"You tell me."
"Don't know. Because of you? But you're dead."
"You are. That guy wanted to kill you. So this is death. Heaven?"
"No. I'm on the side of the angels, but I'm not one of them."
"You're a good man, we wouldn't meet in hell."
"Something in between then. And now?"
"No. You thought, but you were wrong. That man wanted to kill me, but didn't."
"What is this here?"
"A little chat. Don't go."
"A chat? I'm almost dead – I can't chat. What the bloody hell ...ehm...or whatever... is it? That's me down there - I can see myself down there! What are they doing?! What the...! I can see you too! I see the hole in your head. You're almost dead, too. This isn't a chat! Tell me what this is!"
"Go where? Why do you keep telling me that? I'm fine, better than I've ever been."
"Don't leave me alone, John."
"Why can we talk when we're almost dead?"
"It's your blood in my veins."
"That's ridiculous! Since when are you a mystic?! You're the most... down-to-earth person I know!"
"You might have noticed that this is not really down on earth. Don't go."
"You pester like a child."
"Don't go, John."
"Go where? I don't understand this!"
"Please, don't go."
"Will you keep quiet if I don't?"
"Sherlock Holmes never promises anything to anybody."
"I do now. Don't go."
"I have no idea where I should go anyway. Why can't we stay here? It's quite comfy here, nothing hurts, everything just feels... light."
"You can't stay here. Either you go or you come back. Don't go."
"Come back? From where? Go where? You really should express yourself a bit more clearly."
"Just don't go. Do it for me."
"I have no idea what you're talking about, so… just for the sake of you keeping quiet, I won't..."
Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Beep. Beep. Beep…
On both sides of the lorry there was hectic turmoil. Mycroft was still standing in the middle, his presence as the British Government forgotten by everyone else, his eyes alternately darting between Sherlock and John.
They had tried to resuscitate John unsuccessfully first when suddenly Sherlock's blood pressure had dropped dangerously and for a couple of seconds his heart, too, stopped beating. However, before they were able to defibrillate him, the heart monitor showed the electric impulse of the heart muscle depolarisation again and resumed its constant beeping.
Mycroft release a breath he hadn't known he had been holding and sighed with relief when suddenly from John's side also the irregular but clear sound of life could be heard – beep... beep...
He felt as if the sounds of the hectically working doctors and nurses only reached his ears dully and slowly; he seemed to have tuned out everything but the crucial sounds of the two heart monitors. Mycroft felt dizzy and his ears were roaring. With some effort he managed to proceed hand over hand along the rail to a seat at the back ofthe lorry and let himself drop into it. How often now had he been worrying about his brother's life? And now John! He was used to enduring a lot, but even for him things had simply got too much. He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Sir, are you sure, you're alright?" the doctor, who had asked him about his well-being before, wanted to know.
"I'm not in immediate danger, so just go and take care of those who need you!" Mycroft snapped, slowly opening his eyes and looking wearily at the doctor, who had already turned around to attend to the duties he had just been reminded of in quite an unfriendly manner.
Mycroft didn't regret what he had said, although he sensed that his reaction had been slightly inappropriate. He was the boss, he didn't have to be friendly, but he was usually calm at least and wouldn't normally allow himself to talk to anybody without looking at them. He was, however, tired of being composed. For once in his life, he only wanted to be a worried brother and friend and England could go wherever it wanted!
When they finally arrived at the clinic, the two victims were instantly taken to the operating theatres and Mycroft followed the cluster of medical staff some distance, knowing that he wouldn't be allowed to access the sterile area anyway and would have to wait outside.
A nurse accompanied him to a private waiting room that was especially designed for the very few persons of the British Government who would send patients to this clinic at all. It was a luxurious room with white leather armchairs and sofa, a high glossy, white cabinet at the wall, a white coffee table and a matching side table between the sofa and one of the armchairs. The crystal glasses that stood upside-down on a green glass tablet on the cabinet signalled that inside there would be some alcohol of the stronger kind. Above the piece of furniture there was a huge television screen attached to the green wall, which was the only colour beside the white. The vases were all white, the lilies and roses in them white, too, resembling the same contrast as the furniture and the wallpaper. One side of the room was completely covered with a high glossy surface with just a few vertical and horizontal lines in it. If Mycroft hadn't known that it contained a built-in wardrobe and a bed, he wouldn't have been able to guess from the surface. In the back of his mind he briefly contemplated whether the linen was green, too.
He wrinkled his nose about the too modern and rather sterile atmosphere of the room. He would have preferred the heavy, dark, but rather cosy atmosphere of his own rooms – or even the mess of Sherlock's flat as he felt somewhat forlorn in his current location.
He stood in the room, alone, not knowing whether he should pace it or sit down. He was one of the most powerful persons in England and he was used to solving every possible problem with no more than a few keys pushed on his mobile phone and a few commands given. He was the one pulling the strings and he knew that everything would always be sorted out in the end since an entire country with all its means followed his well-considered commands. He worked perfectly well under stress – just as John Watson did - and yet, this time it was completely different. His hands were trembling in the light of the knowledge that whatever he did or said, the outcome would always be the same: his brother and his friend would live or die, and he could do nothing at all about it but wait – and probably and strangely enough for him, pray.
He was still standing at the
same spot, unable to move, the weight of his sorrow nailing his feet to the
floor. For the first time in years Mycroft realized that he was a lonely man.
He was never bored, always busy with doing what England requested, he simply
didn't have time to think about his personal life. He even enjoyed being on his
own, sitting by the fire place and having a glass of fine whiskey. And yet, in
this very moment, he longed for company, for a friend he could trust and rely
on, even for a shoulder to cry on - and for the first time he really understood
what John Watson was for Sherlock.