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Bad Days

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Everyone said Sherlock Holmes was the cold, unfeeling bastard, but sometimes John wondered if he wasn't the cold one.

John pulled the lap blanket off the back of his chair, padding over to Sherlock and laying it over his sleeping form. Sherlock should be in REM sleep by now and was unlikely to wake up from something as minor as John tucking his dressing gown around him or covering him with a blanket. He even carefully tucked in Sherlock's feet, but Sherlock didn't so much a twitch. On cases Sherlock wouldn't rest for food or sleep or anything human. Off cases Sherlock slept like a log, as if to escape the tedium of the world itself.

John didn't mind. He'd finished his post-case crash already… but then he'd caught naps here and there during the week. Being with Sherlock was like being in Afghanistan all over again. Short periods of high adrenaline, sleep deprived, food deprived danger broken up with weeks of painful tedium. John knew how to catch a nap. Sometimes five minutes of sleep could mean the difference between getting the other guy and getting shot yourself. John truly understood the power of the powernap. His left shoulder could attest to that.

John sat back at the desk, opened his computer and just started to browse. He didn't feel like writing, but he also didn't just want to sit and stare at Sherlock all afternoon. He should write up the case, but he didn't want to. Sherlock had effectively tortured his quarry… not badly, but enough that Lestrade told him that if he did it again that he'd never be allowed back into the Met, and Mycroft had to do some cover up.

John didn't care. It was just some broken fingers. The man would probably never shoot a gun again from how Sherlock had dug the heel of his shoe in, but then the bastard didn't need a gun anyway. John didn't care.

It was funny for all that Sherlock could look at death and not care and look at life and not care and talk about the cruelty of the world, John found him very innocent. Sherlock Holmes had never killed a man. Sherlock was a proficient fighter, he could defend himself, but he normally just needed to hold someone off until help came. Help always came. Sherlock was either very lucky or Mycroft's surveillance was better than they thought.

It didn't matter. Sherlock, for all that he could torture a man if it suited him (though John only knew of this time and the bit with the death cabbie where Sherlock had actively participated) he was still surprisingly innocent. John didn't know why the words cut through his mind sometimes.

"You forget Sherlock, I was a soldier. I killed people."

"You were a doctor."

"I had bad days."

Bad days, what else was John supposed to say? Sherlock didn't get it. Sherlock wasn't made for war. He wasn't pliable enough. He'd break under the pressure of being a soldier. Sherlock wasn't made for it. How was he supposed to understand that John didn't just have patients who died by his mistakes, though he did have those. Did Sherlock forget about their first case? Did Sherlock not understand what it meant when someone could kill another man and not be bothered by it or hesitate at all?

John would watch an old MASH episode now and then and wonder how doctors had been able to live with triage medicine before with as bad as it still was now. Sometimes they'd get a lot of wounded. John sometimes would have to be the one to examine the wounded. He'd have to play god. "We'll work on him, he might live. We won't work on him, he'll use up too much time and we could save these other two. Don't even bother, this isn't home. You could save him in London, but here there's no way we can waste the resources."

He'd been there long enough that he knew exactly how to look at someone and see their chances of living. He'd been there long enough that he knew how to do the mental arithmetic needed to figure out who got to be treated and who didn't.

Sherlock accused him of being a doctor, of being a man who didn't kill people, but he did. He killed them on the table and he killed them by not taking them to the table. He did what he could and saved what he could and let the rest go because he'd lose his mind if he didn't.

Sherlock would never understand that. And he seemed so willful to forget that within two days of having met him, John Watson had killed a man to save Sherlock's life. By Sherlock's own admittance he was a crack shot, nerves of steel, all of that. John didn't get that good just by going to a shooting range. He got that good by defending his camp against insurgents. He got that good by killing men. He'd gotten that good by willfully going into situations where he knew he was going to have to shoot someone, and knowing that sometimes a wife or sister or mother or child would jump in the way to save their beloved.

But Sherlock didn't know and he couldn't know. He'd never understand war. It was just an annoyance for him. It was something that tied up traffic. Walking with Sherlock was like seeing the war at home, but Sherlock couldn't understand that. He ran into danger not fully comprehending what danger really meant. He was the stupid 18 year old who'd been newly enlisted and thought he was invincible. John was the man who followed behind and cleaned up the mess.

Sometimes John thought of Sherlock that way, as 18 years old with his first real gun, a child off to kill men. John didn't want Sherlock to have to kill someone, though. He liked that bit of innocence in Sherlock, it made him bearable. He was insufferable and almost always right and he was ignorant and inexperienced in the way the world really worked.

John had killed people, and sometimes it haunted him, but mostly he'd learned how to shove it all aside and not care. John was the officer trying to drag his man home alone through enemy territory. Sherlock was his man and he'd protect him worth anything. He didn't care who got in the way of his gun so long as he could get Sherlock home.

It was dangerous. It was stupid. It was even a bit hellish. Yet John craved it. He liked it when his gun was clasped firmly in his hands and he knew that men would die under the slightest provocation. He liked chasing men through the streets after Sherlock, ready to cover him if he needed. He even liked it when Sherlock stupidly ran ahead when John had the gun.

John liked those moments because he knew he wouldn't miss. Sherlock knew it to, but it was a childish-un-understanding of how the world actually worked that gave Sherlock that faith. John knew he wouldn't miss because he knew exactly how the world worked.