Title: Protective and Possessive – Part 1 of 3
Author: Ismira Daugene
Word Count: 3,100
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Prompt: From the Sherlock Kink Meme… Nobody's ever gotten really protective or possessive over John. He finds he enjoys it when someone does. (Bottom John)
"Right, I think that's about all I have for you," Lestrade said glancing at the manila envelope on his desk holding all of the vital information (or as Sherlock calls it, the starter kit) for the most recent case of the yard. As though to finalize his statement, he placed his hands on his hips and looked expectantly at Sherlock who was staring intently at a photograph from the file.
John was looking around Sherlock's shoulder at the picture. It was a crime scene photo depicting the body, male, late twenties to early thirties, Caucasian, black hair, approximately 65 kilos and 175 centimeters, spread eagle on the floor of what looked to be a very nice sitting room. Blood soaked the carpet around the head, but there was very little splattering on the surrounding furniture. A point blank shot then… If there was one thing John was able to help with, it was gun shot wounds. He'd seen enough of them to last a lifetime… and then some. His mind flashed to an incident that had been and continued to be the source of many nightmares. Five bodies lined up in a row, their hands tied. They'd been made to kneel before the sick bastards had shot them point blank down the line, one at a time. John's unit had been on patrol and discovered the bodies almost a full day after the killing. The memory of the stench of the baked bodies in the hot Afghani sun still caused his throat to squeeze shut.
"John?" Sherlock's deep baritone pulled him out of the unpleasant memory.
"Sherlock?" John looked up to see Sherlock's blazing blue eyes staring intently at him. He'd grown used to it… kind of… being under that laser scrutiny. However it still caused him to shiver slightly. There was just something about that gaze that made John feel like he was under a microscope.
Sherlock assessed his flatmate for another second before turning back to Lestrade. "I'll look into it," he said letting the photo in his hand fall back on the manila envelope.
"You'll call then? Or text when you have something?"
"Of course," Sherlock waved him off and turned his scrutiny back on John.
"And you'll let me know before you go talk to someone or if you want to see the body?" Lestrade asked, but didn't receive an answer.
Sherlock had already tightened his scarf and was making for the door. John followed behind, the manila envelope in his hands. They made it back to 221B rather quickly, considering that it was rush hour. As soon as they were in the door, Sherlock spun on his heel and grabbed a surprised John by the shoulders. He leaned down and squinted a little as he perused John's face. John stood stock still, his back against the door and his spine stiff at the sudden closeness of his flatmate. For goodness sake, the man's nose was nearly brushing his own! It took a few seconds, but eventually John found his voice, "Sherlock, what the bloody hell are you doing?" he asked, but remained perfectly still.
"Wondering why you had a flashback to Afghanistan in Lestrade's office," he said quietly, straightening once more to his full height. He did not reduce the distance between them though.
John pressed back against the door a little more, his hand tightening on the manila envelope. "What makes you think –"
"While we were looking at the photograph, your pulse spiked, your posture tightened and grew defensive, you leaned more on your left leg (an indication that your psychosomatic limp was making an appearance again which it did on the walk out of the yard), and you rolled your left shoulder (the one you injured) away subconsciously seeking to protect it." Once more, John was utterly amazed at Sherlock's ability to pick up on the smallest of details. "I wish to know what triggered the flashback," Sherlock said, still not backing away.
"It was nothing…" John tried to shove his way past the tall, pale, dark haired man blocking him, but Sherlock raised a hand and pressed back on John's shoulder once more.
John grimaced as he was forced back a step, against the door once more. "John," Sherlock deadpanned.
"Why is it important? We have a case to solve, Sherlock." He gestured with the manila envelope.
Sherlock waved nonchalantly. "It was the sister."
"Honestly, John," he said in an exasperated tone. "The sister…" He said again as though this would answer everything. When it was obvious, that John wasn't catching on, Sherlock let out a huff of air and let go of John's shoulder. "I'll explain later. The more pressing matter is why you had a flashback."
"I don't want to talk about it, Sherlock," John grumbled.
Sherlock crossed his arms and took a step back… finally. John took the opportunity to get out from between his flatmate and the door, hastily stepping around him and to the coat rack where he threw his black jacket on a peg and kept walking toward the kitchen, a cup of tea on his mind. "You were looking at the photograph when the flashback started, so we'll assume that it was something in the contents."
"Seriously, Sherlock, drop it," John said reaching for a clean teacup in the cupboard while the water came to a boil.
Sherlock ignored his flatmate though and began to walk slowly, his mind running back through what had happened at the yard. "The photo was an overhead shot of the body. It had little else in the frame except for the sofa and the coffee table. However you've seen dead bodies before and they haven't triggered a flashback, so what was different about this one?" Sherlock came to a standstill in the doorway of the kitchen, one hand crossed over his chest, the other resting on his arm and propping up his chin.
