The Hand You're Dealt
Author: Lady Sam Mallory
Disclaimers: Boys not mine; I just borrow them from time to time when the muse moves me.
Special Thanks to: My exceptional Beta Queen, Zoe, without whom I'd be doomed to a life of grammatical inaccuracy. You are truly my conductor of light. Thank you for thirty years of friendship.
For my beautiful friend, Heather, whose incredible command of the English language allows her to provide me with individually needed words at a moment's notice.
Warnings: H/C, Angst, Smarm, Some violence, and usually a bit of colorful language.
Author's Comments: This takes place in late January of 2015 after Sherlock's return.
Sherlock's skin crawls with the unsettling crackle that this particular murder scene carves into his bones. He walks through an office space with glass window cubicle walls.
John glances over at the world's only consulting detective with concern, "You okay?"
"This isn't right," Sherlock mumbles, turning right into the next glass hallway of cubicles as they follow Lestrade. "All this in a warehouse basement?"
Lestrade turns back to them. "We're almost there, but I need to tell you this one is very unusual. When we first got here…well…um, we thought the victim was you," he relates pointing to John.
John comes up short and shakes his head. "Well then, this should be pleasant," he says, pulling on a pair of latex gloves just as they make the last turn to join Donovan, Anderson, and Zoe, one of Anderson's forensics crew.
"John?" Sherlock beckons as he gestures towards the body.
John squats down next to the victim and slowly begins to investigate a possible cause of death.
"Victim was strangled," John reports as he pulls up the eyelid. "Definite signs of petechial haemorrhaging. This is odd…"
Sherlock turns towards the doctor at this and moves in behind him, "What did you find?"
"He's had plastic surgery," John points out, gesturing with his left hand at the scars behind the man's ear.
Sherlock nods in agreement as his brows draw together contemplating the possible reasons for creating a doppelganger for Dr. John Watson.
"Creepy," Donovan notes looking over their shoulders.
Sherlock sighs. "Yes, thank you, Donovan. How insightful," Sherlock observes acerbically, adding an eye roll for good measure.
John stands upon completing his examination and removes his gloves.
A low rumble causes John to pause before recognizing the sounds around him. "Get down!" He yells as he pushes Sherlock to the floor and curls onto his side shielding his head as well as Sherlock's as he leans over him protectively.
Screams are heard all around him as glass shards explode through the air decimating everything in their path.
John twitches as glass shards pelt his back and legs and he hears Sherlock cry out. He pushes himself forward to cover Sherlock more adequately and protect him from the flying debris, as the room plunges into darkness.
John groans as he gently rolls away from Sherlock crunching the broken glass underneath him. "Sherlock, you okay?" He asks, trying to avoid dusting the glass shards from his clothing with his bare hands.
John pushes to his knees wincing as the glass and metal shards push into his trousers. "Everybody okay?" He tries again widening the question to include all who had been present prior to the blast.
Sherlock moans as he tries to shift his legs about, "John?"
"Right here, mate. I'm fine…mostly," John answers trying not to think about the pain in his right shoulder. He reaches up and tenderly palpates the joint. "Shit," he sighs when he realizes he dislocated it in the fall.
"Not instilling confidence, John," Sherlock gasps as he tries to pull his leg out from under the wreckage. "Um, John. I don't suppose you could give me a hand? I'm a bit stuck."
John glances down at his flatmate and swears. "Don't move, Sherlock," he orders, checking around to find the others.
He spies Lestrade on his left on the other side of the dead body. "Lestrade, you okay?" John calls out as he slowly makes his way over to the felled man.
"Yeah, but I'm not particularly happy right now. What the hell was that?" Lestrade grouses as he pulls himself up to his feet, albeit a bit unsteadily.
John reaches forward and grabs the Detective Inspector's arm to provide additional support.
"Careful, Greg. Looks like you took a knock to the head," John notes as he looks over the man's condition with keen medical eyes. John pulls his penlight out of his jacket pocket and examines Lestrade's pupil reactions. "Pupils are uneven. Are you nauseous?"
"A bit," Lestrade admits, shrugging it off with a painful groan. "I'm fine."
John rolls his eyes. "How 'bout we let me be the judge of that? You know, just for grins," he says dropping the penlight in his pocket and using his left hand to gently palpate the injury causing Lestrade to flinch away. "Do you see any flashing lights or any other visual disturbances?"
"I see Sherlock. Does that count as a visual disturbance?" Lestrade teases and John breaks out in a wide smile shaking his head.
"Sense of humor seems undamaged," John notes, turning back to check on Sherlock, before returning his gaze to the Detective Inspector in front of him.
Sherlock huffs from his position on the floor. "I wouldn't say undamaged," he gasps quietly, then shifts to grab his mobile and notices that he has no service.
John whips his head around quickly as he hears a low moan. "Sherlock, what part of 'Don't move' escapes your vastly superior intellect? Stay put. Until we can get a good look, you could be doing more damage to that leg," he orders, scrubbing his left hand through his blonde hair, dislodging several pieces of glass.
Sherlock sighs, but ceases all movement. "Give me your mobile phones and I'll see if I can get a signal. I already checked mine," he orders, stretching out his left hand to grab the phones as John and Lestrade both hand theirs over.
"Donovan? Anderson?" Lestrade hollers out placing his hands on his head from the pain that shoots through it at his yell.
More glass crashes as Sally makes her way to them and shouts out, "I'm here."
She appears in front of them listing to the left slightly. John looks over at her. "Are they broken?" He asks then frowns at her obvious attempt to deceive him. "Donovan, don't even think about lying right now. Are your ribs broken? I know you've got something going on by the way you're guarding your left side."
Sally shakes her head. "I don't know. Hurts to breathe, though," she answers as Anderson walks up on her right.
"I'm fine, too. Don't worry about me," Anderson spouts off, his face grim.
Sherlock reaches up from his position on the cold, glass-covered concrete to return their mobile phones. "I wasn't," he retorts rolling his eyes. "Your phones do not have service either. Now, John, please get me off this…. bloody…. floor."
John looks over at Sherlock and shakes his head. "You're safe right there for just a minute. Let me assess the damages, and we'll get everyone to dig you out a bit," John promises the impatient detective.
"You know this wouldn't be an issue if you were taller, John," Sherlock states matter of factly.
John sighs and questions, "And how did you come to that?"
"Isn't it obvious?" Sherlock asks everyone standing over him.
John exhales sharply. "Did you ever consider, just one time, that if we knew the bloody answer, we wouldn't ask the question?"
"Not really," Sherlock replies causing John to fit slightly as he stalks across the broken glass to check on Donovan and Anderson. "I merely state the fact that if you were taller, I would not have been injured because you shielded me yourself, something we will be discussing at a later date."
John's right hand slaps his own face in frustration as he tries to rein in his patience, "Yes, alright then. Time to shut it, Sherlock."
Sherlock inspects John's expression and wisely closes his mouth.
"Where's Zoe?" John asks as he begins to leave to check the neighboring cubicles.
Anderson shrugs his shoulders. "Dunno, she was on her way back up when the explosion happened," he answers quietly.
John steps quickly out of the cubicle, glancing around until he spots her on the floor several metres away and covered in glass.
"Shit!" He cries out, before running to her side. "Anderson, get over here and help me," John orders, pulling off his jacket carefully to make her more comfortable once he's checked her pulse.
