Title: Near-miss
Author: fanficwriter101
Pairing: gen
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 fic
Rating: PG/M 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: Post-ep for The Great Game but anything might crop up. Lines/scenes may be lifted, somewhat inaccurately, from Season One.
Summary: Moriarty's response to Sherlock threatening to shoot the explosive-laden vest isn't what Sherlock or John expected.
Archive: Just tell me where it's going
Additional 'stuff': I'm happy to be corrected on medical detail in this fic.
Set immediately after the end of The Great Game. Anyone's inner thoughts are shown like **this**.
Some of the dialogue is lifted (somewhat inaccurately in places) from the episodes.
I'm not sure how long ago John was injured, but I'm guessing he's been with Sherlock for a few months by the end of the episode.


Sherlock didn't understand. Moriarty was gone, his mocking 'Ciao' the final thing he heard. Seconds later, just as he was preparing to leave with John, he heard the rifle shot, the loud sound echoing around the pool.

As the sound faded, he realized he wasn't dead. He looked across at John and was relieved to see he was still sitting where he was, leaning back against the tiled wall.

As the echoing sound faded, John looked across at Sherlock. Like his room-mate, he didn't understand why Sherlock was still alive. He frowned at Sherlock's expression until he looked down, confused at the sight of the red stain spreading across his belly. "Oh no..."


Sherlock called an ambulance then crouched down next to John, his voice urgent. "Tell me what to do."

John's eyes were closed and he was too tired to answer Sherlock. He shook his head a little, sliding down until he was almost lying flat.

Sherlock gripped John's shoulders tightly, shaking him gently. "Doctor Watson! Concentrate! Tell me what to do!"

John's eyes opened briefly and he sighed. "Towels...press on...the...wound."

At least, Sherlock was relieved to find, there were plenty of towels piled up in the changing cubicles and he grabbed a handful, walking back to John, crouching beside him. As carefully as he could, ignoring John's pained groan, he piled a handful of the small white squares onto John's belly, pressing down. "What else? Doctor Watson! What else can I do?"

John moaned softly. "Cremation...I don't want to be...buried."

Sherlock huffed crossly. "You're only what...forty...fifty...you're NOT dying for a LONG time!!"

John smiled tiredly, his voice a pained whisper. "Call yourself a Detective...I'm..."

The wailing siren of the ambulance drowned out the rest of John's response.


Later...at the hospital...


Lestrade's tone was intended to snap into Sherlock's consciousness and it seemed to work. Slowly, Sherlock turned towards him and Lestrade had to fight back to urge to puke as he stared at Sherlock's bloodied shirt. Doctor Watson's blood, still wet in places, made a messy stain on the dark fabric.

"Sherlock, I need a statement. You have to tell me what the hell you were doing at the bloody swimming baths at one o'clock in the morning!"

Sherlock sighed tiredly. "Moriarty."

Lestrade frowned. "What the hell is 'Moriarty'?"

Sherlock shrugged. "Does it matter?"

Lestrade restrained his temper with great difficulty. Dragged out of bed in the middle of the night, he was in no mood for Sherlock's smart-arse answers.

"Detective Inspector Lestrade, forgive the interruption..."

Lestrade groaned inwardly, turning towards the familiar voice. **That was all he bloody needed, Mycroft bloody Holmes sticking his bloody oar in.**

Lestrade glared at the older Holmes brother, one eye on Sherlock. He didn't trust the younger one not to simply disappear. He was, he realized, more than a little jealous at how perfectly turned out the man was in the middle of the night. "Mr Holmes, I'm trying to get a statement from..."

Mycroft gripped Lestrade's bicep firmly and steered him away from Sherlock who was staring into the side room where the medical staff had wheeled John into as soon as he arrived. Bloodied swabs and instruments - gauze and metal stained with John's blood - lay scattered around the room and Sherlock stared silently, lost in thought. 

"I take it you're aware of the bomb which was found at the pool?"

Lestrade nodded crossly. He wasn't completely useless. He'd spent most of the last few hours sorting out the huge mess and soothing ruffled feathers between his team and the army guys who'd been called in to make the bomb safe.

