Title: A Lesson Of Brawling
Warnings: Knife wound
Characters: John, Sherlock, Mycroft
Disclaimer: Sadly the characters and the show have nothing to do with me.
Summary: John wishes they’d just taken a taxi. Sherlock is injured and John blames himself.
This is a Christmas present for the totally wonderful flecalicious , despite the lack of any mention of Christmas in the fic. lol. You can set it around Christmas if you’d like though. All mistakes are mine.
A Lesson Of Brawling
Why did this always seem to happen to them?
Not everyone walked around London and encountered murderers, gangs and mad men trying to kill, torture or maim them. Then again not everyone walked around London with Sherlock Holmes.
It was just their luck though, to be casually walking back to 221B after solving another case for Lestrade and then get attacked.
Since the last case had concluded just round the corner from Baker Street it seemed rather pointless to get a taxi for such a short journey so they’d decided to walk; besides, their funds were dwindling fast now Mycroft had cut Sherlock off after their last argument, it was time to save the pennies.
John wishes they’d just taken a taxi.
As they turned down yet another alleyway on Sherlock’s ‘shortcut’ home they were confronted by two men.
Both were of a stocky build and average height. The one on the right looked like he’d seen one too many fist fights, his nose had been broken at some point in the past and hadn’t healed properly, giving his already grisly face a thuggish quality. The other man seemed almost unremarkably ordinary in comparison to the brutish figure standing next to him, his roughly shorn sandy blonde hair the only thing that stood out.
John wasn’t in the mood for this, he just wanted to get home and relax with some rubbish TV and a nice cup of tea but as he turned around to drag Sherlock out of the alley and find another route home, two more men blocked them off.
John let out a groan; a fight was all but inevitable now.
Sherlock had apparently reached the same conclusion. “Front or back?”
“Front.” The new guys were slightly less well built than the first two and although John was certain Sherlock could look after himself in a fight his skinny frame would not hold up well against the first two men if they landed any blows.
Deciding to use what little surprise he had going for him, John swiftly threw the first blow, hitting his mark on the jaw.
After that all hell broke out.
Sherlock was neatly dodging the rather cumbersome fists thrown by his attackers whilst managing to connect a few of his. His underlying strength and speed seemed to be helping him hold his own.
John had never been one for fighting finesse; war had taught him that a fancy combat style meant nothing in a real fight, playing dirty was as legitimate as any other technique.
He wasn’t as fast as Sherlock but the blonde man had fallen back after the initial blow, letting him deal with the other man on his own.
As the fight raged John took the few opportunities he got to check on Sherlock; he’d managed to knock back the first man who was now clutching at his gut, winded, and was now efficiently dealing with his other assailant.
John quickly dispatched of the blonde man, who’d recovered from his earlier blow but was apparently still dazed, making him an easy target. The brute of a man was taking a little longer but he was wearing down as John managed to smash his head into the alley wall. The man slid down, unconscious.
Having taken care of his two, John turned back to help Sherlock. The winded man was now wrestling with Sherlock; the other attacker lying curled up on the ground.
The last assailant rapidly took in the fate of his friends, his face showing traces of fear as he took everything in. Finally in an act born of desperation he shoved Sherlock away, throwing him against the alley wall, and dived for something lying next to his fallen companion.
Sherlock rushed in to tackle the man to the ground at the same time as John called out a warning. The final man twisted round, the steel blade in his hand glinting before it was lost in Sherlock’s gut.
The man hastily backed away, fleeing the scene, abandoning his fallen friends as Sherlock fell forward on to his knees, clutching at the metal now protruding from his abdomen.
John ran over to catch him before he fell onto the blade causing further damage. He laid him on his back trying not to jostle him too much.
“Sherlock! Damn it, hold on ok? Just try not to move.” He grabbed the jumper off of one of the injured men lying around them and pressed it as firmly as he could around the blade to try and stem the bleeding.
“Pull it out.” Sherlock’s voice was weak, his breath hitching with pain as he tried in vain to breathe without moving his stomach.
“No, I need to leave it in; it’ll only make things worse if I take it out. I’m sorry.” He needed to get Sherlock to a hospital, where was his phone? He started patting down his pockets with one hand whilst trying desperately to hold in Sherlock’s guts with the other.
“Sherlock, I need my phone, where is it?”
“Behind the second cushion on the sofa.”
“What’s it doing there? You know what never mind that—where’s your phone?”
“Left pocket.” John rummaged in Sherlock’s suit jacket before finding the phone in the right pocket. Worried John looked up at Sherlock’s eyes; it wasn’t like him to get something like that wrong.
“My left, your right...sorry.” Well that was something he supposed. Still he was looking paler than John had ever seen him—shock then; this wasn’t good.
John quickly called for an ambulance, hanging up after giving them all the vital information—he didn’t need to be told how to look after a stab wound victim. He looked back down the alley, probably a good idea to call Lestrade whilst he was at it, let him deal with the three fallen thugs.
