So a little explanation. Firstly, this is my second reunion fic cause I have a lot of feels and season 3 can't come soon enough. Secondly, some of you may remember the time a Sherlock fan edited the audio from Sherlock's goodbye scene into the song Arrival of the Birds by The Cinematic Orchestra. In my mind that song always represents The Reichenbach Fall and John and Sherlock's journey together in it. Then one night I discovered a sort of sister song to Arrival of the Birds called Transformation, which is basically a reprise of Arrival except it has more of a hopeful, triumphant feel to it, or at least that's what I felt considering the first time I listened to it tears started streaming down my face because all I could think about was that it sounded like Sherlock and John reuniting. Thus this fanfiction was written in time with Transformation, the music progressing with the story and crescendoing at the reveal. I recognize it is not realistic, nor is it anything like I imagine or think John and Sherlock's actual reunion will be like. But the idea came to me, I wrote it, thought I might as well post it. Thank you for bearing with the wordy explainer and I hope you enjoy.
It had started just over a week over. The first incident had taken place the previous Sunday. John had just stepped into the market when he'd seen it, just a glance of dark curls and the swirl of a retreating coat before both had vanished from his view. John had managed to shake that one off, but then while driving in a cab the following Thursday, another car had passed by, its passenger a man with the same dark hair and a familiar profile. John had stared for a long time then, sitting forward in his seat and craning this way and that in attempts to see around the glare in the window, immaculate in its obstruction of his view. That had been a little harder to overcome.
Then that next Monday John had been walking home from a friend's flat. Strings of light hanging from the skeletal veranda of a cafe across the street had caught his attention, their pleasant golden glow adding a warmth to the chilly evening. It wasn't until John felt someone watching him that he'd actually noticed the gentlemen sitting alone at a table, lifting a cup to his lips, his form silhouetted by the bright interior lights of the cafe behind him. John had come to a slow stop then, staring back as the shadowed man took a long drink before placing the cup on the table. He then stood, adjusted his jacket leisurely, and walked off, turning down the alley made by the cafe and the adjacent building. John had fought every urge in him to pursue the man, wanting so desperately to call out to him. In the end, the urge had lost out and John had trudged home. That was the time John could not get over. Something had planted itself in his head that night. An unshakable feeling of curiosity, fear, need, and hope. And in the earliest morning hours, after hours of not being able to fall asleep, John had made a decision: the next day he would return to that little cafe. He could feel ridiculous later, but for the moment, John couldn't fight the tickling at the back of his mind that was telling him to go, to investigate. So, bright and early that Tuesday, John took a seat outside the cafe. The veranda was much more crowded than the night before, in fact John was able to snag the last available outside table.
Waitresses and waiters hurried around, bringing cups of beverages and plates of food to people with happy yet altogether unfamiliar faces. A promising sleeve peeked around the obstructing bulk of its table mate, but upon shifting to the side, it was revealed to belong to a middle-aged man with a balding head of hair and a prominent nose. A couple laughing, an older lady feeding her dog from her plate, but no one John recognized.
A menu appeared in front of him.
"Ah," John startled.
"Oh, no, um, I'll just need a moment," John replied, distractedly picking up the menu and opening it, his eyes still scanning the crowd of patrons. The waitress hurried back off. Still no familiar faces. No familiar face. John folded the menu on the table and leaned back in his chair, suddenly overwhelmed with disappointment and regret that he'd taken it this far, that he'd let himself hope.
What had he been expecting, really? The man he'd seen at the cafe the previous night could not have been his old friend any more than any of the others John had seen earlier in the week could have been. So what did John think he would accomplish by coming here? Would it reverse time? Magically bring him back? John let out a throaty sigh and raised his hand to his face, rubbing roughly at his sleep-deprived eyes, realizing he could not have escaped the eager hope that had drawn him back to cafe even if he'd tried.
"Fool," he said quietly to himself. "You sorry, sorry fool."
A rattle on the table brought his attention up. The waitress was back and there was a cup of steaming coffee in front of John.
"Oh, I didn't-" he started
"Coffee, black." The waitress looked curiously at him. "No sugar this time," she finished, the words sounding off and stiff. Something stirred within John as he looked up at the woman. She smiled awkwardly and turned to leave.
John's senses were alert all at once. His eyes swept over the cafe patrons, searching. He could feel it.
"It can't be," he breathed.
"It must." A waiter bussing a table suddenly stood, revealing a table beyond. John froze as his eyes found the patron's. All at once the cool blue gaze of Sherlock Holmes was looking back at him, a curious, foreign expression on his sharp features. John stilled, even the breath in his chest settling and stilling. It made no sense. Then again nothing had since the first day John thought he'd glimpsed Sherlock in the market. And he had questions, so very many of them, and John knew there would be a time for anger, undeniably, but it was not that moment. In that moment, John couldn't bring himself to harbor it.
Sherlock stood after another moment of regarding John, gathered his own cup of steamy beverage and moved effortlessly through the crowd, stopping on the opposite side of the table. He continued to fix John with the same, peculiar gaze, and John realize suddenly that he looked unsure, the most unsure Sherlock Holmes was capable of appearing, that is.
Sherlock's mouth tightened in a silent throat clear.
"John," he said. One word, one simple name, but John heard the weight behind it. A heartfelt greeting. A request of permission, of forgiveness. John continued not the blink, his eyes still taking in the sight of his best friend and companion for the first time since...well John couldn't say how long it had been. Long enough. Too long.
He blinked finally and opened his mouth. "Please sit" or simply "Sherlock", but no formed words actually came out as John indicated the vacant chair. It was enough though. Sherlock's expression began to clear a bit. He pulled out the chair and took a seat in one, graceful movement.
The air bustled with the clatter of clearing dishes and the cacophony of a dozen conversations as John reached out a hand, Sherlock accepting it with a slow, deliberate shake. None of the other cafe patrons took notice when John finally spoke, nor when Sherlock responded. Their conversation was swept comfortably up with all the others. An onlooker would simply see two friends having coffee, deep in conversation, expressions serious for the most part, but then a meaningful look followed by an easy smile. No one really noticed the two diners for who they really were: Dr. John Watson and Sherlock Holmes.