My first attempt at a reunion-story, mere days away (let's think positive!) from the real reunion.
This story was written due to a prompt by Anagogia, who wanted... a reunion where, to keep it short, Sherlock is in need of a friend, but John is not ready to forgive him so easily. (I would elaborate, but then, I'd spoiler quite much of the plot, so... no.)
Be prepared for angst to come.
I don't own anything, not even the idea and quite many of the details - credits for that go to Anagogia!
Dear Anagogia, I hope you enjoy what I did with your idea!
We Keep Falling
Cold. Cold everywhere. Cold and damp.
Sherlock Holmes wrapped his arms around his body and pressed his eyes shut.
He did not want to fall asleep.
It was illogical, of course it was, highly so, because dreams were only a product of his own imagination, of his mind turning against him, dreams were not real, nightmares weren't, because they could not do anything, because they were not true and every single reaction of his body was simply an automatic response to the perception of threat and dread he experienced in the dream, so…
He shuddered, involuntarily, and forced his eyes open again.
He wasn't even tired, he didn't need sleep, he had napped about an hour yesterday, he was fine without sleep.
Cold, so cold.
Shivering, clenching his teeth, Sherlock attempted to curl up, to draw his legs closer to his chest.
And hissed, once more involuntarily, as a stabbing pain shot through his right knee.
Stupid, so stupid, he had been stupid. Had allowed himself to get inconvenienced, to be incapacitated by a forceful kick against his knee. Had had something torn in his knee, probably.
Stupid, foolish, so foolish, distracted by the searing pain in his head and the frantic thumping of his heart against his ribs, distracted by the blood dripping into his eyes and running over his face.
Sherlock narrowed his eye, the one not almost swollen shut, and attempted to blink away the bleariness as he squinted at the screen of his old mobile.
He could just call, one call, could just…
"No!" he growled, trying to take a deep breath and closing his eyes once more.
He couldn't do that. Wasn't allowed to. Wasn't.
Cold, why was it so cold? Cold, or was it… was it the fever? Did he even have a fever?
Swallowing dryly, he tried rubbing his back, tried moving his fingers and arms to produce a tiny bit of warmth.
It shouldn't be so cold, it wasn't even winter any more, and he… he wasn't outside, was he? No, he had managed to break into some hut somewhere, so…
In the nights, he missed his coat the most. The hoodie he was wearing didn't feel half as safe as…
No, stupid. Sentiment. Distracting him.
Sentiment. Sentiment was to blame for his latest mishap, when he very nearly had let the men escape that he had been after. He had had them, almost, had been prepared to shoot them… when one of them had shouted a question at him, had made Sherlock stop dead, cause his entire arm to shiver and his bullet to miss.
"Miss your dear doctor? Not sure if you'd want him back after what we've done to him…"
A lie, it had been a lie.
It had to be.
Abruptly, Sherlock entangled his arms from his battered body, ignoring the pressure of his badly bruised ribs against his lungs, and shoved himself into a sitting position.
He wasn't tired.
After what we've done to him…
They hadn't laid a finger on John, he knew that, they couldn't have because they hadn't known, initially, hadn't assumed that Sherlock was the one who was after them, Sherlock who was supposed to be dead and rotting in moist soil. Nobody knew he was alive, nobody, nobody could know, at least not until he was finished.
Finished once he had got to Moran, to Moriarty's second-in-command, the one who still kept Moriarty's web together. Without him, it would all fall apart. Fall apart…
They had been thoughtless, these two, assuming that he was beaten after they had been done with him, enjoying their triumph for a moment to long before finishing him off, hadn't even thought about that he might still fight back, cringing on the concrete like worm, bleeding and throwing up blood mixed with bile and gasping for breath. He had got them, in the end, but it had been… close.
Distantly, he realised that he was slumping to one side, but he couldn't care. Didn't have enough energy left to care.
Two… no, three… four… four days ago.
