John sat and stared, his eyes unfocused, as the countryside flicked past the train window. In the seat across from him, Sherlock had his head leaned back and eyes closed. He'd been asleep almost from the first moment the train began to move, as if days and weeks of exhaustion were finally catching up to him. John glanced at him from the corner of his eye, noting the dark circles under Sherlock's eyes, the strain lines about his mouth, the slump of his shoulders, and wanted to wipe it all away, take away the suffering he'd obviously been under that John had dismissed, not understanding, always slow on the uptake.
He understood now, though. God, did he understand.
John wasn't a stranger to sudden and unexpected change, change that shook him to his very core and made him question his life and what he would do with it, what would happen next.
The first time had been after Afghanistan.
Waking up in a body that no longer felt like his own, that was forever changed, had been jarring. Unable to remain an army surgeon, no longer suited to the intricacies of trauma surgery (at which he'd excelled), and suffering from fucked up mental problems that left him limping when there was no reason for it and screaming from his nightmares, John had spiraled into a depression. Aimless, he'd wandered and only righted himself when he'd met Sherlock.
Sherlock, the catalyst for the rest of the sweeping changes in John's life.
The second time had been after Sherlock's suicide.
John, however, shoved those thoughts and memories aside. Two years later, they were still too fresh and raw. Suffice it to say, John's world had been radically altered after Sherlock jumped and he himself had been transformed.
The third time was, of course, Sherlock's return.
Seeing his formerly dead best friend, the friend he'd mourned and missed, standing in front of him on the pavement, grinning that same "The game is on, John!" grin had shattered John's neatly remade life. He'd moved on, he'd rebuilt himself, righted his world and marched ahead…and Sherlock had upended that so easily.
And then this, the fourth and, John hoped, the final time, his world had changed again, the ground shifting beneath his feet and leaving him reeling, struggling to keep up.
It had been two hours since Sherlock's passionate yet desperate whispered confession in the vestibule of the church.
One hour and fifty minutes since John had kissed him for the first time in that same vestibule, feeling those smooth, beautiful lips gliding against his own in the sincerest display of love he'd ever been a part of.
And it had been one hour and thirty minutes since John had left his future wife at the altar and eloped with Sherlock Holmes.