Rating: PG for slashiness and violence
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Characters: Sherlock, John Watson, and Lestrade
Beta: The forever amazing souleswanderer and fantastic b_c_draygon.
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Sherlock and no money was made from writing this story.
Summary: For once Sherlock's mind goes quiet. Unfortunately, it took a bullet to accomplish this.
A/N: This is my first Sherlock fic. I was powerless to resist. :)
Yes, the game was on! After directing Watson to give chase the other way, Sherlock was off, his feet slapping the damp pavement in rapid succession. The path was mapped clearly in his head, twists and turns filled with dodging traffic and the sounds of car horns blaring in the frigid night air. Not that Sherlock could feel it. He could feel nothing save the adrenaline coursing through his veins, the intoxicating thrill of the hunt pounding against his chest.
This was what he lived for. The relentless ecstasy of the hunt, the lure of the case, the primal feeling he got from stalking his prey. Yes, it was all brilliant, and he was indeed clever. John had been right when he’d said Sherlock needed to prove he was clever. Only it wasn’t for those silly police officers or anyone else that might be watching; it was for himself. He had to prove it to himself.
No doubt Lestrade and his tedious minions were still at the perpetrator’s flat right where Sherlock and Watson had left them. When Sherlock had said ‘Oh’ in that peculiar way very few people understood, and John had followed him without a second thought.
Sherlock calculated each movement, weaving through the streets and alleyways, and he predicted John would arrive precisely twenty three seconds before he got there.
He rounded the corner, skidding to a halt as John materialized across the alleyway. John had his hands pressed to his knees, fighting for breath as he bent over, eyes closed.
Ha! He’d known! John truly was a most useful colleague. Predictable, yes, but reliability did speak volumes of his character.
The assailant – well, murderer, three times over – emerged through the haze and went rigid, eyes wild at being cornered. Sherlock felt his mouth curve slightly, feral and unyielding. He’d been right. Again. And didn’t it feel brilliant?
He would have said something catchy and sarcastic, more for John’s benefit than anything else because the other man was still sucking in mouthfuls of stagnant, frozen night air, but he didn’t have time. There was a flash of silver, of metal, and Sherlock’s mind stopped.
It was an eerie feeling, the quiet. Sherlock wasn’t used to it and it was unsettling. As was all the yelling. There was burning, too. Heat and stickiness and more yelling, and yet his mind was quiet.
There were hands, too many hands and far too much touching, and was that blanket? He swore he heard something about shock, and if Lestrade thought he was going to have his lackeys have their fun taking pictures, he had another thing coming.
His eyes snapped into focus for a split second, and his field of vision was filled with John Watson. Such pain – vivid, bright pain – it was a look that could shear metal. He reached out, his fingers wrapping around John’s bicep and his ridiculous sweater, and for a second words were perched delicately on the tip of his tongue. He’d meant to say something nice, something reassuring even. But - Oh! Was that pain? Yes, it most certainly was. He was in pain!
His normally quick, inquisitive mind was flagging and it was most disconcerting. How was he supposed to solve a triple murder if he couldn’t think? Somewhere in his mind he knew he’d caught the killer, especially if the sounds of Scotland Yard’s finest were anything to go by.
So, what was the problem? Why was John looking at him like that? And why was he bleeding all over his favorite scarf?
He tried to recount his previous actions logically, but only came up with more questions. Why was he in pain? And why was John looking at him like that?
When he’d look back on his moment, he’d realize this was the easiest deduction he’d ever made.
He’d been shot.
Things made a lot more sense now.
Unfortunately he didn’t get the opportunity to think on it any further because the ground so graciously came rushing up to meet him, and John’s colorful curses and broken pleas eased his mind into nothingness.
Sherlock slowly rose to wakefulness, his nostrils flaring as he placed his surroundings. Hospital. Definitely a hospital. He could see John’s glare without opening his eyes. Someone else was there, too. Irate, yes, and perhaps a tad concerned? The abrupt sigh and rustling of the newspaper showed exasperation. Lestrade. Obviously.
The pain was back. In his shoulder. It licked down his side, danced across his sternum and curled deep in his stomach. Surely John had the decency to put a nicotine patch on him.
“I can’t believe he –“ John’s voice trailed off as if this was a sentence he’d started a hundred times before. Sherlock silently wished for John to finish. He was missing vital pieces to his current mystery.
The newspaper was cast aside. Forgotten. Lestrade must have been pretending to read for awhile now. “He cares for you.”
“He should have bought me a book token,” John replied bitterly.
There was silence again save the incessant beeping coming from somewhere close to his bed. There were too many machines making far too many noises. He was trying to think!
“Grand gestures are nice, too,” Lestrade said quietly. It might have been a joke, but Sherlock wasn’t very good at placing humor on a good day, and Lestrade didn’t sound very amused.
Despite having his eyes closed, he could see the shift of John’s head, the narrowed eyes, and the disapproving glare that spoke of years hard fought to gain maturity far too young. Was it worth the price?
