“Is that a wasp?”
“Wha-…Yeah it-…Sherlock, are you even listening to me?”
“Mycroft, we have this conversation every time I come home and the answer will always be the same. I am going back to Afghanistan.” Sherlock said as he added boiling water to his mug.
“Sherlock, you come back once every six months and that’s only for a week. You’ve had two years as a medic already; don’t you think that’s enough time to have gotten over what happened? Mummy is worried you might get hurt.” Mycroft pleaded, not bothering to ask why Sherlock didn’t make him a cup of tea.
“Mummy doesn’t care what happens to me Mycroft, we both know that. You just want me to be your little sidekick again, but no it’s not happening brother.”
“OK Sherlock that’s low even by your standards, Mummy cares a lot for you even if she doesn’t show it. When you worked with the police, London crime levels were better then they have ever been and in the last five years they are going back up, Sherlock ple-"
“No Mycroft!” Sherlock interrupted, placing his mug on the coffee table so not to throw it at the obnoxious, umbrella obsessed man that stood before him. “I didn’t work with the police; I did their work for them. I don’t see why you try this conversation with me, because the ending is always the same, you try and get me to stay here and go back to my old self so we can pretend to be happy families once more, we argue, you give up and I go back to Afghanistan. I’m happy there Mycroft I enjoy my work, not as much as I did with the police but still, I am happy. Why can’t you just leave me be?” Sherlock finished, slumping into his armchair.
“Fine Sherlock, you know what? Go back, hell, I’ll even send a car for you tomorrow morning, but just remember who got you through all that medical training 4 years quicker than the average student, Sherlock. I got you out of your slump when nobody else gave two figs about you, don’t you owe me anything?” Said the three piece suit clad man as he rose from his armchair opposite Sherlock.
“Figs, really? Go away Mycroft.” Sherlock snorted with a wave of his hand toward to door.
“This is my property Sherlock, it could be yours if you stayed in the UK.”
“Figs and bribery, aren’t I lucky? Mycroft we agreed that this property was mine as long as I came to it every six months, that is the only reason I’m here. So please I have to get ready for an early departure tomorrow, do send the car at around six would you dear brother.”
“Yes, but Sherlock remember this conversation.” Mycroft said as he strode toward the door.
“Goodbye Mycroft.” Sherlock said as if Mycroft hadn’t spoken.
“I’ll see you soon, frère.” Mycroft replied swinging his umbrella as he left Sherlock alone in his country home in Hampstead Heath.
“Soon is not nearly long enough, frère.” Sherlock spat to himself picking up his now lukewarm tea. He moved over to the couch where he lay and stared at the wasp now circling the stupidly expensive light fixing above his head. Less than 12 hours he thought to himself you will be on your way back to Camp Bastion field hospital as Dr Sherlock Holmes MD, BCh. To be honest I should thank Mycroft for helping me get through that tedious education quicker, ha-ha he’d be sure to write that down later.
The black Bentley pulled up outside the house at precisely six A.M the next morning, trust Mycroft to be that punctual. Sherlock slung his small duffel bag over his shoulder as he walked to the door. He turned to make sure he had everything laptop, check, phone, check, wallet…wallet, no I left that at camp. He let himself laugh at that, he only brought his laptop, phone, one suit and the jeans, shirt and canvas jacket he was currently wearing, gosh he didn’t even bring his violin back with him.
He locked the front door, handed his bag to the driver and climbed in to the back of the car through the offered open door. “Good morning Mr Holmes.” The driver said through the glass divider “Mycroft took the liberty of getting a private jet to take you to the airport in Kandahar where a helicopter will take you to Camp Bastion. Is that OK with you Sir?”
“It's Doctor Holmes and yes, yes that will be adequate” Sherlock replied taking his iPod from his bag and untangling the headphones.
“Very good Doctor. We will arrive at the airport in approximately 15 minutes.” The driver replied.
“Minor position in the British Government my backside.” Sherlock mumbled to himself, getting quite frustrated with his headphones.
“Sorry, what was that sir?” The driver asked.
“Nothing that concerns you, Sir.” Sherlock spat at the man behind the glass divider. Finally getting his headphones untangled he pressed shuffle and relaxed to the sound of Laura Marling.
“Good morning Mr Holmes.” Said a man as Sherlock exited the Bentley. “I am Mr Smith and I will be your pilot today.”
“Obviously.” Sherlock remarked gesturing vaguely towards his pilot uniform. “And it’s Doctor Holmes.” Sherlock corrected as he pushed his way past the pilot and up the stairs into the plane.
As he ascended the 4 steps on the folded down door he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket, he took it out to find a text from Mycroft,
Do try to be nice to my colleagues, Sherlock. MH.
Sherlock snorted as he punched out the reply, Colleagues? Don’t you mean minions? SH. before switching the phone off and returning it to his pocket. He climbed the last step and walked down the lavishly furnished jet to find a closed off room at the end with a bed and a mini bar. Hmmm…something about travelling in style. He thought to himself before throwing his bag onto the bed and settling in the leather seat and fastening his seatbelt.
“Mr Holmes, we will be taking off shortly. I hope everything is fine with your room.” A voice said over the intercom, the pilot, by Sherlock’s deductions. “The flight will take approximately seven hours and thirty minutes so we should arrive in Kandahar airport at around 13:50 hours GMT and 18:20 hours AFT. Enjoy your flight Mr Holmes.”
“Doctor Holmes, Doctor, bloody, Holmes, can your tiny intellect really not comprehend that much?” Sherlock asked the invisible man on the intercom. Imbecile, Sherlock thought to himself.
ahh, he has seen the light Sherlock thought to himself.
“Doctor Holmes, sorry to wake you but we will be landing in the next ten minutes so if you would like to take a seat and fasten your seat belt, that would be greatly appreciated.” The pilot told him.
“And it would also be greatly appreciated if you would bugger off. Haven’t you got a plane to land?” Sherlock replied drawing the quilt up to his chin, how dare he come in here and wake me he thought.
“It’s for your own safety Mist-Doctor Holmes.” He corrected when he received a harsh scowl from the already angry Holmes.
“Yes, yes. Now if you wouldn’t mind, for your own safety, buggering off.” Sherlock insisted, rewarding the gentleman at his door with a sarcastic smile as he left him alone once more.
With a sigh he twisted himself around so he was sat on the end off the bed with his feet on the floor. Standing, Sherlock stretched his arms above his head before pressing the heels of his hands into his eyes. Ten minutes Sherlock and you’ll be on the home stretch, 14.5 minute copter journey, 3.7 minute bag check, 4.2 minute walk to Camp Bastion Field Hospital. You should be home at about 18:41.41. Sherlock told himself before pulling his jeans back on, fastening the belt and going over to the mini bar to get a bottle of water. He didn’t realise how thirsty he’d been until the bottle was two thirds empty, he downed the rest before taking a fresh one and putting it in his bag. He threw on his shirt whilst deciding he should really use the bathroom before landing.
Upon stepping into the Kandahar heat, Sherlock heard a familiar voice call his name. “Sherlock!” the voice called again as he made his way towards the waiting helicopter.
“Ahh Lestrade.” Sherlock greeted taking the man’s hand in his own and giving it a firm shake.
“Back for another tour then I take it. After only a weeks leave?” Lestrade asked with a concerned shake of his head. “Family really that bad?”
“You don’t know the least of it.” Sherlock replied rolling his eyes.
“Oh I do.” Lestrade said under his breath.
“What was that Greg?” Sherlock asked with a snigger.
“Screw you Sherlock.” Lestrade said giving Sherlock a playful dig in the ribs.
“Oh but it’s not this Holmes brother you’re screwing though is it?” Sherlock asked with a grin that would out do the Cheshire cat.
“Lots of people die in our hospital Sherlock, and I’ll make it look like an accident.” Lestrade joked.
“Sir, yes Sir.” Sherlock retorted giving Lestrade a mock salute. “Lead the way.” He finished gesturing towards the awaiting aircraft. They began to walk toward the helicopter when Sherlock queried “So I guess that’s how you knew I was coming then?”
“What?” Lestrade answered.
“One more word Sherlock!” Lestrade spat before Sherlock could finish his reply.
“Ahhh…Home at last.” Sherlock sang as he threw his bag onto his bed.
“Why do you call it that Sherlock?” Lestrade asked turning to face him in to door way.
“Well, I can hardly call Hampstead my Home. There’s nothing for me in England, that’s why I only go back one week in every six months. All of my possessions are here, I work here. Sounds like Home to me.” Sherlock said as he walked around his room. “Bathroom, wardrobe, basic storage, half decent power outlets and a single bed. It’s all I need, as long as I have my job I’m fine.”
“That’s just you all over Sherlock isn’t it? Well I’ll leave you to get on with unpacking. You’re shift starts at five A.M sharp tomorrow morning, don’t be late.” Lestrade said as he exited Sherlock’s quarters.
“Since when did you become my boss?” Sherlock asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Since tomorrow morning, Sherlock.”
“Courtesy of my brother?” Sherlock snorted.
“No Sherlock, unlike you, I did my full education and got this promotion fair and square. Good evening Sherlock.” Lestrade said shutting the door behind him.
It certainly is Sherlock thought lying back onto his bed and looking at the four concrete walls that surrounded him.
The bathroom was small, containing only a wash basin, toilet and small shower in a 3x4 meter space. Sherlock looked at himself in the mirror above the wash basin, his black curls were slightly dishevelled from the journey there and his skin was slightly greasy. Time for a shower he thought to himself before going back into his room and opening the wardrobe, the wardrobe that contained two sets of basic army uniform with red medic crosses on the left arms, one other suit, several silk and cotton shirts, one pair of army issued black boots, one pair of smart black shoes, a stack of 4 black bath and hand towels and a dark green case containing an M4 assault rifle, should he ever need it. Taking a bath towel from the pile he made his way back into the bathroom to take a shower before going to bed early so he’d be fresh for a five A.M start the next morning.
“No Harry, how many times do I have to tell you?” John said as calmly as he could. “I came home four months ago and told you that that was my last tour and I would finish.”
“Please Johnny, just go back, there’s nothing for you here. You know you enjoy it. You can’t let one death ruin everything, it was six months ago.” Harry pleaded moving to sit on the bed next to John in the spare bedroom of her house.
“But it was my fa-.” John stopped, putting his head into his hands.
“Stop saying it was you fault John.” Harry said lifting his head up and holding it so he was looking into her eyes. “You sent him out to fight, that’s what he wanted, he wouldn’t have been there otherwise.”
“Harry I really don’t want to talk about him right now, six months ago today, urrgghh, it was my fault.” He said taking his sister’s hands from his face and standing up from the bed to try and pace off his guilt.
“Come on John I know it’s tough, but you can’t let that change everything, you love what you do. What have you got to stay here for?” She asked, standing up in front of his and holding his upper arms to stop him.
“You, Harry. Mum and Dad aren’t around anymore, you need somebody to look after you.” John told her.
“Mum and Dad died last year John, I’m old enough to look after myself and anyway I have Clara now.” She reassured him.
“Sorry Harry but, how long is it going to last this time? One, two months? If she hurts you again, I don’t know what I’ll do, who’s going to stop you from hitting the bottle again?” John asked.
“John please, we’re better this time and I haven’t drank since you left last time. John, you love your job, you live in my house when you stay here, sorry but you haven’t really got any friends here, I’m fine. What reason have you got for staying here?” Harry asked.
“None.” John told her with a sigh.
“Exactly, go back, one last tour. Two years, that’s it, then you can come back if you really want to.” Harry told him patting his arms.
“OK, I’ll go back, for you. But if anything happens to you, you call me and I’ll try to come back earlier.” John told her breaking her grip on his arms.
“Fine, fine. The military flight to Helmand is tomorrow at six A.M from London City airport. I’ll drive you to there at five. Set your alarm for four so you have time to shower and pack, then get some sleep.” Harry told him. She walked out of the door and closed it before John had time to protest.
He came home once every four months for 2 weeks; he came back to Sussex to stay at his sister’s two bedroom council house where they’d spend most of their time arguing about her drinking problems, his constant moaning about not wanting to go back to Afghanistan and her constant moaning about how it was ‘all Clara’s fault that they split up’ and it had nothing to do with her drinking addiction. She was right when she said there was nothing for him here because there wasn’t; he just didn’t like the idea of going back and knowing that he was responsible for-… No John don’t think about it, Harry was right, it wasn’t your fault, he wanted to fight. He’d told himself that over and over since it happened, it wasn’t his fault.
John glanced at the clock on his bedside table, 20:42, it was getting late and he didn’t realise the flight was tomorrow. He undid his belt, took off his trousers, pulled his jumper over his head, left his baggy t-shirt on and climbed into the double bed. He hadn’t slept with anybody in over 3 years, not since Holly, she left him as soon as he told her he was going back for another tour, told him she couldn’t take being so far away. He pushed those thoughts out of his head and closed his eyes and fell into what was going to be a very fitful sleep.
“You ready Johnny boy?!” Harry shouted from the bottom of the stairs.
“Yeah, just, two ticks!” John shouted back. Last minute check, uniform, combat uniform, two jumpers, tree t-shirts, one flannel shirt, one pair of jeans, khaki pants, donkey jacket, laptop and mobile. That’s everything…everything I own. He took one last look at the room before turning and walking down the stairs to join his sister.
“You’re doing the right thing John.” Harry said patting him on the arm obviously noticing the troubled look on his face.
“I know” He replied putting on his best fake smile. “Let’s get going then.” He said as he opened the passenger door of the red Peugeot 206 and climbed in putting his bag in the foot well.
“OK.” Harry said as he shut the driver side door. “Should take about ten minutes to get to the airport then-”
“A seven and a half hour military flight to Helmand. Yeah Harry I know I’ve done it enough times already.” John told her with a smile.
“Okeydokey then, let’s roll.” Harry said as she started the engine and pulled out of her short driveway and began the drive to the airport.
“I guess I’ll see you in four months then bro.” Harry Said as they stood outside the flight gate.
“Yeah, will do. Just remember, anything happens, phone me.” He reminded her as he pulled her into a hug.
“Don’t worry, nothing will happen.” She told him returning the hug. “Now, go get ‘em tiger. And try not to die.” She said with a playful slap on his shoulder.
“Not funny Harry” John said shaking his head.
“Sorry John, I love you, bye.”
“Love you too, bye” He said turning and walking down the tube to the plane. Standard procedure told him he had to wear his uniform to travel in, so he did, uncomfortable as it was.
He made his way down the isle of the aircraft past his fellow soldiers until he found his usual seat next to Captain Sebastian Morgan. Although John was his deputy, him and Seb had always had a pretty good relationship, he helped him through his hard times and vice versa they had been good mates from the start and even more so since John got his promotion halfway through his last tour. Seb was born and raised in Lashkar Gah until he was 19 when he and his family were chased out of their home by a small Taliban group operating in their area. Seb was a well built man with deeply tanned skin and a shadow of pitch black hair on his head. They emigrated to the UK in 2004 where he enlisted in the army, he always said he was going to do his part to rid the world of the Taliban as revenge for what they did to him and his family.
“Morning Captain.” John said as he took his seat next to Seb.
“Morning Lieutenant.” Seb replied taking John’s hand in his own. “Didn’t think we’d be seeing you again.”
“Couldn’t keep away.” John replied, he wouldn’t dare tell Seb that in fact his little sister convinced him not twelve hours ago to come back.
“Welcome back men.” A deep voice said as they exited the aircraft on Helmand Province airfield. “I hope you all had a good trip. For all you new privates, I am Major Williams and you will do what I say when I say.”
Not this speech again John thought to himself.
“Captain Morgan, Lieutenant Watson?”
“Yes Sir” The two men said in unison.
“Take the men to the mess; assign their quarters.” Williams Told them
“Yes Sir” They replied.
“Men, you have until 20:00 hours to do what you please then I want you all in the mess, sharpish.”
“Yes Sir” The men said half-heartedly, still slightly jet-lagged from their journey.
“Very Good” Major Williams said before turning on his heel and walking back to the mess.
Feel free to pester me for updates on thedoctorsherlockandme.tumblr.com
Slightly graphic hospital scene, minor character death.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Beep, zzzz, beep, zzzz, beep, zzzz, be- Sherlock flicked the switch of his alarm clock 04:45 A.M. Getting out of bed and stretching Sherlock decided he would have a five minute shower before his shift started, two showers in less than twenty four hours, what a treat he thought to himself.
