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Sherlock wanted to die.
That was his intention, that was his motive, that was his plan.
Should've been simple.
Now there were tubes in his arms, injecting things he had no interest in.
Well, except the morphine he convinced the nurse to give him, but that hadn't lasted long once Mycroft had found him.
He went off in his usual speech, calling Sherlock names under the guise of caring about him. Sherlock tried to not roll his eyes. He knew Mycroft expected more from him, expected him to be better, do better, but better was boring. Staying clean was boring, staying alive was boring. He would rather just- disappear.
"You can't be so careless, Sherlock."
"'M never careless." Sherlock mumbled.
"You're always careless. With everything."
Mycroft wasn't even sitting, just standing by Sherlock's bed, umbrella by his side, nose turned towards the fucking sky. Sherlock thought briefly about breaking said nose, letting blood drip onto his pressed suit, just to bring him back down to earth with the rest of the idiots.
"Thank you for your input. Can you leave now, so I can get back to my current life of Jell-o and day time television?"
"You're not clever, you know." He straightened his shoulders, taking a long sniff, "I'm placing a guard on you. To prevent any more... Accidents." His lip curled at the last word. He might think of Sherlock as something lesser, but he surely thought highly of himself.
"I don't need a babysitter." Sherlock let his eyes go cold and sharp. It wouldn't make Mycroft change his mind, at this point there was nothing that would, but he definitely wasn't going to make it easy. He had already mapped out all the exits, including the ones in the bathrooms and closets. It wouldn't be hard to get out and away if he needed to.
"Apparently, you do." He went to walk out the room, "He's all yours." He said to someone outside the door.
Sherlock's muscles tensed.
New, new, new, new, new-
As Mycroft walked out, in walked a blonde-haired, blue eyed man, shorter than Sherlock, broader than Sherlock. His lips were pinched with anxiety, and his fingers fidgeted at his sides.
All the facts Sherlock read hit him like bricks. Army, single, unarmed, definitely taking the job for the money, obviously had no clue who Sherlock was.
He could feel a smirk forming. He quickly looked down, busying himself with the blanket on top of him. He had no idea who Sherlock was, meaning he could be whoever he wanted to be.
"What was your accident, then?" Sherlock asked in a cool tone.
The man shuffled from foot to foot, his tongue darting out to brush over his lips, "Excuse me-? Your brother told you about me?"
Sherlock's smirk grew, "I had no idea you existed until this very moment. Are you going to answer my question?"
This is the part he loved. Just before he explained how his head worked, when his chest felt full and his eyes felt bright. When he felt the only power he had rush through his fingertips and legs, and spine.
"Never said I had an accident."
The man was getting defensive now, Sherlock was getting too close. He could almost laugh.
"I know, but I did." Sherlock said. Their eyes properly met and Sherlock swore everything was is full, saturated color.
The man cleared his throat, "Got shot."
"Ooo. Where?"
He took a moment, "Army."
Sherlock waved his hand, "Know that, I mean where?" He gestured vaguely to the man's body.
He gave a weak nod, his hand instinctively reaching for his right shoulder.
"Got it." Sherlock said, "Would've expected somewhere lower."
The man squinted, "Are you gonna tell me how you do that or should I assume you're a mind reader?"
"Mind readers are fairytales. I don't need to read your mind to read you."
"Then how?"
"Simple. I observe, I guess, I wait for something to stick. I'm usually right."
"And when you're not?"
"People get to revel in telling me so."
The man cracked a smile, "it all works out then."
"Suppose."
The man held out his hand, "John Watson. If you didn't know already."
Sherlock stayed still. The man- John –was relaxing around him. How did he do that?
After a moment a silence John retracted his hand, his head dipping down. He felt awkward.
Oh.
"Sherlock. Sherlock Holmes." He got out.
"Right." John pulled a chair from the wall and placed it next to Sherlock's bed, then sat down, "Guess I'm supposed to be looking out for you?"
"You don't have to."
"According to your brother, I do."
Sherlock shook his head, "I could leave and you could act like you had no idea. I'll do it anyway."
"Will you?" John kicked his feet up on the side of Sherlock's bed, "'S this okay?"
"I don't mind, and yes. I'll leave whether you know about it or not."
"You know what keeping an eye on you means right?" John asked, his hands behind his head.
"You know I've dealt with this before, right?"
"Haven't dealt with me."
"Oh?" Sherlock's head cocked just slightly, "How's that?"
John shook his head, "Not here to tell you about me."
"But it certainly makes it more entertaining."
"For you."
"Obviously for me. Tell me, John Watson, who have you dealt with that reminds you of me?"
"Shouldn't you buy me dinner first?"
Sherlock's eyebrows knitted together, "Why would I buy you dinner?"

Chapter Text

The telly buzzed from the corner of the room. Sherlock's eyes were closed, but his brain was still on. He waited until John was snoring in his chair before pulling his blankets off and carefully removing his IVs, then placing the clip from his thumb onto John's instead.
His footsteps were quiet, soft. He knew John probably wasn't as heavy a sleeper as he appeared, so he made sure to be as silent as possible.
He stayed aware of his surroundings, careful to not knock anything over. He gave a quick glance to John. His head was titled back, arms over the sides of the chair, legs stretched out. Sherlock repressed a chuckle, and made his way to the bathroom.
He turned the knob, gently opened the door, and stepped in, not bothering to close the door behind him.

