The Lessons of Life and How It's Rarely Fair

Sherlock knew that he had two cracked ribs, a punctured lung, and a concussion at the very least.

It didn't stop him from breaking from his hospital room the first moment that the doctors turned their backs.

He'd already been out cold for an hour, at least. It couldn't have been much longer because it was still daylight, but he also knew it had been at least that long because his watch had broken when he had hit the ground.

It didn't matter, though. None of it did, not right now. Because what mattered right now was finding John. Everything was secondary to John right now and an hour had already been one hour too long.

Sherlock slunk around A&E for a few minutes, deducing with sluggish speed that John was not here. So, he began searching the hospital. John wouldn't have left... Sherlock hoped. He didn't want to bring Mycroft into this, not right now. He couldn't handle that conversation with his physical and emotional state being what it was right now.

He found John outside of the nursery. Just staring through the glass window, staring at all the little babies bundled up in pink or blue blankets. He wasn't moving, asides from breathing and blinking.

Sherlock sidled up to him silently, his gaze briefly touching on John's profile. Shoulders slumped, pale complexion, blood still on his hands. Slight shivering, favouring of his leg, and not so much as a greeting or a rebuttal when Sherlock walked up.

Sherlock wasn't quite sure what to say. He'd always had words. Always. Being quick-witted and sharp-tongued was something he held in high regard; even The Woman couldn't batter him down with innuendos, threats, and promises. But he was speechless now. Sentimentality had never been his forte and his own mind was so ravaged by emotion that he didn't know where to begin.

Eventually, he simply settled with:

"I'm sorry."

John did look away from the window at that, slowly, his gaze meeting Sherlock's. His eyes were dull, the usual light and fire gone. "Why?" he asked bluntly. "You didn't do it."

Sherlock mentally winced. It sounded like something that he would have said if the positions were reversed, and it was never a good thing if John started to act like him. It was never a good thing if anyone started to act like him.

He licked his lips, tasting blood. "I know," he said quietly, looking back at the sleeping infants through the glass. "But I'm sorry."

"Don't be," John said flatly. "You did everything you could to help."

Sherlock closed his eyes against the pictures that came flooding back: the snipers, Mary, bleeding under his hands, taking the bullet, the ambulance, John yelling... He opened them again when he found the darkness beneath his eyelids didn't make them go away.

"You didn't kill them," John said.

Sherlock licked his lips again. Unconscious reactions to inner turmoil. He knew how they worked, but he didn't like them. "I didn't protect her... them," he said shortly.

He'd heard the news shortly after he woke up. Gunshot wound or not, everything paled in comparison.

Mary had been murdered.

Taking the bullet hadn't helped at all, it seemed. It may have bought them a few minutes, in the beginning, but Mary had died, nonetheless. On the operating table. And not just Mary. But John's daughter as well.

Unborn daughter, at that.

John laughed dryly. "You got shot for them. You tried. I wasn't even able to do that."

"You were occupied," Sherlock said.

"Yeah, with another bloody assassin," John snapped. "I should have been helping Mary, who got dragged into all of this mess because of us!"

Sherlock glanced sideways at him. "You know she attracted the assassins hersel-"

"Sherlock," John said warningly. His voice was as cold as ice.

Sherlock shut up immediately. Now wasn't really the time. Nor would it ever be the time, he added mentally, because whatever Mary had done in her past life, it didn't warrant a death sentence for her and an innocent child. It didn't warrant any of this.

He didn't voice those thoughts out loud. He figured it would harm more than help John's unstability right now, and Sherlock wasn't even sure how it would affect himself, to be honest. So, instead, he just fell silent, taking John's action as a referral and watching the sleeping babies.

"Everything was perfect." John broke their silence five minutes in. "Everything was perfect now, after all of that shit with Magnussen. How could this happen?"

The answer was clear of itself - he and John, and Mary had been as well, were magnets for trouble - but Sherlock found himself pondering the same exact question even though he had the answer. Emotion made things difficult to accept and his mind just wasn't doing any accepting of fact right now. John wouldn't take kindly to it, either.

"We were going to be parents," John hissed. "In two months."

Sherlock nodded numbly. "I know."

"We already have the nursery set up. We picked out names. Me and Mary finally got everything back together and now..."

And now the perfect dream was shattered.

Sherlock understood that all too well. "I know," he repeated quietly.

"Two months. It was sooner than we'd planned for, but... a baby, Sherlock. I was going to be a father."

Sherlock studiously kept his eyes on the nursery window.

"Mary and me... and you," John added. "You were going to be my daughter's godfather. Anyone else would say I was crazy for doing that and now none of us ever get the chance to do any of that."

Sherlock had started at the word 'godfather' and looked at John again. He didn't hear the rest of the statement and he didn't hear the catch in John's voice, because that nine-letter word echoed in his mind. "What?" he whispered.

John glanced up before doing a double take. "Oh, don't be stupid. You knew I was going to ask you. It's like not I have anyone else to be her godfather."

