A week had gone by since that day. It was the most confusing and emotionally draining week of my life. I was happy to have Sherlock back. But I was also angry and hurt and terrified that he would disappear on me again. I had somehow survived it once, but I knew that if he pulled that kind of stunt again, it would break me. "I only did it to protect you." He said.
I believed him. But I couldn't help wishing that he had told me, let me know somehow that he was alive. He sighed and confessed that one of the reasons he hadn't told me was that he hadn't been sure that he would come back alive. That stopped me in my tracks. It made me see the big picture...the fact that against all odds, Sherlock was somehow not dead. He had done what he had set out to do and he had come back...to me.
But I had been in so much pain for a whole year. It hurt to realise that all that pain had been needless. My journey through hell had been unnecessary, avoidable. That is what bothered me the most. I knew I had to let it go. I wanted to let it go. I just didn't know how. So I put those feelings aside and got on with my life...the strange thing, though, is that the moment I turned my back on them, my life fell into a well remembered routine and soon the anger and the hurt were gone.
The insecurity was still there, though. Sherlock had been home for a week now, but I still found it hard to accept that he was really here. I didn't want to seem all clingy, but I was honestly loath to let him out of my sight. I took to staying up as late as he did, because I knew that even if I did go to bed, I would only lie around feeling restless and unable to sleep. I'd wake up every morning and walk down the stairs with my stomach in a knot that would not unravel until I saw him. I even woke up a couple of times each night and went to check on him, afraid that it had all been a dream. And I was reluctant to go to work, as well.
Sherlock noticed this, of course. He tried to reassure me in his own way, but it didn't help much. He took to pushing me out of the door every morning, insisting that I go to work. He would text me every hour telling me everything from what he was doing to what Mrs Hudson had just said to what the dog across the street was doing, and of course, how terribly bored he was.
That was only natural, considering that he wasn't officially alive yet and was therefore unable to work. Mycroft and I had decided that we wouldn't let him make an official announcement until he was fully recovered. I had insisted that Sherlock rest for a couple of weeks at least. Not only did he have to recover from all his injuries, he also needed to eat and sleep properly to recover his strength. He was painfully malnourished. Sherlock chafed at the confinement, but he accepted my terms without too much fuss...which for Sherlock meant that he only complained about ten times a day, instead of every half hour.
It was about ten days after Sherlock had come back. I walked down the stairs feeling sleepy and bleary eyed. I had only got to bed at three the previous night and I hadn't slept well at all. I'm so glad I don't have to go to work today, I thought as I walked into the kitchen, feeling that all too familiar knot in my stomach. I saw Sherlock standing at the counter, making tea. He'd been doing that for the last few days, but it was still a surprise to have him make tea for me every morning. I leaned against the door frame and let myself relax. Sherlock was still here. Everything was alright.
"You have got to stop doing this to yourself." He said as he poured out the tea. "I'm not going to go anywhere, John. I promise."
I flushed a bit. This was the first time that he had referred to the fact that I had trouble sleeping because I was afraid that I would wake up and find him gone. I didn't know what to say to that. So I nodded and then I walked into the kitchen, accepted the cup of tea that he had made perfectly again, and sat down. I picked up the newspaper and pretended to read. I knew that my attempt at evasion wouldn't work, but I had to try.
"You need your rest." He said softly as he pushed the newspaper down and forced me to look at him. "You look haggard and you have dark circles under your eyes. It is just not a good look on you, trust me." He said.
I smiled. I appreciated his attempt to lighten things. I appreciated his concern even more, but I honestly had no idea what to do. My insecurity was rather deep rooted and it was clearly not going anywhere. I needed to start sleeping properly. I did agree with him on that, but short of using sleeping pills, and that is a temporary solution at best, I didn't know what to do.
"I don't know what to do, but I'll try not to worry so much, alright. Maybe I feel like this because it hasn't been long since you got back. Maybe it is just a matter of time." I said.
"Maybe." He said, but he didn't look convinced.
"Is Mycroft coming over today?" I said and his phone beeped as if in response.
"And he expects me to believe that this place isn't bugged." Sherlock said as he picked up his phone.
He was right. It was a text from Mycroft saying that he would come over at five. He was going to a call a press conference the next day to make the news of Sherlock's return official. I knew that once we made the announcement our lives would get very busy again. The press had hounded me for days after Sherlock's supposed death. They had started hounding me again about three months ago when Mycroft had all the evidence of Sherlock's innocence published. The metropolitan police department had offered a very public apology. I'm sure Mycroft did a bit of arm twisting to make that happen.
That time the media attention had lasted a full three weeks. I started getting hits and comments on my blog again. So I knew that an announcement that Sherlock was in fact alive would get a lot of attention. Not only would we be dealing with the media, the cases would start coming in again. Greg was the only one on the police department who knew that Sherlock was alive. Mycroft had told him a day after Sherlock came back. He came to see us both and he apologised profusely for his part in arresting Sherlock and laying all those accusations on him. Neither Sherlock nor I had been angry about that. We knew he had been coerced and he had after all tried to warn us. Greg was a friend. And we had ever doubted that.
He told us that he would start calling us out to crime scenes as soon as we announced that Sherlock was alive. He said that his solve rate on cases had dropped drastically over the past year and he had to do what he could to make it look good again. That's what he said. And it was true to some extent. But mostly, I think he wanted Sherlock to go back to working with the police with his head held high. So that all those people who had pointed fingers at him and made all sorts of baseless accusations, for no reason other than that they could neither understand nor stomach the sheer brilliance of his mind, would be forced to eat humble pie.
Well, he was not the only one looking forward to that. I couldn't wait to see Donovan and Anderson's faces when we finally walked back on a crime scene. I couldn't wait to hear Sherlock tell them off. And if either of them was foolish enough to use the word 'freak' in my presence, I was not going to stop to remember that assaulting an officer of the law is a crime.
So this was essentially our last day of peace and quiet. While Sherlock was itching to get out there and start working again, I wanted to make the most of this quiet time. We spent the whole day talking, watching movies that I liked and Sherlock made fun of. I had deliberately chosen James Bond because Sherlock always has so much to say about these movies. None of it is complimentary, but it is very very funny. I had by now come to enjoy his snarky comments more than the movies themselves.
So we dissected Mr Bond over a curry lunch. Then we talked for a bit. Then Sherlock played the violin while I sat in my arm chair and listened. Then he worked on a few cold cases that Greg had got him a few days ago, while I read my book. Mrs Hudson joined us for tea. She brought us some scones and some fruit cake. We had just settled ourselves around the table in the kitchen when Mycroft arrived. He looked appreciatively at the cake and the scones and said, "I'm right on time I see." Sherlock snorted and started digging into his brother about his diet. They traded insults as usual.
I made some more tea and offered it to Mycroft. I caught Mrs Hudson's eye as I sat down. She was beaming and there was a hint of tears in her eyes...I knew exactly what she was thinking. Life was normal again. It may be hard to believe that one person could make such a difference. But there it was. Sherlock was back and we were all happy again. I wonder if he knows just how much he means to us...just how lame and blank life was without him, I thought as I sat back and watched him take over the conversation the way he always did.
A/N: Tell me what you think...