“You don’t smoke.”
You puffed out the smoke you were holding in your lungs through your nose, your eyes closed, “You aren’t real.”
Sherlock frowned as you took another long drag of your cigarette and then put it out on his gravestone, shaking your head as if trying to clear your thoughts. You turned and let your eyes slide open, looking at him for only a moment before drifting past him, “You aren’t real. Please go away. John’s already thinking of committing me and I would prefer that not happen.”
“(F/n)…” he called but you kept moving, “I don’t want to see you anymore, Sherlock. I can’t handle this. It’s unhealthy.”
You really didn’t believe he was there, what had you been seeing for you not to believe in what was right in front of you?
He jogged to catch up with you, placing himself in your path and holding your shoulders, and you looked up at him for a moment before yanking away to hold your head in your hands, “Get yourself together (F/n)… You’re clean and sober. He’s not there.”
You glanced back over and a panic flashed through your eyes when you saw he was still there, turning your back to him to grip at your arm until your nails drew blood, “Stop it. STOP. He’s not there, you idiot. Don’t you ever learn?”
Sherlock gaped at you for a second, unsure of what to do that wouldn’t just push you further over the edge and you suddenly just sat down on the ground, pulling your phone out with shaking hands. You dialed and pressed the phone to your ear, “J-John? He’s h-here again… I-I can’t… I n-need help… p-please. I can’t take this anymore.”
John tried to stay calm, fearful of what state he might find you in this time, “Where are you (F/n)?”
“The cemetery.” You whispered into the phone as you pulled your knees up into your chest.
“You just stay put until I get there, alright? We’re going to figure this out.”
You nodded even though you knew he couldn’t see it, “Okay… I’m so sorry John.”
“It’s alright (F/n). I’ll be right there.”
He hung up and ran a hand down his face, you’d been doing so well for the past few months- he’d convinced you to give up the alcohol and drugs, to go back to work. The end had been in sight and you were both finally going to be ok… and now this. He tugged on his coat and rushed out to go to you before something happened.
You just let the phone fall from your hand, wrapping both your arms tightly around your legs and burying your face into your knees as you repeated over and over, “He’s gone. It’s not real.”
He sat down quietly on the ground next to you. This was his doing. This was what he had reduced to you to. He could see you rarely slept or ate just by looking at you, the pack of cigarettes in your pocket was half gone though you’d only bought it the day before, and your arms were patterned with finger shaped bruises and small red crescents.
Still, there was hope. There were small signs of things getting better underneath the overwhelming dysfunction. Your clothes were clean and nails painted, meaning you’d at least been trying to take care of yourself, he could see a hint of a nicotine patch that meant you were trying to quit, and the fact that you’d called John for help spoke volumes. You had been slowly getting over him, getting better, and now he’d ruined it by showing up and pushing you back into whatever nightmare you’d been living before.
He reached out to touch you, hesitating before his hand actually hit you and pulling it back when he decided against it. He would wait until John got there to try again, he needed to see him anyways… he’d planned it differently but now it seemed he didn’t have much of a choice.
You looked up when you heard John call out to you, “(F/n)? Where are- What… Sherlock?”
He stopped short, trying to wrap his head around what was going on… Had he lost it as well? Sherlock was sitting right there next to you… it wasn’t possible and yet there he was. He came out of it at the sound of your voice, small and distraught, “John?”
He shot a glare at Sherlock, real or not he was the reason for your distress, and fell to his knees to gather you in his arms, letting you cling to him as you took deep breaths to try and calm yourself, “I don’t want to see him anymore John. I want my life back.”
“I know (F/n). I know,” he comforted as he rubbed you back, hoping you would calm quickly so he could get this all sorted out. You stopped shaking and loosened your grip on him, pulling back to look at him, “This has to stop John… I-I think… I think it would be best if I got some help… I-I know you’ve been considering… I think you… you should c-c-commit me.”
He kissed your forehead, “No (F/n). You aren’t crazy… and if you are then I am too because I see him sitting right there next to us.”
“That’s because I am here,” you both turned to look at him and John furrowed his brow, “How… You were dead. I saw it! WE SAW IT!”
“I’m not dead… you both had to think I was. To keep you safe.”
John launched himself at the consulting detective, pinning him beneath him and then pointing to you as he yelled, “Does that look safe to you? Your death pushed her so far up the wall she wants me to commit her. We cared about you, you twat. She loved you and you just left her- left us!”
Sherlock shoved him off and they both jumped to their feet as he calmly stated, “I had to, John, there was no other way.”
John responded with a fist in his face, causing Sherlock to stumble back and you to spring up, putting yourself between them to look up at Sherlock, “You... If John can see you….”
You took his face in your hands, your thumb gently rubbing over his cheek as you breathed, “You’re real?”
He brought his hands up to press over yours as he gave a small smile, “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you, you idiot.”
After staring at him for a moment, you threw your arms around him and let out a sob, “I hate you, you selfish jerk.”
He wrapped himself tightly around you and buried his nose in your neck, “I know. I’m so sorry (F/n).”
John watched the two of you, surprised at the hint of tears in Sherlock’s eyes as he held you like you would disappear, like you were the one who had left. He was so angry and confused but underneath it all he was beyond relieved that Sherlock was back, it meant you would be all right. You all would be all right.