AN: This is supposed to be the first installment of the 365 Writing Challenge (1 fic per day) that I decided to do over on tumblr. I am way behind seeing as how it's the 25th and I've only written this one piece. But I'll see how it goes!
John Watson did not react to the return of Sherlock Holmes the way that Sherlock had anticipated.
And Sherlock, being Sherlock, had anticipated many reactions.
But John, being John, proved to be a surprise.
In the three years that Sherlock had been absent he had thought a great deal about John and his old life at Baker St. He missed it in a way that he had never missed anything before and that included his late Mummy and cocaine. Mycroft had sent along irregular updates on John and Sherlock had known that after a few months of quiet mourning John had moved out of their flat. John had found a job in a hospital. He was doing emergency medicine and Mycroft said that he seemed to be back in his element.
Sherlock had assumed that John's element was working cases alongside himself.
John was making new friends through his new job. John was dating new girls.
John was moving on with his new life and Sherlock wasn't a part of it. He found this to be intolerable.
So, one rainy evening, three years after Sherlock had taken that step off the roof of St. Bart's he stood in the doorway of John's flat and rang the bell. He could hear talking and muffled laughter echoing from inside and he slid his hands down his coat, straightening out invisible wrinkles.
He had spent a lot of time picturing this moment. He expected at least one good punch to the face, possibly two, but three was unlikely and not very good for John's hand seeing as how he was doing surgical work again. John would undoubtedly cry at some point, probably after the punch but Sherlock wasn't certain, it could premeditate the physical outpouring of grief and relief. Hugging would be involved. Sherlock was not looking forward to that part of their re-acquaintance but John was a physical man and he was willing to make sacrifices in order to get his life with John and the Work back on track. There was also the vague chance that John might make some sort of intimate confession. Sherlock wasn't expecting one but the idea had occurred to him one night after a particularly bad day when he was feeling rather a bit too nostalgic for home (John) and since the idea had occurred to him he hadn't been able to rule the possibility out.
Sherlock was aware that his most successful relationship to-date involved John Watson. It was not outside the realm of possibility that John might want to take a step with their friendship. The idea made Sherlock uncomfortable but, oddly, he did not find it abhorrent.
These were the possible options that Sherlock had considered before knocking upon John's door. He was fairly confident that some combination would occur once John knew that he still lived. Once they had gotten past the tedious reunion John would move back into 221B and their lives (Sherlock's mostly) could resume.
But John did none of these things. He simply stood on the other side of his doorway, the warmth of his flat emanating from behind him, and studied Sherlock. John looked different somehow. His hair was a bit longer. He was wearing a white dress shirt and suit trousers. Sherlock assumed it was what he wore to work. But he preferred John in his jumpers and denims. After another moment Sherlock realized that John wasn't going to be the first to speak.
This was the moment for rage, for the tears, for the recriminations. Sherlock was expecting them. He was prepared for them.
"So, you're alive then?" John's voice was calm, very calm. John was nodding, his face a blank, unreadable slate.
(Sherlock could always read John, always.)
"That's good. That's really good, Sherlock." John smiled a not-John smile.
"John," his voice sounded broken even to his own ears.
There was a tinkle of glasses from behind John and more laughter. John glanced back towards the voices, to the warmth of his new flat and his new life.
"Err, look, Sherlock-" John began, "Now's not the best time, I have some friends over. Is your old number working again, or is there a new one? We should try and get together sometime this week."
Sherlock could think of nothing to say. John had left him completely dumbfounded. Sherlock had planned this out. This was not how John was supposed to react. If anything this was a non-reaction! John should have been angry. He should have cried and then punched him or perhaps punched him and then cried. There should have been the possibility of an intimate confession. But all Sherlock could read in John's face was an unflappable calmness and a determination to close the door.
"John," Sherlock tried one last time.
There was another crescendo of laughter behind John and then the good doctor was stepping back. He was closing the door. "Look, Sherlock, I'll give you a call later this week. Now is just a really bad time. Take care of yourself, all right?"
And then Sherlock was stumbling back out onto the walk. He stared back at John's closed door in consternation. This was not how John was supposed to react; not at all.
In Sherlock's opinion it was a rather inauspicious beginning to their reunion.
Read and review, please!