Title: The first time should be the last time
Author: fanficwriter101
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Fandoms: Sherlock
Disclaimer: The characters from the show aren't mine, they belong to others. No copyright infringement intended. Any characters you don't recognize are mine. Feedback would be nice, positive feedback would be nicer. Enjoy!
Category: BBC Sherlock 2010 angsty hurt/comfort PWP fic - implied not explicit slash
Rating: PG/R overall just for painful things that will crop up
Characters: Sherlock, John, and later Lestrade, Mycroft and a whole cast of OFC's/OMC's
Series: No
Spoilers: None specific but anything might crop up
Summary: The first time it happened, John dismissed it. Until it happened again.
Archive: Just tell me where it's going
Additional 'stuff': Not my usual 'happy ending' fic - or is it? WARNING: Violence directed at John throughout the early part of this fic.


The first time it happened, they were playing chess.

Sherlock was winning but evidently not by as big a margin as he anticipated when he suggested playing. John was reluctant - he wasn't expecting to win and he wasn't sure he was in the mood for Sherlock's usual smug grin when he was victorious - but there wasn't anything on telly he was particularly interested in and his on/off relationship with Sarah was, as of seven hours earlier, definitely now off so he'd agreed.

After about half an hour - John considered every move where Sherlock seemed to have thought about his next move some time before the last one - Sherlock scowled and shoved the board towards John, scattering the wooden pieces over John and the floor on his side of the table.

"Sherlock!" John protested, more in irritation than anger.

But he was talking to himself. Sherlock was gone, banging the front door behind him.

John sighed, shook his head and crawled around, checking he had all the pieces before putting the lid back on the box and stowing it in the living room.

Later, in the shower, John was soaping his chest when he discovered a long red line across his ribcage where Sherlock had pushed the wooden chess board across the table.


The second time it happened was different in a way John couldn't quite work out.

They were discussing their current case - a wealthy landowner had lost several thousand pounds worth of antique weapons and he'd offered Sherlock a substantial sum if they could be retrieved.

John made an observation - that the weapons would have to be sold privately not auctioned -  when Sherlock exploded. More precisely, his half-full, thankfully half-cold, mug of tea exploded over John's head and shoulders as Sherlock hurled it across the living room.

"SHERLOCK!!" John leapt up and headed into the kitchen, dripping sugary tea as he went.
This time he was relieved when Sherlock slammed out of the flat. He wasn't sure he wouldn't have caused his flatmate physical harm.


The third time it happened there was no way it could be described as anything else.

They arrived home from a crime scene - John was tired and feeling discomfort in both his shoulder and leg - and Sherlock seemed edgy as if he had something on his mind but, because of the twin nagging discomforts he was experiencing, John missed the signs.

As he sorted through the post Mrs Hudson had left outside their door, John heard Sherlock's angry snarl. "You just couldn't keep your stupid opinions to yourself for five minutes! Now Lestrade's going to be checking and re-checking the serial numbers of the..."

"Sherlock! Give it a rest. It's been a long day and I'm really not in the mood for..."

Whatever John wasn't in the mood for he wasn't expecting what happened next. Sherlock slapped him. Hard, across the face. Neither of them realized for a second or two that Sherlock had been about to text and his phone was in his hand. The metal strip down the center of the phone's casing sliced into John's face, splitting his cheek open for several inches.


Sherlock stared, open-mouthed for a second or two as blood began to leak between John's fingers as he put his hand to his bloodied cheek.

This time, for once, Sherlock was left standing as John headed out the door, leaving it wide open.

After a minute or so, hearing the front door bang shut, Sherlock looked down at the phone in his hand, speckled with John's blood. His hand shaking, he texted Lestrade. "221B now please."


Lestrade sighed as his phone bleeped and muted the football match he had been watching. Picking up his phone he groaned as he read the message. Getting to his feet, eyeing his virtually untouched curry, he muttered: "Bloody hell Sherlock, can't you leave me alone for five bloody minutes." As he looked around for his keys, Lestrade had time to wonder what could have happened to make Sherlock text the word 'please'.

"What?!" Lestrade demanded as he stood in the already open doorway, looking across at Sherlock who had finally stopped pacing the room in anticipation of Lestrade's arrival and settled in a leather armchair.

"I didn't mean to...it just...happened."
Lestrade restrained his temper and crossed the room. "What...happened Sherlock? Where's John?"

Without emotion Sherlock said quietly: "John's gone."

"Gone where Sherlock?! You're not making any sense." Lestrade was trying not to think of the curry and football he'd left behind for...this.

Sherlock shrugged. "Not Sarah's...they broke up...Mike's maybe...I don't know."

Lestrade held his temper. Just. "Sherlock, why did John leave?"

Looking up for the first time since the DI arrived, Sherlock met his angry glare with impassive pale eyes. "Because I hit him."

Lestrade swore softly, pinching the bridge of his nose as he felt the mother of all headaches beginning. "You...hit him?"

Sherlock nodded, apparently not at all repentant. "He was being annoying."

