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Title: In the Land of Hope, there is no Winter (the Daybreak remix)
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Length: 900 words
Rating: Teen
Alternate Link: AO3
Thanks to: My betas and brit-pickers, persiflage and thesmallhobbit
Author's Notes: A remix of holyfant's story, Daybreak, written for the 2014 sherlock_remix challenge. I was busy during the reveals, and it took me until now to realize I'd never publicly claimed this remix as my own!
Summary: John's room doesn't usually get so cold, but tonight there's an east wind blowing.

John wakes gradually, the feeling of another body in bed beside him puzzling rather than alarming. The bedroom is ice-cold, and John's tempted to burrow under the covers and go back to sleep. Instead he blinks his eyes open to see Sherlock lying there on top of the duvet, curled in to protect himself against the chill, pale and still in the grey pre-dawn light.

"Sherlock," John whispers.

"Mmmph," Sherlock complains, pushing his sleep-creased face further into the pillow. His hair is a wreck – he's somehow managed to get bits of hay caught up in it. Apparently the ridiculous man didn't even have the courtesy to shower before collapsing into John's bed.

There's something strange about all this; but then again, when has life with Sherlock Holmes ever been anything but strange? It's far too early in the morning to worry about it.

"Sherlock," John repeats more firmly.

"Hmm?" Sherlock says, picking up his head and looking around blurrily. "John?"

"Were you-," John begins, before clearing his throat and starting again in a quieter voice. There's a hushed stillness to his bedroom and John finds himself reluctant to break its spell. "Watching over me?" John asks, and he'd meant it as a joke but, as he whispers it into the frigid air, it sounds more like a plea.

Sherlock opens his mouth to speak, then pauses, forehead creased, and nods in agreement.

John shakes his head fondly. "Creepier than most axe-murderers, you."

Sherlock offers a tiny smile and a yawn in response. His breath puffs white into the air, and John finds himself wondering if London's had a heavy snowfall over-night. Unseasonable for November, but it would explain the lack of street noise.

"Just get in here," John urges him, holding up the duvet.

Sherlock crawls underneath.

"Your feet are bloody freezing," John mutters.

It's not only Sherlock's bare feet that are cold. He's shivering hard, half-frozen all over. John makes a note to scold Sherlock in the morning for not taking proper care of himself, and tugs him closer. Sherlock curls into John's warmth shamelessly as a cat. In a few minutes the shivering stops and he drops back to sleep.

John reaches out with one hand, greatly daring. He'd always wanted to do this, and never got the chance. He traces a single fingertip up the line of one sharp cheekbone. Sherlock makes a contented noise and turns his head, just slightly, his lips brushing across John's wrist.

John's heart is pounding now as he brushes back a curl of Sherlock's hair. It feels tacky, and cold to the touch. John frowns at the sensation and sits up to inspect his hand.

Blood?

"Christ, Sherlock, you're wounded," John shouts, grabbing for his med-kit as Sherlock cringes away from him. There's a rattle of AK-47 fire, the roar of a med-evac chopper overhead, and then nothing.

*****



John sat up in his bed, shaking, clean white sheets tangled up around him as he tried to do his breathing exercises. They helped, sometimes.

"Fuck," he said when he could, face buried in his hands. "Fuck!" Eighteen months. Eighteen months, and he still dreamed of Sherlock. At first it had been nightmares of him lying broken and bloody on the pavement, over and over. Those were bad. But the dreams were worse, in their own way. The ones where Sherlock was alive, and John had to remember, waking up, that his best friend was dead.

This dream, though, was the worst of all. To have Sherlock here, with him, so close, to give John a chance to say all the things he should have said, and then snatch it away and show him bleeding out in John's own bed.

It had barely gone midnight, but John might as well get up. He wouldn't be sleeping any more tonight.

*****



Sherlock startled awake as someone hauled him up out of the haystack where he'd found refuge in the early hours of the morning. The air was shockingly cold as he took a breath to try and offer something - an explanation, a lie - and began to cough. Sherlock blearily noted that over a centimetre of snow had drifted into the barn along with the grey light of daybreak, yet he felt quite warm. Mild hypothermia, then, or some effect of the head wound he'd suffered while escaping from Nabokov's men.

Sherlock could scarcely hear the man yelling at him over the disgruntled noise of the sheep that filled the barn. There was profanity mixed in with the Russian – something about not dying in his barn. The man's hands were calloused but gentle as he inspected Sherlock's injury, and Sherlock found himself reminded of the dream he'd had of John's bed, John's voice, John's touch.

Sherlock had to get better. He had to do better, so he could go home to John. "Help me, please," he croaked in his best Russian, inspecting the sheep-farmer who would either save him, or turn him over to Nabakov. Caucasian, in his late 40's with combat medic experience, a functional alcoholic and a widower, poor but proud. His family had likely worked this farm for generations. Not the type to fall in line with a local mob boss. Sherlock had only one question.

"Chechnya, or Tajikistan?"

*****



Four thousand miles to the west, John Watson put a solo violin CD in the stereo and sat down with a cup of tea to listen, eyes closed, as the music began.