Characters: Molly, John, Sherlock, Jasmine (OC), daemons
Warnings/Triggers: recovery from a serious wound, a nosebleed, swearing,
Word Count 2, 690
Summary: Molly brings a bit of gossip to John in hospital and helps him take a walk, while Sherlock acts a little more like himself.
Author's notes: Second part of the Visit Series (I think it's going to be a series now) following after Sherlock's visit.
Taking a bit of a break from my epic Holiday ficcing to clean this up and post it.
Knowledge of His Dark Materials is not required. All that's necessary to know is that, in this world, humans' souls live outside of their bodies in the form of animals. There's an excellent primer here.
For reference: Subira (a dwarf mongoose), Tzophiya (a grey lourie), Duinn (a Japanese flying squirrel), Benvolio (a river otter).
“Are you going to visit John today?” Molly asked.
Sherlock had been looking at a slide under the microscope and was so engrossed that he looked up with confusion, as though he wasn't sure who John was or why he might be visiting him. He looked back down again without answering, already forgetting she'd asked anything. It was like trying to talk to someone who was half asleep.
“You'll have to try again,” Duinn said. “Wait until he's done with what he's looking at.”
Molly waited until Sherlock was finished with the slide and connected back to the real world for a few moments, then gave it another go.
“Do you think you'll go and see John in the hospital today?” she said.
Sherlock handed the slide to Tzophiya, who returned it to the box and came back with another. “It's on my way home, so I imagine so,” he said. “Why, do you think I shouldn't? Am I going too often?” Tzophiya cocked her head and blinked at Molly.
“Oh no, not at all!” Molly said. “I'm really proud of you for going that much. It's a nice thing to do and I'm sure he appreciates it.”
Sherlock nodded. Tzophiya had her 'I told you so' face on and Sherlock flicked at her as he took the slide back.
“I was just wondering if you mind if I came with you?” Molly went on. “I haven't been yet, not since the first night. I didn't want to bother him. But, you said he's doing better now and I'd like to see him.”
She realized she'd taken too long with the question and lost his interest. Duinn gave a little wave that caught Tzophiya's attention and she pecked Sherlock's hand. Sherlock's attention span had been even shorter of late. Molly wondered if he was trying not to think too much about what was going on or if he was too worried to really concentrate on anything.
“You know I don't like it when you hide a question in pointless details,” he grumbled. “Be assertive, don't dance around.”
“I'm going to come with you to see John today,” Molly said.
“Yes, fine,” Sherlock said. “We'll share a cab.”
Tzophiya flew ahead of them when they arrived at John's floor, going into his room well before Sherlock neared it. Duinn shivered on Molly's shoulder; even the thought of being that far from each other made them both have sympathetic pain. She didn't know how they stood it.
Tzophiya was out of the room again a moment later with a warning cry that made Sherlock run toward John's room at a clip. Molly ran after him, Duinn clinging to her shoulder. She hurried into the room after him and found John covered in blood.
“Oh my God!” Molly exclaimed from the doorway.
Sherlock came to a sliding stop by John's bed. He gave John a once over and then shot Tzophiya an annoyed look.
“You didn't say it was just his nose!” he complained. “That's not an emergency!”
Tzophiya pointed with her wing to the blood on John's blanket with a defiant look. Duinn leapt from her shoulder and glided to the bed, hurrying to check things out. Molly followed him, elbowing Sherlock out of the way. Up close, she could see that Sherlock was right. John had his head cocked forward and was pinching his nose gently.
“I'm fine,” John said. “Id jud a nodbleed.”
“I'll get you a cloth,” Molly said.
“Make it cold, Molly, it will help,” Duinn called as she slipped into the little loo near the bed. She grabbed a flannel from a pile on a shelf and ran the water as cold as it would go. She brought it back out, elbowing Sherlock out of the way again and leaning over Subira and Duinn to apply the flannel to John's face.
“You used to get those when you were little,” Duinn said to Molly. “I always got very dizzy. I wonder if Subira is dizzy. Maybe she should lie down.” He chittered to Subira and petted her head soothingly.
Tzophiya hopped down and strode over, poking Subira in the side with her beak. Subira punched her in return and swatted her with her tail.
Molly held the flannel to John's nose, the cold helping to constrict the blood vessels and stop the bleeding.
“Do you want me to get a nurse?” she asked. “Or an ice pack, maybe?”
“No, id fine,” John said. “Jud gibe me a minute.”
Sherlock peered over Molly's shoulder to watch and Tzophiya looked up at John to do the same. After a few minutes, John carefully unpinched his nose and no further blood came out.
“There we go,” he said. “It's done. Fuck, I look like a murder victim.” He held up his hands, wiggling his fingers as though he wasn't sure what to do with them.
“You've wasted all the blood they gave you now,” Sherlock said, dryly.