"So you *hit* him?" Lestrade

Sherlock nodded. "Yes. And he left the flat and I don't know where he is."

"And your first thought was to call me *not* him?" Lestrade growled.

Sherlock nodded again. "Yes. He might get an infection or something."

Lestrade moaned as if in pain. "Why would John get an infection Sherlock?"

"Because of the wound." Sherlock said as if Lestrade was being particularly stupid.

"What. Wound. Sherlock." Lestrade snarled.

"He...um...got a cut...on his cheek...here." Sherlock wiped his fingertips across his right cheekbone.

Lestrade pulled his phone out of his pocket and dialed. "John...it's Gideon. Answer your phone please. Sherlock's worried you'll get...infected or something." Lestrade left the line open for a couple of minutes but it became obvious John wasn't going to answer and Lestrade tucked his phone back in his jacket.

Sherlock resumed pacing the flat and Lestrade watched for a few seconds, sensing Sherlock was, deep down, very, *very* deep down, feeling guilty.


John had two choices. Raid the local chemist then book into an hotel and patch himself up or...

"Mike...it's John Watson. Can I kip on your sofa tonight?"

John flagged down a taxi and headed out of central London. He had turned his phone off and checked it as the taxi threaded through the heavy evening traffic. Three missed messages. Two from Lestrade. They didn't bother him. Sherlock had called the detective and he was just checking John wasn't dying or anything. One, which worried him, was from Mycroft. 'John, Mycroft Holmes. If you need medical attention, please call me.'


The next morning...

Mike Stamford opened the door, slightly bleary-eyed. The tall man filling his doorway looked vaguely familiar, but he didn't introduce himself, instead demanding: "Is John here?"

Mike nodded, pointing towards the living room where John was sitting, white strips of adhesive dressing covering the wound on his cheek, cup of tea in hand.

"John?" Mycroft tried, from a distance, to gauge John's mood.

John looked up. "When we first met, you said you worried about him. You didn't tell me he had a bloody awful temper."

Mycroft managed to look embarrassed and Lestrade, who had followed him inside, walked over to Mike. "Any chance of a cuppa?"

Mycroft dropped into the chair beside John, regarding his damaged cheek intently for a minute or two.

"Are you hurt anywhere else?"

John lifted his t-shirt and exposed the fading bruise across his chest. "Chess board. Happened a few days ago. Sherlock doesn't lose well does he? And he threw a cup of tea at me."

Mycroft absorbed the news without a change of expression. "Mummy's birthday would have been six days ago. Yesterday was the anniversary of her death. I would have to check, but I believe we moved in with our Uncle on the twenty-third so that explains..."

"I didn't know. You should have told me." John snapped crossly.

Mycroft accepted his share of the blame with a curt nod. "You can go home. Sherlock won't do anything else."

John shook his head, his expression sad. "I won't be his punch bag."

Mycroft called over: "Detective Inspector Lestrade."

Lestrade got up from the kitchen table, leaving his tea. After they found out what happened to John, he and Mycroft had discussed a plan of action. And a 'Plan B' in case John wasn't keen on their first idea. "We're going shopping."

Mycroft nodded and got to his feet. "Come along Dr Watson."

John frowned. "Where are we going?"

Lestrade smiled. "We're going to buy a punch bag."

John sighed, giving in. He hadn't had any breakfast, just some tea, and he was in no condition to argue with either Mycroft or Lestrade and knew it was a waste of breath to argue with both.


Sports shop...a little later

The shop assistant showed them various models, explaining the likely level of force each would absorb. The three men wandered around for a few minutes, discussing how much space each of them would take up given their crowded flat.

Suddenly John had an idea. "The basement flat's empty. We could put it in there."

Mycroft nodded, calling the assistant over, pointing to the one they had decided would be most suitable.


The following morning...

John opened the door to the basement flat quietly, watching through a few inches of open door.

Sherlock was standing in front of the punching bag, waiting for it to settle. As it stilled, he formed his hand into a fist and smacked it hard, sending it swaying back and forth. As it slowed to a quiver a second time, Sherlock realized he was being observed, turned and said breathlessly: "Want a go?"

John smiled and crossed the room. "Never learned to box."

Sherlock turned, sweat dripping from his hair onto the floor. "This isn't boxing. It doesn't hit back."

Standing directly in front of Sherlock, his back to the grey rubber tube, John said quietly: "If you ever hit me again, I'll hit back."

Sherlock nodded. "I used to go running. Cross-country. When I was at school. I thought I might take it up again."

John smiled. "Good idea."

"You could come with me." Sherlock offered casually. 

John laughed. "I can't run for a bus these days." He regretted the words as soon as they left his mouth. He could see Sherlock's mind begin to consider the comment. "Sherlock...I'm not coming running with you. I'll...come and watch."

That seemed to satisfy Sherlock who nodded contentedly, stripping the Velcro closures around his gloves with his teeth. After a few seconds, he looked across at John. "Tea?"

John nodded. "Kettle's on."