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Sherlock BBC Prompting Meme

"we get all sorts around here."

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Prompting: Part IV
Giggles at the Palace
Please check the Sticky Post to find the newest active part and post your prompts there.

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Guys, I will only put in one reminder about this.
Think before you prompt about the way you are asking. It isn’t difficult, and it will only take a minute or so of your time.

That said...
This is a kink meme. As such, there will be prompts that could offend you in a number of different ways. Not every prompt will have a trigger warning, and not every prompt will rub you the right way. If you have an issue with a specific prompt, feel free to bring it up in a discussion that takes place off the meme. However, flaming will not be tolerated regardless of origin.
You have rights to an opinion, of course, just as you have the right to scroll right past a prompt that you dislike.

Remember, guys; Be civil, be friendly, but don’t be shy!

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  • 1
After the pool incident, when John goes to sleep, he ends up meeting a little boy. Every single night he ends up meeting this boy, the time between varying. Sometimes it's several times in the same day or the next day, but eventually the gaps begin to grow further and further apart. Months, even years.

The boy is Sherlock and John knows it almost instantly or at most after a couple nights. It's why Sherlock grows attached so quickly, but is distant at first. No one believed John was real, no one else met him and even resorted to psychiatrists to get little Sherlock to snap out of it.

Basically: John starts meeting ickle Sherlock in his dreams.

If you're into Mycroft/Lestrade, you could switch the roles. Could explain why Mycroft has some grasp of social norms and uses CCTV cameras, I guess, making sure Lestrade doesn't disappear again.

Sorry, I had to read that three times to get it.
John doesn't just see Sherlock in his dreams, they actually meet in the past? Some kind of astral plane travelling to back when Sherlock was a boy and astral!John and ickle!Sherlock have "adventures" (aka adorable moments where ickle!Sherlock shows astral!John something interesting in the shrubbery) together?

That sounds really cute! Alas, half the fandom and their dog know by now that I'm almost obsessed with John/Mycroft. Because in my mind ickle+7years!Mycroft does see John with his brother sometimes but knows when to keep a secret. ;____;

Ah! Sorry about it being confusing, wrote it at 2:00am just before going to bed. That's exactly what I meant. I wouldn't mind John/Mycroft either, I can never just stick to one pairing.

John's Midnight Garden (1/many)

I'm not sure if the OP has ever read Tom's Midnight Garden, but it's what I thought of immediately when I read this prompt and I make no apologies about any similarities between this fic and that book (but I will say that it is by Phillipa Pearce, not me, I don't own any of it, and it's brilliant - it's also one of the only books in the world that makes me cry every time I read it, without fail).

For as long as John can remember he has dreamt of the garden. It isn’t a place that he’s ever been to in real life, but when he closes his eyes and drifts off he sometimes finds himself there.

It’s a strange, rambling place, full of nooks and crannies. It’s like the gardens of the stately homes that his parents would take him and Harry to when they were little, but isn’t based on any of them.

In some places there are clearly regimented borders, with flowers planted in bright rows of colour and hemmed in with short walls, and lawns marked out clearly below the terrace. Then, further in, there are wild places, where the trees are so tall that when he was little he thought that they were like the Magic Faraway tree and they might stretch up past the sky and into different lands. There is a walled rose garden, thickets of brambles and strange, secret places under the yew trees where he can run and hide.

When he was young he ran through all the paths and off them, he climbed all of the trees as high as he could, even the huge oak tree that towers over all the others.

He would wake up with scratches on his face and skinned knees and his mother would shake her head, tut and ask what it was he got up to. He would shrug and not tell anyone.

He had tried to tell Harry about the place he went to in his dreams once, but she hadn’t believed him and then taunted him until they had fallen to the floor together, pulling hair and biting.

When their mother had separated them, Harry had told her everything and John had looked up at her through reddened eyes.

“Most children have imaginary friends,” she had said with a weary sigh, and that had been the last time John had tried to explain. He kept his garden to himself then.

