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I came for you, John Watson.

Chapter Text

Seven months post final problem.

It was dim, the room felt empty, the once colourful array of colours that would light the room in such a way it would be described as lustful, now seeming nothing more than the patterns of - once was.

The fond memories now a distant memory, it felt. John would close his eyes, remembering tiny details of conversations, bitter filled arguments and petty discussions. Just hoping that he could remember enough so that it would feel as real as it once was. But no matter how he tried, no matter the time he spent, it felt as though it was impossible - it wasn't going to work, nothing would.

John had found himself visiting here, 221b Baker Street, every other day, sitting in his rightful throne that he had claimed as his own several years ago, just waiting for a miracle. But even he knew, that this time, it was different.

Here he was, hunched over slightly, a crumpled excuse of a letter in his fingertips where it had been most of the time, his eyes scanning over the marksmanship of his best friends excuse for handwriting. He had examined every scribble, spelling mistake and spillage on the paper, trying to understand what Sherlock would have had to gone through to write this.

The words would hit him, again and again, like a stabbing knife right through the wound that would be his already fragile body.

He sat back, once again, forcing himself to read the words that had haunted him for months.

Dear John,

That's the correct way to address someone in a letter, isn't it? I wouldn't know, you always did say I had this inability to function like a normal human-being.

I'm writing to you because, as you know, I find emotional outbursts through conversation difficult to say the least, in fact, I find it un-bearable. And I'm aware that you would much prefer a normal conversation than to receive a letter left for you, but this is the only way I know how to speak about these things, so forgive me, John.

I have thought about what I was going to write a lot, in fact, it was the only thing on my mind for at least five days.

I believe the correct way to start this would be to say I'm sorry, John.

When you met me seven years ago, I was in a very dark place, to say the least. I wasn't aware of friendship, human nature, emotions or even being around people who weren't like me. But you still chose to move in with me, in fact, you chose to join me on our first adventure. It still amuses me that an army doctor found himself waltzing the streets with a high-functioning sociopath, solving crimes. It really is something that you would only see in a fictional novel. But it happened, all of it.

There were many times where you saved my life John Watson, but there were also many times that you nearly lost your own and I wasn't always there. In fact, there were too many close calls in all of it. I nearly, no, we all nearly lost you too many times. We moved on, I understand that, we just got on with things as we had always done. But it wasn't until we were confronted with my equally sociopathic sister that I had felt, dare I say it, fear.

I nearly lost you John, I was minutes away from losing you. There was a chance that I wouldn't have figured it out, maybe I wouldn't have reached you in time, endless possibilities. And that, that is something I wish to never feel again.

I know that Euros had already murdered my childhood best friend but when it came to you, the idea of losing you, it was beyond anything I had ever felt before. I don't know how to explain such a human feeling in words, but I imagine it's total devastation and genuine terror.

You mean a lot to me, John Watson.

And that's exactly why I'm writing this to you, I can't feel that pain again, never. I refuse to. I also refuse to put you in a dangerous situation again, I will never be responsible for any harm that may come your way, again.

I'm leaving John, Mycroft has an undercover assignment that he is willing to give to me and I have accepted it. I will be leaving after writing this and I don't believe I will be back.

This will hurt me just as it will you, I'm sure. Because, whether I would like to admit it or not, you are, well, yes, you're my best friend but you are also much more to me. To be without you is a world I don't want to live in. But if it means keeping you safe and alive, then that's exactly what needs to be done.

Forgive me, John Watson. I will miss you, dearly and always.

Forever in my heart, if there is one inside of me.

Sherlock Holmes. x

The words burned a whole right through John's chest, the pour of emotions and heart break that he felt both from Sherlock's words and himself was something he had never endured before in his life. And it was horrible.

He felt the tear fall from his cheek so effortlessly, burning on his skin like his body rejected it. He hated this.

He hated Sherlock for leaving, after everything they had been through together, the physical and emotional pain that no other friends had been through before, it just wasn't right. Why would Sherlock bloody Holmes beggar off because he was scared of hurting him? Sherlock wasn't scared of anything. He had made that plainly obvious for as long as he could remember.

He sniffled, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand as he heard the stairs creak, he wanted it to be Sherlock, he always did, but from the sound of tea wear clattering, he knew that it was Mrs Hudson, right on cue to offer him some tea and some company.

"I made a pot of tea" She announced, much like every time John would visit.

She stepped over the shoes that John had flicked off his feet without a second thought, assuming that this was his home once again. It was a habit.

"It smells fresh in here today" She noted, placing the tray onto the coffee table beside John.

John just hummed an agreement, sitting back and folding the letter between his hands. He looked up at Mrs Hudson, her eyes were full of sadness when they saw him, he knew it was pity, pity that his best friend had just upped and left him with nothing but a simple fucking letter for a reason. He couldn't blamed her, he'd probably react the same.

"Oh John, you're a bloody mess"

"I beg your pardon?"

"Look at you" she snapped, pulling a chair from the kitchen to sit beside John. She sat down, gazing up and down at him in dissatisfaction "I expected more from you"

"I'm sorry, have I done something to offend you Mrs H?" He was baffled, well and truly.

"It's been months, instead of demanding to know where he was or hunting him down, you've instead spent your entire time sulking in this bloody flat!"

"- do you really think Sherlock would be doing this if it were you that went missing? No, he'd be out doing everything he could to find you"

"Yes, well, he made it perfectly clear that he didn't want to be found" John's voice flurried with bitterness.

"Did he say that then?" She challenged.

"Not in exact terms but-"

"No buts, no nothing, oh for goodness sake. You bloody boys are like two school kids" she rolled her eyes, leaning back in her chair looking exhausted from the situation "everyone knows that you two can't live without one another yet you two seem to be the only ones who don't know that. For heavens sake John, your boyfriend buggared off seven months ago and you've done nothing"

"He's not my boyfriend" He quickly argued.

"Yes, well, he certainly won't be if you spend all your time sulking in here"

"Look, I know that you're just trying to help. But, if Sherlock really and I mean really needed me, he would be here. He wouldn't be half way across the sodding world on some stupid assignment he most likely begged his brother for. He'd be here, Mrs H, right here"

"I know it's hard John, but Sherlock is stupid, he doesn't know what he's doing half the time! Usually what he thinks is right is usually the worst bloody idea ever invented. Give him time, after all, if you don't find him, he will definitely find his way back to you"

"He's done this before, except last time he faked his own death. He can't keep leaving me, allowing me to grieve his loss and then spring back on me like nothing has happened"

"He's not bloody dead, John"

"Yes, well, for all we know. He could be"

"You're so dramatic. He'll be back, I promise"

"I suppose one of us has to be optimistic"

"Well yes, considering I'm spending my time with a depressed doctor who's missing his boyfriend. One of us really does have to be optimistic or we'd be sat here listening to sad songs and crying all bloody day"

"You know, you really are quite something, Mrs H" John hummed out a short laugh.

"Yes, well, that's why you boys love me" She spoke through a gentle smile as she stood up, leaving the tray on the table as she head for the door.

"That and because of your nice car"

"You're not driving my car, John"

"Worth a shot" John shrugged, leaning back with a exhale of breath.

He looked around the flat once more, noticing the fine details that concluded that Sherlock really was real and they were, slowly, fading away into the dust, much like the memory of him.

He knew that Sherlock wasn't coming back, even Mrs Hudson knew, he knew that it was time to stop this. But even if he did, much like Sherlock said, he would always be in his heart.

Chapter Text

"Rosie, please tell me you're getting ready" John shouted up the stairs for the tenth time in the past fifteen minutes, on the verge of losing his patience.

"Dad, will you just let me get ready, Jesus Christ"

"You have to leave in five minutes, hurry up!"

He heard the music slowly increase in volume, he knew that was his cue to shut up before his teenage daughter came and castrated him.

He sighed, walking away from the stairs and into the kitchen. He perked himself on the stool beside the counter, pulling the paper towards him, he licked the tip of his fingers, turning the page. It was the same old news every day, boring politics, boring football and most of all, boring and uninteresting crimes. Where had all the interesting criminals gone?

"Dad" He heard the shout as the heavy footsteps followed down his stairs, he rolled his eyes, placing the newspaper down and turning to the door way where Rosie was stood.

She looked like she was ready to lose her mind at any moment, not to mention the amount of makeup she was wearing, if John had the balls, he would most definitely have told her to wipe it off but he didn't have the balls of the time.

"What now?"

"Have you seen my shoes?"

"Which pair?" He asked, looking down at her feet that were covered by a pair of socks which, if he wasn't wrong, were covered in marijuana plants "Jesus, Rosie, what on earth is on your socks?"

"Oh don't have a bloody heart attack, it's just a statement. You can't even see them - I bought them at urban outfitters"

"With what money, exactly?"

"The money on your credit card"

"I'm going to lose my mind" John muttered, biting his tongue so he wouldn't cause a scene, he knew the sooner he got her to school the sooner he could sit back and do nothing all day "your black shoes are under the stairs, those ugly white trainers you like so much are by the back door and all your other shoes are on the shoe rack"

She stormed off, her arms folded over her chest as she began pulling every pair of shoes off the rack until she had found the pair she just definitely had wear that day. He was certain that he heard some word of profanity leave her mouth and he was about to lose his shit, but just before he could unleash his wrath his phone began vibrating on the counter beside him, saved by the... vibration?

He peered at the screen, he saw the name and let out a deep exhale of breath. He reached for it, swiping the screen to answer.

"Hello?"

"John, how are you buddy?"

"I'm fine Greg, how are-" he was halted as he heard a shout from the hallway "can you hold on a second?"

He stood up, the phone still to his ear as he walked to the doorway finding Rosie sat on the stairs in a huff.

"Bloody hell, what could possibly be wrong with you now?" he sighed, leaning against the door frame, physically and emotionally exhausted.

"I need money"

"You apparently already stole my credit card, so, how could you possibly need more money from me?"

"I can't use card to pay for the bus, can I?"

"Check my wallet" John said, waving over to the living room. He left her to it, walking back into the kitchen "Sorry Greg"

"No worries, mate. Teenagers, hey? Did I hear you say she stole your credit card?" He asked, much more defensively than expected.

"Yes. But that doesn't give you an excuse to arrest my daughter" John stifled a laugh, taking his place back in his seat.

"Very well. Look, mate, I was wondering if you wanted to meet up today? Mrs Hudson said she hadn't been able to get ahold of you and has now put her trust in me to get you to visit her, I said we'd pop for a spot of tea and lunch"

"She always rings at inconvenient times. Mainly at three in the bloody morning" he defended.

"Yeah, well, she doesn't have a normal sleeping pattern, does she? Remember she was once running a drug lords home. People never popped round in the day to pick a package, she would have to be up all night, just in case"

"That's such a strange scene to imagine, don't you think?"

"She's a badass"

"That she is" John agreed, peering out towards the hallway where Rosie was making her way towards the door. "Hang on Greg... Hey Rosie, are you going to be home for tea? Thought we could get a takeaway tonight?"

"Yeah, probably" she shrugged "can we get a Chinese?"

"Sure, have a good day at school"

"Yeah, right" She rolled her eyes, opening the front door and disappearing shortly after with a slam of the door.

"So?" Greg urged. "Lunch?"

"I-" he stopped, thinking about the situation, he had done everything in his power to prevent him from returning to that house at all costs. Usually offering to meet at restaurants and cafes rather than there. But he knew that it wasn't going to last forever and he most definitely couldn't hide forever "okay, I'll meet you there. What time?"

"Noon?"

"Alright, I'll see you then" He sighed, ending the call and placing the phone in front of him.

He spent the next few hours doing nothing, he had used up as much time as he could to just sit on the sofa and be as lazy as possible, it was a rare occasion that he would get a day to himself, in fact, it was the first day he'd managed to get off work for months.

It didn't change the fact that it was boring but most days were boring now, in fact, every day was boring. It was the same routine, shout at Rosie to get out of bed, have an arguing match because she's lost something, a slammed door, get ready for work, deal with idiotic patients, come home, cook dinner, argue with Rosie because she's had a bad day at school, then continue to argue with her because she's thirteen and can't go out at nine on a school night and then another slammed door and back to bed again.

He was well and truly bored and knackered. He didn't realise raising a teenager alone would be as difficult than it really was. It wasn't until she turned eleven that the problems began, she started secondary school and soon learnt how to answer back. And then there was boys, that was a subject she hated to talk about as much John really tried. It turns out being a single dad with a teenager daughter was a situation that would cause more than a few grey hairs.

But, he had Rosie out of his mind as he drove towards central London, he knew that the school had to deal with her for the next few hours and she was their problem. It's not that he didn't love his daughter, of course he did, more than anything in the world, he was just tired. And the idea of seeing Mrs Hudson was becoming more and more of an ideal thought, to escape his own little reality for a bit to venture back into his past. Maybe he could pretend he was still The John Watson that people remembered him for.

As he turned down the street, his heart sank, house by house as he grew nearer he could feel the nerves kick in. He didn't know why, after all, this was once his home. For so many years of his life. And as he parked outside, his eyes gazed up at the tall Victorian house, the numbers 221B standing out like a sore thumb.

He sighed, taking the keys out of ignition and unbuckling his seat belt, he opened his door stepping out onto the familiar street. Breathing in the London air, so familiar but so foreign, it was an over-whelming feeling.

His feet carried him to the front door, he lifted his fist considering knocking to begin with but his fingertips soon found the handle and he gripped it tightly, closing his eyes slightly, he knew that this was going to bring back a whirlwind of memories and he really wasn't ready for it. He sighed, pushing the handle down, opening it wide and taking a step inside.

The hall was the same, Mrs Hudson hadn't decorated it, in fact, it was still as vintage and dull as it was when he left. He was certain she hadn't decorated since the day she moved in.

"John, is that you?" The more fragile voice shouted.

"Yeah" He replied, closing the door behind him and walking slowly, step by step towards Mrs Hudson's door. He didn't have time to open it himself, it swung open showing a very smiley and very fragile looking Mrs Hudson.

"Oh, John! Look at you" She spoke, covering her mouth as the emotions overwhelmed her "How long has it been?"

"I'd say it's been about six years"

"It would be less, if you answered your bloody phone every once and a while"

"Yes, well, some of us sleep during early hours of the morning" John defended, reaching out to embrace her in a meaningful hug "how are you?"

"Tired, John. Very, very tired. Old age is finally upon me" She half-joked, the wittiness still flurrying through her voice like he remembered.

"You don't look a day over twenty one"

"You fool" she laughed, leaning back to swat John on his arm "how's Rosie?"

"She's - a teenager"

"Ah" she noted, ushering him to follow her into her kitchen as she head towards the kettle "I understand. Hard work, aren't they?"

"Beyond belief" he said, sitting in the chair by the dining table, unbuttoning his jacket "it's like talking to a brick wall most times, she really is a pain in the arse sometimes. She stole my credit card, can you believe it?"

"I can"

"Must be a normal thing" he huffed in response, shuffling his arms from his jacket and placing it onto the chair behind him "I love her though, dearly. She just winds me up"

"That's children for you, they drive you insanely mad but they still love you and you still love them. It's weird really, isn't it?"

"Very" he agreed, looking around the kitchen collecting the fond memories he had shared in here. Remembering the hungover breakfast, listening to Mrs H talk about her husband, drugs and all the sex she had and he had to refrain from bulking just like he did the first time "so, did you ever manage to find another tenant for the room upstairs?"

"No, I didn't. I couldn't bare to let it go to anyone else, if I'm honest" She said, stirring the milk into the tea cups "it felt wrong, you know? I couldn't bare to live with anyone else"

"Even if the person was completely normal? And didn't have a tendency to set fires and shoot guns around the place?"

"Even so. Nobody would ever compare to my Sherlock and Watson" she spoke, turning round with a soft smile, her hands shaking ever so slightly as she walked to place the tray of tea on the dining table.

"Yes, well, it's been many years since that era"

"It has, hasn't it?" She sighed, sitting opposite. "It's been extremely quiet, in fact, it's been miserable. I've been on my own now for quite some time, the only person bloody making an effort to visit is Lestrade"

"Funny, that. I think he has a soft spot for you"

"Well, you all did, at one point" and John knew that was a dig, he was expecting it. He knew he couldn't pop round for lunch and not get some sort of telling off from his adoptive mother.

"I do apologise for not visiting often, with Rosie and work and life, it all just got on top of me. To be honest, I've been too busy living in the real world to return"

"The real world? What makes you say it like that?" she was quick to judge, the question coming out much harsher.

"I mean, I'm a real adult now, I'm in my bloody forty's, I have a teenage daughter, an actual, real-life, grown up, mortgage to pay to keep a roof over our heads and a job that I actually have to turn up to every day. It's bloody terrifying"

"That's not the real world John, that's just life"

"Yes, well, it's much more real than the mind-blowing life I used to live"

"That's growing up, I suppose"

"It's awful, isn't it?"

