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The Good Doctor Lives

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"I'm going back to my flat" John said as he slipped towards the door.

Sherlock noticed the deliberate avoidance of the word home. John had always called this flat on Baker Street home, from the very day they had moved in together.

John left silently and a sense of hopelessness settled over Sherlock. 'I suppose it really is too late' he thought to himself. His shoulders slumped and he breathed a heavy sigh. His eyes felt heavy and he rose from the couch and made his way to his room. The battle-weary detective carefully removed his clothes, slipped into his pajama pants and eased into his bed. It would have been more comforting, if images of a broken John would stop circling in his mind. He lay there in the darkness, trying desperately to think of ways to convince the Doctor, his Doctor, that there had been no other way to save him. He had explained everything so carefully. How could John not understand that he had done it to protect him?

He was so lost in thought that he didn't hear the lock click at the entrance to the flat. He didn't even hear as his own bedroom door was gently eased open. What he did notice, after a moment, was the feeling that he was being stared at. Sherlock rolled onto his back and looked towards the opposite side of his bed. What he saw startled him. A very distraught John was standing at his bedside, just looking at him. From the dim light of the windows, he could just make out the tear streaked cheeks and the deep lines around John's eyes. Neither man spoke, each simply content to just watch the other. After a while, Sherlock threw back the covers and held out a hand towards John. John stood there a bit longer and Sherlock lowered his hand, but left the covers pulled back. John kicked off his shoes and dropped his jacket and jumper to the floor and eased onto the bed. He stayed at arms length from Sherlock and pulled the covers back up over the both of them.

Sherlock hoped this was a good sign, thinking that perhaps John needed to be in close proximity to him, if for no other reason but to reassure himself that the day's events had really happened. Sherlock rolled back onto his side, away from John, and the thoughts swimming in his mind began to dull. He began to drift off into a much needed sleep.

His eyes sprung open when he felt an icy, trembling hand touch his back. He flinched slightly at the touch, but otherwise managed to lie completely still. Sherlock's brain kicked back into high gear. 'How could this be John's hand so cold and thin?' Sherlock always appreciated (though he had never once told John) the strength and warmth in the good Doctor's hands. So many times John had reached for him to tend his wounds and support him when he found he was unable to support himself. How could the warm, skilled, strong, and steady hands of John been reduced to this? But Sherlock knew the answer. He had done this to John, he alone. As he lay in the dark, feeling the pulse in the now slender hand spread widely on his back, he felt the icy appendage begin to warm and somehow, it felt less unsure. Then it slowly slid from his back to rest limply on the bed. John had finally drifted to sleep. Sherlock was briefly saddened by the loss of contact, but gave in to exhaustion himself, and quickly followed John into oblivion.

When Sherlock woke in the very early morning, he discovered that sometime in the night he had managed to roll over and wrap his arms around John. Once upon a time, Sherlock would have been most put off by a development like this, but not anymore. He lay there in the dark, glad to be holding John in his arms, glad that John was not awake and hoping that he did not wake for a while longer. He thought about how much he had missed John. He let out an unintentional gasp when it dawned on him how small and frail John had become. He froze, hoping the sound had not woken him. When he was satisfied that it had not, he gently eased one hand across John's chest. He winced as he realised he could feel every rib in his Doctor's frame through the thin fabric of his t-shirt. He made no sound, and even he was surprised when he noticed the tears streaming freely down his own cheeks. He managed to compose himself quietly and leaned his face into the back of John's neck. He pulled a deep breath and inhaled the Doctor's scent. It was almost overwhelming, he had not really thought about John's unique scent before. Hadn't even noticed how much he had missed it until that very moment. He continued to breathe John in deeply and the slow methodical breaths relaxed Sherlock back into a deep sleep.

The light was coming strongly through the window when John woke. He was confused. 'Where am I? Oh shit, who has me?' He tried to be very still so as to not let on to his captor that he was plotting his escape. Suddenly he remembered, Sherlock was back from the grave. John remembered that he had come back to 221B after walking the streets aimlessly for quite some time. 'But how does that explain this?' He thought about extricating himself from the arms of the detective, but realised that he in fact, did not want to. He wanted the reassurance that Sherlock was really here and really alive. He wondered if being wrapped in his arms was purely an accident of sleep or if it was something Sherlock wanted. God how he hoped it was something Sherlock had wanted. He felt the other man's hot breath on the back of his neck and a shiver went down his spine. He had missed Sherlock so much, had felt so lost and alone without him. He thought about the despair that had settled over him after Sherlock jumped. He began to tremble as the image of Sherlock lying in a pool of blood on the sidewalk appeared once again, unwanted, in his mind.

Sherlock tightened his grip as John trembled. There was an audible hitch in John's breath as he suddenly realised Sherlock was awake. As embarrassed as he was, and as much as right that minute he would have been happy to be anywhere else on earth besides where he was, he could not bring himself to move away from Sherlock's grasp. He began to sob violently as it sunk in that this was all real, this was actually happening. But why did the miracle that John begged for so long ago, hurt so much?

"I promise I will never leave you again, John" The warm breath and deep baritone voice drifted softly across John's ear. "You always trusted me. Please trust me now when I tell you that there was no other way." Sherlock made no move to release John.

John's tears relented and for just a moment he was angry again, but his anger subsided almost as quickly as it had appeared. He could not be angry. He had his miracle. He had his Sherlock back. 'Maybe', John thought, 'I can live again as well.'"