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.
John’s eyes slowly opened and he was blinded by the fluorescent lighting of the morgue. It was cold. Painfully cold. All of his limbs felt heavy and stiff, and Sherlock’s voice sounded far off. As he slowly came to, the weight on his chest that made breathing difficult was easing up little by little. He was just grateful he was still clothed. It was better than nothing against the chill of the cold metal table. He slowly tried to sit up and his head spun, swimming like it was full of liquid and sand.
“I’m going to be sick,” John groaned, covering his mouth and reaching out suddenly, his fingers snatching at the fabric of Sherlock’s coat to keep from falling sideways off the table as his mouth watered. He felt like death, and he supposed that was appropriate. He closed his eyes tight, trying to keep the nausea at bay for as long as he could manage. When he was sure he wouldn’t fall his hand swiftly released Sherlock and clasped the edge of the metal table while he hunched over, coping as best he could with the terrible side effects of that serum. He was surprised when he was offered a small waste bin by a mousy looking woman who was clutching a clipboard to her chest. John took it gratefully and rather gracelessly, heaved the meager contents of his stomach into the bin.
When he lifted his head he looked a little less pale, his cheeks starting to gain some colour back, but only slightly.
“Sorry,” he croaked, not really looking at the girl or Sherlock.
Sherlock didn’t move or make an offer to help when John blanched, swallowing convulsively against a dry throat which usually preceded emptying a stomach. No, Molly was already prepared for that. While John retched and heaved, Sherlock stood from his chair and left the lab for a moment. He was gone less than a minute, but when he returned he held three cups of water precariously between long and spindly fingers. One went to John with a small murmur of “drink slowly” while he passed a second to Molly. There was nothing behind the gesture, but she blushed all the same and thanked him awkwardly. The third cup he only set aside, ready to give it to John when he inevitably drained his own; never trusted those damnable filtering machines in hospitals.
For a moment, they sat quietly, Sherlock more than happy to let the once doctor broach the topic and grow accustomed to being alive again and fully functioning. However, he eventually grew stagnant, simply sat there. Molly was more than content to fuss around with the paperwork, making sure that it wasn’t just a body getting up and leaving the morgue but at the same time, trying not to implicate herself too much. Sherlock got away with a lot, but that was only because he had good friends, even if he were not prone to admitting it.
“You’ll be tired for a day or so, but that will wear off. Food will taste of dirt and you may struggle to keep it down, however we will keep fluids in you.” He lifted a hand and rubbed at his right eye where a small twitch was beginning to develop. Sherlock could feel the heavy weight of tiredness and a drowsy wish to simply sleep begin to settle on his shoulders, but he refused to entertain such a thought. Not until things were settled with Mister Watson.
The raven haired man turned to Molly, smiling a thing and rare little smile to the woman. “Is everything accounted for?”
“Yes, he’s wiped form the records. Can I as-“
“If you do ask, you’re accessory to an illegal act. I wouldn’t.” Sherlock smiled sweetly, reddening her cheeks once more but he barely noticed. His attention was back on John.
“We’re leaving.” He said it brashly, expecting the other to cooperate. Well, he had no other choice really, did he?
“Can you stand unaided, or would you like support?” He offered sincerely, for once not trying to get a cheap dig in at the man for hire.
Leave and go die. John carefully turned, not wanting to jostle the table.
“Alright. I’ll send you a text when I’ve got everything in place,” he said quietly, and without further word he slipped out of the flat. He couldn’t hesitate. If he thought about it any longer he might hesitate and not go through with it. So with all his most important possessions moved to a hotel room he’d rented, and the serum now in hand, John went to his flat to finish this job.
It was nerve wracking, writing up a note. He was surprised with his own honesty about how tired he was. He was tired. There was even a moment of consideration toward… No no. He couldn’t. Too much a coward. He chewed his lip and gathered the bottle of pills, flushing a good amount of them so it would appear he ingested them.
And then it was time for the serum.
The thought that this could actually kill him if he got it even a little wrong was somewhat thrilling. He was disturbed by his own excitement at the prospect but put it all aside. He sent out a brief text message to Sherlock and then crushed his phone to pieces, making sure to destroy it completely before dumping it in the trash. After that he took a moment to sit down in his chair and stare at this poison.
The movements it took to prep the syringe, prep his vein, and then carefully inject himself seemed almost dream like. Then it had to get rid of the syringe too, tossing that into the trash as well. An empty syringe in the trash would be of no curiosity to the police. Not really. Not when he was a physician, and had just over dosed to commit suicide.
