Heya everyone, guess who's back :D Ok, yet another 'The Great Game' possible ending scenario oneshot from me, though this one isn't immediately after it and this one is pre-slash John/Sherlock. It could've been slash, I was so sorely tempted, but I changed my mind ^^

No quotes in this one! I've run out of slashtastic quotes from the series to use :( (And that was just a subtle way of saying, BBC GIVE US ANOTHER SERIES FULL OF SLASHTASTIC QUOTES! Haha)

This is split into both John's and Sherlock's POV, and it's hurt and comfort, although even I'm not really sure who is hurt and who is comfort lol, you'll see what I mean. And oh, it has a few mentions of character death, but not much :)

Read on and review for me, please!

John's POV:

It isn't the first time this has happened. And John knew for a fact that it wouldn't be the last.

He was drifting somewhere roughly halfway between asleep and awake, wrapped up tight in his duvet to keep him warm against the chilliness of the flat when he heard the unmistakeable sound of the door behind him open slowly, scraping along the thin carpet. If he hadn't been expecting it, he would've gone for the Browning L9A1 he'd taken to sleeping with beneath his pillow, just like he had done that first time. But now he simply cracked open one heavy eyelid to glance at the digital clock on his nightstand, checking the time.

Just after one in the morning. Hmm, that's odd. Usually this doesn't happen until three or four. It must've been worse tonight.

John didn't need to turn his head to know that there was a tall figure making his way carefully into his bedroom, his pale white skin practically luminescent in the moonlight that streamed through the window at the opposite end of the room. This happened often enough that John pretty much knew the routine off by heart. It never changed, not even the slightest. He wondered briefly if today would be different, just because it was happening two hours sooner than it normally did.

The man in his room paused only to close the door silently behind him, and then he took several hesitant steps towards the double bed that John was curled up in. Five steps, John noted absently. Just like yesterday, and the day before that, and the days before that.

As he stopped beside the bed, John knew that those piercing grey-blue eyes were fixed unblinkingly on him, and would stay like that for the next fifteen minutes. Or maybe even longer. The man's eyes roamed every inch of John's form, almost as though he was trying to reassure himself that the ex-army medic was still living and breathing.

And John understood exactly why he did that, because he knew that it was nothing short of a miracle that he was living and breathing at all. The thick bandages around his bare torso reminded him of that every time he moved, the spread of burning pain that made him wince whenever he overstretched even the tiniest bit. He was supposed to be 'taking it easy' until he fully recovered, but you can never take it easy with a flatmate like Sherlock Holmes.

That was partly the reason for this nightly event too. Three weeks ago, John and Sherlock had met the infamous Jim Moriarty face to face for the first time in one of the worst situations John had ever found himself in, and that was including his years of service in Afghanistan. That bomb John had been strapped to by Moriarty was their only means of escape, their only possible way out when they found themselves locked in the crosshairs of God knows how many snipers' rifles with nowhere else to run. It'd been one hell of a gamble, and it was one that John hadn't been able to walk away from unscathed.

Long story short, Sherlock shot the bomb at Moriarty's feet, and the responding explosion damn near brought the entire building crashing down around their heads. Reacting without hesitation, John had shoved Sherlock straight into the crystal blue waters of the swimming pool beside them so the consulting detective would be out of immediate harm's way.

If John had been just a split-second faster, he probably would've made it into the water with him.

But he didn't. That crucial split-second was already long gone, and instead of plunging headfirst into the pool alongside his dark-haired flatmate, John had been lifted off his feet with the sheer force of the blast, thrown bodily into the poolside cubicles and then buried beneath them as they shattered upon impact from both John's collision and the ear-splitting explosion.

Being trapped under a pile of wood and debris had saved his life by protecting him from the initial flare of flames and shrapnel, but at the same time had nearly killed him as well. A long piece of splintered wood had skewered his side, burying itself deep in his torso in the space between his liver and his left lung, pinning him in place as his blood started to spread across the tiles beneath him.

The pain was indescribable, but thankfully brief. He'd passed out almost immediately, and had welcomed the wonderful numbing blackness. Judging by the amount of blood he'd already lost, John tumbled into unconsciousness knowing that there was a definite chance that he wouldn't ever wake up again. His last thoughts were of Sherlock, hoping that his actions had been enough to save his brilliant flatmate's life.

