The next few seconds are a blurred panic as John pulls Sherlock's unconscious body into 221 Baker Street, up the stairs, and into the flat that they shared. The flat that is now completely empty of Sherlock's things, of any trace that the man in question had ever lived there, the flat that he had just been thinking about moving out of...

What would he have done if he found out that Sherlock had come looking for him, and he hadn't been there...?

John quickly pushes the thought away as he focuses on the man in his arms, the specter that showed up at his door and collapsed in front of him without so much as a 'by-your-leave'. He knows that if he starts thinking of anything that might have happened, anything that may happen, he will be unable to help Sherlock and his reappearing act will be all for nothing.

For, now that he isn't blinded so much by every emotion known to man coursing through his veins by slipping into 'military doctor' mode, John can see that Sherlock is not very well off; there are bruises covering nearly every inch of flesh that John exposes in his quick and efficient strip of Sherlock's clothing, wanting to get the ragged coat and vest-the very same ones Sherlock had been wearing when he had stood on a rooftop telling John that he had researched the ex-army doctor, that he was a fraud before simply letting himself fall and stop, breathe, focus on what needs to be done-off and rid of, wincing at the few scrapes and cuts he also uncovers as get rid of all of Sherlock's clothing, save his pants, before sighing with relief that there is nothing there that John cannot handle and therefore Sherlock had not endangered himself by apparently coming straight here instead of getting medical care.

John pushes away the thought that he is just happy that Sherlock doesn't have to go anywhere and can stay in the flat for as long as John wants; also violently squashing the thought that 'as long as he wants' actually covers an alarmingly large number of years, because these thoughts are dangerous and distracting and will have him crying again, which he cannot and will not do. While most of Sherlock's wounds are superficial, there are a few that will take some care and John will not be able to help Sherlock if he's too busy being emotional to pay proper attention to them.

So with chilling familiarity, John ignores the fact that Sherlock is on his kitchen table in almost nothing as he pulls the medical kit out of the supply closet, barely noticing that the shake in his hand that popped up again is gone and gives in to the training that had helped him keep most of his army mates from dying on the front lines. Those same skills he never thought he need to use here, in this flat, on one of the most important people in his life...

Setting down the antiseptic and bandages, John places both hands over his face and breathes in nice and slow before exhaling the same way, waiting until both his inhale and exhale are steady before he picks the tools of his trade back up. He can break down later, right now he has a job to do and a patient to take of, he's seen worse on the battlefield, he's stitched up worse wounds than the ones that peppered Sherlock's body... but then again, none of them had mattered to him as much as Sherlock did-does-and none of them disappeared on him for three years-

A wince or two and several small cries from Sherlock later, John had him completely stitched and bandaged up, had even managed to get him into some new clothes. How and why John had something that fit Sherlock when he was both shorter and of different build than him was not something he wanted to think too hard on right this moment, so he just maneuvered Sherlock over to the couch so John could keep an eye on him while making some tea and giving himself a little distance to think.

Of course, Sherlock still being the Sherlock that John knew, decided that moment was the perfect time to wake up.


The rasping, underused sound of Sherlock's voice hits John just as hard as the first time, and he's on the verge of tears again as he glances down to see Sherlock's gaze is locked on his as desperate as any child looking for reassurance. John has to swallow past the lump in his throat a few times before he can answer and when he does, his voice is as much of a rasp as his flatmate's.

"It's me, Sherlock, it's really me."

Sherlock's hand, which had immediately reached out for John when he regained consciousness, tightens the hold he found on John's arm, nearly pulling the smaller man down on top of him in a surprising show of strength; as it is, John barely manages to shift himself away from Sherlock's bandaged side and also somehow manages to end up with the consulting detective's head against his chest and his legs on either side of the lithe body on top of him. "Sherlock, what-?"

"Data... tired... feel..."

Just like that, Sherlock is unconscious again, but John understands what Sherlock is doing from the garbled words he just sprouted; much like the feel of Sherlock's body in his arms told John that this was real and not some desperate dream, Sherlock's head against his chest listening to his heartbeat pounding away is the man's own reassurance that he is finally home.

Home at last.

A/N: Ngh, this story is eating my brain...