It was very important that he do it right.
He couldn't exactly recall why he had to do it, but he knew he did, and that it was important to do right.
So he took his time, made sure his hands were steady and that everything was even, uniform, and perfect.
Then he sat back and admired his handiwork.
Sherlock put down his tools, making a note to clean them soon, so John wouldn't get upset. He would do it now, but there was something else important he had to do. What was it?
Right. John was home.
(John liked to be greeted when he arrived home after a long day at the surgery.)
So Sherlock staggered out to the kitchen (why was he staggering, had he really been sitting that long?) and nodded a hello to John.
John glanced at him, then went back to what he was doing, before whipping his head back to look at Sherlock.
"What the hell have you done?" John yelled, rushing over to him and grabbing his arms, pulling them towards him and twisting them palm up.
Sherlock looked at them, rather distached. They were bleeding. There were neat even slices running across his wrists. Interesting. When did those get there?
"I... I don't know," he stuttered, before promptly passing out.
John barely had time to catch Sherlock before he fell, and as it was, barely caught him. But he prevented his head from smacking on the island, and slowed his descent to the floor, which was better than nothing.
John noticed something that hadn't had time to register when he had grabbed Sherlock's wrists- the detective was burning up. Really, really, burning up.
"Dammit Sherlock!" John swore, frantically searching for anything within arms reach that he could use to stop the blood flow.
There wasn't anything, or at least anything that John would touch to an open wound.
He got to his feet. "Stay there," he told the unconscious Sherlock firmly, like it might actually have some effect.
He sprinted up the stairs to his bedroom, noting that his medical kit really should be kept in the kitchen. Of course, he noted wryly upon his descent, the whole point of it not being kept in the kitchen was to prevent Sherlock from using the supplies for experiments.
He sighed to himself as he knelt down next to Sherlock and pulled gauze wrap out of his bag. He managed a once over of the cuts on his wrists before slapping on gauze and wrapping them firmly. The cuts weren't that deep, and he likely hadn't hit any major blood vessels, but they were still bleeding freely and that worried him. Once finished with the wrists, John stuck a thermometer in Sherlock's mouth, noting that although it was easier to do when he was unconscious, it was not preferable.
He waited impatiently for it to beep, and whipped it out of Sherlock's mouth when it did.
"Mrs Hudson!" John bellowed, noting worriedly that Sherlock didn't stir at the sound.
"Yes dear?" Mrs Hudson called, halfway up the stairs.
"Call an ambulance please," John told her, while checking Sherlock's pulse and pulling his blood pressure cuff out of his bag.
"Oh dear!" Mrs Hudson squeaked at the sight of Sherlock lying on the floor, blood droplets making a trail down the hall.
(John half hoped she would say something about those and how she wasn't going to be cleaning that up, but she didn't.)
She hurried back down the stairs and John could hear her muffled twitterings on the phone.
After he took Sherlock's pulse (fast, but regular) and checking his breathing (also fast) and took his blood pressure (lower than normal, even for Sherlock) John was thoroughly worried that Sherlock had a class III hemorrhage.
He watched anxiously as blood soaked through his makeshift bandages, even as he kept pressure on them, and wondered how long it would take the ambulance to arrive.
He wondered how long Sherlock had spent alone and bleeding.
He wondered why the hell he thought it would be a good idea to slice open his wrists, even with a fever upwards of 40 degrees.
He wondered how Sherlock had gotten such a high fever without him noticing.
He wondered why he didn't notice.
The paramedics arrived, and seemed unperturbed to see the blood trail and bleeding detective on the floor of the flat.
"Lost about 30% of his blood volume. Fever of 40.1 when I checked it a minute ago." John fired off some more stats to the paramedics, who were taking it all in stride as they set up an IV line and prepared him for transport. "He hasn't been... noticeably sick lately so there's no obvious cause for the fever."
"I need to come," John insisted as they carted the stretcher down the stairs to the waiting ambulance.
"Sorry, who are you again?" the one paramedic asked, setting the stretcher down as his partner opened to doors to the back of the ambulance.
Mrs Hudson chose this moment to pipe up. "They live together," she said with a tone that meant something very different from the truth.
The paramedic hesitated for a split second before nodded at John.
"You can go in the back with him," he said, glancing to Sherlock and the paramedic who was loading him in.
"Thanks," John nodded to him and climbed in after the other paramedic.
