Jim gave Other John a sloppy, sleepy, drugged up hug. "Thank you for helping him. I'm glad he has you. You're a good man."
The one armed hug was awkward and not really wanted, but there wasn't much John could do about randomly lunging Irishmen in hospital gowns. John disengaged slowly; Jim slipped his arm off John's neck, tucking it under his pillow for warmth as he Jim fell back into bed. Face pulled sorrowfully Jim cuddled his awful pillow, hands underneath for warmth and comfort. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry this is so hard for you. I wish I looked different, or acted different or was someone else. I don't want to cause you pain, you're the only one I can rely on John."
John was stiff and awkward and patted him on the head. "It's fine. It's fine. I'll just go and report back to the others."
Snoozing for a little while, letting the morphine work out of his system, he dug himself into his bed with his good shoulder and waited.
When he was finally awake, really awake, he cracked an eye open, check to be sure the room was clear. When he saw it was he pulled Other John's gun out from under his pillow and checked the magazine.
He still had the touch.
Now all he needed was a nurse.
Jim let the phone ring, fingering his slipover; it was a nice shade of blue, and super comfy for endgame conversations with one's flatmate.
"Jim?" John's voice interrupted the ringing, "Sorry I was finishing paperwork."
"I found him; I know where he'll be tonight."
John didn't need to ask who 'he' was. There was only one 'he.'
"I'm going with you. I can get out in half an hour."
"What if something happens?" Jim clung to the phone.
"Something's going to happen anyway, might as well be there to try and ease the internal hemorrhaging."
"I suppose it would be terribly cliché to ask how you found me," Sherlock said drily, Jim's arm closed around his neck, forcing him back so Sherlock had to rest his weight on his neck on Jim's shoulder, putting him off balance. John could break a man's neck from this position.
"You're your own enemy here, so you can't go to your usual haunts, you have to go where your enemy feels safe."
"The pool, you're first little act of rebellion. The first time you stood up for yourself."
Everything was blue and quiet. The sound of the pool water lapping, it was cool and Jim could think. His arm tightened. His other shoulder is crater of pain, but it is unimportant.
"You're not a killer dearest," Sherlock says neck twisted back, back, bent to accommodate the height difference. It's Jim that has him now, not John. John is back away safe.
"This is what you want isn't it," Jim snarled into his ear. "This is what you really want. John had it right."
"John again! Everything's John! You are fixated."
"Oh," Jim snarked. "Are you jealous?"
"Of what? You're a mad little child."
"Maybe, but what a happy little boy am I. Shall I Holmes? Shall I give you a hand? ' Dearest Jimmy, help me die?'"
Holmes went wild, swinging freely, Jim swung his foot up and broke Holmes left leg at the knee.
"What do you want Holmes? I'm not above a little mercy." He thought he would have a harder time with this, but he's feeling no pain. His head is in a whole other place drugged up on desperation and morphine and a little madness.
"Nothing helps," Holmes voice has no emotion, it's not even cold. It's just a deep vibration, all inflection slaughtered with a straight razor. "The cocaine doesn't help, the crimes don't help. It's. All. So boring."
Jim releases Holmes, letting him collapse on the floor, lying there, a little dead before he's up, snarling, leaning to his side with his broken knee.
He doesn't stop fighting of course.
He's burning too bright.
Jim smiled, "I won't let you hurt John again."
Jim and John, once more into the fray.
He's beating at the pale flesh with his fist. He needs John, where did he leave John, where's Holmes hiding John? (Stop, stop, stop too much blood.) He had John's gun in his hand but he couldn't find John. He needed John. Who else didn't mind him sleeping in the bath tub and poking dead people with sticks and going dark and crawling and creeping. His fingers scrabbled against the ribs under Holmes' clothes, trying to get to the heart. Trying to get to anything. Someone is sobbing. He wishes they would stop, it's an awful sound and he needs to think, he needs to figure out where Holmes has hidden John.
Someone was behind him, pulling him back, pulling away
"John," he weeps gripping the wooly jumper in his red hands. "John." He's begging. He doesn't know what for, but he wants it.
"It's okay, I'm here I'm not going anywhere."
"I love you so much John, you're my best friend," he said sobbing helplessly into John's shoulder fingers searching out holes in the knit he can use to grip John to him.
"I know," John is rocking him gently, it's distracting but the thought is nice. It comforts him.
"I found you John; I found where he hid you. You're right behind me, what a clever spot, why didn't I think of that? I'll always find you, no matter what," he mutters sleepily, so happy and warm. "Then we'll always be together."
The rocking stutters for a moment and then there's John's gentle voice, soft like a whisper, "I know Jim, I know."
"What's wrong with him?" says a voice from above.
"He's fine," John says in a voice that says he is obviously messed up right now, idiot. Haven't you ever seen a mental breakdown before. "He's just tired, just a little tired." There are thin lips pressing into the top of his head, the rocking doesn't stop, the strong arms don't leave. It's like being a child again and he wishes he was so he wouldn't have to deal with this.
"I'm sorry," Jim whispered .
"Don't be an idiot," John said.
This is the point of change, the last flash back. The point after Jim decided he could kill a man and before the point he actually did. The point of a flash of light before he stepped through the mirror darkly. After a thousand moments that made him good. There are no more flashbacks, Jim has been thrust forward, made to see, there is only moving forward.
"Are you feeling better?" Other John asked gently.
"'M fine," Jim nibbles a thumb nail staring off into space. He had always known he was a little off, but he had never killed anyone before. He had suddenly found that he was much saner than he had ever thought. Surely someone who was mad wouldn't be so disgusted with murder. Oddly enough that made the act almost worth it in and of itself. They weren't calling it that of course seeing as Jim had made their lives so much more convenient.
The two John have been getting on well, laughing over lagers like two blokes. They know each other's in jokes and they're comparing each other's geniuses and giggling like best friends. Every once in a while they'll shake their head and say, 'no, that's not funny, we shouldn't laugh,' but then laugh anyway. Jim alternated between staring off into space and smiling fondly at them.
John had killed for him before so this was just a fair trade.
"Mycroft said the doohickey's almost ready," Other John said in a highly scientific way.
Jim shivered faintly before coming to himself, "Of course, thank you." He feels like someone took him and smoothed him out nice and thin, like a shoelace and then tied him in knots. As long as the knots hold until he gets home he'll be fine. Perhaps he and John can go somewhere for a few months. Somewhere quit in the country where he can start a new book, nothing to do with criminology, perhaps something on organizational structure of complex formulas? That would be something fun, a pleasant little write up.
"Jim, Jim-" John, no Other John, was saying, looking concerned.
"What?" he left his thumb alone for the time being and looked up at Other John.
"Are you sure you're alright?"
"I killed a man," Jim said a little hysterically.
"He wasn't a very nice man," John said stoutly.
Pressing his eyes closed very tightly, "I know."
"Jim," John, his John, said in that tone, his army voice, the voice he could rely on. Jim stood up immediately, his fingers snagging in John's jumper.
"Time to go?" he smiled thinly, clenching his fingers into the weave.
"Yeah," everything showed on John's face. The exhaustion of having to tend to Jim in his weak times and keeping up with him when he was running on normal speed, that sweet, generous love. Jim could never have a better brother in arms, a stronger bond of fraternity. "All we have to do is stand there and look pretty."
"It'll be easier for me of course," Jim tried to joke thinly, looking to John for confirmation.
John laughed, a strained version of his usual giggle, but a laugh is still a laugh. "Let's go home Jim."
He smiled a real honest smile. "Yes, let's."