I do not own Sherlock.
I don't normally do this. Lily-Fox over on Deviant Art had this wonderful image of John and Sherlock as a hedgehog and cat (respectively) in a piece titled "Right, stop that. It's silly." If this site would let me, I'd link to it, but it won't. The image acted as a sort of prompt for me, and after gaining her permission in the comments, I started this. This is chapter one, and I do intend for there to be more chapters up soon. Please forgive me, but there is a small amount of swearing in this chapter and the next. I'll keep it down to fit in with the innocent tone of the original image. But the story starts out in a warzone, swearing is going to happen. It'll be very light through the fic though, and probably won't happen much outside of "Afghanistan." I would like to make it known that I do not own a hedgehog, nor do I know much about them. I have a book on them, and different websites, but they all seem to be at odds with each other. If I get something wrong, please KINDLY inform me, and I will be MORE than happy to correct it, thank you.
I'm going to end my notes here. You won't be seeing them anymore either. I'm not one for author notes I'm afraid, outside of disclaimers. Thank you all for reading! I hope to have the next chapter up in under a week, knock on wood!
Said captain lifted his nose from the pillow he had just shoved it into, blinking blearily at the rabbit that stood just inside his tent flap, her long ears flat against her back. She was nervous, afraid, was she new? He didn't remember seeing her yesterday. Still shipping children into a war zone? This was getting sick.
"I'm sorry sir. You're needed sir."
"Sorry" didn't even begin to cover it. It was morning, bright fucking daylight, and he had to go out in it. The army didn't understand. Dogs ran the army, not cats, or hedgehogs, or rats, or any other night creature. Captain John Hamish Watson M.D. was not a diurnal creature. He was a hedgehog, they worked at night, slept during the day. And he had just come off his night shift.
The only thing the army understood was that he was the best doctor his unit had.
Heaving a heavy sigh, the stubby doctor pushed himself upright, yawning widely, before untying the bloody scrubs he had neglected to remove before falling face-first onto his cot.
"Tell 'em I'll be right in. I need to get these off." The rabbit nodded and bounded away, keeping her head down and a paw on her helmet as the shelling continued. Tugging off the one-sided scrubs, the doctor tossed them into the corner, grabbing a new pair from another pile in another corner, slipping his arms through before tying the backless scrubs, the knot getting lost somewhere in his spines. Grabbing his helmet once more he tossed it on, buckled it under his chin. In the same motion he mounted his gun to his back, and on all fours toddled through the flap into the sweltering Afgani sun.
Like most Animals, he preferred walking upright on two legs. But to run faster, keep low to the ground, present less of a target, four paws were better than two. Problem was, it made it harder to see what was going on around you when you had almost no neck and a nose barely an inch off the ground. John didn't see the lynx until it was almost on top of him.
The cat was on the Other side. The terrorist side, which had somehow managed to over-run an American base, and was now putting up one hell of a fight against the British. This cat had made his way through the front line, the secondary wave, and god-knew what else, to land on his badly burned feet in front of a very tired, very annoyed, John Watson. Without even stopping to think, the hedgehog failed to see a uniform, rolled onto his back, grabbed his gun, and blew the cat's face off.
Despite his medical oaths, there would be no saving, helping, un-harming, or sympathy for the being who had just been gunned down. If he hadn't broken everything he had ever known, John would have been the one dead, along with several other lives he was off to save… again.
Rolling over as though nothing had happened, the far-too-exhausted creature continued on his way, ignoring the body he strode by. No tears would be shed that day for the lynx. If John stopped to think (something he refused to let himself do anymore, just so he could save his sanity) he'd realize that the fact that the cat had gotten this far into the camp was a terrifying prospect. But it didn't cross his mind. All he could think about were the brave lads that needed his attention. While he was head doctor, he was the one that got to call the shots. But if the doctor or nurse on duty deemed themselves out of their league, they put a call into Watson. There was a reason he was Captain, and it had nothing to do with his good looks and charm. It was all skill.
"Captain, where are you going?" John paused, turning his attention from the medical tent (his target) to the Great Dane that had called him. The Lance Corporal was running over on all fours, standing and saluting the doctor on his approach. John reciprocated, ending the formalities quickly. He hated being saluted while under fire. The Other Side may not fully know the ranking system, but they knew a superior officer when paws and hands went to eyebrows.
"The medical tent, of course."
"You're actually needed at the convoy, sir."
The convoy? The look the Dane gave John didn't stir any hope. Jaxon, the Lance Corporal, hated that he was the one that had to give the news to his Captain. He had sent a nurse first, hoping she'd do the job for him. Clearly she hadn't told him everything. Jaxon hated sending Captain Watson into what was going on. The hedgehog was starting to worry the entire regiment. He had been answering every call no matter how much sleep he had gotten, food he had eaten, or how bad the injury really was. The doctor had been quilling (unusual in a beast his age) since they were stationed outside the American base with orders to take it back, and it was starting to hurt the whole camp. But orders were orders. And there was nothing someone as low as a Lance Corporal, given the order to "pass the message along" could do to help the man.
