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buried in bruises

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Leonard and Sheldon were in the queue for lunch at the university cafeteria. As they progressed through the line they received their meals from the lunch lady. Sheldon asked Leonard to get him a soda from the vending machine whilst he was already there purchasing a bottle of water. 

 

“Where did you get those little scratches on your hand?” Sheldon asked Leonard as he dialed in the number for the Dr. Pepper on the machine.

 

Leonard turned his wrist to look at them and lied, “Oh, I’m not sure. I hadn’t noticed.”

 

He knelt down to collect the fallen bottle and said, “here’s your Dr. Pepper,” handing it to Sheldon.

 

Sheldon took it and said “well, all I’m saying is you better not have gotten a secret furry friend that I’m unaware of because that would not be okay,” and walked away to their table where Howard and Raj were already sitting down. Leonard quietly collected his own water 

and headed over to the table too.






*




“Goodness, where have you been?” Sheldon asked Leonard, pointing at a patch of multiple bruises spread across Leonard’s forearm when Leonard brushed by to fetch a drink from the fridge.

 

“Oh, uh, paintballing,” said Leonard. “Remember?”

 

 Leonard took out the bottle of pink vitamin water and shut the fridge door.

 

“Wow, well you most certainly bruise easily,” Sheldon said, matter of factly.

 

“Yeah.” Leonard shrugged and unscrewed the bottle. 

 

As Leonard turned to head back to his room, Sheldon said, “to be fair, I’ve always thought of you as having the most veel-like consistency of skin in the group.”

 

Leonard turned and looked at him, frowning,. “Um…” He then just shook his head and turned back towards his room.











“Sheldon?” Leonard calls strangled and tiredly from his bedroom.

 

Sheldon appears at Leonard’s doorway. “Why are you in bed?” Sheldon asks.

 

“I’m just tired,” Leonard waves him off, “Anyways, um, could you uh.. Could you order dinner this time? And um, get me a glass of water.”

 

“Why? What’s wrong? Are you sick,” Sheldon asks, confused.

 

“No, I, uh-- it, it just hurts to walk,” Leonard sighs.

 

“Oh.” Sheldon frowns. A long pause is left before he asks, “Why?”

 

“Ugh, my God, I’ll just get it myself!” Leonard throws his sheets off him and pushes himself up out of bed. He has 5 wounds on his leg, 5 long, stinging red cuts and a couple of bruises again too. Sheldon sees them and his eyes widen but he doesn’t say anything. He keeps silent.

 

He follows Leonard carefully into the kitchen. Leonard snatches a glass from the cupboard and fills it up with fast flowing water from the sink so carelessly. He takes a large gulp from it so it's not overflowing anymore and takes it back to his room, his chin now dripping wet, though he couldn’t give less of a shit. Sheldon follows him back to his room again, keeping behind a little. Just when Leonard gets to his room, he says, “Leonard, wait.”

 

“What?” Leonard sighs, getting back into bed.

 

Sheldon perches himself on the end of Leonard’s bed and looks at him. He begins, “Leonard, I’ve noticed a few things recently and I felt like maybe I needed to ask you…” Sheldon says, “Is somebody hurting you?”

 

Leonard sits up guiltily. “No, buddy. Nobody’s hurting me.”

 

“Okay, well, I thought I would ask you because, well… you know, the scratches and the cuts and the bruises. But, okay.” And with that, Sheldon stands up and leaves.




*




“Oh my god, Leonard,” Sheldon panics as he walks into the apartment. After just getting home from the train store where Penny took him, he’s now seeing Leonard sprawled out on the sofa, half bleeding to death from his wrists. Cut really deep, blood flowing out like a waterfall. “Oh my god, 

 

Leonard says low and muffled by the sofa, “Don’t worry, I didn’t cut that deep. It doesn’t matter.”

 

Sheldon says, “No. No, you’re going to the hospital now.” He walks right over to Penny’s, breathing really heavily. He knocks on the door, over and over, until Penny reaches it and answers confused, “hey, what’s going on?”

 

“I need you to take me to the hospital now. Leonard’s cut himself and he’s bleeding on the sofa right now. I need you to drive us and quickly.”

