Chapter 1: Hornets! Hornets!
The Boy’s eyes are wide, face young, excitement and danger showing at the same time. Sherlock is sure he doesn’t look as young or eager, though he is in fact, both. The Boy leans closer to Sherlock, a little too close for some’s comfort, and they’re close enough that it strikes Sherlock as slightly odd that he has no idea what the Boy’s name is, but that thought is quickly dismissed. The Boy doesn’t know Sherlock’s name either and it won’t matter in a few minutes anyway.
“I won’t be much for conversation if we do this rest of this,” the Boy says, eyes darting to the table.
It’s more an admission of hesitance than anything else. Sherlock tries not to sigh but he’s not one for conservation. And besides, they hadn’t been doing much talking.
Sherlock nods to the Boy, indicating his turn.
Sharing isn’t really Sherlock’s style, but this’ll do for now. He watches the Boy, his face in three-quarters profile as he bends over the table. Sherlock shivers in coldness or anticipation. Maybe neither. Possibly both.
By the time Sherlock’s finished his share the world is brighter, louder, warmer. The Boy is shimmering at the edges, moving closer, and Sherlock must be shining bright. He wishes he was alone.
But if he’s alone... if he’s alone...
“I like these awkward silences,” Sherlock says to no one.
He’s not sure where he is or when he left the Boy’s room. He’s somewhere cold and he’s coming down hard. His lips are bruised and swollen, and he smiles as he imagines state the Boy must be in.
He leans back and takes his own pulse in time with the footsteps that get closer and closer. Sherlock doesn’t have to even look up to know that his brother is standing over him. He’s beyond the point of surprise.
“I should remind you, Sherlock, that you did say – dramatic as usual – to ‘always remember never to trust me,’” Mycroft says lazily, tapping his umbrella against his shoe. “And, as loathe as I am to admit this, you were right. I can’t trust you.”
Sherlock’s jacket is buttoned wrong, his shirt tails are lopsided – one side still tucked into his trousers, the other out – and his tie so loose that he may as well not even be wearing it. For a moment Mycroft is almost more offended at the state of his brother’s suit.
“I’m always right.”
“Get up. I’m taking you back to your room.”
Sherlock allows himself to be helped up and ushered towards the black car waiting for him. When they arrive at Sidney Sussex, the car idles for a moment before Sherlock moves to get out.
“I don’t want this to keep happening, Sherlock,” Mycroft warns.
Sherlock pauses with his hand on the door handle. “There will always come a time when I will go with whoever will get me the highest.”
And then Sherlock is gone, the door slamming shut, and Mycroft can do nothing.
Chapter 2: Cattle and the Creeping Things
Mycroft is uncomfortable, but you really wouldn’t know it by looking at him. The only indication of his discomfort is the slightly tighter grip on his tea cup, the minute tilt of his head. He has trained himself to see people at their lowest point, to watch people (or careers or economies or governments) fall.
Mycroft is not prepared for this.
Sherlock is pacing – no, he’s prowling like a panther – back and forth across the expensive, ancient, and nearly threadbare rug in Mycroft’s study. He’s talking and it’s almost lyrical the way the words are flowing from him. He’s gesticulating, motioning with his hands and arms, proving his points.
Sherlock is high as hell.
Mycroft has only ever seen Sherlock crash. Only ever seen the aftermath of his habit. Picked up the pieces for Sherlock; saved Sherlock from himself. He’s never seen Sherlock riding high. Never seen him explode with the drug coursing through him, sending his mind and body into an overdrive.
Mycroft suspects that it’s a bit like staring at the sun.
Sherlock can focus his thoughts on one thing and it’s clearer, sharper, and more precise than ever. He can speak rivers of thoughts and mouth galaxies of words. He can build a ladder to the stars and tear it down again with a simple phrase. He’s enthralling and alarming because of what he’s chosen to to fixate on.
Sherlock says, “Doesn’t it all end up in some revelation with four men on horses and violent red visions?”
