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Sherlock ached.

He ached and burned. His entire being keyed into the way the air in the flat was cold. Empty.

It was too loud; the fire he had lit to keep warm (insufficient heating; still too cold) crackling away, the kitchen light buzzing with the constant source of electricity, the humm of the freezer producing ice, the thundering rain against the window panes, his thoughts, splintering, jagged revelations. The silence.

It was all too loud.

Sherlock pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes, trying to push back the thoughts. Bit not good, John said. John didn't say it, he wasn't in the flat. He wasn't there. It was in his head, John was always in his head. And Sherlock ached, so deeply. It hurt, deep within his bones, the pressure of it against the backs of his teeth.

Sentiment. Hurt.

Tell him, Irene said quietly into his hair. Wasn't there, it's in his head.

Caring is not an advantage, whispered Mycroft. Except Sherlock didn't care. No, he was past caring.

He loved. And ached.

The pitter patter of rain against the panes of glass caught his attention again. The storm waging over London promised heavy mud and misery for those caught out. He shouldn't go out. Shouldn't tell John that he-

Sherlock already knew what John would do, but he had to-

He was standing in the rain, right out on the sidewalk of John and Mary's (not Mary; Mary's gone) door. He only vaguely remembered donning his coat and hailing a cab, never mind giving the address.

Swallowing harshly, Sherlock had to do it. It was burning him up. Even if he already knew the end result (cold, empty flat), he couldn't-

He was banging on the white door, finally safe from the harsh rain (but not the cold, it was bone deep), he wondered if 3 was a bit too early for this type of thing. And decided that he didn't actually care (past caring; he loved, it ached).

A light went on inside, the warmth of it reaching out from the small window at the top of the door, while the sound of footsteps became louder. Sherlock wasn't sure how long he had been banging on the door, but when it opened suddenly, he almost felt his fist aching.

"Sherlock, what?" John said groggily.

He had fallen asleep in front of the telly, but woke up a short while ago to lay down in the guest bedroom. He didn't sleep in the bed he and Mary had shared anymore, couldn't after-

"Sherlock?" John looked to be waking up more, becoming alarmed. "What-"

"I love you." Was dragged from his throat, stolen from his heart, ripped from his flesh and bone.

It had been whispered, almost drowned out by the falling rain, brokenly. Sherlock ached. And he loved.

And he wished-

John had this look on his face (not the harsh slam of door, with warmth stolen, the rain too loud), this soft, warm look. Sherlock blinked slowly at it, not comprehending, suddenly so tired (the rest of it is just transport).

"Well come on then, you'll catch your death of cold out there." The door opened wider, allowing more warm light to shine upon him, cradling his shivering form.

Woodenly, he obeyed the command. Licking the water droplets from his lips before removing his soaking coat to hang.

Sherlock ached, and he loved, but the warmth was back and it was quiet as the door shut out the sound of rain.