Work Header

Head Case

Work Text:

When John and Sherlock finally settled on moving in together (in Sherlock’s skipping-ahead-to-the-end kind of way), John knew he was going to come home to some strange things. Just from his first encounter with Sherlock’s flat, he had been able to see the kind of detritus that the genius consulting-detective accumulated, and the sheer magnitude of dangerous chemicals that were strewn about the kitchen and living room.

Not only that, but now that he and Sherlock had accepted their respective roles as Dom and sub, Sherlock had become more and more interested in experimentation; which, unfortunately for poor Mrs.Hudson, meant a lot more strange sounds and smells coming from the upstairs flat. Sherlock had taken a keen interest in the usage of chains, after John’s tentative first applications of them. This made a whole lot of jingling and clinking.

To make matters worse, Sherlock had recently been working on his pain tolerance on his own, unbeknownst to John; carefully at first, being sure not to leave any marks for John to see, and toeing the line between recreational masochism and genuine self-harm.

So, when John got home from work early due to a scheduling conflict with his client, he was only semi-prepared to be greeted by Sherlock dangling upside down from the ceiling, naked, with ropes tied around his torso and arms, and a chain holding his wrists together.

“Oh. Hello, John,” Sherlock said, as his body slowly rotated around in a circle to bring John into view.

“Jesus, Sherlock!” John hissed, as he quickly discarded his coat and rushed over to Sherlock’s side. “How did you even do this?”

Despite his somewhat compromising position, Sherlock managed to come off just as condescending as ever. “It really wasn’t that difficult. See, I used a harness to secure the ropes to the ceiling and my body while still retaining friction on my skin.” Sherlock seemed to be trying to nod towards the ceiling, but his restraints were held a bit too tightly.

John, meanwhile, had begun looking the whole apparatus over, trying to determine a way to get Sherlock down without dropping him on his skull.

“Sherlock... why. Why were you even doing this?” John asked, clearly a bit exasperated.

Sherlock tried to scoff, but due to his position, it came out as more of a choked snort. “Isn’t it obvious? The ropes and chains help with my overall pain tolerance, while the rush of blood to my head contributes to my self-discipline and focus.” Sherlock said.

John spun him around, bring him him face to alarmingly-red-face with Sherlock. His right hand darted out with alarming speed, and grabbed a good handful of Sherlock’s hair. He pulled Sherlock’s face slowly towards his own, his expression becoming less of concern and more of anger.

“Now tell me what really happened,” John said coldly.

Sherlock remained silent for a long moment, his demeanor of confidence quickly evaporating. He glanced around, then looked towards his left hip and spoke with a surprisingly meek tone.

“I was practicing a weight distribution system, and the rope snapped.”

John nodded, and let go of Sherlock’s hair. “That’s better,” he said. Sherlock looked up at him, and began wiggling his fingers against the ropes.

“But I almost had it before you came in. I think I can get myself out if I just find the loose end a-”

At that moment, Sherlock did get a hold of that loose end and pulled, causing the rope secured to the ceiling to become unsecured. John saw what was happening a second too late, only having enough time to shoot his arms out and grasp in vain at Sherlock’s bindings.


The rope buzzed through its hoop, and Sherlock dropped downwards head first, hitting the ground with a sickening crack.


Sherlock awoke with a very bright light shining into his eye, and John’s disappointed face behind it. He tried to squint, but John was holding his eye open and looking into it very intently.

He slowly came to grips with his surroundings. John had removed his restrains, and clothed him in his normal clothes. He was in their bed, with the duvet pulled up to his neck and pillows propping up his head. He also slowly became aware of the lighting, and a quick sideways glance towards the window confirmed that it was night time, which meant that he had been unconscious for a few hours. John was wearing different clothes - no, a different shirt. The one he was wearing when he came was long sleeved. Why did he change it?

John let go of Sherlock’s eyelid, and leaned back into a sitting position on the side of the bed. Sherlock squinted at the opposite wall, trying to think. It should be obvious.... John changed his shirt, was looking at his eyes, several hours since... since what? As hard as Sherlock tried, he couldn’t get a grasp on what had happened. He had been upside down. Attacked? No, no he had put himself there. Why-

“Agh,” Sherlock said, his eyes closing quickly and his head lowering. His right hand came up from under the covers to rub his temple, and he let out a hiss as the spike of pain in his head died down.

“Well, you’re concussed, you git,” John said, with a little less anger than he had hoped for. “You hit the floor with all your weight, so it’s a pretty bad concussion. I’m going to bring you to the hospital tonight. Understood?”

Sherlock frowned. Of course he was concussed, it was obvious. Why couldn’t he figure it out before, though?

“Oh. Right,” Sherlock muttered under his breath, his eyes narrowing. He gave John a dismissive wave. “I can’t just leave, I’ve got experiments in progress. There’s the gold dissolution in the kitchen, and I need to take some notes on the progress of my carbon-dating simulation.”

John simply reached a hand over, and gave a firm but steady pull upwards on Sherlock’s shoulder. “We’re leaving. Understood?”

Sherlock turned to look at John, and, upon seeing his expression, thought better of his intention to give a snarky reply. He instead peeled the covers off of himself, and rolled out of the bed. The movement caused another jab of pain to go through his skull, and he let out a small hiss.

“We’ll need to clean up the floor when we get back. You lost a fair bit of blood when you fell, you know.” With that, John led Sherlock out of the room and closed the door behind them. Sherlock nodded in semi-understanding; that was why John had changed his shirt probably.


