Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, and am making no profit from their use, more's the pity.
Warnings: Non-con and slash, Sherlock/John.
Summary: Written for a prompt on the kinkmeme: Before shoving him in the explosive vest, Moriarty fucked John, viciously. John makes it through the whole encounter with Moriarty and Homles via his own badass soldier nerves of steel, but afterwards, when he and Sherlock are admitted to the hospital for minor burns and abrasions and shock, the hospital staff find other injuries on John.
(Title page by birddi)
When he was scooping the charred ashes of the package and those repulsive sheets into a rubbish bag, there was a moment when Sherlock regretted breaking the pink phone. He wanted Moriarty to call him, wanted to be able to tell Moriarty exactly what he was going to do to him in excruciating detail...
But he had broken the phone, so there was no point to his fantasies.
Sherlock was tempted to fling the bag into the Thames with the rest of the sewage, but held himself back – John wouldn't appreciate littering. He settled for walking a few streets away and tossing it in the first skip he found, before returning to Baker Street to strip off his gloves and wash his hands.
He knew washing his hands wasn't necessary; he'd touched nothing without his gloves on, so there was no possibility of contamination. But his brain, the brain that usually focused on everything at once, inundating him with information, was now doing nothing but screaming that his hands had actually touched the sheets John was raped on, and he needed to get them clean, to get it off.
He turned on the water as hot as it could go without blistering his skin, and grabbed the rough sponge John used to wash the dishes.
Sherlock knew it was irrational, but he needed to scour away the imagined taint on his own fingers and the tendrils of guilt that prodded at the back of his mind.
He knew it wasn't his fault. It had been Moriarty who'd raped John, Moriarty who had set this all in motion...
But Sherlock couldn't escape the fact that if John had never met him, Moriarty would never have been interested in the doctor. If Sherlock had kept John with him that night, had made some excuse about danger to keep him from venturing to Sarah's, then Moriarty would never have taken him.
He had known Moriarty was still out there, and he'd let John go out alone. He'd been waiting by the pink phone when John had been kidnapped. He'd been sitting in the flat, counting down to the deadline he'd given, while John had been...
Sherlock snarled under his breath, and scrubbed harder.
When he left the centre, John was surprised to find himself actually feeling a little better. Still not exactly 'good' or 'happy'...but better.
He'd expected to find Sherlock bent over some bizarre experiment, and was only mildly surprised to find him in the kitchen. However, John thought the intent way he was bent over the sink might be something to worry about.
“Sherlock?” he asked cautiously.
Sherlock jerked as though he'd been completely unaware of John's approach – which was a reason for concern all by itself – and as he half-turned John caught a glimpse of his hands.
“Christ!” he hissed, practically leaping across the room.
He took a firm hold of Sherlock's wrists and assessed the damage in an instant. Sherlock's hands were a deep red as though they'd been exposed to an uncomfortable level of heat, and light scrapes littered his palms and fingers – some of them bleeding – as though his skin had been rubbed raw.
In a second, John had spun the tap on the sink until it was gushing cold water instead of hot and pushed Sherlock's hands under the cool spray.
“Keep them there,” John barked, already going to the cupboard he kept the first-aid kit in.
The kit was well-stocked, of course – living with Sherlock had taught John to keep rather extensive medical supplies close to hand. He grabbed a handful of plasters and cotton wool balls, along with a bottle of antiseptic, and it was only when he turned back to Sherlock that the medical part of his mind slowed enough to realise whatever was wrong was much bigger than a few scrapes.
Sherlock hadn't moved an inch which, while gratifying, was certainly uncharacteristic, and he was staring at his hands with a confused expression on his face. Like he couldn't quite remember how they'd come to be in this state, and was trying to work it out.
“Sherlock, are you all right?” John asked quietly. “Are you hurt anywhere else?”
“No,” Sherlock said, his voice flat.
“This will sting,” John warned, before dabbing a cotton ball soaked in antiseptic along some of the oozing scratches.
His unease only deepened when Sherlock didn't respond, not even with a condescending 'obviously' or sarcastic quip. His eyes looked vacant, which was enough to send a chill down John's spine because Sherlock's mind was never vacant.
“Sherlock...how did this happen?”
Sherlock's eyes drifted to the sink. “I was washing my hands.”
John cursed himself for an unobservant idiot. The tap had been running with hot water when he'd entered, and he thought he'd glimpsed the rough sponge in Sherlock's hand...
