Pain in the
John knew a hospital bed when he felt one. The question then became, how had he got there? He didn't bother opening his eyes. He knew, generally speaking, what he would see. And besides that, his head was muzzy and his eyelids heavy. Best just to lie there and try to think it through.
Training kicked in and he asked himself what he would ask anyone in his position. 'What's the last thing you remember?'
Confusion of noise and lights. Sherlock's frowning face over him. Ambulance ride?
That was only marginally helpful. Logic could have told him an ambulance had brought him to where he now lay.
Okay. So, why had the ambulance come?
It was no good. He tried another tack. Instead of working backwards, he went back to the beginning of the case.
News of the sniper had been in all the papers. Someone was terrorizing Edinburgh motorists. Choosing targets apparently at random at the junction of the M8 and M9 motorways. Five people were killed by gunshots and several others injured or killed in collisions resulting from the shootings.
That was when Lestrade had called warning them that DI Sophie Marquardson would be contacting Sherlock for assistance. The case was interesting enough that Sherlock had taken it and they'd been on the train to Edinburgh that night.
God, his head ached. He should open his eyes. Find the call button. Request more painkillers. But, stubbornly, he wanted to work things out first.
Marquardson's team had narrowed down the list of suspects. There weren't that many retired army snipers known to reside in the area and the shooter's precision definitely spoke of military training. Sherlock had looked at the data, examined the clues, and promptly declared it to be one of two men.
When they'd eliminated one of the two--roughly 14 seconds after Sherlock clapped eyes on him--they'd grabbed the necessary warrants and went to make a heavily armed house call on the other.
He and Sherlock had only been allowed along on the provision they would wear flak jackets and keep out of the way. Marquardson knew them both well enough to know they wouldn't stay away just because she ordered them to. Better to bring them with and keep them where her team could protect them. Or that had been her theory.
The area had been cleared of innocent bystanders. Armed officers had approached the door. Shouts and shots were exchanged. And then, the bastard had run.
Adrenaline overcame good sense and John and Sherlock had hared off after the man, despite shouts from Marquardson to get their asses out of there.
That was where it all went muddy in his memory. A footbridge. A stone stairway. Foot slipped? Tripped? He'd fallen. Hit his head--
"How's the patient?" He recognized Marquardson's voice immediately. It was followed by Sherlock's unmistakeable baritone.
"He's been awake for several minutes, but stubbornly refuses to open his eyes. I think he's malingering." There was worry underneath the blasť tone he used.
Out of spite, John still didn't open his eyes as he replied. "I was trying to work out what happened. Did you get him?"
"Aye, we did," said Marquardson. "And a flat full of weapons you'd not expect to see outside a war zone or a survivalist's bunker."
Finally, John opened his eyes a crack and was glad to find the room dimly lit. "Good." His head was heavy and his stomach felt a bit queasy. "I've got concussion, haven't I?"
"According to your physician, who seems to be adequately educated in her field." That was high praise coming from Sherlock. "She said you're lucky you didn't fracture your skull."
"That was a nasty knock to the noggin you took," agreed Marquardson.
"Yes. Quite the crack to your cranium. Good thing you're so hard-headed."
John couldn't quite focus on Sherlock's face, but he saw well enough to identify the teasing smirk and the crinkle of humour in the corner of his eyes.
"Well that's good," he said and let his lids fall shut.
"What's good, John?"
"You wouldn't be larking about like that if I were badly hurt. Now can one of you get the nurse? Your bad jokes have given me a headache."