AN: For those who are curious, this is the site John is visiting while looking for a birthday gift. iheartguts. com

"Your birthday is coming up."

The statement seemed so out of the blue coming from John that at first Sherlock thought that he was mishearing him. The two men had just finished dinner a short while ago, and while Sherlock had draped himself on the sofa doing nothing at all John was seated in front of his laptop.

"My birthday." It was more a statement of fact than a question. "May I ask what sorts of asinine things you have planned for an occasion that marks nothing more than when I happened to arrive on this world?" The idea that John wanted to honor his birthday in some manner struck Sherlock as being absurd. In the Holmes family, birthdays were not celebrated in any way other than perhaps a brief "It's your birthday." Mycroft had at times gotten money from their parents, but Sherlock knew that he would never get anything tangible as a gift. He was too much of a bad child. Only one person had ever given him any kind of birthday gift… Sherlock shook his head, trying to push back the memories.

"I was just wondering what you might like for a gift, or what it is you normally do on your birthday. What have you and Mycroft done in the past?" John did not seem to notice any change in his friend, so he must have been successful at keeping past gifts at bay.

"Nothing. He's taken me out; I refuse to eat. My brother gets me gifts; I send them back. Birthdays are ridiculous sentiment. Only ordinary people need to celebrate them. I don't need any foolish gifts or cake or a party or anything that you think a birthday needs. John, you of all people should know I don't do sentiment."

Sherlock thought that he had won, as John turned away from him and did not speak for a few minutes. His reply came as a surprise to the detective. "So, when it was my birthday I must have misremembered you taking me out for my favorite curry, then. The new mobile, Doctor Who DVDs, and tickets to that concert must have just appeared by magic somehow. Or what about Mrs. Hudson? The spa getaway she ended up with on her birthday certainly didn't come from me. I've seen you give ordinary people presents on their birthdays, and you've never said anything like this then." John turned to face him. "I think that if you can give us something then I should be able to give you something. It's only fair."

His bedroom. A voice, whispering in his ear. "I'm going to give you something for your birthday, Sherlock. I bet you're already excited for it. Always ready to go…" Sherlock stood up and grabbed one of the arms of the sofa, focusing on the feel of the upholstery. "John, I advise you to stop talking about this birthday nonsense. You will not be able to grant me your image of a happy birthday, because that is not possible for me." His instincts were telling him to leave at once. Typically it was seeing someone who looked like Nathaniel had or someone making a sexual advance towards him that caused the past images to come like they were. If it got too bad, then there was no telling what John might end up hearing. Sherlock wanted to make sure that his only friend was still willing to be around him, and if he learned about the lessons then the chances of that happening were quite small.

John kept on pushing. "I don't know why you are having such a hard time with this. I'll get you something that you'll like and that will be that."

It was too late. Sherlock knew that he couldn't get out in time, and that he should have left well before it got to this point. He tried to remain as calm as possible as the memories washed over him...

"Happy birthday, Sherlock." The words of his tutor woke him from as peaceful a slumber as Sherlock ever had. Mr. Bradwell's hand began to lightly stroke his face. "Sixteen today, are we. You're getting close to being an adult. It will be nice once you're grown – we won't have to hide what we do together anymore. I've got a whole bunch of presents for you tonight. I bet you can't wait to try them out."

It was the same thing on Sherlock's birthday since he had turned twelve. Mr. Bradwell always came in first thing in the morning to wake him up had talk about his plans for the day. The plans were always for lessons and they normally included the presents his tutor gave him. The gifts were never shown to anyone – they were always either sex toys or pornographic materials that gave Nathaniel new acts and positions to try on Sherlock. And after receiving each gift, Sherlock was required to thank the man for being so generous with him. After all, his parents certainly didn't give him gifts or even acknowledge that it was his birthday.

Mr. Bradwell smiled as Sherlock sat up in bed, waiting for what would happen next. "Since it's your special day, I'm giving you a choice. How do you want me now? I'll let you decide."

