Hello everyone! Here is the next installment! I will be out of town for the rest of the week so the chapter after this one will take a bit longer than I'd hoped. Enjoy!
"There's no way in hell that I'm agreeing to an all-night poker match before an eighteen hour shift," John groused, "You bastards must be loony."
"Aww, come on," Bones cajoled, "You love cards."
"True," John answered, "But I love paychecks more. Now, fuck off. I'm getting some shut eye before tomorrow."
"You're an old buzzkill, Cap," Bones laughed before throwing a pillow at John's head and strolling out of their bunk.
John glanced at the Hello Kitty Calendar that had been duct taped to the side of the tent (a gift to the guys from Murray when he was on his last leave) and realized that he'd be turning twenty-eight in three days. Christ, he'd been doing this for almost seven bloody years now? Felt like he'd joined up just yesterday. It was weird thinking that he hadn't had a home other than the Army for that long. Sure, he went on leave every nine months or so but that mostly included checking in with Tom and his mum and sleeping as much as humanly possible in a two week period. Mycroft had popped in at least once every visit to check in. He'd say something cryptic about where John was stationed before disappearing again. The dramatic ponce. He'd run into Sherlock at least once a trip too. At first, it'd been awkward. John felt like a Grade A Idiot and it took a few trips before they fell back into their usual banter but it honestly took a lot less time than John had anticipated. He was bloody grateful. Sherlock was one of his best mates, stupid crush aside. Now, they meet up for lunch and discuss the cases that Sherlock posts on his blog. Sherlock wouldn't win any awards for passionate story-telling, but John slogged through it if only to watch Sherlock smile whenever he's able to remember a fact from one of the genius's entries.
They don't talk about that day. John's not sure if Sherlock is as relieved about that fact as he is or if Sherlock is merely trying to spare John's pride. He's not going to think too hard about it. He's still firmly blaming temporary insanity. Whatever. It's better. So, whatever.
"Cap?" someone calls out through the gap in the tent.
"This better be bloody important," John grumbled.
"New orders, sir," the voice continued, "You're to accompany the team leaving at 0900 as opposed to the dawn shift in the Medical Tent."
"Thanks," John called and let a grin flit across his features before murmuring to himself and burrowing down more in his bunk, "Must be my lucky day. Three more hours of sleep."
"Where in the bloody hell did you get a blue French horn?" DI Lestrade asked as he watched his team rifle through Sherlock's belongings.
"Damn it, Lestrade," Sherlock said angrily, "I'm not your sniffer dog."
"Are these human eyes?" Sally Donovan came out and asked carrying the jar.
"Put those back!" he bit out.
"They were in the microwave," she said flabbergasted.
"It's an experiment," Sherlock answered. The phone buzzes in his pocket and his heart leaps in his chest at the message and he makes his way quickly out to meet the cab. He listens to the man for several minutes and right before he gets in the cab, his phone rings.
"What is it?" he bites out, angry that someone is ruining his finally interesting evening.
"Sherlock," Mrs. Hoyt's voice sounded broken and raw, "It's…John…he's been injured…shot actually…they said he's gonna be fine, but…"
He listened as another broken sob tore out of Mrs. Hoyt's throat and felt numb as he thanked her and hung up. He stared listlessly at the sidewalk for several moments before looking back at his mobile and sending a quick text to Lestrade. Without glancing back at the cabbie, he made his way quickly down the sidewalk. He needed to talk to Mycroft.
"Did you hear about that cabbie?" a voice reached him, "Murdered all those people. DI Lestrade was the man that caught him. Bloody hero, actually. And a silver fox to boot. I'd let him handcuff me and toss me into his panda car.
"Mel," a voice chagrinned, "Save it for your break. Now help me change this dressing before that git comes back. Bloody menace."
"I'd let him handcuff me too," Mel sighed, "Did you see those cheekbones?"
John fell back into darkness but he smiled internally. He had a bloody good idea who they were talking about.
"Who did these stitches?" Sherlock whispered fiercely, ignoring Mrs. Hoyt's amused grin, "They are deplorable. Did you actually graduate University or were you able to convince the Board Member you were screwing to give you a degree for mastery over the skill of fellatio?"
"Mr. Holmes," an exasperated voice said, "That's quite enough. Let them do their job. They are quite capable."
"John shouldn't be subjected to your stupidity," Sherlock bit out, "I'll do it myself. Give me that needle."
"That isn't going to happen," the voice said firmly, "Don't make me get security again."
"All this racket is interfering with my beauty sleep," John said gruffly blinking repeatedly as the harsh lights of the hospital room blinded him temporarily.
"Johnny?" his mom whispered hopeful.
"Hey, mum," John said, attempting a smile, "Who are we stitching up exactly? I vote for whoever is making all that bloody noise."
His mum's face came into focus. She looked exhausted and there were more lines on her face than he'd ever seen before, "Oh, baby. My baby boy."
She hugged him tightly. He couldn't feel any pain, couldn't actually feel anything but her warm cheek next to his was enough to settle his heart down.
"Mum," he whispered, "Hey, I'm fine."
"You most certainly are not fine," she sniffed, "You were shot."
"I'll be fine?" John countered tiredly.
"You're impossible," his mum gasped through a sob before kissing him firmly on the forehead. She pulled back to run her hands over her cheeks before pulling the chair closer to the side of the bed and running her fingers gently through his hair.
"Miss me?" John joked, sounding exhausted. Sherlock's scoff was enough to make John turn to address his other visitor.
"Hey, Sherlock," John smiled, too drugged up to care about the frown marring his friend's face.
"John," Sherlock said mildly, "How are you feeling?"
John breathed, "I'm feeling pretty wonderful."