And then he'd woken up groggily in a hospital bed, hooked up to a heart monitor and an IV with a dishevelled and weary Sherlock Holmes sat in a chair next to him. The first thing John noticed was that the other man had looked… so unlike himself. His face had been even more ashen than usual, with dark rings underneath his normally bright eyes that had somehow turned haunted and vacant. Well, right up until he realised that John was awake, and then he'd leapt up out of that chair so fast, his grey-blue eyes practically lighting up with undisguised delight and relief.

Sherlock told John how he'd been unconscious for several days after having surgery to remove the wood from his side. Turned out he'd also received a couple of broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, a sprained wrist, a rather nasty concussion and a large second degree burn on the back of his right calf muscle, not to mention numerous superficial cuts and bruises. And to be honest, that was pretty miraculous in itself because it could've been a whole lot worse. In fact, it should've been worse. John had come so incredibly close to dying back there, but he was very, very lucky to have survived with all his limbs more or less intact.

Other than a couple of cuts and bruises of his own, Sherlock had escaped the explosion pretty much unharmed thanks to John's quick thinking and even quicker reflexes. Well, physically unharmed. Mentally, it was a whole different ball game.

That night when John had finally recovered enough to return home from the hospital was the first time it happened. At the time, John hadn't known what on earth was going on, because one minute he was just laid there alone in his bed, and the next the covers were pulled back and a warm body slid in beside him.

Understandably, John had reacted in pure instinct and seized the gun beneath his pillow, and despite his still painful injuries, he somehow manage to turn over and point the barrel of the Browning L9A1 straight between Sherlock Holmes's wide grey-blue eyes.

John didn't know who'd been the most surprised, him or his flatmate, but once he realised exactly whom he'd just pulled a gun on, he lowered his aching arm, wishing he hadn't grabbed the weapon with his sprained wrist.

"What the bloody hell do you think you're doing?" John had hissed at the consulting detective who was settling himself down in the soft mattress alongside him, calmly pulling the duvet back to cover them both. In the pale moonlight, John had been able to clearly see the usual imperious and aloof expression on the other man's face, but there was something different beneath it. Sherlock looked exhausted and irritated, and his unruly dark curls were sticking up haphazardly around his head as though he'd been tossing and turning in his sleep. John couldn't help but notice that his taller flatmate had three nicotine patches on each arm, and his dressing gown was hanging halfway off his shoulders but he obviously couldn't be bothered to straighten it up.

"I can't sleep." Had been Sherlock's only excuse. John blinked, fighting hard to keep his eyes open after the initial shock of his unexpected awakening seeped away. He'd had about a million and one protests running through his head all at the same time, but in his lethargy he couldn't be bothered to choose one and just stared at the taller dark-haired man with his brow furrowed in sleepy confusion.

"Bad dreams?" John asked. Sherlock didn't reply verbally, but with the way his entire body stiffened beside him, John knew he'd hit the nail right on the head with that one. He probably would've said something else had he not been so incredibly tired and still sluggish from the pain medication, so instead he just sighed heavily and rolled over slowly with his teeth gritted against the burning ache of his side. He'd felt Sherlock relax after a moment and shift a little to get comfortable, and then a single pale hand reached over and took hold of John's uninjured wrist, two long fingers pressing against his pulse. It was extremely strange behaviour even for the self-proclaimed 'high-functioning sociopath', but John had been too worn-out to care and had drifted off to sleep with Sherlock's warm breath ghosting over the back of his neck and his hand still encircled around his wrist.

Was it normal to have your eccentric flatmate come into your room in the dead of night and get into bed with you? No, it bloody wasn't. Especially not if the flatmate in question is the amazing genius that is Sherlock Holmes, who distances himself from anything and everyone and is about as socially-inept as a person could get. So when this continued to happen those first few nights, John had obviously been worried about his friend's mental health.

But what he was even more worried about was just how well he himself slept when he had Sherlock Holmes in bed with him. He'd always been such a light sleeper, even before joining the army, but with Sherlock he slept like the dead right on through the night.

He always woke up on his own though. Sherlock was already long gone from John's room whenever the ex-army medic awoke in the morning, cold and alone with nothing but the rich woodsy scent of Sherlock still lingering on his pillow. Maybe it was something to do with how sharing a bed with the warmth of another gave people a sense of safety and protection that made John feel a little sad in the mornings when that warmth had gone. Or maybe it was just because it was Sherlock Holmes that had left him there. Either way, John hated those lonely mornings.

