He never got over it. He never left Baker Street. And when a woman named Mary asked him for his number in a quiet pub, he smiled and declined with the consummate grace that marked every interaction between John Watson and the rest of humanity.
On the way home from that meeting, he reminisced - as he so often did - about the one who’d fallen. For two perfect years, perhaps his greatest asset to the world’s only consulting detective had been John’s ability to intervene between Sherlock and the world he inhabited, full of those irritating, distracting, dull creatures known as other people.
Two years. John looked up at the night sky, and sighed, thinking about planets and stars and going around the garden like a teddy bear. He’d spent three years after Sherlock jumped waiting for the man to return; had spent that fourth year sodding drunk. Pathetic, just a bit. Took him three damn years to finally admit that the man was never coming home. Took most of that fourth for him to be able to say the words out loud.
I loved you. I loved you. I loved you.
He’d mourned Sherlock longer than he’d known the bloody prat, and if that wasn’t the mark of a soulmate, of the kind of friendship and love that lasts your whole life, he didn’t know what else could be.
It was a bit of hell, really, to live that life alone when the person you were supposed to spend it with was gone. But John managed; he always did, always had. John Watson could survive damn near anything. He stayed in their flat. He started talking to his old friends again. He found better work as a doctor, and he settled into his long wait, his long quiet patience set to this one task. His life was full, and good. He walked around with a Sherlock-shaped hole in his chest, and everyone he met knew it, but the edges knit together over time.
Those next two decades, he smiled. He laughed. He fed ducks in the park. He had tea with Mrs. Hudson. He forgave Lestrade, and Sally, and even Mycroft, though the last one took a good nine years to take.
Even, eventually, he forgave himself. Sherlock would have hated the sentimentality of it all, John was sure; he could hear the eviscerating commentary any time he cared to.
Which was often. John almost always wore a little half-smile as he faded into the background of others’ social interactions, thinking to himself of what Sherlock would say. Hearing a rich, deep voice that only existed in his mind and holding back his smile at the cutting remarks, the brilliant deductions, the wry comments. He talked to Sherlock in his head frequently – not constantly, not quite, but at least once a day. Sometimes just with a nod of acknowledgement as he went to bed, and sometimes a whole day spent talking to his mad genius and feeling soothed at the remembered/imagined voice speaking back to him.
It wasn’t a bad life, not at all.
It ended when John was sixty-four. Routine, normal, a heart attack, such an ordinary and dull method of passing on. Sherlock would have been immensely displeased at John having the temerity to die so boringly.
That was his last thought before he blinked, and knew – knew in bones he didn’t have any more, knew in his soul because that’s all he had left – that he was dead.
He was dead, and standing at a door, and in front of him was Sherlock.
John smiled, a particular fond, loving smile the world hadn’t seen from him in two and a half decades. “You waited.”
Sherlock’s nose wrinkled a little – obvious – but his eyes were soft, and his mouth shaped, “Of course.” The voice had never been quite perfect, quite right in his head, but it was vibrant now. Here. Real. Velvet undertones and night itself given voice, and part of John eased back into place that hadn’t been whole since before that last phone call. This, then, was peace.
John tilted his head, asking Ready? just like Sherlock had asked it of him, one night in a pool a long time ago. Sherlock’s smile recalled the gesture, and as John had then, he gave a short, sharp nod of acknowledgement. When you are.
John opened the door, and they passed into the light together.
Awww, poor John. My heart aches for him. This is a lovely ficlet btw.
“Hey Cas, you still haven’t told me how you ended up here” “I told them what I really am” “Which is..?” “I’m an angel” “Really?” “They said I was insane and they put me here” “Don’t worry, Cas. You’re not crazy. I believe you” “Thank you. But I realize now that perhaps I was sent here to watch over you” “And to remind me of what’s real and what isn’t?” “Yes. Also there is an abundance of bees in this place” “That’s cool. Bees are awesome” “Would you like to watch the bees with me?”
“Mr Holmes, sir? I hope you don’t mind me stopping by… Only you said if we knew anything about Captain -erm- Doctor Watson’s disappearance…”
Sherlock ripped the small envelope from the young, former-military man’s calloused hand. He had no time, now. No time for small talk. He needed data, leads, anything as quickly as possible.
Why had he assumed John would wait patiently for nearly three years? Why had he trusted Mycroft to keep track of the one thing more important than Sherlock’s life? And how in the hell did Mycroft and the entire British Government manage to lose him?