He was very, very close to telling Mycroft to piss off when Mycroft's voice softened, the volume for his ears only.

"From what I understand, Dr Watson was snatched, drugged and strapped into it for quite some time. A former employee at Barts...an IT technician, apparently, was responsible for the whole thing. Sherlock relieved Dr Watson of the..." Mycroft searched for the right word. "...contraption...shortly before a sniper's round hit the good doctor. I would imagine my brother was the intended target and the man's shot simply...missed."

"Bloody hell!!" Lestrade glanced over at Sherlock, who, thankfully, hadn't moved.

"So, perhaps, my brother's full statement can wait until we know Dr Watson's...condition?"

Lestrade sighed, tired and more than a little uncomfortable that, yet again, Mycroft Holmes seemed to know more about what had happened than he did.


Four hours later...relative's waiting room

Sherlock was texting, Mycroft was reading a newspaper, sipping coffee.

Lestrade was dozing. It had been after five when he'd finished tying up the myriad loose ends at the pool, the hospital and the station and he'd decided it was stupid to go home for a couple of hours. He'd told Anderson he could get him on his phone if he needed him, walking his sergeant just after six with his call, then walked to the coffee machine, pressing the buttons for something that promised to be black coffee with two sugars but was worse than anything he'd ever tasted.

Now, just after seven in the morning, the door opened and three pairs of eyes focused with varying degrees of sharpness on the doctor.

"You're here with Mr Watson?"

"Doctor Watson!" Sherlock snapped.

The doctor nodded tiredly. "Well, he survived the surgery, we had to remove his spleen and I'm concerned about long-term damage to his left kidney but...all things considered. I understand he's recently recovered from another bullet wound."

Sherlock nodded. "Eighteen months ago. Afghanistan."

The doctor wasn't really interested in the details but nodded understandingly. "Well, one wound of that type is traumatic enough for the body, but two in such a short period...well, he's going to need a considerable period of recovery."

"Can I see him?" Sherlock demanded, getting to his feet.

"Of course...he's sedated but his heart rate and blood pressure are as we would expect. Just a few minutes, okay?"

Sherlock nodded, looking back at Mycroft.

"We'll wait here Sherlock."

Sherlock nodded distractedly, following the doctor out.


Sherlock looked down at John's pale face, hair messed, flecks of blood splattered here and there across his face and shoulders. Sherlock's gaze rested briefly on the healed wound on John's left shoulder.

"Um...John...Dr Watson...he doesn't like people seeing his shoulder. Could you get something to cover it please?"

A nurse who had been hovering beside the patient's visitor smiled. "I'll get a gown."

She was back a couple of minutes later and draped the cotton gown carefully over John's upper body, covering it. "There now...okay?"

"Thank you." Sherlock smiled briefly. His smile faded as his gaze returned once more to John's chalk-white face.


An hour later...

After his 'interrogation' by Lestrade, in which he couldn't help himself describing absolutely everything that had happened, reminding himself in the process of John's injury, Sherlock was in a foul mood. He snapped, yelled, snarled and raged at anyone who came within ten feet of him.

Lestrade had come very close to forgetting he was a policeman investigating a kidnapping and attempted murder and had to be pulled away from Sherlock, moments before he contemplated smacking him in the face, and Mycroft despaired of getting a civil word from his brother after several, increasingly short-tempered, attempts at conversation.

The nurses learned the hard way to leave Sherlock alone in the room with Dr Watson after they had heard a the sounds of a violent fight in his room and called Security, fearing an attack on the patient by his visitors.

Mycroft had calmed things down and Sherlock had been left in no doubt what would happen if he caused such a disturbance again.


John's eyes remained stubbornly closed despite Sherlock's increasingly frequent and peace-disturbing rants which started up, apparently randomly, every few hours.


The following morning...

When a young Filipino woman whose name badge identified her as 'Nina' brought a bowl of water and a towel into John's room Sherlock scowled at her. "What do you want?"

"I'm going to make Mr Watson feel better."

"Doctor Watson!!" Sherlock yelled. "Why the hell can't you people remember that? It's not like he has an unprounceable name or anything. He's a bloody doctor!"