Neither of them ever mentioned their nighttime arrangement during the day. Hell, John hadn't a bloody clue how to bring the topic up! He highly doubted that he'd receive a straight answer from the dark-haired man, nor would he get an explanation that made sense to the average human being, so what was the point? If Sherlock was suffering from nightmares and needed some form of human comfort to help him sleep, then all John could do was lay there and deal with it. Not that he really minded it that much. It was… strangely nice, in a way.

And John was only slightly ashamed to admit that he liked it.

After what felt like an age, Sherlock tilted his head to the side and then bent down to move back the covers. Looks like the fifteen minutes were up, then. No, wait. John stole another quick glance at the time. Eighteen minutes today. Yes, this had definitely been Sherlock's worse dream so far.

John moved a little to make room for the taller man as he climbed into bed with him, taking up his usual place beside him. That wonderful warmth John had almost come to crave seeped through the space between them, and suddenly John's torso didn't ache quite so much. He smiled to himself, knowing the detective couldn't see it from where he lay.

Predictably, that single hand reached over and found John's wrist, measuring his pulse as it thrummed at its normal speed beneath the pale fingertips. Why did Sherlock do that every night? He'd just stood there and watched him breathe for almost twenty minutes, so why check his pulse too? In fact, why did he feel the need to do either of those things at all? Did he think John would've just died in his sleep or something? His injuries were nowhere near that severe.

Or… was it something else? Something to do with his nightmares, perhaps? John didn't know. And he probably never would know, either.

But then Sherlock's hand suddenly released John's wrist as though the other man's skin had physically burned him. This had never happened before. Small flickers of concern started to twist and grow in the pit of John's stomach as he gingerly rolled over to face his flatmate, every inch of that worry etched deep into the frown on his face.

"Sherlock? Is everything alright?" John asked, his voice a little hoarse with sleep. It was a pretty stupid question, he realised as soon as the words had left his mouth, considering how just one look at the dark haired man told him that everything was far from alright.

Sherlock was sat cross-legged on the mattress, wearing those hideous pale grey pyjamas that he somehow managed to look good in. His hair was tousled as though he'd been running his hands agitatedly through it and his grey-blue eyes were bloodshot and seemed to be having trouble focusing. His hands were now bunched in the material that covered his knees, but even there John could see them trembling slightly. In fact, Sherlock's whole body was shaking almost imperceptibly, but John could feel it vibrating through the bed they now shared.

But despite all this, John couldn't help but notice the fine features of Sherlock Holmes. His smooth porcelain skin and full lips, his high chiselled cheekbones framed by a crop of dark brown curls, the sharp lines and angles of his slender body. Every single attractive feature of Sherlock that John had pretended not to notice during the day just seemed to be magnified at night, especially when illuminated by the pale light of the full moon. And those eyes, God. Hypnotic and intense, shining like jewels in his head. John could gladly get lost in those eyes.

Hastily, John steered his mind away from the dangerous territory it was rapidly trying to approach. They were already sharing a bed, they didn't need to complicate matters any further by throwing John's increasing… affection… towards the other man in there as well.

Although, if he was being completely honest with himself, he'd say that it was definitely something more than just affection. But no, he wasn't going to go there. Not now, not ever. After all, Sherlock hardly felt the same way.

His flatmate didn't answer, his eyes downcast instead of meeting John's face. John grit his teeth and pushed himself up onto his elbows, trying to ignore the protesting sting of his healing wounds as he moved. At that moment, he didn't give a damn how much they hurt. Something was obviously distressing Sherlock, and John wasn't about to lay back and go to sleep when he might be able to do something about it.

John dragged himself up onto his knees and inched forwards a little on the mattress, massaging his previously dislocated shoulder as he turned to face Sherlock. It was the same shoulder he'd been shot in at Afghanistan. Bloody typical.

"Sherlock?" John repeated the taller man's name as he leaned closer, trying to read whatever Sherlock might be thinking or feeling from his pale face.

And then whatever else John Watson had been intending to say completely died in his throat as Sherlock Holmes lurched forwards and took hold of the ex-army medic's head in both hands.