“I'm an ungrateful bastard,” John agreed.
Molly cleaned off his face and hands and tossed the flannel in the laundry hamper, then washed her hands in the sink.
“Sorry about that,” John said. “Not the greatest welcome. Hey, Molls.”
“Hey,” she said. “How are you? How are you feeling? Except for your nose, of course.”
“I'm good,” John said. “I'm getting there.”
Duinn gave Subira a hug around her neck and snuggled up to her, putting his tail over Subira's back. Tzophiya quickly moved back to Sherlock's shoulder and looked on Duinn with suspicion.
Sherlock made to sit in the chair, but Molly did as well, so Sherlock moved out of the way and so did Molly, so Sherlock moved back and so did Molly, and they both did this for several seconds, Molly apologizing repeatedly until Sherlock took her by the shoulders, forced her into the chair, and lowered the railing on the side of John's bed to sit down on the edge of it, his hand outstretched to threaten her if she moved.
“Are you sure I can't get you anything?” Molly asked John. “Your nose looks very raw. I can run down to the gift shop and get some hand cream or—oh, I have some Vaseline in my handbag, that might help.” She opened it up and rummaged through.
Duinn came over and hopped into it. “Mmound mit!” he called, popping out with the little pot in his mouth.
“I use it on my lips because the lab is so dry,” Molly explained. She passed it to John.
“Thanks,” he said. “It's dry in here, that's the problem. I used to get them a lot in Afghan, too. God, I've made a mess...”
“I'm glad it was a nosebleed,” Molly said. “Oh, I mean, instead of your stomach bleeding. I'm not glad you were bleeding. I—”
“Yes, thank you, Molly,” Sherlock interrupted. “No one thinks you wanted John to bleed to death. What kind of place is this? You're lying in your own blood and a nurse hasn't even checked on you, yet.” He stood up and marched from the room, both he and Tzophiya looking indignant.
“Well, he's in full flight today,” John remarked.
“He's been like that lately,” Molly said. “Since you were hurt. He's upset.”
“I'm sure,” John said. “He drags himself in here every day to tell me I'm being a baby.”
“Well, he's not going to tell you he's upset, is he?” Molly pointed out. “Sherlock won't even tell someone that he's hungry.”
“Sherlock doesn't get hungry,” John said. “He survives on draining the happiness from others. He's full all the time.”
“John,” Molly scolded, though Duinn and Subira both giggled. “I'm just saying, he's worried about you.”
“He's probably just annoyed I'm not around to say how brilliant he is,” John said.
“I don't think so,” Molly said, gently.
John shrugged the subject away. “What about you? What's new? Sherlock never knows what's going on in the world. Anything exciting?”
“No, just you being shot, really,” Molly said. “Erm, not that that's exciting. It's awful. But it's—that's what we're—”
“Unusual,” Duinn helped.
“Yes, it's unusual,” Molly said. “It's out of the ordinary. And it's what we talk about. A lot.”
“Well, I'm glad to be a source of entertainment, at least,” John said.
“I didn't mean it like that,” Molly said, apologetically.
“I know, I'm just teasing,” John assured her. “So, nothing else new at all? No scandals at the lab? Wars breaking out? Hot dates?”
“Erm, well...” Molly said.
She relayed a little of the affairs of the staff at work. She wasn't sure if he was interested, but he said he was just happy to hear there were people in the world doing things.
“Sherlock only cares what about five people in the world are doing,” John said. “Talking to him, it's like the rest of the three billion people on the planet don't exist. Everyone else could have been wiped from the planet and Sherlock probably wouldn't report it except to complain that no one is getting murdered any more.”
“Well, we're all still here,” Molly assured him.
John pressed a little about what she was up to, and he seemed genuinely interested, so she tried to think of anything exciting. She ended up telling him about a man she'd accidentally had coffee with a week earlier.
“How do you 'accidentally' have coffee with someone?” John asked.
“Erm, well, it's sort of complicated,” Molly said. “But it doesn't matter much, anyway, because he was probably just being nice. It wasn't that big a deal.”
John glanced down to Duinn, who had had his tail over his face in delight since she started speaking, and Molly didn't think he believed her. Subira nudged Duinn in the ribs, and he hid further under his tail.
Sherlock stormed back in with a nurse and barked at her about contamination and poor service and reports to the ministry. Her daemon, a little teacup pig, was so anxious that he was trotting in circles around her feet as she hurriedly cleaned up the bedsheets, apologizing that John wasn't scheduled to be looked in on yet and there was a patient down the hall who had needed attention, and she hadn't heard John's bell.
“I didn't use it,” John said. “Don't worry about it. It wasn't that big a deal. Sherlock is an arse.”
Duinn glided down to the floor and soothed the pig, giving her a friendly and reassuring pat on the back.