John leans over her checking to ensure that she has no spinal injuries. As he searches her for any other damage, Zoe opens her hazel eyes and stares at him. "Do you think you can walk?" John asks as he directs Anderson to help her off the floor and into the cubicle where the others are waiting.
"Clear a space, Anderson. She needs to lie down," John commands with military authority. "We need to get this area free of all the broken glass. No need to add superficial injuries to what we've already got. Use your jacket to get the worst of it and the fingerprint brush from your kit to get the finer shards if you have to."
"Why do I have to do everything?" Anderson demands snidely.
John spins around, gasping in pain, to face the selfish man down, "Because, you're not injured. Now do it!"
Anderson steps around the body and clears a space near Sherlock. "Got it," he declares, as he tosses his fingerprint brush to the side knowing that he'll need to replace it anyway. He lays Lestrade's trench coat over the space provided. "Anything else?"
"Yeah, go check on Carter and Sutton. We left them guarding the stairs but first give your phone to Sherlock so he has something to do. You too, Donovan" Lestrade commands and Anderson hands over his phone, then grabs the torch from his kit and complies with his orders.
Zoe settles down onto the coat cautiously, her hands cradling her very pregnant belly. "My mobile, sir," she offers as she hands her phone off to Lestrade.
John steps forward. "How much longer do you have, Zoe?" He asks with a smile.
"Three weeks," she answers proudly, continuing to guard her baby.
John nods. "Mind if I check you over?" He inquires, reaching a steady hand toward her abdomen.
"That's fine," she answers quietly, closing her eyes.
John gently runs his open hand over her taut belly. He grimaces as he feels the contractions that she is probably too shocked to notice yet.
"That's good, Zoe. You just rest here and stay calm," John encourages as he moves along the floor to Sherlock, who has just slammed the last mobile on the floor.
"None of these have any service. This is London, for God's sake, how the bloody hell is that possible?" Sherlock complains disgustedly.
Sherlock clears his throat. "I haven't moved," he announces petulantly. "But I am wondering…"
John sighs and turns towards the man. "Yes, what is it? We're almost ready," he answers quietly as he examines his friend's left leg to ascertain the damage.
"Actually, I was wondering how long you plan to wait before you relocate that?" Sherlock asks pointing towards John's right shoulder.
John glances down. "Still observant as ever. Excellent," he comments as he runs his gloved hand along the wound on the lateral (outer) aspect of Sherlock's left leg.
"You told me when I dislocated my shoulder that if I waited too long, it would cause nerve damage and be a very poor choice on my part," Sherlock reminds the doctor.
John nods and replies, "I did, but it's necessary to get everyone stabilized and if I have to deal with it, so be it. Sometimes you just have to play the hand you're dealt"
Sherlock hisses out a breath, and John pauses his movements momentarily, "Bloody hell, John. Try to relocate the damned shoulder."
Lestrade flinches in surprise at the multiple curse words coming from the detective, "I thought cursing was for the small minded, Sherlock?"
"That's true. However, at this moment, it appears to be necessary. John has dislocated his right shoulder. The longer he waits to relocate it, the worse it will be," Sherlock informs the Detective Inspector.
Lestrade turns toward John, a chastising expression upon his face, just daring the doctor to lie to him, "Is what he says true? Of course, it's true. Damnit, John. Okay, what do you need to fix it?"
John sighs and then inhales deeply. "You still dizzy?" He asks Lestrade who begins to nod but then catches himself.
"A bit, but I should be okay. What do you need?" Lestrade answers truthfully.
John sits down on a clean patch of floor in front of Sherlock and gestures for Lestrade to join him. "It's a Subcoracoid Anterior dislocation," he relays, using his good hand to guide Lestrade's over the large bump on the front of his shoulder joint. John clenches his teeth and blows out a few breaths.
"You feel that lump? See how the joint is square looking? That's how you can tell it's dislocated. I'm going to try a soft manipulation first," John informs them as he laces his fingers together around his right knee as tears of pain fill his eyes.
John gently and carefully leans back putting pressure on his shoulder joint attempting to pop it back into place. Sweat beads up on his face with the effort, and he cries out softly before biting down on his lower lip.
"Shit, fuck that hurts," he gasps before ceasing the movement and dropping his head backward to draw in huge gulps of breath. He breathes slowly through his nose in an effort to control the intense pain.
Sherlock looks at John's shoulder, "Um, John?"
"What?" John rasps in a choked voice.
"Your shoulder looks the same," Sherlock notes as he leans forward slightly to check out any additional damage to his best friend.
"No shit, Sherlock," John cries out, his breath wheezing in and out as he attempts to control his vomitous impulses.
Sherlock grimaces as he takes in John's pained expression.
John blows out a quick breath. "New plan," he puffs as his leg falls down into a straight position. "Lestrade, help me lie down, please?"
Lestrade gently lowers John to the floor then focuses on him to ensure that he can follow the doctor's instructions.
John uses his left hand to position his right arm in an "L" across his abdomen. "Donovan, I need you to kneel down next to me on the right side with your knees right up against my arm to keep it in place," John instructs, pausing to wait as she follows his instructions.
He moans as her knees touch his arm making the entire limb feel like it's on fire. He exhales forcefully, tears running down his face. "Good…that's good…. Sal," he grinds out between clenched teeth.
"'k, Lestrade. Need you….to very slowly and…very gently rotate my fist…and forearm from my stomach…out to the side. You'll need both hands to rotate…but you have to be very gentle. Oh, and it's gonna hurt like a bitch…so there will be yelling," John cautions as he takes a deep breath and nods for the Detective Inspector to begin.
"Wait, isn't there something we can give you…you know to help with the pain?" Sally asks, her eyes wide with what she's about to do.
John smiles and exhales slowly. "Unless you happen to have any paracetamol or…" he questions, his eyebrows raised as he thinks it through a bit more.
Sally shakes her head sadly. "I have some in my purse…. in the car, which won't really help…sorry," she whispers patting his hand gently.
"You said "or" so what else could we use?" Lestrade breaks in, grateful for the small reprieve before having to cause pain to one of his closest friends.
John closes his blue grey eyes and then opens them suddenly. "Nicotine," he hisses. "We could use nicotine. Don't suppose you have an extra patch, Greg?"
Lestrade shakes his head. "Not so much. Couldn't you just use the one that I'm wearing?"
"Depends on how long you've been wearing it," John answers truthfully.
Lestrade thinks about it. "I'm actually towards the end of the 24 hours, so it probably wouldn't work," he responds before turning to Sherlock. "You wouldn't happen to have a patch or three on today?"
Sherlock shakes his head but offers up a small smile. "Found one this morning on the way out the door though when I dropped my phone. Under the sofa frame, John? Really? I didn't want you to hide it again, so I stuck it in my pocket." he admits as he reaches into his Belstaff pocket to grab it.
He looks at John whose expression radiates disappointment as well as a response to his question. "Pretty good place, I thought. You sit there nearly everyday, and that one's been there nearly six months."
Sherlock squints with disgust that it took him so long to bloody find it, "Six months?"
John nods and laughs causing his face to scrunch up in pain. "Lucky for me you brought it. Just put that on me and we'll give it a minute to work," John directs, holding his good arm up and allowing Lestrade to affix the patch firmly.
