Sherlock should have known that a nerdy lunatic like James Winter did not have any manners. Threatening Sherlock with a gun, in his own living room, before breakfast, was simply rude. And why that early? He glanced longingly at the cup that was standing on the kitchen counter, tea bag already placed inside. He sighed.
James was still babbling but Sherlock had stopped listening when the gist of his sermon had become clear: Sherlock had failed to return Jeanette into James' loving arms, hence he must be in cahoots with "them" and Winter was angry about that.
The way he was holding the gun demonstrated clearly that he had never used one before. Aiming for Sherlock he would surely shoot the lamp or the chair. He was used to a higher class of life threatening situations, and annoyed rather than scared.
Sherlock had spent the night thinking about John, whether he had opened a door by his remarks about hope or closed it. John was still fascinatingly hard to predict. Well, the faster he dealt with Winter, the faster he could continue marvelling about John.
He listened to Winter for a moment. Yep, he was still talking about Sherlock being manipulated by this group of bankers. Or reptiloids. It was ridiculous. Sherlock knew exactly who ruled the world in reality. He was related to one of them.
Suddenly, what had been a mere annoyance became something serious. Steps on the stairs. John's steps.
And judging from speed, tact and lightness, he was in an extremely good mood. After going home to find a way to forgive himself. After learning that Sherlock still loved him. Now, John was stupid enough to get himself shot just when he wanted to make a love declaration.
For the second that was still left, Sherlock willed him away, tried to send him back into his holiday home by the sheer power of his mind but of course that never worked. Instead, John opened the door looking eager and self-assured and found himself standing in front of Winter's gun.
"Oh, John," Sherlock said sarcastically, mainly to force Winter's attention back to himself, "finished with being manipulated by the hollow world's secret rulers already?"
"Flat," Winter said, and both John and Sherlock stared at him so he went on, "The world is flat. Not hollow. That would be absurd!"
Oh Lord, they were really in the hands of a crackpot.
"A flat world is just as absurd," Sherlock could not help pointing out, "at the shore you can easily see how the ships … "
"SHUT UP!" Winter yelled.
Yes, of course. Yelling was so much easier than thinking for yourself. Sherlock sighed again. He caught John's warning glance. Never make the one with the gun angry.
He calculated their options. Winter was standing between the two of them, wildly pointing from John to Sherlock back to John with his loaded gun. John was at full soldierly attention, watching both Winter and Sherlock. Winter was so busy waving his gun that he should have no brain capacity left to observe them carefully.
They should be able to communicate silently to coordinate their effort to end this situation. He needed to establish eye contact with John so they could start planning. But instead of looking at him, John was fully focused on Winter.
"Look," he heard John say, "I know how hard it is when a love affair comes to an end ..."
Oh, stupid. Very compassionate and very … John, but still a stupid thing to do. Winter was way beyond listening and would interpret every sentence as an attempt to manipulate him. Sherlock needed to do something, and quick. He needed to evoke Winter's attention so John could disarm him. Yes, good idea. John was better at disarming people. It was a lot safer that way.
"I am not manipulated ..." Sherlock started, wanting to tell Winter that the reptiloids never offered him enough money to convince him but never got the chance. For he took a step forward towards Winter while talking, and Winter saw that, and panicked, for some reason Sherlock would never understand, he fired his gun that was still pointing at John.
John cried out and collapsed in a heap on the ground, and then did neither move nor cry. An eerie silence fell over the flat, and for a second, nothing, absolutely nothing happened.
Then Sherlock snapped out of his shock, leaped at Winter, wrested the gun from him and hit him on the head with it to knock him out. More than once. Out of the corners of his eyes, he saw movement. John sitting up, holding his -
He was alive. Alive. With one fluid movement Sherlock threw the gun away, jumped to his feed and dropped down next to John. John, who only seemed to have a little graze on his arm.
"You are all right," Sherlock stated the obvious, realizing his brain was not working at full speed for some reason.
John, who was sitting upright now, nodded, "Yeah, not bad. I thought going down dramatically would give you enough time to ..."
Sherlock stopped listening, for his whole body started shaking for some obscure reason. His hands seemingly tried to do an impossible mixture of holding tight to John and touching him all over to make sure he really was not hurt badly. He realized that John was looking at him in an odd way but could not concentrate on it.
