I Don’t Need Help
John helped an exhausted and bruised Sherlock through the door to 221. They paused and looked up the 17 steps to B. Never had they seemed so long. The doctor's limp was back in full force and his hand ached from where he had punched the smuggler, but he was still in better shape than the detective.
“Right, then. Up we go,” John said aloud, just to get them moving again.
Sherlock eyed John. “Do you think Mrs. Hudson would let us share her flat tonight?”
John put his hand to the small of the detective's back and pushed. “No. And you will leave her alone.”
The detective sighed and leaned more heavily on John. They were both cold and shivering.
“John, if you'll start a fire, I'll crawl into it.”
They had made it to the second floor landing and the doctor unlocked the door. “Nope, but I'll draw you a hot bath. How's that sound?”
Actually watching Sherlock undress, he realised how well he'd hidden the fact he was hurt. It was far worse than he'd expected, and it looked as if he might need a hand in and out of the bath given the way his knees seemed to have swollen up.
“Bloody hell.” John wiped a hand over his face. “No more jumping from second story windows for you. You're lucky you didn't break anything.” He turned the taps and adjusted the water to a good temperature. “Let me help you in.”
“I don't need help.” Sherlock started to lift his foot over the edge of the tub and almost lost his balance, catching himself at the last moment by clutching at John.
“Would you like to try that again?”
“Wait there. I'll go and grab the stool that I use when my leg's bad.”
The detective leaned against the sink and waited. It seemed to take John forever to return. When he did, Sherlock didn't balk at accepting the doctor's assistance getting into the tub. He sank down into the hot water with a sigh of relief, but he just couldn't bring himself to grab the flannel and clean his cuts.
“I'm nowhere near in as bad a state as you so I'll go and get you some clean clothes while you soak a bit.”
Sherlock only had the energy to hum.
John stumbled into their bedroom and stood there a moment staring. It took a bit, but he finally made himself move. He pulled out pants, a T-shirt and pyjama bottoms. Suddenly feeling even more exhausted, he sat on the edge of their bed for a moment... Then he slumped over onto his side and started snoring.
John jerked awake and immediately glanced at the clock, then the bathroom. 2 hours… and there was no way Sherlock could get out of the bath alone. Bollocks!
When he made it to the bathroom Sherlock was sat shivering, his knees twice the size they'd been before he'd got into the bath and the towel was on the back of the door, not a place he could reach from where he sat.
“Oh, babe.” John rushed forward and let the cold water start draining out of the tub. “I'm so, so sorry.” He turned on the taps and let the water warm up again. “Why didn't you call me?”
“I d-d-did. Y-you didn't h-hear me.” Sherlock gave a violent shudder and sneezed.
John leant forward and took his face in his warm hands. He leant forward to kiss him.
“I'm so sorry, 'Lock.”
Sherlock pulled his face away and leant back.
The doctor's heart sank in his chest. Having Sherlock pull away from him was no more than he deserved. He wanted to go put on the kettle, but daren't leave the still shivering detective, not again.
“You c-clearly want to b-be some p-p-place else,” Sherlock deduced. He may have been cold, his feet may have been numb and his knees may hurt like nothing before but his brain still worked.
“Yes, you numpty, I want to be making you a cuppa to warm you from the inside out, but I'm not going to leave you. Not again.” The doctor pulled out his mobile and called Mrs. Hudson, he was sure he'd heard her come in earlier. He explained that he couldn't leave Sherlock unattended and would she please make them some tea. Yes, he knew she wasn't their housekeeper. Once she agreed, he stood and closed the bathroom door, making certain it was locked.
Sherlock was silent as John examined his knees, the cold would have helped with the swelling but the pain… he didn't want to give an addict anything too strong.
But then he glanced at Sherlock's face, it was tight, he was clearly in a lot of pain but refused to discuss it with him.
John sighed. “Sherlock, I'm sorry. I fell asleep.”
“Really?” the detective sneered. “Is your transport that weak?”