“Doctor Holmes!” Someone shouted from outside his door. “Doctor Holmes. Are you awake?!” the voice called.
“Yes, what do you want? My shift doesn’t start until five.” Sherlock called back.
“We have six new casualties; small group of civilians got caught up in a raid this morning. We could do with some more hands.” The man on the other side of the door explained.
Today is my lucky day he thought “Yes, I’ll be out in a minute.”
“Very good, thank you” the young voice said.
Sherlock grinned wide before going to his wardrobe and taking out his uniform, he pulled on the trousers without changing his underwear and put his t-shirt on before twisting the band on his left arm so the cross faced outwards. He opened his door and strode out 50 yards past other doors until he got to a plastic sheet which he pulled aside opening out to a long room lined with beds, at the far end of the room there was a door through which Lestrade and four other doctors were carrying in stretchers. As Sherlock washed his hands he counted six stretchers bearing four Afghan men and two Afghan women, they were all shouting in pain and all had obvious injuries.
“What happened?” Sherlock asked Lestrade as he helped carry the last casualty to a bed.
“A British group found them thirty minutes ago in a makeshift shelter which they were living in, they suspect a small Taliban group raided their shelter this morning and took what little food they had. I don’t think they expected there to be this many people living there, they panicked and just randomly open fired. We’ve got two gun shot wounds to the left legs there” Lestrade said pointing to two Afghan males with blood soaked bandages on their left legs. “Three minor flesh wounds to various parts over there” he gestured again toward another two males and one female with bandages on their arms, torsos and backs. “But this is our big one” He pointed at the Afghan woman on the bed in front of him “She was seven months pregnant, she has a flesh wound to her neck where a bullet clipped her and she is in shock, out cold, we won’t be able to save both mother and child we don’t think but we might be able to get one.”
“You know I don-” Sherlock started.
“Don’t do children, yes we know but you can’t pick and choose in these situations Sherlock.” Lestrade interrupted.
“I think you’ll find I can, I don’t get paid for this you know.” Sherlock snapped.
“Yes you remind us almost everyday. OK then I’ll help with her, you get on those gun shot wounds, two bullet extractions, think you can do that?” Lestrade asked obviously annoyed by Sherlock’s pickiness.
Sherlock didn’t reply. He made his way over to the two Afghan men and took a disposable blue apron from the box attached to the end of the bed. He pumped two helpings of hand sanitizer into his hands rubbed them together and pulled the tray of medical tools into his reach and set about extracting the two bullets.
“We’re losing her.” Lestrade shouted “We need someone to pump her bag valve mask, Sherlock!”
“I don’t do ch-” Sherlock began.
“The child is dead Sherlock. We need you to pump the BMV or we’ll lose the mother too!” Lestrade said thrusting the oxygen mask into his hands. Sherlock managed to get around the huddle of doctors all working on getting this woman back. He placed the mask over her face and started to squeeze the oval ball, trying to get oxygen around her body. Looking down he could see somebody taking the unborn child out of the mother’s abdomen, Sherlock wretched at the sight of the pale, still child they detached from the mother. I don’t do children; not since…no, not now, don’t think about that now he thought to himself. He focused on pumping the oxygen at a steady pace.
“You OK Sherlock?” Lestrade asked “You’ve gone really pale, well, paler”
“I’m fine” he snapped. He was fully aware he had gone pale thank you. He looked back down at the lifeless body. Her abdomen was still open, she was losing a lot of blood from there, her BPM was 46, too low he told himself. He assessed it from every angle, there was no way.
“Lestrade, she’s not going to make it.” He said calmly.
“We don’t need you pessimism right now Sherlock.” Lestrade replied holding bandages to her bleed whilst another doctor was trying to seal it. “Just keep pumping.”
“Listen to me, her BPM is low and it’s just getting lower. Even if you did stop those bleeds she has lost too much blood already, it’s no use.” He pressed.
“We can try Sherlock.” Lestrade said, but it was obvious he was losing hope. His shoulders sagged as he put more bandaged to the bleeds and his face was starting to drain of colour. Sherlock didn’t say anymore, he just kept pumping the mask. 40 BPM, 34 BPM… “BPM is dropping fast people. Jones, get the defibrillator charged.” 20 BMP, 15 BPM beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep…
“Jones is it ready?” Lestrade asked the young man behind him.
“Four seconds Sir.” He replied.
“OK Sherlock mask off please. Get the defib-pads.” Sherlock complied, going to the box next to the defibrillator and taking two orange pads. He placed one over the woman’s sternum and one half way down her left side ribcage, trying not to disturb the still gaping abdomen incision.
“Make some space please.” Lestrade called.
“Stand clear” Jones said before he placed the two paddles over the pads and sent 1000 volts of electricity through the woman’s body. Still no pulse.
“Sherlock, CPR, Jones recharge.” Lestrade instructed. Sherlock moved over to the woman put his right hand over his left and started chest compressions 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,….28,29,30. He took the mask from where he put it on the bedside table and did two slow pumps, then went back to compressions 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 “Charged” He heard Jones say. “Stand clear.” He said before putting the paddles back on and sending 1200 volts of electricity through the woman’s body. Still no pulse. “Lestra-” Sherlock started.
“Yes Sherlock I know” He shot with a scowl “that’s it guys, sorry. We did all we could.”
Five out of six, not that ba…OK maybe five out of seven. He remembered the small lifeless baby as he tore off him now blood covered apron.
Feel free to pester me for updates on thedoctorsherlockandme.tumblr.com
Another minor character death.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Hello again lads.” Major Williams said as the last few soldiers joined their platoon in the mess. It was 20:00 hours and everybody was there, 94 men in total, eight in each bunk house. John and Seb has counted them all out and assigned each one to their rooms. Each room contained four bunk beds, and a set of drawers for each man. There were four bathrooms in all placed equidistant from each other around the camp. The mess contained two long lines of tables where the soldiers ate and socialised. Major Williams stood at the canvas door looking out onto the men where they sat at the tables.
“I trust you have all been assigned your rooms, you now know what squad you are in and who your squad leader is?” Major Williams asked. The men made affirmative noises. “Squad number three led by Lieutenant Watson, you’re on early patrol tomorrow. I expect you to fall in no later than 03:00 hours tomorrow morning.”
“Yes Sir” they chorused.
“Very good. The rest of you will remain here until your squad is called for patrol. Call it a rest day if you will.” The group of men laughed half-heartedly. “Supper will be served momentarily, after that you will go back to your quarters and its lights out for 23:30 hours.”
John had woken up with a terrible headache that morning, it wasn’t the worst he’d experienced in the last two years but they seemed to be occurring more frequently in the last six months. He put it down to tension.
“Good Morning squad three.” Captain Morgan greeted at exactly 03:00 hours.
“Morning” the squad replied. They all had full combat gear on complete with bullet vests and M4 assault rifles, locked and loaded.
“You are on patrol for four hours this morning around the Helmand Province area.” Seb told them. “If you’d like to gather around the map.” He motioned for them to follow him to a table where a map and compass had been laid out. Squad three was the smallest of the four squads containing only twelve men, it contained two bomb trained soldiers, two lieutenants and one intermediate level field medic, the rest were privates.
“It’s just a small patrol this morning, no raids. You aren’t going anywhere where we expect open fire or civilian protection. You’re just going to see if anything has changed or if anything else has been destroyed.” Captain Morgan said “You will do a patrol of an 18 mile radius from here, and you will travel South East to the border of Lashkar Gah. Watson, you split your squad and I’ll give them directions; I’ll come with your patrol.”
John did as he was asked and split his squad into two patrols of five and one patrol of two which would be joined by Seb to make three, Seb had basic level field medic training so they weren’t at much of a disadvantage. Seb told the patrols what routes they would take and decided to take his patrol South East to the Lashkar Gah border.
“OK men, make sure you have enough fluids to last you the morning and we’ll meet back here at 08:00 hours. Fall out.” John said and they left the mess to start their patrols.
Two hours later and John and his patrol had just passed the Lashkar Gah border. John shruged his pack from his back and took out a bottle of water which he swallowed two mouthfuls from before returning it to his bag and putting it back on his back.
“There was a blast here two weeks ago.” Seb said to John. “Nobody was hurt but quite a large building was destroyed.” He gestured toward the huge pile of rubble about 30 yards ahead of them.
“When was it deemed safe for us to come here?” John asked.
“Yesterday.” Seb replied.
“Yesterday. Cutting it a bit close aren’t you, coming on a patrol here this early?” John asked raising his eyebrow.
“I just wanted to see it again.” Seb told him.
“See what? This could be really dangerous, you said it was going to be a small patrol nothing dangerous.” The anger was rising in his voice.
“I didn’t say nothing dangerous.” He said pressing the heels of his hands into his eyes. “That building over there.” He gestured to a long L-shaped building with an Afghanistan flag flying outside it.
“What about it?” John said trying to control his anger.
“That was my primary school.” Seb said as he stared at the building in front of him.
“Oh...look Seb I’m sorry mate, I didn’t kn-”
“no John you’re right, this was dangerous. I just needed to see it again. When I heard there had been a blast here…well…I just needed to know if it was still up.” Seb explained.
“Hey, Seb. Take as long as you want yeah, it’s been deemed safe for 24 hours so it should hold up for another ten minutes.” John laughed giving Seb a slap on the back and walking a few yards away with the other patrol member.
“So, is this your first tour?” John asked the third member of the patrol, he was about the same height as John, but he had a much bigger build and his head was shaved.
“Yeah, always wanted to do it.” He replied with a friendly smile. “Family weren’t that chuffed about it though. My name is Trevor by the way”
“John. They never are though are they? When I enlisted, my family all but disowned me.” He replied laughing.
“No, guess not…err, what’s he doing?” He broke nodding towards the space behind John. John turned on his heel to see what Trevor meant. He could see Seb walking toward the L-shaped building. “He’s just going to see his old scho-”
“John!” He heard Seb shout from behind him. He quickly turned again to see that Seb has stopped dead in his track. He was pointing slowly toward his leading foot.
“Shit!” John cursed, starting to walk toward Seb being careful to check where he placed his feet.
“What? What’s happened?” He head Trevor ask from behind.
“Landmine. He’s gone and stepped on a bloody landmine.” John told him, the panic making itself known in his voice. “Stay here.” John warned before turning to face Seb again.
“Go John!” Seb shouted to him. John only half heard him as he began walking toward him. “Lieutenant!” Seb shouted, putting on his Captains voice. John stopped at that, never disobeying an order. “Retreat soldier!” He ordered him.
“I can’t leave you here!” John shouted back but he took a few steps away. “I’ll call the copter, they can help us.”
“We both know they wouldn’t be able to do anything John.” Seb replied, a little bit of humour was still in his voice. John just stood there; he had no idea what to do. He had done basic training in bomb disposal but he was always told landmines were a lost cause; you just have to dodge them. The minute you step on one you are a dead man, you had to step off it eventually. John felt the colour drain from his face and he turned to find an equally pale Trevor gaping at the sight before him. His first tour and he was going to see a death, bit not good he thought to himself.
“John, please, leave me. Take that kid under cover, go back to camp and tell Major Williams what happened.” Seb told him managing to keep calm. “And be bloody quick about it, my foot is cramping.”
“Go lieutenant!” Seb shot.
“Bye Seb” John said, his voice cracking slightly on the name off his best and virtually only friend.
John turned to walk away when a big figure pushed passed him and knocking John to the floor, he winced at the knot of pain still tugging in the back of his head. He quickly stumbled back to his feet and shouted. “What are you doing?” to the third member of his patrol that just shoved him. Trevor didn’t answer, he just strode toward Seb. “Get back here Private, you’re going to get yourself killed!”
“We can’t just fucking leave him” He spat but as he said it John saw the figure behind Trevor fall to the ground. Everything felt like slow motion from then. Seb hit the dusty floor, Trevor stopped dead, John did the only thing he thought he could do, he leap forward, took Trevor to the ground and shielded him the best he could with the left side of his body toward Seb. Then everything was black.
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“Are you sure you’re alright Sherlock?” Lestrade asked. Sherlock was hunched over with his arms braced against the wall, his face was white and his breathing was becoming slightly erratic.
“Yes I’m fine.” He snapped with a scowl, he pushed his hair from his sweat covered forehead and took a few deep breaths. In…out…in...Out…what are you playing at Sherlock? Children die every day…especially here he told himself.
“You know, maybe if you told somebody about your problem with children” Lestrade began
“I don’t have a problem. It’s just…” Sherlock stopped mid sentence and shook his head, he wasn’t about to tell his life story to this man.
“Take five Sherlock, I need all my doctors on good form. You’re no use to me like this.” Lestrade said before walking back down the long room to help clean the mess that the Afghan woman had left. Sherlock decided to go back to his room; he’d sort his head out then come back and see to his other patients.
Sherlock walked through the plastic sheet and made his way down the corridor to his room. He got to his door closed his eyes and rested his head against the cool wood and tried to focus again on his breathing. He kept his eyes closed as he opened the door, closed it behind him and sank down to a sitting position and put his head between his knees. In…out…in…out… “Oh do pull yourself together Sherlock.” The familiar tenor startled him and he looked up to see a chubby man, around six foot one inch tall dressed in a perfectly tailored three piece charcoal suit, duck egg blue shirt, navy blue tie and he was holding a black golfing umbrella.
“Oh Mycroft, to what do I owe this displeasure?” Sherlock mocked.
“I just came to see my little brother at work.” Mycroft cood
“Save the sentimentalities for Greg, Mycroft.”
“Oh Sherlock” Mycroft sighed “trouble with the kids?”
“Shut. Up. And. Leave. Mycroft!” Sherlock spat at his brother glowering.
“Stop being so sullen frère.” Mycroft said with a roll of his eyes “would you like to know why I’m here?”
“No, but I’m sure you will enlighten me anyway.” Sherlock retorted
“I’ve got a case for you.” Mycroft grinned.
“A case? Mycroft you are infernal. I haven’t had nor wanted a case in five years. I am a doctor, not your sniffer dog.” Sherlock said rising to his feet
“take it Sherlock, serial killer, your favourite. What is it you say ‘always something to look forward to’” Mycroft sang
“I don’t want your bloody case Mycroft.”
“Oh come on Sherlock I heard about what happened today. You get one child on the ward and you’re reduced to a quivering mess.” Mycroft told him gesturing toward Sherlock’s hands which were shaking slightly.
“You know I don’t do children, not since it happened.” Sherlock said ruffling his hair with his hands to try and pull himself together.
“That case was five and a half years ago Sherlock, and it wa-” Mycroft started to get frustrated with his brother as he interrupted
“No Mycroft, I’m not having that talk with you again, I know what happened. I was there, remember? I saw the death and watched him escape.” Sherlock snarled. He moved towards the door and opened it. “Now if you don’t mind, I’ve got work to do.” Sherlock finished, ushering Mycroft out of his room.
“Very well Sherlock you have your way again. Mummy is asking after you, what shall I tell her?” Mycroft asked, turning to face his younger brother again.
“Tell her I’m dead.” Sherlock hissed before he slammed the door in the older mans face.
John awoke to a stinging sensation in his left hand; he opened his eyes, looked down and saw a pair of thin pale hands attaching what looked like an IV into the top of his. He tried to pull it away but the grip just tightened. “Hold still Lieutenant Watson” the man said without meeting his gaze. He had an English accent, London John thought; he closed his eyes and fell back into sleep almost instantaneously.
When he awoke again John was faced with a sharp pain down the left side of his torso. “Fuuuckkk!” he hissed squeezing his eyes shut. The pain was horrendous, it was like he was being dragged along a concrete floor. The worst pain was in his shoulder, it was like a hot prong was being forced through his skin just below his clavicle. He looked at his shoulder; it was covered in a white bandage that was stained with blood in the centre. What the fuck? He asked himself what happ…shit… he remembered seeing the figure of Seb fall; he remembered lunging forward, hitting the floor and scrabbling to shield Trevor, then nothing. “Fuuuckkk!” he hissed again.