John lays his head back as Sally questions, "Why would a nicotine patch help?"
John smiles and opens his eyes to respond, "Nicotine is so addictive because it increases the amount of dopamine in the brain. Increased dopamine equals increased euphoria. It'd be better than nothing."
"Clever," Sally replies as John exhales sharply.
John's eyes glaze over and he closes them, dropping his head forward a bit as he feels the rush of the stimulants race through him. "Whoa, that's different," John murmurs as he touches his left hand to his forehead.
Sherlock smiles smugly before adding, "You're welcome, John. I'm grateful that my 'vile thinking habit' could be the thing that helps get you through."
John opens his eyes to glare at Sherlock. "You're never gonna let me forget this, are you?" He asks pointedly, his hands beginning to shake slightly from the added stimulant.
Sherlock considers for a moment, his blue eyes shifting to the side. "I'm going to say 'No'," he replies with a large smile.
John rolls his eyes and gestures for Lestrade to begin.
Lestrade grips his arm gently and begins to rotate it in the exact manner specified when John lets out a howl and the Detective Inspector starts to back off.
"NO!" John gasps, "Keep going."
John tries to breathe and Lestrade continues the lateral movement and feels the tension building up. "I don't want to break it," Lestrade worries.
"I thought the patch was supposed to be helping," Sally hisses out between clenched teeth.
John nods and encourages the man to continue. "Fuck," he yells as the joint finally gives and the humeral head pops back into place. John's yell changes to a low moan as the bones reconnect appropriately, and his tears blur everything around him.
"Good, Lestrade," he praises, hissing and turning towards his side to cradle the offensive limb. John works to get his breathing back under control. "Sally?"
"Yes, Dr. Watson?" Sally answers quickly as she backs away from his arm.
"Need…sling…shirt. Help me get my jumper and shirt off…. carefully," John orders as he engages his brain to finish the treatment.
Lestrade and Sally very gently tug off the jumper as John concentrates on breathing punctuated with small gasps and closed eyes as he clenches his fists.
"'k, stop. Give me a minute," John nearly begs, his eyes watering profusely.
Lestrade stops with the jumper in his hands nearly afraid to move. He looks at John critically. "You okay mate?" he inquires casting his discerning detective gaze over the younger doctor.
"Fine," John gasps, shaking his head no. "Shit….Shit. Okay, next shirt…"
"John? Take a break," Sherlock pleads quietly, his voice wavering slightly with suppressed emotion at his friend's considerable pain.
John is already shaking his head negatively. "Chance of swelling. Got to get it immobilized," he reminds his partner in a subdued voice. "Let's get this other one off. You may have to cut it as it won't stretch like the jumper did."
Sally slowly and efficiently unbuttons the shirt. "I didn't expect this. We hardly know each other, Dr. Watson," she teases as she finishes, causing him to chuckle painfully.
"Oh, shit…Sal…don't make me…don't make me laugh," John orders his face drawn tight and pale from the intense pain.
"Knife?" Sally requests causing John to roll his eyes.
John smiles, although it's a bit more of a grimace, and nods his head forward. "Front jeans pocket and don't get too fresh," he harasses playfully, as she glances at the front pocket of his denim jeans.
"Oh, for God's sake, do you need me to get it?" Sherlock bites out, rolling his eyes, grimacing in the renewed pain in his leg as he shifts yet again.
Sally shakes her head as John snaps out a quick, "Hell no and stop moving, damn it."
She retrieves the pocketknife and flips it open. "Okay, what next?" She asks as she moves to hand the blade to Lestrade, who hands it back.
"Bit of double vision. Probably not a good idea for me to do the cutting," Lestrade states putting his hand up to rub at his eyes.
John agrees and instructs reluctantly, "First cut the right sleeve off my favorite shirt, then we can go to work on the vest (undershirt)."
Sally complies with the orders and smiles thinking about how John must have been in the military. It dawns on her that he always seems complacent, but she begins to realize that this may not actually be the case.
"Right, next?" Sally requests, her eyes on John's face.
John blows out a breath as he begins to pant a bit from the pain and what he knows is coming. "Cut the vest on the front from about three inches below the armpit on both the left and right sides. Oh, and try not to cut into me. That would be bad," he directs, tipping his head back and closing his eyes.
Sally draws the knife down both sides cutting easily through the fabric with John's very sharp knife. "Wow, nice knife," she comments as she finishes up.
John rolls towards his injured side and instructs her to do the same thing on the back, left side only.
"Good," John commends then continues, his eyes remaining firmly closed and dreading this next part. "Now tie a knot in each of the front corners to make a sort of basket where my arm will sit."
Sally giggles like a schoolgirl. "Finally, we get to see what you've been hiding under all these layers, John Watson," she teases as she begins to draw the fabric upwards, not noticing that John flushes pink and looks away.
Sally gasps when she sees the vast reminders of carnage emblazoned across the doctor's pale chest. "Oh my God," she whispers, bringing her hand over her mouth and nose as tears rush to her dark eyes.
Lestrade, who is tying the other knot, glances at John's chest and curses, "What the bloody hell?"
Sherlock's eyes close at the same time that John's pop open in the startle reflex.
"JM?" Lestrade questions as the answer suddenly appears before him. "As in Jim Moriarty?" Lestrade spits out looking back and forth between Sherlock and John expecting an explanation. His irritation increases ten fold when neither man is forthcoming. "One of you better start talking because I, for some bloody reason, cannot come up with the police report that would possibly explain this."
Sally looks away quickly swiping at the tears in her eyes. "I didn't know," she whispers, thinking upon that awful time when she had accused Sherlock of making up a suspect and told John he was a fool to trust Sherlock in the first place. "I didn't know," she repeats, tears falling unbeknownst to her with the stress of this new information.
John pats Sally's arm comfortingly. "You didn't know because we didn't tell anyone," John informs them. "Just ignore it and let's get this finished, please. What's past is past. Now help me sit up so we can be done with this."
Lestrade and Sally both look to Sherlock for an explanation of the horror that John has obviously survived before reaching down and gently raising the doctor up to a seated position.
Sherlock sighs and offers, "John was held captive and tortured by Moriarty for nearly five and a half hours the night of the pool incident."
"Fuck!" Lestrade hisses. "And neither of you saw fit to tell me or to file a report? We could have…"
John's head comes up at this. "You could have what? You didn't believe us anyway…No, we're not doing this. We've put it all behind us. There's work to be done and my shoulder hurts like a bitch, so let's just forget it and get this done," John demands, his eyes flashing in warning.
Lestrade raises his hands complacently and sighs, "We've got knots, what next?"
John evaluates the work and smiles. "Aces," he approves as he gently relocates his arm using his left hand into the sling and leans forward with a groan. "Okay, now bring the piece from the back over my good shoulder and tie a knot in the middle with the basket."
They comply and he nods approvingly. "Perfect. Put the dress shirt back on and button it up with my arm bound inside of it. We can supplement with crime scene tape later if we have to," he states, blowing out another breath that ends on a wheezing gasp.
Lestrade makes quick work of getting the shirt back on the injured physician. "Button that up, Sally…please," Lestrade orders, as he turns to check on Sherlock whose eyes begin to gloss over from the pain in his leg.
"Cheers! Now let's see to Sherlock," John rattles off as he moves himself across the floor not bothering to get up.
