I'm baaaack and better (read: more stressed) than ever. I am here to crank out the first chapter in this story (which some of you may recognize as the sequel to Houdini, but never fear, you CAN read it stand alone) before I descend into the Hell known as summer reading.

Thanks to bamf1010, Guest (Molly, I know it's you!), Arty Diane, and Boredom kills 1221for the reviews on the epilogue on Houdini! Love you lots!

~Three Years after The Fall~

Mrs. Hudson was out. She went out every Wednesday for an hour and forty five minutes to go to Tesco's and pick up groceries. She would then make her way back to the flat and go up the stairs and leave three bags of food outside the door of 221 B, knock three times and then go back down to her own living quarters. Fifteen minutes later, a shadowy figure would open the door silently and pick up the bags before shutting the door again. Downstairs, Mrs. Hudson would sigh. Sometimes she would cry. But either way, this was what happened every Wednesday without fail.

Sherlock Holmes, the only consulting detective in the entire world stood across the street on a Wednesday, watching as Mrs. Hudson hurried out of the building, her head down, shielding her from stares. She didn't notice her supposedly dead tenant, but Sherlock didn't expect her to. It had been three years, and he had given no word to her or John. How could he? One false move on his part and they would have died. So, he played his part like a good little angel and tracked down the assassins. It had taken three long years, but it was over. It was finally over. Moriarty was dead and they were all safe. He had won.

His heart had swelled when Mycroft informed him that John still lived at 221 B. John would always wait for him, even if he was uncertain if he was still alive. It made a warm feeling grow in Sherlock's chest just thinking about it. He couldn't wait to go back. Mycroft was already almost through clearing his name. Life was good.

The detective looked both ways across the street before crossing over. He stood in front of the place he called home (and damn it was good to be home) for a while before opening the door. He walked up the steps to his flat where John was unsuspecting. He had a speech in his head all planned out, he had rehearsed it in front of the mirror countless times, taking in to account all the different reactions his best friend could have. He covered all the bases. He was ready. Nervous, but ready.

He didn't knock, he just opened the door. Curiously, it was unlocked. He took a couple of steps in, and scanned the room, but no one was there. He hadn't seen John leave, where could he-

Sherlock's thoughts were cut off when a dark figure stepped out of the shadows (how the bloody hell had he missed that) and pressed the barrel of a gun to the back of his head.

"Get down." A gruff voice commanded. It sounded so familiar, yet different. Sherlock's thoughts were scrambled by the sudden ambush.

"I said GET DOWN." Sherlock obediently got down on his knees and put his hands on his head. Slowly, the man moved into his field of vision.

The man was on the short side, wearing a white, torn long sleeved shirt and faded jeans. He had stubble on his chin as though he hadn't had the time to shave in a while, and shaggy light brown hair. There was a cigarette clasped between the gunman's teeth. The blue eyes narrowed dangerously and Sherlock's breath hitched in his throat. This man, this was John. It must be, it looked sort of like him, why did he have a gun, why was his hair brown, why why…

John's eyes widened in relief.

"Oh, it's just you Sherlock. Heh, I didn't recognize you with your short blond hair." John lowered the gun and thumbed the safety on before stuffing it in the waistband of his jeans. "Sorry 'bout that," he said, helping his flat mate up. "You never know who'll come bursting in 221 B these days." He sighed and turned away before putting on the kettle.

Sherlock was dumb founded. There were several reasons why. Well, for one, John looked… different. He had lost a lot of weight, and looked scruffier. Two, and more importantly, John didn't even seem surprised he had shown up. He was supposedly dead, so why was John acting though he was expecting this to happen?

"John?" he spoke carefully. "Aren't you… surprised? I mean, I was dead, I mean, not really, but now…" all of his rehearsed speeches faded away in his confusion.

John turned around and glanced at him, mildly surprised.

"Well, he told me you were coming. He's been telling me for days now."

Sherlock narrowed his eyes.



Sherlock gulped and stared at John intently.

"John…" he said slowly. "Moriarty is dead."

Oh dear, dear. Dear dear dear. Well, feedback is appreciated.