Sherlock paced the living-room, lost utterly in his own thoughts. Hands moving furiously as he sifted through the information only he could see. John was always amazed at his flatmates ability to lose himself inside his mind palace. Content to sit and read his book while occasionally looking up to ensure the madman wasn't about to walk into a chair or table again. Although funny to see the first time around, John did not really want Sherlock to hurt himself. His attention fixed inside the rooms of his palace, Sherlock was unable to see the rooms of the real world around him. He was not best pleased when the real world would shock him out of his process. It was the main reason he normally stood still during this process. But this case had been plaguing him more than most..He was almost agitated at this point. A few days had stretched into the third week of this case and there were now five bodies.
John was not a part of this investigation. He had been in Edinburgh at a medical conference when it had began. He came home to find Sherlock already succumbing to days of too many nicotine patches and thick black coffee. He was sure Sherlock had not slept in the four days since the case began. Suggesting that Sherlock might be able to think clearer after some rest was met with a snort of derision and so he continued until he collapsed on the couch for a few blissfully quiet hours. And then another text from Lestrade pulled him awake and back into the fray. The pattern repeating itself until now.
Abruptly the pacing stopped and when John looked up it was to see Sherlock staring intently at the knife embedded on the mantle. He reached out an pulled it from the wood and the stack of letters which had never been opened since they had moved in. Sherlock then stalked to the couch and slumped down.
“All the victims were a members of self help groups”
They were the first words Sherlock had spoken in two days. As he was speaking he was twisting the knife in his slender fingers. John was mesmerised with the fading daylight glinting from the blade. Then just as suddenly as Sherlock has sat down he stood up again. This time stalking out of the living-room and John heard his footsteps retreating into his bedroom before the slam of his door.
It was not the most unusual behaviour John had seen Sherlock display, not by a long shot. But after returning to his book for a few minutes he realised that Sherlock had left the room with the knife. He couldn't say why this thought was nagging at him. But he felt the need to go to Sherlock's room and check on him anyway. He paused outside the door and listened. There was no sound from inside the room. He received no response to a knock on the door. Normally good manners would dictate that John leave Sherlock alone. But the nagging feeling in his gut compelled him to open the door anyway. The sight beyond the door pulled him up short.
“Oh God Sherlock” Johns chest felt tight as Sherlock's eyes met his. Sherlock had rolled up his shirt sleeves and was sitting on the edge of his bed. Both pale forearms were streaked in lines of crimson. Blood was running from each of the cuts to drip softly to the floor. And John felt horror curl in his belly. A perfectly normal reaction to finding your flatmate cutting themselves. He was barely breathing at the sensation. He was not expecting the wave of arousal curling lower in his gut at all. And he didn't manage to stop himself instinctively licking his lips.
John moved forward and knelt at Sherlock's feet beside the bed. Sherlock had lowered his gaze to stare at his bleeding arms and did not react when John gently removed the knife from his hand. “Why?”
“All the victims were in groups for self injury. I was curious about the appeal of such an act. This case has been dragging on for too long. I was hoping that a greater understanding of the victims might give me a better insight into the killer”
God, he made it sound like it was a reasonable step to take in an investigation. But the look on his face was anything but his usual mask of concentration and analysis when conducting experiments. John really looked at his flatmate and what he saw nearly took his breath away. Sherlock was breathing in small, rapid pants. His eyes were wide and dilated. Lips parted slightly and he looked almost dazed. If John didn't know better he would say Sherlock was aroused. Or perhaps he was transposing his own shameful reaction to the sight of Sherlock bleeding. It was the pain and adrenaline that was causing Sherlock to react that way. That had to be it.
“Just sit there and I will go get the first aid box” Johns voice was firm as he forced himself to slip into doctor mode. After returning from the bathroom with his supplies he cleaned the wounds, ignoring Sherlock's hiss of pain at the swipes of antiseptic. He then dressed the wounds and looked Sherlock directly in the eye. “ You are lucky that none of them needed sutures. That blade has not been cleaned in god knows how long so I am going to have to keep an eye on them in case any of them get infected. And I am taking the blade away, I don't want a repeat of this. Do you understand?” Sherlock nodded in a very uncharacteristic manner for him. John was expecting a fight, a snort of I will bloody well do as I please or Don't be so melodramatic, of course I cleaned the knife before hand and I knew exactly how deep to go. But Sherlock offered nothing of the sort. That in itself was worrying.
“I hope you got the results you needed from this little experiment Sherlock. But do me a favour and get some sleep seeing as you are already in your bedroom. You can solve the case in the morning”
With that John returned the first aid kit to the bathroom and retreated into his own bedroom. As he stripped down to his boxers and slid under the sheets he tried not to analyse his own thoughts. Tried to ignore the fact he was half hard. He was a doctor for Christ sakes. An Army surgeon at that. He followed Sherlock to crime scenes and put up with body parts in his fridge. He was immune to the slight and feel of blood and trauma. It didn't make him feel sick and it certainly never turned him on. So why did the sight of his flatmate bleeding from self inflicted wounds make him ache? Make him want to run his tongue along the ridges of the wounds, cleaning them with his tongue rather than the antiseptic wipes? Perhaps Sherlock would still hiss at the feeling of his tongue dipping in and lapping up the blood, maybe moan as he sucked a little...No, No! He should not be thinking this way. What the hell is wrong with him?
The thoughts churning inside his head John stared at the ceiling knowing that sleep was going to be elusive tonight.