Mycroft sets down his tea cup and pushes himself out of his chair. Sherlock is pulling on his shirt cuffs, throwing out his arms. His whole body seems to vibrate and those waves roll off him and around him and feed back into him causing the cycle to continue. Mycroft can feel the energy, feel the power, but he can also see the emptiness behind his brother’s eyes.
Mycroft grabs Sherlock by his biceps, holds him still.
Sherlock’s eyes narrow as he stares at his brother. He can feel the soft parts around the edges of himself curling up and pulling inwards, away from Mycroft’s touch. He wants to violently shove his arms away, lash out at his brother; he wants to bring back the bright focus that he had.
Sherlock says, “I could be Famine. Maybe Pestilence. But are you War or Death?”
Mycroft’s business side will not dignify that question with an answer, but the part of himself that is too much like his brother grabs on and starts to wonder himself. He forces it to the back of his mind and tells Sherlock he can’t be Famine or Pestilence. He tells him again (always again) that he worries about him.
Mycroft refuses to give up hope for his brother.
Sherlock laughs and Mycroft gets the distinct impression that Sherlock has answered his own question, assigned Mycroft as a Horsemen in his head - War or Death?
Sherlock only says, “I'm pretty sure we’ve been through this before.”
Chapter 3: Your Little Hoodrat Friend
There are parts of London that Detective Inspector Lestrade does not like to go after dark.
Please don’t get the wrong idea. It’s not the alleyways or shanty towns or the abandoned buildings that Lestrade fears. He’s a strong man and he knows crime inasmuch as he knows what to expect at the scene of a domestic, a robbery, a murder. He is a Detective Inspector after all.
No, it’s the up in the parks and down at the banks of the river that Lestrade avoids at night.
When he was a young, fresh Constable he’d been shocked the first time he was called to the parks at night. He’d felt ill the first time he ended up down on the banks of the river after dark. Even after he moved into the CID, he’d never been able to get used to the idea of someone committing crimes against themselves.
Because that’s what it is, isn’t it? These “kids” (not that much younger than himself) in groups: inhaling, ingesting, injecting. And they’re not homeless, they’re something he doesn’t have the word for. Some nights there were just so many of them.
Lestrade used to get sick, now he just gets sad.
Now he doesn’t have to go to those places unless it’s absolutely necessary. But he does have to deal with those that get pulled from the park and brought to the Yard.
And somehow that’s worse.
The creature in the holding cell looks more like a feral cat than a man who, according to his ID, is in his late 20s. His hair is everywhere, eyes wild, hands clenching at the metal bench, legs folded underneath him. Except for roaming eyes, he appears perfectly still; Lestrade’s experience lets him see the slight tremors.
“Well,” Lestrade says, making himself comfortable. He drops a small bag on the table. “They found this in your sock.”
“Obvious. Did you get the short one in plaid?”
Lestrade is dumbfounded.
“Clearly, you didn’t.”
Lestrade clears his throat. “Mr. Holmes, you came stumbling out of the park, high and bleeding...”
“Yes, we’ve established that was from the man in plaid. Glad you’re keeping up.”
Lestrade gives Sherlock a long searching look.
“Problem?” Sherlock asks, bored.
“You do realize you are being questioned for possession?”
“Of course, I’m not an idiot.”
Lestrade can’t tell if its the drugs or if this how he always talks.
“Look,” Sherlock sighs. “You found a minimal amount of cocaine on me. It’s plainly not enough to sell. But now you have it and can’t charge me on all that much, so if we could wrap this up...”
“All in good time, Mr. Holmes.” Lestrade says, leaving the cell.
“Fine,” Sherlock stretches out on the bench, resigned. “But if anyone asks after me, tell them you let me go.”
The next morning Lestrade finds that Holmes has been bailed out and that he had tried to fight it, had tried to stay.
He’s insane, Lestrade decides, then goes to find coffee.
Chapter 4: Banging Camp
It’s a double murder that brings Lestrade back to the park for the first time in years. It’s nearly dawn and his coffee has long since gone cold. He’s tired, angry, and mostly empty.
Lestrade is surprised when he sees the man staggering towards him. Based on their first encounter, he’s certain he’s not in the mood.
