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Dragon Blood

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CHAPTER 1 

  Encyclopedia Britannica: Dragon
Dragon’s today are descendents of royalty from ages past who conquered their territories using their immense abilities (for more on dragon abilities see page 32). Almost every race has a dragon form in its past, though some of the lines are extinct today. Even the smallest drop of dragon blood can produce an heir capable of transformation generations after the last known descendent with the ability. Most countries will honor that re-emerged trait and treat the newly emerged individual as royalty. (For example see: Duke Albert the Vain) and give them a title and some small allowances.

John was peddling his bike at a leisurely pace, knowing this race would be won by stamina, not speed. It was the third such race he had attempted since graduating from Med school and he was proud of his third place status in the last one; the fact that it was to benefit Cystic Fibrosis* and sponsored by the hospital he worked for only made him that much more enthused to be a part of it.

The path started in Hyde Park, went to the Thames, traversed alongside the Thames up till Millwall Park, before turning around and following the same route back. It was 18.6 miles and required a good deal of traffic to be detoured, though a crossing guard was simply monitoring some roads where a major bridge was concerned. He was just rounding the first curve of the Thames – past Waterloo Bridge – when he saw one of the bikers shout and point up. He was soon joining the gaggle of rubber-neckers as a huge battle waged in the sky.

It was a pair of dragons, one significantly larger than the other; the larger was an English dragon and the smaller a Chinese dragon. The two were apparently at it to the death and blood had been drawn on the English dragon, which everyone was naturally cheering on based on patriotism alone. The poor Chinese sod was suddenly dealt a rather harsh blow to the head and plummeted from the sky at an alarming rate. He landed in the Thames. While several of his colleagues were cheering the English dragon on – who was flying off back towards Buckingham palace – John fled down towards the bridge as fast as his pedals would take him. There he pushed through the pedestrians leaning over the side and glanced below to see a shape below the surface of the water. It was the pale green Chinese dragon, and he wasn’t surfacing. John pushed off and hit the water at a dive not far from the creature. He swam quickly towards it, snatched it around its large head, and tried to haul it up.

Damn all those people! Why isn’t anyone helping!

His burden suddenly became lighter as the creature transformed back into human shape and John surfaced quickly with the pale person’s head on his shoulder. He could hear people cheering from the embankment and bridge, but still no one moved to help. John started a backstroke towards the shore. He attempted to check the young man’s breathing while he did so, and upon turning his head was rewarded when the poor thing coughed up some water and took a shuddering gasp.

“Don’t move! I’ve got you!” John called out, hoping he spoke English, “You’re hurt. Just let me get you to shore!”

He was apparently quite dazed because he didn’t fight at all, not even when John dragged him ashore and laid him out to check him over properly. It was a young man, pale of skin and dark of hair, who was drifting in and out of consciousness. He was bleeding rather badly from a gash on his head and John was certain of both concussion and a need for stitches. After a dip in the Thames with an open wound a good round of antibiotics was in order, as well.

“I’m a doctor,” John explained, when the creature gave him a narrow eyed look for pawing his person, “I’m going to get you some help.”

John stood and glanced about, waving to a few people nearby and shouting for someone to call an ambulance. A few people he recognized were heading down the nearest embankment and one carried an emergency kit. The dragon lad had declined to move from his spot on the ground, so John knelt beside him and accepted someone’s sweater as a cushion for his head.

“He doesn’t look Chinese, are you sure you grabbed the right fellow from the water?” Stamford asked, “Looks English to me.”

“Only person I saw down there, you think he’s a fellow rescuer?” John wondered, glancing back out to see if the dragon were still visible.

“Maybe a suicide victim,” Dr. Hooper pointed out the track marks on his arm.

The young man had enough presence of mind to scowl at her and jerk his arm back.

“Oh! Sorry!” Molly stammered.

“What’s your name?” John asked, smiling kindly, “You can trust us, we’re all doctors. If you’re in some kind of trouble, we’ll help.”

Molly was technically still a med student, but John didn’t think that required correction. Stamford had broken open the kit and was pouring alcohol onto a pad to dab at his head wound, which had finally stopped bleeding on its own. The young man didn’t even wince when it touched him; he just focused his pale-green eyed stare on John and seemed intent not to break it. John found he couldn’t look away.

“I think he is the dragon,” John whispered, unsure why he was doing so.

“What makes you say that?” Molly asked. She was looking him over for any other injuries.

“Aside from the fact he’s naked as the day he was born, his eyes are the same color as the scales,” John muttered, unable to get his voice louder.

“Oh, so they are,” Molly agreed amicably, “Are you hurting anywhere besides your head? Can you tell us your name?”

“Anyone who we can contact for you?” John asked.

The dragon-lad remained unresponsive and limp, allowing them to move him any way they wished and otherwise staring John down.

“Look, the ambulance has arrived. John, would you go meet them? They could probably use a hand down that embankment,” Stamford asked, his voice coming from a long tunnel.

Wait, what?

“John?” Stamford asked again, and the voice sounded even more distant.

Molly spoke, but she was so far off he couldn’t even hear much more than her tone of voice, which was concerned.

Stamford broke John’s eye contact with the dragon, by turning him physically to the side and holding his face level with his own.

“I… what?” John asked, blinking dry eyes rapidly and feeling disoriented.

“You alright, mate?” Stamford asked in concern.

“I… I think, so, yeah,” John replied, pulling away and rubbing at his eyes. He didn’t let the dragon catch his eye again, though he could feel that stare continuing to burn into him.

“I think you’d better go with the ambulance, John,” Stamford counseled, and John didn’t argue.

John rode beside the paramedic, his eyes locked on the head wound and still dodging the dragon’s eyes. They reached the hospital and the two were separated into different rooms.

John thought that was the last he would see of the enigmatic young man, but he couldn’t have been more wrong.

 

*A little girl I know has Cystic Fibrosis. I’d like to invite anyone who is willing and/or able to donate or participate in a walk for this cause during the month of May. When she was born her parents were told she wouldn’t live to see 5 years old. She’s almost a teenager now, with a life expectancy of 35 years old, because of the medical advances that have been made. She has to have a stomach tube and is easily injured (she just ended up in the hospital coughing up blood because a friend hugged her and bumped her neck!) but she is happy and beautiful because of the research done since the day she was born. This is a wonderful example of how we can all change the world for the better!

