"She's asleep for right now. Best we all just wait until she wakes."
John had just briefed Lestrade and Sherlock on Aryn's various injuries. Her most problematic ones were the knife wound to the chest and a few broken ribs. Luckily, nothing else was broken or punctured. Having taken Aryn to the hospital and stayed with the doctors while she was worked on, John mentioned many times to the two men that Aryn was lucky to be alive.
People were rushing from place to place around them. Nurses were guiding people to their rooms or aiding doctors in emergency cases, patients were filling the waiting room, and families were waiting to hear the news about their loved ones. It was an unnerving sight to see so many people who needed help. John couldn't look around the room without reliving the events that had happened in the past few hours. He had to debrief the doctors himself because the medics who had brought them were absolute rubbish.
When they had managed to bring Aryn back to them, all he could hear was her crying. She was in so much pain. The most she could do was keep her eyes closed and cry. John had held her hand for whatever time he could and she seemed to appreciate it, between the tears and the quick grunts of pain.
At least the next time he would be in that waiting room, it would be awaiting the arrival of his child.
As the three men sat, thinking back to everything that had happened, a man walked towards them. He twirled his umbrella in a matter-of-factly way, looking around the room in slight disgust. "I had no idea this place would be crawling with so many people."
Sherlock rolled his eyes, slowly bringing them up to meet his brother's gaze. "What are you doing here, Mycroft?"
Sitting down in a chair opposite Sherlock, Mycroft replied, "I heard your friend was in a spot of trouble. Came to see if any of you could use my assistance."
"A bit late for that, don't you think?" John sneered.
Mycroft shot him a look that made John feel as if Mycroft felt John was unworthy to speak. "I understand that her survival does, in fact, involve my wellbeing. For the time being, her problems are my problems as well."
"You're not the only one who's tied to her survival," Lestrade commented, "but I'm not worried about my life, I'm worried about hers."
Mycroft leaned back, studying his brother's expression. It was unusually blank, lost in deep thought. "Dear brother, what have you gotten yourself into?"
Sherlock's eyes snapped to attention.
"You know who the killer is, don't you?"
"And you never bothered sharing it with me?" Lestrade asked in surprise, turning to face his body towards Sherlock.
Sherlock sighed, giving his brother a dirty look. "I saw who it was, but thanks to those stupid camera men, he was gone before I could reach him."
"How do you know who it was?" John asked, thinking back to the crowd of people that had surrounded the scene as he was leaving. There was no one that had stuck out when he scanned the crowd. How would Sherlock have picked out one particular person? Unless…
"Ahh, I see," Mycroft replied, interlacing his fingers as his hands rested in his lap. "Moriarty again?"
Lestrade looked up at Mycroft as if he had seen a ghost. John hung his head down as he rested his elbows on his knees, confirming his hunch he had just had. Sherlock brought his gaze to the floor in front of him, his eyes unwavering.
"We'll have to wait for him to surface again if we want any chance of catching him, unfortunately," Mycroft stated.
Sherlock, as much as he didn't want to, agreed with his brother. Moriarty was harder to catch than a puff of smoke. He could take on any identity he wanted and break in to any place he desired. He had access to people, places, and information that would envy even Mycroft. After returning from the "dead", Sherlock had a feeling that the attacks towards him would get even more personal than before.
And he had been right.
"Is this just a game to him?" Lestrade asked to no one in particular.
Sherlock nodded. After a long pause, he answered, "If she survives, I can assure you that this won't be the last time he tries to pull a stunt like this. It will get more elaborate, more cunning, and more people will die."
Lestrade didn't need to be told that twice. After going through the "Great Game", John's name for one of the runarounds with Moriarty that they had, Lestrade wasn't surprised. It would take a mad man like Moriarty to do something like strap bombs to innocent people to test Sherlock's mind. Seeing it go from that to something of this level was unsettling.
"I'm going to make sure there's a patrol car at every residence and work place of the hit list targets," he announced, standing up and pulling out his cell phone. "We can't take any risks if he decides to change the rules."
John nodded while the two Holmes brothers sat in silence.