Everyone liked John. It didn't matter what was going on with himself, he'd always be willing to help anyone that asked for it.
The hog in question nodded curtly, giving a sad smile, a friendly pat on the dog's leg (he was so short, he barely even came up to the great dane's middle) and scurried off on all fours. Jaxon bit his lip, then turned, and made his way to the Mess tent. He was to help with breakfast. The cook had been taken out yesterday by a stray bullet. Their numbers were dwindling.
John tried to push the worry out of his mind as he ran. The convoy? The one that was supposed to rush-attack the base and plant a bomb at the gates so they could get in? Why did they need a doctor? That was just stupid, he would be much more useful behind the lines, tending to those that were lucky enough to come ba-
John was the best doctor they had. If he went to the front, with the convoy, many more of their soldiers stood a chance of coming back. It made sense. Didn't make John feel any better, but he understood why they were bringing him out. Couldn't they have waited another hour? Let him catch a few winks of sleep, let him freshen up a bit before walking exhausted into battle?
Or at least have told him to get into gear and not scrubs? He felt silly, walking around in what equaled to pajamas at the front lines of a battle that had waged for weeks.
"Glad you could join us. We have your gear here, we're leaving in five."
"Five minutes, sir?"
"You heard me. The call came down thirty minutes ago. You'll be briefed on the way there." The horse thrust a bullet proof vest and thicker trousers into the waiting paws of the medical officer. Lovely.
Four minutes later, the doctor was in full paraphernalia (much to his displeasure. The vest wasn't made for spines, it smushed them down uncomfortably. But it made sense, it was to protect him from getting shot after all) and listening to his Major explain the plan.
"They've been attacking all night, and more and more of their number are slipping through something and heading into our camps. They've been holed up in there for over a month, but they haven't let up the shelling. So they are getting their ammunition somehow, through some hole we don't know about. The Americans have provided us a distraction on the other side of the base, we are to bomb the walls and get in there and put an end to this. We tried to out-last them, but a leak somewhere has compromised this plan of attack. We were notified last night where the P.O.W.s are held in the base at the moment. Which is where you come in doctor. You'll need to let us know which ones are safe enough to wait, and which ones need to be evacuated immediately. And anything you can do for them will be most appreciated."
John nodded, not trusting himself to speak. Major Lancing, a brown wolf from Scotland, took his silence to be a good thing. They had all seen Captain Watson work. If the Americans could keep the attention on themselves, they should be able to get in, get out, and keep everyone alive. Well, everyone except the bloody bastards who had been responsible for the attack in the first place. Lancing had lost far too many good men to this. Why the military was only advancing in this manor NOW was full of bureaucracy and politics that had no place in their business while their lives were on the line, thank you very much.
They didn't have time to stand and die while politicians safe on their bums at home fought over tea and biscuits. They didn't have time to watch their best men and women mowed down because some wealthy sod thought it best to wait another day before withdrawing them from the area. It just wasn't right.
All too soon, they were at the walls of the American's lost base, lugging explosives and equipment, setting detonators, covering sensitive canine and feline ears. The walls came tumbling down with a series of bangs and booms, and Captain John was rushing into the fray with the men and women both under and over his command. The trusty Browning pistol was his choice this time, not wanting to deal with constantly reloading a semi-automatic while he tended to the wounded. Extra pistol clips were easier for someone as small as he to carry around, and he used less with his Browning. It was his favorite weapon for a reason.
He heard shouts from around a building's corner, English words, asking for help. So off he took, rounding the corner in time to find a last-ditch attempt at survival. A caracal was dragging a wounded ram at gun point towards a door in the wall that was hiding John. The cat's back was to the hog, making the shot an easy one. A small BANG and the lean feline was down for good. The ram grinned at the army doctor, who rushed to be at his side. He never made it. He never heard the gun's report, or the shout of his fallen comrade. All he felt was pain, ridiculous amounts of pain as the bullet tore through his shoulder, unprotected by the vest, and lodged itself in the inside of the Kevlar. Instinct took over, and in that second John kicked off his helmet, sliding into himself as his spines puffed upwards, and he rolled himself into a ball.
The ram was the one that protected John this time. He had taken up the doctor's gun and shot the sniper that was atop the wall. The raid ended ten minutes later. Twenty minutes after that, they had finally managed to pry the little ball of sharp pokers open, only to find the captain had passed out from pain and blood loss. Their best doctor, and only hope of bringing every man home safely, was out of commission.