A/N - This story has been bugging me for a couple of weeks now and I have finally decided to write it down. The mistakes are all mine and reviews are as always appreciated.

Disclaimer: Sherlock and John do not belong to me.

It has been three years.

I can hardly believe that so much time has passed since his death, it seems unbelievable even now. I just wish sometimes that everything could have been different. I wish there was something I could have done to save him.

But he was a stubborn man.

I remember his phone call when he was standing on the edge of that blasted building. He sounded so desperate. He wanted me to listen to him, to believe that everything we had done together was a complete lie. But it wasn't. It was all real, I know it. But it was his last wish, and I could never deny him that. As much as it hurt me to listen to him, I had to listen.

When he stepped off that roof I felt my heart falling with him. He was my closest friend; he helped me deal with my pains without even trying to help me. I guess, over time, he became my rock. And now he was gone.

Standing next to his grave, these feelings always manage to resurface. But I never cry. I just can't. As much as I want to weep for his death I cannot allow myself to let tears fall over something that I don't believe to be truly dead.

Every time I come here I ask him for the same thing. In the back of mind I always have this thought that he is alive, he is breathing and he is deducing crimes somewhere out in the world. I cannot let go of that thought.

I cannot let go of the last piece of hope I have left.

It had been three years.

Three years since he had seen Moriarty kill himself, three years since he had seen his brother, and three years since he had deceived John. It was once of his biggest regrets, but it was a lie that had to be told. There was no other way around it and it hurt them both so much.

Over the years he had seen John come to his grave almost religiously and he had seen the pain swimming in his eyes from that long of a distance and he had considered giving away his position more than once. But in the end he couldn't, it was the only way he could keep John safe. After everything that they had been through together, after all that had ever happened to both of them John deserved to be safe.

That day he had broken his own heart as well as the man who had saved him from his own personal hell. His throat felt like it was full of glass shards and nails the entire time he was saying his goodbye to John. That man had found his way into Sherlock's heart, he had trusted him, but Sherlock knew that it was dangerous for him to become emotionally involved with anyone. He was right. Just when he had gotten used to having someone treat him like a normal human it was all taken away.

Now, seeing John at his grave, yet again, caused him as much heartache as it did the day he told him goodbye. But today everything was different. They were both safe for the moment; he could finally reveal himself.

Sherlock stepped out from the trees and walked slowly towards John. It was a cloudy day and the wind blew softly through the red leaves, telling him, in their own particular way, that in was fall yet again. The headstones all around him stood in a mocking manner, reminding him what he did to John. It ultimately set a somber mood in his mind.

John was talking to Sherlock's headstone again. The shorter man always vented all of his problems to the cold stone, in hopes that somehow the detective would hear his words. Today felt different from all the other days. Normally, John felt as if someone was watching him from a distance, not with malice, but with deduction; but not today.

He felt a familiar feeling he had not felt in three years come over him. It was a feeling that somehow Sherlock was close to him and he was coming closer. John didn't let himself get too hopeful, after all why would he get this feeling today?

John heard leaves crunching on the ground and a familiar pater of footsteps approaching him. Maybe someone was coming to visit a friend of theirs that had died. It couldn't possibly be who he thought it was.

The steps became louder as the person came closer and closer to him. John could have sworn that he smelt a mix of chemicals in the wind, but that couldn't be right. It just was not a possibility.

"John."

The doctor closed his eyes in confusion. Had he gotten to the point where he had begun having hallucinations about Sherlock?

"I'm sorry." The voice sounded just like his; there was no doubt about that. "Turn around, please."

John shook his head and kept his eyes sealed shut. Maybe, just maybe, if he pretended like he didn't hear Sherlock, maybe then this dream wouldn't turn into a nightmare; a nightmare that he had experienced so many times in the past years.

"Please, John."

He begged, twice. There was only one other time he had begged John for something. He remembered that day, Sherlock was searching for his Nicotine patches, but John had hid them away from him. He remembered Sherlock being so desperate and restless; he had never seen the man loose his calm that much.

John felt a hesitant hand touch his shoulder. He sighed in defeat as he let the hand turn him around and opened his eyes only to be met with the pale blue ones that he had known so well.

"Sherlock," John breathed with the same shock as he did when he saw Sherlock jump off the building. It wasn't possible. Then again the man was incredibly clever, some would say a little too much.

"I'm alive," Sherlock said with a calculating look.

In that moment John felt incredible anger burst out of his chest in giant waves and he did the only thing he could think of.

He punched him right in the face.

"Ow, damn it!" John yelled as he clutched his hand in pain. Sherlock was doubled over, holding his cheek in the same fashion.

"Are you okay?" he asked with a wince.

"How could you do this?" John demanded. "To Mycroft, to the others! How could you do this to me?"

