"Ah, sorry about that."
"Mr. Watson, I've asked you before, please turn your phone of during in these sessions."
"Yes. Sorry. Won't happen again." John shuffled slightly, nervously watching his therapist, Ella, who was writing something down which was undoubtedly something to do with trust issues or incapability to follow instructions. "So, about what we were discu-"
John rolled his eyes as his phone received yet another message. Ella raised her eyebrows and placed her clipboard on her lap. He continued to reach inside his jacket pocket in an attempt to retrieve his phone, but this gesture was greeted with a cough from his therapist.
"Yes, sorry. I'll just ignore it," he straightened his jacket and began talking again, "so last week you sa-"
"Christ!" John yelled, losing his temper slightly and grabbing his phone, completely ignoring the sigh of exasperation from the woman opposite him as he stood.
"Shall we just call it a day then, Mr. Watson?" she snapped, somewhat rudely, gathering up her things. John looked up briefly and nodded his reply as she left the room. He typed in his phone passcode quickly and read the messages.
He suddenly lost his grip. Dropped the phone. Collapsed into his chair. From this position, he watched pieces of plastic and metal explode from what was once his mobile. He shook slightly, trying to figure out how he had possibly just received those texts.
'Baker Street. Come at once if convenient. - SH'
He closed his eyes as he felt tears pricking at them. He told himself to calm down, but he started sobbing silently.
'If inconvenient come anyway. -SH'
He could hear himself trying to control his breathing. It wasn't working. He was going to lose it.
'Could be dangerous. -SH'
As he thought about this last message, he realised he couldn't hold it in anymore. John let the tears come, head in his hands, still shaking. Tears of happiness and confusion and... What? Thoughts flashed through his mind at the speed of light. Surely he couldn't be alive? Someone must be playing with him. But who? Who would be interested in pathetic little John, the ex-army doctor with a psychosomatic limp? What would anybody get from messing with his already vulnerable mind?
He looked forward, resting his head on his closed fists. He took a deep breath and calmed himself. He had to go. Even if this was some trap, he had to go. Because if there was even the smallest chance that Sherlock could still be alive, John had to take it. Even if he never let on, John thought he was nothing without Sherlock. Nothing.
John stood, kicked the remains of his phone under a near by table and turned to leave. He wiped the last stray tear from his cheek and left the flat quickly, walking with his head down to avoid meeting the eye of anyone. He clambered into the back of a cab and mumbled the address to the driver.
It felt weird, John decided, sitting in the back of a cab that was going to Baker Street after the three years of mourning he'd done for his friend. His best friend. The car pulled up outside the building and he paid the driver. Inhaling as he did so, he clambered out of the cab and walked slowly to the door. He knocked on the door and exhaled. Mrs. Hudson answered a wide grin on her face, flour all down her dress.
"John!" she exclaimed, opening her arms for a hug. John looked down at her dress again and she followed his eyes. "Oh!" she laughed, folding her arms, "Maybe not then, eh? Can I help you? Here for any reason?"
"Erm," John replied, trying to quickly fabricate a lie, "yes. I, erm, left my phone book in the flat upstairs. Need to find a... cousins address. Would you mind...?" he said, nodding his head to the stairs.
"No, dear, not at all!" she replied, still smiling as she let John in. He began climbing the stairs when Mrs. Hudson spoke again, her voice a little quieter than before. "John?" she said, "It is nice to see you." she smiled a sad smile that John returned and he felt himself welling up again.
"You too." he managed to croak. She nodded her reply and went back to baking and John carried on climbing the stairs.
His body was a battlefield of emotions and his hand quivered slightly as he moved it up the banister. John listened for any sound of movement that could possibly indicate a trap, but all he could hear was the repetitive beating of his own heart and his shaky breathing. He reached into his jacket pocket to get the key for 221B and he felt his hand brush past the scarf that he now kept with him at all times. He smiled to himself. Placing his hand on the door handle, he found that it was already unlocked. John's heart leapt.
He pushed the door open slowly and walked in; breathing in the three years worth of dust that had collected since he had last lived here (Mrs. Hudson had evidently found it too emotional to set foot in here too). Looking around the room, his eyes stopped on the silhouette of a man lounging on the sofa. John coughed as to draw attention to himself, but the figure did not move. John walked closer towards the figure and noticed that it was Sherlock. Sherlock was here.
Very much asleep, yes, but oh so alive. John couldn't stop smiling and felt tears returning to his eyes again. He watched Sherlock sleeping for a few more seconds and then turned to look at the rest of the room. It was just how it had been three months ago. He smiled some more and sat down in his favourite armchair, still watching Sherlock sleep.
About five minutes passed and John was still watching the consulting detective sleep. He looked so peaceful, with his usual black coat rapped tightly around him for warmth and his blue scarf covering half his face. John coughed again, accidently this time, and Sherlock stirred. John sat upright, not daring to move a muscle as Sherlock sat up and came to his senses. Then their eyes met.
"John!" Sherlock exclaimed, "we're out of milk, why are we out of milk?" he removed his scarf and placed it on the edge of the sofa. John stared at him blankly.