“I don’t want to wear my scarf.”

“You’re wearing your scarf.”

“It’s not even cold out.”

John placed two of his fingers into the corners of his mouth.

“Alright, alright!” Sherlock begrudgingly wrapped his scarf around his neck and tugged it secure. John smiled. This was almost worth Sherlock having a concussion.

After John had let Mrs.Hudson know where they were going, he led Sherlock out to the street corner and hailed a cab.

“Where are we going again?” Sherlock said, looking around at Baker street like he had never seen it before. John shot him a worried look, then opened the cab door to let Sherlock in.

“The hospital, Sherlock. Remember?”

Sherlock thought this over as he crawled into the car, wincing slightly as his head was jostled about when he sat down. John slid in after him, and told the cab driver where to take them.

“I... I fell, didn’t I? And... you changed your shirt.”

John’s looked a bit more concerned, and reached over to rub Sherlock’s thigh gently.

“Don’t worry, we’ll be at the hospital soon.”

John silently cursed himself for not bringing Sherlock to the hospital right away. His concussion had been pretty severe, and he had tried to wake him up right after he fell, but he was out like a light, and carrying him to bed was hard enough. He had considered calling an ambulance, but then he imagined Sherlock’s concussion-impaired actions upon waking up in a hospital without knowing how he had gotten there.

“John, I can’t think very well. Every thought is slow, and heavy, and very dull,” Sherlock said, his head swivelling around a little to look at John. “Is this what it’s like to be an ordinary person?”

John couldn’t help smirking, despite himself. Even when his brain was damaged, Sherlock managed to insult the majority of the world’s population and actually make it a good insult.


Mrs.Hudson quickly pushed herself up from her chair as she heard the lock on the front door being turned. She made her way to the hallway, picking up the care package she had prepared for Sherlock when he had been gone.

John graciously accepted the bundle as he led Sherlock back up the stairs, and Sherlock even managed a quiet grumble of thanks, in the disoriented state that he was. John made sure that Sherlock took the stairs very slowly, causing as little motion in his head as he could. The doctor had confirmed what John already knew: a severe concussion, but thankfully, nothing permanent, as long as he was taken care of.

“Easy, Sherlock. Almost there,” John said softly once they had gotten to the top of the stairs. He shuffled a bit forward to unlock the door for them, then continued to carefully escort Sherlock into the flat. Once they were in, Sherlock navigated himself towards the couch, and lowered himself into it. John sat down beside him, and put his arm around Sherlock’s shoulders. “Alright, we’re just going to take it easy for a few weeks. We’ll need to see how you feel as we go along, but the most important thing is that you don’t exert yourself. That means physically or mentally.”

Sherlock turned and gave John a look that would make a puppy’s heart melt. “But... what will I do until I’m recovered?” Sherlock asked.

John sighed, and stroked his hand up through Sherlock’s thick hair slowly. “We’ll think of something to keep you occupied.”

Sherlock frowned, and leaned over to rest his head on John’s shoulder. John let his arm drift down to Sherlock’s waist, and he held him close.

“John, can I ask you a favour?” Sherlock said, barely audibly.

“Of course,” John said.

Sherlock peered up at John from his very close perspective. “Can you keep a record of my behaviour while I’m recovering? It... could be useful, in case it happens again. And I’ve never gotten a first-hand access to brain-damage like this. I would take the record myself, but I’m feeling a little...” Sherlock searched for the word. “Woozy.”

John frowned. “I don’t want your injuries to become scientific experiments, Sherlock. You’re supposed to avoid things like this. But, if you promise never to do anything like this again, I guess I could take a few notes now and then, if you do anything unusual.”

Sherlock nodded, agreeing to the terms, as disoriented as he was. John leaned over and kissed him on the forehead, then gently eased them both up off the couch.

“Come on, you need rest.”



“Oh, come on now. I did not recite every line of The Lion King off by heart. You’re making this up,” Sherlock snapped, flipping through pages of John’s injury journal. “I can barely even name the characters, it’s useless information and I would have deleted it all.”

John continued to laugh from his spot in his chair as he watched Sherlock read all that he had done during his recovery time.

“Wait, I what?! No, no I did not sing the song parts,” Sherlock growled, and looked up from the pages to John and glaring at him.

John tossed his head back and howled, holding his sides and laughing for a good thirty seconds while Sherlock simply fumed. Once John had his breath back, he wheezed out, “It’s all true, Sherlock. If you like, I could even show you.” John flashed Sherlock a wicked grin, and fished into his pocket for his BlackBerry.

Sherlock went a little pale. John got up from his chair, and walked over to drop down on the couch next to Sherlock, holding his phone.

“Ahh, now let’s see... no, that’s the paper cranes one... that’s the chess one... aha! Here we are,” John said, as he flipped through the list of saved video files from the previous six weeks. He handed the phone over to Sherlock, who, after a few seconds of hesitation, hit play.

John had been prepared for many strange and dangerous things when he moved in with Sherlock. He was expecting fatal danger from Mycroft, potential threats from Jim, and he still hadn’t ruled out the possibility that Mrs.Hudson was actually Sherlock’s genius associate. He anticipated more radiations scares, possibly terrorist attacks, maybe even assassination attempts from world leaders. But this, he had never expected, and would certainly never forget: Sherlock Holmes watching himself, high on pain medication, sing “Hakuna Matata” at the top of his lungs on a camera phone, his jaw hanging open and his eyes wide. John threw his head back again, laughing like a hyena.