Author Notes: After a few stressful months I finally got back to writing and here is the result. Enjoy this One-Shot. :)
Appreciation: I can't thank Tstui1gos enough for the effort she has put into beta-reading this story. If you feel that the words flow more smoothly then this is thanks to her. Thank you, dear!
Call of the Past, Light of the Future
"I am home!"
John pushed the door to the flat open and nodded to the skull on the mantelpiece. "You are lucky that you don't have arms and legs or I would have insisted you help me with the groceries."
A huffed breath left his lips as he carried the three shopping bags into the kitchen and continued the easy chatter. "Not that your former owner ever listened to a thing I said... at least not when it came to such pedestrian things as going to the shops or paying the bills."
John shook his head in a mixture of remembered annoyance and fondness as he recalled how he had come home from a conference once only to find the electricity turned off. Sherlock hadn't made the connection between not paying the bills and the lack of electricity.
"You know," John continued, only to fill the silence in the flat. "For a genius, he could be a real idiot sometimes. I mean what does he expect to happen to the cheese when he places it underneath a dripping bag of human liver?"
A small chuckle escaped John as he placed some of the groceries into the - perfectly clean - refrigerator. Not that he had laughed when he had first stumbled upon the biohazard as he had wanted to prepare a sandwich, but the memory seemed funny now. Funny and sad.
A sigh echoed through the empty flat as the forced smile fell from John's lips. He barely managed to put all the groceries away before he collapsed onto a chair. His eyes flickered over the clean table. He could eat at it if he felt so inclined. Hell, it would even be possible for him to prepare food on it without fearing for his health.
John chuckled humorlessly. A year ago, he would have been over the moon at the prospect of a clean kitchen, but now he only wished for stinking experiments on the kitchen table. He missed the smell of sulfur on Friday evenings when he had wanted to go on a date, but had decided against it upon noticing the chaos in the kitchen. John had told himself that he had only stayed in because he had feared for their flat and for Sherlock's safety when he seemed this bored. He had convinced himself that nothing would come of his dates with various women and that it was more important to make sure that Sherlock didn't fall into one of his black moods. Not that the brilliant genius wasn't more important than any one of John's potential flings, but...
"I was such a coward," John whispered into the silence of the flat. He had been too afraid to admit to himself why he had rather spent time with Sherlock than with an attractive woman. Afraid of proving all of the Yarders - and others - right about his feelings for Sherlock. Afraid of destroying their friendship upon admitting to himself that his feelings for his friend weren't completely platonic. But most of all, afraid of what these feelings said about himself. Not about his sexuality - John had always known that he didn't care about gender when it came to his partners - but about his personality.
"You aren't afraid of the war, you miss it!"
The words - spoken by Mycroft over two years ago - still haunted John to this day. What did it say about a man when he needed a certain amount of violence, gore and blood in his life?! It certainly wasn't the kind of man John had always envisioned he would become. A doctor, who would settle down one day - with either a woman or a man - and raise children - or adopt a dog - that was how he had seen himself. Or rather, how he had tried very hard to see himself. It was certainly a more socially accepted vision of his future and John had held on to it even as his heart had yearned for something else. Someone else. Someone, who stood for danger, violence and crime like no one else did. Someone, who was so brilliant and so far above most people that settling down - while they could still run around London - would never be an option. Someone so beautiful and attractive that John hadn't even dared to date men anymore, out of fear that he would send the wrong signal... or rather the right one.
John shook his head as he noticed how his thoughts tumbled down a dark path. He couldn't spend the rest of his life berating himself for rejecting the feelings he had had for Sherlock. At least that was what his therapist kept telling him, after she had managed to get him to admit to them in the first place. John had nodded at her advice and promised her to start dating again. To be honest, he had even tried it... once. He had taken out one of the nurses from the surgery he had worked for, only to realize that he had picked the one who reminded him the most of Sherlock. Mary hadn't been prone to experiments in the kitchen - as far as he knew - but she had been smart and witty and... she hadn't felt safe. There had been something about her that had drawn John to her that hadn't had anything to do with her looks or her laugh. Still, she hadn't been Sherlock and John hadn't found it in himself to ask her out for another date. It would have been unfair to Mary to date her when he thought about his best friend every free minute.
