NOTE: This story is a sequel to "A Rose Blooms in Baker Street." You will understand this story better having read that one first, since it picks up from right where the first ended.
Mycroft Holmes entered the hospital and headed for his sister's room after a brief consultation with the registrar. Lestrade had never bothered to respond to his text so god only knew what was wrong with her, but luckily his meeting had broken up fairly quickly, allowing him to make haste to the hospital.
Standing outside Rose's room, Sherlock saw his brother approaching and decided to give her and John a little bit of assistance in the Mycroft department. It wasn't his secret to tell, but they deserved a chance to mount a reasonable argument to Mycroft's objections at a time when Rose was not in pain. "Don't go in there yet, Rose was being examined by the doctors," he told Mycroft.
"Rose! Mycroft is here, are you decent?" Sherlock called.
Inside the room John and Rose leapt away from one another. She let out a groan of pain at the sudden jerk. John moved to a chair near the hospital bed and both tried to look very casual as Rose called for them to enter.
"I should get going," Greg admitted, sticking his head briefly into Rose's room. "I'll text and see how you're doing later. Behave," he warned, giving her a wink before making his exit.
Mycroft entered the room, his eyes looking her over, surprised that for the most part she looked well, other than the obvious signs of being in pain. Sweat on her brow, face paler than normal and pinched with pain, but otherwise appeared to be none the worse for wear. "Alright poppet, what have you done this time?" he asked in a weary voice once the DI had departed.
"Someone tampered with my chair at work and I fell rather hard," Rose told him before proceeding to bite her lip.
"Yes and that absolutely requires being conveyed to hospital in a police car with lights and sirens," Mycroft replied, his tone dripping with sarcasm. "The whole of it, if you please, Rosenwyn." He cocked an eyebrow at her and watched as Rose averted her eyes and continued to chew on her lip.
"Well, I uh… Er…" The words were right on the tip of her tongue but Rose struggled to get them out knowing Mycroft would have an utter fit.
"Sometime today Rosenwyn," Mycroft ordered in a firm tone. "I do have other things to do than sit here and metaphorically pull teeth trying to get information out of you. Clearly, you've done something wrong or you wouldn't be this reluctant to tell me. Since I am already aware that I will be displeased with you, you might as well just tell me and get it done with."
"I probably have broken ribs. I've been sore for weeks because of practice and got hurt Tuesday night, possibly breaking a rib. I was going to go in to see a doctor today, but I had to get the competition done first," Rose explained. "It's really not as bad as it sounds." She looked up at Mycroft nervously, trying to gauge his reaction from subtle facial cues. "And John shouted at me already."
John snorted in disbelief as she tried, yet again, to dismiss the seriousness of her choices but said nothing further. The look on Mycroft's face told him that they were in perfect accord on Rose's lapse in judgment and frankly, even if he had already shouted at her, it wouldn't hurt Rose to hear what an idiot she'd been multiple times.
"Oh, shouting was there? I can promise you that there will be a great deal more than shouting whenever you are deemed healed by a medical professional. My god Rose," Mycroft muttered, shaking his head. "You never, ever learn, do you? No matter, I shall continue to teach you over and over and over again until it finally manages to lodge itself in that mind of yours. Safety is non-negotiable. Do you have any idea the amount of damage you could have done to yourself? Internal bleeding, puncture lung, I'm certain Dr. Watson can recite any number of other possibilities of medical concern that might have arisen."
Rose's eyes shifted downward but Mycroft was having none of that. Reaching out to grasp her chin, he lifted her head so she would be forced to look at him. "Eyes on me, Rosenwyn." He waited until she complied before continuing. "This has to be one of the stupidest things you have ever done, and considering the trials and tribulations of your childhood that is saying something, sister mine. You would try the patience of a saint and I am certainly no saint. You are in very serious trouble."
"Is it safe for me to come in yet?" A new voice called before moving the curtain. "I'm Leon and I'm supposed to take the patient to x-ray if this is a good time." Everyone had been a bit hesitant to come to the room, considering all the shouting and the number of people that had accumulated. Leon had taken the departure of the policeman as a good sign and went into the breach… er, room.
"Now would be a perfect time!" Rose happily said. Anything to get out from under Mycroft's glare!
"Well, you do in fact have three broken ribs," Dr. Colburn announced. He snuck a side-eye glance at the three glowering men in the room, wondering once more about his patient's safety. If look could kill…, as the clichéd saying went.
