Okay, before we start with the final chapter, there is something I feel the need to say about something behind the scenes of the upcoming season three. No spoilers as far as I can tell, besides the name of one character that will be showing up in the coming season.

I am the first to admit, that I've taken a bit longer becoming a Sherlock and therefore Johnlock fan. I've only started watching that series in early spring 2013. And usually, I am keeping myself away from anything that goes on behind the scenes of a series. Be it reports about actors or – as in case with ongoing series – rumours about story content, the danger of being spoiled through hints and speculations thrown around. Therefore I do have to say: I know as good as nothing about what hints have been given about season three. Well, nothing but the rumour of one female by the name of Mary Morstan.

Obviously every Sherlock fan knows what this one female could mean to the continuation of our beloved Johnlock hints. Therefore I'd like to say the following:

I fully support Amanda Abbington in acting as the fictional character of one Mary Morstan in season three of the BBC Sherlock Holmes series!

That said, whoever is mostly not interested in this topic, feel free to skip the following notes and just jump right towards the story. Everyone else feel free to read as to why I felt the need to write down my support especially at the start of the final chapter of a Johnlock fanfic.

This week by accident I stumbled upon an article in the Internet that told of Johnlock fans threatening the actor Amanda Abbington who is said to be playing Mary Morstan in the upcoming third season. And I was shocked to read to what extend some fans seem to go just because they see their favourite couple threatened. I guess this ran deeper with me because as you can see within my profile, I've been delving most of my years with comic series. It is sad enough already that I am not exactly surprised with the dislike in general, as I've encountered this kind of dislike about female characters from fans of a male/male couple in almost every series I've been a fan of. Sometimes I even felt like the more likely a hetero couple seemed to be in canon, the more intensive the bashing of the female character turned out from fans of the male couple (no matter how unlikely the male/male would be in case of the canon series). I've had a great dislike of those kind of treatments from the very beginning. As one might have noticed from my other stories, the females concerned always end up as good friends to the main couple and I am always trying to keep everyone as much in character as I am able to. That has always been a part of a small, personal rebellion against those who tended to bash those characters. Yet, no matter how annoying in my personal opinion this treatment of the females have been by some fans, so far the poor characters in those series have always been nothing but drawn fictional figures, nothing real.

However this time I find myself as a fan of a series where the fictional characters are presented by very real living and breathing people. And I can't help but shake my head in clear disbelief about how people can act in such a way. Of course I am sure that those kind of people who think threatening great actors who take on the difficult task of acting a rather well known character from one of the most famous novel known, are really, really small. However as it is with all aspects of life, even though they are minority, those acting in a negative way are the ones that stand out, while the majority, who plays by the rules disappears into the crowd.

But for heaven's sake, people, get real! Sherlock, John, Lestrade, Mary and everyone else are FICTIONAL characters! Not to mention that in the original books John and Mary have been MARRIED if I may remind you. Of course, for us Johnlock fans it would be the greatest treat on Earth if the series would continue with the teasing and hinting or even do something more. However, this is Moffat's and Gatiss' playground! They came up already with two stunning, breathtaking seasons and they are allowed to play out their ideas and keep following the influence of the original books just as they have before. It is their series and if there is anything not turning out to our liking... well this is what fanfictions are for, right?

But step up and act worse than a toddler that got its sweets stolen; being unable to differ between fanfiction and reality, that is really the show of bad character in my eyes, not to mention it reflects discredit on all the other fans out there, who love Johnlock but can still accept the fact that they are fiction and that in reality Mr. Cumberbatch is NOT Sherlock, Mr. Freeman NOT John and Mrs. Abbington NOT Mary. There are Johnlock fans out there who enjoy the BBC series, no matter what will happen, as long as Moffat and Gatiss continue to come up with plots as brilliant as they have so far.

Besides, I have to say that at least for me, in my personal opinion Sherlock is not about romance. It's about crime, action, mystery and the great friendship between two great men who have each other's back at everything they go through.

I can admit freely that in fanfiction, I am usually VERY set in one couple and one couple only. If I like to read about John and Sherlock as a couple together I would never read about, let's say Greg Lestrade and John, or Sherlock and Molly. That is not my cup of tea. And no one forces me to read those fanfics just as I would never force anyone who likes those other couples to read a Johnlock fanfic. Everyone is free to read and write about the couples and topics they like best.

