A/N: This fanfiction was written to fill the Sherlockminibang challenge. Sherlock series three is so close I can almost taste it! This work is fully completed. So, son't worry about this being another of my WIP's. Go forth and enjoy the fic.
Warnings:Possible spoilers for series three. Feels.
Summary: When Sherlock receives a text of his brother telling him that John has been in a car accident he decides to finally "come back to life." When it is revealed that John has memory loss as a consequence of the accident the consulting detective decides to hide the dark truth of their past in order to have a fresh start with his friend.
We all have our scars, the things that make us who we are, experiences, memories, and fractured happenings, damage that we we'll carry with us throughout our whole lifetimes. Sherlock Holmes possesses more than most people, but there is one that will haunt him forever, one that has left his soul blistered, and his barely existent heart bleeding back in 221B. This particular wound within Sherlock's being is ugly, disfigured, painfully weeping, and is in the shape of John Hamish Watson. No amount of time will ever be able to heal it, and with that knowledge, the detective is a broken version of himself.
The scar was permanent. It was a reminder of the biggest sacrifice Sherlock had ever had to make. It would have been easier to forget John completely, to erase him from his mind, and to act as if that one year of blissful happiness of living with the ex- army doctor had never happened at all. But the great consulting detective knew that would do no good at all. He would still have a feeling of gaping emptiness to contend with, only he wouldn't know what was causing it. Sherlock didn't do easy. It would seem he was drawn to pain like a magnet.
But that pain of the sacrifice and the knowledge that he could never see John again without endangering him was slowly eating him alive, drilling right down into his core, consuming him like a hungry beast. After killing off most of the men in Moriarty's web he made his home with the homeless community, slipping into the crowd with a graceful ease. He spent most of his days reliving the past, stuck in the room in his mind palace labelled 'John Watson'.
That one room had become his refuge. The rest of his mind was useless to him now. It was just a rusting jumble of fragmented facts and pointless information, covered by a thick sheen of dust. It didn't bring him any comfort. The only way he felt at ease was if he was walking through memories that contained John. If he concentrated really hard he could remember every little detail about the wonderful man. He could recollect how John smelt of gunpowder and tea, how soft his jumpers were to the touch, how his laughter was the most beautiful melody he'd ever heard, how warm John's hand when it was entwined with his own, and all of the wonderful things he had taught him about friendship. John had made him more human, and Sherlock didn't ever want to lose that, because if he did then he really would just be what John had last called him – a machine.
Of course, the memories he held of John weren't all highs, there were a numerous amount of lows too. The final sacrifice that Sherlock made so that John could live was probably the one which most haunted him, and the one he most relived too. He must have pictured that day a thousand times, for now he doesn't even have to close his eyes to see the images. He can picture it all vividly.
He can feel the rush of cold air as he took the leap. His coat billowed out behind him like a useless parachute. His black curls leapt from his skull, the gushing wind blowing them every which way. The adrenaline was what hit him first as he cheated death through articulate and precise science, and then the shock of having only a split second to react and get in position, whilst his friend was distracted. It was him who was lying on the cold floor, covered in a pint of his own blood, and therefore it was him who John ran through the crowd to get to, and he who had to stay painfully still as John's fingers brushed against his pulse point. Sherlock, by this point was pressing the rubber ball into his arm so hard his entire arm had turned a bluish colour. It hurt, but Sherlock wasn't about to ruin his plan by revealing his pulse to his distraught friend. It would simply make what he'd done pointless. Sherlock only relaxed his arm when John was dragged away from his body, a crowd of people surrounding him and shrouding John's view. Sherlock wanted to scream that he was alive, wanted to tell John that it had all been a trick and an awful illusion. But he couldn't, so instead he let an unseen tear slip from the corner of his eye.
Sherlock was startled from the memory by a sharp chime from deep within his coat pockets. He frowned and sighed wearily, his fingers snatching the device out of old habit. It was a text…from his brother. He knew that his brother was aware that he had faked his death but in all the time of Sherlock being "dead" the elder Holmes had only contacted him once. Sherlock had told him to only contact him again if John was in danger. Hence the solid lump forming in his throat at the sight of the new text.
It's time to come home. I am afraid something has happened to John. You do have my sincerest apologies, brother. –MH.
Sherlock blinked. His heart stopped in his chest and he swallowed. His trembling fingers typed out a quick reply.
What, may I ask, are you apologising for? You said you'd keep him safe. You promised.- SH.
I know but I can't protect your blogger from everything. What has happened was an accident. John has been involved in a car collision. There was nothing I could do.- MH.
Then I suggest you find whoever hit him and you punish them severely. –SH.
Yes. That problem has been dealt with. I can assure you the driver won't be seeing the light of day ever again.- MH.
Thank you. And brother? Is John…you know?-SH.
You are very welcome indeed. I presume the word you are searching for is "dead"? If so, I can assure you that John is still alive. The doctors have informed me that despite what has happened John is relatively unharmed. He has a few broken bones and he lost blood, but that is not what they are worried about. It is his head injury that he received that has them worried. – MH.
Unwanted tears pricked at Sherlock's eyes and he exhaled heavily. It was OK. John was OK. Everything was going to be fine. At least, that is what he told himself.
Head injury?- SH.
How severe is it?-SH.
Yes, John's head took the most brunt of the hit. It is pretty severe. They fear that he is brain damaged. They cannot say how badly brain damaged he is till he wakes from his coma. Worst case scenarios, he won't be able to do anything for himself and will need permanent care for the rest of his life, or he simply won't wake at all.- MH.
