John's eyes snapped open as he heard his phone ring. Normally he would just ignore it, he ignored most things these days. If it weren't for Mycroft John would probably be broke by now…or dead. Most likely dead. After Sherlock had died it was as if John had too. He hardly talked anymore, hardly ate, and hardly slept. All he really did was sit and think. He'd think about all the good times he'd had with Sherlock, but that line of thought would always lead him to the same place. No matter what John tried to do he could never forget watching Sherlock jump from Bart's and then seeing his best friend, his everything dead on the pavement. His pale skin stained with blood and his eyes once brimming with life completely lifeless. John had tried to function for a while afterwards, he really had, but everything reminded him if Sherlock, and he couldn't cope. So he had given up.

John went through all of Sherlock's things with the intention of giving them away, but he couldn't. Because if he got rid of Sherlock's things that was like admitting to himself that Sherlock was never coming back. John knew that Sherlock was dead, but he would never give up hope that somehow he had survived, and that somehow he would return to him. John had started reading all of Sherlock's notes and books. He had gone through all of Sherlock's experiment notes and articles and organized them all. Then he had started some experiments that Sherlock had mentioned in his notes but never gotten around to. After three years John was almost as smart as Sherlock had been just by sheer force of will.

The one thing that remained 100% John Watson though, was his grief. He could become as smart as Sherlock and be able to solve cases like his best friend, but he would never be able to detach himself from his emotions like Sherlock could. No matter how hard he tried he could never get over Sherlock's death. But getting back to the phone. The ring tone that had just sounded was one that John hadn't heard in three years. The only person who had that ring tone was Sherlock. He was going to delete it, after all he wasn't coming back, but just like Sherlock's things he couldn't get rid of it. I've finally gone crazy then. John thought to himself. Well three years of talking to almost no one and hardly leaving the flat will do that to you. He reasoned with himself. Just to make the infernal thing shut up John reached over and picked up the phone.

"Hello?" He said. His voice was hoarse from days of disuse. At first all he heard was someone breathing on the other line, he was about to hang up when-

"John? Can I…can I come up?" John couldn't believe it, he never though he would hear that voice again, at least not when awake. John opened his mouth to speak but his throat ran dry. "John?" Sherlock asked again.

"Yes," John finally answered, he couldn't get anything else out. The line went dead and John could only assume that meant Sherlock was coming up. John strained his ears to see if he could hear anything. At first he thought he had just imagined the entire phone call, but then he heard the slight thump of footsteps on the stairs. As they got closer and closer John had no idea what to do. Should he sit down? Stand up? Be in the kitchen? The living room? Should he put the kettle on? Had Sherlock eaten recently, maybe he should make some food for him. By the time all of these questions had occurred to John it was too late to do anything, the door creaked open and Sherlock Holmes was standing in the doorway. John was a few paces away from him. For a moment all John did was stare at Sherlock. He was thinner than he had been, his cheekbones stuck out more. His hair was a lot longer; obviously he hadn't had time to get it cut that often. Sherlock's clothes were dirty and torn and John could see some faded bruises on Sherlock's revealed skin.

"John," Sherlock breathed out, almost like a prayer. John couldn't take it. How was he supposed to react in this situation? This wasn't anything you were ever prepared for in school or at Uni. Now kids if your best friend and the man you've secretly been in love with comes back from the dead, this is what you do… Suddenly everything that John had been feeling over the past three years, the stages of grief and everything came back and hit him at once. He settled on being angry. Without even saying anything he took a step towards Sherlock and punched him square in the jaw. Sherlock staggered backwards a few steps before he caught his balance.

John had fallen to the floor and was holding himself shaking. "Why?" he finally asked. "Why didn't you tell me you were alive?" John looked up at Sherlock with tears slowly falling down his face.

"I'm sorry John. So sorry." Sherlock's voice cracked. He stooped down to be level with John and wrapped his arms around him, but John just pushed him away.

"No!" John shouted.

"John, please just let me explain." Sherlock begged.

"No. No. No. No. No." John just kept on repeating the word over and over again to himself. "You can't be real." He whispered.

"I am John, I'm right here, I promise." Sherlock replied, concern evident on his face.