But I still can enjoy very much watching the canon series, no matter if and how couples might turn out in that one. I don't need to throw a temper tantrum just because there might come up a Mary and snatch away her John from Sherlock's grasp. After all, I have always been aware that fanfictions will not be accurate to the canon series. And once I am done watching the series in TV, marvelling over the plots and the usual impressive performances of the actors and then decide that Johnlock is still the best, I can go and search for a fanfic that interests me or simply write something myself. There, easy. No need to threaten great actors and prove you have no longer a grasp of reality.

I am very sorry that I've started this final chapter with such a huge rant, but after reading about the threats to Mrs. Abbington I could not help but think about it constantly and I just had to get this off my chest. I think it is important that we Johnlock fans show support to the show and the actors, proving that we are not that stupid.

That said I am now presenting to you the final chapter of my story. I thank you all for sticking with me and following this story. I hope you'll enjoy the final conclusion.


Atemue aka Usagi-Atemu-Tom

Title: Of dogs and dead Consulting Detectives
Part: 4/4
Author: Usagi-Atemu-Tom
Rating: PG
Genre: General/Romance
Warnings: Post Reichenbach
Pairings: Sherlock/John
Feedback: Please, yes, I love feedback! Constructive critic is especially welcome.

Summary: Sherlock Holmes is alive! And of course, even with the shock not yet processed he and John are already knee deep in trouble. Will they be able to get out of the fight against Sebastian Moran alive?

Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, everything belongs to the respective creators and of course the talented actors who gifted the characters with their great personality.

And not to forget, much thanks to Lee-Ann for suffering through my spelling mistakes and grammatical errors!

A little warning in advance. I have not a lot of knowledge of medicine, therefore not everything described might be as accurate as it should be. Please overlook the fact that I tweaked circumstances into my favour even if that might have lead to a not too realistic prescription of medical circumstances.

"Meaning my command was not meant for Dr. Watson at all", was the rather calm reply followed by a nod of his head. "Watson, attack!"

It was as if someone put on a light bulb inside his head when John finally noticed the movement just behind Moran. And then he understood. Of course, THIS was what Sherlock had been talking about.

Nearly behind Moran now was the enraged form of the English Pointer who at the Consulting Detectives command let out a vicious snarl before it moved in a graceful jump. Moran did not even have enough time to turn fully around before the dog buried sharp teeth into the arm that held the gun.

The man let go of the weapon with a cry of pain. What happened next John could only recount in a blur. Sherlock was already moving by the time the dog had bitten down on their enemy and soon there were two men grappling, fighting, throwing punches with a dog in between snapping at bared flesh with angry teeth.

The fight was not graceful at all, not the standard John was used to see in the performance of his best friend. Yet it was not surprising; after all both fighters were injured now. But just because both men were handicapped, did not mean he did not want to ensure who the winner of the outcome would be. However, the former army doctor was too afraid that he might get in the way with all the flailing limbs and the dog running in between.

Greg seemed to be of the same opinion, because while he had come nearer, his gun back in his hands, he did not dare to fire a single shot for fear he might hit the wrong target. The fight could not have taken more than a few minutes at best, but the tide was turning when Moran succeeded in hitting Sherlock right on his fresh bullet wound. Losing footing for a precious moment, the Consulting Detective was unable to avoid the next hook to his face. There was an ugly sound of fist hitting flesh before the thin body went to the ground with a groan.

Neither John nor Greg wasted any seconds. Before Moran could even think of kicking the dog to the ground as well and recover his gun, the two men were upon him and even if the gunman was bulkier and certainly better built for strength, they had wrestled him down in seconds, a rather forceful hit from John rendering the man unconscious. Let it not be said that the doctor did not still possess his fighting strength and skills from his army days.

Straightening up, he allowed Greg to take care of the gunman on the ground. His eyes were locked on the arrest scene, yet his mind did not process anything. In fact, he felt numb and tired, the aftermath of the attack finally settling in as the adrenaline of the fight faded.

A rather loud and pitiful whine brought John out of his shocked trance and he was able to acknowledge his surroundings once more. The dog was standing besides the slumped figure of its owner, looking utterly lost and licking his hand again and again in a gesture of comfort.