The woman stood unmoving in the doorway, the bowl between them.

Sherlock took hold of the bowl and some of the water slopped onto his hand. "This is cold! You can't remember his name and you want to encourage him to wake up by slopping freezing water all over him, is that it?!"

Sherlock slammed the door as the woman left the room, her sobs audible through the closed door.


The following day...

"Excuse me Sir...may I have a word? You're here to visit Dr Watson?"

Lestrade nodded and tried not to let his irritation show. He was just doing his job, checking on witnesses. At least, as he drove into the hospital car park, that was what he told himself.

As he followed the nurse, who had looked distinctly uncomfortable, into a small office, he sensed the conversation wasn't going to be easy. He sighed inwardly and tried to think of all the things Sherlock might have done in the three days since John was transferred from intensive care to a small side room near the nurse's station that he hadn't already done.


As he left the room, Lestrade tried to think of a time he'd ever been so completely unsure of what to do next.



Sherlock twisted, squirming as he realized his wrists were trapped by the cuffs Lestrade had snapped on. "Get these off!"

"You stink Sherlock! You haven't been out of this bloody room for three days! You need to wash, change and eat. If you won't do it voluntarily..."

Lestrade's explanation for tricking Sherlock trailed off. "Come on." He held Sherlock's upper arm tightly, hoping Sherlock was too tired to work out Lestrade hadn't a dog's chance in hell of holding him if Sherlock made a determined effort to free himself. He half-expected Sherlock to be able to release the cuffs himself anyway.

Sherlock squirmed determinedly, turning back to look at John. "I can't...please...don't..."

Lestrade sighed inwardly. **Manipulative bastard.** "Okay, okay." He unlocked the cuffs and tucked them in his coat pocket. "Keys."

Sherlock frowned, rubbing his wrists sulkily. "What?"

Lestrade spoke slowly, trying to control his urge to shake Sherlock. Hard. "Give me. The keys. To your flat. I'll get you some clean clothes."

Sherlock pulled a set of three keys from his jacket pocket and handed them to Lestrade.

Lestrade was relieved there weren't more keys. He didn't fancy spending ages working out which key was for the house and which for the flat. "What's this one for?" He held the smallest, shiniest key between his thumb and forefinger.

Sherlock sighed. "John keeps his gun in a box under his bed."

"And you have the key?"

Sherlock nodded. "I have *a* key. John has one too..."



Sherlock came out of the bathroom, washed, shaved and changed into clean clothes, looking better than he had since the night at the pool. He walked back into the room, saw the empty bed, and looked over at Lestrade accusingly. "Where is he?"

"Uh...they took him for a scan...they wanna find out why he isn't waking up."

Sherlock turned and left the room and Lestrade heard him loudly demanding the details of the scan from the hapless nurse standing behind the desk outside.

Finally, Sherlock returned and fished his phone from his pocket, texting intently for a short time, looking up, realizing John wasn't in the bed and returning his attention to his phone only to look up again a short time later.

Lestrade watched as Sherlock looked over at John's empty bed - for the tenth time in as many minutes. He had to restrain a smile as the thought entered his head. **Not sleeping together my arse.**


Two hours later...

Lestrade opened the door to John's room, letting the young woman in before him.

"Sherlock, this is Nina, she's a healthcare assistant and you *will* be polite to her."

Sherlock scowled at the woman's familiar face.

"I have hot water, soft towel and nice soap for...Doctor Watson."

Sherlock gestured at the table over John's bed. "Leave it here."

Nina looked up at Lestrade who smiled apologetically. "It's all right. We'll manage. Thank you."

As the door closed behind the young woman, Lestrade looked over at John. "I'm *not* helping you Sherlock."

Sherlock took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves, plucking the washcloth from the steaming water. "Then you can make sure we're not disturbed."

Relieved, Lestrade left the room, standing in front of the closed door.

As he folded the bedclothes down, exposing John's upper body Sherlock regretted dismissing the young woman quite so quickly as he contemplated the tangle of the various wires, tubes and monitors dotted around John's torso. He wrung out the washcloth, swiping it across the bar of soap until it developed a layer of white foam.