There were no friends, though; no one was ever in the garden other than John. He would walk through it when the air was sharp with the first tingles of spring and the snowdrops and crocuses poked up from the earth and he would walk through it when it was covered in thick white snow. He woke up with damp hair and freezing cold feet and smile to himself because it was his and no one else’s. But he never saw another person wandering between the trees or across the lawn.

There was a house in the garden, but John never went near it. The lines of the walls and the pitch of the roof were forbidding. It towered over the garden. It looked like a house filled with ghosts and all he could see through the windows was darkness. He once thought he saw a face at the window, just a pale patch against the dark behind the glass.

John had run immediately at that, hiding behind the huge oak and struggling to get his heart under control. He didn’t know why, but he didn’t want anyone to find him there.

That was the only time, though. There was never any other sign of human life in the garden as John explored and played ridiculous games of knights and dragons or pretending to fight the evil enchanters who lived in such a place.

Harry forgot about the garden in time, but John never did.


John's Midnight Garden (2/many)

He had thought that the dreams would stop when he grew up, but they didn’t. He spent as much time in the garden when he was twenty as when he was twelve. He knew better than to talk about it by then.

When he was in Afghanistan and the heat pressed down on him and the whole world seemed to be going to hell he would go to sleep and he’d wake up to find himself in the garden.

He didn’t run through it anymore, or pretend to fight dragons. He had enough of that in the real world. He would just sit and watch the world, or walk through it, taking a moment to let himself breathe.

He woke up one night to find Bill Murray shaking him awake. After he was up and back in proper uniform Murray looked at him a little confused.

“Is that an oak leaf?” he asked gesturing to John’s hair.

John’s hand went up automatically and when he brought it down again there was indeed an oak leaf between his fingers, brown and crackly.

“How the hell did that get out here?” Bill had asked. All John could do was shrug, but he pushed it between the pages of his copy of Treasure Island and occasionally he would open it up and look at the leaf, letting himself smile.


Everything changed after he left Afghanistan, though. The world closed in around him and he didn’t dream of the garden. Every night he closed his eyes and those moments he had thought were his last replayed over the back of his eyelids again and again, like a video stuck on repeat.

He would wake up shaking and terrified. Every night the same. Just the nightmares again.

Until Sherlock.

Sherlock Holmes turns the world upside down. It’s a fact that John has come to know well. And he turned John upside down too. In that first moment they met Sherlock turned him upside down and shook out all of his secrets onto the ground where he could examine them. Sherlock went through every inch of his life piece by piece and then gave it back to him.

And somehow, building John back up, he made him better.

It was as though every piece of him had been dusted off, like his psyche had been given a good spring clean. Sherlock had somehow cleared out all the cobwebs and made things fit together better. John felt more like himself than he had in years.

So it wasn’t surprising that he didn’t consider it strange when the dreams came back then. He didn’t connect it to Sherlock for any more reason than Sherlock was the one who had helped to put him back together.

That first week in Baker Street he dreamt of the garden every night, but he didn’t think that it was strange, he was more relieved than confused. He was grateful to have that normality and balance back in his life.

He was aware that most adults did not have recurring lucid dreams about gardens, but most adults wouldn’t consider living with Sherlock Holmes a normal state of affairs either.

They calmed down after that first week and soon he visited the garden his usual one or two times a week and everything felt settled again.


John's Midnight Garden (3/many)

The pool explodes.

Well, that is an oversimplification. There has been so much that has come before that, the bombs and the pips and Moriarty. There was Carl Powers and the painting and Moriarty, and there was Sherlock, so much Sherlock. John’s mind has been buzzing for days. He’s been going through it all on high alert, trying to keep up with everything and trying to reconcile every moment with what is happening. He is thinking about snipers and bombs and are you alright? and he can’t get his mind straight until the world explodes in white hot heat.

Then his mind is completely calm, as he leaps towards Sherlock and he feels the blast throw them back. He can feel it hit them and then…

He’s not sure whether he’s unconscious or dead when he opens his eyes. Every part of him aches and burns. There is a warm wet trickle that feels horribly like blood trickling down the side of his face and every single one of his ribs feels broken.