'Sherlock', his mind whispered in absolute disbelief. Not a stranger, not an innocent victim just running by and getting hit by a bullet meant for him. Sherlock. Not simply a stranger who owned a dog he happened to know.

By now the other man managed to sit up slightly against the fence he had fallen against, though he was still slightly slumped and clutching his arm which was oozing an alarming amount of blood. John's eyes, even while his mind still felt numb, took in the sight in front of him for the first time.

The body was different. The clothes looked slightly ragged and not just because they were full of blood. Certainly it was far from what he was used to seeing his Consulting Detective to wear outside the flat. Not to mention how thin he was. The clothes could barely conceal the amount of weight the man must have lost within the last year.

It was even more obvious in the face which he could now perfectly see after the hood had fully fallen off during the fight. Thin as a skeleton, there was hardly enough indication that this person was still alive and breathing. The hair was different as well. A bit short, though still with a hint of curls. However, instead of the dark brown it looked a deep ginger red in the sunlight.

Yet, just one look into those eyes assured the doctor that this man in front of him could not be anyone but Sherlock Holmes. It were the same eyes, even glazed over in pain, looking slightly dazed, there was still the hint of the alertness, the piercing quality they usually possessed.

And then there was his voice. Though it was currently only a hoarse sounding whisper as the man just now tried to persuade the dog to get away from him.

"Good dog, go to John, be a good dog, protect John", the former army doctor heard him murmur. This was the same voice, the voice that had spoken daring and confident to Moran just before. A voice John would never forget - ever.

It was hearing his voice, which brought him out of his stupor and into action. Releasing a colourful stream of curses, John jumped forward to the injured figure on the ground, his senses as a doctor kicking in.

The dog, as if sensing his intentions, stepped aside without being commanded to. Sherlock barely noticed. His eyes were still glazed over, leaving the doctor to suspect at least a small concussion. Or maybe it was the blood loss catching up with the Consulting Detective. Because while he certainly noticed John kneeling next to his injured arm, it was obvious he didn't recognise him.

"Where's John? Is John safe?" Sherlock's words sounded worryingly slurred. When he looked back at it later, the former army doctor wondered if that might have been the only reason why punching him did not cross his mind.

"Idiot", he chided surprisingly gentle. "I'm right here, right by your side, Sherlock."

His words seemed to have an effect on the injured man, because his eyes lost a lot of the haze, becoming clearer. He took in John kneeling next to him for the first time and the hint of a very small, utterly tired smile played around the corner of his lips.

"John", he muttered, "are you all right?"

The former army doctor let out a snort, staring down at the slumped figure in disbelief.

"You are kidding, right?" he asked, voice rising with each new word. "You are a supposed to be dead man who just got shot and who I suspect also received a concussion and you are asking ME if I am all right? Sherlock Holmes, you never have been more ridiculous in the two years I've known you!"

His last sentence was shouted and the volume of his voice caught even Greg's attention, who till now had been watching their interaction silently. The Detective Inspector had been too shocked to interrupt, but at least conscious enough to still kneel over the lifeless Moran, keeping him in a police wristlock. The former army doctor finally showing his first signs of temper however brought him out of his stupor.

"John!" he cautioned, voice hoarse. "Keep calm, we're already getting enough attention as it is."

His reminder brought the doctor certainly back to reality. Blinking twice John looked around, noticing the first curious onlookers while far away the sounds of a police siren could be heard. Glancing at Sherlock, who was looking back at him with tired, yet alert eyes, John's expression hardened and he looked over at Greg.

"Call Mycroft!" his voice was like steel. Beside him Sherlock let out a groan, while Lestrade stared at the doctor as if he lost his mind.

"Are you certain?"

John knew Greg was not aware of the details, but even he had noticed the rather hard fallout the former army doctor had with the older Holmes brother after Sherlock's death. Well, faked death as it now stood. And damn it if John could not feel the sheer amount of happiness bubbling up inside him under all the anger, fear and bout of adrenaline that was still cursing through his veins.

"Oh for god's sake, just do it, Greg!" John could not help but bellow before looking at Sherlock, his eyes hard as steel. "And I don't care how much you do NOT like you brother meddling with your affairs", he continued, voice more controlled but still obviously not leaving anyone room for questioning his decision. "I'll be the first to admit that I don't like it either, but he is the only one right now who can take care of that ass over there and keep it hush, hush.

