Title: Spilt Milk
Author: Erin Giles
Characters: Sherlock, John, Mrs. Hudson
Summary: John comes back from a trip to the supermarket only to take a trip up the stairs. Both shopping and blood are spilled.
A/N: A fill I did for the sherlockbbc_fic prompt. Major h/c.
It was raining. No, it was not just raining; something more than rain, something torrentially apocalyptic was occurring as John lingered on the threshold of the supermarket with the rest of the shoppers. A woman with a small boy made a dash for it and before she'd gone two steps she was drenched, her son holding her back by skipping through all the puddles. It had been fine when John had ventured out to the supermarket, and if he'd been listening to Sherlock he would have heard that there was a ninety one point six percent chance of rain in the air. But John had been thinking about more mundane matters, like whether there were any chocolate digestives left in the cupboard and if they needed more teabags or not.
John sighed, pulling his collar up on his jacket and making sure it was zipped all the way to the top before he hoisted the plastic bags back into his hands and set out on his perilous journey home. The plastic handles cut across his fingers so he palmed the handles, but after a while even that started to hurt. The cold air and the rain bouncing back up to meet him didn't help matters much. By the time he made it onto Baker Street again he was both miserable and drowned beyond all recognition. He shifted all the bags into his left hand while he searched blinded through his pockets for his keys.
'Hello?' he called when he was still struggling to close the front door behind him, shaking his head like a dog to try and stop the rain from dripping off the end of his nose. His action had little to no effect, only made him momentarily dizzy before he started ascending the stairs, shivering slightly.
'No, that's fine. I'm fine with the bags, thanks for the offer,' John said, more to himself because he didn't even know if Sherlock was in or not. As he turned the corner to reach the landing, the bags swinging in a wide arch something in his shoulder spasmed, no doubt the rain and cold had gotten to it through his coat and shirt. He dropped the bag, milk and eggs exploding on the stairs, the second bag following as John tried to make a grab for his shoulder. He lurched forward his feet still apparently intent on continuing their upward momentum. With one hand hung helplessly at his side and the other one cradling his fragile shoulder he had no way to break his fall.
His knee connected with the edge of one stair, his head with the banister and latterly the same stair his knee had fallen victim to as he went down. He slid down a few more stairs, his already aching shoulder bouncing off the skirting board before his rain soaked feet managed to find purchase and he came to a shuddering halt with a groan.
The call of his name came from somewhere distantly above but John was too pre-occupied with cataloguing his injuries to reply. With his muscles spasming in his shoulder he couldn't even lever himself into a sitting position and so lay there staring at a concussed can of tuna rolling on the step beside him.
Sherlock's voice was closer now, a degree of annoyance about it, like John had just interrupted some serious piece of thinking; possibly about the life expectancy of fruit flies and the relevance to the rate of decay of fruit if John knew his flatmate and if the current state of their fruit bowl was anything to go by.
'John!' The voice was much closer and it was followed by the floorboards shaking beneath his cheek before a familiar mop of dark hair came into view.
'Are you alright?' Sherlock asked as John struggled to regain his dignity by attempting to sit up.
'John, are you alright?' Sherlock repeated, even as he tried to stop John from rising and at the same time help him into a sitting position. Sherlock's hand rested on his shoulder and John cried out in pain, twisting away from Sherlock and almost pitching himself headfirst down the rest of the stairs. Sherlock's hands reached out for him again, pressing against his chest to stop him falling.
'Ah,' Sherlock said, in that infuriating know-it-all way that John usually found so endearing, but now in his current stat of pain and annoyance he found it nothing short of irritating.
'Ah, what?' John snapped, the numb fingers of his right hand reaching up to press against his left shoulder.
'Is everything alright?' Mrs. Hudson called from the bottom of the stairs, cutting off Sherlock before he had a chance to reply. She must have heard the crash.
'Mrs. Hudson, if you could do me the supreme favour of retrieving a first aid kit I and the good doctor would be most appreciative,' Sherlock called back to her.
'Whatever have you done now, Sherlock?' she asked, coming up the stairs and stopping when she discovered the mess of shopping, her eyes flowing up the river of milk to find John and Sherlock perched in the midst of it.
'Mrs. Hudson, the first aid kit please,' Sherlock repeated, his hands still firmly on John who was now trying to struggle to his feet.
'I'm fine,' John said even as Mrs. Hudson made her way back downstairs.
'Spasming muscles in left shoulder; the cause of the fall in the first place. Possible concussion and the formings of a black eye where your head connected with the banister as well as a head wound that is bleeding freely after it's collision with the edge of a step. Superficial and looks worse than it actually is since head wounds are wont to bleed copiously. Inflammation of the right kneecap where it collided with the seventh step as well as the beginnings of a chill due to walking back from the shops in the rain if your shaking hands are anything to go by – although that could be the shock. Yet, thanks to the distraction of the pain in your shoulder you have yet to notice any of this.' Sherlock paused to breath. 'So, yes, John, if that is your definition of fine, then you are certainly the epitome of health.'