He is lying face down on something slightly damp and quite uncomfortable. The scent of earth in his nostrils and the strange juxtaposition of birdsong above him are the only sign he has to where he is.

The garden.

“Am I dead?” he asks, not expecting an answer. It crosses his mind that maybe this is paradise he has been visiting all these years. But he had not seen it in Afghanistan when the bullet pierced his shoulder and he almost bled out onto the ground.

“Dead things don’t usually talk,” a young voice says from somewhere on his right. John’s so startled that for a moment he forgets the pain that’s spinning through him and tries to push himself up.

He can’t even begin to muffle the groan of agony that escapes him then.

“Who…?” he tries again to move, levering himself up on one arm. He almost makes it before his elbow gives way and he’s falling back down to the ground.

Small hands catch him before he hits earth, and John finds himself being gently rolled over onto his back.

There is a moment where he is blinded. The sky above him is so bright and the pool had been dark. He has to shut his eyes against it for a moment, squinting until he can make out a brilliant blue sky with picture perfect white fluffy clouds floating through it.

He can’t help it, he laughs.

His ribs are killing him, his lungs can’t seem to catch enough air, but he has to laugh because outside in the real world everything is going to hell in a handbasket, but here in the world inside his head the sky is perfect and the weather is lovely. If that isn’t a sign that he’s screwed up, he doesn’t know what is.

“What’s so funny?” asks the voice again. It sounds confused.

“Everything,” John says, wheezing with pain, but still unable to stop the chuckles from coming. They’re getting a little hysterical now. “I just blew up.”

The light above him dims as something blocks out the sun. It takes John another few blinks to distinguish the silhouette of a head and a few more to make out a mop of messy dark hair and a serious expression.

It is the face of a young boy, barely more than eight if John had to guess. Puppy fat still clings to his cheeks, making his expression more amusing than stern. He is frowning and his brows are furrowed in a familiar way, but John can’t place it right now.

“You were in an explosion?” the boy asks, sounding far too interested by the prospect. One small, skinny finger pokes at John in his stomach making him wince with pain. “I read about explosion victims in the library. Sometimes they can only find little bits of them.” His tone implies that he is highly disappointed that there is so much of John left.

John's Midnight Garden (4/many)

“It’s not as fun as it sounds,” John says. The boy frowns a little.

“Most people don’t find explosions amusing,” he says. “Mummy doesn’t. She got really upset and I didn’t get any supper.”

“Supper?” It’s not the strangest part of this conversation by a long shot, but John does wonder why part of his brain has decided to talk like an Enid Blyton book. He watches as the boys face turns thoughtful for a second.

“Although that could have been because the oven wasn’t exactly working afterwards.”

“You blew up the oven?” John asks. It is peculiar, he thinks in the part of his mind that is not preoccupied with the pain, that this conversation is the least weird part of the last few days. But in John’s life conversations about the troublesome consequences of exploding kitchen appliances are part and parcel of everyday life. And, he thinks a little ruefully, he’s not really surprised that there is apparently a part of his brain that has started to act like Sherlock.

“Technically Mycroft blew up the oven…” the boy says and John’s mind sticks on that phrase, drowning everything else out. Technically Mycroft blew up the oven. Technically Mycroft blew up. Technically Mycroft. Mycroft blew up. Mycroft. Mycroft.

“Mycroft?” John echoes, unable to say anything else because his mind is not working, which he blames on his undoubted concussion but Mycroft.

Mycroft.” the boy confirms in tones of loathing that, in a boy this young, can only be reserved for an older sibling.

John opens his mouth to say something, but suddenly the ringing in his ears is roaring back into his life, drowning out the sound of birdsong and the pain is rushing in more angrily than before. He closes his eyes against it.

Suddenly the ground beneath him is harder, less bumpy, and wetter. He opens his eyes to look up and nothing much has changed, but the quality of the light is different – electric and harsh – and the silhouette is larger, darker.

