In which Sherlock comes back after pretending to be dead for two years, finds John moved out of Baker Street and nearly engaged. He’d deduced two possible reactions…but not this.
Part two to this post
John answered the door before Sherlock could even text him to let him know of his arrival, and immediately stepped out onto the front steps, already dressed for the cool London air. Sherlock’s eyes fell onto his scarf. His dark blue cashmere scarf. His gaze made John look down too.
“Oh.” He shuffled, “I’d forgotten I ever…” He glanced back up at Sherlock to see him smiling slightly. His neck warmed but he couldn’t help but slowly offer once of his own, “took that..”
Sherlock studied it a moment more then looked out to the street, the streetlamp casting his high cheekbones in stark contrast. John felt the tug. The oh-so familiar tug snug deep inside his chest that he hadn’t felt in so long. That he’d felt for the first time in two years earlier that night. Sherlock’s voice broke his gaze.
“Are we walking then?”
John cleared his throat, “Yes, I thought It’d be more…” he shook his head as they trotted down the steps side by side, “I don’t know what, I thought It’d be nice.”
“Walking is scientifically proven to let blood flow easier, therefore clearing and stimulating the brain at the same time and making it easier for thoughts to form and function…”
Sherlock broke off and fell back next to John, realizing he’d walked a step ahead of him.
Sherlock tried to study John’s profile, “You usually stop me by now.”
“Oh.” John kept his eyes ahead, “Well, I haven’t heard it in a while.” He glanced at Sherlock, “Might’ve missed it.”
Sherlock nearly fell behind this time. He fought to keep his voice neutral, “Really?”
John let out a little laugh, “I’m going to regret those words.”
Sherlock watched the neon sign of the 24 hour cafe catch John’s eye, and nodded quietly when he asked if he wanted a tea for the road. He waited, hands clasped behind his back and facing the street while John went in. He felt good about how things were going so far. John seemed… Sherlock closed his eyes. John seemed like he wanted Sherlock to think he was okay. Sherlock almost felt disappointed that John thought he couldn’t see through that.
“Right, two sugars, this one’s yours.”
Sherlock turned, starting slightly. He looked down at John whose cheeks were pink from going from the warm shop to the cold early morning.
John rolled his eyes, eyes crinkling in a smile, “Stop looking at me like that, of course I remembered.”
But Sherlock couldn’t. He didn’t think he’d ever be able to stop looking at John like that. John who was the only person who bothered to remember how he likes his tea—save Ms. Hudson. John who was the only person in the world who could read, not his thoughts, but his emotions. The only person in the world who acknowledged he even had normal emotions.
John had turned his eyes to the city line, nodding towards it as he blew on his paper cup, “We’re gonna see a nice sunrise.”
Sherlock blinked, attempting to regain his composer, “Ah, yes. Day one back in the land of the living.”
He didn’t miss John’s flinch and instantly regretted his attempt at a joke.
“Do me a favor,” John sighed, “Don’t-“
“I won’t say things like that.”
John studied him for a moment then snorted, mumbling something like “bloody mind reader” as he led the way across the street to a small park with empty benches.
Hardly, John. Hardly.
John chose the bench with the best view of the only barely pinking sky, sitting down with a sigh and crossing his ankles. Sherlock took the seat beside him wordlessly, burning his tongue on his still too hot tea.
“This is… odd, Sherlock.”
“Two people waiting for the a sunrise? I hardly think that’s the definition-“
“Sherlock..” John’s voice was soft, much more serious than before. Sherlock took the hint. They needed this. They needed words—good, solid words—not to dance around each other.
Sherlock nodded once, looking down into his tea, “Yes. Yes, I suppose this is.”
John leaned back against the bench, eyes on the man beside him. Really, odd was not the word to describe this situation but, then again, he’s never been particularly good with words. He was in disbelief. Here he was, watching his best friend—his very dead best friend—sip a cup of tea and joke about watching the sunrise.
“You’ve got terrible timing.” He settled on.
Sherlock straightened, “I gathered that. You know, with the ring and the wine… the restaurant reservations-“
“No,” John laughed, he couldn’t help it, “Well, yes, that is also terrible timing, but I mean longterm.”
Sherlock finally looked back at him, “Longterm?”