There was a voice filling the room, and it took Sherlock a moment to realize it was his own. What was he saying? Something about his life ending should anything ever happen to John. Cheesy. He was making a fool of himself. Why didn't John stop him?
John was still looking at him oddly, and then, without any warning, without saying a word, he did stop Sherlock from talking nonsense. He leaned forward and kissed him. Right there, on the floor. It was uncomfortable, for John was still clutching his graze and Sherlock was still shivering but it was also wonderful and perfect and so Sherlock kissed back.
It was a long kiss, or several long kisses, rather, it took the breath out of Sherlock's lungs and left his brain spinning around in a daze. It was all John, strong and sturdy, and warm and just right. It went on forever.
They only broke away when Winter started to stir.
"We better tie him up," John said.
"We need to take care for your graze," Sherlock said at the same time.
John smiled, and the sun rose over London. "You tie him up, I'll take care for my wound," he ordered then, and Sherlock obliged.
Explaining the whole thing to one of Lestrade's less stupid colleagues was easy. Explaining it all to Mrs Hudson was a bit harder. There was another bullet hole on her precious wall now, and she was still a bit reserved about John. But in the end, all explaining was done, and to Sherlock's pleasure everybody not John had left the flat.
"You kissed me," Sherlock said, not quite knowing how to handle that special situation.
"You love me," John stated the obvious, apparently better at the handling thing.
"The feeling is mutual," Sherlock answered, and John started grinning like a teenager. He opened his mouth to say something, the closed it again, came closer and kissed Sherlock once more. And once more. And once more. And then they were no longer just kissing but also doing other things instead, and nobody talked for quite a while.
Later that day, or maybe it was already night, John had lost track, they were lying in bed, John spooning Sherlock, their legs tangled, Sherlock's curls tickling John's nose.
"Here begins a new life," John thought, and pressed himself closer against Sherlock's back.
"What?" came a drowsy whisper. Apparently he had said it loud.
"A new life," John explained and started to play with those soft curls just because he could, "A poem I read once that somehow became important to me. 'In that book which is my memory …/ On the first page / That is the chapter when / I first met you..."
"Appear the words …/ Here begins a new life" Sherlock continued. "La vita nuova by Dante Alighieri. Written in 1295, and it still fits with our lives."
He remained silent for a while, and just when John was sure he would fall asleep again, Sherlock went on, "This is not the beginning of your book, John. This is not when we first met. Ever since then, there has been …"
"Hush," John said, softly caressing Sherlock's back with his fingers just to make sure he got the point: that they were here now, together. That it would always be the two of them. That there would always be love.
"I have decided to start writing a new book that will start today." After giving it some thought, he went on, "Sherlock, love, there are still so many things I still need to get over with. It won't be all fluffy and sweet and …"
"Hush," Sherlock whispered softly, mimicking John. "We both need to get to terms with so much. But we have all the time in the world. And we have each other."
They fell silent again. Then Sherlock suddenly giggled. "The new book of your life, starting with so much porn? Why am I not surprised, Dr. Three-Continents-Watson?"
How could he possibly know about that nickname? Well, he was Sherlock, right? John had to giggle as well. "I intend to write a lot more trashy chapters. And as you are the one profiting from that ..." John let the unfinished sentence linger while quickly demonstrating what he meant.
Sherlock gave him a pleasant groan. "No objections here," he whispered.
John smiled to himself. They lay like that for a long time. When John was slowly drifting into sleep, Sherlock's deep voice found it's way into John's ear once more.
"How will you call it?"
"Hm?" There was something very earnest in his voice so John struggled a bit to wake up properly.
"Your book of life. What will the title be?"
He blinked and gave it some thought. Then he nodded to himself. "The two of us against the rest of the world." he answered then.
Sherlock gave an affirmative hum and underlined his approval with an action worthy to be mentioned in the first chapter of John's porn.
He had to laugh out loud at that thought, and Sherlock chimed in, most likely knowing exactly what John had been thinking.
It would not be a fluffy rose garden kind of life that would be described in that book but it would be a life well worth all the struggle that had led them here.
It would be their life.