“John!” Sherlock is calling to him. John can’t think why for a moment, so he says the first thing that comes into his head.

“You’re inside my bloody brain.” Sherlock’s brow furrows, exactly as his younger self’s had done (and how did John not recognise that expression?) But the confusion passes quickly as Sherlock decides it must be the concussion talking.

“Are you alright?”

“I just blew up,” John says, with a hiccup of hysterical giggle. There is a momentary expression that shoots over Sherlock’s face, too quick for John’s addled mind to catch or understand it. It is gone as soon as it comes and replaced by concern.

“Are you alright?” Sherlock repeats.

“I think so,” John replies. It’s the best answer he can give at the minute. He tries to look around but Sherlock’s hand catches his chin.

“Don’t move.”

“Moriarty?” John wheezes out. His ribs feel worse now than they did in his dream world and every word is an effort. It feels like every time he breathes out he is emptying out the last scraps of air from his lungs.

The expression of disgust on Sherlock’s face says it all. He leans back so his shadow is no longer on John’s face, and John notices the dust that is spread over his shoulders and hair for the first time, making Sherlock prematurely grey.

“The ambulance is on its way,” Sherlock tells him. “Don’t even think of being stupid enough to die.”

“Never,” John tells him, but he can feel unconsciousness creeping up on him. And his eyelids are drooping shut.

There is no garden this time, just darkness.


Re: John's Midnight Garden (5/many)

The next time he wakes up he is in a hospital bed, surrounded by off-white and beeping machines. From the sounds of it Sherlock is outside the room having an argument with Mycroft over the phone and, when John looks to the side, Harry is sleeping in one of the uncomfortable hospital chairs.

Her lip is caught between her teeth, like it always is when she’s afraid.

John wants to reach out and take her hand, but his arms feel as though they’re made of lead and his head feels like it’s filled with feathers. It makes him giggle again.

“Which is heavier,” he asks the world as his eyes grow heavy again, “a tonne of lead or a tonne of feathers?”

“That’s a ridiculous question,” a familiar voice says and John opens his eyes to find himself standing in the walled rose garden in just his hospital gown.

The roses are in full bloom and the scent of them all is thick, heady and intense, but not unpleasant.

Most people can’t smell in their dreams.

Sherlock, or the younger version of him that John seems to have imagined, is standing in the gateway watching him.

“If there’s a tonne of both then obviously they both weigh the same,” he says, sounding as put out by the ignorance of such a stupid question as his real, grown-up self would.

His pocket moves and John blinks and stares at it for a moment, but nothing else happens.

“How did you get in here?” mini Sherlock asks, staring at him like he’s some sort of grand puzzle that he has to work out. John shrugs. “I’ve been outside the gate all morning. You can’t have come in that way.” His pocket moves again.

“I don’t know,” John admits. His legs feel unsteady.

“Mycroft says I’m too old for imaginary friends,” Sherlock tells him abruptly.

“I’m not imaginary,” John replies, “you are.”

“No I’m not,” Sherlock tells him quite seriously. His pocket is beginning to squirm, and John thinks he can hear squeaking.

“If you’re not imaginary,” John says, “then what are you doing in my dream?” He’ll be damned if a figment of his imagination is going to convince him he’s not real, even one that has decided to construct itself around Sherlock.

“I’m not in your dream,” Sherlock replies, quite seriously. “You’re in my back garden.”

“This is my garden.” John’s not sure why he gets to possessive. This is only a dream after all. But this is his garden. He’s been coming here since he was a child and this is his place, no one else’s. Sherlock isn’t going to take over this part of his life like he has done every other part (no matter whether John doesn’t mind it most of the time or not.)

Sherlock opens his mouth to reply again, but the lump in his pocket moves again and squeaks very loudly. He shoves a hand into the pocket and pulls it out again holding a mouse. He strokes along the brow of its head with one finger.

“Mummy found it in the kitchen,” Sherlock explains unbidden. “She was going to kill it so I asked if I could use it for my experiments.”

John feels a little queasy. The word ‘sociopath’ is whirling around his head and he has to wonder what it says about him that part of his subconscious has decided to model itself on one.

