Boom. Bang. Crash. Blood, all around me. The screams of the guilty. The screams of the innocent. Screams of the damned. Terrified, painful screams. Towns ripped apart. Families ripped apart. Loved ones that would never return home. Some dying too early. Some dying for the right reasons, some dying for the wrong reasons. Oh God, so much blood. Children crying out for their family or the loss of someone dear. The twisted smiles of the wicked as their people suffer. The horrific injuries and deaths. Oh God, the screams…
“John! Wake up!”
John let out a cry and his eyes flew open. He breathed hard and heavy, his heart pounding in his chest. He had thrown off the sheets and pillows of his bed. His hair was messy and he looked exhausted. He looked to the side of him, and two ice blue eyes stared back.
“John, are you alright?” Sherlock asked. John let out a sigh.
“Yeah, I am now,” he replied. It was a lie. The memories swirled in his head, throughout his body. He clutched the bed, trying to stop trembling. The memories threatened tears in his eyes. Sherlock gingerly put a hand onto John’s.
“Don’t lie to me,” he said, the concern so strong in his eyes it pierced through John, forcing the doctor to look away. He bit his lip. The detective was showing a surprising amount of emotion; then again, he surprised John every day. “John, what happened? Did you have another nightmare?”
“I’m fine now Sherlock,” John smiled at the taller man.
“Then why are you about to cry?” Sherlock asked.
“I’m not about to –” John choked. Sherlock was right, he was fighting back tears. Sherlock moved himself so he could hug John. The doctor enjoyed the other man’s company and comfort.
“Tell me John,” Sherlock said.
“Since when did you care about me?” John asked. Sherlock winced. The words came out harsher than intended.
“Of course I care for you, I always have,” Sherlock frowned, “A little more than you realise. Now, stop stalling and tell me.”
“It’s not that big of deal,” John laughed. It was a pained forced laugh. Sherlock saw through it.
“Tell me John, I want to know how to help you,” Sherlock replied, caressing John’s cheek.
“You can’t help me,” John said sombrely.
“I can try,” Sherlock said. John looked into the other’s eyes. He’s serious, John thought.
“It…it was another nightmare,” he explained, “from the war.”
“There was this bit…we were doing a mission…”
“I and several other doctors were to be transported to this small town, if you could call it that, to the middle of nowhere, all the while under the dangerous eyes of Afghanistan.”
“It was a simple mission, pretty easy and safe. Little did we know that the enemy knew about it. Usually they just don’t bother with small towns, but for some goddam reason they bothered with this one. As soon as we were landed we were attacked. They were merciless. I watched innocent children die, innocent civilians die, my friends shot around me. I tried to rescue a good mate of mine, a fellow doctor. He died in my arms. I saw a little girl in enemy fire, they either didn’t notice her or just didn’t care about her, but I had to save her. I was able to grab her just as the bullet went into my shoulder. It hurt like hell. By some miracle we got out, but the mission was a failure. Almost everyone in that town was killed. That little girl and a few other children were the only ones to survive. It was…horrible. Just watching your mates die around you, watching innocent lives be taken while you stand there, not sure of what to do…”
“Sshhh, it’s okay John. Why didn’t you ever tell me this?”
“Because I’d been trying to forget it.”
“You did save a few lives John.”
“And took some…”
“I don’t follow.”
“I didn’t know what was happening, what I was doing. Everything was a blur. I saw from friend get shot, I saw him die in my arms, the next thing I knew there was a gun in my hand and I was shooting at people. I couldn’t see properly, I think I shot it a few civilians. I-I killed people Sherlock, innocent people…”
“It is okay John. You killed a lot of bad people.”
“That’s not the point. Soldiers are meant to protect the innocent, not punish the guilty! I killed innocent human lives!”
John couldn’t deal with it anymore. The tears were streaming down his face and he was trembling all over. Sherlock pulled him close in a comforting hug. John nuzzled into the other man’s chest, his tears leaving wet patches on the white shirt.
“John it’s alright, it’s all over now. I’m here,” Sherlock said. John gripped him tight. The detective’s strange mood surprised John, but he enjoyed it for the time being.
“People called me a hero for the things I did,” he sobbed, “I’m no hero.”
“You’re my hero,” Sherlock smiled. John flashed back to when Sherlock said heroes didn’t exist.
“You mean it?” John asked.
“Yes,” Sherlock answered.
“Even if I go crazy?” John asked. He swallowed. “If I am crazy?”
“Yes, and you’re not crazy John,” Sherlock replied, kissing John on the head. He moved a bit, trying to comfy, only to have a hand grip him tight.
“Don’t leave, please,” John pleaded.
“Wasn’t even planning on it,” Sherlock smiled, embracing the sobbing John into his arms. Sherlock would help John get through it all, even if it takes him his last breath. He wanted his army doctor to be happy and at peace.