Unable to Wake Up

It was after the first week, after the first week of nightmares that John knew he couldn't stay at 221B Baker Street any longer.

"John, get the door." At first, the smooth, velvety voice is difficult to accept. John knew Sherlock had died, he had seen him jump, he had seen his tombstone. John had cried, cried like a baby that first night, the moment that he had closed the door to his bedroom. He had sank onto the floor and just utterly sobbed in the privacy of his own room. He had known Sherlock was dead. But yet- that voice was saying "John, get the door" irritably.

"You... you..." He can't find his words, he can't work his mind fast enough to say what he wanted to. He just felt like crying. Like screaming and crying and punching Sherlock for all he was worth, and then giving him the biggest hug he could. "You were..." Even now, even with Sherlock standing in front of him, he can't force the word dead because it had hurt so much from beginning to end.

"Oh, for God's sake," was Sherlock's reply before he swept out of the flat, padding down the stairs.

"Sh... Sherlock!" John called, following the detective, taking the stairs two at a time. Sherlock was really here, really alive...!

John stepped out into the daylight of Baker Street, his eyes casting around for the detective. He couldn't have gone far-

John had woken up to the bright rays of daylight pouring in his window. He was still in bed. He was still in 221B Baker Street, and he was still alone.

John frowned when his phone buzzed. A text alert. John didn't recieve texts anymore; well, not usually. Eyebrows knitting together, he slid it open, eyeing the screen.

To: John Watson

We're out of milk. - SH

John stared at the phone for a long time, barely believing to hope. He had done this before, imagined things that weren't really there. But... why would he imagine milk? It was just a bit absurd. Although, Sherlock did have a tendency to want milk to experiment with...

No. No, he would not believe it. He put his phone back in his pocket.

Five minutes later, he was out of his office and hailing a cab, unwilling to hope and yet unable to ignore it.

A ride to Baker Street had never taken so long.

John paid the fare, told the cabbie to keep the change. He rushed up to the door, hurriedly pulling out his key. He was just a few steps away, away from home, away from Sherlock.

He unlocked the door, reaching out a hand to push it open.

John had realized, after a few panicked seconds, that he was still in his office. He had dozed off.

His phone was in his hand. Unwittingly, he checked for a new message. He didn't have one.

"John... It's okay now. I'm fine. I'm safe. I promise."

John jumped as he looked away from the blank telly screen. No one was there with him.

John had been sitting alone in a booth at Angelo's, staring into the dregs of his coffee with a stony expression. Someone placed a hand on his shoulder. He jumped. He looked over his shoulder, ready to scold Sherlock.

It had only been Angelo, telling him it was closing time.

"I'm not dead, John! I'm not dead! I faked my own death and got my networks to help me set it up! Look at me, do I look like a ghost? Look at me, look at me!"

Blood was pouring from Sherlock's eyes, nose, mouth, ears, stark crimson against the pale flesh beneath.

John woke up screaming.

His yells subsided to sobs.

This was a nightmare, a terrible nightmare. He couldn't wake up.

John stared at the limp detective on the couch. He looked like a cat, perhaps, stretched out so easily across the piece of furniture that had been nearly unused for so many months. It was unfair, really, how Sherlock was the epitome of how a man should look like when he slept.

It had been this way for three days. Sherlock, at his flat. Sherlock, on his couch. Sherlock, in his kitchen. Sherlock, eating his food and drinking his tea and living in John's new flat.

John could barely hope to believe.

"I'm not leaving until you agree to come back to Baker Street with me," Sherlock had said airily, rummaging around through John's fridge.

"You're dead," John had hissed vehemently. He had dreamed too much, had too many nightmares, to believe that Sherlock was here, was still alive.

"Ghosts don't eat cold chips, John," Sherlock had replied, plucking a chip from the two-day old basket of fish and chips in John's fridge. "Ghosts don't eat." Very deliberately, Sherlock had placed the chip into his mouth before walking away.

It had been three days. John still didn't want to hope. John didn't want to be crushed again.

But, even if this was a dream, it wasn't such a bad one, was it...? Sherlock was here with him, alive. John hated the feeling of knowing that it would have to end. Because it had to, right? Sherlock couldn't have really survived, right?

John stared at Sherlock, ignoring the chiming of a clock for midnight. John was afraid to look away, to close his eyes. He was afraid that Sherlock would vanish. That was becoming his newest, greatest fear.

And John found that he couldn't sleep.


AN: Author is tired and extremely angsty and, since I am terrible with utter depressive/sad fics, this is what happens. And yes, Sherlock is really back at the end, if you're wondering if that was all in John's mind.

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