More to reassure himself than in expectation John would hear, Sherlock's voice was soft: "It's okay...it's just water and soap...I'll be careful."

Sherlock took his time, washing John's face, his shoulders - avoiding the area of damaged flesh around the old bullet wound - then his arms. As soon as he was finished drying John's pale flesh he reached for the blue folded blanket at the end of John's bed and covered his upper body. Folding the bedclothes down further he hesitated, seeing the upper edge of the dressing on John's belly. He wasn't squeamish but, for some reason he couldn't fathom, he felt uncomfortable and washed John's chest and abdomen as quickly as he could, drying it before covering him with the bedclothes.

He pulled the bedclothes free at the bottom of the bed and folded them carefully up, exposing John's legs, washing them carefully but as quickly as he could, telling himself he didn't want John getting cold, before tucking the bedclothes neatly back into place.

When even washing didn't wake John, Sherlock's temper returned and he ranted and raged silently and out loud at the unmoving figure in the bed.

Lestrade remained outside the door until, yet again, Sherlock's energy was drained and there was only silence in the room.


Finally, in the small hours of the fourth day, to the relief of the nursing staff who had been forced to listen to his loud voice, Sherlock ran out of both insults and energy. Slumping exhaustedly into the chair beside John's bed he rested his head on his crossed arms, desperately whispering: "Please...just wake up."

Sherlock wasn't surprised when nothing happened, the sounds in the quiet room unchanged for some time. He didn't even notice when his eyes no longer saw anything.


As Sherlock dozed, still resting on John's bed, the beeping machines which had monitored John's unchanging vital signs for almost a hundred hours suddenly changed their monotonous tones. The figures flashing on the monitor showed his blood pressure, pulse and heart rate had all risen.

Hearing the change, Sherlock lifted his head, which seemed to weigh considerably more than usual, and stared into John's open eyes. "John?" Sherlock whispered anxiously.

John's mouth was dust-dry and he couldn't make any sound other than a soft groan.

Getting to his feet, Sherlock said quickly: "I'll get someone."

John nodded, closing his eyes, as Sherlock's footsteps faded into the corridor. 


Two hours later...

Tiredly, John whispered: "Hurts."

Mostly, John disapproved, either out loud or by his body language, of Sherlock's lock-picking skills. However, this time he didn't do anything other than look tiredly grateful as Sherlock picked the simple lock on the blue metal box containing the morphine pump, adjusting it to deliver a more frequent dose.

"How's that?" Sherlock looked over at John as he pushed the thin metal door closed.

"I'll let you know." John smiled tiredly, his eyes closing.

Waking again a couple of hours later, John smiled tiredly. "Have you eaten at all since...?"

He actually had no idea what day it was, how long it had been since he was shot, but he knew that wasn't the important part of his question and left it unfinished.

Sherlock laughed, all the tension of the previous days releasing as he alternated between tears of relief and chuckles at John's misplaced concern.

When he had recovered sufficiently to speak, Sherlock nodded reassuringly, rolling his eyes as he responded. "Lestrade and Mycroft have been force-feeding me."

John sighed, tired and, now he could, feeling the pain of his injury. He lifted his hand and waved it over the area which hurt most. "What do I have left?"

"Um...pretty much everything, except your spleen, oh, and I think most of your kidney got, well, sort of..." He placed his hands together and moved them apart sharply.

John groaned, part pain, part nausea at the word picture Sherlock was painting. Sherlock frowned and stood up.

"I'll get someone."

"Sherlock...it's okay...I'm fine." John said quickly, trying and failing to lift himself up onto his elbows.

Sherlock frowned but sat back down, looking across at John's hand, which had begun to shake slightly. He moved his hand to cover John's, squeezing gently. After a few seconds the fingers under his relaxed and stilled. "I'm sorry."

John smiled tiredly, waving his hand, shaking the IV tubing. His voice softened as he drifted into sleep. "I know. Make sure you put the pump back to the right dose or someone will get into trouble."


John sighed softly. He'd been poked, prodded and examined by what felt like an endless stream of  medical and nursing personnel. The general consensus was that he was lucky to be alive and facing a long period of recovery. He tried to move and groaned at the discomfort.

