Disclaimer: I don't own it, just the plot bunny
Haven't done a Sherlock fic before, but I'm so into the series and need something to keep me going until the next series comes out. I'm sure this has been done before in some way, shape or form, but I couldn't think how Sherlock would react to being abducted... I can't see him asking for help or admitting how scared he was, but I can see him relying on John even more than usual. So, anywho, this idea wouldn't go away. I have a bad track record with updating recently, so this might be a one shot.
Warning: includes whump, violence, blood, some bad language and at the moment this is not a slash fic
If somebody asked John Watson what the most terrifying moment of his life had been, he might have said that time a panting, bloodless Lestrade had turned up outside his door and explained to him in a strangely high pitched voice that Sherlock Holmes had disappeared while they were checking out a lead on Moriarty. Had John heard from the detective? Had he received any messages? Or, no, perhaps the most terrifying moment of his life had been a few seconds after that, when John did indeed receive a message - a photograph of Sherlock standing against a plain white wall, a blindfold tied over his eyes, his lip split and glistening with blood, the word 'MINE' scrawled across the image in ugly red letters. Maybe not. In fact, it could have been any one of the next million moments over the next week in which the police combed London and found nothing, and in which John received text after text after text...
Worked it out yet? - M
Sherlock says hi - M
Do you think I should mess up his face? I was going to leave his lovely face alone, but it's getting rather tempting... - M
You'll have to buy him a new shirt, think I ruined this one - M
Want to join in? - M
Let's make a bet - how long do you think it'll take for me to get him to scream? I'm saying one hour - M
His eyes are so pretty, I might keep them - M
John wanted to throw his phone away. He wanted to bury himself somewhere dark and warm and pretend this horrible nightmare wasn't real. But he couldn't even bring himself to switch his mobile to silent. Instead, he forwarded each message to Lestrade, who responded every single time with something along the lines of 'do not reply'. Even though John knew that there was only so much longer he could bear to just ignore the sneering grin behind the words, the poking, prodding, nagging, gleeful jibes.
And then, quite suddenly, everything turned around. John's mobile bleeped, and he looked at it with dead eyes, only to jolt awake with a surge of adrenaline.
John Fourteen Bere Streett Hurryu
It was the 'John' that did it. That and the extra 't' and added 'u' - both evidence of shaking hands during the execution of the text. Not Moriarty, and that could only mean one thing. And Lestrade, leaping into action at John's garbled words down the phone, had told him to stay put, stay at Baker Street, it could be a trap. A thousand other irrelevant reasons that had John protesting in a shrill yelp. Perhaps the following two hours had been the worst, most terrifying moments of John Watson's life, moments spent circling 221B like a lunatic, tearing at his hair, lashing out at the sofa or the desk, digging his fingernails into the palms of his hands. He had never felt such a violent wave of emotions in his life - rage, at being left behind; panic, at the rushed text; fear, because Moriarty was sure to find out what had happened; helplessness, at his exclusion from the rescue. How could Lestrade leave him behind? How could he not know that surely, no matter how horrific the sight, Sherlock was going to need John more than anyone right now...
And then two hours and thirteen minutes later the phone had rung, and John had fallen on it like a ravenous wolf. Lestrade, at last, calling from the city hospital. Saying words like 'critical condition' and 'severe internal bleeding' and 'lot's of blood' and 'a few more minutes and it would have been...'
John had never screamed at a cabbie so much in his life, demanding that the man go faster, skip the lights, he didn't care, just get there now.
And despite all of this, all the terrifying moments that had passed by him, all the times his heart had seized with fear and his gut had clenched, still... sitting in the plastic, sterile, too-bright waiting room with a cup of water forced into his shaking hands, waiting, waiting... maybe this was the worst moment. What a bloody stupid question to ask anyway. John watched the nurse at the reception desk like a hawk, flinching every time she looked up, half-rising every time she moved out from behind her post to retrieve something. His gaze flicked between her and his watch, and the clock on the wall, and the clock on his mobile, just to check if time was even passing at all. His good leg jigged uncontrollably, knocking against the chair leg, shoe squeaking on the disinfected floor.
