Sherlock still feels it now, thousands of miles and hundreds of days After: John's warm, shaking fingers against his wrist, searching for a phantom pulse; the way John's hand dug into his flesh as it was pried away; the thud and scrape of his own knuckles against the pavement.
For weeks, his hands bore long, jagged slashes of red, shaking with every movement like seismograph trails. As they scabbed over, stiff and tight, he picked the dried blood from the wounds, forcing them to bleed again and again and again, until the color was etched into his pale skin.
On the nights when he runs himself down to his bones, when he drowns in the filth of the hunt, when he fears he has killed so much his heart has frozen solid, he presses his fingers to his tender wrist, finds the sweet pulse, beating out a single word: John. John. John.