A/N: My first Sherlock Holmes fan fiction. Hope everything is in character. So…enjoy!

Warnings: Holmes/Watson, angst, some hurt/comfort.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

Watson shut the door to the flat. It felt empty without Holmes; the kitchen quiet without some sort of bickering, only Mrs. Hudson scrubbing some teacups in silence. The doctor placed his hat and jacket upon the rack and straightened out his sleeves. The stairs creaked as he headed up the study. He knew Holmes wasn't there. The case that he trekked already took 2 months. Watson had his doubts. He opened the doors to the study, to relax from the day's hard work. What he saw in the dim glowing light, casted off by the fire was his - the, Watson corrected himself, Sherlock Holmes. Sitting in the large chair, his feet were crossed upon the armrests, and his head up against the back of the chair. The doctor recognized the black mop of hair instantly, peaking out from the corner. Dropping his cane, he went to the front to see if it was actually the detective himself. Except for the discoloration, bumps and bruises, it was his dear Holmes. Watson noted that the eyes of his friend were closed, however his breathing irregular. He knew something wasn't right. Watson placed two fingers up against Holmes' neck, unshaven - a sign that he wasn't paying much attention to himself, rather his full attention to the problem that was at hand. The skin was clammy - small beads of sweat formed while his temperature rose. Watson frantically checked Holmes' pulse, trying to find the beat of a drum. It took the doctor a few seconds, but he could feel it, as light as it was. Watson started to get worried. He grabbed a towel and dampened it in order to try and wake up the consulting detective. After a few pats, Watson checked Holmes' temperature with the back of his hand.

Something is not right, mused the doctor. To hopefully know what was really wrong, the first thing he had to do, even though it wasn't his favorite plan of action, was make sure that there were no puncture wounds. When Holmes, during their first year together as flat mates, came back from a hard case Holmes would forget about everything and turned to, what he thought, his only friend - his seven percent solution. Holmes' jacket covered him up, just enough to use as a make-shift blanket. Watson pulled off the jacket and tugged on Holmes' sleeve to see what he was looking for.

It turned out to be the thing he didn't want to find. Pinching the bridge of his nose, Watson cringed. "Holmes, why do you do this to yourself?" Watson whispered. Holmes twitched his foot that hung in the air, and slightly shifted in his seat. Holmes' eyes fluttered open slowly; brown eyes looking tired.

The doctor decided that a little more light would do best, lighting a few candles in the room, turning his back away from the detective. "Watson?" It was barely audible, but he still heard it. . The detective shifted in his seat, and tried to sit upright. As Holmes was struggling to re-position him, Watson walked back over and placed his hand on Holmes' shoulder to make him sit back.

"You're not standing up, not in this condition." Watson grabbed a nearby chair and pulled it up near Holmes'. The light from the fireplace and candles allowed Watson to see more of Holmes' features – dark rings around the eye area caused by lack of sleep, little cuts along the nose and chin, and a bruise right near his temple. "It's been too long, Holmes."

"Some cases just need a bit more time than others." Holmes brushed off the imaginary dirt of his trousers.

"From the amount of time that I've lived here with you, it's not that hard to pick up a few tricks of observation. When you lie, you tend to flick off dirt on your trousers or shirt, even if dirt may or may not be there."

Holmes was silent.

"I had to stay. I wasn't chasing some petty criminal. This man – monster – killed seventeen people. I had to help these families mentally cope with their losses, as well as catch the damned. It took me all that time to recover from the sheer madness of chasing the killer. The nightmares are what plagued me the most. I opened my leather bound case multiple times just to rid them. It took me fifteen days time just to muster enough sense into myself saying that it's quite alright to return to home." Holmes said in a deep, monotonous voice, yet it was filled to the brim with emotion.

"What time did you return?" Watson asked.

"If I'm judging from the last time I saw the sun, I'd say…eight hours ago, which would be twelve in the afternoon."

Watson knew what that meant. "Did you have nightmares?"

Holmes didn't answer.

"Holmes." His voice was more forceful. Watson put his fingers under the detective's chin and rose so that his eyes were level with his. His face was still clammy with sweat.

"Yes, as you can obviously tell by the small holes in my arm."

"What were they of?"

"…I rather not say."

"The only way you're going to rid yourself of these dreams if you actually converse with me."

Holmes was hesitant. "I'm sitting in chair looking through my notes on a case. A knock on the door. I open it, and there's the killer, waiting there with his choice of weapon. There's blood on the knife, or there is gun powder on the barrel. He smiles, then runs and jumps out of the window. "

"Truthfully, Holmes it just sounds like a frightening tale, what–" Watson was cut off.

"It's not over. I walk into the halls to see blood over the wooden panels. I see your cane, separated into pieces showing signs of a struggle. Then I see your shoes, then the rest of your body, dead on the floor." Holmes explained.

"You have nothing to worry about. I'm here." Watson voice dropped in decibels. The room was silent, except for the cabs that roamed by the building.

Holmes moved his head closer to Watson's, stopping half way. He thought about what he was doing, thinking that it was just from the comfort of knowing that someone is there for him, not from the affection that was truly there. Watson closed the gap. A tender kiss; their lips pushing off against one another. Watson's mustache rubbed up against Holmes' stubble. The doctor placed his hand on Holmes' cheek, but pulled away.

There was some silence between the two. Holmes pursed his lips together as he watched the man opposite to him try to think what this was all about. "I will be here, always." A small smile graced the doctor's face, as he stood up. He straightened his suit and walked towards the door. "Now, I will get you a cup of Mrs. Hudson's tea and another dampened towel to try and bring your temperature down even more. Could I trust you to not break anything?"

"You can trust me as much as I trust Mrs. Hudson not to poison my tea." Holmes answered.

"You are insufferable." Watson stated. "I'm glad you are back, Holmes."

"I am glad to be back." Holmes smiled, his large brown eyes finally showing life. A silent understanding passed between the two, and the both of them have never been so sure of it in their lives.

A/N: I hope you enjoyed the fic. Reviews/constructive criticism are most welcome. :)