To say he was shocked would be one hell of an understatement.

Sherlock's POV:

It was all John's fault, he'd decided. John Watson was the reason behind the nightmares that had plagued Sherlock's mind ever since that fateful day back at the swimming pool with Jim Moriarty. It was nothing to do with Sherlock himself, nor was it anything to do with whatever he might possibly feel for the ex-army doctor he shared a flat with.

Huh, of course. A talented liar Sherlock Holmes may be, but the one person he couldn't even attempt to lie to was himself. Which was, in itself, bloody inconvenient.

Sherlock had rarely suffered from bad dreams in the days before John became his flatmate. In fact, he'd rarely dreamed at all. His brain never rested, ideas and thoughts, conclusions and deductions spiralling away inside his head like a supernova all the time, even in his sleep. Do you think amidst all that, there was room for some silly insignificant dreams? No, not a chance. He didn't need them, so he'd deleted them. End of story.

Except that these particular dreams were so far from insignificant. These dreams caused him pain, made his chest physically hurt when he woke up every damn time with his heart racing and his pulse rocketing through the roof, his skin slicked with a sheen of cold clammy sweat and a cry in his throat that he refused to let leave his lips. These… nightmares… they were unbearable. They'd started off bad enough, and just seemed to get worse and worse with every night that passed.

They always followed the same basic theme, but with various nasty twists to the tale that differed every time. Sherlock wasn't stupid, of course not, how absurd, so he knew exactly where the dreams had come from and why.

And the answer once again was John Watson.

Or, more specifically, how incredibly close he'd come to losing John Watson back at the pool where Carl Powers had died.

That moment when Sherlock had pulled the trigger of the Browning L9A1 and shot the bomb right in front of Moriarty's smug face, he honestly hadn't been thinking of an escape plan, so when he suddenly found himself underwater as the explosion had consumed most of the building, he'd understandably been more than a little surprised. But not for long. It was obvious who'd saved him. John had knocked him into the pool to protect him from the blast. Simple but effective.

But then it'd taken his magnificent brain an abnormally long time to work out what else had been obvious about that scene. Namely, the fact that John wasn't in the water with him. And for what must've been the first time in his life, Sherlock Holmes had felt genuine gut-wrenching fear and concern for another person's safety.

So he'd dragged himself out of the swimming pool much sooner than he should've, but panic was rapidly overriding his logic as his skilled eyes searched the entire ruined area for John. There had been no one in sight. No John, and no Moriarty. Sherlock knew instinctively that Jim Moriarty had survived the explosion and had somehow managed to escape unharmed with his horde of snipers, because a man like that would never let himself be backed into a corner if he didn't have a plan B already prepared. Just like Sherlock, in that aspect. Which is probably why Moriarty blew Sherlock's own plan B out of existence by kidnapping John and strapping a bomb to his chest.

Because John Watson was Sherlock's main crippling weakness. The only person who'd ever gotten close enough to the consulting detective to call him a friend, the only person who Sherlock truly enjoyed the company of, and definitely the only person who had somehow crept his way into Sherlock's heart and spread to fill the previously vacant gaps, bringing emotions to the surface that the dark-haired man hadn't realised he could ever feel. Moriarty had known this, damn that wickedly intelligent man. Perhaps on some level, Moriarty had realised just how much John meant to Sherlock before the detective had come to the conclusion himself.

And then Sherlock had found John. Or rather, he'd seen the blood seeping out from beneath a pile of splintered wood and debris and his brain had drawn the unmistakeable conclusion as to who was under there.

Sherlock had never moved so fast as he'd worked furiously to unearth his flatmate, the soles of his shoes stained red from the spreading pool of crimson liquid on the tiles. Eventually, when Sherlock could hear the sound of approaching police sirens not ten minutes away, he'd ripped aside a large chunk of what was previously part of a poolside cubicle and had finally caught a glimpse of John. The smaller man had already fallen unconscious and his face was deathly pale even in the flickering orange light of several small fires that surrounded them. One bloodied arm dangled free of the rubble, almost as though it was reaching out towards Sherlock for help.

It'd been one of the worst things Sherlock had ever seen, which was strange considering how many mangled bodies he'd studied and macabre crimes he'd solved over the years. But somehow, seeing John Watson like that had almost brought Sherlock's magnificent brain to an abrupt shuddering halt.