Sherlock drops back to the floor as the pain in his leg ratchets up another level when they remove the pressure of the debris. His breathing comes in short gasps and pants as tears prick the backs of his eyes.
"Steady, Sherlock," John mutters, laying a gentling hand upon the detective's left leg. "Are you nauseous?"
Sherlock shakes his head and groans loudly, repeating the gesture when he notices Anderson re-entering the cubicle. "But I'm becoming so," he remarks snidely, his eyes fixed on Anderson, before they narrow in confusion at the item the man holds. "Where did that come from?"
Anderson shrugs glancing down at the military grade field first aid kit he's holding. "Found it, when I was checking on the Met guys we left at the stairs," he answers proudly.
"Odd," Sherlock drawls, his face screwed up as he thinks upon this very unusual case.
John sighs with relief. "Yeah, but I'll take it," he states, motioning Anderson to set the bag in front of him.
"John, that shouldn't be here. In addition, none of the mobile phones work. We've wandered into someone's web and you know it," Sherlock manages, as John finds the antiseptic and puts it to good use causing Sherlock to stop suddenly and grit his teeth.
"I know," John replies succinctly, shuddering slightly at the talk of webs. "But right now, I can't worry about that. I've got to worry about this leg."
Sherlock sucks in a breath as John continues to prod the injury gently, checking its depth. "Gonna need stitches," he mumbles and pulls out a preloaded suture kit and some paracetamol, which he hands off to Sherlock.
Anderson checks the kit over John's shoulder. "There's morphine. Wouldn't that be better?" he asks, as Sherlock's gaze locks unerringly on John's.
"Usually, but not in this case," John answers, pulling out the additional supplies he will need to take care of Sherlock's lacerated leg.
Sherlock taps John on the hand. "We need to know why that was here, John," Sherlock addresses causing John to shake his head.
"Honestly, Sherlock. I don't even bloody care right now. This is military grade equipment. It's going to help me to help all of you. Now shut it, so I can sew you up," John snaps as he attempts to begin suturing Sherlock's leg one-handed.
"Anderson, get over here and help me. He's bleeding. Lestrade, glove up, I need your help holding the edges together so I can sew. Sally, sit down before you fall down and Zoe, just relax," John orders, his tone leaving no room for argument.
They all scramble to follow the mandate of Captain John Watson, who seems to have usurped command surprising everyone, except Sherlock, who has heeded the direction of the military man more times than he can remember over the past several years.
Anderson drops to his knees on the other side of Sherlock and reaches for his leg, followed closely by Lestrade who watches John demonstrate exactly what he is to do.
"Gloves first," John reminds both men as he gestures with his head towards several pairs in the aforementioned kit.
"Right," Anderson quips, drawing on the latex and tentatively cleaning up the flowing blood with 4 x 4'gauze pads.
Lestrade uses his fingertips to push the edges of the skin together so that John can sew them evenly. The Detective Inspector winces when he sees Sherlock's face draw up in pain, and his eyes roll back in his head a bit as John completes the first stitch.
"Don't use too much pressure, Greg. Just gently hold the edges together so I can get a clean stitch," John advises, wincing in pain as he swipes the sweat off his forehead with his left upper arm.
Sherlock inhales deeply, losing a bit of colour, as John puts a lovely row of 13 stitches along the consulting detective's left lateral calf muscle. "You're not going to chuck up?" John asks quietly.
The consulting detective's mouth tightens into a fine line as he shakes his head negatively, his hands gripping his Belstaff in an effort to staunch the pain.
Lestrade glances up as John finishes the last stitch and puts the suture needle back in the kit. "Anderson, did you find Carter and Sutton?" He whispers in deference to Sherlock, who now rests with his eyes closed.
John raises his head quickly as he realizes what's about to happen. He opens his mouth to speak, drawing breath through the pain in his shoulder.
"Both dead," Anderson announces causing John's phrasing to change when he sees Zoe's face.
"Idiot," John steals Sherlock's moniker for Anderson, wishing to hell he could just punch the man in the face.
Zoe gasps out in anguish. "Ben's dead?" Her tears rush forward as she leans over her vastly pregnant belly. "But he can't be…. the baby…. he can't be," she whispers painfully before crying out in heart wrenching agony.
Lestrade glances over at the weeping forensic specialist, his face questioning.
"Ben was her husband," John hisses, moving across the floor to comfort her as Sherlock finally pulls himself up off the floor. "Thank you so much, Anderson."
Uncomfortable with the increasing emotion in the room, Sherlock limps towards the cubicle opening. "I'm going to explore our little maze," he notifies John, firmly understanding the command structure in the room.
John nods his approval as Zoe moans, "Oh, God. Oh my God."
Something in her tone brings John's head up to meet her eyes. "What is it, Zoe?" He asks just knowing deep down that her answer is going to be something he truly doesn't want to hear.
Zoe heaves out several breaths, her large green eyes open wide with shock before she can formulate the answer, "My water broke."
John moans softly before turning himself to face her. "It's going to be okay. You said you were 37 weeks?" John asks his eyes kind until Anderson moves into his line of sight.
She nods, tears streaming down her face, "But Ben…"
John cleans away the tears and places his left hand on the side of her face tilting her head up until her eyes meet his own, "Think about it tomorrow. Today, we just have to get your beautiful baby here. When was your last appointment?"
Zoe pauses to think for a moment, before replying, "Last Thursday. I was supposed to have an appointment tomorrow."
John smiles and asks, "Boy or girl?"
"We wanted to be surprised," she mutters, wiping tears from her face.
"Any complications with the pregnancy?" John inquires looking at her to gauge her reactions.
She shakes her head no before remembering, "Oh God. She said the baby hadn't fully turned yet, but I shouldn't worry about it because there was still time."
John nods his head and leans in towards her, "There's still time. I'm going to check the baby. I've done this before many times. We'll get it all figured out, I promise."
His left hand slides over her belly deftly as he concentrates on feeling the position of the baby. His nose wrinkles up a bit when he realizes that the baby is indeed out of position but not fully breech presentation. "Anderson, I need you to sit behind her and keep her upright," John orders, as he gestures for the forensic specialist to move.
"Donovan, get over here and hold her hand and, Lestrade…, I need your hands. Zoe, this is called ECV, or External Cephalic Version. I'm gonna push the baby from the outside into position. Give me your hand," he reaches up and takes her hand.
"This is the head and this is the bottom," he says as he palpates her belly with her own hand to feel the position of her baby. "We're going to turn the head down. It's going to be very uncomfortable for you, but the baby should be fine."
Zoe nods as John places his hand firmly on the right side of her belly where the head is situated to double check position. "Lestrade, put your right hand here and the left here. Very carefully, you're going to push the baby into a downward position. I'll help as much as I can," John explains, demonstrating the movements once again.
"We need to be very careful because her water broke. It's unusual, but it should be just fine," John reminds everyone and smiles up at Zoe to offer her reassurance. "Now, Greg, push gently but firmly…. good. Bit harder, Greg."
Zoe gasps as the discomfort becomes stronger, and she squeezes Donovan's hand tightly.
John rests his hand on top of the baby to check the position, "Baby's moving. Keep going, Greg."
Zoe drops back into Anderson with enough force to rock him backwards.
