Title: I Can't Lose You Now

Author's Name: Laura Sichrovsky

Fandom: Sherlock

Rating: PG-13

Word Count: 5781

Pairing: Sherlock/John

Warnings: Talk about suicide attempts and depression, suicide ideation, Sherlock/John kissage

Spoilers: It's set post-Reichenbach. (And it mentions a reference from Blind Banker.)

Summary: When Sherlock gets back, he finds a folder on John's laptop. In it are letters John wrote to Sherlock at the behest of Ella so he could work through his grief. Until he read them, Sherlock had no idea how deeply he'd hurt John or the nature of John's feelings for him.

Disclaimer: This is where I put the statement saying that I do not own John or Sherlock, (Heh! I wish!), or anything relating to the show or books. No one is paying me to do this and if you feel the sudden urge to send me gifts, you might want to talk to someone about that. Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat own all things Sherlock and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle owns Holmes and Watson. None of them have given me permission to use these characters as I have so if you have problems with the story, please send the pretzel bombs to me, not them. (Though if you could actually send a pretzel bomb to ACD, I'd be impressed.)

Author's Notes: I can't believe I'm actually writing Reichenbach stories. I swore I wouldn't, but I can't seem to get away from this. Thanks need to be given, and here is where they go. Thanks to Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat for giving me a Sherlock I can get behind. Thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman for making this Sherlock and John so amazing. I tried to fight it, but they were just too remarkable not to fall for. Big thank yous to Gemma for the super-fast beta job and the helpful suggestions. I owe you so much! Thank you to Elin for reading this over for me and showing me where I went wrong. And my biggest thank yous to my guiding influence and my best friend, Ann. She's the best beta ever and the Sherlock to my John. Without her, I am nothing. (Couldn't do it without you, love. Wouldn't want to try.)

I Can't Lose You Now

Sherlock yawns as he plugs the kettle in. He's not really tired, but his brain is still shaking off the last vestiges of sleep. Sherlock frowns as he processes this, wondering why he's so slow to wake up this morning. It takes a minute, but he realizes that it's because he's finally home and safe. His brain hasn't really slowed down, this is just him being relaxed. It's been so long that Sherlock's almost forgotten what it feels like.

He pours the water and lets the tea steep, taking a minute to look around the flat. He's been home three days, but it still feels a bit surreal after being in hiding for six months. Sherlock adds sugar to his tea and takes the cup into the sitting room. He takes a sip and makes a face. John makes better tea, but John is at his new job this morning. Sherlock shakes his head as he settles on the sofa, putting the tea on the coffee table. He'd expected things would change while he was gone, but John getting a job in A&E wasn't something he'd predicted.

Sherlock sighs, looking around the sitting room. It's too quiet and empty and he has nothing to do. He'd pout, but that's not nearly as productive when John isn't around. He sees John's laptop on the desk and decides to check his e-mail. While he doesn't get nearly the volume of correspondence as he did before he "died", what he does get is usually important. Sherlock takes the laptop back to the sofa and settles in. It only takes him three tries to guess John's password; he's still ridiculously predictable.

Sherlock only has two e-mails and he answers them rather quickly. He closes the browser and has just decided to set up an experiment in the kitchen when he notices a folder on John's desktop titled, "Sherlock." Sherlock blinks. He used John's laptop almost daily before he left and he's positive that folder wasn't there. He looks at it for about five minutes, debating the propriety of looking at the contents. It's not that he's suddenly started respecting John's privacy, but rather he worries that John is still angry with him and he doesn't want to destroy the fragile peace they have. But Sherlock's curiosity gets the better of him and it does have his name on it, so with one small twinge of guilt, Sherlock opens it.

He's not sure what he was expecting to find, but there are about eighty text documents, all with numerical titles. It takes Sherlock about thirty seconds to understand that the numbers are actually dates. The first one is the 18th of June and Sherlock realizes with a start that was four days after his supposed death. He bites his lower lip then opens the document.