 

 

CHAPTER 2

Italics = thought

<Italics> = telepathy

Encyclopedia Britannica: Dragon Abilities
In order to be classified as a dragon one must first and foremost have the ability to transform into one completely (for examples of incomplete transformations see: The Dragon Lady Soong May-ling). Other dragon abilities vary, but most often include flight, ability to breathe an element (fire, water, lighting, or ice) changing size, thrall, and bonding (see also: Effects of Thrall). 

See also: Rare Dragon Abilities

John was certain he’d heard his door open and close. It had awakened him from the depths of sleep and he was on instant high alert. He reached beneath his bed and pulled out a cricket bat, intending on defending himself, before debating the merits of turning on a light. The idea that it was a past lover sneaking in was ludicrous – he hadn’t had a girlfriend since early med school and none of them had ever been given keys to this flat. So that left burglar.

John’s bedroom door opened and the outline of a shoulder appeared before it was shut silently behind the individual. John didn’t think they could see him in the darkness since his window was quite securely hidden behind blackout curtains. He had the advantage at the moment, especially since his eyes were adjusted to the dark. John watched the outline move towards the bed and swung the moment it was close enough to hit.

Two things happened at once: The outline changed from tall man to gigantic something and his bat hit something hard enough to make the bones in his arms vibrate and ache all the way to his shoulders. John yelped in pain and then froze, waiting for death or the resolution of this bazaar dream. When neither came he turned on his bedside light.

A twelve foot long pale green Chinese dragon stood in his room; hind legs, tail, and one curve of belly planted on the ground beside his bed and front legs extended in front of it as though to grab the bat should he swing it again. It was quite tall as it arched over his bed, a head the size of his torso was looking down on him from above. The long ‘whiskers’ of its moustache appeared to be flesh as opposed to hair, and it’s ‘beard’ were in fact scaled ridges extending along its jaw. Four ivory horns, two small in front of two large, pointed out from its massive square head and extended behind it. Its ears were small and pointed enough to resemble another set of horns until it flicked them. The teeth were hidden with the exception of two long upper canines. The tail, just visible as it lashed at the foot of his bed where the dragon curled sideways, was covered in thin ridges resembling fish fins but artfully arranged to look like black flames. It had no ridges along its spine, giving it a more serpentine look. Its eyes…

Its obsidian orbs devoured him and John slowly lay back in the bed, eventually going limp. The bat clattered to the floor and the creature transformed back into that pale man with a mop of now-dry dark curls and pale-green eyes. John blinked as the eye contact was broken and the man walked to the foot of his bed before climbing up onto it with the grace of a serpent. Every movement was like silk gliding across a woman’s bare skin. He was agility personified and John couldn’t breath until he stopped moving and lay stretched out on his side beside him.

Once John got a stuttering breath in he turned his head to look at the beautiful man. He had no idea what he wanted, and though his presence in John’s bed might have been a huge hint he got no sexual vibes from him aside from the sensual movements that seemed to be his own natural grace. As John slowly rolled onto his side to face the man he watched as he shifted a bit, one leg smoothly gliding from straight to bent and back to straight again. It seemed to have no purpose other than so he could enjoy the glide of one hairless leg against the other. His hips had rotated seductively as he’d done so, but again the man made no overt movements and a glance between those supple thighs revealed a flaccid member demurely nestled in a thatch of tight dark curls.

John cleared his throat.

He failed to make a sound other than that so he tried again.

John turned over completely, fetched the glass of water from his nightstand, gave several big gulps, faced the dragon-man once more, and tried out his voice for a third time.

“Hello.”

Well. That was pathetic. A creature out of legend appears in your bed, undoubtedly a member of some royal family, and you say ‘hello’. Then again what am I supposed to say? ‘Greetings oh great and powerful dragon from the Eastern World, I offer my humblest service to you?’

The dragon man snorted and raised an eyebrow.

<That would do nicely, yes.>

“Oh my gods.”

<That will do as well.>

“Are you talking inside my head?”

The dragon rolled his eyes and then turned over- the movement appeared to be accomplished without him actually using his limbs to do so- and grew still. John didn’t try to disturb him again; he merely lay there and stared at that bare expanse of back. Eventually gooseflesh appeared, and it was so utterly human that John relaxed a great deal and gently pulled up the blankets to cover them both. Once he’d done that he saw no reason to leave the light on so he clicked it off and fell asleep remarkably fast.

John awoke to an empty bed and the firm idea that he’d had a very odd and quite possibly homosexual dream.

Or would it count as bestiality since I dreamt I slept next to a dragon? Or not since he was in human form?

John staggered into the living room/kitchen of his efficiency and proceeded to make an extremely strong cup of coffee.

<Tea for me, thanks.>

“Mhm,” John replied automatically, and then jumped. He turned around to find the pale naked figure sprawled out on his couch, his fingertips touching in an apparently deep state of thought and one leg toppled off the side. John had the oddest urge to go over and fix his leg, so he did, only wondering after what had level of insanity had goaded him to touch the man.

<Two sugars.>

“Sure. Yeah. Okay. Will you be staying long?”

No answer.

John headed into the kitchen to make the tea, added a breakfast scone out of courtesy, and delivered both to the coffee table. He then fetched his cup of coffee, poured in enough cream to cool it, and downed the entire mug despite the protests of his stomach. After taking a couple of breaths he glanced back to see the dragon-man sipping his tea with his legs crossed at the ankles underneath the coffee table and a bored look on his face.

John grabbed himself a breakfast scone and dropped into his comfortable old chair. He pulled the blanket off the back and offered it to the young man, but he was ignored so he draped it back over the chair again.

“Would you like a robe? A shirt? … Some pants?”

No answer.

A knock on John’s door startled him and he excused himself to answer it. A posh gentleman holding a brolly and smirking down his nose at him stared John down until he backed up a pace and let him enter unannounced.

“Well, isn’t this humble, will you be staying long?” The auburn gentleman asked the room at large.

“Ah, sorry? Do I know you?”

The man turned smartly on his heels and gave John a studying look before smirking once more and extending a hand.

“Mycroft Holmes, the elder brother to your uninvited house guest. Unless you did invite him?” The raised eyebrow seemed to imply he damned well better not have.

“Look, I’m not sure what you think is going on here,” John started, refusing the offered hand, “but I don’t know your brother and I didn’t invite either of you in.”

“Oh? You aren’t the young doctor who pulled him from the Thames after our cousin gave him a thrashing?”

“I… yes, that was me, but…”

“Yet you did not invite him here?”

“Well, I… I didn’t know who he was to invite him. I still don’t, other than that he’s a Holmes.”

