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John was quickly forced from his sleep by the sound of something falling in the kitchen. He sat up and blinked. There was a light on in the kitchen and John saw the shadow of someone walking around. He looked at his watch quickly and saw that it was only 4:30 AM. He stood up quietly and grabbed the nearest heavy thing, which was a large book, and slowly walked towards the kitchen, ready to attack. He hoped it wasn't Mrs. Hudson. He turned the corner and immediately dropped the book when he saw who was standing there staring at him.

John immediately closed his eyes and put his hand on his face, turning around. "Nope, nope, nope," he muttered. "I'm dreaming. This isn't real. Wake up, John." but nothing happened. John turned around and opened his eyes. The light, blue-green eyes of his best friend stared at him. John still didn't know whether to believe what he was seeing. "I.." John didn't know what to do. "I–no! You're dead. I saw you. No, no, no." He turned around again, covering his face. He walked into the other room and sat on the couch, trying to convince himself that he was dreaming. He heard footsteps, then looked up, opening his eyes again. His best friend stood three feet away from him, still staring at him. John stood up and walked up to his friend. They stared at each other for the longest time, John trying to find something to convince him he wasn't dreaming.

"Sh-Sherlock?" he asked, stuttering slightly.

"Yes," Sherlock's voice was proof enough that he wasn't dreaming.

John said nothing else, but still stared at Sherlock. It felt like an hour, but really it was two minutes, when John finally decided to accept that his friend wasn't dead. The punch that he landed on Sherlock's face made his hand hurt. Sherlock groaned in pain and held his hand to his now bleeding nose. John kicked him hard in the shin, which made Sherlock cry out and hop on one foot. "You are such a dick!" John shouted, shoving Sherlock against the wall. "I spent months believing you were gone forever, and you just show up?" he delivered another kick to Sherlock's shin. "You stupid fuck." John cursed, turning away from Sherlock and going to sit in his chair. He felt better now that some of his rage was out.

A few minutes later Sherlock limped over and sat down in his own chair, wiping his nose with a cloth. John glared at Sherlock, who looked slightly scared of his best friend. There was silence until Sherlock finally spoke. "I'm sorry, John."

"You're sorry?" John said exasperatedly, throwing his hand up in the air. "you made me believe that you were dead, and all you can say is that you're sorry?"

"I know," Sherlock nodded, taking the bloody cloth away from his nose. "I don't know what else to tell you."

"You can start by telling me why you faked your death!" John demanded. "I know you were just making all of the stuff up in your 'note' about you inventing Moriarty. I know you, Sherlock."

"It was to protect you, Mrs. Hudson, and Lestrade," Sherlock said. "Moriarty had gunmen, three of them, set to kill the three of you if I didn't kill myself. Moriarty killed himself in front of my eyes, so the only way to stop the gunmen was for me to do what I did. I didn't want you guys to get hurt because of me, so I jumped."

"But you're alive," John said, trying to figure out how this was all possible. "I saw you dead."

"That wasn't me," Sherlock said it like it should be so simple.

"Explain it, then," John said, folding his arms. "All of it."

Sherlock took a breath and started talking very fast, as usual. "I had help from Molly. We spoke before it all happened. I told her I was going to die, so we planned it. Later I told Moriarty to meet me on the hospital roof, he told me about the gunmen, shot himself so that the only way to stop them was for me to die. Then you got there. I told you where to stand, remember?" he paused long enough for John to nod. "There was a small building obstructing your view of the street. I jumped and landed in the hospital's linen truck, which was quite a soft landing, then Molly brought a body from the morgue out onto the sidewalk dressed in my clothes–"

"Wait," John interrupted. "Whoever that was, it looked exactly like you. Explain that."

"Remember the girl? The little girl that screamed when she saw me? It was as though she'd met me before. It was Moriarty. He had a realistic latex mask of my face. I found it in our flat when I was looking for the hidden camera. I gave it to Molly to put on the body we used as myself. Anyway, when you came round the corner the body wasn't properly laid out, so the man on the bike stalled you. When you got to the body no one would let you near it. All of the people out there were in on the whole thing. If you would've looked close enough you would have seen that it wasn't me. So they took the body into the hospital."

John sat there, trying to process all of the information. "Wait," he said. "So if you're back now, won't the gunmen come after us?"

"Oh, they're taken care of," Sherlock said, smiling slightly. "They were the ones that were dead on Glentworth Street."

"Molly said they were running from someone," John said. "Was that you?"

"Yes," Sherlock said. "I didn't know they were going to actually jump off of the roof. When they did, I knew I had to leave before someone saw me and thought I was a murderer."

"I think Mycroft or one of his men saw you," John said.

"I wouldn't be surprised," Sherlock nodded. "It's difficult hiding from my brother."

"Do you think he knows it was you?" John asked, crossing his arms again.

"I'm sure he's figured most of it out," Sherlock said. "And now he definitely knows it was me."

"How would he know right now?" John looked confused.

"He's got a camera there, there, and there," Sherlock said, pointing to different parts of the room they were in. "Ring, ring," he muttered. John's phone buzzed two seconds later and a text flashed on the screen.
-

Tell my brother it's nice to
see him, too.

-M.H.

John shook his head and laughed. Sherlock looked at the message, then said "Never playing hide-and-seek with you, Mycroft. You cheat."

"Question is," John said, "who set up the cameras?"

"Michael Cooper," was all Sherlock said. John realized right away that Michael had been acting strange. The way he was looking at parts of the room – parts that Sherlock had said the cameras were placed in. Sherlock got up and took down all the cameras, smashing them to bits, then sat back in his chair, smiling.

"Hmm," John sighed. "So I have a question."

"Ask away," Sherlock said.

"How many times have you come to the flat in the last month?"

"Four, maybe five times," Sherlock had to think for a moment. "Ah, yes, five times. Mostly when you were sleeping."

"Well you fail at hide-and-seek," John said. "I went in your room the other morning, things were moved, and I know for a fact that Mrs. Hudson didn't touch anything in there."

"Whatever," Sherlock said, smiling. He stood up, his leg feeling slightly better. John stood up, too. They stared at each other for a minute.

"You deserved that punch, by the way," John said, smiling.

"I know I did," Sherlock admitted.

They stared at each other for another minute or so, then John sighed and hugged his best friend. "If you ever do that again, I will make sure to punch you harder next time," John mumbled. They both laughed and broke the hug.

"Right then," Sherlock pulled his phone out of his pocket. "Might as well give a big surprise to all of my contacts." He typed out a text and pressed send. John's phone buzzed. On the screen read:
-

Staying alive.

-SH
Recipients: All contacts.

"What now, Sherlock?" John asked. "Do we just go back to how things were?"

"Yes," Sherlock said. "And without the worry of Moriarty being after me the whole time."

"Good," John smiled. "Well, I'm tired as hell. Goodnight, Sherlock." John walked off to his room.

"Goodnight, John," Sherlock said, turning the lights off and walking into his own room.

-

A few miles away a light could be seen through the drapes of a window. The outline of a man pacing walked passed the drapes and stopped in his footsteps. Inside the room was dimly lit. The man that had been pacing was now staring at his phone. A text had been pulled up on the screen. It said:
-

Staying alive.

-SH

"I just can't kill you, can I?" the man mumbled, turning his phone off. The man's dark brown eyes glistened with insanity. "Sherlock," he muttered to himself. "You faked you're own death as well, I see." A laugh escaped the man's lips, a laugh that could send chills down your spine. The laugh of Jim Moriarty.