When John got home from his bi-monthly hospital night shift, Sherlock was already up, or still up, pyjama-clad, and mid-experiment, staring down a microscope at a petri dish of something-or-other.
"How's Annabelle?" asked Sherlock without looking up.
"That's this afternoon," John said. He looked suspiciously at Sherlock. "Are you aware that it's four in the morning?"
"Is it?" said Sherlock, disinterestedly.
John put the kettle on, popped some bread under the grill and a few minutes later shoved a plate of toast and a cuppa at Sherlock, sitting down opposite him with his own.
Sherlock grabbed a slice, not taking his Lycra glove off or removing his eye from the lens of the microscope.
"So, are you ever going to tell me?" John asked.
"What?" asked Sherlock, taking a bite of his breakfast.
"You know," said John, but he still added: "The parole hearing, the loose ends."
Sherlock looked up. "But it's four in the morning, John," he protested.
"We agreed on honesty, Sherlock," said John.
Sherlock hesitated, brow furrowed. Eventually, he said: "I suppose we did, didn't we."
Sherlock took his gloves off and pushed the microscope aside, picking up his mug of tea instead.
Now John knew that he had his attention.
"Okay," Sherlock sighed. "You deduce, I'll confirm, deny or decline to answer."
John frowned. Deduction wasn't his strong point. But it was clear that Sherlock needed a little help here to get over his embarrassment and get it all out.
Sherlock, as usual, could read his mind in his face. "Deduce... or just ask."
"Okay," said John.
He'd started this, yet he hesitated, took a bite of his toast and a mouthful of tea to gain a moment to collect himself.
He wasn't used to talking about personal stuff and feelings with another man, and Sherlock wasn't used to talking about his feelings at all. John didn't know how Sherlock perceived it, but for him it was like he was re-learning how to communicate - not how he would with a girlfriend, because they were both men, but not how he would with Stamford or Lestrade or his old army buddies either, because Sherlock was his - boyfriend? - and because Sherlock was Sherlock.
Truth be told, John didn't particularly want to talk about it either, but he did want to know. And if he could overcome Afghanistan and Moriarty and accidentally marrying an undercover C.I.A. Agent, he could face a little awkwardness with the man he loved.
Not that he'd told him the love part yet - it had only been a week.
"Okay," John repeated, more assured this time. "A few years ago, you did cocaine and it gave you drug-induced psychosis."
"True," said Sherlock.
"Shit, that must have been..."
"It was," said Sherlock, curtly. "That's why I got clean."
John knew that Sherlock would rather focus on the concrete facts than talk about how scary it had been to be totally taken in by his delusions and then have the zamasaproxyl unpick them, revealing that he could not trust his own eyes, his own brain, his own mind.
A terrifying thing for anyone to go through, let alone somebody like Sherlock, whose ability to think clearly was his whole life, his whole reason for existing.
"You were prescribed zamasaproxyl."
"It worked, so you kept taking it."
"True," said Sherlock, looking unconvincingly interested in his toast all of a sudden. As if needing medication was weakness.
"It was easy to hide it from me because although I see, I don't observe," John said to break the tension.
Sherlock sniffed a laugh – mission accomplished. "True."
"When you went abroad, they prescribed you damsaproxyl."
"True. Damasaproxyl for psoriasis, zamasaproxyl for pscychosis. An easy error to make, especially with the language barrier."
"Shit," said John. "So you really were hallucinating all that time?"
"You didn't take the drug?"
"Of course not. I noticed it was the wrong one immediately."
As much as John would like to think that Sherlock hadn't been himself when he left him for two years and when he killed Magnussen, he hated to think of him suffering through hallucinations on top of his ordeal with psychosis.
Sherlock pursed his lips. "Indeed."
"When you returned to England, you started back on zamasaproxyl."
"I had been off it for two years and hadn't suffered a relapse. I don't do cocaine any more. I'm as sane as you are John. I didn't need it."
Sherlock could be right, but it still worried John. A person with psychosis couldn't always self-diagnose sanity. But thankfully Sherlock had John for that now, so he dropped it.
"Then why get me to prescribe...? Oh, of course. You only asked for it when you went to prison, when you came up with the parole plan."
"Of course. The drug mix-up gave me the idea. Zamasaproxyl takes a few months to get into your system - I wanted them to think I was safe again to help along my parole hearing, so I started pretending to take it. Then I faked a mental break-down, mentioned the damasaproxyl to Dr. Carver in passing and let her put together the rest."
"Brilliant," said John.
Sherlock's lip twitched upwards. "I never get tired of that."
"I love you," said John. He'd been building up to it, saving it, but it had slipped out without him even thinking about it.
If Sherlock noticed the significance of John saying this for the first time, he didn't comment on it.
And just because he wanted to, because he could, John put down his mug of tea, moved round to the other side of the table and kissed Sherlock Holmes.
It started as an affectionate peck, but a moment later it was deeper.
John's thumbs were on Sherlock's hips, his hands curved around his sides. One he moved around to the back, hand resting lightly on the curve of Sherlock's backside. He hesitated, but Sherlock didn't protest.
The other hand, he moved up, over Sherlock's shirt, to his chest, along his collar bone. Every bump, every dip and detail, sent an excited shiver through John from head to toe and everywhere in-between. He knew Sherlock could feel it against him.
"Too fast?" John asked.
Sherlock shook his head and pulled in closer, not further away. His arms snuck, hesitantly, under John's shirt and around his back and waist. That touch, so innocent as far as sex went, yet so intimate, so hot, skin-on-skin...
They pulled each other closer, their bodies pressed together, their grip on each other desperate, wanting.
John ran his fingers lightly over Sherlock's bare neck, behind his ear and up through his hair, grasping, tugging his head down slightly.
The kiss made John's head want to explode. Soft and warm and Sherlock.
Sherlock pulled back his head a little.
"I... I love you too," he said. And then he grinned, the rare, bright grin he reserved for serial killer cases and unsolvable mysteries and John Watson.
John grinned back.
They laughed, foreheads pressed together, arms still holding onto each other tightly as if they were each other's lifelines.
John whispered, "And I'll never get tired of that."
Well, that's the end folks! Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to send me comments, it has been fantastic hearing from you all. If you have made it this far please do send a comment and let me know what you thought. My favourites are of course the detailed ones where you tell me which bits you liked (and maybe which bits could be improved), but even a note saying, "Read this, liked it!" would be brilliant. Go on, you know you want to make my day! Thanks for reading :D