Inside the envelope was a photograph of John in military garb, his hair shaven quite close, his eyes determined but somehow… haunted.
“How long ago?” Sherlock barked, never taking his eyes off the photo.
“Ah, three months now, I think. Mate of mine got some top-secret assignment, took a photo on his phone ‘cos he knew I’d been in the Sand with Captain Watson. Thought I’d like it for old time’s sake. For…”
Sherlock’s eyes left the photo for three seconds, scanned the young man, and then returned to the picture. ”Sentiment. You had a very strong romantic crush on John Watson, probably a combination of hero-worship and father-figure issues related to your early life. One night, spurred on by lust and drink, you made the incredibly unwise decision to bare your soul -and your muscular torso, I imagine- to the good Captain, but instead of accepting your offer or reporting you for misconduct -propositioning a superior officer- he was kind to you. He never made you feel uncomfortable about it. Said he was flattered, then moved on as though nothing had happened.”
The young man swallowed hard. “Did Capt— did he tell you that?”
“Of course not. It’s obvious. Now. You said secret. This is obviously not the desert. Where, then? Where was this taken?”
“I’m not allowed, Mr. Holmes, it’s classified, y’know, and I shouldn’t have come here—”
Sherlock took the young man by his shirt and pulled him up an inch off of the ground before slamming him into the nearest wall.
“TELL. ME. NOW!”
“B-Baskerville, s-sir,” he stammered, wide-eyed.
Sherlock let go, and the young man’s body fell abruptly to the floor.
“Get out. Leave the photo.”
He didn’t pay attention to the scuffling sound of boots as his guest scrambled to stand, hurry out the door and rush down the stairs. Long, shaky fingers were already sending a text.
-You will discharge him immediately. I’ll arrive Baskerville by nightfall. Have him waiting near the front gate. -SH
-He was ready to die. I merely convinced him to make his death mean something. He volunteered for every experiment dangerous enough to have possibly fatal outcomes. -MH
-Front gate before nightfall. -SH
-Sorry, Brother. It’s too late for that. -M
Sherlock felt a wave of pain and nausea sweep through his body. He slumped against the wall.
Somehow, he was able to keep a tight grip on his phone.
He was even able to send one more text.
-You need to sit down. Please. -M
[INCOMING CALL - NUMBER UNKNOWN]
-Answer your phone, Sherlock. -M
[MISSED CALL - NUMBER UNKNOWN]
-Answer it. -M
[INCOMING CALL - NUMBER UNKNOWN]
-Answer it now. You may not get a second chance -M
Sherlock pressed the accept call key and lifted the phone to his ear.
“Tell me. I need to know what happened. All of it,” he whispered.
“I could say the same to you,” the voice on the other end of the line answered.
It wasn’t Mycroft’s voice.
It wasn’t any voice he might have expected in that moment.
“John…” Sherlock breathed.
-Turn around, Sherlock. -M
Sherlock turned around to face the door.
This time, he DID drop his phone.
For Samanta (watsonsdick) on her birthday. Photo reposted with her permission.
omg omg omg, I was getting myself ready for a tearful afternoon and then BAM! Happy ending :)
He’d cherished it, unconditionally prizing it above nearly all of his other possessions. He kept it close, even wearing it on a few occasions in the winter; tucked beneath the safety of his coat, resting against his chest. Over his heart. If those that had known the pair - Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade, or Mycroft - caught sight of the familiar blue fabric peeking out from beneath the front of John’s coat – they didn’t speak on it.
He remembered dog-sitting for Harry one day. Few months ago, now. He’d come up from doing laundry to find her ill-mannered pet shaking and gnawing on Sherlock’s scarf like it was a toy. John had nearly flown off the handle, and had struggled (as if his life depended on it) to get the scarf free from the dog’s mouth. When Harry picked up her stupid mutt, he’d given her an earful about it. He could still hear her words fluttering about in the back of his head…
“It’s just a scarf, John…”
She’s said it with such disdain; as if he were pathetic for treasuring it so. John had spent the rest of the evening hand washing the scarf to remove the dog’s saliva and hair, and then sewed up a couple small canine-shaped holes that had resulted from the tug of war. John held it close afterward. He’d pressed the fabric up against his nose and lips and inhaled for a few minutes. But Sherlock’s scent had long since faded away. Only in certain spots could John detect a hint of his companion…
He’d ended up crying again.
Six months should have been enough time to start getting over Sherlock Holmes. But for John, the wound still felt as fresh as it did the day his friend jumped.
