Okay. I couldn't resist one final chapter, just to get this idea of my mind. Many thanks to all the reviewers, and any more reviews would be great!


It was a complete nightmare. Everything had been a complete nightmare since Sherlock's death. The press, for the first few weeks wouldn't let him go anywhere, clamouring for interviews. Asking how it felt to be betrayed. How it felt to have been friends with a kidnapper, killer and liar. John always answered with the same sentences.

Sherlock's not a fake. He's real.

The press had soon lost interest in the matter, leaving John to his miserable thoughts. He'd spent a few weeks at Harry's to start with. And then, Mycroft and Mrs. Hudson managed to persuade him to re-enter the flat.

The science equipment was still boxed in Sherlock's room. The very sight of the door made John want to sob. But he resisted. Because Sherlock was dead and he couldn't do anything to fix that.

So now, three months on, he stood in Mrs. Hudson's large living room, a glass of beer clenched in his hand, stick in the other. Of course the limp had returned. As a constant reminder of what he had lost, and what Sherlock had given him.

The room was full of Mrs. Hudson's old cronies, all nattering on, and driving John insane. Nobody should be happy while Sherlock was dead. Without him, the world seemed flat. Empty. Meaningless. The only thing that kept him going was the thought that Sherlock wouldn't want him to give up.

Because he knew, as certainly as he knew Sherlock was no fraud, that he had cared.

Lestrade was at the party too, though it sickened John to call it that. Mrs. Hudson had insisted that he come down and join in the 'fun'. He'd invited Lestrade in the hopes it would mean he wouldn't have to talk. But that had backfired as Lestrade insisted in asking how he was doing.

He didn't know what was worse. The sympathy comments, or Lestrade. The sympathy comments were awful. Because nobody was sad that Sherlock was gone. They were sorry that he'd taken everybody in. Whenever somebody started on that thread of conversation, John would just turn away. He didn't care about being rude.

And Lestrade... He meant well, but John couldn't shake the memory that Lestrade had believed Sherlock was a fake. Had acted on it. And still believed it, though he was careful never to mention it.

Everything made John feel more and more worthless these days.

So he just stood in the middle of the room, ignoring the occasional comment, and struggling with himself over whether he should have another glass of bear. Which would make it his forth.

The doorbell rang again, and John prepared himself for forcing off a barrage of questions again. And then, a scream shattered the noise, and everybody fell silent.

All of Mrs. Hudson's cronies were staring fearfully at the door. Another of them ran through the doorway, white as a sheet, and running up to Lestrade, she clutched him.

"A murderer! Do something!" was all she said.

Everybody watched the door fearfully. There was the sound of a door creaking shut, and steady, carefully steady, footsteps. And then, a tall figure entered into the light.

His distinctive grey eyes searched the room, before fixing on John.

"Oh my god." murmured Lestrade.

John heard his glass fall to the ground and shatter over his feet, more fearful gasps. But he couldn't tear his eyes away from Sherlock's.

Sherlock looked like he had quite literally come back from the dead. His face, clothes and hair were all covered in dry blood. And the pallor of his face. The almost skeletal appearance his cheek bones gave. It was obvious Sherlock hadn't eaten a proper meal in three months. Three long months. And his clothes... They were little more than rags, so different from his usual appearance.

He was reminded, with a jolt, of that time Sherlock had come back after harpooning a pig.

"J-J... John." Sherlock croaked, his voice rough.

For a moment John feared that the blood was Sherlock's. But the man made no sign of passing out. Before he knew what he was doing, he strode forward, raising his fist for a punch. Sherlock caught John's fist with his hand, eyes timeless and sad.

He rubbed circles with his thumb into John's clenched knuckles, and for a moment nothing happened. Then John let his hand drop, and hugged the shivering, trembling, far to thin detective, feeling tears splash onto the blood soaked rags his friend was dressed in. His best friend. Who was alive. Back from he dead.


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