Calls made, John turned his attention back to Sherlock. “The ambulance is on its way, you just need to hang in there ok? Sherlock, just stay with me.”
“John, it hurts.”
“I know it does but it’ll be ok, you just need to stay with me until the ambulance gets here, then you can rest.” For Sherlock to be admitting to pain really wasn’t good. The jumper underneath his hands seemed to be doing its job though; blood was still leaching into the material but not too badly. John knew that infection was highly likely considering the location of the wound but there was nothing he could do about that right now.
For the moment he just needed to keep pressure on the wound and keep Sherlock responsive; he needed to distract him.
In Afghanistan he’d ask about family, friends, loved ones—anything that would help the person keep on fighting. Sherlock was another matter; bringing up Mycroft was definitely not the right thing to do and now was most certainly not the time to be asking about the rest of the Holmes family. As for friends the only people John could think of were Lestrade and Molly, neither of which really fitted the bill and since Sherlock was married to his work there were no loved ones to speak of. Maybe that was the route to take—work.
“Sherlock, talk me through the last case.”
“I already told you everything...not repeating.”
“I know you did but you need to stay alert. The thugs then, what can you tell me about them? Come on, deduce things, stay awake.”
Sherlock let out a groan; his eyes were unfocused, struggling to remain open and his skin felt cold to the touch, the ambulance better get here soon.
“Hired help...probably sent by Hughes after that forgery case last week...” Sherlock’s voice trailed off towards the end, his breath hitching, eyes fluttering closed.
“Sherlock!” John couldn’t stop the note of panic in his voice. There was no way he was giving up, he’d dealt with worse injuries in Afghanistan, he knew a person had to keep fighting, as soon as they gave in the fight was over—Sherlock was not going to give in, John wouldn’t let him.
“Sherlock if you don’t open your eyes I’ll force you to take Mycroft’s next three cases, I’ll stop Lestrade from texting you, I’ll get Molly to ban you from the labs, I’ll...I’ll throw out the experiments in the kitchen.” On the last threat Sherlock’s eyelids slowly peeled open, even managing a faint attempt at a glare. A tiny relieved smile started to spread over John’s face.
“Your bedside manner needs some work.” At least he was still responsive, even if his response was barely audible.
In the distance John could hear sirens.
“Hear that? The ambulance is almost here,” he hoped it was their ambulance; it was hard to tell in London. “Not much longer, just hang in there for a little bit longer.”
Sherlock was losing his fight. It might just be transport to him, but right now his body was failing, taking that glorious mind with it. John was striving to keep calm, he could panic later, at the moment it was more important to ignore his emotions.
Sherlock fell into unconsciousness just as the paramedics rounded the corner of the alley. John let out a small sigh of relief as he stepped back to let the paramedics do their work, never taking his eyes off his injured friend until the ambulance doors closed.
Now that Sherlock was safely on his way to hospital John knew he should probably stay here and wait for Lestrade to deal with the remaining thugs but right then the only thing John cared about was the his wounded friend on route to the hospital.
Lestrade would understand. He grabbed a taxi.
He was sitting in the waiting room, head in his hands, going over everything that had happened earlier.
There had to have been something he could have done better, something that would have prevented this. After all what use was he to Sherlock if he couldn’t protect him, wasn’t that what he did?
Time after time he’d stepped in at the last minute to save Sherlock; he’d shot a man to save his life having known him for only a day for crying out loud. Yet four thugs in a back alley had laid them low.
Sherlock was still in surgery but John knew he should make it barring any complications. That was the problem with stab wounds to the gut though, the risk of infection was a lot higher, Sherlock wouldn’t be given the all clear for several days.
“There’s no need to beat yourself up over this, Doctor. We both know my brother has little regard for his own health, this is hardly your fault.”
John looked up from where he was sitting with a start. Standing in the doorway was the unmistakeable form of Mycroft Holmes, umbrella and all.
“Quite frankly I’m surprised something like this hasn’t happened sooner but then I suppose that’s due to your influence. He’s more cautious now you’re around. Of course I still worry about him, for good reason it seems.” The last was said with a glance around the quiet room.
“I should have stepped in to help him sooner; I should have dealt with my two faster and then helped him out. I was in the military for Christ’s sake; I should be able to deal with a few street thugs.”
“Come now, I’m certain you did all you can. My brother should know how to look after himself in a fight after the way he carried on when he was younger. It always used to upset Mummy the way he always came home with scrapes and black eyes.”
At that moment the doctor came through the waiting room door. “Holmes?”
“Yes?” Mycroft moved forward as John rose from his chair.
“Surgery went well, no complications. We’ll keep him in for a few days to make sure everything is healing properly, but he should make a full recovery. He’s resting at the moment but if you want to visit just speak to one of the nurses outside.” He gave a reassuring smile before turning round and heading back out into the hospital corridors.
