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11 April 2012 @ 01:54 am
FIC: Do No Harm (1/3)  
Title: Do No Harm (1/3)
Author: joonscribble
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Summary: John runs into someone from his army days while out on a case with Sherlock.
Timeline: Set in between "The Blind Banker" and "The Great Game."
Rating: R for swearing later
Spoilers: Nothing in particular.
Disclaimer: All familiar characters originated from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and were then tweaked by Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss.
Author's Notes: So, I'm aware that the BBC has their own version of this old army mate of John's as the name's appeared on John's blog. But I didn't realize that until I'd already written most of this. So I guess let's just say it's two different people who happen to share the same last name? Okay, great thanks!
Many thanks to both awanderingbard and guardian_chaos who directed me to some great information regarding the British Army and how it operates. The sources they pointed me toward were awesome and any mistakes anyone notices is just me not reading carefully enough.


2010, London

Despite being a lapsed Catholic, John sent a quick prayer in thanks for the murder that had Lestrade call Sherlock in. This was rapidly followed by John sending another quick prayer in regret that he should be so pleased at someone’s unfortunate demise. But after being trapped in the flat with a case-less Sherlock for two weeks straight, John had been ready to commit murder himself in order to get Sherlock outside.

“Any crime you’d commit, John, would hardly warrant me standing up, let alone walking out the door,” Sherlock had drawled from his spot on the sofa when John had suggested it aloud, half serious.

But John was saved from any desperate acts by Lestrade finding himself with “a bit of a puzzler” as the inspector put it. A man had collapsed just outside a local café. Several witnesses stated that they heard a series of gunshots after the man had fallen. He’d been alive and well on the ground, frantically waving away any offer of help until he simply let out a single scream and-

“Blood just gushed up! Like, gushed. From his chest. Like a tomato. Exploding,” one particularly enthusiastic young witness related upon Sherlock and John’s arrival.

“Yes, thank you,” Lestrade shooed him away back toward the large crowd that was still being mostly held back by the men Lestrade had stationed around the crime scene.

“But it sounds accurate,” he continued as the three men stared down at the very dead one on the sidewalk. “That doesn’t look like the result of gunshots,” he motioned to the pulpy mess that was formerly a chest.

The pulpy mess that Sherlock was having little squeamishness sticking his face practically in with happy abandon. “That’s where you’re wrong, Lestrade. It’s exactly the result of gunshots if they were to emanate from the inside.”

“Sorry, did you say from the inside?” John asked.

The detective leapt to his feet once again and quickly did a half turn, scanning the buildings around them. “I’d say a three street radius ought to be sufficient,” he murmured to himself in lieu of answering John’s question. “Oh, that’s very clever!” Sherlock enthused. “Come on, John. We’ll start at the winery two streets over!”

When John turned to Lestrade to give customary apologies for Sherlock clearly going off and running, only to return when he felt like it to explain the solution to mere mortals, his eye caught onto a figure standing amongst the still gawping crowd.

For a second, he wondered if he was having some sort of visual memory hallucination brought on by the smell of the blood. But when John blinked, the figure was still there.

“Robert Murray?” John called aloud before he could stop himself. The familiar face was now awash with mutual recognition as he responded to the name. A happy smile split John’s face.

**
2009, Afghanistan

“Captain Watson?”

John glanced up from the informal inventory he was doing of the morphine supplies he had remaining in his kit. In front of him was a soldier whose face looked like it hadn’t decided yet whether to be a boy’s or a man’s. He was standing at rigid attention that would make any drill sergeant proud. But given the day John just had with his elbows deep in blood and other parts of his fellow soldiers, he wasn’t in the mood for ceremony.

“Yes?”

“Corporal Murray, reporting for duty, sir.”

Ah. So this was the unfortunate who was to take over for John’s last orderly. “Which primary school did they recruit you from, Murray?” was John’s question before he could stop himself. To his mild surprise, Corporal Murray didn’t even pause before answering.

“The Lancashire Fusiliers, sir. I spent a week as OMO,” he replied with utmost seriousness. John wondered if he was trying to be funny.

“And what sort of field experience did you have during your week as OMO?”

“None, sir,” was the unflinching reply.

Christ. It was going to be Corporal Hennings all over again. It’d be a miracle to just have someone who knew which end a syringe was supposed to go into the patient at this point.

“At ease, corporal,” John ordered tiredly, getting sick of staring up at him. “Have a seat and I’ll take you through the latest. I don’t suppose you brought any supplies with you?”

“No, sir,” Murray answered, sitting down stiffly across from John. “It would have been stealing.”

John sighed. He supposed it wasn’t the worst place to start.

