’s brother had with the government. The Holmes family had somewhat of a reputation, and there was no doubt in James’ mind that Sherlock would keep civilian would the opportunity arise to do just the opposite.
“You can, of course, continue to mock me, but it won’t make me leave any sooner. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it might keep me in your presence longer. I will ask you once more, do you have any information that we could use? Any at all?”
For a moment, it was like Sherlock was contemplating giving a straight answer. He let his eyes wander off towards the right, lifting skyward almost like he were drifting through his memories. What information did he have on Moriarty? Enough to keep himself interested. Moriarty was a person, a man of the underworld. He sat in a seat of power but his throne was hidden in a lost kingdom that Sherlock intended to find. He wasn’t about to give this game over to the government. That would be almost like playing into his brother’s hands, even if it were not the elder Holmes which sent this stoic agent to his door.
"I’m sorry, however I do not have anything that MI6 can use." Not an exact lie; what he had he could use.
"I do not know who it was who sent you on this wild goose chase, but I’m afraid it has indeed been a waste of time." It took effort not to let his lips curl into a childish or petulant smile. "I’m useless to you."
Whatever laughter lingered around his lips on the subject of the crayon fiasco dissipated quickly, faltered and crumbled away, unable to support to pretense of itself. Victor glanced up at Sherlock, and was glad that he didn’t have to meet his eyes, for fear of what they might say, and what his own would respond with. He shifted more now, sitting straight up, his spine rod-like in stiffness. Victor attempted to disguise this by reaching for the water, and pouring himself a cupful even though he wasn’t at all thirsty.
Of course, that was the trouble with pretenses. They had to be carried out. He raised the cup to his lips and drank and wished he didn’t have to, while the cool liquid coursed nonetheless down his throat.
“Right,” he spoke to fill the silence, and then fell silent, as though perhaps a nurse or doctor would come striding in and whisk him away; he had not wanted that before but now he hoped for it, because that would delay his answer just a little more.
“Right,” Victor whispered again, desperately. Nothing came to save him. He slid his fingers around the corner of the sheets and knotted it around his knuckles and wished he could walk so he could put a little distance between them, and not have to answer this when he could smell what brand of cigarette Sherlock had smoked that morning - Lambert & Butler - and that vanilla scent that always followed him wherever he went, and what cologne he had used to cover up the smell of alcohol….
“There is a case,” he began, stopped, and started again, pouring himself a little more water and clearing his throat. “In my closet, between the last two pairs of trousers…and- oh, must we talk about this now,” he forced a little laugh into his voice and smoothed his hands back through his hair, his back to Sherlock, his feet on the ground, poised to run.
Every movement that he felt against him was rigid and tense, and from that alone Sherlock knew he’d over stepped one of their few boundaries, one of the rare invisible lines that ran between them to form the area of ‘we don’t talk about it’. Part of him knew he should be guilty, that this wasn’t the time to broach a sensitive subject given the gulf that had crept between them again. But, the more rational and analytical side of his mind told him that it would need to be done sooner rather than later and it would be simply easier if he dealt with it. Perhaps in the same breath he could be rid of his own shot…
"There isn’t anything to talk about, is there?" Sherlock murmured as he let his head fall forward where his cheek brushed just at the side of Victor’s temple. "I saw the marks. You need to be careful with needles; prolonged use leaves permanent scars." He murmured, thinking of the few little white marks that had faded but not enough to be invisible. "A man in your position should have been more careful. I’d have suggested thighs." The conversation was so natural, even if it were one that Sherlock knew Victor would rather prevent.
"I presume the addiction is not as severe as to require rehabilitation, however that means I am going to need your honesty in the future, Victor." Sherlock’s arm around his friend shifted to be fractionally tighter, a movement that could either be seen as a supportive hug or a need to hold on and create an anchor. "I will help you through this, I know it is difficult." Typically, that was one of those things that people just said, a line of support from ignorant people that had no idea what they were on about. But this was Sherlock and he was only too familiar with what it meant to ween himself away from the demon that danced so tantalisingly at the fringes of resistance.
"I know it is difficult, Victor." For once the typically mocking tones were kind, the hand that had left the other man’s falling back into place. "But we do not have to discuss this now. However we will need to at a later date, just so you are aware."
John accepted the water and drank slowly as directed. He was in no hurry to be sick again. He was sure he’d not be feeling quite right for a while before Sherlock told him as much. A serum meant to give the illusion of death was pretty much guaranteed to have nasty side effects. He drained the first glass and then the second, but he could feel Sherlock beginning to get antsy. There was a definite rise in tension about the other man, like a rubber band readying to snap.
