I originally intended this to go in an entirely different direction, but it had plans of it's own, apparently. A little bit of angst, a little bit of fluff. John & Sherlock is a strictly friendship sense.
Hope you enjoy, feedback is always appreciated/loved/snuggled.
This case hadn't gone well from the very start. Sure, it had been fairly easy for Sherlock to solve— the art thieves had been targeting a very specific set of paintings, and so deducing their next objective had been child's play. So was lying in wait at the gallery and ambushing them. There were only two men, as Sherlock had predicted, and they were armed, but not heavily. But of course, Sherlock had insisted on handling this themselves, rather than calling in the police. When would he learn that taking on hardened criminals was almost never a smart idea?
John had easily disarmed his opponent, employing a few choice maneuvers he had picked up in the army. But what he hadn't expected was that the criminal would continue to fight back once subdued. He had assumed the gun pointed at his chest would be a sufficient deterrent. It was a stupid mistake, and it caught John completely off guard.
With one swift move the man had spun around, grabbed his arm holding the gun, and quickly bent it backwards, producing an audible crack as the gun fell from his now-limp hand and John crumpled to his knees.
The criminal didn't wait around for him to recover his senses, but grabbed the discarded gun and took off, abandoning his partner who was struggling against Sherlock's firm hold. But John wasn't paying attention to any of that. All he could focus on was the pain shooting like bolts of lightning down his left arm.
He knew, somewhere in the logical part of his brain, that this was nothing at all compared to being shot. But that part of his brain certainly wasn't in control at the moment. All John could think to do was hurl a rather inventive string of expletives and clutch at his arm as if he could reconnect the bone by sheer force of will.
Through the haze of pain he could hear sirens approaching. Either Sherlock had the presence of mind to finally call in the police, or they had been notified by someone else. Either way, John had never loved the sound of sirens as much as he did in that moment. It was the sound of swiftly approaching relief.
And then Lestrade was standing over him, looking concerned but distinctly displeased. John knew some kind of lecture was inevitable, but he just prayed that it could wait until after he'd been given some pain killers. Lestrade seemed able to read his thoughts, for once, because without a word he was helping John up, gingerly avoiding his injured arm, and leading him outside to a waiting ambulance. He gave John a quick pat on the shoulder and then disappeared, off to find Sherlock and ream him out, no doubt. John wasn't entirely sure that Sherlock didn't deserve it this time.
John didn't remember much of the ride to the hospital or the process of x-rays and casting. They had given him some rather strong pain killers in the ambulance, and the rest seemed like a disconnected blur. The narcotics were doing their job, replacing the pain with a slightly euphoric haze, and he found he no longer even cared so much that his arm was utterly immobilized.
John was still in this slightly dazed state when Sherlock finally showed up at the hospital to retrieve him. His cast had been set and he had been given very specific instructions for its care, all of which he was already more than familiar with, but he didn't have the presence of mind to inform the doctor of this. It didn't matter anyway.
Sherlock found him in the waiting room, staring at the television blankly. The detective flopped down in the chair beside him with a dramatic sigh.
"Well, John, I think it's safe to say that this was not your most stunning performance ever."
John might almost have giggled, but something in Sherlock's tone was distinctly cold, chastising even. He looked up to find Sherlock not looking at him, instead glancing around the room disinterestedly. His evident lack of concern made John feel inexplicably angry. It was like a slap to the face that sobered him up.
"Are you saying that this is my fault? That it's my fault that my bloody arm is broken?" He tried to keep his voice calm and even, so as not to upset the other patients and family members in the room.
"You let the second thief get away." Sherlock was looking at him with accusing eyes now. Like he had intended this to happen.
"For christ's sake, what was I supposed to do, tackle him? I had a gun pointed at him and that didn't stop him from breaking my arm. And yes, Sherlock, my arm is fine now, thank you so much for asking."
John realized that some of his anger may have been misplaced. It was somewhat his fault that he hadn't properly restrained the man, and certainly Sherlock hadn't allowed this to happen. But his attitude was more than John could take at the moment. A little compassion was apparently too much to ask.
Sherlock just rolled his eyes in that way that indicated that these things were too insignificant for his notice. Not one hint of concern. John abruptly stood up, which jarred his arm and made him wince slightly. He didn't care whether Sherlock noticed or not. Right now all he wanted was to go home, have a cup of tea, and go to bed. He would deal with Sherlock's nonsense tomorrow.
Sherlock followed him out of the building to the taxi stand. John hailed a cab and got in, quickly shutting the door behind him before Sherlock could follow. He ignored Sherlock completely as the cab pulled away from the curb and started in the direction of Baker Street. He didn't want to see the petulant glare he could feel following him. John knew he was being more than a bit childish, but the pain killers made it easy not to care at the moment. If he was apparently so useless then Sherlock could just try being without him for a while, see how he liked it.
When he arrived home John was in such a foul mood that he decided to skip the tea and go straight to bed. With any luck he would wake up with a clearer head and maybe then he could deal with all that had happened that night.
He woke the next morning to a dull throbbing in his arm, which he had carelessly rolled over onto. His peevish anger from the night before had disappeared, and now his mind was filled with practical concerns. There was no way he'd be able to work like this, without the use of his dominant hand. The break had been clean, but the doctor said that the cast would have to remain on for at least 2 weeks, possibly three. He would have to call Sarah and let her know. Fortunately he knew she would be understanding.