18, June, 2012 –

I thought my world ended when I came home from Afghanistan. I was broken and useless, everything was so dark and grey. All I wanted to do was curl up and die. That pain was nothing to what I feel now. Even breathing hurts and I know that I'll never be okay again. Harry made me go and talk to Ella. I think she's afraid that I'll step in front of a bus or eat a bullet. Maybe she's right to worry. Ella says that I need to work through all the things I never said to Sherlock and that if I do, I'll feel better. I think she doesn't understand how wounded I really am, but I promised Harry that I'd try. So, this is me, trying. I suppose I should do this properly.

Sherlock, I want to be angry at you. I want to hate you for resorting to that and for making me watch, but I can't. All I can feel is empty and guilty. Why didn't I see how upset you were? How could I fail you like that? You trusted me more than anyone else in your life and I let you down. Or maybe I'm just upset that you left me behind. You must know that I would follow you anywhere. If you'd asked, I would have jumped with you. It would have hurt less than this.

Sherlock stares, his eyes wide. He'd known John was hurt. He could see it in the way he walked and the expression on his face. But to see it spelled out like this was something else entirely. Logically, Sherlock knows he's reading the first fresh stabs of grief, made worse by the shock of it all. With the passage of time, John's pain and guilt would have lessened. So, why are there so many letters? It looks like John wrote every other day for the whole six months. Sherlock picks another file, this one two months later.

14, August, 2012 –

Sherlock, today I went out to get milk. It's the first time I've left Baker Street in a week. Maybe I shouldn't have moved back, because sitting here, surrounded by your things and all these memories, I can almost pretend you're still alive. That can't really be healthy, can it? But without that, without you, I'm alone again and drowning in a pain so deep that I can't breathe. How am I supposed to do this without you?

Greg keeps stopping by and I have to pretend I'm fine. I know he's worried. I smile and talk about normal things like the news and football. Do you know how surreal that feels? Though I suppose it's not any odder than practicing my smile in front of the mirror so that I won't scare people. I think I can actually be convincing with it now. Mrs. Hudson has stopping bringing me dinner every night and Greg relaxed when I laughed at a joke last night. I wasn't sure whether to be relieved or anxious when he left. My face was starting to hurt from forcing that damned smile, but I knew once he was gone, I'd be all alone with your memory.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want to forget you, but feeling you all around me like that just serves to show me what I'm missing. Sherlock, I can't do this.

Sherlock frowns. Shouldn't John be getting over his grief by now? Two months is a long time to still be hurting like that. Sherlock focuses on the line about John's smile. He remembers seeing that smile, some part of him recognizing that it was different from John's usual expression, but dismissing it.

He thinks about a day in early September when he was back in London. He was tracking down a lead on Moran and he let himself indulge in watching John for a few minutes. Sherlock was holed up in the deserted building across from 221 when John came home from shopping. He'd noted how tired John looked but hadn't thought anything of it. John had been shifting the bags from one arm to the other when Mrs. Hudson opened the front door. John had smiled at her, saying something that was likely a thank-you. Sherlock had been so desperate to see anything of John that he'd put any misgivings from his mind and just watched. Now, looking back on it, Sherlock can see that fake smile for what it really was; a way to keep Mrs. Hudson from worrying about John.

Sherlock isn't sure what to think. He knows that he and John are friends, but he's never meant this much to anyone before. Other people cared for him, family, people who considered him a friend, but when he left or disappeared for chunks of time, they didn't miss him. Some part of Sherlock expected that by the time he came back to London, John would have moved on and might not even remember him. He was gratified that wasn't the case, but this level of grief is unexpected and perplexing.

Curiosity gets the better of Sherlock and he goes to the day in September when he saw John. There is a letter and Sherlock opens it.