"Almost there, Zoe. Hold on another minute," John coaxes, bringing his hand up over Lestrade's right to add pressure to the push. John closes his eyes in pain and takes a deep shuddering breath. "Got it."
Lestrade falls back on his heels gratefully. John chuckles at his shell-shocked expression.
"We need your trench coat, Lestrade, to give her some privacy," John requests as he reaches out for the coat. "Okay, Donovan, help her get the bottom layers off, because this baby could come at any time."
Donovan's eyes widen as she realizes what John is asking. "Right," she answers, trying to stave off the shock she can feel numbing her from the inside out. She helps Zoe strip down underneath the cover of the trench coat as John lays his discarded coat and jumper out on the floor where the baby will be coming.
Zoe sits upright quickly and begins panting, "Oh…. hurts…."
"I know, Zoe. Did you learn Lamaze?" John asks then smiles when she nods affirmatively. "Cheers. What works for you?"
Tears fall down Zoe's face. "Rocking and Ben would massage my lower back," she answers, angrily swiping at the wetness on her cheeks.
"Three rapid breaths, followed by a deep breath," a baritone voice answers from the doorway to the cubicle.
"Ben!" Zoe cries out, reaching towards him. "Oh, look at you."
Ben shrugs off her concern at his disheveled and damaged appearance and takes Anderson's place behind his wife. "Sherlock dug me out," he informs the crowd as he kisses his wife's cheek and reaches around to lightly massage her belly.
John sits back on his heels and looks over at Sherlock in the doorway. Sherlock shrugs at the doctor and turns to go on exploring.
"Sherlock?" John questions, his expression blank to all but the consulting detective.
Sherlock sighs. "I'm fine, John," he replies to the unasked question before he leaves.
John shakes his head slowly, amusement curving up the corners of his mouth.
"Fully dilated and effaced, Zoe," John announces, a few hours later, as he pulls his gloved hand back from under the coat and lifts the edges up onto her knees to prepare for the birth of the baby.
Zoe alternates between deep grunts and panting, her husband trying to gentle her moans with light massage to her lower back.
"Do you feel like you need to push?" John questions, resting his hand on her knee and wincing as he shifts position.
She nods frantically and John pats her knee reassuringly. "It's okay," he whispers then turns towards Lestrade to get him fully engaged.
"Greg, place your hands here," John directs, pulling the Detective Inspector's hands to the correct position. "You need to catch the baby."
Lestrade closes his eyes a few seconds nervously, then exhales and turns his mind to the task at hand. "Any words of advice?" He asks John quietly.
John smiles and replies, "Yeah…don't miss," which earns him a glare from the older man, whose hands begin to shake with the amount of adrenaline flowing through his body.
Zoe cries out, "Gotta push, Doc." Her pain-filled growls ring out in the small cubicle only to echo off the glass still secure in place regardless of the earlier explosion.
"Gently, Zoe. Push really gently. I don't want you to tear," John directs, his hand helping to guide Lestrade's to catch the baby. John grimaces as the pain flares in his shoulder at the movement.
After several pushes, John smiles as he sees the head. "Baby's head is crowning. Take a deep breath and push, Zoe," John encourages her, putting a bit of pressure on her knee before he reaches down to help the head out.
"Stop pushing, Zoe. Just breathe," John orders, using his fingers to gently work the head the rest of the way out, as she pants awaiting his approval to move forward. "Just a couple of pushes. Nice and smooth."
John pats her leg as she pushes, groaning and yelling, with the effort, in the absence of any medication to help take the edge off her pain. "Good, head's out. You're doing brilliant. Give me a minute," John instructs, checking with sure fingers to make sure the umbilical cord is not wrapped around the baby's neck. "You ready, Greg?"
Lestrade takes a deep breath, blows it out through tight lips in a pale face and nods.
"Okay, Zoe. Let's get this baby born," John says wiping the sweat from his forehead with his left arm, flinching as once again he feels the torn ligaments in his shoulder pull.
"Push, Zoe. Come on. You can do this. Push," John encourages in a slightly raised voice.
Zoe cries out, her hands wrapped around her knees as she pushes with everything that she has. The baby slides free into Lestrade's waiting hands, causing the Detective Inspector to curse in surprise.
"Nice, Greg. Maybe that can be the baby's first word," John teases, trying to get the Detective Inspector to relax a bit.
Lestrade bristles and states emphatically, "Come on. It's not like the baby can understand me."
John laughs and reaches in using a hooked finger to clear the baby's mouth. His precious wails are heard rising in the cubicle. "It's a boy! He was born at 4:42 PM," John discloses his face split with an enormous smile after checking the time on his watch.
Zoe begins to cry joyfully as Ben surreptitiously swipes at his own tears. "A boy," she whispers, as Ben mouths the word subvocally and rubs his wife's shoulders lovingly.
John helps Lestrade to wipe down the baby and wrap it in his jumper before saying to the Detective Inspector, "Go ahead and lay him on Zoe's belly. He'll need the warmth and comfort."
"Okay, Zoe. You need to pick him up and see if you can get him to latch on. He needs to eat, and I need your help to control the bleeding… It's alright, he won't break," John commands gently with a smile at her first tentative movements as if handling a china cup.
She laughs with tears of joy in her eyes and lifts her baby gently up to her breast where he suckles hungrily. John nods with approval saying, "That's good."
"Lestrade, I need two shoelaces," John requests of the abashed Detective Inspector. Lestrade hands them to John, and he uses one lace to tie off the umbilical cord three inches from the baby. He knots the other lace two inches below that then grabs the scissors from the med kit and cuts the cord.
Lestrade starts to get up and is quite surprised when John pulls him back into position.
"Okay, Zoe. Not quite done yet. You'll feel a lot of pressure," John advises as he pushes down on her abdomen with the flat of his palm to facilitate the delivery of the afterbirth. He increases the pressure, denying his own pain, and massages with deep circles causing her to groan, her back arching slightly.
John nods understandingly and murmurs, "I know. We're almost there." He sighs as the placenta delivers, and he continues to apply stronger pressure until the bleeding slows considerably.
Skillfully moving his hand along her abdomen, John feels for the margins of the uterus and is well pleased when he feels that it has shrunk to the size of a grapefruit with the massaging. "Excellent," he notes, drawing his hand away and bunching up more gauze beneath her to staunch the blood flow.
"Ok, Ben, let me grab a cold pack for your wife, and then I need to take a look at you," John directs, turning toward the kit.
Ben shakes his head with a wince. "I'm fine," he responds his eyes still fixed on his newborn son.
"How 'bout since I'm the doctor, we let me be the judge of that," John's friendly order shuts down any further argument.
He reaches into the kit and pulls out a cold pack. John activates it and places it beneath Zoe to help with any swelling and pain, and she sighs with relief. "Thanks," she says with a smile.
"You're welcome," John responds, then shifts position to check on her once again. He nods satisfactorily and covers her with the Belstaff that Sherlock hands to him when his search for another coat turns up fruitless.
He covers his surprise with a cough, rubbing at his aching right shoulder. "I didn't hear you come back," John whispers almost conspiratorially, his head bowed down as he checks over the baby once more.
Sherlock hears him and offers a small smile. "That was amazing," Sherlock praises, reaching out a hand to help the exhausted doctor from the floor.
John waves off the hand teasing, "Always is. You know…miracle of birth and all."
