He woke up and his life was back to the way it used to be. Back to normality, to schooling, to a world without wonder, without shine.
He was a bright boy, smarter than anyone in his class, maybe even his entire grade, but they always thought of him as odd. Wrong, they said. Disturbed, they uttered.
They knew, just by looking at him, that he was different, that he had seen something wonderful and they didn't.
Sherlock made no secret about what he had experienced. He drew pictures of Wonderland, babbled about it to his brother and parents. They listened patiently, Mycroft more moreso than anyone else, but never believed him. He knew they didn't, he could see it in their eyes.
Even at a young age, he knew how to read people, knew what they were thinking.
And they thought him mad, they were worried about his fantasies, about his dreams. They couldn't understand his obsession, why he wanted to go back so much.
They didn't understand him.
Because Wonderland became a part of him after he went, it weaved it's way into his being and wrapped around his heart. He was a part of that world, that strange, brilliant world, and not of this one.
This one was mundane, was ordinary.
They made him see people, therapists and counselors. Most of them said some trauma was to blame and he didn't blame them. He knew that's what they were trained to say, what they were trained to believe.
No one in this world believed in Wonderland, no one knew how to get there.
But he grew up hoping, praying, that there would be a way back.
He investigated, first for ways back, then because it was something to do. Everything bored him back 'home'. Nothing could stimulate him the way being in Wonderland did. It was all dull colors and stupid people.. No one made him think, no one but Mycroft and even then, it wasn't the same. He was an ordinary challenge and Sherlock craved more than the ordinary.
He grew older, 'grew up' as they say but he never stopped looking. He found drugs, found the experience of being high and it was close, so close to what he had but not quite there. His fingers grazed the experience of being back in Wonderland but it was never quite right. The colors were off, it wasn't the right kind of nonsense.
But it was the closest thing he had.
So he solved puzzles and got high and pretended that what he was living was a life.
But things fall apart, fall away, break down and leave him. Things always do, they never stay and he should have known this wouldn't work out but he'd hoped, he had hoped so dearly that maybe this would be something close to happiness.
He was arrested, taken in for possession and it didn't matter to him. Nothing quite mattered anymore. It wasn't fair, it wasn't right. They took away the thing that made it better, that made the ache in his chest go away. He wanted to curse, to scream and howl until he called up that Cat, until he saw that grin peering through the walls.
But it didn't work.
Lestrade knew he was brilliant, knew that he could be useful and made him a deal. Take away the drug charges if he solved a case.
It wasn't good, it wasn't even close to good but it was something and he needed something to do, somthing to stimulate him.
So he solved cases instead of puzzles. He worked for the police and smoked, then turned to nicotine patches hwen smoking became too hard.
he carved out a life for himself. Not a good one, not the one he wanted but a life.
And yet he still missed it, still dreamed about it. The memories never faded from his mind, he never lost any of it. They were sharp as knives, sharp as tacks, sharp as needles.
And his body would yearn for it, for Wonderland, for drugs, for anything. Anything at all that was not where he was, for anything but the life he was leading. Because this was not where he was meant to be.
Who he was meant to be.
And one day he can't take it anymore, can't stand solving another mundane case, can't stand the shoddy little flat he's living in. He's done, he's done with all of it.
So he puts a call out, uses the internet to place an ad and see what happens.
What's the harm? What can it hurt?
It's better than doing nothing, than slogging through the existence he's carved out for himself. It has to be better, it has to.
He got a response in a few days.
It leaves his hands shaking, his mind racing. It can't possibly be true. He was starting to doubt, starting to believe that it was just a dream, just a lie he created to entertain himself. After all, he got so bored, so very bored all the time.
But the man who waits for him, the man in the suit with a manic grin and the yellow eyes? Almost reminds him of where he used to be, of home, of Wonderland.
He walked up to him and the other man only grins more, extending a hand.
"Sherlock," he practically purrs. Sherlock wasn't surprised at all.
"Hello," he replies, taking his hand and shaking it. "You have information I want." he's trying to be blunt but it's hard not to plead, to beg for him to take them back. He wants to go back so, so badly.
"I remember you," the man said, studying. "So curious...."
"Curiouser and curiouser." Sherlock countered, saying it like a mantra.
"You asked a question," he started. "Do you want the answer? Do you really? Because once you get it? You're not going back."
Sherlock remained quiet, his eyes stuck on that grin, stuck on how it reminds him of where he wants to be. It's almost hard to concentrate with hims smiling like that but he can't ask him to stop.
"Why is a raven like a writing desk," he asked, his voice slow and confident.
"Why my dear Sherlock," Jim Moriarty says. "It's nothing like a writing desk at all."