John hated his life. It had been four months since he found out the child wasn’t his and his subsequent divorce. He had gotten only one text from Sherlock in that entire time. A simple, “I’m sorry.”
He was on his way home from a night with the rugby mates, when he passed a crime scene. He looked on, longingly. He missed those days of reckless chase and abandon. He started.
“Sherlock?” There was no way that that silhouette was anything but the Consulting Detective.
The silhouette stiffened and slowly turned around. The face was still cast in shadow, but yes, that was Sherlock.
“John?” the voice cracked with pent up emotion.
It appeared that the detective wasn’t doing well either.
“Hey, it’s so good to see you,” John said heartily.
“Yes.” Was the only reply.
“What are you doing in the shadows? Come on, I want to see you properly.”
Sherlock shook his head, but John pulled him, stumbling into the light. His left eye was awash in purples and yellows, the evidence of a fading bruise.
“Apparently, the new Detective Sargent didn’t take a shine to me,” Sherlock murmured, shrugging one shoulder.
“More like a shiner,” John joked.
“Yes, well. I deduced that he had recently broke up with his girlfriend because she found out he was sleeping with his very male boss.”
“Not…” he waved vaguely behind Sherlock.
“No, not Lestrade.”
“Oh. Well, that’s good. So this DS hit you for that?”
Sherlock shook his head. “I also may have deduced that his homophobic brother is a member of a very exclusive gay club in London.”
John’s eyebrows shot up. “Christ. That would do it, yeah.”
“I didn’t have a John Watson to keep me from spouting off when I should keep my mouth shut.”
John clenched his left fist. “Then why didn’t you say something?” He reached up to touch Sherlock’s bruised cheek.
Sherlock closed his eyes, and muttered, “Please, don’t.”
John’s hand froze.
“If you touch me, my walls will tumble to the ground. And I’m not sure I’ll be able to build them back up. Every time I let you in, you leave. If I let you touch me now, afterwards you’ll just turn around and go back to your life and I’ll be left with the ashes.”
“Sherlock…” John breathed, his heart breaking. “If you missed me so much then why have been so silent?”
“I tried to send you messages. But they always sound so needy, weak, pathetic.” He spat the last word with such vitriol. He pulled out his phone and thumbed through, before handing it to John.
“Here they are, you judge for yourself why I didn’t send them. Well, all but one. I deleted that one. Thank you.”
Come home. -SH
Mrs Hudson made your favorite scones.
I think she misses you. -SH
I walked by Angelo’s today.
Couldn’t bring myself to go inside.
Not without you. -SH
Nice double murder.
Might have a military angle. -SH
Mrs Hudson brought up your favorite biscuits.
I think she did it for me.
Come home. -SH
I don’t think I’ve missed anyone the way I miss you.
I dream about you, you know. -SH
The texts continued on and finally John frowned. “I don’t think you deleted that one like you thought.” He held up the screen to reveal “Delete? Yes or No.”
Sherlock closed his eyes. “Please, just delete it. If you value our friendship…please.”
John turned the phone back around. He fumbled with it for a moment and then shrill ring sounded in the night.
“John…” Sherlock moaned.
John handed over the phone and Sherlock saw that yes, his best friend had sent the message to himself.
“Why?” was Sherlock’s plaintive cry. He cradled the phone in his hands, suddenly frightened.
“So I could do this,” John said. Sherlock looked up to see him punch his phone with his thumb.
Sherlock’s phone rumbled in his hand, as he received an incoming message. He looked down at it and then back to John, who gave him an encouraging smile.
He went to his inbox and immediately his hand flew up to his mouth to stifle a cry.
I love you too.
Of course I’ll come home.
“Do you mean it? You’re coming home? To stay?” his voice trembled.
“Yes, Sherlock. I meant all of it.”
Tears streamed down Sherlock’s face and John cupped his cheek gently. He ran his thumb over those ridiculous cheekbone and wiped away those tears.
Suddenly Sherlock surged forward, wrapping his arms around the love of his life and kissed him firmly on the lips.
John squeaked in surprise before he returned the kiss with fervor. He wrapped his arms around his detective’s thin frame and just held him tight.
“Let’s go home,” he murmured into that massive Belstaff of Sherlock’s.
Sherlock’s head jerked up. “Oh! I just solved it.” He looked back down at John, torn.
“Go, you mad man. I’ll be here when you’re done.”
Sherlock kissed him soundly again and dashed off, leaving behind a chuckling doctor.
John was just starting to get bored Sherlock showed up, looking flushed and more than a little breathless.
“How did you get away so fast?” John asked after Sherlock swept him up in large embrace.
“I told Lestrade that you were coming home today.”
“And he just let you go?” John asked, raising an eyebrow.
“He encouraged it, in fact,” Sherlock said with sly smile.
“Of course he did. You are more tolerable to be around when I’m with you,” John said, shaking his head.
“Yes I am.” Sherlock took John’s face in his hands and placed the gentlest kiss on John’s lips.
“Let’s go home.”
John nodded emphatically.
Sherlock hailed a cab, and they spent the cab curled up together, unable to have even the barest distance between them now.
They were half way up the stairs when they heard Mrs Hudson call out.
Go! Sherlock mouthed.
John raised a questioning eyebrow but did as he was bid, scrambling up the stairs and avoiding the fourteenth step so it wouldn’t squeak. He made it to the landing when Mrs Hudson came out.
“Oh, Sherlock, what are you doing home so early?” she asked, wiping her hands on her apron. “I thought you had a case.”
“Oh, it was easy, not even a three.”
“Sherlock…” she warned. “You haven’t been out of this house in weeks.”
Sherlock’s cheeks burned from the scrutiny of both of their gazes. Mrs Hudson’s pitying, and John’s accusing.
“I’ll be better, I promise,” Sherlock muttered, ducking his head.
“You either need to call him, or text or whatever it is you people do these days or move on, Sherlock.”
Sherlock’s head shot back up, a big grin on his face. “I don’t have to, he’s coming home.”
Mrs Hudson squealed. “When?”
“As soon as he can, I promise,” Sherlock said, softly.
“Alright, you’ll probably want some time to yourself, to get use to the thought of having him home again. Spend some time in your mind palace, I’d imagine.”
Sherlock just grinned and dashed up the stairs, into the sitting room where John had moved into while Sherlock and Mrs Hudson finished up their conversation.
John was in the middle of the room. “I left most of my things here when I moved out. Couldn’t bear to think of leaving it half-empty. Left it all as a shrine to you.”
Sherlock pulled off his scarf and coat to toss them over the arm of the sofa. He came up behind John and wrapped his arms around his chest and leaned down to put his chin on John’s good shoulder. “I know. You’ll find your books are far more worn then when you last saw them.”
John turned around and buried his head in Sherlock’s chest. “This is where I belong. I’m never leaving you again.”
“Please don’t,” Sherlock whispered. “I don’t think I’d survive.”
John held him tightly to his chest. “I feel the same about you, you know.”
“I do now.”
Their lips touched and the world melted away.
Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. As they should be. Together.