So, Sherlock had been washing his hands. But what could possibly have caused him to scrub so hard he had broken the skin? John had no idea, but Sherlock's blank expression told him that whatever it was, it wasn't good.
“Why?” he asked quietly, now gently manipulating Sherlock's fingers as he checked for other injuries.
“...I touched something filthy.”
John could tell that wasn't the whole story, but he let it pass – of all people, John understood when not to press a subject. So he settled for finishing his examination of Sherlock's hands, satisfying himself that Sherlock hadn't done himself any damage other than what John had already seen. He then began applying plasters to the scrapes, Sherlock's hands lying limp and trusting in his grasp.
In a twisted way, there was actually something amusing about this – it was only a day or so ago that they'd been in these exact same positions, but with Sherlock treating John's hands.
At times, John really could be a fascinating contradiction.
His hands were rough – the calloused flesh of someone who wasn't afraid to get their hands dirty. John could shoot with an accuracy professional hit-men would envy and punched like a boxer (as Sherlock had discovered), yet those same hands were light and gentle on Sherlock's fingers as John bent them carefully, his expression intent.
Sherlock knew John didn't quite believe the reason he'd given for scrubbing at his hands. The doctor had looked at him, his eyes narrow and an expression of his face that suggested Sherlock was as transparent as glass, but he hadn't said another word. He just went about covering Sherlock's hands with plasters, which Sherlock felt he should probably object to, just because it was what he did.
“Are all those strictly necessary?”
“With the kind of stuff you tend to handle, let's err on the side of caution, all right?”
Sherlock's fingers twitched, suddenly longing for his phone so he could make his displeasure known to his brother. He'd assumed Mycroft was hunting Moriarty down, but obviously he wasn't trying hard enough if Moriarty had that kind of time to devote to tormenting John.
Sherlock vowed that from this moment on, he wouldn't let John out of his sight. If it was that easy for Moriarty to drop that hideous package on their doorstep, then it wouldn't be difficult for him to have John kidnapped again.
Mycroft wasn't at all surprised when he received a text from his brother. The package had unfortunately slipped past his surveillance (heads were going to roll for that), and Sherlock had discovered it before anyone could be sent to pick it up.
What his surveillance could tell him was that the package had contained soiled bedsheets, which Sherlock had then burnt to ash in the fireplace.
It was easy enough to the connection to Moriaty and John’s rape. Sherlock had deduced what the sheets were and destroyed them, and it seemed as though he was determined not to inform John of what had just transpired.
Of course, the fact that he couldn't be honest about his fury would in no way spare Mycroft.
With nothing but weary resignation, Mycroft raised his phone and opened the message he'd just been sent.
Are you completely incompetent? Or is it just your minions?
Mycroft phoned Sherlock's mobile; he only texted when he had to. It was a force of habit, really – some threats needed an appropriately sinister voice to be fully appreciated.
The moment Sherlock answered, Mycroft knew his brother wasn't in the same room as John; Sherlock's voice would never have been that acidic within the doctor's hearing.
“I don't want your excuses, or your platitudes, Mycroft! I want to know what you've been doing, because it clearly isn't enough!”
“A person like Moriarty has many layers to their organisation, Sherlock,” Mycroft said placidly, resisting the urge to layer on an undertone of scorn. “He is protected. In spite of your delusions as to my reach, I cannot produce him immediately.”
“John could have opened that package,” Sherlock spat, in the same tone an ordinary person would use for a phrase like 'you committed genocide'.
“That's true,” Mycroft agreed. “And he would have turned it in to the police.”
At the rebuke in his tone, Sherlock made a sound that was close to a growl of frustration. “They wouldn't have found anything anyway! He's not stupid enough to have handled the box with his bare hands; at most we'd have managed to track down one of his lackeys. And he would have made certain it was someone who played a very minor role and couldn't lead us to anyone of interest.”
“You may be right, but was it necessary to burn it?”
There was only silence on the other end, but Mycroft hadn't expected a response. There was no logical reason for burning the package, and Sherlock would never admit to having been driven by emotion rather than reason. He might acknowledge it to himself, but he'd never actually say that he'd burned the sheets because their existence repulsed him.
At least, not to Mycroft – John might have had better luck.
“I suppose we must be thankful that your surveillance isn't completely useless,” Sherlock grumbled, in a transparent attempt to change the subject.