“You realize that ‘Great White Shark’ is code for the cars.” It wasn’t a question.
Lestrade looks at Sherlock. He’s shivering, high, hasn’t slept in days. But his eyes are set.
“Holmes, right? I don’t want to bring you in again. You need to leave.”
“You’re on the wrong track,” Sherlock insists. “They shouldn’t have been here. It’s the cars. It’s all about the cars.”
“Right, well.” Lestrade lifts up the crime scene tape, ushering Sherlock under it. “We’ll get someone on that...”
Lestrade shakes his head. He knows that he shouldn’t listen, but...
He pulls one of his Sergeants over and asks him to check the victim’s car.
Lestrade moves into the building – the Party Pit, they call it. Even in plainclothes it’s plain he doesn’t belong.
Sherlock is half naked, half wasted; completely alone in this room full of people.
Everyone is edgy and hugging the walls, the bottles, cans, powders and pills all forgotten. Everyone is busy not looking at the body on the other side of the room.
“Obvious.” Sherlock turns to meet Lestrade.
“Look Holmes. You can’t keep –”
“‘Killer whales.‘ Sherlock uses wild uncontrolled air quotes. “They ‘whaled’ on him until they killed him.”
“It’s not drugs or money. It’s boring love.” Sherlock pauses. “Of course, someone did a good job trying to make it look like a deal gone bad.”
Before Lestrade can question his pronouncement, Sherlock winks and swoops out the door.
Lestrade seeks Sherlock out, down on the banks of the river, and he’s glad the camps there seem to lay low in the light. Sherlock is leaning against a cross made of pipes and planks, face raised towards the sky, almost relaxed.
“I would have noticed,” Sherlock says as Lestrade approaches, “if there had been a crime.”
“It wasn’t here.”
Lestrade offers Sherlock a cigarette. Sherlock’s eyebrows raise but he takes the cigarette and Lestrade leans next to him. They’re silent for a moment, smoking.
“Look, Holmes. It’s clear to me that you’ve not been involved in those other cases but people are concerned. I think you can be resource instead of a suspect.”
“But it can’t be like this. You can’t be using.”
“Boring.” Sherlock exhales through smoke. “If I wanted an Intervention, I wouldn’t be avoiding my brother.”
Lestrade wants to be shocked, but he’s mostly disappointed.
“Shame, that. You down here wasting your talent.” Lestrade moves to leave.
“I’m here observing. I don’t need the...” Sherlock sighs.
Lestrade doesn’t know if he means the work or the drugs.
“Can I see the body?”
“I’ll think about it.”
Lestrade smiles, lights another cigarette and walks away.
Chapter 5: Charlemagne in Sweatpants
Sherlock is supposed to be at some honours reception, but he’s gotten bored of people telling him how smart he is (obvious), and how much potential he has (irrelevant), and how he must make his family so proud (wrong and depressing). So, instead, he wanders down behind the halls, looking around for something or someone he can take home with him and he isn’t all surprised when he finds Seb lingering around the car park.
Their exchange is nearly a script at this point.
Seb says, “Did you run out people whose intelligence you can insult at that reception of yours? Or are they sick of you already?”
Sherlock counters, “You must still be tired after all that effort you had to put into securing a job at your father’s bank. Do you need his help getting through your graduation next week, too?”
Seb’s comments are filled with venom while Sherlock’s are nearly indifferent, but it’s the same dance they do every time. Because Seb likes Sherlock and Sherlock likes to score.
They both know where this goes.
It’s been raining all afternoon and the street lights create warped spotlights in the otherwise dark room. Sherlock’s eyes are iced over from staring at the water drops on the window and he’s sprawled out on the bed, cigarette burning down in the ashtray on his bedside locker. Seb sits back on his heels at the foot of Sherlock’s bed, staring openly at the naked figure before him.
Sherlock closes his eyes and lets Seb do whatever he wants.
Later, everything will crash as it always does. Sherlock will lash out at Seb’s touch and scream for him to leave the room. Seb, bitter and resentful, will spit out words like “freak” and “queer” and he’ll slam the door in a rage.
