The much rummaged-through first aid kid lies in sterile bits and pieces, gleaming white and red and blue under the cold lights of the interview room. Sherlock hunches stiffly in his chair, pale, shivering, bare from the waist up. The sooty remains of his shirt are piled underfoot.
Greg blames himself. It's only the second case they've worked together, but he should know by now that simply telling Sherlock to do something is bound to be insufficient. Greg only wanted the stuff between his ears, but he got that and then some, another reckless participant in a foot-chase taking a tumble down a fire escape just for the pleasure of looking his prey in the eyes.
I told you to go is on his tongue as he rips open a disinfectant wipe, releasing its volatile cloud of bitter alcohol – but he's said it twice already, so he works silently. Sherlock's shoulder contracts under the disinfectant; the red, raw expanse of scraped skin leaps in protest. Greg's mouth twitches to one side as a stitch of sympathetic pain burns for an instant in his gut. "Sorry."
Sherlock only twists his head impatiently, as though working out a crick in his neck. For a moment the tight, irritated line of his mouth is visible.
He can leave, though, if he wants – Greg's offer to patch him up could have been refused, and they both know it. So here they are, the early morning silence of the police station cold and heavy around them like concrete. Greg's glad for the solitude. It lets him rest his hand against Sherlock's ribcage, offering some small comfort, although he feels like the warmth from his fingers is bleeding into a void.
He's seen Sherlock shirtless once before, his cool, wide eyes intense with a hunger Greg hadn't believed he could even feel. Even then, in that stunned, heady aftermath of their first case, the necessary end to weeks of close association, Greg felt as though most of what he had to give was falling into nothingness, as though he were kissing something that only occasionally noticed he was there.
He'd do it again in a heartbeat, though it makes him ache.
After plastering a wide, white bandage into place he straightens, shrugging off his jacket. "Here. That'll get you home, at least."
Sherlock works the jacket over the awkward angles of his arm. His nostrils flare, making Greg wonder what he smells, what he knows. He feels naked.
"Thank you," Sherlock mutters, huddling into the jacket and hiding the edge of the bandage that curves over his shoulder.
Greg sees him out to a car, his hand hovering at the small of his back to avoid the fresh, tender wound. He wonders how long it will take this – how long it will take him to become nothing more than a scar, a faded, numb mark of memory that will lie forgotten under clothing until Sherlock happens, one day, to catch sight of it in a mirror.