Sherlock paused in mid-text and looked sympathetically at his friend. "Do you need anything?"

"I don't suppose you can turn back time?"

Sherlock smiled. "I'm a sociopath not a physicist."

"There's something you can't do?" John asked teasingly.

"Apparently." Sherlock said absently, already musing on the question, not noticing Lestrade let himself into the room.

"Hi...how are you?" Lestrade handed over the day's paper and John's phone charger.

"Thanks...um...better...I think." John considered his pain level and movement and decided they were improving.

"Do you need anything else?" Lestrade looked across at Sherlock who was texting, his back to the room.

Twisting to push the charger plug into the socket beside his bed, John groaned softly. "Actually, I really want to wash and change."

Lestrade nodded understandingly. "I'll see if Nina's around."

John frowned as he plugged his phone in. "Nina?"

Lestrade nodded. "She tried a couple of times to wash you but Sherlock wouldn't let her touch you. Apparently he thought he'd be a better nurse than an actual nurse."

"She's a healthcare assistant Lestrade, not a nurse. And I didn't *nurse* John, I merely washed him."

John gulped. "Sherlock...gave me a bed bath?"

Lestrade nodded, putting his hands up. "Hey, I was outside the whole time."

John banged his head on the pillow. "Sherlock, when were you going to tell me?"

Lestrade chuckled. "Now you know how I feel."


Later that day...

Lestrade opened his notebook. "Anything, anything at all you can remember, something that didn't seem important."

John let out a deep breath and closed his eyes. "I was crossing the road from the flat. I saw a group of men at the end of the road. I crossed over and I heard footsteps behind me, and then...then I don't remember anything until they pushed me out of the car.  He'd fitted me with some kind of earpiece and Moriarty said if I didn't do exactly what he told me he'd kill us both."

"You and Sherlock?" Lestrade qualified.

John nodded, swallowing hard.

"I walked into the building, saw Sherlock holding something...a memory stick...which I didn't understand because he'd already given it to Mycroft."

Lestrade checked his notes. "The missile plans."

John nodded again. "I thought we were going to die. Me certainly, I was wearing a bomb. Sherlock probably, he'd pissed Moriarty off and he'd just admitted killing Carl Powers so he wasn't just going to leave and there were a dozen or more laser pointers on us."

"Laser pointers?" Lestrade flicked back through his notes. Sherlock hadn't said anything about...

John didn't let him finish the thought before continuing. "Laser sights are fitted to rifles. They're more accurate than aiming by ordinary sight. Where the dot is, the bullet will hit. There were too many of them too close together for them all to be rifle sights so I think some of them were those laser pointers people use for meetings...you know, presentations. But at least one of them was the real thing."

"So how come they missed Sherlock and hit you?"

"They didn't miss." John frowned. "They couldn't have done. I wasn't moving and Sherlock was six feet away from me."

Lestrade sighed. "You were the target. Not Sherlock."

John nodded. It was something he'd thought a lot about. Why he was shot and Sherlock had escaped unscathed. "Yes."

Lestrade closed his notebook and looked over to where Sherlock was standing, looking out the window, his back to both of them. "Sherlock."

Sherlock didn't move and gave no sign he'd even heard his name.

"Sherlock! Why didn't you tell me all this four days ago?!"

John looked over at Sherlock's unusually still form. "Sherlock...why did you lie?"

Finally, slowly, Sherlock turned. His voice was soft, calm. "Because it didn't matter."

"Didn't matter!!" Lestrade exploded. "Who the hell put you in charge of deciding what matters?!!"

Sherlock reached into his jacket and handed Lestrade a sheet of paper, neatly folded in four.

Lestrade unfolded the sheet of paper, stared at it for a second or two then looked up at Sherlock. "It's a picture of a gun."

Sherlock shook his head. "It's a scanned photograph of John's gun. You can just make out his initials scratched into the barrel."

"So?" Lestrade demanded, still angry and confused.

"When I was showering I heard someone come in John's room but you were outside so I assumed it was you or Mycroft. When I came out, John's bedclothes were all crumpled.
Someone had been in the room and messed his bed up. I asked you and you said it was a doctor...remember?"