 

“Oh my god, of course,” Penny says and quickly grabs her keys and a jacket and walks right to the other apartment where Leonard has now sat himself up and is holding his arm. He’s looking at the cuts and you can tell by his face he’s panicking now. “Yeah, I think we need to go now,” he says, now he’s seen them.

 

“It’s okay. Okay, now let’s go quickly,” Penny says. She holds a hand out to help Leonard up and he takes it but it’s not enough. She scoops him up by his side and says, “Sheldon, take his right side; I’ll take his left. We need to keep him up and stop him from feeling faint walking down the stairs.”

 

“Got it,” Sheldon says. He tries awkwardly to hold Leonard and keep him upright but his height makes things a little difficult. Penny’s got him though, and she’s also ready and out the door with him before Sheldon can even grasp a proper hold on him. Sheldon turns and shuts the front door and Penny notices he hasn’t got Leonard and sighs, “Alright fine, just make sure you stay beside him and catch him if he falls.” 

 

As the three walk down the stairs, Penny can feel Leonard breathing really hard against the two of them and whispers, “Hey, don’t panic. I promise I’ve got a hold of you,” and Leonard nods and swallows his fear, his eyes shut tight.

 

When they make it to the bottom of the stairs, Penny sits Leonard down onto the bottom step of the staircase and tells Sheldon to sit and wait with him whilst she gets her car. She also passes him her jacket and tells him to tie it around Leonard’s bleeding wrist and to put pressure on it.

 

When it’s just Leonard and Sheldon alone together, they sit in silence with Sheldon pressing the brown jacket onto Leonards arm. Sheldon then says quietly, “I could have done more.”

 

“What?” Leonard asks.

 

“Two weeks ago! When I saw you with all those horrible red cuts down your leg and all those bruises. I could have stopped this,” he says angrily. “And now you’re going to the ER, and you’re losing blood and we’re sitting right here and I just-- I’m scared, Leonard. And I’m sorry. I don’t want to lose you, and you don’t deserve this either. This sadness just eats you up inside and it scares me. I don’t know what to do.”

 

“Hey, it’s okay,” Leonard says softly and tearfully. “And it’s not your fault, buddy.” He looks up at Sheldon, who’s still holding down the jacket on his wrist and gives him a small sad smile. Sheldon nods and looks down refocusing on the arm he’s trying to cover tightly.

 

Penny pulls the car up right outside the apartment block and the boys see it and stand up. Sheldon’s still holding the jacket as they walk out to the car, but once they get there, Leonard assures him, “I’ve got this now.” Sheldon lets Leonard take over himself. Leonard gets in the back and then Sheldon sits in the front.

 

Penny starts driving immediately. “Penny, promise you’ll get there as quickly as you can,” Sheldon says to her.

 

“I will try my hardest,” Penny replies and once they’re on a clear road she really puts her foot down. 

 

“Hey, how you doing back there,” Penny asks Leonard, looking at him briefly through the rear-view mirror.

 

“I’m okay, um, I’m feeling a little faint though,” he admits honestly.

 

“Stay with us okay, we’ll be there in five.” She says, “Sheldon, distract him.”

 

“Well, you--per--c--uhh… comic con’s in five months hey, Leonard, isn’t it?” While nobody says it, everyone in that car, including Sheldon, can not believe that this is the one time he is unable to think of anything to say.

 

It’s so intense and quiet, Penny smacks on the radio and whacks up the volume whilst the race down the road at almost a hundred miles per hour, other cars beeping occasionally, but Penny’s just powering through.

 

“We’re almost there,” she says. “Is it still bleeding?”

 

Leonard lets go of the jacket he had been squeezing against his wrist to see and a far too generous amount of blood oozes out from it. “Oh god.” Leonard’s heart drops. “Yeah, it’s still bleeding.” He quickly covers it back up with the jacket and presses down. “Shit.... Shit,” he breathes, trying to recover from seeing that and the panic that comes with it. 

 

“Hey, it’s okay, just breathe,” she encourages him.