“What sort of experiments?” he asks, knowing that he will regret it.

John's Midnight Garden (6/many)

“I want to see whether it prefers to eat Mycroft’s dress shoes or his tennis shoes,” Sherlock says, grinning broadly. There is entirely too much dimple in that grin John thinks, even as relief floods him. “I’m hoping it chooses his dress shoes. Mycroft doesn’t like tennis.”

John laughs again, relief flooding into him so hard that his knees start to buckle.

Sherlock catches him again before he can hit the ground and just as the pain washes over him again, making his lungs burn and his ribs ache. Between them they manage to get John into a sitting position. He hiccups little breaths of air and Sherlock watches him carefully. One small finger reaches up to touch the cut on John’s forehead, where the stitches are.

“You’re not still hurt from that explosion are you?” he asks. “That was weeks ago.”

“It was yesterday,” John corrects. Sherlock frowns and seems to be about to say something more when there is a call from the house; a female voice.

“Sherlock, dear. Come in now, it’s time for lunch.”

“I have to go,” Sherlock says. His pale eyes still watching John carefully. “Don’t die in the rose garden.”

The mouse is unceremoniously shoved back into its pocket and Sherlock runs out of the garden, leaving John sagging like a puppet with its strings cut.

He looks up at the sky and can’t decide whether he wants to laugh or cry so in the end he just closes his eyes.

When he opens them again the hospital room is back, he is lying on his bed and Harry is standing next to him clutching at his hand. There is a shadow in the doorway that must be Sherlock.

“Hey,” he says, for lack of anything better. Harry’s eyes are bloodshot and pink around the edges. He opens his mouth to sigh but then notices the tear tracks running down her cheeks.

Not the booze this time then. He squeezes her hand as hard as he can and feels her squeeze back.

“I’m fine,” he tells her, but his eyes dart to Sherlock’s for a second. The man looks as though he has seen a ghost. “I’m fine,” he repeats and Sherlock schools his features again before nodding. “Right…”


John's Midnight Garden (7/many)

He sleeps a lot in the hospital and he dreams of the garden almost every time he closes his eyes. It is the same as ever, though the seasons change more quickly than they should. And, of course, there is Sherlock. He is there every time.

They explore the garden again together, Sherlock is fascinated by everything he can find, from the lines of ants to the poisonous plants that hang around. He pauses by some Belladonna at one point and starts a sentence beginning with ‘Mycroft could’

“No,” John stops him before he can even finish the thought. “No poisoning your brother.” Sherlock sulks for a long second before sighing and moving onto the foxgloves nearby. That leads to a conversation about digitalis. Sherlock listens as John tells him everything he can remember about it, both as a poison and a heart medicine.

They play hide and seek from time to time and John enjoys the fact that there is something here that he can teach Sherlock Holmes, even if it is an imaginary version of him. Sherlock knows the rudimentary elements of tracking, but John knows more, from his own experience and from what Sherlock (real, grown-up Sherlock) has taught him, usually with that smug look of amusement he gets from time to time.

The strangest times though, are when they are actually playing. John hasn’t played pirates since he was five or six, and he has never played it like Sherlock does, explaining the mechanics of keel-hauling and death by shark.

“Mycroft once threatened to feed me to a shark,” he says. “He had a plan when we went to seaworld.” John stares for a second, unwilling to contemplate the Holmes’ family day trips. “But it’s not really a reliable way to kill people.”

He is fascinated by the behaviour of predators, hyenas in particular, and he goes on at length about them for hours. But it’s not just animals and deadly poisons that fascinate him, one night John spends ten minutes trying to answer questions he can’t possibly answer about different soil types. Sherlock is convinced that every type of soil in the world must be unique, and decides quite firmly that you must be able to work out where soil came from down to a very small area because of that.

John suggests geology after that lecture, but he is treated to a scandalised look.

“I borrowed Mycroft’s geography text book once,” Sherlock tells him. John’s pretty sure Mycroft never got it back. “I looked at the chapter on geology. It was all about tectonic plates and continental shift. Dull.”