**

To John’s surprise, he found Murray to be an excellent medic on the field. The first time all hell had broken loose, he’d expected the corporal to either freeze or administer somewhat panicked aid. But Murray followed his orders without a pause, his youthful face cemented in an expression of grim determination as he deftly helped John treat a variety of injuries ranging from mild to vomit-inducingly horrific.

“I have you, Sergeant Lang,” was all Murray had calmly said in the face of Lang’s screaming after shrapnel had lodged itself into the man’s eyes. Even in the midst of the gunfire, John could hear Murray’s comforting, oddly confident voice as he spoke in his clipped way to the injured, assuring them of his presence and help.

**

During the little down time they had, John found that Murray rarely engaged with the others. He didn’t smoke or drink or partake in any of the other past time activities other than reading in between seeing to his duties at their makeshift clinic. It wasn’t to the extent that it was off putting or odd. A point had come that those in the regiment already recognized Murray for the competent soldier he was. He’d saved lives. So if he didn’t engage in much social chatting well…small point of concern.

As for himself, John respected Murray’s sense of privacy. It wasn’t a trait that John grew up with amongst his somewhat histrionic family members and therefore it was a trait he prized above many others. In the four months John worked with him, they developed as close a relationship as one might expect in their situation. They both admitted a love of Motown which had gone a surprisingly long way to aid the friendship along.

“Drink, corporal?”

Murray blinked up from his dinner at the flask being held toward him and shook his head. “No, thank you, captain. I don’t drink.” His tone suggested that John knew that already.

“Worth a try,” John shrugged as he took the seat opposite in their cramped makeshift hospital tent where they often had to eat. “It may be that a pint is what I miss the most.”

A small smile quirked Murray’s lips. “Parks,” he replied. “A sodden English park on a rainy English day.”

“Takeaways.”

“Scotch eggs.”

“It amazes me that you don’t drink but you can ingest a Scotch egg. Happily.”

“I’ve never heard of anyone making bad decisions due to an overconsumption of Scotch eggs, sir.”

“That’s because that already was the bad decision, Murray.”

Murray chuckled and the two settled into eating in comfortable silence awhile longer.

“What will you do?” John suddenly felt the need to ask. He hadn’t ever felt inspired to ask anyone such a question before. “When you return to England?”

Murray shrugged in that noncommittal way of his. “I may stay on.” The silence that followed spoke volumes. “You seem surprised.”

“I would have thought you’d want to return home so you can…” John trailed off vaguely. He had little idea of what sort of future or career Murray envisioned for himself. It wasn’t that John felt Murray would do poorly as a lifelong soldier. In fact, he was off to an extremely promising start. But something about the picture seemed incongruous.

Murray shrugged again. “Despite everything, I rather enjoy it here. It makes sense.”

It was a rather succinct echo of John’s own view of the army. “Most men your age do the allotted time and break for freedom.”

The younger man chewed slowly around his meal, his lips thinning into a tight line. “You must have been my age when you decided to stay on,” he observed.

It was a subtle but rather clear ‘piss off.’ John took it for what it was worth and backed off.

“You’ll be pining for Scotch eggs a lot longer, then,” he commented instead.

Murray smiled. “I’ll survive, sir.”

**

It actually took John a moment to realize he’d been shot. Twice. For an insane moment, he thought he’d tripped which accounted for why he was now lying face down on the sandy ground. But then the gunfire kept going and the intense pain radiating from his shoulder and thigh made itself known.

Moving was an absolute impossibility given even breathing at the moment was causing levels of pain John hadn’t known was possible. He was still out in the open, completely immobile.

Please God, let me live.

Things blurred as John felt himself fall down a rather dark hole.

Only to be thrust back up again after an undetermined amount of time as a pair of hands turned him over. He reckoned it couldn’t have been too long considering there was still gunfire. It was interesting that his logic still worked considering the rush of agony that made itself be known again as the hands were now pulling him up and forward.

“I have you, captain.”

Murray was half carrying him. To where, John had no idea and the pain was making him almost want to order Murray to drop him and go. Suddenly amongst the smell of sweat and blood, was tang of engine fumes and John found himself staring at the ridges of tires.

“That’s all we can take! We haven’t got bloody room!” someone hollered.

“You can take one injured,” Murray shouted back over the roaring noise. “Keep pressure on the wounds! Harris, pressure on the wounds! Keep him lying flat!”

John blacked out before he heard the rest of the argument.

**

It took several weeks for John to recover just from the infection alone. His fever had been high enough during the early weeks that he couldn’t recall much of anything other than feeling like he was lying directly out in the hot Afghan sun. By the time he’d recovered enough to be aware of his surroundings, he found himself far from his camp, being readied to be sent home.

