Sherlock sat in his armchair, thinking. It had been an eventful but boring day; Lestrade had called about a kidnapping but his sharp mind had figured it out through only their phone conversation. Honestly, couldn't anyone surprise him for once?

His thoughts weren't on the crime at all (that was SO six hours ago). They were on a certain army doctor he had grown fond of. John seemed to have been acting rather differently as of late. Although when he relayed the events in his mind, nothing seemed that unusual. But Sherlock could tell, even if he couldn't articulate exactly what was wrong.

His thoughts were interrupted by John coming from the kitchen, but he wasn't wearing his normal shoes (Sherlock could tell with his eyes closed from the sound). The footsteps sounded heavy. So boots then. Wait, John only had one pair of boots that heavy...

His combat boots.

Sherlock's eye snapped open to reveal John Watson standing in his full army uniform. He looked ready for action.

"John," Sherlock questioned slowly, "Any particular reason that you're in you old uniform?"

"Of course," John answered, sounding upset about something. "I'm leaving. I'm going back to Afghanistan today."

Sherlock's heart, or in his case brain, shattered at the news. John was just leaving? He could he! Sherlock sprang out of his seat as John began walking towards their flat's exit.

"NO! You're not leaving!" he shouted. He didn't know what else to do. "You're the only one who understands me; the only one who actually likes me! If you leave I'll... I won't stand a chance! Not even Mycroft can put up with me at my worst, but you can! What will I-"

"You don't seem to grasp my reason," John cut in. His voice was dripping with venom. "YOU'RE the reason I'm leaving. Do you have any idea how disgusted I am by you? You put corpses in the fridge, keep me up all night with that chainsaw, or 'violin' as you call it, and... Oh, what's the thing I'm missing? Oh, that's right... YOU LET ME GET STRAPPED TO A BOMB BY A PSYCHOPATHIC CRIMINAL MASTERMIND!"


"Save it, okay? There's nothing you can do about it now."

"Well... Wh-what about your limp? I'm the one who got rid of it! In a way, you need me."

"You think I need THIS?" John gestured around the room; to the skull, the kitchen, and finally to the man about to break down into tears in front of him. When he spoke again, he used the same loathsome tone Sally or Anderson would use.

"It seems pretty obvious to me that you need me a lot more than I need you." With that, he picked up his bag a left a stunned Sherlock behind him. As he swung the door closed, he paused. "Hey, look, even the door agrees with me." He swung it back and forth making it creak and moan. It sounded as if the door was hissing, "freak, freak, freak..."

Then he slammed it shut.


Sherlock gasped. John couldn't leave. He shouldn't, he... he...

Had they been fighting in Sherlock's room? With the lights off? In the middle of the night? With just Sherlock there?

Slowly, his brilliant intellect began to piece together what was going on. In a flash, he was on his feet and bolting up the stairs to John's room. The door flew open to reveal the doctor, sleeping peacefully with a novel in his left hand, and the right one drooped over his stomach.

Sherlock made a slight cry of relief that stirred John out of his slumber. For a moment, he was foggy with sleep, but the next he was sitting upright, ready for anything like the solider Sherlock knew he was.

"Sherlock, what the hell are you doing here at two in the morning?" John asked irritably.

"You're going to stay," Sherlock breathed. He walked over and grasped John's strong hand into his long pale one. "You're staying here, right? You're not going... going back to..."

"Back to where?" John interjected, still grumpy about the time. "Spit it out so I can go back to sleep."

Sherlock took a deep breath. "War."

John's face suddenly softened as he instantly began putting the pieces together, feeling like the consulting detective as he did. Comes in the middle of the night... Not an experiment... Concerned about me leaving... Rapid breathing... Hair tussled; was sleeping minutes ago...

"Did you have a dream where I left?" He asked softly. Sherlock hesitated before nodding slowly. John gripped the other's hand in his own.

"You have no reason to worry about that. There's no way I'm going back to that hellhole. Especially when everything I need is right here." Sherlock looked up, clearly shocked by the words his friend was saying.

"It's an entirely irrational phobia," John added with a smirk playing on his face. That seemed to make his flat mate relax a bit more.

"Nevertheless, I'm glad to hear your verbal reassurance," Sherlock said as calmly as possible, but inside he felt like a child at Christmas. "I'm better. You can go back to sleep now."

"I don't need you permission," John remarked playfully as Sherlock retreated back down the stairs.

Sherlock was pleased to see as he passed that John's old army boots were still in the hall closet, gathering dust.