And the best outcome that they can hope for?-SH.
Memory loss. –MH.
Sherlock swallowed thickly and chewed on his bottom lip in worried thought.
Do you think he'll remember me?-SH.
There is no way to tell. And I would advise you to not visit him at all.- MH.
I have informed you of John's current situation so that you can come home and stop this ridiculous act. There is no need to hide away, brother. You may stay with me. If you see John, even for one second, you could ruin everything, so don't even think about it.- MH.
I'm willing to take that risk. I need to see him. Just to see how he is. Then I'll turn away from him and I shan't look back.- SH.
Yes you will. You forget that I know you well, brother. If you go to see him you won't want to turn away. You'll want to go back to your old life. I'm afraid that simply isn't possible. Heed my warning when I say you will only cause more pain and hurt by turning up at his hospital bedside. If he does remember you then the truth about you lying and deceiving him for all this time will simply crush him. And if he doesn't remember you then you are the one who will end up crushed. And if he doesn't wake at all then I am certain you will do something reckless. –MH.
My heart was crushed a long time ago. I am certain that it can't retain any further damage. –SH.
The organ beating in his chest told Sherlock that those words were lies. There was always more damage that could be inflicted on his poor bleeding heart.
Sherlock's breath caught in his throat as his pale blue eyes came to rest on John's fragile form. His friend looked strikingly pale, even against the white hospital bed linen. And he looked frail. More frail than Sherlock had ever seen him. His heart clenched painfully in his chest as he approached John's bedside. "Oh God…" He choked out, the walls of his throat closing up.
His eyes scanned John quickly, taking in all of his injuries. Broken arm – luckily not the one he used to fire a gun with- John would be furious if that were the case. Fractured ribs- at least four of them. Possible bruising on the chest- hard to tell with the sheets pulled up so high. And yes- a very evident head injury going by the thick bandage wrapped around John's skull. He looked like he was in a deep sleep and in a way Sherlock supposed he was. A very deep sleep. One that he might not wake up from.
Sherlock shuddered, his body taught with anger, and his mind keen on the idea of revenge. If his brother hadn't assured him the person who'd run John over had been dealt with then Sherlock was certain he'd be hunting them down single handily.
He took a deep breath to steady himself. Perhaps he should have heeded his brother's warning. He shouldn't have come because now he never wanted to leave John's side. He wanted to curl up on the hospital bed with the sleeping man and he wanted to wrap him up in arms and never let go. He wanted to hug him, to apologise a thousand times, to beg for forgiveness, to protect him from any more pain. He didn't do any of those things. Instead he reached out his hand and tentatively took hold of John's, frowning at how cold and clammy the sleeping man's hand was.
He smoothed his thumb over John's knuckles and a small smile spread across his tired face.
"They say that coma patients can sometimes hear you, that it helps to talk to them. I hope for both our sakes that you don't hear what I'm about to say, because that could lead to some rather embarrassing discussions later, and you'll probably punch me, not that I don't deserve to be punched. Because I do, after all I've put you through, and the countless number of lies I told you."
Sherlock swallowed thickly as John's still form remained completely motionless. He knew he was getting his hopes up, thinking John would simply wake up just because he was talking to him. Perhaps it was completely pointless, maybe John couldn't hear him at all. It was just a lie that doctors told people to stop them from losing faith, to keep them thinking that their loved ones would come back to them. Even if that were the case Sherlock wasn't prepared to come to the terms with the fact that John might not wake up. He couldn't bring himself to think that the last words he spoke to his friend were dishonest and brutal lies. Instead he steadied himself and continued to speak softly to John, hoping that even if John didn't wake up that he could hear him. Because Sherlock was spilling the truth. No more lies. The honest truth.
"If you can hear me, then I need you to know that it was never my intention to hurt you. Not like this. But I had no other choice. I wanted to prove to myself that your words weren't true, that I wasn't a machine, so I sacrificed everything I had just so you, Mrs Hudson, and Lestrade could go on living. I can't imagine what you've been through over these past few years but I know if it's anything like I've experienced you've been through hell. I've faced many of my demons over the years, and I've been fighting a war all on my own. I never really understood what it was like to be a soldier. I never asked you about it, because all I had to do was look into your eyes. Your eyes, at least as I remember them, were perhaps the kindest yet most haunted eyes I'd seen. I wonder what my eyes look like now, whether they are just as haunted, because I've seen things that I will never be able to erase from my memory, horrible and terrifying things . I know that I have changed. Perhaps it is for the better. Or maybe this experience has made me even less tolerable than before. But you'll never find out if don't wake up, so stop being an idiot, and just…just be ok…for me…can you do that?"
Sherlock stared at John's hand and gave it a firm squeeze. He searched his friend endlessly for a sign of life, but he found none. There wasn't a twitch or a flicker. There was nothing. He sighed and shook his head, his emotions pressing down on him so hard that it physically hurt. His throat was burning, his lips drier than sandpaper, and his eyes heavy and hot with tears. "Ok. The silent treatment. You don't feel like talking right now. I've been an idiot, so that's perfectly understandable. But you know what?" He asked softly, a deep sadness filling his voice. "I'm going to sit here till you do feel like talking. You can shout at me, if you like. Scream at me even. Just…wake up…please…for me?" He dragged up a chair by John's bedside and sat down. He gave John's hand another tight squeeze and bowed his head, closing to his eyes, willing John to be ok.
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