The day he lost him.
“Well, it’s a bit different from my day…”
He would stare at the beam more and more with each passing day. A simple piece of wood, part of the structure of their flat; right at the junction between the kitchen and the sitting room. He could recall Sherlock hanging a dummy from it by a noose. It should be strong enough to support his weight. He’d lost quite a bit.
“Mike can I borrow your phone? There’s no signal on mine.”
John stood up from the couch and made his way into the kitchen to retrieve the step stool. The scarf was draped around his neck.
“Ah… here. Use mine.”
He set the stood down beneath the support beam he’d been eyeing for the past three weeks. This was not an idle or snap decision. Suicide never really was, despite what people might say. There was a great deal of debate, of internal suffering; of pure endurance. Trying to live day to day, trying to present yourself to everyone as just another hard-working citizen. As someone with a balanced life. As someone who could cope. As someone who didn’t feel like crawling right out of his skin every five minutes with the realization, and constant reminder, that he would never be as happy as he’d been when Sherlock Holmes was alive.
“Oh. Thank you.”
But he wasn’t coming back. And after months of trying to get on with his life… John was simply exhausted. He didn’t- no, couldn’t do this anymore. He stood on the stool, just barely able to loop the scarf around the beam, and tie it into a secure knot. He tugged and pulled on it as hard as he could. John even held onto it and hung in the air for a moment; lifting his body weight off the step stool so he could be sure it would support him.
“This is an old friend of mine. John Watson.”
His fingers trembled as he tied the other end of the scarf off into his ‘noose’.
He was so bloody tired. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d slept through the night. Each dream always ended the same; regardless of setting, regardless of mood, regardless of those involved… he would always see Sherlock jump. It would replay, over and over in his head like a skipping record – rendering John incapable of getting a full night’s sleep.
What was even worse was when it had started happening in the day, two months ago. A quick flash behind his eyes; there was Sherlock, lying motionless on the pavement; blood stark in it’s contrast against his pale skin and icy blue eyes. Dark hair matted and wet…
John would always gasp, and jump back as if the image were real… and he would shake his head, and attempt to continue on with the interrupted activity. Blinking to erase his waking nightmare.
“Afghanistan or Iraq?”
The question. The question… that had initially sparked his obsessive infatuation with all that Sherlock Holmes was. He’d had John’s number from the moment they met. John was entranced, and didn’t see a ‘freak’, but a misunderstood genius. A great man. And the best friend he’d ever had.
He was trembling now, but it didn’t seem to matter much. He was on the stool, the makeshift scarf-noose was in place and around his neck, and the flat was quiet. How he hated the quiet.
John closed his eyes and tried to ignore how itchy his face felt from the tears that had streamed down - that he hadn’t even bothered to wipe away. With his head low and his shoulders slumped forward in defeat… John took one final breath, and leaned forward, and then back on the stool – so it would lurch out from under him.
But just as the stool tumbled forward, he heard the familiar chirp of his mobile. A new message.
John’s eyes snapped open, surprised at the sound, just as his feet lost their support.
He began to suffocate.
Eventually… he stopped struggling.
Eventually… his body stopped swaying back and forth.
Brother John staggered into the chapel, nearly on the brink of collapse. The stabbing pain in his leg was beginning to migrate upwards, growing and filling him with agony until he could hardly see straight. The infection was spreading faster than any of the monastery’s physicians could handle, faster than it had any right to. It had been such a simple injury, nothing more than a cut along his thigh as he worked in the garden a week ago. But it had not stayed simple for long, and now John was terrified. Terrified that it would continue to spread, terrified that he would lose his leg, terrified that he would die. But even more than that, he was terrified what this was doing to his mind and his soul.
John had always loved the Church and even as a child had decided that the life of the monk was for him. His parents had not agreed of course - they wanted him to marry well and carry on the family name. But there was nothing for it, and John had lived many years in this monastery in peace and happiness. But lately, doubt had begun to creep into John’s life. Lately, he had begun to wonder what the point of it all was, why they bothered with prayer and contemplation when there was still so much suffering in the world. People were dying from war and famine and disease every day, and here they were mumbling useless prayers and following the same old routines they had for centuries.
This injury had only made his doubts worse. He was a good man - he followed the rules, he believed in God, and he did his best to serve as he should. So why should this happen to him? Why should his leg be a twisted mass of pus and infection when others walked freely in their sin? John collapsed in front of the pulpit, beyond the point of caring that his leg was screaming in agony as he fell into the familiar position of care.