He'd scrabbled to find the other man's pulse in that outstretched arm, and after a few tense seconds of apprehension, he'd found one, slow and dangerously weak.

Sherlock had been relieved, but his relief was short-lived, because he soon realised that his flatmate was too seriously injured to be moved. Never had he felt so helpless as he waited the remaining eight and a half minutes it took for the police to finally reach the bombsite, with nothing to do but keep his fingers pressed firmly against that sluggish pulse to make sure John didn't die right there and then before help arrived.

But he had died. Twice. His heart had stopped beating twice and he'd been brought back to life again each time, once in the back of the ambulance on his way to the hospital, and a second time at the hospital itself. John had no idea about this. Sherlock hadn't told him, and he didn't intend to. John didn't need to know.

That night was when the nightmares started. Sherlock had fallen asleep in the hard plastic chair next to John's hospital bed and had basically relived the entire explosion all over again in his head, only this time John had still been strapped to the bomb when it ignited. God, he could still see the look of pure fear in those wide tawny eyes before he'd been blown to pieces. It haunted him, it really did, prowling at the back of his mind whenever he closed his own grey-blue eyes. And it only went downhill from there.

Every bloody night after that, every night John spent unconscious in that hospital bed and every night Sherlock spent sat beside him, trying so desperately hard not to fall asleep but even Sherlock Holmes couldn't overrule his biological need for rest. Every single fucking night another nightmare, each one centred around John's death.

In one, he'd drowned in the pool beside Sherlock. In another, Moriarty's snipers had shot his chest so full of bullets that the ex-army medic had been dead before he'd hit the floor. In another, he'd been on his knees in front of Moriarty, facing Sherlock as the consulting criminal put a gun to his head and put a single bullet through John's temple. In every dream, John perished. And Sherlock had the man's blood on his hands, both metaphorically and literally.

The dreams continued on even after John had finally come home to the flat, recovering but thankfully awake and alive. Sherlock had hoped that his flatmate's presence would rid him of these intolerable nightmares, but he'd been sadly mistaken.

Sherlock's psyche was severely suffering with his lack of sleep and his brain's treachery, and he was finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate on even the smallest and least challenging of tasks. That wasn't good at all, because Sherlock needed every ounce of concentration he had to enable him to track down that bastard Moriarty. The man had almost succeeded in burning the heart out of Sherlock a few weeks back, but he wouldn't do it again. Sherlock would make absolutely sure of that.

Determined to put an end to these dreams once and for all, Sherlock had tried just about everything. Playing the violin usually helped him to think, but unfortunately it did nothing to keep the nightmares at bay. Neither did any of his experiments, neither did a near-overdose of nicotine patches, and neither did shooting holes in the wall where the yellow smiley face still grinned at him from the wallpaper. No matter what he did, he just couldn't escape them.

And like a bolt of lightning, a solution had struck him that first night of John's return. And what a brilliant solution it had been.

Not that John had been too impressed by it, but luckily the painkillers were still in effect when he'd tried to protest, so he'd easily given up without much of a fight. But even then, Sherlock had still found himself staring down the barrel of a gun which the other man had whipped out from beneath his pillow so fast that the detective had literally blinked and missed it. Not bad for an injured man still drowsy from pain, medication and sleep, but then again, completely expected of an ex-soldier.

And from then on, their newfound bed arrangement continued every night, and what was absolutely excellent about it was that it worked one hundred percent! Those nightmares vanished out of existence the moment Sherlock climbed into John's bed, checked the other man's pulse and then promptly fell asleep beside him, happily breathing in the soft calming scent that was purely John. He hadn't given his flatmate any explanation as to why he crept into his room and slept alongside him. It was just yet another thing that John didn't need to know.

John had probably come up with an explanation of his own anyway. Undoubtedly the wrong one, of course, but it didn't matter. He didn't pry, and Sherlock was immensely grateful for that. John respected his privacy, and in turn Sherlock's level of respect for the other man had shot up substantially.

