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Title: Second Fiddle (4/10)
Date Written: 4/27/11
Rating: PG-13/T
Word Count: 960
Fandom: BBC's Sherlock/Doctor Who
Disclaimer: Not mine, property of their respective owners
Characters/Pairings: John Watson/Donna Noble (yes. you read that right)
Spoilers: For John's backstory.
Warnings: Implied het sex.
Author's Notes: I blame [profile] midassa_in_gold for this, completely, utterly, and entirely. All of this. Thanks, as always, to my betas: [personal profile] totally4ryo, [profile] k8stamps, and [personal profile] gingerlr. This chapter is short, but it is not, I repeat, not the shortest chapter. This chapter is also the reason why this story gave me fits -- it was the second to write itself, and insisted on writing itself in present tense.

"What about this one?" Donna's finger traces a scar along John's right knee, the old wound a thin, raised ridge of mended skin.

"Fell out of a tree in the park when I was six," John says, squirming a little at the ticklish touch. "Harry and I were trying to see who could climb higher. Compound fracture, through the skin."

The redhead flinches a little in sympathy. "Sorry."

"I'm not." John closes his eyes and grins. "The A&E doctors and nurses were so nice, I decided that I wanted to be one of them when I grew up." Eyes still closed, he reaches for Donna's arm, tracing a long line he's noticed on her forearm.

"It's not what you're thinking," the redhead says hurriedly.

"I know." John finally opens one eye and smiles up at her. "This one isn't straight along the vein. And if you'd tried to slit your wrist, you'd have done it lower down and deeper." His fingers slide down to rub over her wrist in demonstration. He can feel her pulse speed up slightly through the thin layers of skin. "The scar would be thicker."

"Brilliant deduction, Doctor Watson," Donna snarks, imitating Sherlock. John snorts in amusement. "Pub fight."

This should surprise him, he knows. It doesn't. "Pub fight?"

"Well, I say pub fight. It was a place you go for drinks, but they didn't call it a pub, or a bar, or a canteen or anything like that. Anyway, someone tried to match wits with the Doctor; the Doctor won, of course."

John shifts on his side, getting more comfortable. Donna scoots closer, enough for him to drape an arm over her sheet-covered hip. "Of course."

"The Doctor turned to go. His... Opponent took exception to being beaten and pulled a knife. I smacked him upside the head with my bottle. The bottle shattered, and a shard cut me. Not deep enough for stitches, but enough for a scar."

John tries very, very hard not to smile at the pride in her voice. "A battle wound."

The silence that falls between them is heavy, oppressive; completely different from the quiet moments they easily fall into at times. In his arms, Donna awkwardly stares at his chest, pointedly avoiding both his face and shoulder.

"You haven't asked."

"I didn't want you to feel like you had to talk about it. Granddad doesn't like to talk about the War sometimes, and that was so long ago."

John takes one of her hands in his and presses it against the still-ugly, still-purple, still-healing scar tissue. Somewhere in the back of his head, he can hear his therapist whispering about trust issues. "I was out in the field. Most of the time we stayed in the medical area on base, but we were assigned to units and went out as field medics. Came under fire and..." He shrugs, then rolls his shoulder. Talking about it brings phantom pain sometimes. "Someone had been clipped by a bullet. I wasn't careful enough getting over to him. Too much of a hurry."

Donna's touch is feather-light. "What was it like?"

John pauses. No one has ever asked him that before. "It didn't register at first, to be honest. I stumbled when I got hit. I thought I'd just tripped. Then I saw the blood. The worst pain I'd ever felt."

The redhead leans over to press her mouth against his scar. John closes his eyes and inhales the scent of his shampoo wafting up from her ginger hair. "Luckily, it was a clean through-and-through."

"Luckily?" she asks, tilting her head to look at him properly.

He cards his other hand through her hair. "Bullets don't fly straight out of a gun, like in the films or on telly," he explains. "They spin. The striations of the gun barrel, when they hit skin and muscle and bone... It twists. Crushes muscle out of the way. Then explodes out the other side. Exit wounds are almost always more traumatic than the entry point. And most bullets are designed to blow apart when they smash into something. Shrapnel is just as deadly as the actual bullet. It's why terrorists put nails and such in pipe bombs."

Donna turns her face away from his words and into his shoulder, nuzzling the scar. The scar tissue is numb, sense of touch muted, but the healthy, whole skin around it is hypersensitive. John shivers involuntarily.

"A mate of mine, Bill Murray, was out in the field with me. He's a nurse. He saved my life. Managed to stop the bleeding long enough to get me back to base."

"I'd like to meet him sometime," she murmurs against his skin, placing a gentle kiss against the wound. Like she can kiss it and make it all better. "Thank him." Donna pauses, realizing what she's said, and lifts her head to look John properly in the eyes. "If that's okay."

And, oddly enough, it is. John nods, and Donna presses her forehead against his shoulder, ears a telltale shade of pink. He strokes the reddening lobes with a smile, then tucks a few strands of ginger hair behind her ear. "Donna?"


John's fingers move down to a mark along her jaw, just underneath her ear. Fresh and red, about the size of a mouth, already fading away. "And where'd you get this one?"

Sharp teeth pinch at the juncture of his neck and shoulder. John winces slightly, pain and pleasure mingling deliciously. Donna is not nearly as gentle as he's been -- he'll have a fantastic bruise there in a couple of hours. Then again, he'll be able to cover his with a collared shirt. "Why, Doctor Watson," she teases. "That one's currently my favorite story to tell..."
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