As Lestrade walked away to make the various phone calls, John walked to the counter to talk to one of the nurses. He arrived back with a clipboard, placing it in front of Sherlock.
"I've filled out as much information on Aryn as I can. Maybe you'll be able to fill out more."
Sherlock gazed down at the papers, then looked up at John with a wary face. Reaching for the board, he flipped through the various forms, clicking the pen that came with it numerous times out of anxiousness.
Scribbling down what he could remember about her, Sherlock finally went up to the desk and returned the forms as needed. He didn't fill out much more, but what he did fill out satisfied what she would need.
Now they just needed to wait.
It had been a week until Aryn was deemed stable and was allowed visitors to come and see her in her room. She could move around a little more than before, but her ribs wouldn't allow for any normal movement. Sitting up was a chore without the bed aiding her, walking being a whole task in itself with the amount of bruises she had.
She was hoping to have seen John, to ask him the true extent of what had happened, but he was at home tending to Mary. It was understandable. She was due any day now. If Aryn was lucky, she'd be in hospital with Mary at the same time. At least she'd be the first one there for the delivery.
Restricted to her room, she had to find some way to cheer herself up. She was going to be there for a few more weeks because the doctors needed to monitor her chest wound. She didn't mind much except for the fact that the food tasted terrible. It beat being alone once more in her flat.
Aryn wasn't sure how she'd adjust back to regular life after she left London. She didn't want to be alone anywhere for a while considering the manner in which she had been kidnapped. She remembered that after she had awoken from her nap that was supposed to help her headache, she couldn't move most of her body. She felt hands pick her up and tie her limbs to one another, bringing her out of her flat and into a vehicle. From there she had blacked out until she reached that horrible basement.
The sound of the TV filled her room as she sat by herself. As she understood it, only family was allowed to visit her for the time being. When the doctor had told her that, she was disappointed. She had no family left to come and take care of her. It made it rather pointless to have a policy like that in her opinion, especially in her case. Without visitors, Aryn filled her time watching day time telly—horrible, yet addicting.
A nurse walked in after a while and began to check Aryn's vitals as well as her fluids. "How're we feeling today?"
"Better than yesterday." That was always her answer. It wasn't necessarily a lie. She never wanted to get into details about how her bruises felt or how her chest ached from time to time because of the healing process. The less she had to talk about her wounds, the better. That way, she wouldn't have to relive the methods in which she got them.
The nurse walked around the bed and pulled Aryn's gown down enough to see the bandage that covered her chest wound. She redressed it, commenting on how it was healing nicely and that in a week or so, she would be able to get the stitches out.
"Oh, and by the way—your father is here to see you."
Aryn's eyes shot to the nurse who was now at the foot of her bed looking over a clipboard with Aryn's vitals on it. "M-m-my father?"
The nurse looked up at her with a smile. "Yes, your father. He's been here almost every day since you've arrived. He's a trooper." With that, the nurse returned the clipboard to a hook on the wall and left the room.
Aryn's heart was racing, the increase reflected on the machine next to her. The rhythmic beating had sped up tenfold as adrenaline began to course through her body. Her father had finally come to visit her? Why now? She had never had any affiliations with him in the past. She didn't even know what he'd look like.
Panicking, she began to spread the blankets out on her bed so that there were no creases. She pressed down on her messy hair, running her fingers through it to get out any knots.
Suddenly, she stopped. It was no use trying to look good. She was in a gown, in a hospital. She had every right to look like a wreck. Maybe it would guilt trip him more when he finally saw her.
As she wrestled with her mind about whether or not to keep combing through her hair, she heard the door squeak open. Heavy footsteps were heard, shuffling to get into the room, then close the door behind whoever had come in.
Aryn tried to lean back and look as casual as she could, fidgeting with her hands on her lap. She looked down at them, trying to keep her focus.
The footsteps were slow, the person trying not to be too loud when they came in.
She inhaled sharply when the person finally came into her line of sight.
"Greg," she exhaled, her body relaxing as she smiled at Lestrade. He was holding a bouquet of lilies and smiling a goofy smile, as if he was really a father visiting his daughter in a hospital.