His therapist had suggested that John move out of 221B and start afresh. Following her logic it would help him getting over Sherlock's suicide if his surroundings didn't trigger memories of his friend. In return, John hadn't told her that he had moved from his room to Sherlock's. He hadn't mentioned how he cuddled up with his friend's pillow every night or how he had started to buy Sherlock's expensive shampoo only to keep part of his scent fresh in his mind.
"I also didn't mention our conversations," John spoke in the direction of the skull. He understood now why Sherlock had always used it as a sounding board. Sometimes, John's thoughts only became clear after he had given voice to them and it didn't feel as insane to address an object instead of mumbling to himself. Not that other people wouldn't have told him that he had cracked if they had known about his conversation with a skull, but John didn't care about the opinions of others anymore.
"Idiots, the lot of them."
A grin flickered over his face at the words and he finally found the strength to get up from his chair. It wouldn't do to sit in the kitchen all evening long.
"Shower, take-away and then off to bed." John nodded to himself and hurried of to Sherlock's - his - bedroom to retrieve a towel and some fresh clothes.
He didn't make it to the wardrobe as he was stopped in his tracks upon entering the room. Someone was there. Someone was in Sherlock's - no, his - bed. John blinked and pinched himself, but the snoring lump remained under the covers. Slowly and silently, he moved around to the head of the bed to get a better look at the sleeping person. It was a man, judging from the uncontrolled growth of dark hair on his face. John couldn't even say where his beard ended and his scalp hair started. It all looked like a wild, unkempt mess and if he hadn't known better, John would have suspected the man to be part of Sherlock's homeless network. Of course, he might be homeless, but he certainly wasn't one of the irregulars who had been Sherlock's eyes and ears in London. A few of them had stopped by at the flat after Sherlock's suicide, but only to ask for medical attention or - once - to use the shower after a tumble into the Thames. None of them would have had the gall to break into the flat and lie down to sleep in Sherlock's bed.
John felt his hands clench into fists at his side and it took all of his willpower not to attack the sleeping man. It wasn't that it went against his principles - it did to some extent - but his military training - and fighting criminals with Sherlock - had taught him to be careful. There was no way of telling if the stranger wouldn't beat him in a fight, but John wasn't above manipulating the odds in his favor.
He tiptoed to the wardrobe and retrieved a dusted box from underneath his oldest pants. The movements of checking and loading his gun sent a thrill down John's spine and he suppressed a shudder as he stepped up to the bed again and pointed the gun at the head of the sleeping man.
"Wake up!" John barked in his most commanding voice and smirked to himself as the intruder jerked up with a scream.
His head spun and his heart hammered wildly in his chest as Sherlock came awake with a startled cry. For a second he couldn't place where he was as he was only aware of the nausea rising up in his throat and the cold sweat that trickled down his neck. He couldn't remember where he had been before falling asleep. It was all a blur as the blood whooshed through his body and made him feel dizzy and disorientated. His hands clenched on the covers of the bed and the feeling of the fine silk against his skin brought him back to the present. Memories of him climbing through a window and falling into bed - after walking the streets of London for the first time in a year - trickled slowly back into his mind. He had made it. He was back home. In London. At 221B. He was safe. Relief flooded his senses, but it was a short lived sensation as a cold, commanding voice sounded from above.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?"
Sherlock's head snapped around and up to the speaker and his heart jumped in joy, when his eyes fell on John. His John, who... was aiming a gun at him. Sherlock blinked in shock and confusion as the barrel moved even closer to his face and he realised that the safety was released.
"John," he barely managed to get out and cringed at how raspy his voice sounded. He couldn't remember the last time he had drunken something. Dehydration would certainly explain why his mind felt so sluggish and he couldn't figure out why John was looking at him with such a hateful expression on his face.
When he had imagined coming back to his friend, Sherlock had always assumed that John would be happy to see him. Sometimes he had dared dream of relieved kisses - and more - but mostly he had settled for a realistic fantasy. He had been prepared for John to hit him - and to stitch him back together afterwards, of course. A hug would have also been in the realm of possibility or that John just fainted from the shock of seeing Sherlock alive. Sherlock had believed that he had covered all the possibilities with these fantasies, but he certainly hadn't imagined John pulling a gun at him.
"I have asked you a question!"
The thunderous voice brought Sherlock out of his mind and made him focus back on the situation at hand. John, with a gun in his hand, aimed at Sherlock's head. There had to be an explanation for it. Think, Sherlock ordered his mind, but only managed to recall John's former question through the pounding in his head. Still, it was enough to go on for now.