Sherlock will relax into the quiet, lean against his bed, and reach for his gear again. He’ll remind himself that he’s not enslaved – It’s more like he’s enthralled. He’ll remember that when he left the reception, he was defeated and depressed but by then he’ll be ripping high.
He’ll feel tall and then he’ll feel small and it’ll be such a sweet fleeting feeling...
Later, Victor will find him when he comes by to borrow a book. Sherlock will be half conscious shivering only in boxers, a cold sweat across his chest. Victor will sigh and put away Sherlock’s kit and turn on the radiator. He’ll help Sherlock into bed and push the hair out of his eyes.
“I don’t need it, but I like it,” Sherlock will say, eyes begging Victor to understand.
“You can’t like this,” Victor will say sadly. “You can’t like what this does to you. What he does to you.”
Sherlock will hate that his resolve will crumble and that he’ll find himself agreeing with Victor and then letting Victor hold him. And eventually, Sherlock won’t be surprised at all to wake up with Victor still fully clothed, petting Sherlock’s head in his lap.
Chapter 6: Stevie Nix
I know it was a Friday, at the beginning of Christmas Holidays, and I want to say it was my 2nd year but the numbers don’t add up so it must have been my 1st because I was living with Victor Trevor and he was often away at his father’s estate in Norfolk during holidays or long weekends, and actually, most everyone at Sydney Sussex who was traveling had already left, so the party wasn’t really as huge as ones that I had seen before, but that’s undoubtedly what convinced me to go in the first place, since I could never be bothered with any of that sort of ritual before.
There was a boy, Seb Wilkes, ex-footballer, rib injury forcing him to quit after just 2 years, a 3rd year economics major that I had one class with, something irrelevant to my studies but a requirement for the university nonetheless, and he had always seemed so dull until that night when something was very different and very intriguing about him, so when he brings me over to his group of friends to hear a long and unfunny joke about a naked blond and a loaf of bread I drink so that I don’t have to pretend to laugh, and of course things change when they ask me to do that thing they’ve heard about, like it’s a trick that I’ve learnt, like it’s for their amusement, and then when I do there’s a cheating girlfriend, a dying father, and a gambling problem, and after that all the laughter is gone and the whispers bite like fangs.
So, Seb follows me back to my room and he takes a kit out of his jacket and I stare at the intricacies of everything, but no part of me is scared of the objects but maybe a little of the man, so I learn the very first time to do it myself and to feel the rush of everything becoming a single pin-point, and there’s music from downstairs, and when I wake up the next morning Seb is still there.
Oh, to be seventeen forever.
Much later, maybe a year, it’s late summer, and no one is indoors but laying on the lawns and leaning against the bricks, and I’m on my way to meet a guy who goes by Knives, but whose real name is Kevin, and he’s been my regular supplier since that party, and he’s insisted on meeting behind the theater presumably so he can talk to his actor crush after we’re done.
But when I get there the area is surrounded by police and I can see the body in the skip, and even though I have no reason to be there I stay and watch, and after I don’t tell a single person about what I saw or what they didn’t see and how it felt, and that now I have two things to chase when things get boring and when I need that high.
Chapter 7: Multitude of Casualties
Victor isn’t really surprised at his current situation. Sherlock seems to be approaching their relationship the same way he approaches everything else: fast and with a multitude of casualties. That being said, Victor isn’t quite sure what their “relationship” really is.
His life used to be simple: wake up late, go to class, study in the library, get some take away, have a pint or two... the usual things a university student does. Victor still tries to stick to his routine, but now that Sherlock has moved into that gray area between ex-flatmate and something else, well, things are more complicated.
At 3:00 am, Sherlock climbs into his window, bored and restless. Victor shakes himself awake, pulling on trousers, shoes, wrapping his long black coat around himself already prepared for whatever Sherlock has planned. It’s not always the middle of the night, but Victor is used to dropping everything for his friend by now.
“Do you still have your car here?” Sherlock asks, pulling one of Victor’s scarfs off the peg and wrapping it around his own neck. “I am actually decaying. Campus life is so dreadfully dull.”
