'You made me believe you were dead.'
He was stood there so simply- as if it hadn't been a whole five months since they'd seen each other. His long black coat still fitted his slender form perfectly, and the compassion in his eyes was all but missing. John reached out with his fist to make the contact he'd so desperately craved for what seemed like an eternity; however there was no power behind it. No fury. Sherlock simply held on and stopped his anger in its tracks.
'You never believed I was dead, John. Not for one second.'
He pulled John's arm towards him and the rest of his body followed – his head fitting perfectly in the dip of Sherlock's shoulder.
Usually in those situations he'd have made a joke; said something about their reputation or how people would get the wrong idea, but he closed his eyes and lost himself in Sherlock's presence. His best friend was back, and he would not be leaving again. He'd make sure of it.
Twenty minutes later, they were sat in the living area of 221B, as if Sherlock never faked his death and caused his 'arch-enemy' to commit suicide.
Fucking hell, did he even commit suicide? Panic flashed in John's eyes for a second. He'd seen Sherlock dead on the pavement. Blue, glossed over eyes, blood all over the pavement, blood all over his head…
Yet there he was. Sat in front of him, with his legs crossed and his head high.
If he could fake his death so brilliantly, could Moriarty have done the same?
'So how did you do it?'
'Sherlock, you were dead. They took your pulse, I saw you on the pavement.'
Sherlock placed the tips of his fingers together and rested them against his forehead, smiling knowingly at the ground.
'My homeless network.' He leapt off his chair and instantly began to pace the room. 'I made sure they were the people making up the majority of the street where I fell. I did some research, and noticed that there would be a laundry truck near the building at the time I would be jumping.'
John's head began to spin and he sipped his tea patiently, fighting with all of his will to resist the urge to raise his eyebrows or roll his eyes.
'I asked one of the homeless network to be sure that a laundry cart from the truck in question was near the base of the building, as to ensure me a soft and safe landing. I asked another to be sat on the bench in front of the building with a blood pack and some coloured contacts ready. I immediately climbed out of the cart and fell to the floor beside the large group of homeless who had gathered around the spot where I supposedly 'landed', obscuring the view of any pedestrians. The homeless man on the bench applied the blood to my head and put the contacts in my eyes, whilst another I had prepared knocked you to the ground with his bike, giving me more time.'
John scoffed and glared at him with disbelief. 'I had bruises from that for months.'
'Yes, a minor setback, but necessary. I apologise.'
'Your body was taken away. In an ambulance. By people who are TRAINED to tell whether somebody is alive or dead.'
'Boring humans are silly little things with silly little brains, and even the ones gifted enough to train in the medical profession are just simply lazy. As soon as they cannot detect your pulse, they announce you dead and pass you on to the next authority without question. Lucky for me, the next authority was Molly who I'd explained the entire situation to beforehand, and I simply applied pressure to a major artery in my arm by concealing a small rubber ball in my elbow. Simple task, but easy to overlook.' He sank back into his chair.
John stood and walked into the kitchen, with his head lowered. He rubbed his eyes with his hands, pausing to take in everything that he'd heard. There was a sickening lump in the back of his throat that prevented any sound from escaping his mouth, and every small noise in the room seemed amplified.
'You told Molly that you were going to fake your death, but you didn't think it appropriate to tell me?'
'John, the circumstances I was in meant that telling you would worsen matters.'
His brain was whirring. He'd never felt so betrayed, yet his brain was still trying to process the return of the man he'd spent the last year or so despising and yet completely respecting at the same time. 'So why couldn't you tell me, Sherlock? What could Moriarty have possibly said, possibly threatened to do, that could scare you enough to convince you to fake your own death? I was so alone, Sherlock. I had no-one after you left. For MONTHS I didn't know what to do with myself. I lost my job, I didn't leave the house, and my leg is playing up again.' He gestured to the crutch resting by my arm chair and then back at him. Sherlock had his eyes closed and his hands were clasped, resting on his knees. 'So please tell me – because so far, considering my life could not have been any worse for the past five months, I've been very welcoming to you – what possibly motivated you into ruining years of work, and abandoning our friendship?'
Sherlock's mouth opened gently and his lips began to twitch, tasting the words that he was considering using but determining which would be the most effective. His eyes flickered open and couldn't meet John's – and at that instant he knew that although he couldn't possibly have felt a more burning hatred for the arrogant, egotistical, ignorant bastard, it would simply break him to pieces if he lost him again.
'John. I need you to understand, I-' his voice cracked and in an instant, he knew something wasn't right. John's heart warmed. Genuine compassion. 'I needed you to think I was dead, and I needed people to see me die. Moriarty was threatening to-'
'Oh, Sherlock! I came up as soon as I saw the papers this morning. I knew you weren't a fake, oh come here sweetheart.' Mrs Hudson appeared in the doorway and ran to Sherlock, grabbing his startled face in her hands and kissing him tenderly all over. He glanced at John for help, panic flaring in his eyes, and forced him to stifle a giggle. The explanation could wait; he had his best friend back.
She released his face and slapped him sharply across the cheek. 'Don't you ever do that to this poor man again!' She gestured to John and Sherlock turned to glare out of the window. 'He was absolutely inconsolable. Imagine, making your partner think you're dead, without even an explanation or a kiss goodbye…'
John rose to his feet to protest. 'Mrs Hudson, we still aren't a-'
'I don't know how you put up with him John, I really don't.' She left the room mumbling, still tutting in disgust.
'What did she mean about the papers?'
'Hm, what? Oh.' Sherlock spun to face him with a sly grin spreading across his face. 'Having one of the most powerful men in the country as your brother does tend to have its advantages. Even if he is an arrogant sod.'
'Well they say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree-'
'Yes well that's unimportant. He got in contact with the media, cleared my name. Everything is fine now. Let's go down to the station, and find a case.'
He leapt over the table and threw John his jacket, whipping on his coat and a scarf in the blink of an eye. 'oh GOD yes I've missed this. I do hope there's been a murder. Or maybe a suspicious suicide. OH YES what if there's a bank robbery, or a mass grave uncovered? So many crimes, so little time. Come on John, the game is back on!'
'I have a date tonight, Sherlock.'
His head appeared in the doorframe and his eyebrows furrowed in confusion. 'And?'
'I'm busy tonight. It's been planned for weeks.'
'But I'm back now.' He looked almost in complete disbelief, and nodded his head to one side expectantly, beckoning John to go with him.
'I can't cancel a date just because my best friend has returned from the grave, it's not polite.'
'I'll let you examine the body first, provided there is one'
'Probably not. Worth a shot.'
John sighed in frustration. His heart was skipping, and the pain in his leg had completely dissolved.
'I'll call a taxi.' Sherlock winked, and was gone.