Based upon a drawing "Wonderwall" by xxFakeMustache on DA.
Found HERE (copy and paste the link):/d48wbgn
Departure, Duration, Return
The letter was completely unexpected. John looked at it with a mixture of confusion and appall. They couldn't be calling him back, could they? He reread the letter several times, it's meaning never changing.
To: Dr. John H. Watson, formerly of the 5thNorthumberland Fusiliers:
This notice is to inform you that your services are once again needed….
The door to 221B opened and light footsteps ascended the stairs, John attempted to hide the letter as his best friend and flatmate walked in. However, nothing gets past Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective. Nothing. Not the impassive mask that John quickly called to his face, not the rigid stance he had just taken, and most certainly not the letter quickly and conspicuously hidden under this morning's newspaper. It only took one look from Sherlock to convince John to unearth the letter and hand it over. Sherlock did not take the proffered letter; he simply took one glance at the crest of the Royal Army Medical Corps and knew. Now, Sherlock Holmes is an excellent liar, but the one question that escaped his lips betrayed his shock:
Another explosion sounded near the medical tent; far too near.Doctor Watson tried his hardest to ignore it as he stitched yet another wound shut, his hands void of any tremor. It would take more than explosions to shake John Watson.
Night fell quickly in the deserts of Afghanistan and the canvas of the tent only did so much to keep out the chill. The blasts and gunfire had ceased; the insurgents who had attacked this morning were pushed back several miles and would hold there, at least through this night. John closed his eyes and tuned out the snores of his fellow soldiers.
It had been six months since the good doctor had gotten that fateful letter calling him away from Baker Street. Six months since he had last seen the face which now swam behind his shuttered lids. It had been five months and 29 days since that face had begun appearing in John's mind right before he drifted into a fitful sleep. At first, he would go to sleep thinking of London in general, of Baker Street, of New Scotland Yard, of the cases, of his blog, of Sherlock. After a night of this, however, the doctor pulled only one image to his mind; an image of the only face he wanted to see before he went to sleep. He still didn't know how long he would be here, suffering under the façade of doing his duty to Queen and Country, so he began, each night, to memorise a different part of Sherlock. He had an elementary understanding of how the mind worked - well, any mind but Sherlock's – and he knew that after time, images and memories and visions of individuals will begin to skew and fade. John feared this most; forgetting Sherlock. Forgetting the deep baritone of his voice, the sharp cut of his cheekbones, the long fingers, callused by years and years of gracing along violin strings, steepled under his chin.
John opened his eyes and reached under his bed into his army-issue backpack and pulled from an inner pocket a now tattered photograph. It depicted two men, doctor and detective, at New Scotland Yard after a particularly harrowing case involving a double homicide and the smuggling of copious amounts of drugs into the country in the bellies of taxidermed cats. As John allowed his eyes to adjust to the relative darkness of the tent, his body shook with silent chuckles as he remembered the absurd case. The picture had been taken by one of the press before John and Sherlock even had time to catch their breath after the chase-and-tackle of the culprit and the camera card was promptly confiscated by an equally exhausted Lestrade. The camera card with the single picture had sat, untouched and forgotten, in the third drawer of John's bedside table until he was packing several nights before his deployment. John had pulled the card out, completely drawing a blank as to where it had come from, and had taken it to the Tesco the next day to see what was on it. The teenage Photo Centre employee looked sharply at him has he burst out laughing at the image and the memories it brought back. John immediately had two copies of the photograph printed and returned to 221B. Sherlock wasn't in, but John left one of the photos on the mantle next to Skull for the detective to find later. The other, John tucked away in his bag; the only truly personal item in the small assortment of clothes, some medical paperwork, and his passport.
Eyes adjusted, John took a closer look at the photograph. He and Sherlock looked distinctly disheveled, having just run several miles about the city in pursuit of the killer. John was leaning over, hands on his knees, attempting to catch his breath as his partner hunched slightly, laying a hand on the doctor's back. Both men wore similarly huge grins, having yet to come down from the exhilaration and glee of another case well done.
John lifted the photograph and looked at himself first: he barely recognized the man in the picture anymore. His skin was now much darker, the bags under his eyes much more prominent, and his hair nearly white from the intense sun day after day. He was also much harder and leaner now; the softness gained from his short term of civilian life had vanished in the first week. He was back on top form, and rather pleased by it; but, he still missed his jumpers.
The Doctor next looked to Sherlock. The tall, thin man never seemed to change. John wondered if these months had altered the detective as much as they had he. Was his raven colored hair still as curly and windswept as usual? Had he been eating; was he even thinner than when John had left? (God, he hoped not…) Was it warm enough in London to leave the greatcoat and scarf at the flat? Was it ever warm enough in London to do that? Had Sherlock had many cases? Was he bored?
Was he happier without John to slow him down?
John banished this last thought. Whether or not it was true, that was not the point of this exercise. He blinked all other thoughts away and focused on the lanky man in the picture. He had to admit, and quite gladly by this point, that Sherlock was beautiful. His pale, angular features combined with a tall frame, piercing eyes, dark hair, and full lips, served to create a truly sensuous creature. John imagined what it would be like to run his hand through that dark hair, look into those blue (Grey? Green?) eyes, softly touch a finger to the cupid's bow of those opulent lips. John began to feel a burning sensation all over and stopped himself. At some point he had closed his eyes and the image of Sherlock's lips still swam in front of his eyes. Oh, the things those lips could do…
Then and there, in that overly small tent in the middle of the Afghan desert, John Watson decided that, as soon as he got back to London, he would find out exactly what those lips of Sherlock's were capable of. Consequences be damned.