Sherlock Holmes,” Mycroft supplied, “And the first Holmes in three hundred years to show dragon traits. We’re quite proud, though his presenting as a Chinese dragon is a surprise. Apparently a very great grandmother on our mother’s side had an affair with a Chinese emperor while on an ambassadorial mission with her husband; it was all quite hushed up and the child never showed traits or even looked Chinese; my several times great grandfather was inclined to believe the offspring his own and so did not disinherit her. My parents were unaware of this potential inheritance when marrying, or they might have made some efforts to prepare us for the possibility. So you see, the trait is descended from both distant English monarchy and Chinese dynasty, but presents as a rather plain looking Chinese dragon. His own children, or even mine or my brother’s, may present as English, Chinese, or no kind of dragon at all. Sometimes these things skip generations, you know.”

“Yes, apparently.”

“You don’t know why he’s here, do you?” Mycroft asked with a smug grin.

“Coffee? Tea?” John offered, deciding he’d rather follow courtesy than answer that arrogant question.

“Tea, thank you. Has he spoken to you?”

“Not so much,” John replied, turning to put the kettle on again.

“Has he communicated with you?” Mycroft amended, his voice oily with intent.

John paused at that, wondering if he should reply. Something told him no.

“Sorry, but I don’t understand your question. He hasn’t said a word.”

“Sherlock hasn’t done since he first transformed a month ago. We’ve tried everything, even professional counsel. He appears to be in some state of shock.”

“Why was he fighting with an English dragon?”

“They don’t like him,” Mycroft replied, “Most people don’t once they get to know him, but the dragons we’ve encountered take particular offense to him. We presented him to the Queen, of course, but she will have nothing to do with him. He’s a member of Chinese royalty, not English, and there hasn’t been a Chinese monarchy since 1912. While there are descendents, they live largely ordinary lives and do not publicly display traits when they inherit them. Some believe they no longer carry them at all, but this has been proven untrue.”

“So he’s got no official title or anything?”

“Nothing besides that which my family carries. He’s the third son of a country squire, so you can imagine what that amounts to. Our eldest brother holds the family seat. Sherlock was attending University, but has since dropped out. I dabble in politics, myself.”

Sherlock snorted and John glanced sideways at him, but the kettle began to sing so he turned his attention to that.

“Milk, sugar?”

“None thank you.”

Mycroft accepted is tea and placed himself in John’s chair, leaving John to rescue his scone from the wrong end of the table and sit down beside Sherlock. This placed Sherlock in between the two of them and the lad evidently decided to show his favoritism by putting his now empty teacup down in it’s saucer and lying down with his head in John’s lap. John chose to pretend this was normal and held up his plate to make sure he didn’t drop crumbs on the dragon-man.

“You are certain he hasn’t communicated with you in any way?”

“Other than rolling his eyes and snorting at me like I’m a fool? No, none at all,” John lied, though he still didn’t know why.

The man’s face became cold and forbidding of a sudden, “If you have taken advantage of him, I assure you your death will be swift and quite painful.”

A chill went up John’s spine, but he merely placed his food down on the table and laid a suddenly possessive hand on Sherlock’s bare shoulder.

“Sherlock, have I taken advantage?” John asked with mock concern while meeting the intense gaze of Mycroft Holmes.

Sherlock snorted again.

Mycroft frowned down at him animatedly, but there was hardly anything either could do about the immovable creature. Mycroft placed his unfinished tea in it’s dish and stood.

“I’ll be checking up on you from time to time,” Mycroft stated firmly, “You will inform me of any… changes that occur.”

“No, I’m afraid I won’t,” John stated firmly, carding his hand through Sherlock’s hair just to aggravate the gentleman.

“I can provide you with monetary compensation…”

“No.”

<Are you thick?>

“I could make it worth your while,” Mycroft continued.

“You really couldn’t.”

<You could buy me better tea.>

“I only seek information. Nothing indiscreet, nothing you’d feel uncomfortable with. Just tell me what he’s up to,” Though Mycroft was clearly negotiating with him, there was no pleading tone in the inscrutable man’s voice.

<And edible scones.>

“Why?” John asked, directing his question to both without making that obvious.

<Because we can split it.>

“I worry about him. Constantly.”

“That’s nice of you,” John replied, again speaking to both without indicating he was doing so.

“We have what you might call a difficult relationship, but I am concerned for him.”

“No.”

<Stubborn fool.>

“You’re very loyal very quickly,” Mycroft scowled.

“No, I’m not,” John told them both, “I’m just not interested.”

Mycroft frowned and pulled a book from his pocket, “’Trust issues’, it says here.”

<What’s that?>

“What’s that?” John asked, echoing Sherlock.

“Could it be you’ve decided to trust Sherlock Holmes? A wayward dragon?”

“Who says I trust him?”

“You come from an abusive home, your parents both alcoholics and your young sister showing signs of the same. You’ve made your way in the world so far, but your own supervisors are concerned you won’t stay long despite your success. They feel you have a wandering soul,” Mycroft read, and showed signs of continuing, but John cut him off.

“Are we done?” John asked coldly.

“You tell me,” Mycroft Holmes calmly shut his book of secrets and left the flat without further conversation.

John sat still and stiff, waiting for Sherlock to get up and leave as well. He didn’t move. John reached down and stroked those silken curls again, but eventually he had to rise to get dressed for his shift at the hospital. Sherlock seemed to sense this and simply shifted off of him, gliding to his feet and stretching gorgeously. John had never had a reason to find the male form attractive, but if this continued he could see himself drooling after one Sherlock Holmes on a regular basis.

John stepped back out of his bedroom to a dragon-less living room, but still felt Sherlock’s presence. He glanced around curiously, but even the ajar bathroom door revealed no naked young man or serpentine dragon.

Deciding he’d seek him out later, John headed for the doorway and felt a sudden weight on his shoulder. He glanced over; expecting to find Sherlock’s hand holding him back, and instead came face to face with a small dragon’s… face.

John jumped and yelped, dodging uselessly, and distinctly heard laughter in his head. Sherlock had shrunk himself down and was perched on his shoulder.

“Well, joining me for a day of blood and feces, are you?” John warned.

No answer.

Typical , John thought in annoyance, and headed downstairs.

John unchained his bike from the storage in the basement, carried it up to the first floor, and ducked out the door. He thought the dragon might fly once he started peddling, but the lazy thing just wrapped himself around John’s neck like a scarf. The weight was negligible so John just ignored him – and the resulting stares – and hurried the three blocks to work.