He didn’t really listen to the exchange between Molly and Sherlock. He wanted to trust that the girl wouldn’t slip up so the less he knew of her the better. He just pretended to be elsewhere. Which wasn’t too difficult in all actuality.
When Sherlock called for his attention, announcing their departure, John carefully tried to get off the table. His legs felt like lead, but he was standing. At first he was inclined to disregard the offer of help but as he made move to step his entire equilibrium swayed oddly to one side and he grabbed instinctively for Sherlock again.
“Yeah, that stuff really… Strong stuff. It was pretty scary. Help would be appreciated,” John said, his mouth already feeling dry again. “I take it you’ll want to know some things about how your little concoction took effect. Feelings, etcetera?”
It was the most he’d spoken since coming to, he wasn’t entirely sure he could keep steady speech up at the moment.
Sherlock was ready for the lurch of the once-good doctor, however he was not satisfied with their height differences. To adequately provide support, he’d do better to shove his shoulder under John’s to take his weight. However, he made do with looping his arm under the other man’s arm pits and clasping him firmly around the ribcage. It pulled on his shoulder and he could feel the strain on his joint, however the detective made do and supported the man as adequately as he could.
"I planned on simply taking some of your blood and analysing any long lasting effects. If you wish to provide more however, I will make use of it." He said as he waited for John to comfortably find his feet and adjust to using him as a crutch.
"But for now, I’d appreciate it if you simply focused on not vomiting on me." Sherlock said dryly, moving in an attempt to prompt John into move along the corridor.
He called a quick goodbye to Molly, one the woman stuttered a response to before John and Sherlock but the pair were already making their way down the corridor. While it wasn’t exactly the best action given the other man was struggle to remember which foot came next, Sherlock knew that the longer they spent in the morgue meant the harder it would be to remain undetected. Speed was the key here.
The pair made their way gradually through the lower levels towards the exit where Sherlock pulled his accomplice towards the street.
"Act drunk. It serves as an explanation." He muttered under his breath, busy looking around as they walked. "Head bowed, slurred speech, nothing over the top. Discretion." They were on the main street now, the crowds of tea time had lessened to those who finished that bit later or dwelt in the twilight. However, it was much easier to spot a cab and hail it without releasing John. For the effect of anyone watching, he even muttered a curse about the "sack of shit" he bundled into the car.
"To Baker street." He said to the cabby, shooting a poisonous glare at the ‘drunken’ John. "Put your belt on by yourself, you pisshead." Vulgarity wasn’t his forté, but Sherlock was a master of disguise and pretense. All of this, just to make sure nobody questioned a man dragging another.
He closed his eyes as Sherlock’s hands settled to cover his own and sighed a little, soft and through his nose. “Goodness,” he breathed a little laugh that set off a string of quiet coughs he caught and muffled in his throat just in time. When he recovered he finished, shaking his head a little, “Suffering might be a little extreme, isn’t it?”
Victor’s hands shifted, fingers brushing along the inside of Sherlock’s palms, listening to Sherlock’s detailed and length explanation of just how much help Victor was going to need. And he was right, of course. He was just forgetting that Victor wasn’t the only one who needed to recover from this. Victor, for one, couldn’t so easily put out of mind how ashen and exhausted Sherlock had looked that afternoon he briefly stopped by, how his hand lay just centimeters from a bottle of whiskey.
Watching those nearly imperceptible soft twitches of Sherlock’s skin in response to the grazing of his own touch Victor lost focus again, continuing to, thanks to the influence of the medications and some in part to Sherlock’s heady presence, zone in and out of the present moment. It was the other man’s low baritone that he could clutch at to draw him back from whatever tide had washed in and taken his thoughts again, the rumble of Sherlock’s murmur against his shoulder blade. When he was paying attention again Victor snorted softly and dug his index finger into the center of Sherlock’s palm.
“Where would I be without my trusty colouring book, of course. And maybe we can work on your own colour identification skills in the process, hm?” His voice was light and the little grin he sent his old friend playful. “Could be quite the asset. We’ll have you telling green and yellow apart in no time.”
Wincing as his muscles began to protest being left as they were for so long, Victor straightened and sat up slightly, one hand braced along the mattress while the other drifted to restlessly rub his lower spine where the spinal tap had been inserted just a few days prior. “Clothes, however, I really would appreciate,” Victor continued, gesturing at himself loosely and making a face. “I feel like I’m in a shopping bag.”
