A/N And here's the last one. I topped 600 reviews as well as over 100 alerts and favorites, and that means so, so much to me. I'm endlessly grateful to every single one of you for all the support and feedback you've given me. Thank you, and enjoy the final installment.
Thanks to Hummingbird1759, starrysummernights, johnsarmylady, 666BloodyHell666, linguisticRenegade, MapleleafCameo, Song of Grey Lemons, Rain Hamish Holmes, ThisDayWillPass, total-animal-lover, and Guest
Disclaimer I don't own Sherlock or any associated characters, events, etc.
They don't stay in Baker Street forever, of course. After multiple long decades, when they both have to admit that they're not as quick—in mind or body—as they used to be, John gets out his computer one day and looks up houses. Real houses, not London flats—out in the countryside. (Sherlock snaps that he doesn't want to be away from the city, proclaims the mere idea 'dull,' but John ignores it.) It takes a while, but eventually they manage to locate one place that they both agree on—a small, almost cottage-like home, situated among rolling waves of grass, its whitewashed sides sun-drenched, with blue shingles on the roof and hints of ivy curling along the eaves.
John loves it as soon as they step inside, and Sherlock does, too, even if he doesn't say it. There's peace in this place, peace in the silence of the wind and the dust in the air, the halls and single bedroom quiet and warm. Peace is something that neither of them ever got the opportunity to fully experience on their own, perhaps never even desired to. But it's perfect here. No threats, no gunshots, no murders. Only the trees and the clouds, and each other.
Each other. The most important part of the equation, the thing that puts aside the loneliness and boredom that would otherwise cause many more of the shadows and bullets that they've fully abandoned. This way, neither of them is ever on his own, and there's someone to challenge Sherlock's mind when he complains that he has nothing to do with it, someone to hold John tight and breathe in his tears on the nights when the war comes back.
At night—not every night, but often enough, a few times a week—one of them sits outside, in the field with the apple trees. It's Sherlock more often, but occasionally John, and he'll settle into the grass and let its silver blades run over his fingers, painting them in dew, soaking in the white moonlight that illuminates the grey in his hair. And the other will come out, after no more than a few minutes, silently crouch beside his partner.
Sometimes they talk, because John loves Sherlock's voice, and Sherlock loves John's, too, even if he never says so. There are a lot of things Sherlock doesn't say, but John knows them, anyways.
And, other times, neither of them says anything at all. They'll sit, side to side or back to back, and watch the stars. The stars hold memories for both of them, memories of a night in London, a great game and a lighted planetarium, the thrill of the chase in their blood and the warmth of each other in their hearts.
So much has changed since then. So much has gone. Mrs. Hudson is gone, Mycroft is gone, Moriarty is gone. Lestrade's still hanging in there, retired with his wife and children, free from the plague of crime just like John and Sherlock.
But the most important things are still here, and they always will be. Sherlock has John, John has Sherlock, and they both have the stars.
That's all that matters, really.