Four days ago, probably, he had confronted them - he didn't even know their names, just their aliases -, had made his mistake, had killed them, escaped by foot because it had been too risky to steal a car, with him spilling and dripping his blood everywhere, the images of John, dead, of John, tortured, of John staring at him accusingly, shouting at him: "You didn't keep me safe, you didn't, it's all your fault…"… the images, having been born in the darkness of more than two years of hiding, of hunting men down, of being… alone, still haunting him.
Sherlock's eyes closed.
Nightmares, he had had nightmares, leaving him even weaker, leaving him screaming and trembling and…
No. John was fine. John was safe.
Nobody knew what he was doing, where he was, that he was alive, nobody knew, Mycroft would watch over John, nobody would try to threaten John, nobody…
Dreams weren't real, weren't a physical experience, could not harm him.
He had been through worse, through far worse, nightmares didn't have any power over him.
John was fine, he was…
Sherlock exhaled slowly as his head hit the dirty floor.
Sleep, his transport demanded sleep, needed sleep, but he…
Nightmares could not harm him.
He shuddered again, losing the battle with his own body. Once more. Again.
Tired, he was so tired, so… He couldn't think, couldn't think straight, couldn't concentrate on the few people who were left, on the few people he still needed to eliminate, couldn't focus when he needed to funtion properly for once.
Just an hour. Or two. A bit of rest for his battered transport.
Nightmares were just dreams, the pictures he saw just being imaginations his mind conjured, not real, not real, not real…
He did not want to fall asleep, was his last thought before he inevitably slipped into oblivion.
John Watson woke up screaming.
One. Two. Three. Four.
He counted, slowly, very slowly, taking deep breaths, just as his therapist had told him to, many months ago. It helped.
If it didn't… well, going back to sleep wasn't an option, anyway.
He didn't close his eyes again, kept them wide open instead, staring at the ceiling of his tiny apartment. And simply breathed and counted his breaths.
Relax. Calm down.
It did work, this time.
Rubbing a hand over his burning eyes, he sat up and risked a glance on his mobile, lying on the bedside table.
Definitely too early to get up. Unfortunately.
Suddenly becoming aware of how damp his shirt was, he got rid of his covers and slid to the edge of his bed.
Shower. He needed a shower now. The warm water, running down his face, would calm him.
And new clothes. Needed new clothes. And something to drink.
Sighing, John got to his feet.
It took a while until he felt better.
4:12 am. Still too early to get up. And too early to give Rose a call.
Pulling his dressing gown closer around his body, he sank down on his mattress again.
This had been the worst nightmare for a long time, definitely. He couldn't even name what he had dreamt of, only that it had been… terrifying, and scaring, and painful, and that it had involved Sh-
Two years ago. More than two years, in fact, and sometimes John still felt as if he was caught in an eternal nightmare. As if he just had to wake up and everything would be fine, everything would be just as it had always been.
"Could as well make myself a cup of tea," he muttered to himself, getting up again.
He didn't want to try to go back to sleep. One nightmare had been enough, and if he was tired, really tired, tomorrow evening, maybe he'd then sleep soundly and dreamlessly.
"Bloody nightmares," he mumbled as he switched the kettle on.
They still occurred, occasionally. Much less frequently than at the beginning, thank God.
He was over it, really. Endless hours with Ella had to have been of any use, after all. He had a life now, a regular job, a regular girlfriend, a little flat of his own, a perfectly well-organised and ordinary life.
John sighed and run his hand through his still wet hair. His grey hair.
He wasn't even that old. Maybe he should dye it, colour it, brown, maybe, or black. Rose might like it.
Chuckling bitterly for a moment, he rubbed his tired eyes and waited for the kettle to boil.
He could as well try to update his blog, the blog he still hadn't deleted.
He had a life now, a proper life, he had come to terms with Sherlock's - John practically forced himself to think the name of his dead best friend - suicide, had accepted that his former flatmate was dead. Wouldn't come back, in fact.
He was fine, really.
Most of the time.
He was fine.
But that didn't mean he felt like going back to bed and experiencing another nightmare.
Thank you for reading.
Please let me know what you thought.