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Post-Reichenbach. John struggles to cope with the loss of Sherlock. A mystery provides a distraction...or does it?

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world,

which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime,

and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Author note: Part 5 of the "No Heart For Me Like Yours" series. This story contains quite a few spoilers for the rest of the series, so it would probably make much more sense to read the series in order, as it tells how John and Sherlock got to this point.

Thanks to arianedevere and the detailed transcript of “The Reichenbach Fall” at her LJ site:

Many thanks to my beta, Skyfullofstars. Sky, thank you for making me stop and think harder about this story. It’s better because of you.

Disclaimers: Sherlock belongs to Steven Moffatt and Mark Gatiss, Sherlock Holmes originally belonged to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I own nothing. This makes me very, very sad.

Warnings: Sherlock/John. Slash, slash, somewhat graphic slash. Major, major spoilers for Season 2.

Trigger warnings: Suicidal ideation; references to previous abusive relationship, non-con, sexual assault.

Please read and review!

Read Chapter 5


Chapter 6: When the Gods Wish to Punish Us


“When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.”

Oscar Wilde



I stagger backward, my knees buckling traitorously beneath me. My gun and torch drop from my suddenly nerveless fingers, as my body collides with the granite outcropping. That’s probably a good thing – without the solid stone at my back, I’m not sure I would be standing right now.

“It’s you,” I gasp in a hoarse whisper. My mouth has gone completely dry, and a chunk of ice big enough to sink the Titanic has dropped into the pit of my stomach. I lift my hand to scrub at my face, trying to orient myself.

The man standing before me is painfully thin, clothes hanging on his haggard frame. His hair, cut short and dyed a dark ginger, stands up in wild disarray, and a scant, patchy beard covers his jaw. Yet despite all of these differences, despite his being dressed in ragged clothing and a worn anorak, too skinny, clearly unwashed and sleep-deprived, I know his face instantly. There is no mistaking those incredible, almond-shaped eyes, those extraordinary cheekbones, those full, elaborately-sculpted lips. It’s him.

It’s Sherlock. Alive.


He reaches out, takes a step toward me. And that’s when I remember Sherlock’s exultant voice, high on the pleasure of solving another mystery, explaining his deductions to Henry Knight. “He had the means right at his feet – a chemical minefield, pressure pads in the ground, dosing you up every time that you came back here.”

The drug. Project H.O.U.N.D.’s drug, the one that causes fear-based hallucinations. This is where the dispersal system was located.

I’m hallucinating. He’s not real.

Not real.

Moaning, I slide down the wall of granite at my back, unmindful of the rough stone snagging and ruining my jacket. Cradling my head in my hands, I press my face into my drawn-up knees, moaning softly.

“You’re not really here, this is just the drugs in the fog, I’m hallucinating, you’re not real…”

Sherlock’s voice, speaking sharply, “Leave us, Wiggins. You can return to London now. I’ll be in touch.”

Not real.

A crinkle of money changing hands. “Thank you, Mr. Holmes.”

I press my face harder into my knees, the coarse denim reassuring against my skin.




That’s who the young woman is! The homeless girl that Sherlock uses most often for information gathering. I knew I recognised her face!

But I spotted her at the inn, not here in Dewer’s Hollow. So…she’s real.

And if she’s here, then that means…


Oh, my God.

 “John, it’s me. Think. You know they removed Frankland’s drug-dispersal system as evidence. There is no drug. I’m here. I’m real. Look at me, please.”

Two denim-clad knees drop to the stony ground in front of me, the texture of the fabric starkly highlighted by the beam from the fallen torch. A cool hand tentatively grips my shoulder, and I lift my head to gaze into intense, silvery eyes.



He’s real. He’s alive.

My trembling fingers reach up to touch his shoulder, his neck, his beautiful face. The scraggly beard under my fingers doesn’t cover enough of his face to hide the sunken hollows of his cheeks.  I can’t speak, can’t find the words.

“John…” his voice breaks, and his long, slim fingers come up to tentatively cup my face. “John, I missed you so much…”

And the eerie, cold spell of disbelief is broken. He’s real.

I lunge forward, seizing his face and hair as hard as I can, bringing our mouths together into a bruising, fierce kiss. There is nothing tender or gentle about this reunion – it is a violent clash of lips and tongues and teeth, of grasping hands and clawing fingernails. This is not lovemaking. This is a simple need to put my hands on his body, to verify the life within for myself.

I rip Sherlock’s shirt open, buttons flying everywhere, and shove his shirt and jacket from his shoulders in one impatient movement. When one shirt cuff stubbornly clings to his wrist, I rip it so hard that he hisses in pain before the seam parts. His t-shirt swiftly follows. I run my hands over his chest, wincing at the prominence of his ribs.

Sherlock pushes off my jacket and tugs my jumper over my head, flinging it down to the ground beside us. He unbuttons my jeans and opens the flies, pushing them down my hips along with my pants.

The button to Sherlock’s trousers is being incredibly stubborn, and I growl with frustration. Sherlock nudges my hands aside long enough to open them for me, and then I am shoving my hand into his pants, grasping his cock in my hand.

Sherlock groans and pulls me in for another forceful, brutal kiss, our bodies pressed together from lips to groin. His long, clever fingers wrap around mine and force them to release him long enough to press his shaft against my own. Then he twines our joined hands around our cocks, and begins to stroke us together, hard and fast.

It doesn’t take long until we are gasping into each other’s mouths and crying out harsh, wordless shouts of animalistic lust. Suddenly Sherlock goes rigid, and comes over our joined fingers. Seeing that is enough to tip me over the edge after him, and I’m falling into a spiral of sensation and longing and grief…Sherlock!

