It's ridiculous, thinks John , as he presses down hard over Sherlock's ribs to stop the bleeding and tries to ignore the whimper of pain it elicits from his friend and the warm, sticky feel of blood oozing between his fingers, that after all of the insane people, murder attempts and plots from Moriarty we've been through, that he's dying because of some drugged-up murderer. He can't quite believe he's kneeling here in a filthy London alleyway with his best friend bleeding to death under his hands, all because some idiot wanted money so he could get stoned.
They'd been on their way home after a case from Lestrade, a nearby one involving a murder via kettle that had baffled the police. Sherlock had thought about if for five minutes, told them to arrest the girlfriend the police hadn't known the victim had had, and walked off, leaving John to trail behind him like a kicked puppy. The doctor hadn't caught up with Sherlock before he'd turned into a dark alleyway, presumably to take a shortcut, and had frozen in shock at the cry of surprise that had echoed from around the corner.
He'd dashed into the alleyway, only to freeze again as he saw the dirty, sneering man forcing Sherlock to the ground, a long, dirty knife pressed hard enough against his throat to raise a thin line of crimson against the pale skin. The other hand had pinned Sherlock's arms behind his back by the wrists. The mugger had laughed when he'd seen John, and the doctor had noticed the dilated, unfocused pupils and realised that there would be no hope of reasoning with the man whilst he was high.
Sherlock, being Sherlock, had simply sighed and said, "Let me go. I've got more important places to be than mugged down an alley."
The mugger had laughed at that, revealing yellowed teeth, and had pushed the knife up higher, forcing Sherlock to tilt his head back with a hiss of pain.
John had held up his hands in an appeasing manner, quietly grateful that Sherlock's backchat hadn't resulted in a more violent reaction, and addressed him directly. "What do you want? Money? I've got my wallet here, just let him go, I'll give it to you."
The mugger had laughed again, shaking his head furiously. "Nope. No' a chance. You gimme the wallet, we'll see what's in it, and then maybe I'll let him go, yeah?"
Sherlock hadn't spoken the whole time, his pale grey eyes fixed unwaveringly on John's. The doctor felt a small flicker of fear in the pit of his stomach; Sherlock was trusting him, quite possibly with his life. He pushed it down. It would do no good for his decisions to be marred with adrenaline or emotion.
He had reached in to his jacket pocket, slowly, and pulled out the wallet, holding it out to the mugger between his index finger and thumb. He'd locked eyes with Sherlock for a moment and had jerked his head sideways just the slightest amount. While he's distracted, run. Sherlock, unable to nod, had blinked and twitched one corner of his mouth up slightly in acknowledgement.
The mugger had grinned, running his tongue over his teeth and reaching out a hand for the wallet, temporarily letting go of Sherlock's arms and-
The next few moments blurred slightly in his mind. Sherlock had jerked sideways, lunging to his feet and slamming an elbow back into the mugger's face. John had jerked the hand holding the wallet back and stumbled rapidly out of reach of the wildly flailing knife. The mugger had stumbled back, nose bleeding, and swung the knife around. And Sherlock had shuddered, eyes wide and mouth falling open in silent, shocked surprise before he staggered sideways and slumped against the dirty wall.
The mugger had sworn loudly, and jerked the knife out from where it had slid between Sherlock's ribs. It had pulled free with a sickening snick that John was sure would haunt him until his dying day, tearing the wound open further, and Sherlock had screamed.The mugger had sworn again, dropping the weapon from shaking fingers, and turned and ran.
John hadn't even considered the possibility of pursuing the man. He'd stared in horror as Sherlock had slid down the wall, curling up in a trembling, gasping ball on the floor as blood had pooled slowly around him. Then he had run over to Sherlock's side, kneeling by the trembling, whimpering man and pulling his fingers away from the wound. Sherlock's hands had already been covered in warm, sticky crimson blood, and John had realised with horror that the wound was serious, the kind that needed immediate hospitalisation.
"Sherlock? Sherlock! Answer me!"
" I'm bleeding. And it hurts." He had forced the words out in gasps, surprise and pain colouring his voice, as a thin trail of blood ran out the side of his mouth. His eyes had been wide but unfocused; he had looked confused, a new and unpleasant expression.
John had arranged Sherlock's fingers over the wound and pressed them down, trying to stem the blood. The man had jerked violently under his hands, crying out in shocked pain, staring blankly at John in hurt betrayal. John had tried to ignore the pitiful look.
"Sherlock, listen to me," he'd hissed. "You need to keep the pressure on that wound, okay, press down."
"Hurts." His energy had faded so quickly, soft whimpers slipping out from gritted teeth as the shock and adrenaline wore off and the pain became sharper, more real.
"Yeah, I know, but it's better than bleeding to death." John had turned around and pulled his phone out of his pocket, trying to ignore the blood all over his clothes, the blood he was smearing over the keys, the blood all over the alley floor, all over Sherlock, the awful noises Sherlock was making-
He dialled 999.
"Hello? Yeah. I need an ambulance, now."
That was five minutes ago, and there is still no sign of an ambulance. Sherlock has stopped responding to John's frantic pleas for him to talk three minutes ago, entire body limp and lifeless other than his rasping breath and the occasional twitch, or whimper of pain. It's begun to rain, hard and cold, and John is no longer sure whether the water streaming down his face is rain or tears. Both he and Sherlock are soaked, and the water is at least washing the thick blood off his hands, although now there's pneumonia to worry about as well as blood loss and a potentially punctured lung.
He sits there and silently begs the ambulance to arrive, leaning further down on the wound, raising one hand to check for a pulse on Sherlock's neck. He leaves bloody fingerprints on the too-pale skin. It's still there, but agonisingly weak, and Sherlock is whimpering as he desperately tries to stop the bleeding, and there's nothing he can do, and oh god I thought I'd left this all behind in Afghanistan-
And then the wailing, whining siren of an ambulance cuts through the patter of the rain, and it's the most beautiful sound he's even heard. If he wasn't crying before, he is now. He bends down and presses a small kiss to the damp, dark curls that have been flattened over his friend's forehead.
"It's going to be okay, Sherlock. It's going to be okay," he whispers, even though it's not, it won't be okay until they're both back at Baker Street and he's burnt his clothes, and managed to wash yet another person's blood off his hands. It won't be okay until he's slept through enough nights that the nightmares become familiar enough that they won't wake him from his sleep.
"John finds it unbelievable. All of the dangerous people they've faced, all of the insane situations they've been in and it's a knife wielding mugger hopped up on drugs that nearly kills Sherlock Holmes."
A/N: *inventive title is inventive* Inspired by the above prompt from somewhere, I can't remember where - so if you see this on a comm or something, then I've not stolen it. I found this on my computer, along with the prompt at the top, and decided to tidy it up and post it here (there were formatting and spelling errors galore, I suspect I'd written it at 1am, as I tend to, and then not bothered to correct it). Awww, poor John. I feel kind of guilty for putting him through so much angst, but he really is built for it, and it's so eeeeasy (that's my excuse for torturing Sherlock, too - well, that and it's fun). Anyway, BBC Sherlock doesn't belong to me, and reviews are things of love and cookies...