--

In hindsight, Sherlock should've changed clothes. The hospital slippers were soaked through and the gown was doing little to shield the rain that was hitting him from all sides. He looked around for the closest hotel, beyond relieved when he spotted one. Could've been in better shape, but at the moment Sherlock wasn't too concerned, hell, it was probably better than an upscale place. Hiding in plain sight and all that.
He opened the door, dripping rain water onto the cheap carpet, and pulling a credit card (John's) out of his slipper, a bit wet, but no worse for wear. He pulled a strand of soaked hair out of his eyes and calmly asked for a room, ignoring the look on the host's face.
"If there's any calls for Sherlock Holmes, hang up." He added, walking off to his room.
It was a single bed on the third floor. Shower wasn't awful, nor was the actual bed. He could live with this. Hopefully not for long, but for the night it was manageable. He flopped down on the bed, not bother to dry off or even lay down a towel, his whole body relaxing into the mattress, and his feet unbelievably sore from the walk.
A part of him was surprised that he wasn't found yet, another part slightly disappointed. He sighed, shut his eyes and willed for his mind to shut off, falling asleep just like that, in a puddle on a cheap hotel bed.

Chapter Text

It was pitch black when Sherlock heard a knock on the door. He was somewhat of a light sleeper already, and the added anxiety of Mycroft finding him didn't make it any better.
He stared at the dark, making his breath as sparse at possible. He knew Mycroft would most likely find him at some point, probably put him back in the hospital with an exhausted sigh and give him another lecture, before leaving him with a stranger, but Sherlock still felt a knot in his stomach, which grew as another knock on the door bounced around the room.
"Sherlock?" He heard form behind the door, surpised it wasn't Mycroft's voice.
"John?" Sherlock squeaked.
"Oh, thank god. Let me in? I've been looking for hours. God, I thought you might've died."
Sherlock felt his chest tighten, "Is Mycroft with you?"
"No."
"Are you gonna make me go back?"
"I think I have to."
Sherlock sighed, "Can I stay here for tonight?"
"If you let me in."
Sherlock stayed still for a moment. He couldn't be that bad, right? He wouldn’t hurt Sherlock, Mycroft probably ensured that. He rolled out of the bed and went to open the door, keeping the dead bolt chained and looking at John through the crack.
"I won't bite." John said, a slight grin on his face. He looked tired, his hair messy, his eyes heavy. Sherlock almost felt bad for leaving. Almost.
"Mycroft isn't with you?"
John shook his head.
Sherlock looked down, unlocking the dead bolt and quickly returning back to the bed. John followed behind him, running a hand through his hair and looking around the room.
"You're alright then?" He asked, watching as Sherlock wrapped the covers back around him, still damp from his laying on them before he feel asleep.
"Define alright." Sherlock mumbled.
John sighed, sitting on the foot of the bed, "Are you ever planning on going back?"
"To the hospital?"
John nodded.
"No. Why should I? So Mycroft can lecture me some more? So you can watch my every move? So I can go through this all again in four, five, six months? Why? Why should I go back?"
He probably shouldn't have been this angry. It shouldn't have affected him this much, but god, it didn't do anything.Being locked up for months at a time didn't do anything. Why would he ever want to go back?
"Because you... Sherlock, you can't just-"
"Can't just what? Stay here? You think?"
"No. Listen-"
"No!" He forced his eyes closed, trying to even out his breaths, "You've known me for less than a day, you don't get to tell me those things. You don't get to act close. You're not."
He was still under the covers, so he doubted that he was at all intimidating, but John still took a moment, quiet and blinking.
"I'm not- Sherlock, I'm not trying to be close."
"You are." His breathing was getting faster, his fingers getting numb, "You are. You're trying to force you're way into my life like a fucking quirky, coming-of-age story. Go fuck yourself, John."
It's okay, he just needed to stay calm, he just needed to breathe. It would be alright, he just needed to stay together until John left, and he would.
"Sherlock, I'm not-"
"You are!" He was getting hysterical at this point. God, he hated when he did this. He could feel tears behind his eyes and sobs forming in his chest. He couldn't do this, not here, not now.
"Okay. Okay." John took a deep breath. Sherlock hoped he was getting tired of him, "Why do you think that?"
Sherlock didn't say anything for a moment, trying to collect his voice, "...I-" He blurted it out before he could convince himself otherwise, "You didn't have to do this. Come look for me." His voice was shaking despite how hard he was trying to steady it.
"I kinda did-"
"No." Sherlock said quietly, "You could've given up. You could've forced me to go back right away. You didn't have to do this."
John nodded, "Can I say something?"
Sherlock swallowed and nodded back.
"I couldn't stop picturing you dead somewhere." His eyes flickered down, "I wouldn't have ever forgiven myself if, on the very first day, I had left you forgotten in some ditch or drug den."
Sherlock opened his mouth to say something, but stopped before he made a sound, letting John finish.
"I know I'm not close. I know I don't know you, but I'm not going anywhere, yeah? I've got a job to do, and that means making sure you're alirght. So... Are you alright. Sherlock?"
Sherlock sniffed, tears hot on his face which he had buried into the covers. He slowly looked up at John and shook his head.

Chapter Text

This probably wasn’t a good idea. Sherlock could hear Mycroft's voice in the back of his head, telling how this was going to backfire, but he couldn’t find the energy to care.  

 His face was pressed into John's chest (John's idea), which Sherlock didn't mind, even though he smelled of wet cotton and sweat (And something else Sherlock couldn't quite place), and Sherlock probably should've asked him to take a shower, but it was awkward enough to be this close to a total stranger without accusing them of needing a shower. 

 Okay, maybe he wasn’t a /total/ stranger, but he was close enough. 

 Both of them were vaugely damp from the rain, but they were still pressed closed together, John holding onto Sherlock tight, and Sherlock folding into the embrace.  

