Sherlock sat before John perfectly still ignoring his plate of breakfast as he seemed to be ignoring life. How could John not have noticed it before? He had thought that Sherlock had taken the events of his blinding extremely well. The way that he had thrust himself into his rehabilitation had led John to believe that he would recover quickly with hardly a scar, but now John noticed the tight way that Sherlock held himself., the firmness of his lower lip. He acted as if he were outside of the world looking in.
John hadn’t noticed the change because…well…he was Sherlock, he did that anyway. Also,he had to admit to himself that there was probably a bit more than a modicum of guilt involved. If Sherlock had not thrown John out of the way of that bomb, it would have been him that was blinded, or perhaps killed.
“Sherlock …” John began, before realizing he had no idea what to say. Nothing he could say would change anything.
“Go ahead.” Sherlock taunted him, “ Aren’t you about to say, ‘Why Sherlock, what is it that you want?’ Then I will reply, ‘I want my eyesight back.’ ”
“What good is a detective who cannot see, A private eye without eyes? What observations can I make hobbling about with a cane? Will anyone ask for my help if I need to be lead around like a child playing blind man’s bluff? Because that’s what I am now, a blind man, and my career is over. The one thing that I live for is the work. What will I do now that it’s gone?”
“Sherlock, people with disabilities continue to have rewarding lives.”
“Oh God John! Stop trying to be the sympathetic doctor. I’m not ‘people’ … no wait. Be the doctor that you are and administer some medicine. Do you have morphene in that bag that you hide under your bed? Give me some. I need some. Give me some now.”
“No Sherlock. That’s not the way. You have to learn to accept your condition.”
“I refuse! I refuse to accept it. To accept this is to accept death. Give me the morphene John.”
“Calm down. You haven’t given yourself enough time.”
“No. There’s been plenty of time to realize the truth. Now Anderson will have a valid excuse to keep me away from a crime scene. I am liable to trip over the body. What good am I this way. I am useless. Admit it. My career is over.”
“I know that it’s been hard this last week, but…”
“No, everything has changed.” Sherlock pointed flawlessly toward the entrance, “Admit it. Lestrade will never again walk through that door and say, ‘Sherlock, I need you.’”
John sat watching Sherlock. He had no idea what to do. Suddenly the air was filled with the sound of a police siren stopping on the lane outside. Sherlock lowered his arm and turned toward the door. There was a heavy foot fall on the stair. Lestrade opened the door. Sherlock’s head followed the sound.
Lestrade looked at the silent pair for a moment, then he turned to Sherlock and said, “Sherlock, I need you. ”
For a moment no one else spoke.
“I’m sorry if it’s too early.” Lestrade said.
“No, It’s fine.” John said, “We’ve already had breakfast.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“ I know.” John replied.
“Triple murder. A warehouse in Islington. It’s pretty bad. We can use anything you can give us…anything at all. Will you come?”
The silence extended for a full minute before Sherlock finally replied.
“Of course I’ll come, but you know how I feel about police cars. Text John the details, and I’ll come along afterward.”
Lestrade nodded his head curtly, and then realizing that Sherlock could not see it he said. “Right. Thank You.” and he left.
“See Sherlock. You were wrong. They still need you.”
Sherlock steepled his hands and then folded them under his chin.
“I don’t think that I can do it John. How can I notice the clues without eyes? I can’t.”
John could see hope slipping away from Sherlock. John got on his knees and looked at those uncomprehending eyes that he had stared into so often. Eyes that had questioned him, implored him, appreciated him. That had shown him anger and excitement and love. Now they moved without focus. Darting in small jerky movements that revealed the blackness of the world that Sherlock had now entered. He found his own eyes wet with tears.
“Let me be your eyes.” John said. “from now on, and as long as you need it. I’ll be your eyes. I’ll tell you everything that I see until the day that you somehow regain your sight.”
Sherlock turned his face toward him. And his look of sorrow was replaced with awe. He smiled as he had not smiled since the accident. Sherlock stretched his fingers toward John hitting his chin. He slid his hand across John’s wet face until it sat on his shoulder.
John could sense the words of gratitude that Sherlock could not say.
Suddenly Sherlock pushed himself up from his chair. “ Well then, Let’s be off. The game is on!” Sherlock walked confidently across the room toward his coat which was dusty from disuse.
John stared at Sherlock’s back wondering what he had gotten himself into with this promise. It was too late to take back the words, but then again…Sherlock had given his eyes to save John’s life. Wasn’t it fair that John give his eyes to save Sherlock’s?
“John!” Sherlock called at the open door.
“Coming” John replied running after him.