Sherlock's neck hurt.
This was the only thing he was aware of for the first few moments after waking.
And, for those few moments, Sherlock didn't have much to worry about.
Until, of course, he realized he was in a hospital.
Sherlock jumped out of his chair and immediately regretted it- blood rushed to his head and his vision blurred.
Sherlock sat back down and glanced about the room, and his eyes rested on John.
The injured man was stirring in his sleep. His eyes were moving frantically around behind his eyelids, and tiny groans were escaping from his lips.
Sherlock scraped his chair across the floor, leaving a long black mark in his attempt to be immediately closer to John.
"John?" Sherlock muttered, his voice hoarse, grating against the silence of the room.
John's eyelids flickered and then opened. He stared straight ahead for a moment before focusing on Sherlock's face.
"Sh...Sherlock?" John murmured. He reached his hand out and grabbed Sherlock's clenched fist. His eyes scanned Sherlock's face, and knit his eyebrows into a frown. "What's wrong? Why do you look like that?"
"I'm fine, John."
"No, you're not. You feel bad about something."
Sherlock felt his heart twinge. Of course John would be lying on a hospital bed close to death's door, and the first thing he worries about is Sherlock's feelings.
"I'm okay, John."
John sighed and rolled his eyes. "God, I know what this is. You think this is all your fault, don't you."
Sherlock looked down and didn't answer.
John allowed a small smile to grace his face, but grimaced and touched the scar that ran across his face just as Sherlock was looking up.
Sherlock frowned. "Should I call the nurse?"
John gave him a fond look and shook his head tiredly. "You should have done that as soon as I woke up, stupid."
John awoke coughing.
He had been making remarkable progress in the past few days- waking up every few hours, talking clearly, and being able to move the muscles that weren't tightly wrapped in bandages.
However, it seemed that was a temporary break from reality.
John's throat felt like it was trying to rip itself apart- he struggled to inhale between bone-rattling coughs.
When John finally emerged from his fit, he laid back onto the pillows and sighed, looking up at the concerned Sherlock and rubbing his broken ribs painfully.
"What a terrible way to wake up," John murmured.
Sherlock just frowned and stared at John.
"What? Is there something on my face?"
"You're all red. I think you have a fever."
"Bollocks," John sighed.
Sherlock raised a hand and placed it on John's forehead. "I'm calling the nurse."
"No, I'm fi-" John's complaint was cut off by another series of hacking coughs.
When John had finished, he opened his bleary eyes to find an empty room.
"Sher- Sherlock-" John called, his voice catching. He felt panic rising in his chest, as though the past weeks had all been a dream and he hadn't been rescued and he was lost in his mind-
Sherlock swooped into the room, a nurse at his tail. John tried to relax back into his bed, but wouldn't allow Sherlock's hand to leave his while the nurse was checking him over.
John found himself in constant pain, even when he was asleep. His dreams were filled with looming faces and guns pressed to his head and knives held to his throat. He always awoke in a cold sweat with his fists clenched. However, Sherlock was always quick to pull him out of the trance.
Though John didn't want to admit it, he needed Sherlock. He needed Sherlock like trees need air, like computers need power. But Sherlock needed to take care of himself- he couldn't hide the way John could feel his ribs when they curled up together in John's weaker moments, or how hard it was for the detective to stand up quickly or carry things that were not very heavy at all.
They needed each other like two planets quickly orbiting each other, about to collide.