The door to the bathroom was standing slightly ajar and John opened it a little further to be able to get a glimpse into the room. There was Sherlock slouched in front of the bath tub, his arms loosely hanging over the rim, his right cheek leaning on it, the eyes closed. Everything seemed to be covered in blood, in fact, the bathroom looked like a slaughterhouse!
"Sherlock! Bloody hell!" John crouched down next to his flatmate, who slowly opened his eyes, apparently having difficulty focussing on John.
"Ice didn't help…," he slurred.
"Yeah, I can see that." In the bath tub there was a bag filled with water, which would once have been ice cubes, some blood-soaked towels and some red balls, which had very likely been ineffective attempts at dressings for Sherlock's nose.
"Sherlock, I have to get you to a hospital immediately. This is not just any nosebleed, most likely it's an arterial nosebleed and you are in danger of bleeding out! I'm calling Mycroft."
"No… hospital … please!" Sherlock begged, closing his eyes.
"No, no, no, Sherlock, stay with me, ok? You have to stay awake!"
The Consulting Detective very slowly opened his eyes again. "Please…," he whispered.
John's heart sank. Sherlock had lost a lot of blood and he needed a blood transfusion immediately. The doctor was at a loss. He really didn't want to call Sherlock's brother as they didn't know in how far he was involved in the Tabun-incident. However, John knew that his flatmate's blood loss had already reached a critical stage and Mycroft's men would always be faster and better equipped than any other medical team could be. He didn't have a choice, and no matter in how far Mycroft was involved, John was still convinced of his best intentions when it came to his brother's life. The doctor quickly pulled out his mobile and dialled Mycroft's emergency number for the second time in a few weeks.
"What's wrong?" Mycroft sounded worried.
"Arterial nosebleed! He's going into hypovolemic shock! I need some units of stored blood of Sherlock's group, and an ENT-specialist, right here, right now!"
John hadn't waited for Mycroft to say anything but had hung up. From the last time he knew that it would only take minutes until his team and, most likely also himself in person, would arrive.
"Sherlock! Talk to me, will you? Tell me something, no matter what, ok?
"I know, mate, but you must not sleep, do you hear me? Stay with me!"
"Sherlock, don't sleep! Listen, if you go to sleep you will never wake up again! Did you get that? You've just told me that dying wasn't an option for you, so stick to that!"
The only thing John could do was to try to keep Sherlock awake and somehow try to slow down the bleeding. In fact, the very uncomfortable looking position that Sherlock was sitting in was relatively safe. His head was slightly bent forward, the blood dripping into the tub. At least he wasn't in danger of aspiring the blood or choking on it. However, John wasn't sure how long Sherlock would be able to remain in that position, since he already showed clear signs of hypovolemic shock. He was incredibly pale, the skin covered in cold sweat, his dark curls plastered to his forehead. And there was so much blood everywhere, almost impossible to estimate the amount of it. However, as Sherlock was about to lose consciousness, it was very likely that it was about two litres or more and that his flatmate was closer to death than to life if he couldn't stop the bleeding.
The ex-army doctor felt for the carotid pulse and found it as he had expected – weak and fast. He knew that all the other common ways to treat nosebleed wouldn't have any effect with artery bleeding, Sherlock had tried some himself in vain. However, John had to try to at least slow it down.
"Sherlock, I have to run to my room quickly. Stay put!"
John had to look for his nasal spray. It could at least help the blood vessels to contract a little. He ran to his room and frantically searched his drawers for the wanted item. Thanks to his occasional sinus problems he tended to keep a bottle of it in his room. Upon returning to the bathroom he found that Sherlock had slumped and slid from the rim of the bath tub, now lying on his back, one arm at his side, the other one across his abdomen.
"Fuck! Sherlock! You promised not to do this again, remember?!"
The doctor tried to get his arms under his flatmate's armpits to bring him into an upright position. Artery nosebleed was a nasty thing because the usual shock position would make it even worse, although the blood was needed in the brain. Additionally, in any other than the sitting position there was a threat of asphyxiation due to aspiration of the blood.
Sherlock was quite tall and completely limp, so it took John a lot of effort to bring him into the wanted position. He slid down behind the Consulting Detective to make sure he wouldn't fall over, one arm holding him in position, with the other hand trying to give him a slap so that he would wake up. John vaguely noticed that he was covered in Sherlock's blood by now, but he didn't care.
"Sherlock! Wake up!"
The tall man groaned slightly. At least he was still there. And yet, John knew that it was only a matter of minutes.
"I'm giving you some nasal spray now, mate, let's hope it works!"
John fumbled to get the spray into Sherlock's nose and pinched the sides of it, however knowing that this was just a desperate attempt to do anything. Most likely the bleeding would be too strong anyway and would wash the spray out, but this was better than simply waiting for his friend to die. There was really nothing more John could do without any medical equipment. The ruptured artery had to be found and sealed.
"Sherlock, I'm not going to lose you to a nosebleed, do you get that?! That's ridiculous! You have just survived a nerve gas attack, and you will survive this nosebleed, ok? Promise!"
"Ngn…." Since the blood couldn't run from the nose because of the pressure John applied to it, it now gushed from Sherlock's mouth. That wasn't good! John let go of his flatmate's nose. This was definitely arterial bleeding.
John tried to regain his composure as he noticed a tremor that befell him – fear. He was a doctor after all, used to dealing with heaps of blood. This wasn't the first time he had to deal with arterial bleeding, not even in people he knew. However, for the second time in a couple of weeks he had to comprehend that dealing with a real friend was something completely different. Not being able to treat your friend at all and just having to watch him bleed out, that was more than he could cope with!
"Mycroft!" John yelled in a panic. "Help!"