Title: The Broken Dreams [Of an Ex-Army Doctor]
Author's Note: Again, I'm still feeling incredibly unhappy with myself and so I felt the need to write something.
It appears to be becoming my way of venting. This is set during Pre-Empty House.
When the clock chimes three thirty in the morning, John doesn't wake. He continues dreaming of the Helmand Providence; the blood splattered sands of Sangin, the dying soldiers he couldn't save. They claw at his boots, their broken fingers gripping the folds of fabric that hide pale legs as they stare up at him with lifeless eyes and open mouths.
Then the wind blows and the bodies turn to sand, a hurricane of tiny, finely divided rock that swirls around him and scratches his skin to ribbons, sticking in his eyes, clogging up his mouth and nose as it drags him into the ground, into pools of crimson...
The pools turn into a waterfall, the red liquid cascading down and over a rocky cliff face; impossibly high. He hears the shrill, manic laughter of the Irishman as he and his dearest friend fall over the parapet, their bodies tumbling over and over until they hit the rocks below with a sickening crack.
Screams rip from his throat, rubbing it raw like the sand that occluded his throat just moments earlier and he begins to shake violently; he can feel his bones rattling. This time, there is no comforting hand in his hair, no low rumbling voice telling him to breathe. There is only the darkness, and it haunts him. It throws shadows across his room as the moon peeks her head between the gap in his curtains, the light she gives him cutting pale swathes of light over the wooden floorboards and the body of his bed. The stark lines remind him of a map, the lines criss-crossing on the paper.
But maps remind him of how, the first day they had met and John had killed a man to save his life without really knowing why, Sherlock had had the whole network of London's streets etched into his brain.
Maps make him think of how, once, Sherlock had memorized his body with fingers and mouth, whispering the names of his bones against his skin, recording the places that made him squirm with joy - painting the plain canvas of John's body with purple-black bruises, bitemarks and the scrape of nails down his back.
Now the marks have faded, but the memory remains; although he has been dead for two years, John has always been his.