The darkness was all he knew. The darkness that seemed to float about him and take new shapes with every passing second. He didn't know how long he had been in the darkness.
Why did they have to choose him? Of all the billions and billions of people in the world, why did they have to choose him?
The darkness shifted again, and he tried to push himself back from the shifting darkness the best he could. Soon they would come tinker in his brain again, come to torture him, come to...but then, as he looked up in fear, he saw a partial face staring back at him.
It was as if it all the monsters of his past that he had dreamed up as a child had all manifested themselves at the same time, and it left him feeling even more terrified than before.
And then, like that, it all faded and he was left alone jerking awake in his bed; the sheets tangled wildly about him. That dream had really happened.
He had been released by his alien captors though he had no clue as to why.
Perhaps they had grown tired of him? Perhaps they had implanted some sort of camera in his brain? Or perhaps all these questions were just the paranoia talking.
Whatever the case was, he no longer trusted himself, which was how he landed in the correctional hospital for the last four years courtesy of ID or Intergalactic Defenses.
Apparently they didn't trust him either; wanted to make sure the aliens hadn't done a number on his brain.
John Watson got up from his bed and forced himself to get dressed, trying to kill the lingering fear that was left from the nightmare that had decided to dredge up his past.
As he got ready to head down to the cafeteria to get something to eat, he thought about how, at least, he wasn't as bad off as some of the abductees were.
Some people that were at the correctional hospital for abduction cases were failing to be rehabilitated.
They became shut up in their own minds and became paranoid about every noise that was made.
Some of the really bad cases had to actually be separated from the correctional hospital and placed in their own home away from everything.
The only other person these people would interact with would be an attending nurse that would check up on them every once in a while.
However, there was always a fair amount of warning before any of the nurse visits were conducted.
On his way down the hall to the cafeteria, he passed nurses and doctors who were consulting charts and checking in on other patients.
The patient's reasons for being at the correctional hospital ranged from abduction cases like his own to reoccurring negative behaviors that resulted in crimes being committed.
The correctional hospital was built with the goal of correcting or helping to overcome improper behaviors and negative attitudes.
John didn't know if the hospital really did all that much besides telling you that something was wrong with you, but he wasn't in a place to judge.
When he entered the cafeteria, he followed his normal patterns. It was his boring way of processing the passage of time without going insane.
However, John saw that today his normal pattern would be interrupted.
Walking towards his normal table by the paneled windows that overlooked the hospital grounds, he saw that a man was already seated there.
He was intently staring at a crow that was precariously perched on the ledge and pecking at it for food whilst the hover traffic above it roared at a louder volume than normal.
With a deep breath he moved to approach the table and take a seat. John just focused his gaze down on his tray instead of looking at the man.
"Ah, you must be in for an abduction.”
John lifted his head to see that the man's gaze had gone from the crow to him when his head was down.
"You must be in for an abduction. Only abductees lack the ability to hold eye contact.
I'm just waiting for the day when one of you abductees runs head long into something since you won't look up."
John felt something seem to almost snap inside him; something that had laid dormant in him for so long that it felt alien to him.
"Obviously /you/ aren't in for an abduction since you think you have a right to make self righteous assumptions about another human being."
The stranger across from him smirked then before laughing at John's accusations.
"Don't worry," remarked the man. "You're an atypical abductee. I'll give you that much."
"Why are you here?" asked John then, looking up at him. This man was too cocky to be an abductee, but he was indeed a patient since he was in hospital garb like him.
Had he committed a crime? Fear coursed through John slightly.
"Oh come now. Telling you that would be just boring.” The man's eyes turned back to look at the window at the crow that was still precariously perched there, pecking.
"Do you think it's looking for food to satisfy its hunger, or it's trying to hide? The same can be asked about the patients here."
"I mean, are we looking for food to satisfy our hunger? Our curiosity? Or are we just keeping ourselves here to keep hidden from the outside world?"
"What do you mean?" asked John.
"That crow is like us. The people that come here, some hunger to get better. They'll do anything to prove that, but some people use their initial reason for being here as an excuse to hide behind. They secretly never want to get better."