"I absolutely don't fancy the police investigating and finding out who you are. Greg and I have been fighting a lot for your credibility this past year, Sherlock, believe me, and I suspect Mycroft has been doing so as well, loath as I am to admit it. But you're are not cleared yet, and I sure as hell will not allow for you to just come back to me alive only to be taken away again by some incompetent idiots too jealous to understand your genius and therefore have to explain it with something akin to witchcraft."

His cursing of the police obviously amused Sherlock, because his lips quirked into a weak smirk. It didn't help that he looked utterly exhausted, reminding John of the injury. Quickly he took a look at the damage before doing fast work on stopping the bleeding as well as he could. Lestrade used the silence to make the required phone call and to snap at the bystanders to get lost if they did not fancy to be arrested. By now the police sirens sounded rather close.

Greg must have thought the same as John because the Detective Inspector was looking at him rather seriously.

"John, if you don't want to chance Sherlock being recognised and arrested, I suggest you should leave now", he recommended. The sharp intake of breath by his side was the only indication that Sherlock was just as surprised as him.

"Oh please, don't look at me as if you've seen a ghost", Lestrade continued a bit gruffly. "I for one know that Sherlock is not a farce, therefore I don't fancy seeing him arrested just as much as you do, John. Hence, if he is moveable enough get him the hell out of here! Think you can do that?"

Stunned, John did a quick once over to consider Sherlock's condition before nodding dumbly. It would not be easy, he would obviously have to bear most of the Consulting Detective's weight to get him moving, but given how thin the other man had become, the doctor doubted it would be a problem. Greg was certainly pleased with the answer.

"Baker Street is just around the corner", the D. I. instructed, jerking his head in the general direction. "I'll keep this asshole here company and wait for Mycroft. I'm sure he'll take care of the rest. I'll join you later when everything is taken care of. Come on, the police is only two streets away, get your asses moving! Lucky for us it sounds like they're kept on the main road, so it might be just enough time for you two to vanish."

John reacted on autopilot. Getting up, he went to Sherlock's uninjured side before crouching down to sling the man's arm around his neck and wrap his own arm around the alarmingly thin waist. Even through the clothes John was able to feel every single rib and he did not like it at all.

Hefting Sherlock up, John stood still for a moment, adjusting his grip just right before starting to walk forward as fast as possible with Sherlock stumbling by his side. Even dizzy and deadly tired, the injured man seemed aware enough of his surroundings to not forget his dog, which had been watching the whole process in well behaved silence.

"Come along, Watson", Sherlock ordered quietly, his eyes just a bit softer than usual. The dog immediately stood up and followed right behind, eyes alert and watchful. Even with everything that had happened right now, John could not help but admire how well trained the animal was and it seemed Greg felt the same, because he let out a small, appreciative whistle.

"Damn, but this dog is a good lad!" the D. I. exclaimed in admiration. His words made Sherlock stop rather abruptly, forcing John to a sudden halt with him. The Consulting Detective moved his head towards Lestrade and for a moment all tiredness had vanished to be replaced by a look of disbelief.

"Lad?" Sherlock asked, his voice nearly outraged and with a rather familiar hint of his former arrogance. "That dog is female, don't you people ever pay attention to anything? It's obvious!"

Even with Sherlock just returned from the dead after not entirely two years, it was rather easy to simply fall back to ignore being called an idiot by that man and simply react to the important facts of his exclamation.

"Female?" Greg gaped at the dog before staring at Sherlock in disbelief. "You named a FEMALE dog 'Watson'?"

The Consulting Detective raised an eyebrow, before tiredness caught up with him and John found the injured man slumping against his side.

"I don't know what the problem is", Sherlock grumbled with a weary snort. "Watson is not a male name, simply a family name, therefore it should not matter if the dog is male or female. Honestly."

"Oh and you're telling me that you did not think of John over there when you named that dog, Sherlock?" Lestrade retorted dryly, voice slightly mocking. The Consulting Detective opened his mouth to reply, but John had enough.

"Oh for heaven's sake, we are not starting a discussion about what kind of names would be fitting for a female dog while the police close in on us", he shouted at both of them. "Continue this when Sherlock is well enough again, if you must. Make sure I am far away from you then though, because I don't want to hear it. For now we are getting the hell out of here. Come on, Sherlock!"

