He had just gotten back from a date with Mary when it happened. Twin smiles, a kiss goodnight, and two steps up the stairs—those were the events that preceded the unexpected text John Watson received moments after entering the flat. Another two steps later, he'd read it, reread it, and stopped dead in his tracks at the same time he let his takeout box and keys clatter onto the stairs below. He stood still for a long time, staring not so much at the words he'd been sent, but at the signature that marked them: A simple "SH," neatly tucked at the close of the words "I've missed you."

With a white-knuckled grip on his phone, John made a sudden dash up the remaining stairs and ardently flung the already-unlocked door open, only to stand in the entryway gawking at the man inside.

Sherlock Holmes rose from both his chair and from the dead right before the blond's eyes. He didn't speak.

John, however, did. "I'm hallucinating."

"You're not." The words were concise and delicately spoken in a rumbling baritone.

When the blond finally crossed the room, Sherlock tilted his chin up, expecting to be punched. Instead, he felt hands curl into his coat's lapels and looked down again, only to find John clinging to him tightly.

"I'm glad you're back."