Today has been unexpectedly productive in the way or writing, so here's a one shot that may develop more chapters, depending on reviews and whether I can be bothered. It ended up being more soppy than I originally intended so sorry about that, but my writing never goes the way I planned. Anyway, reviews are always welcome and I don't have a beta, so any embarrassing mistakes are my own (please correct me if you find any). Lastly, I obviously don't own Sherlock, and I am only profiting from this in the form of procrastination.
John's feet crashed against the asphalt as he urges his legs to move faster. Sherlock had nearly caught up to the thief they were chasing and they had made it to Southwark Bridge; it seemed the thief was heading towards the South Bank, though John could tell both men were tiring, as was he. His muscles were screaming at him and his lungs were heaving to get more oxygen into his bloodstream. It seemed he had exerted himself to the limit and so he came to a gradual stop, leaning his hands heavily on his knees and panting. He looked up to see both Sherlock and the unnamed thief had come to the same conclusion, for they both had also stopped.
"Who the 'ell are you anyway? How d'ya know I was the one who stole i'?" The thief said with difficulty, gasping for breath.
"Please. Judging by your actions, you're obviously not innocent." Sherlock grabbed the man, trying to overbalance him. He was unsuccessful and the thief took a swing at Sherlock, who dodged the fist, but in doing so overbalanced himself. The thief took the opportunity and shoved Sherlock up against the railings of the bridge, growling. His blackened teeth were just visible in the light of the street lamps and Sherlock wrinkled his nose in disgust.
John urged his legs on once more as Sherlock was pushed up against the edge, adrenaline racing through his body, numbing some of the pain in his muscles, however he was too late.
"Sherlock!" He called, even though he knew it was futile.
Sherlock felt the sturdy ground disappear from beneath his feet as both he and the thief toppled over the railings and through the air. Shock, followed by confusion hit him as the world was turned upside down, once, twice and he had only time to take in a deep breath before-
John watched in disbelief as his friend hit the murky water below, followed by the thief. Sherlock hit the water with somewhat more grace than the other man, who let out a strangled yelp before splashing into the Thames.
John called Sherlock's name once more, panic and dread trickling through him as his friend disappeared below the water. He was hit by a wave of relief as a a black head broke the surface of the water. He looked around, obviously looking for the other man, who surfaced and dipped back below the water again, arms flailing.
"Sherlock! Get the the bank!" John yelled down. Sherlock looked up and began swimming adeptly towards the bank. Luckily the tide was low and it had not been raining recently, despite it being Winter.
John ran back along the length of the bridge and made his way to the bank, deciding that the thief would most likely drown and that Sherlock was his main priority.
He got to the bank in time to see Sherlock dragging himself out of the water and he ran forwards to help him.
"You are a colossal idiot!" He said to Sherlock, taking off the mans suit jacket.
"I'm glad I left my coat at the flat." Sherlock muttered, his teeth beginning to chatter.
"Never mind that, we've got to get you warm before you catch pneumonia or something." John moved to unbutton Sherlock's shirt, knowing that the wet clothes would only make him colder, but Sherlock pushed his hand out of the way.
"It's fine, let's get back to the flat." Sherlock made his way unsteadily to his feet as shivers began to wrack his body. John frowned but followed Sherlock, putting his arm around him and rubbing his shoulders, to try and warm him up.
"You'd be lucky to get a cab soaked in Thames water."
"Yes, it looks like we'll have to."
The underground was fairly empty owing to the fact that it was late on a Tuesday night and it didn't take them too long to get back to Baker Street. John opened the door as Sherlock's hands were shaking too fervently to be of much use. They both made their way upstairs and John pushed Sherlock down onto the sofa.
"Take your clothes off, I'll go upstairs and find you some spare."
"My bed-d-drooms not up-p-pstairs." Sherlock said through chattering teeth.
"No but you don't own anything that's not tight shirts or expensive dressing gowns. I think I have some old tracksuits bottoms you can borrow." John disappeared upstairs and came down a minute later with a bundle of clothing in his hands.
"Sherlock, I told you to get undressed, you're definitely going to get pneumonia if you stay in those clothes." He tossed the clothes down and sat down next to Sherlock, reaching for the button on his shirt.
"D-d-don't." John gave him a 'don't-question-me-I'm-a-doctor' look and Sherlock sighed defeatedly. John unbuttoned Sherlock's shirt and peeled it away from his skin.
"Oh Sherlock..." As John removed Sherlock's shirt, he revealed multiple cuts along his his abdomen and ribs, some just beginning to heal and more along the length of both of his forearms. White and pink scars also covered the the area, some obviously much older than others. Sherlock dropped his head, avoiding John's gaze. "How long have you..?" John asked quietly.
"I s-started when I was fifteen." Sherlock's voice was devoid of emotion.
"Oh Sherlock. I'm so sorry."
"Why? You d-d-didn't make me d-do this t-to myself."
"No, but that's just what people say. Anyway, put this on." He handed a t shirt and a jumper to Sherlock, who took them and pulled them both over his head. The jumper was too short in the sleeves but he was secretly grateful for it.
"I'm going to make you some tea, put those tracksuit bottoms on." John got up and went into the kitchen, returning with two cups of tea to find that Sherlock had indeed put them on.
He put both of the mugs down on the coffee table and sat down next to Sherlock once more. "Why do you do it?" He asked gently.
"You know how I despise boredom. After too long it gets intolerable... Drugs work better, but of course Mycroft wouldn't be especially pleased if I resorted to drugs again." His voice filled with spite and distain when he mentioned his brother's name.
"So Mycroft would rather you cut yourself to shreds?"
"He isn't aware that I am doing it again."
"Oh." John was unsure of what to say. He hadn't imagined the detective ever feeling so low that he would resort to cutting himself. "If you ever feel like doing that again, do you promise you'll talk to me first?"
"Because I care about you Sherlock."
"Do you?" Sherlock looked at John, the expression on his face unreadable.
"Of course I do, you idiot." John's voice was soft and comforting. He smiled up at Sherlock before handing over Sherlock's mug of tea to him. "Drink up." He said.
Sherlock accepted the tea and took a sip. "I promise." He whispered around the mug, barely audible.
Sherlock let John process the information and they sat drinking their tea in silence for a while.
"When I told you it was because of boredom, I wasn't being entirely truthful" Sherlock began. He sighed before carrying on. "I suffer from depression. I can ignore it when I'm on a case, my mind's occupied, but when I don't have a case to solve, my mind rots. Cutting let's me take my mind of it, pushes the feeling away for a time. It's easier to deal with that way."
"I had no idea..."
"Nor should you have. I've got good at hiding it, I'd be very surprised if you had guessed."
"I take it you've never seen a therapist about it?" John asked.
"Mycroft made me see one when I was younger. He ran out of the room crying and refused to see me again, from what I remember."
"Ah. I don't find that particularly hard to imagine actually."
The corner of Sherlock's mouth lifted in a kind of half-smirk.
"Well, you should probably have a shower, you stink of Thames and let's pray you don't get sick."
Sherlock did as he was told and padded back into the living room, towel drying his hair to find John watching TV with a blanket over his knees.
"Want to join me?" Sherlock nodded and sat down. John unfolded the blanket and put it around Sherlock's shoulders, expecting him to complain but Sherlock instead pulled the blanket closer around him and hugged his knees.
"What are we watching?" Sherlock asked.
"It's a crime drama, I thought you might approve."
Sherlock made a noise in the back of his throat. "They're always irritatingly obvious and slow."
"Give it a chance, OK?"