Compromising Positions | Into the Black | Contact

Conversation in a Hospital

Notes: and yet more thanks to emungere for the beta.

Sherlock and John are behind a series of abandoned warehouses, dodging piles of debris and clumps of who knows what as they chase down a suspect. Between one step and the next, the ground dissolves out from under them and they both crash down several feet into some kind of crawlspace.

John lands on his left side – hard enough that everything goes black for a few moments as the jolt of pain coming from his bad shoulder clouds his mind. He lies on the ground for a few moments, trying to catch his breath. When the pain subsides to tolerable levels, he pushes himself up with his right hand and nearly grays out again at the pain. His left arm hangs at a funny angle from the shoulder socket, and he curses under his breath – it must be dislocated.

John can barely see anything in the half-light coming through the hole in the ground above him, so he digs in his pocket for his phone. It’s a bit awkward doing it with his off-hand, but once he gets it out of his pocket, he finds the flashlight app and turns it on. It’s not very bright, but it will do. He moves the phone around himself in a slow arc, looking into the semi-darkness, and calls out, “Sherlock?”

There’s no answer. Squinting in the poor light, John looks around. He’s beginning to think that maybe Sherlock didn’t fall through with him, when he sees his crumpled body. Something inside John clenches and a quiver of anxiety creeps down his spine.

“Sherlock!” John shouts, getting unsteadily up to his feet. He makes his way over to Sherlock and slumps down to his knees next to him. John puts his phone down – Sherlock looks ghostly in its strange bluish light. Taking a deep, shaking breath, and then letting it out, John puts two fingers to Sherlock’s neck and quickly finds a pulse. Relief floods through John, and he sits abruptly.

After a few moments, John conducts as thorough an examination as he can with only one functional arm and comes to the conclusion that Sherlock has merely knocked himself unconscious – probably hit his head on the side of the shaft they’ve fallen through on the way down, rather than the floor. He sits against the wall and maneuvers Sherlock’s head into his lap. He props his bad arm up on Sherlock’s chest, taking some of the pull of gravity off the injury and then calls Lestrade.

John wakes from the light doze he has slipped into at the tapping sound of an umbrella tip on tiles. He opens his eyes to see Mycroft entering the room.

“Doctor Watson,” Mycroft says, nodding his head in John’s direction.

“Mycroft,” John replies, shifting to sit upright in his seat, and wincing as the move jostles his shoulder despite the sling. He feels groggy and thick-witted thanks to the pain-killers coursing through his system, and the last thing he feels like dealing with right now is Mycroft and his verbal gymnastics.

Mycroft settles primly into the hard plastic seat next to him and glances over at his unconscious brother. Because he’s watching Mycroft instead of Sherlock, John just catches the quick expression of concern that flits across Mycroft’s features before they settle back into their usual one of cold observation.

“Does he know that you’re listed as his next of kin?” John asks, struggling to keep the smirk off his face when Mycroft raises an eyebrow at his accurate deduction.

“Oh, heavens, no,” Mycroft replies. “He will be quite put out. There will be a childish tantrum, I’m sure.”

“I don’t doubt it.” The corner of John’s lips quirk up as he imagines the epic sulk that will result.

They lapse into a somewhat uncomfortable silence and John shifts again, being more careful of his shoulder this time.

“Surely you would be more comfortable at home, Doctor Watson.” It’s less a question than a statement of fact.

“Mycroft, please, this is ridiculous. I’ve been living with your brother for over a year. You can call me John.”

There’s a brief pause and then Mycroft replies, “As you wish, John.”

“And yes, I would probably be more comfortable at home, but I’m not leaving until Sherlock wakes up.”

“How long have you been waiting?”

“Three hours.”

Silence falls again. John refuses to allow himself to worry. He has already confirmed what the extremely rushed A&E doctor told him by charming a nurse into letting him have a look at Sherlock’s chart. There are no signs of brain injury or trauma, so Sherlock should regain consciousness soon.

Nearly fifteen minutes pass and John has started to doze off again. “Tell me something, John – do you love my brother?” Mycroft asks suddenly.

The question comes out of nowhere and startles John awake. He gapes at Mycroft like an idiot while he sputters, “W-w-what?” He’s not entirely sure he’s heard what he’s just heard.

“My reports indicate that you are more than willing to kill for him, and I suspect that you already have, and that you have, on several occasions, risked your life for him. I believe, under the circumstances, that it is a valid question for me to ask.” Mycroft replies calmly, like he’s asking about the weather.

John snorts out a laugh. “Are you asking me my intentions, Mycroft? Because I can assure you, as I have assured pretty much everyone, that Sherlock and I are just friends, and that’s all either of us have any interest in being.”

Mycroft waves his hand, dismissing John’s words. “Don’t be tiresome, John, I am fully aware of the nature of your relationship with my brother. Love can be platonic, as you well know. Answer the question, please.”

John huffs out a sigh, knowing it would be futile to even try to evade the question any longer. He looks at Sherlock, lying far too still, and definitely far too quietly, on the crisp hospital linens and he imagines what it would be like if Sherlock was no longer a part of his life. John remembers what it was like after he had first returned from Afghanistan, how alone and broken he had felt, and then he thinks about how absolutely right everything was within hours of meeting Sherlock. Not taking his eyes off Sherlock, John replies quietly, “Yes.”

“Would it surprise you if I were to tell you that he feels the same way?” Mycroft asks softly.

“You have no way of knowing that,” John says, turning to look at Mycroft. John’s surprised by the soft expression of kindness on Mycroft’s face.

“He hasn’t said anything to that effect, of course. But I can deduce it from the way Sherlock behaves towards you. He has never…bonded with anyone the way he has with you. I don’t believe until now, he’s ever truly had a friend. He has had acquaintances and he has had people who tolerated him, but never one who really understood him, outside of his family. He can be very difficult to be around. But inasmuch as Sherlock is capable of love, I truly believe that he loves you.”

John can feel his cheeks warm as he starts to blush and he fumbles for a reply. Mycroft pats him on the shoulder, gently. “I shall leave you now. I believe I have some paperwork to alter.” And with that, Mycroft strolls out of the room, jauntily twirling his umbrella once as he goes.

John shakes his head and settles back into his chair. After a moment, he shifts closer to the bed so that he can take Sherlock’s hand in his, and resumes his quiet vigil.