"Very" Mrs H nodded in agreement, taking a sip of her tea. Her eyes were drifting between John and the clock and John had caught onto this, he had forgotten all about Greg coming.

"What time did Greg say he would be here?"

"Noon" she confirmed, but it seemed like her mind was elsewhere. "You're not in a rush, are you?"

"No, not at all. Rosie won't be back home until at least five anyway which gives me plenty of time to stay here for a while and drive back in time to see her in"

"How old is she now?"

"Thirteen. You can imagine, it's the worst year of a teenagers life, hormones and all that rubbish. Painful, for her and I"

"It's a difficult time in their life. I'm sure the fact she's growing up without her mother is just as difficult for her, also"

The words hit John like a tonne of bricks all at once, it amazed him that the idea of Mary not being there hadn't even crossed his mind. Not even once. Not that he didn't think about her, of course he did, every now and then when he was low. Sometimes, he'd even speak to her, he'd sit in bed sometimes just talking to her as if she could hear. But he didn't think about Rosie, Jesus, she didn't even know her, she was a mere few months old when she died. The only memory she has is a few photographs.

"I suppose you're right" he agreed.

"It must be hard for you, too"

"Yes, well, losing your wife is difficult"

"I mean, losing Sherlock as well"

That name hadn't been heard in a long time, the name was foreign to him, he had spent so much of his time trying to forget him and the memories that he had wiped him from his thoughts completely. He spent months, years, even, just waiting and waiting for him to come back like Mrs H said he would but after five years he finally decided enough was enough and that's when he decided to give up. He should have known he would be mentioned.

"I'm sorry John, I should have known it would have been a sore subject"

"No, no, not at all. I haven't thought about him for a while now. It was years ago"

"Funny. I never stop thinking about him" she admitted, placing her mug onto the tray "in fact, I have spent most of my time thinking about the both of you, really"

"That's no way to be living" he joked, his humour as ever, not stirring so much as a laugh.

"Isn't it? You see, the only way I can carry on is by remembering my life John. You should never cut off the memories, no matter how hard they are, that's your life. And whether you like to admit it or not, Sherlock Holmes was in fact, the biggest part of your life for many years"

"Yes, well, he was. Until he left"

"You're still bitter about that?" She laughed, rolling her eyes at John as as though he was spitting nonsense "John, when will you bloody realise that he did it for you"

"Hardly"

"I don't think you understand. You underestimate the way Sherlock felt for you, as ever, you both had a habit of that, you were never able to express how you truly felt. You know, we took bets the day before the wedding, myself, Molly and Lestrade all bet that Sherlock would tell you on the day. In fact, I still think if that bloody soldier hadn't have been stabbed, he still would have"

"Wait, what? would have what?"

"Are you still that oblivious? Even to yourself? Everyone knew you two were in love with one another, John. Everyone. But you were both too bloody stubborn to do anything about it"

"That's not-" John was interrupted by the front door opening before he could carry on with his denial but it didn't refrain from his shock, he knew that Mrs H has always assumed him and Sherlock was an item but he didn't think it went as far as Molly bloody Hopper and Greg.

"You can deny it as much as you like, John. But eventually you're going to have to admit it"

"I'm not going to admit it" he refused, crossing his arms over his chest "it's been years, I think maybe we should all just get over it. Rosie was bloody one when Sherlock up and left, she's now thirteen. That's twelve years here's been gone and he's not coming back. We could all mope around waiting and waiting but it would be a waste of time, that stubborn bastard will hide away until he's ready and knowing Sherlock bloody Holmes, it'll be the day we're all on our death bed"

He stood up, his legs lifting him without his mind being able to comprehend what he was doing. He felt the blood boil as his name began to roll of his tongue over and over again, the years of pain just flying from him all at once and he was at boiling point.

"- he's a coward, Mrs H. He couldn't bare to deal with this together, he couldn't have just stayed and helped me deal with everything. That's not what he does, he was too scared of his own emotions and how he felt to even begin to consider how I might have felt about it. One bloody letter, a bloody letter and he feels as though that was sufficient? After everything we've been through? We're adults, even then, we may have acted slightly more childish but we were still adults, yet he acted like the child he is and ran away-"

"-Scared that he'd hurt me or worse, not be able to help me. Does he not realise that running away and leaving me alone when I needed him most was the most hurtful thing he could do? That's how he hurt me, but why would ever consider that? He's heartless, always has been and always will be. So you can preach as much as you like about Sherlock Holmes loving me, Mrs H, but the fact of the matter is, he can't love me, because he's incapable of loving anyone"

Mrs Hudson stared at him, her eyes wide as he watched the single tear roll down John's cheek as he let the bundle of words flood from him like an over-due volcano explosion, everything he had thought about for so long just exploding all at once. And John even shocked himself, he didn't know he was capable of saying. As his breath steadied, his eyes were able to find Mrs Hudson, her eyes teary and flicking between John and the door-way. He had been so indulged with anger that he had forgotten the key part that the front door had opened behind him and he knew he most likely made a fool out of himself in front of Greg.

It took him a few seconds to turn, his slow actions feeling like a life time but when he did, his heart sank more. He fell back slightly, his legs unsteady, he reached for the table behind to steady himself. His chest was heaving, his heart most definitely going to explode from his chest at any moment, he was hyperventilating. He was gripping onto the table as though it was going to save him.

He clenched his eyes shut, whispering profanities under his breath, hoping, just hoping that when he opened them it would be like any other dream he had and it would all be his imagination. But as he counted to three in his head, he opened his eyes and was caught in the same situation he was before.

"Hello John"

His breath hitched, his eyes gazed over his appearance, once beautiful brown curly locks now glazing over with a misty silver, brown still peaking out from underneath. He noticed it was shorter, not too much, but more defined. The once extremely structured jawline was now more full, his face rounder yet his cheekbones still stuck out like sharp razor blades, the eyes, so bright, glazed over with emotion, surrounding by black circles from lack of sleep, as always. His clothes, they were different, yes, definitely. He had never seen him anything but a suit, but today, he was looking at a man dressed in a simple black pair of skinny jeans and an over sized grey sweatshirt. Who was this man?

"Sherlock" John spoke through an inhale of breath, his breathing rapidly increasing. The word not seeming real as it drifted off his tongue into the direction to whom it belonged to.

"I'm sorry John" Mrs H spoke, alerting John to turn round and look at her "he's been home for months. I had been ringing and ringing but you just never answered my calls"

John shook his head, turning to look at Sherlock and then Mrs Hudson again. Surely, this wasn't real, right?

"I'm sorry John, I had - I had no idea that's how you felt" Sherlock's voice was like music to his ears, sweet sympathy of forgotten memories and a broken heart. He had forgotten how smooth his voice really was.

"This wasn't a trick. We weren't trying to catch you off guard, you just got so riffled up when I mentioned him, I wasn't expecting that" Mrs H admitted, bowing her head slightly "I didn't know how else to get you here"

"Please say something, John. Anything"

"I-" John began, falling back into his seat, his eyes still wide as he glared at the figure in front of him. He didn't know how to react, he had gone over this moment in his head over and over in the early days. Thinking about all the things he wanted to say to him but when it finally came to it, twelve years later, he was stunned. The speech he once prepared now vanished into a distant part of his brain "-this isn't real. I don't. Why, now? Why now? Twelve sodding years, Sherlock"

"I told you I was leaving" Sherlock spoke warily, his fingers fidgeting as he looked at John with such sincere eyes "I wrote it in that letter you seem to hate so much. I thought the placement for my brothers assignment would take a few months, turns out it took a few years and after, well, I couldn't bare to come back so I simply stayed"

"And you came back now?" John spat.

"I was homesick?" Sherlock questioned, unable to find a truthful answer "I was ready to return back home"

"You didn't call. You didn't text. You didn't write. You did nothing. You just left me in the dark, do you realise how fucking shitty that is? My best friend fucks off for years and doesn't even send a bloody post card!"

"I understand you're upset-"

"Do you? Do you really? Because you didn't seem to care much all those years ag- wait, was bloody Lestrade involved in this as well? Jesus fucking Christ, did everyone know about this but me?"

"I'm sorry John" Mrs H repeated, she stood up quickly, taking away the tray and placing it on the side. She turned to the boys with a weary look "I'm going to leave you two to speak"

"You don't need to leave" John quickly intervened, his attitude dropping once realising who he was speaking to.

"No, it's fine, this is your argument darling, not mine" she spoke with a soft smile, stroking John's arm ever so carefully before guiding her way out of the kitchen and closing the door behind her.

John stayed still, sat in his chair, his eyes not leaving Sherlock's for even a second. He was still certain that this was all some sick dream or some sick practical joke that they were playing on him but as he concentrated more on his features he knew that this was far from it.

"I waited" John admitted, finding it in him to speak rather than lunge at Sherlock with his fist "for a very long time, Sherlock"

"I know"

"You left me"

"I know"

"You also left your god-daughter" He spoke softly, tears slowly rolling down his cheeks as he thought about all the lost memories that Rosie missed out on with her Godfather "twelve fucking years, Jesus Christ Sherlock, who does that? Why would someone do that?"

"I'm very sor-"

John cut him off immediately "you just waltz back in as though nothing has happened, as though you haven't missed out on years of my life or years of Rosie's life, you say you're sorry, like last time and expect everything to be fine and dandy again. But that's not how it works anymore Sherlock, we're not two lads going round running the streets of London nearly getting killed every five minutes. Especially not me, I'm not your partner anymore, I'm an adult, with responsibility and you just had to come back and mess that up, didn't you?"

Sherlock stood still, his lips tightened in a thin line, the first time John had ever seen him even remotely listen to a word he had said. He couldn't see whether or not he was taking it in and coming up with an answer or had just given up.

"My intention was never to hurt you. That was noted in that letter and as for the rest of my life, I intend to stick by that. I'm forever in your debt for the way I have treated you, I will always be sorry for the way I left and the years I missed. However, I am Sherlock Holmes, I do stupid things because frankly, I am incapable of human thought processes and that's always who I will be. And I do not ask for your forgiveness, as I do not expect it. However, I do hope that you can work on a way to allow me to continue being your friend even through the actions I have taken"

John stared in wonder, listening to Sherlock say the words sorry over and over again were like a sympathy to his ears "-and I can assure you, John Watson, I hadn't stopped thinking about you since the day I left"

"Things aren't that easy" John admitted, sighing into his hands as his head fell. He leant up, his chin resting on the palm of his hands, his eyes still gazed on Sherlock's.

"Well, I might suggest that things are going slightly better than last time I disappeared. You haven't punched nor head-butted me"

"Well, last time you made me believe you were dead, Sherlock" John spoke with a harsh tone "but with the amount of time you've been gone, I think the easiest way to deal with it was to believe that maybe you were dead. At least then I wouldn't have to suffer the agonising wait of your return"

"But I did return" Sherlock inched a step forward, his voice soft and low "I'm here now, I came back to see you John, no one else"

"Then why didn't you come back twelve years ago?"

"You needed to heal, you needed to grieve the loss of your wife, deal with everything. Mycroft told me that human emotions are difficult and if I really wanted to save you, then the best option would be for me to leave you. Allow you to grieve through the pain that I, caused"

"You listened to your bloody brother? You actually went to Mycroft for advice? Jesus, Sherlock that was stupid, even for you"

"He raised a good point" Sherlock defended.

"He's as stupid as you. He has no idea how the human mind works, you're both aliens to the rest of us. If you wanted to know how to help me, then you should have came to me"

"I'll note that. For next time"

John nodded, his body was over-filled with emotion right now. He wasn't even sure how he was talking at the moment, maybe because it was Sherlock and he had wanted nothing more than to hear the egotistic bastards voice for so long that he waned to hold onto it forever.

"So, you're staying?" the question left John's lips, the one thought on his mind as whether or not Sherlock was about to walk straight back out of his life again.

"Yes"

"For how long?"

"Indefinitely, John. I'm not going anywhere" Sherlock spoke and the way his voice cracked, John took it as a promise, he knew that Sherlock's idea of a promise was never to be trusted but as ever, he let his naivety win, accepting that as a valid answer.

"Good"

"Good" Sherlock nodded, leaning against the wall and crossing his arms over his chest.

"God, you're such a bastard"

Chapter Text

John arrived home, it was five when he walked through his front door. He was exhausted, he hadn't stayed long at 221B, he didn't speak to Sherlock much after their reunion, they simply sat in the kitchen listening to Mrs H talk about how happy she was that her boys were back together. However, the whole time, John's mind was still in a complete mess.

He couldn't comprehend how he had set off from his house this morning for lunch with Mrs H to being reunited with his sociopathic best friend who abandoned him for years, as if it was just another blimp along the road. And sitting there in Mrs H's kitchen, being waited on with endless cups of tea, he couldn't understand how both Sherlock and her were acting like this was normal. How could they just fit back so effortlessly into the routine that they had left behind?

John had swapped numbers with Sherlock discretely, waving a short and awkward goodbye as he left for home. It wasn't too far from the city but far enough that he could be comfortable and away from flashing lights, drama and crime scenes, he was content.

"Dad, is that you?" He heard Rosie's voice after he had heard the running of her footsteps down the stairs.

"Hey" John said with a forced smile, shuffling his jacket off and leaning it against the banister of the stairs "how was school?"

"Tedious. Mr Bowler was an absolute idiot, once again. Accused me of cheating on my test when in fact, I was the one who finished the test first" She wailed, walking past her dad and into kitchen, now dressed in her pyjamas "He really does have a cheek, doesn't he?"

"Does he always pick on you?" He asked, following her into kitchen.

She sat down on one of the stools, leaning against the counter as John head for the kettle, reaching to get two cups out of the cupboard.

"Pretty much" she shrugged, looking at her dad from the corner of her eye "how was your day?"

"It was - fine"

"Fine? It was your only day off, wasn't it?"

"Yeah" He shrugged "kind of, I have the chance to take the day off tomorrow though if I want, so I have a long weekend off really"

"What did you get up to today?"

"I - went to visit an old friend" he spoke cautiously, the sigh still evident as it rolled of his tongue. He really was exhausted.

"Was it Mrs Hudson?" she asked, making John come to a standstill. His body froze, he wasn't aware of a time he had mentioned her name to her other than when she was very little.

"How-"

"Oh, come on dad! Stop acting like I'm oblivious. You do realise that I am currently in high school, right?"

"Yes?" John answered cautiously, turning around to lean against the counter.

"I've had so many people come and ask me if my dad was the real John Watson, to begin with I wondered what the hell they were on about, until I googled your name for the first time. First article that came up was your blog, dad"

"You - wait, so you-"

"Yes, I know all about it" She shrugged it off as if it was nothing "my friends think you're a bit of a badass. I'm a bit gutted that you didn't tell me about it though"

"It, well, it's my past Rosie. You're my future, they're two different things" he attempted an explanation, he really wasn't expecting to have this conversation the moment he walked through the door.

"Yes, but, do you not think that my dad being a hero to the country is something I'd like to know? I felt stupid when everyone knew about it and I didn't, I even had some of the mums come up and ask me if you were single. It was embarrassing"

"Jesus"

"Is everything you wrote true?" She asked, looking at her dad for an answer. And John didn't know what to say, he didn't know if he really wanted his daughter to know that he did in fact shoot someone, have a bomb strapped around his waist and yes, he did actually get trapped in a well and nearly drown to death.

"It is, yes" he admitted, ready to take on whatever she threw at him "it's very true, I lived a very - extensive and wild life before you Rosie, I did some very extremely dangerous and life threatening things. But that's in the past, I don't do that anymore"

She stayed silent for a minute, her hands twiddling together as she took it all in, John didn't know what she was going to say next. That's the problem with teenagers, they were so bloody unpredictable.

"And what about Sherlock Holmes?"

"What about him?"

"Are you ever going to see him again? He's my godfather isn't he? Well, that's what you wrote"

"Well yeah, he is. He's actually a lot closer than we think" He spoke subtly.

"Can I meet him?"

"I don't know" he spoke cautiously, he could see her eyes practically begging him and he was stuck "maybe, not yet, but soon. Sherlock and I have a lot to work through. I don't know what kind of state he's in at the minute both physically and emotionally and I don't want to bring him here if he's not planning on staying"

"Okay" she spoke, surprising John, he hadn't been able to have a conversation with her that lasted more than a minute but yet tonight, she was speaking to him like an adult. "Is it true what they say?"

"It could be?"