7, September, 2012 –

Sherlock, I almost did it today. In the end, the only reason I didn't was Mrs. Hudson. She told me she couldn't survive losing both her boys and I couldn't get that out of my head. Don't worry. I wouldn't do it here. I wouldn't want her to find me. Today I went to the Southwark Bridge. I though maybe if I just let myself sink under the water…but I couldn't get her words out of my brain, so in the end I went and picked up groceries I never intend to eat. It gets easier every day, you know. Thinking about it, I mean, accepting it. The pain gets less bearable every minute and it's soothing to think of an end to it. If my grandmother is right, I'll be with you again and how could that ever be a bad thing? I miss you, Sherlock. More than I can put into words.

Sherlock's heard people describe being shocked. They talk about rushing in their ears and being incapable of focusing their eyes. He's never felt anything like that; until now. Sherlock reads the letter again, swallowing hard. John was going to…

Sherlock shakes his head, unable to make sense of it. And then he realizes something. The only reason he even saw John that day was because of what Mrs. Hudson said. If John hadn't let that affect him, instead of watching
John carry the shopping home, Sherlock would have been watching Baker Street while John died in another part of town. Would Sherlock have found out? Would the police have come to 221 to tell Mrs. Hudson? Or would Sherlock have heard it from Mycroft weeks later? He shivers, suddenly feeling cold as he understands how close he came to losing John. How did he not see it in John's expression that day? How did he not know? Surely this was just John having a bad day. It couldn't have got worse, could it?

Sherlock looks about two weeks ahead, but something catches his attention. There is a gap in the dates. John faithfully wrote almost every other day, except for the end of September, beginning of October. The missing time adds up to just over three weeks and Sherlock frowns, opening the first letter on the other side of the gap.

15, October, 2012 –

Sherlock, I scared the hell out of Harry a few weeks ago. I seem to have also worried a few psychologists. They kept me under observation for three days. Then Harry moved me in with her, which I suppose is better than going to a facility. She watched me like a hawk for the last couple of weeks and she's making me go to see Ella again today. Though I don't suppose I blame her for all of this. Being called to the hospital because your brother was found overdosed in an empty warehouse isn't something you want to deal with. I keep apologizing to her, although I can't help thinking that next time I'll pick somewhere more secluded. It was empty, for god's sake. Really, what were the chances that some homeless guy would need to get out of the rain? How could I know he'd find me and revive me? (And I'm never going to tell anyone that I got the drugs from your old dealer. It just felt right when I found his number on a scrap of paper under your bed. But I'm in rather enough trouble without dragging your name into it.) I'm going to be on my best behaviour for a while now. At least Harry let me go home yesterday, though she calls me every couple of hours. Harry called Greg and now Ella's involved, so people are paying attention to me again.

Funny, back before I met you, I wanted people to notice me. Now I just want them to leave me alone so I can get on with things. But, prudence tells me I should put everything on hold until after the New Year, so you'll have to forgive me if it takes me longer to get to you.

Sherlock sits, his mind reeling. John actually tried to kill himself? To be with Sherlock? It makes no sense to him at all. John has other friends and Sherlock is pretty sure he wouldn't react this way if one of them died. Hell, he doesn't think John would react this way if Harry died, so how did Sherlock elicit this response? Was it the PTSD? Did watching Sherlock jump set off some downhill slide?

And how the hell did Sherlock not hear about all this? He is going to have a long talk with Mycroft about passing along important information. Not that Sherlock could have done anything about it, but it hurts him deeply that he didn't know how badly off John really was.

Sherlock is still contemplating this when he suddenly understands something. John stopped actively trying to kill himself to placate Harry and Greg. If he hadn't, he likely would have been dead by the time Sherlock showed up three days ago. Something about that makes his breath catch. There should be some humour in the irony that Sherlock faked his death to save John's life and John was trying to kill himself, which would result in leaving Sherlock alone. Oddly, Sherlock feels too much despair to find that funny. He shakes his head.

He sits there for a minute, wondering if he should read any more of these. Curiosity gets the better of him. After all, if he's not plotting how to best kill himself, what was John writing about in the remaining letters? Sherlock goes to the very next letter and opens it.