Tonight was much worse than any of the others. Not in brutality, but due to the fact that it was so painfully alike to what had actually happened back at the pool, except in the ending. In this dream, John hadn't been unconscious when Sherlock had dug him out from beneath that pile of rubble, and instead he'd been screaming in pain, sweat, blood and tears snaking trails down his ashen face as he'd clawed desperately to reach Sherlock's hand. And Sherlock had tried to help him, oh God he'd tried so hard, but before his fingers could close around John's wrist, the smaller man's tawny eyes had turned glassy and vacant, rolling back in his head as he stuttered out his final breath. Sherlock had surged awake with John's name already there on his lips. He refused to acknowledge that his eyes and cheeks were damp.

So after furiously rubbing at his face with his pyjama sleeve and running his hands roughly through his wild curls in frustration, he'd found himself once again sneaking into John's bedroom and watching the man breathe for a good eighteen minutes before he slid beneath the covers and joined him.

He knew John was awake. That was obvious from the small smile that quirked his lips upwards when Sherlock got into bed next to him. Why did that smile send a sharp jolt of wonderful heat straight through Sherlock's chest? He didn't know, and right now he didn't really care.

Sherlock took John's wrist in his hand and found his pulse with practised ease. But for the first time, the regular thrumming of blood through John's veins did nothing to reassure him. He let go of the heated skin so sharply that John stopped feigning sleep and carefully rolled over, regarding him worriedly with tired tawny eyes. His injuries were still hurting him, Sherlock noticed.

"Sherlock? Is everything alright?" John inquired. Sherlock didn't respond, partly because it was such a stupid question with the most obvious answer in the world, and partly because he just couldn't understand what was different about tonight. John's pulse beneath his fingertips had always fended off the nightmares before, so what had changed? It didn't make sense! But then again, did this entire situation make sense at all?

Sherlock wasn't an expert on social norms, but even he knew that flatmates didn't do anything like this unless they were closely related or lovers. Lovers. Hmm, now there was an intriguing thought that'd crossed his mind on more than one occasion, but he'd always blatantly ignored it. He was married to his work after all, and such a stubborn mistress would not tolerate any adultery. Although Sherlock had been tempted, oh so sorely tempted. Maybe it was the knitted jumpers. Maybe they did something for him, as ridiculous as that sounds, but who knows? It didn't matter, anyway. It's not like John felt the same way about him.

"Sherlock?" John repeated, moving a little closer, their knees almost touching now.

And suddenly, Sherlock realised exactly what was wrong and he reacted without a second's hesitation, lunging forwards and seizing hold of John's shocked face in both hands, stunning the other man into abrupt silence. The way his eyes widened would've been comical if Sherlock had been in a laughing mood, but right now he was anything but.

"It's not enough!" Sherlock hissed almost to himself as he cradled John's head in his palms. The smaller man's brow furrowed in incomprehension and disbelief, and that expression only deepened when Sherlock's fingers began to move, slowly tracing the features of John's admittedly attractive face.

His fingertips skimmed over the ex-army medic's cheekbones, forehead and eyebrows, trailing around the soft skin that crinkled the corners of his eyes. His thumbs found John's lips, brushing against them ever so slowly as he committed every single inch of John's face to memory.

The other man seemed to be immobile with shock, just sitting there as still as a statue as his eccentric flatmate touched his face. His eyelids fluttered a little as Sherlock's fingers glanced over them, and his breathing came out from between slightly parted lips a lot shallower than usual against Sherlock's thumbs.

There was absolute silence in the room other than the sound of the two men breathing. Sherlock's fingertips practically tingled with heat as he let his hands move from John's face down to his throat, following the path of his flatmate's jugular vein and carotid artery and savouring every rhythmic throb of blood circulating through John's body.

He had no idea why he was doing this, but all he knew was that simply holding John's wrist for his pulse just wasn't good enough any more. Sherlock needed to feel every beat of his heart, the warm temperature of the other man's flesh, every rise and fall of his chest as he breathed. It was the only way to completely assure himself that John was alive and right there next to him, and not dead, no, never dead…

John always slept bare-chested, but now most of his torso was covered by thick white bandage due to his wounds from the explosion. Sherlock's fingernails grazed over the coarse material, his touch exceptionally gentle now he neared John's healing injuries. The last thing he wanted to do was cause his flatmate even more pain, but he still had to feel, running a hand over the exact spot where the wood had pierced John's side as though he was trying to erase the wound with his fingertips. And to be honest, Sherlock wished it could've been that easy.

"I'm sorry," Sherlock murmured, the words tasting strange in his mouth. He'd never really apologised to anyone before and meant it.