They spend a few hours circling the city like a hawk out on the highway. For long stretches of road Sherlock doesn’t talk at all and then for others he rambles off observations with his head pressed against the cool glass of the passenger side window. Victor just keeps driving, watching his friend out of the corner of his eye.
Eventually, as the night begins to fade away, they pull over, parking off the road and out of sight. Sherlock moves Victor onto his lap in the passenger seat and everything that follows is fast and cramped and aggressive. Sherlock clings to Victor like he’s the only thing real and Victor doesn’t know what to do, so he just holds Sherlock until his friend stops shaking.
Because as long as he’s with Victor, Sherlock is safe. As long as Victor is there next to him, offering everything he can, Sherlock stays clean. And Victor thinks that’s worth his sacrifice.
And then one day, Sherlock never comes to find Victor.
Three days later, Victor finds him high as hell wandering around town. He manages to coax his friend into coming back to his room, where Victor holds Sherlock against himself in bed until Sherlock comes down, sweating and swearing.
“Promise you will come to me instead,” Victor begs.
“Don’t ask me to make promises I can’t keep,” Sherlock says into the pillow.
But Sherlock does come to Victor again and for a while Sherlock seems stable.
Inevitably, when Victor finds Sherlock coming to, wrapped around a needle with Seb wrapped around him, his friend just looks up at him confused.
“It’s ok, Sherlock,” Victor manages. “It’s ok, Sherlock,” he repeats, his voice now deadly serious, “because I’m done with you and your druggy little messed up teenage life.”
Victor walks away and wonders if Sherlock ever even notices that he’s gone.
Chapter 8: Don't Let Me Explode
Mycroft remembers what it was like the first time he really intervened.
He remembers hiding Sherlock at their parents’ country estate with constant monitoring – he couldn’t take Sherlock anywhere else but home: “People will talk,” his mother warned.
He remembers arranging everything with the College Master, making sure that Sherlock could finish his work from home, because he would be damned if after all that Sherlock didn’t end up with a degree.
He remembers shoving Sherlock into a car and sending him away, surprised and screaming, while he, Mycroft, went to personally collect Sherlock’s possessions from his room. He remembers not trusting anyone but himself to find all of his brother’s hiding places.
He remembers running into Sherlock’s friend he had surveillance on for a while, until Sherlock seemed to just stop seeing him. He remembers trying to be polite and say something vague when the friend asked, “What happened to Sherlock?”
He remembers the fights, Sherlock’s outrage and insults. He remembers how cruel they both were, how everything they had been holding back for years spilled out.
But, he mostly remembers how easy it was to lock his brother away, how simple and elegant of a solution it was. Because there are things you force on someone when they are in their early twenties, before they really realize they are adults; before they realize they can make decisions for themselves.
Mycroft does not consider what happened back then to be a failure. Sherlock had emerged from their childhood home clean, if also resentful. The sobriety lasted for over two years, less than desired, but more than expected; the resentment, well, that showed no sign of dissipating.
Now, Mycroft can’t just sweep in and fix everything. Sherlock is a grown man. He’d gotten himself clean over three years ago and he’d been working, using his strengths.
Mycroft had been so proud of his younger brother.
Now, he wants to explode with frustration.
He doesn’t know what caused Sherlock to slip again, but he’s going to find out.
Mycroft has never met Lestrade (though he knows all about him, of course), which is why Lestrade is surprised to look up from paperwork to see an unknown man standing in his office doorway.
“Detective Inspector,” Mycroft says. “Can I have a word about your ‘Consulting Detective?’”
“Oh, is Sherlock really introducing himself as that?” Lestrade laughs then catches Mycroft’s expression. “Is something wrong?”
“Sherlock has a way of getting himself caught up in some, shall we say, complicated things,” Mycroft offers.
“Look, I don’t know what–” Lestrade starts.
“I need to find him,” Mycroft cuts him off. “He’s ‘off the grid’ so to speak.”
“Why are you so interested?”
Mycroft sighs. “He’s my brother.”