John entered the A&E with some trepidation, but while he got numerous looks, no one seemed comfortable actually asking him what a small dragon was doing on his shoulder all day. The patients all stared at him in awe and were oddly subdued. John found himself working fast and efficiently all day, an odd sort of energy thrumming through him, and his patients seemed to perk up in his presence. At one point a man was seizing and his entrance into the room stopped it entirely. The staff parted for him as though he had attained godhood and he quickly stabilized the man before rushing off to the next catastrophe.

John ended his double shift by collapsing onto his sofa and staring in wonder at the dragon perched on his belly. He blinked, the weight changed, and a very naked, very human looking Sherlock sat astride him. He stared down at him blankly before hopping off his hips and heading into the kitchen to rummage around. John’s stomach protested loudly at the single break he’d taken and the sub he’d inhaled a good six hours ago. Sherlock hadn’t eaten all day.

“Do you want me to make something?” John asked, but the lad returned with a menu for Thai in hand, “Oh, perfect! I could eat a dozen pints.”

John ordered, his eyes automatically traveling to what he assumed Sherlock wanted, and happily pulled a beer out of the fridge to start with. He probably shouldn’t have downed even a few sips on an empty stomach, but after the odd day he’d had he needed a bit of liquid courage. He dug out his computer and keyed up some educational material he’d been reading on dragons since yesterday, but it felt rude to read it in front of Sherlock so he looked up some medical references instead.

There it was, plain as day. His fingers seemed to have led him there. He was still gaping at the information when the buzzer went off and Sherlock nudged him with his foot to go answer the door. He accepted the food, paid the man by card, and returned to collapse on his chair and stare at the long limbed creature once more stretched out on his sofa. He put Sherlock’s food down on the table and dove into his own while thinking over what he’d read.

Web MD
Dragons have been known to aid the healing process of both mental and physical afflictions merely by being present. While the exact cause of this effect is not known, it has been observed enough to push it from the realm of science fiction and into scientific theory. Most believe that the dragon’s breath is the cause, and that it is related to the same chemical process that allows them to breathe out elements. Since dragons revert to their human state at death and no living dragon has ever allowed itself to be studied, we may never know the exact cause of either phenomenon.

 

Chapter 3: Tour of Duty

 

Encyclopedia Britannica: Rare Abilities of Dragons
Some dragons have the ability to use telepathy with those they have enthralled (See also: Effects of Thrall). The most notable of rare abilities is hypnotism, which appears to be unrelated to thrall; the victim will perform a set task and then go about their lives without ever knowing they had done something out of the ordinary. Queen Victoria outlawed the use of hypnotism by members not actively ruling the country during the end of her reign (see also: Dragon Laws and Restrictions).

Other noteworthy rare abilities are the ability to camouflage itself to look like its surroundings, ability to go without sleep, food or drink for extended periods of time, and the ability to teleport. The last ability has not appeared for many centuries and some believe it to be myth.

The requests started the next morning when he was called into his supervisor’s office and asked to take more shifts. They wanted him to tour the cancer ward, as well. Not work it, just walk around it: same with the children’s ward. It was all phrased quite politely in an ‘if you wouldn’t mind terribly’ sort of way. John stammered that he didn’t think he could work more hours (he left the ‘legally’ out of it) but that he’d try to take time to walk the wards if they wanted him to.

Sherlock remained uncommunicative on his shoulder.

A man in military uniform walking up, introducing himself as Major Dartmoor, and asking if he could join John and ‘his companion’ interrupted their lunch at a nearby restaurant the next day. They were eating outside in order to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather and Sherlock had uncharacteristically had John order a sandwich for him as well. He wasn’t eating it, but he was wrapped around it as though to guard it, which was garnering some amused looks.

“I’ll be happy to pick up the tab, as well,” Major Dartmoor smiled from ear to ear.

“I’m sorry, why?” John stammered.

<Free food, John. What is wrong with you?>

“I’d be delighted,” John corrected.

The uniformed man sat with a grin and a nod towards Sherlock as though he knew he’d been the cause of the accepted invitation.

“Will you be joining us as well?” Major Dartmoor asked, but Sherlock didn’t even lift his head.

“He doesn’t talk much… well… at all,” John stammered, recalling the odd Holmes brother and his inquisition.

“No, but he speaks through you, doesn’t he?”

John decided to poke at his salad instead of respond. Sherlock took that moment to drop into the chair beside him, transform back into his human form, and pick up his sandwich to take a healthy bite. John glanced around in consternation, but aside from a few admiring glances no one made a fuss about his nude companion. He hoped a constable didn’t pass by. Dragons were known to be law unto themselves, but he wasn’t sure how it would be treated since Sherlock wasn’t technically royalty. Prince William could sit at a café butt-ass naked and eat lunch, but Sherlock might be a different story all together.

“You’re probably wondering why I’ve joined you,” The Major stated after ordering a salad for himself.

“A bit, yes,” John replied nervously. Sherlock continued to eat enthusiastically.

“It’s because of your companion here, of course.”

“Yes, I’d guessed that part.”

“You see I’m aware you’re a doctor-“

<You’re wearing a doctor’s coat, of course he’s aware you’re a doctor.>

John did his best not to grin.

“-And as it happens the Queens Army is in need of doctors to aid in her efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

“Oh. I… I’m being drafted?” John asked aghast.

“No! Goodness, no, we’re looking for volunteers!” The man consoled immediately.

“Oh, well, that’s good, I suppose, but what’s Sherlock got to do with this? You want to recruit him, too?”

“In a way. We’ve found members of the lesser nobility often want to make themselves useful. Some of the Queens more distant cousins have served this way as well, and still do today.”

“I see, you want his healing ability on the battlefield.”

“Never in direct combat, but yes. We want you and – Sherlock was it? – to be a part of the largest MASH unit in Afghanistan. You’d get a chance to serve our country, afterwards you’ll tour other countries and see a bit of the world, and you’ll be making an honest difference in this man’s war.”

John felt that wandering streak in him stir, the same one that had sparked up whenever his father had gotten drunk and chased him out of the house. The one that said ‘leave and don’t come back, just start walking’. He glanced aside at Sherlock, but the man was no help. He’d finished his sandwich and was stealing bits of John’s salad.

“We’ll pay off your college loans,” Major Dartmoor stated firmly.

“Done,” John stuck out his hand and the man shook it firmly.