"That you two loved each other? You always spoke about him more than you did mum in your blogs. I'm just curious"

"I think that's enough curiosity for one night"

After a lot of Chinese food, listening to Rosie slag off her best friends about how they're all a bunch of bitches and being forced to watch Family Guy, John had finally managed to get into bed at eleven. Wrapped up in duvet, his head on his pillow and he couldn't believe the day he had been subjected too. He didn't know whether to cry or laugh, he was completely bewildered by it all. He lay there silently, looking up at the ceiling for ages until he had remembered his phone going off earlier on in the night when Rosie had been ranting, he couldn't check it because she had called him a rude dad and that she would contact social services for neglect if he looked at his phone.

He reached to his bedside table, pulling his phone from the side and moved up slightly so his back was against his head board. He swiped his phone open and clicked onto his messages, seeing Sherlock's name right there in hold lettering. He hovered over it for a few seconds before taking the plunge and clicking onto it.

I hope today was not too surreal for you. Once again, it was never my intention to cause you any harm. That is beyond what I had hoped to do. SH.

Sherlock let out a deep breath, his eyes scanning over the words over and over as he tried to consume a response, his fingers typed and deleted over and over.

Of course it was bloody surreal, you bastard. You don't have to spend the rest of your life apologising. I'm still annoyed at you, you wanker. You could have came back maybe, I don't know, ten years ago? That would have made things a bit easier. Also, 12 years on and you still feel the need to sign your texts off with SH, as if I don't already know.

The reply was immediate, something John had never forgotten was Sherlock's ability to text back almost instantly. Usually because his phone never left his hands.

I apologise, just once more for good measure. I meant what I said John, I never once stopped thinking about you. You were always on my mind, always. And noted, won't do it anymore.

He smiled, he shouldn't have but he did. It was only a small smile but Sherlock's words seemed to affect him in all the right ways, although he did leave him, the idea of John being the only thought process was quite - soothing.

I stopped thinking about you for a while. I needed to, not that I wanted to. I'm glad you're back and I'm glad you're safe. But, we need to work on things. I need to ensure you're in a good state before you can see Rosie, she knows about you, us, Mary and Baker Street. She read my blogs, didn't tell me though. So she now wants to meet you.

Instant reply, a chain of messages.

I do not blame you.

I'm glad you're okay. I'm glad you're happy and that Rosie is okay and safe.

I want to meet her, also. The only memory I have of her is when she was a baby, it would be nice to have a conversation with her that doesn't involve not throwing a rattle.

He smirked at that, remembering how Sherlock had woken both him and Mary up after he had watched Rosie for two hours and was losing his mind with every second, unable to talk to or understand what the baby wanted.

And then another reply.

I've missed you, I really have. Mycroft told me not to come back but I did anyway, to see you.

John quickly typed a quirky response.

Okay, Sherlock. Calm down or people will start to think we have something going on here haha.

He didn't expect the next response.

Let them. It does not bother me, not at all, not one little bit. Go to sleep John, I'm sure you have a busy morning ahead of you. If you would like to, can I suggest meeting for lunch? You don't have to bring Rosie, we can just talk.

John pondered over the request, wondering if he was stable enough to talk to Sherlock about this in person, whether he was brave enough, after all, if he wasn't stable around Sherlock then how the hell did he expect Rosie to react.

Sure, lunch sounds fine, shall we say the Italian near old Scotland Yard at one? Rosie can join us another time, once we have sorted things. If that's okay? I would like to get to know you again before Rosie does.

Instant reply, once again.

Sounds perfect. Good night John. x

John shook his head, who the hell was this man and what had he done with Sherlock Holmes?

Good night x

Chapter Text

Oh, brother mine, please do stop acting so bloody childish and reevaluate this situation. Surely you don't think this is a good idea? No person with a right mind would find this idea even remotely worth the effort or time"

"Will you shut up? Your voice is an irritant. If anything, you completely ruin my thought process" Sherlock waved him off, sitting on the chair in front of his desk in annoyance "I'm not asking for your permission, Mycroft. I'm telling you that I'm going back"

"After so long? You do realise that in normal people time, that's a lifetime to them. You have affected Doctor Watson more than you could ever imagine"

"And? I need to see him. Urgently"

"What is this state of emergency? Why is this so urgent that you have to go today?"

"Mary said in her final video, save John Watson, when really, John Watson was always the one who saved me" he spoke, his words baffling himself never mind Mycroft "without him, I am in fact, a lost cause"

"You've lasted years without him Sherlock"

"Yes, but barely. You don't understand, I need to see him"

"But why?"

"I miss him, Jesus fucking Christ Mycroft, I bloody miss him" Sherlock shouted, standing to his feet once more, reaching his hands up to pull on the strands of his hair "It's been torture, I have spent every single waking moment just thinking about John Watson. I could be in the middle of a shooting ground and the only person I'd think of was John Watson and how I wish he was there, he has taken over my mind and my mind palace and if I don't see him soon I will certainly go insane"

"You... miss him?" Mycroft repeated, the word so foreign to him. And if he hadn't have seen Sherlock so distressed he would have mocked him, for some strange reason, he found himself sympathising with him. "How so?"

"How so? I just explained that, weren't you listening?"

"What I mean, brother dearest, is if you miss him so much why wouldn't you just call him? Why do you have to see him?"

"Because - I miss him, I miss the way he looks, the way he smells, the way he frowns at me all the time because I'm making a human error mistake or the way he would go on and on at me to stop putting severed heads inside the fridge. I miss him, Mycroft. I miss John"

"Very well" Mycroft nodded, leaning back in his chair observing his brothers sudden outburst of human emotion "you know, I knew this day would come eventually"

"What day?" Sherlock halted, leaning back so fell into his seat.

"The day you would finally realise you are not inhuman. You see, brother mine, out of the three of us, myself, euros and yourself, you were the only one to actually act normal. As a child you would play, even with other children, you would pretend, go on adventures, create and use your imagination. Something Euros and myself never learnt how. Mother and I soon realised that you had hooked yourself onto myself and our sister so dearly that you had transformed yourself, into, well, you"

"What are you saying?"

"I'm saying. You're human Sherlock. You miss the man you care for dearly and finally, after years and years, your heart is finally defeating that brain of yours and it's time to come back down to earth"

"Impossible" Sherlock rejected, shaking his head vigorously. "Not possible at all"

"How wrong you are. In fact, it's very possible and I think, it's time you did go home. Back to Baker Street, back to John Watson. I think your time as a detective is over, Sherlock. In fact, I think it's time you lived, normally"

"That's not possible, I'm not normal"

"No, you are. You're gifted, yes. But you're also normal, just like everyone else. And it's time you experienced that"

"So, I can go home?"

"Yes, Sherlock. Time to go home. No coming back after that, it's all over once you step foot back into 221B, you understand that?"

"Yes"

"Very well, I think you best go and find the man you missed so dearly. Don't you?"

Chapter Text

"Please let me come home"

John sighed, listening to his daughter whine and whine on the phone to him as he drove into London. He knew this was going to happen the moment he mentioned meeting another old friend for lunch. She would try and try with all her might to get out of school and back home so she could meet whoever it was. But he wasn't haven't any of it, not today.

"I'm not letting you come home. You're perfectly fine, you're not being sick, you have not got a high temperature and you're not dying. So, why on earth would you need to come home?"

"I don't feel well" she tried.

"Well, as long as you're not vomiting all over the school premises then I say you're fine. It's not happening Rosie, end of. I'm going now. Stop bloody texting and calling me"

"But what if I am sick, can I go home then?"

"If you even try and make yourself sick I can assure you that when you do get home your phone will be locked away in the draw for the rest of the week, that goes for your laptop too"

"This is so unfair"

"That's life I'm af-" before he could continue the line cut off, he sniggered go himself watching the call drop. He had no time to worry about her today.

He was in two minds about today, even when he had stepped out of his car and had began his walk down to the small restaurant down the street. He knew that he should have acted differently yesterday, maybe threw a few bottles, head butted Sherlock a few times, even punched him, but when it came to it, he saw no need for it. Not this time. He was so full with gratitude that his best friend was still alive and well that the idea of throwing punches and lunging for him seemed pointless. But it did not defy the fact that he was more than a little pissed off at him. And he was certainly not going to forgive him that easily.

He stepped inside the restaurant, it was lunch and yet, it was still quiet only the odd two tables being used. His eyes scanned over, looking for the mess of curls, he stood for a minute, nearly giving up before he saw a hand waving at him excessively. He nodded, swerving his way between the tables as he made his way towards Sherlock.

His eyes were hooked on him, noting his smart casual look, a shirt and trousers, only a few buttons left undone at the top, it suited him. But then again, he was used to seeing him like this. But just not at this age, maturity really did suit him.

"Hi" John nodded a short hello, pulling his chair out and planting himself opposite Sherlock.

"Hi, I hope you don't mind. I reserved this table as it was away from the windows. I didn't want the media to get ahold of the fact I'm back, not yet anyway, can't really be dealing with criminals and crazed fans"

"It's fine"

"I'm glad you came" he admitted, leaning forward in his chair slightly "I wasn't sure if you actually would or not"

"Well, I'm here, aren't I?"

"Yeah, you are. Would you like a drink? Water, right? Or do you fancy something else?"

"Water is fine"

John watched as Sherlock's hands gripped the jug, pouring him some water into a glass, he watched how carefully and delicately he dealt with it, noting how the veins popped out under the skin on his hands ever so slightly.

"Are you hungry now? Or would you like to wait? I could always order for us both or-"

"Not yet Sherlock" John interrupted "I want answers"

"Answers?"

"Yes. Answers. I want the truth, I want to know where you were, why it took you so long to come back, what made you listen to your brothers god awful advice for the first time in your bloody life? I want to know everything"

"It's very complicated"

"We've got time"

"I- I find talking about this sort of thing very, in fact, extremely difficult"

"I know" John sympathised, just slightly "just take your time. Bit by bit, okay?"

"To answer your first question, I don't know where I was, somewhere in India I believe, I didn't ask questions I just simply got on a plane and went wherever my brother requested. I only listened to him because I was lost, I have never felt at such a loss before in my entire existence. I allowed myself to lose my guard and in doing so, I stupidly turned to him"

"How on earth were you at a loss?"

"I didn't know what to do"

"About what?" John pushed, he needed these answers. The unanswered questions that had played on his mind for so long.

"About you. After Euros and Mary, all the loss and pain you must have felt, it just dawned on me one day that I was the route to almost all of your problems. If you hadn't have met me, you maybe wouldn't have had to deal with all of it, you still may have met Mary but she may still be alive. You wouldn't have been thrown into a bloody bonfire, for goodness sake, that's for sure! You wouldn't have been in such dangerous situations - and I know, if I would have stayed, with my background and status, I would only have put both you and Rosie in danger. That's all I'm good at"

"You do realise that even if I didn't meet you, I still would have met Mary and eventually someone would have came to find her. And if it wasn't for you, finding them, hunting them down and stopping them, there would be a strong chance that myself, Mary and possibly Rosie wouldn't be here today. We lost Mary because of her past Sherlock, not because of you"

"Yes but, she came with me that day. That bullet was made for me, not her, I can never forgive myself for that"

"But why? I forgave you. In fact, I forgave you sooner than I thought I would. Because, I realised it wasn't your fault"

Sherlock silenced, his lips parting slightly to argue but he knew better. He didn't want to jeopardise his time with John, he had, after all, been waiting for him for a long time.

"You dealt with this all like a dick Sherlock, you could have stayed, you do realise that? We could have came up with a plan together but as always you didn't even consider that option"

"I understand tha-"

John interrupted "you don't. Or you wouldn't have left. I'm old now Sherlock, twelve years really is a long time. I'm too old for games and silly deductions, I just want you to realise what I'm saying and what I am saying is that you made a wrong choice"

"Okay" he simply agreed.

"Why on earth would you go to Greg Lestrade before going to me? Most of the time you hated the man! You insisted he was an idiot, nearly, one hundred percent of the time"

"Well, I didn't actually go to him, Mrs Hudson insisted I needed help contacting you and as you were ignoring her calls, she said you would answer him, as you always did"

"Okay, but why not come to me yourself?"

"It seemed a lot harder than it really was. I didn't quite understand how to approach it"

"Mind games are never the way, Sherlock. You must have known that I would have appreciated it more if you came to me"

"Well, now, I do" Sherlock nodded, he looked much more fragile than before, as though being away had ignited more feelings than he had ever been able to comprehend before.

"Well, good. That's all what matters"

"You forgive me?" Sherlock questioned, his eyes furrowed as if confused by John's calm state.

"I do, not entirely, as I will never understand what was going through that idiotic brain but I'd rather not waste time with the hassle of holding a grudge against you for a few months. Seems useless"

"Oh"

"But, so help me god, if you ever decide to fuck off again and leave then I can assure you the next time you return, I won't be as lenient. That's a promise, okay?"

"Very well, understandable"

The rest of the lunch was calm, there wasn't much conversation from Sherlock's side, it was strange to be in his company and not be over powered by him. He sat back, listening to John go on about how difficult it was raising Rosie, listening to the stories and memories that he had missed whilst away and he could see Sherlock taking it all in, bit by bit.

And by the time lunch had finished, Sherlock still continued to listen, paying the bill, ushering John out of the door and they didn't even notice that they were walking openly side by side in a busy London street. John hadn't realised he had been speaking for that long.

"Shit. When did we get here?" John froze, looking up at 221B, his eyes furrowed as he looked between the house and the distance they had walked.

"I didn't want to stop you, you seemed like you needed to vent" Sherlock shrugged innocently.

"You should have told me to shut up!"

"Didn't seem right to. Seeing as we're here, would you like to come in? After all, it is as much your home as it is mine"

"I don't know-" John stopped, peering down at his watch for a second. He still had hours, Rosie was going to her aunts after school so he didn't really have to be home until this evening. Yet, he felt like a stop out already, he had spent two whole days out of the house which was an achievement for him these days. He was usually much lazier. "Okay, I can pop in for a little bit"

Sherlock nodded, heading towards the door, slamming it open like he always had done. It was almost like he had to make a show stopping appearance no matter the situation. Sherlock walked ahead, his feet stomping up the stairs, John shook his head, closing the door behind him gently and following suit.

"Oh look at you two, back together again" He heard Mrs H from below the stairs "I'm glad you two have kissed and made up"

"Not together, Mrs H" he shouted a response, hearing her low giggle fade as he walked towards the apartment door.

He hadn't stepped foot inside for a very long time, eventually giving up on sitting and waiting for him after many years, he almost felt a sense of anxiety, he knew that the moment he walked back in, it would all start again. And that was extremely daunting, but yet, he followed Sherlock in.

The smell was the first thing he noticed, other than the unchanged decor that would most likely still be the same after they were gone, it was fresh, like he had actually cleaned it. John was so used to the smell of dust that he would usually prepare himself with an inhaler in hand before he entered, but not this time, he could actually smell an array of air freshener. That was baffling on its own.

"Jesus, have you cleaned in here?" John asked, turning to look at Sherlock who was stood awkwardly in the middle of the room.

"I may have hoovered, polished, wiped, scrubbed and dusted the house a little upon arrival. The smell was awful, it smelt like dead people"

"What a charming thought"

"Indeed"

Sherlock walked towards his chair, the chair that John had watched for so long just hoping for it to be filled again one day. And as he sat back, crossing his legs over one another, John felt a release of relief wash over his body. He knew that it was real, that, this time he wasn't imagining it. He smiled, just subtly, before following in his steps, sitting in his own opposite him.

"Strange, isn't it?" Sherlock challenged, his eyes flickering over the apartment "to be back"

"Very. Although, after you left I spent years coming back" John admitted, leaning his arms on the armrests with a gentle sigh.

"Yes, Mrs Hudson did make me aware of that. That is no way to live, John. Not at all"

"Yeah well, that's life I'm afraid. People tend to do that when they're waiting for someone to come back"

"I don't think they do. I think that's just you"

"If you insist. So - what are you plans now you are home? Are you planning on getting back into the swing of things? Fighting criminals? Chasing psychopaths?"

"No. I plan on doing nothing"

"Nothing?" John leaned forward, examine Sherlock's answer as though it was foreign to him "why on earth would you do that?"

"Because that is what I would like to do. I, much like yourself, are not getting any younger. I don't believe I am quite as capable as I was"

"Bullshit" John rolls his eyes, his eyes forming into a grimace "you are Sherlock bloody Holmes, the game is always on"

"I don't think it is anymore, I'm not really ready to get back into it nor do I believe I ever will be. Is it such a problem that I intend to just live? I may be inhumane at the best of times John, but even I would like a peaceful life at some point"

"But-" John's words escaped him, he sat back in a daze "that doesn't make any sense. You spent most of your time preaching that normal is boring, what has this bloody trip done to you? Did you seek out yoga? Did it cleanse your mind?"