17, October, 2012 –

Sherlock, it looks like I'm going to be seeing Ella every day for the next few weeks. Despite my assurances and even my smile, she's worried about me. Apparently, I'm lucky she's not having me committed. As clueless as she is, she does seem to have some insight. Today, even though I protested, she made me talk about you. She asked if I ever wrote the letters and was surprised when I said I had. She asked if I told you everything. Is it bad that I lied to her and said I did? I don't know why I haven't. You'll never read these. Maybe it's because if I say it, I make it real and then I have to face that I never told you when it could have made a difference. Not that it would have. I'm not that stupid.

I wanted to tell you, so much in fact. But you are my best friend and I wouldn't have jeopardized that for anything. I actually did say it to you. Twice in fact. But, both times you were sleeping. Does that count? Is it better that it's one of the first things I plan to tell you when I see you again? I'm going to say it now. I want to see it, to know I can't take it back or hide from it. Sherlock, I love you. I think I always have. You are amazing and wonderful and crazy and perfect. I wanted to spend my life with you. I want to spend forever in your arms. I dream about you, about kissing you, about holding you. You were the only thing that made my life worth living.

Sorry about that. Once I got started, I couldn't stop. Of course now I'm wondering how you would have reacted if I'd ever said all that to you. I can almost see the look of horror and disgust. I do feel better for having typed it though.

Sherlock didn't think he could be shocked any further, but this… John loved him? It explained quite a bit about John's mental state. But how could someone like John fall in love with Sherlock? Or maybe it was part of the grief and the PTSD? Displaced feelings? Sherlock isn't sure what to think. He needs more input. He knows John has only been working at A&E for two weeks, so he goes to the day John got the job and opens the letter.

3, December, 2012 –

Sherlock, today I start that job Greg got me. As I said, he thinks I need to get out of Baker Street and away from your ghost. I wanted to tell him no, to turn it down, but somehow I said yes instead. It was rather nice of him to go through the trouble and I did promise to make an effort. At least it gives me the chance to help people again. I'm not sure how long I'll stay, but I'll give it a try.

Sherlock goes four days ahead.

7, December, 2012 –

Sherlock, surprisingly, I like my new job. It's got the same sort of manic energy that working with you did. I like being useful and helping people. Part of me thinks I could get used to this, but I know I'd still only be going through the motions. The reality is that my heart died with you and while this will make things bearable until I can be with you again, it's no substitute. I feel like a dead man walking, Sherlock. And I still wake up calling your name, praying that it was all a nightmare. I love you, Sherlock and I can't do this alone.

Sherlock runs a hand through his hair and thinks. Today is the twenty-first of December. Sherlock came back the night of the eighteenth. If he'd waited just three more weeks, what would he have come home to find? Funny, really how sentiment played into it all. Sherlock had stepped up his time table and worked longer hours because he'd gotten the sappy idea that he wanted to be back with John before Christmas. There was no logical reason for that, nothing that made sense, but he couldn't bear the idea of John alone for the holiday. Once he'd gotten the notion in his head, he couldn't dismiss it, picturing sitting in front of the fire with John opening presents. Silly and sentimental, and yet… Funny, really, as much as it went against what he'd learned, this time sentiment wasn't a failing, it might have saved John's life.

Sherlock knows he's dwelling on this to avoid thinking of other things. He's not ready to face his feelings towards John. He's kept them hidden for so long that he's not even sure they're still there; except that he knows they are, that he still cares for John more than he'd ever thought he could. Sherlock sighs, preparing to close the folder, but then he notices something that makes him frown. The last letter was dated the nineteenth of December, after Sherlock came back. Why would John write him a letter when he was sitting three feet away? Taking a deep breath, Sherlock opens it.