He heard bits and pieces from various sources (mostly the newly wounded) that his orderly had managed to get him on a truck headed back to camp, despite the purported lack of space in the vehicle. As far as anyone knew Murray survived the day and was still with the Northumberland Fusiliers. As he lay in his bed, knowing what was ahead (invalided, physical therapy, mental therapy) John knew he should be grateful. And he was. Even as jealousy lapped at the edges of his mind.

NEXT
 
 
 
Astoundingly fond of avocados and rainy weather.: DW_Cheersguardian_chaos on April 11th, 2012 07:18 am (UTC)
“Any crime you’d commit, John, would hardly warrant me standing up, let alone walking out the door,”

Ha! Oohhhh, burn. Oh man, what a fascinating and vivid murder. You referenced tomatoes and my eyes bugged out a bit. Then you mentioned bullets from the inside and my curiosity is full-on piqued. I can't wait to see how this was done. *jitters about*

One tiny typo: "But when John blinked and the figure was still there." ...I believe the "and" can be replaced with a comma.

I love your descriptions of Murray! The way John reacted to seeing him at the crime scene was very telling of a fond relationship, and what you wrote about their first meeting already shows him to be an interesting character. He didn't take any supplies because that "would have been stealing"! Haaa!! I love him!

This line, I adore:

...a soldier whose face looked like it hadn’t decided yet whether to be a boy’s or a man’s.\

And gah, you have a knack for writing emotional punches to the gut in very short, summary-of-past-event paragraphs. The bit about Lang's eyes was definitely a powerful image. Also, John's dry wit was refreshing and very much present throughout.

I really, really liked this! Well done! Not a word wasted, and I like the way everyone in this fic is written. I look forward to the next chapter... and I hope the Good Omens crossover is still kicking, somewhere in that writer's brain of yours! Two good Scribbler fics to watch. Ohh, this is exciting! :D
formerly lifeinsomniac: SherlockChaseScenejoonscribble on April 11th, 2012 10:16 pm (UTC)
Then you mentioned bullets from the inside and my curiosity is full-on piqued. I can't wait to see how this was done. *jitters about*

I'm afraid I don't have an answer for this. I just wanted a crime bizarre enough for Sherlock to care. Although I had a vague idea about magnetized bullets being swallowed and stuff. Very improbable and nearly scifi.

One tiny typo

Thanks! *fixed*

This line, I adore

Eeep! Thanks! That's sort of the way I feel about Damian Molony's face. I also randomly noticed that he looks younger when he's just being interviewed as himself. When he's Hal he seems generally older. Acting, ladies and gentlemen!

I hope the Good Omens crossover is still kicking, somewhere in that writer's brain of yours!

It is. I did want to write something non-crossovery to remind myself how Sherlock and John sound. I'm starting to lose touch.
Astoundingly fond of avocados and rainy weather.: SPN_Gamechangerguardian_chaos on April 12th, 2012 12:04 am (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't have an answer for this.

Magneto. Or a very tiny gun, surgically placed and remote-control activated. But really, the cause of this doesn't interest me as much as the fact that the victim seemed aware of what was about to happen to him. That's fascinating!
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on April 12th, 2012 04:01 am (UTC)
In my mind he totally knew what was going to happen and was trying to prevent anyone from getting shot from the bullets inside.
Astoundingly fond of avocados and rainy weather.: DW_Cheersguardian_chaos on April 12th, 2012 04:50 am (UTC)
Mm-hmm. *nods-nods* Yes, that's why I find it fascinating. It also makes it more tragic, because now we know it was a good man who died, and not just some random chap.
aelfgyfu_mead: John Watsonaelfgyfu_mead on April 11th, 2012 11:54 am (UTC)
“I’ve never heard of anyone making bad decisions due to an overconsumption of Scottish eggs, sir.”
“That’s because that already was the bad decision, Murray.”


Don't leave us hanging long! I want to know what Murray is doing back in London!

I also, of course, want to know how on earth someone gets shot from the inside. . . .

Glad to see fic from you again!
formerly lifeinsomniac: SherlockChaseScenejoonscribble on April 11th, 2012 10:13 pm (UTC)
More will be coming shortly!

I also, of course, want to know how on earth someone gets shot from the inside. . . .

I fear this is a crime that I don't actually have the solution for. I just needed a murder bizarre enough for Sherlock to bother investigating.
The Writer They Call Tay: SHERLOCK: Watson's cute noseawanderingbard on April 11th, 2012 01:55 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't worry about the similar character thing. I'm pretty sure Bill Murray was the nurse who looked after John in the hospital after he was shot. I don't think they fought together beforehand.

