Blood flows and soaks and stains John’s favorite trousers, now torn in the crease where thigh meets hip. The knife wound is deep, but John thinks only of the trousers as the terrified young man responsible for the desecration of them runs off between towers of cardboard boxes set in rows about the room like a maze.
He’ll never find another pair quite as nice, he thinks before sinking to the ground.
A switchblade clanks against the concrete floor inside the factory, covered in blood, categorized in Sherlock’s brain under, “WARNING: WRONG”. Bells and whistles are sounding, trumpets are blaring and when did it become so hard to breathe? That man wasn’t supposed to be here; Sherlock would have known if he were a part of this. Judging by his current state of dress, he is a lingering factory worker idiotic enough to plunge a switchblade into John’s upper thigh.
Sounds foreign to his ear tear from his own throat (he can feel them come out), an inhuman growl as he punches the crippled fool they came here for who is holding onto his leg, keeping him from John, once, twice, three times in his face until he is out cold. He peels the criminal off, knocks down a stack of boxes and falls beside his dearest companion.
There was a moment, half a second, a mere fraction of time where Sherlock debates between following the offender or being at John’s side. It’s a bit of a shock, as much as it isn’t, which one he chooses.
Time doesn’t slow down or speed up or even still exist as John lies in a pool of his own blood on the cold concrete floor. It’s a strange sort of lingering feeling of just existing. He’s been through this before; it’s not the first time he’s been wounded.
He’s worried, though not for himself. For as long as they’ve been together, John still isn’t quite sure how Sherlock will react to things like this.
The thought is almost paralyzing as Sherlock takes his place at John’s side.
Sherlock has seen a great many horrors, none of which truly affect him in what one might consider a normal, human way. He can handle anything. He thought he could handle everything.
Nothing compares to the sight of John bleeding all over himself, and a piece of Sherlock’s supposedly non-existent heart withers away.
Cold hands grope and prod John’s burning flesh, tear larger the hole in his ruined trousers.
“Sherlock,” he breathes, Sherlock’s name only coming out as a dreamy puff of air. Sherlock’s body convulses and he rips his scarf from his neck, wrapping it tightly around John’s wound. Spots of black and amber swirl freely in John’s vision, so he closes his eyes and watches them dance.
It’s easier than watching Sherlock fall apart.
Words can’t seem to come out of Sherlock’s mouth, though they’re running rampant, screaming inside his mind. They cut through his flesh and bury themselves deep within his brain.
It actually hurts.
As sirens penetrate the dull hum of sleeping machines, Sherlock crawls slowly along the floor, closer until his breath mingles with John’s, close enough that he can almost taste him.
It’s barely spoken.
“I’ll be fine, Sherlock. Promise.”
No, it’s not fine, it’s as far from fine as anything can be. Sirens grow and grow, deafening drums that beat inside Sherlock’s ears, annoying him. He grabs hold of the neck of John’s jumper and squeezes it tight. Squeezes his eyes tight, rests his head against John’s and lets out a choked moan full of rage and frustration.
Sherlock isn’t reassured.
Hazy, wispy clouds float in and out through John’s tired, teary eyes. He knows they’re not real. Sherlock’s face is there, pale, his lips trembling. John isn’t sure if he’s angry or worried or upset. All three, most likely, and they are a dangerous combination of feelings for anyone to possess.
John thinks he can very well get up and walk out of the factory. He’s not slept or eaten in the past twenty-four hours which he figures is adding to the fatigue he feels from the blood loss, but he’s damn well sure he could probably walk out of there. He would force it if necessary.
Anything to never hear that sound come out of Sherlock’s mouth again.
Footsteps can be heard and the cries of familiar voices soon fill the factory. Sherlock fixates on them, tries to bring his concentration back. He needs to keep it off the blood spilling out of John’s leg. Blood doesn’t disgust him, but it makes his stomach pitch and roll and clench when it’s spilling out of John’s leg. That blood needs to be put back. It doesn’t need to be on the ground, it’s too precious and vital to be anywhere but inside John’s veins.
Suddenly he’s angrier than before.
John’s breathing is steady, but slow. He’s feeling worn, like a used wash-rag, and his head starts to throb.
The police are there and Lestrade’s voice seems distant, yet clear.
“This one’s got blood on his hands. Is he the one you had texted about, Sherlock? Christ, what happened to Watson? We need that ambulance!”
Sherlock barely tips his head in their direction when John sees his eyes grow large and dark, flashing dangerously.
That’s when he lunges.
Thoughts don’t have time to process fully before Sherlock is at the switchblade owner’s throat. Once again the cry from his mouth seems savage and vulgar, but this time it feels so natural as he goes to choke the very breath out of that disgusting man.
His arms lash out and pull flesh, seek out every possible area which would cause the most pain. The young man screams and pulls back and Sherlock’s fists are punching, sometimes hitting, sometimes missing. He’s being pried off by countless hands, though they’re not enough.
Sherlock’s rage drives him, and it will win in the end.
John is out of breath.
So out of breath.
Lestrade’s voice is in Sherlock’s ear.
“Sherlock, I promise he’ll do some time!” he coaxes, his voice hoarse.
Three officers and the Inspector have him pinned to the ground. He’s shaking. He’s angry.
“You see what he done! You see it? I thought they stole somethin’, I was just protectin’ my territory! You see what he done!” The would-be assassin (because that’s what he’s become to Sherlock) was held back by an officer, wiping his bloody face with his shirt sleeve.
Sherlock shrugs everyone off, stands up and straightens his coat. He smooths out the fabric, wipes a hand down the buttons. Holding his head up, he glares at the young man, who recoils slightly at his gaze.
“Did, you uneducated imbecile.” And he turns back to the one person who is clearly more important than anyone else in the world.
John’s hand seeks out and finds its intended target. His fingers clasp tightly with Sherlock’s long, shaky ones.
“You’ll need to bandage those knuckles,” he says.
“You first,” Sherlock whispers back, grazing his nose against John’s cheek as John is being lifted off the ground. He closes his eyes and smiles.
Sherlock follows close behind as John is carried away to the ambulance. He ignores the rest of the world for now, focused only on two things: Not letting John out of his sight, and searching the internet on his phone for another pair of the trousers John is currently wearing.
They are his favorite, after all.