“Swearing shows a limited vocabulary.” Sherlock said to the man lying before him. John had had his shirt removed for the procedure, he had a dusting of sandy blonde hair over his chest the same colour as his cropped hair, he was wearing the camouflage khaki pants he was brought in five hours before and he was bare footed. Sherlock went to the IV and pressed something which sent more morphine into John’s system. John relaxed and opened his eyes again, hazelnut Sherlock noted. “There, that should be better for you lieutenant.” The doctor told him.
“John, please” John told him, thankful for the numbed pain in his shoulder.
“John” Sherlock repeated at length. “How do you feel? Any hazy vision or light headedness?” Sherlock asked moving over John to check his eyes with a pen torch. John shook his head. “Very good. I assume you want to know how you got here?” Sherlock said as he made notes on John’s chart.
Sherlock let out a long breath; he hated listening to patients stories “What do you remember?” Sherlock asked replacing the chart to the holder and moving to sit on the end of John's bed.
“Well, I was doing early patrol with Captain Sebastian Morgan and Private Trevor…something. Just a light patrol to the Lashkar Gah border, when we got to the border Seb told me that the area had only been safe for since the previous day.” John told him about the school and about Seb walking away to get closer. “He stepped on a landmine. He told us to leave him, I started to but Trevor decided to go towards him saying we couldn’t just leave him. I saw Seb fall and acted on impulse, leapt forward and tried to shield Trevor the best I could, that’s about it.” John finished.
“So you don’t remember the explosion?” Sherlock asked, he was looking away, it didn’t seem as if he had been listening to John’s story.
“No, I must have blacked out before it happened.” John said, it was the only thing that seemed logical.
“Yes, we’re quite unsure as to why you blacked out so suddenly. Well, when the mine exploded, the force of it sent the debris of the building wreckage flying. There must have been some loose piping in the wreck by the look of what I scraped out of your shoulder, you’re lucky they don’t make those things out of lead anymore. There was a lot of it but I managed to get most, if not all of it out and seal up the wound. That IV is for morphine, you just press this here to inject it.” He said, pointing to the button he'd pressed before.
The doctor that stood before him was a thin, pale man. He had a mess of black curls on his head, not cropped John thought that’s strange. He was wearing camouflage khaki pants, a grey t-shirt and he had a red medic cross on his left upper arm. His eyes were a deep grey green colour and his boots were freshly shined.
Something clicked in John’s head “Seb?” he questioned but quickly realised that his question meant nothing to the doctor “Is Seb here, is he alive? And Trevor?” he added but he’d already guessed the answer to the former.
“Private Trevor Jones is four beds down” Sherlock said motioning to his right “he is fine, just in shock. You shielded him from pretty much all of the debris.” He said, his lips twitching in the corners slightly.
“And Seb?” John asked again
“erm…I don’t know sorry” Sherlock told him rising to his feet. What did you say that for? He asked himself he’s dead, he was dead when they got there. Why didn’t you tell him? Sherlock opened his mouth to tell John when an annoyingly familiar voice stopped him
“Hey freak, flirting with the lieutenant are we?” Doctor Anderson said.
“Well, well, well…let you back for another round did they?” Sherlock threw back at him.
“Or are you just showing off your stupid trick again?” Anderson said as if Sherlock hadn’t spoken.
“That will do ladies” Lestrade mocked “Anderson back to work, Sherlock you need to change the bandages on your bullet wound patients from yesterday.” Lestrade finished before leaving to walk through the plastic sheet at the end of the room Anderson followed soon after. Sherlock turned back to John “trick?” John questioned.
Sherlock sighed and cleared his throat “I haven’t got much time so I’ll be quick about this.” He dragged his eyes along John’s lying form. “Born in London, near Essex probably, you’ve been in the forces for six years now but you didn’t want to come back for your next tour. Something at home keeping you away? No, something that happened here, something you don’t like to speak of. You do enjoy what you do, a lot. You have a brother, Harry, with whom you stay with in your leave in...Sussex. Small house, inexpensive car. He is about four years you junior, ish. You love him but you argue constantly.” Sherlock finished deadpan.
“That…was amazing” John said slightly grudgingly
“you think so?” Sherlock asked, still deadpan.
“Of course it was. It was extraordinary. It was quite…extraordinary.” John told him, a little bemused.
“That’s not what people normally say.” Sherlock lips twitched slightly
“What do people normally say?”
“Piss off!” Sherlock said. John let himself laugh at that, just a giggle at first but he heard Sherlock join in and they both open heartedly laughed. Sherlock had an almost surprised look on his face as if he had never heard himself laugh before. When they had recovered to small giggles again Sherlock asked “How did I do?” John gave him a puzzled look “did I get everything correct?”
“Yea- No actually.” John told him, Sherlock raised an eyebrow prompting him to continue “everything apart from one thing. My brother’s name Harry, is actually short for Harriet…sister.” John told him grinning.
“Always one thing” Sherlock told him shaking his head “anyway I’d better go and see to my other patients. I will come and check those bandages again tomorrow, the pain should have subsided somewhat by then, the IV will probably be able to come out.”
“Wait!” John called, Sherlock tuned to face him “how did you know all that?” He asked.
“I didn’t ‘know it’” Sherlock told him “I observed it.” Sherlock said before walking down the room to his other patients. John lay his head back down and closed his eyes intending to get some more sleep when he was interrupted.
“Lieutenant Watson? Sorry but I just came to apologise” Lestrade said with an apologetic expression.
“For what?” John asked, bemused
“For the little scrap my colleagues had before. They fight like children them two, always have.” Lestrade told him. He opened his mouth as if to say something else but closed it again obviously deciding against it.
“And?” John prompted. Lestrade understood what he meant.
“And for landing you with Doctor Holmes, he isn’t the most caring of people. Doctor Anderson was your Doctor at first; he did all of your initial checks, intracranial pressure and what have you. But our Sherlock has a bit of a thing for shrapnel wounds so he insisted on doing the procedure.” Lestrade told him “I’m sorry about your bad news.” He said shaking his head.
“Bad news?” John questioned, the Doctor hadn’t told him any bad news.
“About your patrol member, Captain Sebastian Morgan.” Lestrade said.
“What about him? Doctor Holmes said he didn’t know what had happened to him.” John replied
“That’s very unlike Sherlock, normally he’d just blurt out news like that and not think twice about the other persons feelings.”
“Will you please just tell me what happened?” John snapped, why was this man being so bloody slow?
“Lieutenant Watson, I’m sorry to have to inform you but Captain Morgan was killed in the explosion. He was dead when they got to him so there was nothing we could do.” Lestrade’s face was apologetic. John didn’t feel it when his hand came to rest on his arm.
“Shit!” John said as he rubbed his hands to his eyes. “Not again.” He mumbled.
“What was that Lieutenant?” Lestrade asked him
“Nothing." He spat, his tone was a little more venomous than he'd intended “thank you for telling me.”
“It’s OK. I’m still puzzled as to why Sherlock didn’t tell you first chance he got.” Lestrade said again.
“I’m sure he meant well.” John said taking his hands from his eyes and looking over to where the other doctor was seeing to his patients. His face was rid of any happiness he had shown toward John and was expressionless once again. “He’s a nice bloke.” John told Lestrade truthfully.
“Well, you’re the first to think so.” Lestrade said and with that he left John to contemplate the news he had just received. Sherlock Holmes John thought strange name for a strange guy.
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“Shit. Is she going to be OK?” John said down the receiver of the phone that was attached to the wall. It had been way over twenty four hours since he was brought in, the IV had been removed from his hand and, like Sherlock said, the pain in his shoulder and left side of his torso had subsided somewhat since the day before, although he was still stiff and a little sore headed.
“She is stable at the moment but we won’t know the full extent of the damage until she has woken up.” The women on the other end of the line said.
“Shit” John said again because it was all he could manage. He had been staring up at the ceiling when Lestrade told him he had a phone call. It was from the Princess Royal Hospital in Sussex. Harry had been brought there in the early hours of the morning with suspected alcohol poisoning, John immediately assumed something had happened between her and Clara but they told him that she was with her when they brought her in. Clara had taken the phone and told him that Harry had been distraught when she got the phone call about John being caught up in an explosion. Clara had to leave for work, so when she thought Harry was alright she left. She came home to find Harry out cold on the living room floor with empty bottles all over the place.
“Thank you” John said. He hung up the phone and stared at it, willing it to phone again and tell him there had been a mistake. It didn’t. John balled his right hand into a fist and threw it against the concrete wall. He screamed internally as it sent a spike of pain through his arm.
“Sherlock!” Anderson shouted “Your pet is attacking the walls” he continued with a smirk. John turned to find a smug looking Anderson standing with his arms folded across his chest. John saw the mop of black curls move towards them from where he had been seeing to his patient. John looked down at his purpling fist, he didn’t care if it was his weaker hand, he pulled it back and sent it flying into Anderson’s unsuspecting face. Anderson fell back clutching his bloodied nose. Lestrade looked up from his notes “Shit, Anderson get up and go get yourself cleaned up. Sherlock, take the Lieutenant back to his bed.” Lestrade instructed helping Anderson to his feet “I haven’t got time for this.”
Sherlock steered John back to his bed by his arms, he let John lie back down before taking a seat on the end of the bed. “Wow. That was some punch from your weak arm.” Sherlock said nodding towards John’s right hand.
“Yeah. Well he has no right to talk to you like that.” John said meeting the taller mans eyes.
“You…you did that for me?” Sherlock asked him
“Well, yeah he was being a git.” John told him
“He’s normally a lot worse.” Sherlock said
“Well I had a bit of encouragement didn’t I” John said, referring to the call he had just received. Sherlock began to chuckle. “What’s so funny?” John asked but he was smiling too.
“Nobody has done anything like that for me before.” Sherlock told him
“Well like I say, I had some encouragement.”
“Oh yeah” Sherlock said clearing his throat to stop his laughter “Bad news?” he asked. John closed his eyes; he could feel his tears beginning to form. He felt one escape but before he could bring his hand up to wipe it away a cold thumb beat him to it. He opened his eyes to see that the owner of the thumb was in fact the thin doctor sat on the end of his bed. Sherlock caught his gaze but quickly broke it and took his hand away, embarrassment? John asked himself. He didn’t mention it, instead he said “You could say that yeah”
Sherlock looked at him again “Do you want to talk about it?” he asked. Talk about it? Sherlock you’ve got much better things to do than talk about this man’s problems he thought to himself, pushing that thought aside he just stared at the man in front of him.
“That would be nice.” John told him. Sherlock stood up from the bed and went to the other side of the ward where he picked up a plastic chair and placed it at John’s bedside.
“Go on then.” Sherlock said
“What can you deduce about it without me telling you?” He asked, smiling. Sherlock smiled back.
“Well, your clearly upset so definitely bad news. The way you hit Anderson says that you were being protective over something or somebody, not just me obviously. You ended the call with a thank you so it was formal, bad news and formality point to hospital. A loved one has been taken there recently, very recently by the shock you showed. You sighed when you were told something first, something that’s happened before, drink or drugs related…drink definitely. But when they elaborated you tensed up and began to swear, the way you hung your head and the change in stance roughly translated into self blaming. You’ve recently been brought here, they phoned your sister yesterday and told her you had been injured. This is a shot in the dark but I’m guessing she has a history of alcohol abuse, that’s the reason you didn’t want to return here, when she got the news she hit the bottle again and she was taken in to the hospital with suspected alcohol poisoning.” Sherlock finished hoping he hadn’t gone too personal.
“That’s fantastic!” John said looking up at the ceiling
“Do you know you do that out loud?” Sherlock asked his lips quirking
“Sorry. I’ll shut up.” John said slightly embarrassed
“No, it’s…fine.” Sherlock told him
“You didn’t get anything wrong this time” John told him “that was some shot in the dark.”
Sherlock smiled and looked into John’s eyes, they sat like that for five, or was it ten minutes. It wasn’t an awkward silence, it was more companionable. John broke the silence with “Can I see what I can deduce about you?”
“You can try” Sherlock said, flattening his expression
“OK” John started, clearing his throat “from the way you look surprised when you laugh with me, I can say that you don’t laugh very often. And you just stared at me for ten minutes, that tells me that you haven’t spent a decent amount of time socialising in a vey long while but I don’t know why. And my telepathic senses tell me that…” John pressed his finger tips to his temples and squeezed his eyes closed “your name is Sherlock Holmes” John gave Sherlock a serious look until Sherlock started laughing again. “You’re 100 per cent correct John, on all counts. I assume Lestrade told you my name yesterday” he questioned
“No!” John said giving Sherlock his best fake hurt expression “I used my telepathic senses” John laughed and Sherlock joined in again.
“In answer to your socialising question, I consider myself a high functioning sociopath.” Sherlock said
“Hmmm…I beg to differ” John said. He looked at Sherlock who was still smiling, “thank you” he said “for talking to me, I haven’t laughed this much in years.” Sherlock smiled wider at him and opened his mouth to speak but quickly closed it again.
“You have a question?” John asked him
“You blame yourself for Sebastian’s death and your sister being in hospital. Why?” He asked
“I don’t blame myself per say. It’s just…everything boils down to me being here. If I hadn’t come back, I wouldn’t have been there when Seb died and Harry wouldn’t be in hospital.” John told him, there was another lump forming in his throat.
“That’s not the only thing though is it” Sherlock said it as a statement rather than a question.
“No it isn’t.” John said, he sighed. The self blame of what had happened the previous year still hung over him. He was about to share his most personal memory with a man he had known for only a day “six months ago I was doing a patrol” he began hesitantly “similar to the one I did yesterday, four people in the patrol, simple perimeter check of a 19 mile radius. We had a new private, first day on the job. We got about 17 miles out when we were faced with open gun fire from a Taliban force, we took cover behind a building wreck. It was horrible, there were cries as they killed civilians that got in their way. I wasn’t scared much, I’ve been through it before, my head was throbbing with the sounds of the gun fire. We needed to fight back, I proposed that myself and another lieutenant went out and fired back but this new private insisted that he helped, he wouldn’t take no for an answer. I gave in and sent him out instead of myself, he was shot down as soon as he left the cover, I’ve always blamed myself for his death, I know I shouldn’t, but I do.” His tears were flowing freely now. Sherlock moved so he could wrap an awkward but comforting arm around John’s shoulders being mindful of his still bandaged left one. John buried his head into Sherlock’s shoulder and they sat like that until John pulled away and wiped his eyes with the backs of his hands. “I’m sorry.” He said
“No, don’t be. I have come to understand it is a relief to have a ‘good cry’ about something” he air quoted.
John chuckled half-heartedly. He shook his head and squared his shoulders when Sherlock released his hold on them. “I’ve never told anybody that whole story before, well, not without changing parts of it.” He confessed.
“And I’ve never had the patience to listen to somebody before, but you…you’re not like any of the others, you have actually got more than one brain cell to rub together.” He joked; John leant over and elbowed him playfully in the ribs. “It’s getting late” Sherlock said gesturing to the clock on the wall that read 22:42, “I should be getting back to my quarters.” John looked around the ward, including him there were only six people in the hospital and they were on the other side of the long room all asleep.
He turned his head toward Sherlock and was struck with an intense pain in the back of his head. He let out a hiss of pain and barely registered Sherlock asking “John. John, are you alright?” or the agile hands which guided his head back onto the pillow. The pain was like a volcano erupting in the back of his head and John writhed on the bed as it grew stronger and stronger. He was moved up to a sitting position again and when he managed to open his eyes just a crack he noticed that Sherlock was holding a bloodied tissue to his nose. His vision went horribly grey and he heard an alarm sound, it sounded miles away. He could here more voices but they were just buzzes in the background as the volcano just got more and more vicious. He slipped further into the grey.
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“John? John can you hear me?” Sherlock’s voice was almost pleading now. Sherlock had managed to stop the insistent bleeding from John’s nose. Doctor Donovan came when he sounded the alarm and helped him calm the writhing John down. They managed to do so pretty quickly and John had now been out for a total of three minutes and forty nine seconds, if it hit four minutes then it would get serious. Sally had left as soon has she could; she seemed in a bit of a hurry. Sherlock was left alone with John and the other five people on the other side of the ward. He sat in the chair he had been sat in before John had passed-out and rested his elbows on his knees. He stared at John, willing him to wake up. John, wake up, please. He didn’t know why he was so eager to have John’s eyes open again, he didn’t really know anything about this man nor about the effects he was having on him. He was a puzzle…and Sherlock loved a good puzzle. He put his hands over his face, Open your eyes John he pleaded I need to figure you out.