“Next time” – Lestrade paused and it was a moment filled with disappointment, concern and barely restrained fury – “next time, you will wait for us.”
For a second John was somewhere else. Afghanistan, perhaps. But Sherlock didn’t dwell on it because Lestrade had moved close to the bed, purpose warring with concern. How quaint. And touching, actually. He’d deny that later, of course. A hand ghosted over his head, a fleeting touch through his hair, and then it was gone.
“I’ll come round this evening.”
John muttered something unintelligible, more of a sound in his throat, and the curtain was swept back. Lestrade’s heavy footfalls echoed down the corridor, and for a second Sherlock strained to hear the chime of the lift.
“You can open your eyes now,” John said conversationally.
Sherlock peeled his eyelids back, his head tilted towards the ceiling as he counted the cracks in the tiles. Suddenly this whole charade wasn’t interesting anymore, and Sherlock was tired of playing. He opened his mouth, a scathing remark about John’s domestic sensibilities perched on his tongue.
Sherlock’s mouth snapped closed, and his head rolled to the side so he could finally look at John. Apparently John wasn’t playing anymore either.
Should he apologize? Yes, perhaps. Isn’t that what flatmates do when they’ve succeeded in annoying the living daylights out of their friends? Yes, an apology should go over quite nicely right now.
“Don’t you dare.” John’s voice was like venom, slicing him right through to the core.
The pain was back, niggling at the backs of his eyes and pricking its way haphazardly through his body. John was on his feet, walking toward the bed. He didn’t have his cane, and somewhere in the recesses of Sherlock’s mind he was thankful for that.
John was standing over him, looking down, and Sherlock kept his eyes closed. He was thinking everything and nothing. Thoughts flitting through his mind, consciousness and rationality giving chase through the torrents of pain and unsettling perplexity.
“Go back to sleep.”
Sherlock didn’t take orders from anyone. At least he thought he didn’t until John said, “It wasn’t a request.”
Well, he supposed he could let John think he had the upper hand. Just this once. Especially if it kept that look off his face.
He felt John’s hand on his head, only it wasn’t fleeting, not like Lestrade’s had been. John touched like he had a right to, and at this moment in time, Sherlock was in no position to object.
Before he opened his eyes a second time, he knew Lestrade was there, and John was somehow absent. That bothered him. How interesting.
“I’ve been shot,” Sherlock began, the words forming on his tongue and disappearing through his lips before he could add the expected sarcasm and condescending wit.
Lestrad folded the newspaper carefully, the whole activity taking much longer than necessary, and set it aside. “Yes, Sherlock, you’ve been shot.”
Sherlock steepled his fingers in front of his chest, the IV in his hand a contrast against his pale skin. Hopefully they’d given him some good drugs, and this whole experience wasn’t all for nothing. But this wasn’t an experiment. No, this was something else entirely.
Lestrade leaned forward, elbows resting against his knees. “Why what?”
Sherlock sniffed. He failed to see why it was so difficult to answer a one word question. “Why was I shot?” Sherlock said slowly. He considered repeating it in several different languages just to make Lestrade squirm.
“Um. Because you jumped in front of a bullet.” He paused before adding, “We will be discussing this when you’re better, just so you’re clear on that.”
Sherlock shook his head frustrated. “You’re not answering my question. Why did I ‘jump in front of a bullet’ as you so eloquently put it?”
“I – I don’t know. Don’t you remember?”
If he remembered, would he be asking? Idiots. The lot of them . He glared at the IV in his hand, picking at the corner of the adhesive tape. A tiny drop of blood formed where the catheter disappeared beneath his skin.
So the doctor had returned. Marvelous. Well, if he wasn’t going to offer any solutions to Sherlock’s current mystery, he could bloody well piss off.
Feet slapped against the tile floor, and a warm hand closed over his. “I said stop it.”
For reasons still unrealized, Sherlock’s hand fell away, leaving the battered tape in its wake. John nodded once, his hands coming to rest on the bedrail.
“How are you feeling?” John asked.
There were a thousand ways to answer that question, and none of them would bring any peace to his friend’s face, so for once in his life, he opted for the easy answer. “Like I’ve been shot.” The words were acrid on his tongue, bitter and so unlike him that he almost winced when they left his mouth.
“Okay,” John began slowly, accepting and dismissive at the same time. “Now tell me how you really feel.”
Lestrade was watching the exchange curiously, trying to keep pace through a minefield of confusion, broken thoughts, and Sherlock Holmes.
“I don’t know,” Sherlock answered honestly, deflating against the plastic mattress and cheap sheets. “I’ve been shot–“
There was something else he was going to add to that sentence, but words seemed to fail him again. It was most annoying.
“Yes, you were shot.”
“But we got him. Yes, of course we got him. Lestrade wouldn’t be here otherwise.” Sherlock gave a decisive nod at that bit of deductive reasoning. Perhaps his systems were finally starting to come back online.
“What do you remember?” John asked. He sounded afraid, and Sherlock peered at him curiously. What on earth did John have to be afraid of? He was the one lying there most inconveniently shot.
