DISCLAIMER: Sadly I own nothing so please don't sue.
SUMMARY: John is still angry and hurt, he feels betrayed by the one person he trusted most but how will he react when he discovers Sherlock's scar littered back is all because of him.
TITLE: Scars and Sacrifices
Scars and Sacrifices
"Why didn't you tell me?" The voice was soft and Sherlock detected the remorse lacing John's words.
"Would you have wanted to know?" Pursing his lips, he raised an eyebrow and looked questioningly at the older man although he already knew what the answer would be.
"Of course I would." Sherlock had to strain to hear the whisper.
Before he could carefully choose his next words the hurt, bitter feelings tumbled out. "Really? You didn't seem to want to last night."
"That's…That's not fair." Sighing, he dropped to the sofa and tiredly rubbed his eyes. "I had just found out that you weren't…and I was so…I just wasn't…" Trailing off, he sighed again.
2 hours earlier…
"I can't believe I've let him guilt trip me into this." Muttering to himself, John twisted the key in the lock before quietly closing the door and climbing the stairs. Before he reached the top he could hear the soft strum of the violin, not Sherlock's usual fierce strumming but something much softer…much sadder. He silently pushed the door open and gasped at the sight in front of him.
Sherlock was standing in the middle of the sitting room with his back to the door and his violin in hand but what shocked John was the array of bruises and slashes across Sherlock's back and arms. Before he could stop himself, he gasped aloud but Sherlock was too engrossed in his task to even notice he was there. Closing the door, he walked further into the room and quietly called out, "Sherlock?" When he got no response, he repeated the name a little louder and waited.
A couple of minutes passed in silence until the detective lowered his violin and placed it on the table but he didn't turn around. "John, what are you doing here?"
"I um, I came to talk." No matter how hard he tried he couldn't tear his eyes away from Sherlock's shirtless back.
"I see." Turning to face the doctor, he tried to keep the bitterness out of his voice as he asked, "Would you like to sit down?"
Ignoring the question, John asked, "What happened to you?"
"It's nothing…really." Shrugging, he just about managed to conceal a wince. "Shouldn't you and Mary be out somewhere?" He was trying his hardest to change the subject but 'chatting' had never been one of his strong points.
"I told her I was coming over here to…" Trailing off, he tried to work out why he had come.
It was clear that Sherlock hadn't been interested in the answer and he just hummed in response. "I see you still have the…" He made a gesture to the top of John's lip and tutted. "You really should get rid of that."
Rolling his eyes he let out a small chuckle but quickly sobered up and said, "So, how did you get the…"
Before he could finish, Sherlock interrupted, "I told you it doesn't matter. I would rather not talk about it." His eyes were cold and warning but John didn't feel threatened in anyway.
"There's a lot you clearly don't like talking about." He regretted the words as soon as he had said them.
"John…" Sighing, Sherlock shook his head. "You know what I'm like, I don't know what you want me to say to you?"
"I want you to trust me." Staring Sherlock in the eyes, he tried not to look away but the intensity of Sherlock's soon averted his gaze to the wall instead.
"You know I trust you, don't be so stupid." His voice was unwavering.
"Then tell me what happened." Taking a step closer, he looked up at the taller man.
"I thought you were angry with me…thought you were ignoring me." His tone was dismissive but John could have sworn he detected worry in the words.
"Look Sherlock, we can have this childish argument if you want but believe it or not I am concerned about you…even if I'm still angry."
"Well I'm fine so you can go home now." Turning, he headed for his bedroom. Right now he wanted to sulk and he was in no mood for talking.
"You can't just walk away and pretend nothing has happened Sherlock."
Whirling around he shook his head angrily and, through clenched teeth, seethed, "I'm not pretending and I know things have changed. You…you've moved on and I….I'm still the same, lonely sociopath I was before." Before John could say anything, Sherlock had flounced into his bedroom and the door had been slammed shut.
