|DoS: Summer Edition #11 [Sherlock Request #5]
||[Aug. 7th, 2011|11:41 pm]
(lives between pages)
Title: Close Call
Pairing/Characters: John/Sherlock, Lestrade
Rating: R (mostly for danger and injury)
Notes: This is in response to insane_duckfish's request for thank-God-you're-not-dead snogging, although I must confess it got off the leash and turned into more than just a standard ficlet, let alone more than just a standard drabble. Some others will fare in a similar fashion, too, as far as their requests, given what I have left to fill...
Summary: Knowing what you've got before it's gone makes everything harder.
Sherlock, John thinks as he's torn from fitful sleep by the ringtone he's assigned to Lestrade. It's what I've been dreading. He fumbles with the keypad and answers.
“What's happened? Where is he?”
Lestrade takes a weary breath.
“There's no hiding anything from you, is there? I'm having him checked over at Bart's. We found him unconscious under a blocked-off railway tunnel, the location of which he'd fortunately disclosed to me via text. There was blood on his shirt, but we decided to let the ambulance team sort that, as they were about thirty seconds behind us.”
John is already in his jeans and halfway into yesterday's button-down shirt.
“No update from Bart's, then? Not even a preliminary—”
“He was breathing,” says Lestrade, although who he's trying to reassure, John has no fucking clue. “The blood wasn't fresh; it had already begun to dry.”
“Why the bloody hell didn't you mention that in the first place!”
“Do me a favor and step outside for some air. I'll be there in five minutes.”
“With a car, in which we're heading immediately to Bart's,” John seethes, shoving his feet into the first pair of shoes he can find (his ratty old trainers). He hangs up and all but trips down the stairs, gropes around in the sitting room for his coat, fails to find it, and races down the remaining stairs without bothering to lock the door on his way out.
John spends three minutes with his hands jammed into his pockets, cursing visible puffs into the freezing air. He doesn't even wait till the car stops before dashing into the road, and Lestrade lays hard on the horn as he brakes with a sickening screech.
“The idea's not to hospitalize you both,” he says as John yanks open the door and slides into the passenger seat. “For God's sake, John. Be careful.”
“Just drive,” John says, folding his arms tightly across his chest.
For anyone else, there would have been forms to fill out. There would have been questions: Who are you? What's your relationship to the patient? What do you mean you just live with him? Where's the patient's next-of-kin? John's regretting the fact that there's nothing official, no piece of paper, no proof beyond his word that the man in the bed before him taped up with tubes and needles and an oxygen mask is his lover.
John swallows and steps closer, curling his fingers around Sherlock's still hand.
“Hey,” he whispers, just loudly enough that there's a chance Sherlock might hear if he's awake beneath the paraphernalia and the sedatives. “It's me. I'm here.”
Sherlock's eyes fly open almost instantly, fixed wide and unfocused on the ceiling for several seconds before they dart sideways to John. He looks confused, and even somewhat afraid. He tries to speak, but the oxygen mask garbles the sound that passes his lips. He tries to lift his free hand to remove the mask, but it's the one with a cannula stuck in. John loosens the mask for him, tugging it clear of his chin.
“John,” says Sherlock, thickly. “What...”
“Whoever you followed down there had accomplices lying in wait,” John tells him. “One of them caught you from behind, hit you on the head, and stuck a penknife between your ribs. You're lucky the blade was so small. You're already stitched up.”
“The wonders of modern medicine,” says Sherlock, licking his lips. “Water?”
John lifts the cup from the bedside table to Sherlock's mouth, dribbling a bit down his chin when Sherlock chokes on the first swig. Serves him right, John thinks, but he wipes up the mess before it can drip down Sherlock's neck and onto his hospital gown.
“Where are my clothes?” asks Sherlock, indignantly.
“Taped up in a plastic storage bin, just like every other patient's belongings.”
“And my mobile?”
“Bin,” says John, and then closes his eyes on the delayed sting of tears. “Exactly what part of the circumstances that led to your being here seemed like a good idea?”
“All of it,” says Sherlock. “Obviously.”
“Yes, but you know how there's always something you miss?”
“Not always always.”
“This time, that something tried to kill you, and if it'd had a bigger blade, it might've done,” John tells him, setting the cup down so hard that some splashes onto the table.
Unexpectedly, Sherlock frowns, cluttering his pale forehead with worry lines.
“I hadn't thought of that,” he says, and that's when it's pretty clear the drugs are more than half responsible for his pitifully stupid responses. Or at least John hopes they are.
“You never think of that, do you?” John asks.
“On the contrary,” replies Sherlock, with vague regret, “I think about it often.”
“Not often enough,” John says, tightening his hold on Sherlock's hand. “What am I supposed to do if someone manages to kill you, I mean really kill you? What am I supposed to tell Mrs. Hudson? Or Molly? Worse yet, what am I going to tell Mycroft?”
“That wouldn't be an issue,” Sherlock says. “He'd know already.”
“I know,” he sighs, letting his eyes drift shut. “You're not being funny.”
“I hope you're not, either,” John says, willing his voice not to break.
Sherlock looks restful, but he's tense, his fingernails digging into John's palm.
“You're very upset with me.”
“Furious with me, in fact.”
“How'd you guess.”
Sherlock sighs again, and it's then that John realizes his eyes are shut because he's close to tears, too. A trickle has escaped and made its way down his right cheek.
“You're right to hate me.”
“Oh, for fuck's sake,” John hisses. “I don't.”
“You must. It's only logical. I'd hate you if you were the one lying here.”
“Is that so?” John asks, wiping the stray tear away with his thumb.
Sherlock opens his eyes, blinking rapidly. His gaze shimmers, far too bright.
“Not really,” he says, surrendering to an undignified sniffle. “Tissue.”
John fetches him some from the loo, and he spends the next five minutes listening to Sherlock blow his nose repeatedly as the remainder of the tears he's held back spill over. It's an impressive display, even more so than when he's faking it.
“Come on, that's enough,” John says, edging onto the bed, just enough to work an arm around Sherlock's shoulders. “If you don't stop, I'll have to put the mask back on.”
Sherlock chokes out a laugh, hiding behind the mess of loo roll.
“Don't you dare.”
John kisses Sherlock's hair. Buries his nose in it, smells rust and damp earth.
“You need a bath,” he tells Sherlock.
Sherlock shakes his head and turns as far into John's embrace as he's able.
“I know,” John whispers. “Me too.”