John was bleeding.
This wouldn't ordinarily be of too much concern as John had bled numerous times during his association with Sherlock (too many outside circumstances to recall – honestly, John was like a human pin-cushion) but this time John was bleeding far too quickly, and with greater volume. It was the volume bit that was particularly alarming.
"John." A warning. Higher timbered than his usual voice, an indication possibly of fear, that echoed up the brick walls on either side of them.
John blinked and looked down. "Oh." He staggered. Instantly, Sherlock's hands were at his waist, around his back, guiding him to the ground.
"What have you gone and done now?" he snapped. There wasn't any real heat to it, but it still begged the question. Like it was solely John's fault for being injured in the first place.
John sighed as pain finally flooded his synapses now that the shock had worn off from being made aware of the problem. Odd how that works. Like acknowledging to a child that you saw him fall, and because of that, now he hurts when before he'd been fine.
"Guess he got me after all," John groaned, chin jerking towards the assailant lying ten feet off, unmoving, on the filthy ground. His knife gleamed another few feet away. Sherlock had had the pleasure.
"Apparently." The detective had already balled up his coat and shoved it under John's head, and was presently unwinding his scarf to jam into John's side. He winced, sucking in a harsh breath.
With his free hand, Sherlock called Lestrade, called not texted, and demanded he send every ambulance in London to this alley at once.
"Really, Sherlock? Every," he hissed again, "ambulance? One's fine."
"Quiet, John." His eyes widened and flicked back to his friend. "I don't mean that. Keep speaking. Don't go quiet."
John forced a tight smile and rolled his eyes. "Really, it's prob'ly jus' a flesh woun'…" his eyes fluttered. Sherlock's phone dropped to the pavement with a clatter, and his free hand fisted in John's jacket, shaking him.
Blearily, he peered back up at him. "Mmk, notta flesh woun'." Sherlock cursed under his breath, and reached again for his phone.
"Are they here yet?" he demanded into the mouthpiece, head cocked to his shoulder, exposing the rapid pulse beating on one side of his long neck.
Lestrade's calming voice, tinny, was barely heard around Sherlock's ear.
Gently, or perhaps weakly, John's hand rose to the one still fisting his jacket. "Hey. Easy."
Sherlock huffed, and checked the scarf, which was now soaked through with blood. John's blood. He swallowed, and spared half of a moment to glare once more at the thief-turned-would-be-murderer lying nearby. "I should kill him. I could."
"You won'," John slurred. His lids drooped further.
"Stop doing that." Sherlock demanded, with another light shake.
"Ow!" John snapped. He frowned and bit his lip. "Stop doin' that."
"Well." Where in fuck were those ambulances? "Lestrade!" A pause. "No, he's… just, where are they? Aren't there ambulances on every block in this city?"
"Time, Sh'lock," John whispered. He blinked once. Twice.
Sherlock's mouth went dry, and he was struck with the rather absurd thought that John might not have much time. Ridiculous. Ridiculous like how Sherlock couldn't take in enough air of a sudden, ridiculous. And still, he was surprised to watch his fingers slide up from its grip on John's coat, to wrap around his neck, lifting gently.
"Keep watching me," he rumbled quietly.
John continued to blink.
"Good." He inhaled. "Lestrade, you have less than two minutes to get medical attention here or I'm burning down your flat. I mean it this time." He winced, and jerked his ear away from the blackberry.
Fortunately, for all concerned, the tell-tale flashing of lights and the shrieking of sirens prevented any such histrionics, or, well, further histrionics, and Sherlock breathed an enormous sigh of relief.
"Look, John. Lestrade has saved you."
John didn't reply. And his eyes were closed.
"Damnit," he hissed, jerking John to attention with a moan of pain.
"God," John wailed, attempting to shove him, with a deeper frown than Sherlock's creasing his brow.
"I'm sorry," Sherlock whispered, crouching closer to slip an arm behind his back. Protective. Worried. Ahead, people in silhouette were running down the semi-darkened alley, calling for them. More sirens sounded in the distance.
"Almost there, John," he soothed. His friend was a heavy weight in his arms, and his blood now dripped off Sherlock's hand. "Almost."
As the professionals laid John out, checking the amount of damage, and patching him up as best they could, Sherlock stood back, fidgeting. He'd had to bite his tongue to stop from telling them to load him up god's sake and get him on his way, and where was Lestrade, can't anyone take that cretin on the ground away already, and… could he ride with them to hospital?
John apparently answered that final question for him, when his fingers blindly reached for Sherlock in the dark. His chest filled with an overwhelming, warm, squeezing something, and he obliged. "Far too many ambulances, John," he mumbled, fingers loose in his, following them down the alley towards the flashing lights and fresher air.
John's answering smile was enough.
A/N: Sorry, none of this is beta'd, obviously, and I was in the mood for drama. Thanks for stopping by.