Lestrade nodded. He remembered the man in blue scrubs, his head and face covered with a mask and cap.

"When I went to straighten the sheets on John's bed, I found that under the sheet, lying on his chest. Over his heart."

John looked uncomfortable, Lestrade still wasn't sure he understood. "You're saying the doctor that came into the room put it there."

Sherlock huffed impatiently, nodding. "The gun's been in a locked box under John's bed since he moved into our flat. The only way they could have got that was if someone gave them access to the house, our flat and that box."
Lestrade wasn't having another conspiracy theory. "They could have got the gun any time!"

Sherlock took the picture from Lestrade and stabbed his finger at a the corner of the picture. "Look at the date on the picture. It was taken *after* John was shot. Whoever it was took that picture and got into John's room to leave it for me to find."

Lestrade wasn't letting Sherlock off that easily. "You still should have told me about that bloody picture before now!"

Sherlock shrugged. "I think if you look at the CCTV camera footage in our road for the day that picture was taken you'll see who it was."

Lestrade frowned. "There isn't a CCTV camera in your road."

Sherlock smiled. "There's one fitted to our balcony. Mycroft insisted. I believe only he has access to the footage."

Lestrade exchanged a look with John who shook his head slightly. He hadn't known. But, if it would help catch Moriarty, he wasn't bothered.

Sherlock nodded. "Off you go Detective Inspector."

Crossly, Lestrade pulled on his coat. When he reached the door, he stopped, turning back to Sherlock. He was frustrated with Sherlock but that didn't mean he wasn't concerned for Dr Watson. "Do you want me to get a couple of uniforms to watch the door?"

Sherlock shook his head and opened his jacket. Nestled in a pocket in the pale lining was the unmistakable outline of a small handgun.

Lestrade groaned and rolled his eyes. "I don't suppose you have a license for that?"

Sherlock smiled and pulled a small card from another inner pocket, waving it at Lestrade. "No, but Detective Inspector Lestrade does."

As he opened the door Lestrade snapped: "Stop nicking my stuff!" He could sense, even though he couldn't see, Sherlock's amused smile as he slammed the door behind him.

"You already know who it was, don't you?" John asked softly.

"Of course I do." Sherlock said.


Later...Baker Street

Mrs Hudson insisted on making Lestrade a cup of tea, offering him some biscuits with it.

He tried to get the woman to concentrate on the reason for his visit. "Uh...no...thanks...look, I need to know if you've let anyone into Sherlock and Dr Watson's flat since Dr Watson was shot."

Mrs Hudson shook her head, stirring her own tea. "No, no one at all except that nice young policeman. So polite...you don't see manners like that any..."

"What did he look like?" Lestrade interrupted, ignoring the woman's disapproving expression as she was cut off in mid-sentence.

Lestrade tried not to let his feelings show as Mrs Hudson described someone Lestrade knew very well indeed.


Later that afternoon...Scotland Yard

DI Simon Dimmock looked up, trying, and failing, to pretend to be pleased to see Lestrade.

Since his promotion, he'd tried, and more or less succeeded, to avoid bumping into the older, more experienced DI.

And he, like everyone in his office, knew Lestrade and that freak Sherlock Holmes were mates and that Sherlock only ever helped Lestrade, not him.

Lestrade pulled the younger man to his feet, slamming him forward over the paper-covered desk. "Simon Dimmock, I'm arresting you on suspicion of..."

"You're making a big mistake!" Dimmock protested, not listening, squirming angrily in the tight cuffs Lestrade snapped onto his wrists.


Four days later...

John sighed, shaking his head. "There are stairs up to the flat, more up to my room..."

The doctor shrugged, only half-interested. "Well, I'm afraid you'll have to book into a hotel or find somewhere on the ground floor. I can't keep you here any longer, we need the bed, but you risk undoing all my good work if you go climbing up and down endless staircases."

Sherlock was already texting as the doctor closed the door behind him and John groaned softly as he tried to reach forward for the table at the end of his bed.


John scowled crossly. "I can't even reach my own bloody newspaper!"

Sherlock's tone was hard, cold. "Try harder."

John was in pain, frustrated and in no mood for Sherlock's attempt at encouragement. "Sod off."

