Title: You Are My Shelter
Author's Name: Laura Sichrovsky
Word Count: 2823
Pairing: Sherlock/John (Already established relationship)
Warnings: Sherlock/John kissage
Spoilers: It's set post-Reichenbach, but I don't really give away anything for the episode.
Summary: A little Sherlock post-Reichenbach PTSD.
Disclaimer: This is where I put the statement saying that I do not own John or Sherlock, (Heh! I wish!), or anything relating to the show or books. No one is paying me to do this and if you feel the sudden urge to send me gifts, you might want to talk to someone about that. Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat own all things Sherlock and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle owns Holmes and Watson. None of them have given me permission to use these characters as I have so if you have problems with the story, please send the pretzel bombs to me, not them. (Though if you could actually send a pretzel bomb to ACD, I'd be impressed.)
Author's Notes: I can't believe I'm actually writing Reichenbach stories. I swore I wouldn't, but this snuck up on me. I hope I do it justice. Thanks need to be given, and here is where they go. Thanks to Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat for giving me a Sherlock I can get behind. Thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman for making this Sherlock and John so amazing. I tried to fight it, but they were just too remarkable not to fall for. Big thank yous to Gemma for the super-fast beta job and the helpful suggestions. I owe you so much! Thank you to Elin for reading this over for me and showing me where I went wrong. And my biggest thank yous to my guiding influence and my best friend, Ann. She's the best beta ever and the Sherlock to my John. Without her, I am nothing. (Couldn't do it without you, love. Wouldn't want to try.)
You Are My Shelter
Sherlock pulled his coat tighter around him and settled in the empty stall. He was grateful to be out of the wind, even if he was still technically outdoors. He could hear the barn creak with the force of the gale outside and he looked around, noting a horse blanket folded in the corner. There was likely to be snow before morning, so he retrieved the blanket, using it to form a tent around him to trap his body heat.
Tomorrow, he'd go into town and ask some subtle questions of the locals. If his information was correct, three of Moriarty's men where holed up nearby. They'd fled London when Sherlock started quietly hunting from the shadows, though why they'd picked somewhere like northern Kazakhstan was beyond him. Unlike Sherlock, they couldn't speak the language and had no chance of blending in. Perhaps they thought no one would come looking for them this far from England. If it were anyone else, they'd be right, but Sherlock was determined to find every last member of Moriarty's organization. He was taking no chances with John's life.
Sherlock's stomach growled, but he ignored it. Food could wait until he had a solid lead. He was tired, but not sleepy, so he sat, tucked under the blanket, thinking and planning. The pitch of the wind outside picked up and Sherlock almost missed the creak of the barn door opening, mistaking it for another noise in the storm. In all honesty, it was the voices that tipped him off. Without stopping to think, Sherlock moved out of the stall and burrowed under a hay stack a few yards away. It was warm and quiet and afforded him the perfect spot to hide and listen. Unless someone was here in the middle of a storm to put hay into empty stalls, they weren't likely to find him.
Sherlock could pick out three distinctive voices, but it wasn't until he recognized that they were speaking English that he understood exactly who they were.
"I told you no one used this place. There isn't any food and this was a waste of time." The voice was high and reedy. Sherlock was sure he'd heard it somewhere before.
"It was better than going into town again. I swear that farmer knows we took his cheese." This voice had an Irish accent and sounded highly irritated.
"It could have been anybody. He doesn't know who did it."
"We're the only strangers around here, stupid."
"Okay, that's enough," a deeper voice interrupted. "As long as we're here, let's look around. Maybe there's something we could sell or trade for food."
"Good idea," the Irishman said. "We're less likely to attract attention that way."
Sherlock could hear them moving around the barn and appreciated the irony that the men he was hunting had found him. At least it would be easier to track them back to their hideout when they left. He burrowed further to the middle of the haystack and settled in.
"Hey, did you hear what was going on in London?" the reedy voice asked, sounding distant and echoy. The answer must have been negative, because after a pause he went on. "I heard from Smything when we were in Taraz last week. He sent me an e-mail."
"It's got pretty bad, hasn't it?" The Irish voice was closer now. "I mean, Sorenson was captured at his mother's house at her birthday party."
Sherlock smiled. He was particularly proud of that one. The man he was after didn't think Sherlock would follow him all the way to Scotland and he'd been shocked when the local police raided his mother's home and arrested him.
"It should be mostly over now. Moran killed John Watson and you know he was the one who was hunting us down."
Sherlock felt a jolt like lightning go through him. That couldn't…no…Mycroft would have told him. John couldn't be… He swallowed hard and tuned back into the conversation.
"Really? I didn't think the doctor went out much."
"He didn't, but Moran was getting desperate. Too many of our people were being arrested and he was the only one who could have done it."
"Are you sure?"
"It had to be him. We were watching the brother too closely and he's just a useless bureaucrat anyway. John Watson use to be a solider, you know."
"I can't believe Moran got him. I thought he had police protection."
