John arrives back at 221B shortly after 1 PM carrying two shopping bags. He's cold, having run out of the flat without his jacket, and his hair is damp with snowflakes. The one shopping bag he's carrying is heavy, the bag straining to hold milk, tea, a loaf of bread and some orange juice without bursting apart.
Mycroft's voice, calm and just this side of frustrated, is what he hears after opening the door. John rolls his eyes as he catches sight of Sherlock's long limbs sprawled across the sofa. The detective is ignoring his brother, as is his default when Mycroft pays a visit, though his face is pinched with annoyance.
“I hardly ever ask for you help, brother,” Mycroft says. He's pacing, his shoulders stiff. His ever present umbrella clicks against the wooden floor.
Sherlock scoffs in disbelief. “Lying again, are we, brother?”
“My visit last week was of a more personal nature.”
“A phone call would have sufficed, Mycroft.” Sherlock says scornfully. “It's tedious enough having to discuss finances with you, without it being face-to-face.”
John sees Mycroft rub his forehead as the older man continues to pace the room. “You are trying my patience, Sherlock. Must you always act the child?”
“I may as well since you continue to believe I need looking after.” Sherlock snaps.
John snorts. Sherlock definitely needs looking after. He's a danger magnet even without his work as a consulting detective. His experiments tend to take a deadly turn all too often. In the last week John has had to put out four small fires in the dinning area alone.
Mycroft echoes John's thoughts. “With your line of work, brother, you beg danger to come find you. My personal touch is often needed to keep you from jail time, not to mention...smoothing over ruffled feathers from Scotland Yard.”
“Scotland Yard is full of a bunch of idiots.”
John settles into the armchair and watches Sherlock's brother wander around the room. He isn't sure if he'll need to intervene on Sherlock's behalf in order to prevent bloodshed or if his presence is in fact unnecessary. At the very least, if Sherlock remains somewhat civil for the next five minutes then John will excuse himself and leave the brother’s to their bickering.
“Nevertheless,” Mycroft is saying, “Your acerbic words would have landed you in hot water on a much more regular basis were it not for my intervention.”
“Emotions are tedious and boring.” Sherlock says, bored. He steeples his fingers and fixes his eyes on his brother.
Mycroft sighs. “I do wish you could be a little more grateful for the effort I expend on your behalf.”
“Yes, yes, you do so much for me.” Sherlock says, his tone distinctly sarcastic.
“Sherlock.” John says reproachfully.
Mycroft stops his pacing with a suddenness that has John turning his way. Sherlock's brother is swaying on his feet, his left hand massaging his forehead almost viciously. He lists to the left before he catches himself abruptly.
“Not now,” John hears Mycroft slur. He's right inside the kitchen arch-way.
“Mycroft?” John questions, worried. Sherlock is tense and motionless on the sofa. The detective almost seems to be holding his breath. John is on his feet and rushing over to Mycroft when the older man's body goes stiff, before his eyes roll back in his head and he's falling backward onto the floor.
Mycroft's body is convulsing on the wood floor, his muscles alternating between stiff and relaxed. His head slams against the floor and John winces in sympathy. He needs to find something soft to put behind Mycroft's head, fast, before he harms himself.
“Sherlock!” John yells. He blinks in surprise when he realizes Sherlock is hovering behind him, his hands clenched into fists. “Get me a pillow.” He orders more quietly.
John takes the pillow Sherlock quickly procures and lifts Mycroft's head gently and places it behind the back of his head. John loosens the tie around Mycroft's neck and unbuttons the top two buttons on Mycroft's dress shirt. He motions for Sherlock to kneel beside him and with Sherlock's help rolls Mycroft into the recovery position. Vomit drips from Mycroft's parted lips onto the pillow.
As far as things go, Mycroft could have picked a far worse place to have a seizure. His feet, which are lying through the kitchen arch-way, are in no danger of banging into anything. His arms aren't flung out too far from his body. His right hand isn't close enough to the side table to be in danger of banging against it. Just in case, John places his body between Mycroft's right hand and the furniture. Sherlock sits as close to Mycroft as possible without being in the way after he kicks Mycroft's umbrella to the side.
“He's seizing.” John explains, probably unnecessarily. It's disturbing to see such a strong, confident man twitching on the ground like he's being electrocuted. Small, involuntary moans slip from Mycroft's lips.
Sherlock's shaking hand snaps John from the daze he's in, and he slaps Sherlock's hand away before he's had time to think. Sherlock's eyes, wide with what John thinks might be panic, pierce his stomach like a knife. He explains himself because no matter the situation, Sherlock responds positively to information.
“It's not a good idea to touch someone who's experiencing a seizure.”
Sherlock's hands twitch, and his already pale face loses more colour. “Of course.” He tries to sound unaffected but his voice trembles the slightest bit.
Mycroft's breathing becomes noisy, and his skin turns bluish. John checks his wristwatch so he can double-check just how long Mycroft's been seizing. It's been just under two minutes. If Sherlock's brother's seizure continues for five minutes than he needs to get him to hospital.
