Three bloody years. And now Sherlock Holmes was shaking with laughter beside him, in the flesh. For the unveiling from the ridiculous disguise to now, all John could think about was how unreal this was all becoming. He had pinched both arms raw from the time Sherlock Holmes appeared in front of him to the time he was dragging John once more into a cab and to 221b Baker St, which he hadn't seen in about two years.

The explanation for his return was even worse. All his enemies were dead and gone except one.

But when he saw that what Sherlock had said was true, that Colonel Moran was indeed staying in the apartment across the street from 221b, he shut up and allowed Sherlock to pin him against the wall in the corner.

Then there were shots fired, Moran was handcuffed to a table, and then Lestrade, Sergeant Donovan and a few other Scotland Yarders busted in.

Lestrade all ready knew Sherlock was in London? Mrs. Hudson knew? Bloody Mycroft knew?

Bloody hell!

John was about to return to his single bedroom apartment back in the slums when Sherlock took his arm, "Mrs. Hudson would love to see you again, John."

John blanched. Mrs. Hudson. Of course.

She was indeed happy to see him, especially after being given a fright with the gunshot and bullet through the window, right through the bust of Sherlock Holmes, of which John had seen from the empty apartment across the street.

"Shame to have wasted such a brilliant piece of artwork. Where do you want it, Sherlock?" she asked.

"You can have it, Mrs. Hudson," Sherlock replied, sinking into his armchair, "If you like…"

Mrs. Hudson made an approving noise, and carted the bust out of 221b. John went to help her, but she protested. "I bet Sherlock wants to catch up with you, John, dear," she said, gesturing with her head at the only consulting detective in the world. The only undead consulting detective in the world, as the world would have it…

Once she was gone, John felt Sherlock's presence right behind him. He turned quickly, and without thinking, punched Sherlock in the face. "You are a complete arsehole," he breathed, and made to leave.

Sherlock was undeterred, and put a hand on John shoulder. John tried flinching away, but his former roommate was firm. "I didn't mean to hurt you. It was for your own safety."

John growled a bit, "And you think everything will return to normal? Sherlock! Three bloody years!"

Sherlock's face fell slightly, and John could see the look of pure guilt in his friend's features. "You'll need time, I know…"

"You have no idea," John replied.

Sherlock took his hand away from John's shoulder. "I understand. I'll… I'll still be here. And your room upstairs will be, too. Remember that."

John nodded, "See you around, Sherlock Holmes," he said, making his way down the stairs and out the door to the street.

But his heart was breaking inside. He had missed his best friend. But lying about being dead was just something he could not get over in the span of about five hours. The case had come too quick for John to think then.

But he knew he couldn't stay away for long…

Notes: The next few chapters are based on three stories from the anthology A Study In Lavender: Queering Sherlock Holmes. If you want to read along, the stories are "The Kidnapping of Alice Braddon," "The Bride and the Bachelors," and "The Adventure of the Poesy Ring." Happy reading!