They meet in a park.
John is taking a break from a busy shift in the hospital, stepping out into the sunshine to seek a restful place to eat the sandwiches his wife had packed for them both that morning. Still wearing his scrubs he feels a bit conspicuous as he treads the concrete paths amid the grass, seeking sanctuary on the first bench he finds: half empty, the other half seating a man in an unseasonably large coat.
John pays him little attention, pulling out his mobile and contemplating the idea of calling Mary, until noticing the time and realising she'll be busy.
Then a voice from the other end of the bench:
"Afghanistan or Iraq?"
John lowers the phone slowly, looking over at the stranger properly.
But instead of saying the words balanced on his tongue in response, he sighs:
"Hello," John says.
The stranger blinks back, emotionless.
"Hello John," He replies.
"We're starting again are we?" John asks.
"It seems so."
"Perhaps we could skip the introductions?"
"If you wish."
"Where are you now?" Sherlock asks,
"Married. Working. Hospital."
"No, a lot of therapy."
"Was my therapist."
"Does she still have pink hair?"
"No," John says, thinking it over, "Green eyes." He realises.
"Predictable." There's something like a smirk on Sherlock's face.
"So you're…?" John asks this time,
"Working." Sherlock says quickly.
"That's good to hear."
A pause. John puts away his phone.
"This isn't…" John starts to ask.
"Real?" Sherlock finishes for him. "No."
"Should I be insulted?"
"It was meant politely."
"I'm sure it was. As far as these things can be meant politely."
"Is this going to carry on happening?" He asks.
"Up to you." Sherlock replies.
"You have a very vivid imagination, John"
"Who'd have thought?" John replies with a smile.
Sherlock returns it slowly.
"Would you like me to leave?" He asks with an air of finality.
John wakes slowly.
Turning instinctively in a familiar bed to reassure himself. A cloud of dark curls rests on the pillow beside him.
He smiles as he shifts toward it, curling himself around the skinny body attached and sighing contently into the warmth of the other man's neck.
Then he falls back to sleep.
So, it's over.
All done, finished.
I can't quite believe it. It's the longest piece I've ever attempted and I've enjoyed every minute of it (well almost every minute of it). I know it took me almost 15 chapters to get to the point, but I figure life is a bit like that. I've almost finished 29 chapters of mine and haven't managed to locate a point yet…
So now to the thanks. Thanks to all those that have read and reviewed so far and been so patient with me as I've updated. I think I've probably annoyed and confused you all in parts; alternatively you've been sitting patiently waiting for me to get to the reveal already. Particular thanks to: Kerlyssa, Scarves, gleekforever63 and Serenityofthematrix who have buoyed me up with chapter specific reviews as I've gone along!
So yeah, here we go. Thank you and goodnight.
I love you all.