He felt it almost immediately after he ditched the needle. His motor skills left him and he stumbled, clumsily into the living room, collapsing and heaving an awful wheezing sigh. He felt like his chest was being compressed. Fear clawed at his chest as he wondered if Sherlock had messed up. He felt like he was suffocating. He could feel his pulse slowing. He was getting cold. It was awful.
He felt like he was dying.
And then he felt nothing.
Sherlock watched as John left, knowing that it would be the last time he would ever lay eyes on the man they called John Watson. The next time they met, he’d be unwrapped the other from a body bag and leading him away, acting as if nothing more was happening than two friends simply going for a walk. Part of the detective wondered who John would become, the new names and the new identities. There was no doubt that Watson could lay his hand on someone that could create a false ID. The only downside was now there could be no direct dealing. There wasn’t a person alive that could be complete bought out. Secrets were only safe with the dead and before they were told. Share a secret and suddenly it is the business of the world, a whisper on a wind that would carry across to whoever it could involve and whoever could ask for it.
He cleared the kitchen, wiping out everything that had been used and replacing them in the stands and the larger containers where they littered the counters and worktops. The process was done methodically and carefully, chewing through an hour and a while of the day.
When his phone chimed it’s quiet two tones, he wiped his hands off and read the simple message. He nodded once to himself, as if he were accepting the information before he tapped in Molly’s number. A quick conversation ensued, informing her of the body coming in that he wanted access to. There was the promises of favours and owing her, but that was alright and they both knew she would hardly pull him up on those promises.
The second call needed to be made, however that couldn’t be done from Baker street or anywhere close. He needed to make sure that there was no trace back to him, as much as he’d like to call Lestrade. A homicide detective checking suicide? Too suspicious.
Donning his coat, Sherlock took his leave of his own home and made his way across the busy city. He knew where Watson was staying, and it did not take long to find a public phone on the street. He darted inside, quickly stabbing in the emergency number.
He was the perfect actor, telling the police all about his suicidal friend, a man worrying him beyond belief, a man who’d not been seen for a while, man that wasn’t answering his door. They confirmed the address and he was gone before the wail of a siren pierced the buzz of the city life and located the strange man who lurked so ominously.
He’d skulked away and not long later the hotel was raided. The rooms were searched and the body found. He was pronounced dead at the scene, bagged away in the black coroner’s bag and was carted off.
It was three hours later when Sherlock found John stretched out on the metal trolly, three hours later he was explaining to Molly just enough to have her aware of the situation.
Time passed in the mortuary, Sherlock using the laboratory for his own little pottering until the next three hours past. On the sixth, he was waiting at the ‘bedside’ of the Wolf.
Periodically he checked the other man’s pulse, checked for breathing. Eventually, those eye lids fluttered and Sherlock smirked.
“Welcome to the grave.”
The army had changed him more than he probably knew.
It was all a bit much. John’s mouth started to feel like sandpaper and his voice almost didn’t issue forth from his throat when he tried to speak.
“Right… Yes tablets. I have just what I need already at my flat. I think to be safe it would do best if you made the call. Now… Questions… Uhm. They’re going to take me to… to the morgue. What then?” John asked softly, licking and chewing on his lower lip out of nervousness. Sherlock was looking at him in a way that caused him a great deal of discomfort and he couldn’t place exactly why that was.
“I can’t just get up and walk out of there.”
It was strange really to see that this was affecting John more than he would probably like to admit. There was fear, anticipation, but above all there was a desire that spoke of wanting to back out, a small shadow of cowardice that whispered at him to give up this stupid little ploy. However, the resolve was strong enough to forbid him from doing as much. A soldier’s courage; misplaced, misunderstood, but it was there.
At John’s rasped question, Sherlock didn’t hide the smile that curled his lips up. There was some humour, but it was wrong, not quite in his eyes, not quite honest.
“That is exactly what you do. I have a contact within the morgue. I will arrange for her to be the only one there when you are brought in. I’ll be there, make sure that everything is alright, and then you will simply disappear.” He shrugged as if it were no big deal. Well, to him it wasn’t. There was a process and he knew how to exploit it, however that was not for John to know. Too many details could put the once-Captain off his little escapade and really, Sherlock didn’t wish to see him rot in a cell.
“If you’re satisfied, you should leave and go die, John Watson. When you return we can discuss your next steps.” It was an end to their conversation, the finality of the other man’s tone offering nothing in the way of an argument. Any longer to think, and the other could finally give in and back out. That wouldn’t do at all.