He met Sherlock’s eyes and his own gaze, for a moment, softened. Before he could truly stop himself out slipped: “Thank you, Sherlock,” his voice warm though hoarse and sincere. Whether he meant thank you for the visit or the promises to bring what Victor lacked, or Sherlock’s mere presence, was unclear, but he smiled smally nonetheless.
Sincerity was something that rarely came between the pair of them, at least to this degree. They had a volatile relationship at the best of times, preferring to instead keep everything light hearted and friendly. Occasionally they had fallen into the murmurs of ambiguities and half truths, and maybe they had even opened up their feelings once or twice but it was rare, given their ten year relationship. But this was what happened for them and this was what worked. They knew the lies and the when they avoided answering.
So Sherlock simply smiled and moved along with his friend to make sure that he wasn’t making him uncomfortable. He rolled his own shoulders to prevent himself from settling and growing far too comfortable and shutting down again.
"I’m not colour blind, I’m able to see the difference between basic colours you cretin." Sherlock mocked the other man, rolling his eyes. "You’re never going to let that crayon situation just be forgotten, are you?" he said ruefully, letting his head roll backwards to regard the ceiling with a lazy grimace.
"I will make sure however you get clothes. I’m afraid no suits however. I may even just buy you new clothes; joggers and t shirts and whatnot." The grimace changed to a superior smirk, knowing that he’d struggle to find anything most people would call comfortable in Victor’s house. Perhaps he’d find a few pyjama bottoms or something; he couldn’t remember what Victor wore when he was asleep.
He let the conversation slip for a few moments, his chest rising and falling with the comfortable weight of Victor on the left hand side. His mind was wandering, drawn to the marks he’d seen multiple times on his companion’s arm. Sherlock mulled it over in his mind, weighing up the pros and cons of talking about it.
He sighed. The thoughts of them rarely having serious discussions came back as a haunting reminder, drawing an almost bitter thin smile.
"I also need to know if you have any more drugs in your flat that I need to remove." He said quietly, keeping his eyes fixed on the pale white of the tiles as if not seeing Victor would make this easier for the pair of them.
guys gusy guys
can we like tango chat some time
because i don’t ever need to get up again
He smiled a little at the directness of Sherlock’s response, as unsugared as always. Victor could be assured that if Sherlock said it had failed to truly affect him - directly, he’d said, and Sherlock never said extra words unless they were necessary to his meaning - than it had, and for that he could only be grateful. He already owed enough apologies, after all.
Victor’s lips twitched up, coinciding with that morbid amusement Sherlock emanated on just how far gone they both were. Victor had not forgotten that sole day he entered Sherlock’s flat to find him asleep, after all, his fingers just grazing a pile of casework and a bottle on top. The detective looked hard-worked and thinner and paler since Victor had seen him last. For once, it was simply that Victor was the one to go to the extreme.
But as much as this was true — move into Baker Street? It wasn’t as simple of a decision as Sherlock phrased it to be. True, the journey up to the flat and back down to the street would be far less difficult. There would be someone home to assist him if his limbs were to give out, a possibility that was more probable than he’d like to admit. And there was the matter of security. Sherlock was the brother of Mycroft Holmes. If nothing else, there would be no Mafia men knocking on his door, though it did put Victor closer to another risk - the government itself.
He was a murderer, after all. A murderer, a criminal, a thief, a liar, a cheat. Victor’s lips parted and then closed again softly, his hand settling in the crook of his arm and rubbing over the irritated skin from his forearm to his wrist, where the damning scars were bare, their freshness telling everyone what they needed to know about the habits he’d harboured for the past few month. What if he couldn’t stop? What if he dragged Sherlock down too?
He could feel Sherlock’s breath on the rim of his ear.
“As much as I appreciate your allowance of Gloria’s presence,” he chuckled, patting the back of Sherlock’s hand to better communicate that, “I wouldn’t want to inconvenience you. They’ll likely send a homecare nurse with me, and I’ll have to continue therapy, not to mention the work I have to catch up on…I couldn’t bear being a burden on you or Mrs. Hudson.” Victor straightened, lifting from Sherlock’s shoulder so he could twist slightly and look properly at him, face to face. “It won’t be easy,” he cautioned, and then added to lighten the mood, “since you really, really do not get on with Gloria.”
He’d made the offer genuinely so when Victor turned him down, he was mildly surprised. “If I had thought you would be a burden, I wouldn’t have offered my home to you.” He reprimanded his companion. He was more than aware however, that Baker Street needed cleaning up. The curtains had not been drawn for the past month and the place was developing a smell of stagnation. Mrs Hudson had been banned - which she’d agreed to when she’d discovered the bottles - so the place was in dire need of a clean. That would be the only burden Victor would create, but Sherlock knew his situation needed to change.
