"Have you gone mad, Sherlock?" he scolded. "Giving them Scopolamine! They could die!" The doctor hectically dug his mobile from his pocket, drumming 999 on the screen of his smartphone.
Throwing himself onto the sofa, Sherlock dismissed John's objection with a wave of his hand.
"No. Of course not. The dosage is far too low. Put away your phone!"
"But you said we should monitor Molly's breathing, so you know about the risks! It's..."
"John. Calm down. I know how much my brother needs and is fine with. It's not the first time. As for Molly - well, she wasn't supposed to eat any of the chocolates. She had strict orders. She seems to be slightly over-sensitive to Scopolamine, that's why I think it's better to keep an eye on her."
John raised his eyebrows in surprise. That was so typical of Sherlock.
"You made your brother give you the information you wanted by drugging him with Scopolamine?! You little..." He shook his head, amused, but also slightly aghast.
Sherlock faked a smile in response. "He wouldn't talk out of free will, would he?"
"Secret service methods seem to rub off a little, huh? But you are aware, Sherlock, that the substance only makes people more talkative. They don't necessarily have to tell you the truth."
"Of course I know. The art is to extract the hallucinations from the truth. You'd be surprised how much of what everyone else would consider hallucinations is in fact truth when interrogating my brother."
"He'll have a hell of a headache. Don't you think Mycroft will guess what you did to him?"
"He most probably will and will be furious about it."
"Oh, okay... So, ... you've done that before, you say? How many times? Have you done it to other people - me, for example - too?"
Sherlock was lying on his back, head resting on his arms, eyes closed. He briefly smirked mischievously.
"Not to you. So far. To Mycroft? Hmm, ... a couple of times, I don't know exactly."
"You do know! Of course, you do! You said you remember everything, so you know! Okay, numerous times then. Not sure if that should bother me or reassure me that you haven't miscalculated the dosage."
"Think the latter if that soothes you - and now let me think!" With that he rolled on his side, facing away from his flatmate.
John huffed, angry about Sherlock's ruthless methods. However, at the same time he was amused. How could he have expected the two brothers to work together, or even share information like normal people did? The doctor gained a vague idea of what it must have been like to supervise the boys in their youth. The nannies must never have been sure if they hadn't been simply drugged whenever they refused to play along with the two Holmes brothers.
Back in Sherlock's room, John watched the young pathologist murmuring in her restless sleep. Scopolamine was a substance that was rather easily available, used as medication against motion sickness or as a sedative if admitted in higher doses. Since people could still be responsive and, in fact, quite talkative under the influence of a certain dosage of Scopolamine, secret services had used it as a truth serum. However, its admittance could easily turn into a tightrope walk of either making people talk or killing them by respiratory paralysis.
Sherlock seemed to be right, though, that Molly wasn't in danger of the latter. Her reaction to the substance was still a bit odd. If his flatmate hadn't miscalculated the amount of the drug in each truffle, they should definitely tell Molly to never take any chewing gum against motion sickness.
The pathologist became quite restless, throwing herself from one side to the other and gesticulating wildly in her hallucinatory sleep.
"Molly. Molly! Calm down, it's just hallucinations," John tried to get through to her.
He didn't dare touch her as he knew that he could frighten her with it. She suddenly sat up in the bed, eyes opened to slits and staring at John suspiciously. The doctor felt slightly uncomfortable under her scrutiny. Her look changed slowly from confused to evil and before John could react, she jumped from the bed and at the man leaning on his crutch. The impact of the woman, who was now clinging to him, made him lose his walking aid and stumble backwards painfully, before losing his balance and landing on his back, Molly sitting on top of him. She was drumming her fists against his chest and face.
"You killed him! You killed Poppy! You severed his ears! That was you!"
John had closed his eyes and tried to protect his face from the beats, when he felt Molly's weight lifted from him. Sherlock had appeared behind her and he was trying to take her back to bed, holding her arms tightly at her sides and speaking to her calmly, which apparently helped.