“uhhhchhh” Sherlock’s head snapped up. John was rubbing the back of his head, his eyes squeezed closed still. Sherlock looked at his watch, three minutes fifty four seconds, close. John let his hand fall to his side, the sun tinted skin was a nice contrast with the white bed sheets. Sherlock wondered weather his skin felt as soft as it looked, his hand was already half way to John’s before he realised what he was doing and quickly pulled it back. He had felt John’s skin when he wiped his tear away the previous hour, he still had no idea why he’d done that.
Sherlock let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding when John finally opened his eyes, but quickly regained a professional composure and rose to take John’s chart from the end of his bed, mainly to occupy his hands. He could feel John’s eyes on him as he sat back down but he didn’t dare meet them, once again, he didn’t know why. This puzzle was quite a difficult one.
“Doctor?” John queried, his eyes were protesting against the light and he couldn’t make out who was with him.
“Yes. John, it’s Sherlock, Doctor Sherlock Holmes” Sherlock finally looked at John but he was staring right through him, almost as if he was blind. Sherlock moved closer and lifted a finger in front of John’s eyes and moved it from left to right, John’s eyes didn’t follow it. “John. Can you describe your vision to me please?” Sherlock asked, John started when he realised how close he was.
“Wow, you move like a cat” John said, when Sherlock didn’t respond he said “my vision. Well it seems a lot brighter than it did before, but glary. It’s like I’ve been looking at the sun for too long and my eyes don’t want to adjust back. I can’t see you now but I could see a blurred figure where you stood before”
Sherlock moved back to replace the chart then to the side of the bed. “Sit up” he instructed, his voice was harsh, he winced internally “can you do that for me?” he amended, he wouldn’t normally be this polite. John began to sit up but fell back and clutched his head with a groan. “No, it seems I can’t” John said, he seemed agitated “my head. We didn’t drink last night did we? Because this feels like the worst hangover in the history of hangovers” he laughed but that just sent another pulse of pain through his head. He lay back down.
“No, you’re not hungover. John, you need to sit up. It will help your head.” Sherlock looked at the man before him who was obviously in a lot of pain, he was worried, why am I worried? This wasn’t a fun challenge for him, why isn’t it fun? This wasn’t normal, none of this was normal for him, he didn’t understand I always understand! He told himself.
John was trying to sit up again but failing. On his third attempt Sherlock wound his arm around John’s torso and pulled him up. John made pained groans as he was helped into a sitting position, but when the arm which lingered a little longer than necessary let go of him his head felt slightly less like it was being run over by a truck. His vision however remained glary and blurred. “Thanks” he told Sherlock. He let his head rest on the pillow behind it and let his eyes close.
“John, I need you to try and keep your eyes open for a little while longer. I can’t risk you falling unconscious again” He opened his eyes reluctantly and looked at the blurred figure in front of him. He wanted to know why he couldn’t see, what time it was, why he had fallen unconscious in the first place. Sherlock must have noticed his agitation and said “I’ll tell you everything you need to know in a moment.” Sherlock took the pen torch from his pocket and shone it into each of John’s eyes in turn.
John sat patiently as the Doctor did numerous checks and made notes. When he finished he said “you’re eyes themselves are” he stopped himself from saying perfect or even worse something crazy like mesmerising and went with “fine. From looking at you I’d say there’s something in your head that is impairing your sight, I will run some other checks to find out”
“Is it something to do with my injury?” John asked, even talking was sending pulses to his head.
“No, I wouldn’t say it was. The debris was moving too quickly to not leave at least a graze where it hit. We would have known if anything had struck you on your head.” Sherlock explained “but it could be that the injury or maybe even the stress of it could have made whatever it is worse.”
“OK” John said “how long will this last?” he asked gesturing to his eyes.
“I don’t know” he ran his hand through his hair in frustration “I won’t know that until I know for sure what it is”
“do you have any idea as to what it might be?” John asked
“I really don’t know, it could be anything from simple over-tiredness to something as dramatic as intracranial bleeding”
“right…erm, Sherlock…can I be alone for a bit? If I’m allowed to be that is” John asked, he needed to think, to sleep and to just be away from everything. He felt Sherlock stand from where he had sat back down on the chair next to him and heard him say “yes, that’s fine now”. Sherlock sighed before he turned away. John reached out, aiming for his wrist but caught the doctor’s hand instead that’ll do he thought to himself.
Sherlock gasped as John’s hand closed around his own, he turned to look at him. “Sherlock, are you alright?” John asked, he unconsciously turned Sherlock’s hand over in his own and twined their finger together.
“Yes. Yes I’m fine” he replied “get some sleep John. Sound the alarm if you need anything” He tried to walk away but John kept his grip firm.
“Thank you Sherlock” he said. Sherlock didn’t know what he was thanking him for, neither did John but he squeezed his hand before letting go and walking back to his quarters.
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John’s vision was pretty much fully restored when he opened his eyes the following morning, afternoon he corrected when he looked at the clock which read 13:12, he had missed lunch, not that he minded missing the crap they gave their patients here. He was still tired and his head was still buzzing a little but he had been awoken by the sound of Sherlock shouting “Oh do be quiet Anderson, you’ll lower the IQ of the whole ward.” He couldn’t see where they were so John huffed a laugh and closed his eyes to enjoy the show.
“Go away Sherlock, I don’t want you contaminating my ward.” Anderson said smug
“Very well. But tell me Anderson, how long has Doctor Donavan’s husband been on leave?” he asked, gesturing to the passing female doctor.
“Oh don't pretend you worked that out. Somebody told you that”
“Your deodorant told me that” Sherlock said, the ‘you idiot’ was implied
“My deodorant” Anderson repeated.
“It’s for men” Sherlock noted
“Well of course it’s for men” Anderson said shaking his head “I’m wearing it.”
"So Doctor Donovan.” Sherlock moved to where Doctor Donavan was stood and took an exaggerated inhale “Ooh…I think it just vaporised.”
“Now look, whatever you’re implying-” Anderson started
“I’m not implying anything. I’m sure Sally came to your quarters last night for a nice little chat, and just happened to stay over. And I assume she scrubbed the floor, given by the state of her knees.” Sherlock said gesturing to the grey dust stains on the doctor’s knees.
“Why don’t you leave the real doctors here Sherlock and go back to your silly little detective lark.” Anderson said. Sherlock ground his teeth together before storming out of the ward.
John didn’t know what he meant by ‘detective lark’ but it had obviously hurt Sherlock. He got out of his bed, ignoring the protest from his head and strode up to the smug looking Doctor.
Sherlock walked through the plastic sheet and sat on one of the benches in the hand wash room, two long metal sinks ran from one end of the room to the other. He had his head in his hands when he overheard the conversation he just left.
“Why do you talk to him like that?” He heard John say, his head was obviously better.
“Excuse me?” Anderson asked “and what do you know about the great Sherlock Holmes?” he said sarcastically
“not much” that was true “but I don’t think anybody deserves to be spoken to the way you just did.” Also true
“he deserves it. You heard the way he spoke to me.” Anderson spat. Sherlock shook his head in his hands that was a pretty impressive deduction he told himself.
“Yeah, after you strolled in and made your best effort to belittle him in front of his colleagues” John said. He’s sticking up for you again Sherlock thought, why is he doing this? You’ve only known him for two days he told himself, another part of his mind replied with and you’ve already held hands with the bloke. Sherlock laughed to himself, that was true but it was for comfort, purely platonic…right? He tuned back into the conversation.
“He does that for himself, using that little trick of his to impress people, and you’re one of his victims” Anderson hissed at him
“well if that’s how he treats his victims then let me be victimised” John laughed. Was that a euphemism? Sherlock asked himself but quickly shook the thought away.
“Oh god” Anderson said making fake retching noises. Sherlock heard footsteps which he recognised to be Andersons getting quieter, he had left John again. Sherlock thought he’d let John cool down a bit before he went back to check his bandages. He didn’t want to go back to the ward just yet anyway, so he went to his quarters
Sherlock had never believed in epiphanies but what he experienced in his shower was the closest he had ever come to one. He was standing in his small shower letting the hot water run down his body when a reel of the last nights events played in his mind. The way John said he found his deductions ‘extraordinary’, the way John told him what had happened six months ago, he said he had never told anybody the true story before. The way they just sat there in silence just looking at each other, and how they laughed with each other and John was right, Sherlock hadn’t laughed like that in years. Then when John had greyed-out, he’d panicked; he didn’t want anything bad to happen to him. He had a weird feeling in the bottom of his stomach, something he’d never felt before, the more he thought about John, the stronger and tighter it became. It was a warm feeling, quite similar to what it felt like to have John squeeze his hand the night before. He turned the shower to a colder setting.
John was asleep when Sherlock returned half an hour later. Luckily he was lying on his right side so Sherlock could see to his bandages without waking him up. Sherlock pulled up a stool and sat so he was facing John’s back, he reached out and began to peel of the square bandage. It took quite a long time to remove the bandage but when it came off he could see the extent of the damage caused by the blast. John was very lucky, if he had been a few degrees to the right he might have been faced with a nasty case of paralysis, luckily John was in the perfect position as to not damage anything really, the pipe scraped a few nerves so it was tender but apart from that.
John had to have 13 stitches in the back of his left shoulder after the procedure to remove the pieces of piping. They would be removed in around ten days time but John was already showing signs of recovery, he wouldn’t have full manoeuvrability of his left side for at least four or five more days and it would leave a pretty hefty scar. John could walk, so there was no spinal damage and he could still throw one hell of a good punch with his other hand. Sherlock cleaned around the stitches and put a new bandage over it. He let his hand linger over his shoulder and subconsciously smoothed his hand over John’s shoulder blade.
“Is there a shower in this place?” John asked, by the sound of his voice he had been awake for some time Sherlock deduced. Sherlock took his hand away when John began to roll onto his back again. Sherlock stood up, pushed his stool to the side and ran his hand through his hair, smiling down at John. “Yes there is. Just give me a minute and I’ll show you to it.”
Sherlock told him, he stood up pumped some anti-bac on his hands and made a few notes on John’s chart. “Come on then” Sherlock said, John laughed to himself at how Sherlock didn’t ask if he could stand on his own. John stood up carefully and followed Sherlock through the plastic sheet, past the wash room and down a corridor which had several doors leading off to the other doctor’s quarters. They stopped outside the last door of the corridor, Sherlock pulled out his key and opened the door ushering John in before him.
The room was lit by the sun coming through a high window on the east wall, the single bed was tucked up against the same wall, out of the path of the sunlight. “The shower is through there” Sherlock said gesturing toward a door on the west wall.
Sherlock moved toward his wardrobe and took out a black bath towel and handed it to John. “This is your quarters?” John asked, Sherlock nodded. “And you’ve just let me in here to use your shower?” Sherlock nodded again
“there is a shower on the ward but it’s even smaller than the one in here and it’s used by all of the other patients. Only I use this one so it’s a little nicer.” When John didn’t say anything he added hurriedly “you can use the other one if you like it’s just-”
“No, no. Thanks, it’s…fine” John interrupted awkwardly as he took the towel from Sherlock, “I’ll be as quick as I can.”
“Take as long as you need” Sherlock told him “I have a patient to discharge, your friend Trevor in fact.”
“Oh OK thanks. Give Trevor my best wishes” John said as he turned and went into the bathroom. He waited until he heard the door of Sherlock’s room open and close before taking off his boots, socks and trousers, which proved to be quite a difficult task. He could move his left arm to a certain extent but reaching back to pull off his socks sent a shock of pain through his shoulder. The shower was small but it wasn’t all that bad because John could only manage to put half of his body under the shower without getting his bandage wet. He washed his hair with some of Sherlock’s soap, trying to get the right side of his body as clean as possible.
He got out of the shower, wrapped the black towel around his waist, picked up his pile of clothes from the lid of the toilet and went back into the other part of Sherlock’s room. He didn’t expect to find Sherlock lying on the bed, his fingers steepled under his chin. “Jesus, Sherlock, sorry” John said feeling slightly self-conscious.
Sherlock just laughed “John, you’ve been shirtless since your procedure, and I’m sure you haven’t got anything I haven’t seen before, I am a doctor.” Sherlock told him. John nodded when Sherlock looked at him for an answer and started to put his dirty clothes back on.
“Doesn’t that render your shower moot?” Sherlock asked, his eyebrow cocked. John could feel Sherlock’s gaze burning into his back.
“Well, I haven’t really got much of a choice have I?” John asked pulling his trousers up and fastening his belt.
“No, I guess not” Sherlock agreed, his gaze was fixed to the ceiling again.
“Right. I should go back to the ward.” John said rubbing the towel through his sandy hair.
“Not yet.” Sherlock said “I would like to ask you something.” He beckoned him over with a nod of his head
“Erm…OK” John said sitting onto the bed next to him, like Sherlock had done the last few times they spoke “shoot” John prompted.
“Why did you stick up for me like that when I left?” Sherlock asked still staring at the ceiling in his mock prayer position.
“Haven’t you already asked me that?” John said
“Not in context no.” Sherlock said “and last time, when you punched him I mean, you were upset. You had a prompt”
“I had a prompt this time.” John told him. When Sherlock didn’t reply John said “my sister wasn’t the only reason I punched him. It was because of the way he speaks to you, the things he says are quite spiteful.”
“So you actually did it for me?” Sherlock asked
“Yes Sherlock, I did it for you.” He told him again
“But I’m your doctor” Sherlock reminded him. John nodded, he didn’t quite understand why he’d done it either.
“You have a question of your own” Sherlock told him, John didn’t realise he did until Sherlock told him.
“Yes I do as a matter of fact.” John hesitated “what did Doctor Anderson mean when he told you to go back to your ‘detective lark’?” He air-quoted
“Ahh yes, I was waiting for that one” Sherlock told him “are you sitting comfortably?” he asked looking at John.
“Relatively” John said.
“You’re lying” Sherlock stated “you’re leaning on your left hand, that’s putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on your shoulder” he said and he was right John’s stitches were beginning to makes themselves apparent.
John was about to say he didn’t have another choice when Sherlock moved over so he was lying with his body pressed up against the wall but still lying on his back. Sherlock was very thin John noted as he lay adjacent to Sherlock and there was enough room on the single bed for both of them. “OK I’m comfortable” John told him, he was in a physical sense but lying next to this man was doing something crazy to his already fuzzy head.
They were both looking up at the ceiling now, John couldn’t see what was so interesting about it.
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Chapter 9: Chapter 9
Sherlock cleared his throat before he began “OK, my so called ‘detective lark’” he began “before I came here I lived in a flat in London on Baker Street. I was a consulting detective, only one in the world. If people had an interesting case they would come to me and I would use my deductions to solve it. I would also help the police with their cases, well I say help, I would essentially do the Detective Inspector’s job for him.
I started solving cases when I was 10, looking in the papers and collecting data but there’s only so much they print and nobody listens to a 10 year old child. I conducted experiments to test hypotheses for cases and slipped into crime scenes when nobody was looking. I started the job properly when I was 17, the Detective Inspector at Scotland Yard was a little sceptical of my deductions at first but as the amount of unsolved cases in London reduced, my reputation in Scotland Yard increased, I am pretty sure my blog is still on the internet. I was brilliant at what I did and I loved doing it.” Sherlock said, his gaze was somewhere beyond the ceiling by now.
“What happened?” John asked
“What do you mean?” Sherlock replied
“I mean, you loved you job. Something must have happened to make you stop and come here…unless you’re undercover or something” John sent a narrowed gaze at Sherlock but he just laughed silently.
“Don’t worry John, I’m not undercover, I’m a fully qualified doctor. But you’re correct when you say something happened.” Sherlock cleared his throat again “five and a half years ago” he began “The Yard called me in for help with a very peculiar case. There had been several murders, all exactly the same. What the killer would do was pull a person off the street and take them to a random location where he would strap a bomb to them, phone up their loved ones and give them three clues and two hours to find them. If they found them, they lived, if they didn’t get to them in time, they would be blown up. Plain and simple. Nobody got to their loved one in time so all of the hostages ended up dead. The perpetrator’s name was James, James Moriarty he was incredibly good at what he did. I admit it took me a very long time to find out it was him, he was brilliant, but obviously not as brilliant as me.” Sherlock said
“Obviously” John repeated, smiling. Sherlock carried on as if John hadn’t spoken.