"No yoga, just me, being away made me realise a few things. Much to my brothers annoyance, he too believes that it's time for me to stop"

"Wow"

"That way, myself, you, Rosie, Mrs Hudson and a select name of others will be free from harms way. No more silly games or deductions, we shall all simply - live"

"It won't last" John argues.

"Oh?"

"I give it six months. You'll get bored of it, you always do. You used to get bored after a few hours without a case, you'll never last"

"I think you underestimate me, John"

"No, no, I don't. You see, I know you better than anyone else" John states, leaning forward once again "you have never let anyone in as much as you have me, I know the things that make you tick, the behaviour that irritates and annoys you, I know everything Sherlock. And I know that you hate being normal"

Sherlock cocked an eyebrow, a small smirk raising on his lips. And John had missed that, he had missed those lips, they could define every feeling Sherlock felt.

"I see" Sherlock nodded, hiding his smile.

"So, like I said, I give it six months, exactly"

"Well, seeing as you know me so well, John Watson" Sherlock began, inching forward to mimic John "can you please tell me why I always come back for you?"

"Easy"

"Is that so?" He inches just slightly closer, still enough room between them to fit somebody in between.

"Yes, because whether you like it or not, I am in fact the one person in this world that you cannot live wit-" he was halted as his phone began to ring in his pocket and he really could have thrown it out the window at that point. "One second"

He leant back, fighting a battle to pull it from his jeans pocket and his flickered to Sherlock for a second, watching the sigh fall from his lips as he also fell back, looking slightly defeated. He saw the name on the screen and really did consider just throwing it, he should have known.

"Rosie, so help me god if you tell me you're not well once more I'm going to -"

"Dad, are you with him?" She interrupted.

"What?"

"Are you with him now? Sherlock? Is that why you wouldn't let me come home? It all makes sense now!"

"How on earth-" John's voice faltered, he had only been with Sherlock for a few hours, how earth had his daughter figured this out.

"Jesus, dad, do you not watch the news? You and Sherlock are all over! I was checking Twitter at lunch and there's thousands of photos of the two of you"

"What? How?"

"I don't know, maybe because you two were walking around London in the middle of the day? You really are stupid sometimes. Anyway, you're the biggest news right now"

"Sherlock, we're all over the news" he spoke directly to him this time, his eyes wide as they watched Sherlock just shrug effortlessly. He rolled his eyes, turning his attention back on to Rosie "okay, it's fine, just concentrate on school and I'll see you later"

"Wait, you can't get rid of me that easily! Does this mean you're famous then? Like, actually? All of my friends are asking me if they can come round and meet you both. Maybe I'll be famous now, does that mean we'll be rich an-"

He hung up at that point, refusing to belittle himself to a teenage mindset. He sighed, placing his phone onto the arm rest.

"She seemed excited" Sherlock noted.

"What do you expect? She's a teenage girl who's dad is all over the news at the moment"

"Seems about right"

"Your plan of people not noticing isn't going to plan, is it?"

"No, well, I didn't expect it to last long. You know how journalists and paparazzi are, they're like leeches, they probably stuck to us the moment they saw you near Baker Street and put one and one together"

And just as Sherlock said that, John's phone began to go off repeatedly, the alert of messages and notifications going off one by one.

"You really think you'll be able to stay away from this?" John challenged, lifting his phone up and shaking it in Sherlock's direction.

"Yes, I do. We simply ignore it"

"People have been waiting for your return Sherlock, they'll want answers eventually"

"They don't deserve an answer, they're simply strangers who fixated on two random men who solved crimes. They're nobody to me. I have given my answer to you and that's all what matters"

"I'm sure they'd love to hear about the heartless detective who fled from London to save the heart of his best friend" John joked lightly.

"Well, that's the truth"

"I still can't quite believe that. Usually, knowing you, you have a secret motive behind it, that's usually why you do the things you do"

"Yes, well, not this time"

"As you keep saying" John rolled his eyes.

"John, can you not just believe me, just this once? I can assure you, I'm telling the truth, I really am" he pleaded.

"Okay, okay. But, this can't all be about me"

"It is, can't you see that? It's always been about you. That's all it's ever been about"

"What?"

"This whole time, everything we've ever done. It's all been about you. I thought that was obvious?"

"Yes, well, your version of obvious and the rest of the worlds is a bit different, Sherlock"

"Jesus, John" Sherlock sighed, his eyes rolling through the frustration "I don't know how else you want me to explain this?"

"Then just do it, be blunt for once"

"I can't, you know I can't"

"I don't even know what you want to say, how on earth am I supposed to know you can't?"

"Because, like you said, you know me"

"Yes, I know you but I can't read minds can-"

Sherlock interrupts "you didn't answer me, why do I always come to you?"

"Because you care about me, that's what friends do, they care about each other and whether you like it or not, you do care about me. That's why you always come back - to me"

"Right, okay, but think about it John. Not the obvious, really think about it. Why would I come back now after all this time?"

"You said you missed me" John answered cautiously, completely unsure where this was going.

"Yes, that is obvious. I told you to think"

"Bloody hell Sherlock, you said no more games! Why are we suddenly being subjected into a mind game? I can't bloody answer for you"

Sherlock stood up, his hands reaching up rub his eyes with an exhausted sigh. He turned to John, his eyes soft, something John saw little of. John could see him arguing with himself, his eyes flickering as he tried to deduce what to do next and not even John could predict it.

But, he definitely didn't expect Sherlock to crouch down, sitting on the back of his ankles a mere two steps away from John, their eyes still locked as they always were, and John searched and searched for an answer but with all his might, he still found, nothing.

"Why would I miss you?" Sherlock's voice came at nothing but a mere whisper, so soft and gentle "why can't I be away from you? Think John, please"

"I- I can't, Sherlock, I don't understand"

"I have never let anyone in before, not a single person, never have I felt such a feeling as missing someone, but with you, it's always been different, always. Why is that? It took me twelve years to figure it out, it shouldn't take you as long"

John was mind-blank, he couldn't understand, he couldn't at the best of times when it came to Sherlock but today, he was at a loss.

"I can't have this conversation with you" John rolled his eyes "you said no more games! Why are you acting as though I can read your mind or feel your emotions?"

"Because, if what I have deduced is true. You might just feel the same as I do"

"What?" John was baffled, truly. "You're insane, you know that?"

"Yes, you always tell me, you always have"

"Right" John lingered the word, completely unsure how they had got to this point.

His eyes were still hooked with Sherlock's, they had never parted and he could see the plea in his eyes, wishing - hoping, that John would finally realise what it was he was trying to say. And the more John fixated on Sherlock's features the more he softened, he watched Sherlock's lips part and close, the way he licked his lips so smoothly and how his teeth would bite down on his bottom lip in anticipation and no, John couldn't understand what Sherlock wanted him to say but he could definitely say he was completely mesmerised by his best friend, at this very moment.

"I- I can't say it" Sherlock whispered once more, John could feel Sherlock's worry trace through his voice.

And at that moment, John couldn't fathom the words to say, an urge took ahold of him like it possessed his once calm and stable body.

His hangs flung out in front of him, holding onto the sides of Sherlock's head and only a mere seconds later, his lips had crashed onto his. The feeling was beyond anything he had felt before, a feeling of relief, hope, care and victory all at once. It was as if he had longed for this moment for so long without actually knowing it, to begin Sherlock's body had frozen in spot, like the gesture had been nothing he had hoped for but within seconds, Sherlock lips moulded with John's as they both stood to their feet, his arms wrapped around John's waist, he pulled them together, their chest crashing against each other with nothing but desperation and need.

They stayed like that, mouths and tongues moulding like lost limbs, as though they had been forced to part and found each other again. And John really didn't want to pull away, honestly, he didn't, he was in an air field, explosions and fireworks setting off around him in such serenity and fear that if he did, that would be the last time. But he was breathless, he needed to.

And as he pulled back, his breath left him like a release of absolute relaxation. His and Sherlock's chest were still in-line, heaving against one another. And they still hadn't lost eye contact, they stayed there, nose to nose, taking in what had just happened.

"I-" Sherlock began but John halted him.

"Don't. Please, for the love of god, do not say anything remotely smart or sarcastic at this moment" John was breathless, he closed his eyes for a second, taking a step back. Although Sherlock's arms never left his waist.

"I was going to say - yes, that's exactly what I wanted to tell you" Sherlock spoke, his voice so little and so fragile as if to admit it was going to jeopardise everything.

"What? That you wanted me to kiss you?" John questioned with an eyebrow raised. "That's why you wanted to come home?"

"No, god - no, that's not it" Sherlock shook his head, slowly releasing his arms from John.

"Then?"

"That, well, I suppose I've always thought about it" he admitted, turning his back to John so he didn't have to face his admission.

"I see - so you fancy me?" John teased, sitting back on the arm of the chair with a wide enough grin to illuminate the room.

"Don't use such ridiculous terms"

"So, you do? Always had a thing for your best friend, well, that's definitely something for the blog. 'Sherlock Holmes reveals he has always fancied his best friend' "

"Will you stop?" Sherlock physically cringed, his eyes scrunching shut just at the words. Still, it made him turn round. "You do in fact realise that you were the one who kissed me, right?"

"Yes" John nodded, casually.

"So, it was you who was thinking about it. So, maybe, you're the one who has always fancied your best friend?"

"Ah, ah, ah - don't spring this around on me, you were the one all emotional. I see the real Sherlock Holmes peaking out now"

"He never left" Sherlock stated, simply. "I felt to be cautious around you, due to my actions. I am still here"

"You allow your feelings to get the better of you for even a slight second and suddenly you're back into detective mode?"

"No, not at all" he refused.

"You're allowed to let your guard down Sherlock. It's me, after all. You liked it didn't you?" John challenged.

"What?"

"When I kissed you? You liked it"

"I-"

"You can't deny it. I'm fully aware that you did, you made that quite obvious"

"I did not" Sherlock argued, crossing his arms over his chest.

"Did too" He continued to tease, enjoying seeing Sherlock so confused. "You'd probably like me to do it again"

"That's not at all-"

"Wouldn't you?" John pushed, pushing himself up from the arm of the chair taking only a few steps towards him "if you would like me to, then I will, but only if you want me to"

Sherlock's breathing visibly changed, he had only just regained his composure but now his chest was heaving, he was not in control and he didn't know how to deal with such an emotion. He could feel John, not from touch but by his presence and he certainly didn't know how to react to this.

"Say the words, Sherlock" John whispered, now a mere few inches away from him like before. "Say you want more"

"I-" he starts and stops, gulping at the sight of John's plump lips only a mere inch away from his own and he could have moaned at the thought, but he knew better than that. He knew not to allow John to see his vulnerability.

And just as John was about to continue what they had started, they heard the door handle go from behind them and instantly turned to the now opened door.

"Please don't tell me you boys are arguing again" Mrs Hudson rolled her eyes as she stood in the doorway looking at the two men standing nearly against each other in a puddle of hot mess and breathing problems. Completely unaware "you have no time for it, I'm afraid. You have a visitor"

"I told you I wasn't going to be doing that anymore" Sherlock snaps, noting his stance and taking a few steps away from John.

John could have laughed, really, Sherlock's hair was everywhere, his eyes were glazed, his cheeks were red, his lips were swollen and you would believe he was having an asthma attack from the way his chest was still rapidly moving.

"Too bad" The voice was obvious "I'm afraid, you have a few problems"

Mrs Hudson stood to the side, allowing both Mycroft and Lestrade to walk in beside her. Mycroft looked stern, as ever his eyes showing no concern for what was going on. Whereas Lestrade had a look of amusement plastered all over his face, his smile wide as he glanced between the two of them and it was clear he knew. In fact, John could sense that he knew, so he simply leaned back onto the arm of the chair, crossed his arms and kept his head down. Not quite ready for whatever he may say next.

"Oi, oi, did we interrupt something here?" He said, his voice as excited as his posture.

"Yes, actually, you did. I made sure to tell you all that I wanted nothing to do with the police or any cases, so why you have chosen to turn up here is beyond me" Sherlock snapped, using his fingers to comb his hair back into place. "Are you all really that incompetent?"

"Calm down, brother mine" Mycroft rolled his eyes, heading straight for the sofa on the far side of the room. "We are only here because you decided to take a walk earlier today"

"That was literally not even half an hour ago" John frowned. "How on earth have you managed to pick on that and get here in that time?"

"Look, lads, I'm sorry but your vacation time of well - 12 years, may have to come to an end already"

"He only walked back into my life yesterday and you're already telling me that this little break is over?" John argued.

"It turns out that people had noticed Sherlock a few months back, not just today, a few people that you most definitely would not want to know" Greg explained "turns out that even a twelve year break can't discourage the enemies you've made, Sherlock"

"They can try all they like to provoke me, but I stand by what I said. I'm done" Sherlock stated calmly, taking back his seat. "So if you would all kindly go away, that would be most appreciated"

"You have made many enemies in your time Sherlock, you surely cannot believe that you can just walk away and it will all be solved"

"Yes, I do. Go away"

"His name is Craig Moriarty"

The name sent shivers down the spines of everyone in that room, Moriarty was a name that most definitely hadn't been mentioned in all that time. It was like a wave of fear had affected them all, but most of all, John, his eyes were wide, his confusion obvious but nonetheless, he turned to Sherlock for an answer but it was clear not even he, knew what was happening.

"Who on earth is Craig Moriarty?" John asked, faltering the silence.

"Well, Doctor Watson, it would happen that Jim wasn't the only Moriarty, in fact, not the only psychopath born to that family. His brother, Craig, is someone I've had a deal of run-in's with. An extremely evil individual, much like our beloved villain."

"Right, so what has he got to do with Sherlock?"

"It would seem that Jim's last wish to his brother was that he destroy Sherlock if he hadn't done so already and now he is back, it is only a matter of time before the game begins"

"I want no part of it" Sherlock intervened "arrest him, for heavens sake. Stop allowing people to test me to my limits and allow me to run around London after some psychopath and actually do your jobs. You've been doing so for years, you don't need me now"

"We needed you with Moriarty, we need you now" Greg stated.

"No, my answer is no. I'm not doing it, that is the end of discussion"

"What exactly are his plans?" John asked, ignoring Sherlock as ever, practically excluding him from the conversation.

"The letter itself from Moriarty only had the words 'end Sherlock' so as you can imagine, it's rather self explanatory"

"So, he either wants to kill Sherlock or make him kill himself? Like Moriarty did?"

"Yes" Mycroft nodded "and as much as I would like to listen to my dear brothers temper tantrum, I'm afraid that we must enlist both of your help. This isn't just a police case, this is a threat against Sherlock's life and the only two men who can fix that, is you two"

"I-" John began but was interrupted as Sherlock finally spoke again.

"John has a daughter, he has been out of this now for years, he does not need to be put in danger purely because you cannot handle a situation yourselves. And I, will once again tell you, I am not inclined to your pathetic case or this pathetic character. It is boring. We have done this once before and I refuse to do it all over again"

"- now please, for the last time, get out!"

"You're going to have to deal with this sooner or later, Sherlock. The game will begin soon and you will have to react, its in your nature. I agreed to allow you back into London to see Mr Watson but I didn't say you wouldn't deal with consequences of your return"

"Mycroft, get out" John rolled his eyes, lifting an arm to point towards the door "you're not convincing him anymore than you have already tried. Just get out"

"Very well, but when he does come to his senses please do call me, Mr Watson"

"Get out" John repeated, watching as he stood up and nodded a good-bye.

They watched and waited until the three of them had left the room, closing the door behind them. Soon, John turned to Sherlock, he had finally seen the side to Sherlock he knew so well, the stubborn, selfish, egotistic, arse hole that he liked so dearly.

"You're seriously just going to sit around and do nothing about this?"

"Oh, John. Not you too. Please, save me the headache"

"No, I meant about the fact you just nearly let me kiss you again"

Sherlock looked up at that point, his breath hitched as he looked at John, he spoke so casually as though this was completely normal for the two of them. Usually he would find this sort of conversation and these actions nothing but an inconvenience but for some reason the words leaving from John's mouth affected him much more than he had hoped.

"You're just going to sit there? This sort of thing only happens once in a lifetime Sherlock, the offer still stands" John pushed, he hated it when John acted with dominance it made him feel so small, yet, deep down, he loved it.

And Sherlock had decided that enough was enough, he reached his arm out, his hand out towards John to take ahold of, he watched his eyes take in the situation before he finally, cautiously, placed his hand in his. It took only a few seconds for Sherlock to pull John onto his lap, he could feel John's thick thighs around his legs and he was certain that this was an undiscovered feeling, no-one would possibly understand the feeling of sensation that burst through his body at that moment.

