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It's been a desperately long time since I wrote Crap Telly, I've wanted to write more Sherlock, and I couldn't resist this prompt. It's not slashy like my last one, more like friendshipy. It's also the first time I've written characters other than Sherlock and John, namely Sarah and Lestrade, so that's something I'm a tad nervous about.

I'd say the timeline for this could be somewhere between The Blind Banker and The Great Game, if we want to fiddle around with placing it in canon. It's after TBB, in any case, since I make reference to Sarah finding John asleep in his office. With that in mind, here's the fill, and feedback is much obliged!

Look After You

It’s not like it hasn’t happened before. Oh, it has, and he’s sure that more people than Sarah have caught on. She found him asleep in his office that one time, and rather a peaceful sleep it was, too. He’d basically gotten off with a warning, then, but he’s finding it harder and harder to stay awake on the job.

He doesn’t sleep get much sleep these days. It’s not that he doesn’t love the adventure, the adrenaline, the thrill—he does, unashamedly. It’s that Sherlock has been at this for so long that his skills, and his body, have been honed to efficiency. He doesn’t need sleep and food like the rest of them do, and John has decided that if Sherlock can do it, hell, he can, too. He invaded Afghanistan; he was a soldier. He can endure under tough conditions. So he forgoes sleep and food, sometimes for two days or more at a time, and decides not to let Sherlock see that he’s, you know, human.

He has a break between consultations with patients—only half an hour or so, but enough to catch up on the sleep he hadn’t gotten last night. They’d been working all night on the murder of a local university student, something that shouldn’t have been complicated but was, and John is beat. His desk chair isn’t the most comfortable one in the world, but he’s dead asleep in it, his hand grasping his mobile so that the vibration of the alarm function will wake him when it’s time for the consultation.

The door banging open is what startles him into waking, the abrupt motion causing his phone to go flying out of his hand and into the opposite wall as he finds Sarah standing in the doorway, lips pressed into a thin line. His first instinct is to go on the defense—I was NOT sleeping; what are you talking about?—but he knows it won’t work with her. It never has so far, anyway.

“Has Ms. Fuchs arrived early?” he asks, lamely, naming the next patient coming in for a consultation and hoping Sarah will spare him the lecture, answer the question, move on.

“No,” Sarah says, leveling him with a slight glare to show him to cut the bull; she knows he’s evading. “But Lestrade has. Something about the university student case.”

“Oh, right, then. In that case, I’ve got to run; can you take Fuchs—”

“I’ll cover you for the rest of the day, John,” she says as he gets up, grabbing his coat and shrugging into it, “but I’d like to have a word with Sherlock.”

At this point, John’s quite surprised the lecture hasn’t come in, and he raises an eyebrow as he fixes the collar on his jacket. “What about?”

“He’s running you down, John.” She watches as he retrieves his phone from the floor, checks it for damage from earlier’s flinging, pockets it. “You weren’t taking a cat nap just before. You  haven’t been sleeping.”

“The lack of sleep isn’t because of—”

Another glare. “You and I both know it’s because of the university student case, John. If you’re still sleeping on the job within the next few days, I’m calling that man and having at it.” Her expression softens some as she sees he’s slightly stunned. He was expecting to be the target of her rage, not Sherlock. “Good luck with the case,” she adds, turning away, clicking down the hall in her heels and leaving him to find Lestrade.

Sherlock could admit it was one of the more bizarre cases he’d seen in his days assisting Scotland Yard. A snake had been placed in the airduct at the university housing, and a professor, Dr. Roylott, had worked in conjunction with one of the girl’s housemates to signal it to emerge from the airduct and bite her so the girl couldn’t go public with the affair they’d been having. The criminals were to be arrested and he felt satisfied with the past few days’ work, even if he and John had spent the night before in a cramped room watching and waiting for something.

He stands on the sidewalk watching the housemate get taken away, sees one of the cars peel away and speed towards campus in order to arrest the professor. When he turns to find John and hail a cab to take them back to Baker Street, he finds himself face to face with Lestrade.

Before he can even ask, Lestrade starts in. “I know this is your hobby, and that you can’t picture any of the rest of us having lives of our own, but do consider that the rest of us have jobs we need to do well?”