"I SAW YOU DIE!" John yelled out. "I…I checked your bloody pulse! There was nothing. NOTHING!" John took in a shaky breath, trying his hardest to stop crying.

"I know, I know, and I'm so sorry John. So sorry." Sherlock didn't really know how to react. Mycroft had told him that John had taken his death hard, but he hadn't expected this. John looked like death itself. He had lost weigh. A lot of weight. And there were bags under his eyes. It was obvious that he hadn't eaten or slept for quite some time. His clothes were dirty and didn't fit him; they hung off of his thin frame only making his weight loss more apparent.

"No you don't know, Sherlock." John spoke up his voice low. "You have no bloody idea what you've put me through! I died when you jumped off that blasted building! I worked my arse off proving that you were innocent even though I thought you were dead, because I thought maybe, just maybe if you saw that everyone believed you, you would come back. But you didn't! You stayed dead and I stayed dead with you. I kept all of your things and I read all of your notes and finished your experiments because I thought that if I was just a little bit like you, them it would almost be like you weren't dead." John finished collapsing onto the floor.

This time when Sherlock knelt down beside him and put his arms around him, John didn't push away, he leaned into Sherlock and cried against his shoulder. For a few minutes they just stayed like that, Sherlock protecting John, like he had been since the day they met. After a while John stopped crying and stood up.

"Tea?" He asked as he made his way to the kitchen, wiping the tears from his eyes.

"Please." Sherlock replied. He walked into the kitchen and noticed the table was set. For two people.

John noticed Sherlock's gaze and simply replied, "Old habits die hard." They sat in silence until the kettle boiled and John made them both tea.

"I didn't want to go away." Sherlock finally spoke up. "I liked what we had. For the first time I felt like a belonged somewhere." He cleared his throat and tried to beat down his emotions. John remained silent and motioned for him to continue. "That day, on the roof, Moriarty had three snipers trained on you, Lestrade, and Mrs. Hudson. There was some way of calling them off, but Moriarty killed himself before I could figure it out. If I hadn't jumped they would have killed you. All of you. Moriarty had told me he would burn the heart out of me, and he almost did." Sherlock explained.

"But why did you stay dead? They saw you fall; they didn't shoot us! You could have simply waited for them to leave and then told me everything." John said. "Why did you stay dead?"

"I wanted to make sure you were safe." Sherlock replied like it was the most obvious thing in the world. "I didn't know if the snipers were still watching you, so I hunted them down. The first two were easy, but Moran is smart. He realized what was happening so he never stayed in one place too long. It took me two years to track him down. But it was worth it, knowing that you would be safe."

"Safe is a relative term." John replied softly.

"Not dead then." Sherlock amended. For a moment neither of them spoke a word. "John, I really am truly sorry. I…I had no idea you would be affected this way. I knew you'd mourn for me, but I figured for a year, if that, and then you would move on with your life, maybe find a women. And this time I wouldn't be around to ruin your relationship, you'd have a shot at a normal life."

"I never wanted a normal life." John answered. "My hand never shook when I was around you, and my leg stopped hurting because of you. No women could ever do that." John swallowed the lump that was forming in his throat. "You don't just stop mourning for people that you loved." Sherlock stopped short. How could he have been so stupid? All the signs were there. John followed Sherlock around everywhere without question. John made sure Sherlock took care of himself. And Sherlock had always caught John staring at him, but he had always assumed that John was just making sure he was healthy. He was his doctor after all. And how John had stopped correcting Angelo when he called Sherlock his date, and how John didn't seem to fuss that much about Sherlock ruining his relationships. Finally all the information clicked into place and Sherlock was left with an amazing answer. John Hamish Watson loved him. Him, Sherlock Holmes.

A wide grim spread across Sherlock's face as he looked over at John who was just quietly sitting there, not sure what to say after his confession. "You love me." Sherlock stated, barely controlling his excitement.

"Yes," John breathed out. Here it came, Sherlock telling him that he was married to his work, and that he was flattered, but he didn't feel the same way, and then Sherlock would feel awkward because he's Sherlock and he would leave John again, and John would be all alone and-

John's thought process was cut off my Sherlock's lips pressing against his own. "I love you too." He replied pulling away. "And I'm sorry."

"It's okay." John replied. As he pressed his lips against Sherlock's again he did something that he hadn't done in three years. He smiled.