His hands moved before his mind could process, they gripped onto John's thigh in a tight hold, he could feel John's smaller frame jump only slightly as it sat against him. This was definitely his medication, to feel John's body so close to him, it was like a sweet serenity, if only he had discovered this all these years ago when he had been stressed - noted.

"What are you waiting for?" John asks, his eyelashes hitting the edge of his cheek and - shit, Sherlock was mesmerised by how innocent he suddenly looked.

"Very well" Sherlock stated with an inhale of breath, his lips once again finding John's this time moulding so effortlessly together it was like absolute perfection.

"Fuck" John mumbled against his lips, his hands found Sherlock's hair, clenching onto the curly strands of sweet auburn as the light hit it from the window behind them.

Sherlock wasn't aware that John's use of profanity in this situation could affect him so largely, he was still trying to take it all in, the little pinches of the skin on his thigh that would cause him to let out a small moan against his lips, the way his body would jerk when his hands would become a little too close. He was noting it all down, making sure to remember what John liked.

John's hands stayed out, pulling on the lose strands whereas his lips began to move down the rough of Sherlock's unshaven stubble, below his chin and down his neck, his teeth nipping on the skin under his ear. And John could physically feel Sherlock growing harder beneath him, he might (or absolutely did) have moved so his arse was now sat directly on top of it, he also may (definitely) have began to lift his hips ever so slightly with every kiss and bite just to feel Sherlock's body move with frustration beneath him. He was enjoying this.

Whereas, Sherlock was experiencing everything all at once, he didn't know what it would feel like to be doing this with John Watson, his best friend. He had thought about it, of course he had, who wouldn't? He had found himself pondering over John's arse on more than one occasion, practically examining it to the last detail, yet, he was still unaware how he had managed to be blessed with such a thick and beautiful arse.

"What do you want to do?" John whispered into Sherlock's ear, his hot breath sending a cold shiver through his body.

"I-" Sherlock began, not entirely sure what he wanted to say, quite luckily, John interrupted.

"Do you want me to suck your dick?"

"Jesus John, talk about blunt"

"I mean, if you don't want me to" John said, lifting his head up, batting his eyelashes so sweetly. And if Sherlock wasn't sure about this before, he was certain of it now. "Do you want me to suck your dick, Sherlock?"

"Yes, yes, please. I'm afraid you should, yes" were the words that escaped his lips.

And John grinned at that, an evil yet satisfied smile that Sherlock couldn't even bare to make a comment about. Instead, he watched as John slid down slightly, his hands at work to undo his belt, soon his button and then his zip and as he practically yanked at the material, he had never thought this was a sight he would see.

John pulled Sherlock's jeans down to his knees and then, teasingly and painfully slow he pulled his boxers down to match. He bowed down slightly, taking Sherlock's cock into his hand, watching as Sherlock's head flung back and his eyes closed, he honestly could have came at the sight. Watching The Sherlock Holmes come undone in front of him, what a sight.

Chapter Text

"So..."

John and Sherlock were now fully dressed, well, partially. Sherlock's shirt was missing a few buttons and his hair was everywhere, but dressed enough they were. They had a tea each, both sipping it slowly as they tried to contemplate how exactly they had gone from seeing each other for the first time in twelve years to John being on his knees for him a day later. They knew they were both unpredictable at the best of times but this, was something else.

"Thank you" Sherlock choked out, his eyes never quite reaching John's.

"For what?" He asked, knowing fine well, just finding it utterly amusing to see him suffer.

"For... what you did"

"You mean, for sucking your dick?" John asked blatantly, he choked out a laugh as he watched Sherlock halt, his tea spilling slightly onto his lap. "I'm kidding, it's fine, you don't need to bloody thank me. Although, we do need to speak about what just happened"

"Indeed"

"So? That's why you came back? Because you like me? Or?"

"I- I can't exactly put into words how I feel for you, however I can confirm it is something along those lines" Sherlock nodded, his eyes finally flickering up to meet John's.

"I see" John said, although he wasn't entirely sure. He was still baffled "if you did like me, why did you not act sooner?"

"I was going to. When I returned the last time, I came back to tell you how I felt but when I got there you were with Mary and I couldn't allow myself to jeopardise that, not at all"

"Bloody hell, Sherlock. How long has this been going on? You know, you liking me and all?" He asked, placing his tea onto the coffee table and inching closer slightly.

"I suppose I may have realised that I was feeling some sort of strange and unwanted human emotion six months after we met, however I did not know what it was nor did I explore it. It wasn't until I realised I had to fake my own death that I may have began to explore it and realise what it really was" Sherlock explained, cautiously, his voice much more fragile.

"All that time?" John asked, his voice full of sympathy.

"Yes, I believe so"

"Jesus, I don't even know what to say Sherlock"

"You don't have to, not for now, at least. I feel as though we've had enough excitement for one day, don't you?"

"You could say that"

---

They didn't speak about it again after that, instead they sat and spoke, Sherlock listened once again, taking in all the adventures and the memories that he had missed whilst being away and John was in awe of this man. Although he was still Sherlock Holmes and yes, he was still a high-functioning sociopath, he could see the change in him already, as if, allowing his feelings to escape only a little bit was enough for him to let down a break from that wall of his that he keeps so guarded.

John was at home, the TV playing in the background, his daughter going on and on about her day and yet, all that was on his mind was the memory of Sherlock from earlier this day. Maybe he did love Sherlock? More than just as his best friend, more than he ever knew was possible. But was that even possible?

"So, when can I meet him?" That's the question that finally caught his attention, he turned his head to look at Rosie who was sat excitedly in her seat awaiting her answer and he couldn't quite fathom out what she was going on about.

"Meet who?" He asked.

"Sherlock Holmes, for god sake dad, keep up. Were you even listening to me?"

"Oh" he nodded, his eyes furrowing as he tried to come up with an answer. Did he really want her to meet him so soon? He was after all, her Godfather. "Are you really that desperate?"

"You mean, to meet the man who has solved hundreds upon hundreds of crimes? The man who can tell you your life story just from looking at you? And the man who was my dads best and most dearest friend for so long? What do you think?"

"Okay, you've made your point. I don't know Rosie, I want you to meet him it's just-" he halted, feeling his phone vibrate against his leg. He sighed, attempting to get his phone from his pocket as he carried on "I'm not sure if now is the right time"

"Jesus Christ dad, you have to let me meet him eventually I mean come on-" she began to ramble again, this time John zoned out, he slid his phone open and smiled slightly as he began to read the text displayed on his screen.

I find that texting you is much easier than having to engage in a conversation, isn't that strange? So odd how the human brain works. I will explore this later on. However, I was texting you to say thank you for coming today. Also, thank you for as you say 'sucking my dick' and thank you for allowing me not to look like an idiot whilst expressing how I felt. SH.

He glanced up quickly to make sure Rosie hadn't seen the text, the last thing he'd need was for her to see what her beloved father had done today to his best friend. He was lucky, she was still rambling on. He took the chance to quickly text back, nodding every now and then so she would believe he was listening.

You're back to signing your texts off? That didn't last long mate. Stop thanking me, you moron. It's always a pleasure to be with you. For the record, my feelings for you may in fact be the same as what you feel for me. But I'm working on that. Thought you should know :-) Oh, Rosie is currently badgering my ear off about meeting you.

He pressed send, chiming back into what she was saying as her speech came to and end.

"So, how's that friend of yours?" He asked, knowing that would bind him so time as she began to badger on about her fake friends.

His phone chimed instantly as she began to rant away.

Sorry, noted again. Force of habit. I'll ignore your use of symbols as faces purely because of what you said. And if what you said is true, I am delighted to hear that. The feeling is mutual, it's always you John Watson, you keep me right. Oh and I'd be more than honoured to meet her when you are ready to do so.

He pondered over the text, flickering his eyes from the phone and then to Rosie before letting out a deep sigh.

"Okay" He interrupted her "You want to meet Sherlock?"

"More than anything" She nodded eagerly, inching closer in her chair with a wide smile across her face as though Christmas was coming. Oh how naive she was.

"If you want we could pop to Baker Street tomorrow? We could meet up with him, have a cup of tea and then you can stop badgering on at me about meeting him" He reluctantly spoke.

"Really?" She nearly squealed "oh my god, yes, thank you dad! I've got to text the girls, they're all going to be so jealous"

And with that, she jumped up from her seat on the sofa and practically fled from the living room, her exciting squeals still heard as she ran up the stairs with her phone in hand.

He laughed lightly to himself, turning his attention back to his thumbs as they began a reply.

Are you busy tomorrow?

Reply was instant.

Not at all.

He smiled to himself.

Great. Can Rosie and I visit you tomorrow? Say around 1pm? :-)

Of course, yes, absolutely! I would love it. SH.

Really? Great. I'll see you tomorrow afternoon then. And remember, my daughter will be there so no funny business!! X

Me? Funny business? Never. I look forward to seeing you both, Doctor Watson. X 

Chapter Text

John barely drove, except the past three days, it's the first few times in months that he's needed to drive anywhere. The Doctors office was only a 5 minute walk from his house, Rosie took the bus to school and if they were going anywhere they would usually grab a taxi or ride the tube. But today, he had Rosie in the car with him and they were taking the twenty minute drive into London. To say he was nervous was an understatement, he didn't know what to expect.

Was Rosie going to get too excited? Was Sherlock going to get annoyed? Was he going to be rude? Would he try and impress her? Will they get along? Constant questions swirling round his head, it was enough to drive him insane.

"How long now?" Rosie asked through a sigh, leaning her head back on the chair.

"We're literally five minutes away"

"It's taking forever"

"We've been in the car fifteen minutes, Rosie. Don't be over dramatic" John rolled his eyes, attempting to keep his attention on the busy London traffic.

"So, why did you move out of central London? I thought you loved it?"

"I used to" He shrugged "I don't really know, I was fed up of waiting for Sherlock to come back and eventually thought that leaving would make it easier. At least then I wouldn't be reminded of him everywhere I went"

"Should have stayed. I prefer it"

"Yes, well, you would"

"Is he as arrogant as you wrote? You always went on about his... bad way with people?"

"Bad way with people?" He laughed lightly "You see, Sherlock has an incredible mind. I've known him for a very long time, I lived with him and spent nearly all my time with him so I've learnt how to deal with it - you may get a little over whelmed by him but just remember that he doesn't know what he's doing half the time"

"What do you mean?"

"Yes, he's a very intelligent man. But he's not great at people, people he doesn't know"

"And he doesn't know me. So I should be cautious?" She questioned, John noticed her voice gently lowering as though she was worried.

"No, god no. If he starts acting like an idiot, just tell him to shut up. He'll listen, I promise"

"What if he doesn't like me? I'm his Goddaughter so he has to like me, right?"

"Stop worrying, darling. He'll love you"

"I bloody hope so"

They parked up outside, John's usual space. They stepped out together, John guiding Rosie round towards the door with an arm around her waist, a comforting smile on his face as he tried to keep her calm. He knew she was a mix of both excitement and worry and he hated seeing her worry - she really shouldn't be worried when meeting her god parent.

"Do we knock?" Rosie asked as her dad walked ahead of her with his hand already gripped on the door handle.

"No, it's never bloody locked. It's my home too, Rosie" He laughed lightly, pushing the door open wide and standing to the side to let her in.

"Can you believe I'm actually in 221B? This is crazy, my friends are all going to be so Jel"

"Yes, so Jel" John mimicked, stepping in the door and closing it behind him. He shuffled his jacket from his arms, placing it on the rack beside the door as though he was walking back into his own home. He stepped in front of Rosie who was still gawking around in the hallway "Mrs H, are you here?"

"Yes, one second dear, bloody kettles not working again" She shouted from behind her own door.

Rosie stepped forward, leaning against her dads arm and whispered "is that Mrs Hudson?"

"Yes" He nodded, attempting not to laugh at the ridiculous excitement. Nobody should be this excited meeting an ex drug lords wife and a sociopath who solves crimes to get high.

It sounds so much worse when he thinks of it like that, Best dad award.

The door swung open and he was met with Mrs Hudson who was covered with a big smile as she caught eyes with Rosie who was standing just behind John, looking up at the hat sat on the rack collecting dust.

"Oh my, is that... no! Surely not" Mrs H spoke, her voice stuttered slightly as she gathered her emotions up "I can't believe it"

"Rosie" John said, putting an arm around her waist and bringing her forward "This is Mrs Hudson, you actually know her, she baby sat you a hell of a lot"

"Oh look at you! You've got your mothers eyes, hasn't she John? Spitting image of our Mary"

"Of course, you knew my mum too!" Rosie spoke excitedly, stepping away from her dad as Mrs H brought her in for a tight hug, wrapping her arms so tightly around her shoulders.

"I did, sweetheart" Mrs Hudson nodded, pulling back slightly with her hands still on Rosie's shoulders "I remember when you were born, John and Sherlock had just got back from a case and your mum had rang John 54 bloody times. I think she scarred Sherlock for life"

"I read about that in Dad's blog" Rosie smiled politely "I've read all about you, Sherlock, Greg Lestrade and Molly hooper, I think?"

"Oh yes! Molly pops round every now and then, you'll love her too. Very good friends with your dad here"

"There was another Holmes, right?" Rosie asked, attempting to remember but from the frown on her face it was clearly not working.

"Yeah, that's Mycroft" John piped up, he had been leaning against the wall just admiring the scene in front of him. Feeling slightly terrible for depriving his daughter of the relationships she could have formed with these people who meant so much to him.

"- Mycroft is Sherlock's brother. He's - well, if you think Sherlock is bad then when you meet Mycroft you're in for a real shock"

"Yes that's the one! What a god awful name"

"He's an idiot" Mrs H spoke, dropping her arms to her side.

"We're all very aware that you don't like him" John laughed, pushing himself off the wall "Okay, let's not keep Sherlock waiting. He'll end up shooting your poor wall again"

"Oh god, yes, please don't let him wait"

"You can join us, if you like?" John offered as he head towards the stairs with Rosie behind him.

"No, no, it's okay dear. It's a special moment for you and Sherlock, Rosie will want to meet the man who stole her dads heart"

Rosie laughed at that, covering her mouth in an attempt to stifle it in.

"Mrs H, for the last time, he is not my bloody boyfriend!" John sighed, heading up the stairs.

"He always says that, don't believe him" Mrs H winked at Rosie before she turned around and head back into her kitchen.

Rosie smiled, following her dad up the famous stairs that he had written about so often, admiring the holes along the wall, the scuffs on the stair case and finding comfort in the fact this was where her dad was happiest.

"You ready?" John asked, turning round with a soft smile as they reached the door.

"Yeah, yeah, sure" She nodded.

John took a deep breath, his hand on the handle "Sherlock, we're here" he pushed the door open and stepped in, noting how much fresher it smelt, as though he had just sprayed air freshener at that very moment before he walked in. He gazed up, looking at Sherlock who was sat in his chair, his fingers twiddling on his lap as he looked at John with a look that could only be described as worry.

"You okay?" John asked softly.

"Yes, yes, fine" Sherlock nodded, although it was clear he was nervous and that was something he had never seen before.

John nodded, turning to Rosie who was still stood, slightly hiding behind him.

"Are you okay?" He repeated, this time to Rosie who nodded with a soft smile. "You two are as bad as each other, Jesus, why on earth would you be nervous? Get in here"

Rosie sighed, stepping forward slightly so she was in Sherlock's view and her mouth opened wide as she gawked at him like he was some celebrity she had been obsessed with that week. John had never seen her so star-struck.

"Sherlock, get up, for goodness sake"

He did as he was told, instantly. He got to his feet, taking a deep breath as he buttoned his suit jacket up. He looked at John and then Rosie, forcing a smile on his face.

John looked between the both of them, hoping that at least one of them would say something, anything in fact. He could even be happy with Sherlock making a sarcastic comment about how she's already taller than him. But, what happened next wasn't what he was expecting.

Sherlock took only a few steps forward before Rosie launched into him, wrapping her arms around his waist and resting her cheek on his chest. John physically stepped back, a gasp escaping his lips as he watched. Sherlock stood still for a slight second, trying to understand what was happening, John expected him to push her off or even ask her politely to move but instead Sherlock simply returned the favour.

He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close, a small smile on his lips as he held her. And John could feel his eyes welling up, he had no idea what would happen today but to see this picture in front of him warmed his heart. This one moment proved how much they had missed out on whilst Sherlock was away, they could have been so close - best friends, even.

They're both as witty, sarcastic and irritating as each other.

"Thank you" Rosie whispered just loud enough so that John could hear too, still gripping onto Sherlock.

"Oh, what for?" Sherlock asked, not daring to move his arms just yet.