"It's me... Sherlock," he stammered and wondered at the same time how bad he must look if his friend didn't recognize him anymore. Surely, the last few months undercover couldn't have changed him that much. But then, Sherlock hadn't seen a mirror in what felt like ages and...
"Sherlock Holmes is dead!"
A shudder ran down Sherlock's spine at the coldness that filled John's eyes. He couldn't remember ever seeing his friend so angry before. No, not angry... furious. John's lips were pressed into a thin line. His eyes were devoid of any emotion as they fixed Sherlock with a look that made the blood in his veins freeze. The hand that held the gun was steady and unwavering. No sign of a tremor anymore. If Sherlock had ever thought John capable of killing someone in cold blood, it was now.
"I'm not... I faked it. The jump it was..." All just a magic trick, he had wanted to say, but the words got stuck in his throat as the barrel was pressed between his eyes. The metal was cold against his feverish skin. Cold and deadly, just like the eyes that were looking at him without seeing him. No recognition was showing in the blue depths and Sherlock's heart jumped against its ribcage in panic. This wasn't John. This man couldn't be John. His friend would never threaten his life. Not in any way that Sherlock had to take seriously at least.
The pounding in his head intensified as the room blurred before his eyes and memories started to surface before his mind's eye. Cold stone walls and metal-grilled windows. Cruel laughter and rough hands. Blood and pain and coldness. Always the coldness. Cold air in his lungs and cold water against his skin. Cold metal that bit into his flesh and made him scream until he didn't know where he was anymore. That was what had happened here, Sherlock managed to realize even as he started to shake. He had never made it back home. He was still in the dungeons and the man wasn't John, but one of his torturers and... he had given away who he was. A wave of blind panic overwhelmed him as he realized that he had ruined everything. They knew who he was and they would kill him, but not before they had killed John.
"No!" Sherlock didn't care how broken he sounded as he turned in the general direction of the man with the gun. "Don't! Let him live. I will do what you want, but please... let John live."
John stumbled back in horror as the man pressed back against the barrel of his gun with his forehead and started to babble. He hadn't expected this. None of this to be exact. Not the man in Sherlock's bed nor his claim to be his late friend, but certainly not such a breakdown. If this could even be classified as a normal breakdown.
John carefully lowered the gun and put the safety back on. All the while his eyes remained fixed on the stranger. His long hair and beard were even more of a mess than John had first realized. They were grizzly and crusted with layers of dirt - and probably inhabited by just as many lice and fleas. John allowed his eyes to dart over the bare chest and torso of the man who was clutching at the covers and whimpering in a language that sounded vaguely like Russian to him. Whoever this guy was, he was severely malnourished. His ribs were only covered by a thin layer of skin. He was probably underweight by at least 20 pounds if not more. Sherlock would have managed to look just as bad if John hadn't made him eat between especially taxing cases. The thought flickered unwelcome through his mind and John grinded his teeth in irritation. This guy wasn't Sherlock. No matter that he appeared to be about the same height as his friend and that his hair had the same coloring and...
"Not John! Moriarty... dead. Please..."
John took a shaking breath and put the gun on the nightstand. He didn't know what was going on here. Sherlock was dead - he squashed the tiny flicker of hope in his chest that said otherwise. So whoever this man was, he wasn't his friend but he obviously needed help. The most sensible thing to do would be to call an ambulance - and a psychologist - but John pushed the idea aside when a choked scream sounded from the man. The paramedics would only sedate the man and he would probably wake up in a psychiatric clinic. Restrained to the bed if they feared his reaction upon coming back to himself. John didn't want to send him down that path. Certainly not before he had gotten some answers.
He had seen soldiers experience flashbacks about the battlefield - and worse. Hell, he himself had experienced them - and still did - and it made it even worse that he hadn't recognized a PTSD induced flashback sooner. Either that or the stranger was a fantastic actor, but John would take his chances. Slowly, he circled the bed and reached for the woolen blanket which covered the unused side of the bed with his eyes fixed on the man's back. Whatever the man had been through, it must have been horrible. John gulped as his eyes took in the angry, red scars that crisscrossed every part of visible skin. No wonder that he had reacted with a panic attack when John had threatened him with a gun. He pushed the guilt that came with the thought away - he could deal with it later - and instead climbed up on the bed and inched closer to the stranger. It was probably a stupid idea to get close to someone who was trapped in a flashback, but John would take the risk of getting punched for his efforts. If nothing else, it might bring the man back to the present.