John looked at the vial with no small amount of trepidation. This was happening. This was really happening. He was listening to Sherlock’s instructions but he wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to go through with it for a moment. There was hesitation, fear, doubt, this might actually kill him if he did it wrong, no doubt. Sherlock didn’t say as much, but he could imagine whatever might make you appear dead probably would make you dead if you didn’t treat it with respect.
“I uh…” he swallowed and his mouth went strangely dry. He took a breath, brows furrowing together as he stared straight at the solution. He didn’t look at Sherlock, not yet. He needed a moment. When he was able to jerk himself from his reverie he met Sherlock’s cool eyes and nodded.
“Right. Ah… They wouldn’t call the authorities if they found me, so if you could make the call, please do,” he said softly, rubbing his throat and then around his wrists nervously. This was a bit overwhelming now that he was faced with it. It was a reality now.
The detective watched John with unwavering curiosity. People gave their true selves when the emotion was powerful enough. In this regard, John was faced with the prospect of destroying everything that was retired Captain John Watson. The Wolf would be put down, hidden away from the civil society of the world. what remained would be the human self, the man that was there before the beast sunk it’s claws in and warped him. It was interesting to see that the naive man who had joined the army with so many good intentions was actually afraid.
The army had changed him more than he probably knew.
At the man’s words, Sherlock nodded his head and accepted his choice. “I would recommend that you injected the serum when you return to your home. I already have the address, that won’t be an issue.” Sherlock began the slow and well measured process of disassembling his miniature lab. “You need however, to write a note and leave it lest an investigation is launched. Tablets too will need to be found near and around you. As a doctor, it will be acceptable for you to have access to something a little more than paracetamol.” Sherlock continued, completely unperturbed at the topic of conversation. “I’m sure you know how you should be, really. If you’d like I can accompany you and make sure the scene looks convincing enough. I’ll make the call then and be a concerned friend,” it was hard for him to not openly laugh, instead contenting himself with a simple lip twitch and partially concealed smirk.
“Do you have any questions?”
“I have many things I regret in my life and had you asked me this a month ago, my answer would have been so different. I would have wished to have never met the Wolf, but now, instead, I wish that Victor Trevor had never met me. I cause too much pain. I would rather he’d scorned me like the rest of my university fellows and gone on to do whatever. Perhaps he could have been happy that way.”
John left when Sherlock dismissed him back to his mundane half-existence. He hung around his hotel suit, distanced himself from Sasha and the others. And then the text message came and John felt an odd mixed rush of nerves and excitement. There was still a slim chance that all of this could go wrong but it hardly mattered now. His life was over regardless. Might as well try. So he headed over.
[sms] I’m on my way over.
It didn’t take too long to get to 221B. It was quickly becoming a familiar journey. When he arrived, of course, routinely, Mrs. Hudson was the one to answer the door and let him up. John briefly wondered how much she knew about what was going on here but he didn’t question it, just gave her a warm greeting and headed up to meet with Sherlock.
“Holmes?” he inquired of the empty room, turning toward the makeshift lab in the kitchen. He gazed at all the equipment with a wariness that was more than reasonable. The serum meant to kill him without killing him had been prepared right here. Could he really trust Holmes? The idea of the detective double crossing him had never really crossed his mind until now.
As soon as the text had been sent, Sherlock tossed his phone onto his chair and retired to his room. He tripped out of the baggy and marked shirt, tossing it onto the floor for washing while he trousers were placed on the bed rather than abandoned. He needed to shower, taking his time with matters so that when John actually arrived, he was only redressed with still dripping curls.
The call from the living room made him glance toward the clock on his bedside table, smirking just fractionally at the haste in which John had travelled. How interesting.
Finishing the buttons on his shirt, the detective stepped out into the kitchen through the side door, pulling the door to behind him.
“It’s this one, if you were curious.” He pointed to an inconspicuous little bottle of blue tinged liquid, sat in the middle of the mess that he’d simply abandoned.
“When it is injected into your arm and you will feel like you’re falling asleep. When you wake up, you will be officially a dead man.” Sherlock could make it all sound so plain and simple, like they weren’t discussing someone ending their life, like they weren’t discussing just how easy it was for him to provide the means for someone to disappear, like they were discussing a crime. But to him, he didn’t care. This was just another job, and this one happened to pay. The rent was covered for another month and he could live with letting John go free. There had been something like remorse in the older man, something that had made Sherlock wonder if the man the Russians called the Wolf wanted to put away the monster and just live as a man.
“I presume that you are going to do this at home. Given you’re a doctor, I don’t need to lecture you on how to do that, therefore I shall just tell you that you will want to be sat down when you do it. Arrange everything around you first and make sure the scene is set.” Sherlock informed the other, handing over the small vile, a vile that didn’t look like it could do what Sherlock promised.
