John sighed when he saw Sebastian among the patients, looking like he had lost two or three boxing matches in a row and pressing a bloodied towel to his forehead. The wall between Mrs. Hudson's and Mrs. Turner's buildings was very thin and so he and Sherlock were privy to everything that happened next door. John should stop being surprised to see Sebastian in the clinic the morning after a night like last one.
Looking at them one would suspect Sebastian of being the abuser, not of being the victim since his husband, Jim, was on the small side and John guessed that Sebastian could take him if he wanted to but then, John reflected, that wasn't how domestic abuse worked.
"Next one," John called, waving Sebastian in.
"Hi," he tried to smile as well as he could without reopening his split lip. John made him sit down.
"Are you bleeding anywhere else?" John asked, inspecting the gash on Sebastian's forehead. Jim, he had learned in the past months, tended to go for the face.
"No. No broken bones either, before you ask."
"You're going to need stitches for that," John said, having finished his examination of the wound.
"You don't say." Sebastian rolled his eyes.
"There are places you could go," John told him, beginning with his work.
"Nowhere he wouldn't find me." Sebastian replied. John noticed that he was playing with his ring. He was always doing that when John tried to convince him to leave. As if he needed to remind himself of something.
"In good times and in bad, Doc," He grinned awkwardly. John wondered where the good times came, after all Sebastian had been here six times within the past two months. And the x-rays he had to take last time showed that the abuse wasn't something that had cropped up recently.
"Good times, huh?" He asked when Sebastian hissed when he applied the antiseptic. Sebastian never made any attempts to hide the fact that he was abused, at least not from John but then he knew that John lived next door and had come to this conclusion long before he met Sebastian as his patient.
"Plenty of good times," Sebastian's grin turned smug around the edges. And John knew about that too because, as he had mentioned before, thin walls but as he put stitches into Sebastian's forehead he couldn't imagine sex good enough to make up for this.
"There are plenty of ways to get off the grid. If there's no paperwork there's nothing to trace," John tried again. Out of the corner of his eyes he could see Sebastian playing with his ring again.
"Don't say no, not yet. Think about it." He knew Sebastian well enough by now to anticipate that his first reaction would be refusal. Putting plaster over the wound and writing him a subscription for painkillers, he hoped that Sebastian would actually give it some thought for once.
"And keep that wound clean." He said for good measure.
"Don't I always?" Sebastian replied dryly.
"Don't remind me," John muttered after the door closed behind Sebastian, praying he wouldn't see him in here too soon again.