It was no surprise that, by the time Lestrade appeared, John was past breaking point. He leapt to his feet, the cup of water spilling unceremoniously all over the floor, and darted forwards as soon as the older man came into sight, words spilling from his numb lips.
"Where the hell have you be - never mind - how is he? What was the damage?"
Lestrade raised his heads, his face wan and lined, his eyes dull. John noticed that there was a smear of blood on his shirt, and then noticed again with a sickening jolt. For the thousandth time his mind took the texts on his phone and applied them to Sherlock's body.
"Calm down, John, take a breath-"
"For god's sake, will you just tell me? It's bad enough you wouldn't let me come-"
"For your own safety."
"I don't - Jesus - Just tell - me!"
His voice had risen to a harsh yell and his hands had somehow managed to fist in Lestrade's lapels. The nurse at reception noted this and made as if to step forwards, but Lestrade waved her back, shaking his head.
"We're fine, we're fine," he called, forcing a small smile. He patted John's hands, pushing them gently away. "John, he's awake and he's stable - well, as he can be."
John felt his legs tremble with relief and made a grab for Lestrade again, this time to keep himself upright. He shut his eyes and sucked in a few gulps of oxygen, struggling not to sob, just letting 'awake' and 'stable' echo in his mind.
"Oh god, oh god, thank god..."
Lestrade's hands were on his shoulders, steadying him. "That's right. But John, he's suffered some terrible injuries."
Lestrade's mouth quirked. "Bad. Listen, they need you to calm him down."
John blinked. "Calm him down?"
"He wouldn't let the paramedics give him anything, wouldn't take the injections. He took some mild pain releif when he got here, but now he's refusing to take an IV and any more medication. John, you're the only one who might be able to talk him round."
"Does that mean I can see him?"
A nod. John span away from Lestrade and made for the corridor, the detective inspector hurrying after him. The ICU was quiet and the lights soft; three in the morning wasn't a typical visiting time. The two men made their way through the soft bleeps and sighs of the machines, the vacant stares of the patients who were still half-awake. John's gaze skated over them as he and Lestrade passed, knowing that Sherlock was in a private room further down the ward. He opened his mouth to ask the details, and then shut it again. He didn't know whether he wanted to know. He would find out soon enough... He caught sight of two armed policemen outside a door and quickened his pace, then broke into a run at the sounds of distant shouting.
"You see what I mean?" Lestrade panted, on his heels.
John saw. The police stepped aside at the sight of Lestrade and John barreled through the door. In the small room, chaos had broken free. A tray of equiptment had been spilled across the floor, along with an IV bag and its frame. A nurse was trying to clean it up whilst dodging the orderlies and the two doctors shouting themselves hoarse to be heard over the racket. The orderlies were struggling violently with their kicking, screaming patient, trying to keep him down, trying to catch hold of his arms, helpless attempting to restrain his flying fist. A fist that was skinned and bloody. Fist singular - the other arm was wrapped around his side. It was pandemonium, and yet all John could feel was a dizzying, heady thrill of emotion as he saw those pale green eyes, usually so collected and cool, now wild and slanted with panic. Eyes set in a bruised face. Blood streaked across his cheek. Pupils dilated, slightly uneven... John's medical brain sped into overdrive.
"Get off me, get off, get off!"
"Mr. Holmes, please, try to-"
"No - stop it - take your hands off me!"
"Mr. Holmes, we'll have to sedate you!" One of the doctors cried, her face red with exertion as she made a grab for his arm. A pillow tumbled onto the ground as he dragged himself free. "Please, will you just-"
"Don't touch me!"