Some things never change.

John's Midnight Garden (8/many)

Somewhere in there, between the games of hide and seek and the games of hide and seek and rally 1-2-3, they have a conversation that John isn’t sure how to classify.

“Who are you?” Sherlock asks him out of the blue one day. John gapes. This isn’t a subject that has come up since that day in the rose garden when they each tried to convince the other that he was imaginary.

“Uh…” he says eloquently. “I’m… I’m a friend,” he finishes a little pathetically. Sherlock’s back straightens and he looks at him with sudden, dark suspicion.

“I don’t have any friends,” he says with certainty.

“Well now you do,” John tells him, holding out his hand. Sherlock takes it slowly.

“What’s your name?” he asks when their hands are stuck together in mid air, not yet moving, just caught in the beginning of a handshake. John is caught off guard. It has never occurred to him that they have not done this. He had assumed that Sherlock would know his name, this being the inside of his own head. But Sherlock is always contrary. “Friends are supposed to know these things, aren’t they?” Sherlock continues, the suspicion is rising and John can see Sherlock shutting off, like he does when he’s grown up. It’s not an expression he’s seen on young Sherlock’s face before.

Sherlock appears to take his hesitation as a refusal and begins to pull his hand away, but John holds on.

“Yes they are,” he agrees. “John Watson.” He shakes Sherlock’s hand firmly.

“Sherlock Holmes,” Sherlock replies, smiling a little shyly.

“Pleased to meet you,” John responds. Apparently it is the right thing to say because Sherlock’s smile turns into a full blown grin and he drags him off to look at the decomposing corpse of a sparrow underneath the poplar trees down at the far end of the garden, furthest away from the house.

No, John thinks again, some things never change.


John's Midnight Garden (9/many)

When John gets home from he hospital, the dreams come back with him and it’s on the fourth night after he gets back he has one of the most terrifying dreams of his life.

He goes to sleep and when he opens his eyes he is far from his bedroom in Baker Street. He is standing in the shadow of the old oak tree looking up the perfectly manicured lawn towards the huge, ominous shadow of the house. In the middle of the lawn two boys are arguing over a remote control aeroplane.

John watches with interest. He has never seen Mycroft before in this dream world. The boy towers over his younger brother, who has yet to see even the first hint of a growth spurt. He is slightly overweight, though not by much, just enough for John to understand where Sherlock’s mocking jokes about diets might come from (if this were anything more than John’s imagination). He is using his superior height to hold the aeroplane far above Sherlock’s head and John experiences a slight rush of glee at watching Sherlock jump to try and reach it.

“You are not going to break father’s aeroplane, Sherlock,” Mycroft says firmly. He must be fifteen or so. “If you do then we’ll both be sent to our rooms.”

“But I need to measure the wind-speed!” Sherlock protests, jumping again. His fingers don’t even come close to the plane.

“Then use an anemometer like everyone else,” Mycroft says. He sounds exactly like he does as an adult. His voice has broken already and he has the same unruffled calm about him.

“But the garden’s sheltered,” Sherlock tells him bitterly. “There’s the house and the trees. I need to measure the wind-speed up there.” He points upwards towards the greying sky. With its higher pitch the whine in his voice is even more unbearable.

“Well you’ll just have to find another way,” Mycroft says firmly. Sherlock stamps his foot.

“Fine!” he snaps before storming off back to the house.

Mycroft watches him go for a second before sighing and tucking the plane back under his arm and walking to the other side of the house, where what John knows to be the kitchen door now stands open.

John's Midnight Garden (10/many)

John feels awkward standing out there alone. It has been weeks since he has been in the garden without Sherlock and now that he’s alone again he can’t think of what to do. He feels at a loose end. But he still feels that strange unpleasant feeling from the house and he never gets close to it if he can help it. But there’s something under his skin telling him to follow Sherlock.

He stands there for a little while watching the house until he sees a window, right up on the top floor swing open.

Two hands catch on the windowsill, and then a head appears.

