Thoughts In The Night
It’s a cold night in November. Sherlock is standing on a bridge, looking down at the shining, dark water that
flows without haste, to another, larger body of water.
Sherlock is standing on the bridge, looking at the water and remembers how it was to dance with John. As he is standing there, in the sobering cold of the night, this memory seems like a dream to him. It’s a memory of the kind which seems so unreal that you inevitably ask yourself, did that happen? He knows, yes, it happened. He has danced with John. Behind closed curtains. In the light of the fire in the fireplace. To slow, quiet music.
And he wasn’t prepared for it. Not prepared, for John’s gentle, careful touch. Not prepared to feel John’s warm hands, not prepared to be so close to John - almost intolerably close - and to feel his breath as he laughed a bit embarrassed.
The memory is clear. Warm and painful at the same time. Torture without violence.
Sherlock sighs. His breath escapes before him in a steam cloud.
He realizes how tired he is. Exhaustion is becoming more and more apparent. His body feels heavy and light at the same time. It is more difficult for him to keep his eyes open.
But he does not want to go back. Back to Baker Street.
Back to all the memories. It is an apartment full of voices and shadows. Behind every door waits another memory.
With a little cocaine it would be easier, whispered a voice in his head and Sherlock nodded to himself.
He begins to think about it.
At the same time he knows so much better. The drug is fleeting. The short, brief moment of oblivion and breath of happiness does not lessen the hours of depression and pain. It’s not worth it.
And yet … the thought is tempting. So tempting that Sherlock catches himself, how he already thinks about, where he could find his old dealer. Horrified and disgusted with himself, he strokes his stony face and shakes his head violently, as if he could get rid of the thoughts wtih this.
Of course it doesn’t work.
Sherlock swallows and after a moment of desperate thinking he takes his cell phone out of his coat pocket and takes a look at the contact list.
He sees John’s number standing at the top and swallows. It would be really nice to hear John’s voice again. But no. John is … busy. He mourns and has to take care of his daughter. John doesn’t have time to deal with Sherlock’s problems. John has also made it clear that he doesn’t want to see him. Anyone. Anyone but Sherlock, he said to Molly. No. John is not an option tonight.
His gaze glides farther, from Molly to Lestrade to Mike Stamford, whose number he has stored for some reason. Lestrade might … He had helped earlier.
But it’s night. The Inspector is surely sleeping already. Or does he have night shift at the yard? Sherlock nervously licks his dry lip. Then he presses on the receiver. If not now, his courage will disappear in a few seconds …
He pushes the phone to his ear. Hears it beeping. Once, twice …
Sherlock closes his eyes. He swallows. “Hello, uh, Lestrade. I wanted …”
“Sherlock, you know it’s late at night?” Asks Lestrade, sounding as if he were half asleep. So no night shift. Stupid. So stupid. Sherlock bites his lip.
“I’m sorry. I … I will not bother you any longer. Good night.”
“No. No wait. Why are you calling?”
Yes why? There is no case. What do you want to tell him now?
“I …” Sherlock presses a hand against his forehead. Hard. “I, uhm …”
“Sherlock? What’s the matter?” Now Lestrade sounds very much awake and worried. Worried. Why does I always have to cause problems for everyone?
Sherlock can’t say it and he feels cold sweat breaking out on his forehead, fear presses his throat, and all he can get out is a pressed, "I can’t …”
And then he begins to hyperventilate.
“God, Sherlock! Okay, breathe more slowly. Where are you? I’ll pick you up.”
Sherlock chokes out the address with difficulty. Lestrade tells him something like “Stay where you are,” and he sinks to the ground, his back against the railing of the bridge. He puts the phone away and hides his face in both hands.
Sherlock has no idea how much time has passed when Greg suddenly kneels before him and shakes him lightly on the shoulders.
“God, Sherlock. It’s ice cold. What are you doing here in the middle of the night?”
Yes what? Sherlock doesn’t know what to say. He shrugs.
Greg sighs and rubs his neck. “Come on, get up. I’ll drive you home … ”
At the word home, Sherlock hastily shakes his head. “No,” he mutters. “Not Baker Street …”
Greg frowns but doesn’t inquire further. “Not Baker Street. OK. Then … my place, is that all right?”
Sherlock nods. He stands up, noting how weak his legs are. He follows Greg to the car and leaves the bridge and the water behind him.
The ride is quiet. And short.
Lestrade doesn’t try to question him. He only switches the conditioning system on, to maximum level, when he notices Sherlock’s trembling. And the radio. There’s a quiet song from a band Sherlock doesn’t know. It’s quite soothing. Warmth spreads slowly in the car and makes him even more tired, as he already is. His eyes almost close. He is frightened when Greg suddenly murmurs, “There we are.”
The two men get out and enter Lestrade’s small, tidy apartment.
Sherlock stands a little lost in the middle of the living room, while Lestrade rummages in a drawer.
“I’ll give you something to cover the sofa. Are you hungry?”
Sherlock shakes his head. “No,” he says hoarsely.
“OK. But You know where the kitchen is anyway.” Greg chuckles and pulls some sheets and a blanket out of the drawer and throws the things to Sherlock. He automatically catches them. “Thank you.”
“Yes.” Lestrade rubs his neck again. “Do you want to tell me … what happened?” He looks at Sherlock waitingly.
Sherlock looks down at his feet. “I … it was only, uhm, memories.” It is incomprehensible drivel. He knows it.
And yet, as Greg answers, he can hear understanding in the inspector’s voice.
“Mmh. You know you can call at any time, okay? Me. And also Molly. Or your brother. If you need help. If it gets too much.”
Sherlock just nods. He still stares at his feet.
“OK. So, good night Sherlock. I really need to get up early tomorrow,” Greg says and yawns.
“Good night,” Sherlock replies, listening to Greg leaving the room.
Sherlock covers the sofa and goes to the kitchen to drink a glass of water.
A few minutes later he lies on his back and stares into the darkness.
He is glad he didn’t take drugs. But somehow he feels that it will not be long before he has to fight this battle again.
Greg is already gone when Sherlock wakes up the next morning.
When he looks at the clock, he sees with horror that he has slept for almost 10 hours. It is noon and outside life is moving forward.
A plate of scrambled eggs and toast is in the kitchen. And a pack of orange juice.
Sherlock must smile involuntarily.
Orange juice. So he remembered that.
A little later he goes back to Baker Street.
And together with Mrs. Hudson he finds Mary’s message.
A few days later he goes to hell.
And suddenly there is no longer any reason to suppress the need for drugs.
He feels worse and more worthless than ever.
But I do it for John, he tells himself. It’s different because it’s for John.
I’m not entirely happy with this ficlet, but I post it anyway. Maybe you can tell me what do you think about it?
Like always: Tags under the cut. Did I forget you, or do you want to be tagged in future works? Tell me :)
Thanks @thedoctor-johnlock for looking over it!