As they sat in their favourite Chinese restaurant, John Watson tried not to think about what had happened only an hour before finding himself here. As usual he was seated opposite Sherlock who continued to silently study his surroundings and make deductions about God knows what. He stared down at his plate of food, barely even acknowledging its existence. He kept trying to focus on Sherlock; Sherlock's calm eyes (though they didn't seem too calm at the moment), his thoughtful expression, his hands pressed together underneath his chin, his brow occasionally creasing when a new idea came to mind.
He breathed out a heavy sigh, propping his head up on top of his clasped hands, closing his eyes for a brief moment, trying to get a grip. His ears were still ringing from being hit across the head with a cricket bat. His wrists were still burning from where the rope had tightly bound them together. His bad shoulder still hurt considerably more than usual from the way Sherlock had dragged him up off the ground and out of the building. His head was still throbbing from where it had hit the cement pillar after he had been thrown forwards by the explosion.
Everything slowly came back into focus as John regained consciousness. He looked across to see Sherlock working his hands out of the rope that bound him to the cage behind him. He wasn't used to seeing such a frustrated, almost upset look on the man's face. A wave of nausea consumed him briefly, but he fought it down.
"Sherlock?" He called croakily, his voice echoing around the unfamiliar car park.
Sherlock looked up at John, surprising yet obvious panic written in every inch of his features.
"Sherlock, what's –" he paused, feeling something touch his bare skin.
He glanced down and swallowed the feeling of dread that suddenly engulfed him. Attached to his chest was undoubtedly a bomb, its cold wires brushing his skin every time he took a breath in. A small digital clock read 0:32. The dread rose up as bile in his throat as the number switched to 0:31. It wasn't a clock, it was a timer. A bomb.
Before he even had time to look up, Sherlock was by his side, quickly untying the ropes around his wrists.
"You're not wearing a shirt" John commented weakly, but Sherlock said nothing.
He grabbed Johns arm, yanking him up from the floor, sending a surge of pain through his left shoulder as he did so, and grabbed John's shirt from the ground in the same movement. His cold fingers scrambled at John's bare chest, sending shivers down his spine.
"What are you… What…" He couldn't get his words out properly, the ringing in his ears and the nausea both building now he was standing.
He swallowed again, his mind slowly catching up. The bombs. He managed to catch 0:25 change to 0:24 before Sherlock tossed the seemingly harmless device aside, dragging John with a considerable amount of force as he ran. John tried to force his feet to obey, but his brain was still having a difficult time keeping up.
John jumped slightly, Sherlock's hand on his back jolting him from his thoughts. Truth be told, despite the war, and despite often finding himself in life threatening situations, he never really got used to the idea of almost being blown up.
He stood up numbly, realising that was an invitation to leave. He noticed Sherlock looked on the verge of saying something, but nothing was said.
"Are you alright?" Sherlock asked John quietly a few minutes after leaving the restaurant.
John laughed nervously, glancing at Sherlock sideways for a moment.
"I'm not as good as you are at these things" He commented quietly, always feeling just that little bit weaker in comparison to Sherlock. "I'm fine. Just need to sleep, I suppose." He figured this was true. He always felt more relaxed once he had slept. "Are you…? Alright, I mean."
"You didn't… I should have… I'm sorry" Sherlock muttered, completely ignoring John's own question.
It was unusual for Sherlock to struggle with words, he thought. It was even more unusual for Sherlock to apologise. Yet here he was, doing both, with an added pained expression he had never seen on that flawless face before.
John felt Sherlock's hand touch his own, and he glanced up at him. He was looking back down at him, a look of genuine concern on his face for a small moment before his face went blank again. He realised they had both stopped walking, and that their hands were still touching, with Sherlock's fingers ever so slightly curled around John's hand.
"Sherlock, what are you…. Are you okay?"
Sherlock's face twisted into an expression John didn't recognise, but within a second, the expression was gone and Sherlock was walking again, a look of deep concentration on his face.
"Hm? Yes. I'm fine" he replied, dropping his hand back to his side, almost as though he had only just realised he had held his hand in the first place.
It was clear to John that Sherlock was anything but fine. He knew he wasn't as good at deductions as Sherlock was, but he wasn't completely hopeless. He could tell when something was wrong, and something was indeed wrong. He doubted it had anything to do with the fact that they had both been outsmarted, caught and tied up in a building wired with bombs. The only thing from that situation that would have bothered Sherlock was the fact that he was outsmarted, but the look on his face definitely didn't match that conclusion. Something else was going on inside that brilliant brain of his.
His hand was still tingling from where Sherlock had held it moments before. Before he could think too much about it, John took his hand again, this time properly and a little less awkwardly. However, within seconds, his hand was left hanging uselessly by his side again, a small distracted noise issuing from Sherlock's mouth as he hurried his pace, as though trying to avoid it from happening again.
Authors note - This is the first time I've ever written for Sherlock, and the first time I've ever ever published something I've written... Reviews are more than welcome, and will actually encourage me to finish this fic.