"Not after that inspector was fired. But it's not like he was in public much. I understand Moran had to get him in a crowded shop. But at least it's done."
"Did you find anything?" The deeper voice was back.
"Nothing worth selling. You?"
"Not a thing. Let's get back to the cabin before the storm gets worse."
The barn door slammed behind them, but Sherlock barely heard it. He couldn't breathe, couldn't think. John could not be dead, he wouldn't believe it. Sherlock dug in his pocket and pulled out his phone. He wasn't surprised that there was no signal here, but he swore none the less, feeling desperation creeping up on him. He had to get in touch with Mycroft, he had to know.
He lay under the hay, gasping for a minute. If he couldn't talk to Mycroft, then he would go right to the source. He took a deep breath and crawled out. He knew the basic direction the men had gone and now he followed after them, ignoring the storm that raged around him. His mind was focused, honed by the fury racing through him, and all he could think of was revenge. If John was dead, these men were going to pay for it. He'd planned to have them arrested, but when he catches up with them, he will torture answers from them and then he will kill them in a way that will spawn legends among the criminal classes. Sherlock has been living in the shadows for months, working like some dispassionate wraith, tying up all the loose ends. If John is dead, if the only person who made him feel human is gone, then revenge will be the only thing keeping Sherlock going and he'll embrace that identity.
He pulled the collar of his coat up, ignoring John's voice ghosting through his head, saying something about cheekbones and looking cool. Sherlock followed the footprints in the dusting of snow contemplating the most painful way to kill these men.
Sherlock sits up gasping and blinks, looking around. He's in his own bed in Baker Street. He takes deep breaths, trying to calm his rapidly beating heart and tries to banish the vivid images from his nightmare. That incident happened over a year ago; Sherlock's been home almost nine months. He reaches out, touching the other side of the bed, John's side, and frowns. It is John's side, isn't it? He didn't dream that they were together now, did he? No, he can see John's medical journals on the other bedside table next to the bottle of lube that John shamelessly keeps there. John is alive, John is safe, and John is his. But how does he know John is safe? He takes another deep breath, fighting the irritating panic that threatens to overwhelm him. Of course John is safe. He's at work, taking a late shift at his new job at A&E. He knows John is fine, but he just can't seem to shake this nagging feeling.
If John hadn't insisted he give up smoking for good this time, now would be the perfect time for a cigarette to calm his nerves. He sighs, wishing he'd hidden a couple from John's last purge. Sherlock lies back down and closes his eyes, determined not to let his childish fears overwhelm him. It was just a dream, John is fine. As he starts to drift off again, his brain conjures an image of John, dead, a bullet hole in his forehead and Sherlock is scrambling for his phone. He's shaking horribly and it takes him three tries to type the text.
I need you now
He doesn't initial it, John's phone has a special chime for Sherlock's texts and Sherlock doesn't want to type any more letters than he has to. Not even thirty seconds later, Sherlock's phone beeps.
As interested as I am, I'm busy right now. I'll wake you up when I get home, though.
John thinks this is a proposition then. Sherlock sighs, tempted to let him believe that, but he is violently shaking, fighting waves of panic. He just needs to see John, to hold him and reassure himself.
I need you. Sherlock hates repeating himself, but these are the only words his brain is giving him right now. He takes a breath and adds one last word. Please?
There is a pause and for Sherlock, the time is interminable before his phone beeps again.
I'm on my way.
Sherlock isn't sure how long it takes for John to get home. It feels like hours, but he knows better. When John walks in, Sherlock is hugging himself, trying to stop the trembling. John takes one look at him, then starts stripping his clothes off as he crosses the room. On the surface, this could come off as sexual, but for Sherlock and John, the more skin to skin contact they have, the greater the comfort. By the time John reaches the bed, he's wearing just his boxers. He climbs in, reaching for Sherlock, worry written all over his face, but Sherlock is already flinging himself at John. John's arms wrap around him and Sherlock kisses John's face, his eyes, his forehead, his nose, anywhere he can reach.
"John," he gasps. "John."
"Hey, calm down," John says, pulling Sherlock closer. "I'm right here."
Sherlock pulls John to him, holding him so tightly that John gasps for air. He just needs to feel the solid reality of John, to reassure himself that he is not dead, that he never was. When John starts to struggle in his arms, he loosens his hold a bit. John leans in.
"What brought this on?" he whispers in Sherlock's ear.
"Nightmare," Sherlock says quietly.
"From when I was in Kazakhstan and heard you were dead." Sherlock's voice sounds strange in his ears and John pulls him closer.
"Sherlock, you know that whole thing was a mistake. I'm not even sure how the rumour got started, though I suspect Mycroft had something to do with it. He couldn't find you and I suppose he though my death was the one thing that would bring you out of hiding."
"He had to know how it would affect me," Sherlock growls.
"In his defence, I don't think he knew you were in love with me. Hell, I'm not sure you knew that."