John would know Sherlock’s face at three hundred metres and the window is not that far away.

He watches in horror as one leg is swung out of the window and he’s running before the other leg makes it out.

He has never before been so aware of how long the lawn is. He feels like he is running forever over the grass and then, when he gets to the other side he still has the steps and the terrace to cross.

The terrace.

John cannot stop his mind from picturing, in vivid technicolour, what will happen if Sherlock slips. He has seen the bodies of jumpers. Sherlock had had a case not long ago where someone had been pushing his victims off buildings. He can see in his mind’s eye Sherlock’s body lying on the hard flagstones, splattered across them.

He doesn’t tear his eyes away from the boy edging onto the windowsill though, reaching with one arm towards the drain pipe.

He doesn’t know whether to shout out or not. If he distracts Sherlock and he falls then he’s going to be responsible for it all.

Sherlock’s only reaching with one hand, the other is holding something. John stares at it in incomprehension for a few seconds before realising that it’s a bloody anemometer.

“He’s just a figment of your imagination,” he tells himself. But that doesn’t stop the fact that it’s Sherlock about to kill himself up there and the idea of ever letting Sherlock fall is alien to John. He won’t let it happen, figment or not.

There is a gasp from above and John sees Sherlock’s foot slip. It feels like the moment stretches into an hour, but he immediately moves into position right underneath him and he’s already there before Sherlock has realised that he cannot recover.

Then there’s just Sherlock falling through space, the anemometer still clutched in his hand. He’s hurtling down towards John and John doesn’t have any time to think, just react. His heart is beating at a million miles a minute and there isn’t enough air to breathe.

Sherlock hits him like a tonne of bricks. John’s knees buckle and his arms feel like they’ve been wrenched from their sockets. His knees are going to be bruised for weeks from where they hit the flagstones.

But Sherlock doesn’t touch the ground.

John's Midnight Garden (11/many)

They freeze like that for a moment, staring at each other in wide eyed shock. John can see that Sherlock’s paler than he has ever been, as white as a sheet in fact. There is a look of utter terror in his eyes that John’s only ever seen once before.

“Are you alright?” He asks. His voice is shaky, but his left hand is steady as a rock. Sherlock nods and John sets him on his feet.

There are footsteps from indoors.

“Mycroft,” Sherlock says, “hide.”

John doesn’t want to. He’s still not sure that Sherlock’s alright. It’s a very big house and Sherlock’s not the real him, he’s far too breakable like this. But he has no desire to speak to Mycroft either. He doesn’t know why his subconscious created a Mycroft as well, but he doesn’t want to know anything more about it than that. So he darts round the corner of the house and leans his head back against the wall, trying to keep his breathing down and steady his heartbeat.

“What are you doing?” he hears Mycroft ask.

“Using an anemometer, like you suggested,” Sherlock tells him. He doesn’t sound like he just fell out of a third storey window. He’s as cool and calm as ever, with that edge of sarcasm that he hasn’t yet perfected, but will by the time John meets him for real.

John, on the other hand, is still breathing in stuttering patches. His vision is blurred and he knows that it’s the adrenaline that’s pumping through his veins that’s making everything suddenly so much more.

He leans his head back and closes his eyes again.

When he opens them he’s in his own bedroom, the world is dark and though his left hand is still steady, the rest of him is shaking like a leaf.

He swings himself out of bed, drawing deep breaths.

A cup of tea, that’s what he needs.

He makes his way downstairs and into the kitchen and when he opens the door he finds Sherlock there, leaning over something that is no doubt both fascinating and disgusting in equal measure.

He freezes as soon as he catches sight of the back of his flatmate’s head and the line of his shoulders. He hadn’t realised until that moment exactly how much he needed to see that Sherlock was alive.

It’s ridiculous, because the Sherlock in his head is just that, a Sherlock in his head. What happens to that Sherlock doesn’t affect this one in any way, but still, just hearing the faint sound of Sherlock’s breathing makes his heartbeat slow down a little.