 

Penny allows the car to slow down as they near the hospital and Leonard starts to sink in how real this is. Penny turns on her indicator and pulls into the parking lot. They park up in the nearest parking space and leave worrying about paying for later. Penny and Sheldon get out of the car and go to get Leonard out. Sheldon opens the back door and Penny goes to help him out. She sees Leonard’s crying and shaking and gives him a big hug. She pulls away. “Come on, let’s get you out.”

 

Leonard nods and turns to hang his legs out of the car first where the door is open and Penny bends then down beside him to scoop her arm around his back and pulls him out of the car. Once he’s up they start walking beside him, like they did on the way out of the apartment. Sheldon still walks on the other side, keeping his arms ready to catch Leonard in case he falls. When they get into the ER, Penny tells the nurse her friend has multiple bleeding cuts on his wrist, and that he did it himself, and that it's still bleeding. The nurse asks how long ago the cuts were made.

 

“How long ago,” Penny asks Sheldon.

 

“How long ago,” Sheldon asks Leonard.

 

“Uhhh, about half an hour maybe 45 minutes ago,” Leonard says breathlessly, eyes wide looking around him.

 

“Still bleeding?” The nurse asks him.

 

Leonard nods, gulps and pulls off the jacket to show her. Penny looks at it, eyes widened and alarmed and Sheldon also purses his lips to try to hold back his look of discomfort. 

 

“Oh boy, yeah, we’re gonna need to get you cleaned and stitched up fast. Follow me.” She walks them straight into a room, Sheldon, Penny and Leonard following behind. 

 

Penny helps Leonard sit down onto the bed. He sits back, upright where the pillow is in it at first, but the nurse tells him that you must lie down. This is to prevent fainting and for when he gets the stitches.

 

Leonard’s face grows anxious and shy. He bites his lip, looks down and then looks at Penny. “Hey, um… Penny. I don’t want you to see me lying in the bed. Is it okay if you wait outside until it’s done?”

 

Penny frowns, a little upset at first, but she understands and nods. Before leaving, she walks right up to Leonard, kisses him on the cheek, and says “I’ll be right outside, okay?”

 

“Thank you,” he whispers.

 

After Penny leaves, the nurse begins with the procedure and Sheldon stays in the room, silent, knowing Leonard still wants him there else he would have most definitely asked him to leave. He doesn’t want to do this alone and doesn’t feel embarrassment in front of Sheldon. 

 

In that room, Leonard has his arm cleaned thoroughly and treated with an antiseptic, is given an anaesthetic and has stitches done on all the cuts on his wrist. When a psychiatrist comes in and asks to speak with him, Sheldon still sits there, but Leonard looks at him and has to ask him to leave first.

 

The psych doctor just wanted to have a conversation to check if Leonard was suicidal at that moment and whether he was on any medication or had a diagnosed disorder. Leonard told him no, and no. But he knew there was some sort of problem because at times he gets really rough spells of depression out of nowhere that last for a period of time and then disappear.

 

When the doctor leaves, he is officially discharged and he comes out of the room and walks over to Sheldon and Penny, relieved, tired and also wishing this had never happened. “Hey, guys, look. I’m really sorry I put you through this. I’m so tired, I just want to go home and go to bed. I don’t want to answer any questions or talk about anything. I really just want to get back in bed.”

 

“No problem,” Penny says quietly and high pitched with a little frown. “Hey, if you need someone with you and you’d rather not be alone I can stay with you and not talk; just lie with you?”

 

Leonard looks at her gratefully, “thank you. I think I need that.”

 

And they do exactly that. Penny and Sheldon drive him back home and when they get back to the apartment, Sheldon pats Leonard on the back and heads to his own bedroom and Leonard and Penny head into Leonards. It’s only 10 at night now, but Leonard said he was tired and he needed to get in his bed and it really had been a rough day. Penny was okay with this. Leonard even got out a spare pair of pyjamas Penny had left over before, when they were dating and Penny smiled and got into them. Both not talking. Comfortable in the silence.

 

Leonard gets in under the sheets first and Penny then joins. She cuddles against Leonard’s shoulder and he soon tires and falls asleep and once she sees that Leonard is safe and asleep, she falls asleep too.