“Why, God?” he whispered hoarsely with clasped hands and bowed head. “Why me? Have I erred in some way? Have you forsaken me?”
There was no answer. Nothing. The usual peace that came with prayer was gone, leaving only pain and fear and misery behind. A sob started to well in John’s throat as he felt the emptiness of the universe stretch before him.
“Please, I need something.” He was begging now, pleading with the empty room with eyes screwed shut to keep the tears from starting. “Some sign that my life has not been in vain. Anything, please.”
Suddenly, cool fingers brushed the underside of his chin and tilted his head slowly upwards. John opened his eyes in disbelief and was dazzled by the bright light of the room, brighter by far than it had any right to be. Through his tears he could only make out a pair of wings, black as night, curved in glorious arches above a figure crouched on the pulpit. As his eyes cleared John saw that the figure was a man, or at least in the shape of one, pale and lovely beyond imagining. His raven hair matched the blackness of his wings, standing out in sharp contrast to the skin as white as marble that seemed to emit a light all its own. But it was the creature’s eyes that transfixed John and left him gaping with wonder. They seemed to pierce into his very soul with their pale blue gaze, stripping away all his doubts and fears and leaving nothing but peace.
“Hello, John” the creature said softly, and his voice was more beautiful than any music John had ever heard. His heart raced at the sound, beating painfully in his chest and leaving him breathless with excitement. “I heard your prayer. I came for you - you are not forsaken by me, and you never will be. I can help you John, if you let me. If you come with me, I will ease all your pain and sorrow and make your life a happy one once more. Will you come?”
As the creature spoke, John felt the pain and worry drain from his body as if it had never been. The touch of his hand was at once both a gentle warmth on John’s skin and a burning brand that filled him with searing desire like he had never known before. There could be only one answer, there would always be only one answer. “Yes.”
It’s late, a time where it all becomes a matter of opinion, the sun shining red and gold through the curtains, meaning arguments can start about whether it’s too early in the morning or too late at night.
Cas’ hair is soft between Dean’s fingertips, the strands black and stark…
Because. I actually hated what I wrote for this before. But I don’t feel like deleting it.
So I’m going to write something else.
John Watson returned as soon as his shift at the hospital was over, making his way back to 221B to check on Sherlock. He hesitated, wondering if he should go in, before strengthening his resolve and opening the door to find Mrs. Hudson sitting on the stairs, her face in her hands.
A small sob escaped her mouth through withered fingers. He immediately rushed toward her, kneeling in front of her and moving her hands away from her face. “Mrs. Hudson, what’s wrong?” he asked quickly. “Is it Sherlock? Has he had one of his fits?”
She nodded, waving her hand toward the living room. He immediately straightened and hurried into the room, only to find his housemate crumpled in a chair, breathing heavily, hair completely messed up, face red. He approached the man cautiously, stretching a hand toward him.
It was only when he saw the rolled sleeve and the punctures in Sherlock’s arm that he realized what had happened. He quickly took the needle away from Sherlock and kneeling before him, checking his pulse. His heart rate was slightly elevated, but not high enough to cause alarm. He had just had a fright. He seemed to be getting those more and more often lately.
“Sherlock,” he whispered.
However, the other man didn’t seem to hear him. He simply continued to stare down at the carpet, completely motionless.
“Voices…” Sherlock said after a moment. “I can hear him, John…all the time…he’s going to burn me, John…”
John sighed, raising a hand to brush against Sherlock’s cheek. He had been talking about this voice for ages. Moriarty, he called it. John was sure that Sherlock was convinced the man was real. He would wake up in terror every night, plagued by this elusive notion, Moriarty.
“Nobody’s going to burn you, Sherlock. It’s in your head,” he said softly, holding his flatmate. “Just in your head.”
“Make him leave…” Sherlock said, a trace of a whimper in his voice.
“Yes, yes, he’s gone, Sherlock. He was never here,” John said soothingly, stroking the back of Sherlock’s head.
Soon after, John put Sherlock to bed after administering his medication.
“I don’t know what would happen to him, if it wasn’t for you,” Mrs. Hudson said, her hand shaking slightly as she took a cup of tea from John. “He probably would have died that day, at St. Barts.”
John closed his eyes. He had been trying to forget that incident, when he found Sherlock raving on the top of St. Barts, screaming to the cosmos about being ordinary. If John hadn’t grabbed Sherlock when he did, he probably would have jumped and fallen to his death.