"I would never pick her as a companion however I would have suffered her." He murmured softly, letting his fingers return to Victor’s hand, resting back around his slender digits even though there was no fear the cup would topple when it was resting between their thighs.
"If you will not come to Baker Street however, I would insist that you would allow me to come to Lexington street. There will a lot for you to do, and I am no stranger to the recovery process." It was a rare inclination into the life of Sherlock Holmes, the man who spent his time running around London and had been damaged more times than he would often admit. Broken bones rarely set him back, but operations had done. While he’d never been as severely injured as his best friend, he still had some inclination to what Victor would go through. "You will need someone to walk Gloria, to fetch you shopping, and possibly to do minor tasks around the flat. I need not stay, if you do not wish that, however I would like to come by each day at least to make sure you are doing well." Sherlock gave no hint of argument in his second offer, determined that his companion wouldn’t be alone. While Victor had (unbeknown to Sherlock) considered Mycroft as a danger, Sherlock predominantly considered him as an asset, for once. He was giving serious contemplation to asking the other to monitor Lexington street, though knowing Mycroft it was already there. They argued and always had, however the elder Holmes always looked out for his baby brother.
"Though this is something we aren’t exactly close to. You’re in here for another week or two at least, I would imagine." Sherlock smirked thinly. "Sadly, you did nearly die and the doctors seem to find this a problem." He said it in an offhand manner, not even sparing a thought for offering the information delicately. Victor was alive and well, and to him, the rest were ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’.
"If you’d like I can bring you some clothes and personal effects. Books and a nice colouring book and pens to keep you occupied." It was a rare glimpse of humour, but Sherlock was well and truly content; sat in a room in a building he detested with a nearly-absent friend who was far from a shadow of his former self, he was content.
It has come to my attention that some of you don’t have my new skype. So, I’ll do this good and simple.
highcheekbonescollars is my skype. Just add me. Because I’m a silly fecker, I’d appreciate URL’s in the request thingy.
And just sayin’, I posted this publically for a reason. If you want to add me, no matter who you are, go for it.
He shook his head at the look of dissatisfaction and raised his eyebrows, leaning back a little so their eyes would meet. They’d established in university itself, in a short-lived, boredom-fueled experiment during winter break, that any coffee offered by public institutions with access to all people - police stations, libraries, hospitals - would always have terrible coffee as a ploy to ward off those people who came mostly to loaf.
Chuckling soundlessly other than a heavy nasal breath Victor straightened and relaxed back into the support Sherlock’s arm and chest offered, feeling his deep voice vibrate through his back and into his bones like he hadn’t felt in a long time. Sherlock wouldn’t see from this position when Victor’s expression flickered and he glanced down.
The mood had shifted, if nearly imperceptibly. Sherlock was waiting for an answer, some sort of peek ahead out of these hospital walls that were offering Victor some sort of waiting period, like purgatory between heaven and hell, before he had to step out into the fire. “I’ve missed her, and she’s…getting on.” He’d never mentioned her age to Sherlock before. “It’s better that she stays with me, now that I can offer a stable home as long as I can.”
His words were careful, making room for the possibility that the law would catch up to him and demand answers and that home wouldn’t remain for very long. And that was when the bittersweet realization settled that he had been dodging, that they were again failing to look directly at the matter, pretending it didn’t exist, and after last time Victor owed it to Sherlock and himself even if neither of them preferred it.
“This wasn’t fair to her or the friend I gave her to. The arrangement lasted too long, and I went on the way I did too long. And I don’t want to live like that anymore.” He was shaking his knee absently, restlessly, without noticing it, jostling the cup over and over while he stared down into the rippling surface. “I affected you like this, too…and…I’m sorry. To everyone.”
"Offer a stable home as long as I can".
He was going to return to Lexington street when he was discharged to carry on as normal. The business will continue, his life will tick over, and it will be the same. Until, that was, whatever put him in the hospital eventually caught up with him. Sherlock frowned at the very thought, the old and uncomfortably familiar feeling of someone wanting to commit harm being just there. The thought of a shadow, dogging Victor’s steps and waiting for the next opportunity to strike was a blow even to his normally to frozen core. He had been hounded by ghosts and monsters for too long, he did not want the same for Victor. Security was a must, but not only that, support. He never trusted anyone with his secrets, and that had been a flaw; another wedge to shove between them when they finally came to the fore. That could not happen again. Already their relationship was so fragile, as delicate as a butterfly’s wing. Another tremor and it could shatter, break until there was nothing left but an echo of what was.