“Welcome to the Army, son.”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Promises, John found, were something the army only occasionally kept. They paid off his debt as promised, but after a few years he found himself being placed in more and more dangerous situations. He might have worried, especially where Sherlock was concerned, but his dragon friend defended him effortlessly. Bullets could not pierce dragon skin and John and his comrades found themselves hiding behind him more than once. Sherlock never grew larger than twelve feet and was no thicker than his human chest span, so there wasn’t much to hide behind, but in war you made due.  Bombs, poison, and gasses could harm a dragon if set off closely enough, so John was still paranoid enough about Sherlock’s safety to take his training seriously and ask for more whenever possible. He soon became the best shot in his troop and was much praised despite being ‘only a medic’.

It was during one rather endless feeling assignment that John’s relationship with Sherlock took a sudden odd turn. They were part of an all male squad, how it had fallen that way John had no idea since the army wasn’t short on female recruits, but there they were without a soft voice to speak to. They were on an assignment that required they escort a caravan carrying major supplies from one city to the next back and forth over and again. The caravan had no women in it, and they never entered either of the cities; they were to walk the caravan to the gates and stop there. In short, they saw absolutely no women for the entire several months that this assignment lasted. Just glaring desert, dusty jeeps, sweaty men, sweaty animals, and sweaty naked Sherlock. Sherlock had been assigned a uniform. John had it stowed in a backpack. John couldn’t wear it because it was Sherlock’s measurements and the man was tall and thin. Sherlock didn’t wear it because he was Sherlock.

By day Sherlock was in his dragon form, which garnered much respect from the locals and his confederates at large. At night, when they made camp and the fires and talk sprang up, Sherlock would stroll about in his birthday suit with absolutely no cares in the world. John was aware of his own reactions first, but when he started seeing others leering at Sherlock, he pulled him aside.

They were inside their own tent, a larger one they had traded in for their two smaller tents when it became obvious Sherlock would not sleep on his own, and sitting side by side on their single sleeping roll. Sherlock still slept naked and pressed quite securely against John’s backside, which of late had become an exercise in torture.

“Listen, I know you’re some sort of free and natural thing, but there’s not a lick of woman flesh around and… well not to inflate your head more than it already is, but you’re very pretty.”

Sherlock smirked and John felt himself blush.

“Damn it, you know what I mean! You’re going to get raped.”

Sherlock gave him a rather naughty look, glanced him up and down, and shifted his bare hips and shoulders in an inviting gesture. His plump pink tongue slowly moistened his full lips and John was on him before rationality could tell him to stop. Sherlock was instantly in dragon form, though only a six foot long one this time, and John found himself lips to scaly shoulder instead of plump lips. John leaned back and scowled at him. Sherlock dripped his head and curled his dragon lips into a sneer.

“That was rotten of you, you know that? This is exactly what I mean. It isn’t right mucking about with soldier’s heads. We’re bloody lonely out here.”

Sherlock transformed back and John tossed himself down on the bedroll with his back to him. Sherlock’s fingers danced along his shoulder and he shivered despite his indignation. John’s mind flew to the few of his mates who he knew swung both ways. It wasn’t much talked about, but their tents had been visited often of late. He knew one of them had a girlfriend and wouldn’t do anything on the side, but the other two had been known to offer a hand job in exchange for snacks. That was, of course, if the rumors were true. John was just wondering if he was willing to part with the cookies his mother had sent him when he felt an odd fluttering of panic in the back of his mind. He had long started to associate this with Sherlock’s thoughts, and while it was usually closed off to him, at moments like this it was wide open. John sat up in concern, well aware that the last time he’d felt this Sherlock had seen someone sneaking up on him from behind. The feelings had come before even the telepathic warning had.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” John asked, but Sherlock gave him a blank stare and raised an eyebrow as though he didn’t know what he was talking about, “I felt that, Sherlock. Quit being a berk. What’s wrong?”

Sherlock lay down, stretching in that fluid way he had, and displaying his body like a bloody whore. John wanted to pin him down and lick every inch of his body before fucking him raw. It was the first time he’d let his mind wander quite that far and the primal desire alarmed him. He immediately scurried out of the tent in search of Private Higgins.

Private Higgins was surprised to see him and even more surprised by his fumbling request.

“Look, I’ve heard rumors, and if they’re wrong I’m really sorry, but if they’re right then I’d like to… ah… trade, if you don’t mind… and it’s not an order,” John amended quickly, fully aware that the differences in their rank could bring him stronger punishment then engaging in what amounted to prostitution.

“Well… they’re true, but… I mean… what about… I don’t want to piss off your dragon friend, you know?” Private Higgins looked ready to flee his own tent at the idea.

“Oh, what, Sherlock?” John blinked in surprise, “Oh, no, we’re not a couple.”

“Oh!” The Private looked suitably surprised.

“Do people think that?”

“Well, he does sleep in your tent, you’ve only been seen carrying one bedroll, and he’s always naked.”

“You do pose a convincing argument,” John sighed and rubbed his hands across his face, “Would it help any if I explained that he’s an utter arsehole and won’t let me near his?”

<John, come at once, if convenient.>

“Damn, that’s… I think I’d go mental,” Higgins stated with wide, sympathetic eyes.

“Sounds about right,” John laughed lightly.

“I mean… he’s gorgeous! Not that you’re not… well… I mean… he’s really bloody beautiful.”

“Yeah, he is,” John snorted, rolling his eyes a bit.

<If inconvenient, come anyway.>

Coming is exactly what I have in mind, John thought hungrily.

“So… you’re willing to settle for me?” Higgins laughed lightly, but gave him a flirtatious smile anyway.

Very willing, and ‘settle’ isn’t the word I’d use for it.”

Higgins leaned forward with half lidded eyes and his own set of full moist lips.

<John. Don’t.>

John was out of the tent and back in his own before he quite knew what was happening. Sherlock hadn’t moved. He was still face down on their bedroll looking for the entire world like a model in a porno waiting for the scene to start.

“If I touch you, will you let me this time?” John asked, his voice tense with anger.

No answer.

“Damn you to hell, Sherlock, I was trying to get off.”

No answer.

“You just waltz into my life, settle down like you belong, and what the fuck do I get out of it?!” John demanded, unaware that he was shouting now, “I get fucking shot at, is what I get. I get to tour the same bloody stretch of desert over and over again. I get your pale naked arse pressed up against me all bloody night with nothing to show for it but blue balls and a morning stiffy I could probably open a tin with!”