“One more thing, Doctor,” she said, putting her cup down. “What’s Moriarty?”
“If a clock could count down to the moment you meet your soul mate, would you want to know?”
lol yes, so then i can shave.
Because I’m a morbid asshole this is what I began thinking of:
You look at it nearly every day. It’s still up there, years away in fact, and that’s fine. But sometimes you watch it. You watch the number tick away and you wonder and you dream and you try not to expect too much because you know no matter what it’ll be perfect. One a year when it becomes the exact future anniversary you watch it and count down to 0 and get giddy. Only ten more years. Only seven more years. Only four more years.
Then one day you wake up. You stretch. You smile. You check. Just because. And something is wrong. All the numbers say 0. Something horrible has happened.
why would you post something like that
Oh, god, I’m going to end up writing a -
From the day Sherlock could count, the clock on his wrist had confused him.
“But what does it do?” he asked his mother disdainfully. “What is it’s purpose?”
His mother just smiled down at him and rubbed over the spot on her own wrist. Sherlock could see that it was down to all zeros. Time had run out, but he didn’t know what it was timing. She crouched down next to him and took his wrist in her hand, glancing down at it for a moment.
“One day,” she said, “you’re going to meet someone. The most important person you’ve ever met. Then, the clock will say zero.”
“It’s counting down to the day I meet someone?” Sherlock questioned. His tone was near disgusted. “That’s ridiculous. What’s the point of that? And don’t say I’m too young to understand. That doesn’t work.”
She shook her head and repeated, “the most important person you’ve ever met, Sherlock.”
“I don’t like people,” Sherlock said adamantly. “They’re annoying.”
She stood back up and ruffled his hair fondly, ignoring his huffs of protest. “You’ll understand, when it happens,” she assured, walking away. Sherlock frowned at the floor and stomped off to the sitting room to read, angry that his mother wouldn’t give him a straightforward explanation.
Later on, as he managed his way through boredom and bullies and endless hours of school, he started hearing more about it. Excited quips from girls, squealing and showing each other their wrists. He would sneak around and listen, struggling through their annoying giggles long enough to finally hear; the timer counting down to the day you’d meet the most important person you’d ever meet. Your soul mate.
The words made him cringe in digust. The fact that he even had a working timer was horrid; it meant he’d end up meeting someone he would be deigned to remain with for the rest of his life. How could someone stand a single person for such a long amount of time?
The time on his wrist, by age ten, still read over 40 years.
John spent more time than he liked to admit thinking about what his soul mate would be like.
What colour is their hair? What are their interests? Do they like sports, or do they prefer to read? What do they do? What’ll they think of me?
The final question, he knew, was ridiculous; they’d love him, just as he’d love them. That was how it worked. The question was always nagging at his mind, though.
He was something of a romantic, you could say. He liked the idea of lying around with someone, cuddling with them on cold days and teasing, flirting like no one else mattered.
He hadn’t even met his soul mate and he was enamoured of them.
The time on his wrist read 30 years on his first day of medical school, and he wondered why he was one of the few who had to wait so long. He continually told himself it would be worth it, eventually.
It was the first proper case Lestrade had actually, legitimately, asked Sherlock to come to, and he was being harassed about his timer.
“For god’s sake!” he shouted, practically ripping his sleeve as he tugged it back down. “Yes, I do have one, yes, it is functioning!”
Anderson was sneering at him from a distance and Sherlock had half a mind to chin him right then.
“Jesus, calm down, Sherlock!” Lestrade exclaimed, holding his hands up defensively. “It’s just - you know, a surprise. For you.”
“Not like I ruddy well control whether or not I have one,” the detective hissed, absentmindedly rubbing his wrist.
The rest of the people in the room glanced around awkwardly, hands unconsciously touching the marks on their own arms. Lestrade kept eyeing Sherlock in a way he believed to be inconspicuous until Sherlock finally snapped and remarked, “is it proof enough?”
“Proof of what?” Lestrade questioned, confused.
“Proof enough for you and your team that I’m a human being, even if I’d rather not be.”
Lestrade expression fell and he looked away, internally upset with himself. “How much time is left?”
“What’s it your business?” Sherlock muttered.
The time had jumped from ten years to twenty yesterday afternoon, and he berated himself for feeling anything by it.
It was the only word present in John’s mind. Bloody accurate in so many senses. Burning desert sun, burning bullet embedded in his shoulder, burning ground against his back, burning throat as he let out strangled cries and raggedly inhaled dust.