He glanced at the steaming cup of coffee, taking a mouthful when Victor apologised. It made him perk his eyebrow, setting the nearly empty cup aside quietly. “Your actions had very little effect on me directly. I’m not someone you should apologise to.” He spoke honestly, not mincing his words; that had never been their way and he did not plan on changing that now. “But this is when amends are to be made. Solitude seems to have disagreed with us.” Sherlock spoke with a strangely misplaced smirk on his features. “When you’re free of this horrific place, I insist that you move into Baker Street.” He turned his head to meet the downcast eyes of his best friend. “Mrs Hudson would be happy with it, but there are also less stairs to climb than Lexington street. You may take my room.” He shrugged. “I’ll even allow you to bring Gloria.”
While I adore you for this Anon and whatnot, you should know I’m not on Sherlock as often as I was. Greg takes up my time now, and I’m only currently able to interact with Victor because that’s all Sherly is offering up.
I lav u too. c:
The manners with which Sherlock said goodbye to her, even if a farce, impressed Victor, but the detective quickly shattered that illusion soon after. The first few times he pressed one or two buttons experimentally Victor thought nothing of it, but soon he realized that Sherlock was not just touching one or two to get comfortable but them all, asking for his feedback as though it were a study.
It was so sudden and spontaneous the businessman hardly registered the arm that slipped down to cross over his back and the hand somewhere near his hip. He was too busy protesting and then conceding and saying yes just to please Sherlock when he was indeed comfortable, though once or twice exasperated “Sherlock!”s and “this is going to break”s and “you are an absolute child”s slipped past tinged with laughter.
In fact, by the time Sherlock decided he had his fun and they were more reclined than before, with the section in the middle lifted so their legs bent a little at the knee - the best position to avoid his feet going numb or any possible bedsores - Victor’s laughter was getting the better of him. It escaped in little breathy bursts, cracked and sometimes inaudible in his rough throat, but it felt intoxicating even if it itched. It was uncomfortable and pleasant all at once, the familiar stutter of his diaphragm, the stretch of his facial muscles. He shook his head and nudged his elbow lightly against Sherlock’s side, like they did once, and quieted to listen.
“Oh, I….” He began, his expression turning blanker, his eyes emptying. Gloria. Elizabeth. “She’s been staying with a friend of mine for almost months now. I was so busy I didn’t want her to suffer for it, so I thought it a better arrangement. I haven’t seen her in some time. But I’m sure she’s much happier there than she’d be here, they get along.” Victor’s tone was light, but he missed his closest friend. He wished he could see her now, but with risk of her hiring him, it would e some time before he saw her again. “Do you miss her?” He arched an eyebrow, meeting Sherlock’s eyes.
There it was again, that familiarity that settled around them as comfortably as a blanket. Even after everything they’d been through, Sherlock still couldn’t sever the bonds of their friendship. Every wall he’d tried to create to prevent Victor getting close and to stop him getting out, those walls needed to be pulled down. There was no need to protect a man that got shot in his own time. The pain of knowing Victor had been with John, had put himself in a relationship that was only alien to Sherlock, all of that was insignificant. They were who they were, and the amiable companionship that they’d always had was just there, just waiting for them both.
The breathless and scratchy laughter of his companion drew that rare little curl of lips that felt misplaced, stiff, unused. “Careful.” He chastised, but it wasn’t meant in seriousness. It was good to be able to laugh and smile and pretend that there was no world beyond the white clinical confines of their room.
"Hardly." He said gruffly, glancing to Andrea who’d returned with a steaming disposable cup. A bright grin and a sheepish thanks were her reward, something she brushed off with the reassurance she was happy to help given the rough time they’d been having. Sherlock thanked her again and she took her leave with the comment of being "only around the corner!"
Sherlock smirked and leant for the cup she’d left on the bedside table, blowing it for a moment before taking an experimental sip. His expression said it all.
"You’re lucky you can’t drink this. It’s nearly as bad as what they serve in the Yard." He complained as to be expected.
"I’d been hoping you’d finally gotten rid of her." Sherlock then continued as if there had never been an interruption. He continued to sip at the coffee he proclaimed unpleasant, grimacing faintly as he did. "I presume you’ll want her back when you get out of here." There it was, the first little scratch at the question that neither wanted to broach. It wasn’t just asking the obvious, but asking what next? Would it be normality, this ulterior life that lead to his near death, or perhaps even something else.