"You haven't met the cohort," Rose stated after catching the doctor's look. "They're not a bad lot. My brothers, Mycroft and Sherlock, who always feel the need to swoop down in all their glaring glory whenever I manage to bang myself up," she explained. "Other one is Dr. John Watson, Sherlock's best friend and flatmate who lives next door to me and, quite obviously, considers me his patient."
"A particularly unwilling and uncooperative one at that," John added. "And you should thank your lucky stars you didn't have multiple breaks within those ribs!" The complications that could have come from flail chest or the puncturing of organs such as her lung or spleen were very serious.
"Dr. Watson is quite right," Dr. Colburn said with a nod. "You're very lucky that the breaks of ribs 7-9 are clean and there is only a single break per rib. I'm afraid you'll need to rest for six weeks, and truly rest. Get plenty of sleep, no strenuous activity, and use ice and heat as needed to help with the pain. I'll prescribe you some pain killers as well and I'm certain Dr. Watson will take very good care of you at home."
John nodded. "She'll do exactly as she's told," he assured the other doctor. "Won't you Rose?" He gave her a look that promised retribution if she didn't take this seriously.
"I will," Rose sincerely assured them all. "Despite all evidence to the contrary I don't like being injured, nor do I want another punctured lung."
"Very good! I'll send your prescription to the pharmacy here and have the nurses begin your discharge paperwork. Check in regularly with your doctor to make certain your ribs are healing properly," Dr. Colburn advised. He gave her a smile, looked suspiciously at the still glowering men, and then departed the room for the final time.
"Only you, Rosenwyn," Mycroft said with a sigh when the doctor departed. "Only you can damage yourself enough for six weeks recovery in an office job; an office job!"
"Well, practice too," Rose grumbled, her face flushing with embarrassment. As if she would actually injure herself at the office to such an extent without the assistance of repeated dropping and that cow Sally Donovan's chair tampering!
Mycroft rolled his eyes. "Yes, I do not need any help at all recalling that you competed yesterday with one broken rib, Rosenwyn. You have outdone yourself this time, sister mine."
Rose sighed heavily, her face burning red. "If I rest up this afternoon, can we still go out for dinner?" she asked Mycroft hopefully.
A chorus of "NO!" greeted her request.
"Little girls who hurt themselves and don't bother to seek medical attention or tell someone about it don't get celebratory dinners," Mycroft said firmly. "London's best eateries are not going anywhere, we shall find another time when you are healed more and better behaved."
Oh how she hated it when he said things like that! Would he ever lose the ability to make her feel like a naughty five-year-old despite whatever age she happened to be? Damn Mycroft and his… Mycroftness. Rose turned her head away and grumbled something under her breath; a mere whisper.
A dark eyebrow arched. "Would you care to repeat that?" Mycroft asked, his voice low and dangerous.
"Not really, no," Rose muttered. She had been hoping he wouldn't hear her softly utter the word dick but apparently he had. Note to self, she thought, think the words, not say them. Although, given who her brothers were, they'd probably know from the subtle shift of her eyes or the manner in which she held a cup of coffee that she'd cursed at them in her head.
"Mm hmm," Mycroft murmured. "I thought not. Honestly Rose, try and mitigate the trouble you're in, not add to it."
"Why do you always have to say things like that?" Rose asked, her face still red with embarrassment. "'Little girls blah blah blah.' I'm not a stupid child, My." She shifted her gaze to her hands, or at least attempted to. Mycroft had other ideas, and she allowed him to tip her head up to look into her eyes.
"I think you only dislike it because you know it's true. I wouldn't say it if it wasn't deserved," Mycroft pointed out. "You cannot sincerely argue that your actions were responsible and adult in this situation and you know that. The fact that you don't like being called to task is no reason to take your frustrations out on me in such a disrespectful manner."
"I just… it's like you're goading me when you do that!" Rose exclaimed.
"Because you have a very hard head, sister mine, and I must use every avenue of persuasion to force you to acknowledge the gravity of your misbehavior," Mycroft countered. "Consider yourself very lucky, Rose, that you won't be getting your mouth washed out. It is only in consideration of your present condition that you are receiving a pass in this case. I promise you that I shall not be so lenient if there is a next time."
Rose nodded. "I'm sorry," she told him sincerely. "And I understand. May I also point out that I think it's morphine they are pumping into me? Can't be held responsible for my actions." A little smile accompanied that statement, drawing a slight smile from her big brother as well.
