A/n: Forgive me if Sherlock's voice seems a little off. I haven't written in his character for this story since I updated the original so I can't hear him in my head right now as clearly as before.
John had barely said a word since they got home from the hospital. That had been almost a week ago. It was like they were revolving around each other instead of living together. John went to and came back from work, he ate dinner and he slept. Other than that he barely left the flat or spoke at all. Sherlock wondered if had been like this when John had been shot in Afghanistan. He could only imagine it had been worse then considering John had been on his own. That was the last time one of John's tattoos was damaged. It had only been one that time had been truly damaged though. This time it was three at one time. John had survived the attack but the stitches and scaring would probably destroy at least one design completely. How long would it take for John to recover?
Each time the memory played in his head, Sherlock wondered how did so much go so wrong so quickly. The man they were chasing had stopped just around the corner and slashed at John when he came around the corner. The assailant had caught John under the jacket and his knife had cut through John's shirt. The knife wound streaked from his naval around to his hip. Sherlock continued to be thankful that John's tattoos were the only thing damaged. That first cut had not been very deep. The maps on John's torso were mangled but still recognizable. The compass was almost completely destroyed by the slice alone.
However, when John turned to confront his attacker, the man stuck out the knife and sunk the knife into John's shoulder. Sherlock had fired off the shot to kill the criminal. The damage had been done though. The beautiful lion and rose, the tattoo that Sherlock had first seen, was almost completely destroyed by the wound. The Lion's head was still there but much of its body and stem had been mangled.
John had been in shock since he woke up in the hospital and realized the tattoos had been destroyed. Sherlock continued to search for a way to comfort his partner. After four years together, Sherlock knew how important the tattoos were to John. He also knew how essential they were to his well being. After the destruction of the last tattoo and being sent home from the war, John had been on the verge of suicidal. Sherlock continued to watch John at all times.
Tonight Sherlock came back from working on a case and brought take-away home as well. John looked at him rather curiously when he walked in with the bags.
"I can't pick up dinner on my way back?" John raised an eyebrow. He was sitting in the living room and typing up the latest case which he had sat out.
"You don't. You've never. What is going on Sherlock?"
"You haven't eaten all day. I haven't eaten in several days. We both need nourishment." Sherlock shrugged and tried to be casual. He wanted John to be back to normal. Their relationship hinged on the fact that they were what the other needed. John needed Sherlock's support this time. Instead of John chasing Sherlock around London to ensure his well being, Sherlock was sitting in the flat ensuring John's mental stability held. Tonight he brought food because John was losing weight, and food seemed to help John's soul as well as his body. Once when he had shot a suspect, he had eaten more than he normally ate in a week. He used meals to cope with his stress. Now he wasn't eating more than breakfast each day. Sherlock was convinced if he could get John eating again he might recover from this loss.
"I'm fine." Sherlock frowned. Mrs. Hudson had obviously come into clean. Several of his experiments were adjusted and the living room had less clutter on the floor. Sherlock put the food out and walked back into the living room.
"You have lost two pounds this week and six overall since the accident. I doubt you've been out of the house more than three times in a week even to go out with Mike and Greg. You haven't slept more than three hours a night since you came home from the hospital either." Sherlock told him gently. When John glared, Sherlock added. "You tossing and turning wakes me up too."
"I will be."
"Evidence says otherwise so far."
"The evidence is wrong. I was fine before."
"You lost one tattoo in a combat zone. You were depressed and suicidal before you moved in here."
"Things are different. I can cope."
"Are you sure? You can tell me."
"Last time things were very bad..."
"And this time you are here to worry over me so things are better." John smiled for the first time in what seemed like ages to Sherlock. A real smile and Sherlock smiled too because the warmth was there even if happiness didn't crinkle John's eyes as it usually did.
"You should still eat something." Sherlock stood and headed toward the kitchen. John followed and caught his partner's wrist. Sherlock turned to gaze quizzically down at John.
"It's not just having the ink destroyed. It's that near death experience and the hospital….and the memories of last time. That was the worst time in my life. Sher, you made that better then and you are making this better now. I feel like I lost myself and I get memories and flashbacks worse than I have in years. This whole accident has brought back awful moments from my life. I'm struggling , but I'll make it. I just have to work my way back to you. I'm trying." John pulled him into a kiss that reminded Sherlock of earlier days in their relationship. Days that had been filled with misunderstandings and passion instead of routine and familiarity. As they broke away Sherlock smiled.
"That's a good start." He laughed a little. "Maybe tomorrow we'll work on a case together? Greg has a few things that have been piling up. I'm not as good without you." John smiled again.
"Not right away." Sherlock's smiled faded in disappointment but John quickly added. "I'm going to talk to my artist to see what he can redesign or salvage of the artwork."
"Do you want me to come?" Sherlock had been along for some of the latest additions of artwork at John's request. This time though, he wasn't sure if he would be welcome.
"I'd like that." They smiled again and made their way into the kitchen. John talked more than he had in a week and Sherlock felt more relaxed than he had since the accident. Sherlock turned on the telly and prepared for a calm evening. John was doing the dishes and Sherlock saw all of their tea cups were clean when he was finished. He dared to hope that tea would be made when he woke up tomorrow morning like it usually was.
As they cleaned up and moved back into the living room, John grabbed Sherlock's wrist again and pulled him into another kiss that was sweet. The two of them settled onto the couch for a quiet evening. Sherlock was relieved be the normalcy of it. Things were looking up and when John dragged him to their room later Sherlock was glad he had stopped for take away. Food always helped John Watson.
They would heal the damage together.
A/N: Sorry this sort of turned into fluff? I'm not sure how but I hope you like it!