"I-" he gulped, "I'm sorry, what?" John remained seated as Sherlock proceeded to remove his coat too, and place that too on the edge of the sofa. He straitened his jacket and turned to his very confused friend.
"Milk, John. The useful white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals in order to be the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food-" John blinked at him whilst he was speaking.
"- which is then pasteurised for human consumption and is what I would rather like to use in my tea because, frankly, tea without milk isn't very nice at all, but then again you -"
" - don't even have sugar in your tea so what would you know about a good cup of tea? A good cup of tea requires sugar and it also requires milk, John and -"
"SHERLOCK!" John had risen his voice quite significantly by this point, and had also stood up. Sherlock looked at him.
"Yes, John?" he asked, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he was supposed to be dead. John couldn't do anything but stand there with his mouth open, staring at his friend with great confusion. He shook his head and looked down.
"You're-" his voice failed him. He cleared his throat and looked Sherlock dead in the eye. "You're supposed to be dead." No response. "How long have you been here? Alive?" Sherlock began pacing as he replied.
"I've been alive since I was born, John, this seems like a relatively simple concept, even for you. It's clear that you haven't been very intellectually stimulated lately. Though you have got a new job, decent pay," Sherlock stopped pacing and looked at him, "private practice, is it? I can smell the pot pourri. And of course there's THAT..." he nodded at John's left hand, where an engagement ring was clearly visible. John closed his hand into a fist and hid it behind his back. "That's definitely new," he continued, "maybe it's just the apartment that's stayed the same? Although you've definitely mov-"
"Sherlock will you please just shut up!" they locked eyes again. John looked down and clenched his fists as he talked. "You were dead. You fell off a building, and you died."
"Jumped, John. Jumped off a -"
"Fell, jumped, what does it matter?" he was angry now. His eyes were wide open and his hands moved as he talked. "You still ended up on the pavement with your head smashed in and I-" his voice broke. Sherlock didn't move or say anything. "I didn't- I couldn't- there was nothing I could do! I waited for you to come back and you didn't. Everyone was calling you a liar. Hell, some people even said you got what you deserved!"
"But not you. You knew I would come back." Sherlock replied calmly.
"I thought I did. I really, really did for so long. Anything was better than... but three years, Sherlock! Three years..."
"The apartment is still the same. You knew I would be back." John's face was still a mixture of emotions. Sherlock looked at him, really looked at him and John realised what he was trying to say: thank you.
"Well, you know, I kept telling everyone suicide isn't your style. Way too conceited for that." Sherlock's mouth turned into a grin, and John shook his head. He let out a small laugh, and Sherlock joined him. They both took their old seats and smiled at each other.
"So," Sherlock said, breaking the happy silence, "the engagement ring?"
"Ah," John replied, somewhat relieved that he could explain, "it's Harry's. Went to visit her, the Christmas after you.. Well, you know. She got back on the alcohol and started screaming about how much she hated her fiancée or something. Threw this at me. Didn't want to throw it away, so I wore it." Sherlock's face bore a look of relief and confusion.
"Why wear it? Surely you could have put it away. You must have had a hard time explaining to women why you're wearing an engagement ring whilst on a date with - oh." his eyes widened and his brows lifted - he'd figured it out. "You haven't seen anyone since... Since I... you know, have you?" Sherlock was looking down at this point, avoiding eye contact with John. He felt uncomfortable having this conversation. John coughed and shuffled in his chair.
"Actually no." Sherlock looked up and John smiled at him. Sherlock stood and turned his back to John, thoughts whizzing through his mind. When he turned back around, John was staring at him with a sense of anticipation and curiosity. Neither spoke.
Sherlock stepped towards John, and John stood. He'd never realised it before, but John's eyes actually sparkled slightly when he looked at him. Sherlock looked the smaller man up and down and realised just how much he'd missed having him by his side. He took John's left hand in his own and looked at the ring.
"Can I...?" He asked, not really knowing how to act in this situation. John smiled slightly and shrugged.
"Be my guest!" he laughed, and Sherlock removed the ring and placed it in his pocket. They stood there for a moment, John looking at Sherlock who still seemed captivated by John's hand.
"Thank you." he finally said, looking into John's eyes, still not letting his hand go. John smiled as he realised it was the first time he'd ever actually heard Sherlock say those words.
"For what?" John asked.
"For never doubting me. For never giving up on me." Sherlock placed his free hand on John's shoulder. "And for showing me that I actually do have emotions, even if they're only around you." John laughed.
"Emotions?" he said, composing himself, "I'm only here because you told me it 'could be dangerous'..." he retorted, looking up at Sherlock with a joking but somewhat seductive smile on his face.
"Oh, shut up John." Sherlock replied. He moved the hand that was resting on John's shoulder to cradle the side of his face. His other dropped John's and went longingly to the small of his back. John instinctively moved his hands to similar positions on Sherlock's body and he felt himself being pulled closer into the detective. Sherlock let the corners of his mouth crease into a slight smile before he began to lean down. In a blur of both awkwardness but complete perfection, their lips met and both of them knew that the three years of missing each other had been completely worth it for this one beautiful moment.
Holmes and Watson, together again.