Sherlock was searching his mind palace. Sometimes he wished it had a ctrl+f function. But it was not a computer, no matter how much John thought he seemed like a machine. So he was wandering around corridors and looking in drawers he hadn't used before finding what he was looking for. Hypothermia.

Oddly enough, it was under JohnMedicalCbottom drawer.

Must have been c for cold. Irrelevant now. He had found it.

He skimmed it, looking for anything important. Relevant. Helpful.

Three stages.

First stage: mild- He skipped that one. Been there, done that. Moving on.

Second stage: moderate. More apparent shivering. Slow and laboured movements. Uncoordinated. Mild confusion. Victims become pale as blood vessels contract to keep blood for vital organs. May begin to turn blue.

Third stage: severe. Heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure all drop. Amnesia. Difficulty speaking. Stumbling. Poor muscle coordination, unable to walk. Sluggish thinking. Increasing confusion. Terminal burrowing and paradoxical undressing may occur here. Major organ failure. Death.

Avoid paradoxical undressing at all costs. 20-50% of all hypothermia deaths are related with it. AVOID.

Must be at least in stage two now. How much longer until stage three? How long can they survive in stage three? Lestrade...Unreliable. Did John text/call him? Time line looking iffy.

Sherlock knew he would have to keep him and John warm until someone, anyone, found them.

John. How was John doing?

Sherlock glanced at him. Pale, shivering rather violently considering what he was wearing. Long sleeved shirt, at least one jumper, jacket. John looks like he needs a scarf. Sherlock knows he has one. But he's so cold already. He needs it. Maybe... they could share it?... No. Clarity of thinking is decreasing. ERROR. ERROR.

He sees John. John is next to him, shivering violently. He's pale. He shouldn't be pale. John Watson had recently been invalided home from Afghanistan, so the little skin that Sherlock could see on his face and hands should be rather tanned. It's not. Conclusion?

There's something there. But he can't reach it. Must be slippery. Oh well.

Time? He can't reach his watch. Or rather, doesn't want to have to expose his wrist to the cold air to see it. Closer. More accurate.

What is time anyway? Arbitrary. Man made. But oh so useful. Except not when you're running out.

Why is it running out? Why not slipping out or oozing out or missing out? He added it to a list of things to look into. When. If. Do proper words matter now?

Yes. Yes they do. Words always matter because words are what tether him to this world, to John.

His brain doesn't think in words, rather in patterns and flashes of brilliance. His brain would think much too fast for Sherlock to keep up if it weren't for the words that had to come out slowing him down. It worked.

Oh. John. How was John?

He sees John. John is no longer shivering. He is clumsily fiddling with his coat, mitts discarded.

Warning buzzers are trying to go off in Sherlock's head, but the volume is turned down. It's so easy to ignore them. But they've never been wrong so far, so he has to listen.

"John?" His voice is clumsy and he barely recognizes it. Is his tongue frozen? "John," he tries again, more loudly this time.

John doesn't seem to have heard him, and continues to prod at his coat. Sherlock reached over to grab his hands, but is having difficulty with his muscles. That's a bad sign. A sign of which stage? He can't recall, so probably stage three. Bad. Very bad.

He clasps John's hands between his own, and John looks up, surprised to see him there.

"She'lock?" he slurs. Sherlock manages to nod.

"John, you can't take your coat off."

John looks confused.


Sherlock can't remember why. He just knew it was bad.

"It's... cold," he managed.

John nodded.

"Maybe... if we sit close together... warmer?"

John nodded, and they both struggled to move closer to the other. It was marginally better.

"Put your mitts on... id'ot."

John giggled, but obeyed.

"S'someone comin'?

Sherlock nodded.

"Really doesn't mean anything though," he drawled slowly.

John giggled again.

And they didn't know how much longer they sat there for, giggling and slurring words, but they were alive and conscious when Lestrade arrived. Sherlock even had enough energy to force out "took your time" before promptly passing out.

John giggled, then followed suit.

No one even questioned why they were sharing a scarf. It was just one of those things.