 Sherlock teased the idea of taking a shower himself, but the thought of it made him want to sleep. Everything made him want to sleep, honestly, and funny enough, that was the one thing he couldn't get ahold of. John wasn't sleeping either, but Sherlock was pretty sure that was because he was worried he would run off again. 

 "Tell me about yourself." Sherlock said quietly, feeling a bit strange for asking this type of question. 

"What do you wanna know?" John asked, yawning towards the end.

Sherlock paused. 

 "Do you think you're gonna save me?" He asked, wincing at his own question. He could've built up to it, but why beat around the bush? 

 "No. Isn't my job." John said simply.

 "Walking in the rain for hours isn't your job either." 

 "Technically is. Mycroft told me to find you." 

 "Isn't. You could've made an excuse." 

 "I wouldn't do that." 

 "And you didn't. That's my point." 

 "What do you mean?" 

 Sherlock huffed, "Why? Why are you here? Why do you do all these things you don't have to?" 

 "Here because I was-" 

 "Hired. I know. I meant /why/? Why are you still here? Why are you..." His voice lowered, "Here? With me?" 

 "Well," He paused for a moment, "I think you deserve it. I think everyone deserves to be sought after. Within reason." 

 "I wouldn't call this within reason." Sherlock said, very aware of the space (or lack thereof) between them.  

 "Do you want me to go?" 

 Sherlock pursed his lips, "...What am I to you?" 

 "Ideally? Maybe friend? Realistically, maybe... Boss?" 

 "So, I can fire you?" 

 "No. Not like that. I work for you, but you didn't hire me." 

"That doesn't quite make sense then. Boss implies control. You just sound like a stalker." 

 John chuckled, and Sherlock could feel it vibrate against his cheek. 

 "'M not a stalker."  

 "Then who are you? Who're you supposed to be to me?" 

 "I would like- friends. We can be friends." 

 "I don't know about friends. That doesn't work out for me that often."  

 "Okay. What about people who don't hate each other." 

 Sherlock pushed his face into John's shoulder, "And are okay being this close?" 

 "Perfectly okay being this close." 

 "...Okay. Okay, I don't mind that." 

 Sherlock felt a bit silly being this clingy, but he enjoyed how John's arms wrapped around him and how he could still smell the rain on his skin. Something about it felt perfectly in place, like this is where Sherlock was supposed to be, how he was supposed to be. Maybe it didn't matter that John was a stranger. Maybe this feeling, this comfort, transcended relationships. 

 Or maybe that was a crock of bullshit to keep Sherlock from overthinking.  

 Who knows? 

 "Hey, Sherlock?" 

 "Mm?" 

 "We should sleep." 

 Sherlock nodded into his shoulder, "Goodnight, John." 

 Goodnight, John. I hope this isn't gone in the morning. 

Chapter Text

 Sherlock didn't want to leave. He wanted this, whatever it was, to stay put. He kept the covers over his head, willing himself to go back to sleep. 

 John was already awake, marching around the room, probably for coffee. He sat on the edge of the bed, and Sherlock wondered how close he would try and be today, if last night was just a fluke because Sherlock had gotten emotional, or if he still wanted that. Sherlock wasn't even sure what that was. He wasn't sure about any of this.  

 "Made coffee." John said, carefully, like the wrong words could set off a bomb. 

 "I know." 

 "Do you want any?" 

 Sherlock huffed. This was all too normal.  

 Friends. You're just people who don't hate each other. 

  It was stupid to think it even was something.  

 "That's not an answer." 

 Sherlock pulled the covers down, "What're you doing?" He asked, his eyes squinted. 

  John blinked, "...Offering you coffee?" 

 "So everything's just okay? We're just moving on?" 

 "Moving-? What?" 

 "Moving on. Do we need to talk about last night? Are we now best friends?" 

 John held up his hand, "Uh, I don't know- What-" He blinked rapidly, "Why would we need to talk-" 

 "Because that's what people do, right? They have nights where they get all close and talk about how everything sucks and they become best friends or boyfriends-" 

 "We're boyfriends?" 

 "No, no, that's not- I'm not saying we're- Look..." Sherlock sighed, "I'm not- I'm not the best. When it comes to this stuff. I'm aware of that." 

 "As am I. Figure A being this conversation." 

 "Don't mock me." 

 "I'm not!" John said, a small smirk already brewing on his face. 

 "My point is... I don’t know how to do this." 

 "How to be friends with someone?" 

 "No- Yes. Sort of. I don't- I'm not-" Sherlock inhaled, "I don't know how to handle people wanting to be around me. And you seem to want that." 

 "I do." 

 "Why?" 

 John took a deep breath, collecting his thoughts, "I think you're brilliant. I think you're... So good, and you need a reminder of that, of the fact that there are people who don't see you as something to be avoided." 

 Sherlock scoffed, "Mycroft really didn't you about me, then." 

 John shook his head, leaning in to press a kiss to Sherlock's forehead, "You're not the only one who can make deductions. Are you gonna get out of bed?" 

 Sherlock shook his head, trying to not think about what John just did, "Think I'll stay here. You can get me coffee." 

 "You didn't want coffee." 

 "I can change my mind." 

 "Can you change your mind about getting out of bed?" 

"Let me check," He looked off to the side, "Not possible. Bring me coffee." 

 John rolled his eyes playfully, getting up from the bed, "I'm not your assistant." 

 "No, apparently you're my friend." 

 John shushed him and went off to make coffee.  

 "Two sugars, please." Sherlock called from the bed, snuggling back into the blankets. 

 John sat back on the edge of the bed, "You're gonna have to sit up for this." 

"Do I?  

 "Actually no, see, I can just pour this all over you and you'll absorb it through your skin. That's actually how you're supposed-" 

 "Okay. Fine." He wiggled himself into a sitting position against the headboard and took the cup from John, "You don't have to be a smartass." 