"Holy Mary! What was that?" John wanted to know after Sherlock had helped him up and had taken him to the living-room, where, still somewhat stupefied, he flopped into his armchair, resting his leg on the stool that was standing there for the purpose, rubbing his thigh as if it could relieve the pain in his calf.
"Just hallucinations. They should subside in a couple of minutes," Sherlock informed his flatmate, taking a seat on the sofa again. "I told you not to ask her anything!"
"I didn't ask her anything, Sherlock! I just tried to soothe her."
"Don't," was the Consulting Detective's curt reply.
"Yep, I won't again. Sure. - Do you know who Poppy is? Do you think it was her dog? Or even her sister or friend? Does she have a sister? Did anything happen to her?"
"Oh, yeah! That's you again! You drug your friends and then they're not important."
Sherlock threw John an angry glance. "I didn't say she isn't important. That isn't important for now. Even if Poppy was her sister, we couldn't do anything about it now, could we? Therefore, unimportant. I need to think!" The tall man resumed his old position on the sofa, but John was not only concerned about Molly's well-being; Mycroft had got a much higher dose of the drug.
"Aren't you worried about Mycroft? He really must be going through hell right now."
"For God's sake! How am I supposed to think when you're chatting all the time! No, I'm not worried. Yes, he's going through hell now. But it's nothing that couldn't be cured with a day's rest and some aspirin. He got the antidote right after I had questioned him and one of his house staff is looking after him. So, don't worry and shut up!"
John opened his mouth in order to scold Sherlock for his inhumane recklessness, but he closed it again, knowing that it would just bounce off him anyway.
Resigning to the prospect of yet another night of unrestful sleep in his armchair, John lay his head back, clinging to the Union Jack cushion.
Hours had passed by and the shadows of 221b had already started to give way to the first red of rising daylight, when a scream suddenly disrupted the quiet. Sherlock still hadn't managed to fully restore his mind palace, and particularly not to expel the bad memories from his mind. John experienced times when his friend was utterly unresponsive, sorting the data in his brain, and there were moments when his memories resurfaced unwantedly, terrifying the Consulting Detective particularly at night.
Although John had almost got used to the nightly demons that were haunting his flatmate, his eyes shot open and he sighed at the realisation that he wasn't lying in his cosy bed but supposed to keep watch over two people at the moment. Speaking of which... The dim light didn't allow the doctor to get a full glance of his flatmate, but he could see that his hair was plastered to his head, most likely being wet from cold sweat. Just when John prepared to push himself up from the armchair, his muscles and bones protesting furiously, Molly staggered into the living room, keeping her balance by touching the walls with one hand and holding her obviously hurting head with the other one.
"Uuuuh! Could you just not be so noisy!" she whispered insistently. When her eyes darted into the direction of the still whimpering Sherlock, she screwed up her face as if he was something hideous, and John frowned at her reaction. She shook her head very slowly.
"N... no, it's ... just - that sound!" she almost squealed.
"He's having nightmares. If it gets too bad, I'll wake him. Sit down, Molly; I'll get you some painkillers."
Her face still crumpled, Molly shuffled laboriously to the free armchair opposite John. The latter had fought himself up from his seat and limped to the mantelpiece where they were keeping the currently most frequently needed drugs, so that they - or particularly John - didn't have to walk very far to reach the most urgent medications.
He got her what he thought would help her without doing any harm and handed it to her. She shot him a brief but grateful glance and swallowed the two pills, leaning her had back and closing her eyes.
"John, um, I'm not sure what I'm doing here. My head tells me I must have had at least a bottle of cheap vodka, but I'm sure I didn't have any. I had weird dreams. So, why do I wake up in Sherlock's bed and he sleeps on the sofa?"
"Why does it always have to be me picking up the shards of Sherlock's crazy ideas?" the tired doctor muttered, rubbing his face with his hands as if to wipe away the fatigue. "You remember having dinner with Mycroft and giving him the truffles Sherlock had prepared for him?"
"Hm-m," Molly nodded with a frown.
"It was a substance used as truth serum and you seem to react a bit oddly to it."
"Oooh, the chocolate! I couldn't refuse eating one. - But what happened then? What was in it? How did I get here?"
