vomit_bunny: (Working... honest)
[personal profile] vomit_bunny
Title: Epiphanies at Gunpoint
Author(s):[livejournal.com profile] vomit_bunny 
Rating: PG-13
Character/pairing(s):John/Sherlock, Lestrade, Mrs Hudson.
Summary: Eventually your luck will run out. Hopefully there’ll be a doctor on hand when it does.
Disclaimer: not mine
Spoilers: none
Warnings: mentions of blood, emotions!
Author's Notes: cliché riddled hurt/comfort

In John’s mind the moment condenses. It’s just him and Sherlock on the cold concrete pavement. No police. No Lestrade. No angry gunman.

Just him and Sherlock and a lot of blood on the cold concrete pavement.


“Just talk to me,” John insists, trying to sound commanding, trying to keep the fear that’s threatening to overwhelm him -not this! not now! not here!- out of his voice.

Sherlock laughs at that, but it sounds cracked and broken. “Do people really say that? It’s so clichéd.”

“Got to keep the patient focused,” John says in response and he tries to smile.

“Of course, your army training. This must all seem like the good old days to you.”

The world comes back into abrupt focus at that, quiet and shocked in the wake of Sherlock’s deduction.

When John speaks it’s harsh and grating against the silence. “Don’t.”

“I’m sorry.”

“No, I’m. I didn’t mean.” John takes a steadying breath. He watches the blood creeping between Lestrade’s fingers as he follows John’s instructions, keeping pressure on the wound. Listens as Sgt. Donovan begins talking hurriedly over the radio again, demanding an ambulance as if the shear force of her will will make it appear faster. “Keep talking to me.”

“It’s an abdominal wound,” Sherlock begins. “More blood than I would have expected. That could mean the bullet grazed the liver, possibly a kidney.”

“Sherlock,” Lestrade cuts in quietly, his voice is calm and controlled, but the admonishment is still clear. “Talk about something else.”

Sherlock looks stricken, as if taking away his ability to make observations will kill him.

“Tell me.” John falters. “Tell me about the case.”

Sherlock stares at him for a moment.

“Please, Sherlock.”

“Shouldn’t you?”

“Oh no, you’ll complain.” The smile is easier this time. “Too much narrative, not enough focus on your brilliant deductions.”

“John, I-”

“God damn it, Sherlock,” Lestrade breaks in, and this time he’s more exasperated. He takes a breath and collects himself. “Don’t pretend you want to miss a chance to astound us with your superior intellect.”

“There had been a murder,” Sherlock starts. “Nothing that interesting. But then I... someone contacted me, said they needed my help.”

“Mrs. Hudson,” Sherlock called down the stairs. “We’ll be having visitors this afternoon.”

“That’s nice, dear.”

“We’ll need some tea, nothing fancy. Maybe something to eat.” He shut the door before she could answer and walked back to the sofa.

“If you want, I can make myself scarce.”

“What?” Sherlock asked, craning his neck to look at John. “No, no, I’ll need you here.”

“Right,” John replied, resigned to losing his afternoon to Sherlock’s plans.

“They were dressed as soldiers, but it was clear right away that they weren’t.”

“Not really,” John interrupts.

“Everything about them was wrong, John” Sherlock says incredulously, his voice stronger. “Take the way they stood. Only raw recruits and actors stand to attention like that, too much strain on the back; it was forced not second nature. If that wasn’t enough then there was the mud on his colleague's boots. No military man would keep his boots in that condition. He certainly wouldn’t try to wipe them on the back of his trousers when he thought no one was looking. You didn’t notice?”

“Not then,” John replies. ”Not straight away.”

“Mmh, there was a slight altercation.”

Sherlock crashed across the room, he reached blindly for support and inadvertently pulled the curtain from the wall.

John winces. “Slight altercation?”

“It wasn’t that bad.”

“Oh, Sherlock,” Mrs Hudson sighed as she stepped into the room. “You really have made a mess in here.”

John laughed.

“And you really shouldn’t encourage him, doctor.”

Sherlock pauses. “Then Lestrade arrived and presented us with his utterly asinine conclusions on the case.”

“I didn’t have all the facts.”

“When has having all the facts ever stopped you being spectacularly wrong in the past, Lestrade? Anyway, there had been another murder.”

The body was laid out in the middle of the road but Sherlock ignored it for the most part.

“The man you’re looking for is white, brown hair, blue eyed, about five foot eight and left handed.” He paused and nodded at John.  ”He also has a particularly impressive black eye. His left.”

“How could you possibly know that?” Lestrade asked.

John sighed. “Because we had tea with him this afternoon.”


Sherlock crouched on the ground and pointed. “Same boots, see the damage to the sole in the print? It’s identical to the imprint left on Mrs Hudson's floors by our caller this afternoon. Same flecks of mud, too,” he added, reaching out and rubbing the dirt between his fingers.

“I don’t suppose you have a name and address as well?”

“I didn’t ask. This isn’t mud.”

“Well it’s a start.”

Sherlock jumped up. “This isn’t mud!”

“What? What are you doing?” Lestrade asked, watching as Sherlock jumped the police tape and started down the street.

And John followed. Didn’t even waste time thinking about it. Sherlock went and John followed.

Sherlock stops abruptly. He stares at John who squeezes his hand in return. Tightly; with everything he has. Trying to convey a hundred things in that one simple movement and relying on Sherlock being able to understand.