19, December, 2012 –

Sherlock, I don't even know what to say. I'm sitting here, typing this, and I can hear you in the shower. I should be thrilled that you aren't dead. And I suppose I am, or at least I will be when the shock wears off. But Sherlock, I'm also so deeply hurt that I don't have words for it. You left me. I love you with everything I have, but sometimes I wonder just how much that is and if I really have anything left. I didn't even mean enough for you to tell me or even drop me a note. You let me think you died. You broke my heart and left me alone and bleeding. When you died, you took me with you. I was empty and alone and you didn't care.

I tell myself you didn't have a choice, that you were doing what you thought was right, but why couldn't we have worked it out together? You tell me I'm your best friend and I think that should have given me a priority or something, but it didn't. I don't understand. Either I was important to you or I wasn't. And while several people were awarded your trust, I wasn't one of them. Damn it, Sherlock, I would have died for you and I sure as hell lived for you. Why wasn't I important enough to tell? As your "only friend" I would think you'd have wanted to spare me the pain of thinking you died. You said you did all this for me, but I'm finding that hard to believe right now.

Every day for six months, I died a little without you. I'm not sure I even remember how to live anymore. You came out to breakfast this morning and I should have been ecstatic, but I still feel like part of me is dead. Why don't I just want to take you in my arms? Why do I still feel like stepping in front of a train is an attractive option? Is it because I know that I mean nothing to you? If I did, how could you hurt me like this?

Sherlock stares at the screen, barely noticing as the words blur. He'd given up his life to protect John and in the process, had he lost everything? How could he know he'd hurt John so much? Sherlock feels tears run down his face, but he doesn't really care. He's damaged the person who means the most to him, possibly beyond repair.

Sherlock shakes his head, swallowing hard, closing his eyes against the wave of emotion. He rests his head in his hands, giving in and letting the tears come. He's not sure how long he sits there, but he about jumps out of his skin when he feels a hand on his shoulder. He must have missed it when John walked in the door.

"Sherlock?" John's voice is soft and gentle. Sherlock looks up at him and John's eyes go wide. "Are you crying?"

"Why didn't you tell me?" Sherlock whispers.

"Tell you what?"

Sherlock gestures to the laptop and John looks shocked as he realizes what he's seeing.

"Sherlock, those are private."

"They were addressed to me."

"But I never intended for you to read them."

"None the less, I did," Sherlock says, shaking his head. "I'm…I never meant to…"

Sherlock stops, not knowing how to put his feelings into words. John looks at the laptop.

"How many…did you read them all?"

"No. I only read four or five of them."

"I see," John says and Sherlock knows the questions John is afraid to ask.

"I read enough to understand a few things," Sherlock says quietly.

"What is it you understand?" John asks, his expression guarded.

"How close I came to actually losing you." The words pull another stab of emotion from Sherlock and his voice cracks. He swallows and takes a deep breath. "And what exactly I might have lost."

He looks up to see that John's expression is hard and Sherlock's stomach lurches.


"I don't need your pity," John says.

"This isn't pity, John."


"I…John, you don't understand. I did it for you."

John sighs.

"I know, Sherlock. You told me all of this."

"I told you what I did, but not why."

"You ran off so Moriarty's people wouldn't kill Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson, and me." John's voice is dull, a simple recitation of facts.

"But…don't you understand, John? I actually cared if something happened to you. I never let myself become that emotionally involved before you." John arches an eyebrow at him and Sherlock shakes his head. "People die, John. It's how life is. Even when my father died, I took it with equanimity. But the thought of losing you…it actually hurt. Moriarty said he'd burn the heart out of me. I didn't realize it at the time, but when I thought about you dying, well, he was right. So, I did the only thing I could."

"You should have told me, called, texted, something," John's voice is harsh, his expression hurt. "It's what friends do."

"No, friends take care of each other, John."

"You didn't trust me!"

"I didn't trust them," Sherlock corrects. "I had no way of knowing how closely they were watching you. It turned out that they were monitoring your phone. If I had called or texted, even from another number in code, they would have known and they would have shot you. It wasn't that I didn't want you to know, John. I couldn't contact you without jeopardizing your life and that would have been an unacceptable risk."

