John's phone vibrated again.
He pulled it out of his pocket and glanced at the screen, frowning.
(Sherlock had been invited to go drinking with Lestrade's NSY team, but declined, citing things about alcohol, but John knowing he preferred staying home, having the flat to himself without John to interfere with things.)
"I'm off now," Sally announced.
There was a smattering of 'goodbyes' and 'see you laters', and John managed to wave at her with one hand while reading the text Sherlock sent him as she left.
Need you home now. Experiment may go wrong soon if I have no assistance.
(Don't worry, shouldn't explode as long as you get home quickly.)
John downed the last of his beer and stood up.
"I've gotta be off as well. Sherlock's going to blow the flat up."
A bunch of the guys waved at him, and Lestrade exchanged a sympathetic look with John. He knew how it was.
He threw a couple bills on the table, and weaved through the people. It was relatively dark out now, but the streetlights were on.
There were no signs of any cabs. They didn't really like picking people up from pubs, knowing that drunks could be messy. He'd have to walk for a bit to find one.
John shoved his hands in his pockets.
There were two figures ahead of him, one practically backed up against a wall, looking awfully familiar.
"Donovan?" he called.
"John?" she called, her voice high and anxious.
John broke into a sprint.
There was a man with her, but not someone she knew, her body language evident of that. His one hand was on her arm, reaching for the purse on her shoulder, and the other was out in front of him, holding some sort of weapon.
John slowed as he reached them, scanning the man's face. His pupils weren't normal, and he didn't look all there. Drugs.
"Let go of her," he ordered, wishing he'd brought his gun, although illegal, with him. It was quite a weak threat, but he hoped that it just might work. "Take what you want and leave her alone."
Something crossed his face, fury maybe, or confusion, but John didn't have time to ponder its meaning.
The man struck out and ran, Donovan's purse forgotten in the confusion.
John didn't have time to be pleased.
Searing pain, tearing, and then... hot. Hot and wet. Never good.
He'd sunk to the ground, head leaning against the wall. It had probably hurt when he fell, but he'd missed it in all the commotion.
His jeans were already soaked with blood, and he could see where the knife had gone, the wound peering through the slice in the fabric.
"Probably nicked an artery," he gasped to Sally, who was suddenly at his side, looking furious.
She'd tugged her sweater off and was holding it to John's leg, pressing down hard, and it hurt.
"Where's the freak's scarf when you need it?" she muttered.
John laughed, but it turned into more of a choke than anything.
He pulled his phone out, pushing at buttons with shaky fingers.
"Speed dial number two," he told her, wincing as she shifted. "Lestrade."
"Oh, good thinking." It rang twice.
"John, don't tell me he blew up the flat already."
"Lestrade?" Sally asked. "We're about a block away. John's been stabbed."
They could hear the noise in the background quiet down as Lestrade yelled at them.
"Is he okay?"
"I'm right here," John said weakly.
"He's bleeding a lot, and the guy who did it ran."
"Got it. Which way?"
"Away from you," she told him.
Lestrade hung up, and Sally turned her attention back to John.
"You really didn't have to," she told him.
"Yeah..." he mumbled.
"Honestly, it would have been fine without you. It's better he take my purse than take your life."
"Always have to be the hero, don't you. You and Sherlock."
John wasn't sure what to say to that.
"John!" she chastised.
He opened his eyes to focus blurrily on her.
When had his eyes closed?
"Sally," he murmured. "Make sure Sherlock doesn't..."
"Shut up," she ordered, pushing harder on the wound. It should have hurt, but it didn't. John knew that wasn't good.
"Some experiment... could 'splode."
He knew he was slurring his words by now, maybe even bad enough that she wouldn't be able to understand what he was saying, but he couldn't find it in him to care.
"John," she said again. "Stop talking about Sherlock and focus on me. Focus on staying awake."
Yeah, he should be doing that, but it's hard. Can't something just be easy for once?
"John!" she called again, more insistently.
He sighed at her, and heaved his eyes open. It took a minute to focus on her, hovering over his face, looking rather terrified.
"John, if you die, Sherlock will never forgive me. And you don't want that, right?"
"Yeah, because then Sherlock will kill me, and he'll go to jail, and then lots of murders will go unsolved without that great big prat to help us. Got it?"
John grunted again. It slowly occurred to him that his eyes were closed.
He couldn't be bothered to open them again.
"So stay awake. For Sherlock. Because if you stay awake, you stay alive. Do it for Sherlock. Okay John? John!?"
Her voice was fading, but John could still hear the echoes of her words in his ears.
Yes, he could do that.