“The chase,” Sherlock began. “Three crossover streets, a loop around, and back to the alley. You were there. I remember you. Obviously.” There was a cough, and John had stopped breathing, his eyes dark as he refused to look anywhere but directly into Sherlock’s inquiring gaze.
And then - a flash of silver, of metal. A gun. A gun and a bullet meant for John Watson. A bullet Sherlock would never allow to find its intended target. Oh.
“Anything else?” John prompted, his fingers gently brushing Sherlock’s hand, bringing him back to the present.
Sherlock shook his head. “No, nothing else.”
John’s knuckles had gone white against the metal bed railing. “Are you sure?”
There were a million ways to answer that question, most of which started with ‘I’m Sherlock Holmes! Of course I’m sure!’ Sherlock didn’t say that, though, because somewhere, buried deep down, he didn’t want to upset John. No, he didn’t want to hurt him. Not now, at least. Which was most likely why he’d felt the need to leap in front of a bullet for him.
“You’re lying,” John said without hesitation. Sherlock almost complimented him on a job well done, until he heard Lestrade rustle his newspaper with keen interest.
Sherlock leaned his head back, the wince of pain marring his features before he could conceal it. John’s fingers brushed across his forehead, and he muttered softly.
“You should have said you were in pain,” he grumbled.
“Well, I have been shot, haven’t I?” Sherlock replied annoyed. “I thought between the two of you, you’d have been able to piece that together all on your own.”
“I’ll go fetch the doctor,” John said, disappearing in a drone of purposeful footfalls.
“I thought he was my doctor,” Sherlock mumbled. The pain was very real now, and Sherlock could think of nothing else so he closed his eyes to savor it, this different, magnanimous feeling.
The voices were quiet now, either dulled by the pain or shushed out of respect. His eyes opened wide and somewhere in the corner of the room a needle was being discarded in the medical waste bin. In the drug induced haze he heard John’s voice speaking nonsense, but he couldn’t focus on the words because the world was light and dark and jagged and smooth once more.
When Sherlock woke the next time the room was quiet. “You should go home.”
Fabric rustled against hard plastic as John sat up straighter in the chair. “I’m not leaving you here alone.”
“I don’t mind,” Sherlock offered helpfully.
“I don’t care.” John made no effort to move which meant he didn’t care for Sherlock’s offer. “Besides, if you continue to improve, they’ll let you go this evening.”
“That doesn’t please you,” Sherlock surmised.
“Christ, Sherlock, you were shot!” John said forcefully, as if Sherlock hadn’t remembered.
Sherlock decided if they were going to have a proper conversation, he could at least open his eyes. The room was brighter this time; the few drab colors the room offered were more focused. “You’ve been shot before.”
“That was war.” John said it like it was different, like it was justification.
Sherlock linked his fingers together to ponder this, but John was on his feet, trudging to the bedside as if he was stalking enemy combatants through the darkness.
“You see the difference,” John said. “Tell me you see the difference.”
Sherlock felt nervous now, like this was a conversation meant for another time, another place, and certainly a conversation not to be had while he was lying vulnerable on a hospital bed. “I told you I don’t remember.”
“And I told you that you were lying.”
He had, hadn’t he? Oh, John. More clever than Sherlock had realized. So much more important, too.
“What would you have me say?” Sherlock asked finally. He was tired again. Not tired in the physical sense, but tired of John acting this way, tired of things not being how they were supposed to be.
“You took a bullet for me.” It was a soft spoken statement, but it was shrouded with such painful, deep seeded meaning that Sherlock had to look away.
There was only one response to that, and this time it wasn’t covered in condescending disdain. It was merely a pure, simple fact. “Obviously.”
John’s fingers froze just above his uninjured shoulder, and for a second Sherlock thought he might feel the heat from John’s fingers. “Why?”
Because I couldn’t bear to lose you. Because I need you. Because you make my world barely sane and slightly more tolerable. “Because it was the logical course of action, don’t you think?”
John looked at him for a long time, eyes searching for truth through the byzantine world that was Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock wondered if he’d found what he was looking for. John simply said, “Obviously.” Lips ghosted over his forehead. “Don’t ever do that again.”
Sherlock lowered his head, his chin nearly touching his chest. “I’ll take that into consideration next time.”
Fingers carded through his hair. “Be sure you do. And if Lestrade has anything to say about it, he’s going to start sleeping at the foot of our stairs.”
Sherlock huffed. “That would be most inconvenient.”
John chuckled. “Yeah, it would.”
Sherlock pondered the thought of Lestrade sleeping anywhere near their flat. “I suppose we could give him a show. Make it worth his while, at least.” Dark eyes glittered mischievously.
“A show?” John paused for a moment, his mind slow on the uptake, and suddenly realization dawned. “Oh, you mean –“
“Obviously,” Sherlock said, his fingers seeking out John’s.
“Obviously,” John agreed.
It was the next logical course of action, after all.