"I just wish you'd have a care for yourself, my dear," Mycroft said softly. He pressed a kiss to the top of her curly head. "I must return to work but I will check in on you later Rose. Please be a cooperative patient and rest as you should. I'd prefer to keep you around, even if I do worry about you constantly."
"Not a word of complaint from you," John said firmly. "Not a single-" he paused to kiss her forehead. "Solitary-" John kissed her nose this time. "Word." This time his lips brushed Rose's gently as he enveloped her in his arms.
"This has to be against the Geneva Conventions," Rose murmured when the kiss broke. "Using undue influence and bribery in such a manner so as to gain my cooperation."
John laughed, his whole face lighting up. "The Geneva Conventions are for prisoners of war, love. You're merely a prisoner of Baker Street, and thus exempted from protection by those coveted guidelines. You're my prisoner, though, if we're going to be specific."
"Still no coverage under the Conventions?" Rose inquired, gazing up at him with a cheeky smile.
"I'm going to start a war, take you both prisoner, and completely ignore the Geneva Conventions if you don't stop snogging on the stairs and pick a flat to enter by the time I reach ten," Sherlock threatened. "One…"
Rose snorted with laughter, cringing mere seconds later at the discomfort her laughter caused. Sadly it had not been morphine in her IV drip. "We're being counted at John. If he makes it to ten, we're in really big trouble," she teased, managing a weak smile as the wave of pain passed.
"Two, three, four!" Sherlock counted quickly.
"Getting a little anxious there mate? That's the fastest count I've ever heard," John snickered. "Pajamas for you love, and then bring a pillow with you to our flat. I'm going to tuck you in on the couch and even make you some coffee."
"Five, six, seven, eight!"
Chuckling, John gently turned Rose in the direction of her front door, sending her on her way with a gentle smack on her bottom before unlocking his own door.
"You really must refrain from doing that," Sherlock commented as he half-stomped inside the flat. "And before you point out to me that I said I approved this relationship, which I do in fact remember quite clearly, it is not for that reason that I urge restraint. I need to sweep both flats for listening devices and cameras. Mycroft will take things better if he doesn't learn about it from a cleverly placed camera."
That stopped John short and he prayed to whoever might be listening that there was no camera on the stairs.
"There isn't," Sherlock said, as if reading his mind. Immediately he began searching the flat from top to bottom, starting with the bookcase.
"Are all your books going on the floor?" Rose asked when she appeared in their sitting room. "That's not a very nice way to treat your books you know."
"He's systematically destroying our flat in order to find and remove any of Mycroft's hidden devices," John explained. "I'm merely relieved he's doing it for a good cause and not boredom." He cringed as the entire bookcase fell over, taking Sherlock with it.
"A little assistance John," Sherlock called.
"If you toppled it over, you can pick it up," John retorted as he tucked Rose in snuggly on the couch. It was, thankfully, further away from the ensuing disaster on the other end of the flat.
Rose frowned, peering around John, only to find her brother underneath the bookcase. She had half expected him to be standing beside it, glaring petulantly at the piece of furniture for daring to fall over while he was abusing it. "Oh," she said quietly, frowning. "That was slightly unexpected."
"I'm being stabbed, it's painful, and this is a surprisingly heavy bookcase that I will from now on think twice about scaling," Sherlock assured them.
"You're being stabbed by the hardcovers? Told you it wasn't nice to treat books that way. They're just having a bit of revenge," Rose teased.
"JAWWWWWWWWN!" Sherlock shouted, drawing his flatmate's name out.
"For god sakes," the doctor grumbled, finally turning to see what Sherlock was whining about now. For a moment he could only stare at the sight of the bookcase, fully fallen over on its front, revealing bits and pieces of his flatmate. An arm clad in a purple button-up sticking out one side, a socked foot on the other and a mop of curly hair just barely visible beneath the dark wood."Serves you right! I ought to leave you there, see if it teaches you not to destroy the flat ever again! Clearly it's had enough and taken its revenge."
"GET ME OUT JAWWWWWWWN!" The half-demand, half-plea came out in a petulant tone. "Damn books. I could have damage to my spine, where is my faithful assistant who happens to be a doctor when I need him?"
"Colleague," John pointed out. "I'm your colleague. I work with you, not for you."
"Fine, where is my blogger who happens to be a doctor while I lie here battered and broken?" Sherlock amended.