"You looked after my dad, after he lost mum. I know you tried to help and I know he loves you, you make him happy and I'm so glad you're back he's been so happy since you came back, it's like he's finally at peace"

"Oh" Sherlock spoke softly, his eyes gazing up to look at John who was still stood gawking at the scene in front of him "you're welcome"

It took only a few minutes for Rosie to finally release her Godfather from her grips and soon they were all sat around together near the fire place with a nicely made cup of tea curtesy of Mrs Hudson, it didn't take long for Rosie to start piling a tonne of questions at Sherlock.

"Your father was an idiot, to say the least. He was absolutely incapable of concluding a detailed deduction, he would come up with the most ridiculous answers. He even doubted me for a while, can you believe it?"

"Wait, dad didn't believe you?" She turned to John with a face of disgust "what is wrong with you?"

"It was a very difficult time" he attempted to defend himself, turning to Sherlock with a look, the look, in fact.

"Yes, very well, fair point" Sherlock quickly corrected himself "he soon believed me"

"Still, I agree, he is sometimes an idiot"

"At least someone else agrees" Sherlock smiled behind his mug, glancing at John.

"Okay, I didn't introduce you two so you could call me names" John huffed, crossing his arms over his chest.

"Yes you did" Mrs Hudson stated as she walked into the room with another tray of tea. "She was bound to be a little like Sherlock, after all, she was with him during her first months"

"And she picked up on that, that quickly?"

"Probably" Mrs Hudson shrugged, placing the tray onto the coffee table and turning to Rosie "I'm actually about to pop into town to meet Molly for some lunch, would you like to come with me?"

"Yes, yes, god yes, please" She quickly answered, standing up instantly and turning to her dad "can I go? Please, please, please"

"Really?" John laughed, looking at Mrs Hudson who had a permanent smile across her face "Sure, yeah, why not. Send Molly our love"

"When you say our, you mean you and Sherlock? Wow, Mrs Hudson you're right. They are secretly in love" Rosie giggled, grabbing her jacket from the back of her chair.

"Do not contaminate my daughter with your delusions, Mrs Hudson" John warned.

Rosie leant over, kissing her dad on the cheek before she followed Mrs Hudson out of the flat whilst asking if she really did used to be married to a drug cartel leader.

"Jesus, what have I brought her into?" John half sighed, half laughed as he leant back on his chair and rubbed his eyes "she's going to go home later thinking my friends are all psycho's"

"We are, John" Sherlock frowned. "I thought that was obvious?"

"Oh, shut up you! I can't believe how quickly you two bonded, she was so bloody nervous on the way here that you wouldn't like her"

"She's lovely. She's very much like Mary"

"You think?" John smiled.

"Yes, she's already taller than you" Sherlock smirked.

"You bastard"

 

Chapter Text

"And then, I told them about how Sherlock had shot loads of holes in the wall and they asked if you let me hold the gun so I told them you did" 

"you bloody what?" John asked, his eyes wide as he leant against the kitchen counter with his phone to his ear "Jesus, are you trying to get social services involved? Don't tell people that, Rosie" 

"sorry, I got over excited. Anyway, all of my friends are so jealous. My maths teacher spent the whole hour just asking me questions about you both, she was a huge fan during the Johnlock era" 

"The what?" 

"Johnlock, it's yours and Sherlock's names. It's called a ship, dad. I swear, sometimes it's as though you're in the Stone Age" 

"oh do forgive me" John spoke, flurried with saracasm "so, was there a point to you calling me or were you just in dire need to attack me with your verbal diarrhoea?" 

"Oh, I wanted to know whether I'm getting the bus home after school or getting a taxi to Baker Street?" 

"Home, of course" 

"but, why? You're there now, it would make better sense if I just came there and me, you and Sherlock could have dinner together" 

"No, Rosie. I know you're excited and all but just because you've met him once doesn't mean you can suddenly pop in and out as you please. I've already told you he's a private man, he doesn't enjoy lots of company all the time" 

"So, why does he have you round all the time then?" She challenged. 

"Because - well, I'm his best friend, it's different. It took him a long time to settle with me, you have to remember that" John tried to explain, poorly. 

"Or because he's in love with you, that's what Mrs Hudson said any-" 

"okay, you've been talking to Mrs H too much. Stop with all of this. Look, I'm here to visit Sherlock so I'll speak to you later on at home and please, for the love of god, do not call me again" 

"you're such a spoil sport" 

"Goodbye, Rosie" John ended the call as he saw Sherlock emerge into the kitchen.

He sighed, placing his phone onto the counter behind him and lifted his hands to rub his eyes. Rosie had been none stop since she had met sherlock, assuming she was some sort of royalty because he was her Godfather. He was stressed, to say the least. 

"How is she?" Sherlock asked, his eyes focused on the kitchen table as he sat a few feet from John. 

"Fine, she's just, you know" He shrugged, gripping onto the side "she's bragging to all of her friends how The Sherlock Holmes is her Godfather, you know?" 

"Do other teenagers even care? I would assume that our past is well, the past, by now. I'm surprised they even bother" 

"Yes well, you're famous, still" 

"We, John. We were famous, partially, barely in fact. But I suppose we once were" Sherlock smiled softly, his eyes finally flickering up to look at John. 

"So, are we going to talk about the other day?"

"Ah. I should have known this would be a topic of conversation, shouldn't I? How did I not deduce this?" 

"Because you're an idiot, deep down" John teased "but, I'm serious. Two best mates don't just do what we did" 

"I'm sure we've already spoken about this. You are fully aware of how I feel about you, John Watson" 

"Are you certain? As I'm not too sure" 

Sherlock sighed, his shoulders slumping, he most definitely hated this sort of interaction "John, I care for you very much. And I enjoyed what happened the other day, very much. And I hope, you feel the same" 

"is that what you're worried about? That I didn't enjoy it? Bloody hell, Sherlock. If I didn't enjoy it I wouldn't have dropped to my knees for you within minutes of being alone" 

"Right" Sherlock said, his cheeks gleaming a crimson red at the thought "I see. So, what I deduced was correct? The feelings are in fact mutual?" 

"Yes, fuck. Well, I think so" John nodded "But, it's so much more difficult now. We can't just mess about and hope for the best - we have been friends for so bloody long that even attempting this could ruin it. And we're not even putting Rosie into this situation, she'll be the first person to blurt out that her dad is sleeping with Sherlock Holmes" 

"- as much as she already adores you, I think that maybe her dad going from straight, once married to a woman to suddenly with a man will be confusing in some way or another" 

"I think you underestimate the younger generation, John. If anything, she would likely be more accepting" 

"You say that now - but, what if she thinks I'm replacing her mother? I would hate for her to think that" 

"her mother, you mean, Mary? Who was so bewildered that you both got married in the first place because she was certain you and I were going to elope the night before the wedding?"

"how can you be so casual about this? You, out of all people. You told me countless times that love was tedious and relationships were pointless and unnecessary distractions" 

"I suppose that was because I believed it to be true. John, you have to understand something" Sherlock began, standing to his feet now only a mere few inches from John "- I was a stupid, ignorant and pathetic man. I once believed no one had any right to be around me because I was too brilliant. It was you who brought me to life" 

"- before you, I didn't just believe that love was idiotic, I thought friends were too. But you managed to teach me that both were neither as bad as I believed, I found a friend in you first and then somehow without you even realising you taught me that love was also an option that I didn't hate entirely. I had never in my life even thought about relationships or anything of the sort, until you"

"how can you be so sure?" John asked, his voice appearing as nothing but a faint whisper, all that was needed from the proximity between the two "- Sherlock, you've never been with anyone else. How do you know that this isn't just a fling? Something in your head that's telling you that it's right? You'll get bored, you'll move on and find a new experiment" 

"that's not true and you know it" 

"I can't afford to do this unless you're serious, I have a daughter and a life to consider" John closed his eyes, trying to escape his thoughts as they repeated 'bad idea' over and over. "I never know if I'm safe with you, sherlock. I need to know that I will be" 

"Do you trust me?" Sherlock asked, his hands pushing past John's waist until they reached around his back and pulled him close. 

John took a deep breath, lowering his head to look at the ground. His chest was heaving, he had never felt such a rush before. 

"John, do you trust me? Answer me" 

"Of course I trust you, you're the only person I'd ever trust with my life" John answered, lifting his head slightly. 

"Then why would you be concerned for your safety? I always put you first, always

"because you leave, Sherlock. That's what you do best. You have this habit of deciding what's best for us before even consulting me and that usually ends with you leaving me and if this, us" he says gesturing between the two of them "is going to be a thing, then I don't think I can bare to lose you - not again" 

"I can promise you, John, I am not going anywhere. I'm here, I'm staying. You can trust me. If I have you, then I would never be able to bare even a day without" 

"who would have thought there was a heart in that sociopathic body of yours?" John asked, a light chuckle escaping his laugh, mainly from nerves.

"Only for you" 

"We take this slow" John confirmed, nodding his head mainly to himself as he processed it "what happened the other day was far too quick. From now on, if you want this, you need to prove to me that you do. This isn't just an experiment Sherlock Holmes, this is our life and our future together. If you want me and I mean truly want me, then you have to work for it" 

"Work for it?" Sherlock tilted his head. 

"You have a new case, Sherlock Holmes" John smirked to himself slyly, pushing him away just enough for him to escape his grip as he head towards the living room. 

He turned, leaning against the kitchen door, a smug look still spread across his lips. 

"The game is on" 

Chapter Text


John was in his office when the game had finally begun. 

After John had left Sherlock's the night before, he has received not a single text. He maybe assumed that his proposition of him fighting and working for John was something that Sherlock could simply not handle and had most likely turned to drugs or a plane journey to get away from the situation. Or - john was just over reacting, as always. 

"Honestly, Mr Trainer, I would not be worried. You have slightly shafting between your thighs, you're not going to die" John  explained, his eyes flickering between the clock and his irritating patient 

"so, just apply the cream?" 

"Yes, that's literally all you have to do. There's no need to worry that your limbs will be falling off" 

"Got you, right, thank you Dr Watson, let's hope this cream works. My thighs are burning" He laughed, although John couldn't find it in him to even pretend to humour him. He just smiled, extending his arm in the direction of the door. 

As soon as he had left, he dropped his head onto the table with a sigh. He had been here for five hours now and every patient he had was beyond tedious - stupid reasons to visit a doctor. Or maybe, after reuniting with sherlock his job seemed nothing more than boring

He could leave, right now and go home and put his feet up with a grand cup of tea but he still had to scrape by just one more hour before he was free. 

He pulled his phone from his pocket, hoping to see Sherlock's name however once again it was filled with nothing more than multiple texts from Rosie complaining about her day.

He reluctantly lifted his head and reached out, pressing the number 3 on his phone to reach reception "Send in the next one, lucy" 

"He's on his way in now, Dr Watson" 

"A man" He said to himself, already collecting ideas at what this one could be. Maybe a cold and believing they were dying because their temperature was simply 1 point to high? 

He sat back in his chair, looking up at the door as the handle budged. He rubbed his eyes with his hands as it opened, turning his back to the computer to collect their notes. 

"Good Afternoon, bare with me a minute I'm just getting your notes up so I can see how I can help you today" He said, absentmindedly waving towards the chair for them to sit. 

"I don't think I'll be there, John" 

"oh" John mouthed, a slight smile appearing on his lips as he turned round in his chair. "What the bloody hell are you doing here?" 

"The game is on, John Watson" Sherlock spoke softly, a slight smile on his lips as he revealed his hands that were holding a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of Jack Daniels "I was unsure of what gifts men liked to receive from their potential lovers, I bought the flowers because they seem to be the common thing to buy but the Jack Daniels was purely bought to make this gift seem more, well, manly" 

"Wow" John laughed, smiling up at Sherlock who looked so uncomfortable in the situation. Never did he believe he would see the day Sherlock Holmes would surprise him at work with flowers and alcohol. 

"Of course, if you don't like them I can return them immediately and replace them with whatever your heart desires. I just-" 

"Shut up" John interrupted, still smiling as he stood up and walked towards him, wrapping his arms around his waist "They're perfect" 

"so, stage one of winning you over is a success? Yes?" Sherlock asked. 

John couldn't respond with words, he just held onto him tightly, leaning his head against his chest "Yes" he choked out. 

Who knew this was going to be so fun? 

"I have arranged for yourself and I to go to a party this evening" 

"A what?" John frowned, taking the flowers and bottle from Sherlock and placing them onto his desk "when on earth have you ever wanted to attend a party?" 

"Never. But apparently that's what couples do"

"We're not a couple Sherlock" 

"No, yes, but no. It's not a real party as such, we will be going to Lestrades house, Molly, Mrs Hudson and Mycroft will also be attending. He has just moved and is having a home warming party, I think that's what they call it?" 

"We're attending a home warming party? Together?" John attempted not to laugh, this was too much. 

"Yes, we are. Now make sure you dress smart, I'm fed up of seeing you dress like a dad" 

"I am a dad" John challenged. 

Sherlock rolled his eyes, heading towards the door, already leaving after such a gesture. 

"Yes, well, not all dads are as hot as you" 

And Sherlock left, leaving John gobsmacked, his mouth wide as the door closed behind him. 

Sherlock Holmes just called him hot, that is a thing now, apparently. 

"That's going to get some getting used to" 

Within two seconds of John sitting down, his phone vibrated where it lay on his desk. He peered over looking at the text. 

Yes, I did just call you hot. People do that. I'm now one of those people. Wear a shirt, you look hot in a shirt. SH. X 

John laughed, literally, laughed out loud. This side of Sherlock was going to be much more fun that he thought. 

You know, if you use the word hot too much it soon won't have meaning. - I'll wear a shirt. But what about Rosie? Is she coming or? X

Reply was within seconds. 

Yes, well, you are hot. Rosie is coming, she is going to see Mrs Hudson after school for what she said was a 'girls shopping spree' she will be attending with her. I'll pick you up at 7. Be ready.

---

 

It was quarter to seven and John was partially ready, well, he was dressed (in a shirt, upon request) and his hair was done and he had to give himself props. He looked alright. 

But he was nervous, bloody nervous and he had no idea why. It was like he was a teenager again about to go on his first ever date, it practically was, had hadn't been with anyone since Mary and had never had the urge to try with anyone else - so really, this was his first date all over again. 

He was in his kitchen, leaning against the kitchen counter reading the texts he had revived from Rosie whilst getting ready. 

Mrs H bought me a whole new outfit!!!! She's officially my best friend 4 life no joke xxxxx

Are you coming with sherlock?? :) 

Did Sherlock really buy u flowers LOL and u said u two weren't in love, ok dad xxxxx

He rolled his eyes, ignoring every one, noticing how he thought that if Sherlock could see his daughters texting skills how distraught he would be. He placed his phone in his pocket, reaching for his aftershave to spray just a few more times - not like he hadn't sprayed it at least 100 times already - he peered up at the clock again, nervous. 

And he watched the clock until it struck seven and on cue, the door knocked. He was quick to shove his wallet into his back pocket and practically skip to the door, only halting to wonder how on earth Sherlock knew where he lived. 

He yanked the door open, faced with a smiling and casual looking sherlock. John's eyes scanned over his appearance, noting his curls that were slightly less fluffy today, in fact they falling slightly along his forehead. He looked younger. He was dressed in a black t shirt with a large Burberry scarf wrapped around his neck - where the bloody hell was his shirt? - who cared, he was wearing the tight jeans he had been wearing when John finally saw him again. And 'wow' John thought. He was a god. 

"You look handsome" John blurted out, still scanning over his appearance "Who knew you could look so good whilst dressing casually?" 

"I, well, Mrs Hudson said I needed to start dressing slightly casual. Said I'm getting too old to be wearing suits all the time and it would show my age and well, yes, I'm dressed like this" He shrugged, his hands twiddling behind his back "however, my suggestion on the shirt is highly recognised. You look wonderful" 

"Thanks mate" John laughed, still finding the compliment side of their 'friendship' kind of awkward "Shall we?" 

Sherlock nodded, taking a few steps out of the door for John to step out. He locked the door and they both head for the taxi that Sherlock had came in, sitting closely together in the backseat. 

Their thighs were touching, John's legs close enough to practically drape over Sherlock's. Probably because of how amazed he was over Sherlock's thighs in those jeans. He tried to act as platonically as possible, which was near impossible. They sat closely, no words spoken as they head to Lestrades, that was until half way through the journey. 

Sherlock confidently reached out, grabbing John's hand in his own and laced their fingers together, wresting their hands on his lap. John didn't say anything, he simply looked up at him, Sherlock didn't even blink, he kept his eyes focused on the drivers head in front of him. And John simply smiled, looking down at their hands and stayed like that the rest of the way. 

"This is it" Sherlock told the driver, using his free hand to leave a £20 note in the dash. He opened the door with the same hand, keeping his and John's hands still locked as he helped him out of the taxi, closing the door behind him. 