“Are you going to stand there staring at me all night?” Sherlock asks, not turning away from his experiment. “Tea bags are on the middle shelf, though I wouldn’t use the Tetley, I think they might have fallen in the bile-” which is Sherlock-speak for ‘they definitely fell in the bile, but maybe if I don’t make it sound definite you won’t shout and disrupt my experiment’. “We might be out of milk. I accidentally swallowed some mercury earlier.”

John sighs, feeling normality settle down on him again like a comforting old blanket. Sherlock is fine and as annoying as ever.

“Perhaps I’ll just have coffee then,” he says.

“Finished it yesterday,” Sherlock replies.

“Well, at least tell me you haven’t poisoned the water supply.” There is a pause and Sherlock turns to him slightly, cocking his head to one side in a disturbingly thoughtful manner.

“No, but Mycroft might have; I can phone and ask him if you’d like to be certain.”

“You just want to wake him up in the middle of the night,” John replies, getting himself a glass and carefully washing it three times before filling it with water. Sherlock shrugs.

John tries not to look at Sherlock too often for the rest of the day, and if Sherlock notices all the times he fails and he has to slip his eyes over to his flatmate just to reassure himself that Sherlock’s still alive, then he doesn’t notice.


John's Midnight Garden (12/many)

Sherlock seems completely normal until Harry comes round.

It’s a week after the window incident and John’s only been back to the garden three times since. Nothing was said about wind-speeds, but Sherlock has kept both his feet firmly on the ground.

Harry turns up at the door and John invites her in because he can’t do otherwise. She’s curt with Sherlock. They haven’t got along since they met in the hospital. Harry is certain that Sherlock’s responsible and she’s invoked her elder sibling privileges. Sherlock, in turn, finds Harry boring and without redeeming features, other than the fact that she shares some of her genetic code with John. He has commented that Harry and John render the nature versus nurture argument moot because they are so utterly different.

So everything is quite tense, but John is expecting that. There are few people who step foot in 221B Baker Street without the atmosphere being tense. John and Mrs Hudson, and possibly Lestrade on the better days, are the exceptions, not the rule.

But it’s not until Harry gets the present out of her bag that everything starts getting surreal.

John weighs it in his hand and asks what the occasion is.

“I don’t need an occasion,” she insists. “You just got out of hospital.”

John doesn’t really understand what Sherlock means when he says how different John and Harry are. They both have the Watson disease of needing to be useful. Harry has no way of helping her brother at the moment. She can’t find the man who hurt him; she can’t fix him; she can’t make everything magically better like she used to do when there were storms and they’d hide under John’s duvet and pretend that they were explorers. All she can do is give him presents.

So he accepts because he has to help her as much as she has to help him.

He pulls off the wrapping paper and opens the box. The moment he does so he can feel Sherlock snap to attention at the sight of the stainless steel watch sitting in the box.

“Where did you get that?” Sherlock snaps. Harry looks up, defensive already.

“From a shop. You know, where you buy things. I know John says you don’t like shopping on his blog, but you do understand the concept don’t you?” Sherlock lets the snide remark pass him by and John hisses ‘Harry’ under his breath.

“But why that model? Why that watch?” Sherlock asks. He’s staring at the gift like it has personally offended him. John ignores the comment and takes the watch out of its box and slips it onto his wrist. It’s not a perfect fit, but he pushes it a little higher up his arm until it stays in place.

“I don’t know,” Harry says, “thought it would suit him.”

John looks over at Sherlock, who is pale and his eyes are narrowed. He’s trying to work something out. That’s his puzzle face if ever there was one.

“Is there something wrong with it?” John asks. He’s half expecting to hear Sherlock tell him that there was a serial killer who used to stalk people wearing exactly that type of watch, but he doesn’t, he just shakes his head.

“No. Nothing. It’s a good watch. New model. Better than that old thing you’ve been wearing for years. You might actually manage to be on time.”

“I’d be on time for work if you didn’t insist on slowing me down in the morning,” John tells him. There’s a muffled giggle from Harry but they both ignore it.


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