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Fic: Michigan Hardcore

Title: Michigan Hardcore
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Rating: PG
Characters: John Watson, Raz, Mycroft Holmes
Length: 960
Alternate Link: AO3
Author's Notes: Written for the watsons_woes JWP 2015 Prompt #22, While You Were Out. Also, the 4th story I've written this month that came from a seed planted by the 'yellow' prompt on July 2. Unbeta'd.
Summary: Even at his lowest point, John can't resist a mysterious call for help.

John's bed-sit wasn't in the best part of London. In the months he'd lived there, there had been two police drug raids and a stabbing. Loud, wild parties from the flat above his own and screaming fights between the couple down the end of the hall were a regular occurrence. It was a relief, actually, after the thick, unbroken silence of 221B. At least here he had good reasons for not being able to sleep.

John had recently begun working nights at the Homerton Hospital A&E. They were chronically under-staffed, and John was limping home one damp, foggy morning after his twelfth consecutive shift. He wasn't surprised to see a new bit of graffiti on the wall by the entrance to his building, but the color caught his eye. It was bright yellow – the exact shade of the spray-paint in the Blind Banker case.

John took a step back and examined the work, an abstraction of bold curves and jagged zig-zags. Suddenly, a stylized caduceus came into focus, the symbol for a doctor. Wound around the staff were squiggles that John was able to translate into three words: help bring gear. John's heart began to pound.

It wasn't Sherlock. John knew that. He knew Sherlock was dead. He'd checked for a pulse, spoken at Sherlock's funeral, and mourned at his bloody grave. So this was not Sherlock summoning him.

It must be Raz, the young graffiti artist Sherlock had consulted during the case, who needed a doctor's help. John let himself in and quickly sorted through the 'gear' he had on hand. He missed his field medic pack and rifle, but had enough medical supplies for a decent kit. He pulled his handgun out from its hiding place inside the armchair. After all, it never hurt to be prepared.

He found Raz slouched in a hoodie, at the South Bank skate park where he'd shown them the graffiti that let Sherlock crack the case.

"Fuckin' finally," Raz said when he saw John. "I been waiting all night!"

"Sorry, I just got off work," John found himself apologizing.

"Come on, he's hurt bad," Raz said, ducking away into the piss-stink shadows of the underpass.

It's not Sherlock, John reminded himself as he followed. Sherlock is dead, he told himself when he caught sight of a tall, dark-haired figure curled up in a corner. Sherlock is dead and buried.

When the figure looked up, revealing the face of a boy no more than fifteen years old, John gasped in disappointment. He covered it with a cough.

"Where are you hurt?" John asked, the same question he'd asked frightened young men across three countries.

"Wanker sicced his dog on me," the boy said in a trembling voice, indicating his leg.

John winced sympathetically at the torn, blood-stained jeans and what looked to be a very nasty bite to the right calf.

"You should really go to the A&E," John told him. "They can check for rabies and give you some proper pain-killers. Cleaning the wound is going to hurt without them."

The boy shook his head.

"He can't," Raz explained. "Ken-Ken here's a runaway."

"I can take it," Ken-Ken said with a sniffle. "Got way worse from m'dad."

"All right, then," John said, taking what he needed out of his pack. He had worked with Sherlock's Homeless Network enough in the past to know that the boy would literally rather die on the streets than risk being returned to his family. As he neatly cut the boy's jeans, so it could be mended later, John chatted with Raz.

"Why all the cloak and dagger," John asked. "If you needed my help, why didn't you just show up at my door and ask?"

"Couldn't," Raz said. "He won't let us."

"He?" John asked, not letting himself hope, his hands steady as he flushed the bite with saline. He pretended not to notice Ken-Ken's flinches and whimpers. If you can't relieve a man's pain, John found that ignoring it was the best way to get the job done.

"Yeah, you know," Raz leaned in closer to John and whispered, "Big Brother."

John snorted, wondering if that was a reality TV reference, a remnant of Sherlock's mockery of his brother's supposed weight problem, or both. "Playing games with the CCTV again, is he?"

Raz nodded. "And worse. Micah wouldn't take the hint. She had some kind of ear infection. Tried to go see you, three days in a row. The last time, she got grabbed by some men dressed all in black, and they dumped her out the back of a van in Berlin. Took her over a week to hitch and hook her way back."

John bandaged the bite, shaking his head, feeling the low throb of some emotion. Anger, maybe. That was probably Mycroft's version putting a house spider outside in the garden, where it wouldn't bother anyone. "I guess it comes as no surprise to anyone that the British government is a bit of a prick."

Ken-ken let out a surprised giggle.

"Okay, that's done," John told him, and started packing up. "Keep your leg clean and dry. I'll be back tomorrow morning with some antibiotics. You're to take them all yourself, you understand? No selling them, and no sharing, even if you feel better. That just makes the germs come back stronger."

Ken-Ken nodded.

"And Raz, if anyone else needs medical attention, and can't go to the A&E, you let them know I'll be back to help tomorrow. I'll tell Mycroft he's not to interfere," John said.

"Will do, Doc. And … welcome back," Raz said with a smile.

John jerked his head in a nod and walked away, blinking fiercely in the bright morning sun.



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 22nd, 2015 10:44 pm (UTC)
Good for John, for several reasons!

And I hope Mycroft receives a searing nasty-gram shortly.
Jul. 22nd, 2015 10:59 pm (UTC)
Definitely. John's starting to emerge from that numb haze, and Mycroft's about to catch the brunt of it.
Jul. 23rd, 2015 01:37 am (UTC)
This is lovely. I think Watson's found a purpose, and Mycroft will probably be secretly pleased if he's told off by a man with fire in his eyes instead of a dead 1000-yard stare.
Jul. 23rd, 2015 01:57 am (UTC)
*beams a smile* Exactly. Thank you, gardnerhill!
Jul. 26th, 2015 12:36 am (UTC)
My favourite trait in BBC's John is that he is a very good doctor. Too bad it is only mentioned in the pilot. I love how you work in that John is still unsettled about Sherlock's death and you show him working hard to move on and that it is not easy for him. Showing him getting his doc groove back (and preparing to snark off the British Government) is a step along the road to closure.
Jul. 26th, 2015 01:16 am (UTC)
Oh, what about when he saves the guard at the palace? And Sherlock praised him for it, in his best man speech!

John grieves, like he does everything, quietly but with his whole heart. Thank you, captain!
Jul. 26th, 2015 09:23 am (UTC)
That is true. That episode shows John being a very good doctor. He saves the guard and presumably Major Sholto too. It's just too bad we don't get to see any hint of that in the episodes in between. Of course the show is called "Sherlock" and not "Dr Awesome" so it is to be expected.
Jul. 26th, 2015 10:51 am (UTC)
The Dr Awesome is subtext. *nods sagely*
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )