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Breaking Point

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It had been a long case. Hell, who was he kidding, it had been a long few weeks for both him and Sherlock.

They had been swamped with cases. It seemed like every time Sherlock finally got a moments rest, some time to make up for not sleeping or eating for days, another case came up. John knew he was going to work himself to collapse soon, and he despaired to think of what had happened to the little fat he had worked so hard to stick to Sherlock's bony frame.

Even John was exhausted, though he still got his hours of rest and ate whenever possible. Any time he wasn't helping Sherlock on a case, he was picking up shifts at the surgery, helping out as much as he could with patients before he got a text that would send him back to Sherlock's side. But this last case, this one was the breaking point.

He didn't care if Moriarty came back in the next week, they weren't taking a case for at least that long. He had never in his life seen such terrible police work, nor such unusual human cruelty as he did at the end of this case.

It had been their longest and most stressful case for that month. Sherlock was at the end of his wits trying to put together the incompetent reports and mistreated evidence into something he could work with. He was driving everyone crazy and no one could do anything to help. The worst part was the type of case itself.

A report had come in about a missing child and a ransom note. Lestrade had called Sherlock in. At first it had seemed normal, but then they found out that the evidence had been tampered with. Frustrations started to rise quicker then normal. And when they had finally found something, the smallest something, they rushed off to find that... They were too late.

The dilapidated building was empty of any living soul. The room they found her in was lived in and clean of even the moldering smell of the rest of the building. Or maybe it had just been masked by the new smell. There had been a moment of triumph as they had opened the door and saw the child in a chair facing away from them, but that only lasted as long as it took to look down and see the drying puddle of blood beneath her chair. John had rushed forward to see if he could save her, but the moment he saw her he stopped. It was far too late. Sherlock had frozen at the door and was shoved aside as Lestrade and the rest of his team came in to investigate.

Donovan had whirled around, tears sparkling in her eyes as she shouted abuse at Sherlock. Anderson joined in when Sherlock didn't respond, accusing and taking out his frustrations on him.

John finally couldn't stand it anymore, Sherlock wasn't fighting back like he normally was, so he stepped in, forcing the shocked pair to back down and then turning and pushing Sherlock out of the room. Sherlock didn't respond to anything John said, just stared ahead blankly. John finally forced him down the stairs and into a cab, telling them to go to Baker Street.

The whole ride there he tried to get Sherlock to wake up from whatever zone he had gone into. Finally they reached home. John paid the cab and got Sherlock into the house, pulling off his coat at the door and pushing him into his chair. He decided to make tea, and ignored the slight shake in his hand when he placed the kettle on the stove and pulled out two clean mugs. He then went back out to the sitting room to start the fire.

To his surprise, Sherlock was standing, looking around like he didn't know where he was.

"John?" The name came out strangled and John moved forward quickly as Sherlock stumbled toward him.

"John." He caught Sherlock as he tipped too far forward, and suddenly his arms were full. Long gangly limbs circled around him, pulling him up to his tiptoes as Sherlock buried his head into John's shoulder and let out a long shuddering breath.

"Sherlock." John pulled him closer as slim shoulders started shaking, sobs wracking his frame. "Shhh, it's ok." He continued like this, mumbling comforting things into Sherlock's ear as he gently petted his hair. Finally the shaking stopped and his breathing slowed from the frantic gasps he had been taking.

John slowly pulled away a bit, ignoring the twinge in his calves from standing en pointe for so long. He lead Sherlock to the couch, keeping him close. He sat, then tugged Sherlock down next to him. Instead of keeping the little distance between them like John thought he would, Sherlock instead curled into him, resting his head on John's chest and seeming content to not move for the moment.

John looked up as the door creaked a bit and Mrs. Hudson peeked in. She smiled at John and disappeared into the kitchen, where John had completely forgotten the kettle. She came back and set a tray with tea and biscuits on it in front of them, then waved as she left quietly, shutting the door behind her.

Sherlock didn't make any sign of moving, so John got comfortable, putting an arm around Sherlock and grabbing a nearby blanket to drape over them. He looked down at Sherlock, and could almost see the moment when he fell asleep. He wrapped the blanket around them a bit more securely, then followed Sherlock's example, dropping off into a warm comfortable nap.

When he woke, he was burning. He had fallen against the arm of the couch and Sherlock had followed, sprawling on him as he slept. The blanket was tangled in their legs, but apparently it wasn't needed anyway, as Sherlock radiated heat like a furnace.

John huffed a laugh and tried to sit up. He sighed, however, when Sherlock tightened his arms and seemed to become even heavier. John relaxed against the arm of the couch again and looked down at Sherlock. He looked different, like he was acting. His expression was pleasant and relaxed, like when he was trying to get information out of someone by acting nice. John smiled a bit at the thought.

He absentmindedly reached his hand up to rest on Sherlock's head and threaded his fingers through the curls. He rested his head back as he continued the motion, starting to daydream as he comfortably sat, kept warm by the immense heat that always radiated from the person currently using him as a pillow. He didn't have anywhere else to be after all. He might as well take the reprieve. Even if he wanted to, he wasn't going anywhere.