“We decided to set him up. We used a young girl and her father, we placed them together in parts of London which we new Moriarty watched over, looking for his next victim. It was like a game to him. Eventually he took the bait; he snatched the girl while they were in a park together. The father had only left her for a few minutes but that was enough time for Moriarty. He took her to her own home where he attached a bomb to her, gave her a phone and phoned her father. We were prepared so we were all listening to the conversation, he got his victim to speak for him; told them what to say and they would repeat it down the phone. He gave us three clues and two hours like we expected but when I figured it out after one hour it led us back to the park from where she was taken. We got there and she was sat on a bench under the cover of some trees. When we got a few feet away from her she started talking, but it wasn’t her, it was Moriarty. He had attached an earpiece to her and was telling her what to say. He told us we had cheated in his game, he said ‘how did you think you could out-smart me Sherlock?’ he knew my name. He knew what we were planning to do, to frame him.”
“Always one thing” John quoted Sherlock. Sherlock turned so his head was propped up on his hand looking down at John.
“We moved to try and save the girl but he had snipers. The red dot between her eyes” his shudder was almost un-noticeable “he was going to kill her. She wasn’t meant to die. We were supposed to find him and stop it.” Sherlock seemed to be talking to himself now. “He was too good, too quick. He told us we weren’t playing fair and we had to forfeit the game. He ordered his sniper and killed her. She died because of me, because I was too stupid to figure out what he was doing. We told her father, he was distraught and we found him at the bottom of the Thames the next week, killed himself. Once again, somebody died because I was too stupid to figure out what Moriarty was doing.”
Sherlock balled his hand into a fist where it lay on his leg and squeezed his eyes shut at the memory. John reached up and put his right hand on Sherlock’s cheek and brushed his high cheekbones with his thumb. “You’re not stupid Sherlock, you can tell somebody’s life story from just looking at them.” John told him, Sherlock leant into his touch and opened his eyes.
“But I wasn’t clever enough to save those two peoples lives, was I?” Sherlock said. John leant forward and whispered “but look at you now, army medic. And you’re not too bad at that” he joked before Sherlock closed the gap between them, stopping millimetres away asking for permission. John gave him it capturing Sherlock’s lips with his own. Sherlock’s lips were soft but firm, it was obvious he didn’t do this often. He felt Sherlock’s thin, nimble fingers tangle themselves in John’s hair and his other hand curl around John’s hip. John couldn’t resist, he took Sherlock’s lower lip between his own and sucked lightly. Sherlock gasped, his eyes shot open and he pulled away. He didn’t say anything as he climbed off the bed and left the room, leaving a very confused and embarrassingly half hard John in his wake.
Unsure what to do, John waited a few minutes, giving Sherlock enough time to get to the ward before getting up himself and going back to his hospital bed. He didn’t see Sherlock as he walked to the ward nor did he see him when he got back into his bed. What did I do wrong? John thought he leant into me…didn’t he? John let out a long loud breath before closing his eyes and trying to push his Sherlock thoughts out of his brain.
“Mr Watson.” A thick British tenor said, making John open his eyes. John hadn’t been asleep, he couldn’t, he could still feel the weight of Sherlock’s lips on his. He was faced with a very well dressed man, three piece navy blue suit, very nice John thought, but he was holding an umbrella in Afghanistan? John could notice something familiar in the man’s features but he couldn’t place it.
“Mycroft Holmes” the man said in greeting but didn’t old out his hand “pleased to make your acquaintance” Holmes John thought that’s it.
“What can I do for you?” John asked him as pleasantly as he could.
“A lot has happened in the few days I’ve been here John.” Mycroft told him. “I understand you are already acquainted with my younger brother Sherlock.”
“erm…yes” John cocked an eyebrow
“and it comes to my attention that you had a run in with him a mere” The elder brother looked at his very expensive looking watch “fifty seven minutes ago.”
“And how does information like that just ‘come to your attention’?” John asked, narrowing his gaze.
“That is unimportant right now John.” Mycroft told him. “A man like you can’t have a great deal of money John, can they?” he said, completely changing the subject.
“Wow, I’m flattered” John said sarcastically, Mycroft didn’t seem to get the joke.
“My brother does require a lot of watching over, and it’s becoming a bit of a burden. If you were to…let’s say…pursue a relationship with my brother, maybe you could lift my burden? Just name your price” he said.
John laughed “you want to pay me to spy on Sherlock? And…‘relationship’?” John asked trying to stifle his laugh.
“In laymen’s terms, yes” Mycroft clarified, John openly laughed at that. “Sorry John, something funny?” Mycroft asked
“Yes actually” John said “even if Sherlock was interested in pursuing a relationship with me, which I assure you he isn’t, I’m sure he wouldn’t appreciate me spying on him and reporting back to his apparently insane elder brother.” John said gesturing to the man in front of him.
“Hmmm…you surprise me John” Mycroft told him “but I was prepared for such a situation” John resisted the urge to shield himself as Mycroft reached into his inside breast pocket. Instead of pulling out a gun as John thought he might, he took out an iPhone and handed it to John. “I assure the appropriate numbers have been saved onto that device. And my brother does prefer to text.” And with that, another Holmes left a very confused John Watson in his wake.
John looked at the phone Mycroft had just handed him, unlocked it and opened the contacts. Numbers? John asked himself, Mycroft had said ‘appropriate numbers’ there was only one number saved onto the phone the name of which was ‘Sherlock’. John selected the number which took him to another page where he could compose a message. What was he meant to say? Would Sherlock want to speak to him? He seemed pretty annoyed about something when he left. It turned out that John didn’t need to think of anything, Sherlock beat him to it. You met my brother then? SH it read.
Yes, he’s rather eccentric isn’t he? JW
That’s one way to describe him. Did he offer you money to spy on me? SH
Did you take it? SH
Pity, we could have split the fee…think it through next time. SH
I’ll bear it in mind. Did I do something wrong before? JW
May I come to the ward to do those tests now? SH
You’re my Doctor Sherlock. And you don’t have to ask to come and see me. JW
John put the phone on his bed side table and hoped that last message wasn’t too coy. It mustn’t have been because a few seconds later Sherlock strolled back into the ward from wherever he had vanished to. “Hello again John” Sherlock said, and he was absolutely not meeting John’s eyes.
“Hello” John replied
“how’s you head now?” Sherlock asked
“a lot better actually, just a little fuzzy” John told him
“and your sight?”
“Practically perfect again” he said smiling but Sherlock was still looking at the chart in his hands.
“Did you experience these headaches or losses of vision before your accident John?” Sherlock sounded professional now
“sometimes, at the shooting six months ago I had one then, when Seb died as well. And I get them when I’m stressed but I just put it down to tension. I’ve never had one as bad as I did yesterday though.” He explained
“alright. I’m going to take some blood samples for testing, do an ECG and take your blood pressure and O2 saturation” Sherlock said, he still wasn’t writing anything on the chart he seemed so engrossed in.
“OK…Sherlock about before” he began but Sherlock interrupted
“like you said John, I am your Doctor” John felt something twist in his stomach. He obviously felt something for this man, but the feelings didn’t seem to be mutual. Sherlock turned and walked down the ward, he came back with two trolleys. One had a machine with several wires coming off it and one had an array of small medical instruments. Sherlock picked up a small monitor and clipped it to John’s finger to check his O2 saturation. He then set about taking blood, checking blood pressure and performing an ECG. Not a word was said between the men as he did so.
When Sherlock finished, gave the trolleys to another Doctor and made some more notes on that damned chart, he finally looked at John. John was staring at him, his expression was blank.
“What are you looking at?” Sherlock asked, he was starting to become uncomfortable under John’s intense stare but he didn’t dare show it in his features. John just replied with “you”. Sherlock let out a slow breath before leaving the ward. John shook his head then let it fall onto the pillow…weird.
Sherlock became rather elusive for the next two days. He hadn’t come to see John, he has no reason to come and see you his mind told him. He would pass a couple of times during the day as he went to his other patients but only spared John a glance when he thought he was sleeping. John was still wracking his brain for an explanation as to why Sherlock had taken to keeping a distance. Had he got the wrong idea when Sherlock leant into him? What if he was straight? That’s embarrassing he thought. His eyes and head hadn’t bothered him much in the last forty eight hours, it would take him a little longer than usual to adjust to the light when he woke up but that couldn’t mean much…could it?
John hadn’t got out of the bed since the day before, he needed to stretch his legs, and use the toilet. He got up walked down the ward, away from the plastic sheet doorway and toward the patient bathroom. He subtly looked around as he walked, hoping to see the familiar mop of black curls, he didn’t. Luckily the bathroom was free; he opened the door and stepped inside the small space. He used the toilet and moved to the sink to wash his hands, the sterile smell of the bathroom was making his nose tingle. He looked into the mirror that hung above the basin, his eyes looked sunken and his face was very pale.
He splashed some water onto his face then dried his hands before opening the door, that’s when it hit him. He fell heavily onto the door frame, holding on to it for support. A stool fell over as Lestrade hurried over to him “Lieutenant Watson, are you alright?” he said, helping John to regain his balance. John nodded but kept a firm hold on Doctor Lestrade’s upper-arms “yeah, just came over a bit diz-” that’s as far as he got into his explanation before having to turn back into the bathroom and vomit into the sink. He dry heaved a few times before sinking to his knees, welcoming the cool porcelain kiss of the basin on his face.
Lestrade handed him a wad of tissues, he wondered what they were for until a drop of blood fell onto his chest from his nose. His head hit the floor none too gently when he lost consciousness for the second time in four days.
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Sherlock made his way to the ward for his night shift that evening, he washed his hands in the wash room, dried them and walked through the plastic sheet and onto the ward. He got half way down it before stopping; Something’s wrong he thought somebody’s missing. He turned on his heel and looked over to the empty bed where John should have been. He looked to the patient’s bathroom, it was unlocked, he wasn’t in there. Sherlock walked down to the bed. No this definitely isn’t right, John’s chart had been replaced with a blank one and his name had been wiped off the board above the bed.
“Lestrade!” Sherlock shouted, not taking his eyes from the empty bed. Lestrade huffed as he walked back into the ward he had just left for the night.
“What is it Sherlock?” he asked
“where is Lieutenant John Watson?” He asked, he hadn’t been officially discharged, he would’ve had to do that.
“Mirwais Hospital, Kanda-” Lestrade started
“He’s in Kandahar? Why the hell would he be there?” Sherlcok interrupted.
“Oh, so you care about your patients now do you?” Lestrade’s tone was stern
“No, I care about John” Sherlock closed his eyes and shook his head, he didn’t mean to say that out loud “why is he there?!” He turned and fixed Greg with a harsh stare. He just sighed and shook his head. “This morning John’s blood tests came back.” Sherlock looked at the floor, he’d forgotten about those. “I intended to inform him of them after he had woken up but he vomited then lost consciousness in the bathroom” Sherlock’s head snapped up.
“Were his bloods OK?” Sherlock asked
“perfectly so” Lestrade said “that’s why we had to send him to Mirwais. He needs an MRI to see what’s going on inside his head that could be leading to this” Sherlock went through the symptoms in his head, digging through every nook and cranny of his mind palace; visual impairment, epistaxis, nausea, loss of consciousness “was he still unconscious when he left here?” Lestrade nodded, Sherlock swallowed the bile rising in his throat.
“Is Mycroft still here?” Sherlock asked, he needed a car
“yes…why? No Sherlock, you are not going to Kandahar.” Lestrade said
“Yes I am” he retorted
“you’re not his Doctor anymore” Sherlock ground his teeth together in frustration
“he hasn’t been officially discharged by me so I think you’ll find that I am” he pulled his phone from his breast pocket and sent a text message to his brother
Send a car, I need to see John Watson SH
Do you think that’s wise? MH
He put the phone back into his pocket, ignoring it when it vibrated again. “Who do you think is going to cover your shift?” Lestrade questioned, Sherlock turned his head and found what he was looking for “Anderson will” he declared. He strode out of the ward ignoring Lestrade and Anderson’s protests.
John was startled awake by a loud brawl outside his room. His eyes were cloudy and the painkillers weren’t doing much for his head. He was about to shout something about people needing sleep at this time of night when he recognised one of the shouting voices. “Just let me in!” Sherlock was becoming impatient. “We can’t let you in sir, you will have to come back in visiting hours” the Doctor replied, he was trying his best to keep calm. “No! I need to see him now!” why does he want to see me? John asked himself, then he realised he wasn’t in the field hospital ward anymore. He looked at a sticker on one of the machines which read ‘Mirwais Hospital’. John recognised the name, he was in Kandahar. His thoughts were interrupted “and what relation are you to Lieutenant Watson?” the Doctor asked, he had a light Afghan accent.
“I’m…” Sherlock’s voice became slightly quieter “I’m his friend” he finished, John’s stomach gave a lurch, he didn’t think it was the nausea causing it. He couldn’t contemplate the words for long, “What if I showed you this?” Sherlock asked. There was a pause in their conversation.
“Oh. Sorry officer, maybe…maybe I could give you a few minutes with the Lieutenant” officer? What had Sherlock shown him? He was pulled from his thoughts by the sound of footsteps approaching his door. John quickly ran through his options in his head and settled on closing his eyes and pretending to be either asleep or unconscious, he had fooled many a Taliban soldier with his skills but something told him Sherlock would be harder to convince.
The footsteps stopped directly outside as Sherlock composed himself before entering and closing the door softly behind him. He took a shaky inhale when he looked at John, he was still unconscious by the looks of it. His eyes were motionless behind his lids and his breathing was even. Sherlock walked around to the side of the bed where an armchair was placed for visitors and sat down raking his eyes over the man in front of him. John looked small on the bed, his skin was pale where it had been tanned only days before, his eyes looked sunken into his skull and he had a shadow on his face where he hadn’t had a chance to shave.
John could feel Sherlock’s eyes burning into him, he was about to stage a wake-up when Sherlock began to speak. “John” he said, his voice was uncharacteristically quiet “John, I apologise…for…for everything” his voice was muffled now, he must have his head in his hands.
Sherlock lifted his head from his hands why was this so difficult? He’d virtually scripted what he was going to say on the way here, but now John was in front of him, even in his unconscious state Sherlock couldn’t get the words out. He hoped that at least a little of what he was going to say would be heard “What are you doing to me?” he asked John, he looked down to where John’s hand lay palm up next to him. When John had taken his hand before it felt good…comforting, he picked it up and held it between two of his.
John was surprised by the sudden warmth surrounding his hand, Sherlock was holding it. It took all of John’s restrain to not return the pressure and remain still. Sherlock obviously needed to speak to him and John didn’t think he’d do it if he was awake. “What happened between us the other day…it was…” Sherlock let out an agitated sigh, John wished he could see his face “I don’t understand feelings like that. I’ve never had to understand them nor wanted to…but you, you’re different.” The pressure on his hand increased “but I panicked, I don’t like losing control of my thoughts and when we kissed I couldn’t think of anything, anything but you and…your lips” John could sense he was losing his train of thought but he waited. “When you kissed me it was…good. No that’s an understatement, it was amazing. I’ve never experienced something like that before…that connection…that want. I’ve kissed people before, obviously, but only ever for cases, in disguise, to get information out of people.” Sherlock cleared his throat awkwardly “Ok I’m ranting now but I guess what I’m trying to say is that…I am incredibly fond of you John.” John shuddered when Sherlock pressed his lips to his knuckle. That must have given him away because Sherlock queried “John?”
“Do you mean it?” he questioned, he didn’t know what he was referring to but Sherlock replied
“every word.” John opened his eyes and looked over; Sherlock had a look on his face embarrassment? Fear? John wasn’t sure but he sounded confident when he said “I’d like to kiss you now.” John didn’t need to be asked twice, he slid his hand to Sherlock’s nape and tugged him forward, he wanted to lift his head to meet him but he didn’t think he could manage it. Sherlock leant forward in the chair and cupped John’s jaw in his hands. John stopped him millimetres away so that every word he spoke made their lips brush against each other “just to make it clear. I’m rather fond of you too” then he closed the gap and pressed their lips firmly together.
