John sat in their living room, his coffee growing cold beside him, untouched. After he had helped Sherlock hobble up the stairs, the detective had instantly gone to his bedroom and locked himself in. He wouldn't answer John's tentative knocks, so John decided to let him be.

John couldn't help but feel partially responsible for Sherlock's state. After all, if John were a good enough friend, he'd be able to cheer his flat mate up or at least talk to him and comfort him. John, despite Sherlock's opposing belief, had never been skilled at heart-to-heart conversations. He just hadn't been taught to be that way. Not by his parents, not by his school or his classmates, and certainly not by the army. John was more of a pat-on-the-back, you'll be fine, and then make a joke kind of guy.

He decided to call in a pizza. Maybe Sherlock would eat. Probably not.


John rapped on Sherlock's door. "Sherlock, I've got pizza. If you want any…and a cherry pizza." No answer. He jiggled the doorknob, finding it still locked. John pressed his face against the doorjam, straining to hear any telltale signs that Sherlock was awake. Or in his bedroom at all. John could make out a straining, hitching breath which betrayed Sherlock's crying. John knocked louder. "Sherlock, come on…let's talk….ok? Please?" He pounded sharply on the door.

John nearly dropped the pizza boxes when he heard a gasp and a loud thud from Sherlock's room. Then Sherlock was screaming. John did drop the pizzas then, and forced the door open with his good shoulder. He raced into the room, calling his friend's name loudly.

Sherlock had fallen out of bed and managed to wedge himself between the bed and the wall. He was clutching his side, fiercely and yelling in his half-crazed condition. John tried to tune out Sherlock's pleads and cries, begging for invisible monsters to leave him, to stop touching him, to leave John alone, to please, please just do whatever they wanted to him, so long as John was safe. John placed one foot on the floor next to Sherlock's thigh, his other leg lying stretched across the bed. Not the most comfortable or convenient of positions, but it would have to do.

John slowly, purposefully placed his hand on Sherlock's face and spoke softly to him. "Sherlock, it's ok. You're back here with me. With John. I'm all right, and you're safe. Calm down…"

Sherlock suddenly lashed out with his fist. It startled John, but he managed to catch his friend's flailing arms, as there was a distinct lack of coordination between Sherlock's limbs and his brain at the moment. "Shh…." John said, holding Sherlock's wrists gently. "Look at me, please."

Sherlock did. A horrified gasp died on his lips when his eyes met John's. The haze seemed to visibly melt from his eyes, but the tears kept falling. "John," he breathed. "They said…they said that they would get you next…that I would have to watch…if I didn't give them what they wanted, they were going to make me watch while they hurt you."

"That didn't happen, Sherlock," John said. He quickly amended himself, "I mean, yes, they did say those things, but they didn't get me. And now they're in prison. Or possibly on a very cramped space shuttle bound for the sun, if Mycroft had any say in it…I'm safe. And you're safe." John paused, watching Sherlock's pitiful shaking and sobbing. "But I want you to talk to someone."

Sherlock glared through his tears. "I don't need a therapist. Therapy doesn't work," he spat.

"Sherlock, I don't know how to help you," John said desperately. "You keep getting worse, and I don't know what to do…"

"Help me…help me up," Sherlock said slowly. John helped pull him back up onto the bed with him, careful not to jar any of the bad injuries. "Just…can you just…" Sherlock seemed unable to complete his request, whether from an excess of pride or a lack of vocabulary.

John understood, regardless. He wrapped his arms around Sherlock's thin body and held him.

John woke up because of a vibration in his pocket. He realized that he'd fallen asleep, Sherlock in his arms, lying almost on top of him. But it was the most peaceful he'd seen his friend since before he could remember, and regardless, he didn't mind either way. Sherlock had his good arm stretched out across John's chest, and his face nuzzled into John's neck.

John had closed his eyes and nearly drifted off again when his phone buzzed insistently at him again. He slowly, carefully reached into his pocket, trying to avoid moving Sherlock or jarring the bed.

How is he? MH

John rolled his eyes and texted back a hasty reply. Why don't you come and see him for yourself?

John laid the phone beside him on the bed, knowing that there would be something else for him to respond to. Meanwhile, he brushed strands of hair out of Sherlock's eyes.

The phone buzzed and he checked it. I can't. I'm relying on you to keep me updated. MH

John turned his phone off. If Mycroft really wanted to know, he would come over. John and Mrs. Hudson would be able to help Sherlock now that the first major battle for his recovery had been won. It wouldn't kill Mycroft to visit. And it wouldn't kill Sherlock for him to stay away. John drifted back to sleep, knowing that his dearest friend was finally sleeping without nightmares. And though those horrible images would probably continue to haunt him for some time, he had finally, finally let John in.

Marill: And that's the end! Comments, questions, liked it, hated it?