John tried to reassure Sherlock by being completely professional when he had to examine his patient, but he could understand his flatmate's uneasiness. As an army-doctor he had had many patients with urinary catheters, almost everyone that needed surgery, but it was different if it was your flatmate. John was in fact quite amused about seeing Sherlock blush scarlet when he had first discovered the drainage bag at the side of his bed. John briefly wondered if there was any blood left in the rest of his patient's body or if it had all gathered in his face. That had in fact been the best proof that Sherlock wasn't as cool as he always claimed to be, as embarrassment was an emotion.
Sherlock had hummed and hawed around the question as to who had inserted the catheter and he was quite relieved that it hadn't been John himself. In fact, John hadn't even noticed when it had been done although he knew the procedures accompanying a surgery and blood loss treatment perfectly well. He had to have been completely wrapped up in his worries to have not noticed.
John avoided talking about the Tabun-topic in general and the missing documents in particular, as he was aware of the fact that Sherlock wouldn't want to rest anymore since he would most likely come to the same conclusion as John about Mycroft's involvement in the vanishing of the papers he had brought from Germany.
He had again tried to call Christoph in Germany and was surprised when his call went through but was deliberately disconnected. Every time he tried to talk to his friend, he wasn't successful. So, John finally called the archive and tried to get through to Christoph there. Once the person that he talked to and asked to get his friend on the phone, forgot to press the mute button, so John overheard Christoph denying his presence. He apparently didn't want to talk to his English friend anymore and John could very well imagine the reason for it – he had to have had an intimidating visitor from London recently. John was sad that he had obviously lost a friend, but at the same time he was relieved that at least Christoph seemed to be physically unharmed.
Sherlock slept a lot and during the times he was awake didn't really want any company. In fact, he was unfriendly, griping and insufferable; however, John blamed his behaviour on his embarrassment and helplessness.
A couple of days went by without any signs of renal failure, so John thought it safe to remove the catheter and, therefore, give Sherlock some more privacy. So the doctor took a pair of rubber gloves, a bin bag and a towel with him and entered his flatmate's room.
"Right, mate, let's get this out." He pointed to the catheter that peeped out from under the blanket.
Sherlock's eyes shot open. He pulled the duvet up to his chin and hissed between gritted teeth, "Don't you dare touch me!"
"Sherlock! Let's get this over with. You know, I have done this hundreds of times and there is absolutely no reason for being embarrassed."
"I'm not – embarrassed," he spat, his complexion proving him completely wrong.
"Yes, you are. But if you don't want me to remove that thing I can as well call your brother to send a nurse to do it. I could also call Sarah or Molly, if you prefer either of them."
Sherlock slowly pushed away the duvet gnashing his teeth and flushing even more.
"That was actually easier than I had thought," John mumbled amazedly, more to himself than to his patient.
"Shut up," was Sherlock's harsh comment. He was literally squirming with uneasiness, so John worked quickly and left the room instantly after having finished. Sherlock needed some time to regain his balance and get over his disconcert. At least he could be very glad that his kidneys hadn't failed him.
When John checked on his flatmate later, he had fallen asleep. The doctor had to admit that the blushing had been a big improvement to Sherlock's complexion. His skin was again competing with the white of his sheets, but finally, the Consulting Detective was over the worst and just needed some more time to recover.
John had informed Mrs Hudson about her boy's condition regularly, as he had promised, but he hadn't heard a word from Mycroft since the day of the nosebleed. The black limousine was still parking in front of a house further up Baker Street, so John knew that there still was one of the emergency team waiting. He was glad, though, that he hadn't needed their help. Occasionally, John forced Sherlock into wearing the breathing mask when, after some exertion, the oxygen saturation went down too much, but mainly his flatmate was alright by now.
The addressed person had just put a plate with steaming ham and scrambled eggs and a mug of tea on Sherlock's bedside table and was about to leave the room.
He turned around, looking at Sherlock, who had actually spoken to him for the first time after he had removed the catheter.
Sherlock's facial expression was rather worrying; it resembled nothing more than a grimace, and John wondered briefly if he was in pain. Then he realised that it was actually Sherlock's attempt at a smile of gratitude. The smile was artificial enough to be painful – he suspected that Sherlock might have no real idea of what such a smile should look like.
John raised his eyebrows. "Oh, Sherlock, is this going to be a habit of yours? Saying thank you, I mean? Be careful, I can actually get used to it and expect you to do it regularly for even more minor things than saving your life. But, yeah, you're welcome. – Oh, by the way, what for exactly?"
"You know what for!"
"As I assume you don't mean the food right now – it's all fine, Sherlock, it's my profession, you know? I told you I'm good." John grinned. He had to admit to himself that he very much enjoyed having the upper hand and being able to prove to Sherlock that not only he was a keen companion in examining dead bodies, but that he was actually doing quite well with living bodies, too.
"Eat and drink something. Your body has to produce heaps of new blood cells, and it needs material for it, so this will help."
Now it was Sherlock grinning. "Oh, you think my blood cells are made of scrambled eggs?"
"Rather than of nothing. So eat," the doctor ordered, "or I'll feed you."
"Thanks, but no thanks. I have had enough of feeling humiliated and helpless for a lifetime!"
"Right. Then eat. I'll get myself a cuppa."
John left the room, only to return with a cup of finest Lady Grey, making himself comfortable in Sherlock's chair and watching his flatmate eat the eggs with much more appetite than John had ever seen in him.
He was wondering if he could talk to him about his findings, when suddenly Sherlock put away the fork, leaned back into his cushions and started talking, the tray with the half-empty plate still on his lap.
"When you were in Germany, I found something. I told you that I remembered the face of the courier but couldn't recall anything about him. It wasn't his face! It was a face very much like it. Brother, I thought, but there was something about it I remembered that didn't fit- the haircut. Old-fashioned. So it must be an older relative. And yet, I never forget anything about people I have once met. I know that I have met a person with the same face as the errand boy, but I don't know anything about him. As I have said before, my memories have been manipulated."
"Hmmm, so where does that lead us? It still doesn't really make sense to me, but maybe there's something that I don't see."
"Which wouldn't be a surprise," Sherlock mumbled, "but no, it doesn't really make sense to me as well. Apart from the fact that I know it has to do with my past."
"Sherlock, listen. I think we're on the right track. I brought some documents from Germany. They were from secret folders. When I came from the airport and you called me because of your nosebleed, I left them downstairs together with my other stuff. They disappeared!"
"How can they disappear? They were secret, you say, not magic, weren't they?"
"Of course not, but there was no one here except for Mycroft and his team. He must have taken the papers!"
"If that's the case there must have been something revealing in them. Quite bad, though, that they're gone."
"Sherlock, you sometimes really underestimate me. I have taken pictures of the documents. And they're still – here." John pulled his mobile from his pocket and proudly presented it to the Consulting Detective. "I had a quick look at them, but unfortunately they didn't give me a clue as to why they could be of such an importance."
"Show me then." Sherlock stretched out a hand.
"Hang on, I have them copied to my laptop, I'll get that for you."
John went to get the computer and when he handed it over to Sherlock, the latter almost snatched it away from him.
He looked through the pictures
of the documents and suddenly stopped short, his jaw dropping, the eyes wide
open, his mouth slowly forming a long "OHHH…!"