Sherlock smiled whilst working his lips against John’s, John was once again unable to resist, he took Sherlock’s protruding lower lip between his and sucked. Like the last time Sherlock gasped but didn’t pull away, he slid his hand down the bed and placed it on John’s hip and traced small circles on the hip bone with his thumb. John thought he was in control of the kiss until Sherlock’s skilful tongue made its way into John’s mouth. John made a small noise of pleasure into Sherlock’s mouth as his tongue wrestled with his own. John’s hand found it’s way to Sherlock’s hair and he was overwhelmed with the pleasure coming from the searing kiss and the blissful softness of Sherlock’s dark hair.
They pulled away to catch their breath, pressing their forehead’s together. John’s lips were red and swollen from the assault “You OK?” John breathed. Sherlock let out a breath of laughter “shouldn’t I be saying that?”
“Sorry Doctor” John said and he placed a closed mouth kiss to Sherlock’s lips. Then he remembered, “what did you show to that guy outside?” he wanted to know what had swayed him so effectively
“ahh” Sherlock chimed and he pulled out a leather card holder from his jacket pocket. John grinned when he saw the unmistakable glint of a Metropolitan Police badge “whose is that?” he asked, the text was just a blur to his eyes. Sherlock’s smile flattened slightly, he’d almost forgotten about John’s injuries in the euphoria of his current situation. “Detective Chief Inspector Samuel Brown of Scotland Yard” he read before tucking it back into his pocket “I was meant to give it back”.
“How long ago did you steal it?” John asked
“I didn’t steal it John. I merely borrowed it for a case.” Sherlock replied
“Yes, but how long ago?” he repeated, Sherlock’s lip turned up in the corner menacingly before he replied “eleven years ago.”
“You’re bonkers” John joked.
A knock at John’s door tore his gaze from Sherlock’s “yes?” he called. A chubby man with a long white coat and a clip-board opened the door and looked between Sherlock and John. It was the Doctor that Sherlock had been arguing with outside. John imagined what they must look like; Sherlock sat on the very edge of his chair leaning far into John’s personal space, he had taken John’s hand between his own again and he hadn’t righted his hair after John’s hands had messed it up. “Erm…detective, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave now” he narrowed his gaze at the pair “it doesn’t seem to me like you are on official police duties. You can return tomorrow morning at 8:30 and stay until 10:00 as those are the official visiting hours” his tone was clipped.
“And what if I don’t want to leave?” Sherlock asked, he sounded like a small child who had been told he had to leave a play ground. The doctor ground his teeth together and looked daggers at Sherlock “then I’m sure security will have a fun time throwing you out and you won’t be returning to this hospital anytime soon.” Sherlock opened his mouth to retort but John squeezed his hand to stop him “leave it Sherlock. I’m tired anyway and my shoulder is a little stiff, I could do with a sleep” he said but his heart wasn’t in it.
Sherlock huffed “fine…I’ll go back to the field and get a shower and some of my things. I’ll come back as soon as I can” John nodded then looked to the Doctor still stood awkwardly by the door “could you give us a minute?” John asked him. The Doctor’s gaze re-hardened toward him and he spat “no. I need him to leave…now!” he nodded towards Sherlock. John shrugged “fine” he said. He turned to Sherlock, wrapped his hand around the base of his skull and dragged him down into a heated goodbye kiss, it was slow and passionate compared to the rough first kiss from earlier. Sherlock gasped into the unexpected kiss but quickly reciprocated, running his thumb over John’s hand which was still warmly wrapped by his. They barely registered the Doctor’s ‘uch’ and the sound of his leaving the room.
When the kiss became a little too heated for a hospital ward they broke apart. Sherlock’s eyes were locked with John’s until he pressed one last kiss to John’s forehead and left wordlessly. John watched him all the way out before sinking further into the bed, his shoulder was more than ‘a little stiff’ and his head was throbbing but he didn’t want to worry Sherlock or annoy him with persistent moaning.
He eventually drifted into an achy and restless but warm sleep.
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Apologies in advance for any mistakes in medical terminology for I am not a doctor
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
John stared at the door and had been staring at for over three hours now. He had slept for three hours after Sherlock had left but had woken in a sweaty heap to the sounds of explosions and screams. He was exhausted and in pain but he didn’t want to go back to that nightmare. They had put the IV back into his hand when he was brought in, he couldn’t remember when exactly they had done it. John tried to stretch to his left to press the button for morphine but his head and shoulder protested against the movement so he gave up and rolled back over.
It was 07:12 when the door finally opened. John deflated slightly when Sherlock didn’t walk in. A Doctor, different to the one he encountered the previous night strode over to John’s bed. John winced when the door slammed behind her. “Sorry Lieutenant Watson” the Doctor said, she was young, younger than the other one. She was short and thin and had long black hair tied into a perfect bun, she was quite attractive. “My name is Doctor Zaida Mamadzai” her voice was thick with an Afghan accent. John smiled thoughtfully but it must have come across as a look of pain because she moved over to the side of the bed and pressed the button for morphine before handing it to John so he could control it when he liked, he was grateful for the slight dousing of his pain. “How is your shoulder this morning Lieutenant?” she asked
“Sore” John answered
“alright. On a scale from one to ten, ten being the worst pain you’ve ever felt in your life and one being no pain at all where would you place yourself?”
John tilted his head in thought before answering “when I move it’s about a seven or eight but when I’m still it’s about five”
The Doctor nodded whilst she wrote on a notepad. “And using the same scale, how is your headache?”
“Right now…about eight ish” and it was, he could feel the blood being pumped around his brain as his heartbeat was thumping in his ears. He was uncomfortable and even the morphine was struggling to reduce the insistent throbbing. Doctor Mamadzi clicked her biro and put it back into her breast pocket before she took out her pen torch and looked at John’s eyes. She adopted a ponderous expression as she replaced the torch to her pocket; she seemed just as perplexed as John.
“You are aware that we conducted an MRI when you arrived here yesterday, yes?” John thought back, he remembered somebody telling him something about an MRI and him grunting a half-conscious response as they wheeled him through the corridors of the hospital. “Vaguely” he replied. The Doctor picked up a large brown envelope which she had come in with and reached inside “Ok, the results came to me this morning” She pulled out an A4 size X-ray of what looked like a brain “and…they looked completely clear of anything.”
She pointed to a lighter patch in the centre "There are patches which indicate stress but they seem recent, that could explain the headaches you’re having now but it doesn’t explain the ones you have had prior to returning for this tour. Also, most stress-related headaches are milder than what you’re experiencing and are almost never accompanied with nausea or nose bleeds. And the patches themselves are quite small in comparison to what we normally see in those sorts of cases.” She was shaking her head slightly just like somebody who was trying to figure out a complex puzzle. “We will do every test that we believe necessary to try and figure out what is causing this Lieutenant.” Zaida slid the MRI photo back into the envelope and left it on his bedside table. “Unfortunately you will have to remain here for those tests.”
“Ok, thank you” John said. The Doctor left, making sure to close the door softly as she did so.
“John” Sherlock said to the still figure in front of him. John was sweating and he had a rather pained expression on his face, his hands were shaking at his sides. “John” Sherlock said again, a little harsher this time. John’s eyes shot open and he gasped when he woke, Sherlock had to step back to avoid getting hit by John’s hand which was flung out to defend himself.
“Sherlock” John said when he came to his senses “I’m so sorry. I…I don’t know what that was” he used the bed sheet to mop the sweat off his forehead. “It’s quite alright John, I think you were in the midst of a bit of a nasty nightmare. You thought you were under attack when I woke you so you responded in the most natural of ways, retaliation.” Sherlock looked down at John who was now smiling “what?” Sherlock asked, his eyebrow cocked.
John shook his head “you’re insane” he said.
“There is method in my madness John, don’t worry” Sherlock pulled the cushioned armchair from the corner of the room and placed it next to the left side of the bed. Sherlock had changed when he went back to the field hospital and was now wearing a pair of pointed black leather shoes, perfectly tailored straight black trousers tucked into which was a dark red button down silk shirt, the top two buttons of which were undone and exposed the beautifully pale hollow of Sherlock’s slender neck. The shirt tightened over his chest as he removed his coat, his chest and abdominal muscles were defined through the thin silk of the shirt. John was suddenly overcome with the desire to see and touch the pale expanse of Sherlock’s thin yet muscly torso.
John was only aware he had been staring when Sherlock’s voice broke through his thoughts. “John” it was obvious he had said his name more than once. John reluctantly tore his gaze from Sherlock’s body and to his eyes; the corners of his mouth were ever so slightly upturned. John now felt slightly underdressed in his hospital gown which they’d changed him into upon arrival.
“Yes?” John said.
“I said, how are you feeling this morning?” repeated Sherlock as he sat down and crossed his ankles.
“Not bad” John lied, Sherlock let his head fall back and sighed
“you are a terrible liar John” he told him
“and you haven’t kissed me yet” John replied sourly. Sherlock still hadn’t got used to the kissing thing yet so wasn’t aware of any protocols of kissing upon a hello. He leant forward as John placed his hand on his cheek and brought their lips gently together. It was a still touch of lips to lips for about four seconds and when Sherlock moved away John almost whimpered at the loss. Sherlock placed his hand over John’s where it sat on his face and laid a similar kiss on his palm, John caught his bottom lip in his teeth at the beautifulness of it. Sherlock’s eyes were still closed when he moved John’s hand to his chest where he covered it with his own and said “hello”. His voice was silkier than his shirt and John felt like he would turn into a puddle after just that one syllable, he managed to compose himself just enough to give a “hi” in return.
They sat in silence, neither one looking at the other until Sherlock spoke “John, you need to tell me the truth. I can help you a lot more than any of these halfwits can, but you have to tell me the truth” he sounded stern but sincere, he truly cares about me John thought. John moved their hands so their palms were flush against each others; Sherlock stared at it like it was the oddest thing he’d ever seen. “Sherlock I…I’m sorry” Sherlock moved back to sit in his chair and John’s hand fell back to his side. “Ok, so, how are you feeling?” he repeated for the third time.
John hastily broke into his list of complaints: vision glassy around the edges, throbbing head, stiff shoulder, a strange ache in his right leg which had no reason to be there. Sherlock listened intently through John’s symptoms, humming or nodding thoughtfully when it seemed necessary. “What about yesterday afternoon when you passed-out?” Sherlock was in professional mode now, his eyes were closed as he ran what John had said over in his head “what about it?” John questioned, Sherlock opened his eyes and scowled at him “right, yeah, sorry.” Sherlock closed his eyes again as John carried on “well, I needed to stretch my legs so I went to the bathroom. As I came out…my head…it felt awful. It was like somebody was trying to force a fire poker into my skull. I heard Lestrade’s voice, then my vision went out, everything went grey. It made me feel sick, I just about managed to find my way back to the sink to throw-up. I remember Lestrade trying to hand me some tissues because there was a stream of blood running out of my nose.” He sniffed at the memory.
“You say your vision went grey. Did that happen after the explosion also?” Sherlock asked. John thought back: the fall of his friend, his jumping to shield his acquaintance “yes” he replied simply.
“Did you experience those sorts of headaches before the explosion?”
“Erm…sort of. I had a lot of headaches, never as bad as what I’ve experienced in the last few days. I always assumed-”
“Never assume John!” Sherlock interjected “that is where all the worst mistakes are made.”
John cleared his throat “Ok then…I used to think it was tension or stress.”
Sherlock nodded, he took a long breath in before leaning back into his chair again “what you are telling me about losing your sight doesn’t sound like your usual black-out. This is because of the simple reason that when you black-out, your vision, as you’d expect it to, goes black and tends to return to perfect working condition after a mere minute or two. Your vision is still not fully restored now and it has been hours since you fell unconscious. I believe that what you are experiencing is what we call, a ‘greyout’. This is commonly caused by hypoxia which is essentially a low brain oxygen level normally due to decreased blood pressure. But if these are accompanied by nausea and epistaxis, that suggests that there is something going on in your brain.”
“I had an MRI when they brought me here” John supplied
“ahh yes, Lestrade told me” Sherlock answered “what did it show?”
“The Doctor said it was completely clear. There were patches of recent stress but nothing else, they are going to keep me here and do tests to see if they can figure out what’s going on.”
Sherlock hummed but shook his head slightly “I’ll probably go and look at them myself.” He said. John didn’t mention that they were right next to him on the bed-side table, it may have seemed a little selfish but he wanted Sherlock to himself without him blabbing on about his injuries and being all professional.
“Well, there’s no time like the present” Sherlock said rising to his feet
“Erm…Sherlock?” John questioned his brow furrowed
“yes?” he replied as he shrugged his coat back on. John just shook his head and gestured towards the door. Sherlock hesitated with one arm in his coat “bit not good?” he asked. John couldn’t help but smile at Sherlock’s almost confused expression “yeah, bit not good” he replied. Sherlock looked at his shoes “I’m never going to get good at this relationship thing am I?”
“Come here” John said, Sherlock let his coat fall behind him as he walked to John and sat on the edge of his bead “Sherlock, you are…amazing and handsome an-”
“John” Sherlock interrupted
“not finished Sherlock.” John said, Sherlock nodded “I know I’ve only known you for like five days but you are really one of a kind…from what I know about you know, I wouldn’t change you for anything”
“Thank you John” Sherlock said “you will get better John, I promise.”
“How long are you going to stay here for?” John asked
“In Kandahar? For as long as it takes” Sherlock placed his hand on John’s thigh and John smiled at him.
“Won’t you loose your job?” John asked
“They can’t take my job away from me” Sherlock laughed
“and why’s that?” John asked bemused
“they don’t pay me for one and my brother’s shagging Lestrade” Sherlock told him, he shuddered at the latter.
“They don’t pay you? Why?” John shook his head
“I don’t need the money, I enjoy what I do, I’m good at it.” Sherlock shrugged
“Fair enough I guess. Why don’t you need the money?”
“I spend most of my time here, there is no use for money here” Sherlock told him
“What about when you go home on break?”
“I go home once every six months for a week on which I sit in my house doing nothing. My brother makes sure I have enough food to get me through the week”
“a week every six months” John repeated
“yes, I only go because my brother says if I don’t stay at the property for at least two weeks every year he will sell it.” Sherlock said
“OK” John said, he didn’t want to delve too far into Sherlock’s private life quite yet “and him and Lestrade…really? He doesn’t seem gay to me”
“yes, but I’d rather not talk about that right now” Sherlock fake retched, John laughed. Sherlock’s presence was doing a much better job than the morphine.
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“bored. Yes I know Sherlock” Sherlock had done nothing but complain of his boredom since he’d woken up to the feeling of John’s fingers in his hair half an hour ago.
“Make it less boring John” Sherlock moaned, he was sat in what looked like a very uncomfortable position on the armchair. His legs were hanging off the back rest and his head hung from one of the arms.
John gave a long-suffering sigh “and how am I supposed to do that?” he asked “go for a walk or something” Sherlock perked up a little at that suggestion “don’t be absurd John.”
“What? I’m making suggestions, which is more than what you’re doing” John replied.
“I’m trying to overcome the problem”
“Lying there telling me you’re bored is not ‘trying to overcome the problem’” John countered
“Yes it is” Sherlock stated
“By me complaining of my boredom we are having a conversation about the boredom which has inevitably led to a further conversation about the conversation of the boredom, thus relieving the boredom” Sherlock said before flopping his arm over his eyes dramatically.
“Right…” was all John could manage as he tried to get his head around what Sherlock had just said
“but now, it seems that solution has run its course and I am now, once again…”
“Bored” they said in unison, Sherlock’s eyebrows raised where you could see them above his arm.
There was about half a foot of space between John’s feet and the end of the bed, Sherlock unfolded himself from his chair and sat cross-legged in the space. He rested his elbows on his knees and his chin on his fists and stared at John until he was almost squirming under the scrutiny. “Stop that” John said, Sherlock’s gaze was ripping through him
“what?” Sherlock answered, genuine question on his face
“that staring thing you do…it’s creepy” John told him
“apologies” Sherlock said, his hard stare morphed into something of a thoughtful gaze. “You’re a soldier, John.”
“I know…” John said at length, for a minute he’d thought he’d lost consciousness again and missed a chunk of the conversation but Sherlock added “tell me a story.”
“A story?” John repeated, to him it sounded ludicrous.
“Yes, you’ve been in the army for…seven years, you must have a story” they both chose not to mention the story that John had already told Sherlock, or the fact that Sherlock figured out how long John had been serving for.
