One day the door to Sherlock and John's hospital room opened and Mycroft, dressed in a dark flawless three-piece suit, his ever present umbrella hanging from his bent left arm, entered. The two patients were sitting at the table, John reading a novel and Sherlock typing away on his laptop that, among other personal items, had mysteriously appeared in their room one day. They hadn't had any visitors, but apparently Mycroft took care to ensure that they were provided with anything they needed and wanted – apart from information and the freedom to leave the room.
"Good afternoon. John. Sherlock," Mycroft greeted them with a nod.
The doctor and his flatmate both looked up to Mycroft in expectation, however, without saying anything.
Mycroft raised his eyebrows, obviously the slightest bit surprised by the lack of reaction. Apparently, he had been prepared for yet another fight.
"You can be released tomorrow and go back to that flat of yours," he stated.
John nodded, "Good." Inwardly, he was extremely relieved. Probably when they were back at home, things would become more normal again and Sherlock would perhaps even regain interest in solving this particular case. At least he hoped so.
Sherlock gave his brother a long glance, but didn't say anything. Then suddenly he shut the lid of his laptop with a determined push and asked, "How?"
John shot up from his armchair, suddenly alarmed. "How? What do you mean 'how'? How can you be released from a clinic? Walk, be pushed in a wheelchair, how else?"
"John, the question is not how we will be released, but how will my brother ensure that we won't be able find the way back to this place – or worse, to be able to tell somebody about the way that leads here," Sherlock informed his flatmate. "Am I not right?" he addressed Mycroft, screwing up his face in what was supposed to be a smirk. So, Sherlock knew a lot more than he had revealed.
"Indeed, Sherlock," the older Holmes replied with a nod and a creepy smile on his face.
John was simply unable to speak. Apparently, those two men were hiding far more from him than he had realised. John suddenly realized that Sherlock had very likely experienced a stay in a clinic like the one they were in earlier in his life. He didn't know all the details about his flatmate's history of drug abuse, but it was likely that the withdrawal that Sherlock had once mentioned would have taken place in an institution like this. Had he probably misinterpreted the signs of an imminent depression on Sherlock? Was the reason why he was so indifferent and calm maybe that even the younger Holmes had once been forced to understand that there was no escape and no use of being all stubborn in his brother's custody? If that was the case, it would only emphasize the scary power Mycroft had and apparently used on even his brother.
For John's taste, this was simply too much.
"No. NO! I don't want to know anything – OK? Nothing about your funny secrets! Just get me out of here and take me HOME!" he yelled, shaking his head repeatedly.
Although John was aware that there was actually no use in leaving the room as there was no place to go except the small hallway, he felt a pressing urge to slam a door. Since he didn't want to hide in the bathroom, he walked out of the room into the hall and pulled heavily at the door handle, finally producing the expected slam. The doctor was fuming and paced the corridor up and down.
After some time, the door opened again and Mycroft joined John in the hall. The former looked at the furious man intently, leaning at the sill of the large window, his arms folded. All of a sudden, John stopped pacing, turned around on his heels, now facing Mycroft.
"What?" he asked briskly, glaring daggers at the aristocratic appearance opposite him.
"John, you have to understand that we have to take precautions."
"I do understand about the precautions, I just don't get why you keep hiding things from me! Just talk to me and everything will be fine!"
"That is exactly the problem, John. If you know things you can tell them to others. You might become a target, too."
"Mycroft, I am a military man, I have been trained to keep secrets, even under the cruellest torture. Do you really think that Sherlock's medical record is worth torturing me for?"
"It is; I'm afraid."
"Why's that? Is he a kind of Frankenstein's monster, or what?" John spat.
He started pacing again, pretending to be thinking, suddenly tipping his index finger to his temple. "Aaah, I see! It has to do with the drug you had administered to him…," John stated, screwing up his eyes.
"John, listen…," Mycroft interrupted, "I will tell you this much, however, I can assure you that if you speak about it once, I myself will take pleasure in torturing you," the personified British Government uttered with such a warning undertone that John believed every single word. There were definitely less dangerous enemies for one to have.
"Right." John was more than willing to take that risk as he couldn't stand being left in the dark anymore.
"You know, John, that time is an important factor in Tabun poisoning- not just, because of the inhibition of the synaptic enzyme, which we could neutralize by the atropine, as you know, but also because of the long-term effects that are more likely to occur the longer the period between exposure and treatment. Sherlock had shown clear signs of imminent brain damage. The poisoning had been extremely severe."
"Brain damage?" John simply couldn't restrain himself from interrupting. "Mycroft, I'm sorry, but as far as I know, there is nothing that can actually prevent brain damage if the dose is high enough. You cannot stop the process once it has started, but Sherlock doesn't show any signs of it!"
"He did, I'm afraid."
"He DID? You mean in the sense of "his brain is damaged, but you can't see it" or "his brain was about to be damaged and we did something to stop it", which leads us back to that damn drug of yours?!"
"You can be as stubborn as my little brother," Mycroft replied almost softly.
John invaded Mycroft's personal space, pointing a finger his chest.