"John."

"Why?" he asked. "Is this something you enjoy doing to other people? I understand you have some sadistic qualities, but don't you think that this was going a little too far?"

"There was no other choice." John looked at him incredulously.

"Stop it, just stop it, Sherlock." The shorter man shook his head. "You always find another choice; you have in the past."

"Not this time," Sherlock answered. "Moriarty was a step ahead of me."

"You always managed to outsmart him in every single other plan he had."

"This was different. I couldn't find any other option," he said quietly.

John closed his eyes; this was all too much. He was here, finally here. This wasn't a hallucination, not this time.

"John."

"What?" He opened his eyes. Sherlock was looking down at him with so much emotion in his eyes. He saw just as much misery and pain as he felt in his very own heart. He suffered just as much if not more. Sherlock knew that John was still alive, but he couldn't interact with the other man, only watch him from a distance and make sure that he was safe.

"I came back for you." The words snapped John out of his reverie.

"What?"

John saw a ghost of a smile flicker on Sherlock's lips. "I owe you an apology."

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"You asked me to do something for you every single time you came to my grave. You asked me to not be dead. My apology is given for the amount of time it took me to accomplish this feat, when it wasn't big to begin with. I could have come away from the trees on the very first day I saw you here, but I didn't. I just want you to know that I wanted you safe. I-"

"I would have been safe with you alive!"

"No," Sherlock shook his head. "You wouldn't have been. They wanted me dead and you would be the first to go if I didn't jump."

"But how did you survive?" John asked. "I saw you on the sidewalk, bleeding. I couldn't find your pulse."

"It was just a magic trick."

"Just a magic trick?" he spat the words back at him. "Well, you convinced everybody."

John felt a knot in his throat. He had felt so helpless that day and so shocked. It was only when he had sat down in his chair and found the one opposite of his empty did he realize that Sherlock was really gone. John was left by himself again. That was the only time he had allowed himself to cry over the detective in the last three years.

He looked up at the man right when Sherlock leaned down and hesitantly brushed his lips against John's.

"Don't hold back," Sherlock whispered against his lips. John couldn't help as the first tear fell, but he refused to sob in public, even if it was in a cemetery.

Sherlock pressed his lips against John's, providing the comfort he needed without having to say anything. John's tears increased as he felt arms slowly slip around his back and press him closer to the taller body. He grabbed on to the trench coat, trying to get the detective closer than he already was; he needed to feel that he was real, that he was really here with him.

"John," Sherlock whispered in between kisses.

"Sherlock."

John opened his eyes and was greeted with darkness. He felt the familiar knot choking him again.

It was a dream. It was all a dream.

No tears came, just the usual stabbing pain of losing a person who had come closer to John's heart than he had originally thought. Why did this happen to him every single night he went to bed? Was this some kind of a reminder that Sherlock barely ever slept at night? Did his spirit come back to haunt him and this was the way he had decided to torture John? Showing him the possibilities of something that could never happen?

No point of dwelling on the past. – John thought to himself.

He sat up slowly and swung his feet over the edge of the bed. The floor of the apartment seemed to slowly bring him back to the real world and out of the dream; a world without Sherlock.

"Stop it, John," he mumbled to himself.

He sighed and walked towards the kitchen in search of a glass of water. What he saw in the kitchen stopped him dead in his tracks and that damnable knot along with the pain returned with a vengeance.

"Sherlock?" his voice shook with the question.

"What are you doing up? I thought you were asleep," Sherlock said as he put down a tube of some green colored liquid. The detective was standing in the kitchen looking as alive as ever and staring at him with a small smile.

"You-you're alive?"

"Yeah… did you have that dream again?" he asked with a grimace. John looked at him with confusion and tears in his eyes.

Sherlock walked over to him and brushed John's lips softly with his, just like he did in the cemetery, but with more confidence. It felt almost as if he had done it a thousand times.

"Don't worry, I'm alive and I am here."

Then it all rushed back at him, all of the memories of the last four years. He remembered the dream, it had been real, and their first night at home again; John had never felt so relieved to have the man back where he belonged. He remembered all of their kisses that they have shared and their first love making. They still did all of those things, but that night he felt all of the pain begin to disappear.

John couldn't believe that it had been over two years since his return.

Sherlock was still the same man he was before but in the same way softer. He smiled more when he was around John; he even went as far as allowing John to cuddle after their love making.

"Are you okay?" Sherlock asked with concern in his eyes.

"Yeah, I think I'm fine." John smiled at Sherlock and pressed a chaste kiss against his lips.

Finally, the pain in his chest and the knot in his throat left him as he allowed the deducing detective drag him back to their shared bedroom.

A/N - What did you think? I repeat, all mistakes are mine.