“Erm…” John searched his memory for something that would hold Sherlock’s attention for at least a few minutes. Then he remembered the story he had told almost every new recruit in his squad. “They’ve called me crack-shot Johnny since my sixth month in the forces.” It wasn’t a brilliant story but he couldn’t think of anything else. “Well, at first it was just Johnny. My sister called one day and asked to speak to Johnny Watson, the lads found it hilarious and took to shouting it around the camp when they saw me. I hated it, didn’t speak to my sister for weeks after she called. The name made me seem like a kid, not a 27 year old man. I was Private Johnny Watson for six months, six whole months” he gave a breathy laugh to the ceiling, Sherlock tilted his head thoughtfully.
“There was an explosion, about three miles from our camp. Talibans took over one of our Humvees while some of our men were out on patrol in it and blew the thing up. They had our guys hostage near the wreck and the team I was in were told to go out on the rescue mission. My first real mission and I was being referred to as Johnny Watson. Anyway, we went out in another Humvee and stopped about a hundred yards away from them, they could see us, obviously, there was next to no cover. There were two Talibans, and they had five of our men with their hands bound, and only one gun. Our plan was simple enough, go to them on foot, try to reason with them and get our men back with as little blood shed as possible. Well, it seemed simple…until we walked about ten feet and heard the gun fire and one of their five hostages fall to the floor. They had fired the first shot, we had no reason to try to keep them alive. I reacted quicker than the rest of the men on our team, I had my 5.56 rifle in my hands but knew I was a better shot with the P226 SIG in my vest. I took it out before any of the other men had registered what had happened and fired two shots. Both of the Taliban men fell.” Sherlock’s eyebrows rose ever so slightly into his curly fringe.
“The soldiers had ducked when they heard my shots and the Taliban captors fell behind them before they had a chance to duck themselves. We took our Humvee to where they were and un-tied them, it was while I was un-tying one of the men that one of the guys on my team caught sight of the men I’d shot. I remember him swearing pretty colourfully and pointing at them in bewilderment. He said “they were crack shots”. We went to them and sure enough, they each had a clean hole in their foreheads. I was just as shocked as they were. They said they’d all been underestimating me and decided to call me crack-shot Johnny for the remainder of my tour. The name stuck, six and a half years later, that’s still how they know me. Probably went a long way to my promotions as well.” John looked back at Sherlock who, surprisingly, was still listening to John’s words. He had a sort of smile on his face, it looked almost…proud. “You fired two perfect shots from 90 yards.” It was more of a statement than a question. John nodded; Sherlock gave a low whistle resembling something of a ‘wow’. “Crack-shot Johnny” he tried the name on his lips and smiled.
The following 1350 words were written by the amazing Louisa. You cured my writer’s block, I owe you one.
“I think I might know another cure for your boredom”. Sherlock looked at John from the end of the bed, a trace of curiosity written across his face.
“Do you think so?” Sherlock answered lowering his head again.
“If you want to find out just come here and let me try” John said while patting the portion of the bed next to him, shifting himself painfully to one side to make room for Sherlock.
The taller man moved and sat next to the solider. “I'm still bored” Sherlock began again. John brought one of his hands to Sherlock's neck pulling him closer. When there was no resistance the small gap between their faces closed, pressing their lips together. Sherlock's mouth was warm and smooth against his own, when John traced the line between Sherlock's lips his companion parted them willingly. He explored his partner's mouth with his tongue, burying his hands in Sherlock's thick curls. When they finally broke this passionate kiss they were both panting, Sherlock lying half on top of John trying to avoid putting too much pressure on him. “Now, are you still bored?” John huffed, still a little out of breath.
Sherlock pulled the corners of his slightly swollen and red mouth up in a smirk and growled in his low baritone: “I think I need more of this distraction, a lot more” and pulled the other man close again.
Their bodies were firmly pressed together hands touching as much of one another as was possible whilst still exchanging heated kisses. Sherlock traced John's jawline with soft lips, making his way down his partners neck softly, which made John shiver, a slight moan of pleasure escaping his mouth.
He flinched suddenly with pain, squeezing his eyes shut. Feeling the body under his own tense so abruptly Sherlock's head shot up, a look of concern in his eyes. “John? What is it? Are you okay?” he asked in a highly alarmed voice.
Taking a deep, shuddered breath and exhaling slowly John answered: “It's fine, I am just…tired. The events of the past days might have been a little bit too much.” When he saw a flash of hurt shooting across Sherlock's features he quickly added: “Not everything that has happened is bad, you know, when I said that I was fond of you I meant it, I still do. But I have to get my mind back in order again.”
Sherlock swallowed once and then said: “I should let you rest now, you look exhausted.” And John really did look exhausted. Dark circles under his eyes, the corners of his mouth hanging low, a worn-out look all over his face.
When Sherlock stood up and went past the bed in order to leave the room John stopped him. “Sherlock? Could you stay here, please? I don't want to be alone right now” John mumbled, avoiding the other man's gaze, blushing slightly. When Sherlock nodded John did his best to pull him back on the bed again. “Are you sure that you want me to stay right here?” Sherlock asked glancing at the bed as he lay down again.
“Quite sure” John gave back pressing his body against Sherlock's once again in confirmation. Sherlock put one arm softly around John's waist, pulling him even closer.
His lips brushed against the shorter man's ear when he whispered: “Sleep now. I am here and I still will be when you wake up.” And that was exactly what John needed right then. He relaxed into Sherlock embrace, soon drifting off into sleep. Sherlock felt the tension leave John's body and looked down at his face which should have been brown from the Afghan sun. In its deep lines he could read a whole life. The premature wrinkles from John’s stress from having to fight for attention, his losses, the responsibility he loaded on his shoulders, him always feeling so protective. He always tried to protect his sister, doing everything to get her away from the bottle. He was a solider who protected other people, strangers. And he had already protected Sherlock himself, more than once, physically and mentally. Sherlock felt a certain warmth running through his body when he thought of how John had refused Mycroft's money for spying on him and how he had shouted at Anderson for insulting his friend. But right now it was John who needed protection, who needed to feel looked after. Listening to John's slow breathing, Sherlock too fell asleep
John was woken by low and angry murmuring just outside his door, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes he sat up, glancing around. Sherlock wasn't lying next to him anymore, he had left the room.
“Sherlock?” he called, his voice still heavy with sleep. The door opened and in came Sherlock, followed by the Doctor he had already argued with on his very first day here in Kandahar.
“He needs to be left alone. He must get his chance to rest, we still don't know what's wrong with him. Just let us do our work.”
“If you were capable of doing so you would already have found out what the cause for his grey outs are. I am sure if I had access to the appropriate machines and results I would know by now” Sherlock snarled.
“His health is none of your concern, you are not his doctor anymore”, the man gave back. Sherlock looked from John to the doctor and back again. He stiffened his back and made his way towards the door once again. “No, stop”, John said, “I already told you, that I want you to stay.” He turned to the doctor and answered in some kind of matter-of-fact voice: “You are right, he isn't my doctor anymore. But the fact that he is my boyfriend entitles him to stay, don't you think?”
As the doctor left the room, growling angrily, Sherlock shot him a triumphant look. He settled himself in his armchair, looking at John in satisfaction a smirk on his lips. “You should be safe of him now”, John said, a smile tugging his lips. John saw Sherlock's features turn into disbelief as he thought over what John had said to the Doctor.
“What is it”? John asked in a concerned tone.
“Did you mean it?” Sherlock asked in a quiet voice.
“Mean what?” the other man asked confused.
“That I am your boyfriend. Did you mean it?” John was silent for a fraction of a moment; it was obvious that he was thinking about what answer to give Sherlock. His eyes lit up and he said a very sure “yes.” John felt strong affection rising in his chest when he looked at his newly named ‘boyfriend’.
He felt his ears and cheeks flush when he thought of their bodies pressed together, of Sherlock holding him in his arms all night. The fact that Sherlock came here to look after John, to stay with him, hold him, look after him meant so much.
Sherlock hadn’t completely relaxed yet. He took Sherlock's hand that was lying on the edge of the bed, in his and uttered “I think…think I even love you Sherlock.” The words weren't out of his mouth probably when he felt Sherlock stiffen even more. Sherlock withdrew his hand as if an electric shock had run trough his body, he stood up so quickly. When John went to ask what's wrong with him Sherlock only whispered something about needing a coffee. The face of the pale, tall man displayed a lot of emotions at once. John could read confusion, slight anger, disbelief and even fear. Before he could hold him back Sherlock hurried out of the room, not looking back. It closed with a low thud, that noise, normally so simple and common sounded like something final. Well done John, that's it. You couldn't hold your tongue and had to confess your love to a man you barely know. John felt a stinging in his eyes but he wouldn't break his stare at the door even long after he couldn't see anything.
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Sherlock turned from the Doctor he was having an argument with in perfect Pashto, it had started when Sherlock had collided with him hard whilst he was pacing outside John’s room. It was a completely pointless argument but it gave him the chance to let out some of his agitation and practice his Pashto, not that it needed it.
Like he thought, the loud beeping of the stress alarm was coming from John’s room. He was frozen on the spot as the Doctor shoved passed him to get help, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to see what was behind John’s door. He knew John would only call for actual help if he was in near death pain and Sherlock didn’t think he’d be able to cope with seeing John, his boyfriend, he flinched at the word, in that sort of pain. After hearing a low thump from inside the room, his curiosity and want to see if John was alright got the better of him and he strode into the room.
The scene that greeted him almost made him heave, anybody else and he would have been excited to see such a mess. John was lying on the floor next to his bed; the thumping sound must have been him falling off it. His head was lying in a puddle of his own vomit and he was blinking rapidly trying to clear his vision, there was a trickle of blood running from his nose. Sherlock padded towards him, crouched down in front of him and put his hand on his upper arm softy so not to startle him and said “John”.
John’s eyes shifted to the general direction of Sherlock and his voice was slightly panicked as he spoke “Sherlock? Sherlock is that you?”
“Yes, yes John it’s me” he answered as he rubbed his hand up and down John’s arm awkwardly
“Sherlock…I’m…” John’s voice cut out, it was obviously difficult for him to admit this
“Scared” Sherlock finished for him, John closed his eyes and sniffed in response “you don’t need to be scared, I’m here baby” the endearment fell out of his lips before he could stop it and he internally winced.
John, thankfully, ignored it. “I can’t see anything…nothing at all, this has never happened like this before, Sherlock. My whole body aches. I feel so sick. And…and I’m scared Sherlock, I hate that I am but I’m scared.” Sherlock took a deep breath “and my fucking nose is bleeding again.” He tried to give a huff of laughter but it hurt his head too much so he just let his body go limp. Sherlock would’ve given his own huff of laughter at John’s ability to joke if he’d have been able to do anything but stare at John’s limp body and rub at his arm, more to soothe himself than John.
The quiet from Sherlock was starting to make him agitated in his darkness “Sherlock? Say something, please”
“I…John…Just focus on staying conscious, OK?” It wasn’t what he’d wanted to say but it worked to relax John a little more.
Before John had the chance to give his “OK” back Sherlock was pushed away by the team who were trying to get to John. Sherlock shuffled back until he was sat in the corner of the room his eyes still on John who was being lifted onto a bed which could be wheeled out. He pulled his legs up to his chest and wrapped his arms around them as he heard John rasp “Sherlock” as they wheeled him out. Sherlock knew he wouldn’t be able to follow and even if he could he didn’t think he could move right then so he just sat there, staring at the pool of vomit with droplets of blood in it for who knew how long.
Sherlock’s thoughts were spinning as he twirled the IV line in his hand; it was that being pulled out of John’s hand that had set off the alarm. Sherlock had to shake his head and give a huff at that, John hadn’t even pressed the alarm, he probably never would have. He had extracted himself from his corner after the cleaner had come in and cleaned up the mess on the floor and he was now sitting in the armchair next to the bed.
John was probably in intensive care, in induced unconsciousness to stop him from going into shock. John…John had told Sherlock he loved him, nobody had told Sherlock that before, not even his mother. Sherlock knew he had feelings for John, feelings he had never nor wanted to experience before, but love, that scared the crap out of him. Hell, he had only just got over the kissing thing, he wasn’t even sure what love actually felt like.
To Sherlock, at the moment, without his job, John was everything to him. John had heard his story, told him his. Sherlock always said he loved his job, that was always certain, but loving another person seemed completely alien to him. Sherlock knew, right now, he couldn’t tell John he loved him and know if he truly meant it or not. Could Sherlock stay with John knowing he loved him and not be truly sure if he could ever say it back? Was it mean to do that to John? Sherlock knew one thing: if he could help it, he would never, ever intentionally hurt John. That was a certainty.
Something on the edge of Sherlock’s peripheral vision caught his attention, it was a brown envelope usually used to hold x-ray pictures. How long had that been there? Sherlock had told John he wanted to see them, needed to see them. Had John lied to him about them being right next him? Sherlock was partly annoyed at himself for not noticing that they were there, and not noticing John was lying. Normally he could tell in an instant if somebody was lying to him, just another quirk that made John different from anybody else. He reached for the envelope, maybe he could find out what was wrong with John if he looked at them for himself.
“Lieutenant Watson” Sherlock stopped, his hand halfway towards the envelope. “Oh” the secretary from the main desk said when she noticed Sherlock “where’s Lieutenant Watson?” she asked.
Sherlock turned to face her “he’s been taken to intensive care. Can I help?” he put on the best fake smile he could muster.
“And who are you?” She asked him
“I’m Doctor Sherlock Holmes” he said offering his hand.
She shook it as her eyes scanned over Sherlock quickly. “There’s a phone call for him, a Harriet Watson.” Sherlock remembered the name of John’s sister; she was phoning to tell John she was OK? Or tell him she wasn’t…
“I can take it” Sherlock said, it was clear by the woman’s face that she was internally debating weather to let him or not.
“Are you the Lieutenant’s Doctor?” she asked
“Yes” Sherlock lied convincingly.
“OK, the phone is at the front desk” she told him before leading the way out. They walked through the sterile corridors until they came to the main desk by the main doors of the hospital.
“Thank you” Sherlock said before he put the receiver to his ear.
“Hello” came a raspy voice from the phone. Sherlock cleared his throat
“hello” he replied
“erm…John?” She didn’t recognise the voice
“no, he’s unable to come to the phone right now” Sherlock told her.
“Why? Is he OK?” She panicked
“well…no he isn’t”
“what? Has he got worse?” her voice was increasing in pitch with her panic
“Yes, he’s currently in intensive care” he was doing his best to sound like the Doctor he was.
“Oh my God!” she exclaimed “are you his Doctor? What’s wrong with him, I thought his shoulder was recovering well” Sherlock took a deep breath, Harriet didn’t know about John’s newly found…whatever it was.
“He’s been having severe headaches and experiencing several episodes of loss of consciousness” he told him “and he is now in intensive care after a particularly stressful episode. Yes, I am his Doctor” Sherlock closed his eyes, was he the cause of John’s most recent stress? No, Sherlock, don’t be absurd.
“Oh…oh God” her voice was cutting out with the raspy-ness of it “I knew he had been transferred but I didn’t think it was for something bad”
“Well…now you know” he heard her snort on the other end of the line “was there something in particular you phoned for? I can pass a message on to John when I see him next.” He assured her
“erm…no, this is something I’ll have to tell him myself.” She seemed almost shy
“diagnosed with alcohol dependence from years of misuse. I’ll be sure to tell him, thank you”
“hey! How did you-” that’s when Sherlock hung up. He could recognise the rasp of a recovering alcoholic from a mile off. Or in this case 4578 miles. Sherlock didn’t thank the receptionist as he pushed the phone back to her on the desk.
Thirty minutes later and Sherlock found himself on the intensive care ward. He stood outside a heavy wooden door, his body resting on the frame as he stared through the round window into the room. Wires seemed to be coming off John everywhere, hand, chest, ankles. Machines blinked and beeped around him as he lay unconscious on the bed.
Sherlock sunk his hands into his pockets and took a shaky breath as he looked up and down John. He was small and pale on the bed, the only thing that said he was a soldier was his closely cropped sandy blonde hair but even that was starting to grow messily out again. His eyes were sunk into his skull and there was a sheen of sweat on his forehead and his left hand was shaking at his side. He looked ill…he was ill.