Lestrade must see something in Mycroft’s expression because his whole demeanor changes from guarded to concerned and then he’s offering all the help he can.
Mycroft doesn’t find Sherlock that night. But he does find, to his relief, that his brother has someone else who cares about him.
Chapter 9: Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night
Lestrade is genuinely surprised the first time he gets a text message from an unknown number that simply reads:
YOU KNOW WHERE TO FIND ME.
He first wonders how the hell Holmes has his mobile number, but that question is quickly driven out of his mind by the implication of what this text means – Holmes is clean; Holmes is ready to help.
Leastrade also realizes Holmes somehow knows about the string of break-ins around Westminster, which they’ve been trying to keep out of the public eye due to the fact that that they have all been so close to New Scotland Yard. He can picture the headlines – House Breaking in the Met’s Back Garden – and, god help him, he saves the number to his contacts.
When Lestrade texts Holmes with the location of the newest break-in, he arrives only minutes later looking anxious but sober.
“That was quick,” Lestrade says in greeting.
“This location was obvious.”
Lestrade eyes him suspiciously. “Before we go in, how long has it been, Holmes?”
“Sherlock,” he corrects. “‘Holmes’ makes me sound like my father, or worse, my brother.”
“Fine. Sherlock. How long’s it been?”
Lestrade marvels at how normal this feels, bantering with Sherlock. And he hopes he’s making the right call.
“Fair enough,” Lestrade waves a woman over. “Constable Sally Donovan, Sherlock Holmes.”
Sally holds out her hand. Sherlock gives Sally a once over then heads for the police tape.
“You’d get promoted to Sergeant faster if you don’t try to shag your way to the top.”
Sally drops her hand looking scandalized; Lestrade starts to worry.
Lestrade watches Sherlock move around the living room crime scene, watches him mentally sift through data, evidence, and testimonials all in a few seconds. Sherlock quickly determines that their main suspect was busy house breaking across town and not responsible here.
Sherlock’s face lights up as he spins around, moving towards the mantelpiece then dashing down the hall. He returns with a smirk and an air of triumph about him.
“Didn’t any one of you notice the cigarette burns on these photos?” Sherlock asks the room, annoyed. “They are right over their eyes, people! It’s so obvious.”
“He’s getting off on this,” Sally whispers to Lestrade as Sherlock rambles off a list of things that the forensics team should be looking into instead of just standing around.
Lestrade isn’t sure that Sally is wrong, but he’s not put off by it they way she is. If Sherlock is to stay clean, why can’t he have something to replace the substances? If he now has motivation beyond the drugs, why can’t he funnel that energy and talent into something else?
“I’ll need to see the pictures from the other homes,” Sherlock calls to Lestrade. He nods and offers to bring Sherlock to the Yard.
Deep down Lestrade knows that letting him help won’t save Sherlock but maybe, just maybe, it can put him in a place where Sherlock can save himself.
Chapter 10: Crucifixion Cruise
Sherlock comes to in semi-darkness, face and body bruised, lip split, hair matted with dirt, possibly blood.
He’s three-quarters naked.
Sherlock sits up in a blind panic and after the vertigo subsides he can see that he is in some sort of abandoned shop with boarded up windows that, based on the faded portions of the wallpaper, used to sell Hoovers. Next to him, Sherlock finds his coat – pockets empty – and shoes.
Everything else is missing.
Thinking, he rubs his face and pulls back his hand in shock. Based on his stubble, it’s been five days since he’s shaved; five days since he left Baker Street.
Sherlock pulls himself unsteadily to his feet, wrapping his coat tight. He’s trembling and can’t tell if it’s the come down or because he’s lost five days.
This has never happened before.
Sherlock never forgets things unintentionally. He deletes things and only after they have been deemed unnecessary.
He stumbles out the back and observes the buildings: East End. He’s unsteady on his feet and his muscles burn with each step. He’s running on residue and feels the drugs ebbing.
It’s January; Sherlock is freezing.
He makes it to the main road before collapsing in exhaustion.