There was an edge in his tone, a wild, high-pitched edge that had John jerking into action. He darted towards the bed, pushing his way through the orderlies. One turned and tried to force him back, but Sherlock's gaze finally found John's face and something lit up in his face. He broke away from the orderly and snatched at John's wrist, catching it in a vice-like grip. His lips pressed together, his breath caught in his throat, and John caught up the claw-like hand in both of his own.
"Let go of him." He heard his own voice adding to the fray, barely aware he'd even commanded himself to speak. "Do it, now! I'm his doctor."
The orderlies hesitated, the doctors paused. Sherlock remained hunched, his free hand still balled into a tight fist, his shoulders heaving. John caught a glimpse of blood - a lot of blood - spotting through the bandages near his ribs and suppressed a rush of fear. He had to calm Sherlock down, before any more damage was done. He thought fast, made a snap decision, and glanced over his shoulder to look for Lestrade.
"Excuse me? I was under the impression that Mr. Holmes was being submitted to our care," the second doctor said, his voice tight, his hair ruffled from the struggle. "In case you hadn't noticed, Mr. Holmes is in need of immediate attention - "
"Yes, I could see that," John interrupted, slipping into his clipped, military tone. "Very good job, too. Could I have a minute, please?"
"A minute?" the first doctor spluttered. She was younger than the man, dark brown hair, fierce eyes. "This isn't exactly a wonderful time, he's not even supposed to be having visitors!"
"One minute," John insisted, holding her stare. "I'm sure you can see he needs to calm down. Please, just... Lestrade?"
Lestrade nodded, tugging at the second doctor. They protested, they argued, but the police uniform worked wonders on all members of the public. Slowly, the orderlies and the nurse began to move towards the door. John turned his back on them at once as Sherlock let out a sigh and fell back against the propped-up bed, his grip on John's arm easing. And at last - after a week of torment - at last, John could see him. He took in the bandages criss-crossed over his chest - wound to the right shoulder then, and another to his ribs on the left side - and the ugly, blotchy bruises that stretched from shoulder to hip, the nasty, vivid burn slanting over his forearm, the bleeding gash stretching over his temple... He imagined the crack that had filled the air as Sherlock's head met a firm surface and inwardly cringed, hurrying back to his analysis... split lip, bruise darkening on his cheekbone, graze across his jaw. So physical trauma. A lot of it. Plus the slight trembling that had taken hold of his limbs now that the fight was finally over, the sweat glistening on his shoulders and upper lip...
But he was alive. He was alive.
"You okay?" John murmured, moving closer to examine the bruising reaching across his side. "Sherlock?"
Sherlock hissed in pain and flinched away from John's probing fingers. "I said get off, and I mean it!" he snapped, his voice hoarse, his tone surprisingly harsh.
John lifted his hands at once, blinking. "Sorry, I'm sorry. They said you refused medication - "
"If I wanted someone to stand here and try to inject me with mind-numbing crap, I wouldn't have let those two leave!" he snapped, jerking his head at the door. The motion made him groan in pain and he dropped his head into his hand; before John could reach for him, he had looked up again and fixed him with a piercing glare. "John, get me out. Get me out now."
John stared at him. "Sherlock-"
"Don't you dare, John, don't you dare, you need to take me home."
"I'm not staying here another minute, I don't care what you say."
"I'll go myself if I have to, I'll catch a cab-"
"Will you let me finish?" John said, finally raising his voice. "Will you just let me talk?"
Sherlock shut his mouth quickly, opened it, and then shut it again. John took that as an invitation to speak, or at least as much of an invitation he was going to get. He caught Sherlock's eye and held his gaze, keeping his voice calm.
"Listen to me, okay? You've been missing for a week, and you've got a fair few scars to show for it. You must be in a lot of pain, and you're in shock-"
"I'm not in shock," Sherlock muttered icily.
"Of course you are," John retorted. "You're shaking, your breathing's too shallow, your skin's clammy. Care to make a deduction?"
Sherlock hesitated, then pressed a shaking hand to his eyes. John let him take a few seconds to recognize the truth in those last few words, and then carefully pushed a little further.