"It's the drugs," his Mum answered.
"Morphine," Sherlock added, "I wouldn't try eating anything. The nausea can be quite unpleasant."
"Morphine's lovely," John sighed.
"Mr. Watson?" a voice called from the doorway.
"Dr. Watson," Sherlock bit out, stepping defensively in front of his hospital bed.
"Mr. Holmes," a voice bit out, "You're here on sufferance. I suggest you mind your tongue."
"It's his proper title," Sherlock snarled, "He deserves to be addressed as such."
"And he's allowed to make that preference known to me himself," the doctor continued, "He doesn't need to be coddled by some bossy twat in a long coat."
"He was recently shot and has just awoken lucidly for the first time after a week of being unconscious," Sherlock answered, "He shouldn't have to deal with your stupidity in his condition."
"Mr. Holmes," the doctor said raising his voice, "If you think I'll let a…"
"Oi!" John raised his voice loudly, "Watch it."
"John, I was just…" Sherlock began.
"I wasn't talking to you, Sherlock," John bit out, feeling the first twinges of pain as he tried and failed to sit up, "Now I've been shot, went through field surgery, flown back to England, and unconscious for the duration. My first episode of lucidity should not be reminding a physician of professional conduct. I'm not your bloody babysitter. Grow the fuck up."
"Mr. Watson…" the doctor tried, looking flushed and angry.
"Dr. Watson," John bit out, "Now leave and send an actual grown-up to give me the particulars. Not some spoiled child."
The doctor huffed and tried once more, "Dr. Watson…"
"Out," John practically growled.
With a sour grimace and turn, the doctor left quickly. John felt exhaustion pulling at him. That maybe wasn't the best use of his first couple minutes after waking up. Bloody hell.
"I'm going to go back to sleep now," John yawned and let his eyes slip shut again.
"John," his mum huffed, "Bad manners."
John felt a small grin pull at his cheeks as he drifted back to sleep. He thought he felt something warm wrap around his hand as well, but it was probably just the drugs.
"I can get up the stairs, Sherlock," John laughed.
"You've a psychosomatic limp," Sherlock huffed following closely behind his invalided friend, "Your subconscious is literally your enemy right now. If I wasn't around it would probably force you to throw yourself down the stairs."
"Dramatic ponce," John sighed, laboring heavily with the hospital-issued cane, "Why did I agree to move in with you again?"
"Mostly because your other option was your mother's house and you couldn't bear to leave London," Sherlock rattled off, "And you certainly can't afford London on an army pension."
"How exactly can you afford London?" John asked, "You haven't had a steady income since we met."
"Did Mrs. Hudson a favor years ago," Sherlock answered, "She gives me a discount on the rent."
"Florida?" John asked, "Still? That was years ago."
"It was a…meaningful…event in her life," Sherlock countered, "She's grateful."
John pulled himself up the last step after almost tripping twice and slamming his wounded shoulder (currently housed in a sling) into the doorway. The triumphant smile was replaced with a beleaguered sigh as he looked around the sitting room.
"This is a pigsty," John laughed slightly, "You're hopeless."
"I have a system," Sherlock defended himself.
"Did you at least get the shopping?" John asked, limping over to a ragged chair and collapsing with a groan as he stretched his shoulders.
"I purchased some pig's blood for an experiment and a packet of crisps," Sherlock shrugged, "Does that count?"
"Hopeless," John sighed again but he was still smiling.
"I'm wounded," Sherlock smirked, "I'm off. Meeting with Lestrade. Mycroft had your belongings moved upstairs but Mrs. Hudson fixed up the couch for you until you're a bit more mobile. She also made you tea. Next to your elbow. See you in a few hours."
"Cheers," John answered, "Have fun."
"I'll be home later," Sherlock answered, wrapping his scarf around his neck, "Chinese?"
"Love to," John answered, "See you then."
John sat quietly after Sherlock left idly flipping through the paper and drinking a warm cuppa. He nodded off for a bit in the afternoon (the pain meds he was given made him drowsy) but awoke as the street lights switched on for the evening. Desperate for a glass of water, he made his way slowly into the kitchen. He opened one of the cupboards looking for cups and was startled to see it filled with food. He felt warmth niggling slightly in the back of his head as he made his way over to the fridge and, yes, fully stocked. The git. The kitchen was practically bursting with food. Grabbing his phone, he sent a quick text to Sherlock.
Didn't get the shopping, huh? John
I don't know what you're talking about. SH
So, you've no idea why the kitchen is filled to bursting? John
Probably Mycroft's doing. Meddling Ponce. SH
Oh, of course it was Mycroft. I should thank him. Incredibly thoughtful. John
I'll be sure to pass along the sentiment. SH
Please do. It was incredibly kind. John
He probably bugged the apples. SH
How did you know he got apples? John
"Oh, don't worry," Sherlock panted, "Angelo's staff can watch out for Hughes. If Hughes shows at the restaurant, we'll get a text."
"Then what the bloody hell was all that for then?" John panted.
"Proving a point," Sherlock smiled as a knock sounded at the door.
John opened the door to find Angelo holding out his cane, "Sherlock, texted and said you forgot this."
John stared at the cane and tried to swallow past the lump in his throat, "Thanks."
"No problem," Angelo shrugged, "You boys have a lovely night."
John shut the door and then turned to meet Sherlock's warm gaze.
"I thought I told you to let me therapist handle it," John asked softly.
"She was taking too long," Sherlock shrugged.
"Bloody mental," John laughed before sighing happily, "Thanks."
"Anytime," Sherlock answered, "Cluedo?"
"Not happening," John said firmly, "But how about a cuppa?"
"Two sugars," Sherlock said before pivoting to vault up the stairs. John following right behind.