I do not own Sherlock, despite how many claims I make :(
Written as an epilogue to Bound and Gagged by wingsoutspread on LiveJournal. Not nescessary to read, but may save on confusion.
Despite what claims I made to my employees, I am not a doctor, nor have I trained at medical school. I read wikipedia, and this is where this stuff comes from, and my own personal experience.
Life has quickly changed for John and even more so for Sherlock.
The hours after the discovery of Sherlock had been something from a nightmare for the doctor. He doubted he would ever forget the flames that threatened to consume the detective, never mind the other injuries.
The rest however, he seemed to have forgotten, and that was probably for the best in John's view. He remembered Lestrade barking orders, Sally trying to persuade him to let go of Sherlock's wrist (the hands were far too damaged for John to even consider touching them), Anderson passing John a blanket.
The paramedics arrived quickly, or so Lestrade had claimed. John almost thought it was a blessing that Sherlock had passed out, no matter how laboured his breathing was.
Mycroft took over things from there on in, as far as John could tell anyways. 'Anthea 'had been waiting at the nearest hospital, where Sherlock had been, rather admirably proficiently, transported to an air ambulance and from there to Queen Victoria Hospital where they were met by Mycroft. For all the Holmes' indifference, John didn't need the intellect or intuitive skills of Sherlock to see how worried Mycroft was. He had even forgotten his umbrella.
And that was were John found himself three weeks later, asleep in the standard uncomfortable plastic chair of QVH Burn's Unit, East Grinstead, Sussex .
It had been touch and go for a long while and the detective had been in so many surgeries that even John had lost count. After stabilising him on arrival it appeared that Mycroft's 'hunch' (for all that Mycroft argued he never acted on 'hunches', but rather on facts, it was still a hunch in John's opinion) had been correct and it was the burns that required immediate attention (that, and his eyes, but that had thankfully been remedied quickly and Sherlock was back to vision, if somewhat blurred, perhaps for the long-term). Sherlock had gone into shock in the air ambulance, the type that a brightly coloured orange blanket wouldn't help.
For the first time in years John prayed to a God he hadn't truly believed in since Afghanistan. He very dearly hoped Sherlock would not find out.
Closer inspection at the hospital had shown John that the burns were fourth-degree on the thighs, cooling off to third-degree on the groin and second-degree on the lower abdomen. This was not good news for Sherlock, despite John's relief that he would not require amputation, as second-degree burns were generally more painful than third- and fourth-. And the third and fourth ones were, naturally, surrounded by the painful more ones. Lucky man. John didn't envy him in the slightest.
Sherlock had stayed in a private ICU unit, courtesy of Mycroft, for almost 3 weeks, before being transferred to another private room for recovery.
'John?' came the somewhat disgruntled voice from the bed.
John started awake, his shoulder throbbing from the awkward position.
Sherlock was looking up at him, the bruising on his face almost completely faded. His hair was scruffier than usual, grown to his chin and flicking out wildly at the end, John couldn't help but note, and he was no longer clean shaven, courtesy of John's hands not being as steady as they used to.
'You okay?' the words had fallen from his lips before he could even attempt to stop them. Of course his friend was not okay, he was bored (as he liked to remind John so. Hourly. It was almost like the Greenwich Pips. But let's not linger on that topic), high on opiates (although in Sherlock's opinion, this wasn't necessarily a bad thing) and probably extremely uncomfortable( despite the pillows the nurses had kindly kept bringing until John had to turn down such offers for fear he would soon lose Sherlock amidst them).
'I'd be much better if that nurse would finally up the dosage.'
John laughed the tiniest bit, because after all one can't laugh at a crime scene, but no one said anything about laughing at the bedside of your very injured friend-with-complications.
'You're already max'ed out on the morphine. Mycroft is already trying to get them to knock it back down.'
'Exactly. Nothing better than annoying the fat, pompous arse. Which reminds me, why have you yet to go sleep with him?'
John choked, on what, he wasn't quite sure. Perhaps he had inhaled his tongue. 'What?'
'Oh for Christ's sake John, do grow up. You know what I mean. Mummy would be delighted to get to know the infamous Doctor John Watson better. I know Mycroft has offered you a room.'
Ah. He was talking about his sleeping arrangements, of which currently didn't exist for John. He slept when Sherlock slept or was at therapy or in surgery or anything that didn't allow John direct contact. It reassured the pair. The nurses also appreciated John to be on hand to calm Sherlock after the nightmares that they both chose to ignore during daylight, but were terrifying and anxiety-ridden for both parties during the night fall.
