Sherlock shook his head. Once. Twice. And a third time.
It didn't work. He couldn't shake the demons that had escaped from his head and were dancing before his eyes. Even if he squinted them closed, he could still sense them there behind his eyelids, waiting to come out. They were screaming. And whispering. They didn't stop. He felt like his head may shatter, maybe like glass, leaving shards everywhere, or maybe like a water balloon, bursting and leaving little bits of brilliance covering the walls of the flat.
It made him want to crawl out of his skin, strip like a butterfly would a chrysalis, shed these delusions that were plaguing him. He wanted to scream. He thought about it. Even opened his mouth and everything. But John was sleeping. He'd been having a rough week. Two nightmares already.
Best not to disturb John. He could handle this. He had done this before.
He's had hallucinations when he was high, and when he was detoxing, and that one time that he had been poisoned.
But none of them had been like this. Those one had been innocuous. Simple. He had been able to recognize them right away as what they were. Fake. Figments of his imagination.
Not these. These ones terrified him. They seemed as real as the murder victims he examined, as the bullets that had come so near to him and occasionally hit, as the strings on his violin, as the cup of tea John makes for him every morning, as real as every single word that had ever hurt him that he pretended not to let. These were real. And they hurt. And they absolutely terrified him.
But... why had John come? When had he come?
Perhaps Sherlock had been yelling out for him, even though he had planned not to. Sometimes things slipped out...
And John was petting his head. Like a cat. Pushing his hair out of his eyes as he writhed on the couch, running away without moving from the horrors that he created. He realized it now, that he was moaning, muttering words that made no sense, not even to him.
He could feel John judging him. John was a doctor; he knew what was happening. It was the why that he didn't know. It was the why that Sherlock had to clear up. Notdrugsnotdrugsnotdrugs...
"I am clean!" he shrieked, barely able to hear himself over the voices bursting out of his nightmares.
John nodded, told him it was okay, he understood, he wasn't that stupid, and hushed him. He reached out to pat Sherlock, and he grabbed hold of his hand, unwilling to let go. John let him. And John just sat with him, whispering soothing words and smoothing his sweaty hair off his face.
And when the pale light of the dawn broke through the windows, the demons scattered, terrified of the light, and Sherlock finally slept, fitfully.
And when he finally woke up, the sun had reached his face, his face was imprinted with John pant-lines, and a hot cup of tea was waiting next to him.
They never spoke of it.