He takes a minute to examine Ben, "You've got a moderate concussion. Any pain?"
Ben shakes his head, causing John's face to adopt a dubious expression.
"A building fell on you. You have a new son that you want to be here for, so now is not the time for heroics," John reminds him as he presses fingers into Ben's abdomen to check for internal bleeding.
Ben smiles at the doctor's professionalism and tenacity. "I promise you, doc. Other than my head feeling like a building fell on it, I'm good," Ben offers with a smile.
"Fine, let me know if that changes," John charges as he places the equipment back into the first aid kit.
Sherlock, anticipating John's need to move, reaches out once again with a steady hand.
John takes his hand and allows himself to be pulled up gently as he gains his feet, just before pitching forward, "Whoa."
"John?" Sherlock's need to verify his friend's status is suddenly overwhelming.
John shakes his head, his eyes vibrating as Sherlock examines them. "Give me a minute. Got dizzy," John requests, pushing his left hand through his disheveled hair before scrubbing at his face and turning away from Sherlock's ministrations. "Must be more tired…no, it's..."
John breaks away from the detective and stumbles to a cubicle several doors down. He starts to wretch and drops painfully down to his knees forgetting the broken shards there. Using his left arm for support, he leans on the wall and spews up the lunch hastily eaten on the way to this crime scene.
He startles when a hand comes down on his back. "What's wrong, John?" Sherlock demands faintly as John sways and curls forward to repeat the effort, vomiting down the wall in the corner.
John feels Sherlock's hand tighten minutely on his left shoulder. "S'okay," he gasps as he finishes, his stomach muscles quivering from the surprise onslaught.
Sherlock hands him a bottle of water.
"It's the nicotine," John gasps, sipping at the water before setting it aside on the glass littered floor.
Sherlock eyeballs John carefully and pushes up his left sleeve. "Can we remove it? You aren't to be ill. It's simply not allowed, John," Sherlock reminds the weary doctor.
John just shakes his head at Sherlock's antics as he wipes the back of his hand against his mouth. "Yeah. I got patients to check on so make it quick," John orders, handing the detective his good arm, then flinching as Sherlock pulls the sticky patch hurriedly.
"You need to rest a bit and take some paracetamol," Sherlock orders knowing his friend's stubbornness.
"What makes you think I haven't?" John counters as he moves to leave the cubicle.
Sherlock pauses before answering smugly, "Because I know you, John Watson, and you will always save the meds for your patients before ever using them for yourself."
John chuckles at that; tears of exhaustion prick his eyes making them appear to be blue topaz. John reaches out and takes the two paracetamol that Sherlock offers shaking his head at the detective's tenacity. "Sociopath, my arse," he grumbles, swallowing the pills with a swig of cool water from the bottle.
"We're being watched," Sherlock notes, tipping his head towards a small black square on the ceiling.
John looks up to see those one-inch square boxes litter the ceiling of the entire basement office structure. "What the bloody hell? Those are cameras?"
Sherlock reaches out to show the doctor a dismantled one lying on the palm of his hand.
John looks at him questioningly to which Sherlock shrugs his shoulders and responds, "Bored."
"Of course," John answers before realization dawns. "Shit," he curses as he turns away and then back towards Sherlock. "A test?"
"Plausible," Sherlock acknowledges with an anticipatory gleam in his eye and a tip of his head.
John shakes his head and moves to return to the cubicle where his patients are waiting when Sherlock's hand on his arm stops him.
"I meant you," Sherlock endeavors to explain his earlier comment to John who appears to be confused. "Earlier, when I said 'amazing.' That comment was for your brilliant actions, not childbirth, which is actually rather dull as it occurs several times everyday."
John snickers at Sherlock. "Dull?" He asks looking askance at his friend before he continues when the detective nods. "Please don't say that in front of the parents."
Sherlock agrees and starts out the door when he hears John whisper, "Thank you". The doctor smiles and moves towards the cubicle only to run into Donovan, who stands there with an odd look on her face.
John laughs harder and glances at her smugly as he realizes that Sherlock's more human side shocks Sally. "Something to think about," he says walking away.
Sally shakes herself out of her stupor. "He's still not right," she replies, regaining some momentum as Anderson comes around the corner.
John grabs her arm firmly and steers her into another cubicle several metres down the hallway. Anderson witnesses this and follows quickly to aid his former girlfriend.
"Four years, Sally," John whispers, hoping like hell he can keep his anger under control.
Sally just stares at him dumbfounded and asks, "What do ya mean?"
John huffs out a breath and reaches deep down for a patience he most definitely does not feel. "What I mean," he begins tightly before continuing, "is that Sherlock has been my best mate for four years, and you still don't seem to get it."
Sally draws a breath to respond when his raised hand stops her, and Anderson cuts in.
"It's just a bit of fun," Anderson interjects, rolling his eyes at Sally causing John to push forward, grab the stupid git and force him none too gently into the glass wall.
"Your fun is over. Your unprofessional and unseemly behavior is done, and I won't tolerate it at all," John hisses tightly at the daft forensic specialist. "You screwed up and a man could have died. Sherlock found him. Get over it. Sherlock has. He didn't say one word about it, so I'm telling you right now to knock it the fuck off…"
"Or what?" Sally rasps out, earning her a glare from Anderson still pinned into the glass cubicle wall.
John's flashing blue eyes seek hers out like a missile as he adjusts his one-handed grip on Anderson who begins to gasp for breath a bit. "I'm a soldier and a doctor. Quite a lethal combination if you know what you're doing. Feeling a bit faint, Anderson?"
Donovan turns to see Anderson's eyes begin to glaze over.
"That's five seconds of pressure on your carotid arteries. Three more seconds and you're down for the count," John sibilates with contempt, before shoving Anderson out the cubicle door. "Move along now."
John steps into the cubicle, where his patients rest, and glances around the small space to see what needs to be done.
"Where's Anderson?" Lestrade asks noticing his disappearance. "I thought I heard him and Donovan."
John turns his head away and smirks as he walks over to check on Zoe and Ben.
Sherlock's eyebrows raise with amusement as he considers Lestrade's confused expression at John's reticence. "They've…moved along…for a bit," Sherlock replies, causing John to chuckle openly. "Still a crime scene, John."
John laughs even harder, holding onto his injured shoulder as he leans down over the new family, gently pulling the jumper back to look over the baby. "How's he doing?" He asks quietly in deference to the sleeping bundle in his mother's arms.
"He's a miracle," Ben whispers smiling up at the doctor who saved his family.
John smiles down at them and then at the baby in her arms. "Yes, he is," he agrees and moves to allow them some privacy when Zoe grabs his arm.
"We finally figured out a name," she states, her eyes beaming with a happiness that penetrates her fatigue. "Dr. John Watson and Detective Inspector Lestrade, meet our son, Benjamin Watson Gregory Carter."
Sherlock's head pops up as shock registers in his blue eyes followed by an overwhelming sense of pride in his doctor. There really is no one better.
"I'm honored," John declares bowing his head out of respect. "Thank you."
Lestrade's brown eyes widen as well. He is rendered completely speechless until John taps his shoulder lightly with his good hand. Lestrade smiles broadly and stammers, "That's…um…wow…thank you."