There were dozens of other small considerations that began to make themselves known immediately. The cast was bulky, and pulling one of his usual jumpers over it proved impossible. Instead he picked out a flannel button-up, and rolled up the sleeve on the left arm. But all those buttons suddenly became sinister instruments of torture with only one hand. Next he had difficulty brushing his teeth and combing out his hair with his right hand. It would almost have been comical if it wasn't so damn frustrating. By the time he reached the kitchen to find some breakfast his patience was wearing thin.
It was the kettle that received the brunt of his frustration. With his left arm in a sling he had to try and coordinate the faucet and the kettle and the stove all with one clumsy hand. He was ready to throw the damn thing across the kitchen when dexterous fingers removed it from his grasp and nudged him gently aside. Sherlock didn't say a word as he filled the kettle and set it on the stove, fishing mugs out of the cabinet and fetching the milk from the refrigerator.
John sighed and sat down at the table. Sherlock was still in his clothes from the day before, his jacket discarded and shirt slightly wrinkled. Obviously he hadn't gotten much, if any, rest.
Sherlock prepared the tea adequately, if a bit clumsily, and placed a steaming mug in front of John before sitting down across from him. For a moment John was so grateful to have a hot cup of tea in front of him that he didn't notice Sherlock's eyes on him. But when he looked up he noticed a very different expression from the night before.
The annoyance and anger were gone, and instead Sherlock was looking the closest to guilty that John had ever witnessed. His eyes were staring pointedly at John's cast, strapped against his chest.
"How is your arm?" he asked, trying to act casual, as if he were inquiring about the weather. John accepted this as some form of convoluted apology.
"It's alright, I suppose. A bit sore this morning. More frustrating than anything else, really."
Sherlock nodded, hesitating a moment before continuing. "Last night, you were…angry with me."
Not his most astounding deduction ever, John mused. But all he said was, "yes."
"Because I did not show concern for your injury?" Sherlock seemed to be genuinely puzzling over this and John sighed.
"It's not just that, Sherlock. I…I follow you on these cases, knowing it's going to be dangerous. I accept that. And yes, sometimes I even enjoy it. But I do it for you. And I'm used to you treating the rest of the world like they're useless idiots, but somehow I thought that I…" He trailed off, unwilling to put his insecurities into words. This was more than he'd ever meant to admit to even himself. But at the same time he needed to know that he was more to Sherlock than just some flunky who was good with a gun.
Sherlock's expression wavered for a moment, his pensive mask falling. He looked stunned, even a bit hurt.
"John," he started, "You aren't…I mean you are…oh, hell." He ruffled his hands through the back of his hair, the way he did when he was frustrated. He took a deep breath and started again.
"You know I don't have many friends. Generally I can't be bothered with dealing with other people's feelings. But you're different, John. You are. And when I saw that man hurt you last night I wasn't thinking about catching him for the sake of justice. I didn't want him to get away because I wanted to hurt him, to make him suffer for harming you. Maybe that isn't the proper response to a friend's distress, but I can hardly help that."
He dropped back into the sulky tone he had used the night before. So that was what this was about. Not anger at John for letting the criminal escape, but frustration with himself that he had let this happen, and had let the offender go unpunished. John felt a bit of relief, but was still annoyed that Sherlock had taken his misplaced frustration out on him. It was something they'd both have to work on.
Sherlock had made a difficult admission, so John could only do the same. "Well, I am sorry too. You were partly right, it was my fault that he got away. I shouldn't have let my guard down."
Sherlock only grinned.
"What, what is that look?" John asked suspiciously.
"He may have been lucky enough to escape once, but I don't think he'll be doing so again for quite a long time," Sherlock drawled.
John thought of Sherlock's previous words. "Oh no, you didn't…you didn't hurt him, did you?"
Sherlock continued to smirk, but replied, "No, of course not, I'm not a barbarian. I went through all the proper channels this time. Though I may have thrown in a well placed punch or two, strictly in self-defense…"
John couldn't help but laugh. "I dare say he had it coming."
"Yes, that it exactly what I told Lestrade. He may not have been exactly pleased, but I think he has forgiven us this time."
They smirked at each other for a moment before Sherlock's expression once again turned serious.
"That arm is going to be a problem, though. I don't think I can let you in on any cases in that state." He looked a bit disappointed.
"Oh, come on, I'm not useless, you know."
Sherlock looked at him pointedly. "You couldn't manage to make tea without almost causing permanent injury to the kettle." He did have a point there.
"Alright, I may need your help with a few things over the next few weeks. But," he paused for emphasis, "you have to promise not to treat me like some kind of invalid. Nothing I hate more."
"I think I can safely promise to do that. I can't make any guarantees for Mrs. Hudson, though. She will probably enjoy fussing over you like a mother hen, I dare say." John groaned at the thought, but Sherlock merely smirked.
"Or, we could get away from here. How does two weeks in Switzerland sound?"
"A holiday, or a case?" Of course it sounded too good to be true.
"Well, a bit of both, actually. Mycroft has been harassing me to look into some minor matters for him. Something about counterfeiting. I dare say there will be little danger on this case."
"That's what you always say."
"Yes, and you always come along, even knowing it's a lie."
John just smirked. "Help me pack my bags?"
"Not useless, you said?"
John chucked a bit of toast at him, which Sherlock avoided gracefully.
"Why do I put up with you?"
"Oh, I don't know. Could be the adventure, the excitement, the thrill of the chase. Or it could just be because you like me, despite your better judgment."
That, John thought, was probably a sound deduction.