A Thousand Years
Follow me on tumblr: onewhositswiththeturtles(dot-tumblr-dot-com)
Disclaimer: I do not own Sherlock Holmes, or John Watson, or any of the original or BBC Sherlock works. If I did, you know they would have made out by now.
Warnings: SPOILERS for 2x03 "The Reichenbach Falls", M/M pairing
Rating: All Audiences
Notes: Originally I was going to make this a songfic, until I decided that shoving the lyrics in wouldn't work very well. Instead, PLEASE listen to the song "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri while reading this story. I think it will really add something to the writing. If you don't have the song, here's a link for Youtube: www . youtube watch?v=rtOvBOTyX00&ob=av2e
Summary: Three years to the day since John watched Sherlock fall. Now he's back visiting the grave for the last time. Good things come to those who wait. John/Sherlock Reunion fic.
Three years to the day. That day.
John stepped out of the cab, shoving the door closed before beginning the long, practiced walk into the cemetery. He was alone, as usual. It had been three years and no one visited Sherlock's grave anymore, or at least they visited less frequently than John himself. John didn't mind though. Once a week he would walk through the silent cemetery, footfalls slow in dread at seeing that black polished marble again, those golden letters spelling out his best friend's name. Once a week though. That was his time alone with Sherlock, to share his thoughts with the man.
Some days he'd tell Sherlock he hated him. Other days he'd tell Sherlock he loved him. Occasionally he'd swear, just because it hurt so much. Most days he'd cry. But every day he would touch the black headstone, fingers brushing over smooth marble. Every day he would wish for a miracle.
Just one more, Sherlock. Please.
His cane sunk into the soggy grass as it always did when he abandoned the paved road, making a beeline for Sherlock's grave. The path was memorized; his path always leading to Sherlock. It was about two months after the fall that John's limp had come back. He had fought it, remembering all the days and nights he had chased across London with a straight gait, always chasing Sherlock's heels. Now he hobbled, and knowing it was psychosomatic did nothing to rid him of the limp.
This thought always brought back John's memories of Sherlock. The night that brilliant man had proven that John didn't need a cane, that John was the only one who could keep up with Sherlock. John remembered the way his heart had raced with adrenaline, and then later when his heart had still raced even though they were standing still. Just looking Sherlock over, taking in those dark curls and bright eyes, high cheekbones and smug lips.
John had fought down the subsequent thoughts following his inspection of the consulting detective. And he was grateful that Sherlock was rather dumb when understanding feelings and emotions, meaning Sherlock would have taken John's racing heart and quickened breath into account, but would have attributed it to adrenaline. Not arousal. It couldn't be arousal. John had pushed those thoughts aside, strongly considering the thought of turning and running.
But then he had watched Sherlock at work. Everything seemed brighter, sharper, more colourful as John watched Sherlock work. Each deduction plucked from seemingly thin air had drawn John in. Each solved case had ended with the promise of more adventure to follow. John's nightmares of the war faded, as did his attention toward anything not involving the brilliant, beautiful man that was Sherlock Holmes.
He had still fought it, his feelings. He was afraid to fall for a man such as Sherlock, a man who could tell your life story from your gait and clothes, but knew nothing of affection and love. A man married to his work. That wasn't what John wanted, what he needed. But then he had watched Sherlock, standing alone – always alone – against the onslaught of criminals, cases and crass insults from those too jealous to leave the man alone. Sherlock himself barely seemed to notice, too busy saving the world. But then Sherlock's eyes would skim over the insulting masses, searching John out, and John could do nothing but take one step closer, standing beside the man.
John didn't think their relationship would ever progress as far as he wanted it to, but all of his doubts had still gone away. Because John knew that he wanted to stand by Sherlock's side, that he would never prefer being anywhere else.
Now Sherlock was gone. The closest John could get to standing by Sherlock's side again was to lean against the black headstone, letting his tears slide down his face as his cane fell to the grass, momentarily unnecessary. He should have told Sherlock how he felt before it was too late. Even if it wouldn't have changed their relationship, John just wanted Sherlock to know that someone loved him. John would whisper it against the cold marble each time he visited, a broken 'I love you, Sherlock'. But it was too late, and the words fell flat.