"It's no excuse. God, John, when I heard that…"
"I know, Sherlock." John pulls him closer, nuzzling his neck. "But I'm not going to complain. Your killing spree across eastern Europe stepped up your time table and brought you back to me in half the time."
Sherlock tilts his head back, giving John better access and he sighs.
"I'm sorry," Sherlock whispers.
"For leaving you. For lying to you. For becoming a murderer. For calling you home at two in the morning because of a panic attack."
"Hey, I've already forgiven you for the first two and I don't agree with the third. You did what you had to. As to the last one," John moves up, kissing the shell of Sherlock's ear. "You know I'll always come when you need me. You are more important to me than anything else. I love you. All you have to do is ask."
"I need you." Sherlock's voice is quiet, but he can feel John shiver against him. "I need to feel you, to hold you. Please, John, I need this right now."
"Come here," John says, pulling Sherlock into a hug and laying them down together.
Then John is kissing him and Sherlock relaxes into it, focusing on this one moment. John's hands on his skin are gentle and he leans into the touch. All the extraneous noise in Sherlock's head stops and all the dark memories fade. Everything is this, John's hands on his skin, holding him tightly, their lips pressed together and John's heart beating against his.
"Sherlock," John whispers. "I'm yours. Always yours. I'll never leave you."
Sherlock feels his breath catch as he thinks how much he loves John, how much he needs him. And then everything in his head focuses the feeling of John in his arms, on their connection. John leans forward just a bit, kissing Sherlock's forehead and Sherlock closes his eyes. He concentrates on John and finally lets everything else go. There is only sensation and feeling and being loved.
"I love you so much," John whispers. "I hope you know that."
"I do. And I love you too John," Sherlock says, reaching up to stroke his face. "You mean more to me than anything."
John smiles down at him and Sherlock wraps his arms around John, holding him close. Sherlock kisses John's brow, closing his eyes and just savouring the feeling of holding the man he loves.
"How are you doing?" John asks quietly.
"I've stopped panicking, if that's what you're asking," Sherlock says, trying not to feel embarrassed. "I've also stopped picturing you dead and bleeding, so I'd say I'm doing better."
"Good." John's resumed stroking Sherlock's hair. "I'm right here and I'm fine and I love you."
"I know," Sherlock whispers. After a minute, he shakes his head. "I'm sorry."
"I shouldn't have disturbed you at work." Now that he's calmed down and centred himself, Sherlock can see how truly foolish he was being.
"I told you it was okay," John says, looking down at him and smiling. "I'd rather you had me come home than deal with that all alone. I said you could call me any time and I meant it."
"What did you tell them?" Sherlock asks, running his fingers through John's hair.
"That I had to go home because my boyfriend wasn't feeling well."
"That's really what you said?" Sherlock asks, arching an eyebrow.
"Of course. Why wouldn't I?"
"I…I didn't realise that people where you worked knew I was your boyfriend."
"Everyone there knows," John says with a smile. "I talk about you all the time. All the nurses are completely jealous."
"That you're taken?" Sherlock asks, suddenly feeling a surge of possessiveness. Maybe he should visit John at work more often.
"No, that I have such an amazing boyfriend. I swear, they'd try to steal you if they didn't like me so much."
Sherlock is staring at John with wide eyes and he shakes his head.
"What the hell are you telling them?"
"How much I love you and all the reasons why."
Sherlock doesn't know what to say. Times like this, he feels both lucky and overwhelmed. He doesn't deserve John and all the happiness he brings to Sherlock's life, but he would never trade it for anything. John moves, settling into a more comfortable position and wraps himself around Sherlock. Sherlock kisses the top of John's head and he resolves to try harder to be the man John thinks he is, to be worthy of everything John gives him. He never thought he would have this, and now that he does, he doesn't want to lose it.
"Are you going to try and get some more sleep?" John asks.
Sherlock sighs. He doesn't place a high priority on sleep on a good day and after his dream, he's not exactly feeling drowsy. But he is relaxed and he doesn't want to leave John's arms.
"Only if you're staying here."
"Of course I am," John says, shifting and settling his head on Sherlock's chest. "I came all the way home to be with you. You don't think I'm going to go and watch television, now do you?"
"Of course not, John," Sherlock says, bringing his arms up and wrapping them around John. "I was just making sure."
"I'm not going anywhere," John murmurs around a yawn.
A few minutes later, Sherlock feels John's breathing even out and he knows he's fallen asleep. Sherlock's eyes feel heavy and he relaxes, pulling John a bit closer. He lets his mind wander and before long, he's left his to-do lists and worries behind and is thinking about a summer home in the country for them. Maybe they could raise bees there and John could get a couple of dogs. John's always wanted a puppy. Somewhere in his musings, Sherlock slides into sleep. With John in his arms, his dreams are much more pleasant and he sleeps on, dreaming of warm afternoons on the moor and picnics with John by the still waters of a sparkling stream.