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If I Could Take This Pain From You (You Know I Would)

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It's dark, which is strange, because last he remembers it was definitely daytime. Some time when it was brightly lit. Midday? He was working a case, trailing leads across London, out to the rougher neighborhoods and back. He’ll send an occasional text to John; it’s his one concession to someone that worried about his wellbeing. Of course, the case had consumed him, leaving him unaware of the passage of time. Maybe it was a Wednesday? No, a Tuesday. Or Thursday? Had Friday happened yet? Sometimes he lost track, nothing terribly out of the ordinary about that. What’s out of the ordinary is that here, now, whenever ‘now’ is, the dark is a little blurry around the edges, which should technically be impossible. He'd prefer to roll over, but something is stopping him, one force pushing him into the earth below and another, even stronger, holding his body still like it's iron and the ground is the strongest magnet ever made. It would be quite nice to at least push up off the ground, or at least adjust the way he's laying, because he's belly down and his face is sort of smushing into the asphalt a bit. He can't quite feel all of his extremities either, and all these sensations are combining to feel sort of familiar, something he can half-remember…

Ah. Drugs. Yes. They slowed him down, brought him to the pace of the rest of the planet. But never this much, never this strong; he feels exceptionally slow at the moment. When had his back started hurting? And his arse? If he'd fallen, he'd have broken his nose the way he's laying, not his tailbone, even in his current state he knows that much. And there’s cold, a breeze, where clothing should definitely cover. Voices are slowly filtering in, two or three of them. They sound so far away. He blearily opens his eyes, blinks once, twice, at the boot in front of his face. It's bent oddly, contorted weirdly, and it takes him much too long to realize it's because the owner is in a squat straddling his head, hands on his shoulders, pressing down. The pain is suddenly almost unbearable. And if they're medical personnel, why isn't there more activity? Shouldn't there be flashing lights, slightly panicked voices and - John! There should definitely be a John Watson somewhere here.

He feels his face start to rub against the asphalt slightly, abrading his cheek and temple. He wishes whoever is rocking him would stop it, because it's making his insides hurt too, like someone is trying to tear him up from the inside out by filling him full of things that shouldn’t be there, and there's something sort of sticky and hot running down his legs, but it has no right to be, because he definitely left the house wearing pants and trousers, so his legs aren't bare. But they are, and he can feel the stickiness of it, and smell metal and sweat. He can also feel touches, sensations where they shouldn’t be and, quite frankly, where he doesn’t want them. The pain is bad enough that he feels tears running down his face, mixing with the abrasions, saltwater making them sting but the rest of him hurts so badly that's not even registering. There's a heavy weight on him, on top of him, making it hard to breathe, and his brain still feels like it's too heavy, filled with lead and still trying to maneuver. Lead wool.

 He feels like vomiting but he can't seem to make his mouth form the words to tell whoever these people are, give them some warning or ask them to stop. (No, not ask; demand it.) He wants to vomit a little more every time he is pushed forward. With every jolt, his insides protest and he feels like something's being ripped and torn, shredding inside him. He's starting to feel vulnerable, to feel like this isn't who he guessed (it was a guess, there are no deductions when your brain is wrapped in a wool fog, a haze of drugs and pain) and if it isn't who he thought it was it means it's probably someone he doesn't want seeing him vulnerable. He's struck with an overwhelming desire for John, to see him or hear his voice or, if the gods are smiling on him, feel his touch, something comforting and not painful, not like this. His shoulders are shaking, he can feel it because the man's hands press down, and his face is shaking, because on top of the back-forth of his movement, there's a barely perceptible up-down as well. He thinks (and it takes him a while) that his whole body must be shaking because it's unlikely that such localized tremors would occur. From cold or pain, he doesn't really know. Is he in shock? He's been in shock before, so he’d know the symptoms, but he wasn't on drugs then. He thinks it's a little cold, but only because he feels the liquid on his thighs and arse drying and it's cool there, cooler than everywhere else, but his body feels like it’s on fire and he doesn't like it, everything about this feels wrong but he's moving too slowly, mentally, to figure out why. He twitches his fingers, and is surprised he can. It at least means he's not paralyzed, so why can't he get up now, and finally he vomits, completely unexpectedly. He hears angry words but they're not making it down to him, they're far away in their own world through a distant haze and this doesn't seem like a good thing, there’s an angry tone to them, but he can't for the life of him figure on why. He wants to be taken away, wants John to come for him, wrap him in a blanket and carry him back to Baker Street, to home, to safe. If John were here, nothing could hurt him. John is, somehow, associated with safety. Where is John?

And like he summoned him with his thoughts, he can hear a set of voices, angry, but one a different anger, almost as familiar, maybe Lestrade? But John, certainly John, and could the idiot just come and pick him up already, wrap him in his arms where surely it was warm, John's body heat radiated like a furnace and he was understating it earlier, he is so cold. But John was not forthcoming. Why hadn’t John appeared yet? The world shifts, a weight literally is removed from his shoulders; John’s voice, angry, cold. Not fire but ice. Words spoken the way the world will end. A second weight is gone, more slowly, but not slowly enough; every time he moves, it hurts, and this man leaving him hurts, even as much as he wanted it to happen. (Which is to say, desperately.) Something twists its way out of him, a high-pitched whimper, and his insides don't hurt the same way anymore, but the pain is just as much and more, building now, like his body is starting to realize it hasn't been dealing him the full hurt that he's actually experienced so not only does it need to give him everything, it should also catch him up on what he's missed. He thinks he hears someone say John, and he's glad that he's gotten one thing right tonight, that the one thing he was certain about, the thing that he wanted, is real and happening.

That train of thought is interrupted by strong hands, gentle and warm and familiar doctor’s hands making their way over his body, a check for injuries. Head, neck, shoulders, ribcage… They stutter as they reach his hips, and continue a little more slowly, even more gently. He wishes John would just hold him already, the concrete wasn't getting any warmer and all he wanted was soft and warm, so please, John? And yes, John could hear his thoughts, because he moved arms under him and lifted, rolling him, proving just how off his equilibrium was because the world, dim as it was, started to swim, and all he heard was the concerned voice of his doctor telling someone off, that he had this well in hand, and maybe he just caught his name as well before slipping off into total nothingness, blessed oblivion.