“Do give me some credit, Sherlock,” was all Mycroft said before he hung up.
John had spoken to his counsellor about the nightmares, worried they were a sign that his whole mental state was decaying.
Apparently, in a really twisted way, the nightmares were actually a good sign. They showed his mind was trying to process what had happened, trying to deal with it and move on. Which would have been nice, if his mind hadn't insisted on reliving the whole unpleasant experience whenever he closed his eyes.
The counsellor had told him to expect the nightmares, and to only become worried if the exact same dream was repeating over several days, or if he had a dream about the rape more than once a night. That apparently showed that there were problems, that his brain had hit a roadblock, of sorts – John's counsellor had likened it to a CD being jolted and then getting stuck on a single track – but until he saw signs of that, he shouldn't worry.
“Remember, don't be too hard on yourself, or expect too much too soon,” John had been told. “You were raped barely a week and a half ago – at this point, I'd be shocked if you were sleeping well.”
It was nice to know he wasn't going insane, but it didn't stop him from unconsciously bracing himself every time he went to bed.
John lay back against his pillow, closed his eyes...and waited for the nightmare.
Sherlock's eyes flew open, a cry choked off in his throat.
The first thing he realised was that he'd had a nightmare. The second thing he realised was that he'd apparently broken into a cold sweat at some point during said nightmare. The third conclusion he came to was that he was absolutely not going back to sleep.
He knew it was irrational – it was a nightmare, it hadn't actually happened – but Sherlock wasn't accustomed to having nightmares and was far from enamoured with his first experience of them.
At least, the first one he could remember. He'd probably had a few nightmares in his formative years but they were long forgotten; he doubted he'd ever forget the one he'd just had.
He'd been at the pool again, only this time the rifle had gone off, and the bullet had hit the jacket John was wearing.
Except he hadn't exploded. Instead, he'd burned.
John hadn't screamed, hadn't cried, hadn't tried to get away. He just stood there, looking straight at Sherlock the way he had that night, eyes flat and trapped as his hair caught alight, as his skin melted off the bone until there was nothing but a handful of grey ash on the tiles.
Sherlock knew it hadn't happened. It was nothing more than his subconscious mind stringing together a few images and sounds, certainly nothing to get worked up about.
Then why the sudden need to creep upstairs and make sure that John was still there, still with him, still alive?
Sherlock was quite determined that he would stay downstairs, that he wouldn't risk waking John up just to assuage his ridiculous and ungrounded fears...
Until he heard a clatter in the kitchen, and realised he wasn't the only one awake.
He left his bedroom to find John making tea, which in and of itself was a perfectly normal activity for him, though one usually not performed at three in the morning.
Sherlock noted the doctor's shadowed eyes, the unnaturally restless yet sluggish movements that suggested he was tired but unwilling to go back to bed, and surmised he wasn't the only one having disturbing dreams.
“Hey, Sherlock,” John said, as though it was perfectly natural to run into flatmates wandering the kitchen in the early hours of the morning. “You couldn't sleep either, huh?”
“Inherently inaccurate on both accounts,” Sherlock couldn't resist pointing out. “We are not incapable of going to sleep, we just do not wish to.”
John paused, and for a moment Sherlock thought he might have done something not-good, until John shrugged. “True.”
He busied himself at the counter, and Sherlock sat down at the table. He peered out the window at the night sky (no stars, but that was hardly surprising, they were in London), toying with the idea of playing his violin for the next hour or so.
Sherlock's view was suddenly blocked by John's shoulder and half of his chest as the man set down a cup of tea in front of him. “Here.”
“Technically, while not producing as exaggerated a reaction as coffee, tea is a stimulant, so this won't assist in helping either of us sleep-”
“Just drink the damn tea, Sherlock.” But John was smiling as he said it.
Sherlock felt the corner of his mouth quirk in response, some part of him wondering what Mycroft's surveillance would make of this.
If nothing else, Sherlock had to admit it was probably an interesting tableau. Both of them sitting at the kitchen table with cups of tea in front of them, himself staring out the window as John stared at the wall.
They weren't actually looking at each other, and given what had roused them there was a definite air of suffering in the room, but it was still...nice. It was a contradiction, but John was good at those, and Sherlock was getting used to them.
Sherlock sipped at his tea, slowly but steadily draining the cup.
AN: Thanks to ginbitch , who beta-d this for me in spite of it being pretty unpolished :D