He'd been in far too many ambulances for his liking, both as a doctor and as a patient, and he wasn't entirely sure which was worse until now.
Because there was a third option. The helpless bystander just along for the ride.
And John never did well with just sitting by.
John gripped the arm that was closest to him, going with the excuse that he was applying pressure for the bleeding. Yes. That would do. John's fingers were getting sticky, and when he looked down, he saw they were wet with blood. Sherlock's blood.
"Do you have some more gauze?" he asked the paramedic loudly to be heard over the sirens. She turned to look at him, a bit preoccupied with checking Sherlock's blood pressure and shining a light in his eyes. He hates that, John wanted to tell her. But he didn't.
John made eye contact with the paramedic when she turned to look at him, then watched as she looked away, almost like she was interrupting something. But she threw a couple of packages of gauze bandages his way and he nodded his thanks.
He packed them on top, while pondering distractedly why Sherlock was bleeding so much.
The ambulance came to a sudden stop. Must be A&E, John noted.
Sure enough, there were more doctors and nurses opening the doors in the back of the ambulance and the paramedic was rattling off stats and there were too many hands for him to keep a hold of Sherlock, no matter how many times he repeated "I'm a doctor. I'm a doctor."
And they wheeled Sherlock away from him as John faintly noted that it was a bit cold out and perhaps he should have grabbed a jacket.
They drew vials and vials of blood and John was terrified they would take all of it until Sherlock had nothing left.
He tried to tell himself that was irrational, but he wasn't listening.
The lab results showed high white blood cell count was very high, indicating an infection, and his platelet count was dangerously low, explaining the extreme amount of blood loss from minor wounds. Electrolytes were a bit imbalanced, but John knew that would be corrected with the IV fluids.
When they stripped Sherlock in A&E (John had finally been allowed in with him, but tried not to look for this bit, knowing that it was awkward enough as it was) they had uncovered a gash on his chest.
"What the hell?" John muttered.
By the looks of it the cut was infected. Probably had been for a while, and likely was the cause of the fever.
"What have you done..." John whispered at him.
There was no response. ("Obviously," Sherlock would have told him.)
Sherlock was still unconscious, but had been given a transfusion and fluids. His fever was down to somewhere around 38, and he was looking better.
John flopped into the chair at his bedside. It had been an awful day at work, and to top it all off, now he was in the hospital with Sherlock. Again.
John fell asleep in that god awful chair without Sherlock awakening. Probably for the best, John realized, but he was still concerned.
If Sherlock keep up like this, I may as well invest in an inflatable mattress for times like these.
He made a note of it before drifting off.
Cultures came back from the lab in the morning and John stared at the report in disbelief.
Toxic shock syndrome.
(High fever and confusion led to the cutting. Low platelet count led to increased bleeding.)
"Of course..." John muttered, glancing at Sherlock, who appeared to still be sleeping, which meant nothing.
"You idiot," he informed Sherlock. There was no response, and he didn't expect one. John slumped back into the chair. "Idiot," he repeated. "Idiot."
"Staphylococcus aureus," Sherlock drawled, eyes still closed.
John startled. Of course he was awake. John stood up and crossed his arms. "You knew!" he demanded. "You knew and you didn't bother to tell me?"
Sherlock cracked open an eye to look lazily at John before closing it.
John sighed. "So?"
"I figured it out... after."
Sherlock wiggled himself deeper into the pillow and sighed in contentment.
John rolled his eyes. "Right. Right," he repeated, mostly for himself, as Sherlock had fallen asleep again. Or at least seemed to.
"I did it right you know," Sherlock remarked absently, and John was concerned he was delirious again.
A quick glance at the monitor confirmed it wasn't from a fever.
"What?" John asked, an edge of panic in his voice.
"The cuts," Sherlock replied, completely calm. "They're perfect." He frowned slightly. "Although I can't remember why I was doing them."
He sighed, and shifted slightly on his pillow. He was silent, hopefully asleep.
John shook his head. Only Sherlock.
"I'm still mad at you," he informed Sherlock's sleeping body.
It was silent for a minute, save for Sherlock's breathing and the typical beeping that was always present in a hospital.
John figured that was that, until Sherlock sleepily murmured "I know..." and John smiled.
"Of course you do," he said, still grinning stupidly.
Sherlock smiled as he drifted off.