John didn't know why he was trying to keep on pushing the issue of birthday presents with Sherlock. The detective had made his feelings on the matter very clear, and if John pushed too hard it would likely trigger a sulking fit that would last for days if he was unlucky.

Besides, John already knew what he was getting Sherlock. By pure chance he had found a website that sold plush organs, and it seemed to be the kind of thing that Sherlock would like. A set of seven would be a bit more than John would normally spend for one of his friends, but Sherlock was more than an ordinary friend. He privately felt that Sherlock would be even more impressed with the actual organs, but given the sanitary issues that would surround keeping them in the flat the plush guts would be the best option.

Since John had turned to face his laptop again it wasn't until he caught a glimpse of Sherlock standing up and holding on to the edge of the sofa that he realized something was not right. At first John wondered if Sherlock was just getting up to leave, but the distinct tremor that could be seen running through the other man caused John's heart to skip a beat. "Sherlock? Are you alright?"

When there was no response, John turned around to face his friend. Sherlock's lips were moving, and he was clearly saying something although it was too faint to make out the words. Now seriously alarmed, John bolted up and went over to Sherlock. He could then hear the words his friend was saying. "Please... just my mouth this time." Abruptly Sherlock then sank down to his knees, still repeating the words he had said before, as if they were a mantra.

John's head suddenly felt light and he was afraid he would pass out for a moment. He knew what was happening to Sherlock. He'd seen other soldiers he had served with have PTSD flashbacks before. John himself had never had anything go quite that far – the nightmares he had had been more than enough of a problem in his life. But this was different. Right in front of John's eyes, he was getting an answer to the question of whether or not Sherlock had been abused as a child.

A part of John pointed out that the experience Sherlock had had of being repeatedly raped when he was attending university alone would be enough to cause a flashback like the one Sherlock appeared to be having, but there was a problem with this idea. The little bits of information John had gotten on what had happened during Sherlock's uni days indicated that there had been not much said between Sherlock and Sebastian during their encounters. It did not fit to have Sherlock voice a preference for how he would rather be violated.

Sherlock's breath was now coming in gasps, and John was afraid that he would pass out in front of him. He then sank down to his knees next to his friend and began to say "Sherlock? Can you hear me? This is 2012. You are in 221B, and I am the only one here. No one is going to hurt you. You are safe now." John didn't know if he was helping or not by trying to remind Sherlock of where he now was, but anything had to be better than just sitting waiting for the spell to end.

Suddenly, Sherlock began to blink his eyes and look around the room. "John... what..." His words trailed off. "Oh God." Before John was able to say anything, Sherlock had jumped to his feet and raced out the door of the flat.

"Sherlock? Sherlock!" John tried to follow him outside, but by the time he made it to the front door there was no sign of Sherlock Holmes anywhere. Given how well the man knew the streets of London, John would have to literally search every street in order to find Sherlock now. Instead, John slowly went back upstairs into his room.

No matter what happened or when Sherlock came back, he would make certain there was a light on for him.

It wasn't until Sherlock had managed to get a cab that he allowed himself to catch his breath and think about what had just happened. He quickly gave a destination and watched as the streets went by. He was lucky that he had put his wallet in a place where he could grab it while he fled. But even if he hadn't been able to get any money to bring with him, there was no way he could stay in 221B after the disaster that had just unfolded.

John knew. He knew everything about how bad and dirty Sherlock was. How could he ever face John again? What would his only friend say when he saw him again? Would he mock him for being so hard to resist sexually?

Before Sherlock could answer the questions he was forming, the cab arrived at his chosen spot. The cabbie looked rather skeptical at the clearly affluent man who was getting off in a rather run-down area, but a large tip left him somewhat mollified.

He knew where to go and what exactly he needed. Now that Sherlock had his inheritance, he no longer needed to concern himself with how he would pay for his drugs. If he no longer had John, then cocaine would serve to fill up all of the empty places instead.

He gladly exchanged some money for a small bag. With a smile on his face, Sherlock headed for one of his hiding places in the area. He prepared the drugs for injecting, and as the needle punctured his veins a sense of peace washed over him.