We cling together for a few moments, then the discomfort of our physical position, kneeling on a stony path in Dewer’s Hollow, takes precedence. Slowly, we release each other, readjusting and refastening our trousers so that we can sit, side by side, slumped against the granite outcropping.

As the euphoria of finding Sherlock alive begins to fade, I am feeling increasingly nauseated. He’s alive…and has been all along. So why is this the first I’m hearing about that little fact? What the hell?

“Took you long enough to figure out the postcard.”

Sherlock breaks the silence, in typical-bloody-Sherlock fashion, by pointing out my lack of brilliance. No apology, no tears, no sign that he has missed me, no implication that what could only be an elaborately-planned deception has caused him any concern for my emotional wellbeing.

Right. That is it.

I leap to my feet, snatch up my muddy jumper from the ground, and pull it on. I retrieve my gun and tuck it into the back of my waistband, then seize my jacket and torch from the muddy ground. I pull my jacket on with quick, rough movements.

“I don’t know what the bloody hell you’re playing at, but you owe me an explanation, Sherlock Holmes, and a fucking apology.”

Sherlock is standing now, attempting to button the ruined tatters of his moss-green shirt, then pulling on his anorak.

“Didn’t you hear the recording on my phone? I know it’s been hard, but this deception was utterly necessary in order to destroy Moriarty’s network.”

“It’s been hard? You sodding bastard!

I lunge forward, giving him a hard shove, resolutely squelching any pang of remorse for the look of startled hurt on his face. I shove him again, and he stumbles backward, loses his balance and falls heavily to the ground. He stares up at me in disbelief.

How could you put me through that, Sherlock? Did you ever love me?”

“Don’t be an idiot, John. Of course, I love you. Why else would I do all of this?”

Oh, my God.

Now he’s going to claim that he did this for me?

I can’t do this. I need time to think, to figure out when my life turned into a ridiculous passion play.

“I can’t look at you right now.” I turn sharply, and begin to stalk away.

“John! John!” He pauses, then with a break in his voice, he cries, “John…for God’s sake…you’re the love of my life!”

I stop dead, and stand still for a moment, trying to gain control of my temper. It’s pointless.

Whirling back around, I shout, “And I thought you were mine, Sherlock! But the love of your life doesn’t ‘die’ and use your grief as a pawn in a game!”

He’s scrambling to his feet. “You have the phone – you heard the recording. You know why I had to jump. You know that I had to ‘die’ in order to keep you alive!”

Two and a half months, Sherlock!” I’m bellowing at him now, and I can feel my pulse thundering in my temples. “Ten sodding weeks that you let me think you were dead.”

My fists clench at my sides, and I’m breathing like I’ve been running a marathon, fast and uneven. Sherlock stands motionless, his face a rictus of grief.

“Are you telling me that there was no way for you to contact me before now? That in this modern age of instant communication, that you had no bloody way to reach me?”

I stalk back toward him and stop, glaring daggers into him. His pale eyes are bloodshot, red-rimmed and swollen. I feel a ridiculous surge of guilt. Damn it, why am I feeling guilty?

“Yes, John.” His voice is rough. “That’s what I’m telling you.”

“Really.” I fold my arms across my chest, feeling my spine straighten even further, my military training unconsciously dictating my posture. “Care to enlighten me? Because I don’t buy it, Sherlock. I think that you got caught up in the game of chasing Moriarty’s network, and didn’t give a single thought to who you had left behind.”

His head snaps up, and I see a trace of the old, familiar arrogance in his stance.

“Of course. Believe the worst of me, like everyone always has. I thought you were different, John. I thought you had faith in me.”

Oh, that is it. The last fucking straw.

I lunge forward, fisting both hands in the front of his fawn-coloured anorak, and give him a violent shake.

“Faith in you?” I snarl at him. “Faith in you? You lost any right to any faith I had in you, Sherlock, the minute you forced me to watch you jump off of the roof of a fucking building. You made me watch you die. Faith in you? You unbelievable bastard.”

He allows me to manhandle him, unresisting, his lips set in a tight line.

“I tried, John. I tried to leave you as many clues as I could – I told you that it was a magic trick, I left the recording on my phone, I actually staked out the funeral, planning to find a way to contact you. But you didn’t even come.” The hurt he feels at that fact is unmistakable in his voice.

“I didn’t…you don’t even…” I’m having a hell of a time stringing coherent words together, watching him struggling against tears.

Damn it, don’t go soft, Watson – he needs to know how bad it was.

Still, I find myself softening my voice a bit, easing my angry grip on his jacket.

“You idiot, do you know why I wasn’t at the funeral? Do you know where I was that morning?”

He shakes his head mutely. His skin is so ghostly pale, with dark smudges beneath the great, glistening eyes that stare at me as though I might vanish at any moment.

“The reason I wasn’t there, watching them put an empty box in the ground for that sham of a funeral, Sherlock, was because I was at home, thinking about watching the love of my life shatter his body on the pavement in front of St. Bart’s. I was busy, you see, sitting on our bed, with the barrel of a gun in my mouth.”

Sherlock blanches, his already impossibly fair skin abruptly several shades lighter, and he staggers, his knees buckling. I release his jacket to grasp him by the elbows, instinctively easing him to the ground, and find myself kneeling with him. His long, slender fingers clutch at my arms, and I can’t bring myself to push him away.

“John,” he gasps hoarsely, “John.”

“I sat there the entire time, Sherlock, and so many nights since, putting the gun in my mouth, then taking it out again, over and over, looking at pictures of us together, thinking about you lying in a pool of blood, remembering your eyes…your eyes…staring up at the sky, empty, gone…”

I can’t continue. I’m sobbing now, collapsing forward into his arms, and we’re clinging to each other like survivors of a shipwreck. I suppose, in a way, that’s what we are.


Read Chapter 7


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