They had to get John out of bed to change his sheets, or rather he preferred to get up than be 'rolly pollied about' while they changed the sheets.
“I need to do my walkabout anyway,” he said.
“Do you want some company?” Molly asked.
“Yeah, that'd be great,” John said.
She brought the Zimmer frame for him and the nurse helped him out of bed. Molly winced in sympathy as John winced, but he didn't look in too much pain. He seemed to be off any sort of pump, so they must be using the saline lock on his arm or maybe even just giving oral painkillers. Subira crawled into the pocket of his dressing gown and John gripped the Zimmer frame and stood up.
“I've been informed I'm not helpful,” Sherlock declared, in response to Molly's look to see if he was coming. He took over Molly's chair and turned on his phone, Tzophiya looking down from his shoulder to see what he was doing.
It was very slow going, but John moved at a steady pace, even if that pace was very slow. Not too jerky or with a lot of stops. Molly shuffled along beside him, Duinn on her shoulder.
“That's not too bad,” Duinn said to Molly, optimistically.
“Do you know when you'll be able to go home?” Molly asked John.
“They aren't going to let me out until I can do stairs on my own,” John said. “And I'm a long way from that. Some of the bullet fragments nicked at my bowel, so I'm at risk of gastrointestinal perforation or bleeding or a hernia if I push too hard.”
“GPs are not very nice,” Molly said, Duinn's nose wrinkling up. “I've seen a few of those. The smell is—”
“Molly, hush,” Duinn said.
“Sorry,” Molly said. “Erm, I just mean I wouldn't risk it.”
“Yeah, I'd rather stay off your table,” John said. “I'm trying to be a good patient. S'fucking hard, you know. Us doctors, we're awful patients.” Subira looked glum.
“You know too much,” Molly said. “You think you can treat yourself.”
John was very quickly out of breath and all of a sweat not even four steps past the room next to his. He took a few more steps—almost defiant ones—before Subira tugged on his sleeve and he turned around.
“I'm worried about him,” Duinn told Molly. “Make sure he doesn't fall.”
“I know,” Molly said, patting his head. “I will.”
It was such slow going that housekeeping was done with John's room by the time they reached it again. Tzophiya had been looking out of the door, watching them, and flew back to Sherlock when they arrived. Sherlock stood up from the chair and lowered the bed to a more convenient level for John without looking up from his phone. Molly helped him back into bed and Sherlock raised it again.
“Fuck,” John said, laying back on his pillow. “That's the worst. Walking is the fucking worst. No, I'm okay. Sorry. Just venting. I'm fine.” Subira crawled up on his chest and he stroked her back. She looked done in.
There was a knock on the door sill. A pretty woman with an otter daemon stuck her head in. “Looks like I'm missing a party,” she said. “Should I come back later?”
“No, come on in,” John said. “I'm already feeling like crap, let's make it worse.”
The otter bounded into the room cheerfully, waving hello to Tzophiya, who looked confused by his presence. The woman followed.
“Bad day?” she asked.
“No, just smarting a little,” John said. “Ignore me. This is my friend Molly. Molly, this is Jasmine, my physio.”
Molly shook hands with her and introduced Duinn. The otter was called Benvolio and gave Duinn a solemn bow in greeting.
“We should probably go,” Molly said. “I don't want to keep you from your exercise.” She gave John's arm a squeeze. “I'm glad you're doing better. I hope you get to go home soon.”
“Me, too,” John said. “Thanks for bringing news of the great beyond. It was good to see you.”
Duinn glided down to say goodbye to Subira and then shooed Tzophiya back toward Sherlock to get him to leave.
“He's looking really great,” Duinn said. “I'm very pleased with his progress.”
“Me too,” Molly said. She echoed those sentiments to Sherlock, who didn't seem as sure.
“Is he better?” Sherlock said, with a frown. Tzophiya looked openly uncertain. “I see him every day, it's hard to make an accurate comparison. I feel as though he isn't making any progress.”
“Oh, no, are you kidding?” Molly said. “I mean, I only saw him right after, but...the kind of wound he has—more people die from that than live. The fact that he's alive is amazing, really. And he's up and walking around. He's doing really well. I think so, anyway.”
“He was very ill,” Sherlock said.
“But he's getting better,” Molly said. She gave his shoulder a tentative pat. “And I think you're doing a good job helping him.”
Sherlock nodded, straightening up into a more solid stance. He exited the lift and went to hail a cab.
“I think he needed to hear that,” Duinn said, nuzzling her cheek. “That was good.”
“You're going in a different direction, so you can get your own cab,” Sherlock said, stepping into the one he'd found. Tzophiya flew in behind him.
“Bye,” Molly called pointedly, after the departing cab.
“That was not very good,” Duinn noted.
“No,” Molly said. “But at least he's a little more like himself.”