Chapter 4 - If Everyone Cared (part 2)

15. června 2013 v 9:52 |  English version

July 11th
Sherlock's stretched out on the bed, still clothed. The sky is just beginning starting to streak purple and gray, and the room is filled with a silvery half-light in anticipation of dawn. The door opens softly, and John comes in. He leans back, letting his weight carry the door shut again.
"John?" Sherlock says experimentally after significant interval of silence.
"He died," John says. "Lane. He died. We're oh for six on his patrol team."
"Are you hurt?" Sherlock asks, sitting up and swinging his feet down onto the floor.
"What? No - no, none of this mine," John says, looking down at himself. "Whatever happened was over by the time we got there."
"What did happen?" Sherlock asks.
"Beats me," John says, shaking his head. "They weren't even on the perimeter, but - I guess the Taliban have got themselves a sniper school and some good quality night-scopes."
"Harlow's entire patrol is dead," Sherlock says, "and no one else was even hurt."
"You think they were killed because of the case," John says.
Sherlock's gaze flickers, an affirmation. John shoves himself off the door and takes a single stride towards Sherlock, then stops abruptly with his hands squeezed into fists at his sides.
"What's the matter?" he snaps. "You think there isn't enough death in this place already? You think we need an excuse for more?"
"John, I can't reason to anything except a logical conclusion, no matter how much you might want me to," Sherlock says coldly.
John twists away, pushing the heel of one hand hard against his forehead.
"I just - Christ, the entire fucking patrol," he says. "I don't even know what to do with that."
Sherlock stands up and steps towards to him. John turns his face aside and curls his shoulder defensively. Sherlock moves past him, into the bathroom. He turns the sink faucet on, soaks a hand towel, and wrings it out.
"Sit down," he says as he comes back out, towel in hand. "You're covered in blood."
John scowls, but he sits down on the edge of the bed that Sherlock has just vacated. Sherlock goes down on his knees beside him. Kneeling upright, he's at eye-level with John sitting on the low bed. He takes hold of John's wrist, turns it to expose the rust-red streaks of dried blood on the inside of his forearm, and starts wiping them away.
"Lane said they didn't find anything," John says quietly.
Sherlock's hand stills on John's arm.
"What?" he asks, very softly.
John swallows and then swipes his tongue across his lower lip.
"In the chopper, on the way back," he says. "Lane said they didn't go up the hillside - they never found those bodies."
"He volunteered that?" Sherlock says doubtfully. "As he was dying he volunteered that information?"
"No. I - I asked him," John grimaces, squeezing his eyes closed.
"I've heard - Christ, I have heard men try to empty their souls out. When they know it's their last chance to tell someone - "
He jerks his head around, glaring into Sherlock's eyes.
" - he kept saying tell my mum it's okay, tell her it's okay," he says fiercely, "and I told him I would - if he told me about the four bodies they found outside Khush-i-Nakhud."
Sherlock catches his breath and fumbles his hand around the curve of John's neck to pull him closer. John turns his head and puts his forehead against Sherlock's.
"He was dying," he says, his voice steady but utterly ragged, "and I fucking leveraged that to get the truth out him."
Sherlock slips his arm around John's back, and brushes his lips over John's temple.
"He was dying, and I scared him and confused him because I knew you needed to know," John says.
Sherlock bends his head, and for a moment they just lean together, breathing each other's breath.
"I don't understand," John says more calmly. "If they didn't find the bodies - if they didn't see anything - why would someone kill them for what they didn't see?"
"This case, everything's fake," Sherlock murmurs. "A fake atrocity, a fake report, a fake crime scene."
"Real killings," John says.
"It's light again," Sherlock says, glancing at the window.
"Where do you want to go?" John asks.
"How's your Dari?" Sherlock says, instead of answering John's question.
John frowns slightly, puzzled but also intrigued.
"Terrible," he says. "That's why I put up with Hinde's frankly awful marksmanship."

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