I’ll go with you.
John sat on the edge of St. Bart’s, looking down at the people below, drumming his fingertips on the cold concrete of the ledge. Nobody had noticed him yet, which was good. He swung his legs slightly, his mind going back years and years to when he was a boy, being pushed on a swing by Harry, begging to go as high as possible. He had deluded himself into thinking he could catch the clouds in his small hands and weave them into dreams.
Tilting his head back, he looked up at the sky, clear and without a single cloud. It was sunny and beautiful and dreamless. He was tired of dreaming. Of waking up screaming and panting and aching. John Watson was a tolerably patient man, but his patience was now growing thin.
He turned his attention back to the street below.
“Did I look that small to you?” he asked, keeping his gaze fixed on the people meandering their ways through their oh-so-busy lives. What was the point of it all? “Did I look that insignificant?”
He laughed slightly, getting to his feet, letting the tips of his toes extend beyond the ledge. It just took one step. On tiny step and he’d be in a place where the dreams would plague him no more.
He would be with Sherlock.
Wait for me, Sherlock. -JW
Lestrade ran a hand across his face, trying to comprehend what Sally had just told him.
“Are you sure?” he said, trying in vain to clutch onto some sort of hope that it was a mistake.
“Sir, he fell from the top of St. Bart’s. If the freak…if Sherlock Holmes couldn’t survive that, I don’t know if John Watson could, either, tough as he was.”
They were both silent for a moment when Sally dropped a plastic bag containing John’s phone on Lestrade’s desk. It landed with a dull thud, faintly echoing the sound of its owner slamming against the pavement.
“There’s one unread message, sir.”
Lestrade opened the bag quickly, completely disregarding the fact that he was tampering with evidence. With one trembling finger, he clicked the phone and read the text.
I’m still alive. -SH
John screwed his eyes shut as he felt the air rush past him, bracing himself for the inevitable pain. SPLASH. Instead of hitting the pavement he found himself surrounded by water. Was this it, was he dead? It hadn’t hurt as much as he expected. Before he had a chance to feel relieved that it was finally over he felt strong arms grasping and tugging him up. Spluttering, he broke the surface of the water. John wiped the water from his eyes and looked around, dazed. A… library? No, impossible. Swimming pools didn’t exist in the middle of libraries.
“Hello” said a voice behind him. “I’m the doctor. I’m here to help”
(OH MY GOD THIS IS PERFECT. BUT BUT BUT I NEED MORE. I NEED MORE NOW. AHWRGOIAREHG;OI)
John looked up to find a rather young looking man wearing a pinstriped suit and an bow tie that was an alarming shade of purple.
“I…where am I? Am I…dead?”
“If you were dead, you wouldn’t be able to hear me,” the man said, letting go of John and letting the army doctor stumble toward a wall and lean against it, panting.
This couldn’t be real. It couldn’t possibly be real, could it? John screwed his eyes up, squeezing them shut before opening them again. No, it was definitely real.
“How would you know? Have you ever been dead?”
“Something like that, yeah,” the man mused, the smile on his face widening. “But, it’s not your time to fall, Doctor John Hamish Watson. Not yet.”
“And what gives you the right to say that? I WANTED TO DIE, DAMMIT!” John yelled, his voice echoing through the room. A normal man, even Sherlock Holmes, would have flinched, but the Doctor in the Bow Tie seemed completely unfazed by John’s outburst.
“You wanted to die because you believed Sherlock Holmes was dead, correct?”
John froze for a second before nodding.
“So, hypothetically speaking of course, if Sherlock Holmes was still alive then…”
John let out a humorless laugh before stalking past the man and heading for the door, trailing water behind him. “I really don’t need this right now. Now, if you’d excuse me, I need to finish my suicide, thanks.”
“And, hypothetically speaking again, if he was…here…then what?”
John froze, his hand still on the handle of the door. “Sherlock Holmes is dead,” he said, his voice fragilely calm, like a layer of thin ice. “I saw him fall. I know the truth, and I would love it if you would just let me get back to what I was doing before.”
He swung the door open and made to stalk out, only to slam into someone.
“Sorry,” he said, making his way around the person, but the man held him back. He groaned. Was everyonetrying to keep him from doing what he should have the moment Sherlock had been pronounced dead?
Somewhere in the back of his mind, he felt something akin to an electric shock and it travelled to the very surface of his mind, coursing through his veins until he was trembling.
He looked up slowly, not daring to believe it, but it was true.
John reached up as if to touch Sherlock’s face, stopping mere centimeters away as if he were afraid of shattering the illusion. Sherlock, however, was having none of that. He slipped John’s hand into his own and pressed it against his cheek.
“I’m real,” he whispered. “I’m real, and I’m here.”
“You…you…you utter bastard!”
Sherlock reeled backward as John’s fist connected with his jawbone, but it didn’t stop there. John continued to punch and hit Sherlock, even sneaking in a bite or two.
He felt two strong arms drag him away from Sherlock, whose face was now bruised and cut up. Twisting to look behind him, all he got was a mouthful of fluffy blonde hair.
“Now, now, sweetie,” he heard a woman coo in his ear. “No need for that.”
He shook his captor off and stumbled forward, turning around to find a woman with a halo of curly, golden hair grinning at him. The Doctor still seemed quite unfazed.
“Were they having a little domestic?” she asked the Doctor.
“I wouldn’t call it little,” he replied. “Nothing like ours, anyway.”
“Oh, you know I always win, darling.”
“I let you.”
“Will everybody just shut up?” John hissed. It was too much. This was really too much.
The Doctor raised his eyebrows before taking the woman by the arm. “I think this is our cue to leave, my dear,” he said. The woman looked like she wanted to stay, but one look from the Doctor seemed to convince her to leave.
“I’ll leave you to it, then,” he said, flashing them a small smile before closing the door.
“Save it,” John spat. “I waited for you, Sherlock. I waited for three years. Did it never occur to you that maybe—”
“Of course it occurred to me, John,” Sherlock replied, a trace of irritation in his voice. “Do you really think that I would have kept you in the dark without a reason?”
John scoffed. “Let’s hear the reason, then,” he said, crossing his arms. Sherlock moved forward, reaching out as if to take John’s hand, but John avoided him, still glaring.
“That day…when I fell…that wasn’t really me. I mean…it was me…but not. The Doctor came to me the night before when you were working and told me that it was the wrong day for me to die and the next moment, I was somehow…inside myself. I had shrunk somehow and…the body that fell wasn’t mine,” he finished lamely.
John frowned. “Wait, so let me get this straight. A strange man appeared to you, told you that you couldn’t die yet, shrunk you, and put you inside of yourself? You expect me to believe that?”
“John, you have just jumped off of St. Bart’s and ended up in a swimming pool in a library. Given the circumstances, I would have thought anything would seem believable.”
“You still could have let me know. Just so that I had peace of mind. I died that day, Sherlock. I was going to kill myself today, but the truth is, I was dead the moment your body hit the ground. I was just getting rid of the body today.”
Sherlock suddenly strode forward, taking John’s face into his hands. “Look at me, John. Look at me. I’m real. I’m here. You punched me and the bruises serve to prove as evidence of my survival. I know we can’t go back to how we were before, but—”
“Damn straight we can’t,” John said, his voice still hard, but loosing some of its edge. Sherlock pressed his forehead against John’s, closing his eyes.
“Please believe me that if I could have let you know, I would have. I was going to come back to you right after it was over.”
“I could have helped, Sherlock,” John whispered. “You didn’t have to go alone.”
“They would have killed you.”
“Does it look like I care?”
“I do. I always have.”
John laughed slightly, realizing with some surprise that he was crying. He looked up to meet Sherlock’s eyes only to find tears in them, too. He reached up and wiped the tears away, his fingers brushing over the bruises that were now forming on Sherlock’s face.
“No, I deserved it.”
Neither of them knew who moved first, perhaps they moved together, but in a second, they were kissing. Not hard…not desperately…it was a chaste kiss. Just lips against soft lips, warm, comforting sensations. They stood there for what felt like eons, but was only a few seconds, before John drew back. Sherlock’s head moved forward instinctively, missing the warmth of John’s mouth on his own instantly.
“Welcome home, Sherlock,” John whispered.