Anyway, this story is great! I love the opening and I'm very keen on knowing how someone got shot from the inside. I like the relationship between John and Robert. I like your somewhat grizzled veteran John and Robert's quiet competance. I like that they recognize a similar personality in each other and respect it. John's love of Motown is totally something I have in my head canon, too. Largely due to Martin Freeman's adorable geekiness about it.

Great start and I'm eager to see the second part!

P.S Did you mean a scotch egg?
formerly lifeinsomniac: SherlockChaseScenejoonscribble on April 11th, 2012 10:11 pm (UTC)
P.S Did you mean a scotch egg?

Dammit! I knew something didn't look right. Thanks! *edits*

I'm pretty sure Bill Murray was the nurse who looked after John in the hospital after he was shot. I don't think they fought together beforehand.

In the original stories Murray was the orderly who saved Watson on the field, I thought. Either way, this is the version I wrote so I'll just AU it all over the place if I must.

John's love of Motown is totally something I have in my head canon, too. Largely due to Martin Freeman's adorable geekiness about it.

I find I take most of my John-canon from Martin Freeman-canon.

Thanks! More to come shortly!
The Writer They Call Tay: SHERLOCK: Watson giggleawanderingbard on April 11th, 2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
Dammit! I knew something didn't look right. Thanks! *edits*

No worries. Finally my obsession with British telly pays off!


In the original stories Murray was the orderly who saved Watson on the field, I thought. Either way, this is the version I wrote so I'll just AU it all over the place if I must.


Just took a look at ASIS and you're right. Though on John's blog, he calls him 'the nurse who saved my life'. It's not inconceivable that there was an orderly named Murray who got John out of the field and a nurse named Murray who did all the treatment work -- or maybe nursed him through bad fever?

I find I take most of my John-canon from Martin Freeman-canon.

Me too. I take a lot of my Sherlock-canon from Cumberbatch, as well. Mostly because Benedict is apparently a character out of some adventure story for boys. Carjacked in Africa! Taught English to monks in Tibet! Rides a motorcyle! No wonder Martin calls him Lord Cumberbatch. :D
formerly lifeinsomniac: Poole Wants Teajoonscribble on April 11th, 2012 10:27 pm (UTC)
Finally my obsession with British telly pays off!

Apparently that part of my brain that tends to soak up Brit telly trivia has atrophied a bit. I know I found out about the existence of Scotch eggs through Would I Lie To You? They sound fairly horrible.

Mostly because Benedict is apparently a character out of some adventure story for boys. Carjacked in Africa! Taught English to monks in Tibet! Rides a motorcyle! No wonder Martin calls him Lord Cumberbatch. :D

When I went to go see Frankenstein, they showed a clip of Cumberbatch talking about the characters. The friend I was with immediately turned to me and went, "My god he's so British I think he has Earl Grey in his veins."
The Writer They Call Tay: SHERLOCK: Sherlock shockawanderingbard on April 12th, 2012 02:58 am (UTC)
I know I found out about the existence of Scotch eggs through Would I Lie To You? They sound fairly horrible

I don't like eggs to begin with and I just can't see how wrapping them in sausage and bread crumbs and then deep frying them would make them any more tasty. But that's apparently the Scots for you.

When I went to go see Frankenstein, they showed a clip of Cumberbatch talking about the characters. The friend I was with immediately turned to me and went, "My god he's so British I think he has Earl Grey in his veins."

Word. I mean he went to fuckin' Harrow. Not to mention his name is Benedict Cumberbatch. He sounds like a Dickens character. I love how totally non-chalant he is about it all too. "Oh yeah, I went to Harrow. African drug lords once stuffed me in the boot of a car. I used to watch Braveheart with Tibetan monks. Jeremy Brett was a friend of the family. That's normal, isn't it?"
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on April 12th, 2012 03:04 am (UTC)
Not to mention his name is Benedict Cumberbatch. He sounds like a Dickens character.

Benedict Timothy Carleton Cumberbatch

Seriously, he really is a Dickens character.

The Writer They Call Tay: DH: Random Happenstanceawanderingbard on April 12th, 2012 03:18 am (UTC)
The thing is that separately, the names are sort of ho-hum but together they are awesome.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on April 12th, 2012 03:26 am (UTC)
I realized his name is three fourths this dad's name.

Timothy Carleton Cumberbatch
The Writer They Call Tay: DH: Random Happenstanceawanderingbard on April 12th, 2012 04:16 am (UTC)
Oh, I thought Carlton was a stage name on his dad's part, I didn't realize he just dropped the last name. I also just found out he was the 1982 version of The Scarlet Pimpernel that I was so fond of during my Pimpernel days.
Shezanshezan on April 11th, 2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
Niiiiiiiice!
formerly lifeinsomniac: SherlockChaseScenejoonscribble on April 11th, 2012 10:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks!