I miss you.
Don’t ever leave me again.
They began sleeping together after Baskerville.
It started with John suffering nightmares (again), then Sherlock joining him (a first), until one night they both woke with a start and mutually sought the other out for comfort and assurance of life. Neither of them spoke ill of the idea of sharing a bed, but neither of them thought it would lead to them curled so intimately close together; John holding Sherlock possessively and Sherlock clinging on. They didn’t complain when it happened a few nights later, then the night after, and the night after, until sharing a bed became the only way either man could sleep.
And Sherlock had been sleeping more and more, John noticed. It worried him, but Sherlock shrugged it off; said the influx of cases, though appreciated and healthy, left him worn. John accepted it without question.
After Sherlock killed himself, he began to wonder if it had been something more.
He was on two anti-depressants and one sleep aide. None of the medications worked. He tossed, he turned, he pawed at the air where Sherlock’s warm form used to lay, he struggled to breathe without a weight on his chest (funny how that worked); he couldn’t sleep and didn’t want to sleep, but passed out anyway and clung to the nightmares where he could see Sherlock’s face just one more time, try to call him down just one more time, tell him he loved him and needed him and God damn I miss you please just come home.
He would awaken with a start, grip the spot where Sherlock’s arm used to be - the once-present, soft pulse which used to lull him off to dreamless slumber - and would grip his shirt, inhale a trembling breath (the air smelled like illness and sorrow and not like Sherlock’s too-expensive shampoo in his mop of curls tucked under John’s chin), and try, try, try to piece together what went wrong.
He never fully could. There was a reason for that, which he would find out two years down the line on a stormy night when Sherlock Holmes came through the front door, bloodied and bruised and skinny and pale and alive.
A lie. It had all been a lie. One which saved his life, yes, but the endless nights of pining for scent and warmth and pulse and Sherlock were a waste. He told himself they would sleep apart because he was so angry and conflicted with Sherlock’s return. It didn’t matter what they began to have years ago; didn’t matter how much they missed each other. He was hurt, he was mad, he was stubborn and wanted everything to be okay. He thought Sherlock coming back would be a relief, not a weight.
He tossed. He turned. He sighed. He cried. He laid on his side, an unusual position, and stared out into the darkness where he knew Sherlock could have been. Should have been.
A silhouette in the doorway at half-one in the morning caught his still-conscious eye. He didn’t say a word as Sherlock slowly, hesitantly climbed on the bed, but looked baffled as he posed himself not lying beside and atop John as in days of old, but holding onto him like he was a lifeline. He tangled himself on John; latched onto the warmth of his skin and the security of his presence and didn’t, couldn’t, let go.
Sherlock’s hair didn’t smell like expensive shampoo; it smelled of rain. His skin was no longer warm; it was cold and Sherlock’s thin frame shivered every so often.
Yet, despite all that, his pulse was loud, screaming, making itself known, saying over and over again, I am alive and I am home and I am and always have been yours.
Maybe that’s why John wrapped himself around Sherlock and damned his anger and upset: because the feeling of his pulse meant Sherlock was alive. Because his nightmares and daydreams could be real. Because he could finally hold him once more.
“Don’t ever leave me again,” he choked out against Sherlock’s neck.
Then, the I love yous and the I missed yous and the sobbing spilled out without restraint, and Sherlock held on the entire time, taking in John’s smell of tea and very vague gun smoke, the warmth of his flesh despite its aged pallor, and the sound of the soldier’s heartbeat sounding off like a wardrum in his ears, answering his own.
“Never again,” Sherlock promised. The two words held more mean than most people could decipher. But then and there, in that night of longing and reunited and hurting and healing, John could see every meaning in his reply clear as day.
They fell into familiar, dreamless, shared slumber, tangled together in delicate desperation, as the storm pressed relentlessly on.
Oh. My. God. An accompanying fic.
It’s so beautiful. I can’t. Let me love you.