"Sher—" John started to say again, stretching out his hand toward what must have been an apparition, because he'd seen Sherlock taken. He knew what it meant.
This time he was interrupted by a British agent who whisked him off for a proper debriefing. He didn't get to see Sherlock all afternoon, but he was told that it was on his word that John had been picked up by Mycroft. Apparently Sherlock was visible to others as well. John took this as a good sign.
John was led to a suite that was to be his until transportation could be arranged to take him, Sherlock, and Mycroft back to London and told to dress for dinner.
When John asked "in what?" he got a slightly concerned look from the agent –something Anderson.
"In that…" Anderson told him, pointing into the room behind him.
John found, all laid out, a new suit, including new shoes, that somehow fit him perfectly.
"Sherlock." This time he didn't let himself hesitate in getting the tall dancer's attention where he'd tracked him to a corner of the ballroom. Sherlock whipped his head around to face the voice, leaving his conversation partner to tactfully duck back into the crowd.
"Oh," Sherlock said, "Hello…"
"Um…" John said, "Hi."
Nothing was like it had been. They weren't alone. They weren't dancing. They weren't both fighting for the same thing. He had no idea what to do.
John gotten used to the way of life in Soviet Russia. More than the freedom, he'd missed Sherlock since that day in the dance studio. Their first kiss. Their only kiss. Now, he wasn't even sure how Sherlock felt. Maybe it had been the dancing—the heat he'd seen in Sherlock's eyes, the affection—maybe all of it had been for Sherlock just what John had pretended it was for the cameras. Or maybe it had been his plan all along—the kiss had been a strategic move that John hadn't seen coming.
He must have stood staring dumbly at the ballet dancer for a while, because Sherlock awkwardly pressed on, "I'm… glad the suit fits."
"And the shoes?"
"Yeah. By the way, how did they know—?"
"I told them your size."
He frowned. "I never told you my size…"
Sherlock's cheeks began to turn a slight pink. "You didn't have to."
And just like that, a weight lifted from John's shoulders. He grinned widely. "Oh, didn't I?"
Sherlock smiled back, and there was that familiar light in his eyes. "No… " he said playfully, "I have had plenty of opportunity to observe your measurements accurately."
They laughed like they had never had the luxury to together. The noise was drowned in the low hum of the crowd.
"I… missed you," John said haltingly, when the laughing had devolved into giggling, and the giggling into silence.
"I missed you, too."
John took a deep breath and decided to throw caution to the wind. He'd just escaped Soviet Russia. He felt he quite deserved to. "I wanted to kiss you back," he told the tall dancer beside him. "I still want to," he added.
"Yes," Sherlock whispered, and John started to lean closer.
"But we can't," Sherlock told him, turning purposely away, "Not here. Just because it's not illegal doesn't mean we'd be any less persecuted for it."
"Right." John shook his head. Sherlock was right, of course. Ironically, nothing had changed on that score since he'd escaped, despite the fact that it was, at the core, why he risked everything to get out.
They both stared out at the crowd in silence, miserable but drinking in the proximity of each other.
"Come to my room," Sherlock said out of nowhere, still facing the crowd, "Later. I'll say I'm showing you back to yours." John almost thought he'd imagined it until the dark-haired man looked back at him in question. He seemed almost sure of himself, but not quite.
"God, yes," John said, surprisingly calmly, considering his heart was pounding in his chest and he more than ever wanted to slip his hand into Sherlock's or do something else that would assure him that this conversation was real—that it could really happen—that it would really happen.
"Good," Sherlock said, a little louder. He had a mischievous smirk on his face that John recognized well, though he'd only ever seen it before in Sherlock's eyes. "Go and mingle. I'll see if I can't persuade Mycroft to let us bow out a little early."
"Oh, yes, I am feeling rather tired," John pretended badly.
Sherlock chuckled and was off in the crowd. Several women closed in on John in his wake. He made an effort to be polite to all of them. He didn't bother telling them that a tap-dancer was not necessarily an old hand at ballroom dancing. They didn't seem to care anyway.
He caught Sherlock's eye once or twice as they twirled different female diplomats around the floor—Sherlock much more gracefully than John—but that was the only contact he had with his soon-to-be lover for the rest of the evening.
John was surprised when Sherlock came up behind him as he was chatting with one of the young aides. "I thought you said you were tired," Sherlock said with slight disapproval.
"Exhausted, actually," he lied, this time playing his part to perfection.
"I'll have Mycroft make your excuses, if Miss Hooper doesn't object," He gave her a small smile, "After all, it's not every day one escapes the repression of a communist regime." She shared a grin with Sherlock and said goodnight to John.
"Do you need me to show you the way?" Sherlock asked, just before she was out of earshot.
"Actually, yeah, that would be brilliant, if you could."
Sherlock gestured for John to precede him in exiting the hall.
John was unused to this kind of party. Tap was not nearly as well-respected as ballet. There seemed to be no end to the people who wanted to wish him goodnight, and it took them nearly half an hour to reach the doors and emerge into the dark corridors of the Consulate.