He was vaguely aware of John calling him a bloody idiot. Hardly unusual.

What was unusual was the painfully slow reaction of his body. He had to consciously THINK his eyes to open, and it took a great deal of effort.

However he couldn't remember taking any drugs, so that couldn't be the case.

And even after all that work, it's too much, too bright, and it's so much easier just to close them. He sighs.

John is yelling at him, the tone makes that clear, but the words- are they even words?- seem to blend together and make no sense. It's almost funny. Sherlock would giggle if he could remember how.

John seems to notice this, because there is blissful silence for a second. He can feel John scrutinizing him.

Then John is attacking him, yanking his eyelids open and slapping his cheeks. Sherlock knows he wants a response, but is unsure how to go about doing that.

He coughs- and oh god that hurts, like crushing and stabbing and fire and dying all at once- what the hell did he do?

And he's gasping, which only hurts more, and he's sure he's going to die because surely no one can survive this pain, and sure he thought breathing was boring but it seems so damn necessary once you stop.

But John is there and John is a doctor and won't let Sherlock die. Right?

They must only be seconds, but they stretch for years of boring, before he can finally stop gasping and coughing, and can breathe without hurting.

He realizes he's cold, and the ground underneath him is rough, which is unusual. Where is he? But his head is on something soft and- oh, must be John's lap.

Cold, rough ground, but he still can't remember how he got here. Last thing? Crime scene, saw Molly at the morgue, which came first? And then there was Lestrade and maybe that was in between or last week.

Sherlock had never found thinking so hard. But someone had locked all the doors in his mind palace and changed the rooms around so he was wandering around in the dark twisting knobs that wouldn't turn.

But it seems he managed to unlock the language room because John's words are beginning to make sense, or would if he had some sort of context to put them in.

"You bloody idiot! What were you thinking trying avocados?"

No, that certainly wasn't right. Perhaps the language room wasn't quite right after all. There was a word for mixing words up in comprehension, but he couldn't remember what it was at that moment, which should hardly be surprising.

John kept shaking him, and it got to the point where it was so much easier to just open his eyes so John could stop shaking and slapping and prying.

He looked rather funny though, which Sherlock lazily thought might have something to do with his current mental state rather than John's physical appearance.

Sherlock is quite sure he didn't take any drugs, but can't figure out any other reason why his brain is so painfully sluggish.

Drugs, head injury, high fever, seizure, strokes, tumours, concussions- all possible causes of confusion. That's what this is right? Confusion?

Stroke is unlikely for someone his age, a tumour would likely have shown symptoms before this, he doesn't feel like he has a fever, in fact he's freezing and why the hell is John not keeping him warm? Drugs are a possibility, but can't recall, head injury or concussion could be likely. Are they on a case? He tends to get hurt on cases. Seizures were also unlikely because he isn't epileptic.

So, trauma is looking most likely, which would explain why John is trying to keep him awake.

Irritatingly so.

Sherlock tried to voice this frustration at being unable to sleep because of John's persistent nagging,

but it came out as a groan at best, which only resulted in more yelling from John.

"Sherlock? Can you hear me? I've called for an ambulance, Lestrade should be here soon, he wasn't far away when this happened."

Sherlock groaned again, or tried to at least. What is 'this' that John is speaking of? If only his mouth could form words. Perhaps if he thought really hard in John's direction, he would get the message.

John seemed to be rather oblivious due to his panicking, and was mostly focused on the sound of approaching sirens, which made Sherlock's head throb. That might explain the confusion. He only just realized the pain radiating from his skull, which made the earlier pain of breathing seem like nothing.

There is blessed silence for a moment, then there are people touching him, grabbing him, poking him - people that are not John. Sherlock is not okay with this and tries to force his body to defend itself.

The attempts are ludicrous at best. His foot jerks up, likely as an attempt to kick someone, but barely makes it off the ground. He struggles away from the hands that are grabbing him, but he is oh so tired and they're warm hands...

And Sherlock can smell John nearby, that quintessential John smell, which reminds him he should work out that exact combination, he's sure there is a market for that, and John seems to be talking to him again, which is hard to hear over the pain in his head.

"For gods sake Sherlock stop kicking them. Calm down, they're just patching you up. We're going to the hospital. Oh for heavens- STOP THAT!"

This John scared him, and Sherlock stopped, afraid of angering him. It was easier this way, much less hurting and such warm hands, and oh those must be the good drugs because his head is not so sore anymore, and his mind palace seems to grow cushions out of its walls and invite him to curl up to sleep...

And John is there as he is jostled and lifted and bumped into an ambulance that is too bright and smells funny, but he still has John's hand and will never let go, even as he drifts off inside his mind palace. John will keep him safe while he sleeps.