"You have to let them treat you, Sherlock, or you'll be in even worse shape later. Just let them check you over, have a rest, and we can go home in a few days."
Sherlock was shaking his head already, his jaw tight. "No. No. I want to go home now. We have to go now."
"Because-" Sherlock bit off his own words, halting, pulling in a breath, trying again. "Because he'll get in. He has people everywhere. Even now, he might already have people here... John, take - me - home."
Those hard, ground-out words struck John to the core. He wet his lips. Despite his anxiety and fear, Sherlock could have a point. Moriarty did indeed have webs everywhere... He remembered that Sherlock had been refusing medication and felt a jolt of fear. Drugs. Of course. If Moriarty was already here, it would be all too easy to spike an IV line, to send in some fake nurse... And the thought of losing Sherlock again, so very soon, was bad enough to make John want to take him back to 221B Baker street and barricade the door. But still... He took a deep breath and reached out for Sherlock's side again. Sherlock pushed his hand away, making a low noise of frustration.
"Just let me have a look," John said. "You trust me, don't you?"
Sherlock lowered his hand, allowing John to touch the purpled skin of his ribs. He winced, and John murmured an apology.
"This looks painful..."
"Two broken," Sherlock said shortly, taking another sharp breath as John's fingers moved upwards.
"And here?" John touched the bandage wrapped around his midriff.
"Crowbar. Cut me a bit."
John swallowed hard, lifting his eyes to the gauze taped over his right shoulder. "Here?"
"Stabbed me. With a letter opener."
"He stabbed me, John, I wasn't there to have fun."
"God..." John thought for a few seconds, then reached up to push the hair away from the gash, still weeping blood. His palm grazed Sherlock's forehead, felt a slight temperature. "I think you might need stitches for this. Sorry, I'm trying to be gentle... You've got a slight concussion, hmm?"
"Yes. Nothing I can't handle."
John sighed heavily. Sherlock watched him with hungry eyes, drinking in every movement.
"You're trying to decide whether you can treat me at home. I know you can. You can do it easily."
John rolled his eyes and crossed to the door. Sherlock sat upright hopefully, struggling and failing to suppress a moan as he moved his injured ribs. It seemed now that the adrenaline was ebbing away, he was starting to feel his wounds a little more. John opened the door and leaned out, caught the eye of a nurse.
"Can I have a suture kit, please?"
The nurse looked him up and down, frowning, but again the presence of the police worked its wonders and she nodded. John shut the door and headed back over to Sherlock, whose face had fallen.
"Sherlock. I'm going to sort out your head, and then we'll see how you feel, and then maybe - maybe - I'll talk to Lestrade and see if I can take you back home tonight."
Either Sherlock knew when he was beaten, or he was too exhausted to fight John on the topic any longer. He leaned back once more, holding his broken ribs, stifling a whimper. The dark circles under his eyes were even worse under the glare of the hospital lights. He was still shaking, still fighting to bring his body under control. John reached down to pick up the pillow that had fallen to the floor in the confusion and slid it behind his head.
"Try to rest, okay?" he said. "The door's secure and I'm right here."
Sherlock closed his eyes, but the tense tremor in his limbs remained. The nurse returned with the suture kit. Apparently Lestrade was handling the doctors; they had yet to return. John got to work on the gash, moving carefully and slowly, apologizing quietly for every flinch beneath his hands. As he went, the trembling lessened ever so slightly and the breathing became just a little more even. Sherlock was finally beginning to calm down. But the tremor in his tense limbs still remained.
As he finished the stitches, the door inched open and Lestrade peered in. John gestured for him to wait and laid down his instruments, shooting Sherlock a smile as the detective looked up.
"Be right back," he said softly, laying a hand on his shoulder before heading towards the door. Sherlock's eyes remained on his back until he moved out of sight.