Sherlock shrugged, unconcerned by John's uncharacteristic response. He crossed from where he had been standing by the window and walked to the door, opening it. Turning back, he watched John struggle for a minute or two before he managed to reach the table, pulling it towards him, lifting the newspaper.

Sherlock broke the awkward silence only one of them had noticed. "My brother is on his way. I suggest you get some rest before he arrives. He's been very...difficult recently."

Gasping for breath as his stomach protested at the effort which had been needed to reach his paper, John lay back, groaning. "Haven't I been through enough Sherlock?"

Sherlock chuckled and headed out.


A short time later...

Looking at the images on the notebook computer Mycroft had bought with him, John tried to find words that wouldn't be offensive but would make his feelings clear. "Mycroft...I know...this room...it's down to you, but...we can't...I can't..."

Mycroft huffed crossly. "Doctor Watson, you're the only man who's managed to keep my brother drug-free and eating on a semi-regular basis for any length of time since he was eighteen years old. For that alone, I'm quite prepared to meet the cost of the rent of the flat for a few weeks. Now, I won't take no for an answer so you can save your energy."

John lay back, feeling his stitches itching and desperately trying not to scratch them. He looked across at Sherlock who was reading the paper, completely uninterested in the scrolling images of the ground-floor flat Mycroft had found for them to move into.
With little choice, he settled for: "Thank you."

Mycroft smiled in the self-satisfied way John had become used to and, mostly, managed to ignore.  "So...tomorrow morning, if your doctors agree, you'll move into the flat. I'll have your things moved in. A physiotherapist will visit each day to...aid your...rehabilitation."

John sighed, remembering his rehab after Afghanistan, picturing the torture which would be involved this time.

Finally, Sherlock looked up. "You left out the most important detail Mycroft. The flat is immediately below your own."

John smiled, more than a little surprised. "Are you sure you want Sherlock in your building?"

Mycroft's mouth formed a sort-of smile. "I'm sure you'll keep an eye on him."

John groaned inwardly. He realized at that moment that he would be stuck in the flat all day trying to prevent Sherlock from incinerating the place.


A month later...

Sherlock looked over at John who sat in the witness box, politely but firmly refusing to be rushed or tricked into saying something he didn't mean.

The trial was, according to Lestrade, going as he expected - Dimmock's legal team were desperately trying to prevent him from being found guilty and imprisoned - but that didn't mean Sherlock wasn't concerned at the toll it was taking on John, who had begun to look tired very early in the day's proceedings.

John sighed deeply and took the paper cup of tea Sherlock had fetched from the machine, sipping the liquid without enjoyment. "I'm just trying not to forget anything, or say anything stupid."

Sherlock looked up as Lestrade joined them. "How much longer are they going to badger John, Lestrade?"

Lestrade shrugged. "Hard to tell. Maybe the rest of today. Both legal teams are working on a deal. If they agree, Dimmock will plead guilty and the trial will stop. If not...well...I don't know."

Sherlock scowled and looked down the corridor. The press were milling around and Sherlock stood protectively between John and the microphones and lenses. If John noticed, he didn't say anything. He was in no mood to be jostled and shouted at anyway.

Lestrade had seen the usher's head jerking. He looked apologetically down at John. "Sorry...they need you back in there."

John pushed himself up off the hard wooden bench and smiled gratefully as Sherlock's hand slipped under his elbow, steadying him. He hoped only he noticed as Sherlock's hand slid down his forearm, squeezing his hand lightly as it shook. Taking a deep breath, he forced a smile. "Wish me luck."

Sherlock shook his head. "Don't believe in luck."

John chuckled softly, opening the door to the courtroom, Sherlock and Lestrade following him. "Not good luck anyway."

Sherlock and Lestrade settled into the public gallery as John headed back into the witness box.

Lestrade looked over at Sherlock. "How soon after John started dating Sarah did you find out Dimmock was her brother?"

Sherlock was watching John intently and only half-heard the question. His voice was soft, aware they weren't alone on the hard wooden benches. "Dear Jim, please will you fix it for me to get rid of my sister's boyfriend and his nosey friend."