Their hands stayed locked together as they walked side by side to the rather, large house in the middle of bloody no where. They approached the door and Sherlock lifted his free hand to knock on the door. 

"Maybe we shouldn't walk in holding hands" John slowly said "it's just, Rosie doesn't know that we're trying this" 

"Doesn't she?" Sherlock asked, his eyes furrowed "she told me which flowers to buy" 

"Wait, what?" 

"It was her idea" He shrugged, releasing John's hands from his own "but, very well" 

He reached his hand up to knock once again, however was interrupted as the door swung open in front of them. 

"Lads!' Greg grinned from ear to ear, standing back slightly to let them through the door "Welcome to my humble abode!" 

"Thanks for having us" John spoke, stepping in first and gathering Greg into a hug. 

"Long time no see mate, I'm glad you're here" Greg said, smiling as he released him. 

He turned to Sherlock, his arms open wide and John could have laughed as Sherlock rolled his eyes and yet, still allowed Greg to hug him much to his distraught. 

"I knew you were a softie" Greg laughed loudly, reaching up to ruffle Sherlock's unruly locks "C'mon lads, everyone's in the kitchen" 

Greg waltzed off ahead of them and John and Sherlock turned to look at each other, both shrugging their shoulders. 

"Remember, this was your idea" John whispered as he and Sherlock walked towards the room with the most noise. 

"Very true" Sherlock nodded "My bad" 

They walked side by side into the large kitchen diner, all eyes suddenly turning to stare at the boys - some familiar and some not so, some whispering between one another as they realised who they were and others, mainly their friends, looking none to bothered at all. 

"Everyone, this is Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, Scotland Yards most famous idiots" Greg introduced, taking a gulp of his beer and turning back to the others in the room. 

"Dad!" Rosie shouted, pushing through to get to him. "You're finally here. I've heard some great stories about the two of you" 

"Oh dear, maybe you being here wasn't such a good idea" 

"Oh John, she's allowed to hear about how her dad and his boyfriend used to run the streets of London" Mrs H spoke randomly, swatting John's arm as he walked past. 

"Not my boyfriend" He shouted after her. 

"Yet" Sherlock choked out before turning to Rosie with a smile "So, Rosie, how was school today?" 

"Tedious, everyone's an idiot" 

"I completely agree" Sherlock nodded.

"Someone at school told me you used to take drugs" Rosie blurted, looking at Sherlock with amused eyes. 

"Yes, well, that's true. I don't recommend it though, awful for you, really" 

"bloody hell!" John rolled his eyes "Rosie go and get me and Sherlock a drink" 

"Two beers coming right up" Rosie winked, barging past the two of them. 

John and Sherlock pushed past the others in the room and head towards the conservatory where they had spotted Molly, John was first to grab her and pull her into a hug, Sherlock copying his actions. 

"Look at you two! Together once again" Molly smiled sincerely "I'm still mad at you both for not coming to my wedding. Sherlock, I understand, he's an idiot. But John? What's your excuse?" 

"I guess life?" John shrugged. 

"I didn't believe Greg when he told me you both were coming. It's nice to see you both together again, nice to also hear that you're finally giving the whole Romance thing a go" 

"Jesus Christ, does everyone think Sherlock and I are in a bloody relationship?" 

"Yes" Suddenly sounding like a choir had marched the room, as multiple voices chimed together to respond. 

"I'm working on it" Sherlock spoke casually. 

"Oh, really?" Molly asked through a laugh. 

"I have calculated 4 possible outcomes and they all end with John and I together so I have no doubt that one day he'll stop denying it" 

"you've actually deduced this?" John asked, turning to look at Sherlock "I told you the game was on in a humourus sense, I didn't think you'd take it so seriously" 

"I take all of my cases extremely seriously John, you know that" Sherlock defended "this is my hardest case yet" 

"Do you have a name for it?" Molly asked. 

"Not yet" John shook his head, his lips turning with an amused smile as his eyes never left Sherlock's "but I think this will be a good one"

Chapter Text

Baker Street, 7pm. SH. X

That was the only text John had received that day even after spamming Sherlock's phone with practically hundreds of texts asking what exactly it meant. He had spent his entire day at work trying to figure out what he had planned, that was the thing with Sherlock, he was so unexpected. He would either be planning a dinner out or a thorough examination of the dead human body 4 days post death.

There was only ever one or the other with him.

"So, tell me again why I can't come with you?" Rosie whined as she leaned her head against her arms as she leant on the kitchen side.

"Because, I have plans with Sherlock tonight. Just him and I" John rolled his eyes, taking a sip of his water.

"But Sherlock likes me, he won't mind if I come too. Plus, I don't want to go to Auntie Harry's, she's boring, she just complains about how hard her life is all the time"

"She loves you, she loves when you stay with her" John tried to encourage her, looking at himself in the mirror on the wall and adjusting his navy checked shirt.

"This isn't fair"

"Life isn't fair sometimes Rosie. You know, I'm allowed some time to myself as well"

"You get loads of time!"

"Do I?" John asked, turning round the look at her "You realise I spent most of my life working, looking after you and then sleeping, right? This is the first time in years I've had my life back"

"Oh, I'm sorry I ruined your life dad" Rosie shouted, lifting her head up to frown at her dad "it's not my fault mum died, you know? I'm sorry that being a single parent was so hard for you"

"What? Jesus Christ, no, Rosie!" John shook his head trying to take in the conversation "I never, not even for a day, regret being a single father. You're the best thing that's ever happened to me and I'm not complaining, I'm just telling you that sometimes I need my own time as well"

"You act as though mum not being here is my fault"

"When have I ever told you that it's your fault? Rosie, listen to me" John began, reaching over the kitchen side to grab her hands "I don't blame you for Mary- your mothers death, I don't blame anyone. It happened and it's sad but it's no ones fault. Your mother was able to give me you, that's all I could have ever asked for. Just because sometimes I want to do my own thing doesn't mean I don't bloody love you or I blame you for anything, it just means that you're at an age now where I'm able to give you some freedom and give myself some too"

"I just - Sherlock is back in your life and all I want is to get to know him like you did, he's your best friend and I want to love him like you do" Rosie spoke, her eyes still focused on the counter. "I just want to be able to understand the life you once had, I guess"

"And you can. But, there's a time and a place for bonding with him and tonight, it's me and him. We also need to find ourselves again, it's been a long time since Sherlock was in my life and I want to be able to get to know him all over again" John spoke sweetly, a small smile on his lips.

"So you're having a date?" She asked, looking up at him and tilting her head slightly, her blonde locks falling to the side.

"I- I guess we are, yes" John sighed.

"That's nice" She smiled encouragingly "I know you are completely certain that you don't like men, dad. But you know, it's okay. Gay is okay, even if you're not gay, you still have the freedom to love whomever your heart desires. And if that person is Sherlock then that's okay. I already love him and if you could chose anyone I'm glad you are choosing him"

John looked at his daughter, his eyes filling up slightly, he was bewildered by her. He knew she was smart just like her mum but he never knew just how clever she really was.

"When did you get so smart, hey? You've got your head clued on, more than me"

"I just know that it's okay to love whomever you please no matter the gender and I want you to know that I'm okay with whoever you chose. As long as you love them, then that makes me happy. You do deserve happiness too, dad and I'm sorry. I want you to enjoy yourself"

"I love you, kiddo" John sighed, walking round the counter to embrace her.

"Ditto"

 

---

 

"Sherlock?" John shouted as he walked up the stairs cautiously, slightly confused as to why he couldn't hear any gun shots, shouting or violin playing.

He frowned, mounting the final steps and noting the odd silence. He stood outside the door, fixing his shirt and hair once more. He sighed "Sherlock" as his hand pushed the door ajar, he wasn't sure what to expect when it opened.

But it certainly wasn't this.

His eyes bulged from their sockets as he breathed in the array of - cleanliness - the whole apartment had wiped its usual smell of dust and ancient to simply, clean and fresh. If that wasn't a shock enough on its own, what was next was beyond belief.

He looked down at the floor, the space now clear with only a mount of cushions piled against each other, one after the other, candles lit around it, the scent of lavender lifting through the room with every inhale. His eyes scanned the scene, seeing the bottle of wine beside it and two glasses. And then stood behind it with his hands twiddling in front of him and his eyes soft was no one other than Sherlock Holmes. Dressed in an oversized sweater with the sleeves clasped in the palm of his hand and it slightly hanging around his thighs and those jeans he loved so dearly.

Had he just walked into a cliche movie scene?

"Wow" John managed to choke out, a smile of disbelief spreading across his lips as his eyes flickered between the scene in front of him and Sherlock.

"Uhm, Hi" Sherlock spoke, his voice extremely softer than usual.

"Is this a practical joke? Wait - who did you pay to do this? Is someone here?" John asked, stepping in from the doorway to look around the flat, waiting to see Mrs H or Molly jump out.

"No, John. I did this"

"You... you did all of this?" John asked, halting in his steps to face him "You actually thought of all this?"

"Yes" Sherlock shrugged "Do you like it? I researched on twitter yesterday evening for hours until discovering an account named Relationship goals and that's where I found this idea"

"You nicked this idea from some cheesy Twitter account?" John stifled in a laugh, reaching his hand up to cover his mouth "you're adorable"

"Yes, well, if you don't like it we could always-"

"Oh shut up, you daft prick. I love it, it's adorable even if we are in our forty's and this is something for people in their tween's" John smiled softly "it's a lovely idea, and is that food I smell? Please tell me you haven't cooked?"

"I am cooking us dinner as we speak" Sherlock smiled proudly "I thought it would be nice"

"Wow, who are you and what have you done with Sherlock Holmes?"

"The game is on, those were your words"

"Yes, yes they were" John nodded, shuffling his jacket from his arms as he walked towards his chair, placing it on the back and leaning against it "I'm in shock"

"I deduced you would be - an out of character move from a close friend is out of expectations and that would result in shock, confusion and-"

"Don't" John laughed "you don't need to explain it to me, I get it"

"Right, of course" Sherlock nodded. "where is Molly this evening?"

"Harry's" John answered, looking at Sherlock with nothing more than complete admiration.

"Ah, is she okay with that? I would have invited her but I thought this was more of a couple thing to do, without children"

"Yeah, it's fine, it's okay. Hey, Sherlock, come here" John said, reaching his hand out.

"What?" Sherlock's eyes widened, wary.

"Come here" John repeated, tilting his head slightly as he ushered him over.

Sherlock choked out slightly, adjusting himself and his sweater before he slowly and cautiously walked towards John, his head down as his eyes stayed on the floor. John reached out an inch closer, grabbing Sherlock's hand in his own and pulling him closer until he was stood between John's legs, he laced his fingers through his and smiled softly.

"This is perfect, beyond perfect" John spoke in near a whisper, reaching his free hand up to grab the back of Sherlock's neck, standing up as he did so their chests were now touching.

"I am - yes, I am very glad" Sherlock nodded.

John rolled his eyes, unlatching his hands and gripping onto Sherlock's sweater pulling him close until his lips met Sherlock's. John instantly melted into his lips, relaxing into them like a fond memory of utter comfort. He felt Sherlock's hands reach around his waist pulling them even closer than they already were, just searching for a way to be closer than already possible. The kiss was long, tender and delicate but still full of such want and need. It seemed to last forever when in reality it was no more than thirty seconds that they stood moulded against one another.

They parted lips, their lips still inches away from one another and John could feel Sherlock's unsteady and heavy breath against his own.

"I want to do more, believe me I fucking do" John began explaining, licking his lips as he leant his head against Sherlock's "but I said slow, so slow it is"

"John, to even kiss you is a dream. I have never felt such serenity before in my life, I would wait for years if only you could promise me a kiss"

"You're such a sappy bastard" John giggled, actually giggled.

"Only for you, Doctor Watson. And please don't tell anyone, I'm the Notorious, Heartless, Sherlock Holmes, wouldn't want anyone to know any different" Sherlock smiled softly, lifting his head to place a kiss on John's forehead.

John smiled under Sherlock's touch, gripping his hands around his waist. And he was certain life couldn't get any better at that moment, he had found another side to Sherlock Holmes that he didn't ever want to let go, especially not now.

He was definitely a forty year old man with a school boy crush.

"Wait" John finally lifted his head, his eyes wide "Sherlock, why can I smell smoke?"

Sherlock frowned, sniffing until he too smelt it. They both turned their heads at the same time, looking into the sliding doors of the kitchen and noting the sudden burst of flames flying from the oven.

"Shit" They both shouted in unison.

 

---

 

"You tried" John shrugged, looking up at the flat.

"Yes well, I hadn't deduced this" Sherlock frowned, his arms folded over his chest.

They both turned watching the firemen walk out of the front door with a frustrated looking Mrs Hudson and John really couldn't help but laugh.

"Jesus Christ" John chuckled, leaning slightly against Sherlock "you're an idiot"

"Yes, well, I can see how that would seem true"

"What were you even cooking?" John asked, feeling Sherlock's arm as it snaked around his waist pulling him closer to his side.

"Pizza, I saw it on that twitter page" Sherlock shrugged.

"You set your kitchen on fire from burning a bloody pizza?"

"At least I tried" Sherlock tilted his head to smile at John sweetly, leaning down once more to kiss forehead gently. "I'm sorry it all went so wrong, that was not my intention at all"

"Don't worry about it. The thought was there and that's all what matters"

"What in hell have you two bloody boys done to that kitchen?" Mrs Hudson shouted, waving her hands around as she walked towards them both.

"What could be worse than burning your kitchen down?" John mumbled to him, leaning his head slightly into his chest.

"Mrs Hudson on a rampage" Sherlock chuckled lightly.

Chapter Text

"Are you sure?" John asked, frowning as he walked over to the fridge to grab the milk.

"Yes, John. Please, stop asking me"

"I just want to make sure, that's all" He sighed, pouring the milk into the two boiling hot cups of tea that he had freshly made, turning round to look at Sherlock who was sat quietly examining the decor of the kitchen "- I know that you get bored easily and really all we'll be doing is watching a film and eating Chinese food"

"That sounds perfect" Sherlock smiled sincerely, reaching out for the cup of tea that John had slid towards him "I told you, the game is on and I'm fully invested, I'll do anything"

"I know" John chuckled lightly, leaning against the kitchen side with his cup in hand "this is all so strange, isn't it?"

"What?" Sherlock asked, tilting his head, for once, not understanding.

"Just this. Sitting in the kitchen of my family home having a cup of tea with you knowing that it'll just be a normal evening - it's strange, usually a cup of tea with you leads to clients and multiple deaths"

"Yes, well, you'll have to get used to it I'm afraid. I regret to inform you that we are both old now, John"

"Speak for yourself" He scoffed "I'm still as young as I was ten years ago"

Sherlock stifled in a laugh as he took a sip of his tea, his eyes peering over his cup to look at John. And really, he to couldn't quite believe it. If he were to even think about this situation around ten years ago he would deduce it as nothing more than boring, dull and tedious.

"Dad" Both of their heads turned as the front door slammed shut, the ruffle of bags, shoes and a coat being thrown around were the only noises distinguishable.

"And so it begins" John rolled his eyes, waiting.

"Sorry I'm late, my idiotic English Literature teacher decided to give me detention all because I threw a bin at someone - wasn't my fault that they looked at me funny" She began to rant as she made her way into the kitchen, she sighed, ready to continue but stopped as she saw both her Father and Sherlock.

"Good Evening" Sherlock smiled politely, placing his cup down "May I ask what size bin it was that you threw?"

"Oh, your standard classroom bin, not too big"

"Then I can't seem to understand why she would punish you for it, it's unlikely it would cause any harm to the other student"

"Sherlock, please don't encourage her" John sighed, rubbing his eyes with his hands - he knew by now that when together, they were as bad as each other if not worse.

"I didn't know we had company" Rosie spoke, looking knowingly at her dad as she walked past him towards the fridge, grabbing a bottle of water out "Are you both staying here this evening or are you buggaring off on some date and forcing me to Aunty Harry's again?"

"We thought we could all have a night in, watch a few movies and have a takeaway. If that's okay with you? Unless you have other plans" John suggested, shrugging his shoulders.

"Oh, yeah, okay. That sounds nice" She attempted to act cool although her facial expressions were enough to prove otherwise.

"Okay great. Why don't you go and get changed out of your uniform and Sherlock and I will order some food?"

"Great" She grinned widely, practically jumping in her steps as she ran from the kitchen and up the stairs in no longer than a few seconds.

"Don't forget to put your clothes in the wash basket, that doesn't mean your floor" he called after her, a small smile on his lips as he turned to look at Sherlock who's expression was nothing more than fond.

"She seems pleased" Sherlock noted.