“He hasn't had an episode since before he left for university.” Sherlock says like John's asked a question. In truth, John had been wondering, in the back of his mind, if Mycroft has been epileptic for some time. “I deleted all the information I'd gathered on epilepsy and seizures after he left; I never thought of it again. How foolish of me.”
“He's going to be all right.” John reassures. He's surprised Sherlock allows John to rest his hand on his shoulder.
“I'd forgotten how terrible a seizure looks.” Sherlock reminisces. “I remember he seized once during Christmas dinner. Mummy was beside herself; she took to her room for the rest of the day.” He inhales sharply as he watches Mycroft convulsing on the floor.
His hand keeps reaching for Mycroft before he catches himself, and he drops his hand back onto his lap. Sherlock's biting his lip hard enough to draw blood, and his eyes seem glued to his brother's jerking body. His own breathing is fast and almost frantic.
John checks his wristwatch again. Two minutes and forty-three seconds. It feels like Mycroft's been seizing for an eternity. He's torn between asking Sherlock to leave the room—not that Mycroft's brother would listen, but at least he'd have tried—and taking his mobile out and having 9-9-9 ready.
“Will he be all right?” Sherlock rushes the words out after a few more seconds of silence, like he's been struggling with the question but unable to say it. Perhaps he's worried John will realize he actually cares in his own distinct way. Maybe he just doesn't know how to give voice to what he's really feeling. John would bet money on the latter being the real reason.
“If he doesn't stop seizing in the next minute and a half he'll need medical attention I can't properly give in the flat.” Sherlock twitches, and his stare intensifies, if that was possible. He almost seems to be willing his brother to stop making him feel such a trivial emotion as 'worry'.
“Come on, brother,” Sherlock urges. His hand makes another abortive motion towards his older brother; “Stop this right now and get back to lecturing me. You've always excelled with telling me how I should act and what I should be thankful for.”
Three minutes and fifteen seconds. John takes his mobile from his trouser pocket and readies the emergency number. He'll give Mycroft another sixty seconds and then he'll dial. John's mobile digs into his hand while he continues to watch Mycroft convulse on the floor.
Just under four minutes, Mycroft's body went rigid before his muscles relax and a short whistle of air burst from his lips. Mycroft smacks his lips, the sound wet; his eyes flutter but did not open. His breathing is slowly returning to normal.
Beside him Sherlock's own eyes close for a long minute. John can't help but watch as Sherlock's hand finally reaches its destination and rests lightly on Mycroft's shoulder. His fingers dig into Mycroft's suit and latch on.
“His colour is already better.” Sherlock observes. “There's some red in his cheeks.”
“That's good.” John replies. “Now that he's stopped, I want to check the back of his head and see if he caused any damage when his head hit the floor.”
John's knees pop as he climbs to his feet and makes his way to the kitchen sink to wet a clean dishtowel. Mrs. Hudson washed them yesterday, and they'd been sitting by the sink still untouched. He's back by Mycroft's side in seconds.
He starts when Sherlock takes the dishtowel out of his hand. “I'll do that.” Sherlock says gruffly. “Check the back of his head.”
John inspects the back of Mycroft's head, and is unsurprised to see a rather impressive lump already forming. Mycroft is going to have one heck of a headache but he doesn't need the hospital, thank God. He looks up in time to see Sherlock wiping the last of the drool and vomit off Mycroft's face with surprising gentleness. Mycroft's eyes open shortly after Sherlock helps rolls his brother onto his back.
“Where?” Mycroft mumbles. He blinks half-a-dozen times and seems confused, which is normal.
John leans into Mycroft's line of vision and asks firmly, “What's your name?”
Mycroft's mouth opens and closes a few times before he mumbles, “Mycroft Holmes.”
John smiles encouragingly. “Where are you?”
More owlish blinking before Mycroft replies: “London.” Which isn't an exact location but John hadn't really expected Mycroft to remember the specifics, not after his brain's been scrambled.
“You're doing well, Mycroft, just one more question: What month is it?”
Mycroft's fading fast, free-falling towards sleep, but he manages to say, “'Cember.” His eyes close and he's asleep.
“We need to get your brother somewhere comfortable. Do you think you can sacrifice your bed for the rest of the day?” John asks after checking Mycroft's breathing. Sherlock helps hoist his brother to his feet, one arm slung over his brother's shoulder, and grins.
“I suppose that's all right.” His grin turns positively wicked. “I get to call Mycroft's office.” John laughs. He can only imagine what feathers Sherlock will manage to ruffle with just one phone call and just how much damage control Mycroft will have to do the following morning.
All the same, John has a long night ahead of him. He still needs to monitor Mycroft for the rest of the day and night. If Mycroft has another seizure than he definitely needs to go to hospital. He has many hours still ahead of him but, as John looks beside him after laying Mycroft down, it seems Sherlock will be by his side holding silent vigil over his brother.
John smiles and goes to get chairs for both him and Sherlock.