It was later that evening. I was sitting in my armchair with my feet resting on the coffee table. I had my laptop perched on my knees and I was staring at my blog. I had intended to write a blog post to announce the fact that Sherlock was alive and well and intending to start working soon. I knew what I wanted to say, but the words just wouldn't come. Somehow that act of opening my blog, made me remember, forced me to face once again, what it had been like to live my life thinking that Sherlock was dead. It made me relive everything that I had felt when he finally came back. There was too much emotion there that I was trying not to express.
So I went through a few rounds of type and delete and by the end of it I was struggling for composure. I sighed and closed the laptop and put it away. Sherlock had been lying on the couch all this while. He had his eyes closed, but I wasn't sure whether he was thinking or sleeping. He opened his eyes when he heard me shut the laptop and he looked at me for a minute. Then he got up and came over to me. He pulled me to my feet and into a hug. The best thing about living with him is that I never have to tell him how I feel. One look at me and he knows. I held on to him and tried to regain my composure. It was easy to do, considering how much warmth he manages to convey in the way he holds me.
He pulled back a little and then he kissed me softly on my cheek and said, "Okay?"
I nodded. He smiled. "Good." He said. "Now John, I'd like you to go upstairs, take a shower and get dressed."
"I want to take you out to dinner."
I felt a smile breaking out on my face before I could stop it. "Why?" I said softly.
"I don't need a reason to take you out now do I?" He said in that damnably suggestive way that he has.
"I suppose not. Where are we going?"
"Because that was the scene of our first not-date."
"Not-date huh? That's an interesting way of describing it."
"Indeed. Now go dress up for me will you?"
I raised my eyebrows at that. "Dress up? Why?"
"Because tonight, things will be different. You see, I don't think I can claim to be married to my work any longer."
I raised my eyebrows at that. "Okay." I said. "Well, I'm not about to state that I'm not gay. I'm not. But that's hardly the point."
"Exactly. Now go." He said and pushed me towards the stairs.
About half an hour later, we were walking through the streets. This was just the second time that Sherlock had left the house after he came back. The first was this morning, but that was in a chauffeur driven car with tinted windows, so it didn't count. He looked around as we walked, taking in everything, literally breathing the city in. His face was impassive as usual...he only ever shows emotion when we're alone...but I could see the light in his eyes, his delight at being back in London. Sherlock loves this city with a passion that he will never admit to.
We walked into the restaurant and we were ambushed by Angelo who - could not believe his eyes - and he was so glad to see Sherlock - and so glad for me now that my man was back in my life - and how the hell did Sherlock manage to make everyone think he was dead - and how could he possibly do that to me - and did he not know how heartbroken I would be and so on and on...With all that, it was a good ten minutes before Angelo left us at our table and went off to attend to our order. He declared that the meal would be on the house, the way he always does.
It was hard to shake the feeling of déjà vu. But then that was exactly the intent, wasn't it? To go back to the place where it all began and start over. It was all so familiar and yet it wasn't. We were both silent for a while. We sat there looking out of that window, thinking about that first night that we'd sat there waiting for that cabbie to show...Sherlock had cured me of my limp that night. That was the first time we'd run all over the streets chasing a suspect, the first time that I had seen fit to kill someone to protect a man that I had known for just over twenty four hours. The connection was there from the beginning, from the moment we met, almost. Why didn't we see it? Or was I the only one who hadn't?
"Did you really think I was interested in you that night?" That question might have sounded vague to anyone else, but Sherlock knew exactly what I was talking about.
"Oh I knew you were interested and definitely intrigued. It was only later that I realised that you were unaware of your own interest."
"Yeah, I was a bit thick...What about you?"
"I think I was interested as well. That's why I got so defensive."
"What do you mean?"
"I don't mean to be arrogant, John, but a lot of people have been interested in me in the past and I have almost never returned that interest. So I just ignore it, like I do with Molly. I pretend that I don't see what she's feeling and that I don't understand what she's saying. But I couldn't ignore you and I think that's the reason I went into that whole married to my work speech that I gave you. And then of course you started declaring that you're not gay and that was that."
"I feel so stupid about that." I said. And then I leaned across the table and took his hand in mine. He squeezed my hand lightly and raised it to his lips. "You are a bit of an idiot." He said fondly. I nodded in agreement.
"When did you stop being...um, defensive?" I said.
Such an indirect question. It seems stupid, I know, considering that we both knew exactly what we were talking about, but that's just the way it is with us. We are quite unable to talk openly about our feelings. We both knew with a fair amount of certainty that we were in love with each other. But we only knew how to be friends. It felt natural to touch and hold hands and to hug, but we had no real idea how to move from that to being and acting like lovers...like two people in a romantic relationship.
I had all my uncertainty about being with a man, to deal with and Sherlock had his inexperience. He had only been in one relationship before and that had ended spectacularly badly. So we were both on new and rather shaky ground and we were feeling our way through it the best we could. The one thing that kept us going was the absolute certainty that we shared that we were meant to be together, that we belonged together. If that one year apart had taught us anything, it was this.
"Um...When you told me that you had a date with Sarah."
"I feel like such a cad."
"It's okay. I can't think of anything more disastrous than that date. I expected her to break it off right then."
"So did I. She turned out to be a lot tougher than I imagined."
"So what did go wrong there, John? If she wasn't put off by being kidnapped and almost murdered, why did she end it?"
That was a question that Sherlock had asked me back then as well. I had replied with a brief, "It didn't work out." He had known even then that there was more to it than I was telling him, but he hadn't pressed and he'd let me go without making any attempts to deduce me. That was very uncharacteristic of him...another gesture that I had missed. Angelo arrived with our meal before I could reply to that question. He set our plates before us and poured the wine with all of his customary flourish.
"There you go. Enjoy your meal." He said. Then he patted Sherlock on his shoulder and said, "Take care of him now, Sherlock. This is a good man you have here." Sherlock nodded.
"Well?" He said once Angelo left. He was still waiting for an answer to his question about Sarah.
"Well, um...we ended up in bed on our fourth date and...I couldn't quite...perform." I said and I went a bit red in the face. I couldn't help it. It was an embarrassing thing to have to admit to, but considering that Sherlock was the reason for the embarrassment, I thought he had a right to know.
He looked astonished. Clearly, it was the last thing he had expected to hear.
"What? Why?" He said.
"I don't know. It just felt wrong. I thought I wanted to, but I couldn't. It was embarrassing and horrible."
"Why did it feel wrong?"
"I had no idea. It just did. We got started but I kind of froze and I couldn't go on. Sarah had a theory about it though. She said that it felt wrong to me because I was in love with you."
"You didn't agree with her..."
"Of course not! I was too damn busy not being gay, remember." I had to shake my head at my own stupidity.
"And the others?" Sherlock said referring to the four other women that I had dated.
"None of them stuck around long enough for us to get either into a bedroom or into a relationship. Though they all agreed with Sarah. All of them told me that I was in love with you and then they dumped me. And I still didn't see it. I don't know why I clung to the whole 'I'm not gay' thing as long as I did...I really wish I had seen it sooner."
"Seen what sooner?" He said with a smirk that I found completely adorable.
"You know damn well, what." I said.
"I want to hear it, John. Don't you think you've made me wait long enough?" He said softly.
"Yeah, you're right. I love you Sherlock. I love you very very much. And I'm sorry you had to fake your own death before I saw it..."
A/N: I love reviews. Reviews make me want to keep writing. So what are you waiting for?