Not waiting for either of them to reply John began to move, forcing his injured friend to move with him. To be honest, the doctor felt slightly mortified to witness a discussion about a dog that had obviously been named after him, male or female be damned.

With a last nod at Greg, John increased his pace as fast as possible. In the end, they barely made it. Reaching the corner of Baker Street John could already see with a quick glance over his shoulder the first police car finally arriving on the other end of the street. Murmuring to Sherlock to come along, the two men and one dog vanished into the safety around the corner.

What also worried him was that Sherlock seemed to lose strength with each step they took. By the time they reached the door of 221B he was already mostly hanging into John's steadying hands, Watson circling them with rather quiet yips. The doctor was still wondering how he should get out the keys to their flat, when all of the sudden the door opened and Mrs. Hudson stood before them.

The injured Consulting Detective had barely time to avert his head while the old woman got over the shock the sight of John with a sweaty and bloodied man in his arms and the dog by his side made.

"John what", she started but he interrupted her quickly.

"No time Mrs. Hudson, we need to get inside. Could you be so kind and open the door for us? As you can see I have my hands full of a patient right now and I am not sure the dog is able to open the door with a key, no matter how intelligent she is."

"Of course dear", she stuttered, taking out her keys without thinking and getting up the stairs to open the requested door. "Do you need anything else? Should I call an ambulance?"

"NO!" John's almost hysterical shout did not only surprise the landlady but caused Watson and Sherlock in his arms to jump as well. Coughing the former army doctor continued in a quieter tone.

"I mean, please could you just for now go to business as usual and not let anyone know what happened? I promise I'll explain everything later when I've taken care of him, but for now we need discretion. Greg knows about this and he will join us later, so I assure you, everything is under control."

"Sure, if you say so", Mrs. Hudson replied, though voice unsure. She descended down the stairs again, while John arranged the now half catatonic Sherlock in a tighter grip to get them both up the stairs. The climb went slowly and John had to stop to allow both of them to catch their breath when they were up half the way. Watson thankfully was intelligent enough that she ran forward and waited impatiently on the top step for them to catch up.

John glanced down at their landlady who was watching them silently from the bottom with a contemplative look on her face.

"Mrs. Hudson?"

"Yes, dear?"

"Were you about to go shopping?" he wondered. She nodded in reply.

"Could you do me a favour and bring something to eat? Some soup would be good, something I can heat up quickly and can be digested easily by a sick person."

"Of course, John, I can bring you that", she replied quickly enough before finally getting a grip on herself and a small, half hearted smile flickered over her worried face. "But just this once. Remember I'm your landlady, not your housekeeper."

Laughing slightly, John could hear the quiet snort of amusement from where Sherlock had buried his face in his neck, before he nodded down at the old lady.

"Duly noted, Mrs. Hudson, duly noted."

"I'll be going then, John. And how about some snacks for our lovely dog friend as well, the poor thing looks rather hungry, I'd say? I'll make sure I'll be done as quickly as possible, don't worry."

"No, no, take your time", John objected. "I cannot allow you inside immediately anyway; I need to take care of him first, which I am sure will take a while. I'll be coming downstairs as soon as I'm done, promise. And some dog treats would be lovely, thank you. I think I have used up the last just today on our walk."

She hesitated for a second, then nodded her head.

"If you are sure John."

"Yes, thank you Mrs. Hudson."

She smiled tightly and turned around leaving the house with a wave. John watched the door close before letting out a sigh, hefting Sherlock carefully against him.

"She didn't recognise me", Sherlock murmured from where he hung like a bag of sand in John's arms. The former army doctor scoffed.

"Of course not. You have your face buried into my neck, you hair is shorter and the wrong colour, not to mention you look like death warmed over with the loss of weight and the bullet wound. You should be thankful she did not realise who you are. She might have fainted or tried to finish what that ass Moran started, who knows."

Sherlock let out another dry snort of weak amusement, though this one fainter than his first. They were lucky to reach the top of the stairs, where Watson was still waiting, as they did because Sherlock finally used up the last resources of his strength. He had already been hanging with most of his weight on John, but now his feet could no longer move at all.

Groaning, John half dragged, half carried the barely conscious Consulting Detective inside their flat, ordering Watson out of the way as he made his path towards what he had always seen as Sherlock's bedroom, even if he thought the man was dead.