"Sherlock," John growled in warning, his hand shaking slightly as he poured the water for his tea.
Still Sherlock ignored him. "There wasn't much that was very different about the body…" he trailed off. A second later, his eyes lit up and John knew… he knew that Sherlock had figured it out. "The victim was shot point blank range. The same as many Afghani terrorists do to their victims."
He turned to stare at John who had his back against the counter. His hand, which was in the middle of stirring his tea, had frozen, and his other hand, the one holding the cup and saucer, was shaking. "Yes, congratulations," John sniped. "You figured it out, once again. Never mind that I asked you to stop, that I didn't want to talk about it. All that matters is that you figure out the puzzle. Well done, Sherlock."
John carefully set the cup of still steaming tea down on the counter, his throat had closed up again and he didn't feel like drinking it any more. Then he marched past Sherlock and straight up the stairs to his bedroom, the door slamming in his wake. Sherlock remained in the doorway of the kitchen, confused as to what he'd done wrong.
Upstairs, John paced angrily for a few minutes before flopping down on his bed and trying to relax using the breathing techniques that his therapist had taught him.
Out… imagine all thought leaving with the exhale.
After several minutes of deep breathing, John was becoming drowsy. Perhaps a nap would be good. He hadn't gotten much sleep last night. It was shortly thereafter that John relaxed completely, his body going limp as it succumbed to sleep.
o O o O o O o
"Move, soldier!" his colonel shouted at him.
John jumped into action. They'd surrounded the house on the outskirts of Ghazni and now it was time to go in. A team of four other soldiers was in front of John's team. They split left and right, like a well-rehearsed dance. John's team moved in as well and with swift efficiency broke down the door to the already run down house. The smell that assaulted them was strong and pungent. John squinted through the gloom and could see bodies everywhere. It looked as though a mad man had taken a machine gun and sprayed the entire room.
Moving carefully through the bodies and into the room, the soldiers searched for survivors. There were none… John could already tell that there would be none. The smell was that of dead bodies that had been left to rot; there would be no survivors.
A mop of dark hair caught his eye against the far wall, and he made his way over towards it. The owner of the dark mop looked familiar, but John couldn't see his face. Once he'd reached the body, draped over a chair, John gently turned the head and gasped. No… this wasn't right. In front of him was the pale dead corpse of Sherlock Holmes. What was he doing here? He shouldn't even be in Afghanistan.
"Sherlock…" John muttered. It was impossible… Sherlock just couldn't be dead. John gently shook the corpse's shoulder. "Sherlock!" he said louder. "Please… just… please don't be dead."
"SHERLOCK!" John sat bolt upright in his bed, the light blanket that had been thrown over him flying back. His breaths came in sharp stabs as he tried to slow his racing heart.
"John," a gentle voice came from his left.
John jumped slightly and turned to stare at his flatmate who was sitting in a chair that had been pulled up from the kitchen. Two steaming cups of tea were resting on his nightstand next to the tall pale man and John furrowed his brow. "How… What are you doing in here, Sherlock?"
"You always have nightmares after a flashback. I'm merely trying to speed up the calming process afterwards." He gestured toward the tea.
John continued to stare at his flatmate for another minute before reaching out with one hand for the cup of tea closest to him. He took a sip… chamomile. He inhaled the sweet soothing scent, allowing it to infuse his body and convince himself that it was all just a dream. "Thank you," he murmured after his second sip of tea.
"Your welcome," Sherlock replied, taking a sip of his own tea.
John looked about as he sat sipping at his tea. It was dark, the room being lit only with the lamp on the nightstand. He'd been asleep for some time then. Absently, he brought his wrist up to eye level and glanced at his watch, quarter past three in the morning. He slowly lowered his hand back to his lap. It was quite unusual for Sherlock to be so concerned, but John was grateful all the same.
Sherlock sat quite still while John calmed. He sipped his tea slowly and studied his flatmate with, if John didn't know any better, concern. It was nice… and yet disconcerting. Nice that Sherlock had been thoughtful enough to bring John tea, but disconcerting as to his motives. Sherlock never did altruistic. Nearly everything he did had a motive and most of the time that motive was to gain more information. So now John was asking himself, what kind of information did Sherlock hope to gain off of him? John glanced over at his flatmate now. Sherlock was still studying him over the top of his teacup. "Sherlock," he addressed the pale man. "You don't have to stay. I – I'm calmed now, and you must be tired."
"I'm not," he said. "And I imagine that you'll most likely have another nightmare tonight yet. You usually do after a flashback."
John stared at him. How did he know? No… never mind… scratch that… he was Sherlock Bloody Holmes, that's how he knew. "Well I'll manage it on my own, thanks."