 John laughed, "Take your own advice." 

 Sherlock kicked him lightly, "I can still get you fired." 

 John smirked, smuggness lining his lips, "You wouldn't." 

 "I wouldn't?" Sherlock cocked his head, "Why not?" 

 "You like me."  

 "I do not!" Sherlock gave him a sharp look. 

 "You do. You let me make you coffee and talk about being friends with me." 

 "You do know that I have a hot cup of coffee in my hand right?" 

 "Yeah," John said, "The one I made you." 

 Sherlock huffed, staring forward, "I do not like you." 

 "You do." John responded, the same level of arrogance in his voice. 

 Sherlock rolled his eyes, "Don't you have to report back to Mycroft or something?" 

 "Oh, shit." John bounded off the bed towards the phone, "Fuck, okay." 

 Sherlock laughed, "You forgot? The whole reason you looked for me was for Mycroft, as you so gracefully put it." 

 "Listen, I wasn't really thinking of that when I found you." He said, dialing. 

 "You kept saying it!" 

 "I thought you were gonna kick me out! Sorry that I wasn't thinking about your fucking-! Oh, Mycroft. Yeah, hello." 

 And Sherlock completely fucking lost it. 

Chapter Text

"I told you I'm not going." 

"Well, it really isn't a disscusion anymore, Sherlock." 

 "I can just not go." 

 "You do know I can use force right?" 

 "You wouldn't" 

"Don't tempt me." 

 "No. You're the good guy." 

 "Am I?" John's eyes went wide. Sherlock had to try not to laugh. 

 "Yep. The knight in shining armor." 

 John rolled his eyes. They were already in a cab, sun rising on black, faux-leather seats, Sherlock hanging his hand out the window. Cold air was stinging his arm, and he wondered if it would snow any time soon.  

 John was next to him, giving him a once over every few moments. It's not like Sherlock was going duck and roll out the car, and if he did, a stern look from Mr. Army-Man wasn't going to stop him. 

 Sherlock leaned his head against the window sill (Are they still called that in cars? Is there a special car word for the threshold between the inside and outside of the car? Would anyone bother to even make that word?) 

 "Mind if we make a stop?" Sherlock asked, opening and closing his hand, feeling the wind glide through his fingers. 

 "Can't. Mycroft already hates me, we can't make detours." 

 "It'll take five minutes." He shot him a glance, eyes wide and begging, "Please?" 

 John sighed, his head dipping down "One stop. If you take longer than twenty minutes I'm dragging you in by your two front teeth, alright?" 

 Sherlock grinned, "Okay." He leaned over the partion and gave the cabbie directions. He'd done this before, from almost every point in the city. He whispered the words quiet enough for John to not be able to eavesdrop, but loud enough for the cabbie to not ask questions. 

 He grinned as they pulled up, bouncing out the car and leaving John in his seat, an eyebrow raised.  

 Finn was already waiting for him. The corner of her mouth raised and Sherlock could see blinding canine teeth contrasted by red lipstick.  

 "Back so soon? Wasn't your brother supposed to keep you on lockdown?" 

 Sherlock rolled his eyes, "Not able to keep me. You should know this by now." 

 Her head tilted back in a sharp laugh, "Of course. C'mon." She waved him into a grey building, windows broken, one misplaced fire away from crumbling completely. 

 Felt like a second home. 

 

-- 

 

"So you didn't just let him boss you around, you let him run off to get high?" Mycroft tapped his umbrella against the floor, every tap making John blink harshly. 

 Sherlock turned away and leaned his head back on his pillows. He had gotten John's jacket around him at some point. It was irritatingly musty, wrinkly, and just a tad too wide and too short. He wrapped it tighter around him. 

 He felt better now that he had taken a detour. In balance, almost. He closed his eyes and let his thoughts swim in and out freely. He didn't know why everyone was so upset. He wasn't stupid. He wasn't going to try and overdose again this soon. Just needed something to get him along, to stop the tension between his skull and his brain.  

 He could still hear John and Mycroft bickering over him, (Felt funny, people talking about him while he was so close. He could answer all their questions.) but it felt like he was behind a wall. Wasn't sure what side each of them were on.  

 "What do you have to say for yourself?" 

 Sherlock just barely opened his eyes, but closed the the moment he saw Mycroft. 

 "I would rather like an ice lolly. Do you think I could get one?" 

 "You're insufferable." 

 "For wanting an ice lolly? I think that's a bit unfair, what do you think, John?" 

 "Wh-" John stuttered. 

 "Stop it." Mycroft pinched the bridge of his nose, "If you're not going to take this seriously what's the point of keeping you here?" 

 "Dunno. Wasn't the one who put myself here." 

 Mycroft glared at him, "You have to at least try, Sherlock." 

 "Actually, shockingly, I don't." Sherlock titled his head, an innocent smiling playing on his lips, "Thought you would realize that by now." 

 "So...What? I should just let you destroy yourself? Stand back?" 

 "You seem to do a decent job at distancing yourself anyway. Having guards on me, cameras on me, but never getting your hands dirty. Wouldn't it be easier if you gave up altogether?" 

 "Do you think any of this is easy?" Mycroft's voice was rising now, "Do you think this a walk in the park, Sherlock? Do you think I like any of this?" 

 Sherlock hated how he said his name. He wanted to burn his tongue so he would never say it again. 

 "I know you don't, which is why you put a guard dog on me," He gestured to John who crossed his arms (very intimidating) "Which is why you act like this. You want to care, but you don't care about me." 

 "Right, because I would go through all this trouble and not care." 

 "Oh, Please. John's gone through more trouble than you." 