Normally John would have been able to see Sherlock's grave by this point, in the distance. But it was foggy today, the rainclouds from the morning hovering close to the ground. Tightly, he held a small bunch of white carnations in his left hand, his cane in his right as he continued to walk across the grass. He doubted Sherlock had a 'favourite flower'; in fact, John would probably get mocked for such sentimentality if Sherlock was still here, standing beside him. But he wasn't, he was gone, so John brought flowers to the grave every week.
He told himself this was the last time though. The last time he would visit Sherlock's grave and leave flowers. The last time he would clutch to the marble like it was a lifeline. The last time he would tell the man, long gone, that he loved him, that he missed him, that he wanted him back. Every week was hard. Every day was hard. It felt like John was dying every day while waiting for Sherlock to return, loving him every day despite wanting to let the detective go. Staring at Sherlock's armchair while sipping his tea every morning, missing the chase across London as he worked at the surgery, thinking of dark hair and sharp eyes when out on a date.
John knew he had to let Sherlock go, but he didn't know how.
Another few hobbled steps brought John close enough to see the hazy silhouette of Sherlock's grave beneath a tree. But then he stopped moving, time standing still. Because there was a tall, lithe form leaning against Sherlock's grave. And even though it was foggy and John couldn't make out the details, he knew who it was instantly. He knew those long legs, that sharp chin, those soft curls.
That head turned, regarding John in the mist, and then he stood. Sherlock stood, arms at his sides, looking open and welcoming. Waiting. Waiting for John. No doubt wondering what John would do. John took a deep breath, centering himself. If this was a dream, John would take it as a sign to stop coming to the grave. But he had to be brave, because if this wasn't a dream, Sherlock was standing right there – right there – just a short distance away. John would be brave; he wouldn't let his own fear stand between him and what was standing in front of him. Every night filled with tears, every day filled with heartbreak, every hope, every whispered plea, had all been leading to this.
The cane fell to the grass with a muffled thud. Then John was running, limp gone, heart racing, flowers losing a few petals in his hurry.
He stopped just a few steps from Sherlock, forcefully keeping himself from launching at the man. John's whole body was quivering with disbelief and hope, his eyes raking over every inch of the detective standing in front of him. Still the same detective, still the same man John had fallen in love with all those years ago. There were a million things he wanted to say, many of which he had said over the last three years while kneeling in front of the black marble headstone. But his throat was suddenly dry and he couldn't speak. He didn't know what to say first.
To his utter surprise, Sherlock was the one who closed the distance between them and swept John up in his spidery arms, pulling John close against him. Sherlock was warm, and strong, and solid. John dropped the flowers on the grave before he lifted his arms and wrapped them around Sherlock's middle, sliding his hands beneath the man's billowing coat and clutching desperately at the fabric of his shirt. He pressed his face against Sherlock's chest, breathing in the familiar scent of aftershave that had inevitably faded from 221B.
Tears finally fell because John knew this wasn't a dream. Every time he dreamt of Sherlock he had only been able to see, never touch. Which meant it wasn't John's subconscious. It was Sherlock – cold, calculating, distant Sherlock – who had John bundled up in his arms, pressed against his trim form. It was Sherlock rubbing awkward but well-intentioned circles across John's back, attempting to calm him down. It was Sherlock whispering John's name again and again in the calm silence of the cemetery.
All along, John had been right to hope. Questions and doubts had swirled around in his mind for three years, but he had still hoped and believed that time would bring Sherlock back to him. Bring them together again. And now Sherlock was here, and everything felt alright again. The world around John was lighting up with colours and sounds again, no longer muted and ignored. Sherlock had ignited something in John all those years ago, and it had disappeared the moment John held Sherlock's wrist, searching for a pulse that was already gone. Now it was back and John was tingling, over-sensitized to everything after three years of a meaningless existence.
They remained like that for a long time, the carnations forgotten but now unnecessary at their feet. John listened to Sherlock's heartbeat, and his breathing. Otherwise, they remained still, clutching at each other and refusing to let go. John would never let go again, would never let Sherlock go where John couldn't follow.
Eventually Sherlock spoke, though he never released John from his embrace. He explained Moriarty's threat. He explained the drug Molly had given him to slow his heart rate, and his staged death. Then he told John why he had pretended to stay dead, making sure everyone working with Moriarty had been dealt with so Sherlock's friends would not be in danger when Sherlock finally returned. He confessed his boredom and loneliness the last three years without John beside him, chasing the game by Sherlock's side. Finally, Sherlock apologized. Begged for forgiveness.