Sherlock snorted and that was about the last straw for John, who thrashed his way out of his tent with the intention of walking off his frustration. A few lads were standing about, obviously listening, and John flushed in embarrassment at how loud he must have been. He hurried off, ignoring the chuckles, and passed a confused Higgins who gave him a sympathetic look whenever they spoke again for the rest of the time John knew him.

 

Chapter 4: The Effects of Thrall

 

Encyclopedia Britannica: Effects of Thrall
Thrall can be a complex issue simply because of the effects it has. Since most dragons are controlling they can be considered the decision maker, but often they give the human(s) in their thrall free reign, preferring to be worshiped from a distance. This has made them excellent leaders over the years, because the human(s) in their thrall are important to them in a familial way. However, the human(s) under thrall may be completely unaware and become emotionally or mentally distressed when they find their behavior has changed after contact with a dragon. Some dragons have the ability to communicate telepathically with their thrall victims, and may use it to control every aspect of their lives obsessively. Since obsessive-compulsive behavior is a norm for descendents of dragons – including those not displaying outward traits – this can become a sort of co-dependent neurosis for both parties.

Bonding is possible for victims of a thrall, which includes a more intense relationship with the dragon, occasionally related to sex but always related to a deep emotional attachment. While dragons almost exclusively breed with humans due to their low gene pool options, some choose never to mate at all and have displayed asexual tendencies. This behavior is believed to be the reason they are rare today. It also causes distress for the bond victims as they occasionally find themselves unable to be sexually attracted to someone else.

John had given up hiding his wanking from Sherlock and sneaking it when the bastard wasn’t awake (rare) or around (even more rare). In fact he had given up on the idea he was ever going to get a leg over with anyone ever again and was now masturbating, not only in front of him, but while staring at him openly as he lay stretched out naked and lounging somewhere. Instead of being repulsed by this behavior as John had expected, the dragon preened and displayed himself for John’s fantasies. If John moaned his name he smiled encouragingly and would run his hands over himself in imitation of the thoughts flashing through John’s mind. It was almost sex, but he was never allowed to touch Sherlock and Sherlock had no interest in touching him.

Today had been an awful one. Their caravan had been attacked and several people had died, though even more had ended up in John and Sherlock’s care. The Dragon had taken to transforming to human and helping when needed, even picking up a scalpel and performing surgery, though John had no idea if his knowledge of such were from John or his own life.

After patching up the survivors, decontaminating his hands and arms, and listening to his CO call in their defeat and request evac, he staggered into his tent to wash himself the only way possible outside of the OR – with a damp flannel and a good deal of no-rinse soap. He hated the stuff – it stank and left him feeling gritty and miserable even after the damp flannel. Sherlock, as usual, sat down and watched his every movement from the moment he stripped to the moment he drew on a (sort of) clean shirt and pants. John slipped outside the tent and rinsed off the flannel as best he could while trying to conserve water, and then he slipped back in and handed it to Sherlock to do the same. The dragon’s face said it all – he wasn’t going to put that bit of cloth anywhere on his body.

“Well, unless you can teleport you’d better get over yourself. You stink and you’re not sleeping next to me like that. Wash. Now.”

Sherlock’s eyes looked mutinous, but he did as told and John devoured the sight of him stroking hands and flannel over his body as though he were the water John was frantic for.

“When we get back to civilization,” John started, as he often did, “I’m going to take the longest fucking shower of my life. Alone. Then I’m going to take the second longest with you.”

Sherlock smiled his approval, tossed John’s last (relatively) clean flannel out into the desert despite the man’s scolding, and curled up to sleep. John paused a moment, then pulled out his cock for a wank. He didn’t care how gritty he felt – he needed to relieve some tension. As usual, Sherlock knew without being told and rolled over, an enthusiastic look on his face.

He nearly drooled as the dragon-man started his pretty little peacock dance. Sherlock started by stretching his body, arching off the sleep roll as every muscle bunched and pulled taut. Then he rolled over and arched like a cat – arse in the air and arms extended above his body. From his position at the bottom of the sleep roll John could see between his lush cheeks to his dusky, hairless pucker. He groaned, licking the palm of his hand despite the taste and stroking his cock faster.

I’d give anything to bury my face between those perfect orbs and eat your arse out.

Sherlock jumped.

Well. That was unusual.

Sherlock rolled over with a surprised look on his face and stared down between his own splayed legs with a look of complete confusion on his face. John followed his eyes and moaned at the sight of Sherlock’s half erection. He’d never seen the dragon even partially aroused before and he hungrily reached out to touch. Sherlock transformed into a tiny dragon and fled the tent.

“Damn!” John snarled, and pounded his fist on the ground. He knew better than to touch! “Damn it all to hell!”

John threw himself down on his back and fisted himself frantically, but his erection was wilting despite the tightness in his bollocks. It was as if…

Sherlock, are you willing my hard on away?!

<Go to sleep, John.>

I’m tense and I need to get off!

<Go to sleep, John.>

Damn you to hell!

<Do I need to tell you again?>

John’s eyes grew heavy and his legs went lax, he sensed more than saw Sherlock slipping back into the tent and tucking him into their bedroll. His dragon’s warmth stretched out beside him in the growing chill of the night and he wrapped himself around him eagerly. He nuzzled his hair, breathing in his natural scent instead of the powdery shampoo he’d refused to use on it. It was surprisingly soft and not a greasy at all. He must have used the sand to wash it again. He’d seen him do that on occasion and knew some of the locals did so as well.

“Love you,” John muttered as his limbs became too much of a burden to lift.

Sherlock turned to face him and pressed close, entwining their limbs and pressing John’s face to his neck. John sighed in contentment – all thoughts of lust gone – and simply drifted in this oddly euphoric state. Sherlock sighed and gave him a gentle squeeze. The last thing John recalled was hearing his name whispered by a voice that rasped as though rarely used.

 

Chapter 5: Shell Shocked

 

Websters Dictionary:
asex·u·al - adjective
Definition of ASEXUAL

1a : lacking sex or functional sex organs <asexual plants>

2a : involving or reproducing by reproductive processes (as cell division, spore formation, fission, or budding) that do not involve the union of individuals or gametes <asexual reproduction> <an asexual generation>

b : produced by asexual reproduction <asexual spores>

3a : devoid of sexuality <an asexual relationship>

 

“Sherlock?” John called, and watched the lazy dragon’s head pivot towards him, “How do asexual dragons reproduce?”

No answer.

