So it always seems to be Sherlock who gets attacked/abused/raped – I thought I'd torment John for a bit instead. Sadly none of this belongs to me apart from the rabid plot-bunnies and a lovely bunch of roses and lilies on my dining table.

On with the fic!

It is hot. He can feel sweat trickling down between his shoulder blades and beading on his forehead. It's not the burning heat of the desert, and it's quiet, and he doesn't know where he is. The sweat is coming thick and fast now, sticky between his thighs, and he feels uncomfortable but he can't place why.

Panic rises thick and fast in his throat; he knows this is a dream, but he can't escape, can't open his eyelids, and can't move.

Above him, the laughing starts, so many people laughing, and he hears one word cutting through the jumble of sound like a bell.


He wakes up, jaw clenched against a noise that wants to get out but damned if he'll let it, skin clammy with perspiration, heart hammering a staccato beat against his sore ribs. He can see the bruises coming up now, wrapped around each wrist like ink smudges.

It has been ten hours, fourty-three minutes since he was raped, and he doesn't have a clue what to do.

He lies in bed, staring up at the ceiling for several hours, watching the shadows ebb and flow with the passage of the cars outside, hearing the sound of revellers leaving the clubs and bars, the odd ambulance passing. It's strange because he feels more at peace than he can remember for years, his mind clear and focussed.

He knows, yes, that blocking it out isn't healthy. But thinking about it makes him want to hurt himself or someone else in a way he hasn't for many years, and if he can just push tonight to the back of his mind, maybe it'll just become a distant memory, the ghost of a bad dream. Maybe he'll get up later on this morning, have a cup of tea and read the newspaper, and it'll be like it never happened

Of course it doesn't happen like that. It never happens like that.

He doesn't sleep that night. At 6.30am he swings his legs over the side of the bed, wincing at the stab of pain and then realising it doesn't hurt as much as the burn in his backside. He is lucky that not more damage was done; he's heard the stories of massive internal tearing, people bleeding out quietly even when they've got home afterwards.

He sits on the bed for a few long minutes, fighting the urge to put his head in his hands and weep like he hasn't since he was a child. Slowly, achingly slowly, the pain abates and he is able to stand up, dress himself and go downstairs. Put the kettle on, rinse his mug out with bleach and then washing up liquid (habit – dangerous, but quite probably safer than the non-bleach alternative), pour himself a cup of tea. Sherlock will be up soon and he has to look normal, he cannot let on that anything is wrong. Sherlock won't understand and any scenario he can think of that involves Sherlock figuring it out has a bad outcome.

Sure enough, his housemate is in the living room when he shuffles in, angular limbs folded into his usual chair. He holds out a hand for his tea, not even looking up from the thick dusty tome in his lap.

John steadies his face, forces a fine tremor into his hand, and in the most solid voice he can muster, sighs a "Good morning, Sherlock".

His heart thumps wetly against his breastbone and he swears he only stops from breaking into a sweat through sheer force of will.

Sherlock grunts, doesn't look up, and turns a page of his book.

John may never have been more relieved in his life.