"This is where you get it from, isn't it?" John asked, turning to look at Rose. "The whinging and dramatics, he taught you all that, didn't he?"
Rose grinned. "I'll never tell! Though actually do help him up, I'm sure he's learned his lesson by now. Right Sherlock?"
Before the disgruntled consulting detective could fire off a suitably scathing response to his impertinent little sister, John began hefting the bookcase up. When there was enough room to do so, Sherlock wiggled out from under it and promptly held out three small cameras. "A thank you wouldn't be remiss," he commented, a bit miffed that it had taken John so long to come to his aid.
"Apologize to the books first," Rose suggested with a mischievous grin. "You hurt their feelings. Books are very sensitive creatures Sherlock. Go on; tell them you're sorry for manhandling them."
In lieu of an apology to the books, Sherlock merely tossed the cameras in her direction, smirking when they pelted Rose and caused her to squeal in alarm.
"I don't know whether to be impressed at how seriously he takes the matter of our safety, or concerned and slightly angry," Rose decided. There on the coffee table were a total of fifteen cameras found throughout the two flats.
"Just about the only place without cameras was the loo," Sherlock admitted. "I think he's upped the number in the hopes that I may find and disable one, then proceed to assume that I have taken care of the issue.
John looked at Sherlock in alarm. Were there cameras in his bedroom? Was Mycroft Holmes aware of each and every sexual conquest since he moved in? Granted, his sex life had never been particularly rigorous during that time, but he wasn't a monk either! "How many of these were in my bedroom? And how long has it been since you swept for them last?"
"Two. One looking towards the door, the other looking towards the window, neither of which had your bed under surveillance. I'm fairly certain that Mycroft would have no interest in your sex life whatsoever, provided you don't bring a terrorist or other person of great interest to him back here and into your room," Sherlock replied. He was trying to be reassuring but the look on John's face told him he really hadn't been.
"Though I am certain after the events of this morning that you will no longer have any need to bring other women into our flat," Sherlock continued on. "I'm sure it goes without saying that you will be faithful to my sister."
John swore under his breath. "Sherlock… Geez, this really isn't… You have no idea what the meaning of awkward is, do you?" He pinned his flatmate with a hard look, trying to telepathically communicate that this wasn't the time or place to make threats about what would be done to him if he dared to hurt Rose in any way.
Sherlock huffed, looking offended. "Of course I know the definition of 'awkward.' It is an adjective with two meanings. The first is causing difficulty or hard to deal with; something that is awkward in the physical sense. The second meaning is to cause or feel embarrassed or inconvenienced. Please trust me when I say John that your embarrassment or inconvenience means very little to me when we are discussing my sister. My beloved sister," he reminded the man.
"Your beloved sister is going to cuff you upside the head in a minute if you don't hush," Rose warned. "For heaven sakes Sherlock, that is something for John and I to discuss and decide. Monogamy is not settled by the brother of one of the involved parties."
Dark eyebrows quickly rose and disappeared underneath unruly curls and Sherlock's mouth fell open. He looked, essentially, scandalized. "You do not expect John to remain faithful to you?! Do you not consider yourself worthy of faithfulness from your partner? Rose, you-"
"SHERLOCK!" Rose shouted, immediately wincing. She tried very hard to hide the annoyance from her tone as she carefully crafted her response. "I do consider myself worthy of faithfulness," she assured him. "But what I am trying to say is that it is my concern, not yours, brother dear. I will ask John to cleave only unto me when I'm ready to do so, not before, and all by myself. Though frankly, knowing John, I'm pretty sure that goes without saying."
"Look, mate, this is really new and Rose and I haven't had a chance to talk about anything at all," John added, his tone quiet and sincere. "While what happens between Rose and I is between us and us alone, I want you to know Sherlock that I will treat Rose with great respect. Not just because she's your sister and you're my best friend," John cautioned. "But because she deserves respect and will give it to me in return."
Rose blushed prettily at his words. Immediately she reached for John's hand and squeezed it gently. "Let us sort ourselves out a bit, alright? I adore you for all your indignant outrage on my behalf though Sherlock. Honestly, you are the best of brothers," she said, giving him a bright smile. "But we have no idea what we're doing yet."
Sherlock nodded slowly, his expression grave. "Then perhaps now would be a good time to go over the rules, so that you have a starting point," he decided.
"Rules?!" Rose and John said in unison.
