Being lost in the woods wasn't exactly how John had expected to spend the night but Sherlock had dashed down the lane after something and running automatically after him seemed to be John's destiny. Now he was good and lost. The sun had gone down at some point but not until Sherlock had veered off the lane to pound his way down twisty paths with John barely keeping up enough to maintain sight of his best friend. “Bastard!” panted John to himself as he finally lost sight of the younger man.
The rest of the night was cold and disturbing. There were sounds in the distance, sounds he couldn't quite make out and he never did locate Sherlock. John kept himself warm and awake by allowing himself to become entirely furious with Sherlock. So much for promises! After his long departure following his apparent suicide Sherlock had faithfully promised to never leave John again. Their friendship had haltingly resumed and had only recently returned to something like it had been before.
When Sherlock had cajoled John into coming to this remote countryside to look into strange sightings he'd been vague, telling John that he didn't want to presume out loud about his suspicions in case John noticed something that would change his perception. That this was one of the most complimentary things Sherlock had ever said about John stifled any complaints he had been about to make. Instead he'd simply insisted that Sherlock wear something other than a fine suit and got the lanky detective dressed in jeans, a jumper as well as sensible shoes.
Now John regretted leaving London at all! He'd spent the whole long night shuffling almost blindly through the trees, privately admitting that staying still was safer and more sensible, yet he was unable to stop trying to find the trail back to their rental car. It was dawn before he finally accidentally came across the path. There were no signs to help so John arbitrarily picked a direction and sighed with relief when he finally made it back to the vehicle.
He gasped with horror when he saw Sherlock crumpled up on the back seat. The young detective had lost his jumper somewhere and the whiteness of his shirt only exacerbated the paleness of his skin as he lay in the back seat trembling with cold. He was filthy from head to toe, soaked from apparently falling into a lot of water and he looked feverish. John instantly forgot his own weariness, all of his anger and harshly stomped on the panic that flooded through him.
Yanking open the door he worried even more when Sherlock didn't respond. Checking him over he felt the dry heat of Sherlock's forehead. John was further shocked when his best friend unexpectedly buried his face in John's shoulder. John felt a confusing surge of emotion when Sherlock seemed to press his teeth against his neck to scrape along his skin. It was tender where John had cut himself shaving yesterday. It hurt but the pain was almost erotic now except that the young man whimpered so fearfully. “I'm here Sherlock. I've got you. I've got to drive though. I'm taking us home.”
“John!” Sherlock's voice was weak and filled with terror. His eyes didn't open. “Home? Yes please John. I don't want to be here anymore.” John's heart broke. Sherlock was obviously traumatized but he couldn't see anything wrong with him. John ran his hands over Sherlock but apart from water and mud there wasn't anything apparently damaged. He knew he couldn't do anything more for his friend parked in the middle of nowhere at dawn so he satisfied himself by draping his coat over Sherlock's shoulders to keep him from getting chilled further from the dampness.