"Don't be afraid," John murmured as he placed the blanket around the man's shoulders and held him close against his chest. The man froze and stopped his frantic babbling, but he didn't attempt to attack him. John counted it as a win, even as he scrunched up his nose at the smell of the unwashed hair so close to his face. Whoever this guy was and whatever his story, he needed a shower very badly. But first things first.
"You are safe here. It's alright. No one is going to hurt you. You are in London, at 221B Baker Street and... it's all fine."
Liar, his mind scolded him as John kept murmuring reassurances to the man in his arms. Nothing was fine. He was holding a stranger in his arms who was suffering from a panic attack, because John had threatened him with a gun. After the guy had claimed that he was Sherlock. His dead friend... who had looked almost like this man. A man who knew about Moriarty and kept repeating John's name.
Cold sweat prickled on his neck as a mixture of doubt and hope surged through his body, but he could not allow himself to hope. John had hoped for weeks after Sherlock's suicide. He had waited for a sign that his best friend was still alive. A proof that he had followed into Irene Adler's footsteps and faked his own death. But no proof had come forward and John had needed to accept that his friend was dead, in order to go on with his life... or so his therapist had said. But what if...
"John?" The voice was barely above a whisper, but John heard it nonetheless.
"Yes," he replied and decided that an interrogation had to wait until more urgent matters had been taken care of. "Go and take a shower. We will talk later." After I have gotten rid of the bedclothes, John added mentally as the man nodded slowly and climbed off the bed. He swayed a little as he made his way over to the bathroom, but he didn't fall.
"Right," John muttered as he started to strip the bed and decided to prepare tea and sandwiches for the man, before he collapsed. Tea and sandwiches for a man who had broken into his flat and obviously suffered from some sort of psychological trauma after having been tortured to within an inch of his life.
"You have definitely lost it, Watson," John murmured to himself as he checked the mattress for fleas and lice and then retrieved new bedclothes from the wardrobe. He only remembered that he had never told the man where the bathroom was when he heard the shower start on his way to the kitchen.
The warm water was blessing and curse at once.
Sherlock ground his teeth against the pain as it hit his barely healed wounds and sighed in relief a second later when days worth of dirt were washed from his skin. No wonder that John hadn't recognized him, Sherlock mused as he leaned against the wall and reached for the bottle of shampoo. He looked terrible. His hair and beard were a mess and if he hadn't felt so weak and shaken he would have shaven it off right away. As it was, Sherlock hadn't trusted himself with a razor right now. So he had settled for cutting the worst of his beard and long hair with a pair of scissors. He still looked like a homeless addict - he knew the look from experience - but at least some of the worst knotted hair was gone.
Sherlock massaged the shampoo into his hair and rinsed it. The water turned brownish before it ran down the drain and Sherlock added another handful of shampoo to his hair. From the feel of it, he didn't have lice or fleas but there was no arguing that he looked like he had fallen into a waste container. Not that this hadn't happened before but back then, Sherlock had clearly remembered what had transpired to get him into such a state. This time though there were only unclear images floating through his head. He recalled a dungeon in Serbia and Mycroft's townhouse in London. Faces of people that belonged to his homeless network. Streets in London that weren't under CCTV surveillance. And finally Mrs. Hudson's backyard and the window to his room.
Sherlock scrunched up his face at the sparse information. He could only imagine that his brother had saved him from his torturers in Serbia and brought him back to London, but then... why had he lived on the streets of London for at least a week?! He hadn't taken any drugs or else he would feel the symptoms of withdrawal already. Therefore his memories hadn't been all mixed up and blurred by chemical substances, but by something else.
"You mean like a flashback that made you believe you were back in Serbia when you were sitting on your bed at Baker Street?" Mycroft's annoying voice sounded in his Mind Palace.
Sherlock rolled his eyes at his brother in his Mind Palace, but he had to admit that his assessment appeared likely. It would certainly explain why he had thought it a good idea to appear at Baker Street without giving John any warning. And speaking of John... Sherlock sighed quietly as he climbed out of the shower and reached for a towel. He wouldn't only need to explain everything to his friend - from Moriarty's game to his mission around the globe - but he also needed to convince John that he was who he claimed to be. Usually that wouldn't be any hardship - a few dazzling deductions and some private information from their life together and John would be convinced that Sherlock was real. Right now though, he didn't trust himself to make any good deductions considering that he hadn't even been able to distinguish between reality and a flashback. Besides, Sherlock was tired. His mind felt like a sluggish mass as it tried to keep up with the ordinary tasks of Sherlock drying himself and putting on his dressing gown... why was it still in the bathroom, after a year?