 "I'm not doing this. I'm not dealing with you like this." He moved to walk out the room.  

 "You can't deal with me any time. Just leave me alone, Mycroft." Sherlock called after him. 

 John was still in the corner, his eyes flicking between the door and Sherlock. 

 "You can leave. Mycroft leaving means his protection goes right along with him. God, he has the morality of a greek god." 

 "I assume that's not a good thing?" John asked. 

 "Leaving? I guess it depends what you want to do-" 

 "No, no." John chuckled, "The... Greek god thing." 

 "Oh. No. Well, maybe. Depends what you're comparing." 

 John looked at him for a long moment, almost trying to figure him out. 

 "I don't want to leave." He said finally. 

 "No?" 

 "No. You're a dick, and a liar, and an addict-" 

 "Lovely, really." 

 John smirked, "But I don't think I mind." 

Chapter Text

John was- something else. John was everything Sherlock thought didn't actually exist in a person. He bought Sherlock clothes when he saw his was worn, he lent him his coat when it was cold outside, he laughed when Sherlock got snow in his hair. He was... Not Sherlock's. 

 Because, of all notable things, John was taken. 

 Mary Morstan. 

 He had moved in with them after leaving the hospital. Not his first choice, (John wouldn't listen to his first choice) and he definitely wasn't comfortable with it. 

  

It wasn't that Sherlock wanted John, (or that he needed him) but it was nice to know... What? That John wasn’t someone else’s? John was his? Because he wasn't. They'd known each other for maybe a few days, and in that Sherlock had gotten him in trouble, tricked him, gotten high on his watch, and made him stay the night at a cheap hotel. He wasn’t even sure why John kept putting up with him. 

 He definitely wasn’t his. Never would be his. Sherlock didn’t even want him to be his. That’s not how these things worked out.  

 Sherlock didn’t want to live with them. Maybe he could convince John to live somewhere else with him. Maybe he could convince Mary to leave. Every day he was here he could feel the pit in his stomach growing. 

 Mary wasn't particularly rude, just... Annoying. She undermined everything and John went along with it even when he knew was she was doing. She made jokes that were more sharp than funny, poked at things that would give her information in the long run. She made Sherlock squirm. 

 It was everything about her, down to the core of her being that made Sherlock want to leave. Sherlock didn't know why John was with her. He could do much better. (Sherlock was better.) 

 And trying to avoid John, pretend like he was a random person John found on the side of the street, was exhausting. Even if they weren't best friends, even if they weren't... Whatever they could be, it still hurt. 

 Besides, what was a few days? They would both recover. John would forget. 

 

 Mary had called him to dinner, and he could already feel a tension throughout the meal. Sherlock waited until Mary had gotten up to leave before saying anything. 

  He was used to this bit. The part where he lied his ass off to get out of a situation he wanted to be in. He was used to isolating himself, telling himself it would be better if he left, because most of the time it was. 

 He started with a sigh, “I’m not a charity case, you know.” 

“Never said you were.” John said, "Is that what you're brooding about?" 

 Sherlock winced. His words were too hard. Usually Sherlock would be fine with it, maybe even ive John a smile, but right now... God, right now it was too much. 

“No- I'm... You act like it. Like I'm a rescue dog.” He said. 

 “I’m taking you in because you have nowhere else to go.” 

 “Well, that's Incorrect.” 

“Oh? Where would you go, Sherlock?” 

"I know people." 

 "Yeah, junkies." 

 "Huh, almost like I would run in the same circles as them." 

 John ran a hand through his hair, (short, choppy, recently cut) "We talked about this." 

 "And I said I would give it a try. I did." 

 John huffed. Sherlock wondered how hard he would try to hold on. 

 "Fine. I'll give you my number, yeah? Call me if you end up in a ditch somewhere." 

 Apparently not that hard. 

 He nodded, fishing his phone out of his pocket and handing it over to John. 

 "Alright." He handed it back, hands slow, eyebrows pulled together, "Don't do anything stupid. Call me if you need anything, anywhere, anytime." 

 Sherlock raised an eyebrow, "What if I want an ice lolly?" 

 "Call me. Okay?" 

 Sherlock stared at him for a long moment. What was his motive? What did he want from him? 

 "Even if it's for something as simple as that?" 

 "Yes, okay? Say okay." 

 "How do you know I won't abuse this?" 

 "I don't. Say okay." 

 "Okay. Okay, I'll call. Or text." 

 "Or text. Alright." 

 "Okay." 

 They both stood across each other for a silent moment.  

 "I would rather have you here." John said, his eyes on the floor. 

 A sudden heaviness dropped into Sherlock's heart, "I know." 

 "I liked it. You here." 

 "I know." 

 John bit his lip, "You can always change your mind." 

 Sherlock took a breath, "I know." 

 "Right." His eyes darted across the carpet, "Let me know when you find a place, yeah?" 

 Sherlock nodded, "Yeah." 

 John lifted his head, making eye contact with Sherlock, "Be safe." 

 Sherlock nodded again, keeping his lips sealed. 

 

 It shouldn't have been this hard. This goodbye, because it was a goodbye. Sherlock knew that. 

 

 He packed his things and left the next morning, before anyone was awake. He called Finn, knowing she always had a spare bed, and rode there in a cab.  

 He couldn't stop thinking about John all the way there. 

 These things never worked out. 

Chapter Text

Sherlock spun his phone in the hand absentmindedly. Finn was across him, tourniquet wrapped around her arm.  

 "If you really wanna talk to him that bad, call him." She said before tightening said tourniquet with her teeth. 

 "Think I should wait." 

 "Why?" She asked, voice muffled slightly. 