'You know, London is actually nearer to East Grinstead than it is to Chichester.'
'You have yet to go back, overnight, to either.' John noted the emphasis on 'overnight.'
He was right, of course. He had returned briefly on a handful of occasions, to organise leave for work (bless Sarah. For all the crap he had put the poor woman through lately she still had a heart of gold), pick up some cash and some changes of clothing. Mycroft and taken care of all of Sherlock's requirements and the private room, which was now inhabited by the moody brunette which was getting almost cluttered due to the detective being unexpectedly inundated with gifts and cards. Molly had sent several bunches of flowers, before John had to remind her that flower's weren't allowed in Burn Units due to infection risk. Mrs. Hudson had sent down baskets of food with Mycroft (with small notes included every time. It seemed the dear woman feared Sherlock would starve if he had to eat hospital food. Both Mycroft and John were grateful for the never ending supply of 'good, English food'). Lestrade had sent his own version of a gift, case files that were easy enough as to not to tax Sherlock but complex enough to hold his interest (if Sherlock had noticed this, he had yet to bring it up). Anderson had sent, most confusingly, a large helium dinosaur balloon, to which Sherlock had merely raised an eyebrow to. The rest of Scotland Yard had sent their own tokens of appreciation, and there dedication of catching Moriarty was the token most appreciated.
Mummy Holmes had come down to visit on numerous occasions, always accompanied by Mycroft. John has surprised to meet her at first, expecting a tall, haughty woman, only to be greeted by a short, kind if not worried looking lady. She was most obviously rich, hair tidily pinned by in a silver grey bun, make-up impeccable and donned in a well-kept long, black coat (so that's where Sherlock got the flair of dramatic coat). John couldn't help but notice with slight distaste that the collar of aforementioned coat was made up of a fox.
'Ah, John Watson. Sherlock has told me all about you,' she said, kissing his cheek and the doctor tried his best not to notice the 'I'm-a-mother-and-I-know-everything' glint in her eye.
'Pleased to meet you ma'am.'
'Oh, call me Clementine, please. Now, where is Sherlock?' and all of a sudden the elderly woman looked all her years, weary and tired. John could only imagine this was not her first time visiting her son in a hospital bed.
He snapped out of his reverie.
'What? Oh, yeah, yeah, right. I don't need to go home Sherlock. I'm fine. Here. With you.'
'This room is guarded, you know?' He said, nodding towards the door. His dark hair flopped across his eyes and he shook his head fruitlessly, trying to clear his vision.
John reached out, pushing the dark curls away from his forehead, his gaze being drawn down towards the once delicate hands. They were swathed in crisp white bandages and John knew that under the gauze that stiches held the skin together, the black of the sutures contrasting starkly with the red lines, wounds in various stages of healing. Both John and Sherlock knew, with heavy hearts, that it was unlikely that Sherlock would ever regain full use of his hands. They'd play up during cold fronts, useless for any finer motor movements Such as texting, typing, playing violin, delicate experiments. This, like the nightmares, was another thing they had both chosen to ignore for now.
Sherlock blushed slightly, averting his gaze. Whether it was due to him being ashamed of being helpless (no matter how often John assured him he was not helpless) or because of the close proximity of John, he didn't know. But he kind of hoped it was the latter.
'I know, but I've taken leave from work anyways. I have nothing to be doing in London and staying in Chichester doesn't exactly...appeal.'
'I wouldn't use that excuse with Mycroft. It never worked for me, back when I was a teenager,' Sherlock muttered, looking somewhat disgruntled and put out, even after all those years.
'I can only imagine...' John trailed off, breaking into a stretch, yawning widely.
Sherlock smirked slightly from his nest of blankets and pillows.
'Have they given me a release date yet?' he asked, a trace of moodiness lurking behind, just ready to leap forward. The mood-swings had become one of the more irritable symptoms for all parties of Sherlock's 'captivity' and painkillers. John couldn't help but sigh, albeit internally.
This same question had been pounced upon John countless times in the last week (it would have been longer, but they had Sherlock so heavily sedated that the he's only be able to make whimpering sounds) and Sherlock had yet to realise how sick he was.
Mycroft had tried explaining to him, Mummy simply sat there stroking Sherlock's hair, an action that John was surprised to find Sherlock didn't resent. John suspected they also spoke about him at one point, but it turned out Mummy Holmes was French and when the three were together, they spoke French, regardless of who else was in the room. For the first time in years John regretted taking Spanish in secondary rather than French (the last time he regretted it was when he'd met a leggy French girl who definitely liked him, and he never trusted the translation Dave gave him. Surely "Je t'aime. Je veux te baiser s'il te plait" didn't translate into 'Can i get you a drink?' and was probably something a lot creepier). The discussion had ascended into Clementine throwing John The Look at somewhat regular intervals, Sherlock yelling at Mycroft and Mycroft looking smug.