“You must use 10mg and 10mg only. Any more or less, this won’t work.”He neglected to mention any more would put him into cardiac arrest.
“Do you know what you are doing? This will only last for six hours. You need to be found and brought to a hospital in that time. I can either give an anonymous emergency call, or you can have someone find you.”
I’ve blamed him for so very long. For a year, I’ve harboured resentment and hatred and a sour feeling of fear.
It was so wrong, so misplaced.
John Watson is the Wolf. The Wolf was a monster, but the monster doesn’t attack whimsically. He selects a victim, learns about them, and then plays a game. A game of chance. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
I blamed him for my faults and my mistakes.
I saw him, in the street. He wasn’t the same man I met.
I did that.
I called the Wolf a monster.
I made the monster in my mind.
The monster lurks in my thoughts and dreams, and the monster is not real.
I did that.
I’m like a toy, one that has been broken and mended too many times. It’s never quite right when you try to glue a piece back on. You don’t always get it level. Sometimes it goes on the wrong way. Sometimes it won’t go back at all.
I’m damaged, damaged beyond repair and it’s all my fault.
John was startled by the directness at which Sherlock spoke but of course he knew that this was how Sherlock always seemed to be. Short and to the point. So he did as instructed, taking in very little of his surroundings as he walked back to the bathroom and shut the door. He noted the scale and gave a soft sigh, his fingers reaching up on their own to the buttons of his shirt. One by one he popped them open with increasing nervousness that he might be walked in on. It was a normal sort of paranoia when stripping down in a strange place. John avoided his own reflection, knowing he wouldn’t like what he saw if he did look.
He weighed himself and scrawled the number down on the sheet of paper and was quick to pull back on all of his clothes as quickly as possible. He tied his shoes haphazardly and missed the top two buttons of his shirt in his haste but it hardly mattered. He’d be getting out of here soon enough. He pulled the bathroom door open, paper in hand and moved quickly back to the kitchen where Sherlock was.
“Here you go,” John said quietly, handing up the measurement to the detective with a hard swallow. He was underweight. Not surprising. But it wasn’t as if that would worry anyone. John himself wasn’t even all that bothered by it.
“Anything else before I pop off out of here. I… I don’t want to erm… get in the way or anything,” John muttered, glancing over all the things spread across the surface.
There was very little active interest spared on the little man when he left the room. His eyes were focused inherently on the sprawling apparatus before him, hands moving precisely and with a delicate carefulness that came only with practise and consideration.
He was lost in the mixing, pausing only to light the gas stove. When one was unable to attach a bunsen burner to a gas supply, one improvised. A test tube was clamped carefully in metal tongs and held to the side of the burn plate, directly in the blued flames.
His attention shifted only when there was movement on his peripheral and John returned. Immediately he noted the haste, and it made him give a strange little chuckle, eyes darting back to the heating mixture.
“Were you expecting me to follow you in and watch you get weighed? Or perhaps you thought I’d invite people in for a viewing?” Sherlock said as tactfully as always, lifting the test tube clear of the flame to inspect it for a moment; the liquid which had started as a clear and colourless solution was browning. Apparently however, it was the wrong colour as he placed it back in the flame and regarded the paper John produced.
“No, you’re not needed now. This will take around two days to prepare. I will text you when I next have need of you.” Sherlock said, eyes shifting away from John along with his interest. As far as the detective come chemist was concerned, John was no longer important enough to warrant attention and was subsequently dismissed.
No, Sherlock was busy heating and boiling, distilling and mixing and playing with his make shift lab.
The process was done meticulously, the figures balanced and worked on scraps of paper that littered whatever worktop space was available in the kitchen.
His complete attention was on the task at hand, and he only left it for the two hours that he physically could do no more because it was left to settle and react so he could siphon off the part he needed.
That two hours was left pacing, working out formulae, jotting down figures and making notes. Carefully and step by step he documented the process, ready so that when he was done it could be filed away (unnamed, of course) for use another time.
It was three days later before John received a text from his ‘killer’. A simple text.
“It’s ready. - SH”
YOU ARE THE ONE WHO STARTED THIS.
I AM NOT INSTIGATING SHIT.
DON’T EVEN POINT THE FINGER AT ME.
DONT YOU FRIGGEN DARE.
THIS ONE IS ON /YOU/.
… Need I point you to my prior post about no-sex-sherlock?
Need I remind you this is not his thing?
UNLIKE JOHN THE WHORE
Get naked he says.
It’s for science he says.
That sounds like a shifty defence in court.