 Sherlock bit his lip, "...Don't wanna sound that eager." 

 She rolled her eyes, "Listen," She brandished a needle, the tourniquet still stuck tight, "Either you call him and have all the nice gay moments your heart can hold, or you wait, keep getting high in this damn building, and lose your happily ever after." 

 Sherlock scoffed, setting down his phone, "I don't get a happily ever after. None of us do." He leaned forward, both of them on a cement floor of the worn warehouse building, and tugged on the inner tube wrapped around her arm. 

 "Bad form. You should be better at this by now." He said. 

 "Don't give me a lecture Mr. Damsel-in-Distress." She stuck out her tongue, but it turned into a smile. 

 It wasn't shocking, getting high in front of each other. Sherlock lost track of how long they knew each other, but pretty much nothing was shocking at this point. Mycroft said she was an enabler. Sherlock said she was the only one who didn't care that he was broken. 

 "That doesn't even make sense. Sure you're not already high?" 

 "Piss off." She laughed, "And, for your information, they made me stay clean for three days." 

 "And you're hopping back on with me? How lucky am I?" Sherlock grinned, and Finn grinned back. He was glad they were able to joke about shit like this, he didn't how else he would be able to handle it. He knew Finn didn't like be forcefully detoxed and always found a way out of it, but she never lost her sense of humor about the whole thing. 

 "Whatever. You're lucky 'cause you don't get locked up." 

 Sherlock shrugged, "Not lucky, just smart." 

 "Okay, Brains. Go on." 

 She stuck her arm out and Sherlock grabbed the syringe. 

 Maybe it was the ritual that was the most intriguing. Getting everything ready, getting in place, and shooting. Sherlock always found rituals relaxing. Made him felt balanced, more in control. The actual high was a bonus, that perfect level, and trying to get it over and over, that was really what kept him coming back.  

 "What was it even like? Living with him?" 

 Sherlock grinned, staring down at her arm and taking it into his hand, "Would've been better if it was just him." 

 "Right. He had a bird, didn't he?" 

 "Yeah, girlfriend. Gonna test this." He said, referencing this needle. 

 "Not on yourself." 

 "Greedy." 

 "Smart. Hurry up." 

 He found a vein and pushed out just a little, gauging the effects. Finn's head immediately tilted back, and he took out the needle. 

 "Too much." 

 "Just right." She breathed out. 

 "You have to check this shit. Christ." 

 She shrugged and moved against the wall. 

 Sherlock sighed. This is why he needed to be here. She was too careless. If she had done this by herself she would've injected the whole thing. 

 It was a common thing, someone getting the wrong purity and accidently shooting up with something 20% more pure than what you're used to, and winding up fucked up beyond repair. Finn sometimes teased him about how careful he was about what he got his hands on, but if the whole thing was about control, why wouldn't he be? 

 He took the tourniquet and wrapped it around his own arm. This was it, the ritual. Getting whoever was with him blasted, then focusing on himself. It had worked out for years, especially with Finn once they got more comfortable around each other.  

 If he had to describe their dynamic, Sherlock would say she was like a little sister, but that really wasn't it. Sherlock would never do this with a younger sister, to a younger sister. He trusted Finn more than he would a sibling, and that would probably be both their downfalls. 

 But all of those thoughts went away when he pushed the syringe down. Nothing even touched the cozy feeling wrapping around him. 

 

Pure fucking bliss. 

 

-- 

 

"Sherlock. Sherlock, come on. God, tell me you're alright. Sherlock?" 

 Sherlock grumbled, lifting his head weakly. He caught a glimpse of a pale sweater and blonde hair and had to keep himself from laughing. 

 Again. 

 John was finding him again. 

 God, he wished everyone would leave him alone. 

 John was in front of him, grabbing the sides of his face and looking for life. Sherlock wondered if he had any left.  

 "Say something. Please?" 

 "Piss... Off." Sherlock whispered, and John pulled him into a hug.  

Sherlock was pretty sure he was sweating. His hair was sticking to his forehead and his arms felt weirdly damp in contact with John's jumper. Probably wasn't the best person to hug. 

 "I swear to god, Sherlock. You're not leaving." 

 "Again." 

 John pulled back, "You're coming with me." 

"Alright, mum." 

 John's eyebrows hooded his eyes, "Not the time." 

 Sherlock rolled his eyes and let his head drop back down. Too much energy trying to stay focused. 

 "Sherlock. C'mon. Get up." 

Sherlock shook his head lightly, turning to the side. Finn was nodding out at the same time, her head dipping and rising, trying to get a look at John but was mostly unsuccessful. John himself was already getting frustrated. 

 Good. Hopefully he'd leave. 

 "Do I have to carry you back?" 

 "Don't... Wanna go back." Sherlock squinted up at John. He hadn't seen him move, but he was now standing in front of Sherlock rather than crouching next to him. 

 "Well, I'm not leaving you here." 

 "Go away."  

 He wasn't going anywhere. John just wanted to feel good about himself. He would leave soon enough. 

 John sighed and lowered himself to the floor, on the other side of Sherlock. Sherlock scooted closer to Finn. 

 "Alright. If you wanna stay here, that's what we'll do." 

 "Christ. Leave." 

 John shook his head. 

 Sherlock frowned, but stayed quiet, eventually moving a bit closer, almost testing the waters, and leaned his head onto John's shoulder. John wrapped an arm around him and pulled him a bit closer. 

 "I really did want you to call me." John said softly. 

 "It hasn't been that long." Sherlock replied, his voice quiet and eyes closed. 

 "It's been four days. I assumed you didn't want anything to do with me." 

 "I don't, and no it hasn't." 

 "Well, I'm not leaving anyway, and yes, it has. I think my track of time is better than yours at the moment." 