Twelve months, twenty-seven days, and thirteen hours had passed since Doctor John H. Watson had boarded a private plane at Heathrow Airport bound for Camp Bastion in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Twelve months, twenty-seven days, thirteen hours, and eleven minutes since John had received his last text message before his mobile phone was deactivated and surrendered to his commanding officer: Come home quickly. –SH
Twelve months, twenty-seven days, thirteen hours, and eleven minutes since his last contact with Sherlock Holmes and God, was that far too long. Still taxiing on the airstrip at Bastion, John switched his phone back on. He stared at the screen for a long moment, almost unsure of what to say. What did one say in an instance such as this, anyway? He decided simple and to the point was probably best. It was a long flight, and he needn't stress over a simple text.
LHR 21:00 -JW
Simple and to the point, as he intended. John hurriedly switched his phone back off and settled in for the fourteen hour journey.
Sherlock heard his phone from the other room. He lazily looked toward the door and nearly called for John to answer it. He shut his eyes in pain, fatigue, and mild annoyance at the remembrance of this past year. The detective had done his best to delete as much of the past year as possible, but it wasn't as easy as it usually was. He had done nothing but take cases and if the cases didn't come to them, he would actively search them out. His memories of the past year consisted of attempted deletions of everything and ended up being mostly various snippets of cases with nothing between them to distinguish them. Normally, there was life with John to break up the cases, small memories of dinners out and takeaway in. Whole nights spent in companionable silence as John blogged and Sherlock read.
Now. Nothing but snapshots of cases, cigarette smoke, and the occasional needle punctuated the brilliant mind.
Lestrade had attempted to phone him on other occasions; a night out at the pub, lunch at the Yard, even (Good, God!) a dinner out with he and Mycroft. As if Sherlock would ever take the Detective Inspector up on that. After a few months of refusals, however, Lestrade gave up and only texted or called if he had a case. Mycroft, of course, still checked up on his little brother. He called and Sherlock wouldn't pick up. He would text and Sherlock would ignore it. He would show up at 221B and the "consulting five-year-old" would pick up the violin and play loudly and very off-key until his brother went away. He rarely ever made snide remarks at Donovan or Anderson anymore, much to their shock and, though they would never outwardly admit it, concern. Even Mrs. Hudson had stopped making social visits. She would come up occasionally to tidy the flat and try to make Sherlock at least eat a few biscuits and drink some tea. However, her efforts always left her frustrated and she would come up several days later to the biscuits and tea stone cold and exactly where she had left them, no Sherlock in sight. She looked about the flat and noticed more holes in her walls; she didn't even bother with them anymore.
Let's face it, everyone wished that John H. Watson were back at Baker Street.
Finally, he was unsure how many hours later, Sherlock got up and went to check his phone in the other room. After all, who else besides Lestrade would text him? Perhaps he had yet another dull case that the brilliant detective would try in vain to delete afterward. As he picked up his mobile, however, Sherlock knew, he just knew, that this text would be different. He turned the phone over in his hands, pressed the centre button, and read the only text that would truly matter.
The airport was nearly empty; after all, it was fairly late. John, backpack slung carelessly over his good shoulder, exited the airport terminal and immediately looked around. Searching intently for a mop of black hair against a pale, angular face or the swish of a great coat. At first, he saw nothing. He reached into one of the pockets of his army fatigues and took out his mobile. He brushed a bit of sand off and switched it on. No new messages. John looked up again and stopped stock-still. There, no more than 4 metres away stood the only person in the world John wanted to see.
Sherlock stared at the shorter man before him. He was so different, yet…not, somehow.
The two men walked toward each other without thinking; a year of silence and yet not a word was needed. When they were barely a foot apart, Sherlock hesitantly reached toward John and gently stroked a tan and weathered cheek, still unsure of what he was seeing. Sherlock's gloved hand left an impossible burning trail down John's face and it was this that seemed to break the stillness of the scene.
John took a final moment and looked into Sherlock's eyes, sapphire today, before roughly grabbing the taller man's head and pulling it down to his own level. The first kiss was rough, heated, and a bit untidy. Sherlock had frozen for an entire second before responding to John's mouth upon his own. This was new territory for both of them, but nothing could part them now. They drank each other up as men dying of thirst suddenly presented with the coolest and clearest water. John raked his teeth along Sherlock's lower lip and the taller man let out a soft groan. At this sound, John's eyes shot open and Sherlock tried follow the doctor's lips as he pulled away. John looked again into Sherlock's eyes and noted, in some far removed portion of his brain, that the detective's pupils were blown wide, an encouraging sign.
The second kiss was gentler, less urgent but just as passionate. John's hands, still buried in the other man's hair, softened their grip and one slipped down to embrace Sherlock's shoulders to hold him closer and brace himself. This time, John rose on tip toes to reach Sherlock's lips. The taller man's hands wrapped around John; one at his waist and one at his back. The two met on even footing this time, soft pairs of lips took turns caressing one another in a sensuous game of give and take. Was it a minute? Or perhaps an hour? It didn't really matter, did it?
In time, Sherlock pulled back, only a fraction of an inch, and whispered softly against the doctor's lips, "Welcome home, John."
A/N: So this piece kind of sprung from fucking NOWHERE...well...that art that I led you to at the beginning of the fic... If you haven't checked it out yet, it is my inspiration for this and you should go check it out.
This has not been beta'd or Britpicked...but I think it's okay. It was not supposed to be this long...but oh well...
I just really love this ship, okay?