John set his cup beside him to cool, “You jump of a bloody building, I-“ John’s chest suddenly feels tight at that hard fact, “I saw you- okay, you’re going to have to tell me-“ He pinched the bridge of his nose, “No, sorry, not the point right now. The point-“ he closed his eyes briefly before turning back to his friend, “is, is that you died but you didn’t. You died… and you let me watch you die, and then you let me grieve and- God, Sherlock… I grieved. I grieved…”
The air is filled with just their breathing for a moment, both labored, both filled with the sting of unshed tears. This is not what friends are suppose to do to one another.
“I wasn’t okay, Sherlock, I was not okay. For so long.” John said between breaths, “I met Mary, honestly pretty recently and she… God, she helped. She helped and I got a little better every day.”
“No.” John let out a long breath, “I got better and then you come back and you see me better and that isn’t fair. Because now you have no idea what you did to me. What your death did to me. What losing you…”
John couldn’t finish and turned away, picking up his tea and quickly taking a sip. Sherlock was left breathless and frozen.
“John..” He tried again and this time wasn’t cut off. John’s hand was shaking. He didn’t seem to have any words left for now, “What I- What I said before at the chips place…” Sherlock closed his eyes. His brain felt foggy. Without the usual sharpness he felt bare, unarmed. He forced his eyes open again, pushing against the fog of emotions, “John, I try not to say things I don’t mean. I meant what I said. It was for your protection. I’m not-“ he cut John off when he opened his mouth to speak, “making excuses. I made this mistake. I made this mistake and I’m so, so sorry.”
John’s cup was nearly squashed in his hands from his grip and was in great danger of spilling over. His breathing was labored, his head bowed, “Yes.” He let out a shaky breath, “Yes, well I’m the one who made the mistake of getting use to it.”
Sherlock’s mind immediately reeled, searching for context for the statement, but coming up blank, “Getting use to what?”
John bit at the inside of his cheek for a moment, worrying the skin, before looking back at Sherlock, blue eyes swimming, “You always being there.”
And Sherlock felt it all over again. The cold pavement on his back, John’s fingers on his temporarily stopped pulse, his cries and broken words. Sherlock Holmes, high-functioning sociopath, felt heartbreak for the second time in his life.
“Please…” Sherlock swallowed, both halves of his heart hammering, “Please get used to it again.”
For a split second Sherlock saw John’s jaw clench before it was hidden from view, John’s tea falling to the ground as he dropped his head into his hands, shoulders shaking.
“John..” Sherlock felt his own voice break. He couldn’t think straight, he was at a loss for words. All he could seem to see in his mind was John. All he could think was that John was hurting and it was his fault. It had been his fault for two years. The ache that settled in after that thought burned like acid.
John’s voice came out muffled and thick, “You have to understand-“
“I do. I do understand, John-“
“No, you don’t.” John was looking up now, eyes rimmed red and burning into Sherlock’s, “You were suddenly gone, and I was suddenly right back where I was before I met you. I couldn’t sleep, I was alone, and every night staring down the fucking barrel of a-“ John closed his eyes turning his head away.
But Sherlock didn’t need him too. His mind had finished the sentence for him and for once he wished he wasn’t so fucking quick. He couldn’t breathe.
He didn’t have words but, he decided, right now he didn’t need them.
He reached out, tilting John’s face towards him and, for once, acted without logic, without thinking. He kissed him. He kissed John because he loved him, because he always had, and because it said everything he couldn’t. He kissed him because sorry wasn’t enough—he was sorry, he was in love.
John didn’t freeze like he expected him to. Instead, he reacted like he’d been shocked, touched by fire, and didn’t miss a beat in fisting the collar of Sherlock’s coat, other hand in his hair. He was crying, Sherlock thought maybe he was crying as well, but it didn’t matter. Tears mixed and Sherlock pulled John closer by the waist, his tea joining John’s, forgotten at their feet.
When they parted they were breathing hard and the sky was a brilliant orange and red. John didn’t say anything, just leaned his face into Sherlock’s neck where Sherlock could feel him breathing. It was the most comforting thing in the world and Sherlock let his eyes slipped closed, feeling like he’d been waiting for this for an eternity. And, for that moment, everything felt okay. Or like it would be.
For that moment, it was just the two of them against the world. Once again.
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