A/N: Hello, all! Hopefully, those of you who asked me to write more Sherlock/John after Crap Telly won't be disappointed that this is mere friendship for our boys. It just wouldn't slash in my head, and I liked it better as Sherlock having friendly concern, so it just seemed better not to make it bend that way!
Anyway, this was in response to a prompt on the kink meme on Livejournal (although it wasn't exactly a kink) about John struggling to keep up with Sherlock physically (i.e., forgoing food and sleep during cases) and insisting to everyone that he's fine. Eventually, others bring it to Sherlock's attention that this is happening and Sherlock makes sure that he takes John's needs into consideration. Canonically, this could be placed somewhere between "The Blind Banker" and "The Great Game".
It's my first prompt fill for this fandom and my first try at writing characters (Lestrade and Sarah, with hints of Mycroft) other than Sherlock and John, so feedback is much obliged!
Look After You
It's not like it hasn't happened before. Oh, it has, and he's sure that more people than Sarah have caught on. She found him asleep in his office that one time, and rather a peaceful sleep it was, too. He'd basically gotten off with a warning, then, but he's finding it harder and harder to stay awake on the job.
He doesn't sleep get much sleep these days. It's not that he doesn't love the adventure, the adrenaline, the thrill—he does, unashamedly. It's that Sherlock has been at this for so long that his skills, and his body, have been honed to efficiency. He doesn't need sleep and food like the rest of them do, and John has decided that if Sherlock can do it, hell, he can, too. He invaded Afghanistan; he was a soldier. He can endure under tough conditions. So he forgoes sleep and food, sometimes for two days or more at a time, and decides not to let Sherlock see that he's, you know, human.
He has a break between consultations with patients—only half an hour or so, but enough to catch up on the sleep he hadn't gotten last night. They'd been working all night on the murder of a local university student, something that shouldn't have been complicated but was, and John is beat. His desk chair isn't the most comfortable one in the world, but he's dead asleep in it, his hand grasping his mobile so that the vibration of the alarm function will wake him when it's time for the consultation.
The door banging open is what startles him into waking, the abrupt motion causing his phone to go flying out of his hand and into the opposite wall as he finds Sarah standing in the doorway, lips pressed into a thin line. His first instinct is to go on the defense—I was NOT sleeping; what are you talking about?—but he knows it won't work with her. It never has so far, anyway.
"Has Ms. Fuchs arrived early?" he asks, lamely, naming the next patient coming in for a consultation and hoping Sarah will spare him the lecture, answer the question, move on.
"No," Sarah says, leveling him with a slight glare to show him to cut the bull; she knows he's evading. "But Lestrade has. Something about the university student case."
"Oh, right, then. In that case, I've got to run; can you take Fuchs—"
"I'll cover you for the rest of the day, John," she says as he gets up, grabbing his coat and shrugging into it, "but I'd like to have a word with Sherlock."
At this point, John's quite surprised the lecture hasn't come in, and he raises an eyebrow as he fixes the collar on his jacket. "What about?"
"He's running you down, John." She watches as he retrieves his phone from the floor, checks it for damage from earlier's flinging, pockets it. "You weren't taking a cat nap just before. You haven't been sleeping."
"The lack of sleep isn't because of—"
Another glare. "You and I both know it's because of the university student case, John. If you're still sleeping on the job within the next few days, I'm calling that man and having at it." Her expression softens some as she sees he's slightly stunned. He was expecting to be the target of her rage, not Sherlock. "Good luck with the case," she adds, turning away, clicking down the hall in her heels and leaving him to find Lestrade.
Sherlock could admit it was one of the more bizarre cases he'd seen in his days assisting Scotland Yard. A snake had been placed in the airduct at the university housing, and a professor, Dr. Roylott, had worked in conjunction with one of the girl's housemates to signal it to emerge from the airduct and bite her so the girl couldn't go public with the affair they'd been having. The criminals were to be arrested and he felt satisfied with the past few days' work, even if he and John had spent the night before in a cramped room watching and waiting for something.
He stands on the sidewalk watching the housemate get taken away, sees one of the cars peel away and speed towards campus in order to arrest the professor. When he turns to find John and hail a cab to take them back to Baker Street, he finds himself face to face with Lestrade.
Before he can even ask, Lestrade starts in. "I know this is your hobby, and that you can't picture any of the rest of us having lives of our own, but do consider that the rest of us have jobs we need to do well?"
He's never been confounded by Lestrade before. It's unsettling and, quite frankly, an annoyance. "I haven't any idea what you're—"
Lestrade jerks his head, indicating somewhere behind Sherlock, and when he turns, he can see John half-slumped against the side of the building. "He keeps insisting he's fine, but apparently it takes someone even half as intelligent as you to realize he needed to eat something beyond a breath mint every few hours to keep from passing out. While you were going on about the fast-acting venoms of Indian snakes, we were trying to shove a biscuit and coffee down his throat. Kept insisting he wasn't hungry." Lestrade fixes him with a withering look. "When, really, it's obvious he doesn't want you to notice that you need to slow down every once in a while to accommodate him. If I were you, I'd keep that in mind."
And he walks off, leaving Sherlock to consider these limitations and how to deal with them.
Another week arrives, and a case to go with it, and this time Sherlock knows to look out for the warning signs. He'd been surprised by Lestrade chewing him out, but he got an earful from Sarah even after John had recovered from the strain, and he's not even surprised to receive several gift cards for restaurants in the vicinity of Scotland Yard from Mycroft, with a note admonishing him to use them.
They've been searching all day for a missing murder weapon, but he can calculate that it's been at least twelve hours since breakfast and that they've not slowed down all day. He looks to John as they leave Scotland Yard—they'd been attending the briefing for the officers—and offers him dinner, noting John's mild surprise as he even asks him to pick the restaurant.
He's not hungry, himself, but he orders risotto and eats a few bites as John starts in on his lasagna. He waits for the inevitable; it comes when John is about halfway done.
"I'm surprised at you," his flatmate says, glancing up as he dabs with his napkin at the corner of his mouth, wiping away a stray bit of sauce. "You're not one to stop for dinner… to stop at all, really."
"Mycroft was so obliging as to send over several gift cards for restaurants around this area, ostensibly to congratulate us on solving the Roylott case. He made sure to remind me of the expiration dates; it was only prudent to act on them now."
He doesn't miss the slight hint of a smile as John's lips quirk upward, but the man smothers it with another bite of lasagna and doesn't comment. Or at least, he doesn't until Sherlock suggests that they take a few hours, go back to Baker Street, so that he can review his books and John can have a break, if he'd like.
John's bemused as he says it, but there's an undertone of… gratitude, of something like being moved by his concern. "Heard from Sarah, have you?"
He drops the charade, knowing it's useless. John can make deductions of his own, especially when it comes to the everyday dealings with people that he's never quite been able to fully grasp. "She rang the flat while you were at work on Friday. Additionally, Lestrade and Mycroft appear to have their own interests in your well-being. I can admit that I've been…" He pauses, considering his word choice. "… somewhat callous, managing to forget that others aren't able to work at my speed. If you can forgive my unconcern in the past, I will try to make a point of considering your needs in future."
This time, John can't hide his smile. "Sherlock Holmes, admitting he's been wrong," he laughs, setting down his fork and reaching for his glass of water. "Not how I expected my day to end."
"It's not something you should often expect," Sherlock tries to point out, but he finds that he almost has to laugh as well as he turns back to the risotto and John finishes his meal.