"Yes, there will be rules. Both of you be quiet and listen," Sherlock ordered sternly. "First and foremost, The Work comes first. I don't care what you're doing together, when I need my blogger I shall have him."
John opened his mouth to remind Sherlock that he did not come at the man's beck and call (most of the time!) but a firm squeeze of his hand from Rose warned him to think better of it.
"Bring her home at reasonable hours of the night and always respect her work the way you would respect ours John," Sherlock continued.
"When you engage in sexual relations you will please refrain from doing so on the kitchen table. It would disturb if not completely ruin my experiments. Really, just keep all sexual relations in your flat Rose, so I don't have to hear them. I would like to pretend that such activities will never occur," he admitted.
"This is a nightmare," Rose muttered. She could feel the warmth of embarrassment on her face. "It has to be a nightmare."
"Clothing will remain on and properly in place while I am in the room," Sherlock continued on, ignoring her mutterings.
"So you're not going to walk around in a sheet with no pants on anymore?" John asked with a chuckle.
"John I am being entirely serious here. I don't want to see either of you together in various stages of undress with your hands all over one another. If you wouldn't do it in front of your sister, don't do it in front of me with my sister!" Sherlock gave his flatmate a warning look, as if daring John to disagree with such a reasonable request.
Rose's face was completely scarlet by this time she readily turned her face away from Sherlock, uncertain whether to laugh, cry, or hit him. His concern was touching and sweet, but he was embarrassing her- both her and John- and it was really enough. "Please, Sherlock. We will be respectful of your boundaries, but can we end this conversation now? Before my face bursts into flames at the fact that my brother is essentially dictating the terms of my presently non-existent sex life?"
This time it was Sherlock's turn to go completely red faced. "Fine," he said with a petulant huff. "But I reserve the right to change those rules at any time I see fit. I also reserve the right to do horrible experiments with John's dead body if he hurts you."
"Terms accepted," John spoke up. He offered his hand to Sherlock to shake on it as a man of honor. He certainly had no plans to do anything inappropriate with Rose, let alone in front of Sherlock, but if it made his best friend feel better to have his word on that, John would readily give it.
"At least both of us know what we're getting into," Rose reflected thoughtfully after the men shook hands. "No surprises for you about what my brothers are like and no surprises for me about what your flatmate is like."
Though his face was still faintly red, John couldn't help returning her smile. "Acute embarrassment aside, I think that went reasonably well." He paused a moment and then said very softly, "Cleave only unto you, hm? Quite dramatic, that."
"The formality of it seemed appropriate in that moment. I like fancy words and words from eras gone by; you know this already," Rose told him with a pout. "Don't tease."
"Alright, I won't tease this time," he relented. "But what I am going to do is tuck you into bed. Rest, rest, rest, is all that's on your agenda at the moment. You'll stay here, in case you need anything, so head into your brother's room and I'll be right there with some ice. Sherlock, you'll have to-"
"Sleep on the lie-low, yes. Thank you John for so punctiliously illuminating the obvious for me," Sherlock interrupted impatiently. He artfully dodged a pillow tossed his way before heading into the kitchen to check on an experiment as Rose exited the sitting room.
When John entered the room a few moments later with a pack of ice, Rose was already under the covers. "I brought arnica cream as well," he told her, holding up the items in his hands. With great care he lifted her pajama top only as much as was necessary to expose her injured side and oh-so-carefully ghosted the healing cream onto her bruises.
"I have to say, I admire your strength," John said quietly. "You must have been in significant pain the last few days and been in moderate pain for the few weeks preceding this one. Only a person of great strength soldiers on like that, as though she doesn't have a care in the world but her goals. I admire that."
Rose smiled softly, watching him doctor her. He was so skilled that she hardly felt a thing. "That almost sounds like a compliment," she murmured when he capped the cream.
"Oh, it very much is. But while I admire your strength, I'm still going to spank the daylights out of you for being a complete idiot. A rather adorable idiot, but an idiot all the same," John said firmly. He leaned over to kiss her softly, just a quick brush of his lips against hers, to soothe the sting from his words.
She let out a sigh. "I've gathered that, yeah." Rose winced slightly when he placed the ice pack on her side and rested her hand against it to keep it in place.
"You'll be alright," John promised as he gently moved curls away from her face. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
Whether he meant her bum or her side Rose wasn't entirely sure, but she took comfort from his words all the same.