You are a galaxy made of shards of broken glass, just as mesmerizing and just as destructive.

Maybe, a long time ago, the glass was one smooth sheet, no flaws or imperfections. Whole. After all, no one's just born broken, are they?

But after your brother and Sebastian and years of loneliness and drugs, that perfect sheet is gone forever. Instead, walls of rough glass surround your soul, cutting any who dare to come near.

That way, you can never be hurt by someone again.

It's safer that way.

It's better that way.

Until John Watson, of course.

You know just by looking that John Watson is the kind of bloke who laughs and smiles easily, who remembers birthdays and keeps promises, because that's just how he is. He should be ordinary, a nothing, a face in the background.

But he's not.

John Watson is much more complex than he lets on.

Because an ordinary person wouldn't have replied "Oh god, yes"; an ordinary person would've never called you- you, "amazing" instead of the customary "piss off" or worse.

You finally realize what exactly is hiding behind that ordinary surface after the taxi chase, when you are both leaning against the wall, breath short and adrenaline coursing through your veins. John's eyes are two glowing balls of bright blue flames as he turns toward you and he looks more alive than you've ever seen anyone before.

Of course.

An addiction to danger.

A few hours later, you are sitting across John-Watson-who-has-just-saved-your-life in a Chinese restaurant and wondering if, maybe, just maybe, you've finally found someone who will stay.

If you are a broken-glass galaxy, then John is a sand dune. Calm and gentle sometimes, a whirling storm others. The wind shifts and turns the sand, revealing the soldier, the doctor; the friend in varying degrees of detail. Most importantly, the sand rubs away your sharp glass edges, turning all your broken pieces into works of art. You've thrusted your spikes at the sand again and again, but it is nothing but persistent, able to creep through the tiniest crack. John navigates your soul with ease, wearing away the polished facade you always wear to hide yourself and exposing the turmoil inside. It should be intrusive, it should be bothersome, it should make you want to curl up in the corner and bury yourself, but it doesn't.

Why not? you ask yourself sometimes, but you don't think you're ready for the answer yet.

Love is something you've never understood before. The word is an ocean wave, able to be shaped so many ways, mean so many things. But it always slips right through your fingers.

You've always wondered why the crap telly and everything else you see describes it as so bloody painful, what with all the rapid heartbeats and sweating palms and nervous blushes. Why would someone go to all that trouble and fall in love with someone if really, all they get is health problems in return? If you love someone, shouldn't you feel completely comfortable around them instead of going all red in the face whenever their name is mentioned? Shouldn't their presence feel like finding a missing piece instead of unhinging you entirely? (Not that you've ever thought about love outside of your work of course.)

You're pondering over this topic one night before you realize, that if your own definition of love is considered the right one, you are most definitely in love with John.

Oh, you think, oh.

It seems so obvious now.

You've read up a little bit about the solar system at John's urging. You learned that there is a black hole at the center of nearly every massive galaxy. At the time, you'd wondered if your galaxy of glass had a black hole at the center too.

The answer, apparently is yes.

Because as you're standing on the roof of St. Bart's, hearing John's shattered voice (how can one word hurt so much?), you feel it expanding, devouring your insides. You don't deserve this. John doesn't deserve this.

It's a soft landing, but even so, as you hit the airbag, you feel all the smooth pieces of glass inside you shatter to pieces. All of John's hard work is gone.

If John is your heart, what are you without him?

The danger and adventure of these days should be something you thrive on. But not anymore. Each arrest, each discovered hideout, each death, is performed mechanically. Robotically. Done with as little thought and as little energy as possible. You don't like the game anymore, not one bit, not with John- brilliant, beautiful John- absent from your side.

The black hole slowly consumes you, bit by bit, and you wonder how long it will be before you become an empty shell. Nothing left to consume.

Back to Baker Street, Mycroft says. Back to John, you think.

You want to hate Mary. You really do. But you can't.

Instead, you turn all your rage on yourself.

How bloody stupid can one man be?

You agree to be best man. Of course you do. John asked you, how can you say no?

