Sherlock was dead.

John stopped in the door of the flat, surveying the sight. Sherlock was lying in a pool of blood, unmoving. The coffee table was overturned and papers were strewn about. The books were a mess, Sherlock would be angry, no he's not, he's dead-

"John?"

John's knees gave out from under him, his legs replaced with elastics that seemed determined to recoil to the ground.

He was on his knees before he knew what hit him.

"John?"

Oh god he was hearing things again-

The corpse moved. Opened his eyes.

Not dead.

"Sherlock?" he squeaked.

Sherlock's hair was caked in red, tracks of red running down his face, covering his upper body, but he was breathing, his eyes were open, and he was looking at John.

He got to his feet.

"John, I'm sorry-"

"No. Shut up."

He held a hand out to silence Sherlock for a minute as he found his legs and managed to stand up again.

Sherlock shifted awkwardly, a few drops of the blood- no, not blood, something else, but sure as hell not blood- dripping onto the floor. "I didn't think you'd be home for a while yet."

John took a shaky breath. And another. And another.

He hoped his voice was even when he finally spoke. "This is not okay Sherlock. This is more than not okay. This is awful. I walked in and thought you were-" his voice broke embarrassingly, "Dead. For real. Again."

"John-"

"Don't you dare interrupt me. I watched you died once Sherlock, and that was more than enough. So to come home and find you lifeless on the carpet is not fucking acceptable. Do you understand?!" He was bellowing at this point, and Sherlock looked almost frightened.

"I... I didn't know," he said quietly, dropping his head to look at the droplet pattern his hair had made. "I apologize. I should have though about what it would do to you. But in all fairness, I was going to have it cleaned up before you got home. You were never supposed to see this."

"Yeah," John said, more in control of his voice now, "Well I did. I am returning to the store now, and you had bloody well get this cleaned up before I return, or it will be me putting you in that scene next."

Sherlock nodded slightly.


"I watched you die once Sherlock..."

Sherlock shuddered to think about it. It had been hard on him, and he imagined, knew, it would be hard on John, but had never known it would last this long, causing this reaction even afterwards.

"I watched you die once Sherlock..."

Sherlock decided the experiment wasn't important enough.

He carefully cleaned up every trace of blood and took a shower.

He was perched on the couch when John returned home, like nothing had happened.

"I watched you die once Sherlock..."

And he never would again, not as long as Sherlock could help it.