John tried to get rid of the electrodes of his own controlling devices. Due to the slight tremor in his hands and the splitting headache, he had to fumble a bit to wiggle out of the cables. When John had disconnected the first cable, his heart monitor set off the alarm at once, alerting Dr Smith and the nurse, who, only seconds later, hurried into the room, grasping the situation instantly.
"Dr Watson, you have a bell-push to call us! You can't just rid yourself of the medical equipment without our permission! You are a medical man yourself, you should know better! You have already been put in the same room as Mr Holmes, so that you wouldn't go wandering off, so, please…!" Dr Smith ranted.
John raised his hands apologetically.
"I'm fine! I really just wanted to check on him. I think he will wake up soon."
"If that is the case that's good news, indeed, but you are to call us! Remember, you are off duty at the moment and have no authority here!"
"Yes, ok," John replied, pretending to be remorseful, "but can you help me then?"
"I will examine you first, and then we'll decide."
John gave in and endured the examination. With a pen-flashlight Dr Smith checked the reaction of his pupils, which made John flinch. They were still dilated, a side-effect of the atropine; his other reflexes were a bit lame, but not to an alarming extent. After having checked on the data the monitors had registered, the doctor nodded approvingly.
"I think you can be freed of the heart monitor, but the IV cannula has to stay in place and you still need the drip."
"Good. Fine," John said. He was aware that he was being administered a couple of necessary fluids through the IV, like painkillers (how bad would the headache be without them?!), electrolytes and possibly also Diazepam, which would prevent the severe depression that was likely to occur after Tabun poisoning. In the very back of his mind John wondered if Sherlock was also being given Diazepam since this would be quite risky, taking his history of drug abuse into account. He pushed the thought away, feeling that this would definitely be something Mycroft would have alerted the medical team to. After all, that's why they were here and not in a regular hospital.
The nurse disentangled the cables and helped John into a hospital gown, for which he thanked her with the nicest smile his face was capable of producing. The woman wasn't notably attractive and not really John's cup of tea, but the doctor considered it to be possibly useful to have her on his side. He was slightly embarrassed by his intentional manipulation of people – that was so Sherlock-like, not John-like.
John swung his legs out of the bed and was just about to get up when he started feeling extremely dizzy, swaying slightly.
"Overestimated our recovery a bit, have we, Dr Watson?" the nurse teased.
John grumbled an unintelligible reply, but let the nurse support him. He blinked and checked if the room was still spinning. He was ready to give it another try, and this time it went better.
The nurse handed a dressing gown to John that had been resting on a chair close to his bed. John put it on and, under the scrutinizing eyes of Dr Smith and with the nurse's help, made shaky steps towards Sherlock's bed.
After helping John into a seat and placing the drip stand next to him, the nurse and Dr Smith left the room, once again reminding the patient of his duty to inform them of any changes to Sherlock's or his own condition. John knew that both of them were still at risk of some very unpleasant after-effects of the Tabun poisoning.
John's heart turned over at his first proper view of Sherlock's condition. The Consulting Detective was very still on his bed, his breathing still supported by the tracheal intubation, and the skin of his bare thorax almost as white as the electrode pads of the heart monitor.
The only sounds in the room were the regularly interrupting hisses of the respirator and the beeping of the heart monitor.
John lifted his free hand and tentatively lowered it over his friend's face. He touched Sherlock's cheek and forehead cautiously; a checking and comforting gesture that John had made hundreds of times on his patients. However, on Sherlock it felt very peculiar. This was his friend. (Oh, if anybody saw –people would talk!) And yet, it was only meant to reach into Sherlock's unconscious state and let him know that someone was caring for him.
Sherlock shifted slightly, causing John's heartbeat to speed up in anticipation. If Sherlock woke up, they would be able to find out if he had survived without suffering any damage to his extraordinary brain. The Consulting Detective's eyelids fluttered open and immediately closed again. Due to his own experience John knew the reason for this reaction: Sherlock's headache had to be even more terrible than his own. Finally, Sherlock managed to open his eyes and after a few clearing blinks, seemingly disoriented, he set his gaze on John. He closed his lips around the catheter, obviously attempting to speak, but the tube in his windpipe prevented this.
"Shush…, the intubation has to be removed first," John told the man on the bed comfortingly.
Although John felt he could generally do that as well, he didn't want to upset the medical staff and he also had to admit to himself that he didn't trust his own abilities at the moment. Hence, he pressed the bell-button and, almost instantly, the doctor and his nurse entered. Most probably they had been detailed to taking care of just these two patients by the personified British Government himself.
"He's awake and needs the tube removed," John explained.
"Very well, but let's first check how he's doing."
Dr Smith examined Sherlock thoroughly, finally nodding his approval. In a very calm way he instructed his patient what to do to help them remove the breathing aid. Sherlock was unusually obedient and so it only took a moment until his airway was free again. He started coughing and flinched. John wondered how much pain Sherlock had to be in. The increasing speed of the heart monitor beeps gave proof to John's assumption that Sherlock was suffering a lot.
Dr Smith went to one of the IV bags and opened it slightly more, the droplets falling into the drip chamber more quickly.
"How are you doing, mate?" John gave Sherlock a genuine smile, an expression of his relief.
"Fine," was his hoarse and rather weak reply, his eyes still shut, "…thirsty!" John knew that "fine" had been a whopping lie, however, it meant that Sherlock was all himself.
The nurse was about to bring a feeding cup of water up to Sherlock's mouth, but John took it from her hands and did it himself. Sherlock took a small sip, then whispered, "Humiliating!"
John smirked. "It's all fine. Just wait till you're 85, you'll be used to it by then."
John threw a glance at the nurse and nodded once to give her to understand that they would be fine without them. She herself looked at Dr Smith questioningly and when the man signalled that it was alright, the two left.
Sherlock looked at John, then closed his eyes.
"What happened?" Sherlock rasped with a strained look on his face.
"To cut a long story short, we've just had World War II in our kitchen and have narrowly escaped a nerve gas attack."
Sherlock's eyes shot open, which he regretted instantly, flinching and blinking.
"Ooh…," was his only verbal reaction.
Once again he fought to keep his eyes open and raised his head a little, first looking himself up and down, and then John.
"Ex…plain!" he briefly ordered, the effort it took him clearly visible in his voice and facial expression.
John gave a more or less detailed report on the facts, avoiding telling Sherlock about his two cardiac arrests and his own participation in bringing him back to life.
"Sherlock, how could that damn petri-dish have got into our kitchen?!"
Once again the Consulting Detective uttered a meagre "Oh!", however, this time it didn't sound surprised. Instead there was a slight undertone of annoyance, as much as his voice was capable of producing different tones at all.
"That bloody errand boy," Sherlock hissed between gritted teeth, "I knew something was wrong with him!"