Conference Weekend: Friday Night

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Friday Night

Everyone had gone to bed for the night, except for Sherlock who remained reclining in the lounge.

Greg Lestrade was sleeping soundly until a noise in the dormitory woke him. He kept his eyes shut not wanting to wake up but listened out for the noise again. It sounded like muffled moaning with a few random words thrown in.

What was going on? He’d have to wake up properly and find out.

He stood quickly from his bed at the bottom of a bunk and wandered around quietly in the semi-dark, trying to ascertain where the sound was coming from.

The moaning became louder and more panicked. “No… no, no!”

On high alert now Greg woke Sally who was sleeping in the bunk next to him. He shook her shoulders gently and she opened her eyes in surprise. “Something’s up.” He whispered and she followed quickly.

The shouts became more coherent and pained “You can’t … no… please… don’t!”

That’s when Greg and Sally came across John’s bunk. He was on the top bed squirming about, covered in sweat and breathing loudly.

“Looks like hell of a dream… we should wake him before he wakes the whole room.” Greg motioned for Sally to climb up and give the troubled doctor a nudge.

She stood up on the bottom bunk and put her hands on John’s chest. “John… John wake up.” She whispered. He started batting her arms away, struggling against her.”

“John!” She said more loudly and the doctor shot up in a panic.

He looked around wildly with tears in his eyes and started hyperventilating, his breaths coming in short noisy bursts. His shaking hands grasped at his chest as he struggled to breath.

“John come down here.” Sally tried to convince the distressed doctor to relocate to the bottom bunk so she could help him properly but he didn’t seem to hear her.

At that moment the door to the dorm swung open, shining light in to the room. Sherlock, dressed in his pyjamas and dressing gown strode in and headed straight for his friend.

He stood on the lower bunk next to Sally and leaned over to speak softly to John. “Shhh… calm down John.” He soothed while rubbing his back gently.

Sherlock saw more people had begun to wake at the commotion and was mindful that John would be embarrassed if they all witnessed his panic attack. “Come on John, let’s get you out of here and get you a cup of tea.”

John couldn’t reply and continued hyperventilating painfully.

“John, come on. Climb down this ladder, I’ll be right behind you.” Sherlock guided the shaking doctor towards the edge of the bed and he started his decent. As he got about half way down he became very dizzy and leant on his friend heavily for the rest of the climb.

Sherlock put his arms around his friend and helped him walk in to the lounge with Sally and Greg in tow.

Sherlock sat next to John on the sofa and tried to get his breathing under control while a worried Greg and Sally crouched on the floor next to him.

Sherlock had to grab John by the shoulders to ensure he was listening to him. “John, I’m going to count slowly to ten … 1… 2… 3… 4… 5….” It didn’t work John’s breathing was getting worse and Sherlock could see fear in the man’s eyes.

“OK let’s try another one… errr… I don’t have a bag… cup your hands around your mouth and breath in to them.” John didn’t pay any attention.

“Like this John” Sherlock tried to show him what to do. He wasn’t complying. Out of desperation to get John to breath more slowly Sherlock tried to sit behind him and put his own hands around the doctor’s mouth but it made John panic even more.

“OK, OK.. this isn’t working.” Sherlock watched as John looked like he was about to lose consciousness.

Out of ideas, he pulled him in to a close embrace, putting his arms around the shaking man’s back while John’s head rested on his right shoulder.  “It’s ok… it’s ok… I’m safe… you’re safe… everything’s alright……. I’m right here.” Sherlock whispered in his friend’s ear, holding him in a protective hug.

Sherlock sensed that John’s breathing was becoming more normal but that the doctor’s emotions were about to get the better of him.

“Donovan can you go get him a blanket and Lestrade could you make him a cup of tea?”

“Good idea.” Replied Sally.

“Yeah sure… would you like a drink yourself?” Greg asked as he stood to leave.

“Coffee, two sugars, thanks.”

As the pair walked away towards the small kitchen on the side of the lounge, they heard Sherlock whisper “They’ve gone John.” Greg turned to look back and Sally followed his line of sight to watch John’s shoulders start to shake against Sherlock’s chest, the taller man holding him tightly.

“He knew he needed to cry.” Sally stated quietly and turned to enter the kitchen with Greg, not wanting to invade his privacy any more.

They busied themselves in the kitchen, taking their time to make four hot drinks.

“I wonder what that was about.” Greg thought aloud.

“Whatever just happened, it ain’t an uncommon occurrence by the look of it.” Greg looked at her questioningly. “Well Sherlock hasn’t asked once ‘what’s wrong’ or anything like that. He just leapt in to action to deal with the panic attack. Doctor Watson obviously has these nightmares frequently.”

“Post-Traumatic Stress do you think? From the war?”

“Could be… but… I don’t know.”  Sally mused. “Something Sherlock said… what was it… ah yes he said things like ‘I’m safe. I’m right here.’ Made me wonder if it’s something to do with Sherlock’s faked suicide.”

Greg looked impressed “You notice more about people than I do Sally.”

“Doubt Sherlock would agree with you on that Sir.” Sally grinned. “Think we’ve given them enough time?”

“Yep, let’s get back in there, check that Doctor Watson is ok.” Greg carried the drinks on a tray while Sally went to fetch the blanket she promised.

As Greg approached the sofa he noticed Sherlock hastily wipe a tear away from his cheek and release his hold on John a little.

“John, let’s have a cup of tea to settle our nerves.” His friend leaned back, wiping his face furiously before turning to greet Greg.

John was grateful for the drink and, although he wouldn’t show it, so was Sherlock. He had found it heart wrenching to see his friend in such distress because of his actions. He just knew this was going to rear its ugly head this weekend, the nightmares had become so frequent. As soon as he saw the dormitory his heart sank, he had hoped for some privacy for John.

Sally soon arrived with a warm blanket which she gave to Sherlock to drape over John and the four of them settled in to a light-hearted conversation about funny things that could go wrong with forensics. Soon John was chuckling away at some stories Greg was telling from the days when he first joined the police force.

Sally yawned loudly and they agreed it was time to get back to bed. She and Greg stood to leave but Sherlock and John told them they would stay in the lounge for a while.

Greg and Sally bid them good night and headed for the dormitory. As Sally opened the door she couldn’t help but take one last look back at the odd pair and nudged Greg to take a look as well. John was stretching the blanket over Sherlock and the two men snuggled in together. The detective turned the TV on quietly by the remote and they settled down, leaning against each other to watch some crap late-night telly.

Greg and Sally shook their heads, bemused at the close friendship between the two and returned to their beds.

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