“Thank God.” The sudden wave of relief rushed over John as he collapsed back on to his chair. Mycroft’s tense stance seemed to relax slightly.
“Well I suppose I should go make some arrangements for my brother’s care, if you’ll excuse me John?”
“Wait that’s it? Your brother’s lying in hospital recovering from a stab wound and you’re not even going to visit him?”
“I hardly think he will appreciate my presence and I have other ways to watch over his recovery John. Oh incidentally, it might interest you to know that the gang who attacked you have been arrested and no charges will be pressed against either you or my brother. Good day,” and with that he left the room leaving John to take in the fact that Sherlock would be fine.
Mycroft had somehow managed to get Sherlock a private room to recover in and persuade the staff to overlook John’s presence outside visiting hours.
He had no doubt that Mycroft was watching over Sherlock with some cameras hidden around the room as well; John didn’t mind, he knew it was Mycroft’s way of showing his concern for his brother.
John had stayed with Sherlock the whole night, finally succumbing to his own exhaustion in the early hours of the morning.
He’d managed to get a few hours sleep before the sound of rustling sheets woke him. Rubbing his bleary eyes he turned his attention towards the bed where Sherlock was fidgeting.
“Oh sorry John, I didn’t mean to wake you.”
“Sherlock...what?” He shook his head to clear the lingering drowsiness. “How are you feeling?”
“Bored. Honestly what do people do in hospitals, they’re so dull.” John couldn’t refrain from letting out a small chuckle; he was going to be fine. Whether anyone else would be after Sherlock was forced to take it easy was another matter but for now he was just relieved he was going to live.
“Hospitals aren’t supposed to be fun Sherlock. They’re supposed to help you rest whilst you get better.”
“How can anybody rest with these infernal machines beeping at them day and night? It’s a wonder you managed to fall asleep at all.”
“That’s what twelve hours of running all over London followed by a brawl with some street thugs and your flatmate getting stabbed will do to you I suppose.” He was tired and not in the mood to deal with Sherlock just now. His earlier relief at finding him awake was rapidly being replaced with the agitation from last night.
“Honestly, you get stabbed and nearly die on me and the only thing you say when you wake up is that you’re bored? Do you even care what I was going through last night? How worried I was?”
Sherlock looked startled by the sudden outpouring of emotion.
“I’m sorry?” His uncertainty made the apology into a question.
“God, you don’t need to apologise, not this time, this time it was my fault. I almost let you get killed. I should have done something; taken care of my two faster, spotted the blade, stopped you from diving at the bloke with a knife—anything. I should have known better.” John’s head fell, the bitter frustration coming back in full force.
“John.” Sherlock’s hand reached out to take John’s. “John, there was nothing you did wrong. I know how to look after myself in a fight; I saw the knife and still went for him. You don’t...none of this is your fault.”
John’s head came up. “You knew he had a knife?”
“Well of course I did.”
“And you still lunged for him?”
“Yes. I wasn’t about to let him get away now was I? Although the plan did backfire somewhat I will admit.”
“Backfire? You could have died. Jeez, here I was angry at myself for not helping you out sooner, when you were just being an idiot! My God, do you have no sense of self-preservation at all?”
“I’ve disappointed you again, haven’t I?”
“Brilliant work there; really first class.”
“I’m not used to having someone who cares around, I forget to factor in their reactions—their feelings. I apologise, it wasn’t my intention to upset you.”
“Upset me?” John shook his head in disbelief; how could a genius be such a fool? “How else was I going to react when you let yourself get stabbed? I’m not the only one who cares what happens to you either. Mycroft was here you know, he was worried about you.”
Sherlock glanced around the private suite. His eyes fell upon a ceiling tile on the other side of the room—he scowled. “Yes I can see my brothers concern for my well-being.”
“He cares about you, you know; although I will be the first to admit he shows it in rather a unique way.” John’s irritation was fading; he was still annoyed at Sherlock and still partly at himself but the knowledge that he was safely lying here in front of him, alive, made all the difference.
Sometimes John forgot that proper relationships were rather a new concept for Sherlock. If Mycroft was any indication, his family relationships were anything but normal and the other people in his life—Molly, Lestrade—were more along the lines of acquaintances and colleagues than real friends. He didn’t know why, and he didn’t much care, but for some reason he was the only person Sherlock had allowed himself to be close to; he felt strangely honoured by it.
“So what happens now?” Now that John no longer appeared to be so infuriated Sherlock had gone back to being bored.
“You’re going to stay here and rest for another day or so,” at this Sherlock released an audible groan, “and then I’ll take you home and you can finish healing there. That means no cases and no violent movements, you need to let the stitches do their job so they need to stay where they are.”
Sherlock’s head fell back on to the hospital bed. “Kill me now.”
John leant back in his chair, settling in for a few more hours sleep. “Not funny Sherlock.”
He could have sworn he saw a small smile on Sherlock’s face as he closed his eyes and went back to sleep.