Sherlock didn't respond, staring dully down at John. Godfather. John had wanted... him to be... Sherlock swallowed and looked away again.

"No one gets the privilege now..." John mumbled. "Mother or father or godfather or husband and wife..."

Sherlock heard the wavering in John's voice this time and glanced over again just in time to watch his face screw up and two tears fall.

Sherlock reacted on instinct- sentiment, really - surprising even himself when he reached over and wrapped both of his arms around John, jerking him close to his chest. He didn't know who it was more of benefit for... for him trying to hold John together or keep himself from falling apart.

Either way, it hardly seemed to matter anymore.

John had initially stiffened at Sherlock's embrace, but even before a single second had gone by, he'd buried his face against Sherlock's chest and broke down sobbing.

Sherlock pressed his lips into a thin line and tightened his hold on John, pulling him impossibly closer. He could feel the power beneath John's tears, feel them shaking his shoulders and making him tremble and shake all over. Pent-up emotion: never a good thing.

He was one to talk, of course, but there were things that he did and things that he didn't, and crying in a hospital wasn't in his repertoire. It wasn't a case of being heartless... Sherlock was just versed enough to know if he started, he wouldn't stop.

He sucked in a deep breath and squeezed his eyes together tightly, pulling in a reign on the emotion. No... This was John's time to grieve. Sherlock's main goal was taking care of John right now. Any emotion that he himself felt would be stored away until a time where it was more convenient... mostly probably later tonight, when John was asleep, in the shower where no one could see the tear tracks for the spray of the shower. John's emotional state was already a wreck... the last thing that was going to settle it would be finding his ever-so-stoic best friend in tears himself.

So, for John's sake, Sherlock held himself together by the barest thread of strength, resting his head slightly against John's.

He didn't know how to comfort people, not really. He couldn't say that it was alright, because it wasn't. Saying that it would be okay would be pointless as well; it wouldn't. He'd already said that he was sorry and John had already vented the frustration...

Sherlock just stayed silent. It was how their relationship worked best, anyway, in silence.

Sherlock lost track of the time that was spent with John sobbing against his shoulder, but he didn't care. His coat, it was material and the fatigue from the fight and the blood loss were inconsequential. He would pass out before he left John's side now. He was not pushing him away, not now.

John sniffed heartily and Sherlock heard him swallow. He hoped that he wasn't about to be sick, but he didn't pull away to run off, so he assumed he had simply cried himself out.

"... Thank you..." John mumbled. He returned the hug proper now, or at least a semblance of it, squeezing Sherlock tightly. There was something vaguely comforting about the motion and Sherlock could understand why basic instinct had prompted him to do it to John in the first place.

"Don't thank me," Sherlock said quietly.

John sighed, his fingers clutching into Sherlock's coat. "Just give me a minute," he mumbled, his voice still muffled by the thick fabric.

"Take your time." He wasn't being condescending when he said it.

John was quiet for another minute before laughing weakly. "People are talking, aren't they...?"

"Let them," Sherlock said.

He didn't add that if someone so much as breathed the wrong way in their direction, his emotion would turn to anger and he would be in a fist-fight so fast that security wouldn't even know which way to run.

He never had handled emotion well.

"Yeah," John muttered vaguely before his grip loosened. Sherlock immediately let go and John pulled away, pressing his face into his hands. He looked up after a moment. "You should be in A&E."

"No," Sherlock said, "I should be with you."

John stared at him dully for a moment before swallowing again and looking away. "You are with me."

Sherlock nodded once. "Yes. And I'm not leaving."

John sighed shakily, rubbing his eyes again. "Thank you."

Sherlock tilted his head slightly. "I told you not to thank me."

"Yeah, well... I did." He sighed yet again. "I've got to... make arrangements and..."

"We will," Sherlock interrupted, "but right now, you need to come back to Baker Street with me, have a cuppa, and get some sleep. Anything else can and will wait."

John looked at him again. His eyes were gleaming and still watery, but no other tears fell. "... When did you become so..." He waved his hand generally in Sherlock's direction.

When my best friend's life shattered, Sherlock thought. The thought made his own stomach jolt - best friend, from his point of view now - and then he realised he didn't know if he meant he had started being more emotional when he had ruined John's life by faking his own death or if he meant just now. Either way, it didn't matter. "When..." he trailed off to think a moment. "Well, because..."

Nothing fit. Anything that he could have said was too emotional for his taste or far too rude. He was floundering for words and he felt so inhumanly... human.

John smiled weakly. "Yeah."

Sherlock sighed quietly; at least John had gotten the point... somehow. "Home?" he asked hopefully. It was going to be a long night for both of them, but they would tackle it together...

More or less.

I've been planning to write this for a few days now and I finally got around to it... Sentimentality is always a tricky thing with these boys. John's perfectly human but Sherlock has to be more or less his rock... Because if Sherlock broke down, you know everyone (readers/viewers included) would be destroyed, too. If Mary does die in the show, which I think she will [:(] eventually, I do wonder how Sherlock himself is going to take it...

I do not own Sherlock. Thank you!