Sighing, John spent ten minutes pacing the room before knocking on the bedroom door and shouting, "Sherlock! Sherlock let me in!" He refused to answer so John tried the door handle and realised that for all his intelligence, Sherlock had forgotten the simple task of locking the door. Walking in, he looked at the bed and found Sherlock curled into a ball on top of the covers. "Sherlock…"
"Go away John." Pulling a pillow over his head, he closed his eyes and tried to take himself away to his mind palace.
"No, not until you talk to me." His voice was calm and it was clear that he was going nowhere. "Last night you wanted to talk, I'm here now so…talk." He was met by silence. Sitting down on the bed, he placed a hand on Sherlock's shoulder and gently shook him. "I know you're listening, I can tell when you aren't."
Lifting the pillow up, Sherlock shook John's hand away and sat up. "I don't know what you want me to say to you." Staring intently at the doctor, he shook his head and admitted quietly, "For once I'm lost for words."
Chuckling, John offered him a small smile and said, "Well that's a first." Turning serious again, he looked at Sherlock softly and asked, "Please Sherlock, please just trust me…tell me what happened to you."
Sighing, the taller man confessed, "I was…I was protecting you…all of you." Shaking his head, he reprimand himself for letting the tears well up in his eyes. "I was so scared John, I didn't know what to do so I did the only thing I could and now you hate me for it but you have to believe me I did it to keep you all safe."
John was shocked by the sudden emotional display and was suddenly glad that he was sitting as if he hadn't been he would have fallen. "I…I know you did I was just…" Shaking his head, he fell speechless as Sherlock's tears started to fall.
"I'm sorry." The broken whisper tore at John's heart and before he knew what he was doing, he was leaning over and wrapping his arm around Sherlock's shoulders. In an even more unusual display of affection, Sherlock fell into John's side and let the rest of the tears flow.
Once Sherlock had calmed down and let everything out of his system, John went into the kitchen to make them tea whilst Sherlock walked into the living room and sat down in one of the armchairs.
"Yes I know. I'm sorry it just hurt…I thought you would have been happier to see me." Sherlock would never dream of apologising for anything but he knew that he owed John more than an apology for the hell he had put him through over the last two years.
"Of course I was happy to see you…idiot. I thought you were dead though and it was such a shock, I didn't know what to think."
"I suppose I can understand that." Nodding, Sherlock pulled his knees up to his chest and leant back in the armchair.
Looking somewhat awkwardly at the carpet, John said, "You umm, you still haven't told me what happened to you." Meeting Sherlock's eyes, he told him, "Please Sherlock, I need to know what they did to you…who did this to you?"
Sighing for what seemed like the millionth time that night, he nodded. "It took me two years to dismantle Moriarty's network, I couldn't come back until I was sure that it was safe for you, Mrs Hudson and Lestrade. I wanted to tell you John, I wanted so badly to let you know and spare you everything but I couldn't."
John slowly nodded. "I understand that but those wounds are recent Sherlock."
"They wanted to know things, they tried to beat it out of me but I wouldn't tell them." His voice was cold and it was clear to John that Sherlock was already trying to forget what had happened.
"What did they want to know." Settling back into the sofa, John patiently waited but was shocked by Sherlock's explanation.
"Things about…you." His voice suddenly went quiet. "I broke them, you'll be safe now…I promise."
It was John's turn to tear up. "You…you did this for me?"
"Of course, I told you…I had to keep you safe. They tried everything, I don't know how long I was there for but I made sure they didn't learn anything about you…like I said, you'll be safe now." His voice contained no anger or annoyance, just pride that he had managed to keep John safe.
"Oh God…" John sucked in a breath and bit back a sob.
Trying to lighten the situation, Sherlock supplied, "As I told Mary, not quite."
"C…can I see them?" He was a doctor and he knew about the lack of care Sherlock had for wounds so he wanted to check that nothing was infected.
"Please." Standing up, Sherlock moved over to the sofa and sat down next to John but turned to the side so that John could look. He quickly checked for infection and was pleased to discover that whoever had cleaned him up had done a good job. "Everything looks clean." Breathing out a sigh of relief, he rested his forehead on the back of Sherlock's neck and tried to blink away the tears which had once again welled in his eyes. "I'm so sorry." His breath was warm against Sherlock's skin and Sherlock subconsciously leaned back slightly.