"They just want to disappear and live out the rest of their life in a safety net."
Before John could say anything back to that, he heard footsteps approach their table.
"Stole a police hover this time, have we brother?"
A man in a tuxedo stood near their table with at least four bodyguards standing in a semi-circle behind him.
The man across from John smirked as he turned to look at the man who had just appeared.
"Hello, brother. I was wondering what was taking you so long to break me out of here."
"I have other things to do then cart your sorry rear out of the correctional hospital each time you land here."
Mycroft took a deep breath before adding, "I do hope you realize how much convincing it has taken me to even free you this time."
"I'm so touched," remarked the man across from John as he placed a hand over his heart and stood up from the table.
The man with the small entourage of bodyguards looked at John. John just continued to sit there, trying to figure out why the man that had just appeared looked so familiar.
The man reached into his breast pocket and extracted a business card, handing it over to John. The card read in bold letters: Mycroft Holmes: Director of Intergalactic Defenses.
Of course! Mycroft had been one of the people that had talked him into coming to the correctional hospital those four long years ago. That would make the "brother" that detective he'd heard talk about before.
"You're Sherlock Holmes?" asked John, half in question and half in wonder. He'd heard stories of this man before.
He was suppose to be one of the most brilliant minds of the twenty fifth century. What was he doing here? Sherlock turned then to look at John.
"Yes, I am. Don't sound so shocked. It's...weird." "He's in awe of you, brother. Unlike me."
"There's a case, isn't there? You certainly aren't springing me out of here out of the goodness of your heart." "Yes, there is a case..."
"Excellent!" exclaimed Sherlock, clapping his hands together. "Show me who died."
Sherlock moved to start walking past Mycroft then when two bodyguards grabbed him by the arm.
"Um...let me go," said Sherlock as he stopped moving and turned to face them with a look of annoyance. "Mycroft, would you mind having your handlers let me go? I can walk."
"Yes, I know you can walk. The problem /is/ Sherlock that you have a bad habit of walking right into trouble. Therefore, I'm only springing you free with a condition."
"Ew...Why do you have to put a damper on things?"
"I'm not putting a damper on anything. I'm trying to keep you from ending up right back in here. You have a bad track record, Sherlock, and if this happens again...I've called in all my favors. You're going to have to stay here."
"What is the condition?" "You're to have someone go with you to assist you."
"Like a babysitter? What do you think I am, Mycroft? Four?"
"You certainly act like you are at times. Sometimes I wonder."
"Oh do quit the jokes. You aren't cut out to be a comedian. Obviously you're cut out to be a kill joy."
John just sat at the table watching the men volley back and forth in front of him as if they /both/ were children.
"Serge has already volunteered to go with you to examine this case, Sherlock," remarked Mycroft gesturing a hand towards one of the guards that was holding Sherlock's arms.
"While I'm sure it was out of the goodness of Serge's heart that he volunteered and not because he has been offered a bonus for doing so, if I'm to have a babysitter of sorts go with me, /I/ get to have the final say on who."
"Fine. If that will make you stop making such a scene, you may. Which guard would you prefer?" "Him."
Since John had started to feel awkward watching the whole conversation and argument play out that he didn't feel as if he were a part of, he had forced himself to try to eat.
It wasn't until he felt like several eyes were staring in his direction that he looked up to see that it was true. Not only that, but Sherlock's finger was pointing right at him.
"Him?" asked Mycroft. "Why him?" "I think he and I would work well together."
"Yes, but he's been in here for years." "Which is exactly another reason why he ought to come with me."
"Sherlock," said Mycroft. "You have no idea if a man of his...condition will be able to handle the line of work that you do."
Sherlock looked away from Mycroft to focus all his attention on John.
"So what will it be, John? Do you have a hunger or a fear? Do you want to stay or get out of here?"
John looked at the window for the longest time, seeing the partial reflection of the people waiting behind him.
What should his answer be? What should he decided? Was he ready to fly free, or stay here and hide?