No, he certainly wouldn't impress John with any deductions today, but he still needed to convince him that he was real. The issue appeared like an unsolvable mystery in his mind and Sherlock forced himself to let it go for now as he dragged his body into the kitchen. He really needed something to drink and eat.
John almost dropped his mug as the stranger shuffled into the kitchen. Not only was he wearing Sherlock's dressing gown, but he also looked even more like his late friend after the shower he had taken. His hair was still too long, but the natural curls of it were obvious. Now that they were clean again - or at least cleaner than before. The sharp cheekbones of the guy were also painfully familiar and...
"Stop it, Watson," he muttered to himself as he placed a mug of tea and a plate with sandwiches on the kitchen table and nodded to the man to serve himself. It was one thing that he was taking care of a stranger who had broken into his flat, it was something else entirely if he started to believe that the guy was his resurrected friend. Still, John couldn't completely squash the tiny seed of hope that had taken root in his mind.
Thankfully, he was distracted from doubting his sanity by the way the stranger winced as he sat down at the kitchen table. John had seen some of the scars on his back and he made a mental note to give the man a complete medical examination later on. The chances that some of the wounds had gotten infected with all the dirt that had clung to the guy were high.
John refilled the mug with tea as he realised that his guest had gulped it down already and then watched how he wolfed down the first two sandwiches. He had put a combination of ham, cheese and tomatoes on them and then had seasoned them with salt, pepper and mayonnaise... just like Sherlock had liked them.
"Idiot," John berated himself. "This guy would have eaten anything. It doesn't prove anything that he enjoys the sandwiches."
Still, wasn't it alarming that he was looking for evidence to back the guy's claim that he was Sherlock? If someone else had told him such a story, he would have asked them to call a therapist. As it was, John sipped his own tea and watched the stranger finish his plate and another mug of tea before he leaned carefully back in his chair. Bloodshot eyes looked warily up at him and John wondered if he should reassure him again that he was safe. Or maybe offer him to stay here for the night. After all, John didn't intend to call the police and he certainly wanted to learn the man's story. So, an offer of a warm, clean bed and some breakfast might be in order, because John doubted that his guest was in any condition to talk with him tonight.
He was just about to open his mouth, when the stranger beat him to it.
"Just call Mycroft and ask him about me."
John opened his mouth to reply and closed it again with a click. Most people didn't know about Mycroft. Sure, some knew him as a politician or as someone with an - apparently - unhealthy interest in Sherlock, but only a handful of people knew that they were - had been - brothers. "Moriarty had been one of them," a voice in his mind warned him, but John didn't listen to it. If this was some elaborated - post mortem - game of Moriarty's to drive John crazy, then he had already won. There was no way for John to stop the hope from growing inside him as he reached for his phone and entered Mycroft's number. His eyes never left the exhausted form of the man as the phone rang until it was picked up by the elder Holmes after the third ring.
"To what do I owe the pleasure, Dr. Watson?"
John ground his teeth at Mycroft's overly polite phrasing. He still hadn't forgiven him for betraying Sherlock to Moriarty. He never would if the hope that wrapped around his chest wasn't fulfilled tonight.
"Is it possible for Sherlock to sit in my kitchen, looking like he has been living on the streets for some time, after having gone through torture at the hands of professionals?" John held his breath as he waited for Mycroft to laugh - or to utter a sound that was his version of a laugh. Maybe his committal to a psychiatric clinic was filled this very second and John would be picked up by Mycroft's men in a matter of minutes.
"I should have known." John raised an eyebrow at the nonsensical words and frowned even harder when he heard Mycroft mutter something to one of his assistants. He didn't have the nerve for stupid games and John almost said as much when the elder Holmes decided to elaborate. "I have been searching for my brother for about two weeks, after he ran away from my home. I should have expected him to make an appearance at Baker Street after..."
"Wait! Just wait!" John shook his head to clear it from the static buzz that had started to sound in his ears as he tried to make sense of Mycroft's words. "You are telling me that he is alive? Sherlock is alive and sitting in my kitchen and..."