Pain nearly covered it, but burning was more specific.
On top of the searing in his shoulder (searing worked pretty well, too), there was a hard throbbing in his right wrist, and he could see behind his eyes that the number of days until he met his soul mate were spinning rapidly, counting down.
Hell, maybe they’re dead, too, he thought. The burning sun became blotched out with black spots and John was lost to the world, writhing in the dirt unconsciously.
Sherlock’s eyes snapped open and he cried out in surprise, gripping his arm and working his jaw through an unexpected throb of pain. That… Definitely didn’t feel right.
He did a once-over of his arm and found nothing wrong until his eyes passed over his wrist. The numbers all read zero in dark red font and Sherlock’s expression faltered.
Just the day before they’d read four years, nine months. Something had gone wrong.
John’s eyes flew back open and he wheezed, trying to work against the pain in his lungs as he scraped along for air.
Broken ribs, his mind supplied. You’ve just had a heart attack, too. Don’t forget the bullet wound, of course. Sorry, you were thinking about your soul mate? Good bloody luck.
If he’d had enough oxygen, John would’ve shouted for it to shut up. He could feel hands working on him, inexperienced and trembling, moving too fast, too shoddy.
“Stay with me, mate,” the soldier begged. “God help us.”
Sherlock watched as the numbers started re-appearing.
1 day, 2 days. 3. 4. 5. 6.
They jumped back down to zero and his stomach flipped. They started over.
… 10, 12, 15, 22.
7, 17, 20.
The detective growled in frustration and rubbed his thumb hard over the mark.
“Make up your mind!” he shouted at it, watching as it climbed to 30 and dropped again. Every time it hit zero, he’d feel a stab of pain in his chest, a heavy weight on his heart.
The number rose once more and stopped at sixty-eight days.
If he felt a swell of warmth and relief, he dismissed it.
Since returning home, John had stopped checking his wrist. There’d been too much distraction; teary visits from his mum and tense ones from Harry. Trying to find somewhere to stay while he was healing and until he could find a job of some kind.
“I heard you were abroad somewhere, getting shot at! What happened?”
“… I got shot.”
There was something nagging at the back of his head, but he couldn’t place it. He felt different - almost better.
“Come on - who’d want me for a flatmate?”
It wasn’t until he stepped in the door of that lab.
“Mike, can I borrow your phone? There’s no signal on mine.”
John snapped his gaze up and his right hand clenched around the head of his cane. That voice; that gorgeous baritone sent a chill down his spine and made his chest feel like it was inflating.
“Ah - here. Use mine,” he offered breathlessly. Sherlock met his gaze and something flickered over his expression. His eyes darted down to his wrist and he lifted his sleeve just a centimetre - enough to make his breath hitch.
“Mike, give us a moment,” he ordered. Mike eyed them, back and forth, before complying and standing to walk out.
“Be back in ten minutes, mate, I ought to go check on something anyhow,” he said to John before he walked out. Sherlock stood as soon as the door shut and strode over to John, looming over him so close that John had to take a step backwards.
“Does it read zero?” Sherlock hissed. “Plain, grey zero?”
John wet his lips and sputtered a moment. Sherlock rolled his eyes and snatched the cane from John’s hand, taking his arm in the other and shoving up his sleeve.
0000d 00h 00m 00s
“Afghanistan or Iraq?” Sherlock demanded.
“What?” John asked, bewildered.
“Answer the question; Afghanistan or Iraq?”
“Afghanistan,” John managed. “How did you - “
“You were shot. You died, went into cardiac arrest, four times,” Sherlock said.
“How do you know this?” John asked.
Sherlock released John’s arm roughly and undid the cuff on his right arm, holding it out for John to see. The doctor ran a finger over it gingerly, then encircled Sherlock’s wrist with his hand. “Did you know,” Sherlock murmured, “if your soul mate - ” he said the word like it was filthy, but his gaze was still soft ” - dies, you can feel it? It shows up red on your wrist and it physically pains you.”
John swallowed and smiled tightly. “To be quite fair, I think the bullet hurt worse,” he quipped.
“What’s your name?” Sherlock asked.
The two stared at each other in a haze, eyes scanning over each other’s faces like they were committing them to memory.
“You’re looking for a flatmate?” John inquired eventually, softly.
Sherlock grinned and John grinned back, sliding his hand from Sherlock’s wrist to link their fingers together.