You do everything a happy friend does at a wedding. You smile. Give your speech. Stop an attempted murder.

You leave early, because all this pretending hurts.

"Piss off," you say as soon as you walk into the room. You already knew from the door knocker what you would find.

"I am merely concerned for your well-being," Mycroft says calmly, that damned umbrella in hand.

"I don't need your bloody concern. Sod off."

Mycroft tsks. "Sherlock, we both know you can't continue like this much longer. It's time to let him go."

You raise your eyes to his gaze. He doesn't understand. How can you let go, when your heart still beats for-John, for-John?

"No," you say firmly.

Mycroft shakes his head sadly. "Caring is not an advantage, brother."

You escort him out the door and make sure he can hear it slam.

You've formed the habit of sleeping in John's chair now.

If your pieces were broken before, they've now been ground to dust.

Being dead is so much easier than living, you think as you drift off. But then the reminder of for-John comes back, and of course you have to wake up. Restart your heart.

For John.

"John, there's something ... I should say, "I-I've meant to say always and then never have. Since it's unlikely we'll ever meet again, I might as well say it now."

But there's not enough time and this is the wrong time, because it's always the wrong time with

you and there's no way you're getting a happy ending when everything is breaking and breaking inside of you.

I love you I love you I love you Iloveyou.

I love you.

"Sherlock is actually a girl's name."

You're on the roof of St. Bart's with Moriarty again, but this time, John's by your side, and you're winning. You've got a grip on Moriarty's collar. All you have to do is let go.

"Well then, you are clever, much cleverer than I thought," he leers. "I suppose you've won then! Good boy! But, uh oh... you're going to suffer for this. You are going to suffer so much, Sherlock Holmes." His face twists into an expression of delight before you realize what he's going to do.

A shot rings out just as you drop Moriarty, but it's too late.

John is bleeding on the ground and the world is spinning 'round and 'round and it's so red, so, so red, and...

No, no, no, no, NO!

Sand and glass are made of the same thing, isn't that strange?

Your and John's souls are made of the same thing.

You wake up in the hospital. Lestrade is sitting beside you.

"John?" you croak.

"Shot in the leg. He lost a lot of blood, but he's going to be fine."

When John wakes up, you're holding his hand, feeling his pulse beat reassuringly against his wrist. Mary sits next to you. You don't talk.

It is Mary's funeral, and it is raining. You stand next to John and try to comfort him, as a best friend should.

"Ovarian cancer," a mother (one of Mary's friends from church, divorced lawyer, bisexual, owns a dog) whispers to her child.

"What's that?" her daughter replies.

John moves back into 221B, and the two of you try to continue like normal, solving cases together. It's different though. Silence seeps slowly through the walls. Too many things left unsaid.

The black hole is back, and it's hungry.

John is the one who speaks first.

"Me too- before you jumped, and… and after too. Good god, that seems so long ago."

You feel a shiver of hope run down your spine.

"How did you-"

"Mary notices- noticed a lot more than I did."

You nod once.

"But I can't- not now, at least. I need time. We both need time."

Another nod.

"Maybe later," John says.

Maybe.

It happens a few years later. Chinese takeout and silent chewing.

Suddenly, John puts his chopsticks down.

"What we talked about right after Mary's death… the thing about you- you and me. I think… I think we've waited long enough."

Hope and joy and relief and love are flooding your mind, filling your veins. Filling your heart. Emotions. Funny little things.

"So do I," you whisper.

You take a deep breath and take the lunge forward.

John tastes like tea and late-night laughter and longing and finally finding your way home. You can't help but let out a choking laugh as you cup his face in your hands and pull him closer.

The sand is swirling around your glass galaxy and pulling all your pieces together, skillfully matching the glass pieces with each other until it's one smooth sheet. There's some places where the glass doesn't match up evenly- a few jagged edges, of course, but you don't believe in a life without cracks, you believe in stitches and sand and soft voices and John Hamish Watson.

Finally, you think, finally,

Finally, I'm whole.