He set down the flowers at a table that sat against the wall opposite from Aryn's bed, then proceeded to sit in a chair that was on Aryn's right. "Good to see you."
She laughed. "So…my father?"
"I don't know how it happened," he commented. "I had come down to see if you were taking visitors, gave them my name, then they told me I could see my daughter today if I wanted to."
Aryn didn't want to argue the error. She much preferred to see Lestrade than to see her biological father anyway. She leaned back in a more relaxed manner, exhaling deeply. "It's good to see a familiar face."
"I'm sure. I bet the food's terrible though."
She nodded, more smiles escaping her lips.
As they caught up briefly, the tone of the conversation began to change.
"Greg," she started, looking down at her hands. "How bad was it? When you all finally found me?"
Lestrade shifted uncomfortably in his chair as he too fixed his gaze on Aryn's hands. "Well…" He paused, choosing his words carefully. "It wasn't a very pretty sight. John was adamant after you came to the hospital that you were lucky to be alive."
She nodded, starting to feel the ghostly sting of the knife that had gone into her chest.
"We do know who did this to you, though."
Her face shot up as she looked at Lestrade's weary face.
Slowly, he looked up at her. His eyes looked guilty.
He sighed as he leaned back in his chair. "He was there, at the scene. We couldn't catch him."
Her expression was muddled, her gaze looking straight through Lestrade as she drank Lestrade's words. She remembered seeing Moriarty's wanted flier posted in several places in her office as well as receiving messages from Lestrade himself about the kind of mischief that this man had been up to in London. If there was anyone that could have given Sherlock a run for his money, it was Moriarty.
After a few minutes of silence, Lestrade stood up. "It's nearly dinner. Want me to sneak you in some food?"
Snapping out of the daydream she was in, Aryn nodded and gave a brief smile.
Soon, she was alone once again.
"Sherlock, dear, you haven't eaten a bite in days," Mrs. Hudson harped, placing a plate of food in front of Sherlock as he laid on his couch. She stood back, waiting for him to make some kind of movement towards the food. Not a muscle moved aside from the occasional blink of his eyes.
Flustered, Mrs. Hudson pulled up a chair and sat across from the detective like a worried mother.
A few days after Aryn had been found, Sherlock had lost his appetite and had decided to coop himself up in his flat until either Lestrade found another case for him or Mary had her baby. He could have gone to the hospital to visit Aryn, but he didn't know how he'd react after having to help John stop her from bleeding out and dying.
It was a strange feeling. He was being pulled in two opposite directions of wanting to see Aryn and wanting to stay as far away from her as humanly possible.
"Sherlock," Mrs. Hudson said once more.
The detective's eyes met hers, unusually empty.
Speaking with hesitation, she said, "I know it's not my place, but you really should go and see her."
"See who, Mrs. Hudson?"
"That girl you fancy…Aryn was it?"
Sherlock sat up, folding his arms over his chest. "Who ever said 'fancy'? I don't fancy her."
Mrs. Hudson's look became expectant, seeing through Sherlock's defense.
Sherlock rolled his eyes and looked down at the food Mrs. Hudson had set in front of him. His stomach began to growl with hunger.
"John says she's doing much better. Greg's been by to see her as well."
"John? When did you talk to John?"
"He was by not two days ago. You just sat there on the couch without saying much. He even tried talking to you, but you ignored him."
Sherlock's face scrunched up in confusion as he reached down for the plate, using the fork that was on it to poke at the meat and potatoes.
"Sherlock," Mrs. Hudson said once more, leaning down to try and catch Sherlock's eyes from the angle that the plate was at.
He met her gaze, the concern in Mrs. Hudson's eyes apparent.
Taking a deep breath, she began, "It isn't your fault."
His chest tightened.
"It's not your fault that she ended up in that situation. It could have been any of us, to be perfectly honest."
He slowly started to lower the plate, allowing it to sit in his lap.
"It will be your fault, though, if she leaves here still broken hearted. That's something you need to fix."
Standing up, Mrs. Hudson walked out of Sherlock's sight. He could hear her footsteps on the stairs as she descended them and walked back to her own flat.
He was alone once again.