"She adores you, can't see why"

"Well, all she has to do is see how fond her father is of me and it's instant" Sherlock teased, taking another sip of his tea. "I'm a very loveable man"

---

They were sat there, John and Sherlock on the three seater with at least a two person space between one another and Rosie had occupied the two seater, her legs spread across it. If John and Sherlock hadn't looked so awkward sitting near one another, anyone would think it was like any other family.

Sherlock was extremely conflicted, which was something he wasn't used to - he didn't quite know how to act around his goddaughter, he didn't know if it was okay to sit too close to John or whether he was allowed to act affectionate at all, even if he didn't know how to, he'd at least like to try. But he didn't know what was and wasn't acceptable.

"Does anyone want a hot chocolate?" John asked, leaning up slightly with a sigh, looking at Rosie first who smiled and nodded. He turned to the other side "Sherlock? Hot chocolate? They're Rosie's favourites"

"Oh" Sherlock noted, unsure what to say so he simply nodded, complicating a simple question.

John nodded with a soft smile, pulling himself from the sofa. Both Sherlock and Rosie watched as he walked out of the living room, closing the door slightly behind him. Sherlock instantly looked at the TV, not quite sure what the movie was even about at this point.

"Are you okay?" The question made him jump, he wasn't quite expecting it. He turned to Rosie who was frowning at him with utter concern.

"I - yes, yes I'm fine. Why do you ask?" He managed to choke out, inching up in his seat so he was sitting up right.

"You're being extremely quiet" She noted, turning onto her side with her head against the head rest. "It's unlike you"

"I'm just, well, you know, watching the movie"

"Right" She nodded, not believing it for a even a second. "You know, you don't have to act any different around me. I'm not fussed"

"I'm not acting any different, I can assure you"

"You've been quiet for ages, you didn't even talk when you were eating and on my Dad's blog it says you have a habit of talking too much when you're eating"

"Do you always read his blogs?" He asked, his eyes furrowed slightly.

"Yeah, at night sometimes. I just like to read about it all, I read them a lot when dad got me my first laptop when I was 10, I searched his name randomly and it was the first thing that came up - I never told him. Didn't want him to think I was snooping" She admitted, sighing before continuing "- he just never tells me anything, you know? It's like before you came back he wanted to keep all of that in the past, he doesn't even mention my mum, like at all"

"I think-" Sherlock starts and stops, trying to consider a proper answer to her admission "your father only has good intentions for you, he most likely hid our past to help not only himself but you also. It wasn't a very safe or stable lifestyle, Rosie, I can assure you"

"I know that. It's just, I like to know about it all. Not everyone has an army doctor as a dad, an ex-assassin as a mother and a sociopath for a godfather, you know? It's like something out of a fictional story - I want to know about it all"

"And you will, when your father feels it right"

"Were you friends with my mum?" She asked.

"You read your fathers blog, didn't you? Your mother and I were very good friends. I cared for her very much" Sherlock answered instantly.

"Yes, yes, I know that. It's just - what was she like? Dad only tells me bits and bobs, all I've got is the blog and it just doesn't seem enough"

"I-" Sherlock starts and stops again, swallowing as he looked at the teenage girls eyes full of hope and need from him. He wanted to refuse to talk about it without John here but he knew she was desperate. He sighed, patting the seat beside him "come sit with me"

Her eyes widened slightly before she instantly sat up and made her way over to the space beside him, both her and Sherlock were shocked by the gesture - he didn't know he had it in him.

"Your mother - surprisingly, much like you, she liked me instantly. I met her not long after I had left John for a while, I returned not knowing what to expect and even though your dad wasn't quick to forgive, your mother convinced him instantly. I knew I liked her, even if she did shoot me and drug me" He stopped, realising what he was saying "- yes, but, even so, she was an extremely intellectual, brave and brilliant woman who loved both you and your dad very much. And she even told me she loved me as well, she was very much family to me"

"Was she bossy? Dad always says I'm just like her when I'm having a tantrum"

"Oh, ever so. She could put us all in our place, she was the only woman to ever shut me up, in fact, she's the only person I'd listen to other than your father of course. She just knew the right thing to do all the time, she was so clever and I don't say that often other than to describe myself, of course"

"She sounds so cool" She smiled softly but it soon faded, as she twiddled her thumbs on her lap "can I - can I ask one more thing?"

"Of course"

"Does, I mean, do you think sometimes my dad doesn't like me? I mean, sometimes I think he resents me - because I remind him of mum and I'm scared that every time he looks at me he's just reminded of her and how sad it was" She asked, more of an admittance, her eyes slightly glazed over.

"What?" Sherlock frowned, the over powering feeling of guilt washing over his body "- Jesus, no, Rosie. He doesn't resent you, not even close. He loves you, so dearly. You're the only being that reminds him of his wife, you are the combination of both your parents love and soul and with you here he's constantly reminded of the love he felt. You're the best thing that's ever happened to him, don't ever doubt that. Without you, he wouldn't have coped"

"Really?"

"Of course. Don't ever doubt your fathers love for you - you're his world, always" He confirmed, his eyes still furrowed as he looked at her with complete compassion.

"Thank you, Sherlock" She spoke in barely a whisper as she leant over to wrap her arms around his waist and hold him in a tight embrace and Sherlock was quick to return the favour, wrapping his arms around her shoulders and holding her close.

"You don't have to thank me"

"What about you though?" She mumbled, still grasping onto him.

"What do you mean?"

"How did you cope? You know, the man you loved loving someone else?" She asked.

"When you love someone very much, you wait for them, no matter how long that takes. I loved your mother dearly and if she made him happy then that's all what matters to me"

"I think you have a bigger heart than you let on"

"You think?" Sherlock asked, his lips turning up into a short smile, leaning his head against hers "I think you may be right"

"He loves you, you know"

"I know he does, he just needs a little more time, that's all" Sherlock agreed, deep down hoping that what he said was true. Although he would admit to himself daily that John felt the same, he knew deep down that eventually this dream would come to an end and this could either be his mind palace tricking him or simply nothing more than another case - either would be as destroying as the other.

"He always described you as arrogant and hostile, you're beyond both of them. I'm really glad I am able to have you in my life" Rosie admitted, a single tear falling down her cheek.

"The feeling is mutual"

And they stayed there for another minute or so, Sherlock simply comforting the confused girl, a feeling of instant care and affection for her washing over him like a gun shot all at once and suddenly, he realised that no matter what, he would care for her, always.

And as they stayed there, John Watson stood looking through the gap in the door, tears falling down his cheeks and a feeling of comfort washing over his body as he watched. What ever this was, he needed it - desperately.

----

"I think it's time for bed, Rosie" John stated, now only one space away from Sherlock. "It's already half ten and you have school"

"Yeah, okay" She nodded, yawning as she sat up on the sofa with tired eyes.

She stood up, her eyes flickering between the door and her father and his friend. She shrugged her shoulders slightly as she walked straight over to Sherlock and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, John was shocked to see Sherlock instantly return the favour.

"Night Sherlock, thank you"

"Good night, sweetheart. Sleep well" He spoke softly, releasing her slightly so she could lean over and kiss her dad on the cheek briefly before heading out of the living room and closing the door behind her.

It was silent for a moment, John simply watching Sherlock with utter admiration as he focused on nothing but the movie that was playing - the only one he had focused on all evening, for the matter.

"You're amazing" John spoke, coming out as nothing more than a loud whisper, his eyes wide as he admired the former detective.

"What?" Sherlock frowned, turning to look at him in confusion.

"You. You're amazing. You spent so long acting as though you had no heart inside that strange body of yours yet all along you've had a heart of gold - how? I mean, why did you act so cold for so long when this version of you was a thing? Why hide it?"

"I don't quite understand"

"Rosie adores you. I saw you both earlier, she came to you for advice and comfort - something she's not too comfortable to do with me, she's always been so reserved yet with you she's an open bloody book. How?"

"I suppose she just wanted to speak to someone who wasn't her father?" Sherlock suggested, shrugging his shoulders as he turned his body slightly to look at John.

"You barely showed any affection to her when she was first born and now you've managed to get a closer bond with her than I have in years, I just don't understand it, Sherlock" John spoke, baffled and confused all at the same time.

"I can't tell you why, John. It's not something I'm quite used to - she just seems to find comfort in me, I don't know why"

"In the past two weeks you've managed to come back and be someone completely new, you've done flowers and chocolates, dates in the living room, attempted to cook, surprised me, told me you loved me and managed to be my daughters best friend - please tell me this isn't just a stupid investigation or something"

"It's nothing of the sort" Sherlock scoffed, slightly offended by John's choice of words "I'm doing everything I can to make you happy, you told me the game was on John, but it isn't a game. I'm trying here, more so than I ever have done in my life"

"If you would have done this when I met you, things would have been so different"

"Maybe so" Sherlock sighed, his eyes reaching John's "but even if I did, you would be without Rosie. And that is not a life worth thinking about"

"She could have been ours, Sherlock. We still would have had Rosie, somehow"

"That wasn't the right time or place. I wasn't who I am now, I was a blind idiot with no human emotion or care in my bones, I was beyond the point of rescuing before you met me - it took you a very long time to help me, John"

"But if only you could have allowed me in a-"

"No, that's not the point. It wouldn't have worked, you needed to find Mary and you needed everything that happened - we both did. No other man in his forty's could tell the story of their life like ours, John Watson. And through the pain, loss and extreme suffering we have managed to come out - alive and well"

"We wouldn't have had to deal with the pain"

"No, but I'm aware through deductions that the complex of a relationship between yourself and I around twenty years ago would not have been compatible. We would have ruined everything we have now and that is a thought I do not wish to think about, at all" Sherlock quickly fired back, pouring all of his thoughts out at once. "You see, although we both could agree I could have admitted this all sooner - to be the person I am, the person you need, I had to deal with all of that to get here. Without it, this wouldn't be a possibility at all and you know it"

John sighed, reaching up to rub his eyes. He was exhausted, he had never felt so much in his life, all of these emotions had hit him like a tonne of bricks in as little as weeks and he was drained. Sherlock reached out, grabbing one of John's hands in his own and lacing his fingers through it cautiously as he looked at him.

"I will do all I can to make this work, John. No matter the sacrifice or hard work, I am beyond determined to see this through - if you're not ready for this right now then I will wait, I can assure you of that. There is absolutely no one else in this world that I would find myself with, you are and always will be the one for me"

John couldn't resist, he lunged at Sherlock capturing his lips with his own. This time his body mounting over his, his thighs across Sherlock's as he reached for closeness. Within seconds Sherlock's hands were firmly grasping at John's arse, pulling him onto him. John's lips parted slightly as his tongue met Sherlock's, fighting for dominance for only a slight second before John gave in and melted under his touch.

Sherlock had no idea what he was doing, that was evident to them both but as John pushed down into his lap in a force for friction, Sherlock instantly met his movement. The low moan that escaped his lips was enough for John to cum on the spot although he didn't ( even if he was old and it was probably expected ), to hear the detective unravel beneath him was like nothing else.

"This isn't very slow, John" Sherlock mumbled against his lips.

"Don't expect me to spread you across my living room floor, unfortunately I have a 13 year old daughter who could walk in at any minute. However, don't expect me not to next time I'm at Baker Street" John spoke, each word paused so he could kiss Sherlock's lips repeatedly.

"So, is the case closed? Or do I still have to prove my feelings for you?" Sherlock asked, holding onto John in hopes he'd never let go.

"I mean, you can still surprise me but yes, you don't have to prove anything else. I know how hard it is for you to show affection" John spoke, biting his lip as he leaned back slightly, his arms still wrapped around his neck.

"It's not as hard as I thought, when it comes to you, it's rather easy" Sherlock admitted "I'm too comfortable around you to feel uncomfortable"

"I'm glad, I never want you to feel uncomfortable around me, Sherlock"

"I don't think that's possible"

"I have a bad feeling" John admitted, sitting back onto Sherlock's thighs "Nothing good ever lasts long, how long do you think this will last until something horrible happens?"

"Don't think negatively. We are free, John - we are safe from harms way, we no longer have to worry about the next time one of us will be shot or thrown into a bonfire, we only have to think about this, us and Rosie. That's it. No more trouble, I can assure you"

"You say that now but-" John was interrupted as his phone began to vibrate on the coffee table beside them.

He sighed, unlocking his arms and leaning over just enough so his thighs never left Sherlock's, he grabbed his phone and frowned noting Mycroft's name - once, that name wouldn't have came as a surprise but as he had decided against contacting him for years he knew this wasn't good.

"What were you just saying?" John scoffed, waving the phone in front of Sherlock before answering it and putting it to his ear "Hello? I hope this is important, I'm currently wrapped around your younger brother and it really is a tedious time to be calling"

"As much as I hate to think about how my call was a disturbance to you both, I'm afraid things need to be said and as my brother refuses to turn his phone, you're both to hear what I need to say. - please put me on speaker, John"

"Do I have to?" He rolled his eyes as he pulled the phone from his ear to press the speaker, looking at Sherlock with a shrug. "- go on"

"Hello, brother mine. I do hope you've enjoyed your retirement - I however, have not. I have been attempting to call you for an hour now, both myself and our parents were worried for your life"

"You were worried? You track my every move, Mycroft. Surely you knew I was at John's?"

"Well, considering you are no longer running havoc on the streets, I saw no need to monitor you any longer, clearly that was a bad decision"

"What's the point in this?" Sherlock asked, annoyance growing in his voice.

"Sherlock, Baker Street has been attacked. Your flat was up in flames"

"What?" Both John and Sherlock near shouted at the same time.

"- what do you mean?" John asked, suddenly panicked.

"What I said, Doctor Watson. Unfortunately 221B has been hit with an extremely upsetting attack, the entire flat went up in flames - it is, somewhat, un-fixable unlike last time. The damage has affected the house next door, also"

"Oh shit, wait, Mrs Hudson, is she okay? Jesus, is she alright? Was she there?" John ran frantic, suddenly sliding off Sherlock's lap to sit beside him "Mycroft, is she okay?"

"I'm afraid that Mrs Hudson was retrieved from her kitchen half an hour ago and was rushed to St John's, she is unconscious at the moment due to the fumes - however, she is alive but her condition is unknown"

"Fuck, Sherlock go and wake Rosie. We'll drop her off at Harry's, we need to see Mrs H" John shouted, standing to his feet and running out into the hallway to get his shoes.

"We need to talk about this, John" Mycroft spoke from inside the phone as John rushed to put his shoes on "there's a reason this occurred, you understand that?"

"Of course I do, Sherlock comes back and now we're all under attack. I know the bloody routine now, Mycroft" John spat, looking up as Sherlock ran past him and up the stairs. "It's Moriarty isn't it? His brother?"

"Yes, I'm afraid it is. It seems my brother has some unfinished business"

"Jesus" John sighed leaning his head back against the wall in the hallway, phone still in hand "When will this bloody end?"

"As much as I wish for this to end as you do, it would seem he has a lot of demons to fight before your little retirement can be official"

"Why can't you sort this? Actually, why haven't you sorted it? It's been a week and a half since you told us about it and you've allowed him to do this" John accused "- what exactly is your job, Mycroft? Why does it always come down to Sherlock to fight your bloody battles? You're the government for fuck sake"

"Unfortunately, I can't always fix problems"

"It doesn't seem like you can fix any, you're an idiot. For once in your life, Mycroft Holmes, why don't you fix this? Give your brother a break" John spat once more, ending the call, throwing his phone at the wall opposite him.

"Dad?" Rosie shouted from the top of the stairs, letting Sherlock place her jacket on her arms and guiding her down "- Are you okay? What's going on?"

"It's fine honey, just get your shoes on - something has happened, I'm sorry, you're going to have to go to your Aunts tonight" John attempted to explain, attempting a smile.

"Where are you two going?" She asked, doing as she was told as Sherlock returned down the stairs with a bag packed for her.

"We have to deal with something" Sherlock spoke up, standing beside her with a short smile "don't worry - your dad will be back by the time your home from school tomorrow"

"Are you... Are you going on a case?"

"No, god no - I told you Rosie, that's not what we do anymore" John frowned, shaking his head in frustration as he peered up at the time. Hoping just hoping, that they weren't too late.

"It's just a matter that your father and I forgot about - I guess we got so distracted by the good evening we were all having, we forgot that we had plans" Sherlock lied, straight through his teeth yet it did the job.

Rosie walked ahead, grabbing her dads keys as she head for the front door. "I'll meet you in the car" she said, opening it, leaving it open as she walked out. Sherlock looked at John and could see every inch of worry that spread across his face - he wasn't going to let him lose anybody else, not today, not ever.

"I hope we're not too late" was the last thing John said as he followed his daughters steps and out of the door.

"So do I" Sherlock muttered under his breath.