By: Akiko, Keeper of Sheep


Epilogue: Amant


There were bubbles inside his head. No, he was inside a bubble.

Yes, that was right. It was logical. It explained why everything was distorted and strange and painted in odd colors. It explained why to world was muffled and echoed oddly in his ears. It explained why he was floating away, slowly yet surely into a place that was warm and soft and glittered beautifully.

And then there was pain.


Fire was crawling all over him, inside him, making him tense and arch, and then there was bruising force against his chest and he was gasping and screaming and everything was loudloudloud and ringing and his eyelashes hurt. No, everything hurt.

Someone was holding his face between their hands. They were strong and rough and familiar, and the blue-gold eyes that swam into focus above him were strong and rough and familiar and glittering beautifully.

"You fucking idiot," John hissed, and it was John, alive and sooty, and he'd never been so happy to be called an idiot. He only wished John would wait until someone had stopped his insides from bleeding first.

He coughed, and everything went fuzzy at the edges. John's fingers flexed against his jawline and his lips pressed against Sherlock's brow. Later, Sherlock would be touched and breathless and all sorts of romantic things, but at the moment he could only think that it just made his head ache worse.

The glitter in John's eyes escaped, and Sherlock abruptly realized that John was crying. He wanted to tell him to stop it, that it was hurting Sherlock even more than the fire and fist of the explosion, that it was frightening him, but he couldn't draw a deep enough breath.

"You will never, ever put my life before yours, Sherlock," John insisted, his voice too hoarse to be angry. "Do you understand me? Never again."

Which was stupid of him, because Sherlock could never sacrifice John to save himself. He loved him too much to go on living without him.



Something must have shown on his face, because John choked on a sob and leaned down to press their lips together.

Sherlock passed out then, and when he woke up next the bubbles weren't in his head, and he wasn't in a bubble, but there were bubbles floating past the window of his room. He turned his head to see John teaching Mary how to work Sherlock's bubble machine while Lestrade shook his head and smiled.

"John," he rasped, regretting it instantly when it made him cough.

When John had given him his sips of water and fluffed his pillows, and when Mary had handed him his purple rabbit plush toy with its bubble necklace, and when Lestrade had informed him that the maniac behind the whole debacle was safely behind bars and led his daughter away, Sherlock turned his head back to stare at the ceiling. A ceiling on which someone had stuck bits of plastic in the shape of stars. It was too far away for him to see properly, too light, and his eyes didn't seem to want to focus like they normally did, but when his brains stopped sloshing around in his skull he would certainly deduce what they were for.

John rambled quietly for a bit about how their abductor had been more than a bit mad, and how he was fortunately rubbish at constructing effective explosives. The blast had been small, knocking Sherlock back a couple of feet and setting fire to his coat (which John had insisted on treating with flame-retardant chemicals shortly after Sherlock nearly incinerated himself during a nail polish remover experiment).

The psychopath responsible had cut John loose as promised, which turned out to be his last mistake, because (as Lestrade explained to him much later) John had turned on him and (in Lestrade's words) "went nuclear on his arse until we showed up and pried him off". From the photos of the scene, Sherlock had deduced that at some point John had introduced the man's face to the wall more than once. While certainly falling under the category of "overkill", it was somewhat satisfying.

Though John didn't say anything about it, Sherlock knew that from the moment he'd pressed the button to the moment the paramedics started CPR, John had believed Sherlock to be dead. He didn't know how John had felt about that (though the wall to the face might have hinted at a bit of anger), but he knew that if their roles had been reversed, he would not have taken out his rage on John's murderer until the man was a quivering mass of bleeding flesh. Even overcome with fury, John was far too merciful, and Sherlock was much more creative.

When John had finished explaining how he had breathed for Sherlock for five minutes, the conversation died, and fuzzy silence filled the room. It was several moments before John spoke again.


"Yes, John?"

"You scared me."

Blinking, Sherlock tilted his head again (God, stop the sloshing, I may be sick) to regard John with surprise. "I can't have done, John. You're the brave one."

John rolled his eyes and leaned back in his chair with his arms crossed defensively. "You scared me, you great bloody fool, because I thought you had died before I could tell you I love you."

Sherlock pondered this for a moment, but really, it didn't change anything except perhaps the fact that he would be able to indulge his addiction to kissing John. So he smiled, shrugged (Oh, ow, God, why does everything hurt?), and tilted his head further so he could make sure that John saw in his eyes all the things he would never be brave enough to say out loud.

"I'm not a hero, John," he said softly. "But for you, I will always try."

That night, when the nurses gave him his sedatives and pretended John wasn't curled up in the bed beside him and turned off the lights, Sherlock gazed at the luminescent cosmos that John had created on the ceiling and the walls. Taking John's hand, he let the stars and the drugs wash over him, falling into the universe once more. As his vision dimmed and sleep bore him away, he could only think that of all his addictions, the one he could never do without was the one he loved best.


The End!


A/N - ...

Wow. I wasn't expecting that.

Well, that's not entirely true. I was expecting to open up a plot hole and shove Sherlock in so he would live, and a hospital room scene with bubbles, and a love confession and all that good stuff. I wasn't expecting the glow-in-the-dark stars stuck all over the room (if you're curious, you should definitely watch Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium - cheesy as hell, but has some of the best lines and visuals ever). Oh, well. It was interesting (to me, anyway).

I hope you've all enjoyed the ride. I know I did. So much so that I may even be convinced to write a few Specials. You never know! =3 Halloween's coming up, and I think Sherlock might have a thing for vampire!John...

I would like to make mention of something I left a note about in 'The Science Of Seduction Christmas Special!'. I am planning an SOS-compatible fic (probably a one- or two-shot) about a murder involving fanfiction authors. If you would like a mention, please message me with a short note about what it is about fanfiction that you love (please don't be afraid to sound a bit insane and/or obsessed), and if you'd like to be a suspect. =3

Also, I've only just noticed that I misspelled the title of the last chapter. It should be Héroïsme, not Heroïsme. Silly me and my silly French-flavored-fail. *headdesk*

Thanks to everyone who reviewed this story. You guys are amazing, and full of win, and made of jam and bubbles and Scrabble tiles and so very many other wonderful things. That being said, please endeavor to review one final time, to let me know if this lived up to your expectations.

Song for this chapter: 'Addicted To You' (Kelly Clarkson)