He’s never been confounded by Lestrade before. It’s unsettling and, quite frankly, an annoyance. “I haven’t any idea what you’re—”

Lestrade jerks his head, indicating somewhere behind Sherlock, and when he turns, he can see John half-slumped against the side of the building. “He keeps insisting he’s fine, but apparently it takes someone even half as intelligent as you to realize he needed to eat something beyond a breath mint every few hours to keep from passing out. While you were going on about the fast-acting venoms of Indian snakes, we were trying to shove a biscuit and coffee down his throat. Kept insisting he wasn’t hungry.” Lestrade fixes him with a withering look. “When, really, it’s obvious he doesn’t want you to notice that you need to slow down every once in a while to accommodate him. If I were you, I’d keep that in mind.”

And he walks off, leaving Sherlock to consider these limitations and how to deal with them.

Another week arrives, and a case to go with it, and this time Sherlock knows to look out for the warning signs. He’d been surprised by Lestrade chewing him out, but he got an earful from Sarah even after John had recovered from the strain, and he’s not even surprised to receive several gift cards for restaurants in the vicinity of Scotland Yard from Mycroft, with a note admonishing him to use them.

They’ve been searching all day for a missing murder weapon, but he can calculate that it’s been at least twelve hours since breakfast and that they’ve not slowed down all day. He looks to John as they leave Scotland Yard—they’d been attending the briefing for the officers—and offers him dinner, noting John’s mild surprise as he even asks him to pick the restaurant.

He’s not hungry, himself, but he orders risotto and eats a few bites as John starts in on his lasagna. He waits for the inevitable; it comes when John is about halfway done.

“I’m surprised at you,” his flatmate says, glancing up as he dabs with his napkin at the corner of his mouth, wiping away a stray bit of sauce. “You’re not one to stop for dinner… to stop at all, really.”

“Mycroft was so obliging as to send over several gift cards for restaurants around this area, ostensibly to congratulate us on solving the Roylott case. He made sure to remind me of the expiration dates; it was only prudent to act on them now.”

He doesn’t miss the slight hint of a smile as John’s lips quirk upward, but the man smothers it with another bite of lasagna and doesn’t comment. Or at least, he doesn’t until Sherlock suggests that they take a few hours, go back to Baker Street, so that he can review his books and John can have a break, if he’d like.

John’s bemused as he says it, but there’s an undertone of… gratitude, of something like being moved by his concern. “Heard from Sarah, have you?”

He drops the charade, knowing it’s useless. John can make deductions of his own, especially when it comes to the everyday dealings with people that he’s never quite been able to fully grasp. “She rang the flat while you were at work on Friday. Additionally, Lestrade and Mycroft appear to have their own interests in your well-being. I can admit that I’ve been…” He pauses, considering his word choice. “… somewhat callous, managing to forget that others aren’t able to work at my speed. If you can forgive my unconcern in the past, I will try to make a point of considering your needs in future.”

This time, John can’t hide his smile. “Sherlock Holmes, admitting he’s been wrong,” he laughs, setting down his fork and reaching for his glass of water. “Not how I expected my day to end.”

“It’s not something you should often expect,” Sherlock tries to point out, but he finds that he almost has to laugh as well as he turns back to the risotto and John finishes his meal.


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 12th, 2011 05:08 pm (UTC)
I saw the link to this you posted at the meme so followed it here, this is lovely. Lestrade getting in Sherlock's face like that and Mycroft working behind the scenes and even Sarah calling to lecture him. Great job!
Feb. 12th, 2011 05:14 pm (UTC)
... Sorry, I was distracted by the Jack Harkness in your icon. ;)

Thank you! I loved the idea of people having to actually remind Sherlock that others have limitations and that he has to give poor John a break sometimes, and I had to write this. Thanks for the feedback; I'm glad you enjoyed!
Feb. 12th, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
I like that - as a study of John, it's quite true to character.
Feb. 12th, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I liked the prompt so much because I could definitely see John doing something like this. He is a soldier, after all; he'd definitely think he could keep up with it.
Feb. 12th, 2011 08:27 pm (UTC)
I really love not only not only the fic is general, but that you chose to write about this(prompt or not), and that Sherlock tried to pin his new found consideration for John's needs on Mycroft sending him congratulatory gift cards with expiry dates.
Feb. 12th, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC)
I've done slash for Sherlock and John before, but this prompt didn't seem to lend itself to that, and I decided that friendship was best. (It was good exercise, anyway! :D) And you know that Sherlock would totally evade telling John that he has any type of concern, at least at first, hence the expiration dates line. I had fun writing this; glad you enjoyed!
Feb. 13th, 2011 12:05 am (UTC)
Sorry that actually should have read I not only love this fic in general... though that said I do have a preference for friendship fics which there aren't nearly enough of.