John could do nothing but glare as Sherlock helped him stand, steadying him when he swayed slightly. He tried to take a step up the shopping strewn stairs but his right knee buckled almost immediately and he cried out, Sherlock stepping in as a human crutch. They made it to the sofa before Mrs. Hudson reappeared with a small green bag that she'd obviously unearthed from the depths of the kitchen cupboard if the dust on it was anything to go by. She eyed John worriedly as she handed Sherlock the first aid kit.
'What happened?' she asked, almost whispering like she was beside the bed of the terminally ill. John opened his mouth to make false reassurances that it was nothing, and he was absolutely fine, but Sherlock was already talking.
'It would appear, Mrs. Hudson, that John's old war wound – the one that actually exists – does not agree with the wet atmosphere of Springtime in London,' Sherlock said as he pressed a wad of gauze to John's head to try and steam the blood flow.
'I don't-' Mrs. Hudson frowned, looking at John's shoulder sceptically.
'I fell up the stairs,' John said, wincing away from Sherlock's rather heavy-handed approach to first aid.
'You need to watch out for those stairs, especially on a day like this. Right death trap they are,' she commented, wringing her hands together slightly as she watched her two tenants glaring at one another.
'I'll go and clean up the shopping for you, see what I can salvage and then I'll pop the kettle on shall I? Make us all a nice cup of tea,' Mrs. Hudson said, already turning away.
'Thank you, Mrs. Hudson,' John said, smiling at her rather tightly while Sherlock reached forward to undo his jacket.
'Sherlock,' John warned, but Sherlock didn't pay any attention and John wasn't really in any position to argue. He eased the jacket from John's shoulders carefully, taking it off the right first before he manipulated the left one free. John's shirt came next, leaving just his dry undershirt between him and partial nudity.
'Sherlock, really I'm-' John was cut off by his own sharp inhale of breath followed by several staccato 'ah' sounds as Sherlock manipulated his shoulder with both hands. John's eyes were shut tight against the overwhelming pain. He could feel warm hands smoothing over his previously shattered clavicle, kneading at the abused muscles to try and make them relax. Eventually the muscles relaxed enough for the tension to visible ease from John's ridged spine. He sunk further back into the cushions, his eyes still closed.
'You know you really must take more care,' Sherlock commented as he carefully placed the first steri-strip on John's head, pulling the skin together gently and causing more blood to ooze out. John's eyes opened to regard the look of concentration on Sherlock's face.
'I wouldn't have to take care if you did the damn shopping every once in a while,' John said as he flinched away from Sherlock's touch.
'We've already established that supermarket's are not my forte,' said Sherlock. 'Yet,' he continued before John had a chance to interrupt, 'they don't seem to be yours either. Perhaps we should embark upon Internet shopping, yes?' Sherlock suggested as he leaned back to admire his handiwork.
'That would probably be for the best,' John compromised. Sherlock made a humming noise in the back of his throat as he grabbed a cushion from the other end of the settee, placing it down on top of the coffee table that he'd been sat on before he was lifting John's leg up to rest on it. John's knee protested at being straightened, but Sherlock wasn't paying attention, had already retreated to the kitchen.
John managed to roll up the leg of his jeans to try and inspect his knee further. What he found was an already ballooning kneecap, purple in varying shades as the fingers of his right hand poked at it. Bruised, but thankfully not shattered. He'd need to keep off it for a couple of days and ice- John jumped as Sherlock placed an ice-pack made with ice and a freezer bag, wrapped in a tea towel onto John's knee.
'It's cold,' John said, making a grab for the makeshift icepack, but Sherlock's hands swatted his away.
'Brilliant deduction there, Doctor,' Sherlock muttered handing a second makeshift ice-pack to John before sitting down on the coffee table again. John managed a half-hearted glare as he pressed the ice pack to his swollen cheek, but Sherlock wasn't even looking at him, his attention already back in the depths of the first aid kit again.
'It would probably be advisable to stay away from the stairs for the next couple of days,' Sherlock said as he unearthed Ibuprofen, handing John two pills, obviously deciding that the Doctor wasn't capable enough to self medicate.
'Probably,' John muttered, dry swallowing the pills before he replaced the ice pack against his cheek again. He shuddered and before he'd even thought about dry clothes and a warm bed Sherlock had a blanket wrapped round him and was pulling his shoes and socks from his feet with a wet pop. The warm woollen socks he replaced them with were heavenly.
Mrs. Hudson appeared in the doorway then, a tray of tea things in hand that she set on the edge of the coffee table by John's elevated foot that Sherlock had just vacated. He was now stood beside Mrs. Hudson, with his hands in his pockets, both of them looming over John like vultures.
'You look like you've been in the wars,' Mrs. Hudson said, her eyes roaming over the rather defeated posture of John Watson, cataloguing his every failing for later fussing.
'A cup of tea and then perhaps a nap,' Sherlock suggested, scrutinising John. 'Plenty of sugar for John, please, Mrs. Hudson,' Sherlock said before he turned away.
'I'm not a child.'
Sherlock stopped, turned back to look at John with a confused look on his face. 'I never implied any such thing.'
'I don't need looking after,' John added, trying to clarify what he meant.
'My dear, Doctor, for fear of you slipping into the stereotype that Doctor's make the worst patients, for both our sakes, accept my help graciously.' Sherlock smirked then. 'There's no use in crying over spilt milk.'