It was a hot day, the kind of hot day where you can practically fry eggs on the pavement. And Sherlock was taking John to the pool. That, in and of itself, was not a problem. The problem was what they were going to do there.
Because, unlike a normal person, Sherlock did not go to the pool on a sweltering hot day to swim. No. He went there for one of his cases.
And dragged John along with him.
To make matters worse, Sherlock had convinced the pool's owners to close the pool for his investigation, so the consulting detective was not only depriving John of his swim, but countless others as well. All because he couldn't wait one day to follow up on the lead for this case. Lestrade had even suggested he wait another day for the heat wave to pass, but Sherlock didn't listen to Lestrade on principle, so the advice John was inclined to consider brilliant went right over his curly-haired head.
John looked at the clear blue water longingly as Sherlock walked along the pool deck. His lanky frame was hunched over and his silver-blue eyes were running over the sides and bottom of the pool, searching for traces of the criminal.
"I've found something," he said, and John decided to take a look, even if every movement in the heat sent streams of sweat down his back.
Sherlock stood at the edge of the pool, craning his long neck towards the bottom of the deep end. "Do you see that?" he asked, pointing.
John squinted. "Yes?"
"There's a message. I can probably read it from here, it's only eight feet deep." His toes nearly dipped into the water as he bent over further.
John marveled at Sherlock's ability to concentrate in the stifling heat. Especially in the thick black trench coat that was making John sweat just by looking at it (he was, he thought, sensibly attired in a short-sleeved shirt and knee-length trousers).
Sherlock was nearly bent double and he was balancing on the tips of his toes on the very edge of the pool deck. "It says—" His eyes were riveted on the fuzzy inscription, and he leaned forward a tiny bit more.
John watched Sherlock's coat billow out as the detective tumbled forward, landing with a splash on the surface. Weighed down by thick coat and clothes, he immediately began sinking, flailing his arms to no avail.
Without any further thought, John jumped in after him.
Water flowed into his mouth, nose, and eyes, and his clothes filled with water, making it a struggle to move. He grasped at a black blur in front of him and pulled. A violent stream of bubbles erupted somewhere near it, and John concluded that he'd grabbed Sherlock's curly hair. He let go, struggling for breath, and desperately grabbed another black blur, hoping it was Sherlock's collar. Sherlock's hands came up and gripped John's shoulders, pulling them down together in a stream of bubbles. As they hit bottom, John pushed off and began kicking his way up. Sherlock caught on, and together they fought their way to the surface. John broke through first, fumbling and finding the ledge and using it to pull himself out. With a heave, he yanked Sherlock up, then sprawled on the deck, gasping.
Sherlock, though he'd been down longer, was yelling the message he'd found, scrambling in his inside pockets for his phone with which, once he found it, he furiously texted Lestrade. Only then did he allow himself to collapse next to John, coughing and spewing water.
The detective didn't speak again until after he and John had stripped off most of their wet clothes and were huddled in towels retrieved from the pool locker rooms.
He had been curled up against the wall, clutching the towel to his bare chest, and staring off into the distance morosely, coughing occasionally. John, on the other hand, was musing sardonically that he had gotten his swim after all.
"Thank you, John," Sherlock said quietly.
John's head snapped up. "What was that?" he asked disbelievingly.
"You heard me, John," he replied without the usual disdain present in such a comment. "You saved my life. Thank you."
"You're welcome, Sherlock," John said in awe.
They lapsed back into silence, and Sherlock went back to looking depressed. His icy blue eyes seemed turned inward, and the sharp angles of his face were emphasized by the contrast with his hair, flying out from his head in even more of a curly black mess than it usually was.
"I never learned to swim," he said, almost to himself.
"Why?" John asked.
"I wanted to learn when I was six years old," he continued in the same flat tone. "I went to a lake near my house where they gave lessons. I was excited." He seemed to forget he was talking to John, and he trailed off into silence, lost in thought.
"Then what?" John prompted gently.
"Mycroft pushed me in. I almost drowned," he said, his voice hollow. "Just like today. And I never learned." He coughed.
"I'm sorry," John said. An idea came to him. "I could teach you," he offered.
"It's not important," he said curtly.
"It could be," John pressed. "What if you need to find clues in a pool again?"
John knew that Sherlock only learned things important to his cases.
Sherlock's thin shoulders twitched in something resembling a shrug. "I suppose it could be useful," he conceded. "And perhaps…enjoyable," he added wistfully.
A/N Standard disclaimers apply.