Sherlock was not exactly heavy, not with all the weight loss he suffered through over the year, but he was still taller than John and consequently not easy to get a grip on. The doctor was rather glad now that Mrs. Hudson had always cleaned the deserted bedroom since that way he could simply dump his injured friend onto the bed, and prevent the dog from taking her place beside the bleeding man.

His physician's instincts taking over, John knew he needed the area to be as clean as possible for his next actions, though he simply did not have the heart to order Watson out of the room. He allowed her to take a seat in one of the corners, a bit away from Sherlock on the bed but still in sight.

Admittedly the dog did not make it easy for him. Twice she jumped up again, nearing the bed, when John turned around. It was the first time the dog refused to obey a serious order from him. In the end it was Sherlock giving a whispered command with his tired voice that did the trick. Even though it was spoken softly, Watson followed his command to stay in her corner without a twitch of muscle.

Giving Sherlock a thankful glance, John finally fell into action. He left the bedroom, rushing back and forth between the kitchen and bathroom to raid the medicine cabinet, heat up water and prepare whatever was necessary for his preliminary examination of the injured Consulting Detective.

Sherlock was still awake, though just barely hanging on consciousness while the former army doctor came and went into the bedroom with arms full of bandage aids, creams and painkillers. His injured friend was already too weak to get out of his clothes, therefore John was forced to use the scissors to get them off. The first sight of the skin and damage was the worst. Blood had spread all over his arm and the wound was still bleeding, though thankfully not as much as the doctor feared.

From his running around while pretending to be a jogger, the fighting and then the effort of making it to the flat the injured man was all sweaty, not to mention rather dirty from his fight against Moran. He also was, as John had felt, worryingly thin; ribs showing painfully obviously through his skin. And he was pale, deathly so, which John feared was mostly from blood loss.

Surprisingly enough Sherlock's mind did not seem to have suffered despite his body's state. Even half unconscious the man saw it all, observed the worry John expressed in the crease of his brows, the wrinkles on his forehead or something else rather ridiculous as he stared at his patient. When the Consulting Detective stared back, those alert, usually emotionless looking eyes softened into a look John had never seen on his face before.

Trying to distract himself he began the long process of washing Sherlock's body before he could clean and disinfect all the wounds, especially the one on his arm where he was shot. Silence fell over the room with John working nearly mechanically, his worry never ceasing and his gaze now and then once more lost by looking into the Consulting Detective's pain filled, yet alert eyes. Sherlock did not utter a single sound of discomfort even though the disinfection must sting like hell, especially when John reached the shot wound.

The worry in the doctor's eyes deepened when he considered the fact, that the bullet was still inside and he really, really wanted to get it out, but was missing the right equipment. And he did not like how Sherlock's skin seemed to feel hotter, the longer he worked on him. A fever was obviously building, most likely caused by dirt getting inside the open bullet wound during Sherlock's fight with Moran.

"It's bad, isn't it?"

The sudden, softly spoken words nearly startled the former army doctor, so lost had he been in his worry for his friend.

"I never thought I would experience the day where I am overcome by feelings of sentiment", Sherlock continued softly, with just a hint of displeasure in his tone at the word of sentiment. "Yet, here I am finding myself calm and content with the idea that if I am to die now, I would not mind as long as I am assured of your safety."

The silence that followed was nearly deafening as John stopped cleaning the nasty looking shot wound as good as he could in preparation for the extraction of the bullet - which he was still missing the equipment for. He was staring at the Consulting Detective with wide, fearful eyes. Sherlock was weak. Body too thin, eyes too tired and obvious signs of too much blood loss were just the beginnings to outline his current state.

And then, all of the sudden, anger took over.

"If you dare to die, Sherlock Holmes", he growled out through gritted teeth, "I swear to God I am going to revive you, if it is the last thing I do. And then I will kill you myself. Long and slow."

He choked on his next words, his throat suddenly so tight, it hurt as the adrenaline of handling a seriously injured patient and the shock seemed to finally leave his body and the realisation that Sherlock Holmes was alive - seriously wounded and weak, yes, but alive - hit him like tons of bricks.

"Oh God, I've got you back, I just got you back", John exclaimed with constricted voice that shook slightly in what he refused to accept as panic. Buried under all his anger he was terrified that he might be forced to watch his best friend die once more, this time for good with no miracle happening as it had just now.

