Mycroft was aware that Angela was there and that David was not before he opened his eyes. He could smell her perfume, the subtlest touch of lavender. She had always been partial to that scent. So had he. But there was no patterned breathing, no movement, and no small and quiet comments that would indicate their son was with her. This was not surprising – David was a young man and not particularly given to being confined in the hospital for long periods of time. And it was early morning. That was evident by the texture of the light in the room, which he could distinguish even behind closed eyes. The sun filtered in gently, still pale and weak, but the overhead lights were not on. David was probably still asleep back at Mycroft's flat.
He heard the soft rustle of paper; Angela was reading something. Not the newspaper – the sound was too sharp for that. Mycroft opened his eyes and found her meeting his gaze levelly. He frowned slightly, eyes skimming over the piles of files that had been deposited around the room, taking up every available surface.
"Compliments of your brother, I should imagine," Angela said.
"He gave them to you?" Mycroft enquired.
"No, they were here when I arrived." She hadn't been there long, judging by her appearance. Her clothing was still fresh and not wrinkled from sitting, and her body did not have the tense appearance that came from holding one position for too long. He suspected she'd been there less than fifteen minutes. "It appears he's turned the case over to you."
"So it would seem," Mycroft murmured. The piles of paper looked suspiciously well organised, which was not Sherlock's doing. Angela could have had a hand in that but she hadn't been there long enough to sort through them all. John was fairly organised, given his army training, but Mycroft could not imagine John wanting to spend the time arranging all of this information for his benefit. The doctor had most likely just wanted all of this out of the flat. If it was not Angela and not John, then it might have been Sherlock's Interpol agent, Gabriel Mitchell, although Mycroft did not fully believe this, either. It was more likely that Agent Mitchell would have kept this information for himself – rather, that he'd have passed it onto the agent handling this case. That meant someone else had assisted Sherlock and Mycroft did not know who. He would have to find out.
He was somewhat astonished to realise how he was relieved that his brother had done this. Surprised, yes, of course, but also profoundly relieved. Catching this professional killer would be no small feat, especially given that William McKinney had no idea who the man was. But apprehending him would probably also have driven Sherlock to an early grave. Mycroft had just lost his mother. He had no desire to lose another family member, as much as Sherlock probably would not have believed that.
"I don't suppose you've identified him?" Mycroft asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Mm, not as of yet," Angela replied. "Perhaps if you give me a week. I can follow up with some contacts of mine."
He nodded; her assistance was always valued. He intended to solve this case now, one way or another. But not at the risk of doing to himself what Sherlock had done.
"The doctors feel you're well enough to be released, should you want to be," Angela said, setting aside the file she'd been reading.
Mycroft nodded – this presented a significant logistical problem since he could neither walk nor use crutches and he was not about to be caught in some motorised wheelchair. But he sorely missed the comforts of home and was tired of the hospital despite the relative luxury of staying in a private hospital. He had been here a week and a half, since the ninth of August. He wondered if they would process the paperwork to have him released on a Sunday or if he would have to wait until the following day. Did hospitals operate on regular business hours? He had no idea and sighed – the drugs were making him less observant than usual and this was tedious.
"I can stay until school begins again for David," Angela said and Mycroft raised both eyebrows at her. She'd never particularly been patient with illness or injury, except with David. "He's enjoying London," she added, waving a hand vaguely. "Which is good."
Mycroft's lips twitched despite himself. They had discussed David's college education at length and both of them preferred that he attend either Oxford or Cambridge when it came to his university career. He had a stronger chance of getting in from an English college and Angela was less reluctant to move to London than she had been in years previous.
Mycroft suspected he may need a bigger flat in a few years time.
"After that, you are welcome to come to Edinburgh until you are quite literally back on your feet."
Mycroft considered this for a moment, then held out his left hand. Angela rose and he folded his fingers around hers, raising her hand to press it lightly against his lips.
"Yes," he agreed. "I think I would like that."
Sherlock awoke in the middle of the night to a wholly unusual sensation.
John was sleeping on top of him.
Not entirely, but the doctor's head was resting on his chest, his left cheek over Sherlock's heart, his left shoulder tucked in under Sherlock's right arm. His lips were slightly parted and Sherlock could feel the soft, warm exhalations through his silk pyjamas. John's right arm was curled protectively over Sherlock, resting on his waist. The sensation was odd – he liked the feel of it, of course, but he was also uncomfortably aware of how much more easily John's hand encircled his waist.
Still, Sherlock felt warm for the first time in far too long. Warm and secure. Their bed no longer felt large and empty, nor did John's presence make him feel tense and uncertain.
They still had a good deal to work through but had both agreed on enough for one night. That had been shortly after midnight. Changing and getting into bed together had been somewhat strange – it was a familiar routine they should have performed without thought, but they were both hyper aware of the other.
Sherlock knew John wanted to have sex and he himself was not entirely opposed to the idea. But nor was he entirely comfortable with it. John had walked out on him twice. He'd had no idea if or when John was coming home after the second time. It had hurt him to lose his husband like that, even for a short period of time. He had lost his mother permanently a few months ago. Losing John on top of that had been heart wrenching. He had said as much to John, since John wanted to know these things. It had made the doctor frown and feel guilty and berate himself silently. Sherlock did not revel in John feeling guilty – he simply wanted John never to do that again.
They had gone to sleep facing one another but not really touching other than clasping hands between them. But at some point in the night, Sherlock had rolled onto his back and John had snuggled up against him. It was a pleasant sensation. Sherlock raised his right hand and combed his fingers into John's hair, studying his husband's face in the near darkness. At the contact, John shifted somewhat, tilting his head back slightly, murmuring some incoherent word.
There was something John had to know, Sherlock decided. Immediately.
"John," he whispered. John's features pinched and relaxed and he exhaled a soft sigh. "John. Wake up."
"Mm?" John asked, shifting a bit and stretching as he blinked himself awake. "Sherlock? What is it?"
"You were wrong about your appearance."
John's brow furrowed, creasing a small vertical line into his skin. Sherlock reached up to smooth it away and John's expression softened again.
"What?" he asked.
"The other day, you said that you were not much to look at. You were wrong."
John shifted so that he could better see Sherlock and the detective felt the doctor's brown eyes searching his face.
"Your colouring – your hair and eyes – may be fairly typical, but that certainly does not mean you're unattractive." He leaned over somewhat awkwardly and managed to place a kiss on John's lips. "In fact, you are beautiful."
John paused a moment, then his lips split into a smile and he gave a soft chuckle.
"You think so?" he murmured.
"No," Sherlock said. "I know so."
John chuckled again and Sherlock felt the reverberation from John's chest in his own.
"Thank you for telling me that," his husband said quietly. Sherlock nodded and lifted John's right hand to his lips, pressing a kiss into his palm.
"Go back to sleep," Sherlock said. "You have work in the morning."
"All right," John agreed sleepily. Sherlock stroked his fingers through John's hair until the doctor's breathing deepened and slowed again. Then he snuggled a bit closer to his husband, closed his eyes, and drifted back to sleep.
A/N: and... done! Whew. I would like to say a huge thank-you to my beta, nellytheninkynonk, for all of her help developing this idea. I don't think it would have been half as good without her. And equally huge thank-yous to everyone who has read and especially those of you who have taken the time to review and let me know what you think! I appreciate it more than you know! I hope you enjoyed this. Next up: a holiday in France with significantly less angst. I promise ;)