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Restoration - (7/7)

The response to this story has been so overwhelming and wonderful that I'm sad to see it end. Thank you so much to all my readers.

Title: Restoration
Author: Diandra Hollman
E-Mail: diandrahollman@gmail.com
Website: http://diandrahollman.neocities.org
Rating: hard R
Keywords: Hurt/Comfort, John/Sherlock, rape recovery, emotional hurt/comfort, PTSD, hurt Sherlock, slash
Spoilers: No
Disclaimer: Not my characters
Summary: "You get the call in the dead of night. early enough for you to not be quite deeply asleep yet, but late enough to be distressing. Because nobody calls at such an hour unless something has gone horribly wrong."
Author's Notes: This deals with the aftermath of sexual assault. The actual assault is never "shown", but will be partially described by the victim. I have never been a victim of such violence, so I won't pretend I understand what this is like, but I will endeavor to do right by all the people who have survived something like this.

All previous chapters here or on AO3

None of the men who survived make it to trial. The evidence is too overwhelming. Their prison sentences are far too lenient in your opinion - as they will eventually be released back into society - but you console yourself that by that time they will be old and grey. They will never make parole. Not as long as you and Mycroft have a say in the matter.

You settle into your new domestic routine by degrees. You go back to sharing his larger bed when he acknowledges his need for sleep, and his nightmares - though far from gone entirely - are no longer as frequent or severe.

Your first attempt at penetrative sex ends abruptly when he criticizes you for being too gentle. For treating him as if he is made of glass. He is right, of course, but you don't *want* to be rougher with him. Not in bed, at least. However, when he says something infuriating, you don't hesitate to give him a sharp slap on his backside right in the middle of Lestrade's office. Luckily, no one else is around to witness it. The expression on Sherlock's face is stunned and angry, yet somehow victorious.

The second time, he holds his tongue while you kiss and caress every inch of his body, taking him to the brink over and over, and by the time you are inside him all he can say is your name. It is, you think as you hold his trembling body afterward and whisper love-drunk nonsense in his ear, the closest you have ever felt to another human being. He admits as much as well later.

One morning you are rudely awaked by Sherlock's voice booming "wake up, John, we have a case!"

You barely get your eyes open before your vision is blocked by your trousers, which he has thrown at you impatiently.

You groan and seriously consider telling him to bugger off and then going straight back to sleep. "What time is it?"

"We've no time to lose," he continues as if you never spoke. "At least two lives may be at stake!"

You are alert enough to catch the jumper he throws next.

"I texted you the details. Lestrade is sending a car."

You hurry to dress as he vacates the room before retrieving your mobile from the dresser, groaning when you find the grisly photo in your inbox.

He is waiting impatiently in the sitting room, already wrapped in his coat and scarf.

"Are these human ears," you ask, even though you know the answer.

"Yes, brilliant deduction," he says dryly, holding out your coat. "Whatever would I do without your medical expertise?"

You give him the withering look that sarcastic comment deserves and snatch the coat, shrugging into it as you follow him out the door. "WHY am I looking at a picture of someone's severed ears?"

"Not some ONE, John. No doubt once the shock wears off you will notice that the ears obviously once belonged to two separate individuals. One male and one female I'd wager, but we'll know for certain once we can see them in person."

You want to chastise him for being so excited by this gruesome case. But as you reach the curb and he hails a cab, you take a moment to really look at him. You recall the way he looked on the gurney that night in hospital, drugged and traumatized, and how you wondered if you would ever get your Sherlock back. And now here he is, dragging you out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, practically vibrating with excitement at the prospect of solving a case.

He isn't exactly the same. The scars he bears from his ordeal will never fully fade, even if they are no longer visible. But he is stronger now.

He was both right and wrong when he said you had done more for him these past months than he could repay. Right because the healing process has been an emotional roller coaster that has tested your friendship and your love. Wrong because he has already repaid that debt. While you may not have been able to perfectly restore the person that he was before - an impossible feat, surely - he has emerged, battered and bruised, but resilient. And your bond is stronger than ever for having endured the storm together.

"Sherlock," you call softly as the cab pulls up.

"Hmm?" He turns toward you, belatedly lowering his upraised arm.

You frame his face between your hands and kiss him, a fierce yet chaste outpouring of love and pride.

His initial surprise wears off quickly as he recognizes what has happened. What you are most likely thinking. He reaches to cradle the back of your head and deepens the kiss, heedless of the fact that you are in public and someone might recognize you.

Let them stare, you think.

"Oi," the cabbie snaps, intruding on the moment. "You gettin' in or not? Ain't got all day!"

Sherlock makes a noise in the back of his throat and draws away reluctantly. "Later," he murmurs, a playful promise in his eyes entwined with a mixture of other, deeper emotions reflecting what you've no doubt he can see in yours. Neither of you has to say anything else. Not out loud. In hindsight, you suppose you never did.

The grin spreads over his face again, his eyes bright with excitement. "The game is on," he declares before climbing into the waiting cab.

You smile, shake your head a little, and climb in after him.




November 2017

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