"Of course he is, Doctor Watson." John growled at the bored tone that reached him over the phone. "He faked his death - the details of which my dear brother can tell you himself - and has worked on destroying Moriarty's network ever since then. He carelessly got himself caught in Serbia and brought some souvenirs back from his extended stay there."
"Souvenirs?" John snarled as he recalled the sight of the scars on the guy's - on Sherlock's - back. If Mycroft had been here, John would have given him some souvenirs of his own.
"If that was all, Doctor Watson. I am sure you will take good care of my dear brother. Please, let him know that I will be around in the next few days to talk with him."
"Mycroft..." John started warningly, but didn't get farther as the call was disconnected. He stared stupidly at the phone in his hand, before slowly placing it on the kitchen table. His head was reeling from the information. Sherlock was alive. He was alive. He hadn't committed suicide. His body wasn't rotting away six feet under the earth. He wasn't dead. He was... here.
The air escaped John in a whooshed breath as he dared to look at the man - at Sherlock - in his kitchen. He looked just as beaten as before, but there was a content lift to his lips as he met John's searching gaze.
John stumbled the few steps to Sherlock's side and for a second he didn't know if he was going to hit or hug his friend, before his body made the decision for him. Sherlock's lips were dry and cracked. His long beard scratched against John's skin. He tasted like tea, sandwiches and sickness. It was terrible. The most terrible first kiss John had ever experienced and yet...
"Fine," Sherlock whispered as he leaned against him. "John..."
Their eyes met and John saw just how much was still unsaid between them. They needed to talk. Not only with each other, but with therapists as well. John certainly didn't feel up to dealing with the mixed up emotions that he felt simmering in both of them. His eyes flickered over the gaunt face of his friend and recalled his scars and the episode in the bedroom. Yes, Sherlock definitely needed help to work through all of this... but this was a fight best left for another day. For now, John would deal with the most urgent matters.
"Let me have a look at your wounds and scars and then we can go to sleep." The beard and hair would have to wait until tomorrow. John felt too emotionally drained to give his friend a shave and he didn't trust Sherlock not to get another panic attack or flashback in his exhausted state.
"Together?" Sherlock mumbled as he stumbled to his feet and allowed John to lead him to the bedroom.
"Yes," John replied without having to think about it. There was no way that he would sleep separated from Sherlock tonight. Everything else they could figure out in the days and weeks to come.
John had kissed him. Sherlock's lips lifted in a tired smile as the memory replayed in his mind and pushed the lingering darkness and cold away for the moment. He wanted to talk about it with John and also repeat it as often as possible, but there was no way this was going to happen tonight. His body was already drifting in a half-slumber as John helped him onto the bed. Sherlock registered the scent and feel of fresh sheets even as he started to doze off as soon as his head hit the pillow.
He came back from a light slumber when skilled hands freed him of his dressing gown and arranged him on his stomach. He blinked himself awake as his heart rate sped up at the touches.
"Shh, I am just checking your wounds."
John's soothing voice and the calming touch of his hands as they examined his body helped Sherlock to relax once more. Under different circumstances, he would have felt self-conscious about lying naked before John, but he was too exhausted to feel embarrassed.
"Most of the wounds have scared, but they don't appear infected. I will still rub some antibacterial ointment onto them and tomorrow I will do a smear test on the worst looking ones. You might need a round of antibiotics for them, but it's nothing life-threatening." Sherlock hummed in understanding, although he wasn't sure that he had caught everything John had said. He trusted his friend to make the right decisions.
Something cool touched his back and a clinical smell filled his nostrils as it was spread on his back. The ointment, his mind supplied helpfully before it drifted closer to sleep once more.
Sherlock didn't know if he had fallen asleep or only dozed for a few minutes, when the mattress dipped and a warm body slipped under the covers next to him. John, Sherlock realised as his friend carefully arranged them until they were snuggled together without putting any pressure on Sherlock's injuries.
A kiss was pressed to his forehead and Sherlock smiled as he buried his face in the crook of his friend's neck and felt John's arms close around him a little tighter.
Sherlock knew that this was only the calm before the storm. There were lots of things they needed to talk about and sort out. There would be screaming matches, accusations and tears while they both tried to heal from their year apart. It wouldn't be easy, but that was okay. They were back together and they finally had the luxury of time to figure everything out. They would manage it. Sherlock was sure of that as he drifted off to sleep enfolded in a cocoon of warmth as John held him close.