He knew it was the pain talking, so John refrained from snapping back. His own leg was stiff and aching and he wasn't in the best of moods, the added guilt wasn't helping in the least. He limped over and pulled out a bottle of paracetamol and poured a couple into his hand. It would have to do. Filling the cup by the sink, he offered the tablets and water to Sherlock. “For the pain.”
Sherlock glared at the cup then at the tablets. “Keep them.”
“Or even better, take them yourself.”
“I'm not taking anything until you have.”
The detective just ran the hot water up his arms, ignoring the doctor. He could sod off with his shitty little temper and his shitty tablets. He'd got him into the bath knowing he wouldn't be able to get out and then he'd left.
John's set the glass and tablets down. His left hand opened and closed a few times before settling into a fist. There were some days he simply wanted to punch someone. He wasn't certain if he wanted to punch Sherlock for making it difficult to apologise to or his own reflection for being such a horrible caregiver. He sank down and sat on the edge of the loo with his head in his hands.
Sherlock let him. It was great to finally feel warm again… at least start to.
A knock on the door caused them both to startle and John stood up.
“Woohoo,” called Mrs. Hudson. “I'll just leave the tea outside the door dears. And I'll leave a tray of scones too. They just came out of the oven. You two take care of each other.”
John glared pointedly at Sherlock only to be ignored again. Sighing, he opened the door and bent to pick up the tray. Unfortunately his right leg gave out. “Bloody buggering fuck!” He felt ridiculous. There was nothing wrong with his leg but stress and worry over Sherlock. He hit the side of it once with his fist, then he took a deep breath and stood. The doctor managed to retrieve the tea tray without spilling or dropping anything. When he sat it on the lid of the loo, he glanced up to see a worried look on Sherlock's face.
Sherlock swallowed with difficulty, looking away, but this time it was guilt that caused him to, not hurt.
“I'm sorry,” he offered. “This is my fault.”
“Nope.” John smiled at his boyfriend. “It's not your fault.” He handed Sherlock a cup of tea and a scone then took a cup of tea for himself. He turned off the taps and sat on the side of the tub. “We, babe, are the victims of our transports.”
Sherlock bit his lip. “I-”
John was most surprised at Sherlock's quick turn in attitude, he thought he knew the younger man better than most and yet he still managed to shock him.
When the tea and scones had disappeared, Sherlock handed John the teacup. He frowned at his knees that were still swollen and still hurt. “John...” He almost sounded meek. “How am I going to get out of this tub?”
John smiled sadly and passed him the stool.
“Trust me, babe, it's undignified and you feel like a moron but it works.”
He frowned at it. “How?”
As Sherlock did, John placed the stool behind him.
“Now get on that.”
With a sigh, the detective did as he was told. He winced quite a few times, but finally made it up and onto the stool.
“John. Maybe, just maybe, I should have taken the paracetamol.”
“It's not too late.” John handed him the tablets and the water and Sherlock swallowed the paracetamol gratefully.
“They aren't that strong, but they should help.”
He nodded once. “Your go.”
He got a grin from the doctor. “Good.”
John took a couple of pain relievers for his overall aches, they wouldn't make a jot's bit of difference to his leg. “Now let's get you up.” He helped Sherlock to his feet and out of the tub, then he helped him dry off. And somehow he managed to scoop him up. He hoped Mrs. Hudson wasn't hanging around the flat as he toed open the door and carried Sherlock through.
The blond wanted to put him to bed, but the detective wouldn't stay there for long, not willingly, so he carried him through and set him on the couch. Going back to the loo, he fetched Sherlock his dressing gown and brought it back to him. “Put this on. You know Mrs. H will be up later to check on us.”
He chuckled. “She wouldn't come back if I didn't.”
“Behave,” he responded fondly as he passed him another scone.
Sherlock stuffed the scone in his mouth to hold it and put on his dressing gown, then he patted the sofa next to him in clear invitation.
John grinned. It would be a tight fit, but that was fine with him. He moved over and snuggled in with his boyfriend, feeling warm and comfortable for the first time that day.