"It wasn't your fault, I'd do it again in a heartbeat." Smiling, to himself more than anything else, he added, "You're safe and that's all that matters." Turning, he looked down at the older man and offered him a small smile but it faltered as he nervously asked, "Does this mean I'm forgiven?"
Wiping away the last of his tears, John smiled shakily. "Of course it does…idiot."
Twenty minutes later Sherlock was lying on the sofa in his pyjamas and dressing gown with his head on John's chest. John was flipping through the TV channels trying to find something to watch but everything he settled on Sherlock commented on. "Boring." Click. "Dull." Click. "Obvious the wife did it." Click. "Yawn." Click. Amazingly when John found a channel that was showing a late night rerun of 'Tom and Jerry', Sherlock fell completely silent and fixed his eyes on the television. Rolling his eyes, John put the remote control down and ran his hand through Sherlock's dark curls.
They were halfway through the second episode of the cartoon when Sherlock asked, "Shouldn't you get going, Mary will be wondering where you are?" Although he was hoping that his best friend wouldn't leave, he knew that John had moved on and that Mary would be waiting for him at home. It scared him however that he was losing his best…pretty much only…friend.
"I uh…about that…" Sighing, he realised he had no choice but to confess, "Mary can't do it." Shaking his head he thought back to the discussion they had had.
"He needs you and you need him." It was so matter of fact and John could hardly believe what he was hearing.
"But you're the best thing that could have happened to me." Shaking his head, he started to disagree.
"I was John but Sherlock's back now. You don't need me anymore." She sadly smiled and John was shocked by the lack of anger or hurt in her voice as she said, "I can't make you choose between me and Sherlock but I can't play second best either."
"It won't be like that. I…I love you." The scared whisper shocked him as much as it did Mary, neither of them expecting the declaration.
"I love you too John which is why I'm leaving. You and Sherlock are both so blind, I know you love me but you'll never love me the same way you love him. He died for you John, well sort of died and I know you'd do the same for him." Tears sprang to her eyes. "Please John, I'd rather we parted friends than doing something stupid and waking up one day realising we're living lies."
"No, please don't. I understand and it's okay, we were there for each other and it was nice but that chapter's over now and you need to go and start a new one or relive an old one or whatever it is." Leaning forwards, she gently kissed him before saying, "Go and see him, talk about things…fix things. If you love me you'll do what makes you happy."
Kissing her one last time, John nodded and whispered a teary, "Thank you." Mary really was wonderful, she was selfless and beautiful and one day he knew she would find someone that truly deserved her. He was so sorry that it wasn't him but deep down he knew she was right. He wasn't ready to settle down and have a relationship, not now that Sherlock was back because he was just as bad as the detective…the thrill of the chase was everything to him…Sherlock was everything to him.
"I'm sorry." Sherlock patted John's knee and sighed. "I uh, I suppose you'll be wanting to move back in then. I'd already put an advert out but I guess I can take it back and…" He chuckled as John lightly swatted his head then snuggled further into the soft sweater beneath his head.
"I'll bring my things round in the morning." Sherlock hummed and nodded but for once remained silent. "As for the advert…nobody else would have you."
He opened his mouth to say something smart but then opted for a more honest, "Maybe not."
John smiled to himself and sighed before asking, "Tea?"
Looking up at him, Sherlock smiled and quipped, "I thought you'd never ask…thought I'd die of thirst."
Pushing him off, John stood up and headed for the kitchen, "You've already done the dying part remember." They both chuckled but John gasped when he opened the cupboard. Sherlock simply smirked as he heard the shout from the kitchen. "Is that a human foot?"
Sitting up, Sherlock called back, "I can totally explain…"
Despite himself, John found a smile once again gracing his lips because as strange as a human foot in the tea cupboard might seem to everyone else, he had missed it. Finally things were back to normal.
A/N: Well there you have it, hope you liked it and if you did you know where the little review button it ;)