Sherlock observes John's acceptance and analyzes the entire event with gratification and satisfaction. His analysis reminds him that John will always act for Queen, country, mankind and especially him every time. There is no man with more honor than John Hamish Watson, and the Carter's have completely recognized this and thus are obviously very good people.
Sherlock's face breaks into the rare smile that always serves to remind John that whilst Sherlock may be a self-proclaimed and diagnosed sociopath that nothing could be farther from the truth. He shakes himself free of the image and turns toward his best mate.
"We'll give you some privacy," John voices as he grabs Sherlock's arm in his left hand and pulls him out of the room. "Come along, Lestrade."
They walk several metres down the hallway, broken glass crunching beneath their shoes.
Sherlock darts by his friend, "Definitely amazing," he notes once again, his eyebrows high in the curls on his forehead.
John just shakes his head, "It's what I do, Sherlock."
"Yes…I know, John. It's one of the many things about you that I admire," Sherlock replies, the corners of his mouth drawn into a small, but proud smile.
The ceiling above them rumbles and John pauses to listen, absently rubbing his right shoulder. "Excavation team. Probably at the stairwell," John notes as he attempts to get up off the floor. "Sod it."
Lestrade takes pity on the doctor and helps him up just as Sherlock enters the cubicle. Sherlock's features tighten as he sees John struggling to rise even with Lestrade's assistance.
"What do you think you're doing, John?" Sherlock questions, his tone as serious as the look in his flashing blue eyes.
John sighs heavily before rasping, "Obviously, I'm getting up. I need to check on Zoe and little Ben again." John sways as he finally reaches his feet, but Lestrade's hand on his arm keeps him standing.
The Detective Inspector smiles widely at the thought of the small infant. "That was unexpected," Lestrade drawls slowly, still remembering the way that Zoe and Ben looked at him.
John shakes his head, his face broken by a huge smile. "Not really, when you consider that you brought their baby safely into the world, Greg," he reminds the older man of his part in all of this.
"But it was you that…," Lestrade begins only to be interrupted by John's upraised hand.
John chuckles lightly. "I knew what to do, yes, but I couldn't have done it without your hands, and for that I'm grateful, Greg. That baby could've died without your help." John's haunted expression is serious as he imagines the ramifications of the full extent of his injury and what could have happened had Lestrade not stepped in to take up the slack.
Lestrade brings startled eyes up to John's face. "I just didn't expect it, is all," Lestrade confirms again.
Sherlock's head turns as he hears more distant rumbling followed by a series of low level pops.
"They're almost through at the stairwell," Sherlock informs them, his eyes fixed on John's pale features. He steps closer to the impaired doctor as he trembles with the effort of standing.
"John, you need to take a moment and rest before you fall down. You'll be no good to your patient if you're sprawled out on the floor," Sherlock chastises, his expression grim.
"I'm fine, Sherlock," John begins only to be cut off by a scoff from both detectives.
Sherlock rolls his eyes and replies, "I believe you would say, 'Like Hell you are' and did about ten days ago when I ran into a bit of misfortune on that last case."
"That was different," John tries, before Sherlock surprises him by agreeing.
Sherlock tilts his head. "Yes, it was," he answers as John glances at him smugly, then deflates when Sherlock adds, "I had a laceration. I wasn't involved in an explosion, just before delivering a baby with one arm because my other had been dislocated and we're done with this discussion. You have lost. Accept it and move on, John."
Lestrade's stunned expression almost makes the dressing down worth it.
John smiles painfully at Lestrade then nods in agreement before he specifies, "Anyone who can walk should make their way to the excavation team at the stairwell and I'll wait with Zoe and Ben."
Sherlock nods in agreement as he states matter of factly, "We'll both be with the new parents. Be so kind, Lestrade, as to direct them to where we'll be waiting."
"Sherlock, you should go…" John begins to argue, then immediately stops when he notices the stubborn set of Sherlock's jaw and shoulders.
"Not. Happening, John," Sherlock replies succinctly, his tenacious gaze locked on John.
Lestrade shakes his head. "Staying or going, guys?" He inquires impatiently, his head feeling as if it's about to cleave in two.
"Bloody hell, Lestrade. Staying, Thank you. Sorry, mate. It's not you I'm brassed at," John admits, glaring at Sherlock and his bloody stubbornness.
Lestrade glances from one man to the other and determines that his absolute best course of action is to agree with them both. "Will do," he announces and heads quickly for what he hopes is the egress point.
"That's not going to happen," John growls, pushing his way past the paramedics to walk out as he gestures toward the stretcher with disdain.
Sherlock sighs and informs the medics quietly, "Might as well follow us out. You can always catch him when he falls down and then use the stretcher. That might actually work better."
"Funny, Sherlock," John snaps as he rounds the first corner accidentally ramming his injured shoulder into the cubicle wall when he loses his balance. He stops suddenly, blowing out breath after breath as he attempts to rein in the pain and bring it to a more tolerable level.
"Sir, you would feel a lot better if you were lying down," the female paramedic informs the determined doctor.
John glares over at her. "We'll have to agree to disagree on that point," he grumbles, clutching his damaged shoulder.
Sherlock places a gentle hand on John's left shoulder. "Be reasonable, John. The stretcher will be a lot easier to maneuver with the winch they're using to bring everyone up. You'll be in it soon enough, unless you're planning to climb up the rope with one arm," Sherlock suggests, his smirk evident and causing John to want to smack him in the face.
John shoots him a withering look, his shoulder throbbing as he takes yet another corner.
"Let me get this straight. You, Sherlock Holmes, are asking me to be reasonable. Do you even know the meaning of that word?" John asks snidely, his finger poking Sherlock in the chest for emphasis.
"Agreeable to reason or sound judgment, not exceeding the limit prescribed by reason, not excessive or expensive as well as being capable of rational behavior or decision," Sherlock defines smugly, his blue eyes twinkling with hidden amusement.
John hunches over and laughs, his balance painfully unsteady, as he sways and begins to feel nauseous once again. "Point taken. Where's the bloody stretcher?" He demands closing his pain-tinged blue eyes and leaning against the wall in sheer exhaustion.
"Right here, sir," the male medic explains helpfully and slowly helps Sherlock to guide his friend to the stretcher basket. The three of them lift John once he is secure and walk the dozen or so steps to the exit point.
Sherlock paces the flat in agitation until the bell rings. "Finally," he moans as he limps towards the door to let them in, only to be stopped by John.
"Calm down, Sherlock," John commands, reaching for his hurt shoulder to massage out some of the stiffness. "I'll get it. You shouldn't be doing stairs with that leg."
"Nothing was broken," Sherlock insists, insinuating that a trip down the stairs should not be problematic in the least bit, before he flops down on the sofa disgustedly at John's exasperated expression.
Sherlock huffs and pouts before he yells out at John, "Bored."
"Good, that's exactly what you're supposed to be when recovering. Well done," John states patiently as he walks out the door.
John returns moments later with a tense Ian and Ella, key members of their homeless network, in tow.
"What took you so long?" Sherlock demands, stopping his brooding to rant at the young man.
Ian glares at Sherlock for a moment. "You weren't kidding. He's in a right snit today," Ian complains loudly to John before turning back towards Sherlock. "Sorry, it took so long, mate, but it's not like the information's easy to get or anyone could do it."
Sherlock tilts his head toward them and asks, "What did you find out?"