“Please, keep talking.”

Sherlock swallows tightly. “John, when I told you I wasn’t interested-”


“Where are we going?”John asked as they jogged, breathing heavily.

“It wasn’t mud, it was marble dust, the residue you get from cutting it.” He waved his phone in John's general direction, as if the map John can barely see explained it all.

“Shouldn’t we wait for Lestrade?”

“He’s right behind us,” Sherlock replied. Lied, because he knew exactly how much longer it would take to maneuver a police car through the maze of streets.

“Right.” John grinned, too caught up in the moment, in the adrenaline, to argue.

“Here!” Sherlock cried, suddenly turning.

They rounded the corner almost too quickly, stumbling over their own feet and reaching out wildly to keep their balance.

There was someone there already, waiting. He had a gun. He had a gun but Sherlock charged on anyway because he was an idiot who thought he couldn’t die.

“That’s not what happened.”


“Tell it properly.”

There was someone there already, waiting, but not for them.

Sherlock ignored him. It took a second to realise he wasn’t part of their case. Just some young man, probably hoping to score a fix. Not important.

Just some young man.

He didn’t know that they weren’t there for him, though.

He’s young and he’s stupid and he was suddenly cornered in the alley. Trapped.

He took the gun out of his pocket and pointed it at Sherlock. Pointed it at Sherlock and pulled the trigger. Too fast to do anything; too fast to stop.

Only his hands were shaking and he missed.

The ambulance arrives and Sherlock looks up for just a moment before looking back down at John. “I don’t know how it ends,” he admits.

“It’s okay,” John says tiredly, closing his eye.

“John! Stop that!"


"John, John I need you to look at me,” Sherlock insists, grasping John’s face between his hands.

He blinks up blearily for a moment then lets his eyes drift shut again.

“I see they gave you another blanket,” is the first thing John says when Sherlock wakes. “It suits you.”

Sherlock tries for something approaching nonchalance as he sits up, shrugging the blanket off and running a hand down his sleeve.

He must have changed his clothes at some point. Despite being wrinkled beyond Sherlock’s ability to smooth down the shirt is at least clean, the trousers free from mud and John’s blood. Lestrade’s doing, John imagines, he probably threatened Sherlock with something, hounding him into cleaning up.

“Lestrade said they wouldn’t let me see you until I washed. You were staring at my knees and smiling,” Sherlock explains. “Either my legs make you unaccountably happy or you’ve noticed the clean trousers and you’re imagining what it took to make me change. I wanted to see you, utterly mundane as motives go, I’m afraid, but surprisingly effective.”

“I’m honoured.”

“Hmm, he tried to get me to go home as well, which was ridiculous. I got Mrs Hudson to bring in a few things instead.” He nods towards a holdall on the floor, from its size and shape it's obvious Mrs Hudson must have packed far more than just a change of clothes.

“Is she alright?”

“Why wouldn’t she be?” Sherlock asks.

“I did get shot,” John points out. “Lodgers getting shot is the sort of thing that can upset some landladies.”


“You did tell her, didn’t you? Or did you just phone up in the middle of the night and demand that she bring a spare suit to accident and emergency?”

“I texted.”

“Of course you did.”

Neither of them says anything for a moment and John shifts in the bed, aware of Sherlock’s gaze on him as he examines his IV port and wonders how much morphine he’s still on.

“I was preoccupied,” Sherlock admits.

“It’s okay.”

“I didn’t know.”

“It’s okay,” John begins again, surprised at how suddenly Sherlock seems to fall apart. The nurses had told him about Sherlock’s -your young man’s- behaviour, and they had certainly seemed relived that he’d fallen asleep, but he still hadn't expected this. “It wasn’t your fault.”

“I didn’t know that I’d feel,” Sherlock starts, running a hand through his hair. “No one told me that it would be like this.”

“It’s alright, Sherlock,” John says, bringing to mind a seemingly endless parade of therapy sessions and interchangeable doctors as he continues, “you’ve been through a traumatic experience.“

“Not that, you idiot. You! Caring about you!”


“People, my brother, always insisted that I’m missing out in some way by not having friends. Well they lied, because it hurts!”


“You were hurt and I couldn’t cope because all I could think was that going to leave me!”

“It’s normal, Sherlock, it’s normal to be upset when people you care about are hurt.”

“I don’t want to care about you, I didn’t ask to.” He slumps. “And now I can’t stop. I care about you, about what you doing and feeling and thinking. What you think about me.”

“That’s normal too,” John replies easily. “Well, some of it.”

“How do you stand it?”

John shrugs. “I’ve no idea, people just do.”

Sherlock scowls, making his opinion of people in general clear. “You nearly died.”

“I’m sorry.”

“When I told you I couldn’t, that I don’t do relationships-”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“We’ve established that I care about what you feel so that would only make sense if I was too stupid to realise how you felt.” Sherlock replies.

John reaches out and takes his hand. “Please shut up.”

Sherlock stops, stares at their hands.

“I’m tired, you’re a mess and I’d prefer not to have this conversation while I’m on morphine. I care, you care, that’s it. We’ll work out the rest of it later.”

“Later,” Sherlock repeats, still staring at their hands.

John yawns widely, and settles down on the bed. “So how did it end, your story?”

The End

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