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Had someone – one of these people who did surveys on the street – asked John who he hated the most, his answer would be “just in the order of the most recent aggravation or by the headcount?” and then he would proceed to explain that the newest additions to his personal top annoyances list were wankers of financial persuasion (especially local boys from the City), weird lab hobgoblins with annoying accents and most of the MET (with Lestrade being the single exception).

If someone asked him however to point out the very thing that aggravated him the most, well, he would probably look like that one of the Other Riders of the Apocalypse, who had to change his name so often his companions finally got fed up with it, and he would vacillate between several options, depending on the time of the day and mood. Chip and PIN machines? Plastic bags? Politics? All of them?

Right now and here however, John was mostly severely pissed off with non-consensual drug use.

It’s not that John was as pure as a driven snow when it came to recreational use of varied pharmaceuticals. Not at all. He had been in college and medical university doesn’t immediately mean one is completely isolated from the shadier side of medicine. Quite to the contrary. He, and his several friends, have, in controlled conditions, experimented.

Experiments were enough to put him off usage of anything that altered his perception of reality to any degree and was not repeatedly working in the same way. Since pot gave him weird dreams and other substances have indeed heightened his senses or dulled them to unexceptional levels and, on one memorable occasion. made him write very weepy and soul-rending poetry, he had decided that he knew enough of the way drugs affected him and he was most certainly not going to pursue the feeling anymore in his life. Never. Again.

He was, in short, a control freak. And drugs being the one sole thing that made him lose that control in, well, uncontrolled way (unlike alcohol, which he knew and perfected dosing of), he avoided them religiously.

Right now, he was most certainly pissed off at whoever it was that had jabbed him in the neck with whatever it was and put him wherever the fuck it was that he was lying, cold, shivery and slightly nauseous. Mostly, he was simply pissed off. Very. A lot. Significantly.

If someone asked him – and was patient enough to listen to the veritable litany of vulgarism that John had already had running across his mind – they would have learnt curses in at least three languages (not counting English) that were certainly not something appropriate to be printed in any regular kind of newspaper.

There was nobody to pose the question, however, so John had to relieve the frustration he felt at the fact of being incapacitated in that fashion using a different venue. He was squirming.

Whatever it was that they had given him was wearing off – be it his natural response to the tranquillizer (hard lesson that several people in the field hospital had learnt – Captain Watson’s response to drugs that are working on “normal” people was decidedly not of the textbook variety) or rather wrong combination of chemicals used, he was getting more and more mobile, while at the same time retaining the good feeling that came from the slight muscle relaxant and painkiller feature of whatever devilish cocktail was now travelling down his veins.

In short, whatever they had shot him up with, his body was metabolizing at a frightful rate, allowing him both to move before they came back (they had, he could speculate, expected him to remain docile for quite a while more) and giving him the unexpected comfort of doing it painlessly. Well, comparably painlessly.

He rolled to his stomach and gave his hands more working space, managing finally the rare trick of putting his legs through the loop of his arms (he had been quite nimble as a kid, it was just him being short and stocky that made people think about him as less than capable of such acrobatic movement… all to his benefit). As he had his hands now in front of him and visible, he started working on the plastic tie (really! a plastic tie!) that was keeping his wrists together by looping one of his shoe laces through it and tying it with the lace from the other shoe. He made quick work of that and massaged the skin on his wrists to life roughly. Before attempting to stand up, he carefully retied his shoes and took a few fortifying breaths.

Whatever the fuck was happening, it would hurt. Hopefully someone else.

He heard steps upstairs.

There were…

Two people. Two people were OK.

Two people were… fine.

He stood up, straightened his jacket and dusted himself off.

Sniffed.

Two of them. OK. Nothing to it.

Very well.

He shook himself all over.

Yeah. He was so ready.

“Jooohnyy boooy…!”

What. The. Actual. Absolute. Fuck.

It was either the aftereffect of the drugs or he was having auditory hallucinations. Not good. Either option.

Because what he was hearing was, in fact, the bloody laboratory hobgoblin who had been leering at Sherlock in the most unbecoming fashion when they last visited Molly.

Whoa. OK. Pick yourself up, Watson, and clock him in his stupid mug.

Two very posh-looking shoes – no scuff, not even a sign of use – appeared at the top of the stairs. Shuffled about.

John stepped carefully to the side, taking position next to the doorway, listening carefully.

“Rose? You have the coat ready?”

A female voice answered from somewhere above them, but the distortion of the sound made the reply intelligible.

“Just don’t blow yourself up, my dear. You are hot enough already!”

Ugh. Criminal flirting, one more for the list.

Actually… If that’s him, then I’ve already heard. And seen.

Ugh.

“Let me check on our guest here and send Sebby downstairs to help me when he comes. I’m not hauling that fat-assed doctor upstairs myself. Who knew that dear Sherlock had such poor taste in companions…”

The shoes moved down the stairs and John breathed slowly, deeply. Quietly. And, the moment the man’s head cleared the doorframe, he punched. With satisfaction.

The man dropped limply, straight into John’s waiting arms.

Hah. This one is definitely going to hurt someone else.

Now, to wait for “Sebby” or to risk going upstairs?

Whatever it was that they were planning, in this case patience might actually get him more than charging blindly up.

He carefully bound the thin man’s hands in a very uncomfortable position across his back – thankfully, his posh shoe laces were quite long enough for that – and gagged him with his own handkerchief, adding John’s scarf over it, to hold the wad of fabric in place.

“Lie quietly here and let me deal with your companions. Then I will be asking you some questions, my friend. Jim, was it? Jim. Very well. Take a five, Jim,” John advised the unhearing man. “I’ll get back to you presently.”

Steps on the stairs and huffy breath alerted him to the incipient arrival of “Sebby” and John felt the shiver of excitement washing down his spine and making his fingers tingle with warmth.

“Bring it on,” he whispered, putting himself by the door again. “Let’s see what kind of company is an average lab hobgoblin keeping.”

Large, blonde man peered inside, frowning.

“Jim? Boss, where are you…”

Punch.

John’s knuckles tingled.

One more that would hurt someone else.

####

Had someone asked, in a random citizen survey, what was John’s very favourite thing in the world, he would have hesitated for a moment.

Maybe it would be the extremely satisfactory sound a grown man’s jaw makes when you punch him and dislocate it, making the man in question drop one very wicked-looking knife (and straight into his own foot, too), although it wouldn’t do to admit these things aloud in front of the police.

Maybe it could be also the little shiver that went down his spine when he managed to wrestle the obviously highly skilled lady assassin to the floor, disarming her in the process, despite her protestations and a lot of squirming she had attempted, trying to get him off her as he tied her hands carefully (with plastic ties he fetched from the first man’s suit pocket). That, however, was not exactly what felt appropriate to be recounted in polite company.

He could, however, potentially, expound upon the great pleasure that one could find in the only Consulting Detective feverishly searching one for wounds — checking one all over for injuries — whispering “John, John, when I heard there was a bomb…!” — and finally, in said detective grasping one’s shoulders and looking into one’s eyes with such terrible, terrible intensity.

He could.

But he never would.

He would also never mention - polite company or not - how enjoyable it was to kiss said detective silent.

He would have said, probably, “Well, I rather like tea, I suppose.”

####

Sherlock’s lips tasted of tea that evening.