"Are you telling me that the British Government has a drug that prevents brain damage after nerve agent poisoning although the exposure to it was long enough and severe enough?!"
"I'm not telling you anything. You choose to interpret it that way."
John snorted. "What other way is there for me to interpret it? You administer Sherlock a drug that you wouldn't speak about. You say he was about to have the brilliant brain of his damaged, but he is over it. Very likely the drug wasn't given to him once, because it had to have been administered immediately, before damage to the brain would be irreversible, but just once that I saw it. That also being the reason why that doctor and nurse vanished. Something went wrong, Sherlock went into that headache-related fit and I saw you give him that stuff. You swear me, well- threaten me, to secrecy about what you're telling me. Your knowledge about nerve agents, I reckon, is as good as mine, if not better, so what other conclusions am I to draw from all that?" John had talked himself into a rage, clenching his fists, his eyes wide open and the veins standing out on his temples.
"You're overreacting, John. I only wanted to tell you that Sherlock will be fine and that you needn't worry about the depression, he won't have any. He will soon be himself again."
"Oh! No depression either? Although he hasn't had any treatment to prevent it? I'm not even sure if he isn't already showing signs of it right now! The same drug? Magic potion, is it, then?! -Mycroft, I have seen plenty of soldiers who had been poisoned with nerve agents, some of them getting out of it without any long-term harm apart from that bloody depression, which actually drove some into suicide; others left as babbling, slavering cripples, leaving their families being forced to take care of them for the rest of their lives. And you are – implying that you have a secret remedy that could have prevented all that?! Every soldier carries an auto-injector with antidote against nerve agents with him, why don't you simply add that miraculous substance, so everyone would be fine? Or do you have to belong to a certain circle of people to be in the position of receiving it? Mycroft, you really don't expect me to understand that, do you? Now, finally, talk straight!"
"I would have to kill you then, which might be a degree of loss to my brother that I don't want to subject him to at the moment," the target of John's verbal eruption replied coldly.
John stepped back, feeling a shudder run down his spine. That had definitely been another threat.
"Then why don't you just pull your neuralyzer from your pocket and use it on me, eh? I'm sure you have one!" The whole situation had become so weird that John really wished Mycroft had a device like the MIB, which could make him forget about everything from when he went to get some milk and replace those memories by others, preferably just nice ones.
Mycroft frowned in confusion. He seemed to doubt John's sanity, which the doctor could hardly reproach him for, taking into account that it was highly unlikely that Mycroft had ever seen the film or even heard of the MIB.
"Listen, John. Let me put it this way: If for one second you could forget about being the saviour of all soldiers… If there was a remedy such as you imply, however it had not yet been tested sufficiently to make it accessible for everyone - would you expect a brother not to try everything, instead let his sibling die or suffer for the rest of his life?"
John had talked himself into such a deep fury that he was momentarily struck dumb by what Mycroft had just said. Yes, they were brothers. Once again John caught himself ignoring this tiny fact. If John were in Mycroft's position, wouldn't he have clutched at any straw himself? Well, in fact he didn't have to put himself into the other man's position. He had done it himself, the means different, but the aim being the same. Neither of them wanted to lose Sherlock.
John had to admit to himself that actually it really didn't matter how or why Sherlock had survived, the only thing of importance was that he had – and that he would recover!
"Keep an eye on my brother, John! Good-bye." Miraculously, the door of the hallway opened and Mycroft simply left without speaking further.
That hadn't gone too well, John thought. Why couldn't he just listen?! Mycroft had intended to tell him something and he had spoiled it. Although, had he really? Sherlock's brother hadn't confirmed John's assumptions, but he hadn't denied them as well. In fact, Mycroft hadn't said very much, and yet enough to leave John with a feeling that he had hit the nail on the head. Maybe that had been his way of revealing secrets that he wasn't able to speak about. Although John was again confused, he was also relieved a bit as to what Sherlock's brother had said about his recovery – he would be ok, and John wanted to believe that. Anyway, Mycroft was still a bloody annoying git!
After shaking his head a couple of times as if to shake off the anger and the confusion, straightening his shoulders and taking a deep breath, John returned to their room.
"Sooner or later you get used to it," Sherlock said, again typing on his laptop, as indifferent as he had been the past days.
"Says who?" John snapped back. It was obvious that Sherlock hadn't got used to his brother's habits although he had known him his entire life. John scrutinized his flatmate for any further reaction. Had he overheard the rant between himself and the British Government? Did he know after all about the secret remedy?
"Um, Sherlock…, "John wanted to ask him about what he knew, but was interrupted by a shake of the dark-haired head. "You wanted to know how."
Understanding that there was no use in putting any effort into questioning Sherlock, John finally probed, "So, how?"
"Most likely we'll be drugged, nothing too unpleasant."
"Humph," was all John was capable of uttering at the moment. He went to the bathroom, took a long shower in an attempt of washing away the mess in his head and went to bed without having dinner or speaking any further to Sherlock. This was all a kind of war that John wasn't trained at, he was truly and honestly helpless.