Sorry far to many typos in my original comment I'd blame the vodka but I'm almost as bad totally sober.
Feb. 13th, 2011 12:23 am (UTC)
Oh, no problem; I've had my off days, too! ;)

(BTW, I'm your newest Tumblr follower, shiver-and-shake; I don't know if that's coincidental or not, haha!)
Feb. 13th, 2011 12:28 am (UTC)
Thank you. I love new followers there is not much on there at the moment, but I plan to fix that.
Feb. 12th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
That's lovely. I like John trying to just "man up" and everyone around conspiring to make sure he doesn't have to.
Feb. 12th, 2011 09:29 pm (UTC)
Very nicely done. I love how Lestrade chewing him out shows that the Yarders have "adopted" John as one of their own. Well done!
Feb. 12th, 2011 09:41 pm (UTC)
I loved it when Lestrade told Sherlock that they're practically force-feeding John when Sherlock's not looking. :)

No, seriously. I liked it, it was very well-written and stayed true to character. Good job! :)
Feb. 12th, 2011 10:26 pm (UTC)
The rest of them force-feeding John behind Sherlock's back was just one of those images that came into my head that I had to run with. Just the thought of Sherlock babbling on and on as John's practically passing out is both sad and entertaining. XD Glad you enjoyed!
Feb. 12th, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC)
I totally agree. Having John almost pass out while Sherlock is babbling, and people trying to stuff food down John's throat. <3
Feb. 12th, 2011 10:19 pm (UTC)
I really like this. I've read a lot about John being Sherlock's keeper, and I think he absolutely is in many ways but I love the idea that it's a little bit mutual. All the interventions were particularly in character too.
Feb. 12th, 2011 10:38 pm (UTC)
Awww! *gurgles* I love that Mycroft in his subtle way sent him gift cards around Scotland Yard. <3
Feb. 12th, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC)
I liked this story. I liked everyone getting on Sherlock's case, because it sounds very in character. :)
Feb. 13th, 2011 03:54 am (UTC)

And I love how Sarah hasn't gotten the short end of the stick! I mean, I ship S/J well enough, but that doesn't mean that I hate Sarah, so it's nice to see her treated nicely. ^___^

Feb. 19th, 2011 05:59 am (UTC)
I thought I'd left a comment, but I hadn't and I need to rectify my mistake by telling you that this is amazing :)

Everyone bands together to help John out! Sarah isn't the bad person!

Anyway, thank you for sharing :)
Feb. 19th, 2011 01:12 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you! I'm glad to see people being nice to Sarah. I love the boys, I do slash them (not here, but in other fics of mine), but I'm not the type that automatically makes the woman "blocking" the pairing into the villain or something. I find that attitude really strange and even sexist, to be honest! I'm glad you enjoyed! :)
Mar. 10th, 2011 06:42 am (UTC)
I saw that you liked the Jack Harkness in one of your other comments, so here, have another one! I'm sure he won't mind. ;)

That was lovely. I was actually cringing in sympathetic pain at the sheer exhaustion John displayed during The Blind Banker, and the way Sherlock just wouldn't stop... it can't be easy to run around after that man. So kudos on this loverly piece!
Mar. 10th, 2011 12:22 pm (UTC)
Hee, more Jack is always a good thing. ;) Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed!
Mar. 16th, 2011 04:16 am (UTC)
You can never have too many Jacks around... Imagine if we could mass-produce him... where is a clone machine when we need it? XD
Apr. 2nd, 2011 08:25 pm (UTC)
Nicely done. Really enjoyed this.
Jun. 22nd, 2015 10:50 pm (UTC)
(opening tardis) yeahhh! so well to watch for your friends!!! (closing tardis)
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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