 Sherlock wanted to argue, but he just pushed his face into John's neck, letting himself fall back into whatever state he was in before John woke him up. 

Chapter Text

Sherlock hated being at yet another hotel. It was a little better with John behind him from the start, but he still had that pit in his stomach. He wanted to tell it to go fuck itself.
John hadn't asked too many questions about why Sherlock didn't want to go back to his house. He just called Mycroft and convinced him to give them enough money for a few nights. It helped that John was naturally charming and had a harmless aura about him. Besides, John wasn't the one Mycroft was frustrated with.
Though, to be fair, Mycroft might not be frustrated with him anymore. Apparently Sherlock couldn't keep track of anything anyway.
John seemed a bit lost, wandering about by the door, while Sherlock had moved under the covers and pulled them above his head. He didn't know what time it was, but he did know that every bone in his body was calling for sleep.
"I should... Probably get another room, then."
Sherlock pulled the blankets back, dark curls poking over off-white sheets, "Why?"
"Well, there's only- the man at the front de- It would just-"
"I won't bite. Besides, it's easier to stay here." Sherlock looked at him for a moment, "I could always sleep on the floor-"
John shook his head, waving his hands, "No, no. It's fine. You sure you're alright with-"
"Yes. I don't mind."
John still stood in place, his eyes stuck on Sherlock.
“Come here.” Sherlock said, pulling the covers back.
John took a step forward, his gaze dropping and rising as he looked and analyzed. Sherlock wondered if that’s what he looked like while he deduced.
“Might want to take off your shoes.”
John nodded. Maybe he thought this meant more than it did. Maybe Sherlock didn’t think it meant enough. They could’ve been both overthinking it.
John tugged off his shoes and put them neatly by the bed, carefully taking his coat off as well. Sherlock took his hand, the meaning of the contact slipping his mind, as he pulled John closer and into the bed.
Orange sunlight was slipping through the window, breaking the muted colors of the hotel room. John didn’t object, moving easily under the covers and towards Sherlock.
They were like planets how they gravitated towards each other, not able to leave the other’s gentle orbit. It felt like nothing. It felt so fucking natural that nothing else. Time, place, relationships. None of it was important.
Sherlock’s face was centimeters away from John’s, their breaths mingling and making stars in the negative space. It was only a matter of time until they crashed together, so why couldn’t it be now?
John blinked and pulled them both back to reality, “You should sleep.”
“I’m not one known for listening to others.”
“Don’t think I’m others anymore.”
The end of Sherlock’s mouth curled, and he wondered if John would have that same cockiness if he was pinned under Sherlock.
“Go to sleep. I’ll still be here in the morning.”
Sherlock knew he would, but it wouldn’t be the same. He wouldn’t be like this.
He could reach out and take it anyway, take everything he wanted anyway. John would probably leave if he did.
Sherlock sighed, “You have to sleep too.”
“Will do.”
“And make me coffee.”
“In the morning.”
Sherlock pushes his face into John’s chest. He’d done this before, felt this before. Finn was right, if he didn’t move now he wouldn’t ever get anywhere.
He looked up and John’s eyes held too much to stay away from. He pushed forward and…
How do you describe everything you’ve every been waiting for? How do you put into words the perfect moment?
It was soft, slow, like every other kiss Sherlock has shared, and oh, so fucking different. It was the kiss of a lifetime, drenched in time and want. It was utterly perfect.
Sherlock swore his chest almost opened and wrapped around John in an attempt to pull him closer. His heart almost traveled from his ribcage to John’s just to get out.
He had to pull away to keep from combusting.
John’s eyes were closed long after it ended, his mouth partly open. It took everything not to kiss him again.
“You—“
“I know.”
“Sherlock—”
“I know.”
“You can’t just—“
Sherlock bit his lip.
“Jesus H. Christ, Sherlock.” John sighed, letting his fingers slide into Sherlock’s hair and pulling him back in.
Sherlock pressed his fingers to his own lips with feather-light touches.
“That one felt different.”
“Bad different?”
“No, no,” Sherlock said quickly, “It felt like… more.”
John hummed, “Good?”
Sherlock nodded and turned his hand to press his fingers to John’s lips, a kiss in and of itself.
John grinned.
Sherlock didn’t want to forget this, this moment of perfect joy, this moment where both of them were untouchable.
He moved closer and kissed John’s forehead, “Don’t let me forget this.”

Chapter Text

Sherlock didn’t sleep. He didn’t want to lose this, and he knew if he let himself fall asleep he would’ve. He wanted the day to be longer, time to stretch this moment into an eternity so he could sit here, live here, and never have to be anywhere else.

He stayed up and watched how the sun rose on John’s face, revealing the palest of freckles across the tip of his nose.

Sherlock wanted to lean forward and kiss them, but he didn’t know if that was something he could do.
Could he kiss him freely now that they had kissed once? Or did you have to kiss a certain amount of times before that happened? Would they kiss again? Would John even want to look at Sherlock anymore?

He had thought just falling asleep together was a mess, but this was so much larger. This could ruin both of them.

He watched as John’s eyes fluttered open and landed on his face. He watched as John’s lips slowly curved into a smile, skin tinted the color of the sun. He reached out a hand and ran his finger down John’s cheek, skin brushing skin, rose-dawn hugging them both close.

John was as good as the sun, in Sherlock’s opinion. Just as bright, just as warm. He could hide with John in these cold months and be just fine. He wanted that. Those soft domestic moments where this was all routine. Maybe not even with John, but… Sherlock wouldn’t mind.

It was odd, thinking that. Thinking about what he wanted, when he wanted it, and it being something other than his next hit. He wondered if John was the reason for that. He wondered if that should be obvious.