“See, it doesn’t make much sense. Why would a species evolve to be asexual at all? It’s detrimental to the survival of said species. It doesn’t add up. You’d have to have a way to reproduce asexually if some of you are going to be asexual. I mean… can you just… divide yourself? Or is the definition ‘asexual’ wrong? Could it be that dragons aren’t getting what they need from humans? Or is that the problem in the first place? Is the breeding with humans producing unviable mutations? Like a mule?”

Sherlock’s obsidian orbs narrowed dangerously and John knew he’d insulted the fickle creature.

“Well, if you answer me, I won’t have to go around assuming you’re related to the ass you behave like,” John snarked.

Sherlock left. He simply pushed off the rock he was sunbathing on (who sunbathes in the bloody desert?) flapped up a veritable sandstorm with those wings, and took off. John glared up at his retreating form once he’d gone and sighed in frustration.

I’m only trying to understand so I can make you happy.

No answer.

John stood and headed towards the camp again, sniffing the air and hoping the beans being cooked were edible this time. They were supposed to have been pulled out two days ago. They were trapped where they were; their vehicles had been destroyed in the raid, their food supplies were low, they had only the water they were finding, and John had buried three more men in shallow graves that morning before the sun rose. Sherlock had helped, thankfully, because John couldn’t afford to break a sweat. They had too little water to replenish it.

The mortar landed first; something resembling a pipe flew out of the sky towards John and he barely made it behind a damaged truck before the damn thing went off. His shouts of warning were basically useless. The gunfire came after and there was absolutely nowhere defensible. They were swarming down the dunes towards them from all angles. He knew instinctively that Sherlock was on his way back, but in the same thought he knew he wouldn’t get there in time. Half his remaining unit was already dead around him and his weapon was empty. He didn’t even remember firing it, but that wasn’t unusual for him; the body count told him he’d been accurate enough.

John was pressed against the same damn jeep, as three men slowly approached him. He heard one of them say dragon in Dari – he’d heard it enough to recognize it now. There seemed to be a debate going over whether or not he should be killed. John didn’t see anyone on his side moving. Finally one of the men raised his gun. Several things happened at once; John decided to go down fighting and rushed the man, one of the would-be shooter’s compatriots tackled him, and Sherlock came screaming out of the sky like a bomb himself. The gun went off, John was thrown backwards, and boiling water rained down from the sky on the three men. John lay on his side, feeling heat drain out of his body as his spilling blood left him cold despite the desert heat, and stared in horror at the three Middle Eastern men. They were dead- and thank gods for it- their eyes popped like grapes, their skin blistered and cracked, and their mouths open in soundless screams that revealed their swollen tongues.

Sherlock stood over them, hissing in outrage with steam billowing from the corners of his mouth. He stepped closer to inspect John’s wound, transforming effortlessly in the blink of an eye. John had never seen him look so worried, and justifiably so since he was wounded alone in the middle of the desert. Just before John passed out he thought to himself that with an ability like that, at least Sherlock could make him a decent cup of tea no matter where they were.

XXXXXXXXXXX

When John opened his eyes it was to find the stars above him. He blinked in confusion, pain lancing through his body. He was covered with a blanket, but he could tell just by blinking that his face was badly sun burnt. Turning his head – a painful experience in and of itself – resulted in a blacked out blur that he instinctively knew was Sherlock.

Something wasn’t right, and it wasn’t just that he was injured and still not rescued. Something was wrong with Sherlock. He knew it. He could feel it. John pushed himself up using the arm that didn’t feel as though it had been ripped off and glanced down in the poor light to see his wound had been fucking cauterized.

Gods. Well. That’s a bit not good. Third degree burns inside and out…

John dragged himself up; arm hanging useless as his broken shoulder blades ground together and his vision momentarily went white. He had to stabilize it or he’d faint before he got them both help. John managed to tug his belt off, sat back down so if he fainted he wouldn’t fall far, and wrapped his belt around his arm and torso. He looped it and pulled it to, but couldn’t manage to buckle it. He didn’t realize he was crying until the sob shook him hard enough to make his vision blur again.

Deep breath.

Another deep breath.

Sherlock needs you.

John pushed himself back up again, arm less of a disaster now it was somewhat immobile, and staggered the few feet to Sherlock’s side. He knelt down and peered at his friend, but got no reaction from him. He was breathing but still, and a touch to his face let John know his scales felt all wrong.

Dry. Papery. Peeling. He’s dehydrated? He spat boiling water! Of course he’s dehydrated! Oh, shit, oh, shit, oh, shit!

John tried to call to him verbally since he wasn’t responding to John’s thoughts, but his voice was nonexistent. His mouth tasted like desert and felt just as dry. John pulled himself upwards and staggered around. He found a canteen and downed the water, needing to keep himself going first, and called out uselessly for survivors. He didn’t fear the enemy returning. He could still smell their cooked flesh. John found another few canteens and headed back over to Sherlock, but couldn’t find a way to get him to drink it. He opened one and poured a bit on his snout, hoping it would revive him, but got no reaction. Instead he looked for the radio. The CO’s tent was still up and John crawled inside to start up the radio. It fizzled and sparked, but he got through. His voice scratched and cracked as badly as the radio as he delivered another distress call.

Apparently their rescue was already supposed to have been there to get them and returned by now; they were MIA. John resisted the urge to beg for help and instead asked when a helicopter could be sent.

“There’s only two of us left, as near as I can tell, over,” John croaked.

“What do you mean, as near as you can tell? I thought you were the squad’s surgeon? Over.”

“It’s dark and I’m badly wounded. I searched for survivors, but most of our gear is gone and I’m barely conscious. My mate here is out, and I don’t think he’ll make it through the night. Over.”

“We don’t have a copter to spare. I’m truly sorry Captain. You’re on your own until we can get someone out there. Over.”

John let go the button and let himself weep for a moment. No tears. That wasn’t good. He was badly dehydrated. For all he knew he wasn’t even having this conversation; it might be a hallucination.

<Mycroft Holmes.>

“Mycroft H-Holmes, over,” John choked into the talkie.

“Sorry, didn’t catch that. Say again? Over.”

“Mycroft Holmes. Contact Mycroft Holmes. Tell him…”

<His brother won’t survive the night without rescue.>

“His brother won’t survive the night without rescue. Over.”

“His rank?” Dispatch asked.

<Fucking Queen of England.>

I can’t tell them that.

<Ambassador.>

“Ambassador,” John sobbed.

Silence. So much silence that John wondered if he’d died. He lay down in the tent, too weak to crawl back to Sherlock, and thought of him around and around in circles. Sherlock laughing. Sherlock moping. Sherlock taking off in a strop. Sherlock writhing on the floor of his tent as though aroused when his dick remained utterly limp. For him, because it made John excited.

