John tried to go back.

He tried, he really did. He distracted himself by drowning himself in his work, helping people, but it didn't make any difference. He even got back in touch with Harry, which, John assures me, was beyond uncomfortable. He says that when he did these things, was overwhelmed with other problems, he was able to forget. For awhile, at least. But then every night he would go back to his flat and remember, and it killed him.

Mrs. Hudson tried to help, I'm sure, but when being in the flat drove him to depression made him need his cane again he just couldn't take it anymore. He was out within a month, but that didn't stop him from seeing you.

No, don't worry, John wasn't actually seeing you, he wasn't hallucinating or anything, but every once in a while a patient would come in with dark hair and cheekbones, or someone would brush past him wearing a long coat and every time it killed him. You weren't coming back and he knew it, but every time he saw something out of the corner of his eye he couldn't help but hope. He stopped seeing his therapist a few weeks later, which wasn't the best of choices but I don't think it was really helping, regardless.

He didn't tell me all this, of course. You know John isn't one to share his feelings; maybe not, you would have avoided it at all costs even if he had wanted to, right? Anyway, some of this I figured out for myself. It was just over half a year ago he stopped seeing you in everyone, stopped flinching at Sherlock-shaped shadows. I saw this for myself, and let me tell you, there is no way I'm letting him go back. None. You ever want to leave again? Fine. But if you don't keep in contact, if you go a single week without a text, an email, something, I will hunt you down myself.

I don't know what you've been doing these past two years and I don't care, but I want you to know it killed John. It killed him, and he had finally come back to life, still sometimes catching glimpses of you in people, but he ignored them, and it happened less and less frequently. He was happy again.

Then you showed up, and he can't believe it. He spent near two years hoping you were alive, but moving on meant giving up that hope, and I helped him with that. It was me who got rid of his limp, me who held him in those rare times he couldn't take it anymore, and most of all, it was me who made him accept you were dead.

All that stops him from trusting that you're real, because he trusts me. John trusts me just as much as he did you, and I told him you were dead. Now you're back, and it's wonderful you're alive, really, but it's dragging him back to where he had been mentally. He sees you in people again, but now he can't be sure if it actually is you or not.

He terrorized some poor old man today because he thought it was you in disguise, and that it wasn't destroyed him even more. Now he's wondering if you are actually you, and not a trick, imposter or a dream.

I get that you want the old John back just as much as he wants the old you, but you can't demand that of him. You can't confront him when he sees through you, because that's him forgetting you're real. You can't accuse him when refuses to be around you, because that's him trying to combine his two realities - mine and yours. And above all else, don't you dare pretend you were never gone, because he'll try to believe you, but won't be able to.

I like you, I really do, but I can't trust that you won't hurt him. I understand that you don't know people like most do, and you depend on him enough that you won't harm him on purpose, but one day you might say something that sets him back a year, and I'll be the one fixing him.

I don't want you two separated, in fact I want him to come see you. Just understand that you have to be careful around him. Careful, but not careful enough that he sees you're treating him like he'll break. Act normal, but don't quite be normal. Take him to see Mrs. Hudson, bring him with you to solve crimes, but keep him safe. Be annoying, arrogant, and condescending, but don't say anything that might set him off. Be the old Sherlock, but not so much he thinks you're not real.

Make sure you save him when he's in danger.

Make sure you tell me when he's in danger.

I would say make sure he's never in danger, but I know John.

Also, feel free to come over. I want to know you more, even though it feels like I already do, considering how much John's talked about you. You'll be my guest, so I won't let John kick you out. I know he's throwing a fit now, but he'll come around, and sooner rather than later. First sign of a crisis and he'll be right back at your side, trust me.

Mary to Sherlock, 902 words. January 26, 2014.

Just a little something I wrote to get back into fanfiction. Might be a bit OOC, but I can't really tell.