Sherlock didn’t really know what to do. He wanted to stay with John but you couldn’t stay in the intensive care ward, no matter what relation you were to the patient. He could stay in hospital accommodation, the cramped single bed rooms on the hospital campus but he knew he wouldn’t sleep. More than anything, he wanted to just curl up next to John, tell him what was wrong with him and work on a way to cure it. But he couldn’t, not without the results…results!
Sherlock turned quickly on his heel and sprinted down the corridors. He made several wrong turns on his way, having to stop and look at maps on the walls or look for signs hanging from the ceiling. But he eventually found it, John’s room, and the MRI results he’d left on the bedside table.
Sherlock cursed creatively when he entered the room to find that the envelope and his duffel bag had been removed from the room. He needed to get them, just one look and he might be able to see what was making John so ill. OK Sherlock, you need a plan. Erm…OK, go to the main desk and ask nicely for the envelope. Very slim chance of getting them like that. Go to the main desk and demand to see the results by shouting or something similar. Probably resulting in getting kicked out, can’t risk being kicked out. Go to the main desk and flash police badge to gain access to John’s file which would contain the results. Yes! That’s a brilliant idea…nope, wait, badge is in the duffel bag which is…don’t know where that is. Urgh! Oh, hey, there it is! Sherlock spotted his bag on one of the trolleys that the cleaning ladies used to transport their supplies around. They were probably going to take it to lost property; he strode over to the trolley and picked it up. He found the badge and slid it into the inside pocket of his suit jacket.
Making his way – slower this time – to the reception, Sherlock kept his mind trained on his goal. When you get John’s MRI scan, you - being Sherlock Holmes - will find the source of John’s trauma and will be able to determine the appropriate cause of action to cure it. He conjured up the face of Detective Sam Brown in his head and did his best to imitate his demeanour as he approached the desk. He’d timed it perfectly; the secretary who had seen him take the phone call earlier had finished her shift for the day and had now been replaced by a young, thin male.
Sherlock’s face was serious but soft enough to not be overly intimidating, he stuck his chest out slightly to make himself seem a little more imposing and pushed his fringe back with his fingers so it was off his face. These slight changes made it so that anybody who had already seen him around the hospital or knew him as a Doctor would have to look twice to see it was him, small changes made the most deceiving disguises.
“Good afternoon sir” he greeted with a smile “can I help you?” That was a good a cue as any, he took out the badge from his pocket “Yes, you can. My name is Detective Chief Inspector Samuel Brown of the Metropolitan Police” he flashed the badge long enough so the man would see the unmistakable glint of the Met badge but short enough so he wouldn’t read that it went out of date years ago. But by the look of panic on the man’s face Sherlock didn’t think he’d have noticed if it was drawn in crayon. “I am working here, from London on a case concerning one of your British patients here. I need access to his medical file, I can assure you that I have clearance for those documents”
OK, maybe this wasn’t totally legal but if it could help John, he didn’t care. The secretary stood up shakily behind the desk and gestured to the phone “I’ll need to call my superior to see if that’s possible, I’m new here, I’m not sure what to do in this sort of situation”
Sherlock didn’t let the slight panic show on his features “that won’t be necessary my friend” he remembered Sam calling people that “I spoke to Lieutenant Watson’s Doctor earlier and he directed me to you, said you could provide me with the folder” the young man didn’t look like he had the balls to argue with a police officer.
“So, Lieutenant Watson. He’s the folder you want?” Sherlock gave a polite nod and smile “what’s the first name?” he asked.
“John” Sherlock answered “Lieutenant John Watson”
“Right.” He turned and walked through a door which opened into a small room lined with filing cabinets. He flicked through the ‘W-X’ labelled draw until he got to ‘Watson, John’. He pulled out the file, closed the draw, went back to where the Police Officer stood waiting and handed him the folder. Sherlock took the folder with a “thank you” and opened it.
The MRI results were at the back being the most recent of the documents and Sherlock took the picture out and put the folder onto the desk. The secretary was watching him as he studied the scan, holding it to the light so he could see it properly. He used his little finger to trace over certain areas, stopping sometimes to look closer in places. He scanned over it for a good ten minutes before slapping it down onto the desk with the folder, the bang of his fist on the desk drawing people’s attention to him. He looked at it absently where it lay next to his hand; there was nothing, recent stress like John had said but nothing that would cause his symptoms. Urgh! There must be something…anything!
The man behind the desk asked “is everything alright Officer?” as Sherlock put his head into his hands. Sherlock didn’t answer, he flipped the scan over and over in his mind, looking at it from different angles and lights. The man started when Sherlock’s head snapped up. He let out a breathy ‘Oh’ of realisation and quickly picked up the scan again.
“Excuse me sir but wh- Oh, of course, it’s you again” It was the Doctor from Sherlock’s first day at the hospital. He eyed the scan that Sherlock held in his hand and his eyes widened “what the hell? Who gave you that? Those files are confidential!” He shot angrily.
Sherlock completely ignored what he said, instead going for his own shouting retort “How the hell did you not notice this?” he asked, shaking the picture in his hand.
“Notice what?” The Doctor asked exasperated. Sherlock held the scan in front of him so the Doctor could see when he pointed to the very centre of the brain. There was a minute, slightly darker circle. The Doctor squinted and moved so he was closer to the area Sherlock was pointing at, his eyes widened and he snatched the picture out of Sherlock’s hand. He held it up to the light so he could confirm what he thought he’d seen. “Oh God…” he said, his eyes were still fixed on the scan “…how did I not see that?” he asked himself.
“Yes ‘Oh God’” Sherlock said “now I’d say you’ve got about sixty hours to get John Watson into theatre before he has a fucking seizure!”
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“Coffee, black” Sherlock said to the man standing behind the counter in the hospital café. It was late in the afternoon and he was on his third order of coffee. He should have been relieved, he knew what was wrong with John and as soon as he got into theatre he would be on the road to recovery. But there was still a niggling feeling at the back of his head, what would happen after? John would go home, he might never come back to Afghanistan. When he had seen John lying on the floor of his room; weak, ill, sad, he’d heard him rasp his name as they wheeled him out, it tore him to pieces. Obviously John meant something to him, but what; he hadn’t figured out yet. He needed more time…time to figure out what he was feeling.
He picked up his coffee and went to sit in the corner table he had been occupying on and off for the past two hours. He was twitchy, he needed to be working, needed his hands occupied with something other than a coffee cup. Maybe he should just go back to the field hospital, get back to work and delete this whole debacle from his mind. But he knew, even if he tried his utmost to rid the man named John Watson from his mind, it wouldn’t happen. John had nestled himself into a corner of Sherlock’s mind palace and refused to budge. Then there was the fact that deep down, Sherlock didn’t want to forget John, didn’t want to let him get away.
“Mr Holmes” an exasperated voice said from the doorway to the café. The doctor who Sherlock had had too many encounters with stood in casual dress, obviously about to clock off for the evening, looked at Sherlock with his tired eyes. Sherlock turned his head slightly, prompting him to say what he had to. “Visiting hours for intensive care just started, Lieutenant Watson is asking for you” the doctor left without another word. Sherlock stood and walked out of the café, leaving his still steaming cup of coffee on the table.
John sat up in his bed; he had been told he wasn’t allowed to lie down for fear of him falling unconscious again. He had to plead with the warden to let him have a visitor, she was adamant that he needed to rest because he’d only just woken up from his latest bout of unconsciousness. He had no idea what was happening, weather they’d figured out what was wrong with him yet or why he had been put into intensive care. He wanted Sherlock, and he hated it, hated that the first thing he woke up to was thoughts of Sherlock; where he was, what he was doing. Somebody he had only known for an amount of days he could count on his fingers had made such a big of an impact on him, he had said three words that he hadn’t said to anybody who wasn’t his family in years and they had just flown out of his mouth so naturally. He didn’t even realise that he meant them until he had said them, so as much as he wanted to hate Sherlock for almost completely taking over his brain he knew that he loved him and he didn’t see that changing anytime soon.
Sherlock chose that moment to knock lightly at the door and step into the room, but come no closer to John’s bed. John offered a light smile and Sherlock nodded his head in return. They remained in silence, just looking at each other: Sherlock saw John; lying on the bed, still attached to all of the wires, still looking sunken and ill, John saw Sherlock; long, intelligent, but still wary, like a kitten in a new home.
“John” they’d chosen exactly the same moment to speak. They both smiled then, John’s getting wider as he saw Sherlock’s; so rare and so changing to his face. It didn’t last long though, Sherlock’s flattened back into a stiff line before he spoke “they – well I found it” he told him.
“Found what?” John asked, though he had an idea. Sherlock tapped his temple with his index finger and John took a shaky inhale. “Wh-what is it?” he asked, he could feel the lump rising in his chest.
“You have a brain aneurysm” Sherlock told him, plain and simple.
The choking sound John made was what made Sherlock do what he did next. He strode up to John’s bed, sat on the edge and enveloped him in his long arms. John buried his head into the crook of Sherlock’s neck and Sherlock rested his chin on top of his head. They sat in silence and Sherlock thought over what he had just done; he had seen the emotion in John’s eyes and all too naturally went to comfort him, he internally smiled, that was something he’d never done before. His usual natural instinct to emotion was to either walk out or slap the person until they shut up with their whining. If John was going to love him, he might as well give him a reason to.
He heard John try to speak but it was muffled by Sherlock’s neck. He pulled back but kept his arms around John, enjoying the warmth…enjoying, when did he start enjoying it? “What was that?” Sherlock asked, looking down at John where his head still rested on his shoulder.
John met his eyes and said “am I going to be alright?” his voice was quiet and soft a tell tale sign to Sherlock that John thought that his question was a silly one.
“You’re going to be fine, John. It hasn’t ruptured yet so as soon as you go into theatre they will do a clipping procedure to stop it getting any bigger and to stop any more blood from getting into it, then you’ll be sent home and probably put on a long course of strong pills.”
“Right” John said, just the sound of Sherlock’s rambling was lightening him up. He brought his hand up to the back of his own head and asked “so, where actually is it?”
“Well, it’s just above your diencephalon so…” he took his first two fingers and put them in the middle of the top of John’s head “about two and a half inches down from here.”
John nodded “so how do they get to it?” he wasn’t really asking out of interest, he just wanted to hear Sherlock talk and he figure that this was probably something that would keep him talking for the longest.
Sherlock returned his arm to its place around John’s torso and explained “they do a craniotomy which is essentially where they make a hole in your skull. Then they’ll retract your brain so they can find the aneurysm and they put a metal clip at the base to stop the circulation to it. The clip is made of titanium and will stay there for the remainder of your life.” John wasn’t the squeamish type, in fact he was anything but that, but the idea of somebody poking around in his head was a little unnerving to say the least. John hummed in response and nestled his head back into Sherlock’s neck, if Sherlock had all of a sudden decided he was the cuddling type; John was going to make the most of it.
“When am I going into theatre then?” he asked.
“As soon as possible. I thought they would have had you in by now actually” he thought over that, brain aneurysm surgery was an emergency procedure, gets first priority over almost everything.
“Maybe they’re just busy” John supplied, Sherlock shook his head slightly but hummed in response to John. “Will I get sent home after that?” John asked.
“Definitely” Sherlock answered
“for good?” there was another question on the end of John’s tongue but he wouldn’t ask it, not yet.
“For a man of your age, yes. If you were younger you could return after about a year but with an aneurysm on your file you have next to no chance of getting back into service.”
“Finally have an excuse for staying home then, Harry won’t be best pleased- Harry! Oh god, she doesn’t know I’m here, I’ve got to tell-”
Sherlock interrupted “John, calm down. She phoned before”
John pulled out of Sherlock’s arms so they fell loosely at his sides “you didn’t tell me?”
Sherlock frowned “I forgot, there have been more pressing matters on my mind” like the fact that I panicked my way around nearly the whole hospital to try and diagnose you…but apparently those things go unnoticed now.
“She’s my sister Sherlock! Did you speak to her?”
“Yes, I did. I explained to her that you had moved hospitals and were in intensive care”
John took a deep calming breath “right, is she alright? Did she sound better?” he asked
“She is an alcoholic John, she sounded like an alcoholic.” What was he meant to say? “She wasn’t in the brightest of spirits”
“No, I didn’t expect her to be. Does she know about the…” he made a vague gesture towards his head. Sherlock shook his head “I didn’t know about it when she phoned.”
“Good” he didn’t need her to panic anymore “I’ll tell her when I get home”
John but a hand on Sherlock’s knee “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have snapped”
“It’s perfectly alright John.” he smiled fondly.
There was a sharp rap on the door, a rap that was unmistakable to Sherlock’s ears. “Bloody hell, he mustn’t have been in London for twenty four hours” Sherlock muttered. John hummed questioningly, Sherlock just shook his head. When Mycroft Holmes entered the room there was a simultaneous groan from both John and Sherlock.
Sherlock stood to make his way out side to speak to his brother but Mycroft stopped him “that won’t be necessary mon frère” bloody French Sherlock thought to himself. “This is something that concerns John just as much as you” Sherlock went back to sit on the side of the bed facing his brother and took hold of John’s hand in a gesture that screamed ‘mine!’
“Sherlock you are probably wondering why John hasn’t been taken to surgery yet, correct?” Sherlock gave a curt nod “well, we have decided that it would be wiser if he were to be sent back to the United Kingdom for this procedure.”
“And by ‘we’ I assume you mean yourself” Sherlock mocked
“I have full consent from the surgeons and doctors here Sherlock” Sherlock snorted
“That is absurd Mycroft” Sherlock said “it will take at least seven hours to get John back to London, seven hours in which he could have had the surgery here”
“It’s best for both of you to go back to London” Mycroft assured
“Wha- wait- both of us?” was Mycroft implying that Sherlock go back to London with John? “Oh this is just perfect!” Sherlock exclaimed “you’ve got me right where you want me haven’t you. I go back there, stay with John, don’t come back. It’s just what you want, it’s not what’s best for John at all, it’s what you think is best for me!” he was standing now, almost nose to nose with his brother.
“But what about what is best for me?” John’s voice broke through the silent communication between the two Holmes’ and reminded them that he was still there.
“If you travel back to the UK this afternoon you don’t have to worry about travelling after your operation when you should be resting, it makes perfect sense” Mycroft explained
“It makes no sense at all” Sherlock started
“Sherlock!” John’s voice was raised, it made him look around and meet his eyes “maybe your brother has a point”
“Yes I do-” Mycroft started
“Shut up Mycroft” John snapped, Mycroft’s eyebrows rose into his hairline “I think it might be a good idea for me to get back to London sooner rather than later”
“Can’t you see what he’s doing John?” Sherlock pleaded
“Mycroft, could you wait outside please” John was not going to have this conversation with Sherlock while he was in the room.
“Very well” Mycroft turned on his heel and left the room.
The room was overcome with a silence as Sherlock stood with his back to John facing the door through which his brother had just left. John swallowed before breaking the silence with a quiet voice “you…you’re going to stay here?” he asked, Sherlock didn’t turn at his words
“well-John-can’t you see what he’s doing? Mycroft- he’s trying to-”
“Sherlock. Sherlock look at me” Sherlock turned slowly so John could see him “I don’t care about him. I care about you”
“But he’s using you, going back isn’t helping you at all”
“Sherlock!” that made Sherlock’s eyebrows rise “I’d be going home anyway, that doesn’t matter. OK, maybe it’s cutting it a bit fine but still, you’re still going to stay here?” John’s eyes were burning into Sherlock’s and as much as he wanted to look away, he couldn’t
“I can’t come with you, John. I hardly know you and I can’t leave here”
“I…is it because of what I said, because I told you I loved you?” Sherlock almost winced “because, if it is, I’ll never say it again, I promise.”
“John, you can’t just expect me to pack up and leave this…everything behind.” Deep down John knew that it was true; he couldn’t ask a man he had only known for a week to give up everything he had made of himself to come with him. But right now it was all he wanted. “Think about it the other way around John. If I was asking you to give up everything…you don’t need me”
“You’re such an idiot” John spat
“I just want to treat you like you deserve” Sherlock whispered “you deserve every good thing. I am not that good thing…I’ll never be” Sherlock turned away from him.
The words cut through John. He had nothing to say in reply to that…what could he say?
“I love you Sherlock” he whispered, so quiet he didn’t think Sherlock could’ve heard. Sherlock stopped halfway through turning the door handle “goodbye John.” Then he opened the door and left.
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