"Please Sherlock, fight, stay with me. Don't you dare leave me alone again! I need you! Without you in my life, everything is just meaningless - dull."

And before he knew what he was doing, John grabbed Sherlock by the shoulder of his uninjured arm, bent down and kissed him - on the mouth. It was a quick kiss, a hard press of lips on lips. Not loving or arousing, just desperate and instinctive. Yet, this one touch of lips said more about the former army doctor's feelings than any words ever could. And it was only after it was over, that realisation of what he had just done struck both John and Sherlock.

Gasping out a strangled sound, John hit his hands in front of his mouth staring wide eyed at the Consulting Detective who looked back at him like a deer caught in the headlight. John twitched, his body tensing up as his mind quickly supplied him with the idea of fleeing the room. However, something must have given him away, because all of the sudden Sherlock's eyes narrowed and his face morphed back into his usual, nonchalant poker face.

He grabbed the doctor's arm before he could even take one step away from the bed, clasping the shaking hand in a weak grip.

"Don't run away", Sherlock whispered. "I admit your actions certainly caught me by surprise."

John muttered something like "Not only you." which caused the ghost of a smile to flicker over the Consulting Detective's face.

"I think we both might have miscalculated what we came to mean to each other during those two years of staying together", Sherlock continued, voice getting hoarser with each word he spoke. "We should... simply put what happened... into the back of our minds... for later analysing. Let's see it as my motivation to... get better so I can... explore what this all means."

John managed a rather weak smile, which immediately vanished when Sherlock started to cough rather violently. He grabbed the water he already prepared by the bedside table and helped the injured man to take in some liquid for his dry throat.

"I need to call Mycroft", he said softly, when the other's coughing fit had calmed down. "I know how much you hate for your brother to intrude, but this damn bullet needs to get out of your arm and I need the right tools for that without causing suspicion. Not to mention stronger antibiotics and painkillers. I also don't like the fever you are developing."

The fact that Sherlock's answer was a deep, tired sigh and a careless wave of his hand did not lessen his worries at all, quite the opposite. Nodding his head in determination, falling back into his army training to keep a calm façade in the face of the injured, he went out of the bedroom to get his phone and make the call. He was running out of time.

Nearly twenty four hours later found John Watson alone, exhausted and asleep with his head pillowed on the blanket Sherlock was covered with. The former army doctor had lost his stubborn fight to try and stay awake hours ago while sitting beside a sleeping Sherlock Holmes and a watchful English Pointer who had taken residence on the other half of the bed, lying right beside the Consulting Detective. The last hours had been a madhouse, to put it mildly.

Shortly after calling Mycroft for the tools he needed to take care of the bullet wound, Greg Lestrade arrived, bringing not only news about Sebastian Moran being taken into custody by the elder Holmes brother but also the things John requested.

Mycroft knew better than to show up personally while Sherlock was still awake. It had been over a year and for now no one knew what exactly the Consulting Detective had been gone through, but no one fancied the idea of taking the risk with Sherlock's already battered condition that he might get upset or agitated.

Greg stayed as a means of support in the living room while John vanished back inside Sherlock's room with a scarce "thanks" towards the understanding D.I. He immediately put Sherlock on sedative, cleaned the necessary areas once more and started the straining task of getting rid of the bullet, a practice he would have been unable to execute under normal circumstances because of the tremors in his hand. However, he was once more high on adrenaline because of the dangerous condition his best friend was in. His hands were calm and steady and before he knew it the cursed bullet was out, the wound cleaned, stitched and bandaged.

Afterwards he gave the passed out Consulting Detective the shots needed against infection and the already dangerous fever, hoping to whoever listened that it would be enough. He did not wish to put the injured man on drip-feed; it would be one more thing he would have to request Mycroft to organise.

When John was hundred and fifty percent certain that everything was cleaned and protected, he finally allowed Watson to move from her place and lie down on the bed beside the unconscious Sherlock.

Tired and still feeling a bit stressed, the former army doctor returned to the living room to talk to Greg, only to find Mycroft had joined the party as well.

"How is he", the elder Holmes brother enquired before John could even close his mouth. Shaking his head slightly to clear his befuddled mind, the doctor took a deep sigh.