"Well, when I saw you first, you were hanging over Sherlock's shoulder like a limp rag."
"Urgh, how embarrassing!"
"Don't worry. I've seen worse in my life."
Molly shut her eyes, moaning quietly.
"You shouldn't take any motion sickness medication, though. None with Scopolamine, that is, because that's the substance in the truffles and Sherlock assured me you only got a very small dose."
"Oh! He should have told me beforehand! I know that I'm oversensitive to it. Once my parents gave it to me on a boat trip when I was a child - next thing I remember was waking up in hospital. Did I do anything... embarrassing?"
John saw a little red flush on the woman's face.
"Don't worry. Erm, Molly? - You were talking a bit in your sleep and... you, erm, attacked me, mistaking me for someone who killed your Poppy...," John said carefully and the woman's eyes shot open.
An unexpected grimace appeared on her face and the ex-army man eventually identified it as a smile.
"I... attacked you?! Oh, dear! I'm sorry! - Poppy, yeah," Molly repeated, slightly lost in thought. She blinked a couple of times, then smiled broadly at the slightly confused John. "It's my cuddly rabbit - it was, to be precise. Once my primary school friend got angry with me and cut its ears off. I remember I was furious about it, but my mum stitched them back to its head. Strange... I hadn't thought of it in years."
"Well, drugs bring the weirdest things to the surface. I'm glad it was just a cuddly rabbit - I had thought the worst." John sighed with relief.
Molly laughed, but apparently regretted it, her hands shooting to her temples as if she wanted to protect her head from bursting.
"Go back to sleep, Molly. Sherlock is fine - he hasn't woken up, so the nightmare wasn't too bad. I guess, he'll have a plan by now and won't rest much once he has started putting it into practice. If you still want to help him, you'd better get some rest, too."
"I hope his scheme doesn't involve any drugs anymore. Otherwise, I'm out. I need water! My mouth is dry as if had eaten a whole sandpit!" Molly huffed, making her way back to bed, stopping at the bathroom, from where the sound of running water reached John's ears. One of the most common and unpleasant side-effects of Scopolamine was a dry mouth. Mycroft would feel like having wandered through the Sahara without any water supply and John wondered what the elder Holmes would do about Sherlock drugging him. A counterattack of whatever kind was to be expected and for once, the ex-army man was a tad contented that he wasn't involved.
When John woke up in the morning, he was aching from head to toe. Struggling to get out of the armchair, he wondered how long he had actually slept after the nightly interruption since the rays of sunlight falling through the windows of 221b were already lighting the bookshelf, thus it had to be late morning already. His glance fell on the sofa where he had expected Sherlock to be lying, but it the black leather furniture was uninhabited.
John looked around, squinting his eyes due to a throbbing headache caused by the tense muscles in his neck. The bedroom door was open, as was the bathroom door, but there were no sounds. Neither Molly nor Sherlock seemed to be there. The doctor huffed, when his eyes fell on a cup of still steaming coffee and two notes on the side table. The first note was from Molly, thanking him for taking care of her. She hadn't wanted to wake him, but would call him later. The second note was apparently scribbled in a hurry, contrasting Molly's neat and round letters. It was Sherlock's handwriting and simply said: Off out. Don't call Mycroft. If not back in three days, call Mycroft. SH
In three days?! Sherlock wasn't at all in a condition that allowed him to go wandering off for three days, most likely without eating anything and treating himself with some sleep. If that woman didn't manage to kill him off, he would certainly master it on his own.
John stretched his limbs and back, trying to relax his muscles, before taking a sip from the sweet coffee. It had been very attentive of Molly to leave him some coffee as it saved him the painful way to the kitchen - and it told him that she had only recently left.
Standing in the empty
living-room, a shadow of a gloomy mood darkened the bright morning when
the doctor realised that he was confined to 221b and couldn't do
anything while the other were, well, having fun! That sucked. He dropped
back into his armchair, rubbing the stubble on his chin and finally
deciding to turn on the telly. Crap telly in the morning - the day could
only get better...