John blinked, eyelashes brushing his cheek, and his hand found a place on Sherlock’s hip. It was a nice pressure, a perfect fit.

“Do you need to be anywhere?”Sherlock asked, his voice low.

John cleared his throat, “I don’t know.”

“Can we stay here? Just for today.”

“Hm. That’s not a bad idea.”

“Is that a yes?”

“It’s a maybe.”

Sherlock hummed and moved a bit closer, not yet kissing him, “Please?”

John chuckled, “That’s not fair.”

Sherlock bit his lip before he could laugh in return, “It’s just that I don’t have anything to do anyway. I doubt you’d let me go back with Finn, and I would rather not go to your house.”

“Why not? What’s wrong with my house?”

Sherlock let out a deep sigh, “I don’t…. It’s- I don’t really like it there.”

“Why not?” John asked his fingers finding a delicate path through Sherlock’s hair.

“Don’t wanna say.”

“Is it something I can help with?”

Not unless you’re willing to leave your girlfriend for a strung out mess like me.

“Not really.”

John’s eyes went soft, rivaled only by his fingertips that were still through Sherlock’s hair. Sherlock knew this probably wasn’t special for John, probably something he had done before with other people, stared at them like they were the only thing he needed.

Hell, he had a girlfriend to do that with.

He had a girlfriend.

Sherlock suddenly wanted to eject himself into the sun.

He pulled away from John, swinging his feet over the side of the bed. This wouldn’t be okay, this was something that would never be okay.

Sherlock wasn’t this fucking person. He was shit, sure; he was an asshole, definitely, but he didn’t go around and kiss people who were taken. He didn’t do this. He shouldn’t have done this.
John was immediately behind him, asking questions, trying to figure out what was wrong, but Sherlock was busy in his own head.

Everything was hitting him so fucking hard, enough so that John’s words were garbled, enough so that he couldn’t focus on anything but the pounding in his chest. He wanted to tell his head to shut up, just for the moment, just long enough to think straight.

He stood but his vision was too bright around the edges. He had done this all before, except not he was the bad guy. Now he was the shitty one.

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

He tried stepping towards the door, but he couldn’t get the steps right. He turned and John was already next to him, holding out his arms. Why couldn’t he see how fucked up this was, how hurtful this was. How was he okay with this? How was he okay with being here even after all this?

Sherlock wasn’t worth it.

He had fallen against the side of the bed, John crouched over him, his hands back his his hair. Sherlock wanted to shake him off.

“Are you alright? What’s wrong?” John asked, finally coming into focus.

“I’m not- Fuck, I’m not-“ Sherlock breathed, his eyes on the floor.

John took Sherlock by the chin, not pushing his head up. Sherlock felt a bit more grounded having John’s hand there.

He took a breath, “I’m not worth it.” He said finally, “I’m really not.”

“Maybe I should decide that myself?” John asked. Was it even a question, really? John didn’t seem to work in questions.

Sherlock shook his head, “You’ll realize it at some point and blame me for not telling you.”

“Sherlock-“

He shook his head again, “That’s what happens. That’s how it works out. You’ll end up hating me anyway, why not do it now?”
John didn’t try to respond. His hand slid off Sherlock’s chin and pulled him into a half hug, their knees knocking together and elbows digging into the others’ ribs. It was somehow still comforting. It was somehow still something Sherlock wanted to keep locked away.

“If anyone is worth it, it’s you.” John said quietly, not quite into Sherlock’s ear, but an attempt was made, “…Is it Mary?”

Sherlock shifted, but didn’t respond. John took the opportunity to push closer, his mouth now against Sherlock’s neck.

“I would leave her. If you wanted this.”
“That’s not fair.”

“I would probably break up with her anyway,” John said, “I don’t think we work.”

“She makes dinner, and kisses you on the cheek, and does everything I don’t know how to.”
“She’s not you.”

“She’s normal.”

“Exactly.”

Sherlock pulled away, his eyes grazing against the landscape of John’s face.

“She wants to marry you.” He said softly, like maybe if John didn’t hear it it wouldn’t be true.

John barely even reacted. He blinked and tilted his head slightly, “She doesn’t.”

“She does. I can see it.”

“Like how you saw me? When we met?”

Sherlock nodded.

“Well…” His gaze dropped, “That doesn’t really change things does it?”

Sherlock sighed. How could John not see it?

“It does,” He said, “She wants to marry you John.”

“But I don’t.”

“But you can’t leave her. Not for me.”

John huffed. Both of them were getting irritated now, “Why not? Why can’t I? Since you know everything.”

Sherlock winced, but kept going,

“Because You’re not supposed to have me. You’re supposed to have a normal life, norm-“

“Fuck normal. Don’t want it.”

“You will. And that’s when you’ll regret being around me.”

“You don’t know that!” John snapped, his eyes forceful against Sherlock’s, effectively holding him in place.

“But it’s better to be safe.”

“Not if it means missing out in this.” John said, his voice going soft.

“What is this?” Sherlock snapped back, “One kiss and you think we’re fucking soulmates?”

“I think it’s worth it to find out.”

“So, I’m an experiment?”

“No. You’re potentially the best thing I’ve ever gone after.” John said, that sly smirk emerging again.

“...I still haven’t said yes to whatever this is.”

“What if I broke up with her?” John asked.

“I would feel shit.”

“I was gonna do it anyway.”

“No, you weren’t.”

“Was too.” John said.

Sherlock sat in silence for a moment, “…You won’t be doing it for me?”

“I would do it anyway.” John answered.

Sherlock gave a small, slightly ambiguous nod, and John’s face lit up like a Christmas tree.