John couldn't stand it any longer. He understood why Sherlock had done what he had done, and he forgave the man despite the heartbreak he had suffered. It was time to say what he should have said years ago. He had thought he was too late, and now he had a second chance. John pulled away slightly, just enough that he could look up at Sherlock's face. Sherlock's arms remained tense and wrapped around John, and John had no issue with this. For a moment he was struck by the look of sorrow, fear, and heartbreak in those normally-collected eyes. Then he parted his lips. "I love you, Sherlock."
Sherlock's gaze softened. "I know, John," he admitted quietly, his voice a mere breath against John's skin. "I was here every week I could. Friday, three twenty five in the afternoon, after the seven minute cab ride from the surgery. I was here, John," Sherlock's voice was even and calm, but John could read the turmoil and pain in those eyes. "As close as I could be until I knew you and the others were safe."
Perhaps John should have been angry. That Sherlock had left John to die a little each day he waited for the detective. That he had listened to John's confessions and tears but had never moved to say anything in return. But John knew that Sherlock was still distant enough to value John's long-term wellbeing over short-term suffering. He knew that Sherlock had only been doing what he thought was best. So John slid his hands from Sherlock's back, no doubt leaving wrinkled fabric in his wake from the way he had been clutching at the man.
Sherlock panicked and held John closer, keeping John from leaving the embrace and breaking contact. It was possibly the first time John had seen Sherlock look truly scared. Scared of losing John. Luckily for him, John had no intentions of withdrawing. Instead, he lifted both hands. One hand cupped Sherlock's cheek while the other wound around the back of Sherlock's neck, fingers curiously twining with dark curls. Then he took a breath, searching for bravery, and pulled Sherlock down into a kiss.
Their lips remained pressed together but still for a long minute. John thought Sherlock might be in shock, or at least unsure of how to proceed. Knowing he would probably have to lead with this sort of interaction, and not minding in the slightest, John tilted his head and began moving his lips against Sherlock's. Almost immediately Sherlock groaned, his nimble fingers digging into John's back as he pulled them closer again, both of them desperate for contact. Each inch of contact had John dizzy, reminding him again and again that this was really happening, that Sherlock was here with him, and kissing him.
What Sherlock lacked in experience he made up for with eager determination. He followed John and paid close attention, mimicking John's movements with unending skill. It was when John brushed his tongue along Sherlock's bottom lip, Sherlock parted his lips welcomingly, and their tongues twined together that John moaned long and deep and finally pulled away, gasping for air. Sherlock was panting too, but kept his head bowed so that their gazes held, their lips only a few inches apart. "I love you too, John."
John's heart fluttered pleasantly and he smiled. "Let's go home," he said shyly, happily imagining a re-inhabited 221B Baker Street.
Sherlock gave a tiny smile and nodded, but then something behind John seemed to catch his attention. "One thing first," Sherlock muttered mysteriously, his arms finally sliding away from John's form. John shivered as the damp air enveloped him and tracked Sherlock with his gaze as the man bounded away. He smiled and chuckled lightly when he saw what Sherlock was up to, and when Sherlock returned to his side. Sherlock propped John's walking cane against Sherlock's own headstone, stating that John "You won't be needing this again."
Finally satisfied, Sherlock ducked down for a short but heated kiss, and then outstretched his hand, offering it to John. "Ready for another adventure?" Sherlock questioned with a raised eyebrow.
John's hand slipped into Sherlock's larger one, their warm palms pressed together and fingers twined intimately. Their eyes held and John smiled. The world was alight with colour, life and promises. "Always."
A/N: So I know a million other people have probably written similar stories. I apologize for that, but I needed to write this to save my own sanity after watching the last Sherlock episode.
Also, I attempted some artwork for my own story. It's... well it's pretty bad because I never draw, ever. But I'd really appreciate it if you guys took a few extra seconds to check it out and let me know what you think, about the art or story or both. Or if you just want to rant about the end of the season, I'll join you in that too haha. You can find my artwork here:
: / / crownofmagic . deviantart #/d4mz5br
: / / crownofmagic . deviantart #/d4mz5kt