Gods, I love you, you mad thing.

Silence. John sobbed into the darkness and waited for something, anything to happen. Another assault. A rescue. The sunrise. A fucking cricket to churp.

Anything but silence.

<We’re not supposed to be asexual. For some of us, if we don’t meet the right person our bodies don’t work right. Sometimes we never meet the right person.>

How do you know if you do?

<I suppose we respond sexually.>

That’s never happened between us. I suppose I’m not the right one for you. John thought sadly.

<I don’t like not knowing something.>

We’ll find your person together. We’ll go looking for him or her.

<No. I don’t like not knowing how to kiss you. How to touch you.>

You don’t know how?

<I’m… inexperienced.>

I’ll teach you.

<I’ll disappoint you. I’ve never disappointed you before.>

You couldn’t if you tried, though you have managed to frustrate, enrage, offend, dismay, and arouse me. Does that take the pressure off a bit?

<Not really.>  Sherlock sounded amused.

I love you.

<I don’t know how to love. I don’t think I can. I just know how to own you.>

That’s fine. I’ll love you enough for both of us. It’s all fine.

They lay in silence for some time. John dozed, though he had no idea for how long. He was awoken by the sound of a helicopter. The tent he lay in fluttered in the gale the machine raised and collapsed on top of him. He couldn’t move. Stiffness had settled in and he was utterly spent; he thought he might be in shock. Voices shouted and called for him. John tried to shout back, but he wasn’t heard over the sound of the helicopter motor; his throat was too dry and his body too weak.

<John! JOHN! They’re leaving without you! JOHN! JOHN!>

Tell them where I am.

<I can’t! John! Shout!>

I can’t.

<JOHN!!>

Goodbye, Sherlock.

Darkness. Complete darkness. The helicopter’s sound faded away. Cold. Alone.

The smell of rotting flesh as the sun rose and baked English and Afghani alike; death was the eternal equalizer. No man was above being devoured by sun, insect, or scavenger… all would become dust in the end. John could literally feel his lips cracking as the last of his body’s moister was sweated out. He thought the polyester of the tent might be melting against his flesh. He wondered if he would be mummified. The conditions seemed right. Would archeologists in the future dig him up and wonder at his wounds? Would they know a dragon had melted the skin around his wound to close it and keep him from bleeding to death, only to have him bake to death in the unforgiving Afghanistan desert?

Wind. It was nice. It cooled him even through the collapsed tent. Noise. A rushing, humming sound. Someone was shouting. The tent was being pulled off of him. More shouting. John tried to scream when they touched him – the pain was blinding – but all that came out was a dry hiss like two sheets of paper rubbing together.

Cold. No. Cool. Comfortable. He tried to move his head, but he was too weak. His eyes blinked open and a real actual ceiling stared down at him. He was in a building- a cool, air conditioned building. He could feel stickiness on his face and the steady droopy feel of medicine in his veins. His shoulder ached, but it was a distant ache – likely held at bay by the same medicine that made him feel as if he was floating at sea.

<I’ll get a doctor’s attention.>

I’m fine. I don’t need anything.

<You’ve been out for two days, probably longer if you count your stint under the tent. I’ll get a doctor.>

John heard the scrape of a chair and was comforted by the fact Sherlock was mobile; it meant he wasn’t in terrible condition. A door opened and closed and someone leaned into John’s range of vision. His eyes were too tired to focus, so he just closed them.

“Good evening, can you tell me your name?”

John’s throat made a horrible dry croak. The bed was being raised and the room’s occupants came into view. Sherlock was hovering at the foot of the bed looking concerned. A pudgy doctor stood beside him looking the same, but smiling more.

“I can’t give you any liquids straight off, but we’ll just run this around your mouth.”

The doctor extended a sponge on a stick and John opened his mouth gratefully as the moisture gave him instant relief. It tasted vaguely minty. John licked his chapped lips, swallowed a few times and tried again.

“Chawn Wasson,” John croaked.

“Very good,” The doctor commended.

Sherlock snorted. The git.

The doctor asked him if he thought he could manage an ice chip and John nodded that he could. Sherlock took the cup of ice and hovered by him to slip them into his mouth whenever they melted. The doctor calmly pulled up a chair and explained the extent of his injuries. They weren’t catastrophic; it was really the dehydration and sunstroke that had truly harmed him. Sherlock’s solution of boiling his wound shut had worked to a degree, but infection had set in soon after. John would be getting a skin graft once the infection cleared up.

A week later John was finally allowed to stand for the first time. He slipped to the edge of the bed, watching Sherlock shift into a six-foot dragon form and crouch at the foot of the bed. Two nurses were on hand in case he toppled. John smiled cheerily at them, gave the prettier one a wink, and then pushed himself to his feet.

Pain. Instantaneous pain, shot up his left leg and with a yelp he staggered forward. The two nurses caught him and gently guided him back to the bed. John’s hand was shaking again - he’d noticed it but hadn’t mentioned it to anyone- in combination with the pain in his leg he was now terrified.

“Something’s happened to my back. Something that wasn’t caught before,” John insisted, as every bit of his medical degree screamed ‘nerve damage’.

“We’ll talk to the doctor,” The pretty nurse reassured him, giving him a pitying glance. They both urged him to lie back down and he stared down at Sherlock in horror as they left.

“I can’t walk.”

<You’ll be fine.>

“Sherlock. I. Can’t. Walk.”

<The wound was in your shoulder. You’re probably just achy from too much bed rest.>

John nodded, but didn’t respond. He was staring at his hand where it lay trembling on the sheet beside him. Loosing the ability to walk was nothing compared to loosing the ability to perform surgery, and a doctor’s steady hands were his entire life.

Sherlock walked around the bed to his left side and gripped his shaking hand hard enough to cause pain. John smiled up at him gratefully and was rewarded with a gentle, chaste kiss to his lips.

“Have you been bored?” John asked worriedly, and just for a chance to change the subject away from his recent injuries.

<No. There’s a mousy mortician who keeps me entertained. She lets me use her lab.>

“Should I be jealous?” John laughed.

<You know I prefer men, if any gender at all. She’s a good thrall, though.>

“Oh, another thrall? Do you have others besides she and I?” John asked nervously.

<Not yet.> Sherlock shrugged.

It wasn’t for another few days before he found out Sherlock was talking about his acquaintance Molly Hooper.

CHAPTER 6-10