“How long are we going to keep doing this?” Lestrade asks. “You promised you’d stay clean after last time and all the times before. Why should I keep believing you?”
Sherlock doesn’t answer. Now that he’s sitting still, he gets fragments of memory. Warehouse. Drugs. Familiar Faces. Nightclub. Fire. He can’t, in his current state, piece anything together. That’s the worst part.
Sherlock’s scared that he’s lost a part of himself.
“You were worried about me,” he says eventually.
“Of course I bloody well was,” Lestrade snaps.
Something in Lestrade’s voice tugs at a part of Sherlock. There’s something behind his words, something Lestrade isn’t saying.
Lestrade seems to think that’s obvious enough to not warrant an answer.
Sherlock’s always had someone to stop him from falling to hard – even if he resented at the time. But Sherlock never really believed any of them could really help him. Sherlock doesn’t believe in anyone except himself, and that belief is currently in serious question.
The quiet stretches between them. It pulls taunt, changes things. Or maybe not. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.
“Lestrade?” Sherlock whispers, just as Lestrade moves to leave. “What would you say to a really smart man who makes really bad choices?”
Lestrade stands frozen. Sherlock’s eyes are closed like he’s struggling with a difficult question.
“What would you recommend to someone who only has bad friends?”
Sherlock’s eyes shoot open as Lestrade’s hand lands on his arm in what he thinks is supposed to be a comforting gesture on the DI’s part.
Something passes across Lestrade’s face.
“I’d say, get a new friend,” Lestrade says finally, pushing himself up and moving towards the cell door.
Sherlock wraps his arms tighter around his knees and thinks, who’d want me as their friend?
Chapter 11: How a Resurrection Really Feels
Sherlock stumbles up the stairs to the second bedroom of 221B, the adrenaline from the night still coursing through his veins. He feels a mix of relief and hysteria; it’s electric, and remembers why he can choose the work over drugs. He pushes the door open and John is sitting on the bed, facing away from Sherlock, hugging himself.
Sherlock opens his mouth, he tries to find words to apologize for leaving John stranded all those times, tries to find the words to thank John for what he tried to do. He thinks his words won’t mean anything to John. Instead, he crashes into the room, prepared to make his offering.
John looks up at him and, his face is so full of emotions that Sherlock is just beginning to understand.
Sherlock abandons his dressing gown as he crawls onto the bed, laying down next to John’s seated form. He’s in left in a shirt and pyjama pants, long pale arms sprawled out across the bed. He takes a deep breath; he’s never done this before.
Sherlock starts to talk. He tells John about the guys he’d originally thought had the answers: Sebastian and then later, Victor. He tells John about the parties: how they started druggy, but they got ugly, and then bloody. He tells John about how Mycroft had him disappeared from University, and later, how he found “Sherlock Holmes Rest in Peace” written in marker on his door.
John slowly lays down on his side and pushes the hair out of Sherlock’s wild, confused eyes, nodding and encouraging him on.
Sherlock says, some nights he felt protected from the world. He shows John the marks on his arms, evidence of his old habit; he says, but most nights he felt afraid.
Sherlock would never expect was John does next: he kisses each track mark, each scar, each imperfection. Sherlock feels a new kind of high, something very different than a post case rush, and something very different from when he laid beneath past lovers.
John wraps his arm around Sherlock’s chest, spooning him, and then tugs tipping Sherlock’s face backwards by his hair, finally crushing their lips together. He whispers against Sherlock’s mouth, you are a mess.
Sherlock doesn’t want him to stop and he gives in to the temptation to show more scars, peeling off his shirt, rolling to his side, and presenting his back to John. He shudders and lets out a breath he didn’t know he was holding as John’s kisses move over his shoulders and crawl up to his neck.
Sherlock later wraps himself with sheets, and tangles himself with John. He buries his face against John’s neck, tonguing his pulse, breathing in deep. He says, I need you. He says, I don’t want to make myself all gone again.
Sherlock thinks, this is what it’s like to have finally let him self be saved. No, he corrects his mistake. To be loved.
John holds Sherlock tightly and whispers, welcome back. Welcome back.