Ella draws a deep breath to answer when she begins coughing and choking. Gasping for air, she relates, "Ian found…the bloke…who…"
Ian pats her back gently and turns towards Sherlock, "I found the wanker who supplied the cameras. He's dead, but you might learn something from his place."
Ella chokes again shaking her head in misery as John becomes more concerned. The last cough brings up bile causing an immediate reaction from the doctor.
John raises his head and looks over the young girl with a critical eye. Placing his left hand gently on her forehead, he determines that she has a fever. "Ella, you're sick. Let me get my bag," he says, climbing the stairs to his room mindful of the constant dull ache in his right shoulder.
Ian takes a deep breath and begins, "What I got, Sherlock, is a feast. The bloke who supplied the cameras was named Thomas Ireland. I know." Ian rolls his round brown eyes. "Name's ridiculous, but there you 'ave it. He was 'it by a motorcar three nights ago. And if that ain't a bit suspicious, I don't know what is."
Sherlock nods and limps absently over the carpet. "That's good, Ian. Any other information for us?" He inquires eyebrows raised as he looks at the young man before him.
"Yeah, 'ere's the numbers," Ian tells Sherlock as he hands the consulting detective a slip of paper with the address on it.
"Sherlock, sit down. You're supposed to stay off the leg," John commands with authority re-entering the sitting room. He crosses to examine Ella as a chastised Sherlock drops dramatically into his chair.
John checks her heart, lungs, and other vitals before determining that she's caught a bacterial respiratory infection.
"Don't let it get this bad before you come see me, Ella. You know that it's harder to treat that way," John scolds as he pulls a syringe and vial out of his bag. "I'm gonna give you a jab and an inhaler to help you breathe."
Ella rolls up her sleeve and closes one eye with a grimace as she waits for Dr. John to give her the injection. "That wasn't too bad, Doc," she says with a broad smile and turns back toward him.
"Keep the injection site clean and if you don't feel better in three days, you better be back here on my doorstep. Got it?" John commands, his jaw set and blue eyes all seriousness.
Ella performs the classic eye roll before she answers smartly, "I glean ya, Dr. John."
"You better," John threatens, as he disposes of the syringe and digs through his bag for the inhaler. He finds it and moves to hand it to her instructing, "One puff, 2-3 times a day, as needed." Ella nods and moves to take the inhaler which John pulls back before adding, "NO sharing."
"I got it, Dr. John. I promise. You do too much for us to ever screw that up. We all know the rules and we know to hide the meds you give us, so we don't get attacked for 'em too. Shit, Dr. John, you're a bit wound," Ella gripes, pushing the inhaler into her coat pocket.
John sighs and responds, "That's what happens when a building falls on you."
Lestrade steps through the flat door quietly, a stark white bandage adorning his forehead.
"Greg, how are you?" John asks as he settles carefully into his chair, mindful of his still smarting shoulder.
Greg shrugs canting his head to the side. "Still got a headache," Lestrade grumbles as he rubs at his neck to ease the stress and hands Sherlock a file. Sherlock flips through the sheaf of papers analyzing the information contained there while Lestrade begins relaying the information to John.
"The victim's name was Dieter Koehler, a German for hire…and let's say expert in demolitions. Basically, he'll take any job at the right price just for the chance to get to blow something to hell."
Sherlock nods as he follows along in the file before interjecting, "The file says he's been the highest rated professional in his field."
"As well as the highest paid. But, who would want to pay someone to demolish an old building with a few Bobbies in it. Doesn't make any sense," Lestrade reasons, looking between John and Sherlock. "Course, you brass off enough people. Might not be us at all."
John snorts. "Well don't look at me. He's the one brassin' everybody off all the time," he retorts, his blue eyes filled with a mischief that makes Sherlock actually laugh out loud.
Lestrade chuckles as well, shaking his head at the strength of this enduring friendship.
Sherlock turns another page in the file and notices, "You caught his murderer. You have been very busy then."
"That I have," Lestrade notes with a smile. "You do know that we actually catch criminals without you."
Sherlock frowns at this information before replying, "Of course you do. I'm just surprised."
John scoffs. "Are not. More likely you're disappointed," John interjects, a knowing gleam in his eye.
"His name's Dodds, Richard Dodds. He's you're typical thug for hire. Life's an open book, but no idea who hired him. It was completely anonymous and leading nowhere fast," Lestrade admits with more than a little annoyance. "Donovan's been taking a crack at him."
Sherlock arches a brow before he offers, "You know…"
"No," Lestrade and John bark at the same time.
John continues on saying, "Con-val-escing. I know it's a difficult concept for you, but it's necessary and that's why you've got me. So I can explain these things to you."
Lestrade chuckles before covering his mouth when Sherlock glares at him. The Detective Inspector announces happily, "I'm actually going on holiday with Julia."
"Brilliant. You deserve a nice holiday. Hell, I deserve a nice holiday," John quips, looking pointedly at his flatmate and friend.
"We tried that. I didn't like it," Sherlock reminds him, his brows drawn together at the memory.
John tosses the paper to Sherlock's chair before heading to the kitchen for a pint. "Baskerville was not a holiday. I don't know how many times you're going to make me say it, but I'll keep at it until you get it."
"Honestly, John. Any time away from London is a holiday," Sherlock adds, just knowing that he's throwing petrol on the fire.
John turns away from the fridge, the pint in his hand. "So I suppose now, you're going to try to convince me that the time you were dismantling Moriarty's web was a holiday?"
"Well, obviously not a very good one, but I was away from London, so…" Sherlock baits chuckling into the paper he's retrieved from his chair.
"Wanker," John shouts playfully from the kitchen. "Greg, you want a pint? Hell, you may need one after the turn in this conversation."
Lestrade laughs out loud before saying, "I just wanted to let you know about my holiday, so you wouldn't worry when I didn't come 'round with cases. Or more accurately, so John would have ample warning that you were gonna be a pain in the arse the next week or so."
Sherlock turns towards Lestrade in consternation. "I do believe that I should be insulted," he rattles off as John pauses in his trek back to the chair.
"A week?" John asks quietly. "Maybe now would be a good time for me to take a holiday."
"Where are you staying again?" Sherlock asks Lestrade underhandedly.
Lestrade looks at him with exasperation. "That ain't happening," he warns as he walks out the door.
"You don't really need a holiday?" Sherlock asks John seriously.
John nods his head a bit. "Actually, it would be kind of nice to get away for a bit, but I've got to work at the clinic," John states, as he grabs part of the paper from Sherlock.
"We need to figure out who set up the test in the first place," Sherlock notes, looking up at John over the paper.
John folds his own paper down to meet Sherlock's gaze. "No repeat performances and you're not to even think about finding this bloody wanker without me," John threatens openly with remembered malice.
"No repeat performances. I promise. And, John, I wouldn't dream of unraveling this new mystery without you," Sherlock charms, as he sets the paper down and gets up from his chair. "Tea?"
"There's a first," John comments, reading back over the article about the explosion.
Sherlock sighs. "Now John, in the past four years, I have, most assuredly, made tea on more than one occasion. There was the time that you had that bout of flu…and the time that Lestrade orchestrated yet another drugs bust…or" Sherlock elaborates as he makes his way to the kitchen and puts on the kettle.
John smiles widely, knowing that before the day is out, he'll hear about the many times Sherlock has made tea and he will enjoy every minute of it.