H/C Bingo – Prompt: Tentacles

Sequel to Teuthology – Sherlock gets stung by a jellyfish.


"Of course," John says. "You survive Australia and the instant we're back home you end up in hospital."

John had been at Harry's place - catching up with all the news he'd missed while out of the country -when he got the frantic call from the aquarium that Sherlock had been rushed off to A&E. Then he had to dash from the hospital back to the flat when their landlady Mrs. Hudson phoned him with the news that Sherlock had showed up in a cab "In a right state, dear. You'd best come home."

Sherlock ignores him with as much dignity as he can muster while clumsily trying to text with bandaged fingers. He's got gauze on both hands and covering his right arm to the elbow.

"I'm pretty sure you're banned from the jellyfish exhibit for life, you know."

"Molly always lets me in."

John sits down on a corner of the bed. "She'd better not. At least not without supervision."

"And by 'supervision' you mean yourself?" Sherlock puts the phone down and goes to lace his fingers together on his chest. He winces and desists, gingerly laying his arms at his sides instead.

"You had an allergic reaction to the jellyfish sting! What if it's a- a Man o' War or something next time?"

"John," Sherlock turns a disapproving gaze on him. "You of all people should know that physalia physalis is not a true jellyfish. Nor, for that matter, is a jellyfish actually a fish-"

"Semantics aside," John says. "I'd really rather you didn't scare me like that again." His hand hovers over Sherlock's.

"It still would've happened if you were there," Sherlock says, looking up from beneath his eyelashes.

"Yeah, but at least I would have been there."

"You were very helpful during the Shark Incident."

John laughs. "Oh god," he says, flopping down and resting his head on the pillow next to Sherlock's. He gently wraps his fingers around Sherlock's left wrist. "Don't ever remind me about the Shark Incident."


Sherlock looks ghastly beneath the bandages, long red weals crisscrossing his white skin.

"Lion's Mane Jellyfish," he says, running a finger up one curling scarlet stripe. "Ow."

"Don't touch it," John says. "Cyanea capillata, right?"

"I was stung by one when I was a child," Sherlock obediently puts his hands out for John to rub cream on and rewrap.

"Oh yeah?"

"Visiting an uncle in Northumberland. It washed up on the beach." He sticks one of his legs up in the air. "There's a bit of a scar on my ankle. See?" John can't help but smile at how he looks like some particularly flexible zombie with three of his limbs elevated.

"And no one taught you not to step on strange things in your bare feet?"

"Oh, they taught me," Sherlock gives a rare grin. "I didn't listen."


Molly does let Sherlock back into the jellyfish exhibit, and he spends an inordinate amount of time floating through the hallways and staring intensely through the glass.

"Revisiting the scene of the crime?" John asks him. Sherlock eyes the lion's mane jellyfish and flexes his newly unbandaged hands.

"Why don't you study something safer next time?" John says, threading their fingers together. "An Irukandji, perhaps? Box jellyfish?"

Sherlock smiles sideways at him as John runs a thumb along one of the still-healing stings. "Needlefish?" Sherlock offers. "Great White?"

"Shark Incident."

"Perhaps I'll train dolphins for a living," Sherlock swings their hands back and forth as they walk along the corridor, blue light filtering through the tanks and waving in patterns on the floor. "They're very intelligent animals."

"I wouldn't mind seeing you in one of those wetsuit getups," John says.

"Only if you buy me dinner first."


"Mm. Something exotic."

John laughs. "It's a date then, love."


He kisses Sherlock's fingers every night until they're healed.