"As stable as he can be under circumstances", he answered bluntly. "His fever is still too high for my liking and the blood loss was extreme, but as far as my medical judgement is concerned, he is not in need for a transfusion just yet. It all depends how he fares in the next 24 hours, how his body fights the fever and if there had been any traces of infection already before I gave him the shots. For now all we can do is watch and hope for the best."

"I'll instruct my people to keep some of the more drastic medical equipment you mentioned ready as well as some donor blood of his blood type", Mycroft said after a nod. His eyes were serious, though giving away no further insights of his feelings at the situation. Greg Lestrade was less discrete. He looked worried, but did not utter any comment to inquire further input.

Instead the three men started to talk about the current situation, updating John about Moran and the conclusion of the police involvement. Mycroft had worked a small miracle once more, taking the whole case away which certainly caused a lot of bad blood from police side, though it was done cleverly enough that no one questioned the details. After their talk John went down to retrieve the purchases from Mrs. Hudson and explain part of the situation to her. He left out the true identity of his patient for now, because she was worried enough as it was about the condition of his injured friend. Besides he wanted Sherlock to be well enough to face the music himself, when he finally told her the truth.

By the time he was done with his landlady and both Mycroft and Greg left, John felt ready to collapse from exhaustion, though of course he refused to give in. Instead he returned inside Sherlock's bedroom, checking the Consulting Detective's condition. To his utter relief, Sherlock's temperature had dropped if only slightly. Still, it was a good sign, fuelling his hope that everything would turn out all right.

The former army doctor had taken his seat besides Sherlock, determined to stay and watch the man sleep off the sedatives while mulling over some of his thoughts. However, as soon as it registered in his mind that Sherlock would likely recover, John had lost the fight against his body's need for rest. He had fallen asleep right besides Sherlock and not woken again for hours.

He jerked awake only when at one point Watson raised from her place beside Sherlock to wander into the kitchen where John long ago had stored feeding dishes for the dog, which were currently filled with fresh water and some food that Mrs. Hudson had brought.

Awake once more, the former army doctor stared down at Sherlock's sleeping face. He looked peaceful in sleep now, and thankfully a little bit healthier than before he had fallen asleep, though he feared that this might be wishful thinking on his side. However he felt himself reassured when he checked the other's temperature and found it slightly lowered; a good sign.

Breathing a sigh of relief, John allowed his thoughts to expand from his worries about Sherlock's current condition towards analysing their actual situation.

He knew they still had a long way to go. There were explanations to be given, only just discovered feelings to be sorted out and prospects of a rather trying tedious recovery to look forward to. After all, it was well known that Sherlock hated to be confined to bed without any challenges for his mind to cover.

Not to mention the whole bloody affair of his still not restored name added to the fact that for the world he was supposed to be dead. Mycroft had promised to take care of the latter, but even with the power he wielded there was no way to know how long it would take before everything was solved and life could return to normal.

Nothing of that mattered this moment though. Just now John Watson could do nothing but bask in the sight of his best friend lying right in front of his eyes, cheeks slightly red from the small fever he was still suffering through, chest rising with the inhale and exhale of breath and the twitching of eyelids as the resting Consulting Detective found his way back towards consciousness.

Right here and now all John could feel was immense happiness and thankfulness when those grey-blue eyes focused on him the moment Sherlock became aware of his surroundings. The former army doctor reacted instinctively, without thinking about his actions, bending down to kiss the Consulting Detective softly on his forehead.

He smiled at Sherlock's dazed look, still befuddled from drugs. Talks, admissions and everything else could come later. Right now he simply wanted to enjoy the peace and quiet for them both.

"Welcome back, Sherlock."

And Sherlock Holmes returned his friendly greeting with a small but honest smile of his own.

The End

Well, this was it. Thank you all so much for following my very first BBC Sherlock story till the end. I guess this is a rather open ending but since the main idea was a silly one anyway and I still wanted a bit of freedom to explore and get a first feeling for the characters I did not want to start with the heavy romance immediately. Oh and did I mention there is a sequel already in the making? Just a short one, to be honest, one chapter only and it's still the light stuff. However, fact is the idea of the sequel came even a bit earlier than the idea of the main story. I do hope you'll consider giving that one a try as well, when it comes out.

Though for now thank you again for stopping by and especially to those who took even a bit of time to leave a comment. That is very much appreciated.