Title: Fire Dreams/The Fire and The Rain

Author: starjenni

Disclaimer: Not mine!

Pairings: First fic, Sherlock/John gen., second fic, Sherlock/John slash. Could be read as a development from one into the other.

Warnings: Lots of fire. Grief, angst, hurt/comfort.

Word count: (overall) ~1300 words.

Rating: T

Spoilers: The usual.

Summary: John after Sherlock's 'death' and John when he returns. And the fire burns regardless.

1. Fire Dreams (Sherlock/John gen.)

The night after Sherlock dies, John has a dream.

It is not like his usual dreams. John doesn't often remember his dreams, and when he does, he has dreams that have such obvious meanings that his therapist arched an eyebrow at him the first time he mentioned them and asked him if he were making them up.

Before Afghanistan, they were about things he had talked about that day, with people he had been with. They were, to be honest, boring.

After Afghanistan, they were about blood, and sand, and more blood. But even they were boring, in a way, even as they woke him up gasping for air. They were predictable.

When he was with Sherlock, they were strangely still, oddly peaceful. Often he was just sitting with Sherlock in some strange golden light and they spoke words to each other which made no sense. He always woke feeling relaxed, but puzzled that there had been no running, or deducing, or anything but them. It was as if that was a golden time, a still time, a time for just them, John's dreams, when, in real life, there weren't enough of those times, there were never enough.

This dream is different. This dream is full of symbols. John is standing on the roof of a building, and Sherlock is standing on the roof of another. There is a thin wooden plank connecting the two roofs, but underneath that plank are flames, reaching, hungry, filthy flames, licking greedily at the wood above.

In the dream, John knows he has to get to Sherlock. It is get to Sherlock or die - there is no middle ground, there has never been any option as far as he can tell, and why should there be? No option except get to Sherlock would ever suffice.

He can barely see Sherlock, because the flames are so high, and smoke is obscuring his vision, like mist, like fog swathed around gas lamps (a strange suggestion, why did he think of that?), but he knows, as well as he knows his own name, that Sherlock is there waiting for him, that he is expecting John to join him, and knows he will, because John does everything Sherlock expects, even the impossible, especially the impossible. He is there, on the roof, in his dark, dark coat, and his hands are outstretched, long, pale spiders reaching out, reaching out, and he is saying John.

The flames eat at the wooden plank, eat and eat, and John puts on tentative foot on the it, feels the whole thing creak, watches the flames below, dancing and reaching for him like Sherlock's fingers are, but crimson, and just as hungry, just as greedy.

John, says Sherlock, as clearly as if he is whispering in John's ear. John.

And his hands are reaching for him.

John has never said no to any of Sherlock's demands. He doesn't think he knows how to. He doesn't think he has the words.

He looks at the wooden plank. On it is inscribed the words Three years. He doesn't know what it means.

John, says Sherlock, so John steps on the plank and starts walking across.

He holds his arms out like he is a tightrope walker, though it probably wouldn't make much of a difference really, and he walks along the plank, step by careful step, and he keeps his eyes on Sherlock's dark figure and those white hands, because the alternative is looking down, and he knows if he does that, he will tumble and fall right into the abyss.

He wants to say Sherlock's name, but he seems to have forgotten how to speak. He isn't afraid. How could he be? Sherlock is there.

When he gets a bit closer, he can now see that Sherlock's hands are not pale anymore, they are black and red, burned lightly by the fire around them, although John is untouched, and he looks terrified, not because of his hands but because of John, he is terrified for John, Sherlock is frightened for someone else -

This thought almost makes John freeze on the spot; it is too much of a revelation.

No, says Sherlock. He reaches out with his milky-white, burned-black hands. No. John.

He seems so desperate. John walks on. He walks through the flames, above the flames, and the wood, the three years, creaks under his feet, but he knows it won't break, because that would mean he would die, and he can't die if Sherlock is there.

When he gets close enough, he brings his arms around, and his hands are within grabbing distance, and his fingers touch Sherlock's.

The look of relief on Sherlock's face is almost enough to make him cry.

He takes John's hands in a grip that is almost solid and draws him to him, draws him out of the flames and into the cool darkness with Sherlock.

John stares at Sherlock's face. It should echo the red light of the fire behind John, it should glimmer crimson and gold, but instead it is starkly pale, like that of a corpse's.

Three years, Sherlock says. His fingers intertwine with John's, like they were made to do just that.

Three years, John, he says, and then John wakes up.

He turns around, shifts in the cold empty bed, and when he wakes again it is morning, and he can't remember the dream at all.

2. The Fire and The Rain (Sherlock/John slash)

He's going to hit him, John thinks, when he sees Sherlock. He's definitely not going to kiss him. He is going to hit him.

The houses are in flames, the street is in flames, and it is raining heavily, coming down in sheets and sheets, like never-ending waterfalls, and the sky is thick with smoke, but that is what it took for Moriarty to die and for Sherlock to come back to him.

Three years. And now that damned stupid (brilliant) man (god, he is a god, he died and came back to life, he is a god) is standing there, in the middle of a roasted, flooded street, people passing around him like fishes in a stream, looking just like he always has, as if no time as passed, as if there is nothing wrong with him being there.

He moves his head, and John sees his profile and it is just the same, pale and aquiline and strange and wonderful, and he thinks it is not fair, that he has changed so much but Sherlock is still the same.

Sherlock turns his head and looks at him properly. John thinks, I am going to hit him.

And he walks through the flames, and through the rain, and he walks through three years of grief and pain and anguish and guilt, and he walks up to Sherlock and kisses him.

It is a wet, hot kiss, full of silver fire and golden rain. It is an angry, furious, intolerable kiss, it is a kiss that says I hate you I hate you, and then Sherlock turns his head and it turns into a kiss that is the exact opposite, and John thinks I love you instead, and all the hate goes out of it and vanishes with the smoke, and then it is just them, surrounded by flames and rain and three years of wasted time, it is just them and the kiss, and the kiss, and the kiss.