He took Lestrade out of earshot, hoping Sherlock would see sense and refrain from attempting to escape while his back was turned. Unsurprisingly, Lestrade was not impressed by Sherlock's plan to leave the hospital, or John's support of said plan - "He's literally just out of the frying pan, and you want to toss him back into the fire?" - but eventually, after much convincing, he reluctantly began to look around for the doctors. Whenever Moriarty's name was mentioned, conventional methods were cast aside. Moriarty - who had not been caught at the scene, and who was still evading Lestrade's best officers - could be anywhere, could be everywhere, could reach into every corner of London. And, like John, Lestrade didn't want to take the chance that his reach included the hospital. It took longer to tackle the doctors, but eventually Lestrade's badge ended the conversation and John managed to score an instant discharge. With his medical training, the doctors couldn't deny that he was more than capable of looking after Sherlock from home, while they still searched for every loophole they could. John couldn't blame them - if a strange man had marched into his clinic, taken over control of one of his patients, and then announced that he was going to whisk said patient off to an unequipped flat in London to recuperate, John doubted he would have taken the news very well either.
He returned to Sherlock's room with a set of hospital scrubs and a pair of trainers a nurse had found for him piled in his arms. Sherlock was sitting up, waiting, one hand clenched in the blanket. At John's nod, a brief smile pulled at the corners of his mouth. True, John would have preferred a smile of smug victory to a smile of weak relief, but at this stage he couldn't afford to be picky. He crossed to the bed and helped Sherlock put on the scrubs - noticing another bruise on his hip as he went - and pulled the top over his head. He paused every time the detective gasped, moved slowly, letting Sherlock set the pace. Then he guided Sherlock to hold onto his arms as the other man unsteadily swung his legs off the bed and leaned forwards, clutching his side, breathing hard through his nose. His gaze was becoming slightly glazed; every so often he would shake his head, as if trying to wake himself up, and then his face would contort in pain. John pretended not to notice. He knelt down to put the shoes onto his slender feet, then stood and pulled off his own jacket. He eased Sherlock's arms into it. It was baggy on John, but the sleeves barely reached past Sherlock's elbows.
By the time they were finished and ready to go, paperwork signed, a police car ready outside, it was almost dawn. Holding him under the elbows, John helped Sherlock off the bed and lowered him into a waiting wheelchair. He paused, touching the other man's arm. Sherlock hunched over himself, leaning his forehead on his knuckles, his face worn and lined.
"Ready?" John said softly.
A nod. So John nudged the wheelchair into motion. Lestrade walked out to the car with them, offering Sherlock a few words of comfort which the detective chose to ignore. They all seemed to have aged years in that single night, and the first grey light of the next day hit them as John eased Sherlock into the back seat of the police car. He mumbled a goodbye to Lestrade, took the hand offered to him. They would be meeting again soon for Sherlock's statement, and both were too tired for proper goodbyes.
Baker Street finally rolled into sight, and John felt an ache of longing for a cup of tea and his own bed. He hadn't slept much since Sherlock's abduction, and he suspected that Sherlock had done so even less. He didn't wake Mrs. Hudson, aware of the ridiculous hour, and the fact that she, too, had seen a stressful week. He hadn't even told her Sherlock had been found yet, caught up in the panic of the moment. The officers offered to help him bring Sherlock upstairs, but he declined. Sherlock's brow was furrowed, his mouth a hard line, his shoulders tight; he wanted to be left alone just as much as John did. So John climbed out onto the pavement and put an arm around Sherlock's waist, lifting the other man up out of the car. Sherlock leaned on him heavily as they made their way over to the black wooden door of 221B, paused while John found the key. The trek up the stairs was slow, John taking a step and stopping to support Sherlock after him before taking the next. But at last, they found themselves shuffling into the living room of 221B, early morning sunlight brushing the window panes, the smell of failed experiments and burnt toast light in the air.
"There you go," John said wearily, relaxing his hold on his burden. "Home. Does that feel better?"
