A/N- This is an extrapolation of a scene mentioned in the very-post-Reichenbach crimefic, Four Little Bottles. A reviewer remarked on the flashback and I thought I'd write it out a bit more.
Three weeks after Moriarty had tried to kill him and John at the pool, he'd been sitting in the kitchen experimenting with copper wiring, which he'd been cutting with a stanley knife.
- Ch 8 of Four Little Bottles (see profile.)
Pulling the blade out of the wound had been instinct, but it had been a mistake.
For nearly a full minute, Sherlock simply stared at the orange-handled stanley knife in his hand. His initial thought was that it had missed somehow, even though dark droplets were sliding down the blade. He'd felt hot blood spreading out from the wound and soaking his trousers well before he felt the pain.
Dropping the knife, he clamped both palms over the wet patch on his trousers, which did hurt. The knife had sliced directly through the material and he could feel the depth of the laceration under his hands. Cherry-coloured blood seeped up through the webs on his fingers, and the flow didn't seem to be letting up as the minutes passed. Sticky torrents dribbled down his thigh toward the seat of the chair and down his calves to rest in warm globs on the back of his shoe.
Elevate it, you idiot!
But another internal voice was shouting at him too, loud and clear: Don't move.
Sherlock was on the record as later claiming that neither of his oh-so-helpful inner voices ever suggested that it might be an idea to seek medical attention. It was only when the room had started to spin that he'd grudgingly conceded that a doctor was playing Minecraft upstairs on his laptop.
The first appeal was raspy and weak. In the pause that followed, he heard nothing upstairs. The only sounds in the building were the clinks of Mrs Hudson downstairs washing the dishes.
This one was a scream for help. Three seconds later John's bedroom door flew open, and Sherlock heard the thud of footsteps on the stairs; John had taken them three at a time, if he'd counted right. And then he was standing there in the kitchen doorway, taking stock of the scene.
"Right," he muttered, swiping one hand over his jaw. "Okay."
Where was he going...? Oh - bathroom. He was back a second later with a dark blue towel in his hands. Leaning across to the bottom kitchen drawer, he pulled out a pair of scissors. "Okay. What was it?" He glanced at the knife on the floor and nodded. "Let's have a look at what you've done..."
"Have you any idea how much these trousers cost me -?"
"Bit more worried about the hole in your skin right now, Sherlock. Anyway, you cut a hole in them first, remember? You can hardly blame me for that." John slid the scissor blades across where the blade had already ripped the material, widening the gap in the fabric and pulling it back to inspect the wound. Sherlock flinched and sucked in his breath through his teeth.
"It's deep," John said. "Still, you're not spurting blood across the ceiling, which is always good. Hold that there. Hard as you can take it."
He laid the towel across Sherlock's lap and ducked over to pick up the landline receiver. Cradling it between his ear and shoulder, he knelt back down on the bloodstained floor, holding the towel down on the wound so hard that Sherlock flinched.
"I know. Got to be done, sorry," John said vaguely. "I - yes, hi, I need an ambulance, please... 221B Baker Street. Knife accident... deep laceration to the right thigh and a lot of blood loss. Not arterial... yeah, trust me on this one, I'm a doctor with a background in trauma surgery..."
Sherlock later realised that it was John's clout as a medical professional that ensured he was en route to the University hospital less than twenty minutes later, and had been stitched up with impressive efficiency and care almost as soon as he was brought through the doors - on a trolley, though he'd fought John to be allowed to walk. Still, even that process took time, care and a local anaesthetic. It was six o'clock before John brought him home again and settled him in his grey armchair, a blanket over his aching thigh and a cup of sweet tea at his elbow.
"Extremely inconvenient," he muttered, nursing his tea with more shakiness than he liked to admit to. "I'm sure they didn't really need to put that many stitches in..."
John had been mopping up the sticky, coagulated mess they'd left behind in the kitchen. Abruptly, he put down the mop. "Sherlock," he said. "What the bloody hell were you thinking?"
Sherlock, still groggy and immersed in his own thoughts, took a moment to register what John had just said. "Sorry, what?"
"Are you completely bollocking insane? Yeah, I know you and your oversized ego don't like to ask for help, but I thought even you might be more intelligent than to pull something like that. You've got a flatmate upstairs, one who just happens to be a doctor, and here's you down here being a fucking idiot trying to stem a serious bleeding wound on your own. Do you know how close that gash came to your femoral artery? Three quarters of an inch. You could have died, Sherlock!"
Silence. They looked at each other, both baffled, each for completely different reasons.
I've never heard him use anything stronger than "bloody" before now. He must be quite upset... but...?
Sherlock had never drawn such a blank on John's motivations and behaviour before. The man was generally as transparent as glass. He fidgeted. "Yes, well, I didn't," he finally said haughtily, as if it was an insult that anyone should suggest he react the same way to blood loss as everyone else on the planet. "I didn't even need a transfusion. Anyhow, the situation has been resolved, so I fail to see why you're so upset-"
"You fail to - oh, for God's sake." John covered his face with his hands and took a deep breath. "Are you serious? Okay. Here's something for your hard-drive, Sherlock. Don't delete it: normal people worry when their friends get hurt. And normal people don't like worrying their friends when they could just ask for help. I know you're not very good with empathy, but come on."
Another short silence. Sherlock looked up at John, noting his body language, the size of his pupils.
"I've offended you," he said. "You feel insulted because you think I don't trust you enough to ask for your help."
"And here we have another amazing deduction courtesy of Sherlock Holmes," John spat at him, confusing his patient even further. "Anyway, look, I'm not having this argument with you. I'm going up for a shower. I'll give you your medication when I'm done. In the meantime, don't get up."
"Don't get up."
Sherlock's gaze followed John as he stalked out to the corridor and up the stairs, leaving his bewildered flatmate behind.
What in God's name was that all about...?