"It wasn't your fault. I just wasn't fast enough." John replied, finding his voice at long last, barely louder than a whisper. That was a lie. Of course it was. It was Sherlock's fault that John had been anywhere near that damn explosion at all, and it was Sherlock's fault that his flatmate had almost died trying to save him. Maybe the nightmares were fate's cruel way of wreaking revenge on him. As if he didn't feel guilty enough.

Sherlock fixed his intense blue-grey gaze unblinkingly on John's own tawny irises. There was realisation in those eyes, and understanding.

Sherlock reached out with one ever so slightly trembling hand and deliberately pressed his palm flat over the place where John's heart was, almost sighing aloud in delight when he felt the wet thumping of the crucial organ as it pounded beneath his fingers. God, he needed this, why did he need this so much?

"Sherlock…" John said softly, his face sombre as he brought his own hand down to encircle the wrist that was at his chest. Sherlock closed his eyes for a moment and leaned forwards until his forehead came to rest against John's, feeling the other man's warm breath against his pale skin.

It was incredibly intimate, even though that hadn't really been Sherlock's intention. He bet John thought he'd finally cracked. But this, whatever he was doing right now, it was working, and those horrible images that clawed at the front of his consciousness were driven further and further back into the shadows with every single beat of John's heart.

"Don't die, John," Sherlock murmured, his voice sounding pathetically vulnerable even to his own ears, "Don't ever die. Don't even consider dying for me ever again, do you understand? Because I will never forgive you, John Watson."

"I won't. I promise." John breathed in reply. Sherlock's eyes flickered open and then swiftly narrowed as he pulled back slightly, regarding his flatmate with a knowing stare.

"You're lying." Sherlock accused. John's lips spread into a small meaningful smile as the pads of his fingers brushed against the soft white flesh of Sherlock's own wrist.

"Nobody lives forever, so I can't promise you that I won't ever die. But as for the other thing, you know there's no way on earth you could stop me."

Sherlock considered that for a few seconds, then nodded thoughtfully. In all honesty, Sherlock had come to that conclusion weeks ago. He knew that no matter what he did or who he found himself on the wrong side of, John Watson would always be right there with him, his gun aimed directly and unwaveringly at whatever criminal or murderer stood in their way. John would literally lay down his life for the detective, and he had already done so on more than one occasion. And Sherlock knew without a shadow of a doubt that this wasn't the last time that John Watson would be prepared to die in order to save Sherlock's life.

Sherlock's eyes suddenly darted down to John's lips, recalling the feel of them beneath his thumbs, and he couldn't help but want so badly to lean down and capture them with his mouth. But he didn't. Now wasn't the right time. If he was going to kiss his flatmate, then it would be on his own terms, not when he'd crawled into his bed like a frightened child after a nightmare. He'd shocked John enough just by touching his face, if he tried to kiss him now the other man would probably have a heart attack.

No! No, Christ, no, don't think like that. Don't think 'heart attack', you bloody imbecile! Sherlock felt an irrational surge of panic and pressed his hand a little more firmly against John's chest, nearly knocking the smaller man straight off the bed. John's hands came up and grabbed onto Sherlock's shoulders to steady himself.

"Whoa, careful! Don't worry, Sherlock, my heart isn't about to stop for a long time yet, ok? That I do promise." John said reassuringly. And Sherlock believed him.

There was nothing else that needed to be said after that. John lowered himself cautiously back down onto the mattress and rolled over onto his side. Sherlock lay down next to him and pressed the entire length of his body closer to the other man's, grinning to himself at the feeling of John's heartbeat vibrating through Sherlock's own chest due to their proximity.

And then, almost as an afterthought, Sherlock threw an arm around John's bandaged torso and buried his face in the ex-army medic's shoulderblades. John didn't even stiffen in surprise this time, instead reaching down to pull the consulting detective's arm tighter around him. Sherlock smiled against John's warm flesh.

No more nightmares plagued the dark-haired man that night, and when morning came, they awoke to find themselves still wrapped around each other, their fingers entwined.

And from then on, everything changed.

So what d'you think?

Personally, I hate the ending ¬¬ bleh, it was a bit rushed and I ran out of steam. Oh well.

BUT on a brighter note, I have got another Sherlock/John oneshot planned, maybe a bit more intimate haha so look out for that one!