Sherlock woke with a start. He was sitting against the wall, facing the open windows with his violin case clutched in his arms. Something had woken him. A sudden sound.
He quickly set down the violin and ran crouching to the window. John's flat was dark and his window was open with the curtain blowing in the light breeze. He should have made John close his window, and how did he manage to fall asleep? What was wrong with him? Sherlock berated himself. Stupid, halfwitted, vacuous...
He strained to hear another sound, another hint as to what it was that had woken him. The street was quiet. It was very early in the morning. Everything was eerily still. Suddenly he heard a loud thump and then John yell.
Sherlock was running out of the flat. He ran down the stairs and burst out onto the street just in time to watch Lestrade disappear inside John's building. He sprinted across the street and just as he reached the door, he heard the unmistakable sound of a gunshot.
"John!" he yelled and leapt up the stairs. He ran through the open door in time to see Lestrade struggling with a large man dressed in black. Sherlock did not think. With one fluid movement, he grabbed the man's arm, spun around and smashed his elbow into the man's face. He felt the man's nose crunch, and it was enough to loosen the assailant's grip on Lestrade, who spun out of his grasp and pointed his gun at the intruder.
"Drop to the ground, now!" Lestrade yelled. But the man tried to swing his gun around to aim at the detective inspector. Sherlock lunged at him, grabbed the gun from the side, pushed the man's elbow with his other hand and twisted the gun out of his grasp. Lestrade then punched the man in the face, and the intruder finally fell to the floor and raised up his hands. As Lestrade moved to turn the man over, two more officers rushed into the room to Lestrade's aid.
Sherlock looked for John and saw him lying on the floor next to the bed, clutching his chest.
"John! John, have you been shot?"
"I'm alright," John said and tried to sit up. Sherlock ran to him, put the gun on the floor and quickly searched John's arms and chest with his hands. He tore open John's shirt to reveal the bulletproof vest, which had a noticeable dent where the bullet had struck. He put his finger in the hole to make sure that it hadn't passed through, and then looked up to John's face.
"Bloody thing was uncomfortable to sleep in, but it turned out not to be such a bad idea," John said, and then put his head back, trying to catch his breath.
Suddenly Sherlock's hands were on John's face and in his hair and then Sherlock's mouth was everywhere. Sherlock had John's head between his hands and he was kissing his eyes and his cheeks and his mouth over and over.
"Sherlo-," John tried to speak, but he found that his throat had closed and his voice had stopped working. Without thinking he reached for Sherlock's face and pulled him into a deep kiss, suddenly overwhelmed with all the pain and suffering and longing from the past two years. He was shaking from the adrenaline and from the force of the kiss, but Sherlock held him steady, clutched John to him and kissed him until everything else had disappeared. After a few moments, they pulled away slightly, both men breathing hard and searching each other's faces. John slowly became aware of his surroundings again and realised there were other people in the room. Moving only his eyes, he glanced over to Lestrade, who had his gun still pointed at Moran but was staring at John and Sherlock with his mouth wide open.
John looked back at Sherlock. Sherlock's face was flushed and intense, with his lips slightly swollen and his eyes burning. It made it nearly impossible to pull away. But John grabbed Sherlock's hands and gently pulled them from his face.
"We can continue this later," he said quietly. "We still have a suspect lying on the floor."
Sherlock ignored the comment and moved his face closer. He had a predatory look, and he pulled their hands to his chest.
"Lestrade can take care of that," he said in a low voice.
"And... everyone is staring at us," John said.
Sherlock pressed John's hands against his chest.
"Let them stare."
John was finding it difficult to breath.
"And I think this bullet knocked the wind out of me."
Sherlock smiled sideways. "Now you're just trying to distract me."
"Um... I'm really not sure," he said. "I … seem to be having a hard time breathing though."
Sherlock slowly sat back, but he kept John's hands clasped to his chest.
"Do you think you need to go to hospital?" he asked.
"No, I just need to get this vest off."
Sherlock helped John off the floor and onto the bed. He opened John's vest, and John took a deep breath of relief and then looked down at a huge bruise that was starting to form on his left side, just below the nipple. He lifted his arm.
"I don't think the ribs are broken, but there wouldn't be much they could do for me even if they were," he said, and then looked back at Sherlock, who was kneeling in front of him, clutching John's thighs. "I'll be ok."
As he said this, the paramedics came in through the door and were directed to John. Sherlock backed away as the medical professionals went to assess him, and when it appeared that John was in good hands - and also unavailable for the moment - he turned to look at Lestrade. The detective inspector had Moran on the floor and was cuffing him. Sherlock walked over and knelt down to look Moran in the eyes.
"You've been a hard man to find," Sherlock said.
"And you were dead," Moran said gruffly.
Lestrade hauled him off the floor to hand him over to two officers.
"We'll be talking again soon," Sherlock said, but Moran just winked.
"We'll see," Moran said over his shoulder as he was led away between the two officers. Lestrade walked up next to Sherlock as he watched Moran walk away.
"Well, that went better than we could have hoped," he said. Sherlock looked at the detective inspector, who was watching him with a jovial, teasing smile, and then he turned to look at John on the other side of the room. John was being asked questions by the paramedics, who were taking his blood pressure and examining the bruise on his ribs. But John was watching Sherlock and did not appear to be listening or even aware of the paramedics. When their eyes met, John parted his lips slightly.
Sherlock emerged from the bathroom at 221b Baker Street fully dressed and with head full of dark chestnut curls. This was the first time John had seen Sherlock with dark hair since they had been reunited, and the sight made him double-take and then drop his newspaper to his lap.
The man was gorgeous. There was no other word to describe it. John smiled.
"It suits you."
"My hair? Do you like it?" Sherlock said earnestly and walked to the living room to look in the mirror.
John laughed and shook his head.
"Probably not as much as you do."
Sherlock admired himself in the mirror, pushing back a stray curl and straightening his jacket. John rolled his eyes and returned to his paper.
"No point in keeping it blond," Sherlock said absentmindedly. "Now that my blogger is back in action, making me famous again. How many views so far?"
John didn't bother to look up. "Last I'd checked it was more than 5,000 on the blog and..." John winced "... about 30,000 on the YouTube video."
"Ha! Excellent!" Sherlock said, pleased. "That should bring in some good clients. I think we're ready for a case again, don't you? Maybe we should expand, start taking more European clients. Take a trip to Prague?"
Sherlock dropped onto the couch next to John and bounced his leg. John sighed and tried to concentrate on his paper.
"Anything interesting?" Sherlock said and started reading over his shoulder.
John put down the paper and looked at Sherlock. He tried to be annoyed, but Sherlock was in such an exuberant mood that it made it difficult.
"Not really," he said with a small smile. Sherlock looked at John's face, his eyes lingering on his cheeks and his mouth, then he leaned forward spontaneously and kissed John firmly on the lips. John held his breath. It was going to take him awhile to get used to this.
Sherlock pulled away.
"Vypadáš nádherně," he said. "A já tě miluju."
"Perhaps we should go to Prague regardless. I've been reading and I think I might have a lead on the murder of Good King Wenceslas."
"What on Earth are you talking about?"
"Or we could just stay here and I could take you to bed for three days," Sherlock said. After a moment, he squinted his eyes at John. "John, are you blushing?"
Sherlock didn't get an answer. John stood up and led them both back to bed. They didn't leave for three days.
Author's note: Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the readers, reviewers, favoriters and followers. Knowing that you all were reading was inspirational, and I'm going to miss this story.