John is looking at him and Sherlock can see he's thinking over the conversation. After a minute, John shakes his head.

"I could have come and joined you. We would have been safe together and I could have helped you hunt them down."

"And you would have been okay with Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson dying because of it?" Sherlock tries to keep his voice gentle, but he needs John to understand the impossible choice he had to make. "Or perhaps we could have taken them too? Though I'm not sure how well Mrs. Hudson would have done during the two weeks I lived in an empty barn in Kazakhstan with no heat and no real food."

He sees the war behind John's eyes, what he wanted, how hurt he was, against the reality of the situation. After a minute, John's shoulders slump.

"I thought I'd lost you," John whispers. "And then, when you came back, I thought I meant nothing to you, which was worse."

"Oh, John, don't you see?" Sherlock says, moving closer and putting his hand over John's. "I couldn't lose you. I would have done anything to keep you safe, even break your heart. I never meant to hurt you or make you doubt your importance. I just couldn't let anything happen to you. I'm…I'm not sure I could do this without you anymore."

"Do what?" John asks, looking up.

Sherlock bites his lower lip, knowing that once he says it, he can't take it back, can't pretend any longer. But does he really want to? He almost lost John, both physically and emotionally. Was there any point in hiding his feelings anymore?

"What can't you do without me?" John prompts.

"Live," Sherlock whispers.

He hears John gasp, feels him tense and shake his head.


"No, please, John. If I let you talk, you'll only take it back and I'm not sure I could stand that."

John looks confused and he shakes his head again.

"What is it you don't want me to take back?"

"Your heart. I know I haven't taken very good care of it and I don't deserve anything from you, but please John, give me another chance."

Sherlock's voice wavers on the last word and tears are streaming down his face again. Before he can talk himself out of it, he's moving towards John. He reaches out, touching John's face and slowly, ever so slowly, he leans in. John doesn't react when Sherlock kisses him, but he doesn't move away. After a few seconds, Sherlock leans back and looks at him.

"Please, John…If I lost you…I can't lose you. I need you. You were the most important thing in my life." Sherlock swallows convulsively. When he speaks, his voice is just above a whisper. "You still are."

It's the hardest thing Sherlock's ever said and as it hangs there for a few seconds in the silence, he thinks he can feel his heart breaking. But then John is there, pulling him close, and leaning in to kiss him. The kiss is soft and gentle, full of emotion, everything Sherlock hoped it would be. He deepens it, his hands coming up to hold John's face and he moans when he feels John's tongue trace against his lips. Sherlock opens his mouth, fighting the urge to just devour John, letting his tongue slide along John's. After another minute, John breaks the kiss, leaning back, looking at Sherlock.

"You have no idea how long I've wanted to do that," John says breathlessly.

"Maybe as long as I have?"

John arches an eyebrow at him.

"And how long would that be?"

"Since the day in the Lucky Cat when you figured out the key to the code was numbers. You showed me that price sticker and I wanted to kiss you right there."

John's eyes go wide.

"Almost two years? Why didn't you ever say anything?"

"I deduced from your steady string of girlfriends that you might not welcome such an advance." Sherlock tries to keep the bitterness from his voice. "I wanted you in my life and I was willing to keep you as my friend as long as you stayed."

John reaches out, touching Sherlock's face.

"If you'd kissed me in that shop, I wouldn't have had all the girlfriends." Sherlock looks at him and John smiles. "But I guess we have to make up for those two years now."

"We do?" Sherlock furrows his brow. "How?"

"I'm sure we'll think of something," John whispers, leaning in again.

Sherlock pulls back, needing for John to understand something. John looks at him, his expression tinged with worry. Sherlock smiles and takes his hand again.

"I've not changed my mind, but John, promise me that you'll never…" Sherlock pauses, not sure how to word this. "Even if I…I couldn't bear knowing that you…damn it! Why is this so hard?"

"Because you actually care about me?" John asks quietly.