'Not yet. An occupational therapist has offered to check out the flat, but we both know you won't be able to go back there for a while.'
John wasn't lying. Sherlock would be using a wheel-chair for the foreseeable future, something which the detective had tried not to let his mind linger on. 221B was hardly a wheel-chair accessible home. The stairs alone were hard enough to ascend with two working legs and John wasn't sure he would be able to carry Sherlock up them, and he certainly couldn't phone Mycroft for help, despite what the man said. Let's not even start on the clutter than the two men seemed to have accumulated over the several months of co-habitation. In his previous flat, when John had still yet to accept the pain was psychosomatic, it had been fitted out with hand rails, a shower seat, non-slip flooring and the whole shebang. And that had just been for the cane.
'I gathered that John. I was injured physically, but I still retain my intellectual capacity despite what everyone here seems to think!' he finished the sentence in an angry yell, kicking the heel of his foot down into the mattress. John half wanted to raise an eyebrow at the childish display but he couldn't have but sympathise with the man. He knew first-hand what it felt like to have your full mobility taken away from you, and Sherlock was now suffering this to an even greater extent. He also refrained from referring to this incident as 'mood swing #2 of the last 30 minutes'.
'Sorry, sorry,' John soothed, trying neither to patronise nor upset him further, laying his hand upon Sherlock's arm. Sherlock risked whiplash as he turned to look at John's hand, the muscle in his forearm tensing until it felt more like braided steel than human muscle but he didn't pull away. Surely that was a good reaction? One never knew with Sherlock. 'Do you have any other ideas?'
'Mummy would be most delighted to have me stay with her for a while,' he said, softly, his earlier anger having abated, his eyes never leaving John's hand, but the muscle under his palm seemed to have relaxed. John's heart twisted a little, already fearing for his friend's safety if left alone. He tried to reassure himself, mentally. If he had to live with his mother for a few months, it wouldn't lead to homicide. Necessarily. The woman had, after all, raised the boy, no matter how questionably well, and he seemed to have managed to make it somewhat unscathed, which, from John's experience, was an incredibly difficult thing to manage.
'Um, yeah, okay. The fresh air might do you good. I could always come down at weekends. Should only take -'
'What? No,' Sherlock cut through, with the expression of irritation as if John was deliberately trying to be particularly dense, 'don't be slow John. You'll be joining me, of course. Mummy will me most excited to have someone else to mother, and God knows it will lessen the mother-henning of me. It's a rather large estate; you can take your pick of bedrooms.'
'Oh, okay. I suppose.'
'It's your family, Sherlock. Wouldn't I be intruding?'
'If Father were still alive, then perhaps. But since he died, oh,' he circled one bandage hand in the air, which would have been far more dramatic if the IV leads allowed him to lift his hand more than a few centimetres from the mattress, 'ages ago. He died...ages ago. Mother cried..,' his speech trailed off and John looked up at him.
'Sherlock, you look arse knackered. Sleep.'
'You sleep,' came the oh-so-witty-retort.
'I was sleeping, before you woke me,' the army doctor reminded him.
'Not good… properly! Not properly. Well?' another pause, 'you should share my bed.'
Sherlock was already shifting over, if slowly and weakly to one side.
'No, no, Sherlock! Stop that!' John's hand tugged at Sherlock's shoulder, careful of the stiches on his chest from the whips.
Sherlock had puppy-eyes. John would have never off guessed Sherlock would ever know how to do puppy-eyes. Maybe you had to get the proud detective high and horrifically tortured before he would ever contemplate doing so.
'I can't. You're too...,' John fished about for a word that wouldn't make it sound as if Sherlock was a maiden in distress. None came to mind, 'fragile.'
'But the nightmares John,' Sherlock was falling asleep now, but still stubbornly refusing to close his eyes, reluctant to fall back into the drug-induced slumber that had consumed so many of his latest days. It was also the first time John has heard Sherlock admit he was having nightmares.
'I know, I know,' he whispered, running a hand through his friends hair, 'it's okay, I'll be here.'
Sherlock nodded, almost imperceptibly, before closing his eyes and allowing his self to drift to sleep. And if John's hand stroked the man's hair for longer than was strictly necessary, then so be it.
And if John pressed a kiss to Sherlock's forehead, then so be it.