(A Sherlock Fic)

John Watson's life has been put into peril more times on the streets of London than in the deserts of Afghanistan. This is due primarily to his friendship with Sherlock Holmes. John Watson wouldn't have it any other way, but the doctor was getting quite tired of people kidnapping him to get to Sherlock bloody Holmes. Really, how many times has it been now? Thirty? John can practically hear Sherlock's voice in his ear:

"Actually, John, the number you're looking for is three. I don't think it's reasonable to include all the times Mycroft has driven you to a secluded spot to ask after my person. He always lets you leave when he's finished."

Of course he does. God forbid the elder Holmes keep John around long enough to feed him.

The men who have John now are decidedly not going to let him leave. John does not feel afraid, only embarrassed. Once again, his day has been interrupted by needless theatrics. Once again, John has not shown up for work. Sarah will sack him this time, causal dating or not. John's beyond minding. The clinic deserves a doctor who's committed to the work, not a soldier constantly distracted by danger. And the kidnappings, so many, many kidnappings.

John's hands are bound behind his back and his eyes are covered by what might be a wool scarf. John had previously been gagged, but that was removed when it became apparent that he couldn't breathe with it wrapped tightly around his mouth. On top of everything, John is developing a cold. He can barely breathe through is nose and the dust in the air is making him sneeze.

John's legs are also bound together and he's propped against cinderblock wall like a defective Christmas tree. John counts his blessings, at least he wasn't knocked unconscious at any point during his abduction or subsequent imprisonment. He needn't worry about a potential concussion or brain bleed. Plus, he still has all his wits about him, not that his wits are doing him any favors.

John Watson feels helpless quite naturally because he is helpless. John Watson is a soldier. He protects other people. His is not some damsel in distress who needs his antisocial, narcissistic flatmate to come rescue him from the dangers of the world. If anything, Sherlock's the one who needs rescuing. Someone has to save that sorry git from his suicidal, self-destructive tendencies. The man's luck could only last so long.

John's kidnappers haven't hurt him. They haven't even threatened him. They haven't feed him, which greatly annoys John. Was it so much to ask for a glass of water and an indiscriminate sandwich? Thankfully, John had used the loo shortly before his kidnapping so that issue hasn't come up yet. Hopefully, Sherlock will find him before John's next bowel movements. God, there's something John never wants to think again.

Never mind, back to the kidnappers. They questioned John briefly on a missing Napoleon bust before leaving the hungry doctor alone for what felt like hours. John denied any knowledge of the subject with true sincerity. Did all of London's criminal classes think that John Watson has nothing better to do with his time than following Sherlock around on all his cases. Sure, John does assist the detective occasionally, but he does have a life outside of his flatmate. He doesn't stick to Sherlock like a shadow, nor does he know the ins and outs of every job his friend takes. He should put that on his blog, along with the polite request that Sherlock's enemies deal with the detective directly without involving the flatmate. Why is John so much easier to kidnap than Sherlock? Sherlock's the one who never leaves the flat, except, of course, if there is a case. It's not like the address is any great secret either. It's on Sherlock's bloody website!

This entire ordeal is very frustrating.

John hears the door open. Is it time for lunch?

"It's for you." A soft-spoken man holds a phone to John's ear. John has privately nicknamed him Jeeves because he seems very proper and polite, aside from the kidnapping.

Oh, so no lunch then. Just like Mycroft.

"John," Sherlock's voice is very controlled, "are you all right?" The doctor recognizes this as a sign of anxiety. Irrationally, John feels guilty for making his friend worry.

John hastens to reassure him. "I'm fine, Sherlock, a bit bored, really."

Sherlock exhales. "Good, that's good. This will all be resolved quickly. I just need…"

The phone is snatched away before John can hear the end of the sentence.

Not important. Sherlock will find him. He doesn't need any reassurances. His captor and friend exchange a few more words. Soon, John is alone again. He fruitlessly struggles against his bonds. John's limbs are tied with a durable plastic that cut into his wrists. He can't escape. John curses to himself. If only his army buddies could see him now.

Time passes. The door opens. The other kidnapper enters, the one with the limp. John calls him Kyle, named after a Bart's classmate John couldn't stand. Kyle barks questions at John that John cannot – will not – answer. He threatens John's person. John makes a snide comment, practically daring the man to strike him. He does. Direct hit to the solar plexus. John gasps, but doesn't cry out. He can only maintain his dignity through his silence.

"I'm through playing games. If you don't start cooperating, I'll take out my knives."

Knives, seriously? Someone was clearly taking his cues from American horror movies. John bites his tongue.

"I've told you, I don't know anything about Napoleon, save what I covered in primary school. I can't help you."

Kyle grabs John's neck and pushes him against the wall. So much for avoiding head injuries.

Sherlock's here. John can hear him frantically calling his name. John wants to answer, but his head is full of cotton and his mouth is full of blood. John thinks he must have bit his tongue. Deft hands remove the possible scarf from the doctor's eyes. Sherlock is leaning over him, speaking so rapidly that John has difficulty making out the words. Everything is so impossibly bright. His eyes ache with the strain. Sherlock's not alone. He's brought police officers and paramedics. Someone cuts the plastic from John's arms and legs. Sherlock disappears. John cries out. Everything fades away.

The hospital is familiar like a second home. Sherlock is beside him. John smiles at his friend. Sherlock tries to smile back, but the corners of his mouth don't seem to be working properly. John notices that his eyes are bloodshot. Sherlock holds a cup to him.

"Drink," he orders, "you'll feel better."

John accepts the water gratefully.

Sherlock catalogues John's injuries: knife wound in the right shoulder, a new scar to match the old bullet hole; severe bruising to the abdomen and mandible; and a minor laceration along the parietal lobe. He'll need to remain in the hospital for another two days.

Sherlock pauses, seemingly fascinated by the bed bar under his hand. He drums his fingers nervously. "You need to move out," Sherlock says abruptly.

"What! Why?"

John is genuinely puzzled.

"Our association is dangerous to you, in the interests of preserving your health, I – we should cease our interactions."

A beat.

"Are you breaking up with me?"

"Be serious, John! I can't allow you to…"

"Allow me?" John interrupts. "Who are you to allow me anything?"

John grabs Sherlock's twitching hand. Sherlock stares at their interlocked fingers, clearly at a loss for words.

"I'm not leaving. I want to stay with you and continue our work."

"Our work?"

"Yes, if your ego can stand it. We're partners, aren't we?"

Sherlock nods.

"We, we help people. That's important. It's what I want to keep doing." The morphine is making him less articulate than usual. He needs to make Sherlock understand. "I'm not afraid of the risks."

"You could die!"

"So could you!"

"I won't be held responsible for - I can't bear it, don't you see?"

John does see. Sherlock cares. It's very sweet, but John will not be treated like a child just because Sherlock feels. John says as much. Sherlock doesn't respond. He simply crosses his arms and sulks.

John sighs. Just another thing to look forward to when they return home.