Worth a Wound

Summary: When John is injured on a case, Sherlock makes his feelings towards his new lover clear. Set after my fic "First Kiss"

Rating: PG-13 (very conservative for passing mentions of rough-ish sex)

Author's Note: Happy birthday, Justine. Enjoy :D Sorry I didn't have time for extensive beta-ing.

"It was worth a wound - it was worth many wounds - to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask."

- "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs"

Worth a Wound

John loved his relationship with Sherlock. The sex, the nights curled up together without sex, the movies and hand-holding, the profoundly intimate conversations. Having someone to cling to when the nightmares came, making Sherlock grin or blush with just a smile and a touch. The quiet moments, even the rows, of which there were still plenty. Very little had actually changed in terms of their lives or interactions, but it felt different and a quiet, perfect understanding existed between them.

Or, almost perfect.

Their romance was a secret and John hated that fact. Less than a week after their first time, John had reached for Sherlock's hand in a giddy moment at a crime scene and the consulting detective had looked horrified, quickly glancing at the surrounding police officers to make sure no one had noticed. He was afraid it would make him seem a bigger freak to them, he'd explained apologetically to John afterward. John hadn't pushed it, more than aware of how tenuous Sherlock's reputation with these people already was and not wanting to jeopardize it. It was one thing for people to randomly assume he and Sherlock were gay. It was another to give them hard proof of a relationship with his 'live-n PA' and blogger, especially after years of denying anything of the sort. It wasn't that John was a man, it was that he was Sherlock's biggest, sometimes his only, advocate. Or something. Sherlock was afraid of the world's scorn and seemed to think that his relationship with John would open him up to more. As likely as not, he would have felt the same way about a relationship with a woman.

So John hadn't done it again, hadn't once displayed undue intimacy in public. He was mostly all right with the necessity but, every time he had to restrain himself, he felt a dull ache of disappointment and something akin to rejection, like Sherlock was embarrassed by him. He knew damned well that Sherlock wasn't, but that was how it felt when he had to stuff his hands in his pocket to keep from reaching out for him or monitor how many times per case he called Sherlock brilliant or amazing.

At first, the necessity of restraining himself had inevitably led to aggressively possessive sex almost as soon as they got back to the flat, John shoving Sherlock against the nearest flat surface and taking him, making the former virgin beg and whimper his name, physically marking him with bites, scratches, and hickies. After a while, the need to assert his status as Sherlock's first and only lover had faded and he'd just crawl into Sherlock's arms after cases and lay there listening to his heart beating. It was peaceful, soothed away most of the hurt. It reminded him that he was Sherlock's and Sherlock was his and that was usually enough.

Several months into their relationship, they split up during an investigation to follow two suspects at once. It was a stupid idea, which didn't occur to John until after he was already in the process of being attacked by his quarry. He was a fair fighter, held his own adequately, but he ended up taking a thrashing before he managed to subdue his assailant. By the time Sherlock found him again, he was sitting in the back of an ambulance, wrapped in a shock-blanket, bruised, and being lectured by Donovan about his recklessness and how Sherlock's bad example was rubbing off on him.

"John! Are you okay?" Sherlock demanded, rushing up to him and crowding Donovan out of the way.

It was the least composed John had seen him in ages and it was more than a little gratifying to be the cause of it. For once, there just couldn't be a doubt about Sherlock's affection for him. It was real and intense, and it had forced its way to the fore the moment it seemed he might be badly injured.

John hastened to reassure him, not wanting Donovan to reach the obvious conclusion. She was a good cop, but nothing would ever change her disdain for Sherlock. She'd figure it out eventually, but John didn't want Sherlock in earshot when she did. She was likely to come up with a lot worse than 'Freak' to describe the consultant.

"Fine, Sherlock," he assured him with a weak smile. "It's nothing, just a few bruises."

He could see Donovan watching, drawing conclusions from Sherlock's distraught state, and he wondered what he could say or do to defuse it. Then Sherlock did the last thing John could possibly have expected.

"I love you, but you can be very stupid," he announced quietly, leaning down and kissing the shocked doctor.

His lips were plump, gentle and achingly thorough as he kissed John, the hands cradling his face tender. It was the first time either had used the word 'love' and the kiss entirely supported the idea. It was the kiss of a partner, a lover, not the kiss of a friend with benefits. It took John's breath away and all he could do was reach up and grasp Sherlock's arm, sighing with surprised pleasure and submitting gratefully to the public display of affection. As ways to be publicly outed went, it was wonderful even if they were surrounded by gawking police. Sherlock loved him and he didn't mind the world knowing. Emotions most people didn't even believe his aloof lover was capable of feeling were suddenly on public display and it left John feeling warm, loved, wanted and, above all, as if he was part of something important beyond words.

Definitely worth having gotten thrashed...

The End