Sherlock simply looked around, sniffing at the air. He looked strange in the blue scrubs and John's too-small jacket, the tattered trainers. Not quite himself. John suppressed a yawn, scrubbing both hands across his face. "Oh, dear... cup of tea?" He glanced into the kitchen. "Don't know if I can be bothered... how's water?"
It was as if, now that he was finally back home, finally away from the prying eyes of the officers and the doctors and the public, something broke inside Sherlock Holmes. His lips twitched uncertainly, his nostrils flared. He took an unsteady step forwards into the flat, and then without warning his knees gave way beneath him. John darted forwards and managed to catch him, slowing his rapid descent to the ground.
"Whoa, whoa, Sherlock! Hey, Sherlock!"
Sherlock's eyes had slid shut. John's stomach lurched. He ghosted a hand over his face, felt soft breaths against his palm, felt a slightly thready pulse. A thin sheen of sweat clung to his pale skin, bruises standing out in purple blotches. Too soon, far too soon, god what was he thinking, bringing him home from the hospital? And with everything he'd endured over the last week, everything that John still had to find out about. His eyes moved to that right shoulder. Stabbed me. With a letter opener. John shook his head. He eased an arm around Sherlock's shoulders, scrabbling for his phone with his free hand, ready to call an ambulance to take them straight back to the hospital. As if he could hear the thoughts racing through John's mind, Sherlock's eyes flickered open.
"Sherlock!" his voice shook with relief. "You scared me... can you hear me?"
"Yes," Sherlock mumbled, blinking slowly. "I'm just... I'm..."
"Sherlock?" John repeated, more quietly this time.
Sherlock's vacant gaze found John's. He blinked slowly. "Exhausted," he said, his voice soft.
John nodded, placing a palm against his forehead. His temperature had climbed higher. He would have to start taking the antibiotics the hospital had given them as soon as possible.
"Alright," he said. "Come on, then, let's get you to bed."
He stood up slowly, lifting Sherlock with him. Sherlock's legs shook wildly as they took his weight, and John quickly pulled an arm around his shoulders and wrapped his arm around his waist. Murmuring encouragement, he steered the semi-conscious man back out into the corridor. Sherlock was growing heavier with every second, and his room was just a little too far down the corridor... John's, on the other hand...
John toed open the door and half-carried Sherlock across to his bed, silently cursing for not changing the sheets when Mrs. Hudson had told him to. He would have preferred them to be clean as possible... it would have to do for tonight. Tomorrow, he could take Sherlock back to his own room. But for now, he threw back the covers and let Sherlock drop down onto it, eyes closing once more. Still talking gently, John took off the jacket and then the trainers and tossed them aside. Sherlock remained sitting up, listing to one side slightly, until John guided him down onto the pillows. By the time he had lifted his legs up onto the mattress, he was sure that Sherlock was unconscious. He pulled the duvet up and tucked it in, then retrieved another blanket from the cupboard to spread over the detective. Then he sank down on the edge of the bed screwing the heels of his palms into his eyes.
He could barely believe that Sherlock was actually back. The last few hours felt like a dream, like something that could never really happen in real life. And yet, somehow, it had all happened. Sherlock was safe. John looked down at him, that strange and beautiful face marred with bruises and blood. He sat for a few minutes longer. Then, yawning, glancing at his watch, he heaved himself to his feet and made his way into the kitchen. He could leave a glass of water by the bed, and then if Sherlock woke up, he wouldn't have to try and make it to the kitchen. Maybe with a few painkillers. Maybe he would make that cup of tea, too. He put the kettle on, put a teabag in the cup. He sank down into one of the kitchen chairs.
By the time the kettle had boiled, John was asleep, head pillowed on his arms, slumped over the table, as if nothing in the world would ever wake him up.
Reviews are welcome.
I suppose if I did carry it on I'd include a flash-back part for Sherlock's time with Moriarty... depending on what the demand is, or if people are interested. Hope you enjoyed.