Author's notes: This is one part of two-sided story. TYRider and I each took a character and wrote the in-between bits of a text conversation. If you've read mine, go read hers! It'll make the whole story twice as good, of course. Reading order is inconsequential.

Also, we didn't compare until the end, so all similarities (before the very end) are the result of she and I (and John and Sherlock) knowing each other well :)

Reviews are very welcome!

Where are you? - SH

Sherlock sent the message and sat staring into the distance. Though on the surface, he appeared emotionless, his Mind Palace was teeming with grand ideas, curious thoughts, and barely suppressed emotions. It always was.

Upstairs. ~JW

Sherlock frowned and typed a quick message. John's curt reply made him suspect that something was wrong, but he didn't have time for emotion right now. His time was too important.

Need you to look something up. - SH

No. ~JW

Sherlock scowled, thinking that maybe he should make time for emotion. For once. However annoying it would be. He sighed, stuck a second nicotine patch on his arm, and texted back.

What's wrong? - SH


Sherlock raised an eyebrow. You're behaving like a girl, he thought, but he wouldn't say that to his friend. Instead, he decided that in order to get what he wanted, he'd better sort out his issues with John first.

And it was probably better for their friendship, as well.

Tell me. - SH

He hoped that came across as firm but caring. It would be easier if John thought he actually wanted to know what was wrong and wasn't just sucking up to get that search done.

Sherlock's phone let out another chime, and he looked at the texts on the screen. Two in rapid succession.

Why? ~JW

Not like you really care. ~JW

Now he was starting to get a little worried. It wasn't like John to be so very… moody. What could be wrong? Sherlock dug through his Mind Palace, looking over his memories of the past twenty-four hours. He couldn't think why John was so upset.

He had been asking an awful lot of his friend lately. But then again, John knew he was on a case, a particularly dangerous one at that. Sherlock had been keeping him (mostly) out of the line of fire by sending him away so often.

The thought only made him more annoyed.

Why wouldn't I care? You're my flat mate. - SH

The response cut through his aggravation and made his mouth go dry.

Because 'caring isn't an advantage'? ~JW

Oh. You've been paying attention, he thought with a twinge of guilt. Sherlock hit "Reply" and then tried to think of something to say. Surprisingly, he found himself actually worrying more about how John was feeling and less about the favor he needed. Finally, he typed a message and sent it.

I have a few weaknesses. - SH

Sherlock cringed. He hated to admit, but he could be weak. He cared for his friend. It was no wonder, of course. John was more of a brother than Mycroft had ever been to Sherlock.

A chime.

I've had a bad day. ~JW

Sherlock sighed.

A muffled noise beside him gave him pause. The kidnapper was starting to wake up; thankfully, he was bound and gagged on the floor, but he would still be making quite a bit of noise soon.

Sherlock stretched out on the couch and prepared another message.

Unfortunate. My fault? - SH

He waited anxiously but not for very long before the reply came.

Yes to the first bit and no to the second. Not actually your fault at all. Sorry for being a git over it. It's fine. ~JW

This made Sherlock suspicious. He wanted to accept that idea that John wasn't really upset, but he thought it was just a lie to move the conversation forward. There was something his friend wasn't telling him.

He debated for several minutes over how to reply, long enough that John might have thought he wasn't going to answer. Eventually, he settled on a response and sent the text.

Right then. What's wrong? - SH

Mitch Cooper. ~JW

That was the reply. Just "Mitch Cooper." Sherlock frowned at the short message and searched the attic of his Mind Palace for a reference to this person.

A football player. That was all he could remember about that name. Nothing else. Did John even like football? He couldn't remember.

Football player? - SH

No. He's the soldier I got shot working on. He survived that day and I'd always felt that saving him had made the bullet and the infection that followed worth it. I just found out he died in action. ~JW

The reply blindsided Sherlock. How could he possibly respond to that? Whatever he would say would just be a lazy pat on the shoulder, coming across as false and hollow. He had no idea what that would be like.

Yes, you do, Sherlock told himself. Because of John. And that was true. John made everything worth it. What would he want someone to say if his friend died?

Nothing. There was nothing anyone could say. Surely John and this soldier hadn't been close, but the man had given him a reason to carry on when he had been shot.

Sherlock stared at the little screen in desperation. He needed to say something. Anything.

Can I help? - SH

It was a stupid little message, fraught with sentiment and emotion. But that was probably what John needed right now.

The man on the ground said something through the gag, yelling, but Sherlock ignored him. The case could wait; John needed someone who cared about him right now. While this was not quite Sherlock's area of expertise, he was hoping he could pull it off all right.

Get me a case. Bug me. Keep me busy. ~JW

That was simple enough. Sherlock had a case right—

Take the Browning. It's in the toaster.


He got up and did as he was told, hiding the gun in the inner pocket of his swishy coat. No place safer than that; whole worlds could hide in those pockets.

Sherlock texted his friend.

Done. Come downstairs. Bring laptop. I have a case for you. - SH

He thought a moment and then sent another message.

Probably dangerous. - SH

He knew that would bring John running, as it always did, and he was not disappointed. As soon as he heard his friend's footsteps on the stairs, he realized that he should probably have mentioned something about the restrained man on their floor.

Ah, well. Too late now.