"I do," Sherlock agrees, nodding. "Which is why the idea of you coming to harm, even by your own hand distresses me beyond words. You tried to kill yourself, John."

"And I thought you already had. How do you think that made me feel?"

Sherlock blinks. He hadn't thought of it that way.

"I…I know this doesn't make it any better, but I didn't know you had feelings for me. I thought you'd get over it rather quickly." He pauses, pressing his lips together. "Everyone else did. I was sure you'd move on. I'm sorry, John."

"I know," John says, sighing. "And I'm sorry that I tried to…well, I'm sorry."

"Promise me you won't ever do that again, John."

"I will if you promise never to fake your death again."

"I can't promise that," Sherlock says, shaking his head. "I won't make a promise to you that I can't guarantee to keep. You're too important for that. But I will promise that if I ever have to do it again, I will get word to you that I'm alive."

John looks at him, his expression unreadable, then he chuckles.

"You know, from you, I'll take that promise."

"I'm sure it won't be a problem, John. I don't really intend to be away from you long enough to get into trouble without you knowing about it."

"Oh really?"

"You enjoy cuddling, don't you, John?"

John laughs again, pulling Sherlock to him.

"I do. But we really can't spend the rest of our lives like this."

"Oh, I know. We will have to eat occasionally and there is time in bed."

"And what about work?"

"Work is boring, compared to you, John."

"I'll tell Lestrade you said that," John says, smiling.

"Well, maybe it's not boring," Sherlock amends quickly. "And you are part of the work."

John laughs and then leans in and kisses Sherlock.

"I do love you, you lunatic."

"And I…" Sherlock pauses, taking a deep breath. "I love you too, John."

It's the first time he's ever said it and meant it, yet somehow John seems to know that. He looks at Sherlock with wide eyes, and then they are kissing again, desperate and needy.

"Don't ever…" John murmurs against Sherlock lips between kisses. "leave me again. I…I want you…I need you…I can't…live without you."

"And I need you, John. Always."

The kisses become more frantic, each man pulling the other closer until they are pressed against each other. John's hands are in Sherlock's hair and Sherlock's hands are tightly gripping John's arse. John pulls back, gasping in air.

"You said something about time in bed?" he asks.

Sherlock can only nod, leaning in to capture John's mouth again. John maneuvers them down the hall, never breaking the connection of their mouths. Sherlock moans in approval when he feels the bed against the back of his knees. He breaks the kiss, reaching out to touch John's face.

"I love you," he whispers, feeling a rush that he has the freedom to say that to John whenever he wants to now.

"I love you too, Sherlock," John says, smiling at him. "Let me show you how much."


Sherlock yawns, shifting to a more comfortable position. John's arm comes up, wrapping around Sherlock and pulling him against John as John murmurs something in his sleep.

"I'm here, John," Sherlock whispers, not really surprised when John relaxes a bit.

Sherlock pulls John's arm around him, snuggling his back against John's front. This was a new experience for Sherlock, spooning. He'd read about it, but never cared enough to share a bed with anyone before and try it. He finds himself thinking that as with most things involving John, it's a very pleasant experience.

Sherlock closes his eyes, attempting to sleep, but his mind just won't shut down. It goes over every moment of the night from the letters to their conversation, to their lovemaking. Sherlock smiles as he goes over that in glorious detail again. No one has ever made Sherlock feel so wanted and loved before and he vows to spend the rest of their lives returning the sentiment to John.

He pauses on that last though; the rest of their lives. For the first time ever, Sherlock can see spending his whole life with someone. He can actually picture them forty years from now, living in a quiet village in the country. Sherlock will raise bees and maybe help the local police on occasion. John will write mystery stories and every night, they will sleep, just like they are now, with John's arms around him, holding him close. It was a rocky road getting here and all the bumps aren't smoothed out by any means, but they love each other and they will get through this together. It will be worth anything they must do to know that he will be able to tell John how much he loves him every day for the rest of their lives.

Sherlock snuggles closer to John and finally slips off to sleep feeling safe and completely loved.