It’s just a graze, but it hurts like hell.
There’s a moment before he figures out the wound is superficial—before he realizes he’s falling over only from surprise (fear, instinct, pain) and not because something vital has been hit.
He’s already on the ground by then, and he can’t get a clear shot. The study is dimly lit and unfamiliar, and John is still regaining his bearings by the time Sherlock clocks Evans on the head and confiscates his gun. Suddenly Sherlock is looking at John, and there’s something wild and terrifying in his eyes—wounded and animal-sharp as he rushes to John’s side and reaches for the spot where John’s blood is darkening his left trouser leg.
“Are you all right?” Sherlock asks, voice low and piercing. “John, are you all right?”
John’s head spins as Sherlock cuts the fabric away. Despite all the blood, he realizes the wound isn’t all that deep, and he laughs, lightheaded from relief and the overwhelming intensity of Sherlock’s focus.
In a strange, backwards way, it’s touching to know Sherlock cares.
“I’m fine,” he says. Then, “Sherlock— Sherlock. Really, it’s just going to need some stitches.”
Sherlock subsides, dropping back onto his heels and narrowing his eyes.
There’s silence for the span of several heartbeats, broken at last by a groan from Sherlock’s felled prey in the corner. Evans seems to be coming around. He’s coherent enough to flinch when Sherlock’s glare locks on him like the crosshairs of a particularly vicious rifle.
“You’re a very lucky man,” Sherlock says to their would-be-counterfeiter. His voice glints ice, tenuous control. “If you had killed John, you wouldn’t have made it out of this room alive.” Violence darkens his expression, tightens his posture as he shifts into a crouch and aims the villain’s own revolver at the pale, trembling face. “John,” he says, voice warming from glacier to bitter winter. “Do be so good as to call Lestrade.”
John is relieved he doesn’t need to leave the room to comply. Sherlock won’t kill Evans, but that doesn’t rule out less fatal physical harm.
His phone makes it barely half a ring before Lestrade answers. John gives him the address.
“Send a team. And possibly an ambulance.” Because deep or not, his wound is making a bit of a mess.
“Do I need to worry?” Lestrade asks, wry tone poorly masking his obvious concern.
“No,” John hastily reassures. “No, but um… Quick would be good.” The sooner Evans is in custody, the sooner John can stop worrying Sherlock will change his mind and take the man’s head off after all.
- — - — - — - — - — -
Hours later, after John has been stitched and gauzed and plied with painkillers, he expects Sherlock to calm down. The immediate danger has passed, the culprit is in custody, and an overwhelming string of evidence stands at the ready to lock him away. There’s still the matter of John and Sherlock’s statements to be given, but that’s for tomorrow.
For now there’s only the quiet of Baker Street, and the giddiness beneath John’s skin that comes from a prescription of rather good drugs.
But Sherlock doesn’t level out, even once John has made him tea. It isn’t fair, by the way, that John is injured (and, quite frankly, high as a kite), and yet putting the kettle on is still his job.
Sherlock just drinks his tea in silence, watching John putter and not pointing out that perhaps John shouldn’t aggravate his stitches. John knows he should settle, but he can’t sit still with Sherlock watching him like that.
“Everything all right then?” John asks at last, when his only alternatives are to retreat or go out of his fuzzy, slightly delirious mind.
“He shot you.”
“Yes.” John waits for more, and when it doesn’t come he adds, “This is hardly the first time you’ve seen me bleed.”
Sherlock stands in a single motion, graceful and alarming, and suddenly he’s right in John’s face.
“I’d have killed him.” Sherlock’s voice is eerily calm as he steps forward—steps again—and backs John against the wall. “I wouldn’t have used his gun. I’d have taken him apart with my bare hands.”
John knows better than to doubt either Sherlock’s sincerity or his ability to deliver on such a promise.
“Sherlock.” John struggles to string his words into a coherent whole before he speaks them. It’s more difficult than it should be. “You can’t kill people for me. How will you solve crimes if Lestrade has to put you away for murder?”
Sherlock is silent, eyes narrow, crowding John so close it’s difficult to maintain eye contact. He regards John with terrifying intensity, and John doubts he could make sense of all this even if he could think straight.
“He shot you,” Sherlock repeats at last, sounding helpless now instead of severely controlled. Something more vulnerable edges into his expression.
And just like that, understanding hits John like a blow.
He does the only logical thing: he grabs Sherlock’s face between his hands, drags him down and kisses him.
Sherlock breathes a startled sound against John’s mouth. For a moment he is utterly still.
Then he surges forward, eyes falling closed and arms tugging John against him in an uncoordinated embrace. Sherlock’s mouth is eager heat, and the explorations of his tongue feel more like curiosity than passion. John thinks—insofar as he is capable of thinking anything right now—that maybe it’s fitting.
When they break apart, Sherlock eyes him with unsteady surprise. He doesn’t back away from John, but there are a thousand questions in the way he’s staring. John doesn’t have answers to any of them.
“Tomorrow,” John says before Sherlock can put his confusion into words. “I’m high as a fucking kite right now, so we’ll talk about it tomorrow. All right?”
After only the briefest hesitation, Sherlock nods and murmurs, “Agreed.”