Sherlock studied him for a moment longer before shrugging elegantly and rising to his feet. He took both his and John's cups with him, but left the chair. Sighing, John relaxed back onto his bed. Sherlock was right; the nightmares didn't usually stop at one after a flashback like today… well, yesterday now. However he had to work tomorrow and he wasn't going to fall asleep on the job again. With that, he kicked off his jeans and settled back down under the covers.
o O o O o O o
Sherlock set his and John's teacups in the sink. It was starting to get full and John would have to do the dishes again. Of course, John would ask why Sherlock couldn't do them, but they both knew that if Sherlock waited long enough, John would just do them. Besides, dishes were boring. Turning back toward the living area, Sherlock dropped into his chair, legs stretched out and crossed at the ankle and hands held in a position that could be described as praying. Before he got too comfortable though, he jumped back up and walked over to the mantle where his skull sat. Inside was a stack of nicotine patches; he fished out three of them. This was definitely going to be a three-patch problem. Actually, it bordered on being a four-patch problem, but John had scolded him thoroughly the last time he'd used four patches. Something about it not being healthy.
Sherlock resettled himself in his chair after applying the three patches to his forearm. It was going to be several hours until John woke up to get ready for work, but Sherlock was going to need all of that time to sort out his problem. He'd noticed the problem had started months ago, but had ignored it till recently. Recently, it had started to affect his decisions and thinking process. There had never been something that had affected his life to that degree, and it worried him. However here he was…
Going through in his mind palace, Sherlock tried to identify the first time he'd allowed his thoughts to be affected by John. It had been shortly after they'd moved in together and he'd gone out of his way to make John comfortable in their flat. He'd made concessions about experiment equipment and the subjects of his experiments. He'd even allowed John to designate areas of the kitchen as 'Experiment' and 'Food'.
Then had come the need to protect John. Scratch that… the need to protect John had been there since they'd first met with 'The Study In Pink' as John had labelled it in his blog. Then there'd been the incident with the Black Lotus gang. He'd made John stay with Su Lin not only to protect her, but to protect him as well. And of course there was the kidnappings and the bomb at the pool. That had really torn something inside of him. The moment he'd found out John was gone, something had clicked in Sherlock and he'd been driven to find his flatmate no matter what it took.
So what did that add up to? He was protective over his flatmate… something that hadn't been observed before with others, but wasn't unheard of in the scope of things. And he made concessions on John's behalf. This bit was a little more out of Sherlock's depth. He'd never felt the need to make someone else happy. Sure there were times when someone else being happy allowed Sherlock to gain leverage or information, but he'd never done something just so that the other person would like him a bit more. He'd never really cared what others thought until John. That seemed to be the end of all things now… until John.
Where did that leave him? Sherlock scoffed at himself. It left him with a flatmate who would most likely be getting annoyed with him more often because Sherlock would be hovering over him. John was a very independent man and judging by his methods, had never actually been taken care of or had someone willing to protect him at all costs. Well it made sense… judging by John's mannerisms, his army career, and the fact that he had not once called or made contact with his parents while back in London, they were either dead or on very bad terms with him. Sherlock shifted slightly in his mental palace to a different memory; he could recall John once talking about his parents with Harry and he'd referred to them in the present tense, which meant that of the two choices he was most likely on very bad terms with them. He'd at least called Harry once or twice, but those phone calls had always left him angry and defensive.
However Sherlock felt that he couldn't simply turn off his protective feelings for John. They were too strong, so he decided an experiment was in order. John had looked to be appreciative of his efforts at tea this morning, despite the fact that he'd kicked him out later, which indicated that he wasn't completely adverse to someone taking care of him. Sherlock had never taken care of someone before, but he found himself wanting to do so for John. While John was mostly self-sufficient, there were still things that he needed help with, chasing away nightmares for example… and reaching the teacups on the top shelf of the cupboard. Sherlock smirked to himself at that thought. The experiment would be to find out just how much John would let Sherlock care for him. If the results were positive then perhaps they could move onto a new stage in their relationship. Sherlock found himself not displeased by this idea. He'd thought many times that John would be an ideal mate. Especially since the alternative involved John finding another mate who would take him away from Sherlock. If a partner was what John was seeking, then Sherlock felt sure they could make a decent couple. They got on well and were able to work with each other splendidly… more so than any of the others Sherlock had tried out as an assistant. John was more than an assistant now though. He was Sherlock's blogger. He was the level head in Sherlock's world, the person he could go to to see how an average man would see the problem. Of course, John was anything but average, but still… he was able to see the problem in a very different way from Sherlock.
So it was decided! Sherlock would conduct an experiment on John to see just how responsive he was to being taken care of. The result of the experiment would determine where their relationship would go from here. Sherlock smiled to himself and glanced up at the clock. John would be waking soon to go to work. Time to start the experiment. Some toast and tea would do nicely for breakfast.